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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
AT LOS ANGELES 




Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2008 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/deemsterOOcain 



UNIVER* 



The Deemster 



Novels by Hall Caine 

The Shadow of a Crime 
A Son of Hagar 
The Deemster 
The Bondman 
The Scapegoat 
The Manxman 



The Deemster 



By 

Hall Caine 

Author of "The Shadow of a Crime,' 
"A Son of Hagar," etc. 



" Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love 
of women," 

"Oh, wretched man than I am, who will deliver 
me from the body of this death?" 



Library Edition 



London 

Chatto & Windus, Piccadilly 

1895 



rrlntcd hy Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. 
At the Ballantyne Press 



12 fS 



NOTE 

Ml/ thanks are due to mi/ friend and fellon'- 
c&untryman the Author of "Fo'c's'le Yarns" for some 
racy touches of Manx character, and to Mr. A. W. 
Moore, Member of the Manx Legislature, and Sir 
James Gell, Attorney-General in the Isle of Man, 
for much valuable information concerning the extra- 
ordinan/ powers of the old Spiritual Baro?iies of 
thai island, the scene of mj/ story. 



470201 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. 

I. THE DEATH OF OLD EWAN . 

II. A MAN CHILD IS CORN 

III. THE CHRISTENING OF YOUNG EWAN 

IV. THE DEEMSTER OF MAN 
V. THE MANXMAN'S BISHOP 

VI. THE COSY NEST AT BISHOP's COURT 
VII. DANNY, THE MADCAP 
VIII. PASSING THE LOVE OP WOMEN 
IX. THE SERVICE ON THE SHORE 

X. THE FIRST NIGHT WITH THE HERRINGS 
XI. THE HERRING BREAKFAST . 
XII. dan's PENANCE 
XIII. HOW EWAN MOURNED FOR HIS WIFE 
XIV. WRESTLING WITH FATE 
XV. THE LIE THAT EWAN TOLD 
XVI. THE PLOUGHING MATCH 
XVII. THE WRONG WAY WITH DAN 
XVIII. THE BLIND WOMAN'S SECOND SIGHT 
XIX. HOW EWAN FOUND DAN 

XX. BLIND PASSION AND PAIN . 

XXI. THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT . 
XXII. ALONE, ALONE — ALL, ALL ALONE ! 

XXIII. ALONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEA 
XXIV. "THERE'S GOLD ON THE CUSIIAGS YET*' 
XXV. A RESURRECTION INDEED . 
XXVI. HOV/ EWAN CAME TO CHURCH 



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29 

40 

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62 

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85 
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99 

IDS 
114 
121 

132 

ISO 
162 
170 

177 
181 
190 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. 
XXVIl. ]I()\V TIIK XKWS CAMK TO TIIK lilSIIOl 

XXVIII. TIIK CHILD GHOST IN THE HOUSK 

XXIX. BY bishop's law OR deejister's 

XXX. THE deemster's INQUEST 

XXX I. I'ATHER AND SON 

XXXIT. DIVINATION 

XXXIII. KIDNArrED 

XXXIV. A RUDE TRIBUNAL 

XXXV. THE COURT OE GENERAL GAOL DELIVERY 

XXXVL CUT OFF FROM THE PEOPLE 



PAOE 
20I 

2IO 

2X8 

226 

252 
261 
269 
276 



THE BRIEF RELATION OF DANIEL MYLREA. 

XXXVII. OF HIS OUTCAST STATE . 
XXXVIII. OP HIS WAY OF LIFE 
XXXIX. OF THE GHOSTLY HAND UPON HIM 
XL. OF HIS GREAT LONELINESS 
XLI. OF HOW KE KEPT HIS MANHOOD 
XLIL OP THE BREAKING OF THE CURSE 
XLIII. OP HIS GREAT RESOLVE . 

XLIV. THE SWEATING SICKNESS 
XLV. "OUR FATHER, WHICH ART IN HEAVEN" 



2S6 
291 
295 

3" 

319 
327 

331 

357 



THE DEEMSTER 

CHAPTEE I 

THE DEATH OF OLD EWAN 

Thorkell Mylrea had waited long for a dead man's shoes, 
but he was wearing them at length. He was forty years of 
age ; his black hair was thin on the crown and streaked 
with grey about the temples ; the crows' feet were thick 
under his small eyes, and the backs of his lean hands were 
coated with a reddish down. But he had life in every vein, 
and restless energy in every limb. 

His father, Ewan Mylrea, had lived long, and mourned 
much, and died in sorrow. The good man had been a 
patriarch among his people, and never a serener saint had 
trod the ways of men. He was already an old man when 
his wife died. Over her open grave he tried to say, " The 

Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away ; blessed " 

But his voice faltered and broke. Though he lived ten 
years longer, he held up his head no more. Little by little 
he relinquished all active interest in material affairs. The 
world had lost its light for him, and he was travelling in 
the dusk. 

On his sons, Thorkell, the elder, Gilcrist, the younger, 
with nearly five years between them, the conduct of his 
estate devolved. Never were brothers more unlike. Gil- 
crist, resembling his father, was of a simple and tranquil soul ; 
Thorkell's nature was fiery, impetuous, and crafty. The end 
was the inevitable one ; the heel of Thorkell was too soon 
on the neck of Gilcrist. 

Gilcrist's placid spiiit overcame its first vexation, and he 
seemed content to let his interests slip from his hands. 

A 



THE DEEMSTER 

Before a year was out Thorkell Mylrea was in effect the 
master of Ballaniona ; his younger brother was nightly im- 
mersed in astronomy and tlie Fathers, and the old man was 
sitting daily, in his slippers, in the high-backed arm-chair by 
the ingle, over which these words were cut in the black oak : 
"God's Providence is mine inheritance." 

They were strange effects that followed. People said they 
had never understood tlie extraordinary fortunes of Balla- 
niona. Again and again the rents were raised throughout 
the estate, until the farmers cried in the grip of their poverty 
that they would neither go nor starve. Then the waggons 
of Thorkell Mylrea, followed close at their tail-boards by the 
carts of the clergy, drove into the cornfields when the corn 
was cut, and picked up the stooks and bore thein away amid 
the deep curses of the bare-armed reapers, who looked on in 
their impotent rage. 

Nevertheless, Thorkell Mylrea said, far and wide, without 
any show of reserve, and with every accent of sincerity, that 
never before had his father's affairs worn so grave a look. 
He told Ewan as much time after time, and then the ti'oubled 
old face looked puzzled. The end of many earnest consulta- 
tions between father and son, as the one sat by the open 
hearth and the other leaned against the lettered ingle, was 
a speedy recourse to certain moneys that lay at an English 
bank, as well as the old man's signature to documents of 
high moment. 

Old Ewan's spirits sank yet lower year by year, but he 
lived on jieacefully enough. As time went by, he talked 
less, and his humid eyes seemed to look within in degree as 
they grew dim to things without. But the day came at 
length when the old man died in his chair, before the slum- 
berous peat fire on the hearth, quietly, silently, without a 
movement, his graspless fingers fumbling a worm-eaten hour- 
glass, his long waves of thin white hair falling over his droop- 
ing shoulders, and his upturned eyes fixed in a stony stare 
on the text carved on the rannel-tree shelf, " God's Provi- 
dence is mine inheritance." 

That night Thorkell sat alone at the same ingle, in the 
same chair, glancing at many parchments and dropping 
them one by one into the fire. Long afterwards, when idle 
tongues were set to wag, it was said that the elder son of 
Ewan Mylrea had found a means whereby to sap away his 

2 



THE DEATH OF OLD EWAN 

father's personalty. Then it was remembered that through 
all his strange misfortunes Thorkell had borne an equal 
countenance. 

They buried the old man under the elder tree by the wall 
of the churchyard that stands over against the sea. It 
seemed as if half of the inhabitants of the island came to his 
funeral, and six sets of bearers claimed their turn to carry 
him to the grave. The day was a gloomy day of winter ; 
there was not a bird or a breath in the heavy air ; the sky 
was low and empty ; the long dead sea was very grey and 
cold ; and over the unploughed land the withered stalks of 
the last crop lay dank on the mould. When the company 
returned to Ballamona they sat down to eat and drink and 
make merry, for " excessive sorrow is exceeding dry." No 
one asked for the will ; there was no will because there was 
no personalty, and the lands were by law the inheritance of 
the eldest son. Thorkell was at the head of his table, and 
he smiled a little, and sometimes reached over the board to 
touch with his glass the glass that was held out towards him. 
Gilcrist had stood with these mourners under the empty sky, 
and his heart was as bare and desolate, but he could endure 
their company no longer. In an agony of grief and remorse, 
and rage as well, he got up from his untouched food and 
walked away to his own room. It was a little, quiet nest of 
a room that looked out by one small window over the marshy 
Curraghs that lay between the house and the sea. There 
Gilcrist sat alone that day in a sort of dull stupor. 

The daylight had gone, and the lamps on the headland of 
Ayre were twinkling over the blank waters, when the door 
opened, and Thorkell entered. Gilcrist stirred the fire, and 
it broke into a bright blaze. Thorkell's face wore a curious 
expression. 

" I have been thinking a good deal about you, Gilcrist ; 
especially during the last few days. In fact, I have been 
troubled about you, to say the truth," said Thorkell, and then 
he paused. " Affairs are in a bad way at Ballamona — very." 

Gilcrist made no response whatever, but clasped his hands 
about his knee and looked steadily into the fire. 

" We are neither of us young men now, but if you should 
think of — of — anything, I should consider it wrong to stand 
— to put myself in your way — to keep you here, that is — to 
your disadvantage, you know." 

S 



THE DEEMSTER 

Thorkell was standing with his hac-k to the fire, and his 
fingers interlaced behind him. 

Gilcrist rose to his feet. " Very well," he said with a 
strained quietness, and then turned towards the window and 
looked out at the dark sea. Only the sea's voice from the 
shore beyond the churchyard broke the silence in that little 
room. 

Thorkell stood a moment, leaning (m the mantelshelf, and 
the Hickcring lights of the fire seemed to make sinister smiles 
on his face. Then he went out without a word. 

Next morning at daybreak Gilcrist Mylrea was riding 
towards Derby Haven with a pack in green cloth across his 
saddle-bow. He took passage by the King Ornj, an old 
sea tub plying once a week to Liverpool. From Liverpool 
he went on to Cambridge, to offer himself as a sizar at the 
University. 

It had never occurred to any one that Thorkell Mylrea 
would marry. 15iit his father was scarcely cold in his gi'ave, 
the old sea tub that took his brother across the Channel had 
hanlly grounded at Liverpool, when Thorkell Mylrea offered 
his heart and wrinkled hand and the five hundred acres of 
Ballamona to a lady twenty years of age, who lived at a dis- 
tance of some six miles from his estate. It would be more 
precise to say that the liberal tender was made to the lady's 
father, for her own will was little more than a cypher in the 
bargaining. Slie was a girl of sweet spirit, very tender and 
submissive, and much under the spell of religious feeling. 
Her mother had died during her infancy, and she had been 
brought up in a household that was without other children, 
in a gaunt rectory that never echoed with children's voices. 
Her father was Archdeacon of the island, Archdeacon Teare ; 
her own name was Joance. 

If half the inhabitants of the island turned out at old 
Ewan's funeral, the entire pojjulation of four pai*ishes made a 
holiday of his son's wedding. The one followed hard upon 
the other, and thrift was not absent from either. Thorkell 
was married in the early spring at the Archdeacon's church 
at Andreas. 

It would be rash to say that the presence of the great 
company at the wedding was intended as a tribute to the 
many virtues of Thorkell Mylrea. Indeed, it was as well 
that the elderly bridegroom could not overhear the conver- 

4 



THE DEATH OF OLD EWAN 

sation with which some of the homely folk beguiled the 
way. 

" Aw, the murther of it/' said one buirdly Manxman, " five- 
and-forty if he's a day, and a wizened old polecat anyway." 

" You'd really think the gel's got no feelin's. Aw, shockin', 
shockin' extraordinary ! " 

" And a rael good gel too, they're sayin'. Amazin' ! 
Amazin' ! " 

The marriage of Thorkell was a curious ceremony. First 
there walked abreast the fiddler and the piper, playing vigor- 
ously the " Black and Grey ; " then came the bridegroom's 
men carrying osiers, as emblems of their superiority over the 
bridesmaids, who followed them. Three times the company 
passed round the church before entering it, and then they 
trooped up towards the communion-rail. 

Thorkell went through the ceremony with the air of a 
whipped terrier. On the outside he was gay in frills and 
cuffs, and his thin hair was brushed crosswise over the bald 
patch on his crown. He wore buckled shoes and blue laces 
to his breeches. But his brave exterior lent him small sup- 
port as he took the ungloved hand of his girlish bride. He 
gave his responses in a voice that first faltered, and then sent 
out a quick, harsh, loud pipe. No such gaunt and grim 
shadow of a joyful bridegroom ever before knelt beside a 
beautiful bride, and while the Archdeacon married this 
spectre of a happy man to his own submissive daughter, the 
whispered comments of the throng that filled nave and aisles 
and gallery sometimes reached his own ears. 

" You wouldn't think it, now, that the craythur's sold his 
own gel, and him preaching there about the covenant and 
Isaac and Rebecca, and all that ! " 

" Hush, man, it's Laban and Jacob he's meaning." 

When the ceremony had come to an end, and the bride- 
groom's eyes Avere no longer fixed in a stony stare on the 
words of the Commandments printed in black and white 
under the chancel window, the scene underwent a swift 
change. In one minute Thorkell was like another man. All 
his abject bearing fell away. When the party was clear of 
the churchyard, four of the groom's men started for the 
Rectory at a race, and the first to reach it won a flask of 
brandy, with which he returned at high speed to the wedding 
company. Then Thorkell, as the custom was, bade his 

5 



THE DEEMSTER 

friends to form n circle wliere they stood in the road, while 
he drank of the brandy and handed the flask to his wife. 

" Custom must be indulged with custom," said he, " or 
custom will weep." 

After that the company moved on until they reached the 
door of the Archdeacon's house, where the bridecake was 
broken over the bride's head, and then thrown to be scrambled 
for by the noisy throng that blew neat's horns and fired guns 
and sang ditties by the way. 

Thorkell, with the chivalrous bearing of an old courtier, 
delivered up his wife to the flock of ladies who were ready 
to pounce upon her at the door of the Rectory. Then he 
mingled freely with the people and chatted and bantered, 
and made quips and quibbles. Finally, he invited all and 
sundry to partake freely of the oaten cake and ale that he 
had himself brought from Ballamona in his car for the re- 
freshment of his own tenants there present. The fare was 
Lenten fare for a wedding-day, and some of the straggle- 
headed troop grumbled, and some sniffled, and some scratched 
their heads, and some laughed outright. The beer and bread 
wei*e left almost untouched. 

Thorkell was blind to the discontent of his guests, but the 
Archdeacon perceived it, and forthwith called such of the 
tumultuous assemblage as came from a distance into his 
barns. There the creels were turned bottom up, and four 
close-jointed gates lifted off" their hinges were laid on the 
top for tables. Then from pans and boilers that simmered 
in the kitchen a great feast was spread. First came the 
broth, well loaded with barley and cabbage, and not destitute 
of the flavour of numerous sheep's heads. This was served 
in wooden piggins, shells being used as spoons. Then suet 
pudding, as round as a -v^ell-fed salmon, and as long as a 
30lb. cod. Last of all a fat hog, roasted whole, and cut Avith 
a cleaver, but further dissected only by teeth and fingers, for 
the unfastidious Manxman cared nothing for knife and fork. 

After that there were liquor and lusty song. And all the 
time there could be heard over the boisterous harmony of 
the feasters within the barn the yet noisier racket of the 
people without. 

By this time, whatever sentiment of doubtful charity had 
been harboured in the icy breast of the Manxman had been 
thawed away under the charitable effects of good cheer, and 

6 



A MAN CHILD IS BORN 

Thorkell Mylrea and Archdeacon Teare began to appear in 
truly Christian character. 

" It's none so ould he is yet, at all at all." 
" Ould } He hasn't the hayseed out of his hair, boy." 
"And a shocking powerful head-piece at him for all." 
There were rough jokes and dubious toasts, and Thorkell 
enjoyed them all. There was dancing, too, and fiddling, 
and the pipes at intervals, and all went merry until mid- 
night, when the unharmonious harmonies of fiddle and pipes 
and unsteady song went off over the Curraghs in various 
directions. 

Next morning Thorkell took his wife home to Ballamona. 
They drove in the open springless car in which he had 
brought down the oaten cake and ale. Thorkell had seen 
that the remains of these good viands were thriftily gathered 
up. He took them back home with him, carefully packed 
under the board on which his young wife sat. 



CHAPTER II 

A MAN CHILD IS BORN 

Three years passed, and Thorkell's fortunes grew ajiace. He 
toiled early and late. Time had no odd days or holiday in 
his calendar. Every day was working day except Sunday, 
and then Thorkell, like a devout Gljfii^|ii^!fwent to church. 
Thorkell believed that he was a devoutly religious man, but 
rumour whispered that he was better able to make his words 
fly up than to prevent his thoughts from remaining below. 

His wife did not seem to be a happy woman. During 
the three years of her married life she had not borne her 
husband children. It began to dawn upon her that Thor- 
kell's sole desire in marriage had been a child, a son, to 
whom he could leave what no man can carry away. 

One Sunday morning as Thorkell and his wife were on 
their way to church, a young woman of about twenty passed 
them, and as she went by she curtsied low to the lady. The 
girl had a comely nut-brown face with dark wavy clusters 
of hair tumbling over her forehead from beneath a white 
sun-l)onnet, of which the poke had been dexterously rolled 

7 



THE DEEMSTim 

back. It was summer, and her li<r]it blue bodice was open, 
and showed a white undcr-bodice and a full neck. Her 
sleeves were rolled up over the elbows, and her dimpled 
arms were bare and brown. There was a look of coquetry in 
her hazel eyes as they shot up their dark lustre under her 
lon<T lashes, and then droj)ped as quickly to her feet. She 
wore buckle shoes with the open clock tops. 

Thorkell's quick eyes glanced over her, and when the girl 
curtsied to his wife he fell back the few paces that he was in 
front of her. 

" Who is she .'' " he asked. 

Thorkell's wife replied that the girl was a net-maker from 
near Peeltown. 

" What's her name ? " 

Thorkell's wife answered that the girl's name was Mally 
Kerruish. 

" Who are her people .'' Has she any ? " 

Thorkell's wife explained that the girl had a mother only, 
who was poor and worked in the fields, and had come to 
Ballamona for help during the last hard winter. 

" Humph ! Doesn't look as if the daughter wanted for 
much. How does the girl come by her fine feathers if her 
mother lives on charity .'' " 

Thorkell's wizened face was twisted into grotesque lines. 
His wife's face saddened, and her voice dropped as she 
hinted in faltering accents that " scandal did say — say " 

" Well, woman, what does scandal say ? " asked Thorkell, 
and his voice had a curious lilt, and his mouth wore a strange 
smile. 

" It says — I'm afraid, Thorkell, the poor girl is no better 
than she ought to be." 

Thorkell snorted, and then laughed in his thi'oat like a 
frisky gelding. 

" I thought she looked like a lively young puffin," he said, 
and then trotted on in front, his head rolling between his 
shoulders and his eyes down. After going a few yards 
further he slackened speed again. 

" Lives near Peeltown, you say — a net-maker — Mally — is 
it Mally Kerruish ? " 

Thorkell's wife answered with a nod of the head, and then 
her husband faced about, and troubled her with no further 
conversation until he drew up at the church door, and said, 

8 



A MAN CHILD IS BORN 

"Quick, woman, quick, and mind you shut the pew door 
after you." 

But " God remembered Rachel and hearkened to her," 
and then, for the first time, the wife of Thoi-kell Mylrea 
began to show a cheerful countenance. Thorkell's own 
elevation of spirits was yet more noticeable. He had hereto- 
fore showed no discontent with the old homestead that had 
housed his people for six generations, but he now began to 
build another and much lai-ger house on the rising ground at 
the foot of Slieu Dhoo. His habits underwent some swift 
and various changes. He gave away no grey blankets that 
winter, the itinerant poor who were " on the houses " often 
went empty from his door, and — most appalling change of 
all — he promptly stopped his tithe. When the parson's cart 
drove up to Ballamona, Thorkell turned the horse's head, 
and gave the flank a sharp cut with his whip. The parson 
came in white wrath. 

"Let every pig dig for hei'self," said Thorkell. " I'll daub 
grease on the rump of your fat pig no more." 

Thorkell's new homestead rose rapidly, and when the 
walls were ready for the roof, the masons and carpenters 
went up to Ballamona for the customary feast of cowree and 
jough and binjean. 

" What ! Is it true, then, as the saying is," Thorkell 
exclaimed at the sight of them, " that when the sport is the 
merriest it is time to give up ? " 

They ate no cowree at Ballamona that night and they 
drank no jough. 

" We've been going to the goat's house for wool," grunted 
one of them as they trudged liome. 

" Aw, well, man, and what can you get of the cat but his 
skin .'' " growled another. 

Next day they put on the first timbers of the roof, and the 
following night a great storm swept over the island, and the 
roof timbers were torn away, not a spar or purlin being left 
in its place. Thorkell fumed at the storm and swore at the 
men, and when the Avind subsided he had the work done 
afresh. The old homestead of Ballamona was thatched, but 
the new one must be slated, and slates were quarried at and 
carted to Slieu Dhoo, and run on to the new roof A dead 
calm had prevailed during these operations, but it was the 
calm that lies in the heart of the storm, and the night after 

9 



THE DEEMSTER 

they were completed the other edge of the cyclone passed 
over the island, tearin.<i^ up the trees by their roots, and 
shaking the old BuUainona to its foundations. Thorkcll 
Mylrea slept not a wink, hut tramjied up and down his 
bedroom the long night through ; and next morning, at day- 
break, he drew the blind of his window, and peered through 
the haze of the dawn to where his new house stood on the 
breast of Slieu Dhoo. He could just desciy its blue walls — 
it was roofless. 

The people began to mutter beneath their breath. 

" Aw, man, it's a judgment," said one. 

" He has been middlin' hard on the widda and ftitherless, 
and it's like enough that there's Them aloft that knows it." 

"What's that they're saying ? " said one old crone, " what 
comes with the wind goes with the water." 

" Och, I knew his father — him and me were same as 
brothers — and a good ould man for all." 

"Well, and many a good cow has a bad calf," said the old 
woman. 

Thorkell went about like a cloud of thunder, and when 
he heard that the accidents to his new homestead were 
ascribed to supernatural agencies he flashed like forked 
lightning. 

" Where there are geese there s dirt, he said, " and where 
there are women there's talking. Am I to be frightened if 
an old woman sneezes } " 

But before Thorkell set to work again he paid his tithe. 
He paid it with a rick of discoloured oats that had been cut 
in the wet and threshed before it was dry. Thorkell had 
often wondered whether his cows would eat it. The next 
Sunday morning the parson paused before his sermon to 
complain that certain of his parishioners, whom he would not 
name at present, appeared to think that what was too bad for 
the pigs was good enough for the priests. Let the Church 
of God have no more of their pig-swill. Thorkell in his pew 
chuckled audibly and muttered something about paying for 
a dead horse. 

It was spring when the second roof was blown down, and 
the new house stood roofless until early summer. Then 
Thorkell sent four lean pigs across to the Rectory, and got 
his carpenters together and set them to work. The roofing 
proceeded without interruption. 

10 



A MAN CHILD IS BORN 

The primrose was not j^et gone, the swallow had not yet 
come, and the young grass under the feet of the oxen was 
still small and sweet when Thorkell's wife took to her 
bed. Then all Ballamona was astir. Hommy-beg, the deaf 
gardener of Ballamona, was sent in the hot haste of his best 
two miles an hour to the village, commonly known as the 
Street, to summon the midwife. This good woman was 
called Kerry Quayle ; she was a spinster of forty, and she 
was all but blind. 

" I'm thinking the woman-body is after going on the 
straw," said Hommy-beg, when he reached the Street, and 
this was the sum of the message that he delivered. 

"Then we'd better be off, as the saying is," remarked 
Kerry, who never accepted responsibility for any syllable 
she ever uttered. 

When they got to Ballamona, Thorkell Mylrea bustled 
Hommy-beg into the square springless car, and told him to 
drive to Andreas, and fetch the Archdeacon without an hour's 
delay. Hommy-beg set off at fine paces that carried him to 
the Archeaconry a matter of four miles an hour. 

Thorkell followed Kerry Quayle to the room above. When 
they stepped into the bedroom Thorkell drew the midwife 
aside to a table on which a large candle stood in a tall brass 
candlestick with gruesome gargoyles carved on the base and 
upper flange. From this table he picked up a small Testa- 
ment bound in shiny leather with silver clasps. 

" I'm as great a man as any in the island," said Thorkell, 
in his shrill whisper, " for laughing at the simpletons that 
talk about witches and boaganes and the like of that." 

" So you are, as the saying is," said Kerry. 

" I'd have the law on the lot of them, if I had my way," 
said Thorkell, still holding the book. 

"Aw, and shockin' powerful luck it would be, as the old 
body said, if all the witches and boaganes in the island could 
be run into the sea," said Kerry. 

" Pshaw ! I'm talking of the simpletons that believe in 
them," said Thorkell snappishly. " I'd clap them all in 
Castle Rushen." 

"Aw, yes, and clean law and clean justice, too, as the 
Irishman said." 

" So don't think I want the midwife to take her oath in 
my house," said Thoi'kell. 

11 



THE DEEMSTER 

" Och, no, of coorse not. You wouldn't bemean yourself, 
as they say." 

" But, then, you know what the saying is, Kerry, ' Custom 
must be indulged with custom, or custom will weep,' " and, 
saying this, Thorktill's voice took a most insinuating tone. 

"Aw, now, and I'm as good as here and there one at 
standing up for custom, as the saying is," said the midwife. 

The end of it all was that Kerry Quayle took there and 
then a solemn oath not to use sorcery or incantation of any 
kind in the time of travail, not to change the infant at the 
hour of its birth, not to leave it in the room for a week after- 
wards without spreading the tongs over its crib, and much 
else of the like solemn pur])ort. 

The dusk deepened, and the Archdeacon had not yet 
arrived. Night came on, and the room was dark, but Thor- 
kell would not allow a lamp to be brought in, or a fire to be 
lighted. Some time later, say six hours after Hommy-beg 
had set out on his six-mile journey, a lumbrous, jolting sound 
of heavy wheels came from the road below the Curragh, and 
soon afterwards the Archdeacon entered the room. 

" So dark," he said, on stumbling across the threshold. 

"Ah ! Archdeacon," said Thorkell, with the unaccustomed 
greeting of an outstretched hand, "the Church shall bring 
light to the chamber here," and Thorkell handed the tinder- 
box to the Archdeacon and led him to the side of the table 
on which the candle stood. 

In an instant the Archdeacon, laughing a little or pro- 
testing meekly against his clerical honours, was striking the 
flint, when Thorkell laid a hand on his arm. 

" Wait one moment ; of course you know how I despise 
superstition ? " 

" Ah ! of course, of course," said the Archdeacon. 

" But, then, you know the old saying. Archdeacon, ' Cus- 
tom must be indulged with custom,' you know it.''" And 
Thorkell's face shut up like a nutcracker. 

" So I must bless the candle. Eh, is that it } ' said the 
Archdeacon, with a low gurgle, and the next moment he was 
gabbling in a quick undertone through certain words that 
seemed to be all one word : — '0-Lord-Jesus-Christ-bless-Thou- 
this-creature - of- a - waxen - taper-that-on-what-place-soe ver-i t- 
be-lighted-or-set-the-devil-may-flee-from-that-habitation-and- 
no-more-disquiet-them-that-serve — Thee ! " 

12 



A MAN CHILD IS BORN 

After the penultimate word there was a short pause, and 
at the last word there was the sharp crack of the flint, and in 
an instant the candle was lighted. 

Then the Archdeacon turned towards the bed and ex- 
changed some words with his daughter. The bed was a 
mahogany four-post one, with legs like rocks, a hood like 
a pulpit sounding-board, and tapestry curtains like a muddy 
avalanche. The Archdeacon — he was a small man, with a 
face like a russet apple — leaned against one of the bed-posts, 
and said, in a tone of banter — 

" Why, Thorkell, and if you're for indulging custom, how 
comes it that you have not hung up your hat ? " 

" My hat — my hat ! " said Thorkell, in perplexity. 

" Aw, now," said the midwife, " the master's as great a man 
as any in the island at laughing at the men craythurs that 
hang up their hats over the straw to fright the boaganes, as 
the old woman said." 

Thorkell's laughter instantly burst forth to justify the 
midwife's statement. 

" Ha, ha ! Hang up my hat ! Well now, well now ! 
Drives away the black spirits from the birth-bed — isn't that 
what the dunces say } It's twenty years since I saw the like of 
it done, and I'd forgotten the old custom. Must look funny, 
very, the good man's hat perched up on the bed-post .'' What 
dy'e say. Archdeacon, shall we have it up .'' Just for the laugh, 
you know, ha, ha ! " 

In another moment Thorkell was gone from the room, and 
his titter could be heard from the stairs ; it ebbed away and 
presently flowed back again, and Thorkell was once more by 
the bedside, laughing immoderately, and perching his angular 
soft hat on the topmost knob of one of the posts at the foot 
of the bed. 

Then Thorkell and the Archdeacon went down to the 
little room that had once been Gilcrist's room, looking over 
the Curragh to the sea. 

Before daybreak next morning a man child was born to 
Thorkell Mylrea, and an heir to the five hundred acres of 
Ballamona. 



13 



THE DEEMSTER 
CHAPTER III 

THE CHRISTENING OF YOUNO EWAN 

In the dead waste of that night the old walls of Ballamona 
echoed to the noise of hurrying feet. Thorkell himself ran 
like a squirrel hither and thither, breaking out now and 
again into shrill peals of hysterical laughter ; while the women 
took the kettle to the room above, and employed themselves 
there in sundry mysterious ordinances on which no male 
busybody might intrude. Thoi-kell dived down into the 
kitchen, and rooted about in the meal casks for the oaten 
cake, and into the larder for the cheese, and into the cup- 
board for the bread-basket known as the "peck." 

Hommy-beg, who had not been permitted to go home that 
night, had coiled himself in the settle drawn up before the 
kitchen-fire, and was now snoring lustily. Thorkell roused 
him, and set him to break the oatcake and cheese into small 
pieces into the peck, and, when this was done, to scatter it 
broadcast on the staircase and landing, and on the garden- 
path immediately in front of the house, Avhile he himself 
carried a similar peck, piled up like a pyramid with similar 
pieces of oatcake and cheese, to the room whence there 
issued at intervals a thin, small voice, that was the sweetest 
music that had ever yet fallen on Thorkell's ear. 

What high commotion did the next day witness ! For the 
first time since that lurid day when old Ewan Mylrea was laid 
under the elder tree in the churchyard by the sea, Ballamona 
kept open house. The itinerant poor, who made the circuit 
of the houses, came again, and lifted the latch without 
knocking, and sat at the fire without being asked, and ate 
of the oatcake and the cheese. And upstairs, where a meek 
white face looked out with an unfamiliar smile from behind 
sheets that were hardly more white, the robustious states- 
people from twenty miles around sat down in their odorous 
atmosphere of rude health and high spirits, and noise and 
laughter, to dilnk their glass of new brewed jough, and to 
spread on their oaten bread a thick crust of the rum-butter 
that stood in the great blue china bowl on the little table near 
the bed-head. And Thorkell — how nimbly he hopped about, 

14 



THE CHRISTENING OF YOUNG EWAN 

and encouraged his visitors to drink, and rallied them if they 
ceased to eat ! 

" Come, man, come," he said a score of times, " shameful 
leaving is worse than shameful eating — eat, drink ! " 

And they ate, and they drank, and they laughed, and they 
sang, till the bedroom reeked with the fumes of a pot-house, 
and the confusion of tongues therein was worse than at the 
foot of Babel. 

Throughout three long jovial weeks the visitors came and 
went, and every day the " blithe bread " was piled in the 
peck for the poor of the earth, and scattered on the paths 
for the good spirits of the air. And when people jested 
upon this, and said that not since the old days of their 
grandfathers had the boaganes and the fairies been so civilly 
treated, Thorkell laughed noisily, and said what great fun it 
was that they should think he was superstitious, and that 
custom must be indulged with custom, or custom would weep ! 

Then came the christening, and to this ceremony the 
whole countrj' round was invited. Thorkell was now a man 
of consequence, and the neighbours high and low trooped 
in with presents for the young Christian. 

Kerry, the midwife, who was nurse as well, carried the 
child to church, and the tiny red burden lay cooing softly at 
her breast in a very hillock of white swaddlings. Thorkell 
walked behind, his little eyes twinkling under his bushy 
eyebrows ; and on his arm his wife leaned heavily after every 
feeble step, her white v.'axwork face bright with the smile of 
first motherhood. 

The Archdeacon met the company at the west porch, and 
they gathered for the baptism about the font in the aisle : 
half-blind Kerry with the infant, Thorkell and his young 
wife, the two godfathers, the Vicar-General and the Water 
Bailiff of Peeltown, and the godmother, the Water Bailiff's 
wife, and behind this circle a mixed throng of many sorts. 
After the gospel and the prayers, the Archdeacon, in his 
white surplice, took the infant into his hands and called on 
the godparents to name the child, and they answered Ewan. 
Then as the drops fell over the wee blinking eyes, and all 
voices were hushed in silence and awe, there came to the 
oj)en porch and looked into the dusky church a little fleecy 
land), all soft and white and beautiful. It lifted its innocent 
and dazed face where it stood in the morning sunshine, on 

ir> 



THE DEEMSTER 

the grass of the graves, and bleated and bleated, as if it had 
strayed from its mother and was lost. 

The Archdeacon paused with his drooj)ing finger half 
raised over the other innocent face at his breast, Thorkell's 
features twitched, and the tears ran down the white cheeks 
of his wife. 

In an instant the baby-lamb had hobbled away, and before 
the Archdeacon had restored the child to the arms of blind 
Kerry, or mumbled the last of the prayers, there came the 
hum of many voices from the distance. The noise came 
rapidly nearer, and as it approached it broke into a tumult 
of men's deep shouts and women's shrill cries. 

The iron hasp of the lych-gate to the churchyard was heard 
to chink, and at the same moment there was the sound of 
hurrying footsteps on the paved way. The company that 
had gathered about the font broke up abruptly, and made 
for tlie porch with looks of inquiry and amazement. There, 
at the head of a mixed throng of the riff-raff of the parish, 
bareheaded men, women with bold faces, and children with 
naked feet, a man held a young woman by the arm and 
pulled her towards the church. He was a stalwart fellow, 
stern of feature, iron grey, and he gripped the girl's bare 
brown arm like a vice. 

" Make way there ! Come, mistress, and no struggling," 
he shouted, and he tugged the girl after him, and then 
pushed her before him. 

She was young ; twenty at most. Her comely face was 
drawn hard with lines of pain ; her hazel eyes flashed with 
wrath ; and where her white sun-bonnet had fallen back 
from her head on to her shoulders, the knots of her dark 
hair, draggled and tangled in the scuffle, tumbled in masses 
over her neck and cheeks. 

It was Mally Kerruish, and the man who held her and 
forced her along was the parish sumner, the church constable. 

" Make way, I tell you ! " shouted the sumner to the 
throng that crowded upon him, and into the porch, and 
through the company that had come for the christening. 
When the Archdeacon stepped down from the side of the 
font, the sumner with his prisoner drew up on the instant, 
and the noisy crew stood and was silent. 

" I have brought her for her oath, your reverence," said 
the sumner, dropping his voice and his head together. 

16 



THE CHRISTENING OF YOUNG EWAN 

" Who accuses her ? " the Archdeacon asked. 

" Her old mother," said the sumner ; "here she is." 

From the middle of the throng behind him the sumner 
drew out an elderly woman with a hard and wizened face. 
Her head was bare, her eyes were quick and restless, her 
lips firm and long, her chin was broad and heavy. The 
woman elbowed her way forward ; but when she was brought 
face to face with the Archdeacon, and he asked her if she 
charged her daughter, she looked around before answering, 
and seeing her girl Mally standing there with her white face, 
under the fire of fifty pairs of eyes, all her resolution seemed 
to leave her. 

"It isn't natheral, I know," she said, "a mother speaking 
up agen her child," and with that her hard mouth softened, 
her quick eyes reddened and filled, and her hands went up 
to her face. "But nature goes down with a flood when 
you're looking to have another belly to fill, and not a shilling 
at you this fortnight." 

The girl stood without a word, and not one streak of 
colour came to her white cheeks as her mother spoke. 

" She denied it and denied it, and said no and no ; but 
leave it to a mother to know what way her girl's going." 

There was a low murmur among the people at the back 
and some whispermg. The girl's keen ear caught it, and 
she turned her head over her shoulder with a defiant glance. 

"Who is the man.''" said the Archdeacon, recalling her 
with a touch of his finger on her arm. 

She did not answer at first, and he repeated the question. 

" Who is the guilty man } " he said in a voice more stern. 

" It's not true. Let me go," said the girl in a quick 
undertone. 

" Who is the partner of your sin .'' " 

" It's not true, I say. Let me go, will you ? " and the girl 
struggled feebly in the sumner's grip. 

" Bring her to the altar," said the Archdeacon. He faced 
about and walked towards the communion and entered it. 
The company followed him and drew up outside the com- 
munion-rail. He took a Testament from the reading-desk 
and stepped towards the girl. There was a dead hush. 

" The Church provides a remedy for slander," he said in a 
cold, clear tone. " If you are not guilty, swear that you are 
innocent, and he who tampers with your good name mav 

17 B 



THE DEEMSTER 

beware." With that the Arclideacon held the Testament 
towards the girl. She made no show of taking it. He 
thrust it into her hand. At the touch of the book she gave 
a faint cry and stepped a pace backward, the Testament fall- 
ing open on to the form beneath. 

Then the murmur of the bystanders rose again. The girl 
heard it once more, and dropped on her knees and covei'ed 
her face, and cried in a tremulous voice that echoed over 
the church, " Let me go, let me go." 

The company that came for the christening had walked 
up the aisle. Blinking Kerry stood apart, hushing the infant 
in her arms ; it made a fretful whimper. Thorkell stood 
behind, pawing the paved path with a restless foot. His 
wife had made her way to the girl's side, her eyes over- 
flowing with compassion. 

"Take her to prison at the Peel," said the Archdeacon, 
" and keep her there until she confesses the name of her 
paramom*." At that Thorkell's wife dropped to her knees 
beside the kneeling girl, and putting one arm about her 
neck raised the other against the sumner, and cried, "No, 
no, no ; she will confess." 

There was a pause and a long hush. Mally let her hands 
fall from her face, and turned her eyes full on the eyes of 
the young mother at her side. In dead silence the two rose 
to their feet together. 

" Confess his name ; whoever he is, he does not deserve 
that you should suffer for him as well," said the wife of 
Thorkell Mylrea, and as she spoke she touched the girl's 
white forehead with her pale lips. 

"Y)o yoii ask that ? " said Mally with a strange quietness. 

For one swift instant the eyes of these women seemed to 
see into each other's heart. The face of Thorkell's wife 
became very pale ; she grew faint, and clutched the com- 
munion-rail as she staggered back. 

At the next instant Mally Kerruish was being hurried by 
the sumner down the aisle ; the noisy concourse that had 
come with them went away with them, and in a moment 
more the old church was empty save for the company that 
had gathered about the font. 

There was a great feast at Ballamona that day. The 
new house was finished, and the young Christian, Ewan 
Mylrea, of Ballamona, was the first to enter it ; for was it 

18 



THE CHRISTENING OF YOUNG EWAN 

not to be his liouse^ and his children's, and his children's 
children's ? 

Thorkell's wife did not join the revels, but in her new 
home she went back to her bed. The fatigue and excite- 
ment of the day had been too much for her. Thorkell him- 
self sat in his place and laughed noisily and drank much. 
Towards sunset the sumner came to say that the girl who 
had been taken to prison at the Peel had confessed, and 
was now at large. The Archdeacon got up and went out of 
the room. Thorkell called lustily on his guests to drink again, 
and one stupefied old crony clambered to his feet and de- 
manded silence for a toast. 

" To the father of the girl's by-blow," he shouted, when the 
glasses were charged ; and then the company laughed till 
the roof rang, and above all was the shrill laugh of Thorkell 
Mylrea. Presently the door opened again, and the Arch- 
deacon, with a long grave face, stood on the threshold and 
beckoned to Thorkell at the head of his table. Thorkell 
went out with him, and when they returned together a little 
later, and the master of Ballamona resumed his seat, he 
laughed yet more noisily than before, and drank yet more 
liquor. 

On the outside of Ballamona that night an old woman, 
hooded and caped, knocked at the door. The loud laughter 
and the ranting songs from within came out to her where 
she stood in the darkness, under the silent stars. When the 
door was opened by Hommy-beg the woman asked for Mylrea 
Ballamona. Hommy-beg repulsed her, and would have shut 
the door in her face. She called again, and again, and yet 
again, and at last, by reason of her importunity, Hommy-beg 
went in and told Thorkell, who got up and followed him out. 
The Archdeacon heard the message, and left the room at 
the same moment. 

Outside on the gravel path, the old woman stood with the 
light of the lamp that burned in the hall on her wizened 
face. It was Mrs. Kerruish, the mother of Mally. 

" It's fine times you're having of it. Master Mylrea," she 
said, " and you, too, your reverence ; but what about me and 
my poor girl .''" 

" It was yourself that did it, woman," said Thorkell ; and 
he tried to laugh, but under the stars his laugh fell short. 

" Me, you say .'' Me, was it for all .'' May the good God 

19 



THE DEEMSTER 

judge between us, Master Mylrea. D'ye know what it is 
that's liappened ? My poor girl's gone." 

" Gone ! " 

" Eh, gone — gone off — gone to liide her shameful face ; 
God help her." 

" Better luck," said Thorkell, and a short gurgle rattled in 
his dry throat. 

"Luck, you call it? Luck ! Take care, Ballamona." 

The Archdeacon interposed. " Come, no threats, my good 
woman," he said, and waved his hand in protestation. "The 
Church has done you justice in this matter." 

"Threats, your reverence.'' Justice.^ Is it justice to 
punish the woman and let the man go free ? What ! the 
woman to stand penance six Sabbaths by the church-door of 
six parishes, and the man to pay his dirty money, six pounds 
to you and three to me, and then no mortal to name his 
name ! " 

The old woman rummaged in the pocket at her side and 
pulled out a few coins. " Here, take them back ; I'm no 
Judas to buy my own girl. Here, I say, take them ! " 

Thorkell had thrust his hands in his pockets, and was 
making a great show of laughing boisterously. 

The old woman stood silent for a moment, and her pale 
face turned livid. Then by a sudden impulse she lifted her 
eyes and her two trembling arms. " God in Heaven," she 
said in a hoarse whisper, "let Thy wrath rest on this man's 
head ; make this house that he has built for himself and for 
his children a curse to him and them and theirs ; bring it 
to pass that no birth come to it but death come with it, 
and so on and on until Thou hast done justice between him 
and me." 

Thorkell's laughter stopped suddenly. As the woman 
spoke his face quivered, and his knees shook perceptibly 
under him. Then he took her by the arms and clutched her 
convulsively. " Woman, woman, what are you saying } " he 
cried in his shrill treble. She disengaged herself and went 
away into the night. 

For a moment Thorkell tramped the hall with nervous 
footsteps. The Archdeacon stood speechless. Then the 
sound of laughter and of song came from the room they 
had left, and Thorkell flung in on the merry-makers. 

" Go home, go home, every man of you ! Away with 

20 



THE DEEMSTER OF MAN 

you ! " he shouted hysterically, and then dropped like a log 
into a chair. 

One by one, with many wise shakes of many sapient heads, 
the tipsy revellers broke up and went off, leaving the master 
of Ballamona alone in that chamber, dense with dead smoke 
and noisome with the fumes of liquor. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE DEEMSTER OF MAN 

Twenty times that night Thorkell devised expedients to 
break the web of fate. At first his thoughts were of re- 
vengeful defiance. By fair means or foul the woman Kerruish 
should suffer. She should be turned out of house and home. 
She should tramp the roads as a mendicant. He Avould 
put his foot on her neck. Then they would see what her 
uncanny threats had come to. 

He tried this unction for his affrighted spirit, and put it 
aside as useless. No, no ; he v.ould conciliate the woman. 
He would settle an annuity of five pounds a year upon her ; 
he would give her the snug gate cottage of old Ballamona to 
live in ; his wife should send her warm blankets in winter, 
and sometimes a pound of tea, such as old folks love. Then 
must her imprecation fall impotent, and his own fate be 
undisturbed. 

Thorkell's bedroom in his new house on Slieu Dhoo looked 
over the Curraghs to the sea. As the day dawned he opened 
the window, and thrust out his head to drink of the cool 
morning air. The sun was rising over the land behind, a 
strong breeze was sweeping over the marshes from the shore, 
and the white curves of the breakers to the west reflected here 
and there the glow of the eastern sky. With the salt breath 
of the sea in his nostrils, it seemed to Thorkell a pitiful 
thing that a man should be a slave to a mere idea ; a thing 
for shame and humiliation that the sneezing of an old 
woman should disturb the peace of a strong man. Super- 
stition was the bugbear of the Manxman, but it would die 
of shame at its sheer absurdity, only that it was pampered 
by the law. Toleration for superstition ! Everj' man who 

21 



THE DEEMSTER 

betrayed faith in omens or portents, or charms or sjjells, or 
the power of the evil eye, sliould be instantly clapped in the 
Castle. It was but rifj^ht that a rabid dog should be muzzled. 

Thorkell shut the window, closed the shutters, threw off 
his clothes, and went back to bed. In the silence and the 
darkness, his thoughts took yet another turn. What mad- 
ness it was, what pertness and unbelief, to reject that faith 
in which the best and wisest of all ages had lived and died ! 
Had not omens and portents, and charms and spells, and 
the evil eye been believed in in all ages ? What midget of 
modern days should now arise with a superior smile and say, 
" Behold, this is folly : Saul of Israel and Saul of Tarsus, and 
Samuel and Solomon rose up and lay down in folly." 

Thorkell leapt out of bed, sweating from every pore. The 
old woman, Kerruish, should be pensioned ; she should live 
in the cosy cottage at the gates of Ballamona ; she should 
have blankets and tea and many a snug comfort ; her daughter 
should be brought back and married— yes, married — to some 
honest fellow. 

The lark was loud in the sky, the rooks were stindng in 
the lofty ash, the swallows pecking at the lattice, when sleep 
came at length to Thorkell's blood-shot eyes, and he stretched 
himself in a short and fitful slumber. He awoke with a start. 
The lusty rap of Hommy-beg was at the door of his room. 
There was no itinerant postman, and it was one of Hommy- 
beg's daily duties to go to the post-office. He had been 
there this morning, and was now returned with a letter for 
his master. 

Thorkell took the letter with nervous fingers. He had re- 
cognised the seal — it was the seal of the insular Government. 
The letter came from Castle Rushen. He broke the seal 

and read : — 

"Castle Rushen, June t,. 

" Sir, — I am instructed by his Excellency to beg you to 
come to Castletown without delay, and to report your arrival 
at the Castle to Madam Churchill, who will see you on behalf 
of the Duchess. 

" I have the honour to be, &c." 

The letter was signed by the Secretary to the Governor. 
What did it mean ? Thorkell could make nothing of it but 
that in some way it boded ill. In a bewildered state of semi- 

22 



THE DEEMSTER OF MAN 

consciousness he ordered tlvat a horse should be got ready 
aiad brought round to the front. Half an hour later he had 
risen from an untouched breakfast and was seated in the 
saddle. 

He rode past Tynwald Hill and through Foxdale to the 
south. Twenty times he drew up and half reined his horse 
in another direction. But he went on again. He could turn 
about at any time. He never turned about. At two o'clock 
that day he stood before the low gate of the Castle and 
pulled at the great clanging bell. 

He seemed to be expected, and was immediately led to a 
chamber on the north of the courtyard. The room was small 
and low ; it was dimly lighted by two lancet windows set 
deep into walls that seemed to be three yards thick. The 
floor was covered with a rush matting ; a harp stood near the 
fireplace. A lady rose as Thorkell entered. She was elderly, 
but her dress was youthful. Her waist was short ; her em- 
broidered skirt was very long ; she wore spangled shoes, and 
her hair was done into a knot on the top of her head. 

Thorkell stood before her with the mien of a culprit. She 
smiled and motioned him to a seat, and sat herself. 

" You have heard of the death of one of our two Deemsters ? " 
she asked. 

Thorkell's face whitened, and he bowed his head. 

" A successor must soon be appointed, and the Deemster 
is always a Manxman; he must know the language of the 
common people." 

Thorkell's face wore a bewildered expression. The lady's 
manner was very suave. 

"The appointment is the gift of the Lord of the island, 
and the Countess is asked to suggest a name." 

Thorkell's face lightened. He had regained all his com- 
posure. 

"The Countess has heard a good account of you, Mr. 
Mylrea. She is told that by your great industry and— wisdom 
— you have raised yourself in life — become rich, in fact." 

The lady's voice dropped to a tone of most insinuating 
suavity. 'Thorkell stammered some commonplace. 

"Hush, Mr. Mylrea, you shall not depreciate yourself. 
The Countess has heard that you are a man of enterprise — 
one who does not begrudge the penny that makes the 
pound." 

23 



THE DEEMSTER 

Thorkell saw it all. He was to be made Deemster, but he 
was to buy his appointment. The Countess had lost money 
of late, and the swashbuckler court she kept had lately seen 
some abridgment of its gaieties. 

" To be brief, Mr. Mylrca, the Countess has half an inten- 
tion of suggesting your name for the post, but before doing 
so she wished me to see in what way your feelings lie with 
regard to it." 

Thorkell's little eyes twinkled, and his lips took an upward 
curve. He placed one hand over his breast and bent his 
head. 

"My feelings, madam, lie in one way only — the way of 
gratitude," he said meekly. 

The lady's face broadened, and there was a pause. 

" It is a great distinction, Mr. Mylrea," said the lady, and 
she drew her breath inwards. 

" The greater my gratitude," said Thorkell. 

" And how far would you go to show this gi-atitude to the 
Countess } " 

"Any length, madam," said Thorkell, and he rose and 
bowed. 

"The Countess is at present at Bath " 

"I would go so far, and — farther, madam, ftirther," said 
Thorkell, and as he spoke he thrust his right hand deep into 
his pocket, and there — by what accident may not be said — it 
touched some coins that chinked. 

There was another pause, and then the lady rose and held 
out her hand, and said in a significant tone — 

" I think, sir, I may already venture to hail you as Deemster 
of Man." 

Thorkell cantered home in great elevation of soul. The 
milestones fell behind him one after one, and he did not 
feel the burden of the way. His head was in his breast; 
his body was bent over his saddle-bow ; again and again a 
trill of light laughter came from his lips. Where were his 
dreams now, his omens, his spells, and the power of the 
evil eye .'' He was judge of his island. He was master of 
his fate. 

Passing through St. John's, he covered the bleak top of 
the hill, and turned down towards the shady copse of Kirk 
Michael. Where the trees were thickest in the valley he 
drew rein by a low, long house that stood back to the road. 

24 



THE DEEMSTER OF MAN 

It was the residence of the Bishop of the island, but it was 
now empty. The bishopric had been vacant these five years, 
and luider the heavy rains from the hills and the strong 
winds from the sea the old house had fallen into decay. 

Thorkell sat in the saddle under the tall elms in the dim 
light, and his mind was busy with many thoughts. His 
memory went back with something akin to tenderness to 
the last days of old Ewan his father ; to his brother, Gilcrist, 
and then, by a sudden transition, to the incidents of that 
morning at Castle Rushen. How far in the past that morn- 
ing seemed to be ! 

The last rook had cawed out its low guttural note, and the 
last gleam of daylight died off between the thick boughs of 
the dark trees that pattered lightly overhead, as Thorkell 
set off afresh. 

When he arrived at Ballamona the night was dark. The 
Archdeacon was sitting with his daughter, who had not left 
her room that day. Thorkell, still booted and spurred, ran 
like a squirrel up the stairs and into the bedroom. In twenty 
hot words that were fired off like a cloud of small shot from 
a blunderbuss, Thorkell told what had occurred. His wife's 
white face showed no pleasure and betrayed no surprise. 
Her silence acted on Thorkell as a rebuke, and when her 
eyes rested on his face he turned his oAvn eyes aside. The 
Archdeacon was almost speechless, but his look of astonish- 
ment was eloquent, and when Thorkell left the room he 
followed him out. 

At supper the Archdeacon's manner was that of deep 
amity. 

" They are prompt to appoint a Deemster," he said. 
" Has it not struck you as strange that the bishopric has 
been vacant so long .'' " 

Thorkell laughed a little over his plate, and answered that 
it was strange. 

" Maybe it only needs that a name should be suggested," 
continued the Ai-chdeacon. "That is to say, suggested by 
a man of influence, a man of position — by the Deemster, for 
instance." 

"Just that," said Thorkell with a titter. 

Then there was an interchange of further amity. When 
the two men rose from the table the Archdeacon said, with 
a conscious smile, " Of course, if you should occur — if you 

25 



THE DEEMSTER 

should ever think — if, tliat is, the Deemster should ever 
suggest a name for the bishopi-ic — of course, he will re- 
member that — that blood, in short, is thicker than water — 
lafuill nil schir na uskfn/, as the Manxman says." 

" I will remember it," said Thorkell in a significant tone 
and with a faint chuckle. 

Satisfied with that day's work, with himself, and with the 
world, Thorkell then went ofi' to bed, and lay down in peace 
and content, and slept the sleep of the just. 

In due course Thorkell Mylrea became Deemster Balla- 
mona. 

He entered upon his duties after the briefest study of the 
Statute Laws. A Manx judge dispensed justice chiefly by 
the Breast Laws, the unwritten code locked in his own 
breast, and su})posed to be handed down from Deemster to 
Deemster. The popular superstition served Thorkell in 
good stead : there was none to challenge his knowledge of 
jurisprudence. 

As soon as he was settled in his office he began to make 
inquiries about his brother Gilcrist. He learned that after 
leaving Cambridge Gilcrist had taken deacon's orders, and 
had become tutor to the son of an English nobleman, and 
afterwards chaplain to the nobleman's household, Thorkell 
addressed him a letter and received a reply, and this was 
the first intercourse of the brothers since the death of old 
Ewan. Gilcrist had lately married ; he held a small living 
on one of the remote moors of Yorkshire : he loved his 
people and was beloved by them. Thorkell wrote again and 
again, and yet again, and his letters ran through every tone 
of remonstrance and entreaty. The end of it was that the 
Deemster paid yet another visit to the lady deputy at Castle 
Rush en, and the rumour passed over the island that the same 
potent influence that had made Thorkell a Deemster was 
about to make his brother the Bishop of Man. 

Then the Archdeacon came down in white wrath to Bal- 
lamona, and reminded his son-in-law of his many obligations, 
touched on benefits forgot, hinted at dark sayings and 
darker deeds, mentioned, with a significant accent, the girl 
Mally Kerruish, protested that from causes not to be named 
he had lost the esteem of his clergy and the reverence of his 
flock, and wound up with the touching assurance that on that 
very morning, as he rode from Andreas, he had overheard a 

26 



THE DEEMSTER OF MAN 

burly Manxman say to the tawny-headed fellow who walked 
with him — both of them the scabbiest sheep on the hills — 
" There goes the pazon that sold his daughter and bought 
her husband." 

Thorkell listened to the torrent of reproaches, and then 
said quietly, as he turned on his heel, " Near is my shirt, but 
nearer is my skin." 

The Deemster's wife held up her head no more. After 
the christening she rarely left her room. Her cheeks grew 
thinner, paler they could not grow, and her meek eyes lost 
their faint lustre. She spoke little, and her interest in life 
seemed to be all but gone. There was the same abject 
submission to her husband, but she saw less of him day by 
day. Only the sight of her babe, when Keriy brought it to 
be nursed, restored to her face the light of a fleeting joy. If 
it stayed too long at her breast, if it cried, if its winsome 
ways made her to laugh outright, the swift recoil of other 
feelings saddened her to melancholy, and she would put the 
child from her with a sigh. This went on for several months, 
and meantime the Deemster was too deeply immersed in 
secular affairs to make serious note of the shadow that hung 
over his house. " Goll xheesc ny Ihiargagh — she's going down 
the steep places," said Kerry. 

It was winter when Gilcrist Mylrea was appointed to reach 
the island, but he wrote that his wife's health was failing her, 
that it was not unlikely that she was to bear a child, and that 
he preferred to postpone his journey until the spring. Before 
the gorse bushes on the mountains had caught their new 
speai-s of green, and before the fishermen of Peeltown had 
gone down to the sea for their first mackerel, Thorkell's wife 
was lying in her last illness. She sent for her husband and 
bade him farewell. The Deemster saw no dangei', and he 
laughed at her meek adieu. She was soon to be the mother 
of another of his children — that was all. But she shook her 
head when he rallied her, and when he lifted the little creep- 
ing, cooing, babbling Ewan fi'om the floor to his mother's 
bed, and laughed and held up his long, lean, hairy finger 
before the baby face and asked the little one with a puff" how 
he would like a little sister, the white face on the pillow 
twitched and fell, and the meek eyes filled, and the shadow 
was over all. 

" Good-bye, Thorkell, and for baby's sake " 

27 



THE DEEMSTER 

Rut a shrill peal of Thorkell's laughter rang through the 
fhaniber, and at the next instajit he was gone from the room. 

That day the wife of the Deemster ])asscd beyond the 
sorrows of the life that had no joys. The angels of life and 
death had eome Avith linked hands to the new Ixmiestead of 
Ballamona^ and tlie young mother had died in giving birth 
to a girl. 

When the Deemster heard what had happened his loud 
scream rang through every room of the house. His soul was 
in ferment ; he seemed to be appalled and to be stricken not 
with sorrow^ but with fright and horror. 

"She's dead; why, she's dead, she's dead," he cried 
hysterically ; " why did not somebody tell me that she 
would die ? " 

The Deemster buried his wife by the side of old Ewan, 
under the elder tree that grew by the wall of the churchyai-d 
that stands over by the sea. He summoned no mourners, 
and few stood with him by the open grave. During the 
short funeral his horse was tied to the cross-timbers of the 
lych-gate, and while the earth was still falling in hollow thuds 
from the sexton's spade Thorkell got into the saddle and 
rode away. 

Before sunset he waited by the wooden landing jetty at 
Derby Haven. The old sea tub, the Ki?ig Orry, made the 
port that day, and disembarked her passengers. Among 
them was the new Bishop of Man, Gilcrist Mylrea. He 
looked much older for the six years he had been away. His 
tall figure stooped heavily ; his thick hair fell in wavelets on 
his shoulders, and was already sprinkled with grey ; his long 
cheeks were deeply lined. As he stepped from the boat on 
to the jetty he carried something very tenderly in his arms. 
He seemed to be alone. 

The brothers met with looks of constraint and bewilder- 
ment. 

" Where is your wife .'' " asked Thorkell. 

" She is gone," said Gilcrist. " I have nothing left of her 
but this," and he looked down at the burden at his breast. 

It was a baby boy. Thorkell's face whitened, and terror 
was in his eyes. 



28 



THE MANXMAN'S BISHOP 

CHAPTER y 

THE Manxman's bishop 

GiLCRisT Mylrea had been confirmed Bishop and consecra- 
ted in England, but he had to be installed in his cathedral 
church at Peeltown with all the honours of the insular decrees. 
The ceremony was not an imposing one. Few of the native 
population witnessed it. The Manxman did not love the 
Church with a love too fervent. " Pazon, pazon," he would 
say, " what can you expect from the like o' that .'' Never no 
duck wasn't hatched by a drake." 

It was no merit in the eyes of the people that the new 
Bishop was himself a Manxman. '*^Aw, man," they would 
say, " I knew his father," and knowledge of the father im- 
plied a limitation of the respect due to the son. " What's 
his family .'' " would be asked again and again across the 
hearth that scarcely knew its own family more intimately. 
" Maybe some of the first that's going," would be the answer, 
and then there would be a laugh. 

The Bishop was enthroned by Archdeacon Teare, who filled 
his function with what grace his chagrin would allow. Thor- 
kell watched his father-in-law keenly during the ceremony, 
and more than once his little eyes twinkled, and his lips were 
sucked inwards as if he rolled a delectable morsel on his 
tongue. Archdeacon Teare was conscious of the close fire of 
his son-in-law's gaze, and after the installation was done, and 
the clergy that constituted priests and congregation were 
breaking up, he approached the Deemster with a benevolent 
smile, and said, " Well, Thorkell, we've had some disagree- 
ments, but we'll all meet for })eace and harmony in heaven." 

The Deemster tittered audibly, and said, " I'm not so sure 
of that, though." 

" No ? " said the Archdeacon, with elevated eyebrows. 
" Why, why ? " 

"Because we read in the good Book that there will be no 
more tears, Archdeacon," said Thorkell, with a laugh like the 
whinny of a colt. 

The Bishop and his brother, the Deemster, got on their 
horses, and turned their heads towai'ds the episcopal palace. 

29 



THE DEEMSTER 

It was late when they drove under the tall elms of Bishop's 
Court. The old liouse was lit up for their reception. Half- 
blind Kerry Quayle had come over from Ballamona to nurse 
the Bishop's child, and to put him to bed in his new home. 
" Och, as sweet a baby-boy as any on the island, I'll go bail, as 
the old body said," said Kerry, and the Bishop patted her arm 
with a gentle familiarity. He went up to the little room where 
the child lay asleep, and stooped over the cot and touched 
with his lips the soft lips that breathed gently. The dignity 
of the Bishop as he stood four hours before under the roof of 
St. German's had sat less well on this silent man than the 
tenderness of the father by the side of his motherless child. 

Thorkell was in great spirits that night. Twenty times 
he drank to the health of the new Bishop ; twenty times he 
reminded him of his own gracious offices towards securing 
the bishopric to one of his own fiimily. Gilcrist smiled and 
responded in few words. He did not deceive himself; his 
eyes were open. He knew that Thorkell had not been so 
anxious to make him a Bishop as to prevent a place of honour 
and emolument from going to any one less near to himself 
than his own brother. " Near is my shirt," as Thorkell had 
told the Archdeacon, "but nearer is my skin." 

Next day the Bishop lost no time in settling to his work. 
His people watched him closely. He found his palace in a 
forlorn and dilapidated state, and the episcopal demesne, 
which was about a square mile of glebe, as fallow as the 
rough top of the mountains. The money value of this 
bishopric was rather less than £500 a year, but out of this 
income he set to work to fence and drain his lands, plant 
trees, and restore his house to comfort if not to stateliness. 
"I find my Patmos in ruins," he said, "and that will oblige 
me to interrupt my charity to the poor in some measure." 

He assumed none of the social dignity of a Bishop. He 
had no carriage and no horse for riding. When he made his 
pastoral visitations he went afoot. The journey to Douglas 
he called crossing the Pyrenees, and he likened his toilsome 
tramp across the heavy Curi'aghs from Bishop's Court to Kirk 
Andreas to the passing of a pilgrim across a desert. " To 
speak truth," he would say, " I have a title too large for my 
scant fortune to maintain." 

His first acts of episcopal authority did not conciliate either 
the populace or their superiors in station. He set his face 

30 



THE MANXMAN'S BISHOP 

against the contraband trade, and refused communion to 
those who followed it. " Och, terrible, wonderful hard on 
the poor man he is, with his laws agen honest trading, and 
his by-laws and his customs and his canons and the like o' 
that messing." 

It was soon made clear that the Bishop did not court popu- 
larity. He started a school in each of the parishes by the 
help of a lady, who settled a bounty, payable at the Bishop's 
pleasure, for the support of the teachers. The teachers were 
appointed by his vicais-general. One day a number of the 
men of his own parish, with Jabez Gawne, the sleek little 
tailor, and Matthias Taubman, the buirdly maltster, at their 
head, came up to Bishop's Court to complain of the school- 
master appointed to Kirk Michael. According to the mal- 
contents, the schoolmaster was unable to divide his syllables, 
and his home, which was the schoolhouse also, was too remote 
for the convenience of the children. " So we beseech your 
Lordship," said little Jabez, who was spokesman, '^to allow us 
a fit person to discharge the office, and with siihviission we will 
recoTtmiend one." The Bishop took in the situation at a glance; 
Jabez's last words had let the cat out of the bag, and it could 
not be said to be a Manx cat, for it had a most prodigious 
tail. Next day the Bishop went to the school, examined 
master and scholars, then called the petitioners together 
and said, " I find that James Quirk is qualified to teach an 
English school, and I cannot remove him ; but I am of your 
opinion that his house is in a remote part of the parish, and 
I shall expect the parishioners to build a new schoolhouse in a 
convenient place, near the church, within a I'easonable time, 
otherwise the bounty cannot be continued to them." The 
answer staggered the petitioners, but they were men with 
the saving grace of humour, and through the mouth of little 
Jabez, which twisted into curious lines, they forthwith sig- 
nified to his Lordship their earnest desire to meet his wish 
by building their schoolhouse within the churchyard. 

Though a zealous upholder of Church authority, the Bishop 
was known to temper justice with mercy. He had not been 
a month in the diocese when his sumner told him a painful 
story of hard penance. A young girl from near Peeltown 
had been presented for incontinence, and with the partner 
of her crime she had been ordered to stand six Sundays at 
the door of six churches. The man, who was rich, had com- 

31 



THE DEEMSTER 

pounded with the Archdeacon, paying six pounds for exemp- 
tion, and being thenceforward no more mentioned ; but the 
woman, being penniless and appalled at the disgrace before 
her, had fled from the island. The Archdeacon had learned 
her whereabouts in England, and had written to the minister 
of the place to acquaint him that she was under the Church's 
censure. The minister, on his part, had laid before her the 
terror of her position if she died out of communion with 
God's people. She resisted all appeals until her time came, 
and then, in her travail, the force of the idea had worked 
upon her, and she could resist it no more. When she rose 
from bed she returned voluntarily to the island, with the 
sign of her shame at her breast, to undergo the penance of 
her crime. She had stood three Sundays at the doors of 
three churches, but her health was feeble, and she could 
scarcely carry her child, so weak was she, and so long the dis- 
tances from her lodging in Peeltown. " Let her be pardoned 
the rest of her penance," said the Bishop. "The Church's 
censure was not passed on her to afflict her with overmuch 
shame or sorrow." 

It was not until years afterwards that the Bishop learned 
the full facts of the woman's case, and comprehended the 
terrible significance of her punishment. She was Mally 
Kerruish, 

The island was in the province of York, and bound by 
the English canons, but the Bishop made his own canons, 
and none were heard to demur. Some of his judgments 
were strange, but all leaned towards the weaker side. A 
man named Quayle the Gyke, a blusterous fellow, a thorn 
in the side of every official within a radius of miles, died 
after a long illness, leaving nothing to a legitimate son who 
had nursed him affectionately. This seemed to the Bishop 
to be contrary to natural piety, and in the exercise of his 
authority he appointed the son an executor with the others. 
Quayle the younger lived, as we shall see, to return evil for 
the Bishop's good. A rich man of bad repute, Thormod 
Mylechreest, died intestate, leaving an illegitimate son. 
The Bishop directed the ordinary to put aside a sum of 
money out of the estate for the maintenance and education 
of the child. But Thorkell came down in the name of the 
civil power, reversed the spiritual judgment, ordered that 
the whole belongings of the deceased should be confiscated 

32 



THE MANXMAN'S BISHOP 

to the Lord of the Isle, and left the base-begotten to 
charity. We shall also see that the bastard returned good 
for Thorkell's evil. 

The canons and customs of Bishop Myh-ea not only leaned 
— sometimes with too great indulgence — to the weaker side, 
but they supposed ftiith in the people by allowing a voluntary 
oath as evidence, and this made false swearing a terror. 
Except in the degree of superstition, he encouraged belief 
in all its forms. He trusted an oath implicitly, but no man 
ever heard him gainsay his yea or nay. 

A hoary old dog knoAvn as Billy the Gawk, who had never 
worked within living memory, who lived as they said " on the 
houses," and frequented the pot-house with more than the 
regularity of religious observance, was not long in finding out 
that Bishop's Court had awakened from its protracted sleep. 
The Bishop was abroad for his morning's ramble, and while 
leaning against the sunny side of a high turf hedge, looking 
vacantly out to sea, he heard footsteps on the road behind 
him, and then a dialogue, of which this is a brief summary : 

"Going up to the Coort, eh.^ Ah, well, it's plenty that's 
there to take the edge off your stomach ; plenty, plenty, and 
a rael welcome too." 

"Ah, it's not the stomach that's bothering me. It's the 
narves, boy, the narves, and a drop of the rael stuff is worth 
a Jew's eye for studdying a man after a night of it, as the 
saying is." 

"Aw, Billy, Billy, aw well, well, well." 

The conversation died off on the Bishop's ear in a loud 
roystering laugh and a low gurgle as undertone. 

Half-an-hour later Billy the Gawk stood before the Bishop 
inside the gates of Bishop's Court. The old dog's head hung 
low, his battered hat was over his eyes, and both his trembling 
hands leaned heavily on his thick blackthorn stick. 

" And how do you live, my man ? " asked the Bishop. 

" I'm getting a bite here, and a sup there, and I've had 
terrible little but a bit o' barley bread since yesterday morn- 
ing," said the Gawk. 

" Poor man, that's hard fare," said the Bishop ; " but mind 
you call here every day for the future." 

Billy got a measure of corn worth sixpence, and went 
straightway to the village, where he sold it at the pot-house 
for as much liquor as could have been bought for three-half- 

33 C 



THE DEEMSTER 

pence. And as Billy the Gawk drank his drop of the real 
stuff he laughed very loud, and boasted that he could outwit 
the Bishop. But the licjuor got into his head, and from 
laughing he went on to swearini;, and thence to fi<jhtinff, 
until the nnikeeper turned him out into the road, where, 
under the weight of his measure of corn taken in solution, 
Billy sank into a dead slumber. The Bishop chanced to 
take an evening walk that day, and he found his poor pen- 
sioner, who fared hard, lodged on a harder bed, and he had 
him picked up and carriecl into the house. Next morning, 
when Billy awoke and found where he Avas, and remembered 
what had occurred, an unaccustomed sensation took posses- 
sion of him, and he stole away unobserved. The hoary old 
dog was never seen again at Bishop's Court. 

But if Billy never came again, his kith and kin came 
frequently. It became a jest tliat the Bishop kept the 
beggars fi-om every house but his own, and that no one 
else could get a beggar. 

He had a book, which he called his " Matricula Pauperum," 
in which he entered the names of his pensioners, with notes 
of their circumstances. He knew all the bits of family history 
—when Jemmy Corkell's wife was down with lumbago, and 
when Robbie Quirk was to kill his little pig. 

Billy the Gawk was not alone in thinking that he could 
outwit the Bishop. When the Bishop wanted a new pair of 
boots or a new coat, the tailor or shoemaker came to Bishop's 
Court, and was kept there until his job of work was finished. 
The first winter after his arrival in his Patmos, he wanted a 
cloak, and sent for Jabez Gawne, the sleek little fox who had 
been spokesman for the conspirators against James Quirk, the 
schoolmaster. Jabez had cut out the cloak, and was pre- 
paring it for a truly gorgeous adornment when the Bishop 
ordered him to put merely a button and a loop on it to keep 
it together. Jabez thereupon dropped his cloth and held up 
his hands where he sat cross-legged on the kitchen dresser, 
and exclaimed with every accent of aggrieved surprise — 

" My Lord, what would become of the poor button-makers 
and their families if every one ordei'ed his tailor in that way ? " 

" How so, Jabez } " 

" Why, they would be starved outright." 

" Do you say so, Jabez } " 

"Yes, my Lord, I do." 

34 



THE MANXMAN'S BISHOP 

" Then button it all over, Jabez," said the Bishop. 

The Deemster was present at that interview, and went 
away from it tittering audibly. 

" Give to the raven and he'll come again/' he muttered. 

" I forgot that poor Jabez would have his buttons in his 
breeches pocket," said the Bishop. 

The Manxman had not yet made up his mind concerning 
the composite character of Bishop Mylrea — his dignity and his 
humility, his reserve and his simplicity — when a great event 
settled for the Manxman's heart the problem that had been 
too much for his head. This was no less a catastrophe than 
a general famine. It came upon the island in the second 
year of the Bishop's residence, and was the cause of many 
changes. One of the changes was that the Bishop came to 
be regarded by his people with the reverence of Israel for 
Samuel, and by his brother, the Deemster, with the distrust, 
envy, and, at length, mingled fear and hatred, of Saul for 
Israel's prophet. 

The land of the island had been held under a tenure of 
straw, known as the three lives tenure ; the third life was 
everywhere running out, and the farms were reverting to the 
Lord of the Isle. This disheartened the farmers, who lost all 
interest in agriculture, let their lands lie fallow, and turned 
to the only other industry in which they had an intei-est, the 
herring fishing. The herrings failed this season, and without 
fish, with empty barns, and a scant potato crop, caused by a 
long summer of drought, the people were reduced to poverty. 

Then the Bishop opened wider the gates of Bishop's Court, 
which since his coming had never been closed. Heaven 
seemed to have given him a special blessing. The drought 
had parched up the grass even of the damp Curragh, and left 
bleached on the whitening mould the poor, thin, dwarfed 
corn, that could never be reaped. But the glebe of Bishop's 
Court gave fair crops, and when the people cried in the grip 
of their necessity the Bishop sent round a pastoi'al letter to 
his clergy, saying that he had eight hundred bushels of wheat, 
barley, and oats more than his household required. Then 
there came from the north and the south, the east and the 
west, long straggling troops of buyers with little or no money 
to buy, and Bishop's Court was turned into a public market. 
The Bishop sold to those who had money at the price that 
corn fetched before the famine, and in his bam behind the 

35 



THE DEEMSTER 

house he kept a chest for those who came in at the back with 
nothing but sacks in their hands. Once a day he inspected 
the chest, and wlien it was low, which was frequently, he 
replenished it, and when it was hi<>h, which was rarely, he 
smiled, and said that God was turning away His displeasure 
from His people. 

The eight hundred bushels were at an end in a month, and 
still the famine continued. Then the Bishop bought eight 
hundred other bushels : wheat at ten shillings, barley at six 
shillings, and oats at four shillings, and sold them at half 
these prices. He gave orders that the bushel of the poor 
man was not to be stroked, but left in heaped-up measure. 

A second month went by ; the second eight hundred 
bushels were consumed, and the famine showed no abate- 
ment. The Bishop waited for vessels from Liverpool, but no 
vessels came. He was a poor pi-iest, with a great title, and 
he had little money ; but he wrote to England, asking for a 
thousand bushels of grain and five hundred kischen of potatoes, 
and promised to pay at six days after the next annual revenue. 
A week of weary waiting ensued, and every day the Bishop 
cheered the haggard folk that came to Bishop's Court with 
accounts of the provisions that were coming ; and every day 
they went up on to the head of the hill, and strained their 
bleared eyes seaward for the sails of an English ship. When 
patience was worn to despair, the old King Ornj brought 
the Bishop a letter saying that the drought had been general, 
that the famine was felt throughout the kingdom, and that an 
embargo had been put on all food to forbid traders to send it 
from English shores. Then the voice of the hungry multi- 
tudes went up in one deep cry of pain. " The hunger is on 
us," they moaned. " Poor once, poor for ever," they muttered ; 
and the voice of the Bishop was silent. 

Just at that moment a further disaster threatened the 
people. Their cattle, which they could not sell, they had 
grazed on the mountains, and the milk of the cows had been 
the chief food of the children, and the wool of the sheep the 
only clothing of the old men. With parched meadows and 
Curraghs, where the turf was so dry that it would take fire 
from the sun, the broad tops of the furze-covered hills were 
the sole resource of the poor. At daybreak the shepherd 
with his six ewe lambs and one goat, and the day-labourer 
with his cow, would troop up to where the grass looked 

36 



THE MANXMAN'S BISHOP 

greenest, and at dusk they would come down to shelter, with 
weary limbs and heavy hearts. " What's it sayin'," they 
would mutter, " a green hill when far from me ; bare, bare, 
when it is near." 

At this crisis it began to be whispered that the Deemster 
had made an offer to the Lord to rent the whole stretch 
of mountain land from Ramsey to Peeltown. The rumour 
created consternation, and was not at first believed. But 
one day the Deemster, with the Governor of the Grand 
Enquest, drove to the glen at Sulby and went up the hill- 
side. Not long after, a light cart was seen to follow the 
high road to the glen beyond Ballaugh and then turn up 
towards the mountains by the cart track. The people who 
were grazing their cattle on the hills came down and gathered 
with the people of the valleys at the foot, and there were 
dark faces and firm-set lips among them, and hot words and 
deep oaths were heard. " Let's off to the Bishop," said one, 
and they went to Bishop's Court. Half-an-hour later the 
Bishop came from Bishop's Court at the head of a draggled 
company of men, and his face was white and hard. They over- 
took the cart halfway up the side of the mountain, and the 
Bishop called on the driver to stop, and asked what he carried, 
and where he was going. The man answei*ed that he had 
provisions for the Governor, the Deemster, and the Grand 
Enquest, who were surveying the tops of the mountains. 

The Bishop looked round, and his lijj was set, and his 
nostrils quivered. " Can any man lend me a knife } " he 
asked with a strained quietness. 

A huge knife was handed to him, such as shepherds carried 
in the long legs of their boots. He stepped to the cart and 
ripped up the harness, which was rope harness ; the shafts 
fell and the horse was free. Then the Bishop turned to the 
driver and said very quietly — 

" Where do you live, my man .'' " 

"At Sulby, my Lord," said the man, trembling with 
fear. 

" \o\i shall have leather harness to-morrow." 

Then the Bishop went on, his soiled and draggled com- 
pany following him, the cart lying helpless in the cart track 
behind them. 

When they got to the top of the mountain they could see 
the Governor and the Deemster and their associates stretch- 

37 



THE DEEMSTER 

ing the chain in the purple distance. The Bishop made in 
their direction, and when he came up with them he said — 

"Gentlemen, no food will reach you on the mountains 
to-day ; the harness of your cart has been cut, and cart and 
provisions are lyinsf on the hill-side." 

At this Thorkell turned white with wrath, and clenched 
his fists and stamped his foot on the turf, and looked pierc- 
ingly into the faces of the Bishop's followers. 

"As sui'e as I'm Deemster," he said with an oath, "the 
man who has done this shall suffer. Don't let him deceive 
himself — no one, not even the Bishop himself, shall step in 
between that man and the punishment of the law." 

The Bishop listened with calmness, and then said, "Thorkell, 
the Bishop will not intercede for him. Punish him if you can." 

"And so by God I will," cried the Deemster, and his eye 
traversed the men behind his brother. 

The Bishop then took a step forward. " / am that man," 
he said, and then there was a great silence. 

Thorkell's face flinched, his head fell between his shoulders, 
his manner grew dogged, he said not a word, his braggadocio 
was gone. 

The Bishop approached the Governor. " You have no more 
right to rent these mountains than to rent yonder sea," he 
said, and he stretched his arm towards the broad blue line to 
the west. " They belong to God and to the poor. Let me warn 
you, sir, that as sure as you set up one stone to enclose these 
true God's acres, I shall be the first to pull that stone down." 

The Grand Enquest broke up in confusion, and the moun- 
tains were saved to the people. 

It blew hard on the hill -top that day, and the next 
morning the news spread through the island that a ship laden 
with barley had put in from bad weather at Douglas Harbour. 
"And a terrible wonderful sight of com, plenty for all, 
plenty, plenty," was the word that went round. In three 
hours' time hundreds of men and women trooped down to 
the quay with money to buy. To all comers the master 
shook his head, and refused to sell. 

" Sell, man — sell, sell," they cried. 

"I can't sell. The cargo is not mine. I'm a poor man 
myself," said the mastei*. 

" Well, and what's that it's sayin', ' When one poor man 
helps another poor man, God laughs.' " 

38 



THE MANXMAN'S BISHOP 

The Bishop came to the ship's side, and tried to treat for 
the cargo. 

" I've given bond to land it all at Whitehaven," said the 
master. 

Then the people's faces grew black, and deep oaths rose to 
their hps, and they turned and looked into each other's eyes 
in their impotent rage. "The hunger is on us — we can't 
starve— let every herring hang by its own gill — let's board 
her," they muttered among themselves. 

And the Bishop heard their threats. " My people," he said, 
" what will become of this poor island unless God averts His 
awful judgments, only God Himself can know ; but this good 
man has given his bond, and let us not bring on our heads 
God's further displeasure." 

There was a murmur of discontent, and then one long sigh 
of patient endurance, and then the Bishop lifted his hands, 
and down on their knees on the quay the people with famished 
faces fell around the tall, drooping figure of the man of God, 
and from parched throats, and hearts well nigh as dry, sent 
up a great ciy to heaven to grant them succour lest they 
should die. 

About a week afterwards, another ship put in by contrary 
winds at Castletown. It had a cargo of Welsh oats bound to 
Dumfries, on the order of the Provost. The contrary winds 
continued, and the corn began to heat and spoil. The hungry 
populace, enraged by famine, called on the master to sell. He 
was powerless. Then the Bishop walked over his " Pyrenees," 
and saw that the food for which his people hungered was 
perishing before their eyes. When the master said " No " to 
him, as to others, he remembered how in old time David, being 
an hungered, did that which was not lawful in eating of the 
shewbread ; and straightway he went up to Castle Rushen, got 
a company of musketeers, retui-ned with them to the ship's 
side, boarded the ship, put the master and crew in irons, and 
took possession of the corn. 

What wild joy among the people ! What shouts were heard; 
what tears rolled down the stony cheeks of stern men ! 

" Patience ! " cried the Bishop. " Bring the market weights 
and scales." 

The scales and weights were brought down to the quay, 
and eveiy bushel of the cargo was exactly weighed, and paid 
for at the prime price according to the master's I'eport. Then 

39 



THE DEEMSTER 

the master and crew were liberated, and the Bishop paid the 
ship's fi-einjht out of liis own purse. When he passed through 
the market-place on his way back to the Bishop's Court the 
people followed with eyes that were almost too dim to see, 
and they blessed him in cheers that were sobs. 

And then God remembered His people, and their troubles 
passed away. With the opening spring the mackerel nets 
came back to the boats in shining silver masses, and peace 
and plenty came again to the hearth of the poorest. 

The Manxman knew his Bishop now ; he knew him for 
the strongest soid in the dark hour, the serenest saint in the 
hour of light and peace. That hoary old dog, Billy the Gawk, 
took his knife and scratched " B.M.," and the year of the Lord 
on the inside of his cupboard door, to record the advent of 
Bishop Mylrea. 

A mason from Ireland, a Catholic named Patrick Looney, 
was that day at work building the square tower of the church 
of the market-place, and when he saw the Bishop pass under 
him he went down on his knees on the scaffold and dropped 
his head for the good man's blessing. 

A little girl of seven with sunny eyes and yellow hair stood 
by at that moment, and for love of the child's happy face the 
Bishop touched her head and said, " God bless you, my sweet 
child." 

The little one lifted her innocent eyes to his eyes, and 
answered with a curtsey, "And God bless you, too, sir." 

" Thank you, child, thank you," said the Bishop. " I do 
not doubt that your blessing Avill be as good as mine." 

Such was Gilcrist Mylrea, Bishop of Man. He needed all 
his strength and all his tenderness for the trials that were 
to come. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE COSY NEST AT BISHOP's COURT 

The children of the Deemster and Bishop spent the first five 
years as one little brood in the cosy nest at Bishop's Court. 
The arrangement was agreeable to both brothers while it lasted. 
It left Ballamona a silent place, but the master recked little of 
that. The Deemster kept no company, or next to none. He 

40 



THE COSY NEST AT BISHOP'S COURT 

dismissed all his domestics except one^ and Hommy-beg, who 
had been gardener hitherto, became groom as well. The new 
Ballamona began to gather a musty odour, and the old Balla- 
mona took the moss on its wall and the lichen on its roof. 
The Deemster rose early and went late to bed. Much of the 
day was spent in the saddle passing from town to town of his 
northern circuit ; for he held a court twice weekly at Ramsey and 
Peeltown. Towards nightfall he was usually back at his house, 
sitting alone by the fireplace, M'h ether, as in the long nights 
of winter, a peat fire burned there, or, as in the summer even- 
ings, the hearth was empty. Hardly a sound broke the dead 
quiet of the solitaiy place, save when some litigious farmer 
who had caught his neighbour in the act of trespass brought 
him there and then for judgment to the Deemster's house by 
that most summary kind of summons — the force of superior 
muscles. On such occasions the plaintiff and defendant, with 
their noisy witnesses, Avould troop into the hall with the yaps 
and snaps of a pack of dogs, and Thorkell would twist in his 
chair and fine one of them, or pei'haps both, and pocket their 
money, and then drive them all away dissatisfied, to settle their 
dispute by other means in the darkness of the road outside. 

Meantime Bishop's Court was musical with children's voices, 
and with the patter of tiny feet that ferreted out every nook 
and cranny of the old place. There was Ewan, the Deemster's 
son, a slight, sensitive boy, who listened to you with his head 
aslant, and with absent looks. There was wee Mona, Ewan's 
meek sister, with the big eyes and the quiet ways, who liked 
to be fondled, and would cry sometimes when no one knew 
why. And then there was Daniel — Danny — Dan, the Bishop's 
boy, a braw little rogue, with a slice of the man in him, as 
broad as he was long, with tousled fair head and face usually 
smudged, laughing a good deal and not crying over much, 
loving a good tug or a delightful bit of a fight, and always 
feeling high disdain at being kissed. And the Bishop, God 
bless him ! was father and mother both to the motherless 
brood, though Kerry Quayle was kept as nurse. He would 
tell a story, or perhaps sing one, while Mona sat on his knee 
with her pretty head resting on his breast, and Ewan held on 
to his chair with his shy head hanging on his own shoulder, 
and his eyes looking out at the window, listening intently in 
his queer little absent way. And when Dan, in lordly con- 
tempt of such doings, would break in on song or story, and 

41 



THE DEEMSTER 

teai* his way up the back of the chair to the back of the 
Bishop, Mona would be set on her feet, and the biggest baby 
of the four there present would slide down on to his hands 
and knees and creep along the floor with the great little man 
astride him, and whinny like a horse, or perhaps bark like a 
dog, and pretend to leap the four-bar gate of the baby's chair 
tumbled down on its side. And when Dan would slide from 
his saddle, and the restless horseman would turn coachman 
and tug the mane of his steed, and all the Bishop's long hair 
would tumble over his face, what shrieks of laughter, what 
rolling on the ground and tossing up of bare legs ! And then 
when supper-time came, and the porridge would be brought in, 
and little Mona would begin to whimper, because she had to 
eat it, and Ewan to fret because it was barley porridge and not 
oaten cake, and Dan to devour his shai'e with silent industry, 
and then bellow for more than was good for him, what schemes 
the good Bishop resorted to, what promises he made, what 
crafty tricks he learned, what an artful old pate his simple 
head suddenly became ! And, then, when Kerry came with 
the tub and the towels, and three little naked bodies had to 
be bathed, and the Bishop stole away to his unfinished sermon, 
and little Mona's wet hands clung to Kerry's dress, and Ewan, 
standing bolt upright in the three inches of water, blubbered 
while he rubbed the sponge over an inch and a half of one 
cheek, and Dan sat on his haunches in the bottom of the tub 
splashing the water on every side and shrieking at every 
splash ; then the fearful commotion would bring the Bishop 
back from the dusky room upstairs, where the shaded lamp 
burned on a table that was littered with papers. And at last, 
when the day's big battle was done, and night's bigger battle 
began, and three night-dresses were popped over three wary 
heads that dodged them when they could, the Bishop would 
carry three sleepless, squealing piggies to bed — Mona at his 
breast because she was little, Ewan on his back because he 
was big, and Dan across his shoulders because he could not get 
to any loftier pei'ch. Presently there would be three little 
pairs of knees by the crib-side, and then three little flaxen 
polls on the pillow, tumbling and tossing, and with the great 
dark head of the Bishop shaking gravely at them from over 
the counterpane, and then a hush broken by a question lisped 
drowsily, or a baby rhyme that ran a line or two and stopped, 
and at length the long, deep quiet and the silence of sleep, 

42 



THE COSY NEST AT BISHOP'S COURT 

and the Bishop going off on tiptoe to the dusky room with 
the shaded lamp, and to-morrow's sermon lying half-written 
beneath it. 

And so five tearing, romping years went by, and though they 
were the years of the famine and the pestilence, and of many 
another dark cloud that hung blackest over Bishop's Court, a 
world of happiness was crowded into them. Then when Ewan 
was six years old, and Danny and Mona were five, and the boys 
were buttoning their own corduroys, the Deemster came over 
from Ballamona and broke up the little nest of humming-birds. 

" Gilcrist," said Thorkell, " you are ruining the children, 
and I must take my own away from you." 

The Bishop's grave face grew suddenly white, and when 
after a pause he said, " No, no, Thorkell, you don't mean that," 
there was a tremor in his deep voice. 

" I do mean it," said the Deemster. " Let a father treat 
his children as the world will treat them when they have 
nothing but the world for their father — that's my maxim, 
and I'll act up to it with my own." 

"That's hard treatment, Thorkell," said the Bishop, and 
his eyes began to fill. 

" Spare the rod, spoil the child," said Thorkell. 

" Maybe you're right," said the Bishop in a quavering 
voice, and he could say no more. 

But the Deemster was as good as his word. Ewan and 
Mona were removed to Ballamona. There they had no nurse, 
and shifted a good deal for themselves. They ate oaten cake 
and barley porridge three times a day, and that was to build 
up their bone and brain ; they were bathed in cold water 
summer and wintei", and that was to make them hardy ; they 
wore frocks with low necks, and that was to strengthen their 
lungs ; they went to bed without a light and fell asleep while 
trembling in each other's arms, and that was to make them 
brave and prevent them from becoming superstitious. 

If the spirit and health of the Uttle ones did not sink under 
their Spartan training, it was because Nature was stronger than 
custom, and because God is very good to the bruised hearts of 
children. They did not laugh too loud when the Deemster 
was near, and they were never seen to pull his vest, or to tug 
him by his hair, or to ride across his back, which was never 
known to stoop low for their little legs to mount. The house 
was not much noisier, or dirtier, or less orderly for their 

43 



THE DEEMSTER 

presence ; they did not fill it with their voices, or tumble it 
out of its propriety with their busy fingers, as with Cousin 
Danny's powerful assistance they had filled and tumbled 
Bishop's Court, until every room in the comfortable old place 
seemed to say to you with a wink and a nod, " A child lives 
here ; this is his own home, and he is master of the whole 
house." But when they stole away to their own little room 
at the back, where no fire burned lest they should grow 
" nesh," not all the masks that were ever made to make life 
look like a sorry tragedy could have hidden the joy that was 
always waiting to break out on their little faces. There they 
would romp and laugh and crow and sing, and Ewan would 
play at preaching with the back of a chair for a pulpit, and 
his pinafore for surplice, and Mona of the big eyes sitting on 
the floor below for choir and congregation. And if in the 
middle of their play it happened that all at once they re- 
membered Danny, then Ewan's head would fall aside, and his 
look in an instant be far away, and Mona's lower lip would 
hang suddenly, and the sunshine would straightway die out 
of her laughing face. 

When the Bishop lost the Deemster's children he found a 
great void in his heart ; but little Danny troubled his big head 
not at all about the change that had taken place. He laughed 
just as loud, and never cried at all, and when he awoke in the 
morning and his cousins were not there, their place forthwith 
knew them no more. In a vague way he missed his playmates, 
but that only meant that the Bishop had to be his playmate 
even more than before, and the Bishop was nothing loath. 
Away they ran through the copse together, these boon com- 
panions, and if the Bishop hid behind a tree, of course Danny 
found him ; and if it was Danny that hid, of course the Bishop 
searched high and low, and never once heard the merry titter 
that came from beliind the gorse bush that was arm's length 
away, until, with a burst of laughter, Danny leapt out on him 
like an avalanche. They talked one jargon, too, for Danny's 
industrious tongue could not say its w, and it made an s of its /! 
"How many 'heels has your cart got, carter.?" "Sour." "Very 
srosty to-day, master." "Well, then, come in to the sire." 

In a strange and unconscious way the Bishop developed a 
sort of physical affinity Avith this sworn ally. When no sound 
seemed to break the silence he could hear the little man's cry 
shrough three stout stone walls and up two flights of stairs. If 

44 



THE COSY NEST AT BISHOP'S COURT 

the child fell and hurt himself half a mile from the house, the 
Bishop at home felt as if he had himself dropped on a sharp 
stone and cut his knee. If he clambered to the top of a 
high Avail that was out of sight, the Bishop in his study felt 
dizzy. 

But extraordinaiy as was this affinity of the Bishop and his 
boy, the intercourse that subsisted between Danny and his 
nurse was yet more marvellous. The Bishop had merely a pre- 
science of disaster threatening his darling ; but Kerry seemed, 
by an exercise of some nameless faculty, to know the child's 
whereabouts at any moment of day or night. Half-blind at 
the time of the birth of little Ewan, Kerry Quayle had grown 
stone-blind since, and this extraordinary power was in truth 
her second sight. It was confined to Danny, her nursling, but 
over his movements it was an absolute gift. 

" Och," she cried, leaping up from the spinning-wheel, " the 
wee craythur's into the chapel, as the sayin' is." 

" Impossible ! " the Bishop answered ; " I've only this 
moment locked the door." 

But Kerry and the Bishop went to the chapel to search for 
him, and found the fugitive, who had clambered in through an 
open window, lighting the candle at the reading-desk, after 
washing his black hands in the font. 

" Aw, now," said Kerry, lifting up her hands and her blind 
face in horror, " what's that it's saying, ' The little hemlock is 
sister to the big hemlock ; ' " which was as much as to say that 
the small sin was akin to the great sin, and that little Danny, 
who had been caught in an act of sacrilege, would one day be 
guilty of worse. 

" Nonsense, woman, nonsense ; a child is but a child," said 
the Bishop, leading the delinquent away. 

That day— it was Thursday of Whitsun week — Convocation 
was to be held at Bishop's Court, and the clergy had already 
begun to gather in the librar}^ that looked west towards the 
sea. To keep Danny out of further mischief the Bishop led 
him to his OAvn room, and there he poured water into a bowl 
and proceeded to bathe his eyes, which had latterly shown 
signs of weakness. To do this he had need to remove his 
spectacles, and he set them down on the table by his hand. 
Danny watched these proceedings with a roguish look, and 
when the Bishop's face was in the bowl he whipped up the 
spectacles and pushed them down his neck between his frock 

45 



THE DEEMSTER 

and his breast. With a whirr and a pufF the Bishop shook the 
water from his face and dried it, and when the lash comb had 
tossed back his long hair he stretched his hand out for his 
spectacles, lie could not feel them, and when he looked he 
could not see tliem, and then he called on Danny to search 
for them, and straightway the rogue was on hands and knees 
hunting in every })ossible and impossible place. But Danny 
could not find tliem, not he. Convocation was waiting for its 
chief, but the sjjcctacles could not be found, and the Bishop, 
for all bookish services, was blinder than a bat without them. 
High and low, up and down, on every table, under every paper, 
into every pocket, and still no spectacles. At length the Bishop 
paused and looked steadily into the eyes of the little man 
sitting on his haunches and tittering audibly. 

" Where are tlie glasses .'' " 

Danny laughed very loud. 

" Where are my glasses, Danny veg ? " 

Danny veg laughed still louder. 

There was nothing to be made of an answer like that, so 
down on his knees went the Bishop again to see if the rogue 
had hidden the spectacles beneath the hearthrug, or under 
the seat of the settle, or inside the shaving-pot on the hearth. 
And all the time Danny, with his hands clasped under his 
haunches, hopped about the room like a frog with great 
starry eyes, and crowed and laughed till his face grew scarlet 
and the tears trickled down his cheeks. 

Blind Kerry came to say that the gentlemen wanted to 
know when the Bishop would be with them, as the saying 
was ; and two minutes afterwards the Bishop strode into the 
library through a line of his clergy, who rose as he entered, 
and bowed to him in silence when his tall figure bent slightly 
to each of them in turn. 

" Your pardon, gentlemen, for this delay," he said gravely ; 
and then he settled himself at the head of the table. 

Hardly had the clergy taken their seats when the door of 
the room was dashed open with a lordly bang, and into the 
muggy room, made darker still by twenty long black coats, 
thei-e shot a gleam of laughing sunshine — Danny himself, at 
a hop, skip, and a jump, with a pair of spectacles perched 
insecurely on the sliding bridge of his diminutive nose. 

The Archdeacon was there that day, and when the intruder 
had been evicted by blind Kerry, who came in hot pursuit of 

46 



THE COSY NEST AT BISHOP'S COURT 

him, he shook his head and looked as solemn and as wise as 
his little russet face Avould admit, and said — 

" Ah, my Lord, you'll kill that child with kindness. May 
you never heap up for yourself a bad harvest ! " 

The Bishop made no answer, but breathed on the restored 
spectacles, and rubbed them with his red silk handkerchief. 

" I hold with the maxim of my son-in-law the Deemster," 
the Archdeacon continued : '' Let a child be dealt with in his 
father's house as the world hereafter will deal with him." 

" Nay, nay, but more gently," said the Bishop. " If he is 
a good man, ten to one the world will whip him — let him 
remember his father's house as a place of love." 

"Ah, my Lord," said the Arclideacon, "but what of the 
injunction against the neglect of tlie rod ? " 

The Bishop bent his head and did not answer. 

Once in a way during these early years the Bishop took 
Dannj^ across to Ballamona, and then the two little exiles in 
their father's house, banished from the place of love, would 
rush into the Bishop's arms, Mona at his chin, Ewan with 
hands clasped about his leg and flaxen head against the great 
seals that hung from his fob- pocket. But as for Danny and 
his cousins, and the cousins and Danny, they usually stood 
awhile and inspected each other with that solemnity and aloof- 
ness which is one of the phenomena of child manners, and 
then, when the reserve of the three hard little faces had been 
softened by a smile, they would forthwith rush at each other 
with mighty clenched fists and pitch into one another for five 
minutes together, amid a chorus of squeals. In this form of 
salutation Danny was never known to fail, and as he was too 
much of a man to limit his greeting to Ewan, he always pitched 
into Mona with the same masculine impartiality. 

But the time came again when the salutation was unneces- 
sary, for they were sent to school together, and they saw each 
other daily. There was only one school to which they could 
be sent, and that Avas the parish school, the same that was 
taught by James Quirk, who " could not divide his syllables," 
according to the account of Jabez Gawne, the tailor. 

The parishioners had built their new schoolhouse near the 
church, and it lay about midway between Bishop's Court and 
Ballamona. It was also about half-way down the road that 
led to the sea, and that was a proximity of never-ending de- 
light. After school on the long summer evenings, the scholars 

47 



THE DEEMSTER 

would troop down to the shore in one tumultuous company, the 
son of the Bishop with the son of the cobbler, the Deemster's 
little girl with the big girl of Jabe/, who sent his child on 
charity. Ragged and well clad, clean and dirty, and the 
biggest lad " rigging " the smallest, and not caring a ha'porth 
if his name was the name of the Deemster or the name of 
Billy the Gawk. Hand in hand, Danny and Ewan, with Mona 
between, would skip and caper along the sands down to where 
the red rocks of the Head jutted out into the sea and bounded 
the universe ; Mona prattling and singing, shaking out her 
wavy hair to the wind, dragging Danny aside to look at a sea- 
weed, and pulling Ewan to look at a shell, tripping down to 
the water's edge, until the big bearded waves touched her 
boots, and then back once more with a half-frightened, half- 
affected, laughter-loaded scream. Then the boys would strip 
and bathe, and Mona, being only a woman, would mind the 
men's clothes, or they would shout all together at the gulls, and 
Danny would mock Mother Carey's chickens and catch the 
doleful cry of the cormorant, and pelt with pebbles the long- 
necked bird as it sat on the rocks ; or he would clamber up 
over the slippery seaweed, across the sharp slate ribs to where 
the sea pinks gi*ew in the corries and the sea duck laid her 
eggs, and sing out from some dizzy height to where Ewan held 
his breath below and Mona stood crying and trembling on 
the sands. 

What times for Danny ! how the lad seemed to swell and 
grow every day of life ! Before he was ten he had outgrown 
Ewan by half an inch, and gone through a stand-up fight with 
every ruffian under twelve. Then down among the fishermen 
on the beach, what sport ! Knocking about among the boats, 
pulling at the oars like mad, or tugging at the sheets, baling out 
and pushing off, and riding away over the white breakers and 
shouting for pure devilment above the plash of the water. 

" Aw, man, it's all for the happy the lad feels inside," said 
Billy Quilleash. 

Danny and Billy Quilleash were sworn chums, and the little 
sand-boy learned all the old salt's racy sayings, and went home 
to Bishop's Court and fired them off at his father. 

" There's a storm coming," the Bishop said one day, looking 
up at the scudding clouds. " Ay, ay," said Danny, with his 
small eye askew, " the long cat's tail was going off at a slant 
awhile ago, and now the round thick skate yonder is hanging 

48 



THE COSY NEST AT BISHOP'S COURT 

mortal low." "The wind is rising," the Bishop said on an- 
other occasion. " Ay, Davy's putting on the coppers for the 
parson," said the young heretic. 

School, too, was only another playground to Damiy, a little 
less tumultuous but no less delightful than the shore. The 
schoolmaster had grown very deaf since the days when the 
Bishop pronounced him qualified to teach an English school. 
This deafness he did his best to conceal, for he had a lively re- 
collection of the dissatisfaction of the parishioners, and he had 
a natural unwillingness to lose his bread and butter. But his 
scholars were not easily hoodwinked, and Danny, the daring 
young dog, would play on the master's infirmity. " Spell me 
the word arithmetic," the schoolmaster might ask when the 
boys were ranged about his desk in class. And Danny would 
answer with a face of tragic solemnity, " Twice one are two, 
twice two are four." " Veiy good," the schoolmaster would 
reply. " And now, sir, repeat me your multiplication table — 
twice times." And then, while the master held his head aside, 
as if m the act of intent listening, and the other boys twisted 
their faces to hide their grins or sniggered openly, Danny, 
still with the face of a judge, would repeat a paraphrase of 
the familiar little hymn, "Jemmy was a Welshman, Jemmy 

was a thief. Jemmy " " Don't speak so fast, sir ; say your 

figures more plainly," the schoolmaster would interrupt. And 
Darmy would begm again with a more explicit enunciation, 

"Jemmy Quirk was a Welshman, Jemmy " Then the 

sniggers and the snorts would rise to a tumult. And down 
would come the master's cane on the desk. " SUence, boys, 
and let the boy say his table. Some of you big lads might 
take example by him, and be none the worse. Go on, Daniel 
— you are quite right so far — twice five are ten, twice six " 

There was one lad in the school who could not see the 
humour of the situation, a slim, quiet boy, only a little older 
than Danny, but a long way ahead of him in learning, and 
one evening this solemn youngster hung behind when school 
was breaking up, and blurted out the mischief to the school- 
master. He did not get the reception he expected, for in 
dire wrath at the imputation that he was deaf, Mr. Quirk 
birched the informant soundly. Nor did the reward of his 
treachery end with birching. It did not take half-an-hour 
for the report of both birching and treachery to ti'avel by 
that swiftest of telephones, the schoolboy tongue, through 

49 D 



THE DEEMSTER 

that widest of kingdoms, the world of school, and the same 
evening, while Mona, on her way home, was gathering the 
blue-bells that grew on the lea of the yellow-tipped goi'se, 
and Ewan was chasing the humming-bee through the hot 
air that Avas thick with midges, Danny, with a face as white 
as a haddock, was striding alone by a long circuit across the 
moor, to where a cottage stood by the path across the Head. 
There he bounded in at the porch, caught a boy by the coat, 
dragged him into the road, pummelled him with silent vigour, 
while the lad bellowed and struggled to escape. 

In another instant, an old woman hobbled out of the cottage 
on a stick, and with that weapon she made for Danny, and 
gave him sundry hard raps on the back and head. 

" Och, the craythur," she cried, " get off with ye — ^the 
damon — extraordiiiai'y — would the Lord think it now — it's in 
the breed of ye — get off, or I'll bi*eak every bone in your skin." 

Danny paid as little heed to the old woman's blows as to 
her threats, and was up with his fist for the twentieth time 
to come down on the craven traitor who bellowed in his grip, 
when all at once a horse's feet were tramping about their 
limbs where they struggled in the road, and a stern voice 
from over their heads shouted, " Stop, stop, or must I bring 
the whip across your flanks ? " 

It was the Deemster. Danny fell aside on the right of 
the horse, and the old woman and the boy on the left. 

" What does this mean ? " asked the Deemster, turning to 
his nephew ; but Danny stood there panting, his eyes like 
fire, his fists clenched, his knuckles standing out like ribs of 
steel, and he made no answer. 

" Who is this blubbering coward .'' " asked the Deemster, 
pointing with a contemptuous gesture to the boy half hidden 
by the old woman's dress. 

" Coward, is it .'' " said the woman. " Coward, you say .-* " 

" Who is the brat, Mrs. Kerruish ? " said the Deemster 
sharply. 

At that Mrs. Kerruish, for it was she, pulled the boy from 
behind her, plucked off his hat, ran her wrinkled hand over 
his forehead to his hair, and held up his face and said — 

" Look at him. Deemster ; look at him. You don't come 
this way often, but look at him while you'i*e here. Did you 
ever see his picture before .'' Never ? Never see a face like 
that .'' No ? Not when you look in the glass. Deemster ? " 

50 



DANNY, THE MADCAP 

" Get into the house, woman," said the Deemster, in a low, 
thick tone, and, so saying, he put the spurs to his horse. 

" As for this young demon here," said the old woman, 
pushing the boy back and pointing with her stick at Danny, 
"he'll have his heel on your neck yet. Deemster — and re- 
member the word I'm saying." 



CHAPTER VII 

DANNY, THE MADCAP 

Now Danny was a great favourite with the Deemster, and 
nothing that he could do was amiss. The spice of mischief 
in the lad made him the darling of the Deemster's heart. 
His own son disappointed the Deemster. He seemed to have 
no joy in him. Ewan was quiet, and his father thought him 
a milksop. There was more than one sense in which the 
Deemster was an indifferent judge of his species, but he found 
no difficulty in comprehending the idiosyncrasy of his brother's 
son. Over the pathetic story of Danny's maddest prank or 
the last mournful account of his daring devilry, the Deemster 
would chuckle and shake, and roll his head between his 
shoulders, then give the boy a slap on his hindmost part, 
accompanied by a lusty name, and finally rummage for some- 
thing in his pocket, and smuggle that something into the 
young rascal's palm. 

Danny would be about fifteen years of age — a lump of a 
lad, and therefore out of the leading-strings of his nurse, 
Kerry Quayle — when he concocted a most audacious scheme, 
whereof Kerry was the chief subject and victim. This had 
nothing less for its aim and object than to get Kerry married 
to Hommy-beg — the blind woman to the deaf man. Now 
Hommy was a gaunt, raw-boned man, dressed in a rough blue 
jacket and a short grey petticoat. His full and proper name 
was now quite lost. He was known as Hommy-beg, some- 
times as Hommy-beg-Bill, a name which at once embodied 
a playful allusion to his great physique, and a certain genea- 
logical record in showing that he was little Tom, the son of 
Bill. Though scarcely short of stone deaf, he was musical. 
He played two instruments, the fiddle and the voice. The 

51 



THE DEEMSTER 

former squeaked like a rasp, and the latter thundered like 
a fog-horn. Away to Ballamona Master Danny went, and 
found Honniiy-beg thinning a bed of peonies. 

"Aw, man, the terrible fond she is of the like o' that 
swate flower," said the young rogue, who spoke the home- 
spun to the life. " Aw, dear, the way she smells at them 
when you bring them up for the Bishop ! " 

" What, ould Kerry ? Smelling, is it ? And never a whiflF 
of a smell at the breed o' them ! " 

" Och no, it's not the flowers, it's the man, the man, 
Hommy." 

"That'll do, that'll do. And blind, too ! Well, well." 

" But the swate temper that's at her, Hommy ! And the 
coaxing and coaxing of her ! And, man alive, the fond she 
is of you ! AJine sort of a man anyways, and A rael good voice 
at him. Aw, extraordinaiy, extraordinary." 

" D'ye raely inane it ? " 

" Mane it .'' Aw, well, well, and who but you doesn't 
know it, Hommy ? " 

" Astonishing, astonishing ! " 

" Come up to the Coort and take a cup o' tay with her." 

Hommy-beg scratched his head. " Is it raely true, Danny 
veg } " 

" I'll lave it with you, Hommy," said Danny, and straight- 
way the young rascal went back to Bishop's Court, lighted 
upon blind Kerry, and entered upon a glowing description 
of the personal charms of Hommy-beg. 

" Aw, the good-looking he is, astonishing ! My gough ! 
You should see him in his Sunday hat, or maybe with a frill 
on his shirt, and smiling, and all to that ! Terrible dacent 
sort is Hommy-beg ! " 

" What, the loblolly-boy in the petticoat .'' " 

" Aw, but the tender-hearted he is for all, and, bless me, 
Kerry, woman, the swate he is on you ! " 

"What, the ould red-head that comes singing, as the 
saying is ? " 

"Aw, no, woman, but as black as the raven, and the way 
he looks sorrowful like when he comes beside of you. You 
wouldn't believe it ! And, bless me, the rael bad he is to 
come up to the Coort and take a cup of tay with you, and 
the like o' that." 

" Do you raely mane it, Danny, my chree .'' " 

52 



DANNY, THE MADCAP 

The veiy next day Hommy-beg arrived at the kitchen 
door of Bishop's Court in his Sunday hat, in the shirt with 
the frill to it, and with a peony as big as a March cabbage 
in his fist. The end of it all was that Kerry and Hommy- 
beg were forthwith asked in church. Wild as the freak was 
that made the deaf man and the blind woman man and wife, 
their marriage was none the less happy for their infirmities. 

The Deemster heard of the plot on his way to church on 
Smiday morning, and he laughed in his throat all through the 
service, and when the first of the askings was solemnly pro- 
claimed from the reading-desk, he tittered audibly in his 
pew. " Danny was tired of the woman's second sight — found 
it inconvenient, very — wanted to be rid of her — good ! " he 
chuckled. But not long afterwards he enjoyed a jest that 
was yet more to his taste ; for his own prime butt of ridicule, 
the Church itself, was then the victim. 

It was an old Manx custom that on Christmas Eve the church 
should be given up to the people for the singing of their native 
carols or carvals. The curious service was known as Oiel 
Verree (the eve of Mary), and at every such service for the 
last twenty years Hommy-beg, the gardener, and Mr. James 
Quirk, the schoolmaster, had officiated as singers in the strange 
Manx ritual. Great had hitherto been the rivalry between 
these musical celebrities, but word had gone round the town 
that at length their efforts were to be combined in a carol 
which they were to sing together. Dan had effected this 
extraordinary combination of talent by a plot which was 
expected to add largely to the amusement of the listeners. 

Hommy-beg could not read a syllable, yet he never would 
sing his carol without having the printed copy of it in his hand. 
Of course, Mr. Quirk, the schoolmaster, could read, but, as we 
have seen, he resembled Hommy-beg in being almost stone- 
deaf Each could hear himself sing, but neither could hear 
another. 

And now for the plot. Master Dan called on the gardener 
at his cottage on the Brew on the morning of the day before 
Christmas day, and " Hommy," said he, "it's morthal strange 
the way a man of your common sense can't see that you'd 
wallop that squeaking ould Jemmy Quirk in a jiffy if you'd only 
consent to sing a ballad along of him. Bless me, man alive, 
it's then they'd be seeing what a weak, ould ci-acked pot of a 
voice is at him." 

53 



THE DEEMSTER 

Hommy-beg's face began to Avear a smile of benevolent 
condescension. Observing his advantage, the young rascal 
continued, " Do it at the Oiel Verree to-night, Hommy. 
He'll sing his treble, and you'll sing seconds to him." 

It was an unlucky remark. The gardener frowned austerely. 
" Me sing seconds to the craythur ? No ; never ! " 

Dan explained to Hommy-beg, with a woi'ld of abject apolo- 
gies, that there was a sense in Avhich seconds meant firsts, and 
at length the gardener was mollified, and consented to the 
proposal ; but one idea was firmly rooted in his mind — namely, 
that if he was to sing a carol with the schoolmaster, he must 
take the best of care to sing his loudest, in order to drown at 
once the voice of his rival, and the bare notion that it was he 
who was singing seconds to such a poor creature as that. 

Then Master Danny trotted off to the schoolhouse, where he 
was now no longer a scholar, and consequently enjoyed an old 
boy's privilege of approaching the master on equal terms, and 
" Jemmy," he said, "it's morthal strange the way a man of your 
common sense can't see that you'd wallop that squeaking old 
Hommy-beg in a jiffy if you'd only consent to sing a ballad 
along of him. Do it at the Oiel Verree to-night. Jemmy, and 
bless me ! that's the time they'll be seeing what a weak, ould 
ci'ackpot of a voice is at the craythur." 

The schoolmaster fell even an easier prey to the plot than 
the gardener had been. A carol was selected ; it was to be 
the ancient Manx carol on the bad women mentioned in the 
Bible as having (from Eve downward) brought evil on mankind. 

Now, Hommy-beg kept his carols pinned against the walls 
of his cottage. The " Bad Women " was the carol which was 
pinned above the mantelpiece just under the pendulum of the 
clock with the facetious face. It resembled the other prints 
in being worn, crumpled, and dirty ; but Hommy-beg knew 
it by its position, and he could distinguish every other carol 
by its place on his walls. 

Danny had somehow got a "skute" into this literary mystery, 
and after arranging Avith the schoolmaster the carol that was to 
be sung, he watched Hommy-beg out of his cottage, and then 
went into it under pretence of a friendly call upon blind Kerry. 
Before he left the cottage he had taken down the carol that 
had been pinned above the mantelpiece and fixed up another 
in place of it from the opposite side of the room. The substi- 
tuted carol happened, oddly enough, to be a second copy of the 

54 



DANNY, THE MADCAP 

carol on " Bad Women," witli this radical difference : the copy 
taken from under the clock was the version of the carol in 
English, and the copy put up was the version in Manx. 
Towards ten o'clock that night the church bells began to 
ring, and Hommy-beg looked at the clock, took the carol from 
under the pendulum, put on his best petticoat, and went off 
to church. 

Now, there were to be seasonable rejoicings at the Court 
on the morrow, and Kerry had gone over to help at the Christ- 
mas preparations. Ewan and Mona had always spent their 
Christmas at Bishop's Court since the day when they left it as 
children. That night they had arrived as usual, and after 
they had spent some liours with Danny in dressing the house 
in a green and red garment of hibbin and hollin, the Bishop 
had turned them off to bed. Danny's bedroom was the little 
crib over the library, and Ewan's was the room over that. All 
three bade the Bishop good-night and went into their rooms. 
But Danny did not go to bed ; he listened until he heard the 
Bishop in the libi-ary twisting his chair and stirring the peats, 
and then he whipped off his boots and crept upstairs to Ewan's 
room. Thei'e in bated breath he told of the great sport that 
was to come off at the Oiel Verree, announced his intention 
of going, and urged Ewan to go with him. They could just 
jump through the little window of his room and light on the 
soft grass by the library wall, and get in again by the same 
easy means. No one would know that they had been out, 
and what high jinks they must have ! But no, Ewan was not 
to be persuaded, and Danny set off alone. 

Hommy-beg did not reach the church until the parson's 
sermon was almost over. Prayers had been said in a thin 
congregation, but no sooner were they done tlian crowds of 
young men and maidens trooped down the aisles. The young 
women went up into the gallery, and from that elevation 
they shot down at their bachelor friends large handfuls of 
peas. To what ancient spirit of usage, beyond the ancient 
spirit of mischief, the strange practice was due, we must be 
content to leave, as a solemn problem, to the learned and 
curious antiquaries. Nearly everybody carried a candle, and 
the candles of the young women were adorned with a red 
ribbon or rosette. 

In passing out of the church the parson came face to face 
with Hommy-beg, who was pushing his way up the aisle. 

55 



THE DEEMSTER 

The expression on his face was not at the moment one of 
pecuhar grace, and he stopped tlie gardener and said sharply 
in his car, "Mind you see tliat all is done in decency and 
order, and that you close my church before midnight," 

"Aw, but tlie church is the people's, I'm thinkin'," said 
Hommy-beg, with a shake of his tousled head, 

"The people arc as ignorant as goats," said the parson 
angrily, 

" Aw, well, and you're their shepherd, so just make sheeps 
of them," said lloinmy-beg, and he puslied on. 

Damiy was there by this tiiTie, and, with a face of mighty 
solemnity, he sat on the right of Hommy-beg, and held a 
candle in his left hand. When everything was understood 
to be ready, and Will-as-Thorn, the clei'k, had taken his 
station inside tlie communion rail, the business of the Oiel 
Verree began. First one man got up and sang a carol in 
English ; then another sang a Manx carol. But the great 
event of the night was to be the carol sung by the sworn 
enemies and rivals, Hommy-beg and Mr. James Quirk. 

At last the time came for these worthies. They rose from 
opposite sides of the church, eyed each other with severe 
looks, stepped out of their pews and walked down the aisle 
to the door of the porch. Then they turned about in silence, 
and, standing side by side, faced the communion. 

The tittering in the gallery and whispering in the body 
were audible to all except the persons who wei'e the cause 
of both. "Hush, hush, man alive, that's him, that's him." 
" Bless me, look at Hommy-beg and the petticut, and the 
handkercher pinnin' round his throat." "Aw, dear, it's what 
he's used of" "A regular Punch and Judy." 

Danny was exerting himself at that moment to keep order 
and silence. " Hush, man, let them make a start for all." 

The carol the rivals were about to sing contained some 
thirty verses. It was an ancient usage that after each verse 
the carol singers should take a long stride toAvards the com- 
munion. By the time the carol of "Bad Women" came to 
an end the carol-singers must, therefore, be at the opposite 
end of the church. 

There was now a sublime scorn printed on the features 
of Mr. Quirk, As for Hommy-beg, he looked, at this last 
instant, like a man who was rather sorry than otherwise for 
his rash adversary, 

56 



DANNY, THE MADCAP 

" The rermantic they're looking," whispered a girl in the 
gallery to the giggling companion beside her. 

Expectation was at its highest when Hommy-heg thrust 
his hand into his pocket and brought out the printed copy 
of the carol. Hommy unfolded it, glanced at it with the air 
of a conductor taking a final look at his score, nodded his 
head at it as if in approval, and then, with a magnaniinous 
gesture, held it between himself and Mr. Quirk. The school- 
master in turn glanced at it, glanced again, glanced a third 
time at the paper, and up into the face of Hommy-beg. 

Anxiety was now on tiptoe. " Hush, d'ye hear, hush," 
whispered Danny from his pew ; " hush, man, or it's spoiling 
it all you'll be, for sure." 

At the moment when Mr. Quirk glanced into the face of 
Hommy-beg there was a smile on that coimtenance. Mr. 
Quirk mistook that smile. He imagined he saw a trick. 
The schoolmaster could read, and he perceived that the carol 
which the gardener held out to him was not the carol for 
which he had been told by Master Danny to prepare. They 
were, by arrangement, to have sung the English version of 
"Bad Women." This was the Manx version, and though 
the metre was the same, it was always sung to a diiferent 
tune. Ah ! Mr. Quirk understood it all! The monster wanted 
to show that he, James Quirk, schoolmaster, could only sing 
one carol ; but, as sure as his name was Jemmy, he would be 
equal with him ! He could sing this Manx version, and he 
would. It was now Mr. Quirk's turn to smile. 

"Aw, look at them — the two of them — grinnin' together 
like a pair of old gurgoils on the steeple ! " 

At a motion of the gardener's hand, intended to beat the 
time, the singers began. Hommy-beg sang the cai'ol agreed 
upon — the English version of " Bad Women." Mr. Quirk sang 
the carol they held in their hands — the Manx version of "Bad 
Women." Neither heard the other, and to dispel the bare 
notion that either was singing seconds, each bawled at the ut- 
most reach of his lung power. To one tune Hommy-beg sang — 

"Thus from the days of Adam 
Her mischief you may trace." 

And to another Mr. Quirk sang — 

" She ish va'n voir ain ooilley 
Son v'ee da Adam ben." 

57 



THE DEEMSTER 

Such laug-hter ! How the young women in the gallery lay 
back in their seats with hysterical shrieks ! How the young 
fellows in the body made the sacred edifice ring with guffaws ! 
But the singers, with eyes steadfastly fixed on the papei*, 
heard nothing but each his own voice. 

Three verses had been sung, and three strides made towards 
the communion, when suddenly the laughter and shouting of 
the people ceased. All eyes had turned towards the porch. 
There the Bishop stood, with blank amazement printed on his 
face, his head bare, and one hand on the half-opeiied door. 

If a s])ectre had appeared the consternation had scai'cely 
been greater. Danny had been rolling in his pew with un- 
constrained laughter, but at the sight of the Bishop his candle 
fell from his hand and sputtered on the book rail. The Bishop 
turned about, and before the people had recovered from their 
surprise he was gone. At the next moment everybody got up 
without a word and left the church. In two minutes more 
not a soul remained except Hommy-beg and Mr. Jemmy 
Quirk, who, with eyes riveted on the printed cai'ol in their 
hands, still sang lustily, oblivious of the fact that they had 
no audience. 

When Danny left the church that night it was through the 
lancet window of the vestry. Dropping on the turf at the 
north-east of the church, he leapt the wall that divided the 
churchyard from the meadow on the north, and struck upon 
a path that went round to Bishop's Court by way of the cliff 
head. The path was a long one, but it was lonesome, and its 
lonesomeness was no small merit in Danny's view that night. 
The Bishop must return to the Court by the highway through 
the village, and the Bishop must be in front of him. 

The night was dark and dumb, and, laden with salt scent, 
the dank vapour floated up from the sea. Danny walked 
quickly. The deep boom of the waters rolling on the sand 
below came up to him through the dense air. Late as was the 
hour, he could hear the little sand-piper screaming at Orris 
Head. The sea-swallow shot over him too, with its low mourn- 
ful cry. Save for these sounds, and the quick beat of his own 
feet, all was still around him. 

Beneath his stubborn bit of scepticism Danny was super- 
stitious. He was full to the throat of fairy lore and stories of 
witchcraft. He had learned both from old Billy Quilleash 
and his mates as they sat barking their nets on the shore. 

58 



DANNY, THE MADCAP 

And that night the ghostly memories would avise^do what he 
might to keep them down. To banish them Danny began 
to whistle, and, failing to enliven himself much by that exer- 
cise, he began to sing. His selection of a song was not the 
happiest under the circumstances. It was the doleful ballad 
of " Myle Charaine." Danny sang it in Manx, but here is a 
stave of it in English — 

" Ob, Mjle Charaine, where got you your gold ? 
Lone, lone, you have left me here ; 
Oh, not in the Curragh, deep under the mould — 
Lone, lone, and void of cheer." 

He had come up to Bishop's Court on the sea front, and 
there the Bishop's library stood out from the body of the old 
house, between the chapel poi'ch and the kitchen offices. A 
light was in the library, and passing over the soft grass with 
the soft flight of a lapwing, Danny peered in at the curtainless 
window. The familiar room was empty. On the hearth a 
turf fire burned without flame, and bathed the book-encased 
walls in a rosy red. The Bishop's easy chair, in its white cover- 
ing, stood at one side of the ingle, his slippers in front of it; 
and beside it, on the little three-legged mahogany table, were 
the ink-horn and the long quill, and the Bishop's four-cornered 
librar}' cap. The door stood ajar, and the two candles in the 
two brass brackets at each side of the fire-place were tipped by 
their extinguishers. 

The Bishop had not returned ; but the faint smile of triumph 
which at that thought rested like a ray of pale sunshine on 
Danny's face suddenly vanished. In a lad's vague way Danny 
now realised that it had not been merely because the night 
was dark and the road lonely that he had whistled and sung. 
He hung his head where he stood in the night, and as if by an 
involuntary movement he lifted his cap and fumbled it. 

At the next instant Danny was clambering up the angle of 
the wall to the lead flat that covered the projecting part of the 
library. From this lead flat there opened the Avindow of his 
own bedroom, and in a moment he was striding through it. 
All was darkness within, but he needed no light to see his way 
in that room. He knew every crib and corner ; the place 
where he kept his fishing Imes, the nail from which his moth 
net hung, the bottle on the drawers in which he had his 
minnows, and the can with the lid well down that contained 

59 



THE DEEMSTER 

the newts that were the terror of all the women in the house. 
If Danny had been as blind as old Kerry he could have found 
everything his room had in it, except, perhajis, his breeches, 
or his shirt, or his other coat, or that cap that was always 
getting itself lost, and of course no sight and no light would 
help a lad to find things like these. 

Hardly had Danny taken a step into his room before he 
realised that some one had been there since he left it. Derry, 
his white-eyed collie, who had been lying on the bed, drop})ed 
on the floor, and frisked about him. " Down, Derry, down ! " 
he whispered, and for a moment he thought it might have 
been Derry that had pushed open the door. But the dog's 
snout could not have turned down the counterpane of the bed, 
or opened the top drawer that held the fishing flies, or rum- 
maged among the long rods in the corner. The counterpane 
lay double, the drawer stood open, the rods were scattered — 
some one had been there to look for him, and, not finding him, 
had tried to find a reason for his absence, and that some one 
had either come into the room in the dark, or— been blind. 

" Aw, it's always Keriy that's in it," Danny told himself, and 
with an unpleasant remembrance of Kerry's strange faculty, 
whereof he was the peculiar victim, he reflected that his race 
home had been vain. Then on the instant Danny found him- 
self concocting a trick to defeat appearances. He had a foot 
on the stairs to carry out his design when he heard the door 
at the front of the house open and close, and a familiar step 
pass through the hall. The Bishop had returned. Danny 
waited and listened. Now there was talking in the library. 
Danny's quick ear could scarcely distinguish the words, but 
the voices he could not mistake — they were the voices of the 
Bishop and blind Kerry. With a stealthy stride Danny went 
up to Ewan's room. Ewan was sleeping. Feeling hot and 
cold together, Danny undressed and turned into bed. Before 
he had time to bury his head under the clothes he heard the 
Bishop on the stairs. The footsteps passed into the room below, 
and then after an interval they were again on the stairs. In 
another moment Danny knew, though of course his eyes were 
fast shut, and he was sleeping most profoundly, that the Bishop 
with a lighted candle in his hand was leaning over him. 

It would wrong the truth to say that Master Danny's 
slumber was disturbed that night ; but next morning when 
the boys awoke together, and Ewan rose on his elbow with a 

60 



DANNY, THE MADCAP 

puzzled gaze at his unexpected bedfellow, Danny sidled out 
of the bed on to the floor, and, without looking too much into 
Ewan's face, he began his toilet, as was his wont, by putting 
on his cap. He had got this length, and was standing in cap 
and shirt, Avhen he blurted out the mischief of last night's 
adventure, the singing, the sudden appearance of the Bishop, 
the race home along the cliff, and the coming up to bed. 
" But you won't let on, Ewan, will you .'' " he said. Ewan 
looked at that moment as if the fate of the universe hung on 
his answer, but he gave the promise that was required of him. 
Then the boys went downstairs and found Mona, and imparted 
the dread secret to her. Presently the Bishop came in to 
breakfast with a face that was paler than usual, and more than 
ordinarily solenm. 

"Danny," he said, "why did you not sleep in your own 
bed last night, my boy ? " 

" I slept with Ewan, father," Danny answered promptly. 

The Bishop said no more then, and they all sat down at 
the table. 

"And so you two boys went to bed together — together?" 
he said, and, with a dig of emphasis on his last word, repeated, 
he looked at Ewan. 

Ewan's face crimsoned, and his tongue faltered, " Yes, 
uncle." 

The Bishop's eyes fell. " Boys," he said in another tone, 
"would you think it.'' I have clone you a great wrong." 

The boys were just then most intent on the table-cloth. 

" You must know," the Bishop went on, " that thex'e was a 
most unseemly riot at the Oiel Verree, and all night long I 
have been sore troubled by the bad thought that Danny was 
in the midst of it." 

The boys held their heads vei*y low over their plates, and 
Mona's big eyes filled visibly. Danny's impulse was to blurt 
out the whole mischief there and then, but he reflected that 
to do so would be to charge Ewan with falsehood. Ewan, on 
his part, would have confessed to the deception, but he knew 
that this would mean that Danny must be punished. The 
boys' wise heads could see no way out of a tangle like that. 
The breakfast was the quietest ever eaten on a Christmas 
morning at Bishop's Court, and, little as the talking was, the 
Bishop, strangely enough, did it all. But when they rose 
from the table, and the boys slunk out of the room with most 

61 



THE DEEMSTER 

portentous gravity, Moiia went up to the Bishop with a face 
full of liquid grief, and turning the whole depths of her great 
troubled eyes upon him, the little maiden said, " Ewan didn't 
mean to tell you what wasn't true — and cousin Danny didn't 
intend to deceive — but he was — that is, Danny — I mean — 
dear uncle, you won't " 

" You mean that Danny was at the Oiel Verree last night 
— I know it, child, I know it," said the Bishop, and he patted 
her head and smiled. 

But the Bishop knew also that Damiy had that day made 
one more step down the steep of life, and left a little ghost 
of his child-self behind him, and in his secret heart the Bishop 
saw that shadowy form, and wept over it. 



CHAPTER VIII 

PASSING THE LOVE OF WOMEN 

Now the facts of this history must stride on some six years, 
and in that time the Deemster had lost nearly all the little 
interest he ever felt in his children. Mona had budded into 
womanhood, tender, gracious, quiet, a tall, fair-haired maiden 
of twenty, with a drooping head like a flower, with a voice soft 
and low, and the full blue eyes with their depths of love and 
sympathy shaded by long fluttermg lashes as the trembling 
sedge shades the deep mountain pool. It was as ripe and 
beautiful a womanhood as the heart of a father might dream 
of, but the Deemster could take little pleasure in it. If Mona 
had been his son, her quiet ways and tractable nature might 
have counted for something ; but a woman was only a woman 
in the Deemster's eyes, and the Deemster, like the Bedouin 
chief, would have numbered his children without counting his 
daughter. As for Ewan, he had falsified every hope of the 
Deemster. His Spartan training had gone for nothing. He 
was physically a weakling ; a tall, spare youth of two-and- 
twenty, fair-haired Hke his sister, with a face as spiritual and 
beautiful, and hardly less feminine. He was of a self-torturing 
spirit, constantly troubled with vague questionings, and though 
in this regard he was very much his father's son, the Deemster 
held his temperament in contempt. 

62 



PASSING THE LOVE OF WOMEN 

The end of all was that Ewan showed a strong desire to 
enter the Church. The Deemster had intended that his son 
should study the law and follow him in his place when his 
time came. But Ewan's womanly temperament co-existed with 
a manly temper. Into the law he would not go, and the Church 
he was resolved to follow. The Bishop had then newly opened 
at Bishop's Court a training college for his clergy, and Ewan 
sought and obtained admission. The Deemster fumed, but 
his son was not to be moved even by his wrath. This was when 
Ewan was nineteen years of age, and after two more years the 
spirituality of his character overcame the obstacle of his youth, 
and the Bishop ordained him at twenty-one. Then Ewan was 
made chaplain to the household at Bishop's Court. 

Hardly had this been done when Ewan took another step in 
life. With the knowledge of the Bishop, butwithout consulting 
the Deemster, he married, being now of age, a pretty child of 
sixteen, the daughter of his father's old foe, the vicar of the 
parish. When knowledge of this act of unwisdom reached the 
Deemster his last remaining spark of interest in his son expired, 
and he sent Mona across to Bishop's Court with a curt message 
saying that Ewan and his wife were at liberty, if they liked, to 
take possession of the old Ballamona. Thus he turned his back 
upon his son, and did his best to wipe him out of his mmd, 

Ewan took his young wife to the homestead that had been 
the place of his people for six generations, the place where 
he himself had been born, the place where that other Ewan, 
his good grandfather, had lived and died. 

More than ever for these events the Deemster became a 
solitary man. He kept no company , he took no pleasures. 
Alone he sat night after night in his study at Ballamona, and 
Ballamona was asleep before he slept, and before it awoke he 
was stirring. His daughter's presence in the house was no 
society for the Deemster. She grew beside him like her 
mother's youth, a yet fairer vision of the old days coming 
back to him hour by hour, but he saw nothing of all that. 
Disappointed in his sole hope, his son, whom truly he had 
never loved for love's sake, but only for his own sorry ambi- 
tions, he sat down under his disappointment a doubly-soured 
and thrice-hardened man. He had grown noticeably older, 
but his restless energy suffered no abatement. Bi-weekly he 
kept his courts, but few sought the law whom the law did 
not first find, for word went round that the Deemster was a 

63 



THE DEEMSTER 

hard judge, and deemed the hiws in ricfour. If men differed 
about money, tliey would say, " Och, why go to the Deem- 
ster? It's throwing a bone into the bad dog's mouth," and 
then they would divide their difference. 

The one remaining joy of the Deemster's lonely life was 
centred in his brother's son, Dan. That lusty youth had not 
disappointed his expectations. At twenty he was a braw, 
brown-h.iircd, brown-eyed lad of six feet two inches in stature, 
straight and upright, and with the thews and sinews of an ox. 
He was the athlete of the island, and where there was a tough 
job of wrestling to be had, or a delightful bit of fighting to be 
done, there was Dan in the heart of it. " Aw, and middling 
few could come anigh him," the people used to say. But 
more than in Dan's great stature and great strength, the little 
Deemster took a bitter pleasure in his daring kreverence for 
things held sacred. In this regard Dan had not improved 
with improving years. Scores of tricks his sad pugnacity 
devised to help the farmers to cheat the parson of his tithe, 
and it added not a little to the Deemster's keen relish of 
freaks like these that it was none other than the son of the 
Bishop who perpetrated them. As for the Bishop himself, he 
tried to shut his eyes to such follies. He meant his son to 
go into the Church, and, in spite of all outbursts of spirits, 
notwithstanding wrestling matches and fights, and even some 
tipsy broils of which rumour was in the air, he entered Dan 
as a student at the college he kept at Bishop's Court. 

In due course the time of Dan's examination came, and then 
all further clinging to a forlorn hope was at an end. The 
Archdeacon acted as the Bishop's examining chaplain, and 
more than once the little man had declared in advance his 
conscientious intention of dealing with the Bishop's son as he 
would deal with any other. The examination took place in the 
library of Bishop's Court, and besides the students and the 
examiner there were some six or seven of the clergy present, 
and Ewan Mylrea, then newly made deacon, was among them. 
It was a purely oral examination, and when Dan's turn came 
the Archdeacon assumed his loftiest look, and first tackled the 
candidate where he was known to be weakest. 

" I suppose, sir, you think you can read your Greek Testa- 
ment } " 

Dan answered that he had never thought anything about it, 

" I dare say, for all your modesty, that you have an idea 

64 



PASSING THE LOVE OF WOMEN 

that you know it well enough to teach it," said the Arch- 
deacon. 

Dan hadn't an idea on the subject. 

"Take down the Greek Testament, and imagine that I'm 
your pupil, and proceed to expound it," said the Archdeacon. 

Dan took the book from the bookcase and fumbled it in 
his fingers. 

"Well, sir, open at the parable of the tares." 

Dan scratched his big head leisurely, and he did his best to 
find the place. "So I'm to be tutor — is that it.''" he said, 
with a puzzled look. 

"That is so." 

" And you are to be the pupil .'' " 

" Precisely — suppose yourself my tutor — and now begin." 

At this Ewan stepped out with a look of anxiety. " Is 
not that a rather difficult supposition. Archdeacon .^ " he said 
timidly. 

The Archdeacon glanced over his grandson loftily and made 
no reply. 

" Begin, sir, begm," he said, with a sweep of his hand 
towards Dan, and at that he sat down in the high-backed oak 
chair at the head of the table. 

Then on the instant there came into Dan's quick eyes a 
most mischievous twinkle. He was standing before the table 
with the Greek Testament open at the parable of the tares, 
and he knew too well he could not read the parable. 

" When do we change places, Archdeacon .-* " he asked. 

" We have changed places — you are now the tutor — I am 
your pupil — begin, sir." 

" Oh ! we have changed places, have we .'' " said Dan ; and at 
that he lifted up the Archdeacon's silver-tipped walking-cane 
which lay on the table and brought it down again with a 
bang. "Then just you get up off your chair, sir," he said, 
with a tone of command. 

The Archdeacon's russet face showed several tints of blue 
at that moment, but he rose to his feet. Thereupon Dan 
handed him the open book. 

" Now, sir," he said, " first read me the parable of the tares." 

The clergy began to shuffle about and look into each 
other's faces. The Archdeacon's expression was not amiable, 
but he took the book and read the parable. 

" Very fair, very fair indeed," said Dan, in a tone of mild 

65 £ 



THE DEEMSTER 

condescension — " a few false quantities, but very fair on the 
whole." 

" Gentlemen, gentlemen, this is going too far," said one of 
the clergy. 

" Silence, sir," said Dan, with a look of outraged authority. 

Then there was dire confusion. Some of the clergy laughed 
outright, and some giggled under their breath, and some 
protested in white wrath, and the end of it all was that the 
examination came to a sudden termination, and, rightly or 
wrongly, wisely or foolishly, Dan was adjudged to be unfit for 
the ministry of the Church. 

When the Bishop heard the verdict, his pale face whitened 
visibly, and he seemed to see the beginning of the end. At 
that moment he thought of the Deemster with bitterness. 
This blow to his hopes did not cement the severed lives of the 
brothers. The forces that had been dividing them year by 
year, since the days of their father, appeared to be drawing 
them yet wider apart in the lives and fortunes of their children. 
Each felt that the other was frustrating his deai'est expecta- 
tions in his son, and that was an offence that neither could 
forgive. To the Deemster it seemed that the Bishop was 
bearing down every ambition of his life, tearing him up as a 
naked trunk, leaving him a childless man. To the Bishop it 
seemed that the Deemster was wrecking the one life that was 
more to him than his own soul, and standing between him and 
the heart that, with all its follies, was dearer than the world 
beside. From this time of Ewan's marriage and Dan's disgrace 
the Bishop and the Deemster rarely met, and when they passed 
on the road they exchanged only the coldest salutation. 

But if the fates were now more than ever fostering an 
unnatural enmity between the sons of old Ewan, they were 
cherishing at the same time the loves of their children. Never 
were cousins more unlike or more fondly attached. Between 
Dan, the reckless scapegrace, and Mona, with the big soft eyes 
and the quiet ways, the affection was such as neither under- 
stood. They had grown up side by side, they had seen each 
other daily, they had scampei'ed along the shore with clasped 
hands, they had screamed at the sea-gulls with one voice, and 
still they were boy and girl together. But once they were 
stooking the barley in the glebe, and, the day being hot, 
Mona tipped back her white sun-bonnet, and it fell on to her 
shoulders. Seeing this, Dan came stealthily behind and 

66 



PASSING THE LOVE OF WOMEN 

thought very craftily to whisk it away unobserved ; but the 
strings by which it was tied caught in her hair and tugged at its 
knot, and the beautiful wavy shower fell rip-rip-rippltng down 
her back. The wind caught the loosened hair and tossed 
it about her, and she stood up erect among the corn with the 
first blush on her cheeks that Dan had ever brought there, 
and turned full upon him all the glorious light of her deep blue 
eyes. Then, then, oh then, Dan seemed to see her for the first 
time a girl no longer, but a woinan, a woman, a woman ! And 
the mountains behind her were in one instant blotted out of 
Dan's eyes, and everything seemed to spin about him. 

When next he knew where he was, and what he was doing, 
behold there were Mona's rosy lips under his, and she was 
panting and gasping for breath. 

But if the love of Dan and Mona was more than cousinly, 
though they knew it not as yet, the love of Ewan for Dan 
was wonderful, and passing the love of women. That pure 
soul, with its vague spiritual yearnings, seemed to have 
nothing in common with the jovial roysterer, always fighting, 
always laughing, taking disgrace as a duck takes water, and 
losing the trace of it as easily. Twenty times he stood be- 
tween the scapegrace and the Bishop, twenty times he hid 
from the good father the follies of the son. He thought for 
that thoughtless head that never had an ache or a care under 
its abundant curls ; he hoped for that light heart that hoped 
for nothing; he trembled for the soul that felt no fear. 
Never was such loyalty between man and man since David 
wept for Jonathan. And Ewan's marriage disturbed this 
affection not at all, for the love he bore to Dan was a 
brotherly passion for which language has yet no name. 

Let us tell one story that shall show this friendship in its 
double bearings — Ewan's love and temper and Dan's heedless 
harshness and the great nature beneath it, and then we will 
pass on with fuller knowledge to weightier matters. 

Deny, the white-eyed collie that had nestled on the top of 
his master's bed the night Dan sneaked home in disgrace 
from the Oiel Verree, was a crafty little fox, with cunning 
and duplicity bred in his very bones. If you were a tramp 
of the profession of Billy the Gawk, he would look up at you 
with his big innocent eyes, and lick your hand, and thrust 
his nose into your palm, and the next moment he would 
seize you by the hindmost parts and hold on like a leech. 

67 



THE DEEMSTER 

His uiiamiable qualities grew as he grew in years, and one 
day Dan went on a long journey, leaving Derry behind, and 
when he returned he had another dog with him, a great 
shaggy Scotch collie, with bright eyes, a happy phiz, and a 
huge bush of a tail. Derry was at the gate when his master 
came home, and he eyed the new-comer with looks askance. 
From that day Derry tui'ned his back on his master, he would 
never answer his call, and he did not know his whistle from 
the croak of a corn-crake. In fact, Derry took his own 
courses, and forthwith fell into all manner of dissolute habits. 
He went out at night alone, incognito, and kept most un- 
christian hours. The farmers around complained that their 
sheep were found dead in the field, torn and worried by a 
dog's teeth. Derry was known to be a dog that did not live 
a reputable life, and suspicion fell on him. Dan took the old 
fox in hand, and thenceforward Derry looked out on the 
world through a rope muzzle. 

One day there was to be a sheep-dog match, and Dan 
entered his Scotch collie. Laddie. The race was to be in the 
meadow at the foot of Slieu Dhoo, and great crowds of people 
came to witness it. Hurdles were set up to make all crooks 
and cranks of difficulty, and then a drift of sheep were turned 
loose in the field. The prize was to the dog that would, at 
the word of its master, gather the sheep together and take 
them out at the gate in the shortest time. Ewan, then 
newly married, was there, and beside him was his child-Avife. 
Time was called, and Dan's turn came to try the mettle of 
his Laddie. The dog started well, and in two or three 
minutes he had driven the whole flock save two into an 
alcove of hurdles close to where Ewan and his wife stood 
together. Then at the word of his master Laddie set off 
over the field for the stragglers, and Dan shouted to Ewan 
not to stir a hand or foot or the sheep would be scattered 
again. Now just at that instant who should pop over the 
hedge but Derry in his muzzle, and quick as thought he shot 
down his head, put up his paws, threw off his muzzle, dashed 
at the sheep, snapped at their legs, and away they went in 
twenty directions. 

Before Ewan had time to cry out Derry was gone, with his 
muzzle between his teeth. When Dan, who was a perch 
or two up the meadow, turned round and saw what had 
happened, and that his dog's chances were gone, his anger 

68 



PASSING THE LOVE OF WOMEN 

overcame him, and he turned on Ewan with a torrent of re- 
proaches. 

"There — you've done it with your lumbering— curse it." 

With complete self-possession Ewan explained how^ Derry 
had done the mischief. 

Then Dan's face was darker with wrath than it had ever 
been before. 

" A pretty tale," he said, and his lip curled in a sneer. 
He turned to the people around. " Anybody see the dog 
slip his muzzle ? " 

None had seen what Ewan affirmed. The eyes of every 
one had been on the two stragglers in the distance pursued 
by Dan and Laddie. 

" Now Avhen Ewan saw that Dan distrusted him, and ap- 
pealed to strangers as witness to his word, his face flushed 
deep, and his delicate nostrils quivered. 

" A pretty tale," Dan i-epeated, and he was twisting on his 
heel when up came Dei-ry again, his muzzle on his snout, 
whisking his tail, and frisking about Dan's feet with an 
expression of quite lamb-like simphcity. 

At that sight Ewan's livid face turned to a great pallor, 
and Dan broke into a hard laugh. 

"We've heard of a dog slijiping his muzzle," he said, "but 
who ever heard of a dog putting a muzzle on again ? " 

Then Ewan stepped from the side of his girl-wife, who 
stood there with heaving breast. His eyes were aflame, but 
for an instant he conquered his emotion, and said, with a 
constrained quietness, but with a deep pathos in his tone, 
" Dan, do you think I've told you the truth ? " 

Dan wheeled about. " I think you've told me a lie," he said, 
and his voice came thick from his throat. 

All heard the word, and all held their breath. Ewan stood 
a moment as if rooted to the spot, and his pallid face whitened 
every instant. Then he fell back, and took the girl-wife by 
the hand and turned away with her, his head down, his very 
heart surging itself out of his choking breast. And as he 
passed through the throng, to carry away from that scene the 
madness that was working in his brain, he overheard the mock- 
ing comments of the people. " Aw, well, well, did you hear 
that now ? — called him a liar and not a word to say agen it." 
" A liar ! Och, a liar ? and him a parzon, too ! " " Middling 
cliicken-hearted anyways — A liar ! Aw, well, well, well ! 

69 



THE DEEMSTER 

At that Ewan flung away the hand of his wife, and quiver- 
ing from head to foot he strode towards Dan. 

" You've called me a liar," he said in a shrill voice that was 
like a cry. " Now, you shall prove your word — you shall fight 
me — you shall, by God." 

He was completely carried away by passion. 

" The parzon, the parzon ! Man alive, the young parzon ! " 
the people muttered, and they closed around. 

Dan stood a moment. He looked down from his great 
height at Ewan's quivering form and distorted face. Then he 
turned about and glanced into the faces of the people. In 
another instant his eyes were swimming in tears ; he took a 
step towards ]<!,wan, flung his arms about him, and buried his 
head in his neck, and the great stalwart lad wept like a little 
child. In another moment Ewan's passion was melted away, 
and he kissed Dan on the cheek. 

" Blubbering cowards ! " " Aw, blatherskites ! " " Och, 
man alive, a pair of turtle-doves ! " 

Dan lifted his head, and looked around, raised himself to 
his full height, clenched his fists, and said — ■ 

" Now, my lads, you did your best to make a fight, and you 
couldn't manage it. I won't fight my cousin, and he shan't 
fight me ; but if there's a man among you would like to know 
for himself how much of a coward I am, let him step out — 
I'm ready." 

Not a man budged an inch. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE SERVICE ON THE SHORE 

It was the spring of the year when the examining chaplain 
gave the verdict which for good or ill put Dan out of the 
odour of sanctity. Then in disgrace with fortune and men's 
eyes he haunted the shore where old Billy and his mates were 
spreading their nets and barking them in preparation for the 
herring season that was soon to begin. There it was, while 
stretched on the warm shingle, with old Billy Quilleash sitting 
near, smoking his black cutty and mending the meshes broken 
by the dog-fish of last year, that Dan hit on the idea of a new 

70 



THE SERVICE ON THE SHORE 

course iii life. Tliis was nothing better or worse than that of 
turning fisherman. He Avould buy a smack and make okl Billy 
his skipper ; he would follow the herrings himself, and take 
up his OAvn share and the share of the boat. It would be 
delightful, and, of course, it would be vastly profitable. Every- 
thing looked plain and straight and simple, and though old 
Billy more than half shook his grey head at the project, and 
let fall by several inches his tawny face, and took his pipe out 
of his mouth and cleared his throat noisily and looked vacantly 
out to sea, and gave other ominous symptoms of grave internal 
dubitation, Dan leapt to his feet at the sudden access of new 
purpose, and bowled off in hot haste to tell the Bishop. 

The Bishop listened in silence at first, and with a sidelong 
look out at the window up to the heights of Slieu Dhoo, and 
when Dan, m a hang-dog manner, huited at certain new-born 
intentions of reform, there was a perceptible trembling of the 
Bishop's eyelids, and Avhen he gathered voice and pictured the 
vast scheme of profit without loss, the Bishop turned his grave 
eyes slowly upon him, and then Dan's own eyes suddenly fell, 
and the big world began to shrivel up to the pitiful dimen- 
sions of an orange with the juice squeezed out of it. But the 
end of it all was that the Bishop undertook to become re- 
sponsible for the first costs of the boat, and, having made this 
promise with the air of a man who knows too well that he is 
pampering the Avhim of a spoiled boy, he turned away rather 
suddenly with his chin a thought deeper than ever in his breast. 

What hurry and bustle ensued ! What driving away to 
north, south, east, and west, to every fishing port in the island 
where boats wei'e built or sold ! At length a boat was bought 
on the chocks at Port le Mary, a thirty-tons boat of lugger 
build, and old Billy Quilleash was sent south to bring it up 
through the Calf Sound to the harbour at Peeltown. 

Then there was the getting together of a crew. Of course, 
old Billy was made skipper. He had sailed twenty years in a 
boat of Kinvig's with three nets to his share, and half that time 
he had been admiral of the Peeltown fleet of herring boats, 
with five pounds a year for his post of honour. In Dan's boat 
he was to have four nets by his own right, and one for his 
nephew, Davy Fayle. Davy was an orphan, brought up by 
Billy Quilleash. He was a lad of eighteen, and was to sail as 
boy. There were other four hands — Crennel, the cook ; Teare, 
the mate ; Corkell, and Corlett. 

71 



THE DEEMSTER 

Early and late Dan was down at the harbour, stripped to the 
woollen shirt, and tackling any odd job of j)ainting or car- 
pentry, for the openino- of the lierrinji^ season was hard upon 
them. But he found time to run uj) to the new Ballamona to 
tell Mona that she was to christen his new boat, for it had not 
been named when it left the chocks ; and then to the old 
Ballamona, to persuade Ewan to go with him on his first trip 
to the herrings. 

The day appointed by custom for the first takings of the 
herring came quickly round. It was a brilliant day in early 
June. Ewan had been across to Slieu Dhoo to visit his father 
for the first time since his marriage, more than half a year ago, 
in order to say that he meant to go out for the night's fishing 
in Dan's new boat, and to beg that his young wife, who was 
just then in delicate health, might be invited to spend the 
night of his absence with Mona at the ncAV Ballamona. The 
Deemster complied with a griiTi grace ; Ewan's young wife 
went across in the eai-ly morning, and in the afternoon all four, 
the Deemster and Mona, Ewan and his wife, set off in a lum- 
bering, springless coach — the first that the island had yet seen 
— to witness the departui'e of the herring fleet from Peeltown, 
and to engage in that day's ceremony. 

The salt breath of the sea was in the air, and the light 
ripples of the bay glistened through a drowsy haze of warm 
sunshine. It was to be high-water at six o'clock. When the 
Deemster's company reached Peeltown, the sun was still high 
over Contrary Head, and the fishing boats in the harbour, to the 
number of two hundred, were rolling gently, with their brown 
sails half set, to the motion of the rising tide. 

There was Dan in his guernsey on the deck of his boat, and, 
as the coach drew up near the bottom of the wooden pier, he 
lifted his red cap from his curly head, and then went on to tie 
a bottle by a long blue ribbon to the tiller. There was old 
Billy Quilleash in his sea-boots, and there was Davy Fayle, a 
shambling sort of lad, long rather than tall, with fair hair 
tangled over his forehead, and a face which had a simple, 
vacant look that came of a lagging lower lip. Men on every 
boat ill the hai'bour were washing the decks, or baling out 
the dingey, or laying down the nets below. The harbour- 
master was on the quay, shouting to this boat to pull up or to 
that one to lie back. And down on the broad sands of the 
shore were men, women, and children in many hundreds, 

72 



THE SERVICE ON THE SHORE 

sitting and lying and lounging about an empty boat with a 
hole in the bottom that lay high and dry on the beach. The 
old fishing toAVTi itself had lost its chill and cheerless aspect, 
and no longer looked hungrily out over miles of bleak sea. 
Its blind alleys and dark lanes, its narrow, crabbed, crooked 
streets were bright mth little flags hung out of the little 
stuffed-up Avindows, and yet brighter with bright faces that 
hun-ied to and fro. 

About five o'clock, as the sun was dipping seaward across 
the back of Contrary, leaving the brown sails in the harbour 
in shade, and ghstening red on the sides of the cathedral 
church on the island-rock that stood twenty yards out from 
the mainland, there was a movement of the people on the 
shore towards the town behind them, and of fisher-fellows 
from their boats towards the beach. Some of the neighbour- 
insr clerffv had come down to Peeltown, and the little Deem- 

11 1 

ster sat in his coach, thrown open, blinking in the sun under 
his shaggy grey eyebrows. But some one was still looked for, 
and expectation was plainly evident in every face until a cheer 
came over the tops of the houses from the market-place. 
Then there Avas a general rush towards the mouth of the quay, 
and presently there came labouring over the rough cobbles of 
the tortuous Castle Street, flanked by a tumultuous company 
of boys and men, bare-headed women, and children, -"vho 
halloed and waved their arms and tossed up their caps, a rough- 
coated Manx pony, on which the tall figure of the Bishop sat. 

The people moved on with the Bishop at their head until 
they came to the beach, and there, at the disused boat lying 
dry on the sand, the Bishop alighted. In two minutes more 
every fishennan in the harbour had left his boat and gathered 
with his fellows on the shore. Then there began a ceremony 
of infinite pathos and grandeur. 

In the open boat the pale-faced Bishop stood, his long hair 
sprinkled Avith grey lifted gently over his drooping shoulders 
by the gentle breeze that came with its odour of brine from 
the sea. Around him on their knees on the sand were the 
taAvny-faced weather-beaten fishermen in their sea-boots and 
guernseys, bare-headed, and fumbling their soft caps in their 
hard hands. There, on the outside, stood the multitude of men, 
women, and young children, and on the skirts of the croAvd 
stood the coach of the Deemster, and it Avas half-encircled 
by the pawing horses of some of the black-coated clergy. 

73 



THE DEEMSTER 

The Bishop began the service. It asked for the blessing 
of God on the fishing expedition which was about to set out. 
First came the lesson, " And God said, Let the waters bring 
forth abundantly ; " and then the story of Jesus in the ship, 
when there arose a great tempest while He slept, and His 
disciples awoke Him, and He arose and rebuked the waves ; 
and then that otlier story of how the disciples toiled all night 
and took nothing, but let down their nets again at Christ's 
word, and there came a great multitude of fishes, and their 
nets brake. " Restore and c(nitinue to us the harvest of 
the sea," prayed the Bishoj) with his face uplifted ; and the 
men on their knees on the sand, with uncovered heads and 
faces in their caps, nun-mured their responses in their own 
tongue, "Yn Meailley." 

And while they prayed, the soft boom of the unruffled 
watei's on the shore, and the sea's deep murmur from away 
beyond the headland, and the wild jabbering cries of a flight 
of sea-gulls disporting on a rock in the bay, were the only 
sounds that mingled Vvith the Bishop's deep tones and the 
men's hoarse voices. 

Last of all the Bishop gave out a hymn. It was a simple 
old hymn, such as every man had known since his mother had 
crooned it over his cot. The men rose to their feet and their 
lusty voices took up the strain ; the ci'owd behind, and the 
clergy on their horses, joined it ; and from the Deemster's 
coach two women's voices took it up, and higher, higher, 
higher, like a lark, it floated up, until the soft boom and deep 
murmur of the sea and the wild cry of the sea-birds were 
drowned in the broad swell of the simple old sacred song. 

The sun was sinking fast through a red haze towards the 
sea's verge, and the tide was near the flood, when the service 
on the shore ended, and the fishermen returned to their boats. 

Billy Quilleash leaped aboard the new lugger, and his four 
men followed him. "See all clear," he shouted to Davy Fayle; 
and Davy stood on the quay with the duty of clearing the 
ropes fi-om the blocks, and then following in the dingey that 
lay moored to the wooden steps. 

Dan had gone up to the Deemster's coach and helped Mona 
and the young wife of Ewan to alight. He led them to the 
quay steps, and when the company had gathered about, and 
all was made ready, he shouted to old Billy to throw him the 
bottle that lay tied by the blue ribbon to the tiller. Then he 

74 



THE SERVICE ON THE SHORE 

handed the bottle to Mona, who stood on the step, a few feet 
above the water's edge. 

Mona was looking very fresh and beautiful that day, with a 
delicious joy and pride in her deep eyes. Dan was talking to 
her with an awkward sort of consciousness, looking askance at 
his big brown hands when they came in contact with her dainty 
white fingers, then glancing down at his gi*eat clattering boots, 
and up into her soft smooth face. 

" What am I to christen her ? " said Mona, with the bottle 
held up in her hand. 

"Mona," answei'ed Dan, with a shamefaced look and one 
hand in his bi-own hair. 

"No, no," said she, "not that." 

" Then what you like," said Dan. 

"Well, the Ben-my-Chree," said Mona, and vnth that the 
bottle broke on the boat's side. 

In another instant EAvan was kissing his meek little wife, 
and bidding her good-bye, and Dan, in a fumbling way, was, 
for the first time in his life, demurely shaking Mona's hand, 
and tiying hard to look her in the face. 

" Tail on there," shouted Quilleash from the lugger. Then 
the two men jumped aboard, Davy Fayle ran the ropes from 
the blocks, the admiral's boat cleared away from the quay, and 
the admiral's flag was shot up to the masthead. The other 
boats in the harbour followed one by one, and soon the bay was 
full of the fleet. 

As the Ben-my-Chree stood out to sea beyond the island- 
rock, Dan and Ewan stood aft, Dan in his brown guernsey, 
Ewan in his black coat ; Ewan waving his handkerchief, and 
Dan his cap ; old Billy was at the tiller, Crennel, the cook, had 
his head just above the hatchways, and Davy was clambering 
hand-over-hand up the rope by which the dingey was hauled 
to the stem. 

Then the herring fleet sailed away under the glow of the 
setting sun. 



76 



THE DEEMSTER 
CHAPTER X 

THE FIRST NIGHT WITH THE HERRINGS 

The sun went down, and a smart breeze rose off the land as the 
Ben-mji-Chree, with the fleet beliind her, rounded Contrary 
Head, and crossed the two streams that flow there. For an 
hour afterwards tliere was still light enough to see the coast- 
line curved into covelets and promontories, and to look for miles 
over the hills with their moles of gorse, and tussocks of lush 
grass. Tlie twilight deepened as the fleet rounded Niarbyl 
Point, and left the islet on their lee, with Cronk-ny-Irey-Lhaa 
towering into the gloomy sky. When they sailed across Flesh- 
wick Bay the night gradually darkened, and nothing was seen 
of Ennyn Mooar. But after an hour of darkness the heavens 
lightened again, and glistened with stars, and when old Billy 
Quilleash brought his boat-head to the wind in six fathoms of 
water outside Port Erin, the moon had risen behind Bradda, 
and the rugged headland showed clear against the sky. One 
after another the boats and the fleet brought to about the 
Ben-my-Chree. 

Dan asked old Billy if he had found the herrings on this 
ground at the same time in former seasons. 

" Not for seven years," said the old man. 

" Then why try now } " 

Bill stretched out his hand to where a flight of sea-gulls were 
dipping and sailing in the moonlight. " See the gull there .'' " 
he said. "She's skipper to-night ; she's showing us the fish." 

Davy Fayle had been leaning over the bow, rapping with a 
stick at the timbers near the water's edge. 

" Any signs ? " shouted Billy Quilleash. 

"Ay," said Da\y, "the mar-fire's risin'." 

The wind had dropped, and luminous jiatches of phosphores- 
cent light in the water were showing that the herrings were 
stirring. 

" Let's make a shot ; up with the gear," said Quilleash, and 
preparations were made for shooting the nets over the quarter. 

" Ned Teare, you see to the line. Crennel, look after the 
corks. Davy — where's that lad ? — look to the seizings, d'ye 
hear ? " 

76 



THE FIRST NIGHT WITH THE HERRINGS 

Then the nets were hauled from below, and passed over a 
bank-board placed between the hatchway and the top of the 
bulwark. Teare and Crennel shot the gear, and as the 
seizings came up, Davy ran aft with them, and made them 
fast to the warp near the taffrail. 

When the nets were all paid out, every net in the drift being 
tied to the next, and a solid wall of meshes nine feet deep had 
been swept away along the sea for half a mile behind them. 
Quill eash shouted, " Down with the sheets." 

The ropes were hauled, the sails were taken in, the main- 
mast — which was so made as to lower backward — was dropped, 
and only the drift-mizzen was left, and that was to keep the 
boat-head on to the wind. 

" Up with the light there," said Quilleash. 

At this word Davy Fayle popped his head out of the 
hatchways. 

" Aw, to be sure, that lad's never ready. Ger out of that, 
quick." 

Davy jumped on deck, took a lantern and fixed it to the 
top of the mitch-board. Then vessel and nets drifted 
together, and Dan and Ewan, who had kept the deck until 
now, went below together. 

It Avas now a calm, clear night, with just light enough to 
show two or three of the buoys on the back of the net nearest 
to the boat as they floated under water. Old Billy had not 
mistaken his ground. Large white patches came moving out 
of the surrounding pavement of deep black, lightened only by 
the image of a star where the vanishing ripples left the dark 
sea smooth. Once or twice countless faint popping sounds 
were to be heard, and minute points of shooting silver were 
to be seen on the water around. The herrings were at play, 
and shoals on shoals soon broke the black sea into a glisten- 
ing foam. 

But no " strike " was made, and after an hour's time Dan 
popped his head over the hatchways and asked the skipper to 
try the " look-on " net. The warp was hauled in until the 
first net was reached. It came up as black as coal, save for 
a dog-fish or two that had broken a mesh here and there. 

" Too much moon to-night," said Quilleash ; " they see the 
nets, and 'cute they are extraordinary." 

But half-an-hour later the moon went out behind a thick 
ridge of cloud that floated over the land ; the sky became grey 

77 



THE DEEMSTER 

and leaden, and a rising breeze ruffled the sea. Then hour 
after hour wore on, and not a fish came to the look-on net. 
Towards one o'clock in the morning the moon broke out 
again. "There'll be a heavy strike now," said Quilleash, and 
in another instant a luminous patch floated across the line 
of the nets, sunk, disappeared, and finally pulled three of the 
buoys down with them. 

" Pull up now," shouted Quilleash, in another tone. 

Then the nets were hauled. Davy, the boy, led the warp 
through a snatch-block fixed to the mast-hole on to the 
capstan. Ned Teare disconnected the nets from the warps, 
and Crennel and Gjrlett pulled the nets over the gunwale. 
They came up silver-white in the moonlight, a solid block 
of fish. Billy Quilleash and Dan passed them over the 
scudding-pole and shook the hei*rings into the hold. 

" Five maze at least," said Quilleash, with a chuckle of 
satisfaction. "Try again." And once more the nets were 
shot. The other boats of the fleet were signalled, by a blue 
light run up the drift-mizzen, that the Ben-my-Chree had 
struck a scale of fish. In a few minutes more the blue light 
was answered by other blue lights on every side, and these 
reported that the fishery was everywhere faring well. 

One, two, three o'clock came and went. The night was 
wearing on ; the moon went out once more, and in the dark- 
ness which preceded the dawn the lanterns burning on the 
fleet of drifting boats gave out an eerie glow across the waters 
that lay black and flat around. The grey light came at length 
in the east, and the sun rose over the land. Then the nets 
were hauled in for the last time and that night's fishing was 
done. The mast was lifted, but before the boat was brought 
about the skipper shouted, " Men, let us do as we're used of," 
and instantly the admiral's flag was run up to the masthead, 
and at this sign the men dropped on one knee with their faces 
in their caps, and old Billy offered up a short and simple prayer 
of thanks for the blessings of the sea. 

When this was done every man leapt to his feet, and all was 
work, bustle, shouting, singing out, and some lusty curses. 

" Tumble up the sheets — bear a hand there — d the 

lad," bawled Quilleash ; " ger out of the way, or I'll make 
you walk handsome over the bricks." 

In five minutes more the Ben-my-Chree, with the herring 
fleet behind her, was running home before a stiff breeze. 

78 



THE FIRST NIGHT WITH THE HERRINGS 

" Nine maze — not bad for the first night/' said Dan to 
Ewan. 

" Souse them well/' said Quilleash, and Ned Teare sprinkled 
salt on the herrings as they lay in the hold. 

Crennel, the cook, better known as the slushy, came up the 
hatchways with a huge saucepan, which he filled with the fish. 
As he did so there was a faint " cheep, cheep " from below — 
the herrings were still alive. 

All hands went down for a smoke except Corlett, who stood 
at the tiller, Davy, who counted for nobody and stretched 
himself out at the bow, and Ewan. The young parson, who 
had been taking note of the lad during the night, now seated 
himself on a coil of rope near where Davy lay. The " cheep, 
cheep " was the only sound in the air except the plash of the 
waters at the boat's bow, and, with an inclination of the head 
in the direction of the fish in the hold, Ewan said, " It seems 
cruel, Davy, doesn't it ? " 

" Cruel ? Well, pozzible, pozzible. Och, 'deed now, 
they've got their feelings same as anybody else." 

The parson had taken the lad's measure at a glance. 

" You should see the shoals of them lying round the nets, 
watching the others — their mothers and sisters, as you might 
say — who've got their gills 'tangled. And when you haul the 
net up, away they go at a slant in millions and millions just 
the same as lightning going through the water. Och, yes, 
yes, leave them alone for having their feelings." 

" It does seem cruel, Davy, eh .'' " 

Davy looked puzzled ; he was reasoning out a grave problem. 

"Well, sir, that's the mortal strange part of it. It does 
look cruel to catch them, sarten sure ; but then the heri-ings 
themselves catch the sand-eels, and the cod catch the herring, 
and the poi-poises and grampuses catch the cod." 

Ewan did his best to look astonished. 

" Aw, that's the truth, sir. It's terrible, wonderful, strange, 
but I suppose it's all nathur. You see, sir, we do the same 
ourselves." 

" How do you mean, Davy } We don't eat each other, I 
hope," said the young parson. 

" Och, don't we though } Lave us alone for that." 

Ewan tried to look appalled. 

" Well, of coorse, not to say ate, not 'xactly ate ; but the 
biggest chap allis rigs the rest ; and the next biggest chap 

79 



THE DEEMSTER 

allis rigs a littler one, you know, and the littlest chap, he 
gets rigged by everybody all round, doesn't he, sir?" 

Davy had got a grip of the knotty problem, but the lad's 
poor, simple face looked sadly burdened, and he came back 
to his old word. 

"Seems to me it must be all nathur, sir." 

Ewan began Lo feel some touch of shame at playing with 
this simple, earnest, big little heart. " So you think it all 
nature, Davy," he said, with a lump gathering in his throat. 

" Well, well, I do, you know, sir ; it does make a fellow 
fit to cry a bit, somehow ; but it must be nathur^, sir." 

And Davy took off his blue worsted cap and fumbled it 
and gave his troubled young head a grave shake. 

Then there was some general talk about Davy's early history, 
Davy's father had been pressed into the army before Davy 
was born, and had afterwards been no more heard of ; then 
his mother had died, and Billy Quilleash, being his mother's 
elder brother, had brought hiin up. Davy had always sailed 
as boy with Uncle Billy, he was sailing as boy then, and that 
was to the end that Uncle Billy might draw his share ; but the 
young master (Mastha Dan) had spoken up for him, so he 
had, and he knew middlin' well what that would come to. 
" He's a tidy lump of a lad now," says Mastha Dan, " and 
he's well used of the boats, too," says he, " and if he does 
well this time," he says, " he must sail man for himself next 
season. Aw, yes, sir, that was what Mastha Dan said." 

It was clear that Dan was the boy's hero. When Dan was 
mentioned that lagging lip gave a yearning look to Davy's 
simple face. Dan's doubtful exploits and his dubious triumphs 
all looked glorious in Davy's eyes. Davy had watched Dan, 
and listened to him, and though Dan might know nothing of 
his silent worship, every word that Dan had spoken to him 
had been hoarded up in the lad's heart like treasure. Davy 
had the dog's soul, and Dan was his master. 

" Uncle Billy and him's same as brothers," said Davy ; " and 
Uncle Billy's uncommon proud of the young master, and 
middlin' jealous, too. Aw, well ! who's wondering at it."*" 

Just then Crennel, the cook, came up to say that bi*eakfast 
was ready, and Ewan and Davy went below, the young parson's 
hand resting on the boy's shoulder. In the cabin Dan was 
sitting by the stove, laughing immoderately. Ewan saw at a 
glance that Dan had been drinking, and he forthwith elbowed 

80 ' 



THE FIRST NIGHT WITH THE HERRINGS 

his way to Dan's side, and lifted a brandy bottle from the stove 
top into the locker, under pretence of finding a place for his 
hat. Then all hands sat down to the table. There was a 
huge dish of potatoes boiled in their jackets, and a similar 
dish of herrings. Every man dipped into the dishes with his 
hands, lifted his herring on to his plate, ran his fingers from 
tail to head, swept all the flesh off the fresh fish, and threw 
the bare backbone into the crock that stood behind. 

"Keep a comer for the Meailley at the 'Three Legs,'" 
said Dan. 

There was to be a herring breakfast that morning at the 
"Three Legs of Man," to celebrate the opening of the fishing 
season. 

" You'll come, Ewan, eh ? " 

The young parson shook his head. 

Dan was in great spirits, to which the spirits he had im- 
bibed contributed a more than common share. Ewan saw the 
too familiar light of dangerous mischief dancing in Dan's eyes, 
and made twenty attempts to keep the conversation within 
ordinary bounds of seriousness. But Dan was not to be 
restrained, and breaking away into the homespun — a sure 
indication that the old Adam was having the upper hand — 
he forthwith plunged into some chaff that was started by the 
mate, Ned Teare, at Davy Fayle's expense. 

" Aw, ye wouldn't think it's true, would ye, now ? " said 
Ned, with a wink at Dan and a " glime " at Davy. 

"And Avhat's that.''" said Dan, vdth another "glime" at 
the lad. 

" Why, that the like o' yander is tackin' round the 
gels." 

" D'ye raely mane it ? " said Dan, dropping his herring and 
lifting his eyes. 

Ewan coughed with some volume, and said, " There, there, 
Dan, there, there." 

"Yes, though, and sniffin' and snuflin' abaft of them 
astonishin'," Ned Teare put in again. 

"Aw, well, well, well," said Dan, turning up afresh the 
whites of his eyes. 

There was not a sign from Davy ; he broke his potato more 
carefully, and took both hands and both eyes to strip away its 
jacket. 

"Yes, yes, the craythur's doing somethin' in the spoony 

81 F 



THE DEEMSTER 

line," said Billy Quilleash ; " him as hasn't the hayseed out 
of his hair yet." 

"Aw, well," said Dan, pretending to come to Davy's relief, 
" it isn't raisonable but the lad should be coortin' some gel 
now." 

" Wliat's that ? " shouted Quilleash, dropping the banter 
rather suddenly. " Wliat, and not a farthing at him } And 
owin' me fortune for the bringin' up." 

" No matter, Billy," said Dan, " and don't ride a man down 
like a main-tack. One of these fine mornings Davy will be 
payin' his debt to you with the foretopsail." 

Davy's eyes were held veiy low, but it was not hard to see 
that tliey were beginning to fill. 

" That will do, Dan, that will do," said Ewan. The young 
parson's face had grown suddenly pale, but Dan saw nothing 
of that. 

" And look at him there," said Dan, reaching round Ewan 
to prod Davy in the ribs, " look at him there pretendin' he 
never knows nothin'." 

The big tears were near to toppling out of Davy's eyes. 
He could have borne the chaff from any one but Dan. 

" Dan," said Ewan, with a constrained quietness, " stop it ; 
I can't stand it much longer." 

At that Davy got up from the table, leaving his unfinished 
breakfast, and began to climb the hatchways. 

" Aw, now, look at that," said Dan with affected solemnity, 
and so saying, and not heeding the change in Ewan's manner, 
Dan got up too and followed Davy out, put an arm round the 
lad's waist, and tried to draw him back. " Don't mind the 
loblolly boys, Davy veg," he said coaxingly. Davy pushed 
him away with an angry word. 

" What's that he's after saying ? " asked Quilleash. 

" Nothin' ; he only cussed a bit," said Dan. 

" Cussed, did he ? He'd better show a leg if he don't want 
the rat's tail." 

Then Ewan rose from the table, and his eyes flashed and 
his pale face quivered. 

" I'll tell you what it is," he said in a tense, tremulous 
voice ; " there's not a man among you. You're a lot of 
skulking cowards." 

At that he was making for the deck ; but Dan, whose face, 
full of the fire of the liquor he had taken, grew in one moment 

82 



THE FIRST NIGHT WITH THE HERRINGS 

old and ugly, leapt to his feet in a tempest of wrath, over- 
turned his stool and rushed at Ewan with eyes aflame and 
uplifted hand, and suddenly, instantly, like a flash, his fist 
fell, and Ewan rolled on the floor. 

Then the men jumped up and crowded round in confusion. 
" The parzon ! the parzon ; God preserve me, the parzon ! " 

There stood Dan, with a ghastly countenance, white and 
convulsed, and there at his feet lay Ewan. 

" God A'mighty ! Mastha Dan, Mastha Dan," cried Davy. 
Before the men had found time to breathe, Davy had leapt 
back from the deck to the cockpit, and had lifted Ewan's 
head on to his knee. 

Ewan drew a long breath and opened his eyes. He was 
bleeding from a gash above the temple, having fallen among 
some refuse of iron chain. Davy, still moaning piteously, 
" Oh, Mastha Dan, God A'mighty, Mastha Dan," took a 
white handkerchief from Ewan's breast, and bound it about 
his head over the wound. The blood oozed through and 
stained the handkerchief. 

Ewan rose to his feet pale and trembling, and without 
looking at any one, steadied himself by Davy's shoulder and 
clambered weakly to the deck. There he stumbled forward, 
sat down on the coil of rope that had been his seat before, 
and buried his uncovered head in his breast. 

The sun had now risen above Contrary, and the fair young 
morning light danced over the rippling waters far and near. 
A fresh breeze blew from the land, and the boats of the fleet 
around and about scudded on before the wind like a flight of 
happy birds with outspread wings. 

The Ben-my-Chree was then rounding the head, and the 
smoke was beginning to coil up in many a slender shaft 
above the chimneys of the little town of Peel. But Ewan 
saw nothing of this ; with head on his breast, and his heart 
cold within him, he sat at the bow. 

Down below Dan was then doing his best to make himself 
believe that he was unconcerned. He whistled a little, and 
sang a little, and laughed a good deal ; but the whistle lost its 
tune, and the song stopped short, and the laugh was loud and 
empty. When he first saw Ewan lie where he fell, all the fire 
of his evil passion seemed to die away, and for the instant his 
heart seemed to choke him, and he was prompted to drop down 
and lift Ewan to his feet ; but at that moment his stubborn 

83 



THE DEEMSTER 

knees would nc^t bend, and at the next moment the angel of 
God troubled the waters of his heart no more. Then the 
iisher-fellows overcame their amazement, and began to crow, 
and to side with him, and to talk of his pluck, and what not. 
"The parzons— och, the parzons— they think they may 
ride a man down for half a word inside his gills." 

" ' Cowards ' — och, ' skulking cowards,' if you plaze — right 
sai-ved say I ! " 

Dan tramped about the cabin restlessly, and sometimes 
chuckled aloud and asked himself what did he care, and then 
laughed noisily, and sat down to smoke, and presently jumped 
up, threw the pipe into the open stove, and took the brandy 
bottle out of the locker. Where was Ewan ? What was he 
doing ? What was he looking like ? Dan would rather have 
died than humbled himself to ask ; but would none of these 
grinning boobies tell him? When Teare, the mate, came 
down from the deck, and said that sarten sure the young 
jiarzon was after sayin' his prayers up forrard, Dan's eyes 
flashed again, and he had almost lifted his hand to fell the 
sniggering waistrel. He drank half a tumbler of brandy, and 
protested afresh, though none had yet disputed it, that he 
cared nothing, not he, let them say what they liked to the 
contrary. 

In fifteen minutes from the time of the quarrel the fleet 
was running into harbour. Dan had leaped on deck just as 
the Ben-my-Chree touched the two streams outside Contrary. 
He first looked forward, and saw Ewan sitting on the cable in 
the bow with his eyes shut and his pallid face sunk deep in 
his breast. Then a strange, wild light shot into Dan's eyes, 
and he reeled aft and plucked the tiller from the hand of 
Corlett, and set it hard-a-port, and drove the boat head on 
for the narrow neck of water that flowed between the mainland 
and the island-rock on which the old castle stood. 

" Hould hard," shouted old Billy Quilleash, " there's not 
water enough for the like o' that— you'll run her on the rocks." 
Then Dan laughed wildly, and his voice rang among the 
coves and caves of the coast. 

" Here's for the harbour or — hell," he screamed, and then 
another wild peal of his mad laughter rang in the air and 
echoed from the land. 

" What's agate of the young mastha ? " the men muttered 
one to another ; and with eyes of fear they stood stock-still 

8-1 



THE HERRING BREAKFAST 

on the deck and saw themselves driven on towards the shoals 
of the little sound. 

In two minutes more they breathed freely. The Ben-my 
Chree had shot like an arrow through the belt of water and 
was putting about in the harbour. 

Dan dropped the tiller, reeled along the deck, scarcely able 
to bear himself erect, and stumbled under the hatchways. 
Old BUly brought up the boat to its moorings. 

" Come, lay down, d'ye hear .'' Where's that lad } " 

Davy was standing by the young parson. 

" You idiot waistrel, why d'ye stand prating there } I'll 
pay you, you beachcomber." 

The skipper was making for Davy, when Ewan got up, 
stepped towards him, looked him hard in the face, seemed 
about to speak, checked himself and turned away. 

Old Billy broke into a bitter little laugh, and said, "I'm right 
up and down like a yard o' pump water, that's what I am." 

The boat was now at the quay side, and Ewan leapt ashore. 
Without a word or a look more he walked away, the white 
handkerchief, clotted with blood, still about his forehead, 
and his hat carried in his hand. 

On the quay there were numbers of women with baskets 
waiting to buy the fish. Teare, the mate, and Crennel, the 
cook, counted the herrings and sold them. The rest of the 
crew stepped ashore. 

Dan went away with the rest. His face was livid in the 
soft morning simlight. He was still keeping up his brave 
outside, while the madness was growing every moment fiercer 
Avithin. As he stumbled along the paved way with an un- 
steady step his hollow laugh grated on the quiet air. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE HERRING BREAKFAST 

It was between four o'clock and five when the fleet ran into 
Peeltown harbour after the first night of the herring season, 
and towards eight the fisher-fellows, to the number of fifty at 
least, had gathered for their customary first breakfast in the 
kitchen of the " Three Legs of Man." What sport ! What 

^5 



THE DEEMSTER 

noisy laughter ! What singing and rolHcking cheers ! The 
men stood neither on the order of their coming nor their 
going, their sitting nor tlieir standing. In they trooped in 
their woollen caps or their broad sou'westers, their oilskins 
or their long sea-boots swung across their arms. They wore 
their caps or not as pleased them, they sang or talked as 
suited them, they laughed or sneezed, they sulked or snarled, 
they were noisy or silent, precisely as the whim of the in- 
dividual prescribed the individual rule of manners. Rather 
later than the rest Dan Mylrea came swinging in, with a 
loud laugh and a shout, and something like an oath, too, and 
the broad homespun on his lips. 

" Billy Quilleash — I say, Billy, there — why don't you put 
up the young mastha for the chair ? " 

"Aw, lave me alone," answered Billy Quilleash, with a 
contemptuous toss of the head. 

" Uncle Billy's proud uncommon of the mastha," whispered 
Davy Fayle, who sat meekly on a form near the door, to the 
man who sat cross-legged on the form beside him. 

" It's a bit free them chaps is making," said old Billy, in a 
confidential undertone to Dan, who was stretching himself 
out on the settle. Then rising to his feet with gravity, 
" Gen'l'men," said Quilleash, " what d'ye say now to Mistha 
Dan'l Mylrea for the elber-cheer yander ? " 

At that there was the response of loud raps on the table 
with the heels of the long boots swung over various arms, and 
with several clay pipes that lost their heads in the encoimter. 
Old Billy resumed his seat with a lofty glance of patronage at 
the men about him, Avhich said as plainly as words themselves, 
" I tould ye to lave it all to me." 

" Proud, d'ye say ? Look at him," muttered the fisherman 
sitting by Davy Fayle. 

Dan staggered up, and shouldered his way to the elbow- 
chaii- at the head of the table. He had no sooner taken his 
seat than he shouted for the breakfast, and without more ado 
the breakfast was lifted direct on to the table fi-om the pans 
and boilers that simmered on the hearth. 

First came the broth, well loaded with barley and cabbage ; 
then suet puddings ; and last of all the frying-pan was taken 
down from the wall, and four or five dozen of fresh herrings 
were made to grizzle and crackle and sputter over the fire. 

Dan ate ravenously, and laughed noisily, and talked inces- 

86 



THE HERRING BREAKFAST 

santly as he ate. The men at first caught the contagion of his 
boisterous manners, but after a time they shook their tousled 
heads and laid them together in gravity, and began to repeat in 
whispers, " What's agate of the young mastha, at all at all ? " 

Away went the dishes, away went the cloth, an oil lamp 
with its open mouth — a relic of some monkish sanctuary of 
the middle ages — was lifted from the mantelshelf and put on 
the table for the receipt of custom ; a brass censer, choked 
with spills, was placed beside it ; pipes emerged from waist- 
coat pockets, and pots of liquor, with glasses and bottles, came 
in from the outer bar. 

" Is it heavy on the liquor you're going to be, Billy ? " said 
Ned, the mate ; and old Billy replied with a superior smile 
and the lifting up of a whisky bottle, fi-om which he had just 
drawn the cork. 

Then came the toasts. The chairman arose amid hip, hip, 
hooraa ! and gave " Life to man and death to fish !" and Quil- 
leash gave " Death to the head that never wore hair ! " 

Then came more noise and more liquor, and a good deal of 
both in the vicinity of the chair. Dan struck up a song. He 
sang " Drink to me only," and the noisy company were at first 
hushed to silence and then melted to audible sobs. 

" Aw, man, the voice he has, any way ! " 

" And the loud it is, and the tender, too, and the way he 
slidders up and doAvn, and no squeaks and jumps." 

" No, no ; nothin' like squeezin' a tune out of an ould sow 
by pulling the tail at her." 

Old Billy listened to this dialogue among the fisher-fellows 
about him, and smiled loftily. " It's nothin'," he said conde- 
scendingly, " that's nothin'. You should hear him out in the 
boat, when we're lying at anchor, and me and him together, 
and the stars just makin' a peep, and the moon, and the mar- 
fire, and all to that, and me and him lying aft and smookin', 
and having a glass maybe, but nothin' to do no harm — that's 
the when you should hear him. Aw, man alive, him and me's 
same as brothers." 

" More liquor there," shouted Dan, climbing with difficulty 
to his feet. 

" Ay, look here. D'ye hear down yander } Give us a swipe 
o' them speerits. Right. More liquor for the chair ! " said 
Billy Quilleash. " And for some one besides ? — is that what 
they're saying, the loblolly boys ? Well, look here, bad cess 

87 



THE DEEMSTER 

to it, of coorse, some for me, too. It's terrible good for the 
narves, and they're telling me it's morthal good for steddyin' 
the vice. Going to sing ? Coorse, coorse. What's that from 
the elber-eheer ? Enemy, eh ? Confound it, and that's true, 
though. What's that it's sayin' .'' ' Who's fool enough to put 
the enemy into his mouth to stale away his brains ? ' Aw, 
now, it's the good ould Book that's fine at summin' it all up." 
Then there was more liquor and yet more, till the mouth 
of the monastic lamp ran over with chinking coin. Old Billy 
struck up his song. It was a doleful ditty on the loss of the 
herring fleet on one St. Matthew's Day not long before. 

" An hour before day, 

Tom Grimshaw, they say, 
To run for the port had resolved ; 

Himself and John More 

Were lost in that hour, 
And also unfortunate Kinved." 

The last three lines of each verse were repeated by the 
whole company in chorus. Doleful as the ditty might be, the 
men gave it voice with a heartiness that suggested no special 
sense of sorrow, and loud as were the voices of the fisher- 
fellows, Dan's voice was yet louder. 

" Aw, Dan, man, Dan, man alive, Dan," the men whispered 
among themselves. "What's agate of Mastha Dan.? it's 
more than's good, man, aw, yes, yes, yes." 

Still more liquor and yet more noise, and then, through 
the dense fumes of tobacco smoke, old Billy Quilleash could 
be seen struggling to his feet. " Silence ! " he shouted ; 
" aisy there ! " and he lifted up his glass. " Here's to Mistha 
Dan'l Mylrea, and if he's not going amongst the parzons, 
bad cess to them, he's going amongst the Kays, and when 
he gets to the big house at Castletown, I'm calkerlatin' it'll 
be all up with the lot o' them parzons, with their tithes and 
their censures, and their customs and their canons, and their 
regalashuns agen the countin' of the herrin', and all the 
rest of their messin'. What d'ye say, men.? 'Skulking 
cowards ? ' Coorse, and right sarved, too, as I say. And 
what's that you're grinning and winkin' at, Ned Teare ? It's 
middlin' free you're gettin' with the mastha anyhow, and if 
it wasn't for me he wouldn't bemane himself by comin' among 
the like of you, smgin' and makin' aisy. Chaps, fill up your 

88 



THE HERRING BREAKFAST 

glasses every man of you, d'ye hear? Here's to the best 
genTman in the island, bar none — Mistha Dan'l Mylrea, hip, 
hip, hooraa ! " 

The toast was responded to with alacrity, and loud shouts 
of "Dan'l Mylrea — best gen'l'man — bar none." 

But what was going on at the head of the table ? Dan 
had risen from the elbow-chair ; it was the moment for him 
to respond, but he stared wildly around, and stood there in 
silence, and his tongue seemed to cleave to his mouth. Every 
eye was now fixed on his face, and that face quivered and 
turned white. The glass he had held in his hand fell from 
his nerveless fingers and broke on the table. Laughter died 
on every lip, and the voices wei'e hushed. At last Dan 
spoke ; his words came slowly, and fell heavily on the ear. 

"Men," he said, "you have been drinking my health. 
You call me a good fellow. That's wrong. I'm the worst 
man among you. Old Billy says I'm going to the House of 
Keys. That's wrong, too. Shall I tell you where I am 
going ? Shall I tell you .'' I'm going to the devil," and then, 
amid breathless silence, he dropped back in his seat, and 
buried his head in his hands. 

No one spoke. The fair head lay on the table among 
broken pipes and the refuse of spilled liquor. There could 
be no more drinking that morning. Every man rose to his 
feet, and, picking up his waterproofs or his long sea-boots, 
one after one went shambling out. The room was dense with 
smoke ; but outside the air was light and free, and the morn- 
ing sun shone brightly, 

"Strange now, wasn't it .'' " muttered one of the fellows. 

" Strange uncommon ! " 

" He's been middlin' heavy on the liquor lately." 

" And he'd never no right to strike the young parzon, and 
him his cousin, too, and terrible fond of him, as they're 
saying." 

" Well, well, it's middlin' wicked any way." 

And so the croakers went their way. In two minutes more 
the room was empty, except for the stricken man, who lay 
there with hidden face, and Davy Fayle, who, with big tears 
glistening in his eyes, was stroking the tangled curls. 



89 



THE DEEMSTER 

CHAPTER XII 

dan's penance 

Dan rose to his feet a sobered man, and went out of the 
smoky pothouse without a word to any one, and without 
Ufting his bleared and bloodshot eyes to any face. He 
took the lane to the shore, and behind him, with downcast 
eyes, like a dog at the heels of his master, Davy Fayle 
slouched along. When they reached the shore Dan turned 
towards Orris Head, walking within a yard or two of the 
water's edge. Striding over the sands, the past of his child- 
hood came back to him with a sense of pain. He saw him- 
self flying along the beach with Ewan and Mona, shouting at 
the gull, mocking the cormorant, clambering up the rocks to 
where the long-necked bird laid her spotted eggs, and the 
sea-pink grew under the fresh grass of the corries. Under 
the head Dan sat on a rock and lifted away his cap from his 
burning forehead ; but not a breath of wind stirred his soft 
hair. 

Dan rose again with a new resolve. He knew now what 
course he must take. He would go to the Deemster, confess 
to the outrage of which he had been guilty, and submit to 
the just punisliment of the law. With quick steps he strode 
back over the beach, and Davy followed him until he turned 
up to the gates of the new Ballamona, and then the lad 
rambled away under the foot of Slieu Dhoo. Dan found the 
Deemster's house in a tumult. Hommy-beg was rushing 
here and there, and Dan called to him, but he waved his arm 
and shouted something in reply, whereof the purport was lost, 
and then disappeared. Blind Kerry was there, and when 
Dan spoke to her as she went up the stairs, he could gather 
nothing from her hurried answer except that some one was 
morthal bad, as the saying was, and in another moment she 
too had gone. Dan stood in the hall with a sense of im- 
pending disaster. What had happened ? A dread idea struck 
him at that moment like a blow on the brain. The sweat 
started from his forehead. He could bear the uncertainty 
no longei", and had set foot on the stairs to follow the blind 
woman when there was the sound of a light step descending. 

90 



DAN'S PENANCE 

In another moment he stood face to face with Mona. She 
coloured deeply, and his head fell before her. 

" Is it Ewan ? " he said, and his voice came like a hoarse 
whisper. 

" No, his wife," said Mona. 

It tm*ned out that not long after daybreak that morning the 
young wife of Ewan, who had slept with Mona, had awakened 
with a start, and the sensation of having received a heavy blow 
on the forehead. She had roused Mona and told her what 
seemed to have occurred. They had looked about and seen 
nothing that could have fallen. They had risen from bed and 
examined the room, and had found everything as it had been 
when they lay down. The door was shut and there was no hood 
above the bed. But Mona had drawn up the window blind, 
and then she had seen, clearly marked on the white forehead of 
Ewan's young wife, a little above the temple, on the spot where 
she had seemed to feel the blow, a streak of pale colour such as 
might have been made by the scratch of a thorn that had not 
torn the skin. It had been a perplexing difficulty, and the 
girls had gone back to bed, and talked of it in whispers until 
they had fallen asleep in each other's arms. When they had 
awakened again, the Deemster was rapping at their door to 
say that he had taken an early breakfast, that he was going 
off to hold his court at Ramsey, and expected to be back at 
midday. Then, half timidly, Mona had told her father of 
their strange experience, but he had bantered them on their 
folly, and they had still heard his laughter when he had 
leapt to the saddle in front of the house, and was canter- 
ing away over the gravel. Reassured by the Deemster's 
unbehef, the girls had thrown off their vague misgivings, 
and given way to good spirits. Ewan's young wife had 
said that all morning she had dreamt of her husband, and 
that her dreams had been bright and happy. They had 
gone down to breakfast, but scarcely had they been seated 
at the table before they had heard the cUck of the gate from 
the road. 

Then they had risen together, and Ewan had come up the 
path with a white bandage about his head, and with a streak 
of blood above the temple. With a sharp cry, Ewan's young 
wife had fallen to the ground insensible, and when Ewan 
himself had come into the house they had carried her back 
to bed. There she was at that moment, and from a peculiar 

91 



THE DEEMSTER 

delicacy of her health at the time, there was but too much 
reason to fear that the shock miglit have serious results. 

All this Mona told to Dan from where she stood three steps 
up the stairs, and he listened with his head held low, one 
hand i>;ripping the stair-rail, and his foot pawing the mat at 
the bottom. When she finished, there was a pause, and then 
there came from overhead a long, deep moan of pain. 

Dan lifted his face ; its sudden pallor was startling. 
" Mona," he said, in a voice that was husky in his throat, " do 
you know who struck Ewan that blow .'' " 

There was silence for a moment, and then, half in a whisper, 
half with a sob, Mona answered that she knew. It had not 
been from Ewan himself, but by one of the many tongues of 
scandal that the news had come to Ballamona. 

Dan railed at himself in bitter words, and called God to 
witness that he had been a curse to himself and every one 
about him. Mona let the torrent of his self-reproach spend 
itself, and then she said — ■ 

" Dan, you must be i*econciled to Ewan." 

" Not yet," he answered. 

"Yes, yes, I'm sure he would forgive you," said Mona, and 
she turned about as if in the act of going back to seek for Ewan. 

Dan grasped her hand firmly. " No," he said, " don't heap 
coals of fire on my head, Mona ; don't, don't." And after a 
moment, with a calmer manner, " I must see the Deemster 
first." 

Hardly had this been spoken when they heard a horse's 
hoofs on the gravel path, and the Deemster's voice calling to 
Hommy-beg as he threw the reins over the post near the 
door and entered the house. The Deemster Avas in unusual 
spirits, and slapped Dan on the back and laughed as he went 
into his room. Dan followed hiui, and Mona crept nervously 
to the open door. With head held down, Dan told what had 
occurrecl. The Deemster listened and laughed, asked further 
particulars and laughed again, threw off his riding-boots and 
leggings, looked knowingly from under his shaggy brows, and 
then laughed once more. 

"And what d'ye say you want me to do for you, Danny 
veg ? " he asked, with one side of his wrinkled face twisted 
awry. 

"To punish me, sir," said Dan. 

At that the Deemster, who was buckling his slippers, threw 

92 



DAN'S PENANCE 

himself back in his chair^ and sent a shrill peal of mocking 
laughter through the house. 

Dan was unmoved. His coimtenance did not bend as he 
said slowly, and in a low tone, " If you don't do it, sir, I shall 
never look into Ewan's face again." 

The Deemster fixed his buckles, rose to his feet, slapped 
Dan on the back, said " Go home, man veen, go home," and 
then hurried away to the kitchen, where in another moment 
his testy voice could be heard directing Hommy-beg to put 
up the saddle on the "lath." 

Mona looked into Dan's face. " Will you be reconciled 
to Ewan now ? " she said, and took both his hands and 
held them. 

"No," he answered fimnly, "I will see the Bishop." His 
eyes were dilated ; his face, that had hitherto been very 
mournful to see, was alive with a strange fire. Mona held 
his hands with a })assionate grasp. 

"Dan," she said, with a great tenderness, "this is very, 
very noble of you ; this is like our Dan, this " 

She stopped ; she trembled and glowed ; her eyes were 
close to his. 

" Don't look at me like that," he said. 

She dropped his hands, and at the next instant he was 
gone from the house. 

Dan found the Bishop at Bishop's Court, and told him all. 
The Bishop had heard the story already, but he said nothing 
of that. He knew when Dan hid his provocation and painted 
his offence at its blackest. With a grave face he listened 
while Dan accused himself, and his heart heaved within him. 

"It is a serious offence," he said; "to strike a minister is 
a grievous offence, and the Church pro\ides a censure." 

Dan held his face very low, and clasped his hands in front 
of him. 

" The censure is that on the next Sabbath morning follow- 
ing, in the presence of the congregation, you shall walk up the 
aisle of the parish church fi-om the porch to the communion be- 
hind the minister, who shall read the 51st Psalm meantime." 

The Bishop's deep tones and quiet manner concealed his 
strong emotion, and Dan went out without another word. 

This was Friday, and on the evening of the same day Ewan 
heard what had passed between Dan and the Deemster and 
between Dan and the Bishop, and with a great lump in his 

93 



THE DEEMSTER 

throat he went across to Bishop's Court to pray that the 
censure might be taken off. 

" The provocation was mine, and he is penitent," said 
Ewan ; and with heaving breast the Bisliop heard him out, 
and then shook his liead. 

" The censures of the Church were never meant to pass by 
the house of the Bishop," he said. 

" But he is too deeply abased ah'cady," said Ewan. 

" The offence was committed in public, and before the eyes 
of all men the expiation must be made." 

" But I, too, am ashamed — think of it, and remove the 
censure," said Ewan, and his voice trembled and broke. 

The Bishop gazed out at the window with blurred eyes 
that saw nothing. "Ewan," he said, "it is God's hand on 
the lad. Let it be ; let it be." 

Next day the Bishop sent his sumner round the parish, 
asking that every house might send one at least to the parish 
church next morning. 

On Sunday Ewan's young wife kept her bed ; but when 
Ewan left her for the church the shock to her nerves seemed 
in a measure to have passed away. There was still, however, 
one great disaster to fear, and Mona remained at the bedside. 

The meaning of the sumner's summons had eked out, and 
long before the hour of service the parish church was crowded. 
The riff-raff that never came to church from year's end to 
year's end, except to celebrate the Oiel Verree, were there 
with eager eyes. While Will-as-Thorn tolled the bell from the 
rope suspended in the porch there was a low buzz of gossip, 
but when the bell ceased its hoarse clangour, and Will-as- 
Thorn appeared with his pitch-pipe in the front of the gallery, 
there could be heard in the silence that followed over the 
crowded church the loud tick of the old wooden clock in front 
of him. 

Presently from the porch there came a low tremulous voice 
reading the Psalm that begins, " Have mercy upon me, O 
God, after Thy great goodness : according to the multitude of 
Thy mercies do away mine offences." 

Then the people who sat in front turned about, and those 
who sat at the side strained across, and those who sat above 
craned forward. 

Ewan was walking slowly up the aisle in his surplice, with 
his pale face and scarred forehead bent low over the book in 

94 



DAN'S PENANCE 

his hand, and close behind him, towering above him in his 
great stature, with head held down, but with a steadfast gaze, 
his hat in his hands, his step firm and resolute, Dan Mylrea 
strode along. 

There was a dead hush over the congregation. 

" Wash me throughly from my wickedness : and cleanse 
me from my sin. For I acknowledge my faults ; and my sin 
is ever before me." 

The tremulous voice rose and fell, and nothing else broke 
the silence except the uncertain step of the reader, and the 
strong tread of the penitent behind him. 

"Against Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in 
Thy sight " 

At this the tremulous voice deepened, and stopped, and 
went on and stopped again, and when the words came once 
more they came in a deep, low sob, and the reader's head fell 
into his breast. 

Not until the Psalm came to an end, and Ewan and Dan 
had reached the communion, and the vicar had begun the 
morning prayer, and Will-as-Thorn had sent out a blast from 
his pitch-pipe, was the hard tension of that moment broken. 

When the morning service ended, the Deemster rose from 
his pew and hun-ied down the aisle. As usual, he was the 
first to leave the church. The ghostly smile with which he 
had witnessed the penance that had brought tears to the eyes 
of others was still on the Deemster's lip, and a chuckle was 
in his throat when at the gate of the chui'chyard he met 
Hommy-beg, whose face was livid from a long run, and who 
stood for an instant panting for breath. 

" Well, well, well } " said the Deemster, sending the words 
like small shot into Hommy-beg's deaf ear. 

"Terrible, terrible, terrible," said Hommy-beg, and he 
lifted his hands. 

" What is it > What } What .? " 

" The young woman-body is dead in child-bed." 

Then the ghostly smile fled from the Deemster's face. 



95 



THE DEEMSTER 
CHAPTER XTII 

HOW EWAN MOURNED FOR MIS WIFE 

What passed at the new Ballamona on that morning of Dan's 
penance was very pitiful. There in the death-cliamber, already 
darkened, lay Ewan's young wife, her eyes lightly closed, her 
girlish features composed, and a faint tinge of colour in her 
cheeks. Her breast was half open, and her beautiful head 
lay in a pillow of her soft brown hair. One round arm was 
stretched over the counterpane, and the delicate fingers were 
curved inwards until the thumb-nail, like an acorn, rested on 
the inner rim of a ring. Quiet, peaceful, very sweet and 
tender, she lay there like one who slept. After a short, shai-p 
pang she had died gently, without a struggle, almost without 
a sigh, merely closing her eyes as one who was weaiy, and 
drawing a long, deep breath. In dying she had given pre- 
mature birth to a child, a girl, and the infant was alive, and 
was taken from the mother at the moment of death. 

When the Deemster entered the room with a face of great 
pallor and eyes of fear, Mona was standing by the bed-head 
gazing dowTi, but seeing nothing. The Deemster felt the pulse 
of the arm over the counterpane with fingers that trembled 
visibly. Then he shot away from the room, and was no more 
seen that day. The vicar, the child-wife's fathei*, came with 
panting breath and stood by the bedside for a moment, and 
then turned aside in silence. Ewan came, too, and behind him 
Dan walked to the door and there stopped, and let Ewan enter 
the chamber of his great sorroAV alone. Not a word was said 
until Ewan went down on his knees by the side of his wife, 
and put his arms about her, and kissed her lips, still warm, 
with his own far colder lips, and called to her softly by her 
name, as though she slept gently, and must not be awakened 
too harshly, and drew her to his breast, and called again in a 
tenderer tone that brushed the upturned face like a caress — 

" Aileen ! Aileen ! Aileen ! " 

Mona covered her eyes in her hands, and Dan, where he 
stood at the door, turned his head away. 

" Aileen ! Ailee ! Ailee ! My Ailee ! " 

The voice went like a whisper and a kiss into the deaf ear, 

96 



HOW EWAN MOURNED FOR HIS WIFE 

and only one other sound was heard, and that was the faint 
cry of an infant from a room below. 

Ewan raised his head and seemed to listen ; he paused and 
looked at the faint colour in the quiet cheeks ; he put his 
hand lightly on the heart, and looked long at the breast that 
did not heave. Then he drew his arms very slowly away, and 
rose to his feet. 

For a moment he stood as one dazed, like a man whose 
brain is benumbed, and with the vacant light still in his eyes 
he touched Mona on the arm and drew her hand from her 
eyes, and he said, as one who tells you something that you 
could not think, " She is dead ! " 

Mona looked up into his face, and at sight of it the tears 
rained down her own. Dan had stepped into the room 
noiselessly, and came behind Ewan, and when Ewan felt his 
presence, he turned to Dan with the same vacant look, and 
repeated in the same empty tone, " She is dead ! " 

And never a tear came into Ewan's eyes to soften their 
look of dull torpor ; never again did he stretch out his arms 
to the silent foi-m beneath him ; only with dazed, dry eyes, he 
looked down, and said once more, " She is dead ! " 

Dan could bear up no longer ; his heart was choking, and 
he went out without a word. 

It was the dread silence of feeling that was frozen, but the 
thaw came in its time. They laid out the body of the young 
wife in the darkened room, and Ewan went away and rambled 
over the house all day long, and when night fell in, and the 
lighted candles were set m the death-chamber, and all in 
Ballamona were going off to bed, Ewan was still rambling 
aimlessly from room to room. He was very quiet, and he 
spoke little, and did not Aveep at all. In the middle of that 
night the Deemster opened his bedroom door and listened, 
and Ewan's step was still passing from room to room, and 
Mona heard the same restless footfall in every break of her 
fitful sleep. But later on, in the dark hour that comes before 
day, the Deemster opened his door and listened again, and then 
all was (juiet in the house. " He has gone to bed at last," 
thought the Deemster ; but in the eai'ly morning as he passed 
by Ewan's room he found the door open, and saw that the bed 
had not been slept in. 

The second day went by like the first, and the next night 
like the former one, and again in the dead of night the 

97 a 



THE DEEMSTER 

Deemster opened his door and heard Ewan's step. Once 
more in the dark hour that goes before the day he opened 
his door and listened again, and all was quiet as before. 
" Surely he is in bed now/' thought the Deemster. He was 
turning back into his own room when he felt a sudden im- 
pulse to go to Eiwan's room first and see if it was as he supposed. 
He went, and the door was open and Ewan was not there, and 
again the bed had not been slept in. 

The Deemster crept back on tiptoe, and a gruesome feeling 
took hold of him. He could not lie, and no sleep had come 
near his wakeful eyes, so he waited and listened for that un- 
quiet beat of restless feet, but the sound did not come. Then, 
as the day was breaking over the top of Slieu Dhoo, and all 
the Curraghs around lay veiled in mist, and far away to the 
west a deep line stretched across where the dark sea lay with 
the lightening sky above it, the Deemster opened his door 
yet again, and went along the corridor steadily until he came 
to the door of the room where the body was. " Perhaps 
he is sitting with her," he thought with awe, and he turned 
the handle. But when the door swung open the Deemster 
paused ; a faint sound broke the silence ; it was a soft and 
measured breathing from Avithin. Quivering with dread, the 
Deemster stepped into the death-chainber, and his liead 
turned rigidly towards the bed. There, in the gloom of the 
dawn that came over the light of the last candle that flickered 
in its socket, Ewan lay outstretched by the side of the white, 
upturned face of his dead wife, and his hand lay on her hand, 
and he was in a deep sleep. 

To the Deemster it was as if a spiiit had passed before his 
face, and the hair of his flesh stood up. 

They buried Ewan's young wife side by side with his 
mother under the elder-tree (now thick with clusters of the 
green berry) by the wall of the churchyard that stood over 
by the sea. The morning was fine, but the sun shone dimly 
through a crust of hot air that gathered and slumbered and 
caked above. Ewan passed through all without a word, or 
a sigh, or a tear. But when the company returned to the 
Deemster's house, and Mona spoke to Ewan and he answered 
her without any show of feeling, and Dan told him of his 
own remorse and accused himself of every disaster, and still 
Ewan gave no sign, but went in and out among them all with 
the vacant light in his eyes, then the Bishop whispered to 

98 



WRESTLING WITH FATE 

Mona, and she went out and presently came again, and in 
her arms was the infant in its white Hnen clothes. 

The sun was now hidden by the heavy cloud overhead, and 
against the window-panes at that moment there was a light 
pattering of raindrops. Ewan had watched with his vacant 
gaze when Mona went out, but when she came again a new 
light seemed to come into his eyes, and he stepped up to 
her and looked down at the little face that was sleeping 
softly against her breast. Then he put out his arms to take 
the child, and Mona passed it to him, and he held it, and sat 
down Avith it, and all at once the tears came into his dry eyes 
and he wept aloud. 



CHAPTER XIV 

WRESTLING WITH FATE 

So far as concerned the Deemster, this death of Ewan's wife 
was the beginning of the end. Had she not died under the 
roof of the new Ballamona ? Was it not by the strangest of 
accidents that she had died there, and not in her own home ? 
Had she not died in childbed ? Did not everything attend- 
ing her death suggest the force of an irresistible fate ? More 
than twenty years ago the woman Kerruish, the mother of 
Mally KeiTuish, had cursed this house, and said that no life 
would come to it but death would come with it. 

And for more than twenty years the Deemster had done 
his best to laugh at the prediction and to forget it. Who 
was he that he should be the victim of fear at the sneezing 
of an old woman .'' What was he that he should not be 
master of his fate ? But what had occuiTed .'' For more than 
twenty years one disturbing and distinct idea had engrossed 
him. In all his waking hours it exasperated him, and even 
in his hours of sleep it lay heavy at the back of his brain as a 
dull feeling of dread. On the bench, in the saddle, at table, 
alone by the winter's fire, alone in summer walks, the 
obstinate idea was always there. And nothing but death 
seemed likely to shake it off. 

. Often he laughed at it, in his long, lingering, nervous 
laugh ; but it was a chain that was slowly tightening about 
him. Everything was being fulfilled. First came the death 

99 



THE DEEMSTER 

of liis wife at the birth of Monu, and now, after an interval of 
twenty years, the deatli of his son's wife at the birth of her 
child. In that stretch of time lie had become in his own 
view a childless man ; his hopes had been thwarted in the 
son on whom alone his hopes had been built ; the house he 
had founded was but an echoing vault ; the fortune he had 
reai'ed, an empty bubble. He was accursed ; God had heard 
the woman's voice ; he looked too steadily at the facts to 
mistake them, and let the incredulous fools laugh if they 
liked. 

When, twenty years before, the Deemster realised that he 
was the slave of one tyrannical idea, he tried to break the 
fate that hung over him. He bought up the cottage on the 
Brew, and turned the woman Kerruish into the roads. Then 
he put his foot on every sign of superstitious belief that came 
in his way as judge. 

But not with such brave shows of unbelief could he conquer 
his one disturbing idea. His nature had never been kindly, 
but now there grew upon him an obstinate hatred of every- 
body. This was in the days when his children, Ewan and 
Mona, lived in the cosy nest at Bishop's Court. If in these 
days any man mentioned the Kerruishes in the Deem.ster's 
presence, he showed irritation, but he kept his ears open for 
every syllable said about them. He knew all their history ; 
he knew when the girl Mally fled away from the island on 
the day of Ewan's christening ; he knew by what boat she 
sailed ; he knew where she settled herself in England ; he 
knew when her child was born, and when, in terror at the 
unfulfilled censui*e of the Church that hung over her (separat- 
ing her from all communion with God's people in life or hope 
of redeinption in death), she came back to the island, drawn 
by an irresistible idea, her child at her breast, to work out 
her penance on the scene of her shame. 

Thereafter he watched her daily, and knew her life. She 
had been taken back to work at the net-looms of Kinvig, the 
Peeltown netmaker, and she lived with her mother at the 
cottage over the Head, and there in poverty she brought up 
her child, her boy, Jarvis Kerruish, as she had called him. 
If any pointed at her and laughed witli cruelty ; if any 
pretended to sympathise with her and said, with a snigger, 
" The first error is always forgiven, Mally woman ; " if any 
mentioned the Deemster himself, and said, with a wink, " I'm 

100 



WRESTLING WITH FATE 

thinking it temble strange, Mally, that you don't take a slue 
round and put a sight on him ; " if any said to her when she 
bought a new garment out of her scant earnings, a gown or 
even a scarf or bit of bright ribbon such as she loved in the 
old days, " Dearee dear ! I thought you wouldn't take rest, 
but be up and put a sight on the ould crooky " — the Deemster 
knew it all. He saw the ruddy, audacious girl of twenty sink 
into the pallid slattern of thirty, without hope, without joy in 
life, and with only a single tie. 

And the Deemster found that there grew upon him daily 
his old malicious feeling ; but, so far as concerned his outer 
bearing, matters took a turn on the day he came upon the 
boys, Dan Mylrea and Jarvis Kerruish, fighting in the road. 
It was the first time he had seen the boy Jarvis. " Who is 
he .'' " he had asked, and the old woman Kerruish had made 
answer, " Don't you know him, Deemster } Do you never see 
a face like that .'' Not when you look in the glass .'' " 

There was no need to look twice into a mirror like the face 
of that lad to knoAv whose son he was. 

The Deemster went home to Ballamona, and thought over 
the fierce encounter. He could tolerate no longer the living 
reproach of this boy's presence within a few miles of his own 
house, and, by an impulse no better than humbled pride, he 
went back to the cottage of the Kcrruishes at night, alone 
and afoot. The cottage was a lone place on the top of a bare 
heath, with the bleak sea in front and the purple hills behind, 
and with a fenceless cart-track leading up to it. A lead-mine, 
known as the Cross Vein, had been worked there forty years 
before. The shaft was still open, and now full of dark, foul 
water almost to the surface. One roofless wall showed where 
the gear had stood, and under the shelter of this wall there 
crouched a low thatched tool-shed, having a door and a small 
window. This was the cottage ; and until old Mrs. Kerruish 
had brought there her few rickety sticks when, by the 
Deemster's orders, they had been thrown into the road, none 
had ever occupied the tool-shed as a house. 

The door was open, and the Deemster stepped in. One of 
the women, old Mrs. Kerruish, was sitting on a stool by the 
fire — it was a fire of sputtering hazel sticks — shredding some 
scraps of green vegetables into a pot of broth that swung 
from the iron hook of the chimney. The other woman, Mally, 
was doing something in the dai-k crib of a sleeping-room, shut 

101 



THE DEEMSTER 

off from the living room by a wooden partition like the 
stanchion-board of a stable. The boy was asleep ; his soft 
breathing came from the dark crib. 

" Mrs. Kerriiish," said the Deemster, " I am willing to take 
the lad, and i-car him, and when the time comes to set him to 
business, and give him a start in life." 

Mrs. Kerriiish had risen stiffly from her stool, and her face 
was set hard. 

" Think of it, woman, think of it, and don't answer in 
haste," said the Deemster. 

" We'd have to be despard hard put to for a bite and a sup 
before we'd take anything from you. Deemster," said the old 
woman. 

The Deemster's quick eyes, under the shaggy grey brows, 
glanced about the room. It was a place of poverty, descend- 
ing to squalor. The floor was of the bare earth trodden hard, 
the roof was of the bare thatch, with here and thei'e a lath 
pushed between the unhewn spars to keep it up, and here 
and there a broken patch dropping hay-seed. 

"You are desperate hai'd put to, woman," said tlie Deem- 
ster, and at that Mally herself came out of the sleeping-crib. 
Her face was thin and pale, and her bleared eyes had lost their 
sharp light ; it was a countenance without one ray of hope. 

" Stop, mother," she said ; " let us hear what the Deemster 
has to offer." 

" Offer .f^ Offer.''" the old woman rapped out. "You've 
had enough of the Deemster's offers, I'm thinking." 

" Be quiet, mother," said Mally ; and then she turned to 
the Deemster and said, " Well, sir, and what is it } " 

"Aw, very nate and amazing civil to dirks like that — go 
on, girl, go on," said the old woman, tossing her head and 
hand in anger towards Mally. 

" Mother, this is my concern, I'm thinking — what is it, sir.'' " 

But the old woman's wrath at her daughter's patience was 
not to be kept down. " Behold ye ! " she said, " it's my own 
girl that's after telling me before strangers that I've not a 
farthing at me, and me good for nothing at working, and only 
fit to hobble about on a stick, and fix the house tidy maybe, 
and to have no say in nothing — go on, och, go on, girl." 

The Deemster explained his proposal. It was that the boy 
Jarvis should be given entirely into his control, and be no more 
known by his mother and his mother's mothei', and perhaps no 

102 



WRESTLING WITH FATE 

more seen or claimed or acknowledged by them, and that the 
Deemster should provide for him and see him started in life. 

Mrs. Kerruish's impatience knew no bounds. " My gough ! " 
she cried, " my gough, my gough ! " But Mally listened 
and reflected. Her spirit was broken, and she was think- 
ing of her poverty. Her mother was now laid aside by rheu- 
matism, and could earn nothing, and she herself worked 
piecework at the net-making — so much for a piece of net a 
hundred yards long by two hundred meshes deep — toiling 
without heart from eight to eight, and earning four, five, and 
six shillings a week. And if there was a want, her boy felt it. 
She did not answer at once, and after a moment the Deemster 
turned to the door. " Think of it," he said ; " think of it." 

" Hurroo ! hurroo ! " cried the old woman derisively from 
her stool, her untamable soul aflame with indignation. 

" Be quiet, mother," said Mally, and the hopelessness that 
had spoken from her eyes seemed then to find a Avay into 
her voice. 

The end of it was that Jarvis Kerruish was sent to a school 
at Liveipool, and remained there three years, and then be- 
came a clerk in the counting-house of Benas Brothers, of the 
Goree Piazza, ostensibly African merchants, really English 
money-lenders. Jarvis did not fret at the loss of his mother, 
and of course he never wrote to her ; but he addressed a care- 
ful letter to the Deemster twice a year, beginning " Honoured 
sir," and ending " Yours, with much respect, most obedienth " 

Mally had miscalculated her self-command. If she had 
thought of her poverty, it had been because she had thought 
of her boy as well. He would be lifted above it all if she could 
but bring herself to part with him. She wrought up her feel- 
ings to the sacrifice, and gave away her son, and sat down as 
a broken-spirited and childless woman. Then she realised the 
price she had to pay. The boy had been the cause of her 
shame, but he had been the centre of her pride as well. If she 
had been a hopeless woman before, she was now a heartless one. 
Little by little she fell into habits of idleness and intemperance. 
Before young Jarvis sat in his frilled shirt on the stool in the 
Goree Piazza, and before the down had begun to show on his 
lean cheeks, his mother was a lost and abandoned woman. 

But not yet had the Deemster broken his fate. When 
Ewan disappointed his hopes and went into the Church and 
married without his sanction or knowledge, it seemed to him 

103 



THE DEEMSTER 

that the chain was sjradually tighteninpf about him. Then the 
Deemster went over once more to the cottage at the Cross 
Vein alone, and in the night. 

" Mrs. Kerruish," he said, " I am wilhng to allow you six 
pounds a year pension, and I will jiay it in three pound-notes 
on Lady Day and Martinmas," and putting his first payment 
on the table, he turned about, and was gone before the rheu- 
matic old body could twist in her chair. 

The Deemster had just made his third visit to the cottage 
at the Cross Vein, and left his second payment, when the death 
of Ewan's young wife came as a thunderbolt and startled him 
to the soul. For days and nights thereafter he went about like 
a beaten horse, trembling to the very bone. He had resisted 
the truth for twenty years ; he had laughed at it in his long 
lingering laughatgoing tobed at nightandat risinginthe morn- 
ing ; he had ridiculed superstition in others, and punished it 
when he could ; he was the judge of the island, and she through 
whose mouth his fate fell upon him was a miserable ruin cast 
aside on life's highway ; but the truth would be resisted no 
longer : the house over his head was accursed — accursed to 
him, and to his children, and to his children's chikh'en. 

The Deemster's engrossing idea became a dominating terror. 
Was there no way left to him to break the fate that hung over 
him .'' None ? The Deemster revolved the problem night and 
day, and meantime lived the life of the damned. At length 
he hit on a plan, and then peace seemed to come to him, a 
poor paltering show of peace, and he went about no longer like 
a beaten and broken horse. His pi-oject was a strange one ; 
it was the last that prudence would have suggested, but the 
first that the evil spirit of his destiny could have hoped for — 
it was to send to Liverpool for Jarvis Kerruish, and establish 
him in Ballamona as his son. 

In that project the hand of his fate was strongly upon him ; 
he could not resist it ; he seemed to yield himself to its 
power ; he made himself its willing victim ; he was even as 
Saul, when the Spirit of the Lord had gone from him and 
an evil spirit troubled him, sending for the anointed son of 
Jesse to play on the harp to him and to supplant him on the 
throne. 



104 



THE LIE THAT EWAN TOLD 
CHAPTER XV 

THE LIE THAT EWAN TOLD 

It was not for long that Dan bore the signs of contrition. As 
soon as Ewan's pale face had lost the weight of its gloom, 
Dan's curly poll knew no more of trouble. He followed the 
hen-ings all through that season, grew brown with the sun and 
the briny air, and caught the sea's laughter in his rollicking 
voice. He drifted into some bad habits from which he had 
hitherto held himself in check. Every morning when the 
boats ran into harbour, and Teare, the mate, and Crennel, 
the cook, stayed behind to sell the fish, Dan and old Billy 
Quilleash trooped up to the "Three Legs of Man" together. 
There Dan was made much of, and the lad's spirit was not 
proof against the poor flattery. It was Mastha Dan here, and 
Mastha Dan there, and Where is Mastha Dan ? and What 
does Mastha Dan say ? and great shoutings, and tearings, and 
sprees ; and all the time the old cat Avith the whiskers who 
kept the pothouse was scoring up against Dan at the back of 
the cupboard door. 

Did the Bishop know ? Know ? Did ever a young fellow 
go to the dogs but some old woman of either sex found her 
way to the very ear that ought not to be tormented with Job's 
comfort, and whisper, " Aw, dear ! aw, dear ! " and " Lawk-a- 
day ! " and " I'm the last to bring bad newses, as the saying 
is," and " Och, and it's a pity, and him a fine, brave young 
fellow too ! " and " I wouldn't have told it on no account to 
another living soul ! " 

The Bishop said little, and tried not to hear ; but when 
Dan would have hoodwinked him, he saw through the device 
as the sun sees through glass. Dan never left his father's 
presence without a sense of shame that was harder to bear 
than any reproach would have been. Something patient and 
trustful, and strong in hope, and stronger in love seemed to 
go out from the Bishop's silence to Dan's reticence. Dan 
would slink off with the bearing of a whipped hound, or, per- 
haps, with a muttered curse under his teeth, and always with 
a stern resolve to pitch himself or his ci'onies straightway into 
the sea. The tragical purpose usually lasted him over the 

105 



THE DEEMSTER 

short mile and a half that divick'd Bishop's Court from the 
"Three Legs of Man," and then it went down with some 
other troubles and a long pint of Manx jough. 

Of all men, the most promjit to keep the Bishop informed 
of Dan's sad pranks was no other than the Deemster. Since 
the death of Ewan's wife the Deemster's feelings towards Dan 
had undergone a complete change. From that time forward 
he looked on Dan with eyes of distrust, amounting in its in- 
tensity to hatred. He forebade him his house, though Dan 
laughed at the prohibition and ignored it. He also went 
across to Bishoj)'s Court for the first time for ten years, and 
poured into the Bishop's ears the story of every bad bit of 
business in which Dan got involved. Dan kept him fully 
employed in this regard, and Bishop's Court saw the Deemster 
at I'requent intervals. 

If it was degrading to the Bishop's place as father of the 
Church that his son should consort with all the " raggabash " 
of the island, the scum of the land, and the dirtiest froth of 
the sea, the Bishop was made to know the full bitterness of 
that degradation. He would listen with head held down, and 
when the Deemster, passing from remonstrance to reproach, 
would call upon him to set his own house in order before 
he ever ascended the pulpit again, the Bishop would lift his 
great heavy eyes with an agonised look of appeal, and answer 
in a voice like a sob, " Have patience, Thorkell, have patience 
with the lad ; he is my son, my only son." 

It chanced that towards the end of the herring season an 
old man of eighty, one William Callow, died, and he was the 
captain of the parish of Michael. The captaincy was a semi- 
civil, semi-military office, and it included the functions of 
parish head-constable. Callow had been a man of extreme 
probity, and his walk in life had been without a slip. "The 
ould man's left no living craythur to fill his shoes," the people 
said when they buried him ; but when the name of the old 
man's successor came down from Castletown, who should 
be the new captain but Daniel Mylrea ? The people were 
amazed, the Deemster laughed in his throat, and Dan him- 
self looked appalled. 

Hardly a month after this event, the relations of Dan and 
the Deemster, and Dan and the Bishop, reached a climax. 

For months past the Bishop had been hatching a scheme 
for the subdivision of his episcopal glebe, the large extent of 

106 



THE LIE THAT EWAN TOLD 

which had long been a burden on the dwindling energies of 
his advancing age ; and he had determined that, since his son 
was not to be a minister of the Church, he should be its tenant, 
and farm its lands. So he cut off from the demesne a fai-m of 
eighty acres of fine Curragh land, well drained and tilled. 
This would be a stay and a solid source of livelihood to Dan 
Avhen the hemng fishing had ceased to be a pastime. There 
was no farm-house on the eighty acres, but barns and stables 
were to be erected, and Dan was to share with Ewan the old 
Ballamona as a home. 

Dan witnessed these preparations, but entered into them 
Avith only a moderate enthusiasm. The reason of his luke- 
warmness Avas that he found himself deeply involved in debts 
whereof his father Icnew nothing. When the fishing season 
finished and the calculations were made, it was found that 
the boat had earned no more than £^iO. Of this old Billy 
Quilleash took four shares, every man took two shares, there 
was a share set aside for Davy, the boy, and the owner was 
entitled to eight shares for himself, his nets, and his boat. 
So far all was reasonably satisfactory. The difficulty and dis- 
satisfaction arose w^hen Dan began to count the treasuiy. 
Then it was discovered that there Avas not enough in hand 
to pay old Billy and his men and the boy, leaving Dan's 
eight shares out of the count. 

Dan scratched his head and pondered. He was not bril- 
liant at figures, but he totted up his numbers again with the 
same result. Then lie computed the provisioning — tea, at 
four shillings a pound, besides fresh meat four times a week, 
and fine flour biscuits. It was heavy but not ruinous, and the 
season had been poor but not bad, and, whatever the net 
results, there ought not to have been a deficit where the 
principle of co-operation between master and man was that 
of share and share. 

Dan began to see his way through the mystery— it was 
most painfully transparent in the light of the score that had 
been chalked up from time to time on the inside of the cup- 
board of the "Three Legs of Man." But it was easier to 
see where the money had gone than to make it up, and old 
Billy and his chums began to mutter and to grumble. 

" It's raely wuss till ever," said one. 

"The tack we've been on hasn't been worth workin'/' 
said another. 

107 



THE DEEMSTER 

Dan heard tlicir munnurs, and went up to Bishop's Court. 
After all, the deficit was only forty pounds, and his father 
would lend him that much. But hardly had Dan sat down 
to breakfast than tlie Bishop, who was clearly in lower spirits 
than usual, be<ran to lament that his charities to the poor had 
been interrupted by the cost of buildin<]f the barns and stables 
on the farm intended for his son. 

" I hope your fishing will turn out well, Dan," he said, " for 
I've scarce a })ound in hand to start you." 

So Dan said nothing about the debt, and went back to the 
fisher-fellows with a face as long as a haddock's. " I'll tell 
you, men, the storm is coming," he said. 

Old Billy looked as black as thunder, and answered with 
an impatient gesture, " Then keep your weather eye liftin', 
that's all." 

Dan measured the old salt from head to foot, and hitched 
his hand into his guernsey. " You wouldn't talk to me like 
that, Billy Quilleash, if I hadn't been a fool with you. It's 
a true saying, that when you tell your servant your secret you 
make him your master." 

Old Billy sniggered, and his men snorted. Billy wanted 
to know why he had left Kinvig's boat, where he had a sure 
thirty pounds for his season ; and Ned Teare wished to be 
told what his missus would say when he took her five pound 
ten ; and Crennel, the slushy, asked what sort of a season the 
mastha was afther callin' it, at all, at all. 

Not a man of them remembered his share of the long scores 
chalked up on the inside of the cupboard door. 

" Poor old dad," thought Dan, " he must find the money 
after all — no way but that," and once again he turned towards 
Bishop's Court. 

Billy Quilleash saw him going off, and followed him. 
" I've somethin' terrible fine up here," said Billy, tapping his 
forehead mysteriously. 

" What is it .'' " Dan asked. 

" Och, a shockin' powerful schame. It'll get you out of 
the shoal water anyways," said Billy. 

It turned out that the " shockin' powerful schame " was the 
ancient device of borrowing the money from a money-lender. 
Old Billy knew the very man to serve the turn. His name 
was Kisseck, and he kept the "Jolly Herrings " in Peeltown, 
near the bottom of the ci'abbed little thoroughfare that 

108 



THE LIE THAT EWAN TOLD 

wound and twisted and descended to that part of the quay 
which overlooked the castle rock. 

'' No, no ; that'll not do/' said Dan. 

" Aw, and why not at all ? " 

"Why not.^ Why not.? Because it's blank robbery to 
borrow what you can't pay back." 

" Robbery .'' Now, what's the use of sayin' the like o' 
that ? Aw, the shockin' notions ! Well, well, and do you 
raely think a person's got no feelin's ? Robbery ? Aw, well 
now, well now." 

And old Billy tramped along with the air of an injured man. 

But the end of it was that Dan said nothing to the Bishop 
that day, and the same night found him at the "Jolly 
Herrings." The landlord had nothing to lend, not he, but he 
knew people who would not mind parting with money on 
good security, or on anybody's bail, as the sayin' was. Couldn't 
Mastha Dan get a good man's name to a bit o' paper, like .? 
Coorse he could, and nothing easier, for a gentl'man same 
as him. Who was the people .? They belonged to Liverpool, 
the Goree Peaizy — Benas they were callin' them. 

Three days afterwards the forty pounds, made up to fifty 
for round numbers, came to Kisseck, the landlord, and the 
bit o' paper came with it. Dan took the paper and went off 
with it to the old Ballamona. Ewan would go bail for him, 
and so the Bishop need knoAv nothing of the muddle. But 
when Dan reached his new home Ewan was away — a poor 
old Quaker named Christian, who had brought himself to 
beggary by neglecting Solomon's injunction against surety- 
ship, was dying, and had sent for the parson. 

Dan was in a hurry ; the fisher-fellows were grumbling, and 
their wives were hanging close about their coat-tails ; the 
money must be got without delay, and of course Ewan would 
sign for it straight away if he were there. An idea struck 
Dan, and made the sweat to start from his forehead. He had 
put the paper on the table and taken up a pen when he 
heard Ewan's voice outside, and then he threw the pen down, 
and his heart leapt with a sense of relief 

Ewan came in, and rattled on about old Christian, the 
Quaker. He hadn't a week to live, j)oor old soul, and he 
hadn't a shilling left in the world. Once he farmed his 
hundred acres, but he had stood surety for this man and 
surety for that man, and paid up the defalcations of both, 

109 



THE DEEMSTER 

and now, while they were eating the bread of hixury, he was 
dying as a homeless pauper. 

" Well, he has been practising a bad virtue/' said Ewan. 
" I wouldn't stand surety for my own brother — not for my 
own brother if I had one. It would be helping him to eat 
to-day the bread he earns to-morrow." 

Dan went out without saying anything of the bit of paper 
from Liverpool. The fisher-fellows met him, and when they 
heard what he had to say their grumblings broke out again. 

" Well, I'm oft' for the Bishop, and no disrespee'," said old 
Billy. 

He did not go ; the bit o' paper was signed, but not by 
Ewan ; the money was paid ; the grateful sea-dogs were sent 
home with their wages in their pockets and a smart cuff" on 
either ear. 

A month or two went by, and Dan grew quiet and thought- 
ful, and sometimes gloomy, and people began to say, " It's 
none so wild the young mastha is at all at all," or perhaps, 
" Wondei'ful studdy he's growing," or even, " I wouldn't trust 
but he'll turn out a parson after all." One day in November 
Dan went over to new Ballamona and asked for Mona, and 
sat with her in earnest talk. He told her of some impending 
disaster, and she listened with a whitening face. 

From that day forward Mona was a changed woman. She 
seemed to share some great burden of fear with Dan, and it 
lay heavy upon her, and made the way of life very long and 
cheerless to the sweet and silent girl. 

Towards the beginning of December sundry letters came out 
of their season from the young clerk of Benas Brothers, Jarvis 
Kerruish. Then the Deemster went over moi*e than once to 
Bishop's Court, and had gi'ave interviews with the Bishop. 

" If you can prove this that you say, Thorkell, I shall turn 
my back on him for ever — yes, for ever," said the Bishop, and 
his voice was husky and his sad face was seamed with lines 
of pain. 

A few days passed and a stranger appeared at Ballamona, 
and when the stranger had gone the Deemster said to Mona, 
" Be ready to go to Bishop's Court with me in the morning." 

Mona's breath seemed to be suddenly arrested. "Will 
Ewan be there .'' " she asked. 

" Yes ; isn't it the day of his week-day service at the chapel 
— Wednesday — isn't it ? " 

110 



THE LIE THAT EWAN TOLD 

« 

" And Dan ? " she said. 

" Dan ? Why Dan ? Well, woman, perhaps Dan too — who 
knows ? " 

The Bishop had sent across to the old Ballamona to say 
that he wished to see his son in the library after service on 
the folloAving morning. 

At twelve next day, Dan, who had been ploughing, turned 
in at Bishop's Court in his long boots and rough red shirt, and 
there in the library he found Mona and the Deemster seated. 
Mona did not speak when Dan spoke to her. Her voice 
seemed to fail ; but the Deemster answered in a jaunty Avord 
or two ; and then the Bishop, looking very thoughtful, came 
in with Ewan, whose eyes were brighter than they had been 
for many a day, and behind them walked the stranger whom 
Mona had seen at Ballamona the day before. 

" AVhy, and how's this ? " said Ewan, on perceiving that so 
many of them were gathered there. 

The Bishop closed the door, and then answered with 
averted face, " We have a painful interview before us, Ewan 
— be seated." 

It was a dark day ; the clouds hung low, and the dull 
rumble of the sea came through the dead air. A fire of logs 
and peat burned on the hearth, and the Deemster rose and 
stood with his back to it, his hands interlaced behind him. 
The Bishop sat in his brass-clamped chair at the table, and 
rested his pale cheek on his hand. There was a pause, and 
then, without lifting his eyes, the Bishop said, " Ewan, do you 
know that it is contrary to the customs of the Church for a 
minister to stand security for a debtor ? " 

Ewan was standing by the table fumbling the covers of a 
book that he had lifted. " I know it," he said quietly. 

" Do you know that the minister who disregards that 
custom stands liable to suspension at the hands of his 
Bishop }" 

Ewan looked about with a stare of bewilderment, but he 
answered agam and as quietly, " I know it." 

There was silence for a moment, and then the Deemster, 
clearing his throat noisily, turned to where Dan was pawing 
up a rug that lay under a column and bust of Bunyan. 

" And do you know, sir," said the Deemster in his shrill 
tones, " what the punishment of forgery may be ? " 

Dan's face had undergone some changes during the last 
111 



THE DEEMSTER 

few minutes, but when he Hfted it to the Deemster's it was 
as firm as a rock. 

" Hannjing, perhaps/' he answered sullenly ; " transporta- 
tion, perhaps. What of it .^ Out with it — be quick." 

Dan's eyes flashed ; the Deemster tittei'ed audibly ; the 
Bishop looked up at his son from under the rims of his 
spectacles and drew a lon<^ breath. Mona had covered her 
face in her hands where she sat in silence by the ingle, and 
Ewan, still fumbling the book in his nervous fingers, was 
glancing from Dan to the Deemster, and from the I3ishop to 
Dan, with a look of blank amazement. 

The Deemster motioned to the stranger, who thereupon 
advanced from where he had stood by the door, and stepped 
up to Ewan. 

" May I ask if this document was drawn by your authority .'' " 
and saying this the stranger held out a paper, and Ewan took 
it in his listless fingers. 

There was a moment's silence. Ewan glanced down at the 
document. It showed that fifty pounds had been lent to 
Daniel Mylrea, by Benas Brothers, of the Goree Piazza, Liver- 
pool, and it was signed by Ewan's own name as that of surety. 

" Is that your signature ? " asked the stranger. 

Ewan glanced at Dan, and Dan's head was on his breast and 
his lips quivered. The Bishop was trembling visibly, and sat 
with head bent low by the sorrow of a wrecked and shattered 
hope. 

The stranger looked from Ewan to Dan, and from Dan to 
the Bishop. The Deemster gazed steadily before him, and 
his face wore a ghostly smile. 

" Is it your signature .'' " repeated the stranger, and his words 
fell on the silence like the clank of a chain. 

Ewan saw it all now. He glanced again at the document, 
but his eyes were dim, and he could read nothing. Then he 
lifted his face, and its lines of agony told of a terrible struggle. 

"Yes," he answered, "the signature is mine — what of it.''" 

At that the Bishop and Mona raised their eyes together. 
The stranger looked incredulous. 

" It is quite right if you say so," the stranger replied, with 
a cold smile. 

Ewan trembled in every limb. " I do say so," he said. 

His fingers crumpled the document as he spoke, but his 
head was erect, and the truth seemed to sit on his lips. Dan 

X12 



THE LIE THAT EWAN TOLD 

dropped heavily into a chair and buried his face in his 
hands. 

The stranger smiled again the same cold smile. " The 
lenders Avish to withdraw the loan," he said. 

"Thej' may do so — in a month," said Ewan. 

"That will suffice." 

The Deemster's face twitched ; Mona's cheeks were wet 
with tears ; the Bishop had risen and gone to the window, 
and Avas gazing out through blurred eyes into the blinding 
rain that Avas noAV pelting against the glass. 

" It would be cruel to prolong a painful interview," said 
the stranger ; and then, with a glance towards Dan where 
he sat convulsed Avith distress that he made no effort to 
conceal, he added in a hard tone — 

" Only the lenders came to have reasons to fear that perhaps 
the document had been drawn Avithout your knoAvledge." 

Ewan handed the paper back with a nerveless hand. He 
looked at the stranger through swimming eyes, and said 
gently, but Avith an aAvful iuAvard effort, " You have my 
ansAver, sir— I kncAV of it." 

The stranger boAved and went out. Dan leapt to his feet 
and thrcAV his arms about EAvan's neck, but dared not to look 
into his ti'oubled face. Mona covered her eyes and sobbed. 

The Deemster picked up his hat to go, and in passing out 
he paused in front of Ewan and said in a bitter whisper — 

" Fool ! fool ! You have taken this man's part to your own 
confusion." 

When the door closed behind the Deemster the Bishop 
turned from the windoAV. " Ewan," he said, in a voice like 
a cry, " the Recording Angel has set down the lie_you have ]a^ t.^. 
told to-day in the Book of Life to your credit in heaven." 

Then the Bishop paused, and Dan lifted his head from 
Ewan's neck. 

"As for you, sir," the Bishop added, turning to his son, "I 
am done with you for ever ; go from me ; let me see your 
face no more." 

Dan went out of the room with bended head. 



lis 



THE DEEMSTER 
CHAPTER XVI 

THE PLOUOIUNG MATCH 

When Ewan jrot back home, Dan was sitting before the fire in 
the old hall, his legs stretched out before him, his hands 
thrust deep in his pockets, his head low in his breast, and his 
whole mien indicative of a crushed and broken spirit. He 
glanced up furtively as Ewan entered, and then back with a 
stony stare to the fire. If Ewan had given him one word of 
cheer, God knows what tragic consequences would have been 
spared to both of them. But Ewan had saved Dan from the 
penalty of his crime at the cost of truth and his self-esteem. 

" Dan," he said, "you and I must part ; we can be friends 
no longer." 

He spoke with a strong effort, and the words seemed to 
choke him. Dan shambled to his feet ; he appeared to col- 
lect his thoughts for a moment, like one who had fainted 
and returns to consciousness. 

"Mind, I don't turn you out of the house," said Ewan, "only 
if we are to share this place together we must be strangers." 

A hai'd smile broke out on Dan's face. He seemed to be 
trying to speak, but not a word would come. He twisted 
slowly on his heel, and lifted the latch of the door that led to 
the inner part of the house. 

" One thing more," said Ewan, speaking quickly and in a 
tremulous voice ; " I will ask you to look upon yourself as a 
stranger to my sister also." 

Dan stopped and turned about. Over the forced smile his 
hard face told of a great struggle for self-command. He said 
nothing, and after a moment he went out, drawing his breath 
audibly. 

Then straightway Ewan flung himself in the chair from 
which Dan had risen, and his slight frame shook with sup- 
pressed sobs. After some minutes the sense of his own 
degradation diminished, and left room for a just idea of Dan's 
abject humiliation. "I have gone too far," he thought ; " I 
will make amends." He had risen to follow Dan, when an- 
other thought trod heavily on the heels of the first. " Leave 
him alone, it will be best for himself ; leave him alone, for his 

114 



THE PLOUGHING MATCH 

OA\Ti sake." And so, with the madness of wi'ath fermenting 
in his own brain, he left it to ferment in Dan's brain as 
well. 

Now when Dan found himself left alone, he tried to carry 
olf his Immiliation by a brave show of unconcern. He stayed 
on at the old Ballamona, but he never bothered himself — not 
he, forsooth — to talk to folks who passed him on the stairs 
without a word of greeting, or met in the hall without a glance 
of recognition. 

It chanced just then that, in view of a threatened invasion, 
the authorities were getting up a corps of volunteers, known 
as the Manx Fencibles, and that they called on the captains 
of the parishes to establish companies. Dan thrcAV himself 
into this enterprise with uncommon vigour, took drills himself, 
acquired a competent knowledge of the rudiments in a twink- 
ling, and forthwith set himself to band together the young 
fellows of his parish. It was just the sort of activity that Dan 
wantedatthe moment, and in following it up the "Three Legs" 
saw him soniething oftener than before, and there the fellows 
of the baser sort drank and laughed with him, addressing him 
sometimes as captain, but oftener as Dan, never troubling 
themselves a ha'p'orth to put a handle to his name. 

This was a turn of events which Ewan could not under- 
stand. " 1 have been mistaken in the man," he thought ; 
"there's no heart left in him." 

Towards the middle of December Jarvis Kerruish arrived at 
Ballamona, and forthwith established himself there in a position 
that would have been proper to the Deemster's heir. He was 
a young man of medium height and size, closely resembling the 
Deemster in face and figure. His dress was English : he wore 
a close-fitting undercoat with tails, and over it a loose cloak 
mounted with a brass buckle at the throat ; he had a beaver 
hat of the shape of a sugarloaf ; and boots that fitted to his legs 
like gloves. His manner was expansive, and he betrayed a com- 
plete unconsciousness of the sinister bar of his birth, and of the 
false position he had taken up in the Deemster's house. He 
showed no desire to visit the cottage at the Cross Vein, and he 
spoke of the poor with condescension. When he met with 
Ewan he displayed no uneasiness, and Ewan on his part gave 
no sigTi of resentment. Mona, on the other hand, betrayed an 
instinctive repulsion, and in less than a week from his coming 
their relations had reached an extraordinary crisis, which 

115 



THE DEEMSTER 

involved Ewan and Dan and herself in terrible consequences. 
This is what occurred. 

On the day before Christmas Day there was to be a plough- 
ing match in a meadow over the Head, and Ewan stood 
pledged by an old promise to act as judge. The day came, 
and it was a heavy day, with snow-clouds lianging overhead, 
and misty vapours floating down from the hills and up from 
the Curraghs, and hiding them. At ten in the morning Mona 
muffled herself in a great-cloak and went over to tlie meadow 
with Ewan. There a croAvd had already gathered, strong men 
in blue pilots, old men in shee})skin coats, women with their 
short bkie camblet gowns tucked over their linen caps, boys 
and girls on every side, all coming and going Hke shadows in the 
mist. At one end of the meadow several pairs of horses stood 
yoked to ploughs, and a few lads were in charge of them. On 
Ewan's arrival there was a general movement among a group of 
men standing together, and a respectful salutation to the parson. 
The names were called over of the ploughmen who had entered 
for the prize — a pound note and a cup — and last of all there 
was a show of hands for the election of six men to form a jury. 

Then the sti-etch was staked out. The prize was to the 
ploughman who would make the stretch up and down the 
meadow in the shortest time, cutting the furrows straightest, 
cleanest, and of the most regular de{)th. 

When all was ready, Ewan took up his station where the first 
furrow would be cut into the field, with Mona at his side, and 
the six jurors about him. The first ploughman to bring up his 
plough was a brawny young fellow with a tanned face. The 
ploughman had brought up his horses in front of the stake, and 
had laid hands on his plough handles, and was measuring the 
stretch with his eye for a landmark to sight by, when Jarvis 
Kerruish came into the meadow and walked through the crowd 
and took up a place by Mona's side. There were audible com- 
ments, and some racy exclamations as he pushed through the 
crowd, not lifting an eye to any face ; but he showed complete 
indifference, and began to talk to Mona in a loud, measured 
tone. 

" Ah ! this is very gratifying," he was saying, " to see the 
peasantry engaged in manly sports— useful sports — is, I con- 
fess, very gratifying to me." 

" My gough ! " said a voice from one side. 

" Hurioo ! " said a voice from the other side. 
116 



THE PLOUGHING MATCH 

'* Lawk-a-day ! " came from behind in a shrill female treble. 
" Did ye ever see a grub turn butterfly ? " 

Jarvis seemed not to hear. " Now there are sports " 

he began ; but the ploughman was shouting to his horses, 
" Steady, steady/' the plough was dipping into the succulent 
grass, the first swish of the upturned soil was in the air, and 
Jarvis's wise words were lost. 

All eyes were on the bent back of the ploughman plodding 
on in the mist. " He cuts like a razor," said one of the spec- 
tators. " He bears his hand too much on," said another. 
" Do better yourself next spell," said a third. 

When the horses reached the far end of the stretch the 
ploughman whipped them round like the turn of a wheel, 
and in another moment he was toiling back, steadily, firmly, 
his hand rigid, and his face set hard. When he got back to 
where Ewan, with his watch in his hand, stood surrounded 
by the jurors, he was covered with sweat. "Good, very 
good — six minutes ten seconds," said Ewan ; and there were 
some plaudits from the people looking on, and some banter 
of the competitors who came up to follow. 

Jarvis Kerruish, at Mona's elbow, was begimiing again, 

" I confess that it has always been my personal opinion " 

but in the bustle of another pair of horses whipped up to the 
stake no one seemed to be aware that he was speaking. 

Five ploughmen came in succession, but all were behind 
the first in time, and cut a less regular furrow. So Ewan and 
the jurors announced that the prize was to the stranger. 
Then as Ewan twisted about, his adjudication finished, to 
where Mona stood with Jarvis by her side, there was a 
general rush of competitors and spectators to a corner of 
the meadow, where, from a little square cart, the buirdly 
stranger who was victor proceeded to serve out glasses of ale 
from a small barrel. 

While this was going on, and there was some laughter and 
shouting and singing, there came a loud Hello ! as of many 
voices from a little distance, and then the beat of many 
irregular feet, and one of the lads in the crowd, who had 
jumped to the top of the broad turf hedge, shouted, "It's 
the capt'n — it's Mastha Dan." 

In another half-minute Dan and some fifty or sixty of the 
scum of the parish came tumbling into the meadow on all 
sides — over the hedge, over the gate, and tearing through 

117 



THE DEEMSTER 

tlie gaps in the gorse. These were the corps that Dan 
had banded together towards the Manx Fencibles, but the 
only regimentals they yet wore were a leather belt, and the 
only implement of war they yet carried was the small dagger 
that was fitted into the belt. That morning they had been 
drilling, and after drill they had set off to see the ploughing 
match, and on the way they had passed the "Three Legs," 
and, being exceeding dry, they had drawn up in front 
thercofj and every man had been served with a glass, which 
had been duly scored off to the captain's account. 

Dan saw Mona with Ewan as he vaulted the gate, but he 
gave no sign of recognition, and in a moment he was in 
the thick of the thi-ong at the side of the cart, hearing all 
about the match, and making loud comments upon it in his 
broadest homespun. 

" What ! " he said, " and you've let yourselves be bate by 
a craythur like that. Hurroo ! " 

He strode up to the stranger's furrow, cocked his eye 
along it, and then glanced at the stranger's horses. 

" Och, I'll go bail I'll bate it with a yoke of oxen." 

At that there Avas a movement of the crowd around him, and 
some cheering, just to egg on the rupture that was imminent. 

The big stranger heard all, and strode through the people 
with a face like a thunder-cloud. 

"Who says he'll bate it with a yoke of oxen ? " he asked. 

"That's just what I'm afther saying, my fine fellow. Have 
you anything agen it ? " 

In half a minute a wager had been laid of a pound a side 
that Dan with a pair of oxen would beat the stranger with a 
pair of horses in two stretches out of three. 

" Davy ! Davy ! " shouted Dan, and in a twinkling there 
was Davy Fayle, looking queer enough in his guernsey, and 
his long boots, and his sea-cap, and withal his belt and his 
dagger. Davy was sent for the pair of oxen to where they 
were leading manure, not far away. He went off like a shot, 
and in ten minutes he was back in the meadow, driving the 
oxen before him. 

Now these oxen had been a gift of the Bishop to Dan. 
They were old, and had grown wise with their years. For 
fifteen years they had worked on the glebe at Bishop's 
Court, and they knew the dinner-hour as well as if they could 
have taken the altitude of the sun. When the dinner-bell 

118 



THE PLOUGHING MATCH 

rang at tlie Court at twelve o'clock the oxen would stop 
short, no matter where they were or what they were doing, 
and not another budge would they make until they had been 
unyoked and led off for their midday mash. 

It was now only a few minutes short of twelve, but no one 
took note of that circumstance, and the oxen were yoked to a 
plough. 

"Same judge and jury," said the stranger; but Ewan ex- 
cused himself. 

"Aw, what matter about a judge.''" said Dan from his 
plough handles. "Let the jury be judge as well." 

Ewan and Mona looked on in silence for some moments. 
Ewan could scarce contain himself There was Dan, stripped to 
his red flannel shirt, his face tanned and glowing, his whole body 
radiantwith fresh life and health,and he was shouting and laugh- 
ing as if there had never been a shadow to darken his days. 

" Look at him," whispered Ewan, with emotion, in Mona's 
ear. " Look ! this good-nature that seems so good to others is 
almost enough to make me hate him." 

Mona was startled, and turned to glance into Ewan's face. 

" Come, let us go," said Ewan, with head aside. 

"Not yet," said Mona. 

Then Jarvis Kerruish, who had stepped aside for a moment, 
returned and said — 

" Will you take a wager with me, Mona — a pair of gloves .'' " 

"Very well," she answered. 

" Who do you bet on ? " 

" Oh, on the stranger," said Mona, colouring slightly, and 
laughing a little. 

" How lucky," said Jarvis ; " I bet on the captain." 

" I can stand it no longer," whispered Ewan. " Will you 
come .'' " But Mona's eyes were riveted on the group about 
the oxen. She did not hear, and Ewan turned away, and 
walked out of the meadow. 

Then there was a shout, and the oxen started with Dan 
behind them. On they went through the hard, tough ground 
trancjuilly, steadily, with measured pace, tearing through roots 
of trees that lay in their way as if nothing could stop them in 
their great strength. 

When the oxen got back after the first stretch the time 
was called — five minutes thirty seconds — and there was a 
great cheer, and Mona's pale face was triumphant. 

119 



THE DEEMSTER 

The stranger brought up his horses, and set off again, 
straining every muscle. He did his stretch in six minutes 
four seconds, and another cheer — but it was a cheer for Dan 
— went up after the figures were called. 

Then Dan whipped round his oxen once more, and brought 
theni up to the stake. The excitement among the people was 
now very great. Mona clutched her cloak convulsively, and 
held her breath. Jarvis was watching her closely, and she 
knew that his cold eyes were on her face. 

" One would almost imagine that you were anxious to lose 
your bet," he said. She made no answer. When the oxen 
started again, her lips closed tightly, as if she was in pain. 

On the oxen went, and made the first half of the stretch 
without a hitch, and, with the blade of the plough lifted, they 
were wheeling over the furrow end, when a bell rang across 
the Curragh — it was the bell for the midday meal at Bishop's 
Coui't — and instantly they came to a dead stand. Dan called 
to them, but they did not budge ; then his whip fell heavily 
across their snouts, and they snorted, but stirred not an inch. 
The people were in a tumult, and shouted with fifty voices at 
once. Dan's passion mastered him. He brought his whip 
down over the flanks and across the eyes and noses of the 
oxen ; they winced under the blows that rained down on 
them, and then shot away across the meadow, tearing up 
the furrows they had made. 

Then there was a cry of vexation and anger from the people, 
and Dan, who had let go his reins, strode back to the stake. 
" I've lost," said Dan, with a muttered oath at the oxen. 

All this time Jarvis Kerruish had kept his eye steadily fixed 
on Mona's twitching face. " You've won, Mona," he said, in 
a cold voice and with an icy smile. 

" I must go. Where is Ewan .'' " she said tremulously, and, 
before Jarvis was aware, she had gone over the grass. 

Dan had heard when Ewan decUned to act as judge, he had 
seen when Ewan left the meadow, and, though he did not look, 
he knew when Mona was no longer there. His face was set 
hard, and it glowed red under his sunburnt skin. 

" Davy, bring them up," he said ; and Davy Fayle led back 
the oxen to the front of the stake. 

Then Dan unyoked them, took out the long swinging tree that 
divided them — a heavy wooden bar clamped with iron — and 
they stood free and began to nibble the grass under their feet. 

120 



THE WRONG WAY WITH DAN 

"Look out!" he shouted, and he swung the bar over his 
shoulder. 

The crowd receded, and left an open space in which Dan 
stood alone with the oxen, his great limbs holding the ground 
like their own hoofs, his muscles standing out like bulbs on 
his bare arms. 

"What is he going to do — kill them ?" said one. 

" Look out ! " Dan shouted again, and in another moment 
there was the swish of the bar through the air. Then down 
the bar came on the forehead of one of the oxen, and it reeled, 
and its legs gave way, and it fell dead. 

The bar was raised again, and again it fell, and the second 
of the oxen reeled like the first and fell dead beside its old 
yoke-fellow. 

A cry of horror ran through the crowd, but heeding it not 
at all, Dan threw on his coat and buckled his belt about him 
and strode through the people and out at the gate. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE WRONG WAY WITH DAN 

What happened next was one of those tragedies of bewilder- 
ing motive, so common and so fatal, in which it is impossible 
to decide whether evil passion or evil circumstance plays the 
chief malicious part. 

Dan walked straight to the new Ballamona, and pushed 
through the house without ceremony, as it had been his 
habit to do in other days, to the room where Mona was to 
be found. She was there, and she looked startled at his 
coming. 

" Is it you, Dan ? " she said in a tremulous whisper. 

He answered sullenly — 

" It is I. I have come to speak with you — I have some- 
thing to say — but no matter " 

He stopped and threw himself into a chair. His head 
ached, his eyes were hot, and his mind seemed to him to be 
in darkness and confusion. 

" Mona, I think I must be going mad," he stammered after 
a moment. 

121 



THE DEEMSTER 

"Why talk like that?" she said. Her bosom heaved and 
her face was troubled. 

He did not answer, but after a pause turned towards her, 
and said in a quick, harsh tone, " You did not expect to see 
me here, and you have been forbidden to receive me. Is it 
not so .''" 

She coloured deeply, and did not answer at once, and then 
she began with hesitation — 

"My father — it is true, my father " 

" It is so," he said sharply. He <rot on to his feet and 
tramped about the room. After a moment he sat down again, 
and leaned his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. 

" But what of Ewan .'' " he asked. 

" Ewan loves you, Dan, and you have been at fault," said 
Mona in broken accents. 

" At fault .? " 

Thei'e was a sudden change in his manner. He spoke 
brusquely, even mockingly, and laughed a short grating laugh. 

" They are taking the wrong way with me, Mona — that's 
the fact," he said, and now his breast heaved and the words 
came with difficulty. 

Mona was gazing absently out at the window, her head 
aslant, her fingers interlaced befoi*e her. "Oh, Dan, Dan," 
she murmured in a low tone, " there is your dear, dear father, 
and Ewan and — and myself— — -" 

Dan had leapt to his feet again. " Don't turn my eyes 
into my head, Mona," he said. 

He tramped to and fro in the room for a moment, and then 
broke out nervously, " All last night I dreamt such an ugly 
dream. I dreamt it three times, and O God ! what an ugly 
dream it was ! It was a bad night, and I was walking in the 
dark, and stumbling first into bogs and then in cart ruts, when 
all of a sudden a man's hand seized me unawares. I could 
not see the man, and we struggled long in the darkness, and 
it seemed as if he would master me. He grii^ped me by the 
waist, and I held him by the shoulders. We reeled and fell 
together, and when I would have risen, his knee was on my 
chest. But a great Hood of strength seemed to come to me, 
and I threw him off, and rose to my feet and closed with him 
again, and at last I was over him, covering him, with his back 
across my thigh and my hand set hard in his throat. And 
all this time I heard his loud breathing in the darkness, but 

122 



THE WRONG WAY WITH DAN 

never once the sound of his voice. Then instantly, as if by a 
flash of lightnincr, I saw the face that was close to mine, and — 
God Almighty ! it was my own face — my own — and it was black 
already from the pressure of my stiff fingei's at the throat." 

He trembled as he spoke, and sat again and shivered, and 
a cold chill ran down his back. 

" Mona," he said, half in a sob, " do you believe in omens .'' " 

She did not reply. Her breast heaved visibly, and she 
could not speak. 

" Tush ! " he said, in another voice, " omens ! " and he 
laughed bitterly, and rose again and picked up his hat, and 
then said in a quieter way, " Only, as I say, they're taking 
the wrong way with me, Mona." 

He had opened the door, and she had turned her swim- 
miBg eyes towards him. 

" It was bad enough to make himself a stranger to me, but 
why did he want to make you a stranger, too .'' Stranger ! 
stranger ! " He echoed the woi'd in a mocking accent, and 
threw back his head. 

" Dan," said Mona, in a low, passionate tone, and the blind- 
ing teai's rained town her cheeks, " nothing and nobody can 
make us strangers, you and me — not my father, or your 
dear father, or Ewan, or " — she dropped her voice to a deep 
whisper — " or any misfortune or any disgrace." 

" Mona! "he cried, and took a step towards her, and stretched 
out one arm with a yearning gesture. 

But at the next moment he had swung about, and was 
going out at the door. At sight of all that tenderness and 
loyalty on Mona's fece his conscience smote him as it had 
never smitten him before. 

"Ewan was right, Mona. He is the noblest man on God's 
earth, and I am the foulest beast on it." 

He was pulling the door behind him, when he encountered 
Jarvis Kerruish in the hall. That gentleman had just come 
into the house, and was passing through the hall in hat and 
cloak. He looked ajipalled at seeing Dan there, and stepped 
aside to let him go by ; but Dan did not so much as recognise 
his presence by lifting his head as he strode out at the porch. 

With head still bent, Dan had reached the gate to the road 
and pushed tlirough it, and sent it back with a swing and a 
click, when the Deemster walked up to it, and half halted, 
and would have stop})ed. But Dan went moodily on, and 

123 



THE DEEMSTER 

the frown on the Deemster's wizened face was lost on him. 
He did not take the hme towards the old Ballamona^ but 
followed the turnpike that led past Bish()})'s Court, and as he 
went by the large house behind the trees Ewan came through 
the smaller gate, and turned towards the new Ballamona. 
They did not speak, or even glance at each other's faces. 

Dan went on until he came to the parish church. There 
was singing within, and he stopped. He remembered that 
this was Christmas Eve. The choir was practising the psalms 
for the morrow's services. 

" Before I was troubled, I went wrong ; but now have I 
kept Thy word." 

Dan went up to the church porch, and stood there and 
listened. 

" It is good for me that I have been in trouble, that I may 
learn Thy statutes." 

The wooden door, clamped and barred and worm-eaten and 
cut by knives, was ajar, and from where he stood Dan could 
see into the church. There were the empty pews, the gaunt, 
square, green-clad boxes on which he had sat on many a 
Christmas Eve at Oiel Verree. He could picture the old 
place as it used to be in those days of his boyhood, the sea 
of faces, some solemn and some bubbling over with mischief, 
the candles with their ribbons, the old clerk, Will-as-Thorn, 
standing up behind the communion-rail with his pitch-pipe 
in his hand, and Hommy-beg, in his linsey-wolsey petticoat, 
singing lustily from a paper held upside down. The singing 
stopped. Behind were the hills Slieu Dhoo and Slieu Volley, 
hidden now under a thick veil of mist, and from across the 
flat Curragh there came in the silence the low moan of the 
sea. " Once more," said a voice within the church, and then 
the psalm was sung again. Dan began to breathe easier, he 
scarce knew why, and a great weight seemed to be lifted off 
his breast. 

As he turned away from the porch a heavy web of cloud 
was sweeping on and sweeping on from over the sea. He 
looked up and saw that a snowstorm was coming, and that 
the snow-cloud would break when it reached the mountains. 

The clock in the grey tower was striking — one — two — 
three — so it was now three o'clock. Dan went down towards 
the creek known as the Lockjaw, under Orris Head. There 
he expected to see old Billy Quilleash and his mates, who had 

124 



THE BLIND WOMAN'S SECOND SIGHT 

libert}' to use the Ben-my-Chree during the winter months 
for fishing with the lines. When he got to the creek it was 
an hour after high water, and the higger, with Quilleash and 
Teare, had gone out for cod. Davy Fayle, who, like Dan him- 
self, was still wearing his militia belt and dagger, had been 
doing something among scraps of nets and bits of old rope, 
which lay in a shed that the men had thrown together for the 
storing of their odds and ends. 

Davy was looking out to sea. Down there a stiff breeze 
was blowing, and the white curves of the breakers outside 
could just be seen through the thick atmosphere. 

" The storm is coming, Mastha Dan," said Davy. " See the 
diver on the top of the white wave out there ! D'ye hear 
her wild note } " 

Davy shaded his eyes from the wind, which was blowing 
from the sea, and looked up at the stormy petrel that was 
careering over the head of the cliff above them and uttering 
its dismal cry. " Ay, and d'ye see Mother Carey's chickens 
up yonder.?" said Davy again, "The storm's coming, and 
wonderful quick too." 

Truly, a stonn was coming, and it was a storm more terrible 
than wind and snow. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE BLIND WOMAN's SECOND SIGHT 

Now when Jarvis Kerruish encountered Dan in the act of 
coming out of Mona's room, his surprise was due to something 
more than the knowledge that Dan had been forbidden the 
house. On leaving the meadow after the ploughing match, 
and the slaughter of the oxen that followed it, Jarvis had 
made a long circuit of the Curragh, and returned to Balla- 
mona by the road. He had been pondering on Mona's 
deportment during the exciting part of the contest between 
Dan and the stranger, and had just arrived at obvious con- 
clusions of his own by way of explaining the emotion that she 
could not conceal, when he recognised that he was approach- 
ing the cottage occupied by Hommy-beg and his wife Kerry. 
A droning voice came from within, accompanied by some of 
the most doleful wails that ever arrested mortal ears. 

125 



THE DEEMSTER 

Jarvis was prompted to stop and enter. He did so, and 
found both the deaf husband and the bhnd wife at home. 
Hommy was squatting on a low tliree-legged stool, with his 
fuldle at his shoulder, playing vigorously, and singing as he 
played. It was Chrismas Eve to Hommy-beg also, and he 
was practising the carol that he meant to sing at the Oiel 
Verree that night. Blind Kerry was sitting by the fire knit- 
ting with grey yam. The deaf man's eyes and the blind 
woman's ears simultaneously announced the visit of Jarvis, 
and as Hommy-bcg dropped his fiddle from his shoulder, 
Kerry let fall the needles on her lap, and held up her hand 
with an expression of concern. 

"Och, and didn't I say that something was happening at 
Ballamona ? " said Kerry. 

" And so she did," said Hommy. 

" I knew it," said Kerry. " I knew it, as the sayin' is." 
All this in return for Jarvis's casual visit and mere saluta- 
tion surprised him. 

"The sight! The sight ! It's as true as the ould Book 
itself. Aw, yes ; aw, yes," continued Kerry, and she began 
to wring her hands. 

Jarvis felt uneasy. " Do you know, my good people," he 
said largely, " I'm at a loss to understand what you mean. 
What is it that has happened at Ballamona ? " 

At that the face of the blind wife looked puzzled. 
" Have ye not come from Ballamona straight ? " she asked. 
" No ; it's four hours since I left there," said Jarvis. 
" Aw dear, aw dearee dear ! " said Kerry. " The sight ! 
the sight ! " 

Jarvis's uneasiness developed into curiosity, and in answer 
to many questions he learned that blind Kerry had that day 
been visited by another of those visions of Dan which never 
came to her except when her nursling was in some disgrace 
or danger, and never failed to come to her then. On this 
occasion the vision had been one of great sorrow, and Kerry 
trembled as she recounted it. 

" I saw him as plain as plain, and he was standing in 
Mistress Mona's room, atween the bed and the wee craythur's 
cot, and he went down on his knees aside of it, and cried, and 
cried, and cried morthal, and Mistress Mona herself was there 
sobbing her heart out, as the sayin' is, and the wee craythui 
was sleeping soft and quiet, and it was dark night outside, 

126 



THE BLIND WOMAN'S SECOND SIGHT 

and the candle was in the mistress's hand. Aw, yes, I saw 
it, sir, I saw it, and I tould my man here, and, behould ye, 
he said, ' Drop it, woman, drop it,' says he. ' It's only 
drames, it's only drames.' " 

Jarvis did not find the story a tragic one, but he listened 
with an interest that was all his OAvn. 

" You saw Mr. Dan in Miss Mona's room — do you mean 
her chamber.'' " 

" Sure, and he climbed in at the window, and white as a 
haddock, and all amuck with sweat." 

" Climbed in at the window — the window of her chamber — 
her bedroom — you're sure it was her bedroom .'' " 

" Sarten sure. Don't I know it same as my own bit of a 
place ? The bed, with the curtains all white and dimity, as 
they're sayin', and the wee thing's cot carved over with the 
lions and the tigers and the beasties, and the goat's rug, 
and the sheepskin — aw, yes, aw, yes." 

The reality of the vision had taken such hold of Kerry 
that she had looked upon it as a certain presage of disaster, 
and when Jarvis had opened the door she had leapt to the 
conclusion that he came to announce the catastrophe that 
she foresaw, and to summon her to Ballamona. 

Jarvis smiled gi'imly. He had heard in the old days of 
Keriy's second sight, and now he laughed at it. But the 
blind woman's stupid dreams had given him an idea, and 
he rose suddenly and hui'ried away. 

Jarvis knew the Deemster's weakness, for he knew why he 
found himself where he was. Stern man as the Deemster 
might be, keen of wit and strong of soul, Jarvis knew that 
there was one side of his mind on which he was feebler than 
a child. On that side of the Deemster Jarvis now meant to 
play to his own end and profit. 

He was full to the throat of the story which he had to 
pour into credulous ears that never listened to a superstitious 
tale without laughing at it and mocking at it, and believing 
it, when he stepped into the hall at Ballamona, and came 
suddenly face to face with Dan, and saw the door of Mona's 
sitting-room open before and close behind hiui. 

Jarvis was bewildered. Could it be possible that there was 
something in the blind woman's second sight .'' He had 
scarcely recovered from his surprise when the Deemster 
walked into the porch, looking as black as a thunder-cloud. 

127 



THE DEEMSTER 

" That man has been here again/' he said. " Why didn't 
you turn him out of the house ?" 

" I have something to tell you," said Jarvis. 

They went into the Deemster's study. It was a little place 
to the left of the hall, half under the stairs, and with the fire- 
place built across one corner. Over the mantelshelf a number 
of curious things were hung from hooks and nails — a huge 
silver watch with a small face and great seals, a mask, a blunder- 
buss, a monastic lamp and a crucifix, a piece of silvered glass, 
and a pistol. 

" What now ? " asked the Deemster. 

Jarvis told the blind woman's story with variations, and the 
Deemster listened intently and with a look of deadly rage. 

" And you saw him come out of her room-^you yourself saw 
him ? " said the Deemster. 

"With my own eyes, dear sir," said Jarvis. 

The Deemster's lip quivered. " My God ! it must be true," 
he said. 

At that moment they heard a foot in the hall, and going to 
the door in his restless tramping to and fro, the Deemster saw 
that Ewan had come into the house. He called to him,andEwan 
went into the study, and on Ewan going in Jarvis went out. 

There was a look of such affright on the Deemster's face 
that before a word was spoken Ewan had caught the con- 
tagion of his father's terror. Then, grasping his son by the 
wrist in the intensity of his passion, the Deemster poured his 
tale into Ewan's ear. But it was not the tale that blind 
Kerry had told to Jarvis, it was not the tale that Jarvis had 
told to him ; it was a tale compounded of superstition and of 
hate. Blind Kerry had said of her certain knowledge that 
Dan was accustomed to visit Mona in her chamber at night 
alone, entering in at the window. Jarvis Kerruish himself 
had seen him there— and that very day, not at night, but in 
the broad daylight, Jarvis had seen Dan come from Mona's 
room. What ? Had Ewan no bowels, that he could submit 
to the dishonour of his own sister ? 

Ewan listened to the hot words that came from his father 
in a rapid and ceaseless whirl. The story was all so fatally 
circumstantial as the Deemster told it ; no visions, no sights, 
no sneezings of an old woman ; all was clear, hard, deadly, 
damning circumstance, or seemed to be so to Ewan's heated 
brain and poisoned heart. 

128 



THE BLIND WOMAN'S SECOND SIGHT 

" Father," he said, very quietly, but with visible emotion, 
"you are my father, but there are only two persons alive 
fi-om whose lips I would take a story like this, and you are 
not one of them." 

At that word the Deemster's passion overcame him. " My 
God," he cried, " what have I done that I should not be be- 
Ueved by my own son .'' Would I slander my own daughter ? " 

But Ewan did not hear him. He had turned away, and 
was going towards the door of Mona's room. He moved 
slowly ; there was an awful silence. Full half a minute his 
hand rested on the door handle, and only then did his ner- 
vous fingers turn it. 

He stepped into the room. The room was empty. It was 
Mona's sitting-room, her workroom, her parlour, her nursery. 
Out of it there opened another room by a door at the farther 
end of the wall on the left. The door of that other room 
was ajar, and Ewan could hear, from where he now stood 
quivering in every limb, the soft cooing of the child — his 
child, his dead wife's child— and the inarticulate nothings 
that Mona, the foster-mother, babbled over it. 

" Boo-loo-la-la-pa-pa," " Dearee-dearee-dear," and then the 
tender cooing died off" into a murmur, and an almost noiseless 
long kiss on the full round baby-neck. 

Ewan stood irresolute for a moment, and the sweat started 
from his forehead. He felt like one who has been kneelmg 
at a shrine when a foul hand besmudges it. He had half 
swung about to go back, when his ear caught the sound of 
the Deemster's restless foot outside. He could not go back ; 
the poison had gone to his heart. 

He stepped into the bedroom that led out of the sitting- 
room. Mona raised her eyes as her brother entered. She 
was leaning over the cot, her beautifid face ahve with the 
hght of a tender love — a very vision of })ure and dehcious 
womanhood. Almost she had lifted the child from the cot 
to Ewan's arms when at a second glance she recognised the 
solemn expression of his face, and then she let the little one 
slide back to its pillow. 

" What has happened ? " 

"Is it true," he began very slowly, "that Dan has been here.-*" 

Then Mona blushed deeply, and there was a pause. 

" Is it true ? " he said again, and now with a hurried and 
startled look, " is it true that Dan has been here — here ? " 

129 I 



THE DEEMSTER 

Mona misunderstood his emphasis. Ewan was standing in 
her chamber, and when lie asked if Dan had been there, he 
was inquiring if Dan liad beeji with her in that very room. 
She did not comprehend the evil thought that had been put 
in his heart. Rut she remembered the prohibition placed 
upon her both by Ewan and her father never to receive Dan 
again, and her confusion at the moment of Ewan's question 
came of the knowledge that, contrary to that prohibition, she 
had received him. 

" Is it true } " he asked yet again, and he trembled with 
the passion he suppi*essed. 

After a pause he answered himself with an awful composure, 
"It is true." 

The child lifted itself and babbled at Mona with its inno- 
cent face all smiles, and Mona turned to hide her confusion 
by leaning over the cot. 

" Boo — loo — la-la." 

Then a great wave of passion seemed to come to Ewan, and 
he stepped to his sister and took her by both hands. He 
was like a strong man in a dream, who feels sure that he can 
only be dreaming — struggling in vain to awake from a terrible 
nightmare, and knowing that a nightmare it must be that sits 
on him and crushes him. 

" No, no, there must be a mistake ; there must, there must," 
he said, and his hot breathing beat on her face. "He has 
never been here — here — never." 

Mona raised herself. She loosed her hands from his grasp. 
Her woman's pride had been stung. It seemed to her that 
her brother was taking more than a brother's part. 

" There is no mistake," she said with some anger. " Dan 
has been here." 

" You confess it .'' " 

She looked him straight in the eyes and answered, " Yes, 
if you call it so — I confess it. It is of no use to deceive you." 

Then there was an ominous silence. Ewan's featui-es be- 
came deathlike in their ri.t;idity. A sickening sense came 
over him. He was struggluig to ask a question that his 
tongue would not utter. 

" Mona — do you mean — do you mean that Dan has — has — 
outrage — Great God ! what am I to say .'' How am I to say it .>*" 

Mona drew herself up. 

"I mean that I can hide my feelings no longer," she said. 
130 



THE BLIND WOMAN'S SECOND SIGHT 

" Do with me as you may ; I am not a child, and no brother 
shall govern me. Dan has been here — outrage or none — call 

it what you will — yes, and " she dropped her head over 

the cot, "I love him." 

Ewan was not himself; his heart was poisoned, or then and 
there he would have unravelled the devilish tangle of circum- 
stance. He tried again with another and yet another question. 
But every question he asked, and every answer Mona gave, 
made the tangle thicker. His strained jaw seemed to start 
from his skin. 

" I passed him on the road," he said to himself in a hushed 
whisper. " Oh, that I had but known ! " 

Then with a look of reproach at Mona he turned aside and 
went out of the room. 

He stepped back to the study, and there the Deemster was 
still tramping to and fro. 

" Simpleton, simpleton ! to expect a woman to acknowledge 
her own dishonour," the Deemster cried. 

Ewan did not answer at once ; but in silence he reached up 
to where the pistol hung over the mantelshelf and took it 
down. 

" What are you doing ? " cried the Deemster. 

" She has acknowledged it," said Ewan, still in a suppressed 
whisper. 

For a moment the Deemster was made speechless and 
powerless by that answer. Then he laid hold of his son's 
hand and wrenched the pistol away. 

"No violence," he cried. 

He was now terrified at the wrath that his own evil passions 
had aroused ; he locked the pistol in a cabinet. 

" It is better so," said Ewan, and in another moment he 
was going out at the porch. 

The Deemster followed him, and laid a hand on his arm. 

" Remember— no violence," he said ; " for the love of God, 
see there is no violence." 

But Ewan, without a woi'd more, without relaxing a muscle 
of his hard, white face, without a glance or a sign, but with 
bloodsliot eyes and quivering nostrils, with teeth compressed 
and the great veins on his forehead large and dark over the 
scar that Dan had left there, drew himself away, and went 
out of the house. 

131 



THE DEEMSTER 
CHAPTER XIX 

HOW EWAN FOUND DAN 

EwAN went along like a man whose reason is clogged. All his 
faculties were deadened. He could not see properly. He could 
not hear. He could not think. Try as lie might to keep his 
faculties from wandering, his mind would not be kept steady. 

Time after time he went back to the })assage of Scripture 
which he had fixed on that morning for his next lesson and 
sermon. It was the story how Esau, when robbed of the 
birthright blessing, said in his heart, " I will slay my brother 
Jacob ; " how Jacob Hed from his brother's anger to the home 
of Laban ; how after many years Esau married the daughter 
of Ishmael, and Jacob came to the country of Edom ; how in 
exceeding fear of Esau's wrath Jacob sent before him a pre- 
sent for Esau out of the plenty with which God had blessed 
him ; and how Jacob lifted u]) his eyes and beheld Esau, and 
i*an to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and 
kissed him, and they wept. 

Ewan would see the goats and the ewes, and the rams, and 
the milch-camels toiling along through the hot lush gi-ass bj/ 
the waters of the Jordan ; then all at once these would vanish, 
and he would find himself standing alone in the drear winter 
day, with the rumble of the bleak sea far in front, and close 
overhead the dark snow-clouds sweeping on and on. 

His strong emotion paralysed all his faculties. He could 
neither fix his mind on the mission on which he had set out, 
nor banish the thought of it. Mission ! What was it .'' At 
one moment he thought he knew, and then his eyes seemed 
to jump from their sockets. " Am I going mad ? " he asked 
himself^ and his head turned giddy. 

He went on ; a blind force im])elled him. At length he 
reached the old Ballamona. His own especial room in the 
house was the little book-encased closet, looking over the 
Curraghs towards the sea — the same that had been the study 
of Gilcrist Mylrea, before he went away and came back as 
bishop. 

But Ewan turned mechanically towards another part of the 
house, and entered a room hung about with muskets and 

132 



HOW EWAN FOUND DAN 

the horns of deer, fishing rods and baskets, a watchman's 
truncheon lettered in red, loose pieces of net, and even some 
horse harness. A dog, a brown collie, lay asleep before the 
fire, and over the rannel-tree shelf a huge watch was ticking. 

But Dan was not in his room. Then Ewan remembered in 
a dazed Avay — hoAv had the memory escaped him so long } — 
that when Dan passed him on the road he was not going 
homewards, but towards the village. No doubt the man was 
on his way to the low pot-house he frequented. 

EAvan left Ballamona and Avent on towards the " Three Legs 
of Man." He crossed the fields Avhich the Bishop had cut oft' 
from the episcopal demesne for his son's occupation as a farm. 
As he Avalked, his wandering, aimless thoughts were arrested 
by the neglected state of the land and the stock upon it. In 
one croft the Avithered stalks of the last crop of cabbage lay 
rotten on the ground ; in a meadow a sheep was lying dead of 
the rot, and six or seven of the rest of the flock were dragging 
their falling avooI along the thin grass. 

EAvan came out of the fields to the turnpike by the footpath 
that goes by Bishop's Court, and as he passed through the 
stile he heard the Bishop in conversation Avith some one on 
the road within. 

" What is the balance that I owe you, Mr. Looney, for build- 
ing those barns on my son's farm ? " the Bishop was saymg. 

" Seven pounds five shillings, my lord," the man answered ; 
" and rael bad I'm wanting the money, too, my lord, and three 
months I'm afther waiting for it." 

" So you are, Mr. Looney. You Avould have been paid 
before this if I'd had whereAvith to pay you." 

Then there was silence between the two, and Ewan was 
going on, Avhen the Bishop added — 

'^Here — here — take this." There was a sound as of the 
rattle of keys and seals and a watch-chain. " It was my old 
father's last gift to me, all he had to give to me — God bless 
his memory ! — and I little thought to part with it — but there, 
take it and sell it, and pay yourself, Mr. Looney." 

The man seemed to draw back. 

"Your watch!" he said. ''Aw, no, no, no ! Och, if I'm 
never paid, never, it's not Patrick Looney that is the man to 
take the watch out of your pocket." 

"Take it — take it! Why, my good man" — the Bishop's 
voice Avas all but breaking — " you should not refuse to take 

133 



THE DEEMSTER 

the time of clay from your Bishop." Then there was a jaunty 
laugh^ with a great sob at the back of it. " Besides, I've found 
tlie old thing a sore tax on my failing memory this many day to 
wind it and wear it. Come, it will wipe out my debt to you." 

Ewan went on ; his teeth were set hard. Why had he 
overheard that conversation ? Was it to whet his purpose .'' 
It seemed as if there might be some supernatural influence 
over him. But this was not the only conversation he over- 
heard that day. When he got to the "'J'hree Legs of Man " 
a carrier's cart stood outside. Ewan stejjped into the lobby of 
the house. The old cat was counting up the chalk marks, 
vertical and horizontal, at the back of tlie cupboard door, and 
the carrier was sitting on a round table recounting certain 
mad doings at Castletown. 

" ' Let's down with the watch and take their lanterns,' says 
the captain, says he, laughing morthal and a bit sprung, maybe ; 
and down they went, one atop o' the other. Jemmy the Red, 
and Johnny-by-Nite,and all the rest of them, bellowing strong, 
and the captain and his pals whipping up their lanterns and 
their truncheons, and away at a slant. Aw, it was right fine." 

The carrier laughed loud at his story. 

"Was that when Mastha Dan was down at Castletown 
fixing the business for the Fencibles ? " 

"Aw, yes, woman, and middlin' stiff it cost him. Next 
morning Jemmy the Red and Johnny-by-Nite were off for the 
Castle, but the captain met them, and ' I'm not for denying 
it,' says he, and "^a bit of a spree,' he says, and 'Take this. 
Jemmy,' says he, 'and say no more.' " 

" And what did he give the watch to sweeten them } " 

" Three pound, they're saying. Aw, yes, woman, woman — 
liberal, very. None o' yer close-fisted about the captain." 

The blood rushed to Ewan's heart. In a moment he found 
himself asking for Dan, and hearing from the old woman with 
the whiskers, who spoke with a curtsey after every syllable, 
that Master Dan had been seen to go down towards the 
creek, the Lockjaw, under Orris Head. 

Ewan went out of the pot-house and turned the lane 
towards the creek. What was the mysterious influence on 
his destiny that he of all men must needs overhear two such 
conversations, and hear them now of all times } The neglected 
lands, the impoverished old Bishop, the reckless spendthrift, 
all rose before Ewan's mind in a bewildering haze. 

134 



HOW EWAN FOUND DAN 

The laiic to the Lockjaw led past the shambles that stood 
a little out of the village. Ewan had often noticed the 
butcher's low waggon on the road, with sheep penned in by 
a rope across the stern-board, or with a calf in a net. All at 
once he now realised that he was walking behind this waggon, 
and that a dead ox lay in it, and that the driver at the horse's 
head was talking to a man who plodded along beside him. 
Ewan's faculties were now more clouded than before, but he 
could hear, with gaps in which his sense of hearing seemed 
to leave him, the conversation between the two men. 

"Well, well, just to think — killing the poor beast for 
stopping when the dinner-bell rang at the Coort ! And 
them used of it for fifteen years ! Aw, well, well." 

"He's no Christian, anyway, and no disrespec'.* 

" Christian ? Christian, is it .'' Brute beast as I'm sayin'. 
The ould Bishop's son ? Well, well." 

Bit by bit, scarcely listening, losing the woi'ds sometimes, 
as one loses at intervals the tick of a clock when lying 
awake at night with a brain distraught, Ewan gathered up 
the story of the bad business at the ploughing match after 
he had left the meadow. 

" Christian } Och, Christian ? " one of the men repeated, 
with a bitter laugh of mockery. " I'm thinkin' it would be 
a middlin' little crime to treat a Christian like that same as 
he treated the poor dumb ci'aythurs." 

Ewan's temples beat furiously, and a fearful tumult was rife 
in his brain. One \vild thought expelled all other thoughts. 
Why had he overheard three such conversations ? There 
could be but one answer— he was designed by supernatural 
powers to be the instrument of a fixed purpose. It was irre- 
vocably decided— he was impelled to the terrible business 
that was in his mind by an irresistible force to which he was 
blind and powerless. It was so — it was so. 

Ewan pushed on past the waggon, and heard the men's 
voices die off to an indistinct mumble behind him. How 
hideous were the meditations of the next few minutes ! The 
beating of his temple drew the skin hard about the scar above 
it. He thought of his young wife in her grave, and of the 
shock that sent her there. He felt afresh the abject de- 
gradation of that bitter moment in the library at Bishop's 
Court, when, to save the honour of a forger, he had lied 
before God and man. Then he thought of the grey head of 

135 



THE DEEMSTER 

the august old man, serenest of saints, fondest of fathers, the 
Bishop, bowed down to the dust with shame and a ruined 
hope. And after his mind had oscillated among these agonis- 
ing thoughts there came to him over all else, and more hide- 
ous than all else, the memory of Avhat his own father, the 
Deemster, had told him an hour ago. 

Ewan began to run, and as he ran all his blood seemed to 
rush to his head, and a thousand confused and vague forms 
danced before his eyes. All at once he recognised that he 
was at the mouth of the creek, going down the steep gate to 
the sea that ended in the Lockjaw. Before he was aware, 
he was talking with Davy Fayle and asking for Dan. He 
noticed that his voice would scarcely obey him. 

" He's in the crib on the shore, sir," said Davy, and the lad 
turned back to his work. He was hammeinng an old bent nail 
out of a pitch-pine plank that had washed ashore with the last 
tide. After a moment Davy stopped and looked after the young 
parson, and shook his head and muttered something to himself. 
Then he threw down his hammer and followed slowly. 

Ewan went on. His impatience was now feverish. He 
was picturing Dan as he would find him — drinking, smoking, 
laughing, one leg thrown over the end of a table, his cap 
awry, his face red, his eyes bleared, and his lips hot. 

It was growing dai'k, the snow-cloud was \'ery low over- 
head, the sea-birds were screaming down at the water's edge, 
and the sea's deep rumble came up from the shingle below 
and the rocks beyond. 

Ewan saw the tent and made for it. As he came near to it 
he slipped and fell. Regaining his feet, he perceived that in 
the dusk h.e had tripped over some chips that lay about a 
block. Davy had been chopping firewood of the driftwood 
that the sea had sent up. Ewan saw the hatchet lying among 
the loose chips. In an instant he had caught it up. Recog- 
nising in every event of that awful hour the mysterious influ- 
ence of supernatural powers, he read this incident as he had 
read all the others. Until then he had thought of nothing 
but the deed he was to do ; never for one instant of how he 
was to do it. But now the hatchet was thrust into his hand. 
Thus was everything irrevocably decided. 

And now Ewan was in front of the tent, panting audibly, the 
hatchet in his hand, his eyes starting from their sockets, the 
great veins on his forehead hard and black. Now, O God ! 

136 



BLIND PASSION AND PAIN 

for a moment's strength^ one little moment's strength, now. 



now 



The smoke was rising from the gorse-covered roof ; the little 
black door was shut Inside was Dan, Dan, Dan ; and while 
Ewan's young wife lay in her grave, and Ewan's sister was 
worse than in her grave, and the good Bishop was brought 
low, Dan was there, there, and he was drinking and laughing, 
and his heart Avas cold and dead. 

Ewan lifted the latch and pushed the door open, and 
stepped into the tent. 

Lord of grace and mercy, what was there .'' On the floor 
of earth in one corner of the small place a fire of goi'se, turf, and 
logs bimied slowly, and near this fire Dan lay outstretched 
on a bed of straw, his head pillowed on a coil of old rope, one 
hand twisted under his head, the other resting lightly on his 
breast, and he slept peacefully like a child. 

Ewan stood for a moment shuddering and dismayed. The 
sight of Dan, helpless and at his mercy, unnerved his arm and 
drove the fever from his blood ; there was an awful power in that 
sleeping man, and slee{) had wrapped him in its own divinity. 

The hatchet dropped from Ewan's graspless fingers, and he 
covered his face. As a drowning man is said to see all his 
hfe pass before him at the moment of death, so Ewan saw all 
the past, the happy past— the past of love and of innocence, 
whereof Dan was a part — rise up before him. 

" It is true I am gomg mad," he thought, and he fell back 
on to a bench that stood by the wall. Then there came an 
instant of unconsciousness, and in that instant he was again by 
the waters of the Jordan, and the ewes and the rams and the 
milch-camels were toiling through the long grass, and Esau was 
falling on the neck of Jacob, and they were weeping together. 



CHAPTER XX 

BLIND PASSION AND PAIN 

Dan moved uneasily, and presently awoke, opened his eyes, and 
saw Ewan, and beti'ayed no surprise at his presence there. 

" Ah ! is it you, Ewan ? " he said, sj)eaking quietly, partly in 
a shamefaced way, and with some confusion. " Do you know, 
I've been dreaming of you — you and Mona .'' " 

137 



THE DEEMSTER 

Ewan gave no answer. Because sleep is a holy thing, and 
the brother of death, whose shadow also it is, therefore Ewan's 
hideous purpose had left him while Dan lay asleep at his feet ; 
but now that Dan was awake the evil j)assion came again. 

" I was dreaming of Ihat Mother (Carey's chicken — you re- 
member it — when we were lumps of lads, you know .'' Why, 
you can't have forgotten it — the old tiling 1 caught in its nest 
just under the Head .'' " 

Still Ewan gave no sign, but looked down at Dan resting 
on his elbows. Dan's eyes fell from Ewan's face, but he went 
on in a confused way— 

" Mona couldn't bear to see it caged, and would have me put 
it back. Don't you remember 1 clambered up to the nest and 
put the bird in again ? You were down on the shore, thinking 
sure I would tumble over the Head, and Mona — Mona " 

Dan glanced afresh into Ewan's face, and its look of terror 
seemed to stupefy him ; still he made shift to go on with his 
dream in an abashed sort of way. 

" My gough ! if I didn't dream it all as fresh as fresh, and 
the fight in the air, and the screams when I put the old bird 
in the nest — the young ones had forgotten it clean, and they 
tumbled it out, and set on it terrible, and drove it away — and 
then the poor old thing on the rocks sitting by itself as lonesome 
as lonesome — and little Mona crying and crying down below, 
and her long hair rip-rip-rippling in the wind, and — and " 

Dan had got to his feet, and then seated himself on a stool 
as he rambled on with the story of his dream. But once again 
his shifty eyes came back to Ewan's face, and he stopped short. 

" My God, what is it ? " he cried. 

Now Ewan, standing there with a thousand vague forms float- 
ing in his brain, had heard little of what Dan had said, but he 
had noted his confused manner, and had taken this story of the 
dream as a feeble device to hide the momentaiy discomfiture. 

" What does it mean .'' " he said. " It means that this island 
is not large enough to hold both you and me." 

"What?" 

" It means that you must go away." 

" Away ! " 

" Yes — and at once." 

In the pause that followed after his first cry of amazement, 
Dan thought only of the bad business of the killing of the 
oxen at the ploughing match that morning, and so in a tone 

138 



BLIND PASSION AND PAIN 

of utter abasement, with his face to the ground, he went on 
in a blundering, humble way, to allow that Ewan had reason 
for his anger. 

" I'm a blind headstrong fool, I knov»' that, and my temper 
is— well, it's damnable, that's the fact ; but no one suffers from 
it more than I do, and if I could have felled myself after I 
had felled the oxen, why down .... Ewan, for the sake of 
the dear old times when we were good chums, you and I and 
little Mona, with her quiet eyes, God bless her ! " 

" Go away, and never come back to eitherof us," cried Ewan, 
stamping his foot. 

Dan paused, and there was a painful silence. 

" Why should I go away .'' " he said with an effort at quietness. 

"Because you are a scoundrel — the basest scoundrel on 
God's earth — the foulest traitor — the blackest-hearted mon- 
ster " 

Dan's sunburnt face whitened under his tawny skin. 

" Easy, easy, man veen, easy," he said, struggling visibly for 
self-command, while he interrupted Ewan's torrent of re- 
proaches. 

" You are a disgrace and a by-word. Only the riff-raff of the 
island are your friends and associates." 

" That's true enough, Ewan," said Dan, and his head fell 
between his hands, his elbows resting on his knees. 

" What are you doing ? Drinking, gambling, roystering, 
cheating — yes 

Dan got to his feet uneasily and took a step to and fro about 
the little place ; then sat again, and buried his head in his hands 
as befoi'e. 

" I've been a reckless, self-willed, mad fool, Ewan, but no 
worse than that. And if you could see me as God sees me, and 
know how I suffer for my follies and curse them, for all I seem 
to make so light of them, and how I am driven to them one on 
the head of another, perhaps — perhaps — perhaps you would 
have pity — ay, pity." 

" Pity .'' Pity for you ? You who have brought your father 
to shame ? He is the ruin of the man he was. You have im- 
poverished him ; you have spent his substance and wasted it. 
Ay, and you have made his grey head a mark for reproach. 
' Set your own house in order '—that's what the world says to 
the man of God whose son is a child of the " 

" Stop ! " cried Dan. 

139 



THE DEEMSTER 

He liad lea})! to his feet, his fist clenched, his knuckles 
showing like nuts of steel. 

But Ewnn went on, standing there with a face that was 
ashy white above his black coat. " Your heart is as dead as 
your honour. And that is not all, but you must outrage the 
honour of aiiothcr." 

Now, when Ewan said this, Dan thought of his forged 
signature, and of the censure and suspension to which Ewan 
was thereby made liable. 

" Go away," Ewan cried again, motioning Dan off with his 
trembling hand. 

Dan lifted his eyes. "And what if I refuse?" he said in 
a resolute way. 

"Then take the consequences." 

" You mean the consequences of that — that — that forgery } " 

At this Ewan realised the thought in Dan's mind, and per- 
ceived that Dan conceived him capable of playing upon his 
fears by holding over his head the penalty of an offence which 
he had already taken upon himself. "God in heaven !" he 
thought, " and this is the pitiful creature whom I have all 
these years taken to my heart." 

" Is that what your loyalty comes to ? " said Dan, and his 
lip curled. 

"Loyalty," cried Ewan in white wrath. "Loyalty, and 
you talk to me of loyalty — you who have outraged the honour 
of my sister " 

" Mona ! " 

" I have said it at last, though the word blisters my tongue. 
Go away from the island for ever, and let me never see your 
face again." 

Dan rose to his feet with rigid limbs. He looked about 
him for a moment in a dazed silence, and put his hand to his 
forehead as if he had lost himself. 

" Do you believe that ? " he said, in a slow whisper. 

"Don't deny it— don't let me know you for a liar as well," 
Ewan said eagerly ; and then added in another tone, " I have 
had her own confession." 

" Her confession } " 

"Yes, and the witness of another." 

" The witness of another ! " 

Dan echoed Ewan's words in a vague, half-conscious way. 
Then, in a torrent of hot words that seemed to blister and 

140 



BLIND PASSION AND PAIN 

sting the man who spoke them no less than the man who heard 
them. Ewan told all, and Dan listened like one in a stupor. 

There was silence, and then Ewan spoke again in a tone of 
agony. "Dan, there was a time when in spite of yourself I 
loved you — yes, though I'm ashamed to say it, for it was against 
God's own leading ; still I loved you, Dan. But let us part for 
ever now and each go his own way, and perhaps, though we can 
never forget the wrong that you have done us, we may yet think 
more kindly of you, and time may help us to forgive " 

But Dan had awakened from his stupor, and he flung aside. 

" Damn your forgiveness ! " he said hotly, and then, with 
teeth set, and lips drawn hard, and eyes aflame, he turned upon 
Ewan and strode up to him, and they stood together face to face. 

"You said just now that there was not room enough in the 
island for you and me," he said in a hushed whisper. "You 
were right, but I shall mend your words : if you believe what 
you have said — by Heaven I'll not deny it for you ! — there is 
not room enough for both of us in the world." 

" It was mv own thought," said Ewan, and then for an instant 
each looked into the other's eyes and read the other's ptirpose. 

The horror of that moment of silence was broken by the 
lifting of the latch. Davy Fayle came shambling into the tent 
on some pretended errand. He took off his militia belt with 
the dagger in the sheath attached to it, and hung it on a long 
rusty nail driven mto an upright timber at one corner. Then 
he picked up from among some ling on the floor a waterproof 
coat and put it on. He was going out, with furtive glances at 
Dan and Ewan, who said not a word in his presence, and were 
bearing themselves towards each other with a painful con- 
straint, when his glance fell on the hatchet which lay a few 
feet from the door. Davy picked it up and carried it out, 
muttering to himself, " Strange, strange uncommon ! " 

Hardly had the boy dropped the latch of the door from with- 
out than Ewan took the militia belt from the nail and buckled 
it about his waist. Dan understood his thought ; he was still 
wearing his own militia belt and dagger. There was now not an 
instant's paltering between them — not a word of explanation. 

"We must get rid of the lad," said Dan. 

Ewan bowed his head. It had come to him to reflect that 
when all was over Mona might hear of what had been done. 
What they had to do was to be done for her honour, or for 
what seemed to be her lionour in that blind tangle of passion 
and circumstance. But none the less, tliougli she loved both 

141 



THE DEEMSTER 

of them now, would she loathe that one who returned to her 
with the blood of the other upon him. 

" She must never know," he said. " Send the boy away. 
Then we must go to where this work can be done between 
you and me alone." 

Dan had followed his thought in silence, and was stepping 
towards the door to call to Davy, when the lad came back, 
carrying a log of driftwood for the fire. There were some 
small flakes of snow on his waterproof coat. 

" Go up to the shambles, Davy," said Dan, speaking with an 
effort at composui'e, "and tell Jemmy Curghey to keep me the 
ox-horns." 

Davy looked up m a vacant way, and his lip lagged low. 
"Aw, and didn't you tell Jemmy yourself, and terrible par- 
tic'lar, too.''" 

" Do you say so, Davy .'' " 

"Sarten sure." 

"Then just slip away and fetch them." 

Davy fixed the log on the fire, tapped it into the flame, 
glanced anxiously at Dan and Evvan, and then in a lingering 
way went out. His simple face looked sad under its vacant 
expression. 

The men listened while the lad's footsteps could be heard 
on the shingle, above the deep murmur of the sea. Then 
Dan stepped to the door and threw it open. 

" Now," he said. 

It was ra})idly gi-owing dark. The wind blew sti'ongly into 
the shed. Dan step})ed out, and Ewan followed him. 

They walked in silence through the gully that led from the 
creek to the cliff head. The snow that had begun to fall was 
swirled about in the wind that came from over the sea, and, 
spinning in the air, it sometimes beat against their faces. 

Ewan went along like a man condemned to death. He had 
begun to doubt, though he did not know it, and would have 
shut his mind to the idea if it hud uccurred to him. But once 
when Dan seemed to stop as if only half resolved, and partly 
tui'n his face towards him, Ewan mistook his intention. " He 
is going to tell me that there is some hideous error," he thought. 
He was burning for that word. But no, Dan went plodding 
on again, and never after shifted his steadfast gaze, never 
spoke, and gave no sign. At length he stopped, and Ewan 
stopped with hira. They were standing on the summit of 
Orris Head. 

142 



BLIND PASSION AND PAIN 

It was a sad, a lonesome, and a desolate place, in sight of 
a wide waste of common land, without a house, and with never 
a tree rising above the purple gorse and tussocks of long grass. 
The sky hung very low over it ; the steep red cliffs, with their 
patches of green in ledges, swept down from it to the shingle 
and the sharp shelves of slate covered with sea-weed. The 
groimd swell can: e up from below with a very mournful noise, 
but the air seemed to be empty, and every beat of the foot on 
the soft turf sounded near and large. Above their heads the 
sea-fowl kept up a wild clamour, and far out, where sea and 
sky seemed to meet in the gathering darkness, the sea's steady 
blow on the bare rocks of the naze sent up a deep, hoarse boom. 

Dan unbuckled his belt, and threw off his coat and vest. 
Ewan did the same, and they stood there face to face in the 
thin flakes of snow, Dan in his red shirt, Ewan in his white 
shirt open at the neck, these two men whose souls had been 
knit together as the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of 
David, and each ready to lift his hand against his heart's best 
brother. Then all at once a startled cry came from near at 
hand. 

It was Davy Fayle's voice. The lad had not gone to the 
shambles. Realising in some vague way that the errand was 
a subterfuge and that mischief was about, he had hidden him- 
self at a little distance, and had seen when Dan and Ewan came 
out of the tent together. Creeping through the ling, and 
partly hidden by the dust, he had followed the men until they 
had stopped on the Head. Then Davy had dropped to his 
knees. His ideas were obscure, he scai-cely knew what was 
going on befox'c his eyes, but he held his breath and watched 
and hstened. At length, when the men threw oft" their clothes, 
the truth dawned on Davy, and though he tried to smother 
an exclamation, a cry of terror bui'st from his husky throat. 

Dan and Ewan exchanged glances, and each seemed in one 
moment to read the other's thoughts. In another instant, at 
three quick strides, Dan had taken Davy by the shoulders. 

" Promise," he said, " that you will never tell what you have 
seen." 

Davy struggled to free himself^ but his frantic efforts were 
useless. In Dan's grip he was held as in a vice. 

" Let me go, Mastha Dan," the lad cried. 

" Promise to hold your tongue," said Dan ; " promise it, 
promise it." 

" Let me go, will you ? let me go," the lad shouted sullenly. 

143 



THE DEEMSTER 

" Be quiet/' said Dan. 

" I won't be quiet/' was the stubborn answer. " Help ! help ! 
help ! " and the lad screamed lustily. 

" Hold your tongue, or by G " 

Dan held Davy by one of his great hands hitched into the 
lad's guernsey, and he lifted the other hand threateningly. 

"Help! help! help!" Davy screamed still louder, and 
struggled yet more fiercely, until his strength was spent, and 
his breath was gone, and then there was a moment's silence. 

The desolate place was still as desolate as before. Not a 
sign of life around ; not an answering cry. 

" There's nobody to help you," said Dan. " You have got to 
promise never to tell what you have seen to man, woman, or 
child." 

" I won't promise, and I won't hould my tongue," said the 
lad stoutly. " You are goin' to fight, you and Mastha Ewan, 
and " 

Dan stopped him. "Hearken here. If you are to live another 
hour, you will promise " 

But Davy had regained both strength and voice. 

" I don't care — help ! help ! help ! " he shouted. 

Dan put his hand over the lad's mouth, and dragged him to 
the cliff head. Below was the brant steep, dark and jagged 
and quivering in the deepening gloom, and the sea-birds were 
darting through the mid-air like bats in the dark. 

"Look," said Dan, "you've got to swear never to tell what 
you have seen to-night, so help you God." 

The lad, held tightly by the breast and throat, and gripping 
the arms that held him with fingers that clung like claws, took 
one horrified glance down into the darkness. He struggled 
no longer. His face was very pitiful to see. 

" I cannot promise," he said in a voice like a cry. 

At that answer Dan drew Davy back from the cliff edge, 
and loosed his hold of him. He was abashed and ashamed. 
He felt himself a little man by the side of this half-daft 
fisher-lad. 

All this time Ewan had stood aside looking on while Dan 
demanded the promise, and saying nothing. Now he went up 
to Davy, and said in a quiet voice — 

" Davy, if you should ever tell any one what you have seen, 
Dan will be a lost man all his life hereafter." 

"Then let him pitch me over the cliff," said Davy in a 
smothered cry. 

144 



BLIND PASSION AND PAIN 

" Listen to me, Davy/' Ewan went on ; " you're a brave lad, 
" and I know what's in your head, but " 

" Then what for do you want to figlit liim ? " Davy broke out. 

The lad's tliroat was dry and husky, and his eyes were grow- 
ing dim. 

Ewan paused. Half his passion was spent. Davy's poor 
dense head had found him a question that he could not answer. 

" Davy, if you don't promise, you will ruin Dan — yes, it will 
be you who will ruin him — you, remember that. He will be 
a lost man, and my sister, my good sister Mona, she will be 
a broken-hearted woman." 

Then Davy broke down utterly, and big tears filled his eyes 
and i*an down his cheeks. 

" I promise," he sobbed. 

" Good lad ! — now go." 

Davy turned about and went aw y, at first running, and then 
dragging slowly, then running again, and then again lingering. 

What followed was a very pitiful conflict of emotion. Nature, 
who looks down pitilessly on man and his big little passions, 
that clamour so loud but never touch her at all — -even Nature 
played her part in this tragedy. 

When Davy Fayle was gone, Dan and Ewan stood face to 
face as before, Dan with his back to the cliff', Ewan with his 
face to the sea. Then, without a word, each turned aside and 
picked up his militia belt. 

The snowflakes had thickened during the last few moments, 
but now they seemed to cease and the sky to lighten. Suddenly 
in the west the sky was cloven as though by the sweep of a 
sword, and under a black bar of cloud and above a silvered 
water-line the sun came through veiy red and hazy in its 
setting, and with its i-agged Streamers around it. 

Ewan was buckling the belt about his waist when the set- 
ting sun rose upon them, and all at once there came to him 
the Scripture that says, " Let not the sun go down on your 
wrath." If God's hand had appeared in the heavens, the efflect 
on Ewan could not have been greater. Already his passion 
was more than half gone, and now it melted entirely away. 

"Dan," he cried, and his voice was a sob, "Dan, I cannot 
fight — right or wrong, I caiuiot," and he flung himself down, 
and the tears filled his eyes. 

Then Dan, whose face was afire, laughed loud and bitterly. 
" Coward," he said, " coward and poltroon ! " 

145 K 



THE DERMSTRP 

At that word all the evil passion came back to Ewan^ and 
he leapt to his leet. 

" That is enough/' lie said ; " the belts — buckle them to- 
gether." 

Dan understood I'lrwan's purpose. At the next breath the 
belt about Dan's waist was buckled to the belt about the 
waist of Ewan, and the two men stood strapped together. 
Then they drew the daggers, and an awful struggle followed. 
With breast to breast imtil tiieir Hesh all but touched, and 
with thighs entwined, they reeled and swayed, the right hand 
of each held up for thrust, the left for guard and parry. What 
Dan gained in strength Ewan made up in rage, and the fight 
was fierce and terrible ; Dan still with his back to the cliff, 
Ewan still with his face to the sea. 

At one instant Dan, by his great stature, had reached over 
Ewan's shoulder to thrust from behind, and at the next instant 
Ewan had wrenched his lithe body backwards and had taken 
the blow in his lifted arm, which forthwith spouted blood 
above the wrist. In that encounter they reeled about, chang- 
ing places, and Ewan's back was henceforward towards the 
cliff, and Dan fought with his face towards the sea. 

It was a hideous and savage fight. The sun had gone down, 
the cleft in the heavens had closed again, once more the thin 
flakes of snow were falling, and the world had dropped back 
to its dark mood. A stoi-my petrel came up from the cliff 
and swirled above the men as they fought, and made its dire- 
ful scream over them. 

Up and down, to and fro, embracing closely, clutching, 
guarding, and meantime panting hoarsely, and drawing hard 
breath, the two men fought in their deadly hate. At last 
they had backed and swayed to within three yards of the cliff, 
and then Ewan, with the gasp of a drowning man, flung his 
weapon into the air, and Dan rijijied his dagger's edge across 
the belts that bound them together, and at the next breath 
the belts Avere cut, and the two were divided, and Ewan, 
separated from Dan, and leaning heavily backward, was reel- 
ing, by force of his own weight, toward the cliff. 

Then Dan stood as one transfixed with uplifted hand, and 
a deep groan came from his throat. Passion and pain were 
gone from him in that awful moment, and the world itself 
seemed to be blotted out. When he came to himself, he was 
standing on the cliff head alone. 

146 



BLIND PASSION AND PAIN 

The clock in the old chui'ch was striking. How the bell 
echoed on that lonely height ! One — two — three — four — five. 
Five o'clock ! Everything else was silent as death. The day 
was gone. The snow began to fall in thick large flakes. It 
fell heavily on Dan's hot cheeks and bare neck. His heart 
seemed to stand still, and the very silence itself was awful. 
His terror stupefied him. " What have I done ? " he asked him- 
self. He could not think. He covered his eyes with his hands, 
and strode up and down the cliff head, up and down, up and 
down. Then in a bewildered state of semi-consciousness he 
looked out to sea, and there far off, a league away, he saw a 
black thing looming large against the darkening sky. He re- 
cognised that it was a sail, and then perceived that it Avas a 
lugger, and quite mechanically he ti-ied to divide the mainmast 
and mizzen, the mainsail and yawlsail, and to note if the boat 
wei'e fetching to leeward or beating down the Channel. 

All at once sea and sky were blotted out, and he could not 
stand on his legs, but dropped on his knees, and great beads 
of perspiration rolled down his face and neck. He tried to 
call "Ewan! Ewan ! " but he could not utter the least cry. 
His throat was parched ; his tongue swelled and filled his 
mouth. His lips moved, but no words came from him. Then 
he rose to his feet, and the world flowed back upon him ; the 
sea-fowl crying over his head, the shrillness of the wind in the 
snow-capped gorse, and the sea's hoarse voice swelling upwards 
through the air, while its heavy, monotonous blow on the beach 
shook the earth beneath him. If anything else had appeared 
to Dan at that moment, he must have screamed with terror. 

Quaking in evei-y limb, he picked up his clothes and turned 
back towards the shore. He was so feeble that he could 
scarcely walk through the snow that now lay thick on the 
short grass. Wlien he reached the mouth of the gully, he did 
not tuna into the shed, but went on over the pebbles of the 
creek. His bloodshot eyes, which almost started from their 
sockets, glanced eagerly from side to side. At last he saw 
the thing he sought, and now that it was under him, within 
reach of his hand, he dare hardly look upon it. 

At the foot of a jagged crag that hung heavily over from 
the cliff the body of Ewan Mylrea lay dead and cold. There 
was no mark of violence upon it save a gash on the wrist of the 
left hand, and over the wound there was a clot of blood. The 
white face lay deep in the breast, «s if the neck had been 

147 



THE DEEMSTER 

dislocated. There were no other outw.ird marks of injury 
iVonv the fall. The body was outstretched on its back, with 
one arm — the left arm — lyino; half over the forehead, and the 
other, the ri<>ht arm, with the hand o])en and the listless 
finders aj)art, thrown loosely aside. 

Dan knelt beside the body, and his heart was benumbed 
like ice. He tried to pray, but no prayer would come, and 
he could not weep. 

" iiwan ! Ewan ! " he cried at length, and his voice of agony 
rolled round the corpse like the soughing of the wind. 

" Ewan ! Ewan ! " he cried again ; but only the sea's voice 
broke the silence that followed. Then his head fell on the 
cold breast, and his arms covered the lifeless body, and he 
cried uj)on God to have mercy on him, and to lift up His hand 
against him and cut him oft'. 

Presently he got on his feet, and, scarcely knowing what 
he was doing, he lifted the body in his arms, with the head 
lying backwards on his shoulder, and the wliite face looking 
up in its stony stare to the darkening heavens. As he did so 
his eyes were raised to the cliff, and there, clearly outlined 
over the black crags and against the somewhat lighter sky, 
he saw the figure of a man. 

He toiled along towards the shed. He was so weak that 
he could scarce keep on his legs, and when he reached the 
little place at the mouth of the creek he was more dead than 
alive. He put the body to lie on the bed of straw on which 
he had himself slept and dreamt an hour before. Then all 
at once he felt a low sort of cunning coming over him, and he 
went back to the door and shut it, and drew the long wooden 
bolt into its iron hoop on the jamb. 

He had hardly done so when he heard an impatient foot- 
step on the shingle outside. In another instant the latch was 
lifted and the door pushed heavily. Then there was a knock. 
Dan made no answer, but stood very still and held his breath. 
There was another knock, and another. Then in a low tremu- 
lous murmur there came the words : 

" Where is he ? God A'mighty ! where is he ? '' It was 
Davy Fayle. Another knock, louder, and still no reply. 

" Mastha Dan, Mastha Dan, they're coming ; Mastha Dan, 
God A'mighty ! " 

Davy was now tramping restlessly to and fro. Dan was try- 
ing to consider what it was best to do — whether to open to 

148 



BLIND PASSION AND PAIN 

Davy and hear what he had to say, or to carry it off as if he 
were not within — when another foot sounded on the shingle, 
and cut short his meditations. 

" Have you seen Mr. Ewan — Parson Ewan ? " 

Dan recognised the voice. It was the voice of Jarvis Kerruish. 

Davy did not answer immediately. 

" Have you seen him, eh .'' " 

" No, sir," Davy faltered. 

" Then why didn't you say so at once ? It is very strange. 
The people said he was Avalking towards the creek. There's 
no way out in this direction, is there ? " 

"Way out — this direction.^ Yes, sir," Davy stammered. 

" How ? Show me the way." 

"By the sea, sir." 

"^Tlae sea ! Simpleton ! what are you doing here ? " 

"Waiting for the boat, sir." 

"What shed is this.^" 

Dan could hear that at this question Davy was in a fever of 
excitement. 

" Only a place for bits of net and cable, and all to that," said 
Davy eagerly. 

Dan could feel that Jarvis had stepped up to the shed, and 
that he was trying to look in through the Uttle window. 

" Do you keep a fire to warm your nets and cables .'' " he asked 
in a suspicious tone. 

At the next moment he was tryuig to force the door. Dan 
stood behind. The bolt creaked in the hasp. If the hasp 
should give way, he and Jarvis would stand face to face. 

"Strange — there's something strange about all this," said 
the man outside. "I heard a scream as I came over the 
Head. Did you hear anything ? " 

" I tell you I heard nothing," said Davy sullenly, 

Dan grew dizzy, and, groping for something to cling to, his 
hand scraped across the door. 

" Wait ! I could have sworn 1 heard something move inside. 
Who keeps the key of this shed .'' " 

" Kay ? There's never a kay at the like of it." 

"Then how is it fastened? From within.'' Wait — let me see." 

There was a sound like the brushing of a hand over the out- 
side face of the door. 

" Has the snow stopped up the keyhole, or is there no sucli 
thing ? Or is the door fastened by a padlock ? " 

149 



THE DEEMSTER 

Dan had regained his self-possession by this time. He felt 
an impulse to throw tlie door open. He groped at his waist 
for the dagger, but belt and dagger were both gone. 

" All this is very strange," said Jarvis, and then he seemed 
to turn from the door and move away. 

" Stop ! Where is the man Dan — the captain ? " he asked, 
from a little distance. 

" I dunno/' said Davy stoutly. 

"That's a lie, my lad." 

Then the man's footsteps went off in dull beats on the snow- 
clotted pebbles. 

After a moment's silence there was a soft knocking ; Davy 
had crept up to the door. 

" Mastha Dan," he whispered, amid j)anting breath. 

Dan did not stir. The latch was lifted in vain. 

" Mastha Dan, Mastha Dan. " The soft knocking continued. 

Dan found his voice at last. 

" Go away, Davy ; go away," he said hoarsely. 

There was a short pause, and then there came fi-om without 
an answer like a sob. 

"I'm going, Mastha Dan." 

After that all was silent as death. Half an hour later, Dan 
Mylrea was walking through the darkness towards Ballamona. 
In his blind misery he was going to Mona. The snow was not 
falling now, and in the lift of the storm the sky was lighter 
than it had been. As Dan passed the old church, he could just 
descry the clock. The snow lay thick on the face, and clogged 
the hands. The clock had stopped. It stood at five exactly. 

The blind leading that is seen here of passion by accident is 
seen everywhere that great tragedies are done. It is not the 
evil in man's heart more than the deep perfidy of circumstance 
that briiiiis him to crime. 



CHAPTER XXI 

THK VOICE IN THE NIGHT 

However bleak the night, however dark the mood of the world 
might be, there was a room in Ballamona that was bright with 
one beautiful human flower in bloom. Mona was there — Mona 
of the (juiet eyes and the silent ways and the little elfish head. 

150 



THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT 

It was Christmas Eve with her as with other people, and she 
was dressing the house in hibbin and holHn from a great moun- 
tain of both, that Hommy-beg had piled up in the hall. She 
was looking very smart and happy that night in her short body 
of homespun turned in from neck to waist, showing a white 
habit-shirt and a white handkerchief crossed upon it; a quilted 
overskirt and linen apron that did not fall so low as to hide 
the open-work stockings and the sandal-shoes. Her room, too, 
was bright and sweet, with its glowing fire of peat and logs 
on the "wide hearth, its lamp on the square oak table, and the 
oak settle drawn up between them. In one corner of the 
settle, bubbling and babbling and sputtering and cooing amid 
a very crater of red baize cushions, was Mona's foster-child, 
Ewan's motherless daughter, lying on her back and fighting 
the air with clenched fists. 

While Mona picked out the hibbin from the hollin, dissected 
both, made arches and crosses and crowns and rosettes, and 
then sprinkled flour to resemble snow on the red berries and 
the green leaves, she sang an old Manx ballad in snatches, or 
prattled to the little one in that half-articulate tongue that 
comes with the instinct of motherhood to every good woman 
that God ever makes : — 

" I rede ) e bi;ware of the Carrasdoo men 
As ye come up the wold ; 
I rede ye beware of the haunted glen " 

But a fretful whimper would interrupt the singer. 
" Hush, hush, Ailee darling, hush." 

The whimper would be hushed, and again there would be 
a snatch of the ballad : — 

"In Jorby Curragh they dwell alone 
By dark peat bogs, where the willows moan, 
Down in a gloomy and lonely glen ■" 

Once again the whimper would stop the song. 

"Hush, darling; papa is coming to Ailee, yes; and Ailee 
will see papa, yes, and papa will see Ailee, yes, and Ailee " 

Then a long, low gurgle, a lovely head leaning over the 
back of the settle and dropping to the middle of the pillow 
like a lark to its nest in the grass, a long licpiid kiss on the 
soft round baby legs, and then a perfect fit of baby laughter. 

151 



THK DEEMSTER 

It was as pretty a picture as the world had in it on that 
bleak Christmas Eve. Whatever tumult might reign without, 
there within was a nest of peace. 

Mona was expecting Ewan at Ballamona that night, and 
now she was waiting for his coming. It was true that when 
he was there three hours ago it was in something like anger that 
they had parted, but Mona recked nothing of that. She knew 
Ewan's impetuous temper no better than his conciliatory spirit. 
He would come to-night as he had promised yesterday, and if 
there had been anger between thcni it would then be gone. 

Twenty times she glanced at the little clock with the lion 
face and the pendulum like a dog's head that swung above 
the ingle. Many a time, with head aslant, with parted lips, 
and eyes alight, she cried " Hark ! " to the little one when a 
footstep would sound in the hall, liut Ewan did not come, 
and meantime the child grew more and more fretful as her 
bed-time approached. At length Mona undressed her and 
carried her off to her crib in the room adjoining, and sang 
softly to her while she struggled hard with sleep under the 
oak hood with the ugly beasts carved on it, until sleej) had 
conquered and all was silence and j)eace. Then, leaving a 
tallow dip burning on the table between the crib and the 
bed, lest perchance the little one should awake and cry from 
fear of the darkness, Mona went back to her sitting-room to 
finish off the last bunch of the hibbin and hollin. 

The last bunch was a bit of i)rickly green, with a cluster of 
the reddest berries, and Mona hung it over a portrait of her 
bi-other, which was j)ainted by a great artist fi-om England 
when Ewan was a child. The Deemster had turned the 
portrait out of the dining-room after the painful interview 
at Bishop's Court about the loan and surety, and Mona had 
found it, face to the wall, in a lun)ber-room. She looked at 
it now with a new interest. When she hung the hollin over 
it she recognised for the first time a resemblance to the little 
Aileen whom she had just put to bed. How strange it seemed 
that Ewan had once been a child like Ailee ! 

Then she began to feel that Ewan was Lite in coming, and 
to make conjectin-es as to the cause of his delay. Her father's 
house was fast becoming a cheerless place to her. More than 
ever the Deemster was lost to her. Jai vis Kerruish, her stranger 
brother, was her father's companion ; and this seemed to draw 
her closer to Ewan for solace and cheer. 

152 



THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT 

Then she sat on the settle to thread some loose berries that 
had fallen, and to think of Dan — the high-spirited, reckless, 
rollicking, headstrong, tender-hearted, thoughtless, brave, 
stubborn, daring, dear, dear Dan— Dan, who was very, very 
much to her in her great loneliness. Let other people rail at 
Dan if they would ; he was wrapped up with too many of her 
fondest memories to allow of disloyalty like that. Dan would 
yet justify her belief in him. Oh yes, he would yet be a great 
man, all the world would say it was so, and she would be very 
proud that he was her cousin — yes, her cousin, or perhaps, 

perhaps And then, without quite daring to follow up that 

delicious train of thought, even in her secret heart, though 
none might look there and say if it was unmaidenly, Mona 
came back to the old Manx ballad, and sang to herself another 
verse of it : — 

" Who has not heard of Adair, the youth ? 
Who does not know that his soul was truth ? 
Woe is me ! how smoothly they speak, 
And Adair was brave, and a man, but weak." 

All at once her hand went up to her forehead, and the words 
of the old song seemed to have a new significance. Hardly 
had her voice stopped and her last soft note ceased to ring in 
the quiet room, when she thought she heard her own name 
called twice — " Mona ! Mona ! " 

The voice was Ewan's voice, and it seemed to come from her 
bedroom. She rose from the settle, and went into her room. 
There was no one there save the child. The little one was dis- 
turbed in her sleep at the moment, and was twisting restlessly, 
making a faint cry. It was very strange. The voice h;id been 
Ewan's voice, and it had been deep and tremulous as the voice 
of one in trouble. 

Presently the child settled itself to sleep, all was silent as be- 
lore, and Mona went back to the sitting-room. Scarcely was 
she seated afresh when she heard the voice again, and it again 
called her twice by name, " Mona ! Mona ! " in the same tremu- 
lous tone, but very clear and distinct. 

Then trenil)lingly Mona rose once more and went into her 
room, for thence the voice seemed to come. No one was there. 
The candle burnt fitfully, and suddenly the child cried in its 
sleep — that strange night cry that freezes the blood of one 
who is awake to hear it. It was very, very strange. 

153 



THE DEEMSTER 

Feeling faint, hardly able to keep on her feet, Mona went 
back to the sitting-room and opened the door that led into 
the hall. No one seemed to be stirring. The door of her 
father's study opposite was closed, and tliere was talking — 
the animated talking of two persons — within. 

Mona turned back, closed her door quietly, and then, sum- 
moning all her courage, she walked to the window and drew 
the heavy curtains aside. The hoops from which they hung 
rattled noisily over the pole. Putting her face close to the 
glass, and shading her eyes from the light of the lamp behind 
her, she looked out. She saw that the snow had fallen since 
the lamp had been lit at dusk. There was snow on the 
ground, and thin snow on the leafless boughs of the trees. 
She could see nothing else. She even pushed up the sash and 
called — 

" Who is there .'' " 

But there came no answer. The wind moaned about the 
house and the sea rumbled in the distance. She pulled the 
sash down again. 

Then, leaving the curtain drawn back, she turned again into 
the room, and, partly to divert her mind from the mysterious 
apprehensions that had seized it, she sat down at the little 
harpsichord that stood on the farther side of the ingle against 
the wall that ran at I'ight angles from the window. 

At first her fingers ran nervously over the keys, but they 
gained force as she went on, and the volume of somid seemed 
to dissipate her fears. 

" It is nothing," she thought. " I have been troubled about 
what Ewan said to-day, and I'm nervous — that is all." 

And as she played her eyes looked not at the finger-board, 
but across her shoulder towards the bare window. Then sud- 
denly there came to her a sensation that made her flesh creep. 
It was as if from the darkness outside thei'e were eyes which 
she could not see looking steadily in uj)on her where she sat. 

Her blood rushed to her head, she felt dizzy, the playing 
ceased, and she clung by one hand to the candle-rest of the 
harpsichord. Then once more she distinctly heard the same 
deep, tremulous voice call her by her name — " Mona ! Mona ! " 

Faint and all but reeling she rose again, and again made her 
way to the bedroom. As before, the child was restless in her 
sleep. It seemed as if all the air were charged. Mona had 
almost fallen from fright, when all at once she heard a sound 

154 



THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT 

that she could not mistake, and instantly she recovered some 
self-possession. 

It was the sound of the window of her sitting-room being 
thrown open from without. She I'an baclv, and saw Dan Mylrea 
climbing into the room. 

"Dan ! " she cried. 

"Mona." 

" Did you call ? " 

"When?" 

" Now — a little while ago ? " 

"No." 

A great trembling shook Dan's whole frame. Mona per- 
ceived it, and a sensation of disaster not yet attained to the 
clearness of an idea took hold of her. 

" Where is Ewan .'' " she said. 

He tried to avoid her gaze. " Why do you ask for him ? " 
said Dan m a faltering voice. 

"\^liere is he?" she asked a^ain. 

He grew dizzy, and laid hold of the settle for support. The 
question she asked was that which he had come to answer, but 
his tongue clave to his mouth. 

Very pale and almost rigid from the heaviness of a great 
fear which she felt but could not understand, she watched 
him when he reeled like a drunken man. 

" He has called me three times, \^'here is he ? He was to 
be here to-night," she said. 

" Ewan will not come to-night," he answered, scarcely 
audibly; "not to-night, Mona, or to-morrow — or ever — no, 
he will never come again." 

The horrible apprehension that had taken hold of her leapt 
to the significance of his words, and, almost before he had 
spoken, a cry burst from her. 

" Ewan is dead — he is dead ; Mona, our Ewan, he is dead," 
he faltered. 

She dropped to the settle, and cried, in the excess of her 
first despair, " Ewan, Ewan, to think that I shall see him no 
more ! " and then she wept. All the time Dan stood over 
her, leaning heavily to bear himself up, trembling visibly, and 
with a look of great agony fixed upon her, as if he had not 
the strength to turn his eyes away. 

"Yes, yes, our Ewan is dead," he repeated in a murmur 
that came up from his heart. "The truest friend, the fondest 

155 



THE DEEMSTER 

brother, the whitest soul, the dearest, bravest, purest, noblest 
— O God ! O God ! de.id, dead ! Worse, a hundredfold worse 
— Mona, he is murdered." 

At that she raised herself up, and a bewildered look was 
in her eyes. 

" Murdered ? No, that is not possible. He was beloved 
by all. There is no one who would kill him— there is no one 
alive with a heart so black." 

"Yes, Mona, but there is," he said; "there is one man 
with a heart so black." 

"Who is he?" 

" Who ? He is the foulest creature on God's earth. Oh, 
God in heaven ! why was he bom ? " 

" Who is he ? " 

He bowed his head where he stood before her, and beads 
of sweat started from his brow. 

"Cursed be the hour when that man was bom!" he said 
in an awful whisper. 

Then Mona's despair came upon her like a torrent, and 
she wept long. In the bitterness of her heart she cried — 

" Cursed indeed, cursed for ever ! Dan, Dan, you must 
kill him — you must kill that man." 

But at the sound of that word from her own lips the spirit 
of revenge left her on the instant, and she cried, " No, no, 
not that." Then she went down on her knees and made a 
short and piteous prayer for forgiveness for her thought. " O 
Father," she prayed, " forgive me. 1 did not know what I 
said. But Ewan is dead ! O Father, our dear Ewan is mur- 
dered. Some black-hearted man has killed him. Vengeance 
is Thme. Yes, I know that. O Father, forgive me. But to 
think that Ewan is gone for ever, and that base soul lives on. 
Vengeance is Thine ; but, O Father, let Thy vengeance fall 
upon him. If it is Thy will, let Thy hand be on him. Follow 
him. Father ; follow him with Thy vengeance " 

She had flung hcibelf on her knees by the settle, her up- 
turned eyes wide open, and her two trembling hands held 
above her head. Dan stood beside her, and as she prayed a 
deep groan came up from his heart, his breast swelled, and 
his throat seemed to choke. At last he clutched her by the 
shoulders and interrupted her prayer, and cried, " Mona, Mona, 
what are you saying— what are you saying ? Stop, stop ! " 

She rose to her feet. " I have done wrong," she said more 
156 



THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT 

quietly. " He is in God's hands. Yes, it is for God to 
punish him." 

Then Dan said in a heartrendini^ voice — 

" Mona, he did not mean to kill Ewan— they fought — it 
was all in the heat of blood." 

Once more he tried to avoid her gaze, and once more, 
pale and immovable, she watched his face. 

" Who is he } " she asked with an awful calmness. 

" Mona, turn your face away from me, and I will tell you," 
he said. 

Then ever} thing swam about her, and her pale lips grew 
ashy. 

" Don't you know .'' " he asked in a whisper. 

She did not turn her face, and he was compelled to look 
at her now. His glaring eyes v/ere fixed upon her. 

"Don't you know.''" he whispered again; and then in a 
scarcely audible voice he said, " It was I, Mona." 

At that she grew cold with horror. Her features became 
changed beyond recognition. She recoiled from him, stretched 
her trembling hands before her as if to keep him off. 

" Oh, hoiTor ! Do not touch me ! " she cried faintly through 
the breath that came so h.'U'd. 

" Do not spare me, Mona," he said in a great sob. " Do 
not spare me. You do right not to spare me. I have stained 
my hands with your blood." 

Then she sank to the settle and held her head, while he 
stood by her and told her all — all the bitter blundering truth — 
and bit by bit she grasped the tangled tale, and realised the 
blind passion and pain that had brought them to such a pass, 
and saw her own unwitting share in it. 

And he on his part saw the product of his headstrong wrath, 
and the pitiful grounds for it, so small and so absurd as 
such grounds oftenest are. And together these shipwrecked 
voyagers on the waters of life sat and wept, and wondered 
what evil could be in hell itself if man in his blindness could 
find the world so full of it. 

And Dan cursed himself and said — 

" Oh, the madness of thinking that if either were gone the 
other could ever again know one hour's happiness with you, 
Mona. Ay, though the crime lay hidden, yet would it wither 
and blast every hour. And now, behold, at the first moment, 
I am bringing my burden of sin, too heavy for myself, to you. 

157 



THE DEEMSTER 

I am a coward — yes, I am a coward. You will turn your back 
upon mc, Mona, and then I shall be alone." 

She looked at him with infinite comjjassion, and her heart 
surged within her as she listened to liis voice of great agony. 

"Ah me ! and I asked God to curse you," she said. "Oh, 
how wicked that prayer was ! Will CJod hear it ? Merciful 
Father, do not hear it. I did not know what I said. I am a 
blind, ignorant creature, but Thou seest and knowest best. 
l*ity liim, and forgive him. Oh no, (!od will not hear my 
Avieked prayer." 

Thus in fitful outbursts she talked and prayed. It was as 
if a tempest had torn up every tie of her soul. Dan listened, 
and lie looked at her with swimming eyes. 

" And do you pray for me, Mona," he said. 

" Who will ])ray for you if I do not ? In all the world there 
will not be one left to speak kindly of you if I speak ill. Oh, 
Dan, it will become known, and every one will be against you." 

" And caTi you think Avell of him who killed your brother .'' " 

" But you are in such sorrow ; you are so miserable." 

Then Dan's great frame shook woefully, and he cried in his 
pain — "Mercy, mercy, have mercy ! What have I lost ? What 
love have I lost .'' " 

At that Mona's weeping ceased ; she looked at Dan through 
her lashes, still wet, and said in another tone — 

" Dan, do not think me unmaidenly. If you had done well, 
if you had realised my hopes of you, if you had grown to be 
the good and great man I longed to see you, then, though I 
might have yearned for you, I would rather have died with my 
secret than speak of it. But now, now that all this is not so, 
now that it is a lost faith, now that by God's will you are 
to be abased before the whole world — oh, do not think me 
unmaidenly now I tell you, Dan, that I love you, and have 
always loved you." 

" Mona ! " he cried in a low, passionate tone, and took one 
step towards her and held out his hands. There was an un- 
speakable language in her face. 

" Yes ; and that where you go I must go also, though it 
were to disgrace and shame " 

She had turned towards him lovingly, yearningly, with 
heaving breast. With a great cry he flung his arms about 
her, and the world of pain and sorrow was for that instant 
blotted out. 

158 



THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT 

But all the bitter flood came i-ushin<^ back upon them. He 
put her from him with a strong shudder. 

" We are clasping hands over a tomb, Mona. Our love is 
known too late. We are mariners cast on a I'ock within a 
cable's length of harbour, but cut off from it by a cruel sea that 
may never be passed. We are hopeless within sight of hope. 
Our love is known in vain. It is a vision of what might have 
been in the days that are lost for ever. We can never clasp 
hands, for, O God ! a cold hand is between us and lies in the 
hand of both." 

Then again she fell to weeping, but suddenly she arose as 
if struck by a sudden idea. 

" You will be taken," she said ; " how can I have forgotten 
it so long.'' You must fly from the island. You must get 
away to-night. To-morrow all will be discovered." 

" I will not leave the island," said Dan firmly. " Can you 
drive me from you ? " he said with a suppliant look. " Yes, 
you do well to drive me away." 

" My love, I do not drive you from me. I would have you 
here for ever. But you will be taken. Quick, the world is 
wide." 

" There is no world for me save here, Mona. To go from 
you now is to go for ever, and I would rather die by my own 
hand than face such banishment." 

"No, no, not that; never, never that. That would imperil 
your soul, and then we should be divided for ever." 

"It is so already, Mona," said Dan with solemnity. "We 
are divided for ever — as the blessed are divided from the 
damned." 

" Don't say that — don't say that ! " 

" Yes, Mona," he said, with a fearful calmness, " we have 
thought of my crime as against EAvan, as against you, myself, 
the world, and its law. But it is a crime against God also, 
and surely it is the unpardonable sin." 

" Don't say that, Dan. There is one great anchor of hope." 

"What is that, Mona?" 

" Ewan is with God. At this moment, while we stand here 
together, Ewan sees God." 

"Ah!" 

Dan dropped to his knees with awe at that thought, and 
drew off" the cap which he had worn until then, and bent his 
head. 

159 



THE DEEMSTER 

" Yes, he died in auger ami in strife/' said Mona ; " but God 
is merciful. He knows the feebleness of His creatures, and has 
pity. Yes, our dear E^van is with God ; now he knows what 
you suffer, my })oor Dan ; and he is takinj^ blame to himself 
and pleadinj^ for you." 

" No, no ; I did it all, Mona. He would not have fought. 
He would have made peace at the last, but I drove him on. 
' I cannot fight, Dan,' he said. I can see him saying it, and 
the sun was setting. No, it was not fight, it was murder. 
And God will punish me, my poor girl. Death is my just 
punishment — everlasting death." 

" Wait. I know what is to be done." 

" What, Mona ? " 

" You must make atonement." 

" How ? " 

" You must give yourself up to justice and take the punish- 
ment of the law. And so you will be redeemed, and God will 
forgive you." 

He listened, and then said— 

" And such is to be the end of our love, Mona, born in the 
hour of its death. You, even you, give me up to justice." 

"Don't say that. You will be redeemed by atonement. 
When Ewan was killed it was woe enough, but that you are 
under God's wrath is worse than if we were all, all slain." 

"Then we must bid farewell. The penalty of my crime is 
death." 

"No, no; not that." 

" I must die, Mona. This, then, is to be our last parting." 

" A nd even if so, it is best. You must make your peace with 
God." 

" And you, my last refuge, even you send me to my death. 
Well, it is right, it is just, it is well. Farewell, my poor girl ; 
this is a sad parting." 

" Farewell." 

" You will remember me, Mona ? " 

" Remember you ! When the tears I shed for Ewan are dry I 
shall still weep for you." 

There was a faint cry at that moment. 

" Hush ! " said Mona, and she lifted one hand, 

" It is the child," she added. " Come, look at it." 

She turned, and walked towards the bedroom. Dan followed 
her with drooping head. The little one had again been restless 

160 



THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT 

in her sleepj but now, with a long breath, she settled herself in 
sweet repose. 

At sight of the child the great trembling shook Dan's 
frame again, " Mona, Mona, why did you bring me here ?" 
he said. 

The sense of his crime came with a yet keener agony when he 
looked down at the child's unconscious face. The thought 
flashed upon him that he had made this innocent babe father- 
less, and that all the unprotected years were before her wherein 
she must realise her loss. 

He fell to his knees beside the cot, and his tears rained down 
upon it. 

Mona had lifted the candle from the table, and she held it 
above the kneeling man and the sleeping child. 

It was the blind woman's vision realised. 

When Dan rose to his feet he was a stronger man. 

" Mona," he said resolutely, " you are right. This sin must 
be wiped out." 

She had put down the candle, and was now trying to take 
his hand. 

"Don't touch me," he said, "don't touch me." 

He returned to the other room, and threw open the window. 
His face was turned towards the distant sea, whose low moan 
came up through the dark night. 

" Dan," she murmured, " doyou think we shall meet again .'' " 

" Perhaps we are speaking for the last time, Mona," he 
answered. 

" Oh, my heart will break ! " she said. " Dan," she murmured 
again, and tried to grasp his hand. 

" Don't touch me. Not until later — not until — until then." 

Their eyes met. The longing, yearning look in hers answered 
to the wild light in his. She felt as if this were the last she was 
ever to see of Dan in this weary world. He loved her with all 
his great, broken, bleeding heart. He had sinned for her sake. 
She caught both his hands with a passionate grasp. Her lips 
quivered, and the brave, fearless, stainless girl put her quivering 
lips to his. 

To Dan that touch was as fire. With a passionate cry he 
flung his arms about her. For an instant her head lay on his 
breast. 

" Now go," she whispered, and broke from his embrace. Dan 
tore himself away, with heart and bi'ain aflame. Were they 

]()! L 



THE DEEMSTER 

ever to meet again ? Yes. At one great moment they were 
yet to stand face to face. 

The night was dark, but Dan felt the darkness not at all^ for 
the night was heavier witliin him. He went down towards the 
creek. To-moi-row he woidd give liiniself iij) to the Deemster : 
but to-night Avas for ]iimself — liimsclf and it. 

Fie went by tlie clnirch. A noisy company were just then 
trooping out of the ])orch into the churchyard. There they 
gathered in httle knots, ht lanterns, laughed, and drank healths 
from bottles that were brought out of their pockets. 

It was the breaking up of the Oiel Verree. 



CHAPTER XXII 

AI.ONE, ALONE ALL, ALL ALONK ! 

When Dan got down to the creek the little shed was full of the 
fisher-fellows. There were Quilleash, Teare, Crennell, and the 
lad Davy. The men wore their oilskins, as if they had just 
stepped out of the dinghy on the beach, and on the floor were 
three baskets of cod and ray, as if they had just set them down. 
The fire of gorse was crackling on the hearth, and Davy sat 
beside it, looking pale and ill. He had watched Dan away from 
the shed, and then, trembling with fear, but girding up his 
young heart to conquer it, he had crept back and kept guard 
by the body. 

" I couldn't give myself liberty to lave it," he said, half fear- 
fully, lifting his eyes to Dan's as Dan entered. Then the men, 
who in the first moment of horror had asked Davy fifty ques- 
tions, and got never an answer to any of them, seemed to under- 
stand everything at once. They made way for Dan, and he 
strode through them, and looked down at the body, for it was 
still lying where he had left it. He said not a word. 

When the men had time to comprehend in its awful fulness 
what had occurred, they stood together and whispered, cast 
side looks at Dan, and then long searching looks at the body. 
The certainty that Ewan was dead did not at first take hold 
of them. There was no mark of violence on the body except 
the wound above the wrist, and suddenly, while the men stood 
and looked down, the wound bled afresh. Then old Quilleash, 

1(52 



ALONE, ALONE— ALL, ALL ALONE 

who was reputed to possess a charm to stop blood, knelt beside 
Ewan, and, while all looked on and none spoke, he whispered 
his spell m the deaf ear. 

"A few good words can do no harm," said Crennell, the 
cook, who was a Quaker. 

Old Quill eash whispered again in the dead ear, and then he 
made a Avild command to the blood to cease flowing in the 
name of the three godly men who came to Rome — Christ, 
Petei-, and Paul. 

There was a minute of silence, and the blood seemed to stop. 
The men trembled ; Davy, the lad, grew more pale than before, 
and Dan stood as if in stupor, looking down and seeing all, 
yet seeing nothing. 

Then the old man lifted his tawny face. " Cha viurroo as 
clagh," he said in another hoarse whisper. " He is dead as a 
stone." 

There was a deep groan from the throats of the men ; they 
dropped aside, and awe fell upon them. None of them spoke 
to Dan, and none questioned the lad again ; but all seemed 
to understand everything m some vague way. Billy Quilleash 
sat on a block of a tree trunk that stood at one side, and there 
was silence for a space. Then the old man turned his face to 
his mates and said, " I'm for a man stickin' up for a frien', 
I am." 

At that there was an uneasy movement among the others. 

''Aw, yes, though, a man should stick to his frien', he 
should, alow or aloft, up or down," continued Billy ; and after 
some twisting and muttering among the other fisher-fellows 
he went on, " You have to summer and whiter a man before 
you know him, and lave it to us to know Mastha Dan. We've 

shared meat, shared work with him, and, d me sowl ! 

nothing will hould me, but I'll stand up for him now, sink or 
svdm." 

Then one of the fellows said, " Ay," and another said, " Ay," 
and a third — it was Crennell — said, "A friend m need was 
more preciouser nor goold ; " and then old Billy half twisted 
his head towards Dan, but never once lifted his eyes to Dan's 
face, and speaking at him but not to him, said they were I'ough 
chaps maybe, and couldn't put out no talk at all, never being 
used of it, but if there was somethin' wrong, as was plain to 
see, and keepin' a quiet tongue in your bead was the way it 
was goin', and buckin' up for them as was afther buckin' up 

163 



THE DEEMSTER 

for his churns, why, a frien' was a frien', and they meant to 
stand by it. 

At that, these i-f)ii(i;h sea-dogs with the bi<]j hearts in their 
broad breasts took hold of each other's hard hands in a circle 
about the body of Ewan, whose white face looked up at them 
in its stony stare, and there in the little lonely shed by the 
sea they made their mutual pledge. 

All that time Dan had stood and looked on in silence, and 
Davy, sittin<>; by the spluttering fire, sobbed audibly while 
Uncle Billy spoke. 

" We must put it away," said old Billy in a low tone, with 
his eyes on the body. 

" Ay," said Ned Teare. 

" What's o'clock ? " 

"A piece past twelve." 

" Half-flood. It will be near the turn of the ebb at three," 
said Quilleash. 

Not another word of explanation was needed, all under- 
standing that they must take the body of Ewan out to sea, 
and bury it there after three o'clock next morning, so that, if 
it stirred after it was sent down to its long home, it must be 
swept away over the Channel. 

" Heise," said one, and he put his hand down to lift the 
body. 

" Shoo ! " 

Dan himself stepped aside to let them j^ass out. He had 
watched their movements with wide eyes. They went by him 
without a word. When they were gone he followed them 
mechanically, scarcely knowing what he did. Davy went after 
him. 

The fishermen stepped out into the night. In silence they 
carried the body of Ewan to the dinghy that lay on the beach. 
All got into the boat and pushed off. It was very dark now, 
but soon they came athwart the hawse of the licn-my-Ckree, 
which was lying at anchor below low-water. They pulled up, 
lifted the body over the gunwale, and followed it into the 
fishing-boat. 

" There's a good taste of a breeze," said old Quilleash. 

In five minutes more they were standing out to sea, with 
their dread freight of horror and crime. They had put the 
body to lie by the hatchways, and again and again they turned 
their heads towards it in the darkness. It was as though it 

164 



ALONE, ALONE— ALL, ALL ALONE 

might even yet stand up in their midst, and any man at any 
moment might find it face to face with him, eye to eye. 

The wind was fresh outside. It was on their larboard quar- 
ter as they made in long tacks for the north. When they were 
well away the men gathered about the cockpit and began 
to mourn over Ewan, and to recount their memories concern- 
ing him, 

" Well, the young pazon's cruise is up, and a rael good man 
anyway." 

"Aw, yes ; there's odds of pazons,but the like of him isn't in." 

" Poor Pazon Ewan," said Quilleash, " I remember him since 
he was a wee skute in his mother's arms — and a fine lady too. 
And him that quiet, but thinkin' a dale maybe, with his head 
a piece to starboard and his eyes fixed like a figurehead, but 
more natheral, and tender uncommon. And game too. Aw, 
dear, you should 'a seen him buck up to young Dan at Avhiles." 

" Game ! A hot temper at him for all, and I wouldn't trust 
but it's been the death of him." 

" Well, man, lave it at that ; lave it, man. Which of us 
doesn't lie over in a bit of a breeze aither to port or starboard } 
God won't be hard on him for the temper. No, no, God'll never 
be hard on a wai-m heart because it keeps company with a hot 
head." 

" Aw, but the tender he Avas ! " said Crennell, the Quaker. 
" And the voice like an urgan when it's like a flute, soft and 
low, and all a-tremblin' ! D'ye mind the day ould Betty Kelly 
lost her little gel by the faver, the one with the slander little 
stalk of a body, and the head like a flower, and the eyes like a 
pair of bumbees playing in it } You mind her, the millish .'' 
\Vell, young Pazon Ewan up and went to Balligbeg immadi- 
ently, and ould Betty scraming and crying morthal, and she'd 
die ! so she would, and what for should you live ? but och, boy, 
the way the pazon put out the talk at him, and the bit of a 
spell at the prayin' — aw, man alive, he caulked the seams of 
the ould body wonderful." 

"The man was free, as free as free," said old Quilleash. 
" When he grew up it was, ' How are you, Billy Quilleash .'' ' 
And when he came straight from the college at Bishop's Court, 
and all the laming at him, and the fine English tongue, and 
all to that, it was, ' And how are you to-day, Billy ? ' ' I'm 
middlin' to-day, Mastha Ewan.' Aw, yes, yes, though, a tender 
heart at him anyway, and no pride at all at all." 

165 



THE DEEMSTER 

The old mail's memories were not thrilling to relate^ but they 
brought the tears to his eyes, and he wiped them away with his 
sleeve. 

" Still a quick temper for all, and when his blood was up it 
was batten down your hatches, my boys — a storm's coming," 
said Ned Teare. 

All at once they turned their faces in the darkness to where 
Dan sat on the battened hatches, his elbows on his knees, his 
head on liis hands, and a sort of shame took hold of them at 
all this praise of Ewan. It was as if every word must enter 
into Dan's soul like iron. Then, hardly knowing what they 
did, they began to beat about to undo the mischief They 
talked of the Deemster in his relation to his son. 

" Deed on Ewan — there was not much truck atwcen them — 
the Deemster and him. It wasn't natheral. It was like as if 
a sarpent crawled in his ould sowl, the craythur, and spat out 
at the young pazon." 

Then they talked of Jarvis Kerruish. 

" Och, schemin' and plannin' reg'lar, and stirrin' and stirrin' 
and stirrin' at the divil's own gruel." 

"Aw, the Deemster's made many a man toe the mark, but 
I'm thinkin' he'll have to stand to it when the big day comes. 
I'll go bail the ould polecat's got summat to answer for in this 
consarn." 

Dan said nothing. Alone, and giving no sign, he still sat 
on the hatches near where the bod}'^ lay, and, a little to aft of 
him, Davy Fayle was stretched out on the deck. The lad's 
head rested on one hand, and his eyes were fixed with a dog's 
yearning look on the dark outlines of Dan's figure. 

They were doubling the Point of Ayr when suddenly the 
wind fell to a dead calm. The darkness seemed to grow almost 
palpable. 

" More snow comin' — let the boat drifF," said old Billy Quil- 
leash ; and the men turned into the cabin, only Dan and the 
body, with Davy, the lad, remaining on deck. 

Then, through the silence and the blank darkness, there was 
the sound of large drops of rain falling on the deck. Presently 
there came a torrent which lasted about ten minutes. When 
the rain ceased the darkness lifted away, and the stars came 
out. This was towards two o'clock, and soon afterwards the 
moon rose, but before long it was concealed again by a dense 
black turret cloud that reared itself upwards from the horizon. 

166 



ALONE, ALONE— ALL, ALL ALONE 

When Dan stepped aboard, a dull, dense aching at his heai't 
was all the consciousness he had. The world was dead to him. 
He had then no clear purpose of concealing his crime, and none 
of carrying out the atonement that Mona had urged him to 
attempt. He was stumied. His spirit seemed to be dead. It 
was as though it could awake to life again only in another world. 
He had watched old Billy when he whispered into Ewan's deaf 
ear the words of the mystic charm. Without will or intention 
he had followed the men when they came to the boat. Later 
on a fluttering within him preceded the return of the agonising 
sense. Had he not damned his own soul for ever ? That he 
had taken a warm human life ; that Ewan, Avho had been alive, 
lay dead a few feet away from him — this was nothing to the 
horrible thought that he himself was going, hot and unprepared, 
to an everlasting hell. " Oh, can this thing have happened ? " 
his bewildered mind asked itself a thousand times as it awoke 
as often from the half-dream of a paralysed consciousness. 
Yes, it was true that such a thing had occurred. No, it was 
not a nightmare. He would never awake in the morning 
sunlight, and smile to know that it was not true. No, no ; 
true, true, true it was, even until the l^ay of Judgment, and he 
and Ewan stood once more face to face, and the awful voice 
would cry aloud, " Go, get thee hence." 

Then Dan thought of Mona, and his heart was nigh to break- 
ing. With a dumb long in his eyes turned through the dark- 
ness tov.ards the land, and while the boat was sailing before the 
wind it seemed to be carrying him away from Mona for ever. 
The water that lay between them was as the river that for all 
eternity would divide the blessed and the damned. 

And while behind him the men talked, and their voices fell 
on his ear like a dull buzz, the last ray of his hope was flying 
away. When Mona had prompted him to the idea of atone- 
ment, it had come to him like a gleam of sunlight that, though 
he might never, never clasp her hands on earth, in heaven she 
would yet be his, to love for ever and ever. But no, no, no ; 
between them now the great gulf was fixed. 

Much of this time Dan lay on the deck with only the dead 
and the lad Davy for comj>any, and the fishing-boat lay motion- 
less with only the lap of the waters about her. The stars died 
off, the darkness came again, and then, deep in the night, the 
first grey streaks stretching along the east foretold the dawn. 
Over the confines of another night the soft daylight was about 

167 



THE DEEMSTER 

to brccak, but more utterly lonely, more void to Dan was the 
great waste of -waters now that the striding liglit Avas chasing 
the curling mists than when the darkness lay dead upon it. On 
one side no object was visible on the waters until sky and ocean 
met in that great half-circle far away. On the other side was 
the land that was once called home. 

When the grey light came, and the darkness ebbed away, 
Dan still sat on the hatches, haggard and pale. Davy lay on 
the deck a pace or two aside. A gentle breeze was rising in the 
south-west. The boat had drifted many miles, and was now 
almost due west off Peeltown, and some five miles out to sea. 
The men came up from below. The cold white face by the 
hatchway looked up at them, and at heaven. 

"We must put it away now," said Billy Quilleash. 
"Ay, it's past the turn of the ebb," said Crennell. 
Not another word was spoken. A man went below and 
brought up an old sail, and two heavy iron weights, used for 
liolding down the nets, were also fetched from the hold. There 
was no singing out, no talking. Silently they took up what lay 
there cold and stiff, and wrapped it in the canvas, putting one of 
the weights at the head and another at the feet. Then one of 
the men — it was old Billy himself, because he had been a rigger 
in his young days— sat down with a sailmaker's needle and 
string, and began to stitch up the body in the sail. 
" Will the string hold > " asked one. 

"It will last him this voyage out — it's a short one," said old 
Billy. 

Awe and silence sat on the crew. When all was made 
ready, the men brought from below a bank-board used for 
shooting the nets.' They lifted the body on to it, and then 
with the scudding-pole they raised one end of the board on 
to the gunwale. It was a solemn and awful siglit. Overhead 
the heavy clouds of night were still rolling before the dawn. 

Dan sat on the hatches with his head in his hands and his 
haggard face towards the deck. None spoke to him. A kind of 
awe had fallen on the men in their dealings with him. They 
left him alone. Davy Fayle had got up, and was leaning against 
the mitch-board. All hands else gathered round the bank-board 
and lifted their caps. Then old Quilleash went down on one 
knee and laid his right hand on the body, while two men raised 
the other end of the board. " jDy hishccjccah shin — God prosper 
you," murmured the old fisherman. 

168 



ALONE, ALONE— ALL, ALL ALONE 

" God prosper yoii," echoed the others, and the body of Ewan 
sHd down into the wide waste of waters. 

And then thei-e occurred one of those awful incidents which 
mariners say have been known only thrice in all the strange 
history of the sea. Scarcely had the water covered up the body 
when there was a low rumble under the wave circles in which it 
had disappeared. It Avas the noise of the ii'on weights shpping 
from their places at the foot and at the head. The stitching was 
giving way, and the weights were tearing open the canvas in 
which the body was wrapped. In another minute these weights 
had rolled out of the canvas and sunk into the sea. Then a 
terrible thing happened. The body, free of the weights that 
were to sink it, rose to the surface. The torn canvas, not yet 
thoroughly saturated, opened out, and spread like a sail in the 
breeze that had risen again. The tide was not yet strong, for 
the ebb had only just begun, and the body, floating on the top of 
the water like a boat, began to drive athwart the hawse of the 
fishing-boat straight for the land. Nor was the marvel ended 
yet. Almost instantly a gi-eat luminous line arose and stretched 
from the boat's quarter towards the island, white as a moon's 
water-ray, but with no moon to make it. Flashing along the 
sea's surface for several seconds, it seemed to be the finger of 
God marking the body's path on the waters. Old mariners, who 
can interpret aright the signs of sea and sky, will understand 
this phenomenon if they have marked closely what has been 
said of the varying weather of this fearful night. 

To the crew of the Ben-my-Chree all that had happened 
bore but one awful explanation. The men stood and stared into 
each other's faces in speechless dismay. They strained their 
eyes to watch the body until — the strange light being gone — it 
became a speck in the twilight of the dawn and could be seen 
no more. It was as though an avenging angel had torn the 
murdered man from their grasp. But the worst thought was 
behind, and it was this : the body of Ewan Mylrea would wash 
ashore, the murder would become known, and they themselves, 
who had thought only to hide the crime of Dan Mylrea, would 
now in the eyes of the law become participators in that crime or 
accessories to it. 

Dan saw it all, and in a moment he was another man. He 
read that incident by another light. It was God's sign to the 
guilty man, saying, " Blood will have blood." The body would 
not be buried ; the crime would not be hidden. The penaltv 

109 



THE DEEMSTER 

in list be paid. Then in an instant Dan thrust behind him all 
his vague fears and all his paralysing terrors. Atonement ! 
atonement ! atonement ! God Himself demanded it. Dan 
leapt to his feet and cried, " Come, my lads, we must go back ; 
heave hearty and away." 

It was the first time Dan had spoken that night, and his 
voice was awful in the men's ears. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

AI.ONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEA 

The wind strengthened, and the men hoisted sail and began 
to beat in to the island. The breeze filled the canvas, and 
for half an hour the jib lay over the side, while the fishing- 
boat scudded along hke a startled bird. The sun rose over 
the land, a thin gauze obscuring it. The red liglit flashed and 
died away and fanned the air as if the wind itself were the 
sunshine. The men's haggard faces caught at moments a lurid 
glow from it. In tlie Avest a mass of bluish cloud rested a little 
while on the horizon, and then passed into a nimbus of grey 
rain-cloud that floated above it. Such was the dawn and 
sunrise of a fateful day. 

Dan stood at the helm. When the speck that had glided 
along the waters like a spectre boat could be no more seen, 
he gazed in silence towards the eastern light and the green 
shores of morning. Then he had a sweet'half-hour's blessed 
respite from terrible thoughts. He saw calmly what he had 
done, and in what a temper of blind passion he had done it. 
"Surely, God is merciful," he thought, and his mind turned 
to Mona. It relieved him to think of her. She intertwined 
herself with his yearning hope of pardon and peace. She be- 
came part of his scheme of penitence. His love for her was 
to redeem him in the Father's eye. 

The crew had now recovered from their first consternation, 
and were no longer obeying Dan's orders mechanically. They 
had come aboard with no clear purpose before them, except 
that of saving their friend ; but nature is nature, and a pitiful 
thing at the best, and now every man began to be mainly 
concerned about saving himself One after one they slunk 

170 



ALONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEA 

away forward and sat on the thwart, and there they took 
counsel together. The wind was full on their starboard beam, 
the mainsail and yawl were bellied out, and the boat was 
driving straight for home. But through the men's half be- 
^vildered heads there ran like a cold blast of Avind the thought 
that home could be home no longer. The voices of girls, the 
prattle of cliildren, the welcome of wife, the glowing hearth — 
these could be theirs no more. Davy Fayle stayed aft with 
Dan, but the men fetched him forward and began to question 
him. 

"'Tarprit all this mj^sterious trouble to us," they said. 

Davy held down his head and made no answer. 

" You were with him — what's it he's afther dom' ? " 

Still no answer from the lad. 

" Out Avith it, you cursed young imp," said old Billy. 
" Damn his fool's face, why doesn't he spake ? " 

" It's the mastha's saycret, and I wunnit tell it," said Davy. 

'^'You wunnit, you idiot waistrel.'^" 

" No, I wunnit," said Davy stoutly. 

"Look here, ye beachcomber, sna2)pin' yer fingers at your 
old uncle that's afther bringin' you up, you pauper — what was 
it goin' doin' in the shed yander .^ " 

" It's his saycret," repeated Davy. 

Old Billy took Davy by the neck as if he had been a sack 
with an open mouth, and brought down his other hand with 
a heavy slap on the lad's shoulder. 

" Gerr out, you young devil," he said. 

Davy took the blow quietly, but he stirred not an inch, and 
he turned on his uncle with great wide eyes. 

"Gerr out, scollop eyes ; " and old Billy lifted his hand again. 

" Aisy, aisy," said Cremiell, interposing ; and then, while 
Davy went back aft, the men compared notes again. 

"It's plain to see," said Ned Teare, "it's been a quaiTel, 
and maylie a figlit, and he's had a piece more than the better, 
as is only natheral, and him a big strapping chap as strong as 
a black ox and as sthraight as the backbone of a herring, and 
he's been in hidlins, and now he's afther takin' a second 
thought, and goin' back and chance it." 

This reading of the mysteiy commended itself to all. 

" It's aisy for him to lay high like that," said Ned again. 
"If I was the old Bishop's son I'd hould my luff too, and no 
hidlins neither. But we've got ourselves in for it, so we have, 

171 



THF. DKKIMSTER 

and we're the common sort, so \vc are, and there's never no 
sailiu' close to the wind for the Hke of ns." 

And to this view of the situation tlicre were many gruff 
assents. They had come out to sea innocently enough and 
by a kindly impulse, but they had thereby cast hi their lot 
with the guilty man ; and the guilty man had favour in high 
places, but they had none, 'iheii their tousled heads went 
together again. 

"What for shouldn't we lay high, too?" whispered one; 
which, with other whisi)ers, was as nuich as to say, why should 
they not take the high hand and mutiny, and put Dan into 
irons, and turn the boat's head and stand out to sea ? Then 
it would be anywhere, anywhere, away from the crime of one, 
and the guilt of all. 

" Hould hard," said old Billy (^uilleash, " I'll spake to hhn- 
self" 

Dan, at the tiller, had seen when the men went forward, 
and he had also seen when some of them cast sidelong looks 
over their shoulders in his direction. He knew — he thought 
he knew — the thought wherewith their brave hearts were busy. 
They Avere thinking — so thought Dan — that if he meant to 
throw himself away they must prevent him. But they should 
see that he could make atonement. Atonement? Empty 
solace, pitiful unction for a soul in its abasement, but all that 
remained to him — all, all. 

Old Quilleash went aft, sidled up to the helm, and began 
to speak in a stammering way, splicing a bit of rope while he 
spoke, and never lifting his eyes to Dan's face. 

" What for shouldn't we gerr away to Shetlands ? " he said. 

" Why to Shetlands ? " asked Dan. 

" Aw, it's safe and well we'll be when we're thei-e. Aw, yes, 
I've been there afore to-day. They're all poor men there, but 
right kind ; and Avhat's it sayin', ' When one poor man helps 
another poor man, God laughs.' " 

Dan thought he saw into the heart of the old fellow. His 
throat grew hard and his eyes dim, and he twisted his face 
away, keeping one hand on the tiller. They should yet 
be justified of their loyalty, these stout sea-dogs— yes, God 
helping him. 

"No, no, Billy," he said, "there's to be no running away. 
We're going back to see it out." 

At that old Quilleash threw off some of his reserve. 

172 



ALONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEA 

" Mastha Dan/' he said, "we came out to sea just to help 
you out of this jeel, and because we've shared work, shared 
meat Avith you, and a frien' should stand to a frien' ; but now 
we're in for it too, so we are, and what you'll have to stand to 
we'll have to stand to, and it'll be unknownst to the law as we 
are innocent as kittens ; and so it's every man for himself and 
God for us all." 

Then Dan understood them — how had he been blind so long 
to their position ? 

"You want me to put about; is that it?" he asked. 

Old Quilleash nodded his head, still keeping his eyes down. 

" You think you'll be taken with me ? " 

Old Quilleash made an abashed mutter of assent. " Aw, 
yes, as 'cessories before the fac's," he added. 

At that Dan's great pui-pose began to waver. 

" Don't fear, Billy," he said ; " I'll speak up for you. 

" And what'll that go for .'' Nothin'. Haven't we been 
tryin' to put it away ? " 

"That's true." 

It was a fearful situation. The cold sweat rose in big beads 
on Dan's forehead. What had he done ? He had allowed 
these brave fellows to cast in their lot with him. They were 
with him now for good or ill. He might say they were innocent, 
but what would his word avail ? And he had no proof. They 
had tried to cover up his crime ; they could not cover it ; God 
had willed that the crime should not be hidden. And now, 
if he wished to lose his life to save his soul, what right had he 
to take the lives of these men also } The brave fellows had 
wives that waited for them, and children that claimed their 
knees. Atonement ? Empty heroics, to be bought at the 
price of the blood of five loyal fellows whose only crime was 
that they had followed him. He had dressed himself in a 
proud amiour of self-sacrifice, but a righteous God, that sees 
into the heart of man and hates pi-ide and brings it to the dust, 
had stripped him naked. 

Dan's soul was in a turmoil. What should he do ? On the 
one hand were love, honour, Mona, even everlasting life, and 
on the other were five innocent men. The agony of that 
moment was terrible. Atonement ? God must have set His 
face against it. 

Dan's hand rested on the tiller, but there was no strength 
in his arm, because there was now no resolve in his heart. 

173 



THE DEEMSTER 

The fishing-boat was about tlircc luilcs west of Jiirby Point, 
going well before the wind. In half an hour more it would 
run into the creek. It was now to act or never. What was 
he to do ? What ? What ? 

It was then, in that moment of awful doubt, when the will 
of a strong man might have shrivelled up, that nature herself 
seemed to give the answer. 

All at once the wind fell again to a dead calm. Then Dan 
knew, or seemed to know, tliat God was with the men, and 
against him. There was to be no atonement. No, there was 
to be no proud self-sacrifice. 

Dan's listless hand dropped from the tiller, and he Hung 
himself down in his old seat by the hatches. The men looked 
into each other's faces and smiled a grisly smile. The sails 
flapped idly ; the men fin-led them, ancl the boat drifted south. 

The set of the tide was still to ebb, and every boat's length 
south took the boat a fathom farther out to sea. This was 
what the men wanted, and they gathered in the cockpit, and 
gave way to more cheerful spirits. 

Dan lay by the hatches, helpless and hopeless, and more 
haggard and pale than before. An unearthly light now fired 
his eyes, and that was the first word of a fearful tale. A witch's 
Sabbath, a devil's revelry, had begun m his distracted brain. 
It was as though he were already a being of another world. 
In a state of wild hallucination he saw his own spectre, and he 
was dead. He lay on the deck ; he was cold ; his face was 
white, and it stared straight up at the sky. The crew were 
busy about him ; they were bringing up the canvas and the 
weights. He knew what they were going to do ; they were 
going to bury him in the sea. 

Then a film overspread his sight, and when he awoke he 
knew that he had slept. He had seen his father and Mona in 
a dream. His father was very old ; the white head was bent, 
and the calm, saintly gaze was fixed upon him. There was a 
happy thought in Mona's face. Everything around her spoke 
of peace. The dream was fresh, and sweet, and peaceful to Dan 
when he woke where he lay on the deck. It was like the 
sunshine, and the carolling of birds, and the smell of new-cut 
grass. Was there no dew in heaven for parched lips, no balm 
for the soul of a man accui'sed ? 

Hours went by. The day wore on. A passing breath some- 
times stirred the waters, and again all was dumb, dead, pulseless 

174 



ALONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEA 

peace. Heai-ing only the faint flap of the rippling tide, they 
drifted, drifted, drifted. 

Curious and very touching were the changes that came over 
the feehngs of the men. They had rejoiced when they were 
first becalmed, but now another sense was uppermost. The day 
was cold to starvation. Death was before them — slow, sure, 
relentless death. There could be no jugglerjr. Then let it be 
death at home rather than death on this desert sea ! Anything, 
anything but this blind end, this dumb end, this dying bit by bit 
on still waters. To see the darkness come again, and the sun 
rise afresh, and once more the sun sink and the darkness 
deepen, and still to lie there with nothing around but the 
changeless sea, and nothing above but the empty sky, and only 
the eye of God upon them, while the winds and the waters lay 
in His avenging hands — let it rather be death, swift death, 
just or unjust. 

Thus despair took hold of them, and drove away all fear, 
and where there is no fear there is no grace. 

" Share yn oik shione dooin na xpi oik nagh nhione dooiii," said 
old Billy, and that was the old Manx proverb that says that 
better is the evil we know than the evil we do not know. 

And with such shifts they deceived themselves, and changed 
their poor purposes, and comforted their torn hearts. 

The cold, thick, winter day was worn far towards sunset, 
and still not a breath of wind was stirring. Gilded by the 
sun's hazy rays, the waters to the west made a floor of bleared 
red. The fishing-boat had drifted nearly ten miles to the south. 
If she should drift two miles more she must float into the south- 
eastern current that flows under Contrary Head. At the 
thought of that, and the bare chance of drifting into Peeltown 
Harbour, a little of the vague sense of the hopelessness seemed 
to lift away. The men glanced across at Dan, and one mur- 
mured, " Let every herring hang by its own gill ; ' and an- 
other muttered, "Everyman to the mill with his own sack." 

Davy Fayle lay on the deck a few paces from Dan. The 
simple lad tried to recall the good words that he had heard in 
the course of his jwor, neglected, battered life. One after one 
they came back to him, most of them from some far-away 
dreamland, strangely brightwith the vision of a face that looked 
fondly upon him, and even kissed him tenderly. "Gentle 
Jesus," and, "Now I lay me down to sleej)" — he could re- 
member them both pretty well, and their simple words went 

175 



THE DEEMSTER 

up with the supplicatory ardour of his great-grown lieart to 
the sky on which his eyes were bent. 

The men lounged about and were lialf frozen. No one cared 
to go below. None thought of a fire. Silence and death were 
in their midst. Once again their hearts turned to home, and 
now with other feehngs. They could see the island through 
the haze, and a sprinkling of snow dotted its purple hills. This 
brought to mind the bright days of summer, and out of their 
hopelessness they talkeil of the woods, and the birds, and the 
flowers. " D'ye niind my ould mother's bit of a place up the 
glen," said Crcnnell, "an' the wee croft afore it swaying and 
a-flowing same as the sea in the softest taste of a south breeze, 
and the red ling like a rod of goold running up the hedge, and 
the fuchsia stretchin' up the wall of the loft, and dropping its 
red wrack like blood, and the green trammon atoj) of the porch 
— d'ye mind it?" And the men said "Ay," and brushed 
their eyes with their sleeves. Each hard man, with despair 
seated on his rugged face, longed, like a sick child, to lay his 
head in the lap of home. 

It was Christmas Day. Old Quilleash remembered this, and 
they talked of Christmas Days gone by, and what liappy times 
they had been. Billy began to tell a humorous story of the 
two deaf men, Hommy-beg, the gardener, and Jemmy Quirk, 
the schoolmaster, singing against each other at Oiel Verree ; 
and the old fellow's discoloured teeth, with their many gaps 
between, grinned horribly like an ape's between his frozen jaws 
when he laughed so hard. But this was too tender a chord, 
and soon the men were silent once more. Then, while the 
waters lay cold and clear and still, and the sun was sinking in 
the west, there came floating to them from the land, through the 
breathless air, the sound of the church bells ringing at home. 

It was the last drop in their cup. The poor fellows could 
bear up no longer. More than one dropped his head to his 
knees and sobbed aloud. Then old Quilleash, in a husky 
voice, and coarsely, almost swearing as he spoke, just to hide 
his shame in a way, said, spitting from his quid, " Some chap 
pray a spell." " Ay, ay," said another. " Aw, yes," said a 
third. But no one prayed. " You, Billy," said Ned Teare. 
Billy shook his head. The old man had never known a prayer. 
" It was Pazon Ewan that was powerful at prayer," said Cren- 
nell. " You, Crennell." Crennell could not pray. 

All lay quiet as death around them, and only the faint sound 
176 



"THERE'S GOLD ON THE CUSHAGS YET" 

of the bells was borne to them as a mellow whisper. Then, 
from near where Dan sat by the hatches^ Davy Fayle rose 
silently to his feet. None had thought of him. With his sad 
longing in liis big, simple eyes, he began to sing. This was 
what he sang : — 

Lo ! He comes with cloiids descending, 
Once for favoured sinners slain. 



The lad's voice, laden with tears, floated away over the gi-eat 
waters. The men hung their heads, and were mute. The 
dried-up well of Dan's eyes moistened at last, and down his 
hard face ran the glistening tears in gracious drops like dew. 



CHAPTEll XXIV 

"there's gold on the CUSHAGS YET " 

Then there came a breath of wind. At first it was soft as an 
angel's whisper. It grew stronger and ruffled the sea. Every 
man lifted his eyes and looked at his mates. Each was 
strugghng with a painful idea that perhaps he was the victim 
of a delusion of the sense. But the chill breath of the wind 
was indeed among them. 

" Isn't it beginning to puff up from the sou'-west .'' " asked 
Crennell in an uncertain whisper. At that old Quilleash 
jumped to his feet. The idea of the supernatural had gone 
from him. " Now for the sheets and to make sail," he cried, 
and spat the quid. 

One after one the men got uj) and bustled about. Their 
limbs Avere well-nigh frozen stiff". All was stir and animation 
in an instant. Pulling at the ropes, the men had begun to 
laugh, yes, with their Imsky, grating, tear-drowned voices, 
even to laugh through tiieir grisly beards. A gruesome sense 
of the ludicrous had taken hold of them. It was the swift 
reaction from solemn thoughts. When the boat felt her 
canvas she shook herself like a sea-bird trying her wings, 
then shot off at full flight. 

" Bear a hand there. Lay on, man alive. Why, vou're 

177 M ' 



THE DEEMSTER 

going about like a brewing-pan, old fellow. Pull, boy, pull. 
What are your arms for, ch .? " Old Quill cash's eyes, which 
had been dim with tears a moment a<:fo, glistened with grisly 
mischief. "Who hasn't heard that a Manxman's arnns are 
three legs?" he said, with a hungry grin. How the men 
laughed! What humour tliere was now in the haggard old 
saw ! 

"Wlierc are you for, Billy?" cried Corkell. 

" Peel, boy. Peel, d it. Peel," shouted Quilleash. 

" Hurroo f Boukl fellow ! Ha, ha, he, he ! " 

" Hurrro ! There's gold on the cushags yet." 

How they worked ! In two minutes tlie mast was stepped, 
the mainsail and mizzen were up, and they fdlcd away and 
stood out. From the shores of death they had sailed somehow 
into the waters of life, and hope was theirs once more. 

They began to talk of what had caused the wind. " It was 
the blessed St. Patrick," said Corkell. St. Patrick was the 
})atron saint of that sea, and Corkell was more than half a 
Catholic, his mother being a fishwife from Kinsale. 

"St. J'atrick be ," cried Ned Teare, with a scornful 

laugh ; and they got to words, and at length almost to blows. 

did Quilleash' was at the tiller. " Drop it," he shouted ; 
"we're in the down stream for Contrary, and we'll be in harbour 
in ten minutes." 

"God A' mighty ! it's running a ten-knots tide," said Teare. 

In less than ten minutes they were sailing under the castle 
islet up to the wooden pier, having been eighteen hours on 
the water. 

Not a man of the four had given a thought to Dan, whether 
he wished to go back to the island, or to make a foreign port 
where his name and his crime would be unknown. Only the 
lad Davy had hung about him where he sat by the hatches. 
Dan's pale face was firm and resolute, and the dream of a smile 
was on his hard-drawn lips. But his despair had grown into 
courage, and he knew no fear at all. 

The sun was down, the darkness was gathering, and through 
the day mist the dew fog was rising as the fishing-boat put to 
under the lee of a lantern newly lighted, that was stuck out 
from the end of the pier on a pole. The quay was almost 
deserted. Only the old harbour-master was there, singing 
out, as by duty bound, his lusty oaths at their lumberings. 
Never before did the old grumbler's strident voice sound so 

178 



"THERE'S GOLD ON THE CUSHAGS YET" 

musical as now, and even his manifest ill-temper was sweet 
to-night, for it seemed to tell the men that thus far they were 
not suspected. 

The men went their way together, and Dan went off alone. 
He took the straightest course home. Seven long miles over 
a desolate road he tramped in the darkness, and never a 
star came out, and the moon, which was in its last quarter, 
struggling behind a rack of cloud, lightened the sky some- 
times, but did not appear. As he passed through Michael he 
noticed, though his mind was preoccupied and his perception 
obscure, that the street was more than usually silent, and 
that fcAv lights burned behind the window blinds. Even the 
low porch of the " Three Legs " when Dan came to it was 
deserted, and hardly the sound of a voice came from within 
the little pot-house. Only in a vague way did these im^^res- 
sions communicate themselves to Dan's stunned intelligence 
as he plodded along, but hardly had he passed out of the 
street when he realised the cause of the desolation. A great 
glow came from a spot in front of him, as of many lanterns 
and torches burning together, and though in his bewilderment 
he had not noticed it before, the lights lit all the air about 
them. In the midst of these lights there came and went out 
of the darkness the figures of a great company of people, 
sometimes bright with the glare on their faces, sometimes 
black with the deep shadow of the torchlight. 

Obscure as his ideas were, Dan comjjrehended everything 
in an instant, and, chilled as he Avas to the heart's core by the 
terrors of the last night and day, his very bones seemed now 
to grow cold within him. 

It was a funei'al by torchlight, and these maimed rites 
were, by an ancient usage, long disused, but here revived, the 
only burial of one whose death had been doubtful, or whose 
body had washed ashore on the same day. 

The people were gathered on the side of the churchyard 
near to the highroad, between the road and the church. 
Dan crept up to the opposite side, leapt the low cobble wall, 
and placed himself luider the shadow of the vestiy by the 
chancel. He was then standing beneath the window he had 
leapt out of in his effort to escape the Bishop on that Christ- 
mas Eve long ago of his boyish freak at the Oiel Verree. 

About an open vault three or four mourners were standing, 
and, a little apart from them, a smoking and flickering torch 

179 



THE DEEMSTER 

cast its light on their faces. There was the Bishop, with his 
snowy head bare and deeply bowed, and there by his elbow 
Mas Jarvis Kerriiish in liis cloak and l)eaver, with arms folded 
under liis chin. And walking to and fro, from side to side, 
with a (juick, nervous stej), breaking out into alternate shrill 
cries and harsh conmiands to four men who liad descended 
into the vault, was the little restless figure of the Deemster. 
Behind these and about them was tlie close company of the 
people, with the light coming and going on their faces, a 
deep low murmur, as of many whispers together, rising out 
of their midst. 

Dan shook from head to foot. His lieart seemed to stand 
still. He knew on what business the mourners were met ; 
they w^ere there to bury Ewan. i le felt an impulse to scream, 
and then anotlier impulse to turn and fly. But he coidd not 
utter the least cry, and, quivering in every limb, he could not 
stir. Standing there in silence, he clung to the stone wall 
with trembling fingers. 

The body had been lowered to its last home, and the short 
obsequies began. The service for the dead was not read, but 
the Bishop stretched out his hands above the open vault and 
prayed. Dan heard the words, but it was as if he heard the 
voice only. They beat on his dazed, closed mind as a sea- 
gull, blown by the wind, beats against a window on a stormy 
night. While the Bishop prayed in broken accents, the deep 
thick boom of the sea came up from the distant shore be- 
tween the low-breathed murmurs of the people. 

Dan dropped to his knees, breatliless and trembling. He 
tried to pray, too, but no prayer would come. His mind was 
beaten, and his soul was barren. His father's faltering voice 
ceased, and then a half-stiHed moan biu'st from his own lips. 
In the silence the moan seemed to fall on every ear, and the 
quick ear of the Deemster was instantly arrested. "Who's 
that ? " he ci'ied, and twisted about. 

But all was still once more, and then the people began 
to sing. It was a strange sight and a strange sound : the 
torches, the hard furrowed faces in the flickering light, the 
white-headed Bishop, the restless Deemster, and the voices 
ringing out in the night over the open gi-ave. And from 
where he knelt Dan lifted his eyes, and by the light of the 
torches he saw the clock in the church tower ; the hands still 
stood at five. 

180 



A RESURRECTION INDEED 

He rose to his feet and turned away. His step fell softly 
on the grass of the churchyard. At one instant he thought 
that there were footsteps behind him. He stopped, and 
stretched his arms half-fearfully towards the sound. There 
was nothing. After he had leapt the cobble wall he was 
conscious that he had stopped again, and was listening as 
though to learn if he had been observed. 



CHAPTER XXV 

A RESURRECTION INDEED 

And now a strange accident befell him — strange enough in 
itself, mysterious in its significance, and marvellous as one of 
God's own miracles in its results. He was going to give 
himself up to the Deemster at Ballamona, but he did not any 
longer take the highroad through the village, for he shrank 
from every human face. Almost without consciousness he 
followed the fenceless cart-ti-ack that went by the old lead 
mine known as the Cross Vein. The disused shaft had never 
been filled up, and never even enclosed by a rail. It had 
been for years a cause of anxiety, which nothing but its 
remoteness on the lone waste of the headland had served to 
modify. And now Dan, who knew every foot of the waste, 
and was the last man to whom danger from such an occasion 
might have been feared, plodding along with absent mind in 
the darkness, fell down the open shaft. 

The shaft was forty-five fathoms deep, yet Dan was not so 
much as hurt. At the bottom were nearly twenty-five fathoms 
of water, the constant drainage of the old workings, which 
rose almost to the surface, or dro})pcd to a great depth, accord- 
ing to weather. This had broken his fall. On coming to the 
surface, one stroke in the first instant of dazed consciousness 
had landed him on a narrow ledge of rock that raked down- 
ward from the seam. But what was his position when he 
realised it ? It seemed to be worse than death itself ; it was 
a living death : it was burial in an open grave. 

Hardly had he recovered his senses when he heard some- 
thing stirring overhead. Were they footstcjjs, those thuds on 
the ear, like the first rumble of a distant thunder-cloud ? In 

181 



THE DEEMSTER 

the agony of fear he tried to call, but his tongue clave to his 
moutli. Then there Avas some talking near the mouth of the 
shaft. It came clown to him like words shouted through a 
black, hollow, upright pillar. 

" No use, men," said one speaker, "not a foot farther after 
the best man alive. It's every man for himself, now, and I'll 
go bail it's after ourselves they'll be going next." 

And then another voice, laden with the note of {)ain, cried, 
"But they'll take him. Uncle Billy, they'll take him, and him 
knowin' iiothin'." 

" Drove it, drove it ! Come along, man alive. Lave the 
lad to this d — d blather — you'd better. Let's make a slant 
for it. The fac's is agen us." 

Dan shuddered at the sound of human voices. Buried, as 
he was, twenty fathoms beneath the surface, the voices came 
to him like the voice that the wind might make on a tempes- 
tuous night if, as it reaches your ear, it whispered words and 
fled away. 

The men had gone. Who were they .^ What had hap- 
pened ? Dan asked himself if he had not remembered one of 
the voices, or both. His mind was stunned and he could not 
think. He could hardly be sure that in very truth he was 
conscious of what occurred. 

Time passed — he knew not how long or short — and again 
he heard voices overhead, but they were not the voices that 
he had heard before. 

" I apprehend that they have escaped us. But they were 
our men nevertheless. I have had advices from Peel that 
the boat put into the harbour two hours ago." 

" Mind the old lead shaft, sir." 

Dan was conscious that a footstep approached the mouth 
of the shaft. 

"What a gulf! Lucky we didn't tumble down." 

There was a short laugh — as of one who was panting after 
a sharp run — at the mouth of Dan's open grave. 

" This was the way they took, sir ; over the head towards 
the Curraghs. They were not half wise, or they would have 
taken the mountains for it." 

" They do not know that we are in pursuit of them. Depend 
upon it they are following //m up to warn him. After all, it may 
have been his voice that the Deemster heard in the church- 
yard. He is somewhere within arm's reach. Let us push on." 

182 



A RESURRECTION INDEED 

The voices ceased, the footsteps died off. Forty feet of 
dull, dead rock and earth had carried the sounds away in an 
instant. " Stop ! " cried Dan, in the hurry of fear. Despair 
made him brave ; fear made him fearless. There was no 
response. He was alone once more, but death was with him. 
Then in the first moment of recovered consciousness he knew 
whose voice it was that he had heard last, and he thanked 
God that his call had not been answered. It was the voice 
of Jarvis Kerruish. In agony of despair Dan perceived that 
the first company of men had been Quilleash and the fisher- 
fellows. What fatality had prevented him from crying aloud 
to the only persons on earth who could have rescued and 
saved him ? Dan realised that his crime was known, and 
that he was now a hunted man. 

It was then that he knew how hopeless was his plight. He 
must not cry for help ; he must stand still as death in his 
deep tomb. To be lifted out of this pit by the men who were 
in search of him would be, as it would seem, to be dragged 
from his hiding-place, and captui'ed in a feeble effort to 
escape. What then of his brave atonement ? Who would 
believe that he meant to make it .'' It would be a mockeiy 
at which the veriest poltroon might laugh. 

Dan saw now that death encircled him on every side. To 
remain in the pit was death ; to be lifted out of it was death 
no less surely ; to escape was hopeless. But not so soon is 
hope conquered when it is hope of life. Cry for help he 
must ; be dragged out of this grave he should, let the issue 
be what it could or would. To lie there and die was not 
human. To live was the first duty, the first necessity, be the 
price of life no less than future death. 

Dan looked up at the sky ; it was a small square patch of 
leaden grey against the impenetrable blackness of his prison 
walls. Standing on the ledge of the rock, and steadying him- 
self with one hand, he lifted the other cautiously upward to 
feel the sides of the shaft. They were of rock, and were 
quite precipitous, but had rugged projecting pieces on which 
it was possible to lay hold. As he grasped one of these, a 
sickening pang of hope shot through him, and Avounded him 
worse than despair. But it was gone in an instant. The 
piece of rock gave way in his hand, and tumbled into the 
water below him with a hollow splash. The sides of the 
shaft were of crumbling stone ! 

183 



THE dep:mstp:r 

It was then, in that blind labouring of" despair, that he 
asked himself why he should struggle with this last of the 
misfortunes that had befallen him. Was life so dear to him ? 
Not so, or, being dear, he was willing to lay it down. Was 
he not about to deliver hiuiself to the death that must be the 
first punishment of his crime .'' And what, after all, was there 
to choose between two forms of death .-' Nay, if he must die, 
who was no longer worthy of life, better to die there, none 
knowing his way of death, than to die on the gallows. 

At that thought his hair rose from its roots. He had never 
rightly put it to himself until now that if he had to die for 
the death of Ewan, he must die the death of hanging. That 
horror of hanging which all men have was stronger in Dan 
than in most. With the grim vision before him of a shameful 
and damning death it came to him to tell himself that better, 
a thousand times better, was death in that living tomb than 
the death that awaited him outside it. Then he thought of 
his father, and of the abasement of that good man if so great 
a shame overtook his son, and thereupon, at the same breath 
with a prayer to God that he might die where he was, a 
horrible blasphemy bolted from his lijis. He was in higher 
hands than his own. God had saved him from himself. At 
least he was not to die on the gallows. He had but one 
prayer now, and it cried in its barreimess of hope, " Let me 
never leave this place ! " His soul was crushed as the moth 
that will never hft wing again. 

But at that his agony took another turn. He reflected 
that, if God's hand was keeping him from the just pimish- 
ment of his ci*ime, God was holding him back from the 
atonement that was to wash his crime away. At this thought 
he was struck with a great trembling. He wrestled with it, 
but it would not be overcome. Had he not parted with 
Mona with the firm purpose of giving himself up to the law.'' 
Yet at every hour since that parting some impediment had 
arisen. First, there were the men in the shed at the creek, 
their resolve to bury the body, and his own weak acquiescence ; 
then came the dead calm out at sea when he stood at the 
tiller, and the long weary drifting on the wide waters ; and 
now there was this last strange accident. It was as if a 
higher will had willed it that he should die befoi'e his atone- 
ment could be made. His spirit sank yet lower, and he was 
for giving up all as lost. In the anguish of despair he thought 

184 



A RESURRECTION INDEED 

tliat in very deed it must be that he had committed the 
unpardonable sin. This terrible idea clung to him like a 
leech at a vein. And then it came to him to think what a 
mockery his dream of atonement had been. What atone- 
ment could a bad man make for spilling the blood of a good 
one .'' He could but send his own wasted life after a life 
well spent. Would a righteous God take that for a just 
balance } Mockery of mockeries ! No, no ; let him die 
where he now was, and let his memory be blotted out, and 
his sin be remembered no more. 

He tried to compose himself, and pressed one hand hard 
at his breast to quiet the labouring of his heart. He began 
to reckon the moments. In this he had no object, or none 
save only that mysterious longing of a dying man to know 
how the hour drags on. With the one hand that was free 
he took out his watch, intending to listen for the beat of its 
seconds ; but his watch had stopped ; no doubt it was full of 
water. His heart beat loud enough. Then he went on to 
count — one, two, three. But his mind was in a whirl, and 
he lost his reckoning. He found that he had stopped count- 
ing, and forgotten the number. Whether five minutes or 
fifty had passed he could not be sure. 

But time was passing. The wind began to rise. At first 
Dan felt nothing of it as he stood in his deep tomb. He 
could hear its thin hiss over the mouth of the shaft, and that 
was all. But presently the hiss deepened to a sough. Dan 
had often heard of the wind's sob. It was a reality, and no 
metaphor, as he listened to the wind now. The wind began to 
descend. With a great swoop it came down the shaft, licked 
the walls, gathered voice from the echoing water at the 
bottom, struggled for escape, roared like a caged lion, and 
was once more sucked up to the surface, with a noise like 
the bi'eaking of a huge wave over a reef. The tumult of the 
wind in the shaft was hard to bear, but when it was gone it 
was the silence that seemed to be deafening. Then the rain 
began to fall. Dan knew this b}' the quick monotonous 
patter overhead. But no rain touched him. It was driven 
aslant by the wind, and fell only against the uppermost part 
of the walls of the shaft. Sometimes a soft thin shower fell 
over him. It was like a spray from a cataract, except that 
the volume of water from which it came was above and not 
beneath him, 

185 



THE DEEMSTER 

It was tlien, in the deadly sickness of i'ear, that there came 
to Dan the dread of miscarrying for ever if he should die 
now. He seemed to see what it was to die the unredeemed. 
Not to be forgiven, but to be for ever accursed, to be cut olF 
from the living that live in God's peace — the dead darkness 
of that doom stood up before him. Life had looked very dear 
to him before, but what now of everlasting death.-^ He was 
as one who was dead before his death came. Live he could 
not, die he dared not. His j)ast life rose up in front of 
him, and he drank of memory's very dregs. It was all so 
fearsome and strange that, as he recalled its lost hours one 
by one, it was as if he were a stranger to himself. He saw 
himself like Esau, who for a morsel of meat had sold his 
birthright, and coidd thereafter find no acceptance, though 
he sought it with tears. The Scripture leapt to his mind 
which says "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of 
the living God." 

And then from the past to the future his mind went on in 
a rapid and ceaseless whirl. He saw himself fleeing as from 
the face of a dreadful judge. Tossed with the terror of a 
dreadful doom, he saw his place in the world, cold, empty, 
forsaken. He saw his old father too, the saintly Bishop, 
living under the burden of a thousand sorrows, while he who 
was the life of the good man's life, but his no longer, was a 
restless, wandering soul, coming as a cold blast of wind 
between him and his heaven. That thought was the worst 
teri-or of all, and Dan heard a cry burst from his throat that 
roused echoes of horror in the dark pit. 

Then, as if his instinct acted without help from his mind, 
Dan began to contemplate measures for esca{)e. That un- 
expected softness of the rock which had at first appalled him 
began now to give him some painful glimmerings of hope. 
If the sides of the shaft had been of the slate rock of the 
island, the ledge he had laid hold of would not have crumbled 
in his hand. That it was soft showed that there must be a 
vein of sandstone running across the shaft. Dan's bewildered 
mind recalled the fact that Orris Head was a rift of red sand 
and soft sandstone. If this vein were but deep enough his 
safety was assured. He could cut niches into it with a knife, 
and so, perhaps, after infinite pain and labour, reach the 
surface. 

Steadying himself with one hand, Dan felt in his pockets 
186 



A RESURRECTION INDEED 

for his knife. It was not there I Now indeed his death 
seemed certain. He was icy cold and feverishly hot at inter- 
vals. His clothes were wet ; the Avater still dripped from 
them, and fell into the hidden tarn beneath in hollow drops. 
But not to hope now would have been not to fear. Dan re- 
membered that he had a pair of small scissors which he had 
used three days ago in scratching his name on the silver 
buckle of his militia belt. When searching for his knife he 
had felt it in his pocket, and spurned it for resembling the 
knife to the touch of his nervous fingers. Now it was to be 
his sole instrument. He found it again, and Avith this paltry 
help he set himself to his work of escape from the dark, 
deep tunnel that stood upright. 

The night was wearing on ; hour after hour went by. The 
wind dropped; the rain ceased to patter overhead. Dan 
toiled on step over step. Resting sometimes on the largest 
and firmest of the projecting ledges, he looked up at the sky. 
The leaden grey had changed to a dark blue, studded with 
stars. The moon arose very late, being in its last quarter, 
and much beset by rain-clouds. It shone a little way down 
the shaft, lighting all the rest. Dan knew it must be early 
morning. One star, a large, full globe of light, twmkled 
directly above him. He sat long and watched it, and turned 
again and again in his toilsome journey to look at it. At one 
moment it crept into his heart that the star was a symbol of 
hope to him. Then he twisted back to his work, and when 
he looked again the star was gone — it had moved beyond his 
ken, it had passed out of the range of his narrow spot of 
heaven. Somehow it had been a mute companion. 

Dan's spirit sank in his cheerless solitude, but he toiled on. 
His strength was far spent. The moon died off, and the stars 
went out one after one. Then a deep cloud of darkness over- 
spread the little sky above. Dan knew it must be the dark- 
ness that precedes the dawn. He had reached a ledge of 
rock that was wider than any of the ledges that were beneath 
it. Clearly enough a wooden rafter had lain along it. Dan 
rested and looked up. At that moment he heard the light 
patter of little feet overhead. It was a stray sheep, a lamb 
of last year's flock, wandering and lost. Though he could 
not see it, he knew it was there, and it bleated down the shaft. 
The melancholy cry of the lost creature in that dismal place 
touched a seared place on Dan's heart, and made the tears 

187 



THE DEEMSTER 

which he had not shed until now to start from his eyes. 
What old memory did it awaken ? He could not recall it at 
first, but then he remembered the beautiful story which he 
had heard many times of the lost lamb that came to the 
church porch at the christening of Ewan. Was it strange that 
there and then his thoughts turned to Ewan's child, the babe 
that was innocent of its great sorrows to come ? He began 
to wish himself a little child again, walking by his father's 
hand, with all the years rolled back, and all tlie transgres- 
sions of the years blotted out as a cloud, and with a new spirit 
sweet and fresh, where now was a spirit seared and old, and 
one great aching wound. In a moment the outcast lamb went 
off, sending up, as it went, its pitiful cry into the night. Dan 
was alone once more, but that visitation had sweetly refreshed 
his spirit. 

Then it came back to him to think that of a surety it was 
not all one whether he died where he was, never coming- 
alive from his open tomb, or died for his crime before the 
faces of all men. He must live, he nuist li\ e, though not for 
life's sake, but to rob death of its worst terrors. And as for 
the impediments that had arisen to prevent the atonement on 
which his mind was set, they were not from God to lay his 
soul outside the reach of mercy, but from the devil to beset 
him and keep him back from the washing away of his sin. 
This thought revived him, and he turned to his task with a 
new resolve. 

His fingers were chilled to the bone, and his clothes clung 
like damp cerements to his body. The meagre blades of the 
scissors were worn short ; they could not last long. He rose 
to his feet on the ledge of rock, and plunged the scissors into 
the blank wall above him, and at that a fresh disaster seemed 
to overwhelm him. His hand went into soft earth ; the vein of 
rock had finished, and above it must be loose, uncertain mould ! 

He gasped at the discovery. A minute since life had looked 
very dear. Must he abandon his hopes after all ? He might 
have been longer vexed with this new fear, but that he re- 
called at that moment the words s])oken by Jarvis Kerruish as 
he went by on the road that ran near the mouth of the shaft. 
Was it not clear that Quilleash and the fisher-fellows were 
being pursued as his associates .'' Without his evidence to 
clear them, would they not surely sufler, innocent though they 
might be, and even though he himself lay dead in this place ? 

188 



A RESURRECTION INDEED 

Now, indeed, he saw tliat he must of a certainty cscaj^e from 
this death in hfe, no difficulties conquering him. 

Dan paused and reflected. As nearly as he could remember, 
he had made thirty niches in the rock. Hence he must be 
fully thirty feet from the water and ten from the surface. 
Only ten feet, and then freedom. Yet these ten seemed to 
represent an impossibility. To ascend by holes dug deep in 
the soft earth was a perilous enterprise. A great clot of soil 
might at any moment give way above or beneath him, and 
then he would be plunged once more into the pit. If he fell 
from the side of the shaft he would be more likely than at 
first, when he fell from the top, to strike on one of the pro- 
jecting ledges and be killed before reaching the water. 

There was nothing left but to wait for the dawn. Perhaps 
the daylight would reveal some less hazardous method of 
escape. Slowly the dull, dead, impenetrable blackness was 
lifted off. It was as though a spirit had breathed on the night, 
and it fled away. When the woolly hue of morning dappled 
his larger sky, Dan could hear the slow beat of the waves on 
the shore. The coast rose up before his vision then, silent, 
solemn, alone with the dawn. The light crept into his prison- 
house, and he looked down at the deep black tarn beneath him. 

And now hope rose in his heart again. Ovei'head he saw 
timbers running around and across the shaft. These had 
been used to bank up the earth, and to make two grooves in 
which the ascending and descending cages had once worked. 
Dan lifted uj) his soul in thankfulness. The world was once 
more full of gi*ace even for him. He could climb from stay 
to stay, and so reach the sui'face. Catching one of the stays 
in his uplifted hands, he swung his knee on to another. One 
stage he accomplished, and then how stiff" Avere his joints, and 
how sinewless his fingers ! Another and another stage he 
reached, and then four feet and no more were between him 
and the gorse that waved in the light of the risen sun across 
the mouth of his night-long tomb. 

But the rain of years had eaten into these timbers. In 
some places they crumbled, and were rotten. God ! how the 
one on which he rested creaked under him at that instant ! 
Another minute, and then his toilsome journey would be over. 
Another minute, and his dead self would be left behind him, 
buried for ever in this grave. Then there would be a resur- 
rection in very truth. Yes, truly, God helping him. 

189' 



THE DEEMSTER 

Half-an-hour later, Dan Mylrea, with swimming eyes and a 
big heart, was walking towards the Deemster at Ballamona. 
The flush of the sun newly risen, and the brighter glory of a 
great hope newly born, was on his worn and pallid cheek. 
What terrors had life for him now ? It had none. And very 
soon death also would lose its sting. Atonement ! atone- 
ment ! It Avas even as he had thought ; a wasted life for a 
life well spent, the life of a bad man for the life of a good 
one, but all he had to give — all, all ! 

And when he came to lay his oflering at the merciful 
Father's feet it would not be spurned. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

HOW EWAN CAME TO CHURCH 

It is essential to the progress of this history that we should 
leave Dan where he now is, in the peace of a great soul 
newly awakened, and go back to the beginning of this Christ- 
mas Day on shore. 

The parish of Michael began that day with all its old obser- 
vances. While the dawn of Christmas morning was struggling 
but feebly with the night of Christmas Eve, a gang of the baser 
sort went out with lanterns and long sticks into the lanes, there 
to whoop and beat the bushes. It was their annual hunting 
of the wren. Before the parish had sat down to its Christmas 
breakfast two of these lusty enemies of the tiny bird were stand- 
ing in the street of the village, Avith a long pole from shoulder 
to shoulder, and a wee wren suspended from the middle of it. 
Their brave companions gathered round, and plucked a feather 
from the wren's breast now and again. At one side of the com- 
pany, surrounded by a throng of children, was Hommy-beg, 
singing a carol, and playing his own accompaniment on his 
fiddle. The carol told a tragic story of an evil spirit in the shape 
of a woman who pestered the island in the old days, of how the 
people rose up against her to di-ive her into the sea, and of how 
she turned herself into a wren, and all on the holy day of the 
blessed St. Stephen. A boy, whose black eyes danced with a 
mischievous twinkle, held a crumpled paper upside down before 
the gardener, and from this inverted text and score the unlet- 

190 



HOW EWAN CAME TO CHURCH 

tered coxcomb pretended to play and sing. The women came 
to their doors to hsten, and the men with their two hands in 
their breeches pockets leaned against the ends of their houses 
and smoked and looked on sleepily. 

When the noisy crowd had passed, the street sank back to 
its customary repose, broken only by the voice of a child — a 
little auburn-haired lassie, in a white apron tucked up in fish- 
wife fashion — crying, ''Shrimps, fine shrimps, fresh shrimps!" 
and then by a lustier voice that drowned the little lassie's 
tones, and cried, " Conger — conger eel — fine, ladies — fresh, 
ladies — and bellies as big as bishops! Conger eel — con-ger!" 

It was not a brilliant morning, but the sun was shining 
drowsily thi'ough a white haze like a dew fog that hid the 
mountains. The snow of the night before was not quite 
washed away by the sharp rain of the morning; it still lay 
at the eaves of the thatched houses, and among the cobbles 
of the paved pathway. The blue smoke was coiling up 
through the thick air from every chimney when the bells <at 
Bishop's Court began to ring for Christmas service. An old 
woman here and there came out of her cabin in her long blue 
cape and her mutch, and hobbled along on a stick to church. 
Two or three men in sea-boots, with shrimping nets over their 
shoulders and pipes in their mouths, sauntered down the lane 
that led by the shambles to the shore. 

Half-an-hour later, while the bells were still ringing, and 
the people were trooping into the chapel, the Bishop came 
out of his house and walked down the path towards the vestiy. 
He had a worn and jaded look that morning, as if the night had 
gone heavily with him, but he smiled when the women curtsied 
as they passed, and waved his hand when the men fumbled 
their caps. 

"Good morning, and a merry Christmas to you," he said as he 
went by the open porch to Will-as-Thorn, the pai-ish clerk, who 
was tugging at the bell-rope there, bareheaded, stripped to his 
sheepskin waistcoat with its grey flannel sleeves, and sweating. 

He hailed Billy the Gawk, too, the hoary old dog turned 
penitent in his latter days. " A merry Chi'istmas, Billy, and 
may you live to see many of them yet, please God ! " 

Billy was leaning against the porch buttress and taking 
alms if any offered them. 

" Then it's not living it will be, my lord ; it's lingering," 
said this old Bartimeus. 

191 



THE DEEMSTER 

And Jabez GawiiCj the sleek little tailor, had the Bishop's 
salutation as he passed on in the ancient cloak with many 
buttons. 

"A merry Christmas to you, Jabez, and a good New Year." 

" Aw, 'deed, my lord," said Jabez, with a face as long as a 
fiddle, " if the New Year's no better than the ould one, what 
with quiet times and high rents and the children's schooling, 
it's gohig on the houses I'll be, niiddlin' safe." 

" Nay, nay, remember our old saying, Jabez : the greater 
the calm the nearer the south wind." 

As the Bishop was turning in at the vestry dooi-, blind 
Kerry and her husband Hommy passed him, and he hailed 
them as he had hailed the others. 

" I'm taking joy to see you so hearty, my lord," said the 
blind woman. 

"Yes, I'm Avell, on the whole, thank God !" said the Bishop; 
"and how are you, Keriy } " 

" I'm in, my lord, I'm in; but distracted mortal with the 
sights. Och, sir, it's allis the sights, and the sights, and the 
sights ; and it's Mastha Dan that's in them still. This morn- 
ing, bless ye, when I woke, what should it be, behould ye, but 
a company of great ones from the big house itself, going down 
to the churchyard with lanterns. Aw, 'deed it was, sir, my 
lord, begging your pardon, though it's like enough you'll think 
it's wake and a kind of silly, as the sayin' is." 

The Bishop listened to the blind woman's garrulous tongue 
with a downcast head and a look of pain, and said in a sub- 
dued voice as he put his hand on the wooden latch of the 
vestry door — 

" It is not for me to laugh at you, Kerry, woman. All 
night long I have myself been tortured by an uneasy feeling, 
which would not be explained or yet be put away. But let us 
say no more of such mysteries. There are dark places that 
we may never hope to penetrate. Let it content us if, in God's 
mercy and His wisdom, we can see the step that is at our feet." 

So saying, the Bishop tin'iied about and passed in at the door. 
Kerry and her husband went into the chapel at the west porch. 

" It's just an ould angel he is," whispered Kerry, reaching 
up to Hommy's ear, as they went by Will-as-Thorn. 

"Aw, yes, yes," said Hommy-beg, "a rael ould archangel, 
so he is." 

Aiid still the bells rang for the service of Christmas morning. 

192 



HOW EWAN CAME TO CHURCH 

Inside the chapel the congregation was larger than common. 
There was so much hand-shaking and "taking of joy" to be 
gone through in the aisles and the pews that Christmas morning 
that it Avas not at first observed — except by malcontents like 
Billy the Gawk and Jabez Gawne, to whom the wine of life 
was mostly vinegar — when the hour for beginning the service 
had come and gone. The choir in the west gallery had taken 
their places on either side of Will-as-Thorn's empty seat over 
the clock, with the pitch-pipe resting on the rail above it, and, 
opening their books, they faced about for gossip. Then the 
bell stopped, having rung some minutes longer than was its 
wont; the whispering was hushed from pew to choir, and 
only the sound of the turning of the leaves of many books 
disturbed the silence a moment afterwards. 

The Bishop entered the chancel, and, while he knelt to 
pray, down like corn before a south wind went a hundred 
heads on to the book-rail before the wind of custom. When 
the Bishop rose there was the sound of shuffling and settling 
in the pews, followed by some craning of necks in his direction 
and some subdued whispering. 

" Where is Pazon Ewan ? " 

" What's come of the young pazon } " 

The Bishop sat alone in the chancel, and gave no sign of 
any intention to commence the service. In the gallery, the 
choir, books in hand, waited for Will-as-Thom to take his seat 
over the clock ; but his place remained empty. Then, to the 
universal surprise, the bell began to ring again. Steadily at 
first and timidly, and after that with lusty voice the bell rang 
out over the heads of the astonished people. Forthwith the 
people laid those same heads together and whispered. 

What was agate of Pazon Ewan .f* Had he forgotten that 
he had to preach that morning .'' Blind Kerry w^anted to know 
if some of the men craythurs shouldn't just take a slieu round 
to ould Ballamona and wake him up, as the saying is ; but 
Mr. Quirk, in more " gintale " phraseology, as became his scho- 
lastic calling, gave it out as probable that the young pazon 
had only been making a " little deetower " after breakfast, 
and gone a little too far. 

Still the bell rang, and the uneasy shuffling in the pews 
grew more noticeable. Presently, in the middle of an abridged 
movement of the iron tongue in the loft, the head and shoulders 
of Will-as-Thorn appeared in the opening of the green curtain 

193 N 



THE DEEMSTER 

that divided the porch from the body of the chapel, and the 
parish-clerk beckoned to Hommy-beg. Shambling to his feet 
and down the aisle, Hommy obeyed the summons, and then, 
amid yet more vigorous bobbing together of many heads in 
the pews, the schoolmaster, not to be eclipsed at a moment 
of public excitement, got up also and followed the gardener 
into the porch. The whispering had risen to a sibilant hiss 
that deadened even the bell's loud clangour when little Jabez 
Gawne himself felt a call to rise and go out after the others. 

All this time the Bishop sat motionless in the chancel, his 
head down, his face rather paler than usual, his whole figure 
somewhat weak and languid, as if continued suffering in silence 
and in secret had at length taken the power of life out of him. 
Presently the bell stopped suddenly, and almost instantly little 
Jabez, with a face as sharp as a pen, came back to his pew, 
and Mr. Quirk also returned to his place, shaking his head 
meantime with portentous gravity. A moment later Will-as- 
Thorn appeared inside the communion-rail, having put on his 
coat and whipped the lash comb through his hair, which now 
hung like a dozen of wet dip candles down his forehead 
straight for his eyes. 

The dull buzz of gossip ceased, all was dead silence in the 
chapel, and many necks were craned forward as Will-as-Thorn 
was seen to go up to the Bishop and speak to him. Listening 
without much apparent concern the Bishop nodded his head 
once or twice, then rose immediately and walked to the read- 
ing-desk. Almost at the same moment Will-as-Thorn took 
his seat over the clock in the little west gallery, and straight- 
way the service began. 

The choir sang the psalm which they had jiractised at the 
parish church the evening before — " It is good for me that I 
have been in trouble, that I may learn thy statutes." Instead 
of the lesson appointed in the Calendar, the Bishop read the 
story of Eli and of Samuel, and of the taking by the Philistines 
of the ark of the covenant of God. His voice was deep and 
measured, and Avhen he came to read of the death of Eli's 
sons, and of how the bad news was brought to Eli, his voice 
softened and all but broke. 

" And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and 
came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with 
earth upon his head. 

" And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside 
1.Q4 



HOW EWAN CAME TO CHURCH 

■watching ; for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And 
when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city 
cried out. 

"And when Eli heard the noise of the crpng, he said, 
' What meaneth the noise of this tumult .'' ' And the man 
came in hastily and told Eli. 

" Now Eli was ninety and eight years old, and his eyes were 
dim that he could not see. 

" And the man said unto Eli, ' I am he that came out of the 
army, and I fled to-day out of the army.' And he said, ' What 
is there done, my son .'' ' " 

The Bishop preached but rarely now, and partly for the 
reverence they always owed the good man, and partly for the 
reason that they did not often hear him, the people composed 
themselves to a mood of sympathy as he ascended the pulpit 
that Christmas morning. It was a beautiful sermon that he 
gave them, and it was spoken without premeditation, and was 
loose enough in its structure. But it was full of thought that 
seemed to be too simple to be deep, and of emotion that was 
too deep to be anything but simple. It touched on the life 
of Christ, from His birth in Bethlehem to His coming as a boy 
to the Temple where the doctors sat, and so on to the agony 
in the garden. And then it glanced aside, as touchingly as 
irrelevantly, at the story of Eli and his sons, and the judgment 
of God on Israel's prophet. In that beautiful digression the 
Bishop warned all parents that it was their duty before God 
to bring up their children in God's fear, or theirs would be 
the sorrow, and their children's the suffering and the shame 
everlasting. And then in a voice that could barely support 
itself he made an allusion that none could mistake. 

" Strange it is, and very pitiful," he said, '• that what we 
think in our weakness to be the holiest of our human affec- 
tions may be a snare and a stumbling-block. Strange enough, 
surely, and very sad, that even as the hardest of soul among 
us all may be free from blame where his children stand for 
judgment, so the tenderest of heart may, like Eli of old, be 
swept from the face of the living God for the iniquity of his 
children, which he has not restrained. But the best of our 
earthly passions, or what seem to be the best, the love of the 
mother for the babe at her breast, the pride of the father in 
the son that is flesh of his flesh, must be indulged with sin if 
it is not accepted with grace. True, too true, that there are 

195 



THE DEEMSTER 

those of us who may cast no stone, who should offer no counsel. 
Like Eli we know that the word of God has gone out against 
us, and we can but bend our foreheads and say, ' It is the 
Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good.' " 

When the sermon ended there was much needless industry 
in searching for books under the book-rail, much furtive wiping 
of the eyes, much demonstrative blowing of the nose, and in the 
midst of the benediction a good deal of subdued whispering. 

" Aw, 'deed, the ould Bishop bates the young pazon himself 
at putting out the talk — studdier like, and not so fieiy maybe; 
but, man alive, the tender he is ! " 

"And d'ye mind that taste about Eli and them two idiot 
waistrels Hoffnee and Fin-e-ass ? " 

" And did ye observe the ould man thrembling mortal ? " 

" Och, yes, and I'll go bail it wasn't them two blackyards 
he was thinking of, at all at all." 

When the service came to an end, and the congregation 
was breaking up, and Billy the Gawk was hobbling down the 
aisle on a pair of sticks, that hoary old sinner, turned saint 
because fallen sick, was muttering something about " a rael 
good ould father," and "dirts like that Dan," and "a thun- 
d'rin' rascal with all." 

A strange scene came next. The last of the congregation 
had not yet reached the porch, when all at once there was an 
uneasy move among them like the ground swell among the 
shoalings before the storm comes to shore. Those who were in 
front fell back or turned about and nodded as if they wished 
to say something ; and those who were behind seemed to think 
and wonder. Then, sudden as the sharp crack of the first 
breaker on a reef, the faces of the people fell to a great 
heaviness of horror, and the air was full of mournful exclama- 
tions, surprise and terror. 

" Lord ha' massy ! ' ' 

" Dead, you say .'' " 

"Aw, dead enough." 

" Washed ashore by the Mooragh ? " 

"So they're sayin', so they're sayin'." 

" Hiain Jean myghin oriin — Lord have mercy upon us ! " 

Half a minute later the whole congregation were gathered 
outside the west porch. There, in the recess between the 
chapel and the house, two men, fisher-fellows of Michael, stood 
surrounded by a throng of people. Something lay at their 

196 



HOW EWAN CAME TO CHURCH 

feet, and tlie crowd made a circle about it, looked down at it 
and drew long breaths. And when one after another came 
up, reached over the heads of others, and saw what lay Avithin, 
he turned away with uplifted hands and a face that was white 
with fear. 

" Lord ha' massy ! Lord ha' massy ! " cried the people on 
every side, and their senses M'ei'e confused and overpowered. 

What the dread thing was that lay at the feet of the two 
fishermen does not need to be said. 

"At the Mooragh, d'ye say.'' — came ashore at the Mooragh?" 

" Ay, at the top of the flood." 

" God bless me ! " 

" I saw it an hour before it drifted in," said one of the two 
grave fellows. " I was down longshore shrimping, and it was a 
good piece out to sea, and a heavy tide running. ' Lord ha' 
massy, what's that .'' ' I says. ' It's a gig with a sail,' I was 
thinking, but no, it was looking too small. ' It's a diver, or 
maybe a solan goose with its wings stretched out ; ' but no, it 
was looking too big." 

" Bless me ! Lord bless me ! " 

"And when it came a piece nearer it was into the sea I 
was going, breast high and more, and I came anigh it, and 
saw what it was — and frightened mortal, you go bail^ — and 
away to the street for Jemmy here, and back middlin' sharp, 
and it driffin' and driffin' on the beach by that time, and the 
water flopping on it, and the two of us up with it on to our 
shoulders, and straight away for the Coort." 

And sure enough the fisherman's clothes were drenched 
above his middle, and the shoulders of both men were wet. 

" Bless me ! bless me ! Lord ha' massy ! " echoed one and 
then another, and once again they ci'aned their necks forward 
and looked down. 

The loose canvas that had been ripped open by the weights 
was lying where the seams were stretched, and none uncovered 
the face, for the sense of human death was strong on all. But 
word had gone about whose body it was, and blind Kerry, 
wringing her hands and muttering something about the sights, 
pushed her way to the side of the two men, and asked why 
they had brought their burden to Bishop's Court instead of 
taking it to Ballamona. 

"Aw, well," they answered, "we were thinking the Bishop 
was his true father, and Bishop's Coort his true home for all." 

197 



THE DEEMSTER 

" And that's true, too/' said Kerry, " for his own father has 
been worse than a liaythen naygro to him, and lave it to me 
to know, for di(hi't I bring the millisli into the world ? " 

Then there came a rush of people down the I'oad from 
the village. A rumour that something horrible had washed 
ashore had passed quickly from mouth to mouth, after the 
fisherman had run up to the village for help. And now 
in low, eager tones, questions and answers came and went 
among the crowd. "Who is it.''" "Is it the captain.''" 
"What, Mastha Dan.''" "That's what they're sayin' up the 
street anyway." "Wrapped in a hammock — good Lord pre- 
serve us ! " " Came up in the tide-way at the Mooragh — 
gracious me ! and I saw him myself only yesterday." 

The Bishop was seen to come out of the vestry door, and 
at the sight of him the crowd seemed to awake out of its 
first stupor. " God help the Bislio]) ! " " Here he's coming." 
" Bless me, he'll have to pass it by, going into the house." 
"The shock will kill the ould man." "Poor thing! poor 
thing ! " "Some one must up and break the bad newses to 
him." "Aw, yes, for sure." 

And then came the question of who was to tell the Bishop. 
First, the people asked one Corlett Ballafayle. Corlett 
farmed a hundred acres, and was a churchwarden, and a 
member of the Keys. But the big man said no, and edged 
away. Then they asked one of the Tubmans, but the brewer 
shook his head. He could not look into the Bishop's face 
and tell him a tale like that. At length they thought of 
blind Kerry. She at least would not see the face of the 
stricken man when she took him the fearful news. 

"Aw, yes, Kerry, woman, it's yourself for it, and a rael 
stout heart at you, and blind for all, thank the Lord." 

" I'll try, please God," said Kerry, and with that she moved 
slowly towards the vestry door, where the Bishop had stopped 
to stroke the yellow curls of a little shy boy, and to ask him 
his age next birthday, and to wish him a merry Christmas 
and eighty more of them, and all merry ones. It was ob- 
served that the good man's face was brighter now than it 
had been when he went into the chapel. 

The people watched Kerry as she moved up to the Bishop. 
Could she be telling him .'' He was smiling ! Was it not 
his laugh that they heard .'' Kerry was standing before him 
in an irresolute way, and now with a wave of the hand he 

198 



HOW EWAN CAME TO CHURCH 

was leaving her. He was coming forward. No, he had 
stopped again to speak to old Auntie Nan from the Curi*agh, 
and KeiTv had passed him in returning to the crowd. 

" I couldn't do it ; he spoke me so cheerful, poor thing," 
said Kerry ; " and when I was goin' to speak he looked the 
spitten picture of my ould father." 

The Bishop parted from the old woman of the Curragh, 
and then on raising his eyes he became conscious of the 
throng by the porch. 

" Lave it to me," said a rough voice, and Billy the Gawk 
stepped out. The crowd fell aside, and the fishermen placed 
themselves in front of the dread thing on the ground. Smil- 
ing and bowing on the right and left the Bishop was passing 
on towards the door that led to the house when the old 
beggar of the highways hobbled in front of him. 

" We're right sorry, sir, my lord, to bring ye bad newses," 
tlie old man stammered, lifting the torn cap from his head. 

The Bishop's face fell to a sudden gravity. " What is it } " 
he said, and his voice sank. 

" We're rael sorry, but we know your heart was gript to 
him with grapplins." 

" Ay, ay," said some in the crowd. 

"What is it, man.? Speak," said the Bishop, and all 
around was silence and awe. 

The old man stood irresolute for a moment. Then, just 
as he was lifting his head to speak, and every eye was on the 
two who stood in the midst, the Bishop and the old beggar, 
there came a loud noise from near at hand, and voices that 
sounded hoarse and jarring were in the air. 

" Where is it ? When did they bring it up ? Why is it 
not taken into the house ? " 

It was the Deemster, and he cancie on with great flashing 
eyes, and behind him was Jarvis Kerruish. In an instant the 
crowd had fallen aside for him, and he had pushed through 
and come to a stand in front of the Bishop. 

" We know what has happened. We have heard it in the 
village," he said. " I knew what it must come to sooner or 
later. I told you a hundred times, and you have only your- 
self to thank for it." 

The Bishop said not a word. He saw what lay behind the 
feet of the fishermen, and stepped up to it. 

" It's of your own doing," shouted the Deemster in a voice 

199 



THE DEEMSTER 

of no ruth or pity. " You would not heed my warning. It 
was easy to see that the devil's own dues were in him. He 
hadn't an ounce of grace in liis carcase. He put his foot on 
your neck, and threatened to do as much for me some day. 
And see Avhere lie is now ! Look at him ! This is how 
your son comes home to you ! " 

As he spoke, the Deemster pointed contemptuously with the 
handle of his walking-cane to the thing that lay between them. 

Then the hard tension of the people's silence was broken ; 
they began to mutter among themselves and to propose and 
demur to something. They saw the Deemster's awful error, 
and that he thought the dead man was Dan. 

The Bishop still stood immovable, with not the sign of a 
tear on his white face, but over it the skin was drawn hard. 

" And let me tell you one thing more," said the Deemster. 
" Whoever he may be that brought matters to this pass, he 
shall not suffer. I will not lift a finger against him. The 
man who brings about his own death shall have the burden 
of it on his own head. The law will uphold me." 

Then a hoarse murniur ran from lip to lip among the people 
who stood around, and one man, a burly fellow, nerved by the 
Deemster's error, pushed forward and said — 

" Deemster, be merciful, as you hope for mercy ; you don't 
know what you're saying." 

At that the Deemster turned about hotly and brought down 
his walking-cane with a heavy bloAv on the man's breast. 

The stalwart fellow took the blow without lifting a hand. 
" God help you, Deemster ! " he said in a thick voice, '' God 
help you ! you don't know what you're doing. Go and look 
at it. Deemster. Go and look, if you've the heart for it. 
Look at it, man, and may the Lord have mercy on you, and 
on us all in our day of trouble, and may God forgive you the 
cruel words you've spoken to your own brother this day ! " 

There was then a great silence for a moment. The Deemster 
gazed in a sort of stupor into the man's face, and his stick 
dropped out of his hand. With a look of majesty and of 
suffering the Bishop stood at one side of the body, quiet, 
silent, giving no sign, seeing nothing but the thing at his 
feet, and hardly hearing the reproaches that were being 
hurled at him in the face of his people. The beating of his 
heart fell low. 

There was a moment of suspense, and then, bi-eathing 

200 



HOW THE NEWS CAME TO THE BISHOP 

rapid audible breath, the Deemster stooped beside the body, 
stretched out a half-palsied hand and drew aside the loose 
canvas, and saw the face of his own son Ewan. 

One long exclamation of surprise and consternation broke 
from the Deemster, and after that there came another fearful 
pause, wherein the Bishop went down on his knees beside 
the body. 

In an instant the Deemster fell back to his savage mood. 
He rose to his full height ; his face became suddenly and 
awfully discoloured and stern, and, tottering almost to falling, 
he lifted his clenched fist to the sky in silent imprecation of 
Heaven. 

The people dropped aside in hon-or, and their flesh crawled 
over them. " Lord ha' massy ! " they cried again, and Kerry, 
who was blind and could not see the Deemster, covered her 
ears that she might not hear him. 

And from where he knelt the Bishop, who had not spoken 
until now, said, with an awful emphasis, " Brother, the Lord 
of heaven looks down on us." 

But the Deemster, recovering himself, laughed in scorn of 
his own weakness, no less than of the Bishop's reproof He 
picked up the walking-cane that he had dropped, slapped 
his leg with it, ordered the two fishermen to shoulder their 
burden again and take it to Ballamona, and sent straightway 
for the coroner and the joiner: "For," said he, "my son 
having come out of the sea, must be buried this same day." 



CHAPTER XXVII 

now THE NEWS CAME TO THE BISHOP 

The Deemster swung aside and went oft; followed by Jarvis 
Kerruish. Then the two fishermen took up their dread 
burden and set their faces towards Ballamona. In a blind 
agony of uncertainty the Bishop went into his house. His 
mind was confused ; he sat and did his best to compose him- 
self. The thing that had happened perplexed him cruelly. 
He tried to think it out, but found it impossible to analyse 
his unlinked ideas. His faculties were benumbed, and not 
even pain, the pain of Ewan's loss, could yet penetrate the 

201 



THE DEEMSTER 

dead blank that lay between him and a full consciousness of 
the awful event. He shed no tears, and not a sigh broke 
from him. Silent he sat, with an expression of suffering that 
might have been frozen in his stony eyes and on his whiten- 
ing lips, so rigid was it, and as if the power of life had ebbed 
away like the last ebb of an exhausted tide. 

Then the peo})le from without began to crowd in upon him 
where he sat in his library. They were in a state of great 
excitement, and all reserve and ceremony were broken down. 
Each had his tale to tell, each his conjecture to offer. One 
told what the long-shore shrimper had said of finding the 
body near the fishing-ground known as the Mooragh. Another 
had his opinion as to how the body liad sailed ashore instead 
of sinking. A third fumbled his cap and said, "I take 
sorrow to see you in such trouble, my lord, and wouldn't 
bring bad newses if I could give myself lave to bring good 
newses instead, but I'll go bail theie's been bad work goin', 
and foul play, as they're sayin', and I woiddn't trust but 
Mastha Dan — I'm sayin' I wouldn't trust but Mastha Dan 
could tell us something " 

The Bishop cut short the man's garrulity with a slight 
gesture, and one by one the people went out. He had 
listened to them in silence and Avith a face of saintly suffer- 
ing, scarcely hearing what they had said. "I will await 
events," he thought, "and trust in God." But a great fear 
Avas laying hold of him, and he had to gird up his heart to 
conquer it. "I will trust in God," he told himself a score 
of times, and in his faith in the goodness of his God he tried 
to be calm and brave. But one after another his people 
came back and back and back with new and still newer 
facts. At every fresh blow from damning circumstances his 
thin lips trembled, his nervous fingers ran through his flowing 
white hair, and his deep eyes filled without moving. 

And after the first tempest of his own sorrow for the loss 
of Ewan, he thought of Dan, and of Dan's sure grief. He 
remembered the love of Ewan for Dan, and the love of Dan 
for Ewan. He recalled many instances of that beautiful 
affection, and in the quickening flow of the light of that love 
half the follies of his wayward son sank out of sight. Dan 
must be told what had occurred, and if none had told him 
already, it was best that it should be broken to him from lips 
that loved him. 

202 



HOW THE NEWS CAME TO THE BISHOP 

Thus it was that this brave and long-harassed man^ trying 
to think ill of his own harshness, that looked so impotent 
and so childish now, remembering no longer his vow never 
to set eyes on the face of his son or hold sjieech with him 
again, sent a messenger to old Ballamona to ask for Dan, 
and to bring him to Bishop's Court without delay. 

Half an hour later, at the sound of a knock at his door, 
the Bishop, thinking it was Dan himself, stood up to his 
stately height, and tried to hide his agitation, and answered 
in an unsteady voice, that not all the resolution of his brave 
heart could subdue to calmness. But it was the messenger, 
and not Dan, and he had returned to say that Mastha Dan had 
not been home since yesterday, and that when Mastha Ewan 
was last seen at home he had asked for Mastha Dan, and, not 
finding him, had gone down to the Lockjaw Creek to seek him. 

" When was that } " the Bishop asked. 

" The ould body at the house said it might be a piece 
after three o'clock yesterday evening," said the man. 

Beneath the cold quietness of the regard with vt'hich the 
Bishop dismissed his messenger, a keener eye than his might 
have noted a fearfid tumult. The Bishop's hand grew cold 
and trembled. At the next instant he had become conscious 
of his agitation, and begun to reproach himself for his want 
of faith. " I will trust in God and await events," he told 
himself again. " No, I will not speak ; I will maintain silence. 
Yes, I will await the turn of events, and trust in the good 
Father of all." 

Then there came another knock at his doox'. " Surely it 
is Dan at length ; his old housekeeper has sent him on," he 
thought. " Come in," he called in a voice that shook. 

It was Hommy-beg. The Deemster had sent him across 
with a message. 

"And what is it ? " the Bishop asked, speaking at the deaf 
man's ear. 

Hommy-beg scratched his tousled head and made no 
answer at first, and the Bishop repeated the question. 

"We're all taking sorrow for you, my lord," said Hommy, 
and then he stopped. 

" What is it ? " the Bishop repeated. 

" And right sorry I am to bring his message." 

The Bishop's pale face took an ashy grey, but his manner 
was still calm. 

203 



THE DEEMSTER 

"What did the Deemster send you to say, Hommy ?" 

"The Dempster — bad sess to liim, and no disrespec' — he 
sent me to tell you that they're after strij^ping the canvas off, 
and, behould ye, it's an ould sail, and they're knowing it by its 
nuiTiber, and what fishing-boat it came out of, and all to that." 

" Where did the sailcloth come from ? " asked the Bishop, 
and his deep eyes were fixed on Hommy. 

" It's an ould— well, the fact is — to tell you not a word of 
a lie — aw, my lord, what mattei* — what if it is " 

"Where.''" said the Bishop calmly, though his lips whit- 
ened and quivered. 

"It's an old drift yawlsail of the Beji-my-Chree. Aw, yes, 
yes, sarten sure, and sorry I am to bring bad newses." 

Hommy-beg went out, and the Bishop stood for some 
minutes in the thraldom of fear. He had been smitten hard 
by other facts, but this latest fact seemed for the moment to 
overthrow his great calm faith in God's power to bring out 
all things for the best. He wrestled with it long and hard. 
He tried to persuade himself that it meant nothing. That 
Ewan was dead was certain. That he came by his death 
through foul play seemed no less sure and terrible. But that 
his body had been wrapped in sailcloth once belonging to 
Dan's fishing-boat was no sufficient ground for the terrible 
accusation that was taking shape in other minds. Could he 
accept the idea ? Ah ! no, no, no. To do so Avould be to fly 
in the face of all sound reason, all fathei'ly love, and all trust 
in the good Father above. Though the sailcloth came from 
the Ben-my-Chree, the fact said nothing of where the body 
came from. And even though it were certain that the 
body must have been dropped into the sea from the fishing- 
boat that belonged to Dan, it would still require proof that 
Dan himself was aboard of hei*. 

With such poor shifts the Bishop bore down the cruel facts 
as one after one they beat upon his brain. He tried to feel 
shame of his own shame, and to think hard of his own hard 
thoughts. " Yes, I will trust in God," he told himself afresh ; 
" I will await events, and trust in the good Father of all 
mercies." But where was Dan.^" The Bishop had made up 
his mind to send messengers to skirr the island round in 
search of his son, when suddenly there came a great noise as 
of many persons talking eagerly, and drawing hurriedly near 
and nearer. 

204 



i 



HOW THE NEWS CAME TO THE BISHOP 

A minute afterwards his library door was opened again 
without reserve or ceremony, and there came trooping into 
the room a mixed throng of the village folk. Little Jabez 
Gawne was at their head with a coat and a hat held in his 
hands before him. 

Cold as the day was, the people looked hot and full of 
puzzled eagerness, and their smoking breath came in long 
jets into the quiet room. 

" My lord, look what we've found on the top of Orrisdel," 
said Jabez, and he stretched out the coat, while one of the 
men behind him relieved him of the beaver. 

The coat was a long black-cloth coat, with lappets and tails 
and wristbands turned over. 

The Bishop saw at a glance that it was the coat of a 
clergyman. 

"Leave it to me to know this coat, my lord, for it was 
myself that made it," said Jabez. 

The Bishop's brain turned giddy, and the perspiration started 
from his temples, but his dignity and his lai-geness did not 
desert him. 

" Is it my poor Ewan's coat .'' " he asked, as he held out 
his hand to take it, but his tone was one of almost hopeless 
misery and not of inquiry. 

" That's true, my lord," said Jabez, and thereupon the little 
tailor started an elaborate series of identifications, based 
chiefly on points of superior cut and workmanship. But the 
Bishop cut the tailor short with a wave of the hand. 

" You found it on Orrisdale Head } " asked the Bishop. 

And one of the men behind pushed his head between the 
shoulders of those who were before him and said — 

" Aw, yes, my lord, not twenty yards from the cliff, and I 
found something else beside of it." 

Just then there was a further noise in the passage outside 
the library, and a voice saying — 

" Gerr out of the way, you old loblollyboys, bringing bad 
newses still, and glad of them, too." 

It was Hommy-beg returned to Bishop's Court with yet 
another message, but it was a message of his own, and not of 
the Deemster's. He pushed his way through the throng until 
he came face to face with the Bishop, and then he said — 

"The Dempster is afther having the doctor down from 
Ramsay, and the big man is sayin' the neck was broken, and 

205 



THE DEEMSTER 

it was a fall that killed the young pazon, and nothing woi'sCj 
at all at all." 

The large sad eyes of the Bishop seemed to shine without 
moving as Hommy spoke, but in an instant the man who had 
spoken before thrust his word in again, and then the Bishop's 
face grew darker than ever with settled gloom. 

" It was myself that found the coat and hat, my lord ; and 
a piece nearer the cliff I found this, and this ; and then, down 
the brew itself — maybe a matter of ten feet down — I saw 
this other one sticking in a green corry of grass and ling, and 
over I went, hand-under-hand, and brought it up." 

While he spoke the man struggled to the front, and held 
out in one hand a belt, or what seemed to be two belts 
buckled together and cut across as with a knife, and in the 
other hand two daggers. 

A great awe fell upon every one at sight of the weapons. 
The Bishop's face still showed a quiet grandeur, but his 
breathing was laboured and harassed. 

" Give them to me," he said, with an impi-essive calmness, 
and the man put the belts and daggers into the Bishop's 
hands. He looked at them attentively, and saw that one of 
the buckles was of silver, while the other was of steel. 

" Has any one recognised them ? " he asked. 

A dozen voices answered at once that they were the belts 
of the newly-banded militia. 

At the same instant the Bishop's eye was arrested by some 
scratches on the back of the silver buckle. He fixed his 
spectacles to examine the marks more closely. When he 
had done so he breathed with gasps of agony, and all the 
cheer of life seemed in one instant to die out of his face. 
His nerveless fingers dropped the belts and daggers on to 
the table, and the silver and the steel clinked as they fell. 

There had been a dead silence in the room for some 
moments, and then with a laboured tranquillity the Bishop 
said, " That will do ; " and stood mute and motionless while 
the people shambled out, leaving their dread treasures behind 
them. 

To his heart's core the Bishop was struck with an icy chill. 
He tried to link together the terrible ideas that had smitten 
his brain, but his mind wandered and slipped away, Ewan 
was last seen going towards the creek ; he was dead ; he had 
been killed by a fall : his body had come ashore in an old 

206 



HOW THE NEWS CAME TO THE BISHOP 

sail of the Ben-mij-Chree ; his coat and hat had been picked 
lip on the top of Oi'risdale Head^ and beside them lay two 
weapons and two belts, whereof one had belonged to Dan, 
whose name was scratched upon it. 

In the cruel coil of circumstance that was every moment 
tightening about him the Bishop's great calm faith in the 
goodness of his Maker seemed to be benumbed. " Oh, my 
son, my son!" he cried when he was left alone. "Would to 
God I had died before I saw this day! Oh, my son, my son!" 
But after a time he regained his self-control, and said to him- 
self again, "I will trust in God; He will make the dark places 
plain." Then he broke into short, fitful prayers, as if to drive 
away by the warmth of the S2:)irit the chill that was waiting in 
readiness to freeze his faith — " Make haste unto me, O God ! 
Hide not Thy face from Thy servant, for I am in trouble." 

The short winter's day had dragged on heavily, but the arms 
of darkness were now closing round it. The Bishop put on 
his cloak and hat and set off for Ballamona. In length of days 
he was but little past his prime, but the dark sorrow of many 
years had drained his best strength, and he tottered on the 
way. Only his strong faith that God would remember His 
servant in the hour of trouble gave power to his trembling 
limbs. 

And as he walked he began to reproach himself for the mis- 
trust whereby he had been so sorely shaken. This comforted 
him somewhat, and he stepped out more boldly. He was 
telling himself that, perplexing though the facts might be, 
they were yet so inconclusive as to prove nothing except that 
Ewan was dead, when all at once he became conscious that in 
the road ahead of him, grouped about the gate of Ballamona, 
were a company of women and children, all agitated and some 
w^eeping, with the coroner in their midst, (juestioning them. 

The coroner was Quayle the Gyke, the same who would 
have been left penniless by his father but for the Bishop's 
intervention. 

" And when did your husband go out to sea ? " the coroner 
asked. 

" At floodtide yesterday," answered one of the women ; 
" and my man, he said to me, ' Liza,' he said, ' get me a bite 
of priddhas and salt herrin's for supper,' he said; 'we'll be 
back for twelve,' he said ; but never a sight of him yet, and 
me up all night till daylight." 

207 



THE DEEMSTER 

" But they've been in and gone out to sea again," said an- 
other of the women. 

"How d'ye know that. Mother Quilleash ? " asked the 
coroner. 

" Because I've been taking a sheu round to the creek, and 
there's a basket of skate and cod in the shed," the woman 
answered. 

At that the Bishop drew up at the gate, and the coroner 
explained to him the trouble of the women and children. 

" Is it you, Mrs. Corkell ? " the Bishop asked of a woman 
near him. 

" Aw, yes, my loi*d." 
"And you, too, Mrs. Teare ? " 

The woman curtsied ; the Bishop named them one by one, 
and stroked the bare head of the little girl who was clinging 
to her mother's cloak and weeping. 

" Then it's the Ben-my-Chree that has been missing since 
yesterday at high-water ? " the Bishop said, in a sort of hushed 
whisper. 

"Yes, sure, my lord." 

At that the Bishop turned suddenly aside, without a word 
more, opened the gate, and walked up the path. " Oh, my 
son, my son," he cried in his bleeding heart, " how have you 
shortened my days ! How have you clothed me with shame ! 
Oh, my son, my son ! " 

Before Ballamona an open cart was standing, with the tail- 
board down, and the horse was pawing the gravel which had 
once — on a far different occasion— been strewn with the 
"blithe-bread." The door of the house stood ajar, and a jet 
of light from within fell on the restless horse without. The 
Bishop entered the house, and found all in readiness for the 
hurried night burial. On chairs that were ranged back to 
back a rough oak coffin, like an oblong box, was resting, and 
from the rafter of the ceiling immediately over it a small oil 
lamp was suspended. On either side of the hall were three 
or four men holding brands and leathern lanterns, ready for 
lio-hting. The Deemster was coming and going from his own 
room beyond, attended in bustling eagerness by Jarvis 
Kerruish. Near the coffin stood the vicar of the parish, father 
of the dead man's dead wife, and in the opening of a door 
that went out from the hall Mona stood weeping with the 
dead man's child in her arms. 

208 



HOW THE NEWS CAME TO THE BISHOP 

And even as it is only in the night that the brightest stars 
may truly be seen, so in the night of all this calamity the star 
of the Bishop's faith shone out clearly again, and his vague 
misgivings fell away. Pie stepped up to Mona, whose dim 
eyes were now fixed on his face in sadness of sympathy, and 
with his dry lips he touched her forehead. 

Then, in the depth of his own sorrow and the breadth of 
shadow that lay upon him, he looked down at the little one 
in Mona's arms, where it leapt and cooed and beat its arms 
on the air in a strange wild joy at this gay spectacle of its 
father's funeral, and his eyes filled for what the course of its 
life would be. 

Almost as soon as the Deemster was conscious of the Bishop's 
presence in the house he called on the mourners to make ready, 
and then six men stepped to the side of the coffin. 

"Thorkell," said the Bishop calmly, and the bearers paused 
while he spoke, " this haste to put away the body of our dear 
Ewan is unseemly, because it is unnecessary." 

The Deemster made no other answer than a spluttered ex- 
pression of contempt, and the Bishop spoke again. 

"You are aware that there is no canon of the Church re- 
quiring it, and no law of State demanding it. That a body 
from the sea shall be buried within the day it has washed 
ashore is no more than a custom." 

" Then custom shall be indulged with custom," said Thorkell 
decisively. 

" Not for fifty years has it been observed," contmued the 
Bishop ; " and here it is an outrage on reason and on the 
respect we owe to our dead." 

At this the Deemster said : "The body is mine, and I will 
do as I please with it." 

Even the six carriers, with their hands on the coffin, caught 
their breath at these words ; but the Bishop answered without 
anger : " And the graveyard is mine, iia charge for the Church 
and God's people, and if I do not forbid the burial, it is 
because I would have no wrangling over the grave of my 
dear boy." 

The Deemster spat on the floor and called on the carriers 
to take up their burden. Then the six men lifted the coffin 
from the chairs and put it into the cart at the door. The 
other mourners went out on to the gravel, and such of them 
as carried torches and lanterns lighted them there. The 

209 o 



THE DEEMSTER 

Old Hunclredth w.is then sunt,'-, and when its last notes had 
died on the night air the springless cart went jolting down 
the path. Behind it the mourners ranged themselves two 
abreast, Avith the Deemster walking alone after the cart, and 
the Bishop last of all. 

Mona stood a moment at the ojien door in the hall that 
was now empty and desolate and silent, save for the babblings 
of the child in her arms. She saw the procession pass 
through the gate into the road. After that she went into 
the house, drew aside the curtain of her window, and watched 
the moving lights until they sto})ped, and then she knew that 
they were gathered about an open grave, and that half of all 
that had been very dear to her in this weary world was gone 
from it for ever. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

THE CHILD GHOST IN THE HOUSE 

After the coroner, Quayle the Gyke, had gone through one 
part of his dual functions at Ballamona, and thereby dis- 
covered that the body of Ewan had been wrapped in a sail- 
cloth of the Ben-mxf-Chrce, he set out on the other part of his 
duty, to find the berth of the fishing-boat, and, if need be, 
to arrest the crew. He was in the act of leaving Ballamona 
when, at the gate of the high-road, he came upon the women 
and childfen of the families of the crew he was in search of, 
and there, at the moment when the Bishop arrived for the 
funeral, he heard that the men had been at sea since the 
middle of the previous day. Confirmed in his suspicions, but 
concealing them, he returned to the village with the terrified 
women, and on the way he made his own sinister efforts to 
comfort them when they mourned as if their husbands had 
been lost. " Aw, no, no, no, never fear ; we'll see them again 
soon enough, I'll go bail," he said, and in their guileless 
blindness the women were nothing loath to take cheer from 
the fellow's dubious smile. 

His confidence was not misplaced, for hardly had he got 
back to the village, and stepped into the houses one after 
one, making his own covert investigations while he sand- 

210 



THE CHILD GHOST IN THE HOUSE 

■\viched his shrewd questions with solace, when the fishermen 
themselves, old Quilleash, Crennell, Teare, and Corkell, and 
the lad Davy Fayle, came tramping up the street. Then 
there was wild joy among the children, who clung to the 
men's legs, and some sharp nagging among the women, who 
were by wifely duty bound to conceal their satisfaction under 
a proper appearance of wrath. "And what for had they 
been away all night ? " and " Didn't they take shame at 
treating a woman like dirt?" and "Just like a man, just, 
not caring a ha'p'orth, and a woman up all night, and taking 
notions about drowning, and more fool for it." 

And when at length there came a cessation of such ques- 
tions, and the fishermen sat down Avith an awkward silence, 
or grunted something in an evasive way about " Women 
preaching mortal," and "Never no reason in them," then the 
coroner began his more searching inquiries. When did they 
run in with the cod and ling that was found lying in the 
tent ? Was there a real good " strike " on that they went 
out again at half-flood last night } Doing much outside .'' 
No ? He wouldn't trust but they were lying off the Mooragh, 
eh } Yes, you say } Coorse, coorse. And good ground, 
too. And where was the capt'n ? Out with them ? He 
thought so. 

Everything the coroner asked save the one thing on which 
his mind was set, but at mention of the Mooragh the women 
forgot their own trouble in the greater trouble that was over 
the parish, and blurted out with many an expletive the story 
of the coming to shore of the body of Ewan. And hadn't 
they heai-d the jeel .'' Aw, shocking, shocking ! And the 
young pazon had sailed in their boat, so he had ! Aw, 
ter'ble, ter'ble ! 

The coroner kept his eyes fixed on the men's faces, and 
marked their confusion with content. They on their part 
tried all their powers of dissembling. First came a fine show 
of ferocity. Where were their priddhas and herrings ? Bad 
sess to the women, the idle craythurs, did they think a man 
didn't want never a taste of nothin' comin' in off the say, 
afther workin' for them day and night same as haythen 
naygroes, and no thanks for it .'' 

It would not do, and the men themselves were the first 
to be conscious that they could not strike fire. One after 
aiiother slunk out of his house until they were all five on the 

211 



THE DEEMSTER 

street in a group, liolding their heads together and mutter- 
ing. And when at length the coroner came out of old 
Quilleash's house, and leaned against the trammon at the 
jiorch, and looked towards thcni in the darkness, but said 
not a word, their self-possession left them on the instant, 
and straightway they took to their heels. 

" Let's away at a slant over the Head and give warning to 
Mastlia Dan," they whispered ; and this was the excuse they 
made to themselves for their flight, just to preserve a little 
ray of self-respect. 

But the coroner understood them, and he set his face back 
towards the churchyard, knowing that the Deemster would 
be there by that time. 

The Bisho}) had gone through the ceremony at the grave- 
side with coiuposin-e, tliough his voice when he spoke was 
full of tears, antl the hair of his uncovered head seemed to 
have passed from iron-grey to white. His grand calm face 
was steadfast, and his ])rayer was of faith and hope. Only 
beneath this white quiet as of a glacier the red riot of a great 
sorrow was rife within him. 

It was then for the first time in its fulness that — ^undis- 
turbed in that solemn hour by coarser fears — he realised the 
depth of his grief for the loss of Ewan. That saintly soul 
came back to his memory in its beauty and tenderness alone, 
and its heat and uncontrollable unreason were forgotten. 
When he touched on the mystery of Ewan's death, his large 
wan face quivered slightly and he paused ; but when he 
spoke of the hope of an everlasting reunion, and how all that 
was dark would be made plain and the Judge of all the 
earth would do right, his voice grew bold as with a surety of 
a brave resignation. 

The Deemster listened to the short night-service with 
alternate restlessness — ti*amping to and fro by the side of the 
grave — and cold self-possession, and with a constant hardness 
and bitterness of mind, breaking out sometimes into a light 
trill of laughter, or again into a hoarse gurgle, as if in scorn 
of the Bishop's misplaced confidence. But the crowds that 
were gathered around held their breath in awe of the 
mystery, and when they sang it was with such an expression 
of emotion and fear that no man knew the sound of his own 
voice. 

More than once the Deemster stopped in his uneasy pei'- 
212 



THE CHILD GHOST IN THE HOUSE 

ambulations, and cried " What's that ? " as if arrested by- 
sounds that did not break on the ears of others. But nothing 
occurred to disturb the ceremony until it had reached the 
point of its close, and while the Bishop was pronouncing a 
benediction the company was suddenly thrown into a great 
tumult. 

It was then that the coroner arrived, panting after a long 
run. He pushed his way through the crowd, and burst in at 
the graveside between the Bishop and the Deemster. 

"They've come ashore," he said eagerly; "the boat's in 
harbour and the men are here." 

Twenty voices at once cried " Who ? " but the Deemster 
asked no explanation. " Take them," he said, " arrest them ; " 
and his voice was a bitter laugh and his face in the light of 
the torches was full of malice and uncharity. 

Jarvis Kerruish stepped out. " Where are they?" he asked. 

"They've run across the Head in the line of the Cross 
Vein," the coroner answered; "but six of us will follow them." 

And without more ado he twisted about and impressed the 
five men nearest to him into sei*vice as constables. 

" How many of them are there ?" said Jarvis Kerruish. 

"Five, sir," said the coroner, " Quilleash, Teare, Corkell, 
Crennell, and the lad Davy." 

" Then is he not with them ? " cried the Deemster, in a 
tone that went to the Bishop's heart like iron. 

The coroner glanced uneasily at the Bishop, and said, " He 
was with them, and he is still somewhere about." 

" Then away with you ; arrest them, quick," the Deemster 
cried in another tone. 

" But what of the warrant, sir ? " said the coroner. 

" Simpleton ! are you waiting for that } " the Deemster 
shouted with a contemptuous sweep of the hand. " Where 
have you been, that you don't know that your own warrant 
is enough .-' Arrest the scoundrels, and you shall have war- 
rant enough when you come back." 

But as the six men Avere pushing their way through the 
people, and leaping the cobble wall of the churchyard, the 
Deemster picked from the ground a piece of slate-stone that 
had come up from the vault, and scraped his initials upon it 
with a pebble. 

"Take this token, and go after them," he said to Jarvis 
Kerruish, and instantly Jarvis was following the coroner and 

213 



THE DEEMSTER 

his constables with the Deemster's legal warranty for their 
proceedings. 

It was the work of a moment, and the crowd that had stood 
with drooping heads about the Bishop liad now broken up 
in confusion. The Bishop hi)nself had not spoken ; a shade 
of bodily pain had passed over his pale face, and a cold damp 
had started from his forehead. But hardly had the coroner 
gone, or the })eople recovered from their bewilderment, 
when the Bishop lifted one hand to bespeak silence, and 
then said, in a tone impossible to describe : " Can any man 
say of his own knowledge that my son was on the Bcn-my- 
Chree last night } " 

The Deemster snorted contemptuously, but none made 
answer to the Bishop's question. 

At that moment there came the sound of a horse's hoofs 
on the road, and immediately the old archdeacon drew up. 
He had been preaching the Christmas sermons at Peeltown 
that day, and there he had heard of the death of his grand- 
son, and of the suspicions that were in the air concerning it. 
The dour spirit of the disappointed man had never gone out 
with too much warmth to the Bishop, but had always been 
ready enough to cast contempt on the " moonstruck ways " 
of the man who had '^usurped" his own place of prefer- 
ment ; and now, without contrition or pity, he was ready to 
strike his blow at the stricken man. 

"I hear that the Ben-my-Chree has put into Peel har- 
bour," he said, and as he spoke he leaned across his saddle- 
bow, with his russet face towards where the Bishop stood. 

"Well, well, well.''" cried the Deemster, rapping out at 
the same time his oaths of impatience as fast as a hen might 
have pecked. 

"And that the crew are not likely to show their faces 
soon," the archdeacon continued. 

" Then you're wrong," said the Deemster imperiously, " for 
they've done as much already. But what about their owner .'' 
Was he with them } Have you seen him .'' Quick, let us hear 
what you have to say." 

The archdeacon did not shift his gaze from the Bishop's 
face, but he answered the Deemster nevertheless. 

"Their owner was with them," he said, "and woe be to 
him. I had as lief that a millstone were hung about my neck 
as that I stood before God as the father of that man." 

214 



THE CHILD GHOST IN THE HOUSE 

And with such charity of comfort the old archdeacon 
aHghted and walked away with the Deemster at the horse's 
head. The good man had pi-eached with unwonted fervour 
that day from the Scripture which says, " With what measure 
ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." 

In another instant the Bishop was no longer the same man. 
Conviction of Dan's guilt had taken hold of him. Thus far he 
had borne up against all evil shows, by the strength of his 
great faith in his Maker to bi-ing out all things well. But at 
length that faith was shattered. When the Deemster and 
the archdeacon went away togethei*, leaving him in the midst 
of the people, he stood there, while all eyes were upon him, 
with the stupid bewildered look of one who has been dealt 
an unexpected and dreadful blow. The world itself was 
crumbling under him. At that first instant there was some- 
thing like a ghastly smile playing over his pale face. Then 
the truth came rolling over him. The sight was terrible to 
look upon. He tottered backwards with a low moan. When 
his faith went down his manhood went down with it. 

" Oh, my son, my son ! " he cried again, " how have you 
shortened my days ! How have you clothed me with shame ! 
Oh, my son, my son ! " 

But love was uppermost even in that bitter hour, and the 
good God sent the stricken man the gift of tears. " He is 
dead, he is dead ! " he cried ; " now is my heart smitten and 
withered like grass. Ewan is dead. My son is dead. Can it 
be true ? Yes, dead and worse than dead. Lord, Lord, now let 
me eat ashes for bread and mingle my drink with weeping." 

And so he poured out his broken spirit in a torrent of wild 
laments. The disgrace that had bent his head heretofore was 
but a dream to this deadly reality. " Oh, my son, my son ! 
Would God I had died before I saw this day ! " 

The people stood by while the unassuageable grief shook the 
Bishop to the soul. Then one of them — it was Thormod Myle- 
chreest, the bastard son of the rich man who had left his 
offspring to public charity — took the old man by the hand, and 
the crowd parted for them. Together they passed out of the 
churchyard, and out of the hard glare of the torchlight, and 
set off for Bishop's Court. It was a pitiful thing to see. How 
the old father, stricken into age by sorrow rather than years, 
tottered feebly on the way. How low his white head was bent, 
as if the darkness itself had eyes to peer into his darkened soul. 

215 



THE DEEMSTER 

And yet more pitiful was it to see how the old man's broken 
spirit, reft of its great bulwark, which lay beneath it like an 
idol that was broken, did yet struggle with a vain effort to 
glean comfort from its fallen faith. But every stray text that 
rose to his heart seemed to wound it afresh. " As arrows in 
the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth. . . . 
They shall not be ashamed. . . . Oh, Absalom, my son, my 
son ! , . . For thy sake I have borne reproach ; shame hath 
covered my fiice. ... I am poor and needy ; make haste unto 
me, O God. , . . Hide not Thy face from Thy servant, for I 
am in trouble. . . . O God, Thou knowest my foolishness. 
. . . And Eli said. It is the Lord, let Him do as seemeth Him 
good. . . . The waters have overwhelmed me, the streams 
have gone over my soul ; the proud waters have gone over 
my soul." 

Thus tottering feebly at the side of Mylechreest and lean- 
ing on his arm, the Bishop went his way, and thus the poor 
dead soul of the man, whose faith was gone, poured forth its 
barren grief. The way was long, but they reached Bishop's 
Court at last, and at sight of it a sudden change seemed to 
come over the Bishop. He stopped and turned to Myle- 
chreest, and said with a strange resignation — 

" I will be quiet. Ewan is dead, and Dan is dead. Surely 
I shall quiet myself as a child that is weaned of its mother. 
Yes, my soul is even as a weaned child." 

And, with the simple calmness of a little child, he held out 
his hand to Mylechreest to bid him farewell, and when Myle- 
chreest, with swimming eyes and a throat too full for speech, 
bent over the old man's hand and put his lips to it, the Bishop 
placed the other hand on his head, as if he had asked for a 
blessing, and blessed him. 

"Good-night, my son," he said simply, but Mylechreest 
could answer nothing. 

The Bishop was turning into his house when the memory 
that had gone from him for one instant of blessed respite 
returned, and his sorrow bled afresh, and he cried piteously. 
The inanimate old place was in a moment full of spectres. 
For that night Bishop's Court had gone back ten full years, 
and if it was not now musical with children's voices, the spirit 
of one happy boy still lived in it. 

Passing his people in the hall and on the stairs, where, 
tortured by suspense, bewildered, distracted, they put their 

216 



THE CHILD GHOST IN THE HOUSE 

doubts and rumours together, the Bishop went up to the 
httle room above the Hbrary that had once been little 
Danny's room. The door was locked, but the key was where 
it had been for many a day — though Dan in his headstrong 
wapvardness had known nothing of that — it was in the 
Bishop's pocket. Inside the room the muggy odour was of 
a chamber long shut up. The little bed was still in the 
corner, and its quilted counterpane lay thick in dust. Dust 
covered the walls, and the floor also, and the table under the 
window was heavy with it. Shutting himself in this dusty 
crib, the Bishop drew from under the bed a glass-covered 
case, and opened it, and lifted out one by one the things it 
contained. They Avere a child's playthings — a whip, a glass 
marble, a Avhistle, an old Manx penny, a tomtit's mossy nest 
with three speckled blue eggs in it, some pearly shells, and 
a bit of shrivelled seaweed. And each poor relic as it came 
up awoke a new memoiy and a new grief, and the fingers 
ti-embled that held them. The sense of a boy's sport and a 
boy's high spirits, long dumb and dead, touched the old man 
to the quick within these heavy walls. 

The Bishop replaced the glass-covered case, locked the 
room, and went down to his library. But the child ghost 
that lived in that gaunt old house did not keep to the ci-ib 
upstairs. Into this book-clad room it followed the Bishop, 
Mith blue eyes and laughter on the red hps ; with a hop, 
skip, and a jump, and a pair of spectacles perched insecurely 
on the diminutive nose. 

Ten years had rolled back for the broken-hearted father 
that night, and Dan, who was lost to him in life, lived in his 
remembrance only as a beautiful, bright, happy, spirited, 
innocent child, that could never grow older, but must be a 
child for ever. 

The Bishop could endure the old house no longer. It was 
too full of spectres. He would go out and tramp the roads 
the long night through. Up and down, up and down, 
through snow or rain, under the moonlight or the stars, until 
the day dawned, and the pitiless sun should rise again over 
the heedless sleeping world. 



217 



THE DEEMSTER 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

BY bishop's law ou deemster's 

The Bishop had gone into the hall for his cloak and hat 
when he came face to face with the Deemster, who was 
entering the house. At sight of his brother his bewildered 
mind made some feeble efforts to brace itself up. 

" Ah ! is it you, Thorkell ? Then you have come at last ! 
I had given you up. But I am going out to-night. Will 
you not come into the library with me ? But perhaps you 
are going somewhere?" 

It was a painful spectacle, the strong brain of the strong 
man tottering visibly. The Deemster set down his hat and 
cane, and looked uj) with a cold mute stare in answer to his 
brother's inconsequent questions. Then, without speaking, 
he went into the library, and the Bishop followed him with 
a feeble, irregular step, humming a lively tune — it was " Sally 
in our Alley " — and smiling a melancholy, jaunty, bankrupt 
smile. 

" Gilchrist," said the Deemster imperiously, and he closed 
the door behind them as he spoke, " let us put away all pre- 
tence, and talk like men. We have serious work before us, 
I promise you." 

By a perceptible spasm of will the Bishop seemed to re- 
o-ain command of his faculties, and his countenance, that had 
been mellowed down to most pitiful weakness, grew on the 
instant firm and pale. 

" What is it, Thorkell ? " he said in a more resolute tone. 
Then the Deemster asked deliberately, "What do you 
intend to do with the murderer of my son ? " 

"What do I mean to do? I? Do you ask me what I 
intend to do ? " said the Bishop in a husky whisper. 

" I ask you what you intend to do," said the Deemster 
firmly. " Gilchrist, let us make no faces. You do not need 
that I should tell you what powers of jurisdiction over felonies 
are held by the Bishop of this island as its spiritual baron. 
More than once you have reminded me, and none too cour- 
teously, of those same powers when they have served your 
turn. They are to-day what they were yesterday, and so I 

218 



BY BISHOP'S LAW OR DEEMSTER'S 

ask you again, what do you intend to do with the murderer 
of my son ?" 

The Bishop's breath seemed suspended for a moment, and 
then, ui broken accents he said softly, " You ask me what I 
intend to do with the murderer of our Ewan — his murderer, 
you say ? " 

In a cokl and resokite tone the Deemster said again, '' His 
murderer," and bowed stiffly. 

The Bishop's confusion seemed to overwhelm him. " Is it 
not assuming too much, Thorkell.''" he said, and while his 
fingers trembled as he unlaced them before him, the sai • 
sad smile as before passed across his face. 

" Listen, and say whether it is so or not," said the 
Deemster, with a manner of rigid impassability. "At three 
o'clock yesterday my son left me at my own house with the 
declared purpose of going in search of your son. With what 
object.'' Wait. At half-past three he asked for your son at 
the house they shared together. He was then told that your 
son would be found at tlie village. Before four o'clock he 
inquired for him at the village pothouse, your son's daily and 
nightly haunt. There he was told that the man he wanted 
had been seen going down towards the creek, the frequent 
anchorage of the fishing-smack, the Bcn-rmj-Chree, with which 
he has frittered away his time and your money. As the 
parish clock was striking four he was seen in the lane leading 
to the creek, walking briskly down to it. He was never 
seen again." 

"My brother, my brother, what proof is there in that.''" 
said the Bishop, with a gesture of protestation. 

" Listen. That creek under the Head of Orrisdale is 
known to the fisherfolk as the Lockjaw. Do you need to be 
told why ? Because there is only one road out of it. My 
son went into the creek, but he never left it alive." 

" How is this known, Thorkell ?" 

" How ? In this way. Almost immediately my son had 
gone from my house, Jarvish Kerruish went after him, to 
overtake him and bring him back. Not knowing the course, 
Jarvis had to feel his way and inquire, but he came upon his 
trace at last, and followed Ewan on the road he had taken, 
and reached the creek soon after the parish clock struck five. 
Now, if my son had returned as he went, Jarvis Kerruish 
must have met him." 

219 



THE DEEMSTER 

" Patience, Thorkell, have patience," said the Bishop. 
" If Ewan found Dan at the Lockjaw Creek, why did not the 
young man Jarvis find botli of the"m tliere ? " 

" Why?" the Deemster echoed, " because the one was dead, 
and the other in hiding." 

The Bishop was standing at that moment by the table, and 
one hand was touching something that lay upon it. A cry 
that was half a sigh and half a suppressed scream of terror 
burst from him. The Deemster understood it not, but set it 
down to the searching power of his own words. Shuddering 
from head to foot, the Bishop looked down at the thing his 
hand had touched. It was the militia belt. He had left it 
where it had fallen from his fingers when the men brought 
it to him. Beside it, half hidden by many books and papers, 
the two small daggers lay. 

Then a little low cunning crept over the heart of that 
saintly man, and he glanced up into his brother's face with 
a dissembled look, not of inquiry, but of supplication. The 
Deemster's face was imperious, and his eyes betrayed no 
discovery. He had seen nothing. 

"You make me shudder, Thorkell," the Bishop murmured, 
and while he spoke he lifted the belt and daggers furtively 
amid a chaos of loose papers, and whipped them into the 
door of a cabinet that stood open. 

His duplicity had succeeded ; not even the hollow ring of 
his voice had awakened suspicion, but he sat down with a 
crushed and abject mien. His manhood had gone, shame 
overwhelmed him, and he ceased to contend. 

"I said there was only one way out of the creek," said the 
Deemster, "but there are two." 

"Ah!" 

" The other way is by the sea. My son took that way, but 
he took it as a dead man, and Avhen he came ashore he was 
wrapped for sea-burial — by ignorant bunglers who had never 
buried a body at sea before— in a sailcloth of the Ben-my- 
Chree." 

The Bishop groaned and wiped his forehead. 

"Do you ask for further evidence ?" said the Deemster in 
a relentless voice. " If so, it is at hand. Where was the Bcn- 
my-Chree last night .^ It was on the sea. Last night was 
Christmas Eve, a night of twenty old Manx customs. Where 
were the boat's crew and owner .> They were away from 

220 



BY BISHOP'S LAW OR DEEMSTER'S 

their homes. To-day was Christmas Day. Where were the 
men .'' Their wives and chikh-en were waiting for some of 
them to eat mth them their Christmas dinner and drink their 
Christmas ale. But they were not in their houses, and no 
one knew where they were. Can circumstances be more 
damning? Speak, and say. Don't wring your hands; be a 
man and look me in the face." 

" Have mercy, Thorkell," the Bishop murmured, utterly 
prostrate. But the Deemster went on to lash him as a brutal 
master whips a broken-winded horse. 

" When the Be)i-im/-Chrcc came into harbour to-night, what 
was the behaviour of crew and o-wner? Did they go about 
tlieir business as they are Avont to do when wind and tide 
has kept them too long at sea? Did they show their iiices 
l)efore suspicion as men should who have no fear? No. 
They skulked away. They Hed from question. At this 
moment they are being pursued." 

The Bisliop covered his face with his hands. 

" And so I ask you again," resumed the Deemster, " what 
do you intend to do with the murderer of my son?" 

"Oh, Dan, Dan, my boy, my boy!" the Bishop sobbed, 
and for a moment his grief mastered all other emotions. 

'•' Ah ! see how it is ! You name your son, and you know 
that he is guilty." 

The Bishop lifted up his head, and his eyes flashed. " I do 
not know that my son is guilty," he said in a tone that made 
the Deemster pause. But, speedily recovering his self-com- 
mand, the Deemster continued in a tone of confidence, " Your 
conscience tells you that it is so." 

The Bishop's spirit was broken in a moment. 

" What would you have me do, Thorkell ? " 

"To present your son for murder in the court of your 
barony." 

" Man, man, do you wish to abase me ? " said the Bishop. 
" Do you come to drive me to despair ? Is it not enough that 
I am bent to the very earth with grief but that you of all men 
should crush me to the dust itself with shame ? Think of it 
— my son is my only tie to earth, I have none left but him ; 
and, because I am a judge in the island as well as its poor 
priest, I am to take him and put him to death." 

Then his voice, which had been faint, grew formidable. 

" What is it you mean by this cruel torture ? If my son is 
221 



THR DEEMSTER 

guilty, must his crime oo un))unislicd though his father's hand 
is not Ul'ted against him ? For what business are you yourself 
on this little plot of earth ? You are here to punish the evil- 
doer. It is for you to punish him if he is guilty. But no, 
for you to do that would be for you to be mei-ciful. Mercy 
you will not show to liiin or me. And, to make a crime that 
is terrible at the best, thrice shameful as well, you would 
put a fether as judge over his son. Man, man, have you no 
pity ? — no bowels of compassion ? Think of it ! My son is 
myself, life of my life. Can I lop away my right hand and 
still keep all my members.? Only think of it. Thorkell, 
Thorkell, my bi-other, think of it. I am a father, and so are 
you. Could you condenni to death your own son } " 

The sonorous voice had broken again to a sob of supplication. 

"Yes, you are a father," said the Deemster unmoved, "but 
you are also a priest and a judge. Your son is guilty of a 
Clime " 

" Who says he is guily ? " 

" Yourself said as much a moment since." 

" Have I said so ? What did I say ? They had no cause 
of quarrel — Dan and Ewan. They loved each other. But I 
cannot think. My head aches. I fear my mind is weakened 
by these terrible events." 

The Bishop pressed his forehead hard like a man in bodily 
pain, but the Deemster showed no ruth. 

" It is now for you to put the father aside and let the 
priest-judge come forward. It is your duty to God and your 
church. Cast your selfish interests behind you and quit 
yourself like one to whom all eyes look up. The Bishop has 
a sacred mission. Fulfil it. Ifou have punished offenders 
against God's law and the Chiu'ch's rule beforetime. Don't 
let it be said that the laws of God and Church are to pass by 
the house of their Bishop." 

" Pity ! pity ! have pity," the Bishop murmured. 

" Set your own house in order, or with what courage will 
you ever again dare to intrude upon the houses of your 
people ? Now is your time to show that you can practise the 
hard doctrine that you have preached. Send him to the 
scaffold, yes, to the scaffold " 

The Bishop held up his two hands and cried, "Listen, 
listen ! What would it avail you though my son's life were 
given in forfeit for the life of your son ? You never loved 

222 



BY BISHOP'S LAW OR DEEMSTER'S 

EAvan. Ah ! it is triie^ as Heaven is my witness, you never loved 
him. While I shall have lost two sons at a blow. Are you a 
Christian, to thirst like this for blood ? It is not justice you 
want ; it is vengeance. But vengeance belongs to God." 

" Is he not guilty ? " the Deemster answered. " And is it 
not your duty and mine to punish the guilty ? " 

But the Bishop went on impetuously, panting as he spoke, 
and in a faint, broken tone : — 

" Then if you should be mistaken — if all this that you tell 
me should be a fatal coincidence that my son cannot explain 
away .'' What if I took him and presented him, and sent him 
to the gallows, as you say, and some day, when all that is 
now dark became light, and the truth stood revealed, what if 
then I had to say to myself before God, ' I have taken the 
life of my son .'' ' Brother, is your heart brazed out that you 
can think of it without pity .'' " 

The Bishop had dropped to his knees. 

'• I see that you are a coward," said the Deemster con- 
temptuously. " And so this is what your religion comes to ! 
I tell you that the eyes of the people of this island are on 
you. If you take the right course now, their reverence is 
yours ; if the wrong one, it will be the worst evil that has 
ever befallen you from your youth upwards." 

The Bishop cried, " Mercy, mercy ! for Christ's sake, 
mercy ! " and he looked about the room with terrified eyes, as 
if he would fly from it if he could. 

But the Deemstei*'s lash had one still heavier blow. 

"More, more," he said; "your Church is on its trial also, 
and if you fail of your duty now, the people will rise and 
sweep it away." 

Then a great spasm of strength came to the Bishop, and 
he rose to his feet. 

"Silence, sir!" he said, and the Deemster quailed visibly 
before the heat and flame of his voice and manner. 

But the spasm was gone in an instant, for his faith was 
dead as his soul was dead, and only the galvanic impulse of 
the outraged thing remained. And truly his faith had taken 
his mardiood with it, for he sat down and sobbed. In a few 
moments more the Deemster left him without another word. 
Theirs had been a terrible interview, aud its mark remained to 
the end like a brand of iron on the hearts of both the brothers. 

The night was dark but not cold, and the roads were soft 
223 



THE DEEMSTER 

and ilraggy. Over the loiif;- mile that divided Bishop's Court 
iVoiu Bullamona the old Deemster walked home with a mind 
more at ease than he had known for a score of years. " It 
was true enough, as he said, that I never loved Ewan," the 
Deemster thoiii;ht. " But then whose was the fault but l{,wan's 
own ? At every stej) he was against me, and if he took the 
side of the Bishoj) and his waistrel son, he did it to his own 
confusion. And he had his good parts, too. Patient and long- 
sufiering like his mother, poor woman, dead and gone. A little 
like my old father also, the simple soul. With fire, too, and 
rather headstrong at times. I wonder how it all happened." 

Then, as he trtulgcd along through the dark roads, his mind 
turned full on Dan. " He nuist die," he thought with content 
and a secret satisfaction. " By Bisho])'s law or Deemster's he 
cannot fail but be i)unished with death. And so this is the 
end ! He was to have his foot on my neck some day. So 
much for the brave vaunt and proj)hecy. And when he is 
dead my fate is broken. Tut ! who talks of fate in these days } 
Idle chatter and balderdash ! " 

When the Deemster got to Ballamona, he found the coroner, 
Quayle the Gyke, in the hall awaiting him. Jarvis Kerruish 
was on the settle pushing off his slush-covered boots with a 
boot-jack. 

" VV hy, what ? How's this } " said the Deemster. 

" They've escaped us so fax*," said the coroner meekly. 

" Escaped you } What } In this little rat-hole of an island, 
and they've escaped you.''" 

" We gave them chase for six miles, sir. They've taken 
the mountains for it. Up past the Sherragh Vane at Sulby, 
and under Snaefell and Beinn-y-Phott — that's their way, sir. 
And it was black dark up yonder, and we had to leave it till 
the moiTow. We'll take them, sir, make yourself easy." 

" Had any one seen them .'' Is he with them } " 

" Old Moore, the miller at Sulby, saw them as they went 
by the mill, running mortal hard. But he told us nOj the 
captain wasn't among them." 

" What ! then you've been wasting your wind over the 
fishermen while he has been clearing away .f*" 

Jarvis Kerruish raised his head from where he was pulhng 
on his slippers. 

"Set your mind at rest, sir," he said calmly. "We will 
find him, though he lies like a toad under a stone." 

224. 



BY BISHOP'S LAW OR DEEMSTER'S 

" Mettle, mettle," the Deemster chuckled into his breast, 
and proceeded to throw off his cloak. Then he turned to the 
coroner again. 

" Have you summoned the jury of inquiry .'' " 

" I have, sir — six men of the parish — court-house at Ramsey 
— eight in the morning." 

"We must indict the whole six of them. You have their 
names .'' Jarvis "will write them down for you. We cannot 
have five of them giving evidence for the sixth." 

The Deemster left the hall with his quick and restless step, 
and turned into the dining-room, where Mona was helping to 
lay the supper. Her face was veiy pale, her eyes were red 
^vith long weeping, she moved to and fro with a slow step, 
and misery itself seemed to sit on her. But the Deemster 
saw nothing of this. " Mona," he said, "you must be stirring 
before daybreak to-morrow." 

She lifted her face with a look of inquiry. 

" We breakfast at half-past six, and leave in the coach at 
seven." 

W^ith a puzzled expression she asked m a low tone where 
they were to go. 

"To Ramsey, for the court of inquiry," he answered with 
complacency. 

Mona's left hand went up to her breast, and her breath 
came quick. 

"But why am I to go.?" she asked timidly. 

" Because in cases of this kind, when the main evidence is 
circumstantial, it is necessary to prove a motive before it is 
possible to frame an indictment." 

" Well, father ? " Mona's i-ed eyes opened wide with a 
startled look, and their long lashes trembled. 

"Well, girl, you shall prove the motive." 

The Deemster opened the snuff-horn on the mantle-shelf. 

" / am to do so .'' " 

The Deemster glanced up shar2:)ly under his spectacles. 
"Yes, you, child, you," he said, with quiet emphasis, and lifted 
his pinch of snuff to his nose. 

Mona's breast began to heave, and all her slight frame to 
quiver. 

"Father," she said faintly, "do you mean that I am to be 
the cliief witness agamst the man who took my brother's 
life?" 

225 p 



THE DEEMSTER 

"Well, perhaps, but we shall see. And now for supper, 
and then to bed, for we must be stirring before the lark." 

Mona was f?oing out of the room with a heavy step when the 
Deemster, who had seated himself at the table, raised his eyes. 
" Wait," he said ; " when were you last out of the house ? " 

"Yesterday morning, sir. I was at the ploughing match." 

" Have you had any visitors since five last night } " 

"Visitors — five — 1 do not understand " 

"That will do, child." 

Jarvis Kerruish came into the room at this moment. He 
was the Deemster's sole companion at supper that night. 
And so ended that terrible Christmas Day. 



CHAPTER XXX 

THE deemster's INQUEST 

It was at the late dawn of the following morning that Dan 
Mylrea escaped from his night-long burial in the shaft of the 
disused lead mine. On his way to Ballamona he went by the 
little shed where Mrs. KeiTuish lived with her daughter Mally. 
The sound of his footstep on the path brought the old woman 
to the doorway. 

"Asking pardon, sir," the old body said, "and which way 
may you be going ? " 

Dan answered that he was going to Ballamona. 

" Not to the Deemster's .'' Yes .'' Och ! no. Why, d'ye say.'' 
Well, my daughter was away at the Street last night — where 
she allis is o' nights, more's the pity, leaving me, a lone woman, 
to fret and fidget^and there in the house where they tell 
all the newscs, the guzzling craythurs, they were sayin' that 
maybe it was yourself as shouldn't trouble the Deemster for a 
bit of a spell longer." 

Dan took no further heed of the old woman's warning than 
to thank her as he passed on. When he got to Ballamona the 
familiar place looked strange and empty. He knocked, but 
there was no answer. He called, but there was no reply, 
Presently a foot on the gi-avel woke the vacant stillness. It 
was Hommy-beg, and at sight of Dan he lifted both his hands. 

Then, amid many solemn exclamations, slowly, disjointedly, 

226 



THE DEEMSTER'S INQUEST 

explaining, excusing, Hommy told Avhat had occurred. And no 
sooner had Dan realised the business that was afoot, and that 
the Deemster, with Jarvis Kerruish and Mona, were gone to 
Ramsey on a court of inquiry touching Ewan's death, than he 
straightway set his face in the same direction. 

" The court begins its business at eight, you say ? Well, 
good-bye, Hommy, and God bless you I " he said, and turned 
sharply away. But he stopped suddenly, and came back the 
pace or two. " Wait, let us shake hands, old friend ; we may 
not have another chance. Good-bye." 

In a moment Dan was going at a quick jnice down the road. 

It was a heavy morning. The mists were gliding slowly up 
the mountains in grim, hooded shapes, their long white skirts 
sweeping the meadows as they passed. Overhead the sky was 
dim and empty. Underfoot the roads were wet and thick. 
But Dan felt nothing of this wintry gloom. It did not touch 
his emancipated spirit. His face seemed to open as he walked, 
and his very stature to increase. He reflected that the lumber- 
ing coach which carried the Deemster and his daughter and 
bastard son must noAV be far on its way through the ruts of 
this rough turnpike that lay between Michael and Ramsey. 
And he pushed on with new vigour. 

He passed few persons on the roads. The houses seemed to 
be deserted. Here or there a little brood of children played 
about a cottage door. He hailed them cheerily as he went by, 
and could not help observing that when the little ones recog- 
nised him they dropped their play and huddled together at 
the threshold like sheep affrighted. 

As he passed into Ballaugh under the foot of Glen Dhoo he 
came upon Corlett Ballafayle. The great man opened his eyes 
wide at sight of Dan, and made no answer to his salutation ; 
but v/hen Dan had gone on some distance he turned, as if by 
a sudden impulse, and hailed him with scant ceremony. 

" Ay, why do you take that road } " 

Dan twisted his head, but he did not stop, and Corlett 
Ballafayle lauglied in his throat at a second and more satisfying 
reflection, and then, without waiting for an answer to his 
question, he waved the back of one hand, and said, "All right. 
Follow on. It's nothing to me." 

Dan had seen the flicker of good-will, followed by the flame 
of uncharity, that flashed over the man's face, but he had no 
taste or time for parley. Pushing on past the muggy inn by 

227 



THE DEEMSTER 

the bridge, past the smithy that stood tliere and the brewery 
that stood ojiposite, he came into the viHage. There the 
women, stanchng at their doors, ]iut tlieir heads together, 
looked after him and wln'spcred, and, Hke Corlett Ballafayle, 
forgot to answer his greeting. It was then that over his new- 
found elevation of soul Dan felt a cree])ing sense of shame. 
The horror and terror that had gone before had left no room 
for the lower emotion. Overwhelmed by a crushing idea of 
his guilt before God, he had not realised his position in the 
eyes of his fellow-men. But now he realised it and knew that 
his crime was known. He saw himself as a hunted man, a 
homeless, friendless wanderer on the earth, a murderer from 
whom all must shrink. His head fell into his breast as he 
walked, his eyes droj)ped to the ground, he lifted his face no 
more to the faces of the people whom he j)assed, and gave 
none his salutation. 

The mists lifted off the mountains as the morning wore on, 
and the bald crowns were seen against the empty sky. Dan 
quickened his pace. When he came to Sulby it had almost 
quickened to a run, and as he went by the mill in the village 
he noticed that old Moore, the miller, who was a square-set, 
middle-aged man with a heavy jowl, stood at the open door 
and watched him. He did not lift his eyes, but he was con- 
scious that Moore turned hurriedly into the mill, and that at 
the next instant one of his men came as hurriedly out of it. 

In a few minutes more he was at the bridge that crosses the 
Sulby river, and there he was suddenly confronted by a gang 
of men, with Moore at their head. They had crossed the river 
by the ford at the mill-side, and running along the southern 
bank of it had come up to the bridge at the moment that Dan 
was about to cross it from the road. Armed with heavy sticks, 
which they carried threateningly, they called on Dan to sui*- 
render himself. Dan stopped, looked into their hot faces, and 
said, " Men, I know what you think, but you are Avrong. I am 
not running away ; I am going to Ramsey court-house." 

At that the men laughed derisively, and the miller said 
with a grin that if Dan was on his road to Ramsey they 
would take the pleasure of his company, just to see him 
safely landed there. 

Dan's manner was quiet. He looked about him with calm 
but searching looks. At the opposite bank of the river, close 
to the foot of the bridge, there was a smithy. At that moment 

228 



THE DEEMSTER'S INQUEST 

the smith was hooping a cart-wheel, and his striker set down his 
sledge and tied up his leather apron to look on and listen. 

" Men," said Dan again in a voice that was low, but strong 
and resolute, "it is the truth that I am on my way to Ramsey 
court-house, but I mean to go alone, and don't intend to 
allow any man to take me there as a prisoner." 

" A likely tale," said the miller, and with that he stepped uj) 
to Dan and laid a hand upon his arm. At the next moment 
the man of flour had loosed his grip with a shout, and his white 
coat was rolling in the thick mud of the wet road. Then the 
other men closed around with sticks uplifted, but before the}' 
quite realised what they were to do, Dan had twisted some 
steps aside, darted through them, laid hold of the smith's 
sledge, swung it on his shoulder, and faced about. 

''Now, men," he said as calmly as before, "none of you 
shall take me to Ramsey, and none of you shall follow me 
there. I must go alone." 

The men had fallen quickly back. Dan's strength of 
muscle w'as known, and his stature was a thing to respect. 
They were silent for a moment and dropped their sticks. 
Then they began to mutter among themselves, and ask what 
it was to them after all, and what for should they meddle, 
and what was a few shillin' anyway } 

Dan and his sledge passed through. The encounter had 
cost him some minutes of precious time, but the ardour of his 
purpose had suffered no abatement from the untoward event, 
though his heart was the heavier for it and the dreary day 
looked the darker. 

Near the angle of the road that turns to the left to Ramsey 
and to the right to the Sherragh Vane, there was a little 
thatched cottage of one story, with its window level with 
the road. It was the house of a cobbler named Callister, a 
lean, hungry, elderly man, who lived there alone under the 
ban of an old rumour of evil doings of some sort in his youth. 
Dan knew the poor soul. Such human ruins had never been 
quarry to him, the big-hearted scapegrace, and now, drawing 
near, he heard the beat of the old man's hammer as he worked. 
I'he hammering ceased, and Callister a])]ieared at his door. 

"Capt'n," he stammered, "do you know — do you know 

.'' " He tried to frame his words and could not, and at last 

he blurted out, "Quayle the Gyke drove by an hour ago." 

Dan knew what was in the heart of the poor battered 
229 



THE DEEMSTER 

ci'eature, tand it touched him deeply. He was moving off 
without speaking, merely waving his hand for answer and 
adieu, when the cobbler's dog, as lean and hungry as its 
master to look upon, came from the house and looked up at 
Dan out of its rheumy eyes and licked his hand. 

The cobbler still stood at his door, fumbling in his fingers 
his cutting-knife, worn obliquely to the point, and struggling 
to speak more j)lainly. 

" The Whitehaven packet leaves Ramsey to-night, capt'n," 
he said. 

Dan waved his hand once more. His heart sank yet lower. 
Only by the very dregs of humanity, the very quarry of man- 
kind, and by the dumb creatures that licked his hand, was 
his fellowship rewarded. Thus had he wasted his fidelity 
and thrown his loyalty away. In a day he had become a 
hunted man. So much for the world's gratitude and even 
the world's pity. And yet, shunned or hunted, a mai-k for 
the finger of shame or an aim for the hand of hate, he felt as 
he had felt before, bound by strong ties to his fellow-creatures. 
He was about to part from them ; he was meeting them for 
the last time. Not even their coldest glance of fear or sus- 
picion made a call on his resolution. 

At every step his impatience became more lively. Through 
Lezayre and past Milntown he walked at a quick pace. He 
dared not run, lest his eagerness should seem to betray him, 
and he should meet with another such obstacle as kept him 
back at Sulby Bridge. At length he was walking through 
the streets of Ramsey. He noticed that most of the people 
who passed him gave him a hurried and startled look, and 
went quickly on. He reached the court-house at last. Groups 
stood about the Saddle Inn, and the south side of the enclosure 
within the rails was crowded. The clock in the church tower 
in the market-place beyond was striking nine. It was while 
building that square tower, twenty years before, that the 
mason Looney had dropped to his knees on the scaffold and 
asked the blessing of the Bishop as he passed. To the 
Bishop's son the clock of the tower seemed now to be 
striking the hour of doom. 

The people within the rails of the courtyard fell aside as 
Dan pushed his way through, and the dull buzz of their 
gossip fell straightway to a great silence. But those who 
stood nearest the porch were straining their necks towards 

230 



THE DEEMSTER'S INQUEST 

the inside of the court-house in an effort to see and hear. 
Standing behind them for an instant Dan heard what Avas 
said in whispers by those within to those without, and thus 
he learned what had been done. 

The Deemster's inquest had been going on for an hour. 
First, the landlady of the " Three Legs of Man " had sworn 
that, at about three o'clock on Christmas Eve, Parson Ewan 
had inquired at her house for Mr. Dan Mylrea, and had been 
directed to the creek known sometimes as the Lockjaw. 
Then, the butcher from the shambles in the lane had sworn 
that Parson Ewan had passed him walking towards the 
ci*eek ; and the longshore fishermen who brought the body 
to Bishop's Court gave evidence as to when (ten o'clock on 
Christmas morning) and where (the coral ground for hemngs, 
called the Mooragh) it came ashore. After these, Jarvis 
Kerruish had sworn to following Parson Ewan within half an 
hour of the deceased leaving Ballamona, to hearing a loud 
scream as he approached the lane leading to Orris Head, and 
to finding at the creek the fisher lad Davy Fayle, whose 
manner awakened strong suspicion when he was questioned 
as to whether he had seen Parson Ewan and his master, Mr. 
Daniel Mylrea. The wife of one of the crew of the Ben-viy- 
Chree had next been called to say that the fishing-boat had 
been at sea from high-water on Christmas Eve. The woman 
had given her evidence with obvious difiidence and some 
confusion, repeating and contradicting herself, being sharply 
reprimanded by the Deemster, and finally breaking down into 
a torrent of tears. When she had been removed the house- 
keeper at old Ballamona, an uncomfortable, bewildered old 
body, stated that Mr. Dan Mylrea had not been home since the 
early morning on the day before Christmas Day. Finally, the 
harbour-master at Peel had identified the sailcloth in which the 
body had been wrapt as a drift yawlsail of the Bcn-my-Chree , 
and he had also sworn that the lugger of that name had come 
into the harbour at low-water the previous night, with the 
men Quilleash, Teare, Corkell, Crennell, and Davy Fayle, as 
well as the owner, Mr. Dan Mylrea, aboard of her. 

Without waiting to hear more, Dan made one great call on 
his resolution and pushed his way through the porch into the 
court-house. Then he realised that there was still some virtue 
left in humanity. No sooner had the people in the court 
become aware of his presence among them than one stepped 

231 



THE DEEMSTER 

before him as if to conceal him from those in front, while another 
tapped him on the shoulder, and elbowed a way out, beckon- 
ing liim to follow as if some pressing errand called him away. 

But Dan's purpose was fixed, and no cover for cowardice 
availed to shake it. Steadfast and silent he stood at the 
back of the court, half hidden by the throng about him, try- 
ing to look on with a cool countenance, and to fix his atten- 
tion on the proceedings of his own trial. At first he was 
conscious of no more than the obscurity of the dusky place 
and a sort of confused murmur that rose from a table at the 
farther end. For a while he looked stupidly on, and even 
trembled slightly. But all at once he found himself listening 
and seeing all that was going on before him. 

The court-house was densely crowded. On the bench sat 
the Deemster, his thin, quick face as sharp as a pen within 
his heavy wig. Jarvis Kerruish and Quayle, the coroner, 
stood at a table beneath. Stretched on the top of this table 
was a canvas sail. Six men from Michael sat to the right as 
a jury. But Dan's eyes passed over all these as if scarcely 
conscious of their presence, and turned by an instinct of 
which he knew nothing towards the witness-box. And 
there Mona herself was now standing. Her face was very 
pale and drawn hard about the lips, which were set firm, 
though the nostrils quivered visibly. She wore a dark cloak 
of half-conventual pattern, with a hood that fell back from 
the close hat that sat like a nun's cap about her smooth fore- 
head. Erect she stood, with the fire of two hundred eager 
eyes upon her, but her bosom heaved and the fingers of her 
ungloved hand gripped nervously the rail in front of her. 

In an instant the thin shrill voice of the Deemster broke 
on Dan's consciousness, and he kncAv that he was listening to 
his own trial, with Mona put up to give evidence against him. 

"When did you see your brother last ? " 

" On the afternoon of the day before yesterday." 

" At what hour ? " 

"At about two o'clock." 

" What passed between you at that interview ? " 

There was no answer to this question. 

" Tell the jury if there was any unpleasantness between you 
and your brother at two o'clock the day before yesterday." 

There was a pause, and then the silence was broken by 
the reply, meekly spoken, " It is true that he was angry." 

232 



THE DEEMSTER'S INQUEST 

"What was the cause of his anger?" 

Another pause and no answer. The Deemster repeated 
his question^ and still there was no reply. 

" Listen ; on your answer to this question the burden of the 
indictment must rest. Circumstance points but too plainly 
to a crime. It points to one man as perpetrator of that 
crime, and to five other men as accessories to it. But it is 
necessarj' that the jury should gather an idea of the motive 
that inspired it. And so I ask again, what was the difference 
between you and your brother at your interview on the after- 
noon of the day before yesterday ? " 

There was a deep hush in the court. A gloomy, echoless 
silence, like that which goes before a storm, seemed to brood 
over the place. All eyes were tui-ned to the witness-box. 

" Answer," said the Deemster with head aslant. " I ask for 
an ansAver — I demand it." 

Then the witness lifted up her great, soft, liquid eyes to the 
Deemster's face and spoke : " Is it the judge or the father 
that demands an answer ? " she said. 

"The judge, the judge," the Deemster replied with em- 
phasis, "we know of no father here." 

At that the burden that had rested on Mona's quivering 
face seemed to lift away. "Then, if it is the judge that asks 
the question, I will not answer it." 

The Deemster leaned back in his seat, and there Avas a low 
rumble among the people in the court. Dan found his breath 
coming autliblyfrom his throat, his finger-nails digging trenches 
in his palms, and his teeth set so hard on his lips that both 
teeth and lips were bleeding. 

After a moment's silence the Deemster spoke again, but 
more softly than before, and in a tone of suavity. 

" If the judge has no power with you, make answer to the 
father," and he repeated his question. 

Amid silence that was painful Mona said, in a tremulous 
voice, "It is not in a court of justice that a father should 
expect an answer to a question like that." 

Then the Deemster lost all self-control, and shouted in his 
shrill treble that, whether as father or judge, the witness's 
answer he should have ; that on that answer the guilty man 
should yet be indicted, and that even as it would be damning 
to that man so it should hang him. 

The spectators held their breath at the Deemster's words 
233 



THE DEEMSTER 

and looked aghast at the livid face on the bench. They were 
accustomed to the Deemster's fits of rage, but such an out- 
break of wrath had never before been witnessed. The gloomy 
silence was unbroken for a moment, and then there came the 
sound of the suppressed weeping of the witness. 

"Stop that noise!" said the Deemster. "We know for 
whom you shed your tears. 15ut you shall yet do more than 
cry for the man. If a word of yours can send him to the 
gallows, that word shall yet be spoken," 

Dan saw and heard all. The dark place, the judge, the 
jury, the silent throng, seemed to swim about him. For a 
moment he struggled with himself, scarcely able to control 
the impulse to push through and tear the Deemster from his 
seat. At the next instant, with complete self-possession and 
strong hold of his passions, he had parted the people in front 
of him, and was making his way to the table beneath the 
bench. Dense as the crowd was, it seemed to open of itself 
before him, and only the low rumble of many subdued voices 
floated fjxintly in his ear. He was conscious that all eyes were 
upon him, but most of all that Mona was watching him with 
looks of pain and fear. 

He never felt stronger than at that moment. Long enough 
he had hesitated, and too often he had been held back, but now 
his time was come. He stopped in front of the table, and said 
in a full clear voice, " I am here to suri'endei' — I am guilty." 

The Deemster looked down in bewilderment ; but the 
coroner, recovering quickly from his first amazement, bustled 
up with the air of a constable making a capture, and put the 
fetters on Dan's wrists. 

What happened next was never afterwards rightly known to 
any of the astonished spectators. The Deemster asked the 
jury for their verdict, and immediately afterwards he called on 
the clerk to prej)are the indictment. 

"Is it to be for this man only, or for all six.''" the clerk asked. 

"All six," the Deemster answered. 

Then the prisoner spoke again. " Deemster," he said, 
" the other men are innocent." 

" Where are they ? " 

" I do not know." 

" If innocent, why are they in hiding ? " 

" I tell you, sir, they ai'e innocent. Their only fault is that 
they have tried to be loyal to me." 

234 



FATHER AND SON 

" Were they with you -when the body was buried ? " 

Dan made no answer. 

" Did they bury it ? " 

Still no answer. The Deemster turned to the clerk, " The 
six." 

" Deemster," Dan said, with stubborn resolution, " why 
should I tell you what is not true ? I have come here when, 
like the men themselves, I might have kept away." 

" You have come here, prisoner, when the hand of the law 
was upon you, when its vengeance was encircling you, entrap- 
ping }ou, when it was useless to hold out longer ; you have 
come here thinking to lessen your punishment by your sur- 
render. But you have been mistaken. A surrender extorted 
when capture is certain, like a confession made Avhen crime 
cannot be denied, has never yet been allowed to lessen the 
punishment of the guilty. Nor shall it lessen it now." 

Then as the Deemster rose a cry rang through the court. 
It was such a cry out of a great heart as tells a whole story to 
a multitude. In a moment the people saw and knew all. 
They looked at the two who stood before them, Dan and Mona, 
the prisoner and the witness, with eyes that filled, and from 
their dry throats there rose a deep groan from their midst. 

" I tell you. Deemster, it is false, and the men are innocent," 
said Dan. 

The clerk was seen to hand a document to the Deemster, 
who took a pen and signed it. 

"The accused stands committed for trial at the Court of 
General Gaol Delivery." 

At the next moment the Deemster was gone. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

FATHER AND SON 

The prison for felons awaiting trial in the civil courts was in 
Castle Rushen at Castletown, but Dan Mylrea was not taken 
to it. There had been a general rising in the south of the 
island on the introduction of a coinage of copper money, and 
so many of the rioters had been arrested and committed for 
trial, without bail, at the Coui-t of General Gaol Delivery, that 

235 



THE DEEMSTER 

the prison at Castle Rushen was full to overflowing. Twenty 
men had guarded the place day and night, being relieved 
every twenty-four hours by as many more from each parish in 
rotation, some of tliem the kith andkin of the men imprisoned, 
and all sununoned to Castletown in the morning by the ancient 
mode of fixing a wooden cross over their doors at night. 

Owing to this circumstance the Deemster made the extra- 
ordinary blunder of ordering his coroner to remove Dan to 
the prison beneath the ruined castle at Peeltown. Now, the 
prison on St. Patrick's islet had for centuries been under the 
control of the Spiritual Courts, and was still available for use in 
the execution of the ecclesiastical censures. The gaoler was 
the parish sumner, and the sole governor and director was the 
Bishop himself All this the Deemster knew full well, and 
partly in defiance of his brother's authority, partly in contempt 
of it, but mainly in bitter disdain of his utter helplessness, 
where his son's guilt was manifest and confessed, he arrogated 
the right, without sanction from the spiritual powers, of com- 
mitting Dan to the Church prison, the civil prison being full. 

It Avas a foul and loathsome dungeon, and never but once 
had Bishop Mylrea been known to use it. Dark, small, 
damp, entered by a score of narrow steps, down under the 
vaults on the floor of the chapel, over the long runnels made 
in the rock by the sea, it was as vile a hole as the tyranny of 
the Church ever turned into a gaol for the punishment of 
those who resisted its authority. 

The sumner in charge was old Paton Gorry, of Kirk 
Patrick, a feeble soul Avith a vast respect for authority, and 
no powers of nice distinction between those who Avere placed 
above him. When he received the Deemster's warrant for 
Dan's committal he did not doubt its validity ; and Avhen 
Quayle, the coroner, for his own share, ordered that the 
prisoner should be kept in the close confinement of the dun- 
geon, he acquiesced without question. 

If Dan's humiliation down to this moment had not been 
gall and wormwood to his proud and stubborn spirit the fault 
did not lie at the door of Quayle the Gyke. Every indignity 
that an unwilling prisoner could have been subjected to Dan 
underwent. From the moment of leaving the court-house at 
Ramsey, Dan was pushed and huddled and imperiously com- 
manded with such an abundant lack of need and reason that 
at length the people Avho crowded the streets or looked from 

236 



FATHER AND SON 

their ^^dndows — the same people^many of them,whohad shrunk 
from Dan as he entered the town— shouted at the coroner and 
groaned at him. But Dan himself, who had never before ac- 
cepted a blow from any man without returning it, was seen to 
walk tamely by the coroner's side, towering above him in great 
statm-e, but taking his rough handling like a child at his knees. 

At the door of the prison where Quayle's function ended 
that of the sumner began, and old Gorry was a man of 
another mould. Twenty times he had taken charge of 
persons imprisoned six days for incontinence, and once he 
had held the governor's wife twelve hours for slander, and 
once again a fighting clergyman seven days for heresies in 
looking towards Rome, but never before had he put man, 
woman, or child into the pestilential hole under the floor of 
the old chapel. Dan he remembered since the Bishop's son 
was a boy in corduroys, and when the rusty key of the dun- 
geon turned on him with a growl in its wards, and old Gorry 
went shivering to the guard-room above and kindled himself 
a fire there and sat and smoked, the good man under his rough 
surtout got the better of the bad gaoler. Then down he went 
again, and with a certain shamefacedness, some half-comic, 
half-pathetic efforts of professional reserve, he said he wouldn't 
object, not he, if Dan had a mind to come up and warm him- 
self. But Dan declined with words of cold thanks. 

" No, Gorry," he said, " I don't know that I feel the cold." 

" Oh, all right, all right ; sit ye there, sit ye there," said 
Gorry. He whipped about with as much of lai'geness as he 
could simulate, rattled his keys as he went back, and even 
hummed a tune as he climbed the narrow stairs. But, 
warming itself at the fire, the poor human nature in the old 
man's breast began to tear him pitilessly. He could get no 
peace for memories that would arise of the days when Dan 
plagued liim sorely, the sad little happy dog. Then up he 
rose again, and down he went to the dungeon once more. 

"I respects the ould Bishop," he said, just by way of pre- 
liminary apology and to help him to carry off his intention, 
" and if it be so that a man has done wrong, I don't see — I 
don't see," he stammered, "it isn't natheral that he should 
be starved aUve anyway, and a cold winter's night too." 

" It's no more than I deserve," Dan mumbled ; and at that 
word old Gorry whipped about as before, repeating loftily, 
"Sit ye there, sit ye thei'e." 

237 



THE DEEMSTER 

It was not for him to cringe and sue to a prisoner to come 
up out of tliat foul hole, och! no; and the Bishop's sumner 
inflated his choking chest and went back for another pipe. 
But half an hour later the night had closed in, and old Gorry, 
with a lantern in his hand, was at the door of Dan's prison 
again. 

"To tell the truth, sir," he muttered, " I can't get lave for 
a wink of sleep up yonder, and if you don't come up to the 
fire I wouldn't trust but I'll be forced to stay down here in 
the cold myself." 

Before Dan could make answer there came a loud knocking 
from overhead. In another moment the key of the door had 
turned in its lock from without, and Gorry 's uncertain footfall 
was retreating on the steps. 

When Dan had first been left alone in his dark cell, he had 
cast himself down on the broad slab cut from the rock Avhich 
was his only seat and bed. His suspense was over ; the 
weight of uncertainty was lifted from his brain, and he tried 
to tell himself that he had done well. He thought of Ewan 
now with other feelings than before — of his uprightness, his 
tenderness, his brotherly affection, his frequent intercession 
and no less frequent self-sacrifice. Then he thought of his 
own headlong folly, his blank insensitiveness, his cold in- 
gratitude, and, last of all, of his blundering passion and mad 
wi'ath. All else on both sides was blotted from his memory 
in that hour of dark searching. Alone with his crime — ■ 
toi'tured no more by blind hopes of escaping its penalty, or 
dread misgivings as to the measure of his guilt — his heart 
went out to the true friend whose life he had taken with a 
great dumb yearning and a bitter remorse. No ci'uel voice 
whispered now in palliation of his offence that it had not been 
murder, but the accident of self-defence. He had proposed 
the fight that ended with Ewan's death, and, whezi Ewan 
would have abandoned it, he, on his part, would hear of no 
truce. Murder it was ; and, bad as murder is at the best, 
this murder had been, of all murders, most base and foul. 
Yes, he had done well. Here alone could he know one hour 
of res])ite from terrible thoughts. This dark vault was his 
only resting-place until he came to lie in the last resting- 
place of all. There could be no going back. Life was for 
ever closed against him. He had spilled the blood of the 
man who had loved him with more than a brother's love, and 

238 



FATHER AND SON 

to whom his own soul had been grappled with hooks of steel. 
It was enough, and the sick certainty of the doom before him 
was easiest to bear. 

It was with thoughts like these that Dan had spent his 
first hours in prison, and when old Gorry had interrupted 
them time after time with poor little troubles about the 
freezing cold of the pestilential place, he hardly saw through 
the old man's simulation into the tender bit of human nature 
that lay behind it. 

A few minutes after Gorry had left the cell, in answer to 
the loud knocking that had echoed through the empty 
chambers overhead, Dan could hear that he was returning 
to it, halting slowly down the steps with many a pause, and 
mumbling remarks meantime, as if lighting some one who 
came after him. 

"Yes, my lord, it's dark, very dark. I'll set the lantern 
here, my lord, and turn the key." 

In another moment old Gorry was at Dan's side, saying, in 
a fearful under-tone, " Lord a massy ! it's the Bishop hisself. 
I lied to him mortal, so I did — but no use. I said you were 
sleeping, but no good at all at all. He wouldn't take rest with- 
out putting a sight on you. Here he is Come in, my lord." 

Almost before Dan's mind, distraught by other troubles, 
had time to grasp what Gorry said, the old gaoler had clapped 
his lantern on the floor of the cell, and had gone from it, and 
Dan was alone with his father. 

" Dan, are you awake ? " the Bishop asked, in a low, eager 
tone. His eyes were not yet familiar with the half-light of 
the dark place, and he could not see his son. But Dan saw 
his father only too plainly, and one glance at him in that first 
instant of recovered consciousness went far to banish as an 
empty sophism the soothing assurance he had lately nursed 
at his heart that in what he had done he had done well. 

The Bishop was a changed and shattered man. His very 
stature seemed to have shrunk, and his Jovian white head was 
dipped into his breast. His great calm front was gone, and 
in the feeble light of the lantern on the floor his eyes were 
altered and his face seemed to be cut deep with lines of fear, 
and even of cunning. His irresolute mouth was half-open, 
as if it had only just emitted a startled cry. In one of his 
hands he held a small parcel bound tightly with a broad strap, 
and the other hand wandered nervously in the air before him. 

239 



THE DEEMSTER 

Dan saw every tliiii<;- in an instant. This, then, was the first- 
fruits of that clay's wurk. He rose from his seat. 

"Father !" he cried in a faint trenuilous voice. 

" My son ! " the Bishop answered, and for some swift mo- 
ments thereafter the past that had been very bitter to both 
was remembered no more by either. 

But the sweet oblivion was cruelly brief " Wait," the 
Bishop whispered, "are we alone?" And with that the 
once stately man of God crept on tip-toe like a cat to the 
door of the cell, and {)ut his head to it and listened. 

" Art thou there, Paton Gorry ? " he asked, feebly simulat- 
ing his accustomed tone of quiet authority. 

Old Gorry answered from the other side of the door that 
he Avas there, that he was sitting on the steps, that he was 
not sleeping, but waiting my lord's return. 

The Bishop cre})t back to Dan's side with the same cat-like 
step as before. " You are safe, my son," he whispered in his 
low eager tone. " You shall leave this place. It is my prison, 
and you shall go free." 

Dan had watched his father's movements with a sickening 
sense. 

" Then you do not know that I surrendered ? " he said 
faintly. 

"Yes, yes, oh yes, I know it. But that was when your 
arrest was certain. But now — listen." 

Dan felt as if his fother had struck him across the face. 
" That was what the Deemster said," he begun ; " but it is 
wrong." 

" Listen — they have nothing against you. I know all. 
They cannot convict you save on your own confession. And 
why should you confess ? " 

"Why.?" 

" Don't speak — don't explain — I must not hear you — 
listen! " and the old man put one arm on his son's shoulder 
and his mouth to his ear. " There is only one bit of tangible 
evidence against you, and it is here ; look ! " and he lifted 
before Dan's face the parcel he carried in his other trembling- 
hand. Then down he went on one knee, put the parcel on 
the floor, and unclasped the strap. The parcel fell open. It 
contained a coat, a hat, two militia daggers, and a large heavy 
stone. 

" Look ! " the Bishop whispered again, in a note of triumph, 
240 



FATHER AND SON 

and as he spoke a grin of delight was struck out of his saintly 
old face. 

Dan shuddered at the sight. 

" Where did you get them .'' " he asked. 

The Bishop gave a little grating laugh. 

"They were brought me by some of my good people/' he 
answered. " Oh, yes, good people all of them ; and they will 
not tell. Oh, no, they have promised me to be silent." 

" Promised you .'' " 

" Yes — listen again. Last night — it was dark, I think it 
must have been past midnight — I went to all their houses. 
They Avere in bed, but I knocked, and they came down to 
me. Yes, they gave me their word — on the Book they gave 
it. Good people all— Jabez the tailor, Stean the cobbler, 
Juan of Ballacry, and Thormod in the Street. I remember 
every man of them." 

" Father, do you say you went to these people — these, the 
veiy riff-raff of the island — you went to them — you, and at 
midnight — and begged them " 

" Hush, it is nothing. Why not ? But this is important." 
The Bishop, who was still on his knee, was buckling up the 
parcel again. " You can sink it in the sea. Did you mark 
the stone ? That will carry it to the bottom. And when you 
are in the boat it will be easy to drop everything overboard." 

"The boat.?" 

" Ah ! have I not told you ? Thormod Mylechreest — you 
remember him ? A good man, Thormod, a tender heart, too, 
and wronged by his father, poor misguided man. Well, 
Mylechreest has promised— I have just left him — to come 
down to the harbour at nine to-night, and take the fishing- 
smack, the Ben-mij-Chree and bring her round to the west 
coast of St. Patrick's Islet, and cast anchor there, and then 
come ashore in the boat, and wait for you." 

" Wait for me, father } " 

" Yes ; for this prison is mine, and I shall open its doors to 
whomsoever it pleases me to liberate. Look ! " 

The Bishop rose to his full height, threw back his head, and 
with a feeble show of his wonted dignity strode to the door 
of the cell and cried, in a poor stifled echo of his accustomed 
strong tone, " Paton Gorry, open thou this door." 

Old Gorry answered from without, and presently the door 
was opened. 

241 Q 



THE DEEMSTKR 

"Wider." 

The door was thrown wide. 

" Now, give me the keys, Paton Gorry," said the Bishop, 
with the same assumption of authority. 

Old Gorry handed his k(>ys to the Bishop. 

"And get thee home, and stay there." 

Old Gorry touched his cap and went up the steps. 

Then, with a bankrupt smile of sorry triumph, the Bishop 
turned to his son. "You see," he said, "you are free. Let 
me look— what is the hour ? " He fumbled for his watch. 
" Ah ! I had forgotten. I \)i\id my watch away to poor Patrick 
Looney. No matter. At nine by the clock Mylechreest will 
come for you, and you will go to your boat and set sail for 
Scotland, or England, or Ireland, or — or " 

Dan could bear up no longer. His heart was choking. 
" Father, father, my father, what are you saying ? " he cried. 

" I am saying that you are free to leave this place." 

"I will not go — I cannot go." 

The Bishop fetched a long breath and paused for a moment. 
He put one trembling hand to his forehead, as if to steady his 
reeling and heated brain. 

" You cannot stay," he said. " Hark ! do you hear the 
wind how it moans ? Or is it the sea that beats on the 
rock outside ? And over our heads are the dead of ten 
generations." 

But Dan was suffocating with shame; the desolation around, 
the death that was lying silent above, and the mother of sor- 
rows that was wailing beneath had no terrors left for him. 

" Father, my father," he cried again, " think what you ask 
me to do. Only think of it. You ask me to allow you to buy 
the silence of the meanest hinds alive. And at what a price ? 
At the price of the influence, the esteem, the love, and the 
reverence that you have won by the labour of twenty years. 
And to what end ? To the end that I — I " 

" To the end that you may live, my son. Remember what 
your father's love has been to you. No, not that — but think 
what it must have been to him. Your father would know you 
were alive. It is true he would never, never see you. Yes, 
we should always be apart — you there, and I here — and I 
should take your hand and see your face no more. But you 
would be alive " 

" Father, do you call it living ? Think if I could bear it. 
242 



FATHER AND SON 

Suppose I escaped — suppose I were safe in some place far 
away — the Indies, America, anywhere out of the reach of 
shame and death — suppose I were well, ay, and prosperous as 
the world goes — what then ? " 

"Then I should be content, my son. Yes, content, and 
thanking God." 

" And I should be the most wretched of men. Only think 
of it, and picture me there. I should know, though there were 
none to tell me, I should remember it as often as the sun rose 
above me, that at home, thousands of miles away, my poor 
father, the righteous Bishop that once was, the leader of his 
people and their good father, was the slave of the lowest offal 
of them all, powerless to raise his hand for the hands that were 
held over him, dumb to reprove for the evil tongues that threat- 
ened to speak ill. And, as often as night came and I tried to 
sleep, I should see him there growing old, veiy old, and maybe 
very feeble, and wanting an arm to lean on, and good people 
to honour him and to make him forget — yes, foi-get the mad 
shipwreck of his son's life, but with eyes that could not lift 
themselves from the earth for secret sliame, tortured by fears 
of dishonour, self-tormented and degraded before the face of 
his God. No, no, no, I cannot take such sacrifice." 

The Bishop had drawn nearer to Dan and tried to take his 
hand. When Dan was silent he did not speak at once, and 
when Dan sat on his stone seat he sat beside him, gentle as a 
child, and very meek and quiet, and felt for his hand again, 
and held it, though Dan would have drawn it away. Then, 
as they sat together, nearer the old Bishop crept, nearer and 
yet nearer, until one of his trcml)ling arans encircled Dan's 
neck, and the dear head was drawn down to his swelling, 
throbbing breast, as if it were a child's head still, and it was 
a father's part to comfort it and to soothe away its sorrows. 

" Then we will go together," he said, after a time, in a faint 
forlornness of voice, "to the utmost reaches of the earth, leav- 
ing all behind us, and thinking no more of the past. Yes, we 
will go together," he said very quietly, and he rose to his feet, 
.still holding Dan's hand. 

Dan was suffocating with shame. " Father," he said, " I 
see all now ; you think me innocent, and so you would leave 
everything for my sake. But I am a guilty man." 

" Hush ! you shall not say that. Don't tell me that. No 
one shall tell me that. I will not hear it." 

243 



THE DEEMSTER 

The hot eagerness of the Bishop's refusal to hear with his 
ears the story of his son's guilt told Dan but too surely that 
he had already heard it with his heart. 

" Father, no one would need to tell you. You would find it 
out for yourself. And think of that awful undeceiving ! You 
would take your son's part against the world, believing in him, 
but you would read his secret bit by bit, day by day. His 
crime would steal in between you like a spectre, it would 
separate you hour by hour, until at length you would be for 
ever apart. And that end would be the worst end of all. No, 
it cannot be. Justice is against it ; love is against it. And 
God, I think, God must be against it, too." 

"God!" 

Dan did not hear. "Yes, I am guilty," he went on. " I 
have killed the man who loved me as his own soul. He would 
have given his life for my life, even as he gave his honour for 
my honour. And I slew him. Ewan ! Ewan ! my brother, 
my brother ! " he cried, and where he sat he buried his face 
in his hands. 

The Bishop stood over his son with the same gentle calm 
that had come upon him in the cell, and with not one breath 
of the restless fever with which he entered it. Once again 
he tried to take Dan's hand and to hold it, and to meet with 
his own full orbs Dan's swimming eyes. 

" Yes, father, it is right that I should die, and it is neces- 
sary. Perhaps God will take my death as an atonement " 

" Atonement ! " 

"Or, if there is no atonement, there is only hell for my 
crime, and before God I am guilty." 

" Before God ! " 

The Bishop echoed Dan's words in a dull, mechanical 
under-breath, and stood a long time silent while Dan poured 
forth his bitter remorse. Then he said, speaking with some- 
thing of his own courageous calm of voice, from something like 
his own pure face, and with some of the upright wrinkles of 
his high forehead smoothed away, " Dan, I will go home and 
think. I seem to be awakening from a dreadful nightmare in 
a world where no God is, and no light reigns, but all is dark. 
To tell you the truth, Dan, I fear my faith is not what it was 
or should be. I thought I knew God's ways with His people, 
and then it seemed as if, after all these years, I had not known 
Him. But I am only a poor priest, and a very weak old man. 

244 



DIVINATION 

Good-night, my son ; I will go home and think. I am like one 
who runs to save a child from a great peril and finds a man 
stronger than himself and braver : one who looks on death 
face to face and quails not. Good-night, Dan ; I will go home 
and pray." 

And so he went his way, the man of God m his weakness. 
He left his son on the stone seat, with covered face, the 
lantern and the parcel on the floor, and the door of the cell 
wide open. The keys he canied half-consciously in his 
hand. He stumbled along in the darkness down the winding 
steps hewn from the I'ock to the boat at the little wooden 
jetty, where a boatman sat awaiting him. The night was 
very dark, and the sea's loud moan and its dank salt breath 
were in the aii-. He did not see, he did not hear, he did not 
feel. But there was one in that lonesome place who saw his 
dark figure as he passed. " Who is there .'' " said an eager 
voice, as he went through the deep portcullis and out at the 
old notched and barred door ajar. But the Bishop neither 
answered nor heard. 

At the house in Castle Street, near to the Quay, he stopped 
and knocked. The door was opened by the old sumner. 

''I've brought you the keys, Paton Gorry. Go back to 
your charge." 

" Did you lock the doors, my lord .'' " 

" Yes — no, no — I must have forgotten. I fear my mind — 
but it is of no moment. Go back, Paton — it will be enough." 

" I'll go, my lord," said the sumner. 

He went back, but others had been there before him. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

DIVINATION 

Well satisfied with his day's work, the Deemster drove from 
the Ramsey court-house to midday dinner with his father-in- 
law, the old archdeacon, taking Jarvis Kerruish with him. 
Mona he sent home in the lumbering car driven by the 
coroner. It suited well with the girl's troubled mind to be 
alone, and when night fell in and the Deemster had not re- 
turned, the grim gloom of the lonely house on Slieu Dhoo 

245 



THE DEEMSTER 

brought her no terrors. But towards nine o'clock the gaunt 
silence of the place was broken, and from that time until long 
after midnight Ballamona was a scene of noise and confusion. 

First came blind Kerry, talking loudly along the passages, 
wringing her hands, and crying, " Aw, dear ! oh, mam ! oh, 
goodness me ! " 

Mastha Dan was no longer in prison, he had been kid- 
napped ; four men and a boy had taken him by main force ; 
bound hand and foot, he had been carried through the moun- 
tains to a lonely place, and there at daybreak to-morrow he 
was to be shot. All this and more, with many details of place 
and circumstance, Kerry had seen as in a flash of light,just as she 
was raking the ashes on the fire preparatory to going to bed. 

Mona had gone through too much to be within touch of 
the blind woman's excitement." 

"We must not give way to these fancies, Kerry," she said. 

" Fancies, mam ? Fancies you're saying ? Scoffers may 
mock, but don't you, mam — brought up with my own hand, 
as the saying is." 

" I did not mean to mock, Kerry ; but we have so many 
real troubles that it seems wicked to imagine others — and 
perhaps a little foolish, too." 

At that word the sightless face of Kerry grew to a great 
gravity. 

" Foolish, mam ? It is the gift — the gift of the good God. 
He made me blind, but He gave me the sights. It would 
have been hard, and maybe a taste cruel, to shut me up in 
the dark, and every living craythur in the light ; but He is a 
just God and a merciful, as the saying is, and He gave me 
the gift for recompense." 

"My good Kerry, I am so tired to-night, and must go to 
bed." 

"Aw, yes, and well it has sarved me time upon time " 

" We were up before six this morning, Kerry." 

"And now I say to you, send immadient, mam, or the 
Lord help " 

The blind woman's excitement and Mona's impassibility 
were broken in upon by the sound of a man's voice in the hall 
asking sharply for the Deemster. At the next moment Quayle, 
the coroner, was in the room. His face was flushed, his breath 
came quick, and his manner betrayed extreme agitation. 

"When the Deemster comes home from Kirk Andreas tell 
246 



DIVINATION 

him to go across to Bishop's Court at once, and say that I 
will be back before midnight." 

So saying the coroner wheeled about without ceremony, 
and was leaving the room. 

" What has happened at Bishop's Court .-' " Mona asked. 

" Nothing," he said impatiently. 

''Then why should I tell him to go there .'' " 

The tone of the question awakened the curmudgeon's sense 
of common policy. 

"Well, if you must know, that man has escaped, and 
I'm thinking the Bishop himself has had his foot in the 
mischief" 

Then Kerry, with a confused desire to defend the Bishop, 
interrupted, and said, "The Bishop's not at the Coort — let 
me tell ye that." 

Whereupon the coroner smiled with a large dignity, and 
answered, " I know it, woman." 

"When did this happen?" said Mona. 

" Not an hour ago ; I ani straight from Peeltown this minute." 

And without more words the coroner turned his back on 
her, and was gone in an instant. 

W^hen Quayle had left the room Kerry lifted both hands ; 
her blind face wore a curious expression of mingled pride and 
fear. " It is the gift," she said in an awesome whisper. 

Mona stood a while in silence and perplexity, and then 
she said in tremulous voice, " Kerry, don't think me among 
those that scoff, but tell me over again, my good Kerry, and 
forgive me." 

And Kerry told the story of her vision afresh, and Mona 
now listened with eager attention, and interrupted with fre- 
quent questions. 

" who were the four men and the boy r Never saw their 
faces before ? Never ? Not in the street .'' No .'' Never 
heard their voices .'' Ah ! surely you remember their voices. 
Yes, yes, try to recall them ; try, try, my good Kerry. Ah ' 
the fishermen — they were the voices of the fishermen ! How 
were you so long in remembering .^ Quilleash .'' Yes, old 
Billy .'' And Crennell .'' Yes, and Teare and Corkell, and the 
boy Davy Fayle ? Poor young Davy, he was one of them .-* 
Yes .'' Oh, you dear, good Kerry ! " 

Mona's impassibility was gone, and her questions, like her 
breath, came hot and fast. 

247 



THE DEEMSTER 

"And now tell me what place they took him to. Tlie 
mountains ? Yes, but where ? Never saw the place before 
in all your life ? Why, no, of course not ; how could you, 
Kerry ? Ah ! don't mind what I say, and don't be angiy. 
But what kind of place? Quick, Kei-iy, quick." 

Kerry's blind face grew solemn, and one hand, with out- 
stretched finger, she raised before her, as though to trace the 
scene in the air, as she described the spot in the mountains 
where the four men and the boy had taken Dan. 

" It was a great lone place, mam, with the sea a-both sides 
of you, and a great large mountain aback of you, and a small 
low one in front, and a deep strame running under you 
through the gorse, and another shallow one coming into it at 
a slant, and all whins and tussocks of the lush grass about, 
and maybe a willow by the water's side, with the sally-buds 
hanging dead from the boughs, and never a stick, nor a sign 
of a house, nor a barn, but the ould tumbled cabin where 
they took him, and only the sea's roar afar away, and the 
sheep bleating, and maybe the mountain geese cackling, and 
all to that." 

Mona had listened at first with vivid eagerness and a face 
alive with animation, but as Kerry went on the girl's counte- 
nance saddened. She fell back a pace or two, and said in a 
tone of pain and impatience — 

"Oh, Kerry, you have told me nothing. What you say 
describes nearly every mountain-top in tl.j island. Was 
there nothing else .^ Nothing.? Think. What about the 
tumble-down house .f* Had it a roof ? Yes.'* No one living 
in it.? No buildings about it.? A shaft-head and gear.? 
Oh, Kerry, how slow you are ! Quick, dear Kerry ! An old 
mine ? A worked-out mine .? Oh, think, and be sure ! " 

Then the solemnity of the blind woman's face deepened to 
a look of inspiration. "Think? No need to think," she 
said in an altered tone. "Lord bless me, I see it again. 
There, there it is — there this very minute." 

She sank back into a chair, and suddenly became motion- 
less and stiff. Her sightless eyes were opened, and for the 
first few moments that followed thereafter all her senses 
seemed to be lost to the things about her. In this dream 
state she continued to talk in a slow, broken, fearsome voice, 
exclaiming, protesting, and half-sobbing. At first Mona looked 
on in an agony of suspense, and then she dropped to her knees 

24-8 



DIVINATION 

at Kerry's feet, and flung her arms about the blind woman 
with the cry of a frightened bird. 

" Kerry, Kerry ! " she called, as if prompted by an uncon- 
scious impulse to recall her from the trance that was awful to 
look upon. And in that moment of contact with the seer she 
suftered a shock that penetrated every fibre ; she shuddered, 
the cry of pain died off in her throat, her parted lips whitened 
and stiffened, her eyes were frozen in their look of terror, her 
breath ceased to come, her heart to beat, and body and soul 
together seemed transfixed. In that swift instant of insensi- 
bility the vision passed like a throb of blood to her from the 
blind woman, and she saw and knew all. 

Half-an-hour later, Mona, with every nerve vibrating, with 
eyes of frenzy and a voice of feai*, was at Bishop's Court in- 
quiring for the Bishop. 

" He is this minute home from Peel," said the housekeeper. 

Mona was taken to the library, and there the Bishop sat 
before the fire, staring stupidly into the flame. His hat and 
cloak had not yet been removed, and a riding-whip hung 
from one of his listless hands. 

He rose as Mona entered. She flew to his arms and while 
he held her to his breast his sad face softened, and the pent- 
up anguish of her heart overflowed in tears. Then she told 
him the tangled, inconsequent tale, the coroner's announc- 
ment, Kerry's vision, her own strange dream state, and all she 
had seen in it. 

As she spoke the Bishop looked dazed ; he pressed one hand 
on his forehead ; he repeated her words after her ; he echoed 
the questions she put to him. Then he lifted his head to be- 
token silence. " Let me think," he said. But the brief silence 
brought no clearness to his bewildered brain. He could not 
think ; he could not grasp what had occurred, and the baffled 
struggle to comprehend made the veins of his forehead stand 
out large and blue. A most pitiful look of weariness came 
over his mellow face, and he said in a low tone that was very 
touching to hear, "To tell you the truth, my dear child, I do 
not follow you— my mind seems thick and clouded — things 

run together in it — I am only a feeble old man now, and 

But wait" (a flash of light crossed his troul)led face) ; "you 
say you recognise the place in the mountains?" 

" Yes, as I saw it in the vision. I have been there before. 
When I was a child I was there with Dan and Ewan. It is far 

249 



THE DEEMSTER 

lip the Sulby river, under Snaefell and over Glen Grammag. 
Don't say it is foolish and womanish and only hysteria, dear 
uncle. I saw it all as plainly as I see you now." 

" Ah ! no, my child. If the patriarch Joseph practised such 
divination, is it for me to call it foolishness .'' But wait, wait, 
let me think." And then in a low murmur, as if communing 
with himself, he went on, " The door was left open . . . yes, 
the door . . . the door was ..." 

It was useless. His brain was broken, and would not link 
its ideas. He was struggling to piece together the fact that 
Dan was no longer in jjrison with the incidents of his own 
abandoned preparations for his son's escape. Mumbling and 
stammering, he looked vacantly into Mona's face, until the 
truth of his im})otence forced itself upon her, and she saw 
that from him no help for Dan could come. 

Then with many tears she left him and hastened back to 
Ballamona. The house was in confusion ; the Deemster and 
Jarvis Kerruish had returned, and the coroner was with them 
in the study. 

" And what of the Peeltown watch .'' " the Deemster was 
asking sharply. " Where was he ? " 

"Away on some cock-and-bull errand, sir." 

" By whose orders } " 

"The Bishop's." 

" And what of the harbour-master when the Ben-my-chree 
was taken away from her moorings ? " 

" He also was spirited away." 

"By whom .''" 

"The same messenger — Will-as-Thorn, the parish clerk." 

" Old Gorry, the sumner, gave up the prison keys to the 
Bishop, you say } " 

" To the Bishop, sir." 

" And left him in the cell, and found the door open and the 
prisoner gone upon his return ? " 

" Just so, sir." 

" What have you been doing in the matter ? " 

" Been to Ramsey, sir, and stationed three men on the quay 
to see that nobody leaves the island by the Cumberland packet 
that sails at midnight." 

" Tut, man, who will need the packet ? — the man has the 
fishing-boat." 

Mona's impatience could contain itself no longer. She 
250 



DIVINATION 

hurried into the study and told her tale. The Deemster lis- 
tened with a keen, quick sense ; he questioned^ cross-ques- 
tioned, and learned all. This done, he laughed a little, coldly 
and bitterly, and dismissed the whole story with contempt. 

" Kidnapped .'' No such matter. Escaped, woman, escaped ! 
And visions, forsooth ! What pedlar's French ! Get away to 
bed, girl." 

Mona had no choice but to go. Her agitation was painful ; 
her sole thought was of Dan's peril. She was a woman, and 
that Dan was a doomed man whether in prison or out of it, 
whether he had escaped or been kidnaj^ped, was a considera- 
tion that had faded from her view. His life was in imminent 
danger, and that was everything to her. She had tried to save 
him by help of the Bishop, and failing in that direction she had 
attempted the same end by help of the Deemster, his enemy. 

The houi-s passed with feet of lead until three o'clock struck, 
and then there was a knock at her door. The Deemster's voice 
summoned her to rise, dress quickly and warmly, and come out 
immediately. She had not gone to bed, and in two minutes 
more was standing hooded and cloaked in the hall. The 
Deemster, Jarvis, the coroner, and seven men were there. 
At the porch a horse, saddled and bridled, was pawing the 
gravel. 

Mona understood everything at a glance. Clearly enough 
the Deemster intended to act on the guidance of the vision 
which he had affected to despise. Evidently it was meant 
that she should go with the men to identify the place she 
had described. 

" An old lead mine under Snaefell and over Glen Grammag, 
d'you say ? " 

" Yes, father." 

" Daybreak .? " 

" It was daybreak." 

"You would know the place if you saw it again.''" 

"Yes." 

The Deemster turned to the coroner. 

'' Which course do you take ? " 

"Across Glen Dhoo, sii-, past Kavensdale, and along the 
mountain path to the Sherragh Vane." 

"Come, girl, mount; be quick." 

Mona was lifted to the saddle, the coroner took the bridle, 
and they started away, the seven men walking behind. 

251 



THE DEEMSTER 
CHAPTER XXXIII 

KIDNAPPEn 

What liad happened was a strange series of coincidences. 
Early that day the crew of the Ben-imj-Chree, in the mountain 
sohtude where they found freezing and starving safety, had 
sent one of their number back to Sulby village to buy a 
quarter of meal. Teare was the man chosen for the errand, 
and, ha\ ing compassed it, he was stealing his way back to the 
mountains when he noticed that great companies of people 
were coming from the direction of Ramsey. Lagging behind 
the larger groups on the road was a woman whom he recog- 
nised as his wife. He attracted her attention without reveal- 
ing himself to the people in front. She was returning from 
the Deemster's inquest, and told what had occurred there ; 
that Dan, the Bishop's son, had surrendered, and that the 
indictment to the Court of General Gaol Delivery had been 
made out not only in his name, but in the names of the four 
men and the boy of the Ben-my-Chrcc. 

Teare carried back to the mountains a heavier burden than 
the quarter of meal. His mates had watched for him as he 
plodded up the bank of the Sulby river, with the bag on his 
back. When he came up his face was ominous. 

"Send the lad away for a spell," he muttered to old 
Billy Quilleash, and Davy Fayle was sent to cut gorse for 
a fire. 

Then the men gathered around Teare and heard what had 
happened. The disaster had fallen which they foresaw. 
What was to be done ."* Crennell, with a line from a psalm, 
was for trusting in the Lord, and old Quilleash, with an oath, 
was for trusting in his heels. After a j)ause Teare propounded 
his scheme. It centred in Dan. Dan with his confession was 
their sole danger. Once rid of Dan they were as free men. 
Before his confession of guilt their innocence was beyond his 
power to prove or their power to establish. On his way up 
from the valley Teare had hit on a daring adventure. They 
were to break into the castle at Peel, take Dan by force, bring 
him up to the mountains, and there give him the choice of 
life or death : life if he promised to plead Not Guilty to the 

252 



KIDNAPPED 

indictment, death if he adhered to tlie resolution by which he 
had surrendered. 

The men gathered closer about Teare, and with yet whiter 
faces. Teare gave his plan ; his scheme was complete ; that 
night they were to carry it out. Paton Gorry was the gaoler 
at Peel Castle. The lad Davy was the old sumner's godchild. 
Davy was to go forth and smuggle Gorry's keys out of the 
guard-room. If that were found impossible — well, Paton was 
an old man ; he might be put quietly out of harm's way — no 
violence — och ! no, not a hap'orth. Then Corkell was son- 
in-law of the watch at Peeltown, and hence the watch must 
take the harbour-master to the " Jolly Herrings " in Castle 
Street, while they themselves, Teare, Quilleash, Crennell, and 
Corkell, took the Ben-mij-Chrec from her moorings at the 
mouth of the harbour. On the west coast of St. Patrick's 
Isle they must bear down and run the dingy ashore. Then 
Dan must be seized in his cell, bound hand and foot, and 
brought aboard. With a fair wind — it was blowing east- 
sou'-east — they must set sail for Ramsey Bay, put about at 
Lague, anchor there, and go ashore. " That'll lave it," said 
Teare, " to raisonable inf'rence that Mastha Dan had whipped 
off to England by the Whitehaven packet that sails at mid- 
night from the quay." 

This done, they were to find a horse, strap the fettered 
man to its back, fetch him into the mountains in the dark 
hours of the night, and at daybreak try him solemnly and 
justly on the issue they had hit upon of life or death. No 
violence ! Aw, no, all just and straight ! If so be that the 
man was hanging them, they'd do him justice man to man 
as fair as the backbone lies down the middle of a herring. 
Deemster's justice couldn't be cleaner ; no, nor as clean. 
Aw, yes, no violence ! 

It was an intricate plan, involving many risks, presupposing 
many favourable chances. Perhaps it was not a logical com- 
putation of probabilities. But, good or bad, logical or illogi- 
cal, probable or improbable, easy of accomplishment or full 
of risk and peril, it was the only alternative to trusting in 
the Lord, as Crennell had suggested, or in their heels, as 
Quilleash had preferred. In the end they took it, and made 
ready to act on it. 

As the men arrived at their conclusion Davy Fayle was re- 
turning with an armful of withered gorse for a fire. The iirst 

253 



THE DEEMSTER 

move in that night's adventure was to be made by him. 
" Lave the lad to me," \vhisj)ei-ed Quilleash, and straightway 
he tackled Davy. Veracity was not conspicuous in the ex- 
planation that the old salt made. Poor Mastha Dan had been 
nabbed, bad sess to it, and jiggered up in Peel Castle. He 
would be hanged sarten sure. Aw, safe for it, if some chaps 
didn't make an effort immadient. They meant to do it, too. 
Ay, that very evcriu ! Wouldn't they let him help ? Well, 
pozzible, pozzible. They wasn't no ol)jection to that. Thus 
Davy fell an eager victim to a plan that was not propounded 
to him. If saving Mastha Dan from the dirts that had nabbed 
him was the skanie that was goin', why nothin' would hould 
him but he Avould be in it. " Be aisy Avith the loblolly boy 
and you have him," whispered old Billy behiiid the back of 
his hand, as he spat a long jet from his quid. 

Relieved of doubt as to their course of action, they built a 
fire and warmed themselves, and with water from the river 
below they made cold porridge of the meal, and ate and 
drank, and waited for the night. The darkness came early, 
it Avas closing in at four o'clock. Then the men smothered 
their fire with turf and earth and set out for Peeltown. Their 
course was over Golden, and between Greeba and Beary, to the 
breast of Slieu Whallin, and then down to St. Patrick's Isle 
by the foot of Corrin's hill. It was twelve miles over hill and 
dale, through the darkness and the muggy air of the winter's 
night. They had to avoid the few houses and to break their 
pace when footsteps came their way. But they covered the 
distance in less than four hours. At eight o'clock they were 
standing together on the south of the bridge that crosses the 
Neb river at the top of Peel harbour. There they separated. 
Corkell went off to the market-place by a crooked alley from 
the quay to find the watch, and dispose of him. When the 
harbour-master had been removed, Corkell was to go to the 
Ben-jm/-Chree, which was moored in deep water at the end 
of the wooden pier, open the scuttle on the south, and put 
the lamp to it as a signal of safety to Quilleash, Teare, and 
Crennell above the bridge on the headland opposite. They 
were then to come aboard. Davy Fayle took the south quay 
to St. Patrick's Isle. It was now the bottom of the ebb tide, 
and Davy was to wade the narrow neck that divided the isle 
from the mainland. Perhaps he might light on a boat ; per- 
haps cross dry-shod. In half an hour he was to be on the 

254 



KIDNAPPED 

west of the castle, just under a spot known as the Giant's 
Grave, and there the four men were to come ashore to him 
in the dingy. Meantime he was to see old Paton Gorry and 
generally take the soundings. Thus they parted. 

Davy found the water low and the ford dry. He crossed 
it as noiselessly as he could, and reached the rocks of the isle. 
It was not so dark but he could descry the dim outlines of 
the ruined castle. A flight of steps ascended from the water's 
edge to the portcullis. Davy crept up. He had prepared to 
knock at the old notched door under the arch, but he found 
it standing open. He stood and listened. At one moment 
he thought he heard a movement behind him. It was darkest 
of all under these thick walls. He went on ; he passed the 
doorway that is terrible with the ti-adition of the Moddey 
Dhoo. As he went by the door he turned his head to it in 
the darkness, and once again he thought he heard something 
stir. This time the sound came from before him. He gasped, 
and had almost screamed. He stretched his arms towards 
the sound. There was nothing. All was still once more. 

Davy stepped fonvard into the courtyard. His feet fell 
softly on the grass that grew there. At length he reached 
the guard-room. Once more he had lifted his hand to knock, 
and once more he found the door open. He looked into the 
room. It was empty ; a fire bunied on the hearth, a form 
was drawn up in fi'ont of it ; a pipe lay on a bare deal table. 
" He has gone dowai to the cell," Davy told himself, and he 
made his way to the steps that led to the dungeon. But he 
stopped again, and his heart seemed to stand still. There 
could now be no doubt but some one was approaching. There 
Avas the faint j ingle as of keys. " Paton ! Paton ! ' ' Davy 
called fearfully. There was no answer, but the footsteps came 
on. " Who is there .'' " he cried again in a tremulous whisper. 
At the next instant a man passed in the darkness, and Davy 
saw and knew him. It was the Bishop. 

Davy dropped to his knees. A moment afterwards the 
Bishop was gone through the outer gate and down the steps. 
His footsteps ceased, and then there were voices, followed by 
the plash of an oar, and then all was silence once more, save 
for the thick boom of the sea that came up from the rocks. 

Davy rose to his feet and turned towards the steps that led 
down to the door of the dungeon. A light came from below. 
The door was open also, and stretching himself full length on 

255 



THE DEEMSTER 

to the ground Davy could see into the cell. On the floor 
there was a lantern, and beside it a bundle lay. Dan was 
there ; he was lying on the stone couch ; he was alone. 

Breathless and trembling Davy rose again and fled out of 
the old castle and along the rocky causeway to a gullet under 
the Giant's Grave. There the men were waiting for him. 

" The place is bewitched," he said with quick -coming breath; 
and he told how every door was open, and not a soul was in 
the castle except Dan. The men heard him with evident 
terror. Corkell had just told them a similar story. The watch 
and the harbour-master had both been removed before he had 
gone in search of them. Everything seemed to be done to 
their hands. Nothing was left to them to do but simply to 
walk into the castle and carry out their design. This terri- 
fied them. " It's a fate," Corkell whispered ; and Crennell, in 
white awe of the unseen hand that was helping them, was 
still for trusting in the Lord. Thus they put their heads to- 
gether. Quilleash was first to recover from superstitious fears. 
" Come, lay down, and no blather," he said, and stalked reso- 
lutely forward, carrying a sack and a coil of rope. The other 
men followed him in silence. Davy was ordered to stay be- 
hind with the small boat. 

They found everything as the lad had left it ; the notched 
door of the portcullis was open, the door of the guard-room 
was open, and when they came to the steps of the dungeon 
the door there was also open. A moment they stood and 
listened, and heard no sound from below but a light, regular 
breathing, as of one man only. Then they went quietly down 
the steps and into the cell. Dan was asleep. At sight of 
him, lying alone and unconscious, their courage wavered a 
moment. The unseen hand seemed to be on them still. " I 
tell thee it's a fate," Corkell whispered again over Quilleash's 
shoulder. In half a minute the sleeping man was bound hand 
and foot, and the sack was thrown over his head. At the first 
touch he awoke and tried to rise, but four men were over his 
prostrate body, and they overpowered him. He cried lustily, 
but there was none to hear. In less time than it takes to 
tell it the men were carrying Dan out of the cell. The 
lantern they left on the floor, and in their excitement they 
did not heed the parcel that lay by it. 

Over the courtyard, through the gate, along the ledge 
under the crumbling walls they stumbled and plunged in the 

256 



KIDNAPPED 

darkness. They reached the boat and pushed off. Ten 
minutes afterwards they were aboard the Ben-my-Chree, and 
were beating down the bay. 

Dan recognised the voices of the men, and reahsed his 
situation. He did not shout again. The sack over his head 
was of coarse fibre, admitting the air, and he could breathe 
through it without difficulty. He had been put to he on one of 
the bunks in the cabin, and he could see the tossing hght of 
the horn lantern that hung from the deck planks. When the 
boat rolled in the strong sea that was running he could some- 
times see the lights on the land through the open scuttle. 

With a fair wind for the Point of Ayre, full sail was 
stretched. Corkell stood to the tiller, and, when all went 
smoothly, the three men turned in below, and lit a fire in the 
stove, and smoked. Then Davy Fayle came down with eyes 
dull and sick. He had begun to doubt, and to ask questions 
that the men could not answer. What for was Mastha Dan tied 
up like a hay then > And what for the sack } But the men 
were in no humour for cross-examination. No criss-crossing ! 
The imperent young idiot wastrel, let him keep his bi-eath to 
cool his porridge. To quiet the lad the men plied him with 
liquor, and at the second draught he was reelmg drunk. Then 
he laughed a wild laugh, and sang a mad song, and finally 
stood up to dance. It was a grim sight, but it was soon ended, 
and Davy was put to sleep in another of the bunks. Then two 
hours passed, and there was some growling and quarrelling. 

Crennell and Teare went up on deck. Quilleash i-emained 
below, sitting before the stove cleaning with oil and a rag a 
fowling-piece that Dan had brought aboard at the beginning of 
the herring season. Sometimes he crooned a Manx carval, and 
sometimes whistled it, as he worked, chewing his quid mean- 
time, and glancing at intervals at Dan's motionless figure on 
the bunk : — 

" With pain we record 

The year of our Lord, 
Sixteen hundred and sixty and sayven, 

When it so come to pass 

A good fishing there wass 
OfE Dooglas, and a wonderful sayson." 

There was no other sound in the cabin, except Davy's heavy 
breathing, and the monotonous beat of the water at the boat's 

257 R 



THE DEEMSTER 

bow. Dan lay as quiet as the dead. Never once had he spoken 
or been spoken to. 

The boat was flying before the wind. The sky had cleared^ 
and the stars were out, and the lights on the shore could be 
plainly seen. Orrisdale, Jurby, and the Rue went by, and when 
Bishop's Court was passed the light in the library window 
burned clear and strong over the sea. Towards ten o'clock the 
lighthouse on the Point of Ayre was rounded, and then the boat 
had to bear down the Ramsey Bay in tacks. Before eleven they 
were passing the town, and could see the lights of the Cumber- 
land packet as she lay by the quay. It was then three-quarter 
tide. In half an hour more the lugger was put about at Port 
Lague, and there Dan was taken ashore by Teare and Crennell. 
Quilleash went with them, carrying the fowling-piece. 

Corkell and Davy Fayle, who had recovered from his stupor, 
were to take the Ben-my-Chree back into Ramsey Bay, to drop 
anchor under Ballure, and then to rejoin their companions at 
Lague before twelve o'clock. This was to divert suspicion, 
and to provoke the inference, when the fishing-boat would be 
found next morning, that Dan had escaped to England by the 
Whitehaven packet. 

The Ben-nuj-Chrec sailed off with Corkell and Davy. Teare 
went in search of a horse, Quilleash and Crennell remained 
on the shore at Lague with Dan. It was a bleak and desolate 
place, with nothing to the south but the grim rocks of the Table- 
land Head, and with never a house to the north nearer than 
Folieu, which was half a mile away. The night was now bitterly 
cold. The stars were gone, the darkness was heavy, and a 
nipping frost was m the dense atmosphere. But the wind had 
dropped, and every sound sent a dull echo through the air. The 
two men waited and listened. Thus far all had gone well with 
them, but what remained to do was perilous enough. If Corkell 
and the lad happened to be seen when coming from the boat, if 
Teare were caught in the act of borrowing a horse without leave, 
then all would be over with them. Their suspense was keen. 

Presently there came up to them from the bay, over the dull 
rumble of the waves on the shore, a quick creaking sound, 
followed by a splash and then a dead roll. They knew it was 
the anchor being slipped to its berth. Soon afterwards there 
came from the land to the south the sharp yap of dogs, followed 
at a short interval by the heavy beat of a horse's hoofs on the 
road. Was it Teare with the horse .'' Was he pursued ? The 

258 



KIDNAPPED 

men listened, but could hear no other noise. Then there came 
thi-ough the dense air the muffled sound of a bell ringing at the 
quay. It was the first of three bells that were rung on the 
Cumberland packet immediately before it set sail. 

The horse behind drew nearer, the bell in front rang again. 
Then Teare came up leading a big draught mare by the bridle. 
He had been forced to take it from the stable at Lague, and 
in getting it aAvay he had aroused the dogs ; but he had not 
been followed, and all was safe. The bell rang a third time, 
and immediately a red light crept out from the quay towards 
the sea, which lay black as a raven below. The Cumberland 
packet had gone. 

At that moment Corkell and Davy Fayle returned, Corkell 
holding Davy by the neck of his guernsey. The lad had 
begun to give signs of a mutinous spirit, which the man had 
suppressed by force. Davy's eyes flashed, but he was other- 
wise quiet and calm. 

" What for is all this, you young devil } " said Quilleash. 
" What d'ye mean ? Out with it, quick ! what tricks now ? 
D his fool's face, what for does he look at me like that .''" 

" Dowse that, Billy, and bear a hand and be quiet," said 
Crennell. 

"The young pauper's got the imperence of sin," said 
Quilleash. 

Then the men lifted Dan on to the back of the big mare, 
and strapped him with his covered face to the sky. Never a 
word was spoken to him, and never a word did he speak. 

" Let's make a slant for it," said Teai*e, and he took the 
bridle. Corkell and Ci'ennell walked on either side of the 
horse. Quilleash walked behind, carrying the fowling-piece 
over his left shoulder. Davy was at his right hand. 

The journey thereafter was long and heavy. They took 
the path that is to the north by Barrule and CJag Ouyre, and 
runs above Glen Auldyn and winds round to the south of 
Snaefell. Ten miles they plodded on in the thick darkness 
and the cold, with only the rumbling rivers for company, and 
with the hidden mountains making unseen ghosts about them. 
On they went, with the horse between them taking its steady 
stride that never varied and never failed, even when the rivers 
crossed the path and their own feet stumbled into ruts. On 
and on, hour after hour, until their weary limbs dragg(;d after 
them, and their gossip ceased, and even their growling and 

259 



THE DEEMSTER 

quarrelling was no more heard. Then on and still on in the 
gruesome silence. 

Under the breast of Snaefell they came into the snow of 
tAvo days ago, which had disa})peared in the valleys but still 
lay on the mountains, and was now crisp under their feet. It 
seemed, as they looked down in tlie darkTiess, to pass beneath 
them like shoi-t smoky vaj)our that dazed the eyes and made 
the head giddy. Still higher the sound of running waters 
suddenly stopped, for the rivers were frozen and their voices 
silenced. But the wind blew more strongly as they ascended 
the chill heights. 

Sometimes at the top of a long raise they stopped to breathe 
the horse, and then, with no sound above or around except the 
shrill sough of the wind in the gorse, their courage began to 
fail. Ghostly imaginings would not be ke])t down. 

"Did you ever hear the Lockman .^ " said C'rennell beneath 
his breath. 

"I never come agen him," said Quilleash. "When I see 
anything at night on the mountains I allis lave it alone." 

The other men shuddered, and forthwith began to whistle 
right lustily. 

Sometimes they passed a mountain shee})-pen, and the sheep 
being disturbed would bleat. Sometimes a dog at a distant 
house would hear them and bark ; and even that, though it 
was a signal of danger, was also a sort of human companion- 
ship on the grim mountain-side. 

It was a dreary walk, and to Dan, bound hand and foot on 
the horse, it was a painful ride— a cold one it could not be, 
for the awkward motion brought warmth. The night Avore on, 
and the air grew keener ; the men's beards became crisp with 
the frost. 

At length the silent company rounded Snaefell to the north 
of Cronk-y-Vane and Beinn-y-Phott. Then Teare at the 
horse's head twisted about. " Do we take the ould mine 
shed for it .'' " he asked. 

"Ay," said Quilleash. 

Their journey was almost ended. The sky over the sea 
behind them was then dabbled with grey, and a smell of 
dawn was coming down from the mountains. 



260 



A RUDE TRIBUNAL 
CHAPTER XXXIV 

A RUDE TRIBUNAL 

The course taken by the coroner and his seven men, with 
Mona on the horse, came to a triangle of mountain paths above 
a farm known as the Sherragh Vane. One path wound close 
under the west foot of Snaefell, another followed the bed of 
the river that ran through a glen called Crammag, and the 
third joined these two by crossing the breast of Beinn-y-Phott. 
At the acute angle of the Sherragh Vane the coroner drew up. 

" Can any one see the lead shaft ? " he asked. None could 
see it. The darkness had lifted away, and the crown of 
Snaefell was bare against the sky, like an islet of green float- 
ing over a cloud of vapour. But the mists still lay thick on 
the mooi-lands, and even the high glens were obscure. 

" It must be yonder, about a mile and a half up the river," 
said the coroner. 

The lead mine was in the south-east angle of the triangle 
of paths, under the south-west of Snaefell and the north of 
Beinn-y-Phott. For some minutes the company was at a 
stand while the coroner considered their movements. 

Mona's impatience was manifest. " Let us push on," she said. 

The coroner merely eyed her largely and resumed his de- 
liberations. 

" Oh, how we waste our time ! " she said again. " If the 
lead mine is there, what have we to do but reach it ? " 

The coroner with an insolent smile inquired if the lady felt 
the cold. 

" He is in danger for his life, and here we waste the pre- 
cious minutes in idle talk," she answered. 

"Danger for his life," the coroner echoed, and laughed 
coldly. Then in a tone of large meaning he added, " Possible, 
possible," and smiled at his own subtle thought. 

Mona's anxiety mastered her indignation. 

" Look, the mist is lifting. See, there is the shed — there 
in the gap between the hills, and it is the very place I saw. 
Come, make haste — look, it is daylight." 

"Be aisy, be aisy. If they're in yonder shed, they are 
packed as safe as herrings in a barrel," said the coroner. 

261 



THE DEEMSTER 

Then he divided his forces. Three men he sent down the 
path of the Glen Crammag. Two he left where they then 
stood to guard that outlet to the Curraghs of the north and 
west. Two others were to creep alons.^ the path under Snae- 
fell, and shut out the course to the sea and the lowlands on 
the south and east. He himself would walk straight up to 
the shed, and his seven men, as they saw him approach it, were 
to close quickly in from the three corners of the triangle. 

" Is it smoke that's rising above the shed } A fire ? 
Possible. He thinks he's safe, I'll go bail. Och ! yes, and 
maybe eating and drinking and making aisy. Now, men, 
away with you." 

Within the shed itself at that moment there was as grim a 
scene as the eye of man has yet looked upon. The place was 
a large square building of two rooms, one on the ground level 
and the other above it, the loft being entered by a trap in the 
floor with a wooden ladder down the wall. It had once served 
as gear-shed and office, stable and store, but now it was bare 
and empty. In the wall looking east there was a broad open 
ing without door, and in the wall looking north a narrow 
opening without v/indow. 

To a hasp in the jamb of the doorway the big mare was 
tethered, and in the draught between the two openings the 
lad Davy with wandering mind was kindling a fire of gorse 
over two stones. The smoke filled the place, and through its 
dense volumes in the dusk of that vaporous dawn the faces of 
the men were bleared and gi*een and haggard. The four 
fishermen stood in a group together, with old Quilleash a pace 
to the fore, the fowling-piece in his hand, its butt on the 
ground. Before him and facing him, two paces in front, stood 
Dan, his arms still bound to his sides, his head uncovered, and 
his legs free. There was a gaunt earnestness in every face. 

" Listen to me," said old Quilleash. " We're going to judge 
and jury you, but all fair and square as God is above us, and 
doing nothing that we can't answer for when the big day 
comes and eveiy man has to toe his mark. D'ye hear what 
we're saying, sir } " 

Dan moved his head slightly by way of assent. 

" We've trapped you, it's true, and fetched you by force, that's 
sartin ; but we mean to be just by you, and no violence ; and it's 
spakin' the truth we're going to do, and never a word of a lie." 

262 



A RUDE TRIBUNAL 

The other men muttered " Ay, ay ; " and Quilleash went 
on : " We're chaps what beHeves in a friend, and buckin' up 
for them as bucks up for you, and being middUn' staunch, and 
all to that; but Ave're after doing it once too often." 

" So Ave are," said Cremiell, and the others muttered again, 
"Ay, ay." 

Quilleash spat behind his hand and continued : " The long 
and short of it is that you're goin' middHn' straight for hang- 
ing us, and it isn't natheral as we're to stand by and see it 
done." 

Dan lifted his face from the ground. " I meant to do you 
no hai-m, my good fellows," he said quickly. 

" Meaning's meaning, but doing's doing, and we've heard 
all that's going," said Quilleash. " You've surrendered and 
confessed, and the presentment is agen us all, and what's in 
for you is in for us." 

" But you are innocent men. What need you fear ? " 

" Innocent we be, but where the Deemster comes there's 
not a hap'orth to choose between you and us." 

Dan's face flushed, and he answered warmly, " Men, don't 
let your miserable fears make cowards of you. What have 
you done ? Nothing. You are innocent. Yet how are you 
bearing yourselves ? Like guilty men. If I were innocent 
do you think I Avould skulk away in the mountains.''" 

" Aisy, sir, take it aisy. Maybe you'd rather run like a rat 
into a trap. Cowards ? Well, pozzible, pozzible. There's 
nothing like having a wife and a few childers for making a 
brave chap into a bit of a skunk. But we'll lave ' cowards ' 
alone, if you plaze." 

Quilleash made a dignified sweep of the back of his hand, 
while the other men said, " Better, better." 

" Why have you brought me here .'' " said Dan. 

"There isn't a living sowl knows where you are, and when 
they find you're missing at the castle they'll say you've thought 
better of it and escaped." 

"Why have you brought me here?" Dan repeated. 

"The Whitehaven boat left Ramsey after we dropped 
anchor in the bay last night, and they'll say you've gone off 
to England." 

"Tell me why you have brought me to this place." 

" We are alone and can do anything we like with you, and 
nobody a hap'orth the wiser." 

263 



THE DEEMSTEH 

" Wliat do you mean to do ? " 

Then they told him of tlie alternative of life or death. 
There was nothing against him but his own confession. If he 
but held his tongue there was not enough evidence to hang a 
cat. Let him only promise to plead " Not guilty " when the 
trial came on, and they were ready to go back with him and 
stand beside him. If not 

" What then ? " Dan asked. 

"Then we'll be forced " said Quilleash, and he stopped. 

"Well?" 

" I'm saying we'll be forced " He stopped again. 

" Out with it, man alive," Teare broke in — " forced to shoot 
him like a dog." 

"Well, that's only spakin' the truth anyway," said Quilleash 
quietly. 

Davy Fayle leapt up from the fire with a cry of horror. But 
Dan was calm and resolute. 

" Men, you don't know what you're asking. I cannot do it." 

" Aisy, sir, aisy, and think agen. You see we're in if you're 
in, and who's to know who's deepest ? " 

"God knows it, and He will never allow you to suffer." 

" We've childers and wives looking to us, and who can tell 
how they'd fend in the world if we were gone ? " 

" You're brave fellows, and I'm sorry for the name I gave you." 

" Shoo ! Lave that alone. Maybe we spoke back. Let's 
come to the fac's." 

They stated their case again and with calm deliberation. 
He asked how it could mend their case if his life was taken. 
They answered him that they would go back and surrender, 
and stand their trial and be acquitted. Those four men were 
as solemn a tribunal as ever a man stood before for life or 
death. Not a touch of passion, hardly a touch of warmth, 
disturbed their rude sense of justice. 

" W^e're innocent, but we're in it, and if you stand to it we 
must stand to it, and what's the use of throwing your life away .^" 

Dan looked into their haggard faces without wavering. He 
had gone too far to go back now. But he was deeply moved. 

" Men," he said, " I wish to God I could do what you ask, 
but I cannot, and besides, the Almighty will not let any harm 
come to you." 

There was a pause, and then old Quilleash said with quiet 
gravity, " I'm for religion myself, and singing hymns at whiles, 

264. 



A RUDE TRIBUNAL 

autl maybe a bit of a spell at the ould Book, but when it comes 
to trusting for life, d d if I don't look for summat sub- 
stantial." 

As little Avas their stubborn purpose to be disturbed by 
spiritual faith as Dan's resolution was to be shaken by bodily 
terrors. They gave him as long to decide as it took a man to 
tell a hundred. The counting was done by Teare amid dead 
silence of the others. 

Then it was that, thinking rapidly, Dan saw the whole 
terrible issue. His mind went back to the visit of the Bishop 
to the castle, and to the secret preparations that had been 
made for his own escape. He remembered that the sumner 
had delivered up his keys to the Bishop, and that the Bishop 
had left the door of the cell open. In a quick glance at the 
facts he saw but too plainly that if he never returned to 
take his trial, it would be the same to his father as if he had 
accepted the means of escape that had been offered him. The 
Bishop, guilty in purpose, but innocent in fact, would then 
be the slave of any scoundrel who could learn of his design. 
Though his father had abandoned his purpose, he would seem 
to have pursued it, and the people whom he had bribed to 
help him would but think that he had used other instruments. 
There could be only one explanation of his absence — that he 
escaped ; only one means of escape — the Bishop ; only one 
way of saving the Bishop from unmerited and life-long oblo- 
quy — returning to his trial ; and only one condition of going 
back alive — promising to plead ''Not guilty " to the charge of 
causing the death of Ewan. 

It was an awful conflict of good passions with passions that 
were not bad. At one moment the sophistry took hold of him 
that, as his })romise was being extorted by bodily threats, it 
could not be binding on his honour ; that he might give the 
men the word they wanted, go back to save his father, and 
finally act at the trial as he knew to be best. But at the next 
moment in his mind's eye he saw himself in the prisoner's dock 
by the side of these five brave fellows, all standing for their 
lives, all calmly trusting in his promise, and he heard himself 
giving the plea that might send them to their deaths. Better 
any consequences than such treachery. Truth it must be at all 
costs: truth to them and to himself And as for the Bishop, 
when did the y\hnighty ask for such poor help as the lie of a 
blood-stained criminal to save the honour of a man of God .'' 

265 



THE DEEMSTER 

It was a terrible crisis of emotion, but it was brief. Tiie 
counting ended, and Quilleasli called for the answer. 

"No, I cannot do it — God forgive me, I wish I could," 
said Dan, in a burst of impatience. 

It was said. The men made no reply to it. There was 
awful quiet among them. Tlicy began to cast lots. Five 
copper coins of equal size, one of them marked with a cross 
scratched with tlie point of a nail, they put into the bag. 
One after one they dipped a hand and drew out a coin, and 
every man kept his fist clenched till all had drawn. The lad 
was not for joining, but the men threatened him, and he 
yielded. Then all hands were opened together. 

The lot had fallen to Davy Fayle. When he saw this, his 
simple face whitened visibly and his lip lagged very low. 
Old Quilleash handed him the gun, and he took it in a list- 
less way, scax'cely conscious of what was intended. 

" What's goin' doing ? " he asked vacantly. 

The men told him that it was for him to do it. 

"Do what.''" he asked, dazed and stupid. 

Shamefully, and with a touch of braggadocio, they told 
what he had to do, and then his vacant face became suddenly 
charged with passion, and he made a shriek of terror and let 
the gun fall. Quilleash picked the gun from the ground and 
thrust it back into Davy's hand. 

"You've got to do it," he said; "the lot's fallen to you, 
and it's bad work flying in the face of fate." 

At first Davy cried that nothing on God's earth would make 
him do it ; but suddenly he yielded, took the gun quickly, and 
was led to his place three or four paces in front of where Dan 
stood with his arms bound at his sides, his face of an ashy 
whiteness and his eyes fearful to look upon. 

" I can't kill him while he's tied up like that," said Davy. 
"Loose him, and then I'll shoot." 

The men had been startled by Davy's sudden acquiescence, 
but now they understood it. Not by so obvious a ruse were 
they to be deceived. They knew full well that Dan as a free 
man was a match for all four of them unarmed. 

" You're meaning to fire over liis head," they said to Davy ; 
and carried away by his excitement, and without art to conceal 
his intention, the lad cried hysterically, " That's the truth, and 
so I am." 

The men put their heads together, and there was some 
266 



A RUDE TRIBUNAL 

hurried whispering. At the next minute they had laid hold 
of Davy, bound him as Dan was bound, and put him to stand 
at Dan's side. This they did with the thought that Davy 
was now Dan's accomplice. 

Tlien again they cast lots as before. This time the lot fell 
to Quilleash. He took his stand where the lad had stood, 
and put the trigger of the gun at cock. 

"Men," he said, "if we don't take this man's life nothing 
will hould him but he'll take ours ; and it's our right to pro- 
tect ourselves, and the ould Book will uphold us. It isn't 
murder we're at, but justice, and Lord A' mighty ha' massy 
on their sowls ! " 

"Give him another chance," said Teare, and Quilleash, 
nothing loath, put his question again. Dan, with a glance at 
Davy, answered as before, with as calm a voice, though his 
face was blanched and his eyes stood out from their sockets, 
and his lips and nostrils quivered. 

Then there was silence, and then down on their knees 
behind Quilleash fell the three men, Crennell, Corkell, and 
Teare. " Lord ha' massy on their sowls ! " they echoed, and 
Quilleash raised the gun. 

Never a word more did Dan say, and never a cry or a sign 
came from Davy Fayle. But Quilleash did not fire. He 
paused and listened, and turning about he said in an altered 
tone, " Where's the horse } " 

The men lifted their heads and pointed, without speaking, to 
where the horse was tethered by the doorway. Quilleash lis- 
tened with head aslant. " Then who's foot is that ? " he said. 

The men leapt to their feet. Teare was at the doorway in 
an instant. "God A'mighty, they're on us!" he said in an 
affrighted whisper. 

Then two of the others looked, and saw that from every side 
the coroner and his men were closing in upon them. They could 
recognise every man, though the nearest was still half a mile 
away. For a moment they stared blankly into each others' faces 
and asked themselves what was to be done. In that moment 
every good and bad quality seemed to leap to their faces. 
Corkell and Crennell, seeing themselves outnumbered, fell to 
a bout of hysterical weeping. Teare, a fellow of sterner stuff, 
without pity or ruth, seeing no danger for them if Dan were 
out of sight, was for finishing in a twinkling what they had 
begun — shooting Dan, flinging liim into the loft above, down 

267 



THE DEIiMSTEIl 

the shaft outside, or into .1 manure-hole at the doorway, that 
was full of slimy filth and was now half-frozen over. 

Quilleash alone kept his head, and when Teare had spoken 
the old man said. No, and set Ins lip firm and hard. Then Dan 
himself, no less excited than the men themselves, called and 
asked how many they were that were coming, Crennell told 
him nine — seven men and the coroner, and another — it might 
be a woman — on a horse. 

" Eight men are not enough to take six of us," said Dan. 
" Here, cut my rope and Davy's — quick." 

When the men heard that, and saw by the light of Dan's 
eyes that he meant it, and that he whose blood they had all 
but spilled was ready to stand side by side with them and 
throw in his lot with their lot, they looked stupidly into each 
other's eyes, and could say nothing. But in another breath 
the evil spirit of doubt had taken hold of them, and Teare was 
laughing bitterly in Dan's face. 

Crennell looked out at the doorway again. " They're run- 
ning, we're lost men," he said ; and once more he set up his 
hysterical weeping. 

"Dowse that," said Quilleash; "where's your trustin' now."*" 

" Here, Billy," said Dan eagerly, " cut the lad's rope and 
get into the loft, every man of you." 

Without waiting to comprehend the meaning of this advice, 
realising nothing but that the shed was surrounded and escape 
impossible, two of them, Crennell and Corkell, clambered up 
the ladder to the loft. Old Quilleash, who fi'om the first 
moment of the scare had not budged an inch from his place 
on the floor, stood there still with the gun in his hand. Then 
Dan, thinking to free himself by burning one strand of the rope 
that bound him, threw himself down on his knees by the fire of 
gorse and wood, and held himself over it until one shoulder and 
arm and part of his breast were in the flame. For a moment 
it seemed as if, bound as he was, he must thrust half his body 
into the fire, and roll in it, before the rope that tied him would 
ignite. But at the next moment he had leapt to his feet with 
a mighty effort, and the rope was burning over his arm. 

At that same moment the coroner and the seven men, with 
Mona riding behind them, came up to the doorway of the shed. 
There they drew up in consternation. No sight on earth was 
less like that they had looked to see than the sight they then 
beheld. 

268 



THE COURT OF GENERAL GAOL DELIVERY 

There, in a dense cloud of smoke, was Davy Fayle, still 
bound and helpless, pale and speechless with affright ; and 
there was Dan, also bound, and burning over one shoulder as 
if the ami itself were afire, and straining his great muscles to 
break the rope that held him. Quilleash was in the middle 
of the floor as if rooted to the spot, and his gun was in his 
hands. Teare was on the first rung of the wall-ladder, and 
the two white faces of Corkell and Crennell were peering down 
from the trap-hole above. 

" What's all this } " said the coroner. 

Then Teare dropped back from the ladder and pointed at 
Dan and said, " We caught him, and were taking him back to 
you, sir. Look, that's the way we strapped him. But he was 
trying to burn the rope and give us the slip." 

Dan's face turned black at that word of treachery, aiid a 
hoarse cry came from his throat. 

" Is it true .'' " said the coroner, and his lip curled as he 
turned to Dan. Davy Fayle shouted vehemently that it was 
a lie, but Dan, shaking visibly from head to foot, answered 
quietly and said, " Fll not say no, coroner." 

At that QuiUeash stepped out. "But Fll say no," he said 
firmly. " He's a brave man, he is ; and maybe Fm on'y an 

ould rip, but d me if I'm going to lie like that for nobody 

— no, not to save my own sowl." 

Then in his gruff tones, sometimes faltering, sometimes 
breaking into deep sobs, and then rising to deeper oaths, the 
old fellow told all. And that night all six of them — Dan, the 
four fishermen, and the lad Davy — were lodged in the prison 
at Castle llusheu. 



CHAPTER XXXV 

THE COURT OF GENERAL GAOL DELIVERY 

From Christmas-tide onward through the dark months, until 
a " dream of spring " came once again on the slumbering face 
of winter, the six men lay in Castle Rushen. Rumours from 
within the grey walls of the gaol told that some of them were 
restive under their punishment, and that the spirits of others 
sank under it, but that Dan bore up with the fortitude of 

269 



THE DEEMSTER 

resignation, and, though prone to much sadness, with even the 
cheei'fuhiess of content. It was the duty of each man to take 
his tui'n at cleaning the cell, and it was said that Dan's turn 
seemed by his own counting to come frequently. Reproaches 
he bore with humility, and on one occasion he took a blow from 
Crennell, who was small of stature and had a slight limp in 
one leg. Constant bickerings were rife among them, and Dan 
was often their subject of quarrel, and still oftener their 
victim ; but they had cheerful hours too, and sometimes a 
laugh together. 

Such were some of the reports that made gossip outside, 
where public curiosity and excitement grew keener as the 
half-yearly sitting of the Court of General Gaol Delivery drew 
nearer. Copper riots and felonies of all descriptions, disputes 
as to tithe, and arbitrations as to the modes of counting the 
herrings, sank out of sight in prospect of the trial of Dan and 
his crew. From Point of Ayre to the Calf of Man it was the 
engrossing to})ic, and none living could remember a time when 
public feehng ran so high. The son of the Bishop was to be 
tried for the murder of the son of the Deemster, and a bigger 
issue could no man conceive. Variable enough was the popu- 
lar sympathy — sometimes with Dan, sometimes against him, 
always influenced by what way the wave of feeling flowed with 
regard to the Deemster and the Bishop. And closely were 
these two watched at every turn. 

The Deemster showed uncommon animation, and even some 
sprightliness. He was more abroad than at any time for 
fifteen years before, and was usually accompanied by Jarvis 
Kerruish. His short laugh answei*ed oftener to his own wise 
witticisms than at any time since the coming to the island of 
his brother, the Bishop ; but people whispered that his good 
spirits did not keep him constant com})any within the walls 
of his own house. There his daughter, Mona, still soft as the 
morning dew and all but as silent, sat much alone. She had 
grown " wae " as folk said, rarely being seen outside the gates 
of Ballamona, never being heard to laugh, and showing little 
interest in life beyond the crib of her foster-child, Ewan's 
orphaned daughter. And people remembered her mother, 
how silent she had been, and how patient, and how like to 
what Mona was, and they said now, as they had said long ago, 
"She's going down the steep places." 

The Bishop had kept close to Bishop's Court. Turning 
270 



THE COURT OF GENERAL GAOL DELIVERY 

night into day, and day into night, or knowing no times and 
seasons, he had been seen to wander at all hours up and down 
the glen. If any passed him as he crossed the road from the 
glen back to the house, he had seemed not to see. His grey 
hair had grown snowy white, his tall figure drooped heavily 
from his shoulders, and his gait had lost all its spring. 
Stricken suddenly into great age, he had wandered about 
mumbling to himself, or else quite silent. The chapel on his 
episcopal demesne he had closed from the time of the death 
of Ewan, his chaplain. Thus had he borne himself, shut out 
from the world, until the primrose had come and gone, and 
the cuckoo had begun to call. Then as suddenly he under- 
went a change. Opening the chapel at Bishop's Court, he 
conducted service there every Sunday afternoon. The good 
souls of the parish declared that never before had he preached 
with such strength and fervour, though the face over the 
pulpit looked ten long years older than on the Christmas 
morning when the long-shore men brought up their dread 
burden from the Mooragh. Convocation was kept on Whit 
Tuesday as before, and the Bishop spoke with calm and grave 
power. His clergy said he had gathered strength from soli- 
tude and fortitude, fi-om many days spent alone, as in the 
wilderness, with his Maker. Here and there a wise one among 
his people said it might look better of him to take the beam 
out of his own eye than to be so very zealous in pointing out 
the motes in the eyes of others. The world did not stand 
still, though public interest was in suspense, and now and 
again some girl was presented for incontinence or some man 
for drunkenness. Then it was noticed that the censures ot 
the Church had begun to fall on the evildoer with a great 
tenderness, and this set the Avise ones whispering afresh that 
some one was busy at sweeping the path to his own door, and 
also that the black ox never ti-od on his own hoof. 

The day of the trial came in May. It was to be a day of 
doom, but the sua shone with its own indifference to the big 
little affairs of men. The s})ring had been a dry one, and 
over the drought came heat. From every corner of the island 
the people trooj)cd ofl" under the broiling sun to Castletown. 
The Court of General Gaol Delivery was held in Castle Rushen, 
in the open square that formed the gateway to the prison 
chapel, under the clear sky, without shelter from any weather. 
There Uie narrow space allotted to spectators was thronged 

271 



Tin: DEEMSTER 

with hot faces iintlei* beavers, mutches, and sun-bonnets. The 
passages from tlie castle gate on tlie (juay were also thronged 
by crowds who could not see but tried to hear. From the 
lancet windows of the castle that overlooked the gateway 
eager faces peered out, and on the lead Hat above the iron 
staircase and over the great clock tower were companies of 
people of both sexes, who looked down and even listened 
when they could. The windows of the houses around the 
castle gate were thrown up for spectators who sat on the sills. 
In the rigging of the brigs and luggers that lay in the harbour 
close under the castle walls sailors had ])erched themselves to 
look on, and crack jokes and smoke. Nearly the whole floor 
of the market-place was thronged, but under the cross, where 
none could see or hear, an old woman had set up ninepins, 
tijjped with huge balls of toffee, and a score of tipsy fellows 
were busy with them amid much laughter and noise. A line 
of older men, with their hands in their pockets, were propped 
against the castle wall ; and a young woman from Ballasalla, 
reputed to be a prophetess, was standing on the steps of the 
cross, and calling on the careless to take note that, while they 
cursed and swore and forgot their Makei*, six men not twenty 
yards away were on the brink of their graves. 

The judges were the Governor of the island (who was 
robed), the Clerk of the Rolls, the two Deemsters (who wore 
wigs and gowns), the Water Bailiff, the Bishop, the Arch- 
deacon, the Vicars-General, and the twenty-four Keys. All 
these sat on a raised platform of planks. The senior and pre- 
siding Deemster (Thorkell Mylrea), who was the mouthpiece 
of the court, was elevated on a central dais. 

Thorkell was warm, eager, and even agitated. When the 
Bishop took his seat, amid a low murmur of the spectators, 
his manner was calm, and his quiet eyes seemed not to look 
into the faces about him. 

The prisoners were brought in from the cell that opened to 
the left of the gateway. They looked haggard and worn, but 
were not wanting in composure. Dan, towering above the rest 
in his great stature, held his head low ; his cheeks were ashy, 
but his lips were firm. By his side, half clinging to his gar- 
ments, was the lad Davy, and at the other end of the line 
was old Quilleash, with resolution on his weather-beaten face. 
Crennell and Corkell were less at ease, but Teare's firm-set 
figure and hard-drawn mouth showed the dogged determina- 

♦272 



THE COURT OF GENERAL GAOL DELIVERY 

tion of a man who meant that day to sell his life dear. Sixty- 
eight men were present, summoned from the seventeen 
pai-ishes of the island to compose a jury of twelve to be selec- 
ted by the prisoners. Over all was the burning sun of a hot 
day in May. 

When the officer of the court had made the presentment, 
and was going on to ask the prisoners to plead, the proceed- 
ings were suddenly interrupted. The steward of the spiritual 
barony of the Bishop, now sole baron of the island, rose to a 
point of law. One of the six prisoners who were indicted for 
felony was a tenant of the Bishop's barony, and as such was 
entitled to trial, not by the ci\il powers of the island, but by a 
jur}' of his barony, presided over by the proper president of 
his barony. The prisoner in question was Daniel Mylrea, and 
for him the steward claimed the privilege of a remand until he 
could be brought up for trial before the court of the lord of 
the barony under which he lived. 

This claim created a profound sensation in the court. Dan 
himself raised his eyes, and his face had a look of pain. When 
asked by the Deemster if the claim was put forward by his wish 
or sanction, he simply shook his head. The steward paid no 
attention to this repudiation. " This court," he said, " holds 
no jurisdiction over a tenant of the Bishop's barony ; " and 
forthwith he put in a document showing that Daniel Mylrea 
was tenant of a farm on the episcopal demesne, situate partly 
in Kirk Ballaugh and partly in Kirk Michael. 

The Deemster knew full well that he was powerless. Never- 
theless he made a rigid examination of the prisoner's lease, and, 
finding the document flawless, he put the point of law to the 
twenty-four Keys with every hampei'ing difficulty. But the 
court was satisfied as to the claim, and allowed it. " The pri- 
soner, Daniel Mylrea, stands remanded for trial at the court of 
his barony," said the Deemster, in a tone of vexation; " and at 
that trial," he added, with evident relish, " the president of the 
barony shall be, as by law appointed, assisted by a Deemster." 

Dan was removed, his name was struck out of the indict- 
ment, and the trial of the five fishermen was proceeded with. 
They pleaded "Not guilty." The Attorney-General prose- 
cuted, stating the facts so far as they concerned the remaining 
prisoners, and reflecting at the evidence against the prisoner 
who was remanded. He touched on the evidence of the sail- 
cloth, and then on the mystery attaching to a certain bundle 

273 s 



THE DEEMSTER 

of clothes, belts, and dago^crs that had been found in the prison 
at Peel Castle. At this reference the steward of the barony 
objected, as also against the depositions tliat inculpated Dan. 
The witnesses w-ere fewer than at the Deemster's inquest, and 
they had nothing to say that directly criminated the fishermen. 
Brief and uninteresting the trial turned out to be with the 
chief prisoner withdrawn, and thi'oughout the proceedings the 
Deemster's vexation was betrayed by his thin, sharp, testy 
voice. Some efforts were made to prove that Dan's disap- 
pearance from Peel Castle had been brought about by the 
Bishop ; but the steward of the barony guarded so zealously 
the privileges of the ecclesiastical courts, that nothing less than 
an open and unseemly rupture between the powers of Church 
and State seemed imminent when the Deemster, losing com- 
posure, was for pressing the irrelevant inquiry. Moreover, the 
Keys, who sat as arbiters of points of law and to " pass " the 
verdict of the juiy, were clearly against the Deemster. 

The trial did not last an hour. When the jury was ready 
to return a verdict, the Deemster asked in Manx, as by ancient 
usage, " Vod y fer-carree sole ? " (May the Man of the Chancel 
[the Bishop] sit?) And the foreman answered, " Fod " (He 
may) ; the ecclesiastics remained in their seats ; a verdict of 
" Not guilty " was returned, and straightway the five fisher- 
men were acquitted. 

Later the same day the Deemster vacated his seat on the 
dais, and then the Bishop rose and took it with great solem- 
nity. That the Bishop himself should sit to try his own son, 
as he must have tried any other felon who was a tenant of his 
barony, made a profound impression among the spectators. 
The Archdeacon, who had hoped to preside, looked appalled. 
The Deemster sat below, and on either side were the eccle- 
siastics, who had claimed their right to sit as judges in the 
civil court. Another jury, a jury of the barony, was empan- 
nelled. The sergeant of the barony brought Dan to the bar. 
The prisoner was still very calm, and his lips were as firm, 
though his face was as white and his head held as low as before. 
When a presentment was read over to him, charging him with 
causing the death of Ewan Mylrea, deacon in holy orders, and 
he was asked to plead, he lifted his eyes slowly, and answered 
in a clear, quiet, sonorous voice, that echoed from the high 
walls of the gateway, and was heard by the people on the 
clock tower, "^ Guilty." 

274 



THE COURT OF GENERAL GAOL DELIVERY 

As evidence had been taken at the Deemster's inquest, no 
witnesses were now heard. The steward of the barony pre- 
sented. He dwelt on the prisoner's special and awful crimi- 
nality, in so far as he was the son of the Bishop, taught from his 
youth up to think of human life as a holy thing, and bound by 
that honoured alliance to a righteous way in life. Then he 
touched on the peculiar duty of right living in one who held 
the office of captain of his parish, sworn to preserve order and 
to protect life. 

When the steward had appended to his statement certain 
commonplaces of extenuation based on the plea of guilty, the 
Deemster, amid a dead hush among the spectators, put ques- 
tions to the prisoner which were intended to elicit an ex- 
planation of his motive in the crime, and of the circumstances 
attending it. To these questions Dan made no answer. 

" Answer me, sir," the Deemster demanded, but Dan was 
still silent. Then the Deemster's wrath mastered him. 

" It ill becomes a man in your position to refuse the only 
amends that you can make to justice for the pains to which 
you have put this court and another." 

It was an idle outburst. Dan's firm lip was immovable. 
He looked steadily into the Deemster's face, and said not a 
word. 

The steward stepped in. "The prisoner," he said, "has 
elected to make the gravest of all amends to justice," and at 
that there was a deep murmur among the people. " Never- 
theless, I could wish," said the steward, " that he would also 
make answer to the Deemster's question." 

But the prisoner made no sign. 

" There is some reason for thinking that, if all were known, 
where so much is now hidden, the crime to which the prisoner 
pleads guilty would wear a less grievous aspect." 

Still the prisoner gave no answer. 

" Come, let us have done," said the Deemster, twisting im- 
patiently in his seat. " Pronounce the sentence, and let your 
sergeant carry it into effect." 

The murmur among the people gi'ew to a great commotion, 
but in the midst of it the Bishop was seen to rise, and then a 
deep hush fell on all. 

The Bishop's white head was held erect, his seamed face 
was firm as it was pale, and his voice, when he spoke, was 
clear and full. "Daniel Mylrea," he said, "you have pleaded 

275 



THE DEEMSTER 

guilty to the great crime of murder. The sergeant of your 
barony will now remove you, and on the morning of this day 
of next week he will take you in his safe custody to the Tyn- 
wald Hill, in the centre of the island, there, in the eye of 
light, and befoi'e the faces of all men, to receive the dreadful 
sentence of this court, and to endure its punishment." 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

CUT OFF FROM TIIK PKOPLE 

During the week that lollowed the trial of Daniel Mylrea at 
the court of his l)arony, the excitement throughout the island 
passed all experience of public feeling. What was to be the 
sentence of the barony .^ This was the one question every- 
where — at the inn, the mill, the smithy, the market cross, the 
street, in the court-house ; and if two shepherds hailed each 
other on the mountains they asked for the last news from Peel. 

With a silent acceptance of the idea that death alone could 
be the penalty of the crime that had been committed, there 
passed through the people the burden, first of a great awe and 
then of a great dread that any Christian man should die the 
death of hanging. Not for nearly twoscore years had the island 
seen that horror, and old men shuddered at the memory of it. 

Then it came to be imderstood in a vague way that some- 
thing unlooked for was to occur. Whispers went from mouth 
to mouth that old Quilleash had sailed down to the Calf Sound 
with the Ben-my-Chree well stored with provisions. In a few 
days the old salt returned, walking overland, preserving an air 
of vast mystery, and shaking his head when his gossips ques- 
tioned him. Then poor human nature, that could not bear to 
see Daniel Mylrea die, could not bear to see him saved either, 
and men who had sworn in their impotent white terror that 
never again should a gallows be built in the island, lusty fellows 
who had shown ruth for the first time, began to show gall for 
the hundredth, to nudge, to snigger, and to mutter that blood 
was thicker than water, and there was much between saying 
and doing, as the sayin' was. 

The compassion that had been growing in secret began to 
struggle with the ungentle impulses that came of superstitious 

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CUT OFF FROM THE PEOPLE 

fear. It seemed to be true, as old folk were whispering, that 
Daniel Mylrea was the Jonah of the island. What had hap- 
pened in the first year of his life ? A prolonged drought and 
a terrible famine. What was happening now ? Another 
drought that threatened another famine. And people tried 
to persuade themselves that the sword of the Lord was over 
them, and that it would only rest and be quiet when they had 
executed God's judgment on the guilty man. 

The day of Tynwald came, and the week before it had 
passed like a year. There was no sun, but the heat was stifling, 
the clouds hung low and dark and hot as the roof of an open 
oven, the air Avas sluggish, and the earth looked blue. Far 
across the sea to the north-west there was a thin streak of fiery 
cloud, and at some moments there was the smell of a thunder- 
storm in the heavy atmosphere. From north and south, from 
east and west the people trooped to Tynwald Hill. Never 
before within the memory of living man had so vast a con- 
course been witnessed on that ancient gi-ound of assembly. 
Throughout the island the mill-wheel was stopped, the smithy 
fire was raked over with ashes, the plough lay in the furrow, 
the sheep were turned out on to the mountains, and men and 
women, old men, old women, and young children, ten thousand 
in all, with tanned faces and white, in sun-bonnets, mutches, 
and capes, and some with cloaks in preparation for the storm 
that was coming, drove in their little springless carts, or rode 
on their small Manx ponies, or trudged on foot through the 
dusty roads, and over the bleached hillsides and the parched 
Cux'raghs. 

At ten o'clock the open green that surrounds the hill of 
Tynwald was densely thronged. Carts were tipped up in 
comers, and their stores of food and drink were guarded by a 
boy or a woman, who sat on the sternboard. Horses were 
tethered to the wheels, or turned loose to browse on a common 
near at hand. Men lounged on the gi*een and talked, their 
hands in their pockets, their pij)es in their mouths, or stood 
round the Tynwald Inn, lifting j)ainiikins to their lips, and 
laughing — for there was merriment among them though the 
work for which they had come together was not a merry one. 

The mount itself was still empty, and twelve constables 
were stationed about the low wall that surrounded it, keeping 
the crowd back. And though, as the people met and miugled, 
the men talked of the crops and of the prospect for the fishinir, 

277 



THE DEEMSTER 

and women of the wool and yarn, and boys tossed somersaults, 
and young oiils betook themselves to girlish games, and girls 
of older growtli in bright ribbons to ogling and giggling, and 
though there was some coarse banter and coarser singing, the 
excitement of the crowd benenth all was deep and strong. 
At intervals there was a movement of tlie peoj)le towards a 
church, St. John's Church, that stood a little to the east of 
Tynwald, and sometimes a general rush towards the gate that 
looked westward towards Peeltown and the sea. Earlier in 
the day some one had climbed the mountain called Greeba, 
beyond the chapel, and put a light to the dry gorse at the top, 
and now the fire smouldered in the dense air, and set up a 
long sinuous trail of blue smoke to the empty vault of the sky. 

Towards half-past ten old Paton Gorry, the sumner, went 
down the narrow, tortuous steps that led to the dungeon of 
Peel Castle. He carried fetters for the hands and legs of 
his prisoner, and fixed them in their places with nervous and 
fumbling fingers. His prisoner helpeil him as far as might be, 
and s})oke cheerily in answer to his mumbled adieu. 

" I'm not going to St. John's, sir. I couldn't give myself 
lave for it," the sumner nuittered in a breaking voice. With 
a choking sensation in his throat Daniel Mylrea said, " God 
bless you, Paton," and laid hold of the old man's hand. 
Twenty times during the week the sumner had tried in vain 
to pi'evail on the prisoner to explain the circumstances attend- 
ing his crime, and so earn the mitigation of punishment which 
had been partly promised. The prisoner had only shaken his 
head in silence. 

A few minutes afterwards Daniel Mylrea was handed over 
in the guard-room to the sergeant of the bai'ony, and Paton 
Gorry's duties — ^the hardest that the world had yet given him 
to do — were done. 

The sergeant and the prisoner went out of the castle and 
crossed the narrow harbour in a boat. On the wooden jetty, near 
the steps by which they landed, a small open cart was drawn 
up, and there was a crowd of gaping faces about it. The two 
men got into the cart and were driven down the quay towards 
the path by the river that led to Tynwald under the foot of 
Slieu Whallin. As they passed through the town the prisoner 
was dimly conscious that white faces looked out of windows 
and that small knots of people were gathered at the corners 
of the alleys. But all this was soon blotted out, and when 

278 



CUT OFF FROM THE PEOPLE 

he came to himself he was dri\ ing under the trees and by 
the side of the rumbHng water. 

All the day preceding the prisoner had told himself that 
when his time came, his great hour of suffering and expiation, 
he must bear himself with fortitude, abating nothing of the 
whole bitterness of the atonement he was to make, asking no 
quarter, enduring all contumely, though men jeered as he 
passed or spat in his face. He thought he had counted the 
cost of that trial. Seven sleepless nights and seven days of 
torment had he given to tiy his spirit for that furnace, and 
he thought he could go through it and not shrink. In his 
solitary hours he had arranged his plans. While he drove 
from Peel to St. John's he was to think of nothing that would 
sap his resolution, and his mind was to be a blank. Then, as 
he approached the place, he was to lift his eyes without fear, 
and not let them di-op though their gaze fell on the dread 
thing that must have been built there. And so, vei*y calmly, 
silently, and firmly, he was to meet the end of all. 

But now that he was no longer in the dungeon of the 
prison, where despair might breed bravery In a timid soul, 
but under the open sky where hope and memory grow strong 
together, he knew, though he tried to shut his heart to it, 
that his courage was oozing away. He recognised this house 
and that gate, he knew every turn of the river — where the 
trout lurked and where the eels sported — and when he looked 
up at the dun sky he knew how long it might take for the 
lightningto break through the luminous dulness of the thunder- 
cloud that hung over the head of Slieu Whallin. Do what 
he would to keep his mind a blank, or to busy it with trifles 
of the way, he could not help reflectmg that he was seeing 
these things for the last time. 

Then there came a long interval, in which the cart wherein 
he sat seemed to go wearily on, on, on, and nothing awakened 
his slumbering senses. When he recovered consciousness with 
a start, he knew that his mind had been busy with many 
thoughts such as sap a man's resolution and bring his brave 
schemes to foolishness. He had been asking himself where 
his father was that day, where Mona would be then, and how 
deep their shame must be at the thought of the death he was 
to die. To him his death was his expiation, and little had he 
thought of the manner of it ; but to them it was disgrace and 
horror. And so he shrunk within himself. I le knew now that 

27y 



THE DEEMSTER 

his great purpose was drifting away like a foolish voice that 
is emptied in the air. Groaning audibly, praying in broken 
snatches for strength of spirit, looking up and around with 
fearful eyes, he rode on and on, until at length, before he was 
yet near the end of his awful ride, the deep sound came float- 
ing to him through the air of the voices of the people gathered 
at the foot of Tynwald. It was like the sound the sea makes 
as its white breakers fall on some sharp reef a mile away : 
a deep, multitudinous hum of many tongues. When he lifted 
his head and heard it, his pallid face became ashy, his whiten- 
ing lips trembled, his head dropped back to his breast, his 
fettered arms fell between his fettered legs, river and sky were 
blotted out of his eyes, and he knew that before the face of 
his death he was no better than a poor broken coward. 

At eleven o'clock the crowd at Tynwald had grown to a 
vast concourse that covered every foot of the green with a 
dense mass of moving heads. In an enclosed pathway that 
connected the chapel with the mount three carriages were 
drawn up. The Deemster sat in one of them, and his wizened 
face was full of uncharity. By his side was Jarvis Kerruish. 
On an outskirt of the crowd two men stood with a small knot 
of people around them ; they were Quilleash and Teare. The 
Ballasalla prophetess, with glittering eyes and hair in ringlets, 
was preaching by the door of the inn, and near her were 
Corkell and Crennell, and they sang when she sang, and while 
she prayed they knelt. Suddenly the gi'eat clamorous human 
billow was moved by a ruffle of silence that spread from side 
to side, and in the midst of a deep hush the door of the chapel 
opened, and a line of ecclesiastics came out and walked to- 
wards the mount. At the end of the line was the Bishop, 
bareheaded, much bent, his face white and seamed, his step 
heavy and uncertain, his whole figure and carriage telling of 
the sword that is too keen for its scabbard. When the pro- 
cession reached the mount the Bishop ascended to the topmost 
round of it, and on the four green ledges below him his clergy 
ranged themselves. Almost at the same moment there was a 
subdued murmur among the people, and at one side of the 
green, the gate to the west, the crowd opened and parted, 
and the space widened and the line lengthened until it 
reached the foot of the Tynwald. Then the cart that brought 
the sergeant and his prisoner from the castle entered it slowlj^, 
and drew up, and then with head and eyes down, like a beast 

280 



CUT OFF FROM THE PEOPLE 

that is struck to its death, Daniel Mylrea dropped to his feet 
on the ground. He was clad in the blue cloth of a fishei*man, 
with a brown knitted guernsey under his coat, and sea-boots 
over his stockings. He stood in his great stature above the 
shoulders of the tallest of the men around him ; and women 
who were as far away as the door of the inn could see the sea- 
man's cap he wore. The sergeant drew him up to the foot of 
the mount, but his bowed head was never raised to where the 
Bishop stood above him. An all-consuming shame sat upon 
him, and around him was the deep breathing of the people. 

Presently a full, clear voice was heard over the low murmur 
of the crowd, and instantly the mass of moving heads was 
lifted to the mount, and the sea of faces flashed white under 
the heaviness of the sky. 

" Daniel Mylrea," said the Bishop, " it is not for us to know 
if any hidden circumstance lessens the hideousness of your 
crime. Against all question concerning your motive your lips 
have been sealed, and we who are your earthly judges are 
compelled to take you at the worst. But if, in the fulness 
of your remorse, your silence conceals what would soften your 
great offence, be sure that your Heavenly Judge, who reads 
your heart, sees all. You have taken a precious life ; you 
have spilled the blood of one who bore himself so meekly 
and lovingly and with such charity before the world that the 
hearts of all men were drawn to him. And you, who slew him 
in heat or malice, you he ever loved with a great tenderness. 
Your guilt is confessed, your crime is black, and now your 
punishment is sure." 

The crowd held its breath while the Bishop spoke, but the 
guilty man moaned feebly and his bowed head swayed to 
and fro. 

" Daniel Mylrea, there is an everlasting sacredness in human 
life, and God who gave it guards it jealously. When man 
violates it, God calls for vengeance, and if we who are His law- 
givers on earth shut our ears to that cry of the voice of God, 
His fierce anger goes ibrth as a whirlwind and His word as a 
fire upon all men. Woe unto us if now we sin against the 
Lord by falling short of the punishment that He has ordered. 
Righteously and without qualm of human mercy, even as God 
has commanded, we. His servants,mustexecutejudgment on the 
evil-doer, lest His wrath be poured out upon this island itself, 
up(m man and upon beast, and upon the fruit of the ground." 

281 



THE DEEMSTER 

At that word the deej) imirmiir broke out afresh over the 
people^ and under the low sky their upturned faces were turned 
to a i>rini paleness. And now a strange light came into the 
eyes of the Bishoj), and his deep voice quavered. 

" Daniel Mylrea," he continued, "it is not the way of God's 
worse chastisement to take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a 
tooth, and to spill blood for blood that has been s])illed. When 
the swoi'd of the I^ord goes forth it is sometimes to destroy the 
guilty man, and sometimes to cut him olf from the land of the 
living, to banish him to the parched places of the wilderness, 
to end the days wherein his sleeji shall be sweet to him, to 
blot out his name from the names of men, and to give him no 
burial at the last when the darkness of death shall cover him." 

The Bishop paused. There was a dreadful silence, and the 
distant sea sent up into the still air, under the low clouds that 
reverberated like a vault, a hoarse thi'eatening murmur — 

"Daniel Mylrea, you are not to die for your ci'ime." 

At that ill-omened word the prisoner staggered like a drun- 
ken man, and lifted his right hand mechanically above his 
liead, as one who would avert a blow. And now it was easy 
to see in the wild light in the eyes of the Bishop, and to hear 
in his hollow, tense voice, that the heart of the father was 
wrestling with the soul of the priest, and that every word that 
condemned the guilty man made its sore wound on the spirit 
of him that uttered it. 

" You have chosen death rather than life, but on this side 
of death's darkness you have yet, by God's awful will, to be- 
come a terror to yourself; you have water of gall to drink; 
toilfully you have to live in a waste land alone, where the sweet 
light of morning shall bring you pain, and the darkness of night 
have eyes to peer into your soul ; and so on and on from year 
to weary year until your step shall fail and there shall be never 
another to hel]) you up ; hopeless, accursed, finding death in 
life, looking only for life in death, and crying in the bitterness 
of your desolation, ' Cursed be the day wherein I was born ; 
let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed ! 
Cursed be the man that brought tidings to my father, saying, 
" A man child is born unto thee," making his heart glad.' " 

One hoarse cry as of physical pain burst from the prisoner 
before these awful words were yet fully uttered. The guilty 
man gripped his head between his hands, and like a beast that 
is smitten in the shambles he stood in a stupor, his body sway- 

282 



CUT OFF FROM THE PEOPLE 

ing slightly, a film upon his eyes, and his mind sullen and 
stunned. There was silence lor a moment, and when the 
Bishop spoke again, his tempest-beaten head, white with the 
flowers of the grave, trembled visibly. The terrified people 
were grasping each other's hands, and tlieir hard-drawn breath 
went tiirough the air like the hiss of the sea at its ebb. As they 
looked up at the Bishoj) they understood that an awful struggle 
of human love and spiritual duty was going on before them, and 
over all their terror they were moved to a deep compassion. 

"Daniel Mylrea," said the Bishop again, and, notwithstand- 
ing his efforts to uphold it, his voice softened and all but broke, 
" vengeance belongs to God, but we avIio are men and prone 
to fall are not to deny mercy. When your fetters are re- 
moved, and you leave this place, you will go to the Calf Soimd 
that flows at the extreme south of the island. There you will 
find your fishing-boat, stored with such as may meet your 
immediate wants. With that offering we part from you while 
life shall last. Use it well, but hencefoi'ward look for no suc- 
cour whence it has come. Though you loathe your life, be 
zealous to preserve it, and hasten not, I warn you, by one hour 
the great day of God's final reckoning. Most of all be mind- 
ful of the things of an eternal concernment, that we who part 
fi"om you now may not part for ever as from a soul given over 
to everlasting darkness." 

The prisoner gave no further sign. Then the Bishop turned 
with a wild gesture to the right and to the left and lifted both 
his hands. " Men and women of Man," he said in a voice that 
rose to the shrillness of a cry, "the sentence of the court of the 
barony of the island is, that this man shall be cut off' from his 
people. Henceforth let him have no name among us, nor family, 
nor kin. From now for ever let no flesh touch his flesh. Let no 
tongue speak to him. Let no eye look on him. If he should be 
an-hungercd, let none give him meat. When he shall be sick, 
let none minister to him. When liis death shall come, let no 
man bury him. Alone let him live, alone let him die, and among 
the beasts of the field let him hide his unburied bones," 

A great hoarse groan arose from the people, such as comes 
from the bosom of a sullen sea. The pathos of the awful 
struggle which they had looked upon was swallowed up in the 
horror of its tragedy. What tliey had come to see was as 
nothing to the awfulness of the thing they had witnessed. 
Death was terrible, but this was beyond death's terroi". Some- 

283 



THE DEEMSTER 

where in the dark chambers of the memory of their old men 
the like of it lived as a grim gorgon from old time. They 
looked up at the mount, and the gaunt figure standing there 
above the vast multitude of moving heads seemed to be some- 
thing beyond nature. The trembling upraised hands, the eyes 
of fire, the white quivering lips, the fever in the face which 
consumed the grosser senses, appeared to transcend the natural 
man. And below was the prisoner, dazed, stunned, a beast 
smitten mortally and staggering to its fall. 

The sergeant removed the fetters from the prisoner's hands 
and feet, and tui'ned him about with his face towards the south. 
Not at first did the man seem to realise that he was no longer 
a prisoner but an outcast, and free to go whither he would save 
where other men might be. Then, recovering some partial 
consciousness, he moved a pace or two forward, and instantly 
the crowd opened for him and a long wide way was made 
through the dense mass, and he walked through it, slow yet 
strong of step, with head bent and eyes that looked into the eyes 
of no man. Thus he passed away from the Tynwald towards 
the foot of Slieu Whallin and the valley of Foxdale that runs 
southward. And the people looked after him, and the Bishop 
on the mount and the clergy below followed him with their eyes. 
A great wave of compassion swept over the crowd as the solitary 
figure crossed the river and began to ascend the mountain path. 
The man was accursed, and none might look upon him with 
pity ; but there were eyes that grew dim at that sight. 

The smoke still rose in a long blue column from the side of 
Greeba, and the heavy cloud that had hung at poise over the 
head of Slieu Whallin had changed its shape to the outlines 
of a mighty bird, luminous as a seagull, but of a sickly saffron. 
Over the long line of sea and sky to the west the streak of red 
that had burned duskily had also changed to a dull phosphoric 
light, that sent eastward over the sky's low roof a misty glow. 
And while the people watched the lonely man who moved 
away from them across the breast of the hill, a pale sheet of 
lightning, without noise of thunder, flashed twice or thrice 
before their faces. So still was the crowd, and so i-everberant 
the air, that they could hear tiie man's footsteps on the stony 
hillside. Whea he reached the topmost point of the path, and 
was about to descend to the valley, he was seen to stop, and 
presently to turn his face, gazing backwards for a moment. 
Against the dun sky his figure could be seen from head to 

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CUT OFF FROM THE PEOPLE 

foot. WTiile he stood the people held their breath. When 
he was gone and the mountain had hidden him the crowd 
breathed audibly. 

At the next moment all eyes were turned back to the 
mount. There the Bishop, a priest of God no longer, but only 
a poor human father now, had fallen to his knees and lifted 
his two trembling arms. Then the pent-up anguish of the 
wretched heart that had steeled itself to a mighty sacrifice of 
duty burst forth in a prayer of great agony. 

" O Father in heaven, it is not for him who draws the sword 
of the Lord's vengeance among men to cry for mercy, but 
rather to smite and spare not, yea, though his own flesh be 
smitten ; but, O Thou that fillest heaven and earth, from whom 
none can hide himself in any secret place that Thou shalt not 
see him, look with pity on the secret place of the heart of Thy 
servant and hear his cry. O Lord on high, whose anger goes 
forth as a whirlwind, and whose word is like as a fire, what am 
I but a feeble, broken, desolate old man.'' Thou knowest my 
weakness, and how my familiars watched for my halting, and 
how for a period my soul failed me, and how my earthly affec- 
tions concjuered my heavenly office, and how God's rule among 
this people was most in danger from the servant of God, who 
should be valiant for the Lord on the earth. And if through 
the trial of this day Thou hast been strength of my strength, 
woe is me now, aged and full of days, feeble of body and weak 
of faith, that Thou hast brought this heavy judgment upon 
me. God of goodness and righteous Judge of all the earth, 
have mercy and forgive if we weep for him who goeth away 
and shall return no moi*e, nor see his home and kindi'ed. 
Follow him with Thy Spirit, touch him with Thy finger of fire, 
pour upon him the healing of Thy grace, so that after death's 
great asundering, when all shall stand for one judgment, it may 
not be said of Thy servant, ' Write ye this old man childless.' " 

It was the cry of a great shattered soul, and the terrified 
people dropped to their knees while the voice pealed over their 
heads. When the Bishop was silent the clergy lifted him to 
his feet, and helped him down the pathway to the chapel. 
There was then a dull murmur of distant thunder from across 
the sea. The people fell apart in confusion. Before the last 
of them had left the green the cloud of pale saffron over the 
head of Slieu Whallin had broken into lightning, and the 
rain was falling heavily. 

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THE DEEMSTER 

THE BRIEF RELATION OF DANIEL MYLREA 

WRITTEN BY HIMSELF 

CHAPTER XXXVII 

OF HIS OUTCAST STATE 

I, Daniel Mylrea, the sou (God forgive me ! ) of Gilchrist 
Mylrea, Bishop of Man — grace and peace be with that saintly 
soul ! — do set me down in the year (as well as my reckoning 
serves me) 17 — , the month September, the day somewhere 
between the twentieth and the thirtieth, to begin a brief 
relation of certain exceeding strange accidents of this life that 
have befallen me since, at the heavy judgment of God, I first 
turned my face from the company of men. Not, as the good 
Bunyan was, am I now compelled to such a narration — bear 
with me though I name myself with that holy man — by hope 
or thought that the goodness and bounty of God may thereby 
be the more advanced before the sons of men, though it is for 
me also to magnify the Heavenly Majesty, insomuch as that 
by this door of my outcast state He has brought me to partake 
of grace and life. Alone I sit to write what perchance no eye 
may read, but it is with hope, perhaps only vain, that she who 
is dear to me beyond words of appraisement may yet learn of 
the marvels which did oft occur, that I try in these my last 
days to put my memory under wardship. For it has fastened 
on me with conviction that God has chosen me for a vessel of 
mercy, and that veiy soon He will relieve me from the body 
of the death I live in. If I finish this writing before I go 
hence, and if when I am gone she reads it, methinks it will 
come to her as a deep solace that her prayer of long since was 
answered, and that, though so sorely separated, we twain 
have yet been one even in this world, and lived together by 
day and hour in the cheer of the spirit. But if the gracious 
end should come before I bi'ing my task to a period, and she 
should know only of my forlorn condition and learn nothing 
of the grace wherein much of its desolation was lost, and never 
come to an understanding of such of those strange accidents 

286 



OF HIS OUTCAST STATE 

as to her knowledge have befallen, then that were also well, 
for she must therein be spared many tears. 

It was on May 29, , seven years and four months, as I 

reckon it, back from this present time, that in punishment of 
my great crime the heavy sentence fell on me that cut me off 
for ever from the number of the people. What happened on 
that day and on the days soon following it I do partly remember 
with the vividness of horror, and partly recall with difficulty 
and mistrust from certain dark places of memory that seem to 
be clouded over and numb. When I came to myself as I was 
plodding over the side of Slieu Whallin, the thunder was loud 
in my ears, the lightning was flashing before my eyes, and the 
rain was swirling around me. I minded them not, but went 
on, hardly seeing what was about or above me, on and on, 
over mountain road and path, until the long day was almost 
done and the dusk began to deepen. Then the strength of 
the tempest was spent, and only the hinder part of it beat out 
from the west a thin, misty rain, and I found myself in Rushen, 
on the south brow of the glen below Car-ny-Gree. There I 
threw myself down on the turf with a great numbness and a 
great stupor upon me, both in body and in mind. How long 
I lay there I know not, whether a few minutes only, or, as I 
then surmised, near four-and-twenty hours ; but the light of 
day was not wholly gone from the sky when I lifted my head 
from where it had rested on my hands, and saw that about 
me in a deep half-circle stood a drift of sheep, all still, save 
for their heavy breathing, and all gazing in their questioning 
silence down on me. I think in my heart, remembering my 
desolation, I drew solace from this strange fellowship on the 
lone iTiountain-side, but I lifted my hand and drove the sheep 
away, and I thought as they went they bleated, but I could 
hear nothing of their cry, and so surmised that under tlie 
sufferings of that day I had become deaf. 

I fell back to the same stupor as before, and when I came 
to myself again the moon was up, and a white light was around 
the place where I sat. With the smell of the sheep in my 
nostrils I thought they might be standing about me again, but 
I could see nothing clearly, and so sti-etched out my hands 
either way. Then, from their confusion in scurring away, I 
knew that the sheep had indeed been there, and that under 
the sufferings of that day I had also failed in my sight. 

The tempest was over by this time, the mountain turf had run 
287 



THE deemstp:r 

dry, and I lay me down at length and fell into a deep sleep with- 
out dreams ; and so ended the first day of my solitary state. 

When I awoke the sun was high, and the wheatear was 
singing on a stone very close above me, whereunder her pale 
blue e<^ii; she had newly laid. I know not what wayward 
humour then jwssessed me, but it is true that I reached my 
hand to the little egg and looked at it, and crushed it between 
my finger and thumb, and cast its refuse away. My surmise of 
the night before I now found to be verified, that hearing and 
sight were both partly gone from me. No man ever mourned 
less at first knowledge of such infirmities, but in truth I was 
almost beyond the touch of pain, and a sorer calamity would 
have wanted strength to torture me. I rose and set my face 
southwards, for it was in the Calf Sound, as I remembered, 
that I was to find my boat, and if any hope lived in my heart, 
so numb of torpor, it was that ])erchance I might set sail and 
get myself away. 

I walked between Barrule and Dalby, and came down on 
the eastward of Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa. Then I, who had never 
before known my strength to fail, grew suddenly weary, and 
would fain have cast me down to rest. So to succumb I could 
not brook, but I halted in my walking and looked back, and 
across the plain to the east, and down to the Bay of Fleswick 
to the west. Many times since have I stood there and looked 
on sea and sky, and mountain and dale, and asked myself was 
ever so fair a spot, and if the plains of heaven were fairer ? 
But that day my dim eyes scoured the sea for a sail and the 
mountains for a man, and nothing did they see of either, and 
all else was then as nothing. 

Yet, though I was so eager to keep within sight of my 
fellow-man, I was anxious not to come his way, and in choosing 
my path I walked where he was least likely to be. Thus, 
holding well to the west of Fleswick, I took the cliff head 
towards Brada, and then came down between Port Erin and 
Port-le-Mary to the moors that stretch to the margin of the 
sound. Some few I met, chiefly shepherds and fishermen, but 
I lifted my eyes to none, and none gave me salutation. This 
was well, for my heart was bitter, and if any had spoken, not 
knowing me, I doubt not I should have answered ill. In my 
great heart-torpor, half-blind, half- deaf, I was that day like a 
wounded beast of the field, ranging the moorland with a wild 
abandonment and dangerous to its kind. 

288 



OF HIS OUTCAST STATE 

When I came to Cregneesh and saw it for the first time, a 
Httle disjointed gipsy encampment of mud-built tents })itched 
on the bare moor, the sky was reddening across the sea, and 
from that I knew how far advanced the day must be, how slow 
my course had been, and how low my strength. In half-an- 
hour more I had sighted my boat, the Ben-my-Chree, where 
she lay in the Doon Creek of the sound, at the length of some 
fifty fathoms inside the rocks of Kitterland. When I came up 
to her, I found her anchored in some five fathoms of water, 
with the small boat lying dry on the shingly beach. Her cabin 
contained provisions enough for present needs, and more than 
that I was m no mood to think about. Since the morning of 
the day before I had not broken fast, but now I ate hungrily 
of oaten and barley cake. Later in the evening, when the 
stax's were out and the moon, which was in its last quarter, was 
hanging over the Calf, I mixed myself some porridge of rye- 
meal and cold water, and ate it on the deck, and then went 
below to my bunk and lay me down alone. Between sleep 
and waking I tried to think of my position and to realise it, 
but an owl was hooting somewhere on the land, and some- 
where over the waters of the sound a diver was making his 
unearthly laugh. I could not think save of the hooting owl 
and the screaming diver, and when I thought of them, though 
their note was doleful and seemed to tell of suffering or per- 
haps of demoniac delight, I could not thank God that I had 
been made a man. Thus, feeling how sore a thing it is to be 
a creature living under the wrath of God, I tossed on my bunk 
until I fell to sleep ; and so ended the second day of my un- 
blessed condition. 

To follow closely all that befell on the next day, or the 
many days thereafter, whereof I kept no reckoning, were to 
weary my spirit. One thing I know, that a sudden numbness 
of the spiritual life within me left me a worse man than I had 
been before the day of my cutting off, and that I did soon lose 
the little I had of human love and tenderness. My gun had 
been put in the boat, and with that I ranged the cliffs and the 
moor from the Mull Hills that lie to the west of Cregneesh to 
the Chasms that are to the east of it. Many puffins I shot, 
that much frequent these shores, but their flesh was rank and 
salt, and they were scarcely worth the powder I spent on them. 
Thus it sometimes happened that, being in no straits for food, 
I cast the birds away, or did not put myself to the pains of 

289 T 



THE DEEMSTER 

lifting them up after they fell to my gun, but went on, never- 
theless, to destroy them in my wanton humour. Rabbits I 
snared by a trick I learned when a boy, and sometimes cooked 
them in the stove and ate them like a Christian man, and at 
other times I sat me down on the hillside and rived them 
asunder as a wild creature of tlie hills might do. But whether 
I ate in my boat or on the clitl", I took no religion to my table, 
and thought only that I liked my food or misliked it. 

Many times in these first days I had to tear myself away 
from thinking of my condition, for to do so was like the stab of 
a knife to my brain, and I ])lainly saw that in that way madness 
itself would lie. If I told myself that other men had been cast 
alone ere now in desolate places where no foot of man was and 
no sound of a human voice, a great stroke would come upon my 
spirit with the thought that only their bodies had been cast 
away, but that my soul was too. The marooned seaman on an 
uninhabited island, when at length he set eyes on his fellow- 
man, might lift up his heart to God, but to me the company of 
men was not blessed. Fi'ee I was to go where men were, even 
to the towns wherein they herded together, but go where I 
would I must yet be alone. 

With this thought, and doubting not that for me the day of 
grace was past and gone, since God had turned His face from 
the atonement I had erewhile been minded to make, I grew 
day by day more bitter in my heart, and found it easiest to 
shut my mind by living actively from hour to hour. Then, like 
a half-starved hound, I went abroad at daybreak and scoured 
the hills the day long, and returned to my bed at night. I 
knew I was a baser thing than 1 had been, and it brought some 
comfort then to know that 1 was alone, and no eye saw me as 
I now was. Mine was a rank hold of life, and it gave me a 
savage delight unknown before to live by preying on other 
creatures. I shot and slew daily and hourly, and if for a 
moment I told myself that what 1 had killed held its life on 
the same tenure that I did, my humanity was not touched 
except to feel a strange wild thrill that it was not I that lay 
dead. Looking back over these seven years, it comes to me 
as an unnatural thing that this mood can ever have been 
mine ; but mine it was, and from the like of it may God in 
His mercy keep all Christian men. 

One day — I think it must have been somewhere towards 
the end of the first month of my outcast state — I was ranging 

290 



OF HIS WAY OF LIFE 

the cliff side above the grey rocks of the Black Head when I 
chanced on a hare and shot it. On coming up with it, I found 
it was lean and bony, and so turned aside and left it as it 
squeaked and bounced from my feet. This was in the morn- 
ing, and towards nightfall I returned by the same way, and saw 
the hare lying by a brookside, ragged and bleeding, but still 
alive. At sight of me the wee thing tried to move away, but 
its weakness and a clot of its blood kept it down, and feeling 
its extremity, it lifted its two slender paws in the air, while 
its glistening eyes streamed visibly, and set up a piteous cry 
like the cry of a little child. I cannot write what then I did, 
for it wounds me sore to think of it, but when it was done, 
and that piteous cry was no more in mine ears, suddenly I said 
with myself this awful word, " I am no longer a man, but a 
beast of the field ; and the God of mercy and of tenderness 
has cast me for ever out of the hollow of His hand." 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 

OF HIS WAY OF LIFE 

This meeting with the poor hare, though now it looks so 
trivial a thing, did then make a great seizure upon my mind, 
so that it changed my course and habit of life. For ceasing 
not to believe that I was wholly given over to a reprobate soul, 
I yet laid my gun aside, and locked my shot and powder in a 
drawer beneath my bunk, and set my face towards new ways 
of living. First I })ut myself to counting all that I possessed. 
Thus I found that of rye and Indian meal I had a peck each, 
of barley a peck, with two quarters of fine barley flour, of oats 
a peck, with two quarters of oaten meal, of potatoes two 
kischen, beside onions and a little common salt. In the hold 
under the hatches there were stored sundry useful implements 
— a spade, a fork, a hedge-knife, some hempen rope and 
twine, and with the rest were the four herring nets which 
belonged to the boat, a mackerel-net, and some deep-sea lines. 
Otlier things there were that I do not name — wanting memory 
of them at this time of writing — but enough in all for most 
uses that a lone man might have. 

And this had ofttimes set me wondering why, if it had been 
291 



THE DEEMSTER 

meant tliat I sliould be cast uttei'ly away, I had been provided 
with means of life, who could well have found them for myself 
But after that meeting with the hare I perceived the end of 
God in this, namely, that I should not, without guilt, descend 
from the state of a Christian man when hunger had to be 
satisfied. 

And herein also I found the way of the stern Judge with 
guilty man, that, having enough for present necessities, I had 
little for the future, beyond the year that then was, and that 
if I must eat, so I must work. Thus upon a day somewhere, 
as I reckon, about a month after my cutting ott^ I rose early, 
and set myself to delve a piece of fallow ground — where all 
was fallow — two roods or more in extent, lying a little to the 
north of the Black Head, and to the south of the cii-cle of 
stones that stand near by. All day I wrought fasting, and 
when darkness fell in the fallows were turned. Next morning 
I put down my seed, of potatoes a half kischen, cut in quarters 
where the eyes were many, and also of barley and oats half a 
peck each, keeping back my other half-peck lest the ground 
were barren, or the weather against it, or the year too far 
worn for such-like crops. 

And that day of the delving, the first on which I wrought 
as a man, was also the first on which I felt a man's craving for 
the company of other men. The sun was strong all the fore 
part of the day, and its hot rays scorched the skin of my back 
— for I had stripped to my waist for my labour — and that set 
me thinking what month it was, and wondeiing what was doing 
in the world, and how long I had been where I then was. 
When I retui'ned to my boat at nightfall, the air, as I re- 
member it, was quiet over the sound as it might be in a cloister, 
and only the gulls were jabbering on Kitterland and the cor- 
morants at the water's edge. And I sat on the deck while 
the sun went down in the sea, and the red sky darkened and 
the stars began to show and the moon to look out. Then I 
went below and ate my barley-bread and thought of what it 
was to be alone. 

It was that night that I bethought me of my watch, which 
I had not once looked for since the day of my immersion in 
the Cross Vein on Orrisdale, when I found it stopped from 
being full of water. In my fob it had lain with its seals and 
chain since then, but now I took it out and cleaned it with oil 
from the fat of the hare and wound it up. For months there- 

292 



OF HIS WAY OF LIFE 

after I set a great store by it, always carrying it in my fob 
when I went abroad, and when I came home to the boat always 
hanging it on a nail to the larboard of the stove-pipe in the 
cabin. And in the long silence of the night, when I heard it, 
sure, I thought, it is the same to me as good company. Very 
careful I was to wind it when the sun set, but if perchance it 
ran down, and I awoke in my bunk, and, hstening, heard it 
not, then it was as if the pulse had stopped of the little world 
I lived in, and there was nothing but a great emptiness. 

But withal my loneliness increased rather than diminished, 
and though I had no longer any hankering after my old way of 
life in ranging the moorlands with my gun, yet I felt that the 
activity of that existence had led me off from thinking too much 
of my forlorn condition. Wherefore, when my potatoes had 
begun to show above the ground, and I had earthed them up, 
I began to bethink me touching my boat, that it must be now 
the time of the herring-fishing come again, and that I would 
go out of nights and see what I could take. So never doubt- 
ing that single-handed I could navigate the lugger, I hoisted 
the nets out of the hold athwart the bunk-board, and took 
them ashore to mend and to bark them on the beach. I had 
spread them out on the shingle, and was using my knife and 
twine on the holes of the dog-fish, when suddenly from behind 
me there came the loud bark of a dog. Well I remember how 
I trembled at the sound of it, for it was the nearest to a man's 
voice that I had heard these many lonesome days, and how 
fearfully I turned my head over my shoulder as if some man 
had touched me and spoken. But what I saw was a poor 
mongrel dog, small as a cur, and with ragged ears, a peaky 
nose, and a scant tail, which for all its loud challenge it 
dangled woefully between its legs. Until then I had never 
smiled or wept since my cutting off, and I believed myself to 
have lost the sense of laughter and of tears, but I must have 
laughed at the sight of the dog, so much did it call to mind 
certain brave vaunters I had known, who would come up to a 
bout of wrestling with a right lusty brag, and straightway set 
to trembling before one had well put eyes on them. At the 
sound of my voice the dog wagged his tail, and crept up 
timidly with his muzzle down, and licked the liand I held out 
to him. All day he sat by me and watched me at my work, 
looking up in my face at whiles with a wistful gaze, and I gave 
him a morsel of oaten cake, which he ate greedily, seeming to 

293 



THE DEEMSTER 

be half starved of hunger. And when at dusk my task was 
finished and I rose and got into the dingy, thinking now he 
would go his ways and be seen of me no more, he leaped into 
the boat after me, and when we reached the lugger he settled 
himself in the comer under the locker as if he had now fully 
considered it that with me he would make his habitation 
henceforth. 

Having all things in readiness for the fishing, I slipt anchor 
upon an evening towards autumn, as I reckoned, for the leaves 
of the trammon were then closing like a withered hand and 
the berries of the hollin were reddening. When the stars 
were out, but no moon was yet showing, I put about head to 
the wind, and found myself in no wise hampered because 
short-handed, for when I had to take in my sails I lashed my 
tiller, and being a man of more than common strength of arm, 
it cost me nothing to step my mainmast. 

That night, and many nights thereafter, I had good takings 
of fish, and in the labour of looking after my corks and making 
fast my seizings the void in my mind was in some wise filled 
with other matter than thoughts of my abject state. But one 
thing troubled me at first, namely, that I took more fish by 
many mazes than I could ever consume. To make an end of 
my fishing was a thing I could not bring myself to, for I 
counted it certain that so to do would be to sink back to my 
former way of living. Wherefore I thought it safest to seek 
for some mode of disposing of my fish, such as would keep me 
at my present employment and do no harm to my feelings as 
a man, for with this I had now to reckon watchfully, being in 
constant danger, as I thought, of losing the sense of manhood. 

So I soused some hundreds of my herrings with rough salt, 
which I distilled from the salt water by boiling it in a pan 
with pebbles. The remainder I concluded to give to such as 
would consume them, and how to do this, being what I was, 
cost me many bitter thoughts, wherein I seemed to be the 
most unblessed of all men. At length I hit on a device, and 
straightway brought it to bear. Leaving my fishing-ground 
while the night was not yet far spent, I ran into the sound 
before dawn, for soon I learned those narrow waters until they 
grew familiar as the palm of my hand. Then before the sun 
rose above the Stack of Scarlet, and while the eastern sky was 
only dabbled with pink, I, with a basket of herrings on my 
shoulder, crossed the moor to Cregneesh, where the people 

294 



OF THE GHOSTLY HAND UPON HIM 

are poor and not proud, and, creeping in between the cabins, 
laid my fish down in the open place that is before the little 
chapel, and then went my way quickly least a door should 
suddenly open or a window be lifted, and a face look forth. 
Thrice I did this before I marked that there were those who 
were curious to know whence the fish came, and then I was 
put on my mettle to go into the village and yet to keep my- 
self from being seen, for well I knew that if any eye beheld 
me that knew me who I was, there would henceforward be 
an end of the eating of my herrings, even among the poorest, 
and an end of my fishing also. But many times I went into 
Cregneesh without being seen of any man, and now I know 
not whether to laugh or to weep when I look back on the 
days I write of, and see myself like a human fox stealing in 
by the grey of dawn among the sleeping homes of men. 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

OF THE GHOSTLY HAND UPON HIM 

All that autumn I followed the herrings, choosing my ground 
mainly by guess, but sometimes seeing the blue lights of the 
herring fleet rise close under my quarter, and at other times, 
when the air was still, hearing voices of men or the sound of 
laughter rumoured over the quiet waters. But ever fanciful 
to me, as a dream of a friend dead when it is past, was that 
sound on the sea, and as often as I heard it I took in my nets 
and hauled my sails, and stood out for the sound. Putting no 
light on my mitch-board, I would ofttimes pass the fleet within 
a cable's length and yet not be known, but once and again I 
knew by the hush of voices and the dying away of laughter 
on the boats about me that my dark craft was seen scudding 
like a black bird of evil omen through the night. 

In my cabin I was used to burn a tallow dip made of the 
fat of the birds I had shot and rushes from the soft places of 
the moor, and while my boat drifted under the mizzen be- 
tween take and take of herrings I Avould go below and sit 
with my dog. He grew sleek with the fare I found him, 
and I in these days recovered in a measure my sense of sight 
and hearing, for the sea's breath of brine is good to man. 

295 



THE DEEMSTER 

Millish veg-veen I called him, and, though a man of small 
cheer, I smiled to think what a sorry mis-name that name 
would seem in our harder English tongue. For my poor 
mongrel cur had his little sorry vices, such as did oft set me 
wondering what the chances of his life had been, and whether, 
like his new messmate, he had not somewhere been driven 
out. Nevertheless he had his good parts, too, and was a 
creature of infinite spirits. I think we were company each 
to the other, and if he had found me a cheerier mate-fellow, I 
doubt not we should have had some cheerful hours together. 

But in truth, though my fishing did much to tear me away 
from the burden of myself, it yet left me many lonesome 
hours wherein my anguish was sore and deep, and, looking 
to the years that might be before me, put me to the bitter 
question whether, being a man outside God's grace, I could 
hold out on so toilsome a course. Also, when I fell to sleep in 
the daytime, after my work of the night was done, I was much 
wrought upon by troublous dreams, which sometimes brought 
back the very breath and odour of my boyish days with the 
dear souls that filled them with joy, and sometimes plagued 
me with awful questions which in vain I tried to answer, 
knowing that my soul's welfare lay therein. And being much 
followed by the thought that the spii-it of the beast of the 
field lay in wait to fall on the spirit of the man within me, 
I was also put to great terror in my watchfulness and the 
visions that came to me in hours of idleness and sleep. But 
suddenly this sentence fell on my mind : " Thou art free to go 
whithersoever thou wilt, though it be the uttermost reaches 
of the earth. Go, then, where men are, and so hold thy soul 
as a man." 

Long did this sentence trouble me, not being able to make 
a judgment upon it, but at length it fastened on me that I 
must follow it, and that all the dread I had felt hitherto of 
the face of man was no more than a think-so. Thereupon I 
concluded that I would go into Castletown at high fair on the 
next market-day, which 1 should know from other days by 
the carts I could descry from the top of the Mull going the 
way of Rushen Church and Kentraugh. This resolve I never 
brought to bear, for the same day whei-eon I made it a great 
stroke fell upon my spirit and robbed me of the little where- 
with I had tried to comfort me. 

Going out of the sound that night by the Spanish Head, 
296 



OF THE GHOSTLY HAND UPON HIM 

for the season was far worn and the herrings lay to the east- 
ward of the island, I mai-ked in the dusk that a smack that 
bore the Peel brand on its canvas was rounding the Cliicken 
Rocks of the Calf. So I stood out well to sea^ and did not 
turn my head to the wind, and cast my nets, until I was full 
two leagues from shore. Then it was black dark, for the 
night was heavy, and a mist lay between sea and sky. But 
soon thereafter I saw a blue light to my starboard bow, and 
guessed that the smack from Peel had borne down in my 
wake. How long I lay on that ground I know not, for the 
takings were good, and I noted not the passage of time. But 
at short whiles I looked towards the blue light, and mai'ked 
that as my boat drifted so did the smack drift, and that 
we were yet Avithin hail. The moon came out with white 
streamers from behind a rack of cloud, and knowing then 
that the fishing was over for that night — for the herring does 
not run his gills into mischief when he has light to see by — 
I straightway fell to hauling my nets. And then it was that 
I found the smell of smoke in my nostrils, and heard loud 
voices from the Peel town smack. Lifting my eyes, I could 
at first see nothing, for though the moon's light was in the 
sky, the mist was still on the sea, and through it there seemed 
to roll slowly, for the wind was low, a tunnel of smoke like 
fog. Well I knew that something was amiss, and soon the 
mist lifted like a dark veil into the air, and the smoke veered, 
and a flash of red flame rose from the smack of the Peelmen. 
Then I saw that the boat was afire, and in two minutes moi'e 
the silence of tlie sea was lost in the fire's loud hiss and the 
men's yet louder shouts. It was as if a serpent in the bowels 
of the boat struggled to make its way out, and long tongues 
of fire shot out of the scuttle, the hold, the combings, and the 
flue of the stove. Little thought had I then of these things, 
though now by the eye of memory I see them, and also the 
sinuous trail of red water that seemed to crawl over the dark 
sea from the boat afire to the boat I sailed in. I had stepped 
my mast and hoisted sail before yet I knew what impulse 
possessed me, but with my hand on the tiller to go to the 
relief of the men in peril. On a sudden I was seized with a 
mighty fear, and it was as though a ghostly hand were laid on 
me from behind, and a voice above the tumult of that moment 
seemed to cry in my ears, " Not for you, not for you." Then 
in great terror I tui-ned my boat's head away from the bui-n- 

297 



THL DEEMSTER 

ing smack, and as I did so the ghostly hand did relax and 
the voice did cease to peal in mine ears. 

"They will drop into their dingy," I said with myself. 
" Yes," I said, as the sweat started cold from my forehead, 
"they will drop into the dingy and be saved ; " and turning 
my head I saw, by the flame of the fire, that over the bulwark 
at the stem two men were tumbling down into the small boat 
that they hauled behind. And I sped away in agony, for 
now I knew how deep was the wrath upon me, that it was 
not for me so much as to stretch my accursed hand to perish- 
ing men to save them. Scarce had I gone a cable's length 
when a great shout, mingled with oaths, made me to turn 
my head, thinking the crew of the boat were crying curses 
down on me, not knowing me, for deserting them in their 
pei'il, but I was then in the tunnel of smoke wherein I might 
not be seen, and, lo, I saw that the dingy with the two men 
was sheering off, and that other two of their mates were left 
on the burning boat. 

" Haul the wind and run the waistrels down, d them," 

shouted one of the two men on the smack, and amid the leap- 
ing flames the mainsail shot up and filled, and a man stood to 
the tiller, and with an oath he shouted to the two in the 
small boat that for their treachery they should go down to 
hell straightway. 

In the glare of that fierce light and the turmoil of that 
moment my eyes grew dim, as they had been on the day of 
my cutting off, and I squeezed their lids together to relieve 
them of water. Then I saw how fearful a thing was going on 
within my cable's length. Two men of a crew of four in the 
burning smack had got themselves into the small boat and 
cleai'ed off without thought of their comrades who were strug- 
gling to save their craft, and now the two abandoned men, 
doomed to near death in fire or water, were with their last 
power of life, and in life's last moments — for aught they could 
tell — thirsting for deadly vengeance. On the smack went, 
with its canvas bellied, and the flames shooting through and 
hissing over it, but just as it came by the small boat the men 
therein pulled to the windward and it shot past. 

Ere this was done, and while the smack's bow was dead on 
for the dingy, I too had sheered round and was beating up 
after the burning boat, and when the men thereon saw me 
come up out of the smoke they ceased to curse their false 

298 



OF THE GHOSTLY HAND UPON HIM 

comrades and made a great cry of thanks to God. At a dis- 
tance of six fathoms I laid to, thinking the men would plunge 
into the sea and come to me, but, apprehending my thoughts, 
one shouted me to come closer, for that he could not swim. 
Closer to the burning smack I would not go from fear of firing 
my own boat, and I dared not to risk that fate wherein we 
might all have been swallowed up together. For despair, that 
fortifies some men, did make of me a coward, and I stood in 
constant terror of the coming of death. So I stripped me of 
my jacket and leapt into the water and swam to the boat, and 
climbed its open combings as best I could through the flame 
and heat. On the deck the two men stood, enveloped in 
swirling clouds of smoke, but I saw them where they were, and 
pulling one into the water after me, the other followed us, and 
we reached my boat in safety. 

Then, as I rubbed my face, for the fire had burnt one cheek, 
the men fell to thanking me in a shamefaced way — as is the 
manner of their kind, fearing to show feeling — when on a 
sudden they stopped short, for they had lifted their eyes, and 
in the flame of their boat had seen me, and at the same moment 
I had looked upon them and known them. They Avere Illiam 
Quilleash and Edward Teare, and they fell back from me and 
made for the bow, and stood there in silence together. 

Taking the tiller, I bore in by tacks for Port-le-Mary, and 
there I landed the men, who looked not my way nor ever spoke 
word or made sign to me, but went off with their heads doAvn. 
And when I stood out again through the Poolvash to round 
the Spanish Head and make for my moorings in the sound, 
and saw the burning smack swallowed up by the sea with a 
groan that came over the still waters, its small boat passed me 
going into harbour, and the men who rowed it were Crennell 
and Corkell, and Avhen they saw me they knew me, and made 
a broad sweep out of my course. Now all this time the ghostly 
hand had been on my shoulder, and the strange voice had 
pealed in mine ears, and though I v/anted not to speak with 
any man, nor that any man should speak with me, yet I will 
not say but that it went to my heart that I should be like as 
a leper from whose uncleanness all men should shrink away. 

For many days hereafter this lay vtdth a great trouble upon 
me, so that I let go my strong intent of walking into Castle- 
town at high fair, and put this question with myself, whether 
it was written that I should carry me through this world down 

299 



THE DEEMSTER 

to dentil's right ending. Not as before did I now so deeply 
jibhor myself; but felt for myself a secret compassion. In 
truth I had no bitterness left in my heart for my fellow-men, 
but, tossed with the fear that if I lived alone much longer I 
must surely lose my reason, and hence my manhood, sinking 
down to the brute, this consideration fell with weight upon 
me: What thou hast suffered is from men who know thy crime, 
and stand in terror of the curse upon thee, wherein thou art 
so blotted out of the book of the living that without sin none 
may look thy way : Go therefore where no man knows thee, 
and the so heavy burden thou bearest will straightway fall 
from thee. Now, at this thought my heart was full of com- 
fort, and I went back to my former design of leaving this place 
for ever. But before I had well begun what I was minded to 
do a strange accident befell me, and the relation thereof is as 
foUoweth. 

By half-flood of an evening late in autumn — for though the 
watch showed short of six the sun was already down — I left my 
old moorings inside the rocks of Kitterland, thinking to slip 
anchor there no more. The breeze was fresh in the sound, and 
outside it was stiff from the nor'-east, and so I ran out with a 
fair wind for Ireland, for I had considered with myself that to 
that country I would go, because the people there are tender of 
heart and not favoured by God. For a short while I had enough 
to think of in managing my cordage, but when I was well away 
to sou'-west of the Calf suddenly the wind slackened. Then 
for an hour full I stood by the tiller with little to do, and 
looked back over the green waters to the purple mountains 
vanishing in the dusk, and around to the western sky, where 
over the line of sea the crimson streamers were still trailing 
where the sun had been, like as the radiance of a goodly 
life remains a while after the man has gone. And with that 
eye that sees double, the thing that is without and that 
which is within, I saw myself then in my little craft on the 
lonely sea like an uncompanionable bird in the wide sky, and 
my heart began to fail me, and for the first time since my 
cutting off I must have wept. For I thought I was leaving 
for ever the fair island of my home, with all that had made 
it dear in dearer days. Though it had turned its back on 
me since, and knew me no more, but had blotted out my 
name from its remembrance, yet it was mine, and the only 
spot of earth on all this planet — go whither I would — that I 

300 



OF THE GHOSTLY HAND UPON HIM 

could call my own. How long tliis mood lasted I hardly can 
say, but over the boat two gulls hovered or circled and cried, 
and I looked up at their white transparent wings, for lack 
of better employment, until the light was gone and another 
day had swooned to another night. The wind came up with 
the darkness, and, more in heart than before, I stood out 
for the south of Ireland, and reached my old fishing port of 
Kinsale by the dawn of the next day. 

Then in the gentle sun of that autumn morning I walked 
up from the harbour to the market-place, and there found 
a strange company assembled about the inn, and in the 
midst were six or seven poor ship-broken men, shoeless, half 
naked, and lean of cheek from the long peril and privation 
that eats the flesh and makes the eyes hollow. In the middle 
of the night they had come ashore on a raft, having lost their 
ship by foundering twelve days before. This I learned from 
the gossip of the people about them, and also that they had 
eaten supper at the inn and slept there. While I stood and 
looked on there came out in the midst of the group two 
other men, and one of them was their captain and the other 
the innkeeper. And I noted well that the master of the 
inn was suave to his tattered customers, and spoke of break- 
fast as being made ready. 

" But first go to the Mayor," said he, addressing the captain, 
"and make your protest, and he will lend whatever moneys 
you want." 

The captain, nothing loath, set out with a cheerful counte- 
nance for the Mayor of the town, a servant of the inn going 
with him to guide him. The ship-broken crew stayed behind, 
and I, who was curious to learn if their necessities would be 
relieved, remained standing in the crowd around them. And 
while we waited, and the men sat on the bench in front of 
the inn, thei'e came down on them from every side the harpies 
that find sea-going men with clothes. There was one with 
coats and one with guernseys, and one with boots of leather 
and one of neat's-skin, and with these things they made every 
man to fit himself And if one asked the price, and protested 
that he had got no money, the Samaritans laughed and bade 
them not to think of price or money until their captain should 
return from the treasury of the Mayor. The seamen took 
all with good cheer, and every man jncked out what he wanted, 
and put it on, throwing his rags aside laughing. 

301 



THE DEEMSTER 

But presently the master of the crew returned, and his face 
was heavy ; and when his men asked how he had fared, and 
if the Mayor had advanced him anything, he told them No, 
and that the Mayor had said he was no usurer to lend money. 
At that there were groans and oaths from the crew, and looks 
of bewilderment among those who had fetched the clothes ; 
but the innkeeper said all would be well, and that they had 
but to send for a merchant in the next street who made it 
his trade to advance money to ship-broken men. This news 
brought back the light to the dark face of the captain, and 
he sent the servant of the inn to fetch the merchant. 

When this man came my mind misgave, for I saw the stamp 
of uncharity in his face. But the captain told his story, 
whereof the sum was this : — That they were the English crew 
of the brig Betsey, and were seven days out from Bristol, 
bound for Buenos Ayres, when they foundered on a rock, and 
had made their way thither on a raft, suffering much from 
hunger and the cold of the nights, and that they wanted three 
pounds advance on their owners to carry them to Dublin, 
whence they could sail for their own port. But the merchant 
curled his hard lip and said he had just before been deceived 
by strangers, and could not lend money except to men of 
whom he knew somethmg; that they were strangers, and, 
moreover, by their own words entitled to no more than six 
days' pay apiece. And so he went his way. 

Hardly had he gone when the harpies of the coats and 
boots and guernseys called on the men to strip off these 
good gai-ments, which straightway they rolled in their several 
bundles, and then elbowed themselves out of the crowd. The 
poor seamen, resuming their rags, were now in sad case, 
scarce knowing whether most to curse their misfortunes or 
to laugh at the grim turn that they were taking, when the 
captain, in a chafe, called on the innkeeper to give breakfast 
to his men, for that he meant to push on to the next town, 
where people might be found who had more humanity. 
But the innkeeper, losing his by-respects, shook his head, 
and asked where was his pay to come from for what he had 
already done. 

Now, when I heard this, and saw the men rise up to go on 
their toilsome way with naked, bleeding feet, suddenly I be- 
thought me that, though I had little money, I had what would 
bring money, and before I had taken time to consider I had 

302 



OF THE GHOSTLY HAND UPON HIM 

whipped my watch from my fob to thrust it into the captain's 
hands. But when I would have parted the crowd to do so, 
on a sudden that same ghostly hand that I have before men- 
tioned seemed to seize me from behind. Then on the instant 
I faced about to hasten away, for now the struggle within 
me was more than I could bear, and I stopped and went on, 
and stopped again and again went on, and all the time the 
watch was in my palm, and the ghostly hand on my shoulder. 
At last, thinking sure that the memory of the seven sea- 
going men, hungiy and ill-clad, would follow me, and rise 
up to torment me on land and sea, I wheeled around and ran 
back hot-foot and did as I was minded. Then I walked rapidlj' 
away from the market-place, and passing down to the harbour, 
I saw a Peeltown fisherman, and knew that he saw me also. 

Now, I should have been exceeding glad if this thing had 
never befallen, for though it made my feeling less ungentle 
towards the two men, my old shipmates, who had turned from 
me as from a leper when I took them from the burning boat, 
yet it brought me to a sense that was full of terror to my op- 
pressed spirit, namely, that though I might fly to lands where 
men knew nothing o^my great crime, yet that the curse thereof 
was mostly within mine own afflicted soul, from which I could 
never flee away. 

All that day I stayed in my boat, and the sun shone and 
the sky was blue, but my heart was filled with darkness. And 
when night fell in I had found no comfort, for then I knew that 
from my outcast state there was no escape. This being so, 
whether to go back to mine ovra island was now my question. 
Oh, it is a goodly thing to lie down in the peace of a mind at 
ease and rise up from the refreshment of the gentle sleep. But 
not for me was that blessed condition. The quaking of my 
spirit was more than I could well stand under without losing 
my reason, and in the fear of that mischance lay half the pain 
of life to me. Long were the dark hours, and when the soft 
daylight came again I did resolve that go back to my own 
island I would. For what was it to me though the world 
was wide if the little place I lived in was but my own nar- 
row soul .'' 

That night in the boat for lack of the tick of my watch there 
seemed to be a void in the air of my cabin. But when the 
tide was about the bottom of the ebb I lieard the plash of an 
oar alongside, and presently the sound of something that fell 

303 



THE DEEMSTER 

overhead. Next morning I found my watch lying on the deck 
by the side of the liatches. 

At the top of the flood I lifled anchor and dropped down 
the harbour, having spoken no word to any man since I sailed 
into it. 



CHAPTER XL 

OF HIS GREAT LONELINESS 

Back at my old moorings inside the rocks of Kitterland, I knew 
full well that the Almighty Majesty was on this side of me 
and on that, and I had nothing to look for now or hereafter. 
But I think the extremity of my condition gave me some false 
courage, and my good genius seemed to say. What have you 
to lament? You have health, and food, and freedom, and 
you live under no taskmaster's eye. Let the morning see you 
rise in content, and let the night look on you lying down in 
thankfulness. And turn not your face to the future to the 
unsettling of your spirit, so that when your time comes you 
may not die with a pale face. Then did I laugh at my old 
yearning for fellowship, and asked wherefore I should be 
lonely since I lived in the same planet with other men, and 
had the same moon and stars above my sleep as hung over the 
busy world of men. In such wise did I comfort my torn heart, 
and shut it up from troubling me, but well I knew that I was 
like to one who cries peace where there is no peace, and that 
in all my empty sophistry concerning the moon and the stars 
there was no blood of poor human neighbourliness. 

Nevertheless, I daily went about my business, in pursuance 
whereof I walked up to the place over the Black Head where 
I had planted my corn and potatoes. These in their course 
I reaped and delved, cutting the barley and rye with my 
clasp-knife for sickle, and digging a burrow in the earth for 
my potatoes. Little of either I had, but enough for my frugal 
needs until more might grow. 

When my work was done, and I had no longer any em- 
ployment to take me ashore, the autumn had sunk to winter, 
for in this Island of Man the cold and the mist come at a 
stride. Then sitting alone in my boat, with no task save such 
as I could make for myself, and no companion but Uttle Veg- 

304 



OF HIS GREAT LONELINESS 

veen, the strength of the sophistry wherewith I had appeased 
myself broke down pitifully. The nights were long and dark, 
and the sun shone but rarely for many days together. Few 
were the ships that passed the mouth of the sound, either to 
east or west of it, and smce my coming to moorage there no 
boat had crossed its water. Cold and bleak and sullen it lay 
aroimd my boat, reflecting no more the forehead of the Calf, 
and lying now under the sunless sky like a dead man's face 
that is moved neither to smiles nor tears. And an awful 
weariness of the sea came to me then, such as the loneliest 
land never brought to the spirit of a Christian man, for sitting 
on the deck of my little swaying craft, with the beat of the 
sea on its timbers, and the sea-fowl jabbering on Kitterland, 
and perhaps a wild colt racing the wind on the Calf, it came 
into my mind to think that as far as eye could see or ear could 
hear there was nothing around me but the hand of God. 
Then all was darkness within me, and I did oft put the ques- 
tion to myself if it was possible for man to be with God alone 
and live. 

Now it chanced upon a day that I wanted potatoes out of 
my buiTow over the Black Head, and that returning there- 
from towai'ds nightfall I made a circuit of the stone circle 
above the Chasms, and at the northernmost side of it, mid- 
way to Cregneesh, came on a sight that arrested my breath. 
This was a hut built against a steepness of rugged land from 
which stones had sometimes been quarried. The walls were 
of turf ; the roof was of gorse and sticks, with a hole in it 
for chimney. Window there was none, and the doorway was 
half closed by a broken gate, whereof the bars were inter- 
twined with old straw. 

Mean it was, and desolate it looked on the wild moorland, 
but it was a mark of the hand of man, and I who had dwelt 
so long with God's hand everywhere about me was touched 
with a sense of human friendliness. Hearing no voice within, 
I crept up and looked into the little place. A bed of straw 
was in one comer, and facing it was a lump of freestone 
hollowed out for the bed of a fire. A broken pipe lay near 
this rude hearth, and the floor was of mountain turf worn 
bare and hard. Two sacks, a kettle, a saucepan, and some 
potato-parings were the only other things in the hut, and 
poor as it all was, it touched me so that in looking upon it I 
think my eyes were wet, because it was a man's habitation. 

305 U 



THE DEEMSTER 

I remember that as I turned to go away the rain began to 
fall, and the jiattering drops on the roof seemed to my eye 
and ear to make the place more human. 

In going back to my boat that day I came nearer to Creg- 
necsh than was my wont in the daytime, and though the 
darkness was coming down from the mountains, I could yet 
see into the streets from the knoll I passed over. And there 
in the unpaved way before a group of houses I saw a witless 
man in coat and breeches, but no vest or shirt, and with a 
rope about his waist, dancing and singing to a Httle noisy 
crowd gathered about him. 

After that I had come upon the hut my mind ran much on 
the thought of it, and in three days or thereabouts I went 
back to look at it again, and coming near to it from behind 
saw sundry beehives of a rude fashioning made of straw and 
sticks. Veg-veen was with me, for he was now my constant 
company, and in a moment he had bounced in at the doorway 
and out again at yet more speed, with three of his kind close 
at his tail. Before I could turn me about to go away a man 
followed the dogs out of the hut, and he was the same witless 
being that I had seen at his dancing in the streets of Creg- 
neesh. His lip lagged low and his eyes were dull as a 
rabbit's ; on his head was a crownless hat through which his 
hair was seen, and I saw that his breast, where his shirt should 
be, was blackened as with soot. I would have gone about 
my own employments but he spoke, telling me not to fear 
him, for it was false that he was possessed, as hardspoken 
people said, with the spirit of delusion. I answered nothing 
to this, but stood and listened with eyes turned aside, while 
the broken brain of the poor creature rambled on. 

" They call me Billy the Bees," he said, " because I catch 
them and rear them — look," and he pointed to his hives. He 
talked of his three dogs and named them, saying that they 
slept in a sack together, and that in the same sack he slept 
with them. Something he said of the cold that had been 
coming latterly, and pointed to the soot on his breast, saying 
that it kept him warm. He told how he made a circuit of 
the farmhouses once a week, dancing and singing at all of 
them, and how the people gave him barley-meal and eggs. 
Much more he said, but because the method of it — where 
method there was any — has gone from my memory I pass it. 
That the world was nigh about its end he knew of a surety, 

306 



OF HIS GREAT LONELINESS 

because lie saw that if a man had money and great store of 
gear, it mattered not what else he wanted. These with other 
such words he spoke ramblingly, and I stood aside and an- 
swered him nothing, neither did I look up into his face. At 
last he said timidly, " I know I have always been weak in my 
intellects," and hearing that I could bear to hear no more, 
but went about my business with a great weight of trouble 
upon me. And " O God," I cried that night in my agony, 
" I am an ignorant sot, without the grace of human tender- 
ness or the gift of understanding. I am guilty before Thee, 
and no man careth for my soul, but from this affliction, O 
Almighty Master, save me ; save me from this degradation, 
for it threatens me, and when death comes that stands at 
the foot of life's awful account I will pay its price with 
thankfulness." 

Now after this meeting with the witless man the weariness 
that I had felt of my home on the sea lay the heavier on my 
spirits, and I concluded with myself that I should forsake my 
boat and build me a home on the land within sight of man's 
habitation. So I walked the cliffs fi-om the Mull Hills to the 
Noggin Head, and at last I lit on the place I looked for. Near 
to the land where I had lately broken the fallows and grown 
me a crop of corn and potatoes there were four roofless walls. 
Sometime a house had stood there, but being built on the 
brink of the great clefts in the earth that we call the Chasms 
it had shrunken in some settlement of the ground. This had 
afh-ighted the poor souls who inhabited it, and they had left 
it to fall into ruins. Such was the tale I heard long after- 
wards, but none came near it then, and none have come near 
to it since. Save the four bare walls, and a wall that crossed it 
midway, nothing was left. Where the floor had been the 
grass was growing ; wormwood was in the settle nook, and 
whinberries had ripened and rotted on the hearth. The 
door lintel was gone, and the sill of the window was fallen off. 
There was a round patch of long grass where the well had 
been, and near to where the porch once stood the trammon- 
tree still grew, and thus, though the good people who had 
lived and died there, been born and buried, were gone from 
it for ever, the sign of their faith, or their superstition, lived 
after them. 

Better for me than this forsaken place it was hard for any 
place to be. On a dangerous spot it stood, and therefore 

307 



THE DEEMSTER 

none would come anigh it. Near to Cregneesh it was, and 
from tlie rising ground above it I could look down on the 
homes of men. Truly it looked out on the sea, and had a 
great steepness of shelving rocks going down to an awe- 
some depth, where, on the narrow beach of shingle, the 
tide beat with a woeful moan ; but though the sea was so 
near, and the sea-fowl screamed of an evening from the 
great rock like a cone that lifted its gaunt finger a cable's 
length away, yet to me it was within the very pulse of 
human life. 

So I set to work, and roofed it with driftwood and turf and 
gorse ; and then with lime from a cliff' at the Tubdale Creek 
in the Calf I whitened it within and without, walls and roof. 
A door I made in somewise, and for a window I had a piece 
of transparent skin, liaving no glass. And when all was made 
ready 1 moved my goods from the boat to my house, taking 
all that seemed necessary — flour, and meat, and salt, and my 
implements, as well as my bed and the spare clothes I had, 
which were not many. 

I had been in no haste with this work, being well content 
with such employment, but it came to an end at last, and the 
day that I finished my task was a day late in the first year 
after my cutting off. This I knew because the nights were 
long, and I had been trying with my watch to cast on the 
shortest day, and thereby recover my lost count of time. On 
the night of my first sleeping in my new home there came a 
fierce storm of wind and rain from the east. Four hours the 
gale lasted, and often the gulls were dashed screaming at the 
walls wherem I sat by the first fire I had yet kindled on my 
hearth. Towards midnight the wind fell suddenly to a dead 
calm, and, looking out, I saw that the moon was coming very 
bright in its rising from behind a heavy cloud over the sea. So, 
wondering what chance had befallen my boat — for though I 
had left it I had a tenderness for it and meant perchance to 
use it again — I set out for the sound. When I got to the 
head of the cliff"! could plainly see the rocks of Kitterland, and 
the whole length of the Doon Creek, but where my boat had 
been moored no boat could I see, nor any trace of one from 
Fistard Head on the east to Half- Walk Rock on the west. 
Next morning, under a bright winter's sun, I continued the 
search for my boat, and with the rising tide at noon I saw her 
thrown up on to the beach of the Doon, dismasted, without 

308 



OF HIS GREAT LONELINESS 

spar or boom, bilged below her water-line, and altogether a 
hopeless hulk. I made some scabbling shift to pull her above 
high-water mark, and then went my ways. 

Now this loss, for so I considered it, did at first much 
depress me, thinking, with a bitter envy of my late past, that 
my future showed me a far more unblessed condition, seeing 
that I was now for ever imprisoned on this island, and could 
never leave it again Avhatsoever evil might befall. But when 
I had thought twice upon it my mind came to that point that 
I was filled with gratitude : first, because the wrecking of my 
boat on the very day of my leaving it seemed to give assur- 
ance that, in making my home on the land, I had done that 
which was written for me to do ; and next, because I must 
inevitably have been swallowed up in the storm if I had 
stayed on the sea a single night longer. And my terror of 
death was such that to have escaped the peril of it seemed 
a greater blessing than releasement from this island could 
ever be. 

Eveiy day thereafter, and oftenest at daybreak, I walked 
up to the crest of the rising ground at the back of my house, 
and stood awhile looking down on Cregneesh, and watching 
for the white smoke that lay like a low cloud over the hollow 
place wherein Port Erin lay. After that I had done this I 
felt strangely refreshed as by a sense of companionship, and 
went about my work, such as it was, with content. But on 
a bitter morning, some time in December, as I thought, I 
came upon a sight that well-nigh froze my heart within me, 
for, outstretched on the bare moorland, under the bleak sky 
and in the lee of a thick gorse bush tii)ped with yellow, I 
found the witless man, Billy the Bees, lying cold and dead. 
His bare chest was blue, as with starvation, under the soot 
wherewith in his simpleness he had blackened it, and his 
pinched face told of privation and of pain. And now that he 
lay stretched out dead I saw that he had been a man of my 
own stature. In his hut, which was farther away than my 
own house from the place where he lay, there was neither 
])ite nor sup, and his dogs seemed to have deserted him in his 
poverty, for they were gone. The air had softened percep- 
tibly for some minutes while I went thither, and as I returned 
to the poor body, wondering what to do with it, the snow be- 
gan to fall in big flakes. " It will cover it," I said with my- 
self. "The snow will bury it," I tliought ; and casting a look 

309 



THE DEEMSTER 

back over my shoulder, I went home with a great burthen of 
trouble upon me. 

All that clay, and other two days, the snow continued to 
fall, until the walls of my house were blocked up to the level 
of my window, and I had to cut a deep trench to the gable 
where I piled my wood. And for more than a week follow- 
ing, shut in from my accustomed walk, I sat alone in the great 
silence and tried to keep my mind away from the one fearful 
thought that now followed it. Remembering those long hours 
and the sorry employments I found for them — scrabbling on 
all-fours in play with Millish-veg-veen, laughing loud, and 
barking back at the dog's shrill bark, I could almost weep 
while here I write to think of the tragic business that vv^as at 
the same time lying heavy on my spirit. Christmas Day fell 
while thus I was imprisoned, for near to midnight I heard the 
church bells ring for Oiel Verrce. 

When the snow began to melt I saw that the dog put his 
muzzle to the bottom of the door constantly, and as often as I 
drove him away he returned to the same place. I will not say 
what awful thing came then to my mmd, knowing a dog's 
nature, and how near to my door lay the body of the witless 
man ; only that I shuddered with a fear that was new to me 
when I remembered that, by the curse I lived under, the time 
would come when my unburied bones would lie on the bare 
face of the moor. 

As soon as the snow had melted down to within a foot's 
depth of the earth, I went out of my house and turned towards 
where my poor neighbour lay ; but before I had come close 
to him I saw that two men were coming over the hillside 
by way of Port-le-Mary, and, wishing not to be seen by 
them, I crept back and lay by the hinder wall of my house 
to watch what they did. Then 1 saw that they came up 
to the body of the witless man and saw it, and stood over it 
some minutes talking earnestly, and then passed along on 
their way. And as they walked they turned aside and came 
close up by the front of my house, and looked in at the win- 
dow, pushing the skin away. Standing by the wall, holding 
Veg-veen by the throat lest he should betray me, I heard 
some words the men said each to the other before they 
went on again. 

"Well, man, he's dead at last, poor craythur " said one, 
"and good luck too." 

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OF HOW HE KEPT HIS MANHOOD 

And the other answered, " Aw, dear, to think, to think ! No 
man ahve could stand up agen it. Aw, ter'ble, ter'ble ! " 

"I was at the Tynwald myself yander day," said the first, 
"and I'll give it a year, I was saying, to finish him, and 
behould ye, he's lying dead in half the time." 

Then both together said, " God bless me ! " and passed on. 

At that moment my eyes became dim, and a sound as of 
running water went through my ears. I staggered into my 
house, and sat down by the cold hearth, for in my eagerness to 
go forth on my errand at first awakening no fire had I kindled. 
I recalled the words that the men had spoken, and repeated 
them aloud one by one, and very slowly, that I might be sure 
I took their meaning rightly. This done, I said with myself, 
" This error will go far, until the wide island will say that he 
who was cut off, he who is nameless among men, is dead." 
Dead ? What then ? I had heard that when death came and 
took away a bad man, its twin-angel, the angel of mercy, bent 
over those who were left behind on the earth, and drew out of 
their softened hearts all evil report and all uncharity. 

And a great awe slid over me at that thought, and the gracious 
dew of a strange peace fell upon me. But close behind it came 
the other thought, that this error would reach my father also — ■ 
God preserve him ! — and Mona — God's holy grace be with 
her ! — and bring them pain. And then it came to me to think 
that when men said in their hearing, " He whom you wot of 
is newly dead," they would take heart and answer, " No, he 
died long ago ; it was only his misery and God's wrath that 
died yesterday." 

With this thought I rose up and went out, and put some 
shovels of earth over the body of my poor neighbour that his 
face might be hidden from the sky. 



CHAPTER XLI 

or HOW HE KEPT HIS MANHOOD 

The great snow lay long on the mountains and died off in its 
silence like one who passes away in sleep. And the spring 
came, the summer and the winter yet again, and to set down 
in this writing all that befell would be a weariness, for I feel 

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THE DEEMSTER 

as I write that the pulse of my life is low ; and neither am I 
one who can paint his words with wit. My way of life has 
now grown straight and even, and at my simple employments 
I wrought early and late, that by much bodily toil I might 
keep in check the distempers of my mind. 

With my fishing-boat, my gun, which I had left behind me 
of design, had been carried to the bottom of the sound, and 
when the hulk of the lugger drifted up with the tide the gun 
was no longer within her. This I took for a direction to me 
that I should hunt no more. Nevertheless for some while I 
went on to fish with a line from my small boat, which, being 
on the beach, the storm had spared. But soon it was gotten 
into my head that, if to shoot a hare was an ill deed, to take 
a cod was but a poor business. Well I knew that there was 
some touch of insanity in such fancies, and that for man to 
kill and eat was the law of life, and the rather because it was 
enjoined of God that so he should do. But being a man like 
as I was, cut off from the land of the living, never more to 
have footing there for the great crime committed of spilling 
blood, I think it was not an ungentle madness that made me 
fear to take life, whether wantonly or of hunger's need. This 
dread lay close to me, and got to extremities whereat one of 
healthy mind might smile. For being awakened some nights 
in succession by the nibble of a mouse, I arose from my bed in 
the dawn, and saw the wee mite, and struck it with an iron 
rod and killed it, and then suffered many foolish twitches, not 
from pity for the mouse, for of humanity I had none left, but 
from the sudden thought that the s})irit of its life, which I had 
driven from its harmless body, was now about me as an invi- 
sible thing. Though I had fallen into such a weakness, yet I 
think that where choice was none for one like me between the 
weakness of a man and the strength of a beast, I did least 
injury to my own nature and disposition by yielding with 
childish indulgence towards the gentler side. 

And truly it is a beautiful thing to mark how the creatures 
of earth and air will answer with confidence to man's tender- 
ness, whether, as with my saintly father, it comes of the love 
of them, or, as with me, of the love of myself. The sea-fowl 
flew in at my door and pecked up the morsels that fell at my 
feet ; the wild duck on the moor would not rise though I 
walked within a stride of it ; a f;it hare nested in a hole under 
my house and came out at dusk to nibble the parings of 

312 



OF HOW HE KEPT HIS MANHOOD 

potatoes that I threw at the door, and, but for Milhsh-veg- 
veen and his sly treacheries, with the rabbits of the Black 
Head I might have sported as with a kitten. 

I could fill this account with the shifts I was put to by want 
of many things that even a lone man may need for his comfort 
or his cheer. Thus, I was at pains to devise a substitute for 
tinder, having lost much of all I had in the wrecking of my 
boat ; and to find leather for the soles of my shoes when they 
were worn to the welt was long a search. 

Yet herein my case was but that of many another man who 
has told of his privation, and the less painful was my position 
for that I had much to begin my battle of life with. In this 
first year of my unblessed condition my senses not only re- 
covered their wonted strength, but grew keener than before 
my cutting off. Oft did my body seem to act without help of 
my intelligence, and, with a mind on other matters, I would 
find my way over the trackless moor back to my home in the 
pitch of darkness, and never so much as stumble by a stone. 
When the wind was from the north, or when the air lay still, 
I could hear the church bells that rang in the market square at 
Castletown, and thereby I knew what the day of the week was. 
None came nigh to my dwelling, but if a man passed it by at the 
space of two furlongs I seemed to feel his tread on the turf. 

And now, as I hold the pen for these writings, my hand is 
loath and my spirit is not fain to tell of the strange humours 
of these times. So ridiculous and yet so tragic do they look 
as they come back to me in the grave-clothes of memory, that 
my imagination, being no longer turned wayward, shrinks from 
them as sorry things that none shall see to be of nature save 
he who has lived in an outcast state. But if the eyes I look 
for should ever read these lines, the tender soul behind them 
will bring me no laughter for my pains, and I ask no tears. 
Only for my weakness let it be remembered that the terror of 
my life was that the spirit of madness and of the beast of the 
field waited and watched to fall upon me and to destroy the 
spirit of the man within me. 

It is not to be expressed with what eagerness I strove to live 
in my solitude as a man should live in the company of his 
fellows. Down to the pettiest detail of personal manners I 
tried to do as other men must be doing. Whatsoever seemed 
to he the habit of a Christian man, that I practised, and (though 
all alone and having no man's eye to see me) with a grim and 

313 



THE DEEMSTER 

awesome earnestness. Thus before food, I not only washed 
but dressed afresh, taking off tlie sea-boots or the curranes I 
worked in, and })utting on my shoes with silver buckles. My 
seaman's jacket I removed for a long coat of blue, and I was 
careful that my shirt was spotless. In this wise I also never 
failed to attire myself in the evening of the day for the short 
hours of rest between my woi-k and my bed. That my cheeks 
should be kejjt clean of hair and that the hair of my head 
should never outgrow itself was a constant care, for I stood in 
fear of the creej)ing consciousness which my face in the glass 
might bring me that I was other than other men. But I am 
loath to set down my little foolish formalities on sitting to 
meat and rising from it, and the silly ceremonies wherewith I 
indulged myself at going abroad and coming home. Inex- 
pressibly comic and ridiculous some of them would seem to 
me now, but for the tragic meaning that in my terror underlay 
them. And remembering how much a defaulter I had been 
in all such courtesies of life when most they were called for, I 
could almost laugh to think how scrupulous I was in their 
observance when I was quite alone, with never an eye to see 
me, what I did or how I was clad, or in what sorry fashion I 
in my solitude acquitted myself like a man. 

But though I could be well disposed to laugh at my notions 
of how to keep my manhood while com])elled to live the life of 
a beast, alone like a wolf and useless for any purposes of man 
or the world, it is not with laughter that I recall another form 
of the insanity that in these times possessed me. This was the 
conviction that I was visited by Ewan, Mona, and my father. 
Madness I call it, but never did my pulse beat more temper- 
ately or my brain seem clearer than when conscious of these 
visitations. If I had spent the long day delving or gathering 
limestone on the beach of the Sound, and returned to my 
house at twilight, I would perhaps be suddenly aware as I lifted 
the latch — having thought only of my work until then — -that 
within my kitchen these three sat together, and that they 
turned their eyes to me as I entered. Nothing would be more 
convincing to my intelligence than that I actually saw what I 
say, and yet I always seemed to know that it was not with my 
bodily eyes that I was seeing. These indeed were open, and 
I was broad awake, with plain ])ower of common sight on 
common things — my stool, my table, the settle I had made 
myself, and perhaps the fire of turf that burned red on the 

314 



OF HOW HE KEPT HIS MANHOOD 

hearth. But over this bodily vision there was a spiritual vision 
more stable than that of a dream, more soft and variable than 
that of material reality, in which I clearly beheld Ewan and 
Mona and my father, and saw their eyes turn towards me. 
Madness it may have been, but I could say it at the foot of the 
White Throne that what I speak of I have seen not once or 
t\vice, but many times. 

And well I remember how these visitations affected me : 
first as a terror, for when on a sudden they came to me as I 
hfted the latch, I would shrink back and go away again, and 
return to my house with trembling ; and then as a strange 
comfort, for they were a sort of silent company in my desola- 
tion. More than once, in these days of great loneliness, did 
I verily believe that I had sat me down in the midst of the 
three to spend a long hour in thinlcing of the brave good things 
that might have been for all of us but for my headstrong 
passion, helped out by the cruel tangle of our fete. 

One thing I noted that even yet seems strange in the hours 
when my imagination is least given to waywardness. Through- 
out the period wherein I lived in the boat, and for some time 
after I removed me to my house, the three I have named 
seemed to visit me together ; but after that I had found my 
witless neighbour lying dead on the moor, and after that I 
had heard the converse of the men who mistook his poor body 
for my own, the visitations of Mona and my father ceased 
altogether, and Ewan alone did I afterwards seem to see. 
This I pondered long, and at length it fastened on me with 
a solemn conviction that what I had looked for had come 
about, and that the error that I was a dead man had reached 
the ears of my father and of Mona. With Ewan I sat alone 
when he came to me, and oft did it appear that we were 
loving company, for in his eyes were looks of deep pity, and 
I on my part had ceased to rail at the blind passion that had 
pai'ted us flesh from flesh. 

These my writings are not for men wlio will look at such 
words as 1 have here set down with a cold inditl'erency, or 
my hand would have kept me back from this revelation. But 
that 1 saw apparently what I have described is as sure before 
God ag that I was a man cut off from the land of the living. 

A more material secjuel came of tlu; finding of the body on 
the moor. I was so closely followed by dread of a time that 
was coming when I must die, and stretch out my body on the 

315 



THE DEEMSTER 

bare ground with no man to give it Christian burial in the 
earth, that I could take no rest until I had devised a means 
whereby this terror might not haunt me in my last hours. In 
front ojp my house there were, as I have said, the })laces we 
call the Chasms, wherein the rock of this hungry coast is 
honeycombed into a hundred deep gullies by the sea. One 
of these gullies I descended by means of a cradle of rope 
swung overthwart a strong log of driftwood, and there I found 
a long shelf of stone, a deep fissure in the earth, a tomb of 
shelving rock coated with fungus and mould, whereto no dog 
could come, and wherein no bird of prey could lift its wing. 
To this place I resolved that I would descend when the power 
of life was on the point of ebbing away. Having lowered 
myself by my cradle of rope, I meant to draw the cordage 
after me, and then, being already near my end, to lie down 
in this close gully under the earth, that was to serve me for 
grave and death-bed. 

But I was still a strong man, and, ungracious as my con- 
dition was, I shrank from the thought of death, and did what 
I could to put by the fear of it. Never a day did I fail to 
walk to the crest of the rising ground behind me and look 
down to where in the valley lay the habitations of men. Life, 
life, life, was now the constant cry of the voice of my heart, 
and a right goodly thing it seemed to me to be alive, though 
I might be said not to live, but onl}'^ to exist. 

Whether from the day whereon I heard the converse of the 
two men who went by my house I was ever seen of any man 
for a twelvemonth or more I scarce can tell. Great was my 
care to keep out of the ways wherein even the shepherds 
walked, and never a foot seemed to come within two furlongs 
of these abandoned parts from the bleak Black Head to the 
margin of the sound. But it happened upon a day towards 
winter, beginning the second year since my cutting off, that 
I turned towards Port-le-Mary, and walking on with absent 
mind, came nearer than I had })urposed to the village over 
the Kallow Point. There I was suddenly encountered by 
four or five men who, much in liquor, were playing at leap- 
frog among the gorse. English seamen they seemed to be, 
and perhaps from the brig that some time before ^J had 
noted when she lay anchored to the lea of the Carrick Rock 
in the Poolvash below. At sight of them I was for turning 
quickly aside, but they raised such a cry and shot out such 

316 



OF HOW HE KEPT HIS MANHOOD 

a volley of levities and blasphemies^ that try how I would to 
go on I could not but stop on the instant and tui-n my face 
to them. 

Then I saw that of me the men took no note whatever^ 
and that all their eyes were on my dog Millish-veg-veen, who 
was with me, and was now creeping between my feet with 
his stump of a tail under his belly, and his little cunning face 
full of terror. " Why, here's the dog that killed our monkey," 
said one, and another shouted, " It's my old cur, sure enough," 
and a third laughed and said he had kept a rod in pickle for 
more than a year, and the first cried again " I'll teach the 
beast to kill no more Jackeys." Then, before I was yet 
fully conscious of what was being done, one of the brawny 
swaggerers made towards us, and kicked at the dog with the 
fierce lunge of a heavy seaman's boot. The dog yelped and 
would have made off, but another of the blusterers kicked 
him back, and then a third kicked him, and whatever way 
he tried to escape between them one of them lifted his foot 
and kicked again. While they were doing this I felt myself 
struggling to cry out to thera to stop, but not a syllable could 
I utter, and, like a man paralysed, I stood stock-still, and 
did nothing to save my housemate and only companion in 
hfe. At length one of the men, laughing a great royster- 
ing laugh, stooped and seized the dog by the nape of the 
neck and swung him round in the air. Then I saw the 
poor cur's piteous look towards me and heard its bitter cry ; 
but at the next instant it was flying ten feet above our 
heads, and when it fell to the ground it was killed on the 
instant. 

At that sight I heard an awful gi'oan burst from my mouth, 
and I saw a cloud of fire flash before my eyes. When next I 
knew what I was doing I was holding one of the men by a 
fierce grip about the waist, and was swinging him high above 
my shoulders. 

Now if the good God had not given me back my conscious- 
ness at that moment I know full well that at the next he who 
was then in my power would have drawn no more the breath 
of a living man. But I felt on a sudden the same ghostly 
hand ijpon me that I have written of before, and heard the 
same ghostly voice in mine ear. So, dropping the man gently 
to his feet, as gently as a mother might sUp her babe to its 
cot, I lifted up my poor mangled beast by its hinder legs and 

317 



THE DEEMSTER 

turned away with it. And as I went the other men fell apart 
from me with looks of terror, for tliey saw that God had willed 
it that, with an awful strength, should I, a man of great pas- 
sions, go through life in peril. 

When I had found coolness to think of this that had hap- 
pened I mourned for the loss of the only companion that had 
ever shared with me my desolate state ; but more than my 
grief for the dog was my fear for myself, remembering with 
hon*or that when I would have called on the men to desist I 
could not utter one word. Truly, it may have been the swift 
access of anger that then tied my tongue, but I could not 
question that my sudden speechlessness told me I was losing 
the faculty of speech. This conclusion fastened upon me with 
great pain, and I saw that for a twelvemonth or more I had 
been zealously preserving the minor qualities of humanity, 
while this its greatest faculty, speech, that distinguishes man 
from the brute, had been silently slipping from me. Preserve 
my power of speech also I resolved I would, and though 
an evil spirit within me seemed to make a mock at me, 
and to say, " Wherefore this anxiety to keep your speech, 
seeing that you will never require it, being a man cut off 
for ever from all intercourse with other men .'^ " yet I held 
to my purpose. 

Then I asked myself how I was to preserve my speech save 
by much and frequent speaking, and how I was to speak 
having none — not even my dog now — to speak to. For to 
speak constantly with myself was a practice I shrank from as 
leading perchance to madness, since I had noted that men of 
broken wit were much given to mumbling vain words to 
themselves. At last I concluded that there was but one way 
for me, and that was to pray. Having lit on this thought, I 
had still some misgivings, for the evil spirit within me again 
made a mock at me, asking why I should speak to God, being 
a man outside God's grace, and why I should waste myself in 
the misspent desii-e of prayer, seeing that.the Heavenly Majesty 
had set His face from me in rejecting the atonement of my 
life which I had offered for my crime. But after great inward 
strivings I came back to my old form of selfishness, and was 
convinced that though when I prayed God would not hear me, 
yet that the yearning and uplooking of prayer might be a 
good thing for the spiritual part of my nature as a man — for 
when was the beast known to pray } 

318 



OF THE BREAKING OF THE CURSE 

At this I tried to recall a few good words such as my father 
used, and at length, after much beating of the wings of my 
memory, I remembered some that were the words of Bishop 
Jeremy Taylor, and did betake myself to prayer in this man- 
ner : — " O most gracious God, I tremble to come into Thy 
presence, so polluted and dishonoured as I am by my foul stain 
of sin which I have contracted ; but I must come or I perish. 
I am useless to any purposes of God and man, and, like one 
that is dead, unconcerned in the changes and necessities of 
the world, living only to spend my time, and, like a vermin, 
eat of the fruits of the earth. O my God, I cannot help it 
now ; miserable man that I am, to reduce myself to so sad 
a state that I neither am worthy to come to Thee nor dare 
I stay from Thee. The greatness of my crime brings me to 
my remedy ; and now I humbly pray Thee to be merciful to 
my sin, for it is great." 

And this prayer I spoke aloud twice daily thenceforward, 
at the rising and the setting of the sun, going out of my 
house and kneeling on the turf on the top of the Black 
Head. And when I had prayed I sang what I could re- 
member of the psalm that runs, " It is good for me that I 
have been in trouble that I may learn Thy statutes." 

In my mind's eye I see myself a solitary man in that lone 
place, with the sea stretching wide below me, and only the 
sound of its heavy beat on the rocks rising over me in the 
quiet air. 



CHAPTER XLII 

OF THE BREAKING OF THE CURSE 

Thus far have I written these four days past, amid pain and 
a quick lessening of the powers of life. In sleepless hours of 
the night I have made this writing, sitting oftenest by the 
light of my feeble candles until the day has been blue over 
the sea. And now that I glance back and see my own heart 
in the mirror I have made for it, I am like to one who has 
been brought through a fearsome sickness, that has left its 
marks upon him, to look for the fii*st time at his altered face 
in the glass. And can it be that I, who have penned these 

319 



THE DEEMSTER 

words, am the man of seven years ago ? Ah ! now I see how 
profound has been the change that my great punishment 
has made in me, and perceive the end of God in refusing 
my poor atonement of life for life, and cutting me off' from 
among men. 

I will not say that what I have already written has not 
cost me some pangs, and perhaps some tears. But now I am 
come to that place where I must tell of the great turning-point 
in my sad state, and though the strength fails me wherewith 
I hold the pen to write of it, my spirit rises before it like as 
the lark awakened by the dawn. 

This year — surely the darkest within the memory of our 
poor people of Man — began with more than its share of a 
winter of heavy rains. The spring that followed was also 
rainy, and when I looked for the summer to begin, the rains 
were still incessant. Heavy and sodden was the ground even 
of the moor whereon I lived, so that my feet sank into it as 
into a morass, and much of the seed I sowed was washed from 
it and wasted. When at length the long rains ceased to fall, 
the year was far worn into June, and then the sun came 
quick and hot. My house stood on a brow descending to the 
cliffs of the coast, and beneath me were less than two feet of 
mould above the rock, but when the great heat came after 
the great rain, out of the ground there arose a thick miasmic 
mist that filled the air, obscured the light, lay heavy in sweat 
upon my hair and flesh, and made the walls and floor, the 
furniture and the bed of my home, damp and dripping with 
constant dew. 

Quickly I set myself to the digging of deep trenches that 
went vertically down the brow to the cliif head, and soon the 
ground about me across many acres was drained dry. But 
though I lived in a clear air, and could now see the sun as 
well as feel it, yet I perceived that the mists stood in a wide 
half circle around me like walls of rain seen afar, while the 
spot whereon you stand is fair and in the sunshine. In my 
daily walks to the top of the moor I could no longer see the 
houses of Cregneesh for the cloud of vapour that lay over 
them, and when I walked to the Kallow Head for the first 
time since the day I lost my dog, the basin below, where 
Port-le-Mary stands, was even as a vast vaporous sea, without 
one islet of house or hill. 

My health suffered little from this unaccustomed humidity, 
320 



OF THE BREAKING OF THE CURSE 

for my bodily strength was ever wonderful ; but my spirits 
sank to a deep depression, and oft did I wonder how the 
poor souls must fare who lived on the low, wet Curraghs 
near to where my own home once lay. From day to day, 
and Aveek to week, the mist continued to rise from the dank 
ground under the hot sun, and still the earth came up in 
thick clods to the spade. 

The nights alone were clear, and towards midsummer I was 
witness to strange sights in the heavens. Thus I saw a 
comet pass close across the island from coast to coast, with a 
visible motion as of quivering flame. What this visitation 
could foretell I pondered long and sadly, and much I hun- 
gered for knowledge of what was being done in the world of 
men. But therein it seemed to my wayward mind that I 
was like a man buried in the churchyard while he is yet 
alive, who hears the bell in the tower that peals and tolls, 
but has no window in his tomb from which to see who comes 
to rejoice, and who to mourn. 

When the fleet of fishing-boats should have put out from 
Port Erin for the ground that lies south of the Calf, scarce a 
sail could I see, and not a boat had I noted coming from the 
Poolvash, where Port-le-Maiy stands above the bay. From 
the top of the Mull Hills I could faintly descry the road to 
Castletown, but never a cart on market-day seemed to pass 
over it. Groups of people I vaguely saw standing together, 
and once, at raid-day, from the middle of a field of new- 
mown hay, there came to me the sounds of singing and 
praytr. Oftener than at any period during my solitary life I 
saw men on the mountains or felt their presence near me, 
for my senses were grown very keen. Oftener, also, than 
ever before, the sound of church bells seemed to come 
through the air. And going to the beach where my shat- 
tered boat lay, I one day came upon another boat beating 
idly down the waters of the sound, her sails flapping in 
the wind, and no hand at her tiller. I stood to watch while 
the little craft came drifting on with the flow of the tide. 
She ran head on to the cliff at Fistard, and then I went down 
to her, and found never a living soul aboard of her. 

From these and other startling occurrences that came to 
me vaguely, as if by the one sense of the buried man, I felt 
that with the poor people of this island all was not well. 
But nothing did I know of a certainty until a day towards 

321 X 



THE DEEMSTER 

the first week of September — as I have reckoned it — and then 
a strange thing befell. 

The sun was not shining, and when there was no sun there 
was little mist. A strong wind, too, had got up from the north- 
east, and the atmosphere over land and sea grew clearer as 
the day wore on. The wind strengthened after the turn of 
the ebb, and at half-flood, which was towards three in the 
afternoon, it had risen to the pitch of a gale, with heavy swirl- 
ing rain. The rain ceased in a few hours, and in the lift of 
the heavy clouds I could see from the rising ground above my 
house a brig with shortened sail toiling heavily to the south- 
west of the Calf. She was struggling in the strong currents 
that flow there to get into the lea of the island, but was beaten 
back and back, never catching the shelter of the cliffs for the 
rush of the wind that swept over them. The darkness was 
falling in while I watched her, and when she was swept back 
and hidden from me by the forehead of the Calf I turned my 
face homeward. Then I noticed that on the top of the Mull 
Hills a great company of people had gathered, and I thought 
I saw that they were watching the brig that was labouring 
heavily in the sea. 

That night I had close employment at my fireside, for I 
was finishing a coat that I had someways fashioned with my 
undeft fingers from the best pieces of many garments that 
of themselves would no longer hold together. Rough as a 
monk's long sack it was, and all but as shapeless, but never- 
theless a fit companion for the curranes on my feet, Avhich 
I had made some time before from the coat of my hapless 
Millish-veg-veen. 

While I wrought with my gi*eat sailmaker's needle and 
twine, the loud wind moaned about the walls of my house and 
whistled through its many crevices, and made the candle 
whereby I worked to flicker and gutter. Yet my mind was 
more cheerful than had lately been its wont, and I sang to 
myself with my face to the glow of the fire. 

But when towards ten o'clock the sea below sent up a 
louder hiss than before, followed by a deeper under-groan, sud- 
denly there was a clash at my window, and a poor, panting 
seamew, with open beak, came through it and fell helpless on 
the floor. I picked up the storm-beaten creature, and calmed 
it, and patched with the needle the skin of the window which 
it had broken by its entrance. 

322 



OF THE BREAKING OF THE CURSE 

Then all at once my mind went back to the brig labour- 
ing in the sea behind the Calf. Almost at the same moment, 
and for the first time these seven years, a quick knock came 
to my door. I was startled, and made no answer, but stood 
stock-still in the middle of the floor with the frightened bird 
in my hand. Before I was yet fully conscious of what was 
happening, the wooden latch of the door had been lifted, 
and a man had stepped across the threshold. In another 
moment he had closed the door behind him, and was speak- 
ing to me. 

''You will never find heart to deny me shelter on such a 
night as this .'' " he said. 

I answered him nothing. Surely with my mind I did not 
hear him, but only with mine ears. I was like one who is 
awakened suddenly out of a long dream, and can scarce be 
sure which is the dream and which the reality, what is be- 
hind and what is before. 

The man stumbled a step forward, and said, speaking falter- 
ingly, " I am faint from a blow^" 

He staggered another pace forward, and would have fallen, 
but I, recovering in some measure my self-command, caught 
him in my arms, and put him to sit on the settle before the 
hearth. 

Scarce had he gained this rest when his eyehds trembled 
and closed, and he became insensible. He was a large, swart, 
and bony man, bearing in his face the marks of life's hard 
storms. His dress was plainly the dress of a priest, but of an 
order of priesthood quite unknown to me. A proud poverty 
sat upon the man, and before I yet knew wherefor my heart 
went out to him in a strange, uncertain reverence. 

Loosenmg the hard collar that bound his neck, I made 
bare his throat, and then moistened his lips with water. 
Some other offices I did for him, such as with difficulty re- 
moving his great boots, which were full of water, and stretch- 
ing his feet towards the fire. I stirred the peats, too, and the 
glow was full and grateful. Then I looked for the mark of 
the blow he spoke of, and found it where most it was to be 
feared, on the hinder part of the head. Though there was 
no blood flowing, yet was the skull driven in upon the brain, 
leaving a hollow spot over a space that might have been 
covered by a copper token. 

He did not soon return to consciousness, but toiled hard at 
323 



THE DEEMSTER 

intervals to regain it, and then lapsed baek to a breathless 
quiet. And I, not knowins^ what else to do, took a basin of 
lukewarm water and bathed the wound with it, damping the 
forehead witli water that was cold. All this time the seamew, 
wdiich I had cast from my hand when the priest stumbled, 
lay in one corner panting, its head down, its tail up, and its 
powerless wings stretched useless on either side. 

Then the man, taking a long breath, opened his eyes, and 
seeing me, he made some tender of gratitude. He told me 
that in being put ashore out of the brig Bridget, from Cork, 
in Ireland, he had been struck on the head by the boom as it 
shifted with the wind, but that heeding not his injury, and 
thinking he could make Port-le-Mary to lie there that night, 
he had set out over the moor, while his late comrades of the 
brig put off from our perilous coast for England, whither they 
were bound. 

So much had he said, speaking painfully, when again he 
fell to unconsciousness, and this time a strong delirium took 
hold of him. I tried not to hear what then he said, for it 
seemed to me an awful thing that in such an hour of reason's 
vanquishment the eye of man might look into the heart which 
only God's eye should see. But hear him I must, or leave 
him alone in his present need. And he talked loudly of some 
great outrage, wherein helpless women were thrown on the 
roads without shelter, and even the dead in their graves were 
desecrated. When he came to himself again he knew that 
his mind had wandered, and he told me that four years before 
he had been confessor at the convent of Port Royal in France. 
He said that in that place they had been men and women of 
the Order of Jansenists, teaching simple goodness and piety. 
But their convent had been suppressed by commission of the 
Jesuits, and being banished from France, he had fled to his 
native country of Ireland, where now he held the place of 
parish priest. More in this manner he said, but my mind 
was sorely perplexed, and I cannot recall his words faithfully, 
or rightly tell of the commerce of conversation between us, 
save that he put to me some broken questions in his moments 
of ease from pain, and muttered many times to himself after 
I had answered him briefly, or when I had answered him not 
at all. 

For the sense that I was a man awakening out of a dream, 
a long dream of seven lonesome years, grew stronger as he 

324 



OF THE BREAKING OF THE CURSE 

told of what traffic the world had lately seen, and he himself 
been witness to. And my old creeping terror of the judg- 
ment upon me that forbade that any man should speak 
with me, or that I should speak with any man, struggled 
hard with the necessity now before me to make a swift 
choice whether I should turn away and leave this man, who 
had sought the shelter of my house, or break through the 
curse that bound me. 

Choice of any kind I did not make with a conscious mind, 
but before I was yet aware I was talking with the priest, and 
he with me. 

The Priest : He said, I am the Catholic priest that your good 
Bishop sent for out of Ireland, as you have heard, I doubt not.f* 

Myself : I answered No, that I had not heard. 

The Priest: He asked me did I live alone in this house, 
and how long I had been here .'' 

Myself : I said. Yes, and that I had been seven years in 
this place come Christmas. 

The Priest : He asked. What, and do you never go up to 
the towns ? 

Myself: I answ^ered. No. 

Tlie Priest : Then, said the priest, thinking long before he 
spoke, you have not heard of the great sickness that has 
broken out among your people. 

Myself : I told him I had heard nothing 

The Priest : He said it was the sweating sickness, and 
that vast numbers had fallen to it and many had died. I 
think he said — I cannot be sure — that after fruitless efforts 
of his own to combat the disease, the Bishop of the island 
had sent to Ireland a message for him, having heard that 
the Almighty had blessed his efforts in a like terrible scourge 
that broke out two years before over the bogs of western 
Ireland. 

I listened with fear, and began to comprehend much that 
had of late been a puzzle to me. But before the priest had 
gone far his sickness overcame him afresh, and he fell to 
another long unconsciousness. While he lay thus, A^ery silent 
or rambling afresh through the ways of the past, I know not 
what feelings possessed me, for my heart was in a great 
turmoil. But when he opened his eyes again, very peace- 
ful in their quiet light, but with less than before of the 
power of life in them, he said he perceived that his exTand 

325 



THE DEEMSTER 

h.ul been fruitless^ tand that he had but come to my house 
to die. At tlint word I started to my feet with a ciy, 
but he — tliinking that my th()nf!;hts were of our poor people, 
who would lose a deliverer by his death — told me to have 
patience, for that God who had smitten him down would 
surely raise up in his stead a far mightier saviour of my 
afflicted countrymen. 

Then in the lapses of his pain he talked of the sickness 
that had befallen his own people : how it was due to long 
rains that soaked the soil, and was followed by the hot sun 
that drew out of the earth its foul sweat ; how the sickness 
fell chiefly on such as had their houses on bogs and low-lying 
ground ; and how the cui*e for it was to keep the body of 
the sick person closely wrapped in blankets, and to dry the 
air about him with many fires. He told me, too, that all 
medicines he had yet seen given for this disease were useless, 
and being oftenest of a cooling nature went sometimes deadly. 
He said that those of his own people who had lived on the 
mountains had escaped the malady. Much he also said of 
how men had fled from their wives and women from their 
children in terror of the infection, but that, save only in the 
worst cases, contagion from the sweating sickness there could 
be none. Moi'e of this sort he said than I can well set down 
in this writing. Often he spoke with sore labour, as though 
a strong impulse prompted him. And I who listened eagerly 
heard what he said with a mighty fear, for well I knew that 
if death came to him as he foretold, I had now that know- 
ledge which it must be sin to hide. 

After he had said this the lapses into unconsciousness 
were more frequent than before, and the intervals of cool 
reason and sweet respite fi-om pain were briefer. But a 
short while after midnight he came to himself with a smile 
on his meagre face and peace in his eyes. He asked 
me Avould I promise to do one thing for him, for that 
he was a dying man ; and I told him yes before I had 
heard what it was that he wished of me. Then he asked 
did I know where the Bishop lived, and at first I made 
no answer. 

" Bishop's Court they call his house," he said, " and it lies to 
the noith-west of this island by the land they have named the 
Curraghs. Do you know it ? " 

I bent my head by way of assent. 
326 



OF HIS GREAT RESOLVE 

The Priest : I would have you go to him, he said, and say — 
The Catholic priest you sent for out of Ireland, Father Dalby, 
fulfilled his pledge to you and came to your island, but died 
by the visitation of God on the night of his landing on your 
shores. Will you deliver me this message ? 

I did not make him an answer, and he put the question 
again. Still my tongue clave to the roof of my mouth and I 
could not speak. 

The Priest : You need not fear, he said, to go to the 
Bishop, for he is a holy man, as I have heard, without 
pride of worldly place, and the poor and outcast are his 
constant guests. 

Even yet I answered nothing, but only held down my head 
while my heart surged within me. 

The Priest : The fame of him as a righteous servant of God 
had gone far into other lands, and therefore it was I, who love 
Protestantism not at all, and hold no dalliance with it, came 
to your island at his call. 

He took my hand in his hands and asked me again if I 
would go to the Bishop to say the words which he had 
given me, and I, with swimming eyes that saw nothing of 
the dying face before me, bowed my head, and answered, 
" I will go." 

Near three hours longer he lived, and much of that time 
he passed in a feeble delirium. But just before the end came 
he awoke, and motioned to a small bag that hung about his 
waist. I guessed his meaning, and drawing out a crucifix I 
placed it in his hands. 

Then he passed silently away, and Death, the black camel 
that had knelt at the gate of my lone house these seven years 
of death-in-life, had entered it at last to take another man 
than me. 



CHAPTER XLIII 

OF HIS GREAT RESOLVE 

When he had ceased to breathe, the air of my house became 
suddenly void and empty. With a great awe upon me I rose 
and stretched him out on the settle, and covered his white 
face with a cloth. Then in the silence I sat and tried to think 

327 



THE DEEMSTER 

of the strange accident that liad that night befallen. One 
thing I saw with a feai-ful certainty, that a great burden of 
responsibility had fallen upon me. I thought of the people 
of this island perishing in their sickness, and I remembered 
that I alone of all men here knew how to succour and save 
them. I alone, and Avho was I ? The one man accursed 
among men ; the one man cut off for ever from the company 
of the living ; the man without family or kin or name among 
the people ; whose flesh no man might touch with his flesh ; 
whose eye no other eye might look upon. 

And thus with the burden of responsibility came a yet more 
terrible burden of doubt. Was it for me to break through 
the dread judgment pronounced upon me, and go down among 
the people to heal them ? And if I went would the people 
receive me, even in this their last extreme .'' Before the face 
of death would all other fears sink out of their sight ? Or, 
fearing death itself less than the curse, would they rise up 
and drive me from them .'' 

Long I sat in the anguish of black misgivings, and then 
rose and i-anged my room from side to side, if perchance I 
might find some light in my darkness. And oft did the 
strangeness of that night's accidents so far bewilder me that 
for an instant it would seem that I must be in a dream. Once 
I lifted the facecloth from the face on the settle that I might 
be sure that I was awake. 

At length it fixed itself on my mind that whatsoever the 
judgment upon me, and whatsoever the people's terror of it, 
I had no choice but to bear the burden that was now mine 
own. Go down among my sick countrymen I should and 
must, let the end be what it would I Accursed man though I 
was, yet to fulfil the dead priest's mission was a mission where- 
with God Himself seemed to charge me ! 

And now I scarce can say how it had escaped me that 
my first duty was to take the body of the priest who had 
died in my house to one of the churchyards for Christian 
burial. There must have been some end of Providence in 
my strange forgetfulness, for if this thing had but come 
into my wild thoughts, and I had indeed done what it 
was fitting that I should do, then must certain wondei'ful 
consequences have fallen short of the blessing with which 
God has blessed them. 

What I did, thinking no evil, was to pick up my spade and 
328 



OF HIS GREAT RESOLVE 

go out on the moor and delve for the dead man a shallow 
grave. As I turned to the door I stumbled over something 
that lay on the floor. Stooping to look at it, I found it to be 
the poor seamew. It was dead and stiff, and had still its 
wings outstretched as if in the act of flight. 

I had not noted until now, when with a fearful glance back- 
wards I stepped out into the night, that the storm had gone. 
A thick dew-cloud lay deep over the land, and the round 
moon was shining through it. I chose a spot a little to the 
south of the stone circle on the Black Head, and there by 
the moon's light I howket a barrow of earth. The better 
part of an hour I wrought, and when my work was done I 
went back to my house, and then the dead man was 
cold. I took a piece of old canvas, and put it about the 
body, from head to feet, wrapping it over the clothes, and 
covering the face. This done, I lifted the dead in my arms 
and carried it out. 

Very hollow and heavy was the thud of my feet on the 
turf in that uncertain light. As I toiled along I recalled the 
promise that I had given to the priest to see my father and 
speak with him. This memory brought me the sore pain of a 
wounded tenderness, but it strengthened my resolve. When 
I had reached the grave which I had made the night was 
near to morning, the dew-cloud had lifted away, and out of 
the unseen, murmuring sea that lay far and wide in front of 
me a grey streak, like an arrow's barb, was shooting up into 
the darkness of the sky. 

One glance more I took at the dead man's face in that 
vague fore-dawn, and its swart meagreness seemed to have 
passed off" under death's composing hand. 

I covered the body with the earth, and then I said my 
prayer, for it was nigh to my accustomed hour. Also I sang 
my psalm, kneeling with my face towards the sea. And 
while I sang in that dank air the sky lightened and the sun 
rose out of the deep. 

I know not what touched me then, if it was not the 
finger of God Himself, but suddenly a great burden seemed 
to fall from me, and my heai-t grew full of a blessed joy. 
And, " O Father," I ci-ied, " I am delivered from the body 
of the death I lived in ! I have lived, I have died, and I 
live again ! " 

I saw apparently that the night of my long imprison- 
329 



THE DEEMSTKR 

ment was past, that tlie doors of my dunocon were broken 
open, and that its air was to be the breath of my nostrils 
no more. 

Then tlie teai's gushed from mine eyes and rained down 
my bony cheeks, for well I knew that God had seen that I, 
even I, had suffered enough. 

And when I rose to my feet from beside the dead's man's 
grave I felt of a certainty that the curse had fallen away. 



His Last Wonns. 

Three days have gone since last I put my hand to this 
writing, and now I know that though the cui'se has fallen 
from me, yet must its earthly penalties be mine to the end. 
Sorely weary, and more sorely ashamed, I have within these 
three hours past, escaped from the tumult of the people. 
How their wild huzzas ring in my ears ! " God bless the 
priest ! " " Heaven save the priest ! '' Their loud cries of a 
blind gratitude, how they follow me ! Oh, that I could fly 
from the memory of them, and wipe them out of my mind ! 
There were those that appeared to know me among the 
many that knew me not. The tear-stained faces, the faces 
hard and stony, the faces abashed and confused — how they 
live before my eyes ! And at the Tynwald, how the children 
were thrust under my hand for my blessing ! My blessing — 
mine ! and at the Tynwald ! Thank God, it is all over ! I 
am away from it for ever. Home I am at last and for the 
last time. 

Better than three weeks have passed since the priest died 
in my house, and I buried him on the moor. What strange 
events have since befallen, and in what a strange new world ! 
The Deemster's terrible end, and my own going with the 
priest's message to the Bishop, my father. But I shall not 
live to set it down. Nor is it needful so to do, for she 
whom I write for knows all that should be written hence- 
foi-^vard. Everything she knows save one thing only, and if 
this writing should yet come to her hand that also she will 
then learn. 

God's holy grace be with her ! I have not seen her. The 
Deemster I have seen, the Bishop I have spoken with, and a 
living vision of our Ewan, his sweet child-daughter, I have 

330 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 

held to my loiee. But not once these many days has she 
who is deai'est of all to me passed before my eyes. It is 
better so. I shunned hex*. \Miere she was there I would 
not go. Yet, through all these heavy years I have borne her 
upon my heart. Day and night she has been Avith me. Oh, 
Mona, Mona, my Mona, apart for ever are our paths in this 
dim world, and my tarnished name is your reproach. My 
love, my lost love, as a man I yearned for you to hold you to 
my breast. But I was dead to you, and I would not break in 
with an earthly love that must be brief and might not be 
blessed, on a memory that death had purified of its stains. 
Adieu, adieu, my love, my own Mona ; though we are never 
to clasp hands again, yet do I know that you will be with me 
as an unseen presence when the hour comes — ah ! how soon 
— of death's asundering. 

For the power of life is low in me. I have taken the 
sickness. It is from the Deemster that I have taken it. 
No longer do I fear death. Yet I hesitate to do with my- 
self what I have long thought that I would do when the 
end should come. "To-morrow," and "to-morrow," and "to- 
morrow," I say in my heart, and still I am here. 

THE END OF THE RELATION OF DANIEL MYLREA. 



CHAPTER XLIV 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 



When the sweating sickness first appeared in the island, it 
carried off the lone body known as Auntie Nan, who had lived 
on the Curragh. " Death never came without an excuse — the 
woman was old," the people said, and went their way. But 
presently a bright young girl, who had taken herbs and broths 
and odd comforts to Auntie Nan while she lay helpless, was 
stricken down. Then the people began to hold their heads 
together. Four days after the girl was laid to rest her mother 
died suddenly, and two or three days after the mother's death 

331 



THE DEEMSTER 

the father was smitten. Then three other children died in 
quick succession, and in less than three weeks not a soul of 
that household was left alive. This was on the south-west of 
the Curragh, and on the north of it, near to the church at 
Andreas, a similar outbreak occurred about the same time. 
Two old people named Creer were the first to be taken ; 
and a child at Cregan's farm and a servant at the rectory of 
the archdeacon followed quickly. 

The truth had now dawned upon the people, and they went 
about with white faces. It was the time of the hay harvest, 
and during the two hours' rest for the midday meal the hay- 
makers gathered together in the fields for prayer. At night, 
when work was done, they met again in the streets of the 
villages to call on God to avert His threatened judgment. On 
Sundays they thronged the churches at morning and afternoon 
services, and in the evening they congregated on the shore to 
hear the Quaker preachers, who went about, under the shadow 
of the terror, without hindrance or prosecution. One such 
preacher, a town-watch at Castletown, known as Billy-by-Nite, 
threw up his calling, and travelled the countiy in the cart of 
a carrier, prophesying a visitation of God's wrath, wherein 
the houses should be laid waste and the land be left utterly 
desolate. 

The sickness spread rapidly, and passed from the Curraghs 
to the country south and east of them. Not by ones but tens 
were the dead now counted day after day, and the terror 
spread yet faster than the malady. The herring season had 
run a month only, and it was brought to a swift close. Men 
who came in from the boats after no more than a night's 
absence were afraid to go up to their homes lest the sickness 
had gone up before them. Then they went out to sea no 
longer, but rambled for herbs in the rank places where herbs 
grew, and, finding them, good and bad, fit and unfit, they 
boiled and ate them. 

Still the sickness spread, and the dead were now counted 
in hundreds. Of doctors there were but two in the island, 
and these two were closely engaged sitting by the bedsides 
of the richer folk, feeling the pulse with one hand and hold- 
ing the watch with the other. Better service they did not 
do, for rich and poor alike fell before the sickness. 

The people turned to the clergy, and got "beautiful texes," 
but no cure. They went to the old Bishop, and prayed for 

332 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 

the same help that he had given them in the old days of their 
great need. He tried to save them and failed. A prepara- 
tion of laudanum, which had served him in good stead for the 
flux, produced no effect on the sweating sickness. With other 
and other medicmes he tried and tried again. His old head 
was held very low. " My poor people," he said, with a look 
of shame, " I fear that by reason of the sins of me and mine 
the Spirit of the Lord is gone from me." 

Then the people sent up a cry as bitter as that which was 
wrung from them long before when they were in the grip of 
their hunger. "The Sweat is on us," they groaned ; and the 
old Bishop, that he might not hear their voice of reproach, 
shut himself up from them like a servant whom the Lord had 
forsaken. 

Then terror spread like a fire, but terror in some minds 
begets a kind of courage, and soon there were those who would 
no longer join the prayer-meetings in the hay-fields or listen 
to the preaching on the shore. One of those was a woman 
of middle life, an idle slattern, who had for six or seven years 
lived a wandering life. While others prayed she laughed 
mockingly, and protested that for the Sweat, as well as for 
every other scare of life, there was no better preventive than 
to think nothing about it. She carried out her precept by 
spending her days in the inns and her nights on the roads, 
being supported in her dissolute existence by secret means, 
whereof gossip spoke frequently. The terrified world about 
her, busy with its loud prayers, took small heed of her 
blasphemies until the numbers of the slain had risen from 
hundreds to thousands. Then in their frenzy the people 
were carried away by superstition, and heard in the woman's 
laughter the ring of the devil's own ridicule. Somebody 
chanced to see her early one morning drawing water to 
bathe her hot forehead, and before night of that day the 
evil word had passed from mouth to mouth that it was 
she who had brought the sweating sickness by poisoning 
the wells. 

Thereupon half a hundred lusty fellows, with fear in 
their wild eyes, gathered in the Street, and set out to 
search for the woman. In her accustomed haunt, the " Three 
Legs of Man," they found her, and she was heavy with 
drink. They hounded her out of the inn into the road, 
and there, amid oaths and curses, they tossed her from 

3'3S 



THE DEEMSTER 

hand to hand until her dress was in rags^ her face and arms 
were bleeding, and she was screaming in the great fright 
that had sobered her. 

It was Tuesday night, and the Deemster, who had been 
holding court at Peeltown late that day, was riding home 
in the darkness when he heard this tumult in the road 
in front of him. Putting spurs to his horse, he came 
upon the scene of it. Before he had gathered the mean- 
ing of what was proceeding in the dark road, the woman 
had broken from her tormentors and thrown herself before 
him, crawlmg on the ground and gripping his foot in 
the stirrup. 

" Deemster, save me ! save me. Deemster ! " she cried in 
her frantic terror. 

The men gathered round and told their story. The woman 
had poisoned the wells, and the bad water had brought the 
Sweat. She was a charmer by common report, and should be 
driven out of the island. 

"What pedlai*'s French is this ?" said the Deemster, turn- 
ing hotly on the crowd about him. " Men, men, what for- 
gotten age have you stepped out of that you come to me with 
such drivelling, doddering, blank idiocy } " 

But the woman, carried away by her terror, and not grasp- 
ing the Deemster's meaning, cried that if he would but save 
her she would confess. Yes, she had poisoned the wells. 
It was true she was a charmer. She acknowledged to the 
evil eye. But save her, save her, save her, and she would 
tell all. 

The Deemster listened with a feverish impatience. " The 
woman lies," he said under his breath, and then lifting his 
voice he asked if any one had a torch. " Who is the woman } " 
he asked ; "1 seem to know her voice." 

" D her, she's a witch," said one of the men, thrusting 

his hot face forward in the darkness over the woman's cower- 
ing body. "Ay, and so was her mother before her," he said 
again. 

" Tell me, woman, what's your name } " said the Deemster 
stoutly; but his question seemed to break down as he asked it. 

There was a moment's pause. 

" Mally Kerruish," the woman answered him, slobbering at 
his stirrup in the dark road before him. 

" Let her go," said the Deemster in a thick underbreath. 
334 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 

In another moment he had disengaged his foot from the 
woman's grasp and was riding away. 

That night Mally Kerruish died miserably of her fright in 
the Httle tool-shed of a cottage by the Cross Vein, where six 
years before her mother had dropped to a lingering death 
alone. 

News of her end was taken straightway to Ballamona by 
one of the many tongues of evil rumour. With Jarvis 
Kerruish, who was in lace collar and silver buckled shoes, 
the Deemster had sat down to supper. He rose, left his 
meat untouched, and Jarvis supped alone. Late that night 
he said uneasily — 

" I intend to send in my resignation to Castletown — the 
burden of my office as Deemster is too much for my 
strength.' 

" Good," said Jarvis ; " and if, sir, you should ever think of 
resigning the management of your estate also, you know with 
how much willingness I would undertake it, solely in order 
that you might spend your days in rest and comfort." 

" I have often thought of it latterly," said the Deemster. 

Half-an-hour thereafter he spent in an uneasy perambula- 
tion of the dining-room, while Jarvis picked his teeth and 
cleaned his nails. 

"I think I must surely be growing old," he said then, and, 
drawing a long breath, he took up his bedroom candle. 



II 

The sickness increased, the deaths were many in the houses 
about Ballamona, and in less than a week after the night of 
Mally Kerruish's death, Thorkell Mylrea, a Deemster no 
longer, had made over to Jarvis Kerruish all absolute interest 
in his estates. " I shall spend my last days in the cause of 
religion," he said. He had paid up his tithe in pound-notes 
— five years' tithe in arrears, with interest added at the rate 
of six per cent. Blankets he had ordered for the poor of his 
own parish, a double blanket for each family, with cloaks for 
some of the old women. 

This done, he relinquished his worldly possessions, and shut 
himself from the sickness in a back-room of Ballamona, admit- 
ting none, and never stirring abroad except to go to church. 

33b 



THE DEEMSTER 

The Bishop had newly opened the chapel at Bishop's 
Court for daily prayers, and of all constant worshippers there 
Thorkell was now the most constant. Every morning his little 
shrivelled figure knelt at the form before the Communion, 
and from his blanched lips the prayers were mumbled audibly. 
Much he sought the Bishop's society, and in every foolish 
trifle he tried to imitate his brother. A new canon of the 
Church had lately ordered that every Bishop should wear an 
episcopal wig, and over his flowing white hair the Bishop of 
Man had perforce to put the grotesque head-covering. See- 
ing this, Thorkell sent to England for a periwig, and perched 
the powdered curls on his own bald crown. 

The sickness was at its worst, the terror was at its height, 
and men were flying from their sick families to caves in the 
mountains, when one day the Bishop announced in church 
that across in Ireland, as he had heard, there was a good man 
who had been blessed under God with miraculous powers of 
curing this awful malady. 

"Send for him! send for him !" the people shouted with 
one voice, little heeding the place they sat in. 

"But," said the Bishop, with a failing voice, "the good 
man is a Romish Catholic — indeed, a Romish priest." 

At that word a groan came from the people, for they were 
Protestants of Protestants. 

" Let us not think that no good can come out of Nazareth," 
the Bishop continued. " And who shall say, though we love 
the Papacy not at all, but that holy men adhere to it .''" 

There was a murmur of disapproval. 

" My good people," the Bishop went on falteringly, " we 
are in God's hands, and His anger burns among us." 

The people broke up abruptly, and talking of what the 
Bishop had said, they shook their heads. But their terror 
continued, and before its awful power their qualms of faith 
went down as before a flood. Then they cried, " Send for 
the priest ! " and the Bishop sent for him. 

Seven weary days passed, and at length, with a brighten- 
ing countenance, the Bishop announced that the priest had 
answered that he would come. Other three days went by, 
and the news passed from north to south that in the brig 
Bridget of Cork, bound for Whitehaven, with liberty to 
call at Peeltown, the Romish priest, Father Dalby, had 
sailed for the Isle of Man. 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 

Then day after day the men went up to the hill-tops 
to catch sight of the sail of an Irish brig. At last they 
sighted one from the Mull Hills, and she was five leagues 
south of the Calf. But the wind was high, and the brig 
laboured hard in a heavy sea. For hours the people 
watched her, and saw her bearing down into the most 
dangerous currents about their coast. Night closed in, and 
the wind rose to the strength of a gale. Next morning at 
early dawn the people climbed the headlands again, but no 
bi'ig could they now see, and none had yet made their 
ports. 

"She must be gone down," they told themselves, and so 
saying they went home with heavy hearts. 

But two days afterwards there went through the island 
a thrilling cry, " He is here ! — he has come ! — the priest ! " 
And at that woi*d a wave of rosy health swept over a 
thousand haggard faces. 



Ill 

In the dark sleeping-room of a little ivy-covered cottage 
that stood end-on to the high-road through Michael a blind 
woman lay dying of the sickness. It was old Kerry ; and on 
a three-legged stool before her bed her husband Hommy sat. 
Pitiful enough was Hommy's poor ugly face. His thick 
lubber lips were drawn heavily downwards, and under his 
besom brows his little eyes were red and his eyelids swollen. 
In his hands he held a shovel, and he was using it as a fan 
to puff air into Kerry's face. 

"It's all as one, man," the sick woman moaned. "Ye' re 
only keeping the breath in me. I'm bound to lave ye." 

And thereupon Hommy groaned lustily and redoubled his 
efforts with the shovel. There was a knock at the door, 
and a lady entered. It was Mona, pale of face, but very 
beautiful in her pallor, and with an air of restful sadness. 

" And how are you now, dear Kerry } " she asked, leaning 
over the bed. 

" Middling badly, mam," Kerry answered feebly. " I'll be 
took, sarten sure, as the saying is." 

"Don't lose heart, Kerry, Have you not heard that the 
priest is coming ? " 

337 Y 



THE DEEMSTER 

" Chut, mam ! I'll be gone, plaze God, where none of the 
like will follow me." 

" Hush, Kerry ! He was in Patrick yesterday ; he will 
be in German to-mori"ow, and the next day he will be here 
in Michael. He is a good man, and is doing wonders with 
the sick." 

Kerry turned face to the wall, and Hommy talked with 
Mona. What was to become of him when Kerry was gone ? 
Who would be left to give him a bit of a tidy funeral ? The 
Deemster? Bad sess to the like of him. What could be 
expected from a master who had turned his own daughter 
out of doors ? 

" I am better where I am," Mona whispered, and that was 
her sole answer to the deaf man's too audible questions. 
And Hommy, after a pause, assented to the statement with 
his familiar comment, " The Bishop's a rael ould archangel, 
so he is." 

Thereupon Kerry turned her gaze from the wall and said 
" Didn't I tell ye, mam, that he wasn't dead ?" 

''Who?" 

" Why — him — him that we mayn't name — him." 

" Hush, dear Kerry, he died long ago." 

" I tell ye, mam, he's a living man, and coming back — I 
know it — he's coming back immadient — I saw him." 

" Drop it, woman ; it's drames," said Hommy. 

" I saw him last night as plain as plain — wearing a 
long grey sack and curranes on his feet, and a queer sort 
of hat." 

" It must have been the priest that you saw in your dream, 
dear Kerry." 

The sick woman raised herself on one elbow, and answered 
eagerly, "I tell you no, mam, but him — him." 

" Lie still, Kerry ; you will be woi'se if you uncover your- 
self to the cool air." 

There was a moment's quiet, and then the blind woman 
said finally, " I'm going where I'll have my eyes same as 
another body." 

At that Hommy 's rugged face broadened to a look of 
gruesome sorrow, and he renewed his exertions with the 
shovel. 



338 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 



IV 

At seven o'clock that day the darkness had closed in. A 
bright turf fire burned in a room in Bisliop's Court, and the 
Bishop sat before it with his slippered feet on a sheepskin 
rug. His face was mellower than of old, and showed less of 
strength and more of sadness. Mona stood at a tea-table by 
his side, cutting slices of bread and butter. 

A white face, with eyes of fear, looked in at the dark 
window. It was Davy Fayle. He was but little older to 
look upon for the seven years that had gone heavily over 
his troubled head. His simple look was as vacant and his 
lagging lip hung as low ; but his sluggish intellect had 
that night become suddenly charged with a ready man's 
swiftness. 

Mona went to the door. " Come in," she said ; but Davy 
would not come. He must speak with her outside, and she 
went out to him. 

He was trembling visibly. 

" What is it ? " she said. 

" Mistress Mona," said Davy, in a voice of great emotion, 
"it's as true as the living God." 

" What } " she said. 

" He's alive — ould Kerry said true — he's alive, and coming 
back." 

Mona glanced into his face by the dull light that came 
through the window. His eyes, usually dull and vacant, were 
aflame with a strange fire. She laid one hand on the door- 
jamb, and said, catching her breath, " Davy, remember what 
the men said long ago — that they saw him lying in the 
snow." 

" He's alive, I'm telling you — I've seen him with my own 
eyes." 

" Where } " 

" I went down to Patrick this morning to meet the priest 
coming up — but it's no priest at all — it's — it's — it's him." 

Again Mona drew her breath audibly. 

"Think what you are saying, Davy. If it should not be 
true ! Oh, if you should be mistaken ! " 

" It's Bible truth. Mistress Mona — I'll go bail on it afore 
God A'mighty." 

339 



THE DEEMSTER 

" The priest, you say ? " 

"Aw, lave it to me to know Mastha — I mean — him." 

" I must go in, Davy. Good-nit-ht to you, and thank 

you Good-night, and " the plaintive tenderness of 

her voice broke down to a sob. " Oh, what can it all 
mean.''" she exclaimed more vehemently. 

Davy turned away. The low moan of the sea came up 
through the dark night. 



V 

It happened that after service the next morning the Bishop 
and Thorkell walked out of the chapel side by side. 

"We are old men now, Gilchrist," said Thorkell, "and 
should be good friends together." 

" That is so," the Bishop answered. 

" We've both lost a son, and can feel for each other." 

The Bishop made no reply. 

" We're childless men, in fact." 

" There's Mona, God bless her ! " the Bishop said very softly. 

"True, true," said Thorkell, and there was silence for a 
moment. 

" It was partly her fault when she left me — partly, 
I say ; — don't you think so, Gilchrist ? " said Thorkell ner- 
vously. 

" She's a dear sweet soul," the Bishop said 

" It's true." 

They stepped on a few paces, and passed by the spot 
whereon the two fishermen laid down their dread burden 
from the Mooragh seven years before. Then Thorkell spoke 
again and in a feverish voice. 

"D'ye know, Gilchrist, I sometimes awake in the night 
crying ' Ewan ! Ewan ! ' " 

The Bishop did not answer, and Thorkell, in another tone, 
asked when the Irish priest was to reach Michael. 

" He may be here to-morrow," the Bishop said. 

Thorkell shuddered. 

" It must be that God is revenging Himself upon us with 
this fearful scourge." 

"It dishonours God to say so," the Bishop replied. "He 
is calling upon us to repent." 

340 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 

There was another pause, and then Thorkell asked what 
a man should do to set things right in this world if per- 
chance he had taken a little more in usury than Avas fair and 
honest. 

" Give back whatever was more than justice," said the 
Bishop promptly. 

" But that is often impossible, Gilchrist." 

"If he has robbed the widow, and she is dead, let him 
repay the fatherless." 

" It is impossible — I tell you, Gilchrist, it is impossible — 
impossible." 

As they were entering the house, Thorkell asked if 
there was truth in the rumour that the wells had been 
charmed. 

" To believe such stories is to be drawn off from a trust in 
God and a dependence on His good providence," said the 
Bishop. 

" But I must say, brother, that strange things are known 
to happen. Now I myself have witnessed extraordinary 
fulfilments." 

"Superstition is a forsaking of God, whom we have 
most need to fly to in trouble and distress," the Bishop 
answered. 

"True — very true — I loathe it; but still it's a sort of 
religion, isn't it, Gilchrist ? " 

" So the wise man says — as the ape is a sort of a man." 



VI 

Three days later the word went round that he who had 
been looked for was come to Michael, and many went out to 
meet him. He was a stalwart man, straight and tall, bony 
and muscular. His dress was poverty's own livery : a grey 
shapeless sack-coat, reaching below his knees, curranes on his 
feet of uutanned skin with open clocks, and a cap of cloth, 
half helmet and half hood, drawn closely down over his 
head. His cheeks were shaven and deeply bronzed. The 
expression of his face was of a strange commingling of 
strength and tenderness. His gestures were few, slow, and 
gentle. His measured step was a rhythmic stride — the stride 
of a man who has learned in the long endurance of solitude 

341 



THE DEEMSTER 

to walk alone in the ways of the world. He spoke little, 
and scarcely answered the questions which were put to 
him. " Aw, but I seem to have seen the good man in my 
drames," said one ; and some said " Ay " to that, and some 
laughed at it. 

Within six hours of his coming he had set the whole parish 
to work. Half of the men he sent up into the mountains to 
cut gorse and drag it down to the Curraghs in piles of ten 
feet high, tied about with long sheep lankets of twisted 
straw. The other half he set to dig trenches in the marshy 
places. He made the women to kindle a turf fire in every 
room with a chimney-flue, and when night came he had 
great fires of gorse, peat, withered vegetation, and dried sea- 
wrack built on the open spaces about the houses in which 
the sickness had broken out. He seemed neither to rest nor 
eat. From sick house to sick house, from trench to trench, 
and fire to fire, he moved on with his strong step. And 
behind him at all times, having never a word from him and 
never a look, but trudging along at his heels like a dog, was 
the man-lad Davy Fayle. 

Many of the affrighted people who had taken refuge in the 
mountains returned to their homes at his coming, but others, 
husbands and fathers chiefly, remained on the hills, leaving 
their wives and families to fend for themselves. Seeing this, 
he went up and found some of them in their hiding-places, 
and, shaming them out of their cowardice, brought them 
back behind him, more docile than sheep behind a shepherd. 
When the ex-town-watch, Billy-by-Nite, next appeared on 
the Curraghs in the round of his prophetic itineration, the 
strange man said not a word, but he cut short the vehement 
jeremiad by taking the Quaker prophet by legs and neck, 
and throwing him headlong into one of the drain-troughs 
newly dug in the dampest places. 

But the strength of this silent man was no more conspicu- 
ous than his tenderness. When in the frenzy of their fever 
the sufferers would cast off" their clothes, and try to rise from 
their beds and rush into the cooler air from the heat by 
which he had surrounded them, his big horny hands would 
restrain them with a great gentleness. 

Before he had been five days in Michael and on the 
Curraghs the sickness began to abate. The deaths were 
fewer, and some of the sick rose from their beds. Then the 

342 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 

people plied him with many questions, and would have over- 
whelmed him with their rude gratitude. To their questions 
he gave few answers, and when they thanked him he turned 
and left them. 

They said that their Bishop, who was grown feeble, the 
good ould angel, thought it strange that he had not yet 
visited him. To this he answered briefly that before leaving 
the parish he would go to Bishop's Court. 

They told him that Mistress Mona, daughter of the 
Dempster that was, bad sess to him, had been seeking him 
high and low. At this his lip trembled, and he bent his 
head. 

" The good man's face plagues me mortal," said old 
Billy-the-Gawk. " Whiles I know it, and other whiles I 
don't." 



VII 

Only another day did the stranger remain in Michael, but 
the brief time was full of strange events. The night closed 
in before seven o'clock. It was then very dark across the 
mountains, and the sea lay black beyond the cliffs, but the 
Curraghs were dotted over with the many fires which had 
been kindled about the infected houses. 

Within one of these houses, the home of Jabez Gawne, the 
stranger stood beside the bed of a sick woman, the tailor's 
wife. Behind him there were anxious faces. Davy Fayle, 
always near him, leaned against the door-jamp by the 
porch. 

And while the stranger wrapped the sweltering sufferer in 
hot blankets, other sufferers sent to him to pray of him to 
come to them. First there came an old man to tell of his 
grandchild, who had been smitten down that day, and she 
was the last of his kin whom the Sweat had left alive. Then 
a woman, to say that her husband, who had started again 
with the boats but yesterday, had been brought home to her 
that night with the sickness. He listened to all who came, 
and answered quietly, " I will go." 

At length a young man ran in and said, " The Dempster's 
down. He's shouting for you, sir. He sent me hot-foot to 
fetcli you." 

343 



THE dep:mster 

The stranger listened as before^ and seemed to think rapidly 
for a momentj for his under lip trembled, and was drawn 
painfully inward. Then he answered as briefly as ever, and 
with as calm a voice, " I will go." 

The man ran back with his answer, but presently returned, 
saying, with panting breath, "He's rambling, sir ; raving 
mad, sir ; and shouting that he must be coming after you if 
you're not for coming to him." 

" We will go together," the stranger said, and they went 
out immediately. Davy Fayle followed them at a few 
paces. 

VIII 

Through the darkness of that night a woman, young and 
beautiful, in cloak and hood like a nun's, walked from house 
to house of the Curraghs, where the fires showed that the 
sickness was still raging. It was Mona. These three days 
past she had gone hither and thither, partly to tend the 
sick people, partly in hope of meeting the strange man 
who had come to cure them. Again and again she had 
missed him, being sometimes only a few minutes before or 
after him. 

Still she passed on from house to house, looking for him as 
she went in at every fresh door, yet half dreading the chance 
that might bring them face to face. 

She entered the house where he had received her father's 
message almost on the instant when he left it. The three 
men had gone by her in the darkness. 

Jabez, the tailor, who sat whimpering in the ingle, told 
her that the priest had that moment gone off to Ballamona, 
where the Dempster that was — hadn't she heard the newses .'' 
— was new down with the Sweat. 

Her delicate face whitened at that, and after a pause she 
turned to follow. But going back to the hearth, she asked if 
the stranger had been told that the Bishop wanted to see 
him. Jabez told her yes, and that he had said he would go 
up to Bishop's Court before leaving the parish. 

Then another question trembled on her tongue, but she 
could not utter it. At last she asked what manner of man 
the stranger Avas to look upon. 

" Aw, big and sthraight and tall," said Jabez. 
344 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 

And Billy-the-Gawk, who sat at the opposite side of the 
ingle, being kin to Jabez's sick wife, said, " Ay, and quiet like, 
and solemn extraordinary." 

" A wonderful man, wonderful, wonderful," said Jabez, still 
whimpering. " And wherever he comes the Sweat goes down 
before him with a flood." 

''As I say," said Billy-the-Gawk, "the good man's face 
plagues me mortal. I can't bethink me where I've seen the 
like of it afore." 

Mona's lips quivered at that word, and she seemed to be 
about to speak ; but she said nothing. 

"And the strong he is!" said Jabez: "I never knew 
but one man in the island with half the strength of arm 
at him." 

Mona's pale face twitched visibly, and she listened as with 
every faculty. 

"Who d'ye mane .f* " asked Billy-the-Gawk. 

At that question there was a moment's silence between the 
men. Then each drew a long breath, dislodged a heavy 
burden from his throat, glanced significantly up at Mona, and 
looked into the other's face. 

" Him," said Jabez, in a faint under-breath, speaking behind 
his hand. 

" Him ? " 

Billy-the-Gawk straightened his crooked back, opened wide 
liis rheumy eyes, pursed up his wizened cheeks, and emitted 
a low, long whistle. 

" Lord A'mighty ! " 

For an instant Jabez looked steadily into the old mendi- 
cant's face, and then drew himself up in his seat — 

" Lord a-massy ! " 

Mona's heart leapt to her mouth. She was almost beside 
herself with suspense, and felt an impulse to scream. 



IX 

Within a week after old Thorkell had conversed with the 
Bishop about the rumour that the wells had been charmed, 
his terror of the sickness had grown nigh to madness. He 
went to church no longer, but shut himself up in his house. 
Night and day his restless footstep could be heard to pass 

34,5 



THE DEEMSTER 

from room to room and floor to floor. He ate little, and such 
was his dread of the water from his well that for three days 
together he drank nothing. At length, burning from thirst, 
he went up the Dhoon Glen and drank at a pool, going down 
on hands and knees to lap the water like a dog. Always he 
seemed to be mumbling prayers, and when the bell of the 
church rang, no matter for what occasion, he dropped to 
his knees and prayed audibly. He forbade the servants 
of the house to bring him news of deaths, but waited and 
watched and listened at open doors for their conver- 
sation among themselves. At night he went to the front 
windows to look at the fires that were kindled about the 
infected houses on the Curraghs. He never failed to turn 
from that sight with bitter words. Such work was but 
the devil's play : it was making a mock at God, who had 
sent the sickness to revenge Himself on the island's guilty 
people. Thorkell told Jarvis Ken-uish as much time after 
time. Jarvis answered contemptuously, and Thorkell re- 
torted angrily. At length they got to high words, and 
Jarvis flung away. 

One morning Thorkell called for Hommy-beg. They 
told him that Hommy had been nursing his wife. The blind 
woman was now dead, and Hommy was burying her. At 
this Thorkell's terror was appalling to look upon. All 
night long he had been telling himself that he despised 
the belief in second sight, but that he would see if Kerry 
pretended to know whether he himself was to outlive the 
scourge. No matter, the woman was dead. So much the 
better ! 

Later the same day Thorkell remembered that somewhere 
on the mountains there lived an old farmer who was a seer 
and bard. He would go to see the old charlatan. Yes, 
he would amuse himself with the superstition that aped 
religion. Thorkell set out, and found the bard's lonely 
house far up above the Sherragh Vane. In a corner of the 
big fireplace the old man sat, with a black shawl bound 
about his head and tied under his chin. He was past eighty 
years of age, and his face was as old a face as Thorkell had 
ever looked upon. On his knee a young child was sitting, 
and two or three small boys were playing about his feet. 
A brisk middle-aged woman was stirring the peats and 
settling the kettle on the chimney-hook. She was the old 

346 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 

man's wife, and the young brood were the old man's 
children. 

Thorkell began to talk of carvals, and said he had come 
to hear some of them. The old bard's eyes brightened. 
He had written a carol about the sickness. From the 
"lath" he took a parchment pan, full of papers that were 
worn, thumb-marked, and greasy. From one of these papers 
he began to read, and Thorkell tried to listen. The poem 
was an account of a dream. The dreamer had dreamt that 
he had gone into a church. There was a congregation 
gathered, and a preacher was in the pulpit. But when the 
preacher prayed the dreamer heard nothing of God. At 
length he discovered that it was a congregation of the dead 
in the region of the damned. They had all died of the 
Sweat. Every man of them had been warned by wise 
men and women in this world. The congregation sang a 
joyless psalm, and when their service was done they began 
to break up. Then the dreamer recognised some whom he 
had known in the flesh. Among them was one who had 
killed his own son, and he was afflicted with a burning 
thii'st. To this unhappy man the dreamer offered a basin 
of milk-and-water, but the damned soul could not get the 
basin to his parched lips, struggle as he might to lift it in 
his stiff arms. 

At first Thorkell listened with the restless mind of a man 
who had come on better business, and then with a feverish 
interest. The sky had darkened since he entered the house, 
and while the old bard chanted in his sing-song voice, and 
the children made their clatter around his feet, a storm of 
heavy rain pelted against the window-pane. 

The ballad ended in the grim doggerel of a harrowing 
appeal to the sinner to shun his evil courses : — 

" O sinner, see your dangerous state, 
And think of hell ere 'tis too late ; 
When worldly cares would drown each thought, 
Pray call to mind that hell is hot. 
Still to increase your godly fears 
Let this be sounding in your ears, 
Still bear in mind that hell is hot, 
Remember, and forget it not." 

Thus, with H swinging motion of the body, the old bard 
o47 



THE DEEMSTER 

of the mountain chanted his rude song on the dangers of 
damnation. Thorkell leapt up from the settle and sputtered 
out an expression of contempt. What madness was this ? 
If he had his way he would clap all superstitious people into 
the Castle. 

The next morning, when sitting down to breakfast, Thorkell 
told Jarvis Kerruish that he had three nights running dreamt 
the same dream, and it was a terrible one. Jarvis laughed 
in his face, and said he was a foolish old man. Thorkell 
answered with heat, and they parted on the instant, neither 
touching food. Towards noon Thorkell imagined he felt 
feverish, and asked for Jarvis Kerruish ; but Jarvis was at 
his toilet and would not be disturbed. At five o'clock the 
same day Thorkell was sweating from every pore, and crying 
lustily that he had taken the sickness. Towards seven he 
ordered the servant — a young man named Juan Caine, who 
had come to fill Hommy's place — to go in search of the 
Romish priest. Father Dalby. 

When the stranger came, the young man opened the door 
to him, and whispered that the old master's wits were gone. 
" He's not been wise these two hours," the young man 
said, and then led the way to Thorkell's bedroom. He 
missed the corridor, and the stranger pointed to the proper 
door. 

Thorkell was sitting up in his bed. His clothes had 
not been taken off", but his coat — a blue coat, laced — 
and also his long yellow vest were unbuttoned. His wig 
was perched on the top of a high-backed chair, and over 
his bald head hung a torn piece of red flannel. His long 
hairy liands, with the prominent blue veins, crawled like 
a crab over the counterpane. His eyes were open very 
wide. When he saw the stranger he was for getting out 
of bed. 

" I am not ill," he said ; " it's folly to think that I've 
taken the sickness. I sent for you to tell you something 
that you should know." 

Then he called to the young man to bring him water. 
" Juan, water ! " he cried ; " Juan, I say, more water." 

He turned to the stranger. " It's true I'm always athirst, 
but is that any proof that I have taken the sickness .'' Juan, 
be quick — water ! " 

The young man brought a pewter pot of cold water, and 
348 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 

Tliorkell clutched at it, but as he was stretching his neck 
to drink, his hot hps working visibly, and his Avhite tongue 
protruding, he drew suddenly back. " Is it from the well ? " 
he asked. 

The stranger took the pewter out of his hands, unlocking 
his stiff fingers with his own great bony ones. " Make the 
water hot," he said to the servant. 

Thorkell fell back to his pillow, and the rag of red blanket 
dropped from his bald crown. Then he lifted himself on one 
elbow and began again to talk of the sickness. " You have 
made a mistake,' he said. " It is not to be cured. It is 
God's revenge on the people of this sinful island. Shall I 
tell you for what offence .f" For superstition. Superstition is 
the ape of religion. It is the reproach of God. Juan ! 
Juan, I say, help me off with this coat. And these bed- 
clothes also. Why are there so many ? It's true, sir- 
Father, is it .'' — it's true. Father, I'm hot, but what of that ? 
Water ! Juan, more water — Glen water, Juan ! " 

The stranger pushed Thorkell gently back, and covered 
him closely from the air. 

" As I say, it is superstition, sir," said Thorkell again. 
" I would have it put down by law. It is the curse of this 
island. What are those twenty-four Keys doing that they 
don't stamp it out } And the clergy — what are they wrang- 
ling about now, that they don't see to it ? I'll tell you how 
it is, sir. It is this way. A man does something, and some 
old woman sneezes. Straightway he thinks himself accursed, 
and that what is predicted must certainly come about. And 
it does come about. Why ? Because the man himself, with 
his blundering, doddering fears, brings it about. He brings 
it about himself — that's how it is ! And then every old 
woman in the island sneezes again." 

Saying this, Thorkell began to laugh, loudly, frantically, 
atrociously. Jarvis Kerruish had entered while he was 
running on with his tirade. The stranger did not lift his 
eyes to Jarvis, but Jarvis looked at him attentively. 

W'hen Thorkell had finished his hideous laugh he turned 
to Jarvis and asked if superstition was not the plague of the 
island, and if it ought not to be put down by law. Jarvis 
curled his lips for answer, but this form of contempt was 
lost on old Thorkell' s dim eyes. 

" Have we not often agreed that it is so ? " said Thorkell. 



THE DEEMSTER 

" And that you," said Jarvis, speaking slowly and bitterly, 
"are the most superstitious man alive." 

"What? what?" Thorkell cried. 

The stranger lifted his face, and looked steadily into 
Jarvis's eyes. " You^' he said calmly, " have some reason 
to say so." 

Jarvis reddened, turned about, stepped to the door, glanced 
back at the stranger, and went out of the room. 

Thorkell was now moaning on the pillow. " I am all 
alone," he said, and he fell to a bout of weeping. 

The stranger waited until the hysterical fit was over, and 
then said, "VVhere is your daughter?" 

"Ah ! " said Thorkell, dropping his red eyes. 

"Send for her." 

" I will. Juan, go to Bishop's Court. Juan, I say, run fast 
and fetch Mistress Mona. Tell her that her father is ill." 

As Thorkell gave this order Jarvis Kerruish returned to 
the room. 

" No ! " said Jarvis, lifting his hand against the young man. 

"No?" cried Thorkell. 

" If this is my house, I will be master in it," said Jarvis. 

" Master ! your house ! yours ! " Thorkell cried ; and then 
he fell to a fiercer bout of hysterical curses. " Bastard, I 
gave you all ! But for me you would be on the roads — ay, 
the dunghill ! " 

"This violence will avail you nothing," said Jarvis, with 
hard constraint. " Mistress Mona shall not enter this 
house." 

Jarvis placed himself with his back to the door. The 
stranger stepped up to him, laid one powerful hand on his 
arm, and drew him aside. "Go for Mistress Mona," he said 
to the young man. " Knock at the door on your return. I 
will open it." 

The young man obeyed the stranger. Jarvis stood a 
moment looking blankly into the stranger's face. Then he 
went out of the room again. 

Thorkell was whimpering on the pillow. " It is true," he 
said, with labouring breath, " though I hate superstition and 
loathe it, I was once its victim — once only. My son Ewan 
was killed by my brother's son Dan. They loved each other 
like David and Jonathan, but I told Ewan a lie, and they 
fought, and Ewan was brought home dead. Yes, I told a lie, 

350 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 

but I believed it then. I made myself believe it. I listened 
to some old wife's balderdash, and thought it true. And 
Dan was cut off — that is to saj', banished, excommunicated ; 
worse, worse. But he's dead now. He was found dead in 
the snow." Again Thorkell tried to laugh, a poor despairing 
laugh that was half a cry. " Dead ! They threatened me that 
he Avould push me from my place. And he is dead before me ! 
So much for divination ! But tell me — you are a priest — tell 

me if that sin will drag me down to — to But then, 

remember, I believed it was true — yes, I " 

The stranger's face twitched, and his breathing became 
quick. 

"And it was you who led the way to all that followed ? " 
he said in a subdued voice. 

" It was ; it was " 

The stranger had suddenly reached over the bed and 
taken Thorkell by the shoulders. At the next instant he 
had relinquished his hard grasp, and Avas standing upright 
as before, and with as calm a face. And Thorkell went 
jabbering on — 

" These three nights I have dreamt a fearful dream. Shall 
I tell you what it was } Shall I .^ I thought Dan, my 
brother's son, arose out of his grave, and came to my bed- 
side, and peered into my face. Then I thought I shrieked 
and died ; and the first thing I saw in the other world was 
my own son Ewan, and he peered into my face also, and 
told me that I was damned eternally. But, tell me, don't 
you think it was only a dream ? Father ! Father ! I say 
tell me " 

Thorkell was clambering up by hold of the stranger's coat. 

The stranger pushed him gently back. 

" Lie still ! lie still — you too have suffered much," he 
said. " Lie quiet — God is merciful." 

Just then Jarvis Kerruish entered in wild excitement. " Now 
I know who this man is," he said pointing to the stranger. 

" Father Dalby," said Thorkell. 

" Pshaw !— it is Dan Mylrea." 

Thorkell lifted himself stiffly on his elbow, and rigidly 
drew his face closely up to the stranger's face, and peered 
into the stranger's eyes. Then he took a convulsive hold 
of the stranger's coat, shrieked, and fell back on to the 
pillow. 

351 



THE DEEMSTER 

At that moment there was a loud knocking at the door 
below. The stranger left the room. In the hall a candle 
was burning. He put it out. Then he opened the door. A 
woman entered. She was alone. She passed him in the dark- 
ness without speaking. He went out of the house and pulled 
the door after him. 



X 

An hour later than this terrible interview, wherein his iden- 
tity (never hidden by any sorry masquerade) was suddenly re- 
vealed. Daniel Mylrea, followed closely at his heels by Davy 
Fayle, walked amid the fires of the valley to Bishop's Court. 
He approached the old house by the sea front, and went into 
its grounds by a gate that opened on a footpath to the library 
through a clump of elms. Sluggish as was Davy's intellect, 
he reflected that this was a path that no stranger could know. 

The sky of the night had lightened, and here and there a 
star gleamed through the thinning branches overhead. In a 
faint breeze the withering leaves of the dying summer rustled 
slightly. On the meadow before the house a silvery haze of 
night-dew lay in its silence. Sometimes the croak of a frog 
came from the glen ; and from the sea beyond (though seem- 
ingly from the mountains opposite) there rose into the air the 
rumble of the waves on the shore. 

Daniel Mylrea passed on with a slow, strong step, but a 
secret pain oppressed him. He was walking on ground that 
was dear with a thousand memories of happy childhood. He 
was going back for some brief moments that must be painful 
and joyful, awful and delicious, to the house which he had 
looked to see no more. Already he was very near to those 
who were very dear to him, and to whom he, too — yes, it 
must be so — to whom he, too, in spite of all, must still be 
dear. "Father, father," he whispered to himself "And 
Mona, my Mona, my love, my love." Only the idle chatter 
of the sapless leaves answered to the yearning cry of his broken 
spirit. 

He had passed out of the shade of the elms into the open 
green of the meadow with the stars above it, when another 
voice came to him. It was the voice of a child singing. Clear 
and sweet, and with a burden of tenderness such as a child's 
voice rarely carries, it floated through the quiet air. 

352 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 

Daniel Mylrea passed on until he came by the library 
window, which was alight with a rosy glow. There he stood 
for a moment and looked into the room. His fathex', the 
Bishop, was seated in the oak chair that was clamped with 
iron clamps. Older he seemed to be, and with the lines a 
thought deeper on his massive brow. On a stool at his feet, 
with one elbow resting on the apron in front of him, a little 
maiden sat, and she was singing. A fire burned red on the 
hearth before them. Presently the Bishop rose from his chair 
and went out of the room, walking feebly, and with drooping 
head. 

Then Daniel Mylrea walked round to the front of the house 
and knocked. The door was opened by a servant whose face 
was strange to him. Everything that he saw was strange, 
and yet everything was familiar. The hall was the same 
but smaller, and when it echoed to his foot a thrill passed 
through him. 

He asked for the Bishop, and was led like a stranger 
through his father's house to the door of the library. The 
little maiden was now alone in the room. She rose from her 
stool as he entered, and, without the least reserve, stepped 
up to him and held out her hand. He took her tender little 
palm in his great fingers, and held it for a moment while 
he looked into her face. It was a beautiful child-face, 
soft and fair and oval, with a faint tinge of olive in the 
pale cheeks, and with yellow hair — almost white in the glow 
of the red fire — falling in thin tresses over a full, smooth 
forehead. 

He sat and drew her closer to him, still looking steadily 
into her face. Then in a tremulous voice he asked her what 
her name was, and the little maiden, who had shown no fear 
at all, nor any bashfulness, answered that her name was 
Aileen. 

" But they call me Ailee," she added promptly ; " every- 
body calls me Ailee." 

" Everybody > Who } " 

" Oh, everybody," she answered, with a true child's 
emphasis. 

" Your mother } " 

She shook her head. 

" Your — your — perhaps — your " 

She shook her head more vigorously. 

353 z 



THE DEEMSTER 

" I know Avliat you're going to say, but I've got none/' 
she said. 

" (Jrot none ? " lie repeated. 

The little maiden's face took suddenly a wondrous solem- 
nity, and she said, " My father died a long, long, long time 
ago — when I was only a little baby." 

His lips quivered and his eyes fell from her face. 

" Such a long, long while ago — you wouldn't think. And 
auntie says I can't even remember him." 

" Auntie .>" 

" But shall I tell you what Kerry said it was that made him 
die .'' — shall I } — only I must whisper — and you won't tell 
auntie, will you ? — because auntie doesn't know — shall I 
tell you } " 

His quivering lips whitened, and with trembling hands he 
drew aside the little maiden's head that her innocent eyes 
might not gaze into his face. 

" How old are you, Ailee ven t " he asked in a brave 
voice. 

" Oh, I'm seven — and auntie, she's seven too ; auntie and 
I are twins." 

" And you can sing, can you not ? Will you sing for me.''" 

" What shall I sing }" 

"Anything, sweetheart — what you sang a little while 
since." 

" For grandpa } " 

" Grandpa } " 

" Kerry says no, its uncle, not grandpa. But that's wrong," 
with a look of outraged honour ; " and besides, how should 
Kerry know } It's not her grandpa, is it } Do you know 
Kerry .'' " Then the little face saddened all at once. " Oh, I 
forgot — yjoor Kerry." 

" Poor Kerry ?" 

" I used to go and see hei*. You go up the road, and then 
on and on and on until you come to some children, and then 
on and on and on until you get to a little boy — and then 
you're there." 

" Won't you sing, sweetheart } " 

" I'll sing grandpa's song." 

" Grandpa's ? " 

" Yes, the one he likes." 

Then the little maiden's dimpled face smoothened out, 
354 



THE SWEATING SICKNESS 

and her simple eyes turned gravely upwards as she began to 
sing : — 

"0 Myle Charaine, where got you your gold ? 
Lone, lone, you bave left me here. 
not in the Curragh, deep under the mould, 
Lone, lone, and void of cheer." 

It was the favourite song of his own boyish days ; and 
while the little maiden sang it seemed to the crime-stained 
man who gazed through a dim haze into her cherub face 
that the voice of her dead father had gone into her voice. 
He listened while he could, and when the tears welled up to 
his eyes, with his horny hands he drew her fair head down 
to his heaving breast, and sobbed beneath his breath, " Ailee 
ven, Ailee ven." 

The little maiden stopped in her song to look up in 
bewilderment at the bony, wet face that was stooping over 
her. 

At that moment the door of the room opened, and the 
Bishop entered noiselessly. A moment he stood on the 
threshold, with a look of perplexity. Then he made a few 
halting steps, and said — 

" My eyes are not what they were, sir, and I see there is 
no light but the firelight ; but I presume you are the good 
Father Dalliy ? " 

Daniel Mylrea had risen to his feet. 

" I come from him," he answei'ed. 

" Is he not coming himself? " 

" He cannot come. He charged me with a message to you." 

''You are veiy welcome. My niece will be home pre- 
sently. Be seated, sir." 

Daniel Mylrea did not sit, but continued to stand before 
his father, with head held down. After a moment he spoke 
again. 

"Father Dalby," he said, "is dead." 

The Bishop sank to his chair. " When ? when ? " 

" He died the better part of a month ago." 

The Bishop rose to his feet. 

" He was in this island but yesterday." 

"He bade me tell you that he had fulfilled his pledge to 
you and come to the island, but died by the visitation of God 
the same night whereon he landed here." 

S55 



THE DEEMSTER 

The Bishop put one hand to his forehead. 

" Sir/' he said, " my hearing is also faihng me, for, as you 
see, I am an old man now, and besides I have had trouble in 
my time. Perhaps, sir, I did not hear you aright." 

Then Daniel Mylrea told in few words the story of the 
priest's accident and death, and how the man at whose 
house he died had made bold to take the good priest's 
mission upon himself 

The Bishop listened with visible pain, and for a while said 
nothing. Then, speaking in a faltering voice, with breath 
that came quickly, he asked who the other man had been. 
" For the good man has been a blessing to us," he added 
nervously. 

To tliis question there was no reply, and he asked again — 

" Who > " 

" Myself" 

The Bishop lifted with trembling fingers his horn-bridged 
spectacles to his eyes. 

" Your voice is strangely familiar," he said. " What is 
your name } " 

Again there was no answer. 

"Give me your name, sir — that I may pray of God to 
bless you." 

Still there was no answer. 

" Let me remember it in my prayers." 

Then in a breaking voice Daniel Mylrea replied — 

" In your prayers my poor name has never been for- 
gotten." 

At that the Bishop tottered a pace backward. 

"Light," he said faintly. "More light." 

He touched a bell on the table, and sank quietly into his 
chair. Daniel Mylrea fell to his knees at the Bishop's 
feet. 

" Father," he said in a fervent whisper, and put his lips 
to the Bishop's hand. 

The door was opened, and a servant entered with candles. 
At the same moment Daniel Mylrea stepped quickly out of 
the room. 

Then the little maiden leaped from the floor to the 
Bishop's side. 

" Grandpa, grandpa ! Oh, what has happened to grandpa } " 
she cried. 

356 



4 



"OUR FATHER, WHICH ART IN HEAVEN" 

The Bishop's head had dropped into his breast and he had 
fainted. When he opened his eyes in consciousness Mona 
was bathing his forehead and damping his hps. 

" My child/' he said nervously, " one has come back to us 
from the dead." 

And Mona answered him with the thought that was now 
uppermost in her mind. 

"Dear uncle," she said, "my poor father died half an 
hour ago." 



CHAPTER XLV 

" OUR FATHER, WHICH ART IN HEAVEN " 

Not many days after the events recorded in the foregoing 
chapter, the people of Man awoke to the joyful certainty 
that the sweating sickness had disappeared. The solid wave 
of heat had gone ; the ground had become dry and the soil 
light, and no foetid vapours floated over the Curraghs at 
midday. Also the air had grown keener, the nights had 
sharpened, and in the morning the fronds of hoar-frost hung 
on the witliering leaves of the trammon. 

Then the poor folk began to arrange their thoughts con- 
cerning the strange things that had happened ; to count up 
their losses by death ; to talk of children that were fatherless ; 
and of old men left alone in the world, like naked trunks, 
without bough or branch, flung on the bare earth by yester- 
day's storm. 

And in that first roU-call after the battle of life and death 
the people suddenly became aware that, with the sweating 
sickness, the man who had brought the cure for it had also 
disappeared. He was not on the Curraghs, he was no longer 
in Michael, and farther east he had not travelled. None 
could tell what had become of him. When seen last he was 
walking south through German towards Patrick. He was 
then alone, save for the half-daft lad, Davy Fayle, who 
slouched at his heels like a dog. As he passed up Creg 
Willey's Hill the people of St. John's followed him in ones 
and twos and threes to offer him their simple thanks. But 

357 



THE DEEMSTER 

he pushed along as one who hardly heard them. When he 
came by the Tynwald he paused and turned partly towards 
Greeba, as though half minded to alter his course. But, 
hesitating no longer, he followed the straight path towards 
the village at the foot of Slieu VVhallin. As he crossed the 
green the people of St. John's, who followed him up the 
hill-road, had grown to a great number, being joined there 
by the people of Tynwald. And when lie passed under the 
ancient mount, walking with long, ra])id steps, his chin on 
his breast and his eyes kept steadfastly down, the grey- 
headed men uncovered their heads, the yf)ung women thrust 
their young children under his hands for his blessing, and all 
by one impulse shouted in one voice, " God bless the priest ! " 
" Heaven save the priest ! " 

There were spectators of that scene who were wont to say, 
when the sequel had freshened their memories, that amid 
this wild tumult of the gratitude of the island's poor people, 
he who was the subject of it made one (piick glance of pain 
upwards to the mount, now standing em})ty above the green, 
and then, parting the crowds that encircled him, })ushed 
through them without word, or glance, or sign. Seeing at 
last that he shrank from their thanks, the people followed 
him no farther, but remained on the green, watching him as 
he passed on towards Slieu Whallin, and then up by the 
mountain track. When he had reached the top of the 
path, where it begins its descent to the valley beyond, he 
paused again and turned about, glancing back. The people 
below saw his full figure clearly outlined against the sky, 
and once more they sent up their shout by one great im- 
pulse in one great voice that drowned the distant rumble 
of the sea ' " God bless the priest ! " " Heaven save the 
priest ! " And he heard it, for instantly he faced about and 
disappeared. 

When he was gone it seemed as if a spell had broken. 
The people looked into each other's faces in bewilderment, 
as if vaguely conscious that somewhere and sometime, under 
conditions the same yet different, all that they had then seen 
their eyes had seen before. And bit by bit the memory 
came back to them, linked with a name that might not be 
spoken. Then many things that had seemed strange became 
plain. 

358 



"OUR FATHER, WHICH ART IN HEAVEN" 

In a few days the whispei* passed over Man, from north to 
south, from east to west, from the sod cabins on the Curragh 
to the Castle at Castletown, that he who had cured the people 
of the sickness, he v.ho had been mistaken for the priest 
out of Ireland, was none other than the unblessed man long 
thought to be dead ; and that he had lived to be the saviour 
of his jDeople. 

The great news was brought to Bishop's Court, and it was 
found to be there already. Rumour said that from Castle- 
town an inquiiy had come asking if the news were true, but 
none could tell what answer Bishop's Court had made. The 
Bishop had shut himself up from all visits, even those of his 
clergy. With Mona and the child, Ewan's little daughter, he 
had passed the days since Thorkell's death, and not until 
the day of Thorkell's funeral did he break in upon his 
solitude. Then he went down to the little churchyard that 
stands over by the sea. 

They buried the ex-Deemster near to his son Ewan, 
and with scarcely a foot's space between them. Except 
Jarvis Kerruish, the Bishop was Thorkell's sole mourner, 
and hardly had the service ended, or the second shovel 
of earth fallen from old Will-as-Thorn's spade, when Jarvis 
whipped about and walked away. Then the Bishop stood 
alone by his brother's unhonoured grave, trying to forget 
his malice and uncharity, and his senseless superstitions that 
had led to many disasters, thinking only with the pity 
that is nigh to love of the great ruin whereunto his 
poor behefs had tottered down. And when the Bishop 
had returned home the roll-call of near kindred showed 
him pitiful gaps. " The island grows veiy lonesome, Mona," 
he said. 

That night Davy Fayle came to Bishop's Court with a book 
in his hand. He told Mona how he had found the Ben-my- 
Chree a complete wreck on the shingle of the Dhoon Creek 
in the Calf Sound, and the book in its locker. Not a syllable 
could Davy read, but he knew that the book was the fishing- 
log of the lugger, and that since he saw it last it had been 
filled with writings. 

Mona took the book into the library, and with the Bishop 
she examined it. It was a small quarto, bound in sheepskin, 
with comers and back of untanned leather. Longways on 
the back the words " Ben-my-Chree Fishing Log" were 

359 



THE DEEMSTER 

lettered, as with a soft quill in a bold hand. On the front 
page there was this inscription : — 

Ben-my-Chree. 

Owner, Daniel Mylrea, Bishop's Court, 

Isle of Man. 

Master, Illiam Quilleash. 

Over page was the word " Accounts," and then followed the 
various items of the earnings and expenditure of the boat. 
The handwriting was strong and free, but the bookkeeping 
was not lucid. 

Eight pages of faintly-tinted paper, much frayed, and with 
lines ruled by hand one way of the sheet only, were filled 

with the accounts of the herring season of . At the 

bottom there was an attempt at picking out the items of 
profit and loss, and at reckoning the shai-es of owner, master, 
and man. The balance stood but too sadly on the wrong 
side. There was a deficit of forty pounds four shillings and 
sixpence. 

The Bishop glanced at the entries, and passed them over 
with a sigh. But turning the leaves, he came upon other 
matter of more pathetic interest. This was a long personal 
narrative from the owner's pen, covering some two hundred 
of the pages. The Bishop looked it through, hurriedly, 
nervously, and with eager eyes. Then he gave up the book 
to Mona. 

"Read it aloud, child," he said, in a voice unhke his own, 
and with a brave show of composure he settled himself to 
listen. 

For two hours thereafter Mona read from the narrative 
that was written in the book. What that narrative was does 
not need to be said. 

Often the voice of the reader failed her, sometimes it could 
not support itself. And in the lapses of her voice the silence 
was broken by her low sobs. 

The Bishop listened long with a great outer calmness, for 
the affections of the father were struggling with a sense of 
the duty of the servant of God. At some points of the 
narrative these seemed so to conflict as to tear his old heart 
woefully. But he bore up very bravely, and tried to think 
that in what he had done seven years before he had done 

360 



"OUR FATHER, WHICH ART IN HEAVEN" 

well. At an early stage of Mona's reading he stopped her 
to say — 

" Men have been east on desert islands beforetime, and too 
often they have been adrift on unknown seas." 

Again he stopped her to add, with a slow shake of the 
head — 

" Men have been outlawed, and dragged out weary yeai-s 
in exile — men have been oftentimes under the ban and chain 
of the law." 

And once again he interrupted and said, in a trembling 
undertone, " It is true — it has been what I looked for — it 
has been a death in life." 

But as Mona went on to read of how the outcast man, kept 
back from speech with every living soul, struggled to preserve 
the spiritual part of him, the Bishop interrupted once more, 
and said in a faltering voice — 

"This existence has been quite alone in its desolation." 

As Mona went on again to read of how the unblessed crea- 
ture said his prayer in his solitude, not hoping that God would 
hear, but thinking himself a man outside God's grace, though 
God's hand was upon him^thinking himself a man doomed 
to everlasting death, though the blessing of Heaven had 
already fallen over him like morning dew — then all that re- 
mained of spiritual pride in the heart of the Bishop was borne 
down by the love of the father, and his old head fell into his 
breast, and the hot tears rained down his wrinkled cheeks. 

Later the same night Mona sent for Davy Fayle. The 
lad was easily found ; he had been waiting in the darkness 
outside the house, struggling hard with a desire to go in 
and tell Mistress Mona where Daniel Mylrea was to be 
found. 

" Davy," she said, " do you know where he is ? " 

" Sure," said Davy. 

" And you could lead me to him .'' " 

" I could." 

" Then come here very early in the morning, and we will 
go together." 

Next day when Mona, attired for her journey, went down 
for a hasty breakfast, she found the Bishop fumbling a letter 
in his trembling fingers. 

" Read this, child," he said in a thick voice, and he handed 
the letter to her. 

361 



THE DEEMSTER 

She turned it over nervously. The superscription ran, 
" These to the Lord Bishop of Man, at his Palace of Bishop's 
Court/' and the seal on the other face was that of the insular 
Government. 

While the Bishop made pretence of wiping with his hand- 
kerchief the horn-bridged spectacles on his nose, Mona opened 
and read the letter. 

It was from the Governor at Castletown, and said that the 
Lord of Man and the Isles, in recognition of the great ser- 
vices done by Daniel Mylrca to the people of the island 
during their recent affliction, would be anxious to appoint 
him Deemster of Man, in succession to his late uncle, Thor- 
kell Mylrea (being satisfied that he was otherwise qualified 
for the post), if the Steward of the Ecclesiastical Courts were 
willing to remove the censure of the Church under which he 
now laboured. 

When she had finished reading Mona cast one glance of 
nervous supplication upwai'ds to the Bishop's face, and then 
with a quick cry of joy, which was partly pain, she flung her 
arms about his neck. 

The old Bishop was quite broken down. 

"Man's judgments on man," he said, "are but as the 
anger of little children — here to-day, gone to-morrow, and 
the Father's face is over all." 



What need to tell of one of the incidents of Mona's 
journey, or of the brave hopes that buoyed her up on the 
long and toilsome way .'' Many a time during these seven 
years past she had remembered that it was she Avho had per- 
suaded Dan to offer his life as an atonement for his sin. 
And often the thought came back to her with the swiftness 
of remorse that it was she who, in her blindness, had sent 
him to a doom that was woi'se than death. But Heaven's 
ways had not been her ways, and all was well. The atone- 
ment had been made, and the sin had been wiped out of the 
book of life. Dan, her love, her beloved, had worked out 
his redemption. He had proved himself the great man she 
had always known he must be. He was to come back loaded 
with honour and gratitude, and surrounded by multitudes of 
friends. 

362 



"OUR FATHER, WHICH ART IN HEAVEN" 

More than once, when the journey was heaviest, she put 
her hand to her bosom and touched the paper that nestled 
so warmly there. Then in her mind's eye she saw Dan 
in the seat of the Deemster, the righteous judge of his 
own people. Oh, yes, he would be the Deemster, but he 
would be Dan still, her Dan, the lively, cheerful, joyous, 
perhaps even frolicsome Dan once more. He would sport 
with her little Ailee ; he would play with her as he 
used to play long ago with another little girl that she 
herself could remember^tickling her under her armpits 
and under her chin— while she sent up a chorus of squeal- 
ing laughter. 

The burden of Mona's long years of weary sorry had been 
so suddenly lifted away that she could not restrain her 
thoughts from childish sportiveness. But sometimes she i-e- 
membered Ewan, and then her heart saddened, and some- 
times she thought of herself, and then it flushed full of 
quick, hot blood. And oh ! how delicious was the secret 
thing that sometimes stole up between her visions of Dan 
and the high destiny that was before him. It was a 
vision of herself, transfigured by his noble love, resting 
upon and looking up to him, and thus passing on and 
on and on to the end. 

Once she remembered, with a chill passing through her, 
that in the writing which he had read Dan had said he 
was ill. But what of that? She was going to him, and 
would nurse him back to health. 

And Davy Fayle walking at her side, was full of his 
own big notions, too. Mastha Dan would be Dempster, 
true ; but he'd have a boat for his pleasure, sarten sui-e. 
Davy Fayle would sail man in her, {)erhaps mate, and 
maybe skipper some day — who knows ? And then, lying 
aft and drifting at the herrings, and smokin', and the 
stars out, and the moon makin' a peep — aw, well, well, 
well! 

They reached the end of their journey at last. It was 
in a small gorse-covered house far over the wild moor, on 
the edge of the Chasms, looking straight out on the hungry 
sea. In its one bare room (which was without fire, and was 
cheerless with little light) there was a table, a settle, a 
chair, a stool, and a sort of truckle-bed. Dan was there, 

S63 



THE DEEMSTER 

the same, yet, oh ! how different ! He lay on the bed un- 
conscious, near to death of the sickness — the last that the 
scourge was to slay. 



Of this story of great love and great suffering what is 
left to tell ? 

There are moments when life seems like the blind swirl 
of a bat in the dusk — blundering, irresponsible, not to be 
counted with, the swift creature of evil chance. We see 
a little child's white fiice at a hospital window, a sti'ong man 
toiling hopelessly against wrong, the innocent suffering with 
the guilty, good instincts thwarted and base purposes pro- 
moted, and we ask ourselves, with a thrill of the heart, 
What, after all, is God doing in this His world } And from 
such blind labouring of chance the tired and beaten genera- 
tions of men seem to find it reward enough to drop one 
after one to the hushed realms of rest. 

Shall we marvel very much if such a moment came to this 
pure and noble woman as she stood in the death-chamber of 
her beloved, with whom, after years of longing, she was at 
last brought face to face .'' 

But again, there are other moments, higher and better, 
when there is such a thing in this so bewildering world as the 
victory of vanquishment, when the true man crushed by evil 
chance is yet the true man undestroyed by it and destroy- 
ing it, when Job on his dunghill is more to be envied than 
Pharaoh on his throne, and death is as good as life. 

And such a higher moment came to Mona in that death- 
chamber. She sat many hours by Dan's side, waiting for the 
breaking of his delirium and the brief space of consciousness 
and of peace which would be the beginning of the end. It 
came at long, long length, and, ah ! how soon it came ! 

The night had come and gone whilst she sat and watched. 
When the sunrise shot red through the skin-covered window 
it fell on Dan and awakened him. Opening his eyes he saw 
Mona, and his soul smiled over his wasted face. He could 
not speak, nor could he lift his worn hands. She knew that 
the time was near, and holding back her grief, like wild 
creatures held by the leash, she dropped to her knees, and 
clasped her hands together to pray. And while she prayed 
the dying man repeated some of the words after her. 

364 



''OUR FATHER, WHICH ART IN HEAVEN" 

" Our Father/' — 

" Our — Father," — 

" Which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name," — 

" Hallowed — be — Thy — name," — 

"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in 
heaven ; give us this day our daily bread ; and forgive us our 
trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us ; and 
lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil," — 

" But — deliver — us — from — evil," — 

"Amen," — 

"Amen." 



THE END 



Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. 
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A Journey Round My Room. By X, de Maistre. 

Translated li\' Sir IlEN'KY ATI'WELL. 
Quips and Quiddities. By W. D. Ada.ms. 
The Agony Column of 'The Times.' 
Melancholy Anatomised : Abridijuient of BURTON. 
Poetical Ingenuities. By W. T . UOBSON. 
The Cupboard lapers. By Fin-Bbc. 
W. S. Gilbert' s Plays. Three Series. 
Songs of Irish Wit and Humour. 
Animals and their Masters. liy Sir A. HELPS. 
Social Pressure. By .Sir A. IIf.lfs. 
Curiosities of Criticism. By H. I. Jennings. 
The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. By OH VER 

WUNUIiLI. Ill >I,MES. 

Pencil and Palette. By R. Kempt. 
Little Essays : from LAMB'S LETTERS. 
Forensic Anecdotes. By Jacob Larwood. 



Theatrical Anecdotes. Ily jACon Larwood. 
Jeux d'Esprit. Edited by HhnryS. Leigh. 
Witch Stories. By E. Lvn.n Linton. 
Ourselves, liy V.. I.YN.'M LINTON. 
Pastimes and Players. By R. MacGreGor. 
New Paul and Virginia. By W. H. M.\LL0CK. 
The New Republic. By W. H. Mallock. 
Puck on Pegasus. By H. C. Pennell. 
Pegasus Re saddled. By H. C. Pennell. 
Musea of Mayfair. Edited by H. C. PENNELL. 
Thoreau : His Life and Aims. By H. A. PAGE. 
Puulana. By Hon. IIi'i'.H ROWLEV. 
More Puniana. By Hon. HUGH ROWLEY. 
The Philosophy of Handwriting. 
By Stream and Sea. By William Senior. 
Leaves from a Naturalist's Note-Book. By Dr. 
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Songs for Sailors. By w. c. Bennett. 
Lives of the Necromancers. By W. Godwin. 
The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope. 
Scenes of Country Life. By Edward Jesse. 
tale for a Chimney Comer. By Leigh Hunt. 



The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. By 

OLIVER Wh\iii;i,i, Hdlmks. 
Lll Mort d'Arthur : Selections from MallorY. 
Provincial Letters of Blaise Pascal. 
Maxims and ReUections of Rochefoucauld. 



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Wanderings in Patagonia. By Julius Beer- 

BOHM. Illustrated. 
Merrie England in the Olden Time. By G. Daniel. 

Illustrated by ROBERT CRUIKSHANK. 
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Lives of the Conjurers. By Tho.MAS FROST. 
The Old Showmen and the Old London Fairs. By 

Thomas I'kosr. 
Low-Life Deeps. By James Greenwood. 
Ilw WUdB of London. By Ja.mes Grbenwood, 



Tunis. By Chev. Hesse-Wartegg. 22 Illusts. 
Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack. 
Werld Behind the Scenes. By P. Fitzgerald. 
Tavern Anecdotes and Sayings. 
The Genial Showman. By E. p. Hingston. 
Story of London Parks. By Jacob LarwooD. 
London Characters. By Hhnry Mayhevv. 
Seven Generations of Executioners. 
Summer Cruising in the South Seas. By C. 
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Seven Sleepers of Ephesus. M. E. Coleridge. I Dr. Pallisers Patient. Ry Gr.ant Allen. 



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The Essays of Elia. Bv Charles Lamb. ' "' ' ' - - •• 

Robinson Crusoe. Illus'trated by G. Cruikshank. 
Whims and Oddities. By Thomas Hood. With 



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Gastronomy. Bv Bril'l.at-Savarin. 
The Epicurean. &:c. By Thomas Moore. 
Leigh Hants Essays. Edited by E. Ollier. 



White s Natural History of Selborne. 
Gulliver s Travels. &c. By Dean Swift. 
Plays bv KicHARP Brinslev Sheridan. 
Anecdotes of the Clergy. By Jacob Larwood. 
Thomson's Seasons, lllu^trnted. 
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Green as Grass. 



By GRANT ALLEN 



Philistia. 

Strange Stories. 

Babylon. 

For Maimie's Sake, 

In all Shades. 

The Beckoning Hand. 

The Devil s Die. 

This Mortal Coil. 

The Tents of Shem. 



The Great Taboo. 
Dumaresq's Daughter. 
Duchess of Powysland. 
Blood Royal. 
Ivan Greets Master- 
piece. 
The Scallywag. 
At Market Value. 
Under Sealed Orders. 



By MARY ANDERSON. 

Othello's Occupation. 

By EDWIN L. ARNOLD. 

Phra the Fhcenician. 

The Constable 01 St. Nicholas. 

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Red Spider. 1 Eve. 

By ROBERT BARR. 

In a Steamer Chair. | From Whose Bourne 
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The Woman of the Iron Bracelets. 

By 'BELLE.' 

Vashtl and Esther. 
By SirW. BESANT and J. RICE 

Ready. MoneyMortiboy. ( By Celia's Arbour 

My Little Girl. 

With Harp and Crown. 

This Son of Vulcan. 

The Golden Butterfly. 

The Monks of Thelema. 

By Sir WALTER BESANT 
All Sorts and Condi- -..^^--jt,_ 

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The Captains Room. 
All in a Garden Fair. 
Dorothy Forster. 
■Uncle Jack. 
The World Went Very 

Well Then. 
Children of Gibeon. 
Herr Paulus. 

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Shadow of the Sword. ' The New Abelard 
A Child of Nature. 
God and the Man. 
Martyrdom of Madeline 
Love Me for Ever. 
Annan Water. 
Foxglove Manor. ' 

ROB. BUCHANAN & HY. MURRAY 
The Charlatan. 

Bjy J. MITCHELL CHAPPLE. 
The tuaor Chord. 



Chaplain of the Fleet. 
The Seamy Side. 
The Case of Mr. Lucraft. 
In Trafalgar 8 Bay. 
The Ten Years Tenant. 



For Faith and Freedom. 
To Call Her Mine. 
The Bell of St. Paul's. 
The Holy Rose. 
Armorel of Lyonesse. 
S. Kathetine s bv Tower 
Verbena Camellia Ste- 

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The Ivory Gate. 
The Rebel Queen. 



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Master of th Mine. 
The Hoir of Linne 
Woman and the Man. 
Red and White Heather. 



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A Son of Hagar. I 

Bv MACLAREN COBBAN. 
The Red Sultan. I The Burden of Isabel, 

Bv MORT. & FRANCES COLLINS. 
Transmigration. I From Midnight to Mid' 

Blacksmith & Scholar. night. 

The Village Comedy. I You Play me False. 
By WILKIE COLLINS 



The Frozen Deep. 
The Two Destinies. 
The Law and the Lady. 
The Haunted Hotel. 
The Fallen Leaves. 
Jezebel s Daughter. 
The Black Rote. 
Heart and Science. 
• I Say No.' 
Little Novels. 
The Evil Genius. 
The Legacy of Cain. 
A Rogue's Life. 
Blind Love. 



Armadale 

After Dark. 

No Name. 

Antonina. 

Basil. 

Hide and Seek. 

The Dead Secret. 

Queen of Hearts. 

My Miscellanies. 

Tlie Woman in 'White 

The Moonstone. 

Man and Wife. 

Poor Miss Finch. 

Hiss or Mrs. ? 

The New Magdalen. 

By DUTTON COOK. 
Paul Foster s Daughter. 

By E. H. COOPER. 
Gcoffory Hamilton. 

By V. CECIL COTES. 
Two Girls on a Barge. 

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His Vanished Star. 

By H. N. CRELLIN. 
Romances of the Old Seraglio. 

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The Adventures of a Fair Rebel. 

By B. M. CROKER. 
Diana Harrington. ..--»-..• 

Proper Pride. 
A Family Likeness. 
Pretty Miss Neville, 
A Bird of Passage 



Let.' 
Mr. Jervis. 
Village Tales & Junglo 

Tra!;edies. 
The Real Lady Hilda. 



By WILLIAM CYPLES. 

Hearts of Gold. 

By ALPHONSE DAUDET. 

The Evangelist ; or. I'ort Salvation. 

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Mr. Sadler s Dau.ijhter?. 

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The Fountain of Youth. 

By JAMES DE MILLE. 
A Castle in Spain. „ 

By. J. LEITH DERWENT. 

Our Lady of Tears. | Circo s Lovers. 



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aS 

The Piccadilly (3/6) Novels — continued. 

By DICK DONOVAN. 

Tracked to Doom. | Man from Manchester. 

By A. CONAN DOYLE. 

The Firm of Glidlentone. 

By S. JEANNETTE DUNCAN. 

A Daughter of To-day. | Vemous Aunt. 

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Archie Loveli. 

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The New Mistress. I The Tiger Lily. 

Witness to the Deed. { The White Virgin. 

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Fatal Zero. 

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One by One. | King or Knave 7 

A Dog and his Shadow. Ropes of Sand. 

A Seal Queen. | Jack Doyle » Daughter. 

Prefaced by Sir BARTLE FRERE. 
Pandurang Karl. 

BY EDWARD GARRETT. 
The Capel Girls. 

By PAUL GAULOT. 
The Bed Shirts. 

By CHARLES GIBBON. 

Robin Gray. I The Golden Shaft. 

Loving a Dream. | 

By E. QLANVILLE. 

The Lost Heiress. I The Fossicker. 

A Fair Colonist. | 

By E. J. GOODMAN. 

The Fate of Herbert Wayne. 

By CECIL GRIFFITH. 

Corlnthla Marazion. 

By SYDNEY GRUNDY. 

The Days of his Vanity. 

By THOMAS HARDY. 

Under the Greenwood Tree. 

By BRET HARTE. 

A Waif of the Plains. 1 Busy. 

A Ward of the Golden Sally Dows. 

Gate. A Protegte of Jack 

A Sappho of Green Hamltn's. 

Springs. Bell-Rlnger of Angel s. 

Col. Starbottle's Client. I Clarence. 

By JULIAN HAWTHORNE. 
Garth. 

Ellice Quentln. 
Sebastian Strome. 
Dust. 
Fortune's Fool. 

By Sir A. HELPS. 

Ivan de Biron. 

By I. HENDERSON. 

Agatha Page. 

By G. A. HENTY. 

Rnjnb the Juggler. I Dorothy's Double. 

By JOHN HILL. 
The Common Ancestor. 

By Mrs. HUNGERFORD. 

Lady Verner's Flight. 1 The Red-House Mystery. 
The Three Graces. i 

By Mrs. ALFRED HUNT. 

The Leaden Casket. { Self-Condemned. 
That Other Person. | Mrs. Juliet. 

By C. J. CUTCLIFFE HYNE. 

Honour of Thieves. 

By R. ASHE KING. 

A Drawn Game. 

' The Wearing of the Green.' 



Beatrix Randolph. 

David Poindexter's Dis- 
appearance. 

The Spectre of the 
Camera. 



By EDMOND LEPELLETIER 

Madame Sans-Gcne. 

By HARRY LINDSAY. 

Rhoda Roberts. 

By E. LYNN LINTON. 

Patricia Kemball. 

Under which Lord? 

' My Love 1 ' 

lone. 

Fasten Carew. 

By H. W. LUCY. 

Gideon Fleyee. 

By JUSTIN McCarthy. 



Sowing the Wind. 
The Atonement of Loam 

Dundas. 
The World Well Lost. 
The One Too Many. 



Miss Misanthrope. 
Donna Quixote. 
Red Diamonds. 
Maid of Athenii. 
The Dictator. 
The Comet of a Season. 



A Fair Saxon. 

Linley Rochford. 

Dear Lady Disdain. 

Camiola 

Waterdale Neighbours, 

My Enemy s Daughter. 

By JUSTIN H. MCCARTHY. 

A London Legend. 

By GEORGE MACDONALD. 

Heather and Snow. | Phantastes, 
By L. T. MEADE. 

A Soldier of Fortune. { In an Iron Grip. 

By BERTRAM MITFORD. 

The Gnn Runner. | The King s Assegai. 

The Luck of Gerard Renshaw Fannin^'s 
Rldgeley. | Quest. 

By J. E. MUDDOCK. 

Maid Marian and Robin Hood. 

By D. CHRISTIE MURRAY. 



A Life's Atonement. 

Joseph s Coat. 

Coals of Fire 

Old Blazer 3 Hero. 

Val Strange. | Hearts. 

A Model Father. 

By the Gate of the Sea. 

A Bit of Human Nature. 



First Person Singular. 
Cynio Fortune. 
The Way of the World. 
BobMartln s Littlo Girl. 
Timo's Revenge.^!. 
A Wasted Crime. 
In Direst Peril. 
Mount Despair. 

By MURRAY and HERMAN. 

The Bishops' Bible. I Paul Jones s Alias. 

One Traveller Returns. | 

By HUME NISBET. 

' Ball Up I ' 

By W. E. NORRIS. 

Saint Ann's. I Billy Bellew. 

By G. OHNET. 
A Weird Gift 

By OUIDA. 



Held In Bondage. 

Strathmore. 

Chandos. 

Under Two Flags. 

Idalia. 

Cecil Castlemalne'8 



Trlcotrln. 

Puck. 

FoUe Farlne. 

A Dog of Flanders. 

Fascarel. 

Slgna. 

Princess Napraxlne. 

Ariadne. 

By MARGARET A. PAUL. 
Gentle and Simple. 

By JAMES PAYN 



Two Little Woodnn 

Shoes. 
In a Winter City. 
Frieaaship. 
MoUis. 
Ruffino. 
Pipistrello. 
A Village Commune. 
Bimbi. 
Wanda. 

Frescoes. | Othmar. 
In Maremma. 
Syrlin. | Onllderor. 
Santa Barbara. 
Two Offenders. 



Lost Sir Massingberd. 
Less Black than We're 

Painted. 
A Confidential Agent. 
A Grape from a Thorn. 
In Peril and Privation. 
The Mystery of Mir- 

bridge. 
The Canon's Ward. 
Walter s Word. 
By Proxy. 



High Spirits. 
Under One Roof. 
From Exile. 
Glow worm Tales. 
The Talk of the Tomi. 
Holiday Tasks. 
For Cash Only. 
The Burnt Million. 
The Word and the Will. 
Sunny Stories. 
A Trying Patient. 



CHATTO & WINDUS, PUBLISHERS, PICCADILLY. 



aO 



The Piccadilly (3/6) Novels— continued. 

By Mrs. CAMPBELL PRAED. 

Outlaw and Lawmaker. | Ctiristiua Chard. 

By E. C. PRICE. 

Valentlna. I Mrs. Lancaster's Rival. 

The Foreigners. | 

By RICHARD PRYCE. 
Miss Maxwell's Affections. 

Bv CHARLES READE. 
It la Never Too Late to , SingleheartandDoable- 



Mend. 
The Double Marriage. 
Love Me Little, Love 

Me Long. i 

The Cloister and the 

Hearth. 
The Course of True ' 

Love. 



face. 
Good Stories of Men 

and other Animals. 
Hard Cash. 
Peg Wofflngton. 
Christie Johnstone. 
Grifath Gaunt. 
Foal Play. 



The Autobiography of The Wandering Heir. 

a Thief. A Woman Hater. 

Put Yourself In His A Simpleton. 

Place. : A Perilous Secret). 

A Terrible Temptation. : Readiana. 
The Jilt. 

By Airs. J. H. RIDDELL. 

Weird Stories. 

By AMELIE RIVES. 

Barbara Bering. 

By F. W. ROBINSON. 

The Hands of Justice. 

By DORA RUSSELL. 

A Country Sweetheart, t The Drift of Fato. 

By W. CLARK RUSSELL. 
Ocean Tragedy. i Is He the Man ■? 

My Shipmate loulse. The Good Ship 'Mo- 
Alone on Wide Wide Sea hock; 
The Phantom Death. | The Convict Ship. 

By JOHN SAUNDERS. 
Guy Waterman. | The Two Dreamers, 

Bound to the Wheel. | The Lion in the Path. 

By KATHARINE SAUNDERS. 
Margaretand Elizabeth I Heart Salvage. 
Gideons Rock. Sebastian. 

The High Mills. | 

By ADELINE SERGEANT. 
Dr. Endlcott s Experiment. 



By HAWLEY SMART. 

Without Love or Licence. 

By T. W. SPEIGHT. 

A Secret of the Sea. | The Grey Monk. 
By ALAN ST. AUBYN. 

A Fellow of Trinity. I In Fac» of the World. 
The Junior Dean. Orchard Damerel 

Masterof St.Benedict'a. j The Tremlett Diamonds. 
To his Own Master. 1 

By R. A. STERNDALE. 

The Afghan Knife. 

By BERTHA THOMAS. 

Proud Maisie. | The 'Violin Player. 

By ANTHONY TROLLOPE. 

The Way we Live Now. I Scarboroashs Family. 
Frau Frohmaun. | The LandLeaguers. 

By FRANCES E. TROLLOPE. 

Like Ships upon the I Anne Furuess. 
Sea. I Mabels Progress. 

By IVAN TURQENIEFF, &c. 

Stories from Foreign Novelists. 

By MARK TWAIN. 

The American Claimant. I Pudd nh»ad Wilson. 
Thefil.OOO.OMBunk note. Tom Sawyer.Detectlvo. 
Tom Sawyer Abroad. | 

By C. C. FRASER-TYTLER. 

Mistress Judith. 

By SARAH TYTLER. 

Lady Bell. I The Blackball Gho.?ts. 

The Brides Pass. The Macdonald Lass. 

Buried Diamonds. I 

By ALLEN UPWARD. 
The Queen against Owen. 
The Prince of Balkistan. 

By E. A. VIZETELLY. 

The Scorpion ; A Romance of Sp.iin. 

By J. S. WINTER. 

A Soldier's Children. 

By MARGARET WYNMAN. 
My Flirtations. 

By E. ZOLA. 

The DownfaU. I Money. | Lourdes, 

The Dream. Rome. 

Dr. Pascal. 1 The Fat and the Thin. 



CHEAP EDITIONS OF POPULAR NOVELS 

Post 8vo, illustrated boards, as. each. 



By ARTEMUS WARD. 

Artemua Ward Complete. 

By EDMOND ABOUT. 

The Fellah. 

By HAMILTON AIDE. 

Carr of Carrlyon. | Confidences. 

By MARY ALBERT. 

Brooke Finchley s Daughter. 

By Mrs. ALEXANDER. 

Maid, Wife or Widow 7 | 'Valerie s Fate. 

By GRANT ALLEN. 



Philistia. 

Strange Stories. 

Babvlon 

For Maimle's Sake. 

In all Shades. 

The Beckoning Hand. 

The Devil s Die. 

The Tents of Sbem. 



The Great Taboo. 
Dumare-q s Daughter. 
Duchess of Powysland. 
Blood Royal. 
Ivan Greet's Master- 
piece. 
The Scallywag. 
This Mortal Coil. 



By E. LESTER ARNOLD. 

Fhra the Phoenician. 

By Rev. S. BARING-GOULD. 

Bed Spider. | Eve. 



BY FRANK BARRETT. 



Fettered for Life. 
Little Lady Linton. 
Between Life & Death. 
The Sin of Olga Zassou- 

lich. 
Folly Morrison. 
Ueut. Barnabas. 

By SHELSLEY 

Grantley Grange. 

By Sir W. BESA 

Ready Money Mortiboy 
My Little Girl. 
with Harp and Crown. 
This Son of Vulcan. 
The Golden Butterfly. 
The Monks of Thelema. 



Honest Davie. 
A Prodigals Progress. 
Found Guilty. 
A Recoiling Vengeance. 
For Love and Honour. 
John Ford; and His 
Helpmate. 

BEAUCHAMP. 



NT and J. RICE. 

By Cella's Arbour. 
Chaplain of the Fleet. 
The Seamy Side. 
The Case of Mr. Lucraft. 
In Trafalgar's Bay. 
The Ten Years' Tenant. 



By Sir WALTER BESANT. 



All Sorts and Condi- 
tions of Men. 

The Captains' Room. 

All In a Garden Fair. 

Dorothy Forster. 

Uncle .tack. 

The World Went Very 
Well Then 

Children of Oibeov 

Herr Paului. 



For Faith and Freedom. 
To Call Her Mine. 
The Bell of St. Paul s. 
The Holy Rose. 
Armorel of Lyonesse. 
S. Katherine's by Tower, 
Verbena Camellia Ste- 

phanotis 
The Ivory Gate. 
The Rebel Queen. 



CHATTO & WINDUS, PUBLISHERS, PICCADILLY. 



30 



Two-Shilling Novels — continued. 

By AMBROSE BIERCE. 

In the Midst of Life. 

By FREDERICK BOYLE. 

Camp Notes. I Chronicles of No man's 

Savage Life. | Land. 

BY BRET HARTE. 

Callfomlan Stories. Flip. I Maruja. 

Gabriel Conroy. A Phyllis of the Sierras. 

The Lucli of Roaring A Waif of the Plains. 

Camp. I A Ward of the Golden 

An Heiress of Red Dog. I Gate. 

By HAROLD BRYDGES. 
Uncle Sam at Home. 

By ROBERT BUCHANAN. 
Shadow of the Sword, i The Martyrdom of Ma- 
A Child of Nature. 
God and the Man. 
Love Me for Ever. 
Foxglove Manor. 
The Master ol the Mine. 

By HALL CAINE. 
The Shadow of a Crime. I The Deemster. 
A Son of Bagar. | 

By Commander CAMERON. 
The Cruise of the ' Black Prince.' 

By Mrs. LOVETT CAMERON. 
Deceivers Ever. I Juliet s Guardian. 

By HAYDEN CARRUTH. 
The Adventures of Jones. 

By AUSTIN CLARE. 
For the Love of a Lass. 

By Mrs. ARCHER CLIVE. 
Paul FerroU. 
Why Paul Ferroll Killed his Wife. 

By MACLAREN COBBAN. 
The Cure of Souls. | The Red Sultan. 

By C. ALLSTON COLLINS. 
The Bar Sinister. 
By MORT. & FRANCES COLLINS. 
Sweet Anne Page. 1 Sweet and Twenty. 

Transmigration. The 'Village Comedy. 

From Midnight to Mid ! You Play me False. 



deline. 
Annan Water. 
The New Abelard. 
Matt. 
The Heir of Llnno. 



night. 
A Fight with Fortune 



By VVlLKtE COLLINS. 



My Miscellanies. 
The Woman in White. 
The Moonstone. 
Man and Wife. 
Poor Miss Finch. 
The Fallen Leaves. 
Jezebels Daughter. 
The Black Robe. 
Heart and Science. 
■ I Say No I ' 
The Evil Genius. 
Little Novels. 
Legacy of Cain. 
Blind Love. 



Armadale 

After Dark. 

No Name. 

Antonina. 

Basil. 

Hide and Seek. 

The Dead Secret. 

Queen of Hearts. 

Miss or Mrs. ? 

The New Magdalen. 

The Frozen Deep. 

The Law and the Lady. 

The Two Destinies. 

The Haunted Hotel. 

A Rogue's Life. 

By M. J. COLQUHOUN. 
Every Inch a Soldier. 

By DUTTON COOK. 
Leo. I Paul Foster s Daughter. 

By C. EGBERT CRADDOCK. 
The Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains. 

By MATT CRIM. 
The Adventures of a Fair Rebel. 

By B. M. CROKER. 

Pretty Miss Neville. I A Bird of Passage. 

Diana Barrington. Proper Pride. 

'To Let.' I A Family Likeness. 

By W. CYPLES. 
Hearts of Gold. 

By ALPHONSE DAUDET. 

The Evangelist ; or, Port Salvation. 

By ERASMUS DAWSON. 

The Fountain of Youth. 



By JAMES DE MILLE. 

A Castle in Spain. 

By J. LEITH DERWENT. 

Our Lady of Tears. | Circe s Lovers. 

By CHARLES DICKENS. 

Sketches by Boz. I Nicholas Nickleby. 

Oliver Twist. | 

By DICK DONOVAN. 



From Information Re- 
ceived. 

Tracked to Doom. 

Link by Link 

Suspicion Aroused. 

DarK Deeds. 

The Long Arm of tho 
Law. 



The Man-Hunter 
Tracked and Taken. 
Caught at Last I 
Wanted I 
Who Poisoned Hetty 

Duncan 7 
Man from Manchester. 
A Detective's Triumphs 
In the Grip of the Law. 

By Mrs. ANNIE EDVVARDES. 
A Point of Honour. \ Archie Lovell. 

By M. BETHAM-EDWARDS. 
Felicia. | Kitty. 

By EDWARD EGGLESTON. 
Roxy. 

By G. MANVILLE FENN. 
The New Mistress. | Witness to the Deed. 

By PERCY FITZGERALD. 

Bella Donna. I Second Mrs. TiUotson. 

Never Forgotten. Seventy ■ five Brooke 

Polly. Street. 

Fatal Zero. | The Lady of Brantome. 

By P. F2TZGERALD and others. 
Strange Secrets. 

By ALBANY DE FONBLANQUE. 
Filthy Lucre. 

By R. E. FRANCILLON. 
Olympia. ' King or Knave 7 

One by One. i Romances of the Law. 

A Real Queen. Ropes of Sand. 

Queen Cophetua. I A Dog and his Shadow. 

By HAROLD FREDERIC. 

Seth's Brother s Wife. ! The Lawton Girl. 

Prefaced by Sir BARTLE FRERE. 

Pandurang Harl. 

By HAIN FRISWELL. 

One of Two. 

By EDWARD GARRETT. 

The Capel Girls. 

By GILBERT GAUL. 

A Strange Manuscript. 

By CHARLES GIBBON. 

Robin Gray. In Ht-nour Bound. 

Fancy Free. ; Flower of the Forest. 

For Lack of Gold. The Braes of Yarrow. 

What will the World The Goldea Shaft. 



Of High Degree. 
By Mead and Stream. 
Loving a Dream. 
A Hard Knot. 
Heart's Delight. 
Blood-Money. 



Say 7 
In Love and War. 
For the King. 
In Pastures Green. 
Queen of the Meadow. 
A Hearts Problem. 
The Dead Heart. 

By WILLIAM GILBERT. 

Dr. Austin s Guests. I The Wizard of 
James Duke. | Mountain. 

By ERNEST GLANVILLE. 
The Lost Heiress. I The Fossicker. 

A Fair Colonist. | 

By HENRY GREVILLE. 
A Noble Woman. | Nikanor. 

By CECIL GRIFFITH. 
Corlnthia Maraziou. 

Bv SYDNEY GRUNDY. 
The Days of his 'Vanity. 

By JOHN HABBERTON. 
Brueton s Bayou. | Country Luck. 

By ANDREW HALLIDAY. 
Every-day Papers. 

By Lady DUFFUS HARDY. 
Paul Wynter's Sacrifice. 



GHAffO & WiNDUS, ^iJBLisHgRs, ^iccAdiLLV. 



M 



Two-Shilling Novels — continued. 

By THOMAS HARDY. 

Under the Greenwood Tree. 

By J. BERWICK HARWOOD. 

The Tenth Earl. 

By JULIAN HAWTHORNE. 



Garth, 

Ellice Quentln. 

Fortune s Fool. 

Miss Cadogna. 

Sebastian Strome 

Dust. 



Beatrix Randolph. 

Love — or a Name. 

David Poindextar s Dis- 
appearance. 

The Spectre of the 
Camera. 



Bv Sir ARTHUR HELPS. 

Ivan de feiron. 

By HENRY HERMAN. 

A Leading Lady. 

By HEADON HILL. 

Zambra the Detective. 

By JOHN HILL. 

Treason Felony. 

By Mrs. CASHEL HOEY. 

The Lovers Creed. 

By Mrs. GEORGE HOOPER. 

The House of Raby. 

By TIGHE HOPKINS. 

Twixt Love and Duty. 

By Mrs. HUNGERFORD. 

A Maiden all Forlorn. | A Mental Straggle. 
In Durance Vile. A Modern Circe. 

Marvel. | Lady Verner s Flight. 

By Mrs. ALFRED HUNT. 
Thomicroft s Model. | Self Condemned. 
That Other Person. | The Leaden Casket. 

By JEAN INGELOW. 

Fated to be Free. 

By WM. JAMESON. 

My Dead Self. 

By HARRIETT JAY. 

The Dark Colleen. | Queen of Connaught. 

By MARK KERSHAW. 

Colonial Facts and Fictions. 

By R. ASHE KING. 

A Drawn Game. I Passion s Slave. 

■ The Wearing of the Bell Barry. 
Green.' | 

By JOHN LEYS. 

The Lindsays. 

By E. LYNN LINTON. 

The Atonement of Leam 



fatricia Kemball 
The World Well Lost 
TTnder which Lord I 
Paston Carew. 
' My Love I ' 
lOne. 



Maid of Athens. 
The Comet of a Season. 
The Dictator. 
Red Diamonds. 



Mv Enemy's Daughter 
AFair Saxon. 
Llnley Rochford. 
UiJiB Misanthrope 

By HUGH MACCOLL. 

Mr. Stranger s Sealed Packet. 

By AGNES MACDONELL. 

Quaker Cousins. 

By KATHARINE S. MACQUOID 

The Evil Eye. | Lost Rose. 

By W. H. MALLOCK. 

A Romance of the Nine- I The New Republic, 
teenth Century. j 



Dundas. 
With a Silken Thread. 
The Rebel of the 

Family. 
Sowing "the Wind. 

By HENRY^W. LUCY. 

Gideon Fleyce. 

By JUSTIN McCarthy. 

Dear Ladv Disdain. : Camiola,. 
Waterdale Neicrhbours. Donna Quixote. 



By FLORENCE MARRY AT. 

Open ! Sesame ! | A Harvest of Wild Date. 

Fighting the Air. | Written in Fire. 

By J. MASTERMAN. 

Haifa-dozen Daughters. 

By BRANDER MATTHEWS. 
A Secret of the Sea. 

By LEONARD MERRICK. 
The Man who was Good. 

By JEAN MIDDLEiMASS. 
Touch and Go. | Mr. DoriUlon. 

By Mrs. MOLESWORTH. 
Hathercourt Rectory. 

By J. E. MUDDOCK. 
Stories Weird and Won- | From the Bosom of the 

derful Deep. 

The Dead Man's Secret. | 

By D. CHRISTIE MURRAY. 

A Life s Atonement. 
By the Gate of the Sea. 



A Bit of Human Nature. 
First Person Singular. 
Bob Martins Little 

Girl. 
Time s Revenges. 
A Wasted Crime. 



A Model Father. 

Joseph s Coat. 

Coals of Fire. 

■Val Strange. 

Old Blazer s Hero. 

Hearts. 

The Way of the World. 

Cynic Fortune. 

By MURRAY and HERMAN. 

One Traveller Returns. I The Bishops Bible. 
Paul Jones s Alias. \ 

By HENRY MURRAY. 

A Game of Bluff. | A Song of Sixpence. 

By HUME NISBET. 
' Bail Up I ' I Dr. Bernard St.'Vincent. 

By ALICE O'HANLON. 
The Unforeseen. | Chance ? or Fate 7 

By GEORGES OHNET. 
Dr. Rameau. | A Weird Gift. 

A Last Love. | 

By Mrs. OLIPHANT. 

■Whlteladles. I The Greatest HeireM in 

The Primrose Path. I England. 

By Mrs. ROBERT O'REILLY. 

Phcebe s Fortunes. 



Held in Bondage. 

Strathmore. 

Chandos. 

Idalia. 

Under Two Flags. 

Cecil Castlemaine sGage 

Tricotrin. 

Puck. 

Folle Farine. 

A Dog of Flanders. 

Pascarel. 

Signa. 

Princess Naprasiae. 

In a Winter City. 

Ariadne. 

Friendship. 



By OUIDA. 



Lifrtle Wooden 

Shoes. 
Moths. 
Bimbi. 
Pipistrello. 
A 'Village Commune. 
Wanda. 
Othmar. 
Frescoes. 
In Maremma. 
Guilderoy. 
Ruf6no. 
Syrlin. 

Santa Barbara. 
Ouidas Wisdom, 

and Pathos. 



Wit, 



By MARGARET AGNES PAUL. 

Gentle and Simple. 

By C. L. PIRKIS. 

Lady Lovelace. 

By EDGAR A. POE. 

The Mystery of Marie Roget. 

By Mrs. CAMPBELL PRAED. 

The Romance of a Station. 
The Soul of Countess Adrian. 
Outlaw and Lawmaker. 

By E. C. PRICE. 

Valentlna. I Mrs. Lancaster's Kival, 

The Foreigners. | Gerald. 

By RICHARD PRYCE. 

Uiu Maxwell s Affections, 



32 



CHATTO & WINDUS, PUBLISHERS, PICCADILLY. 



Two-Shilling Novels — continued, 
By JAMBS PAYN. 

Bentinck's Tutor. "" ~ " 

Murphy a Maater. 

A County Family. 

At Her Mercy. 

Cecila Tryst. 

The Olyffards of C'yffe. 

The Foster Brothers. 

Found Dead. 

The Best of Hasband3. 

Walter B Word. 

Halves. 

Fallen Fortunes. 

Humorous Stories. 

£200 Reward. 

A Marine Residence. 

Mirk Abbey. 

By Proxy. 

Under One Roof. 

High Spirits. 

Carlyon s Year. 

From Exile. 

For Cash Only. 

Kit. 

The Canon's Ward. 



The Talk of the'Town. 
Holiday Tasks. 
A Perfect Treasure. 
What He Cost Her. 
A Confidential Agent. 
Glow worm Talea. 
The Burnt Million. 
Sunny Stories. 
Lost Sir Massingberd. 
A Woman's 'Vengeance. 
The Family Scapegrace. 
Gwendoline s Harvest. 
Like Father, Like Son. 
Married Beneath Him. 
Not Wooed, but Won. 
Leas Black than We re 

Painted. 
Some Private Vlewa. 
A Grape from a Thorn. 
The Mystery of Mir- 

bridge. 
The Word and the Will. 
A Prince of the Blood. 
A Trying Patient. 



By CHARLES READE. 

It la Never Too Late to , A TerrlbleTemptatlon. 



Foul Play. 

The Wandering Heir. 

Hard Caah. 

Singleheart and Double- 
face. 

Good Stories of Men and 
other Animals. 

Peg Wofiington. 

Grif&th Gaunt. 

A Perilous Secret. 

A Simpleton. 

Readiana. 

A Woman-Hater. 

H. RIDDELL. 

The Uninhabited House, 
i The Mystery in Palace. 
Gardens. 
The Nun 3 Curse. 
Idle Tales. 



Mend 
Christie Johnstone. 
The Double Marriage. 
Put Yourself in His 

Place. 
Love Me Little, Love 

Me Long. 
The Cloister and the 

Hearth, 
The Course of True 

Love. 
The Jilt. 
The Autobiography of 

a Thief. 

By N\ts. J. 
Weird Stories. 
Fairy Water. 
Her Mother's Darling. 
The Prince of Wales's 

Garden Party. 

By AMELIE RIVES. 
Barbara Dering. 

By F. W. ROBINSON. 
Women are Strange. 1 The Hands of Justice 

By JAMES RUNCIMAN. 
Skippers and Shellbacks. 
Grace Balmaign s Sweetheart. 
Schools and Scholars. 

By W. CLARK RUSSELL. 
Round the Galley Fire. ~" - " ' 

On the Fo'k'sle Head. 
In the Middle Watch. 
A 'Voyage to the Cape. 
A Book for the Ham- 
mock. 
The Mystery of the 

' Ocean Star.' 

By GEORGE AUGUSTUS SALA. 

Gaslight and Daylight. 

By JOHN SAUNDERS. 

Guy Waterman. 1 The Lion in the Patli. 

The Two Dreamers. | 

By KATHARINE SAUNDERS. 

Joan Merryweather. I Sebastian. 
The High Mills. Margaret and Eliza- 

Heart Salvage. I beth. 

By GEORGE R. SIMS. 
Rogues and 'Vagabonds. | Tinkletop's Crime, 



The Romance of Jenny 

Harlowe. 
An Ocean Tragedy. 
My Shipmate Louise. 
Alone on a Wide Wide 

Sea. 



The Ring o Bells 
Mary Jane's Memoirs 
M»ry Jane Married. 
Tales of Today. 
Dramas of Life. 

By ARTHUR SKETCHLEY 
A Match in the Dark. 



Zeph. 

My Two Wives. 
Memoirs of a Landlady. 
Scenes from the Show. 
Ten Commandments. 



By HAWLEY SMART. 

Without Love or Licence. 

By T. W. SPEIGHT. 

The Mysteries of Heron Back to Life. 



idy. 



Dyke The LoudwaterTrag 

The Golden Hoop. Burgo s Romance. 

Hoodwinked. Quittance in Full. 
By Devious Ways. 

By ALAN ST. AUBYN. 

A Fellow of Trinity. j Maater of St. Benedict's 

The Junior Dean. | To His Own Master. 

By R. A. STERNDALE. 

The Afphan Knife. 

By R. LOUIS STEVENSON. 
New Arabian Nights. | Prince Otto. 

By BERTHA THOMAS. 
Oresslda. I The "Violin-Player. 

Proud Maisie. | 

By WALTER THORNBURY. 
Tales for the Marines. 1 Old Stories Retold. 

By T. ADOLPHUS TROLLOPE. 
Diamond Cut Diamond. 

By F. ELEANOR TROLLOPE. 
Like Ships upon the I Anne Fumess. 
Sea. I Mabel's Progress. 

By ANTHONY TROLLOPE 



The American Senator. 
Mr. Scarborough's 

Family. 
The Golden Lion of 

Qranpere. 



Frau Frohmann 
Marion Fay. 
Kept in tlie Dark. 
John Caldigate. 
The Way We Live Now. 
The Land-Leaguers. 

By J. T. TROWBRIDGE. 

Famell's Folly. 

By IVAN TURGENIEFF, &c 
Stories from Foreign Novelists. 

By MARK TWAIN 



A Pleasxire Trip on the 

Continent. 
The Gilded Age. 
Huckleberry Finn. 
MarkTwain 3 Sketches 
Tom Sawyer. 
A Tramp Abroad. 
Stolen White Elephant. 

By C. C. FRASER=TYTLER. 
Mistress Judith. 

By SARAH TYTLER. 



Life on the Mississippi. 
The Prince and the 

Pauper. 
A Yankee at the Court 

of Kiiir:; Arthur. 
The i£l,000,000 Bajik- 

Note. 



The Huguenot Family. 
The Blackball Ghosts. 
What SheCameThrough 
Beauty and the Beast. 
Citoyenne Jaquelino. 



The Bride's Pass, 
Burled Diamonds 
St. Mungo 3 City. 
Lady Bell. 
Noblesse Oblige. 
Disappeared. 

By ALLEN UPWARD. 
The Queen against Owen. 
By AARON WATSON and LILLIAS 

WASSERMANN. 
Th2 Marquis of Carabas. 

By WILLIAM WESTALL. 
Trust-Money. 

By Mrs. F. H. WILLIAMSON. 

A Child Widow. 

By J. S. WINTER. 

Cavalry Life. I Regimental Legends. 

By H. F. WOOD. 

The Passenger from Scotland Yard. 
The Englishman of the Rue Cain. 

By Lady WOOD. 
^ bTcELIA PARKER WOOLLEV. 

Rachol Armstrong ; or, I.ove and Tlieology. 

By EDMUND YATES. 
The Forlorn Hope. I Castaway. 

Land at Last. I 



OGDEN, SMALE AND CO. LIMITED, PRINTERS, GREAT SAFFRON HILL, E.G. 



THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 

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