Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Mary Anerley : a Yorkshire Tale
Author: Blackmore, R. D. (Richard Doddridge), 1825-1900
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mary Anerley : a Yorkshire Tale" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



MARY ANERLEY


by R. D. Blackmore



1880



CHAPTER I

HEADSTRONG AND HEADLONG


Far from any house or hut, in the depth of dreary moor-land, a road,
unfenced and almost unformed, descends to a rapid river. The crossing is
called the "Seven Corpse Ford," because a large party of farmers, riding
homeward from Middleton, banded together and perhaps well primed through
fear of a famous highwayman, came down to this place on a foggy evening,
after heavy rain-fall. One of the company set before them what the power
of the water was, but they laughed at him and spurred into it, and one
alone spurred out of it. Whether taken with fright, or with too much
courage, they laid hold of one another, and seven out of eight of them,
all large farmers, and thoroughly understanding land, came never upon it
alive again; and their bodies, being found upon the ridge that cast them
up, gave a dismal name to a place that never was merry in the best of
weather.

However, worse things than this had happened; and the country is not
chary of its living, though apt to be scared of its dead; and so the
ford came into use again, with a little attempt at improvement. For
those farmers being beyond recall, and their families hard to
provide for, Richard Yordas, of Scargate Hall, the chief owner of the
neighborhood, set a long heavy stone up on either brink, and stretched
a strong chain between them, not only to mark out the course of the
shallow, whose shelf is askew to the channel, but also that any one
being washed away might fetch up, and feel how to save himself. For the
Tees is a violent water sometimes, and the safest way to cross it is to
go on till you come to a good stone bridge.

Now forty years after that sad destruction of brave but not well-guided
men, and thirty years after the chain was fixed, that their sons might
not go after them, another thing happened at "Seven Corpse Ford," worse
than the drowning of the farmers. Or, at any rate, it made more stir
(which is of wider spread than sorrow), because of the eminence of the
man, and the length and width of his property. Neither could any one at
first believe in so quiet an end to so turbulent a course. Nevertheless
it came to pass, as lightly as if he were a reed or a bubble of the
river that belonged to him.

It was upon a gentle evening, a few days after Michaelmas of 1777. No
flood was in the river then, and no fog on the moor-land, only the usual
course of time, keeping the silent company of stars. The young moon was
down, and the hover of the sky (in doubt of various lights) was gone,
and the equal spread of obscurity soothed the eyes of any reasonable
man.

But the man who rode down to the river that night had little love of
reason. Headstrong chief of a headlong race, no will must depart a
hair's-breadth from his; and fifty years of arrogant port had stiffened
a neck too stiff at birth. Even now in the dim light his large square
form stood out against the sky like a cromlech, and his heavy arms swung
like gnarled boughs of oak, for a storm of wrath was moving him. In
his youth he had rebelled against his father; and now his own son was a
rebel to him.

"Good, my boy, good!" he said, within his grizzled beard, while his eyes
shone with fire, like the flints beneath his horse; "you have had your
own way, have you, then? But never shall you step upon an acre of
your own, and your timber shall be the gallows. Done, my boy, once and
forever."

Philip, the squire, the son of Richard, and father of Duncan Yordas,
with fierce satisfaction struck the bosom of his heavy Bradford
riding-coat, and the crackle of parchment replied to the blow, while
with the other hand he drew rein on the brink of the Tees sliding
rapidly.

The water was dark with the twinkle of the stars, and wide with the
vapor of the valley, but Philip Yordas in the rage of triumph laughed
and spurred his reflecting horse.

"Fool!" he cried, without an oath--no Yordas ever used an oath except in
playful moments--"fool! what fear you? There hangs my respected father's
chain. Ah, he was something like a man! Had I ever dared to flout him
so, he would have hanged me with it."

Wild with his wrong, he struck the rowel deep into the flank of his
wading horse, and in scorn of the depth drove him up the river. The
shoulders of the swimming horse broke the swirling water, as he panted
and snorted against it; and if Philip Yordas had drawn back at once, he
might even now have crossed safely. But the fury of his blood was up,
the stronger the torrent the fiercer his will, and the fight between
passion and power went on. The poor horse was fain to swerve back at
last; but he struck him on the head with a carbine, and shouted to the
torrent:

"Drown me, if you can. My father used to say that I was never born
to drown. My own water drown me! That would be a little too much
insolence."

"Too much insolence" were his last words. The strength of the horse was
exhausted. The beat of his legs grew short and faint, the white of his
eyes rolled piteously, and the gurgle of his breath subsided. His
heavy head dropped under water, and his sodden crest rolled over, like
sea-weed where a wave breaks. The stream had him all at its mercy, and
showed no more than his savage master had, but swept him a wallowing
lump away, and over the reef of the crossing. With both feet locked in
the twisted stirrups, and right arm broken at the elbow, the rider
was swung (like the mast of a wreck) and flung with his head upon his
father's chain. There he was held by his great square chin--for the
jar of his backbone stunned him--and the weight of the swept-away horse
broke the neck which never had been known to bend. In the morning a
peasant found him there, not drowned but hanged, with eyes wide open, a
swaying corpse upon a creaking chain. So his father (though long in the
grave) was his death, as he often had promised to be to him; while he
(with the habit of his race) clutched fast with dead hand on dead bosom
the instrument securing the starvation of his son.

Of the Yordas family truly was it said that the will of God was nothing
to their will--as long as the latter lasted--and that every man of them
scorned all Testament, old or new, except his own.



CHAPTER II

SCARGATE HALL


Nearly twenty-four years had passed since Philip Yordas was carried to
his last (as well as his first) repose, and Scargate Hall had enjoyed
some rest from the turbulence of owners. For as soon as Duncan (Philip's
son, whose marriage had maddened his father) was clearly apprised by the
late squire's lawyer of his disinheritance, he collected his own little
money and his wife's, and set sail for India. His mother, a Scotchwoman
of good birth but evil fortunes, had left him something; and his
bride (the daughter of his father's greatest foe) was not altogether
empty-handed. His sisters were forbidden by the will to help him with
a single penny; and Philippa, the elder, declaring and believing that
Duncan had killed her father, strictly obeyed the injunction. But Eliza,
being of a softer kind, and herself then in love with Captain Carnaby,
would gladly have aided her only brother, but for his stern refusal. In
such a case, a more gentle nature than ever endowed a Yordas might
have grown hardened and bitter; and Duncan, being of true Yordas fibre
(thickened and toughened with slower Scotch sap), was not of the sort to
be ousted lightly and grow at the feet of his supplanters.

Therefore he cast himself on the winds, in search of fairer soil, and
was not heard of in his native land; and Scargate Hall and estates were
held by the sisters in joint tenancy, with remainder to the first son
born of whichever it might be of them. And this was so worded through
the hurry of their father to get some one established in the place of
his own son.

But from paltry passions, turn away a little while to the things which
excite, but are not excited by them.

Scargate Hall stands, high and old, in the wildest and most rugged part
of the wild and rough North Riding. Many are the tales about it, in the
few and humble cots, scattered in the modest distance, mainly to look up
at it. In spring and summer, of the years that have any, the height and
the air are not only fine, but even fair and pleasant. So do the shadows
and the sunshine wander, elbowing into one another on the moor, and
so does the glance of smiling foliage soothe the austerity of crag and
scaur. At such time, also, the restless torrent (whose fury has driven
content away through many a short day and long night) is not in such
desperate hurry to bury its troubles in the breast of Tees, but spreads
them in language that sparkles to the sun, or even makes leisure to
turn into corners of deep brown-study about the people on its
banks--especially, perhaps, the miller.

But never had this impetuous water more reason to stop and reflect upon
people of greater importance, who called it their own, than now when it
was at the lowest of itself, in August of the year 1801.

From time beyond date the race of Yordas had owned and inhabited this
old place. From them the river, and the river's valley, and the mountain
of its birth, took name, or else, perhaps, gave name to them; for
the history of the giant Yordas still remains to be written, and the
materials are scanty. His present descendants did not care an old song
for his memory, even if he ever had existence to produce it. Piety
(whether in the Latin sense or English) never had marked them for her
own; their days were long in the land, through a long inactivity of the
Decalogue.

And yet in some manner this lawless race had been as a law to itself
throughout. From age to age came certain gifts and certain ways of
management, which saved the family life from falling out of rank
and land and lot. From deadly feuds, exhausting suits, and ruinous
profusion, when all appeared lost, there had always arisen a man of
direct lineal stock to retrieve the estates and reprieve the name. And
what is still more conducive to the longevity of families, no member
had appeared as yet of a power too large and an aim too lofty, whose
eminence must be cut short with axe, outlawry, and attainder. Therefore
there ever had been a Yordas, good or bad (and by his own showing more
often of the latter kind), to stand before heaven, and hold the land,
and harass them that dwelt thereon. But now at last the world seemed to
be threatened with the extinction of a fine old name.

When Squire Philip died in the river, as above recorded, his death, from
one point of view, was dry, since nobody shed a tear for him, unless it
was his child Eliza. Still, he was missed and lamented in speech, and
even in eloquent speeches, having been a very strong Justice of the
Peace, as well as the foremost of riotous gentlemen keeping the order of
the county. He stood above them in his firm resolve to have his own way
always, and his way was so crooked that the difficulty was to get out of
it and let him have it. And when he was dead, it was either too good
or too bad to believe in; and even after he was buried it was held that
this might be only another of his tricks.

But after his ghost had been seen repeatedly, sitting on the chain and
swearing, it began to be known that he was gone indeed, and the relief
afforded by his absence endeared him to sad memory. Moreover, his
good successors enhanced the relish of scandal about him by seeming
themselves to be always so dry, distant, and unimpeachable. Especially
so did "My Lady Philippa," as the elder daughter was called by all the
tenants and dependents, though the family now held no title of honor.

Mistress Yordas, as she was more correctly styled by usage of the
period, was a maiden lady of fine presence, uncumbered as yet by
weight of years, and only dignified thereby. Stately, and straight, and
substantial of figure, firm but not coarse of feature, she had reached
her forty-fifth year without an ailment or a wrinkle. Her eyes were
steadfast, clear, and bright, well able to second her distinct calm
voice, and handsome still, though their deep blue had waned into a
quiet, impenetrable gray; while her broad clear forehead, straight nose,
and red lips might well be considered as comely as ever, at least by
those who loved her. Of these, however, there were not many; and she was
content to have it so.

Mrs. Carnaby, the younger sister, would not have been content to have
it so. Though not of the weak lot which is enfeoffed to popularity, she
liked to be regarded kindly, and would rather win a smile than exact a
courtesy. Continually it was said of her that she was no genuine Yordas,
though really she had all the pride and all the stubbornness of that
race, enlarged, perhaps, but little weakened, by severe afflictions.
This lady had lost a beloved husband, Colonel Carnaby, killed in battle;
and after that four children of the five she had been so proud of. And
the waters of affliction had not turned to bitterness in her soul.

Concerning the outward part--which matters more than the inward at first
hand--Mrs. Carnaby had no reason to complain of fortune. She had started
well as a very fine baby, and grown up well into a lovely maiden,
passing through wedlock into a sightly matron, gentle, fair, and showing
reason. For generations it had come to pass that those of the Yordas
race who deserved to be cut off for their doings out-of-doors were
followed by ladies of decorum, self-restraint, and regard for their
neighbor's landmark. And so it was now with these two ladies, the
handsome Philippa and the fair Eliza leading a peaceful and reputable
life, and carefully studying their rent-roll.

It was not, however, in the fitness of things that quiet should reign
at Scargate Hall for a quarter of a century; and one strong element of
disturbance grew already manifest. Under the will of Squire Philip the
heir-apparent was the one surviving child of Mrs. Carnaby.

If ever a mortal life was saved by dint of sleepless care, warm
coddling, and perpetual doctoring, it was the precious life of Master
Lancelot Yordas Carnaby. In him all the mischief of his race revived,
without the strong substance to carry it off. Though his parents were
healthy and vigorous, he was of weakly constitution, which would not
have been half so dangerous to him if his mind also had been weakly.
But his mind (or at any rate that rudiment thereof which appears in the
shape of self-will even before the teeth appear) was a piece of muscular
contortion, tough as oak and hard as iron. "Pet" was his name with his
mother and his aunt; and his enemies (being the rest of mankind) said
that pet was his name and his nature.

For this dear child could brook no denial, no slow submission to his
wishes; whatever he wanted must come in a moment, punctual as an
echo. In him re-appeared not the stubbornness only, but also the keen
ingenuity of Yordas in finding out the very thing that never should be
done, and then the unerring perception of the way in which it could be
done most noxiously. Yet any one looking at his eyes would think how
tender and bright must his nature be! "He favoreth his forebears; how
can he help it?" kind people exclaimed, when they knew him. And the
servants of the house excused themselves when condemned for putting up
with him, "Yo know not what 'a is, yo that talk so. He maun get 's own
gait, lestwise yo wud chok' un."

Being too valuable to be choked, he got his own way always.



CHAPTER III

A DISAPPOINTING APPOINTMENT


For the sake of Pet Carnaby and of themselves, the ladies of the house
were disquieted now, in the first summer weather of a wet cold year, the
year of our Lord 1801. And their trouble arose as follows:

There had long been a question between the sisters and Sir Walter
Carnaby, brother of the late colonel, about an exchange of outlying
land, which would have to be ratified by "Pet" hereafter. Terms
being settled and agreement signed, the lawyers fell to at the linked
sweetness of deducing title. The abstract of the Yordas title was nearly
as big as the parish Bible, so in and out had their dealings been, and
so intricate their pugnacity.

Among the many other of the Yordas freaks was a fatuous and generally
fatal one. For the slightest miscarriage they discharged their lawyer,
and leaped into the office of a new one. Has any man moved in the
affairs of men, with a grain of common-sense or half a pennyweight of
experience, without being taught that an old tenter-hook sits easier to
him than a new one? And not only that, but in shifting his quarters he
may leave some truly fundamental thing behind.

Old Mr. Jellicorse, of Middleton in Teesdale, had won golden opinions
every where. He was an uncommonly honest lawyer, highly incapable of
almost any trick, and lofty in his view of things, when his side of them
was the legal one. He had a large collection of those interesting boxes
which are to a lawyer and his family better than caskets of silver
and gold; and especially were his shelves furnished with what might be
called the library of the Scargate title-deeds. He had been proud to
take charge of these nearly thirty years ago, and had married on the
strength of them, though warned by the rival from whom they were wrested
that he must not hope to keep them long. However, through the peaceful
incumbency of ladies, they remained in his office all those years.

This was the gentleman who had drawn and legally sped to its purport the
will of the lamented Squire Philip, who refused very clearly to leave
it, and took horse to flourish it at his rebellious son. Mr. Jellicorse
had done the utmost, as behooved him, against that rancorous testament;
but meeting with silence more savage than words, and a bow to depart,
he had yielded; and the squire stamped about the room until his job was
finished.

A fact accomplished, whether good or bad, improves in character with
every revolution of this little world around the sun, that heavenly
example of subservience. And now Mr. Jellicorse was well convinced, as
nothing had occurred to disturb that will, and the life of the testator
had been sacrificed to it, and the devisees under it were his own good
clients, and some of his finest turns of words were in it, and the
preparation, execution, and attestation, in an hour and ten minutes
of the office clock, had never been equalled in Yorkshire before, and
perhaps never honestly in London--taking all these things into conscious
or unconscious balance, Mr. Jellicorse grew into the clear conviction
that "righteous and wise" were the words to be used whenever this will
was spoken of.

With pleasant remembrance of the starveling fees wherewith he used to
charge the public, ere ever his golden spurs were won, the prosperous
lawyer now began to run his eye through a duplicate of an abstract
furnished upon some little sale about forty years before. This would
form the basis of the abstract now to be furnished to Sir Walter
Carnaby, with little to be added but the will of Philip Yordas, and
statement of facts to be verified. Mr. Jellicorse was fat, but very
active still; he liked good living, but he liked to earn it, and could
not sit down to his dinner without feeling that he had helped the Lord
to provide these mercies. He carried a pencil on his chain, and liked to
use it ere ever he began with knife and fork. For the young men in the
office, as he always said, knew nothing.

The day was very bright and clear, and the sun shone through soft
lilac leaves on more important folios, while Mr. Jellicorse, with happy
sniffs--for his dinner was roasting in the distance--drew a single line
here, or a double line there, or a gable on the margin of the paper, to
show his head clerk what to cite, and in what letters, and what to omit,
in the abstract to be rendered. For the good solicitor had spent some
time in the chambers of a famous conveyancer in London, and prided
himself upon deducing title, directly, exhaustively, and yet tersely, in
one word, scientifically, and not as the mere quill-driver. The title
to the hereditaments, now to be given in exchange, went back for many
generations; but as the deeds were not to pass, Mr. Jellicorse, like an
honest man, drew a line across, and made a star at one quite old enough
to begin with, in which the little moorland farm in treaty now was
specified. With hum and ha of satisfaction he came down the records,
as far as the settlement made upon the marriage of Richard Yordas, of
Scargate Hall, Esquire, and Eleanor, the daughter of Sir Fursan de Roos.
This document created no entail, for strict settlements had never been
the manner of the race; but the property assured in trust, to satisfy
the jointure, was then declared subject to joint and surviving powers of
appointment limited to the issue of the marriage, with remainder to the
uses of the will of the aforesaid Richard Yordas, or, failing such will,
to his right heirs forever.

All this was usual enough, and Mr. Jellicorse heeded it little,
having never heard of any appointment, and knowing that Richard, the
grandfather of his clients, had died, as became a true Yordas, in a
fit of fury with a poor tenant, intestate, as well as unrepentant.
The lawyer, being a slightly pious man, afforded a little sigh to this
remembrance, and lifted his finger to turn the leaf, but the leaf stuck
a moment, and the paper being raised at the very best angle to the
sun, he saw, or seemed to see, a faint red line, just over against that
appointment clause. And then the yellow margin showed some faint red
marks.

"Well, I never," Mr. Jellicorse exclaimed--"certainly never saw these
marks before. Diana, where are my glasses?"

Mrs. Jellicorse had been to see the potatoes on (for the new cook simply
made "kettlefuls of fish" of every thing put upon the fire), and now at
her husband's call she went to her work-box for his spectacles, which
he was not allowed to wear except on Sundays, for fear of injuring his
eyesight. Equipped with these, and drawing nearer to the window, the
lawyer gradually made out this: first a broad faint line of red, as if
some attorney, now a ghost, had cut his finger, and over against that in
small round hand the letters "v. b. c." Mr. Jellicorse could swear that
they were "v. b. c."

"Don't ask me to eat any dinner to-day," he exclaimed, when his wife
came to fetch him. "Diana, I am occupied; go and eat it up without me."

"Nonsense, James," she answered, calmly; "you never get any clever
thoughts by starving."

Moved by this reasoning, he submitted, fed his wife and children and
own good self, and then brought up a bottle of old Spanish wine to
strengthen the founts of discovery. Whose writing was that upon the
broad marge of verbosity? Why had it never been observed before? Above
all, what was meant by "v. b. c."?

Unaided, he might have gone on forever, to the bottom of a butt of Xeres
wine; but finding the second glass better than the first, he called to
Mrs. Jellicorse, who was in the garden gathering striped roses, to come
and have a sip with him, and taste the yellow cherries. And when she
came promptly, with the flowers in her hand, and their youngest little
daughter making sly eyes at the fruit, bothered as he was, he could not
help smiling and saying, "Oh, Diana, what is 'v. b. c.'?"

"Very black currants, papa!" cried Emily, dancing a long bunch in the
air.

"Hush, dear child, you are getting too forward," said her mother, though
proud of her quickness. "James, how should I know what 'v. b. c.' is?
But I wish most heartily that you would rid me of my old enemy, box C.
I want to put a hanging press in that corner, instead of which you turn
the very passages into office."

"Box C? I remember no box C."

"You may not have noticed the letter C upon it, but the box you must
know as well as I do. It belongs to those proud Yordas people, who hold
their heads so high, forsooth, as if nobody but themselves belonged to a
good old county family! That makes me hate the box the more."

"I will take it out of your way at once. I may want it. It should
be with the others. I know it as well as I know my snuff-box. It was
Aberthaw who put it in that corner; but I had forgotten that it was
lettered. The others are all numbered."

Of course Mr. Jellicorse was not weak enough to make the partner of his
bosom the partner of his business; and much as she longed to know why
he had put an unusual question to her, she trusted to the future for
discovery of that point. She left him, and he with no undue haste--for
the business, after all, was not his own--began to follow out his train
of thought, in manner much as follows:

"This is that old Duncombe's writing--'Dunder-headed Duncombe,' as he
used to be called in his lifetime, but 'Long-headed Duncombe' afterward.
None but his wife knew whether he was a wise man, or a wiseacre. Perhaps
either, according to the treatment he received. Richard Yordas treated
him badly; that may have made him wiser. V. b. c. means 'vide box C,'
unless I am greatly mistaken. He wrote those letters as plainly and
clearly as he could against this power of appointment as recited here.
But afterward, with knife and pounce, he scraped them out, as now
becomes plain with this magnifying-glass; probably he did so when all
these archives, as he used to call them, were rudely ordered over to my
predecessor. A nice bit of revenge, if my suspicions are correct; and a
pretty confusion will follow it."

The lawyer's suspicions proved too correct. He took that box to his
private room, and with some trouble unlocked it. A damp and musty smell
came forth, as when a man delves a potato-bury; and then appeared layers
of parchment yellow and brown, in and out with one another, according to
the curing of the sheep-skin, perhaps, or the age of the sheep when
he began to die; skins much older than any man's who handled them, and
drier than the brains of any lawyer.

"Anno Jacobi tertio, and Quadragesimo Elisabethae! How nice it sounds!"
Mr. Jellicorse exclaimed; "they ought all to go in, and be charged for.
People to be satisfied with sixty years' title! Why, bless the Lord,
I am sixty-eight myself, and could buy and sell the grammar school at
eight years old. It is no security, no security at all. What did the
learned Bacupiston say--'If a rogue only lives to be a hundred and
eleven, he may have been for ninety years disseized, and nobody alive to
know it!'"

Older and older grew the documents as the lawyer's hand travelled
downward; any flaw or failure must have been healed by lapse of time
long and long ago; dust and grime and mildew thickened, ink became
paler, and contractions more contorted; it was rather an antiquary's
business now than a lawyer's to decipher them.

"What a fool I am!" the solicitor thought. "My cuffs will never wash
white again, and all I have found is a mare's-nest. However, I'll go to
the bottom now. There may be a gold seal--they used to put them in with
the deeds three hundred years ago. A charter of Edward the Fourth, I
declare! Ah, the Yordases were Yorkists--halloa! what is here? By the
Touchstone of Shepherd, I was right after all! Well done, Long-headed
Duncombe!"

From the very bottom of the box he took a parchment comparatively fresh
and new, indorsed "Appointment by Richard Yordas, Esquire, and Eleanor
his wife, of lands and heredits at Scargate and elsewhere in the county
of York, dated Nov. 15th, A.D. 1751." Having glanced at the signatures
and seals, Mr. Jellicorse spread the document, which was of moderate
compass, and soon convinced himself that his work of the morning had
been wholly thrown away. No title could be shown to Whitestone Farm, nor
even to Scargate Hall itself, on the part of the present owners.

The appointment was by deed-poll, and strictly in accordance with the
powers of the settlement. Duly executed and attested, clearly though
clumsily expressed, and beyond all question genuine, it simply nullified
(as concerned the better half of the property) the will which had cost
Philip Yordas his life. For under this limitation Philip held a mere
life-interest, his father and mother giving all men to know by those
presents that they did thereby from and after the decease of their said
son Philip grant limit and appoint &c. all and singular the said lands
&c. to the heirs of his body lawfully begotten &c. &c. in tail general,
with remainder over, and final remainder to the right heirs of the said
Richard Yordas forever. From all which it followed that while Duncan
Yordas, or child, or other descendant of his, remained in the land
of the living, or even without that if he having learned it had been
enabled to bar the entail and then sell or devise the lands away, the
ladies in possession could show no title, except a possessory one, as
yet unhallowed by the lapse of time.

Mr. Jellicorse was a very pleasant-looking man, also one who took a
pleasant view of other men and things; but he could not help pulling a
long and sad face as he thought of the puzzle before him. Duncan Yordas
had not been heard of among his own hills and valleys since 1778, when
he embarked for India. None of the family ever had cared to write or
read long letters, their correspondence (if any) was short, without
being sweet by any means. It might be a subject for prayer and hope that
Duncan should be gone to a better world, without leaving hostages to
fortune here; but sad it is to say that neither prayer nor hope produces
any faith in the counsel who prepares "requisitions upon title."

On the other hand, inquiry as to Duncan's history since he left his
native land would be a delicate and expensive work, and perhaps even
dangerous, if he should hear of it, and inquire about the inquirers. For
the last thing to be done from a legal point of view--though the
first of all from a just one--was to apprise the rightful owner of his
unexpected position. Now Mr. Jellicorse was a just man; but his justice
was due to his clients first.

After a long brown-study he reaped his crop of meditation thus: "It is a
ticklish job; and I will sleep three nights upon it."



CHAPTER IV

DISQUIETUDE


The ladies of Scargate Hall were uneasy, although the weather was so
fine, upon this day of early August, in the year now current. It was a
remarkable fact, that in spite of the distance they slept asunder, which
could not be less than five-and-thirty yards, both had been visited by
a dream, which appeared to be quite the same dream until examined
narrowly, and being examined, grew more surprising in its points of
difference. They were much above paying any heed to dreams, though
instructed by the patriarchs to do so; and they seemed to be quite
getting over the effects, when the lesson and the punishment astonished
them.

Lately it had been established (although many leading people went
against it, and threatened to prosecute the man for trespass) that here
in these quiet and reputable places, where no spy could be needed, a man
should come twice every week with letters, and in the name of the
king be paid for them. Such things were required in towns, perhaps, as
corporations and gutters were; but to bring them where people could mind
their own business, and charge them two groats for some fool who knew
their names, was like putting a tax upon their christening. So it was
the hope of many, as well as every one's belief, that the postman, being
of Lancastrian race, would very soon be bogged, or famished, or get lost
in a fog, or swept off by a flood, or go and break his own neck from a
precipice.

The postman, however, was a wiry fellow, and as tough as any native, and
he rode a pony even tougher than himself, whose cradle was a marsh, and
whose mother a mountain, his first breath a fog, and his weaning meat
wire-grass, and his form a combination of sole-leather and corundum. He
wore no shoes for fear of not making sparks at night, to know the road
by, and although his bit had been a blacksmith's rasp, he would yield
to it only when it suited him. The postman, whose name was George King
(which confounded him with King George, in the money to pay), carried a
sword and blunderbuss, and would use them sooner than argue.

Now this man and horse had come slowly along, without meaning any
mischief, to deliver a large sealed packet, with sixteen pence to pay
put upon it, "to Mistress Philippa Yordas, etc., her own hands, and
speed, speed, speed;" which they carried out duly by stop, stop, stop,
whensoever they were hungry, or saw any thing to look at. None the less
for that, though with certainty much later, they arrived in good trim,
by the middle of the day, and ready for the comfort which they both
deserved.

As yet it was not considered safe to trust any tidings of importance to
the post in such a world as this was; and even were it safe, it would be
bad manners from a man of business. Therefore Mr. Jellicorse had sealed
up little, except his respectful consideration and request to be allowed
to wait upon his honored clients, concerning a matter of great moment,
upon the afternoon of Thursday then next ensuing. And the post had gone
so far, to give good distance for the money, that the Thursday of the
future came to be that very day.

The present century opened with a chilly and dark year, following three
bad seasons of severity and scarcity. And in the northwest of Yorkshire,
though the summer was now so far advanced, there had been very little
sunshine. For the last day or two, the sun had labored to sweep up the
mist and cloud, and was beginning to prevail so far that the mists drew
their skirts up and retired into haze, while the clouds fell away to the
ring of the sky, and there lay down to abide their time. Wherefore it
happened that "Yordas House" (as the ancient building was in old time
called) had a clearer view than usual of the valley, and the river
that ran away, and the road that tried to run up to it. Now this
was considered a wonderful road, and in fair truth it was wonderful,
withstanding all efforts of even the Royal Mail pony to knock it to
pieces. In its rapidity down hill it surpassed altogether the river,
which galloped along by the side of it, and it stood out so boldly with
stones of no shame that even by moonlight nobody could lose it, until
it abruptly lost itself. But it never did that, until the house it came
from was two miles away, and no other to be seen; and so why should it
go any further?

At the head of this road stood the old gray house, facing toward the
south of east, to claim whatever might come up the valley, sun, or
storm, or columned fog. In the days of the past it had claimed much
more--goods, and cattle, and tribute of the traffic going northward--as
the loop-holed quadrangle for impounded stock, and the deeply embrasured
tower, showed. At the back of the house rose a mountain spine, blocking
out the westering sun, but cut with one deep portal where a pass ran
into Westmoreland--the scaur-gate whence the house was named; and
through this gate of mountain often, when the day was waning, a bar of
slanting sunset entered, like a plume of golden dust, and hovered on a
broad black patch of weather-beaten fir-trees. The day was waning now,
and every steep ascent looked steeper, while down the valley light and
shade made longer cast of shuttle, and the margin of the west began to
glow with a deep wine-color, as the sun came down--the tinge of many
mountains and the distant sea--until the sun himself settled quietly
into it, and there grew richer and more ripe (as old bottled wine is fed
by the crust), and bowed his rubicund farewell, through the postern of
the scaur-gate, to the old Hall, and the valley, and the face of Mr.
Jellicorse.

That gentleman's countenance did not, however, reply with its usual
brightness to the mellow salute of evening. Wearied and shaken by the
long, rough ride, and depressed by the heavy solitude, he hated and
almost feared the task which every step brought nearer. As the house
rose higher and higher against the red sky, and grew darker, and as the
sullen roar of blood-hounds (terrors of the neighborhood) roused the
slow echoes of the crags, the lawyer was almost fain to turn his horse's
head, and face the risks of wandering over the moor by night. But the
hoisting of a flag, the well-known token (confirmed by large letters
on a rock) that strangers might safely approach, inasmuch as the savage
dogs were kennelled--this, and the thought of such an entry for his
day-book, kept Mr. Jellicorse from ignominious flight. He was in for it
now, and must carry it through.

In a deep embayed window of leaded glass Mistress Yordas and her widowed
sister sat for an hour, without many words, watching the zigzag of shale
and rock which formed their chief communication with the peopled world.
They did not care to improve their access, or increase their traffic;
not through cold morosity, or even proud indifference, but because they
had been so brought up, and so confirmed by circumstance. For the Yordas
blood, however hot and wild and savage in the gentlemen, was generally
calm and good, though steadfast, in the weaker vessels. For the main
part, however, a family takes it character more from the sword than the
spindle; and their sword hand had been like Esau's.

Little as they meddled with the doings of the world, of one thing at
least these stately Madams--as the baffled squires of the Riding called
them--were by no means heedless. They dressed themselves according to
their rank, or perhaps above it. Many a nobleman's wife in Yorkshire
had not such apparel; and even of those so richly gifted, few could have
come up to the purpose better. Nobody, unless of their own sex, thought
of their dresses when looking at them.

"He rides very badly," Philippa said; "the people from the lowlands
always do. He may not have courage to go home tonight. But he ought to
have thought of that before."

"Poor man! We must offer him a bed, of course," Mrs. Carnaby answered;
"but he should have come earlier in the day. What shall we do with him,
when he has done his business?"

"It is not our place to amuse our lawyer. He might go and smoke in the
Justice-room, and then Welldrum could play bagatelle with him."

"Philippa, you forget that the Jellicorses are of a good old county
stock. His wife is a stupid, pretentious thing; but we need not treat
him as we must treat her. And it may be as well to make much of him,
perhaps, if there really is any trouble coming."

"You are thinking of Pet. By-the-bye, are you certain that Pet can not
get at Saracen? You know how he let him loose last Easter, when the flag
was flying, and the poor man has been in his bed ever since."

"Jordas will see to that. He can be trusted to mind the dogs well,
ever since you fined him in a fortnight's wages. That was an excellent
thought of yours."

Jordas might have been called the keeper, or the hind, or the henchman,
or the ranger, or the porter, or the bailiff, or the reeve, or some
other of some fifty names of office, in a place of more civilization, so
many and so various were his tasks. But here his professional name was
the "dogman;" and he held that office according to an ancient custom of
the Scargate race, whence also his surname (if such it were) arose. For
of old time and in outlandish parts a finer humanity prevailed, and a
richer practical wisdom upon certain questions. Irregular offsets of the
stock, instead of being cast upon the world as waifs and strays, were
allowed a place in the kitchen-garden or stable-yard, and flourished
there without disgrace, while useful and obedient. Thus for generations
here the legitimate son was Yordas, and took the house and manors; the
illegitimate became Jordas, and took to the gate, and the minding of the
dogs, and any other office of fidelity.

The present Jordas was, however, of less immediate kin to the owners,
being only the son of a former Jordas, and in the enjoyment of a
Christian name, which never was provided for a first-hand Jordas; and
now as his mistress looked out on the terrace, his burly figure came
duly forth, and his keen eyes ranged the walks and courts, in search of
Master Lancelot, who gave him more trouble in a day, sometimes, than all
the dogs cost in a twelvemonth. With a fine sense of mischief, this
boy delighted to watch the road for visitors, and then (if barbarously
denied his proper enjoyment and that of the dogs) he still had goodly
devices of his own for producing little tragedies.

Mr. Jellicorse knew Jordas well, and felt some pity for him, because, if
his grandmother had been wiser, he might have been the master now; and
the lawyer, having much good feeling, liked not to make a groom of him.
Jordas, however, knew his place, and touched his hat respectfully, then
helped the solicitor to dismount, the which was sorely needed.

"You came not by the way of the ford, Sir?" the dogman asked, while
considering the leathers. "The water is down; you might have saved three
miles."

"Better lose thirty than my life. Will any of your men, Master Jordas,
show me a room, where I may prepare to wait upon your ladies?"

Mr. Jellicorse walked through the old arched gate of the reever's court,
and was shown to a room, where he unpacked his valise, and changed his
riding clothes, and refreshed himself. A jug of Scargate ale was brought
to him, and a bottle of foreign wine, with the cork drawn, lest
he should hesitate; also a cold pie, bread and butter, and a small
case-bottle of some liqueur. He was not hungry, for his wife had cared
to victual him well for the journey; but for fear of offense he ate a
morsel, found it good, and ate some more. Then after a sip or two of the
liqueur, and a glance or two at his black silk stockings, buckled shoes,
and best small-clothes, he felt himself fit to go before a duchess, as
once upon a time he had actually done, and expressed himself very well
indeed, according to the dialogue delivered whenever he told the story
about it every day.

Welldrum, the butler, was waiting for him--a man who had his own ideas,
and was going to be put upon by nobody. "If my father could only come
to life for one minute, he would spend it in kicking that man," Mrs.
Carnaby had exclaimed, about him, after carefully shutting the door; but
he never showed airs before Miss Yordas.

"Come along, Sir," Welldrum said, after one professional glance at the
tray, to ascertain his residue. "My ladies have been waiting this half
hour; and for sure, Sir, you looks wonderful! This way, Sir, and have a
care of them oak fagots. My ladies, Lawyer Jellicorse!"



CHAPTER V

DECISION


The sun was well down and away behind the great fell at the back of the
house, and the large and heavily furnished room was feebly lit by four
wax candles, and the glow of the west reflected as a gleam into eastern
windows. The lawyer was pleased to have it so, and to speak with a
dimly lighted face. The ladies looked beautiful; that was all that
Mr. Jellicorse could say, when cross-examined by his wife next day
concerning their lace and velvet. Whether they wore lace or net was
almost more than he could say, for he did not heed such trifles; but
velvet was within his knowledge (though not the color or the shape),
because he thought it hot for summer, until he remembered what the
climate was. Really he could say nothing more, except that they looked
beautiful; and when Mrs. Jellicorse jerked her head, he said that he
only meant, of course, considering their time of life.

The ladies saw his admiration, and felt that it was but natural. Mrs.
Carnaby came forward kindly, and offered him a nice warm hand; while the
elder sister was content to bow, and thank him for coming, and hope that
he was well. As yet it had not become proper for a gentleman, visiting
ladies, to yawn, and throw himself into the nearest chair, and cross
his legs, and dance one foot, and ask how much the toy-terrier cost.
Mr. Jellicorse made a fine series of bows, not without a scrape or two,
which showed his goodly calf; and after that he waited for the gracious
invitation to sit down.

"If I understood your letter clearly," Mistress Yordas began, when these
little rites were duly accomplished, "you have something important
to tell us concerning our poor property here. A small property, Mr.
Jellicorse, compared with that of the Duke of Lunedale, but perhaps a
little longer in one family."

"The duke is a new-fangled interloper," replied hypocritical Jellicorse,
though no other duke was the husband of the duchess of whom he indited
daily; "properties of that sort come and go, and only tradesmen notice
it. Your estates have been longer in the seisin of one family, madam,
than any other in the Riding, or perhaps in Yorkshire."

"We never seized them!" cried Mrs. Carnaby, being sensitive as to
ancestral thefts, through tales about cattle-lifting. "You must be aware
that they came to us by grant from the Crown, or even before there was
any Crown to grant them."

"I beg your pardon for using a technical word, without explaining it.
Seisin is a legal word, which simply means possession, or rather
the bodily holding of a thing, and is used especially of corporeal
hereditaments. You ladies have seisin of this house and lands, although
you never seized them."

"The last thing we would think of doing," answered Mrs. Carnaby, who was
more impulsive than her sister, also less straightforward. "How often
we have wished that our poor lost brother had not been deprived of them!
But our father's will was sacred, and you told us we were helpless. We
struggled, as you know; but we could do nothing."

"That is the question which brought me here," the lawyer said, very
quietly, at the same time producing a small roll of parchment sealed in
cartridge paper. "Last week I discovered a document which I am forced
to submit to your judgment. Shall I read it to you, or tell its purport
briefly?"

"Whatever it may be, it can not in any way alter our conclusions. Our
conclusions have never varied, however deeply they may have grieved us.
We were bound to do justice to our dear father."

"Certainly, madam; and you did it. Also, as I know, you did it as kindly
as possible toward other relatives, and you only met with perversity.
I had the honor of preparing your respected father's will, a model of
clearness and precision, considering--considering the time afforded,
and other disturbing influences. I know for a fact that a copy was laid
before the finest draftsman in London, by--by those who were displeased
with it, and his words were: 'Beautiful! beautiful! Every word of it
holds water.' Now that, madam, can not be said of many; indeed, of not
one in--"

"Pardon, me for interrupting you, but I have always understood you to
speak highly of it. And in such a case, what can be the matter?"

"The matter of all matters, madam, is that the testator should have
disposing power."

"He could dispose of his own property as he was disposed, you mean."

"You misapprehend me." Mr. Jellicorse now was in his element, for he
loved to lecture--an absurdity just coming into vogue. "Indulge me one
moment. I take this silver dish, for instance; it is in my hands, I have
the use of it; but can I give it to either of you ladies?"

"Not very well, because it belongs to us already."

"You misapprehend me. I can not give it because it is not mine to give."
Mrs. Carnaby looked puzzled.

"Eliza, allow me," said Mistress Yordas, in her stiffer manner, and
now for the first time interfering. "Mr. Jellicorse assures us that his
language is a model of clearness and precision; perhaps he will prove it
by telling us now, in plain words, what his meaning is."

"What I mean, madam, is that your respected father could devise you a
part only of this property, because the rest was not his to devise. He
only had a life-interest in it."

"His will, therefore, fails as to some part of the property? How much,
and what part, if you please?"

"The larger and better part of the estates, including this house and
grounds, and the home-farm."

Mrs. Carnaby started and began to speak; but her sister moved only to
stop her, and showed no signs of dismay or anger.

"For fear of putting too many questions at once," she said, with a
slight bow and a smile, "let me beg you to explain, as shortly as
possible, this very surprising matter."

Mr. Jellicorse watched her with some suspicion, because she called it
so surprising, yet showed so little surprise herself. For a moment he
thought that she must have heard of the document now in his hands; but
he very soon saw that it could not be so. It was only the ancient
Yordas pride, perversity, and stiffneckedness. And even Mrs. Carnaby,
strengthened by the strength of her sister, managed to look as if
nothing more than a tale of some tenant were pending. But this, or
ten times this, availed not to deceive Mr. Jellicorse. That gentleman,
having seen much of the world, whispered to himself that this was all
"high jinks," felt himself placed on the stool of authority, and even
ventured upon a pinch of snuff. This was unwise, and cost him dear,
for the ladies would not have been true to their birth if they had not
stored it against him.

He, however, with a friendly mind, and a tap now and then upon his
document, to give emphasis to his story, recounted the whole of it, and
set forth how much was come of it already, and how much it might lead
to. To Scargate Hall, and the better part of the property always enjoyed
therewith, Philippa Yordas and Eliza Carnaby had no claim whatever,
except on the score of possession, until it could be shown that their
brother Duncan was dead, without any heirs or assignment (which might
have come to pass through a son adult), and even so, his widow might
come forward and give trouble. Concerning all that, there was time
enough to think; but something must be done at once to cancel the
bargain with Sir Walter Carnaby, without letting his man of law get
scent of the fatal defect in title. And now that the ladies knew all,
what did they say?

In answer to this, the ladies were inclined to put the whole blame upon
him, for not having managed matters better; and when he had shown that
the whole of it was done before he had any thing to do with it, they
were firmly convinced that he ought to have known it, and found a proper
remedy. And in the finished manner of well-born ladies they gave him
to know, without a strong expression, that such an atrocity was a black
stain on every legal son of Satan, living, dead, or still to issue from
Gerizim.

"That can not affect the title now--I assure you, madam, that it can
not," the unfortunate lawyer exclaimed at last; "and as for damages,
poor old Duncombe has left no representatives, even if an action would
lie now, which is simply out of the question. On my part no neglect can
be shown, and indeed for your knowledge of the present state of things,
if humbly I may say so, you are wholly indebted to my zeal."

"Sir, I heartily wish," Mrs. Carnaby replied, "that your zeal had been
exhausted on your own affairs."

"Eliza, Mr. Jellicorse has acted well, and we can not feel too much
obliged to him." Miss Yordas, having humor of a sort, smiled faintly at
the double meaning of her own words, which was not intended. "Whatever
is right must be done, of course, according to the rule of our family.
In such a case it appears to me that mere niceties of laws, and quips
and quirks, are entirely subordinate to high sense of honor. The first
consideration must be thoroughly unselfish and pure justice."

The lawyer looked at her with admiration. He was capable of large
sentiments. And yet a faint shadow of disappointment lingered in the
folios of his heart--there might have been such a very grand long suit,
upon which his grandson (to be born next month) might have been enabled
to settle for life, and bring up a legal family. Justice, however, was
justice, and more noble than even such prospects. So he bowed his head,
and took another pinch of snuff.

But Mrs. Carnaby (who had wept a little, in a place beyond the
candle-light) came back with a passionate flush in her eyes, and a
resolute bearing of her well-formed neck.

"Philippa, I am amazed at you," she said, "Mr. Jellicorse, my share
is equal with my sister's, and more, because my son comes after me.
Whatever she may do, I will never yield a pin's point of my rights, and
leave my son a beggar. Philippa, would you make Pet a beggar? And his
turtle in bed, before the sun is on the window, and his sturgeon jelly
when he gets out of bed! There never was any one, by a good Providence,
less sent into the world to be a beggar."

Mrs. Carnaby, having discharged her meaning, began to be overcome by it.
She sat down, in fear of hysteria, but with her mind made up to stop it;
while the gallant Jellicorse was swept away by her eloquence, mixed with
professional views. But it came home to him, from experience with his
wife, that the less he said the wiser. But while he moved about, and
almost danced, in his strong desire to be useful, there was another who
sat quite still, and meant to have the final say.

"From some confusion of ideas, I suppose, or possibly through my own
fault," Philippa Yordas said, with less contempt in her voice than in
her mind, "it seems that I can not make my meaning clear, even to my
own sister. I said that we first must do the right, and scorn all legal
subtleties. That we must maintain unselfish justice, and high sense of
honor. Can there be any doubt what these dictate? What sort of daughters
should we be if we basely betrayed our own father's will?"

"Excellent, madam," the lawyer said; "that view of the case never struck
me. But there is a great deal in it."

"Oh, Philippa, how noble you are!" her sister Eliza cried; and cried no
more, so far as tears go, for a long time afterward.



CHAPTER VI

ANERLEY FARM


On the eastern coast of the same great county, at more than ninety
miles of distance for a homing pigeon, and some hundred and twenty for
a carriage from the Hall of Yordas, there was in those days, and there
still may be found, a property of no vast size--snug, however, and of
good repute--and called universally "Anerley Farm." How long it has
borne that name it knows not, neither cares to moot the question; and
there lives no antiquary of enough antiquity to decide it. A place of
smiling hope, and comfort, and content with quietude; no memory of man
about it runneth to the contrary; while every ox, and horse, and sheep,
and fowl, and frisky porker, is full of warm domestic feeling and each
homely virtue.

For this land, like a happy country, has escaped, for years and years,
the affliction of much history. It has not felt the desolating tramp of
lawyer or land-agent, nor been bombarded by fine and recovery, lease and
release, bargain and sale, Doe and Roe and Geoffrey Styles, and the rest
of the pitiless shower of slugs, ending with a charge of Demons. Blows,
and blights, and plagues of that sort have not come to Anerley, nor any
other drain of nurture to exhaust the green of meadow and the gold of
harvest. Here stands the homestead, and here lies the meadow-land;
there walk the kine (having no call to run), and yonder the wheat in the
hollow of the hill, bowing to the silvery stroke of the wind, is touched
with the promise of increasing gold.

As good as the cattle and the crops themselves are the people that live
upon them; or at least, in a fair degree, they try to be so; though
not of course so harmless, or faithful, or peaceful, or charitable.
But still, in proportion, they may be called as good; and in fact they
believe themselves much better. And this from no conceit of any sort,
beyond what is indispensable; for nature not only enables but compels a
man to look down upon his betters.

From generation to generation, man, and beast, and house, and land, have
gone on in succession here, replacing, following, renewing, repairing
and being repaired, demanding and getting more support, with such
judicious give-and-take, and thoroughly good understanding, that now in
the August of this year, when Scargate Hall is full of care, and afraid
to cart a load of dung, Anerley farm is quite at ease, and in the very
best of heart, man, and horse, and land, and crops, and the cock that
crows the time of day. Nevertheless, no acre yet in Yorkshire, or in the
whole wide world, has ever been so farmed or fenced as to exclude the
step of change.

From father to son the good lands had passed, without even a will to
disturb them, except at distant intervals; and the present owner was
Stephen Anerley, a thrifty and well-to-do Yorkshire farmer of the olden
type. Master Anerley was turned quite lately of his fifty-second year,
and hopeful (if so pleased the Lord) to turn a good many more years yet,
as a strong horse works his furrow. For he was strong and of a cheerful
face, ruddy, square, and steadfast, built up also with firm body to a
wholesome stature, and able to show the best man on the farm the way to
swing a pitchfork. Yet might he be seen, upon every Lord's day, as
clean as a new-shelled chestnut; neither at any time of the week was he
dirtier than need be. Happy alike in the place of his birth, his lot in
life, and the wisdom of the powers appointed over him, he looked up with
a substantial faith, yet a solid reserve of judgment, to the Church, the
Justices of the Peace, spiritual lords and temporal, and above all His
Majesty George the Third. Without any reserve of judgmemt, which could
not deal with such low subjects, he looked down upon every Dissenter,
every pork-dealer, and every Frenchman. What he was brought up to, that
he would abide by; and the sin beyond repentance, to his mind, was the
sin of the turncoat.

With all these hard-set lines of thought, or of doctrine (the scabbard
of thought, which saves its edge, and keeps it out of mischief), Stephen
Anerley was not hard, or stern, or narrow-hearted. Kind, and gentle, and
good to every one who knew "how to behave himself," and dealing to
every man full justice--meted by his own measure--he was liable even
to generous acts, after being severe and having his own way. But if any
body ever got the better of him by lies, and not fair bettering, that
man had wiser not begin to laugh inside the Riding. Stephen Anerley
was slow but sure; not so very keen, perhaps, but grained with kerns
of maxim'd thought, to meet his uses as they came, and to make a rogue
uneasy. To move him from such thoughts was hard; but to move him from a
spoken word had never been found possible.

The wife of this solid man was solid and well fitted to him. In early
days, by her own account, she had possessed considerable elegance, and
was not devoid of it even now, whenever she received a visitor capable
of understanding it. But for home use that gift had been cut short,
almost in the honey-moon, by a total want of appreciation on the part
of her husband. And now, after five-and-twenty years of studying and
entering into him, she had fairly earned his firm belief that she was
the wisest of women. For she always agreed with him, when he wished it;
and she knew exactly when to contradict him, and that was before he had
said a thing at all, and while he was rolling it slowly in his mind,
with a strong tendency against it. In out-door matters she never
meddled, without being specially consulted by the master; but in-doors
she governed with watchful eyes, a firm hand, and a quiet tongue.

This good woman now was five-and-forty years of age, vigorous, clean,
and of a very pleasant look, with that richness of color which settles
on fair women when the fugitive beauty of blushing is past. When the
work of the morning was done, and the clock in the kitchen was only
ten minutes from twelve, and the dinner was fit for the dishing, then
Mistress Anerley remembered as a rule the necessity of looking to her
own appearance. She went up stairs, with a quarter of an hour to spare,
but not to squander, and she came down so neat that the farmer was
obliged to be careful in helping the gravy. For she always sat next to
him, as she had done before there came any children, and it seemed ever
since to be the best place for her to manage their plates and their
manners as well.

Alas! that the kindest and wisest of women have one (if not twenty)
blind sides to them; and if any such weakness is pointed out, it is sure
to have come from their father. Mistress Anerley's weakness was almost
conspicuous to herself--she worshipped her eldest son, perhaps the least
worshipful of the family.

Willie Anerley was a fine young fellow, two inches taller than his
father, with delicate features, and curly black hair, and cheeks as
bright as a maiden's. He had soft blue eyes, and a rich clear voice,
with a melancholy way of saying things, as if he were above all this.
And yet he looked not like a fool; neither was he one altogether, when
he began to think of things. The worst of him was that he always wanted
something new to go on with. He never could be idle; and yet he never
worked to the end which crowns the task. In the early stage he would
labor hard, be full of the greatness of his aim, and demand every body's
interest, exciting, also, mighty hopes of what was safe to come of it.
And even after that he sometimes carried on with patience; but he
had not perseverance. Once or twice he had been on the very nick of
accomplishing something, and had driven home his nail; but then he let
it spring back without clinching. "Oh, any fool can do that!" he cried,
and never stood to it, to do it again, or to see that it came not
undone. In a word, he stuck to nothing, but swerved about, here, there,
and every where.

His father, being of so different a cast, and knowing how often the
wisest of men must do what any fool can do, was bitterly vexed at the
flighty ways of Willie, and could do no more than hope, with a general
contempt, that when the boy grew older he might be a wiser fool. But
Willie's dear mother maintained, with great consistency, that such a
perfect wonder could never be expected to do any thing not wonderful.
To this the farmer used to listen with a grim, decorous smile; then
grumbled, as soon as he was out of hearing, and fell to and did the
little jobs himself.

Sore jealousy of Willie, perhaps, and keen sense of injustice, as well
as high spirit and love of adventure, had driven the younger son, Jack,
from home, and launched him on a sea-faring life. With a stick and a
bundle he had departed from the ancestral fields and lanes, one summer
morning about three years since, when the cows were lowing for the milk
pail, and a royal cutter was cruising off the Head. For a twelvemonth
nothing was heard of him, until there came a letter beginning, "Dear
and respected parents," and ending, "Your affectionate and dutiful son,
Jack." The body of the letter was of three lines only, occupied entirely
with kind inquiries as to the welfare of every body, especially his pup,
and his old pony, and dear sister Mary.

Mary Anerley, the only daughter and the youngest child, well deserved
the best remembrance of the distant sailor, though Jack may have gone
too far in declaring (as he did till he came to his love-time) that the
world contained no other girl fit to hold a candle to her. No doubt it
would have been hard to find a girl more true and loving, more modest
and industrious; but hundreds and hundreds of better girls might be
found perhaps even in Yorkshire.

For this maiden had a strong will of her own, which makes against
absolute perfection; also she was troubled with a strenuous hate
of injustice--which is sure, in this world, to find cause for an
outbreak--and too active a desire to rush after what is right, instead
of being well content to let it come occasionally. And so firm could
she be, when her mind was set, that she would not take parables, or long
experience, or even kindly laughter, as a power to move her from the
thing she meant. Her mother, knowing better how the world goes on,
promiscuously, and at leisure, and how the right point slides away when
stronger forces come to bear, was very often vexed by the crotchets
of the girl, and called her wayward, headstrong, and sometimes nothing
milder than "a saucy miss."

This, however, was absurd, and Mary scarcely deigned to cry about it,
but went to her father, as she always did when any weight lay on her
mind. Nothing was said about any injustice, because that might lead to
more of it, as well as be (from a proper point of view) most indecorous.
Nevertheless, it was felt between them, when her pretty hair was shed
upon his noble waistcoat, that they two were in the right, and cared
very little who thought otherwise.

Now it was time to leave off this; for Mary (without heed almost of any
but her mother) had turned into a full-grown damsel, comely, sweet,
and graceful. She was tall enough never to look short, and short enough
never to seem too tall, even when her best feelings were outraged;
and nobody, looking at her face, could wish to do any thing but please
her--so kind was the gaze of her deep blue eyes, so pleasant the
frankness of her gentle forehead, so playful the readiness of rosy lips
for a pretty answer or a lovely smile. But if any could be found so
callous and morose as not to be charmed or nicely cheered by this,
let him only take a longer look, not rudely, but simply in a spirit of
polite inquiry; and then would he see, on the delicate rounding of each
soft and dimpled cheek, a carmine hard to match on palette, morning sky,
or flower bed.

Lovely people ought to be at home in lovely places; and though this can
not be so always, as a general rule it is. At Anerley Farm the land was
equal to the stock it had to bear, whether of trees, or corn, or cattle,
hogs, or mushrooms, or mankind. The farm was not so large or rambling
as to tire the mind or foot, yet wide enough and full of change--rich
pasture, hazel copse, green valleys, fallows brown, and golden
breast-lands pillowing into nooks of fern, clumps of shade for horse
or heifer, and for rabbits sandy warren, furzy cleve for hare and
partridge, not without a little mere for willows and for wild-ducks. And
the whole of the land, with a general slope of liveliness and rejoicing,
spread itself well to the sun, with a strong inclination toward the
morning, to catch the cheery import of his voyage across the sea.

The pleasure of this situation was the more desirable because of all
the parts above it being bleak and dreary. Round the shoulders of the
upland, like the arch of a great arm-chair, ran a barren scraggy ridge,
whereupon no tree could stand upright, no cow be certain of her own
tail, and scarcely a crow breast the violent air by stooping ragged
pinions, so furious was the rush of wind when any power awoke the
clouds; or sometimes, when the air was jaded with continual conflict, a
heavy settlement of brackish cloud lay upon a waste of chalky flint.

By dint of persevering work there are many changes for the better now,
more shelter and more root-hold; but still it is a battle-ground of
winds, which rarely change their habits, for this is the chump of the
spine of the Wolds, which hulks up at last into Flamborough Head.

Flamborough Head, the furthest forefront of a bare and jagged coast,
stretches boldly off to eastward--a strong and rugged barrier. Away
to the north the land falls back, with coving bends, and some straight
lines of precipice and shingle, to which the German Ocean sweeps, seldom
free from sullen swell in the very best of weather. But to the southward
of the Head a different spirit seems to move upon the face of every
thing. For here is spread a peaceful bay, and plains of brighter sea
more gently furrowed by the wind, and cliffs that have no cause to be so
steep, and bathing-places, and scarcely freckled sands, where towns
may lay their drain-pipes undisturbed. In short, to have rounded that
headland from the north is as good as to turn the corner of a garden
wall in March, and pass from a buffeted back, and bare shivers, to a
sunny front of hope all as busy as a bee, with pears spurring forward
into creamy buds of promise, peach-trees already in a flush of tasselled
pink, and the green lobe of the apricot shedding the snowy bloom.

Below this point the gallant skipper of the British collier, slouching
with a heavy load of grime for London, or waddling back in ballast to
his native North, alike is delighted to discover storms ahead, and to
cast his tarry anchor into soft gray calm. For here shall he find the
good shelter of friends like-minded with himself, and of hospitable
turn, having no cause to hurry any more than he has, all too wise to
command their own ships; and here will they all jollify together while
the sky holds a cloud or the locker a drop. Nothing here can shake their
ships, except a violent east wind, against which they wet the other eye;
lazy boats visit them with comfort and delight, while white waves are
leaping, in the offing; they cherish their well-earned rest, and eat the
lotus--or rather the onion--and drink ambrosial grog; they lean upon the
bulwarks, and contemplate their shadows--the noblest possible employment
for mankind--and lo! if they care to lift their eyes, in the south
shines the quay of Bridlington, inland the long ridge of Priory stands
high, and westward in a nook, if they level well a clear glass (after
holding on the slope so many steamy ones), they may espy Anerley Farm,
and sometimes Mary Anerley herself.

For she, when the ripple of the tide is fresh, and the glance of the
summer morn glistening on the sands, also if a little rocky basin
happens to be fit for shrimping, and only some sleepy ships at anchor
in the distance look at her, fearless she--because all sailors are
generally down at breakfast--tucks up her skirt and gayly runs upon the
accustomed play-ground, with her pony left to wait for her. The pony is
old, while she is young (although she was born before him), and now he
belies his name, "Lord Keppel," by starting at every soft glimmer of the
sea. Therefore now he is left to roam at his leisure above high-water
mark, poking his nose into black dry weed, probing the winnow casts
of yellow drift for oats, and snorting disappointment through a gritty
dance of sand-hoppers.

Mary has brought him down the old "Dane's Dike" for society rather than
service, and to strengthen his nerves with the dew of the salt, for
the sake of her Jack who loved him. He may do as he likes, as he always
does. If his conscience allows him to walk home, no one will think the
less of him. Having very little conscience at his time of life (after
so much contact with mankind), he considers convenience only. To go home
would suit him very well, but his crib would be empty till his young
mistress came; moreover, there is a little dog that plagues him when his
door is open; and in spite of old age, it is something to be free, and
in spite of all experience, to hope for something good. Therefore Lord
Keppel is as faithful as the rocks; he lifts his long heavy head, and
gazes wistfully at the anchored ships, and Mary is sure that the darling
pines for his absent master.

But she, with the multitudinous tingle of youth, runs away rejoicing.
The buoyant power and brilliance of the morning are upon her, and the
air of the bright sea lifts and spreads her, like a pillowy skate's egg.
The polish of the wet sand flickers like veneer of maple-wood at every
quick touch of her dancing feet. Her dancing feet are as light as nature
and high spirits made them, not only quit of spindle heels, but even
free from shoes and socks left high and dry on the shingle. And lighter
even than the dancing feet the merry heart is dancing, laughing at the
shadows of its own delight; while the radiance of blue eyes springs like
a fount of brighter heaven; and the sunny hair falls, flows, or floats,
to provoke the wind for playmate.

Such a pretty sight was good to see for innocence and largeness. So the
buoyancy of nature springs anew in those who have been weary, when they
see her brisk power inspiring the young, who never stand still to think
of her, but are up and away with her, where she will, at the breath of
her subtle encouragement.



CHAPTER VII

A DANE IN THE DIKE


Now, whether spy-glass had been used by any watchful mariner, or whether
only blind chance willed it, sure it is that one fine morning Mary met
with somebody. And this was the more remarkable, when people came to
think of it, because it was only the night before that her mother had
almost said as much.

"Ye munna gaw doon to t' sea be yersell," Mistress Anerley said to her
daughter; "happen ye mought be one too many."

Master Anerley's wife had been at "boarding-school," as far south as
Suffolk, and could speak the very best of Southern English (like her
daughter Mary) upon polite occasion. But family cares and farm-house
life had partly cured her of her education, and from troubles of distant
speech she had returned to the ease of her native dialect.

"And if I go not to the sea by myself," asked Mary, with natural logic,
"why, who is there now to go with me?" She was thinking of her sadly
missed comrade, Jack.

"Happen some day, perhaps, one too many."

The maiden was almost too innocent to blush; but her father took her
part as usual.

"The little lass sall gaw doon," he said, "wheniver sha likes." And so
she went down the next morning.

A thousand years ago the Dane's Dike must have been a very grand
intrenchment, and a thousand years ere that perhaps it was still
grander; for learned men say that it is a British work, wrought out
before the Danes had even learned to build a ship. Whatever, however,
may be argued about that, the wise and the witless do agree about one
thing--the stronghold inside it has been held by Danes, while severed by
the Dike from inland parts; and these Danes made a good colony of their
own, and left to their descendants distinct speech and manners, some
traces of which are existing even now. The Dike, extending from the
rough North Sea to the calmer waters of Bridlington Bay, is nothing more
than a deep dry trench, skillfully following the hollows of the ground,
and cutting off Flamborough Head and a solid cantle of high land from
the rest of Yorkshire. The corner, so intercepted, used to be and is
still called "Little Denmark;" and the in-dwellers feel a large contempt
for all their outer neighbors. And this is sad, because Anerley Farm
lies wholly outside of the Dike, which for a long crooked distance
serves as its eastern boundary.

Upon the morning of the self-same day that saw Mr. Jellicorse set forth
upon his return from Scargate Hall, armed with instructions to defy the
devil, and to keep his discovery quiet--upon a lovely August morning
of the first year of a new century, Mary Anerley, blithe and gay, came
riding down the grassy hollow of this ancient Dane's Dike. This was
her shortest way to the sea, and the tide would suit (if she could only
catch it) for a take of shrimps, and perhaps even prawns, in time for
her father's breakfast. And not to lose this, she arose right early,
and rousing Lord Keppel, set forth for the spot where she kept her net
covered with sea-weed. The sun, though up and brisk already upon sea
and foreland, had not found time to rout the shadows skulking in
the dingles. But even here, where sap of time had breached the turfy
ramparts, the hover of the dew-mist passed away, and the steady light
was unfolded.

For the season was early August still, with beautiful weather come
at last; and the green world seemed to stand on tiptoe to make the
extraordinary acquaintance of the sun. Humble plants which had long lain
flat stood up with a sense of casting something off; and the damp heavy
trunks which had trickled for a twelvemonth, or been only sponged with
moss, were hailing the fresher light with keener lines and dove-colored
tints upon their smoother boles. Then, conquering the barrier of the
eastern land crest, rose the glorious sun himself, strewing before him
trees and crags in long steep shadows down the hill. Then the sloping
rays, through furze and brush-land, kindling the sparkles of the dew,
descended to the brink of the Dike, and scorning to halt at petty
obstacles, with a hundred golden hurdles bridged it wherever any opening
was.

Under this luminous span, or through it where the crossing gullies ran,
Mary Anerley rode at leisure, allowing her pony to choose his pace. That
privilege he had long secured, in right of age, wisdom, and remarkable
force of character. Considering his time of life, he looked well and
sleek, and almost sprightly; and so, without any reservation, did his
gentle and graceful rider. The maiden looked well in a place like that,
as indeed in almost any place; but now she especially set off the color
of things, and was set off by them. For instance, how could the silver
of the dew-cloud, and golden weft of sunrise, playing through the
dapples of a partly wooded glen, do better (in the matter of variety)
than frame a pretty moving figure in a pink checked frock, with a skirt
of russet murrey, and a bright brown hat? Not that the hat itself was
bright, even under the kiss of sunshine, simply having seen already too
much of the sun, but rather that its early lustre seemed to be revived
by a sense of the happy position it was in; the clustering hair and the
bright eyes beneath it answering the sunny dance of life and light. Many
a handsomer face, no doubt, more perfect, grand, and lofty, received--at
least if it was out of bed--the greeting of that morning sun; but
scarcely any prettier one, or kinder, or more pleasant, so gentle
without being weak, so good-tempered without looking void of all temper
at all.

Suddenly the beauty of the time and place was broken by sharp angry
sound. Bang! bang! came the roar of muskets fired from the shore at the
mouth of the Dike, and echoing up the winding glen. At the first report
the girl, though startled, was not greatly frightened; for the sound was
common enough in the week when those most gallant volunteers entitled
the "Yorkshire Invincibles" came down for their annual practice of
skilled gunnery against the French. Their habit was to bring down a
red cock, and tether him against a chalky cliff, and then vie with one
another in shooting at him. The same cock had tested their skill for
three summers, but failed hitherto to attest it, preferring to return in
a hamper to his hens, with a story of moving adventures.

Mary had watched those Invincibles sometimes from a respectful distance,
and therefore felt sure (when she began to think) that she had not them
to thank for this little scare. For they always slept soundly in the
first watch of the morning; and even supposing they had jumped up with
nightmare, where was the jubilant crow of the cock? For the cock, being
almost as invincible as they were, never could deny himself the glory of
a crow when the bullet came into his neighborhood. He replied to every
volley with an elevated comb, and a flapping of his wings, and a clarion
peal, which rang along the foreshore ere the musket roar died out. But
before the girl had time to ponder what it was, or wherefore, round the
corner came somebody, running very swiftly.

In a moment Mary saw that this man had been shot at, and was making for
his life away; and to give him every chance she jerked her pony aside,
and called and beckoned; and without a word he flew to her. Words were
beyond him, till his breath should come back, and he seemed to have no
time to wait for that. He had outstripped the wind, and his own wind, by
his speed.

"Poor man!" cried Mary Anerley, "what a hurry you are in! But I suppose
you can not help it. Are they shooting at you?"

The runaway nodded, for he could not spare a breath, but was deeply
inhaling for another start, and could not even bow without hinderance.
But to show that he had manners, he took off his hat. Then he clapped it
on his head and set off again.

"Come back!" cried the maid; "I can show you a place. I can hide you
from your enemies forever."

The young fellow stopped. He was come to that pitch of exhaustion in
which a man scarcely cares whether he is killed or dies. And his face
showed not a sign of fear.

"Look! That little hole--up there--by the fern. Up at once, and this
cloth over you!"

He snatched it, and was gone, like the darting lizard, up a little
puckering side issue of the Dike, at the very same instant that three
broad figures and a long one appeared at the lip of the mouth. The
quick-witted girl rode on to meet them, to give the poor fugitive time
to get into his hole and draw the brown skirt over him. The dazzle of
the sun, pouring over the crest, made the hollow a twinkling obscurity;
and the cloth was just in keeping with the dead stuff around. The three
broad men, with heavy fusils cocked, came up from the sea mouth of
the Dike, steadily panting, and running steadily with a long-enduring
stride. Behind them a tall bony man with a cutlass was swinging it high
in the air, and limping, and swearing with great velocity.

"Coast-riders," thought Mary, "and he a free-trader! Four against one is
cowardice."

"Halt!" cried the tall man, while the rest were running past her; "halt!
ground arms; never scare young ladies." Then he flourished his hat, with
a grand bow to Mary. "Fair young Mistress Anerley, I fear we spoil your
ride. But his Majesty's duty must be done. Hats off, fellows, at the
name of your king! Mary, my dear, the most daring villain, the devil's
own son, has just run up here--scarcely two minutes--you must have seen
him. Wait a minute; tell no lies--excuse me, I mean fibs. Your father is
the right sort. He hates those scoundrels. In the name of his Majesty,
which way is he gone?"

"Was it--oh, was it a man, if you please? Captain Carroway, don't say
so."

"A man? Is it likely that we shot at a woman? You are trifling. It will
be the worse for you. Forgive me--but we are in such a hurry. Whoa!
whoa! pony."

"You always used to be so polite, Sir, that you quite surprise me. And
those guns look so dreadful! My father would be quite astonished to see
me not even allowed to go down to the sea, but hurried back here, as if
the French had landed."

"How can I help it, if your pony runs away so?" For Mary all this time
had been cleverly contriving to increase and exaggerate her pony's fear,
and so brought the gunners for a long way up the Dike, without giving
them any time to spy at all about. She knew that this was wicked from a
loyal point of view; not a bit the less she did it. "What a troublesome
little horse it is!" she cried. "Oh, Captain Carroway, hold him just a
moment. I will jump down, and then you can jump up, and ride after all
his Majesty's enemies."

"The Lord forbid! He slews all out of gear, like a carronade with rotten
lashings. If I boarded him, how could I get out of his way? No, no, my
dear, brace him up sharp, and bear clear."

"But you wanted to know about some enemy, captain. An enemy as bad as my
poor Lord Keppel?"

"Mary, my dear, the very biggest villain! A hundred golden guineas on
his head, and half for you. Think of your father, my dear, and Sunday
gowns. And you must have a young man by-and-by, you know--such a
beautiful maid as you are. And you might get a leather purse, and give
it to him. Mary, on your duty, now?"

"Captain, you drive me so, what can I say? I can not bear the thought of
betraying any body."

"Of course not, Mary dear; nobody asks you. He must be half a mile off
by this time. You could never hurt him now; and you can tell your father
that you have done your duty to the king."

"Well, Captain Carroway, if you are quite sure that it is too late to
catch him, I can tell you all about him. But remember your word about
the fifty guineas."

"Every farthing, every farthing, Mary, whatever my wife may say to it.
Quick! quick! Which way did he run, my dear?"

"He really did not seem to me to be running at all; he was too tired."

"To be sure, to be sure, a worn-out fox! We have been two hours after
him; he could not run; no more can we. But which way did he go, I mean?"

"I will not say any thing for certain, Sir; even for fifty guineas. But
he may have come up here--mind, I say not that he did--and if so, he
might have set off again for Sewerby. Slowly, very slowly, because of
being tired. But perhaps, after all, he was not the man you mean."

"Forward, double-quick! We are sure to have him!" shouted the
lieutenant--for his true rank was that--flourishing his cutlass again,
and setting off at a wonderful pace, considering his limp. "Five guineas
every man Jack of you. Thank you, young mistress--most heartily thank
you. Dead or alive, five guineas!"

With gun and sword in readiness, they all rushed off; but one of the
party, named John Cadman, shook his head and looked back with great
mistrust at Mary, having no better judgment of women than this, that he
never could believe even his own wife. And he knew that it was mainly
by the grace of womankind that so much contraband work was going on.
Nevertheless, it was out of his power to act upon his own low opinions
now.

The maiden, blushing deeply with the sense of her deceit, was informed
by her guilty conscience of that nasty man's suspicions, and therefore
gave a smack with her fern whip to Lord Keppel, impelling him to join,
like a loyal little horse, the pursuit of his Majesty's enemies. But no
sooner did she see all the men dispersed, and scouring the distance with
trustful ardor, than she turned her pony's head toward the sea again,
and rode back round the bend of the hollow. What would her mother say if
she lost the murrey skirt, which had cost six shillings at Bridlington
fair? And ten times that money might be lost much better than for her
father to discover how she lost it. For Master Stephen Anerley was
a straight-backed man, and took three weeks of training in the Land
Defense Yeomanry, at periods not more than a year apart, so that many
people called him "Captain" now; and the loss of his suppleness at knee
and elbow had turned his mind largely to politics, making him stiffly
patriotic, and especially hot against all free-traders putting bad
bargains to his wife, at the cost of the king and his revenue. If the
bargain were a good one, that was no concern of his.

Not that Mary, however, could believe, or would even have such a bad
mind as to imagine, that any one, after being helped by her, would be
mean enough to run off with her property. And now she came to think of
it, there was something high and noble, she might almost say something
downright honest, in the face of that poor persecuted man. And in spite
of all his panting, how brave he must have been, what a runner, and how
clever, to escape from all those cowardly coast-riders shooting right
and left at him! Such a man steal that paltry skirt that her mother
made such a fuss about! She was much more likely to find it in her
clothes-press filled with golden guineas.

Before she was as certain as she wished to be of this (by reason of
shrewd nativity), and while she believed that the fugitive must have
seized such a chance and made good his escape toward North Sea or
Flamborough, a quick shadow glanced across the long shafts of the sun,
and a bodily form sped after it. To the middle of the Dike leaped a
young man, smiling, and forth from the gully which had saved his life.
To look at him, nobody ever could have guessed how fast he had fled, and
how close he had lain hid. For he stood there as clean and spruce and
careless as even a sailor can be wished to be. Limber yet stalwart,
agile though substantial, and as quick as a dart while as strong as a
pike, he seemed cut out by nature for a true blue-jacket; but condition
had made him a smuggler, or, to put it more gently, a free-trader.
Britannia, being then at war with all the world, and alone in the right
(as usual), had need of such lads, and produced them accordingly, and
sometimes one too many. But Mary did not understand these laws.

This made her look at him with great surprise, and almost doubt whether
he could be the man, until she saw her skirt neatly folded in his hand,
and then she said, "How do you do, Sir?"

The free-trader looked at her with equal surprise. He had been in such
a hurry, and his breath so short, and the chance of a fatal bullet after
him so sharp, that his mind had been astray from any sense of beauty,
and of every thing else except the safety of the body. But now he looked
at Mary, and his breath again went from him.

"You can run again now; I am sure of it," said she; "and if you would
like to do any thing to please me, run as fast as possible."

"What have I to run away from now?" he answered, in a deep sweet voice.
"I run from enemies, but not from friends."

"That is very wise. But your enemies are still almost within call of
you. They will come back worse than ever when they find you are not
there."

"I am not afraid, fair lady, for I understand their ways. I have led
them a good many dances before this; though it would have been my
last, without your help. They will go on, all the morning, in the wrong
direction, even while they know it. Carroway is the most stubborn of
men. He never turns back; and the further he goes, the better his bad
leg is. They will scatter about, among the fields and hedges, and call
one another like partridges. And when they can not take another step,
they will come back to Anerley for breakfast."

"I dare say they will; and we shall be glad to see them. My father is a
soldier, and his duty is to nourish and comfort the forces of the king."

"Then you are young Mistress Anerley? I was sure of it before. There are
no two such. And you have saved my life. It is something to owe it so
fairly."

The young sailor wanted to kiss Mary's hand; but not being used to any
gallantry, she held out her hand in the simplest manner to take back
her riding skirt; and he, though longing in his heart to keep it, for a
token or pretext for another meeting, found no excuse for doing so. And
yet he was not without some resource.

For the maiden was giving him a farewell smile, being quite content with
the good she had done, and the luck of recovering her property; and that
sense of right which in those days formed a part of every good young
woman said to her plainly that she must be off. And she felt how unkind
it was to keep him any longer in a place where the muzzle of a gun, with
a man behind it, might appear at any moment. But he, having plentiful
breath again, was at home with himself to spend it.

"Fair young lady," he began, for he saw that Mary liked to be called
a lady, because it was a novelty, "owing more than I ever can pay you
already, may I ask a little more? Then it is that, on your way down to
the sea, you would just pick up (if you should chance to see it) the
fellow ring to this, and perhaps you will look at this to know it by.
The one that was shot away flew against a stone just on the left of the
mouth of the Dike, but I durst not stop to look for it, and I must not
go back that way now. It is more to me than a hatful of gold, though
nobody else would give a crown for it."

"And they really shot away one of your ear-rings? Careless, cruel,
wasteful men! What could they have been thinking of?"

"They were thinking of getting what is called 'blood-money.' One hundred
pounds for Robin Lyth. Dead or alive--one hundred pounds."

"It makes me shiver, with the sun upon me. Of course they must offer
money for--for people. For people who have killed other people, and bad
things--but to offer a hundred pounds for a free-trader, and fire
great guns at him to get it--I never should have thought it of Captain
Carroway."

"Carroway only does his duty. I like him none the worse for it. Carroway
is a fool, of course. His life has been in my hands fifty times; but I
will never take it. He must be killed sooner or later, because he rushes
into every thing. But never will it be my doing."

"Then are you the celebrated Robin Lyth--the new Robin Hood, as they
call him? The man who can do almost any thing?"

"Mistress Anerley, I am Robin Lyth; but, as you have seen, I can not do
much. I can not even search for my own earring."

"I will search for it till I find it. They have shot at you too much.
Cowardly, cowardly people! Captain Lyth, where shall I put it, if I find
it?"

"If you could hide it for a week, and then--then tell me where to find
it, in the afternoon, toward four o'clock, in the lane toward Bempton
Cliffs. We are off tonight upon important business. We have been too
careless lately, from laughing at poor Carroway."

"You are very careless now. You quite frighten me almost. The
coast-riders might come back at any moment. And what could you do then?"

"Run away gallantly, as I did before; with this little difference, that
I should be fresh, while they are as stiff as nut-cracks. They have
missed the best chance they ever had at me; it will make their temper
very bad. If they shot at me again, they could do no good. Crooked mood
makes crooked mode."

"You forget that I should not see such things. You may like very much to
be shot at; but--but you should think of other people."

"I shall think of you only--I mean of your great kindness, and your
promise to keep my ring for me. Of course you will tell nobody, Carroway
will have me like a tiger if you do. Farewell, young lady--for one week
farewell."

With a wave of his hat he was gone, before Mary had time to retract her
promise; and she thought of her mother, as she rode on slowly to look
for the smuggler's trinket.



CHAPTER VIII

CAPTAIN CARROWAY


Fame, that light-of-love trusted by so many, and never a wife till a
widow--fame, the fair daughter of fuss and caprice, may yet take the
phantom of bold Robin Lyth by the right hand, and lead it to a pedestal
almost as lofty as Robin Hood's, or she may let it vanish like a bat
across Lethe--a thing not bad enough for eminence.

However, at the date and in the part of the world now dealt with, this
great free-trader enjoyed the warm though possibly brief embrace of
fame, having no rival, and being highly respected by all who were
unwarped by a sense of duty. And blessed as he was with a lively nature,
he proceeded happily upon his path in life, notwithstanding a certain
ticklish sense of being shot at undesirably. This had befallen him
now so often, without producing any tangible effect, that a great many
people, and especially the shooters (convinced of the accuracy of their
aim), went far to believe that he possessed some charm against wholesome
bullet and gunpowder. And lately even a crooked sixpence dipped in holy
water (which was still to be had in Yorkshire) confirmed and doubled
the faith of all good people, by being declared upon oath to have passed
clean through him, as was proved by its being picked up quite clean.

This strong belief was of great use to him; for, like many other
beliefs, it went a very long way to prove itself. Steady left hands now
grew shaky in the level of the carbine, and firm forefingers trembled
slightly upon draught of trigger, and the chief result of a large
discharge was a wale upon the marksman's shoulder. Robin, though so
clever and well practiced in the world, was scarcely old enough yet to
have learned the advantage of misapprehension, which, if well handled by
any man, helps him, in the cunning of paltry things, better than a truer
estimate. But without going into that, he was pleased with the fancy of
being invulnerable, which not only doubled his courage, but trebled
the discipline of his followers, and secured him the respect of all
tradesmen. However, the worst of all things is that just when they are
establishing themselves, and earning true faith by continuance, out of
pure opposition the direct contrary arises, and begins to prove itself.
And to Captain Lyth this had just happened in the shot which carried off
his left ear-ring.

Not that his body, or any fleshly member, could be said directly to have
parted with its charm, but that a warning and a diffidence arose from so
near a visitation. All genuine sailors are blessed with strong faith, as
they must be, by nature's compensation. Their bodies continually going
up and down upon perpetual fluxion, they never could live if their minds
did the same, like the minds of stationary landsmen. Therefore their
minds are of stanch immobility, to restore the due share of firm
element. And not only that, but these men have compressed (through
generations of circumstance), from small complications, simplicity.
Being out in all weathers, and rolling about so, how can they stand
upon trifles? Solid stays, and stanchions, and strong bulwarks are their
need, and not a dance of gnats in gossamer; hating all fogs, they blow
not up with their own breath misty mysteries, and gazing mainly at
the sky and sea, believe purely in God and the devil. In a word, these
sailors have religion.

Some of their religion is not well pronounced, but declares itself
in overstrong expressions. However, it is in them, and at any moment
waiting opportunity of action--a shipwreck or a grape-shot; and the
chaplain has good hopes of them when the doctor has given them over.

Now one of their principal canons of faith, and the one best observed
in practice, is (or at any rate used to be) that a man is bound to wear
ear-rings. For these, as sure tradition shows, and no pious mariner
would dare to doubt, act as a whetstone in all weathers to the keen
edge of the eyes. Semble--as the lawyers say--that this idea was born of
great phonetic facts in the days when a seaman knew his duty better
than the way to spell it; and when, if his outlook were sharpened by
a friendly wring from the captain of the watch, he never dreamed of a
police court.

But Robin Lyth had never cared to ask why he wore ear-rings. His nature
was not meditative. Enough for him that all the other men of Flamborough
did so; and enough for them that their fathers had done it. Whether his
own father had done so, was more than he could say, because he knew of
no such parent; and of that other necessity, a mother, he was equally
ignorant. His first appearance at Flamborough, though it made little
stir at the moment in a place of so many adventures, might still be
considered unusual, and in some little degree remarkable. So that
Mistress Anerley was not wrong when she pressed upon Lieutenant Carroway
how unwise it might be to shoot him, any more than Carroway himself was
wrong in turning in at Anerley gate for breakfast.

This he had not done without good cause of honest and loyal necessity.
Free-trading Robin had predicted well the course of his pursuers.
Rushing eagerly up the Dike, and over its brim, with their muskets, that
gallant force of revenue men steadily scoured the neighborhood; and the
further they went, the worse they fared. There was not a horse standing
down by a pool, with his stiff legs shut up into biped form, nor a cow
staring blandly across an old rail, nor a sheep with a pectoral cough
behind a hedge, nor a rabbit making rustle at the eyebrow of his hole,
nor even a moot, that might either be a man or hold a man inside it,
whom or which those active fellows did not circumvent and poke into.
In none of these, however, could they find the smallest breach of the
strictest laws of the revenue; until at last, having exhausted their
bodies by great zeal both of themselves and of mind, they braced them
again to the duty of going, as promptly as possible, to breakfast.

For a purpose of that kind few better places, perhaps, could be found
than this Anerley Farm, though not at the best of itself just now,
because of the denials of the season. It is a sad truth about the
heyday of the year, such as August is in Yorkshire--where they have no
spring--that just when a man would like his victuals to rise to the mark
of the period, to be simple yet varied, exhilarating yet substantial,
the heat of the summer day defrauds its increased length for feeding.
For instance, to cite a very trifling point--at least in some
opinions--August has banished that bright content and most devout
resignation which ensue the removal of a petted pig from this troublous
world of grunt. The fat pig rolls in wallowing rapture, defying his
friends to make pork of him yet, and hugs with complacence unpickleable
hams. The partridge among the pillared wheat, tenderly footing the way
for his chicks, and teaching little balls of down to hop, knows how
sacred are their lives to others as well as to himself; and the less
paternal cock-pheasant scratches the ridge of green-shouldered potatoes,
without fear of keeping them company at table.

But though the bright glory of the griddle remains in suspense for the
hoary mornings, and hooks that carried woodcocks once, and hope to do
so yet again, are primed with dust instead of lard, and the frying-pan
hangs on the cellar nail with a holiday gloss of raw mutton suet, yet
is there still some comfort left, yet dappled brawn, and bacon streaked,
yet golden-hearted eggs, and mushrooms quilted with pink satin, spiced
beef carded with pellucid fat, buckstone cake, and brown bread scented
with the ash of gorse bloom--of these, and more that pave the way into
the good-will of mankind, what lack have fine farm-houses?

And then, again, for the liquid duct, the softer and more sensitive,
the one that is never out of season, but perennially clear--here we have
advantage of the gentle time that mellows thirst. The long ride of the
summer sun makes men who are in feeling with him, and like him go up and
down, not forego the moral of his labor, which is work and rest. Work
all day, and light the rounded land with fruit and nurture, and rest at
evening, looking through bright fluid, as the sun goes down.

But times there are when sun and man, by stress of work, or clouds, or
light, or it may be some Process of the Equinox, make draughts upon the
untilted day, and solace themselves in the morning. For lack of dew the
sun draws lengthy sucks of cloud quite early, and men who have labored
far and dry, and scattered the rime of the night with dust, find
themselves ready about 8 A.M. for the golden encouragement of gentle
ale.

The farm-house had an old porch of stone, with a bench of stone on
either side, and pointed windows trying to look out under brows of
ivy; and this porch led into the long low hall, where the breakfast was
beginning. To say what was on the table would be only waste of time,
because it has all been eaten so long ago; but the farmer was vexed
because there were no shrimps. Not that he cared half the clip of a
whisker for all the shrimps that ever bearded the sea, only that he
liked to seem to love them, to keep Mary at work for him. The flower
of his flock, and of all the flocks of the world of the universe to his
mind, was his darling daughter Mary: the strength of his love was upon
her, and he liked to eat any thing of her cooking.

His body was too firm to fidget; but his mind was out of its usual
comfort, because the pride of his heart, his Mary, seemed to be hiding
something from him. And with the justice to be expected from far clearer
minds than his, being vexed by one, he was ripe for the relief of
snapping at fifty others. Mary, who could read him, as a sailor reads
his compass, by the corner of one eye, awaited with good content the
usual result--an outbreak of words upon the indolent Willie, whenever
that young farmer should come down to breakfast, then a comforting
glance from the mother at her William, followed by a plate kept hot for
him, and then a fine shake of the master's shoulders, and a stamp of
departure for business. But instead of that, what came to pass was this.

In the first place, a mighty bark of dogs arose; as needs must be, when
a man does his duty toward the nobler animals; for sure it is that the
dogs will not fail of their part. Then an inferior noise of men, crying,
"Good dog! good dog!" and other fulsome flatteries, in the hope of
avoiding any tooth-mark on their legs; and after that a shaking down
and settlement of sounds, as if feet were brought into good order, and
stopped. Then a tall man, with a body full of corners, and a face of
grim temper, stood in the doorway.

"Well, well, captain, now!" cried Stephen Anerley, getting up after
waiting to be spoken to, "the breath of us all is hard to get, with
doing of our duty, Sir. Come ye in, and sit doon to table, and his
Majesty's forces along o' ye."

"Cadman, Ellis, and Dick, be damned!" the lieutenant shouted out to
them; "you shall have all the victuals you want, by-and-by. Cross legs,
and get your winds up. Captain of the coast-defense, I am under your
orders, in your own house." Carroway was starving, as only a man with
long and active jaws can starve; and now the appearance of the farmer's
mouth, half full of a kindly relish, made the emptiness of his own more
bitter. But happen what might, he resolved, as usual, to enforce strict
discipline, to feed himself first, and his men in proper order.

"Walk in gentlemen, all walk in," Master Anerley shouted, as if all men
were alike, and coming to the door with a hospitable stride; "glad to
see all of ye, upon my soul I am. Ye've hit upon the right time for
coming, too; though there might 'a been more upon the table. Mary, run,
that's a dear, and fetch your grandfather's big Sabbath carver. Them
peaky little clams a'most puts out all my shoulder-blades, and wunna
bite through a twine of gristle. Plates for all the gentlemen, Winnie
lass! Bill, go and drah the black jarge full o' yell."

The farmer knew well enough that Willie was not down yet; but this was
his manner of letting people see that he did not approve of such hours.

"My poor lad Willie," said the mistress of the house, returning with a
courtesy the brave lieutenant's scrape, "I fear he hath the rheum again,
overheating of himself after sungate."

"Ay, ay, I forgot. He hath to heat himself in bed again, with the sun
upon his coverlid. Mary lof, how many hours was ye up?"

"Your daughter, Sir," answered the lieutenant, with a glance at the
maiden over the opal gleam of froth, which she had headed up for
him--"your daughter has been down the Dike before the sun was, and doing
of her duty by the king and by his revenue. Mistress Anerley, your good
health! Master Anerley, the like to you, and your daughter, and all of
your good household." Before they had finished their thanks for this
honor, the quart pot was set down empty. "A very pretty brew, Sir--a
pretty brew indeed! Fall back, men! Have heed of discipline. A chalked
line is what they want, Sir. Mistress Anerley, your good health again.
The air is now thirsty in the mornings. If those fellows could be given
a bench against the wall--a bench against the wall is what they feel for
with their legs. It comes so natural to their--yes, yes, their legs, and
the crook of their heels, ma'am, from what they were brought up to sit
upon. And if you have any beer brewed for washing days, ma'am, that is
what they like, and the right thing for their bellies. Cadman, Ellis,
and Dick Hackerbody, sit down and be thankful."

"But surely, Captain Carroway, you would never be happy to sit down
without them. Look at their small-clothes, the dust and the dirt! And
their mouths show what you might make of them."

"Yes, madam, yes; the very worst of them is that. They are always
looking out, here, there, and every where, for victuals everlasting. Let
them wait their proper time, and then they do it properly."

"Their proper time is now, Sir. Winnie, fill their horns up. Mary, wait
you upon the officer. Captain Carroway, I will not have any body starve
in my house."

"Madam, you are the lawgiver in your own house. Men of the coast-guard,
fall to upon your victuals."

The lieutenant frowned horribly at his men, as much as to say, "Take no
advantage, but show your best manners;" and they touched their forelocks
with a pleasant grin, and began to feed rapidly; and verily their wives
would have said that it was high time for them. Feeding, as a duty,
was the order of the day, and discipline had no rank left. Good things
appeared and disappeared, with the speedy doom of all excellence. Mary,
and Winnie the maid, flitted in and out like carrier-pigeons.

"Now when the situation comes to this," said the farmer at last, being
heartily pleased with the style of their feeding and laughing, "his
Majesty hath made an officer of me, though void of his own writing.
Mounted Fencibles, Filey Briggers, called in the foreign parts
'Brigadiers.' Not that I stand upon sermonry about it, except in the
matter of his Majesty's health, as never is due without ardent spirits.
But my wife hath a right to her own way, and never yet I knowed her go
away from it."

"Not so, by any means," the mistress said, and said it so quietly that
some believed her; "I never was so much for that. Captain, you are a
married man. But reason is reason, in the middle of us all, and what
else should I say to my husband? Mary lass, Mary lof, wherever is your
duty? The captain hath the best pot empty!"

With a bright blush Mary sprang up to do her duty. In those days no girl
was ashamed to blush; and the bloodless cheek savored of small-pox.

"Hold up your head, my lof," her father said aloud, with a smile of
tidy pride, and a pat upon her back; "no call to look at all ashamed,
my dear. To my mind, captain, though I may be wrong, however, but to my
mind, this little maid may stan' upright in the presence of downright
any one."

"There lies the very thing that never should be said. Captain, you have
seven children, or it may be eight of them justly. And the pride of
life--Mary, you be off!"

Mary was glad to run away, for she liked not to be among so many men.
But her father would not have her triumphed over.

"Speak for yourself, good wife," he said. "I know what you have got
behind, as well as rooks know plough-tail. Captain, you never heard me
say that the lass were any booty, but the very same as God hath made
her, and thankful for straight legs and eyes. Howsoever, there might be
worse-favored maidens, without running out of the Riding."

"You may ride all the way to the city of London," the captain exclaimed,
with a clinch of his fist, "or even to Portsmouth, where my wife came
from, and never find a maid fit to hold a candle for Mary to curl her
hair by."

The farmer was so pleased that he whispered something; but Carroway put
his hand before his mouth, and said, "Never, no, never in the morning!"
But in spite of that, Master Anerley felt in his pocket for a key, and
departed.

"Wicked, wicked, is the word I use," protested Mrs. Anerley, "for all
this fribble about rooks and looks, and holding of candles, and curling
of hair. When I was Mary's age--oh dear! It may not be so for your
daughters, captain; but evil for mine was the day that invented those
proud swinging-glasses."

"That you may pronounce, ma'am, and I will say Amen. Why, my eldest
daughter, in her tenth year now--"

"Come, Captain Carroway," broke in the farmer, returning softly with a
square old bottle, "how goes the fighting with the Crappos now? Put your
legs up, and light your pipe, and tell us all the news."

"Cadman, and Ellis, and Dick Hackerbody," the lieutenant of the
coast-guard shouted, "you have fed well. Be off, men; no more neglect of
duty! Place an outpost at fork of the Sewerby road, and strictly observe
the enemy, while I hold a council of war with my brother officer,
Captain Anerley. Half a crown for you, if you catch the rogue, half
a crown each, and promotion of twopence. Attention, eyes right, make
yourselves scarce! Well, now the rogues are gone, let us make ourselves
at home. Anerley, your question is a dry one. A dry one; but this is
uncommonly fine stuff! How the devil has it slipped through our fingers?
Never mind that, inter amicos--Sir, I was at school at Shrewsbury--but
as to the war, Sir, the service is going to the devil, for the want of
pure principle."

The farmer nodded; and his looks declared that to some extent he felt
it. He had got the worst side of some bargains that week; but his wife
had another way of thinking.

"Why, Captain Carroway, whatever could be purer? When you were at sea,
had you ever a man of the downright principles of Nelson?"

"Nelson has done very well in his way; but he is a man who has risen too
fast, as other men rise too slowly. Nothing in him; no substance,
madam; I knew him as a youngster, and I could have tossed him on a
marling-spike. And instead of feeding well, Sir, he quite wore himself
away. To my firm knowledge, he would scarcely turn the scale upon a good
Frenchman of half of the peas. Every man should work his own way up,
unless his father did it for him. In my time we had fifty men as good,
and made no fuss about them."

"And you not the last of them, captain, I dare say. Though I do love to
hear of the Lord's Lord Nelson, as the people call him. If ever a man
fought his own way up--"

"Madam, I know him, and respect him well. He would walk up to the devil,
with a sword between his teeth, and a boarder's pistol in each hand.
Madam, I leaped, in that condition, a depth of six fathoms and a half
into the starboard mizzen-chains of the French line-of-battle ship Peace
and Thunder."

"Oh, Captain Carroway, how dreadful! What had you to lay hold with?"

"At such times a man must not lay hold. My business was to lay about;
and I did it to some purpose. This little slash, across my eyes struck
fire, and it does the same now by moonlight."

One of the last men in the world to brag was Lieutenant Carroway.
Nothing but the great thirst of this morning, and strong necessity
of quenching it, could ever have led him to speak about himself, and
remember his own little exploits. But the farmer was pleased, and said,
"Tell us some more, Sir."

"Mistress Anerley," the captain answered, shutting up the scar, which he
was able to expand by means of a muscle of excitement, "you know that
a man should drop these subjects when he has got a large family. I have
been in the Army and the Navy, madam, and now I am in the Revenue; but
my duty is first to my own house."

"Do take care, Sir; I beg you to be careful. Those free-traders now are
come to such a pitch that any day or night they may shoot you."

"Not they, madam. No, they are not murderers. In a hand-to-hand conflict
they might do it, as I might do the same to them. This very morning my
men shot at the captain of all smugglers, Robin Lyth, of Flamborough,
with a hundred guineas upon his head. It was no wish of mine; but my
breath was short to stop them, and a man with a family like mine can
never despise a hundred guineas."

"Why, Sophy," said the farmer, thinking slowly, with a frown, "that
must have been the noise come in at window, when I were getting up
this morning. I said, 'Why, there's some poacher fellow popping at the
conies!' and out I went straight to the warren to see. Three gun-shots,
or might 'a been four. How many men was you shooting at?"

"The force under my command was in pursuit of one notorious
criminal--that well-known villain, Robin Lyth."

"Captain, your duty is to do your duty. But without your own word for
it, I never would believe that you brought four gun muzzles down upon
one man."

"The force under my command carried three guns only. It was not in their
power to shoot off four."

"Captain, I never would have done it in your place. I call it no better
than unmanly. Now go you not for to stir yourself amiss. To look thunder
at me is what I laugh at. But many things are done in a hurry, Captain
Carroway, and I take it that this was one of them."

"As to that, no! I will not have it. All was in thorough good order.
I was never so much as a cable's length behind, though the devil, some
years ago, split my heel up, like his own, Sir."

"Captain, I see it, and I ask your pardon. Your men were out of reach of
hollering. At our time of life the wind dies quick, from want of blowing
oftener."

"Stuff!" cried the captain. "Who was the freshest that came to your
hospitable door, Sir? I will foot it with any man for six leagues, but
not for half a mile, ma'am. I depart from nothing. I said, 'Fire!' and
fire they did, and they shall again. What do Volunteers know of the
service?"

"Stephen, you shall not say a single other word;" Mistress Anerley
stopped her husband thus; "these matters are out of your line
altogether; because you have never taken any body's blood. The captain
here is used to it, like all the sons of Belial, brought up in the early
portions of the Holy Writ."

Lieutenant Carroway's acquaintance with the Bible was not more extensive
than that of other officers, and comprised little more than the story
of Joseph, and that of David and Goliath; so he bowed to his hostess for
her comparison, while his gaunt and bristly countenance gave way to
a pleasant smile. For this officer of the British Crown had a face of
strong features, and upon it whatever he thought was told as plainly as
the time of day is told by the clock in the kitchen. At the same time,
Master Anerley was thinking that he might have said more than a host
should say concerning a matter which, after all, was no particular
concern of his; whereas it was his special place to be kind to any
visitor. All this he considered with a sound grave mind, and then
stretched forth his right hand to the officer.

Carroway, being a generous man, would not be outdone in apologies. So
these two strengthened their mutual esteem, without any fighting--which
generally is the quickest way of renewing respect--and Mistress Anerley,
having been a little frightened, took credit to herself for the good
words she had used. Then the farmer, who never drank cordials, although
he liked to see other people do it, set forth to see a man who was come
about a rick, and sundry other business. But Carroway, in spite of all
his boasts, was stiff, though he bravely denied that he could be; and
when the good housewife insisted on his stopping to listen to something
that was much upon her mind, and of great importance to the revenue, he
could not help owning that duty compelled him to smoke another pipe, and
hearken.



CHAPTER IX

ROBIN COCKSCROFT


Nothing ever was allowed to stop Mrs. Anerley from seeing to the
bedrooms. She kept them airing for about three hours at this time of the
sun-stitch--as she called all the doings of the sun upon the sky--and
then there was pushing, and probing, and tossing, and pulling, and
thumping, and kneading of knuckles, till the rib of every feather was
aching; and then (like dough before the fire) every well-belabored tick
was left to yeast itself a while. Winnie, the maid, was as strong as a
post, and wore them all out in bed-making. Carroway heard the beginning
of this noise, but none of it meddled at all with his comfort; he lay
back nicely in a happy fit of chair, stretched his legs well upon a
bench, and nodded, keeping slow time with the breathings of his pipe,
and drawing a vapory dream of ease. He had fared many stony miles afoot
that morning; and feet, legs, and body were now less young than they
used to be once upon a time. Looking up sleepily, the captain had idea
of a pretty young face hanging over him, and a soft voice saying, "It
was me who did it all," which was very good grammar in those days; "will
you forgive me? But I could not help it, and you must have been sorry to
shoot him."

"Shoot every body who attempts to land," the weary man ordered,
drowsily. "Mattie, once more, you are not to dust my pistols."

"I could not be happy without telling you the truth," the soft voice
continued, "because I told you such a dreadful story. And now--Oh! here
comes mother!"

"What has come over you this morning, child? You do the most
extraordinary things, and now you can not let the captain rest. Go round
and look for eggs this very moment. You will want to be playing fine
music next. Now, captain, I am at your service, if you please, unless
you feel too sleepy."

"Mistress Anerley, I never felt more wide-awake in all my life. We of
the service must snatch a wink whenever we can, but with one eye open;
and it is not often that we see such charming sights."

The farmer's wife having set the beds to "plump," had stolen a look at
the glass, and put on her second-best Sunday cap, in honor of a real
officer; and she looked very nice indeed, especially when she received a
compliment. But she had seen too much of life to be disturbed thereby.

"Ah, Captain Carroway, what ways you have of getting on with simple
people, while you are laughing all the time at them! It comes of the
foreign war experience, going on so long that in the end we shall all
be foreigners. But one place there is that you never can conquer, nor
Boneypart himself, to my belief."

"Ah, you mean Flamborough--Flamborough, yes! It is a nest of
cockatrices."

"Captain, it is nothing of the sort. It is the most honest place in all
the world. A man may throw a guinea on the crossroads in the night, and
have it back from Dr. Upandown any time within seven years. You ought to
know by this time what they are, hard as it is to get among them."

"I only know that they can shut their mouths; and the devil himself--I
beg your pardon, madam--Old Nick himself never could unscrew them."

"You are right, Sir. I know their manner well. They are open as the sky
with one another, but close as the grave to all the world outside them,
and most of all to people of authority like you."

"Mistress Anerley, you have just hit it. Not a word can I get out of
them. The name of the king--God bless him!--seems to have no weight
among them."

"And you can not get at them, Sir, by any dint of money, or even by
living in the midst of them. The only way to do it is by kin of blood,
or marriage. And that is how I come to know more about them than almost
any body else outside. My master can scarcely win a word of them even,
kind as he is, and well-spoken; and neither might I, though my tongue
was tenfold, if it were not for Joan Cockscroft. But being Joan's
cousin, I am like one of themselves."

"Cockscroft! Cockscroft? I have heard that name. Do they keep the
public-house there?"

The lieutenant was now on the scent of duty, and assumed his most
knowing air, the sole effect of which was to put every body upon guard
against him. For this was a man of no subtlety, but straightforward,
downright, and ready to believe; and his cleverest device was to seem to
disbelieve.

"The Cockscrofts keep no public-house," Mrs. Anerley answered, with a
little flush of pride. "Why, she was half-niece to my own grandmother,
and never was beer in the family. Not that it would have been wrong, if
it was. Captain, you are thinking of Widow Precious, licensed to the Cod
with the hook in his gills. I should have thought, Sir, that you might
have known a little more of your neighbors having fallen below the path
of life by reason of bad bank-tokens. Banking came up in her parts like
dog-madness, as it might have done here, if our farmers were the fools
to handle their cash with gloves on. And Joan became robbed by the fault
of her trustees, the very best bakers in Scarborough, though Robin never
married her for it, thank God! Still it was very sad, and scarcely bears
describing of, and pulled them in the crook of this world's swing to
a lower pitch than if they had robbed the folk that robbed and ruined
them. And Robin so was driven to the fish again, which he always had
hankered after. It must have been before you heard of this coast,
captain, and before the long war was so hard on us, that every body
about these parts was to double his bags by banking, and no man was
right to pocket his own guineas, for fear of his own wife feeling them.
And bitterly such were paid out for their cowardice and swindling of
their own bosoms."

"I have heard of it often, and it served them right. Master Anerley knew
where his money was safe, ma'am!"

"Neither Captain Robin Cockscroft nor his wife was in any way to blame,"
answered Mrs. Anerley. "I have framed my mind to tell you about them;
and I will do it truly, if I am not interrupted. Two hammers never yet
drove a nail straight, and I make a rule of silence when my betters wish
to talk."

"Madam, you remind me of my own wife. She asks me a question, and she
will not let me answer."

"That is the only way I know of getting on. Mistress Carroway must
understand you, captain. I was at the point of telling you how my
cousin Joan was married, before her money went, and when she was really
good-looking. I was quite a child, and ran along the shore to see it.
It must have been in the high summer-time, with the weather fit for
bathing, and the sea as smooth as a duck-pond. And Captain Robin, being
well-to-do, and established with every thing except a wife, and pleased
with the pretty smile and quiet ways of Joan--for he never had heard of
her money, mind--put his oar into the sea and rowed from Flamborough all
the way to Filey Brigg, with thirty-five fishermen after him; for the
Flamborough people make a point of seeing one another through their
troubles. And Robin was known for the handsomest man and the uttermost
fisher of the landing, with three boats of his own, and good birth, and
long sea-lines. And there at once they found my cousin Joan, with her
trustees, come overland, four wagons and a cart in all of them; and
after they were married, they burned sea-weed, having no fear in those
days of invasions. And a merry day they made of it, and rowed back by
the moonshine. For every one liked and respected Captain Cockscroft on
account of his skill with the deep-sea lines, and the openness of his
hands when full--a wonderful quiet and harmless man, as the manner is of
all great fishermen. They had bacon for breakfast whenever they liked,
and a guinea to lend to any body in distress.

"Then suddenly one morning, when his hair was growing gray and his eyes
getting weary of the night work, so that he said his young Robin must
grow big enough to learn all the secrets of the fishes, while his father
took a spell in the blankets, suddenly there came to them a shocking
piece of news. All his wife's bit of money, and his own as well, which
he had been putting by from year to year, was lost in a new-fangled
Bank, supposed as faithful as the Bible. Joan was very nearly crazed
about it; but Captain Cockscroft never heaved a sigh, though they say
it was nearly seven hundred guineas. 'There are fish enough still in the
sea,' he said; 'and the Lord has spared our children. I will build a new
boat, and not think of feather-beds.'

"Captain Carroway, he did so, and every body knows what befell him. The
new boat, built with his own hands, was called the Mercy Robin, for his
only son and daughter, little Mercy and poor Robin. The boat is there
as bright as ever, scarlet within and white outside; but the name is
painted off, because the little dears are in their graves. Two nicer
children were never seen, clever, and sprightly, and good to learn; they
never even took a common bird's nest, I have heard, but loved all the
little things the Lord has made, as if with a foreknowledge of going
early home to Him. Their father came back very tired one morning, and
went up the hill to his breakfast, and the children got into the boat
and pushed off, in imitation of their daddy. It came on to blow, as it
does down there, without a single whiff of warning; and when Robin awoke
for his middle-day meal, the bodies of his little ones were lying on the
table. And from that very day Captain Cockscroft and his wife began to
grow old very quickly. The boat was recovered without much damage; and
in it he sits by the hour on dry land, whenever there is no one on the
cliffs to see him, with his hands upon his lap, and his eyes upon the
place where his dear little children used to sit. Because he has always
taken whatever fell upon him gently; and of course that makes it ever so
much worse when he dwells upon the things that come inside of him."

"Madam, you make me feel quite sorry for him," the lieutenant exclaimed,
as she began to cry, "If even one of my little ones was drowned, I
declare to you, I can not tell what I should be like. And to lose them
all at once, and as his own wife perhaps would say, because he was
thinking of his breakfast! And when he had been robbed, and the world
all gone against him! Madam, it is a long time, thank God, since I heard
so sad a tale."

"Now you would not, captain, I am sure you would not," said Mistress
Anerley, getting up a smile, yet freshening his perception of a tear as
well--"you would never have the heart to destroy that poor old couple by
striking the last prop from under them. By the will of the Lord they are
broken down enough. They are quietly hobbling to their graves, and would
you be the man to come and knock them on their heads at once?"

"Mistress Anerley, have you ever heard that I am a brute and inhuman?
Madam, I have no less than seven children, and I hope to have fourteen."

"I hope with all my heart you may. And you will deserve them all, for
promising so very kindly not to shoot poor Robin Lyth."

"Robin Lyth! I never spoke of him, madam. He is outlawed, condemned,
with a fine reward upon him. We shot at him to-day; we shall shoot at
him again; and before very long we must hit him. Ma'am, it is my duty
to the king, the Constitution, the service I belong to, and the babes I
have begotten."

"Blood-money poisons all innocent mouths, Sir, and breaks out for
generations. And for it you will have to take three lives--Robin's, the
captain's, and my dear old cousin Joan's."

"Mistress Anerley, you deprive me of all satisfaction. It is just my
luck, when my duty was so plain, and would pay so well for doing of."

"Listen now, captain. It is my opinion, and I am generally borne out by
the end, that instead of a hundred pounds for killing Robin Lyth, you
may get a thousand for preserving him alive. Do you know how he came
upon this coast, and how he has won his extraordinary name?"

"I have certainly heard rumors; scarcely any two alike. But I took no
heed of them. My duty was to catch him; and it mattered not a straw to
me who or what he was. But now I must really beg to know all about him,
and what makes you think such things of him. Why should that excellent
old couple hang upon him? and what can make him worth such a quantity
of money? Honestly, of course, I mean; honestly worth it, ma'am, without
any cheating of his Majesty."

"Captain Carroway," his hostess said, not without a little blush, as she
thought of the king and his revenue, "cheating of his Majesty is a thing
we leave for others. But if you wish to hear the story of that young
man, so far as known, which is not so even in Flamborough, you must
please to come on Sunday, Sir; for Sunday is the only day that I can
spare for clacking, as the common people say. I must be off now; I have
fifty things to see to. And on Sunday my master has his best things on,
and loves no better than to sit with his legs up, and a long clay pipe
lying on him down below his waist (or, to speak more correctly, where
it used to be, as he might, indeed, almost say the very same to me), and
then not to speak a word, but hear other folk tell stories, that might
not have made such a dinner as himself. And as for dinner, Sir, if
you will do the honor to dine with them that are no more than in the
Volunteers, a saddle of good mutton fit for the Body-Guards to ride
upon, the men with the skins around them all turned up, will be ready
just at one o'clock, if the parson lets us out."

"My dear madam, I shall scarcely care to look at any slice of victuals
until one o'clock on Sunday, by reason of looking forward."

After all, this was not such a gross exaggeration, Anerley Farm being
famous for its cheer; whereas the poor lieutenant, at the best of times,
had as much as he could do to make both ends meet; and his wife, though
a wonderful manager, could give him no better than coarse bread, and
almost coarser meat.

"And, Sir, if your good lady would oblige us also--"

"No, madam, no!" he cried, with vigorous decision, having found many
festive occasions spoiled by excess of loving vigilance; "we thank you
most truly; but I must say 'no.' She would jump at the chance; but a
husband must consider. You may have heard it mentioned that the Lord is
now considering about the production of an eighth little Carroway."

"Captain, I have not, or I should not so have spoken. But with all my
heart I wish you joy."

"I have pleasure, I assure you, in the prospect, Mistress Anerley. My
friends make wry faces, but I blow them away, 'Tush,' I say, 'tush, Sir;
at the rate we now are fighting, and exhausting all British material,
there can not be too many, Sir, of mettle such as mine!' What do you say
to that, madam?"

"Sir, I believe it is the Lord's own truth. And true it is also that our
country should do more to support the brave hearts that fight for it."

Mrs. Anerley sighed, for she thought of her younger son, by his own
perversity launched into the thankless peril of fighting England's
battles. His death at any time might come home, if any kind person
should take the trouble even to send news of it; or he might lie at the
bottom of the sea unknown, even while they were talking. But Carroway
buttoned up his coat and marched, after a pleasant and kind farewell. In
the course of hard service he had seen much grief, and suffered plenty
of bitterness, and he knew that it is not the part of a man to multiply
any of his troubles but children. He went about his work, and he thought
of all his comforts, which need not have taken very long to count,
but he added to their score by not counting them, and by the self-same
process diminished that of troubles. And thus, upon the whole, he
deserved his Sunday dinner, and the tale of his hostess after it, not
a word of which Mary was allowed to hear, for some subtle reason of her
mother's. But the farmer heard it all, and kept interrupting so, when
his noddings and the joggings of his pipe allowed, or, perhaps one
should say, compelled him, that merely for the courtesy of saving common
time it is better now to set it down without them. Moreover, there are
many things well worthy of production which she did not produce, for
reasons which are now no hinderance. And the foremost of those reasons
is that the lady did not know the things; the second that she could not
tell them clearly as a man might; and the third, and best of all, that
if she could, she would not do so. In which she certainly was quite
right; for it would have become her very badly, as the cousin of Joan
Cockscroft (half removed, and upon the mother's side), and therefore
kindly received at Flamborough, and admitted into the inner circle, and
allowed to buy fish at wholesale prices, if she had turned round upon
all these benefits, and described all the holes to be found in the
place, for the teaching of a revenue officer.

Still, it must be clearly understood that the nature of the people is
fishing. They never were known to encourage free-trading, but did their
very utmost to protect themselves; and if they had produced the very
noblest free-trader, born before the time of Mr. Cobden, neither the
credit nor the blame was theirs.



CHAPTER X

ROBIN LYTH


Half a league to the north of bold Flamborough Head the billows have
carved for themselves a little cove among cliffs which are rugged, but
not very high. This opening is something like the grain shoot of a mill,
or a screen for riddling gravel, so steep is the pitch of the ground,
and so narrow the shingly ledge at the bottom. And truly in bad weather
and at high tides there is no shingle ledge at all, but the crest of the
wave volleys up the incline, and the surf rushes on to the top of it.
For the cove, though sheltered from other quarters, receives the full
brunt of northeasterly gales, and offers no safe anchorage. But the
hardy fishermen make the most of its scant convenience, and gratefully
call it "North Landing," albeit both wind and tide must be in good
humor, or the only thing sure of any landing is the sea. The long
desolation of the sea rolls in with a sound of melancholy, the gray fog
droops its fold of drizzle in the leaden-tinted troughs, the pent cliffs
overhang the flapping of the sail, and a few yards of pebble and of weed
are all that a boat may come home upon harmlessly. Yet here in the old
time landed men who carved the shape of England; and here even in these
lesser days, are landed uncommonly fine cod.

The difficulties of the feat are these: to get ashore soundly, and then
to make it good; and after that to clinch the exploit by getting on
land, which is yet a harder step. Because the steep of the ground, like
a staircase void of stairs, stands facing you, and the cliff upon either
side juts up close, to forbid any flanking movement, and the scanty
scarp denies fair start for a rush at the power of the hill front. Yet
here must the heavy boats beach themselves, and wallow and yaw in the
shingly roar, while their cargo and crew get out of them, their gunwales
swinging from side to side, in the manner of a porpoise rolling, and
their stem and stern going up and down like a pair of lads at seesaw.

But after these heavy boats have endured all that, they have not found
their rest yet without a crowning effort. Up that gravelly and gliddery
ascent, which changes every groove and run at every sudden shower, but
never grows any the softer--up that the heavy boats must make clamber
somehow, or not a single timber of their precious frames is safe. A big
rope from the capstan at the summit is made fast as soon as the tails of
the jackasses (laden with three cwt. of fish apiece) have wagged their
last flick at the brow of the steep; and then with "yo-heave-ho" above
and below, through the cliffs echoing over the dull sea, the groaning
and grinding of the stubborn tug begins. Each boat has her own special
course to travel up, and her own special berth of safety, and she knows
every jag that will gore her on the road, and every flint from which she
will strike fire. By dint of sheer sturdiness of arms, legs, and lungs,
keeping true time with the pant and the shout, steadily goes it with
hoist and haul, and cheerily undulates the melody of call that rallies
them all with a strong will together, until the steep bluff and the
burden of the bulk by masculine labor are conquered, and a long row of
powerful pinnaces displayed, as a mounted battery, against the fishful
sea. With a view to this clambering ruggedness of life, all of these
boats receive from their cradle a certain limber rake and accommodating
curve, instead of a straight pertinacity of keel, so that they may ride
over all the scandals of this arduous world. And happen what may to
them, when they are at home, and gallantly balanced on the brow line of
the steep, they make a bright show upon the dreariness of coast-land,
hanging as they do above the gullet of the deep. Painted outside with
the brightest of scarlet, and inside with the purest white, at a little
way off they resemble gay butterflies, preening their wings for a flight
into the depth.

Here it must have been, and in the middle of all these, that the very
famous Robin Lyth--prophetically treating him, but free as yet of fame
or name, and simply unable to tell himself--shone in the doubt of the
early daylight (as a tidy-sized cod, if forgotten, might have shone)
upon the morning of St. Swithin, A.D. 1782.

The day and the date were remembered long by all the good people of
Flamborough, from the coming of the turn of a long bad luck and a bitter
time of starving. For the weather of the summer had been worse than
usual--which is no little thing to say--and the fish had expressed their
opinion of it by the eloquent silence of absence. Therefore, as the
whole place lives on fish, whether in the fishy or the fiscal form,
goodly apparel was becoming very rare, even upon high Sundays; and
stomachs that might have looked well beneath it, sank into unobtrusive
grief. But it is a long lane that has no turning; and turns are the
essence of one very vital part.

Suddenly over the village had flown the news of a noble arrival of
fish. From the cross-roads, and the public-house, and the licensed
head-quarters of pepper and snuff, and the loop-hole where a sheep had
been known to hang, in times of better trade, but never could dream of
hanging now; also from the window of the man who had had a hundred
heads (superior to his own) shaken at him because he set up for making
breeches in opposition to the women, and showed a few patterns of what
he could do if any man of legs would trade with him--from all these
head-centres of intelligence, and others not so prominent but equally
potent, into the very smallest hole it went (like the thrill in a
troublesome tooth) that here was a chance come of feeding, a chance
at last of feeding. For the man on the cliff, the despairing watchman,
weary of fastening his eyes upon the sea, through constant fog and
drizzle, at length had discovered the well-known flicker, the glassy
flaw, and the hovering of gulls, and had run along Weighing Lane so
fast, to tell his good news in the village, that down he fell and
broke his leg, exactly opposite the tailor's shop. And this was on St.
Swithin's Eve.

There was nothing to be done that night, of course, for mackerel must be
delicately worked; but long before the sun arose, all Flamborough, able
to put leg in front of leg, and some who could not yet do that, gathered
together where the land-hold was, above the incline for the launching
of the boats. Here was a medley, not of fisher-folk alone, and all their
bodily belongings, but also of the thousand things that have no soul,
and get kicked about and sworn at much because they can not answer.
Rollers, buoys, nets, kegs, swabs, fenders, blocks, buckets, kedges,
corks, buckie-pots, oars, poppies, tillers, sprits, gaffs, and every
kind of gear (more than Theocritus himself could tell) lay about,
and rolled about, and upset their own masters, here and there and
everywhere, upon this half acre of slip and stumble, at the top of the
boat channel down to the sea, and in the faint rivalry of three vague
lights, all making darkness visible.

For very ancient lanterns, with a gentle horny glimmer, and loop-holes
of large exaggeration at the top, were casting upon anything quite
within their reach a general idea of the crinkled tin that framed them,
and a shuffle of inconstant shadows, but refused to shed any light on
friend or stranger, or clear up suspicions, more than three yards off.
In rivalry with these appeared the pale disk of the moon, just setting
over the western highlands, and "drawing straws" through summer haze;
while away in the northeast over the sea, a slender irregular wisp of
gray, so weak that it seemed as if it were being blown away, betokened
the intention of the sun to restore clear ideas of number and of figure
by-and-by. But little did anybody heed such things; every one ran
against everybody else, and all was eagerness, haste, and bustle for the
first great launch of the Flamborough boats, all of which must be taken
in order.

But when they laid hold of the boat No. 7, which used to be the Mercy
Robin, and were jerking the timber shores out, one of the men stooping
under her stern beheld something white and gleaming. He put his hand
down to it, and, lo! it was a child, in imminent peril of a deadly
crush, as the boat came heeling over. "Hold hard!" cried the man, not in
time with his voice, but in time with his sturdy shoulder, to delay the
descent of the counter. Then he stooped underneath, while they steadied
the boat, and drew forth a child in a white linen dress, heartily asleep
and happy.

There was no time to think of any children now, even of a man's own
fine breed, and the boat was beginning much to chafe upon the rope, and
thirty or forty fine fellows were all waiting, loath to hurry Captain
Robin (because of the many things he had dearly lost), yet straining
upon their own hearts to stand still. And the captain could not find his
wife, who had slipped aside of the noisy scene, to have her own little
cry, because of the dance her children would have made if they had lived
to see it.

There were plenty of other women running all about to help, and to talk,
and to give the best advice to their husbands and to one another;
but most of them naturally had their own babies, and if words came to
action, quite enough to do to nurse them. On this account, Cockscroft
could do no better, bound as he was to rush forth upon the sea, than lay
the child gently aside of the stir, and cover him with an old sail, and
leave word with an ancient woman for his wife when found. The little boy
slept on calmly still, in spite of all the din and uproar, the song and
the shout, the tramp of heavy feet, the creaking of capstans, and the
thump of bulky oars, and the crush of ponderous rollers. Away went these
upon their errand to the sea, and then came back the grating roar and
plashy jerks of launching, the plunging, and the gurgling, and the quiet
murmur of cleft waves.

That child slept on, in the warm good luck of having no boat keel
launched upon him, nor even a human heel of bulk as likely to prove
fatal. And the ancient woman fell asleep beside him, because at her time
of life it was unjust that she should be astir so early. And it happened
that Mrs. Cockscroft followed her troubled husband down the steep,
having something in her pocket for him, which she failed to fetch to
hand. So everybody went about its own business (according to the laws
of nature), and the old woman slept by the side of the child, without
giving him a corner of her scarlet shawl.

But when the day was broad and brave, and the spirit of the air was
vigorous, and every cliff had a color of its own, and a character to
come out with; and beautiful boats, upon a shining sea, flashed their
oars, and went up waves which clearly were the stairs of heaven; and
never a woman, come to watch her husband, could be sure how far he had
carried his obedience in the matter of keeping his hat and coat on;
neither could anybody say what next those very clever fishermen might
be after--nobody having a spy-glass--but only this being understood
all round, that hunger and salt were the victuals for the day, and
the children must chew the mouse-trap baits until their dads came home
again; and yet in spite of all this, with lightsome hearts (so hope
outstrips the sun, and soars with him behind her) and a strong will,
up the hill they went, to do without much breakfast, but prepare for a
glorious supper. For mackerel are good fish that do not strive to live
forever, but seem glad to support the human race.

Flamburians speak a rich burr of their own, broadly and handsomely
distinct from that of outer Yorkshire. The same sagacious contempt for
all hot haste and hurry (which people of impatient fibre are too apt to
call "a drawl") may here be found, as in other Yorkshire, guiding and
retarding well that headlong instrument the tongue. Yet even here there
is advantage on the side of Flamborough--a longer resonance, a larger
breadth, a deeper power of melancholy, and a stronger turn up of the
tail of discourse, by some called the end of a sentence. Over and above
all these there dwell in "Little Denmark" many words foreign to the
real Yorkshireman. But, alas! these merits of their speech can not be
embodied in print without sad trouble, and result (if successful)
still more saddening. Therefore it is proposed to let them speak in our
inferior tongue, and to try to make them be not so very long about it.
For when they are left to themselves entirely, they have so much solid
matter to express, and they ripen it in their minds and throats with a
process so deliberate, that strangers might condemn them briefly, and be
off without hearing half of it. Whenever this happens to a Flamborough
man, he finishes what he proposed to say, and then says it all over
again to the wind.

When the "lavings" of the village (as the weaker part, unfit for sea,
and left behind, were politely called, being very old men, women, and
small children), full of conversation, came, upon their way back from
the tide, to the gravel brow now bare of boats, they could not help
discovering there the poor old woman that fell asleep because she ought
to have been in bed, and by her side a little boy, who seemed to have
no bed at all. The child lay above her in a tump of stubbly grass, where
Robin Cockscroft had laid him; he had tossed the old sail off, perhaps
in a dream, and he threatened to roll down upon the granny. The contrast
between his young, beautiful face, white raiment, and readiness to
roll, and the ancient woman's weary age (which it would be ungracious to
describe), and scarlet shawl which she could not spare, and satisfaction
to lie still--as the best thing left her now to do--this difference
between them was enough to take anybody's notice, facing the
well-established sun.

"Nanny Pegler, get oop wi' ye!" cried a woman even older, but of tougher
constitution. "Shame on ye to lig aboot so. Be ye browt to bed this
toime o' loife?"

"A wonderful foine babby for sich an owd moother," another proceeded
with the elegant joke; "and foine swaddles too, wi' solid gowd upon
'em!"

"Stan' ivery one o' ye oot o' the way," cried ancient Nanny, now as
wide-awake as ever; "Master Robin Cockscroft gie ma t' bairn, an'
nawbody sall hev him but Joan Cockscroft."

Joan Cockscroft, with a heavy heart, was lingering far behind the rest,
thinking of the many merry launches, when her smart young Robin would
have been in the boat with his father, and her pretty little Mercy
clinging to her hand upon the homeward road, and prattling of the fish
to be caught that day; and inasmuch as Joan had not been able to get
face to face with her husband on the beach, she had not yet heard of the
stranger child. But soon the women sent a little boy to fetch her, and
she came among them, wondering what it could be. For now a debate of
some vigor was arising upon a momentous and exciting point, though
not so keen by a hundredth part as it would have been twenty years
afterward. For the eldest old woman had pronounced her decision.

"Tell ye wat, ah dean't think bud wat yon bairn mud he a Frogman."

This caused some panic and a general retreat; for though the immortal
Napoleon had scarcely finished changing his teeth as yet, a chronic
uneasiness about Crappos haunted that coast already, and they might
have sent this little boy to pave the way, being capable of almost
everything.

"Frogman!" cried the old woman next to her by birth, and believed to
have higher parts, though not yet ripe. "Na, na; what Frogman here?
Frogmen ha' skinny shanks, and larks' heels, and holes down their bodies
like lamperns. No sign of no frog aboot yon bairn. As fair as a wench,
and as clean as a tyke. A' mought a'most been born to Flaambro'. And
what gowd ha' Crappos got, poor divils?"

This opened the gate for a clamor of discourse; for there surely could
be no denial of her words. And yet while her elder was alive and out of
bed, the habit of the village was to listen to her say, unless any man
of equal age arose to countervail it. But while they were thus divided,
Mrs. Cockscroft came, and they stood aside. For she had been kind to
everybody when her better chances were; and now in her trouble all were
grieved because she took it so to heart. Joan Cockscroft did not say
a word, but glanced at the child with some contempt. In spite of white
linen and yellow gold, what was he to her own dead Robin?

But suddenly this child, whatever he was, and vastly soever inferior,
opened his eyes and sent home their first glance to the very heart of
Joan Cockscroft. It was the exact look--or so she always said--of her
dead angel, when she denied him something, for the sake of his poor dear
stomach. With an outburst of tears, she flew straight to the little one,
snatched him in her arms, and tried to cover him with kisses.

The child, however, in a lordly manner, did not seem to like it. He drew
away his red lips, and gathered up his nose, and passion flew out of his
beautiful eyes, higher passion than that of any Cockscroft. And he
tried to say something which no one could make out. And women of high
consideration, looking on, were wicked enough to be pleased at this, and
say that he must be a young lord, and they had quite foreseen it. But
Joan knew what children are, and soothed him down so with delicate
hands, and a gentle look, and a subtle way of warming his cold places,
that he very soon began to cuddle into her, and smile. Then she turned
round to the other people, with both of his arms flung round her neck,
and his cheek laid on her shoulder, and she only said, "The Lord hath
sent him."



CHAPTER XI

DR. UPANDOWN


The practice of Flamborough was to listen fairly to anything that might
be said by any one truly of the native breed, and to receive it well
into the crust of the mind, and let it sink down slowly. But even after
that, it might not take root, unless it were fixed in its settlement by
their two great powers--the law, and the Lord.

They had many visitations from the Lord, as needs must be in such a very
stormy place; whereas of the law they heard much less; but still they
were even more afraid of that; for they never knew how much it might
cost.

Balancing matters (as they did their fish, when the price was worth it,
in Weigh Lane), they came to the set conclusion that the law and the
Lord might not agree concerning the child cast among them by the latter.
A child or two had been thrown ashore before, and trouble once or twice
had come of it; and this child being cast, no one could say how, to such
a height above all other children, he was likely enough to bring a spell
upon their boats, if anything crooked to God's will were done; and even
to draw them to their last stocking, if anything offended the providence
of law.

In any other place it would have been a point of combat what to say and
what to do in such a case as this. But Flamborough was of all the wide
world happiest in possessing an authority to reconcile all doubts. The
law and the Lord--two powers supposed to be at variance always, and to
share the week between them in proportions fixed by lawyers--the
holy and unholy elements of man's brief existence, were combined in
Flamborough parish in the person of its magisterial rector. He was also
believed to excel in the arts of divination and medicine too, for he was
a full Doctor of Divinity. Before this gentleman must be laid, both for
purse and conscience' sake, the case of the child just come out of the
fogs.

And true it was that all these powers were centred in one famous man,
known among the laity as "Parson Upandown." For the Reverend Turner
Upround, to give him his proper name, was a doctor of divinity, a
justice of the peace, and the present rector of Flamborough. Of all his
offices and powers, there was not one that he overstrained; and all that
knew him, unless they were thorough-going rogues and vagabonds, loved
him. Not that he was such a soft-spoken man as many were, who thought
more evil; but because of his deeds and nature, which were of the
kindest. He did his utmost, on demand of duty, to sacrifice this nature
to his stern position as pastor and master of an up-hill parish, with
many wrong things to be kept under. But while he succeeded in the form
now and then, he failed continually in the substance.

This gentleman was not by any means a fool, unless a kind heart proves
folly. At Cambridge he had done very well, in the early days of the
tripos, and was chosen fellow and tutor of Gonville and Caius College.
But tiring of that dull round in his prime, he married, and took to a
living; and the living was one of the many upon which a perpetual faster
can barely live, unless he can go naked also, and keep naked children.
Now the parsons had not yet discovered the glorious merits of hard
fasting, but freely enjoyed, and with gratitude to God, the powers with
which He had blessed them. Happily Dr. Upround had a solid income of
his own, and (like a sound mathematician) he took a wife of terms
coincident. So, without being wealthy, they lived very well, and helped
their poorer neighbors.

Such a man generally thrives in the thriving of his flock, and does not
harry them. He gives them spiritual food enough to support them without
daintiness, and he keeps the proper distinction between the Sunday and
the poorer days. He clangs no bell of reproach upon a Monday, when the
squire is leading the lady in to dinner, and the laborer sniffing at his
supper pot; and he lets the world play on a Saturday, while he works his
own head to find good ends for the morrow. Because he is a wise man who
knows what other men are, and how seldom they desire to be told the
same thing more than a hundred and four times in a year. Neither did
his clerical skill stop here; for Parson Upround thought twice about it
before he said anything to rub sore consciences, even when he had them
at his mercy, and silent before him, on a Sunday. He behaved like a
gentleman in this matter, where so much temptation lurks, looking always
at the man whom he did not mean to hit, so that the guilty one received
it through him, and felt himself better by comparison. In a word, this
parson did his duty well, and pleasantly for all his flock; and nothing
imbittered him, unless a man pretended to doctrine without holy orders.

For the doctor reasoned thus--and sound it sounds--if divinity is a
matter for Tom, Dick, or Harry, how can there be degrees in it? He held
a degree in it, and felt what it had cost; and not the parish only, but
even his own wife, was proud to have a doctor every Sunday. And his wife
took care that his rich red hood, kerseymere small-clothes, and black
silk stockings upon calves of dignity, were such that his congregation
scorned the surgeons all the way to Beverley.

Happy in a pleasant nature, kindly heart, and tranquil home, he was also
happy in those awards of life in which men are helpless. He was blessed
with a good wife and three good children, doing well, and vigorous and
hardy as the air and clime and cliffs. His wife was not quite of his
own age, but old enough to understand and follow him faithfully down the
slope of years. A wife with mind enough to know that a husband is not
faultless, and with heart enough to feel that if he were, she would not
love him so. And under her were comprised their children--two boys at
school, and a baby-girl at home.

So far, the rector of this parish was truly blessed and blessing. But
in every man's lot must be some crook, since this crooked world turned
round. In Parson Upround's lot the crook might seem a very small one;
but he found it almost too big for him. His dignity and peace of mind,
large good-will of ministry and strong Christian sense of magistracy,
all were sadly pricked and wounded by a very small thorn in the flesh of
his spirit.

Almost every honest man is the rightful owner of a nickname. When he
was a boy at school he could not do without one, and if the other boys
valued him, perhaps he had a dozen. And afterward, when there is less
perception of right and wrong and character, in the weaker time of
manhood, he may earn another, if the spirit is within him.

But woe is him if a nasty foe, or somebody trying to be one, annoyed for
the moment with him, yet meaning no more harm than pepper, smite him to
the quick, at venture, in his most retired and privy-conscienced hole.
And when this is done by a Nonconformist to a Doctor of Divinity, and
the man who does it owes some money to the man he does it to, can the
latter gentleman take a large and genial view of his critics.

This gross wrong and ungrateful outrage was inflicted thus. A leading
Methodist from Filey town, who owed the doctor half a guinea, came one
summer and set up his staff in the hollow of a limekiln, where he lived
upon fish for change of diet, and because he could get it for nothing.
This was a man of some eloquence, and his calling in life was cobbling,
and to encourage him therein, and keep him from theology, the rector
not only forgot his half guinea, but sent him three or four pairs
of riding-boots to mend, and let him charge his own price, which was
strictly heterodox. As a part of the bargain, this fellow came to
church, and behaved as well as could be hoped of a man who had received
his money. He sat by a pillar, and no more than crossed his legs at the
worst thing that disagreed with him. And it might have done him good,
and made a decent cobbler of him, if the parson had only held him when
he got him on the hook. But this is the very thing which all great
preachers are too benevolent to do. Dr. Upround looked at this sinner,
who was getting into a fright upon his own account, though not a bad
preacher when he could afford it; and the cobbler could no more look up
to the doctor than when he charged him a full crown beyond the contract.
In his kindness for all who seemed convinced of sin, the good preacher
halted, and looked at Mr. Jobbins with a soft, relaxing gaze. Jobbins
appeared as if he would come to church forever, and never cheat any
sound clergyman again; whereupon the generous divine omitted a whole
page of menaces prepared for him, and passed prematurely to the tender
strain which always winds up a good sermon.

Now what did Jobbins do in return for all this magnanimous mercy?
Invited to dine with the senior church-warden upon the strength of
having been at church, and to encourage him for another visit, and being
asked, as soon as ever decency permitted, what he thought of Parson
Upround's doctrine, between two crackles of young griskin (come straight
from the rectory pig-sty), he was grieved to express a stern opinion
long remembered at Flamborough:

"Ca' yo yon mon 'Dr. Uproond?' I ca' un 'Dr. Upandoon.'"

From that day forth the rector of the parish was known far and wide as
"Dr. Upandown," even among those who loved him best. For the name well
described his benevolent practice of undoing any harsh thing he might
have said, sometimes by a smile, and very often with a shilling, or a
basket of spring cabbages. So that Mrs. Upround, when buttoning up his
coat--which he always forgot to do for himself--did it with the words,
"My dear, now scold no one; really it is becoming too expensive." "Shall
I abandon duty," he would answer, with some dignity, "while a shilling
is sufficient to enforce it?"

Dr. Upround's people had now found out that their minister and
magistrate discharged his duty toward his pillow, no less than to his
pulpit. His parish had acquired, through the work of generations, a
habit of getting up at night, and being all alive at cock-crow; and the
rector (while very new amongst them) tried to bow--or rather rise--to
night-watch. But a little of that exercise lasted him for long; and he
liked to talk of it afterward, but for the present was obliged to drop
it. For he found himself pale, when his wife made him see himself; and
his hours of shaving were so dreadful; and scarcely a bit of fair dinner
could be got, with the whole of the day thrown out so. In short, he
settled it wisely that the fishers of fish must yield to the habits of
fish, which can not be corrected; but the fishers of men (who can live
without catching them) need not be up to all their hours, but may take
them reasonably.

His parishioners--who could do very well without him, as far as
that goes, all the week, and by no means wanted him among their
boats--joyfully left him to his own time of day, and no more worried
him out of season than he worried them so. It became a matter of right
feeling with them not to ring a big bell, which the rector had put up to
challenge everybody's spiritual need, until the stable clock behind the
bell had struck ten and finished gurgling.

For this reason, on St. Swithin's morn, in the said year 1782, the
grannies, wives, and babes of Flamborough, who had been to help the
launch, but could not pull the laboring oar, nor even hold the tiller,
spent the time till ten o'clock in seeing to their own affairs--the
most laudable of all pursuits for almost any woman. And then, with some
little dispute among them (the offspring of the merest accident), they
arrived in some force at the gate of Dr. Upround, and no woman liked to
pull the bell, and still less to let another woman do it for her. But an
old man came up who was quite deaf, and every one asked him to do it.

In spite of the scarcity of all good things, Mrs. Cockscroft had
thoroughly fed the little stranger, and washed him, and undressed him,
and set him up in her own bed, and wrapped him in her woollen shawl,
because he shivered sadly; and there he stared about with wondering
eyes, and gave great orders--so far as his new nurse could make out--but
speaking gibberish, as she said, and flying into a rage because it was
out of Christian knowledge. But he seemed to understand some English,
although he could only pronounce two words, both short, and in such
conjunction quite unlawful for any except the highest Spiritual Power.
Mrs. Cockscroft, being a pious woman, hoped that her ears were wrong,
or else that the words were foreign and meant no harm, though the
child seemed to take in much of what was said, and when asked his name,
answered, wrathfully, and as if everybody was bound to know, "Izunsabe!
Izunsabe!"

But now, when brought before Dr. Upround, no child of the very best
English stock could look more calm and peaceful. He could walk well
enough, but liked better to be carried; and the kind woman who had so
taken him up was only too proud to carry him. Whatever the rector and
magistrate might say, her meaning was to keep this little one, with her
husband's good consent, which she was sure of getting.

"Set him down, ma'am," the doctor said, when he had heard from half a
dozen good women all about him; "Mistress Cockscroft, put him on his
legs, and let me question him."

But the child resisted this proceeding. With nature's inborn and just
loathing of examination, he spun upon his little heels, and swore with
all his might, at the same time throwing up his hands and twirling his
thumbs in a very odd and foreign way.

"What a shocking child!" cried Mrs. Upround, who was come to know all
about it. "Jane, run away with Miss Janetta."

"The child is not to blame," said the rector, "but only the people who
have brought him up. A prettier or more clever little head I have never
seen in all my life; and we studied such things at Cambridge. My fine
little fellow, shake hands with me."

The boy broke off his vicious little dance, and looked up at this tall
gentleman with great surprise. His dark eyes dwelt upon the parson's
kindly face, with that power of inquiry which the very young possess,
and then he put both little hands into the gentleman's, and burst into a
torrent of the most heart-broken tears.

"Poor little man!" said the rector, very gently, taking him up in his
arms and patting the silky black curls, while great drops fell, and
a nose was rubbed on his shoulder; "it is early for you to begin bad
times. Why, how old are you, if you please?"

The little boy sat up on the kind man's arm, and poked a small
investigating finger into the ear that was next to him, and the locks
just beginning to be marked with gray; and then he said, "Sore," and
tossed his chin up, evidently meaning, "Make your best of that." And the
women drew a long breath, and nudged at one another.

"Well done! Four years old, my dear. You see that he understands English
well enough," said the parson to his parishioners: "he will tell us all
about himself by-and-by, if we do not hurry him. You think him a French
child. I do not, though the name which he gives himself, 'Izunsabe,'
has a French aspect about it. Let me think. I will try him with a French
interrogation: 'Parlez-vous Francais, mon enfan?'"

Dr. Upround watched the effect of his words with outward calm, but an
inward flutter. For if this clever child should reply in French, the
doctor could never go on with it, but must stand there before his
congregation in a worse position than when he lost his place, as
sometimes happened, in a sermon. With wild temerity he had given vent to
the only French words within his knowledge; and he determined to follow
them up with Latin if the worst came to the worst.

But luckily no harm came of this, but, contrariwise, a lasting good.
For the child looked none the wiser, while the doctor's influence was
increased.

"Aha!" the good parson cried. "I was sure that he was no Frenchman.
But we must hear something about him very soon, for what you tell me is
impossible. If he had come from the sea, he must have been wet; it could
never be otherwise. Whereas, his linen clothes are dry, and even quite
lately fullered--ironed you might call it."

"Please your worship," cried Mrs. Cockscroft, who was growing wild with
jealousy, "I did up all his little things, hours and hours ere your
hoose was up."

"Ah, you had night-work! To be sure! Were his clothes dry or wet when
you took them off?"

"Not to say dry, your worship; and yet not to say very wet. Betwixt and
between, like my good master's, when he cometh from a pour of rain, or a
heavy spray. And the color of the land was upon them here and there.
And the gold tags were sewn with something wonderful. My best pair of
scissors would not touch it. I was frightened to put them to the tub,
your worship; but they up and shone lovely like a tailor's buttons. My
master hath found him, Sir; and it lies with him to keep him. And the
Lord hath taken away our Bob."

"It is true," said Dr. Upround, gently, and placing the child in her
arms again, "the Almighty has chastened you very sadly. This child is
not mine to dispose of, nor yours; but if he will comfort you, keep him
till we hear of him. I will take down in writing the particulars of the
case, when Captain Robin has come home and had his rest--say, at this
time to-morrow, or later; and then you will sign them, and they shall be
published. For you know, Mrs. Cockscroft, however much you may be taken
with him, you must not turn kidnapper. Moreover, it is needful, as there
may have been some wreck (though none of you seem to have heard of any),
that this strange occurrence should be made known. Then, if nothing is
heard of it, you can keep him, and may the Lord bless him to you!"

Without any more ado, she kissed the child, and wanted to carry him
straight away, after courtesying to his worship; but all the other women
insisted on a smack of him, for pity's sake, and the pleasure of the
gold, and to confirm the settlement. And a settlement it was, for
nothing came of any publication of the case, such as in those days could
be made without great expense and exertion.

So the boy grew up, tall, brave, and comely, and full of the spirit of
adventure, as behooved a boy cast on the winds. So far as that goes, his
foster-parents would rather have found him more steady and less comely,
for if he was to step into their lost son's shoes, he might do it
without seeming to outshine him. But they got over that little jealousy
in time, when the boy began to be useful, and, so far as was possible,
they kept him under by quoting against him the character of Bob,
bringing it back from heaven of a much higher quality than ever it was
upon the earth. In vain did this living child aspire to such level; how
can an earthly boy compare with one who never did a wrong thing, as soon
as he was dead?

Passing that difficult question, and forbearing to compare a boy with
angels, be he what he will, his first need (after that of victuals) is a
name whereby his fellow-boys may know him. Is he to be shouted at with,
"Come here, what's your name?" or is he to be called (as if in high
rebuke), "Boy?" And yet there are grown-up folk who do all this without
hesitation, failing to remember their own predicament at a by-gone
period. Boys are as useful, in their way, as any other order; and if
they can be said to do some mischief, they can not be said to do it
negligently. It is their privilege and duty to be truly active; and
their Maker, having spread a dull world before them, has provided them
with gifts of play while their joints are supple.

The present boy, having been born without a father or a mother (so far
as could yet be discovered), was driven to do what our ancestors must
have done when it was less needful. That is to say, to work his own name
out by some distinctive process. When the parson had clearly shown him
not to be a Frenchman, a large contumely spread itself about, by reason
of his gold, and eyes, and hair, and name (which might be meant for
Isaak), that he was sprung from a race more honored now than a hundred
years ago. But the women declared that it could not be; and the rector
desiring to christen him, because it might never have been done before,
refused point-blank to put any "Isaac" in, and was satisfied with
"Robin" only, the name of the man who had saved him.

The rector showed deep knowledge of his flock, which looked upon Jews
as the goats of the Kingdom; for any Jew must die for a world of
generations ere ever a Christian thinks much of him. But finding him not
to be a Jew, the other boys, instead of being satisfied, condemned him
for a Dutchman.

Whatever he was, the boy throve well, and being so flouted by his
playmates, took to thoughts and habits and amusements of his own.
In-door life never suited him at all, nor too much of hard learning,
although his capacity was such that he took more advancement in an hour
than the thick heads of young Flamborough made in a whole leap-year of
Sundays. For any Flamburian boy was considered a "Brain Scholar," and a
"Head-Languager," when he could write down the parson's text, and chalk
up a fish on the weigh-board so that his father or mother could tell in
three guesses what manner of fish it was. And very few indeed had ever
passed this trial.

For young Robin it was a very hard thing to be treated so by the other
boys. He could run, or jump, or throw a stone, or climb a rock with the
best of them; but all these things he must do by himself, simply because
he had no name. A feeble youth would have moped, but Robin only grew
more resolute. Alone he did what the other boys would scarcely in
competition dare. No crag was too steep for him, no cave too dangerous
and wave-beaten, no race of the tide so strong and swirling as to scare
him of his wits. He seemed to rejoice in danger, having very little else
to rejoice in; and he won for himself by nimble ways and rapid turns on
land and sea, the name of "Lithe," or "Lyth," and made it famous even
far inland.

For it may be supposed that his love of excitement, versatility,
and daring demanded a livelier outlet than the slow toil of deep-sea
fishing. To the most patient, persevering, and long-suffering of the
arts, Robin Lyth did not take kindly, although he was so handy with a
boat. Old Robin vainly strove to cast his angling mantle over him. The
gifts of the youth were brighter and higher; he showed an inborn fitness
for the lofty development of free trade. Eminent powers must force their
way, as now they were doing with Napoleon; and they did the same with
Robin Lyth, without exacting tithe in kind of all the foremost human
race.



CHAPTER XII

IN A LANE, NOT ALONE


Stephen Anerley's daughter was by no means of a crooked mind, but open
as the day in all things, unless any one mistrusted her, and showed it
by cross-questioning. When this was done, she resented it quickly by
concealing the very things which she would have told of her own accord;
and it so happened that the person to whom of all she should have been
most open, was the one most apt to check her by suspicious curiosity.
And now her mother already began to do this, as concerned the smuggler,
knowing from the revenue officer that Mary must have seen him. Mary,
being a truthful damsel, told no lies about it; but, on the other hand,
she did not rush forth with all the history, as she probably would have
done if left unexamined. And so she said nothing about the ear-ring, or
the run that was to come off that week, or the riding-skirt, or a host
of little things, including her promise to visit Bempton Lane.

On the other hand, she had a mind to tell her father, and take his
opinion about it all. But he was a little cross that evening, not with
her, but with the world at large; and that discouraged her; and then she
thought that being an officer of the king--as he liked to call himself
sometimes--he might feel bound to give information about the impending
process of free trade; which to her would be a breach of honor,
considering how she knew of it.

Upon the whole, she heartily wished that she never had seen that Robin
Lyth; and then she became ashamed of herself for indulging such a
selfish wish. For he might have been lying dead but for her; and then
what would become of the many poor people whose greatest comfort he was
said to be? And what good could arise from his destruction, if cruel
people compassed it? Free trade must be carried on, for the sake of
everybody, including Captain Carroway himself; and if an old and ugly
man succeeded a young and generous one as leader of the free-trade
movement, all the women in the country would put the blame on her.

Looking at these things loftily, and with a strong determination not
to think twice of what any one might say who did not understand the
subject, Mary was forced at last to the stern conclusion that she must
keep her promise. Not only because it was a promise--although that went
a very long way with her--but also because there seemed no other chance
of performing a positive duty. Simple honesty demanded that she should
restore to the owner a valuable, and beyond all doubt important, piece
of property. Two hours had she spent in looking for it, and deprived
her dear father of his breakfast shrimps; and was all this trouble to be
thrown away, and herself, perhaps, accused of theft, because her mother
was so short and sharp in wanting to know everything, and to turn it her
own way?

The trinket, which she had found at last, seemed to be a very uncommon
and precious piece of jewelry; it was made of pure gold, minutely chased
and threaded with curious workmanship, in form like a melon, and bearing
what seemed to be characters of some foreign language: there might be
a spell, or even witchcraft, in it, and the sooner it was out of her
keeping the better. Nevertheless she took very good care of it, wrapping
it in lamb's-wool, and peeping at it many times a day, to be sure that
it was safe, until it made her think of the owner so much, and the many
wonders she had heard about him, that she grew quite angry with herself
and it, and locked it away, and then looked at it again.

As luck would have it, on the very day when Mary was to stroll down
Bempton Lane (not to meet any one, of course, but simply for the merest
chance of what might happen), her father had business at Driffield corn
market, which would keep him from home nearly all the day. When his
daughter heard of it she was much cast down; for she hoped that he
might have been looking about on the northern part of the farm, as he
generally was in the afternoon; and although he could not see Bempton
Lane at all, perhaps, without some newly acquired power of seeing round
sharp corners, still it would have been a comfort and a strong resource
for conscience to have felt that he was not so very far away. And this
feeling of want made his daughter resolve to have some one at any
rate near her. If Jack had only been at home, she need have sought no
further, for he would have entered into all her thoughts about it, and
obeyed her orders beautifully. But Willie was quite different, and hated
any trouble, being spoiled so by his mother and the maidens all around
them.

However, in such a strait, what was there to do but to trust in Willie,
who was old enough, being five years in front of Mary, and then to try
to make him sensible? Willie Anerley had no idea that anybody--far less
his own sister--could take such a view of him. He knew himself to be,
and all would say the same of him, superior in his original gifts,
and his manner of making use of them, to the rest of the family put
together. He had spent a month in Glasgow, when the whole place was
astir with the ferment of many great inventions, and another month in
Edinburgh, when that noble city was aglow with the dawn of large ideas;
also, he had visited London, foremost of his family, and seen enough new
things there to fill all Yorkshire with surprise; and the result of such
wide experience was that he did not like hard work at all. Neither could
he even be content to accept and enjoy, without labor of his own, the
many good things provided for him. He was always trying to discover
something which never seemed to answer, and continually flying after
something new, of which he never got fast hold. In a word, he was
spoiled, by nature first, and then by circumstances, for the peaceful
life of his ancestors, and the unacknowledged blessings of a farmer.

"Willie dear, will you come with me?" Mary said to him that day,
catching him as he ran down stairs to air some inspiration. "Will you
come with me for just one hour? I wish you would; and I would be so
thankful."

"Child, it is quite impossible," he answered, with a frown which set off
his delicate eyebrows and high but rather narrow forehead; "you always
want me at the very moment when I have the most important work in hand.
Any childish whim of yours matters more than hours and hours of hard
labor."

"Oh, Willie, but you know how I try to help you, and all the patterns
I cut out last week! Do come for once, Willie; if you refuse, you will
never, never forgive yourself."

Willie Anerley was as good-natured as any self-indulged youth can be; he
loved his sister in his way, and was indebted to her for getting out of
a great many little scrapes. He saw how much she was in earnest now, and
felt some desire to know what it was about. Moreover--which settled
the point--he was getting tired of sticking to one thing for a time
unusually long with him. But he would not throw away the chance of
scoring a huge debt of gratitude.

"Well, do what you like with me," he answered, with a smile; "I never
can have my own way five minutes. It serves me quite right for being so
good-natured."

Mary gave him a kiss, which must have been an object of ambition to
anybody else; but it only made him wipe his mouth; and presently the two
set forth upon the path toward Bempton.

Robin Lyth had chosen well his place for meeting Mary. The lane (of
which he knew every yard as well as he knew the rocks themselves)
was deep and winding, and fringed with bushes, so that an active and
keen-eyed man might leap into thicket almost before there was a fair
chance of shooting him. He knew well enough that he might trust Mary;
but he never could be sure that the bold "coast-riders," despairing by
this time of catching him at sea, and longing for the weight of gold
put upon his head, might not be setting privy snares to catch him in his
walks abroad. They had done so when they pursued him up the Dike; and
though he was inclined to doubt the strict legality of that proceeding,
he could not see his way to a fair discussion of it, in case of their
putting a bullet through him. And this consideration made him careful.

The brother and sister went on well by the foot-path over the uplands of
the farm, and crossing the neck of the Flamburn peninsula, tripped away
merrily northward. The wheat looked healthy, and the barley also, and a
four-acre patch of potatoes smelled sweetly (for the breeze of them was
pleasant in their wholesome days), and Willie, having overworked his
brain, according to his own account of it, strode along loftily before
his sister, casting over his shoulder an eddy of some large ideas with
which he had been visited before she interrupted him. But as nothing
ever came of them, they need not here be stated. From a practical point
of view, however, as they both had to live upon the profits of the farm,
it pleased them to observe what a difference there was when they had
surmounted the chine and began to descend toward the north upon other
people's land. Here all was damp and cold and slow; and chalk looked
slimy instead of being clean; and shadowy places had an oozy cast; and
trees (wherever they could stand) were facing the east with wrinkled
visage, and the west with wiry beards. Willie (who had, among other
great inventions, a scheme for improvement of the climate) was reminded
at once of all the things he meant to do in that way; and making, as he
always did, a great point of getting observations first--a point whereon
he stuck fast mainly--without any time for delay he applied himself to a
rapid study of the subject. He found some things just like other things
which he had seen in Scotland, yet differing so as to prove, more
clearly than even their resemblance did, the value of his discovery.

"Look!" he cried; "can anything be clearer? The cause of all these evils
is not (as an ignorant person might suppose) the want of sunshine, or
too much wet, but an inadequate movement of the air--"

"Why, I thought it was always blowing up here. The very last time I
came, my bonnet strings were split."

"You do not understand me; you never do. When I say inadequate, I mean,
of course, incorrect, inaccurate, unequable. Now the air is a fluid; you
may stare as you like, Mary, but the air has been proved to be a
fluid. Very well; no fluid in large bodies moves with an equal velocity
throughout. Part of it is rapid and part quite stagnant. The stagnant
places of the air produce this green scum, this mossy, unwholesome, and
injurious stuff; while the overrapid motion causes this iron appearance,
this hard surface, and general sterility. By the simplest of simple
contrivances, I make this evil its own remedy. An equable impulse given
to the air produces an adequate uniform flow, preventing stagnation in
one place, and excessive vehemence in another. And the beauty of it is
that by my new invention I make the air itself correct and regulate its
own inequalities."

"How clever you are, to be sure!" exclaimed Mary, wondering that her
father could not see it. "Oh, Willie, you will make your fortune by it!
However do you do it?"

"The simplicity of it is such that even you can understand it. All
great discoveries are simple. I fix in a prominent situation a large
and vertically revolving fan, of a light and vibrating substance. The
movement of the air causes this to rotate by the mere force of the
impact. The rotation and the vibration of the fan convert an irregular
impulse into a steady and equable undulation; and such is the elasticity
of the fluid called, in popular language, 'the air,' that for miles
around the rotation of this fan regulates the circulation, modifies
extremes, annihilates sterility, and makes it quite impossible for moss
and green scum and all this sour growth to live. Even you can see, Mary,
how beautiful it is."

"Yes, that I can," she answered, simply, as they turned the corner upon
a large windmill, with arms revolving merrily; "but, Willie dear, would
not Farmer Topping's mill, perpetually going as it is, answer the same
purpose? And yet the moss seems to be as thick as ever here, and the
ground as naked."

"Tush!" cried Willie. "Stuff and nonsense! When will you girls
understand? Good-by! I will throw away no more time on you."

Without stopping to finish his sentence he was off and out of sight
both of the mill and Mary, before the poor girl, who had not the least
intention of offending him, could even beg his pardon, or say how much
she wanted him; for she had not dared as yet to tell him what was the
purpose of her walk, his nature being such that no one, not even his own
mother, could tell what conclusion he might come to upon any practical
question. He might rush off at once to put the revenue men on the
smuggler's track, or he might stop his sister from going, or he might
(in the absence of his father) order a feast to be prepared, and fetch
the outlaw to be his guest. So Mary had resolved not to tell him until
the last moment, when he could do none of these things.

But now she must either go on all alone, or give up her purpose and
break her promise. After some hesitation she determined to go on, for
the place would scarcely seem so very lonely now with the windmill
in view, which would always remind her henceforth of her dear brother
William. It was perfectly certain that Captain Robert Lyth, whose fame
for chivalry was everywhere, and whose character was all in all to him
with the ladies who bought his silks and lace, would see her through all
danger caused by confidence in him; and really it was too bad of her
to admit any paltry misgivings. But reason as she might, her young
conscience told her that this was not the proper thing to do, and she
made up her mind not to do it again. Then she laughed at the notion of
being ever even asked, and told herself that she was too conceited; and
to cut the matter short, went very bravely down the hill.

The lane, which came winding from the beach up to the windmill, was as
pretty a lane as may anywhere be found in any other county than that of
Devon. With a Devonshire lane it could not presume to vie, having little
of the glorious garniture of fern, and nothing of the crystal brook that
leaps at every corner; no arches of tall ash, keyed with dog-rose, and
not much of honeysuckle, and a sight of other wants which people feel
who have lived in the plenitude of everything. But in spite of all that,
the lane was very fine for Yorkshire.

On the other hand, Mary had prettier ankles, and a more graceful and
lighter walk, than the Devonshire lanes, which like to echo something,
for the most part seem accustomed to; and the short dress of the time
made good such favorable facts when found. Nor was this all that could
be said, for the maiden (while her mother was so busy pickling cabbage,
from which she drove all intruders) had managed to forget what the day
of the week was, and had opened the drawer that should be locked
up until Sunday. To walk with such a handsome tall fellow as Willie
compelled her to look like something too, and without any thought of it
she put her best hat on, and a very pretty thing with some French name,
and made of a delicate peach-colored silk, which came down over her
bosom, and tied in the neatest of knots at the small of her back, which
at that time of life was very small. All these were the gifts of her
dear uncle Popplewell, upon the other side of Filey, who might have been
married for forty years, but nobody knew how long it was, because he had
no children, and so he made Mary his darling. And this ancient gentleman
had leanings toward free trade.

Whether these goods were French or not--which no decent person could
think of asking--no French damsel could have put them on better, or
shown a more pleasing appearance in them; for Mary's desire was to
please all people who meant no harm to her--as nobody could--and yet
to let them know that her object was only to do what was right, and to
never think of asking whether she looked this, that, or the other. Her
mother, as a matter of duty, told her how plain she was almost every
day; but the girl was not of that opinion; and when Mrs. Anerley
finished her lecture (as she did nine times in ten) by turning the glass
to the wall, and declaring that beauty was a snare skin-deep, with a
frown of warning instead of a smile of comfort, then Mary believed in
her looking-glass again, and had the smile of comfort on her own face.

However, she never thought of that just now, but only of how she could
do her duty, and have no trouble in her own mind with thinking, and
satisfy her father when she told him all, as she meant to do, when there
could be no harm done to any one; and this, as she heartily hoped, would
be to-morrow. And truly, if there did exist any vanity at all, it was
not confined to the sex in which it is so much more natural and comely.

For when a very active figure came to light suddenly, at a little elbow
of the lane, and with quick steps advanced toward Mary, she was lost
in surprise at the gayety, not to say grandeur, of its apparel. A
broad hat, looped at the side, and having a pointed black crown, with a
scarlet feather and a dove-colored brim, sat well upon the mass of crisp
black curls. A short blue jacket of the finest Flemish cloth, and set
(not too thickly) with embossed silver buttons, left properly open the
strong brown neck, while a shirt of pale blue silk, with a turned-down
collar of fine needle-work, fitted, without a wrinkle or a pucker, the
broad and amply rounded chest. Then a belt of brown leather, with an
anchor clasp, and empty loops for either fire-arm or steel, supported
true sailor's trousers of the purest white and the noblest man-of-war
cut; and where these widened at the instep shone a lovely pair of pumps,
with buckles radiant of best Bristol diamonds. The wearer of all these
splendors smiled, and seemed to become them as they became him.

"Well," thought Mary, "how free trade must pay! What a pity that he is
not in the Royal Navy!"

With his usual quickness, and the self-esteem which added such lustre to
his character, the smuggler perceived what was passing in her mind, but
he was not rude enough to say so.

"Young lady," he began--and Mary, with all her wisdom, could not help
being fond of that--"young lady, I was quite sure that you would keep
your word."

"I never do anything else," she answered, showing that she scarcely
looked at him. "I have found this for you, and then good-by."

"Surely you will wait to hear my thanks, and to know what made me dare
to ask you, after all you had done for me already, to begin again for
me. But I am such an outcast that I never should have done it."

"I never saw any one look more thoroughly unlike an outcast," Mary said;
and then she was angry with herself for speaking, and glancing, and,
worst of all, for smiling,

"Ladies who live on land can never understand what we go through," Robin
replied, in his softest voice, as rich as the murmur of the summer sea.
"When we expect great honors, we try to look a little tidy, as any one
but a common boor would do; and we laugh at ourselves for trying to look
well, after all the knocking about we get. Our time is short--we must
make the most of it."

"Oh, please not to talk in such a dreadful way," said Mary.

"You remind me of my dear friend Dr. Upround--the very best man in the
whole world, I believe. He always says to me, 'Robin, Robin--'"

"What! is Dr. Upandown a friend of yours?" Mary exclaimed, in amazement,
and with a stoppage of the foot that was poised for quick departure.

"Dr. Upandown, as many people call him," said the smuggler, with a tone
of condemnation, "is the best and dearest friend I have, next to Captain
and Mistress Cockscroft, who may have been heard of at Anerley Manor.
Dr. Upround is our magistrate and clergyman, and he lets people say what
they like against me, while he honors me with his friendship. I must not
stay long to thank you even, because I am going to the dear old doctor's
for supper at seven o'clock and a game of chess."

"Oh dear! oh dear! And he is such a Justice! And yet they shot at you
last week! It makes me wonder when I hear such things."

"Young lady, it makes everybody wonder. In my opinion there never could
be a more shameful murder than to shoot me; and yet but for you it would
surely have been done."

"You must not dwell upon such things," said Mary; "they may have a very
bad effect upon your mind. But good-by, Captain Lyth; I forgot that I
was robbing Dr. Upround of your society."

"Shall I be so ungrateful as not to see you safe upon your own land
after all your trouble? My road to Flamborough lies that way. Surely you
will not refuse to hear what made me so anxious about this bauble,
which now will be worth ten times as much. I never saw it look so bright
before."

"It--it must be the sand has made it shine," the maiden stammered, with
a fine bright blush; "it does the same to my shrimping net."

"Ah, shrimping is a very fine pursuit! There is nothing I love better;
what pools I could show you, if I only might; pools where you may fill
a sack with large prawns in a single tide--pools known to nobody but
myself. When do you think of going shrimping next?"

"Perhaps next summer I may try again, if Captain Carroway will come with
me."

"That is too unkind of you. How very harsh you are to me! I could hardly
have believed it after all that you have done. And you really do not
care to hear the story of this relic?"

"If I could stop, I should like it very much. But my brother, who came
with me, may perhaps be waiting for me." Mary knew that this was not
very likely; still, it was just possible, for Willie's ill tempers
seldom lasted very long; and she wanted to let the smuggler know that
she had not come all alone to meet him.

"I shall not be two minutes," Robin Lyth replied; "I have been forced to
learn short talking. May I tell you about this trinket?"

"Yes, if you will only begin at once, and finish by the time we get to
that corner."

"That is very short measure for a tale," said Robin, though he liked
her all the better for such qualities; "however, I will try; only walk
a little slower. Nobody knows where I was born, any more than they know
how or why. Only when I came upon this coast as a very little boy, and
without knowing anything about it, they say that I had very wonderful
buttons of gold upon a linen dress, adorned with gold-lace, which I used
to wear on Sundays. Dr. Upround ordered them to keep those buttons, and
was to have had them in his own care; but before that, all of them were
lost save two. My parents, as I call them from their wonderful goodness,
kinder than the ones who have turned me on the world (unless themselves
went out of it), resolved to have my white coat done up grandly, when
I grew too big for it, and to lay it by in lavender; and knowing of a
great man in the gold-lace trade, as far away as Scarborough, they sent
it by a fishing-smack to him, with people whom they knew thoroughly.
That was the last of it ever known here. The man swore a manifest that
he never saw it, and threatened them with libel; and the smack was
condemned, and all her hands impressed, because of some trifle she
happened to carry; and nobody knows any more of it. But two of the
buttons had fallen off, and good mother had put them by, to give a last
finish to the coat herself; and when I grew up, and had to go to sea
at night, they were turned into a pair of ear-rings. There, now, Miss
Anerley, I have not been long, and you know all about it."

"How very lonesome it must be for you," said Mary, with a gentle gaze,
which, coming from such lovely eyes, went straight into his heart, "to
have no one belonging to you by right, and to seem to belong to nobody!
I am sure I can not tell whatever I should do without any father, or
mother, or uncle, or even a cousin to be certain of."

"All the ladies seem to think that it is rather hard upon me," Robin
answered, with an excellent effort at a sigh; "but I do my very best
to get on without them. And one thing that helps me most of all is when
kind ladies, who have good hearts, allow me to talk to them as if I had
a sister. This makes me forget what I am sometimes."

"You never should try to forget what you are. Everybody in the world
speaks well of you. Even that cruel Lieutenant Carroway can not help
admiring you. And if you have taken to free trade, what else could you
do, when you had no friends, and even your coat was stolen?"

"High-minded people take that view of it, I know. But I do not pretend
to any such excuse. I took to free trade for the sake of my friends--to
support the old couple who have been so good to me."

"That is better still; it shows such good principle. My uncle Popplewell
has studied the subject of what they call 'political economy,' and he
says that the country requires free trade, and the only way to get it is
to go on so that the government must give way at last. However, I need
not instruct you about that; and you must not stop any longer."

"Miss Anerley, I will not encroach upon your kindness. You have said
things that I never shall forget. On the Continent I meet very many
ladies who tell me good things, and make me better; but not at all as
you have done. A minute of talk with you is worth an hour with anybody
else. But I fear that you laugh at me all the while, and are only too
glad to be rid of me. Good-by. May I kiss your hand? God bless you!"

Mary had no time to say a single word, or even to express her ideas by
a look, before Robin Lyth, with all his bright apparel, was "conspicuous
by his absence." As a diving bird disappears from a gun, or a trout from
a shadow on his hover, or even a debtor from his creditor, so the great
free-trader had vanished into lightsome air, and left emptiness behind
him.

The young maid, having been prepared to yield him a few yards more of
good advice, if he held out for another corner, now could only say to
herself that she never had met such a wonderful man. So active, strong,
and astonishingly brave; so thoroughly acquainted with foreign lands,
yet superior to their ladies; so able to see all the meaning of good
words, and to value them when offered quietly; so sweet in his manner,
and voice, and looks; and with all his fame so unpretending, and--much
as it frightened her to think it--really seeming to be afraid of her.



CHAPTER XIII

GRUMBLING AND GROWLING


While these successful runs went on, and great authorities smiled at
seeing the little authorities set at naught, and men of the revenue
smote their breasts for not being born good smugglers, and the general
public was well pleased, and congratulated them cordially upon their
accomplishment of naught, one man there was whose noble spirit chafed
and knew no comfort. He strode up and down at Coast-guard Point, and
communed with himself, while Robin held sweet converse in the lane.

"Why was I born?" the sad Carroway cried; "why was I thoroughly
educated and trained in both services of the king, expected to rise, and
beginning to rise, till a vile bit of splinter stopped me, and then sent
down to this hole of a place to starve, and be laughed at, and baffled
by a boy? Another lucky run, and the revenue bamboozled, and the whole
of us sent upon a wild-goose chase! Every gapper-mouth zany grinning
at me, and scoundrels swearing that I get my share! And the only time I
have had my dinner with my knees crook'd, for at least a fortnight, was
at Anerley Farm on Sunday. I am not sure that even they wouldn't turn
against me; I am certain that pretty girl would. I've a great mind to
throw it up--a great mind to throw it up. It is hardly the work for
a gentleman born, and the grandson of a rear-admiral. Tinkers' and
tailors' sons get the luck now; and a man of good blood is put on the
back shelf, behind the blacking-bottles. A man who has battled for his
country--"

"Charles, are you coming to your dinner, once more?"

"No, I am not. There's no dinner worth coming to. You and the children
may eat the rat pie. A man who has battled for his country, and bled
till all his veins were empty, and it took two men to hold him up,
and yet waved his Sword at the head of them--it is the downright
contradiction of the world in everything for him to poke about with pots
and tubs, like a pig in a brewery, grain-hunting."

"Once more, Charles, there is next to nothing left. The children are
eating for their very lives. If you stay out there another minute, you
must take the consequence."

"Alas, that I should have so much stomach, and so little to put into it!
My dear, put a little bit under a basin, if any of them has no appetite.
I wanted just to think a little."

"Charles, they have all got tremendous appetites. It is the way the wind
is. You may think by-and-by, but if you want to eat, you must do it now,
or never."

"'Never' never suits me in that matter," the brave lieutenant answered.
"Matilda, put Geraldine to warm the pewter plate for me. Geraldine
darling, you can do it with your mouth full."

The commander of the coast-guard turned abruptly from his long indignant
stride, and entered the cottage provided for him, and which he had
peopled so speedily.

Small as it was, it looked beautifully clean and neat, and everybody
used to wonder how Mrs. Carroway kept it so. But in spite of all her
troubles and many complaints, she was very proud of this little house,
with its healthful position and beautiful outlook over the bay of
Bridlington. It stood in a niche of the low soft cliff, where now the
sea-parade extends from the northern pier of Bridlington Quay; and when
the roadstead between that and the point was filled with a fleet of
every kind of craft, or, better still, when they all made sail at
once--as happened when a trusty breeze arose--the view was lively, and
very pleasant, and full of moving interest. Often one of his Majesty's
cutters, Swordfish, Kestrel, or Albatross, would swoop in with all
sail set, and hover, while the skipper came ashore to see the "Ancient
Carroway," as this vigilant officer was called; and sometimes even
a sloop of war, armed brigantine, or light corvette, prowling for
recruits, or cruising for their training, would run in under the Head,
and overhaul every wind-bound ship with a very high hand.

"Ancient Carroway"--as old friends called him, and even young people
who had never seen him--was famous upon this coast now for nearly
three degrees of latitude. He had dwelled here long, and in highly
good content, hospitably treated by his neighbors, and himself more
hospitable than his wife could wish, until two troubles in his life
arose, and from year to year grew worse and worse. One of these troubles
was the growth of mouths in number and size, that required to be filled;
and the other trouble was the rampant growth of smuggling, and the glory
of that upstart Robin Lyth. Now let it be lawful to take that subject
first.

Fair Robin, though not at all anxious for fame, but modestly willing
to decline it, had not been successful--though he worked so much by
night--in preserving sweet obscurity. His character was public, and set
on high by fortune, to be gazed at from wholly different points of view.
From their narrow and lime-eyed outlook the coast-guard beheld in
him the latest incarnation of Old Nick; yet they hated him only in an
abstract manner, and as men feel toward that evil one. Magistrates also,
and the large protective powers, were arrayed against him, yet happy to
abstain from laying hands, when their hands were their own, upon him.
And many of the farmers, who should have been his warmest friends and
best customers, were now so attached to their king and country, by
bellicose warmth and army contracts, that instead of a guinea for a
four-gallon anker, they would offer three crowns, or the exciseman.
And not only conscience, but short cash, after three bad harvests,
constrained them.

Yet the staple of public opinion was sound, as it must be where women
predominate. The best of women could not see why they should not have
anything they wanted for less than it cost the maker. To gaze at a
sister woman better dressed at half the money was simply to abjure every
lofty principle. And to go to church with a counterfeit on, when the
genuine lace was in the next pew on a body of inferior standing, was a
downright outrage to the congregation, the rector, and all religion. A
cold-blooded creature, with no pin-money, might reconcile it with her
principles, if any she had, to stand up like a dowdy and allow a poor
man to risk his life by shot and storm and starvation, and then to deny
him a word or a look, because of his coming with the genuine thing at
a quarter the price fat tradesmen asked, who never stirred out of their
shops when it rained, for a thing that was a story and an imposition.
Charity, duty, and common honesty to their good husbands in these bad
times compelled them to make the very best of bargains; of which they
got really more and more, as those brave mariners themselves bore
witness, because of the depression in the free trade now and the
glorious victories of England. Were they bound to pay three times the
genuine value, and then look a figure, and be laughed at?

And as for Captain Carroway, let him scold, and threaten, and stride
about, and be jealous, because his wife dare not buy true things, poor
creature--although there were two stories also about that, and the
quantities of things that he got for nothing, whenever he was clever
enough to catch them, which scarcely ever happened, thank goodness! Let
Captain Carroway attend to his own business; unless he was much belied,
he had a wife who would keep him to it. Who was Captain Carroway to come
down here, without even being born in Yorkshire, and lay down the law,
as if he owned the manor?

Lieutenant Carroway had heard such questions, but disdained to answer
them. He knew who he was, and what his grandfather had been, and he
never cared a--short word--what sort of stuff long tongues might prate
of him. Barbarous broad-drawlers, murderers of his Majesty's English,
could they even pronounce the name of an officer highly distinguished
for many years in both of the royal services? That was his description,
and the Yorkshire yokels might go and read it--if read they could--in
the pages of authority.

Like the celebrated calf that sucked two cows, Carroway had drawn royal
pay, though in very small drains, upon either element, beginning with a
skeleton regiment, and then, when he became too hot for it, diving off
into a frigate as a recommended volunteer. Here he was more at home,
though he never ceased longing to be a general; and having the credit
of fighting well ashore, he was looked at with interest when he fought a
fight at sea. He fought it uncommonly well, and it was good, and so many
men fell that he picked up his commission, and got into a fifty-two-gun
ship. After several years of service, without promotion--for his
grandfather's name was worn out now, and the wars were not properly
constant--there came a very lively succession of fights, and Carroway
got into all of them, or at least into all the best of them. And he
ought to have gone up much faster than he did, and he must have done so
but for his long lean jaws, the which are the worst things that any man
can have. Not only because of their own consumption and slow length
of leverage, but mainly on account of the sadness they impart, and the
timid recollection of a hungry wolf, to the man who might have lifted up
a fatter individual.

But in Rodney's great encounter with the Spanish fleet, Carroway
showed such a dauntless spirit, and received such a wound, that it was
impossible not to pay him some attention. His name was near the bottom
of a very long list, but it made a mark on some one's memory, depositing
a chance of coming up some day, when he should be reported hit again.
And so good was his luck that he soon was hit again, and a very bad
hit it was; but still he got over it without promotion, because that
enterprise was one in which nearly all our men ran away, and therefore
required to be well pushed up for the sake of the national honor. When
such things happen, the few who stay behind must be left behind in the
Gazette as well. That wound, therefore, seemed at first to go against
him, but he bandaged it, and plastered it, and hoped for better luck.
And his third wound truly was a blessed one, a slight one, and taken in
the proper course of things, without a slur upon any of his comrades.
This set him up again with advancement and appointment, and enabled him
to marry and have children seven.

The lieutenant was now about fifty years of age, gallant and lively as
ever, and resolute to attend to his duty and himself as well. His duty
was now along shore, in command of the Coast-guard of the East District;
for the loss of a good deal of one heel made it hard for him to step
about as he should do when afloat. The place suited him, and he was fond
of it, although he grumbled sometimes about his grandfather, and went
on as if his office was beneath him. He abused all his men, and all the
good ones liked him, and respected him for his clear English. And he
enjoyed this free exercise of language out-of-doors, because inside his
threshold he was on his P's and Q's. To call him "ugly Carroway," as
coarse people did, because of a scar across his long bold nose, was
petty and unjust, and directly contradicted by his own and his wife's
opinion. For nobody could have brighter eyes, or a kindlier smile, and
more open aspect in the forepart of the week, while his Sunday shave
retained its influence, so far as its limited area went, for he kept a
long beard always. By Wednesday he certainly began to look grim, and on
Saturday ferocious, pending the advent of the Bridlington barber, who
shaved all the Quay every Sunday. But his mind was none the worse, and
his daughters liked him better when he rasped their young cheeks with
his beard, and paid a penny. For to his children he was a loving and
tender-hearted father, puzzled at their number, and sometimes perplexed
at having to feed and clothe them, yet happy to give them his last and
go without, and even ready to welcome more, if Heaven should be pleased
to send them.

But Mrs. Carroway, most fidgety of women, and born of a well-shorn
family, was unhappy from the middle to the end of the week that she
could not scrub her husband's beard off. The lady's sense of human
crime, and of everything hateful in creation, expressed itself mainly in
the word "dirt." Her rancor against that nobly tranquil and most natural
of elements inured itself into a downright passion. From babyhood she
had been notorious for kicking her little legs out at the least speck
of dust upon a tiny red shoe. Her father--a clergyman--heard so much of
this, and had so many children of a different stamp, that when he came
to christen her, at six months of age (which used to be considered quite
an early time of life), he put upon her the name of "Lauta," to which
she thoroughly acted up; but people having ignorance of foreign tongues
said that he always meant "Matilda."

Such was her nature, and it grew upon her; so that when a young and
gallant officer, tall and fresh, and as clean as a frigate, was captured
by her neat bright eyes, very clean run, and sharp cut-water, she began
to like to look at him. Before very long, his spruce trim ducks, careful
scrape of Brunswick-leather boots, clean pocket-handkerchiefs, and
fine specklessness, were making and keeping a well-swept path to the
thoroughly dusted store-room of her heart. How little she dreamed, in
those virgin days, that the future could ever contain a week when her
Charles would decline to shave more than once, and then have it done for
him on a Sunday!

She hesitated, for she had her thoughts--doubts she disdained to call
them--but still he forgot once to draw his boots sideways, after having
purged the toe and heel, across the bristle of her father's mat. With
the quick eye of love he perceived her frown, and the very next day he
conquered her. His scheme was unworthy, as it substituted corporate for
personal purity; still it succeeded, as unworthy schemes will do. On the
birthday of his sacred Majesty, Charles took Matilda to see his ship,
the 48-gun frigate Immaculate, commanded by a well-known martinet. Her
spirit fell within her, like the Queen of Sheba's, as she gazed, but
trembled to set down foot upon the trim order and the dazzling choring.
She might have survived the strict purity of all things, the deck lines
whiter than Parian marble, the bulwarks brighter than the cheek-piece of
a grate, the breeches of the guns like goodly gold, and not a whisker
of a rope's end curling the wrong way, if only she could have espied a
swab, or a bucket, or a flake of holy-stone, or any indicament of labor
done. "Artis est celare artem;" this art was unfathomable.

Matilda was fain to assure herself that the main part of this might be
superficial, like a dish-cover polished with the spots on, and she lost
her handkerchief on purpose to come back and try a little test-work
of her own. This was a piece of unstopped knotting in the panel of a
hatchway, a resinous hole that must catch and keep any speck of dust
meandering on the wayward will of wind. Her cambric came out as white as
it went in!

She surrendered at discretion, and became the prize of Carroway.

Now people at Bridlington Quay declared that the lieutenant, though he
might have carried off a prize, was certainly not the prize-master; and
they even went so far as to say that "he could scarcely call his soul
his own." The matter was no concern of theirs, neither were their
conclusions true. In little things the gallant officer, for the sake of
discipline and peace, submitted to due authority; and being so much from
home, he left all household matters to a firm control. In return for
this, he was always thought of first, and the best of everything was
kept for him, and Mrs. Carroway quoted him to others as a wonder, though
she may not have done so to himself. And so, upon the whole, they got on
very well together.

Now on this day, when the lieutenant had exhausted a grumble of unusual
intensity, and the fair Geraldine (his eldest child) had obeyed him to
the letter, by keeping her mouth full while she warmed a plate for him,
it was not long before his usual luck befell the bold Carroway. Rap,
rap, came a knock at the side door of his cottage--a knock only too
familiar; and he heard the gruff voice of Cadman--"Can I see his honor
immediately?"

"No, you can not," replied Mrs. Carroway. "One would think you were all
in a league to starve him. No sooner does he get half a mouthful--"

"Geraldine, put it on the hob, my dear, and a basin over it. Matilda, my
love, you know my maxim--'Duty first, dinner afterward.' Cadman, I will
come with you."

The revenue officer took up his hat (which had less time now than his
dinner to get cold) and followed Cadman to the usual place for holding
privy councils. This was under the heel of the pier (which was then
about half as long as now) at a spot where the outer wall combed over,
to break the crest of the surges in the height of a heavy eastern gale.
At neap tides, and in moderate weather, this place was dry, with a fine
salt smell; and with nothing in front of it but the sea, and nothing
behind it but solid stone wall, any one would think that here must be
commune sacred, secret, and secluded from eavesdroppers. And yet it was
not so, by reason of a very simple reason.

Upon the roadway of the pier, and over against a mooring-post, where the
parapet and the pier itself made a needful turn toward the south, there
was an equally needful thing, a gully-hole with an iron trap to carry
off the rain that fell, or the spray that broke upon the fabric; and the
outlet of this gully was in the face of the masonry outside. Carroway,
not being gifted with a crooked mind, had never dreamed that this little
gut might conduct the pulses of the air, like the Tyrant's Ear, and
that the trap at the end might be a trap for him. Yet so it was; and by
gently raising the movable iron frame at the top, a well-disposed person
might hear every word that was spoken in the snug recess below. Cadman
was well aware of this little fact, but left his commander to find it
out.

The officer, always thinly clad (both through the state of his wardrobe
and his dread of effeminate comfort), settled his bony shoulders
against the rough stonework, and his heels upon a groyne, and gave his
subordinate a nod, which meant, "Make no fuss, but out with it." Cadman,
a short square fellow with crafty eyes, began to do so.

"Captain, I have hit it off at last. Hackerbody put me wrong last time,
through the wench he hath a hankering after. This time I got it, and no
mistake, as right as if the villain lay asleep 'twixt you and me, and
told us all about it with his tongue out; and a good thing for men of
large families like me."

"All that I have heard such a number of times," his commander answered,
crustily, "that I whistle, as we used to do in a dead calm, Cadman. An
old salt like you knows how little comes of that."

"There I don't quite agree with your honor. I have known a hurricane
come from whistling. But this time there is no woman about it, and the
penny have come down straightforrard. New moon Tuesday next, and Monday
we slips first into that snug little cave. He hath a' had his last good
run."

"How much is coming this time, Cadman? I am sick and tired of those
three caves. It is all old woman's talk of caves, while they are running
south, upon the open beach."

"Captain, it is a big venture--the biggest of all the summer, I do
believe. Two thousand pounds, if there is a penny, in it. The schooner,
and the lugger, and the ketch, all to once, of purpose to send us
scattering. But your honor knows what we be after most. No woman in it
this time, Sir. The murder has been of the women, all along. When there
is no woman, I can see my way. We have got the right pig by the ear this
time."

"John Cadman, your manner of speech is rude. You forget that your
commanding officer has a wife and family, three-quarters of which are
female. You will give me your information without any rude observations
as to sex, of which you, as a married man, should be ashamed. A man and
his wife are one flesh, Cadman, and therefore you are a woman yourself,
and must labor not to disgrace yourself. Now don't look amazed, but
consider these things. If you had not been in a flurry, like a woman,
you would not have spoiled my dinner so. I will meet you at the outlook
at six o'clock. I have business on hand of importance."

With these words Carroway hastened home, leaving Cadman to mutter his
wrath, and then to growl it, when his officer was out of ear-shot.

"Never a day, nor an hour a'most, without he insulteth of me. A woman,
indeed! Well, his wife may be a man, but what call hath he to speak of
mine so? John Cadman a woman, and one flesh with his wife! Pretty news
that would be for my missus!"



CHAPTER XIV

SERIOUS CHARGES


"Stephen, if it was anybody else, you would listen to me in a moment,"
said Mrs. Anerley to her lord, a few days after that little interview in
the Bempton Lane; "for instance, if it was poor Willie, how long would
you be in believing it? But because it is Mary, you say 'pooh! pooh!'
And I may as well talk to the old cracked churn."

"First time of all my born days," the farmer answered, with a pleasant
smile, "that ever I was resembled to a churn. But a man's wife ought to
know best about un."

"Stephen, it is not the churn--I mean you; and you never should attempt
to ride off in that sort of way. I tell you Mary hath a mischief on her
mind; and you never ought to bring up old churns to me. As long as I
can carry almost anything in mind, I have been considered to be full of
common-sense. And what should I use it upon, Captain Anerley, without it
was my own daughter?"

The farmer was always conquered when she called him "Captain Anerley."
He took it to point at him as a pretender, a coxcomb fond of titles, a
would-be officer who took good care to hold aloof from fighting. And he
knew in his heart that he loved to be called "Captain Anerley" by every
one who meant it.

"My dear," he said, in a tone of submission, and with a look that
grieved her, "the knowledge of such things is with you. I can not enter
into young maids' minds, any more than command a company."

"Stephen, you could do both, if you chose, better than ten of eleven
who do it. For, Stephen, you have a very tender mind, and are not at all
like a churn, my dear. That was my manner of speech, you ought to know,
because from my youngest days I had a crowd of imagination. You remember
that, Stephen, don't you?"

"I remember, Sophy, that in the old time you never resembled me to a
churn, let alone a cracked one. You used to christen me a pillar, and
a tree, and a rock, and a polished corner; but there, what's the odds,
when a man has done his duty? The names of him makes no difference."

"'Twist you and me, my dear," she said, "nothing can make any
difference. We know one another too well for that. You are all that I
ever used to call you, before I knew better about you, and when I used
to dwell upon your hair and your smile. You know what I used to say of
them, now, Stephen?"

"Most complimentary--highly complimentary! Another young woman brought
me word of it, and it made me stick firm when my mind was doubtful."

"And glad you ought to be that you did stick firm. And you have the Lord
to thank for it, as well as your own sense. But no time to talk of
our old times now. They are coming up again, with those younkers, I'm
afraid. Willie is like a Church; and Jack--no chance of him getting the
chance of it; but Mary, your darling of the lot, our Mary--her mind is
unsettled, and a worry coming over her; the same as with me when I saw
you first."

"It is the Lord that directs those things," the farmer answered,
steadfastly; "and Mary hath the sense of her mother, I believe. That it
is maketh me so fond on her. If the young maid hath taken a fancy,
it will pass, without a bit of substance to settle on. Why, how many
fancies had you, Sophy, before you had the good luck to clap eyes on
me?"

"That is neither here nor there," his wife replied, audaciously; "how
many times have you asked such questions, which are no concern of yours?
You could not expect me, before ever I saw you, not to have any eyes or
ears. I had plenty to say for myself; and I was not plain; and I acted
accordingly."

Master Anerley thought about this, because he had heard it and thought
of it many times before. He hated to think about anything new, having
never known any good come of it; and his thoughts would rather flow than
fly, even in the fugitive brevity of youth. And now, in his settled way,
his practice was to tread thought deeper into thought, as a man in
deep snow keeps the track of his own boots, or as a child writes ink on
pencil in his earliest copy-books. "You acted according," he said; "and
Mary might act according to you, mother."

"How can you talk so, Stephen? That would be a different thing
altogether. Young girls are not a bit like what they used to be in my
time. No steadiness, no diligence, no duty to their parents. Gadding
about is all they think of, and light-headed chatter, and saucy
ribbons."

"May be so with some of them. But I never see none of that in Mary."

"Mary is a good girl, and well brought up," her mother could not help
admitting, "and fond of her home, and industrious. But for all that, she
must be looked after sharply. And who can look after a child like her
mother? I can tell you one thing, Master Stephen: your daughter Mary
has more will of her own than the rest of your family all put together,
including even your own good wife."

"Prodigious!" cried the farmer, while he rubbed his hands and
laughed--"prodigious, and a man might say impossible. A young lass like
Mary, such a coaxing little poppet, as tender as a lambkin, and as soft
as wool!"

"Flannel won't only run one way; no more won't Mary," said her mother.
"I know her better a long sight than you do; and I say if ever Mary
sets her heart on any one, have him she will, be he cowboy, thief, or
chimney-sweep. So now you know what to expect, Master Anerley."

Stephen Anerley never made light of his wife's opinions in those
few cases wherein they differed from his own. She agreed with him so
generally that in common fairness he thought very highly of her wisdom,
and the present subject was one upon which she had an especial right to
be heard.

"Sophy," he said, as he set up his coat to be off to a cutting of clover
on the hill--for no reaping would begin yet for another month--"the
things you have said shall abide in my mind. Only you be a-watching of
the little wench. Harry Tanfield is the man I would choose for her of
all others. But I never would force any husband on a lass; though stern
would I be to force a bad one off, or one in an unfit walk of life. No
inkle in your mind who it is, or wouldst have told me?"

"Well, I may, or I may not. I never like to speak promiscuous. You
have the first right to know what I think. But I beg you to let me be a
while. Not even to you, Steve, would I say it, without more to go upon
than there is yet. I might do the lass a great wrong in my surmising;
and then you would visit my mistake on me, for she is the apple of your
eye, no doubt."

"There is never such another maid in all York County, nor in England, to
my thinking."

"She is my daughter as well as yours, and I would be the last to make
cheap of her. I will not say another word until I know. But if I am
right--which the Lord forbid--we shall both be ashamed of her, Stephen."

"The Lord forbid! The Lord forbid! Amen. I will not hear another word."
The farmer snatched up his hat, and made off with a haste unusual for
him, while his wife sat down, and crossed her arms, and began to think
rather bitterly. For, without any dream of such a possibility, she was
jealous sometimes of her own child. Presently the farmer rushed back
again, triumphant with a new idea. His eyes were sparkling, and his step
full of spring, and a brisk smile shone upon his strong and ruddy face.

"What a pair of stupes we must be to go on so!" he cried, with a couple
of bright guineas in his hand. "Mary hath not had a new frock even,
going on now for a year and a half. Sophy, it is enough to turn a
maid into thinking of any sort of mischief. Take you these and make
everything right. I was saving them up for her birthday, but maybe
another will turn up by that. My dear, you take them, and never be
afeared."

"Stephen, you may leave them, if you like. I shall not be in any haste
to let them go. Either give them to the lass yourself, or leave it to me
purely. She shall not have a sixpence, unless it is deserved."

"Of course I leave it in your hands, wife. I never come between you and
your children. But young folk go piping always after money now; and even
our Mary might be turning sad without it."

He hastened off again, without hearing any more; for he knew that some
hours of strong labor were before him, and to meet them with a heavy
heart would be almost a new thing for him. Some time ago he had begun
to hold the plough of heaviness, through the difficult looseness of
Willie's staple, and the sudden maritime slope of Jack; yet he held on
steadily through all this, with the strength of homely courage. But if
in the pride of his heart, his Mary, he should find no better than a
crooked furrow, then truly the labor of his latter days would be the
dull round of a mill horse.

Now Mary, in total ignorance of that council held concerning her, and
even of her mother's bad suspicions, chanced to come in at the front
porch door soon after her father set off to his meadows by way of the
back yard. Having been hard at work among her flowers, she was come to
get a cupful of milk for herself, and the cheery content and general
goodwill encouraged by the gardener's gentle craft were smiling on her
rosy lips and sparkling in her eyes. Her dress was as plain as plain
could be--a lavender twill cut and fitted by herself--and there was not
an ornament about her that came from any other hand than Nature's. But
simple grace of movement and light elegance of figure, fair curves of
gentle face and loving kindness of expression, gladdened with the hope
of youth--what did these want with smart dresses, golden brooches, and
two guineas? Her mother almost thought of this when she called Mary into
the little parlor. And the two guineas lay upon the table.

"Mary, can you spare a little time to talk with me? You seem wonderfully
busy, as usual."

"Mother, will you never make allowance for my flowers? They depend upon
the weather, and they must have things accordingly."

"Very well; let them think about what they want next, while you sit down
a while and talk with me."

The girl was vexed; for to listen to a lecture, already manifest in
her mother's eyes, was a far less agreeable job than gardening. And the
lecture would have done as well by candle-light, which seldom can be
said of any gardening. However, she took off her hat, and sat down,
without the least sign of impatience, and without any token of guilt, as
her mother saw, and yet stupidly proceeded just the same.

"Mary," she began, with a gaze of stern discretion, which the girl met
steadfastly and pleasantly, "you know that I am your own mother, and
bound to look after you well, while you are so very young; for though
you are sensible some ways, Mary, in years and in experience what are
you but a child? Of the traps of the world and the wickedness of people
you can have no knowledge. You always think the best of everybody; which
is a very proper thing to do, and what I have always brought you up to,
and never would dream of discouraging. And with such examples as your
father and your mother, you must be perverse to do otherwise. Still,
it is my duty to warn you, Mary--and you are getting old enough to want
it--that the world is not made up of fathers and mothers, brothers and
sisters, and good uncles. There are always bad folk who go prowling
about like wolves in--wolves in--what is it--"

"Sheep's clothing," the maiden suggested, with a smile, and then dropped
her eyes maliciously.

"How dare you be pert, miss, correcting your own mother? Do I ever
catch you reading of your Bible? But you seem to know so much about it,
perhaps you have met some of them?"

"How can I tell, mother, when you won't tell me?"

"I tell you, indeed! It is your place to tell me, I think. And what is
more, I insist at once upon knowing all about it. What makes you go
on in the way that you are doing? Do you take me for a drumledore,
you foolish child? On Tuesday afternoon I saw you sewing with a double
thread. Your father had potato-eyes upon his plate on Sunday; and which
way did I see you trying to hang up a dish-cover? But that is nothing;
fifty things you go wandering about in; and always out, on some
pretense, as if the roof you were born under was not big enough for
you. And then your eyes--I have seen your eyes flash up, as if you were
fighting; and the bosom of your Sunday frock was loose in church two
buttons; it was not hot at all to speak of, and there was a wasp next
pew. All these things make me unhappy, Mary. My darling, tell me what it
is."

Mary listened with great amazement to this catalogue of crimes. At the
time of their commission she had never even thought of them, although
she was vexed with herself when she saw one eye--for in verity that was
all--of a potato upon her father's plate. Now she blushed when she heard
of the buttons of her frock--which was only done because of tightness,
and showed how long she must have worn it; but as to the double thread,
she was sure that nothing of that sort could have happened.

"Why, mother dear," she said, quite softly, coming up in her coaxing
way, which nobody could resist, because it was true and gentle
lovingness, "you know a hundred times more than I do. I have never known
of any of the sad mistakes you speak of, except about the potato-eye,
and then I had a round-pointed knife. But I want to make no excuses,
mother; and there is nothing the matter with me. Tell me what you mean
about the wolves."

"My child," said her mother, whose face she was kissing, while they both
went on with talking, "it is no good trying to get over me. Either you
have something on your mind, or you have not--which is it?"

"Mother, what can I have on my mind? I have never hurt any one, and
never mean to do it. Every one is kind to me, and everybody likes me,
and of course I like them all again. And I always have plenty to do, in
and out, as you take very good care, dear mother. My father loves me,
and so do you, a great deal more than I deserve, perhaps. I am happy
in a Sunday frock that wants more stuff to button; and I have only one
trouble in all the world. When I think of the other girls I see--"

"Never mind them, my dear. What is your one trouble?"

"Mother, as if you could help knowing! About my dear brother Jack, of
course. Jack was so wonderfully good to me! I would walk on my hands and
knees all the way to York to get a single glimpse of him."

"You would never get as far as the rick-yard hedge. You children talk
such nonsense. Jack ran away of his own free-will, and out of downright
contrariness. He has repented of it only once, I dare say, and that has
been ever since he did it, and every time he thought of it. I wish
he was home again, with all my heart, for I can not bear to lose my
children. And Jack was as good a boy as need be, when he got everything
his own way. Mary, is that your only trouble? Stand where I can see you
plainly, and tell me every word the truth. Put your hair back from your
eyes now, like the catechism."

"If I were saying fifty catechisms, what more could I do than speak the
truth?" Mary asked this with some little vexation, while she stood up
proudly before her mother, and clasped her hands behind her back. "I
have told you everything I know, except one little thing, which I am not
sure about."

"What little thing, if you please? and how can you help being sure about
it, positive as you are about everything?"

"Mother, I mean that I have not been sure whether I ought to tell you;
and I meant to tell my father first, when there could be no mischief."

"Mary, I can scarcely believe my ears. To tell your father before your
mother, and not even him until nothing could be done to stop it, which
you call 'mischief!' I insist upon knowing at once what it is. I have
felt that you were hiding something. How very unlike you, how unlike a
child of mine!"

"You need not disturb yourself, mother dear. It is nothing of any
importance to me, though to other people it might be. And that is the
reason why I kept it to myself."

"Oh, we shall come to something by-and-by! One would really think you
were older than your mother. Now, miss, if you please, let us judge of
your discretion. What is it that you have been hiding so long?"

Mary's face grew crimson now, but with anger rather than with shame; she
had never thought twice about Robin Lyth with anything warmer than pity,
but this was the very way to drive her into dwelling in a mischievous
manner upon him.

"What I have been hiding," she said, most distinctly, and steadfastly
looking at her mother, "is only that I have had two talks with the great
free-trader Robin Lyth."

"That arrant smuggler! That leader of all outlaws! You have been meeting
him on the sly!"

"Certainly not. But I met him once by chance; and then, as a matter of
business, I was forced to meet him again, dear mother."

"These things are too much for me," Mrs. Anerley said, decisively. "When
matters have come to such a pass, I must beg your dear father to see to
them."

"Very well, mother; I would rather have it so. May I go now and make an
end of my gardening?"

"Certainly--as soon as you have made an end of me, as you must quite
have laid your plans to do. I have seen too much to be astonished any
more. But to think that a child of mine, my one and only daughter, who
looks as if butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, should be hand in glove
with the wickedest smuggler of the age, the rogue everybody shoots
at--but can not hit him, because he was born to be hanged---the by-name,
the by-word, the by-blow, Robin Lyth!" Mrs. Anerley covered her face
with both hands.

"How would you like your own second cousin," said Mary, plucking up her
spirit, "your own second cousin, Mistress Cockscroft, to hear you speak
so of the man that supports them at the risk of his life, every hour of
it? He may be doing wrong--it is not for me to say--but he does it very
well, and he does it nobly. And what did you show me in your drawer,
dear mother? And what did you wear when that very cruel man, Captain
Carroway, came here to dine on Sunday?"

"You wicked, undutiful child! Go away! I wish to have nothing more to
say to you."

"No, I will not go away," cried Mary, with her resolute spirit in her
eyes and brow; "when false and cruel charges are brought against me, I
have the right to speak, and I will use it. I am not hand in glove with
Robin Lyth, or any other Robin. I think a little more of myself than
that. If I have done any wrong, I will meet it, and be sorry, and submit
to any punishment. I ought to have told you before, perhaps; that is the
worst you can say of it. But I never attached much importance to it; and
when a man is hunted so, was I to join his enemies? I have only seen him
twice: the first time by purest accident, and the second time to give
him back a piece of his own property. And I took my brother with me; but
he ran away, as usual."

"Of course, of course. Every one to blame but you, miss. However, we
shall see what your father has to say. You have very nearly taken all
my breath away; but I shall expect the whole sky to tumble in upon us
if Captain Anerley approves of Robin Lyth as a sweetheart for his
daughter."

"I never thought of Captain Lyth; and Captain Lyth never thought of me.
But I can tell you one thing, mother--if you wanted to make me think of
him, you could not do it better than by speaking so unjustly."

"After that perhaps you will go back to your flowers. I have heard that
they grow very fine ones in Holland. Perhaps you have got some smuggled
tulips, my dear."

Mary did not condescend to answer, but said to herself, as she went to
work again, "Tulips in August! That is like the rest of it. However, I
am not going to be put out, when I feel that I have not done a single
bit of harm." And she tried to be happy with her flowers, but could not
enter into them as before.

Mistress Anerley was as good as her word, at the very first opportunity.
Her husband returned from the clover-stack tired and hungry, and angry
with a man who had taken too much beer, and ran at him with a pitchfork;
angry also with his own son Willie for not being anywhere in the way to
help. He did not complain; and his wife knew at once that he ought to
have done so, to obtain relief. She perceived that her own discourse
about their daughter was still on his mind, and would require working
off before any more was said about it. And she felt as sure as if she
saw it that in his severity against poor Willie--for not doing things
that were beneath him--her master would take Mary's folly as a joke,
and fall upon her brother, who was so much older, for not going on to
protect and guide her. So she kept till after supper-time her mouthful
of bad tidings.

And when the farmer heard it all, as he did before going to sleep that
night, he had smoked three pipes of tobacco, and was calm; he had sipped
(for once in a way) a little Hollands, and was hopeful. And though he
said nothing about it, he felt that without any order of his, or so much
as the faintest desire to be told of it, neither of these petty comforts
would bear to be rudely examined of its duty. He hoped for the best,
and he believed the best, and if the king was cheated, why, his loyal
subject was the same, and the women were their masters.

"Have no fear, no fear," he muttered back through the closing gate of
sleep; "Mary knows her business--business--" and he buzzed it off into a
snore.

In the morning, however, he took a stronger and more serious view of the
case, pronouncing that Mary was only a young lass, and no one could ever
tell about young lasses. And he quite fell into his wife's suggestion,
that the maid could be spared till harvest-time, of which (even with the
best of weather) there was little chance now for another six weeks, the
season being late and backward. So it was resolved between them both
that the girl should go on the following day for a visit to her uncle
Popplewell, some miles the other side of Filey. No invitation was
required; for Mr. and Mrs. Popplewell, a snug and comfortable pair,
were only too glad to have their niece, and had often wanted to have her
altogether; but the farmer would never hear of that.



CHAPTER XV

CAUGHT AT LAST


While these little things were doing thus, the coast from the mouth of
the Tees to that of Humber, and even the inland parts, were in a great
stir of talk and work about events impending. It must not be thought
that Flamborough, although it was Robin's dwelling-place--so far as he
had any--was the principal scene of his operations, or the stronghold
of his enterprise. On the contrary, his liking was for quiet coves near
Scarborough, or even to the north of Whitby, when the wind and tide
were suitable. And for this there were many reasons which are not of any
moment now.

One of them showed fine feeling and much delicacy on his part. He knew
that Flamborough was a place of extraordinary honesty, where every
one of his buttons had been safe, and would have been so forever; and
strictly as he believed in the virtue of his own free importation,
it was impossible for him not to learn that certain people thought
otherwise, or acted as if they did so. From the troubles which such
doubts might cause, he strove to keep the natives free.

Flamburians scarcely understood this largeness of good-will to them.
Their instincts told them that free trade was every Briton's privilege;
and they had the finest set of donkeys on the coast for landing it. But
none the more did any of them care to make a movement toward it. They
were satisfied with their own old way--to cast the net their father
cast, and bait the hook as it was baited on their good grandfather's
thumb.

Yet even Flamborough knew that now a mighty enterprise was in hand. It
was said, without any contradiction, that young Captain Robin had laid
a wager of one hundred guineas with the worshipful mayor of Scarborough
and the commandant of the castle, that before the new moon he would land
on Yorkshire coast, without firing pistol or drawing steel, free goods
to the value of two thousand pounds, and carry them inland safely. And
Flamborough believed that he would do it.

Dr. Upround's house stood well, as rectories generally contrive to do.
No place in Flamborough parish could hope to swindle the wind of its
vested right, or to embezzle much treasure of the sun, but the parsonage
made a good effort to do both, and sometimes for three days together got
the credit of succeeding. And the dwellers therein, who felt the edge
of the difference outside their own walls, not only said but thoroughly
believed that they lived in a little Goshen.

For the house was well settled in a wrinkle of the hill expanding
southward, and encouraging the noon. From the windows a pleasant glimpse
might be obtained of the broad and tranquil anchorage, peopled with
white or black, according as the sails went up or down; for the rectory
stood to the southward of the point, as the rest of Flamborough surely
must have stood, if built by any other race than armadillos. But to see
all those vessels, and be sure what they were doing, the proper place
was a little snug "gazebo," chosen and made by the doctor himself, near
the crest of the gully he inhabited.

Here upon a genial summer day--when it came, as it sometimes dared to
do--was the finest little nook upon the Yorkshire coast for watching
what Virgil calls "the sail-winged sea." Not that a man could see round
the Head, unless his own were gifted with very crooked eyes; but without
doing that (which would only have disturbed the tranquillity of his
prospect) there was plenty to engage him in the peaceful spread of
comparatively waveless waters. Here might he see long vessels rolling,
not with great misery, but just enough to make him feel happy in the
firmness of his bench, and little jolly-boats it was more jolly to be
out of, and faraway heads giving genial bobs, and sea-legs straddled
in predicaments desirable rather for study than for practice. All was
highly picturesque and nice, and charming for the critic who had never
got to do it.

"Now, papa, you must come this very moment," cried Miss Janetta Upround,
the daughter of the house, and indeed the only daughter, with a gush of
excitement, rushing into the study of this deeply read divine; "there
is something doing that I can not understand. You must bring up the
spy-glass at once and explain. I am sure that there is something very
wrong."

"In the parish, my dear?" the rector asked, with a feeble attempt at
malice, for he did not want to be disturbed just now, and for weeks he
had tried (with very poor success) to make Janetta useful; for she had
no gift in that way.

"No, not in the parish at all, papa, unless it runs out under water,
as I am certain it ought to do, and make every one of those ships pay
tithe. If the law was worth anything, they would have to do it. They
get all the good out of our situation, and they save whole thousands
of pounds at a time, and they never pay a penny, nor even hoist a flag,
unless the day is fine, and the flag wants drying. But come along, papa,
now. I really can not wait; and they will have done it all without us."

"Janetta, take the glass and get the focus. I will come presently,
presently. In about two minutes--by the time that you are ready."

"Very well, papa. It is very good of you. I see quite clearly what
you want to do; and I hope you will do it. But you promise not to play
another game now?"

"My dear, I will promise that with pleasure. Only do please be off about
your business."

The rector was a most inveterate and insatiable chess-player. In the
household, rather than by it, he was, as a matter of lofty belief,
supposed to be deeply engaged with theology, or magisterial questions of
almost equal depth, or (to put it at the lowest) parochial affairs,
the while he was solidly and seriously engaged in getting up the sound
defense to some Continental gambit. And this, not only to satisfy
himself upon some point of theory, but from a nearer and dearer point of
view--for he never did like to be beaten.

At present he was laboring to discover the proper defense to a new and
slashing form of the Algaier gambit, by means of which Robin Lyth had
won every game in which he had the move, upon their last encounter.
The great free-trader, while a boy, had shown an especial aptitude for
chess, and even as a child he had seemed to know the men when first, by
some accident, he saw them. The rector being struck by this exception
to the ways of childhood--whose manner it is to take chess-men for
"dollies," or roll them about like nine-pins--at once included in
the education of "Izunsabe," which he took upon himself, a course of
elemental doctrine in the one true game. And the boy fought his way up
at such a pace that he jumped from odds of queen and rook to pawn and
two moves in less than two years. And now he could almost give odds to
his tutor, though he never presumed to offer them; and trading as he
did with enlightened merchants of large Continental sea-ports, who had
plenty of time on their hands and played well, he imported new openings
of a dash and freedom which swallowed the ground up under the feet of
the steady-going players, who had never seen a book upon their favorite
subject. Of course it was competent to all these to decline such fiery
onslaught; but chivalry and the true love of analysis (which without may
none play chess) compelled the acceptance of the challenge, even with a
trembling forecast of the taste of dust.

"Never mind," said Dr. Upround, as he rose and stretched himself, a good
straight man of threescore years, with silver hair that shone like
silk; "it has not come to me yet; but it must, with a little
more perseverance. At Cambridge I beat everybody; and who is this
uncircumcised--at least, I beg his pardon, for I did myself baptize
him--but who is Robin Lyth, to mate his pastor and his master? All these
gambits are like a night attack. If once met properly and expelled,
you are in the very heart of the enemy's camp. He has left his own
watch-fires to rush at yours. The next game I play, I shall be sure to
beat him."

Fully convinced of this great truth, he took a strong oak staff and
hastened to obey his daughter. Miss Janetta Upround had not only learned
by nature, but also had been carefully taught by her parents, and by
every one, how to get her own way always, and to be thanked for taking
it. But she had such a happy nature, full of kindness and good-will,
that other people's wishes always seemed to flow into her own, instead
of being swept aside. Over her father her government was in no sort
constitutional, nor even a quiet despotism sweetened with liberal
illusions, but as pure a piece of autocracy as the Continent could
itself contain, in the time of this first Napoleon.

"Papa, what a time you have been, to be sure!" she exclaimed, as the
doctor came gradually up, probing his way in perfect leisure, and
fragrant still of that gambit; "one would think that your parish was
on dry land altogether, while the better half of it, as they call
themselves--though the women are in righteousness the better half a
hundredfold--"

"My dear, do try to talk with some little sense of arithmetic, if no
other. A hundredfold the half would be the unit multiplied by fifty. Not
to mention that there can be no better half--"

"Yes, there can, papa, ever so many; and you may see one in mamma every
day. Now you put one eye to this glass, and the half is better than the
whole. With both, you see nothing; with one, you see better, fifty times
better, than with both before. Don't talk of arithmetic after that. It
is algebra now, and quod demonstrandum."

"To reason with the less worthy gender is degeneration of reason. What
would they have said in the Senate-house, Janetta? However, I will obey
your orders. What am I to look at?"

"A tall and very extraordinary man, striking his arms out, thus and
thus. I never saw any one looking so excited; and he flourishes a long
sword now and again, as if he would like to cut everybody's head off.
There he has been going from ship to ship, for an hour or more, with a
long white boat, and a lot of men jumping after him. Every one seems
to be scared of him, and he stumps along the deck just as if he were on
springs, and one spring longer than the other. You see that heavy brig
outside the rest, painted with ten port-holes; well, she began to make
sail and run away, but he fired a gun--quite a real cannon--and she
had to come back again and drop her colors. Oh, is it some very great
admiral, papa? Perhaps Lord Nelson himself; I would go and be seasick
for three days to see Lord Nelson. Papa, it must be Lord Nelson."

"My dear, Lord Nelson is a little, short man, with a very brisk walk,
and one arm gone. Now let me see who this can be. Whereabout is he now,
Janetta?"

"Do you see that clumsy-looking schooner, papa, just behind a
pilot-boat? He is just in front of her foremast--making such a fuss--"

"What eyes you have got, my child! You see better without the glass than
I do with it.--Oh, now I have him! Why, I might have guessed. Of course
it is that very active man and vigilant officer Lieutenant Carroway."

"Captain Carroway from Bridlington, papa? Why, what can he be doing with
such authority? I have often heard of him, but I thought he was only a
coast-guard."

"He is, as you say, showing great authority, and, I fear, using very
bad language, for which he is quite celebrated. However, the telescope
refuses to repeat it, for which it is much to be commended. But
every allowance must be made for a man who has to deal with a wholly
uncultivated race, and not of natural piety, like ours."

"Well, papa, I doubt if ours have too much, though you always make the
best of them. But let me look again, please; and do tell me what he can
be doing there."

"You know that the revenue officers must take the law into their
own hands sometimes. There have lately been certain rumors of some
contraband proceedings on the Yorkshire coast. Not in Flamborough
parish, of course, and perhaps--probably, I may say--a long way off---"

"Papa dear, will you never confess that free trade prevails and
flourishes greatly even under your own dear nose?"

"Facts do not warrant me in any such assertion. If the fact were so,
it must have been brought officially before me. I decline to listen to
uncharitable rumors. But however that matter may be, there are officers
on the spot to deal with it. My commission as a justice of the peace
gives me no cognizance of offenses--if such there are--upon the high
seas. Ah! you see something particular; my dear, what is it?"

"Captain Carroway has found something, or somebody, of great importance.
He has got a man by the collar, and he is absolutely dancing with
delight. Ah! there he goes, dragging him along the deck as if he were
a cod-fish or a conger. And now, I declare, he is lashing his arms
and legs with a great thick rope. Papa, is that legal, without even a
warrant?"

"I can hardly say how far his powers may extend, and he is just the man
to extend them farther. I only hope not to be involved in the matter.
Maritime law is not my province."

"But, papa, it is much within three miles of the shore, if that has got
anything to do with it. My goodness me! They are all coming here; I am
almost sure that they will apply to you. Yes, two boat-loads of people,
racing to get their oars out, and to be here first. Where are your
spectacles, dear papa? You had better go and get up the law before they
come. You will scarcely have time, they are coming so fast--a white boat
and a black boat. The prisoner is in the white boat, and the officer
has got him by the collar still. The men in the white boat will want
to commit him, and the men in the black boat are his friends, no doubt,
coming for a habeas corpus--"

"My dear, what nonsense you do talk! What has a simple justice of the
peace--"

"Never mind that, papa; my facts are sound--sounder than yours about
smuggling, I fear. But do hurry in, and get up the law. I will go and
lock both gates, to give you more time."

"Do nothing of the kind, Janetta. A magistrate should be accessible
always; and how can I get up the law, without knowing what it is to be
about--or even a clerk to help me? And perhaps they are not coming here
at all. They may be only landing their prisoner."

"If that were it, they would not be coming so, but rowing toward the
proper place, Bridlington Quay, where their station-house is. Papa, you
are in for it, and I am getting eager. May I come and hear all about it?
I should be a great support to you, you know. And they would tell the
truth so much better!"

"Janetta, what are you dreaming of? It may even be a case of secrecy."

"Secrecy, papa, with two boat-loads of men and about thirty ships
involved in it! Oh, do let me hear all about it!"

"Whatever it may be, your presence is not required, and would be
improper. Unless I should happen to want a book; and in that case I
might ring for you."

"Oh, do, papa, do! No one else can ever find them. Promise me now that
you will want a book. If I am not there, there will be no justice done.
I wish you severely to reprimand, whatever the facts of the case may be,
and even to punish, if you can, that tall, lame, violent, ferocious
man, for dragging the poor fellow about like that, and cutting him with
ropes, when completely needless, and when he was quite at his mercy.
It is my opinion that the other man does not deserve one bit of it; and
whatever the law may be, papa, your duty is to strain it benevolently,
and question every syllable upon the stronger side."

"Perhaps I had better resign, my dear, upon condition that you shall be
appointed in the stead of me. It might be a popular measure, and would
secure universal justice."

"Papa, I would do justice to myself--which is a thing you never do. But
here, they are landing; and they hoist him out as if he were a sack,
or a thing without a joint. They could scarcely be harder with a man
compelled to be hanged to-morrow morning."

"Condemned is what you mean, Janetta. You never will understand the use
of words. What a nice magistrate you would make!"

"There can be no more correct expression. Would any man be hanged if he
were not compelled? Papa, you say the most illegal things sometimes. Now
please to go in and get up your legal points. Let me go and meet those
people for you. I will keep them waiting till you are quite ready."

"My dear, you will go to your room, and try to learn a little patience.
You begin to be too pat with your own opinions, which in a young lady is
ungraceful. There, you need not cry, my darling, because your opinions
are always sensible, and I value them very highly; but still you must
bear in mind that you are but a girl."

"And behave accordingly, as they say. Nobody can do more so. But though
I am only a girl, papa, can you put your hand upon a better one?"

"Certainly not, my dear; for going down hill, I can always depend on
you."

Suiting the action to the word, Dr. Upround, whose feet were a little
touched with gout, came down from his outlook to his kitchen-garden, and
thence through the shrubbery back to his own study, where, with a little
sigh, he put away his chess-men, and heartily hoped that it might not be
his favorite adversary who was coming before him to be sent to jail.
For although the good rector had a warm regard, and even affection, for
Robin Lyth, as a waif cast into his care, and then a pupil wonderfully
apt (which breeds love in the teacher), and after that a most gallant
and highly distinguished young parishioner--with all this it was a
difficulty for him to be ignorant that the law was adverse. More than
once he had striven hard to lead the youth into some better path of
life, and had even induced him to "follow the sea" for a short time in
the merchant service. But the force of nature and of circumstances had
very soon prevailed again, and Robin returned to his old pursuits with
larger experience, and seamanship improved.

A violent ringing at the gate bell, followed by equal urgency upon
the front door, apprised the kind magistrate of a sharp call on his
faculties, and perhaps a most unpleasant one. "The poor boy!" he said to
himself--"poor boy! From Carroway's excitement I greatly fear that it is
indeed poor Robin. How many a grand game have we had! His new variety of
that fine gambit scarcely beginning to be analyzed; and if I commit him
to the meeting next week, when shall we ever meet again? It will seem
as if I did it because he won three games; and I certainly was a little
vexed with him. However, I must be stern, stern, stern. Show them in,
Betsy; I am quite prepared."

A noise, and a sound of strong language in the hall, and a dragging of
something on the oil-cloth, led up to the entry of a dozen rough men,
pushed on by at least another dozen.

"You will have the manners to take off your hats," said the magistrate,
with all his dignity; "not from any undue deference to me, but common
respect to his Majesty."

"Off with your covers, you sons of"--something, shouted a loud voice;
and then the lieutenant, with his blade still drawn, stood before them.

"Sheathe your sword, Sir," said Dr. Upround, in a voice which amazed the
officer.

"I beg your Worship's pardon," he began, with his grim face flushing
purple, but his sword laid where it should have been; "but if you knew
half of the worry I have had, you would not care to rebuke me. Cadman,
have you got him by the neck? Keep your knuckles into him, while I make
my deposition."

"Cast that man free, I receive no depositions with a man half strangled
before me."

The men of the coast-guard glanced at their commander, and receiving a
surly nod, obeyed. But the prisoner could not stand as yet; he gasped
for breath, and some one set him on a chair.

"Your Worship, this is a mere matter of form," said Carroway, still
keeping eyes on his prey; "if I had my own way, I would not trouble you
at all, and I believe it to be quite needless. For this man is an outlaw
felon, and not entitled to any grace of law; but I must obey my orders."

"Certainly you must, Lieutenant Carroway, even though you are better
acquainted with the law. You are ready to be sworn? Take this book, and
follow me."

This being done, the worthy magistrate prepared to write down what the
gallant officer might say, which, in brief, came to this, that having
orders to seize Robin Lyth wherever he might find him, and having sure
knowledge that said Robin was on board of a certain schooner vessel, the
Elizabeth, of Goole, the which he had laden with goods liable to duty,
he, Charles Carroway, had gently laid hands on him, and brought him to
the nearest justice of the peace, to obtain an order of commitment.

All this, at fifty times the length here given, Lieutenant Carroway
deposed on oath, while his Worship, for want of a clerk, set it down in
his own very neat handwriting. But several very coaly-looking men, who
could scarcely be taught to keep silence, observed that the magistrate
smiled once or twice; and this made them wait a bit, and wink at one
another.

"Very clear indeed, Lieutenant Carroway," said Dr. Upround, with
spectacles on nose. "Good Sir, have the kindness to sign your
deposition. It may become my duty to commit the prisoner, upon
identification. Of that I must have evidence, confirmatory evidence. But
first we will hear what he has to say. Robin Lyth, stand forward."

"Me no Robin Lyth, Sar; no Robin man or woman," cried the captive,
trying very hard to stand; "me only a poor Francais, make liberty to
what you call--row, row, sweem, sweem, sail, sail, from la belle France;
for why, for why, there is no import to nobody."

"Your Worship, he is always going on about imports," Cadman said,
respectfully; "that is enough to show who he is."

"You may trust me to know him," cried Lieutenant Carroway. "My
fine fellow, no more of that stuff! He can pass himself off for any
countryman whatever. He knows all their jabber, Sir, better than his
own. Put a cork between his teeth, Hackerbody. I never did see such a
noisy rogue. He is Robin Lyth all over."

"I'll be blest if he is, nor under nayther," cried the biggest of the
coaly men; "this here froggy come out of a Chaise and Mary as had run up
from Dunkirk. I know Robin Lyth as well as our own figure-head. But what
good to try reason with that there revenue hofficer?"

At this, all his friends set a good laugh up, and wanted to give him a
cheer for such a speech; but that being hushed, they were satisfied with
condemning his organs of sight and their own quite fairly.

"Lieutenant Carroway," his Worship said, amidst an impressive silence,
"I greatly fear that you have allowed zeal, my dear Sir, to outrun
discretion. Robin Lyth is a young, and in many ways highly respected,
parishioner of mine. He may have been guilty of casual breaches of the
laws concerning importation--laws which fluctuate from year to year, and
require deep knowledge of legislation both to observe and to administer.
I heartily trust that you may not suffer from having discharged your
duty in a manner most truly exemplary, if only the example had been the
right one. This gentleman is no more Robin Lyth than I am."



CHAPTER XVI

DISCIPLINE ASSERTED


As soon as his troublesome visitors were gone, the rector sat down in
his deep arm-chair, laid aside his spectacles, and began to think. His
face, while he thought, lost more and more of the calm and cheerful
expression which made it so pleasant a face to gaze upon; and he sighed,
without knowing it, at some dark ideas, and gave a little shake of his
grand old head. The revenue officer had called his favorite pupil and
cleverest parishioner "a felon outlaw;" and if that were so, Robin Lyth
was no less than a convicted criminal, and must not be admitted within
his doors. Formerly the regular penalty for illicit importation had been
the forfeiture of the goods when caught, and the smugglers (unless
they made resistance or carried fire-arms) were allowed to escape and
retrieve their bad luck, which they very soon contrived to do. And as
yet, upon this part of the coast, they had not been guilty of atrocious
crimes, such as the smugglers of Sussex and Hampshire--who must have
been utter fiends--committed, thereby raising all the land against
them. Dr. Upround had heard of no proclamation, exaction, or even capias
issued against this young free-trader; and he knew well enough that the
worst offenders were not the bold seamen who contracted for the run, nor
the people of the coast who were hired for the carriage, but the rich
indwellers who provided all the money, and received the lion's share
of all the profits. And with these the law never even tried to deal.
However, the magistrate-parson resolved that, in spite of all the
interest of tutorship and chess-play, and even all the influence of his
wife and daughter (who were hearty admirers of brave smuggling), he must
either reform this young man, or compel him to keep at a distance, which
would be very sad.

Meanwhile the lieutenant had departed in a fury, which seemed to be
incapable of growing any worse. Never an oath did he utter all the way
to the landing where his boat was left; and his men, who knew how much
that meant, were afraid to do more than just wink at one another. Even
the sailors of the collier schooner forbore to jeer him, until he was
afloat, when they gave him three fine rounds of mock cheers, to which
the poor Frenchman contributed a shriek. For this man had been most
inhospitably treated, through his strange but undeniable likeness to a
perfidious Briton.

"Home!" cried the officer, glowering at those fellows, while his men
held their oars, and were ready to rush at them. "Home, with a will!
Give way, men!" And not another word he spoke, till they touched the
steps at Bridlington. Then he fixed stern eyes upon Cadman, who vainly
strove to meet them, and he said, "Come to me in one hour and a half."
Cadman touched his hat without an answer, saw to the boat, and then went
home along the quay.

Carroway, though of a violent temper, especially when laughed at,
was not of that steadfast and sedentary wrath which chews the cud
of grievances, and feeds upon it in a shady place. He had a good
wife--though a little overclean--and seven fine-appetited children, who
gave him the greatest pleasure in providing victuals. Also, he had his
pipe, and his quiet corners, sacred to the atmosphere and the private
thoughts of Carroway. And here he would often be ambitious even now,
perceiving no good reason why he might not yet command a line-of-battle
ship, and run up his own flag, and nobly tread his own lofty
quarter-deck. If so, he would have Mrs. Carroway on board, and not only
on the boards, but at them; so that a challenge should be issued every
day for any other ship in all the service to display white so wholly
spotless, and black so void of streakiness. And while he was dwelling
upon personal matters--which, after all, concerned the nation most--he
had tried very hard to discover any reason (putting paltry luck aside)
why Horatio Nelson should be a Lord, and what was more to the purpose,
an admiral, while Charles Carroway (his old shipmate, and in every way
superior, who could eat him at a mouthful, if only he were good enough)
should now be no more than a 'long-shore lieutenant, and a Jonathan Wild
of the revenue. However, as for envying Nelson, the Lord knew that he
would not give his little Geraldine's worst frock for all the fellow's
grand coat of arms, and freedom in a snuff-box, and golden shields, and
devices, this, that, and the other, with Bona Robas to support them.

To this conclusion he was fairly come, after a good meal, and with the
second glass of the finest Jamaica pine-apple rum--which he drank from
pure principle, because it was not smuggled--steaming and scenting the
blue curls of his pipe, when his admirable wife came in to say that on
no account would she interrupt him.

"My dear, I am busy, and am very glad to hear it. Pish! where have I put
all those accounts?"

"Charles, you are not doing any accounts. When you have done your pipe
and glass, I wish to say a quiet word or two. I am sure that there is
not a woman in a thousand--"

"Matilda, I know it. Nor one in fifty thousand. You are very good at
figures: will you take this sheet away with you? Eight o'clock will be
quite time enough for it."

"My dear, I am always too pleased to do whatever I can to help you. But
I must talk to you now; really I must say a few words about something,
tired as you may be, Charles, and well deserving of a little good sleep,
which you never seem able to manage in bed. You told me, you know, that
you expected Cadman, that surly, dirty fellow, who delights to spoil my
stones, and would like nothing better than to take the pattern out
of our drawing-room Kidderminster. Now I have a reason for saying
something. Charles, will you listen to me once, just once?"

"I never do anything else," said the husband, with justice, and meaning
no mischief.

"Ah! how very seldom you hear me talk; and when I do, I might just as
well address the winds! But for once, my dear, attend, I do implore you.
That surly, burly Cadman will be here directly, and I know that you
are much put out with him. Now I tell you he is dangerous, savagely
dangerous; I can see it in his unhealthy skin. Oh, Charles, where have
you put down your pipe? I cleaned that shelf this very morning! How
little I thought when I promised to be yours that you ever would knock
out your ashes like that! But do bear in mind, dear, whatever you do, if
anything happened to you, what ever would become of all of us? All your
sweet children and your faithful wife--I declare you have made two great
rings with your tumbler upon the new cover of the table."

"Matilda, that has been done ever so long. But I am almost certain this
tumbler leaks."

"So you always say; just as if I would allow it. You never will think of
simply wiping the rim every time you use it; when I put you a saucer for
your glass, you forget it; there never was such a man, I do believe. I
shall have to stop the rum and water altogether."

"No, no, no. I'll do anything you like. I'll have a tumbler made with
a saucer to it--I'll buy a piece of oil-cloth the size of a
foretop-sail--I'll--"

"Charles, no nonsense, if you please: as if I were ever unreasonable!
But your quickness of temper is such that I dread what you may say to
that Cadman. Remember what opportunities he has, dear. He might shoot
you in the dark any night, my darling, and put it upon the smugglers. I
entreat you not to irritate the man, and make him your enemy. He is so
spiteful; and I should be in terror the whole night long."

"Matilda, in the house you may command me as you please--even in my
own cuddy here. But as regards my duty, you know well that I permit
no interference. And I should have expected you to have more sense. A
pretty officer I should be if I were afraid of my own men! When a man
is to blame, I tell him so, in good round language, and shall do so now.
This man is greatly to blame, and I doubt whether to consider him a fool
or a rogue. If it were not that he has seven children, as we have, I
would discharge him this very night."

"Charles, I am very sorry for his seven children, but our place is to
think of our own seven first. I beg you, I implore you, to discharge the
man; for he has not the courage to harm you, I believe, except with the
cowardly advantage he has got. Now promise me either to say nothing to
him, or to discharge him, and be done with him."

"Matilda, of such things you know nothing; and I can not allow you to
say any more."

"Very well, very well. I know my duty. I shall sit up and pray every
dark night you are out, and the whole place will go to the dogs, of
course. Of the smugglers I am not afraid one bit, nor of any honest
fighting, such as you are used to. But oh, my dear Charles, the very
bravest man can do nothing against base treachery."

"To dream of such things shows a bad imagination," Carroway answered,
sternly; but seeing his wife's eyes fill with tears, he took her hand
gently, and begged her pardon, and promised to be very careful, "I am
the last man to be rash," he said, "after getting so many more kicks
than coppers. I never had a fellow under my command who would lift
a finger to harm me. And you must remember, my darling Tilly, that I
command Englishmen, not Lascars."

With this she was forced to be content, to the best of her ability; and
Geraldine ran bouncing in from school to fill her father's pipe for him;
so that by the time John Cadman came, his commander had almost forgotten
the wrath created by the failure of the morning. But unluckily Cadman
had not forgotten the words and the look he received before his
comrades.

"Here I am, Sir, to give an account of myself," he said, in an insolent
tone, having taken much liquor to brace him for the meeting. "Is it your
pleasure to say out what you mean?"

"Yes, but not here. You will follow me to the station." The lieutenant
took his favorite staff, and set forth, while his wife, from the little
window, watched him with a very anxious gaze. She saw her husband stride
in front with the long rough gait she knew so well, and the swing of his
arms which always showed that his temper was not in its best condition;
and behind him Cadman slouched along, with his shoulders up and his red
hands clinched. And the poor wife sadly went back to work, for her life
was a truly anxious one.

The station, as it was rather grandly called, was a hut, about the size
of a four-post bed, upon the low cliff, undermined by the sea, and
even then threatened to be swept away. Here was a tall flag-staff for
signals, and a place for a beacon-light when needed, and a bench with
a rest for a spy-glass. In the hut itself were signal flags, and a few
spare muskets, and a keg of bullets, with maps and codes hung round the
wall, and flint and tinder, and a good many pipes, and odds and ends on
ledges. Carroway was very proud of this place, and kept the key strictly
in his own pocket, and very seldom allowed a man to pass through
the narrow doorway. But he liked to sit inside, and see them looking
desirous to come in.

"Stand there, Cadman," he said, as soon as he had settled himself in the
one hard chair; and the man, though thoroughly primed for revolt, obeyed
the old habit, and stood outside.

"Once more you have misled me, Cadman, and abused my confidence. More
than that, you have made me a common laughing-stock for scores of fools,
and even for a learned gentleman, magistrate of divinity. I was not
content with your information until you confirmed it by letters you
produced from men well known to you, as you said, and even from
the inland trader who had contracted for the venture. The schooner
Elizabeth, of Goole, disguised as a collier, was to bring to, with Robin
Lyth on board of her, and the goods in her hold under covering of coal,
and to run the goods at the South Flamborough landing this very night. I
have searched the Elizabeth from stem to stern, and the craft brought
up alongside of her; and all I have found is a wretched Frenchman, who
skulked so that I made sure of him, and not a blessed anker of foreign
brandy, nor even a forty-pound bag of tea. You had that packet of
letters in your neck-tie. Hand them to me this moment--"

"If your Honor has made up your mind to think that a sailor of the Royal
Navy--"

"Cadman, none of that! No lick-spittle lies to me; those letters, that
I may establish them! You shall have them back, if they are right. And I
will pay you a half crown for the loan."

"If I was to leave they letters in your hand, I could never hold head up
in Burlington no more."

"That is no concern of mine. Your duty is to hold up your head with me,
and those who find you in bread and butter."

"Precious little butter I ever gets, and very little bread to speak of.
The folk that does the work gets nothing. Them that does nothing gets
the name and game."

"Fellow, no reasoning, but obey me!" Carroway shouted, with his temper
rising. "Hand over those letters, or you leave the service."

"How can I give away another man's property?" As he said these words,
the man folded his arms, as who should say, "That is all you get out of
me."

"Is that the way you speak to your commanding officer? Who owns those
letters, then, according to your ideas?"

"Butcher Hewson; and he says that you shall have them as soon as he sees
the money for his little bill."

This was a trifle too much for Carroway. Up he jumped with surprising
speed, took one stride through the station door, and seizing Cadman by
the collar, shook him, wrung his ear with the left hand, which was like
a pair of pincers, and then with the other flung him backward as if he
were an empty bag. The fellow was too much amazed to strike, or close
with him, or even swear, but received the vehement impact without any
stay behind him. So that he staggered back, hat downward, and striking
one heel on a stone, fell over the brink of the shallow cliff to the
sand below.

The lieutenant, who never had thought of this, was terribly scared, and
his wrath turned cold. For although the fall was of no great depth, and
the ground at the bottom so soft, if the poor man had struck it poll
foremost, as he fell, it was likely that his neck was broken. Without
any thought of his crippled heel, Carroway took the jump himself.

As soon as he recovered from the jar, which shook his stiff joints and
stiffer back, he ran to the coast-guardsman and raised him, and found
him very much inclined to swear. This was a good sign, and the officer
was thankful, and raised him in the gravelly sand, and kindly requested
him to have it out, and to thank the Lord as soon as he felt better. But
Cadman, although he very soon came round, abstained from every token of
gratitude. Falling with his mouth wide open in surprise, he had filled
it with gravel of inferior taste, as a tidy sewer pipe ran out just
there, and at every execration he discharged a little.

"What can be done with a fellow so ungrateful?" cried the lieutenant,
standing stiffly up again; "nothing but to let him come back to his
manners. Hark you, John Cadman, between your bad words, if a glass of
hot grog will restore your right wits, you can come up and have it, when
your clothes are brushed."

With these words Carroway strode off to his cottage, without even
deigning to look back, for a minute had been enough to show him that no
very serious harm was done.

The other man did not stir until his officer was out of sight; and then
he arose and rubbed himself, but did not care to go for his rummer of
hot grog.

"I must work this off," the lieutenant said, as soon as he had told
his wife, and received his scolding; "I can not sit down; I must do
something. My mind is becoming too much for me, I fear. Can you expect
me to be laughed at? I shall take a little sail in the boat; the wind
suits, and I have a particular reason. Expect me, my dear, when you see
me."

In half an hour the largest boat, which carried a brass swivel-gun in
her bows, was stretching gracefully across the bay, with her three white
sails flashing back the sunset. The lieutenant steered, and he had four
men with him, of whom Cadman was not one, that worthy being left at
home to nurse his bruises and his dudgeon. These four men now were quite
marvellously civil, having heard of their comrade's plight, and being
pleased alike with that and with their commander's prowess. For Cadman
was by no means popular among them, because, though his pay was the same
as theirs, he always tried to be looked up to; the while his manners
were not distinguished, and scarcely could be called polite, when a
supper required to be paid for. In derision of this, and of his desire
for mastery, they had taken to call him "Boatswain Jack," or "John
Boatswain," and provoked him by a subscription to present him with a
pig-whistle. For these were men who liked well enough to receive hard
words from their betters who were masters of their business, but saw
neither virtue nor value in submitting to superior airs from their
equals.

The Royal George, as this boat was called, passed through the fleet of
quiet vessels, some of which trembled for a second visitation; but not
deigning to molest them, she stood on, and rounding Flamborough Head,
passed by the pillar rocks called King and Queen, and bore up for the
North Landing cove. Here sail was taken in, and oars were manned; and
Carroway ordered his men to pull in to the entrance of each of the
well-known caves.

To enter these, when any swell is running, requires great care and
experience; and the Royal George had too much beam to do it comfortably,
even in the best of weather. And now what the sailors call a "chopping
sea" had set in with the turn of the tide, although the wind was still
off-shore; so that even to lie to at the mouth made rather a ticklish
job of it. The men looked at one another, and did not like it, for
a badly handled oar would have cast them on the rocks, which are
villainously hard and jagged, and would stave in the toughest boat, like
biscuit china. However, they durst not say that they feared it; and by
skill and steadiness they examined all three caves quite enough to be
certain that no boat was in them.

The largest of the three, and perhaps the finest, was the one they first
came to, which already was beginning to be called the cave of Robin
Lyth. The dome is very high, and sheds down light when the gleam of the
sea strikes inward. From the gloomy mouth of it, as far as they could
venture, the lapping of the wavelets could be heard all round it,
without a boat, or even a balk of wood to break it. Then they tried
echo, whose clear answer hesitates where any soft material is; but the
shout rang only of hard rock and glassy water. To make assurance doubly
sure, they lit a blue-light, and sent it floating through the depths,
while they held their position with two boat-hooks and a fender. The
cavern was lit up with a very fine effect, but not a soul inside of it
to animate the scene. And to tell the truth, the bold invaders were
by no means grieved at this; for if there had been smugglers there, it
would have been hard to tackle them.

Hauling off safely, which was worse than running in, they pulled across
the narrow cove, and rounding the little headland, examined the Church
Cave and the Dovecote likewise, and with a like result. Then heartily
tired, and well content with having done all that man could do, they
set sail again in the dusk of the night, and forged their way against a
strong ebb-tide toward the softer waters of Bridlington, and the warmer
comfort of their humble homes.



CHAPTER XVII

DELICATE INQUIRIES


A genuine summer day pays a visit nearly once in the season to
Flamborough; and when it does come, it has a wonderful effect. Often the
sun shines brightly there, and often the air broods hot with thunder;
but the sun owes his brightness to sweep of the wind, which sweeps away
his warmth as well; while, on the other hand, the thunder-clouds, like
heavy smoke capping the headland, may oppress the air with heat, but are
not of sweet summer's beauty.

For once, however, the fine day came, and the natives made haste to
revile it. Before it was three hours old they had found a hundred and
fifty faults with it. Most of the men truly wanted a good sleep, after
being lively all the night upon the waves, and the heat and the yellow
light came in upon their eyes, and set the flies buzzing all about them.
And even the women, who had slept out their time, and talked quietly,
like the clock ticking, were vexed with the sun, which kept their
kettles from good boiling, and wrote upon their faces the years of their
life. But each made allowance for her neighbor's appearance, on the
strength of the troubles she had been through. For the matter of that,
the sun cared not the selvage of a shadow what was thought of him, but
went his bright way with a scattering of clouds and a tossing of vapors
anywhere. Upon the few fishermen who gave up hope of sleep, and came
to stand dazed in their doorways, the glare of white walls and chalky
stones, and dusty roads, produced the same effect as if they had put on
their fathers' goggles. Therefore they yawned their way back to their
room, and poked up the fire, without which, at Flamborough, no hot
weather would be half hot enough.

The children, however, were wide-awake, and so were the washer-women,
whose turn it had been to sleep last night for the labors of the
morning. These were plying hand and tongue in a little field by the
three cross-roads, where gaffers and gammers of by-gone time had set up
troughs of proven wood, and the bilge of a long storm-beaten boat, near
a pool of softish water. Stout brown arms were roped with curd, and
wedding rings looked slippery things, and thumb-nails bordered with
inveterate black, like broad beans ripe for planting, shone through a
hubbub of snowy froth; while sluicing and wringing and rinsing went on
over the bubbled and lathery turf; and every handy bush or stub, and
every tump of wiry grass, was sheeted with white, like a ship in full
sail, and shining in the sun-glare.

From time to time these active women glanced back at their cottages,
to see that the hearth was still alive, or at their little daughters
squatting under the low wall which kept them from the road, where they
had got all the babies to nurse, and their toes and other members to
compare, and dandelion chains to make. But from their washing ground the
women could not see the hill that brings to the bottom of the village
the crooked road from Sewerby. Down that hill came a horseman slowly,
with nobody to notice him, though himself on the watch for everybody;
and there in the bottom below the first cottage he allowed his horse to
turn aside and cool hot feet and leathery lips, in a brown pool spread
by Providence for the comfort of wayworn roadsters.

The horse looked as if he had labored far, while his rider was calmly
resting; for the cross-felled sutures of his flank were crusted with
gray perspiration, and the runnels of his shoulders were dabbled; and
now it behooved him to be careful how he sucked the earthy-flavored
water, so as to keep time with the heaving of his barrel. In a word,
he was drinking as if he would burst--as his hostler at home often told
him--but the clever old roadster knew better than that, and timing it
well between snorts and coughs, was tightening his girths with deep
pleasure.

"Enough, my friend, is as good as a feast," said his rider to him,
gently, yet strongly pulling up the far-stretched head, "and too much is
worse than a famine."

The horse, though he did not belong to this gentleman, but was hired by
him only yesterday, had already discovered that, with him on his back,
his own judgment must lie dormant, so that he quietly whisked his tail
and glanced with regret at the waste of his drip, and then, with a
roundabout step, to prolong the pleasure of this little wade, sadly but
steadily out he walked, and, after the necessary shake, began his
first invasion of the village. His rider said nothing, but kept a sharp
look-out.

Now this was Master Geoffrey Mordacks, of the ancient city of York, a
general factor and land agent. What a "general factor" is, or is not,
none but himself can pretend to say, even in these days of definition,
and far less in times when thought was loose; and perhaps Mr. Mordacks
would rather have it so. But any one who paid him well could trust him,
according to the ancient state of things. To look at him, nobody would
even dare to think that money could be a consideration to him, or
the name of it other than an insult. So lofty and steadfast his whole
appearance was, and he put back his shoulders so manfully. Upright,
stiff, and well appointed with a Roman nose, he rode with the seat of a
soldier and the decision of a tax-collector. From his long steel spurs
to his hard coned hat not a soft line was there, nor a feeble curve.
Stern honesty and strict purpose stamped every open piece of him so
strictly that a man in a hedge-row fostering devious principles, and
resolved to try them, could do no more than run away, and be thankful
for the chance of it.

But in those rough and dangerous times, when thousands of people were
starving, the view of a pistol-butt went further than sternest aspect of
strong eyes. Geoffrey Mordacks well knew this, and did not neglect his
knowledge. The brown walnut stock of a heavy pistol shone above either
holster, and a cavalry sword in a leathern scabbard hung within easy
reach of hand. Altogether this gentleman seemed not one to be rashly
attacked by daylight.

No man had ever dreamed as yet of coming to this outlandish place for
pleasure of the prospect. So that when this lonely rider was descried
from the washing field over the low wall of the lane, the women made
up their minds at once that it must be a justice of the peace, or some
great rider of the Revenue, on his way to see Dr. Upandown, or at the
least a high constable concerned with some great sheep-stealing. Not
that any such crime was known in the village itself of Flamborough,
which confined its operations to the sea; but in the outer world of
land that malady was rife just now, and a Flamborough man, too fond of
mutton, had farmed some sheep on the downs, and lost them, which was
considered a judgment on him for willfully quitting ancestral ways.

But instead of turning at the corner where the rector was trying to grow
some trees, the stranger kept on along the rugged highway, and between
the straggling cottages, so that the women rinsed their arms, and turned
round to take a good look at him, over the brambles and furze, and the
wall of chalky flint and rubble.

"This is just what I wanted," thought Geoffrey Mordacks: "skill makes
luck, and I am always lucky. Now, first of all, to recruit the inner
man."

At this time Mrs. Theophila Precious, generally called "Tapsy," the
widow of a man who had been lost at sea, kept the "Cod with a Hook in
his Gills," the only hostelry in Flamborough village, although there
was another toward the Landing. The cod had been painted from life--or
death--by a clever old fisherman who understood him, and he looked so
firm, and stiff, and hard, that a healthy man, with purse enough to tire
of butcher's-meat, might grow in appetite by gazing. Mr. Mordacks pulled
up, and fixed steadfast eyes upon this noble fish, the while a score
of sharp eyes from the green and white meadow were fixed steadfastly on
him.

"How he shines with salt-water! How firm he looks, and his gills as
bright as a rose in June! I have never yet tasted a cod at first hand.
It is early in the day, but the air is hungry. My expenses are paid, and
I mean to live well, for a strong mind will be required. I will have a
cut out of that fish, to begin with."

Inditing of this, and of matters even better, the rider turned into the
yard of the inn, where an old boat (as usual) stood for a horse-trough,
and sea-tubs served as buckets. Strong sunshine glared upon the
oversaling tiles, and white buckled walls, and cracky lintels;
but nothing showed life, except an old yellow cat, and a pair of
house-martins, who had scarcely time to breathe, such a number of little
heads flipped out with a white flap under the beak of each, demanding
momentous victualling. At these the yellow cat winked with dreamy
joyfulness, well aware how fat they would be when they came to tumble
out.

"What a place of vile laziness!" grumbled Mr. Mordacks, as he got off
his horse, after vainly shouting "Hostler!" and led him to the byre,
which did duty for a stable. "York is a lazy hole enough, but the
further you go from it, the lazier they get. No energy, no movement, no
ambition, anywhere. What a country! what a people! I shall have to go
back and enlist the washer-women."

A Yorkshireman might have answered this complaint, if he thought it
deserving of an answer, by requesting Master Mordacks not to be so
overquick, but to bide a wee bit longer before he made so sure of the
vast superiority of his own wit, for the long heads might prove better
than the sharp ones in the end of it. However, the general factor
thought that he could not have come to a better place to get all that he
wanted out of everybody. He put away his saddle, and the saddlebags
and sword, in a rough old sea-chest with a padlock to it, and having a
sprinkle of chaff at the bottom. Then he calmly took the key, as if
the place were his, gave his horse a rackful of long-cut grass, and
presented himself, with a lordly aspect, at the front door of the silent
inn. Here he made noise enough to stir the dead; and at the conclusion
of a reasonable time, during which she had finished a pleasant dream
to the simmering of the kitchen pot, the landlady showed herself in the
distance, feeling for her keys with one hand, and rubbing her eyes
with the other. This was the head-woman of the village, but seldom
tyrannical, unless ill-treated, Widow Precious, tall and square, and of
no mean capacity.

"Young mon," with a deep voice she said, "what is tha' deein' wi' aw
that clatter?"

"Alas, my dear madam, I am not a young man; and therefore time is more
precious to me. I have lived out half my allotted span, and shall never
complete it unless I get food."

"T' life o' mon is aw a hoory," replied Widow Precious, with slow truth.
"Young mon, what 'll ye hev?"

"Dinner, madam; dinner at the earliest moment. I have ridden far, and my
back is sore, and my substance is calling for renewal."

"Ate, ate, ate, that's t' waa of aw menkins. Bud ye maa coom in, and
crack o' it."

"Madam, you are most hospitable; and the place altogether seems to be
of that description. What a beautiful room! May I sit down? I perceive
a fine smell of most delicate soup. Ah, you know how to do things at
Flamborough."

"Young mon, ye can ha' nune of yon potty. Yon's for mesell and t'
childer."

"My excellent hostess, mistake me not. I do not aspire to such lofty
pot-luck. I simply referred to it as a proof of your admirable culinary
powers."

"Yon's beeg words. What 'll ye hev te ate?"

"A fish like that upon your sign-post, madam, or at least the upper half
of him; and three dozen oysters just out of the sea, swimming in their
own juice, with lovely melted butter."

"Young mon, hast tha gotten t' brass? Them 'at ates offens forgets t'
reck'nin'."

"Yes, madam, I have the needful in abundance. Ecce signum! Which is
Latin, madam, for the stamps of the king upon twenty guineas. One to be
deposited in your fair hand for a taste, for a sniff, madam, such as I
had of your pot."

"Na, na. No tokkins till a' airned them. What ood your Warship be for
ating when a' boileth?"

The general factor, perceiving his way, was steadfast to the shoulder
cut of a decent cod; and though the full season was scarcely yet come,
Mrs. Precious knew where to find one. Oysters there were none, but she
gave him boiled limpets, and he thought it the manner of the place that
made them tough. After these things he had a duck of the noblest and
best that live anywhere in England. Such ducks were then, and perhaps
are still, the most remarkable residents of Flamborough. Not only
because the air is fine, and the puddles and the dabblings of
extraordinary merit, and the wind fluffs up their pretty feathers while
alive, as the eloquent poulterer by-and-by will do; but because they
have really distinguished birth, and adventurous, chivalrous, and bright
blue Norman blood. To such purpose do the gay young Vikings of the
world of quack pour in (when the weather and the time of year invite),
equipped with red boots and plumes of purple velvet, to enchant the coy
lady ducks in soft water, and eclipse the familiar and too legal drake.
For a while they revel in the change of scene, the luxury of unsalted
mud and scarcely rippled water, and the sweetness and culture of tame
dilly-ducks, to whom their brilliant bravery, as well as an air
of romance and billowy peril, commends them too seductively. The
responsible sire of the pond is grieved, sinks his unappreciated bill
into his back, and vainly reflects upon the vanity of love.

From a loftier point of view, however, this is a fine provision; and Mr.
Mordacks always took a lofty view of everything.

"A beautiful duck, ma'am; a very grand duck!" in his usual loud and
masterful tone, he exclaimed to Widow Precious. "I understand your
question now as to my ability to pay for him. Madam, he is worth a man's
last shilling. A goose is a smaller and a coarser bird. In what manner
do you get them?"

"They gets their own sells, wi' the will of the Lord. What will your
Warship be for ating, come after?"

"None of your puddings and pies, if you please, nor your excellent
jellies and custards. A red Dutch cheese, with a pat of fresh butter,
and another imperial pint of ale."

"Now yon is what I call a man," thought Mrs. Precious, having neither
pie nor pudding, as Master Mordacks was well aware; "aisy to please,
and a' knoweth what a' wants. A' mought 'a been born i' Flaambro. A' maa
baide for a week, if a' hath the tokkins."

Mr. Mordacks felt that he had made his footing; but he was not the man
to abide for a week where a day would suit his purpose. His rule was
never to beat about the bush when he could break through it, and he
thought that he saw his way to do so now. Having finished his meal,
he set down his knife with a bang, sat upright in the oaken chair, and
gazed in a bold yet pleasant manner at the sturdy hostess.

"You are wondering what has brought me here. That I will tell you in
a very few words. Whatever I do is straightforward, madam; and all the
world may know it. That has been my character throughout life; and in
that respect I differ from the great bulk of mankind. You Flamborough
folk, however, are much of the very same nature as I am. We ought to
get on well together. Times are very bad--very bad indeed. I could put
a good trifle of money in your way; but you tell the truth without
it, which is very, very noble. Yet people with a family have duties to
discharge to them, and must sacrifice their feelings to affection. Fifty
guineas is a tidy little figure, ma'am. With the famine growing in the
land, no parent should turn his honest back upon fifty guineas. And
to get the gold, and do good at the same time, is a very rare chance
indeed."

This speech was too much for Widow Precious to carry to her settled
judgment, and get verdict in a breath. She liked it, on the whole, but
yet there might be many things upon the other side; so she did what
Flamborough generally does, when desirous to consider things, as it
generally is. That is to say, she stood with her feet well apart, and
her arms akimbo, and her head thrown back to give the hinder part a
rest, and no sign of speculation in her eyes, although they certainly
were not dull. When these good people are in this frame of mind and
body, it is hard to say whether they look more wise or foolish. Mr.
Mordacks, impatient as he was, even after so fine a dinner, was not far
from catching the infection of slow thought, which spreads itself as
pleasantly as that of slow discourse.

"You are heeding me, madam; you have quick wits," he said, without any
sarcasm, for she rescued the time from waste by affording a study of the
deepest wisdom; "you are wondering how the money is to come, and whether
it brings any risk with it. No, Mistress Precious, not a particle of
risk. A little honest speaking is the one thing needed."

"The money cometh scores of times more freely fra wrong-doing."

"Your observation, madam, shows a deep acquaintance with the human race.
Too often the money does come so; and thus it becomes mere mammon. On
such occasions we should wash our hands, and not forget the charities.
But the beauty of money, fairly come by, is that we can keep it all. To
do good in getting it, and do good with it, and to feel ourselves better
in every way, and our dear children happier--this is the true way of
considering the question. I saw some pretty little dears peeping in, and
wanted to give them a token or two, for I do love superior children. But
you called them away, madam. You are too stern."

Widow Precious had plenty of sharp sense to tell her that her children
were by no means "pretty dears" to anybody but herself, and to herself
only when in a very soft state of mind; at other times they were but
three gew-mouthed lasses, and two looby loons with teeth enough for
crunching up the dripping-pan.

"Your Warship spaketh fair," she said; "a'most too fair, I'm doubting.
Wad ye say what the maning is, and what name goeth pledge for the fafty
poon, Sir?"

"Mistress Precious, my meaning always is plainer than a pikestaff; and
as to pledges, the pledge is the hard cash down upon the nail, ma'am."

"Bank-tokkins, mayhap, and I prummeese to paa, with the sign of the
Dragon, and a woman among sheeps."

"Madam, a bag of solid gold that can be weighed and counted. Fifty new
guineas from the mint of King George, in a water-proof bag just fit to
be buried at the foot of a tree, or well under the thatch, or sewn up
in the sacking of your bedstead, ma'am. Ah, pretty dreams, what pretty
dreams, with a virtuous knowledge of having done the right! Shall we say
it is a bargain, ma'am, and wet it with a glass, at my expense, of the
crystal spring that comes under the sea?"

"Naw, Sir, naw!--not till I knaw what. I niver trafficks with the divil,
Sir. There wur a chap of Flaambro deed--"

"My good madam, I can not stop all day. I have far to ride before
night-fall. All that I want is simply this, and having gone so far, I
must tell you all, or make an enemy of you. I want to match this; and I
have reason to believe that it can be matched in Flamborough. Produce me
the fellow, and I pay you fifty guineas."

With these words Mr. Mordacks took from an inner pocket a little
pill-box, and thence produced a globe, or rather an oblate spheroid, of
bright gold, rather larger than a musket-ball, but fluted or crenelled
like a poppy-head, and stamped or embossed with marks like letters.
Widow Precious looked down at it, as if to think what an extraordinary
thing it was, but truly to hide from the stranger her surprise at the
sudden recognition. For Robin Lyth was a foremost favorite of hers, and
most useful to her vocation; and neither fifty guineas nor five hundred
should lead her to do him an injury. At a glance she had known that
this bead must belong to the set from which Robin's ear-rings came; and
perhaps it was her conscience which helped her to suspect that a trap
was being laid for the free-trade hero. To recover herself, and have
time to think, as well as for closer discretion, she invited Master
Mordacks to the choice guest-chamber.

"Set ye doon, Sir, hereaboot," she said, opening a solid door into
the inner room; "neaver gain no fear at aw o' crackin' o' the setties;
fairm, fairm anoo' they be, thoo sketterish o' their lukes, Sir. Set ye
doon, your Warship; fafty poons desarveth a good room, wi'oot ony lugs
o' anemees."

"What a beautiful room!" exclaimed Mr. Mordacks; "and how it savors of
the place! I never should have thought of finding art and taste of such
degree in a little place like Flamborough. Why, madam, you must have
inherited it direct from the Danes themselves."

"Naw, Sir, naw. I fetched it aw oop fra the breck of the say and the
cobbles. Book-folk tooneth naw heed o' what we do."

"Well, it is worth a great deal of heed. Lovely patterns of sea-weed
on the floor--no carpet can compare with them; shelves of--I am sure
I don't know what--fished up from the deep, no doubt; and shells
innumerable, and stones that glitter, and fish like glass, and tufts
like lace, and birds with most wonderful things in their mouths:
Mistress Precious, you are too bad. The whole of it ought to go to
London, where they make collections!"

"Lor, Sir, how ye da be laffin' at me. But purty maa be said of 'em
wi'out ony lees."

The landlady smiled as she set for him a chair, toward which he trod
gingerly, and picking every step, for his own sake as well as of the
garniture. For the black oak floor was so oiled and polished, to set
off the pattern of the sea-flowers on it (which really were laid with no
mean taste and no small sense of color), that for slippery boots there
was some peril.

"This is a sacred as well as beautiful place," said Mr. Mordacks. "I may
finish my words with safety here. Madam, I commend your prudence as well
as your excellent skill and industry. I should like to bring my daughter
Arabella here: what a lesson she would gain for tapestry! But now,
again, for business. What do you say? Unless I am mistaken, you have
some knowledge of the matter depending on this bauble. You must not
suppose that I came to you at random. No, madam, no; I have heard far
away of your great intelligence, caution, and skill, and influence in
this important town. 'Mistress Precious is the Mayor of Flamborough,'
was said to me only last Saturday; 'if you would study the wise people
there, hang up your hat in her noble hostelry.' Madam, I have taken that
advice, and heartily rejoice at doing so. I am a man of few words,
very few words--as you must have seen already--but of the strictest
straightforwardness in deeds. And now again, what do you say, ma'am?"

"Your Warship hath left ma nowt to saa. Your Warship hath had the mooth
aw to yosell."

"Now Mistress, Mistress Precious, truly that is a little too bad of you.
It is out of my power to help admiring things which are utterly beyond
me to describe, and a dinner of such cooking may enlarge the tongue,
after all the fine things it has been rolling in. But business is my
motto, in the fewest words that may be. You know what I want; you will
keep it to yourself, otherwise other people might demand the money.
Through very simple channels you will find out whether the fellow thing
to this can be found here or elsewhere; and if so, who has got it, and
how it was come by, and everything else that can be learned about it;
and when you know all, you just make a mark on this piece of paper,
ready folded and addressed; and then you will seal it, and give it to
the man who calls for the letters nearly twice a week. And when I get
that, I come and eat another duck, and have oysters with my cod-fish,
which to-day we could not have, except in the form of mussels, ma'am."

"Naw, not a moosel--they was aw gude flithers."

"Well, ma'am, they may have been unknown animals; but good they were,
and as fresh as the day. Now, you will remember that my desire is to do
good. I have nothing to do with the revenue, nor the magistrates,
nor his Majesty. I shall not even go to your parson, who is the chief
authority, I am told; for I wish this matter to be kept quiet, and
beside the law altogether. The whole credit of it shall belong to you,
and a truly good action you will have performed, and done a little good
for your own good self. As for this trinket, I do not leave it with you,
but I leave you this model in wax, ma'am, made by my daughter, who is
very clever. From this you can judge quite as well as from the other.
If there are any more of these things in Flamborough, as I have strong
reason to believe, you will know best where to find them, and I need
not tell you that they are almost certain to be in the possession of a
woman. You know all the women, and you skillfully inquire, without even
letting them suspect it. Now I shall just stretch my legs a little,
and look at your noble prospect, and in three hours' time a little
more refreshment, and then, Mistress Precious, you see the last of your
obedient servant, until you demand from him fifty gold guineas."

After seeing to his horse again, he set forth for a stroll, in the
course of which he met with Dr. Upround and his daughter. The rector
looked hard at this distinguished stranger, as if he desired to know
his name, and expected to be accosted by him, while quick Miss Janetta
glanced with undisguised suspicion, and asked her father, so that Mr.
Mordacks overheard it, what business such a man could have, and what
could he come spying after, in their quiet parish? The general factor
raised his hat, and passed on with a tranquil smile, taking the crooked
path which leads along and around the cliffs, by way of the light-house,
from the north to the southern landing. The present light-house was not
yet built, but an old round tower, which still exists, had long been
used as a signal station, for semaphore by day, and at night for
beacon, in the times of war and tumult; and most people called it the
"Monument." This station was now of very small importance, and sometimes
did nothing for a year together; but still it was very good and useful,
because it enabled an ancient tar, whose feet had been carried away by
a cannon-ball, to draw a little money once a month, and to think himself
still a fine British bulwark.

In the summer-time this hero always slung his hammock here, with plenty
of wind to rock him off to sleep, but in winter King AEolus himself
could not have borne it. "Monument Joe," as almost everybody called him,
was a queer old character of days gone by. Sturdy and silent, but as
honest as the sun, he made his rounds as regularly as that great orb,
and with equally beneficent object. For twice a day he stumped to fetch
his beer from Widow Precious, and the third time to get his little
pannikin of grog. And now the time was growing for that last important
duty, when a stranger stood before him with a crown piece in his hand.

"Now don't get up, captain, don't disturb yourself," said Mr. Mordacks,
graciously; "your country has claimed your activity, I see, and I hope
it makes amends to you. At the same time I know that it very seldom
does. Accept this little tribute from the admiration of a friend."

Old Joe took the silver piece and rung it on his tin tobacco-box, then
stowed it inside, and said, "Gammon! What d'ye want of me?"

"Your manners, my good Sir, are scarcely on a par with your merits.
I bribe no man; it is the last thing I would ever dream of doing. But
whenever a question of memory arises, I have often observed a great
failure of that power without--without, if you will excuse the
expression, the administration of a little grease."

"Smooggling? Aught about smooggling?" Old Joe shut his mouth sternly;
for he hated and scorned the coast-guards, whose wages were shamefully
above his own, and who had the impudence to order him for signals;
while, on the other hand, he found free trade a policy liberal,
enlightening, and inspiriting.

"No, captain, no; not a syllable of that. You have been in this place
about sixteen years. If you had only been here four years more, your
evidence would have settled all I want to know. No wreck can take place
here, of course, without your knowledge?"

"Dunno that. B'lieve one have. There's a twist of the tide here--but
what good to tell landlubbers?"

"You are right. I should never understand such things. But I find them
wonderfully interesting. You are not a native of this place, and knew
nothing of Flamborough before you came here?"

Monument Joe gave a grunt at this, and a long squirt of tobacco juice.
"And don't want," he said.

"Of course, you are superior, in every way superior. You find these
people rough, and far inferior in manners. But either, my good friend,
you will re-open your tobacco-box, or else you will answer me a few
short questions, which trespass in no way upon your duty to the king, or
to his loyal smugglers."

Old Joe looked up, with weather-beaten eyes, and saw that he had no
fool to deal with, in spite of all soft palaver. The intensity of Mr.
Mordacks's eyes made him blink, and mutter a bad word or two, but remain
pretty much at his service. And the last intention he could entertain
was that of restoring this fine crown piece. "Spake on, Sir," he said;
"and I will spake accordin'."

"Very good. I shall give you very little trouble. I wish to know whether
there was any wreck here, kept quiet perhaps, but still some ship lost,
about three or four years before you came to this station. It does not
matter what ship, any ship at all, which may have gone down without any
fuss at all. You know of none such? Very well. You were not here; and
the people of this place are wonderfully close. But a veteran of the
Royal Navy should know how to deal with them. Make your inquiries
without seeming to inquire. The question is altogether private, and
can not in any way bring you into trouble. Whereas, if you find out
anything, you will be a made man, and live like a gentleman. You hate
the lawyers? All the honest seamen do. I am not a lawyer, and my object
is to fire a broadside into them. Accept this guinea; and if it would
suit you to have one every week for the rest of your life, I will pledge
you my word for it, paid in advance, if you only find out for me one
little fact, of which I have no doubt whatever, that a merchant ship was
cast away near this Head just about nineteen years agone."

That ancient sailor was accustomed to surprises; but this, as he said,
when he came to think of it, made a clean sweep of him, fore and aft.
Nevertheless, he had the presence of mind required for pocketing the
guinea, which was too good for his tobacco-box; and as one thing at a
time was quite enough upon his mind, he probed away slowly, to be sure
there was no hole. Then he got up from his squatting form, with the
usual activity of those who are supposed to have none left, and touched
his brown hat, standing cleverly. "What be I to do for all this?" he
asked.

"Nothing more than what I have told you. To find out slowly, and without
saying why, in the way you sailors know how to do, whether such a thing
came to pass, as I suppose. You must not be stopped by the lies of
anybody. Of course they will deny it, if they got some of the wrecking;
or it is just possible that no one even heard of it; and yet there may
be some traces. Put two and two together, my good friend, as you have
the very best chance of doing; and soon you may put two to that in your
pocket, and twenty, and a hundred, and as much as you can hold."

"When shall I see your good honor again, to score log-run, and come to a
reckoning?"

"Master Joseph, work a wary course. Your rating for life will depend
upon that. You may come to this address, if you have anything important.
Otherwise you shall soon hear of me again. Good-by."



CHAPTER XVIII

GOYLE BAY


While all the world was at cross-purposes thus--Mr. Jellicorse uneasy at
some rumors he had heard; Captain Carroway splitting his poor heel with
indignation at the craftiness of free-traders; Farmer Anerley vexed at
being put upon by people, without any daughter to console him, or catch
shrimps; Master Mordacks pursuing a noble game, strictly above-board, as
usual; Robin Lyth troubled in his largest principles of revolt against
revenue by a nasty little pain that kept going to his heart, with an
emptiness there, as for another heart; and last, and perhaps of all
most important, the rector perpetually pining for his game of chess, and
utterly discontented with the frigid embraces of analysis--where was the
best, and most simple, and least selfish of the whole lot, Mary Anerley?

Mary was in as good a place as even she was worthy of. A place not by
any means so snug and favored by nature as Anerley Farm, but pretty
well sheltered by large trees of a strong and hardy order. And the
comfortable ways of good old folk, who needed no labor to live by spread
a happy leisure and a gentle ease upon everything under their roof-tree.
Here was no necessity for getting up until the sun encouraged it; and
the time for going to bed depended upon the time of sleepiness. Old
Johnny Popplewell, as everybody called him, without any protest on his
part, had made a good pocket by the tanning business, and having no
children to bring up to it, and only his wife to depend upon him, had
sold the good-will, the yard, and the stock as soon as he had turned his
sixtieth year. "I have worked hard all my life," he said, "and I mean to
rest for the rest of it."

At first he was heartily miserable, and wandered about with a vacant
look, having only himself to look after. And he tried to find a hole in
his bargain with the man who enjoyed all the smells he was accustomed
to, and might even be heard through a gap in the fence rating the men
as old Johnny used to do, at the same time of day, and for the same
neglect, and almost in the self-same words which the old owner used, but
stronger. Instead of being happy, Master Popplewell lost more flesh in a
month than he used to lay on in the most prosperous year; and he owed
it to his wife, no doubt, as generally happens, that he was not speedily
gathered to the bosom of the hospitable Simon of Joppa. For Mrs.
Popplewell said, "Go away; Johnny, go away from this village; smell
new smells, and never see a hide without a walking thing inside of it.
Sea-weed smells almost as nice as tan; though of course it is not so
wholesome." The tanner obeyed, and bought a snug little place about ten
miles from the old premises, which he called, at the suggestion of the
parson, "Byrsa Cottage."

Here was Mary, as blithe as a lark, and as petted as a robin-redbreast,
by no means pining, or even hankering, for any other robin. She was not
the girl to give her heart before it was even asked for; and hitherto
she had regarded the smuggler with pity more than admiration. For in
many points she was like her father, whom she loved foremost of the
world; and Master Anerley was a law-abiding man, like every other
true Englishman. Her uncle Popplewell was also such, but exerted his
principles less strictly. Moreover, he was greatly under influence of
wife, which happens more freely to a man without children, the which are
a source of contradiction. And Mistress Popplewell was a most thorough
and conscientious free-trader.

Now Mary was from childhood so accustomed to the sea, and the relish
of salt breezes, and the racy dance of little waves that crowd on one
another, and the tidal delivery of delightful rubbish, that to fail
of seeing the many works and plays and constant variance of her never
wearying or weary friend was more than she could long put up with. She
called upon Lord Keppel almost every day, having brought him from home
for the good of his health, to gird up his loins, or rather get his
belly girths on, and come along the sands with her, and dig into new
places. But he, though delighted for a while with Byrsa stable, and
the social charms of Master Popplewell's old cob, and a rick of fine
tan-colored clover hay and bean haulm, when the novelty of these
delights was passed, he pined for his home, and the split in his crib,
and the knot of hard wood he had polished with his neck, and even the
little dog that snapped at him. He did not care for retired people--as
he said to the cob every evening--he liked to see farm-work going on, or
at any rate to hear all about it, and to listen to horses who had worked
hard, and could scarcely speak, for chewing, about the great quantity
they had turned of earth, and how they had answered very bad words with
a bow. In short, to put it in the mildest terms, Lord Keppel was giving
himself great airs, unworthy of his age, ungrateful to a degree, and
ungraceful, as the cob said repeatedly; considering how he was fed, and
bedded, and not a thing left undone for him. But his arrogance soon had
to pay its own costs.

For, away to the right of Byrsa Cottage, as you look down the hollow
of the ground toward the sea, a ridge of high scrubby land runs up to
a forefront of bold cliff, indented with a dark and narrow bay. "Goyle
Bay," as it is called, or sometimes "Basin Bay," is a lonely and rugged
place, and even dangerous for unwary visitors. For at low spring tides
a deep hollow is left dry, rather more than a quarter of a mile across,
strewn with kelp and oozy stones, among which may often be found pretty
shells, weeds richly tinted and of subtle workmanship, stars, and
flowers, and love-knots of the sea, and sometimes carnelians and
crystals. But anybody making a collection here should be able to keep
one eye upward and one down, or else in his pocket to have two things--a
good watch and a trusty tide-table.

John and Deborah Popplewell were accustomed to water in small supplies,
such as that of a well, or a road-side pond, or their own old noble
tan-pits; but to understand the sea it was too late in life, though it
pleased them, and gave them fine appetites now to go down when it was
perfectly calm, and a sailor assured them that the tide was mild. But
even at such seasons they preferred to keep their distance, and called
out frequently to one another. They looked upon their niece, from all
she told them, as a creature almost amphibious; but still they were
often uneasy about her, and would gladly have kept her well inland. She,
however, laughed at any such idea; and their discipline was to let her
have her own way. But now a thing happened which proved forever how much
better old heads are than young ones.

For Mary, being tired of the quiet places, and the strands where she
knew every pebble, resolved to explore Goyle Bay at last, and she chose
the worst possible time for it. The weather had been very fine and
gentle, and the sea delightfully plausible, without a wave--tide after
tide--bigger than the furrow of a two-horse plough; and the maid began
to believe at last that there never were any storms just here. She had
heard of the pretty things in Goyle Bay, which was difficult of access
from the land, but she resolved to take opportunity of tide, and thus
circumvent the position; she would rather have done it afoot, but her
uncle and aunt made a point of her riding to the shore, regarding the
pony as a safe companion, and sure refuge from the waves. And so, upon
the morning of St. Michael, she compelled Lord Keppel, with an adverse
mind, to turn a headland they had never turned before.

The tide was far out and ebbing still, but the wind had shifted, and was
blowing from the east rather stiffly, and with increasing force. Mary
knew that the strong equinoctial tides were running at their height; but
she had timed her visit carefully, as she thought, with no less than an
hour and a half to spare. And even without any thought of tide, she was
bound to be back in less time than that, for her uncle had been most
particular to warn her to be home without fail at one o'clock, when the
sacred goose, to which he always paid his duties, would be on the table.
And if anything marred his serenity of mind, it was to have dinner kept
waiting.

Without any misgivings, she rode into Basin Bay, keeping within the
black barrier of rocks, outside of which wet sands were shining. She
saw that these rocks, like the bar of a river, crossed the inlet of
the cove; but she had not been told of their peculiar frame and upshot,
which made them so treacherous a rampart. At the mouth of the bay they
formed a level crescent, as even as a set of good teeth, against the
sea, with a slope of sand running up to their outer front, but a deep
and long pit inside of them. This pit drained itself very nearly dry
when the sea went away from it, through some stony tubes which only
worked one way, by the closure of their mouths when the tide returned;
so that the volume of the deep sometimes, with tide and wind behind it,
leaped over the brim into the pit, with tenfold the roar, a thousandfold
the power, and scarcely less than the speed, of a lion.

Mary Anerley thought what a lovely place it was, so deep and secluded
from anybody's sight, and full of bright wet colors. Her pony refused,
with his usual wisdom, to be dragged to the bottom of the hole, but she
made him come further down than he thought just, and pegged him by
the bridle there. He looked at her sadly, and with half a mind to
expostulate more forcibly, but getting no glimpse of the sea where he
stood, he thought it as well to put up with it; and presently he snorted
out a tribe of little creatures, which puzzled him and took up his
attention.

Meanwhile Mary was not only puzzled, but delighted beyond description.
She never yet had come upon such treasures of the sea, and she scarcely
knew what to lay hands upon first. She wanted the weeds of such
wonderful forms, and colors yet more exquisite, and she wanted the
shells of such delicate fabric that fairies must have made them, and a
thousand other little things that had no names; and then she seemed most
of all to want the pebbles. For the light came through them in stripes
and patterns, and many of them looked like downright jewels. She had
brought a great bag of strong canvas, luckily, and with both hands she
set to to fill it.

So busy was the girl with the vast delight of sanguine acquisition--this
for her father, and that for her mother, and so much for everybody she
could think of--that time had no time to be counted at all, but flew
by with feathers unheeded. The mutter of the sea became a roar, and the
breeze waxed into a heavy gale, and spray began to sputter through the
air like suds; but Mary saw the rampart of the rocks before her, and
thought that she could easily get back around the point. And her taste
began continually to grow more choice, so that she spent as much time
in discarding the rubbish which at first she had prized so highly as
she did in collecting the real rarities, which she was learning to
distinguish. But unluckily the sea made no allowance for all this.

For just as Mary, with her bag quite full, was stooping with a long
stretch to get something more--a thing that perhaps was the very best of
all, and therefore had got into a corner--there fell upon her back quite
a solid lump of wave, as a horse gets the bottom of the bucket cast at
him. This made her look up, not a minute too soon; and even then she was
not at all aware of danger, but took it for a notice to be moving.
And she thought more of shaking that saltwater from her dress than of
running away from the rest of it.

But as soon as she began to look about in earnest, sweeping back her
salted hair, she saw enough of peril to turn pale the roses and strike
away the smile upon her very busy face. She was standing several yards
below the level of the sea, and great surges were hurrying to swallow
her. The hollow of the rocks received the first billow with a thump and
a slush, and a rush of pointed hillocks in a fury to find their way back
again, which failing, they spread into a long white pool, taking Mary
above her pretty ankles. "Don't you think to frighten me," said Mary; "I
know all your ways, and I mean to take my time."

But even before she had finished her words, a great black wall (doubled
over at the top with whiteness, that seemed to race along it like a
fringe) hung above the rampart, and leaped over, casting at Mary such a
volley that she fell. This quenched her last audacity, although she was
not hurt; and jumping up nimbly, she made all haste through the rising
water toward her pony. But as she would not forsake her bag, and the
rocks became more and more slippery, towering higher and higher surges
crashed in over the barrier, and swelled the yeasty turmoil which began
to fill the basin; while a scurry of foam flew like pellets from the
rampart, blinding even the very best young eyes.

Mary began to lose some of her presence of mind and familiar approval
of the sea. She could swim pretty well, from her frequent bathing; but
swimming would be of little service here, if once the great rollers
came over the bar, which they threatened to do every moment. And when at
length she fought her way to the poor old pony, her danger and distress
were multiplied. Lord Keppel was in a state of abject fear; despair was
knocking at his fine old heart; he was up to his knees in the loathsome
brine already, and being so twisted up by his own exertions that to
budge another inch was beyond him, he did what a horse is apt to do in
such condition--he consoled himself with fatalism. He meant to expire;
but before he did so he determined to make his mistress feel what she
had done. Therefore, with a sad nudge of white old nose, he drew her
attention to his last expression, sighed as plainly as a man could sigh,
and fixed upon her meek eyes, telling volumes.

"I know, I know that it is all my fault," cried Mary, with the brine
almost smothering her tears, as she flung her arms around his neck; "but
I never will do it again, my darling. And I never will run away and let
you drown. Oh, if I only had a knife! I can not even cast your bridle
off; the tongue has stuck fast, and my hands are cramped. But, Keppel, I
will stay, and be drowned with you."

This resolve was quite unworthy of Mary's common-sense; for how could
her being drowned with Keppel help him? However, the mere conception
showed a spirit of lofty order; though the body might object to be
ordered under. Without any thought of all that, she stood, resolute,
tearful, and thoroughly wet through, while she hunted in her pocket for
a penknife.

The nature of all knives is, not to be found; and Mary's knife was loyal
to its kind. Then she tugged at her pony, and pulled out his bit, and
labored again at the obstinate strap; but nothing could be done with it.
Keppel must be drowned, and he did not seem to care, but to think that
the object of his birth was that. If the stupid little fellow would
have only stepped forward, the hands of his mistress, though cramped and
benumbed, might perhaps have unbuckled his stiff and sodden reins, or
even undone their tangle; on the other hand, if he would have jerked
with all his might, something or other must have given way; but stir he
would not from one fatuous position, which kept all his head-gear on the
strain, but could not snap it. Mary even struck him with her heavy bag
of stones, to make him do something; but he only looked reproachful.

"Was there ever such a stupid?" the poor girl cried, with the water
rising almost to her waist, and the inner waves beginning to dash over
her, while the outer billows threatened to rush in and crush them both.
"But I will not abuse you any more, poor Keppel. What will dear father
say? Oh, what will he think of it?"

Then she burst into a fit of sobs, and leaned against the pony, to
support her from a rushing wave which took her breath away, and she
thought that she would never try to look up any more, but shut her eyes
to all the rest of it. But suddenly she heard a loud shout and a splash,
and found herself caught up and carried like an infant.

"Lie still. Never mind the pony: what is he? I will go for him
afterward. You first, you first of all the world, my Mary."

She tried to speak, but not a word would come; and that was all the
better. She was carried quick as might be through a whirl of tossing
waters, and gently laid upon a pile of kelp; and then Robin Lyth said,
"You are quite safe here, for at least another hour. I will go and get
your pony."

"No, no; you will be knocked to pieces," she cried; for the pony, in the
drift and scud, could scarcely be seen but for his helpless struggles.
But the young man was half way toward him while she spoke, and she knelt
upon the kelp, and clasped her hands.

Now Robin was at home in a matter such as this. He had landed many kegs
in a sea as strong or stronger, and he knew how to deal with the horses
in a surf. There still was a break of almost a fathom in the level of
the inner and the outer waves, for the basin was so large that it could
not fill at once; and so long as this lasted, every roller must comb
over at the entrance, and mainly spend itself. "At least five minutes to
spare," he shouted back, "and there is no such thing as any danger." But
the girl did not believe him.

Rapidly and skillfully he made his way, meeting the larger waves
sideways, and rising at their onset; until he was obliged to swim at
last where the little horse was swimming desperately. The leather,
still jammed in some crevice at the bottom, was jerking his poor chin
downward; his eyes were screwed up like a new-born kitten's, and his
dainty nose looked like a jelly-fish. He thought how sad it was that
he should ever die like this, after all the good works of his life--the
people he had carried, and the chaise that he had drawn, and all his
kindness to mankind. Then he turned his head away to receive the stroke
of grace, which the next wave would administer.

No! He was free. He could turn his honest tail on the sea, which he
always had detested so; he could toss up his nose and blow the filthy
salt out, and sputter back his scorn, while he made off for his life.
So intent was he on this that he never looked twice to make out who his
benefactor was, but gave him just a taste of his hind-foot on the
elbow, in the scuffle of his hurry to be round about and off. "Such is
gratitude!" the smuggler cried; but a clot of salt-water flipped into
his mouth, and closed all cynical outlet. Bearing up against the waves,
he stowed his long knife away, and then struck off for the shore with
might and main.

Here Mary ran into the water to meet him, shivering as she was with
fright and cold, and stretched out both hands to him as he waded forth;
and he took them and clasped them, quite as if he needed help. Lord
Keppel stood afar off, recovering his breath, and scarcely dared to look
askance at the execrable sea.

"How cold you are!" Robin Lyth exclaimed. "You must not stay a moment.
No talking, if you please--though I love your voice so. You are not
safe yet. You can not get back round the point. See the waves dashing
up against it! You must climb the cliff, and that is no easy job for a
lady, in the best of weather. In a couple of hours the tide will be
over the whole of this beach a fathom deep. There is no boat nearer than
Filey; and a boat could scarcely live over that bar. You must climb the
cliff, and begin at once, before you get any colder."

"Then is my poor pony to be drowned, after all? If he is, he had better
have been drowned at once."

The smuggler looked at her with a smile, which meant, "Your gratitude
is about the same as his;" but he answered, to assure her, though by no
means sure himself:

"There is time enough for him; he shall not be drowned. But you must be
got out of danger first. When you are off my mind, I will fetch up pony.
Now you must follow me step by step, carefully and steadily. I would
carry you up if I could; but even a giant could scarcely do that, in a
stiff gale of wind, and with the crag so wet."

Mary looked up with a shiver of dismay. She was brave and nimble
generally, but now so wet and cold, and the steep cliff looked so
slippery, that she said: "It is useless; I can never get up there.
Captain Lyth, save yourself, and leave me."

"That would be a pretty thing to do!" he replied; "and where should I be
afterward? I am not at the end of my devices yet. I have got a very snug
little crane up there. It was here we ran our last lot, and beat the
brave lieutenant so. But unluckily I have no cave just here. None of my
lads are about here now, or we would make short work of it. But I could
hoist you very well, if you would let me."

"I would never think of such a thing. To come up like a keg! Captain
Lyth, you must know that I never would be so disgraced."

"Well, I was afraid that you might take it so, though I can not see why
it should be any harm. We often hoist the last man so."

"It is different with me," said Mary. "It may be no harm; but I could
not have it."

The free-trader looked at her bright eyes and color, and admired her
spirit, which his words had roused.

"I pray your forgiveness, Miss Anerley," he said; "I meant no harm. I
was thinking of your life. But you look now as if you could do anything
almost."

"Yes, I am warm again. I have no fear. I will not go up like a keg, but
like myself. I can do it without help from anybody."

"Only please to take care not to cut your little hands," said Robin, as
he began the climb; for he saw that her spirit was up to do it.

"My hands are not little; and I will cut them if I choose. Please not
even to look back at me. I am not in the least afraid of anything."

The cliff was not of the soft and friable stuff to be found at
Bridlington, but of hard and slippery sandstone, with bulky ribs
oversaling here and there, and threatening to cast the climber back. At
such spots nicks for the feet had been cut, or broken with a hammer, but
scarcely wider than a stirrup-iron, and far less inviting. To surmount
these was quite impossible except by a process of crawling; and Mary,
with her heart in her mouth, repented of her rash contempt for the crane
sling. Luckily the height was not very great, or, tired as she was, she
must have given way; for her bodily warmth had waned again in the strong
wind buffeting the cliff. Otherwise the wind had helped her greatly by
keeping her from swaying outward; but her courage began to fail at last,
and very near the top she called for help. A short piece of lanyard was
thrown to her at once, and Robin Lyth landed her on the bluff, panting,
breathless, and blushing again.

"Well done!" he cried, gazing as she turned her face away. "Young ladies
may teach even sailors to climb. Not every sailor could get up this
cliff. Now back to Master Popplewell's as fast as you can run, and your
aunt will know what to do with you."

"You seem well acquainted with my family affairs," said Mary, who could
not help smiling. "Pray how did you even know where I am staying?"

"Little birds tell me everything, especially about the best, and most
gentle, and beautiful of all birds."

The maiden was inclined to be vexed; but remembering how much he had
done, and how little gratitude she had shown, she forgave him, and asked
him to come to the cottage.

"I will bring up the little horse. Have no fear," he replied. "I will
not come up at all unless I bring him. But it may take two or three
hours."

With no more than a wave of his hat, he set off, as if the coast-riders
were after him, by the path along the cliffs toward Filey, for he knew
that Lord Keppel must be hoisted by the crane, and he could not manage
it without another man, and the tide would wait for none of them. Upon
the next headland he found one of his men, for the smugglers maintained
a much sharper look-out than did the forces of his Majesty, because they
were paid much better; and returning, they managed to strap Lord Keppel,
and hoist him like a big bale of contraband goods. For their crane had
been left in a brambled hole, and they very soon rigged it out again.
The little horse kicked pretty freely in the air, not perceiving his own
welfare; but a cross-beam and pulley kept him well out from the cliff,
and they swung him in over handsomely, and landed him well up on the
sward within the brink. Then they gave him three cheers for his great
adventure, which he scarcely seemed to appreciate.



CHAPTER XIX

A FARM TO LET


That storm on the festival of St. Michael broke up the short summer
weather of the north. A wet and tempestuous month set in, and the
harvest, in all but the very best places, lay flat on the ground,
without scythe or sickle. The men of the Riding were not disturbed by
this, as farmers would have been in Suffolk; for these were quite used
to walk over their crops, without much occasion to lift their feet. They
always expected their corn to be laid, and would have been afraid of it
if it stood upright. Even at Anerley Farm this salam of the wheat was
expected in bad seasons; and it suited the reapers of the neighborhood,
who scarcely knew what to make of knees unbent, and upright discipline
of stiff-cravated ranks.

In the northwest corner of the county, where the rocky land was mantled
so frequently with cloud, and the prevalence of western winds bore sway,
an upright harvest was a thing to talk of, as the legend of a century,
credible because it scarcely could have been imagined. And this year it
would have been hard to imagine any more prostrate and lowly position
than that of every kind of crop. The bright weather of August and
attentions of the sun, and gentle surprise of rich dews in the morning,
together with abundance of moisture underneath, had made things look as
they scarcely ever looked--clean, and straight, and elegant. But none of
them had found time to form the dry and solid substance, without which
neither man nor his staff of life can stand against adversity.

"My Lady Philippa," as the tenants called her, came out one day to see
how things looked, and whether the tenants were likely to pay their
Michaelmas rents at Christmas. Her sister, Mrs. Carnaby, felt like
interest in the question, but hated long walks, being weaker and less
active, and therefore rode a quiet pony. Very little wheat was grown on
their estates, both soil and climate declining it; but the barley crop
was of more importance, and flourished pretty well upon the southern
slopes. The land, as a rule, was poor and shallow, and nourished more
grouse than partridges; but here and there valleys of soft shelter and
fair soil relieved the eye and comforted the pocket of the owner. These
little bits of Goshen formed the heart of every farm; though oftentimes
the homestead was, as if by some perversity, set up in bleak and barren
spots, outside of comfort's elbow.

The ladies marched on, without much heed of any other point than
one--would the barley crop do well? They had many tenants who trusted
chiefly to that, and to the rough hill oats, and wool, to make up in
coin what part of their rent they were not allowed to pay in kind.
For as yet machinery and reeking factories had not besmirched the
country-side.

"How much further do you mean to go, Philippa?" asked Mrs. Carnaby,
although she was not travelling by virtue of her own legs. "For my part,
I think we have gone too far already."

"Your ambition is always to turn back. You may turn back now if you
like. I shall go on." Miss Yordas knew that her sister would fail of the
courage to ride home all alone.

Mrs. Carnaby never would ride without Jordas or some other serving-man
behind her, as was right and usual for a lady of her position; but "Lady
Philippa" was of bolder strain, and cared for nobody's thoughts, words,
or deeds. And she had ordered her sister's servant back for certain
reasons of her own.

"Very well, very well. You always will go on, and always on the road you
choose yourself. Although it requires a vast deal of knowledge to know
that there is any road here at all."

The widow, who looked very comely for her age, and sat her pony
prettily, gave way (as usual) to the stronger will; though she always
liked to enter protest, which the elder scarcely ever deigned to notice.
But hearing that Eliza had a little cough at night, and knowing that
her appetite had not been as it ought to be, Philippa (who really was
wrapped up in her sister, but never or seldom let her dream of such a
fact) turned round graciously and said:

"I have ordered the carriage here for half past three o'clock. We will
go back by the Scarbend road, and Heartsease can trot behind us."

"Heartsease, uneasy you have kept my heart by your shufflings and
trippings perpetual. Philippa, I want a better-stepping pony. Pet has
ruined Heartsease."

"Pet ruins everything and everybody; and you are ruining him, Eliza. I
am the only one who has the smallest power over him. And he is beginning
to cast off that. If it comes to open war between us, I shall be sorry
for Lancelot."

"And I shall be sorry for you, Philippa. In a few years Pet will be
a man. And a man is always stronger than a woman; at any rate in our
family."

"Stronger than such as you, Eliza. But let him only rebel against me,
and he will find himself an outcast. And to prove that, I have brought
you here."

Mistress Yordas turned round, and looked in a well-known manner at her
sister, whose beautiful eyes filled with tears, and fell.

"Philippa," she said, with a breath like a sob, "sometimes you look
harder than poor dear papa, in his very worst moments, used to look. I
am sure that I do not at all deserve it. All that I pray for is peace
and comfort; and little do I get of either."

"And you will get less, as long as you pray for them, instead of doing
something better. The only way to get such things is to make them."

"Then I think that you might make enough for us both, if you had any
regard for them, or for me, Philippa."

Mistress Yordas smiled, as she often did, at her sister's style of
reasoning. And she cared not a jot for the last word, so long as the
will and the way were left to her. And in this frame of mind she turned
a corner from the open moor track into a little lane, or rather the
expiring delivery of a lane, which was leading a better existence
further on.

Mrs. Carnaby followed dutifully, and Heartsease began to pick up his
feet, which he scorned to do upon the negligence of sward. And following
this good lane, they came to a gate, corded to an ancient tree, and
showing up its foot, as a dog does when he has a thorn in it. This gate
seemed to stand for an ornament, or perhaps a landmark; for the lane,
instead of submitting to it, passed by upon either side, and plunged
into a dingle, where a gray old house was sheltering. The lonely
moorside farm--if such a wild and desolate spot could be a farm--was
known as "Wallhead," from the relics of some ancient wall; and the
folk who lived there, or tried to live, although they possessed a
surname--which is not a necessary consequence of life--very seldom used
it, and more rarely still had it used for them. For the ancient fashion
still held ground of attaching the idea of a man to that of things more
extensive and substantial. So the head of the house was "Will o'
the Wallhead;" his son was "Tommy o' Will o' the Wallhead;" and his
grandson, "Willy o' Tommy o' Will o' the Wallhead." But the one their
great lady desired to see was the unmarried daughter of the house,
"Sally o' Will o' the Wallhead."

Mistress Yordas knew that the men of the house would be out upon the
land at this time of day, while Sally would be full of household work,
and preparing their homely supper. So she walked in bravely at the
open door, while her sister waited with the pony in the yard. Sally was
clumping about in clog-shoes, with a child or two sprawling after her
(for Tommy's wife was away with him at work), and if the place was not
as clean as could be, it seemed as clean as need be.

The natives of this part are rough in manner, and apt to regard civility
as the same thing with servility. Their bluntness does not proceed from
thickness, as in the south of England, but from a surety of their own
worth, and inferiority to no one. And to deal with them rightly, this
must be entered into.

Sally o' Will o' the Wallhead bobbed her solid and black curly head,
with a clout like a jelly on the poll of it, to the owner of their land,
and a lady of high birth; but she vouchsafed no courtesy, neither did
Mistress Yordas expect one. But the active and self-contained woman set
a chair in the low dark room, which was their best, and stood waiting to
be spoken to.

"Sally," said the lady, who also possessed the Yorkshire gift of going
to the point, "you had a man ten years ago; you behaved badly to him,
and he went into the Indian Company."

"A' deed," replied the maiden, without any blush, because she had been
in the right throughout; "and noo a' hath coom in a better moind."

"And you have come to know your own mind about him. You have been
steadfast to him for ten years. He has saved up some money, and is come
back to marry you."

"I heed nane o' the brass. But my Jack is back again."

"His father held under us for many years. He was a thoroughly honest
man, and paid his rent as often as he could. Would Jack like to have his
father's farm? It has been let to his cousin, as you know; but they have
been going from bad to worse; and everything must be sold off, unless I
stop it."

Sally was of dark Lancastrian race, with handsome features and fine
brown eyes. She had been a beauty ten years ago, and could still look
comely, when her heart was up.

"My lady," she said, with her heart up now, at the hope of soon having
a home of her own, and something to work for that she might keep, "such
words should not pass the mouth wi'out bin meant."

What she said was very different in sound, and not to be rendered in
echo by any one born far away from that country, where three dialects
meet and find it hard to guess what each of the others is up to.
Enough that this is what Sally meant to say, and that Mistress Yordas
understood it.

"It is not my custom to say a thing without meaning it," she answered;
"but unless it is taken up at once, it is likely to come to nothing.
Where is your man Jack?"

"Jack is awaa to the minister to tell of us cooming tegither." Sally
made no blush over this, as she might have done ten years ago.

"He must be an excellent and faithful man. He shall have the farm if he
wishes it, and can give some security at going in. Let him come and see
Jordas tomorrow."

After a few more words, the lady left Sally full of gratitude, very
little of which was expressed aloud, and therefore the whole was more
likely to work, as Mistress Yordas knew right well.

The farm was a better one than Wallhead, having some good barley land
upon it; and Jack did not fail to present himself at Scargate upon the
following morning. But the lady of the house did not think fit herself
to hold discourse with him. Jordas was bidden to entertain him, and find
out how he stood in cash, and whether his character was solid; and then
to leave him with a jug of ale, and come and report proceedings. The
dogman discharged this duty well, being as faithful as the dogs he kept,
and as keen a judge of human nature.

"The man hath no harm in him," he said, touching his hair to the ladies,
as he entered the audit-room. "A' hath been knocked aboot a bit in them
wars i' Injury, and hath only one hand left; but a' can lay it upon
fifty poon, and get surety for anither fifty."

"Then tell him, Jordas, that he may go to Mr. Jellicorse to-morrow,
to see about the writings, which he must pay for. I will write full
instructions for Mr. Jellicorse, and you go and get your dinner; and
then take my letter, that he may have time to consider it. Wait a
moment. There are other things to be done in Middleton, and it would be
late for you to come back to-night, the days are drawing in so. Sleep at
our tea-grocer's; he will put you up. Give your letter at once into the
hands of Mr. Jellicorse, and he will get forward with the writings. Tell
this man Jack that he must be there before twelve o'clock to-morrow, and
then you can call about two o'clock, and bring back what there may be
for signature; and be careful of it. Eliza, I think I have set forth
your wishes."

"But, my lady, lawyers do take such a time; and who will look after
Master Lancelot? I fear to have my feet two moiles off here--"

"Obey your orders, without reasoning; that is for those who give them.
Eliza, I am sure that you agree with me. Jordas, make this man clearly
understand, as you can do when you take the trouble. But you first must
clearly understand the whole yourself. I will repeat it for you."

Philippa Yordas went through the whole of her orders again most clearly,
and at every one of them the dogman nodded his large head distinctly,
and counted the nods on his fingers to make sure; for this part is
gifted with high mathematics. And the numbers stick fast like pegs
driven into clay.

"Poor Jordas! Philippa, you are working him too hard. You have made
great wrinkles in his forehead. Jordas, you must have no wrinkles until
you are married."

While Mrs. Carnaby spoke so kindly, the dogman took his fingers off
their numeral scale, and looked at her. By nature the two were first
cousins, of half blood; by law and custom, and education, and vital
institution, they were sundered more widely than black and white. But,
for all that, the dogman loved the lady, at a faithful distance.

"You seem to me now to have it clearly, Jordas," said the elder sister,
looking at him sternly, because Eliza was so soft; "you will see that no
mischief can be done with the dogs or horses while you are away; and
Mr. Jellicorse will give you a letter for me, to say that everything is
right. My desire is to have things settled promptly, because your friend
Jack has been to set the banns up; and the Church is more speedy in such
matters than the law. Now the sooner you are off, the better."

Jordas, in his steady but by no means stupid way, considered at his
leisure what such things could mean. He knew all the property, and the
many little holdings, as well as, and perhaps a great deal better than,
if they had happened to be his own. But he never had known such a hurry
made before, or such a special interest shown about the letting of
any tenement, of perhaps tenfold the value. However, he said, like a
sensible man (and therefore to himself only), that the ways of women
are beyond compute, and must be suitably carried out, without any
contradiction.



CHAPTER XX

AN OLD SOLDIER


Now Mr. Jellicorse had been taking a careful view of everything. He
wished to be certain of placing himself both on the righteous side and
the right one; and in such a case this was not to be done without much
circumspection. He felt himself bound to his present clients, and could
not even dream of deserting them; but still there are many things that
may be done to conciliate the adversary of one's friend, without being
false to the friend himself. And some of these already were occurring to
the lawyer.

It was true that no adversary had as yet appeared, nor even shown token
of existence; but some little sign of complication had arisen, and one
serious fact was come to light. The solicitors of Sir Ulphus de Roos
(the grandson of Sir Fursan, whose daughter had married Richard
Yordas) had pretty strong evidence, in some old letters, that a deed
of appointment had been made by the said Richard, and Eleanor his wife,
under the powers of their settlement. Luckily they had not been employed
in the matter, and possessed not so much as a draft or a letter of
instructions; and now it was no concern of theirs to make, or meddle, or
even move. Neither did they know that any question could arise about it;
for they were a highly antiquated firm, of most rigid respectability,
being legal advisers to the Chapter of York, and clerks of the
Prerogative Court, and able to charge twice as much as almost any other
firm, and nearly three times as much as poor Jellicorse.

Mr. Jellicorse had been most skillful and wary in sounding these deep
and silent people; for he wanted to find out how much they knew, without
letting them suspect that there was anything to know. And he proved
an old woman's will gratis, or at least put it down to those who could
afford it--because nobody meant to have it proved--simply for the
sake of getting golden contact with Messrs. Akeborum, Micklegate, and
Brigant. Right craftily then did he fetch a young member of the firm,
who delighted in angling, to take his holiday at Middleton, and fish the
goodly Tees; and by gentle and casual discourse of gossip, in hours of
hospitality, out of him he hooked and landed all that his firm knew of
the Yordas race. Young Brigant thought it natural enough that his
host, as the lawyer of that family, and their trusted adviser for
five-and-twenty years, should like to talk over things of an elder date,
which now could be little more than trifles of genealogical history. He
got some fine fishing and good dinners, and found himself pleased with
the river and the town, and his very kind host and hostess; and it came
into his head that if Miss Emily grew up as pretty and lively as she
promised to be, he might do worse than marry her, and open a connection
with such a fishing station. At any rate he left her as a "chose in
action," which might be reduced into possession some fine day.

Such was the state of affairs when Jordas, after a long and muddy ride,
sent word that he would like to see the master, for a minute or two,
if convenient. The days were grown short, and the candles lit, and Mr.
Jellicorse was fast asleep, having had a good deal to get through that
day, including an excellent supper. The lawyer's wife said: "Let
him call in the morning. Business is over, and the office is closed.
Susanna, your master must not be disturbed." But the master awoke, and
declared that he would see him.

Candles were set in the study, while Jordas was having a trifle of
refreshment; and when he came in, Mr. Jellicorse was there, with his
spectacles on, and full of business.

"Asking of your pardon. Sir, for disturbing of you now," said the
dogman, with the rain upon his tarred coat shining, in a little course
of drainage from his great brown beard, "my orders wur to lay this in
your own hand, and seek answer to-morrow by dinner-time, if may be."

"Master Jordas, you shall have it, if it can be. Do you know anybody who
can promise more than that?"

"Plenty, Sir, to promise it, as you must know by this time; but never a
body to perform so much as half. But craving of your pardon again, and
separate, I wud foin spake a word or two of myself."

"Certainly, Jordas, I shall listen with great pleasure. A fine-looking
fellow like you must have affairs. And the lady ought to make some
settlement. It shall all be done for you at half price."

"No, Sir, it is none o' that kind of thing," the dogman answered, with a
smile, as if he might have had such opportunities, but would trouble
no lawyer about them; "and I get too much of half price at home. It is
about my ladies I desire to make speech. They keep their business too
tight, master."

"Jordas, you have been well taught and trained; and you are a man of
sagacity. Tell me faithfully what you mean. It shall go no further. And
it may be of great service to your ladies."

"It is not much, Master Jellicoose; and you may make less than that
of it. But a lie shud be met and knocked doon, Sir, according to my
opinion."

"Certainly, Jordas, when an action will not lie; and sometimes even
where it does, it is wise to commit a defensible assault, and so to
become the defendant. Jordas, you are big enough to do that."

"Master Jellicoose, you are a pleasant man; but you twist my maning, as
a lawyer must. They all does it, to keep their hand in. I am speaking
of the stories, Sir, that is so much about. And I think that my ladies
should be told of them right out, and come forward, and lay their hands
on them. The Yordases always did wrong, of old time; but they never was
afraid to jump on it."

"My friend, you speak in parables. What stories have arisen to be jumped
upon?"

"Well, Sir, for one thing, they do tell that the proper owner of the
property is Sir Duncan, now away in India. A man hath come home who
knows him well, and sayeth that he is like a prince out there, with
command of a country twice as big as Great Britain, and they up and made
'Sir Duncan' of him, by his duty to the king. And if he cometh home, all
must fall before him."

"Even the law of the land, I suppose, and the will of his own father.
Pretty well, so far, Jordas. And what next?"

"Nought, Sir, nought. But I thought I wur duty-bound to tell you that.
What is women before a man Yordas?"

"My good friend, we will not despair. But you are keeping back
something; I know it by your feet. You are duty-bound to tell me every
word now, Jordas."

"The lawyers is the devil," said the dogman to himself; and being quite
used to this reflection, Mr. Jellicorse smiled and nodded; "but if you
must have it all, Sir, it is no more than this. Jack o' the Smithies,
as is to marry Sally o' Will o' the Wallhead, is to have the lease of
Shipboro' farm, and he is the man as hath told it all."

"Very well. We will wish him good luck with his farm," Mr. Jellicorse
answered, cheerfully; "and what is even rarer nowadays, I fear, good
luck of his wife, Master Jordas."

But as soon as the sturdy retainer was gone, and the sound of his heavy
boots had died away, Mr. Jellicorse shook his head very gravely, and
said, as he opened and looked through his packet, which confirmed the
words of Jordas, "Sad indiscretion--want of legal knowledge--headstrong
women--the very way to spoil it all! My troubles are beginning, and I
had better go to bed."

His good wife seconded this wise resolve; and without further parley it
was put into effect, and proclaimed to be successful by a symphony of
snores. For this is the excellence of having other people's cares to
carry (with the carriage well paid), that they sit very lightly on the
springs of sleep. That well-balanced vehicle rolls on smoothly, without
jerk, or jar, or kick, so long as it travels over alien land.

In the morning Mr. Jellicorse was up to anything, legitimate, legal, and
likely to be paid for. Not that he would stir half the breadth of one
wheat corn, even for the sake of his daily bread, from the straight and
strict line of integrity. He had made up his mind about that long ago,
not only from natural virtue, strong and dominant as that was, but also
by dwelling on his high repute, and the solid foundations of character.
He scarcely knew anybody, when he came to think of it, capable of taking
such a lofty course; but that simply confirmed him in his stern resolve
to do what was right and expedient.

It was quite one o'clock before Jack o' the Smithies rang the bell to
see about his lease. He ought to have done it two hours sooner, if he
meant to become a humble tenant; and the lawyer, although he had plenty
to do of other people's business, looked upon this as a very bad sign.
Then he read his letter of instructions once more, and could not but
admire the nice brevity of these, and the skillful style of hinting much
and declaring very little.

For after giving full particulars about the farm, and the rent, and the
covenants required, Mistress Yordas proceeded thus:

"The new tenant is the son of a former occupant, who proved to be a
remarkably honest man, in a case of strong temptation. As happens too
often with men of probity, he was misled and made bankrupt, and died
about twelve years ago, I think. Please to verify this by reference.
The late tenant was his nephew, and has never perceived the necessity of
paying rent. We have been obliged to distrain, as you know; and I wish
John Smithies to buy in what he pleases. He has saved some capital in
India, where I am told that he fought most gallantly. Singular to say,
he has met with, and perhaps served under, our lamented and lost brother
Duncan, of whom and his family he may give us interesting particulars.
You know how this neighborhood excels in idle talk, and if John Smithies
becomes our tenant, his discourse must be confined to his own business.
But he must not hesitate to impart to you any facts you may think it
right to ask about. Jordas will bring us your answer, under seal."

"Skillfully put, up to that last word, which savors too much of teaching
me my own business. Aberthaw, are you quite ready with that lease? It is
wanted rather in a hurry."

As Mr. Jellicorse thought the former, and uttered the latter part of
these words, it was plain to see that he was fidgety. He had put on
superior clothes to get up with; and the clerks had whispered to
one another that it must be his wedding day, and ought to end in a
half-holiday all round, and be chalked thenceforth on the calendar;
but instead of being joyful and jocular, like a man who feels a saving
Providence over him, the lawyer was as dismal, and unsettled and
splenetic, as a prophet on the brink of wedlock. But the very last thing
that he ever dreamed of doubting was his power to turn this old soldier
inside out.

Jack o' the Smithies was announced at last; and the lawyer, being vexed
with him for taking such a time, resolved to let him take a little
longer, and kept him waiting, without any bread and cheese, for nearly
half an hour. The wisdom of doing this depended on the character of
the man, and the state of his finances. And both of these being strong
enough to stand, to keep him so long on his legs was unwise. At last
he came in, a very sturdy sort of fellow, thinking no atom the less of
himself because some of his anatomy was honorably gone.

"Servant, Sir," he said, making a salute; "I had orders to come to you
about a little lease."

"Right, my man, I remember now. You are thinking of taking to your
father's farm, after knocking about for some years in foreign parts. Ah,
nothing like old England after all. And to tread the ancestral soil, and
cherish the old associations, and to nurture a virtuous family in the
fear of the Lord, and to be ready with the rent--"

"Rent is too high, Sir; I must have five pounds off. It ought to be ten,
by right. Cousin Joe has taken all out, and put nought in."

"John o' the Smithies, you astonish me. I have strong reason for
believing that the rent is far too low. I have no instructions to reduce
it."

"Then I must try for another farm, Sir. I can have one of better land,
under Sir Walter; only I seemed to hold on to the old place; and my
Sally likes to be under the old ladies."

"Old ladies! Jack, what are you come to? Beautiful ladies in the prime
of life--but perhaps they would be old in India. I fear that you have
not learned much behavior. But at any rate you ought to know your own
mind. Is it your intention to refuse so kind an offer (which was only
made for your father's sake, and to please your faithful Sally) simply
because another of your family has not been honest in his farming?"

"I never have took it in that way before," the steady old soldier
answered, showing that rare phenomenon, the dawn of a new opinion upon
a stubborn face. "Give me a bit to turn it over in my mind, Sir. Lawyers
be so quick, and so nimble, and all-cornered."

"Turn it over fifty times, Master Smithies. We have no wish to force the
farm upon you. Take a pinch of snuff, to help your sense of justice. Or
if you would like a pipe, go and have it in my kitchen. And if you are
hungry, cook will give you eggs and bacon."

"No, Sir; I am very much obliged to you. I never make much o' my
thinking. I go by what the Lord sends right inside o' me, whenever I
have decent folk to deal with. And spite of your cloth, Sir, you have a
honest look."

"You deserve another pinch of snuff for that. Master Smithies, you have
a gift of putting hard things softly. But this is not business. Is your
mind made up?"

"Yes, Sir. I will take the farm, at full rent, if the covenants are to
my liking. They must be on both sides--both sides, mind you."

Mr. Jellicorse smiled as he began to read the draft prepared from a very
ancient form which was firmly established on the Scargate Hall estates.
The covenants, as usual, were all upon one side, the lessee being bound
to a multitude of things, and the lessor to little more than acceptance
of the rent. But such a result is in the nature of the case. Yet Jack
o' the Smithies was not well content. In him true Yorkshire stubbornness
was multiplied by the dogged tenacity of a British soldier, and the
aggregate raised to an unknown power by the efforts of shrewd ignorance;
and at last the lawyer took occasion to say,

"Master John Smithies, you are worthy to serve under the colors of a
Yordas."

"That I have, Sir, that I have," cried the veteran, taken unawares, and
shaking the stump of his arm in proof; "I have served under Sir Duncan
Yordas, who will come home some day and claim his own; and he won't want
no covenants of me."

"You can not have served under Duncan Yordas," Mr. Jellicorse answered,
with a smile of disbelief, craftily rousing the pugnacity of the man;
"because he was not even in the army of the Company, or any other army.
I mean, of course, unless there was some other Duncan Yordas."

"Tell me!" Jack o' Smithies almost shouted--"tell me about Duncan
Yordas, indeed! Who he was, and what he wasn't! And what do lawyers
know of such things? Why, you might have to command a regiment, and read
covenants to them out there! Sir Duncan was not our colonel, nor our
captain; but we was under his orders all the more; and well he knew how
to give them. Not one in fifty of us was white; but he made us all as
good as white men; and the enemy never saw the color of our backs. I
wish I was out there again, I do, and would have staid, but for being
hoarse of combat; though the fault was never in my throat, but in my
arm."

"There is no fault in your throat, John Smithies, except that it is a
great deal too loud. I am sorry for Sally, with a temper such as yours."

"That shows how much you know about it. I never lose my temper, without
I hearken lies. And for you to go and say that I never saw Sir Duncan--"

"I said nothing of the kind, my friend. But you did not come here
to talk about Duncan, or Captain, or Colonel, or Nabob, or Rajah, or
whatever potentate he may be--of him we desire to know nothing more--a
man who ran away, and disgraced his family, and killed his poor father,
knows better than ever to set his foot on Scargate land again. You talk
about having a lease from him, a man with fifty wives, I dare say, and a
hundred children! We all know what they are out there."

There are very few tricks of the human face divine more forcibly
expressive of contempt than the lowering of the eyelids so that only a
narrow streak of eye is exposed to the fellow-mortal, and that streak
fixed upon him steadfastly; and the contumely is intensified when (as in
the present instance) the man who does it is gifted with yellow lashes
on the under lid. Jack o' the Smithies treated Mr. Jellicorse to a gaze
of this sort; and the lawyer, whose wrath had been feigned, to rouse the
other's, and so extract full information, began to feel his own temper
rise. And if Jack had known when to hold his tongue, he must have had
the best of it. But the lawyer knew this, and the soldier did not.

"Master Jellicorse," said the latter, with his forehead deeply wrinkled,
and his eyes now opened to their widest, "in saying of that you make
a liar of yourself. Lease or no lease--that you do. Leasing stands for
lying in the Bible, and a' seemeth to do the same thing in Yorkshire.
Fifty wives, and a hundred children! Sir Duncan hath had one wife, and
lost her, through the Neljan fever and her worry; and a Yorkshire lady,
as you might know--and never hath he cared to look at any woman since.
There now, what you make of that--you lawyers that make out every man
a rake, and every woman a light o' love? Get along! I hate the lot o'
you."

"What a strange character you are! You must have had jungle fever, I
should think. No, Diana, there is no danger"--for Jack o' the Smithies
had made such a noise that Mrs. Jellicorse got frightened and ran in:
"this poor man has only one arm; and if he had two, he could not hurt
me, even if he wished it. Be pleased to withdraw, Diana. John Smithies,
you have simply made a fool of yourself. I have not said a word against
Sir Duncan Yordas, or his wife, or his son--"

"He hath no son, I tell you; and that was partly how he lost his wife."

"Well, then, his daughters, I have said no harm of them."

"And very good reason--because he hath none. You lawyers think you are
so clever; and you never know anything rightly. Sir Duncan hath himself
alone to see to, and hundreds of thousands of darkies to manage, with
a score of British bayonets. But he never heedeth of the bayonets, not
he."

"I have read of such men, but I never saw them," Mr. Jellicorse said,
as if thinking to himself; "I always feel doubt about the possibility of
them."

"He hath ten elephants," continued Soldier Smithies, resolved to crown
the pillar of his wonders while about it--"ten great elephants that come
and kneel before him, and a thousand men ready to run to his thumb; and
his word is law--better law than is in England--for scores and scores of
miles on the top of hundreds."

"Why did you come away, John Smithies? Why did you leave such a great
prince, and come home?"

"Because it was home, Sir. And for sake of Sally."

"There is some sense in that, my friend. And now if you wish to make
a happy life for Sally, you will do as I advise you. Will you take my
advice? My time is of value; and I am not accustomed to waste my words."

"Well, Sir, I will hearken to you. No man that meaneth it can say more
than that."

"Jack o' the Smithies, you are acute. You have not been all over the
world for nothing. But if you have made up your mind to settle, and be
happy in your native parts, one thing must be attended to. It is a maxim
of law, time-honored and of the highest authority, that the tenant must
never call in question the title of his landlord. Before attorning, you
may do so; after that you are estopped. Now is it or is it not your wish
to become the tenant of the Smithies farm, which your father held so
honorably? Farm produce is fetching great prices now; and if you refuse
this offer, we can have a man, the day after to-morrow, who will give my
ladies 10 pounds more, and who has not been a soldier, but a farmer all
his life."

"Lawyer Jellicorse, I will take it; for Sally hath set her heart on it;
and I know every crumple of the ground better than the wisest farmer
doth. Sir, I will sign the articles."

"The lease will be engrossed by next market day; and the sale will
be stopped until you have taken whatever you wish at a valuation. But
remember what I said--you are not to go prating about this wonderful
Sir Duncan, who is never likely to come home, if he lives in such grand
state out there, and who is forbidden by his father's will from taking
an acre of the property. And as he has no heirs, and is so wealthy, it
can not matter much to him."

"That is true," said the soldier; "but he might love to come home, as
all our folk in India do; and if he doth, I will not deny him. I tell
you fairly, Master Jellicorse."

"I like you for being an outspoken man, and true to those who have used
you well. You could do him no good, and you might do harm to others, and
unsettle simple minds, by going on about him among the tenants."

"His name hath never crossed my lips till now, and shall not again
without good cause. Here is my hand upon it, Master Lawyer."

The lawyer shook hands with him heartily, for he could not but respect
the man for his sturdiness and sincerity. And when Jack was gone, Mr.
Jellicorse played with his spectacles and his snuff-box for several
minutes before he could make up his mind how to deal with the matter.
Then hearing the solid knock of Jordas, who was bound to take horse for
Scargate House pretty early at this time of year (with the weakening of
the day among the mountains), he lost a few moments in confusion. The
dogman could not go without any answer; and how was any good answer to
be given in half an hour, at the utmost? A time had been when the lawyer
studied curtness and precision under minds of abridgment in London. But
the more he had labored to introduce rash brevity into Yorkshire, and to
cut away nine words out of ten, when all the ten meant one thing only,
the more of contempt for his ignorance he won, and the less money he
made out of it. And no sooner did he marry than he was forced to give up
that, and, like a respectable butcher, put in every pennyweight of fat
that could be charged for. Thus had he thriven and grown like a goodly
deed of fine amplification; and if he had made Squire Philip's will now,
it would scarcely have gone into any breast pocket. Unluckily it is
an easier thing to make a man's will than to carry it out, even though
fortune be favorable.

In the present case obstacles seemed to be arising which might at any
moment require great skill and tact to surmount them; and the lawyer,
hearing Jordas striding to and fro impatiently in the waiting-room, was
fain to win time for consideration by writing a short note to say
that he proposed to wait upon the ladies the very next day. For he had
important news which seemed expedient to discuss with them. In the mean
time he begged them not to be at all uneasy, for his news upon the whole
was propitious.



CHAPTER XXI

JACK AND JILL GO DOWN THE GILL


Upon a little beck that runs away into the Lune, which is a tributary of
the Tees, there stood at this time a small square house of gray stone,
partly greened with moss, or patched with drip, and opening to the sun
with small dark windows. It looked as if it never could be warm inside,
by sunshine or by fire-glow, and cared not, although it was the only
house for miles, whether it were peopled or stood empty. But this cold,
hard-looking place just now was the home of some hot and passionate
hearts.

The people were poor; and how they made their living would have been a
mystery to their neighbors, if there had been any. They rented no land,
and they followed no trade, and they took no alms by land or post; for
the begging-letter system was not yet invented. For the house itself
they paid a small rent, which Jordas received on behalf of his ladies,
and always found it ready; and that being so, he had nothing more to
ask, and never meddled with them. They had been there before he came
into office, and it was not his place to seek into their history; and if
it had been, he would not have done it. For his sympathies were (as
was natural and native to a man so placed) with all outsiders, and
the people who compress into one or two generations that ignorance of
lineage which some few families strive to defer for centuries, showing
thereby unwise insistence, if latter-day theories are correct.

But if Master Jordas knew little of these people, somebody else knew
more about them, and perhaps too much about one of them. Lancelot
Carnaby, still called "Pet," in one of those rushes after random change
which the wildness of his nature drove upon him, had ridden his pony to
a stand-still on the moor one sultry day of that August. No pity or care
for the pony had he, but plenty of both for his own dear self. The pony
might be left for the crows to pick his bones, so far as mattered to Pet
Carnaby; but it mattered very greatly to a boy like him to have to go
home upon his own legs. Long exertion was hateful to him, though he
loved quick difficulty; for he was one of the many who combine activity
with laziness. And while he was wondering what he should do, and
worrying the fine little animal, a wave of the wind carried into his
ear the brawling of a beck, like the humming of a hive. The boy had
forgotten that the moor just here was broken by a narrow glen, engrooved
with sliding water.

Now with all his strength, which was not much, he tugged the panting and
limping little horse to the flat breach, and then down the steep of the
gill, and let him walk into the water and begin to slake off a little of
the crust of thirst. But no sooner did he see him preparing to rejoice
in large crystal draughts (which his sobs had first forbidden) than he
jerked him with the bit, and made a bad kick at him, because he could
bear to see nothing happy. The pony had sense enough to reply, weary as
he was, with a stronger kick, which took Master Lancelot in the knee,
and discouraged him for any further contest. Bully as he was, the boy
had too much of ancient Yordas pith in him to howl, or cry, or even
whimper, but sat down on a little ridge to nurse his poor knee, and
meditate revenge against the animal with hoofs. Presently pain and wrath
combined became too much for the weakness of his frame, and he fell back
and lay upon the hard ground in a fainting fit.

At such times, as everybody said (especially those whom he knocked about
in his lively moments), this boy looked wonderfully lovely. His features
were almost perfect; and he had long eyelashes like an Andalusian girl,
and cheeks more exquisite than almost any doll's, a mouth of fine curve,
and a chin of pert roundness, a neck of the mould that once was called
"Byronic," and curly dark hair flying all around, as fine as the very
best peruke. In a word, he was just what a boy ought not to be, who
means to become an Englishman.

Such, however, was not the opinion of a creature even more beautiful
than he, in the truer points of beauty. Coming with a pitcher for some
water from the beck, Insie of the Gill (the daughter of Bat and Zilpie
of the Gill) was quite amazed as she chanced round a niche of the bank
upon this image. An image fallen from the sun, she thought it, or at any
rate from some part of heaven, until she saw the pony, who was testing
the geology of the district by the flavor of its herbage. Then Insie
knew that here was a mortal boy, not dead, but sadly wounded; and she
drew her short striped kirtle down, because her shapely legs were bare.

Lancelot Carnaby, coming to himself (which was a poor return for him),
opened his large brown eyes, and saw a beautiful girl looking at him. As
their eyes met, his insolent languor fell--for he generally awoke from
these weak lapses into a slow persistent rage--and wonder and unknown
admiration moved something in his nature that had never moved before.
His words, however, were scarcely up to the high mark of the moment.
"Who are you?" was all he said.

"I am called 'Insie of the Gill.' My father is Bat of the Gill, and my
mother Zilpie of the Gill. You must be a stranger, not to know us."

"I never heard of you in all my life; although you seem to be living on
my land. All the land about here belongs to me; though my mother has it
for a little time."

"I did not know," she answered, softly, and scarcely thinking what she
said, "that the land belonged to anybody, besides the birds and animals.
And is the water yours as well?"

"Yes; every drop of it, of course. But you are quite welcome to a
pitcherful." This was the rarest affability of Pet; and he expected
extraordinary thanks.

But Insie looked at him with surprise. "I am very much obliged to you,"
she said; "but I never asked any one to give it me, unless it is the
beck itself; and the beck never seems to grudge it."

"You are not like anybody I ever saw. You speak very different from the
people about here; and you look very different ten times over."

Insie reddened at his steadfast gaze, and turned her sweet soft face
away. And yet she wanted to know more. "Different means a great many
things. Do you mean that I look better, or worse?"

"Better, of course; fifty thousand times better! Why, you look like a
beautiful lady. I tell you, I have seen hundreds of ladies; perhaps you
haven't, but I have. And you look better than all of them."

"You say a great deal that you do not think," Insie answered, quietly,
yet turning round to show her face again. "I have heard that gentlemen
always do; and I suppose that you are a young gentleman."

"I should hope so indeed. Don't you know who I am? I am Lancelot Yordas
Carnaby."

"Why, you look quite as if you could stop the river," she answered, with
a laugh, though she felt his grandeur. "I suppose you consider me nobody
at all. But I must get my water."

"You shall not carry water. You are much too pretty. I will carry it for
you."

Pet was not "introspective;" otherwise he must have been astonished at
himself. His mother and aunt would have doubted their own eyes if
they had beheld this most dainty of the dainty, and mischievous of the
mischievous (with pain and passion for the moment vanquished), carefully
carrying an old brown pitcher. Yet this he did, and wonderfully well,
as he believed; though Insie only laughed to see him. For he had on
the loveliest gaiters in the world, of thin white buckskin with agate
buttons, and breeches of silk, and a long brocaded waistcoat, and a
short coat of rich purple velvet, also a riding hat with a gray ostrich
plume. And though he had very little calf inside his gaiters, and not
much chest to fill out his waistcoat, and narrower shoulders than a
velvet coat deserved, it would have been manifest, even to a tailor,
that the boy had lineal, if not lateral, right to his rich habiliments.

Insie of the Gill (who seemed not to be of peasant birth, though so
plainly dressed), came gently down the steep brook-side to see what was
going to be done for her.

She admired Lancelot, both for bravery of apparel and of action; and
she longed to know how he would get a good pitcher of water without any
splash upon his clothes. So she stood behind a little bush, pretending
not to be at all concerned, but amused at having her work done for her.
But Pet was too sharp to play cat's-paw for nothing.

"Smile, and say 'thank you,'" he cried, "or I won't do it. I am not
going up to my middle for nothing; I know that you want to laugh at me."

"You must have a very low middle," said Insie; "why, it never comes half
way to my knees."

"You have got no stockings, and no new gaiters," Lancelot answered,
reasonably; and then, like two children, they set to and laughed, till
the gill almost echoed with them.

"Why, you're holding the mouth of the pitcher down stream!" Insie could
hardly speak for laughing. "Is that how you go to fill a pitcher?"

"Yes, and the right way too," he answered; "the best water always comes
up the eddies. You ought to be old enough to know that."

"I don't know anything at all--except that you are ruining your best
clothes."

"I don't care twopence for such rubbish. You ought to see me on a
Sunday, Insie, if you want to know what is good. There, you never drew
such a pitcher as that. And I believe there is a fish in the bottom of
it."

"Oh, if there is a fish, let me have him in my hands. I can nurse a fish
on dry land, until he gets quite used to it. Are you sure that there is
a little fish?"

"No, there is no fish; and I am soaking wet. But I never care what
anybody thinks of me. If they say what I don't like, I kick them."

"Ah, you are accustomed to have your own way. That any one might know
by looking at you. But I have got a quantity of work to do. You can see
that by my fingers."

The girl made a courtesy, and took the pitcher from him, because he was
knocking it against his legs; but he could not be angry when he looked
into her eyes, though the habit of his temper made him try to fume.

"Do you know what I think?" she said, fixing bright hazel eyes upon him;
"I think that you are very passionate sometimes."

"Well, if I am, it is my own business. Who told you anything about it?
Whoever it was shall pay out for it."

"Nobody told me, Sir. You must remember that I never even heard of your
name before."

"Oh, come, I can't quite take down that. Everybody knows me for fifty
miles or more; and I don't care what they think of me."

"You may please yourself about believing me," she answered, without
concern about it. "No one who knows me doubts my word, though I am not
known for even five miles away."

"What an extraordinary girl you are! You say things on purpose to
provoke me. Nobody ever does that; they are only too glad to keep me in
a good temper."

"If you are like that, Sir, I had better run away. My father will be
home in about an hour, and he might think that you had no business
here."

"I! No business upon my own land! This place must be bewitched, I think.
There is a witch upon the moors, I know, who can take almost any shape;
but--but they say she is three hundred years of age, or more."

"Perhaps, then, I am bewitched," said Insie; "or why should I stop to
talk with you, who are only a rude boy, after all, even according to
your own account?"

"Well, you can go if you like. I suppose you live in that queer little
place down there?"

"The house is quite good enough for me and my father and mother and
brother Maunder. Good-by; and please never to come here again."

"You don't understand me. I have made you cry. Oh, Insie, let me have
hold of your hand. I would rather make anybody cry than you. I never
liked anybody so before."

"Cry, indeed! Who ever heard me cry? It is the way you splashed the
water up. I am not in the habit of crying for a stranger. Good-by, now;
and go to your great people. You say that you are bad; and I fear it is
too true."

"I am not bad at all. It is only what everybody says, because I never
want to please them. But I want to please you. I would give anything to
do it; if you would only tell me how."

The girl having cleverly dried her eyes, poured all their bright beauty
upon him, and the heart of the youth was enlarged with a new, very
sweet, and most timorous feeling. Then his dark eyes dropped, and he
touched her gently, and only said, "Don't go away."

"But I must go away," Insie answered, with a blush, and a look as of
more tears lurking in her eyes. "I have stopped too long; I must go away
at once."

"But when may I come again? I will hold you, and fight for you with
everybody in the world, unless you tell me when to come again."

"Hush! I am quite ashamed to hear you talk so. I am a poor girl, and you
a great young gentleman."

"Never mind that. That has nothing to do with it. Would you like to make
me miserable, and a great deal more wicked than I ever was before? Do
you hate me so much as all that, Insie?"

"No. You have been very kind to me. Only my father would be angry, I am
sure; and my brother Maunder is dreadful. They all go away every other
Friday, and that is the only free time I have."

"Every other Friday! What a long time, to be sure! Won't you come again
for water this day fortnight?"

"Yes; I come for water three or four times every day. But if they were
to see you, they would kill you first, and then lock me up forever. The
only wise plan is for you to come no more."

"You can not be thinking for a moment what you say. I will tell you
what; if you don't come, I will march up to the house, and beat the door
in. The landlord can do that, according to law."

"If you care at all for me," said Insie, looking as if she had known him
for ten years, "you will do exactly what I tell you. You will think no
more about me for a fortnight; and then if you fancy that I can do you
good by advice about your bad temper, or by teaching you how to plait
reeds for a bat, and how to fill a pitcher--perhaps I might be able to
come down the gill again."

"I wish it was to-morrow. I shall count the days. But be sure to come
early, if they go away all day. I shall bring my dinner with me; and you
shall have the first help, and I will carve. But I should like one thing
before I go; and it is the first time I ever asked anybody, though they
ask me often enough, I can tell you."

"What would you like? You seem to me to be always wanting something."

"I should like very much--very much indeed--just to give you one kiss,
Insie."

"It can not be thought of for a moment," she replied; "and the first
time of my ever seeing you, Sir!"

Before he could reason in favor of a privilege which goes proverbially
by favor, the young maid was gone upon the winding path, with the
pitcher truly balanced on her well-tressed head. Then Pet sat down and
watched her; and she turned round in the distance, and waved him a kiss
at decorous interval.

Not more than three days after this, Mrs. Carnaby came into the
drawing-room with a hasty step, and a web of wrinkles upon her generally
smooth, white forehead.

"Eliza," asked her sister, "what has put you out so? That chair is
not very strong, and you are rather heavy. Do you call that gracefully
sinking on a seat, as we used to learn the way to do at school?"

"No, I do not call it anything of the kind. And if I am heavy, I only
keep my heart in countenance, Philippa. You know not the anxieties of a
mother."

"I am thankful to say that I do not. I have plenty of larger cares to
attend to, as well as the anxieties of an aunt and sister. But what is
this new maternal care?"

"Poor Pet's illness--his serious illness. I am surprised that you have
not noticed it, Philippa; it seems so unkind of you."

"There can not be anything much amiss with him. I never saw any one eat
a better breakfast. What makes you fancy that the boy must be unwell?"

"It is no fancy. He must be very ill. Poor dear! I can not bear to think
of it. He has done no mischief for quite three days."

"Then he must indeed be at the point of death. Oh, if we could only keep
him always so, Eliza!"

"My dear sister, you will never understand him. He must have his little
playful ways. Would you like him to be a milksop?"

"Certainly not. But I should like him first to be a manly boy, and
then a boyish man. The Yordases always have been manly boys; instead of
puling, and puking, and picking this, that, and the other."

"The poor child can not help his health, Philippa. He never had the
Yordas constitution. He inherits his delicate system from his poor dear
gallant father."

Mrs. Carnaby wiped away a tear; and her sister (who never was hard to
her) spoke gently, and said there were many worse boys than he, and she
liked him for many good and brave points of character, and especially
for hating medicine.

"Philippa, you are right; he does hate medicine," the good mother
answered, with a soft, sad sigh; "and he kicked the last apothecary in
the stomach, when he made certain of its going down. But such things are
trifles, dear, in comparison with now. If he would only kick Jordas, or
Welldrum, or almost any one who would take it nicely, I should have some
hope that he was coming to himself. But to see him sit quiet is so truly
sad. He gets up a tree with his vast activity, and there he sits moping
by the hour, and gazing in one fixed direction. I am almost sure that
he has knocked his leg; but he flew into a fury when I wanted to examine
it; and when I made a poultice, there was Saracen devouring it; and the
nasty dog swallowed one of my lace handkerchiefs."

"Then surely you are unjust, Eliza, in lamenting all lack of mischief.
But I have noticed things as well as you. And yesterday I saw something
more portentous than anything you have told me. I came upon Lancelot
suddenly, in the last place where I should have looked for him. He was
positively in the library, and reading--reading a real book."

"A book, Phillppa! Oh, that settles everything. He must have gone
altogether out of his sane mind."

"Not only was it a book, but even a book of what people call poetry. You
have heard of that bold young man over the mountains, who is trying to
turn poetry upside down, by making it out of every single thing he sees;
and who despises all the pieces that we used to learn at school. I
can not remember his name; but never mind. I thought that we ought to
encourage him, because he might know some people in this neighborhood;
and so I ordered a book of his. Perhaps I told you; and that is the very
book your learned boy was reading."

"Philippa, it seems to me impossible almost. He must have been looking
at the pictures. I do hope he was only looking at the pictures."

"There is not a picture in the hook of any sort. He was reading it, and
saying it quite softly to himself; and I felt that if you saw him, you
would send for Dr. Spraggs."

"Ring the bell at once, dear, if you will be kind enough. I hope there
is a fresh horse in the stable. Or the best way would be to send the
jumping-car; then he would be certain to come back at once."

"Do as you like. I begin to think that we ought to take proper
precautions. But when that is done, I will tell you what I think he may
be up the tree for."

A man with the jumping-car was soon dispatched, by urgency of Jordas,
for Dr. Spraggs, who lived several miles away, in a hamlet to the
westward, inaccessible to anything that could not jump right nimbly.
But the ladies made a slight mistake: they caught the doctor, but no
patient.

For Pet being well up in his favorite tree--poring with great wonder
over Lyrical Ballads, which took his fancy somehow--thence descried the
hateful form of Dr. Spraggs, too surely approaching in the seat of honor
of the jumping-car. Was ever any poesy of such power as to elevate the
soul above the smell of physic? The lofty poet of the lakes and fells
fell into Pet's pocket anyhow, and down the off side of the tree came
he, with even his bad leg ready to be foremost in giving leg-bail to
the medical man. The driver of the jumping-car espied this action;
but knowing that he would have done the like, grinned softly, and said
nothing. And long after Dr. Spraggs was gone, leaving behind him sage
advice, and a vast benevolence of bottles, Pet returned, very dirty and
hungry, and cross, and most unpoetical.



CHAPTER XXII

YOUNG GILLY FLOWERS


"Drum," said Pet, in his free and easy style, about ten days after
that escape, to a highly respected individual, Mr. Welldrum, the
butler--"Drum, you have heard perhaps about my being poorly."

"Ay, that I have, and too much of it," replied the portly butler, busy
in his office with inferior work, which he never should have had to do,
if rightly estimated. "What you wants, Master Lancelot, is a little more
of this here sort of thing--sleeves up--elbow grease--scrub away at hold
ancient plate, and be blowed up if you puts a scratch on it; and the
more you sweats, the less thanks you gets."

"Drum, when you come to be my butler, you shall have all the keys
allowed you, and walk about with them on a great gold ring, with a gold
chain down to your breeches pocket. You shall dine when you like, and
have it cooked on purpose, and order it directly after breakfast; and
you shall have the very best hot-water plates; because you hate grease,
don't you, Drum?"

"That I do; especial from young chaps as wants to get something out of
me."

"I am always as good as my word; come, now."

"That you are, Sir; and nothing very grand to say, considering the
hepithets you applies to me sometimes. But you han't insulted me for
three days now; and that proves to my mind that you can't be quite
right."

"But you would like to see me better. I am sure you would. There is
nobody so good to you as I am, Drum; and you are very crusty at times,
you know. Your daughter shall be the head cook; and then everything must
be to your liking."

"Master Lancelot, you speaks fair. What can I have the honor of doing
for you, Sir, to set you up again in your poor dear 'ealth?"

"Well, you hate physic, don't you, Drum? And you make a strict point of
never taking it."

"I never knew no good to come out of no bottle, without it were a bottle
of old crusted port-wine. Ah! you likes that, Master Lancelot."

"I'll tell you what it is, Drum; I am obliged to be very careful. The
reason why I don't get on is from taking my meals too much in-doors.
There is no fresh air in these old rooms. I have got a man who says--I
could read it to you; but perhaps you don't care to hear poetry, Drum?"
The butler made a face, and put the leather to his ears. "Very well,
then; I am only just beginning; and it's like claret, you must learn to
come to it. But from what he says, and from my own stomach, I intend to
go and dine out-of-doors to-day."

"Lord! Master Lancelot, you must be gone clean daft. How ever could you
have hot gravy, Sir? And all the Yordases hales cold meat. Your poor
dear grandfather--ah! he was a man."

"So am I. And I have got half a guinea. Now, Drum, you do just what I
tell you; and mind, not a word to any one. It will be the last coin you
ever see of mine, either now or in all my life, remember, if you let
my mamma ever hear of it. You slip down to the larder and get me a cold
grouse, and a cold partridge, and two of the hearth-stone cakes, and
a pat of butter, and a pinch of salt, and put them in my army knapsack
Aunt Philippa gave me; also a knife and fork and plate; and--let me
see--what had I better have to drink?"

"Well, Sir, if I might offer an opinion, a pint bottle of dry port, or
your grandfather's Madeira."

"Young ladies--young gentlemen I mean, of course--never take strong
wines in the middle of the day. Bucellas, Drum--Bucellas is the proper
thing. And when you have got it all together, turn the old cat into the
larder, and get away cleverly by your little door, and put my knapsack
in the old oak-tree, the one that was struck by lightning. Now do you
understand all about it? It must all be ready in half an hour. And if
I make a good dinner out on the moor, why, you might get another half
guinea before long." And with these words away strode Pet.

"Well, well," the butler began muttering to himself; "what wickedness
are you up to next? A lassie in his head, and his dear mammy thought
he was sickening over his wisdom-teeth! He is beginning airly, and no
mistake. But the gals are a coarse ugly lot about here"--Master Welldrum
was not a Yorkshireman--"and the lad hath good taste in the matter of
wine; although he is that contrairy, Solomon's self could not be upsides
with him. Fall fair, fall foul, I must humor the boy, or out of this
place I go, neck and crop."

Accordingly, Pet found all that he had ordered, and several little
things which he had not thought of, especially a corkscrew and a glass;
and forgetting half his laziness, he set off briskly, keeping through
the trees where no window could espy him, and down a little side glen,
all afoot; for it seemed to him safer to forego his pony.

The gill (or "ghyll," as the poet writes it), from which the lonely
family that dwelt there took their name, was not upon the bridle-road
from Scargate Hall toward Middleton, nor even within eye or reach of
any road at all; but overlooked by kites alone, and tracked with
thoroughfare of nothing but the mountain streamlet. The four who lived
there--"Bat and Zilpic, Maunder and Insie, of the Gill"--had nothing to
do with, and little to say to, any of the scatterling folk about them,
across the blue distance of the moor. They ploughed no land, they kept
no cattle, they scarcely put spade in the ground, except for about a
fortnight in April, when they broke up a strip of alluvial soil new
every season, and abutting on the brook; and there sowed or planted
their vegetable crop, and left it to the clemency of heaven. Yet twice
every year they were ready with their rent when it suited Master Jordas
to come for it, since audits at the hall, and tenants' dinners, were not
to their liking. The rent was a trifle; but Jordas respected them highly
for handing it done up in white paper, without even making him leave
the saddle. How many paid less, or paid nothing at all, yet came to
the dinners under rent reservation of perhaps one mark, then strictly
reserved their rent, but failed not to make the most punctual and
liberal marks upon roast beef and plum-pudding!

But while the worthy dogman got his little bit of money, sealed up and
so correct that (careful as he was) he never stopped now to count it,
even his keen eyes could make nothing of these people, except that they
stood upon their dignity. To him they appeared to be of gypsy race; or
partly of wild and partly perhaps of Lancastrian origin; for they rather
"featured" the Lancashire than the Yorkshire type of countenance, yet
without any rustic coarseness, whether of aspect, voice, or manners.
The story of their settlement in this glen had flagged out of memory of
gossip by reason of their calm obscurity, and all that survived was the
belief that they were queer, and the certainty that they would not be
meddled with.

Lancelot Yordas Carnaby was brave, both in the outward and the inward
boy, when he struck into the gill from a trackless spread of moor, not
far from the source of the beck that had shaped or been shaped by this
fissure. He had made up his mind to learn all about the water that
filled sweet Insie's pitcher; and although the great poet of nature as
yet was only in early utterance, some of his words had already touched
Pet as he had never been touched before; but perhaps that fine effect
was due to the sapping power of first love.

Yet first love, however it may soften and enlarge a petulant and wayward
nature, instead of increasing, cuts short and crisp the patience of the
patient. When Lancelot was as near as manners and prudence allowed to
that lonesome house, he sat down quietly for a little while in a little
niche of scrubby bush whence he could spy the door. For a short time
this was very well; also it was well to be furnishing his mind with a
form for the beautiful expressions in it, and prepare it for the order
of their coming out. And when he was sure that these were well arranged,
and could not fail at any crisis, he found a further pastime in
considering his boots, then his gaiters and small-clothes (which were of
lofty type), and his waistcoat, elegant for anybody's bosom. But after a
bit even this began to pall; and when one of his feet went fast asleep,
in spite of its beautiful surroundings, he jumped up and stamped, and
was not so very far from hot words as he should have been. For his habit
was not so much to want a thing as to get it before he wanted it, which
is very poor training for the trials of the love-time.

But just as he was beginning to resolve to be wise, and eat his
victuals, now or never, and be sorry for any one who came too
late--there came somebody by another track, whose step made the heart
rise, and the stomach fall. Lancelot's mind began to fail him all at
once; and the spirit that was ready with a host of words fluttered away
into a quaking depth of silence. Yet Insie tripped along as if the world
held no one to cast a pretty shadow from the sun beside her own.

Even the youngest girls are full of little tricks far beyond the oldest
boy's comprehension. But the wonder of all wonders is, they have so pure
a conscience as never to be thinking of themselves at all, far less of
any one who thinks too much of them. "I declare, she has forgotten that
she ever saw me!" Lancelot muttered to the bush in which he trembled.
"It would serve her right, if I walked straight away." But he looked
again, and could not help looking more than many times again, so
piercing (as an ancient poet puts it) is the shaft from the eyes of
the female women. And Insie was especially a female girl--which has now
ceased to be tautology--so feminine were her walk, and way, and sudden
variety of unreasonable charm.

"Dear me! I never thought to see you any more, Sir;" said she, with a
bright blush, perhaps at such a story, as Pet jumped out eagerly, with
hands stretched forth. "It is the most surprising thing. And we might
have done very well with rain-water."

"Oh, Insie! don't be so cold-hearted. Who can drink rain-water? I have
got something very good for you indeed. I have carried it all the way
myself; and only a strong man could have done it. Why, you have got
stockings on, I declare; but I like you much better without them."

"Then, Master Lancelot Yordas Carnaby, you had better go home with all
your good things."

"You are totally mistaken about that. I could never get these things
into the house again, without being caught out to a certainty. It shows
how little girls know of anything."

"A girl can not be expected," she answered, looking most innocently at
him, "to understand anything sly or cunning. Why should anything of that
sort be?"

"Well, if it comes to that," cried Pet, who (like all unreasonable
people) had large rudiments of reasoning, "why should not I come up to
your door, and knock, and say, 'I want to see Miss Insie; I am fond of
Miss Insie, and have got something good for her'? That is what I shall
do next time."

"If you do, my brother Maunder will beat you dreadfully--so dreadfully
that you will never walk home. But don't let us talk of such terrible
things. You must never come here, if you think of such things. I would
not have you hurt for all the world; for sometimes I think that I like
you very much."

The lovely girl looked at the handsome boy, as if they were at school
together, learning something difficult, which must be repeated to the
other's eyes, with a nod, or a shake of the head, as may be. A kind, and
pure, and soft gaze she gave him, as if she would love his thoughts, if
he could explain them. And Pet turned away, because he could not do so.

"I'll tell you what it is," he said, bravely, while his heart was
thrilling with desire to speak well; "we will set to at once, and have a
jolly good spread. I told my man to put up something very good, because
I was certain that you would be very hungry."

"Surely you were not so foolish as to speak of me?"

"No, no, no; I know a trick worth two of that. I was not such a fool as
to speak of you, of course. But--"

"But I would never condescend to touch one bit. You were ashamed to say
a word about me, then, were you?"

"Insie, now, Insie, too bad of you it is. You can have no idea what
those butlers and footmen are, if ever you tell them anything. They are
worse than the maids; they go down stairs, and they get all the tidbits
out of the cook, and sit by the girl they like best, on the strength of
having a secret about their master."

"Well, you are cunning!" cried the maiden, with a sigh. "I thought that
your nature was loftier than that. No, I do not know anything of butlers
and footmen; and I think that the less I know of you the better."

"Oh, Insie, darling Insie, if you run away like that--I have got both
your hands, and you shall not run away. Do you want to kill me, Insie?
They have had the doctor for me."

"Oh, how very dreadful! that does sound dreadful. I am not at all
crying, and you need not look. But what did he say? Please to tell me
what he said."

"He said, 'Salts and senna.' But I got up a high tree. Let us think of
nicer things. It is enough to spoil one's dinner. Oh, Insie, what is
anything to eat or drink, compared with looking at you, when you are
good? If I could only tell you the things that I have felt, all day and
all night, since this day fortnight, how sorry you would be for having
evil thoughts of me!"

"I have no evil thoughts; I have no thoughts at all. But it puzzles me
to think what on earth you have been thinking. There, I will sit down,
and listen for a moment."

"And I may hold one of your hands? I must, or you would never understand
me. Why, your hands are much smaller than mine, I declare! And mine are
very small; because of thinking about you. Now you need not laugh--it
does spoil everything to laugh so. It is more than a fortnight since
I laughed at all. You make me feel so miserable. But would you like to
know how I felt? Mind, I would rather cut my head off than tell it to
any one in the world but you."

"Now I call that very kind of you. If you please, I should like to know
how you have been feeling." With these words Insie came quite close up
to his side, and looked at him so that he could hardly speak. "You may
say it in a whisper, if you like," she said; "there is nobody coming for
at least three hours, and so you may say it in a whisper."

"Then I will tell you; it was just like this. You know that I began to
think how beautiful you were at the very first time I looked at you. But
you could not expect me so to love you all at once as I love you now,
dear Insie."

"I can not understand any meaning in such things." But she took a little
distance, quite as if she did.

"Well, I went away without thinking very much, because I had a bad place
in my knee--a blue place bigger than the new half crown, where you saw
that the pony kicked me. I had him up, and thrashed him, when I got
home; but that has got nothing to do with it--only that I made him know
who was his master. And then I tried to go on with a lot of things as
usual; but somehow I did not care at all. There was a great rat hunt
that I had been thinking of more than three weeks, when they got the
straddles down, to be ready for the new ricks to come instead. But I
could not go near it; and it made them think that the whole of my inside
was out of order. And it must have been. I can see by looking back; it
must have been so, without my knowing it. I hit several people with my
holly on their shins, because they knew more than I did. But that was no
good; nor was anything else. I only got more and more out of sorts, and
could not stay quiet anywhere; and yet it was no good to me to try to
make a noise. All day I went about as if I did not care whether people
contradicted me or not, or where I was, or what time I should get back,
or whether there would be any dinner. And I tucked up my feet in my
nightgown every night; but instead of stopping there, as they always
used to do, they were down in cold places immediately; and instead of
any sleep, I bit holes by the hundred in the sheets, with thinking. I
hated to be spoken to, and I hated everybody; and so I do now, whenever
I come to think about them!"

"Including even poor me, I suppose?" Insie had wonderfully pretty
eyebrows, and a pretty way of raising them, and letting more light into
her bright hazel eyes.

"No, I never seemed to hate you; though I often was put out, because I
could never make your face come well. I was thinking of you always, but
I could not see you. Now tell me whether you have been like that."

"Not at all; but I have thought of you once or twice, and wondered what
could make you want to come and see me. If I were a boy, perhaps I could
understand it."

"I hate boys; I am a man all over now. I am old enough to have a wife;
and I mean to have you. How much do you suppose my waistcoat cost? Well,
never mind, because you are not rich. But I have got money enough for
both of us to live well, and nobody can keep me out of it. You know what
a road is, I suppose--a good road leading to a town? Have you ever seen
one? A brown place, with hedges on each side, made hard and smooth for
horses to go upon, and wheels that make a rumble. Well, if you will
have me, and behave well to me, you shall sit up by yourself in a velvet
dress, with a man before you and a man behind, and believe that you are
flying."

"But what would become of my father, and my mother, and my brother
Maunder?"

"Oh, they must stop here, of course. We shouldn't want them. But I would
give them all their house rent-free, and a fat pig every Christmas. Now
you sit there and spread your lap, that I may help you properly. I
want to see you eat; you must learn to eat like a lady of the highest
quality; for that you are going to be, I can tell you."

The beautiful maid of the gill smiled sweetly, sitting on the low bank
with the grace of simple nature and the playfulness of girlhood. She
looked up at Lancelot, the self-appointed man, with a bright glance
of curious contemplation; and contemplation (of any other subject than
self) is dangerously near contempt. She thought very little of his
large, free brag, of his patronizing manner, and fine self-content,
reference of everything to his own standard, beauty too feminine, and
instead of female gentleness, highly cultivated waywardness. But in
spite of all that, she could not help liking, and sometimes admiring
him, when he looked away. And now he was very busy with the high feast
he had brought.

"To begin with," he said, when his good things were displayed, "you must
remember that nothing is more vulgar than to be hungry. A gentleman may
have a tremendous appetite, but a lady never."

"But why? but why? That does seem foolish. I have read that the ladies
are always helped first. That must be because of their appetites."

"Insie, I tell you things, not the reasons of them. Things are learned
by seeing other people, and not by arguing about them."

"Then you had better eat your dinner first, and let me sit and watch
you. And then I can eat mine by imitation; that is to say, if there is
any left."

"You are one of the oddest people I have ever seen. You go round the
corner of all that I say, instead of following properly. When we are
married, you will always make me laugh. At one time they kept a boy to
make me laugh; but I got tired of him. Now I help you first, although
I am myself so hungry. I do it from a lofty feeling, which my aunt
Philippa calls 'chivalry.' Ladies talk about it when they want to get
the best of us. I have given you all the best part, you see; and I only
keep the worst of it for myself."

If Pet had any hope that his self-denial would promptly be denied to
him, he made a great mistake; for the damsel of the gill had a healthy
moorland appetite, and did justice to all that was put before her; and
presently he began, for the first time in his life, to find pleasure in
seeing another person pleased. But the wine she would not even taste,
in spite of persuasion and example; the water from the brook was all she
drank, and she drank as prettily as a pigeon. Whatever she did was done
gracefully and well.

"I am very particular," he said at last; "but you are fit to dine with
anybody. How have you managed to learn it all? You take the best of
everything, without a word about it, as gently as great ladies do. I
thought that you would want me to eat the nicest pieces; but instead of
that, you have left me bones and drumsticks."

He gave such a melancholy look at these that Insie laughed quite
merrily. "I wanted to see you practice chivalry," she said.

"Well, never mind; I shall know another time. Instead of two birds, I
shall order four, and other things in proportion. But now I want to know
about your father and your mother. They must be respectable people, to
judge by you. What is their proper name, and how much have they got to
live upon?"

"More than you--a great deal more than you," she answered, with such a
roguish smile that he forgot his grievances, or began to lose them in
the mist of beauty.

"More than me! And they live in such a hole, where only the crows come
near them?"

"Yes, more than you, Sir. They have their wits to live upon, and
industry, and honesty."

Pet was not old enough yet in the world to say, "What is the use of all
those? All their income is starvation." He was young enough to think
that those who owned them had advantage of him, for he knew that he was
very lazy. Moreover, he had heard of such people getting on--through the
striking power of exception, so much more brilliant than the rule--when
all the blind virtues found luck to lead them. Industry, honesty, and
ability always get on in story-books, and nothing is nicer than to hear
a pretty story. But in some ways Pet was sharp enough.

"Then they never will want that house rent-free, nor the fat pig, nor
any other presents. Oh, Insie, how very much better that will be! I find
it so much nicer always to get thing's than to give them. And people are
so good-natured, when they have done it, and can talk of it. Insie,
they shall give me something when I marry you, and as often as they like
afterward."

"They will give you something you will not like," she answered, with a
laugh, and a look along the moor, "if you stay here too long chattering
with me. Do you know what o'clock it is? I know always, whether the sun
is out or in. You need show no gold watch to me."

"Oh, that comes of living in a draught all day. The out-door people grow
too wise. What do you see about ten miles off? It must be ten miles to
that hill."

"That hill is scarcely five miles off, and what I see is not half of
that. I brought you up here to be quite safe. Maunder's eyes are better
than mine. But he will not see us, for another mile, if you cover your
grand waistcoat, because we are in the shadows. Slip down into the gill
again, and keep below the edge of it, and go home as fast as possible."

Lancelot felt inclined to do as he was told, and keep to safe obscurity.
The long uncomfortable loneliness of prospect, and dim airy distance
of the sinking sun, and deeply silent emptiness of hollows, where great
shadows began to crawl--in the waning of the day, and so far away from
home--all these united to impress upon the boy a spiritual influence,
whose bodily expression would be the appearance of a clean pair of
heels. But, to meet this sensible impulse, there arose the stubborn
nature of his race, which hated to be told to do anything, and the
dignity of his new-born love--such as it was--and the thought of looking
small.

"Why should I go?" he said. "I will meet them, and tell them that I am
their landlord, and have a right to know all about them. My grandfather
never ran away from anybody. And they have got a donkey with them."

"They will have two, if you stop," cried Insie, although she admired his
spirit. "My father is a very quiet man. But Maunder would take you by
the throat and cast you down into the beck."

"I should like to see him try to do it. I am not so very strong, but I
am active as a cat. I have no idea of being threatened."

"Then will you be coaxed? I do implore you, for my sake, to go, or it
will be too late. Never, never, will you see me again, unless you do
what I beseech of you."

"I will not stir one peg, unless you put your arms round my neck and
kiss me, and say that you will never have anybody else."

Insie blushed deeply, and her bright eyes flashed with passion not of
loving kind. But it went to her heart that he was brave, and that he
loved her truly. She flung her comely arms round his neck, and touched
her rosy lips with his; and before he could clasp her she was gone, with
no more comfort than these words:

"Now if you are a gentleman, you must go, and never come near this place
again."

Not a moment too soon he plunged into the gill, and hurried up its
winding course; but turning back at the corner, saw a sweet smile in the
distance, and a wave of the hand, that warmed his heart.



CHAPTER XXIII

LOVE MILITANT


So far so good. But that noble and exalted condition of the youthful
mind which is to itself pure wisdom's zenith, but to folk of coarse
maturity and tough experience "calf-love," superior as it is to words
and reason, must be left to its own course. The settled resolve of a
middle-aged man, with seven large-appetited children, and an eighth
approaching the shores of light, while baby-linen too often transmitted
betrays a transient texture, and hose has ripened into holes, and
breeches verify their name, and a knock at the door knocks at the
heart--the fixed resolution of such a man to strike a bold stroke, for
the sake of his home, is worthier of attention than the flitting fancy
of boy and girl, who pop upon one another, and skip through zigzag
vernal ecstasy, like the weathery dalliance of gnats.

Lieutenant Carroway had dealt and done with amorous grace and attitude,
soaring rapture, and profundity of sigh, suspense (more agonizing than
suspension), despair, prostration, grinding of the teeth, the hollow and
spectral laugh of a heart forever broken, and all the other symptoms of
an annual bill of vitality; and every new pledge of his affections
sped him toward the pledge-shop. But never had he crossed that fatal
threshold; the thought of his uniform and dignity prevailed; and he was
not so mean as to send a child to do what the father was ashamed of.

So it was scarcely to be expected that even as a man he should
sympathize deeply with the tender passion, and far less, as a
coast-guardsman, with the wooing of a smuggler. Master Robin Lyth, by
this time, was in the contraband condition known to the authorities
as love; Carroway had found out this fact; but instead of indulging
in generous emotion, he made up his mind to nab him through it. For he
reasoned as follows; and granting that reason has any business on such
premises, the process does not seem amiss.

A man in love has only got one-eighth part of his wits at home to govern
the doings of his arms, legs, and tongue. A large half is occupied
with his fancy, in all the wanderings of that creature, dreamy, flimsy,
anchoring with gossamer, climbing the sky with steps of fog, cast into
abysms (as great writers call it) by imaginary demons, and even at its
best in a queer condition, pitiful, yet exceeding proud. A quarter of
the mental power is employed in wanting to know what the other people
think; an eighth part ought to be dwelling upon the fair distracting
object; and only a small eighth can remain to attend to the business of
the solid day. But in spite of all this, such lads get on about as well
as usual. If Bacchus has a protective power, Venus has no less of it,
and possibly is more active, as behooves a female.

And surely it was a cold-blooded scheme, which even the Revenue should
have excised from an honest scale of duties, to catch a poor fellow in
the meshes of love, because he was too sharp otherwise. This, however,
was the large idea ripening in the breast of Carroway.

"To-night I shall have him," he said to his wife, who was inditing of
softer things, her eighth confinement, and the shilling she had laid
that it would be a boy this time. "The weather is stormy, yet the fellow
makes love between the showers in a barefaced way. That old fool of a
tanner knows it, and has no more right feeling than if he were a boy.
Aha, my Robin, fine robin as you are, I shall catch you piping with
your Jenny Wren tonight!" The lieutenant shared the popular ignorance of
simplest natural history.

"Charles, you never should have told me of it. Where is your feeling for
the days gone by? And as for his coming between the showers, what should
I have thought of you if you had made a point of bringing your umbrella?
My dear, it is wrong. And I beg you, for my sake, not to catch him with
his true love, but only with his tubs."

"Matilda, your mind is weakened by the coming trial of your nerves. I
would rather have him with his tubs, of course; they would set us up
for several years, and his silks would come in for your churching. But
everything can not be as we desire. And he carries large pistols when he
is not courting. Do you wish me to be shot, Matilda?"

"Captain Carroway, how little thought you have, to speak to me in that
way! And I felt before dinner that I never should get over it. Oh, who
would have the smugglers on her mind, at such a time?"

"My dear, I beg your pardon. Pray exert your strength of mind, and cast
such thoughts away from you--or perhaps it will be a smuggler. And yet
if it were, how much better it would pay!"

"Then I hope it will, Charles; I heartily hope it will be. It would
serve you quite right to be snaring your own son, after snaring a poor
youth through his sweetheart."

"Well, well, time will show. Put me up the flat bottle, Tilly, and the
knuckle of pork that was left last night. Goodness knows when I shall be
back; and I never like to rack my mind upon an empty stomach."

The revenue officer had far to go, and was wise in providing provender.
And the weather being on the fall toward the equinox, and the tides
running strong and uncertain, he had made up his mind to fare inland,
instead of attempting the watery ways. He felt that he could ride, as
every sailor always feels; and he had a fine horse upon hire from his
butcher, which the king himself would pay for. The inferior men had been
sent ahead on foot, with orders to march along and hold their tongues.
And one of these men was John Cadman, the self-same man who had
descended the cliff without any footpath. They were all to be ready,
with hanger and pistol, in a hole toward Byrsa Cottage.

Lieutenant Carroway enjoyed his ride. There are men to whom excitement
is an elevation of the sad and slow mind, which otherwise seems to have
nothing to do. And what finer excitement can a good mind have than
in balancing the chances of its body tumbling out of the saddle, and
evicting its poor self?

The mind of Charles Carroway was wide awake to this, and tenderly
anxious about the bad foot in which its owner ended--because of the
importance of the stirrups--and all the sanguine vigor of the heart
(which seemed to like some thumping) conveyed to the seat of reason
little more than a wish to be well out of it. The brave lieutenant
holding place, and sticking to it through a sense of duty, and of the
difficulty of getting off, remembered to have heard, when quite a little
boy, that a man who gazes steadily between his horse's ears can not
possibly tumble off the back. The saying in its wisdom is akin to that
which describes the potency of salt upon a sparrow's tail.

While Carroway gloomily pounded the road, with reflection a dangerous
luxury, things of even deeper interest took their course at the goal of
his endeavors. Mary Anerley, still an exile in the house of the tanner,
by reason of her mother's strict coast-guard, had long been thinking
that more injustice is done in the world than ought to be; and
especially in the matter of free trade she had imbibed lax opinions,
which may not be abhorrent to a tanner's nature, but were most
unbecoming to the daughter of a farmer orthodox upon his own land, and
an officer of King's Fencibles. But how did Mary make this change,
and upon questions of public policy chop sides, as quickly as a clever
journal does? She did it in the way in which all women think, whose
thoughts are of any value, by allowing the heart to go to work, being
the more active organ, and create large scenery, into which the tempted
mind must follow. To anybody whose life has been saved by anybody else,
there should arise not only a fine image of the preserver, but a high
sense of the service done to the universe, which must have gone into
deepest mourning if deprived of No. One. And then, almost of necessity,
succeeds the investment of this benefactor to the world at large with
all the great qualities needed for an exploit so stupendous. He has
done a great deed, he has proved himself to be gallant, generous,
magnanimous; shall I, who exist through his grand nobility, listen
to his very low enemies? Therefore Robin was an angel now, and his
persecutors must be demons.

Captain Lyth had not been slow to enter into his good luck. He knew that
Master Popplewell had a cultivated taste for rare old schnapps, while
the partner of his life, and labor, and repose, possessed a desire
for the finer kinds of lace. Attending to these points, he was always
welcome; and the excellent couple encouraged his affection and liberal
goodwill toward them. But Mary would accept no presents from him, and
behaved for a long time very strangely, and as if she would rather keep
out of his way. Yet he managed to keep on running after her, as much as
she managed to run away; for he had been down now into the hold of his
heart, searching it with a dark lantern, and there he had discovered
"Mary," "Mary," not only branded on the hullage of all things, but the
pith and pack of everything; and without any fraud upon charter-party,
the cargo entire was "Mary."

Who can tell what a young maid feels, when she herself is doubtful?
Somehow she has very large ideas, which only come up when she begins to
think; and too often, after some very little thing, she exclaims that
all is rubbish. The key-note of her heart is high, and a lot of things
fall below harmony, and notably (if she is not a stupe), some of her
own dear love's expressions before she has made up her soul to love him.
This is a hard time for almost any man, who feels his random mind dipped
into with a spirit-gauge and a saccharometer. But in spite of all these
indications, Robin Lyth stuck to himself, which is the right way to get
credit for sticking.

"Johnny, my dear," said Deborah Popplewell to her valued husband, just
about the time when bold Carroway was getting hot and sore upon the
Filey Road, yet steadily enlarging all the penance of return, "things
ought to be coming to a point, I think. We ought not to let them so be
going on forever. Young people like to be married in the spring; the
birds are singing, and the price of coal goes down. And they ought to be
engaged six months at least. We were married in the spring, my dear, the
Tuesday but one that comes next from Easter-day. There was no lilac
out, but there ought to have been, because it was not sunny. And we have
never repented it, you know."

"Never as long as I live shall I forget that day," said Popplewell;
"they sent me home a suit of clothes as were made for kidney-bean
sticks. I did want to look nice at church, and crack, crack, crack they
went, and out came all the lining. Debby, I had good legs in those days,
and could crunch down bark like brewers' grains."

"And so you could now, my dear, every bit as well. Scarcely any of the
young men have your legs. How thankful we ought to be for them--and
teeth! But everything seems to be different now, and nobody has any
dignity of mind. We sowed broad beans, like a pigeon's foot-tread, out
and in, all the way to church."

"The folk can never do such things now; we must not expect it of such
times, my dear. Five-and-forty years ago was ninety times better than
these days, Debby, except that you and I was steadfast, and mean to
be so to the end, God willing. Lord! what are the lasses that He makes
now?"

"Johnny, they try to look their best; and we must not be hard upon them.
Our Mary looks well enow, when she hath a color, though my eyes might 'a
been a brighter blue if I never hadn't took to spectacles. Johnny, I am
sure a'most that she is in her love-time. She crieth at night, which is
nobody's business; the strings of her night-cap run out of their starch;
and there looks like a channel on the pillow, though the sharp young
hussy turns it upside down. I shall be upsides with her, if you won't."

"Certainly it shall be left to you; you are the one to do it best. You
push her on, and I will stir him up. I will smuggle some schnapps into
his tea to-night, to make him look up bolder; as mild as any milk it is.
When I was taken with your cheeks, Debby, and your bit of money, I was
never that long in telling you."

"That's true enow, Johnny; you was sarcy. But I'm thinking of the
trouble we may get into over at Anerley about it."

"I'll carry that, lass. My back's as broad as Stephen's. What more can
they want for her than a fine young fellow, a credit to his business and
the country? Lord! how I hate them rough coast-riders! it wouldn't be
good for them to come here."

"Then they are here, I tell you, and much they care. You seem to me to
have shut your eyes since ever you left off tanning. How many times have
I told you, John, that a sneaking fellow hath got in with Sue? I saw
him with my own eyes last night skulking past the wicket-gate; and the
girl's addle-pate is completely turned. You think her such a wonder,
that you won't hearken. But I know the women best, I do."

"Out of this house she goes, neck and crop, if what you say is true,
Deb. Don't say it again, that's a kind, good soul; it spoils my pipe to
think of it."

Toward sundown Robin Lyth appeared, according to invitation. Dandy as
he generally was, he looked unusually smart this time, with snow-white
ducks and a velvet waistcoat, pumps like a dressing-glass, lace to his
shirt, and a blue coat with gold buttons. His keen eyes glanced about
for Mary, and sparkled as soon as she came down; and when he took her
hand she blushed, and was half afraid to look at him; for she felt in
her heart that he meant to say something, if he could find occasion; but
her heart did not tell her what answer she would make, because of her
father's grief and wrath; so she tried to hope that nothing would be
said, and she kept very near her good aunt's apron-string. Such tactics,
however, were doomed to defeat. The host and hostess of Byrsa Cottage
were very proud of the tea they gave to any distinguished visitor.
Tea was a luxury, being very dear, and although large quantities were
smuggled, the quality was not, like that of other goods so imported,
equal or superior to the fair legitimate staple. And Robin, who never
was shy of his profession, confessed that he could not supply a cup so
good.

"You shall come and have another out-of-doors, my friend," said his
entertainer, graciously. "Mary, take the captain's cup to the bower;
the rain has cleared off, and the evening will be fine. I will smoke my
pipe, and we will talk adventures. Things have happened to me that would
make you stare, if I could bring myself to tell them. Ah yes, I have
lived in stirring times. Fifty years ago men and women knew their minds;
and a dog could eat his dinner without a damask napkin."

Master Popplewell, who was of a good round form, and tucked his heels
over one another as he walked (which indicates a pleasant self-esteem),
now lit his long pipe and marched ahead, carefully gazing to the front
and far away; so that the young folk might have free boot and free
hand behind him. That they should have flutters of loving-kindness, and
crafty little breaths of whispering, and extraordinary gifts of just
looking at each other in time not to be looked at again, as well as a
strange sort of in and out of feeling, as if they were patterned with
the same zigzag--as the famous Herefordshire graft is made--and above
all the rest, that they should desire to have no one in the world to
look at them, was to be expected by a clever old codger, a tanner who
had realized a competence, and eaten many "tanner's pies." The which is
a good thing; and so much the better because it costs nothing save the
crust and the coal. But instead of any pretty little goings on such as
this worthy man made room for, to tell the stupid truth, this lad and
lass came down the long walk as far apart and as independent of one
another as two stakes of an espalier. There had not been a word gone
amiss between them, nor even a thought the wrong way of the grain; but
the pressure of fear and of prickly expectation was upon them both, and
kept them mute. The lad was afraid that he would get "nay," and the lass
was afraid that she could not give it.

The bower was quite at the end of the garden, through and beyond the
pot-herb part, and upon a little bank which overhung a little lane.
Here in this corner a good woman had contrived what women nearly always
understand the best, a little nook of pleasure and of perfume, after the
rank ranks of the kitchen-stuff. Not that these are to be disdained; far
otherwise; they indeed are the real business; and herein lies true test
of skill. But still the flowers may declare that they do smell better.
And not only were there flowers here, and little shrubs planted
sprucely, but also good grass, which is always softness, and soothes
the impatient eyes of men. And on this grass there stood, or hung, or
flowered, or did whatever it was meant to do, a beautiful weeping-ash,
the only one anywhere in that neighborhood.

"I can't look at skies, and that--have seen too many of them. You young
folk, go and chirp under the tree. What I want is a little rum and
water."

With these words the tanner went into his bower, where he kept a good
store of materials in moss; and the plaited ivy of the narrow entrance
shook with his voice, and steps, and the decision of his thoughts. For
he wanted to see things come to a point, and his only way to do it was
to get quite out of sight. Such fools the young people of the age were
now!

While his thoughts were such, or scarcely any better, his partner in
life came down the walk, with a heap of little things which she thought
needful for the preservation of the tanner, and she waddled a little and
turned her toes out, for she as well was roundish.

"Ah, you ought to have Sue. Where is Sue?" said Master Popplewell.
"Now come you in out of the way of the wind, Debby; you know how your
back-sinew ached with the darning before last wash."

Mrs. Popplewell grumbled, but obeyed; for she saw that her lord had
his reasons. So Mary and Robin were left outside, quite as if they were
nothing to any but themselves. Mary was aware of all this manoeuvring,
and it brought a little frown upon her pretty forehead, as if she
were cast before the feet of Robin Lyth; but her gentleness prevailed,
because they meant her well. Under the weeping-ash there was a little
seat, and the beauty of it was that it would not hold two people. She
sat down upon it, and became absorbed in the clouds that were busy with
the sunset.

These were very beautiful, as they so often are in the broken weather
of the autumn; but sailors would rather see fair sky, and Robin's fair
heaven was in Mary's eyes. At these he gazed with a natural desire to
learn what the symptoms of the weather were; but it seemed as if little
could be made out there, because everything seemed so lofty: perhaps
Mary had forgotten his existence.

Could any lad of wax put up with this, least of all a daring mariner?
He resolved to run the cargo of his heart right in, at the risk of all
breakers and drawn cutlasses; and to make a good beginning he came up
and took her hand. The tanner in the bower gave approval with a cough,
like Cupid with a sneeze; then he turned it to a snore.

"Mary, why do you carry on like this?" the smuggler inquired, in a very
gentle voice. "I have done nothing to offend you, have I? That would be
the last thing I would ever do."

"Captain Lyth, you are always very good; you never should think such
things of me. I am just looking at a particular cloud. And who ever said
that you might call me 'Mary'?"

"Perhaps the particular cloud said so; but you must have been the cloud
yourself, for you told me only yesterday."

"Then I will never say another word about it; but people should not take
advantage."

"Who are people? How you talk! quite as if I were somebody you never saw
before. I should like you just to look round now, and let me see why you
are so different from yourself."

Mary Anerley looked round; for she always did what people liked, without
good reason otherwise; and if her mind was full of clouds, her eyes had
little sign of them.

"You look as lovely as you always do," said the smuggler, growing bolder
as she looked at something else. "You know long ago what my opinion of
you is, and yet you seem to take no notice. Now I must be off, as you
know, to-night; not for any reason of my own, as I told you yesterday,
but to carry out a contract. I may not see you for many months again;
and you may fall in love with a Preventive man."

"I never fall in love with anybody. Why should I go from one extreme to
the other? Captain Carroway has seven children, as well as a very active
wife."

"I am not afraid of Carroway, in love or in war. He is an honest fellow,
with no more brains than this ash-tree over us. I mean the dashing
captains who come in with their cutters, and would carry you off as soon
as look."

"Captain Lyth, you are not at all considering what you say: those
officers do not want me--they want you."

"Then they shall get neither; they may trust me for that. But, Mary, do
tell me how your heart is; you know well how mine has been for ever such
a time. I tell you downright that I have thought of girls before--"

"Oh, I was not at all aware of that; surely you had better go on with
thinking of them."

"You have not heard me out. I have only thought of them; nothing more
than thinking, in a foolish sort of way. But of you I do not think; I
seem to feel you all through me."

"What sort of a sensation do I seem to be? A foolish one, I suppose,
like all those many others."

"No, not at all. A very wise one; a regular knowledge that I can not
live without you; a certainty that I could only mope about a little--"

"And not run any more cargoes on the coast?"

"Not a single tub, nor a quarter bale of silk; except, of course, what
is under contract now; and, if you should tell me that you can not care
about me--"

"Hush! I am almost sure that I hear footsteps. Listen, just a moment."

"No, I will not listen to any one in the world but you. I beg you not to
try to put me off. Think of the winter, and the long time coming; say
if you will think of me. I must allow that I am not, like you, of a
respectable old family. The Lord alone knows where I came from, or where
I may go to. My business is a random and up-and-down one, but no one can
call it disreputable; and if you went against it, I would throw it up.
There are plenty of trades that I can turn my hand to; and I will turn
it to anything you please, if you will only put yours inside it. Mary,
only let me have your hand; and you need not say anything unless you
like."

"But I always do like to say something, when things are brought before
me so. I have to consider my father, and my mother, and others belonging
to me. It is not as if I were all alone, and could do exactly as I
pleased. My father bears an ill-will toward free trade; and my mother
has made bad bargains, when she felt sure of very good ones."

"I know that there are rogues about," Robin answered, with a judicial
frown; "but foul play never should hurt fair play; and we haul
them through the water when we catch them. Your father is terribly
particular, I know, and that is the worst thing there can be; but I do
not care a groat for all objections, Mary, unless the objection begins
with you. I am sure by your eyes, and your pretty lips and forehead,
that you are not the one to change. If once any lucky fellow wins your
heart, he will have it--unless he is a fool--forever. I can do most
things, but not that, or you never would be thinking about the other
people. What would anybody be to me in comparison with you, if I only
had the chance? I would kick them all to Jericho. Can you see it in that
way? can you get hot every time you think of me?"

"Really," said Mary, looking very gently at him, because of his serious
excitement, "you are very good, and very brave, and have done wonders
for me; but why should I get hot?"

"No, I suppose it is not to be expected. When I am in great peril I grow
hot, and tingle, and am alive all over. Men of a loftier courage grow
cold; it depends upon the constitution; but I enjoy it more than they
do, and I can see things ten times quicker. Oh, how I wish I was Nelson!
how he must enjoy himself!"

"But if you have love of continual danger, and eagerness to be always
at it," said Mary, with wide Yorkshire sense, much as she admired this
heroic type, "the proper thing for you to do is to lead a single life.
You might be enjoying all the danger very much; but what would your wife
at home be doing? Only to knit, and sigh, and lie awake."

Mary made a bad hit here. This picture was not at all deterrent; so
daring are young men, and so selfish.

"Nothing of that sort should ever come to pass," cried Robin, with the
gaze of the head of a household, "supposing only that my wife was you.
I would be home regularly every night before the kitchen clock struck
eight. I would always come home with an appetite, and kiss you, and do
both my feet upon the scraper. I would ask how the baby was, and carry
him about, and go 'one, two, three,' as the nurses do, I would quite
leave the government to put on taxes, and pay them--if I could--without
a word of grumble. I would keep every rope about the house in order, as
only a sailor knows how to do, and fettle my own mending, and carry out
my orders, and never meddle with the kitchen, at least unless my opinion
was sought for concerning any little thing that might happen to be meant
for me."

"Well," exclaimed Mary, "you quite take my breath away. I had no idea
that you were so clever. In return for all these wonders, what should
poor I have to do?"

"Poor I would only have to say just once, 'Robin, I will have you, and
begin to try to love you.'"

"I am afraid that it has been done long ago; and the thing that I ought
to do is to try and help it."

What happened upon this it would be needless to report, and not only
needless, but a vast deal worse--shabby, interloping, meddlesome and
mean, undignified, unmanly, and disreputably low; for even the tanner
and his wife (who must have had right to come forward, if anybody had)
felt that their right was a shadow, and kept back as if they were a
hundred miles away, and took one another by the hand and nodded, as much
as to say: "You remember how we did it; better than that, my dear. Here
is your good health."

This being so, and the time so sacred to the higher emotions, even
the boldest intruder should endeavor to check his ardor for intrusion.
Without any inkling of Preventive Force, Robin and Mary, having once
done away with all that stood between them, found it very difficult to
be too near together; because of all the many things that each had for
to say. They seemed to get into an unwise condition of longing to know
matters that surely could not matter. When did each of them first feel
sure of being meant only for the other nobler one? At first sight, of
course, and with a perfect gift of seeing how much loftier each was
than the other; and what an extraordinary fact it was that in everything
imaginable they were quite alike, except in the palpable certainty
possessed by each of the betterness of the other. What an age it seemed
since first they met, positively without thinking, and in the very
middle of a skirmish, yet with a remarkable drawing out of perceptions
one anotherward! Did Mary feel this, when she acted so cleverly, and
led away those vile pursuers? and did Robin, when his breath came back,
discover why his heart was glowing in the rabbit-hole? Questions of such
depth can not be fathomed in a moment; and even to attempt to do any
justice to them, heads must be very long laid together. Not only so, but
also it is of prime necessity to make sure that every whisper goes into
the proper ear, and abides there only, and every subtlety of glance, and
every nicety of touch, gets warm with exclusive reciprocity. It is
not too much to say that in so sad a gladness the faculties of
self-preservation are weak, when they ought to be most active; therefore
it should surprise nobody (except those who are so far above all
surprise) to become aware that every word they said, and everything
(even doubly sacred) that they did, was well entered into, and
thoroughly enjoyed, by a liberal audience of family-minded men, who had
been through pretty scenes like this, and quietly enjoyed dry memory.

Cadman, Ellis, and Dick Hackerbody were in comfortable places of
retirement, just under the combing of the hedge; all waiting for a
whistle, yet at leisure to enjoy the whisper, the murmur, or even the
sigh, of a genuine piece of "sweet-hearting." Unjust as it may be, and
hard, and truly narrow, there does exist in the human mind, or at least
in the masculine half of it, a strong conviction that a man in love is a
man in a scrape, in a hole, in a pitfall, in a pitiful condition,
untrue for the moment to the brotherhood of man, and cast down among the
inferior vessels. And instead of being sorry for him, those who are all
right look down, and glory over him, with very ancient gibes. So these
three men, instead of being touched at heart by soft confessions, laid
hard hands to wrinkled noses.

"Mary, I vow to you, as I stand here," said Robin, for the fiftieth
time, leading her nearer to the treacherous hedge, as he pressed her
trembling hand, and gazed with deep ecstasy into her truthful eyes, "I
will live only to deserve you, darling. I will give up everything and
everybody in the world, and start afresh. I will pay king's duty upon
every single tub; and set up in the tea and spirit line, with his
Majesty's arms upon the lintel. I will take a large contract for the
royal navy, who never get anything genuine, and not one of them ever
knows good from bad--"

"That's a dirty lie, Sir. In the king's name I arrest you."

Lieutenant Carroway leaped before them, flourishing a long sword, and
dancing with excitement, in this the supreme moment of his life. At the
same instant three men came bursting through the hedge, drew hangers,
and waited for orders. Robin Lyth, in the midst of his love, was so
amazed, that he stood like a boy under orders to be caned.

"Surrender, Sir! Down with your arms; you are my prisoner. Strike to his
Majesty. Hands to your side! or I run you through like Jack Robinson!
Keep back, men. He belongs to me."

But Carroway counted his chicks too soon; or at any rate he overlooked
a little chick. For while he was making fine passes (having learned the
rudiments of swordsmanship beyond other British officers), and just as
he was executing a splendid flourish, upon his bony breast lay Mary. She
flung her arms round him, so that move he could not without grievously
tearing her; and she managed, in a very wicked way, to throw the whole
weight of two bodies on his wounded heel. A flash of pain shot up to his
very sword; and down he went, with Mary to protect him, or at any rate
to cover him. His three men, like true Britons, stood in position, and
waited for their officer to get up and give orders.

These three men showed such perfect discipline that Robin was invited to
knock them down, as if they had simply been three skittles in a row;
he recovered his presence of mind and did it; and looking back at Mary,
received signal to be off. Perceiving that his brave love would take
no harm--for the tanner was come forth blustering loudly, and Mrs.
Popplewell with shrieks and screams enough to prevent the whole
Preventive Service--the free-trader kissed his hand to Mary, and was
lost through the bushes, and away into the dark.



CHAPTER XXIV

LOVE PENITENT


"I tell you, Captain Anerley, that she knocked me down. Your daughter
there, who looks as if butter would not melt in her mouth, knocked down
Commander Carroway of his Majesty's coastguard, like a royal Bengal
tiger, Sir. I am not come to complain; such an action I would scorn; and
I admire the young lady for her spirit, Sir. My sword was drawn; no man
could have come near me; but before I could think, Sir, I was lying on
my back. Do you call that constitutional?"

"Mary, lof, however could you think it--to knock down Captain Carroway?"

"Father, I never did. He went down of himself, because he was
flourishing about so. I never thought what I was doing of at all. And
with all my heart I beg his pardon. What right had you, Sir, to come
spying after me?"

This interview was not of the common sort. Lieutenant Carroway, in full
uniform, was come to Anerley Farm that afternoon; not for a moment to
complain of Mary, but to do his duty, and to put things straight; while
Mary had insisted upon going home at once from the hospitable house of
Uncle Popplewell, who had also insisted upon going with her, and taking
his wife to help the situation.

A council had been called immediately, with Mistress Anerley presiding;
and before it had got beyond the crying stage, in marched the brave
lieutenant.

Stephen Anerley was reserving his opinion--which generally means that
there is none yet to reserve--but in his case there would be a great
deal by-and-by. Master Popplewell had made up his mind and his wife's,
long ago, and confirmed it in the one-horse shay, while Mary was riding
Lord Keppel in the rear; and the mind of the tanner was as tough as good
oak bark. His premises had been intruded upon--the property which he had
bought with his own money saved by years of honest trade, his private
garden, his ornamental bower, his wife's own pleasure-plot, at a sacred
moment invaded, trampled, and outraged by a scurvy preventive-man and
his low crew. The first thing he had done to the prostrate Carroway was
to lay hold of him by the collar, and shake his fist at him and demand
his warrant--a magistrate's warrant, or from the crown itself. The poor
lieutenant having none to show, "Then I will have the law of you, Sir,"
the tanner shouted; "if it costs me two hundred and fifty pounds. I
am known for a man, Sir, who sticks to his word; and my attorney is a
genuine bulldog."

This had frightened Carroway more than fifty broadsides. Truly he loved
fighting; but the boldest sailor bears away at prospect of an action at
law. Popplewell saw this, and stuck to his advantage, and vowed, until
bed-time, satisfaction he would have; and never lost the sight of it
until he fell asleep.

Even now it was in his mind, as Carroway could see; his eyebrows meant
it, and his very surly nod, and the way in which he put his hands far
down into his pockets. The poor lieutenant, being well aware that zeal
had exceeded duty (without the golden amnesty of success), and finding
out that Popplewell was rich and had no children, did his very best to
look with real pleasure at him, and try to raise a loftier feeling in
his breast than damages. But the tanner only frowned, and squared his
elbows, and stuck his knuckles sharply out of both his breeches pockets.
And Mrs. Popplewell, like a fat and most kind-hearted lady, stared at
the officer as if she longed to choke him.

"I tell you again, Captain Anerley," cried the lieutenant, with his
temper kindling, "that no consideration moved me, Sir, except that of
duty. As for my spying after any pretty girls, my wife, who is now down
with her eighth baby, would get up sooner than hear of it. If I intruded
upon your daughter, so as to justify her in knocking me down, Captain
Anerley, it was because--well I won't say, Mary, I won't say; we have
all been young; and our place is to know better."

"Sir, you are a gentleman," cried Popplewell with heat; "here is
my hand, and you may trespass on my premises, without bringing any
attorney."

"Did you say her eighth baby? Oh, Commander Carroway," Mrs. Popplewell
began to whisper; "what a most interesting situation! Oh, I see why you
have such high color, Sir."

"Madam, it is enough to make me pale. At the same time I do like
sympathy; and my dear wife loves the smell of tan."

"We have retired, Sir, many years ago, and purchased a property near the
seaside; and from the front gate you must have seen--But oh, I forgot,
captain, you came through the hedge, or at any rate down the row of
kidney-beans."

"I want to know the truth," shouted Stephen Anerley, who had been
ploughing through his brow into his brain, while he kept his eyes
fixed upon his daughter's, and there found abashment, but no abasement;
"naught have I to do with any little goings on, or whether an action was
a gentleman's or not. That question belongs to the regulars, I wand, or
to the folk who have retired. Nobbut a farmer am I, in little business;
but concerning of my children I will have my say. All of you tell me
what is this about my Mary."

As if he would drag their thoughts out of them, he went from one to
another with a hard quick glance, which they all tried to shun; for they
did not want to tell until he should get into a better frame of mind.
And they looked at Mistress Anerley, to come forth and take his edge
off; but she knew that when his eyes were so, to interfere was mischief.
But Carroway did not understand the man.

"Come, now, Anerley," the bold lieutenant said; "what are you getting
into such a way about? I would sooner have lost the hundred pounds twice
over, and a hundred of my own--if so be I ever had it--than get little
Mary into such a row as this. Why, Lord bless my heart, one would think
that there was murder in a little bit of sweethearting. All pretty girls
do it; and the plain ones too. Come and smoke a pipe, my good fellow,
and don't terrify her."

For Mary was sobbing in a corner by herself, without even her mother to
come up and say a word.

"My daughter never does it," answered Stephen Anerley; "my daughter is
not like the foolish girls and women. My daughter knows her mind; and
what she does she means to do. Mary, lof, come to your father, and tell
him that every one is lying of you. Sooner would I trust a single quiet
word of yours, than a pile, as big as Flambro Head, sworn by all the
world together against my little Mary."

The rest of them, though much aggrieved by such a bitter calumny, held
their peace, and let him go with open arms toward his Mary. The farmer
smiled, that his daughter might not have any terror of his public talk;
and because he was heartily expecting her to come and tell him some
trifle, and be comforted, and then go for a good happy cry, while he
shut off all her enemies.

But instead of any nice work of that nature, Mary Anerley arose and
looked at the people in the room--which was their very best, and by no
means badly furnished--and after trying to make out, as a very trifling
matter, what their unsettled minds might be, her eyes came home to her
father's, and did not flinch, although they were so wet.

Master Anerley, once and forever, knew that his daughter was gone from
him. That a stronger love than one generation can have for the one
before it--pure and devoted and ennobling as that love is--now had
arisen, and would force its way. He did not think it out like that,
for his mind was not strictly analytic--however his ideas were to that
effect, which is all that need be said about them.

"Every word of it is true," the girl said, gently; "father, I have
done every word of what they say, except about knocking down Captain
Carroway. I have promised to marry Robin Lyth, by-and-by, when you agree
to it."

Stephen Anerley's ruddy cheeks grew pale, and his blue eyes glittered
with amazement. He stared at his daughter till her gaze gave way; and
then he turned to his wife, to see whether she had heard of it. "I told
you so," was all she said; and that tended little to comfort him. But he
broke forth into no passion, as he might have done with justice and some
benefit, but turned back quietly and looked at his Mary, as if he were
saying, once for all, "good-by."

"Oh, don't, father, don't," the girl answered with a sob; "revile me, or
beat me, or do anything but that. That is more than I can bear."

"Have I ever reviled you? Have I ever beaten you?"

"Never--never once in all my life. But I beg you--I implore of you to do
it now. Oh, father, perhaps I have deserved it."

"You know best what you deserve. But no bad word shall you have of me.
Only you must be careful for the future never to call me 'father.'"

The farmer forgot all his visitors, and walked, without looking at
anybody, toward the porch. Then that hospitable spot re-awakened his
good manners, and he turned and smiled as if he saw them all sitting
down to something juicy.

"My good friends, make yourselves at home," he said; "the mistress will
see to you while I look round. I shall be back directly, and we will
have an early supper."

But when he got outside, and was alone with earth and sky, big tears
arose into his brave blue eyes, and he looked at his ricks, and his
workmen in the distance, and even at the favorite old horse that
whinnied and came to have his white nose rubbed, as if none of them
belonged to him ever any more. "A' would sooner have heard of broken
bank," he muttered to himself and to the ancient horse, "fifty times
sooner, and begin the world anew, only to have Mary for a little child
again."

As the sound of his footsteps died away, the girl hurried out of the
room, as if she were going to run after him; but suddenly stopped in
the porch, as she saw that he scarcely even cared to feel the cheek of
Lightfoot, who made a point of rubbing up his master's whiskers with it,
"Better wait, and let him come round," thought Mary; "I never did
see him so put out." Then she ran up the stairs to the window on the
landing, and watched her dear father grow dimmer and dimmer up the
distance of the hill, with a bright young tear for every sad old step.



CHAPTER XXV

DOWN AMONG THE DEAD WEEDS


Can it be supposed that all this time Master Geoffrey Mordacks, of the
city of York, land agent, surveyor, and general factor, and maker and
doer of everything whether general or particular, was spending his days
in doing nothing, and his nights in dreaming? If so, he must have had
a sunstroke on that very bright day of the year when he stirred up
the minds of the washer-women, and the tongue of Widow Precious. But
Flamborough is not at all the place for sunstroke, although it reflects
so much in whitewash; neither had Mordacks the head to be sunstruck, but
a hard, impenetrable, wiry poll, as weather-proof as felt asphalted. At
first sight almost everybody said that he must have been a soldier, at a
time when soldiers were made of iron, whalebone, whip-cord, and ramrods.
Such opinions he rewarded with a grin, and shook his straight shoulders
straighter. If pride of any sort was not beneath him, as a matter of
strict business, it was the pride which he allowed his friends to take
in his military figure and aspect.

This gentleman's place of business was scarcely equal to the
expectations which might have been formed from a view of the owner. The
old King's Staith, on the right hand after crossing Ouse Bridge from
the Micklegate, is a passageway scarcely to be called a street, but
combining the features of an alley, a lane, a jetty, a quay, and a
barge-walk, and ending ignominiously. Nevertheless, it is a lively place
sometimes, and in moments of excitement. Also it is a good place for
business, and for brogue of the broadest; and a man who is unable to be
happy there, must have something on his mind unusual. Geoffrey Mordacks
had nothing on his mind except other people's business; which (as in
the case of Lawyer Jellicorse) is a very favorable state of the human
constitution for happiness.

But though Mr. Mordacks attended so to other people's business, he would
not have anybody to attend to his. No partner, no clerk, no pupil, had
a hand in the inner breast pockets of his business; there was nothing
mysterious about his work, but he liked to follow it out alone. Things
that were honest and wise came to him to be carried out with judgment;
and he knew that the best way to carry them out is to act with discreet
candor. For the slug shall be known by his slime; and the spider who
shams death shall receive it.

Now here, upon a very sad November afternoon, when the Northern day
was narrowing in; and the Ouse, which is usually of a ginger-color,
was nearly as dark as a nutmeg; and the bridge, and the staith, and the
houses, and the people, resembled one another in tint and tone; while
between the Minster and the Clifford Tower there was not much difference
of outline--here and now Master Geoffrey Mordacks was sitting in
the little room where strangers were received. The live part of his
household consisted of his daughter, and a very young Geoffrey, who did
more harm than good, and a thoroughly hard-working country maid, whose
slowness was gradually giving way to pressure.

The weather was enough to make anybody dull, and the sap of every human
thing insipid; and the time of day suggested tea, hot cakes, and the
crossing of comfortable legs. Mordacks could well afford all these good
things, and he never was hard upon his family; but every day he liked
to feel that he had earned the bread of it, and this day he had labored
without seeming to earn anything. For after all the ordinary business of
the morning, he had been devoting several hours to the diligent revisal
of his premises and data, in a matter which he was resolved to carry
through, both for his credit and his interest. And this was the matter
which had cost him two days' ride, from York to Flamborough, and three
days on the road home, as was natural after such a dinner as he made
in little Denmark. But all that trouble he would not have minded,
especially after his enjoyment of the place, if it had only borne good
fruit. He had felt quite certain that it must do this, and that he would
have to pay another visit to the Head, and eat another duck, and have a
flirt with Widow Precious.

But up to the present time nothing had come of it, and so far as he
could see he might just as well have spared himself that long rough
ride. Three months had passed, and that surely was enough for even
Flamborough folk to do something, if they ever meant to do it. It was
plain that he had been misled for once, that what he suspected had
not come to pass, and that he must seek elsewhere the light which
had gleamed upon him vainly from the Danish town. To this end he went
through all his case again, while hope (being very hard to beat, as
usual) kept on rambling over everything unsettled, with a very sage
conviction that there must be something there, and doubly sure, because
there was no sign of it.

Men at the time of life which he had reached, conducting their bodies
with less suppleness of joint, and administering food to them with
greater care, begin to have doubts about their intellect as well,
whether it can work as briskly as it used to do. And the mind, falling
under this discouragement of doubt, asserts itself amiss, in making
futile strokes, even as a gardener can never work his best while
conscious of suspicious glances through the window-blinds. Geoffrey
Mordacks told himself that it could not be the self it used to be, in
the days when no mistakes were made, but everything was evident at half
a glance, and carried out successfully with only half a hand. In this
Flamborough matter he had felt no doubt of running triumphantly through,
and being crowned with five hundred pounds in one issue of the case, and
five thousand in the other. But lo! here was nothing. And he must reply,
by the next mail, that he had made a sad mistake.

Suddenly, while he was rubbing his wiry head with irritation, and poring
over his letters for some clew, like a dunce going back through his
pot-hooks, suddenly a great knock sounded through the house--one, two,
three--like the thumping of a mallet on a cask, to learn whether any
beer may still be hoped for.

"This must be a Flamborough man," cried Master Mordacks, jumping up;
"that is how I heard them do it; they knock the doors, instead of
knocking at them. It would be a very strange thing just now if news were
to come from Flamborough; but the stranger a thing is, the more it can
be trusted, as often is the case with human beings. Whoever it is, show
them up at once," he shouted down the narrow stairs; for no small noise
was arising in the passage.

"A' canna coom oop. I wand a' canna," was the answer in Kitty's
well-known brogue; "how can a', when a' hanna got naa legs?"

"Oh ho! I see," said Mr. Mordacks to himself; "my veteran friend from
the watch-tower, doubtless. A man with no legs would not have come so
far for nothing. Show the gentleman into the parlor, Kitty; and Miss
Arabella may bring her work up here."

The general factor, though eager for the news, knew better than to
show any haste about it; so he kept the old mariner just long enough in
waiting to damp a too covetous ardor, and then he complacently locked
Arabella in her bedroom, and bolted off Kitty in the basement; because
they both were sadly inquisitive, and this strange arrival had excited
them.

"Ah, mine ancient friend of the tower! Veteran Joseph, if my memory is
right," Mr. Mordacks exclaimed, in his lively way, as he went up and
offered the old tar both hands, to seat him in state upon the sofa; but
the legless sailor condemned "them swabs," and crutched himself into
a hard-bottomed chair. Then he pulled off his hat, and wiped his white
head with a shred of old flag, and began hunting for his pipe.

"First time I ever was in York city; and don't think much of it, if this
here is a sample."

"Joseph, you must not be supercilious," his host replied, with an
amiable smile; "you will see things better through a glass of grog; and
the state of the weather points to something dark. You have had a
long journey, and the scenery is new. Rum shall it be, my friend? Your
countenance says 'yes.' Rum, like a ruby of the finest water, have I;
and no water shall you have with it. Said I well? A man without legs
must keep himself well above water."

"First time I ever was in York city," the ancient watchman answered,
"and grog must be done as they does it here. A berth on them old walls
would suit me well; and no need to travel such a distance for my beer."

"And you would be the man of all the world for such a berth," said
Master Mordacks, gravely, as he poured the sparkling liquor into a glass
that was really a tumbler; "for such a post we want a man who is himself
a post; a man who will not quit his duty, just because he can not, which
is the only way of making sure. Joseph, your idea is a very good one,
and your beer could be brought to you at the middle of each watch. I
have interest; you shall be appointed."

"Sir, I am obligated to you," said the watchman; "but never could I live
a month without a wink of sea-stuff. The coming of the clouds, and the
dipping of the land, and the waiting of the distance for what may come
to be in it; let alone how they goes changing of their color, and making
of a noise that is always out of sight: it is the very same as my beer
is to me. Master, I never could get on without it."

"Well, I can understand a thing like that," Mordacks answered,
graciously; "my water-butt leaked for three weeks, pat, pat, all night
long upon a piece of slate, and when a man came and caulked it up, I put
all the blame upon the pillow; but the pillow was as good as ever. Not a
wink could I sleep till it began to leak again; and you may trust a
York workman that it wasn't very long. But, Joseph, I have interest at
Scarborough also. The castle needs a watchman for fear of tumbling down;
and that is not the soldiers' business, because they are inside. There
you could have quantities of sea-stuff, my good friend; and the tap at
the Hooked Cod is nothing to it there. Cheer up, Joseph, we will land
you yet. How the devil did you manage, now, to come so far?"

"Well, now, your honor, I had rare luck for it, as I must say, ever
since I set eyes on you. There comes a son of mine as I thought were
lost at sea; but not he, blow me! nearly all of him come back, with a
handful of guineas, and the memory of his father. Lord! I could have
cried; and he up and blubbered fairly, a trick as he learned from ten
Frenchmen he had killed. Ah! he have done his work well, and aimed a
good conduck--fourpence-halfpenny a day, so long as ever he shall live
hereafter."

"In this world you mean, I suppose, my friend; but be not overcome; such
things will happen. But what did you do with all that money, Joseph?"

"We never wasted none of it, not half a groat, Sir. We finished out the
cellar at the Hooked Cod first; and when Mother Precious made a
grumble of it, we gave her the money for to fill it up again, upon
the understanding to come back when it was ready; and then we went to
Burlington, and spent the rest in poshays like two gentlemen; and when
we was down upon our stumps at last, for only one leg there is between
us both, your honor, my boy he ups and makes a rummage in his traps;
which the Lord he put it into his mind to do so, when he were gone a
few good sheets in the wind; and there sure enough he finds five good
guineas in the tail of an old hankercher he had clean forgotten; and
he says, 'Now, father, you take care of them. Let us go and see the
capital, and that good gentleman, as you have picked up a bit of news
for.' So we shaped a course for York, on board the schooner Mary Anne,
and from Goole in a barge as far as this here bridge; and here we are,
high and dry, your honor. I was half a mind to bring in my boy Bob; but
he saith, 'Not without the old chap axes;' and being such a noisy one,
I took him at his word; though he hath found out what there was to
find--not me."

"How noble a thing is parental love!" cried the general factor, in
his hard, short way, which made many people trust him, because it was
unpleasant; "and filial duty of unfathomable grog! Worthy Joseph, let
your narrative proceed."

"They big words is beyond me, Sir. What use is any man to talk over a
chap's head?"

"Then, dash your eyes, go on, Joe. Can you understand that, now?"

"Yes, Sir, I can, and I likes a thing put sensible. If the gentlemen
would always speak like that, there need be no difference atween us.
Well, it was all along of all that money-bag of Bob's that he and I
found out anything. What good were your guinea? Who could stand treat
on that more than a night or two, and the right man never near you? But
when you keep a good shop open for a month, as Bob and me did with Widow
Tapsy, it standeth to reason that you must have everybody, to be called
at all respectable, for miles and miles around. For the first few nights
or so some on 'em holds off--for an old chalk against them, or for doubt
of what is forrard, or for cowardliness of their wives, or things they
may have sworn to stop, or other bad manners. But only go on a little
longer, and let them see that you don't care, and send everybody home
a-singing through the lanes as merry as a voting-time for Parliament,
and the outer ones begins to shake their heads, and to say that they are
bound to go, and stop the racket of it. And so you get them all, your
honor, saints as well as sinners, if you only keeps the tap turned long
enough."

"Your reasoning is ingenious, Joseph, and shows a deep knowledge of
human nature. But who was this tardy saint that came at last for grog?"

"Your honor, he were as big a sinner as ever you clap eyes on. Me and my
son was among the sawdust, spite of our three crutches, and he spreading
hands at us, sober as a judge, for lumps of ungenerous iniquity. Mother
Tapsy told us of it, the very next day, for it was not in our power to
be ackirate when he done it, and we see everybody laffing at us round
the corner. But we took the wind out of his sails the next night,
captain, you may warrant us. Here's to your good health, Sir, afore I
beats to win'ard."

"Why, Joseph, you seem to be making up lost way for years of taciturnity
in the tower. They say there is a balance in all things."

"We had the balance of him next night, and no mistake, your honor.
He was one of them 'longshore beggars as turns up here, there, and
everywhere, galley-raking, like a stinking ray-fish when the tide goes
out; thundering scoundrels that make a living of it, pushing out for
roguery with their legs tucked up; no courage for smuggling, nor honest
enough, they goes on anyhow with their children paid for. We found
out what he were, and made us more ashamed, for such a sneaking rat to
preach upon us, like a regular hordinated chaplain, as might say a word
or two and mean no harm, with the license of the Lord to do it. So my
son Bob and me called a court-martial in the old tower, so soon as we
come round; and we had a red herring, because we was thirsty, and we
chawed a bit of pigtail to keep it down. At first we was glum; but we
got our peckers up, as a family is bound to do when they comes together.
My son Bob was a sharp lad in his time, and could read in Holy Scripter
afore he chewed a quid; and I see'd a good deal of it in his mind now,
remembering of King Solomon. 'Dad,' he says, 'fetch out that bottle as
was left of French white brandy, and rouse up a bit of fire in the old
port-hole. We ain't got many toes to warm between us'--only five, you
see, your worship--'but,' says he, 'we'll warm up the currents where
they used to be.'

"According to what my son said, I done; for he leadeth me now, being
younger of the two, and still using half of a shoemaker. However, I says
to him, 'Warm yourself; it don't lay in my power to do that for you.' He
never said nothing; for he taketh after me, in tongue and other likings;
but he up with the kettle on the fire, and put in about a fathom and
a half of pigtail. 'So?' says I; and he says, 'So!' and we both of us
began to laugh, as long and as gentle as a pair of cockles, with their
tongues inside their shells.

"Well, your honor understands; I never spake so much before since ever
I pass my coorting-time. We boiled down the pigtail to a pint of tidy
soup, and strained it as bright as sturgeon juice; then we got a bottle
with 'Navy Supply' on a bull's-eye in the belly of it; and we filled
it with the French white brandy, and the pigtail soup, and a noggin of
molasses, and shook it all up well together; and a better contract-rum,
your honor, never come into high admiral's stores."

"But, Joseph, good Joseph," cried Mr. Mordacks, "do forge ahead a little
faster. Your private feelings, and the manufacture of them, are highly
interesting to you; but I only want to know what came of it."

"Your honor is like a child hearing of a story; you wants the end first,
and the middle of it after; but I bowls along with a hitch and a squirt,
from habit of fo'castle: and the more you crosses hawse, the wider I
shall head about, or down helm and bear off, mayhap. I can hear my Bob
a-singing: what a voice he hath! They tell me it cometh from the timber
of his leg; the same as a old Cremony. He tuned up a many times in
yonder old barge, and shook the brown water, like a frigate's wake. He
would just make our fortin in the Minister, they said, with Black-eyed
Susan and Tom Bowline."

"Truly, he has a magnificent voice: what power, what compass, what a
rich clear tone! In spite of the fog I will have the window up."

Geoffrey Mordacks loved good singing, the grandest of all melody, and,
impatient as he was, he forgot all hurry; while the river, and the
buildings, and the arches of the bridge, were ringing, and echoing, and
sweetly embosoming the mellow delivery of the one-legged tar. And old
Joe was highly pleased, although he would not show it, at such an effect
upon a man so hard and dry.

"Now, your honor, it is overbad of you," he continued, with a softening
grin, "to hasten me so, and then to hear me out o' window, because Bob
hath a sweeter pipe. Ah, he can whistle like a blackbird, too, and gain
a lot of money; but there, what good? He sacrifices it all to the honor
of his heart, first maggot that cometh into it; and he done the very
same with Rickon Goold, the Methody galley-raker. We never was so softy
when I were afloat. But your honor shall hear, and give judgment for
yourself.

"Mother Precious was ready in her mind to run out a double-shotted gun
at Rickon, who liveth down upon the rabbit-warren, to the other side
of Bempton, because he scarcely ever doth come nigh her; and when he
do come, he putteth up both bands, to bless her for hospitality, but
neither of them into his breeches pocket. And being a lone woman, she
doth feel it. Bob and me gave her sailing orders--'twould amaze you,
captain; all was carried out as ship-shape as the battle of the Nile.
There was Rickon Goold at anchor, with a spring upon his cable, having
been converted; and he up and hailed that he would slip, at the very
first bad word we used. My son hath such knowledge of good words that
he, answered, 'Amen, so be it.'

"Well, your honor, we goes on decorous, as our old quartermaster used to
give the word; and we tried him first with the usual tipple, and several
other hands dropped in. But my son and me never took a blessed drop,
except from a gin-bottle full of cold water, till we see all the others
with their scuppers well awash. Then Bob he findeth fault--Lor' how
beautiful he done it!--with the scantling of the stuff; and he shouteth
out, 'Mother, I'm blest if I won't stand that old guinea bottle of
best Jamaica, the one as you put by, with the cobwebs on it, for Lord
Admiral. No Lord Admiral won't come now. Just you send away, and hoist
it up.'

"Rickon Goold pricked up his ugly ears at this; and Mother Tapsy did it
bootiful. And to cut a long yarn short, we spliced him, captain, with
never a thought of what would come of it; only to have our revenge, your
honor. He showed himself that greedy of our patent rum, that he never
let the bottle out of his own elbow, and the more he stowed away, the
more his derrick chains was creaking; but if anybody reasoned, there he
stood upon his rights, and defied every way of seeing different, until
we was compelled to take and spread him down, in the little room with
sea-weeds over it.

"With all this, Bob and me was as sober as two judges, though your honor
would hardly believe it, perhaps; but we left him in the dark, to come
round upon the weeds, as a galley-raker ought to do. And now we began
to have a little drop ourselves, after towing the prize into port, and
recovering the honor of the British navy; and we stood all round to
every quarter of the compass, with the bottom of the locker still not
come to shallow soundings. But sudden our harmony was spoiled by a
scream, like a whistle from the very bottom of the sea.

"We all of us jumped up, as if a gun had broke its lashings; and the
last day of judgment was the thoughts of many bodies; but Bob he down at
once with his button-stump gun-metal, and takes the command of the whole
of us. 'Bear a hand, all on you,' he saith, quite steadfast; 'Rickon
Goold is preaching to his own text to-night.' And so a' was, sure
enough; so a' was, your honor.

"We thought he must have died, although he managed to claw off of it,
with confessing of his wickedness, and striking to his Maker. All of
us was frightened so, there was no laugh among us, till we come to talk
over it afterward. There the thundering rascal lay in the middle of that
there mangerie of sea-stuff, as Mother Precious is so proud of, that the
village calleth it the 'Widow's Weeds.' Blest if he didn't think that
he were a-lying at the bottom of the sea, among the stars and cuttles,
waiting for the day of judgment!

"'Oh, Captain McNabbins, and Mate Govery,' he cries, 'the hand of the
Lord hath sent me down to keep you company down here. I never would 'a
done it, captain, hard as you was on me, if only I had knowed how dark
and cold and shivery it would be down here. I cut the plank out; I'll
not lie; no lies is any good down here, with the fingers of the deep
things pointing to me, and the black devil's wings coming over me--but
a score of years agone it were, and never no one dreamed of it--oh, pull
away, pull! for God's sake, pull!--the wet woman and the three innocent
babbies crawling over me like congers!'

"This was the shadows of our legs, your honor, from good Mother Tapsy's
candle; for she was in a dreadful way by this time about her reputation
and her weeds, and come down with her tongue upon the lot of us. 'Enter
all them names upon the log,' says I to Bob, for he writeth like a
scholar. But Bob says, 'Hold hard, dad; now or never.' And with that,
down he goeth on the deck himself, and wriggleth up to Rickon through
the weeds, with a hiss like a great sea-snake, and grippeth him. 'Name
of ship, you sinner!' cried Bob, in his deep voice, like Old Nick
a-hailing from a sepulchre. 'Golconda, of Calcutta,' says the fellow,
with a groan as seemed to come out of the whites of his eyes; and down
goes his head again, enough to split a cat-head. And that was the last
of him we heard that night.

"Well, now, captain, you scarcely would believe, but although my nob is
so much older of the pair, and white where his is as black as any coal,
Bob's it was as first throwed the painter up, for a-hitching of this
drifty to the starn of your consarns. And it never come across him till
the locker was run out, and the two of us pulling longer faces than
our legs is. Then Bob, by the mercy of the Lord, like Peter, found them
guineas in the corner of his swab--some puts it round their necks, and
some into their pockets; I never heard of such a thing till chaps run
soft and watery--and so we come to this here place to change the air
and the breeding, and spin this yarn to your honor's honor, as hath a
liberal twist in it; and then to take orders, and draw rations, and any
'rears of pay fallen due, after all dibs gone in your service; and for
Bob to tip a stave in the Minister."

"You have done wisely and well in coming here," said Mr, Mordacks,
cheerfully; "but we must have further particulars, my friend. You seem
to have hit upon the clew I wanted, but it must be followed very
cautiously. You know where to lay your hand upon this villain? You have
had the sense not to scare him off?"

"Sarten, your honor. I could clap the irons on him any hour you gives
that signal."

"Capital! Take your son to see the sights, and both of you come to me at
ten to-morrow morning. Stop: you may as well take this half guinea. But
when you get drunk, drink inwards."



CHAPTER XXVI

MEN OF SOLID TIMBER


Mr. Mordacks was one of those vivacious men who have strong faith in
their good luck, and yet attribute to their merits whatever turns out
well. In the present matter he had done as yet nothing at all ingenious,
or even to be called sagacious. The discovery of "Monument Joe," or
"Peg-leg Joe," as he was called at Flamborough, was not the result of
any skill whatever, either his own or the factor's, but a piece of as
pure luck as could be. For all that, however, Mr. Mordacks intended to
have the whole credit as his sole and righteous due.

"Whenever I am at all down-hearted, samples of my skill turn up," he
said to himself as soon as Joe was gone; "and happy results come home,
on purpose to rebuke my diffidence. Would any other man have got so far
as I have got by simple, straightforward, yet truly skillful action,
without a suspicion being started? Old Jellicorse lies on his bed of
roses, snoring folios of long words, without a dream of the gathering
cloud. Those insolent ladies are revelling in the land from which they
have ousted their only brother; they are granting leases not worth a
straw; they are riding the high horse; they are bringing up that cub
(who set the big dog at me) in every wanton luxury. But wait a bit--wait
a bit, my ladies; as sure as I live I shall have you.

"In the first place, it is clear that my conclusion was correct
concerning that poor Golconda; and why not also in the other issue? The
Indiaman was scuttled--I had never thought of that, but only of a wreck.
It comes to the same thing, only she went down more quietly; and that
explains a lot of things. She was bound for Leith, with the boy to be
delivered into the hands of his Scotch relatives. She was spoken last
off Yarmouth Roads, all well, and under easy sail. Very good so far.
I have solved her fate, which for twenty years has been a mystery. We
shall have all particulars in proper time, by steering on one side of
the law, which always huddles up everything. A keen eye must be kept
upon that scoundrel, but he must never dream that he is watched at all;
he has committed a capital offense. But as yet there is nothing but
his own raving to convict him of barratry. The truth must be got at by
gentle means. I must not claim the 500 pounds as yet, but I am sure of
getting it. And I have excellent hopes of the 5000 pounds."

Geoffrey Mordacks never took three nights to sleep upon his thoughts (as
the lawyer of Middleton loved to do), but rather was apt to overdrive
his purport, with the goad of hasty action. But now he was quite
resolved to be most careful; for the high hand would never do in such a
ticklish matter, and the fewer the hands introduced at all into it, the
better the chance of coming out clear and clean. The general factor had
never done anything which, in his opinion, was not thoroughly upright;
and now, with his reputation made, and his conscience stiffened to the
shape of it, even a large sum of money must be clean, and cleanly got
at, to make it pay for handling.

This made him counsel with himself just now. For he was a superior man
upon the whole, and particular always in feeling sure that the right
word in anything would be upon his side. Not that he cared a groat for
anybody's gossip; only that he kept a lofty tenor of good opinion. And
sailors who made other sailors tipsy, and went rolling about on the
floor all together, whether with natural legs or artificial, would do no
credit to his stairs of office on a fine market-day in the morning. On
the other hand, while memory held sway, no instance could be cited of
two jolly sailors coming to see the wonders of this venerable town,
and failing to be wholly intoxicated with them, before the Minster bell
struck one.

This was to be avoided, or rather forestalled, as a thing inevitable
should be. Even in York city, teeming as it is with most delightful
queerities, the approach of two sailors with three wooden legs might
be anticipated at a distant offing, so abundant are boys there, and
everywhere. Therefore it was well provided, on the part of Master
Mordacks, that Kitty, or Koity, the maid-of-all-work, a damsel of
muscular power and hard wit, should hold tryst with these mariners in
the time of early bucket, and appoint a little meeting with her master
by-and-by. This she did cleverly, and they were not put out; because
they were to dine at his expense at a snug little chop-house in
Parliament Street, and there to remain until he came to pay the score.

All this happened to the utmost of desires; and before they had time
to get thick-witted, Mordacks stood before them. His sharp eyes took in
Sailor Bob before the poor fellow looked twice at him, and the general
factor saw that he might be trusted not to think much for himself. This
was quite as Mr. Mordacks hoped; he wanted a man who could hold his
tongue, and do what he was told to do.

After a few words about their dinner, and how they got on, and so forth,
the principal came to the point by saying: "Now both of you must start
to-morrow morning; such clever fellows can not be spared to go to sleep.
You shall come and see York again, with free billet, and lashings of
money in your pockets, as soon as you have carried out your sailing
orders. To-night you may jollify; but after that you are under strict
discipline, for a month at least. What do you say to that, my men?"

Watchman Joe looked rather glum; he had hoped for a fortnight of
stumping about, with a tail of admiring boys after him, and of hailing
every public-house the cut of whose jib was inviting; however, he put
his knife into his mouth, with a bit of fat, saved for a soft adieu to
dinner, and nodded for his son to launch true wisdom into the vasty deep
of words.

Now Bob, the son of Joe, had striven to keep himself up to the paternal
mark. He cited his father as the miracle of the age, when he was a long
way off; and when he was nigh at hand, he showed his sense of duty,
nearly always, by letting him get tipsy first. Still, they were very
sober fellows in the main, and most respectable, when they had no money.

"Sir," began Bob, after jerking up his chin, as a sailor always does
when he begins to think (perhaps for hereditary counsel with the sky),
"my father and I have been hauling of it over, to do whatever is laid
down by duty, without going any way again' ourselves. And this is the
sense we be come to, that we should like to have something handsome
down, to lay by again' chances; also a dokkyment in black and white, to
bear us harmless of the law, and enter the prize-money."

"What a fine councillor a' would have made!" old Joe exclaimed, with
ecstasy. "He hath been round the world three times--excuseth of him for
only one leg left."

"My friend, how you condemn yourself! You have not been round the world
at all, and yet you have no leg at all." So spake Mr. Mordacks, wishing
to confuse ideas; for the speech of Bob misliked him.

"The corners of the body is the Lord's good-will," old Joe answered,
with his feelings hurt; "He calleth home a piece to let the rest bide
on, and giveth longer time to it--so saith King David."

"It may be so; but I forget the passage. Now what has your son Bob to
say?"

Bob was a sailor of the fine old British type, still to be found even
nowadays, and fit to survive forever. Broad and resolute of aspect, set
with prejudice as stiff as his own pigtail, truthful when let alone,
yet joyful in a lie, if anybody doubted him, peaceable in little things
through plenty of fight in great ones, gentle with women and children,
and generous with mankind in general, expecting to be cheated, yet not
duly resigned at being so, and subject to unaccountable extremes of
laziness and diligence. His simple mind was now confused by the general
factor's appeal to him to pronounce his opinion, when he had just now
pronounced it, after great exertion.

"Sir," he said, "I leave such things to father's opinion; he hath been
ashore some years; and I almost forget how the land lays."

"Sea-faring Robert, you are well advised. A man may go round the world
till he has no limbs left, yet never overtake his father. So the matter
is left to my decision. Very good; you shall have no reason to repent
it. To-night you have liberty to splice the main-brace, or whatever
your expression is for getting jolly drunk; in the morning you will be
sobriety itself, sad, and wise, and aching. But hear my proposal, before
you take a gloomy view of things, such as to-morrow's shades may
bring. You have been of service to me, and I have paid you with great
generosity; but what I have done, including dinner, is dust in the
balance to what I shall do, provided only that you act with judgment,
discipline, and self-denial, never being tipsy more than once a week,
which is fair naval average, and doing it then with only one another.
Hard it may be; but it must be so. Now before I go any further, let me
ask whether you, Joseph, as a watchman under government, have lost your
position by having left it for two months upon a private spree?"

"Lor', no, your honor! Sure you must know more than that. I gived a old
'ooman elevenpence a week, and a pot of beer a Sunday, to carry out the
dooties of the government."

"You farmed out your appointment at a low figure. My opinion of your
powers and discretion is enhanced; you will return to your post with
redoubled ardor, and vigor renewed by recreation; you will be twice the
man you were, and certainly ought to get double pay. I have interest; I
may be enabled to double your salary--if you go on well."

This made both of them look exceeding downcast, and chew the bitter quid
of disappointment. They had laid their heads together over glass number
one, and resolved upon asking for a guinea a week; over glass number
two, they had made up their minds upon getting two guineas weekly; and
glass number three had convinced them that they must be poor fools to
accept less than three. Also they felt that the guineas they had spent,
in drinking their way up to a great discovery, should without hesitation
be made good ere ever they had another pint of health. In this
catastrophe of large ideas, the father gazed sadly at the son, and the
son reproachfully reflected the paternal gaze. How little availed it to
have come up here, wearily going on upon yellow waters, in a barge where
the fleas could man the helm, without aid of the stouter insect, and
where a fresh run sailor was in more demand than salmon; and even
without that (which had largely enhanced the inestimable benefit of
having wooden legs), this pair of tars had got into a state of mind to
return the whole way upon horseback. No spurs could they wear, and no
stirrups could they want, and to get up would be difficult; but what is
the use of living, except to conquer difficulties? They rejoiced all the
more in the four legs of a horse, by reason of the paucity of their
own; which approves a liberal mind. But now, where was the horse to come
from, or the money to make him go?

"You look sad," proceeded Mr. Mordacks. "It grieves me when any good
man looks sad; and doubly so when a brace of them do it. Explain your
feelings, Joe and Bob; if it lies in a human being to relieve them, I
will do it."

"Captain, we only wants what is our due," said Bob, with his chin up,
and his strong eyes stern. "We have been on the loose; and it is the
manner of us, and encouraged by the high authorities. We have come
across, by luck of drink, a thing as seems to suit you; and we have told
you all our knowledge without no conditions. If you takes us for a pair
of fools, and want no more of us, you are welcome, and it will be what
we are used to; but if your meaning is to use us, we must have fair
wages; and even so, we would have naught to do with it if it was against
an honest man; but a rogue who has scuttled a ship--Lor', there!"

Bob cast out the juice of his chew into the fire, as if it were the
life-blood of such a villain, and looked at his father, who expressed
approval by the like proceeding. And Geoffrey Mordacks was well content
at finding them made of decent stuff. It was not his manner to do things
meanly; and he had only spoken so to moderate their minds and keep them
steady.

"Mariner Bob, you speak well and wisely," he answered, with a superior
smile. "Your anxiety as to ways and means does credit to your intellect.
That subject has received my consideration. I have studied the style of
life at Flamborough, and the prices of provisions--would that such they
were in York!--and to keep you in temperate and healthy comfort, without
temptation, and with minds alert, I am determined to allow for the two
of you, over and above all your present income from a grateful country
(which pays a man less when amputation has left less of him), the sum of
one guinea and a half per week. But remember that, to draw this stipend,
both of you must be in condition to walk one mile and a half on a
Saturday night, which is a test of character. You will both be fitted
up with solid steel ends, by the cutler at the end of Ouse Bridge,
to-morrow morning, so that the state of the roads will not affect you,
and take note of one thing, mutual support (graceful though it always
is in paternal and filial communion) will not be allowed on a Saturday
night. Each man must stand on his own stumps."

"Sir," replied Bob, who had much education, which led him to a knowledge
of his failings, "never you fear but what we shall do it. Sunday will
be the day of standing with a shake to it; for such, is the habit of the
navy. Father, return thanks; make a leg--no man can do it better. Master
Mordacks, you shall have our utmost duty; but a little brass in hand
would be convenient."

"You shall have a fortnight in advance; after that you must go every
Saturday night to a place I will appoint for you. Now keep your own
counsel; watch that fellow; by no means scare him at first, unless you
see signs of his making off; but rather let him think that you know
nothing of his crime. Labor hard to make him drink again; then terrify
him like Davy Jones himself; and get every particular out of him,
especially how he himself escaped, where he landed, and who was with
him. I want to learn all about a little boy (at least, he may be a
big man now), who was on board the ship Golconda, under the captain's
special charge. I can not help thinking that the child escaped; and I
got a little trace of something connected with him at Flamborough. I
durst not make much inquiry there, because I am ordered to keep things
quiet. Still, I did enough to convince me almost that my suspicion was
an error; for Widow Precious--"

"Pay you no heed, Sir, to any manoeuvring of Widow Precious. We find her
no worse than the other women; but not a blamed bit better."

"I think highly of the female race; at least, in comparison with the
male one. I have always found reason to believe that a woman, put upon
her mettle by a secret, will find it out, or perish."

"Your honor, everybody knows as much as that; but it doth not follow
that she tells it on again, without she was ordered not to do so."

"Bob, you have not been round the world for nothing. I see my blot, and
you have hit it; you deserve to know all about the matter now. Match me
that button, and you shall have ten guineas."

The two sailors stared at the bead of Indian gold which Mordacks pulled
out of his pocket. Buttons are a subject for nautical contempt and
condemnation; perhaps because there is nobody to sew them on at sea;
while ear-rings, being altogether useless, are held in good esteem and
honor.

"I have seen a brace of ear-rings like it," said old Joe, wading through
deep thought. "Bob, you knows who was a-wearing of 'em."

"A score of them fishermen, like enough," cautious Bob answered; for
he knew what his father meant, but would not speak of the great
free-trader; for Master Mordacks might even be connected with the
revenue. "What use to go on about such gear? His honor wanteth to hear
of buttons, regulation buttons by the look of it, and good enough for
Lord Nelson. Will you let us take the scantle, and the rig of it, your
honor?"

"By all means, if you can do so, my friend; but what have you to do it
with?"

"Hold on a bit, Sir, and you shall see." With these words Bob clapped
a piece of soft York bread into the hollow of his broad brown palm,
moistened it with sugary dregs of ale, such as that good city loves, and
kneading it firmly with some rapid flits of thumb, tempered and
enriched it nobly with the mellow juice of quid. Treated thus, it took
consistence, plastic, docile, and retentive pulp; and the color was
something like that of gold which had passed, according to its fate,
through a large number of unclean hands.

"Now the pattern, your honor," said Bob, with a grin; "I could do it
from memory, but better from the thing." He took the bauble, and set it
on the foot of a rummer which stood on the table; and in half a minute
he had the counterpart in size, shape, and line; but without the
inscription. "A sample of them in the hollow will do, and good enough
for the nigger-body words--heathen writing, to my mind." With lofty
British intolerance, he felt that it might be a sinful thing to make
such marks; nevertheless he impressed one side, whereon the characters
were boldest, into the corresponding groove of his paste model; then he
scooped up the model on the broad blade of his knife, and set it in the
oven of the little fire-place, in a part where the heat was moderate.

"Well done, indeed!" cried Mr. Mordacks; "you will have a better
likeness of it than good Mother Precious. Robert, I admire your
ingenuity. But all sailors are ingenious."

"At sea, in the trades, or in a calm, Sir, what have we to do but to
twiddle our thumbs, and practice fiddling with them? A lively tune is
what I like, and a-serving of the guns red-hot; a man must act according
to what nature puts upon him. And nature hath taken one of my legs from
me with a cannon-shot from the French line-of-battle ship--Rights of
Mankind the name of her."



CHAPTER XXVII

THE PROPER WAY TO ARGUE


Alas, how seldom is anything done in proper time and season! Either too
fast, or too slow, is the clock of all human dealings; and what is the
law of them, when the sun (the regulator of works and ways) has to be
allowed for very often on his own meridian? With the best intention
every man sets forth to do his duty, and to talk of it; and he makes
quite sure that he has done it, and to his privy circle boasts, or lets
them do it better for him; but before his lips are dry, his ears apprise
him that he was a stroke too late.

So happened it with Master Mordacks, who of all born men was foremost,
with his wiry fingers spread, to pass them through the scattery forelock
of that mettlesome horse, old Time. The old horse galloped by him
unawares, and left him standing still, to hearken the swish of the tail,
and the clatter of the hoofs, and the spirited nostrils neighing for
a race, on the wide breezy down at the end of the lane. But Geoffrey
Mordacks was not to blame. His instructions were to move slowly, until
he was sure of something worth moving for. And of this he had no surety
yet, and was only too likely to lose it altogether by any headlong
action. Therefore, instead of making any instant rush, or belting on
his pistols, and hiring the sagacious quadruped that understood his
character, content he was to advance deliberately upon one foot and
three artificial legs.

Meanwhile, at Anerley Farm, the usual fatness of full garners, and
bright comfort of the evening hearth, the glow of peace, which labor
kindles in the mind that has earned its rest, and the pleasant laziness
of heart which comes where family love lies careless, confident, and
unassailed--the pleasure also of pitying the people who never can get in
their wheat, and the hot benevolence of boiling down the bones for the
man who has tumbled off one's own rick--all these blisses, large and
little, were not in their usual prime.

The master of the house was stern and silent, heavy and careless of his
customary victuals, neglectful also of his customary jokes. He disliked
the worse side of a bargain as much as in his most happy moments; and
the meditation (which is generally supposed to be going on where speech
is scarce) was not of such loftiness as to overlook the time a man
stopped round the corner. As a horse settles down to strong collar-work
better when the gloss of the stable takes the ruffle of the air, so this
man worked at his business all the harder, with the brightness of the
home joys fading. But it went very hard with him more than once, when
he made a good stroke of salesmanship, to have to put the money in the
bottom of his pocket, without even rubbing a bright half crown, and
saying to himself, "I have a'most a mind to give this to Mary."

Now if this settled and steadfast man (with three-quarters of his life
gone over him, and less and less time every year for considering soft
subjects), in spite of all that, was put out of his way by not being
looked at as usual--though for that matter, perhaps, himself failed to
look in search of those looks as usual--what, on the other hand, was
likely to remain of mirth and light-heartedness in a weaker quarter?
Mary, who used to be as happy as a bird where worms abound and cats are
scarce, was now in a grievous plight of mind, restless, lonely, troubled
in her heart, and doubtful of her conscience. Her mother had certainly
shown kind feeling, and even a readiness to take her part, which
surprised the maiden, after all her words; and once or twice they
had had a cry together, clearing and strengthening their intellects
desirably. For the more Mistress Anerley began to think about it, the
more she was almost sure that something could be said on both sides. She
never had altogether approved of the farmer's volunteering, which took
him away to drill at places where ladies came to look at him; and where
he slept out of his own bed, and got things to eat that she had never
heard of; and he never was the better afterward. If that was the thing
which set his mind against free trade so bitterly, it went far to show
that free trade was good, and it made all the difference of a blanket.
And more than that, she had always said from the very first, and had
even told the same thing to Captain Carroway, in spite of his position,
that nobody knew what Robin Lyth might not turn out in the end to be.
He had spoken most highly of her, as Mary had not feared to mention; and
she felt obliged to him for doing so, though of course he could not do
otherwise. Still, there were people who would not have done that, and it
proved that he was a very promising young man.

Mary was pleased with this conclusion, and glad to have some one who did
not condemn her; hopeful, moreover, that her mother's influence might
have some effect by-and-by. But for the present it seemed to do more
harm than good; because the farmer, having quite as much jealousy as
justice, took it into silent dudgeon that the mother of his daughter,
who regularly used to be hard upon her for next to nothing, should now
turn round and take her part, from downright womanism, in the teeth of
all reason, and of her own husband! Brave as he was, he did not put it
to his wife in so strong a way as that; but he argued it so to himself,
and would let it fly forth, without thinking twice about it, if they
went on in that style much longer, quite as if he were nobody, and
they could do better without him. Little he knew, in this hurt state of
mind--for which he should really have been too old--how the heart of
his child was slow and chill, stupid with the strangeness he had made,
waiting for him to take the lead, or open some door for entrance,
and watching for the humors of the elder body, as the young of past
generations did. And sometimes, faithful as she was to plighted truth
and tenderness, one coaxing word would have brought her home to the arms
that used to carry her.

But while such things were waiting to be done till they were thought of,
the time for doing them went by; and to think of them was memory. Master
Popplewell had told Captain Anerley continually what his opinions were,
fairly giving him to know on each occasion that they were to be taken
for what they were worth; that it did not follow, from his own success
in life, that he might not be mistaken now; and that he did not care a
d--n, except for Christian feeling, whether any fool hearkened to him
twice or not. He said that he never had been far out in any opinion he
had formed in all his life; but none the more for that would he venture
to foretell a thing with cross-purposes about it. A man of sagacity and
dealings with the world might happen to be right ninety-nine times in
a hundred, and yet he might be wrong the other time. Therefore he would
not give any opinion, except that everybody would be sorry by-and-by,
when things were too late for mending.

To this the farmer listened with an air of wisdom, not put forward too
severely; because Brother Popplewell had got a lot of money, and must
behave handsomely when in a better world. The simplest way of treating
him was just to let him talk--for it pleased him, and could do no
harm--and then to recover self-content by saying what a fool he was when
out of hearing. The tanner partly suspected this; and it put his nature
upon edge; for he always drove his opinions in as if they were so many
tenpenny nails, which the other man must either clinch or strike back
into his teeth outright. He would rather have that than flabby silence,
as if he were nailing into dry-rot.

"I tell you what it is," he said, the third time he came over, which was
well within a week--for nothing breeds impatience faster than retirement
from work--"you are so thick-headed in your farmhouse ways, sometimes
I am worn out with you. I do not expect to be thought of any higher
because I have left off working for myself; and Deborah is satisfied to
be called 'Debby,' and walks no prouder than if she had got to clean
her own steps daily. You can not enter into what people think of me,
counting Parson Beloe; and therefore it is no good saying anything about
it. But, Stephen, you may rely upon it that you will be sorry afterward.
That poor girl, the prettiest girl in Yorkshire, and the kindest, and
the best, is going off her victuals, and consuming of her substance,
because you will not even look at her. If you don't want the child, let
me have her. To us she is welcome as the flowers in May."

"If Mary wishes it, she can go with you," the farmer answered, sternly;
and hating many words, he betook himself to work, resolving to keep at
it until the tanner should be gone. But when he came home after dusk,
his steadfast heart was beating faster than his stubborn mind approved.
Mary might have taken him at his word, and flown for refuge from
displeasure, cold voice, and dull comfort, to the warmth, and hearty
cheer, and love of the folk who only cared to please her, spoil her,
and utterly ruin her. Folk who had no sense of fatherly duty, or right
conscience; but, having piled up dirty money, thought that it covered
everything: such people might think it fair to come between a father
and his child, and truckle to her, by backing her up in whims that were
against her good, and making light of right and wrong, as if they turned
on money; but Mary (such a prudent lass, although she was a fool just
now) must see through all such shallow tricks, such rigmarole about
Parson Beloe, who must be an idiot himself to think so much of Simon
Popplewell--for Easter offerings, no doubt--but there, if Mary had the
heart to go away, what use to stand maundering about it? Stephen Anerley
would be dashed if he cared which way it was.

Meaning all this, Stephen Anerley, however, carried it out in a style at
variance with such reckless vigor. Instead of marching boldly in at his
own door, and throwing himself upon a bench, and waiting to be waited
upon, he left the narrow gravel-walk (which led from the horse gate to
the front door) and craftily fetched a compass through the pleasure beds
and little shrubs, upon the sward, and in the dusk, so that none might
see or hear him. Then, priding himself upon his stealth, as a man with
whom it is rare may do, yet knowing all the time that he was more than
half ashamed of it, he began to peep in at his own windows, as if he
were planning how to rob his own house. This thought struck him, but
instead of smiling, he sighed very sadly; for his object was to learn
whether house and home had been robbed of that which he loved so fondly.
There was no Mary in the kitchen, seeing to his supper; the fire was
bright, and the pot was there, but only shadows round it. No Mary in the
little parlor; only Willie half asleep, with a stupid book upon his lap,
and a wretched candle guttering. Then, as a last hope, he peered into
the dairy, where she often went at fall of night, to see things safe,
and sang to keep the ghosts away. She would not be singing now of
course, because he was so cross with her; but if she were there, it
would be better than the merriest song for him. But no, the place was
dark and cold; tub and pan, and wooden skimmer, and the pails hung up
to drain, all were left to themselves, and the depth of want of life was
over them. "She hathn't been there for an hour," thought he; "a reek o'
milk, and not my lassie."

Very few human beings have such fragrance of good-will as milk. The
farmer knew that he had gone too far in speaking coarsely of the cow,
whose children first forego their food for the benefit of ours, and then
become veal to please us. "My little maid is gone," said the lord of
many cows, and who had robbed some thousand of their dear calves. "I
trow I must make up my mind to see my little maid no more."

Without compunction for any mortal cow (though one was bellowing sadly
in the distance, that had lost her calf that day), and without even
dreaming of a grievance there, Master Anerley sat down to think upon a
little bench hard by. His thoughts were not very deep or subtle; yet to
him they were difficult, because they were so new and sad. He had always
hoped to go through life in the happiest way there is of it, with simply
doing common work, and heeding daily business, and letting other people
think the higher class of thought for him. To live as Nature, cultivated
quite enough for her own content, enjoys the round of months and years,
the changes of the earth and sky, and gentle slope of time subsiding to
softer shadows and milder tones. And, most of all, to see his children,
dutiful, good, and loving, able and ready to take his place--when he
should be carried from farm to church--to work the land he loved so
well, and to walk in his ways, and praise him.

But now he thought, like Job in his sorrow, "All these things are
against me." The air was laden with the scents of autumn, rich and ripe
and soothing--the sweet fulfillment of the year. The mellow odor of
stacked wheat, the stronger perfume of clover, the brisk smell of apples
newly gathered, the distant hint of onions roped, and the luscious waft
of honey, spread and hung upon the evening breeze. "What is the good of
all this," he muttered, "when my little lassie is gone away, as if she
had no father?"

"Father, I am not gone away. Oh, father, I never will go away, if you
will love me as you did."

Here Mary stopped; for the short breath of a sob was threatening to
catch her words; and her nature was too like her father's to let him
triumph over her. The sense of wrong was in her heart, as firm and
deep as in his own, and her love of justice quite as strong; only they
differed as to what it was. Therefore Mary would not sob until she was
invited. She stood in the arch of trimmed yew-tree, almost within reach
of his arms; and though it was dark, he knew her face as if the sun was
on it.

"Dearie, sit down here," he said; "there used to be room for you and me,
without two chairs, when you was my child."

"Father, I am still your child," she answered, softly, sitting by him.
"Were you looking for me just now? Say it was me you were looking for."

"There is such a lot of rogues to look for; they skulk about so, and
they fire the stacks--"

"Now, father, you never could tell a fib," she answered, sidling closer
up, and preparing for his repentance.

"I say that I was looking for a rogue. If the cap fits--" here he
smiled a little, as much as to say, "I had you there;" and then, without
meaning it, from simple force of habit, he did a thing equal to utter
surrender. He stroked his chin, as he always used to do when going to
kiss Mary, that the bristles might lie down for her.

"The cap doesn't fit; nothing fits but you; you--you--you, my own dear
father," she cried, as she kissed him again and again, and put her arms
round to protect him. "And nobody fits you, but your own Mary. I knew
you were sorry. You needn't say it. You are too stubborn, and I will let
you off. Now don't say a word, father, I can do without it. I don't want
to humble you, but only to make you good; and you are the very best of
all people, when you please. And you never must be cross again with your
darling Mary. Promise me immediately; or you shall have no supper."

"Well," said the farmer, "I used to think that I was gifted with the
gift of argument. Not like a woman, perhaps; but still pretty well for
a man, as can't spare time for speechifying, and hath to earn bread for
self and young 'uns."

"Father, it is that arguing spirit that has done you so much harm. You
must take things as Heaven sends them; and not go arguing about them.
For instance, Heaven has sent you me."

"So a' might," Master Anerley replied; "but without a voice from the
belly of a fish, I wunna' believe that He sent Bob Lyth."



CHAPTER XXVIII

FAREWELL, WIFE AND CHILDREN DEAR


Now Robin Lyth held himself in good esteem; as every honest man is bound
to do, or surely the rogues will devour him. Modesty kept him silent as
to his merits very often; but the exercise of self-examination made
them manifest to himself. As the Yorkshireman said to his minister, when
pressed to make daily introspection, "I dare na do it, sir; it sets
me up so, and leaveth no chance for my neighbors;" so the great
free-trader, in charity for others, forbore to examine himself too much.
But without doing that, he was conscious of being as good as Master
Anerley; and intended, with equal mind and manner, to state his claim to
the daughter's hand.

It was not, therefore, as the farmer thought, any deep sense of
illegality which kept him from coming forward now, as a gallant sailor
always does; but rather the pressure of sterner business, and the hard
necessity of running goods, according to honorable contract. After
his narrow escape from outrage upon personal privilege--for the habeas
corpus of the Constitution should at least protect a man while making
love--it was clear that the field of his duties as a citizen was
padlocked against him, until next time. Accordingly he sought the
wider bosom of the ever-liberal sea; and leaving the noble Carroway
to mourn--or in stricter truth, alas! to swear--away he sailed, at the
quartering of the moon, for the land of the genial Dutchman.

Now this was the time when the forces of the realm were mightily
gathered together against him. Hitherto there had been much fine feeling
on the part of his Majesty's revenue, and a delicate sense of etiquette.
All the commanders of the cutters on the coast, of whom and of which
there now were three, had met at Carroway's festive board; and, looking
at his family, had one and all agreed to let him have the first chance
of the good prize-money. It was All-saints' Day of the year gone by when
they met and thus enjoyed themselves; and they bade their host appoint
his time; and he said he should not want three months. At this they
laughed, and gave him twelve; and now the twelve had slipped away.

"I would much rather never have him caught at all," said Carroway, to
his wife, when his year of precaption had expired, "than for any of
those fellows to nab him; especially that prig last sent down."

"So would I, dear; so would I, of course," replied Mrs. Carroway, who
had been all gratitude for their noble self-denial when they made the
promise; "what airs they would give themselves! And what could they do
with the money? Drink it out! I am sure that the condition of our best
tumblers, after they come, is something. People who don't know anything
about it always fancy that glass will clean. Glass won't clean, after
such men as those; and as for the table--don't talk of it."

"Two out of the three are gone"--the lieutenant's conscience was not
void of offense concerning tables--"gone upon promotion. Everybody gets
promotion, if he only does his very best never to deserve it. They ought
to have caught Lyth long and long ago. What are such dummies fit for?"

"But, Charles, you know that they would have acted meanly and
dishonestly if they had done so. They promised not to catch him; and
they carried out their promise."

"Matilda, such questions are beyond you altogether. You can not be
expected to understand the service. One of those trumpery, half-decked
craft--or they used to be half-deckers in my time--has had three of
those fresh-meat Jemmies over her in a single twelvemonth. But of course
they were all bound by the bargain they had made. As for that, small
thanks to them. How could they catch him, when I couldn't? They chop and
they change so, I forget their names; my head is not so good as it was,
with getting so much moonlight."

"Nonsense, Charles; you know them like your fingers. But I know what you
want; you want Geraldine, you are so proud to hear her tell it."

"Tilly, you are worse. You love to hear her say it. Well, call her in,
and let her do it. She is making an oyster-shell cradle over there, with
two of the blessed babies."

"Charles, how very profane you are! All babes are blest by the Lord, in
an independent parable, whether they can walk, or crawl, or put up their
feet and take nourishment. Jerry, you come in this very moment. What
are you doing with your two brothers there, and a dead skate--bless the
children! Now say the cutters and their captains."

Geraldine, who was a pretty little girl, as well as a good and clever
one, swept her wind-tossed hair aside, and began to repeat her lesson;
for which she sometimes got a penny when her father had made a good
dinner.

"His Majesty's cutter Swordfish, Commander Nettlebones, senior officer
of the eastern division after my papa, although a very young man still,
carries a swivel-gun and two bow-chasers. His Majesty's cutter Kestrel,
commanded by Lieutenant Bowler, is armed with three long-John's, or
strap-guns, capable of carrying a pound of shrapnel. His Majesty's
cutter Albatross, Lieutenant Corkoran Donovan, carries no artillery
yet--"

"Not artillery--guns, child; your mother calls them 'artillery.'"

"Carries no guns yet, because she was captured from the foreign enemy;
and as yet she has not been reported stanch, since the British fire
made a hole in her. It is, however, expected that those asses at the
dock-yard---"

"Geraldine, how often must I tell you that you are not to use that word?
It is your father's expression."

"It is, however, expected that those donkeys at the dock-yard will
recommend her to be fitted with two brass howisyers."

"Howitzers, my darling. Spell that word, and you shall have your penny.
Now you may run out and play again. Give your old father a pretty kiss
for it. I often wish," continued the lieutenant, as his daughter flew
back to the dead skate and the babies, "that I had only got that
child's clear head. Sometimes the worry is too much for me. And now if
Nettlebones catches Robin Lyth, to a certainty I shall be superseded,
and all of us go to the workhouse. Oh, Tilly, why won't your old aunt
die? We might be so happy afterward."

"Charles, it is not only sinful, but wicked, to show any wish to hurry
her. The Lord knows best what is good for us; and our prayers upon such
matters should be silent."

"Well, mine would be silent and loud too, according to the best chance
of being heard. Not that I would harm the poor old soul; I wish her
every heavenly blessing; and her time is come for all of them. But I
never like to think of that, because one's own time might come first. I
have felt very much out of spirits to-day, as my poor father did the day
before he got his billet. You know, Matilda, he was under old Boscawen,
and was killed by the very first shot fired; it must be five-and-forty
years ago. How my mother did cry, to be sure! But I was too young to
understand it. Ah, she had a bad time with us all! Matilda, what would
you do without me?"

"Why, Charles, you are not a bit like yourself. Don't go to-night; stay
at home for once. And the weather is very uncertain, too. They never
will attempt their job to-night. Countermand the boats, dear; I
will send word to stop them. You shall not even go out of the house
yourself."

"As if it were possible! I am not an old woman, nor even an old man yet,
I hope. In half an hour I must be off. There will be good time for
a pipe. One more pipe in the old home, Tilly. After all I am well
contented with it, although now and then I grumble; and I don't like so
much cleaning."

"The cleaning must be done; I could never leave off that. Your room is
going to be turned out to-morrow, and before you go you must put away
your papers, unless you wish me to do it. You really never seem to
understand when things are really important. Do you wish me to have
a great fever in the house? It is a fortnight since your boards were
scrubbed; and how can you think of smoking?"

"Very well, Tilly, I can have it by-and-by, 'upon the dancing waves,' as
little Tommy has picked up the song. Only I can not let the men on duty;
and to see them longing destroys my pleasure. Lord, how many times I
should like to pass my pipe to Dick, or Ellis, if discipline allowed of
it! A thing of that sort is not like feeding, which must be kept apart
by nature; but this by custom only."

"And a very good custom, and most needful," answered Mrs. Carroway. "I
never can see why men should want to do all sorts of foolish things with
tobacco--dirty stuff, and full of dust. No sooner do they begin, like a
tinder-box, than one would think that it made them all alike. They want
to see another body puffing two great streams of reeking smoke from
pipe and from mouth, as if their own was not enough; and their good
resolutions to speak truth of one another float away like so much smoke;
and they fill themselves with bad charity. Sir Walter Raleigh deserved
his head off, and Henry the Eighth knew what was right."

"My dear, I fancy that your history is wrong. The king only chopped off
his own wives' heads. But the moral of the lesson is the same. I will
go and put away my papers. It will very soon be dark enough for us to
start."

"Charles, I can not bear your going. The weather is so dark, and the sea
so lonely, and the waves are making such a melancholy sound. It is not
like the summer nights, when I can see you six miles off, with the moon
upon the sails, and the land out of the way. Let anybody catch him that
has the luck. Don't go this time, Charley."

Carroway kissed his wife, and sent her to the baby, who was squalling
well up stairs. And when she came down he was ready to start, and she
brought the baby for him to kiss.

"Good-by, little chap--good-by, dear wife." With his usual vigor and
flourish, he said, "I never knew how to kiss a baby, though I have had
such a lot of them."

"Good-by, Charley dear. All your things are right; and here is the key
of the locker. You are fitted out for three days; but you must on no
account make that time of it. To-morrow I shall be very busy, but you
must be home by the evening. Perhaps there will be a favorite thing of
yours for supper. You are going a long way; but don't be long."

"Good-by, Tilly darling--good-by, Jerry dear--good-by, Tommy boy, and
all my countless family. I am coming home to-morrow with a mint of
money."



CHAPTER XXIX

TACTICS OF DEFENSE


The sea at this time was not pleasant, and nobody looking at it longed
to employ upon it any members of a shorter reach than eyes.

It was not rushing upon the land, nor running largely in the offing, nor
making white streaks on the shoals; neither in any other places doing
things remarkable. No sign whatever of coming storm or gathering fury
moved it; only it was sullen, heavy, petulant, and out of sorts. It went
about its business in a state of lumps irregular, without long billows
or big furrows, as if it took the impulse more of distant waters than of
wind; and its color was a dirty green. Ancient fishermen hate this, and
ancient mariners do the same; for then the fish lie sulking on their
bellies, and then the ship wallows without gift of sail.

"Bear off, Tomkins, and lay by till the ebb. I can only say, dash the
whole of it!"

Commander Nettlebones, of the Swordfish, gave this order in disgust at
last; for the tide was against her, with a heavy pitch of sea, and the
mainsail scarcely drew the sheet. What little wind there was came off
the land, and would have been fair if it had been firm; but often it
dropped altogether where the cliffs, or the clouds that lay upon them,
held it. The cutter had slipped away from Scarborough, as soon as it was
dark last night, under orders for Robin Hood's Bay, where the Albatross
and Kestrel were to meet her, bring tidings, and take orders. Partly
by coast-riding, and partly by coast signals, it had been arranged that
these three revenue cruisers should come together in a lonely place
during the haze of November morning, and hold privy council of
importance. From Scarborough, with any wind at all, or even with
ordinary tide-run, a coal barge might almost make sure of getting to
Robin Hood's Bay in six hours, if the sea was fit to swim in. Yet
here was a cutter that valued herself upon her sailing powers already
eighteen hours out, and headed back perpetually, like a donkey-plough.
Commander Nettlebones could not understand it, and the more impatient he
became, the less could he enter into it. The sea was nasty, and the
wind uncertain, also the tide against him; but how often had such things
combined to hinder, and yet he had made much fairer way! Fore and aft he
bestrode the planks, and cast keen eyes at everything, above, around,
or underneath, but nothing showed him anything. Nettlebones was
a Cornishman, and Cornishmen at that time had a reverent faith in
witchcraft. "Robin Lyth has bought the powers, or ancient Carroway
has done it," he said to himself, in stronger language than is now
reportable. "Old Carroway is against us, I know, from his confounded
jealousy; and this cursed delay will floor all my plans."

He deserved to have his best plans floored for such vile suspicion of
Carroway. Whatever the brave lieutenant did was loyal, faithful, and
well above-board. Against the enemy he had his plans, as every great
commander must, and he certainly did not desire to have his glory stolen
by Nettlebones. But that he would have suffered, with only a grin at the
bad luck so habitual; to do any crooked thing against it was not in his
nature. The cause of the grief of Commander Nettlebones lay far away
from Carroway; and free trade was at the bottom of it.

For now this trim and lively craft was doing herself but scanty credit,
either on or off a wind. She was like a poor cat with her tail in a gin,
which sadly obstructs her progress; even more was she like to the little
horse of wood, which sits on the edge of a table and gallops, with a
balance weight limiting his energies. None of the crew could understand
it, if they were to be believed; and the more sagacious talked of
currents and mysterious "under-tow." And sure enough it was under-tow,
the mystery of which was simple. One of the very best hands on board was
a hardy seaman from Flamborough, akin to old Robin Cockscroft, and no
stranger to his adopted son. This gallant seaman fully entered into the
value of long leverage, and he made fine use of a plug-hole which
had come to his knowledge behind his berth. It was just above the
water-line, and out of sight from deck, because the hollow of the run
was there. And long ere the lights of Scarborough died into the haze
of night, as the cutter began to cleave watery way, the sailor passed
a stout new rope from a belaying-pin through this hole, and then he
betrayed his watch on deck by hauling the end up with a clew, and gently
returning it to the deep with a long grappling-iron made fast to it.
This had not fluke enough to lay fast hold and bring the vessel up; for
in that case it would have been immediately discovered; but it dragged
along the bottom like a trawl, and by its weight, and a hitch every now
and then in some hole, it hampered quite sufficiently the objectionable
voyage. Instead of meeting her consorts in the cloud of early morning,
the Swordfish was scarcely abreast of the Southern Cheek by the middle
of the afternoon. No wonder if Commander Nettlebones was in a fury
long ere that, and fitted neither to give nor take the counsel of calm
wisdom; and this condition of his mind, as well as the loss of precious
time, should have been taken into more consideration by those who
condemned him for the things that followed.

"Better late than never, as they say," he cried, when the Kestrel and
the Albatross hove in sight. "Tomkins, signal to make sail and close.
We seem to be moving more lively at last. I suppose we are out of that
infernal under-tow."

"Well, sir, she seems like herself a little more. She've had a witch on
board of her, that's where it is. When I were a younker, just joined his
Majesty's forty-two-gun frigate--"

"Stow that, Tomkins. No time now. I remember all about it, and very good
it is. Let us have it all again when this job is done with. Bowler and
Donovan will pick holes if they can, after waiting for us half a day.
Not a word about our slow sailing, mind; leave that to me. They are
framptious enough. Have everything trim, and all hands ready. When they
range within hail, sing out for both to come to me."

It was pretty to see the three cutters meet, all handled as smartly
as possible; for the Flamborough man had cast off his clog, and the
Swordfish again was as nimble as need be. Lieutenants Bowler and Donovan
were soon in the cabin of their senior officer, and durst not question
him very strictly as to his breach of rendezvous, for his manner was
short and sharp with them.

"There is plenty of time, if we waste it not in talking," he said, when
they had finished comparing notes. "All these reports we are bound to
receive and consider; but I believe none of them. The reason why poor
Carroway has made nothing but a mess of it is that he will listen to the
country people's tales. They are all bound together, all tarred with one
brush--all stuffed with a heap of lies, to send us wrong; and as for the
fishing-boats, and what they see, I have been here long enough already
to be sure that their fishing is a sham nine times in ten, and their
real business is to help those rogues. Our plan is to listen, and
pretend to be misled."

"True for you, captain," cried the ardent Donovan. "You 'bout ship as
soon as you can see them out of sight."

"My own opinion is this," said Bowler, "that we never shall catch any
fellow until we have a large sum of money placed at our disposal. The
general feeling is in their favor, and against us entirely. Why is it in
their favor? Because they are generally supposed to run great risks, and
suffer great hardships. And so they do; but not half so much as we do,
who keep the sea in all sorts of weather, while they can choose their
own. Also because they outrun the law, which nature makes everybody long
to do, and admire the lucky ones who can. But most of all because they
are free-handed, and we can be only niggards. They rob the king with
impunity, because they pay well for doing it; and he pays badly, or
not at all, to defend himself from robbery. If we had a thousand pounds
apiece, with orders to spend it on public service, take no receipt,
and give no account, I am sure that in three months we could stop all
contraband work upon this coast."

"Upon me sowl and so we could; and it's meself that would go into the
trade, so soon as it was stopped with the thousand pounds."

"We have no time for talking nonsense;" answered Nettlebones, severely,
according to the universal law that the man who has wasted the time of
others gets into a flurry about his own. "Your suggestion, Bowler, is
a very wise one, and as full as possible of common-sense. You
also, Donovan, have shown with great sagacity what might come of it
thereafter. But unluckily we have to get on as we can, without sixpence
to spare for anybody. We know that the fishermen and people on the
coast, and especially the womankind, are all to a man--as our good
friend here would say--banded in league against us. Nevertheless, this
landing shall not be, at least upon our district. What happens north of
Teesmouth is none of our business; and we should have the laugh of the
old Scotchman there, if they pay him a visit, as I hope they may; for he
cuts many jokes at our expense. But, by the Lord Harry, there shall be
no run between the Tees and Yare, this side of Christmas. If there is,
we may call ourselves three old women. Shake hands, gentlemen, upon that
point; and we will have a glass of grog to it."

This was friendly, and rejoiced them all; for Nettlebones had been stiff
at first. Readily enough they took his orders, which seemed to make it
impossible almost for anything large to slip between them, except in
case of a heavy fog; and in that case they were to land, and post their
outlooks near the likely places.

"We have shed no blood yet, and I hope we never shall," said the senior
officer, pleasantly. "The smugglers of this coast are too wise, and I
hope too kind-hearted, for that sort of work. They are not like those
desperate scoundrels of Sussex. When these men are nabbed, they give up
their venture as soon as it goes beyond cudgel-play, and they never
lie in wait for a murderous revenge. In the south I have known a very
different race, who would jump on an officer till he died, or lash him
to death with their long cart-whips; such fellows as broke open Poole
Custom-house, and murdered poor Galley and Cator, and the rest, in a
manner that makes human blood run cold. It was some time back; but their
sons are just as bad. Smuggling turns them all to devils."

"My belief is," said Bowler, who had a gift of looking at things from an
outer point of view, "that these fellows never propose to themselves
to transgress the law, but to carry it out according to their own
interpretation. One of them reasoned with me some time ago, and he
talked so well about the Constitution that I was at a loss to answer
him."

"Me jewel, forbear," shouted Donovan; "a clout on the head is the only
answer for them Constitutionals. Niver will it go out of my mind about
the time I was last in Cark; shure, thin, and it was holiday-time; and
me sister's wife's cousin, young Tim O'Brady--Tim says to me, 'Now,
Corkoran, me lad--'"

"Donovan," Nettlebones suddenly broke in, "we will have that story,
which I can see by the cut of your jib is too good to be hurried, when
first we come together after business done. The sun will be down in less
than half an hour, and by that time we all must be well under way. We
are watched from the land, as I need not tell you, and we must not let
them spy for nothing. They shall see us all stand out to sea to catch
them in the open, as I said in the town-hall of Scarborough yesterday,
on purpose. Everybody laughed; but I stuck to it, knowing how far the
tale would go. They take it for a crotchet of mine, and will expect it,
especially after they have seen us standing out; and their plans will be
laid accordingly."

"The head-piece ye have is beyont me inthirely. And if ye stand out, how
will ye lay close inshore?"

"By returning, my good friend, before the morning breaks; each man
to his station, lying as close as can be by day, with proper outlooks
hidden at the points, but standing along the coast every night,
and communicating with sentries. Have nothing to say to any
fishing-boats--they are nearly all spies--and that puzzles them. This
Robin Hood's Bay is our centre for the present, unless there comes
change of weather. Donovan's beat is from Whitby to Teesmouth, mine from
Whitby to Scarborough, and Bowler's thence to Flamborough. Carroway goes
where he likes, of course, as the manner of the man is. He is a
little in the doldrums now, and likely enough to come meddling. From
Flamborough to Hornsea is left to him, and quite as much as he can
manage. Further south there is no fear; our Yarmouth men will see to
that. Now I think that you quite understand. Good-by; we shall nab some
of them to a certainty this time; they are trying it on too large a
scale."

"If they runs any goods through me, then just ye may reckon the legs of
me four times over."

"And if they slip in past me," said Bowler, "without a thick fog, or a
storm that drives me off, I will believe more than all the wonders told
of Robin Lyth."

"Oh! concerning that fellow, by-the-bye," Commander Nettlebones stopped
his brother officers as they were making off; "you know what a point
poor Carroway has made, even before I was sent down here, of catching
the celebrated Robin for himself. He has even let his fellows fire at
him once or twice when he was quietly departing, although we are not
allowed to shoot except upon strenuous resistance. Cannon we may fire,
but no muskets, according to wise ordinance. Luckily, he has not hit him
yet; and, upon the whole, we should be glad of it, for the young fellow
is a prime sailor, as you know, and would make fine stuff for Nelson.
Therefore we must do one thing of two--let Carroway catch him, and get
the money to pay for all the breeches and the petticoats we saw; or
if we catch him ourselves, say nothing, but draft him right off to the
Harpy. You understand me. It is below us to get blood-money upon the
man. We are gentlemen, not thief-catchers."

The Irishman agreed to this at once, but Bowler was not well pleased
with it. "Our duty is to give him up," he said.

"Your duty is to take my orders," answered Nettlebones, severely. "If
there is a fuss about it, lay the blame on me. I know what I am about in
what I say. Gentlemen, good-by, and good luck to you."

After long shivers in teeth of the wind and pendulous labor of rolling,
the three cutters joyfully took the word to go. With a creak, and a
cant, and a swish of canvas, upon their light heels they flew round,
and trembled with the eagerness of leaping on their way. The taper boom
dipped toward the running hills of sea, and the jib-foreleech drew a
white arc against the darkness of the sky to the bowsprit's plunge.
Then, as each keen cut-water clove with the pressure of the wind upon
the beam, and the glistening bends lay over, green hurry of surges
streaked with gray began the quick dance along them. Away they went
merrily, scattering the brine, and leaving broad tracks upon the closing
sea.

Away also went, at a rapid scamper, three men who had watched them from
the breast-work of the cliffs--one went northward, another to the south,
and the third rode a pony up an inland lane. Swiftly as the cutters flew
over the sea, the tidings of their flight took wing ashore, and before
the night swallowed up their distant sails, everybody on the land whom
it concerned to know, knew as well as their steersmen what course they
had laid.



CHAPTER XXX

INLAND OPINION


Whatever may be said, it does seem hard, from a wholly disinterested
point of view, that so many mighty men, with swift ships, armed with
villainous saltpetre and sharp steel, should have set their keen faces
all together and at once to nip, defeat, and destroy as with a blow,
liberal and well-conceived proceedings, which they had long regarded
with a larger mind. Every one who had been led to embark soundly and
kindly in this branch of trade felt it as an outrage and a special
instance of his own peculiar bad luck that suddenly the officers should
become so active. For long success had encouraged enterprise; men who
had made a noble profit nobly yearned to treble it; and commerce, having
shaken off her shackles, flapped her wings and began to crow; so at
least she had been declared to do at a public banquet given by the Mayor
of Malton, and attended by a large grain factor, who was known as a
wholesale purveyor of illicit goods.

This man, Thomas Rideout, long had been the head-master of the smuggling
school. The poor sea-faring men could not find money to buy, or even
hire, the craft (with heavy deposit against forfeiture) which the
breadth and turbulence of the North Sea made needful for such ventures.
Across the narrow English Channel an open lobster boat might run, in
common summer weather, without much risk of life or goods. Smooth water,
sandy coves, and shelfy landings tempted comfortable jobs; and any man
owning a boat that would carry a sail as big as a shawl might smuggle,
with heed of the weather, and audacity. It is said that once upon the
Sussex coast a band of haymakers, when the rick was done, and their
wages in hand on a Saturday night, laid hold of a stout boat on the
beach, pushed off to sea in tipsy faith of luck, and hit upon Dieppe
with a set-fair breeze, having only a fisherman's boy for guide. There
on the Sunday they heartily enjoyed the hospitality of the natives; and
the dawn of Tuesday beheld them rapt in domestic bliss and breakfast,
with their money invested in old Cognac; and glad would they have been
to make such hay every season. But in Yorkshire a good solid capital
was needed to carry on free importation. Without broad bottoms and deep
sides, the long and turbulent and often foggy voyage, and the rocky
landing, could scarcely be attempted by sane folk; well-to-do people
found the money, and jeopardized neither their own bodies, consciences,
nor good repute. And perhaps this fact had more to do with the
comparative mildness of the men than difference of race, superior
culture, or a loftier mould of mind; for what man will fight for his
employer's goods with the ferocity inspired by his own? A thorough
good ducking, or a tow behind a boat, was the utmost penalty generally
exacted by the victors from the vanquished.

Now, however, it seemed too likely that harder measures must be meted.
The long success of that daring Lyth, and the large scale of his
operations, had compelled the authorities to stir at last. They began by
setting a high price upon him, and severely reprimanding Carroway, who
had long been doing his best in vain, and becoming flurried, did it
more vainly still; and now they had sent the sharp Nettlebones down, who
boasted largely, but as yet without result. The smugglers, however, were
aware of added peril, and raised their wages accordingly.

When the pending great venture was resolved upon, as a noble finish to
the season, Thomas Rideout would intrust it to no one but Robin Lyth
himself; and the bold young mariner stipulated that after succeeding
he should be free, and started in some more lawful business. For Dr.
Upround, possessing as he did great influence with Robin, and shocked
as he was by what Carroway had said, refused to have anything more to
do with his most distinguished parishioner until he should forsake his
ways. And for this he must not be thought narrow-minded, strait-laced,
or unduly dignified. His wife quite agreed with him, and indeed had
urged it as the only proper course; for her motherly mind was uneasy
about the impulsive nature of Janetta; and chess-men to her were dolls,
without even the merit of encouraging the needle. Therefore, with a deep
sigh, the worthy magistrate put away his board--which came out again
next day--and did his best to endure for a night the arithmetical
torture of cribbage; while he found himself supported by a sense of
duty, and capable of preaching hard at Carroway if he would only come
for it on Sunday.

From that perhaps an officer of revenue may abstain, through the
pressure of his duty and his purity of conscience; but a man of less
correctness must behave more strictly. Therefore, when a gentleman of
vigorous aspect, resolute step, and successful-looking forehead marched
into church the next Sunday morning, showed himself into a prominent
position, and hung his hat against a leading pillar, after putting his
mouth into it, as if for prayer, but scarcely long enough to say "Amen,"
behind other hats low whispers passed that here was the great financier
of free trade, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of smuggling, the
celebrated Master Rideout.

That conclusion was shared by the rector, whose heart immediately burned
within him to have at this man, whom he had met before and suspiciously
glanced at in Weighing Lane, as an interloper in his parish. Probably
this was the very man whom Robin Lyth served too faithfully; and the
chances were that the great operations now known to be pending had
brought him hither, spying out all Flamborough. The corruption of
fish-folk, the beguiling of women with foreign silks and laces, and of
men with brandy, the seduction of Robin from lawful commerce, and even
the loss of his own pet pastime, were to be laid at this man's door.
While donning his surplice, Dr. Upround revolved these things with
gentle indignation, quickened, as soon as he found himself in white, by
clerical and theological zeal. These feelings impelled him to produce a
creaking of the heavy vestry door, a well-known signal for his daughter
to slip out of the chancel pew and come to him.

"Now, papa, what is it?" cried that quick young lady; "that miserable
Methodist that ruined your boots, has he got the impudence to come
again? Oh, please do say so, and show me where he is; after church
nobody shall stop me--"

"Janetta, you quite forget where you are, as well as my present
condition. Be off like a good girl, as quick as you can, and bring No.
27 of my own handwriting--'Render unto Caesar'--and put my hat upon it.
My desire is that Billyjack should not know that a change has been made
in my subject of discourse."

"Papa, I see; it shall be done to perfection, while Billyjack is at his
very loudest roar in the chorus of the anthem. But do tell me who it is;
or how can I enjoy it? And lemon drops--lemon drops--"

"Janetta, I must have some very serious talk with you. Now don't be
vexed, darling; you are a thoroughly good girl, only thoughtless and
careless; and remember, dear, church is not a place for high spirits."

The rector, as behooved him, kissed his child behind the vestry door, to
soothe all sting, and then he strode forth toward the reading-desk; and
the tuning of fiddles sank to deferential scrape.

It was not at all a common thing, as one might know, for Widow Precious
to be able to escape from casks and taps, and the frying pan of eggs
demanded by some half-drowned fisherman, also the reckoning of notches
on the bench for the pints of the week unpaid for, and then to put
herself into her two best gowns (which she wore in the winter, one over
the other--a plan to be highly commended to ladies who never can have
dress enough), and so to enjoy, without losing a penny, the warmth of
the neighborhood of a congregation. In the afternoon she could hardly
ever do it, even if she had so wished, with knowledge that this was
common people's time; so if she went at all, it must--in spite of the
difference of length--be managed in the morning. And this very morning
here she was, earnest, humble, and devout, with both the tap keys in her
pocket, and turning the leaves with a smack of her thumb, not only to
show her learning, but to get the sweet approval of the rector's pew.

Now if the good rector had sent for this lady, instead of his daughter
Janetta, the sermon which he brought would have been the one to preach,
and that about Caesar might have stopped at home; for no sooner did the
widow begin to look about, taking in the congregation with a dignified
eye, and nodding to her solvent customers, than the wrath of perplexity
began to gather on her goodly countenance. To see that distinguished
stranger was to know him ever afterward; his power of eating, and of
paying, had endeared his memory; and for him to put up at any other
house were foul shame to the "Cod Fish."

"Hath a' put up his beastie?" she whispered to her eldest daughter, who
came in late.

"Naa, naa, no beastie," the child replied, and the widow's relish of
her thumb was gone; for, sooth to say, no Master Rideout, nor any other
patron of free trade was here, but Geoffrey Mordacks, of York city,
general factor, and universal agent.

It was beautiful to see how Dr. Upround, firmly delivering his text, and
stoutly determined to spare nobody, even insisted in the present
case upon looking at the man he meant to hit, because he was not his
parishioner. The sermon was eloquent, and even trenchant. The necessity
of duties was urged most sternly; if not of directly Divine institution
(though learned parallels were adduced which almost proved them to be
so), yet to every decent Christian citizen they were synonymous with
duty. To defy or elude them, for the sake of paltry gain, was a dark
crime recoiling on the criminal; and the preacher drew a contrast
between such guilty ways and the innocent path of the fisherman. Neither
did he even relent and comfort, according to his custom, toward the end;
that part was there, but he left it out; and the only consolation for
any poor smuggler in all the discourse was the final Amen.

But to the rector's great amazement, and inward indignation, the object
of his sermon seemed to take it as a personal compliment. Mr. Mordacks
not only failed to wince, but finding himself particularly fixed by the
gaze of the eloquent divine, concluded that it was from his superior
intelligence, and visible gifts of appreciation. Delighted with
this--for he was not free from vanity--what did he do but return the
compliment, not indecorously, but nodding very gently, as much as
to say, "That was very good indeed, you were quite right, sir, in
addressing that to me; you perceive that it is far above these common
people. I never heard a better sermon."

"What a hardened rogue you are!" thought Dr. Upround; "how feebly and
incapably I must have put it! If you ever come again, you shall have my
Ahab sermon."

But the clergyman was still more astonished a very few minutes
afterward. For, as he passed out of the church-yard gate, receiving,
with his wife and daughter, the kindly salute of the parish, the same
tall stranger stood before him, with a face as hard as a statue's, and,
making a short, quick flourish with his hat, begged for the honor of
shaking his hand.

"Sir, it is to thank you for the very finest sermon I ever had the
privilege of hearing. My name is Mordacks, and I flatter nobody--except
myself--that I know a good thing when I get it."

"Sir, I am obliged to you," said Dr. Upround, stiffly, and not without
suspicion of being bantered, so dry was the stranger's countenance, and
his manner so peculiar; "and if I have been enabled to say a good word
in season, and its season lasts, it will be a source of satisfaction to
me."

"Yes, I fear there are many smugglers here. But I am no revenue
officer, as your congregation seemed to think. May I call upon business
to-morrow, sir? Thank you; then may I say ten o'clock--your time of
beginning, as I hear? Mordacks is my name, sir, of York city, not
unfavorably known there. Ladies, my duty to you!"

"What an extraordinary man, my dear!" Mrs. Upround exclaimed, with some
ingratitude, after the beautiful bow she had received. "He may talk as
he likes, but he must be a smuggler. He said that he was not an officer;
that shows it, for they always run into the opposite extreme. You
have converted him, my dear; and I am sure that we ought to be so much
obliged to him. If he comes to-morrow morning to give up all his lace,
do try to remember how my little all has been ruined in the wash, and I
am sick of working at it."

"My dear, he is no smuggler. I begin to recollect. He was down here in
the summer, and I made a great mistake. I took him for Rideout; and I
did the same to-day. When I see him to-morrow, I shall beg his pardon.
One gets so hurried in the vestry always; they are so impatient with
their fiddles! A great deal of it was Janetta's fault."

"It always is my fault, papa, somehow or other," the young lady
answered, with a faultless smile: and so they went home to the early
Sunday dinner.

"Papa, I am in such a state of excitement; I am quite unfit to go to
church this afternoon," Miss Upround exclaimed, as they set forth again.
"You may put me in stocks made out of hassocks--you may rope me to the
Flodden Field man's monument, of the ominous name of 'Constable;' but
whatever you do, I shall never attend; and I feel that it is so sinful."

"Janetta, your mamma has that feeling sometimes; for instance, she has
it this afternoon; and there is a good deal to be said for it. But I
fear that it would grow with indulgence."

"I can firmly fancy that it never would; though one can not be sure
without trying. Suppose that I were to try it just once, and let you
know how it feels at tea-time?"

"My dear, we are quite round the corner of the lane. The example would
be too shocking."

"Now don't you make any excuses, papa. Only one woman can have seen
us yet; and she is so blind she will think it was her fault. May I go?
Quick, before any one else comes."

"If you are quite sure, Janetta, of being in a frame of mind which
unfits you for the worship of your Maker--"

"As sure as a pike-staff, dear papa."

"Then, by all means, go before anybody sees you, for whom it might
be undesirable; and correct your thoughts, and endeavor to get into a
befitting state of mind by tea-time."

"Certainly, papa. I will go down on the stones, and look at the
sea. That always makes me better; because it is so large and so
uncomfortable."

The rector went on to do his duty, by himself. A narrow-minded man might
have shaken solemn head, even if he had allowed such dereliction. But
Dr. Upround knew that the girl was good, and he never put strain upon
her honesty. So away she sped by a lonely little foot-path, where nobody
could take from her contagion of bad morals; and avoiding the incline
of boats, she made off nicely for the quiet outer bay, and there, upon a
shelfy rock, she sat and breathed the sea.

Flamborough, excellent place as it is, and delightful, and full of
interest for people who do not live there, is apt to grow dull perhaps
for spirited youth, in the scanty and foggy winter light. There is not
so very much of that choice product generally called "society" by a man
who has a house to let in an eligible neighborhood, and by ladies who do
not heed their own. Moreover, it is vexatious not to have more rogues to
talk about.

That scarcity may be less lamentable now, being one that takes care
to redress itself, and perhaps any amateur purchaser of fish may find
rogues enough now for his interest. But the rector's daughter pined for
neither society nor scandal: she had plenty of interest in her life,
and in pleasing other people, whenever she could do it with pleasure
to herself, and that was nearly always. Her present ailment was not
languor, weariness, or dullness, but rather the want of such things;
which we long for when they happen to be scarce, and declare them to be
our first need, under the sweet name of repose.

Her mind was a little disturbed by rumors, wonders, and uncertainty. She
was not at all in love with Robin Lyth, and laughed at his vanity quite
as much as she admired his gallantry. She looked upon him also as of
lower rank, kindly patronized by her father, but not to be treated as
upon an equal footing. He might be of any rank, for all that was known;
but he must be taken to belong to those who had brought him up and fed
him. Janetta was a lively girl, of quick perception and some discretion,
though she often talked much nonsense. She was rather proud of her
position, and somewhat disdainful of uneducated folk; though (thanks to
her father) Lyth was not one of these. Possibly love (if she had felt
it) would have swept away such barriers; but Robin was grateful to his
patron, and, knowing his own place in life, would rightly have thought
it a mean return to attempt to inveigle the daughter. So they liked one
another--but nothing more. It was not, therefore, for his sake only,
but for her father's, and that of the place, that Miss Upround now
was anxious. For days and days she had watched the sea with unusual
forebodings, knowing that a great importation was toward, and pretty
sure to lead to blows, after so much preparation. With feminine zeal,
she detested poor Carroway, whom she regarded as a tyrant and a spy;
and she would have clapped her hands at beholding the three cruisers
run upon a shoal, and there stick fast. And as for King George, she had
never believed that he was the proper King of England. There were many
stanch Jacobites still in Yorkshire, and especially the bright young
ladies.

To-night, at least, the coast was likely to be uninvaded. Smugglers,
even if their own forces would make breach upon the day of rest, durst
not outrage the piety of the land, which would only deal with kegs
in-doors. The coast-guard, being for the most part southerns, splashed
about as usual--a far more heinous sin against the Word of God than
smuggling. It is the manner of Yorkshiremen to think for themselves,
with boldness, in the way they are brought up to: and they made it a
point of serious doubt whether the orders of the king himself could set
aside the Fourth Commandment, though his arms were over it.

Dr. Upround's daughter, as she watched the sea, felt sure that, even if
the goods were ready, no attempt at landing would be made that night,
though something might be done in the morning. But even that was not
very likely, because (as seemed to be widely known) the venture was a
very large one, and the landers would require a whole night's work to
get entirely through with it.

"I wish it was over, one way or the other," she kept on saying to
herself, as she gazed at the dark, weary lifting of the sea; "it keeps
one unsettled as the waves themselves. Sunday always makes me feel
restless, because there is so little to do. It is wicked, I suppose; but
how can I help it? Why, there is a boat, I do declare! Well, even a boat
is welcome, just to break this gray monotony. What boat can it be? None
of ours, of course. And what can they want with our Church Cave? I hope
they understand its dangers."

Although the wind was not upon the shore, and no long rollers were
setting in, short, uncomfortable, clumsy waves were lolloping under the
steep gray cliffs, and casting up splashes of white here and there. To
enter that cave is a risky thing, except at very favorable times, and
even then some experience is needed, for the rocks around it are like
knives, and the boat must generally be backed in, with more use of
fender and hook than of oars. But the people in the boat seemed to
understand all that. There were two men rowing, and one steering with an
oar, and a fourth standing up, as if to give directions; though in truth
he knew nothing about it, but hated even to seem to play second fiddle.

"What a strange thing!" Janetta thought, as she drew behind a rock, that
they might not see her, "I could almost declare that the man standing
up is that most extraordinary gentleman papa preached quite the wrong
sermon at. Truly he deserves the Ahab one, for spying our caves out on a
Sunday. He must be a smuggler, after all, or a very crafty agent of the
Revenue. Well, I never! That old man steering, as sure as I live, is
Robin Cockscroft, by the scarlet handkerchief round his head. Oh, Robin!
Robin! could I ever have believed that you would break the Sabbath so?
But the boat is not Robin's. What boat can it be? I have not staid away
from church for nothing. One of the men rowing has got no legs, when the
boat goes up and down. It must be that villain of a tipsy Joe, who used
to keep the 'Monument.' I heard that he was come back again, to stump
for his beer as usual: and his son, that sings like the big church bell,
and has such a very fine face and one leg--why, he is the man that pulls
the other oar. Was there ever such a boat-load? But they know what they
are doing."

Truly it was, as the young lady said, an extraordinary boat's crew. Old
Robin Cockscroft, with a fringe of silver hair escaping from the crimson
silk, which he valued so much more than it, and his face still grand (in
spite of wrinkles and some weakness of the eyes), keenly understanding
every wave, its character, temper, and complexity of influence, as only
a man can understand who has for his life stood over them. Then tugging
at the oars, or rather dipping them with a short well-practiced plunge,
and very little toil of body, two ancient sailors, one considerably
older than the other, inasmuch as he was his father, yet chips alike
from a sturdy block, and fitted up with jury-stumps. Old Joe pulled
rather the better oar, and called his son "a one-legged fiddler" when he
missed the dip of wave; while Mordacks stood with his leg's apart, and
playing the easy part of critic, had his sneers at both of them. But
they let him gibe to his liking; because they knew their work, and he
did not. And, upon the whole, they went merrily.

The only one with any doubt concerning the issue of the job was the one
who knew most about it, and that was Robin Cockscroft. He doubted not
about want of strength, or skill, or discipline of his oars, but because
the boat was not Flamburian, but borrowed from a collier round the Head.
No Flamborough boat would ever think of putting to sea on a Sunday,
unless it were to save human life; and it seemed to him that no strange
boat could find her way into the native caves. He doubted also whether,
even with the pressure of strong motive put upon him, which was not of
money, it was a godly thing on his part to be steering in his Sunday
clothes; and he feared to hear of it thereafter. But being in for it, he
must do his utmost.

With genuine skill and solid patience, the entrance of the cave was
made, and the boat was lost to Janetta's view. She as well was lost in
the deeper cavern of great wonder, and waited long, and much desired
to wait even longer, to see them issue forth again, and learn what they
could have been after. But the mist out of which they had come, and
inside of which they would rather have remained perhaps, now thickened
over land and sea, and groping dreamily for something to lay hold of,
found a solid stay and rest-hold in the jagged headlands here. Here,
accordingly, the coilings of the wandering forms began to slide into
strait layers, and soft settlement of vapor. Loops of hanging moisture
marked the hollows of the land-front, or the alleys of the waning light;
and then the mass abandoned outline, fused its shades to pulp, and
melted into one great blur of rain. Janetta thought of her Sunday frock,
forgot the boat, and sped away for home.



CHAPTER XXXI

TACTICS OF ATTACK


"I am sorry to be troublesome, Mynheer Van Dunck, but I can not say
good-by without having your receipt in full for the old bilander."

"Goot, it is vere good, Meester Lyth; you are te goot man for te
pisness."

With these words the wealthy merchant of the Zuyder-Zee drew forth
his ancient inkhorn, smeared with the dirt of countless contracts, and
signed an acquittance which the smuggler had prepared. But he signed it
with a sigh, as a man declares that a favorite horse must go at last;
sighing, not for the money, but the memories that go with it. Then, as
the wind began to pipe, and the roll of the sea grew heavier, the solid
Dutchman was lowered carefully into his shore boat, and drew the apron
over his great and gouty legs.

"I vos married in dat zhips," he shouted back, with his ponderous fist
wagging up at Robin Lyth, "Dis taime you will have de bad luck, sir."

"Well, mynheer, you have only to pay the difference, and the ketch will
do; the bilander sails almost as fast."

But Master Van Dunck only heaved another sigh, and felt that his leather
bag was safe and full in his breeches pocket. Then he turned his eyes
away, and relieved his mind by swearing at his men.

Now this was off the Isle of Texel, and the time was Sunday morning, the
very same morning which saw the general factor sitting to be preached
at. The flotilla of free trade was putting forth upon its great emprise,
and Van Dunck (who had been ship's husband) came to speed them from
their moorings.

He took no risk, and to him it mattered little, except as a question of
commission; but still he enjoyed the relish of breaking English law most
heartily. He hated England, as a loyal Dutchman, for generations, was
compelled to do; and he held that a Dutchman was a better sailor, a
better ship-builder, and a better fighter than the very best Englishman
ever born. However, his opinions mattered little, being (as we must
feel) absurd. Therefore let him go his way, and grumble, and reckon his
guilders. It was generally known that he could sink a ship with money;
and when such a man is insolent, who dares to contradict him?

The flotilla in the offing soon ploughed hissing furrows through the
misty waves. There were three craft, all of different rig--a schooner,
a ketch, and the said bilander. All were laden as heavily as speed and
safety would allow, and all were thoroughly well manned. They laid their
course for the Dogger Bank, where they would receive the latest news
of the disposition of the enemy. Robin Lyth, high admiral of smugglers,
kept to his favorite schooner, the Glimpse, which had often shown a
fading wake to fastest cutters. His squadron was made up by the ketch,
Good Hope, and the old Dutch coaster, Crown of Gold. This vessel, though
built for peaceful navigation and inland waters, had proved herself so
thoroughly at home in the roughest situations, and so swift of foot,
though round of cheek, that the smugglers gloried in her and the good
luck which sat upon her prow. They called her "the lugger," though her
rig was widely different from that, and her due title was "bilander."
She was very deeply laden now, and, having great capacity, appeared an
unusually tempting prize.

This grand armada of invasion made its way quite leisurely. Off the
Dogger Bank they waited for the last news, and received it, and the
whole of it was to their liking, though the fisherman who brought it
strongly advised them to put back again. But Captain Lyth had no such
thought, for the weather was most suitable for the bold scheme he had
hit upon. "This is my last run," he said, "and I mean to make it a good
one." Then he dressed himself as smartly as if he were going to meet
Mary Anerley, and sent a boat for the skippers of the Good Hope, and the
Crown of Gold, who came very promptly and held counsel in his cabin.

"I'm thinking that your notion is a very good one, captain," said the
master of the bilander, Brown, a dry old hand from Grimsby.

"Capital, capital; there never was a better," the master of the ketch
chimed in, "Nettlebones and Carroway--they will knock their heads
together!"

"The plan is clever enough," replied Robin, who was free from all
mock-modesty, "But you heard what that old Van Dunck said. I wish he had
not said it."

"Ten tousan' tuyfels--as the stingy old thief himself says--he might
have held his infernal croak. I hate to make sail with a croak astern;
'tis as bad as a crow on forestay-sail."

"All very fine for you to talk," grumbled the man of the bilander to the
master of the ketch; "but the bad luck is saddled upon me this voyage.
You two get the gilgoes, and I the bilboes!"

"Brown, none of that!" Captain Lyth said, quietly, but with a look which
the other understood; "you are not such a fool as you pretend to be. You
may get a shot or two fired at you; but what is that to a Grimsby man?
And who will look at you when your hold is broached? Your game is the
easiest that any man can play--to hold your tongue and run away."

"Brown, you share the profits, don't you see?" the ketch man went on,
while the other looked glum; "and what risk do you take for it? Even if
they collar you, through your own clumsiness, what is there for them to
do? A Grimsby man is a grumbling man, I have heard ever since I was that
high. I'll change berths with you, if you choose, this minute."

"You could never do it," said the Grimsby man, with that high contempt
which abounds where he was born--"a boy like you! I should like to see
you try it."

"Remember, both of you," said Robin Lyth, "that you are not here to do
as you please, but to obey my orders. If the coast-guard quarrel, we do
not; and that is why we beat them. You will both do exactly as I have
laid it down; and the risk of failure falls on me. The plan is very
simple, and can not fail, if you will just try not to think for
yourselves, which always makes everything go wrong. The only thing you
have to think about at all is any sudden change of weather. If a gale
from the east sets in, you both run north, and I come after you. But
there will not be any easterly gale for the present week, to my belief;
although I am not quite sure of it."

"Not a sign of it. Wind will hold with sunset, up to next quarter of the
moon."

"The time I ha' been on the coast," said Brown, "and to hear the young
chaps talking over my head! Never you mind how I know, but I'll lay a
guinea with both of you--easterly gale afore Friday."

"Brown, you may be right," said Robin; "I have had some fear of it, and
I know that you carry a weather eye. No man under forty can pretend to
that. But if it will only hold off till Friday, we shall have the laugh
of it. And even if it come on, Tom and I shall manage. But you will be
badly off in that case, Brown. After all, you are right; the main danger
is for you."

Lyth, knowing well how important it was that each man should play his
part with true good-will, shifted his ground thus to satisfy the other,
who was not the man to shrink from peril, but liked to have his share
acknowledged.

"Ay, ay, captain, you see clear enough, though Tom here has not got the
gumption," the man of Grimsby answered, with a lofty smile. "Everybody
knows pretty well what William Brown is. When there is anything that
needs a bit of pluck, it is sure to be put upon old Bill Brown. And
never you come across the man, Captain Lyth, as could say that Bill
Brown was not all there. Now orders is orders, lad. Tip us your latest."

"Then latest orders are to this effect. Toward dusk of night you stand
in first, a league or more ahead of us, according to the daylight,
Tom to the north of you, and me to the south, just within signaling
distance. The Kestrel and Albatross will come to speak the Swordfish off
Robin Hood's Bay, at that very hour, as we happen to be aware. You sight
them, even before they sight you, because you know where to look for
them, and you keep a sharper look-out, of course. Not one of them will
sight us, so far off in the offing. Signal immediately, one, two, or
three; and I heartily hope it will be all three. Then you still stand
in, as if you could not see them; and they begin to laugh, and draw
inshore; knowing the Inlander as they do, they will hug the cliffs for
you to run into their jaws. Tom and I bear off, all sail, never allowing
them to sight us. We crack on to the north and south, and by that time
it will be nearly dark. You still carry on, till they know that you must
see them; then 'bout ship, and crowd sail to escape. They give chase,
and you lead them out to sea, and the longer you carry on, the better.
Then, as they begin to fore-reach, and threaten to close, you 'bout ship
again, as in despair, run under their counters, and stand in for the
bay. They may fire at you; but it is not very likely, for they would not
like to sink such a valuable prize; though nobody else would have much
fear of that."

"Captain, I laugh at their brass kettle-pots. They may blaze away as
blue as verdigris. Though an Englishman haven't no right to be shot at,
only by a Frenchman."

"Very well, then, you hold on, like a Norfolk man, through the thickest
of the enemy. Nelson is a Norfolk man; and you charge through as he
does. You bear right on, and rig a gangway for the landing, which
puts them all quite upon the scream. All three cutters race after you
pell-mell, and it is much if they do not run into one another. You take
the beach, stem on, with the tide upon the ebb, and by that time it
ought to be getting on for midnight. What to do then, I need not tell
you; but make all the stand you can to spare us any hurry. But don't
give the knock-down blow if you can help it; the lawyers make such a
point of that, from their intimacy with the prize-fighters."

Clearly perceiving their duty now, these three men braced up loin, and
sailed to execute the same accordingly. For invaders and defenders were
by this time in real earnest with their work, and sure alike of having
done the very best that could be done. With equal confidence on either
side, a noble triumph was expected, while the people on the dry land
shook their heads and were thankful to be out of it. Carroway, in a
perpetual ferment, gave no peace to any of his men, and never entered
his own door; but riding, rowing, or sailing up and down, here and there
and everywhere, set an example of unflagging zeal, which was largely
admired and avoided. And yet he was not the only remarkably active man
in the neighborhood; for that great fact, and universal factor, Geoffrey
Mordacks, was entirely here. He had not broken the heart of Widow
Precious by taking up his quarters at the Thornwick Inn, as she at first
imagined, but loyally brought himself and his horse to her sign-post
for their Sunday dinner. Nor was this all, but he ordered the very best
bedroom, and the "coral parlor"--as he elegantly called the sea-weedy
room--gave every child, whether male or female, sixpence of new mintage,
and created such impression on her widowed heart that he even won the
privilege of basting his own duck. Whatever this gentleman did never
failed to reflect equal credit on him and itself. But thoroughly well
as he basted his duck, and efficiently as he consumed it, deeper things
were in his mind, and moving with every mouthful. If Captain Carroway
labored hard on public and royal service, no less severely did Mordacks
work, though his stronger sense of self-duty led him to feed the labor
better. On the Monday morning he had a long and highly interesting talk
with the magisterial rector, to whom he set forth certain portions of
his purpose, loftily spurning entire concealment, according to the motto
of his life. "You see, sir," he said, as he rose to depart, "what I have
told you is very important, and in the strictest confidence, of course,
because I never do anything on the sly."

"Mr. Mordacks, you have surprised me," answered Dr. Upround; "though
I am not so very much wiser at present. I really must congratulate you
upon your activity, and the impression you create."

"Not at all, sir, not at all. It is my manner of doing business, now for
thirty years or more. Moles and fools, sir, work under-ground, and only
get traps set for them; I travel entirely above-ground, and go ten miles
for their ten inches. My strategy, sir, is simplicity. Nothing puzzles
rogues so much, because they can not believe it."

"The theory is good; may the practice prove the same! I should be sorry
to be against you in any case you undertake. In the present matter I am
wholly with you, so far as I understand what it is. Still, Flamborough
is a place of great difficulties--"

"The greatest difficulty of all would be to fail, as I look at it.
Especially with your most valuable aid."

"What little I can do shall be most readily forth-coming. But remember
there is many a slip--If you had interfered but one month ago, how much
easier it might have been!"

"Truly. But I have to grope my way; and it is a hard people, as you say,
to deal with. But I have no fear, sir; I shall overcome all Flamborough,
unless--unless, what I fear to think of, there should happen to be
bloodshed."

"There will be none of that, Mr. Mordacks; we are too skillful, and too
gentle, for anything more than a few cracked crowns."

"Then everything is as it ought to be. But I must be off; I have many
points to see to. How I find time for this affair is the wonder."

"But you will not leave us, I suppose, until--until what appears to be
expected has happened!"

"When I undertake a thing, Dr. Upround, my rule is to go through with
it. You have promised me the honor of an interview at any time. Good-by,
sir; and pray give the compliments of Mr. Mordacks to the ladies."

With even more than his usual confidence and high spirits the general
factor mounted horse and rode at once to Bridlington, or rather to the
quay thereof, in search of Lieutenant Carroway. But Carroway was not
at home, and his poor wife said, with a sigh, that now she had given up
expecting him. "Have no fear, madam; I will bring him back," Mordacks
answered, as if he already held him by the collar. "I have very good
news, madam, very grand news for him, and you, and all those lovely and
highly intelligent children. Place me, madam, under the very deepest
obligation by allowing these two little dears to take the basket I see
yonder, and accompany me to that apple stand. I saw there some fruit of
a sort which used to fit my teeth most wonderfully when they were
just the size of theirs. And here is another little darling, with a
pin-before infinitely too spotless. If you will spare her also, we will
do our best to take away that reproach, ma'am."

"Oh, sir, you are much too kind. But to speak of good news does one
good. It is so long since there has been any, that I scarcely know how
to pronounce the words."

"Mistress Carroway, take my word for it, that such a state of things
shall be shortly of the past. I will bring back Captain Carroway, madam,
to his sweet and most beautifully situated home, and with tidings which
shall please you."

"It is kind of you not to tell me the good news now, sir. I shall enjoy
it so much more, to see my husband hear it. Good-by, and I hope that you
will soon be back again."

While Mr. Mordacks was loading the children with all that they made soft
mouths at, he observed for the second time three men who appeared to be
taking much interest in his doings. They had sauntered aloof while he
called at the cottage, as if they had something to say to him, but would
keep it until he had finished there. But they did not come up to him as
he expected; and when he had seen the small Carroways home, he rode
up to ask what they wanted with him. "Nothing, only this, sir," the
shortest of them answered, while the others pretended not to hear; "we
was told that yon was Smuggler's house, and we thought that your Honor
was the famous Captain Lyth."

"If I ever want a man," said the general factor, "to tell a lie with a
perfect face, I shall come here and look for you, my friend." The man
looked at him, and smiled, and nodded, as much as to say, "You might
get it done worse," and then carelessly followed his comrades toward the
sea. And Mr. Mordacks, riding off with equal jauntiness, cocked his
hat, and stared at the Priory Church as if he had never seen any such
building before.

"I begin to have a very strong suspicion," he said to himself as he put
his horse along, "that this is the place where the main attack will be.
Signs of a well-suppressed activity are manifest to an experienced eye
like mine. All the grocers, the bakers, the candlestick-makers, and the
women, who always precede the men, are mightily gathered together. And
the men are holding counsel in a milder way. They have got three jugs
at the old boat-house for the benefit of holloaing in the open air.
Moreover, the lane inland is scored with a regular market-day of wheels,
and there is no market this side of the old town. Carroway, vigilant
captain of men, why have you forsaken your domestic hearth? Is it
through jealousy of Nettlebones, and a stern resolve to be ahead of him?
Robin, my Robin, is a genius in tactics, a very bright Napoleon of free
trade. He penetrates the counsels, or, what is more, the feelings,
of those who camp against him. He means to land this great emprise at
Captain Carroway's threshold. True justice on the man for sleeping out
of his own bed so long! But instead of bowing to the blow, he would
turn a downright maniac, according to all I hear of him. Well, it is no
concern of mine, so long as nobody is killed, which everybody makes such
a fuss about."



CHAPTER XXXII

CORDIAL ENJOYMENT


The poise of this great enterprise was hanging largely in the sky, from
which come all things, and to which resolved they are referred again.
The sky, to hold an equal balance, or to decline all troublesome
responsibility about it, went away, or (to put it more politely) retired
from the scene. Even as nine men out of ten, when a handsome fight is
toward, would rather have no opinion on the merits, but abide in their
breeches, and there keep their hands till the fist of the victor
is opened, so at this period the upper firmament nodded a strict
neutrality. And yet, on the whole, it must have indulged a sneaking
proclivity toward free trade; otherwise, why should it have been as
follows?

November now was far advanced; and none but sanguine Britons hoped,
at least in this part of the world, to know (except from memory and
predictions of the almanac) whether the sun were round or square, until
next Easter-day should come. It was not quite impossible that he
might appear at Candlemas, when he is supposed to give a dance, though
hitherto a strictly private one; but even so, this premature frisk of
his were undesirable, if faith in ancient rhyme be any. But putting him
out of the question, as he had already put himself, the things that
were below him, and, from length of practice, manage well to shape
their course without him, were moving now and managing themselves with
moderation.

The tone of the clouds was very mild, and so was the color of the sea. A
comely fog involved the day, and a decent mist restrained the night from
ostentatious waste of stars. It was not such very bad weather; but a
captious man might find fault with it, and only a thoroughly cheerful
one could enlarge upon its merits. Plainly enough these might be found
by anybody having any core of rest inside him, or any gift of turning
over upon a rigidly neutral side, and considerably outgazing the color
of his eyes.

Commander Nettlebones was not of poetic, philosophic, or vague mind.
"What a ----- fog!" he exclaimed in the morning; and he used the same
words in the afternoon, through a speaking-trumpet, as the two other
cutters ranged up within hail. This they did very carefully, at the
appointed rendezvous, toward the fall of the afternoon, and hauled their
wind under easy sail, shivering in the southwestern breeze.

"Not half so bad as it was," returned Bowler, being of a cheerful mind.
"It is lifting every minute, sir. Have you had sight of anything?"

"Not a blessed stick, except a fishing-boat. What makes you ask,
lieutenant?"

"Why, sir, as we rounded in, it lifted for a moment, and I saw a craft
some two leagues out, standing straight in for us."

"The devil you did! What was she like? and where away, lieutenant?"

"A heavy lugger, under all sail, about E.N.E, as near as may be. She is
standing for Robin Hood's Bay, I believe. In an hour's time she will be
upon us, if the weather keeps so thick."

"She may have seen you, and sheered off. Stand straight for her, as
nigh as you can guess. The fog is lifting, as you say. If you sight her,
signal instantly. Lieutenant Donovan, have you heard Bowler's news?"

"Sure an' if it wasn't for the fog, I would. Every word of it come to
me, as clear as seeing."

"Very well. Carry on a little to the south, half a league or so,
and then stand out, but keep within sound of signal. I shall bear up
presently. It is clearing every minute, and we must nab them."

The fog began to rise in loops and alleys, with the upward pressure of
the evening breeze, which freshened from the land in lines and patches,
according to the run of cliff. Here the water darkened with the ruffle
of the wind, and there it lay quiet, with a glassy shine, or gentle
shadows of variety. Soon the three cruisers saw one another clearly; and
then they all sighted an approaching sail.

This was a full-bowed vessel, of quaint rig, heavy sheer, and
extraordinary build--a foreigner clearly, and an ancient one. She
differed from a lugger as widely as a lugger differs from a schooner,
and her broad spread of canvas combined the features of square and of
fore-and-aft tackle. But whatever her build or rig might be, she was
going through the water at a strapping pace, heavily laden as she was,
with her long yards creaking, and her broad frame croaking, and her deep
bows driving up the fountains of the sea. Her enormous mainsail upon the
mizzenmast--or mainmast, for she only carried two--was hung obliquely,
yet not as a lugger's, slung at one-third of its length, but bent to
a long yard hanging fore and aft, with a long fore-end sloping down to
midship. This great sail gave her vast power, when close hauled; and
she carried a square sail on the foremast, and a square sail on either
topmast.

"Lord, have mercy! She could run us all down if she tried!" exclaimed
Commander Nettlebones; "and what are my pop-guns against such beam?"

For a while the bilander seemed to mean to try it, for she carried on
toward the central cruiser as if she had not seen one of them. Then,
beautifully handled, she brought to, and was scudding before the wind in
another minute, leading them all a brave stern-chase out to sea.

"It must be that dare-devil Lyth himself," Nettlebones said, as the
Swordfish strained, with all canvas set, but no gain made; "no other
fellow in all the world would dare to beard us in this style. I'd lay
ten guineas that Donovan's guns won't go off, if he tries them. Ah, I
thought so--a fizz, and a stink--trust an Irishman."

For this gallant lieutenant, slanting toward the bows of the flying
bilander, which he had no hope of fore-reaching, trained his long
swivel-gun upon her, and let go--or rather tried to let go--at her. But
his powder was wet, or else there was some stoppage; for the only result
was a spurt of smoke inward, and a powdery eruption on his own red
cheeks.

"I wish I could have heard him swear," grumbled Nettlebones; "that would
have been worth something. But Bowler is further out. Bowler will cross
her bows, and he is not a fool. Don't be in a hurry, my fine Bob Lyth.
You are not clear yet, though you crack on like a trooper. Well done,
Bowler, you have headed him! By Jove, I don't understand these tactics.
Stand by there! She is running back again."

To the great amazement of all on board the cruisers, except perhaps
one or two, the great Dutch vessel, which might haply have escaped by
standing on her present course, spun round like a top, and bore in again
among her three pursuers. She had the heels of all of them before the
wind, and might have run down any intercepter, but seemed not to know
it, or to lose all nerve. "Thank the Lord in heaven, all rogues are
fools! She may double as she will, but she is ours now. Signal Albatross
and Kestrel to stand in."

In a few minutes all four were standing for the bay; the Dutch vessel
leading with all sail set, the cruisers following warily, and spreading,
to head her from the north or south. It was plain that they had her well
in the toils; she must either surrender or run ashore; close hauled as
she was, she could not run them down, even if she would dream of such an
outrage.

So far from showing any sign of rudeness was the smuggling vessel, that
she would not even plead want of light as excuse for want of courtesy.
For running past the royal cutters, who took much longer to come about,
she saluted each of them with deep respect for the swallowtail of his
Majesty. And then she bore on, like the admiral's ship, with signal for
all to follow her.

"Such cursed impudence never did I see," cried every one of the revenue
skippers, as they all were compelled to obey her. "Surrender she must,
or else run upon the rocks. Does the fool know what he is driving at?"

The fool, who was Master James Brown of Grimsby, knew very well what
he was about. Every shoal, and sounding, and rocky gut, was thoroughly
familiar to him, and the spread of faint light on the waves and
alongshore told him all his bearings. The loud cackle of laughter, which
Grimsby men (at the cost of the rest of the world) enjoy, was carried by
the wind to the ears of Nettlebones.

The latter set fast his teeth, and ground them; for now in the rising
of the large full moon he perceived that the beach of the cove was black
with figures gathering rapidly. "I see the villain's game; it is all
clear now," he shouted, as he slammed his spy-glass. "He means to run in
where we dare not follow: and he knows that Carroway is out of hail. The
hull may go smash for the sake of the cargo; and his flat-bottomed tub
can run where we can not. I dare not carry after him--court-martial if I
do: that is where those fellows beat us always. But, by the Lord Harry,
he shall not prevail! Guns are no good--the rogue knows that. We will
land round the point, and nab him."

By this time the moon was beginning to open the clouds, and strew the
waves with light; and the vapors, which had lain across the day, defying
all power of sun ray, were gracefully yielding, and departing softly, at
the insinuating whisper of the gliding night. Between the busy rolling
of the distant waves, and the shining prominence of forward cliffs, a
quiet space was left for ships to sail in, and for men to show activity
in shooting one another. And some of these were hurrying to do so, if
they could.

"There is little chance of hitting them in this bad light; but let them
have it, Jakins; and a guinea for you, if you can only bring that big
mainsail down."

The gunner was yearning for this, and the bellow of his piece responded
to the captain's words. But the shot only threw up a long path of
fountains, and the bilander ploughed on as merrily as before.

"Hard aport! By the Lord, I felt her touch! Go about! So, so--easy!
Now lie to, for Kestrel and Albatross to join. My certy! but that was a
narrow shave. How the beggar would have laughed if we had grounded!
Give them another shot. It will do the gun good; she wants a little
exercise."

Nothing loath was master gunner, as the other bow-gun came into bearing,
to make a little more noise in the world, and possibly produce a greater
effect. And therein he must have had a grand success, and established a
noble reputation, by carrying off a great Grimsby head, if he only had
attended to a little matter. Gunner Jakins was a celebrated shot, and
the miss he had made stirred him up to shoot again. If the other gun was
crooked, this one should be straight; and dark as it was inshore, he
got a patch of white ground to sight by. The bilander was a good sizable
object, and not to hit her anywhere would be too bad. He considered
these things carefully, and cocked both eyes, with a twinkling ambiguity
between them; then trusting mainly to the left one, as an ancient gunner
for the most part does, he watched the due moment, and fired. The smoke
curled over the sea, and so did the Dutchman's maintop-sail, for the
mast beneath it was cut clean through. Some of the crew were frightened,
as may be the bravest man when for the first time shot at; but James
Brown rubbed his horny hands.

"Now this is a good judgment for that younker Robin Lyth," he shouted
aloud, with the glory of a man who has verified his own opinions. "He
puts all the danger upon his elders, and tells them there is none of
it. A' might just as well have been my head, if a wave hadn't lifted the
muzzle when that straight-eyed chap let fire. Bear a hand, boys, and cut
away the wreck. He hathn't got never another shot to send. He hath saved
us trouble o' shortening that there canvas. We don't need too much way
on her."

This was true enough, as all hands knew; for the craft was bound to take
the beach, without going to pieces yet awhile. Jem Brown stood at the
wheel himself, and carried her in with consummate skill.

"It goeth to my heart to throw away good stuff," he grumbled at almost
every creak. "Two hunder pound I would 'a paid myself for this here
piece of timber. Steady as a light-house, and as handy as a mop; but
what do they young fellows care? There, now, my lads, hold your legs a
moment; and now make your best of that."

"With a crash, and a grating, and a long sad grind, the nuptial ark of
the wealthy Dutchman cast herself into her last bed and berth.

"I done it right well," said the Grimsby man.

The poor old bilander had made herself such a hole in the shingle that
she rolled no more, but only lifted at the stern and groaned, as the
quiet waves swept under her. The beach was swarming with men, who gave
her a cheer, and flung their hats up; and in two or three minutes as
many gangways of timber and rope were rigged to her hawse-holes, or
fore-chains, or almost anywhere. And then the rolling of puncheons
began, and the hoisting of bales, and the thump and the creak, and the
laughter, and the swearing.

"Now be you partiklar, uncommon partiklar; never start a stave nor fray
a bale. Powerful precious stuff this time. Gold every bit of it, if it
are a penny. They blessed coast-riders will be on us round the point.
But never you hurry, lads, the more for that. Better a'most to let 'em
have it, than damage a drop or a thread of such goods."

"All right, Cappen Brown. Don't you be so wonnerful unaisy. Not the
first time we have handled such stuff."

"I'm not so sure of that," replied Brown, as he lit a short pipe and
began to puff. "I've a-run some afore, but never none so precious."

Then the men of the coast and the sailors worked with a will, by the
broad light of the moon, which showed their brawny arms and panting
chests, with the hoisting, and the heaving, and the rolling. In less
than an hour three-fourths of the cargo was landed, and some already
stowed inland, where no Preventive eye could penetrate. Then Captain
Brown put away his pipe, and was busy, in a dark empty part of the hold,
with some barrels of his own, which he covered with a sailcloth.

Presently the tramp of marching men was heard in a lane on the north
side of the cove, and then the like sound echoed from the south. "Now
never you hurry," said the Grimsby man. The others, however, could not
attain such standard of equanimity. They fell into sudden confusion,
and babble of tongues, and hesitation--everybody longing to be off,
but nobody liking to run without something good. And to get away with
anything at all substantial, even in the dark, was difficult, because
there were cliffs in front, and the flanks would be stopped by men with
cutlasses.

"Ston' you still," cried Captain Brown; "never you budge, ne'er a one
of ye. I stands upon my legitimacy; and I answer for the consekence. I
takes all responsibility."

Like all honest Britons, they loved long words, and they knew that if
the worst came to the worst, a mere broken head or two would make all
straight; so they huddled together in the moonlight waiting, and no
one desired to be the outside man. And while they were striving for
precedence toward the middle, the coast-guards from either side marched
upon them, according to their very best drill and in high discipline, to
knock down almost any man with the pommel of the sword.

But the smugglers also showed high discipline under the commanding voice
of Captain Brown.

"Every man ston' with his hands to his sides, and ask of they sojjers
for a pinch of bacca."

This made them laugh, till Captain Nettlebones strode up.

"In the name of his Majesty, surrender, all you fellows. You are fairly
caught in the very act of landing a large run of goods contraband. It is
high time to make an example of you. Where is your skipper, lads? Robin
Lyth, come forth."

"May it please your good honor and his Majesty's commission," said
Brown, in his full, round voice, as he walked down the broadest of
the gangways leisurely, "my name is not Robin Lyth, but James Brown, a
family man of Grimsby, and an honest trader upon the high seas. My cargo
is medical water and rags, mainly for the use of the revenue men, by
reason they han't had their new uniforms this twelve months."

Several of the enemy began to giggle, for their winter supply of clothes
had failed, through some lapse of the department. But Nettlebones
marched up, and collared Captain Brown, and said, "You are my prisoner,
sir. Surrender, Robin Lyth, this moment." Brown made no resistance, but
respectfully touched his hat, and thought.

"I were trying to call upon my memory," he said, as the revenue officer
led him aside, and promised him that he should get off easily if he
would only give up his chief. "I am not going to deny, your honor, that
I have heard tell of that name 'Robin Lyth.' But my memory never do come
in a moment. Now were he a man in the contraband line?"

"Brown, you want to provoke me. It will only be ten times worse for you.
Now give him up like an honest fellow, and I will do my best for you. I
might even let a few tubs slip by."

"Sir, I am a stranger round these parts; and the lingo is beyond me.
Tubs is a bucket as the women use for washing. Never I heared of any
other sort of tubs. But my mate he knoweth more of Yorkshire talk. Jack,
here his honor is a-speaking about tubs; ever you hear of tubs, Jack?"

"Make the villain fast to yonder mooring-post," shouted Nettlebones,
losing his temper; "and one of you stand by him, with a hanger ready.
Now, Master Brown, we'll see what tubs are, if you please; and what sort
of rags you land at night. One chance more for you--will you give up
Robin Lyth?"

"Yes, sir, that I will, without two thoughts about 'un. Only too happy,
as the young women say, to give 'un up, quick stick--so soon as ever I
ha' got 'un."

"If ever there was a contumacious rogue! Roll up a couple of those
puncheons, Mr. Avery; and now light half a dozen links. Have you got
your spigot-heels--and rummers? Very good; Lieutenant Donovan, Mr.
Avery, and Senior Volunteer Brett, oblige me by standing by to verify.
Gentlemen, we will endeavor to hold what is judicially called an
assay--a proof of the purity of substances. The brand on these casks
is of the very highest order--the renowned Mynheer Van Dunck himself.
Donovan, you shall be our foreman; I have heard you say that you
understood ardent spirits from your birth."

"Faix, and I quite forget, commander, whether I was weaned on or off of
them. But the foine judge me father was come down till me--honey, don't
be narvous; slope it well, then--a little thick, is it? All the
richer for that same, me boy. Commander, here's the good health of his
Majesty--Oh Lord!"

Mr. Corkoran Donovan fell down upon the shingle, and rolled and
bellowed: "Sure me inside's out! 'Tis poisoned I am, every mortial
bit o' me. A docthor, a docthor, and a praste, to kill me! That ever
I should live to die like this! Ochone, ochone, every bit of me; to be
brought forth upon good whiskey, and go out of the world upon docthor's
stuff!"

"Most folk does that, when they ought to turn ends t'otherwise." James
Brown of Grimsby could see how things were going, though his power to
aid was restricted by a double turn of rope around him; but a kind
hand had given him a pipe, and his manner was to take things easily.
"Commander, or captain, or whatever you be, with your king's clothes,
constructing a hole in they flints, never you fear, sir. 'Tis medical
water, and your own wife wouldn't know you to-morrow. Your complexion
will be like a hangel's."

"You d----d rogue," cried Nettlebones, striding up, with his sword
flashing in the link-lights, "if ever I had a mind to cut any man
down--"

"Well, sir, do it, then, upon a roped man, if the honor of the British
navy calleth for it. My will is made, and my widow will have action; and
the executioner of my will is a Grimsby man, with a pile of money made
in the line of salt fish, and such like."

"Brown, you are a brave man. I would scorn to harm you. Now, upon your
honor, are all your puncheons filled with that stuff, and nothing else?"

"Upon my word of honor, sir, they are. Some a little weaker, some with
more bilge-water in it, or a trifle of a dash from the midden. The main
of it, however, in the very same condition as a' bubbleth out of what
they call the spawses. Why, captain, you must 'a lived long enough to
know, partiklar if gifted with a family, that no sort of spirit as were
ever stilled will fetch so much money by the gallon, duty paid, as the
doctor's stuff doth by the phial-bottle."

"That is true enough; but no lies, Brown, particularly when upon your
honor! If you were importing doctor's stuff, why did you lead us such a
dance, and stand fire?"

"Well, your honor, you must promise not to be offended, if I tell you
of a little mistake we made. We heared a sight of talk about some pirate
craft as hoisteth his Majesty's flag upon their villainy. And when first
you come up, in the dusk of the night--"

"You are the most impudent rogue I ever saw. Show your bills of lading,
sir. You know his Majesty's revenue cruisers as well as I know your
smuggling tub."

"Ship's papers are aboard of her, all correct, sir. Keys at your
service, if you please to feel my pocket, objecting to let my hands
loose."

"Very well, I must go on board of her, and test a few of your puncheons
and bales, Master Brown. Locker in the master's own cabin, I suppose?"

"Yes, sir, plain as can be, on the starboard side, just behind the cabin
door. Only your honor must be smart about it; the time-fuse can't 'a got
three inches left."

"Time-fuse? What do you mean, you Grimsby villain?"

"Nothing, commander, but to keep you out of mischief. When we were
compelled to beach the old craft, for fear of them scoundrelly pirates,
it came into my head what a pity it would be to have her used illegal;
for she do outsail a'most everything, as your honor can bear witness.
So I just laid a half-hour fuse to three big-powder barrels as is down
there in the hold; and I expect to see a blow-up almost every moment.
But your honor might be in time yet, with a run, and good luck to your
foot, you might--"

"Back, lads! back every one of you this moment!" The first concern of
Nettlebones was rightly for his men. "Under the cliff here. Keep well
back. Push out those smuggler fellows into the middle. Let them have the
benefit of their own inventions, and this impudent Brown the foremost.
They have laid a train to their powder barrels, and the lugger will blow
up any moment."

"No fear for me, commander," James Brown shouted through the hurry and
jostle of a hundred runaways. "More fear for that poor man as lieth
there a-lurching. She won't hit me when she bloweth up, no more than
your honor could. But surely your duty demandeth of you to board the old
bilander, and take samples."

"Sample enough of you, my friend. But I haven't quite done with you yet.
Simpson, here, bear a hand with poor Lieutenant Donovan."

Nettlebones set a good example by lifting the prostrate Irishman;
and they bore him into safety, and drew up there; while the beachmen,
forbidden the shelter at point of cutlass, made off right and left; and
then, with a crash that shook the strand and drove back the water in
a white turmoil, the Crown of Gold flew into a fount of timbers,
splinters, shreds, smoke, fire, and dust.

"Gentlemen, you may come out of your holes," the Grimsby man shouted
from his mooring-post, as the echoes ran along the cliffs, and rolled to
and fro in the distance. "My old woman will miss a piece of my pigtail,
but she hathn't hurt her old skipper else. She blowed up handsome, and
no mistake! No more danger, gentlemen, and plenty of stuff to pick up
afore next pay-day."

"What shall we do with that insolent hound?" Nettlebones asked poor
Donovan, who was groaning in slow convalescence. "We have caught him in
nothing. We can not commit him; we can not even duck him legally."

"Be jabers, let him drink his health in his own potheen."

"Capital! Bravo for old Ireland, my friend! You shall see it done, and
handsomely. Brown, you recommend these waters, so you shall have a dose
of them."

A piece of old truncate kelp was found, as good a drinking horn as need
be; and with this Captain Brown was forced to swallow half a bucketful
of his own "medical water"; and they left him fast at his moorings, to
reflect upon this form of importation.



CHAPTER XXXIII

BEARDED IN HIS DEN


"What do you think of it by this time, Bowler?" Commander Nettlebones
asked his second, who had been left in command afloat, and to whom they
rowed back in a wrathful mood, with a good deal of impression that the
fault was his, "You have been taking it easily out here. What do you
think of the whole of it?"

"I have simply obeyed your orders, sir; and if I am to be blamed for
that, I had better offer no opinion."

"No, no, I am finding no fault with you. Don't be so tetchy, Bowler. I
seek your opinion, and you are bound to give it."

"Well, then, sir, my opinion is that they have made fools of the lot of
us, excepting, of course, my superior officer."

"You think so, Bowler? Well, and so do I--and myself the biggest fool of
any. They have charged our centre with a dummy cargo, while they run the
real stuff far on either flank. Is that your opinion?"

"To a nicety, that is my opinion, now that you put it so clearly, sir."

"The trick is a clumsy one, and never should succeed. Carroway ought
to catch one lot, if he has a haporth of sense in him. What is the time
now; and how is the wind?"

"I hear a church clock striking twelve; and by the moon it must be that.
The wind is still from the shore, but veering, and I felt a flaw from
the east just now."

"If the wind works round, our turn will come. Is Donovan fit for duty
yet?"

"Ten times fit, sir--to use his own expression. He is burning to have at
somebody. His eyes work about like the binnacle's card."

"Then board him, and order him to make all sail for Burlington, and
see what old Carroway is up to. You be off for Whitby, and as far as
Teesmouth, looking into every cove you pass. I shall stand off and on
from this to Scarborough, and as far as Filey. Short measures, mind,
if you come across them. If I nab that fellow Lyth, I shall go near to
hanging him as a felon outlaw. His trick is a little too outrageous."

"No fear, commander. If it is as we suppose, it is high time to make a
strong example."

Hours had been lost, as the captains of the cruisers knew too well
by this time. Robin Lyth's stratagem had duped them all, while the
contraband cargoes might be landed safely, at either extremity of their
heat. By the aid of the fishing-boats, he had learned their manoeuvres
clearly, and outmanoeuvred them.

Now it would have been better for him, perhaps, to have been content
with a lesser triumph, and to run his own schooner, the Glimpse, further
south, toward Hornsea, or even Aldbrough. Nothing, however, would
satisfy him but to land his fine cargo at Carroway's own door--a piece
of downright insolence, for which he paid out most bitterly. A man
of his courage and lofty fame should have been above such vindictive
feelings. But, as it was, he cherished and, alas! indulged a certain
small grudge against the bold lieutenant, scarcely so much for
endeavoring to shoot him, as for entrapping him at Byrsa Cottage, during
the very sweetest moment of his life. "You broke in disgracefully," said
the smuggler to himself, "upon my privacy when it should have been most
sacred. The least thing I can do is to return your visit, and pay my
respects to Mrs. Carroway and your interesting family."

Little expecting such a courtesy as this, the vigilant officer was
hurrying about, here, there, and almost everywhere (except in the right
direction), at one time by pinnace, at another upon horseback, or on his
unwearied though unequal feet. He carried his sword in one hand, and his
spy-glass in the other, and at every fog he swore so hard that he
seemed to turn it yellow. With his heart worn almost into holes, as
an overmangled quilt is, by burdensome roll of perpetual lies, he
condemned, with a round mouth, smugglers, cutters, the coast-guard and
the coast itself, the weather, and, with a deeper depth of condemnation,
the farmers, landladies, and fishermen. For all of these verily seemed
to be in league to play him the game which school-boys play with a
gentle-faced new-comer--the game of "send the fool further."

John Gristhorp, of the "Ship Inn," at Filey, had turned out his
visitors, barred his door, and was counting his money by the fireside,
with his wife grumbling at him for such late hours as half past ten of
the clock in the bar, that night when the poor bilander ended her long
career as aforesaid. Then a thundering knock at the door just fastened
made him upset a little pyramid of pence, and catch up the iron
candlestick.

"None of your roistering here!" cried the lady. "John, you know better
than to let them in, I hope."

"Copper coomth by daa, goold coomth t'naight-time," the sturdy publican
answered, though resolved to learn who it was before unbarring.

"In the name of the King, undo this door," a deep stern voice resounded,
"or by royal command we make splinters of it."

"It is that horrible Carroway again," whispered Mrs. Gristhorp. "Much
gold comes of him, I doubt. Let him in if you dare, John."

"'Keep ma oot, if ye de-arr,' saith he. Ah'll awand here's the tail o'
it."

While Gristhorp, in wholesome fealty to his wife, was doubting, the door
flew open, and in marched Carroway and all his men, or at least all save
one of his present following. He had ordered his pinnace to meet him
here, himself having ridden from Scarborough, and the pinnace had
brought the jolly-boat in tow, according to his directions. The men had
landed with the jolly-boat, which was handier for beach work, leaving
one of their number to mind the larger craft while they should refresh
themselves. They were nine in all, and Carroway himself the tenth, all
sturdy fellows, and for the main of it tolerably honest; Cadman, Ellis,
and Dick Hackerbody, and one more man from Bridlington, the rest a
re-enforcement from Spurn Head, called up for occasion.

"Landlord, produce your best, and quickly," the officer said, as he
threw himself into the arm-chair of state, being thoroughly tired. "In
one hour's time we must be off. Therefore, John, bring nothing tough,
for our stomachs are better than our teeth. A shilling per head is his
Majesty's price, and half a crown for officers. Now a gallon of ale, to
begin with."

Gristhorp, being a prudent man, brought the very toughest parts of
his larder forth, with his wife giving nudge to his elbow. All, and
especially Carroway, too hungry for nice criticism, fell to, by the
light of three tallow candles, and were just getting into the heart of
it, when the rattle of horseshoes on the pitch-stones shook the long
low window, and a little boy came staggering in, with scanty breath, and
dazzled eyes, and a long face pale with hurrying so.

"Why, Tom, my boy!" the lieutenant cried, jumping up so suddenly that
he overturned the little table at which he was feeding by himself, to
preserve the proper discipline. "Tom, my darling, what has brought you
here? Anything wrong with your mother?"

"Nobody wouldn't come, but me," Carroway's eldest son began to gasp,
with his mouth full of crying; "and I borrowed Butcher Hewson's pony,
and he's going to charge five shillings for it."

"Never mind that. We shall not have to pay it. But what is it all about,
my son?"

"About the men that are landing the things, just opposite our front
door, father. They have got seven carts, and a wagon with three horses,
and one of the horses is three colors; and ever so many ponies, more
than you could count."

"Well, then, may I be forever"--here the lieutenant used an expression
which not only was in breach of the third commandment, but might lead
his son to think less of the fifth--"if it isn't more than I can bear!
To be running a cargo at my own hall door!" He had a passage large
enough to hang three hats in, which the lady of the house always called
"the hall." "Very well, very good, very fine indeed! You sons of"--an
animal that is not yet accounted the mother of the human race--"have you
done guzzling and swizzling?"

The men who were new to his orders jumped up, for they liked his
expressions, by way of a change; but the Bridlington squad stuck to
their trenchers. "Ready in five minutes, sir," said Cadman, with a
glance neither loving nor respectful.

"If ever there was an old hog for the trough, the name of him is John
Cadman. In ten minutes, lads, we must all be afloat."

"One more against you," muttered Cadman; and a shrewd quiet man from
Spurn Head, Adam Andrews, heard him, and took heed of him.

While the men of the coast-guard were hurrying down to make ready the
jolly-boat and hail the pinnace, Carroway stopped to pay the score, and
to give his son some beer and meat. The thirsty little fellow drained
his cup, and filled his mouth and both hands with food, while the
landlady picked out the best bits for him.

"Don't talk, my son--don't try to talk," said Carroway, looking proudly
at him, while the boy was struggling to tell his adventures, without
loss of feeding-time; "you are a chip of the old block, Tom, for
victualling, and for riding too. Kind madam, you never saw such a boy
before. Mark my words, he will do more in the world than ever his father
did, and his father was pretty well known in his time, in the Royal
Navy, ma'am. To have stuck to his horse all that way in the dark was
wonderful, perfectly wonderful. And the horse blows more than the rider,
ma'am, which is quite beyond my experience. Now, Tom, ride home very
carefully and slowly, if you feel quite equal to it. The Lord has
watched over you, and He will continue, as He does with brave folk that
do their duty. Half a crown you shall have, all for yourself, and the
sixpenny boat that you longed for in the shops. Keep out of the way of
the smugglers, Tom; don't let them even clap eyes on you. Kiss me, my
son; I am proud of you."

Little Tom long remembered this; and his mother cried over it hundreds
of times.

Although it was getting on for midnight now, Master Gristhorp and his
wife came out into the road before their house, to see the departure of
their guests. And this they could do well, because the moon had cleared
all the fog away, and was standing in a good part of the sky for
throwing clear light upon Filey. Along the uncovered ridge of shore,
which served for a road, and was better than a road, the boy and the
pony grew smaller; while upon the silvery sea the same thing happened to
the pinnace, with her white sails bending, and her six oars glistening.

"The world goeth up, and the world goeth down," said the lady, with her
arms akimbo; "and the moon goeth over the whole of us, John; but to my
heart I do pity poor folk as canna count the time to have the sniff of
their own blankets."

"Margery, I loikes the moon, as young as ever ye da. But I sooner see
the snuff of our own taller, a-going out, fra the bed-curtings."

Shaking their heads with concrete wisdom, they managed to bar the door
again, and blessing their stars that they did not often want them, took
shelter beneath the quiet canopy of bed. And when they heard by-and-by
what had happened, it cost them a week apiece to believe it; because
with their own eyes they had seen everything so peaceable, and had such
a good night afterward.

When a thing is least expected, then it loves to come to pass, and then
it is enjoyed the most, whatever good there is of it. After the fog and
the slur of the day, to see the sky at all was joyful, although there
was but a white moon upon it, and faint stars gliding hazily. And it was
a great point for every man to be satisfied as to where he was; because
that helps him vastly toward being satisfied to be there. The men in the
pinnace could see exactly where they were in this world; and as to the
other world, their place was fixed--if discipline be an abiding gift--by
the stern precision of their commander in ordering the lot of them to
the devil. They carried all sail, and they pulled six oars, and the wind
and sea ran after them.

"Ha! I see something!" Carroway cried, after a league or more of
swearing. "Dick, the night glass; my eyes are sore. What do you make her
out for?"

"Sir, she is the Spurn Head yawl," answered Dick Hackerbody, who was
famed for long sight, but could see nothing with a telescope. "I can see
the patch of her foresail."

"She is looking for us. We are the wrong way of the moon. Ship oars,
lads; bear up for her."

In ten minutes' time the two boats came to speaking distance off Bempton
Cliffs, and the windmill, that vexed Willie Anerley so, looked bare
and black on the highland. There were only two men in the Spurn Head
boat--not half enough to manage her. "Well, what is it?" shouted
Carroway.

"Robin Lyth has made his land-fall on Burlington Sands, opposite your
honor's door, sir. There was only two of us to stop him, and the man as
is deaf and dumb."

"I know it," said Carroway, too wroth to swear. "My boy of eight years
old is worth the entire boiling of you. You got into a rabbit-hole, and
ran to tell your mammy."

"Captain, I never had no mammy," the other man answered, with his
feelings hurt. "I come to tell you, sir; and something, if you please,
for your own ear, if agreeable."

"Nothing is agreeable. But let me have it. Hold on; I will come aboard
of you."

The lieutenant stepped into the Spurn Head boat with confident activity,
and ordered his own to haul off a little, while the stranger bent down
to him in the stern, and whispered.

"Now are you quite certain of this?" asked Carroway, with his grim face
glowing in the moonlight, "I have had such a heap of cock and bulls
about it. Morcom, are you certain?"

"As certain, sir, as that I stand here, and you sit there, commander.
Put me under guard, with a pistol to my ear, and shoot me if it turns
out to be a lie."

"The Dovecote, you say? You are quite sure of that, and not the Kirk
Cave, or Lyth's Hole?"

"Sir, the Dovecote, and no other. I had it from my own young brother,
who has been cheated of his share. And I know it from my own eyes too."

"Then, by the Lord in heaven, Morcom, I shall have my revenge at last;
and I shall not stand upon niceties. If I call for the jolly-boat, you
step in. I doubt if either of these will enter."

It was more than a fortnight since the lieutenant had received the
attentions of a barber, and when he returned to his own boat, and
changed her course inshore, he looked most bristly even in the
moonlight. The sea and the moon between them gave quite light enough to
show how gaunt he was--the aspect of a man who can not thrive without
his children to make play, and his wife to do cookery for him.



CHAPTER XXXIV

THE DOVECOTE


With the tiller in his hand, the brave lieutenant meditated sadly. There
was plenty of time for thought before quick action would be needed,
although the Dovecote was so near that no boat could come out of it
unseen. For the pinnace was fetching a circuit, so as to escape the eyes
of any sentinel, if such there should be at the mouth of the cavern, and
to come upon the inlet suddenly. And the two other revenue boats were in
her wake.

The wind was slowly veering toward the east, as the Grimsby man had
predicted, with no sign of any storm as yet, but rather a prospect of
winterly weather, and a breeze to bring the woodcocks in. The gentle
rise and fall of waves, or rather, perhaps, of the tidal flow, was
checkered and veined with a ripple of the slanting breeze, and twinkled
in the moonbeams. For the moon was brightly mounting toward her zenith,
and casting bastions of rugged cliff in gloomy largeness on the mirror
of the sea. Hugging these as closely as their peril would allow,
Carroway ordered silence, and with the sense of coming danger thought:

"Probably I shall kill this man. He will scarcely be taken alive, I
fear. He is as brave as myself, or braver; and in his place I would
never yield. If he were a Frenchman, it would be all right. But I hate
to kill a gallant Englishman. And such a pretty girl, and a good girl
too, loves him with all her heart, I know. And that good old couple who
depend upon him, and who have had such shocking luck themselves! He has
been a bitter plague to me, and often I have longed to strike him down.
But to-night--I can not tell why it is--I wish there were some way
out of it. God knows that I would give up the money, and give up my
thief-catching business too, if the honor of the service let me. But
duty drives me; do it I must. And after all, what is life to a man who
is young, and has no children? Better over, better done with, before
the troubles and the disappointment come, the weariness, and the loss of
power, and the sense of growing old, and seeing the little ones hungry.
Life is such a fleeting vapor--I smell some man sucking peppermint! The
smell of it goes on the wind for a mile. Oh! Cadman again, as usual.
Peppermint in the Royal Coast-Guard! Away with it, you ancient beldame!"

Muttering something about his bad tooth, the man flung his lozenge away;
and his eyes flashed fire in the moonlight, while the rest grinned a low
grin at him. And Adam Andrews, sitting next him, saw him lay hands upon
his musketoon.

"Are your firelocks all primed, my lads?" the commander asked, quite as
if he had seen him, although he had not been noticing; and the foremost
to answer "Ay, ay, sir," was Cadman.

"Then be sure that you fire not, except at my command. We will take them
without shedding blood, if it may be. But happen what will, we must have
Lyth."

With these words, Carroway drew his sword, and laid it on the bench
beside him; and the rest (who would rather use steel than powder) felt
that their hangers were ready. Few of them wished to strike at all;
for vexed as they were with the smugglers for having outwitted them
so often, as yet there was no bad blood between them, such as must be
quenched with death. And some of them had friends, and even relatives,
among the large body of free-traders, and counted it too likely that
they might be here.

Meanwhile in the cave there was rare work going on, speedily, cleverly,
and with a merry noise. There was only one boat, with a crew of six men,
besides Robin Lyth the captain; but the six men made noise enough for
twelve, and the echoes made it into twice enough for any twenty-four.
The crew were trusty, hardy fellows, who liked their joke, and could
work with it; and Robin Lyth knew them too well to attempt any high
authority of gagging. The main of their cargo was landed and gone
inland, as snugly as need be; and having kept beautifully sober over
that, they were taking the liberty of beginning to say, or rather sip,
the grace of the fine indulgence due to them.

Pleasant times make pleasant scenes, and everything now was fair
and large in this happy cave of freedom. Lights of bright resin were
burning, with strong flare and fume, upon shelves of rock; dark water
softly went lapping round the sides, having dropped all rude habits at
the entrance; and a pulse of quiet rise and fall opened, and spread to
the discovery of light, tremulous fronds and fans of kelp. The cavern,
expanding and mounting from the long narrow gut of its inlet, shone with
staves of snowy crag wherever the scour of the tide ran round;
bulged and scooped, or peaked and fissured, and sometimes beautifully
sculptured by the pliant tools of water. Above the tide-reach darker
hues prevailed, and more jagged outline, tufted here and there with
yellow, where the lichen freckles spread. And the vault was framed of
mountain fabric, massed with ponderous gray slabs.

All below was limpid water, or at any rate not very muddy, but as bright
as need be for the time of year, and a sea which is not tropical. No one
may hope to see the bottom through ten feet of water on the Yorkshire
coast, toward the end of the month of November; but still it tries to
look clear upon occasion; and here in the caves it settles down, after
even a week free from churning. And perhaps the fog outside had helped
it to look clearer inside; for the larger world has a share of the
spirit of contrariety intensified in man.

Be that as it may, the water was too clear for any hope of sinking tubs
deeper than Preventive eyes could go; and the very honest fellows who
were laboring here had not brought any tubs to sink. All such coarse
gear was shipped off inland, as they vigorously expressed it; and
what they were concerned with now was the cream and the jewel of their
enterprise.

The sea reserved exclusive right of way around the rocky sides, without
even a niche for human foot, so far as a stranger could perceive. At
the furthermost end of the cave, however, the craggy basin had a lip
of flinty pebbles and shelly sand. This was no more than a very narrow
shelf, just enough for a bather to plunge from; but it ran across the
broad end of the cavern, and from its southern corner went a deep dry
fissure mounting out of sight into the body of the cliff. And here the
smugglers were merrily at work.

The nose of their boat was run high upon the shingle; two men on board
of her were passing out the bales, while the other four received them,
and staggered with them up the cranny. Captain Lyth himself was in the
stern-sheets, sitting calmly, but ordering everything, and jotting down
the numbers. Now and then the gentle wash was lifting the brown timbers,
and swelling with a sleepy gush of hushing murmurs out of sight. And now
and then the heavy vault was echoing with some sailor's song.

There was only one more bale to land, and that the most precious of
the whole, being all pure lace most closely packed in a water-proof
inclosure. Robin Lyth himself was ready to indulge in a careless song.
For this, as he had promised Mary, was to be his last illegal act.
Henceforth, instead of defrauding the revenue, he would most loyally
cheat the public, as every reputable tradesman must. How could any man
serve his time more notably, toward shop-keeping, and pave fairer way
into the corporation of a grandly corrupt old English town, than by long
graduation of free trade? And Robin was yet too young and careless to
know that he could not endure dull work. "How pleasant, how comfortable,
how secure," he was saying to himself, "it will be! I shall hardly be
able to believe that I ever lived in hardship."

But the great laws of human nature were not to be balked so. Robin Lyth,
the prince of smugglers, and the type of hardihood, was never to wear a
grocer's apron, was never to be "licensed to sell tea, coffee, tobacco,
pepper, and snuff." For while he indulged in this vain dream, and was
lifting his last most precious bale, a surge of neither wind nor tide,
but of hostile invasion, washed the rocks, and broke beneath his feet.

In a moment all his wits returned, all his plenitude of resource,
and unequalled vigor and coolness. With his left hand--for he was
as ambidexter as a brave writer of this age requires--he caught up a
handspike, and hurled it so truly along the line of torches that only
two were left to blink; with his right he flung the last bale upon the
shelf; then leaped out after it, and hurried it away. Then he sprang
into the boat again, and held an oar in either hand.

"In the name of the king, surrender," shouted Carroway, standing, tall
and grim, in the bow of the pinnace, which he had skillfully driven
through the entrance, leaving the other boats outside. "We are three to
one, we have muskets, and a cannon. In the name of the king, surrender."

"In the name of the devil, splash!" cried Robin, suiting the action
to the word, striking the water with both broad blades, while his men
snatched oars and did the same. A whirl of flashing water filled the
cave, as if with a tempest, soaked poor Carroway, and drenched his
sword, and deluged the priming of the hostile guns. All was uproar,
turmoil, and confusion thrice confounded; no man could tell where he
was, and the grappling boats reeled to and fro.

"Club your muskets, and at 'em!" cried the lieutenant, mad with rage,
as the gunwale of his boat swung over. "Their blood be upon their own
heads; draw your hangers, and at 'em!"

He never spoke another word, but furiously leaping at the smuggler
chief, fell back into his own boat, and died, without a syllable,
without a groan. The roar of a gun and the smoke of powder mingled with
the watery hubbub, and hushed in a moment all the oaths of conflict.

The revenue men drew back and sheathed their cutlasses, and laid down
their guns; some looked with terror at one another, and some at their
dead commander. His body lay across the heel of the mast, which had been
unstepped at his order; and a heavy drip of blood was weltering into a
ring upon the floor.

For several moments no one spoke, nor moved, nor listened carefully;
but the fall of the poor lieutenant's death-drops, like the ticking of
a clock, went on. Until an old tar, who had seen a sight of battles,
crooked his legs across a thwart, and propped up the limp head upon his
doubled knee.

"Dead as a door-nail," he muttered, after laying his ear to the lips,
and one hand on the too impetuous heart, "Who takes command? This is a
hanging job, I'm thinking."

There was nobody to take command, not even a petty officer. The command
fell to the readiest mind, as it must in such catastrophes. "Jem, you do
it," whispered two or three; and being so elected, he was clear.

"Lay her broadside on to the mouth of the cave. Not a man stirs out
without killing me," old Jem shouted; and to hear a plain voice was
sudden relief to most of them. In the wavering dimness they laid the
pinnace across the narrow entrance, while the smugglers huddled all
together in their boat. "Burn two blue-lights," cried old Jem; and it
was done.

"I'm not going to speechify to any cursed murderers," the old sailor
said, with a sense of authority which made him use mild language; "but
take heed of one thing, I'll blow you all to pieces with this here
four-pounder, without you strikes peremptory."

The brilliance of the blue-lights filled the cavern, throwing out
everybody's attitude and features, especially those of the dead
lieutenant. "A fine job you have made of it this time!" said Jem.

They were beaten, they surrendered, they could scarcely even speak to
assert their own innocence of such a wicked job. They submitted to be
bound, and cast down into their boat, imploring only that it might be
there--that they might not be taken to the other boat and laid near the
corpse of Carroway.

"Let the white-livered cowards have their way," the old sailor said,
contemptuously. "Put their captain on the top of them. Now which is
Robin Lyth?"

The lights were burned out, and the cave was dark again, except when a
slant of moonlight came through a fissure upon the southern side. The
smugglers muttered something, but they were not heeded.

"Never mind, make her fast, fetch her out, you lubbers. We shall see him
well enough when we get outside."

But in spite of all their certainty, they failed of this. They had only
six prisoners, and not one of them was Lyth.



CHAPTER XXXV

LITTLE CARROWAYS


Mrs. Carroway was always glad to be up quite early in the morning. But
some few mornings seemed to slip in between whiles when, in accordance
with human nature, and its operations in the baby stage, even Lauta
Carroway failed to be about the world before the sun himself. Whenever
this happened she was slightly cross, from the combat of conscience and
self-assertion, which fly at one another worse than any dog and cat.
Geraldine knew that her mother was put out if any one of the household
durst go down the stairs before her. And yet if Geraldine herself held
back, and followed the example of late minutes, she was sure "to catch
it worse," as the poor child expressed it.

If any active youth with a very small income (such as an active youth is
pretty sure to have) wants a good wife, and has the courage to set
out with one, his proper course is to choose the eldest daughter of
a numerous family. When the others come thickly, this daughter of the
house gets worked down into a wonderful perfection of looking after
others, while she overlooks herself. Such a course is even better
for her than to have a step-mother--which also is a goodly thing, but
sometimes leads to sourness. Whereas no girl of any decent staple can
revolt against her duty to her own good mother, and the proud sense of
fostering and working for the little ones. Now Geraldine was wise in all
these ways, and pleased to be called the little woman of the house.

The baby had been troublous in the night, and scant of reason, as the
rising race can be, even while so immature; and after being up with
it, and herself producing a long series of noises--which lead to peace
through the born desire of contradiction--the mother fell asleep at
last, perhaps from simple sympathy, and slept beyond her usual hour. But
instead of being grateful for this, she was angry and bitter to any one
awake before her.

"I can not tell why it is," she said to Geraldine, who was toasting a
herring for her brothers and sisters, and enjoying the smell (which was
all that she would get), "but perpetually now you stand exactly like
your father. There is every excuse for your father, because he is an
officer, and has been knocked about, as he always is; but there is no
excuse for you, miss. Put your heel decently under your dress. If we can
afford nothing else, we can surely afford to behave well."

The child made no answer, but tucked her heel in, and went on toasting
nobly, while she counted the waves on the side of the herring, where his
ribs should have been if he were not too fat; and she mentally divided
him into seven pieces, not one of which, alas! would be for hungry
Geraldine. "Tom must have two, after being out all night," she was
saying to herself; "and to grudge him would be greedy. But the bit of
skin upon the toasting-fork will be for me, I am almost sure."

"Geraldine, the least thing you can do, when I speak to you, is to
answer. This morning you are in a most provoking temper, and giving
yourself the most intolerable airs. And who gave you leave to do your
hair like that? One would fancy that you were some rising court beauty,
or a child of the nobility at the very least, instead of a plain little
thing that has to work--or at any rate that ought to work--to help its
poor mother! Oh, now you are going to cry, I suppose. Let me see a tear,
and you shall go to bed again."

"Oh, mother, mother, now what do you think has happened?" little Tom
shouted, as he rushed in from the beach. "Father has caught all the
smugglers, every one, and the Royal George is coming home before a
spanking breeze, with three boats behind her, and they can't be all
ours; and one of them must belong to Robin Lyth himself; and I would
almost bet a penny they have been and shot him; though everybody said
that he never could be shot. Jerry, come and look--never mind the old
fish. I never did see such a sight in all my life. They have got the
jib-sail on him, so he must be dead at last; and instead of half a
crown, I am sure to get a guinea. Come along, Jerry, and perhaps I'll
give you some of it!"

"Tommy," said his mother, "you are always so impetuous! I never
will believe in such good luck until I see it. But you have been a
wonderfully good brave boy, and your father may thank you for whatever
he has done. I shall not allow Geraldine to go; for she is not a good
child this morning. And of course I can not go myself, for your father
will come home absolutely starving. And it would not be right for the
little ones to go, if things are at all as you suppose. Now, if I let
you go yourself, you are not to go beyond the flag-staff. Keep far away
from the boats, remember; unless your father calls for you to run on any
errand. All the rest of you go in here, with your bread and milk, and
wait until I call you."

Mrs. Carroway locked all the little ones in a room from which they could
see nothing of the beach, with orders to Cissy, the next girl, to feed
them, and keep them all quiet till she came again. But while she was
busy, with a very lively stir, to fetch out whatever could be found of
fatness or grease that could be hoped to turn to gravy in the pan--for
Carroway, being so lean, loved fat, and to put a fish before him was an
insult to his bones--just at the moment when she had struck oil, in the
shape of a very fat chop, from forth a stew, which had beaten all
the children by stearine inertia--then at this moment, when she was
rejoicing, the latch of the door clicked, and a man came in.

"Whoever you are, you seem to me to make yourself very much at home,"
the lady said, sharply, without turning round, because she supposed it
to be a well-accustomed enemy, armed with that odious "little bill." The
intruder made no answer, and she turned to rate him thoroughly; but the
petulance of her eyes drew back before the sad stern gaze of his. "Who
are you, and what do you want?" she asked, with a yellow dish in one
hand, and a frying-pan in the other. "Geraldine, come here: that man
looks wild."

Her visitor did look wild enough, but without any menace in his
sorrowful dark eyes. "Can't the man speak?" she cried. "Are you mad, or
starving? We are not very rich; but we can give you bread, poor fellow.
Captain Carroway will be at home directly, and he will see what can be
done for you."

"Have you not heard of the thing that has been done?" the young man
asked her, word by word, and staying himself with one hand upon the
dresser, because he was trembling dreadfully.

"Yes, I have heard of it all. They have shot the smuggler Robin Lyth
at last. I am very sorry for him. But it was needful; and he had no
family."

"Lady, I am Robin Lyth. I have not been shot; nor even shot at. The man
that has been shot, I know not how, instead of me, was--was somebody
quite different. With all my heart I wish it had been me; and no more
trouble."

He looked at the mother and the little girl, and sobbed, and fell upon
a salting stool, which was to have been used that morning. Then, while
Mrs. Carroway stood bewildered, Geraldine ran up to him, and took his
hand, and said: "Don't cry. My papa says that men never cry. And I am so
glad that you were not shot."

"See me kiss her," said Robin Lyth, as he laid his lips upon the child's
fair forehead. "If I had done it, could I do that? Darling, you will
remember this. Madam, I am hunted like a mad dog, and shall be hanged to
your flag-staff if I am caught. I am here to tell you that, as God looks
down from heaven upon you and me, I did not do it--I did not even know
it."

The smuggler stood up, with his right hand on his heart, and tears
rolling manifestly down his cheeks, but his eyes like crystal, clear
with truth; and the woman, who knew not that she was a widow, but felt
it already with a helpless wonder, answered, quietly: "You speak the
truth, sir. But what difference can it make to me?" Lyth tried to answer
with the same true look; but neither his eyes nor his tongue would
serve.

"I shall just go and judge for myself," she said, as if it were a
question of marketing (such bitter defiance came over her), and she took
no more heed of him than if he were a chair; nor even half so much, for
she was a great judge of a chair. "Geraldine, go and put your bonnet on.
We are going to meet your father. Tell Cissy and all the rest to come
but the baby. The baby can not do it, I suppose. In a minute and a half
I shall expect you all--how many? Seven?--yes, seven of you."

"Seven, mother, yes. And the baby makes it eight; and yesterday you said
that he was worth all us together."

Robin Lyth saw that he was no more wanted, or even heeded; and without
delay he quitted such premises of danger. Why should he linger in a
spot where he might have violent hands laid on him, and be sped to a
premature end, without benefit even of trial by jury? Upon this train of
reasoning he made off.

Without any manner of reasoning at all, but with fierceness of dread and
stupidity of grief, the mother collected her children in silence, from
the damsel of ten to the toddler of two. Then, leaving the baby tied
down in the cradle, she pulled at the rest of them, on this side and on
that, to get them into proper trim of dresses and of hats, as if they
were going to be marched off to church. For that all the younger ones
made up their minds, and put up their ears for the tinkle of the bell;
but the elder children knew that it was worse than that, because their
mother never looked at them.

"You will go by the way of the station," she said, for the boats were
still out at sea, and no certainty could be made of them: "whatever it
is, we may thank the station for it."

The poor little things looked up at her in wonder; and then, acting up
to their discipline, set off, in lopsided pairs of a small and a big
one, to save any tumbling and cutting of knees. The elder ones walked
with discretion, and a strong sense of responsibility, hushed, moreover,
by some inkling of a great black thing to meet. But the baby ones
prattled, and skipped with their feet, and straggled away toward the
flowers by the path. The mother of them all followed slowly and heavily,
holding the youngest by the hand, because of its trouble in getting
through the stones. Her heart was nearly choking, but her eyes free and
reckless, wandering wildly over earth, and sea, and sky, in vain search
of guidance from any or from all of them.

The pinnace came nearer, with its sad, cold freight. The men took off
their hats, and rubbed their eyes, and some of them wanted to back
off again; but Mrs. Carroway calmly said, "Please to let me have my
husband."



CHAPTER XXXVI

MAIDS AND MERMAIDS


Day comes with climbing, night by falling; hence the night is so much
swifter. Happiness takes years to build; but misery swoops like an
avalanche. Such, and even more depressing, are the thoughts young folk
give way to when their first great trouble rushes and sweeps them into a
desert, trackless to the inexperienced hope.

When Mary Anerley heard, by the zealous offices of watchful friends,
that Robin Lyth had murdered Captain Carroway ferociously, and had fled
for his life across the seas, first wrath at such a lie was followed by
persistent misery. She had too much faith in his manly valor and tender
heart to accept the tale exactly as it was told to her; but still she
could not resist the fear that in the whirl of conflict, with life
against life, he had dealt the death. And she knew that even such a deed
would brand him as a murderer, stamp out all love, and shatter every
hope of quiet happiness. The blow to her pride was grievous also; for
many a time had she told herself that a noble task lay before her--to
rescue from unlawful ways and redeem to reputable life the man whose
bravery and other gallant gifts had endeared him to the public and to
her. But now, through force of wretched facts, he must be worse than
ever.

Her father and mother said never a word upon the subject to her. Mrs.
Anerley at first longed to open out, and shed upon the child a mother's
sympathy, as well as a mother's scolding; but firmly believing, as
she did, the darkest version of the late event, it was better that she
should hold her peace, according to her husband's orders.

"Let the lass alone," he said; "a word against that fellow now would
make a sight of mischief. Suppose I had shot George Tanfield, instead
of hiding him soundly, when he stuck up to you, why you must have been
sorry for me, Sophy. And Mary is sorry for that rogue, no doubt, and
believes that he did it for her sake, I dare say. The womenkind always
do think that. If a big thief gets swung for breaking open a cash-box,
his lassie will swear he was looking for her thimble. If you was to go
now for discoursing of this matter, you would never put up with poor
Poppet's account of him, and she would run him higher up, every time you
ran him down; ay, and believe it too: such is the ways of women."

"Why, Stephen, you make me open up my eyes. I never dreamed you were
half so cunning, and of such low opinions."

"Well, I don't know, only from my own observance. I would scarcely trust
myself not to abuse that fellow. And, Sophy, you know you can not stop
your tongue, like me."

"Thank God for that same! He never meant us so to do. But, Stephen, I
will follow your advice; because it is my own opinion."

Mary was puzzled by this behavior; for everything used to be so plain
among them. She would even have tried for some comfort from Willie,
whose mind was very large upon all social questions. But Willie had
solved at last the problem of perpetual motion, according to his own
conviction, and locked himself up with his model all day; and the world
might stand still, so long as that went on. "Oh, what would I give for
dear Jack!" cried Mary.

Worn out at length with lonely grief, she asked if she might go to Byrsa
Cottage, for a change. Even that was refused, though her father's
kind heart ached at the necessary denial. Sharp words again had passed
between the farmer and the tanner concerning her, and the former
believed that his brother-in-law would even encourage the outlaw still.
And for Mary herself now the worst of it was that she had nothing to lay
hold of in the way of complaint or grievance. It was not like that first
estrangement, when her father showed how much he felt it in a hundred
ways, and went about everything upside down, and comforted her by his
want of comfort. Now it was ten times worse than that, for her father
took everything quite easily!

Shocking as it may be, this was true. Stephen Anerley had been through
a great many things since the violence of his love-time, and his views
upon such tender subjects were not so tender as they used to be. With
the eyes of wisdom he looked back, having had his own way in the matter,
upon such young sensations as very laudable, but curable. In his own
case he had cured them well, and, upon the whole, very happily, by a
good long course of married life; but having tried that remedy alone,
how could he say that there was no better? He remembered how his own
miseries had soon subsided, or gone into other grooves, after matrimony.
This showed that they were transient, but did not prove such a course
to be the only cure for them. Recovering from illness, has any man been
known to say that the doctor recovered him?

Mrs. Anerley's views upon the subject were much the same, though
modified, of course, by the force of her own experience. She might have
had a much richer man than Stephen; and when he was stingy, she reminded
him of that, which, after a little disturbance, generally terminated
in five guineas. And now she was clear that if Mary were not worried,
condoled with, or cried over, she would take her own time, and come
gradually round, and be satisfied with Harry Tanfield. Harry was a fine
young fellow, and worshipped the ground that Mary walked upon; and it
seemed a sort of equity that he should have her, as his father had
been disappointed of her mother. Every Sunday morning he trimmed his
whiskers, and put on a wonderful waistcoat; and now he did more, for he
bought a new hat, and came to church to look at her.

Oftentimes now, by all these doings, the spirit of the girl was roused,
and her courage made ready to fly out in words; but the calm look of the
elders stopped her, and then true pride came to her aid. If they chose
to say nothing of the matter which was in her heart continually, would
she go whining to them about it, and scrape a grain of pity from
a cartload of contempt? One day, as she stood before the swinging
glass--that present from Aunt Popplewell which had moved her mother's
wrath so--she threw back her shoulders, and smoothed the plaits of her
nice little waist, and considered herself. The humor of the moment grew
upon her, and crept into indulgence, as she saw what a very fair lass
she was, and could not help being proud of it. She saw how the soft rich
damask of her cheeks returned at being thought of, and the sparkle
of her sweet blue eyes, and the merry delight of her lips, that made
respectable people want to steal a kiss, from the pure enticement of
good-will.

"I will cry no more in the nights," she said. "Why should I make such a
figure of myself, with nobody to care for it? And here is my hair full
of kinkles and neglect! I declare, if he ever came back, he would say,
'What a fright you are become, my Mary!' Where is that stuff of Aunt
Deborah's, I wonder, that makes her hair like satin? It is high time to
leave off being such a dreadful dowdy. I will look as nice as ever, just
to let them know that their cruelty has not killed me."

Virtuous resolves commend themselves, and improve with being carried
out. She put herself into her very best trim, as simple as a lily, and
as perfect as a rose, though the flutter of a sigh or two enlarged her
gentle breast. She donned a very graceful hat, adorned with sweet ribbon
right skillfully smuggled; and she made up her mind to have the benefit
of the air.

The prettiest part of all Anerley Farm, for those who are not farmers,
is a soft little valley, where a brook comes down, and passes from
voluntary ruffles into the quiet resignation of a sheltered lake. A
pleasant and a friendly little water-spread is here, cheerful to the
sunshine, and inviting to the moon, with a variety of gleamy streaks,
according to the sky and breeze. Pasture-land and arable come sloping to
the margin, which, instead of being rough and rocky, lips the pool with
gentleness. Ins and outs of little bays afford a nice variety, while
round the brink are certain trees of a modest and unpretentious bent.
These having risen to a very fair distance toward the sky, come down
again, scarcely so much from a doubt of their merits, as through
affection to their native land. In summer they hang like a permanent
shower of green to refresh the bright water; and in winter, like loose
osier-work, or wattles curved for binding.

Under one of the largest of these willows the runaway Jack had made a
seat, whereon to sit and watch his toy boat cruising on the inland wave.
Often when Mary was tired of hoping for the return of her playmate, she
came to this place to think about him, and wonder whether he thought of
her. And now in the soft December evening (lonely and sad, but fair to
look at, like herself) she was sitting here.

The keen east wind, which had set in as Captain Brown predicted, was
over now, and succeeded by the gentler influence of the west. Nothing
could be heard in this calm nook but the lingering touch of the dying
breeze, and the long soft murmur of the distant sea, and the silvery
plash of a pair of coots at play. Neither was much to be seen, except
the wavering glisten and long shadows of the mere, the tracery of trees
against the fading light, and the outline of the maiden as she leaned
against the trunk. Generations of goat-moths in their early days of
voracity had made a nice hollow for her hat to rest in, and some of the
powdering willow dusted her bright luxuriant locks with gold. Her face
was by no means wan or gloomy, and she added to the breezes not a single
sigh. This happened without any hardness of heart, or shallow contempt
of the nobler affections; simply from the hopefulness of healthful
youth, and the trust a good will has in powers of good.

She was looking at those coots, who were full of an idea that the winter
had spent itself in that east wind, that the gloss of spring plumage
must be now upon their necks, and that they felt their toes growing
warmer toward the downy tepefaction of a perfect nest. Improving a long
and kind acquaintance with these birds, some of whom have confidence in
human nature, Mary was beginning to be absent from her woes, and joyful
in the pleasure of a thoughtless pair, when suddenly, with one accord,
they dived, and left a bright splash and a wrinkle. "Somebody is coming;
they must have seen an enemy," said the damsel to herself. "I am sure
I never moved. I will never have them shot by any wicked poacher." To
watch the bank nicely, without being seen, she drew in her skirt and
shrank behind the tree, not from any fear, but just to catch the fellow;
for one of the laborers on the farm, who had run at his master with
a pitchfork once, was shrewdly suspected of poaching with a gun. But
keener eyes than those of any poacher were upon her, and the lightest of
light steps approached.

"Oh, Robin, are you come, then, at last?" cried Mary.

"Three days I have been lurking, in the hope of this. Heart of my heart,
are you glad to see me?"

"I should think that I was. It is worth a world of crying. Oh, where
have you been this long, long time?"

"Let me have you in my arms, if it is but for a moment. You are not
afraid of me?--you are not ashamed to love me?"

"I love you all the better for your many dreadful troubles. Not a word
do I believe of all the wicked people say of you. Don't be afraid of me.
You may kiss me, Robin."

"You are such a beautiful spick and span! And I am only fit to go into
the pond. Oh, Mary, what a shame of me to take advantage of you!"

"Well, I think that it is time for you to leave off now. Though you must
not suppose that I think twice about my things. When I look at you, it
makes me long to give you my best cloak and a tidy hat. Oh, where is all
your finery gone, poor Robin?"

"Endeavor not to be insolent, on the strength of your fine clothes.
Remember that I have abandoned free trade; and the price of every
article will rise at once."

Mary Anerley not only smiled, but laughed, with the pleasure of a great
relief. She had always scorned the idea that her lover had even made a
shot at Carroway, often though the brave lieutenant had done the like to
him; and now she felt sure that he could clear himself; or how could
he be so light-hearted? "You see that I am scarcely fit to lead off a
country-dance with you," said Robin, still holding both her hands, and
watching the beauty of her clear bright eyes, which might gather big
tears at any moment, as the deep blue sky is a sign of sudden rain; "and
it will be a very long time, my darling, before you see me in gay togs
again."

"I like you a great deal better so. You always look brave--but you look
so honest now!"

"That is a most substantial saying, and worthy of the race of Anerley.
How I wish that your father would like me, Mary! I suppose it is
hopeless to wish for that?"

"No, not at all--if you could keep on looking shabby. My dear father
has a most generous mind. If he only could be brought to see how you are
ill-treated--"

"Alas! I shall have no chance of letting him see that. Before to-morrow
morning I must say good-by to England. My last chance of seeing you
was now this evening. I bless every star that is in the heaven now. I
trusted to my luck, and it has not deceived me."

"Robin dear, I never wish to try to be too pious. But I think that you
should rather trust in Providence than starlight."

"So I do. And it is Providence that has kept me out of sight--out of
sight of enemies, and in sight of you, my Mary. The Lord looks down on
every place where His lovely angels wander. You are one of His angels,
Mary; and you have made a man of me. For years I shall not see you,
darling; never more again, perhaps. But as long as I live you will be
here; and the place shall be kept pure for you. If we only could have
a shop together--oh, how honest I would be! I would give full weight,
besides the paper; I would never sell an egg more than three weeks old;
and I would not even adulterate! But that is a dream of the past, I
fear. Oh, I never shall hoist the Royal Arms. But I mean to serve under
them, and fight my way. My captain shall be Lord Nelson."

"That is the very thing that you were meant for. I will never forgive
Dr. Upandown for not putting you into the navy. You could have done no
smuggling then."

"I am not altogether sure of that. However, I will shun scandal, as
behooves a man who gets so much. You have not asked me to clear myself
of that horrible thing about poor Carroway. I love you the more for not
asking me; it shows your faith so purely. But you have the right to know
all I know. There is no fear of any interruption here; so, Mary, I will
tell you, if you are sure that you can bear it."

"Yes, oh yes! Do tell me all you know. It is so frightful that I must
hear it."

"What I have to say will not frighten you, darling, because I did
not even see the deed. But my escape was rather strange, and deserves
telling better than I can tell it, even with you to encourage me
by listening. When we were so suddenly caught in the cave, through
treachery of some of our people, I saw in a moment that we must be
taken, but resolved to have some fun for it, with a kind of whim which
comes over me sometimes. So I knocked away the lights, and began myself
to splash with might and main, and ordered the rest to do likewise. We
did it so well that the place was like a fountain or a geyser; and I
sent a great dollop of water into the face of the poor lieutenant--the
only assault I have ever made upon him. There was just light enough for
me to know him, because he was so tall and strange; but I doubt whether
he knew me at all. He became excited, as he well might be; he dashed
away the water from his eyes with one hand, and with the other made
a wild sword-cut, rushing forward as if to have at me. Like a bird, I
dived into the water from our gunwale, and under the keel of the other
boat, and rose to the surface at the far side of the cave. In the very
act of plunging, a quick flash came before me--or at least I believed
so afterward--and a loud roar, as I struck the wave. It might have been
only from my own eyes and ears receiving so suddenly the cleavage of the
water. If I thought anything at all about it, it was that somebody had
shot at me; but expecting to be followed, I swam rapidly away. I did not
even look back, as I kept in the dark of the rocks, for it would have
lost a stroke, and a stroke was more than I could spare. To my great
surprise, I heard no sound of any boat coming after me, nor any shouts
of Carroway, such as I am accustomed to. But swimming as I was, for my
own poor life, like an otter with a pack of hounds after him, I
assure you I did not look much after anything except my own run of the
gauntlet."

"Of course not. How could you? It makes me draw my breath to think of
you swimming in the dark like that, with deep water, and caverns, and
guns, and all!"

"Mary, I thought that my time was come; and only one beautiful image
sustained me, when I came to think of it afterward. I swam with my
hands well under water, and not a breath that could be heard, and my cap
tucked into my belt, and my sea-going pumps slipped away into a pocket.
The water was cold, but it only seemed to freshen me, and I found myself
able to breathe very pleasantly in the gentle rise and fall of waves.
Yet I never expected to escape, with so many boats to come after me. For
now I could see two boats outside, as well as old Carroway's pinnace in
the cave; and if once they caught sight of me, I could never get away.

"When I saw those two boats upon the watch outside, I scarcely knew what
to do for the best, whether to put my breast to it and swim out, or
to hide in some niche with my body under water, and cover my face with
oar-weed. Luckily I took the bolder course, remembering their portfires,
which would make the cave like day. Not everybody could have swum out
through that entrance, against a spring-tide and the lollop of the sea;
and one dash against the rocks would have settled me. But I trusted in
the Lord, and tried a long, slow stroke.

"My enemies must have been lost in dismay, and panic, and utter
confusion, or else they must have espied me, for twice or thrice, as I
met the waves, my head and shoulders were thrown above the surface, do
what I would; and I durst not dive, for I wanted my eyes every moment.
I kept on the darkest side, of course, but the shadows were not half
so deep as I could wish; and worst of all, outside there was a piece of
moonlight, which I must cross within fifty yards of the bigger of the
sentry boats.

"The mouth of that cave is two fathoms wide for a longish bit of
channel; and, Mary dear, if I had not been supported by continual
thoughts of you, I must have gone against the sides, or downright to the
bottom, from the waves keeping knocking me about so. I may tell you that
I felt that I should never care again, as my clothes began to bag about
me, except to go down to the bottom and be quiet, but for the blessed
thought of standing up some day, at the 'hymeneal altar,' as great
people call it, with a certain lovely Mary."

"Oh, Robin, now you make me laugh, when I ought to be quite crying. If
such a thing should ever be, I shall expect to see you swimming."

"Such a thing will be, as sure as I stand here--though not at all in
hymeneal garb just now. Whatever my whole heart is set upon, I do, and
overcome all obstacles. Remember that, and hold fast, darling. However,
I had now to overcome the sea, which is worse than any tide in the
affairs of men. A long and hard tussle it was, I assure you, to fight
against the indraught, and to drag my frame through the long hillocky
gorge. At last, however, I managed it; and to see the open waves again
put strength into my limbs, and vigor into my knocked-about brain. I
suppose that you can not understand it, Mary, but I never enjoyed a
thing more than the danger of crossing that strip of moonlight. I could
see the very eyes and front teeth of the men who were sitting there to
look out for me if I should slip their mates inside; and knowing the
twist of every wave, and the vein of every tide-run, I rested in a
smooth dark spot, and considered their manners quietly. They had not yet
heard a word of any doings in the cavern, but their natures were up for
some business to do, as generally happens with beholders. Having nothing
to do, they were swearing at the rest.

"In the place where I was halting now the line of a jagged cliff seemed
to cut the air, and fend off the light from its edges. You can only see
such a thing from the level of the sea, and it looks very odd when you
see it, as if the moon and you were a pair of playing children, feeling
round a corner for a glimpse of one another. But plain enough it was,
and far too plain, that the doubling of that little cape would treble my
danger, by reason of the bold moonlight, I knew that my only refuge was
another great hollow in the crags between the cave I had escaped from
and the point--a place which is called the 'Church Cave,' from an
old legend that it leads up to Flamborough church. To the best of my
knowledge, it does nothing of the kind, at any rate now; but it has a
narrow fissure, known to few except myself, up which a nimble man
may climb; and this was what I hoped to do. Also it has a very narrow
entrance, through which the sea flows into it, so that a large boat can
not enter, and a small one would scarcely attempt it in the dark, unless
it were one of my own, hard pressed. Now it seemed almost impossible for
me to cross that moonlight without being seen by those fellows in the
boat, who could pull, of course, four times as fast as I could swim, not
to mention the chances of a musket-ball. However, I was just about to
risk it, for my limbs were growing very cold, when I heard a loud
shout from the cave which I had left, and knew that the men there were
summoning their comrades. These at once lay out upon their oars, and
turned their backs to me, and now was my good time. The boat came
hissing through the water toward the Dovecote, while I stretched away
for the other snug cave. Being all in a flurry, they kept no look-out;
if the moon was against me, my good stars were in my favor. Nobody
saw me, and I laughed in my wet sleeves as I thought of the rage of
Carroway, little knowing that the fine old fellow was beyond all rage or
pain."

"How wonderful your luck was, and your courage too!" cried Mary, who had
listened with bright tears upon her cheeks. "Not one man in a thousand
could have done so bold a thing. And how did you get away at last, poor
Robin?"

"Exactly as I meant to do, from the time I formed my plan. The Church
has ever been a real friend in need to me; I took the name for a lucky
omen, and swam in with a brisker stroke. It is the prettiest of all the
caves, to my mind, though the smallest, with a sweet round basin, and a
playful little beach, and nothing very terrible about it. I landed, and
rested with a thankful heart upon the shelly couch of the mermaids."

"Oh, Robin, I hope none of them came to you. They are so wonderfully
beautiful. And no one that ever has seen them cares any more for--for
dry people that wear dresses."

"Mary, you delight me much, by showing signs of jealousy. Fifty may have
come, but I saw not one, for I fell into a deep calm sleep. If they had
come, I would have spurned them all, not only from my constancy to you,
my dear, but from having had too much drip already. Mary, I see a man on
the other side of the mere, not opposite to us, but a good bit further
down. You see those two swimming birds: look far away between them, you
will see something moving."

"I see nothing, either standing still or moving. It is growing too dark
for any eyes not thoroughly trained in smuggling. But that reminds me to
tell you, Robin, that a strange man--a gentleman they seemed to say--has
been seen upon our land, and he wanted to see me, without my father
knowing it. But only think! I have never even asked you whether you are
hungry--perhaps even starving! How stupid, how selfish, how churlish of
me! But the fault is yours, because I had so much to hear of."

"Darling, you may trust me not to starve, I can feed by-and-by. For the
present I must talk, that you may know all about everything, and bear me
harmless in your mind, when evil things are said of me. Have you heard
that I went to see Widow Carroway, even before she had heard of her
loss, but not before I was hunted? I knew that I must do so, now or
never, before the whole world was up in arms against me; and I thank God
that I saw her. A man might think nothing of such an act, or even might
take it for hypocrisy; but a woman's heart is not so black. Though she
did not even know what I meant, for she had not felt her awful blow, and
I could not tell her of it, she did me justice afterward. In the thick
of her terrible desolation, she stood beside her husband's grave, in
Bridlington Priory Church yard, and she said to a hundred people there:
'Here lies my husband, foully murdered. The coroner's jury have brought
their verdict against Robin Lyth the smuggler. Robin Lyth is as innocent
as I am. I know who did it, and time will show. My curse is upon him;
and my eyes are on him now.' Then she fell down in a fit, and the
Preventive men, who were drawn up in a row, came and carried her away.
Did anybody tell you, darling? Perhaps they keep such things from you."

"Part of it I heard; but not so clearly. I was told that she acquitted
you and I blessed her in my heart for it."

"Even more than that she did. As soon as she got home again, she wrote
to Robin Cockscroft--a very few words, but as strong as could be,
telling him that I should have no chance of justice if I were caught
just now; that she must have time to carry out her plans; that the Lord
would soon raise up good friends to help her; and as sure as there was
a God in heaven, she would bring the man who did it to the gallows. Only
that I must leave the land at once. And that is what I shall do
this very night. Now I have told you almost all. Mary, we must say
'good-by.'"

"But surely I shall hear from you sometimes?" said Mary, striving to be
brave, and to keep her voice from trembling. "Years and years, without a
word--and the whole world bitter against you and me! Oh, Robin, I think
that it will break my heart. And I must not even talk of you."

"Think of me, darling, while I think of you. Thinking is better than
talking, I shall never talk of you, but be thinking all the more.
Talking ruins thinking. Take this token of the time you saved me, and
give me that bit of blue ribbon, my Mary; I shall think of your eyes
every time I kiss it. Kiss it yourself before you give it to me."

Like a good girl, she did what she was told to do. She gave him the
love-knot from her breast, and stored his little trinket in that pure
shrine.

"But sometimes--sometimes, I shall hear of you?" she whispered,
lingering, and trembling in the last embrace.

"To be sure, you shall hear of me from time to time, through Robin and
Joan Cockscroft. I will not grieve you by saying, 'Be true to me,' my
noble one, and my everlasting love."

Mary was comforted, and ceased to cry. She was proud of him thus in the
depth of his trouble; and she prayed to God to bless him through the
long sad time.



CHAPTER XXXVII

FACT, OR FACTOR


"Papa, I have brought you a wonderful letter," cried Miss Janetta
Upround, toward supper-time of that same night; "and the most miraculous
thing about it is that there is no post to pay. Oh, how stupid I am! I
ought to have got at least a shilling out of you for postage."

"My dear, be sorry for your sins, and not for having failed to add to
them. Our little world is brimful of news just now, but nearly all of
it bad news. Why, bless me, this is in regular print, and it never has
passed through the post at all, which explains the most astounding fact
of positively naught to pay. Janetta, every day I congratulate myself
upon such a wondrous daughter. But I never could have hoped that even
you would bring me a letter gratis."

"But the worst of it is that I deserve no credit. If I had cheated the
postman, there would have been something to be proud of. But this letter
came in the most ignominious way--poked under the gate, papa! It is
sealed with a foreign coin! Oh, dear, dear, I am all in a tingle to know
all about it. I saw it by the moonlight, and it must belong to me."

"My dear, it says, 'Private, and to his own hands.' Therefore you had
better go, and think no more about it. I confide to you many of my
business matters: or at any rate you get them out of me: but this being
private, you must think no more about it."

"Darling papa, what a flagrant shame! The man must have done it with
no other object than to rob me of every wink of sleep. If I swallow the
outrage and retire, will you promise to tell me every word to-morrow?
You preached a most exquisite sermon last Sunday about the meanness and
futility of small concealments."

"Be off!" cried the rector; "you are worse than Mr. Mordacks, who lays
down the law about frankness perpetually, but never lets me guess what
his own purpose is."

"Oh, now I see where the infection comes from! Papa, I am off, for fear
of catching it myself. Don't tell me, whatever you do. I never can sleep
upon dark mysteries."

"Poor dear, you shall not have your rest disturbed," Dr. Upround said,
sweetly, as he closed the door behind her; "you are much too good a
girl for other people's plagues to visit you." Then, as he saddled his
pleasant old nose with the tranquil span of spectacles, the smile on his
lips and the sigh of his breast arrived at a quiet little compromise. He
was proud of his daughter, her quickness and power to get the upper
turn of words with him; but he grieved at her not having any deep
impressions, even after his very best sermons. But her mother always
told him not to be in any hurry, for even she herself had felt no very
profound impressions until she married a clergyman; and that argument
always made him smile (as invisibly as possible), because he had not
detected yet their existence in his better half. Such questions are
most delicate, and a husband can only set mute example. A father, on
the other hand, is bound to use his pastoral crook upon his children
foremost.

"Now for this letter," said Dr. Upround, holding council with himself;
"evidently a good clerk, and perhaps a first-rate scholar. One of the
very best Greek scholars of the age does all his manuscript in printing
hand, when he wishes it to be legible. And a capital plan it is--without
meaning any pun. I can read this like a gazette itself."


"REVEREND AND WORSHIPFUL SIR,--Your long and highly valued kindness
requires at least a word from me, before I leave this country. I have
not ventured into your presence, because it might place you in a very
grave predicament. Your duty to King and State might compel you with
your own hand to arrest me; and against your hand I could not strive.
The evidence brought before you left no choice but to issue a warrant
against me, though it grieved your kind heart to do that same. Sir, I
am purely innocent of the vile crime laid against me. I used no fire-arm
that night, neither did any of my men. And it is for their sake, as well
as my own, that I now take the liberty of writing this. Failing of me,
the authorities may bring my comrades to trial, and convict them. If
that were so, it would become my duty as a man to surrender myself,
and meet my death in the hope of saving them. But if the case is sifted
properly, they must be acquitted; for no fire-arm of any kind was in my
boat, except one pair of pistols, in a locker under the after thwart,
and they happened to be unloaded. I pray you to verify this, kind sir.
My firm belief is that the revenue officer was shot by one of his own
men; and his widow has the same opinion. I hear that the wound was in
the back of the head. If we had carried fire-arms, not one of us could
have shot him so.

"It may have been an accident; I can not say. Even so, the man whose
mishap it was is not likely to acknowledge it. And I know that in a
court of law truth must be paid for dearly. I venture to commit to your
good hands a draft upon a well-known Holland firm, which amounts to 78
pounds British, for the defense of the men who are in custody. I know
that you as a magistrate can not come forward as their defender; but
I beg you as a friend of justice to place the money for their benefit.
Also especially to direct attention to the crew of the revenue boat and
their guns.

"And now I fear greatly to encroach upon your kindness, and very
long-suffering good-will toward me. But I have brought into sad trouble
and distress with her family--who are most obstinate people--and with
the opinion of the public, I suppose, a young lady worth more than all
the goods I ever ran, or ever could run, if I went on for fifty years.
By name she is Mistress Mary Anerley, and by birth the daughter of
Captain Anerley, of Anerley Farm, outside our parish. If your reverence
could only manage to ride round that way upon coming home from Sessions,
once or twice in the fine weather, and to say a kind word or two to my
Mary, and a good word, if any can be said of me, to her parents, who are
stiff but worthy people, it would be a truly Christian act, and such as
you delight in, on this side of the Dane-dike.

"Reverend sir, I must now say farewell. From you I have learned almost
everything I know, within the pale of statutes, which repeal one another
continually. I have wandered sadly outside that pale, and now I pay the
penalty. If I had only paid heed to your advice, and started in business
with the capital acquired by free trade, and got it properly protected,
I might have been able to support my parents, and even be churchwarden
of Flamborough. You always told me that my unlawful enterprise must
close in sadness; and your words have proved too true. But I never
expected anything like this; and I do not understand it yet. A
penetrating mind like yours, with all the advantages of authority, even
that is likely to be baffled in such a difficult case as this.

"Reverend sir, my case is hard; for I always have labored to establish
peaceful trade; and I must have succeeded again, if honor had guided all
my followers. We always relied upon the coast-guard to be too late for
any mischief; and so they would have been this time, if their acts had
been straightforward. In sorrow and lowness of fortune, I remain, with
humble respect and gratitude, your Worship's poor pupil and banished
parishioner,

"ROBIN LYTH, of Flamborough."


"Come, now, Robin," Dr. Upround said, as soon as he had well considered
this epistle, "I have put up with many a checkmate at your hands, but
not without the fair delight of a counter-stroke at the enemy. Here you
afford me none of that. You are my master in every way; and quietly you
make me make your moves, quite as if I were the black in a problem.
You leave me to conduct your fellow-smugglers' case, to look after your
sweetheart, and to make myself generally useful. By-the-way, that touch
about my pleading his cause in my riding-boots, and with a sessional
air about me, is worthy of the great Verdoni. Neither is that a bad hit
about my Christianity stopping at the Dane-dike. Certes, I shall have
to call on that young lady, though from what I have heard of the sturdy
farmer, I may both ride and reason long, even after my greatest exploits
at the Sessions, without converting him to free trade; and trebly so
after that deplorable affair. I wonder whether we shall ever get to the
bottom of that mystery. How often have I warned the boy that mischief
was quite sure to come! though I never even dreamed that it would be so
bad as this."

Since Dr. Upround first came to Flamborough, nothing (not even the
infliction of his nickname) had grieved him so deeply as the sad death
of Carroway. From the first he felt certain that his own people were
guiltless of any share in it. But his heart misgave him as to distant
smugglers, men who came from afar freebooting, bringing over ocean
woes to men of settlement, good tithe-payers. For such men (plainly of
foreign breed, and very plain specimens of it) had not at all succeeded
in eluding observation, in a neighborhood where they could have no
honest calling. Flamborough had called to witness Filey, and Filey had
attested Bridlington, that a stranger on horseback had appeared among
them with a purpose obscurely evil. They were right enough as to the
fact, although the purpose was not evil, as little Denmark even now
began to own.

"Here I am again!" cried Mr. Mordacks, laying vehement hold of the
rector's hand, upon the following morning; "just arrived from York, dear
sir, after riding half the night, and going anywhere you please; except
perhaps where you would like to send me, if charity and Christian
courtesy allowed. My dear sir, have you heard the news? I perceive by
your countenance that you have not. Ah, you are generally benighted in
these parts. Your caves have got something to do with it. The mind gets
accustomed to them."

"I venture to think, Mr. Mordacks, on the whole," said the rector,
who studied this man gently, "that sometimes you are rapid in your
conclusions. Possibly of the two extremes it is the more desirable;
especially in these parts, because of its great rarity. Still the mere
fact of some caves existing, in or out of my parish, whichever it may
be, scarcely seems to prove that all the people of Flamborough live in
them. And even if we did, it was the manner of the ancient seers, both
in the Classics, and in Holy Writ--"

"Sir, I know all about Elijah and Obadiah, and the rest of them. Profane
literature we leave now for clerks in holy orders--we positively have no
time for it. Everything begins to move with accelerated pace. This is a
new century, and it means to make its mark. It begins very badly; but
it will go on all the better. And I hope to have the pleasure, at a
very early day, of showing you one of its leading men, a man of large
intellect, commanding character, the most magnificent principles--and,
in short, lots of money. You must be quite familiar with the name of Sir
Duncan Yordas."

"I fancy that I have heard or seen it somewhere. Oh, something to do
with the Hindoos, or the Africans. I never pay much attention to such
things."

"Neither do I, Dr. Upround. Still somebody must, and a lot of money
comes of it. Their idols have diamond eyes, which purity of worship
compels us to confiscate. And there are many other ways of getting on
among them, while wafting and expanding them into a higher sphere of
thought. The mere fact of Sir Duncan having feathered his nest--pardon
so vulgar an expression, doctor--proves that while giving, we may also
receive: for which we have the highest warranty."

"The laborer is worthy of his hire, Mr. Mordacks. At the same time we
should remember also--"

"What St. Paul says per contra. Quite so. That is always my first
consideration, when I work for my employers. Ah, Dr. Upround, few men
give such pure service as your humble servant. I have twice had the
honor of handing you my card. If ever you fall into any difficulty,
where zeal, fidelity, and high principle, combined with very low
charges--"

"Mr. Mordacks, my opinion of you is too high for even yourself to add to
it. But what has this Sir Duncan Yorick--"

"Yordas, my dear sir--Sir Duncan Yordas--the oldest family in Yorkshire.
Men of great power, both for good and evil, mainly, perhaps, the latter.
It has struck me sometimes that the county takes its name--But etymology
is not my forte. What has he to do with us, you ask? Sir, I will answer
you most frankly. 'Coram populo' is my business motto. Excuse me,
I think I hear that door creak. No, a mere fancy--we are quite 'in
camera.' Very well; reverend sir, prepare your mind for a highly
astounding disclosure."

"I have lived too long to be astounded, my good sir. But allow me to put
on my spectacles. Now I am prepared for almost anything."

"Dr. Upround, my duty compels me to enter largely into minds. Your mind
is of a lofty order--calm, philosophic, benevolent. You have proved this
by your kind reception of me, a stranger, almost an intruder. You have
judged from my manners and appearance, which are shaped considerably by
the inner man, that my object was good, large, noble. And yet you have
not been quite able to refrain, at weak moments perhaps, but still a
dozen times a day, from exclaiming in the commune of your heart, 'What
the devil does this man want in my parish?'"

"My good sir, I never use bad language; and if I did my duty, I should
now inflict--"

"Five shillings for your poor-box. There it is. And it serves me quite
right for being too explicit, and forgetting my reverence to the
cloth. However, I have coarsely expressed your thoughts. Also you have
frequently said to yourself, 'This man prates of openness, but I find
him closer than any oyster.' Am I right? Yes, I see that I am, by
your bow. Very well, you may suppose what pain it gave me to have
the privilege of intercourse with a perfect gentleman and an eloquent
divine, and yet feel myself in an ambiguous position. In a few words I
will clear myself, being now at liberty to indulge that pleasure. I have
been here, as agent for Sir Duncan Yordas, to follow up the long-lost
clew to his son, and only child, who for very many years was believed
to be out of all human pursuit. My sanguine and penetrating mind scorned
rumors, and went in for certainty. I have found Sir Duncan's son, and
am able to identify him, beyond all doubt, as a certain young man well
known to you, and perhaps too widely known, by the name of Robin Lyth."

In spite of the length of his experience of the world, in a place of so
many adventures, the rector of Flamborough was astonished, and perhaps
a little vexed as well. If anything was to be found out, in such a
headlong way, about one of his parishioners, and notably such a pet
pupil and favorite, the proper thing would have been that he himself
should do it. Failing that, he should at least have been consulted,
enlisted, or at any rate apprised of what was toward. But instead of
that, here he had been hoodwinked (by this marvel of incarnate candor
employed in the dark about several little things), and then suddenly
enlightened, when the job was done. Gentle and void of self-importance
as he was, it misliked him to be treated so.

"This is a wonderful piece of news," he said, as he fixed a calm gaze
upon the keen, hard eyes of Mordacks. "You understand your business,
sir, and would not make such a statement unless you could verify it. But
I hope that you may not find cause to regret that you have treated me
with so little confidence."

"I am not open to that reproach. Dr. Upround, consider my instructions.
I was strictly forbidden to disclose my object until certainty should
be obtained. That being done, I have hastened to apprise you first of
a result which is partly due to your own good offices. Shake hands,
my dear sir, and acquit me of rudeness--the last thing of which I am
capable."

The rector was mollified, and gave his hand to the gallant general
factor. "Allow me to add my congratulations upon your wonderful
success," he said; "but would that I had known it some few hours sooner!
It might have saved you a vast amount of trouble. I might have kept
Robin well within your reach. I fear that he is now beyond it."

"I am grieved to hear you say so. But according to my last instructions,
although he is in strict concealment, I can lay hands upon him when the
time is ripe."

"I fear not. He sailed last night for the Continent, which is a vague
destination, especially in such times as these. But perhaps that was
part of your skillful contrivance?"

"Not so. And for the time it throws me out. I have kept most careful
watch on him. But the difficulty was that he might confound my vigilance
with that of his enemies; take me for a constable, I mean. And perhaps
he has done so, after all. Things have gone luckily for me in the main;
but that murder came in most unseasonably. It was the very thing that
should have been avoided. Sir Duncan will need all his influence there.
Suppose for a moment that young Robin did not do it--"

"Mr. Mordacks, you frighten me. What else could you suppose?"

"Certainly--yes. A parishioner of yours, when not engaged unlawfully
upon the high seas. We heartily hope that he did not do it, and we give
him the benefit of the doubt; in which I shared largely, until it became
so manifest that he was a Yordas. A Yordas has made a point of slaying
his man--and sometimes from three to a dozen men--until within the last
two generations. In the third generation the law revives, as is hinted,
I think, in the Decalogue. In my professional course a large stock of
hereditary trail--so to speak--comes before me. Some families always
drink, some always steal, some never tell lies because they never know a
falsehood, some would sell their souls for a sixpence, and these are the
most respectable of any--"

"My dear sir, my dear sir, I beg your pardon for interrupting you; but
in my house the rule is to speak well of people, or else to say nothing
about them."

"Then you must resign your commission, doctor; for how can you take
depositions? But, as I was saying, I should have some hope of the
innocence of young Robin if it should turn out that his father, Sir
Duncan, has destroyed a good many of the native race in India. It may
reasonably be hoped that he has done so, which would tend very strongly
to exonerate his son. But the evidence laid before your Worship and
before the coroner was black--black--black."

"My position forbids me to express opinions. The evidence compelled me
to issue the warrant. But knowing your position, I may show you this, in
every word of which I have perfect faith."

With these words Dr. Upround produced the letter which he had received
last night, and the general factor took in all the gist of it in less
than half a minute.

"Very good! very good!" he said, with a smile of experienced
benevolence. "We believe some of it. Our duty is to do so. There are two
points of importance in it. One as to the girl he is in love with, and
the other his kind liberality to the fellows who will have to bear the
brunt of it."

"You speak sarcastically, and I hope unfairly. To my mind, the most
important facts are these--that poor Carroway was shot from behind, and
that the smugglers had no fire-arms, except two pistols, both unloaded."

"Who is to prove that, Dr. Upround? Their mouths are closed; and if
they were open, would anybody believe them? We knew long ago that the
vigilant and deservedly lamented officer took the deathblow from behind;
but of that how simple is the explanation! The most intelligent of his
crew, and apparently his best subordinate, whose name is John Cadman,
deposes that his lamented chief turned round for one moment to give an
order, and during that moment received the shot. His evidence is the
more weighty because he does not go too far with it. He does not pretend
to say who fired. He knows only that one of the smugglers did. His
evidence will hang those six poor fellows, from the laudable desire of
the law to include the right one. But I trust that the right one will be
far away."

"I trust not. If even one of them is condemned, even to transportation,
Robin Lyth will surrender immediately. You doubt it. You smile at the
idea. Your opinion of human nature is low. Mine is not enthusiastic. But
I judge others by myself."

"So do I," Mr. Mordacks answered, with a smile of curious humor. And the
rector could not help smiling too, at this instance of genuine candor.
"However, not to go too deeply into that," his visitor continued, "there
really is one point in Robin's letter which demands inquiry. I mean
about the guns of the Preventive men. Cadman may be a rogue. Most
probably he is. None of the others confirm, although they do not
contradict him. Do you know anything about him?"

"Only villainy--in another way. Ho led away a nice girl of this parish,
an industrious mussel-gatherer. And he then had a wife and large family
of his own, of which the poor thing knew nothing. Her father nearly
killed him; and I was compelled (very much against my will) to inflict
a penalty. Cadman is very shy of Flamborough now. By-the-way, have you
called upon poor Widow Carroway?"

"I thank you for the hint. She is the very person. It will be a sad
intrusion; and I have put it off as long as possible. After what Robin
says, it is most important. I hope that Sir Duncan will be here very
shortly. He is coming from Yarmouth in his own yacht. Matters are
crowding upon me very fast. I will see Mrs. Carroway as soon as it is
decent. Good-morning, and best thanks to your Worship."



CHAPTER XXXVIII

THE DEMON OF THE AXE


The air was sad and heavy thus, with discord, doubt, and death
itself gathering and descending, like the clouds of long night, upon
Flamborough. But far away, among the mountains and the dreary moorland,
the "intake" of the coming winter was a great deal worse to see. For
here no blink of the sea came up, no sunlight under the sill of clouds
(as happens where wide waters are), but rather a dark rim of brooding on
the rough horizon seemed to thicken itself against the light under the
sullen march of vapors--the muffled funeral of the year. Dry trees and
naked crags stood forth, and the dirge of the wind went to and fro, and
there was no comfort out-of-doors.

Soon the first snow of the winter came, the first abiding earnest snow,
for several skits had come before, and ribbed with white the mountain
breasts. But nobody took much heed of that, except to lean over the
plough, while it might be sped, or to want more breakfast. Well resigned
was everybody to the stoppage of work by winter. It was only what must
be every year, and a gracious provision of Providence. If a man earned
very little money, that was against him in one way, but encouraged him
in another. It brought home to his mind the surety that others would
be kind to him; not with any sense of gift, but a large good-will of
sharing.

But the first snow that visits the day, and does not melt in its own
cold tears, is a sterner sign for every one. The hardened wrinkle, and
the herring-bone of white that runs among the brown fern fronds, the
crisp defiant dazzle on the walks, and the crust that glitters on the
patient branch, and the crest curling under the heel of a gate, and the
ridge piled up against the tool-house door--these, and the shivering
wind that spreads them, tell of a bitter time in store.

The ladies of Scargate Hall looked out upon such a December afternoon.
The massive walls of their house defied all sudden change of
temperature, and nothing less than a week of rigor pierced the comfort
of their rooms. The polished oak beams overhead glanced back the merry
fire-glow, the painted walls shone with rosy tints, and warm lights
flitting along them, and the thick-piled carpet yielded back a velvety
sense of luxury. It was nice to see how bleak the crags were, and the
sad trees laboring beneath the wind and snow.

"If it were not for thinking of the poor cold people, for whom one feels
so deeply," said the gentle Mrs. Carnaby, with a sweet soft sigh, "one
would rather enjoy this dreary prospect. I hope there will be a deep
snow to-night. There is every sign of it upon the scaurs. And then,
Philippa, only think--no post, no plague of news, no prospect of even
that odious Jellicorse! Once more we shall have our meals in quiet."

Mrs. Carnaby loved a good dinner right well, a dinner unplagued by
hospitable cares; when a woodcock was her own to dwell on, and pretty
little teeth might pick a pretty little bone at ease.

"Eliza, you are always such a creature of the moment," Mistress Yordas
answered, indulgently; "you do love the good things of the world too
much. How would you like to be out there, in a naked little cottage
where the wind howls through, and the ewer is frozen every morning? And
where, if you ever get anything to eat--"

"Philippa, I implore you not to be so dreadful. One never can utter the
most commonplace reflection--and you know that I said I was sorry for
the people."

"My object is good, as you ought to know. My object is to habituate your
mind--"

"Philippa, I beg you once more to confine your exertions, in that way,
to your own more lofty mind. Again I refuse to have my mind, or
whatever it is that does duty for it, habituated to anything. A gracious
Providence knows that I should die outright, after all my blameless
life, if reduced to those horrible straits you always picture. And I
have too much faith in a gracious Providence to conceive for one moment
that it would treat me so. I decline the subject. Why should we
make such troubles? There is clear soup for dinner, and some lovely
sweet-breads. Cook has got a new receipt for bread sauce, and Jordas
says that he never did shoot such a woodcock."

"Eliza, I trust that you may enjoy them all; your appetite is delicate,
and you require nourishment. Why, what do I see over yonder in the snow?
A slim figure moving at a very great pace, and avoiding the open places!
Are my eyes growing old, or is it Lancelot?"

"Pet out in such weather, Philippa! Such a thing is simply impossible.
Or at any rate I should hope so. You know that Jordas was obliged to put
a set of curtains from end to end even of the bowling-alley, which is
so beautifully sheltered; and even then poor Pet was sneezing. And you
should have heard what he said to me, when I was afraid of the sheets
taking fire from his warming-pan one night. Pet is unaccountable
sometimes, I know. But the very last thing imaginable of him is that he
should put his pretty feet into the snow."

"You know him best, Eliza; and it is very puzzling to distinguish things
in snow. But if it was not Pet, why, it must have been a squirrel."

"The squirrels are gone to sleep for the winter, Philippa. I dare say it
was only Jordas. Don't you think that it must have been Jordas?"

"I am quite certain that it was not Jordas. But I will not pretend to
say that it was not a squirrel. He may forego his habitudes more easily
than Lancelot."

"How horribly dry you are sometimes, Philippa. There seems to be no
softness in your nature. You are fit to do battle with fifty lawyers;
and I pity Mr. Jellicorse, with his best clothes on."

"You could commit no greater error. We pay the price of his black silk
stockings three times over, every time we see him. The true objects of
pity are--you, I, and the estates."

"Well, let us drop it for a while. If you begin upon that nauseous
subject, not a particle of food will pass my lips; and I did look
forward to a little nourishment."

"Dinner, my ladies!" cried the well-appointed Welldrum, throwing open
the door as only such a man can do, while cleverly accomplishing the
necessary bow, which he clinched on such occasions with a fine smack of
his lips.

"Go and tell Mr. Lancelot, if you please, that we are waiting for him."
A great point was made, but not always effected, of having Master Pet,
in very gorgeous attire, to lead his aunt into the dining-room. It
was fondly believed that this impressed him with the elegance and nice
humanities required by his lofty position and high walk in life. Pet
hated this performance, and generally spoiled it by making a face over
his shoulder at old Welldrum, while he strode along in real or mock awe
of Aunt Philippa.

"If you please, my ladies," said the butler now, choosing Mrs. Carnaby
for his eyes to rest on, "Mr. Lancelot beg to be excoosed of dinner. His
head is that bad that he have gone for open air."

"Snow-headache is much in our family; Eliza, you remember how our dear
father used to feel it." With these words Mistress Yordas led her sister
to the dining-room; and they took good care to say nothing more about it
before the officious Welldrum.

Pet meanwhile was beginning to repent of his cold and lonely venture.
For a mile or two the warmth of his mind and the glow of exercise
sustained him; and he kept on admiring his own courage till his feet
began to tingle. "Insie will be bound to kiss me now; and she never will
be able to laugh at me again," he said to himself some fifty times.
"I am like the great poet who describes the snow; and I have got some
cherry-brandy." He trudged on very bravely; but his poor dear toes at
every step grew colder. Out upon the moor, where he was now, no shelter
of any kind encouraged him; no mantlet of bank, or ridge, or brush-wood,
set up a furry shiver betwixt him and the tatterdemalion wind. Not even
a naked rock stood up to comfort a man by looking colder than himself.

But in truth there was no severe cold yet; no depth of snow, no
intensity of frost, no splintery needles of sparkling drift; but only
the beginning of the wintry time, such as makes a strong man pick his
feet up, and a healthy boy start an imaginary slide. The wind, however,
was shrewd and searching, and Lancelot was accustomed to a warming-pan.
Inside his waistcoat he wore a hare-skin, and his heart began to give
rapid thumps against it. He knew that he was going into bodily peril
worse than any frost or snow.

For a long month he had not even seen his Insie, and his hot young heart
had never before been treated so contemptuously. He had been allowed to
show himself in the gill at his regular interval, a fortnight ago. But
no one had ventured forth to meet him, or even wave signal of welcome
or farewell. But that he could endure, because he had been warned not to
hope for much that Friday; now, however, it was not his meaning to
put up with any more such nonsense. That he, who had been told by the
servants continually that all the land for miles and miles around was
his, should be shut out like a beggar, and compelled to play bo-peep, by
people who lived in a hole in the ground, was a little more than in the
whole entire course of his life he could ever have imagined. His mind
was now made up to let them know who he was and what he was; and unless
they were very quick in coming to their senses, Jordas should have
orders to turn them out, and take Insie altogether away from them.

But in spite of all brave thoughts and words, Master Pet began to spy
about very warily, ere ever he descended from the moor into the gill.
He seemed to have it borne in upon his mind that territorial
rights--however large and goodly--may lead only to a taste of earth,
when earth alone is witness to the treatment of her claimant. Therefore
it behooved him to look sharp; and possessing the family gift of keen
sight, he began to spy about, almost as shrewdly as if he had been
educated in free trade. But first he had wit enough to step below the
break, and get behind a gorse bush, lest haply he should illustrate only
the passive voice of seeing.

In the deep cut of the glen there was very little snow, only a few veins
and patches here and there, threading and seaming the steep, as if a
white-footed hare had been coursing about. Little stubby brier shoots,
and clumps of russet bracken, and dead heather, ruffling like a brown
dog's back, broke the dull surface of withered herbage, thistle stumps,
teasels, rugged banks, and naked brush. Down in the bottom the noisy
brook was scurrying over its pebbles brightly, or plunging into gloom of
its own production; and away at the bend of the valley was seen the cot
of poor Lancelot's longing.

The situation was worth a sigh, and came half way to share one; Pet
sighed heavily, and deeply felt how wrong it was of any one to treat him
so. What could be easier for him than to go, as Insie had said to him
at least a score of times, and mind his own business, and shake off the
dust--or the mud--of his feet at such strangers? But, alas! he had
tried it, and could shake nothing, except his sad and sapient head. How
deplorably was he altered from the Pet that used to be! Where were
now his lofty joys, the pleasure he found in wholesome mischief and
wholesale destruction, the high delight of frightening all the world
about his safety?

"There are people here, I do believe," he said to himself, most
touchingly, "who would be quite happy to chop off my head!"

As if to give edge to so murderous a thought, and wings to the feet of
the thinker, a man both tall and broad came striding down the cottage
garden. He was swinging a heavy axe as if it were a mere dress cane, and
now and then dealing clean slash of a branch, with an air which made Pet
shiver worse than any wind. The poor lad saw that in the grasp of such
a man he could offer less resistance than a nut within the crackers, and
even his champion, the sturdy Jordas, might struggle without much avail.
He gathered in his legs, and tucked his head well under the gorse to
watch him.

"Surely he is too big to run very fast," thought the boy, with his valor
evaporated; "it must be that horrible Maunder. What a blessing that I
stopped up here just in time! He is going up the gill to cleave some
wood. Shall I cut away at once, or lie flat upon my stomach? He would
be sure to see me if I tried to run away; and much he would care for his
landlord!"

In such a choice of evils, poor Lancelot resolved to lie still, unless
the monster should turn his steps that way. And presently he had the
heart-felt pleasure of seeing the formidable stranger take the track
that followed the windings of the brook. But instead of going well away,
and rounding the next corner, the big man stopped at the very spot where
Insie used to fill her pitcher, pulled off his coat and hung it on a
bush, and began with mighty strokes to fell a dead alder-tree that stood
there. As his great arms swung, and his back rose and fell, and the sway
of his legs seemed to shake the bank, and the ring of his axe filled
the glen with echoes, wrath and terror were fighting a hot battle in the
heart of Lancelot.

His sense of a land-owner's rights and titles had always been most
imperious, and though the Scargate estates were his as yet only in
remainder, he was even more jealous about them than if he held them
already in possession. What right had this man to cut down trees, to
fell and appropriate timber? Even in the garden which he rented he could
not rightfully touch a stick or stock. But to come out here, a good
furlong from his renting, and begin hacking and hewing, quite as if the
land were his--it seemed almost too brazen-faced for belief! It must be
stopped at once--such outrageous trespass stopped, and punished sternly.
He would stride down the hill with a summary veto--but, alas, if he did,
he might get cut down too!

Not only this disagreeable reflection, but also his tender regard for
Insie, prevented him from challenging this process of the axe; but his
feelings began to goad him toward something worthy of a Yordas--for a
Yordas he always accounted himself, and not by any means a Carnaby. And
to this end all the powers of his home conspired.

"That fellow is terribly big and strong," he said to himself, with much
warmth of spirit; "but his axe is getting dull; and to chop down that
tree of mine will take him at least half an hour. Dead wood is harder to
cut than live. And when he has done that, he must work till dark to
lop the branches, and so on. I need not be afraid of anybody but this
fellow. Now is my time, then, while he is away. Even if the old folk are
at home, they will listen to my reasons. The next time he comes to hack
my tree on this side, I shall slip out, and go down to the cottage. I
have no fear of any one that pays any heed to reason."

This sudden admirer and lover of reason cleverly carried out his bold
discretion. For now the savage woodman, intent upon that levelling which
is the highest glory of pugnacious minds, came round the tree, glaring
at it (as if it were the murderer, and he the victim), redoubling his
tremendous thwacks at every sign of tremor, flinging his head back with
a spiteful joy, poising his shoulders on the swing, and then with all
his weight descending into the trenchant blow. When his back was fairly
turned on Lancelot, and his whole mind and body thus absorbed upon his
prey, the lad rose quickly from his lair, and slipped over the crest of
the gill to the moorland. In a moment he was out of sight to that demon
of the axe, and gliding, with his head bent low, along a little hollow
of the heathery ground, which cut off a bend of the ravine, and again
struck its brink a good furlong down the gill. Here Pet stopped running,
and lay down, and peered over the brink, for this part was quite new to
him, and resolved as he was to make a bold stroke of it, he naturally
wished to see how the land lay, and what the fortress of the enemy was
like, ere ever he ventured into it.



CHAPTER XXXIX

BATTERY AND ASSUMPSIT


That little moorland glen, whose only murmur was of wavelets, and
principal traffic of birds and rabbits, even at this time of year
looked pretty, with the winter light winding down its shelter and soft
quietude. Ferny pitches and grassy bends set off the harsh outline of
rock and shale, while a white mist (quivering like a clew above the
rivulet) was melting into the faint blue haze diffused among the
foldings and recesses of the land. On the hither side, nearly at the
bottom of the slope, a bright green spot among the brown and yellow
roughness, looking by comparison most smooth and rich, showed where the
little cottage grew its vegetables, and even indulged in a small attempt
at fruit. Behind this, the humble retirement of the cot was shielded
from the wind by a breastwork of bold rock, fringed with ground-ivy,
hanging broom, and silver stars of the carline. So simple and low was
the building, and so matched with the colors around it, that but for
the smoke curling up from a pipe of red pottery-ware, a stranger might
almost have overlooked it. The walls were made from the rocks close by,
the roof of fir slabs thatched with ling; there was no upper story, and
(except the door and windows) all the materials seemed native and at
home. Lancelot had heard, by putting a crafty question in safe places,
that the people of the gill here had built their own dwelling, a good
many years ago; and it looked as if they could have done it easily.

Now, if he intended to spy out the land, and the house as well, before
the giant of the axe returned, there was no time to lose in beginning.
He had a good deal of sagacity in tricks, and some practice in little
arts of robbery. For before he attained to this exalted state of mind
one of his favorite pastimes had been a course of stealthy raids upon
the pears in Scargate garden. He might have had as many as he liked for
asking; but what flavor would they have thus possessed? Moreover, he
bore a noble spite against the gardener, whose special pride was in that
pear wall; and Pet more than once had the joy of beholding him thrash
his own innocent son for the dark disappearance of Beurre and Bergamot.
Making good use of this experience, he stole his way down the steep
glen-side, behind the low fence of the garden, until he reached the
bottom, and the brush-wood by the stream. Here he stopped to observe
again, and breathe, and get his spirit up. The glassy water looked as
cold as death; and if he got cramp in his feet, how could he run? And
yet he could see no other way but wading, of approaching the cottage
unperceived.

Now fortune (whose privilege it is to cast mortals into the holes that
most misfit them) sometimes, when she has got them there, takes pity,
and contemptuously lifts them. Pet was in a hole of hardship, such as
his dear mamma never could have dreamed of, and such as his nurture and
constitution made trebly disastrous for him. He had taken a chill from
his ambush, and fright, and the cold wind over the snow of the moor; and
now the long wading of that icy water might have ended upon the shores
of Acheron. However, he was just about to start upon that passage--for
the spirit of his race was up--when a dull grating sound, as of
footsteps crunching grit, came to his prettily concave ears.

At this sound Lancelot Carnaby stopped from his rash venture into the
water, and drew himself back into an ivied bush, which served as the
finial of the little garden hedge. Peeping through this, he could see
that the walk from the cottage to the hedge was newly sprinkled with
gray wood ash, perhaps to prevent the rain from lodging and the snow
from lying there. Heavy steps of two old men (as Pet in the insolence
of young days called them) fell upon the dull soft crust, and ground
it, heel and toe--heel first, as stiff joints have it--with the bruising
snip a hungry cow makes, grazing wiry grasses. "One of them must be
Insie's dad," said Pet to himself, as he crouched more closely behind
the hedge; "which of them, I wonder? Well, the tall one, I suppose, to
go by the height of that Maunder. And the other has only one arm; and a
man with one arm could never have built their house. They are coming to
sit on that bench; I shall hear every word they say, and learn some
of their secrets that I never could get out of Insie one bit of. But I
wonder who that other fellow is?"

That other fellow, in spite of his lease, would promptly have laid his
surviving hand to the ear of Master Lancelot, or any other eavesdropper;
for a sturdy and resolute man was he, being no less than our ancient
friend and old soldier, Jack of the Smithies. And now was verified that
homely proverb that listeners never hear good of themselves.

"Sit down, my friend," said the elder of the twain, a man of rough dress
and hard hands, but good, straightforward aspect, and that careless
humor which generally comes from a life of adventures, and a long
acquaintance with the world's caprice. "I have brought you here that we
may be undisturbed. Little pitchers have long ears. My daughter is as
true as steel; but this matter is not for her at present. You are sure,
then, that Sir Duncan is come home at last? And he wished that I should
know it?"

"Yes, sir, he wished that you should know it. So soon as I told him that
you was here, and leading what one may call this queer life, he slapped
his thigh like this here--for he hath a downright way of everything--and
he said, 'Now, Smithies, so soon as you get home, go and tell him that I
am coming. I can trust him as I trust myself; and glad I am for one
old friend in the parts I am such a stranger to. Years and years I have
longed to know what was become of my old friend Bert.' Tears was in his
eyes, your honor: Sir Duncan hath seen such a mighty lot of men, that
his heart cometh up to the few he hath found deserving of the name,
sir."

"You said that you saw him at York, I think?"

"Yes, sir, at the business house of his agent, one Master Geoffrey
Mordacks. He come there quite unexpected, I believe, to see about
something else he hath in hand, and I got a message to go there at once.
I save his life once in India, sir, from one of they cursed Sours, which
made him take heed of me, and me of him. And then it come out where
I come from, and why; and the both of us spoke the broad Yorkshire
together, like as I dea naa care to do to home. After that he got on
wonderful, as you know; and I stuck to him through the whole of it, from
luck as well as liking, till, if I had gone out to see to his breeches,
I could not very well have knowed more of him. And I tell you, sir, not
to regard him for a Yordas. He hath a mind far above them lot; though I
was born under them, to say so!"

"And you think that he will come and recover his rights, in spite of his
father's will against him. I know nothing of the ladies of the Hall; but
it seems a hard thing to turn them out, after being there so long."

"Who was turned out first, they or him? Five-and-twenty years of tent,
open sky, jungle, and who knows what, for him--but eider-down, and
fireside, and fat of land for them! No, no, sir; whatever shall happen
there, will be God's own justice."

"Of His justice who shall judge?" said Insie's father, quietly. "But is
there not a young man grown, who passes for the heir with every one?"

"Ay, that there is; and the best game of all will be neck and crop
for that young scamp. A bully, a coward, a puling milksop, is all the
character he beareth. He giveth himself born airs, as if every inch
of the Riding belonged to him. He hath all the viciousness of Yordas,
without the pluck to face it out. A little beast that hath the venom,
without the courage, of a toad. Ah, how I should like to see--"

Jack of the Smithies not only saw, but felt. The Yordas blood was up in
Pet. He leaped through the hedge and struck this man with a sharp quick
fist in either eye. Smithies fell backward behind the bench, his heels
danced in the air, and the stump of his arm got wedged in the stubs of a
bush, while Lancelot glared at him with mad eyes.

"What next?" said his companion, rising calmly, and steadfastly gazing
at Lancelot.

"The next thing is to kill him; and it shall be done," the furious youth
replied, while he swung the gentleman's big stick, which he had seized,
and danced round his foe with the speed of a wild-cat. "Don't meddle, or
it will be worse for you. You heard what he said of me. Get out of the
way."

"Indeed, my young friend, I shall do nothing of the sort." But the old
man was not at all sure that he could do much; such was the fury and
agility of the youth, who jumped three yards for every step of his,
while the poor old soldier could not move. The boy skipped round the
protecting figure, whose grasp he eluded easily, and swinging the staff
with both arms, aimed a great blow at the head of his enemy. Suddenly
the other interposed the bench, upon which the stick fell, and broke
short; and before the assailant could recover from the jerk, he was a
prisoner in two powerful old arms.

"You are so wild that we must make you fast," his captor said, with
a benignant smile; and struggle as he might, the boy was very soon
secured. His antagonist drew forth a red bandana handkerchief, and
fastened his bleeding hands behind his back. "There, now, lad," he said,
"you can do no mischief. Recover your temper, sir, and tell us who you
are, as soon as you are sane enough to know."

Pet, having spent his just indignation, began to perceive that he
had made a bad investment. His desire had been to maintain in this
particular spot strict privacy from all except Insie, to whom in the
largeness of love he had declared himself. Yet here he stood, promulged
and published, strikingly and flagrantly pronounced! At first he was
like to sulk in the style of a hawk who has failed of his swoop; but
seeing his enemy arising slowly with grunts, and action nodose and
angular--rather than flexibly graceful--contempt became the uppermost
feature of his mind.

"My name," he said, "if you are not afraid of it, that you tie me in
this cowardly low manner, is--Lancelot Yordas Carnaby."

"My boy, it is a long name for any one to carry. No wonder that you look
weak beneath it. And where do you live, young gentleman?"

Amazement sat upon the face of Pet--a genuine astonishment, entirely
pure from wrath. It was wholly beyond his imagination that any one,
after hearing his name, should have to ask him where he lived. He
thought that the question must be put in low mockery, and to answer was
far beneath his dignity.

By this time the veteran Jack of the Smithies had got out of his trap,
and was standing stiffly, passing his hand across his sadly smitten
eyes, and talking to himself about them.

"Two black eyes, at my time of life, as sure as I'm a Christian!
Howsomever, young chap, I likes you better. Never dreamed there was such
good stuff in you. Master Bert, cast him loose, if so please you. Let me
shake hands with 'un, and bear no malice. Bad words deserve hard blows,
and I ask his pardon for driving him into it. I called 'un a milksop,
and he hath proved me a liar. He may be a bad 'un, but with good stuff
in 'un. Lord bless me, I never would have believed the lad could hit so
smartly!"

Pet was well pleased with this tribute to his prowess; but as for
shaking hands with a tenant, and a "common man"--as every one not of
gentle birth was then called--such an act was quite below him, or above
him, according as we take his own opinion, or the truth. And possibly he
rose in Smithies' mind by drawing back from bodily overture.

Mr. Bert looked on with all the bliss of an ancient interpreter. He
could follow out the level of the vein of each, as no one may do except
a gentleman, perhaps, who has turned himself deliberately into a "common
man." Bert had done his utmost toward this end; but the process is
difficult when voluntary.

"I think it is time," he now said, firmly, to the unshackled and
triumphant Pet, "for Lancelot Yordas Carnaby to explain what has brought
him into such humble quarters, and induced him to turn eavesdropper;
which was not considered (at least in my young days) altogether the part
of a gentleman."

The youth had not seen quite enough of the world to be pat with a
fertile lie as yet; especially under such searching eyes. However, he
did as much as could be well expected.

"I was just looking over my property," he said, "and I thought I heard
somebody cutting down my timber. I came to see who it was, and I heard
people talking, and before I could ask them about it, I heard myself
abused disgracefully; and that was more than I could stand."

"We must take it for granted that a brave young gentleman of your
position would tell no falsehood. You assure us, on your honor, that you
heard no more?"

"Well, I heard voices, sir. But nothing to understand, or make head or
tail of." There was some truth in this; for young Lancelot had not the
least idea who "Sir Duncan" was. His mother and aunt had kept him wholly
in the dark as to any lost uncle in India. "I should like to know what
it was," he added, "if it has anything to do with me."

This was a very clever hit of his; and it made the old gentleman believe
him altogether.

"All in good time, my young friend," he answered, even with a smile of
some pity for the youth. "But you are scarcely old enough for business
questions, although so keen about your timber. Now after abusing you so
disgracefully, as I admit that my friend here has done, and after roping
your pugnacious hands, as I myself was obliged to do, we never can
launch you upon the moor, in such weather as this, without some food.
You are not very strong, and you have overdone yourself. Let us go to
the house, and have something."

Jack of the Smithies showed alacrity at this, as nearly all old soldiers
must; but Pet was much oppressed with care, and the intellect in his
breast diverged into sore distraction of anxious thought. Whether should
he draw the keen sword of assurance, put aside the others, and see
Insie, or whether should he start with best foot foremost, scurry up the
hill, and avoid the axe of Maunder? Pallas counselled this course, and
Aphrodite that; and the latter prevailed, as she always used to do,
until she produced the present dry-cut generation.

Lancelot bowed to the gentleman of the gill, and followed him along the
track of grit, which set his little pearly teeth on edge; while Jack
of the Smithies led, and formed, the rear-guard. "This is coming now
to something very queer," thought Pet; "after all, it might have been
better for me to take my chance with the hatchet man."

Brown dusk was ripely settling down among the mossy apple-trees, and the
leafless alders of the brook, and the russet and yellow memories of late
autumn lingering in the glen, while the peaky little freaks of snow,
and the cold sighs of the wind, suggested fireside and comfort. Mr. Bert
threw open his cottage door, and bowing as to a welcome guest, invited
Pet to enter. No passage, no cold entrance hall, demanded scrapes of
ceremony; but here was the parlor, and the feeding-place, and the warm
dance of the fire-glow. Logs that meant to have a merry time, and spread
a cheerful noise abroad, ere ever they turned to embers, were snorting
forth the pointed flames, and spitting soft protests of sap. And before
them stood, with eyes more bright than any flash of fire-light, intent
upon rich simmering scents, a lovely form, a grace of dainties--oh, a
goddess certainly!

"Master Carnaby," said the host, "allow me, sir, the honor to present
my daughter to you, Insie darling, this is Mr. Lancelot Yordas Carnaby.
Make him a pretty courtesy."

Insie turned round with a rosy blush, brighter than the brightest
fire-wood, and tried to look at Pet as if she had never even dreamed
of such a being. Pet drew hard upon his heart, and stood bewildered,
tranced, and dazzled. He had never seen Insie in-doors before, which
makes a great difference in a girl; and the vision was too bright for
him.

For here, at her own hearth, she looked so gentle, sweet, and lovely. No
longer wild and shy, or gayly mischievous and watchful, but calm-eyed,
firm-lipped, gravely courteous; intent upon her father's face, and
banishing not into shadow so much as absolute nullity any one who
dreamed that he ever filled a pitcher for her, or fed her with grouse
and partridge, and committed the incredible atrocity of kissing her.

Lancelot ceased to believe it possible that he ever could have done such
a thing as that, while he saw how she never would see him at all, or
talk in the voice that he had been accustomed to, or even toss her head
in the style he had admired, when she tried to pretend to make light
of him. If she would only make light of him now, he would be well
contented, and say to himself that she did it on purpose, for fear
of the opposite extreme. But the worst of it was that she had quite
forgotten, beyond blink of inquiry or gleam of hope, that ever in her
life she had set eyes on a youth of such perfect insignificance before.

"My friend, you ought to be hungry," said Bert of the Gill, as he was
proud to call himself; "after your exploit you should be fed. Your
vanquished foe will sit next to you. Insie, you are harassed in mind by
the countenance of our old friend Master John Smithies. He has met with
a little mishap--never mind--the rising generation is quick of temper.
A soldier respects his victor; it is a beautiful arrangement of
Providence; otherwise wars would never cease. Now give our two guests a
good dish of the best, piping hot, and of good meaty fibre. We will have
our own supper by-and-by, when Maunder comes home, and your mother is
ready. Gentlemen, fall to; you have far to go, and the moors are bad
after night-fall."

Lancelot, proudly as he stood upon his rank, saw fit to make no
objection. Not only did his inner man cry, "Feed, even though a common
man feed with thee," but his mind was under the influence of a stronger
one, which scorned such stuff. Moreover, Insie, for the first time, gave
him a glance, demure but imperative, which meant, "Obey my father, sir."

He obeyed, and was rewarded; for the beautiful girl came round him so,
to hand whatever he wanted, and seemed to feel so sweetly for him in his
strange position, that he scarcely knew what he was eating, only that it
savored of rich rare love, and came from the loveliest creature in the
world. In stern fact, it came from the head of a sheep; but neither jaws
nor teeth were seen. Upon one occasion he was almost sure that a curl
of Insie's lovely hair fell upon the back of his stooping neck; he could
scarcely keep himself from jumping up; and he whispered, very softly,
when the old man was away, "Oh, if you would only do that again!" But
his darling made manifest that this was a mistake, and applied herself
sedulously to the one-armed Jack.

Jack of the Smithies was a trencherman of the very first order, and
being well wedded (with a promise already of young soldiers to come),
it behooved him to fill all his holes away from home, and spare his own
cupboard for the sake of Mistress Smithies. He perceived the duty, and
performed it, according to the discipline of the British army.

But Insie was fretting in the conscience of her heart to get the young
Lancelot fed and dismissed before the return of her great wild brother.
Not that he would hurt their guest, though unwelcome; or even show any
sort of rudeness to him; but more than ever now, since she heard of
Pet's furious onslaught upon the old soldier--which made her begin to
respect him a little--she longed to prevent any meeting between this
gallant and the rough Maunder. And that anxiety led her to look at Pet
with a melancholy kindness. Then Jack of the Smithies cut things short.

"Off's the word," he said, "if ever I expects to see home afore
daylight. All of these moors is known to me, and many's the time I have
tracked them all in sleep, when the round world was betwixt us. But
without any moon it is hard to do 'em waking; and the loss of my arm
sends me crooked in the dark. And as for young folk, they be all abroad
to once. With your leave, Master Bert, I'll be off immediate, after
getting all I wants, as the manner of the world is. My good missus will
be wondering what is come of me."

"You have spoken well," his host replied; "and I think we shall have a
heavy fall to-night. But this young gentleman must not go home alone. He
is not robust, and the way is long and rough. I have seen him shivering
several times. I will fetch my staff, and march with him."

"No, sir, I will not have such a thing done," the veteran answered,
sturdily. "If the young gentleman is a gentleman, he will not be afraid
for me to take him home, in spite of what he hath done to me. Speak up,
young man, are you frightened of me?"

"Not if you are not afraid of me," said Pet, who had now forgotten all
about that Maunder, and only longed to stay where he was, and set up a
delicious little series of glances. For the room, and the light, and the
tenor of the place, began more and more to suit such uses. And most and
best of all, his Insie was very thankful to him for his good behavior;
and he scarcely could believe that she wanted him to go. To go, however,
was his destiny; and when he had made a highly laudable and far-away
salute, it happened--in the shift of people, and of light, and clothing,
which goes on so much in the winter-time--that a little hand came into
his, and rose to his lips, with ground of action, not for assault and
battery, but simply for assumpsit.



CHAPTER XL

STORMY GAP


Snowy weather now set in, and people were content to stay at home. Among
the scaurs and fells and moors the most perturbed spirit was compelled
to rest, or try to do so, or at any rate not agitate its body
out-of-doors. Lazy folk were suited well with reason good for laziness;
and gentle minds, that dreaded evil, gladly found its communication
stopped.

Combined excitement and exertion, strong amazement, ardent love, and a
cold of equal severity, laid poor Pet Carnaby by the heels, and reduced
him to perpetual gruel. He was shut off from external commune, and
strictly blockaded in his bedroom, where his only attendants were his
sweet mother, and an excellent nurse who stroked his forehead, and
called him "dear pet," till he hated her, and, worst of all, that Dr.
Spraggs, who lived in the house, because the weather was so bad.

"We have taken a chill, and our mind is a little unhinged," said
the skillful practitioner: "careful diet, complete repose, a warm
surrounding atmosphere, absence of undue excitement, and, above all, a
course of my gentle alteratives regularly administered--these are the
very simple means to restore our beloved patient. He is certainly making
progress; but I assure you, my dear madam, or rather I need not tell a
lady of such wonderfully clear perception, that remedial measures must
be slow to be truly efficacious. With lower organizations we may deal in
a more empiric style; but no experiments must be tried here--"

"Dr. Spraggs, I should hope not, indeed. You alarm me by the mere
suggestion."

"Gradation, delicately pursued, adapted subtly, discriminated nicely by
the unerring diagnosis of extensive medical experience, combined with
deep study of the human system, and a highly distinguished university
career--such, madam, are, in my humble opinion, the true elements
of permanent amelioration. At the same time we must not conceal
from ourselves that our constitution is by no means one of ordinary
organization. None of your hedger and ditcher class, but delicate,
fragile, impulsive, sensitive, liable to inopine derangements from
excessive activity of mind--"

"Oh, Dr. Spraggs, he has been reading poetry, which none of our family
ever even dreamed of doing--it is a young man, over your way somewhere.
Possibly you may have heard of him."

"That young man has a great deal to answer for. I have traced a very bad
case of whooping-cough to him. That explains many symptoms which I could
not quite make out. We will take away this book, madam, and give him
Dr. Watts--the only wholesome poet that our country has produced; though
even his opinions would be better expressed in prose."

But the lad, in spite of all this treatment, slowly did recover, and
then obtained relief, which set him on his nimble legs again. For
his aunt Philippa, one snowy morning, went into the room beneath that
desperately sick chamber, to see whether wreaths of snow had entered,
as they often did, between the loose joints of the casement. She walked
very carefully, for fear of making a noise that might be heard above,
and disturb the repose of the poor invalid. But, to her surprise, there
came loud thumps from above, and a quivering of the ceiling, and a sound
as of rushing steps, and laughter, and uproarious jollity.

"What can it be? I am perfectly amazed," said Mistress Yordas to
herself. "I must inquire into this."

She knew that her sister was out of the way, and the nurse in the
kitchen, having one of her frequent feeds and agreeable discourses.
So she went to a mighty ring in her own room, as large as an untaxed
carriage wheel, and from it (after due difficulty) took the spare key of
the passage door that led the way to Lancelot.

No sooner had she passed this door than she heard a noise a great deal
worse than the worst imagination--whiz, and hiss, and crack, and smash,
and rolling of hollow things over hollow places, varied with shouts, and
the flapping of skirts, and jingling of money upon heart of oak; these
and many other travails of the air (including strong language) amazed
the lady. Hastening into the sick-room, she found the window wide open,
with the snow pouring in, a dozen of phial bottles ranged like skittles,
some full and some empty, and Lancelot dancing about in his night-gown,
with Divine Songs poised for another hurl.

"Two for a full, and one for an empty. Seven to me, and four to you. No
cheating, now, or I'll knock you over," he was shouting to Welldrum's
boy, who had clearly been smuggled in at the window for this game.
"There's plenty more in old Spraggs's chest. Holloa, here's Aunt
Philippa!"

Mistress Yordas was not displeased with this spirited application of
pharmacy; she at once flung wide the passage door, and Pet was free of
the house again, but upon parole not to venture out of doors. The
first use he made of his liberty was to seek the faithful Jordas, who
possessed a little private sitting-room, and there hold secret council
with him.

The dogman threw his curly head back, when he had listened to his young
lord's tale (which contained the truth, and nothing but the truth, yet
not by any means the whole truth, for the leading figure was left out),
and a snort from his broad nostrils showed contempt and strong vexation.

"Just what I said would come o' such a job," he muttered, without
thought of Lancelot; "to let in a traitor, and spake him fair, and make
much of him. I wish you had knocked his two eyes out, Master Lance,
instead of only blacking of 'un. And a fortnight lost through that
pisonin' Spraggs! And the weather going on, snow and thaw, snow and
thaw. There's scarcely a dog can stand, let alone a horse, and the
wreaths getting deeper. Most onlucky! It hath come to pass most
ontoimely."

"But who is Sir Duncan? And who is Mr. Bert? I have told you everything,
Jordas; and all you do is to tell me nothing."

"What more can I tell you, sir? You seem to know most about 'em. And
what was it as took you down that way, sir, if I may make so bold to
ask?"

"Jordas, that is no concern of yours; every gentleman has his own
private affairs, which can not in any way concern a common man. But
I wish you particularly to find out all that can be known about Mr.
Bert--what made him come here, and why does he live so, and how much has
he got a year? He seems to be quite a gentleman--"

"Then his private affairs, sir, can not concern a common man. You had
better ways go yourself and ask him; or ask his friend with the two
black eyes. Now just you do as I bid you, Master Lance. Not a word of
all this here to my ladies; but think of something as you must have
immediate from Middleton. Something as your health requires"--here
Jordas indulged in a sarcastic grin--"something as must come, if the sky
come down, or the day of Judgment was to-morrow."

"I know, yes, I am quite up to you, Jordas. Let me see: last time it was
a sweet-bread. That would never do again. It shall be a hundred oysters;
and Spraggs shall command it, or be turned out."

"Jordas, I really can not bear," said the kind Mrs. Carnaby, an hour
afterward, "that you should seem almost to risk your life by riding to
Middleton in such dreadful weather. Are you sure that it will not snow
again, and quite sure that you can get through all the wreaths? If not,
I would on no account have you go. Perhaps, after all, it is but the
fancy of a poor fantastic invalid, though Dr. Spraggs feels that it is
so important, and may be the turning-point in his sad illness. It seems
such a long way in such weather; and selfish people, who can never
understand, might say that it was quite unkind of us. But if you have
made up your mind to go, in spite of all remonstrance, you must be sure
to come back to-night; and do please to see that the oysters are round,
and have not got any of their lids up."

The dogman knew well that he jeopardized his life in either half of the
journey; no little in going, and tenfold as much in returning through
the snows of night. Though the journey in the first place had been of
his own seeking, and his faithful mind was set upon it, some little
sense of bitterness was in his heart, that his life was not thought more
of. He made a low bow, and turned away, that he might not meet those
eyes so full of anxiety for another, and of none for him. And when he
came to think of it, he was sorry afterward for indulging in a little
bit of two-edged satire.

"Will you please to ask my lady if I may take Marmaduke? Or whether she
would be afeared to risk him in such weather?"

"I think it is unkind of you to speak like that. I need not ask my
sister, as you ought to know. Of course you may take Marmaduke. I need
not tell you to be careful of him."

After that, if he had chosen for himself, he would not have taken
Marmaduke. But he thought of the importance of his real purpose, and
could trust no other horse to get him through it.

In fine summer weather, when the sloughs were in, and the water-courses
low or dry, and the roads firm, wherever there were any, a good horse
and rider, well acquainted with the track, might go from Scargate Hall
to Middleton in about three hours, nearly all of the journey being well
down hill. But the travel to come back was a very different thing; four
hours and a half was quick time for it, even in the best state of earth
and sky, and the Royal Mail pony was allowed a good seven, because his
speed (when first established) had now impaired his breathing. And ever
since the snow set in, he had received his money for the journey,
but preferred to stay in stable; for which everybody had praised him,
finding letters give them indigestion.

Now Jordas roughed Marmaduke's shoes himself; for the snow would be
frozen in the colder places, and ball wherever any softness was--two
things which demand very different measures. Also he fed him well, and
nourished himself, and took nurture for the road; so that with all haste
he could not manage to start before twelve of the day. Travelling was
worse than he expected, and the snow very deep in places, especially
at Stormy Gap, about a league from Scargate. Moreover, he knew that the
strength of his horse must be carefully husbanded for the return; and so
it was dusk of the winter evening, and the shops of the little town were
being lit with hoops of candles, when Jordas, followed by Saracen, came
trotting through the unpretending street.

That ancient dog Saracen, the largest of the blood-hounds, had joined
the expedition as a volunteer, craftily following and crouching out of
sight, until he was certain of being too far from home to be sent
back again. Then he boldly appeared, and cantered gayly on in front of
Marmaduke, with his heavy dewlaps laced with snow.

Jordas put up at a quiet old inn, and had Saracen chained strongly to a
ringbolt in the stable; then he set off afoot to see Mr. Jellicorse, and
just as he rang the office bell a little fleecy twinkle fell upon one
of his eyelashes, and looking sharply up, he saw that a snowy night was
coming.

The worthy lawyer received him kindly, but not at all as if he wished to
see him; for Christmas-tide was very nigh at hand, and the weather made
the ink go thick, and only a clerk who was working for promotion would
let his hat stay on its peg after the drum and fife went by, as they
always did at dusk of night, to frighten Bonyparty.

"There are only two important facts in all you have told me, Jordas,"
Mr. Jellicorse said, when he had heard him out: "one that Sir Duncan is
come home, of which I was aware some time ago; and the other that he has
been consulting an agent of the name of Mordacks, living in this county.
That certainly looks as if he meant to take some steps against us. But
what can he do more than might have been done five-and-twenty years
ago?" The lawyer took good care to speak to none but his principals
concerning that plaguesome deed of appointment.

"Well, sir, you know best, no doubt. Only that he hath the money now, by
all accounts; and like enough he hath labored for it a' purpose to
fight my ladies. If your honor knew as well as I do what a Yordas is for
fighting, and for downright stubbornness--"

"Perhaps I do," replied the lawyer, with a smile; "but if he has
no children of his own, as I believe is the case with him, it seems
unlikely that he would risk his substance in a rash attempt to turn out
those who are his heirs."

"He is not so old but what he might have children yet, if he hath none
now to hand. Anyways it was my duty to tell you my news immediate."

"Jordas, I always say that you are a model of a true retainer--a
character becoming almost extinct in this faithless and revolutionary
age. Very few men would have ridden into town through all those
dangerous unmade roads, in weather when even the Royal Mail is kept, by
the will of the Lord, in stable."

"Well, sir," said Jordas, with his brave soft smile, "the smooth and
the rough of it comes in and out, accordin'. Some days I does next to
nought; and some days I earns my keepin'. Any more commands for me,
Lawyer Jellicoose? Time cometh on rather late for starting."

"Jordas, you amaze me! You never mean to say that you dream of setting
forth again on such a night as this is? I will find you a bed; you shall
have a hot supper. What would your ladies think of me, if I let you go
forth among the snow again? Just look at the window-panes, while you and
I were talking! And the feathers of the ice shooting up inside, as long
as the last sheaf of quills I opened for them. Quills, quills, quills,
all day! And when I buy a goose unplucked, if his quills are any good,
his legs won't carve, and his gizzard is full of gravel-stones! Ah, the
world grows every day in roguery."

"All the world agrees to that, sir; ever since I were as high as your
table, never I hear two opinions about it; and it maketh a man seem to
condemn himself. Good-night, sir, and I hope we shall have good news
so soon as his Royal Majesty the king affordeth a pony as can lift his
legs."

Mr. Jellicorse vainly strove to keep the man in town that night. He even
called for his sensible wife and his excellent cook to argue, having no
clerk left to make scandal of the scene. The cook had a turn of mind for
Jordas, and did think that he would stop for her sake; and she took a
broom to show him what the depth of snow was upon the red tiles between
the brew-house and the kitchen. An icicle hung from the lip of the pump,
and new snow sparkled on the cook's white cap, and the dark curly hair
which she managed to let fall; the brew-house smelled nice, and the
kitchen still nicer; but it made no difference to Jordas. If he had told
them the reason of this hurry, they would have said hard things
about it, perhaps; Mrs. Jellicorse especially (being well read in the
Scriptures, and fond of quoting them against all people who had grouse
and sent her none) would have called to mind what David said, when the
three mighty men broke through the host, and brought water from the well
of Bethlehem. So Jordas only answered that he had promised to return,
and a trifle of snow improved the travelling.

"A willful man must have his way," said Mr. Jellicorse at last. "We can
not put him in the pound, Diana; but the least we can do is to provide
him for a coarse, cold journey. If I know anything of our country,
he will never see Scargate Hall to-night, but his blanket will be a
snowdrift. Give him one of our new whitneys to go behind his saddle, and
I will make him take two things. I am your legal adviser, Jordas, and
you are like all other clients. Upon the main issue, you cast me off;
but in small matters you must obey me."

The hardy dogman was touched with this unusual care for his welfare. At
home his services were accepted as a due, requiring little praise and
less of gratitude. It was his place to do this and that, and be thankful
for the privilege. But his comfort was left for himself to study; and if
he had studied it much, reproach would soon have been the chief reward.
It never would do, as his ladies said, to make too much of Jordas. He
would give himself airs, and think that people could not get on without
him.

Marmaduke looked fresh and bold when he came out of stable; he had eaten
with pleasure a good hot dinner, or supper perhaps he considered it,
liking to have his meals early, as horses generally do. And he neighed
and capered for the homeward road, though he knew how full it was of
hardships; for never yet looked horse through bridle, without at least
one eye resilient toward the charm of headstall. And now he had both
eyes fixed with legitimate aim in that direction; and what were a few
tiny atoms of snow to keep a big horse from his household?

Merrily, therefore, he set forth, with a sturdy rider on his back; his
clear neigh rang through the thick dull streets, and kind people came
to their white blurred windows, and exclaimed, as they glanced at the
party-colored horseman rushing away into the dreary depths, "Well,
rather him than me, thank God!"

"You keep the dog," Master Jordas had said to the hostler, before he
left the yard; "he is like a lamb, when you come to know him. I can't be
plagued with him to-night. Here's a half crown for his victuals; he eats
precious little for the size of him. A bullock's liver every other day,
and a pound and a half the between times. Don't be afeared of him. He
looks like that, to love you, man."

Instead of keeping on the Durham side of Tees, as he would have done in
fair weather for the first six miles or so, Jordas crossed by the old
town bridge into his native county. The journey would be longer thus,
but easier in some places, and the track more plain to follow, which
on a snowy night was everything. For all things now were in one
indiscriminate pelt and whirl of white; the Tees was striped with
rustling floes among the black moor-water; and the trees, as long as
there were any, bent their shrouded forms and moaned.

But with laborious plunges, and broad scatterings of obstruction, the
willing horse ploughed out his way, himself the while wrapped up in
white, and caked in all his tufty places with a crust that flopped up
and down. The rider, himself piled up with snow, and bearded with a
berg of it, from time to time, with his numb right hand, fumbled at the
frozen clouts that clogged the poor horse's mane and crest.

"How much longer will a' go, I wonder?" said Jordas to himself for the
twentieth time. "The Lord in heaven knows where we be; but horse knows
better than the Lord a'most. Two hour it must be since ever I 'tempted
to make head or tail of it. But Marmaduke knoweth when a' hath his head;
these creatures is wiser than Christians. Save me from the witches, if
I ever see such weather! And I wish that Master Lance's oysters wasn't
quite so much like him."

For, broad as his back was, perpetual thump of rugged and flintified
knobs and edges, through the flag basket strapped over his neck, was
beginning to tell upon his stanch but jolted spine; while his foot in
the northern stirrup was numbed, and threatening to get frost-bitten.

"The Lord knoweth where we be," he said once more, growing in piety as
the peril grew. "What can old horse know, without the Lord hath told
'un? And likely he hath never asked, no more than I did. We mought 'a
come twelve moiles, or we mought 'a come no more than six. What ever is
there left in the world to judge by? The hills, or the hollows, or
the boskies, all is one, so far as the power of a man's eyes goes.
Howsomever, drive on, old Dukie."

Old Dukie drove on with all his might and main, and the stout spirit
which engenders strength, till he came to a white wall reared before
him, twice as high as his snow-capped head, and swirling like a billow
of the sea with drift. Here he stopped short, for he had his own rein,
and turned his clouted neck, and asked his master what to make of it.

"We must 'a come at last to Stormy Gap: it might be worse, and it might
be better. Rocks o' both sides, and no way round. No choice but to get
through it, or to spend the night inside of it. You and I are a pretty
good weight, old Dukie. We'll even try a charge for it, afore we knock
under. We can't have much more smother than we've gotten already. My
father was taken like this, I've heard tell, in the service of old
Squire Philip; and he put his nag at it, and scumbled through. But first
you get up your wind, old chap."

Marmaduke seemed to know what was expected of him; for he turned round,
retreated a few steps, and then stood panting. Then Jordas dismounted,
as well as he could with his windward leg nearly frozen. He smote
himself lustily, with both arms swinging, upon his broad breast, and he
stamped in the snow till he felt his tingling feet again. Then he took
up the skirt of his thick heavy coat, and wiped down the head, mane,
and shoulders of the horse, and the great pile of snow upon the crupper.
"Start clear is a good word," he said.

For a moment he stopped to consider the forlorn hope of his last
resolution. "About me, there is no such great matter," he thought; "but
if I was to kill Dukie, who would ever hear the last of it? And what a
good horse he have been, to be sure! But if I was to leave him so, the
crows would only have him. We be both in one boat; we must try of it."
He said a little prayer, which was all he knew, for himself and a lass
he had a liking to, who lived in a mill upon the river Lune; and then
he got into the saddle again, and set his teeth hard, and spoke to
Marmaduke, a horse who would never be touched with a spur. "Come on, old
chap," was all he said.

The horse looked about in the thick of the night, as the head of the
horse peers out of the cloak, in Welsh mummery, at Christmas-tide.
The thick of the night was light and dark, with the dense intensity
of down-pour; light in itself, and dark with shutting out all sight of
everything--a close-at-hand confusion, and a distance out of measure.
The horse, with his wise snow-crusted eyes, took in all the winnowing of
light among the draff, and saw no possibility of breaking through, but
resolved to spend his life as he was ordered. No power of rush or of
dash could he gather, because of the sinking of his feet; the main
chance was of bulk and weight; and his rider left him free to choose.
For a few steps he walked, nimbly picking up his feet, and then, with
a canter of the best spring he could compass, hurled himself into the
depth of the drift, while Jordas lay flat along his neck, and let him
plunge. For a few yards the light snow flew before him, like froth of
the sea before a broad-bowed ship, and smothered as he was, he fought
onward for his life. But very soon the power of his charge was gone, his
limbs could not rise, and his breath was taken from him; the hole that
he had made was filled up behind him; fresh volumes from the shaken
height came pouring down upon him; his flanks and his back were wedged
fast in the cumber, and he stood still and trembled, being buried alive.

Jordas, with a great effort, threw himself off, and put his hat before
his mouth, to make himself a breathing space. He scarcely knew whether
he stood or lay; but he kicked about for want of air, and the more
he kicked the worse it was, as in the depth of nightmare. Blindness,
choking, smothering, and freezing fell in a lump upon his poor body now,
and the shrieking of the horse and the panting of his struggles came, by
some vibration, to him.

But just as he began to lose his wits, sink away backward, and gasp for
breath, a gleam of light broke upon his closing eyes; he gathered the
remnant of his strength, struck for it, and was in a space of free air.
After several long pants he looked around, and found that a thicket of
stub oak jutting from the crag of the gap had made a small alcove with
billows of snow piled over it. Then the brave spirit of the man came
forth. "There is room for Dukie as well as me," he gasped; "with God's
help, I will fetch him in."

Weary as he was, he cast himself back into the wall of snow, and
listened. At first he heard nothing, and made sure that all was over;
but presently a faint soft gurgle, like a dying sob, came through the
murk. With all his might he dashed toward the sound, and laid hold of a
hairy chin just foundering. "Rise up, old chap," he tried to shout, and
he gave the horse a breath or two with the broad-brimmed hat above his
nose. Then Marmaduke rallied for one last fight, with the surety of a
man to help him. He staggered forward to the leading of the hand he knew
so well, and fell down upon his knees; but his head was clear, and he
drew long breaths, and his heart was glad, and his eyes looked up, and
he gave a feeble whinny.



CHAPTER XLI

BAT OF THE GILL


Upon that same evening the cottage in the gill was well snowed up, as
befell it every winter, more or less handsomely, according to the wind.
The wind was in the right way to do it truly now, with just enough
draught to pile bountiful wreaths, and not enough of wild blast to
scatter them again. "Bat of the Gill," as Mr. Bert was called, sat by
the fire, with his wife and daughter, and listened very calmly to the
whistle of the wind, and the sliding of the soft fall that blocked his
window-panes.

Insie was reading, Mrs. Bert was knitting stockings, and Mr. Bert was
thinking of his own strange life. It never once occurred to him that
great part of its strangeness sprang from the oddities of his own
nature, any more than a man who has been in a quarrel believes that he
could have kept out of it. "Matters beyond my own control have forced me
to do this and that," is the sure belief of every man whose life has run
counter to his fellows, through his own inborn diversity. In this man's
nature were two strange points, sure (if they are strong enough to
survive experience) to drive anybody into strange ways: he did not care
for money, and he contemned rank.

How these two horrible twists got into his early composition is more
than can be told, and in truth it does not matter. But being quite
incurable, and meeting with no sympathy, except among people who aspired
to them only, and failed--if they ever got the chance of failing--these
depravations from the standard of mankind drove Christopher Bert from
the beaten tracks of life. Providence offered him several occasions of
return into the ordinary course; for after he had cast abroad a very
nice inheritance, other two fortunes fell to him, but found him as
difficult as ever to stay with. Not that he was lavish upon luxury
of his own, for no man could have simpler tastes, but that he weakly
believed in the duty of benevolence, and the charms of gratitude. Of the
latter it is needless to say that he got none, while with the former he
produced some harm. When all his bread was cast upon the waters, he set
out to earn his own crust as best he might.

Hence came a chapter of accidents, and a volume of motley incidents in
various climes, and upon far seas. Being a very strong, active man,
with gift of versatile hand and brain, and early acquaintance with
handicrafts, Christopher Bert could earn his keep, and make in a year
almost as much as he used to give away, or lend without redemption, in a
general day of his wealthy time. Hard labor tried to make him sour, but
did not succeed therein.

Yet one thing in all this experience vexed him more than any hardship,
to wit, that he never could win true fellowship among his new fellows in
the guild of labor. Some were rather surly, others very pleasant (from
a warm belief that he must yet come into money); but whatsomever
or whosoever they were, or of whatever land, they all agreed that
Christopher Bert was not of their communion. Manners, appearance,
education, freedom from prejudice, and other wide diversities marked him
as an interloper, and perhaps a spy, among the enlightened working-men
of the period. Over and over again he strove to break down this barrier;
but thrice as hard he might have striven, and found it still too strong
for him. This and another circumstance at last impressed him with the
superior value of his own society. Much as he loved the working-man--in
spite of all experience of him--that worthy fellow would not have it,
but felt a truly and piously hereditary scorn for "a gentleman as took
a order, when, but for being a blessed fool, he might have stood there
giving it."

The other thing that helped to drive him from this very dense array was
his own romantic marriage, and the copious birth of children. After the
sensitive age was past, and when the sensibles ought to reign--for then
he was past five-and-thirty--he fell (for the first time of his life)
into a violent passion of love for a beautiful Jewish maid barely turned
seventeen; Zilpah admired him, for he was of noble aspect, rich with
variety of thoughts and deeds. With women he had that peculiar power
which men of strong character possess; his voice was like music, and
his words as good as poetry, and he scarcely ever seemed to contradict
himself. Very soon Zilpah adored him; and then he gave notice to her
parents that she was to be his wife. These stared considerably, being
very wealthy people, of high Jewish blood (and thus the oldest of the
old), and steadfast most--where all are steadfast--to their own race of
religion. Finding their astonishment received serenely, they locked up
their daughter, with some strong expressions; which they redoubled when
they found the door wide open in the morning. Zilpah was gone, and they
scratched out her name from the surface of their memories.

Christopher Bert, being lawfully married--for the local restrictions
scorned the case of a foreigner and a Jewess--crossed the Polish
frontier with his mules and tools, and drove his little covered cart
through Austria. And here he lit upon, and helped in some predicament
of the road, a spirited young Englishman undergoing the miseries of
the grand tour, the son and heir of Philip Yordas. Duncan was large and
crooked of thought--as every true Yordas must be--and finding a mind in
advance of his own by several years of such sallyings, and not yet even
swerving toward the turning goal of corpulence, the young man perceived
that he had hit upon a prophet.

For Bert scarcely ever talked at all of his generous ideas. A
prophet's proper mantle is the long cloak of Harpocrates, and his best
vaticinations are inspired more than uttered. So it came about that
Duncan Yordas, difficult as he was to lead, largely shared the devious
courses of Christopher Bert the workman, and these few months of
friendship made a lasting mark upon the younger man.

Soon after this a heavy blow befell the ingenious wanderer. Among his
many arts and trades, he had some knowledge of engineering, or at
any rate much boldness of it; which led him to conceive a brave idea
concerning some tributary of the Po. The idea was sound and fine, and
might have led to many blessings; but Nature, enjoying her bad work
best, recoiled upon her improver. He left an oozy channel drying (like a
glanderous sponge) in August; and virulent fever came into his tent.
All of his eight children died except his youngest son Maunder; his own
strong frame was shaken sadly; and his loving wife lost all her strength
and buxom beauty. He gathered the remnants of his race, and stricken but
still unconquered, took his way to a long-forgotten land. "The residue
of us must go home," he said, after all his wanderings.

In London, of course, he was utterly forgotten, although he had spent
much substance there, in the days of sanguine charity. Durham was his
native county, where he might have been a leading man, if more like
other men. "Cosmopolitan" as he was, and strong in his own opinions
still, the force of years, and sorrow, and long striving, told upon him.
He had felt a longing to mend the kettles of the house that once was
his; but when he came to the brink of Tees his stout heart failed, and
he could not cross.

Instead of that he turned away, to look for his old friend Yordas; not
to be patronized by him--for patronage he would have none--but from
hankering after a congenial mind, and to touch upon kind memories.
Yordas was gone, as pure an outcast as himself, and his name almost
forbidden there. He thought it a part of the general wrong, and wandered
about to see the land, with his eyes wide open as usual.

There was nothing very beautiful in the land, and nothing at all
attractive, except that it commanded length of view, and was noble
in its rugged strength. This, however, pleased him well, and here he
resolved to set up his staff, if means could be found to make it grow.
From the higher fells he could behold (whenever the weather encouraged
him) the dromedary humps of certain hills, at the tail whereof he had
been at school--a charming mist of retrospect. And he felt, though it
might have been hard to make him own it, a deeply seated joy that here
he should be long lengths out of reach of the most highly illuminated
working-man. This was an inconsistent thing, but consistent forever in
coming to pass.

Where the will is, there the way is, if the will be only wise. Bert
found out a way of living in this howling wilderness, as his poor wife
would have called it, if she had been a bad wife. Unskillful as he had
shown himself in the matter of silver and gold, he had won great skill
in the useful metals, especially in steel--the type of truth. And here
in a break of rock he discovered a slender vein of a slate-gray mineral,
distinct from cobalt, but not unlike it, such as he had found in the
Carpathian Mountains, and which in metallurgy had no name yet, for its
value was known to very few. But a legend of the spot declared that the
ancient cutlers of Bilbao owed much of their fame to the use of this
mineral in the careful process of conversion.

"I can make a living out of it, and that is all I want," said Bert, who
was moderately sanguine still. "I know a manufacturer who has faith in
me, and is doing all he can against the supremacy of Sheffield. If I
can make arrangements with him, we will settle here, and keep to our own
affairs for the future."

He built him a cottage in lonely snugness, far in the waste, and outside
even of the range of title-deeds, though he paid a small rent to the
manor, to save trouble, and to satisfy his conscience of the mineral
deposit. By right of discovery, lease, and user, this became entirely
his, as nobody else had ever heard of it. So by the fine irony of facts
it came to pass, first, that the squanderer of three fortunes united
his lot with a Jewess; next, that a great "cosmopolitan" hugged a strict
corner of jealous monopoly; and again, that a champion of communism
insisted upon his exclusive right to other people's property. However,
for all that, it might not be easy to find a more consistent man.

Here Maunder, the surviving son, grew up, and Insie, their last child,
was born; and the land enjoyed peace for twenty years, because it was
of little value. A man who had been about the world so loosely must have
found it hard to be boxed up here, except for the lowering of strength
and pride by sorrow of affection, and sore bodily affliction. But the
air of the moorland is good for such troubles. Bert possessed a happy
nature; and perhaps it was well that his children could say, "We are
nine; but only two to feed."

It must have been the whistling wind, a long memorial sound, which sent
him, upon this snowy December night, back among the echoes of the past;
for he always had plenty of work to do, even in the winter evenings,
and was not at all given to folded arms. And before he was tired of his
short warm rest, his wife asked, "Where is Maunder?"

"I left him doing his work," he replied; "he had a great heap still to
clear. He understands his work right well. He will not go to bed till he
has done it. We must not be quite snowed up, my dear."

Mrs. Bert shook her head: having lost so many children, she was anxious
about the rest of them. But before she could speak again, a heavy leap
against the door was heard; the strong latch rattled, and the timbers
creaked. Insie jumped up to see what it meant, but her father stopped
her, and went himself. When he opened the door, a whirl of snow flew in,
and through the glitter and the flutter a great dog came reeling, and
rolled upon the floor, a mighty lump of bristled whiteness. Mrs. Bert
was terrified, for she thought it was a wolf, not having found it in her
power to believe that there could be such a desert place without wolves
in the winter-time.

"Why, Saracen!" said Insie; "I declare it is! You poor old dog, what can
have brought you out this weather?"

Both her parents were surprised to see her sit down on the floor and
throw her arms around the neck of this self-invited and very uncouth
visitor. For the girl forgot all of her trumpery concealments in the
warmth of her feeling for a poor lost dog.

Saracen looked at her, with a view to dignity. He had only seen her once
before, when Pet brought him down (both for company and safeguard), and
he was not a dog who would dream of recognizing a person to whom he had
been rashly introduced. And he knew that he was in a mighty difficulty
now, which made self-respect all the more imperative. However, on the
whole, he had been pleased with Insie at their first interview, and had
patronized her--for she had an honest fragrance, and a little taste of
salt--and now with a side look he let her know that he did not wish to
hurt her feelings, although his business was not with her. But if she
wanted to give him some refreshment, she might do so, while he was
considering.

The fact was, though he could not tell it, and would scorn to do so
if he could, that he had not had one bit to eat for more hours than he
could reckon. That wicked hostler at Middleton had taken his money and
disbursed it upon beer, adding insult to injury by remarking, in the
hearing of Saracen (while strictly chained), that he was a deal too fat
already. So vile a sentiment had deepened into passion the dog's ever
dominant love of home; and when the darkness closed upon him in an
unknown hungry hole, without even a horse for company, any other dog
would have howled; but this dog stiffened his tail with self-respect. He
scraped away all the straw to make a clear area for his experiment, and
then he stood up like a pillar, or a fine kangaroo, and made trial of
his weight against the chain. Feeling something give, or show propensity
toward giving, he said to himself that here was one more triumph for him
over the presumptuous intellect of man. The chain might be strong enough
to hold a ship, and the great leathern collar to secure a bull; but the
fastening of chain to collar was unsound, by reason of the rusting of a
rivet.

Retiring to the manger for a better length of rush, he backed against
the wall for a fulcrum to his spring, while the roll of his chest and
the breadth of his loins quivered with tight muscle. Then off like the
charge of a cannon he dashed, the loop of the collar flew out of the
rivet, and the chain fell clanking on the paving-bricks. With grim
satisfaction the dog set off in the track of the horse for Scargate
Hall. And now he sat panting in the cottage of the gill, to tell his
discovery and to crave for help.

"Where do you come from, and what do you want?" asked Bert, as the dog,
soon beginning to recover, looked round at the door, and then back again
at him, and jerked up his chin impatiently, "Insie, you seem to know
this fine fellow. Where have you met him? And whose dog is he? Saracen!
Why, that is the name of the dog who is everybody's terror at Scargate."

"I gave him some water one day," said Insie, "when he was terribly
thirsty. But he seems to know you, father, better than me. He wants you
to do something, and he scorns me."

For Saracen, failing of articulate speech, was uttering volumes of
entreaty with his eyes, which were large, and brown, and full of clear
expression under eyebrows of rich tan; and then he ran to the door, put
up one heavy paw and shook it, and ran back, and pushed the master with
his nozzle, and then threw back his great head and long velvet ears, and
opening his enormous jaws, gave vent to a mighty howl which shook the
roof.

"Oh, put him out, put him out! open the door!" exclaimed Mrs. Bert, in
fresh terror. "If he is not a wolf, he is a great deal worse."

"His master is out in the snow," cried Bert; "perhaps buried in the
snow, and he is come to tell us. Give me my hat, child, and my thick
coat. See how delighted he is, poor fellow! Oh, here comes Maunder! Now
lead the way, my friend. Maunder, go and fetch the other shovel.
There is somebody lost in the snow, I believe. We must follow this dog
immediately."

"Not till you both have had much plenty food," the mother said: "out
upon the moors, this bad, bad night, and for leagues possibly to travel.
My son and my husband are much too good. You bad dog, why did you come,
pestilent? But you shall have food also. Insie, provide him. While I
make to eat your father and your brother."

Saracen would hardly wait, starving as he was; but seeing the men
prepare to start, he made the best of it, and cleared out a colander of
victuals in a minute.

"Put up what is needful for a starving traveller," Mr. Bert said to the
ladies. "We shall want no lantern; the snow gives light enough, and
the moon will soon be up. Keep a kettle boiling, and some warm clothes
ready. Perhaps we shall be hours away; but have no fear. Maunder is the
boy for snow-drifts."

The young man being of a dark and silent nature, quite unlike his
father's, made no reply, nor even deigned to give a smile, but seemed to
be wonderfully taken with the dog, who in many ways resembled him. Then
he cast both shovels on his shoulder at the door, and strode forth,
and stamped upon the path that he had cleared. His father took a stout
stick, the dog leaped past them, and led them out at once upon the open
moor.

"We are in for a night of it," said Mr. Bert, and his son did not
contradict him.

"The dog goes first, then I, then you," he said to his father, with his
deep slow tone. And the elderly man, whose chief puzzle in life--since
he had given up the problem of the world--was the nature of his only
son, now wondered again, as he seldom ceased from wondering, whether
this boy despised or loved him. The young fellow always took the very
greatest care of his father, as if he were a child to be protected, and
he never showed the smallest sign of disrespect. Yet Maunder was not the
true son of his father, but of some ancestor, whose pride sprang out
of dust at the outrageous idea of a kettle-mending Bert, and embodied
itself in this Maunder.

The large-minded father never dreamed of such a trifle, but felt in such
weather, with the snow above his leggings, that sometimes it is good to
have a large-bodied son.



CHAPTER XLII

A CLEW OF BUTTONS


When Jack o' the Smithies met his old commander, as related by himself,
at the house of Mr. Mordacks, everything seemed to be going on well for
Sir Duncan, and badly for his sisters. The general factor, as he hinted
long ago, possessed certain knowledge which the Middleton lawyer fondly
supposed to be confined to himself and his fair clients. Sir Duncan
refused to believe that the ladies could ever have heard of such a
document as that which, if valid, would simply expel them; for, said he,
"If they know of it, they are nothing less than thieves to conceal it
and continue in possession. Of a lawyer I could fancy it, but never of a
lady."

"My good sir," answered the sarcastic Mordacks, "a lady's conscience is
not the same as a gentleman's, but bears more resemblance to a lawyer's.
A lady's honor is of the very highest standard; but the standard depends
upon her state of mind; and that, again, depends upon the condition of
her feelings. You must not suppose me to admit the faintest shadow of
disrespect toward your good sisters; but ladies are ladies, and facts
are facts; and the former can always surmount the latter; while a man is
comparatively helpless. I know that Mr. Jellicorse, their man of law, is
thoroughly acquainted with this interesting deed; his first duty was to
apprise them of it; and that, you may be quite sure, he has done."

"I hope not. I am sure not. A lawyer does not always employ hot haste in
an unwelcome duty."

"True enough, Sir Duncan. But the duty here was welcome. Their knowledge
of that deed, and of his possession of it, would make him their master,
if he chose to be so. Not that old Jellicorse would think of such a
thing. He is a man of high principle like myself, of a lofty conscience,
and even sentimental. But lawyers are just like the rest of mankind.
Their first consideration is their bread and cheese; though some of them
certainly seem ready to accept it even in the toasted form."

"You may say what you like, Mordacks, my sister Philippa is far too
upright, and Eliza too good, for any such thing to be possible. However,
that question may abide. I shall not move until I have some one to do it
for. I have no great affection for a home which cast me forth, whether
it had a right to do so or not. But if we succeed in the more important
matter, it will be my duty to recover the estates, for the benefit of
another. You are sure of your proofs that it is the boy?"

"As certain as need be. And we will make it surer when you meet me there
the week after next. For the reasons I have mentioned, we must wait
till then. Your yacht is at Yarmouth. You have followed my advice in
approaching by sea, and not by land, and in hiring at Yarmouth for the
purpose. But you never should have come to York, Sir Duncan; this is
a very great mistake of yours. They are almost sure to hear of it.
And even your name given in our best inn! But luckily they never see a
newspaper at Scargate."

"I follow the tactics with which you succeed--all above-board, and no
stratagems. Your own letter brought me; but perhaps I am too old to be
so impatient. Where shall I meet you, and on what day?"

"This day fortnight, at the Thornwick Inn, I shall hope to be with you
at three o'clock, and perhaps bring somebody with me. If I fixed an
earlier day, I should only disappoint you. For many things have to be
delicately managed; and among them, the running of a certain cargo,
without serious consequence. For that we may trust a certain very
skillful youth. For the rest you must trust to a clumsier person, your
humble land-agent and surveyor--titles inquired into and verified, at a
tenth of solicitors' charges."

"Well," said Sir Duncan, "you shall verify mine, as soon as you have
verified my son, and my title to him. Good-by, Mordacks. I am sure you
mean me well, but you seem to be very long about it."

"Hot climates breed impatience, sir. A true son of Yorkshire is never in
a hurry. The general complaint of me is concerning my wild rapidity."

"You are like the grocer, whose goods, if they have any fault at all,
have the opposite one to what the customer finds in them. Well, good-by,
Mordacks. You are a trusty friend, and I thank you."

These words from Sir Duncan Yordas were not merely of commonplace.
For he was a man of great self-reliance, quick conclusion, and strong
resolve. These had served him well in India, and insured his fortune;
while early adversity and bitter losses had tempered the arrogance of
his race. After the loss of his wife and child, and the breach with all
his relatives, he had led a life of peril and hard labor, varied with
few pleasures. When first he learned from Edinburgh that the ship
conveying his only child to the care of the mother's relatives was lost,
with all on board, he did all in his power to make inquiries. But
the illness and death of his wife, to whom he was deeply attached,
overwhelmed him. For while with some people "one blow drives out
another," with some the second serves only to drive home, deepen, and
aggravate the first. For years he was satisfied to believe both losses
irretrievable. And so he might still have gone on believing, except for
a queer little accident.

Being called to Calcutta upon government business, he happened to see a
pair of English sailors, lazily playing, in a shady place by the side of
the road, at hole-penny. One of them seemed to have his pocket cleared
out, for just as Sir Duncan was passing, he cried, "Here, Jack, you give
me change of one of them, and I'll have at you again, my boy. As good as
a guinea with these blessed niggers. Come back to their home, I b'lieve
they are, same as I wish I was; rale gold--ask this gen'leman."

The other swore that they were "naught but brass, and not worth a copper
farden"; until the tars, being too tipsy for much fighting, referred the
question to Sir Duncan.

Three hollow beads of gold were what they showed him, and he knew them
at once for his little boy's buttons, the workmanship being peculiar to
one village of his district, and one family thereof. The sailor would
thankfully have taken one rupee apiece for them; but Sir Duncan gave him
thirty for the three--their full metallic value--upon his pledging honor
to tell all he knew about them, and make affidavit, if required. Then
he told all he knew, to the best of his knowledge, and swore to it when
sober, accepted a refresher, and made oath to it again, with some lively
particulars added. And the facts that he deposed to, and deposited, were
these:

Being down upon his luck, about a twelvemonth back, he thought of
keeping company with a nice young woman, and settling down until a
better time turned up; and happening to get a month's wages from a
schooner of ninety-five tons at Scarborough, he strolled about the
street a bit, and kept looking down the railings for a servant-girl who
might have got her wages in her work-box. Clean he was, and taut, and
clever, beating up street in Sunday rig, keeping sharp look-out for
a consort, and in three or four tacks he hailed one. As nice a young
partner as a lad could want, and his meaning was to buckle to for the
winter. But the night before the splicing-day, what happened to him he
never could tell after. He was bousing up his jib, as a lad is bound
to do, before he takes the breakers. And when he came to, he was twenty
leagues from Scarborough, on board of his Majesty's recruiting brig the
Harpy. He felt in his pocket for the wedding-ring, and instead of that,
there were these three beads.

Sir Duncan was sorry for his sad disaster, and gave him ten more rupees
to get over it. And then he discovered that the poor forsaken maiden's
name was Sally Watkins. Sally was the daughter of a rich pawnbroker,
whose frame of mind was sometimes out of keeping with its true
contents. He had very fine feelings, and real warmth of sympathy; but
circumstances seemed sometimes to lead them into the wrong channel,
and induced him to kick his children out of doors. In the middle of the
family he kicked out Sally, almost before her turn was come; and
she took a place at 4 pounds a year, to disgrace his memory--as she
said--carrying off these buttons, and the jacket, which he had bestowed
upon her, in a larger interval.

There was no more to be learned than this from the intercepted
bridegroom. He said that he might have no objection to go on with his
love again, as soon as the war was over, leastways, if it was made worth
his while; but he had come across another girl, at the Cape of Good
Hope, and he believed that this time the Lord was in it, for she had
been born in a caul, and he had got it. With such a dispensation Sir
Duncan Yordas saw no right to interfere, but left the course of true
love to itself, after taking down the sailor's name--"Ned Faithful."

However, he resolved to follow out the clew of beads, though without
much hope of any good result. Of the three in his possession he kept
one, and one he sent to Edinburgh, and the third to York, having heard
of the great sagacity, vigor, and strict integrity of Mr. Mordacks, all
of which he sharpened by the promise of a large reward upon discovery.
Then he went back to his work, until his time of leave was due, after
twenty years of arduous and distinguished service. In troublous times,
no private affairs, however urgent, should drive him from his post.

Now, eager as he was when in England once again, he was true to his
character and the discipline of life. He had proof that the matter was
in very good hands, and long command had taught him the necessity of
obedience. Any previous Yordas would have kicked against the pricks,
rushed forward, and scattered everything. But Sir Duncan was now of a
different fibre. He left York at once, as Mordacks advised, and posted
to Yarmouth, before the roads were blocked with snow, and while Jack o'
the Smithies was returning to his farm. And from Yarmouth he set sail
for Scarborough, in a sturdy little coaster, which he hired by the week.
From Scarborough he would run down to Bridlington--not too soon,
for fear of setting gossip going, but in time to meet Mordacks at
Flamborough, as agreed upon.

That gentleman had other business in hand, which must not be neglected;
but he gave to this matter a very large share of his time, and paid
five-and-twenty pounds for the trusty roadster, who liked the taste of
Flamborough pond, and the salt air on the oats of Widow Tapsy's stable,
and now regularly neighed and whisked his tail as soon as he found
himself outside Monk Bar. By favor of this horse and of his own sword
and pistols, Mordacks spent nearly as much time now at Flamborough as
he did in York; but unluckily he had been obliged to leave on the
very afternoon before the run was accomplished, and Carroway slain so
wickedly; for he hurried home to meet Sir Duncan, and had not heard the
bad news when he met him.

That horrible murder was a sad blow to him, not only as a man of
considerable kindness and desire to think well of every one--so far as
experience allows it--but also because of the sudden apparition of the
law rising sternly in front of him. Justice in those days was not as
now: her truer name was Nemesis. After such an outrage to the dignity of
the realm, an example must be made, without much consideration whether
it were the right one. If Robin Lyth were caught, there would be the
form of trial, but the principal point would be to hang him. Like the
rest of the world, Mr. Mordacks at first believed entirely in his guilt;
but unlike the world, he did not desire to have him caught, and brought
straightway to the gallows. Instead of seeking him, therefore, he was
now compelled to avoid him, when he wanted him most; for it never must
be said that a citizen of note had discoursed with such a criminal,
and allowed him to escape. On the other hand, here he had to meet Sir
Duncan, and tell him that all those grand promises were shattered, that
in finding his only son all he had found was a cowardly murderer flying
for his life, and far better left at the bottom of the sea. For once
in a way, as he dwelt upon all this, the general factor became
down-hearted, his vigorous face lost the strong lines of decision, and
he even allowed his mouth to open without anything to put into it.

But it was impossible for this to last. Nature had provided Mordacks
with an admirably high opinion of himself, enlivened by a sprightly
good-will toward the world, whenever it wagged well with him. He had
plenty of business of his own, and yet could take an amateur delight in
the concerns of everybody; he was always at liberty to give good advice,
and never under duty to take it; he had vigor of mind, of memory,
of character, and of digestion; and whenever he stole a holiday from
self-denial, and launched out after some favorite thing, there was the
cash to do it with, and the health to do it pleasantly.

Such a man is not long depressed by a sudden misadventure. Dr. Upround's
opinion in favor of Robin did not go very far with him; for he looked
upon the rector as a man who knew more of divine than of human nature.
But that fault could scarcely be found with a woman; or at any rate with
a widow encumbered with a large family hanging upon the dry breast of
the government. And though Mr. Mordacks did not invade the cottage quite
so soon as he should have done, if guided by strict business, he thought
himself bound to get over that reluctance, and press her upon a most
distressing subject, before he kept appointment with his principal.

The snow, which by this time had blockaded Scargate, impounded
Jordas, and compelled Mr. Jellicorse to rest and be thankful for a hot
mince-pie, although it had visited this eastern coast as well, was
not deep enough there to stop the roads. Keeping head-quarters at the
"Hooked Cod" now, and encouraging a butcher to set up again (who had
dropped all his money, in his hurry to get on), Geoffrey Mordacks began
to make way into the outer crust of Flamborough society. In a council of
the boats, upon a Sunday afternoon, every boat being garnished for
its rest upon the flat, and every master fisherman buttoned with a
flower--the last flowers of the year, and bearing ice-marks in their
eyes--a resolution had been passed that the inland man meant well, had
naught to do with Revenue, or Frenchmen either, or what was even worse,
any outside fishers, such as often-time came sneaking after fishing
grounds of Flamborough. Mother Tapsy stood credit for this strange man,
and he might be allowed to go where he was minded, and to take all the
help he liked to pay for.

Few men could have achieved such a triumph, without having married a
Flamborough lass, which must have been the crown of all human ambition,
if difficulty crowns it. Even to so great a man it was an added laurel,
and strengthened him much in his opinion of himself. In spite of all
disasters, he recovered faith in fortune, so many leading Flamborough
men began to touch their hats to him! And thus he set forth before a
bitter eastern gale, with the head of his seasoned charger bent toward
the melancholy cot at Bridlington.

Having granted a new life of slaughter to that continually insolvent
butcher, who exhibited the body of a sheep once more, with an eye to the
approach of Christmas, this universal factor made it a point of duty
to encourage him. In either saddle-bag he bore a seven-pound leg of
mutton--a credit to a sheep of that district then--and to show himself
no traitor to the staple of the place, he strapped upon his crupper, in
some oar-weed and old netting, a twenty-pound cod, who found it hard to
breathe his last when beginning to enjoy horse-exercise.

"There is a lot of mouths to fill," said Mr. Mordacks, with a sigh,
while his landlady squeezed a brown loaf of her baking into the nick
of his big sword-strap; "and you and I are capable of entering into the
condition of the widow and the fatherless."

"Hoonger is the waa of them, and victuals is the cure for it. Now mind
you coom home afore dark," cried the widow, to whom he had happened to
say, very sadly, that he was now a widower. "To my moind, a sight o'
more snaw is a-coomin'; and what mah sard or goon foight again it?
Captain Moordocks, coom ye home arly. T' hare sha' be doon to a toorn be
fi' o'clock. Coom ye home be that o'clock, if ye care for deener."

"I must have made a tender impression on her heart," Mr. Mordacks said
to himself, as he kissed his hand to the capacious hostess. "Such is
my fortune, to be loved by everybody, while aiming at the sternest
rectitude. It is sweet, it is dangerously sweet; but what a comfort! How
that large-hearted female will baste my hare!"



CHAPTER XLIII

A PLEASANT INTERVIEW


Cumbered as he was of body, and burdened with some cares of mind, the
general factor ploughed his way with his usual resolution. A scowl of
dark vapor came over the headlands, and under-ran the solid snow-clouds
with a scud, like bonfire smoke. The keen wind following the curves of
land, and shaking the fringe of every white-clad bush, piped (like a
boy through a comb) wherever stock or stub divided it. It turned all
the coat of the horse the wrong way, and frizzed up the hair of Mr.
Mordacks, which was as short as a soldier's, and tossed up his heavy
riding cape, and got into him all up the small of his back. Being fond
of strong language, he indulged in much; but none of it warmed him, and
the wind whistled over his shoulders, and whirled the words out of his
mouth.

When he came to the dip of the road, where it crosses the Dane's
Dike, he pulled up his horse for a minute, in the shelter of shivering
fir-trees. "What a cursed bleak country! My fish is frozen stiff, and my
legs are as dead as the mutton in the saddle-bags. Geoffrey, you are a
fool," he said. "Charity is very fine, and business even better; but a
good coal fire is the best of all. But in for a penny of it, in for a
pound. Hark! I hear some fellow-fool equally determined to be frozen.
I'll go at once and hail him; perhaps the sight of him will warm me."

He turned his horse down a little lane upon the left, where snow lay
deep, with laden bushes overhanging it, and a rill of water bridged
with bearded ice ran dark in the hedge-trough. And here he found a
stout lusty man, with shining red cheeks and keen blue eyes, hacking and
hewing in a mighty maze of brambles.

"My friend, you seem busy. I admire your vast industry," Mr. Mordacks
exclaimed, as the man looked at him, but ceased not from swinging his
long hedge-hook. "Happy is the land that owns such men."

"The land dothn't own me; I own the land. I shall be pleased to learn
what your business is upon it."

Farmer Anerley hated chaff, as a good agriculturist should do. Moreover,
he was vexed by many little griefs to-day, and had not been out long
enough to work them off. He guessed pretty shrewdly that this sworded
man was "Moreducks"--as the leading wags of Flamborough were gradually
calling him--and the sight of a sword upon his farm (unless of an
officer bound to it) was already some disquietude to an English farmer's
heart. That was a trifle; for fools would be fools, and might think it a
grand thing to go about with tools they were never born to the handling
of; but a fellow who was come to take up Robin Lyth's case, and strive
to get him out of his abominable crime, had better go back to the
rogue's highway, instead of coming down the private road to Anerley.

"Upon my word I do believe," cried Mordacks, with a sprightly joy, "that
I have the pleasure of meeting at last the well-known Captain Anerley!
My dear sir, I can not help commending your prudence in guarding the
entrance to your manor; but not in this employment of a bill-hook. From
all that I hear, it is a Paradise indeed. What a haven in such weather
as the present! Now, Captain Anerley, I entreat you to consider whether
it is wise to take the thorn so from the rose. If I had so sweet a
place, I would plant brambles, briers, blackthorn, furze, crataegus,
every kind of spinous growth, inside my gates, and never let anybody lop
them. Captain, you are too hospitable."

Farmer Anerley gazed with wonder at this man, who could talk so fast for
the first time of seeing a body. Then feeling as if his hospitality were
challenged, and desiring more leisure for reflection, "You better come
down the lane, sir," he said.

"Am I to understand that you invite me to your house, or only to the
gate where the dogs come out? Excuse me: I always am a most plain-spoken
man."

"Our dogs never bite nobody but rogues."

"In that case, Captain Anerley, I may trust their moral estimate. I knew
a farmer once who was a thorough thief in hay; a man who farmed his own
land, and trimmed his own hedges; a thoroughly respectable and solid
agriculturist. But his trusses of hay were always six pounds short, and
if ever anybody brought a sample truss to steelyard, he had got a little
dog, just seven pounds weight, who slipped into the core of it, being
just a good hay-color. He always delivered his hay in the twilight, and
when it swung the beam, he used to say, 'Come, now, I must charge you
for overweight.' Now, captain, have you got such an honest dog as that?"

"I would have claimed him, that I would, if such a clever dog were
weighed to me. But, sir, you have got the better of me. What a man for
stories you be, for sure! Come in to our fire-place." Farmer Anerley was
conquered by this tale, which he told fifty times every year he lived
thereafter, never failing to finish with, "What rogues they be, up York
way!"

Master Mordacks was delighted with this piece of luck on his side.
Many times he had been longing to get in at Anerley, not only from the
reputation of good cheer there, but also from kind curiosity to see the
charming Mary, who was now becoming an important element of business.
Since Robin had given him the slip so sadly--a thing it was impossible
to guard against--the best chance of hearing what became of him would be
to get into the good graces of his sweetheart.

"We have been very sadly for a long time now," said the farmer, as he
knocked at his own porch door with the handle of his bill-hook. "There
used to be one as was always welcome here; and a pleasure it was to see
him make himself so pleasant, sir. But ever since the Lord took him home
from his family, without a good-by, as a man might say, my wife hath
taken to bar the doors whiles I am away and out of sight." Stephen
Anerley knocked harder, as he thus explained the need of it; for it
grieved him to have his house shut up.

"Very wise of them all to bar out such weather," said Mordacks, who read
the farmer's thoughts like print, "Don't relax your rules, sir, until
the weather changes. Ah, that was a very sad thing about the captain. As
gallant an officer, and as single-minded, as ever killed a Frenchman in
the best days of our navy."

"Single-minded is the very word to give him, sir. I sought about for it
ever since I heard of him coming to an end like that, and doing of his
duty in the thick of it. If I could only get a gentleman to tell me, or
an officer's wife would be better still, what the manners is when a poor
lady gets her husband shot, I'll be blest if I wouldn't go straight
and see her, though they make such a distance betwixt us and the
regulars.--Oh, then, ye've come at last! No thief, no thief."

"Father," cried Mary, bravely opening all the door, of which the
ruffian wind made wrong by casting her figure in high relief--and yet a
pardonable wrong--"father, you are quite wise to come home, before your
dear nose is quite cut off.--Oh, I beg your pardon, sir; I never saw
you."

"My fate in life is to be overlooked," Mr. Mordacks answered, with
a martial stride; "but not always, young lady, with such exquisite
revenge. What I look at pays fiftyfold for being overlooked."

"You are an impudent, conceited man," thought Mary to herself, with
gross injustice; but she only blushed and said, "I beg your pardon,
sir."

"You see, sir," quoth the farmer, with some severity, tempered, however,
with a smile of pride, "my daughter, Mary Anerley."

"And I take off my hat," replied audacious Mordacks, among whose faults
was no false shame, "not only to salute a lady, sir, but also to have a
better look."

"Well, well," said the farmer, as Mary ran away; "your city ways are
high polite, no doubt, but my little lass is strange to them. And I like
her better so, than to answer pert with pertness. Now come you in, and
warm your feet a bit. None of us are younger than we used to be."

This was not Master Anerley's general style of welcoming a guest, but he
hated new-fangled Frenchified manners, as he told his good wife, when
he boasted by-and-by how finely he had put that old coxcomb down. "You
never should have done it," was all the praise he got. "Mr. Mordacks is
a business man, and business men always must relieve their minds." For
no sooner now was the general factor introduced to Mistress Anerley
than she perceived clearly that the object of his visit was not to make
speeches to young chits of girls, but to seek the advice of a sensible
person, who ought to have been consulted a hundred times for once that
she even had been allowed to open her mouth fairly. Sitting by the fire,
he convinced her that the whole of the mischief had been caused by sheer
neglect of her opinion. Everything she said was so exactly to the point
that he could not conceive how it should have been so slighted, and she
for her part begged him to stay and partake of their simple dinner.

"Dear madam, it can not be," he replied; "alas! I must not think of it.
My conscience reproaches me for indulging, as I have done, in what
is far sweeter than even one of your dinners--a most sensible lady's
society. I have a long bitter ride before me, to comfort the fatherless
and the widow. My two legs of mutton will be thawed by this time in the
genial warmth of your stable. I also am thawed, warmed, feasted I may
say, by happy approximation to a mind so bright and congenial. Captain
Anerley, madam, has shown true kindness in allowing me the privilege of
exclusive speech with you. Little did I hope for such a piece of luck
this morning. You have put so many things in a new and brilliant light,
that my road becomes clear before me. Justice must be done; and you feel
quite sure that Robin Lyth committed this atrocious murder because poor
Carroway surprised him so when making clandestine love, at your brother
Squire Popplewell's, to a beautiful young lady who shall be nameless.
And deeply as you grieve for the loss of such a neighbor, the bravest
officer of the British navy, who leaped from a strictly immeasurable
height into a French ship, and scattered all her crew, and has since had
a baby about three months old, as well as innumerable children, you
feel that you have reason to be thankful sometimes that the young man's
character has been so clearly shown, before he contrived to make his way
into the bosom of respectable families in the neighborhood."

"I never thought it out quite so clear as that, sir; for I feel so sorry
for everybody, and especially those who have brought him up, and those
he has made away with."

"Quite so, my dear madam; such are your fine feelings, springing from
the goodness of your nature. Pardon my saying that you could have no
other, according to my experience of a most benevolent countenance. Part
of my duty, and in such a case as yours, one of the pleasantest parts of
it, is to study the expression of a truly benevolent--"

"I am not that old, sir, asking of your pardon, to pretend to be
benevolent. All that I lay claim to is to look at things sensible."

"Certainly, yet with a tincture of high feeling. Now if it should happen
that this poor young man were of very high birth, perhaps the highest in
the county, and the heir to very large landed property, and a title,
and all that sort of nonsense, you would look at him from the very same
point of view?"

"That I would, sir, that I would. So long as he was proclaimed for
hanging. But naturally bound, of course, to be more sorry for him."

"Yes, from sense of all the good things he must lose. There seems,
however, to be strong ground for believing--as I may tell you, in
confidence, Dr. Upround does--that he had no more to do with it than you
or I, ma'am. At first I concluded as you have done. I am going to see
Mrs. Carroway now. Till then I suspend my judgment."

"Now that is what nobody should do, Mr. Mordacks. I have tried, but
never found good come of it. To change your mind is two words against
yourself; and you go wrong both ways, before and after."

"Undoubtedly you do, ma'am. I never thought of that before. But you
must remember that we have not the gift of hitting--I might say of
making--the truth with a flash or a dash, as you ladies have. May I be
allowed to come again?"

"To tell you the truth, sir, I am heartily sorry that you are going away
at all. I could have talked to you all the afternoon; and how seldom I
get the chance now, Lord knows. There is that in your conversation which
makes one feel quite sure of being understood; not so much in what you
say, sir--if you understand my meaning--as in the way you look, quite as
if my meaning was not at all too quick for you. My good husband is of a
greater mind than I am, being nine-and-forty inches round the chest;
but his mind seems somehow to come after mine, the same as the ducks do,
going down to our pond."

"Mistress Anerley, how thankful you should be! What a picture of
conjugal felicity! But I thought that the drake always led the way?"

"Never upon our farm, sir. When he doth, it is a proof of his being
crossed with wild-ducks. The same as they be round Flamborough."

"Oh, now I see the truth. How slow I am! It improves their flavor, at
the expense of their behavior. But seriously, madam, you are fit to take
the lead. What a pleasant visit I have had! I must brace myself up for a
very sad one now--a poor lady, with none to walk behind her."

"Yes, to be sure! It is very fine of me to talk. But if I was left
without my husband, I should only care to walk after him. Please to give
her my kind love, sir; though I have only seen her once. And if there is
anything that we can do--"

"If there is anything that we can do," said the farmer, coming out
of his corn-chamber, "we won't talk about it, but we'll do it, Mr.
Moreducks."

The factor quietly dispersed this rebuke, by waving his hand at his two
legs of mutton and the cod, which had thawed in the stable. "I knew that
I should be too late," he said; "her house will be full of such little
things as these, so warm is the feeling of the neighborhood. I guessed
as much, and arranged with my butcher to take them back in that case;
and he said they would eat all the better for the ride. But as for
the cod, perhaps you will accept him. I could never take him back to
Flamborough."

"Ride away, sir, ride away," said the farmer, who had better not have
measured swords with Mordacks. "I were thinking of sending a cart over
there, so soon as the weather should be opening of the roads up. But
the children might be hankerin' after meat, the worse for all the
snow-time."

"It is almost impossible to imagine such a thing. Universally respected,
suddenly cut off, enormous family with hereditary hunger, all the
neighbors well aware of straitened circumstances, the kindest-hearted
county in Great Britain--sorrow and abundance must have cloyed their
appetites, as at a wealthy man's funeral. What a fool I must have been
not to foresee all that!"

"Better see than foresee," replied the farmer, who was crusty from
remembering that he had done nothing. "Neighbors likes to wait for
neighbors to go in; same as two cows staring at a new-mown meadow."



CHAPTER XLIV

THE WAY OF THE WORLD


Cliffs snow-mantled, and storm-ploughed sands, and dark gray billows
frilled with white, rolling and roaring to the shrill east wind, made
the bay of Bridlington a very different sight from the smooth fair
scene of August. Scarcely could the staggering colliers, anchored under
Flamborough Head (which they gladly would have rounded if they could),
hold their own against wind and sea, although the outer spit of sand
tempered as yet the full violence of waves.

But if everything looked cold and dreary, rough, and hard, and bare
of beauty, the cottage of the late lieutenant, standing on the shallow
bluff, beaten by the wind, and blinded of its windows from within, of
all things looked the most forlorn, most desolate, and freezing. The
windward side was piled with snow, on the crest of which foam pellets
lay, looking yellow by comparison, and melting small holes with their
brine. At the door no foot-mark broke the drift; and against the
vaporous sky no warmer vapor tufted the chimney-pots.

"I am pretty nearly frozen again," said Mordacks; "but that place sends
another shiver down my back. All the poor little devils must be icicles
at least."

After peeping through a blind, he turned pale betwixt his blueness, and
galloped to the public-house abutting on the quay. Here he marched into
the parlor, and stamped about, till a merry-looking landlord came to
him. "Have a glass of hot, sir; how blue your nose is!" the genial
master said to him. The reply of the factor can not be written down in
these days of noble language. Enough that it was a terse malediction of
the landlord, the glass of hot, and even his own nose. Boniface was no
Yorkshireman, else would he have given as much as he got, at least in
lingual currency. As it was, he considered it no affair of his if a
guest expressed his nationality. "You must have better orders than that
to give, I hope, sir."

"Yes, sir, I have. And you have got the better of me; which has happened
to me three times this day already, because of the freezing of my wits,
young man. Now you go in to your best locker, and bring me your very
best bottle of Cognac--none of your government stuff, you know, but a
sample of your finest bit of smuggling. Why did I swear at a glass of
hot? Why, because you are all such a set of scoundrels. I want a glass
of hot as much as man ever did. But how can I drink it, when women and
children are dying--perhaps dead, for all I know--for want of warmth and
victuals? Your next-door neighbors almost, and a woman, whose husband
has just been murdered! And here you are swizzling, and rattling your
coppers. Good God, sir! The Almighty from heaven would send orders to
have His own commandment broken."

Mr. Mordacks was excited, and the landlord saw no cause for it. "What
makes you carry on like this?" he said; "it was only last night we was
talking in the tap-room of getting a subscription up, downright liberal.
I said I was good for a crown, and take it out of the tick they owes me.
And when you come to think of these hard times--"

"Take that, and then tell me if you find them softer." Suiting the
action to the word, the universal factor did something omitted on his
card in the list of his comprehensive functions. As the fat host
turned away, to rub his hands, with a phosphoric feeling of his future
generosity, a set of highly energetic toes, prefixed with the toughest
York leather, and tingling for exercise, made him their example. The
landlord flew up among his own pots and glasses, his head struck the
ceiling, which declined too long a taste of him, and anon a silvery ring
announced his return to his own timbers.

"Accept that neighborly subscription, my dear friend, and acknowledge
its promptitude," said Mr. Mordacks; "and now be quick about your
orders, peradventure a second flight might be less agreeable. Now don't
show any airs; you have been well treated, and should be thankful for
the facilities you have to offer. I know a poor man without any legs at
all, who would be only too glad if he could do what you have done."

"Then his taste must be a queer one," the landlord replied, as he
illustrated sadly the discovery reserved for a riper age--that human
fingers have attained their present flexibility, form, and skill by
habit of assuaging, for some millions of ages, the woes of the human
body.

"Now don't waste my time like that," cried Mordacks; and seeing him
draw near again, his host became right active. "Benevolence must be
inculcated," continued the factor, following strictly in pursuit. "I
have done you a world of good, my dear friend; and reflection will
compel you to heap every blessing on me."

"I don't know about that," replied the landlord. It is certain, however,
that this exhibition of philanthropic vigor had a fine effect. In five
minutes all the resources of the house were at the disposal of this
rapid agent, who gave his orders right and left, clapped down a bag of
cash, and took it up again, and said, "Now just you mind my horse, twice
as well as you mind your fellow-creatures. Take a leg of mutton out, and
set it roasting. Have your biggest bed hot for a lot of frozen children.
By the Lord, if you don't look alive, I'll have you up for murder." As
he spoke, a stout fish-woman came in from the quay; and he beckoned to
her, and took her with him.

"You can't come in," said a little weak voice, when Mr. Mordacks, having
knocked in vain, began to prise open the cottage door. "Mother is so
poorly; and you mustn't think of coming in. Oh, whatever shall I do, if
you won't stop when I tell you?"

"Where are all the rest of you? Oh, in the kitchen, are they? You poor
little atomy, how many of you are dead?"

"None of us dead, sir; without it is the baby;" here Geraldine
burst into a wailing storm of tears. "I gave them every bit," she
sobbed--"every bit, sir, but the rush-lights; and them they wouldn't
eat, sir, or I never would have touched them. But mother is gone off her
head, and baby wouldn't eat it."

"You are a little heroine," said Mordacks, looking at her--the pinched
face, and the hollow eyes, and the tottering blue legs of her. "You are
greater than a queen. No queen forgets herself in that way."

"Please, sir, no; I ate almost a box of rush-lights, and they were only
done last night. Oh, if baby would have took to them!"

"Hot bread and milk in this bottle; pour it out; feed her first, Molly,"
Mr. Mordacks ordered. "The world can't spare such girls as this. Oh, you
won't eat first! Very well; then the others shall not have a morsel till
your mouth is full. And they seem to want it bad enough. Where is the
dead baby?"

In the kitchen, where now they stood, not a spark of fire was lingering,
but some wood-ash still retained a feeble memory of warmth; and three
little children (blest with small advance from babyhood) were huddling
around, with hands, and faces, and sharp grimy knees poking in for
lukewarm corners; while two rather senior young Carroways were lying
fast asleep, with a jack-towel over them. But Tommy was not there;
that gallant Tommy, who had ridden all the way to Filey after dark, and
brought his poor father to the fatal place.

Mordacks, with his short, bitter-sweet smile, considered all these
little ones. They were not beautiful, nor even pretty; one of them was
too literally a chip of the old block, for he had reproduced his dear
father's scar; and every one of them wanted a "wash and brush up," as
well as a warming and sound victualling. Corruptio optimi pessima. These
children had always been so highly scrubbed, that the great molecular
author of existence, dirt, resumed parental sway, with tenfold power
of attachment and protection, the moment soap and flannel ceased their
wicked usurpation.

"Please, sir, I couldn't keep them clean, I couldn't," cried Geraldine,
choking, both with bread and milk, and tears. "I had Tommy to feed
through the coal-cellar door; and all the bits of victuals in the house
to hunt up; and it did get so dark, and it was so cold. I am frightened
to think of what mother will say for my burning up all of her brushes,
and the baskets. But please, sir, little Cissy was a-freezing at the
nose."

The three little children at the grate were peeping back over the pits
in their shoulders, half frightened at the tall, strange man, and half
ready to toddle to him for protection; while the two on the floor sat up
and stared, and opened their mouths for their sister's bread and milk.
Then Jerry flew to them, and squatted on the stones, and very nearly
choked them with her spoon and basin.

"Molly, take two in your apron, and be off," said the factor to the
stout fish-woman--who was simply full of staring, and of crying out "Oh
lor!"--"pop them into the hot bed at once; they want warmth first, and
victuals by-and-by. Our wonderful little maid wants food most. I will
come after you with the other three. But I must see my little queen fill
her own stomach first."

"But, please, sir, won't you let our Tommy out first?" cried Jerry, as
the strong woman lapped up the two youngest in her woolsey apron and ran
off with them. "He has been so good, and he was too proud to cry so soon
as ever he found out that mother couldn't hear him. And I gave him the
most to eat of anybody else, because of him being the biggest, sir. It
was all as black as ink, going under the door; but Tommy never minded."

"Wonderful merit! While you were eating tallow! Show me the coal-cellar,
and out he comes. But why don't you speak of your poor mother, child?"

The child, who had been so brave, and clever, self-denying, laborious,
and noble, avoided his eyes, and began to lick her spoon, as if she had
had enough, starving though she was. She glanced up at the ceiling, and
then suddenly withdrew her eyes, and the blue lids trembled over them.
Mordacks saw that it was childhood's dread of death. "Show me where
little Tommy is," he said; "we must not be too hard upon you, my dear.
But what made your mother lock you up, and carry on so?"

"I don't know at all, sir," said Geraldine.

"Now don't tell a story," answered Mr. Mordacks. "You were not meant
for lies; and you know all about it. I shall just go away if you tell
stories."

"Then all I know is this," cried Jerry, running up to him, and
desperately clutching at his riding coat; "the very night dear father
was put into the pit-hole--oh, hoo, oh, hoo, oh, hoo!"

"Now we can't stop for that," said the general factor, as he took her up
and kissed her, and the tears, which had vainly tried to stop, ran out
of young eyes upon well-seasoned cheeks; "you have been a wonder; I am
like a father to you. You must tell me quickly, or else how can I cure
it? We will let Tommy out then, and try to save your mother."

"Mother was sitting in the window, sir," said the child, trying strongly
to command herself, "and I was to one side of her, and Tommy to the
other, and none of us was saying anything. And then there came a bad,
wicked face against the window, and the man said, 'What was it you said
to-day, ma'am?' And mother stood up--she was quite right then--and she
opened the window, and she looked right at him, and she said, 'I spoke
the truth, John Cadman. Between you and your God it rests.' And the man
said, 'You shut your black mouth up, or you and your brats shall all go
the same way. Mind one thing--you've had your warning.' Then mother fell
away, for she was just worn out; and she lay upon the floor, and she
kept on moaning, 'There is no God! there is no God!' after all she have
taught us to say our prayers to. And there was nothing for baby to draw
ever since."

For once in his life Mr. Mordacks held his tongue; and his face, which
was generally fiercer than his mind, was now far behind it in ferocity.
He thought within himself, "Well, I am come to something, to have
let such things be going on in a matter which pertains to
my office--pigeon-hole 100! This comes of false delicacy, my
stumbling-block perpetually! No more of that. Now for action."

Geraldine looked up at him, and said, "Oh, please, sir." And then she
ran off, to show the way toward little Tommy.

The coal-cellar flew open before the foot of Mordacks; but no Tommy
appeared, till his sister ran in. The poor little fellow was quite
dazzled with the light; and the grime on his cheeks made the inrush
of fresh air come like wasps to him. "Now, Tommy, you be good," said
Geraldine; "trouble enough has been made about you."

The boy put out his under lip, and blinked with great amazement. After
such a quantity of darkness and starvation, to be told to be good was
a little too bad. His sense of right and wrong became fluid with
confusion; he saw no sign of anything to eat; and the loud howl of an
injured heart began to issue from the coaly rampart of neglected teeth.

"Quite right, my boy," Mr. Mordacks said. "You have had a bad time, and
are entitled to lament. Wipe your nose on your sleeve, and have at it
again."

"Dirty, dirty things I hear. Who is come into my house like this? My
house and my baby belong to me. Go away all of you. How can I bear this
noise?"

Mrs. Carroway stood in the passage behind them, looking only fit to die.
One of her husband's watch-coats hung around her, falling nearly to her
feet; and the long clothes of her dead baby, which she carried, hung
over it, shaking like a white dog's tail. She was standing with her bare
feet well apart, and that swing of hip and heel alternate which mothers
for a thousand generations have supposed to lull their babies into sweet
sleep.

For once in his life the general factor had not the least idea of the
proper thing to do. Not only did he not find it, but he did not even
seek for it, standing aside rather out of the way, and trying to look
like a calm spectator. But this availed him to no account whatever. He
was the only man there, and the woman naturally fixed upon him.

"You are the man," she said, in a quiet and reasonable voice, and coming
up to Mordacks with the manner of a lady; "you are the gentleman, I
mean, who promised to bring back my husband. Where is he? Have you
fulfilled your promise?"

"My dear madam, my dear madam, consider your children, and how cold you
are. Allow me to conduct you to a warmer place. You scarcely seem to
enter into the situation."

"Oh yes, I do, sir; thoroughly, thoroughly. My husband is in his grave;
my children are going after him; and the best place for them. But they
shall not be murdered. I will lock them up, so that they never shall be
murdered."

"My dear lady, I agree with you entirely. You do the very wisest thing
in these bad times. But you know me well. I have had the honor of making
your acquaintance in a pleasant manner. I feel for your children, quite
as if I was--I mean, ma'am, a very fine old gentleman's affection.
Geraldine, come and kiss me, my darling. Tommy, you may have the other
side; never mind the coal, my boy; there is a coal-wharf quite close to
my windows at home."

These children, who had been hiding behind Mr. Mordacks and Molly (who
was now come back), immediately did as he ordered them; or rather Jerry
led the way, and made Tommy come as well, by a signal which he never
durst gainsay. But while they saluted the general factor (who sat down
upon a box to accommodate them), from the corners of their eyes they
kept a timid, trembling, melancholy watch upon their own mother.

Poor Mrs. Carroway was capable of wondering. Her power of judgment was
not so far lost as it is in a dream--where we wonder at nothing, but
cast off skeptic misery--and for the moment she seemed to be brought
home from the distance of roving delusion, by looking at two of her
children kissing a man who was hunting in his pocket for his card.

"Circumstances, madam," said Mr. Mordacks, "have deprived me of the
pleasure of producing my address. It should be in two of my pockets; but
it seems to have strangely escaped from both of them. However, I will
write it down, if required. Geraldine dear, where is your school slate?
Go and look for it, and take Tommy with you."

This surprised Mrs. Carroway, and began to make her think. These were
her children--she was nearly sure of that--her own poor children, who
were threatened from all sides with the likelihood of being done away
with. Yet here was a man who made much of them, and kissed them; and
they kissed him without asking her permission!

"I scarcely know what it is about," she said; "and my husband is not
here to help me."

"You have hit the very point, ma'am. You must take it on yourself. How
wonderfully clever the ladies always are! Your family is waiting for
a government supply; everybody knows that everybody in the world may
starve before government thinks of supplying supply. I do not belong to
the government--although if I had my deserts I should have done so--but
fully understanding them, I step in to anticipate their action. I see
that the children of a very noble officer, and his admirable wife, have
been neglected, through the rigor of the weather and condition of the
roads. I am a very large factor in the neighborhood, who make a good
thing out of all such cases. I step in; circumstances favor me; I
discover a good stroke of business; my very high character, though much
obscured by diffidence, secures me universal confidence. The little
dears take to me, and I to them. They feel themselves safe under my
protection from their most villainous enemies. They are pleased to kiss
a man of strength and spirit, who represents the government."

Mrs. Carroway scarcely understood a jot of this. Such a rush of words
made her weak brain go round, and she looked about vainly for her
children, who had gladly escaped upon the chance afforded. But she came
to the conclusion she was meant to come to--that this gentleman before
her was the government.

"I will do whatever I am told," she said, looking miserably round, as if
for anything to care about; "only I must count my children first, or the
government might say there was not the proper number."

"Of all points that is the very one that I would urge," Mordacks
answered, without dismay. "Molly, conduct this good lady to her room.
Light a good fire, as the Commissioners have ordered; warm the soup sent
from the arsenal last night, but be sure that you put no pepper in
it. The lady will go with you, and follow our directions. She sees the
importance of having all her faculties perfectly clear when we make
our schedule, as we shall do in a few hours' time, of all the children;
every one, with the date of their birth, and their Christian names,
which nobody knows so well as their own dear mother. Ah, how very sweet
it is to have so many of them; and to know the pride, the pleasure, the
delight, which the nation feels in providing for the welfare of every
little darling!"



CHAPTER XLV

THE THING IS JUST


"Was there ever such a man?" said Mr. Mordacks to himself, as he rode
back to Flamborough against the bitter wind, after "fettling" the
affairs of the poor Carroways, as well as might be for the present.
"As if I had not got my hands too full already, now I am in for another
plaguesome business, which will cost a lot of money, instead of bringing
money in. How many people have I now to look after? In the first place,
two vile wretches--Rickon Goold, the ship-scuttler, and John Cadman, the
murderer--supposing that Dr. Upandown and Mrs. Carroway are right. Then
two drunken tars, with one leg between them, who may get scared of the
law, and cut and run. Then an outlawed smuggler, who has cut and
run already; and a gentleman from India, who will be wild with
disappointment through the things that have happened since I saw him
last. After that a lawyer, who will fight tooth and nail of course,
because it brings grist to his mill. That makes seven; and now to all
these I have added number eight, and that the worst of all--not only
a woman, but a downright mad one, as well as seven starving children.
Charity is a thing that pays so slowly! That this poor creature should
lose her head just now is most unfortunate. I have nothing whatever to
lay before Sir Duncan, when I tell him of this vile catastrophe, except
the boy's own assertion, and the opinion of Dr. Upandown. Well, well,
'faint heart,' etc. I must nurse the people round; without me they would
all have been dead. Virtue is its own reward. I hope the old lady has
not burned my hare to death."

The factor might well say that without his aid that large family must
have perished. Their neighbors were not to be blamed for this, being
locked out of the house, and having no knowledge of the frost and famine
that prevailed within. Perhaps, when the little ones began to die,
Geraldine might heave escaped from a window, and got help in time to
save some of them, if she herself had any strength remaining; but as it
was, she preferred to sacrifice herself, and obey her mother. "Father
always told me," she had said to Mr. Mordacks, when he asked her how so
sharp a child could let things come to such a pitch, "that when he was
out of the way, the first thing I was to mind always was to do what
mother told me; and now he can't come back no more, to let me off from
doing it."

By this time the "Cod with the Hook in his Gills" was as much at the
mercy of Mr. Mordacks as if he had landed and were crimping him. Widow
Precious was a very tough lady to get over, and she liked to think
the worst she could of everybody--which proves in the end the most
charitable course, because of the good-will produced by explanation--and
for some time she had stood in the Flamburian attitude of doubt toward
the factor. But even a Flamburian may at last be pierced; and then
(as with other pachydermatous animals) the hole, once made, is almost
certain to grow larger. So by dint of good offices here and there, kind
interest, and great industry among a very simple and grateful race,
he became the St. Oswald of that ancient shrine (as already has been
hinted), and might do as he liked, even on the Sabbath-day. And as one
of the first things he always liked to do was to enter into everybody's
business, he got into an intricacy of little knowledge too manifold even
for his many-fibred brain. But some of this ran into and strengthened
his main clew, leading into the story he was laboring to explore,
and laying before him, as bright as a diamond, even the mystery of
ear-rings.

"My highly valued hostess and admirable cook," he said to Widow
Precious, after making noble dinner, which his long snowy ride and work
at Bridlington had earned, "in your knowledge of the annals of this
interesting town, happen you to be able to recall the name of a certain
man, John Cadman?"

"Ah, that ah deah," Widow Tapsy answered, with a heavy sigh, which
rattled all the dishes on the waiter; "and sma' gude o' un, sma' gude,
whativer. Geroot wi' un!"

The landlady shut her firm lips with a smack, which Mordacks well knew
by this time though seldom foreclosed by it now, as he had been before
he became a Danish citizen. He was sure that she had some good reason
for her silence; and the next day he found that the girl who had left
her home, through Cadman's villainy, was akin by her mother's side to
Mistress Precious. But he had another matter to discuss with her now,
which caused him some misgivings, yet had better be faced manfully. In
the safe philosophical distance of York from this strong landlady he had
(for good reasons of his own) appointed the place of meeting with
Sir Duncan Yordas at the rival hostelry, the inn of Thornwick. Widow
Precious had a mind of uncommonly large type, so lofty and pure of all
petty emotions, that if any one spoke of the Thornwick Inn, even upon
her back premises, her dignity stepped in and said, "I can't abide the
stinkin' naam o' un."

Of this persistently noble regard of a lower institution Mr. Mordacks
was well aware; and it gave him pause, in his deep anxiety to spare a
tender heart, and maintain the high standard of his breakfast kidneys.
"Madam," he began, and then he rubbed his mouth with the cross-cut out
of the jack-towel by the sink, newly set on table, to satisfy him for a
dinner napkin--"madam, will you listen, while I make an explanation?"

The landlady looked at him with dark suspicions gathering.

"Joost spak' oot," she said, "whativer's woorkin' i' thah mahnd."

"I am bound to meet a gentleman near Flamborough to-morrow," Mr.
Mordacks continued, with the effrontery of guilt, "who will come
from the sea. And as it would not suit him to walk far inland, he has
arranged for the interview at a poor little place called the Thorny
Wick, or the Stubby Wick, or something of that sort. I thought it was
due to you, madam, to explain the reason of my entering, even for a
moment--"

"Ah dawn't care. Sitha--they mah fettle thee there, if thow's fondhead
enew."

Without another word she left the room, clattering her heavy shoes at
the door; and Mordacks foresaw a sad encounter on the morrow, without a
good breakfast to "fettle" him for it. It was not in his nature to dread
anything much, and he could not see where he had been at all to blame;
but gladly would he have taken ten per cent off his old contract, than
meet Sir Duncan Yordas with the news he had to tell him.

One cause of the righteous indignation felt by the good mother Tapsy,
was her knowledge that nobody could land just now in any cove under the
Thornwick Hotel. With the turbulent snow-wind bringing in the sea, as
now it had been doing for several days, even the fishermen's cobles
could not take the beach, much less any stranger craft. Mr. Mordacks was
sharp; but an inland factor is apt to overlook such little facts marine.

Upon the following day he stood in the best room of the Thornwick
Inn--which even then was a very decent place to any eyes uncast with
envy--and he saw the long billows of the ocean rolling before the steady
blowing of the salt-tongued wind, and the broad white valleys that
between them lay, and the vaporous generation of great waves. They
seemed to have little gift of power for themselves, and no sign of any
heed of purport; only to keep at proper distance from each other, and
threaten to break over long before they meant to do it. But to see what
they did at the first opposition of reef, or crag, or headland bluff,
was a cure for any delusion about them, or faith in their liquid
benevolence. For spouts of wild fury dashed up into the clouds; and the
shore, wherever any sight of it was left, weltered in a sadly frothsome
state, like the chin of a Titan with a lather-brush at work.

"Why, bless my heart!" cried the keen-eyed Mordacks; "this is a check I
never thought of. Nobody could land in such a surf as that, even if he
had conquered all India. Landlord, do you mean to tell me any one could
land? And if not, what's the use of your inn standing here?"

"Naw, sir, nawbody cud laun' joost neaw. Lee-ast waas, nut to ca' fur
naw yell to dry hissen."

The landlord was pleased with his own wit--perhaps by reason of its
scarcity--and went out to tell it in the tap-room while fresh; and
Mordacks had made up his mind to call for something--for the good of
the house and himself--and return with a sense of escape to his own
inn, when the rough frozen road rang with vehement iron, and a horse was
pulled up, and a man strode in. The landlord having told his own joke
three times, came out with the taste of it upon his lips; but the stern
dark eyes looking down into his turned his smile into a frightened
stare. He had so much to think of that he could not speak--which happens
not only at Flamborough--but his visitor did not wait for the solution
of his mental stutter. Without any rudeness he passed the mooning host,
and walked into the parlor, where he hoped to find two persons.

Instead of two, he found one only, and that one standing with his back
to the door, and by the snow-flecked window, intent upon the drizzly
distance of the wind-struck sea. The attitude and fixed regard were so
unlike the usual vivacity of Mordacks, that the visitor thought there
must be some mistake, till the other turned round and looked at him.

"You see a defeated but not a beaten man," said the factor, to get
through the worst of it. "Thank you, Sir Duncan, I will not shake hands.
My ambition was to do so, and to put into yours another hand, more near
and dear to it. Sir, I have failed. It is open to you to call me by
any hard name that may occur to you. That will do you good, be a hearty
relief, and restore me rapidly to self-respect, by arousing my anxiety
to vindicate myself."

"It is no time for joking; I came here to meet my son. Have you found
him, or have you not?"

Sir Duncan sat down and gazed steadfastly at Mordacks. His self-command
had borne many hard trials; but the prime of his life was over now; and
strong as he looked, and thought himself, the searching wind had sought
and found weak places in a sun-beaten frame. But no man would be of
noble aspect by dwelling at all upon himself.

The quick intelligence of Mordacks--who was of smaller though admirable
type--entered into these things at a flash. And throughout their
interview he thought less of himself and more of another than was at all
habitual with him, or conducive to good work.

"You must bear with a very heavy blow," he said; "and it goes to my
heart to have to deal it."

Sir Duncan Yordas bowed, and said, "The sooner the better, my good
friend."

"I have found your son, as I promised you I would," replied Mordacks,
speaking rapidly; "healthy, active, uncommonly clever; a very fine
sailor, and as brave as Nelson; of gallant appearance--as might be
expected; enterprising, steadfast, respected, and admired; benevolent
in private life, and a public benefactor. A youth of whom the most
distinguished father might be proud. But--but--"

"Will you never finish?"

"But by the force of circumstances, over which he had no control, he
became in early days a smuggler, and rose to an eminent rank in that
profession."

"I do not care two pice for that; though I should have been sorry if he
had not risen."

"He rose to such eminence as to become the High Admiral of smugglers on
this coast, and attain the honors of outlawry."

"I look upon that as a pity. But still we may be able to rescind it. Is
there anything more against my son?"

"Unluckily there is. A commander of the Coastguard has been killed in
discharge of his duty; and Robin Lyth has left the country to escape a
warrant."

"What have we to do with Robin Lyth? I have heard of him everywhere--a
villain and a murderer."

"God forbid that you should say so! Robin Lyth is your only son."

The man whose word was law to myriads rose without a word for his own
case; he looked at his agent with a stern, calm gaze, and not a sign of
trembling in his lull broad frame, unless, perhaps, his under lip gave a
little soft vibration to the grizzled beard grown to meet the change of
climate.

"Unhappily so it is," said Mordacks, firmly meeting Sir Duncan's eyes.
"I have proved the matter beyond dispute; and I wish I had better news
for you."

"I thank you, sir. You could not well have worse. I believe it upon your
word alone. No Yordas ever yet had pleasure of a son. The thing is quite
just. I will order my horse."

"Sir Duncan, allow me a few minutes first. You are a man of large
judicial mind. Do you ever condemn any stranger upon rumor? And will
you, upon that, condemn your son?"

"Certainly not. I proceed upon my knowledge of the fate between father
and son in our race."

"That generally has been the father's fault. In this case, you are the
father."

Sir Duncan turned back, being struck with this remark. Then he sat down
again; which his ancestors had always refused to do, and had rued it. He
spoke very gently, with a sad faint smile.

"I scarcely see how, in the present case, the fault can be upon the
father's side."

"Not as yet, I grant you. But it would be so if the father refused to
hear out the matter, and joined in the general outcry against his son,
without even having seen him, or afforded him a chance of self-defense."

"I am not so unjust or unnatural as that, sir. I have heard much about
this--sad occurrence in the cave. There can be no question that the
smugglers slew the officer. That--that very unfortunate young man may
not have done it himself--I trust in God that he did not even mean it.
Nevertheless, in the eye of the law, if he were present, he is as guilty
as if his own hand did it. Can you contend that he was not present?"

"Unhappily I can not. He himself admits it; and if he did not, it could
be proved most clearly."

"Then all that I can do," said Sir Duncan, rising with a heavy sigh, and
a violent shiver caused by the chill of his long bleak ride, "is first
to require your proofs, Mr. Mordacks, as to the identity of my child who
sailed from India with this--this unfortunate youth; then to give you
a check for 5000 pounds, and thank you for skillful offices, and great
confidence in my honor. Then I shall leave with you what sum you may
think needful for the defense, if he is ever brought to trial. And
probably after that--well, I shall even go back to end my life in
India."

"My proofs are not arranged yet, but they will satisfy you. I shall take
no 5000 pounds from you, Sir Duncan, though strictly speaking I have
earned it. But I will take one thousand to cover past and future outlay,
including the possibility of a trial. The balance I shall live to claim
yet, I do believe, and you to discharge it with great pleasure. For
that will not be until I bring you a son, not only acquitted, but also
guiltless; as I have good reason for believing him to be. But you do not
look well; let me call for something."

"No, thank you. It is nothing. I am quite well, but not quite seasoned
to my native climate yet. Tell me your reasons for believing that."

"I can not do that in a moment. You know what evidence is a hundred
times as well as I do. And in this cold room you must not stop. Sir
Duncan, I am not a coddler any more than you are. And I do not presume
to dictate to you. But I am as resolute a man as yourself. And I refuse
to go further with this subject, until you are thoroughly warmed and
refreshed."

"Mordacks, you shall have your way," said his visitor, after a
heavy frown, which produced no effect upon the factor. "You are as
kind-hearted as you are shrewd. Tell me once more what your conviction
is; and I will wait for your reasons, till--till you are ready."

"Then, sir, my settled conviction is that your son is purely innocent of
this crime, and that we shall be able to establish that."

"God bless you for thinking so, my dear friend. I can bear a great deal;
and I would do my duty. But I did love that boy's mother so."

The general factor always understood his business; and he knew that no
part of it compelled him now to keep watch upon the eyes of a stern,
proud man.

"Sir, I am your agent, and I magnify mine office," he said, as he took
up his hat to go forth. "One branch of my duty is to fettle your horse;
and in Flamborough they fettle them on stale fish." Mr. Mordacks strode
with a military tramp, and a loud shout for the landlord, who had
finished his joke by this time, and was paying the penalties of
reaction. "Gil Beilby, thoo'st nobbut a fondhead," he was saying to
himself. "Thoo mun hev thy lahtel jawk, thof it crack'th thy own pure
back." For he thought that he was driving two great customers away,
by the flashing independence of too brilliant a mind; and many clever
people of his native place had told him so. "Make a roaring fire in that
room," said Mordacks.



CHAPTER XLVI

STUMPED OUT


"I think, my dear, that you never should allow mysterious things to be
doing in your parish, and everybody full of curiosity about them, while
the only proper person to explain their meaning is allowed to remain
without any more knowledge than a man locked up in York Castle might
have. In spite of all the weather, and the noise the sea makes, I feel
quite certain that important things, which never have any right to
happen in our parish, are going on here, and you never interfere; which
on the part of the rector, and the magistrate of the neighborhood, to
my mind is not a proper course of action. I am sure that I have not
the very smallest curiosity; I feel very often that I should have asked
questions, when it has become too late to do so, and when anybody else
would have put them at the moment, and not had to be sorry afterward."

"I understand that feeling," Dr. Upround answered, looking at his wife
for the third cup of coffee to wind up his breakfast as usual, "and
without hesitation I reply that it naturally arises in superior natures.
Janetta, you have eaten up that bit of broiled hake that I was keeping
for your dear mother!"

"Now really, papa, you are too crafty. You put my mother off with a
wretched generality, because you don't choose to tell her anything; and
to stop me from coming to the rescue, you attack me with a miserable
little personality. I perceive by your face, papa, every trick that
rises; and without hesitation I reply that they naturally arise in
inferior natures."

"Janetta, you never express yourself well." Mrs. Upround insisted upon
filial respect. "When I say 'well,' I mean--Well, well, well, you know
quite well what I mean, Janetta."

"To be sure, mamma, I always do. You always mean the very best meaning
in the world; but you are not up to half of papa's tricks yet."

"This is too bad!" cried the father, with a smile.

"A great deal too bad!" said the mother, with a frown. "I am sure I
would never have asked a word of anything, if I could ever have imagined
such behavior. Go away, Janetta, this very moment; your dear father
evidently wants to tell me something. Now, my dear, you were too sleepy
last night; but your peace of mind requires you to unburden itself at
once of all these very mysterious goings on."

"Well, perhaps I shall have no peace of mind unless I do," said the
rector, with a slight sarcasm, which missed her altogether; "only it
might save trouble, my dear, if you would first specify the points which
oppress your--or rather I should say, perhaps, my mind so much."

"In the first place, then," began Mrs. Upround, drawing nearer to the
doctor, "who is that highly distinguished stranger who can not get away
from the Thornwick Inn? What made him come to such a place in dreadful
weather; and if he is ill, why not send for Dr. Stirbacks? Dr. Stirbacks
will think it most unkind of you; and after all he did for dear Janetta.
And then, again, what did the milkman from Sewerby mean by the way he
shook his head this morning, about something in the family at Anerley
Farm? And what did that most unaccountable man, who calls himself Mr.
Mordacks--though I don't believe that is his name at all--"

"Yes, it is, my dear; you never should say such things. He is well known
at York, and for miles around; and I entertain very high respect for
him."

"So you may, Dr. Upround. You do that too freely; but Janetta quite
agrees with me about him. A man with a sword, that goes slashing about,
and kills a rat, that was none of his business! A more straightforward
creature than himself, I do believe, though he struts like a soldier
with a ramrod. And what did he mean, in such horrible weather, by
dragging you out to take a deposition in a place even colder than
Flamborough itself--that vile rabbit-warren on the other side of
Bempton? Deposition of a man who had drunk himself to death--and a
Methodist too, as you could not help saying."

"I said it, I know; and I am ashamed of saying it. I was miserably cold,
and much annoyed about my coat."

"You never say anything to be ashamed of. It is when you do not say
things that you should rather blame yourself. For instance, I feel no
curiosity whatever, but a kind-hearted interest, in the doings of my
neighbors. We very seldom get any sort of excitement; and when exciting
things come all together, quite within the hearing of our stable bell,
to be left to guess them out, and perhaps be contradicted, destroys
one's finest feelings, and produces downright fidgets."

"My dear, my dear, you really should endeavor to emancipate yourself
from such small ideas."

"Large words shall never divert me from my duty. My path of duty is
distinctly traced; and if a thwarting hand withdraws me from it, it must
end in a bilious headache."

This was a terrible menace to the household, which was always thrown out
of its course for three days when the lady became thus afflicted.

"My first duty is to my wife," said the rector. "If people come into my
parish with secrets, which come to my knowledge without my desire, and
without official obligation, and the faithful and admirable partner of
my life threatens to be quite unwell--"

"Ill, dear, very ill--is what would happen to me."

"--then I consider that my duty is to impart to her everything that can
not lead to mischief."

"How could you have any doubt of it, my dear? And as to the mischief, I
am the proper judge of that."

Dr. Upround laughed in his quiet inner way; and then, as a matter
of form, he said, "My dear, you must promise most faithfully to keep
whatever I tell you as the very strictest secret."

Mrs. Upround looked shocked at the mere idea of her ever doing
otherwise; which indeed, as she said, was impossible. Her husband very
nearly looked as if he quite believed her; and then they went into his
snug sitting-room, while the maid took away the breakfast things.

"Now don't keep me waiting," said the lady.

"Well, then, my dear," the rector began, after crossing stout legs
stoutly, "you must do your utmost not to interrupt me, and, in short--to
put it courteously--you must try to hold your tongue, and suffer
much astonishment in silence. We have a most distinguished visitor in
Flamborough setting up his staff at the Thornwick Hotel."

"Lord Nelson! I knew it must be. Janetta is so quick at things."

"Janetta is too quick at things; and she is utterly crazy about Nelson.
No; it is the famous Sir Duncan Yordas."

"Sir Duncan Yordas! Why, I never heard of him."

"You will find that you have heard of him when you come to think,
my dear. Our Harry is full of his wonderful doings. He is one of the
foremost men in India, though perhaps little heard of in this country
yet. He belongs to an ancient Yorkshire family, and is, I believe, the
head of it. He came here looking for his son, but has caught a most
terrible chill, instead of him; and I think we ought to send him some of
your rare soup."

"How sensible you are! It will be the very thing. But first of all, what
character does he bear? They do such things in India."

"His character is spotless; I might say too romantic. He is a man of
magnificent appearance, large mind, and lots of money."

"My dear, my dear, he must never stay there. I shudder to think of it,
this weather. A chill is a thing upon the kidneys always. You know my
electuary; and if we bring him round, it is high time for Janetta to
begin to think of settling."

"My dear!" said Dr. Upround; "well, how suddenly you jump! I must put
on my spectacles to look at you. This gentleman must be getting on for
fifty!"

"Janetta should have a man of some discretion, somebody she would not
dare to snap at. Her expressions are so reckless, that a young man would
not suit her. She ought to have some one to look up to; and you know how
she raves about fame, and celebrity, and that. She really seems to care
for very little else."

"Then she ought to have fallen in love with Robin Lyth, the most famous
man in all this neighborhood."

"Dr. Upround, you say things on purpose to provoke me when my remarks
are unanswerable. Robin Lyth indeed! A sailor, a smuggler, a common
working-man! And under that terrible accusation!"

"An objectionable party altogether; not even desirable as a grandson.
Therefore say nothing more of Janetta and Sir Duncan."

"Sometimes, my dear, the chief object of your existence seems to be to
irritate me. What can poor Robin have to do with Sir Duncan Yordas?"

"Simply this. He is his only son. The proofs were completed, and
deposited with me for safe custody, last night, by that very active man
of business, Geoffrey Mordacks, of York city."

"Well!" cried Mrs. Upround, with both hands lifted, and a high color
flowing into her unwrinkled cheeks; "from this day forth I shall never
have any confidence in you again. How long--if I may dare to put any
sort of question--have you been getting into all this very secret
knowledge? And why have I never heard a word of it till now? And not
even now, I do believe, through any proper urgency of conscience on your
part, but only because I insisted upon knowing. Oh, Dr. Upround, for
shame! for shame!"

"My dear, you have no one but yourself to blame," her husband replied,
with a sweet and placid smile. "Three times I have told you things that
were to go no further, and all three of them went twenty miles within
three days. I do not complain of it; far less of you. You may have felt
it quite as much your duty to spread knowledge as I felt it mine to
restrict it. And I never should have let you get all this out of me now,
if it had been at all incumbent upon me to keep it quiet."

"That means that I have never got it out of you at all. I have taken all
this trouble for nothing."

"No, my dear, not at all. You have worked well, and have promised not
to say a word about it. You might not have known it for a week at least,
except for my confidence in you."

"Much of it I thank you for. But don't be cross, my dear, because you
have behaved so atrociously. You have not answered half of my questions
yet."

"Well, there were so many, that I scarcely can remember them. Let me
see: I have told you who the great man is, and the reason that brought
him to Flamborough. Then about the dangerous chill he has taken; it came
through a bitter ride from Scarborough; and if Dr. Stirbacks came, he
would probably make it still more dangerous. At least so Mordacks says;
and the patient is in his hands, and out of mine; so that Stirbacks
can not be aggrieved with us. On the other hand, as to the milkman from
Sewerby. I really do not know why he shook his head. Perhaps he found
the big pump frozen. He is not of my parish, and may shake his head
without asking my permission. Now I think that I have answered nearly
all your questions."

"Not at all; I have not had time to ask them yet, because I feel so
much above them. But if the milkman meant nothing, because of his not
belonging to our parish, the butcher does, and he can have no excuse.
He says that Mr. Mordacks takes all the best meanings of a mutton-sheep
every other day to Burlington."

"I know he does. And it ought to put us to the blush that a stranger
should have to do so. Mordacks is finding clothes, food, and firing for
all the little creatures poor Carroway left, and even for his widow,
who has got a wandering mind. Without him there would not have been one
left. The poor mother locked in all her little ones, and starved them,
to save them from some quite imaginary foe. The neighbors began to think
of interfering, and might have begun to do it when it was all over.
Happily, Mordacks arrived just in time. His promptitude, skill, and
generosity saved them. Never say a word against that man again."

"My dear, I will not," Mrs. Upround answered, with tears coming into her
kindly eyes. "I never heard of anything more pitiful. I had no idea
Mr. Mordacks was so good. He looks more like an evil spirit. I always
regarded him as an evil spirit; and his name sounds like it, and he
jumps about so. But he ought to have gone to the rector of the parish."

"It is a happy thing that he can jump about. The rector of the parish
can not do so, as you know; and he lives two miles away from them, and
had never even heard of it. People always talk about the rector of a
parish as if he could be everywhere and see to everything. And few
of them come near him in their prosperous times. Have you any other
questions to put to me, my dear?"

"Yes, a quantity of things which I can not think of now. How it was that
little boy--I remember it like yesterday--came ashore here, and turned
out to be Robin Lyth; or at least to be no Robin Lyth at all, but the
son of Sir Duncan Yordas. And what happened to the poor man in Bempton
Warren."

"The poor man died a most miserable death, but I trust sincerely
penitent. He had led a sad, ungodly life, and he died at last of wooden
legs. He was hunted to his grave, he told us, by these wooden legs; and
he recognized in them Divine retribution, for the sin of his life was
committed in timber. No sooner did any of those legs appear--and the
poor fellow said they were always coming--than his heart began to
patter, and his own legs failed him, and he tried to stop his ears, but
his conscience would not let him."

"Now there!" cried Mrs. Upround; "what the power of conscience is! He
had stolen choice timber, perhaps ready-made legs."

"A great deal worse than that, my dear; he had knocked out a knot as
large as my shovel-hat from the side of a ship home bound from India,
because he was going to be tried for mutiny upon their arrival at Leith,
it was, I think. He and his partners had been in irons, but unluckily
they were just released. The weather was magnificent, a lovely summer's
night, soft fair breeze, and every one rejoicing in the certainty of
home within a few short hours. And they found home that night, but it
was in a better world."

"You have made me creep all over. And you mean to say that a wretch like
that has any hope of heaven! How did he get away himself?"

"Very easily. A little boat was towing at the side. There were only
three men upon deck, through the beauty of the weather, and two of those
were asleep. They bound and gagged the waking one, lashed the wheel,
and made off in the boat wholly unperceived. There was Rickon Goold, the
ringleader, and four others, and they brought away a little boy who was
lying fast asleep, because one of them had been in the service of his
father, and because of the value of his Indian clothes, which his ayah
made him wear now in his little cot for warmth. The scoundrels took
good care that none should get away to tell the tale. They saw the poor
Golconda sink with every soul on board, including the captain's wife and
babies; then they made for land, and in the morning fog were carried by
the tide toward our North Landing. One of them knew the coast as well
as need be; but they durst not land until their story was concocted, and
everything fitted in to suit it. The sight of the rising sun, scattering
the fog, frightened them, as it well might do; and they pulled into the
cave, from which I always said, as you may now remember, Robin must have
come--the cave which already bears his name.

"Here they remained all day, considering a plausible tale to account
for themselves, without making mention of any lost ship, and trying to
remove every trace of identity from the boat they had stolen. They had
brought with them food enough to last three days, and an anker of
rum from the steward's stores; and as they grew weary of their long
confinement, they indulged more freely than wisely in the consumption of
that cordial. In a word, they became so tipsy that they frightened
the little helpless boy; and when they began to fight about his gold
buttons, which were claimed by the fellow who had saved his life, he
scrambled from the side of the boat upon the rock, and got along a
narrow ledge, where none of them could follow him. They tried to coax
him back; but he stamped his feet, and swore at them, being sadly taught
bad language by the native servants, I dare say. Rickon Goold wanted to
shoot him, for they had got a gun with them, and he feared to leave him
there. But Sir Duncan's former boatman would not allow it; and at dark
they went away and left him there. And the poor little fellow, in
his dark despair, must have been led by the hand of the Lord through
crannies too narrow for a man to pass. There is a well-known land
passage out of that cave; but he must have crawled out by a smaller one,
unknown even to our fishermen, slanting up the hill, and having outlet
in the thicket near the place where the boats draw up. And so he was
found by Robin Cockscroft in the morning. They had fed the child with
biscuit soaked in rum, which accounts for his heavy sleep and wonderful
exertions, and may have predisposed him for a contraband career."

"And perhaps for the very bad language which he used," said Mrs.
Upround, thoughtfully. "It is an extraordinary tale, my dear. But I
suppose there can be no doubt of it. But such a clever child should have
known his own name. Why did he call himself 'Izunsabe'?"

"That is another link in the certainty of proof. On board that
unfortunate ship, and perhaps even before he left India, he was always
called the 'Young Sahib,' and he used, having proud little ways of his
own, to shout, if anybody durst provoke him, 'I'se young Sahib, I'se
young Sahib;' which we rendered into 'Izunsabe.' But his true name is
Wilton Bart Yordas, I believe, and the initials can be made out upon his
gold beads, Mr. Mordacks tells me, among heathen texts."

"That seems rather shocking to good principles, my dear. I trust that
Sir Duncan is a Christian at least; or he shall never set foot in this
house."

"My dear, I can not tell. How should I know? He may have lapsed, of
course, as a good many of them do, from the heat of the climate, and bad
surroundings. But that happens mostly from their marrying native women.
And this gentleman never has done that, I do believe."

"They tell me that he is a very handsome man, and of most commanding
aspect--the very thing Janetta likes so much. But what became of those
unhappy sadly tipsy sailors?"

"Well, they managed very cleverly, and made success of tipsiness. As
soon as it was dark that night, and before the child had crawled away,
they pushed out of the cave, and let the flood-tide take them round
the Head. They meant to have landed at Bridlington Quay, with a tale of
escape from a Frenchman; but they found no necessity for going so far. A
short-handed collier was lying in the roads; and the skipper, perceiving
that they were in liquor, thought it a fine chance, and took some
trouble to secure them. They told him that they had been trying to run
goods, and were chased by a revenue boat, and so on. He was only too
glad to be enabled to make sail, and by dawn they were under way for the
Thames; and that was the end of the Golconda."

"What an awful crime! But you never mean to tell me that the Lord let
those men live and prosper?"

"That subject is beyond our view, my dear. There were five of them, and
Rickon Goold believed himself the last of them. But being very penitent,
he might have exaggerated. He said that one was swallowed by a shark, at
least his head was, and one was hanged for stealing sheep, and one for
a bad sixpence; but the fate of the other (too terrible to tell you)
brought this man down here, to be looking at the place, and to divide
his time between fasting, and drinking, and poaching, and discoursing to
the thoughtless. The women flocked to hear him preach, when the passion
was upon him; and he used to hint at awful sins of his own, which
made him earnest. I hope that he was so, and I do believe it. But
the wooden-legged sailors, old Joe and his son, who seem to have
been employed by Mordacks, took him at his own word for a 'miserable
sinner'--which, as they told their master, no respectable man would call
himself--and in the most business-like manner they set to to remove him
to a better world; and now they have succeeded."

"Poor man! After all, one must be rather sorry for him. If old Joe came
stumping after me for half an hour, I should have no interest in this
life left."

"My dear, they stumped after him the whole day long, and at night they
danced a hornpipe outside his hut. He became convinced that the Prince
of Evil was come, in that naval style, to fetch him; and he drank
everything he could lay hands on, to fortify him for the contest. The
end, as you know, was extremely sad for him, but highly satisfactory
to them, I fear. They have signified their resolution to attend his
funeral; and Mordacks has said, with unbecoming levity, that if
they never were drunk before--which seems to me an almost romantic
supposition--that night they shall be drunk, and no mistake."

"All these things, my dear," replied Mrs. Upround, who was gifted with
a fine vein of moral reflection, "are not as we might wish if we ordered
them ourselves. But still there is this to be said in their favor, that
they have a large tendency toward righteousness."



CHAPTER XLVII

A TANGLE OF VEINS


Human resolution, energy, experience, and reason in its loftiest form
may fight against the doctor; but he beats them all, maintains at least
his own vitality, and asserts his guineas. Two more resolute men than
Mr. Mordacks and Sir Duncan Yordas could scarcely be found in those
resolute times. They sternly resolved to have no sort of doctor; and yet
within three days they did have one; and, more than that, the very one
they had positively vowed to abstain from.

Dr. Stirbacks let everybody know that he never cared two flips of his
thumb for anybody. If anybody wanted him, they must come and seek him,
and be thankful if he could find time to hear their nonsense. For he
understood not the system only, but also the nature of mankind. The
people at the Thornwick did not want him. Very good, so much the better
for him and for them; because the more they wanted him, the less
would he go near them. Tut! tut! tut! he said; what did he want with
crack-brained patients?

All this compelled him, with a very strong reluctance, to be dragged
into that very place the very same day; and he saw that he was not come
an hour too soon. Sir Duncan was lying in a bitterly cold room, with the
fire gone out, and the spark of his life not very far from following it.
Mr. Mordacks was gone for the day upon business, after leaving strict
orders that a good fire must be kept, and many other things attended to.
But the chimney took to smoking, and the patient to coughing, and the
landlady opened the window wide, and the fire took flight into the upper
air. Sir Duncan hated nothing more than any fuss about himself. He
had sent a man to Scarborough for a little chest of clothes, for his
saddle-kit was exhausted; and having promised Mordacks that he would not
quit the house, he had nothing to do except to meditate and shiver.

Gil Beilby's wife Nell, coming up to take orders for dinner, "got a
dreadful turn" from what she saw, and ran down exclaiming that the very
best customer that ever drew their latch was dead. Without waiting to
think, the landlord sent a most urgent message for Dr. Stirbacks.
That learned man happened to be round the corner, although he lived at
Bempton; he met the messenger, cast to the winds all sense of wrong, and
rushed to the succor of humanity.

That night, when the general factor returned, with the hunger excited
by feeding the hungry, he was met at the door by Dr. Stirbacks, saying,
"Hush, my good sir," before he had time to think of speaking. "You!"
cried Mr. Mordacks, having met this gentleman when Rickon Goold was near
his last. "You! Then it must be bad indeed!"

"It is bad, and it must have been all over, sir, but for my being
providentially at the cheese shop. I say nothing to wound any
gentleman's feelings who thinks that he understands everything; but our
poor patient, with the very best meaning, no doubt, has been all but
murdered."

"Dr. Stirbacks, you have got him now, and of course you will make the
best of him. Don't let him slip through your fingers, doctor; he is much
too good for that."

"He shall not slip through my fingers," said the little doctor, with
a twinkle of self-preservation. "I have got him, sir, and I shall keep
him, sir; and you ought to have put him in my hands long ago."

The sequel of this needs no detail. Dr. Stirbacks came three times a
day; and without any disrespect to the profession, it must be admitted
that he earned his fees. For Sir Duncan's case was a very strange one,
and beyond the best wisdom of the laity. If that chill had struck upon
him when his spirit was as usual, he might have cast it off, and gone
on upon his business. But coming as it did, when the temperature of his
heart was lowered by nip of disappointment, it went into him, as water
on a duck's back is not cast away when his rump gland is out of order.

"A warm room, good victuals, and cheerful society--these three are
indispensable," said Dr. Stirbacks to Mr. Mordacks, over whom he began
to try to tyrannize; "and admirable as you are, my good sir, I fear
that your society is depressing. You are always in a fume to be doing
something--a stew, I might say, without exaggeration--a wonderful
pattern of an active mind. But in a case of illness we require the
passive voice. Everything suggestive of rapid motion must be removed,
and never spoken of. You are rapid motion itself, my dear sir. We get a
relapse every time you come in."

"You want me out of the way. Very well. Let me know when you have killed
my friend. I suppose your office ends with that. I will come down and
see to his funeral."

"Mr. Mordacks, you may be premature in such prevision. Your own may come
first, sir. Look well at your eyes the next time you shave, and I fear
you will descry those radiant fibres in the iris which always co-exist
with heart-disease. I can tell you fifty cases, if you have time to
listen."

"D--n your prognostics, sir!" exclaimed the factor, rudely; but
he seldom lathered himself thenceforth without a little sigh of
self-regard. "Now, Dr. Stirbacks," he continued, with a rally, "you
may find my society depressing, but it is generally considered to be
elevating; and that, sir, by judges of the highest order, and men of
independent income. The head of your profession in the northern half of
England, who takes a hundred guineas for every one you take, rejoices,
sir--rejoices is not too strong a word to use--in my very humble
society. Of course he may be wrong; but when he hears that Mr.
Stirbacks, of Little Under-Bempton--is that the right address,
sir?--speaks of my society as depressing--"

"Mr. Mordacks, you misunderstood my meaning. I spoke with no reference
to you whatever, but of all male society as enervating--if you dislike
the word 'depressing'--relaxing, emollient, emasculating, from want of
contradictory element; while I was proceeding to describe the need of
strictly female society. The rector offers this; he was here just
now. His admiration for you is unbounded. He desires to receive our
distinguished patient, with the vast advantage of ladies' society,
double-thick walls, and a southern aspect, if you should consider it
advisable."

"Undoubtedly I do. If the moving can be done without danger; and of that
you are the proper judge, of course."

Thus they composed their little disagreement, with mutual respect, and
some approaches to good-will; and Sir Duncan Yordas, being skillfully
removed, spent his Christmas (without knowing much about it) in the best
and warmest bedroom in the rectory. But Mordacks returned, as an
honest man should do, to put the laurel and the mistletoe on his proper
household gods. And where can this be better done than in that grand
old city, York? But before leaving Flamborough, he settled the claims
of business and charity, so far as he could see them, and so far as the
state of things permitted.

Foiled as he was in his main object by the murder of the revenue
officer, and the consequent flight of Robin Lyth, he had thoroughly
accomplished one part of his task, the discovery of the Golconda's fate,
and the history of Sir Duncan's child. Moreover, his trusty agents, Joe
of the Monument, and Bob his son, had relieved him of one thorny care,
by the zeal and skill with which they worked. It was to them a sweet
instruction to watch, encounter, and drink down a rogue who had scuttled
a ship, and even defeated them at their own weapons, and made a text of
them to teach mankind. Dr. Upround had not exaggerated the ardor with
which they discharged their duty.

But Mordacks still had one rogue on hand, and a deeper one than Rickon
Goold. In the course of his visits to Bridlington Quay, he had managed
to meet John Cadman, preferring, as he always did, his own impressions
to almost any other evidence. And his own impressions had entirely borne
out the conviction of Widow Carroway. But he saw at once that this man
could not be plied with coarse weapons, like the other worn-out villain.
He reserved him as a choice bit for his own skill, and was careful not
to alarm him yet. Only two things concerned him, as immediate in the
matter--to provide against Cadman's departure from the scene, and to
learn all the widow had to tell about him.

The widow had a great deal to say about that man; but had not said it
yet, from want of power so to do. Mordacks himself had often stopped
her, when she could scarcely stop herself; for until her health should
be set up again, any stir of the mind would be dangerous. But now, with
the many things provided for her, good nursing, and company, and the
kindness of the neighbors (who jealously rushed in as soon as a stranger
led the way), and the sickening of Tommy with the measles--which he had
caught in the coal-cellar--she began to be started in a different plane
of life; to contemplate the past as a golden age (enshrining a diamond
statue of a revenue officer in full uniform), and to look upon the
present as a period of steel, when a keen edge must be kept against the
world, for a defense of all the little seed of diamonds.

Now the weather was milder, as it generally is at Christmas time, and
the snow all gone, and the wind blowing off the land again, to the great
satisfaction of both cod and conger. The cottage, which had looked such
a den of cold and famine, with the blinds drawn down, and the snow piled
up against the door, and not a single child-nose against the glass, was
now quite warm again, and almost as lively as if Lieutenant Carroway
were coming home to dinner. The heart of Mr. Mordacks glowed with
pride as he said to himself that he had done all this; and the glow was
reflected on the cheeks of Geraldine, as she ran out to kiss him, and
then jumped upon his shoulder. For, in spite of his rigid aspect and
stern nose, the little lass had taken kindly to him; while he admired
her for eating candles.

"If you please, you can come in here," said Jerry. "Oh, don't knock my
head against the door."

Mrs. Carroway knew what he was come for; and although she had tried
to prepare herself for it, she could not help trembling a little. The
factor had begged her to have some friend present, to encourage and help
her in so grievous an affair; but she would not hear of it, and said she
had no friend.

Mr. Mordacks sat down, as he was told to do, in the little room sacred
to the poor lieutenant, and faithful even yet to the pious memory of his
pipe. When the children were shut out, he began to look around, that the
lady might have time to cry. But she only found occasion for a little
dry sob.

"It is horrible, very, very horrible," she murmured, with a shudder, as
her eyes were following his; "but for his sake I endure it."

"A most sad and bitter trial, ma'am, as ever I have heard of. But you
are bound to bear in mind that he is looking down on you."

"I could not put up with it, without the sense of that, sir. But I say
to myself how much he loved it; and that makes me put up with it."

"I am quite at a loss to understand you, madam. We seem to be at
cross-purposes. I was speaking of--of a thing it pains me to mention;
and you say how much he loved--"

"Dirt, sir, dirt. It was his only weakness. Oh, my darling Charles, my
blessed, blessed Charley! Sometimes I used to drive him almost to his
end about it; but I never thought his end would come; I assure you I
never did, sir. But now I shall leave everything as he would like to see
it--every table and every chair, that he could write his name on it. And
his favorite pipe with the bottom in it. That is what he must love to
see, if the Lord allows him to look down. Only the children mustn't see
it, for the sake of bad example."

"Mrs. Carroway, I agree with you most strictly. Children must be taught
clean ways, even while they revere their father. You should see my
daughter Arabella, ma'am. She regards me with perfect devotion. Why?
Because I never let her do the things that I myself do. It is the only
true principle of government for a nation, a parish, a household. How
beautifully you have trained pretty Geraldine! I fear that you scarcely
could spare her for a month, in the spring, and perhaps Tommy after his
measles; but a visit to York would do them good, and establish their
expanding minds, ma'am."

"Mr. Mordacks, I know not where we may be then. But anything that you
desire is a law to us."

"Well said! Beautifully said! But I trust, my dear madam, that you will
be here. Indeed, it would never do for you to go away. Or rather, I
should put it thus--for the purposes of justice, and for other reasons
also, it is most important that you should not leave this place. At
least you will promise me that, I hope? Unless, of course, unless you
find the memories too painful. And even so, you might find comfort in
some inland house, not far."

"Many people might not like to stop," the widow answered, simply; "but
to me it would be a worse pain to go away. I sit, in the evening, by
the window here. Whenever there is light enough to show the sea, and
the beach is fit for landing on, it seems to my eyes that I can see
the boat, with my husband standing up in it. He had a majestic way of
standing, with one leg more up than the other, sir, through one of his
daring exploits; and whenever I see him, he is just like that; and the
little children in the kitchen peep and say, 'Here's daddy coming at
last; we can tell by mammy's eyes;' and the bigger ones say, 'Hush! You
might know better.' And I look again, wondering which of them is right;
and then there is nothing but the clouds and sea. Still, when it is
over, and I have cried about it, it does me a little good every time. I
seem to be nearer to Charley, as my heart falls quietly into the will of
the Lord."

"No doubt of it whatever. I can thoroughly understand it, although there
is not a bit of resignation in me. I felt that sort of thing, to some
extent, when I lost my angelic wife, ma'am, though naturally departed
to a sphere more suited for her. And I often seem to think that still
I hear her voice when a coal comes to table in a well-dish. Life, Mrs.
Carroway, is no joke to bandy back, but trouble to be shared. And none
share it fairly but the husband and the wife, ma'am."

"You make it very hard for me to get my words," she said, without
minding that her tears ran down, so long as she spoke clearly. "I am not
of the lofty sort, and understand no laws of things; though my husband
was remarkable for doing so. He took all the trouble of the taxes off,
though my part was to pay for them. And in every other way he was a
wonder, sir; not at all because now he is gone above. That would be my
last motive."

"He was a wonder, a genuine wonder," Mordacks replied, without irony.
"He did his duty, ma'am, with zeal and ardor; a shining example upon
very little pay. I fear that it was his integrity and zeal, truly
British character and striking sense of discipline, that have so sadly
brought him to--to the condition of an example."

"Yes, Mr. Mordacks, it was all that. He never could put up with a lazy
man, as anybody, to live, must have to do. He kept all his men, as I
used to do our children, to word of command, and no answer. Honest men
like it; but wicked men fly out. And all along we had a very wicked man
here."

"So I have heard from other good authority--a deceiver of women, a
skulk, a dog. I have met with many villains; and I am not hot. But
my tendency is to take that fellow by the throat with both hands, and
throttle him. Having thoroughly accomplished that, I should prepare to
sift the evidence. Unscientific, illogical, brutal, are such desires,
as you need not tell me. And yet, madam, they are manly. I hate slow
justice; I like it quick--quick, or none at all, I say, so long as it
is justice. Creeping justice is, to my mind, little better than slow
revenge. My opinions are not orthodox, but I hope they do not frighten
you."

"They do indeed, sir; or at least your face does; though I know how
quick and just you are. He is a bad man--too well I know it--but, as my
dear husband used to say, he has a large lot of children."

"Well, Mrs. Carroway, I admire you the more, for considering what he has
not considered. Let us put aside that. The question is--guilty or not
guilty? If he is guilty, shall he get off, and innocent men be hanged
for him? Six men are in jail at this present moment for the deed which
we believe he did. Have they no wives, no fathers and mothers, no
children--not to speak of their own lives? The case is one in which the
Constitution of the realm must be asserted. Six innocent men must die
unless the crime is brought home to the guilty one. Even that is not
all as regards yourself. You may not care for your own life, but you
are bound to treasure it seven times over for the sake of your seven
children. While John Cadman is at large, and nobody hanged instead of
him, your life is in peril, ma'am. He knows that you know him, and have
denounced him. He has tried to scare you into silence; and the fright
caused your sad illness. I have reason to believe that he, by scattering
crafty rumors, concealed from the neighbors your sad plight, and that
of your dear children. If so, he is worse than the devil himself. Do you
see your duty now, and your interest also?"

Mrs. Carroway nodded gently. Her strength of mind was not come back yet,
after so much illness. The baby lay now on its father's breast, and the
mother's had been wild for it.

"I am sorry to have used harsh words," resumed Mordacks; "but I always
have to do so. They seem to put things clearer; and without that, where
would business be? Now I will not tire you if I can help it, nor ask a
needless question. What provocation had this man? What fanciful cause
for spite, I mean?"

"Oh, none, Mr. Mordacks, none whatever. My husband rebuked him for
being worthless, and a liar, and a traitor; and he threatened to get
him removed from the force; and he gave him a little throw down from the
cliff--but what little was done was done entirely for his good."

"Yes, I see. And, after that, was Cadman ever heard to threaten him?"

"Many times, in a most malicious way, when he thought that he was not
heeded. The other men may fear to bear witness. But my Geraldine has
heard him."

"There could be no better witness. A child, especially a pretty little
girl, tells wonderfully with a jury. But we must have a great deal more
than that. Thousands of men threaten, and do nothing, according to the
proverb. A still more important point is--how did the muskets in the
boat come home? They were all returned to the station, I presume. Were
they all returned with their charges in them?"

"I am sure I can not say how that was. There was nobody to attend to
that. But one of them had been lost altogether."

"One of the guns never came back at all!" Mordacks almost shouted.
"Whose gun was it that did not come back?"

"How can we say? There was such confusion. My husband would never let
them nick the guns, as they do at some of the stations, for every man
to know his own. But in spite of that, each man had his own, I believe.
Cadman declares that he brought home his; and nobody contradicted him.
But if I saw the guns, I should know whether Cadman's is among them."

"How can you possibly pretend to know that, ma'am? English ladies can do
almost anything. But surely you never served out the guns?"

"No, Mr. Mordacks. But I have cleaned them. Not the inside, of course;
that I know nothing of; and nobody sees that, to be offended. But
several times I have observed, at the station, a disgraceful quantity
of dust upon the guns--dust and rust and miserable blotches, such as bad
girls leave in the top of a fish-kettle; and I made Charley bring them
down, and be sure to have them empty; because they were so unlike what
I have seen on board of the ship where he won his glory, and took the
bullet in his nineteenth rib."

"My dear madam, what a frame he must have had! But this is most
instructive. No wonder Geraldine is brave. What a worthy wife for a
naval hero! A lady who could handle guns!"

"I knew, sir, quite from early years, having lived near a very large
arsenal, that nothing can make a gun go off unless there is something
in it. And I could trust my husband to see to that; and before I touched
one of them I made him put a brimstone match to the touch-hole. And
I found it so pleasant to polish them, from having such wicked things
quite at my mercy. The wood was what I noticed most, because of
understanding chairs. One of them had a very curious tangle of veins
on the left cheek behind the trigger; and I just had been doing for the
children's tea what they call 'crinkly-crankly'--treacle trickled (like
a maze) upon the bread; and Tommy said, 'Look here! it is the very same
upon this gun.' And so it was; just the same pattern on the wood! And
while I was doing it Cadman came up, in his low surly way, and said, 'I
want my gun, missus; I never shoot with no other gun than that. Captain
says I may shoot a sea-pye, for the little ones.' And so I always called
it 'Cadman's gun.' I have not been able to think much yet. But if that
gun is lost, I shall know who it was that lost a gun that dreadful
night."

"All this is most strictly to the purpose," answered Mordacks, "and
may prove most important. We could never hope to get those six men off,
without throwing most grave suspicion elsewhere; and unless we can get
those six men off, their captain will come and surrender himself, and be
hanged, to a dead certainty. I doubted his carrying the sense of right
so far, until I reflected upon his birth, dear madam. He belongs, as I
may tell you now, to a very ancient family, a race that would run their
heads into a noose out of pure obstinacy, rather than skulk off. I am
of very ancient race myself, though I never take pride in the matter,
because I have seen more harm than good of it. I always learned Latin
at school so quickly through being a grammatical example of descent.
According to our pedigree, Caius Calpurnius Mordax Naso was the Governor
of Britain under Pertinax. My name means 'biting'; and bite I can,
whether my dinner is before me, or my enemy. In the present case I shall
not bite yet, but prepare myself for doing so. I watch the proceedings
of the government, who are sure to be slow, as well as blundering.
There has been no appointment to this command as yet, because of so
many people wanting it. This patched-up peace, which may last about six
months (even if it is ever signed), is producing confusion everywhere.
You have an old fool put in charge of this station till a proper
successor is appointed."

"He is not like Captain Carroway, sir. But that concerns me little now.
But I do wish, for my children's sake, that they would send a little
money."

"On no account think twice of that. That question is in my hands, and
affords me one of the few pleasures I derive from business. You are
under no sort of obligation about it. I am acting under authority. A man
of exalted position and high office--but never mind that till the proper
time comes; only keep your mind in perfect rest, and attend to your
children and yourself. I am obliged to proceed very warily, but you
shall not be annoyed by that scoundrel. I will provide for that before I
leave; also I will see the guns still in store, without letting anybody
guess my motive. I have picked up a very sharp fellow here, whose heart
is in the business thoroughly; for one of the prisoners is his twin
brother, and he lost his poor sweetheart through Cadman's villainy--a
young lass who used to pick mussels, or something. He will see that the
rogue does not give us the slip, and I have looked out for that in other
ways as well. I am greatly afraid of tiring you, my dear madam; but have
you any other thing to tell me of this Cadman?"

"No, Mr. Mordacks, except a whole quantity of little things that tell a
great deal to me, but to anybody else would have no sense. For instance,
of his looks, and turns, and habits, and tricks of seeming neither the
one thing nor the other, and jumping all the morning, when the last man
was hanged--"

"Did he do that, madam? Are you quite sure?"

"I had it on the authority of his own wife. He beats her, but still she
can not understand him. You may remember that the man to be suspended
was brought to the place where--where--"

"Where he earned his doom. It is quite right. Things of that sort should
be done upon a far more liberal scale. Example is better than a thousand
precepts. Let us be thankful that we live in such a country. I have
brought some medicine for brave Tommy from our Dr. Stirbacks. Be sure
that you stroke his throat when he takes it. Boys are such rogues--"

"Well, Mr. Mordacks, I really hope that I know how to make my little boy
take medicine!"



CHAPTER XLVIII

SHORT SIGHS, AND LONG ONES


Now it came to pass that for several months this neighborhood, which
had begun to regard Mr. Mordacks as its tutelary genius--so great is the
power of bold energy--lost him altogether; and with brief lamentation
began to do very well without him. So fugitive is vivacious stir, and
so well content is the general world to jog along in its old ruts. The
Flamborough butcher once more subsided into a piscitarian; the postman,
who had been driven off his legs, had time to nurse his grain again;
Widow Tapsy relapsed into the very worst of taps, having none to
demand good beverage; and a new rat, sevenfold worse than the mighty
net-devourer (whom Mordacks slew; but the chronicle has been cut out,
for the sake of brevity), took possession of his galleries, and made
them pay. All Flamborough yearned for the "gentleman as did things,"
itself being rather of the contemplative vein, which flows from
immemorial converse with the sea. But the man of dry hand-and-heel
activity came not, and the lanes forgot the echo of his Roman march.

The postman (with a wicked endeavor of hope to beget faith from sweet
laziness) propagated a loose report that Death had claimed the general
factor, through fear of any rival in activity. The postman did not put
it so, because his education was too good for long words to enter
into it; but he put his meaning in a shorter form than a smattering of
distant tongues leaves to us. The butcher (having doubt of death, unless
by man administered) kicked the postman out of his expiring shop, where
large hooks now had no sheep for bait; and Widow Tapsy, filled with
softer liquid form of memory, was so upset by the letter-man's tale that
she let off a man who owed four gallons, for beating him as flat as his
own bag. To tell of these things may take time, but time is thoroughly
well spent if it contributes a trifle toward some tendency, on anybody's
part, to hope that there used to be, even in this century, such a thing
as gratitude.

But why did Mr. Mordacks thus desert his favorite quest and quarters,
and the folk in whom he took most delight--because so long inaccessible?
The reason was as sound as need be: important business of his own had
called him away into Derbyshire. Like every true son of stone and crag,
he required an annual scratch against them, and hoped to rest among them
when the itch of life was over. But now he had hopes of even more than
that--of owning a good house and fair estate, and henceforth exerting
his remarkable powers of agency on his own behalf. For his cousin,
Calpurnius Mordacks, the head of the family, was badly ailing, and
having lost his only son in the West Indies, had sent for this kinsman
to settle matters with him. His offer was generous and noble; to wit,
that Geoffrey should take, not the property alone, but also his second
cousin, fair Calpurnia, though not without her full consent. Without
the lady, he was not to have the land, and the lady's consent must be
secured before her father ceased to be a sound testator.

Now if Calpurnia had been kept in ignorance of this arrangement, a man
possessing the figure, decision, stature, self-confidence, and other
high attributes of our Mordacks, must have triumphed in a week at
latest. But with that candor which appears to have been so strictly
entailed in the family, Colonel Calpurnius called them in; and there (in
the presence of the testator and of each other) they were fully apprised
of this rather urgent call upon their best and most delicate emotions.
And the worst of it was (from the gentleman's point of view), that
the contest was unequal. The golden apples were not his to cast, but
Atalanta's. The lady was to have the land, even without accepting love.
Moreover, he was fifty per cent beyond her in age, and Hymen would make
her a mamma without invocation of Lucina. But highest and deepest woe of
all, most mountainous of obstacles, was the lofty skyline of his nose,
inherited from the Roman. If the lady's corresponding feature had not
corresponded--in other words, if her nose had been chubby, snub, or even
Greek--his bold bridge must have served him well, and even shortened
access to rosy lips and tender heart. But, alas! the fair one's nose was
also of the fine imperial type, truly admirable in itself, but (under
one of nature's strictest laws) coy of contact with its own male
expression. Love, whose joy and fierce prank is to buckle to the plated
pole ill-matched forms and incongruous spirits, did not fail of her
impartial freaks. Mr. Mordacks had to cope with his own kin, and found
the conflict so severe that not a breath of time was left him for
anybody's business but his own.

If luck was against him in that quarter (although he would not own it
yet), at York and Flamborough it was not so. No crisis arose to demand
his presence; no business went amiss because of his having to work so
hard at love. There came, as there sometimes does in matters pressing,
tangled, and exasperating, a quiet period, a gentle lull, a halcyon
time when the jaded brain reposes, and the heart may hatch her own
mares'-nests. Underneath that tranquil spell lay fond Joe and Bob (with
their cash to spend), Widow Precious (with her beer laid in), and
Widow Carroway, with a dole at last extorted from the government; while
Anerley Farm was content to hearken the creak of wagon and the ring of
flail, and the rector of Flamborough once more rejoiced in the bloodless
war that breeds good-will.

For Sir Duncan Yordas was a fine chess-player, as many Indian officers
of that time were; and now that he was coming to his proper temperature
(after three months of barbed stab of cold, and the breach of the seal
of the seventy-seventh phial of Dr. Stirbacks), in gratitude for that
miraculous escape, he did his very best to please everybody. To Dr.
Upround he was an agreeable and penetrative companion; to Mrs. Upround,
a gallant guest, with a story for every slice of bread and butter; to
Janetta, a deity combining the perfections of Jupiter, Phoebus, Mars,
and Neptune (because of his yacht), without any of their drawbacks;
and to Flamborough, more largely speaking, a downright good sort of
gentleman, combining a smoke with a chaw--so they understood cigars--and
not above standing still sometimes for a man to say some sense to him.

But before Mr. Mordacks left his client under Dr. Upround's care, he had
done his best to provide that mischief should not come of gossip; and
the only way to prevent that issue is to preclude the gossip. Sir Duncan
Yordas, having lived so long in a large commanding way, among people
who might say what they pleased of him, desired no concealment here,
and accepted it unwillingly. But his agent was better skilled in English
life, and rightly foresaw a mighty buzz of nuisance--without any honey
to be brought home--from the knowledge of the public that the Indian
hero had begotten the better-known apostle of free trade. Yet it
might have been hard to persuade Sir Duncan to keep that great fact to
himself, if his son had been only a smuggler, or only a fugitive from a
false charge of murder. But that which struck him in the face, as soon
as he was able to consider things, was the fact that his son had fled
and vanished, leaving his underlings to meet their fate. "The smuggling
is a trifle," exclaimed the sick man; "our family never was law-abiding,
and used to be large cattle-lifters; even the slaying of a man in hot
combat is no more than I myself have done, and never felt the worse for
it. But to run away, and leave men to be hanged, after bringing them
into the scrape himself, is not the right sort of dishonor for a Yordas.
If the boy surrenders, I shall be proud to own him. But until he does
that, I agree with you, Mordacks, that he does not deserve to know who
he is."

This view of the case was harsh, perhaps, and showed some ignorance of
free-trade questions, and of English justice. If Robin Lyth had been
driven, by the heroic view of circumstances, to rush into embrace
constabular, would that have restored the other six men to family
sinuosities? Not a chance of it. Rather would it treble the pangs of
jail--where they enjoyed themselves--to feel that anxiety about their
pledges to fortune from which the free Robin relieved them. Money was
lodged and paid as punctual as the bank for the benefit of all their
belongings. There were times when the sailors grumbled a little because
they had no ropes to climb; but of any unfriendly rope impending they
were too wise to have much fear. They knew that they had not done the
deed, and they felt assured that twelve good men would never turn round
in their box to believe it.

Their captain took the same view of the case. He had very little doubt
of their acquittal if they were defended properly; and of that a far
wealthier man than himself, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of free
trade, Master Rideout of Malton, would take good care, if the money left
with Dr. Upround failed. The surrender of Robin would simply hurt them,
unless they were convicted, and in that case he would yield himself. Sir
Duncan did not understand these points, and condemned his son unjustly.
And Mordacks was no longer there to explain such questions in his sharp
clear way.

Being in this sadly disappointed state, and not thoroughly delivered
from that renal chill (which the northeast wind, coming over the leather
of his valise, had inflicted), this gentleman, like a long-pendulous
grape with the ventilators open, was exposed to the delicate insidious
billing of little birds that love something good. It might be
wrong--indeed, it must be wrong, and a foul slur upon fair sweet
love--to insinuate that Indian gold, or rank, or renown, or vague
romance, contributed toward what came to pass. Miss Janetta Upround, up
to this time of her life, had laughed at all the wanton tricks of Cupid;
and whenever the married women told her that her time would be safe to
come, and then she might understand their behavior, they had always been
ordered to go home and do their washing. And this made it harder for her
to be mangled by the very tribulation she had laughed at.

Short little sighs were her first symptom, and a quiet way of going up
the stairs--which used to be a noisy process with her--and then a desire
to know something of history, and a sudden turn of mind toward soup. Sir
Duncan had a basin every day at twelve o'clock, and Janetta had orders
to see him do it, by strict institution of Stirbacks. Those orders she
carried out with such zeal that she even went so far as to blow upon the
spoon; and she did look nice while doing it. In a word--as there is no
time for many--being stricken, she did her best to strike, as the manner
of sweet women is.

Sir Duncan Yordas received it well. Being far on toward her futurity in
years, and beyond her whole existence in experience and size, he smiled
at her ardor and short vehemence to please him, and liked to see her
go about, because she turned so lightly. Then the pleasant agility of
thought began to make him turn to answer it; and whenever she had the
best of him in words, her bright eyes fell, as if she had the worst.
"She doesn't even know that she is clever," said the patient to himself,
"and she is the first person I have met with yet who knows which side of
the line Calcutta is."

The manner of those benighted times was to keep from young ladies
important secrets which seemed to be no concern of theirs. Miss Upround
had never been told what brought this visitor to Flamborough, and
although she had plenty of proper curiosity, she never got any reward
for it. Only four Flamburians knew that Sir Duncan was Robin Lyth's
papa--or, as they would put it (having faster hold of the end of the
stick next to them), that Robin Lyth was the son of Sir Duncan. And
those four were, by force of circumstance, Robin Cockscroft and Joan
his wife, the rector and the rectoress. Even Dr. Stirbacks (organically
inquisitive as he was, and ill content to sniff at any bottle with the
cork tied down), by mastery of Mordacks and calm dignity of rector, was
able to suspect a lot of things, but to be sure of none of them; and
suspicion, according to its usual manner, never came near the truth
at all. Miss Upround, therefore, had no idea that if she became Lady
Yordas, which she very sincerely longed to be, she would, by that event,
be made the step-mother of a widely celebrated smuggler; while her
Indian hero, having no idea of her flattering regard as yet, was not
bound to enlighten her upon that point.

At Anerley Farm the like ignorance prevailed; except that Mistress
Anerley, having a quick turn for romance, and liking to get her
predictions confirmed, recalled to her mind (and recited to her husband
in far stronger language) what she had said, in the clover-blossom
time, to the bravest man that ever lived, the lamented Captain
Carroway. Captain Carroway's dauntless end, so thoroughly befitting his
extraordinary exploits, for which she even had his own authority, made
it the clearest thing in all the world that every word she said to
him must turn out Bible-true. And she had begged him--and one might
be certain that he had told it, as a good man must, to his poor dear
widow--not to shoot at Robin Lyth; because he would get a thousand
pounds, instead of a hundred for doing it. She never could have dreamed
to find her words come true so suddenly; but here was an Indian Prince
come home, who employed the most pleasant-spoken gentleman; and he might
know who it was he had to thank that even in the cave the captain did
not like to shoot that long-lost heir; and from this time out there was
no excuse for Stephen if he ever laughed at anything that his wife said.
Only on no account must Mary ever hear of it; for a bird in the hand
was worth fifty in the bush; and the other gone abroad, and under
accusation, and very likely born of a red Indian mother. Whereas Harry
Tanfield's father, George, had been as fair as a foal, poor fellow; and
perhaps if the church books had been as he desired, he might have kept
out of the church-yard to this day.

"And me in it," the farmer answered, with a laugh--"dead for love of my
wife, Sophy; as wouldn't 'a been my wife, nor drawn nigh upon fi' pounds
this very week for feathers, fur, and ribbon stuff. Well, well, George
would 'a come again, to think of it. How many times have I seen him go
with a sixpence in the palm of 's hand, and think better of the king
upon it, and worser of the poor chap as were worn out, like the tail of
it! Then back go the sixpence into George's breeches; and out comes my
shilling to the starving chap, on the sly, and never mentioned. But for
all that, I think, like enow, old George mought 'a managed to get up to
heaven."

"Stephen, I wish to hear nothing of that. The question concerns his
family, not ours, as Providence has seen fit to arrange. Now what is
your desire to have done with Mary? William has made his great discovery
at last; and if we should get the 10,000 pounds, nobody need look down
on us."

"I should like to see any one look down on me," Master Anerley said,
with his back set straight; "a' mought do so once, but a' would be
sorry afterward. Not that I would hinder him of 's own way; only that
he better keep out of mine. Sometimes, when you go thinking of your own
ideas, you never seem to bear in mind what my considerations be."

"Because you can not follow out the quickness of the way I think. You
always acknowledge that, my dear."

"Well, well. Quick churn spoileth butter. Like Willie with his perpetual
motion. What good to come of it, if he hath found out? And a' might, if
ever a body did, from the way he goeth jumping about forever, and never
hold fast to anything. A nice thing 'twould be for the fools to say,
perpetual motion come from Anerley Farm!"

"You never will think any good of him, Stephen, because his mind comes
from my side. But wait till you see the 10,000 pounds."

"That I will; and thank the Lord to live so long. But, to come to
common-sense--how was Mary and Harry a-carrying on this afternoon?"

"Not so very bad, father; and nothing good to speak of. He kept on very
well from the corners of his eyes; but she never corresponded, so to
speak--same as--you know."

"The same as you used to do when you was young. Well, manners may be
higher stylish now. Did he ask her about the hay-rick?"

"That he did. Three or four times over; exactly as you said it to him.
He knew that was how you got the upper hand of me, according to your
memory, but not mine; and he tried to do it the very same way; but the
Lord makes a lot of change in thirty years of time. Mary quite turned
her nose up at any such riddle, and he pulled his spotted handkerchief
out of that new hat of his, and the fagot never saw fit to heed even the
color of his poor red cheeks. Stephen, you would have marched off for a
week if I had behaved to you so."

"And the right way too; I shall put him up to that. Long sighs only
leads to turn-up noses. He plays too knuckle-down at it. You should
go on with your sweetheart very mild at first; just a-feeling for her
finger-tips; and emboldening of her to believe that you are frightened,
and bringing her to peep at you as if you was a blackbird, ready to pop
out of sight. That makes 'em wonderful curious and eager, and sticks you
into 'em, like prickly spinach. But you mustn't stop too long like that.
You must come out large, as a bull runs up to gate; and let them see
that you could smash it if you liked, but feel a goodness in your heart
that keeps you out of mischief. And then they comes up, and they says,
'poor fellow!'"

"Stephen, I do not approve of such expressions, or any such low
opinions. You may know how you went on. Such things may have answered
once; because of your being--yourself, you know. But Mary, although she
may not have my sense, must have her own opinions. And the more you talk
of what we used to do--though I never remember your trotting up, like
a great bull roaring, to any kind of gate--the less I feel inclined to
force her. And who is Harry Tanfield, after all?"

"We know all about him," the farmer answered; "and that is something to
begin with. His land is worth fifteen shillings an acre less than ours,
and full of kid-bine. But, for all that, he can keep a family, and is a
good home-dweller. However, like the rest of us, in the way of women, he
must bide his bolt, and bode it."

"Father," the mistress of the house replied, "I shall never go one step
out of my way to encourage a young man who makes you speak so lightly of
those you owe so much to. Harry Tanfield may take his chance for me."

"So a' may for me, mother--so a' may for me. If a' was to have our Mary,
his father George would be coming up between us, out of his peace
in churchyard, more than he doth a'ready; and a' comes too much
a'ready.--Why, poppet, we were talking of you--fie, fie, listening!"

"No, now, father," Mary Anerley answered, with a smile at such a low
idea; "you never had that to find fault with me, I think. And if you are
plotting against me for my good--as mother loves to put it--it would be
the best way to shut me out before you begin to do it."

"Why, bless my heart and soul," exclaimed the farmer, with a most crafty
laugh--for he meant to kill two birds with one stone--"if the lass
hathn't got her own dear mother's tongue, and the very same way of
turning things! There never hath been such a time as this here. The
childer tell us what to do, and their mothers tell us what not to do.
Better take the business off my hands, and sell all they turnips as is
rotting. Women is cheats, and would warrant 'em sound, with the best to
the top of the bury. But mind you one thing--if I retires from business,
like Brother Popplewell, I shall expect to be supported; cheap, but very
substantial."

"Mary, you are wicked to say such things," Mistress Anerley began, as
he went out, "when you know that your dear father is such a substantial
silent man."



CHAPTER XLIX

A BOLD ANGLER


As if in vexation at being thwarted by one branch of the family, Cupid
began to work harder at the other, among the moors and mountains. Not
that either my lady Philippa or gentle Mistress Carnaby fell back into
the snares of youth, but rather that youth, contemptuous of age, leaped
up, and defied everybody but itself, and cried tush to its own welfare.

For as soon as the trance of snow was gone, and the world, emboldened to
behold itself again, smiled up from genial places; and the timid step of
peeping spring awoke a sudden flutter in the breast of buds; and streams
(having sent their broken anger to the sea) were pleased to be murmuring
clearly again, and enjoyed their own flexibility; and even stern
mountains and menacing crags allowed soft light to play with them--at
such a time prudence found very narrow house-room in the breast of young
Lancelot, otherwise "Pet."

"If Prudence be present, no Divinity is absent," according to high
authority; but the author of the proverb must have first excluded Love
from the list of Divinities. Pet's breast, or at any rate his chest, had
grown under the expansive enormity of love; his liver, moreover (which,
according to poets, both Latin and Greek, is the especial throne of
love), had quickened its proceedings, from the exercise he took; from
the same cause, his calves increased so largely that even Jordas could
not pull the agate buttons of his gaiters through their holes. In a
word, he gained flesh, muscle, bone, and digestion, and other great
bodily blessings, from the power believed by the poets to upset
and annihilate every one of them. However, this proves nothing
anti-poetical, for the essence of that youth was to contradict
experience.

Jordas had never, in all his born days, not even in the thick of the
snow-drift, found himself more in a puzzle than now; and he could not
even fly for advice in this matter to Lawyer Jellicorse. The first great
gift of nature, expelled by education, is gratitude. A child is full
of gratitude, or at least has got the room for it; but no full-grown
mortal, after good education, has been known to keep the rudiments of
thankfulness. But Jordas had a stock of it--as much as can remain to any
one superior to the making of a cross.

Now the difficulty of it was that Jordas called to mind, every morning
when he saw snow, and afterward when he saw anything white, that he must
have required a grave, and not got it (in time to be any good to him),
without the hard labor, strong endurance, and brotherly tendance of
the people of the gill. Even the three grand fairy gifts of Lawyer
Jellicorse himself might scarcely have saved him, although they were no
less than as follows, in virtue: the tip of a tongue that had never told
a lie (because it belonged to a bullock slain young), a flask of old
Scotch whiskey, and a horn comfit-box of Irish snuff. All these three
had stood him in good stead, especially the last, which kept him
wide-awake, and enabled him to sneeze a yellow hole in the drift,
whenever it threatened to ingulf his beard. Without those three he could
never have got on; but, with all the three, he could never have got out,
if Bat and Maunder of the gill had not come to his succor in the very
nick of time. Not only did they work hard for hours under the guidance
of Saracen (who was ready to fly at them if they left off), but when at
length they came on Jordas, in his last exhaustion, with the good horse
rubbing up his chin to make him warmer, they did a sight of things,
which the good Samaritan, having finer climate, was enabled to dispense
with. And when they had set him on his legs again, finding that he
could not use them yet, they hoisted him on the back of Maunder, who was
strong; and the whole of that expedition ended at the little cottage in
the gill. But the kindness of the inhabitants was only just beginning;
for when Jordas came to himself he found that his off-foot--as Marmaduke
would have called it--the one which had ridden with a northeast aspect,
was frozen as hard as a hammer, and as blue as a pistol barrel. Mrs.
Bart happened to have seen such cases in her native country, and by her
skillful treatment and never-wearying care, the poor fellow's foot was
saved and cured, though at one time he despaired of it. Marmaduke also
was restored, and sent home to his stable some days before his rider was
in a condition to mount him.

In return for all these benefits, how could the dogman, without being
worse than a dog, go and say to his ladies that mischief was breeding
between their heir and a poor girl who lived in a corner of their land?
If he had been ungrateful, or in any way a sneak, he might have found
no trouble in this thing; but being, as he was, an honest, noble-hearted
fellow, he battled severely in his mind to set up the standard of the
proper side to take. For such matters Pet cared not one jot. Crafty as
he was, he could never understand that Jordas and Welldrum were not the
same man, one half working out-of-doors, and the other in. For him it
was enough that Jordas would not tell, probably because he was afraid
to do so, and Pet resolved to make him useful. For Lancelot Carnaby was
very sharp indeed in espying what suited his purpose. His set purpose
was to marry Insie Bart, in whom he had sense enough to perceive his
better, in every respect but money and birth, in which two he was
before her, or at any rate supposed so. He was proud, as need be, of
his station in life; but he reasoned--if the process of his mind was
reason--that being so exalted, he might please himself; that his wife
would rise to his rank, instead of lowering him; that her father was a
man of education and a gentleman, although he worked with his own hands;
and that Insie was a lady, though she went to fill a pitcher.

For one happy fact the youth deserved some credit, or rather, perhaps,
his youth deserved it for him. He was madly in love with Insie, and
his passion could not be of very high spiritual order; but the idea of
obtaining her dishonorably never occurred to his mind for one moment. He
knew her to be better, purer, and nobler than himself in every way; and
he felt, though he did not want to feel it, that her nature gave a
lift to his. Insie, on the other hand, began to like him better, and to
despise him less and less; his reckless devotion to her made its way;
and in spite of all her common-sense, his beauty and his lordly style
had attractions for her young romance. And at last her heart began to
bound, like his, when they were together. "With all thy faults, I love
thee still," was the loose condition of her youthful mind.

Into every combination, however steep and deep be the gill of its quiet
incubation, a number of people and of things peep in, and will enter,
like the cuckoo, at the glimpse of a white feather, or even without it,
unless beak and claw are shown. And now the intruder into Pet's love
nest had the right to look in, and to pull him out, neck and crop,
unless he sat there legally. Whether birds discharge fraternal duty is
a question for Notes and Queries even in the present most positive
age. Sophocles says that the clever birds feed their parents and their
benefactors, and men ascribe piety to them in fables, as a needful
ensample to one another.

Be that as it may, this Maunder Bart, when his rather slow attention was
once aroused, kept a sharp watch upon his young landlord's works. It was
lucky for Pet that he meant no harm, and that Maunder had contemptuous
faith in him; otherwise Insie's brother would have shortly taken him up
by his gaiters, and softly beaten his head in against a rock. For Mr.
Bart's son was of bitter, morose, and almost savage nature, silent,
moody, and as resolute as death. He resented and darkly repined at the
loss of position and property of which he had heard, and he scorned the
fine sentiments which had led to nothing at all substantial. It was not
in his power to despise his father, for his mind felt the presence of
the larger one; but he did not love him as a son should do; neither did
he speak out his thoughts to anybody beyond a few mutters to his mother.
But he loved his gentle sister, and found in her a goodness which warmed
him up to think about getting some upon his own account.

Such thoughts, however, were fugitive, and Maunder's more general
subject of brooding was the wrong he had suffered through his father.
He was living and working like a peasant or a miner, instead of having
horses, and dogs, and men, and the right to kick out inferior people--as
that baby Lancelot Carnaby had--for no other reason, that he could find,
than the magnitude of his father's mind. He had gone into the subject
with his father long ago--for Mr. Bart felt a noble pride in his
convictions--and the son lamented with all his heart the extent of
his own father's mind. In his lonely walks, heavy hours, and hard
work--which last he never grudged, for his strength required outlet--he
pondered continually upon one thing, and now he seemed to see a chance
of doing it. The first step in his upward course would be Insie's
marriage with Lancelot.

Pet, who had no fear of any one but Maunder, tried crafty little tricks
to please him; but instead of earning many thanks, got none at all,
which made him endeavor to improve himself. Mr. Bart's opinion of him
now began to follow the course of John Smithies's, and Smithies looked
at it in one light only (ever since Pet so assaulted him, and then
trusted his good-will across the dark moors), and that light was that
"when you come to think of him, you mustn't be too hard upon him, after
all." And one great excellence of this youth was that he cared not a
doit for general opinion, so long as he got his own special desire.

His desire was, not to let a day go by without sight and touch of Insie.
These were not to be had at a moment's notice, nor even by much care;
and five times out of six he failed of so much as a glimpse or a word
of her. For the weather and the time of year have much to say concerning
the course of the very truest love, and worse than the weather itself
too often is the cloudy caprice of maiden mind.

Insie's father must have known what attraction drew this youth to such
a cold unfurnished spot, and if he had been like other men, he would
either have nipped in the bud this passion, or, for selfish reasons,
fostered it. But being of large theoretical mind, he found his due
outlet in giving advice.

It is plain at a glance that in such a case the mother is the proper one
to give advice, and the father the one to act strenuously. But now Mrs.
Bart, who was a very good lady, and had gone through a world of
trouble from the want of money--the which she had cast away for sake of
something better--came to the forefront of this pretty little business,
as Insie's mother, vigorously.

"Christophare," she said to her husband, "not often do I speak, between
us, of the affairs it is wise to let alone. But now of our dear child
Inesa it is just that I should insist something. Mandaro, which you call
English Maunder, already is destroyed for life by the magnitude of
your good mind. It is just that his sister should find the occasion of
reversion to her proper grade of life. For you, Christophare, I have
abandoned all, and have the good right to claim something from you. And
the only thing that I demand is one--let Inesa return to the lady."

"Well," said Mr. Bart, who had that sense of humor without which no man
can give his property away, "I hope that she never has departed from
it. But, my dear, as you make such a point of it, I will promise not to
interfere, unless there is any attempt to do wrong, and intrap a poor
boy who does not know his own mind. Insie is his equal by birth and
education, and perhaps his superior in that which comes foremost
nowadays--the money. Dream not that he is a great catch, my dear; I know
more of that matter than you do. It is possible that he may stand at the
altar with little to settle upon his bride except his bright waistcoat
and gaiters."

"Tush, Christophare! You are, to my mind, always an enigma."

"That is as it should be, and keeps me interesting still. But this is a
mere boy and girl romance. If it meant anything, my only concern would
be to know whether the boy was good. If not, I should promptly kick him
back to his own door."

"From my observation, he is very good--to attend to his rights, and make
the utmost of them."

Mr. Bart laughed, for he knew that a little hit at himself was intended;
and very often now, as his joints began to stiffen, he wished that his
youth had been wiser. He stuck to his theories still; but his practice
would have been more of the practical kind, if it had come back to
be done again. But his children and his wife had no claim to bring
up anything, because everything was gone before he undertook their
business. However, he obtained reproach--as always seems to happen--for
those doings of his early days which led to their existence. Still, he
liked to make the best of things, and laughed, instead of arguing.

For a short time, therefore, Lancelot Carnaby seemed to have his own way
in this matter, as well as in so many others. As soon as spring weather
unbound the streams, and enlarged both the spots and the appetite of
trout (which mainly thrive together), Pet became seized, by his own
account, with insatiable love of angling. The beck of the gill, running
into the Lune, was alive, in those unpoaching days, with sweet little
trout of a very high breed, playful, mischievous, and indulging (while
they provoked) good hunger. These were trout who disdained to feed
basely on the ground when they could feed upward, ennobling almost every
gulp with a glimpse of the upper creation. Mrs. Carnaby loved these
"graceful creatures," as she always called them, when fried well;
and she thought it so good and so clever of her son to tempt her poor
appetite with them.

"Philippa, he knows--perhaps your mind is absent," she said, as she put
the fifth trout on her plate at breakfast one fine morning--"he feels
that these little creatures do me good, and to me it becomes a sacred
duty to endeavor to eat them."

"You seem to succeed very well, Eliza."

"Yes, dear, I manage to get on a little, from a sort of sporting feeling
that appeals to me. Before I begin to lift the skins of any of these
little darlings, I can see my dear boy standing over the torrent, with
his wonderful boldness, and bright eagle eyes--"

"To pull out a fish of an ounce and a half. Without any disrespect to
Pet, whose fishing apparel has cost 20 pounds, I believe that Jordas
catches every one of them."

Sad to say, this was even so; Lancelot tried once or twice, for some
five minutes at a time, throwing the fly as he threw a skittle-ball; but
finding no fish at once respond to his precipitance, down he cast the
rod, and left the rest of it to Jordas. But inasmuch as he brought
back fish whenever he went out fishing, and looked as brilliant
and picturesque as a salmon-fly, in his new costume, his mother was
delighted, and his aunt, being full of fresh troubles, paid small heed
to him.

For as soon as the roads became safe again, and an honest attorney could
enter "horse hire" in his bill without being too chivalrous, and the ink
that had clotted in the good-will time began to form black blood again,
Mr. Jellicorse himself resolved legitimately to set forth upon a legal
enterprise. The winter had shaken him slightly--for even a solicitor's
body is vulnerable; and well for the clerk of the weather it is that no
action lies against him--and his good wife told him to be very careful,
although he looked as young as ever. She had no great opinion of the
people he was going to, and was sure that they would be too high and
mighty even to see that his bed was aired. For her part, she hoped that
the reports were true which were now getting into every honest person's
mouth; and if he would listen to a woman's common-sense, and at once
go over to the other side, it would serve them quite right, and be the
better for his family, and give a good lift to his profession. But his
honesty was stout, and vanquished even his pride in his profession.



CHAPTER L

PRINCELY TREATMENT


"This, then, is what you have to say," cried my lady Philippa, in a tone
of little gratitude, and perhaps not purely free from wrath; "this is
what has happened, while you did nothing?"

"Madam, I assure you," Mr. Jellicorse replied, "that no one point has
been neglected. And truly I am bold enough--though you may not perceive
it--to take a little credit to myself for the skill and activity of my
proceedings. I have a most conceited man against me; no member at all
of our honored profession; but rather inclined to make light of us.
A gentleman--if one may so describe him--of the name of Mordacks, who
lives in a den below a bridge in York, and has very long harassed
the law by a sort of cheap-jack, slap-dash, low-minded style of doing
things. 'Jobbing,' I may call it--cheap and nasty jobbing--not at all
the proper thing, from a correct point of view. 'A catch-penny fellow,'
that's the proper name for him--I was trying to think of it half the way
from Middleton."

"And now, in your eloquence, you have hit upon it. I can easily
understand that such a style of business would not meet with your
approbation. But, Mr. Jellicorse, he seems to me to have proved himself
considerably more active in his way--however objectionable that may
be--than you, as our agent, have shown yourself."

The cheerful, expressive, and innocent face of Mr. Jellicorse protested
now. By nature he was almost as honest as Geoffrey Mordacks himself
could be; and in spite of a very long professional career, the original
element was there, and must be charged for.

"I can not recall to my memory," he said, "any instance of neglect on my
part. But if that impression is upon your mind, it would be better for
you to change your legal advisers at an early opportunity. Such has been
the frequent practice, madam, of your family. And but for that, none of
this trouble could exist. I must beg you either to withdraw the charge
of negligence, which I understand you to have brought, or else to
appoint some gentleman of greater activity to conduct your business."

With the haughtiness of her headstrong race, Miss Yordas had failed as
yet to comprehend that a lawyer could be a gentleman. And even now that
idea scarcely broke upon her, until she looked hard at Mr. Jellicorse.
But he, having cast aside all deference for the moment, met her stern
gaze with such courteous indifference and poise of self-composure that
she suddenly remembered that his grandfather had been the master of a
pack of fox-hounds.

"I have made no charge of negligence; you are hasty, and misunderstand
me," she answered, after waiting for him to begin again, as if he were a
rash aggressor. "It is possible that you desire to abandon our case, and
conceive affront where none is meant whatever."

"God forbid!" Mr. Jellicorse exclaimed, with his legal state of mind
returning. "A finer case never came into any court of law. There is a
coarse axiom, not without some truth, that possession is nine points of
the law. We have possession. What is even more important, we have the
hostile instrument in our possession."

"You mean that unfortunate and unjust deed, of a by-gone time, that was
so wickedly concealed? Dishonest transaction from first to last!"

"Madam, the law is not to blame for that, nor even the lawyers; but the
clients, who kept changing them. But for that, your admirable father
must have known that the will he dictated to me was waste paper. At
least as regards the main part of these demesnes."

"What monstrous injustice! A positive premium upon filial depravity. You
regard things professionally, I suppose. But surely it must have struck
you as a flagrant dishonesty, a base and wicked crime, that a document
so vile should be allowed even to exist."

Miss Yordas had spoken with unusual heat; and the lawyer looked at her
with an air of mild inquiry. Was it possible that she suggested to him
the destruction of the wicked instrument? Ladies had done queer things,
within his knowledge; but this lady showed herself too cautious for
that.

"I know what my father would have done in such a case," she continued,
with her tranquil smile recovered: "he would just have ridden up to his
solicitor's office, demanded the implement of robbery, brought it home,
and set it upon the hall fire, in the presence of the whole of his
family and household. But now we live in such a strictly lawful age that
no crime can be stopped, if only perpetrated legally. And you say
that Mr. More--something, 'Moresharp,' I think it was, knows of that
iniquitous production?"

"Madam, we can not be certain; but I have reason to suspect that Mr.
Mordacks has got wind of that unfortunate deed of appointment."

"Supposing that he has, and that he means to use his knowledge, he can
not force the document from your possession, can he?"

"Not without an order. But by filing affidavit, after issue of writ in
ejectment, they may compel us to produce, and allow attested copy to be
taken."

"Then the law is disgraceful to the last degree, and it is useless to
own anything. That deed is in your charge, as our attorney, I suppose,
sir?"

"By no other right, madam: we have twelve chestfuls, any one or all of
which I am bound to render up to your order."

"Our confidence in you is unshaken. But without shaking it we might
order home any particular chest for inspection?"

"Most certainly, madam, by giving us receipt for it. For antiquarian
uses, and others, such a thing is by no means irregular. And the oldest
of all the deeds are in that box--charters from the crown, grants from
corporations, records of assay by arms--warrants that even I can not
decipher."

"A very learned gentleman is likely soon to visit us--a man of modern
family, who spends his whole time in seeking out the stories of the
older ones. No family in Yorkshire is comparable to ours in the interest
of its annals."

"That is a truth beyond all denial, madam. The character of your ancient
race has always been a marked one."

"And always honorable, Mr. Jellicorse. Undeviating principle has
distinguished all my ancestors. Nothing has ever been allowed to stand
between them and their view of right."

"You could not have put it more clearly, Mistress Yordas. Their own view
of right has been their guiding star throughout. And they never have
failed to act accordingly."

"Alas! of how very few others can we say it! But being of a very good
old family yourself, you are able to appreciate such conduct. You
would like me, perhaps, to sign the order for that box of
ancient--cartularies--is not that the proper word for them? And it might
be as well to state why they happen to be wanted--for purposes of family
history."

"Madam, I will at once prepare a memorandum for your signature and your
sister's."

The mind of Mr. Jellicorse was much relieved, although the relief was
not untempered with misgivings. He sat down immediately at an ancient
writing-table, and prepared a short order for delivery, to their
trusty servant Jordas, of a certain box, with the letter C upon it, and
containing title-deeds of Scargate Hall estate.

"I think it might be simpler not to put it so precisely," my lady
Philippa suggested, "but merely to say a box containing the oldest of
the title-deeds, as required for an impending antiquarian research."

Mr. Jellicorse made the amendment; and then, with the prudence of long
practice, added, "The order should be in your handwriting, madam; will
it give you too much trouble just to copy it?" "How can it signify,
if it bears our signatures?" his client asked, with a smile at such
a trifle; however, she sat down, and copied it upon another sheet
of paper. Then Mr. Jellicorse, beautifully bowing, drew near to take
possession of his own handwriting; but the lady, with a bow of even
greater elegance, lifted the cover of the standing desk, and therein
placed both manuscripts; and the lawyer perceived that he could say
nothing.

"How delightful it is to be quit of business!" The hostess now looked
hospitable. "We need not recur to this matter, I do hope. That paper,
whatever it is, will be signed by both of us, and handed over to you,
in your legal head-quarters, to-morrow. We must have the pleasure of
sending you home in the morning, Mr. Jellicorse. We have bought a very
wonderful vehicle, invented for such roads as ours, and to supersede the
jumping-car. It is warranted to traverse any place a horse can
travel, with luxurious ease to the passengers, and safety of no common
description. Jordas will drive you; your horse can trot behind; and you
can send back by it whatever there may be."

Mr. Jellicorse detested new inventions, and objected most strongly to
any experiment made in his own body. However, he would rather die
than plead his time of life in bar, and his faith in the dogman was
unlimited. And now the gentle Mrs. Carnaby, who had gracefully taken
flight from "horrid business," returned in an evening dress and with
a sweetly smiling countenance, and very nearly turned the Jellicorsian
head, snowy as it was, with soft attentions and delicious deference.

"I was treated like a prince," he said next day, when delivered safe at
home, and resting among his rather dingy household gods. "There never
could have been a more absurd idea than that notion of yours about my
being put into wet sheets, Diana. Why, I even had my night-cap warmed;
and a young woman came, with a blush upon her face, and a question
whether I would be pleased to sleep in a gross of Naples stockings! Ah,
to my mind, after all, it proves what I have always said--that there is
nothing like old blood."

"Nothing like old blood for being made a fool of," his wife replied,
with a coarseness which made him shiver, after Mrs. Carnaby. "They know
what they are about, I'll lay a penny. Some roguery, no doubt, that they
seek to lead you into. That is what their night-caps and stockings mean.
How low it is to make a foreground of them!"

"Hush, my dear! I can not bear such want of charity. And what is even
worse, you expose me to an action at law, with heavy damages."

The lawyer had sundry little qualms of conscience, which were deepened
by his wife's sagacious words; and suddenly it struck him that the
new-fangled vehicle which had brought him home so quietly from Scargate
had shown a strange inability to stand still for more than two minutes
at his side door. So much had he been hurried by the apparent straits of
his charioteer that he ran out with box C without ever stopping to make
an inventory of its contents--as he intended to do--or even looking
whether the all-important deed was there. In fact, he had scarcely time
to seal up the key in a separate package, hand it to Jordas, and take
the order (now become a receipt) from the horny fist of the dogman,
before Marmaduke, rendered more dashing by snow-drift, was away like a
thunder-bolt--if such a thing there be, and if it has four legs.

"How could I have helped doing as I have done?" he whispered to himself,
uncomfortably. "Here are two ladies of high position, and they send a
joint order for their property. By-the-bye, I will just have a look at
that order, now that there is no horse to jump over me." Upon going to
the day file, he found the order right, transcribed from his own amended
copy, and bearing two signatures, as it should do. But it struck him
that the words "Eliza Carnaby" were written too boldly for that lady's
hand; and the more he looked at them, the more he was convinced of
it. That was no concern of his, for it was not his duty, under the
circumstances of the case, to verify her signature. But this conviction
drove him to an uncomfortable conclusion--"Miss Yordas intends to
destroy that deed without her sister's knowledge. She knows that her
sister's nerve is weaker, and she does not like to involve her in
the job. A very brave, sisterly feeling, no doubt, and much the wiser
course, if she means to do it. It is a bold stroke, and well worthy of
a Yordas. But I hope, with all my heart, that she never can have thought
of it. And she kept that order in my handwriting to make it look as if
the suggestion came from me! And I am as innocent as any lamb is of the
frauds that shall come to be written on his skin. The duty of attorney
toward client prevents me from opening my lips upon the matter. But she
is a deep woman, and a bold one too. May the Lord direct things aright!
I shall retire, and let Robert have the practice, as soon as Brown's
bankruptcy has worn out captious creditors. It is the Lord alone that
doeth all things well."

Mr. Jellicorse knew that he had done his best; and though doubtful of
the turn which things had taken, with some exclusion of his agency, he
felt (though his conscience told him not to feel it) that here was one
true source of joy. That impudent, dashing, unprofessional man, who was
always poking his vile unarticled nose into legal business, that fellow
of the name of Mordacks, now would have no locus standi left. At least
a hundred and fifty firms, of good standing in the county, detested that
man, and even a judge would import a scintillula juris into any measure
which relieved the country of him. Meditating thus, he heard a knock.



CHAPTER LI

STAND AND DELIVER


The day was not far worn as yet; and May month having come at last, the
day could stand a good deal of wear. With Jordas burning to exhibit the
wonders of the new machine (which had been bought upon his advice),
and with Marmaduke conscious of the new gloss on his coat, all previous
times had been beaten--as the sporting writers put it; that is to say,
all previous times of the journey from Scargate to Middleton, for any
man who sat on wheels. A rider would take a shorter cut, and have many
other advantages; but for a driver the time had been the quickest upon
record.

Mr. Jellicorse, exulting in his safety, had imprinted the chaste salute
upon his good wife's cheek at ten minutes after one o'clock; when the
clerks in the office with laudable promptitude (not expecting him as
yet) had unanimously cast down pen, and betaken hand and foot toward
knife and fork. Instead of blaming them, this good lawyer went upon that
same road himself, with the great advantage that the road to his dinner
lay through his own kitchen. At dinner-time he had much to tell, and
many large helps to receive, of interest and of admiration, especially
from his pet child Emily (who forgot herself so largely as to lick her
spoon while gazing), and after dinner he was not without reasons for
letting perhaps a little of the time slip by. Therefore, by the time he
had described all dangers, discharged his duty to all comforts, and held
the little confidential talk with his wife and himself above recorded,
the clock had made its way to half past three.

Mrs. Jellicorse and Emily were gone forth to pay visits; the clerks,
shut away in their own room, were busy, scratching up a lovely case for
nisi prius; the cook had thrown the sifted cinders on the kitchen fire,
and was gone with the maids to exchange just a few constitutional words
with the gardener; and the whole house was drowsy with that by-time when
light and shadow seem to mix together, and far-away sounds take a faint
to and fro, as if they were the pendulum of silence.

"That is Emily's knock. Impatient child! Come back for her mother's
gloves, or something. All the people are out; I must go and let her in."

With these words, and a little placid frown--because a soft nap was
impending on his eyelids, and yet they were always glad to open on his
favorite--the worthy lawyer rose, and took a pinch of snuff to rouse
himself; but before he could get to the door, a louder and more
impatient rap almost made him jump.

"What a hurry you are in, my dear! You really should try to learn some
little patience."

While he was speaking, he opened the door; and behold, there was no
little girl, but a tall and stately gentleman in horseman's dress, and
of strong commanding aspect.

"What is your pleasure, sir?" the lawyer asked, while his heart began
to flutter; for exactly such a visitor had caused him scare of his life,
when stronger by a quarter of a century than now.

"My pleasure, or rather my business, is with Mr. Jellicorse, the
lawyer."

"Then, sir, you have come to the right man for it. My name is
Jellicorse, and greatly at your service. Allow me the honor of inviting
you within."

"My name is Yordas--Sir Duncan Yordas," said the stranger, when seated
in the lawyer's private room. "My father, Philip Yordas, was a client of
yours, and of other legal gentlemen before he came to you. Upon the day
of his death, in the year 1777, you prepared his will, which you have
since found to be of no effect, except as regards his personal estate,
and about one-eighth part of the realty. Of the bulk of the land,
including Scargate Hall, he could not dispose, for the simple reason
that it had been strictly entailed by a deed executed by my grandfather
and his wife in 1751. Under that entail I take in fee, for it could not
have been barred without me; and I never concurred in any disentailing
deed, and my father never knew that such was needful."

"Excuse me, Sir Duncan, but you seem to be wonderfully apt with the
terms of our profession."

"I could scarcely be otherwise, after all that I have had to do with
law, in India. Our first object is to apply our own laws, and our second
to spread our religion. But no more of that. Do you admit the truth of a
matter so stated that you can not fail to grasp it?"

Sir Duncan Yordas, as he put this question, fixed large, unwavering, and
piercing eyes (against which no spectacles were any shelter) upon the
mild, amiable, and, generally speaking, very honest orbs of sight
which had lighted the path of the elder gentleman to good repute and
competence. But who may turn a lawyer's hand from the Heaven-sped legal
plough?

"Am I to understand, Sir Duncan Yordas, that your visit to me is of an
amicable nature, and intended (without prejudice to other interests) to
ascertain, so far as may be compatible with professional rules, how far
my clients are acquainted with documents alleged or imagined to be in
existence, and how far their conduct might be guided by desire to afford
every reasonable facility?"

"You are to understand simply this, that as the proper owner of Scargate
Hall, and the main part of the estates held with it, I require you to
sign a memorandum that you hold all the title-deeds on my behalf, and to
deliver at once to me that entailing instrument of 1751, under which I
make my claim."

"You speak, sir, as if you had already brought your action, and entered
verdict. Legal process may be dispensed with in barbarous countries, but
not here. The title-deeds and other papers of Scargate Hall were placed
in my custody neither by you nor on your behalf, sir. I hold them
on behalf of those at present in possession; and until I receive due
instructions from them, or a final order from a court of law, I should
be guilty of a breach of trust if I parted with a dog's-ear of them."

"You distinctly refuse my requirements, and defy me to enforce them?"

"Not so, Sir Duncan. I do nothing more than declare what my view of my
duty is, and decline in any way to depart from it."

"Upon that score I have nothing more to say. I did not expect you to
give up the deeds, though in 'barbarous countries,' as you call them, we
have peremptory ways. I will say more than that, Mr. Jellicorse--I will
say that I respect you for clinging to what you must know better than
anybody else to be the weaker side."

The lawyer bowed his very best bow, but was bound to enter protest
against the calm assumption of the claimant.

"Let us leave that question," Sir Duncan said; "the time would fail
us to discuss that now. But one thing I surely may insist upon as
the proper heir of my grandfather. I may desire you to produce for my
inspection that deed in pursuance of his marriage settlement, which has
for so many years lain concealed."

"With pleasure I will do so, Sir Duncan Yordas (presuming that any such
deed exists), upon the production of an order from the Court either of
King's Bench or of Common Pleas."

"In that case you would be obliged to produce it, and would earn no
thanks of mine. But I ask you to lay aside the legal aspect; for no
action is pending, and perhaps never will be. I ask you, as a valued
adviser of the family, and a trustworthy friend to its interests--as a
gentleman, in fact, rather than a mere lawyer--to do a wise and amicable
thing. You can not in any way injure your case, if a law case is to
come of it, because we know all about the deed already. We even have
an abstract of it as clear as you yourself could make, and we have
discovered that one of the witnesses is still alive. I have come to you
myself in preference to employing a lawyer, because I hope, if you meet
me frankly, to put things in train for a friendly and fair settlement.
I am not a young man; I have been disappointed of any one to succeed me,
and I wish to settle my affairs in this country, and return to India,
which suits me better, and where I am more useful. My sisters have not
behaved kindly to me; but that I must try to forgive and forget. I
have thought matters over, and am quite prepared to offer very liberal
terms--in short, to leave them in possession of Scargate, upon certain
conditions and in a certain manner."

"Really, Sir Duncan," Mr. Jellicorse exclaimed, "allow me to offer you
a pinch of snuff. You are pleased with it? Yes, it is of quite superior
quality. It saved the life of a most admirable fellow, a henchman
of your family--in fact, poor Jordas. The power of this snuff alone
supported him from freezing--"

"At another time I may be highly interested in that matter," the visitor
replied, without meaning to be rude, but knowing that the man of law was
making passes to gain time; "just at present I must ask you to say yes
or no. If you wish me to set my offer plainly before you, and so relieve
the property of the cost of a hopeless struggle--for I have taken the
opinion of the first real property counsel of the age--you will, as a
token of good faith and of common-sense, produce for my inspection that
deed-poll of November 15, 1751."

Poor Mr. Jellicorse was desperately driven. He looked round the room, to
seek for any interruption. He went to the window, and pretended to see
another visitor knocking at the door. But no help came; he must face
it out himself; and Sir Duncan, with his quiet resolution, looked more
stern than his violent father.

"I think that before we proceed any further," said the lawyer, at last
sitting down, and taking up a pen and trying what the nib was like, "we
really should understand a little where we are already. My own desire to
avoid litigation is very strong--almost unprofessionally so--though
the first thing consulted by all of us naturally is the pocket of our
client--"

"Whether it will hold out, I suppose." Sir Duncan Yordas departed from
his dignity in saying this, and was sorry as soon as he had said it.

"That is the vulgar impression about us, which it is our duty to
disdain. But without losing time upon that question, let me ask, what
shall I put down as your proposition, sir?"

"There is nothing to put down. That is just the point. I do not come
here with any formal proposition. If that had been my object, I would
have brought a lawyer. What I say is that I have the right to see that
deed. It forms no part of my sisters' title-deeds, but even destroys
their title. It belongs to me, it is my property, and only through fraud
is it now in your hands. Of course we can easily wrest it from you, and
must do so if you defy me. It rests with you to take that risk. But I
prefer to cut things short. I pledge myself to two things--first, to
leave the document in your possession; and next, to offer fair and even
handsome terms when you have met me thus fairly. Why should you object?
For we know all about it. Never mind how."

Those last three words decided the issue. Even worse than the fear of
breach of trust was the fear of treason in the office, and the lawyer's
only chance of getting clew to that was to keep on terms with this Sir
Duncan Yordas. There had been no treason whatever in the office; neither
had anything come out through the proctorial firm in York, or Sir Walter
Carnaby's solicitors; but a note among longheaded Duncombe's papers had
got into the hands of Mordacks. Of that, however, Mr. Jellicorse had no
idea.

"Sir Duncan Yordas, I will meet you as you come," he said, with his
good, fresh-colored face, as honest as the sun when the clouds roll off.
"It is an unusual step on my part, and perhaps irregular. But rather
than destroy the prospect of a friendly compromise, I will strain
a point, and candidly admit that there is an instrument open to an
interpretation which might, or might not, be in your favor."

"That I knew long ago, and more than that. My demand is--to see it, and
to satisfy myself."

"Under the circumstances, I am half inclined to think that I should
be disposed to allow you that privilege if the document were in my
possession."

"Now, Mr. Jellicorse," Sir Duncan answered, showing his temper in his
eyes alone, "how much longer will you trifle with me? Where is that
deed?"

Mr. Jellicorse drew forth his watch, took off his spectacles, and dusted
them carefully with a soft yellow handkerchief; then restored them to
their double sphere of usefulness, and perused, with some diligence, the
time of day. By the law which compels a man to sneeze when another man
sets the example, Sir Duncan also drew forth his watch.

"I am trying to make my reply as accurate," said the lawyer, beginning
to enjoy the position as a man, though not quite as a lawyer--"as
accurate as your candor and confidence really deserve, Sir Duncan. The
box containing that document, to which you attach so much importance
(whether duly or otherwise is not for me to say until counsel's opinion
has been taken on our side), considering the powers of the horse, that
box should be about Stormy Gap by this time. A quarter to four by me.
What does your watch say, sir?"

"The deed has been sent for, post-haste, has it? And you know for what
purpose?"

"You must draw a distinction between the deed and the box containing
it, Sir Duncan. Or, to put it more accurately, betwixt that deed and its
casual accompaniments. It happens to be among very old charters, which
happen to be wanted for certain excellent antiquarian purposes.
Such things are not in my line, I must confess, although so deeply
interesting. But a very learned man seems to have expressed--"

"Rubbish. Excuse me, but you are most provoking. You know, as well as I
do, that robbery is intended, and you allow yourself to be made a party
to it."

This was the simple truth; and the lawyer, being (by some strange
inversion of professional excellence) honest at the bottom, was deeply
pained at having such words used, as to, for, about, or in anywise
concerning him.

"I think, Sir Duncan, that you will be sorry," he answered, with much
dignity, "for employing such language where it can not be resented. Your
father was a violent man, and we all expect violence of your family."

"There is no time to go into that question now. If I have wronged you,
I will beg your pardon. A very few hours will prove how that is. How and
by whom have you sent the box?"

Mr. Jellicorse answered, rather stiffly, that his clients had sent a
trusty servant with a light vehicle to fetch the box, and that now he
must be half way toward home.

"I shall overtake him," said Sir Duncan, with a smile; "I have a good
horse, and I know the shortcuts. Hoofs without wheels go a yard to a
foot upon such rocky collar-work."

Without another word, except "Good-by," Sir Duncan Yordas left the
house, walked rapidly to the inn, and cut short the dinner his good
horse was standing up to. In a very few minutes he was on Tees bridge,
with his face toward the home of his ancestors.

It may be supposed that neither his thoughts nor those of the lawyer
were very cheerful. Mr. Jellicorse was deeply anxious as to the conflict
which must ensue, and as to the figure his fair fame might cut, if this
strange transaction should be exposed and calumniated by evil tongues.
In these elderly days, and with all experience, he had laid himself
open, not legally perhaps, but morally, to the heavy charge of
connivance at a felonious act, and even some contribution toward it. He
told himself vainly that he could not help it, that the documents were
in his charge only until he was ordered to give them up, and that it was
no concern of his to anticipate what might become of them. His position
had truly been difficult, but still he might have escaped from it with
clearer conscience. His duty was to cast away drawing-room manners, and
warn Miss Yordas that the document she hated so was not her own to deal
with, but belonged (in equity at least) to those who were entitled under
it, and that to take advantage of her wrongful possession, and destroy
the foe, was a crime, and, more than that, a shabby one. The former
point might not have stopped her; but the latter would have done so
without fail, for her pride was equal to her daring. But poor Mr.
Jellicorse had felt the power of a will more resolute than his own, and
of grand surroundings and exalted style; and his desire to please had
confused, and thereby overcome, his perception of the right. But now
these reflections were all too late, and the weary brain found comfort
only in the shelter of its night-cap.

If a little slip had brought a very good man to unhappiness, how much
harder was it for Sir Duncan Yordas, who had committed no offense at
all! No Yordas had ever cared a tittle for tattle--to use their own
expression--but deeper mischief than tattle must ensue, unless great
luck prevented it. The brother knew well that his sister inherited much
of the reckless self-will which had made the name almost a by-word,
and which had been master of his own life until large experience of
the world, and the sense of responsible power, curbed it. He had little
affection for that sister left--for she had used him cruelly, and even
now was imbittering the injury--but he still had some tender feeling for
the other, who had always been his favorite. And though cut off, by his
father's act, from due headship of the family, he was deeply grieved, in
this more enlightened age, to expose their uncivilized turbulence.

Therefore he spurred his willing horse against the hill, and up the
many-winding ruggedness of road, hoping, at every turn, to descry in the
distance the vehicle carrying that very plaguesome box. If his son had
been there, he might have told him, on the ridge of Stormy Gap (which
commanded high and low, rough and smooth, dark and light, for miles
ahead), that Jordas was taking the final turn, by the furthest gleam of
the water-mist, whence the stone road labored up to Scargate. But Sir
Duncan's eyes--though as keen as an eagle's while young--had now seen
too much of the sun to make out that gray atom gliding in the sunset
haze.

Upon the whole, it was a lucky thing that he could not overtake the car;
for Jordas would never have yielded his trust while any life was in him;
and Sir Duncan having no knowledge of him, except as a boy-of-all-work
about the place, might have been tempted to use the sword, without which
no horseman then rode there. Or failing that, a struggle between two
equally resolute men must have followed, with none at hand to part them.

When the horseman came to the foot of the long steep pull leading up to
the stronghold of his race, he just caught a glimpse of the car turning
in at the entrance of the court-yard. "They have half an hour's start of
me," he thought, as he drew up behind a rock, that the house might not
descry him; "if I ride up in full view, I hurry the mischief. Philippa
will welcome me with the embers of my title. She must not suspect that
the matter is so urgent. Nobody shall know that I am coming. For many
reasons I had better try the private road below the Scarfe."



CHAPTER LII

THE SCARFE


Jordas, without suspicion of pursuit, had allowed no grass to grow under
the feet of Marmaduke on the homeward way. His orders were to use all
speed, to do as he had done at the lawyer's private door, and then,
without baiting his horse, to drive back, reserving the nose-bag for
some very humpy halting-place. There is no such man, at the present time
of day, to carry out strict orders, as the dogman was, and the chance
of there being such a one again diminishes by very rapid process.
Marmaduke, as a horse, was of equal quality, reasoning not about his
orders, but about the way to do them.

There was no special emergency now, so far as my lady Philippa knew; but
the manner of her mind was to leave no space between a resolution and
its execution. This is the way to go up in the world, or else to go down
abruptly; and to her the latter would have been far better than to halt
between two opinions. Her plan had been shaped and set last night, and,
like all great ideas, was the simplest of the simple. And Jordas, who
had inklings of his own, though never admitted to confidence, knew how
to carry out the outer part.

"When the turbot comes," she said to Welldrum, as soon as her long sight
showed her the trusty Jordas beginning the home ascent, "it is to be
taken first out of the car, and to my sister's sitting-room; the other
things Jordas will see to. I may be going for a little walk. But you
will at once carry up the turbot. Mrs. Carnaby's appetite is delicate."

The butler had his own opinion upon that interesting subject. But in her
presence it must be his own. Any attempt at enlargement of her mind by
exchange of sentiment--such as Mrs. Carnaby permitted and enjoyed--would
have sent him flying down the hill, pursued by square-toed men prepared
to add elasticity to velocity. Therefore Welldrum made a leg in silence,
and retreated, while his mistress prepared for her intended exploit. She
had her beaver hat and mantle ready by the shrubbery door--as a little
quiet postern of her own was called--and in the heavy standing desk, or
"secretary," of her private room she had stored a flat basket, or frail,
of stout flags, with a heavy clock weight inside it.

"Much better to drown the wretched thing than burn it," she had been
saying to herself, "especially at this time of year, when fires are weak
and telltale. And parchment makes such a nasty smell; Eliza might come
in and suspect it. But the Scarfe is a trusty confidant."

Mistress Yordas, while sure that her sister (having even more than
herself at stake) would approve and even applaud her scheme, was equally
sure that it must be kept from her, both for its own sake and for hers.
And the sooner it was done, the less the chance of disturbing poor
Eliza's mind.

The Scarfe is a deep pool, supposed to have no bottom (except, perhaps,
in the very bowels of the earth), upon one of the wildest head-waters of
the Tees. A strong mountain torrent from a desolate ravine springs forth
with great ferocity, and sooner than put up with any more stabs from
the rugged earth, casts itself on air. For a hundred and twenty feet the
water is bright, in the novelty and the power of itself, striking out
freaks of eccentric flashes, and even little sun-bows, in fine weather.
But the triumph is brief; and a heavy retribution, created by its
violence, awaits below. From the tossing turmoil of the fall two white
volumes roll away, with a clash of waves between them, and sweeping
round the craggy basin, meet (like a snowy wreath) below, and rush back
in coiling eddies flaked with foam. All the middle is dark deep water,
looking on the watch for something to suck down.

What better duty, or more pious, could a hole like this perform, than
that of swallowing up a lawyer; or, if no such morsel offered, then at
least a lawyer's deeds? Many a sheep had been there ingulfed, and never
saluted by her lambs again; and although a lawyer by no means is a sheep
(except in his clothing, and his eyes perhaps), yet his doings appear
upon the skin thereof, and enhance its value more than drugs of Tyre.
And it is to be feared that some fleeced clients will not feel the
horror which they ought to feel at the mode pursued by Mistress Yordas
in the delivery of her act and deed.

She came down the dell, from the private grounds of Scargate, with a
resolute face, and a step of strength. The clock weight, that should
know time no more, was well imbosomed in the old deed-poll, and all
stitched firmly in the tough brown frail, whose handles would help for a
long strong cast. Towering crags, and a ridge of jagged scaurs, shut out
the sunset, while a thicket of dwarf oak, and the never-absent bramble,
aproned the yellow dugs of shale with brown. In the middle was the
caldron of the torrent, called the "Scarfe," with the sheer trap-rock,
which is green in the sunlight, like black night flung around it, while
a snowy wreath of mist (like foam exhaling) circled round the basined
steep, or hovered over the chasm.

Miss Yordas had very stanch nerves, but still, for reasons of her own,
she disliked this place, and never came near it for pleasure's sake,
although in dry summers, when the springs were low, the fury of the
scene passed into grandeur, and even beauty. But a Yordas (long ago gone
to answer for it) had flung a man, who plagued him with the law, into
this hole. And what was more disheartening, although of less importance,
a favorite maid of this lady, upon the exile of her sweetheart, hearing
that his feet were upside down to hers, and that this hole went right
through the earth, had jumped into it, in a lonely moment, instead of
taking lessons in geography. Philippa Yordas was as brave as need be;
but now her heart began to creep as coldly as the shadows crept.

For now she was out of sight of home, and out of hearing of any sound,
except the roaring of the force. The Hall was half a mile away, behind
a shoulder of thick-ribbed hill; and it took no sight of this torrent,
until it became a quiet river by the downward road. "I must be getting
old," Miss Yordas thought, "or else this path is much rougher than it
used to be. Why, it seems to be getting quite dangerous! It is too bad
of Jordas not to see to things better. My father used to ride this way
sometimes. But how could a horse get along here now?"

There used to be a bridle-road from the grounds of Scargate to a ford
below the force, and northward thence toward the Tees; or by keeping
down stream, and then fording it again, a rider might hit upon
the Middleton road, near the rock that warned the public of the
blood-hounds. This bridle-road kept a great distance from the cliffs
overhanging the perilous Scarfe; and the only way down to a view of
the fall was a scrambling track, over rocks and trunks, unworthy to
be called a foot-path. The lady with the bag had no choice left but to
follow this track, or else abandon her intention. For a moment she
was sorry that she had not been satisfied with some less troublesome
destruction of her foe, even at the risk of chance suspicions. But
having thus begun it, she would not turn back, and be angry with her
idle fears when she came to think of them.

With hereditary scorn of second thoughts she cast away doubt, and went
down the steep, and stood on the brow of sheer rock, to recover her
breath and strength for a long bold cast. The crag beneath her feet was
trembling with the power of the flood below, and the white mist from the
deep moved slowly, shrouding now, and now revealing, the black gulf and
its slippery walls. For the last few months Miss Yordas had taken very
little exercise, and seldom tasted the open air; therefore the tumult
and terror of the place, in the fading of the sky and darkening of the
earth, got hold of her more than they should have done.

With the frail in her right hand, poised upon three fingers (for the
fourth had been broken in her childhood), she planted the sole of her
left foot on the brink, and swung herself for the needful cast.

A strong throw was needful to reach the black water that never gave
up anything: if the bag were dropped in the foaming race, it might
be carried back to the heel of the fall. She was proud of her bodily
strength, which was almost equal to that of a muscular man, and her long
arm swelled with the vigor of the throw. But just when the weight should
have been delivered, and flown with a hiss into the bottomless abyss, a
loose flag of the handle twisted on her broken finger. Instead of being
freed, the bag fell back, struck her in the chest, and threw her back,
for the clock weight was a heavy one. Her balance was lost, her feet
flew up, she fell upon her back, and the smooth beaver cloak began
sliding upon the slippery rock. Horrible death was pulling at her; not
a stick nor a stone was in reach of her hands, and the pitiless crags
echoed one long shriek above all the roar of the water-fall. She strove
to turn over and grasp the ground, but only felt herself going faster.
Her bright boots were flashing against the white mist--a picture in
her mind forever--her body was following, inch by inch. With elbow and
shoulder, and even hair coils, she strove to prolong the descent into
death; but the descent increased its speed, and the sky itself was
sliding.

Just when the balance was inclining downward, and the plunge hanging on
a hair's-breadth, powerful hands fell upon her shoulders; a grating of a
drag against the grain was the last thing she was conscious of; and Sir
Duncan Yordas, having made a strong pull, at the imminent risk of his
life, threw back his weight on the heels of his boots, and they helped
him. His long Indian spurs, which had no rowel, held their hold like a
falcon's hind talon; and he drew back the lady without knowing who she
was, having leaped from his horse at her despairing scream. From his
knowledge of the place he concluded that it was some person seeking
suicide, but recoiling from the sight of death; and without another
thought he risked his life to save.

Breathless himself--for the transit of years and of curry-powder had not
improved his lungs--he labored at the helpless form, and laid it at last
in a place of safety.

"What a weight the lady is!" was his first idea; "it can not be want of
food that has driven her, nor of money either; her cloak would fetch a
thousand rupees in Calcutta. And a bag full of something--precious also,
to judge by the way she clings to it. Poor thing! Can I get any water
for her? There used to be a spring here, where the woodcocks came. Is
it safe to leave her? Certainly not, with her head like that; she might
even have apoplexy. Allow me, madam. I will not steal it. It is only for
a cushion."

The lady, however, though still in a stupor, kept her fingers clinched
upon the handle of the bag; and without using violence he could not move
them. Then the stitching of the frail gave way, and Sir Duncan espied
a roll of parchment. Suddenly the lady opened large dark eyes, which
wandered a little, and then (as he raised her head) met his, and turned
away.

"Philippa!" he said, and she faintly answered "Yes," being humbled and
shaken by her deadly terror, and scarcely sure of safety yet, for the
roar and the chasm were in sight and hearing still.

"Philippa, are you better? Never mind what you were thinking of. All
shall be right about that, Philippa. What is land in comparison with
life? Look up at me. Don't be afraid to look. Surely you know your only
brother! I am Duncan, who ran away, and has lived for years in India.
I used to be very kind to you when we were children, and why should I
alter from it now? I remember when you tumbled in the path down there,
and your knee was bleeding, and I tied it up with a dock leaf and my
handkerchief. Can you remember? It was primrose time."

"To be sure I do," she said, looking up with cheerfulness; "and you
carried me all the way home almost, and Eliza was dreadfully jealous."

"That she always was, and you not much better. But now we are getting on
in life, and we need not have much to do with one another. Still, we may
try not to kill one another by trumpery squabbles about property. Stay
where you are for a moment, sister, and you shall see the end of that."

Sir Duncan took the bag, with the deed inside it, returned in three
steps to the perilous shelf, and with one strong hurl sent forth the
load, which cleft the white mist, and sank forever in the waves of the
whirlpool.

"No one can prosecute me for that," he said, returning with a smile,
"though Mordacks may be much aggrieved. Now, Philippa, although I can
not carry you well, from the additions time has made to you, I can help
you home, my dear; and then on upon my business."

The pride and self-esteem of Miss Yordas had never been so crushed
before. She put both hands upon her brother's shoulders, and burst into
a flood of tears.



CHAPTER LIII

BUTS REBUTTED


Sir Duncan Yordas was a man of impulse, as almost every man must be who
sways the wills of other men. But he had not acted upon mere impulse in
casting away his claim to Scargate. He knew that he could never live in
that bleak spot, after all his years in India; he disliked the place,
through his father's harshness; he did not care that any son of his, who
had lain under charge of a foul crime, and fled instead of meeting it,
should become a "Yordas of Scargate Hall," although that description by
no means involved any very strict equity of conduct. And besides these
reasons, he had another, which will appear very shortly. But whatever
the secondary motives were, it was a large and generous act.

When Mrs. Carnaby saw her brother, she was sure that he was come to
turn her out, and went through a series of states of mind natural to
an adoring mother with a frail imagination of an appetite--as she
poetically described it. She was not very swift of apprehension,
although so promptly alive to anything tender, refined, and succulent.
Having too strong a sense of duty to be guilty of any generosity, she
could not believe, either then or thereafter, that her brother had cast
away anything at all, except a mere shred of a lawsuit. And without any
heed of chronology--because (as she justly inquired), what two clocks
are alike?--she was certain that if he did anything at all to drive off
those horrible lawyers from the house, there was no credit due to any
one but Pet. It was the noble way Pet looked at him!

Pet, being introduced to his uncle, after dinner, when he came home from
fishing, certainly did look nobly at him, if a long stare is noble.
Then he went up to him, with a large and liberal sniff, and an affable
inquiry, as a little dog goes up to a big one. Sir Duncan was amused,
having heard already some little particulars about this youth, whose
nature he was able to enter into as none but a Yordas could rightly do.
However, he was bound to make the best of him, and did so; discovering
not only room for improvement, but some hope of that room being
occupied.

"The boy has been shockingly spoiled," he said to his sister Philippa
that evening; "also he is dreadfully ignorant. None of us are very great
at scholarship, and never have much occasion for it. But things are
becoming very different now. Everybody is beginning to be expected to
know everything. Very likely, as soon as I am no more wanted, I shall be
voted a blockhead. Luckily the wars keep people from being too choice,
when their pick goes every minute. And this may stop the fuss, that
comes from Scotland mainly, about universal distribution--or some big
words--of education. 'Pet,' as you call him, is a very clever fellow,
with much more shape of words about him than ever I was blessed with. In
spelling I saw that he was my master; and so I tried him with geography,
and all he knew of India was that it takes its name from India rubber!"

"Now I call that clever of him," said Miss Yordas; "for I really might
have forgotten even that. But the fatal defect in his education has
been the want of what you grow, chiefly in West India perhaps--the
cane, Duncan, the sugar-cane. I have read all about it; you can tell me
nothing. You suck it, you smoke it, and you beat your children with it."

"Well," said Sir Duncan, who was not quite sure, in the face of such
authority, "I disremember; but perhaps they do in some parts, because
the country is so large. But it is not the ignorance of Pet I care
for--such a fault is natural and unavoidable; and who is there to pick
holes in it? The boy knows a great deal more than I did at his age,
because he is so much younger. But, Philippa, unless you do something
with him, he will never be a gentleman."

"Duncan, you are hard. You have seen so much."

"The more we see, the softer we become. The one thing we harden against
is lying--the seed, the root, and the substance of all vileness. I am
sorry to say your Pet is a liar."

"He does not always tell the truth, I know. But bear in mind, Duncan,
that his mother did not insist--and, in fact, she does not herself
always--"

"I know it; I am grieved that it should come from our side. I never
cared for his father much, because he went against me; but this I will
say for him, Lance Carnaby would sooner cut his tongue out that put it
to a lie. When I am at home, my dealings are with fellows who could
not speak the truth if they tried for dear life, simply through want
of practice. They are like your lower class of horse-dealers, but with
infinitely more intelligence. It is late to teach poor Pet the first of
all lessons; and for me to stop to do it is impossible. But will you try
to save further disgrace to a scapegrace family, but not a mean one?"

"I feel it as much as you do--perhaps more," Miss Yordas answered,
forgetting altogether about the deed-box and her antiquary. "You need
not tell me how very sad it is. But how can it be cured? His mother is
his mother. She never would part with him; and her health is delicate."

"Stronger than either yours or mine, unless she takes too much
nourishment. Philippa, her will is mere petulance. For her own good, we
must set it aside. And if you agree with me, it can be done. He must go
into a marching regiment at once, ordered abroad, with five shillings in
his pocket, earn his pay, and live upon it. This patched-up peace will
never last six months. The war must be fought out till France goes down,
or England. I can get him a commission; and I know the colonel, a man of
my own sort, who sees things done, instead of talking. It would be the
making of Lancelot. He has plenty of courage, but it has been milched.
At Oxford or Cambridge he would do no good, but simply be ruined by
having his own way. Under my friend Colonel Thacker, he will have a hard
time of it, and tell no lies."

Thus it was settled. There was a fearful outcry, hysterics of an elegant
order, and weepings enough to produce summer spate in the Tees. But the
only result was the ordering of the tailor, the hosier, the boot-maker,
and the scissors-grinder to put a new edge upon Squire Philip's razors,
that Pet might practice shaving. "Cold-blooded cruelty, savage homicide;
cannibalism itself is kinder," said poor Mrs. Carnaby, when she saw the
razors; but Pet insisted upon having them, made lather, and practiced
with the backs, till he began to understand them.

"He promises well; I have great hopes of him," Sir Duncan said to
himself. "He has pride; and no proud boy can be long a liar. I will go
and consult my dear old friend Bart."

Mr. Bart, who was still of good bodily strength, but becoming less
resolute in mind than of yore, was delighted to see his old friend
again; and these two men, having warm, proud hearts, preserved each
other from self-contempt by looking away through the long hand-clasp.
For each of them was to the other almost the only man really respected
in the world.

Betwixt them such a thing as concealment could not be. The difference in
their present position was a thing to laugh at. Sir Duncan looked up to
Bart as being the maker of his character, and Bart admired Sir Duncan
as a newer and wiser edition of himself. They dispatched the past in a
cheery talk; for the face of each was enough to show that it might have
been troublous--as all past is--but had slidden into quiet satisfaction
now, and a gentle flow of experience. Then they began to speak of
present matters, and the residue of time before them; and among other
things, Sir Duncan Yordas spoke of his nephew Lancelot.

"Lancelot Yordas Carnaby," said Bart, with the smile of a gray-beard at
young love's dream, "has done us the honor to fall in love, for ever and
ever, with our little Insie. And the worst of it is that she likes him."

"What an excellent idea!" his old friend answered; "I was sure there was
something of that sort going on. Now betwixt love and war we shall make
a man of Pet."

As shortly as possible he told Mr. Bart what his plan about his nephew
was, and how he had carried it against maternal, and now must carry
it against maiden, love. If Lancelot had any good stuff in him, any
vertebrate embryo of honesty, to be put among men, and upon his mettle
(with a guardian angel in the distance of sweet home), would stablish
all the man in him, and stint the beast. Mr. Bart, though he hated hard
fighting, admitted that for weak people it was needful; and was only too
happy so to cut the knot of his own home entanglements with the ruthless
sword. For a man of liberal education, and much experience in spending
money, who can put a new bottom to his own saucepan, is not the one to
feel any despair of his fellow-creatures mending.

Then arose the question, who should bell the cat, or rather, who should
lead the cat to the belling. Pet must be taken, under strong duress, to
the altar--as his poor mother said, and shrieked--whereat he was to shed
his darling blood. His heart was in his mouth when his uniform came; and
he gave his sacred honor to fly, straight as an arrow, to the port where
his regiment was getting into boats; but Sir Duncan shook his grizzled
head. "Somebody must see him into it," he said. "Not a lady; no, no,
my dear Eliza. I can not go myself; but it must be a man of rigidity, a
stern agent. Oh, I know! how stupid of me!"

"You mean poor dear Mr. Jellicorse," suggested Mrs. Carnaby, with a
short hot sob. "But, Duncan, he has not the heart for it. For anything
honest and loyal and good, kind people may trust him with their lives.
But to tyranny, rapine, and manslaughter, he never could lend his fine
honorable face."

"I mean a man of a very different cast--a man who knows what time is
worth; a man who is going to be married on a Sunday, that he may not
lose the day. He has to take three days' holiday, because the lady is an
heiress; otherwise he might get off with one. But he hopes to be at work
again on Wednesday, and we will have him here post-haste from York on
Thursday. It will be the very job to suit him--a gentleman of Roman
ancestry, and of the name of Mordacks."

"My heart was broken already; and now I can feel the poor pieces flying
into my brain. Oh, why did I ever have a babe for monsters of the name
of Mordacks to devour?"

Mordacks was only too glad to come. On the very day after their union,
Calpurnia (likewise of Roman descent) had exhibited symptoms of a strong
will of her own.

Mordacks had temporized during their courtship; but now she was his, and
must learn the great fact. He behaved very well, and made no attempt at
reasoning (which would have been a fatal course), but promptly donned
cloak, boots, and spurs while his horse was being saddled, and then set
off, with his eyes fixed firmly upon business. A crow could scarcely
make less than fifty miles from York to Scargate, and the factor's
trusty roadster had to make up his mind to seventy. So great, however,
is sometimes the centrifugal force of Hymen, that upon the third day Mr.
Mordacks was there, vigorous, vehement, and fit for any business.

When he heard what it was, it liked him well; for he bore a fine grudge
against Lancelot for setting the dogs at him three years ago, when he
came (as an agent for adjoining property) to the house of Yordas,
and when Mr. Jellicorse scorned to meet an illegal meddler with legal
matters. If Mordacks had any fault--and he must have had some, in spite
of his resolute conviction to the contrary--it was that he did not
altogether scorn revenge.

Lives there man, or even woman, capable of describing now the miseries,
the hardships, the afflictions beyond groaning, which, like electric
hail, came down upon the sacred head of Pet? He was in the grasp
of three strong men--his uncle, Mr. Bart, worst of all, that
Mordacks--escape was impossible, lamentation met with laughter, and
passion led to punishment. Even stern Maunder was sorry for him,
although he despised him for feeling it. The only beam of light, the
only spark of pleasure, was his royal uniform; and to know that Insie's
laugh thereat was hollow, and would melt away to weeping when he was out
of sight, together with the sulky curiosity of Maunder, kept him up a
little, in this time of bitter sacrifice.

Enough that he went off, at last, in the claws of that Roman
hippogriff--as Mrs. Carnaby savagely called poor Mordacks--and the
visitor's flag hung half-mast high, and Saracen and the other dogs made
a howling dirge, with such fine hearts (as the poor mother said, between
her sobs) that they got their dinners upon china plates.

Sir Duncan had left before this, and was back under Dr. Upround's
hospitable roof. He had made up his mind to put his fortune, or rather
his own value, to the test, in a place of deep interest to him now, the
heart of the fair Janetta. He knew that, according to popular view, he
was much too old for this young lady; but for popular view he cared not
one doit, if her own had the courage and the will to go against it. For
years he had sternly resisted all temptation of second marriage, toward
which shrewd mothers and nice maidens had labored in vain to lead him.
But the bitter disappointment about his son, and that long illness, and
the tender nursing (added to the tenderness of his own sides, from
lying upon them, with a hard dry cough), had opened some parts of his
constitution to matrimonial propensities. Miss Upround was of a playful
nature, and teased everybody she cared about; and although Sir Duncan
was a great hero to her, she treated him sometimes as if he were her
doll. Being a grave man, he liked this, within the bounds of good taste
and manners; and the young lady always knew where to stop. From being
amused with her, he began to like her; and from liking her, he went on
to miss her; and from missing her to wanting her was no long step.

However, Sir Duncan was not at all inclined to make a fool of himself
herein. He liked the lady very much, and saw that she would suit him,
and help him well in the life to which he was thinking of returning. For
within the last fortnight a very high post at Calcutta had been offered
to him by the powers in Leadenhall Street, upon condition of sailing at
once, and foregoing the residue of his leave. If matters had been to his
liking in England, he certainly would have declined it; but after his
sad disappointment, and the serious blow to his health, he resolved to
accept it, and set forth speedily. The time was an interlude of the war,
and ships need not wait for convoy.

This had induced him to take his Yorkshire affairs (which Mordacks had
been forced to intermit during his Derbyshire campaign) into his own
hands, and speed the issue, as above related. And part of his plan was
to quit all claim to present possession of Scargate; that if the young
lady should accept his suit, it might not in any way be for the sake of
the landed interest. As it happened, he had gone much further than this,
and cast away his claim entirely, to save his sister from disgrace and
the family property from lawyers. And now having sought Dr. Upround's
leave (which used to be thought the proper thing to do), he asked
Janetta whether she would have him, and she said, "No, but he might have
her." Upon this he begged permission to set the many drawbacks before
her, and she nodded her head, and told him to begin.

"I am of a Yorkshire family. But, I am sorry to say that their temper is
bad, and they must have their own way too much."

"But, that suits me; and I understand it. Because I must have my own way
too."

"But, I have parted with my inheritance, and have no place in this
country now."

"But, I am very glad of that. Because I shall be able to go about."

"But, India is a dreadfully hot country; many creatures tease you, and
you get tired of almost everything."

"But, that will make it all the more refreshing not to be tired of you,
perhaps."

"But, I have a son as old as you, or older."

"But, you scarcely suppose that I can help that!"

"But, my hair is growing gray, and I have great crow's-feet, and
everybody will begin to say--"

"But, I don't believe a word of it, and I won't have it; and I don't
care a pin's head what all the world says put together, so long as you
don't belong to it."



CHAPTER LIV

TRUE LOVE


About a month after Sir Duncan's marriage, when he and his bride were in
London, with the lady's parents come to help, in the misery of outfit, a
little boy ran through a field of wheat, early in the afternoon, and
hid himself in a blackthorn hedge to see what was going on at Anerley.
Nothing escaped him, for his eyes were sharp, being of true Danish
breed. He saw Captain Anerley trudging up the hill, with a pipe in his
mouth, to the bean field, where three or four men were enjoying the air,
without any of the greedy gulps produced by too great exertion of the
muscles; then he saw the mistress of the house throw wide a lattice, and
shake out a cloth for the birds, who skipped down from the thatch by
the dozen instantly; and then he saw Mary, with a basket and a wooden
measure, going round the corner of the house, and clucking for the fowls
to rally from their scratching-places. These came zealously, with speed
of leg and wing, from straw-rick, threshing-floor, double hedge, or
mixen; and following their tails, the boy slipped through the rick-yard,
and tossed a note to Mary with a truly Flamburian delivery.

Although it was only a small-sized boy, no other than the heir of the
"Cod-fish," a brighter rose flew into Mary's cheeks than the master-cock
of all the yard could show upon comb or wattle. Contemptuous of
twopence, which Mary felt for, the boy disappeared like a rabbit; and
the fowls came and helped themselves to the tail-wheat, while their
mistress was thinking of her letter. It was short and sweet--at least
in promise--being no more than these few words: "Darling, the dike where
first we met, an hour after sunset."

Mary never doubted that her duty was to go; and at the time appointed
she was there, with firm knowledge of her own mind, being now a loving
and reasonable woman. It was just a year since she had saved the life
of Robin; and patience, and loneliness, and opposition, had enlarged and
ennobled her true and simple heart. No lord in the land need have looked
for a purer or sweeter example of maidenhood than this daughter of a
Yorkshire farmer was, in her simple dress, and with the dignity of love.
The glen was beginning to bestrew itself with want of light, instead
of shadows; and bushy places thickened with the imperceptible growth of
night. Mary went on, with excitement deepening, while sunset deepened
into dusk; and the color of her clear face flushed and fleeted under the
anxious touch of love, as the tint of a delicate finger-nail, with any
pressure, varies. But not very long was she left in doubt.

"How long you have been! And oh, where have you been? And how much
longer will you be?" Among many other words and doings she insisted
chiefly on these points.

"I am a true-blue, as you may see, and a warrant-officer already," he
said, with his old way of smiling at himself. "When the war begins again
(as it must--please God!--before many weeks are over), I shall very
soon get my commission, and go up. I am quite fit already to command a
frigate."

Mary was astonished at his modesty; she thought that he ought to be an
admiral at least, and so she told him; however, he knew better.

"You must bear in mind," he replied, with a kindly desire to spare
her feelings, "that until a change for the better comes, I am under
disadvantages. Not only as an outlaw--which has been upon the whole
a comfort--but as a suspected criminal, with warrant against him, and
reward upon him. Of course I am innocent; and everybody knows it, or at
least I hope so, except the one who should have known it best."

"I am the person who should know it best of all," his true love
answered, with some jealousy. "Explain yourself, Robin, if you please."

"No Robin, so please you, but Mr. James Blyth, captain of the foretop,
then cockswain of the barge, and now master's mate of H. M. ship of the
line Belleisle. But the one who should have trusted me, next to my own
love, is my father, Sir Duncan Yordas."

"How you are talking! You have such a reckless way. A warrant-officer,
an arrant criminal! And your father, Sir Duncan Yordas, that very
strange gentleman, who could never get warm! Oh, Robin, you always did
talk nonsense, when--whenever I would let you. But you should not try to
make my head go round."

"Every word of it is true," the young sailor answered, applying a prompt
remedy for vertigo. "It had been clearly proved to his knowledge, long
before the great fact was vouchsafed to me, that I am the only son of
Sir Duncan Yordas, or, at any rate, his only son for the present. The
discovery gratified him so little, that he took speedy measures to
supplant me."

"The very rich gentleman from India," said Mary, "that married Miss
Upround lately; and her dress was all made of spun diamonds, they say,
as bright as the dew in the morning. Oh, then you will have to give me
up; Robin, you must give up me!"

Clasping her hands, she looked up at him with courage, keeping down all
sign of tears. She felt that her heart would not hold out long, and yet
she was prouder than to turn away. "Speak," she said; "it is better to
speak plainly; you know that it must be so."

"Do I? why?" Robin Lyth asked, calmly, being well contented to prolong
her doubts, that he might get the benefit thereafter.

"Because you belong to great people, and I am just a farmer's daughter,
and no more, and quite satisfied to remain so. Such things never
answer."

"A little while ago you were above me, weren't you? When I was nobody's
son, and only a castaway, with a nickname."

"That has nothing to do with it. We must take things exactly as we find
them at the time."

"And you took me as you found me at the time; only that you made me out
so much better. Mary, I am not worthy of you. What has birth to do with
it? And so far as that goes, yours is better, though mine may seem the
brighter. In every other way you are above me. You are good, and I
am wicked. You are pure, and I am careless. You are sweet, and I am
violent. In truth alone can I ever vie with you; and I must be a pitiful
scoundrel, Mary, if I did not even try to do that, after all that you
have done for me."

"But," said Mary, with her lovely eyes gleaming with the glittering
shade of tears, "I like you very much to do it--but not exactly as a
duty, Robin."

"You look at me like that, and you talk of duty! Duty, duty; this is my
duty. I should like to be discharging it forever and a day."

"I did not come here for ideas of this kind," said Mary, with her lips
as red as pyracanthine berries; "free trade was bad enough, but the
Royal Navy worse, it seems. Now, Robin dear, be sensible, and tell me
what I am to do."

"To listen to me, and then say whether I deserve what my father has done
to me. He came back from India--as you must understand--with no other
object in life, that I can hear of (for he had any quantity of money),
than to find out me, his only child, and the child of the only wife
he ever could put up with. For twenty years he had believed me to be
drowned, when the ship he sent me home in to be educated was supposed
to have foundered, with all hands. But something made him fancy that I
might have escaped; and as he could not leave India then, he employed a
gentleman of York, named Mordacks, to hunt out all about it. Mordacks,
who seems to be a wonderful man, and most kind-hearted to everybody,
as poor Widow Carroway says of him with tears, and as he testifies of
himself--he set to work, and found out in no time all about me and my
ear-rings, and my crawling from the cave that will bear my name, they
say, and more things than I have time to tell. He appointed a meeting
with Sir Duncan Yordas here at Flamborough, and would have brought me to
him, and everything might have been quite happy. But in the mean while
that horrible murder of poor Carroway came to pass, and I was obliged to
go into hiding, as no one knows better than you, my dear. My father (as
I suppose I must call him) being bound, as it seems that they all are,
to fall out with their children, took a hasty turn against me at once.
Mordacks, whom I saw last week, trusting myself to his honor, tells me
that Sir Duncan would not have cared twopence about my free-trade work,
and so on, or even about my having killed the officer in fair conflict,
for he is used to that. But he never will forgive me for absconding, and
leaving my fellows, as he puts it, to bear the brunt. He says that I am
a dastard and a skulk, and unworthy to bear the name of Yordas."

"What a wicked, unnatural man he must be!" cried Mary. "He deserves to
have no children."

"No; I am told that he is a very good man, but stiff-necked and
disdainful. He regards me with scorn, because he knows no better. He may
know our laws, but he knows nothing of our ways, to suppose that my men
were in any danger. If I had been caught while the stir was on, a gibbet
on the cliff would have been set up, even before my trial--such is the
reward of eminence--but no Yorkshire jury would turn round in the box,
with those poor fellows before them. 'Not guilty, my lord,' was on their
tongues, before he had finished charging them."

"Oh, I am so glad! They have been acquitted, and you were there to see
it!"

"To be sure. I was in the court, as Harry Ombler's father. Mr. Mordacks
got it up; and it told on the jury even more than could have been
expected. Even the judge wiped his eyes as he looked at me, for they say
he has a scapegrace son; and Harry was the only one of all the six
in danger, according to the turn of the evidence. My poor eyes have
scarcely come round yet from the quantity of sobbing that I had to do,
and the horrible glare of my goggles. And then I had a crutch that
I stumped with as I sighed, so that all the court could hear me; and
whenever I did it, all the women sighed too, and even the hardest hearts
were moved. Mr. Mordacks says that it was capital."

"Oh, but, Robin, how shocking, though you make me laugh! If the verdict
had been otherwise--oh, what then?"

"Well, then, Harry Ombler had a paper in his hand, done in printing
letters by myself, because he is a very tidy scholar, and signed by me;
the which he was to read before receiving sentence, saying that Robin
Lyth himself was in York town, and would surrender to that court upon
condition that mercy should be warranted to the prisoners."

"And you would have given yourself up? And without consulting me about
it!"

"Bad, I admit," Robin answered, with a smile; "but not half so bad as
to give up you--which you calmly proposed just now, dear heart. However,
there is no need for any trouble now, except that I am forced to keep
out of sight until other evidence is procured. Mordacks has taken to me,
like a better father, mainly from his paramount love of justice, and of
daring gallantry, as he calls it."

"So it was, and ten times more; heroic self-devotion is a much more
proper term."

"Now don't," said Robin. "If you make me blush, you may guess what I
shall do to hide it--carry the war into the sweet land of the enemy. But
truly, my darling, there was very little danger. And I am up for a much
better joke this time. My august Roman father, who has cast me off,
sails as a very great Indian gun, in a ship of the line, from Spithead,
early in September. The Belleisle is being paid off now, and I have my
certificate, as well as lots of money. Next to his lass, every sailor
loves a spree; and mine, instead of emptying, shall fill the locker.
With this disgusting peace on, and no chance of prize-money, and plenty
in their pockets for a good spell ashore, blue-jackets will be scarce
when Sir Duncan Yordas sails. If I can get a decent berth as a petty
officer, off I go for Calcutta, and watch (like the sweet little cherub
that sits up aloft) for the safety of my dear papa and mamma, as the
Frenchmen are teaching us to call them. What do you think of such filial
devotion?"

"It would be a great deal more than he deserves," Mary answered, with
sweet simplicity. "But what could you do, if he found out who you are?"

"Not the smallest fear of that, my dear. I have never had the honor of
an introduction. My new step-mother, who might have been my sweetheart
if I had not seen somebody a hundred times as good, a thousand times as
gentle, and a million times as lovely--"

"Oh, Robin, do leave off such very dreadful stories! I saw her in the
church, and she looked beautiful."

"Fine feathers make fine birds. However, she is well enough in her way;
and I love her father. But, for all that, she has no business to be my
step-mother; and of course it was only the money that did it. She has a
little temper of her own, I can assure you; and I wish Sir Duncan joy of
her when they get among mosquitoes. But, as I was going to say, the only
risk of my being caught is from her sharp eyes. Even of that there is
not much danger, for we common sailors need not go within hail of those
grandees, unless it comes to boat-work. And even if Miss Janetta--I beg
her pardon, Lady Yordas--should chance to recognize me, I am sure she
would never tell her husband. No, no; she would be too jealous; and for
fifty other reasons. She is very cunning, let me tell you."

"Well," cried Mary, with a smile of wisdom, "I hope that I may never
live to be a step-mother. The way those poor things get abused--"

"You would have more principle, I should hope, than to marry anybody
after me. However, I have told you nearly all my news, and in a few
minutes I must be off. Only two things more. In the first place,
Mordacks has taken a very great fancy to me, and has turned against my
father. He and Widow Carroway and I had a long talk after the trial, and
we all agreed that the murder was committed by a villain called 'John
Cadman,' a sneak and a skulk, whom I knew well, as one of Carroway's
own men. Among other things, they chanced to say that Cadman's gun was
missing, and that the poor widow can swear to it. I asked if any one had
searched for it; and Mordacks said no, it would be hopeless. I told them
that if I were only free to show myself and choose my time, I would lay
my life upon finding it, if thrown away (as it most likely was) in some
part of that unlucky cave. Mordacks caught at this idea, and asked me a
number of questions, and took down my answers; for no one else knows the
cave as I do. I would run all risks myself, and be there to do it, if
time suited. But only certain tides will serve, even with the best of
weather; and there may be no such tide for months--I mean tide, weather,
and clear water combined, as they must be for the job. Therefore I am
not to wait, but go about my other business, and leave this to Mordacks,
who loves to be captain of everything. Mr. Mordacks talked of a
diving-bell, and some great American inventions; but nothing of the kind
can be used there, nor even grappling-irons. The thing must not be heard
of even, until it has been accomplished. Whatever is done, must be done
by a man who can swim and dive as I can, and who knows the place almost
as well. I have told him where to find the man, when the opportunity
comes for it; and I have shown my better father, Robin Cockscroft, the
likely spot. So now I have nothing more to do with that."

"How wonderfully you can throw off cares!" his sweetheart answered,
softly. "But I shall be miserable till I know what happens. Will they
let me be there? Because I understand so much about tides, and I can
hold my tongue."

"That you have shown right well, my Mary; but your own sense will tell
you that you could not be there. Now one thing more: here is a ring, not
worthy--although it is the real stuff--to go upon your precious hand,
yet allow me to put it on; no, not there; upon your wedding finger. Now
do you know what that is for?"

"For me, I suppose," she answered, blushing with pleasure and
admiration; "but it is too good, too beautiful, too costly."

"Not half good enough. Though, to tell you the truth, it can not be
matched easily; any more than you can. But I know where to get those
things. Now promise me to wear it, when you think of me; and the one
habit will confirm the other. But the more important part is this, and
the last thing for me to say to you. Your father still hates my name, I
fear. Tell him every word I have told you, and perhaps it will bring him
half way round. Sooner or later he must come round; and the only way to
do it is to work him slowly. When he sees in how many ways I have been
wronged, and how beautifully I have borne it all, he will begin to say
to himself, 'Now this young man may be improving.' But he never will
say, 'He hath no need of it.'"

"I should rather think not, you conceited Robin, or whatever else I am
to call you now. But I bargain for one thing--whatever may happen, I
shall never call you anything else but Robin. It suits you, and you look
well with it. Yordas, indeed, or whatever it may be--"

"No bargain is valid without a seal," etc., etc. In the old but
ever-vivid way they went on, until they were forced to part, at the
very lips of the house itself, after longing lingerings. The air of
the fields was sweet with summer fragrance and the breath of night; the
world was ripe with soft repose, whose dreams were hope and happiness;
and the heaven spread some gentle stars, to show mankind the way to it.
Then a noble perfume strewed the ambient air with stronger presence, as
the farmer, in his shirt sleeves, came, with a clay pipe, and grumbled,
"Wherever is our Mary all this time?"



CHAPTER LV

NICHOLAS THE FISH



Five hundred years ago there was a great Italian swimmer, even greater
than our Captain Webb; inasmuch as he had what the wags of the age
unjustly ascribe to our hero, that is to say, web toes and fingers. This
capable man could, if history be true, not only swim for a week without
ceasing (reassuring solid nature now and then by a gulp of live fish),
but also could expand his chest so considerably that it held enough air
for a day's consumption. Fortified thus, he explored Charybdis and all
the Liparic whirlpools, and could have found Cadman's gun anywhere, if
it had only been there. But at last the sea had its revenge upon him,
through the cruel insistence of his king.

No man so amphibious has since arisen through the unfathomed tide of
time. But a swimmer and diver of great repute was now living not far
from Teesmouth. That is to say, he lived there whenever the state of the
weather or the time of year stranded him in dry misery. Those who have
never come across a man of this description might suppose that he was
happy and content at home with his wife and growing family, assuaging
the brine in the delightful manner commended by Hero to Leander. But,
alas! it was not so at all. The temper of the man was very slow to move,
as generally happens with deep-chested men, and a little girl might
lead him with her finger on the shore; and he liked to try to smell
land flowers, which in his opinion were but weeds. But if a man can not
control his heart, in the very middle of his system, how can he hope to
command his skin, that unscientific frontier of his frame?

"Nicholas the fish," as his neighbors (whenever, by coming ashore, he
had such treasures) contemptuously called him, was endowed from his
birth with a peculiar skin, and by exercise had improved it. Its virtue
was excessive thickness--such as a writer should pray for--protected
also by powerful hairiness--largely admired by those with whom it is
restricted to the head.

Unhappily for Nicholas, the peremptory poises of nature struck a line
with him, and this was his line of flotation. From perpetual usage this
was drawn, obliquely indeed, but as definitely as it is upon a ship of
uniform displacement--a yacht, for instance, or a man-of-war. Below
that line scarcely anything could hurt him; but above it he was most
sensitive, unless he were continually wetted; and the flies, and the
gnats, and many other plagues of England, with one accord pitched
upon him, and pitched into him, during his short dry intervals, with a
bracing sense of saline draught. Also the sun, and the wind, and even
the moon, took advantage of him when unwetted.

This made his dry periods a purgatory to him; and no sooner did he hear
from Mr. Mordacks of a promising job under water than he drew breath
enough for a ten-fathom dive, and bursting from long despair, made a
great slap at the flies beneath his collar-bone. The sound was like
a drum which two men strike; and his wife, who was devoted to him,
hastened home from the adjoining parish with a sad presentiment of
parting. And this was speedily verified; for the champion swimmer and
diver set forth that very day for Bempton Warren, where he was to have a
private meeting with the general factor.

Now it was a great mistake to think--as many people at this time did,
both in Yorkshire and Derbyshire--that the gulf of connubial cares had
swallowed the great Roman hero Mordacks. Unarmed, and even without his
gallant roadster to support him, he had leaped into that Curtian lake,
and had fought a good fight at the bottom of it. The details are highly
interesting, and the chronicle might be useful; but, alas! there is no
space left for it. It is enough, and a great thing too, to say that
he emerged triumphant, reduced his wife into very good condition, and
obtained the due mastery of her estates, and lordship of the household.

Refreshed and recruited by the home campaign, and having now a double
base for future operations--York city with the fosse of Ouse in the
east, and Pretorian Hill, Derbyshire, westward--Mordacks returned, with
a smack of lip more dry than amontilladissimo, to the strict embrace of
business. So far as the needs of the body were concerned, he might have
done handsomely without any business; but having no flesh fit to weigh
against his mind, he gave preference to the latter. Now the essence
of his nature was to take strong views; not hastily--if he could help
it--nor through narrow aspect of prejudice, but with power of insight
(right or wrong), and stern fixity thereafter. He had kept his opinion
about Sir Duncan Yordas much longer than usual pending, being struck
with the fame of the man, and his manner, and generous impulsive nature.
All these he still admired, but felt that the mind was far too hasty,
and, to put it in his own strong way, Sir Duncan (whatever he might be
in India) had been but a fool in England. Why had he cast away his claim
on Scargate, and foiled the factor's own pet scheme for a great triumph
over the lawyers? And why condemn his only son, when found with such
skill and at heavy expense, without even hearing both sides of the tale?
Last, but not least, what induced him to marry, when amply old enough
to know better, a girl who might be well enough in her way, but had no
family estate to bring, was shrewdly suspected of a cutting tongue, and
had more than once been a