"at the low, pitch-painted houses of the town"

Clapboard mill and houses in Whitstable
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeClapboard mill and houses in Whitstable - Credit: Penny Mayes, Wikimedia Commons
Pitch is a thick, dark, sticky substance which may be obtained from natural sources or by a chemical process; in its modified form, which is known as Tar, it has traditionally been used to seal the hulls of boats and ships, to waterproof shingle roofs, and to paint walls built of logs or clapboard.