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Title: In the Roar of the Sea
Author: Baring-Gould, S. (Sabine), 1834-1924
Language: English
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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.

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         IN THE ROAR OF THE SEA

                   BY

            S. BARING-GOULD

               AUTHOR OF
  "THE PENNYCOMEQUICKS," "URITH," ETC.


                NEW YORK
         NATIONAL BOOK COMPANY
            6 MISSION PLACE


            Copyright, 1891,
                   BY
      UNITED STATES BOOK COMPANY.
        [_All rights reserved._]



CONTENTS.


   CHAPTER                                              PAGE

        I. OVER AND DONE                                   5

       II. A PASSAGE OF ARMS                              12

      III. CAPTAIN CRUEL                                  20

       IV. HOP-O'-MY-THUMB                                24

        V. THE BUTTONS                                    31

       VI. UNCLE ZACHIE                                   39

      VII. A VISIT                                        45

     VIII. A PATCHED PEACE                                52

       IX. C. C.                                          60

        X. EGO ET REGINA MEA                              67

       XI. JESSAMINE                                      75

      XII. THE CAVE                                       85

     XIII. IN THE DUSK                                    93

      XIV. WARNING OF DANGER                             100

       XV. CHAINED                                       109

      XVI. ON THE SHINGLE                                114

     XVII. FOR LIFE OR DEATH                             122

    XVIII. UNA                                           128

      XIX. A GOLDFISH                                    136

       XX. BOUGHT AND SOLD                               144

      XXI. OTHELLO COTTAGE                               151

     XXII. JAMIE'S RIDE                                  158

    XXIII. ALL IS FOR THE BEST IN THE BEST OF WORLDS     166

     XXIV. A NIGHT EXCURSION                             175

      XXV. FOUND                                         182

     XXVI. AN UNWILLING PRISONER                         189

    XXVII. A RESCUE                                      195

   XXVIII. AN EXAMINATION                                203

     XXIX. ON A PEACOCK'S FEATHER                        211

      XXX. THROUGH THE TAMARISKS                         221

     XXXI. AMONG THE SAND-HEAPS                          229

    XXXII. A DANGEROUS GIFT                              237

   XXXIII. HALF A MARRIAGE                               244

    XXXIV. A BREAKFAST                                   252

     XXXV. JACK O' LANTERN                               259

    XXXVI. THE SEA-WOLVES                                269

   XXXVII. BRUISED NOT BROKEN                            275

  XXXVIII. A CHANGE OF WIND                              282

    XXXIX. A FIRST LIE                                   290

       XL. THE DIAMOND BUTTERFLY                         297

      XLI. A DEAD-LOCK                                   306

     XLII. TWO LETTERS                                   313

    XLIII. THE SECOND TIME                               320

     XLIV. THE WHIP FALLS                                327

      XLV. GONE FROM ITS PLACE                           334

     XLVI. A SECOND LIE                                  341

    XLVII. FAST IN HIS HANDS                             349

   XLVIII. TWO ALTERNATIVES                              357

     XLIX. NOTHING LIKE GROG                             364

        L. PLAYING FORFEITS                              372

       LI. SURRENDER                                     380

      LII. TO JUDITH                                     387

     LIII. IN THE SMOKE                                  395

      LIV. SQUAB PIE                                     403



IN THE ROAR OF THE SEA.



CHAPTER I.

OVER AND DONE.


Sitting in the parsonage garden, in a white frock, with a pale green
sash about her waist, leaning back against the red-brick wall, her
glowing copper hair lit by the evening sun, was Judith Trevisa.

She was tossing guelder-roses into the air; some dozens were strewn
about her feet on the gravel, but one remained of the many she had
plucked and thrown and caught, and thrown and caught again for a sunny
afternoon hour. As each greenish-white ball of flowers went up into
the air it diffused a faint but pleasant fragrance.

"When I have done with you, my beauty, I have done altogether," said
Judith.

"With what?"

Her father spoke. He had come up unperceived by the girl, burdened
with a shovel in one hand and a bucket in the other, looking pale,
weary, and worn.

"Papa, you nearly spoiled my game. Let me finish, and I will speak."

"Is it a very serious matter, Judith, and engrossing?"

"Engrossing, but not serious, _Je m'amuse_."

The old rector seated himself on the bench beside her, and he also
leaned back against the red-brick, gold-and-gray-lichen-spotted wall,
and looked into the distance before him, waiting till his daughter was
ready to speak, not, perhaps, sorry to have a little rest first, for
he was overtired. Had Judith not been absorbed in her ball-play with
the guelder-rose bunch she would have noticed his haggard appearance,
the green hue about his mouth, the sunken eyes, the beaded brow. But
she was counting the rebounds of her ball, bent on sustaining her play
as long as was possible to her.

She formed a charming picture, fresh and pure, and had the old man not
been overtired, he would have thought so with a throb of parental
pride.

She was a child in size, slender in build, delicate in bone, with face
and hands of porcelain transparency and whiteness, with, moreover,
that incomparable complexion only seen in the British Isles, and then
only with red-gold hair.

Her bronze-leather shoes were the hue of some large flies that basked
and frisked on the warm wall, only slightly disturbed by the girl's
play, to return again and run and preen themselves again, and glitter
jewel-like as studs on that sun-baked, lichen-enamelled wall. Her
eyes, moreover, were lustrous as the backs of these flies, iridescent
with the changing lights of the declining sun, and the changed
direction of her glance following the dancing ball of guelder-rose.
Her long fingers might have been of china, but that when raised so
that the sun struck their backs they were turned to a translucent
rose. There was no color in her cheek, only the faintest suffusion of
pink on the temples below where the hair was rolled back in waves of
luminous molten copper dashing against the brick wall.

"I have done my work," said the rector.

"And I my play," responded the girl, letting the ball drop into her
lap and rock there from one knee to the other. "Papa, this fellow is
the conqueror; I have made him dance thirty-five great leaps, and he
has not yet fallen--wilfully. I let him go down and get breath just
now. There lie all my dancers dead about me. They failed very
speedily."

"You cannot be forever playing, Ju."

"That is why I play now, papa. When playtime is over I shall be in
earnest indeed."

"Indeed?" the old man sighed.

Judith looked round, and was shocked to see how ill her father
appeared to be.

"Are you very tired, darling papa?"

"Yes--overtired."

"Have you been at your usual task?"

"Yes, Ju--an unprofitable task."

"Oh, papa!"

"Yes, unprofitable. The next wind from the sea that blows--one will
blow in an hour--and all my work is undone."

"But, my dear papa!" Judith stooped and looked into the bucket.
"Why!--what has made you bring a load of sand up here? We want none in
the garden. And such a distance too!--from the church. No wonder you
are tired."

"Have I brought it?" he asked, without looking at the bucket.

"You have, indeed. That, if you please, is unprofitable work, not the
digging of the church out of the sand-heaps that swallow it."

"My dear, I did not know that I had not emptied the pail outside the
church-yard gate. I am very tired; perhaps that explains it."

"No doubt about it, papa. It was work quite as unprofitable but much
more exhausting than my ball-play. Now, papa, while you have been
digging your church out of the sand, which will blow over it again
to-night, you say, I have been pitching and tossing guelder-roses. We
have been both wasting time, one as much as the other."

"One as much as the other," repeated the old man. "Yes, dear, one as
much as the other, and I have been doing it all my time here--morally,
spiritually, as well as materially, digging the church out of the
smothering sands, and all in vain--all profitless work. You are right,
Ju."

"Papa," said Judith hastily, seeing his discouragement and knowing his
tendency to depression, "papa, do you hear the sea how it roars? I
have stood on the bench, more than once, to look out seaward, and find
a reason for it; but there is none--all blue, blue as a larkspur; and
not a cloud in the sky--all blue, blue there too. No wind either, and
that is why I have done well with my ball-play. Do you hear the roar
of the sea, papa?" she repeated.

"Yes, Ju. There will be a storm shortly. The sea is thrown into great
swells of rollers, a sure token that something is coming. Before night
a gale will be on us."

Then ensued silence. Judith with one finger trifled with the
guelder-rose bunch in her lap musingly, not desirous to resume her
play with it. Something in her father's manner was unusual, and made
her uneasy.

"My dear!" he began, after a pause, "one must look out to sea--into
the vast mysterious sea of the future--and prepare for what is coming
from it. Just now the air is still, and we sit in this sweet, sunny
garden, and lean our backs against the warm wall, and smell the
fragrance of the flowers; but we hear the beating of the sea, and know
that a mighty tempest, with clouds and darkness, is coming. So in
other matters we must look out and be ready--count the time till it
comes. My dear, when I am gone----"

"Papa!"

"We were looking out to sea and listening. That must come at some
time--it may come sooner than you anticipate." He paused, heaved a
sigh, and said, "Oh, Jamie! What are we to do about Jamie?"

"Papa, I will always take care of Jamie."

"But who will take care of you?"

"Of me? Oh, papa, surely I can take care of myself!"

He shook his head doubtfully.

"Papa, you know how strong I am in will--how firm I can be with
Jamie."

"But all mankind are not Jamies. It is not for you I fear, as much as
for you and him together. He is a trouble and a difficulty."

"Jamie is not so silly and troublesome as you think. All he needs is
application. He cannot screw his mind down to his books--to any
serious occupation. But that will come. I have heard say that the
stupidest children make the sharpest men. Little by little it will
come, but it will come certainly. I will set myself as my task to make
Jamie apply his mind and become a useful man, and I shall succeed,
papa." She caught her father's hand between hers, and slapped it
joyously, confidently. "How cold your hand is, papa! and yet you look
warm."

"You were always Jamie's champion," said her father, not noticing her
remark relative to himself.

"He is my twin brother, so of course I am his champion. Who else would
be that, were not I?"

"No--no one else. He is mischievous and troublesome--poor, poor
fellow. You will always be to Jamie what you are now, Ju--his
protector or champion? He is weak and foolish, and if he were to fall
into bad hands--I shudder to think what might become of him."

"Rely on me, dearest father."

Then he lifted the hand of his daughter, and looked at it with a faint
smile. "It is very small, it is very weak, to fight for self alone,
let alone yourself encumbered with Jamie."

"I will do it, papa, do not fear."

"Judith, I must talk very gravely with you, for the future is very
dark to me; and I am unable with hand or brain to provide anything
against the evil day. Numbness is on me, and I have been hampered on
every side. For one thing, the living has been so poor, and my
parishioners so difficult to deal with, that I have been able to lay
by but a trifle. I believe I have not a relative in the world--none,
at all events, near enough and known to me that I dare ask him to care
for you----"

"Papa, there is Aunt Dionysia."

"Aunt Dionysia," he repeated, with a hesitating voice. "Yes; but Aunt
Dionysia is--is not herself capable of taking charge of you. She has
nothing but what she earns, and then--Aunt Dionysia is--is--well--Aunt
Dionysia. I don't think you could be happy with her, even if, in the
event of my departure, she were able to take care of you. Then--and
that chiefly--she has chosen, against my express wishes--I may say, in
defiance of me--to go as housekeeper into the service of the man, of
all others, who has been a thorn in my side, a hinderer of God's work,
a--But I will say no more."

"What! Cruel Coppinger?"

"Yes, Cruel Coppinger. I might have been the means of doing a little
good in this place, God knows! I only _think_ I might; but I have been
thwarted, defied, insulted by that man. As I have striven to dig my
buried church out of the overwhelming sands, so have I striven to lift
the souls of my poor parishioners out of the dead engulfing sands of
savagery, brutality, very heathenism of their mode of life, and I have
been frustrated. The winds have blown the sands back with every gale
over my work with spade, and that stormblast Coppinger has devastated
every trace of good that I have done, or tried to do, in spiritual
matters. The Lord reward him according to his works."

Judith felt her father's hand tremble in hers.

"Never mind Coppinger now," she said, soothingly.

"I must mind him," said the old man, with severe vehemence. "And--that
my own sister should go, go--out of defiance, into his house and serve
him! That was too much. I might well say, I have none to whom to look
as your protector." He paused awhile, and wiped his brow. His pale
lips were quivering. "I do not mean to say," said he, "that I acted
with judgment, when first I came to S. Enodoc, when I spoke against
smuggling. I did not understand it then. I thought with the thoughts
of an inlander. Here--the sands sweep over the fields, and agriculture
is in a measure impossible. The bays and creeks seem to
invite--well--I leave it an open question. But with regard to
wrecking--" His voice, which had quavered in feebleness, according
with the feebleness of his judgment relative to smuggling, now gained
sonorousness. "Wrecking, deliberate wrecking, is quite another matter.
I do not say that our people are not justified in gathering the
harvest the sea casts up. There always must be, there will be wrecks
on this terrible coast; but there has been--I know there has been,
though I have not been able to prove it--deliberate provocation of
wrecks, and that is the sin of Cain. Had I been able to prove----"

"Never mind that now, dear papa. Neither I nor Jamie are, or will be,
wreckers. Talk of something else. You over-excite yourself."

Judith was accustomed to hear her father talk in an open manner to
her. She had been his sole companion for several years, since his
wife's death, and she had become the _confidante_ of his inmost
thoughts, his vacillations, his discouragements, not of his hopes--for
he had none, nor of his schemes--for he formed none.

"I do not think I have been of any use in this world," said the old
parson, relapsing into his tone of discouragement, the temporary flame
of anger having died away. "My sowing has produced no harvest. I have
brought light, help, strength to none. I have dug all day in the
vineyard, and not a vine is the better for it; all cankered and
fruitless."

"Papa--and me! Have you done nothing for me!"

"You!"

He had not thought of his child.

"Papa! Do you think that I have gained naught from you? No strength,
no resolution from seeing you toil on in your thankless work, without
apparent results? If I have any energy and principle to carry me
through I owe it to you."

He was moved, and raised his trembling hand and laid it on her golden
head.

He said no more, and was very still.

Presently she spoke. His hands weighed heavily on her head.

"Papa, you are listening to the roar of the sea?"

He made no reply.

"Papa, I felt a cold breath; and see, the sun has a film over it.
Surely the sea is roaring louder!"

His hand slipped from her head and struck her shoulder--roughly, she
thought. She turned, startled, and looked at him. His eyes were open,
he was leaning back, almost fallen against the wall, and was deadly
pale.

"Papa, you are listening to the roar?"

Then a thought struck her like a bullet in the heart.

"Papa! Papa! My papa!--speak--speak!"

She sprang from the bench--was before him. Her left guelder-rose had
rolled, had bounded from her lap, and had fallen on the sand the old
man had listlessly brought up from the church. His work, her play,
were forever over.



CHAPTER II.

A PASSAGE OF ARMS.


The stillness preceding the storm had yielded. A gale had broken over
the coast, raged against the cliffs of Pentyre, and battered the walls
of the parsonage, without disturbing the old rector, whom no storm
would trouble again, soon to be laid under the sands of his buried
church-yard, his very mound to be heaped over in a few years, and
obliterated by waves of additional encroaching sand. Judith had not
slept all night. She--she, a mere child, had to consider and arrange
everything consequent on the death of the master of the house. The
servants--cook and house-maid--had been of little, if any, assistance
to her. When Jane, the house-maid, had rushed into the kitchen with
the tidings that the old parson was dead, cook, in her agitation,
upset the kettle and scalded her foot. The gardener's wife had come in
on hearing the news, and had volunteered help. Judith had given her
the closet-key to fetch from the stores something needed; and Jamie,
finding access to the closet, had taken possession of a pot of
raspberry jam, carried it to bed with him, and spilled it over the
sheets, besides making himself ill. The house-maid, Jane, had
forgotten in her distraction to shut the best bedroom casement, and
the gale during the night had wrenched it from its hinges, flung it
into the garden on the roof of the small conservatory, and smashed
both. Moreover, the casement being open, the rain had driven into the
room unchecked, had swamped the floor, run through and stained the
drawing-room ceiling underneath, the drips had fallen on the mahogany
table and blistered the veneer. A messenger was sent to Pentyre Glaze
for Miss Dionysia Trevisa, and she would probably arrive in an hour or
two.

Mr. Trevisa, as he had told Judith, was solitary, singularly so. He
was of a good Cornish family, but it was one that had dwindled till
it had ceased to have other representative than himself. Once well
estated, at Crockadon, in S. Mellion, all the lands of the family had
been lost; once with merchants in the family, all the fortunes of
these merchants industriously gathered had been dissipated, and
nothing had remained to the Reverend Peter Trevisa but his family name
and family coat, a garb or, on a field gules. It really seemed as
though the tinctures of the shield had been fixed in the crown of
splendor that covered the head of Judith. But she did not derive this
wealth of red-gold hair from her Cornish ancestors, but from a
Scottish mother, a poor governess whom Mr. Peter Trevisa had married,
thereby exciting the wrath of his only sister and relative, Miss
Dionysia, who had hitherto kept house for him, and vexed his soul with
her high-handed proceedings. It was owing to some insolent words used
by her to Mrs. Trevisa that Peter had quarrelled with his sister at
first. Then when his wife died, she had forced herself on him as
housekeeper, but again her presence in the house had become irksome to
him, and when she treated his children--his delicate and dearly loved
Judith--with roughness, and his timid, silly Jamie with harshness,
amounting in his view to cruelty--harsh words had passed between them;
sharp is, however, hardly the expression to use for the carefully
worded remonstrances of the mild rector, though appropriate enough to
her rejoinders. Then she had taken herself off and had become
housekeeper to Curll Coppinger, Cruel Coppinger, as he was usually
called, who occupied Pentyre Glaze, and was a fairly well-to-do single
man.

Mr. Trevisa had not been a person of energy, but one of culture and
refinement; a dispirited, timid man. Finding no neighbors of the same
mental texture, nor sympathetic, he had been driven to make of Judith,
though a child, his companion, and he had poured into her ear all his
troubles, which largely concerned the future of his children. In his
feebleness he took comfort from her sanguine confidence, though he was
well aware that it was bred of ignorance, and he derived a weak
satisfaction from the thought that he had prepared her morally, at all
events, if in no other fashion, for the crisis that must come when he
was withdrawn.

Mr. Peter Trevisa--Peter was a family Christian name--was for
twenty-five years rector of S. Enodoc, on the north coast of Cornwall
at the mouth of the Camel. The sand dunes had encroached on the church
of S. Enodoc, and had enveloped the sacred structure. A hole was
broken through a window, through which the interior could be reached,
where divine service was performed occasionally in the presence of the
church-wardens, so as to establish the right of the rectors, and
through this same hole bridal parties entered to be coupled, with
their feet ankle-deep in sand that filled the interior to above the
pew-tops.

But Mr. Trevisa was not the man to endure such a condition of affairs
without a protest and an effort to remedy it. He had endeavored to
stimulate the farmers and land-owners of the parish to excavate the
buried church, but his endeavors had proved futile. There were several
reasons for this. In the first place, and certainly foremost, stood
this reason: as long as the church was choked with sand and could not
be employed for regular divine service, the tithe-payers could make a
grievance of it, and excuse themselves from paying their tithes in
full, because, as they argued, "Parson don't give us sarvice, so us
ain't obliged to pay'n." They knew their man, that he was
tender-conscienced, and would not bring the law to bear upon them; he
would see that there was a certain measure of justness in the
argument, and would therefore not demand of them a tithe for which he
did not give them the _quid pro quo_. But they had sufficient
shrewdness to pay a portion of their tithes, so as not to drive him to
extremities and exhaust his patience. It will be seen, therefore, that
in the interests of their pockets the tithe-payers did not want to
have their parish church excavated. Excavation meant weekly service
regularly performed, and weekly service regularly performed would be
followed by exaction of the full amount of rent-charge. Then, again,
in the second place, should divine service be resumed in the church of
S. Enodoc, the parishioners would feel a certain uneasiness in their
consciences if they disregarded the summons of the bell; it might not
be a very lively uneasiness, but just such an irritation as might be
caused by a fly crawling over the face. So long as there was no
service they could soothe their consciences with the thought that
there was no call to make an effort to pull on Sunday breeches and
assume a Sunday hat, and trudge to the church. Therefore, secondly,
for the ease of their own consciences, it was undesirable that S.
Enodoc should be dug out of the sand.

Then lastly, and thirdly, the engulfment of the church gave them a
cherished opportunity for being nasty to the rector, and retailing
upon him for his incaution in condemning smuggling and launching out
into anathema against wrecking. As he had made matters disagreeable to
them--tried, as they put it, to take bread out of their mouths, they
saw no reason why they should spend money to please him.

Mr. Trevisa had made very little provision for his children,
principally, if not wholly, because he could not. He had received from
the farmers and land-owners a portion of tithe, and had been contented
with that rather than raise angry feelings by demanding the whole. Out
of that portion he was able to put aside but little.

Aunt Dionysia arrived, a tall, bony woman, with hair turning gray,
light eyes and an aquiline nose, a hard, self-seeking woman, who
congratulated herself that she did not give way to feelings.

"I feel," said she, "as do others, but I don't show my feelings as
beggars expose their bad legs."

She went into the kitchen. "Hoity-toity!" she said to the cook, "fine
story this--scalding yourself. Mind this, you cook meals or no wage
for you." To Jane, "The mischief you have done shall be valued and
deducted from any little trifle my brother may have left you in his
will. Where is Jamie? Give me that joint of fishing-rod; I'll beat him
for stealing raspberry jam."

Jamie, however, on catching a glimpse of his aunt had escaped into the
garden and concealed himself. The cook, offended, began to clatter the
saucepans.

"Now, then," said Mrs. Trevisa--she bore the brevet-rank--"in a house
of mourning what do you mean by making this noise, it is impertinent
to me."

The house-maid swung out of the kitchen, muttering.

Mrs. Trevisa now betook herself up-stairs in quest of her niece, and
found her with red eyes.

"I call it rank _felo-de-se_," said Aunt Dionysia. "Every one
knew--_he_ knew, that he had a feeble heart, and ought not to be
digging and delving in the old church. Who sent the sand upon it? Why,
Providence, I presume. Not man. Then it was a flying in the face of
Providence to try to dig it out. Who wanted the church? He might have
waited till the parishioners asked for it. But there--where is Jamie?
I shall teach him a lesson for stealing raspberry jam."

"Oh, aunt, not now--not now!"

Mrs. Trevisa considered a moment, then laid aside the fishing-rod.

"Perhaps you are right. I am not up to it after my walk from Pentyre
Glaze. Now, then, what about mourning? I do not suppose Jamie can be
measured by guesswork. You must bring him here. Tell him the whipping
is put off till another day. Of course you have seen to black things
for yourself. Not? Why, gracious heavens! is everything to be thrown
on my shoulders? Am I to be made a beast of burden of? Now, no mewling
and pewking. There is no time for that. Whatever _your_ time may be,
_mine_ is valuable. I can't be here forever. Of course every
responsibility has been put on me. Just like Peter--no consideration.
And what can I do with a set of babies? I have to work hard enough to
keep myself. Peter did not want my services at one time; now I am put
upon. Have you sent for the undertaker? What about clothing again? I
suppose you know that you must have mourning? Bless my heart! what a
lot of trouble you give me."

Mrs. Trevisa was in a very bad temper, which even the knowledge that
it was seemly that she should veil it could not make her restrain. She
was, no doubt, to a certain extent fond of her brother--not much,
because he had not been of any advantage to her; and no doubt she was
shocked at his death, but chiefly because it entailed on herself
responsibilities and trouble that she grudged. She would be obliged to
do something for her nephew and niece; she would have to provide a
home for them somewhere. She could not take them with her to
Coppinger's house, as she was there as a salaried servant, and not
entitled to invite thither her young relatives. Moreover, she did not
want to have them near her. She disliked young people; they gave
trouble, they had to be looked after, they entailed expenses. What was
she to do with them? Where was she to put them? What would they have
to live upon? Would they call on her to part-maintain them? Miss
Dionysia had a small sum put away, and she had no intention of
breaking into it for them. It was a nest-egg, and was laid by against
an evil day that might come on herself. She had put the money away for
herself, in her old age, not for the children of her feeble brother
and his lack-penny wife to consume as moth and rust. As these thoughts
and questions passed through her mind, Aunt Dionysia pulled open
drawers, examined cupboards, pried open closets, and searched chests
and wardrobes.

"I wonder now what he has put by for them," she said aloud.

"Do you mean my dear papa?" asked Judith, whose troubled heart and
shaken spirits were becoming angry and restless under the behavior of
the hard, unfeeling woman.

"Yes, I do," answered Mrs. Trevisa, facing round, and glaring
malevolently at her niece. "It is early days to talk of this, but it
must be done sooner or later, and if so, the sooner the better. There
is money in the house, I suppose?"

"I do not know."

"I must know. You will want it--bills must be paid. You will eat and
drink, I suppose? You must be clothed. I'll tell you what: I'll put
the whole case into the hands of Lawyer Jenkyns, and he shall demand
arrears of tithes. I know what quixotish conduct Peter----"

"Aunt, I will not allow this." A light flush came into the girl's
cheek.

"It is all very well talking," said Aunt Dionysia; "but black is not
white, and no power on earth can make me say that it is so. Money must
be found. Money must be paid for expenses, and it is hard that I
should have to find it; so I think. What money is there in the house
for present necessities? I must know."

Suddenly a loud voice was heard shouting through the house--

"Mother Dunes! old Dunes! I want you."

Judith turned cold and white. Who was this that dared to bellow in the
house of death, when her dear, dear father lay up-stairs with the
blinds down, asleep? It was an insult, an outrage. Her nerves had
already been thrilled, and her heart roused into angry revolt by the
cold, unfeeling conduct of the woman who was her sole relative in the
world. And now, as she was thus quivering, there came this boisterous
shout.

"It is the master!" said Mrs. Trevisa, in an awestruck voice, lowered
as much as was possible to her.

To Coppinger alone she was submissive, cringing, obsequious.

"What does he mean by this--this conduct?" asked Judith, trembling
with wrath.

"He wants me."

Again a shout. "Dunes! old fool! the keys!"

Then Judith started forward, and went through the door to the head of
the staircase. At the foot stood a middle-sized, strongly built,
firmly knit man, in a dress half belonging to the land and half to the
sea, with high boots on his legs, and slouched hat on his head. His
complexion was olive, his hair abundant and black, covering cheeks and
chin and upper lip. His eyes were hard and dark. He had one brown hand
on the banister, and a foot on the first step, as though about to
ascend, when arrested by seeing the girl at the head of the stairs
before him. The house was low, and the steps led without a break
directly from the hall to the landing which gave communication to the
bedrooms. There was a skylight in the roof over the staircase, through
which a brilliant flood of pure white light fell over Judith, whereas
every window had been darkened by drawn blinds. The girl had found no
sombre dress suitable to wear, and had been forced to assume the same
white gown as the day before, but she had discarded the green sash and
had bound a black ribbon about her waist, and another about her
abundant hair. A black lace kerchief was drawn over her shoulders
across her breast and tied at her back. She wore long, black mittens.

Judith stood motionless, her bosom rising and falling quickly, her
lips set, the breath racing through her nostrils, and one hand resting
on the banister at the stair-head.

In a moment her eyes met those of Coppinger, and it was at once as
though a thrill of electric force had passed between them.

He desisted from his attempt to ascend, and said, without moving his
eyes from hers, in a subdued tone, "She has taken the keys," but he
said no more. He drew his foot from the step hesitatingly, and
loosened his hand from the banister, down which went a thrill from
Judith's quivering nerves, and he stepped back.

At the same moment she descended a step, still looking steadily into
the dark, threatening pupils, without blinking or lowering her orbs.
Emboldened by her boiling indignation, she stood on the step she had
reached with both feet firmly planted there, and finding that the
banister rattled under her hand she withdrew it, and folded her arms.
Coppinger raised his hand to his head and took off his hat. He had a
profusion of dark, curly, flowing hair, that fell and encircled his
saturnine face.

Then Judith descended another step, and as she did so he retreated a
step backwards. Behind him was the hall door, open; the light lay wan
and white there on the gravel, for no sunshine had succeeded the gale.
At every step that Judith took down the stair Coppinger retreated.
Neither spoke; the hall was still, save for the sound of their breath,
and his came as fast as hers. When Judith had reached the bottom she
turned--Coppinger stood in the doorway now--and signed to her aunt to
come down with the keys.

"Take them to him--Do not give them here--outside."

Mrs. Trevisa, surprised, confounded, descended the stair, went by her,
and out through the door. Then Judith stepped after her, shut the door
to exclude both Aunt Dionysia and that man Coppinger, who had dared,
uninvited, on such a day to invade the house.

She turned now to remount the stairs, but her strength failed her, her
knees yielded, and she sank upon a step, and burst into a flood of
tears and convulsive sobs.



CHAPTER III.

CAPTAIN CRUEL.


Captain Coppinger occupied an old farmhouse, roomy, low-built, granite
quoined and mullioned, called Pentyre Glaze, in a slight dip of the
hills near the cliffs above the thundering Atlantic. One ash shivered
at the end of the house--that was the only tree to be seen near
Pentyre Glaze. And--who was Coppinger? That is more than can be told.
He had come--no one knew whence. His arrival on the north coast of
Cornwall was mysterious. There had been haze over the sea for three
days. When it lifted, a strange vessel of foreign rig was seen lying
off the coast. Had she got there in the fog, not knowing her course;
or had she come there knowingly, and was making for the mouth of the
Camel? A boat was seen to leave the ship, and in it a man came ashore;
the boat returned to the vessel, that thereupon spread sail and
disappeared in the fog that re-descended over the water. The man gave
his name as Coppinger--his Christian name, he said, was Curll, and he
was a Dane; but though his intonation was not that of the Cornish, it
was not foreign. He took up his residence in S. Enodoc at a farm, and
suddenly, to the surprise of every one, became by purchase the
possessor of Pentyre Glaze, then vacant and for sale. Had he known
that the estate was obtainable when he had come suddenly out of the
clouds into the place to secure it? Nobody knew, and Coppinger was
silent.

Thenceforth Pentyre Glaze became the harbor and den of every lawless
character along the coast. All kinds of wild uproar and reckless
revelry appalled the neighborhood day and night. It was discovered
that an organized band of smugglers, wreckers, and poachers made this
house the centre of their operations, and that "Cruel Coppinger" was
their captain. There were at that time--just a century ago--no
resident magistrates or gentry in the immediate neighborhood. The
yeomen were bribed, by kegs of spirits left at their doors, to
acquiesce in a traffic in illicit goods, and in the matter of exchange
they took their shares. It was said that on one occasion a preventive
man named Ewan Wyvill, who had pursued Coppinger in his boat, was
taken by him, and his head chopped off by the captain, with his boat
axe, on the gunwale. Such was the story. It was never proved. Wyvill
had disappeared, and the body was recovered headless on the Doom Bar.
That violence had been used was undoubted, but who had committed the
crime was not known, though suspicion pointed to Coppinger.
Thenceforth none ever called him Curll; by one consent he was named
Cruel. In the West of England every one is given his Christian name.
An old man is Uncle, and an old woman Aunt, and any one in command is
a Captain. So Coppinger was known as Captain Cruel, or as Cruel
Coppinger.

Strange vessels were often seen appearing at regular intervals on the
coast, and signals were flashed from the one window of Pentyre Glaze
that looked out to sea.

Among these vessels, one, a full-rigged schooner, soon became
ominously conspicuous. She was for long the terror of the Cornish
coast. Her name was The Black Prince. Once, with Coppinger on board,
she led a revenue cutter into an intricate channel among the rocks,
where, from knowledge of the bearings, The Black Prince escaped
scathless, while the king's vessel perished with all on board.

Immunity increased Coppinger's daring. There were certain bridle-roads
along the fields over which he exercised exclusive control. He issued
orders that no man should pass over them by night, and accordingly
from that hour none ever did.[A]

    [A] Many stories of Cruel Coppinger may be found in Hawker's
    Footprints of Former Men in Cornwall. I have also told them
    in my Vicar of Morwenstow. I have ventured to translate the
    scene of Coppinger's activity further west, from Wellcombe to
    S. Enodoc. But, indeed, he is told of in many places on this
    coast.

Moreover, if report spoke true--and reports do not arise without
cause--Coppinger was not averse from taking advantage, and that
unlawful advantage, of a wreck. By "lawful" and "unlawful" two
categories of acts are distinguished, not by the laws of the land but
by common consent of the Cornish conscience. That same Cornish
conscience distinguished wrecking into two classes, as it
distinguished then, and distinguishes still, witchcraft into two
classes. The one, white witchcraft, is legitimate and profitable, and
to be upheld; the other, black witchcraft, is reprehensible, unlawful,
and to be put down. So with wrecking. The Bristol Channel teemed with
shipping, flights of white sails passed in the offing, and these
vessels were, when inward bound, laden with sugars and spices from the
Indies, or with spirits and wines from France. If outward bound they
were deep in the water with a cargo of the riches of England.

Now, should a gale spring up suddenly and catch any of these vessels,
and should the gale be--as it usually is, and to the Cornish folk,
favorably is--from the northwest, then there was no harbor of refuge
along that rock-bound coast, and a ship that could not make for the
open was bound inevitably to be pounded to pieces against the
precipitous walls of the peninsula. If such were the case, it was
perfectly legitimate for every householder in the district to come
down on the wreck and strip it of everything it contained.

But, on the other hand, there was wrecking that was disapproved of,
though practised by a few, so rumor said, and that consisted in luring
a vessel that was in doubt as to her course, by false signals, upon a
reef or bar, and then, having made a wreck of her, to pillage her.
When on a morning after a night in which there had been no gale, a
ship was found on the rocks, and picked as clean as the carcase of a
camel in the desert, it was open to suspicion that this ship had not
been driven there by wind or current; and when the survivors, if they
reached the shore, told that they had been led to steer in the
direction where they had been cast away by certain lights that had
wholly deceived them, then it was also open to suspicion that these
lights had been purposely exhibited for the sake of bringing that
vessel to destruction; and when, further, it was proved that a certain
set or gang of men had garnered all the profits, or almost all the
profits, that accrued from a wreck, before the countryside was aware
that a wreck had occurred, then it was certainly no very random
conjecture that the wreck had been contrived in some fashion by those
who profited by it. There were atrocious tales of murder of
shipwrecked men circulating, but these were probably wholly, or at
all events in part, untrue. If when a vessel ran upon the rocks she
was deserted by her crew, if they took to the boats and made for
shore, then there remained no impediment to the wreckers taking
possession; it was only in the event of their finding a skipper on
board to maintain right over the grounded vessel, or the mariners
still on her engaged in getting her off, that any temptation to
violence could arise. But it was improbable that a crew would cling to
a ship on such a coast when once she was on the breakers. It was a
moral certainty that they would desert her, and leave the wreck to be
pillaged by the rats from shore, without offer of resistance. The
character of the coast-wreckers was known to seamen, or rather a
legend full of horror circulated relative to their remorseless
savagery. The fear of wreckers added to the fear of the sea would
combine to drive a crew, to the last man, into the boats.
Consequently, though it is possible that in some cases murder of
castaway men may have occurred, such cases must have been most
exceptional. The wreckers were only too glad to build a golden bridge
by which the wrecked might escape. Morally, without a question, those
who lured a hapless merchantman upon the rocks were guilty of the
deaths of those sailors who were upset in their boats in escaping from
the vessel, or were dashed against the cliffs in their attempts to
land, but there was no direct blood-guiltiness felt in such cases; and
those who had reaped a harvest from the sea counted their gains
individually, and made no estimate of the misery accruing thereby to
others.



CHAPTER IV.

HOP-O'-MY-THUMB.


"Listen to me," said Judith.

"Yes, Ju!"

The orphans were together in the room that had been their father's,
the room in which for some days he had lain with the blinds down, the
atmosphere heavy with the perfume of flowers, and that indescribable,
unmistakable scent of death. Often, every day, almost every hour, had
Judith stolen into the room while he lay there, to wonder with
infinite reverence and admiration at the purity and dignity of the
dead face. It was that of the dear, dear father, but sublimed beyond
her imagination. All the old vacillation was gone, the expression of
distress and discouragement had passed away, and in their place had
come a fixity and a calm, such as one sees in the busts of the ancient
Roman Cæsars, but with a superadded ethereality, if such a word can be
used, that a piece of pagan statuary never reached. Marvellous, past
finding out, it is that death, which takes from man the spiritual
element, should give to the mere clay a look of angelic spirituality,
yet so it is--so it was with the dead Peter Trevisa; and Judith, with
eyes filling as fast as dried, stood, her hands folded, looking into
his face, felt that she had never loved, never admired him half enough
when he was alive. Life had been the simmer in which all the scum of
trivialities, of infirmities, of sordidness had come to and shown
itself on the surface. Now Death had cleared these all away, and in
the peaceful face of the dead was seen the _real_ man, the nobility,
sanctity, delicacy that formed the texture of his soul, and which had
impressed the very clay wrapped about that volatile essence.

As long as the dear father's body lay in the house Judith had not
realized her utter desolation. But now the funeral was over, and she
had returned with her brother to the parsonage, to draw up the
blinds, and let the light once more enter, and search out, and
revivify the dead rooms.

She was very pale, with reddened eyes, and looking more fragile and
transparent than ever she did before, worn and exhausted by tearful,
wakeful nights, and by days of alternating gusts of sorrow and busy
preparation for the funeral, of painful recollections of joyous days
that were past, and of doubtful searchings into a future that was full
of cloud.

Her black frock served to enhance her pallor, and to make her look
thinner, smaller than when in white or in color.

She had taken her place in her father's high-backed leather chair,
studded thick with brass nails, the leather dulled and fretted by
constant use, but the nail-heads burnished by the same treatment.

Her brother was in the same chair with her; both his arms were round
her neck, and his head was on her shoulder. She had her right arm
about his waist, her left was bowed, the elbow leaning on the chair
arm, her hand folded inward, and her weary head rested on its back.

The fine weather broken in upon by the gale had returned; the sun
shone in unhindered at the window, and blazed on the children's hair;
the brass nails, polished by friction, twinkled as little suns, but
were naught in lustre to the gorgeous red of the hair of the twins,
for the first were but brass, and the other of living gold.

Two more lonely beings could hardly be discovered on the face of the
earth--at all events in the peninsula of Cornwall--but the sense of
this loneliness was summed in the heart of Judith, and was there
articulate; Jamie was but dimly conscious of discomfort and
bereavement. She knew what her father's death entailed on her, or knew
in part, and conjectured more. Had she been left absolutely alone in
the world her condition would have been less difficult than it was
actually, encumbered with her helpless brother. Swimming alone in the
tossing sea, she might have struck out with confidence that she could
keep her head above water, but it was quite otherwise when clinging to
her was a poor, half-witted boy, incapable of doing anything to save
himself, and all whose movements tended only to embarrass her. Not
that she regretted for an instant having to care for Jamie, for she
loved him with sisterly and motherly love combined, intensified in
force by fusion; if to her a future seemed inconceivable without
Jamie, a future without him would be one without ambition, pleasure,
or interest.

The twin brother was very like her, with the same beautiful and
abundant hair, delicate in build, and with the same refined face, but
without the flashes of alternating mood that lightened and darkened
her face. His had a searching, bewildered, distressed expression on
it--the only expression it ever bore except when he was out of temper,
and then it mirrored on its surface his inward ill-humor. His was an
appealing face, a face that told of a spirit infantile, innocent, and
ignorant, that would never grow stronger, but which could deteriorate
by loss of innocence--the only charge of which it was capable. The boy
had no inherent naughtiness in him, but was constantly falling into
mischief through thoughtlessness, and he was difficult to manage
because incapable of reasoning.

What every one saw--that he never would be other than what he
was--Judith would not admit. She acknowledged his inaptitude at his
books, his frivolity, his restlessness, but believed that these were
infirmities to be overcome, and that when overcome the boy would be as
other boys are.

Now these children--they were aged eighteen, but Jamie looked four
years younger--sat in their father's chair, clinging to each other,
all in all to one another, for they had no one else to love and who
loved them.

"Listen to me, Jamie."

"Yes, Ju, I be----"

"Don't say 'I be'--say 'I am.'"

"Yes, Ju."

"Jamie, dear!" she drew her arm tighter about him; her heart was
bounding, and every beat caused her pain. "Jamie, dear, you know that,
now dear papa is gone, and you will never see him in this world again,
that----"

"Yes, Ju."

"That I have to look to you, my brother, to stand up for me like a
man, to think and do for me as well as for yourself--a brave, stout,
industrious fellow."

"Yes, Ju."

"I am a girl, and you will soon be a man, and must work for both of
us. You must earn the money, and I will spend it frugally as we both
require it. Then we shall be happy again, and dear papa in Paradise
will be glad and smile on us. You will make an effort, will you not,
Jamie? Hitherto you have been able to run about and play and squander
your time, but now serious days have come upon us, and you must fix
your mind on work and determine--Jamie--mind, screw your heart to a
strong determination to put away childish things and be a man, and a
strength and a comfort to me."

He put up his lips to kiss her cheek, but could not reach it, as her
head was leaning on her hand away from him.

"What are you fidgeting at, my dear?" she asked, without stirring,
feeling his body restless under her arm.

"A nail is coming out," he answered.

It was so; whilst she had been speaking to him he was working at one
of the brass studs, and had loosened its bite in the chair.

"Oh, Jamie! you are making work by thus drawing out a nail. Can you
not help me a little, and reduce the amount one has to think of and
do? You have not been attending to what I said, and I was so much in
earnest." She spoke in a tone of discouragement, and the tone, more
than the words, impressed the susceptible heart of the boy. He began
to cry.

"You are cross."

"I am not cross, my pet; I am never cross with you, I love you too
dearly; but you try my patience sometimes, and just now I am
overstrained--and then I did want to make you understand."

"Now papa's dead I'll do no more lessons, shall I?" asked Jamie,
coaxingly.

"You must, indeed, and with me instead of papa."

"Not _rosa_, _rosæ_?"

"Yes, _rosa_, _rosæ_."

Then he sulked.

"I don't love you a bit. It is not fair. Papa is dead, so I ought not
to have any more lessons. I hate _rosa_, _rosæ_!" He kicked the legs
of the chair peevishly with his heels. As his sister said nothing,
seemed to be inattentive--for she was weary and dispirited--he slapped
her cheek by raising his hand over his head.

"What, Jamie, strike me, your only friend?"

Then he threw his arms round her again, and kissed her. "I'll love
you; only, Ju, say I am not to do _rosa_, _rosæ_!"

"How long have you been working at the first declension in the Latin
grammar, Jamie?"

He tried for an instant to think, gave up the effort, laid his head on
her shoulder, and said:

"I don't know and don't care. Say I am not to do _rosa_, _rosæ_!"

"What! not if papa wished it?"

"I hate the Latin grammar!"

For a while both remained silent. Judith felt the tension to which her
mind and nerves had been subjected, and lapsed momentarily into a
condition of something like unconsciousness, in which she was dimly
sensible of a certain satisfaction rising out of the pause in thought
and effort. The boy lay quiet, with his head on her shoulder, for a
while, then withdrew his arms, folded his hands on his lap, and began
to make a noise by compressing the air between the palms.

"There's a finch out there going 'chink! chink!' and listen, Ju, I can
make 'chink! chink!' too."

Judith recovered herself from her distraction, and said:

"Never mind the finch now. Think of what I say. We shall have to leave
this house."

"Why?"

"Of course we must, sooner or later, and the sooner the better. It is
no more ours."

"Yes, it is ours. I have my rabbits here."

"Now that papa is dead it is no longer ours."

"It's a wicked shame."

"Not at all, Jamie. This house was given to papa for his life only;
now it will go to a new rector, and Aunt Dunes[B] is going to fetch us
away to another house."

    [B] Dunes is the short for Dionysia.

"When?"

"To-day."

"I won't go," said the boy. "I swear I won't."

"Hush, hush, Jamie! Don't use such expressions. I do not know where
you have picked them up. We must go."

"And my rabbits, are they to go too?"

"The rabbits? We'll see about them. Aunt----"

"I hate Aunt Dunes!"

"You really must not call her that; if she hears you she will be very
angry. And consider, she has been taking a great deal of trouble about
us."

"I don't care."

"My dear, she is dear papa's sister."

"Why didn't papa get a nicer sister--like you?"

"Because he had to take what God gave him."

The boy pouted, and began to kick his heels against the chair-legs
once more.

"Jamie, we must leave this house to-day. Aunt is coming to take us
both away."

"I won't go."

"But, Jamie, I am going, and the cook is going, and so is Jane."

"Are cook and Jane coming with us?"

"No, dear."

"Why not?"

"We shall not want them. We cannot afford to keep them any more, to
pay their wages; and then we shall not go into a house of our own. You
must come with me, and be a joy and rest to me, dear Jamie."

She turned her head over, and leaned it on his head. The sun glowed in
their mingled hair--all of one tinge and lustre. It sparkled in the
tears on her cheek.

"Ju, may I have these buttons?"

"What buttons?"

"Look!"

He shook himself free from his sister, slid his feet to the ground,
went to a bureau, and brought to his sister a large open basket that
had been standing on the top of the bureau. It had been turned out of
a closet by Aunt Dionysia, and contained an accumulation of those most
profitless of collected remnants--odd buttons, coat buttons, brass,
smoked mother-of-pearl, shirt buttons, steel clasps--buttons of all
kinds, the gathering together made during twenty-five years. Why the
basket, after having been turned out of a lumber closet, had been left
in the room of death, or why, if turned out elsewhere, it had been
brought there, is more than even the novelist can tell. Suffice it
that there it was, and by whom put there could not be said.

"Oh! what a store of pretty buttons!" exclaimed the boy. "Do look,
Ju, these great big ones are just like those on Cheap Jack's red
waistcoat. Here is a brass one with a horse on it. Do see! Oh, Ju,
please get your needle and thread and sew this one on to my black
dress."

Judith sighed. It was in vain for her to impress the realities of the
situation on his wandering mind.

"Hark!" she exclaimed. "There is Aunt Dunes. I hear her voice--how
loud she speaks! She has come to fetch us away."

"Where is she going to take us to?"

"I do not know, Jamie."

"She will take us into the forest and lose us, like as did
Hop-o'-my-Thumb's father."

"There are no forests here--hardly any trees."

"She will leave us in the forest and run away."

"Nonsense, Jamie!"

"I am sure she will. She doesn't like us. She wants to get rid of us.
I don't care. May I have the basket of buttons?"

"Yes, Jamie."

"Then I'll be Hop-o'-my-Thumb."



CHAPTER V.

THE BUTTONS.


It was as Judith surmised. Mrs. Dionysia Trevisa had come to remove
her nephew and niece from the rectory. She was a woman decided in
character, especially in all that concerned her interests. She had
made up her mind that the children could not be left unprotected in
the parsonage, and she could not be with them. Therefore they must go.
The servants must leave; they would be paid their month's wage, but by
dismissing them their keep would be economized. There was a factotum
living in a cottage near, who did the gardening, the cinder-sifting,
and boot-cleaning for the rectory inmates, he would look after the
empty house, and wait on in hopes of being engaged to garden, sift
cinders, and clean boots for the new rector.

As it was settled that the children must leave the house, the next
thing to consider was where they were to be placed. The aunt could not
take them to Pentyre Glaze; that was not to be thought of. They must
be disposed of in some other way.

Mrs. Trevisa had determined on a sale of her brother's effects: his
furniture, bedding, curtains, carpets, books, plate, and old sermons.
She was anxious to realize as soon as possible, so as to know for
certain what she could calculate upon as being left her for the
support of Judith and her brother. To herself the rector had left only
a ring and five guineas. She had not expected more. His decease was
not likely to be a benefit, but, on the contrary, an embarrassment to
her. He had left about a thousand pounds, but then Mrs. Trevisa did
not yet know how large a bite out of this thousand pounds would be
taken by the dilapidations on rectory, glebe, and chancel. The chancel
of the church was in that condition that it afforded a wide margin for
the adjudication of dilapidations. They might be set down at ten
shillings or a thousand pounds, and no one could say which was the
fairest sum, as the chancel was deep in sand and invisible. The
imagination of the valuer might declare it to be sound or to be
rotten, and till dug out no one could impeach his judgment.

In those days, when an incumbent died, the widow and orphans of the
deceased appointed a valuer, and the incoming rector nominated his
valuer, and these two cormorants looked each other in the eyes--said
to each other, "Brother, what pickings?" And as less resistance to
being lacerated and cleaned to the bone was to be anticipated from
a broken-hearted widow and helpless children than from a robust,
red-faced rector, the cormorants contrived to rob the widow and the
fatherless. Then that cormorant who had been paid to look after the
interest of the widow and children and had not done it said to the
other cormorant, "Brother, I've done you a turn this time; do me the
like when the chance falls to you." Now, although nominally the money
picked off the sufferers was to go to the account of the incomer, it
was not allowed to pass till the cormorants had taken toll of it.
Moreover, these cormorants were architects, builders, solicitors, or
contractors of some sort, and looked to get something further out of
the incoming man they favored, whereas they knew they could get
nothing at all out of the departed man who was buried. Now we have
pretended to change all this; let us persuade ourselves we have made
the conduct of these matters more honest and just.

Aunt Dionysia did not know by experience what valuers for
dilapidations were, but she had always heard that valuation for
dilapidations materially diminished the property of a deceased
incumbent. She was consequently uneasy, and anxious to know the worst,
and make the best of the circumstances that she could. She saw clearly
enough that the sum that would remain when debts and valuation were
paid would be insufficient to support the orphans, and she saw also
with painful clearness that there would be a necessity for her to
supplement their reduced income from her own earnings. This conviction
did not sweeten her temper and increase the cordiality with which she
treated her nephew and niece.

"Now, hoity-toity!" said Aunt Dionysia; "I'm not one of your mewlers
and pewkers. I have my work to do, and can't afford to waste time in
the luxury of tears. You children shall come with me. I will see you
settled in, and then Balhachet shall wheel over your boxes and
whatever we want for the night. I have been away from my duties longer
than I ought, and the maids are running wild, are after every one who
comes near the place like horse-flies round the cattle on a sultry
day. I will see you to your quarters, and then you must shift for
yourselves. Balhachet can come and go between the rectory and Zachie
Menaida as much as you want."

"Are we going to Mr. Menaida's, aunt?" asked Judith.

"Did I not say Zachie Menaida! If I said Zachie Menaida I suppose I
meant what I said, or are you hard of hearing? Come--time to _me_ is
precious. Bustle--bustle--don't keep me waiting while you gape."

After a while Mrs. Trevisa succeeded in getting her nephew and niece
to start. Judith, indeed, was ready at the first suggestion to go with
her aunt, glad to get over the pang of leaving the house as quickly as
might be. It was to be the rupture of one thread of the tie that bound
her to the past, but an important thread. She was to leave the house
as a home, though she would return to it again and again to carry away
from it such of her possessions as she required and could find a place
for at Zachary Menaida's. But with Jamie it was otherwise. He had run
away, and had to be sought, and when found coaxed and cajoled into
following his aunt and sister.

Judith had found him, for she knew his nooks and dens. He was seated
in a laurel bush playing with the buttons.

"Look, Ju! there is some broken mirror among the buttons. Stand still,
and I will make the sun jump into your eyes. Open your mouth, and I
will send him down your throat. Won't it be fun; I'll tease old Dunes
with it."

"Then come along with me."

He obeyed.

The distance to Zachary Menaida's cottage was about a mile and a
quarter, partly through parish roads, partly through lanes, the way in
parts walled and hedged up against the winds, in others completely
exposed to every breath of air where it traversed a down.

Judith walked forward with her aunt, and Jamie lagged. Occasionally
his sister turned her head to reassure herself that he had not given
them the slip; otherwise she attended as closely as she was able to
the instructions and exhortations of her aunt. She and her brother
were to be lodged temporarily at Uncle Zachie's, that is to say, with
Mr. Menaida, an elderly, somewhat eccentric man, who occupied a double
cottage at the little hamlet of Polzeath. No final arrangement as to
the destination of the orphans could be made till Aunt Dunes knew the
result of the sale, and how much remained to the children after the
father's trifling debts had been paid, and the considerable slice had
been cut out of it by the valuers for dilapidations. Mrs. Trevisa
talked fast in her harsh tones, and in a loud voice, without
undulation or softness in it, and expected her niece to hear and give
account for everything she told her, goading her to attention with a
sharp reminder when she deemed that her mind was relaxed, and whipping
her thoughts together when she found them wandering. But, indeed, it
was not possible to forget for one moment the presence and personality
of Dionysia, though the subject of her discourse might be unnoticed.

Every fibre of Judith's heart was strung and strained to the
uttermost, to acutest feeling, and a sympathetic hand drawn across
them would have produced a soft, thrilling, musical wail. Her bosom
was so full to overflow that a single word of kindness, a look even
that told of love, would have sufficed to make the child cast herself
in a convulsion of grief into her aunt's arms, bury her face in her
bosom, and weep out her pent-up tears. Then, after perhaps half an
hour, she would have looked up through the rain into her aunt's face,
and have smiled, and have loved that aunt passionately,
self-sacrificingly, to her dying day. She was disposed to love
her--for was not Dionysia the only relative she had; and was she not
the very sister of that father who had been to her so much? But Mrs.
Trevisa was not the woman to touch the taught cords with a light hand,
or to speak or look in love. She was hard, angular, unsympathetic; and
her manner, the intonations of her voice, her mode of address, the
very movements of her body, acted on the strained nerves as a rasping
file, that would fret till it had torn them through.

Suddenly round a corner, where the narrow road turned, two hundred
yards ahead, dashed a rider on a black steed, and Judith immediately
recognized Coppinger on his famous mare Black Bess; a mare much talked
of, named after the horse ridden by Dick Turpin. The recognition was
mutual. He knew her instantly; with a jerk of the rein and a set of
the brow he showed that he was not indifferent.

Coppinger wore his slouched hat, tied under his chin and beard, a
necessary precaution in that gale-swept country; on his feet to his
knees were high boots. He wore a blue knitted jersey, and a red
kerchief about his throat.

Captain Cruel slightly slackened his pace, as the lane was narrow; and
as he rode past his dark brow was knit, and his eyes flashed angrily
at Judith. He deigned neither a glance nor a word to his housekeeper,
who courtesied and assumed a fawning expression.

When he had passed the two women he dug his spurs into Black Bess and
muttered some words they did not hear.

Judith, who had stood aside, now came forward into the midst of the
roadway and rejoined her aunt, who began to say something, when her
words and Judith's attention was arrested by shouts, oaths, and cries
in their rear.

Judith and her aunt turned to discover the occasion of this
disturbance, and saw that Coppinger was off his horse, on his feet,
dragging the brute by the rein, and was hurling his crop, or
hunting-whip, as he pursued Jamie flying from him with cries of
terror. But that he held the horse and could not keep up with the boy,
Jamie would have suffered severely, for Coppinger was in a livid fury.

Jamie flew to his sister.

"Save me, Ju! he wants to kill me."

"What have you done?"

"It is only the buttons."

"Buttons, dear?"

But the boy was too frightened to explain.

Then Judith drew her brother behind her, took from him the basket he
was carrying, and stepped to encounter the angry man, who came on, now
struggling with his horse, cursing Bess because she drew back, then
plunging forward with his whip above his head brandished menacingly,
and by this conduct further alarmed Black Bess.

Judith met Coppinger, and he was forced to stay his forward course.

"What has he done?" asked the girl. "Why do you threaten?"

"The cursed idiot has strewn bits of glass and buttons along the
road," answered the Captain, angrily. "Stand aside that I may lash
him, and teach him to frighten horses and endanger men's lives."

"I am sorry for what Jamie has done. I will pick up the things he has
thrown down."

Cruel Coppinger's eyes glistened with wrath. He gathered the lash of
his whip into his palm along with the handle, and gripped them
passionately.

"Curse the fool! My Bess was frightened, dashed up the bank, and all
but rolled over. Do you know he might have killed me?"

"You must excuse him; he is a very child."

"I will not excuse him. I will cut the flesh off his back if I catch
him."

He put the end of the crop handle into his mouth, and, putting his
right hand behind him, gathered the reins up shorter and wound them
more securely about his left hand.

Judith walked backward, facing him, and he turned with his horse and
went after her. She stooped and gathered up a splinter of glass. The
sun striking through the gaps in the hedge had flashed on these scraps
of broken mirror and of white bone, or burnished brass buttons, and
the horse had been frightened at them. As Judith stooped and took up
now a buckle, then a button, and then some other shining trifle, she
hardly for an instant withdrew her eyes from Coppinger; they had in
them the same dauntless defiance as when she encountered him on the
stairs of the rectory. But now it was she who retreated, step by step,
and he who advanced, and yet he could not flatter himself that he was
repelling her. She maintained her strength and mastery unbroken as she
retreated.

"Why do you look at me so? Why do you walk backward?"

"Because I mistrust you. I do not know what you might do were I not to
confront you."

"What I might do? What do you think I would do?"

"I cannot tell. I mistrust you."

"Do you think me capable of lashing at you with my crop?"

"I think you capable of anything."

"Flattering that!" he shouted, angrily.

"You would have lashed at Jamie."

"And why not? He might have killed me."

"He might have killed you, but you should not have touched him--not
have thought of touching him."

"Indeed! Why not?"

"Why not?" She raised herself upright and looked straight into his
eyes, in which fire flickered, flared, then decayed, then flared
again.

"You are no Dane, or you would not have asked 'Why not?' twice. Nay,
you would not have asked it once."

"Not a Dane?" His beard and mustache were quivering, and he snorted
with anger.

"A Dane, I have read in history, is too noble and brave to threaten
women and to strike children."

He uttered an oath and ground his teeth.

"No; a Dane would never have thought of asking why not?--why not lash
a poor little silly boy?"

"You insult me! You dare to do it?"

Her blood was surging in her heart. As she looked into this man's dark
and evil face she thought of all the distress he had caused her
father, and a wave of loathing swept over her, nerved her to defy him
to the uttermost, and to proclaim all the counts she had against him.

"I dare do it," she said, "because you made my own dear papa's life
full of bitterness and pain----"

"I! I never touched him, hardly spoke to him. I don't care to have to
do with parsons."

"You made his life one of sorrow through your godless, lawless ways,
leading his poor flock astray, and bidding them mock at his warnings
and despise his teachings. Almost with his last breath he spoke of
you, and the wretchedness of heart you had caused him. And then you
dared--yes--you dared--you dared to burst into our house where he lay
dead, with shameful insolence to disturb its peace. And now--" she
gasped, "and now, ah! you lie when you say you are a Dane, and talk of
cutting and lashing the dead father's little boy on his father's
burial day. You are but one thing I can name--a coward!"

Did he mean it? No! But blinded, stung to madness by her words,
especially that last, he raised his right arm with the crop.

Did she mean it? No! But in the instinct of self-preservation,
thinking he was about to strike her, she dashed the basket of buttons
in his face, and they flew right and left over him, against the head
of Black Bess, a rain of fragments of mirror, brass, steel,
mother-of-pearl, and bone.

The effect was instantaneous. The mare plunged, reared, threw
Coppinger backward from off his feet, dashed him to the ground,
dragged him this way, that way, bounded, still drawing him about by
the twisted reins, into the hedge, then back, with her hoofs upon him,
near, if not on, his head, his chest--then, released by the snap of
the rein, or through its becoming disengaged, Bess darted down the
lane, was again brought to a standstill by the glittering fragments on
the ground, turned, rushed back in the direction whence she had come,
and disappeared.

Judith stood panting, paralyzed with fear and dismay. Was he dead,
broken to pieces, pounded by those strong hoofs?

He was not dead. He was rolling himself on the ground, struggling
clumsily to his knees.

"Are you satisfied?" he shouted, glaring at her like a wild beast
through his tangled black hair that had fallen over his face. "I
cannot strike you nor your brother now. My arm and the Lord knows what
other bones are broken. You have done that--and I owe you something
for it."



CHAPTER VI.

UNCLE ZACHIE.


The astonishment, the consternation of Mrs. Trevisa at what had
occurred, which she could not fully comprehend, took from her the
power to speak. She had seen her niece in conversation with Cruel
Coppinger, and had caught snatches of what had passed between them.
All his words had reached her, and some of Judith's. When, suddenly,
she saw the girl dash the basket of buttons in the face of the
Captain, saw him thrown to the ground, drawn about by his frantic
horse, and left, as she thought, half dead, her dismay was unbounded.
It might have been that Coppinger threatened Judith with his whip, but
nothing could excuse her temerity in resisting him, in resisting him
and protecting herself in the way she did. The consequences of that
resistance she could not measure. Coppinger was bruised, bones were
broken, and Aunt Dionysia knew the nature of the man too well not to
expect his deadly animosity, and to feel sure of implacable revenge
against the girl who had injured him--a revenge that would envelop all
who belonged to her, and would therefore strike herself.

The elderly spinster had naturally plenty of strength and hardness
that would bear her through most shocks without discomposure, but such
an incident as that which had just taken place before her eyes
entirely unnerved and dismayed her.

Coppinger was conveyed home by men called to the spot, and Mrs.
Trevisa walked on with her niece and nephew in silence to the house of
Mr. Zachary Menaida. Jamie had escaped over the hedge, to put a
stone-and-earth barrier between himself and his assailant directly
Judith interposed between him and Coppinger. Now that the latter was
gone, he came, laughing, over the hedge again. To him what had
occurred was fun.

At Menaida's the aunt departed, leaving her nephew and niece with the
old man, that she might hurry to Pentyre Glaze and provide what was
needed for Coppinger. She took no leave of Judith. In the haze of
apprehension that enveloped her mind glowed anger against the girl for
having increased her difficulties and jeopardized her position with
Coppinger.

Mr. Zachary Menaida was an old man, or rather a man who had passed
middle age, with grizzled hair that stood up above his brow,
projecting like the beak of a ship or the horn of an unicorn. He had a
big nose inclined to redness, and kindly, watery eyes, was close
shaven, and had lips that, whenever he was in perplexity, or worried
with work or thought, he thrust forward and curled. He was a
middle-statured man, inclined to stoop.

Uncle Zachie, as he was commonly called behind his back, was a
gentleman by birth. In the Roman Catholic Church there is a religious
order called that of Minims. In England we have, perhaps, the most
widely-diffused of orders, not confined to religion--it is that of
Crotchets. To this order Mr. Menaida certainly belonged. He was made
up of hobbies and prejudices that might bore, but never hurt others.

Probably the most difficult achievement one can conceive for a man to
execute is to stand in his own light; yet Mr. Menaida had succeeded in
doing this all through his life. In the first place, he had been bred
up for the law, but had never applied himself to the duties of the
profession to which he had been articled. As he had manifested as a
boy a love of music, his mother and sister had endeavored to make him
learn to play on an instrument; but, because so urged, he had refused
to qualify himself to play on pianoforte, violin, or flute, till his
fingers had stiffened, whereupon he set to work zealously to practise,
when it was no longer possible for him to acquire even tolerable
proficiency.

As he had been set by his father to work on skins of parchment, he
turned his mind to skins of another sort, and became an eager
naturalist and taxidermist.

That he had genius, or rather a few scattered sparks of talent in his
muddled brain, was certain. Every one who knew him said he was clever,
but pitied his inability to turn his cleverness to purpose. But one
must take into consideration, before accepting the general verdict
that he was clever, the intellectual abilities of those who formed
this judgment. When we do this, we doubt much whether their opinion is
worth much. Mr. Menaida was not clever. He had flashes of wit, no
steady light of understanding. Above all, he had no application, a
little of which might have made him a useful member of society.

When his articleship was over he set up as a solicitor, but what
business was offered him he neglected or mismanaged, till business
ceased to be offered. He would have starved had not a small annuity of
fifty pounds been left him to keep the wolf from the door, and that he
was able to supplement this small income with money made by the sale
of his stuffed specimens of sea-fowl. Taxidermy was the only art in
which he was able to do anything profitable. He loved to observe the
birds, to wander on the cliffs listening to their cries, watching
their flight, their positions when at rest, the undulations in their
feathers under the movement of the muscles as they turned their heads
or raised their feet; and when he set himself to stuff the skins he
was able to imitate the postures and appearance of living birds with
rare fidelity. Consequently his specimens were in request, and
ornithologists and country gentlemen whose game-keepers had shot rare
birds desired to have the skins dealt with, and set in cases, by the
dexterous fingers of Mr. Zachary Menaida. He might have done more work
of the same kind, but that his ingrained inactivity and distaste for
work limited his output. In certain cases Mr. Menaida would not do
what was desired of him till coaxed and flattered, and then he did it
grumblingly and with sighs at being subjected to killing toil.

Mr. Menaida was a widower; his married life had not been long; he had
been left with a son, now grown to manhood, who was no longer at home.
He was abroad, in Portugal, in the service of a Bristol merchant, an
importer of wines.

As already said, Uncle Zachie did not begin the drudgery of music till
it was too late for him to acquire skill on any instrument. His
passion for music grew with his inability to give himself pleasure
from it. He occupied a double cottage at Polzeath, and a hole knocked
through the wall that had separated the lower rooms enabled him to
keep his piano in one room and his bird-stuffing apparatus in the
other, and to run from one to the other in his favorite desultory way,
that never permitted him to stick to one thing at a time.

Into this house Judith and her brother were introduced. Mr. Menaida
had been attached to the late rector, the only other gentleman in
culture, as in birth, that lived in the place, and when he was told by
Miss--or, as she was usually called, Mrs.--Trevisa that the children
must leave the parsonage and be put temporarily with some one
suitable, and that no other suitable house was available, he consented
without making much objection to receive them into his cottage. He was
a kindly man, gentle at heart, and he was touched at the bereavement
of the children whom he had known since they were infants.

After the first salutation Mr. Menaida led Judith and the boy into his
parlor, the room opening out of his workshop.

"Look here," said he, "what is that?" He pointed to his piano.

"A piano, sir," answered Judith.

"Yes--and mind you, I hate strumming, though I love music. When I am
in, engaged at my labors, no strumming. I come in here now and then as
relaxation, and run over this and that; then, refreshed, go back to my
work, but, if there is any strumming, I shall be put out. I shall run
my knife or needle into my hand, and it will upset me for the day. You
understand--no strumming. When I am out, then you may touch the keys,
but only when I am out. You understand clearly? Say the words after
me: 'I allow no strumming.'"

Judith did as required. The same was exacted of Jamie. Then Mr.
Menaida said--

"Very well; now we shall have a dish of tea. I daresay you are tired.
Dear me, you look so. Goodness bless me! indeed you do. What has tired
you has been the trial you have gone through. Poor things, poor
things! There, go to your rooms; my maid, Jump, will show you where
they are, and I will see about making tea. It will do you good. You
want it. I see it."

The kind-hearted man ran about.

"Bless my soul! where have I put the key of the caddy? And--really--my
fingers are all over arsenical soap. I think I will leave Jump to make
the tea. Jump, have you seen where I put the key? Bless my soul!
where did I have it last? Never mind; I will break open the caddy."

"Please, Mr. Menaida, do not do that for us. We can very well wait
till the key is found."

"Oh! I don't know when that will be. I shall have forgotten about it
if I do not find the key at once, or break open the caddy. But, if you
prefer it, I have some cherry-brandy, or I would give you some
milk-punch."

"No--no, indeed, Mr. Menaida."

"But Jamie--I am sure he looks tired. A little cherry-brandy to draw
the threads in him together. And suffer me, though not a doctor, to
recommend it to you. Bless my soul! my fingers are all over arsenical
soap. If I don't have some cherry-brandy myself I shall have the
arsenic get into my system. I hope you have no cuts or scratches on
your hand. I forgot the arsenic when I shook hands with you. Now, look
here, Jump, bring in the saffron cake, and I will cut them each a good
hunch. It will do you good, on my word it will. I have not spared
either figs or saffron, and then--I will help you, as I love you. Come
and see my birds. That is a cormorant--a splendid fellow--looks as if
run out of metal, all his plumage, you know, and in the attitude as if
swallowing a fish. Do you see!--the morsel is going down his throat.
And--how much luggage have you? Jump! show the young lady where she
can put away her gowns and all that sort of thing. Oh, not come yet?
All right--a lady and her dresses are not long parted. They will be
here soon. Now, then. What will you have?--some cold beef--and cider?
Upon my soul!--you must excuse me. I was just wiring that kittiwake.
Excuse me--I shall be ready in a moment. In the meantime there are
books--Rollin's 'Ancient History,' a very reliable book. No--upon my
word, my mind is distracted. I cannot get that kittiwake right without
a glass of port. I have some good port. Oliver guarantees it--from
Portugal, you know. He is there--first-rate business, and will make
his fortune, which is more than his father ever did."

Mr. Menaida went to a closet, and produced a bottle.

"Come here, Jamie. I know what is good for you."

"No--please, Mr. Menaida, do not. He has not been accustomed to
anything of the sort. Please not, sir."

"Fudge!" said Uncle Zachie, holding up a glass and pouring
cherry-brandy into it. "What is your age?--seventeen or eighteen, and
I am fifty-two. I have over thirty years' more experience of the world
than you. Jamie, don't be tied to your sister's apron-string. I know
what is best for you. Girls drink water, men something better. Come
here, Jamie!"

"No, sir--I beseech you."

"Bless my soul! I know what is good for him. Come to me, Jamie. Look
the other way, Judith, if I cannot persuade you."

Judith sighed, and covered her face with her hands. There was to be no
help, no support in Uncle Zachie. On the contrary, he would break down
her power over Jamie.

"Jamie," she said, "if you love me, go up-stairs."

"Presently, Ju. I want that first." And he took it, ran to his sister,
and said:

"It is good, Ju!"

"You have disobeyed me, Jamie--that is bad."

She stood on the threshold of further trouble, and she knew it.



CHAPTER VII.

A VISIT.


No sleep visited Judith's eyes that night till the first streaks of
dawn appeared, though she was weary, and her frail body and
over-exerted brain needed the refreshment of sleep. But sleep she
could not, for cares were gathering upon her.

She had often heard her father, when speaking of Mr. Menaida, lament
that he was not a little more self-controlled in his drinking. It was
not that the old fellow ever became inebriated, but that he hankered
after the bottle, and was wont to take a nip continually to strengthen
his nerves, steady his hand, or clear his brain. There was ever ready
some excuse satisfactory to his own conscience; and it was due to
these incessant applications to the bottle that his hand shook, his
eyes became watery, and his nose red. It was a danger Judith must
guard against, lest this trick should be picked up by the childish
Jamie, always apt to imitate what he should not, and acquire habits
easily gained, hardly broken, that were harmful to himself. Uncle
Zachie, in his good-nature, would lead the boy after him into the same
habits that marred his own life.

This was one thought that worked like a mole all night in Judith's
brain; but she had other troubles as well to keep her awake. She was
alarmed at the consequences of her conduct in the lane. She wondered
whether Coppinger were more seriously hurt than had at first appeared.
She asked herself whether she had not acted wrongly when she acted
inconsiderately, whether in her precipitation to protect herself she
had not misjudged Coppinger, whether, if he had attempted to strike
her, it would not have been a lesser evil to receive the blow, than to
ward it off in such a manner as to break his bones. Knowing by report
the character of the man, she feared that she had incurred his deadly
animosity. He could not, that she could see, hurt herself in the
execution of his resentment, but he might turn her aunt out of his
house. That she had affronted her aunt she was aware; Mrs. Trevisa's
manner in parting with her had shown that with sufficient plainness.

A strange jumble of sounds on the piano startled Judith. Her first
thought and fear were that her brother had gone to the instrument, and
was amusing himself on the keys. But on listening attentively she was
aware that there was sufficient sequence in the notes to make it
certain that the performer was a musician, though lacking in facility
of execution. She descended the stairs and entered the little
sitting-room. Uncle Zachie was seated on the music-stool, and was
endeavoring to play a sonata of Beethoven that was vastly beyond the
capacity of his stiff-jointed fingers. Whenever he made a false note
he uttered a little grunt and screwed up his eyes, endeavored to play
the bar again, and perhaps accomplish it only to break down in the
next.

Judith did not venture to interrupt him. She took up some knitting,
and seated herself near the piano, where he might see her without her
disturbing him. He raised his brows, grunted, floundered into false
harmony, and exclaimed, "Bless me! how badly they do print music
nowadays. Who, without the miraculous powers of a prophet, could tell
that B should be natural?" Then, turning his head over his shoulder,
addressed Judith, "Good-morning, missie. Are you fond of music?"

"Yes, sir, very."

"So you think. Everyone says he or she is fond of music, because that
person can hammer out a psalm tune or play the 'Rogue's March.' I hate
to hear those who call themselves musical strum on a piano. They can't
feel, they only execute."

"But they can play their notes correctly," said Judith, and then
flushed with vexation at having made this pointed and cutting remark.
But it did not cause Mr. Menaida to wince.

"What of that? I give not a thank-you for mere literal music-reading.
Call Jump, set 'Shakespeare' before her, and she will hammer out a
scene--correctly as to words; but where is the sense? Where the life?
You must play with the spirit and play with the understanding also,
as you must read with the spirit and read with the understanding also.
It is the same thing with bird-stuffing. Any fool can ram tow into a
skin and thrust wires into the neck, but what is the result? You must
stuff birds with the spirit and stuff with the understanding also--or
it is naught."

"I suppose it is the same with everything one does--one must do it
heartily and intelligently."

"Exactly! Now you should see my boy, Oliver. Have you ever met him?"

"I think I have; but, to be truthful, I do not recollect him, sir."

"I will bring you his likeness--in miniature. It is in the next room."
Up jumped Mr. Menaida, and ran through the opening in the wall, and
returned in another moment with the portrait, and gave it into
Judith's hands.

"A fine fellow is Oliver! Look at his nose how straight it is. Not
like mine--that is a pump-handle. He got his good looks from his
mother, not from me. Ah!" He reseated himself at the piano, and
ran--incorrectly--over a scale. "It is all the pleasure I have in
life, to think of my boy, and to look at his picture, and read his
letters, and drink the port he sends me--first-rate stuff. He writes
admirable letters, and never a month passes but I receive one. It
would come expensive if he wrote direct, so his letter is enclosed in
the business papers sent to the house at Bristol, and they forward it
to me. You shall read his last--out loud. It will give me a pleasure
to hear it read by you."

"If I read properly, Mr. Menaida--with the spirit and with the
understanding."

"Exactly! But you could not fail to do that looking at the cheerful
face in the miniature, and reading his words--pleasant and bright as
himself. Pity you have not seen him; well, that makes something to
live for. He has dark hair and blue eyes--not often met together, and
when associated, very refreshing. Wait! I'll go after the letter:
only, bless my soul! where is it? What coat did I have on when I read
it? I'll call Jump. She may remember. Wait! do you recall this?"

He stumbled over something on the keys which might have been anything.

"It is Haydn. I will tell you what I think: Mozart I delight in as a
companion; Beethoven I revere as a master; but Haydn I love as a
friend. You were about to say something?"

Judith had set an elbow on the piano and put her hand to her head, her
fingers through the hair, and was looking into Uncle Zachie's face
with an earnestness he could not mistake. She did desire to say
something to him; but if she waited till he gave her an opportunity
she might wait a long time. He jumped from one subject to another with
alacrity, and with rapid forgetfulness of what he was last speaking
about.

"Oh, sir, I am so very, very grateful to you for having received us
into your snug little house----"

"You like it? Well, I only pay seven pounds for it. Cheap, is it not?
Two cottages--laborers' cottages--thrown together. Well, I might go
farther and fare worse."

"And, Mr. Menaida, I venture to ask you another favor, which, if you
will grant me, you will lay me under an eternal obligation."

"You may command me, my dear."

"It is only this: not to let Jamie have anything stronger than a glass
of cider. I do not mind his having that; but a boy like him does not
need what is, no doubt, wanted by you who are getting old. I am so
afraid of the habit growing on him of looking for and liking what is
too strong for him. He is such a child, so easily led, and so unable
to control himself. It may be a fancy, a prejudice of mine"--she
passed her nervous hand over her face--"I do hope I am not offending
you, dear Mr. Menaida; but I know Jamie so well, and I know how
carefully he must be watched and checked. If it be a silly fancy of
mine--and perhaps it is only a silly fancy--yet," she put on a
pleading tone, "you will humor me in this, will you not, Mr. Menaida?"

"Bless my soul! you have only to express a wish and I will fulfil it.
For myself, you must know, I am a little weak; I feel a chill when the
wind turns north or east, and am always relaxed when it is in the
south or west; that forces me to take something just to save me from
serious inconvenience, you understand."

"Oh quite, sir."

"And then--confound it!--I am goaded on to work when disinclined. Why,
there's a letter come to me now from Plymouth--a naturalist there,
asking for more birds; and what can I do? I slave, I am at it all day,
half the night; I have no time to eat or sleep. I was not born to
stuff birds. I take it as an amusement, a pastime, and it is converted
into a toil. I must brace up my exhausted frame; it is necessary to my
health, you understand!"

"Oh, yes, Mr. Menaida. And you really will humor my childish whim?"

"Certainly, you may rely on me."

"That is one thing I wanted to say. You see, sir, we have but just
come into your house, and already, last night, Jamie was tempted to
disobey me, and take what I thought unadvisable, so--I have been
turning it over and over in my head--I thought I would like to come to
a clear understanding with you, Mr. Menaida. It seems ungracious in
me, but you must pity me. I have now all responsibility for Jamie on
my head, and I have to do what my conscience tells me I should do;
only, I pray you, do not take offence at what I have said."

"Fudge! my dear; you are right, I dare say."

"And now that I have your promise--I have that, have I not?"

"Yes, certainly."

"Now I want your opinion, if you will kindly give it me. I have no
father, no mother, to go to for advice; and so I venture to appeal to
you--it is about Captain Coppinger."

"Captain Coppinger!" repeated Uncle Zachie, screwing up his brows and
mouth. "Umph! He is a bold man who can give help against Captain
Coppinger, and a strong man as well as bold. How has he wronged you?"

"Oh! he has not wronged me. It is I who have hurt him."

"You--you!" Uncle Zachie laughed. "A little creature such as you could
not hurt Captain Cruel!"

"But, indeed, I have; I have thrown him down and broken his arms and
some of his bones."

"You--you?" Uncle Zachie's face of astonishment and dismay was so
comical that Judith, in spite of her anxiety and exhaustion, smiled;
but the smile was without brightness.

"And pray, how in the name of wonder did you do that? Upon my word,
you will deserve the thanks of the Preventive men. They have no love
for him; they have old scores they would gladly wipe off with a broken
arm, or, better still, a cracked skull. And pray how did you do this?
With the flour-roller?"

"No, sir, I will tell you the whole story."

Then, in its true sequence, with great clearness, she related the
entire narrative of events. She told how her father, even with his
last breath, had spoken of Coppinger as the man who had troubled his
life by marring his work; how that the Captain had entered the
parsonage without ceremony when her dear father was lying dead
up-stairs, and how he had called there boisterously for Aunt Dionysia
because he wanted something of her. She told the old man how that her
own feelings had been wrought, by this affront, into anger against
Coppinger. Then she related the incident in the lane, and how that,
when he raised his arm against her, she had dashed the buttons into
his face, frightened his horse, and so produced an accident that might
have cost the Captain his life.

"Bless my soul!" exclaimed Mr. Menaida, "and what do you want? Is it
an assault? I will run to my law-books and find out; I don't know that
it can quite be made out a case of misadventure."

"It is not that, sir."

"Then what do you want?"

"I have been racking my head to think what I ought to do under the
circumstances. There can be no doubt that I aggravated him. I was very
angry, both because he had been a trouble to my darling papa, and then
because he had been so insolent as to enter our house and shout for
Aunt Dunes; but there was something more--he had tried to beat Jamie,
and it was my father's day of burial. All that roused a bad spirit in
me, and I did say very bad words to him--words a man of metal would
not bear from even a child, and I suppose I really did lash him to
madness, and he would have struck me--but perhaps not, he might have
thought better of it. I provoked him, and then I brought about what
happened. I have been considering what I ought to do. If I remain here
and take no notice, then he will think me very unfeeling, and that I
do not care that I have hurt him in mind and body. It came into my
head last night that I would ask aunt to apologize to him for what I
had done, or, better still, should aunt not come here to-day, which is
very likely, that I might walk with Jamie to Pentyre and inquire how
Captain Coppinger is, and send in word by my aunt that I am
sorry--very sorry."

"Upon my soul, I don't know what to say. I could not have done this to
Coppinger myself for a good deal of money. I think if I had, I would
get out of the place as quickly as possible, while he was crippled by
his broken bones. But then, you are a girl, and he may take it better
from you than from me. Well--yes; I think it would be advisable to
allay his anger if you can. Upon my word, you have put yourself into a
difficult position. I'll go and look at my law-books, just for my own
satisfaction."

A heavy blow on the door, and without waiting for a response and
invitation to enter, it was thrown open, and there entered Cruel
Coppinger, his arm bandaged, tied in splints, and bound to his body,
with his heavy walking-stick brandished by the uninjured hand. He
stood for a moment glowering in, searching the room with his keen eyes
till they rested on Judith. Then he made an attempt to raise his hand
to his head, but ineffectually.

"Curse it!" said he, "I cannot do it; don't tear it off my head with
your eyes, girl. Here, you Menaida, come here and take my hat off.
Come instantly, or she--she will do--the devil knows what she will not
do to me."

He turned, and with his stick beat the door back, that it slammed
behind him.



CHAPTER VIII.

A PATCHED PEACE.


"Look at her!" cried Coppinger, with his back against the house door,
and pointing to Judith with his stick.

She was standing near the piano, with one hand on it, and was half
turned toward him. She was in black, but had a white kerchief about
her neck. The absence of all color in her dress heightened the lustre
of her abundant and glowing hair.

Coppinger remained for a moment, pointing with a half sneer on his
dark face. Mr. Menaida had nervously complied with his demand, and had
removed the hat from the smuggler, and his dark hair fell about his
face. That face was livid and pale; he had evidently suffered much,
and now every movement was attended with pain. Not only had some of
his bones been broken, but he was bruised and strained.

"Look at her!" he shouted again, in his deep commanding tones, and he
fixed his fierce eyes on her and knitted his brows. She remained
immovable, awaiting what he had to say. Though there was a flutter in
her bosom, her hand on the piano did not shake.

"I am very sorry, Captain Coppinger," said Judith, in a low, sweet
voice, in which there was but a slight tremulousness. "I profess that
I believe I acted wrongly yesterday, and I repeat that I am
sorry--very sorry, Captain Coppinger."

He made no reply. He lowered the stick that had been pointed at her,
and leaned on it. His hand shook because he was in pain.

"I acted wrongly yesterday," continued Judith, "but I acted under
provocation that, if it does not justify what I did, palliates the
wrong. I can say no more--that is the exact truth."

"Is that all?"

"I am sorry for what was wrong in my conduct--frankly sorry that you
are hurt."

"You hear her?" laughed Coppinger, bitterly. "A little chit like that
to speak to me thus"--then, turning sharply on her, "Are you not
afraid?"

"No, I am not afraid; why should I be?"

"Why? Ask any one in S. Enodoc--any one in Cornwall--who has heard my
name."

"I beg your pardon. I do not want to ask any one else in S. Enodoc,
any one else in Cornwall. I ask you."

"Me? You ask me why you should be afraid of me?" He paused, drew his
thick brows together till they formed a band across his forehead. "I
tell you that none has ever wronged me by a blade of grass or a flock
of wool but has paid for it a thousand-fold. And none has ever hurt me
as you have done--none has ever dared to attempt it."

"I have said that I am sorry."

"You talk like one cold as a mermaid. I do not believe in your
fearlessness. Why do you lean on the piano. There, touch the wires
with the very tips of your fingers, and let me hear if they give a
sound--and sound they will if you tremble."

Judith exposed some of the wires by raising the top of the piano. Then
she smiled, and stood with the tips of her delicate fingers just
touching the chords. Coppinger listened, so did Uncle Zachie, and not
a vibration could they detect.

Presently she withdrew her hand, and said, "Is not that enough? When a
girl says, 'I am sorry,' I supposed the chapter was done and the book
closed."

"You have strange ideas."

"I have those in which I was brought up by the best of fathers."

Coppinger thrust his stick along the floor.

"Is it due to the ideas in which you have been brought up that you are
not afraid--when you have reduced me to a wreck?"

"And you?--are you afraid of the wreck that you have made?"

The dark blood sprang into and suffused his whole face. Uncle Zachie
drew back against the wall and made signs to Judith not to provoke
their self-invited visitor; but she was looking steadily at the
Captain, and did not observe the signals. In Coppinger's presence she
felt nerved to stand on the defensive, and more, to attack. A threat
in his whole bearing, in his manner of addressing her, roused every
energy she possessed.

"I tell you," said he, harshly, "if any man had used the word you
threw at me yesterday, I would have murdered him; I would have split
his skull with the handle of my crop."

"You raised your hand to do it to me," said Judith.

"No!" he exclaimed, violently. "It is false; come here, and let me see
if you have the courage, the fearlessness you affect. You women are
past-masters of dissembling. Come here; kneel before me and let me
raise my stick over you. See; there is lead in the handle, and with
one blow I can split your skull and dash the brains over the floor."

Judith remained immovable.

"I thought it--you are afraid."

She shook her head.

He let himself, with some pain, slowly into a chair.

"You are afraid. You know what to expect. Ah! I could fell you and
trample on you and break your bones, as I was cast down, trampled on,
and broken in my bones yesterday--by you, or through you. Are you
afraid?"

She took a step toward him. Then Uncle Zachie waved her back, in great
alarm. He caught Judith's attention, and she answered him, "I am not
afraid. I gave him a word I should not have given him yesterday. I
will show him that I retract it fully." Then she stepped up to
Coppinger and sank on her knees before him. He raised his whip, with
the loaded handle, brandishing it over her.

"Now I am here," she said, "I again ask your forgiveness, but I
protest an apology is due to me."

He threw his stick away. "By heaven, it is!" Then in an altered tone,
"Take it so, that I ask your forgiveness. Get up; do not kneel to me.
I could not have struck you down had I willed, my arm is stiff.
Perhaps you knew it."

He rose with effort to his feet again. Judith drew back to her former
position by the piano, two hectic spots of flame were in her cheek,
and her eyes were preternaturally bright.

Coppinger looked steadily at her for a while, then he said, "Are you
ill? You look as if you were."

"I have had much to go through of late."

"True."

He remained looking at her, brooding over something in his mind. She
perplexed him; he wondered at her. He could not comprehend the spirit
that was in her, that sustained a delicate little frame, and made her
defy him.

His eyes wandered round the room, and he signed to Uncle Zachie to
give him his stick again.

"What is that?" said he, pointing to the miniature on the stand for
music, where Mr. Menaida had put it, over a sheet of the music he had
been playing, or attempting to play.

"It is my son, Oliver," said Uncle Zachie.

"Why is it there? Has she been looking at it? Let me see it."

Mr. Menaida hesitated, but presently handed it to the redoubted
Captain, with nervous twitches in his face. "I value it highly--my
only child."

Coppinger looked at it, with a curl of his lips; then handed it back
to Mr. Menaida.

"Why is it here?"

"I brought it here to show it her. I am very proud of my son," said
Uncle Zachie.

Coppinger was in an irritable mood, captious about trifles. Why did he
ask questions about this little picture? Why look suspiciously at
Judith as he did so--suspiciously and threateningly?

"Do you play on the piano?" asked Coppinger. "When the evil spirit was
on Saul, David struck the harp and sent the spirit away. Let me hear
how you can touch the notes. It may do me good. Heaven knows it is not
often I have the leisure, or the occasion, or am in the humor for
music. I would hear what you can do."

Judith looked at Uncle Zachie.

"I cannot play," she said; "that is to say, I can play, but not now,
and on this piano."

But Mr. Menaida interfered and urged her to play. He was afraid of
Coppinger.

She seated herself on the music-stool and considered for a moment. The
miniature was again on the stand. Coppinger put out his stick and
thrust it off, and it would have fallen had not Judith caught it. She
gave it to Mr. Menaida, who hastily carried it into the adjoining
room, where the sight of it might no longer irritate the Captain.

"What shall I play? I mean, strum?" asked Judith, looking at Uncle
Zachie. "Beethoven! No--Haydn. Here are his 'Seasons.' I can play
'Spring.'"

She had a light, but firm touch. Her father had been a man of great
musical taste, and he had instructed her. But she had, moreover, the
musical faculty in her, and she played with the spirit and with the
understanding also. Wondrous is the power of music, passing that of
fabled necromancy. It takes a man up out of his most sordid
surroundings, and sets him in heavenly places. It touches fibres of
the inner nature, lost, forgotten, ignored, and makes them thrill with
a new life. It seals the eyes to outward sights, and unfurls new
vistas full of transcendental beauty; it breathes over hot wounds and
heals them; it calls to the surface springs of pure delight, and bids
them gush forth in an arid desert.

It was so now, as, under the sympathetic fingers of Judith, Haydn's
song of the "Spring" was sung. A May world arose in that little dingy
room; the walls fell back and disclosed green woods thick with red
robin and bursting bluebells, fields golden with buttercups, hawthorns
clothed in flower, from which sang the blackbird, thrush, the finch,
and the ouzel. The low ceiling rose and overarched as the speed-well
blue vault of heaven, the close atmosphere was dispelled by a waft of
crisp, pure air; shepherds piped, Boy Blue blew his horn, and
milkmaids rattled their pails and danced a ballet on the turf; and
over all, down into every corner of the soul, streamed the glorious,
golden sun, filling the heart with gladness.

Uncle Zachie had been standing at the door leading into his workshop,
hesitating whether to remain, with a pish! and a pshaw! or to fly away
beyond hearing. But he was arrested, then drawn lightly, irresistibly,
step by step, toward the piano, and he noiselessly sank upon a chair,
with his eyes fixed on Judith's fingers as they danced over the keys.
His features assumed a more refined character as he listened; the
water rose into his eyes, his lips quivered, and when, before reaching
the end of the piece, Judith faltered and stopped, he laid his hand on
her wrist and said: "My dear--you play, you do not strum. Play when
you will--never can it be too long, too much for me. It may steady my
hand, it may dispel the chill and the damp better than--but never
mind--never mind."

Why had Judith failed to accomplish the piece? Whilst engaged on the
notes she had felt that the searching, beaming eyes of the smuggler
were on her, fixed with fierce intensity. She could meet them, looking
straight at him, without shrinking, and without confusion, but to be
searched by them whilst off her guard, her attention engaged on her
music, was what she could not endure.

Coppinger made no remark on what he had heard, but his face gave token
that the music had not swept across him without stirring and softening
his hard nature.

"How long is she to be here with you?" he asked, turning to Uncle
Zachie.

"Captain, I cannot tell. She and her brother had to leave the rectory.
They could not remain in that house alone. Mrs. Trevisa asked me to
lodge them here, and I consented. I knew their father."

"She did not ask me. I would have taken them in."

"Perhaps she was diffident of doing that," said Uncle Zachie. "But
really, on my word, it is no inconvenience to me. I have room in this
house, and my maid, Jump, has not enough to do to attend on me."

"When you are tired of them send them to me."

"I am not likely to be tired of Judith, now that I have heard her
play."

"Judith--is that her name?"

"Yes--Judith."

"Judith!" he repeated, and thrust his stick along the floor,
meditatively. "Judith!" Then, after a pause, with his eyes on the
ground, "Why did not your aunt speak to me! Why does she not love
you?--she does not, I know. Why did she not go to see you when your
father was alive! Why did you not come to the Glaze?"

"My dear papa did not wish me to go to your house," said Judith,
answering one of his many questions, the last, and perhaps the easiest
to reply to.

"Why not?" he glanced up at her, then down on the floor again.

"Papa was not very pleased with Aunt Dunes--it was no fault on either
side, only a misunderstanding," said Judith.

"Why did he not let you come to my house to salute your aunt?"

Judith hesitated. He again looked up at her searchingly.

"If you really must know the truth, Captain Coppinger, papa thought
your house was hardly one to which to send two children--it was said
to harbor such wild folk."

"And he did not know how fiercely and successfully you could defend
yourself against wild folk," said Coppinger, with a harsh laugh. "It
is we wild men that must fear you, for you dash us about and bruise
and break us when displeased with our ways. We are not so bad at the
Glaze as we are painted, not by a half--here is my hand on it."

Judith was still seated on the music-stool, her hands resting in her
lap. Coppinger came toward her, walking stiffly, and extending his
palm.

She looked down in her lap. What did this fierce, strange man, mean?

"Will you give me your hand?" he asked. "Is there peace between us?"

She was doubtful what to say. He remained, awaiting her answer.

"I really do not know what reply to make," she said, after awhile. "Of
course, so far as I'm concerned, it is peace. I have myself no quarrel
with you, and you are good enough to say that you forgive me."

"Then why not peace?"

Again she let him wait before answering. She was uneasy and unhappy.
She wanted neither his goodwill nor his hostility.

"In all that affects me, I bear you no ill-will," she said, in a low,
tremulous voice; "but in that you were a grief to my dear, dear
father, discouraging his heart, I cannot be forgetful, and so full of
charity as to blot it out as though it had not been."

"Then let it be a patched peace--a peace with evasions and
reservations. Better that than none. Give me your hand."

"On that understanding," said Judith, and laid her hand in his. His
iron fingers closed round it, and he drew her up from the stool on
which she sat, drew her forward near the window, and thrust her in
front of him. Then he raised her hand, held it by the wrist, and
looked at it.

"It is very small, very weak," he said, musingly.

Then there rushed over her mind the recollection of her last
conversation with her father. He, too, had taken and looked at her
hand, and had made the same remark.

Coppinger lowered her hand and his, and, looking at her, said:

"You are very wonderful to me."

"I--why so?"

He did not answer, but let go his hold of her, and turned away to the
door.

Judith saw that he was leaving, and she hastened to bring him his
stick, and she opened the door for him.

"I thank you," he said, turned, pointed his stick at her, and added,
"It is peace--though a patched one."



CHAPTER IX.

C. C.


Days ensued, not of rest to body, but of relaxation to mind. Judith's
overstrained nerves had now given them a period of numbness, a sleep
of sensibility with occasional turnings and wakenings, in which they
recovered their strength. She and Jamie were settled into their rooms
at Mr. Menaida's, and the hours were spent in going to and from the
rectory removing their little treasures to the new home--if a
temporary place of lodging could be called a home--and in arranging
them there.

There were a good many farewells to be taken, and Judith marvelled
sometimes at the insensibility with which she said them--farewells to
a thousand nooks and corners of the house and garden, the shrubbery,
and the glebe farm, all endeared by happy recollections, now having
their brightness dashed with rain.

To Judith this was a first revelation of the mutability of things on
earth. Hitherto, as a child, with a child's eyes and a child's
confidence, she had regarded the rectory, the glebe, the contents of
the house, the flowers in the garden, as belonging inalienably to her
father and brother and herself. They belonged to them together. There
was nothing that was her father's that did not belong to Jamie and to
her, nothing of her brother's or her own that was not likewise the
property of papa. There was no mine or thine in that little family of
love--save only a few birthday presents given from one to the other,
and these only special property by a playful concession. But now the
dear father was gone, and every right seemed to dissolve. From the
moment that he leaned back against the brick, lichen-stained wall, and
sighed--and was dead, house and land had been snatched from them. And
though the contents of the rectory, the books, and the furniture, and
the china belonged to them, it was but for a little while; these
things must be parted with also, turned into silver.

Not because the money was needed, but because Judith had no settled
home, and no prospect of one. Therefore she must not encumber herself
with many belongings. For a little while she would lodge with Mr.
Menaida, but she could not live there forever; she must remove
elsewhere, and she must consider, in the first place, that there was
not room in Uncle Zachie's cottage for accumulations of furniture, and
that, in the next place, she would probably have to part with them on
her next remove, even if she did retain them for a while.

If these things were to be parted with, it would be advisable to part
with them at once. But to this determination Judith could not bring
herself at first. Though she had put aside, to be kept, things too
sacred to her, too much part of her past life, to be allowed to go
into the sale, after a few days she relinquished even these. Those six
delightful old colored prints, in frames, of a fox-hunt--how Jamie had
laughed at them, and followed the incidents in them, and never wearied
of them--must they go--perhaps for a song? It must be so. That
work-table of her mother's, of dark rosewood, with a crimson bag
beneath it to contain wools and silks, one of the few remembrances she
had of that mother whom she but dimly recalled--must that go?--what,
and all those skeins in it of colored floss silk, and the piece of
embroidery half finished? the work of her mother, broken off by
death--that also? It must be so. And that rusty leather chair in which
papa had sat, with one golden-headed child on each knee cuddled into
his breast, with the flaps of his coat drawn over their heads, which
listened to the tick-tick of his great watch, and to the tale of
Little Snowflake, or Gracieuse and Percinet?--must that go also? It
must be so.

Every day showed to Judith some fresh link that had to be broken. She
could not bear to think that the mother's work-table should be
contended for at a vulgar auction, and struck down to a blousy
farmer's wife; that her father's chair should go to some village inn
to be occupied by sots. She would rather have seen them destroyed; but
to destroy them would not be right.

After a while she longed for the sale; she desired to have it over,
that an entirely new page of life might be opened, and her thoughts
might not be carried back to the past by everything she saw.

Of Coppinger nothing further was seen. Nor did Aunt Dionysia appear at
the rectory to superintend the assortment of the furniture, nor at Mr.
Menaida's to inquire into the welfare of her nephew and niece. To
Judith it was a relief not to have her aunt in the parsonage while she
was there; that hard voice and unsympathetic manner would have kept
her nerves on the quiver. It was best as it was, that she should have
time, by herself, with no interference from any one, to select what
was to be kept and put away what was to be sold; to put away gently,
with her own trembling hand, and with eyes full of tears, the old
black gown and the Oxford hood that papa had worn in church, and to
burn his old sermons and bundles of letters, unread and uncommented on
by Aunt Dunes.

In these days Judith did not think much of Coppinger. Uncle Zachie
informed her that he was worse, he was confined to his bed, he had
done himself harm by coming over to Polzeath the day after his
accident, and the doctor had ordered him not to stir from Pentyre
Glaze for some time--not till his bones were set. Nothing was known of
the occasion of Coppinger's injuries, so Uncle Zachie said; it was
reported in the place that he had been thrown from his horse. Judith
entreated the old man not to enlighten the ignorance of the public;
she was convinced that naught would transpire through Jamie, who could
not tell a story intelligibly; and Miss Dionysia Trevisa was not
likely to publish what she knew.

Judith had a pleasant little chamber at Mr. Menaida's; it was small,
low, plastered against the roof, the rafters showing, and whitewashed
like the walls and ceiling. The light entered from a dormer in the
roof, a low window glazed with diamond quarries set in lead that
clickered incessantly in the wind. It faced the south, and let the sun
flow in. A scrap of carpet was on the floor, and white curtains to the
window. In this chamber Judith ranged such of her goods as she had
resolved on retaining, either as indispensable, or as being too dear
to her to part with unnecessarily, and which, as being of small size,
she might keep without difficulty.

Her father's old travelling trunk, covered with hide with the hair
on, and his initials in brass nails--a trunk he had taken with him to
college--was there, thrust against the wall; it contained her clothes.
Suspended above it was her little bookcase, with the shelves laden
with "The Travels of Rolando," Dr. Aitkin's "Evenings at Home,"
Magnal's "Questions," a French Dictionary, "Paul and Virginia," and a
few other works such as were the delight of children from ninety to a
hundred years ago.

Books for children were rare in those days, and such as were produced
were read and re-read till they were woven into the very fibre of the
mind, never more to be extricated and cast aside. Now it is otherwise.
A child reads a story-book every week, and each new story-book effaces
the impression produced by the book that went before. The result of
much reading is the same as the result of no reading--the production
of a blank.

How Judith and Jamie had sat together perched up in a sycamore, in
what they called their nest, and had revelled in the adventures of
Rolando, she reading aloud, he listening a little, then lapsing into
observation of the birds that flew and hopped about, or the insects
that spun and crept, or dropped on silky lines, or fluttered humming
about the nest, then returned to attention to the book again! Rolando
would remain through life the friend and companion of Judith. She
could not part with the four-volumed, red-leather-backed book.

For the first day or two Jamie had accompanied his sister to the
rectory, and had somewhat incommoded her by his restlessness and his
mischief, but on the third day, and thenceforth, he no longer attended
her. He had made fast friends with Uncle Zachie. He was amused with
watching the process of bird-stuffing, and the old man made use of the
boy by giving him tow to pick to pieces and wires to straighten.

Mr. Menaida was pleased to have some one by him in his workshop to
whom he could talk. It was unimportant to him whether the listener
followed the thread of his conversation or not, so long as he was a
listener. Mr. Menaida, in his solitude, had been wont to talk to
himself, to grumble to himself at the impatience of his customers, to
lament to himself the excess of work that pressed upon him and
deprived him of time for relaxation. He was wont to criticise, to
himself, his success or want of success in the setting-up of a bird.
It was far more satisfactory to him to be able to address all these
remarks to a second party.

He was, moreover, surprised to find how keen and just had been Jamie's
observation of birds, their ways, their attitudes. Judith was
delighted to think that Jamie had discovered talent of some sort, and
he had, so Uncle Zachie assured her, that imitative ability which is
often found to exist alongside with low intellectual power, and this
enabled him to assist Mr. Menaida in giving a natural posture to his
birds.

It flattered the boy to find that he was appreciated, that he was
consulted, and asked to assist in a kind of work that exacted nothing
of his mind.

When Uncle Zachie was tired of his task, which was every ten minutes
or quarter of an hour, and that was the extreme limit to which he
could continue regular work, he lit his pipe, left his bench, and sat
in his arm-chair. Then Jamie also left his tow-picking or
wire-punching, and listened, or seemed to listen, to Mr. Menaida's
talk. When the old man had finished his pipe, and, with a sigh, went
back to his task, Jamie was tired of hearing him talk, and was glad to
resume his work. Thus the two desultory creatures suited each other
admirably, and became attached friends.

"Jamie! what is the meaning of this?" asked Judith, with a start and a
rush of blood to her heart.

She had returned in the twilight from the parsonage. There was
something in the look of her brother, something in his manner that was
unusual.

"Jamie! What have you been taking? Who gave it you?"

She caught the boy by the arm. Distress and shame were in her face, in
the tones of her voice.

Mr. Menaida grunted.

"I'm sorry, but it can't be helped--really it can't," said he,
apologetically. "But Captain Coppinger has sent me down a present of a
keg of cognac--real cognac, splendid, amber-like--and, you know, it was
uncommonly kind. He never did it before. So there was no avoidance; we
had to tap it and taste it, and give a sup to the fellow who brought
us the keg, and drink the health of the Captain. One could not be
churlish; and, naturally, I could not abstain from letting Jamie try
the spirit. Perfectly pure--quite wholesome--first-rate quality. Upon
my word, he had not more than a fly could dip his legs in and feel the
bottom; but he is unaccustomed to anything stronger than cider, and
this is stronger than I supposed."

"Mr. Menaida, you promised me--"

"Bless me! There are contingencies, you know. I never for a moment
thought that Captain Coppinger would show me such a favor, would have
such courtesy. But, upon my honor, I think it is your doing, my dear!
You shook hands and made peace with him, and he has sent this in token
of the cessation of hostilities and the ratification of the
agreement."

"Mr. Menaida, I trusted you. I did believe, when you passed your word
to me, that you would hold to it."

"Now--there, don't take it in that way. Jamie, you rascal, hop off to
bed. He'll be right as a trivet to-morrow morning, I stake my
reputation on that. There, there, I will help him up-stairs."

Judith suffered Mr. Menaida to do as he proposed. When he had left the
room with Jamie, who was reluctant to go, and struggled to remain, she
seated herself on the sofa, and covering her face with her hands burst
into tears. Whom could she trust? No one.

Had she been alone in the world she would have been more confident of
the future, been able to look forward with a good courage; but she had
to carry Jamie with her, who must be defended from himself, and from
the weak good-nature of those he was with.

When Uncle Zachie came down-stairs he slunk into his workroom and was
very quiet. No lamp or candle was lighted, and it was too dark for him
to continue his employment on the birds. What was he doing? Nothing.
He was ashamed of himself, and keeping out of Judith's way.

But Judith would not let him escape so easily; she went to him, as he
avoided her, and found him seated in a corner turning his pipe about.
He had been afraid of striking a light, lest he should call her
attention to his presence.

"Oh, my dear, come in here into the workshop to me! This is an honor,
an unexpected pleasure. Jamie and I have been drudging like slaves all
day, and we're fagged--fagged to the ends of our fingers and toes."

"Mr. Menaida, I am sorry to say it, but if such a thing happens again
as has taken place this evening, Jamie and I must leave your house. I
thank you with an overflowing heart for your goodness to us; but I
must consider Jamie above everything else, and I must see that he be
not exposed to temptation."

"Where will you take him?"

"I cannot tell; but I must shield him."

"There, there, not a word! It shall never happen again. Now let
by-gones be by-gones, and play me something of Beethoven, while I sit
here and listen in the twilight."

"No, Mr. Menaida, I cannot. I have not the spirit to do it. I can
think only of Jamie."

"So you punish me!"

"Take it so. I am sorry; but I cannot do otherwise."

"Now, look here! Bless my soul! I had almost forgotten it. Here is a
note for you, from the Captain, I believe." He went to the
chimney-piece and took down a scrap of paper, folded and sealed.

Judith looked at it and went to the window, broke the seal, and opened
the paper. She read--

    "Why do you not come and see me? You do not care for what you
    have done. They call me cruel; but you are that.--C. C."



CHAPTER X.

EGO ET REGINA MEA.


The strange, curt note from Cruel Coppinger served in a measure to
divert the current of Judith's thoughts from her trouble about Jamie.
It was, perhaps, as well, or she would have fretted over that
throughout the night, not only because of Jamie, but because she felt
that her father had left his solemn injunction on her to protect and
guide her twin-brother, and she knew that whatsoever harm, physical or
moral, came to him, argued a lack of attention to her duty. Her father
had not been dead many days, and already Jamie had been led from the
path she had undertaken to keep him in.

But when she began to worry herself about Jamie, the bold characters,
"C. C.," with which the letter was signed, rose before her, and glowed
in the dark as characters of fire.

She had gone to her bedroom, and had retired for the night, but could
not sleep. The moon shone through the lattice into her chamber, and on
the stool by the window lay the letter, where she had cast it. Her
mind turned to it.

Why did Coppinger call her cruel? Was she cruel? Not intentionally so.
She had not wilfully injured him. He did not suppose that. He meant
that she was heartless and indifferent in letting him suffer without
making any inquiry concerning him.

He had injured himself by coming to Polzeath to see her the day
following his accident. Uncle Zachie had assured her of that.

She went on in her busy mind to ask why he had come to see her? Surely
there had been no need for him to do so! His motive--the only motive
she could imagine--was a desire to relieve her from anxiety and
distress of mind; a desire to show her that he bore no ill-will toward
her for what she had done. That was generous and considerate of him.
Had he not come she certainly would have been unhappy and in unrest,
would have imagined all kinds of evil as likely to ensue through his
hostility--for one thing, her aunt's dismissal from her post might
have been expected.

But Coppinger, though in pain, and at a risk to his health, had walked
to where she was lodging to disabuse her of any such impression. She
was grateful to him for so doing. She felt that such a man could not
be utterly abandoned by God, entirely void of good qualities, as she
had supposed, viewing him only through the representations of his
character and the tales circulating relative to his conduct that had
reached her.

A child divides mankind into two classes--the good and the bad, and
supposes that there is no debatable land between them, where light and
shade are blended into neutral tint; certainly not that there are
blots on the white leaf of the lives of the good, and luminous
glimpses in the darkness of the histories of the bad. As they grow
older they rectify their judgments, and such a rectification Judith
had now to make.

She was assisted in this by compassion for Coppinger, who was in
suffering, and by self-reproach, because she was the occasion of this
suffering.

What were the exact words Captain Cruel had employed? She was not
certain; she turned the letter over and over in her mind, and could
not recall every expression, and she could not sleep till she was
satisfied.

Therefore she rose from bed, stole to the window, took up the letter,
seated herself on the stool, and conned it in the moonlight. "Why do
you not come and see me? You do not care for what you have done." That
was not true; she was greatly troubled at what she had done. She was
sick at heart when she thought of that scene in the lane, when the
black mare was leaping and pounding with her hoofs, and Coppinger lay
on the ground. One kick of the hoof on his head, and he would have
been dead. His blood would have rested on her conscience, never to be
wiped off. Horrible was the recollection now, in the stillness of the
night. It was marvellous that life had not been beaten out of the
prostrate man, that, dragged about by the arm, he had not been torn to
pieces, that every bone had not been shattered, that his face had not
been battered out of recognition. Judith felt the perspiration stand
on her brow at the thought. God had been very good to her in sending
His angel to save Coppinger from death and her from blood-guiltiness.
She slid to her knees at the window, and held up her hands, the
moonlight illuminating her white upturned face, as she gave thanks to
Heaven that no greater evil had ensued from her inconsidered act with
the button-basket than a couple of broken bones.

Oh! it was very far indeed from true that she did not care for what
she had done. Coppinger must have been blind indeed not to have seen
how she felt her conduct. His letter concluded: "They call me cruel;
but you are that." He meant that she was cruel in not coming to the
Glaze to inquire after him. He had thought of her trouble of mind, and
had gone to Polzeath to relieve her of anxiety, and she had shown no
consideration for him--or not in like manner.

She had been very busy at the rectory. Her mind had been concerned
with her own affairs, that was her excuse. Cruel she was not. She took
no pleasure in his pain. But she hesitated about going to see him.
That was more than was to be expected of a young girl. She would go on
the morrow to Coppinger's house, and ask to speak to her aunt; that
she might do, and from Aunt Dionysia she would learn in what condition
Captain Cruel was, and might send him her respects and wishes for his
speedy recovery.

As she still knelt in her window, looking up through the diamond panes
into the clear, gray-blue sky, she heard a sound without, and, looking
down, saw a convoy of horses pass, laden with bales and kegs, and
followed or accompanied by men wearing slouched hats. So little noise
did the beasts make in traversing the road, that Judith was convinced
their hoofs must be muffled in felt. She had heard that this was done
by the smugglers. It was said that all Coppinger's horses had their
boots drawn on when engaged in conveying run goods from the place
where stored to their destination.

These were Coppinger's men, this his convoy, doubtless. Judith thrust
the letter from her. He was a bad man, a very bad man; and if he had
met with an accident, it was his due, a judgment on his sins. She rose
from her knees, turned away, and went back to her bed.

Next day, after a morning spent at the rectory, in the hopes that her
aunt might arrive and obviate the need of her going in quest of her,
Judith, disappointed in this hope, prepared to walk to Pentyre. Mrs.
Dionysia had not acted with kindness toward her. Judith felt this,
without allowing herself to give to the feeling articulate expression.
She made what excuses she could for Aunt Dunes: she was hindered by
duties that had crowded upon her, she had been forbidden going by
Captain Cruel; but none of these excuses satisfied Judith.

Judith must go herself to the Glaze, and she had reasons of her own
for wishing to see her aunt, independent of the sense of obligation on
her, more or less acknowledged, that she must obey the summons of
C. C. There were matters connected with the rectory, with the
furniture there, the cow, and the china, that Mrs. Trevisa must give
her judgment upon. There were bills that had come in, which Mrs.
Trevisa must pay, as Judith had been left without any money in her
pocket.

As the girl walked through the lanes she turned over in her mind the
stories she had heard of the smuggler Captain, the wild tales of his
wrecking ships, of his contests with the Preventive men, and the
ghastly tragedy of Wyvill, who had been washed up headless on Doombar.
In former days she had accepted all these stories as true, had not
thought of questioning them; but now that she had looked Coppinger in
the face, had spoken with him, experienced his consideration, she
could not believe that they were to be accepted without question. That
story of Wyvill--that Captain Cruel had hacked off his head on the
gunwale with his axe--seemed to her now utterly incredible. But if
true! She shuddered to think that her hand had been held in that
stained with so hideous a crime.

Thus musing, Judith arrived at Pentyre Glaze, and entering the porch,
turned from the sea, knocked at the door.

A loud voice bade her enter. She knew that the voice proceeded from
Coppinger, and her heart fluttered with fear and uncertainty. She
halted, with her hand on the door, inclined to retreat without
entering; but again the voice summoned her to come in, and gathering
up her courage she opened the door, and, still holding the latch,
took a few steps forward into the hall or kitchen, into which it
opened.

A fire was smouldering in the great open fireplace, and beside it, in
a carved oak arm-chair, sat Cruel Coppinger, with a small table at his
side, on which were a bottle and glass, a canister of tobacco and a
pipe. His arm was strapped across his breast as she had seen it a few
days before. Entering from the brilliant light of day, Judith could
not at first observe his face, but, as her eyes became accustomed to
the twilight of the smoke-blackened and gloomy hall, she saw that he
looked more worn and pale than he had seemed the day after the
accident. Nor could she understand the expression on his countenance
when he was aware who was his visitor.

"I beg your pardon," said Judith; "I am sorry to have intruded; but I
wished to speak to my aunt."

"Your aunt? Old mother Dunes? Come in. Let go your hold of the door
and shut it. Your aunt started a quarter of an hour ago for the
rectory."

"And I came along the lane from Polzeath."

"Then no wonder you did not meet her. She went by the church path, of
course, and over the down."

"I am sorry to have missed her. Thank you, Captain Coppinger, for
telling me."

"Stay!" he roared, as he observed her draw back into the porch. "You
are not going yet!"

"I cannot stay for more than a moment in which to ask how you do, and
whether you are somewhat better? I was sorry to hear you had been
worse."

"I have been worse, yes. Come in. You shall not go. I am mewed in as a
prisoner, and have none to speak to, and no one to look at but old
Dunes. Come in, and take that stool by the fire, and let me hear you
speak, and let me rest my eyes a while on your golden hair--gold more
golden than that of the Indies."

"I hope you are better, sir," said Judith, ignoring the compliment.

"I am better now I have seen you. I shall be worse if you do not come
in."

She refused to do this by a light shake of the head.

"I suppose you are afraid. We are wild and lawless men here, ogres
that eat children! Come, child, I have something to show you."

"Thank you for your kindness; but I must run to the parsonage; I
really _must_ see my aunt."

"Then I will send her to Polzeath to you when she returns. She will
keep; she's stale enough."

"I would spare her the trouble."

"Pshaw! She shall do what I will. Now see--I am wearied to death with
solitude and sickness. Come, amuse yourself, if you will, with
insulting me--calling me what you like; I do not mind, so long as you
remain."

"I have no desire whatever, Captain Coppinger, to insult you and call
you names."

"You insult me by standing there holding the latch--standing on one
foot, as if afraid to sully the soles by treading my tainted floor. Is
it not an insult that you refuse to come in? Is it not so much as
saying to me, 'You are false, cruel, not to be trusted; you are not
worthy that I should be under the same roof with you, and breathe the
same air?'"

"Oh, Captain Coppinger, I do not mean that!"

"Then let go the latch and come in. Stand, if you will not sit,
opposite me. How can I see you there, in the doorway?"

"There is not much to see when I am visible," said Judith, laughing.

"Oh, no! not much! Only a little creature who has more daring than any
man in Cornwall--who will stand up to, and cast at her feet, Cruel
Coppinger, at whose name men tremble."

Judith let go her hold on the door, and moved timidly into the hall;
but she let the door remain half open that the light and air flowed
in.

"And now," said Captain Coppinger, "here is a key on this table by me.
Do you see a small door by the clock-case? Unlock that door with the
key."

"You want something from thence!"

"I want you to unlock the door. There are beautiful and costly things
within that you shall see."

"Thank you; but I would rather look at them some other day, when my
aunt is here, and I have more time."

"Will you refuse me even the pleasure of letting you see what is
there?"

"If you particularly desire it, Captain Coppinger, I will peep in--but
only peep."

She took the key from his table, and crossed the hall to the door.
The lock was large and clumsy, but she turned the key by putting both
hands to it. Then, swinging open the door, she looked inside. The door
opened into an apartment crowded with a collection of sundry articles
of value: bales of silk from Italy, Genoa laces, Spanish silver-inlaid
weapons, Chinese porcelain, bronzes from Japan, gold and silver
ornaments, bracelets, brooches, watches, inlaid mother-of-pearl
cabinets--an amazing congeries of valuables heaped together.

"Well, now!" shouted Cruel Coppinger. "What say you to the gay things
there? Choose--take what you will. I care not for them one rush. What
do you most admire, most covet? Put out both hands and take--take all
you would have; fill your lap, carry off all you can. It is yours."

Judith drew hastily back and relocked the door.

"What have you taken?"

"Nothing."

"Nothing? Take what you will; I give it freely."

"I cannot take anything, though I thank you, Captain Coppinger, for
your kind and generous offer."

"You will accept nothing?"

She shook her head.

"That is like you. You do it to anger me. As you throw hard words at
me--coward, wrecker, robber--and as you dash broken glass, buttons,
buckles, in my face, so do you throw back my offers."

"It is not through ingratitude--"

"I care not through what it is! You seek to anger, and not to please
me. Why will you take nothing? There are beautiful things there to
charm a woman."

"I am not a woman; I am a little girl."

"Why do you refuse me!"

"For one thing, because I want none of the things there, beautiful and
costly though they be."

"And for the other thing----?"

"For the other thing--excuse my plain speaking--I do not think they
have been honestly got."

"By heavens!" shouted Coppinger. "There you attack and stab at me
again. I like your plainness of speech. You do not spare me. I would
not have you false and double like old Dunes."

"Oh, Captain Coppinger! I give you thanks from the depths of my
heart. It is kindly intended, and it is so good and noble of you, I
feel that; for I have hurt you and reduced you to the state in which
you now are, and yet you offer me the best things in your
house--things of priceless value. I acknowledge your goodness; but
just because I know I do not deserve this goodness I must decline what
you offer."

"Then come here and give me the key."

She stepped lightly over the floor to him and handed him the great
iron key to his store chamber. As she did so he caught her hand, bowed
his dark head, and kissed her fingers.

"Captain Coppinger!" She started back, trembling, and snatched her
hand from him.

"What! have I offended you again? Why not? A subject kisses the hand
of his queen; and I am a subject, and you--you my queen."



CHAPTER XI.

JESSAMINE.


"How are you, old man?"

"Middlin', thanky'; and how be you, gov'nor?"

"Middlin' also; and your missus?"

"Only sadly. I fear she's goin' slow but sure the way of all flesh."

"Bless us! 'Tis a trouble and expense them sort o' things. Now to
work, shall we? What do you figure up?"

"And you?"

"Oh, well, I'm not here on reg'lar business. Huntin' on my own score
to-day."

"Oh, ay! Nice port this."

"Best the old fellow had in his cellar. I told the executrix I should
like the taste of it, and advise thereon."

The valuers for dilapidations, vulgarly termed dilapidators, were met
in the dining-room of the deserted parsonage. Mr. Scantlebray was on
one side, Mr. Cargreen on the other. Mr. Scantlebray was on that of
the "orphings," as he termed his clients, and Mr. Cargreen on that of
the Rev. Mr. Mules, the recently nominated rector to S. Enodoc.

Mr. Scantlebray was a tall, lean man, with light gray eyes, a red
face, and legs and arms that he shook every now and then as though
they were encumbrances to his trunk and he was going to shake them
off, as a poodle issuing from a bath shakes the water out of his
locks. Mr. Cargreen was a bullet-headed man, with a white neckcloth,
gray whiskers, a solemn face, and a sort of perpetual "Let-us-pray"
expression on his lips and in his eyes--a composing of his interior
faculties and abstraction from worldly concerns.

"I am here," said Mr. Scantlebray, "as adviser and friend--you
understand, old man--of the orphings and their haunt."

"And I," said Mr. Cargreen, "am ditto to the incoming rector."

"And what do you get out of this visit!" asked Mr. Scantlebray, who
was a frank man.

"Only three guineas as a fee," said Mr. Cargreen. "And you?"

"Ditto, old man--three guineas. You understand, I am not here as
valuer to-day."

"Nor I--only as adviser."

"Exactly! Taste this port. 'Taint bad--out of the cellar of the old
chap. Told auntie I must have it, to taste and give opinion on."

"And what are you going to do to-day?"

"I'm going to have one or two little things pulled down, and other
little things put to rights."

"Humph! I'm here to see nothing is pulled down."

"We won't quarrel. There's the conservatory, and the linney in Willa
Park."

"I don't know," said Cargreen, shaking his head.

"Now look here, old man," said Mr. Scantlebray. "You let me tear the
linney down, and I'll let the conservatory stand."

"The conservatory----"

"I know; the casement of the best bedroom went through the roof of it.
I'll mend the roof and repaint it. You can try the timber, and find it
rotten, and lay on dilapidations enough to cover a new conservatory.
Pass the linney; I want to make pickings out of that."

It may perhaps be well to let the reader understand the exact
situation of the two men engaged in sipping port. Directly it was
known that a rector had been nominated to S. Enodoc, Mr. Cargreen, a
Bodmin valuer, agent, and auctioneer, had written to the happy
nominee, Mr. Mules, of Birmingham, inclosing his card in the letter,
to state that he was a member of an old-established firm, enjoying the
confidence, not to say the esteem of the principal county families in
the north of Cornwall, that he was a sincere Churchman, that
deploring, as a true son of the Church, the prevalence of Dissent, he
felt it his duty to call the attention of the reverend gentleman to
certain facts that concerned him, but especially the CHURCH, and facts
that he himself, as a devoted son of the Church, on conviction, after
mature study of its tenets, felt called upon, in the interest of that
Church he so had at heart, to notice. He had heard, said Mr. Cargreen,
that the outgoing parties from S. Enodoc were removing, or causing to
be removed, or were proposing to remove, certain fixtures in the
parsonage, and certain out-buildings, barns, tenements, sheds, and
linneys on the glebe and parsonage premises, to the detriment of its
value, inasmuch as that such removal would be prejudicial to the
letting of the land, and render it impossible for the incoming rector
to farm it himself without re-erecting the very buildings now in
course of destruction, or which were purposed to be destroyed: to wit,
certain out-buildings, barns, cattle-sheds, and linneys, together with
other tenements that need not be specified. Mr. Cargreen added that,
roughly speaking, the dilapidations of these buildings, if allowed to
stand, might be assessed at £300; but that, if pulled down, it would
cost the new rector about £700 to re-erect them, and their re-erection
would be an imperative necessity. Mr. Cargreen had himself,
personally, no interest in the matter; but, as a true son of the
Church, etc., etc.

By return of post Mr. Cargreen received an urgent request from the
Rev. Mr. Mules to act as his agent, and to act with precipitation in
the protection of his interests.

In the meantime Mr. Scantlebray had not been neglectful of other
people's interest. He had written to Miss Dionysia Trevisa to inform
her that, though he did not enjoy a present acquaintance, it was the
solace and joy of his heart to remember that some years ago, before
that infelicitous marriage of Mr. Trevisa, which had led to Miss
Dionysia's leaving the rectory, it had been his happiness to meet her
at the house of a mutual acquaintance, Mrs. Scaddon, where he had
respectfully, and, at this distance of time, he ventured to add,
humbly and hopelessly admired her; that, as he was riding past the
rectory he had chanced to observe the condition of dilapidation
certain tenements, pig-sties, cattle-sheds, and other out-buildings
were in, and that, though it in no way concerned him, yet, for auld
lang syne's sake, and a desire to assist one whom he had always
venerated, and, at this distance of time might add, had admired, he
ventured to offer a suggestion: to wit, That a number of unnecessary
out-buildings should be torn down and utterly effaced before a new
rector was nominated, and had appointed a valuer; also that certain
obvious repairs should be undertaken and done at once, so as to give
to the parsonage the appearance of being in excellent order, and cut
away all excuse for piling up dilapidations. Mr. Scantlebray ventured
humbly to state that he had had a good deal of experience with those
gentlemen who acted as valuers for dilapidations, and with pain he was
obliged to add that a more unscrupulous set of men it had never been
his bad fortune to come into contact with. He ventured to assert that,
were he to tell all he knew, or only half of what he knew, as to their
proceedings in valuing for dilapidations, he would make both of Miss
Trevisa's ears tingle.

At once Miss Dionysia entreated Mr. Scantlebray to superintend and
carry out with expedition such repairs and such demolitions as he
deemed expedient, so as to forestall the other party.

"Chicken!" said Mr. Cargreen. "That's what I've brought for my lunch."

"And 'am is what I've got," said Mr. Scantlebray. "They'll go lovely
together." Then, in a loud tone--"Come in!"

The door opened, and a carpenter entered with a piece of deal board in
his hand.

"You won't mind looking out of the winder, Mr. Cargreen?" said Mr.
Scantlebray. "Some business that's partick'ler my own. You'll find the
jessamine--the white jessamine--smells beautiful."

Mr. Cargreen rose, and went to the dining-room window that was
embowered in white jessamine, then in full flower and fragrance.

"What is it, Davy?"

"Well, sir, I ain't got no dry old board for the floor where it be
rotten, nor for the panelling of the doors where broken through."

"No board at all?"

"No, sir--all is green. Only cut last winter."

"Won't it take paint?"

"Well, sir, not well. I've dried this piece by the kitchen fire, and I
find it'll take the paint for a time."

"Run, dry all the panels at the kitchen fire, and then paint 'em."

"Thanky', sir; but, how about the boarding of the floor? The boards'll
warp and start."

"Look here, Davy, that gentleman who's at the winder a-smelling to
the jessamine is the surveyor and valuer to t'other party. I fancy
you'd best go round outside and have a word with him and coax him to
pass the boards."

"Come in!" in a loud voice. Then there entered a man in a cloth coat,
with very bushy whiskers. "How d'y' do, Spargo? What do you want?"

"Well, Mr. Scantlebray, I understand the linney and cow-shed is to be
pulled down."

"So it is, Spargo."

"Well, sir!" Mr. Spargo drew his sleeve across his mouth. "There's a
lot of very fine oak timber in it--beams, and such like--that I don't
mind buying. As a timber merchant I could find a use for it."

"Say ten pound."

"Ten pun'! That's a long figure!"

"Not a pound too much; but come--we'll say eight."

"I reckon I'd thought five."

"Five! pshaw! It's dirt cheap to _you_ at eight."

"Why to me, sir?"

"Why, because the new rector will want to rebuild both cattle-shed and
linney, and he'll have to go to you for timber."

"But suppose he don't, and cuts down some on the glebe?"

"No, Spargo--not a bit. There at the winder, smelling to the
jessamine, is the new rector's adviser and agent. Go round by the
front door into the garding, and say a word to him--you understand,
and--" Mr. Scantlebray tapped his palm. "Do now go round and have a
sniff of the jessamine, Mr. Spargo, and I don't fancy Mr. Cargreen
will advise the rector to use home-grown timber. He'll tell him it
sleeps away, gets the rot, comes more expensive in the long run."

The valuer took a wing of chicken and a little ham, and then shouted,
with his mouth full--"Come in!"

The door opened and admitted a farmer.

"How do, Mr. Joshua? middlin'?"

"Middlin', sir, thanky'."

"And what have you come about, sir?"

"Well--Mr. Scantlebray, sir! I fancy you ha'n't offered me quite
enough for carting away of all the rummage from them buildings as is
coming down. 'Tis a terrible lot of stone, and I'm to take 'em so far
away."

"Why not?"

"Well, sir, it's such a lot of work for the bosses, and the pay so
poor."

"Not a morsel, Joshua--not a morsel."

"Well, sir, I can't do it at the price."

"Oh, Joshua! Joshua! I thought you'd a better eye to the future. Don't
you see that the new rector will have to build up all these
out-buildings again, and where else is he to get stone except out of
your quarry, or some of the old stone you have carted away, which you
will have the labor of carting back?"

"Well, sir, I don't know."

"But I do, Joshua."

"The new rector might go elsewhere for stone."

"Not he. Look there, at the winder is Mr. Cargreen, and he's in with
the new parson, like a brother--knows his very soul. The new parson
comes from Birmingham. What can he tell about building-stone here? Mr.
Cargreen will tell him yours is the only stuff that ain't powder."

"But, sir, he may not rebuild."

"He must. Mr. Cargreen will tell him that he can't let the glebe
without buildings; and he can't build without your quarry stone: and
if he has your quarry stone--why, you will be given the carting also.
Are you satisfied?"

"Yes--if Mr. Cargreen would be sure----"

"He's there at the winder, a-smelling to the jessamine. You go round
and have a talk to him, and make him understand--you know. He's a
little hard o' hearing; but the drum o' his ear is here," said
Scantlebray, tapping his palm.

Mr. Scantlebray was now left to himself to discuss the chicken
wing--the liver wing he had taken--and sip the port; a conversation
was going on in an undertone at the window; but that concerned Mr.
Cargreen and not himself, so he paid no attention to it.

After a while, however, when this hum ceased, he turned his head, and
called out:

"Old man! how about your lunch?"

"I'm coming."

"And you found the jessamine very sweet?"

"Beautiful! beautiful!"

"Taste this port. It is not what it should be: some the old fellow
laid in when he could afford it--before he married. It is passed, and
going back; should have been drunk five years ago."

Mr. Cargreen came to the table, and seated himself. Then Mr.
Scantlebray flapped his arms, shook out his legs, and settled himself
to the enjoyment of the lunch, in the society of Mr. Cargreen.

"The merry-thought! Pull with me, old man?"

"Certainly!"

Mr. Scantlebray and Mr. Cargreen were engaged on the merry-thought,
each endeavoring to steal an advantage on the other, by working the
fingers up the bone unduly, when the window was darkened.

Without desisting from pulling at the merry-thought each turned his
head, and Scantlebray at once let go his end of the bone. At the
window stood Captain Coppinger looking in at the couple, with his
elbow resting on the window-sill.

Mr. Scantlebray flattered himself that he was on good terms with all
the world, and he at once with hilarity saluted the Captain by raising
the fingers greased by the bone to his brow.

"Didn't reckon on seeing you here, Cap'n."

"I suppose not."

"Come and pick a bone with us?"

Coppinger laughed a short snort through his nostrils.

"I have a bone to pick with you already."

"Never! no, never!"

"You have forced yourself on Miss Trevisa to act as her agent and
valuer in the matter of dilapidations."

"Not forced, Captain. She asked me to give her friendly counsel. We
are old acquaintances."

"I will not waste words. Give me her letter. She no longer requires
your advice and counsel. I am going to act for her."

"You, Cap'n! Lor' bless me! You don't mean to say so!"

"Yes. I will protect her against being pillaged. She is my
housekeeper."

"But see! she is only executrix. She gets nothing out of the
property."

"No--but her niece and nephew do. Take it that I act for them. Give me
up her letter."

Mr. Scantlebray hesitated.

"But, Cap'n, I've been to vast expense. I've entered into
agreements----"

"With whom?"

"With carpenter and mason about the repairs."

"Give me the agreements."

"Not agreements exactly. They sent me in their estimates, and I
accepted them, and set them to work."

"Give me the estimates."

Mr. Scantlebray flapped all his limbs, and shook his head.

"You don't suppose I carry these sort of things about with me?"

"I have no doubt whatever they are in your pocket." Scantlebray
fidgeted.

"Cap'n, try this port--a little going back, but not to be sneezed at."

Coppinger leaned forward through the window.

"Who is that man with you?"

"Mr. Cargreen."

"What is he here for?"

"I am agent for the Reverend Mules, the newly appointed rector," said
Mr. Cargreen, with some dignity.

"Then I request you both to step to the window to me."

The two men looked at each other. Scantlebray jumped up, and Cargreen
followed. They stood in the window-bay at a respectful distance from
Cruel Coppinger.

"I suppose you know who I am?" said the latter, fixing his eyes on
Cargreen.

"I believe I can form a guess."

"And your duty to your client is to make out as bad a case as you can
against the two children. They have had just one thousand pounds left
them. You are going to get as much of that away from them as you are
permitted."

"My good sir--allow me to explain----"

"There is no need," said Coppinger. "Suffice it that you are one side.
I--Cruel Coppinger--on the other. Do you understand what that means?"

Mr. Cargreen became alarmed, his face became very blank.

"I am not a man to waste words. I am not a man that many in Cornwall
would care to have as an adversary. Do you ever travel at night, Mr.
Cargreen?"

"Yes, sir, sometimes."

"Through the lanes and along the lonely roads?"

"Perhaps, sir--now and then."

"So do I," said Coppinger. He drew a pistol from his pocket, and
played with it. The two "dilapidators" shrank back. "So do I," said
Coppinger; "but I never go unarmed. I would advise you to do the
same--if you are my adversary."

"I hope, Captain, that--that----"

"If those children suffer through you more than what I allow"--Coppinger
drew up his one shoulder that he could move--"I should advise you to
consider what Mrs. Cargreen will have to live on when a widow." Then
he turned to Scantlebray, who was sneaking behind the window-curtain.

"Miss Trevisa's letter, authorizing you to act for her?"

Scantlebray, with shaking hand, groped for his pocket-book.

"And the two agreements or estimates you signed."

Scantlebray gave him the letter.

"The agreements also."

Nervously the surveyor groped again, and reluctantly produced them.
Captain Coppinger opened them with his available hand.

"What is this? Five pounds in pencil added to each, and then summed up
in the total? What is the meaning of that, pray?"

Mr. Scantlebray again endeavored to disappear behind the curtain.

"Come forward!" shouted Captain Cruel, striking the window-sill with
the pistol.

Scantlebray jumped out of his retreat at once.

"What is the meaning of these two five pounds?"

"Well, sir--Captain--it is usual; every one does it. It is my--what
d'y' call it!--consideration for accepting the estimates."

"And added to each, and then charged to the orphans, who pay you to
act in their interest--so they pay wittingly, directly, and
unwittingly, indirectly. Well for you and for Mrs. Scantlebray that I
release you of your obligation to act for Mother Dunes--I mean Miss
Trevisa."

"Sir," said Cargreen, "under the circumstances, under intimidation, I
decline to sully my fingers with the business. I shall withdraw."

"No, you shall not," said Cruel Coppinger, resolutely. "You shall act,
and act as I approve; and in the end it shall not be to your
disadvantage."

Then, without a word of farewell, he stood up, slipped the pistol back
into his pocket, and strode away.

Mr. Cargreen had become white, or rather, the color of dough. After a
moment he recovered himself somewhat, and, turning to Scantlebray,
with a sarcastic air, said--

"I hope _you_ enjoy the jessamine. They don't smell particularly sweet
to me."

"Orful!" groaned Scantlebray. He shook himself--almost shaking off all
his limbs in the convulsion--"Old man--them jessamines is orful!"



CHAPTER XII.

THE CAVE.


Some weeks slipped by without bringing to Judith any accession of
anxiety. She did not go again to Pentyre Glaze, but her aunt came once
or twice in the week to Polzeath to see her. Moreover, Miss Dionysia's
manner toward her was somewhat less contrary and vexatious, and she
seemed to put on a conciliatory manner, as far as was possible for one
so angular and crabbed. Gracious she could not be; nature had made it
as impossible for her to be gracious in manner as to be lovely in face
and graceful in movement.

Moreover, Judith observed that her aunt looked at her with an
expression of perplexity, as though seeking in her to find an answer
to a riddle that vexed her brain. And so it was. Aunt Dunes could not
understand the conduct of Coppinger toward Judith and her brother. Nor
could she understand how a child like her niece could have faced and
defied a man of whom she herself stood in abject fear. Judith had
behaved to the smuggler in a way that no man in the whole countryside
would have ventured to behave. She had thrown him at her feet, half
killed him, and yet Cruel Coppinger did not resent what had been done;
on the contrary, he went out of his way to interfere in the interest
of the orphans. He was not the man to concern himself in other
people's affairs; why should he take trouble on behalf of Judith and
her brother? That he did it out of consideration for herself, Miss
Trevisa had not the assurance to believe.

Aunt Dunes put a few searching questions to Judith, but drew from her
nothing that explained the mystery. The girl frankly told her of her
visit to the Glaze and interview with the crippled smuggler, of his
offer to her of some of his spoil, and of her refusal to receive a
present from him. Miss Trevisa approved of her niece's conduct in this
respect. It would not have befitted her to accept anything. Judith,
however, did not communicate to her aunt the closing scene in that
interview. She did not tell her that Coppinger had kissed her hand,
nor his excuse for having done so, that he was offering homage to a
queen.

For one thing, Judith did not attach any importance to this incident.
She had always heard that Coppinger was a wild and insolent man, wild
and insolent in his dealings with his fellow-men, therefore doubtless
still more so in his treatment of defenceless women. He had behaved to
her in the rude manner in which he would behave to any peasant girl or
sailor's daughter who caught his fancy, and she resented his act as an
indignity, and his excuse for it as a prevarication. And, precisely,
because he had offended her maidenly dignity, she blushed to mention
it, even to her aunt, resolving in her own mind not to subject herself
to the like again.

Miss Trevisa, on several occasions, invited Judith to come and see her
at Pentyre Glaze, but the girl always declined the invitation.

Judith's estimate of Cruel Coppinger was modified. He could not be the
utter reprobate she had always held him to be. She fully acknowledged
that there was an element of good in the man, otherwise he would not
have forgiven the injury done him, nor would he have interfered to
protect her and Jamie from the fraud and extortion of the
"dilapidators." She trusted that the stories she had heard of
Coppinger's wild and savage acts were false, or overcolored. Her dear
father had been misled by reports, as she had been, and it was
possible that Coppinger had not really been the impediment in her
father's way that the late rector had supposed.

Jamie was happy. He was even, in a fashion, making himself useful. He
helped Mr. Menaida in his bird-stuffing on rainy days; he did more, he
ran about the cliffs, learned the haunts of the wild-fowl, ascertained
where they nested, made friends with Preventive men, and some of those
fellows living on shore, without any very fixed business, who rambled
over the country with their guns, and from these he was able to obtain
birds that he believed Mr. Menaida wanted. Judith was glad that the
boy should be content, and enjoy the fresh air and some freedom. She
would have been less pleased had she seen the companions Jamie made.
But the men had rough good-humor, and were willing to oblige the
half-witted boy, and they encouraged him to go with them shooting, or
to sit with them in their huts.

Jamie manifested so strong a distaste for books, and lesson time being
one of resistance, pouting, tears, and failures, that Judith thought
it not amiss to put off the resumption of these irksome tasks for a
little while, and to let the boy have his run of holidays. She fancied
that the loss of his father and of his old home preyed on him more
than was actually the case; and believed that by giving him freedom
till the first pangs were over, he might not suffer in the way that
she had done.

For a fortnight or three weeks Judith's time had been so fully engaged
at the parsonage, that she could not have devoted much of it to Jamie,
even had she thought it desirable to keep him to his lessons; nor
could she be with him much. She did not press him to accompany her to
the rectory, there to spend the time that she was engaged sorting her
father's letters and memoranda, his account-books and collection of
extracts made from volumes he had borrowed, as not only would it be
tedious to him, but he would distract her mind. She must see that he
was amused, and must also provide that he was not at mischief. She did
take him with her on one or two occasions, and found that he had
occupied himself in disarranging much that she had put together for
the sale.

But she would not allow him wholly to get out of the way of looking to
her as his companion, and she abandoned an afternoon to him now and
then, as her work became less arduous, to walk with him on the cliffs
or in the lanes, to listen to his childish prattle, and throw herself
into his new pursuits. The link between them must not be allowed to
become relaxed, and, so far as in her lay, she did her utmost to
maintain it in its former security. But, with his father's death, and
his removal to Mr. Menaida's cottage, a new world had opened to Jamie;
he was brought into association with men and boys whom he had hardly
known by sight previously, and without any wish to disengage himself
from his sister's authority, he was led to look to others as comrades,
and to listen to and follow their promptings.

"Come, Jamie," said Judith, one day. "Now I really have some hours
free, and I will go a stroll with you on the downs."

The boy jumped with pleasure, and caught her hand.

"I may take Tib with me?"

"Oh yes, certainly, dear."

Tib was a puppy that had been given to Jamie by one of his new
acquaintances.

The day was fresh. Clouds driving before the wind, now obscuring the
sun and threatening rain, then clearing and allowing the sun to turn
the sea green and gild the land. Owing to the breeze the sea was
ruffled and strewn with breakers shaking their white foam.

"I am going to show you something I have found, Ju," said the boy.
"You will follow, will you not?"

"Lead the way. What is it?"

"Come and see. I found it by myself. I shan't tell any one but you."

He conducted his sister down the cliffs to the beach of a cove. Judith
halted a moment to look along the coast with its mighty, sombre
cliffs, and the sea glancing with sun or dulled by shadow to Tintagel
Head standing up at the extreme point to the northeast, with the white
surf lashing and heaving around it. Then she drew her skirts together,
and descended by the narrow path along which, with the lightness and
confidence of a kid, Jamie was skipping.

"Jamie!" she said. "Have you seen?--there is a ship standing in the
offing."

"Yes; she has been there all the morning."

Then she went further.

The cove was small, with precipitous cliffs rising from the sand to
the height of two to three hundred feet. The seagulls screamed and
flashed to and fro, and the waves foamed and threw up their waters
lashed into froth as white and light as the feathers on the gulls. In
the concave bay the roar of the plunging tide reverberated from every
side. Neither the voice of Jamie, when he shouted to his sister from
some feet below, nor the barking of his little dog that ran with him,
could be distinguished by her.

The descent was rapid and rugged, yet not so precipitous but that it
could be gone over by asses or mules. Evidence that these creatures
had passed that way remained in the impression of their hoofs in the
soil, wherever a soft stratum intervened between the harder shelves of
the rock, and had crumbled on the path into clay.

Judith observed that several paths--not all mule-paths--converged
lower down at intervals in the way by which she descended, so that it
would be possible, apparently, to reach the sand from various points
in the down, as well as by the main track by which she was stepping to
the beach.

"Jamie!" called Judith, as she stood on the last shoulder of rock
before reaching the beach over a wave-washed and smoothed surface.
"Jamie! I can see that same ship from here."

But her brother could not hear her. He was throwing stones for the dog
to run after, and meet a wave as it rushed in.

The tide was going out: it had marked its highest elevation by a bow
of foam and strips of dark seaweed and broken shells. Judith stepped
along this line, and picked out the largest ribbon of weed she could
find. She would hang it in her bedroom to tell her the weather. The
piece that had been wont to act as barometer was old, and, besides, it
had been lost in the recent shift and confusion.

Jamie came up to her.

"Now, Ju, mind and watch me, or you will lose me altogether."

Then he ran forward, with Tib dancing and yelping round him. Presently
he scrambled up a shelf of rock inclined from the sea, and up after
him, yelping, scrambled Tib. In a moment both disappeared over the
crest.

Judith went up to the ridge and called to her brother.

"I cannot climb this, Jamie."

But in another moment, a hundred yards to her right, round the
extremity of the reef, came Tib and his master, the boy dancing and
laughing, the dog ducking his head, shaking his ears, and, all but
laughing also, evidently enjoying the fun as much as Jamie.

"This way, Ju!" shouted the boy, and signed to his sister. She could
not hear his voice, but obeyed his gestures. The reef ran athwart the
top of the bay, like the dorsal, jagged ridge of a crocodile half
buried in the sand.

Judith drew her skirts higher and closer, as the sand was wet, and
there were pools by the rock. Then, holding her ribbon of seaweed by
the harsh, knotted root, torn up along with the leaf, and trailing it
behind her, she followed her brother, reached the end of the rock,
turned and went in the traces of Jamie and Tib in the sand parallel to
her former course.

Suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, on the right hand there opened
before her, in the face of the cliff, a cave, the entrance to which
was completely masked by the ridge she had turned. Into this cave went
Jamie with his dog.

"I am not obliged to follow you there!" protested Judith; but he made
such vehement signs to her to follow him that she good-humoredly
obeyed.

The cave ran in a long way, at first at no great incline, then it
became low overhead, and immediately after the floor inclined rapidly
upward, and the vault took a like direction. Moreover, light appeared
in front. Here, to Judith's surprise, she saw a large boat, painted
gray, furnished with oars and boat-hook. She was attached by a chain
to a staple in the rock. Judith examined her with a little uneasiness.
No name was on her.

The sides of the cave at this point formed shelves, not altogether
natural, and that these were made use of was evident, because on them
lay staves of broken casks, a four-flanged boat-anchor, and some oars.
Out of the main trunk cave branched another that was quite dark, and
smaller; in this, Judith, whose eyes were becoming accustomed to the
twilight, thought she saw the bows of a smaller boat, also painted
gray.

"Jamie!" said Judith, now in serious alarm; "we ought not to be here.
It is not safe. Do--do come away at once."

"Why, what is there to harm us?"

"My dear, do come away." She turned to retrace her steps, but Jamie
stopped her.

"Not that way, Ju! I have another by which to get out. Follow me
still."

He led the way up the steep rubble slope, and the light fell fuller
from above. The cave was one of those into which when the sea rolls
and chokes the entrance, the compressed air is driven out by a second
orifice.

They reached a sort of well or shaft, at the bottom of which they
stood, but it did not open vertically but bent over somewhat, so that
from below the sky could not be seen, though the light entered. A
narrow path was traced in the side, and up this Jamie and the dog
scrambled, followed by Judith, who was most anxious to escape from a
place which she had no doubt was one of the shelter caves of the
smugglers--perhaps of Cruel Coppinger, whose house was not a mile
distant.

The ascent was steep, the path slippery in places, and therefore
dangerous. Jamie made nothing of it, nor did the little dog, but
Judith picked her way with care; she had a good steady head, and did
not feel giddy, but she was not sure that her feet might not slide in
the clay where wet with water that dripped from the sides. As she
neared the entrance she saw that hartstongue and maidenhair fern had
rooted themselves in the sheltered nooks of this tunnel.

After a climb of a hundred feet she came out on a ledge in the face of
the cliff above the bay, to see, with a gasp of dismay, her brother in
the hand of Cruel Coppinger, the boy paralyzed with fear so that he
could neither stir nor cry out.

"What!" exclaimed the Captain, "you here?" as he saw Judith stand
before him.

The puppy was barking and snapping at his boots. Coppinger let go
Jamie, stooped and caught the dog by the neck. "Look at me," said the
smuggler sternly, addressing the frightened boy. Then he swung the dog
above his head and dashed it down the cliffs; it caught, then rolled,
and fell out of sight--certainly with the life beaten out of it.

"This will be done to you," said he; "I do not say that I would do it.
She"--he waved his hand toward Judith--"stands between us. But if any
of the fifteen to twenty men who know this place and come here should
chance to meet you as I have met you, he would treat you without
compunction as I have treated that dog. And if he were to catch you
below--you have heard of Wyvill, the Preventive man?--you would fare
as did he. Thank your sister that you are alive now. Go on--that
way--up the cliff." He pointed with a telescope he held.

Jamie fled up the steep path like the wind.

"Judith," said Coppinger, "will you stand surety that he does not tell
tales?"

"I do not believe he will say anything."

"I do not ask you to be silent. I know you will not speak. But if you
mistrust his power to hold his tongue, send him away--send him out of
the country--as you love him."

"He shall never come here again," said Judith, earnestly.

"That is well; he owes his life to you."

Judith noticed that Cruel Coppinger's left arm was no more in a sling,
nor in bands.

He saw that she observed this, and smiled grimly. "I have my freedom
with this arm once more--for the first time to-day."



CHAPTER XIII.

IN THE DUSK.


"Kicking along, Mr. Menaida, old man?" asked Mr. Scantlebray, in his
loud, harsh voice, as he shook himself inside the door of Uncle
Zachie's workshop. "And the little 'uns? Late in life to become nurse
and keep the bottle and pap-bowl going, eh, old man? How's the
orphings? Eating their own weight of victuals at twopence-ha'penny a
head, eh? My experience of orphings isn't such as would make a man
hilarious, and feel that he was filling his pockets."

"Sit you down, sir; you'll find a chair. Not that one, there's a dab
of arsenical paste got on to that. Sit you down, sir, over against me.
Glad to see you and have some one to talk to. Here am I slaving all
day, worn to fiddlestrings. There's Squire Rashleigh, of Menabilly,
must have a glaucous gull stuffed at once that he has shot; and
there's Sir John St. Aubyn, of Clowance, must have a case of
kittiwakes by a certain day; and an institution in London wants a
genuine specimen of a Cornish chough. Do they think I'm a tradesman to
be ordered about? That I've not an income of my own, and that I am
dependent on my customers? I'll do no more. I'll smoke and play the
piano. I've no time to exchange a word with any one. Come, sit down.
What's the news?"

"It's a bad world," said Mr. Scantlebray, setting himself into a
chair. "That's to say, the world is well enough if it warn't for there
being too many rascals in it. I consider it's a duty on all
right-thinking men to clear them off."

"Well, the world would be better if we had the making of it,"
acquiesced Mr. Menaida. "Bless you! I've no time for anything. I like
to do a bit of bird-stuffing just as a sort of relaxation after
smoking, but to be forced to work more than one cares--I won't do it!
Besides, it is not wholesome. I shall be poisoned with arsenic. I must
have some antidote. So will you, sir--eh? A drop of real first-rate
cognac?"

"Thank you, sir--old man--I don't mind dipping a feather and drawing
it across my lips."

Jamie had been so frightened by the encounter with Cruel Coppinger
that he was thoroughly upset. He was a timid, nervous child, and
Judith had persuaded him to go to bed. She sat by him, holding his
hand, comforting him as best she might, when he sobbed over the loss
of his pup, and cheering him when he clung to her in terror at the
reminiscence of the threats of the Captain to deal with him as he had
with Tib. Judith was under no apprehension of his revisiting the cave;
he had been too thoroughly frightened ever to venture there again. She
said nothing to impress this on him; all her efforts were directed
toward allaying his alarms.

Just as she hoped that he was dropping off into unconsciousness, he
suddenly opened his eyes, and said, "Ju."

"Yes, dear."

"I've lost the chain."

"What chain, my pretty?"

"Tib's chain."

The pup had been a trouble when Jamie went with the creature through
the village or through a farm-yard. He would run after and nip the
throats of chickens. Tib and his master had got into trouble on this
account; accordingly Judith had turned out a light steel chain,
somewhat rusty, and a dog collar from among the sundries that
encumbered the drawers and closets of the rectory. This she had given
to her brother, and whenever the little dog was near civilization he
was obliged to submit to the chain.

Judith, to console Jamie for his loss, had told him that in all
probability another little dog might be procured to be his companion.
Alas! the collar was on poor Tib, but she represented to him that if
another dog were obtained it would be possible to buy or beg a collar
for him, supposing a collar to be needful. This had satisfied Jamie,
and he was about to doze off, when suddenly he woke to say that the
chain was lost.

"Where did you lose the chain, Jamie?"

"I threw it down."

"Why did you do that?"

"I thought I shouldn't want it when Tib was gone."

"And where did you throw it? Perhaps it may be found again."

"I won't go and look for it--indeed I won't." He shivered and clung to
his sister.

"Where was it? Perhaps I can find it."

"I dropped it at the top--on the down when I came up the steps
from--from that man, when he had killed Tib."

"You did not throw it over the cliff?"

"No--I threw it down. I did not think I wanted it any more."

"I dare say it may be found. I will go and see."

"No--no! Don't, Ju. You might meet that man."

Judith smiled. She felt that she was not afraid of that man--he would
not hurt her.

As soon as the boy was asleep, Judith descended the stairs, leaving
the door ajar, that she might hear should he wake in a fright, and
entering the little sitting-room, took up her needles and wool, and
seated herself quietly by the window, where the last glimmer of
twilight shone, to continue her work at a jersey she was knitting for
Jamie's use in the winter.

The atmosphere was charged with tobacco-smoke, almost as much as that
of the adjoining workshop. There was no door between the rooms; none
had been needed formerly, and Mr. Menaida did not think of supplying
one now. It was questionable whether one would have been an advantage,
as Jamie ran to and fro, and would be certain either to leave the door
open or to slam it, should one be erected. Moreover, a door meant
payment to a carpenter for timber and labor. There was no carpenter in
the village, and Mr. Menaida spent no more money than he was
absolutely obliged to spend, and how could he on an annuity of fifty
pounds.

Judith dropped her woolwork in her lap and fell into meditation. She
reviewed what had just taken place: she saw before her again
Coppinger, strongly built, with his dark face, and eyes that glared
into the soul to its lowest depths, illumining all, not as the sun,
but as the lightning, and suffering not a thought, not a feeling to
remain obscure.

A second time had Jamie done what angered him, but on this occasion
he had curbed his passion and had contented himself with a
threat--nay, not even that--with a caution. He had expressly told
Jamie, that he himself would not hurt him, but that he ran into danger
from others.

She was again looking at Coppinger as he spoke; she saw the changes in
his face, the alterations of expression in his eyes, in his
intonation. She recalled the stern, menacing tone in which he had
spoken to Jamie, and then the inflexion of voice as he referred to
her. A dim surmise--a surmise she was ashamed to allow could be
true--rose in her mind and thrilled her with alarm. Was it possible
that he _liked_ her--liked--she could, she would give even in thought
no other term to describe that feeling which she feared might possibly
have sprung up in his breast. That he liked her--after all she had
done? Was that why he had come to the cottage the day after his
accident? Was that what had prompted the strange note sent to her
along with the keg of spirits to Uncle Zachie? Was that the meaning of
the offer of the choice of all his treasures?--of the vehemence with
which he had seized her hand and had kissed it? Was that the
interpretation of those words of excuse in which he had declared her
his queen? If this were so, then much that had been enigmatical in his
conduct was explained--his interference with the valuers for
dilapidations, the strange manner in which he came across her path
almost whenever she went to the rectory. And this was the
signification of the glow in his eyes, the quaver in his voice, when
he addressed her.

Was it so?--could it be so?--that he liked her?--he--Cruel
Coppinger--_Cruel_ Coppinger--the terror of the country round--liked
_her_, the weakest creature that could be found?

The thought of such a possibility frightened her. That the wild
smuggler-captain should hate her she could have borne with better than
that he should like her. That she was conscious of a sense of pleased
surprise, intermixed with fear, was inevitable, for Judith was a
woman, and there was something calculated to gratify feminine pride in
the presumption that the most lawless and headstrong man on the
Cornish coast should have meant what he said when he declared himself
her subject.

These thoughts, flushing and paling her cheek, quickening and staying
her pulse, so engrossed Judith that, though she heard the voices in
the adjoining apartment, she paid no heed to what was said.

The wind, which had been fresh all day, was blowing stronger. It
battered at the window where Judith sat, as though a hand struck and
brushed over the panes.

"Hot or cold?" asked Uncle Zachie.

"Thanky', neither. Water can be got everywhere, but such brandy as
this, old man--only here."

"You are good to say so. It is Coppinger's present to me."

"Coppinger!--his very good health, and may he lie in clover to-morrow
night. He's had one arm bound, I've seen; perhaps he may have two
before the night grows much older."

Mr. Menaida raised his brows.

"I do not understand you."

"I daresay not," said Scantlebray. "It's the duty of all right-minded
men to clear the world of rascals. I will do my duty, please the pigs.
Would you mind--just another drop?"

After his glass had been refilled, Mr. Scantlebray leaned back in his
chair and said:

"It's a wicked world, and, between you and me and the sugar dissolving
at the bottom of my glass, you won't find more rascality anywhere than
in my profession, and one of the biggest rascals in it is Mr.
Cargreen. He's on the side against the orphings. If you've the faculty
of pity in you, pity them--first, because they've him agin' 'em, and,
secondly, because they've lost me as their protector. You know whom
they got in place of me? I wish them joy of him. But they won't have
his wing over them long, I can tell you."

"You think not?"

"Sure of it."

"You think he'll throw it up?"

"I rather suspect he won't be at liberty to attend to it. He'll want
his full attention to his own consarns."

Mr. Scantlebray tipped off his glass.

"It's going to be a dirty night," said he. "You won't mind my spending
an hour or two with you, will you?"

"I shall be delighted. Have you any business in the place?"

"Business--no. A little pleasure, maybe." After a pause, he said,
"But, old man, I don't mind telling you what it is. You are mum, I
know. It is this--the trap will shut to-night. Snap it goes, and the
rats are fast. You haven't been out on the cliffs to-day, have you?"

"No--bless me!--no, I have not."

"The Black Prince is in the offing."

"The Black Prince?"

"Ay, and she will run her cargo ashore to-night. Now, I'm one who
knows a little more than most. I'm one o' your straightfor'ard 'uns,
always ready to give a neighbor a lift in my buggy, and a helping hand
to the man that is down, and a frank, outspoken fellow am I to every
one I meet--so that, knocking about as I do, I come to know and to
hear more than do most, and I happen to have learnt into what cove the
Black Prince will run her goods. I've a bone to pick with Captain
Cruel, so I've let the Preventive men have the contents of my
information-pottle, and they will be ready to-night for Coppinger and
the whole party of them. The cutter will slip in between them and the
sea, and a party will be prepared to give them the kindliest welcome
by land. That is the long and short of it--and, old man, I shall
dearly love to be there and see the sport. That is why I wish to be
with you for an hour or two. Will you come as well?"

"Bless me!" exclaimed Mr. Menaida, "not I! You don't suppose Coppinger
and his men will allow themselves to be taken easily? There'll be a
fight."

"And pistols go off," said Scantlebray. "I shall not be surprised or
sorry if Captain Cruel be washed up one of these next tides with a
bullet through his head. Ebenezer Wyvill is one of the guards, and he
has his brother's death to avenge."

"Do you really believe that Coppinger killed him?"

Mr. Scantlebray shrugged his shoulders. "It don't matter much what _I_
think, to-night, but what the impression is that Ebenezer Wyvill
carries about with him. I imagine that if Ebenezer comes across the
Captain he won't speak to him by word of mouth, nor trouble himself to
feel for a pair of handcuffs. So--fill my glass again, old man, and
we'll drink to a cold bed and an indigestible lump--somewhere--in his
head or in his gizzard--to Cruel Coppinger, and the wiping off of old
scores--always a satisfaction to honest men." Scantlebray rubbed his
hands. "It is a satisfaction to the conscience--to ferret out the rats
sometimes."



CHAPTER XIV.

WARNING OF DANGER.


Judith, lost for awhile in her dreams, had been brought to a sense of
what was the subject of conversation in the adjoining room by the
mention of Coppinger's name more than once. She heard the desultory
talk for awhile without giving it much attention, but Scantlebray's
voice was of that harsh and penetrating nature that to exclude it the
ears must be treated as Ulysses treated the ears of his mariners as he
passed the rock of the Sirens.

Presently she became alive to the danger in which Coppinger stood.
Scantlebray spoke plainly, and she understood. There could be no doubt
about it. The Black Prince belonged to the Captain, and his dealings
with and through that vessel were betrayed. Not only was Coppinger, as
the head of a gang of smugglers, an object worth capture to the
Preventive men, but the belief that he had caused the death of at
least one of their number had embittered them against him to such an
extent that, when the opportunity presented itself to them of
capturing him red-handed engaged in his smuggling transactions, they
were certain to deal with him in a way much more summary than the
processes of a court of a justice. The brother of the man who had been
murdered was among the coast-guard, and he would not willingly let
slip a chance of avenging the death of Jonas Wyvill. Coppinger was not
in a condition to defend himself effectively. On that day for the
first time, had he left off his bandages, and his muscles were stiff
and the newly set bones still weak.

What was to be done? Could Judith go to bed and let Coppinger run into
the net prepared for his feet--go to his death?

No sooner, however, had Judith realized the danger that menaced
Coppinger than she resolved on doing her utmost to avert it. She, and
she alone, could deliver him from the disgrace, if not the death, that
menaced him.

She stole lightly from the room and got her cloak, drew the hood over
her head, and sallied forth into the night. Heavy clouds rolled over
the sky, driven before a strong gale. Now and then they opened and
disclosed the twilight sky, in which faintly twinkled a few stars, and
at such times a dim light fell over the road, but in another moment
lumbering masses of vapor were carried forward, blotting out the clear
tract of sky, and at the same time blurring all objects on earth with
one enveloping shadow.

Judith's heart beat furiously, and timidity came over her spirit as
she left the cottage, for she was unaccustomed to be outside the house
at such an hour; but the purpose she had before her eyes gave her
strength and courage. It seemed to her that Providence had suddenly
constituted her the guardian angel of Coppinger, and she flattered
herself that, were she to be the means of delivering him from the
threatened danger, she might try to exact of him a promise to
discontinue so dangerous and so questionable a business. If this night
she were able to give him warning in time, it would be some return
made for his kindness to her, and some reparation made for the injury
she had done him. When for an instant there was a rift in the clouds,
and she could look up and see the pure stars, it seemed to her that
they shone down on her like angels' eyes, watching, encouraging, and
promising her protection. She thought of her father--of how his mind
had been set against Coppinger; now, she felt convinced, he saw that
his judgment had been warped, and that he would bless her for doing
that which she had set her mind to accomplish. Her father had been
ever ready frankly to acknowledge himself in the wrong when he had
been convinced that he was mistaken, and now in the light of eternity,
with eyes undarkened by prejudice, he must know that he was in error
in his condemnation of Coppinger, and be glad that his daughter was
doing something to save that man from an untimely and bloody death.

Not a soul did Judith meet or pass on her way. She had determined in
the first case to go to Pentyre Glaze. She would see if Captain Cruel
were there. She trusted he was at his house. If so, her course was
simple; she would warn him and return to Mr. Menaida's cottage as
quickly as her feet would bear her. The wind caught her cloak, and she
turned in alarm, fancying that it was plucked by a human hand. No one,
however, was behind her.

In Pentyre lane it was dark, very dark. The rude half-walls,
half-hedges stood up high, walled toward the lane hedged with earth
and planted with thorns toward the field. The wind hissed through the
bushes; there was an ash tree by a gate. One branch sawed against
another, producing a weird, even shrill sound like a cry.

The way led past a farm, and she stole along before it with the utmost
fear as she heard the dog in the yard begin to bark furiously, and as
she believed that it was not chained up, might rush forth at her. It
might fall upon her, and hold her there till the farmer came forth and
found her, and inquired into the reason of her being there at night.
If found and recognized, what excuse could she give? What explanation
could satisfy the inquisitive?

She did not breathe freely till she had come out on the down; the dog
was still barking, but, as he had not pursued her, she was satisfied
that he was not at large. Her way now lay for a while over open
common, and then again entered a lane between the hedges that enclosed
the fields and meadows of the Glaze.

A dense darkness fell over the down, and Judith for a while was
uncertain of her way, the track being undistinguishable from the short
turf on either side. Suddenly she saw some flashes of light that ran
along the ground and then disappeared.

"This is the road," said a voice.

Judith's heart stood still, and her blood curdled in her veins. If the
cloud were to roll away--and she could see far off its silvery fringe,
she would become visible. The voice was that of a man, but whether
that of a smuggler or of a coast-guard she could not guess. By neither
did she care to be discovered. By the dim, uncertain light she stole
off the path, and sank upon the ground among some masses of gorse that
stood on the common. Between the prickly tufts she might lie, and in
her dark cloak be mistaken for a patch of furze. She drew her feet
under the skirt, that the white stockings might not betray her, and
plucked the hood of her cloak closely round her face. The gorse was
sharp, and the spikes entered her hands and feet, and pricked her as
she turned herself about between the bushes to bring herself deeper
among them.

From where she lay she could see the faintly illumined horizon, and
against that horizon figures were visible, one--then another--a
third--she could not count accurately, for there came several
together; but she was convinced there must have been over a dozen men.

"It's a'most too rough to-night, I reckon," said one of the men.

"No, it is not--the wind is not direct on shore. They'll try it."

"Coppinger and his chaps are down in the cove already," said a third.
"They wouldn't go out if they wasn't expecting the boats from the
Black Prince."

"You are sure they're down, Wyvill?"

"Sure and sartain. I seed 'em pass, and mighty little I liked to let
'em go by--without a pop from my pistol. But I'd my orders. No orders
against the pistol going off of itself, Captain, if I have a chance
presently?"

No answer was given to this; but he who had been addressed as Captain
asked--

"Are the asses out?"

"Yes; a whole score, I reckon."

"Then they'll come up the mule path. We must watch that. Lieutenant
Hanson will be ready with the cutter to run out and stop their way
back by water to the Prince. The Prince's men will take to the sea,
and he'll settle with them; but Coppinger's men will run up the
cliffs, and we must tackle them. Go on."

Several now disappeared into the darkness, moving toward the sea.

"Here, a word with you, Wyvill," said the Captain.

"Right, sir--here I be."

"Dash it!--it is so dark! Here, step back--a word in your ear."

"Right you are, sir."

They came on to the turf close to where Judith crouched.

"What is that?" said the Captain, hastily.

"What, sir?"

"I thought I trod on something like cloth. Have you a light?"

"No, sir! Home has the dark lantern."

"I suppose it is nothing. What is all that dark stuff there?"

"I'll see, sir," said Wyvill, stooping, and with his hand. "By George,
sir! it's naught but fuzz."

"Very well, Wyvill--a word between us. I know that if you have the
chance you intend to send a bullet into Coppinger. I don't blame you.
I won't say I wouldn't do it--unofficially--but looky' here, man, if
you can manage without a bullet--say a blow with the butt-end on his
forehead and a roll over the cliffs--I'd prefer it. In self-defence of
course we must use fire-arms. But there's some squeamish stomachs, you
understand; and if it can come about accidentally, as it were--as if
he'd missed his footing--I'd prefer it. Make it pleasant all around,
if you can."

"Yes, sir; leave it to me."

"It oughtn't to be difficult, you know, Wyvill. I hear he's broke one
arm, so is like to be insecure in his hold climbing the cliffs. Then
no questions asked, and more pleasant, you know. You understand me?"

"Yes, sir; thank you, sir."

Then they went on, and were lost to sight and to hearing. For some
minutes Judith did not stir. She lay, recovering her breath; she had
hardly ventured to breathe while the two men were by her, the Captain
with his foot on her skirt. Now she remained motionless, to consider
what was to be done. It was of no further use her going on to Pentyre
Glaze. Coppinger had left it. Wyvill, who had been planted as spy, had
seen him with his carriers defile out of the lane with the asses that
were to bring up the smuggled goods from the shore.

She dare not take the path by which on the preceding afternoon she had
descended with Jamie to the beach, for it was guarded by the
Preventive men.

There was but one way by which she could reach the shore and warn
Coppinger, and that was by the chimney of the cave--a way dangerous in
daylight, one, moreover, not easy to find at night. The mouth of the
chimney opened upon a ledge that overhung the sea half-way down the
face of the precipice, and this ledge could only be reached by a
narrow track--a track apparently traced by sheep.

Judith thought that she might find her way to that part of the down
from which the descent was to be made; for she had noticed that what
is locally called a "new-take" wall came near it, and if she could hit
this wall, she believed she could trace it up to where it approached
the cliff: and the track descended somewhere thereabouts. She waited
where she lay till the heavy clouds rolled by, and for a brief space
the sky was comparatively clear. Then she rose, and took the direction
in which she ought to go to reach the "new-take" wall. As she went
over the down, she heard the sea roaring threateningly; on her left
hand the glint of the light-house on Trevose Head gave her the
direction she must pursue. But, on a down like that, with a precipice
on one hand, in a light, uncertain at best, often in complete
darkness, it was dangerous to advance except by thrusting the foot
forward tentatively before taking a step. The sea and the gnawing
winds caused the cliffs to crumble; bits were eaten out of the
surface, and in places there were fissures in the turf where a rent
had formed, and where shortly a mass would fall.

It is said that the duties on customs were originally instituted in
order to enable the Crown to afford protection to trade against
pirates. The pirates ceased to infest the seas, but the duties were
not only taken off, but were increased, and became a branch of the
public revenue. Perhaps some consciousness that the profits were not
devoted to the purpose originally intended, bred in the people on the
coast a feeling of resentment against the imposition of duties. There
certainly existed an impression, a conviction rather, that the
violation of a positive law of this nature was in no respect criminal.
Adventurers embarked in the illicit traffic without scruple, as they
did in poaching. The profit was great, and the danger run enhanced the
excitement of the pursuit, and gave a sort of heroic splendor to the
achievements of the successful smuggler.

The Government, to stop a traffic that injured legitimate trade and
affected the revenue, imposed severe penalties. Smuggling was classed
among the felonies, "without benefit of clergy," the punishment for
which was death and confiscation of goods. The consciousness that
they would be dealt with with severity did not deter bold men from
engaging in the traffic, but made them desperate in self-defence when
caught. Conflicts with revenue officers were not uncommon, and lives
were lost on both sides. The smugglers were not bound together by any
link, and sometimes one gang was betrayed by another, so as to divert
suspicion and attention from their own misdeeds, or out of jealousy,
or on account of a quarrel. It was so on this occasion: the success of
Coppinger, the ingenuity with which he had carried on his defiance of
the law, caused envy of him, because he was a foreigner--was, at all
events, not a Cornishman; this had induced a rival to give notice to
the Revenue officers, through Scantlebray--a convenient go-between in
a good many questionable negotiations. The man who betrayed Coppinger
dared not be seen entering into communication with the officers of the
law. He, therefore, employed Scantlebray as the vehicle through whom,
without suspicion resting on himself, his rival might be fallen upon
and his proceedings brought to an end.

It was now very dark. Judith had reached and touched a wall; but in
the darkness lost her bearings. The Trevose light was no longer
visible, and directly she left the wall to strike outward she became
confused as direction, and in the darkness groped along with her feet,
stretching her hands before her. Then the rain came down, lashing in
her face. The wind had shifted somewhat during the evening, and it was
no guidance to Judith to feel from what quarter the rain drove against
her. Moreover, the cove formed a great curve in the coast-line, and
was indented deeply in some places, so that to grope round the edge
without light in quest of a point only seen or noticed once, seemed a
desperate venture. Suddenly Judith's foot caught. It was entangled,
and she could not disengage it. She stooped, and put her hand on a
chain. It was Jamie's steel dog-chain, one link of which had caught in
a tuft of rest-harrow.

She had found the spot she wanted, and now waited only till the rain
had rushed further inland, and a fringe of light appeared in the sky,
to advance to the very edge of the cliff. She found it expedient to
stoop as she proceeded, so as to discover some indications of the
track. There were depressions where feet had worn the turf, and she
set hers therein, and sought the next. Thus, creeping and groping, she
neared the edge.

And now came the moment of supreme peril, when, trusting that she had
found the right path, she must go over the brink. If she were
mistaken, the next step would send her down two hundred feet, to where
she heard the roar, and felt the breath of the sea stream up to her
from the abyss. Here she could distinguish nothing; she must trust to
Providence to guide her steps. She uttered a short and earnest prayer,
and then boldly descended. She could not stoop now. To stoop was to
dive headlong down. She felt her way, however, with her feet, reached
one firm station, then another. Her hands touched the grass and earth
of the ragged margin, then with another step she was below it, and
held to the rain-splashed fangs of rock.

Clinging, with her face inward, feeling with her feet, and never sure
but that the next moment might see her launched into air, she stole
onward, slowly, cautiously, and ever with the gnawing dread in her
heart lest she should be too late. One intense point of consciousness
stood out in her brain--it told her that if, while thus creeping down,
there should come the flash and explosion of fire-arms, her courage
would fail, her head would spin, and she would be lost.

How long she was descending she could not tell, how many steps she
took was unknown to her--she had not counted--but it seemed to her an
entire night that passed, with every change of position an hour was
marked; then, at last, she was conscious that she stood on more level
ground. She had reached the terrace.

A little further, and on her left hand, would open the mouth of the
shaft, and she must descend that, in profoundest darkness. A cry! A
light flashed into her eyes and dazzled her. A hand at the same moment
clutched her, or she would have reeled back and gone over the cliff.

The light was held to pour over her face. Who held it and who grasped
her she could not see; but she knew the moment she heard a voice
exclaim--

"Judith!"

In her terror and exhaustion she could but gasp for breath for a few
moments.

By degrees her firmness and resolution returned, and she exclaimed,
in broken tones, panting between every few words--

"Captain Cruel!--you are betrayed--they are after you!"

He did not press her. He waited till she could speak again, lowering
the lantern.

Then, without the glare in her eyes, she was able to speak more
freely.

"There is a boat--a Revenue cutter--waiting in the
bay--and--above--are the Preventive men--and they will kill you."

"Indeed," said he. "And you have come to warn me?"

"Yes."

"Tell me--are there any above, where you came down!"

"None; they are on the ass-path."

"Can you ascend as you came down?"

"Yes."

He extinguished his lantern, or covered it.

"I must no more show light. I must warn those below." He paused, then
said--

"Dare you mount alone."

"I came down alone."

"Then do this one thing more for me. Mount, and go to Pentyre. Tell
your aunt--three lights--red, white, red; then ten minutes, and then,
red, red, white. Can you remember? Repeat after me: 'Three
lights--red, white, red; then, ten minutes, and next, red, red, and
white.'"

Judith repeated the words.

"That is right. Lose no time. I dare not give you a light. None must
now be shown. The boat from the Black Prince is not in--this lantern
was her guide. Now it is out she will go back. You will remember the
signals? I thank you for what you have done. There is but one woman
would have done it, and that Judith."

He stepped inside the shaft to descend. When hidden, he allowed his
light again to show, to assist him in his way down. Judith only waited
till her eyes, that had been dazzled by the light, were recovered, and
then she braced herself to resume her climb; but now it was to be up
the cliff.



CHAPTER XV.

CHAINED.


To ascend is easier than to go down. Judith was no longer alarmed.
There was danger still, that was inevitable; but the danger was as
nothing now to what it had been. It is one thing to descend in total
darkness into an abyss where one knows that below are sharp rocks, and
a drop of two hundred feet to a thundering, raging sea, racing up the
sand, pouring over the shelves of rock, foaming where divided waves
clash. When Judith had been on the beach in the afternoon the tide was
out; now it was flowing, and had swept over all that tract of white
sand and pebble where she had walked. She could not indeed now see the
water, but she heard the thud of a billow as it smote a rock, the boil
and the hiss of the waves and spray. To step downward, groping the
way, with a depth and a wild-throbbing sea beneath, demanded courage,
and courage of no mean order; but it was other to mount, to be able to
feel with the foot the ascent in the track, and to grope upward with
the hand from one point of clutch to another, to know that every step
upward was lessening the peril, and bringing nearer to the sward and
to safety.

Without great anxiety, therefore, Judith turned to climb. Cruel
Coppinger had allowed her to essay it unaided. Would he have done that
had he thought it involved danger, or, rather, serious danger? Judith
was sure he would not. His confidence that she could climb to the
summit unassisted made her confident. As she had descended she had
felt an interior qualm and sinking at every step she took; there was
no such sensation now as she mounted.

She was not much inconvenienced by the wind, for the wind was not
directly on shore; but it soughed about her, and eddies caught her
cloak and jerked it. It would have been better had she left her cloak
above on the turf. It incommoded her in her climb; it caught in the
prongs of rock.

The rain, the water running off the rock, had wet her shoes, soaked
them, and every step was in moisture that oozed out of them. She was
glad now to rest on her right hand. In descending, the left had felt
and held the rock, and it had been rubbed and cut. Probably it was
bleeding.

Surely there was a little more light in the sky where the sky showed
between the dense masses of vapor. Judith did not observe this, for
she did not look aloft; but she could see a steely tract of sea,
fretted into foam, reflecting an illumination from above, greater than
the twilight could cast. Then she remembered that there had been a
moon a few nights before, and thought that it was probably risen by
this time.

Something chill and wet brushed her face. It startled her for a
moment, and then she knew by the scent that it was a bunch of samphire
growing out of the side of the crag.

Shrill in her ear came the scream of a gull that rushed by in the
darkness, and she felt, or believed she felt, the fan from the wings.
Again it screamed, and near the ear it pierced her brain like an awl,
and then again, still nearer, unnerving her. In the darkness she
fancied that this gull was about to attack her with beak and claws,
and she put up her left arm as a protection to her eyes. Then there
broke out a jabber of sea-birds' voices, laughing mockingly, at a
little distance.

Whither had she got!

The way was no longer easy--one step before another--there was a break
of continuity in the path, if path the track could be called.

Judith stood still, and put forward her foot to test the rock in
front. There was no place where it could rest. Had she, bewildered by
that gull, diverged from the track? It would be well to retreat a few
steps. She endeavored to do this, and found that she encountered a
difficulty in finding the place where she had just planted her foot.

It was but too certain that she was off the track line. How to recover
it she knew not. With the utmost difficulty she did reach a point in
her rear where she could stand, clinging to the rock; but she clung
now with both hands. There was no tuft of samphire to brush her face
as she descended. She must have got wrong before she touched that. But
where was the samphire? She cautiously felt along the surface of the
crag in quest of it, but could not find it. There was, however, a
little above her shoulder, a something that felt like a ledge, and
which might be the track. If she had incautiously crept forward at a
level without ascending rapidly enough, she was probably below the
track. Could she climb to this point--climb up the bare rock, with
sheer precipice below her? And, supposing that the shelf she felt with
her hand were not the track, could she descend again to the place
where she had been?

Her brain spun. She lost all notion as to where she might be--perhaps
she was below the path, perhaps she was above it. She could not tell.
She stood with arms extended, clinging to the rock, and her heart beat
in bounds against the flinty surface. The clasp of her cloak was
pressing on her throat, and strangling her. The wind had caught the
garment, and was playing with the folds, carrying it out and flapping
it behind her over the gulf. It was irksome; it was a danger to her.
She cautiously slid one hand to her neck, unhasped the mantle, and it
was snatched from her shoulders and carried away. She was lighter
without it, could move with greater facility; cold she was not, wet
she might become, but what mattered that if she could reach the top of
the cliff?

Not only on her own account was Judith alarmed. She had undertaken a
commission. She had promised to bear a message to her aunt from
Coppinger that concerned the safety of his men. What the signal meant
she did not know, but suspected that it conveyed a message of danger.

She placed both her hands on the ledge, and felt with her knee for
some point on which to rest it, to assist her in lifting herself from
where she stood to the higher elevation. There was a small projection,
and after a moment's hesitation she drew her foot from the shelf
whereon it had rested and leaned the left knee on this hunch. Then she
clung with both hands, and with them and her knee endeavored to heave
herself up about four feet, that is, to the height of her shoulders. A
convulsive quiver seized on her muscles. She was sustained by a knee
and her hands only. If they gave way she could not trust to recover
her previous lodgement place. One desperate strain, and she was on the
ledge, on both knees, and was feeling with her hands to ascertain if
she had found the track. Her fingers touched thrift and passed over
turf. She had not reached what she sought. She was probably farther
from it than before. As all her members were quivering after the
effort, she seated herself on the shelf she had reached, leaned back
against the wet rock, and waited till her racing pulses had recovered
evenness of flow, and her muscles had overcome the first effects of
their tension.

Her position was desperate. Rain and perspiration mingled dripped from
her brow, ran over and blinded her eyes. Her breath came in sobs
between her parted lips. Her ears were full of the booming of the
surge far below, and the scarcely less noisy throb of her blood in her
pulses.

When she had started on her adventurous expedition she had seen some
stars that had twinkled down on her, and had appeared to encourage
her. Now, not a star was visible, only, far off on the sea, a wan
light that fell through a rent in the black canopy over an angry deep.
Beyond that all was darkness, between her and that all was darkness.

As she recovered her self-possession, with the abatement of the tumult
in her blood she was able to review her position, and calculate her
chances of escape from it.

Up the track from the cave the smugglers would almost certainly
escape, because that was the only way, unwatched, by which they could
leave the beach without falling into the hands of the Preventive men.

If they came by the path--that path could not be far off, though in
which direction it lay she could not guess. She would call, and then
Coppinger or some of his men would come to her assistance.

By this means alone could she escape. There was nothing for her to do
but to wait.

She bent forward and looked down. She might have been looking into a
well; but a little way out she could see, or imagine she saw, the
white fringes of surf stealing in. There was not sufficient light for
her to be certain whether she really saw foam, or whether her fancy,
excited by the thunder of the tide, made her suppose she saw it.

The shelf she occupied was narrow and inclined; if she slipped from it
she could not trust to maintain herself on the lower shelf, certainly
not if she slid down in a condition of unconsciousness. And now
reaction after the strain was setting in, and she feared lest she
might faint. In her pocket was the dog-chain that had caught her foot.
She extracted that now, and groping along the wall of rock behind her,
caught a stout tuft of coarse heather, wiry, well rooted; and she took
the little steel chain and wound it about the branches and stem of the
plant, and also about her wrist--her right wrist--so as to fasten her
to the wall. That was some relief to her to know that in the event of
her dropping out of consciousness there was something to hold her up,
though that was only the stem of an erica, and her whole weight would
rest on its rootlets. Would they suffice to sustain her? It was
doubtful; but there was nothing else on which she could depend.

Suddenly a stone whizzed past, struck the ledge, and rebounded. Then
came a shower of earth and pebbles. They did not touch her, but she
heard them clatter down.

Surely they had been displaced by a foot, and that a foot passing
above.

Then she heard a shot--also overhead, and a cry. She looked aloft, and
saw against the half-translucent vapors a black struggling figure on
the edge of the cliff. She saw it but for an instant, and then was
struck on the face by an open hand, and a body crashed on to the shelf
at her side, rolled over the edge, and plunged into the gulf below.

She tried to cry, but her voice failed her. She felt her cheek stung
by the blow she had received. A feeling as though all the rock were
sinking under her came on, as though she were sliding--not
shooting--but sliding down, down, and the sky went up higher,
higher--and she knew no more.



CHAPTER XVI.

ON THE SHINGLE.


The smugglers, warned by Coppinger, had crept up the path in silence,
and singly, at considerable intervals between each, and on reaching
the summit of the cliffs had dispersed to their own homes, using the
precaution to strike inland first, over the "new-take" wall.

As the last of the party reached the top he encountered one of the
coast-guards, who, by the orders of his superior, was patrolling the
down to watch that the smugglers did not leave the cove by any other
path than the one known--that up and down which donkeys were driven.
This donkey-driving to the beach was not pursued solely for the sake
of contraband; the beasts brought up loads of sand, which the farmers
professed they found valuable as manure on their stiff soil, and also
the masses of seaweed cast on the strand after a gale, and which was
considered to be possessed of rare fertilizing qualities.

No sooner did the coast-guard see a man ascend the cliff, or rather
come up over the edge before him, than he fired his pistol to give the
signal to his fellows, whereupon the smuggler turned, seized him by
the throat, and precipitated him over the edge.

Of this Coppinger knew nothing. He had led the procession, and had
made his way to Pentyre Glaze by a roundabout route, so as to evade a
guard set to watch for him approaching from the cliffs, should one
have been so planted.

On reaching his door, his first query was whether the signals had been
made.

"What signals?" asked Miss Trevisa.

"I sent a messenger here with instructions."

"No messenger has been here."

"What, no one--not--" he hesitated, and said, "not a woman?"

"Not a soul has been here--man, woman, or child--since you left."

"No one to see you?"

"No one at all, Captain."

Coppinger did not remove his hat; he stood in the doorway biting his
thumb. Was it possible that Judith had shrunk from coming to his house
to bear the message? Yet she had promised to do so. Had she been
intercepted by the Preventive men? Had--had she reached the top of the
cliff? Had she, after reaching the top, lost her way in the dark,
taken a false direction, and--Coppinger did not allow the thought to
find full expression in his brain. He turned, without another word,
and hastened to the cottage of Mr. Menaida. He must ascertain whether
she had reached home.

Uncle Zachie had not retired to bed; Scantlebray had been gone an
hour; Zachie had drunk with Scantlebray, and he had drunk after the
departure of that individual to indemnify himself for the loss of his
company. Consequently Mr. Menaida was confused in mind and thick in
talk.

"Where is Judith?" asked Coppinger, bursting in on him.

"In bed, I suppose," answered Uncle Zachie, after a while, when he
comprehended the question, and had had time to get over his surprise
at seeing the Captain.

"Are you sure? When did she come in?"

"Come in?" said the old man, scratching his forehead with his pipe.
"Come in--bless you, I don't know; some time in the afternoon. Yes, to
be sure it was, some time in the afternoon."

"But she has been out to-night?"

"No--no--no," said Uncle Zachie, "it was Scantlebray."

"I say she has--she has been to--" he paused, then said--"to see her
aunt."

"Aunt Dunes! bless my heart, when?"

"To-night."

"Impossible!"

"But I say she has. Come, Mr. Menaida. Go up to her room, knock at the
door, and ascertain if she be back. Her aunt is alarmed--there are
rough folks about."

"Why, bless me!" exclaimed Mr. Menaida, "so there are. And--well,
wonders'll never cease. How came you here! I thought the guard were
after you. Scantlebray said so."

"Will you go at once and see if Judith Trevisa is home?"

Coppinger spoke with such vehemence, and looked so threateningly at
the old man, that he staggered out of his chair, and, still holding
his pipe, went to the stairs.

"Bless me!" said he, "whatever am I about? I've forgot a candle. Would
you oblige me with lighting one? My hand shakes, and I might light my
fingers by mistake."

After what seemed to Coppinger to be an intolerable length of time,
Uncle Zachie stumbled down the stairs again.

"I say," said Mr. Menaida, standing on the steps, "Captain--did you
ever hear about Tincombe Lane?--

    'Tincombe Lane is all up-hill,
      Or down hill, as you take it;
    You tumble up and crack your crown,
      Or tumble down and break it.'

--It's the same with these blessed stairs. Would you mind lending me a
hand? By the powers, the banister is not firm! Do you know how it goes
on?--

    'Tincombe Lane is crooked and straight
      As pot-hook or as arrow.
    'Tis smooth to foot, 'tis full of rut,
      'Tis wide and then 'tis narrow.'

--Thank you, sir, thank you. Now take the candle. Bah! I've broke my
pipe--and then comes the moral--

    'Tincombe Lane is just like life
      From when you leave your mother,
    'Tis sometimes this, 'tis sometimes that,
      'Tis one thing or the other.'"

In vain had Coppinger endeavored to interrupt the flow of words, and
to extract from thick Zachie the information he needed, till the old
gentleman was back in his chair.

Then Uncle Zachie observed--"Blessy'--I said so--I said so a thousand
times. No--she's not there. Tell Aunt Dunes so. Will you sit down and
have a drop? The night is rough, and it will do you good--take the
chill out of your stomach and the damp out of your chest."

But Coppinger did not wait to decline the offer. He turned at once,
left the house, and dashed the door back as he stepped out into the
night. He had not gone a hundred paces along the road before he heard
voices, and recognized that of Mr. Scantlebray--

"I tell you the vessel is the Black Prince, and I know he was to have
unloaded her to-night."

"Anyhow he is not doing so. Not a sign of him."

"The night is too dirty."

"Wyvill--" Coppinger knew that the Captain at the head of the
coast-guard was speaking. "Wyvill, I heard a pistol-shot. Where is
Jenkyns? If you had not been by me I should have said you had acted
wide of your orders. Has any one seen Jenkyns?"

"No, sir."

"Who is that?"

Suddenly a light flashed forth, and glared upon Coppinger. The Captain
in command of the coast-guard uttered an oath.

"You out to-night, Mr. Coppinger! Where do you come from?"

"As you see--from Polzeath."

"Humph! From no other direction?"

"I'll trouble you to let me pass."

Coppinger thrust the Preventive man aside, and went on his way.

When he was beyond earshot, Scantlebray said--"I trust he did not
notice me along with you. You see, the night is too dirty. Let him
bless his stars, it has saved him."

"I should like to see Jenkyns," said the officer. "I am almost certain
I heard a pistol-shot; but when I sent in the direction whence it
came, there was no one to be seen. It's a confounded dark night."

"I hope they've not give us the slip, Captain?" said Wyvill.

"Impossible," answered the officer. "Impossible. I took every
precaution. They did not go out to-night. As Mr. Scantlebray says, the
night was too dirty."

Then they went on.

In the meantime Coppinger was making the best of his way to the downs.
He knew his direction even in the dark--he had the "new-take" wall as
a guide. What the coast-guard did not suspect was that this "new-take"
had been made for the very purpose of serving as a guide by which the
smugglers could find their course in the blackest of winter's nights;
moreover, in the fiercest storm the wall served as a shelter, under
lea of which they might approach their cave. Coppinger was without a
lantern. He doubted if one would avail him, in his quest; moreover,
the night was lightening, as the moon rode higher.

The smuggler captain stood for a moment on the edge of the cliffs to
consider what course he should adopt to find Judith. If she had
reached the summit, it was possible enough that she had lost her way
and had rambled inland among lanes and across fields, pixy-led. In
that case it was a hopeless task to search for her; moreover, there
would be no particular necessity for him to do so, as, sooner or
later, she must reach a cottage or a farm, where she could learn her
direction. But if she had gone too near the edge, or if, in her
ascent, her foot had slipped, then he must search the shore. The tide
was ebbing now, and left a margin on which he could walk. This was the
course he must adopt. He did not descend by the track to the chimney,
as the creeping down of the latter could be effected in absolute
darkness only with extreme risk; but he bent his way over the down
skirting the crescent indentation of the cove to the donkey-path,
which was now, as he knew, unwatched. By that he swiftly and easily
descended to the beach. Along the shore he crept carefully toward that
portion which was overhung by the precipice along which the way ran
from the mouth of the shaft. The night was mending, or at all events
seemed better. The moon, as it mounted, cast a glimmer through the
least opaque portions of the driving clouds. Coppinger looked up, and
could see the ragged fringe of down torn with gullies, and thrust up
into prongs, black as ink against the gray of the half-translucent
vapors. And near at hand was the long dorsal ridge that concealed the
entrance to the cave, sloping rapidly upward and stretching away
before him into shadow.

Coppinger mused. If one were to fall from above, would he drop between
the cliff and this curtain, or would he strike and be projected over
it on to the shelving sand up which stole the waves? He knew that the
water eddying against friable sandstone strata that came to the
surface had eaten them out with the wash, and that the hard flakes of
slate and ribs of quartz stood forth, overhanging the cave. Most
certainly, therefore, had Judith fallen, her body must be sought on
the sea-face of the masking ridge. The smuggler stood at the very
point where in the preceding afternoon Jamie and the dog had scrambled
up that fin-like blade of rock and disappeared from the astonished
gaze of Judith. The moon, smothered behind clouds, and yet, in a
measure self-assertive, cast sufficient light down into the cove to
glitter on, and transmute into steel, the sea-washed and smoothed, and
still wet, ridge, sloping inland as a seawall. As Coppinger stood
looking upward he saw in the uncertain light something caught on the
fangs of this saw-ridge, moving uneasily this way, then that,
something dark, obscuring the glossed surface of the rock, as it might
be a mass of gigantic sea-tangles.

"Judith!" he cried. "Is that you?" and he plunged through the pool
that intervened, and scrambled up the rock.

He caught something. It was cloth. "Judith! Judith!" he almost
shrieked in anxiety. That which he had laid hold of yielded, and he
gathered to him a garment of some sort, and with it he slid back into
the pool, and waded on to the pebbles. Then he examined his capture by
the uncertain light, and by feel, and convinced himself that it was a
cloak--a cloak with clasp and hood--just such as he had seen Judith
wearing when he flashed his lantern over her on the platform at the
mouth of the shaft.

He stood for a moment, numbed as though he had been struck on the head
with a mallet, and irresolute. He had feared that Judith had fallen
over the edge, but he had hoped that it was not so. This discovery
seemed to confirm his worst fears.

If the cloak were there--she also would probably be there also, a
broken heap. She who had thrown him down and broken him, had been
thrown down herself, and broken also--thrown down and broken because
she had come to rescue him from danger. Coppinger put his hand to his
head. His veins were beating as though they would burst the vessels in
his temples, and suffuse his face with blood. As he stood thus
clasping his brow with his right hand, the clouds were swept for an
instant aside, and for an instant the moon sent down a weird glare
that ran like a wave along the sand, leaped impediments, scrambled up
rocks, and flashed in the pools. For one moment only--but that
sufficed to reveal to him a few paces ahead a black heap: there was no
mistaking it. The rounded outlines were not those of a rock. It was a
human body lying on the shingle half immersed in the pool at the foot
of the reef!

A cry of intensest, keenest anguish burst from the heart of Coppinger.
Prepared though he was for what he must see by the finding of the
cloak, the sight of that motionless and wrecked body was more than he
could endure with composure. In the darkness that ensued after the
moon-gleam he stepped forward, slowly, even timidly, to where that
human wreck lay, and knelt on both knees beside it on the wet sand.

He waited. Would the moon shine out again and show him what he dreaded
seeing? He would not put down a hand to touch it. One still clasped
his brow, the other he could not raise so high, and he held it against
his breast where it had lately been strapped. He tried to hold his
breath, to hear if any sound issued from what lay before him. He
strained his eyes to see if there were any, the slightest movement in
it. Yet he knew there could be none. A fall from these cliffs above
must dash every spark of life out of a body that reeled down them. He
turned his eyes upward to see if the cloud would pass; but no--it
seemed to be one that was all-enveloping, unwilling to grant him that
glimpse which must be had, but which would cause him acutest anguish.

He could not remain kneeling there in suspense any longer. In
uncertainty he was not. The horror was before him--and must be faced.

He thrust his hand into his pocket and drew forth tinder-box and
flint. With a hand that had never trembled before, but now shaking as
with an ague, he struck a light. The sparks flew about, and were long
in igniting the touchwood. But finally it was kindled, and glowed red.
The wind fanned it into fitful flashes, as Coppinger, stooping, held
the lurid spark over the prostrate form, and passed it up and down on
the face. Then suddenly it fell from his hand, and he drew a gasp.
The dead face was that of a bearded man.

A laugh--a wild, boisterous laugh--rang out into the night, and was
re-echoed by the cliff, as Coppinger leaped to his feet. There was
hope still. Judith had not fallen.



CHAPTER XVII.

FOR LIFE OR DEATH.


Coppinger did not hesitate a moment now to leave the corpse on the
beach where he had found it, and to hasten to the cave.

There was a third alternative to which hitherto he had given no
attention. Judith, in ascending the cliff, might have strayed from the
track, and be in such a position that she could neither advance nor
draw back. He would, therefore, explore the path from the chimney
mouth, and see if any token could be found of her having so done.

He again held his smouldering tinder and by this feeble glimmer made
his way up the inclined beach within the cave, passed under the arch
of the rock where low, and found himself in that portion where was the
boat.

Here he knew of a receptacle for sundries, such as might be useful in
an emergency, and to that he made his way, and drew from it a piece of
candle and a lantern. He speedily lighted the candle, set it in the
lantern, and then ascended the chimney.

On reaching the platform at the orifice in the face of the rock, it
occurred to him that he had forgotten to bring rope with him. He would
not return for that, unless he found a need for it. Rope there was
below, of many yards length. Till he knew that it was required, it
seemed hardly worth his while to encumber himself with a coil that
might be too long or too short for use. He did not even know that he
would find Judith. It was a chance, that was all. It was more probable
that she had strayed on the down, and was now back at Polzeath, and
safe and warm in bed.

From the ledge in front of the shaft Coppinger proceeded with caution
and leisure, exploring every portion of the ascent with lowered
lantern. There were plenty of impressions of feet wherever the soft
and crumbly beds had been traversed, and where the dissolved stone had
been converted into clay or mud, but these were the impressions of the
smugglers escaping from their den. Step by step he mounted, till he
had got about half-way up, when he noticed, what he had not previously
observed, that there was a point at which the track left the ledge of
stratified vertical rock that had inclined its broken edge upward, and
by a series of slips mounted to another fractured stratum, a leaf of
the story-book turned up with the record of infinite ages sealed up in
it. It was possible that one unacquainted with the course might grope
onward, following the ledge instead of deserting it for a direct
upward climb. As Coppinger now perceived, one ignorant of the way and
unprovided with a light would naturally follow the shelf. He
accordingly deserted the track, and advanced along the ledge. There
was a little turf in one place, in the next a tuft of armeria, then
mud or clay, and there--assuredly a foot had trodden. There was a mark
of a sole that was too small to have belonged to a man.

The shelf at first was tolerably broad, and could be followed without
risk by one whose head was steady; but for how long would it so
continue? These rough edges, these laminæ of upheaved slate were
treacherous--they were sometimes completely broken down, forming gaps,
in places stridable, in others discontinuous for many yards.

The footprints satisfied Coppinger that Judith had crept along this
terrace, and so had missed the right course. It was impossible that
she could reach the summit by this way--she must have fallen or be
clinging at some point farther ahead, a point from which she could not
advance, and feared to retreat.

He held the lantern above his head, and peered before him, but could
see nothing. The glare of the artificial light made the darkness
beyond its radius the deeper and more impervious to the eye. He
called, but received no answer. He called again, with as little
success. He listened, but heard no other sound than the mutter of the
sea, and the wail of the wind. There was nothing for him to do but to
go forward; and he did that slowly, searchingly, with the light near
the ground, seeking for some further trace of Judith. He was obliged
to use caution, as the ledge of rock narrowed. Here it was hard, and
the foot passing over it made no impression. Then ensued a rift and a
slide of shale, and here he thought he observed indications of recent
dislodgement.

Now the foot-hold was reduced, he could no longer stoop to examine the
soil; he must stand upright and hold to the rock with his right hand,
and move with precaution lest he should be precipitated below.

Was it conceivable that she had passed there?--there in the dark? And
yet--if she had not, she must have been hurled below.

Coppinger, clinging with his fingers, and thrusting one foot before
the other, then drawing forward that foot, with every faculty on the
alert, passed to where, for a short space, the ledge of rock expanded,
and there he stooped once more with the light to explore. Beyond was a
sheer fall, and the dull glare from his lantern showed him no
continuance of the shelf. As he arose from his bent position, suddenly
the light fell on a hand--a delicate, childish hand--hanging down. He
raised the lantern, and saw her whom he sought. At this point she had
climbed upward to a higher ledge, and on that she lay, one arm raised,
fastened by a chain to a tuft of heather--her head fallen against the
rock, and feet and one arm over the edge of the cliff. She was
unconscious, sustained by a dog-chain and a little bunch of ling.

Coppinger passed the candle over her face. It was white, and the eyes
did not close before the light.

His position was vastly difficult. She hung there chained to the
cliff, and he doubted whether he could sustain her weight if he
attempted to carry her back while she was unconscious, along the way
he and she had come. It was perilous for one alone to move along that
strip of surface; it seemed impossible for one to effect it bearing in
his arms a human burden.

Moreover, Coppinger was well aware that his left arm had not recovered
its strength. He could not trust her weight on that. He dare not trust
it on his right arm, for to return by the way he came the right hand
would be that which was toward the void. The principal weight must be
thrown inward.

What was to be done? This, primarily: to release the insensible girl
from her present position, in which the agony of the strain on her
shoulder perhaps prolonged her unconsciousness.

Coppinger mounted to the shelf on which she lay, and bowing himself
over her, while holding her, so that she should not slip over the
edge, he disentangled the chain from her wrist and the stems of the
heather. Then he seated himself beside her, drew her toward him, with
his right arm about her, and laid her head on his shoulder.

And the chain?

That he took and deliberately passed it round her waist and his own
body, fastened it, and muttered, "For life or for death!"

There, for a while, he sat. He had set the lantern beside him. His
hand was on Judith's heart, and he held his breath, and waited to feel
if there was pulsation there; but his own arteries were in such
agitation, the throb in his finger ends prevented his being able to
satisfy himself as to what he desired to know.

He could not remain longer in his present position. Judith might never
revive. She had swooned through over-exhaustion, and nothing could
restore her to life but the warmth and care she would receive in a
house; he cursed his folly, his thoughtlessness, in having brought
with him no flask of brandy. He dared remain no longer where he was,
the ebbing powers in the feeble life might sink beyond recall.

He thrust his right arm under her, and adjusted the chain about him so
as to throw some of her weight off the arm, and then cautiously slid
to the step below, and, holding her, set his back to the rocky wall.

So, facing the Atlantic Ocean, facing the wild night sky, torn here
and there into flakes of light, otherwise cloaked in storm-gloom, with
the abyss below, an abyss of jagged rock and shingle shore, he began
to make his way along the track by which he had gained that point.

He was at that part where the shelf narrowed to a foot, and his safety
and hers depended largely on the power that remained to him in his
left arm. With the hand of that arm he felt along and clutched every
projecting point of rock, and held to it with every sinew strained and
starting. He drew a long breath. Was Judith stirring on his arm?

The critical minute had come. The slightest movement, the least
displacement of the balance, and both would be precipitated below.

"Judith!" said he, hoarsely, turning his head toward her ear.
"Judith!"

There was no reply.

"Judith! For Heaven's sake--if you hear me--do not lift a finger. Do
not move a muscle."

The same heavy weight on him without motion.

"Judith! For life--or death!"

Then suddenly from off the ocean flashed a tiny spark--far, far away.

It was a signal from the Black Prince.

He saw it, fixed his eyes steadily on it, and began to move sideways,
facing the sea, his back to the rock, reaching forward with his left
arm, holding Judith in the right.

"For life!"

He took one step sideways, holding with the disengaged hand to the
rock. The bone of that arm was but just knit. Not only so, but that of
the collar was also recently sealed up after fracture. Yet the
salvation of two lives hung on these two infirm joints. The arm was
stiff; the muscles had not recovered flexibility, nor the sinews their
strength.

"For death!"

A second sidelong step, and the projected foot slid in greasy marl. He
dug his heel into the wet and yielding soil, he stamped in it; then,
throwing all his weight on the left heel, aided by the left arm, he
drew himself along and planted the right beside the left.

He sucked the air in between his teeth with a hiss. The soft soil was
sinking--it would break away. The light from the Black Prince seemed
to rise. With a wrench he planted his left foot on rock--and drew up
the right to it.

"Judith! For life!"

That star on the black sea--what did it mean? He knew. His mind was
clear, and though in intense concentration of all his powers on the
effort to pass this strip of perilous path, he could reason of other
things, and knew why the Black Prince had exposed her light. The
lantern that he had borne, and left on the shelf, had been seen by
her, and she supposed it to be a signal from the terrace over the
cave.

The next step was full of peril. With his left foot advanced,
Coppinger felt he had reached the shale. He kicked into it, and kicked
away an avalanche of loose flakes that slid over the edge. But he
drove his foot deep into the slope, and rammed a dent into which he
could fix the right foot when drawn after it.

"For death!"

Then he crept along upon the shale.

He could not see the star now. His sweat, rolling off his brow, had
run over his eyelids and charged the lashes with tears. In partial
blindness he essayed the next step.

"For life!"

Then he breathed more freely. His foot was on the grass.

The passage of extreme danger was over. From the point now reached the
ledge widened, and Coppinger was able to creep onward with less stress
laid on the fractured bones. The anguish of expectation of death was
lightened; and as it lightened nature began to assert herself. His
teeth chattered as in an ague fit, and his breath came in sobs.

In ten minutes he had attained the summit--he was on the down above
the cliffs.

"Judith," said he, and he kissed her cheeks and brow and hair. "For
life--for death--mine, only mine."



CHAPTER XVIII.

UNA.


When Judith opened her eyes, she found herself in a strange room, but
as she looked about her she saw Aunt Dionysia with her hands behind
her back looking out of the window.

"Oh, aunt! Where am I!"

Miss Trevisa turned.

"So you have come round at last, or pleased to pretend to come round.
It is hard to tell whether or not dissimulation was here."

"Dissimulation, aunt?"

"There's no saying. Young folks are not what they were in my day. They
have neither the straightforwardness nor the consideration for their
elders and betters."

"But--where am I?"

"At the Glaze; not where I put you, but where you have put yourself."

"I did not come here, auntie, dear."

"Don't auntie dear me, and deprive me of my natural sleep."

"Have I?"

"Have you not? Three nights have I had to sit up. And natural sleep is
as necessary to me at my age as is stays. I fall abroad without one or
the other. Give me my choice--whether I'd have nephews and nieces
crawling about me or erysipelas, and I'd choose the latter."

"But, aunt--I'm sorry if I am a trouble to you."

"Of course you are a trouble. How can you be other? Don't burs stick?
But that is neither here nor there."

"Aunt, how came I to Pentyre Glaze!"

"I didn't invite you, and I didn't bring you--you may be sure of that.
Captain Coppinger found you somewhere on the down at night, when you
ought to have been at home. You were insensible, or pretended to be
so--it's not for me to say which."

"Oh, aunt, I don't want to be here."

"Nor do I want you here--and in my room, too. Hoity-toity! nephews and
nieces are just like pigs--you want them to go one way and they run
the other."

"But I should like to know where Captain Coppinger found me, and all
about it. I don't remember anything."

"Then you must ask him yourself."

"I should like to get up; may I?"

"I can't say till the doctor comes. There's no telling--I might be
blamed. I shall be pleased enough when you are shifted to your own
room," and she pointed to a door.

"My room, auntie?"

"I suppose so; I don't know whose else it is."

Then Miss Trevisa whisked out of the room.

Judith lay quietly in bed trying to collect her thoughts and recall
something of what had happened. She could recollect fastening her
wrist to the shrub by her brother's dog-chain; then, with all the
vividness of a recurrence of the scene--the fall of the man, the
stroke on her cheek, his roll over and plunge down the precipice. The
recollection made a film come over her eyes and her heart stand still.
After that she remembered nothing. She tried hard to bring to mind one
single twinkle of remembrance, but in vain. It was like looking at a
wall and straining the eyes to see through it.

Then she raised herself in bed to look about her. She was in her
aunt's room, and in her aunt's bed. She had been brought there by
Captain Coppinger. He, therefore, had rescued her from the position of
peril in which she had been. So far she could understand. She would
have liked to know more, but more, probably, her aunt could not tell
her, even if inclined to do so.

Where was Jamie? Was he at Uncle Zachie's? Had he been anxious and
unhappy about her? She hoped he had got into no trouble during the
time he had been free from her supervision. Judith felt that she must
go back to Mr. Menaida's and to Jamie. She could not stay at the
Glaze. She could not be happy with her ever-grumbling, ill-tempered
aunt. Besides, her father would not have wished her to be there.

What did Aunt Dunes mean when she pointed to a door and spoke of her
room?

Judith could not judge whether she were strong till she tried her
strength. She slipped her feet to the floor, stood up and stole over
the floor to that door which her aunt had indicated. She timidly
raised the latch, after listening at it, opened and peeped into a
small apartment. To her surprise she saw the little bed she had
occupied at her dear home, the rectory, her old wash-stand, her
mirror, the old chairs, the framed pictures that had adorned her
walls, the common and trifling ornaments that had been arranged on her
chimney-piece. Every object with which she had been familiar at the
parsonage for many years, and to which she had said good-by, never
expecting to have a right to them any more--all these were there,
furnishing the room that adjoined her aunt's apartment.

She stood looking around in surprise, till she heard a step on the
stair outside, and, supposing it was that of Aunt Dionysia, she ran
back to bed, and dived under the clothes and pulled the sheets over
her golden head.

Aunt Dunes entered the room, bringing with her a bowl of soup. Her eye
at once caught the opened door into the little adjoining chamber.

"You have been out of bed!"

Judith thrust her head out of its hiding-place, and said, frankly,
"Yes, auntie! I could not help myself. I want to see. How have you
managed to get all my things together?"

"I? I have had nothing to do with it."

"But--who did it, auntie?"

"Captain Coppinger; he was at the sale."

"Is the sale over, aunt?"

"Yes, whilst you have been ill."

"Oh, I am so glad it is over, and I knew nothing about it."

"Oh, exactly! Not a thought of the worry you have been to me; deprived
of my sleep--of my bed--of my bed," repeated Aunt Dunes, grimly. "How
can you expect a bulb to flower if you take it out of the earth and
stick it on a bedroom chair stirring broth? I have no patience with
you young people. You are consumed with selfishness."

"But, auntie! Don't be cross. Why did Captain Coppinger buy all my
dear crinkum-crankums?"

Aunt Dionysia snorted and tossed her head.

Judith suddenly flushed; she did not repeat the question, but said
hastily, "Auntie, I want to go back to Mr. Menaida."

"You cannot desire it more than I do," said Miss Trevisa, sharply.
"But whether _he_ will let you go is another matter."

"Aunt Dunes, if I want to go, I will go!"

"Indeed!"

"I will go back as soon as ever I can."

"Well, that can't be to-day, for one thing."

The evening of that same day Judith was removed into the adjoining
room, "her room," as Miss Trevisa designated it. "And mind you sleep
soundly, and don't trouble me in the night. Natural sleep is as
suitable to me as green peas to duck."

When, next morning, the girl awoke, her eyes ranged round and lighted
everywhere on familiar objects. The two mezzotints of Happy and
Deserted Auburn, the old and battered pieces of Dresden ware, vases
with flowers encrusted round them, but with most of the petals broken
off--vases too injured to be of value to a purchaser, valuable to her
because full of reminiscences--the tapestry firescreen, the painted
fans with butterflies on them, the mirror blotched with damp, the
inlaid wafer-box and ruler, the old snuffer-tray. Her eyes filled with
tears. A gathering together into one room of old trifles did not make
that strange room to be home. It was the father, the dear father, who,
now that he was taken away, made home an impossibility, and the whole
world, however crowded with old familiar odds and ends, to be desert
and strange. The sight of all her old "crinkum-crankums," as she had
called them, made Judith's heart smart. It was kindly meant by
Coppinger to purchase all these things and collect them there; but it
was a mistake of judgment. Grateful she was, not gratified.

In the little room there was an ottoman with a woolwork cover
representing a cluster of dark red, pink, and white roses; and at each
corner of the ottoman was a tassel, which had been a constant source
of trouble to Judith, as the tassels would come off, sometimes because
the cat played with them, sometimes because Jamie pulled them off in
mischief, sometimes because they caught in her dress. Her father had
embroidered those dreadful roses on a buff ground one winter when
confined to the house by a heavy cold and cough. She valued that
ottoman for his sake, and would not have suffered it to go into the
sale had she possessed any place she could regard as her own where to
put it. She needed no such article to remind her of the dear
father--the thought of him would be forever present to her without the
assistance of ottomans to refresh her memory.

On this ottoman, when dressed, Judith seated herself, and let her
hands rest in her lap. She was better; she would soon be well; and
when well would take the first opportunity to depart.

The door was suddenly thrown open by her aunt, and in the doorway
stood Coppinger looking at her. He raised his hand to his hat in
salutation, but said nothing. She was startled and unable to speak. In
another moment the door was shut again.

That day she resolved that nothing should detain her longer than she
was forced. Jamie--her own dear Jamie--came to see her, and the twins
were locked in each other's arms.

"Oh, Ju! darling Ju! You are quite well, are you not! And Captain
Coppinger has given me a gray donkey instead of Tib; and I'm to ride
it about whenever I choose!"

"But, dear, Mr. Menaida has no stable, and no paddock."

"Oh, Ju! that's nothing. I'm coming up here, and we shall be
together--the donkey and you and me and Aunt Dunes!"

"No, Jamie. Nothing of the sort. Listen to me. You remain at Mr.
Menaida's. I am coming back."

"But I've already brought up my clothes."

"You take them back. Attend to me. You do not come here. I go back to
Mr. Menaida's immediately."

"But, Ju! you've got all your pretty things from the parsonage here!"

"They are not mine. Mr. Coppinger bought them for himself."

"But--the donkey?"

"Leave the donkey here. Pay attention to my words. I lay a strict
command on you. As you love me, Jamie, do not leave Mr. Menaida's;
remain there till my return."

That night there was a good deal of noise in the house. Judith's room
lay in a wing, nevertheless she heard the riot, for the house was not
large, and the sounds from the hall penetrated every portion of it.
She was frightened, and went into Miss Trevisa's room.

"Aunt! what is this dreadful racket about?"

"Go to sleep--you cannot have every one shut his mouth because of
you."

"But what is it, auntie!"

"It is nothing but the master has folk with him, if you wish
particularly to know. The whole cargo of the Black Prince has been
run, and not a finger has been laid by the coast-guard on a single
barrel or bale. So they are celebrating their success. Go to bed and
sleep. It is naught to you."

"I cannot sleep, aunt. They are singing now."

"Why should they not; have you aught against it? You are not mistress
here, that I am aware of."

"But, auntie, are there many down-stairs?"

"I do not know. It is no concern of mine--and certainly none of
yours."

Judith was silenced for a while by her aunt's ill-humor; but she did
not return to her room. Presently she asked--

"Are you sure, aunt, that Jamie is gone back to Polzeath?"

Miss Trevisa kicked the stool from under her feet, in her impatience.

"Really! you drive me desperate. I did not bargain for this. Am I to
tear over the country on post-horses to seek a nephew here and a niece
there? I can't tell where Jamie is, and what is more, I do not care.
I'll do my duty by you both. I'll do no more; and that has been forced
on me, it was not sought by me. Heaven be my witness."

Judith returned to her room. The hard and sour woman would afford her
no information.

In her room she threw herself on her bed and began to think. She was
in the very home and head-quarters of contrabandism. But was smuggling
a sin? Surely not that, or her father would have condemned it
decidedly. She remembered his hesitation relative to it, in the last
conversation they had together. Perhaps it was not actually a sin--she
could recall no text in Scripture that denounced it--but it was a
thing forbidden, and though she did not understand why it was
forbidden, she considered that it could not be an altogether
honorable and righteous traffic. Judith was unable to rest. It was not
the noise that disturbed her so much as her uneasiness about Jamie.
Had he obeyed her and gone back to Uncle Zachie? Or had he neglected
her injunction, and was he in the house, was he below along with the
revellers?

She opened the door gently, and stole along the passage to the head of
the stairs, and listened. She could smell the fumes of tobacco; but to
these she was familiar. The atmosphere of Mr. Menaida's cottage was
redolent of the Virginian weed. The noise was, however, something to
which she was utterly unaccustomed: the boisterous merriment, the
shouts, and occasional oaths. Then a fiddle was played. There was
disputation, a pause, then the fiddle recommenced; it played a jig;
there was a clatter of feet, then a roar of laughter--and then--she
was almost sure she heard the voice of her brother.

Regardless of herself, thinking only of him, without a moment's
consideration, she ran down the stairs and threw open the door into
the great kitchen or hall.

It was full of men--wild, rough fellows--drinking and smoking; there
were lights and a fire. The atmosphere was rank with spirits and
tobacco; on a chair sat a sailor fiddling, and in the midst of the
room, on a table, was Jamie dancing a jig, to the laughter and
applause of the revellers.

The moment Judith appeared silence ensued--the men were surprised to
see a pale and delicate girl stand before them, with a crown of gold
like a halo round her ivory-white face. But Judith took no notice of
anyone there--her eyes were on her brother, and her hand raised to
attract his attention. Judith had been in bed, but, disturbed by the
uproar, had risen and drawn on her gown; her feet, however, were bare,
and her magnificent hair poured over her shoulders unbound. Her whole
mind, her whole care, was for Jamie; on herself not a thought rested;
she had forgotten that she was but half clothed.

"Jamie! Jamie!" she cried. "My brother! my brother!"

The fiddler ceased, lowered his violin, and stared at her.

"Ju, let me alone! It is such fun," said the boy.

"Jamie! this instant you shall come with me. Get down off the table!"

As he hesitated, and looked round to the men who had been applauding
him for support against his sister, she went to the table, and caught
him by the feet.

"Jamie! in pity to me! Jamie! think--papa is but just dead."

Then tears of sorrow, shame, and entreaty filled her eyes.

"No, Ju! I'm not tied to your apron-strings," said the lad,
disengaging himself.

But in an instant he was caught from the table by the strong arm of
Coppinger, and thrust toward the door.

"Judith, you should not have come here."

"Oh, Mr. Coppinger--and Jamie! why did you let him--"

Coppinger drew the girl from the room into the passage.

"Judith, not for the world would I have had you here," said he, in an
agitated voice. "I'll kill your aunt for letting you come down."

"Mr. Coppinger, she knew nothing of my coming. Come I must--I heard
Jamie's voice."

"Go," said the Captain, shaking the boy. He was ashamed of himself and
angry. "Beware how you disobey your sister again."

Coppinger's face was red as fire. He turned to Judith--

"Your feet are bare. Let me carry you up-stairs--carry you once more."

She shook her head. "As I came down so I can return."

"Will you forgive me?" he said, in a low tone.

"Heaven forgive you," she answered, and burst into tears. "You will
break my heart, I foresee it."



CHAPTER XIX.

A GOLDFISH.


Next day--just in the same way as the day before--when Judith was
risen and dressed, the door was thrown open, and again Coppinger was
revealed, standing outside, looking at her with a strange expression,
and saying no word.

But Judith started up from her chair and went to him in the passage,
put forth her delicate white hand, laid it on his cuff, and said: "Mr.
Coppinger, may I speak to you?"

"Where?"

"Where you like--down-stairs will be best, in the hall if no one be
there."

"It is empty."

He stood aside and allowed her to precede him.

The staircase was narrow, and it would have been dark but for a small
dormer-window through which light came from a squally sky covered with
driving white vapors. But such light as entered from a white and wan
sun fell on her head as she descended--that head of hair was like the
splendor of a beech-tree touched by frost before the leaves fall.

Coppinger descended after her.

When they were both in the hall, he indicated his arm-chair by the
hearth for her to sit in, and she obeyed. She was weak, and now also
nervous. She must speak to the smuggler firmly, and that required all
her courage.

The room was tidy; all traces of the debauch of the preceding night
had disappeared.

Coppinger stood a few paces from her. He seemed to know that what she
was going to say would displease him, and he did not meet her clear
eyes, but looked with a sombre frown upon the floor.

Judith put the fingers of her right hand to her heart to bid it cease
beating so fast, and then rushed into what she had to say, fearing
lest delay should heighten the difficulty of saying it.

"I am so--so thankful to you, sir, for what you have done for me. My
aunt tells me that you found and carried me here. I had lost my way on
the rocks, and but for you I would have died."

"Yes," he said, raising his eyes suddenly and looking piercingly into
hers, "but for me you would have died."

"I must tell you how deeply grateful I am for this and for other
kindnesses. I shall never forget that this foolish, silly, little life
of mine I owe to you."

Again her heart was leaping so furiously as to need the pressure of
her fingers on it to check it.

"We are quits," said Coppinger, slowly. "You came--you ran a great
risk to save me. But for you I might be dead. So this rude and
worthless--this evil life of mine," he held out his hands, both palms
before her, and spoke with quivering voice--"I owe to you."

"Then," said Judith, "as you say, we are quits. Yet no. If one account
is cancelled, another remains unclosed. I threw you down and broke
your bones. So there still remains a score against me."

"That I have forgiven long ago," said he. "Throw me down, break me,
kill me, do with me what you will--and--I will kiss your hand."

"I do not wish to have my hand kissed," said Judith, hastily, "I let
you understand that before."

He put his elbow against the mantel-shelf, and leaned his brow against
his open hand, looking down at her, so she could not see his face
without raising her eyes, but he could rest his on her and study her,
note her distress, the timidity with which she spoke, the wince when
he said a word that implied his attachment to her.

"I have not only to thank you, Captain Coppinger, but I have to say
good-by."

"What--go?"

"Yes--I shall go back to Mr. Menaida to-day."

He stamped, and his face became blood-red. "You shall not. I will
it--here you stay."

"It cannot be," said Judith, after a moment's pause to let his passion
subside. "You are not my guardian, though very generously you have
undertaken to be valuer for me in dilapidations. I must go, I and
Jamie."

He shook his head. He feared to speak, his anger choked him.

"I cannot remain here myself, and certainly I will not let Jamie be
here."

"Is it because of last night's foolery you say that?"

"I am responsible for my brother. He is not very clever; he is easily
led astray. There is no one to think for him, to care for him, but
myself. I could never let him run the risk of such a thing happening
again."

"Confound the boy!" burst forth Coppinger. "Are you going to bring him
up as a milk-sop? You are wrong altogether in the way you manage him."

"I can but follow my conscience."

"And is it because of him that you go?"

"Not because of him only."

"But I have spoken to your aunt; she consents."

"But I do not," said Judith.

He stamped again, passionately.

"I am not the man who will bear to be disobeyed and my will crossed. I
say--Here you shall stay."

Judith waited a moment, looking at him steadily out of her clear,
glittering iridescent eyes, and said slowly, "I am not the girl to be
obliged to stay where my common-sense and my heart say Stay not."

He folded his arms, lowered his chin on his breast, and strode up and
down the room. Then, suddenly, he stood still opposite her and asked,
in a threatening tone:

"Do you not like your room? Does that not please your humor?"

"It has been most kind of you to collect all my little bits of rubbish
there. I feel how good you have been, how full of thought for me; but,
for all that, I cannot stay."

"Why not?"

"I have said, on one account, because of Jamie."

He bit his lips--"I hate that boy."

"Then most certainly he cannot be here. He must be with those who love
him."

"Then stay."

"I cannot--I will not. I have a will as well as you. My dear papa
always said that my will was strong."

"You are the only person who has ever dared to resist me."

"That may be; I am daring--because you have been kind."

"Kind to you. Yes--to you only."

"It may be so, and because kind to me, and me only, I, and I only,
presume to say No when you say Yes."

He came again to the fireplace and again leaned against the
mantel-shelf. He was trembling with passion.

"And what if I say that, if you go, I will turn old Dunes--I mean your
aunt--out of the house?"

"You will not say it, Mr. Coppinger; you are too noble, too generous,
to take a mean revenge."

"Oh! you allow there is some good in me?"

"I thankfully and cheerfully protest there is a great deal of good in
you--and I would there were more."

"Come--stay here and teach me to be good--be my crutch; I will lean on
you, and you shall help me along the right way."

"You are too great a weight, Mr. Coppinger," said she, smiling--but it
was a frightened and a forced smile. "You would bend and break the
little crutch."

He heaved a long breath. He was looking at her from under his hand and
his bent brows.

"You are cruel--to deny me a chance. And what if I were to say that I
am hungry, sick at heart, and faint. Would you turn your back and
leave me?"

"No, assuredly not."

"I am hungry."

She looked up at him, and was frightened by the glitter in his eyes.

"I am hungry for the sight of you, for the sound of your voice."

She did not say anything to this, but sat, with her hands on her lap,
musing, uncertain how to deal with this man, so strange, impulsive,
and yet so submissive to her, and even appealing to her pity.

"Mr. Coppinger, I have to think of and care for Jamie, and he takes up
all my thoughts and engrosses all my time."

"Jamie, again!"

"So that I cannot feed and teach another orphan."

"Put off your departure--a week. Grant me that. Then you will have
time to get quite strong, and also you will be able to see whether it
is not possible for you to live here. Here is your aunt--it is natural
and right that you should be with her. She has been made your guardian
by your father. Do you not bow to his directions."

"Mr. Coppinger, I cannot stay here."

"I am at a disadvantage," he exclaimed. "Man always is when carrying
on a contest with a woman. Stay--stay here and listen to me." He put
out his hand and pressed her back into the chair, for she was about to
rise. "Listen to what I say. You do not know--you cannot know--how
near death you and I--yes, you and I were, chained together." His deep
voice shook. "You and I were on the face of the cliff. There was but
one little strip, the width of my hand"--he held out his palm before
her--"and that was not secure. It was sliding away under my feet.
Below was death, certain death--a wretched death. I held you. That
little chain tied us two--us two together. All your life and mine hung
on was my broken arm and broken collar-bone. I held you to me with my
right arm and the chain. I did not think we should live. I thought
that together--chained together, I holding you--so we would die--so we
would be found--and my only care, my only prayer was, if so, that so
we might be washed to sea and sink together, I holding you and chained
to you, and you to me. I prayed that we might never be found; for I
thought if rude hands were laid on us that the chain would be
unloosed, my arm unlocked from about you, and that we should be
carried to separate graves. I could not endure that thought. Let us go
down together--bound, clasped together--into the depths of the deep
sea, and there rest. But it was not to be so. I carried you over that
stage of infinite danger. An angel or a devil--I cannot say
which--held me up. And then I swore that never in life should you be
loosed from me, as I trusted that in death we should have remained
bound together. See!" He put his hand to her head and drew a lock of
her golden hair and wound it about his hand and arm. "You have me fast
now--fast in a chain of gold--of gold infinitely precious to
me--infinitely strong--and you will cast me off, who never thought to
cast you off when tied to you with a chain of iron. What say you? Will
you stand in safety on your cliff of pride and integrity and unloose
the golden band and say, 'Go down--down. I know nothing in you to
love. You are naught to me but a robber, a wrecker, a drunkard, a
murderer--go down into Hell?'"

In his quivering excitement he acted the whole scene, unconscious that
he was so doing, and the drops of agony stood on his brow and
rolled--drip--drip--drip from it. Man does not weep; his tears exude
more bitter than those that flow from the eyes, and they distil from
his pores.

Judith was awed by the intensity of passion in the man, but not
changed in her purpose. His vehemence reacted on her, calming her,
giving her determination to finish the scene decisively and finally.

"Mr. Coppinger," she said, looking up to him, who still held her by
the hair wound about his hand and arm, "it is you who hold me in
chains, not I you. And so I--your prisoner--must address a gaoler. Am
I to speak in chains, or will you release me?"

He shook his head, and clenched his hand on the gold hair.

"Very well," said she, "so it must be; I, bound, plead my cause with
you--at a disadvantage. This is what I must say at the risk of hurting
you; and, Heaven be my witness, I would not wound one who has been so
good to me--one to whom I owe my life, my power now to speak and
entreat." She paused a minute to gain breath and strengthen herself
for what she had to say.

"Mr. Coppinger--do you not yourself see that it is quite impossible
that I should remain in this house--that I should have anything more
to do with you? Consider how I have been brought up--what my thoughts
have been. I have had, from earliest childhood, my dear papa's example
and teachings, sinking into my heart till they have colored my very
life-blood. My little world and your great one are quite different.
What I love and care for is folly to you, and your pursuits and
pleasures are repugnant to me. You are an eagle--a bird of prey."

"A bird of prey," repeated Coppinger.

"And you soar and fight, and dive, and rend in your own element;
whereas I am a little silver trout----"

"No"--he drew up his arm wound round with her hair--"No--a goldfish."

"Well, so be it; a goldfish swimming in my own crystal element, and
happy in it. You would not take me out of it to gasp and die. Trust
me, Captain Coppinger, I could not--even if I would--live in your
world."

She put up her hands to his arm and drew some of the hair through his
fingers, and unwound it from his sleeve. He made no resistance. He
watched her, in a dream. He had heard every word she had said, and he
knew that she spoke the truth. They belonged to different realms of
thought and sensation. He could not breathe--he would stifle--in hers,
and it was possible--it was certain--that she could not endure the
strong, rough quality of his.

Her delicate fingers touched his hand, and sent a spasm to his heart.
She was drawing away another strand of hair, and untwisting it from
about his arm, passing the wavy, fire-gold from one hand to the other.
And as every strand was taken off, so went light and hope from him,
and despair settled down on his dark spirit.

He was thinking whether it would not have been better to have thrown
himself down when he had her in his arms, and bound to him by the
chain.

Then he laughed.

She looked up, and caught his wild eye. There was a timid inquiry in
her look, and he answered it.

"You may unwind your hair from my arm, but it is woven round and round
my heart, and you cannot loose it thence."

She drew another strand away, and released that also from his arm.
There remained now but one red-gold band of hair fastening her to him.
He looked entreatingly at her, and then at the hair.

"It must indeed be so," she said, and released herself wholly.

Then she stood up, a little timidly, for she could not trust him in
his passion and his despair. But he did not stir; he looked at her
with fixed, dreamy eyes. She left her place, and moved toward the
door. She had gone forth from Mr. Menaida's without hat or other cover
for her head than the cloak with its hood, and that she had lost. She
must return bare-headed. She had reached the door; and there she waved
him a farewell.

"Goldfish!" he cried.

She halted.

"Goldfish, come here; one--one word only."

She hesitated whether to yield. The man was dangerous. But she
considered that with a few strides he might overtake her if she tried
to escape. Therefore she returned toward him, but came not near enough
for him to touch her.

"Hearken to me," said he. "It may be as you say. It is as you say. You
have your world; I have mine. You could not live in mine, nor I in
yours." But his voice thrilled. "Swear to me--swear to me now--that
while I live no other shall hold you, as I would have held you, to his
side; that no other shall take your hair and wind it round him, as I
have--I could not endure that. Will you swear to me that?--and you
shall go."

"Indeed I will; indeed, indeed I will."

"Beware how you break this oath. Let him beware who dares to seek
you." He was silent, looking on the ground, his arms folded. So he
stood for some minutes, lost in thought. Then suddenly he cried out,
"Goldfish!"

He had found a single hair, long--a yard long--of the most intense
red-gold, lustrous as a cloud in the west over the sunken sun. It had
been left about his arm and hand.

"Goldfish!"

But she was gone.



CHAPTER XX.

BOUGHT AND SOLD.


Cruel Coppinger remained brooding in the place where he had been
standing, and as he stood there his face darkened. He was a man of
imperious will and violent passions; a man unwont to curb himself;
accustomed to sweep out of his path whoever or whatever stood between
him and the accomplishment of his purpose; a man who never asked
himself whether that purpose were good or bad. He had succumbed, in a
manner strange and surprising to himself, to the influence of
Judith--a sort of witchery over him that subdued his violence and awed
him into gentleness and modesty. But when her presence was withdrawn
the revolt of the man's lawless nature began. Who was this who had
dared to oppose her will to his? a mere child of eighteen. Women were
ever said to be a perverse generation, and loved to domineer over men;
and man was weak to suffer it. So thinking, chafing, he had worked
himself into a simmering rage when Miss Trevisa entered the hall,
believing it to be empty. Seeing him, she was about to withdraw, when
he shouted to her to stay.

"I beg your pardon for intruding, sir; I am in quest of my niece.
Those children keep me in a whirl like a teetotum."

"Your niece is gone."

"Gone! where to?"

"Back--I suppose to that old fool, Menaida. He is meet to be a
companion for her and that idiot, her brother; not I--I am to be
spurned from her presence."

Miss Trevisa was surprised, but she said nothing. She knew his moods.

"Stand there, Mother Dunes!" said Coppinger, in his anger and
humiliation, glad to have some one on whom he could pour out the lava
that boiled up in his burning breast. "Listen to me. She has told me
that we belong to different worlds--she and I--and to different races,
kinds of being, and that there can be no fellowship betwixt us. Where
I am she will not be. Between me and you there is a great gulf
fixed--see you? and I am as Dives tormented in my flame, and she
stands yonder, serene, in cold and complacent blessedness, and will
not cross to me with her finger dipped in cold water to cool my
tongue; and as for my coming near to her"--he laughed fiercely--"that
can never be."

"Did she say all that?" asked Miss Trevisa.

"She looked it; she implied it, if she did not say it in these naked
words. And, what is more," shouted he, coming before Aunt Dionysia,
threateningly, so that she recoiled, "it is true. When she sat there
in yonder chair, and I stood here by this hearthstone, and she spoke,
I knew it was true; I saw it all--the great gulf unspanned by any
bridge. I knew that none could ever bridge it, and there we were,
apart for ever, I in my fire burning, she in Blessedness--indifferent."

"I am very sorry," said Miss Trevisa, "that Judith should so have
misconducted herself. My brother brought her up in a manner to my
mind, most improper for a young girl. He made her read Rollin's
'Ancient History,' and Blair's 'Chronological Tables,' and really upon
my word, I cannot say what else."

"I do not care how it was," said Coppinger. "But here stands the
gulf."

"Rollin is in sixteen octavo volumes," said Aunt Dionysia; "and they
are thick also."

Coppinger strode about the room, with his hands in his deep coat
pockets, his head down.

"My dear brother," continued Miss Trevisa, apologetically, "made of
Judith his daily companion, told her all he thought, asked her
opinion, as though she were a full-grown woman, and one whose opinion
was worth having, whereas he never consulted me, never cared to talk
to me about anything, and the consequence is the child has grown up
without that respect for her elders and betters, and that deference
for the male sex which the male sex expects. I am sure when I was a
girl, and of her age, I was very different, very different indeed."

"Of that I have not the smallest doubt," sneered Coppinger. "But never
mind about yourself. It is of her I am speaking. She is gone, has
left me, and I cannot endure it. I cannot endure it," he repeated.

"I beg your pardon," said Aunt Dionysia, "you must excuse me saying
it, Captain Coppinger, but you place me in a difficult position. I am
the guardian of my niece, though, goodness knows, I never desired it,
and I don't know what to think. It is very flattering and kind, and I
esteem it great goodness in you to speak of Judith with such warmth,
but----"

"Goodness! kindness!" exclaimed Coppinger. "I am good and kind to her!
She forced me to it. I can be nothing else, and she throws me at her
feet and tramples on me."

"I am sure your sentiments, sir, are--are estimable; but, feeling as
you seem to imply toward Judith, I hardly know what to say. Bless me!
what a scourge to my shoulders these children are: nettles stinging
and blistering my skin, and not allowing me a moment's peace!"

"I imply nothing," said Coppinger. "I speak out direct and plain what
I mean. I love her. She has taken me, she turns me about, she gets my
heart between her little hands and tortures it."

"Then surely, Captain, you cannot ask me to let her be here. You are
most kind to express yourself in this manner about the pert hussy,
but, as she is my niece, and I am responsible for her, I must do my
duty by her, and not expose her to be--talked about. Bless me!" gasped
Aunt Dunes, "when I was her age I never would have put myself into
such a position as to worry my aunt out of her seven senses, and bring
her nigh to distraction."

"I will marry her, and make her mistress of my house and all I have,"
said Coppinger.

Miss Trevisa slightly courtesied, then said, "I am sure you are
over-indulgent, but what is to become of me? I have no doubt it will
be very comfortable and acceptable to Judith to hear this, but--what
is to become of me? It would not be very delightful for me to be
housekeeper here under my own niece, a pert, insolent, capricious
hussy. You can see at once, Captain Coppinger, that I cannot consent
to that."

The woman had the shrewdness to know that she could be useful to
Coppinger, and the selfishness that induced her to make terms with
him to secure her own future, and to show him that she could stand in
his way till he yielded to them.

"I never asked to have these children thrust down my throat, like the
fish-bone that strangled Lady Godiva--no, who was it? Earl Godiva; but
I thank my stars I never waded through Rollin, and most certainly kept
my hands off Blair. Of course, Captain Coppinger, it is right and
proper of you to address yourself to me, as the guardian of my niece,
before speaking to her."

"I have spoken to her and she spurns me."

"Naturally, because you spoke to her before addressing me on the
subject. My dear brother--I will do him this justice--was very
emphatic on this point. But you see, sir, my consent can never be
given."

"I do not ask your consent."

"Judith will never take you without it."

"Consent or no consent," said Coppinger, "that is a secondary matter.
The first is, she does not like me, whereas I--I love her. I never
loved a woman before. I knew not what love was. I laughed at the
fools, as I took them to be, who sold themselves into the hands of
women; but now, I cannot live without her. I can think of nothing but
her all day. I am in a fever, and cannot sleep at night--all because
she is tormenting me."

All at once, exhausted by his passion, desperate at seeing no chance
of success, angry at being flouted by a child, he threw himself into
the chair, and settled his chin on his breast, and folded his arms.

"Go on," said he. "Tell me what is my way out of this."

"You cannot expect my help or my advice, Captain, so as to forward
what would be most unsatisfactory to me."

"What! do you grudge her to me?"

"Not that; but, if she were here, what would become of me? Should I be
turned out into the cold at my age by this red-headed hussy, to find a
home for myself with strangers? Here I never would abide with her as
mistress, never."

"I care naught about you."

"No, of that I am aware, to my regret, sir; but that makes it all the
more necessary for me to take care for myself."

"I see," said Coppinger, "I must buy you. Is your aid worth it? Will
she listen to you?"

"I can make her listen to me," said Aunt Dunes, "if it be worth my
while. At my age, having roughed it, having no friends, I must think
of myself and provide for the future, when I shall be too old to
work."

"Name your price."

Miss Trevisa did not answer for a while; she was considering the terms
she would make. To her coarse and soured mind there was nothing to
scruple at in aiding Coppinger in his suit. The Trevisas were of a
fine old Cornish stock, but then Judith took after her mother, the
poor Scottish governess, and Aunt Dunes did not feel toward her as
though she were of her own kin. The girl looked like her mother. She
had no right, in Miss Trevisa's eyes, to bear the name of her father,
for her father ought to have known better than stoop to marry a
beggarly, outlandish governess. Not very logical reasoning, but what
woman, where her feelings are engaged, does reason logically? Aunt
Dunes had never loved her niece; she felt an inner repulsion, such as
sprang from encountering a nature superior, purer, more refined than
her own, and the mortification of being forced to admit to herself
that it was so. Judith, moreover, was costing her money, and Miss
Trevisa parted with her hard-earned savings as reluctantly as with her
heart's blood. She begrudged the girl and her brother every penny she
was forced, or believed she would be forced, to expend upon them. And
was she doing the girl an injury in helping her to a marriage that
would assure her a home and a comfortable income?

Aunt Dionysia knew well enough that things went on in Pentyre Glaze
that were not to be justified, that Coppinger's mode of life was not
one calculated to make a girl of Judith's temperament happy,
but--"Hoity-toity!" said Miss Trevisa to herself, "if girls marry,
they must take men as they find them. Beggars must not be choosers.
You must not look a gift horse in the mouth. No trout can be eaten
apart from its bones, nor a rose plucked that is free from thorns."
She herself had accommodated herself to the ways of the house, to the
moods and manners of Coppinger; and if she could do that, so could a
mongrel Trevisa. What was good enough for herself was over-good for
Judith.

She had been saddled with these children, much against her wishes,
and if she shifted the saddle to the shoulders of one willing to bear
it, why not? She had duties to perform to her own self as well as to
those thrust on her by the dead hand of that weak, that inconsiderate
brother of hers, Peter Trevisa.

Would her brother have approved of her forwarding this union? That was
a question that did not trouble her much. Peter did what he thought
best for his daughter when he was alive, stuffing her head with Rollin
and Blair, and now that he was gone, she must do the best she could
for her, and here was a chance offered that she would be a fool not to
snap at.

Nor did she concern herself greatly whether Judith's happiness were at
stake. Hoity-toity! girls' happiness! They are bound to make
themselves happy when they find themselves. The world was not made to
fit them, but they to accommodate themselves to the places in which
they found themselves in the world.

Miss Trevisa had for some days seen the direction matters were taking,
she had seen clearly enough the infatuation--yes, infatuation she said
it was--that had possessed Coppinger. What he could see in the girl
passed her wits to discover. To her, Judith was an odious little
minx--very like her mother. Miss Trevisa, therefore, had had time to
weigh the advantages and the disadvantages that might spring to her,
should Coppinger persist in his suit and succeed; and she had
considered whether it would be worth her while to help or to hinder
his suit.

"You put things," said Aunt Dionysia, "in a blunt and a discourteous
manner, such as might offend a lady of delicacy, like myself, who am
in delicacy a perfect guava jelly; but, Captain, I know your ways, as
I ought to, having been an inmate of this house for many years. It is
no case of buying and selling, as you insinuate, but the case is
plainly this: I know the advantage it will be to my niece to be
comfortably provided for. She and Jamie have between them but about a
thousand pounds, a sum to starve, and not to live, upon. They have no
home and no relative in the world but myself, who am incapable of
giving them a home and of doing anything for them except at an
excruciating sacrifice. If Judith be found, through your offer, a
home, then Jamie also is provided for."

He said nothing to this, but moved his feet impatiently. She went on:
"The boy _must_ be provided for. And if Judith become your wife, not
only will it be proper for you to see that he is so, but Judith will
give neither you nor me our natural rest until the boy is comfortable
and happy."

"Confound the boy!"

"It is all very well to say that, but he who would have anything to
say to Judith must reckon to have to consider Jamie also. They are
inseparable. Now, I assume that by Judith's marriage Jamie is cared
for. But how about myself? Is every one to lie in clover and I in
stubble? Am I to rack my brains to find a home for my nephew and
niece, only that I may be thrust out myself? To find for them places
at your table, that I may be deprived of a crust and a bone under it?
If no one else will consider me, I must consider myself. I am the last
representative of an ancient and honorable family--" She saw Coppinger
move his hand, and thought he expressed dissent. She added hastily,
"As to Judith and Jamie, they take after their Scotch mother. I do not
reckon them as Trevisas."

"Come--tell me what you want," said Coppinger, impatiently.

"I want to be secure for my old age, that I do not spend it in the
poor-house."

"What do you ask?"

"Give me an annuity of fifty pounds for my life, and Othello Cottage
that is on your land."

"You ask enough."

"You will never get Judith without granting me that."

"Well--get Judith to be mine, and you shall have it."

"Will you swear to it?"

"Yes."

"And give me--I desire that--the promise in writing."

"You shall have it."

"Then I will help you."

"How?"

"Leave that to me. I am her guardian."

"But not of her heart?"

"Leave her to me. You shall win her."

"How!"

"Through Jamie."



CHAPTER XXI.

OTHELLO COTTAGE.


To revert to the old life as far as possible under changed
circumstances, to pass a sponge over a terrible succession of
pictures, to brush out the vision of horrors from her eyes, and shake
the burden of the past off her head--if for a while only--was a joy to
Judith. She had been oppressed with nightmare, and now the night was
over, her brain clear, and should forget its dreams.

She and Jamie were together, and were children once more; her anxiety
for her brother was allayed, and she had broken finally with Cruel
Coppinger. Her heart bounded with relief. Jamie was simple and docile
as of old; and she rambled with him through the lanes, along the
shore, upon the downs, avoiding only one tract of common and one cove.

A child's heart is elastic; eternal droopings it cannot bear. Beaten
down, bruised and draggled by the storm, it springs up when the sun
shines, and laughs into flower. It is no eucalyptus that ever hangs
its leaves; it is a sensitive plant, wincing, closing, at a trifle,
feeling acutely, but not for long.

And now Judith had got an idea into her head, that she communicated to
Jamie, and her sanguine anticipations kindled his torpid mind. She had
resolved to make little shell baskets and other chimney ornaments, not
out of the marine shells cast up by the sea, for on that coast none
came ashore whole, but out of the myriad snail-shells that strew the
downs. They were of all sizes, from a pin's head to a gooseberry, and
of various colors--salmon-pink, sulphur-yellow, rich brown and pure
white. By judicious arrangement of sizes and of colors, with a little
gum on cardboard, what wonderful erections might be made, certain to
charm the money out of the pocket, and bring in a little fortune to
the twins.

"And then," said Jamie, "I can build a linney, and rent a paddock, and
keep my Neddy at Polzeath."

"And," said Judith, "we need be no longer a burden to Auntie."

The climax of constructive genius would be exhibited in the formation
of a shepherd and shepherdess, for which Judith was to paint faces and
hands; but their hats, their garments, their shoes, were to be made of
shells. The shepherdess was to have a basket on her arm, and in this
basket were to be flowers, not made out of complete shells, but out of
particles of sea-shells of rainbow colors.

What laughter, what exultation there was over the shepherd and
shepherdess! How in imagination they surpassed the fascinations of
Dresden china figures. And the price at which they were to be sold was
settled. Nothing under a pound would be accepted, and that would be
inadequate to represent the value of such a monument of skill and
patience! The shepherd and shepherdess would have to be kept under
glass bells, on a drawing-room mantel-shelf.

Judith's life had hitherto been passed between her thoughtful,
cultured father and her thoughtless, infantile brother. In some
particulars she was old for her age, but in others she was younger
than her years. As the companion of her father, she had gained powers
of reasoning, a calmness in judging, and a shrewdness of sense which
is unusual in a girl of eighteen. But as also the associate of Jamie
in his play, she had a childish delight in the simplest amusements,
and a readiness to shake off all serious thought and fretting care in
an instant, and to accommodate herself to the simplicity of her
brother.

Thus--a child with a child--Judith and Jamie were on the common one
windy, showery day, collecting shells, laughing, chattering, rejoicing
over choice snail-shells, as though neither had passed through a wave
of trouble, as though life lay serene before them.

Judith had no experience of the world. With her natural wit and
feminine instinct she had discovered that Cruel Coppinger loved her.
She had also no hesitation in deciding that he must be repulsed.
Should he seek her, she must avoid him. They could not possibly unite
their lives. She had told him this, and there the matter ended. He
must swallow his disappointment, and think no more about her. No one
could have everything he wanted. Other people had to put up with
rejection, why not Coppinger? It might be salutary to him to find that
he could not have his way in all things. So she argued, and then she
put aside from her all thought of the Captain, and gave herself up to
consideration of snail-shell boxes, baskets, and shepherds and
shepherdesses.

Jamie was developing a marvellous aptitude for bird-stuffing. Mr.
Menaida had told Judith repeatedly that if the boy would stick to it,
he might become as skilful as himself. He would be most happy,
thankful to be able to pass over to him some of the work that
accumulated, and which he could not execute. "I am not a professional;
I am an amateur. I only stuff birds to amuse my leisure moments.
Provokingly enough, gentlemen do not believe this. They write to me as
if I were a tradesman, laying their commands upon me, and I resent it.
I have a small income of my own, and am not forced to slave for my
bread and 'baccy. Now, if Jamie will work with me and help me, I will
cheerfully share profits with him. I must be director--that is
understood."

But it was very doubtful whether poor Jamie could be taught to apply
himself regularly to the work, and that under a desultory master, who
could not himself remain at a task many minutes without becoming
exhausted and abandoning it. Jamie could be induced to work only by
being humored. He loved praise. He must be coaxed and flattered to
undertake any task that gave trouble. Fortunately, taxidermy did not
require any mental effort, and it was the straining of his imperfect
mental powers that irritated and exhausted the boy.

With a little cajolery he might be got to do as much as did Uncle
Zachie, and if Mr. Menaida were as good as his word--and there could
be little doubt that so kind, amiable, and honorable a man would be
that--Jamie would really earn a good deal of money. Judith also hoped
to earn more with her shell-work, and together she trusted they would
be able to support themselves without further tax on Miss Trevisa.

And what a childish pleasure they found in scheming their future, what
they would do with their money, where they would take a house, how
furnish it! They laughed over their schemes, and their pulses
fluttered at the delightful pictures they conjured up. And all their
rosy paradise was to rise out of the proceeds of stuffed birds and
snail-shell chimney ornaments.

"Ju! come here, Ju!" cried Jamie.

Then again impatiently, "Ju! come here, Ju!"

"What is it, dear?"

"Here is the very house for us. Do come and see."

On the down, nestled against a wall that had once enclosed a garden,
but was now ruinous, stood a cottage. It was built of wreck-timber,
thatched with heather and bracken, and with stones laid on the
thatching, which was bound with ropes, as protection against the wind.
A quaint, small house, with little windows under the low eaves; one
story high, the window-frames painted white; the glass frosted with
salt blown from the sea, so that it was impossible to look through the
small panes, and discover what was within. The door had a gable over
it, and the centre of the gable was occupied by a figure-head of
Othello. The Moor of Venice was black and well battered by storm, so
that the paint was washed and bitten off him. There was a strong brick
chimney in the midst of the roof, but no smoke issued from it, nor had
the house the appearance of being inhabited. There were no blinds to
the windows, there were no crocks, no drying linen about the house; it
had a deserted look, and yet was in good repair.

"Oh, Ju!" said Jamie, "we will live here. Will it not be fun? And I
shall have a gun and shoot birds."

"Whose house can it be?" asked Judith.

"I don't know. Ju, the door is open; shall we go in?"

"No, Jamie, we have no right there."

A little gate was in the wall, and Judith looked through. There had at
one time certainly been a garden there, but it had been neglected, and
allowed to be overrun with weeds. Roses, escallonica, and lavender had
grown in untrimmed luxuriance. Marigolds rioted over the space like a
weed. Pinks flourished, loving the sandy soil, but here and there the
rude blue thistle had intruded and asserted its right to the
sea-border land as its indigenous home.

Down came the rain, so lashing that Judith was constrained to seek
shelter, and, in spite of her protest that she had no right to enter
Othello Cottage, she passed the threshold.

No one was within but Jamie, who had not attended to her objection;
led by curiosity, and excusing himself by the rain, he had opened the
door and gone inside.

The house was unoccupied, and yet was not in a condition of neglect
and decay. If no one lived there, yet certainly some one visited it,
for it had not that mouldy atmosphere that pervades a house long shut
up, nor were dust and sand deep on floor and table. There was
furniture, though scanty. The hearth showed traces of having had a
fire in it at no very distant period. There were benches. There were
even tinder-box and candle on the mantle-shelf.

Jamie was in high excitement and delight. This was the ogre's cottage
to which Jack had climbed up the bean-stalk. He was sure to find
somewhere the hen that laid golden eggs, and the harp that played of
itself.

Judith seated herself on one of the benches and sorted her shells,
leaving Jamie to amuse himself. As the house was uninhabited, it did
not seem to her that any gross impropriety existed in allowing him to
run in and out and peep round the rooms, and into the corners.

"Judith," he exclaimed, coming to her from an adjoining room, "there
is a bed in here, and there are crooks in the wall!"

"What are the crooks for, dear?"

"For climbing, I think."

Then he ran back, and she saw no more of him for a while, but heard
him scrambling.

She rose and went to the door into the adjoining apartment to see that
he was after no mischief. She found that this apartment was intended
for sleeping in. There was a bedstead with a mattress on it, but no
clothes. Jamie had found some crooks in the wall, and was scrambling
up these, with hands and feet, toward the ceiling, where she perceived
an opening, apparently into the attic.

"Oh, Jamie! what are you doing there?"

"Ju, I want to see whether there is anything between the roof and the
ceiling. There may be the harp there, or the hen that lays golden
eggs."

"The shower is nearly over; I shall not wait for you."

She seated herself on the bed and watched him. He thrust open a
sliding board, and crawled through into the attic. He would soon tire
of exploring among the rafters, and would return dirty, and have to
be cleared of cobwebs and dust. But it amused the boy. He was ever
restless, and she would find it difficult to keep him occupied sitting
by her below till the rain ceased, so she allowed him to scramble and
search as he pleased. Very few minutes had passed before Judith heard
a short cough in the main room, and she at once rose and stepped back
into it to apologize for her intrusion. To her great surprise she
found her aunt there, at the little window, measuring it.

"A couple of yards will do--double width," said Miss Trevisa.

"Auntie!" exclaimed Judith. "Who ever would have thought of seeing you
here?"

Miss Trevisa turned sharply round, and her lips tightened.

"And who would have thought of seeing you here," she answered, curtly.

"Auntie, the rain came on; I ran in here so as not to be wet through.
To whom does this house belong?"

"To the master--to whom else? Captain Coppinger."

"Are you measuring the window for blinds for him?"

"I am measuring for blinds, but not for him."

"But--who lives here?"

"No one as yet."

"Is any one coming to live here?"

"Yes--I am."

"Oh, auntie! and are we to come here with you?"

Miss Trevisa snorted, and stiffened her back.

"Are you out of your senses, like Jamie, to ask such a question? What
is the accommodation here? Two little bedrooms, one large kitchen, and
a lean-to for scullery--that is all--a fine roomy mansion for three
people indeed!"

"But, auntie, are you leaving the Glaze?"

"Yes, I am. Have you any objection to that?"

"No, aunt, only I am surprised. And Captain Cruel lets you have this
dear little cottage?"

"As to its being dear, I don't know, I am to have it; and that is how
you have found it open to poke and pry into. I came up to look round
and about me, and then found I had not brought my measuring tape with
me, so I returned home for that, and you found the door open and
thrust yourself in."

"I am very sorry if I have given you annoyance."

"Oh, it's no annoyance to me. The place is not mine yet."

"But when do you come here, Aunt Dunes?"

"When?" Miss Trevisa looked at her niece with a peculiar expression in
her hard face that Judith noticed, but could not interpret. "That,"
said Miss Trevisa, "I do not know yet."

"I suppose you will do up that dear little garden," said Judith.

Miss Trevisa did not vouchsafe an answer; she grunted, and resumed her
measuring.

"Has this cottage been vacant for long, auntie?"

"Yes."

"But, auntie, some one comes here. It is not quite deserted."

Miss Trevisa said to herself, "Four times two and one breadth torn in
half to allow for folds will do it. Four times two is eight, and one
breadth more is ten."

Just then Jamie appeared, shyly peeping through the door. He had heard
his aunt's voice, and was afraid to show himself. Her eye, however,
observed him, and in a peremptory tone she ordered him to come
forward.

But Jamie would not obey her willingly, and he deemed it best for him
to make a dash through the kitchen to the open front door.

"That boy!" growled Miss Trevisa, "I'll be bound he has been at
mischief."

"Auntie, I think the rain has ceased, I will say good-by."

Then Judith left the cottage.

"Ju," said Jamie, when he was with his sister beyond earshot of the
aunt, "such fun--I have something to tell you."

"What is it, Jamie?"

"I won't tell you till we get home."

"Oh, Jamie, not till we get back to Polzeath?"

"Well, not till we get half-way home--to the white gate. Then I will
tell you."



CHAPTER XXII.

JAMIE'S RIDE.


"Now, Jamie! the white gate."

"The white gate!--what about that?" He had forgotten his promise.

"You have a secret to tell me."

Then the boy began to laugh and to tap his pockets.

"What do you think, Ju! look what I have found. Do you know what is in
the loft of the cottage we were in? There are piles of tobacco, all up
hidden away in the dark under the rafters. I have got my pockets
stuffed as full as they will hold. It is for Uncle Zachie. Won't he be
pleased?"

"Oh, Jamie! you should not have done that."

"Why not? Don't scold, Ju!"

"It is stealing."

"No, it is not. No one lives there."

"Nevertheless it belongs to some one, by whatever means it was got,
and for whatever purpose stowed away there. You had no right to touch
it."

"Then why do you take snail-shells?"

"They belong to no one, no one values them. It is other with this
tobacco. Give it up. Take it back again."

"What--to Aunt Dunes? I daren't, she's so cross."

"Well, give it to me, and I will take it to her. She is now at the
cottage, and the tobacco can be replaced."

"Oh, Ju, I should like to see her scramble up the wall!"

"I do not think she will do that; but she will contrive somehow to
have the tobacco restored. It is not yours, and I believe it belongs
to Captain Cruel. If it be not given back now he may hear of it and be
very angry."

"He would beat me," said the boy, hastily emptying his pockets. "I'd
rather have Aunt Dunes' jaw than Captain Cruel's stick." He gave the
tobacco to his sister, but he was not in a good humor. He did not see
the necessity for restoring it. But Jamie never disobeyed his sister,
when they were alone, and she was determined with him. Before others
he tried to display his independence, by feeble defiances never long
maintained, and ending in a reconciliation with tears and kisses, and
promises of submission without demur for the future. With all, even
the most docile children, there occur epochs when they try their
wings, strut and ruffle their plumes, and crow very loud--epochs of
petulance or boisterous outbreak of self-assertion in the face of
their guides and teachers. If the latter be firm, the trouble passes
away to be renewed at a future period till manhood or womanhood is
reached, and then guide and teacher who is wise falls back, lays down
control, and lets the pupils have their own way. But if at the first
attempts at mastery, those in authority, through indifference or
feebleness or folly, give way, then the fate of the children is
sealed, they are spoiled for ever.

Jamie had his rebellious fits, and they were distressing to Judith,
but she never allowed herself to be conquered. She evaded provoking
them whenever possible; and as much as possible led him by his
affection. He had a very tender heart, was devotedly attached to his
sister, and appeals to his better nature were usually successful, not
always immediately, but in the long run.

Her association with Jamie had been of benefit to Judith; it had
strengthened her character. She had been forced from earliest
childhood to be strong where he was weak, to rule because he was
incapable of ruling himself. This had nurtured in her a decision of
mind, a coolness of judgment, and an inflexibility of purpose unusual
in a girl of her years.

Judith walked to Othello Cottage, carrying the tobacco in her skirt,
held up by both hands; and Jamie sauntered back to Polzeath, carrying
his sister's basket of shells, stopping at intervals to add to the
collection, then ensconcing himself in a nook of the hedge to watch a
finch, a goldhammer, or a blackbird, then stopped to observe and
follow a beetle of gorgeous metallic hues that was running across the
path.

Presently he emerged into the highway, the parish road; there was no
main road in those parts maintained by toll-gates, and then observed a
gig approach in which sat two men, one long and narrow-faced, the
other tall, but stout and round-faced. He recognized the former at
once as Mr. Scantlebray, the appraiser. Mr. Scantlebray, who was
driving, nudged his companion, and with the butt-end of the whip
pointed to the boy.

"Heigh! hi-up! Gaffer!" called Mr. Scantlebray, flapping his arms
against his sides, much as does a cock with his wings. "Come along; I
have something of urgent importance to say to you--something so good
that it will make you squeak; something so delicious that it will make
your mouth water."

This was addressed to Jamie, as the white mare leisurely trotted up to
where the boy stood. Then Scantlebray drew up, with his elbows at
right angles to his trunk.

"Here's my brother thirsting, ravening to make your acquaintance--and,
by George! you are in luck's way, young hopeful, to make his. Obadiah!
this here infant is an orphing. Orphing! this is Obadiah Scantlebray,
whom I call Scanty because he is fat. Jump up, will y', into the gig."

Jamie looked vacantly about him. He had an idea that he ought to wait
for Judith or go directly home. But she had not forbidden him to have
a ride, and a ride was what he dearly loved.

"Are you coming?" asked Scantlebray; "or do you need a more
ceremonious introduction to Mr. Obadiah, eh?"

"I've got a basket of shells," said Jamie. "They belong to Ju."

"Well, put Ju's basket in--the shells won't hurt--and then in with
you. There's a nice little portmantle in front, on which you can sit
and look us in the face, and if you don't tumble off with laughing, it
will be because I strap you in. My brother is the very comicalest
fellow in Cornwall. It's a wonder I haven't died of laughter. I should
have, but our paths diverged; he took up the medical line, and I the
valuation and all that, so my life was saved. Are you comfortable
there?"

"Yes, sir," said Jamie, seated himself where advised.

"Now for the strap round ye," said Scantlebray. "Don't be alarmed;
it's to hold you together, lest you split your sides with merriment,
and to hold you in, lest you tumble overboard convulsed with
laughter. That brother of mine is the killingest man in Great
Britain. Look at his face. Bless me! in church I should explode when I
saw him, but that I am engrossed in my devotions. On with you, Juno!"

That to the gray mare, and a whip applied to make the gray mare trot
along, which she did, with her head down lost in thought, or as if
smelling the road, to make sure that she was on the right track.

"'Tisn't what he says," remarked Mr. Scantlebray, seeing a questioning
expression on Jamie's innocent face, "it's the looks of him. And when
he speaks--well, it's the way he says it more than what he says. I was
at a Charity Trust dinner, and Obadiah said to the waiter, 'Cutlets,
please!' The fellow dropped the dish, and I stuffed my napkin into my
mouth, ran out, and went into a fit. Now, Scanty, show the young
gentleman how to make a rabbit."

Then Mr. Scantlebray tickled up the mare with the lash of his whip,
cast some objurgations at a horse-fly that was hovering and then
darting at Juno.

Mr. Obadiah drew forth a white but very crumpled kerchief from his
pocket, and proceeded to fold it on his lap.

"Just look at him," said the agent, "doing it in spite of the motion
of the gig. It's wonderful. But his face is the butchery. I can't look
at it for fear of letting go the reins."

The roads were unfrequented; not a person was passing as the party
jogged along. Mr. Scantlebray hissed to the mare between his front
teeth, which were wide apart; then, turning his eye sideways, observed
what his brother was about.

"That's his carcase," said he, in reference to the immature rabbit.

Then a man was sighted coming along the road, humming a tune. It was
Mr. Menaida.

"How are you? Compliments to the young lady orphing, and say we're
jolly--all three," shouted Scantlebray, urging his mare to a faster
pace, and keeping her up to it till they had turned a corner, and
Menaida was no more in sight.

"Just look at his face, as he's a folding of that there
pockyhandkercher," said the appraiser. "It's exploding work."

Jamie looked into the stolid features of Mr. Obadiah, and
laughed--laughed heartily, laughed till the tears ran down his cheeks.
Not that he saw aught humorous there, but that he was told it was
there, he ought to see it, and would be a fool if he were not
convulsed by it.

Precisely the same thing happens with us. We look at and go into
raptures over a picture, because it is by a Royal Academician who has
been knighted on account of his brilliant successes. We are charmed at
a cantata, stifling our yawns, because we are told by the art critics
who are paid to puff it, that we are fools, and have no ears if we do
not feel charmed by it. We rush to read a new novel, and find it
vastly clever, because an eminent statesman has said on a postcard it
has pleased him.

We laugh when told to laugh, condemn when told to condemn, and would
stand on our heads if informed that it was bad for us to walk on our
feet.

"There!" said Mr. Scantlebray, the valuer. "Them's ears."

"Crrrh!" went Mr. Obadiah, and the handkerchief, converted into a
white bunny, shot from his hand up his sleeve.

"I can't drive, 'pon my honor; I'm too ill. You have done me for
to-day," said Scantlebray the elder, the valuer. "Now, young hopeful,
what say you? Will you make a rabbit, also? I'll give you a shilling
if you will."

Thereupon Jamie took the kerchief and spread it out, and began to fold
it. Whenever he went wrong Mr. Obadiah made signs, either by elevation
of his brows and a little shake of his head, or by pointing, and his
elder brother caught him at it and protested. Obadiah was the drollest
fellow, he was incorrigible, as full of mischief as an egg is full of
meat. There was no trusting him for a minute when the eye was off him.

"Come, Scanty! I'll put you on your honor. Look the other way." But a
moment after--"Ah, for shame! there you are at it again. Young
hopeful, you see what a vicious brother I have; perfectly
untrustworthy, but such a comical dog. Full of tricks up to the ears.
You should see him make shadows on the wall. He can represent a pig
eating out of a trough. You see the ears flap, the jaws move, the eye
twinkle in appreciation of the barley-meal. It is to the life, and all
done by the two hands--by one, I may say, for the other serves as
trough. What! Done the rabbit! First rate! Splendid! Here is the
shilling. But, honor bright, you don't deserve it; that naughty Scanty
helped you."

"Please," said Jamie, timidly, "may I get out now and go home?"

"Go home! What for?"

"I want to show Ju my shilling."

"By ginger! that is too rich. Not a bit of it. Do you know Mistress
Polgrean's sweetie shop?"

"But that's at Wadebridge."

"At Wadebridge; and why not? You will spend your shilling there. But
look at my brother. It is distressing; his eyes are alight at the
thoughts of the tartlets, and the sticks of peppermint sugar, and the
almond rock. Are you partial to almond rock, orphin?"

Jamie's mind was at once engaged.

"Which is it to be? Gingerbreads or tartlets, almond rock or
barley-sugar?"

"I think I'll have the peppermint," said Jamie.

"Then peppermint it shall be. And you will give me a little bit, and
Scanty a bit, and take a little bit home to Ju, eh?"

"Yes, sir."

"He'll take a little bit home to Ju, Obadiah, old man."

The funny brother nodded.

"And the basket of shells?" asked the elder.

"Yes, she is making little boxes with them to sell," said Jamie.

"I suppose I may have the privilege of buying some," said Mr.
Scantlebray, senior. "Oh, look at that brother of mine! How he is
screwing his nose about! I say, old man, are you ill? Upon my life, I
believe he is laughing."

Presently Jamie got restless.

"Please, Mr. Scantlebray, may I get out? Ju will be frightened at my
being away so long."

"Poor Ju!" said Scantlebray, the elder. "But no--don't you worry your
mind about that. We passed Uncle Zachie, and he will tell her where
you are, in good hands, or rather, nipped between most reliable
knees--my brother's and mine. Sit still. I can't stop Juno; we're
going down-hill now, and if I stopped Juno she would fall. You must
wait--wait till we get to Mrs. Polgrean's." Then, after chuckling-to
himself, Scantlebray, senior, said: "Obadiah, old man, I wonder what
Missie Ju is thinking? I wonder what she will say, eh?" Again he
chuckled. "No place in your establishment for that party, eh?"

The outskirts of Wadebridge were reached.

"Now may I get out?" said Jamie.

"Bless my heart! Not yet. Wait for Mrs. Polgrean's."

But presently Mrs. Polgrean's shop-window was passed.

"Oh, stop! stop!" cried Jamie. "We have gone by the sweetie shop."

"Of course we have," answered Scantlebray, senior. "I daren't trust
that brother of mine in there; he has such a terrible sweet tooth.
Besides, I want you to see the pig eating out of the trough. It will
kill you. If it don't I'll give you another shilling."

Presently he drew up at the door of a stiff, square-built house, with
a rambling wing thrown out on one side. It was stuccoed and painted
drab--drab walls, drab windows, and drab door.

"Now, then, young man," said Scantlebray, cheerily, "I'll unbuckle the
strap and let you out. You come in with me. This is my brother's
mansion, roomy, pleasant, and comprehensive. You shall have a dish of
tea."

"And then I may go home?"

"And then--we shall see; shan't we, Obadiah, old man?"

They entered the hall, and the door was shut and fastened behind them;
then into a somewhat dreary room, with red flock paper on the walls,
no pictures, leather-covered, old, mahogany chairs, and a book or two
on the table--one of these a Bible.

Jamie looked wonderingly about him, a little disposed to cry. He was a
long way from Polzeath, and Judith would be waiting for him and
anxious, and the place into which he was ushered was not cheery, not
inviting.

"Now, then," said Mr. Scantlebray, "young hopeful, give me my
shilling."

"Please, I'm going to buy some peppermint and burnt almonds for Ju and
me as I go back."

"Oh, indeed! But suppose you do not have the chance?"

Jamie looked vacantly in his face, then into that of the stolid
brother, who was not preparing to show him the pig feeding out of a
trough, nor was he calling for tea.

"Come," said Scantlebray, the elder; "suppose I take charge of that
shilling till you have the chance of spending it, young man."

"Please, I'll spend it now."

"Not a bit. You won't have the chance. Do you know where you are!"

Jamie looked round in distress. He was becoming frightened at the
altered tone of the valuer.

"My dear," said Mr. Scantlebray, "you're now an honorable inmate of my
brother's Establishment for Idiots, which you don't leave till cured
of imbecility. That shilling, if you please?"



CHAPTER XXIII.

ALL IS FOR THE BEST IN THE BEST OF WORLDS.


Judith returned to the cottage of Mr. Menaida, troubled in mind, for
Aunt Dunes had been greatly incensed at the taking of the tobacco by
Jamie, and not correspondingly gratified by the return of it so
promptly by Judith. Miss Trevisa was a woman who magnified and
resented any wrong done, but minimized and passed over as unworthy of
notice whatever was generous, and every attempt made to repay an evil.
Such attempts not only met with no favor from her, but were perverted
in her crabbed mind into fresh affronts or injuries. That the theft of
Jamie would not have been discovered had not Judith spoken of it and
brought back what had been taken, was made of no account by Aunt
Dionysia; she attacked Judith with sharp reproach for allowing the boy
to be mischievous, for indulging him and suffering him to run into
danger through his inquisitiveness and thoughtlessness. "For," said
Aunt Dionysia, "had the master or any of his men found out what Jamie
had done there is no telling how he might have been served." Then she
had muttered: "If you will not take precautions, other folk must, and
the boy must be put where he can be properly looked after and kept
from interfering with the affairs of others."

On reaching Mr. Menaida's cottage, Judith called her brother, but as
she did not receive an answer, she went in quest of him, and was met
by the servant, Jump. "If you please, miss," said Jump, "there's been
two gen'lemen here, as said they was come from Mrs. Trevisa, and said
they was to pack and take off Master Jamie's clothes. And please miss,
I didn't know what to do--they was gen'lemen, and the master--he was
out, and you was out, miss--and Master Jamie, he wasn't to home
n'other."

"Taken Jamie's clothes!" repeated Judith, in amazement.

"Yes, miss, they brought a portmantle a-purpose; and they'd a gig at
the door; and they spoke uncommon pleasant, leastwise one o' them
did."

"And where is Jamie? Has he not come home?"

"No, miss."

At that moment Mr. Menaida came in.

"What is it, Judith? Jamie? Where Jamie is?--why, having a ride,
seated between the two Scantlebrays, in their gig. That is where he
is."

"Oh, Mr. Menaida, but they have taken his clothes!"

"Whose clothes?"

"Jamie's."

"I do not understand."

"The two gentlemen came to this house when you and I were out, and
told Jump that they were empowered by my aunt to pack up and carry off
all Jamie's clothing, which they put into a portmanteau they had
brought with them."

"And then picked up Jamie. He was sitting on the portmanteau," said
Uncle Zachie; then his face became grave. "They said that they acted
under authority from Mrs. Trevisa?"

"So Jump says."

"It can surely not be that he has been moved to the asylum."

"Asylum, Mr. Menaida?"

"The idiot asylum."

Judith uttered a cry, and staggered back against the wall.

"Jamie! my brother Jamie!"

"Mr. Obadiah Scantlebray has such a place at Wadebridge."

"But Jamie is not an idiot."

"Your aunt authorized them--," mused Uncle Zachie. "Humph! you should
see her about it. That is the first step, and ascertain whether she
has done it, or whether they are acting with a high hand for
themselves. I'll look at my law-books--if the latter it would be
actionable."

Judith did not hesitate for a moment. She hastened to Pentyre. That
her aunt had left Othello Cottage she was pretty sure, as she was
preparing to leave it when Judith returned with the tobacco.
Accordingly she took the road to Pentyre at once. Tears of shame and
pain welled up in her eyes at the thought of her darling brother
being beguiled away to be locked up among the imbecile in a private
establishment for the insane. Then her heart was contracted with anger
and resentment at the scurvy trick played on her and him: She did not
know that the Scantlebrays had been favored by pure accident. She
conceived that men base enough to carry off her brother would watch
and wait for the opportunity when to do it unobserved and unopposed.
She hardly walked. She ran till her breath failed her, and the rapid
throbbing of her heart would no longer allow her to run. Her dread of
approaching the Glaze after the declaration made by Captain Cruel was
overwhelmed in her immediate desire to know something about Jamie, in
her anguish of fear for him. On Coppinger she did not cast a
thought--her mind was so fully engrossed in her brother.

She saw nothing of the Captain. She entered the house, and proceeded
at once to her aunt's apartment. She found Miss Trevisa there, seated
near the window, engaged on some chintz that she thought would do for
the window at Othello Cottage, when she took possession of it. She had
measured the piece, found that it was suitable, and was turning down a
hem and tacking it. It was a pretty chintz, covered with sprigs of
nondescript pink and blue flowers.

Judith burst in on her, breathless, her brow covered with dew, her
bosom heaving, her face white with distress, and tears standing on her
eyelashes. She threw herself on her knees before Miss Trevisa, half
crying out and half sobbing:

"Oh, aunt! they have taken him!"

"Who have taken whom?" asked the elderly lady, coldly.

She raised her eyes and cast a look full of malevolence at Judith. She
never had, did not, never would feel toward that girl as a niece. She
hated her for her mother's sake, and now she felt an unreasonable
bitterness against her, because she had fascinated Coppinger--perhaps,
also, because in a dim fashion she was aware that she herself was
acting toward the child in an unworthy, unmerciful manner, and we all
hate those whom we wrong.

"Auntie! tell me it is not so. Mr. Scantlebray and his brother have
carried my darling Jamie away."

"Well, and what of that!"

"But--will they let me have him back?"

Miss Trevisa pulled at the chintz. "I will trouble you not to crumple
this," she said.

"Aunt! dear aunt! you did not tell Mr. Scantlebray to take Jamie away
from me?"

The old lady did not answer, she proceeded to release the material at
which she was engaged from under the knees of Judith. The girl, in her
vehemence, put her hands to her aunt's arms, between the elbows and
shoulders, and held and pressed them back, and with imploring eyes
looked into her hard face.

"Oh, auntie! you never sent Jamie to an asylum?"

"I must beg you to let go my arms," said Miss Trevisa. "This conduct
strikes me as most indecorous toward one of my age and relationship."

She avoided Judith's eye, her brow wrinkled, and her lips contracted.
The gall in her heart rose and overflowed.

"I am not ashamed of what I have done."

"Auntie!" with a cry of pain. Then Judith let go the old lady's arms,
and clasped her hands over her eyes.

"Really," said Miss Trevisa, with asperity, "you are a most
exasperating person. I shall do with the boy what I see fit. You know
very well that he is a thief."

"He never took anything before to-day--never--and you had settled this
before you knew about the tobacco!" burst from Judith, in anger and
with floods of tears.

"I knew that he has always been troublesome and mischievous, and he
must be placed where he can be properly managed by those accustomed to
such cases."

"There is nothing the matter with Jamie."

"You have humored and spoiled him. If he is such a plague to all who
know him, it is because he has been treated injudiciously. He is now
with men who are experienced, and able to deal with the like of
Jamie."

"Aunt, he must not be there. I promised my papa to be ever with him,
and to look after him."

"Then it is a pity your father did not set this down in writing.
Please to remember that I, and not you, am constituted his guardian,
by the terms of the will."

"Oh, aunt! aunt! let him come back to me!"

Miss Trevisa shook her head.

"Then let me go to him!"

"Hoity-toity! here's airs and nonsense. Really, Judith, you are almost
imbecile enough to qualify for the asylum. But I cannot afford the
cost of you both. Jamie's cost in that establishment will be £70 in
the year, and how much do you suppose that you possess?"

Judith remained kneeling upright, with her hands clasped, looking
earnestly through her tears at her aunt.

"You have in all, between you, but £45 or £50. When the dilapidations
are paid, and the expenses of the funeral, and the will-proving, and
all that, I do not suppose you will be found to have a thousand pounds
between you, and that put out to interest will not bring you more than
I have said; so I shall have to make up the deficiency. That is not
pleasing to me, you may well suppose. But I had rather pay £25 out of
my poor income, than have the name of the family disgraced by Jamie."

"Jamie will never, never disgrace the name. He is too good. And--it is
wicked, it is cruel to put him where you have. He is not an idiot."

"I am perhaps a better judge than you; so also is Mr. Obadiah
Scantlebray, who has devoted his life to the care and study of the
imbecile. Your brother has weak intellects."

"He is not clever; that is all. With application----"

"He cannot apply his mind. He has no mind that can be got to be
applied."

"Aunt, he's no idiot. He must not be kept in that place."

"You had best go back to Polzeath. I have decided on what I considered
right. I have done my duty."

"It cannot be just. I will see what Mr. Menaida says. He must be
released; if you will not let him out, I will."

Miss Trevisa looked up at her quickly between her half-closed lids; a
bitter, cruel smile quivered about her lips. "If any one can deliver
him, it will be you."

Judith did not understand her meaning, and Aunt Dionysia did not care
at that time to further enlighten her thereon. Finding her aunt
inflexible, the unhappy girl left Pentyre Glaze and hurried back to
Polzeath, where she implored Mr. Menaida to accompany her to
Wadebridge. Go there she would--she must--that same evening. If he
would not attend her, she would go alone. She could not rest, she
could not remain in the house, till she had been to the place where
Jamie was, and seen whether she could not release him thence by her
entreaties, her urgency.

Mr. Menaida shook his head. But he was a kind-hearted old man, and was
distressed at the misery of the girl, and would not hear of her making
the expedition alone, as she could not well return before dark. So he
assumed his rough and shabby beaver hat, put on his best cravat, and
sallied forth with Judith upon her journey to Wadebridge, one that he
assured her must be fruitless, and had better be postponed till the
morrow.

"I cannot! I cannot!" she cried. "I cannot sleep, thinking of my
darling brother in that dreadful place, with such people about him, he
crying, frightened, driven mad by the strangeness of it all, and being
away from me. I must go. If I cannot save him and bring him back with
me, I can see him and console him, and bid him wait in patience and
hope."

Mr. Menaida with a soft heart and a weak will, was hung about with
scraps of old-world polish, scraps only. In him nothing was
complete--here and there a bare place of rustic uncouthness, there
patches of velvet courtesy of the Queen Anne age; so, also, was he
made up of fine culture, of classic learning alternating with boorish
ignorance--here high principle, there none at all--a picture worked to
a miniature in points, and in others rudely roughed in and neglected.
Now he was moved as he had not been moved for years by the manifest
unhappiness of the girl, and he was willing to do his utmost to assist
her, but that utmost consisted in little more than accompanying her to
Wadebridge and ringing at the house-bell of Mr. Obadiah Scantlebray's
establishment. When it came to the interview that ensued with the
proprietor of the establishment and jailer of Jamie, he failed
altogether. Judith and Uncle Zachie were shown into the dreary parlor
without ornaments, and presently to them entered Mr. Obadiah.

"Oh, sir, is he here?--have you got Jamie here?"

Mr. Scantlebray nodded his head, then went to the door and knocked
with his fists against the wall. A servant maid appeared. "Send
missus," said he, and returned to the parlor.

Again Judith entreated to be told if her brother were there with all
the vehemence and fervor of her tattered heart.

Mr. Obadiah listened with stolid face and vacant eyes that turned from
her to Mr. Menaida, and then back to her again. Presently an idea
occurred to him and his face brightened. He went to a sideboard,
opened a long drawer, brought out a large book, thrust it before
Judith, and said, "Pictures." Then, as she took no notice of the book,
he opened it.

"Oh, please sir," pleaded Judith, "I don't want that. I want to know
about Jamie. I want to see him."

Then in at the door came a lady in black silk, with small curls about
her brow. She was stout, but not florid.

"What!" said she, "my dear, are you the young lady whose brother is
here? Don't you fret yourself. He is as comfortable as a chick in a
feathered nest. Don't you worry your little self about him now. Now
your good days have begun. He will not be a trouble and anxiety to you
any more. He is well cared for. I dare be sworn he has given you many
an hour of anxiety. Now, O be joyful! that is over, and you can dance
and play with a light heart. I have lifted the load off you, I and Mr.
Scantlebray. Here he will be very comfortable and perfectly happy. I
spare no pains to make my pets snug, and Scantlebray is inexhaustible
in his ability to amuse them. He has a way with these innocents that
is quite marvellous. Wait a while--give him and me a trial, and see
what the result is. You may believe me as one of long and tried
experience. It never does for amateurs--for relations--to undertake
these cases; they don't know when to be firm, or when to yield. We
do--it is our profession. We have studied the half-witted."

"But my brother is _not_ half-witted."

"So you say, and so it becomes you to say. Never admit that there is
imbecility or insanity in the family. You are quite right, my dear;
you look forward to being married some day, and you know very well it
might stand in the way of an engagement, were it supposed that you had
idiocy in the family blood. It is quite right. I understand all that
sort of thing. We call it nervous debility, and insanity we term
nervous excitement. Scantlebray, my poppet, isn't it so!"

Mr. Obadiah nodded.

"You leave all care to us; thrust it upon our shoulders. They will
bear it; and never doubt that your brother will be cared for in body
and in soul. In body--always something nice and light for supper,
tapioca, rice-pudding, batter; to-night, rolly-poly. After that,
prayers. We don't feed high, but we feed suitably. If you like to pay
a little extra, we will feed higher. Now, my dear, you take all as for
the best, and rely on it everything is right."

"But Jamie ought not to be locked up."

"My dear, he is at school under the wisest and most experienced of
teachers. You have mismanaged him. Now he will be treated
professionally; and Mr. Scantlebray superintends not the studies only,
but the amusements of the pupils. He has such a fund of humor in him."
Obadiah at once produced his pocket-handkerchief and began to fold it.
"No, dear, no ducky, no rabbit now! You fond thing, you! always
thinking of giving entertainment to some one. No, nor the parson
preaching either." He was rolling his hands together and thrusting up
his thumb as the representative of a sacred orator in his pulpit. "No,
ducky darling! another time. My husband is quite a godsend to the
nervously prostrate. He can amuse them by the hour; he never wearies
of it; he is never so happy as when he is entertaining them. You
cannot doubt that your brother will be content in the house of such a
man. Take my word for it; there is nothing like believing that all is
for the best as it is. Our pupils will soon be going to bed.
Rolly-poly and prayers, and then to bed--that is the order."

"Oh, let me see Jamie now."

"No, my dear. It would be injudicious. He is settling in; he is
becoming reconciled, and it would disturb him, and undo what has
already been done. Don't you say so, poppet?"

The poppet nodded his head.

"You see, this great authority agrees with me. Now, this evening
Jamie and the others shall have an extra treat. They shall have the
pig eating out of the trough. There--what more can you desire? As soon
as lights are brought in, then rolly-poly, prayers, and the pig and
the trough. Another time you shall see him. Not to-night. It is
inadvisable. Take my word for it, your brother is as happy as a boy
can be. He has found plenty of companions of the same condition as
himself."

"But he is _not_ an idiot."

"My dear, we know all about that; very nice and sweet for you to say
so--isn't it duckie?"

The duckie agreed it was so.

"There is the bell. My dear, another time. You will promise to come
and see me again? I have had such a delightful talk with you.
Good-night, good-night. 'All is for the best in the best of worlds.'
Put that maxim under your head and sleep upon it."



CHAPTER XXIV.

A NIGHT EXCURSION.


Some people are ever satisfied with what is certain to give themselves
least trouble, especially if that something concerns other persons.

Mr. Menaida was won over by the volubility of Mrs. Scantlebray and the
placidity of Mr. Scantlebray to the conviction that Jamie was in the
very best place he could possibly be in. A lady who called Judith "my
dear" and her husband "duckie" must have a kindly heart, and a
gentleman like Mr. Obadiah, so full of resources, could not fail to
divert and gratify the minds of those under his charge, and banish
care and sorrow. And as Mr. Menaida perceived that it would be a
difficult matter to liberate Jamie from the establishment where he
was, and as it was an easy matter to conclude that the establishment
was admirably adapted to Jamie, he was content that Aunt Dionysia had
chosen the wisest course in putting him there, and that it would be to
the general advantage to cherish this opinion. For, in the first
place, it would pacify Judith, and then, by pacifying her, would give
himself none of that inconvenience, that running to and fro between
Polzeath and Wadebridge, that consultation of law-books, that
correspondence, that getting of toes and fingers into hot water,
likely to result from the impatience, the unflagging eagerness of
Judith to liberate her brother.

Accordingly Uncle Zachie used his best endeavors to assure Judith that
Jamie certainly was happy, had never been so happy in his life before,
and that, under the treatment of so kind and experienced a man as Mr.
Obadiah Scantlebray, there was reason to believe that in a short time
Jamie would issue from under his tuition a light so brilliant as to
outshine the beacon on Trevose Head.

Judith was unconvinced. Love is jealous and timorous. She feared lest
all should not be as was represented. There was an indefinable
something in Mrs. Scantlebray that roused her suspicion. She could not
endure that others should step into the place of responsibility toward
Jamie she had occupied so long, and which she had so solemnly assured
her father she would never abandon. Supposing that Scantlebray and his
wife were amiable and considerate persons, might they not so influence
the fickle Jamie as to displace her from his affections and insinuate
themselves in her room?

But it was not this mainly that troubled her. She was tormented with
the thought of the lonely, nervous child in the strange house, among
strange people, in desolation of heart and deadly fear.

Whenever he had become excited during the day he was sleepless at
night, and had to be soothed and coaxed into slumber. On such
occasions she had been wont, with the infinite, inexhaustible patience
of true love, to sit by his bed, pacifying his alarms, allaying his
agitation, singing to him, stroking his hair, holding his hand, till
his eyes closed. And how often, just as he seemed about to drop
asleep, had he become again suddenly awake, through some terror, or
some imagined discomfort? then all the soothing process had to be gone
through again, and it had always been gone through without a murmur or
an impatient word.

Now Jamie was alone--or perhaps worse than alone--in a dormitory of
idiots, whose strange ways filled him with terror, and his dull mind
would be working to discover how he came to be there, how it was that
his Ju was not with him. Who would lull his fears, who sing to him old
familiar strains? Would any other hand rest on the hot brow and hold
it down on the pillow?

Judith looked up to heaven, to the stars already glimmering there. She
was not hearkening to the talk of Uncle Zachie: she was thinking her
own thoughts. She was indeed walking back to Polzeath; but her mind
was nailed to that dull drab house in the suburbs of Wadebridge with
the brass plate on the door, inscribed, "Mr. Scantlebray, Surgeon." As
her eyes were raised to the stars, she thought of her father. He was
above, looking down on her, and it seemed to her that in the flicker
of the stars she saw the trouble in her father's face at the knowledge
that his children were parted, and his poor little half-bright boy
was fallen among those who had no love for him, might have no patience
with his waywardness, would not make allowance for his infirmities.

She sobbed, and would not be comforted by Mr. Menaida's assurances.
Tired, foot-weary, but more tired and weary in heart and mind, she
reached the cottage. She could not sleep; she was restless. She sought
Jamie's room, and seated herself on the chair by his little bed, and
sobbed far on into the night. Her head ached, as did her burning and
blistered feet; and as she sat she dozed off, then awoke with a start,
so distinctly did she seem to hear Jamie's voice--his familiar tone
when in distress--crying, "Ju! Come to me, Ju!" So vividly did the
voice sound to her that she could not for a moment or two shake off
the conviction that she had in reality heard him. She thought that he
must have called her. He must be unhappy. What were those people doing
to him? Were they tormenting the poor little frightened creature? Were
they putting him into a dark room by himself, and was he nearly mad
with terror? Were they beating him, because he cried out in the night
and disturbed the house?

She imagined him sitting up on a hard bed, shivering with fear,
looking round him in the dark, and screaming for her--and she could
not help him.

"Oh, Jamie!" she cried, and threw herself on her knees and put her
hands over her eyes to shut out the horrible sight, over her ears to
close them to the piercing cry. "They will drive him mad! Oh, papa! my
papa! what will you say to me? Oh, my Jamie! what can I do for you?"

She was half mad herself, mad with fancies, conjured up by the fever
of distress into which she had worked herself. What could she do? She
could not breathe in that room. She could not breathe in the house.
She could not remain so far from Jamie--and he crying for her. His
voice rang still in her ears. It sounded in her heart, it drew her
irresistibly away. If she could but be outside that drab establishment
in the still night, to listen, and hear if all were quiet within, or
whether Jamie were calling, shrieking for her. He would cry himself
into fits. He would become really deranged, unless he were pacified.
Oh! those people!--she imagined they were up, not knowing what to do
with the boy, unable to soothe him, and were now wishing that she
were there, wishing they had not sent her away.

Judith was in that condition which is one of half craze through
brooding on her fears, through intense sympathy with the unhappy boy
so ruthlessly spirited away, through fever of the blood, caused by
long-protracted nervous strain, through over-weariness of mind and
body. Jamie's distress, his need for her became an idea that laid hold
of her, that could not be dispelled, that tortured her into
recklessness. She could not lie on her bed, she could not rest her
head for one moment. She ran to the window, panting, and smoked the
glass with her burning breath, so that she could not see through it.

The night was still, the sky clear, and there were stars in it. Who
would be abroad at that time? What danger would ensue to her if she
went out and ran back to Wadebridge? If any foot were to be heard on
the road, she could hide. She had gone out at night in storm to save
Cruel Coppinger--should she not go out in still starlight to aid her
own twin-brother, if he needed her? Providence had shielded her
before--it would shield her now.

The house was quiet. Mr. Menaida had long ago gone to bed, and was
asleep. His snores were usually audible at night through the cottage.
Jump was asleep, sound in sleep as any hard-worked sewing-wench.
Judith had not undressed, had not taken off her shoes; she had
wandered, consumed by restlessness, between her own room and that of
her brother.

It was impossible for her to remain there. She felt that she would die
of imaginings of evil unless she were near Jamie, unless there were
naught but a wall between him and her.

Judith descended the stairs and once again went forth alone into the
night, not now to set her face seaward, but landward; before she had
gone with a defined aim in view, to warn Coppinger of his danger, now
she was moved by a vague suspicion of evil.

The night was calm, but there was summer lightning on the horizon,
attended by no thunder, a constant flicker, sometimes a flare, as
though some bonfire were kindled beyond the margin of the world, that
was being stirred and added to. The air was close.

Judith had no one to look to in the world to help her and Jamie--not
her aunt, her sole relative, it was she who had sent her brother to
this place of restraint; not Mr. Menaida, he had not the moral courage
and energy of purpose to succor her in her effort to release Jamie;
not Captain Coppinger--him she dare not ask, lest he should expect too
much in return. The hand of misfortune was heavy on the girl; if
anything was to be done to relieve the pressure, she must do it
herself.

As she was going hastily along the lane she suddenly halted. She heard
some one a little way before her. There was no gate near by which she
could escape. The lane was narrow, and the hedges low, so as not to
afford sufficient shadow to conceal her. By the red summer flashes she
saw a man reeling toward her round the corner. His hat was on one side
of his head, and he lurched first to one side of the lane, then to the
other.

    "There went three trav'llers over the moor--
      Ri-tiddle-riddle-rol, huph! said he.
    Three trav'llers over the moor so green,
    The one sang high, the third sang low,
      Ri-tiddle-riddle-rol, huph! said he,
    And the second he trolled between."

Then he stood still.

"Huph! huph!" he shouted. "Some one else go on, I'm done
for--'Ri-tiddle-de.'"

He saw Judith by the starlight and by the flicker of the lightning,
and put his head on one side and capered toward her with arms
extended, chirping--"'Ri-tiddle-riddle-rol, huph! said he.'"

Judith started on one side, and the drunken man pursued her, but in so
doing, stumbled, and fell sprawling on the ground. He scrambled to his
feet again, and began to swear at her and sent after her a volley of
foul and profane words. Had he contented himself with this it would
have been bad enough, but he also picked up a stone and threw it.
Judith felt a blow on her head, and the lightning flashes seemed to be
on all sides of her, and then great black clouds to be rising like
smoke out of the earth about her. She staggered into the hedge, and
sank on her knees.

But fear lest the tipsy ruffian should pursue her nerved her to make
an effort to escape. She quickly rose and ran along the lane, turned
the corner, and ran on till her feet would no longer bear her, and
her breath failed. Then, looking back, and seeing that she was not
followed, she seated herself, breathless, and feeling sick, in the
hedge, where a glow-worm was shining, with a calm, steady light, very
different from the flicker of the stars above.

As she there sat, she was conscious of something warm on her neck, and
putting her hand up, felt that it was moist. She held her fingers to
the faint glow of the worm in the grass; there was a dark stain on her
hand, and she was sure that it was blood.

She felt her head swim, and knew that in another moment she would lose
consciousness, unless she made an effort to resist. Hastily she bound
a white handkerchief about her head where wounded by the stone, to
stay the flow, and walked resolutely forward.

There was now a shadow stealing up the sky to the south, and obscuring
the stars, a shadow behind which danced and wavered the electrical
light, but Judith heard no thunder, she had not the leisure to listen
for it; all her anxiety was to reach Wadebridge. But the air, the
oppressively sultry air, was charged with sound, the mutter and growl
of the Atlantic. The ocean, never at rest, ever gives forth a voice,
but the volume of its tone varies. Now it was loud and threatening,
loud and threatening as it had been on that afternoon when Judith sat
with her father in the rectory garden, tossing guelder-roses. Then,
the air had been still, but burdened with the menace of the sea. So it
was now at midnight; the ocean felt the influence of the distant storm
that was playing far away to the south.

Judith could not run now. Her feet were too sore, her strength had
given way. Resolute though her will might be, it could not inspire
with masculine strength the fragile little body, recently recovered
from sickness. But it carried her into the suburbs of Wadebridge, and
in the starlight she reached the house of Mr. Obadiah Scantlebray, and
stood before it, looking up at it despairingly. It was not drab in
color now, it was lampblack against a sky that flashed in the
russet-light. The kerchief she had tied about her head had become
loose. Still looking at the ugly, gloomy house, she put up her arms
and rebound it, knotting the ends more tightly, using care not to
cover her ears, as she was intent to hear the least sound, that
issued from the asylum. But for some time she could hear nothing save
the rush of her blood in her ears, foaming, hissing, like the tide
entering a bay over reefs. With this was mingled the mutter of the
Atlantic, beyond the hills--and now--yes, certainly now--the rumble of
remote thunder.

Judith had stood on the opposite side of the street looking up at
Scantlebray's establishment; she saw no light anywhere. Now she drew
near and crept along the walls. There was a long wing, with its back
to the street, without a window in the wall, and she thought it
probable that the inmates of the asylum were accommodated therein, a
dormitory up-stairs, play or school-rooms below. There Jamie must be.
The only windows to this wing opened into the garden; and consequently
Judith stole along the garden wall, turned the angle, down a little
lane, and stood listening. The wall was high, and the summit encrusted
with broken glass. She could see the glass prongs by the flicker of
the lightning. She could not possibly see over the wall; the lane was
too narrow for her to go back far, and the wall on the further side
too high to climb. Not a sound from within reached her ears.

In the still night she stood holding her breath.

Then a scream startled her.

It was the cry of a gull flying inland.

If a gull's cry could be heard, then surely that of her brother, were
he awake and unhappy, and wanting her.

She went further down the wall, and came on a small garden gate in it,
fastened, locked from within. It had a stone step. On that she sank,
and laid her head in her hands.



CHAPTER XXV.

FOUND.


Strange mystery of human sympathy! inexplicable, yet very real.
Irrational, yet very potent. The young mother has accepted an
invitation to a garden-party. She knows that she never looked better
than at present, with a shade of delicacy about her. She has got a new
bonnet that is particularly becoming, and which she desires to wear in
public. She has been secluded from society for several months, and she
longs to meet her friends again. She knows that she is interesting,
and believes herself to be more interesting than she really is. So she
goes. She is talking, laughing, a little flushed with pleasure, when
suddenly she becomes grave, the hand that holds the plate of
raspberries and cream trembles. All her pleasure is gone. She knows
that baby is crying. Her eye wanders in quest of her husband, she runs
to him, touches his arm, says--

"Do order the carriage; baby is crying."

It is all fiddle-de-dee. Baby has the best of nurses, the snuggest,
daintiest little cot; has a fresh-opened tin of condensed Swiss milk.
Reason tells her that; but no! and nurse cannot do anything to pacify
the child, baby is crying, nurse is in despair.

In like manner now did Judith argue with herself, without being able
to convince her heart. Her reason spoke and said to her--

No sound of cries comes from the asylum. There is no light in any
window. Every inmate is asleep, Jamie among them. He does not need you.
He is travelling in dreamland. The Scantlebrays have been kind to him.
The lady is a good, motherly body; the gentleman's whole soul is
devoted to finding amusement and entertainment for the afflicted
creatures under his care. He has played tricks before Jamie, made
shadow-pictures on the wall, told funny stories, made jacks-in-the-box
with his hands, and Jamie has laughed till he was tired, and his heavy
eyes closed with a laugh not fully laughed out on his lips. The
Scantlebrays are paid £70 for taking care of Jamie, and £70 in Judith's
estimation was a very princely sum. The £70 per annum Mr. Scantlebray
would corruscate into his richest fun, and Mrs. Scantlebray's heart
overflowed with warmest maternal affection.

But it was in vain that Judith thus reasoned, her heart would not be
convinced. An indescribable unrest was in her, and would not be laid.
She knew by instinct that Jamie wanted her, was crying for her, was
stretching out his hands in the dark for her.

As she sat on the step not only did reason speak, but judgment also.
She could do nothing there. She had acted a foolish part in coming all
that way in the dark, and without a chance of effecting any
deliverance to Jamie now she had reached her destination. She had
committed an egregious error in going such a distance from home, from
anyone who might serve as protector to her in the event of danger, and
there were other dangers she might encounter than having stones thrown
at her by drunken men. If the watch were to find her there, what
explanation of her presence could she give? Would they take her away
and lock her up for the rest of the night? They could not leave her
there. Large, warm drops, like tears from angels' eyes, fell out of
heaven upon her folded hands, and on her bowed neck.

She began to feel chilled after having been heated by her walk, so she
rose, and found that she had become stiff. She must move about,
however sore and weary her feet might be.

She had explored the lane as far as was needful. She could not see
from it into the house, the garden, and playground. Was it possible
that there was a lane on the further side of the house which would
give her the desired opportunity?

Judith resolved to return by the way she had come, down the lane into
the main street, then to walk along the front of the house, and
explore the other side. As she was descending the lane she noticed,
about twenty paces from the door, on the further side, a dense mass of
Portugal laurel that hung over the opposite wall, casting a shadow of
inky blackness into the lane. This she considered might serve her as
shelter when the threatening storm broke and the rain poured down. She
walked through this shadow, and would have entered the street, but
that she perceived certain dark objects passing noiselessly along it.
By the flashes of lightning she could distinguish men with laden
asses, and one she saw turn to enter the lane where she was. She drew
back hastily into the blot cast by the bush that swung its luxuriance
over the wall, and drew as closely back to the wall as was possible.
Thus she could not be seen, for the reflection of the lightning would
not fall on her; every glare made the shadow seem the deeper. Though
concealed herself, and wholly invisible, she was able to distinguish a
man with an ass passing by, and then halting at the door in the wall
that surrounded Mr. Obadiah's tenement. There the man knocked, and
uttered a peculiar whistle. As there ensued no immediate answer he
knocked and whistled again, whereupon the door was opened; and a word
or two was passed.

"How many do you want, sir?"

"Four."

"Any to help to carry the half-ankers!"

"No."

"Well, no odds. I'll carry one and you the t'other. We'll make two
journeys, that's all. I can't leave Neddy for long, but I'll go with
you to your house-door."

Probably the person addressed nodded a reply in the darkness; he made
no audible answer.

"Which is it, Mr. Obadiah, rum or brandy?"

"Brandy."

"Right you are, then. These are brandy. You won't take three brandies
and one rum?"

"Yes."

"All right, sir; lead the way. It's deuced dark."

Judith knew what this signified. Some of the householders of
Wadebridge were taking in their supplies of spirits from the
smugglers. Owing to the inconvenience of it being unlawful to deal
with these men for such goods, they had to receive their purchases at
night, and with much secrecy. There were watchmen at Wadebridge, but
on such nights they judiciously patrolled another quarter of the town
than that which received its supplies. The watchmen were municipal
officials, and were not connected with the excise, had no particular
regard for the inland revenue, anyhow, owed no duties to the officers
of the coast-guard. Their superior was the mayor, and the mayor was
fond of buying his spirits at the cheapest market.

Both men disappeared. The door was left open behind them. The
opportunity Judith had desired had come. Dare she seize it? For a
moment she questioned her heart, then she resolutely stepped out of
the shadow of the Portugal laurel, brushed past the patient ass,
entered the grounds of Mr. Scantlebray's establishment through the
open garden-door, and drew behind a syringa bush to consider what
further step she should take. In another moment both men were back.

"You are sure you don't mind one rum?"

"No."

"Right you are, then; I'll have it for you direct. The other kegs are
at t'other end of the lane. You come with me, and we'll have 'em down
in a jiffy."

Judith heard both men pass out of the door. She looked toward the
house. There was a light low down in a door opening into the garden or
yard where she was.

Not a moment was to be lost. As soon as the last kegs were brought in
the house-door would be locked, and though she had entered the garden
she would be unable to penetrate to the interior of the asylum.
Without hesitation, strong in her earnest purpose to help Jamie to the
utmost of her power, and grasping at every chance that offered, she
hastened, cautiously indeed, but swiftly, to the door whence the light
proceeded. The light was but a feeble one, and cast but a fluttering
ray upon the gravel. Judith was careful to walk where it could not
fall on her dress.

The whole garden front of the house was now before her. She was in a
sort of gravelled yard, with some bushes against the walls. The main
block of the house lay to her right, and the view of it was
intercepted by a wall. Clearly the garden space was divided, one
portion for the house, and another, that into which she had entered,
for the wing. That long wing rose before her with its windows all dark
above, and the lower or ground floor also dark. Only from the door
issued the light, and she saw that a guttering tallow candle was set
there on the floor.

Hastily she drew back. She heard feet on the gravel. The men were
returning, Mr. Obadiah Scantlebray and the smuggler, each laden with a
small cask of spirits.

"Right you are," said the man, as he set his keg down in the passage,
"that's yours, and I could drink your health, sir."

"You wouldn't--prefer?--" Mr. Scantlebray made contortions with his
hands between the candle and the wall, and threw a shadow on the
surface of plaster.

"No, thanks sir, I'd prefer a shilling."

Mr. Scantlebray fumbled in his pockets, grunted "Humph! purse
up-stairs." Felt again, "No," groped inside the breast of his
waistcoat, "another time--not forget."

The man muttered something not complimentary, and turned to go through
the yard.

"Must lock door," said Mr. Obadiah, and went after him. Now was
Judith's last chance. She took it at once; the moment the backs of the
two men were turned she darted into the passage and stood back against
the door out of the flare of the candle.

The passage was a sort of hall with slated floor, the walls plastered
and whitewashed at one time, but the wash and plaster had been picked
off to about five feet from the floor wherever not strongly adhesive,
giving a diseased and sore look to the wall. The slates of the floor
were dirty and broken.

Judith looked along the hall for a place to which she could retreat on
the return of the proprietor of the establishment. She had entered
that portion of the building tenanted by the unhappy patients. The
meanness of the passage, the picked walls, the situation on one side
of the comfortable residence showed her this. A door there was on the
right, ajar, that led into the private dwelling-house, but into that
Judith did not care to enter. One further down on the left probably
gave access to some apartment devoted to the "pupils," as Mrs.
Scantlebray called the patients.

There was, however, another door that was open, and from it descended
a flight of brick steps to what Judith conjectured to be the cellars.
At the bottom a second candle, in a tin candlestick, was guttering and
flickering in the draught that blew in at the yard door, and descended
to this underground story. It was obvious to the girl that Mr.
Scantlebray was about to carry or roll his kegs just acquired down the
brick steps to his cellar. For that purpose he had set a candle there.
It would not therefore do for her, to attempt to avoid him, to descend
to this lower region. She must pass the door that gave access to the
cellars, a door usually locked, as she judged, for a large iron key
stood in the lock, and enter the room, the door of which opened
further down the passage.

She was drawing her skirts together, so as to slip past the candle on
the passage floor for this purpose, when her heart stood still as
though she had received a blow on it. She heard--proceeding from
somewhere beneath down those steps--a moan, then a feeble cry of "Ju!
Where are you? Ju! Ju! Ju!"

She all but did cry out herself. A gasp of pain and horror did escape
her, and then, without a thought of how she could conceal herself, how
avoid Scantlebray, she ran down the steps to the cellar.

On reaching the bottom she found that there were four doors, two of
which had square holes cut in them, but with iron bars before these
openings. The door of one of the others, one on the left, was open,
and she could see casks and bottles. It was a wine and spirit cellar,
and the smell of wine issued from it.

She stood panting, frightened, fearing what she might discover,
doubting whether she had heard her brother's voice or whether she was
a prey to fancy. Then again she heard a cry and a moan. It issued from
the nearest cell on her right hand.

"Jamie! my Jamie!" she cried.

"Ju! Ju!"

The door was hasped, with a crook let into a staple so that it might,
if necessary, be padlocked. But now it was simply shut and a wooden
peg was thrust through the eye of the crook.

She caught up the candle, and with trembling hand endeavored to
unfasten the door, but so agitated was she, so blinded with horror,
that she could not do so till she had put down the candle again. Then
she forced the peg from its place and raised the crook. She stooped
and took up the candle once more, and then, with a short breath and a
contraction of the breast, threw open the door, stepped in, and held
up the light.

The candle flame irradiated what was but a cellar compartment vaulted
with brick, once whitewashed, now dirty with cobwebs and accumulated
dust and damp stains. It had a stone shelf on one side, on which lay a
broken plate and some scraps of food.

Against the further wall was a low truckle bed, with a mattress on it
and some rags of blanket. Huddled on this lay Jamie, his eyes dilated
with terror, and yet red with weeping. His clothes had been removed,
except his shirt. His long red-gold hair had lost all its gloss and
beauty, it was wet with sweat and knotted. The boy's face was ghastly
in the flickering light.

Judith dropped the candle on the floor, and rushed with outstretched
arms, and a cry--piercing, but beaten back on her by the walls and
vault of the cell--and caught the frightened boy to her heart.

"Jamie! O my Jamie! my Jamie!"

She swayed herself, crying, in the bed, holding him to her, with no
thought, her whole being absorbed in a spasm of intensest, most
harrowing pain. The tallow candle was on the slate floor, fallen,
melting, spluttering, flaming.

And in the door, holding the brandy keg upon his shoulders, stood,
with open eyes and mouth, Mr. Obadiah Scantlebray.



CHAPTER XXVI.

AN UNWILLING PRISONER.


Mr. Obadiah stood open-mouthed staring at the twins clasped in each
other's arms, unable at first to understand what he saw. Then a
suspicion entered his dull brain, he uttered a growl, put down the
keg, his heavy brows contracted, he shut his mouth, drawing in his
lips so that they disappeared, and he clenched his hands.

"Wait--I'll beat you!" he said.

The upset candle was on the floor, now half molten, with a pond of
tallow burning with a lambent blue flicker trembling on extinction,
then shooting up in a yellow flame.

In that uncertain, changeful, upward light the face of the man looked
threatening, remorseless, so that Judith, in a paroxysm of fear for
her brother and herself dropped, on her knee, and caught at the tin
candlestick as the only weapon of defence accessible. It was hot and
burnt her fingers, but she did not let go; and as she stood up the
dissolved candle fell from it among some straw that littered the
pavement. This at once kindled and blazed up into golden flame.

For a moment the cell was full of light. Mr. Obadiah at once saw the
danger. His casks of brandy were hard by--the fume of alcohol was in
the air--if the fire spread and caught his stores a volume of flame
would sweep up the cellar stair and set his house on fire. He hastily
sprang in, and danced about the cell stamping furiously at the ignited
wisps. Judith, who saw him rush forward, thought he was about to
strike her and Jamie, and raised the tin candlestick in self-defence;
but when she saw him engaged in trampling out the fire, tearing at the
bed to drag away the blankets with which to smother the embers, she
drew Jamie aside from his reach, sidled, with him clinging to her,
along the wall, and by a sudden spring reached the passage, slammed
the door, fastened the hasp, and had the gaoler secured in his own
gaol.

For a moment Mr. Scantlebray was unaware that he was a prisoner, so
busily engaged was he in trampling out the fire, but the moment he did
realize the fact he slung himself with all his force against the door.

Judith looked round her. There was now no light in the cellar but the
feeble glimmer that descended the stair from the candle above. The
flame of that was now burning steadily, for the door opening into the
yard was shut, and the draught excluded.

In dragging Jamie along with her, Judith had drawn forth a scanty
blanket that was about his shoulders. She wrapped it round the boy.

"Let me out!" roared Scantlebray. "Don't understand. Fun--rollicking
fun."

Judith paid no attention to his bellow. She was concerned only to
escape with Jamie. She was well aware that her only chance was by
retaining Mr. Obadiah where he was.

"Let me out!" again shouted the prisoner; and he threw himself
furiously against the door. But though it jarred on its hinges and
made the hasp leap, he could not break it down. Nevertheless, so big
and strong was the man that it was by no means improbable that his
repeated efforts might start a staple or snap a hinge band, and he and
the door might come together crashing down into the passage between
the cells.

Judith drew Jamie up the steps, and on reaching the top shut the
cellar door. Below, Mr. Scantlebray roared, swore, shouted, and beat
against the door; but now his voice, and the sound of his blows were
muffled, and would almost certainly be inaudible in the
dwelling-house. No wonder that Judith had not heard the cries of her
brother. It had never occurred to her that the hapless victim of the
keeper of the asylum might be chastised, imprisoned, variously
maltreated in regions underground, whence no sounds of distress might
reach the street, and apprise the passers-by that all was not laughter
within. Standing in the passage or hall above, Judith said:

"Oh, Jamie! where are your clothes?"

The boy looked into her face with a vacant and distressed expression.
He could not answer, he did not even understand her question, so
stupefied was he by his terrors, and the treatment he had undergone.

Judith took the candle from the floor and searched the hall. Nothing
was there save Mr. Scantlebray's coat, which he had removed and cast
across one of the kegs when he prepared to convey them down to his
cellar. Should she take that? She shook her head at the thought. She
would not have it said that she had taken anything out of the house,
except only--as that was an extreme necessity, the blanket wrapped
about Jamie. She looked into the room that opened beyond the cellar
door. It was a great bare apartment, containing only a table and some
forms.

"Jamie!" she said, "we must get away from this place as we are. There
is no help for it. Do you not know where your clothes were put?"

He shook his head. He clung to her with both arms, as though afraid,
if he held by but one that she would slip away and vanish, as one
drowning, clinging to the only support that sustained him from
sinking.

"Come, Jamie! It cannot be otherwise!" She set down the candle, opened
the door into the yard, and issued forth into the night along with the
boy. The clouds had broken, and poured down their deluge of warm
thunder rain. In the dark Judith was unable to find her direction at
once, she reached the boundary wall where was no door.

Jamie uttered a cry of pain.

"What is it, dear?"

"The stones cut my feet."

She felt along the wall with one hand till she touched the jamb, then
pressed against the door itself. It was shut. She groped for the lock.
No key was in it. She could as little escape from that enclosure as
she could enter into it from without. The door was very solid, and the
lock big and secure. What was to be done? Judith considered for a
moment, standing in the pouring rain through which the lightning
flashed obscurely, illumining nothing. It seemed to her that there was
but one course open to her, to return and obtain the key from Mr.
Obadiah Scantlebray. But it would be no easy matter to induce him to
surrender it.

"Jamie! will you remain at the door? Here under the wall is some
shelter. I must go back."

But the boy was frightened at the prospect of being deserted.

"Then--Jamie, will you come back with me to the house?"

No, he would not do that.

"I must go for the key, dearest," she said, coaxingly. "I cannot open
the door, so that we can escape, unless I have the key. Will you do
something for Ju? Sit here, on the steps, where you are somewhat
screened from the rain, and sing to me something, one of our old
songs--A jolly hawk and his wings were gray? sing that, that I may
hear your voice and find my way back to you. Oh--and here, Jamie, your
feet are just the size of mine, and so you shall pull on my shoes.
Then you will be able to run alongside of me and not hurt your soles."

With a little persuasion she induced him to do as she asked. She took
off her own shoes and gave them to him, then went across the yard to
where was the house, she discovered the door by a little streak of
light below it and the well trampled and worn threshold stone. She
opened the door, took up the candle and again descended the steps to
the cellar floor. On reaching the bottom, she held up the light and
saw that the door was still sound; at the square barred opening was
the red face of Mr. Scantlebray.

"Let me out," he roared.

"Give me the key of the garden door."

"Will you let me out if I do?"

"No; but this I promise, as soon as I have escaped from your premises
I will knock and ring at your front door till I have roused the house,
and then you will be found and released. By that time we shall have
got well away."

"I will not give you the key."

"Then here you remain," said Judith, and began to reascend the steps.
It had occurred to her, suddenly, that very possibly the key she
desired was in the pocket of the coat Mr. Scantlebray had cast off
before descending to the cellar. She would hold no further
communication with him till she had ascertained this. He yelled after
her "Let me out, and you shall have the key." But she paid no
attention to his promise. On reaching the top of the stairs, she again
shut the door, and took up his coat. She searched the pockets. No key
was within.

She must go to him once more.

He began to shout as he saw the flicker of the candle approach. "Here
is the key, take it, and do as you said." His hand, a great coarse
hand, was thrust through the opening in the door, and in it was the
key she required.

"Very well," said she, "I will do as I undertook."

She put her hand, the right hand, up to receive the key. In her left
was the candlestick. Suddenly he let go the key that clinked down on
the floor outside, and made a clutch at her hand and caught her by the
wrist. She grasped the bar in the little window, or he would have
drawn her hand in, dragged her by the arm up against the door, and
broken it. He now held her wrist and with his strong hand strove to
wrench her fingers from their clutch.

"Unhasp the door!" he howled at her.

She did not answer other than with a cry of pain, as he worked with
his hand at her wrist, and verily it seemed as though the fragile
bones must snap under his drag.

"Unhasp the door!" he roared again.

With his great fingers and thick nails he began to thrust at and
ploughed her knuckles; he had her by the wrist with one hand, and he
was striving to loosen her hold of the bar with the other.

"Unhasp the door!" he yelled a third time, "or I'll break every bone
in your fingers!" and he brought his fist down on the side of the door
to show how he would pound them by a blow. If he did not do this at
once it was because he dreaded by too heavy a blow to strike the bar
and wound himself while crushing her hand.

She could not hold the iron stanchion for more than another
instant--and then he would drag her arm in, as a lion in its cage when
it had laid hold of the incautious visitor, tears him to itself
through the bars.

Then she brought the candle-flame up against his hand that grasped her
wrist, and it played round it. He uttered a scream of pain, and let go
for a moment. But that moment sufficed. She was free. The key was on
the floor. She stooped to pick it up; but her fingers were as though
paralyzed, she was forced to take it with the left hand and leave the
candle on the floor. Then, holding the key she ran up the steps, ran
out into the yard, and heard her brother wailing, "Ju! I want you!
Where are you, Ju?"

Guided by his cries she reached the door. The key she put into the
lock, and with a little effort turned it. The door opened, she and
Jamie were free.

The door shut behind them. They were in the dark lane, under a pouring
rain. But Judith thought nothing of the darkness, nothing of the rain.
She threw her arms round her brother, put her wet cheek against his,
and burst into tears.

"My Jamie! O my Jamie!"

But the deliverance of her brother was not complete; she must bring
him back to Polzeath. She could allow herself but a moment for the
relief of her heart, and then she caught him to her side, and pushed
on with him along the lane till they entered the street. Here she
stood for a moment in uncertainty. Was she bound to fulfil her
engagement to Mr. Obadiah? She had obtained the key, but he had
behaved to her with treachery. He had not intended the key to be other
than a bait to draw her within his clutch, that he might torture her
into opening the door of his cell. Nevertheless, she had the key, and
Judith was too honorable to take advantage of him.

With Jamie still clinging to her she went up the pair of steps to the
front door, rang the night-bell, and knocked long and loud. Then, all
at once her strength that had lasted gave way, and she sank on the
doorsteps, without indeed losing consciousness, but losing in an
instant all power of doing or thinking, of striving any more for Jamie
or for herself.



CHAPTER XXVII.

A RESCUE.


A window overhead was thrown open, and a voice that Judith recognized
as that of Mrs. Obadiah Scantlebray, called: "Who is there?--what is
wanted?"

The girl could not answer. The power to speak was gone from her. It
was as though all her faculties, exerted to the full, had at once
given way. She could not rise from the steps on which she had sunk:
the will to make the effort was gone. Her head was fallen against the
jamb of the door and the knot of the kerchief was between her head and
the wood, and hurt her, but even the will to lift her hands and shift
the bandage one inch was not present.

The mill-wheel revolves briskly, throwing the foaming water out of its
buckets, with a lively rattle, then its movement slackens, it strains,
the buckets fill and even spill, but the wheel seems to be reduced to
statuariness. That stress point is but for a moment, then the weight
of the water overbalances the strain, and whirr! round plunges the
wheel, and the bright foaming water is whisked about, and the buckets
disgorge their contents.

It is the same with the wheel of human life. It has its periods of
rapid and glad revolutions, and also its moments of supreme tension,
when it is all but overstrung--when its movement is hardly
perceptible. The strain put on Judith's faculties had been excessive,
and now those faculties failed her, failed her absolutely. The
prostration might not last long--it might last forever. It is so
sometimes when there has been overexertion; thought stops, will ceases
to act, sensation dies into numbness, the heart beats slow, slower,
then perhaps stops finally.

It was not quite come to that with Judith. She knew that she had
rushed into danger again, the very danger from which she had just
escaped, she knew it, but she was incapable of acting on the
knowledge.

"Who is below?" was again called from an upper window.

Judith, with open eyes, heard that the rain was still falling heavily,
heard the shoot of water from the roof plash down into the runnel of
the street, felt the heavy drops come down on her from the architrave
over the door, and she saw something in the roadway: shadows stealing
along the same as she had seen before, but passing in a reversed
direction. These were again men and beasts, but their feet and hoofs
were no longer inaudible, they trod in the puddles and splashed and
squelched the water and mud about, at each step. The smugglers had
delivered the supplies agreed on, at the houses of those who dealt
with them, and were now returning, the asses no longer laden.

And Judith heard the door behind her unbarred and unchained and
unlocked. Then it was opened, and a ray of light was cast into the
street, turning falling rain-drops into drops of liquid gold, and
revealing, ghostly, a passing ass and its driver.

"Who is there? _Is_ anyone there?"

Then the blaze of light was turned on Judith, and her eyes shut with a
spasm of pain.

In the doorway stood Mrs. Scantlebray half-garmented, that is to say
with a gown on, the folds of which fell in very straight lines from
the waist to her feet, and with a night-cap on her head, and her curls
in papers. She held a lamp in her hand, and this was now directed upon
the girl, lying, or half-sitting in the doorway, her bandaged head
leaning against the jamb, one hand in her lap, the fingers open, the
other falling at her side, hanging down the steps, the fingers in the
running current of the gutter, in which also was one shoeless foot.

"Why--goodness! mercy on us!" exclaimed Mrs. Scantlebray,
inconsiderately thrusting the lamp close into the girl's face. "It can
never be--yet--surely it is----"

"Judith!" exclaimed a deep voice, the sound of which sent a sudden
flutter through the girl's nerves and pulses. "Judith!" and from out
the darkness and falling rain plunged a man in full mantle wrapped
about him and overhanging broad-brimmed hat. Without a word of excuse
he snatched the light from Mrs. Scantlebray and raised it above
Judith's head.

"Merciful powers!" he cried, "what is the meaning of this! What has
happened? There is blood here--blood! Judith--speak. For heaven's
sake, speak!"

The light fell on his face, his glittering eyes--and she slightly
turned her head and looked at him. She opened her mouth to speak, but
could form no words, but the appeal in those dim eyes went to his
heart, he thrust the lamp roughly back into Mrs. Scantlebray's hand,
knelt on the steps, passed an arm under the girl, the other about her
waist, lifted and carried her without a word inside the house. There
was a leather-covered ottoman in the hall, and he laid her on that,
hastily throwing off his cloak, folding it, and placing it as a pillow
beneath her head.

Then, on one knee at her side, he drew a flask from his breast pocket,
and poured some drops of spirit down her throat. The strength of the
brandy made her catch her breath, and brought a flash of red to her
cheek. It had served its purpose, helped the wheel of life to turn
beyond the stress point at which it threatened to stay wholly. She
moved her head, and looked eagerly about her for Jamie. He was not
there. She drew a long breath, a sigh of relief.

"Are you better?" he asked, stooping over her, and she could read the
intensity of his anxiety in his face.

She tried to smile a reply, but the muscles of her lips were too stiff
for more than a flutter.

"Run!" ordered Captain Coppinger, standing up, "you woman, are you a
fool? Where is your husband? He is a doctor, fetch him. The girl might
die."

"He--Captain--he is engaged, I believe, taking in his stores."

"Fetch him! Leave the lamp here."

Mrs. Scantlebray groped about for a candle, and having found one,
proceeded to light it.

"I'm really shocked to appear before you, Captain, in this state of
undress."

"Fetch your husband!" said Coppinger, impatiently.

Then she withdrew.

The draught of spirits had acted on Judith and revived her. Her breath
came more evenly, her heart beat regularly, and the blood began to
circulate again. As her bodily powers returned, her mind began to work
once more, and again anxiously she looked about her.

"What is it you want?" asked Captain Cruel.

"Where is Jamie?"

He muttered a low oath. Always Jamie. She could think of no one but
that silly boy.

Then suddenly she recalled her position--in Scantlebray's house, and
the wife was on the way to the cellars, would find him, release
him--and though she knew that Coppinger would not suffer Obadiah to
injure her, she feared, in her present weakness, a violent scene. She
sat up, dropped her feet on the floor, and stretched both her hands to
the smuggler.

"Oh, take me! take me from here."

"No, Judith," he answered. "You must have the doctor to see you--after
that----"

"No! no! take me before he comes. He will kill me."

Coppinger laughed. He would like to see the man who would dare to lay
a finger on Judith while he stood by.

Now they heard a noise from the wings of the house at the side that
communicated with the dwelling by a door that Mrs. Scantlebray had
left ajar. There were exclamations, oaths, a loud, angry voice, and
the shrill tones of the woman mingled with the bass notes of her
husband. The color that had risen to the girl's cheeks left them; she
put her hands on Coppinger's breast and looking him entreatingly in
the eyes, said:

"I pray you! I pray you!"

He snatched her up in his arms, drew her close to him, went to the
door, cast it open with his foot, and bore her out into the rain.
There stood his mare, Black Bess, with a lad holding her.

"Judith, can you ride?"

He lifted her into the saddle.

"Boy," said he, "lead on gently; I will stay her lest she fall."

Then they moved away, and saw through the sheet of falling rain the
lighted door, and Scantlebray in it, in his shirt sleeves shaking his
fists, and his wife behind him, endeavoring to draw him back by the
buckle and strap of his waistcoat.

"Oh, where is Jamie? I wonder where Jamie is?" said Judith, looking
round her in the dark, but could see no sign of her brother.

There were straggling houses for half a mile--a little gap of garden
or paddock, then a cottage, then a cluster of trees, and an alehouse,
then hedges and no more houses. A cooler wind was blowing, dispelling
the close, warm atmosphere, and the rain fell less heavily. There was
a faint light among the clouds like a watering of satin. It showed
that the storm was passing away. The lightning flashes were, moreover,
at longer intervals, fainter, and the thunder rumbled distantly. With
the fresher air, some strength and life came back to Judith. The wheel
though on the turn was not yet revolving rapidly.

Coppinger walked by the horse, he had his arm up, holding Judith, for
he feared lest in her weakness she might fall, and indeed, by her
weight upon his hand, he was aware that her power to sustain herself
unassisted was not come. He looked up at her; he could hardly fail to
do so, standing, striding so close to her, her wet garments brushing
his face; but he could not see her, or saw her indistinctly. He had
thrust her little foot into the leather of his stirrup, as the strap
was too long for her to use, and he did not tarry to shorten it.

Coppinger was much puzzled to learn how Judith had come at such an
hour to the door of Mrs. Obadiah Scantlebray, shoeless, and with
wounded head, but he asked no questions. He was aware that she was not
in a condition to answer them.

He held her up with his right hand in the saddle, and with his left he
held her foot in the leather. Were she to fall she might drag by the
foot, and he must be on his guard against that. Pacing in the
darkness, holding her, his heart beat, and his thoughts tossed and
boiled within him. This girl so feeble, so childish, he was coming
across incessantly, thrown in her way to help her, and he was bound to
her by ties invisible, impalpable, and yet of such strength that he
could not break through them and free himself.

He was a man of indomitable will, of iron strength, staying up this
girl, who had flickered out of unconsciousness and might slide back
into it again at any moment, and yet he felt, he knew that he was
powerless before her--that if she said to him, "Lie down that I may
trample on you," he would throw himself in the foul road without a
word to be trodden under by these shoeless feet. There was but one
command she could lay on him that he would not perform, and that was
"Let me go by myself! Never come near me!" That he could not obey. The
rugged moon revolves about the earth. Could the moon fly away into
space were the terrestrial orb to bid it cease to be a satellite? And
if it did, whither would it go? Into far off space, into outer
darkness and deathly cold, to split and shiver into fragments in the
inconceivable frost in the abyss of blackness. And Judith threw a sort
of light and heat over this fierce, undisciplined man, that trembled
in his veins and bathed his heart, and was to him a spring of beauty,
a summer of light. Could he leave her? To leave her would be to be
lost to everything that had now begun to transform his existence. The
thought came over him now, as he walked along in silence--that she
might bid him let go, and he felt that he could not obey. He must hold
her, he must hold her not _from_ him on the saddle, not as merely
staying her up, but to himself, to his heart, as his own, his own
forever.

Suddenly an exclamation from Judith: "Jamie! Jamie!"

Something was visible in the darkness, something whitish in the hedge.
In another moment it came bounding up.

"Ju! oh, Ju! I ran away!"

"You did well," she said. "Now I am happy. You are saved."

Coppinger looked impatiently round and saw by the feeble light that
the boy had come close to him, and that he was wrapped up in a
blanket.

"He has nothing on him," said Judith. "Oh, poor Jamie!"

She had revived; she was almost herself again. She held herself more
firmly in the saddle and did not lean so heavily on Coppinger's hand.

Coppinger was vexed at the appearance of the boy, Jamie; he would fain
have paced along in silence by the side of Judith. If she could not
speak it mattered not so long as he held her. But that this fool
should spring out of the darkness and join company with him and her,
and at once awake her interest and loosen her tongue, irritated him.
But as she was able to speak he would address her, and not allow her
to talk over his head with Jamie.

"How have you been hurt?" he asked. "Why have you tied that bandage
about your head?"

"I have been cut by a stone."

"How came that?"

"A drunken man threw it at me."

"What was his name?"

"I do not know."

"That is well for him." Then, after a short pause, he asked further,
"And your unshod feet?"

"Oh! I gave my shoes to Jamie."

Coppinger turned sharply round on the boy. "Take off those shoes
instantly and give them back to your sister."

"No--indeed, no," said Judith. "He is running and will cut his poor
feet--and I, through your kindness, am riding."

Coppinger did not insist. He asked: "But how comes the boy to be
without clothes?"

"Because I rescued him, as he was, from the Asylum."

"You--! Is that why you are out at night?"

"Yes. I knew he had been taken by the two Mr. Scantlebrays at
Wadebridge, and I could not rest. I felt sure he was miserable, and
was dying for me."

"So--in the night you went to him?"

"Yes."

"But how did you get him his freedom?"

"I found him locked in the black-hole, in the cellar."

"And did Scantlebray look on passively while you released him?"

"Oh, no, I let Jamie out, and locked him in, in his place."

"You--Scantlebray in the black-hole!"

"Yes."

Then Coppinger laughed, laughed long and boisterously. His hand that
held Judith's foot and the stirrup leather shook with his laughter.

"By Heaven!--You are wonderful, very wonderful. Any one who opposes
you is ill-treated, knocked down and broken, or locked into a black
hole in the dead of night."

Judith, in spite of her exhaustion, was obliged to smile.

"You see, I must do what I can for Jamie."

"Always Jamie."

"Yes, Captain Coppinger, always Jamie. He is helpless and must be
thought for. I am mother, nurse, sister to him."

"His providence," sneered Coppinger.

"The means under Providence of preserving him," said Judith.

"And me--would you do aught for me?"

"Did I not come down the cliffs for you?" asked the girl.

"Heaven forgive me that I forgot that for one moment," he answered,
with vehemence. "Happy--happy--happiest of any in this vile world is
the man for whom you will think, and scheme and care and dare--as you
do for Jamie."

"There is none such," said Judith.

"No--I know that," he answered, gloomily, and strode forward with his
head down.

Ten minutes had elapsed in silence, and Polzeath was approached. Then
suddenly Coppinger let go his hold of Judith, caught the rein of Black
Bess, and arrested her. Standing beside Judith, he said, in a peevish,
low tone:

"I touched your hand, and said I was subject to a queen." He bent,
took her foot and kissed it. "You repulsed me as subject; you are my
mistress!--accept me as your slave."



CHAPTER XXVIII.

AN EXAMINATION.


Some days had elapsed. Judith had not suffered from her second night
expedition as she had from the first, but the intellectual abilities
of Jamie had deteriorated. The fright he had undergone had shaken his
nerves, and had made him more restless, timid, and helpless than
heretofore, exacting more of Judith's attention and more trying her
endurance. But she trusted these ill effects would pass away in time.
From his rambling talk she had been able to gather some particulars,
which to a degree modified her opinion relative to the behavior of Mr.
Obadiah Scantlebray. It appeared from the boy's own account that he
had been very troublesome. After he had been taken into the wing of
the establishment that was occupied by the imbeciles, his alarm and
bewilderment had grown. He had begun to cry and to clamor for his
release, or for the presence of his sister. As night came on,
paroxysms of impotent rage had alternated with fits of whining. The
appearance of his companions in confinement, some of them complete
idiots, with half-human gestures and faces, had enhanced his terrors.
He would eat no supper, and when put to bed in the common dormitory
had thrown off his clothes, torn his sheets, and refused to lie down;
had sat up and screamed at the top of his voice. Nothing that could be
done, no representations would pacify him. He prevented his fellow
inmates of the asylum from sleeping, and he made it not at all
improbable that his cries would be overheard by passers-by in the
street, or those occupying neighboring houses, and thus give rise to
unpleasant surmises, and perhaps inquiry. Finally, Scantlebray had
removed the boy to the place of punishment, the Black Hole, a
compartment of the cellars, there to keep him till his lungs were
exhausted, or his reason gained the upper hand, and Judith supposed,
with some justice, that Scantlebray had done this only, or chiefly,
because he himself would be up, and about the cellars, engaged in
housing his supplies of brandy, and that he had no intention of
locking the unhappy boy up for the entire night, in solitude, in his
cellars. He had not left him in complete darkness, for a candle had
been placed on the ground outside the Black Hole door.

As Judith saw the matter now, it seemed to her that though Scantlebray
had acted with harshness and lack of judgment there was some
palliation for his conduct. That Jamie could be most exasperating, she
knew full well by experience. When he went into one of his fits of
temper and crying, it took many hours and much patience to pacify him.
She had spent long time and exhausted her efforts to bring him to a
subdued frame of mind on the most irrational and trifling occasions,
when he had been angered. Nothing answered with him then save infinite
forbearance and exuberant love. On this occasion there was good excuse
for Jamie's fit, he had been frightened, and frightened out of his few
wits. As Judith said to herself--had she been treated in the same
manner, spirited off, without preparation, to a strange house,
confined among afflicted beings, deprived of every familiar
companion--she would have been filled with terror, and reasonably so.
She would not have exhibited it, however, in the same manner as Jamie.

Scantlebray had not acted with gentleness, but he had not, on the
other hand, exhibited wanton cruelty. That he was a man of coarse
nature, likely on provocation to break through the superficial veneer
of amiability, she concluded from her own experience, and she did not
doubt that those of the unfortunate inmates of the asylum who
overstrained his forbearance met with very rough handling. But that he
took a malignant pleasure in harassing and torturing them, that she
did not believe.

On the day following the escape from the asylum, Judith sent Mr.
Menaida to Wadebridge with the blanket that had been carried off round
the shoulders of her brother, and with a request to have Jamie's
clothes surrendered. Uncle Zachie returned with the garments, they
were not refused him, and Judith and her brother settled down into the
routine of employment and amusement as before. The lad assisted Mr.
Menaida with his bird skins, talking a little more childishly than
before, and sticking less assiduously to his task; and Judith did her
needlework and occasionally played on the piano the pieces of music at
which Uncle Zachie had hammered ineffectually for many years, and she
played them to the old man's satisfaction.

At last the girl ventured to induce Jamie to recommence his lessons.
He resisted at first, and when she did, on a rainy day, persuade him
to set to his school tasks, she was careful not to hold him to them
for more than a few minutes, and to select those lessons which made
him least impatient.

There was a "Goldsmith's Geography," illustrated with copper-plates of
Indians attacking Captain Cook, the geysers, Esquimaux fishing, etc.,
that always amused the boy. Accordingly, more geography was done
during these first days of resumption of work than history,
arithmetic, or reading. Latin had not yet been attempted, as that was
Jamie's particular aversion. However, the Eton Latin grammar was
produced, and placed on the table, to familiarize his mind with the
idea that it had to be tackled some day.

Judith had spread the table with lesson-books, ink, slate, and
writing-copies, one morning, when she was surprised at the entry of
four gentlemen, two of whom she recognized immediately as the Brothers
Scantlebray. The other two she did not know. One was thin faced, with
red hair, a high forehead extending to the crown, with the hair drawn
over it, and well pomatumed, to keep it in place, and conceal the
baldness; the other a short man, in knee-breeches and tan-boots, with
a red face, and with breath that perfumed the whole room with spirits.

Mr. Scantlebray, senior, came up with both hands extended. "This is
splendid! How are you? Never more charmed in my life, and ready to
impart knowledge, as the sun diffuses light. Obadiah, old man, look at
your pupil--better already for having passed through your hands. I can
see it at a glance; there's a brightness, a _Je ne sais quoi_ about
him that was not there before. Old man, I congratulate you. You have a
gift--shake hands."

The gentlemen seated themselves without invitation. Surprise and
alarm made Judith forget her usual courtesy. She feared lest the sight
of his gaolers might excite Jamie. But it was not so. Whether, in his
confused mind, he did not associate Mr. Obadiah with his troubles on
that night of distress, or whether his attention was distracted by the
sight of so many, was doubtful, but Jamie did not seem to be
disconcerted; rather, on the contrary, he was glad of some excuse for
escape from lessons.

"We are come," said the red-headed man, "at Miss Trevisa's desire--but
really, Mr. Scantlebray, for shame of you. Where are your manners?
Introduce me."

"Mr. Vokins," said Scantlebray, "and the accomplished and charming
Miss Judith Trevisa, orphing."

"And now, dear young lady," said the red-headed man, "now, positively,
it is my turn--my friend, Mr. Jukes. Jukes, man! Miss Judith Trevisa."

Then Mr. Vokins coughed into his thin white hand, and said, "We are
come, naturally--and I am sure you wish what Miss Trevisa wishes--to
just look at your brother, and give our opinion on his health."

"Oh, he is quite well," said Judith.

"Ah! you think so, naturally, but we would decide for ourselves,
dearest young lady, though--not for the world would we willingly
differ from you. But, you know, there are questions on which varieties
of opinions are allowable, and yet do not disturb the most heartfelt
friendship. It is so, is it not, Jukes?"

The rubicund man in knee-breeches nodded.

"Shall I begin, Jukes? Why, my fine little man! What an array of
books! What scholarship! And at your age, too--astounding! What age
did you say you were?" This to Jamie in an insinuating tone. Jamie
stared, looked appealingly at Judith, and said nothing.

"We are the same age, we are twins," said Judith.

"Oh! it is not the right thing to appear anxious to know a lady's age.
We will put it another way, eh, Jukes?"

The red-faced man leaned his hands on his stick, his chin on his
hands, and winked, as in that position he could not nod.

"Now, my fine little man! When is your birthday? When you have your
cake--raisin-cake, eh?"

Jamie looked questioningly at his sister.

"Ah! Come, not the day of the month--but the month, eh?"

Jamie could not answer.

"Come now," said the red-headed levy man, stretching his legs before
him, legs vested in white trousers, strapped down tight. "Come now, my
splendid specimen of humanity! In which quarter of the year? Between
sickle and scythe, eh?" He waited, and receiving no answer, pulled out
a pocket-book and made a note, after having first wetted the end of
his pencil. "Don't know when he was born. What do you say to that,
Jukes? Will you take your turn?"

The man with an inflamed face was gradually becoming purple, as he
leaned forward on his stick, and said, "Humph! a Latin grammar.
Propria quæ maribus. I remember it, but it was a long time ago I
learned it. Now, whipper-snapper! How do you get on? Propria quæ
maribus--Go on." He waited. Jamie looked at him in astonishment.
"Come! Tribu--" again he waited. "Come! _Tribuntur mascula dicas._ Go
on." Again a pause. Then with an impatient growl. "Ut sunt divorum,
Mars, Bacchus, Apollo. This will never do. Go on with the Scaramouch,
Vokins. I'll make my annotations."

"He's too hard on my little chap, ain't he?" asked the thin man in
ducks. "We won't be done. We are not old enough----"

"He is but eighteen," said Judith.

"He is but eighteen," repeated the red-headed man. "Of course he has
not got so far as that, but musa, musæ."

Jamie turned sulky.

"Not musa, musæ--and eighteen years! Jukes, this is serious, Jukes;
eh, Jukes?"

"Now look here, you fellows," said Scantlebray, senior. "You are too
exacting. It's holiday time, ain't it, Orphing? We won't be put upon,
not we. We'll sport, and frolic, and be joyful. Look here, Scanty, old
man, take the slate and draw a pictur' to my describing. Now then,
Jamie, look at him and hearken to me. He's the funniest old man that
ever was, and he'll surprise you. Are you ready, Scanty?" Mr. Obadiah
drew the slate before him, and signed with the pencil to Jamie to
observe him. The boy was quite ready to see him draw.

"There was once upon a time," began Mr. Scantlebray, senior, "a man
that lived in a round tower. Look at him, draw it, there you are. That
is the tower. Go on. And in the tower was a round winder. Do you see
the winder, Orphing? This man every morning put his hand out of the
winder to ascertain which way the wind blew. He put it in thus, and
drew it out thus. No! don't look at me, look at the slate and then
you'll see it all. Now this man had a large pond, preserved full of
fish." Scratch, scratch went the pencil on the slate. "Them's the
fish," said Scantlebray, senior. "Now below the situation of that
pond, in two huts, lived a pair of thieves. You see them pokey things
my brother has drawn? Them's the 'uts. When night set in, these wicked
thieves came walking up to the pond, see my brother drawing their
respective courses! And on reaching the pond, they opened the sluice,
and whish! whish! out poured the water." Scratch, scratch, squeak,
squeak, went the pencil on the slate. "There now! the naughty robbers
went after fish, and got a goose! Look! a goo-oose."

"Where's the goose?" asked Jamie.

"Where? Before your eyes--under your nose. That brilliant brother of
mine has drawn one. Hold the slate up, Scanty."

"That's not a goose," said Jamie.

"Not a goose! You don't know what geese are."

"Yes, I do," retorted the boy, resentfully, "I know the wild goose and
the tame one--which do you call that?"

"Oh, wild goose, of course."

"It's not one. A goose hasn't a tail like that, nor such legs," said
Jamie, contemptuously.

Mr. Scantlebray, senior, looked at Messrs. Vokins and Jukes and shook
his head. "A bad case. Don't know a goose when he sees it--and he is
eighteen."

Both Vokins and Jukes made an entry in their pocket-books.

"Now Jukes," said Vokins, "will you take a turn, or shall I?"

"Oh, you, Vokins," answered Jukes, "I haven't recovered _propria quæ
maribus_, yet."

"Very well, my interesting young friend. Suppose now we change the
subject and try arithmetic."

"I don't want any arithmetic," said Jamie, sulkily.

"No--come--now we won't call it by that name; suppose some one were
to give you a shilling."

Jamie looked up interested.

"And suppose he were to say. There--go and buy sweeties with this
shilling. Tartlets at three for two pence, and barley-sugar at three
farthings a stick, and----"

"I want my shilling back," said Jamie, looking straight into the face
of Mr. Scantlebray, senior.

"And that there were burnt almonds at two pence an ounce."

"I want my shilling," exclaimed the boy, angrily.

"Your shilling, puff! puff!" said the red-headed man. "This is ideal,
an ideal shilling, and ideal jam-tarts, almond rock, burnt almonds or
what you like."

"Give me back my shilling. I won it fair," persisted Jamie.

Then Judith, distressed, interfered. "Jamie, dear! what do you mean?
You have no shilling owing to you."

"I have! I have!" screamed the boy. "I won it fair of that man there,
because I made a rabbit, and he took it from me again."

"Hallucinations," said Jukes.

"Quite so," said Vokins.

"Give me my shilling. It is a cheat!" cried Jamie, now suddenly roused
into one of his fits of passion.

Judith caught him by the arm, and endeavored to pacify him.

"Let go, Ju! I will have my shilling. That man took it away. He is a
cheat, a thief. Give me my shilling."

"I am afraid he is excitable," said Vokins.

"Like all irrational beings," answered Jukes. "I'll make a note.
Rising out of hallucinations."

"I will have my shilling," persisted Jamie. "Give me my shilling or
I'll throw the ink at you."

He caught up the ink-pot, and before Judith had time to interfere had
flung it across the table, intending to hit Mr. Scantlebray, senior,
but not hurt him, and the black fluid was scattered over Mr. Vokins's
white trousers.

"Bless my life!" exclaimed this gentleman, springing to his feet,
pulling out his handkerchief to wipe away the ink, and only smearing
it the more over his "ducks" and discoloring as well, his kerchief.
"Bless my life--Jukes! a dangerous lunatic. Note at once. Clearly
comes within the act. Clearly."

In a few minutes all had left, and Judith was endeavoring to pacify
her irritated brother. His fingers were blackened, and finally she
persuaded him to go up-stairs and wash his hands clear of the ink.

Then she ran into the adjoining room to Mr. Menaida. "Oh, dear Mr.
Menaida!" she said, "what does this mean? Why have they been here?"

Uncle Zachie looked grave and discomposed.

"My dear," said he. "Those were doctors, and they have been here, sent
by your aunt, to examine into the condition of Jamie's intellect, and
to report on what they have observed. There was a little going beyond
the law, perhaps, at first. That is why they took it so easily when
you carried Jamie off. They knew you were with an old lawyer; they
knew that you or I could sue for a writ of Habeas Corpus."

"But do you really think--that Aunt Dionysia is going to have Jamie
sent back to that man at Wadebridge?"

"I am certain of it. That is why they came here to-day."

"Can I not prevent it?"

"I do not think so. If you go to law----"

"But if they once get him, they will make an idiot or a madman of
him."

"Then you must see your aunt and persuade her not to send him there."



CHAPTER XXIX.

ON A PEACOCK'S FEATHER.


As Mr. Menaida spoke, Miss Dionysia Trevisa entered, stiff, hard, and
when her eyes fell on Judith, they contracted with an expression of
antipathy. In the eyes alone was this observable, for her face was
immovable.

"Auntie!" exclaimed Judith, drawing her into the sitting-room, and
pressing her to take the arm chair.

"Oh, Auntie! I have so longed to see you--there have been some
dreadful men here--doctors I think--and they have been teasing Jamie,
till they had worked him into one of his temper fits."

"I sent them here, and for good reasons. Jamie is to go back to
Wadebridge."

"No--indeed no! auntie! do not say that. You would not say it if you
knew all."

"I know quite enough. More than is pleasing to me. I have heard of
your outrageous and unbecoming conduct. Hoity! toity! To think that a
Trevisa--but there you are one only in name--should go out at night,
about the streets and lanes, like a common stray. Bless me! you might
have knocked me down with a touch, when I was told of it."

"I did nothing outrageous and unbecoming, aunt. You may be sure of
that. I am quite aware that I am a Trevisa, and a gentlewoman, and
something higher than that, aunt--a Christian. My father never let me
forget that."

"Your conduct was--well I will give it no expletive."

"Aunt, I did what was right. I was sure that Jamie was unhappy and
wanted me. I cannot tell you how I knew it, but I was certain of it,
and I had no peace till I went; and, as I found the garden door open,
I went in, and as I went in I found Jamie locked up in the cellars,
and I freed him. Had you found him there, you would have done the
same."

"I have heard all about it. I want no repetition of a very scandalous
story. Against my will I am burdened with an intolerable obligation,
to look after an idiot nephew and a niece that is a self-willed and
perverse Miss."

"Jamie is no idiot," answered Judith, firmly.

"Jamie is what those pronounce him to be, who by their age, their
profession, and their inquiries are calculated to judge better than an
ignorant girl, not out of her teens."

"Auntie I believe you have been misinformed. Listen to me, and I will
tell you what happened. As for those men----"

"Those men were doctors. Perhaps they were misinformed when they went
through the College of Surgeons, were misinformed by all the medical
books they have read, were misdirected by all the study of the mental
and bodily maladies of men they have made, in their professional
course."

"I wish, dear Aunt Dionysia, you would take Jamie to be with you a few
weeks, talk to him, play with him, go walks with him, and you will
never say that he is an idiot. He needs careful management, and also a
little application----"

"Enough of that theme," interrupted Miss Trevisa, "I have not come
here to be drawn into an argument, or to listen to your ideas of the
condition of that unhappy, troublesome, that provoking boy. I wish to
heaven I had not the responsibility for him, that has been thrust on
me, but as I have to exercise it, and there is no one to relieve me of
it, I must do my best, though it is a great expense to me. Seventy
pounds is not seventy shillings, nor is it seventy pence."

"Aunt, he is not to go back to the asylum. He _must not_ go."

"Hoity-toity! _must not_ indeed. You, a minx of eighteen to dictate to
me! Must not, indeed! You seem to think that you, and not I, are
Jamie's guardian."

"Papa entrusted him to me with his last words."

"I know nothing about last words. In his will I am constituted his
guardian and yours, and as such I shall act as my convenience--conscience
I mean, dictates."

"But, Aunt! Jamie is not to go back to Wadebridge. Aunt! I entreat
you! I know what that place is. I have been inside it, you have not.
And just think of Jamie on the very first night being locked up
there."

"He richly deserved it, I will be bound."

"Oh, Aunt! How could he? How could he?"

"Of that Mr. Obadiah Scantlebray was the best judge. Why he had to be
punished you do not know."

"Indeed I do. He cried because the place was strange, and he was among
strange faces. Aunt--if you were whipped off to Timbuctoo, and
suddenly found yourself among savages, and in a rush apron, as the
squaw of a black chief, or whatever they call their wives in Timbuctoo
land, would you not scream?"

"Judith," said Miss Trevisa, bridling up. "You forget yourself."

"No, Aunt! I am only pleading for Jamie, trying to make you feel for
him, when he was locked up in an asylum. How would you like it, Aunt,
if you were snatched away to Barthelmy fair, and suddenly found
yourself among tight-rope dancers, and Jack Puddings?"

"Judith, I insist on you holding your tongue. I object to being
associated even in fancy, with such creatures."

"Well--but Jamie was associated, not in fancy, but in horrible
reality, with idiots."

"Jamie goes to Scantlebray's Asylum to-day."

"Auntie!"

"He is already in the hands of the brothers Scantlebray."

"Oh, Auntie--no--no!"

"It is no pleasure to me to have to find the money, you may well
believe. Seventy pounds is not, as I said, seventy pence, it is not
seventy farthings. But duty is duty, and however painful and
unpleasant and costly, it must be performed."

Then from the adjoining room, "the shop," came Mr. Menaida.

"I beg pardon for an interruption and for interference," said he. "I
happen to have overheard what has passed, as I was engaged in the next
room, and I believe that I can make a proposal which will perhaps be
acceptable to you, Miss Trevisa, and grateful to Miss Judith."

"I am ready to listen to you," said Aunt Dionysia, haughtily.

"It is this," said Uncle Zachie. "I understand that pecuniary matters
concerning Jamie are a little irksome. Now the boy, if he puts his
mind to it, can be useful to me. He has a remarkable aptitude for
taxidermy. I have more orders on my hands than I can attend to. I am a
gentleman, not a tradesman, and I object to be oppressed--flattened
out--with the orders piled on top of me. But if the boy will help, he
can earn sufficient to pay for his living here with me."

"Oh, Mr. Menaida, dear Mr. Menaida! thank you so much," exclaimed
Judith.

"Perhaps you will allow me to speak," said Miss Trevisa, with
asperity. "I am guardian, and not you, whatever you may think from
certain vague expressions breathed casually from my poor brother's
lips, and to which you have attached an importance he never gave to
them."

"Aunt, I assure you, my dear papa----"

"That question is closed. We will not reopen it. I am a Trevisa. I
can't for a moment imagine where you got those ideas. Not from your
father's family, I am sure. Tight-rope dancers and Timbuctoos,
indeed!" Then she turned to Mr. Menaida, and said, in her hard,
constrained voice, as though she were exercising great moral control
to prevent herself from snapping at him with her teeth. "Your proposal
is kind and well intentioned, but I cannot accept it."

"Oh, Aunt! why not?"

"That you shall hear. I must beg you not to interrupt me. You are so
familiar with the manners of Timbuctoo and of Barthelmy Fair, that you
forget those pertaining to England and polished society." Then,
turning to Mr. Menaida, she said: "I thank you for your
well-intentioned proposal, which, however, it is not possible for me
to close with. I must consider the boy's ulterior advantage, not the
immediate relief to my sorely-taxed purse. I have thought proper to
place Jamie with a person, a gentleman of experience, and highly
qualified to deal with those mentally afflicted. However much I may
value you, Mr. Menaida, you must excuse me for saying that firmness is
not a quality you have cultivated with assiduity. Judith, my niece,
has almost ruined the boy by humoring him. You cannot stiffen a jelly
by setting it in the sun, or in a chair before the fire, and that is
what my niece has been doing. The boy must be isinglassed into
solidity by those who know how to treat him. Mr. Obadiah Scantlebray
is the man----"

"To manufacture idiots, madam, out of simple innocents, it is worth
his while at seventy pounds a year," said Uncle Zachie, petulantly.

Miss Trevisa looked at him stonily, and said: "Sir! I suppose you know
best. But it strikes me that such a statement, relative to Mr. Obadiah
Scantlebray, is actionable. But you know best, being a solicitor."

Mr. Menaida winced and drew back.

Judith leaned against the mantel-shelf, trembling with anxiety and
some anger. She thought that her aunt was acting in a heartless manner
toward Jamie, that there was no good reason for refusing the generous
offer of Uncle Zachie. In her agitation, unable to keep her fingers at
rest, the girl played with the little chimney ornaments. She must
occupy her nervous, twitching hands about something; tears of
distressed mortification were swelling in her heart, and a fire was
burning in two flames in her cheeks. What could she do to save Jamie?
What would become of the boy at the asylum? It seemed to her that he
would be driven out of his few wits, by terror and ill-treatment, and
distress at leaving her and losing his liberty to ramble about the
cliffs where he liked. In a vase on the chimney-piece was a bunch of
peacock's feathers, and in her agitation, not thinking what she was
about, desirous only of having something to pick at and play with in
her hands, to disguise the trembling of the fingers, she took out one
of the plumes and trifled with it, waving it and letting the light
undulate over its wondrous surface of gold and green and blue.

"As long as I have responsibility for the urchin----" said Miss
Dionysia.

"Urchin!" muttered Judith.

"As long as I have the charge I shall do my duty according to my
lights, though they may not be those of a rush-aproned squaw in
Timbuctoo, nor of a Jack Pudding balancing a feather on his nose."
There was here a spiteful glance at Judith. "When my niece has a home
of her own--is settled into a position of security and comfort--then I
wash my hands of the responsibility; she may do what she likes
then--bring her brother to live with her if she chooses and her
husband consents--that will be naught to me."

"And in the mean time," said Judith, holding the peacock's feather
very still before her, "in the mean time Jamie's mind is withered and
stunted--his whole life is spoiled. Now--now alone can he be given a
turn aright and toward growth."

"That entirely depends on you," said Miss Trevisa, coldly. "You know
best what opportunities have offered----"

"Aunt, what do you mean?"

"Wait," said Uncle Zachie, rubbing his hands. "My boy Oliver is coming
home. He has written his situation is a good one now."

Miss Trevisa turned on him with a face of marble. "I entirely fail to
see what your son Oliver has to do with the matter, more than the man
in the moon. May I trouble you, as you so deeply interest yourself in
our concerns, to step outside to Messrs. Scantlebray and that boy, and
ask them to bring him in here. I have told them what the circumstances
are, and they are prepared."

Mr. Menaida left the room, not altogether unwilling to escape.

"Now," said Aunt Dionysia, "I am relieved to find that for a minute,
we are by ourselves, not subjected to the prying and eavesdropping of
the impertinent and meddlesome. Mr. Menaida is a man who never did
good to himself or to anyone else in his life, though a man with the
best intentions under the sun. Now, Judith, I am a plain woman--that
is to say--not plain, but straightforward--and I like to have
everything above board. The case stands thus. I, in my capacity as
guardian to that boy, am resolved to consign him immediately to the
asylum, and to retain him there as long as my authority lasts, though
it will cost me a pretty sum. You do not desire that he should go
there. Well and good. There is but one way, but that is effectual, by
means of which you can free Jamie from restraint. Let me tell you he
is now in the hands of Mr. Obadiah, and gagged that he may not rouse
the neighborhood with his screams." Miss Trevisa fixed her hard eyes
on Judith. "As soon as you take the responsibility off me, and on to
yourself, you do with the boy what you like."

"I will relieve you at once."

"You are not in a condition to do so. As soon as I am satisfied that
your future is secure, that you will have a house to call your own,
and a certainty of subsistence for you both--then I will lay down my
charge."

"And you mean----"

"I mean that you must first accept Captain Coppinger, who has been
good enough to find you not intolerable. He is--in this one
particular--unreasonable, however, he is what he is, in this matter.
He makes you the offer, gives you the chance. Take it, and you provide
Jamie and yourself with a home, he has his freedom, and you can manage
or mismanage him as you list. Refuse the chance and Jamie is lodged in
Mr. Scantlebray's establishment within an hour."

"I cannot decide this on the spur of the moment."

"Very well. You can let Jamie go provisionally to the asylum--and stay
there till you have made up your mind."

"No--no--no--Aunt! Never, never!"

"As you will." Miss Trevisa shrugged her shoulders, and cast a glance
at her niece like a dagger-stab.

"Auntie--I am but a child."

"That may be. But there are times when even children must decide
momentous questions. A boy as a child decides on his profession, a
girl--may be--on her marriage."

"Oh, dear Auntie! Do leave Jamie here for, say a fortnight, and in a
fortnight from to-day you shall have my answer."

"No," answered Miss Trevisa, "I also must decide as to my future, for
your decision affects not Jamie only but me also."

Judith had listened in great self-restraint, holding the feather
before her. She held it between thumb and forefinger of both hands,
not concerning herself about it, and yet with her eyes watching the
undulations from the end of the quill to the deep blue eye set in a
halo of gold at the further end, and the feather undulated with every
rise and fall of her bosom.

"Surely, Auntie! You cannot wish me to marry Cruel Coppinger?"

"I have no wishes one way or the other. Please yourself."

"But, Auntie----"

"You profess to be ready to do all you can for Jamie and yet hesitate
about relieving me of an irksome charge, and Jamie of what you
consider barbarous treatment."

"You cannot be serious--_I_ to marry Captain Cruel!"

"It is a serious offer."

"But papa!--what would he say?"

"I never was in a position to tell his thoughts and guess what his
words would be."

"But, Auntie--he is such a bad man."

"You know a great deal more about him than I do, of course."

"But--he is a smuggler, I do know that."

"Well--and what of that. There is no crime in that."

"It is not an honest profession. They say, too, that he is a wrecker."

"They say!--who say? What do you know?"

"Nothing, but I am not likely to trust my future to a man of whom such
tales are told. Auntie! Would you, supposing that you were----"

"I will have none of your suppositions, I never did wear a rush apron,
nor act as Jack Pudding."

"I cannot--Captain Cruel of all men."

"Is he so hateful to you?"

"Hateful--no; but I cannot like him. He has been kind, but--somehow I
can't think of him as--as--as a man of our class and thoughts and
ways, as one worthy of my own, own papa. No--it is impossible, I am
still a child."

She took the end of the peacock's feather, the splendid eye lustrous
with metallic beauty, and bowed the plume without breaking it, and,
unconscious of what she was doing, stroked her lips with it. What a
fragile fine quill that was on which hung so much beauty? and how
worthless the feather would be when that quill was broken. And so with
her--her fine, elastic, strong spirit, that when bowed sprang to its
uprightness the moment the pressure was withdrawn; that on which all
her charm, her beauty hung.

"Captain Coppinger has, surely, never asked you to put this
alternative to me?"

"No--I do it myself. As you are a child, you are unfit to take charge
of your brother. When you are engaged to be married you are a woman; I
shift my load on you then."

"And you wish it?"

"I repeat I have no wishes in the matter."

"Give me time to consider."

"No. It must be decided now--that is to say if you do not wish Jamie
to be taken away. Don't fancy I want to persuade you; but I want to be
satisfied about my own future. I shall not remain in Pentyre with you.
As you enter by the front door, I leave by the back."

"Where will you go?"

"That is my affair."

Then in at the door came the two Scantlebrays and Jamie between them,
gagged and with his hands bound behind his back. He had run out,
directly his examination was over, and had been secured, almost
without resistance, so taken by surprise was he, and reduced to a
condition of helplessness.

Judith leaned against the mantel-shelf, with every tinge of color gone
out of her cheeks. Jamie's frightened eyes met hers, and he made a
slight struggle to speak, and to escape to her.

"You have a close conveyance ready for your patient?" asked Aunt
Dionysia of the brothers.

"Oh, yes, a very snug little box on wheels. Scanty and I will sit with
our young man, to prevent his feeling dull, you know."

"You understand, gentlemen, what I told you, that in the deciding
whether the boy is to go with you or not, I am not the only one to be
considered. If I have my will, go he shall, as I am convinced that
your establishment is the very place for him; but my niece, Miss
Judith, has at her option the chance of taking the responsibility for
the boy off my shoulders, and if she chooses to do that, why then, I
fear she will continue to spoil him, as she has done heretofore."

"It has cost us time and money," said Scantlebray, senior.

"And you shall be paid, whichever way is decided," said Miss Trevisa.
"Every thing now rests with my niece."

Judith seemed as one petrified. One hand was on her bosom, staying her
heart, the other held the peacock's feather before her, horizontally.
Every particle of color had deserted, not her face only, but her hands
as well. Her eyes were sunless, her lips contracted and livid. She was
motionless as a parian statue, she hardly seemed to breathe. She
perfectly understood what her aunt had laid upon her, her bodily
sensations were dead whilst a conflict of ideas raged in her brain.
She was the arbiter of Jamie's fate. She did not disguise from herself
that if consigned to the keeper of the asylum, though only for a week
or two, he would not leave his charge the same as he entered. And what
would it avail her or him to postpone the decision a week or a
fortnight.

The brothers Scantlebray knew nothing of the question agitating her,
but they saw that the determination at which she was resolving was one
that cost her all her powers. Mr. Obadiah's heavy mind did not exert
itself to probe the secret, but the more eager intellect of his elder
brother was alert, and wondering what might be the matter that so
affected the girl, and made it so difficult for her to pronounce the
decision. The hard eyes of Miss Trevisa were fixed on her. Judith's
answer would decide her future--on it depended Othello Cottage, and an
annuity of fifty pounds. Jamie looked through a veil of tears at his
sister, and never for a moment turned them from her, from the moment
of his entry into the room. Instinctively the boy felt that his
freedom and happiness depended on her.

One or the other must be sacrificed. That Judith saw Jamie was dull of
mind, but there were possibilities of development in it. And, even if
he remained where he was, he was happy, happy and really harmless, if
a little mischievous; an offer had been made which was likely to lead
him on into industrious ways, and to teach him application. He loved
his liberty, loved it as does the gull. In an asylum he would pine,
his mind become more enfeebled, and he would die. But then--what a
price must be paid to save him? Oh, if she could have put the question
to her father. But she had none to appeal to for advice. If she gave
to Jamie liberty and happiness, it was at the certain sacrifice of her
own. But there was no evading the decision, one or the other must go.

She stretched forth the peacock's feather, laid the great indigo blue
eye on the bands that held Jamie, on his gagged lips, and said: "Let
him go."

"You agree!" exclaimed Miss Trevisa.

Judith doubled the peacock's feather and broke it.



CHAPTER XXX.

THROUGH THE TAMARISKS.


For some time after Judith had given her consent, and had released
Jamie from the hands of the Scantlebrays, she remained still and
white. Uncle Zachie missed the music to which he had become used, and
complained. She then seated herself at the piano, but was distraught,
played badly, and the old bird-stuffer went away grumbling to his
shop.

Jamie was happy, delighted not to be afflicted with lessons, and
forgot past troubles in present pleasures. That the recovery of his
liberty had been bought at a heavy price, he did not know, and would
not have appreciated it had he been told the sacrifice Judith had been
ready to make for his sake.

In the garden behind the cottage was an arbor, composed of half a boat
set up, that is to say, an old boat sawn in half, and erected so that
it served as a shelter to a seat, which was fixed into the earth on
posts. From one side of this boat a trellis had been drawn, and
covered with eschalonia, and a seat placed here as well, so that in
this rude arbor it was possible for more than one to find
accommodation. Here Judith and Jamie often sat; the back of the boat
was set against the prevailing wind from the sea, and on this coast
the air is unusually soft at the same time that it is bracing,
enjoyable wherever a little shelter is provided against its violence.
For violent it can be, and can buffet severely, yet its blows are
those of a pillow.

Here Judith was sitting one afternoon, alone, lost in a dream, when
Uncle Zachie came into the garden with his pipe in his mouth, to
stretch his legs, after a few minutes' work at stuffing a cormorant.

In her lap lay a stocking Judith was knitting for her brother, but she
had made few stitches, and yet had been an hour in the summer-house.
The garden of Mr. Menaida was hedged off from a neighbor's grounds by
a low wall of stone and clay and sand, in and out of which grew
roughly strong tamarisks now in their full pale pink blossom. The eyes
of Judith had been on these tamarisks, waving like plumes in the
sea-air, when she was startled from her reverie by the voice of Uncle
Zachie.

"Why, Miss Judith! What is the matter with you? Dull, eh? Ah--wait a
bit, when Oliver comes home we shall have mirth. He is full of
merriment. A bright boy and a good son; altogether a fellow to be
proud of, though I say it. He will return at the fall."

"I am glad to hear it, Mr. Menaida. You have not seen him for many
years."

"Not for ten."

"It will be a veritable feast to you. Does he remain long in England?"

"I cannot say. If his employers find work for him at home, then at
home he will tarry, but if they consider themselves best served by him
at Oporto, then to Portugal must he return."

"Will you honor me by taking a seat near me--under the trellis?" asked
Judith. "It will indeed be a pleasure to me to have a talk with you;
and I do need it very sore. My heart is so full that I feel I must
spill some of it before a friend."

"Then indeed I will hold out both hands to catch the sweetness."

"Nay--it is bitter, not sweet, bitter as gall, and briny as the
ocean."

"Not possible; a little salt gives savor."

She shook her head, took up the stocking, did a couple of stitches,
and put it down again. The sea-breeze that tossed the pink bunches of
tamarisk waved stray tresses of her red-gold hair, but somehow the
brilliancy, the burnish, seemed gone from it. Her eyes were sunken,
and there was a greenish tinge about the ivory white surrounding her
mouth.

"I cannot work, dear Mr. Menaida; I am so sorry that I should have
played badly that sonata last night. I knew it fretted you, but I
could not help myself, my mind is so selfishly directed that I cannot
attend to anything even of Beethoven's in music, nor to
stocking-knitting even for Jamie."

"And what are the bitter--briny thoughts?"

Judith did not answer at once, she looked down into her lap, and Mr.
Menaida, whose pipe was choked, went to the tamarisks and plucked a
little piece, stripped off the flower and proceeded to clear the tube
with it.

Presently, while Uncle Zachie's eyes were engaged on the pipe, Judith
looked up, and said hastily, "I am very young, Mr. Menaida."

"A fault in process of rectification every day," said he, blowing
through the stem of his pipe. "I think it is clear now."

"I mean--young to be married."

"To be married! Zounds!" He turned his eyes on her in surprise,
holding the tamarisk spill in one hand and the pipe in the other,
poised in the air.

"You have not understood that I got Jamie off the other day only by
taking full charge of him upon myself and relieving my aunt."

"But--good gracious, you are not going to marry your brother."

"My aunt would not transfer the guardianship to me unless I were
qualified to undertake and exercise it properly, according to her
ideas, and that could be only by my becoming engaged to be married to
a man of substance."

"Goodness help me! what a startlement! And who is the happy man to be?
Not Scantlebray, senior, I trust, whose wife is dying."

"No--Captain Coppinger."

"Cruel Coppinger!" Uncle Zachie put down his pipe so suddenly on the
bench by him that he broke it. "Cruel Coppinger! never!"

She said nothing to this, but rose and walked, with her head down,
along the bank, and put her hands among the waving pink bunches of
tamarisk bloom, sweeping the heads with her own delicate hand as she
passed. Then she came back to the boat arbor and reseated herself.

"Dear me! Bless my heart! I could not have credited it," gasped Mr.
Menaida, "and I had such different plans in my head--but there, no
more about them."

"I had to make my election whether to take him and qualify to become
Jamie's guardian, or refrain, and then he would have been snatched
away and imprisoned in that odious place again."

"But, my dear Miss Judith--" the old man was so agitated that he did
not know what he was about; he put the stick of tamarisk into his
mouth in place of his pipe, and took it out to speak, put down his
hand, picked up the bowl of his pipe, and tapped the end of the
tamarisk spill with that; "mercy save me! What a world we do live in.
And I had been building for you a castle--not in Spain, but in a
contiguous country--who'd have thought it? And Cruel Coppinger, too!
Upon my soul I don't want to say I am sorry for it, and I can't find
in my heart to say I'm glad."

"I do not expect that you will be glad--not if you have any love for
me."

The old man turned round, his eyes were watering and his face
twitching.

"I have, Heaven knows! I have--yes--I mean Miss Judith."

"Mr. Menaida," said the girl, "you have been so kind, so considerate,
that I should like to call you what every one else does--when speaking
of you to one another--not to your face--Uncle Zachie."

He put out his hand, it was shaking, and caught hers. He put the ends
of the fingers to his lips; but he kept his face averted, and the
water that had formed in his eyes ran down his cheeks. He did not
venture to speak. He had lost command over his voice.

"You see, uncle, I have no one of whom to ask counsel. I have only
aunt, and she--somehow--I feel that I cannot go to her, and get from
her the advice best suited to me. Now papa is dead I am entirely
alone, and I have to decide on matters most affecting my own life, and
that of Jamie. I do so crave for a friend who could give me an
opinion--but I have no one, if you refuse."

He pressed her hand.

"Not that now I can go back from my word. I have passed that to Aunt
Dionysia, and draw back I may not; but somehow, as I sit and think,
and think, and try to screw myself up to the resolution that must be
reached of giving up my hand and my whole life into the power of--of
that man, I cannot attain to it. I feel like one who is condemned to
cast himself down a precipice and shrinks from it, cannot make up his
mind to spring, but draws back after every run made to the edge. Tell
me--uncle--tell me truly, what do you think about Captain Coppinger?
What do you know about him? Is he a very wicked man?"

"You ask me what I think, and also what I know," said Mr. Menaida,
releasing her hand. "I know nothing, but I have my thoughts."

"Then tell me what you think."

"As I have said, I know nothing. I do not know whence he comes. Some
say he is a Dane, some that he is an Irishman. I cannot tell, I know
nothing, but I think his intonation is Irish, and I have heard that
there is a family of that name in Ireland. But this is all guesswork.
One thing I do know, he speaks French like a native. Then, as to his
character, I believe him to be a man of ungovernable temper, who, when
his blood is roused will stick at nothing. I think him a man of very
few scruples. But he has done liberal things--he is open-handed, that
all say. A hard liver, and with a rough tongue, and yet with some of
the polish of a gentleman; a man with the passions of a devil, but not
without in him some sparks of divine light. That is what I think him
to be. And if you ask me further, whether I think him a man calculated
to make you happy--I say decidedly that he is not."

Rarely before in his life had Mr. Menaida spoken with such decision.

"He has been kind to me," said Judith. "Very kind."

"Because he is in love with you."

"And gentle--"

"Have you ever done aught to anger him!"

"Yes. I threw him down and broke his arm and collar-bone."

"And won his heart by so doing."

"Uncle Zachie, he is a smuggler."

"Yes--there is no doubt about that."

"Do you suppose if I were to entreat him that he would abandon
smuggling? I have already had it in my heart to ask him this, but I
could not bring the request over my lips."

"I have no doubt if you asked him to throw up his smuggling that he
would promise to do so. Whether he would keep his promise is another
matter. Many a girl has made her lover swear to give up gambling, and
on that understanding has married him; but I reckon none have been
able to keep their husbands to the engagement. Gambling, smuggling,
and poaching, my dear, are in the blood. A man brings the love of
adventure, the love of running a risk, into the world with him. If I
had been made by my wife to swear when I married never to touch a
musical instrument, I might out of love for her have sworn, but I
could not have kept my oath. And you--if you vowed to keep your
fingers from needle and thread, and saw your gown in rags, or your
husband's linen frayed--would find an irresistible itch in the finger
ends to mend and hem, and you would do it, in spite of your vows. So
with a gambler, a poacher, and a smuggler, the instinct, the passion
is in them and is irresistible. Don't impose any promise on Captain
Cruel, it will not influence him."

"They tell me he is a wrecker."

"What do you mean by a wrecker! We are all wreckers, after a storm,
when a merchantman has gone to pieces on the rocks, and the shore is
strewn with prizes. I have taken what I could, and I see no harm in
it. When the sea throws treasures here and there, it is a sin not to
take them up and use them and be thankful."

"I do not mean that. I mean that he has been the means of luring ships
to their destruction."

"Of that I know nothing. Stories circulate whenever there is a wreck
not in foul weather or with a wind on shore. But who can say whether
they be true or false?"

"And about that man, Wyvill. Did he kill him?"

"There also I can say nothing, because I know nothing. All that can be
said about the matter is that the Preventive man Wyvill was found at
sea--or washed ashore without his head. A shark may have done it, and
sharks have been found off our coast. I cannot tell. There is not a
shadow of evidence that could justify an indictment. All that can be
stated that makes against Coppinger is that the one is a smuggler, the
other was a Preventive man, and that the latter was found dead and
with his head off, an unusual circumstance, but not sufficient to show
that he had been decapitated by any man, nor that the man who
decapitated him was Coppinger."

Then Mr. Menaida started up: "And--you sell yourself to this man for
Jamie?"

"Yes, uncle, to make a man of Jamie."

"On the chance, Judith, on the very doubtful chance of making a man
of Jamie, you rush on the certainty of making a ruin of yourself. That
man--that Coppinger to be trusted with you! A fair little vessel,
richly laden, with silken sail, and cedar sides, comes skimmering over
the sea, and--Heaven forgive me if I judge wrongly--but I think he is
a wrecker, enticing, constraining you on to the reefs where you will
break up, and all your treasures will--not fall to him--but sink; and
all that will remain of you will be a battered and broken hull, and a
draggled discolored sail. I cannot--I cannot endure the thought."

"Yet it must be endured, faced and endured by me," said Judith. "You
are a cruel comforter, Uncle Zachie. I called you to encourage me, and
you cast me down; to lighten my load, and you heap more on."

"I can do no other," gasped Mr. Menaida. Then he sprang back, with
open mouth, aghast. He saw Cruel Coppinger on the other side of the
hedge, he had put his hands to the tamarisk bushes, and thrust them
apart and was looking through.

"Goldfish!" called Captain Coppinger, "Goldfish, come!"

Judith knew the voice and looked in the direction whence it came, and
saw the large hands of Coppinger holding back the boughs of tamarisk,
his dark face in the gap. She rose at once and stepped toward him.

"You are ill," he said, fixing his sombre eyes on her.

"I am not ill in body. I have had much to harass my mind."

"Yes, that Wadebridge business."

"What has sprung out of it?"

"Shall I come to you, or will you to me!--through the tamarisks?"

"As you will, Captain Coppinger."

"Come, then--up on to the hedge and jump--I will catch you in my arms.
I have held you there ere this."

"Yes, you have taken me up, now must I throw----" She did not finish
the sentence; she meant, must she voluntarily throw herself into his
arms?

She caught hold of the bushes and raised herself to the top of the
hedge.

"By Heaven!" said he. "The tamarisk flowers have more color in them
than your face."

She stood on the summit of the bank, the tamarisks rising to her
knees, waving in the wind about her. Must she resign herself to that
man of whom she knew so little, whom she feared so greatly? There was
no help for it. She must. He held out his arms. She sprang, and he
caught her.

"I have you now," he said, with a laugh of triumph. "You have come to
me, and I will never give you up."



CHAPTER XXXI.

AMONG THE SAND-HEAPS.


Coppinger held her in his arms, shook her hair out that it streamed
over his arm, and looked into her upturned face. "Indeed you are
light, lighter than when I bore you in my arms before; and you are
thin and white, and the eyes, how red. You have been crying. What!
this spirit, strong as a steel spring, so subdued that it gives way to
weeping!"

Judith's eyes were closed against the strong light from the sky above,
and against the sight of his face bent over hers, and the fire glint
of his eyes, dark as a thundercloud and as charged with lightnings.
And now there was a flashing of fire from them, of love and pride and
admiration. The strong man trembled beneath his burden in the
vehemence of his emotion. The boiling and paining of his heart within
him, as he held the frail child in his arms, and knew she was to be
his own, his own wholly, in a short space. It was for the moment to
him as though all earth and sea and heaven were dissolved with
nebulous chaos, and the only life--the only pulses in the
universe--were in him and the little creature he held to his breast.
He looked into her face, down on her as Vesuvius must have looked down
on lovely, marble, white Pompeii, with its gilded roofs and
incense-scented temples, and restrained itself, as long as restrain
its molten heart it could, before it poured forth its fires and
consumed the pearly city lying in its arms.

He looked at her closed eyelids with the long golden lashes resting on
the dark sunken dip beneath, at the delicate mouth drawn as with pain,
at the white temples in which slowly throbbed the blue veins, at the
profusion of red-gold hair streaming over his arm and almost touching
the ground.

She knew that his eyes--on fire--were on her, and she dared not meet
them, for there would be a shrinking--from him, no responsive leap of
flame from hers.

"Shall I carry you about like this!" he asked. "I could and I would,
to the world's end, and leap with you thence into the unfathomed
abyss."

Her head, leaning back on his arm, with the gold rain falling from it,
exposed her long and delicate throat of exquisite purity of tint and
beauty of modelling, and as it lay a little tuft of pink tamarisk
blossom, brushed off in her lap into his arms, and then caught in the
light edging of her dress, at the neck.

"And you come to me of your own will?" he said.

Then Judith slightly turned her head to avoid his eyes, and said, "I
have come--it was unavoidable. Let me down, that we may speak
together."

He obeyed with reluctance. Then, standing before him, she bound up and
fastened her hair.

"Look!" said he, and threw open his collar. A ribbon was tied about
his throat. "Do you see this?" He loosed the band and held it to her.
One delicate line of gold ran along the silk, fastened to it by
threads at intervals. "Your own hair. The one left with me when you
first heard me speak of my heart's wish, and you disdained me and went
your way. You left me that one hair, and that one hair I have kept
wound round my neck ever since, and it has seemed to me that I might
still have caught my goldfish, my saucy goldfish that swam away from
my hook at first."

Judith said calmly; "Let us walk together somewhere--to St. Enodoc, to
my father's grave, and there, over that sand-heap we will settle what
must be settled."

"I will go with you where you will. You are my Queen, I your
subject--it is my place to obey."

"The subject has sometimes risen and destroyed the Queen; it has been
so in France."

"Yes, when the subject has been too hardly treated, too down-trodden,
not allowed to look on and adore the Queen."

"And," said Judith further, "let us walk in silence, allow me the
little space between here and my father's grave to collect my
thoughts, bear with me for that short distance."

"As you will. I am your slave, as I have told you, and you my mistress
have but to command."

"Yes, but the slave sometimes becomes the master, and then is all the
more tyrannous because of his former servitude."

So they walked together, yet apart, from Polzeath to St. Enodoc,
neither speaking, and it might have been a mourner's walk at a
funeral. She held her head down, and did not raise her eyes from the
ground, but he continued to gaze on her with a glow of triumph and
exultation in his face.

They reached at length the deserted church, sunken in the sands; it
had a hole broken in the wall under the eaves in the south, rudely
barricaded, through which the sacred building might be entered for
such functions as a marriage, or the first part of the funeral office
that must be performed in a church.

The roof was of pale gray slate, much broken, folding over the rafters
like the skins on the ribs of an old horse past work. The church-yard
was covered with plain sand. Gravestones were in process of being
buried like those whom they commemorated. Some peeped above the sand,
with a fat cherub's head peering above the surface. Others stood high
on the land side, but were banked up by sand toward the sea. Here the
church-yard surface was smooth, there it was tossed with undulations,
according as the sand had been swept over portions tenanted by the
poor who were uncommemorated with head-stones, or over those where the
well-to-do lay with their titles and virtues registered above them.

There was as yet no monument erected over the grave of the Reverend
Peter Trevisa, sometime rector of St. Enodoc. The mound had been
turfed over and bound down with withes. The loving hands of his
daughter had planted some of the old favorite flowers from the long
walk at the rectory above where he lay, but they had not as yet taken
to the soil, the sand ill agreed with them, and the season of the year
when their translation had taken place dissatisfied them, and they
looked forlorn, drooping, and doubted whether they would make the
struggle to live.

Below the church lay the mouths of the Camel, blue between sand-hills,
with the Doom Bar, a long and treacherous band of shifting sands in
the midst.

On reaching the graveyard Judith signed to Captain Coppinger to seat
himself on a flat tombstone on the south side of her father's grave,
and she herself leaned against the headstone that marked her mother's
tomb.

"I think we should come to a thorough understanding," she said, with
composure, "that you may not expect of me what I cannot give, and know
the reason why I give you anything. You call me Goldfish. Why?"

"Because of your golden hair."

"No--that was not what sprung the idea in your brain, it was something
I said to you, that you and I stood to each other in the relation of
bird of prey to fish, belonging to distinct modes of life and manner
of thinking, and that we could never be to one another in any other
relation than that, the falcon and his prey, the flame and its fuel,
the wreckers and the wrecked."

Coppinger started up and became red as blood.

"These are strange words," he said.

"It is the same that I said before."

"Then why have you given yourself to me?"

"I have resigned myself to you, as I cannot help myself any more than
the fish can that is pounced on by the sea-bird, or the fuel that is
enveloped by the flame, or the ship that is boarded by the wrecker."

She looked at him steadily; he was quivering with excitement, anger,
and disappointment.

"It is quite right that you should know what to expect, and make no
more demands on me that I am capable of answering. You cannot ask of
me that I should become like you, and I do not entertain the foolish
thought that you could be brought to be like me--to see through my
eyes, feel with my heart. My dead father lies between us now, and he
will ever be between us--he a man of pure life, noble aspirations, a
man of books, of high principle, fearing God and loving men. What he
was he tried to make me. Imperfectly, faultily, I follow him, but
though unable to be like him, I strive after what he showed me should
be my ideal."

"You are a child. You will be a woman, and new thoughts will come to
you."

"Will they be good and honorable and contented thoughts? Shall I find
those in your house?"

Coppinger did not reply, his brows were drawn together and his face
became dark.

"Why, then, have you promised to come to me?"

"Because of Jamie."

He uttered an oath, and with his hands clenched the upper stone of
the tomb.

"I have promised my aunt that I will accept you, if you will suffer my
poor brother to live where I live, and suffer me to be his protector.
He is helpless and must have someone to think and watch for him. My
aunt would have sent him to Mr. Obadiah Scantlebray's asylum, and that
would have been fatal to him. To save him from that I said that I
would be yours, on the condition that my home should be his home. I
have passed my word to my aunt, and I will not go from it, but that
does not mean that I have changed my belief that we are unfitted for
each other, because we belong to different orders of being."

"This is cold comfort."

"It is cold as ice, but it is all that I have to give to you. I wish
to put everything plainly before you now, that there may be no
misapprehension later, and you may be asking of me what I cannot give,
and be angry at not receiving what I never promised to surrender."

"So! I am only accepted for the sake of that boy, Jamie."

"It is painful for me to say what I do--as painful as it must be for
you to hear it, but I cannot help myself. I wish to put all boldly and
hardly before you before an irrevocable step is taken such as might
make us both wretched. I take you for Jamie's sake. Were his
happiness, his well-being not in the scale, I would not take you. I
would remain free."

"That is plain enough," exclaimed Coppinger, setting his teeth, and he
broke off a piece of the tombstone on which he was half sitting.

"You will ask of me love, honor, and obedience. I will do my best to
love you--like you I do now, for you have been kind and good to me,
and I can never forget what you have done for me. But it is a long
leap from liking to loving, still I will try my best, and if I fail it
will not be for lack of effort. Honor is another matter. That lies in
your own power to give. If you behave as a good and worthy man to your
fellows, and justly toward me, of course I shall honor you. I must
honor what is deserving of honor, and where I honor there I may come
to love. I cannot love where I do not honor, so perhaps I may say that
my heart is in your hands, and that if those hands are clean and
righteous in their dealings it may become yours some time. As to
obedience--that you shall command. That I will render to you frankly
and fully in all things lawful."

"You offer me an orange from which all the juice has been squeezed, a
nut without a kernel."

"I offer you all I have to offer. Is it worth your while having this?"

"Yes!" said he angrily, starting up, "I will have what I can and wring
the rest out of you, when once you are mine."

"You never will wring anything out of me. I give what I may, but
nothing will I yield to force."

He looked at her sullenly and said, "A child in years with an old head
and a stony heart."

"I have always lived with my father, and so have come to think like
one that is old," said Judith, "and now, alone in the world, I must
think with ripened wits."

"I do not want that precocious, wise soul, if that be the kernel. I
will have the shell--the glorious shell. Keep your wisdom and
righteousness and piety for yourself. I do not value them a rush. But
your love I will have."

"I have told you there is but one way by which that may be won. But
indeed, Captain Coppinger, you have made a great mistake in thinking
of me. I am not suited to you to make you happy and content; any more
than you are suited to me. Look out for some girl more fit to be your
mate."

"Of what sort? Come, tell me!" said Coppinger scornfully.

"A fine, well-built girl, dark-haired, dark-eyed, with cheeks like
apricots, lively in mood, with nimble tongue, good-natured, not
bookish, not caring for brush or piano, but who can take a rough word
and return it; who will not wince at an oath, and shrink away at
coarse words flung about where she is. All these things you know very
well must be encountered by your wife, in your house. Did you ever
read 'Hamlet,' Captain Coppinger?"

He made no answer, he was plucking at the slab-cover of the tomb and
grinding his heels into the sand.

"In 'Hamlet,' we read of a king poisoned by his queen, who dipped the
juice of cursed hebenon into his ears, and it curdled all his blood.
It is the same with the sort of language that is found in your house
when your seamen are there. I cannot endure it, it curdles my
heart--choose a girl who is indifferent."

"You shall not be subjected to it," said Coppinger, "and as to the
girl you have sketched--I care not for her--such as you describe are
to be found thick as whortle-berries on a moor. Do you not know that
man seeks in marriage not his counterpart but his contrast? It is
because you are in all things different from me that I love you."

"Then will naught that I have said make you desist?"

"Naught."

"I have told you that I take you only so as to be able to make a home
for Jamie."

"Yes."

"And that I do not love you and hardly think I can ever."

"Yes."

"And still you will have me?"

"Yes."

"And that by taking me you wreck my life--spoil my happiness."

He raised his head, then dropped it again and said, "Yes."

She remained silent, also looking on the ground. Presently she raised
her head and said: "I gave you a chance, and you have cast it from
you. I am sorry."

"A chance? What chance?"

"The chance of taking a first step up the ladder in my esteem."

"I do not understand you."

"Therefore I am sorry."

"What is your meaning?"

"Captain Coppinger," said Judith, firmly, looking straight into his
dark face and flickering eyes, "I am very, very sorry. When I told you
that I accepted your offer only because I could not help myself,
because I was a poor, feeble orphan, with a great responsibility laid
on me, the charge of my unfortunate brother; that I only accepted you
for his sake when I told you that I did not love you, that our
characters, our feelings were so different that it would be misery to
me to become your wife--that it would be the ruin of my life,
then--had you been a man of generous soul, you would have said--I will
not force myself upon you, but I will do one thing for you, assist you
in protecting Jamie from the evil that menaces him. Had you said that
I would have honored you, and as I said just now, where I honor, there
I may love. But you could not think such a thought, no such generous
feeling stirred you. You held me to my bond."

"I hold you to your bond," exclaimed Coppinger, in loud rage. "I hold
you, indeed. Even though you can neither love nor honor me, you shall
be mine. You likened me to a bird of prey that must have its prey or
die, to a fire--and that must have its fuel--to a wrecker, and he must
have his wreck, I care not. I will have you as mine, whether you love
me or not."

"So be it, then," said Judith, sadly. "You had your opportunity and
have put it from you. We understand each other. The slave is
master--and a tyrant."



CHAPTER XXXII.

A DANGEROUS GIFT.


"I do love a proper muddle, cruel bad, I do," said Jump, and had what
she loved, for the preparations for Judith's marriage threw Mr.
Menaida's trim cottage into a "proper muddle." There were the cakes to
be baked, and for a while the interior of the house was pervaded by
that most delicious aroma of baking bread superior to frangipani,
jockey club, and wood violet. Then came the dusting, and after that
the shaking and beating of the rugs and sofa and chairs. Then it was
discovered that the ceilings and walls would be the better for white
and color-wash. This entailed the turning out of every thing
previously dusted and tidied and arranged. Neither Mr. Menaida nor
Jump had any other idea of getting things into order than throwing all
into a muddle in the hopes that out of chaos, exactness and order
might spring.

A dressmaker had been engaged and material purchased, for the
fabrication of a trousseau. This naturally interested Jamie vastly,
and Jump paid repeated visits to the dressmaker, whilst engaged on her
work. On one such occasion she neglected the kitchen and allowed some
jam to become burnt. On another she so interested the needlewoman and
diverted her attention from her work, whilst cutting out that the
latter cut out two right arms to the wedding gown. This involved a
difficulty, as it was not practicable either to turn the one sleeve,
and convert it into a left arm, nor to remove Judith's left arm and
attach it to the right side of her body, and so accommodate her to the
gown. The mercer at Camelford was communicated with, from whom the
material had been procured, but he was out of it, he however was in
daily expectation of a consignment of more of the same stuff. A
fortnight later he was able to supply the material, sufficient for a
left sleeve, but unfortunately of a different color. The gown had to
be laid aside till some one could be found of Judith's size and
figure with two right arms, and also who wanted a wedding dress, and
also would be disposed to take this particular one at half the cost of
the material, or else to let the gown stand over till after the lapse
of a century or thereabouts, when the fashion would prevail for ladies
to wear sleeves of a different substance and color from their bodies
and skirts.

"'Taint a sort o' a courtin' as I'd give a thankee for," said Jump.
"There was Camelford goose fair, and whether he axed her to go wi' him
and pick a goose I can't tell, but I know her never went. Then o'
Sundays they don't walk one another out. And he doesn't come arter her
to the back garden, and she go to him, and no whisperings and
kissings. I've listened a score o' times a hoping and a wishing to see
and hear the likes, and never once as I'm a Christian and a female.
There were my sister Jane, when she was going to be married, her got
that hot and blazin' red that I thought it were scarletine, but it was
naught but excitement. But the young mistress, bless 'ee, her gets
whiter and colder every day, and I'd say, if such a thing were
possible, that her'd rather her never was a going to be married. But
you see that ain't in natur', leastways wi' us females. I tell 'ee I
never seed him once put his arm round her waist. If this be courtin'
among gentlefolks, all I say is preserve and deliver me from being a
lady."

It was as Jump, in her vulgar way, put it. Judith alone in the house
appeared to take no interest in the preparations. It was only after a
struggle with her aunt that she had yielded to have the wedding in
November. She had wished it postponed till the spring, but Cruel
Coppinger and Aunt Dionysia were each for their several ends desirous
to have it in the late autumn. Coppinger had the impatience of a
lover; and Miss Trevisa the desire to be free from a menial position
and lodged in her new house before winter set in. She had amused
herself over Othello Cottage ever since Judith had yielded her
consent, and her niece saw little of her accordingly.

It suited Coppinger's interest to have a tenant for the solitary
cottage, and that a tenant who would excite no suspicions, as the
house was employed as a store for various run goods, and it was
understood between him and Miss Trevisa, that he was still to employ
the garret for the purposes that suited him.

Had Othello Cottage remained long unoccupied, it was almost certain to
attract the attention of the Preventive men, awake their suspicions,
and be subjected to a visit. Its position was convenient, it was on
the cliff of that cove where was the cave in which the smugglers'
boats were concealed.

Coppinger visited Polzeath and saw Judith whenever he came to Mr.
Menaida's house, but his wooing met with no response. She endured his
attentions, shrinking from the slightest approach to familiarity, and
though studiously courteous was never affectionate. It would take a
heavy charge of self-conceit to have made the Captain blind to the
fact that she did not love him, that in truth she viewed her
approaching marriage with repugnance. Coppinger was a proud, but not a
conceited man, and her coldness and aversion aroused his anger, for it
galled his pride. Had he been a man of noble impulse, he would have
released her, as she had already told him, but he was too selfish, too
bent on carrying out his own will to think of abandoning his suit.

Her lack of reciprocation did not abate his passion, it aggravated it.
It enlisted his self-esteem in the cause, and he would not give her
up, because he had set his mind upon obtaining her, and to confess his
defeat would have been a humiliation insufferable to his haughty
spirit. But it was not merely that he would not, it was also that he
could not. Coppinger was a man who had, all his life long, done what
he willed, till his will had become in him the mainspring of his
existence, and drove him to execute his purposes in disregard of
reason, safety, justice, and opposition. He would eat out his own
furious heart in impotent rage, if his will were encountered by
impossibility of execution. And he was of a sanguine temperament.
Hitherto every opposition had been overthrown before him, therefore he
could not conceive that the heart of a young girl, a mere child, could
stand out against him permanently. For a while it might resist, but
ultimately it must yield, and then the surrender would be absolute,
unconditional.

Every time he came to see her, he came with hopes, almost with
confidence, that the icy barrier would dissolve, but when in her
presence the chill from it struck him, numbed his heart, silenced his
tongue, deadened his thoughts. Yet no sooner was he gone from the
house, than his pulses leaped, his brain whirled, and he was consumed
with mortified pride and disappointed love. He could not be rough,
passionate or imperious with her. A something he could not understand,
certainly not define, streamed from her that kept him at a distance
and quelled his insolence. It was to him at moments as if he hated
her; but this hate was but the splutter of frustrated love. He
recalled the words she had spoken to him, and the terms she had
employed in speaking of the relation in which they stood to each
other, the only relations to her conceivable in which they could stand
to each other, and each such word was a spark of fire, a drop of
flaming phosphorus on his heart, torturing it with pain, and
unquenchable. A word once spoken can never be recalled, and these
words had been thrown red hot at him, had sunk in and continued to
consume where they had fallen. He was but a rapacious bird and she the
prey, he the fire and she the fuel, he the wrecker and she the wreck.
There could be no reciprocity between them, the bird in the talons of
the hawk, rent by his beak could do no other than shiver and shriek
and struggle to be free. The fuel could but expect to be consumed to
ashes in the flames; and the wrecked must submit to the wrecker. He
brooded over these similes, he chafed under the conviction that there
was truth in them, he fought against the idea that a return of his
love was impossible--and then his passion raged and roared up in a
fury that was no other than hatred of the woman who could not be his
in heart. Then, in another moment, he cooled down, and trusted that
what he dreaded would not be. He saw before him the child, white as a
lily, with hair as the anthers of the lily--so small, so fragile, so
weak; and he laughed to think that one such, with no experience of
life, one who had never tasted love, could prove insensible to his
devouring passion. The white asbestos in the flame glows, and never
loses its delicacy and its whiteness.

And Judith was, as Jump observed, becoming paler and more silent as
her marriage drew on. The repugnance with which she had viewed it
instead of abating intensified with every day. She woke in the night
with a start of horror, and a cold sweat poured from her. She clasped
her hands over her eyes and buried her face in her pillow and
trembled, so that the bed rattled. She lost all appetite. Her throat
was contracted when she touched food. She found it impossible to turn
her mind to the preparations that were being made for her wedding, she
suffered her aunt to order for her what she liked, she was indifferent
when told of the blunder made by the dressmaker in her wedding-gown.
She could not speak at meals. When Mr. Menaida began to talk, she
seemed to listen, but her mind was elsewhere. She resumed lessons with
Jamie, but was too abstracted to be able to teach effectually. A
restlessness took hold of her and impelled her to be out of doors and
alone. Any society was painful to her, she could endure only to be
alone; and when alone, she did nothing save pluck at her dress, or rub
her fingers one over the other--the tricks and convulsive movements of
one on the point of death.

But she did not yield to her aversion without an effort to accustom
herself to the inevitable. She rehearsed to herself the good traits
she had observed in Coppinger, his kindness, his forbearance toward
herself, she took cognizance of his efforts to win her regard, to
afford her pleasure, his avoidance of everything that he thought might
displease her. And when she knew he was coming to visit her, she
strove with herself; and formed the resolution to break down the
coldness, and to show him some of that semblance of affection which he
might justly expect. But it was in vain. No sooner did she hear his
step, or the first words he uttered, no sooner did she see him, than
she turned to stone, and the power to even feign an affection she did
not possess left her. And when Coppinger had departed, there was
stamped red hot on her brain the conviction that she could not
possibly endure life with him.

She prayed long and often, sometimes by her father's grave, always in
bed when lying wakeful, tossing from side to side in anguish of mind;
often, very often when on the cliffs looking out to sea, to the dark,
leaden, sullen sea, that had lost all the laughter and color of
summer. But prayer afforded her no consolation. The thought of
marriage to such a man, whom she could not respect, whose whole nature
was inferior to her own, was a thought of horror. She could have
nerved herself to death by the most excruciating of torments, but for
this, not all the grace of heaven could fortify her.

To be his mate, to be capable of loving him, she must descend to his
level, and that she neither could nor would do. His prey, his fuel,
his wreck--that she must become, but she could be nothing
else--nothing else. As the day of her marriage approached her nervous
trepidation became so acute that she could hardly endure the least
noise. A strange footfall startled her and threw her into a paroxysm
of trembling. The sudden opening of a door made her heart stand still.

When her father had died, poignant though her sorrow had been, she had
enjoyed the full powers of her mind. She had thought about the
necessary preparations for the funeral, she had given orders to the
servants, she had talked over the dear father to Jamie, she had wept
his loss till her eyes were red. Not so now; she could not turn her
thoughts from the all-absorbing terror; she could not endure an
allusion to it from anyone, least of all to speak of it to her
brother, and the power to weep was taken from her. Her eyes were dry;
they burnt, but were unfilled by tears.

When her father was dead she could look forward, think of him in
paradise, and hope to rejoin him after having trustily executed the
charge imposed on her by him. But now she could not look ahead. A
shadow of horror lay before her, an impenetrable curtain. Her father
was covering his face, was sunk in grief in his celestial abode; he
could not help her. She could not go to him with the same open brow
and childish smile as before. She must creep to his feet, and lay her
head there, sullied by association with one against whom he had warned
her, one whom he had regarded as the man that had marred his sacred
utility, one who stood far below the stage of virtue and culture that
belonged to his family and on which he had firmly planted his child.
What was in her heart Judith could pour out before none; certainly not
before Aunt Dionysia, devoid of a particle of sympathy with her niece.
Nor could she speak her trouble to Uncle Zachie, a man void of
resources, kind, able for a minute or two to sympathize, but never to
go deeply into any trouble and understand more of a wound than the
fester on the surface. Besides, of what avail to communicate the
anguish of her heart to anyone, when nothing could be done to alter
the circumstances. She could not now draw back. Indeed it never
occurred to her to be possible to go back from her undertaking. To
save Jamie from an idiot asylum she had passed her word to give her
hand at the altar to Cruel Coppinger, and her word was sacred. Aunt
Dionysia trusted her word. Coppinger held to it, knowing that she gave
it on compulsion and reluctantly, yet he showed his perfect confidence
in its security.

"My dear Judith," said Mr. Menaida, "I am so sorry about losing you,
and what is more, losing Jamie, for I know very well that when he is
at the Glaze he will find plenty to amuse him without coming to see
me, or anyhow, coming to work with me."

"I hope not, dear uncle."

"Yes, I lose a promising pupil." Then turning to the boy, he said:
"Jamie, I hope you will not give up stuffing birds, or, if you have
not the patience to do that, that you will secure the skins and
prepare them for me."

"Yes, I will," said Jamie.

"Yes, yes, my dear boy," said Menaida, "but don't you fancy I am going
to trust you with arsenic for preparing the skins. I shall give that
to your sister and she will keep the supply, eh, will you not,
Judith?"

"Yes. I will take charge of it."

"And let him have it as needed; never more than is needed."

"Why not?" asked Jamie.

"Because it is a dangerous thing to have lying about." Menaida ran
into the workshop, and came back with a small tin box of the poison.
"Look here! here is a little bone spoon. Don't get the powder over
your fingers. Why, a spoonful would make a man very ill, and two would
kill him. So, Judith, I trust this to you. When Jamie has a skin to
prepare he will go to you, and you will let him have only so much as
he requires."

"Yes, uncle."

She took the little tin of arsenic and put it in her workbox, under
the tray that contained reels and needles.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

HALF A MARRIAGE.


One request Judith had made, relative to her marriage, and one only,
after she had given way about the time when it was to take place, and
this request concerned the place. She desired to be married, not in
the parish church of S. Minver, but in that of S. Enodoc, in the yard
of which lay her father and mother, and in which her father had
occasionally ministered.

It was true that no great display could be made in a building
half-filled with sand, but neither Judith nor Coppinger, nor Aunt
Dionysia desired display, and Jump, the sole person who wished that
the wedding should be in full gala, was not consulted in the matter.

November scowled over sea and land, perverting the former into lead
and blighting the latter to a dingy brown.

The wedding-day was sad. Mist enveloped the coast, wreathed the
cliffs, drifted like smoke over the glebe, and lay upon the ocean,
dense and motionless, like a mass of cotton-wool. Not a smile of sun,
not a glimmer of sky, not a trace of outline in the haze overhead. The
air was full of minute particles of moisture flying aimlessly, lost to
all sense of gravity, in every direction. The mist had a fringe but no
seams, and looked as if it were as unrendable as felt. It trailed over
the soil, here lifting a ragged flock or tag of fog a few feet above
the earth, there dropping it again and smearing water over all it
touched. Vapor condensed on every twig and leaf, but only leisurely,
and slowly dripped from the ends of thorns and leaves; but the weight
of the water on some of the frosted and sickly foliage brought the
leaves down with it. Every stone in every wall was lined with trickles
of water like snail crawls. The vapor penetrated within doors, and
made all articles damp, of whatever sort they were. Fires were
reluctant to kindle, chimneys smoked. The grates and irons broke out
into eruptions of rust, mildew appeared on walls, leaks in roofs. The
slate floors became dark and moist. Forks and spoons adhered to the
hands of those who touched them, and on the keys of Mr. Menaida's
piano drops formed.

What smoke did escape from a chimney trailed down the roof. Decomposed
leaves exhaled the scent of decay. From every stack-yard came a musty
odor of wet straw and hay. Stable yards emitted their most fetid
exudations that oozed through the gates and stained the roads. The
cabbages in the kail-yards touched by frost announced that they were
in decomposition, and the turnips that they were in rampant
degeneration and rottenness. The very seaweed washed ashore
impregnated the mist with a flavor of degeneration.

The new rector, the Reverend Desiderius Mules had been in residence at
St. Enodoc for three months. He had received but a hundred and
twenty-seven pounds four and ninepence farthing for dilapidations, and
was angry, declared himself cheated, and vowed he would never employ
the agent Cargreen any more. And a hundred and twenty-seven pounds
four and ninepence farthing went a very little way in repairing and
altering the rectory to make it habitable to the liking of the
Reverend Desiderius. The Reverend Peter Trevisa and his predecessors
had been West Country men, and as such loved the sun, and chose to
have the best rooms of the house with a southern aspect. But the
Reverend Desiderius Mules had been reared in Barbadoes, and hated the
sun, and elected to have the best rooms of the house to look north.
This entailed great alterations. The kitchen had to be converted into
parlor, and the parlor into kitchen, the dining-room into scullery,
and the scullery into study, and the library enlarged to serve as
dining-room. All the down-stairs windows had to be altered. Mr.
Desiderius Mules liked to have French windows opening to the ground.

In the same manner great transformations were made in the garden.
Where Mr. Peter Trevisa had built up and planted a hedge there Mr.
Desiderius Mules opened a gate, and where the late rector had laid
down a drive there the new rector made garden beds. In the same manner
shrubberies were converted into lawns, and lawns into shrubberies.
The pump was now of no service outside the drawing-room window; it had
to be removed to the other side of the house, and to serve the pump
with water a new well had to be dug, and the old well that had
furnished limpid and wholesome water was filled up. The site of the
conservatory was considered the proper one for the well, and this
entailed the destruction of the conservatory. Removal was intended,
with a new aspect to the north, as a frigidarium, but when touched it
fell to pieces, and in so doing furnished Mr. Desiderius Mules with
much comment on the imposition to which he had been subjected, for he
had taken this conservatory at a valuation, and that valuation had
been for three pounds seven and fourpence ha'penny, whereas its real
value was, so he declared, three pounds seven and fourpence without
the ha'penny at the end or the three pounds before.

When the Reverend Desiderius Mules heard that Captain Coppinger and
Judith Trevisa were to be married in his church, "By Jove," said he,
"they shall pay me double fees as extra parochial. I shall get that
out of them at all events. I have been choused sufficiently."

A post-chaise from Wadebridge conveyed Judith, Miss Trevisa, Uncle
Zachie, and Jamie from Polzeath.

The bride was restless. At one moment she leaned back, then forward;
her eyes turned resolutely through the window at the fog. Her hands
plucked at her veil or at her gloves; she spoke not a word throughout
the drive. Aunt Dionysia was also silent. Opposite her sat Mr. Menaida
in blue coat with brass buttons, white waistcoat outside a colored
one, and white trousers tightly strapped. Though inclined to talk, he
was unable to resist the depressing influence of his vis-a-vis, Miss
Trevisa, who sat scowling at him with her thin lips closed. Jamie was
excited, but as no one answered him when he spoke he also lapsed into
silence.

When the church-yard gate of St. Enodoc was reached, Mr. Menaida
jumped out of the chaise with a sigh of relief, and muttered to
himself that, had he known what to expect, he would have brought his
pocket-flask with him, and have had a nip of cognac on the way.

A good number of sight-seers had assembled from Polzeath and St.
Enodoc, and stood in the church-yard, magnified by the mist to
gigantic size. Over the graves of drowned sailors were planted the
figure-heads of wrecked vessels, and these in the mist might have been
taken as the dead risen and mingling with the living to view this
dreary marriage.

The bride herself looked ghostlike, or as a waft of the fog, but
little condensed, blown through the graveyard toward the gap in the
church wall, and blown through that also within.

That gap was usually blocked with planks from a wreck, supported by
beams; when the church was to be put in requisition, then the beams
were knocked away, whereupon down clattered the boards and they were
tossed aside. It had been so done on this occasion, and the fragments
were heaped untidily among the graves under the church wall. The
clerk-sexton had, indeed, considered that morning, with his hands in
his pockets, whether it would be worth his while, assisted by the five
bell-ringers, to take this accumulation of wreckage and pile it
together out of sight, but he had thought that, owing to the fog, a
veil would be drawn over the disorder, and he might be saved this
extra trouble.

Within the sacred building, over his boots in sand, stamped, and
frowned, and paced, and growled the Reverend Desiderius Mules, in
surplice, hood, and stole, very ill at ease and out of humor because
the wedding-party arrived unpunctually, and he feared he might catch
cold from the wind and fog that drifted in through the hole in the
wall serving as door.

The sand within was level with the sills of the windows; it cut the
tables of commandments in half; had blotted away the majority of
inhibitions against marriage within blood relationship and marriage
kinship. The altar-rails were below the surface. The altar-table had
been fished up and set against the east wall, not on this day for the
marriage, but at some previous occasion. Then the sexton had placed
two pieces of slate under the feet on one side, and not having found
handy any other pieces, had thought that perhaps it did not matter.
Consequently the two legs one side had sunk in the sand, and the
altar-table formed an incline.

A vast number of bats occupied the church, and by day hung like little
moleskin purses from the roof. Complaints had been made of the
disagreeableness of having these creatures suspended immediately over
the head of the officiant, accordingly the sexton had knocked away
such as were suspended immediately above the altar and step--a place
where the step was, beneath the sand; but he did not think it
necessary to disturb those in other parts of the church. If they
inconvenienced others, it was the penalty of curiosity, coming to see
a wedding there. Toward the west end of the church some wooden
pew-tops stood above the sand, and stuck into a gimlet-hole in the top
rail of one was a piece of holly, dry and brown as a chip. It had been
put there as a Christmas decoration the last year that the church was
used for divine worship, at the feast of Noel; _when_ that was, only
the oldest men could remember. The sexton had looked at it several
times with his hands in his pockets and considered whether it were
worth while pulling his hands out and removing the withered fragment,
and carrying it outside the church, but had arrived at the conclusion
that it injured no one, and might therefore just as well remain.

There were fragments of stained glass in the windows, in the upper
light of the perpendicular windows saints and angels in white and gold
on ruby and blue grounds. In one window a fragment of a Christ on the
cross. But all were much obscured by cobwebs. The cobwebs, after
having entangled many flies, caught and retained many particles of
sand, became impervious to light and obscured the figures in the
painted glass. The sexton had looked at these cobwebs occasionally and
mused whether it would be worth his while to sweep them down, but as
he knew that the church was rarely used for divine offices, and never
for regular divine worship, he deemed that there was no crying
necessity for their destruction. Life was short, and time might be
better employed--to whit in talking to a neighbor, in smoking a pipe,
in drinking a pint of ale, in larruping his wife, in reading the
paper. Consequently the cobwebs remained.

Had Mr. Desiderius Mules been possessed of antiquarian tastes, he
might have occupied the time he was kept waiting in studying the
bosses of carved oak that adorned the wagon-roof of the church, which
were in some cases quaint, in the majority beautiful, and no two the
same. And he might have puzzled out the meaning of three rabbits with
only three ears between them forming a triangle, or three heads united
in one neck, a king, a queen, a bishop and a monk, or of a sow
suckling a dozen little pigs.

But Mr. Desiderius Mules had no artistic or archaeological faculty
developed in him. His one object on the present occasion was to keep
draught and damp from the crown of his head, where the hair was so
scanty as hardly to exist at all. He did not like to assume his hat in
the consecrated building, so he stamped about in the sand holding a
red bandanna handkerchief on the top of his head, and grumbling at the
time he was kept waiting, at the Cornish climate, at the way in which
he had been "choused" in the matter of dilapidations for the chancel
of the church, at the unintelligible dialect of the people, and at a
good many other causes of irritation, notably at a bat which had not
reverenced his bald pate, when he ventured beyond the range of the
sexton's sweeping.

Presently the clerk, who was outside, thrust in his head through the
gap in the wall, and in a stage whisper announced, "They's a-coming."

The Reverend Mules growled, "There ought to be a right to charge extra
when the parson is kept waiting--sixpence a minute, not a penny less.
But we are choused in this confounded corner of the world in every
way. Ha! there is a mildew-spot on my stole--all come of this
villainous damp."

In the tower stood five men, ready to pull the ropes and sound a merry
peal when the service was over, and earn a guinea. They had a firkin
of ale in a corner, with which to moisten their inner clay between
each round. Now that they heard that the wedding party had arrived
they spat on their hands and heaved their legs out of the sand.

Through the aperture in the wall entered the bridal party, a cloud of
fog blowing in with them and enveloping them. They stepped laboriously
through the fine sand, at this place less firm than elsewhere, having
been dug into daily by the late rector in his futile efforts to clear
the church.

Mr. Mules cast a suspicious look into the rafters above him to see
that no profane bat was there, and opened his book.

Mr. Menaida was to act as father to the bride, and there was no other
bride's-maid than Miss Trevisa. As they waded toward the alter,
Judith's strength failed, and she stood still. Then Uncle Zachie put
his arm round her and half carried her over the sand toward the place
where she must stand to give herself away. She turned her head and
thanked him with her eyes, she could not speak. So deathly was her
whiteness, so deficient in life did she seem, that Miss Trevisa looked
at her with some anxiety, and a little doubt whether she would be able
to go through the service.

When Judith reached her place, her eyes rested on the sand. She did
not look to her left side, she could hear no steps, for the sand
muffled all sound of feet, but she knew by the cold shudder that
thrilled through her, that Captain Coppinger was at her side.

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here--now then order, if you
please, and quiet, we are twenty-five minutes after time," said Mr.
Desiderius Mules.

The first few words, seven in all were addressed to the wedding party,
the rest to a number of men and women and children who were stumbling
and plunging into the church through the improvised door, thrusting
each other forward, with a "get along," and "out of the road," all
eager to secure a good sight of the ceremony, and none able to hurry
to a suitable place because of the sand that impeded every step.

"Now then--I can't stay here all day!"

Mr. Mules sniffed and applied the bandanna to his nose, as an
indication that he was chilled, and that this rheum would be on the
heads of the congregation, were he made ill by this delay.

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered," he began again, and he was now able
to proceed.

"Cruel," said he in loud and emphatic tones, "wilt thou have this
woman to thy wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance in
the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honor,
and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep
thee only unto her so long as ye both shall live?"

The response of Coppinger went through the heart of Judith like a
knife. Then the rector addressed her. For answer she looked up at him
and moved her lips. He took her hand and placed it in that of
Coppinger. It was cold as ice and quivering like an aspen leaf. As
Captain Coppinger held it, it seemed to drag and become heavy in his
hand, whilst he pronounced the words after the rector, making oath to
take Judith as his own. Then the same words were recited to her, for
her to repeat in order after the priest. She began, she moved her
lips, looked him pleadingly in the face, her head swam, the fog filled
the whole church and settled between her and the rector. She felt
nothing save the grip of Coppinger's hand, and sank unconscious to the
ground.

"Go forward," said Cruel. Mr. Menaida and Aunt Dionysia caught Judith
and held her up. She could neither speak nor stir. Her lips were
unclosed, she seemed to be gasping for breath like one drowning.

"Go on," persisted Cruel, and holding her left hand he thrust the ring
on her fourth finger, repeating the words of the formula.

"I cannot proceed," said the Reverend Desiderius.

"Then you will have to come again to-morrow."

"She is unconscious," objected the rector.

"It is momentary only," said Aunt Dionysia; "be quick and finish."

Mr. Mules hesitated a moment. He had no wish to return in like weather
on another day; no wish again to be kept waiting five and twenty
minutes. He rushed at the remainder of the office and concluded it at
a hand gallop.

"Now," said he, "the registers are at the rectory. Come there."

Coppinger looked at Judith.

"Not to-day. It is not possible. She is ill--faint. To-morrow. Neither
she nor I nor the witnesses will run away. We will come to you
to-morrow."

Uncle Zachie offered to assist Judith from the church.

"No," said Cruel, peremptorily, "she is mine now."

She was able with assistance to walk, she seemed to recover for a
moment in the air outside, but again lapsed into faintness on being
placed in the chaise.

"To Pentyre Glaze," ordered Coppinger; "our home."



CHAPTER XXXIV.

A BREAKFAST.


"She has been over-exerted, over-excited," said Miss Trevisa. "Leave
her to recover; in a few days she will be herself again. Remember, her
father died of heart complaint, and though Judith resembles her mother
rather than a Trevisa, she may have inherited from my brother just
that one thing she had better have let him carry to his grave with
him."

So Judith was given the little room that adjoined her aunt's, and Miss
Trevisa postponed for a week her migration to Othello Cottage.

Aunt Dionysia was uneasy about her niece; perhaps her conscience did
suffer from some qualms when she saw how Judith shrank from the union
she had driven her into for her own selfish convenience. She treated
her in the wisest manner, now she had brought her to the Glaze, for
she placed her in her old room next her own, and left her there to
herself. Judith could hear her aunt walking about and muttering in the
adjoining chamber, and was content to be left alone to recover her
composure and strength.

Uncle Zachie and Jump were, however, in sore distress; they had made
the trim cottage ready, had prepared a wedding breakfast, engaged a
helping hand or two, and no one had come to partake. Nor was Mr.
Desiderius Mules in a cheerful mood. He had been invited to the
breakfast, and was hungry and cold. He had to wait while Mr. Menaida
ran up to Pentyre to know whether any one was going to honor his
board. While he was away the rector stamped about the parlor, growling
that he believed he was about to be "choused out of his breakfast.
There was really no knowing what these people in this out-of-the-world
corner might do." Then he pulled off his boots and shook the sand out,
rang for Jump, and asked at what hour precisely the breakfast was to
be eaten, and whether it was put on table to be looked at only.

From Pentyre Glaze Mr. Menaida was not greatly successful in obtaining
guests. He found some wild-looking men there in converse with
Coppinger, men whom he knew by rumor to belong to a class that had no
ostensible profession and means of living.

Mr. Menaida had ordered in clotted cream, which would not keep sweet
many days. It ought to be eaten at once. He wanted to know whether
Coppinger, the bride, Miss Trevisa, anyone was coming to his house to
consume the clotted cream. As Jamie was drifting about purposeless,
and he alone seemed disposed to accompany Uncle Zachie, the old
gentleman carried him off.

"I s'pose I can't on the spur of the moment go in and ask over St.
Minver parson?" asked Menaida, dubiously, of the St. Enodoc parson.
"You see I daresay he's hurt not to have had the coupling of 'em
himself."

"Most certainly not," said Mr. Mules; "an appetite is likely to go
into faintness unless attended to at once. I know that the coats of my
stomach are honeycombed with gastric juice. Shall I say grace? Another
half-hour of delay will finish me."

Consequently but three persons sat down to a plentiful meal; but some
goose, cold, had hardly been served, when in came Mr. Scantlebray, the
agent, with a cheery salutation of "Hulloa, Menaida, old man! What,
eating and drinking? I'll handle a knife and fork with you, unasked.
Beg pardon, Mr. Mules. I'm a rough man, and an old acquaintance of our
good friend here. Hope I see you in the enjoyment of robust health,
sir. Oh, Menaida, old man! I didn't expect such a thing as this. Now I
begin to see daylight, and understand why I was turned out of the
valuership, and why my brother lost this promising young pupil. Ah,
ha! my man, you have been deprived of fun, such fun, roaring fun, by
not being with my brother Scanty. Well, sir," to Mr. Mules, "what was
the figure of the valuation? You had a queer man on your side. I pity
you. A man I wouldn't trust myself. I name no names. Now tell me, what
did you get?"

"A hundred and twenty-seven pounds four and ninepence farthing.
Monstrous--a chouse."

"As you say, monstrous. Why that chancel, show me the builder who
will contract to do that alone at a hundred and twenty-seven pounds?
And the repairs of the vestry--are they to be reckoned at four and
ninepence farthing? It is a swindle. I'd appeal. I'd refuse. You made
a mistake, sir, let me tell you, in falling into certain hands.
Yes--I'll have some goose, thank you."

Mr. Scantlebray ate heartily, so did the Reverend Desiderius, who had
the honeycomb cells of his stomach coats to fill.

Both, moreover, did justice to Mr. Menaida's wine, they did not spare
it; why should they? Those for whom the board was spread had not
troubled to come to it, and they must make amends for their neglect.

"Horrible weather," said the rector. "I suppose this detestable sort
of stuff of which the atmosphere is composed is the prevailing
abomination one has to inhale throughout three-quarters of the year.
One cannot see three yards before one."

"It's bad for some and good for others," answered Scantlebray.
"There'll be wrecks, certainly, after this, especially if we get, as
we are pretty sure to get, a wind ashore."

"Wrecks!" exclaimed the Rector, "and pray who pays the fees for
drowned men I may be expected to bury?"

"The parish," answered Uncle Zachie.

"Oh, half-a-crown a head," said Mr. Mules, contemptuously.

"There are other things to be had besides burial fees out of a wreck,"
said Scantlebray; "but you must be down early before the coast-guard
are there. Have you donkeys?"

"Donkeys! What for?"

"I have one, a gray beauty," exclaimed Jamie; "Captain Coppinger gave
her to me."

"Well, young man, then you pick up what you can, when you have the
chance, and lade her with your findings. You'll pick up something
better than corpses, and make something more than burial half-crowns."

"But why do you suppose there will be wrecks?" inquired the rector of
St. Enodoc. "There is no storm."

"No storm, certainly, but there is fog, and in the fog vessels coming
up the Channel to Bristol get lost as to their bearings, get near our
cliffs without knowing it, and then--if a wind from the west spring up
and blows rough--they are done for, they can't escape to the open.
That's it, old man. I beg your Reverence's pardon, I mean, sir. When I
said that such weather was bad for some and good for others you can
understand me now--bad for the wrecked, good for the wreckers."

"But surely you have no wreckers here?"

Mr. Scantlebray laughed. "Go and tell the bridegroom that you think
so. I'll let you into the knowledge of one thing"--he winked over his
glass--"there's a fine merchantman on her way to Bristol."

"How do you know?"

"Know! Because she was sighted off St. Ives, and the tidings has run
up the coast like fire among heather. I don't doubt it that it has
reached Hartland by this; and with a thick fog like to-day there are a
thousand hearts beating with expectation. Who can say? She may be
laden with gold-dust from Africa, or with tin from Barca, or with port
from Oporto."

"My boy Oliver is coming home," said Mr. Menaida.

"Then let's hope he is not in this vessel, for, old man, she stands a
bad chance in such weather as this. There is Porth-quin, and there is
Hayle Bay ready to receive her, or Doom Bar on which she may run, all
handy for our people. Are you anything of a sportsman, sir?"

"A little--but I don't fancy there is much in this precious
country--no cover."

"What is fox-hunting when you come to consider--or going after a snipe
or a partridge? A fox! it's naught, the brush stinks, and a snipe is
but a mouthful. My dear sir, if you come to live among us, you must
seek your sport not on the land but at sea. You'll find the sport
worth something when you get a haul of a barrel of first-rate sherry,
or a load of silver ingots. Why, that's how Penwarden bought his farm.
He got the money after a storm--found it on the shore out of the
pocket of a dead man. Do you know why the bells of St. Enodoc are so
sweet? Because, so folks say, melted into them are ingots of Peruvian
silver from a ship wrecked on Doom Bar."

"I should like to get some silver or gold," said Jamie.

"I daresay you would, and so perhaps you may if you look out for it.
Go to your good friend, Captain Coppinger, and tell him what you want.
He has made his pickings before now on shore and off wrecks, and has
not given up the practice."

"But," said Mr. Mules, "do you mean to tell me that you people in this
benighted corner of the world live like sharks, upon whatever is cast
overboard?"

"No, I do not," answered Scantlebray. "We have too much energy and
intelligence for that. We don't always wait till it is cast overboard,
we go aboard and take what we want."

"What, steal!"

"I don't call that stealing when Providence and a southwest wind
throws a ship into our laps, when we put in our fingers and pick out
the articles we want. What are Porth-quin and Hayle Bay but our laps,
in which lie the wrecks heaven sends us? And Doom Bar, what is that
but a counter on which the good things are spread, and those first
there get the first share?"

"And pray," said Mr. Desiderius Mules, "have the owners of the
vessels, the passengers, the captains, no objections to make?"

"They are not there. Don't wait for our people. If they do--so much
the worse for them." Then Scantlebray laughed. "There's a good story
told of the Zenobia, lost four years ago. There was a lady on board.
When she knew the vessel was on Doom Bar she put on all her jewelry,
to escape with it. But some of our people got to the wreck before she
got off it, and one lobe of her ears got torn off."

"Torn off?"

"Yes--in pulling the earrings off her."

"But who pulled the earrings off her?"

"Our people."

"Gracious heavens! Were they not brought to justice?"

"Who did it? no one knew. What became of the jewelry? no one knew. All
that was known was that Lady Knighton--that was her name--lost her
diamonds and the lobe of her right ear as well."

"And it was never recovered?"

"What! the lobe of her ear?"

"No, the jewelry."

"Never."

"Upon my word I have got among a parcel of scoundrels. It is high time
that I should come and reform them. I'll set to work at once. I'll
have St. Enodoc dug out and restored, and I'll soon put an end to this
sort of thing."

"You think so?"

"You don't know me. I'll have a bazaar. I'll have a ball in the
Assembly Rooms at Wadebridge. The church shall be excavated. I'm not
going in there again with the bats, to have my boots filled with sand,
I can tell you--everything shall be renovated and put to rights. I'll
see to it at once. I'll have a pigeon shooting for the sake of my
chancel--I daresay I shall raise twenty pounds by that alone--and a
raffle for the font, and an Aunt Sally for the pulpit. But the ball
will be the main thing, I'll send and get the county people to
patronize. I'll do it, and you barbarians in this benighted corner of
the world shall see there is a man of energy among you."

"You'd best try your hand on a wreck. You'll get more off that."

"And I'll have a bran pie for an altar-table."

"You won't get the parishioners to do anything for the restoration of
the church. They don't want to have it restored."

"The Decalogue is rotten. I ran my umbrella through the Ten
Commandments this morning. I'll have a gypsy camp and fortune-telling
to furnish me with new Commandments."

"I've heard tell," said Scantlebray, "that at Ponghill, near Stratton,
is a four-post bed of pure gold came off a wreck in Bude Bay."[C]

    [C] An exaggeration. The bed of seventeenth century Italian
    work, is gilt. It is now in a small farmhouse.

"When I was in the North," said the rector of St. Enodoc, "we had a
savage who bit off the heads of rats, snap, skinned them and ate them
raw, and charged sixpence entrance; but that was for the missionaries.
I should hardly advocate that for the restoration of a church;
besides, where is the savage to be got? We made twenty-seven pounds by
that man, but expenses were heavy and swallowed up twenty-five; we
sent two pounds to the missionaries."

Mr. Menaida stood up and went to the window.

"I believe the wind has shifted to the north, and we shall have a
lightening of the fog after sunset."

"Shall we not have a wreck! I hope there'll be one," said Jamie.

"What is the law about wreckage, Menaida, old man?" asked Scantlebray,
also coming to the window.

"The law is plain enough. No one has a right to goods come to land; he
who finds may claim salvage--naught else; and any persons taking goods
cast ashore, which are not legal wreck, may be punished."

"And," said Scantlebray, "what if certain persons give occasion to a
ship being wrecked, and then plundering the wreck?"

"There the law is also plain. The invading and robbing of a vessel,
either in distress or wrecked, and the putting forth of false lights
in order to bring a vessel into danger, are capital felonies."

Scantlebray went to the table, took up a napkin, twisted it and then
flung it round his neck, and hung his head on one side.

"What--this, Menaida, old man?"

Uncle Zachie nodded.

"Come here, Jim, my boy, a word with you outside." Scantlebray led
Jamie into the road. "There's been a shilling owing you for some time.
We had roaring fun about it once. Here it is. Now listen to me. Go to
Pentyre, you want to find gold-dust on the shore, don't you?"

"Yes."

"Or bars of silver?"

"Yes."

"Well, beg Captain Coppinger, if he is going to have a Jack o' Lantern
to-night, to let you be the Jack. Do you understand? and mind--not a
word about me. Then gold-dust and bars of silver and purses of
shillings. Mind you ask to be Jack o' Lantern. It is fun. Such fun.
Roaring fun."



CHAPTER XXXV.

JACK O' LANTERN.


Evening closed in; Judith had been left entirely to herself. She sat
in the window, looking out into the mist and watching the failing of
the light. Sometimes she opened the casement and allowed the vapor to
blow in like cold steam, then became chilled, shivered, and closed it
again. The wind was rising and piped about the house, piped at her
window. Judith, sitting there, tried with her hand to find the crevice
through which the blast drove, and then amused herself with playing
with her finger-tops on the openings and regulating the whistle so as
to form a tune. She heard frequently Coppinger's voice in
conversation, sometimes in the hall, sometimes in the court-yard, but
could not catch what was spoken. She listened, with childish
curiosity, to the voice that was now that of her lord and husband, and
endeavored to riddle out of it some answer to her questions as to what
sort of a master he would prove. She could not comprehend him. She had
heard stories told of him that made her deem him the worst of men,
remorseless and regardless of others, yet toward her he had proved
gentle and considerate. What, for instance, could be more delicate and
thoughtful than his behavior to her at this very time! Feeling that
she had married him with reluctance, he had kept away from her and
suffered her to recover her composure without affording her additional
struggle. A reaction after the strain on her nerves set in; the step
she had dreaded had been taken, and she was the wife of the man she
feared and did not love. The suspense of expectation was exchanged for
the calmer grief of retrospect.

The fog all day had been white as wool, and she had noticed how
parcels of vapor had been caught and entangled in the thorn bushes as
the fog swept by, very much as sheep left flocks of their fleece in
the bushes when they broke out of a field. Now that the day set, the
vapor lost its whiteness and became ash gray, but it was not as dense
as it had been, or rather it was compacted in places into thick masses
with clear tracts between. The sea was not visible, nor the cliffs,
but she could distinguish out-buildings, tufts of furze and hedges.
The wind blew much stronger, and she could hear the boom of the waves
against the rocks, like the throbbing of the unseen heart of the
world. It was louder than it had been. The sound did not come upon the
wind, for the fog that muffled all objects from sight, muffled also
all sounds to the ear, but the boom came from the vibration of the
land. The sea flung against the coast-line shook the rocks, and they
quivered for a long distance inland, making every wall and tree quiver
also, and the sound of the sea was heard not through the ears but
through the soles of the feet.

Miss Trevisa came in.

"Shall I light you a pair of candles, Judith?"

"I thank you, hardly yet."

"And will you not eat?"

"Yes, presently, when supper is served."

"You will come down-stairs?"

"Yes."

"I am glad to hear that."

"Aunt, I thought you were going to Othello Cottage the day I came
here."

"Captain Coppinger will not suffer me to leave at once till you have
settled down to your duties as mistress of the house."

"Oh, auntie! I shall never be able to manage this large
establishment."

"Why not! You managed that at the rectory."

"Yes, but it was so different."

"How so?"

"My dear papa's requirements were so simple, and so few, and there
were no men about except old Balhachet, and he was a dear, good old
humbug. Here, I don't know how many men there are, and who belong to
the house, and who do not. They are in one day and out the next--and
then Captain Coppinger is not like my own darling papa."

"No, indeed, he is not. Shall I light the candles? I have something to
show you."

"As you will, aunt."

Miss Trevisa went into her room and fetched a light, and kindled the
two candles that stood on Judith's dressing-table.

"Oh, aunt! not three candles."

"Why not? We shall need light."

"But three candles together bring ill-luck; and we have had enough
already."

"Pshaw! Don't be a fool. I want light, for I have something to show
you."

She opened a small box and drew forth a brooch and earrings that
flashed in the rays of the candle.

"Look, child! they are yours. Captain Coppinger has given them to you.
They are diamonds. See--a butterfly for the breast, and two little
butterflies for the ears."

"Oh, auntie! not for me. I do not want them."

"This is ungracious. I daresay they cost many hundreds of pounds. They
are diamonds."

Judith took the brooch and earrings in her hand; they sparkled. The
diamonds were far from being brilliants, they were of good size and
purest water.

"I really do not want to have them. Persuade Captain Coppinger to
return them to the jeweller, it is far too costly a gift for me,
far--far--I should be happier without them." Then, suddenly--"I do not
know that they have been bought? Oh, Aunt Dunes, tell me truly. Have
they been bought? I think jewellers always send out their goods in
leather cases, and there is none such for these. And see--this
earring--the gold is bent, as if pulled out of shape. I am sure they
have not been bought. Take them back again, I pray you."

"You little fool!" said Miss Trevisa, angrily. "I will do nothing of
the kind. If you refuse them--then take them back yourself. Captain
Coppinger performs a generous and kind act that costs him much money,
and you throw his gift in his face, you insult him. Insult him
yourself with your suspicions and refusals--you have already behaved
to him outrageously. I will do nothing for you that you ask. Your
father put on me a task that is hateful, and I wish I were clear of
it."

Then she bounced out of the room, leaving her candle burning along
with the other two.

A moment later she came back hastily and closed Judith's shutters.

"Oh, leave them open," pleaded Judith. "I shall like to see how the
night goes--if the fog clears away."

"No--I will not," answered Miss Trevisa, roughly. "And mind you. These
shutters remain shut, or your candles go out. Your window commands
the sea, and the light of your window must not show."

"Why not?"

"Because should the fog lift, it would be seen by vessels."

"Why should they not see it?"

"You are a fool. Obey, and ask no questions."

Miss Trevisa put up the bar and then retired with her candle, leaving
Judith to her own thoughts, with the diamonds on the table before her.

And her thoughts were reproachful of herself. She was ungracious and
perhaps unjust. Her husband had sent her a present of rare value, and
she was disposed to reject it, and charge him with not having come by
the diamonds honestly. They were not new from a jeweller, but what of
that? Could he afford to buy her a set at the price of some hundreds
of pounds? And because he had not obtained them from a jeweller, did
it follow that he had taken them unlawfully? He might have picked them
up on the shore, or have bought them from a man who had. He might have
obtained them at a sale in the neighborhood. They might be family
jewels, that had belonged to his mother, and he was showing her the
highest honor a man could show a woman in asking her to wear the
ornaments that had belonged to his mother.

He had exhibited to her a store-room full of beautiful things, but
these might be legitimately his, brought from foreign countries by his
ship the Black Prince. It was possible that they were not contraband
articles.

Judith opened her door and went down-stairs. In the hall she found
Coppinger with two or three men, but the moment he saw her he started
up, came to meet her, and drew her aside into a parlor, then went back
into the hall and fetched candles. A fire was burning in this room,
ready for her, should she condescend to use it.

"I hope I have not interrupted you," she said, timidly.

"An agreeable interruption. At any time you have only to show yourself
and I will at once come to you, and never ask to be dismissed."

She knew that this was no empty compliment, that he meant it from the
depth of his heart, and was sorry that she could not respond to an
affection so deep and so sincere.

"You have been very good to me--more good than I deserve," she said,
standing by the fire with lowered eyes, "I must thank you now for a
splendid and beautiful present, and I really do not know how to find
words in which fittingly to acknowledge it."

"You cannot thank and gratify me better than by wearing what I have
given you."

"But when? Surely not on an ordinary evening?"

"No--certainly. The Rector has been up this afternoon and desired to
see you, he is hot on a scheme for a public ball to be given at
Wadebridge for the restoration of his church, and he has asked that
you will be a patroness."

"I--oh--I!--after my father's death?"

"That was in the late spring, and now it is the early winter, besides,
now you are a married lady--and was not the digging out and restoring
of the church your father's strong desire?"

"Yes--but he would never have had a ball for such a purpose."

"The money must be raised somehow. So I promised for you. You could
not well refuse--he was impatient to be off to Wadebridge and secure
the assembly rooms."

"But--Captain Coppinger--"

"Captain Coppinger?"

Judith colored. "I beg your pardon--I forgot. And now--I do not
recollect what I was going to say. It matters nothing. If you wish me
to go I will go. If you wish me to wear diamond butterflies I will
wear them."

"I thank you." He held out his hands to her.

She drew back slightly and folded her palms as though praying. "I will
do much to please you, but do not press me too greatly. I am strange
in this house, strange in my new situation; give me time to breathe
and look round and recover my confidence. Besides, we are only
half-married so far."

"How so?"

"I have not signed the register."

"No, but that shall be done to-morrow."

"Yes, to-morrow--but that gives me breathing time. You will be patient
and forbearing with me." She put forward her hands folded and he put
his outside them and pressed them. The flicker of the fire lent a
little color to her cheeks and surrounded her head with an aureole of
spun gold.

"Judith, I will do anything you ask. I love you with all my soul, past
speaking. I am your slave. But do not hold me too long in chains, do
not tread me too ruthlessly under foot."

"Give me time," she pleaded.

"I will give you a little time," he answered.

Then she withdrew her hands from between his and sped up stairs,
leaving him looking into the fire with troubled face.

When she returned to her room the candles were still burning, and the
diamonds lay on the dressing-table where she had left them. She took
the brooch and earrings to return them to their box, and then noticed
for the first time that they were wrapped in paper, not in
cotton-wool. She tapped at her aunt's door, and entering asked if she
had any cotton-wool that she could spare her.

"No, I have not. What do you want it for?"

"For the jewelry. It cannot have come from a shop, as it was wrapped
in paper only."

"It will take no hurt. Wrap it in paper again."

"I had rather not, auntie. Besides, I have some cotton-wool in my
workbox."

"Then use it."

"But my workbox has not been brought here. It is at Mr. Menaida's."

"You can fetch it to-morrow."

"But I am lost without my needles and thread. Besides, I do not like
to leave my workbox about. I will go for it. The walk will do me
good."

"Nonsense, it is falling dark."

"I will get Uncle Zachie to walk back with me. I must have my workbox.
Besides, the fresh air will do me good, and the fog has lifted."

"As you will, then."

So Judith put on her cloak and drew a hood over her head and went back
to Polzeath. She knew the way perfectly, there was no danger, night
had not closed in. It would be a pleasure to her to see the old
bird-stuffer's face again, and she wanted to find Jamie. She had not
seen him nor heard his voice, and she supposed he must be at Polzeath.

On her arrival at the double cottage, the old fellow was delighted to
see her, and to see that she had recovered from the distress and
faintness of the morning sufficiently to be able to walk back to his
house from her new home. Her first question was after Jamie. Uncle
Zachie told her that Jamie had breakfasted at his table, but he had
gone away in the afternoon and he had seen no more of him. The fire
was lighted, and Uncle Zachie insisted on Judith sitting by it with
him and talking over the events of the day, and on telling him that
she was content with her position, reconciled to the change of her
state.

She sat longer with him than she had intended, listening to his
disconnected chatter, and then nothing would suffice him but she must
sit at the piano and play through his favorite pieces.

"Remember, Judith, it is the last time I shall have you here to give
me this pleasure."

She could not refuse him his request, especially as he was to walk
back to Pentyre with her. Thus time passed, and it was with alarm and
self-reproach that she started up on hearing the clock strike the
half-past, and learned that it was half-past nine, and not half-past
eight, as she supposed.

As she now insisted on departing, Mr. Menaida put on his hat.

"Shall we take a light?" he asked, and then said: "No, we had better
not. On such a night as this a moving light is dangerous."

"How can it be dangerous?" asked Judith.

"Not to us, my dear child, but to ships at sea. A stationary light
might serve as a warning, but a moving light misleads. The captain of
a vessel, if he has lost his bearings, as is like enough in the fog,
as soon as the mist rises, would see a light gliding along and think
it was that of a vessel at sea, and so make in the direction of the
light in the belief that there was open water, and so run directly on
his destruction."

"Oh, no, no, Uncle, we will not take a light."

Mr. Menaida and Judith went out together, she with her workbox under
her arm, he with his stick, and her hand resting on his arm. The night
was dark, very dark, but the way led for the most part over down, and
there was just sufficient light in the sky for the road to be
distinguishable. It would be in the lane, between the walls and where
overhung by thorns, that the darkness would be most profound. The wind
was blowing strongly and the sound of the breakers came on it now, for
the cloud had lifted off land and sea, though still hanging low. Very
dense overhead it could not be, or no light would have pierced the
vaporous canopy.

Uncle Zachie and Judith walked on talking together, and she felt
cheered by his presence, when all at once she stopped, pressed his
arm, and said:

"Oh, do look, uncle! What is that light?"

In the direction of the cliffs a light was distinctly visible, now
rising, now falling, observing an unevenly undulating motion.

"Oh, uncle? It is too dreadful. Some foolish person is on the downs
going home with a lantern, and it may lead to a dreadful error, and a
wreck."

"I hope to heaven it is only what you say."

"What do you mean?"

"That it is not done wilfully."

"Wilfully!"

"Yes, with the purpose to mislead. Look. The movement of the light is
exactly that of a ship on a rolling sea."

"Uncle, let us go there at once and stop it."

"I don't know, my dear; if it be done by some unprincipled ruffian he
would not be stopped by us."

"It must be stopped. And, oh, think! you told me that your Oliver is
coming home. Think of him."

"We will go."

Mr. Menaida was drawn along by Judith in her eagerness. They left the
road to Pentyre, and struck out over the downs, keeping their eyes on
the light. The distance was deceptive. It seemed to have been much
nearer than they found it actually to be.

"Look! it is coming back!" exclaimed Judith.

"Yes, it is done wilfully. That is to give the appearance of a vessel
tacking up Channel. Stay behind, Judith. I will go on."

"No. I will go with you. You would not find me again in the darkness
if we parted."

"The light is coming this way. Stand still. It will come directly on
us."

They drew up. Judith clung to Uncle Zachie's side, her heart beating
with excitement, indignation, and anger.

"The lantern is fastened to an ass's head," said Uncle Zachie; "do you
see how as the creature moves his head the light is swayed, and that
with the rise and fall in the land it looks as though the rise and
fall were on the sea. I have my stick. Stand behind me, Judith."

But a voice was heard that made her gasp and clasp the arm of Uncle
Zachie the tighter.

Neither spoke.

The light approached. They could distinguish the lantern, though they
could not see what bore it; only--next moment something caught the
light--the ear of a donkey thrust forward.

Again a voice, that of some one urging on the ass.

Judith let go Menaida's arm, sprang forward with a cry: "Jamie! Jamie!
what are you doing!"

In a moment she had wrenched the lantern from the head of the ass, and
the creature, startled, dashed away and disappeared in the darkness.
Judith put the light under her cloak.

"Oh, Jamie! Jamie! Why have you done this! Who ever set you to this
wicked task?"

"I am Jack o' Lantern," answered the boy. "Ju! now my Neddy is gone."

"Jamie, who sent you out to do this? Answer me."

"Captain Coppinger!"

Judith walked on in silence. Neither she nor Uncle Zachie spoke, only
Jamie whimpered and muttered.

Suddenly they were surrounded, and a harsh voice exclaimed:

"In the king's name. We have you now--showing false lights."

Judith hastily slung the lantern from beneath her cloak, and saw that
there were several men about her, and that the speaker was Mr.
Scantlebray.

The latter was surprised when he recognized her.

"What!" he said, "I did not expect this--pretty quickly into your
apprenticeship. What brings you here! And you, too, Menaida, old man?"

"Nothing simpler," answered Uncle Zachie. "I am accompanying Mrs.
Coppinger back to the Glaze."

"What, married in the morning and roving the downs at night?"

"I have been to Polzeath after my workbox--here it is," said Judith.

"Oh, you are out of your road to Pentyre--I suppose you know that,"
sneered Scantlebray.

"Naturally," replied Mr. Menaida. "It is dark enough for any one to
stray. Why! you don't suspect me, do you, of showing false lights and
endeavoring to wreck vessels! That would be too good a joke--and the
offence, as I told you--capital."

Scantlebray uttered an oath and turned to the men and said: "Captain
Cruel is too deep for us this time. I thought he had sent the boy out
with the ass--instead he has sent his wife--a wife of a few hours, and
never told her the mischief she was to do with the lantern--hark!"

From the sea the boom of a gun.

All stood still as if rooted to the spot.

Then again the boom of a gun.

"There is a wreck!" exclaimed Scantlebray. "I thought so--and you,
Mistress Orphing, you're guilty." He turned to the men. "We can make
nothing of this affair with the lantern. Let us catch the sea-wolves
falling on their prey."



CHAPTER XXXVI.

THE SEA-WOLVES.


On the Doom Bar.

That very merchantman was wrecked, over which so many Cornish mouths
had watered, ay, and Devonian mouths also, from the moment she had
been sighted at St. Ives.

She had been entangled in the fog, not knowing where she was, all her
bearings lost. The wind had risen, and when the day darkened into
night the mist had lifted in cruel kindness to show a false glimmer,
that was at once taken as the light of a ship beating up the Channel.
The head of the merchantman was put about, a half-reefed topsail
spread, and she ran on her destruction. With a crash she was on the
bar. The great bowlers that roll without a break from Labrador rushed
on behind, beat her, hammered her farther and farther into the sand,
surged up at each stroke, swept the decks with mingled foam and water
and spray.

The main-mast went down with a snap. Bent with the sail, at the jerk,
as the vessel ran aground, it broke and came down--top-mast, rigging,
and sail, in an enveloping, draggled mass. From that moment the
captain's voice was no more heard. Had he been struck by the falling
mast and stunned or beaten overboard? or did he lie on deck enveloped
and smothered in wet sail, or had he been caught and strangled by the
cordage? None knew, none inquired. A wild panic seized crew and
passengers alike. The chief mate had the presence of mind to order the
discharge of signals of distress--but the order was imperfectly
carried out. A flash, illuminating for a second the glittering froth
and heaving sea, then a boom--almost stunned by the roar of the sea,
and the screams of women and oaths of sailors, and then panic laid
hold of the gunner also and he deserted his post.

The word had gone round, none knew from whom, that the vessel had
been lured to her destruction by wreckers, and that in a few minutes
she would be boarded by these wolves of the sea. The captain, who
should have kept order, had disappeared, the mate was disregarded,
there was a general _sauve qui peut_. A few women were on board. At
the shock they had come on deck, some with children, and the latter
were wailing and shrieking with terror. The women implored that they
might be saved. Men passengers ran about asking what was to be done,
and were beaten aside and cursed by the frantic sailors. A Portuguese
nun was ill with sea-sickness, and sank on the deck like a log, crying
to St. Joseph between her paroxysms. One man alone seemed to maintain
his self-possession, a young man, and he did his utmost to soothe the
excited women and abate their terrors. He raised the prostrate nun and
insisted on her laying hold of a rope, lest in the swash of the water
she should be carried overboard. He entreated the mate to exert his
authority and bring the sailors to a sense of their duty, to save the
women instead of escaping in the boat, regardful of themselves only.

Suddenly a steady star, red in color, glared out of the darkness, and
between it and the wreck heaved and tossed a welter of waves and foam.

"There is land," shouted the mate.

"And that shines just where that light was that led us here," retorted
a sailor.

The vessel heeled to one side, and shipped water fore and aft, over
either rail, with a hiss and heave. She plunged, staggered, and sank
deeper into the sand.

A boat had been lowered and three men were in it, and called to the
women to be sharp and join them. But this was no easy matter, for the
boat at one moment leaped up on the comb of a black wave, and then
sank in its yawning trough, now was close to the side of the ship, and
then separated from it by a rift of water. The frightened women were
let down by ropes, but in their bewilderment missed their opportunity
when the boat was under them, and some fell into the water, and had to
be dragged out, others refused to leave the wreck and risk a leap into
the little boat. Nothing would induce the sick nun to venture
overboard. She could not understand English; the young passenger
addressed her in Portuguese, and finally, losing all patience and
finding that precious time was wasted in arguing with a poor creature
incapable of reasoning in her present condition, he ordered a sailor
to help him, caught her up in his arms, and proceeded to swing himself
over, that he might carry her into the boat.

But at that moment dark figures occupied the deck, and a man arrested
him with his hand, while in a loud and authoritative voice he called,
"No one leaves the vessel without my orders. Number Five, down into
the boat and secure that. Number Seven, go with him. Now, one by one,
and before each leaves, give over your purses and valuables that you
are trying to save. No harm shall be done you, only make no
resistance."

The ship was in the hands of the wreckers.

The men in the boat would have cast off at once, but the two men sent
into it, Numbers Five and Seven, prevented them. The presence of the
wreckers produced order where there had been confusion before. The man
who had laid his hand on the Portuguese nun, and had given orders, was
obeyed not only by his own men, but by the crew of the merchant
vessel, and by the passengers, from whom all thoughts of resistance,
if they ever rose, vanished at once. All alike, cowed and docile,
obeyed without a murmur, and began to produce from their pockets
whatever they had secured and hoped to carry ashore with them.

"Nudding! me nudding!" gasped the nun.

"Let her pass down," ordered the man who acted as captain. "Now the
next--you!" he turned on the young passenger who had assisted the nun.

"You scoundrel," shouted the young man, "you shall not have a penny of
mine."

"We shall see," answered the wrecker, and levelled a pistol at his
head. "What answer do you make to this?"

The young man struck up the pistol, and it was discharged into the
air. Then he sprang on the captain, struck him in the chest, and
grappled with him. In a moment a furious contest was engaged in
between the two on the wet, sloping deck, sloping, for the cargo had
shifted.

"Hah!" shouted the wrecker, "a Cornishman."

"Yes, a Cornishman," answered the youth.

The wrecker knew whence he came by his method of wrestling.

If there had been light, crew, invaders, and passengers would have
gathered in a circle and watched the contest; but in the dark, lashed
by foam, in the roar of the waves and the pipe of the wind, only one
or two that were near were aware of the conflict. Some of the crew
were below. They had got at the spirits and were drinking. One drunken
sailor rushed forth swearing and blaspheming and striking about him.
He was knocked down by a wrecker, and a wave that heaved over the deck
lifted him and swept him over the bulwarks.

The wrestle between the two men in the dark taxed the full nerves and
the skill of each. The young passenger was strong and nimble, but he
had found his match in the wrecker. The latter was skilful and of
great muscular power. First one went down on the knee, then the other,
but each was up again in a moment. A blinding whiff of foam and water
slashed between them, stinging their eyes, swashing into their mouths,
forcing them momentarily to relax their hold of each other, but next
moment they had leaped at each other again. Now they held each other,
breast to breast, and sought, with their arms bowed like the legs of
grasshoppers, to strangle or break each other's necks. Then, like a
clap of thunder, beat a huge billow against the stern, and rolled in a
liquid heap over the deck, enveloping the wrestlers, and lifted them
from their feet and cast them, writhing, pounding each other, on the
deck.

There were screams and gasps from the women as they escaped from the
water; the nun shrieked to St. Joseph--she had lost her hold and fell
overboard, but was caught and placed in the boat.

"Now another," was the shout.

"Hand me your money," demanded one of the wreckers. "Madam, have no
fear. We do not hurt women. I will help you into the boat."

"I have nothing--nothing but this! what shall I do if you take my
money?"

"I am sorry--you must either remain and drown when the ship breaks up
or give me the purse."

She gave up the purse and was safely lodged below.

"Who are you?" gasped the captain of the wreckers in a moment of
relaxation from the desperate struggle.

"An honest man--and you a villain," retorted the young passenger, and
the contest was recommenced.

"Let go," said the wrecker, "and you shall be allowed to depart--and
carry your money with you."

"I ask no man's leave to carry what is my own," answered the youth. He
put his hand to his waist and unbuckled a belt, to this belt was
attached a pouch well weighted with metal. "There is all I have in the
world--and with it I will beat your brains out." He whirled the belt
and money bag round his head and brought it down with a crash upon his
adversary, who staggered back. The young man struck at him again, but
in the dark missed him, and with the violence of the blow and weight
of the purse was carried forward, and on the slippery inclined planks
fell.

"Now I have you," shouted the other; he flung himself on the prostrate
man and planted his knee on his back. But, assisted by the inclination
of the deck, the young man slipped from beneath his antagonist, and
half-rising caught him and dashed him against the rail.

The wrecker was staggered for a moment, and had the passenger seized
the occasion he might have finished the conflict; but his purse had
slipped from his hand, and he groped for the belt till he found one
end at his feet, and now he twisted the belt round and about his right
arm and weighted his fist with the pouch.

The captain recovered from the blow, and flung himself on his
adversary, grasped his arms between the shoulder and elbow, and bore
him back against the bulwark, drove him against it, and cast himself
upon him.

"I've spared your life so far. Now I'll spare you no more," said he,
and the young man felt one of his arms released. He could not tell at
the time, he never could decide after how he knew it, but he was
certain that his enemy was groping at his side for his knife. Then the
hand of the wrecker closed on his throat, and the young man's head was
driven back over the rail, almost dislocating the neck.

It was then as though the young man saw into the mind of him who had
cast himself against him, and who was strangling him. He knew that he
could not find his knife, but he saw nothing, only a fire and blood
before his eyes that looked up into the black heavens, and he felt
naught save agony at the nape of his neck, where his spine was turned
back on the bulwarks.

"Number Seven! any of you! an axe!" roared the wrecker. "By heaven you
shall be as Wyvill! and float headless on the waves."

"Coppinger!" cried the young man, by a desperate effort liberating his
hand. He threw his arms round the wrecker. A dash and a boil of froth,
and both went overboard, fighting as they fell into the surf.

"In the King's name!" shouted a harsh voice.

"Surround--secure them all. Now we have them and they shall not
escape."

The wreck was boarded by, and in the hands of, the coast-guard.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

BRUISED NOT BROKEN.


"Come with me, uncle!" said Judith.

"My dear, I will follow you like a dog, everywhere."

"I want to go to the rectory."

"To the rectory! At this time of night!"

"At once."

When the down was left there was no longer necessity for hiding the
lantern, as they were within lanes, and the light would not be seen at
sea.

The distance to the parsonage was not great, and the little party were
soon there, but were somewhat puzzled how to find the door, owing to
the radical transformations of the approaches effected by the new
rector.

Mr. Desiderius Mules was not in bed. He was in his study, without his
collar and necktie, smoking, and composing a sermon. It is not only
_lucus_ which is derived from _non lucendo_. A study in many a house
is equally misnamed. In that of Mr. Mules's house it had some claim,
perhaps, to its title, for in it, once a week, Mr. Desiderius
cudgelled his brains how to impart form to an inchoate mass of notes;
but it hardly deserved its name as a place where the brain was
exercised in absorption of information. The present study was the old
pantry. The old study had been occupied by a man of reading and of
thought. Perhaps it was not unsuitable that the pantry should become
Mr. Mules's study, and where the maid had emptied her slop-water after
cleaning forks and plates should be the place for the making of the
theological slop-water that was to be poured forth on the Sunday.
But--what a word has been here used--theological--another _lucus a non
lucendo_, for there was nothing of theology proper in the stuff
compounded by Mr. Mules.

We shall best be able to judge by observing him engaged on his sermon
for Sunday.

In his mouth was a pipe, on the table a jar of bird's-eye; _item_, a
tumbler of weak brandy and water to moisten his lips with
occasionally. It was weak. Mr. Mules never took a drop more than was
good for him.

Before him were arranged in a circle his materials for composition. On
his extreme left was what he termed his treacle-pot. That was a volume
of unctuous piety. Then came his dish of flummery. That was a volume
of ornate discourses by a crack ladies' preacher. Next his spice-box.
That was a little store of anecdotes, illustrations, and pungent
sayings. Pearson on the Creed, Bishop Andrews, or any work of solid
divinity was not to be found either on his table or on his shelves. A
Commentary was outspread, and a Concordance.

The Reverend Desiderius Mules sipped his brandy and water, took a long
whiff of his pipe, and then wrote his text. Then he turned to his
Commentary and extracted from it junks of moralization upon his text
and on other texts which his Concordance told him had more or less to
do with his head text. Then he peppered his paper well over with
quotations, those in six lines preferred to those in three.

"Now," said the manufacturer of the sermon, "I must have a little
treacle. I suppose those bumpkins will like it, but not much, I hate
it myself. It is ridiculous. And I can dish up a trifle of flummery in
here and there conveniently, and--let me see. I'll work up to a story
near the tail somehow. But what heading shall I give my discourse?
'Pon my word I don't know what its subject is--we'll call it General
Piety. That will do admirably. Yes, General Piety. Come in! Who's
there?"

A servant entered and said that there were Mr. Menaida and the lady
that was married that morning, at the door, wanting to speak with him.
Should she show them into the study?

Mr. Mules looked at his brandy and water, then at his array of
material for composition, and then at his neckerchief on the floor,
and said: "No, into the drawing-room." The maid was to light the
candles. He would put on his collar and be with them shortly.

So the sermon had to be laid aside.

Presently Mr. Desiderius Mules entered his drawing-room, where Judith,
Uncle Zachie, and Jamie were awaiting him.

"A late visit, but always welcome," said the rector. "Sorry I kept
you waiting, but I was _en deshabille_. What can I do for you now,
eh?"

Judith was composed, she had formed her resolution.

She said, "You married me this morning when I was unconscious. I
answered but one of your questions. Will you get your prayer-book and
I will make my responses to all those questions you put to me when I
was in a dead faint."

"Oh, not necessary. Sign the register and it is all right. Silence
gives consent, you know."

"I wish it otherwise, particularly, and then you can judge for
yourself whether silence gives consent."

Mr. Desiderius Mules ran back into his study, pulled a whiff at his
pipe to prevent the fire from going out, moistened his untempered clay
with brandy and water, and came back again with a Book of Common
Prayer.

"Here we are," said he. "'Wilt thou have this man,' and so on--you
answered to that, I believe. Then comes 'I, Judith, take thee, Curll,
to my wedded husband'--you were indistinct over that, I believe."

"I remember nothing about it. Now I will say distinctly my meaning. I
will _not_ take Curll Coppinger to my wedded husband, and thereto I
will never give my troth--so help me, God."

"Goodness gracious!" exclaimed the rector. "You put me in a queer
position. I married you, and you can't undo what is done. You have the
ring on your finger."

"No, here it is. I return it."

"I refuse to take it. I have nothing whatever to do with the ring.
Captain Coppinger put it on your hand."

"When I was unconscious."

"But am I to be choused out of my fee--as out of other things!"

"You shall have your fee. Do not concern yourself about that. I refuse
to consider myself married. I refuse to sign the register, no man
shall force me to it, and if it comes to law, here are witnesses, you
yourself are a witness, that I was unconscious when you married me."

"I shall get into trouble! This is a very unpleasant state of
affairs."

"It is more unpleasant for me than for you," said Judith.

"It is a most awkward complication. Never heard of such a case
before. Don't you think that after a good night's rest and a good
supper--and let me advise a stiff glass of something warm, taken
medicinally, you understand--that you will come round to a better
mind."

"To another mind I shall not come round. I suppose I am half
married--never by my will shall that half be made into a whole."

"And what do you want me to do?" asked Mr. Mules, thoroughly put out
of his self-possession by this extraordinary scene.

"Nothing," answered Judith, "save to bear testimony that I utterly and
entirely refuse to complete the marriage which was half done--by
answering to those questions with a consent, which I failed to answer
in church because I fainted, and to wear the ring which was forced on
me when I was insensible, and to sign the register now I am in full
possession of my wits. We will detain you no longer."

Judith left along with Jamie and Mr. Menaida, and Mr. Mules returned
to his sermon. He pulled at his pipe till the almost expired fire was
rekindled into glow, and he mixed himself a little more brandy and
water. Then with his pipe in the corner of his mouth he looked at his
discourse. It did not quite please him, it was undigested.

"Dear me!" said Mr. Desiderius. "My mind is all of a whirl, and I can
do nothing to this now. It must go as it is--yet stay, I'll change the
title. General Piety is rather pointless. I'll call it Practical
Piety."

Judith returned to Pentyre Glaze. She was satisfied with what she had
done; anger and indignation were in her heart. The man to whom she had
given her hand had enlisted her poor brother in the wicked work of
luring unfortunate sailors to their destruction. She could hardly
conceive of anything more diabolical than this form of wrecking: her
Jamie was involved in the crime of drawing men to their death. A ship
had been wrecked, she knew that by the minute guns, and if lives were
lost from it, the guilt in a measure rested on the head of Jamie. But
for her intervention he would have been taken in the act of showing
light to mislead mariners, and would certainly have been brought
before magistrates and most probably have been imprisoned. The
thought that her brother, the son of such a father, should have
escaped this disgrace through an accident only, and that he had been
subjected to the risk by Coppinger, filled her veins with liquid fire.
Thenceforth there could be nothing between her and Captain Cruel, save
antipathy, resentment, and contempt on her part. His passion for her
must cool or chase itself away. She would never yield to him a hair's
breadth.

Judith threw herself on her bed, in her clothes. She could not sleep.
Wrath against Coppinger seethed in her young heart. Concerned she was
for the wrecked, but concern for them was over-lapped by fiery
indignation against the wrecker. There was also in her breast
self-reproach. She had not accepted as final her father's judgment on
the man. She had allowed Coppinger's admiration of herself to move her
from a position of uncompromising hostility, and to awake in her
suspicions that her dear, dear father might have been mistaken, and
that the man he condemned might not be guilty as he supposed.

As she lay tossing on her bed, turning from side to side, her face now
flaming, then white, she heard a noise in the house. She sat up on her
bed and listened. There was now no light in the room, and she would
not go into that of her aunt to borrow one. Miss Trevisa might be
asleep, and would be vexed to be disturbed. Moreover resentment
against her aunt for having forced her into the marriage was strong in
the girl's heart, and she had no wish to enter into any communications
with her.

So she sat on her bed, listening.

There was certainly disturbance below. What was the meaning of it?

Presently she heard her aunt's voice down-stairs. She was therefore
not asleep in her room.

Thereupon Judith descended the stairs to the hall. There she found
Captain Coppinger being carried to his bedroom by two men, while Miss
Trevisa held a light. He was streaming with water that made pools on
the floor.

"What is the matter? Is he hurt? Is he hurt seriously?" she asked, her
woman's sympathy at once aroused by the sight of suffering.

"He has had a bad fall," replied her aunt. "He went to a wreck that
has been cast on Doom Bar, to help to save the unfortunate, and save
what they value equally with their lives--their goods, and he was
washed overboard. Fell into the sea, and was dashed against that boat.
Yes--he is injured. No bones broken _this_ time. This time he had to
do with the sea and with men. But he is badly bruised. Go on," she
said to those who were conveying Coppinger. "He is in pain, do you not
see this as you stand here? Lay him on his bed, and remove his
clothes. He is drenched to the skin. I will brew him a posset."

"May I help you, aunt?"

"I can do it myself."

Judith remained with Miss Trevisa. She said nothing to her till the
posset was ready. Then she offered to carry it to her husband.

"As you will--here it is," said Aunt Dionysia.

Thereupon Judith took the draught, and went with it to Captain
Coppinger's room. He was in his bed. No one was with him, but a candle
burned on the table.

"You have come to me, Judith?" he said with glad surprise.

"Yes--I have brought you the posset. Drink it out to the last drop."

She handed it to him; and he took the hot caudle.

"I need not finish the bowl?" he asked.

"Yes--to the last drop."

He complied, and then suddenly withdrew the vessel from his lips.
"What is this--at the bottom?--a ring?" He extracted a plain gold ring
from the bowl.

"What is the meaning of this? It is a wedding-ring."

"Yes--mine."

"It is early to lose it."

"I threw it in."

"You--Judith--why?"

"I return it to you."

He raised himself on one elbow and looked at her fixedly with
threatening eyes.

"What is the meaning of this?"

"That ring was put on my finger when I was unconscious. Wait till I
accept it freely."

"But--Judith--the wedding is over."

"Only a half wedding."

"Well--well--it shall soon be a whole one. We will have the register
signed to-morrow."

Judith shook her head.

"You are acting strangely to-night," said he.

"Answer me," said Judith. "Did you not send out Jamie with a light to
mislead the sailors, and draw them on to Doom Bar?"

"Jamie, again!" exclaimed Coppinger, impatiently.

"Yes, I have to consider for Jamie. Answer me, did you not send
him----"

He burst in angrily, "If you will--yes--he took the light to the
shore. I knew there was a wreck. When a ship is in distress she must
have a light."

"You are not speaking the truth. Answer me, did you go on board the
wrecked vessel to save those who were cast away?"

"They would not have been saved without me. They had lost their
heads--every one."

"Captain Coppinger," said Judith, "I have lost all trust in you. I
return you the ring which I will never wear. I have been to see the
rector and told him that I refuse you, and I will never sign the
register."

"I will force the ring on to your finger," said Coppinger.

"You are a man, stronger than I--but I can defend myself, as you know
to your cost. Half married we are--and so must remain, and never,
never shall we be more than that."

Then she left the room, and Coppinger dashed his posset cup to the
ground, but held the ring and turned it in his fingers, and the light
flickered on it, a red gold ring like that red gold hair that was
about his throat.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

A CHANGE OF WIND.


After many years of separation, father and son were together once
more. Early in the morning after the wreck in Dover Bar, Oliver
Menaida appeared at his father's cottage, bruised and wet through, but
in health and with his purse in his hand.

When he had gone overboard with the wrecker, the tide was falling and
he had been left on the sands of the Bar, where he had spent a cold
and miserable night, with only the satisfaction to warm him that his
life and his money were his. He was not floating, like Wyvill, a
headless trunk, nor was he without his pouch that contained his gold
and valuable papers.

Mr. Menaida was roused from sleep very early to admit Oliver. The
young man had recognized where he was, as soon as sufficient light was
in the sky, and he had been carried across the estuary of the Camel by
one of the boats that was engaged in clearing the wreck, under the
direction of the captain of the coast-guard. But three men had been
arrested on the wrecked vessel, three of those who had boarded her for
plunder, all the rest had effected their escape, and it was
questionable whether these three could be brought to justice, as they
protested they had come from shore as salvers. They had heard the
signals of distress and had put off to do what they could for those
who were in jeopardy. No law forbad men coming to the assistance of
the wrecked. It could not be proved that they had laid their hands on
and kept for their own use any of the goods of the passengers or any
of the cargo of the vessel. It was true that from some of the women
their purses had been exacted, but the men taken professed their
innocence of having done this, and the man who had made the
demand--there was but one--had disappeared. Unhappily he had not been
secured.

It was a question also whether proceedings could be taken relative to
the exhibition of lights that had misguided the merchantman. The
coast-guard had come on Mr. Menaida and Judith on the downs with a
light, but he was conducting her to her new house, and there could be
entertained against them no suspicion of having acted with evil
intent.

"Do you know, father," said Oliver, after he was rested, had slept and
fed, "I am pretty sure that the scoundrel who attacked me was Captain
Coppinger. I cannot swear. It is many years now since I heard his
voice, and when I did hear it, it was but very occasionally. What made
me suspect at the time that I was struggling with Captain Cruel was
that he had my head back over the gunwale and called for an axe,
swearing that he would treat me like Wyvill. That story was new when I
left home, and folk said that Coppinger had killed the man."

Mr. Menaida fidgeted.

"That was the man who was at the head of the entire gang. He it was
who issued the orders which the rest obeyed; and he, moreover, was the
man who required the passengers to deliver up their purses and
valuables before he allowed them to enter the boat."

"Between ourselves," said Uncle Zachie, rubbing his chin and screwing
up his mouth, "between you and me and the poker, I have no doubt about
it, and I could bring his neck into the halter if I chose."

"Then why do you not, father? The ruffian would not have scrupled to
hack off my head had an axe been handy, or had I waited till he had
got hold of one."

Mr. Menaida shook his head.

"There are a deal of things that belong to all things," he said. "I
was on the down with my little pet and idol, Judith, and we had the
lantern, and it was that lantern that proved fatal to your vessel."

"What, father! We owe our wreck to you?"

"No, and yet it must be suffered to be so supposed, I must allow many
hard words to be rapped out against me, my want of consideration, my
scatterbrainedness. I admit that I am not a Solomon, but I should not
be such an ass, such a criminal, as on a night like the last to walk
over the downs above the cliffs with a lantern. Nevertheless I cannot
clear myself."

"Why not?"

"Because of Judith."

"I do not understand."

"I was escorting her home, to her husband's----"

"Is she married?"

"'Pon my word, I can't say; half and half----"

"I do not understand you."

"I will explain, later," said Mr. Menaida. "It's a perplexing
question, and though I was brought up at the law, upon my word I can't
say how the law would stand in the matter."

"But how about the false lights?"

"I am coming to that. When the Preventive men came on us, led by
Scantlebray--and why he was with them, and what concern it was of his,
I don't know--when the guard found us, it is true Judith had the
lantern, but it was under her cloak."

"We, however, saw the light for some time."

"Yes, but neither she nor I showed it. We had not brought a light with
us. We knew that it would be wrong to do so, but we came on someone
driving an ass with a lantern affixed to the head of the brute."

"Then say so."

"I cannot--that person was Judith's brother."

"But he is an idiot."

"He was sent out with the light."

"Well, then, that person who sent him will be punished and the silly
boy will come off scot free."

"I cannot--he who sent the boy was Judith's husband."

"Judith's husband! Who is that?"

"Captain Coppinger."

"Well, what of that? The man is a double-dyed villain. He ought to be
brought to justice. Consider the crimes of which he has been guilty.
Consider what he has done this past night. I cannot see, father, that
merely because you esteem a young person, who may be very estimable,
we should let a consummate scoundrel go free, solely because he is her
husband. He has brought a fine ship to wreck, he has produced much
wretchedness and alarm. Indeed, he has been the occasion of some lives
being lost, for one or two of the sailors, thinking we were going to
Davy Jones's locker, got drunk and were carried overboard. Then,
consider, he robbed some of the unhappy, frightened women as they were
escaping. Bless me!" Oliver sprang up and paced the room. "It makes
my blood seethe. The fellow deserves no consideration. Give him up to
justice; let him be hung or transported."

Mr. Menaida passed his hand through his hair, and lit his pipe.

"'Pon my word," said he, "there's a good deal to be said on your
side--and yet----"

"There is everything to be said on my side," urged Oliver, with
vehemence. "The man is engaged on his nefarious traffic. Winter is
setting in. He will wreck other vessels as well, and if you spare him
now, then the guilt of causing the destruction of other vessels and
the loss of more lives will rest in a measure on you."

"And yet," pleaded Menaida, senior, "I don't know--I don't like--you
see----"

"You are moved by a little sentiment for Miss Judith Trevisa, or--I
beg her pardon--Mrs. Cruel Coppinger. But it is a mistake, father. If
you had had this sentimental regard for her, and value for her, you
should not have suffered her to marry such a scoundrel, past
redemption."

"I could not help it. I told her that the man was bad--that is to
say--I believed he was a smuggler, and that he was generally credited
with being a wrecker as well. But there were other influences--other
forces at work--I could not help it."

"The sooner we can rid her of this villain the better," persisted
Oliver. "I cannot share your scruples, father."

Then the door opened and Judith entered.

Oliver stood up. He had reseated himself on the opposite side of the
fire to his father, after the ebullition of wrath that had made him
pace the room.

He saw before him a delicate, girlish figure--a child in size and in
innocence of face, but with a woman's force of character in the brow,
clear eyes, and set mouth. She was ivory white; her golden hair was
spread out about her face--blown by the wind, it was a veritable halo,
such as is worn by an angel of La Fiesole in Cimabue. Her long,
slender, white throat was bare; she had short sleeves, to the elbows,
and bare arms. Her stockings were white, under the dark-blue gown.
Oliver Menaida had spent a good many years in Portugal, and had seen
flat faces, sallow complexions, and dark hair--women without delicacy
of bone and grace of figure--and, on his return to England, the first
woman he saw was Judith--this little, pale, red-gold-headed creature,
with eyes iridescent and full of a soul that made them sparkle and
change color with every change of emotion in the heart and of thought
in the busy brain.

Oliver was a fine man, tall, with a bright and honest face, fair hair,
and blue eyes. He started back from his seat and looked at this
child-bride who entered his father's cottage. He knew at once who she
was, from the descriptions he had received of her from his father in
letters from home.

He did not understand how she had become the wife of Cruel Coppinger.
He had not heard the story from his father, still less could he
comprehend the enigmatical words of his father relative to her
half-and-half marriage. As now he looked on this little figure, that
breathed an atmosphere of perfect purity, of untouched innocence, and
yet not mixed with that weakness which so often characterizes
innocence--on the contrary blended with a strength and force beyond
her years--Oliver's heart rose with a bound and smote against his
ribs. He was overcome with a qualm of infinite pity for this poor,
little, fragile being, whose life was linked with that of one so
ruthless as Coppinger. Looking at that anxious face, at those lustrous
eyes, set in lids that were reddened with weeping, he knew that the
iron had entered into her soul, that she had suffered and was
suffering then; nay, more, that the life opening before her would be
one of almost unrelieved contrariety and sorrow.

At once he understood his father's hesitation when he urged him to
increase the load of shame and trouble that lay on her. He could not
withdraw his eyes from Judith. She was to him a vision so wonderful,
so strange, so thrilling, so full of appeal to his admiration and to
his chivalry.

"Here, Ju! here is my Oliver, of whom I have told you so much!" said
Menaida, running up to Judith. "Oliver, boy! she has read your
letters, and I believe they gave her almost as great pleasure as they
did me. She was always interested in you. I mean ever since she came
into my house, and we have talked together about you, and upon my
word it really seemed as if you were to her as a brother."

A faint smile came on Judith's face; she held out her hand and said:

"Yes, I have come to love your dear father, who has been to me so
kind, and to Jamie also; he has been full of thought--I mean kindness.
What has interested him has interested me. I call him uncle, so I will
call you cousin. May it be so?"

He touched her hand; he did not dare to grasp the frail, slender white
hand. But as he touched it, there boiled up in his heart a rage
against Coppinger, that he--this man steeped in iniquity--should have
obtained possession of a pearl set in ruddy gold--a pearl that he was,
so thought Oliver, incapable of appreciating.

"How came you here?" asked Judith. "Your father has been expecting you
some time, but not so soon."

"I am come off the wreck."

She started back and looked fixedly on him.

"What--you were wrecked?--in that ship last night?"

"Yes. After the fog lifted we were quite lost as to where we were, and
ran aground."

"What led you astray?"

"Our own bewilderment and ignorance as to where we were."

"And you got ashore?"

"Yes. I was put across by the Preventive men. I spent half the night
on Doom Bar."

"Were any lives lost?"

"Only those lost their lives who threw them away. Some tipsy sailors,
who got at the spirits, and drank themselves drunk."

"And--did any others--I mean did any wreckers come to your ship?"

"Salvors? Yes; salvors came to save what could be saved. That is
always so."

Judith drew a long breath of relief; but she could not forget Jamie
and the ass.

"You were not led astray by false lights?"

"Any lights we might have seen were sure to lead us astray, as we did
not in the least know where we were."

"Thank you," said Judith. Then she turned to Uncle Zachie.

"I have a favor to ask of you."

"Anything you ask I will do."

"It is to let Jamie live here, he is more likely to be well employed,
less likely to get in wrong courses, than at the Glaze. Alas! I cannot
be with him always and everywhere, and I cannot trust him there. Here
he has his occupation; he can help you with the birds. There he has
nothing, and the men he meets are not such as I desire that he should
associate with. Besides, you know, uncle, what occurred last night,
and why I am anxious to get him away."

"Yes," answered the old man; "I'll do my best. He shall be welcome
here."

"Moreover, Captain Coppinger dislikes him. He might in a fit of anger
maltreat him; I cannot say that he _would_, but he makes no
concealment of his dislike."

"Send Jamie here."

"And then I can come every day and see him, how he is getting on, and
can encourage him with his work, and give him his lessons as usual."

"It will always be a delight to me to have you here."

"And to me--to come." She might have said, "to be away from Pentyre,"
but she refrained from saying that. With a faint smile--a smile that
was but the twinkle of a tear--she held out her hand to say farewell.

Uncle Zachie clasped it, and then, suddenly, she bent and kissed his
hand.

"You must not do that," said he, hastily.

She looked piteously into his eyes, and said, in a whisper that he
alone could hear--"I am so lonely."

When she was gone the old man returned to the ingle nook and resumed
his pipe. He did not speak, but every now and then he put one finger
furtively to his cheek, wiped off something, and drew very vigorous
whiffs of tobacco.

Nor was Oliver inclined to speak; he gazed dreamily into the fire,
with contracted brows, and hands that were clenched.

A quarter of an hour thus passed. Then Oliver looked up at his father,
and said: "There is worse wrecking than that of ships. Can nothing be
done for this poor little craft, drifting in fog--aimless!--and going
on to the rocks?"

Uncle Zachie again wiped his cheek, and in his thoughtlessness wiped
it with the bowl of his pipe and burnt himself. He shook his head.

"Now tell me what you meant when you said she was but half married,"
said Oliver.

Then his father related to him the circumstances of Judith's forced
engagement, and of the incomplete marriage of the day before.

"By my soul!" exclaimed Oliver. "He must--he shall not treat her as he
did our vessel."

"Oh, Oliver! if I had had my way--I had designed her for you."

"For me!"

Oliver bent his head and looked hard into the fire, where strange
forms of light were dancing--dancing and disappearing.

Then Mr. Menaida said, between his whiffs: "Surely a change of wind,
Oliver. A little while ago, and she was not to be considered; justice
above all, and Judith sacrificed, if need be--now it is Judith above
all."

"Yes," musingly, "above all."



CHAPTER XXXIX.

A FIRST LIE.


As a faithful, as a loving wife almost, did Judith attend to Coppinger
for the day or two before he was himself again. He had been bruised,
that was all. The waves had driven him against the boat, and he had
been struck by an oar; but the very fact that he was driven against
the boat had proved his salvation, for he was drawn on board, and his
own men carried him swiftly to the bank, and, finding him unable to
walk, conveyed him home. On reaching home a worse blow than that of
the oar had struck him, and struck him on the heart, and it was dealt
him by his wife. She bade him put away from him for ever the
expectation, the hope, of her becoming his in more than name.

Pain and disappointment made him irritable. He broke out into angry
complaint, and Judith had much to endure. She did not answer him. She
had told him her purpose, and she would neither be bullied nor cajoled
to alter it.

Judith had much time to herself; she wandered through the rooms of
Pentyre during the day without encountering anyone, and then strolled
on the cliffs; wherever she went she carried her trouble with her,
gnawing at her heart. There was no deliverance for her, and she did
not turn her mind in that direction. She would remain what she
was--Coppinger's half-wife, a wife without a wedding-ring, united to
him by a most dubiously legal ceremony. She bore his name, she was
content to do that; she must bear with his love turned to fury by
disappointment. She would do that till it died away before her firm
and unchangeable opposition.

"What will be said," growled Coppinger, "when it is seen that you wear
no ring?"

"I will wear my mother's, and turn the stone within," answered Judith,
"then it will be like our marriage, a semblance, nothing more."

She did appear next day with a ring. When the hand was closed, it
looked like a plain gold wedding hoop. When she opened and turned her
hand, it was apparent that within was a small brilliant. A modest
ring, a very inexpensive one, that her father had given to her mother
as a guard. Modest and inexpensive because his purse could afford no
better; not because he would not have given her the best diamonds
available, had he possessed the means to purchase them.

This ring had been removed from the dead finger of her mother, and Mr.
Peter Trevisa had preserved it as a present for the daughter.

Almost every day Judith went to Polzeath to give lessons to Jamie, and
to see how the boy was going on. Jamie was happy with Mr. Menaida, he
liked a little desultory work, and Oliver was kind to him, took him
walks, and talked to him of scenes in Portugal.

Very often, indeed, did Judith, when she arrived, find Oliver at his
father's. He would sometimes sit through the lesson, often attend her
back to the gate of Pentyre. His conduct toward her was deferential,
tinged with pity. She could see in his eyes, read in his manner of
address, that he knew her story, and grieved for her, and would do
anything he could to release her from her place of torment, if he knew
how. But he never spoke to her of Coppinger, never of her marriage,
and the peculiar features that attended it. She often ventured on the
topic of the wreck, and he saw that she was probing him to discover
the truth concerning it, but he on no occasion allowed himself to say
anything that could give her reason to believe her husband was the
cause of the ship being lost, nor did he tell her of his own desperate
conflict with the wrecker captain on board the vessel.

He was a pleasant companion, cheerful and entertaining. Having been
abroad, though not having travelled widely, he could tell much about
Portugal, and something about Spain. Judith's eager mind was greedy
after information, and it diverted her thoughts from painful topics to
hear and talk about orange and lemon groves, the vineyards, the
flower-gardens, the manners and customs of the people of Portugal, to
see sketches of interesting places, and of the costumes of the
peasantry. What drew her to Oliver specially was, however, his
consideration for Jamie, to whom he was always kind, and whom he was
disposed to amuse.

The wreck of the merchantman on Doom Bar had caused a great commotion
among the inhabitants of Cornwall. All the gentry, clergy, and the
farmers and yeomen not immediately on the coast, felt that wrecking
was not only a monstrous act of inhumanity, but was a scandal to the
county, and ought to be peremptorily suppressed, and those guilty of
it brought to justice. It was currently reported that the merchantman
from Oporto was wilfully wrecked, and that an attempt had been made to
rob and plunder the passengers and the vessel. But the evidence in
support of this view was of little force. The only persons who had
been found with a light on the cliffs were Mr. Menaida, whom every one
respected for his integrity, and Judith, the daughter of the late
rector of St. Enodoc, the most strenuous and uncompromising denouncer
of wrecking. No one, however malicious, could believe either to be
guilty of more than imprudence.

The evidence as to the attempt of wreckers to invade the ship, and
plunder it and the passengers also broke down. One lady alone could
swear that her purse had been forcibly taken from her. The Portuguese
men could hardly understand English, and though she asserted that she
had been asked for money, she could not say that anything had been
taken from her. It was quite possible that she had misunderstood an
order given her to descend into the boat.

The night had been dark, the lady who had been robbed could not swear
to the identity of the man who had taken her purse, she could not even
say that it was one of those who had come to the vessel, and was not
one of the crew. The crew had behaved notoriously badly, some had been
drunk, and it was possible that one of these fellows, flushed with
spirits, had demanded and taken her money.

There were two or three St. Enodoc men arrested because found on the
ship at the time, but they persisted in the declaration that, hearing
signals of distress, they had kindled a light and set it in the tower
window of the church as a guide to the shipwrecked, and had gone to
the vessel aground on Doom Bar, with the intention of offering every
assistance in their power to the castaways. They asserted that they
had found the deck in confusion. The seamen drunk and lost to
discipline, the passengers helpless and frightened, and that it was
only owing to them that some sort of order was brought about, or
attempted. The arrival of the coast-guard interfered with their
efforts to be useful.

The magistrates were constrained to dismiss the case, although
possessed with the moral conviction that the matter was not as the
accused represented. The only person who could have given evidence
that might have consigned them to prison was Oliver, and he was not
called upon to give witness.

But, although the case had broken down completely, an uneasy and angry
feeling prevailed. People were not convinced that the wreck was
accidental, and they believed that but for the arrival of the guard,
the passengers would have been robbed and the ship looted. It was true
enough that a light had been exhibited from St. Enodoc tower, but that
served as a guide to those who rushed upon the wreck, and was every
whit as much to their advantage as to that of the shipwrecked men.
For, suppose that the crew and passengers had got off in their boats,
they would have made, naturally, for the light, and who could say but
that a gang of ruffians was not waiting on the shore to plunder them
as they landed.

The general feeling in the county was one of vexation that more prompt
action had not been taken, or that the action taken had not been more
successful. No man showed this feeling more fully than Mr.
Scantlebray, who hunted with the coast-guard for his own ends, and who
had felt sanguine that in this case Coppinger would be caught.

That Coppinger was at the bottom of the attempt, which had been partly
successful, few doubted, and yet there was not a shadow of proof
against him. But that, according to common opinion, only showed how
deep was his craft.

The state of Judith's mind was also one of unrest. She had a
conviction seated in her heart that all was not right, and yet she had
no sound cause for charging her husband with being a deliberate
wrecker. Jamie had gone out with his ass and the lantern, that was
true, but was Jamie's account of the affair to be relied on? When
questioned he became confused. He never could be trusted to recall,
twenty-four hours after an event, the particulars exactly as they
occurred. Any suggestive queries drew him aside, and without an intent
to deceive he would tell what was a lie, simply because he could not
distinguish between realities and fleeting impressions. She knew that
if she asked him whether Coppinger had fastened the lantern to the
head of his donkey, and had bidden him drive the creature slowly up
and down the inequalities of the surface of the cliffs, he would
assent, and say it was so; but, then, if she were to say to him, "Now,
Jamie, did not Captain Coppinger tell you on no account to show the
light till you reached the shore at St. Enodoc, and then to fix it
steadily," that his face would for a moment assume a vacant, then a
distressed expression, and he would finally say that he believed it
really was so. No reliance was to be placed on anything he said,
except at the moment, and not always then. He was liable to
misunderstand directions, and by a stupid perversity to act exactly
contrary to the instructions given him.

Judith heard nothing of the surmises that floated in the neighborhood,
but she knew enough to be uneasy. She had been somewhat reassured by
Oliver Menaida; she could see no reason why he should withhold the
truth from her. Was it, then, possible after all that Captain
Coppinger had gone to the rescue of the wrecked people, that he had
sent the light not to mislead, but to direct them aright?

It was Judith's fate--so it seemed--to be never certain whether to
think the worst of Coppinger, or to hold that he had been misjudged by
her. He had been badly hurt in his attempt to rescue the crew and
passengers--according to Aunt Dionysia's account. If she were to
believe this story, then he was deserving of respect.

Judith began to recover some of her cheerfulness, some of her
freshness of looks. This was due to the abatement of her fears.
Coppinger had angrily, sullenly, accepted the relation which she had
assured him must subsist between them, and which could never be
altered.

Aunt Dionysia was peevish and morose indeed. She had been disappointed
in her hope of getting into Othello Cottage before Christmas; but she
had apparently received a caution from Coppinger not to exhibit
ill-will toward his wife by word or token, and she restrained
herself, though with manifest effort. That sufficed Judith. She no
longer looked for, cared for love from her aunt. It satisfied her if
Miss Trevisa left her unmolested.

Moreover, Judith enjoyed the walk to Polzeath every day, and, somehow,
the lessons to Jamie gave her an interest that she had never found in
them before. Oliver was so helpful. When Jamie was stubborn, he
persuaded him with a joke or a promise to laugh and put aside his
ill-humor, and attack the task once more. The little gossiping talk
after the lesson with Oliver, or with Oliver and his father, was a
delight to her. She looked forward to it, from day to day, naturally,
reasonably, for at the Glaze she had no one with whom to converse, no
one with the same general interests as herself, the same knowledge of
books, and pleasure in the acquisition of information.

On mountain sides there are floral zones. The rhododendron and the
gentian luxuriate at a certain level, above is the zone of the blue
hippatica, the soldanella, and white crocus; below is the belt of
mealy primula and lilac clematis. So is it in the world of minds--they
have their levels, and can only live on those levels. Transplant them
to a higher or to a lower zone and they suffer, and die.

Judith found no one at Pentyre with whom she could associate with
pleasure. It was only when she was at Polzeath with Uncle Zachie and
Oliver that she could talk freely and feel in her element.

One day Oliver said to her, "Judith"--for, on the understanding that
they were cousins, they called each other by their Christian
names--"Judith! are you going to the ball at Wadebridge after
Christmas?"

"Ball, Oliver, what ball?"

"That which Mr. Mules is giving for the restoration of his church."

"I do not know. I--yes, I have heard of it; but I had clean forgotten
all about it. I had rather not."

"But you must, and promise me three dances, at least."

"I do not know what to say. Captain Coppinger"--she never spoke of her
husband by his Christian name, never thought of him as other than
Captain Coppinger. Did she think of Oliver as Mr. Menaida, junior?
"Captain Coppinger has not said anything to me about it of late. I do
not wish to go. My dear father's death----"

"But the dance is after Christmas. And, you know, it is for a sacred
purpose. Think, every whirl you take puts a new stone on the
foundations, and every setting to your partner in quadrille adds a
pane of glass to the battered windows."

"I do not know," again said Judith, and became grave. Her heart
fluttered. She would like to be at the ball--and dance three dances
with Oliver--but would Captain Coppinger suffer her? Would he expect
to dance with her all the evening? If that were so, she would not like
to go. "I really do not know," again she said, clasped her hands on
her knees, and sighed.

"Why that sigh, Judith?"

She looked up, dropped her eyes in confusion, and said faintly, "I do
not know," and that was her first lie.



CHAPTER XL.

THE DIAMOND BUTTERFLY.


Poor little fool! Shrewd in maintaining her conflict with Cruel
Coppinger--always on the defensive, ever on guard, she was sliding
unconsciously, without the smallest suspicion of danger, into a state
that must eventually make her position more desperate and intolerable.
In her inexperience she had never supposed that her own heart could be
a traitor within the city walls. She took pleasure in the society of
Oliver, and thought no wrong in so doing. She liked him, and would
have reproached herself had she not done so.

Her relations with Coppinger remained strained. He was a good deal
from home; indeed, he went on a cruise in his vessel, the Black
Prince, and was absent for a month. He hoped that in his absence she
might come to a better mind. They met, when he was at home, at meals;
at other times not at all. He went his way, she went hers. Whether the
agitation of men's minds relative to the loss of the merchantman, and
the rumors concerning the manner of its loss, had made Captain Cruel
think it were well for him to absent himself for a while, till they
had blown away, or whether he thought that his business required his
attention elsewhere, or that by being away from home his wife might be
the readier to welcome him, and come out of her vantage castle, and
lay down her arms, cannot be said for certain; probably all these
motives combined to induce him to leave Pentyre for five or six weeks.

While he was away Judith was lighter in heart. He returned shortly
before Christmas, and was glad to see her more like her old self, with
cheeks rounder, less livid, eyes less sunken, less like those of a
hunted beast, and with a step that had resumed its elasticity. But he
did not find her more disposed to receive him with affection as a
husband. He thought that probably some change in the monotony of life
at Pentyre might be of advantage, and he somewhat eagerly entered into
the scheme for the ball at Wadebridge. She had been kept to books and
to the society of her father too much, in days gone by, and had become
whimsical and prudish. She must learn some of the enjoyments of life,
and then she would cling to the man who opened to her a new sphere of
happiness.

"Judith," said he, "we will certainly go to this ball. It will be a
pleasant one. As it is for a charitable purpose, all the neighborhood
will be there. Squire Humphrey Prideaux of Prideaux Place, the
Matthews of Roscarrock, the Molesworths of Pencarrow, and every one
worth knowing in the country round for twelve miles. But you will be
the queen of the ball."

Judith at first thought of appearing at the dance in her simplest
evening dress; she was shy and did not desire to attract attention.
Her own position was anomalous, because that of Coppinger was
anomalous. He passed as a gentleman in a part of the country not very
exacting that the highest culture should prevail in the upper region
of society. He had means, and he owned a small estate. But no one knew
whence he came, or what was the real source whence he derived his
income. Suspicion attached to him as engaged in both smuggling and
wrecking, neither of which were regarded as professions consonant with
gentility. The result of this uncertainty relative to Coppinger was
that he was not received into the best society. The gentlemen knew him
and greeted him in the hunting-field, and would dine with him at his
house. The ladies, of course, had never been invited, because he was
an unmarried man. The gentlemen probably had dealings with him about
which they said nothing to their wives. It is certain that the Bodmin
wine-merchant grumbled that the great houses of the north of Cornwall
did not patronize him as they ought, and that no wine-merchant was
ever able to pick up a subsistence at Wadebridge. Yet the country
gentry were by no means given to temperance, and their cellars were
being continually refilled.

It was not their interest to be on bad terms with Coppinger, one must
conjecture, for they went somewhat out of their way to be civil to
him.

Coppinger knew this, and thought that now he was married an
opportunity had come in this charity ball for the introduction of
Judith to society, and that to the best society, and he trusted to her
merits and beauty, and to his own influence with the gentlemen, to
obtain for her admission to the houses of the neighborhood. As the
daughter of the Rev. Peter Trevisa, who had been universally
respected, not only as a gentleman and a scholar, but also as a
representative of an ancient Cornish family of untold antiquity, she
had a perfect right to be received into the highest society of
Cornwall, but her father had been a reserved and poor man. He did not
himself care for associating with fox-hunting and sporting squires,
nor would he accept invitations when he was unable to return them.
Consequently Judith had gone about very little when at St. Enodoc
rectory. Moreover, she had been but a child, and was known only by
name to those who lived in the neighborhood. She was personally
acquainted with none of the county people.

Captain Cruel had small doubt but that, the ice once broken, Judith
would make friends, and would be warmly received. The neighborhood was
scantily peppered over with county family-seats, and the families
found the winters tedious, and were glad of any accession to their
acquaintance, and of another house opened to them for entertainment.

If Judith were received well, and found distraction from her morbid
and fantastic thoughts, then she would be grateful to him--so thought
Coppinger--grateful for having brought her into a more cheerful and
bright condition of life than that in which she had been reared.
Following thereon, her aversion for him, or shyness toward him, would
give way.

And Judith--what were her thoughts? Her mind was a little fluttered,
she had to consider what to wear. At first she would go simply clad,
then her aunt insisted that, as a bride, she must appear in suitable
garb, that in which she had been married, not that with the two
sleeves for one side, which had been laid by. Then the question of the
jewellery arose. Judith did not wish to wear it, but yielded to her
aunt's advice. Miss Trevisa represented to her that, having the
diamonds, she ought to wear them, and that not to wear them would hurt
and offend Captain Coppinger, who had given them to her. This she was
reluctant to do. However, she consented to oblige and humor him in
such a small matter.

The night arrived, and Judith was dressed for the ball. Never before
had Coppinger seen her in evening costume, and his face beamed with
pride as he looked on her in her white silk dress, with ornaments of
white satiny bugles in sprigs edging throat and sleeves, and forming a
rich belt about the waist. She wore the diamond butterfly in her
bosom, and the two earrings to match. A little color was in her
delicately pure cheeks, brought there by excitement. She had never
been at a ball before, and with an innocent, childish simplicity she
wondered what Oliver Menaida would think of her in her ball-dress.

Judith and Coppinger arrived somewhat late, and most of those who had
taken tickets were already there. Sir William and Lady Molesworth were
there, and the half-brother of Sir William, John Molesworth, rector of
St. Breock, and his wife, the daughter of Sir John S. Aubyn. With the
baronet and his lady had come a friend, staying with them at
Pencarrow, and Lady Knighton, wife of an Indian judge. The Matthews
were there; the Tremaynes came all the way from Heligan, as owning
property in St. Enodoc, and so, in duty bound to support the charity;
the Prideauxs were there from Place; and many, if not all, of the
gentry of various degrees who resided within twelve to fifteen miles
of Wadebridge were also there.

The room was not one of any interest, it was long, had a good floor,
which is the main thing considered by dancers, a gallery at one end
for the instrumentalists, and a draught which circulated round the
walls, and cut the throats of the old ladies who acted as wall-fruit.
There was, however, a room to which they could adjourn to play cards.
And many of the dowagers and old maids had brought with them little
silver linked purses in which was as much money as they had made up
their minds to lose that evening.

The dowager Lady Molesworth in a red turban was talking to Lady
Knighton, a lady who had been pretty, but whose complexion had been
spoiled by Indian suns, and to her Sir William was offering a cup of
tea.

"You see," said Lady Knighton, "how tremulous my hand is. I have been
like this for some years--indeed ever since I was in this neighborhood
before."

"I did not know you had honored us with a visit on a previous
occasion," said Sir William.

"It was very different from the present, I can assure you," answered
the lady. "Now it is voluntarily--then it was much the contrary. Now I
have come among very dear and kind friends, then--I fell among
thieves."

"Indeed!"

"It was on my return from India," said Lady Knighton. "Look at my
hand!" She held forth her arm, and showed how it shook as with palsy.
"This hand was firm then. I even played several games of spellikins on
board ship on the voyage home, and, Sir William, I won invariably, so
steady was my hold of the crook, so evenly did I raise each of the
little sticks. But ever since then I have had this nervous tremor that
makes me dread holding anything."

"But how came it about?" asked the baronet.

"I will tell you, but--who is that just entered the room?" she pointed
with trembling finger.

Judith had come in along with Captain Coppinger, and stood near the
door, the light of the wax candles twinkling in her bugles, glancing
in flashes from her radiant hair. She was looking about her, and her
bosom heaved, she sought Oliver, and he was near at hand. A flush of
pleasure sprang into her cheeks as she caught his eye, and held out
her hand.

"I demand my dance!" said he.

"No, not the first, Oliver," she answered.

Coppinger's brows knit.

"Who is this?" he asked.

"Oh! do you not know? Mr. Menaida's son, Mr. Oliver."

The two men's eyes met, their irises contracted.

"I think we have met before," said Oliver.

"That is possible," answered Captain Cruel, contemptuously, looking in
another direction.

"When we met I knew you without your knowing me," pursued the young
man, in a voice that shook with anger. He had recognized the tone of
the voice that had spoken on the wreck.

"Of that I, neither, have any doubt as to its possibility. I do not
recollect every Jack I encounter."

A moment after an idea struck him, and he turned his head sharply,
fixed his eyes on young Menaida, and said, "Where did we meet?"

"'Encounter' was your word."

"Very well--encounter!"

"On Doom Bar."

Coppinger's color changed. A sinister flicker came into his sombre
eyes.

"Then," said he slowly, in low vibrating tones, "we shall meet again."

"Certainly, we shall meet again, and conclude our--I use your
term--'encounter.'"

Judith did not hear the conversation. She had been pounced upon by Mr.
Desiderius Mules.

"Now--positively I must walk through a quadrille with you," said the
rector. "This is all my affair; it all springs from me, I arranged
everything. I beat up patrons and patronesses. I stirred up the
neighborhood. It all turns as a wheel about me as the axle. Come
along, the band is beginning to play. You shall positively walk
through a quadrille with me." Mr. Mules was not the man to be put on
one side, not one to accept a refusal; he carried off the bride to the
head of the room and set her in one square.

"Look at the decorations," said Mr. Mules, "I designed them. I hope
you will like the supper. I drew up the _menu_. I chose the wines, and
I know they are good. The candles I got at wholesale price--because
for a charity. What beautiful diamonds you are wearing. They are not
paste, I suppose?"

"I believe not."

"Yet good old paste is just as iridescent as real diamonds. Where did
you get them? Are they family jewels? I have heard that the Trevisas
were great people at one time. Well, so were the Mules. We are really
De Moels. We came in with the Conqueror. That is why I have such a
remarkable Christian name. Desiderius is the French Désiré, and a
Norman Christian name. Look at the wreaths of laurel and holly. How do
you like them?"

"The decorations are charming."

"I am so pleased that you have come," pursued Mr. Mules. "It is your
first appearance in public as Mrs. Captain Coppinger. I have been
horribly uncomfortable about--you remember what. I have been afraid I
had put my foot into it, and might get into hot water. But now you
have come here, it is all right; it shows me that you are coming
round to a sensible view, and that to-morrow you will be at the
rectory and sign the register. If inconvenient, I will run up with it
under my arm to the Glaze. At what time am I likely to catch you both
in? The witnesses, Miss Trevisa and Mr. Menaida, one can always get
at. Perhaps you will speak to your aunt and see that she is on the
spot, and I'll take the old fellow on my way home."

"Mr. Mules, we will not talk of that now."

"Come! you must see, and be introduced to, Lady Molesworth."

In the meanwhile Lady Knighton was telling her story to a party round
her.

"I was returning with my two children from India; it is now some years
ago. It is so sad, in the case of Indians, either the parents must
part from their children, or the mother must take her children to
England and be parted from her husband. I brought my little ones back
to be with my husband's sister, who kindly undertook to see to them.
We encountered a terrible gale as we approached this coast; do you
recollect the loss of the Andromeda?"

"Perfectly," answered Sir William Molesworth; "were you in that?"

"Yes, to my cost. One of my darlings so suffered from the exposure
that she died. But, really, I do not think it was the wreck of the
vessel which was worst. It was not that, not that alone, which brought
this nervous tremor on me."

"I remember that case," said Sir William. "It was a very bad one, and
disgraceful to our county. We have recently had an ugly story of a
wreck on Doom Bar, with suspicion of evil practices; but nothing could
be proved, nothing brought home to anyone. In the case of the
Andromeda there was something of the same sort."

"Yes, indeed, there were evil practices. I was robbed."

"You! surely, Lady Knighton, it was not of you that the story was
told?"

"If you mean the story of the diamonds, it was," answered the Indian
lady. "We had to leave the wreck, and carry all our portable valuables
with us. I had a set of jewellery of Indian work, given me by Sir
James--well, he was only plain Mr. Knighton then. It was rather
quaint in design: there was a brooch representing a butterfly, and two
emeralds formed the----"

"Excuse me one moment, Lady Knighton," said Sir William. "Here comes
the new rector of St. Enodoc, with the bride, to introduce her to my
wife. I am ashamed to say we have not made her acquaintance before."

"Bride! what--his bride?"

"Oh, no; the bride of a certain Captain Coppinger, who lives near
here."

"She is pretty, very pretty; but how delicate!"

Suddenly Lady Knighton sprang to her feet, with an exclamation so
shrill and startling that the dancers ceased, and the conductor of the
band, thinking an accident had occurred, with his baton stopped the
music. All attention was drawn to Lady Knighton, who, erect, trembling
from head to foot, stood pointing with shaking finger to Judith.

"See! see! My jewels, that were torn from me! Look!" She lifted the
hair, worn low over her cheeks, and displayed one ear; the lobe was
torn away.

No one stirred in the ball-room; no one spoke. The fiddler stood with
bow suspended over the strings, the flutist with fingers on all stops.
Every eye was fixed on Judith. It was still in that room as though a
ghost had passed through in winding-sheet. In this hush, Lady Knighton
approached Judith, pointing still with trembling hand.

"I demand, whence comes that brooch? Where--from whom did you get
those earrings? They are mine; given me in India by my husband. They
are Indian work, and not to be mistaken. They were plucked from me one
awful night of wreck by a monster in human form, who came to our
vessel, as we sought to leave it, and robbed us of our treasures.
Answer me--who gave you those jewels?"

Judith was speechless. The lights in the room died to feeble stars.
The floor rolled like a sea under her feet; the ceiling was coming
down on her.

She heard whispers, murmurs--a humming as of a swarm of bees
approaching ready to settle on her and sting her. She looked round
her. Every one had withdrawn from her. Mr. Desiderius Mules had
released her arm, and stood back. She tried to speak, but could not.
Should she make the confession which would incriminate her husband?

Then she heard a man's deep voice, heard a step on the floor. In a
moment an arm was round her, sustaining her, as she tottered.

"I gave her the jewels. I, Curll Coppinger, of Pentyre. If you ask
where I got them--I will tell you. I bought them of Willy Mann, the
pedlar. I will give you any further information you require to-morrow.
Make room; my wife is frightened."

Then, holding her, looking haughtily, threateningly, from side to
side, Coppinger helped Judith along--the whole length of the
ball-room--between rows of astonished, open-eyed, mute dancers. Near
the door was a knot of gentlemen. They sprang apart, and Coppinger
conveyed Judith through the door, out of the light, down the stairs,
into the open air.



CHAPTER XLI.

A DEAD-LOCK.


The incident of the jewellery of Lady Knighton occasioned much talk.
On the evening of the ball it occupied the whole conversation, as the
sole topic on which tongues could run and brains work. I say tongues
run and brains work and not brains work and tongues run, for the
former is the natural order in chatter. It was a subject that was
thrashed by a hundred tongues of the dancers. Then it was turned over
and rethrashed. Then it was winnowed. The chaff of the tale was blown
into the kitchens and servants' halls, it drifted into tap-rooms,
where the coachmen and grooms congregated and drank; and there it was
rethrashed and rewinnowed.

On the day following the ball, the jewels were returned to Lady
Knighton, with a courteous letter from Captain Coppinger, to say that
he had obtained them through the well-known Willy Mann, a pedlar who
did commissions for the neighborhood, who travelled from Exeter along
the south coast of Devon and Cornwall, and returned along the north
coast of both counties.

Everyone had made use of this fellow to do commissions, and
trustworthy he had always proved. That was not a time when there was a
parcels' post, and few could afford the time and the money to run at
every requirement to the great cities, where were important shops when
they required what could not be obtained in small country towns. He
had been employed to match silks, to choose carpets, to bring
medicines, to select jewellery, to convey love-letters.

But Willy Mann had, unfortunately, died a month ago, having fallen off
a wagon and broken his neck.

Consequently it was not possible to follow up any further the traces
of the diamond butterflies. Willy Mann, as was well known, had been a
vehicle for conveying sundry valuables from ladies who had lost money
at cards, and wanted to recoup by parting with bracelets and
brooches. That he may have received stolen goods and valuables
obtained from wrecks was also probable.

So, after all the thrashing and winnowing, folks were no wiser than
before, and no nearer the solution of the mystery. Some thought that
Coppinger was guilty, others thought not, and others maintained a
neutral position. Some again thought one thing one day and the
opposite the next, and some always agreed with the last speaker's
views. Whereas others again always took a contrary opinion to those
who discussed the matter with them.

Moreover, the matter went through a course much like a fever. It
blazed out, was furious, then died away; languor ensued--and it gave
symptoms of disappearing.

The general mistrust against Coppinger was deepened, certainly, and
the men who had wine and spirits and tobacco through him, resolved to
have wine and spirits and tobacco from him, but nothing more. They
would deal with him as a trader, and not acknowledge him as their
social fellow. The ladies pitied Judith, they professed their respect
for her; but as beds are made so must they be lain on, and as is
cooked so must be eaten. She had married a man whom all mistrusted,
and must suffer accordingly; one who is associated with an infected
patient is certain to be shunned as much as the patient. Such is the
way of the world, and we cannot alter it, as the making of that way
has not been intrusted to us. On the day following the ball, Judith
did not appear at Polzeath, nor again on the day after that.

Oliver became restless. The cheerful humor, the merry mood that his
father had professed were his, had deserted him. He could not endure
the thought that one so innocent, so child-like as Judith, should have
her fortunes linked to those of a man of whom he knew the worst. He
could not, indeed, swear to his identity with the man on the wreck who
had attempted to rob the passengers, and who had fought with him. He
had no doubt whatever in his own mind that his adversary and assailant
had been Coppinger, but he was led to this identification by nothing
more tangible than the allusion made to Wyvill's death, and a certain
tone of voice which he believed he recognized. The evidence was
insufficient to convict him, of that Oliver was well aware. He was
confident, moreover, that Coppinger was the man who had taken the
jewels from Lady Knighton; but here again he was wholly unsupported by
any sound basis of fact on which his conviction could maintain itself.

Toward Coppinger he felt an implacable anger, and a keen desire for
revenge. He would like to punish him for that assault on the wreck,
but chiefly for the wrongs done to Judith. She had no champion, no
protector. His father, as he acknowledged to himself, was a broken
reed for one to lean on, a man of good intentions, but of a confused
mind, of weakness of purpose, and lack of energy. The situation of
Judith was a pitiful one, and if she was to be rescued from it, he
must rescue her. But when he came to consider the way and means, he
found himself beset with difficulties. She was married after a
fashion. It was very questionable whether the marriage was legal, but,
nevertheless, it was known through the county that a marriage had
taken place, Judith had gone to Coppinger's house, and had appeared at
the ball as his wife. If he established before the world that the
marriage was invalid, what would she do? How would the world regard
her? Was it possible for him to bring Coppinger to justice?

Oliver went about instituting inquiries. He endeavored to trace to
their source, the rumors that circulated relative to Coppinger, but
always without finding anything on which he could lay hold. It was
made plain to him that Captain Cruel was but the head of a great
association of men, all involved in illegal practices; men engaged in
smuggling, and ready to make their profit of a wreck, when a wreck
fell in their way. They hung together like bees. Touch one, and the
whole hive swarmed out. They screened one another, were ready to give
testimony before magistrates that would exculpate whoever of the gang
was accused. They evaded every attempt of the coast-guard to catch
them; they laughed at the constables and magistrates. Information was
passed from one to another with incredible rapidity; they had their
spies and their agents along the coast. The magistrates and country
gentry, though strongly reprobating wrecking, and bitterly opposed to
poaching, were of broad and generous views regarding smuggling, and
the preventive officer complained that he did not receive that
support from the squirearchy which he expected and had a right to
demand.

There were caves along the whole coast, from Land's End to Hartland,
and there were, unquestionably, stores of smuggled goods in a vast
number of places, centres whence they were distributed. When a vessel
engaged in the contraband trade appeared off the coast, and the guard
were on the alert in one place, she ran a few miles up or down,
signalled to shore, and landed her cargo before the coast-guard knew
where she was. They were being constantly deceived by false
information, and led away in one direction while the contraband goods
were being conveyed ashore in an opposite quarter.

Oliver learned much concerning this during the ensuing few days. He
made acquaintance with the officer in command of the nearest station,
and resolved to keep a close watch on Coppinger, and to do his utmost
to effect his arrest. When Captain Cruel was got out of the way, then
something could be done for Judith. An opportunity came in Oliver's
way of learning tidings of importance, and that when he least expected
it. As already said, he was wont to go about on the cliffs with Jamie,
and after Judith ceased to appear at Mr. Menaida's cottage, in his
unrest he took Jamie much with him, out of consideration for Judith,
who, as he was well aware, would be content to have her brother with
him, and kept thereby out of mischief.

On one of these occasions he found the boy lag behind, become uneasy,
and at last refuse to go farther. He inquired the reason, and Jamie,
in evident alarm, replied that he dare not--he had been forbidden.

"By whom?"

"He said he would throw me over, as he did my doggie, if I came here
again."

"Who did?"

"Captain Coppinger."

"But why?"

Jamie was frightened, and looked round.

"I mustn't say," he answered, in a whisper.

"Must not say what, Jamie?"

"I was to let no one know about it."

"About what?"

"I am afraid to say. He would throw me over. I found it out and
showed it to Ju. I have never been down there since."

"Captain Coppinger found you somewhere, and forbade your ever going to
that place again?"

"Yes," in a faltering voice.

"And threatened to fling you over the cliffs if you did!"

"Yes," again timidly.

Oliver said quietly, "Now run home and leave me here."

"I daren't go by myself. I did not mean to come here."

"Very well. No one has seen you. Let me see, this wall marks the spot.
I will go back with you."

Oliver was unusually silent as he walked to Polzeath with Jamie. He
was unwilling further to press the boy. He would probably confuse him,
by throwing him into a paroxysm of alarm. He had gained sufficient
information for his purpose from the few words he let drop. "I have
never been down there since," Jamie had said. There was, then,
something that Coppinger desired should not be generally known
concealed between the point on the cliff where the "new-take" wall
ended and the beach immediately beneath.

He took Jamie to his father, and got the old man to give him some
setting up of birds to amuse and occupy him, and then returned to the
cliff. It did not take him long to discover the entrance to the cave
beneath, behind the curtain of slate reef, and as he penetrated this
to the farthest point, he was placed in possession of one of the
secrets of Coppinger and his band.

He did not tarry there, but returned home another way, musing over
what he had learned, and considering what advantage he was to take of
it. A very little thought satisfied him that his wisest course was to
say nothing about what he had learned, and to await the turns of
fortune, and the incautiousness of the smugglers.

From this time, moreover, he discontinued his visits to the
coast-guard station, which was on the farther side of the estuary of
the Camel, and which could not well be crossed without attracting
attention. There was no trusting anyone, Oliver felt--the boatman who
put him across was very possibly in league with the smugglers, and was
a spy on those who were in communication with the officers of the
revenue.

Another reason for his cessation of visits was that, on his return to
his father's house, after having explored the cave, and the track in
the face of the cliff leading to it, he heard that Jamie had been
taken away by Coppinger. The Captain had been there during his
absence, and had told Mr. Menaida that Judith was distressed at being
separated from her brother, and that, as there were reasons which made
him desire that she should forego her walks to Polzeath, he, Captain
Coppinger, deemed it advisable to bring Jamie back to Pentyre.

Oliver asked himself, when he heard this, with some unease, whether
this was due to his having been observed with the boy on the downs
near the place from which access to the cave was had. Also, whether
the boy would be frightened at the appearance of Captain Cruel so soon
after he had approached the forbidden spot, and, in his fear, reveal
that he had been there with Oliver and had partially betrayed the
secret.

There was another question he was also constrained to ask himself, and
it was one that made the color flash into his cheek. What was the
particular reason why Captain Coppinger objected to the visits of his
wife to Polzeath at that time? Was he jealous? He recalled the flare
in his eyes at the ball, when Judith turned to him, held out her hand,
and called him by his Christian name.

From this time all communication with Pentyre Glaze was cut off;
tidings relative to Judith and Jamie were not to be had. Judith was
not seen, Aunt Dionysia rarely, and from her nothing was to be
learned. It would hardly comport with discretion for inquiries to be
made by Oliver of the servants of the Glaze; but his father, moved by
Oliver and by his own anxiety, did venture to go to the house and ask
after Judith. He was coldly received by Miss Trevisa, who took the
opportunity to insult him by asking if he had come to have his bill
settled--there being a small account in his favor for Jamie. She paid
him, and sent the old fellow fuming, stamping, even swearing, home,
and as ignorant of the condition of Judith as when he went. He had not
seen Judith, nor had he met Captain Coppinger. He had caught a glimpse
of Jamie in the yard with his donkey, but the moment the boy saw him
he dived into the stable, and did not emerge from it till Uncle Zachie
was gone.

Then Mr. Menaida, still urged by his son and by his own feelings,
incapable of action unless goaded by these double spurs, went to the
rectory to ask Mr. Mules if he had seen Judith, and whether anything
had been done about the signatures in the register.

Mr. Desiderius was communicative.

He had been to Pentyre about the matter. He was, as he said, "in a
stew over it" himself. It was most awkward; he had filled in as much
as he could of the register, and all that lacked were the
signatures--he might say all but that of the bride and Mr. Menaida,
for there had been a scene. Mrs. Coppinger had come down, and, in the
presence of the Captain and her aunt, he had expostulated with her,
had pointed out to her the awkward position in which it placed
himself, the scruple he felt at retaining the fee, when the work was
only half done; how, that by appearing at the ball, she had shown to
the whole neighborhood that she was the wife of Captain Coppinger, and
that, having done this, she might as well append her name to the entry
in the register. Then Captain Coppinger and Miss Trevisa had made the
requisite entries, but Judith had again calmly, but resolutely,
refused.

Mr. Mules admitted there had been a scene. Mr. Coppinger became angry,
and used somewhat violent words. But nothing that he himself could
say, no representations made by her aunt, no urgency on the part of
her husband could move the resolution of Judith, "which was a bit of
arrant tomfoolery," said Mr. Desiderius, "and I told her so. Even
that--the knowledge that she went down a peg in my estimation--even
that did not move her."

"And how was she?" asked Mr. Menaida.

"Obstinate," answered the rector, "obstinate as a--I mean as a donkey,
that is the position of affairs. We are at a dead-lock."



CHAPTER XLII.

TWO LETTERS.


Oliver Menaida was summoned to Bristol by the heads of the firm which
he served, and he was there detained for ten days.

Whilst he was away, Uncle Zachie felt his solitude greatly. Had he had
even Jamie with him he might have been content, but to be left
completely alone was a trial to him, especially since he had become
accustomed to having the young Trevisa in his house. He missed his
music. Judith's playing had been to him an inexpressibly great
delight. The old man for many years had gone on strumming and fumbling
at music by great masters, incapable of executing it, and unwilling to
hear it performed by incompetent instrumentalists. At length Judith
had seated herself at his piano, and had brought into life all that
wondrous world of melody and harmony which he had guessed at, believed
in, yearned for, but never reached. And now that he was left without
her to play to him, he felt like one deprived of a necessary of life.

But his unrest did not spring solely from a selfish motive. He was not
at ease in his mind about her. Why did he not see her anymore? Why was
she confined to Pentyre! Was she ill? Was she restrained there against
her will from visiting her old friends? Mr. Menaida was very unhappy
because of Judith. He knew that she was resolved never to acknowledge
Coppinger as her real husband; she did not love him, she shrank from
him. And knowing what he did--the story of the invasion of the wreck,
the fight with Oliver--he felt that there was no brutality, no crime
which Coppinger was not capable of committing, and he trembled for the
happiness of the poor little creature who was in his hands. Weak and
irresolute though Mr. Menaida was, he was peppery and impulsive when
irritated, and his temper had been roused by the manner of his
reception at the Glaze, when he went there to inquire after Judith.

Whilst engaged on his birds, his hand shook, so that he could not
shape them aright. When he smoked his pipe, he pulled it from between
his lips every moment to growl out some remark. When he sipped his
grog, he could not enjoy it. He had a tender heart, and he had become
warmly attached to Judith. He firmly believed in identification of the
ruffian with whom Oliver had fought on the deck, and it was horrible
to think that the poor child was at his mercy; and that she had no one
to counsel and to help her.

At length he could endure the suspense no longer. One evening, after
he had drank a good many glasses of rum and water, he jumped up, put
on his hat, and went off to Pentyre, determined to insist on seeing
Judith.

As he approached the house he saw that the hall windows were lighted
up. He knew which was Judith's room, from what she had told him of its
position. There was a light in that window also. Uncle Zachie, flushed
with anger against Coppinger, and with the spirits he had drank,
anxious about Judith, and resenting the way in which he had been
treated, went boldly up to the front door and knocked. A maid answered
his knock, and he asked to see Mrs. Coppinger. The woman hesitated,
and bade him be seated in the porch. She would go and see.

Presently Miss Trevisa came, and shut the door behind her, as she
emerged into the porch.

"I should like to see Mrs. Coppinger," said the old man.

"I am sorry--you cannot," answered Miss Trevisa.

"But why not?"

"This is not a fit hour at which to call."

"May I see her if I come at any other hour?"

"I cannot say."

"Why may I not see her?"

"She is unwell."

"If she is unwell, then I am very certain she would be glad to see
Uncle Zachie."

"Of that I am no judge, but you cannot be admitted now."

"Name the day, the hour, when I may."

"That I am not at liberty to do."

"What ails her? Where is Jamie?"

"Jamie is here--in good hands."

"And Judith."

"She is in good hands."

"In good hands!" exclaimed Mr. Menaida, "I should like to see the
good, clean hands worn by anyone in this house, except my dear,
innocent little Judith. I must and will see her. I must know from her
own lips how she is. I must see that she is happy--or at least not
maltreated."

"Your words are an insult to me, her aunt, and to Captain Coppinger,
her husband," said Miss Trevisa, haughtily.

"Let me have a word with Captain Coppinger."

"He is not at home."

"Not at home!--I hear a great deal of noise. There must be a number of
guests in the hall. Who is entertaining them, you or Judith!"

"That is no concern of yours, Mr. Menaida."

"I do not believe that Captain Coppinger is not at home. I insist on
seeing him."

"Were you to see him--you would regret it afterwards. He is not a
person to receive impertinences and pass them over. You have already
behaved in a most indecent manner, in encouraging my niece to visit
your house, and sit, and talk, and walk with, and call by his
Christian name, that young fellow, your son."

"Oliver!" Mr. Menaida was staggered. It had never occurred to his
fuddled, yet simple mind, that the intimacy that had sprung up between
the young people was capable of misinterpretation. The sense that he
had laid himself open to this charge made him very angry, not with
himself, but with Coppinger and with Miss Trevisa.

"I'll tell you what," said the old man, "if you will not let me in I
suppose you will not object to my writing a line to Judith?"

"I have received orders to allow of no communication of any kind
whatsoever between my niece and you or your house."

"You have received orders--from Coppinger?" the old man flamed with
anger. "Wait a bit! There is no command issued that you are not to
take a message from me to your master?"

He put his hand into his pocket, pulled out a note-book, and tore out
of it a page. Then, by the light from the hall window, he scribbled on
it a few lines in pencil.

    "Sir!--You are a scoundrel. You bully your wife. You rob, and
    attempt to murder those who are shipwrecked.--Zachary
    Menaida."

"There," said the old man, "that will draw him, and I shall see him,
and have it out with him."

He had wafers in his pocket-book. He wetted and sealed the note. Then
he considered that he had not said enough, so he opened the page
again, and added: "I shall tell all the world what I know about you."
Then he fastened the note again, and directed it. But as it suddenly
occurred to him that Captain Coppinger might refuse to open the
letter, he added on the outside, "The contents I know by heart, and
shall proclaim them on the house-tops." He thrust the note into Miss
Trevisa's hand, and turned his back on the house, and walked home
snorting and muttering. On reaching Polzeath, however, he had cooled,
and thought that possibly he had done a very foolish thing, and that
most certainly he had in no way helped himself to what he desired, to
see Judith again. Moreover, with a qualm, he became aware that Oliver,
on his return from Bristol, would in all probability greatly
disapprove of this fiery outburst of temper. To what would it lead?
_Could_ he fight Captain Coppinger? If it came to that, he was ready.
With all his faults Mr. Menaida was no coward.

On entering his house he found Oliver there, just arrived from
Camelford. He at once told him what he had done. Oliver did not
reproach him; he merely said, "A declaration of war, father! and a
declaration before we are quite prepared."

"Well--I suppose so. I could not help myself. I was so incensed."

"The thing we have to consider," said Oliver, "is what Judith wishes,
and how it is to be carried out. Some communication must be opened
with her. If she desires to leave the house of that fellow, we must
get her away. If, however, she elects to remain, our hands are tied:
we can do nothing."

"It is very unfortunate that Jamie is no longer here; we could have
sent her a letter through him."

"He has been removed to prevent anything of the sort taking place."

Then Oliver started up. "I will go and reconnoitre, myself."

"No," said the father. "Leave all to me. You must on no account meddle
in this matter."

"Why not?"

"Because"--the old man coughed. "Do you not understand--you are a
young man."

Oliver colored, and said no more. He had not great confidence in his
father's being able to do anything effectual for Judith. The step he
had recently taken was injudicious and dangerous, and could further
the end in view in no way.

He said no more to old Mr. Menaida, but he resolved to act himself, in
spite of the remonstrance made and the objection raised by his father.
No sooner was the elder man gone to bed, than he sallied forth and
took the direction of Pentyre. It was a moonlight night. Clouds indeed
rolled over the sky, and for awhile obscured the moon, but a moment
after it flared forth again. A little snow had fallen and frosted the
ground, making everything unburied by the white flakes to seem inky
black. A cold wind whistled mournfully over the country. Oliver walked
on, not feeling the cold, so glowing were his thoughts, and came
within sight of the Glaze. His father had informed him that there were
guests in the hall; but when he approached the house, he could see no
lights from the windows. Indeed, the whole house was dark, as though
everyone in it were asleep, or it were an uninhabited ruin. That most
of the windows had shutters he was aware, and that these might be shut
so as to exclude the chance of any ray issuing he also knew. He could
not therefore conclude that all the household had retired for the
night.

The moon was near its full. It hung high aloft in an almost cloudless
sky. The air was comparatively still--still it never is on that coast,
nor is it ever unthrilled by sound. Now, above the throb of the ocean,
could be heard the shrill clatter and cry of the gulls. They were not
asleep; they were about, fishing or quarrelling in the silver light.

Oliver rather wondered at the house being so hushed--wondered that the
guests were all dismissed. He knew in which wing of the mansion was
Judith's room, and also which was Judith's window. The pure white
light shone on the face of the house and glittered in the
window-panes.

As Oliver looked, thinking and wondering, he saw the casement opened,
and Judith appeared at it, leaned with her elbow on the sill, and
rested her face in her hand, looking up at the moon. The light air
just lifted her fine hair. Oliver noticed how delicately pale and
fragile she seemed--white as a gull, fragile as porcelain. He would
not disturb her for a moment or two; he stood watching, with an
oppression on his heart, and with a film forming over his eyes. Could
nothing be done for the little creature? She was moped up in her room.
She was imprisoned in this house, and she was wasting, dying in
confinement.

And now he stole noiselessly nearer. There was an old cattle-shed
adjoining the house, that had lost its roof. Coppinger concerned
himself little about agriculture, and the shed that had once housed
cows had been suffered to fall to ruin, the slates had been blown off,
then the rain had wetted and rotted the rafters, and finally the
decayed rafters had fallen with their remaining load of slates,
leaving the walls alone standing.

Up one of the sides of this ruinous shed Oliver climbed, and then
mounted to the gable, whence he could speak to Judith. But she must
have heard him, and been alarmed, for she hastily closed the casement.
Oliver, however, did not abandon his purpose. He broke off particles
of mortar from the gable of the cow-house and threw them cautiously
against the window. No notice was taken of the first or the second
particle that clickered against a pane; but at the third a shadow
appeared at the window, as though Judith had come to the casement to
look out. Oliver was convinced that he could be seen; as he was on the
very summit of the gable, and he raised his hands and arms to ensure
attention.

Suddenly the shadow was withdrawn. Then hastily he drew forth a scrap
of paper, on which he had written a few words before he left his
father's house, in the hopes of obtaining a chance of passing it to
Judith, through Jamie, or by bribing a servant. This he now wrapped
round a bit of stone and fastened it with a thread. Next moment the
casement was opened and the shadow reappeared.

"Back!" whispered Oliver, sufficiently loud to be heard, and he
dexterously threw the stone and the letter through the open window.

Next moment the casement was shut and the curtains were drawn.

He waited for full a quarter of an hour but no answer was returned.



CHAPTER XLIII.

THE SECOND TIME.


No sooner had Oliver thrown the stone with note tied round it into
Judith's room through the window, than he descended from a position
which he esteemed too conspicuous should anyone happen to be about in
the night near the house. He ensconced himself beneath the cow-shed
wall in the shadow, where concealed, but was ready should the casement
open to step forth and show himself.

He had not been there many minutes before he heard steps and voices,
one of which he immediately recognized as that of Cruel Coppinger.
Oliver had not been sufficiently long in the neighborhood to know the
men in it by their voices, but looking round the corner of the wall he
saw two figures against the horizon, one with hands in his pockets,
and by the general slouch, he thought that he recognized the sexton of
S. Enodoc.

"The Black Prince will be in before long," said Coppinger. "I mean
next week or fortnight, and I must have the goods shored here, this
time. She will stand off Porth-leze, and mind you get information
conveyed to the captain of the coast-guard that she will run her cargo
there. Remember that. We must have a clear coast here. The stores are
empty and must be refilled."

"Yes, your honor."

"You have furnished him with the key to the signals?"

"Yes, Cap'n."

"And from Porth-leze there are to be signals to the Black Prince to
come on here--but so that they may be read the other way--you
understand?"

"Yes, Cap'n."

"And what do they give you every time you carry them a bit of
information?"

"A shilling."

"A munificent government payment! and what did they give you for the
false code of signals?"

"Half a crown."

"Then here is half a guinea--and a crown for every lie you impose on
them."

Then Coppinger and the sexton went further. As soon as Oliver thought
he could escape unobserved he withdrew and returned to Polzeath.

Next day he had a talk with his father.

"I have had opinions, in Bristol," said he, "relative to the position
of Judith."

"From whom?"

"From lawyers."

"Well--and what did they say?"

"One said one thing and one another. I stated the case of her
marriage, its incompletion, the unsigned register, and one opinion was
that nevertheless she was Mrs. Coppinger. But another opinion was
that, in consequence of the incompleteness of the marriage, it was
none--she was Miss Trevisa. Father, before I went to the barristers
and obtained their opinions, I was as wise as I am now, for I knew
then, what I know now, that she is either Mrs. Coppinger, or else that
she is Miss Trevisa."

"I could have told you as much."

"It seems to me--but I may be uncharitable," said Oliver, grimly,
"that the opinion given was this way or that way according as I showed
myself interested for the legality or against the legality of the
marriage. Both of those to whom I applied regarded the case as
interesting and deserving of being thrashed out in a court of law, and
gave their opinions so as to induce me to embark in a suit. You
understand what I mean, father? When I seemed urgent that the marriage
should be pronounced none at all, then the verdict of the consulting
barrister was that it was no marriage at all, and very good reasons he
was able to produce to show that. But when I let it be supposed that
my object was to get this marriage established against certain parties
keenly interested in disputing it, I got an opinion that it was a good
and legal marriage, and very good reasons were produced to sustain
this conclusion."

"I could have told you as much--and this has cost you money?"

"Yes--naturally."

"And left you without any satisfaction?"

"Yes."

"No satisfaction is to be got out of law--that is why I took to
stuffing birds."

"What is that noise at the door?" asked Oliver.

"There is some one trying to come in, and fumbling at the hasp," said
his father.

Oliver went to the door and opened it--to find Jamie there, trembling,
white, and apparently about to faint. He could not speak, but he held
out a note to Oliver.

"What is the matter with you?" asked the young man.

The boy, however, did not answer, but ran to Mr. Menaida, and crouched
behind him.

"He has been frightened," said the old man. "Leave him alone. He will
come round presently and I will give him a drop of spirits to rouse
him up. What letter is that?"

Oliver looked at the little note given him. It had been sealed, but
torn open afterward. It was addressed to him, and across the address
was written in bold, coarse letters with a pencil, "Seen and passed.
C. C." Oliver opened the letter and read as follows:

    "I pray you leave me. Do not trouble yourself about me.
    Nothing can now be done for me. My great concern is for
    Jamie. But I entreat you to be very cautious about yourself
    where you go. You are in danger. Your life is threatened, and
    you do not know it. I must not explain myself, but I warn
    you. Go out of the country--that would be best. Go back to
    Portugal. I shall not be at ease in my mind till I know that
    you are gone, and gone unhurt. My dear love to Mr.
    Menaida--Judith."

The hand that had written this letter had shaken, the letters were
hastily and imperfectly formed. Was this the hand of Judith who had
taught Jamie caligraphy, had written out his copies as neatly and
beautifully as copper-plate?

Judith had sent him this answer by her brother, and Jamie had been
stopped, forced to deliver up the missive, which Coppinger had opened
and read. Oliver did not for a moment doubt _whence_ the danger sprang
with which he was menaced. Coppinger had suffered the warning to be
conveyed to him with contemptuous indifference--it was as though he
had scored across the letter--"Be forewarned, take what precautions
you will--you shall not escape me."

The first challenge had come from old Menaida, but Coppinger passed
over that as undeserving of attention, but he proclaimed his readiness
to cross swords with the young man. And Oliver could not deny that he
had given occasion for this. Without counting the cost, without
considering the risk; nay, further, without weighing the right and
wrong in the matter, Oliver had allowed himself to slip into terms of
some familiarity with Judith, harmless enough were she unmarried, but
hardly calculated to be so regarded by a husband. They had come to
consider each other as cousins, or they had pretended so to consider
each other, so as to justify a half-affectionate, half-intimate
association, and before he was aware of it Oliver had lost his heart.
He could not and he would not regard Judith as the wife of Coppinger,
because he knew that she absolutely refused to be so regarded by him,
by herself, by his father, though by appearing at the ball with
Coppinger, by living in his house, she allowed the world to so
consider her. Was she his wife? He could not suppose it when she had
refused to conclude the marriage ceremony, when there was no
documentary evidence for the marriage. Let the question be mooted in a
court of law; what could the witnesses say, but that she had fainted,
and that all the latter portion of the ceremony had been performed
over her when unconscious, and that on her recovery of her faculties
she had resolutely persisted in resistance to the affixing of her
signature to the register.

With respect to Judith's feelings toward himself Oliver was ignorant.
She had taken pleasure in his society, because he had made himself
agreeable to her, and his company was a relief to her after the
solitude of Pentyre and the association there with persons with whom
she was wholly out of sympathy.

His quarrel with Coppinger had shifted ground. At first he had
resolved, should occasion offer, to conclude with him the contest
begun on the wreck, and to chastise him for his conduct on that night.
Now, he thought little of that cause of resentment, he desired to
punish him for having been the occasion of so much misery to Judith.
He could not now drive from his head the scene of the girl's wan face
at the window, looking up at the moon.

Oliver would shrink from doing anything dishonorable, but it did not
seem to him that there could be aught wrong and unbecoming a gentleman
in endeavoring to snatch this hapless child from the claws of the wild
beast that had struck it down.

"No, father," said he hastily, as the old fellow was pouring out a
pretty strong dose of his great specific and about to administer it to
Jamie, "no father, it is not that the boy wants; and remember how
strongly Judith objects to his being given spirits."

"Dear, dear!" exclaimed Uncle Zachie, "to be sure she does, and she
made me promise not to give him any. But this is an exceptional case."

"Let him come to me, I will soothe him. The child is frightened, or
stay, get him to help you with that kittiwake. Jamie, father can't get
the bird to look natural; his head does not seem to me to be right.
Did you ever see a kittiwake turn his neck in that fashion? I wish you
would put your fingers to the throat, and bend it about, and set the
wadding where it ought to be. Father and I can't agree about it."

"It is wrong," said Jamie. "Look, this is the way." His mind was
diverted. Always volatile, always ready to be turned from one thing to
another, Oliver had succeeded in interesting him, and had made him
forget for a moment the terrors that had shaken him.

After Jamie had been in the house for half an hour, Oliver advised him
to return to the Glaze. He would give him no message, verbal or
written. But the thought of having to return renewed the poor child's
fears, and Oliver could hardly allay them by promising to accompany
him part of the way.

Oliver was careful not to speak to him on the subject of his alarm,
but he gathered from his disjointed talk that Judith had given him the
note and impressed on him that it was to be delivered as secretly as
possible; that Coppinger had intercepted him, and suspecting
something, had threatened and frightened him into divulging the truth.
Then Captain Cruel had read the letter, scored over it some words in
pencil, given it back to him, and ordered him to fulfil his
commission, to deliver the note.

"Look you here, Jamie," was Mr. Menaida's parting injunction to the
lad as he left the house, "there's no reason for you to be idle when
at Pentyre. You can make friends with some of the men and get birds
shot. I don't advise your having a gun, you are not careful enough.
But if they shoot birds you may amuse your leisure in skinning them,
and I gave Judith arsenic for you. She keeps it in her workbox, and
will let you have sufficient for your purpose as you need it. I would
not give it to you, as it might be dangerous in your hands as a gun.
It is a deadly poison, and with carelessness you might kill a man. But
go to Judith when you have a skin ready to dress and she will see that
you have sufficient for the dressing. There, good-by, and bring me
some skins shortly."

Oliver accompanied the boy as far as the gate that led into the lane
between the walls enclosing the fields of the Pentyre estate. Jamie
pressed him to come farther, but this the young man would not do. He
bade the poor lad farewell, bid him divert himself as his father had
advised, with bird stuffing, and remained at the gate watching him
depart. The boy's face and feebleness touched and stirred the heart of
Oliver. The face reminded him so strongly of his twin sister, but it
was the shadow, the pale shadow of Judith only, without the
intelligence, the character, and the force. And the helplessness of
the child, his desolation, his condition of nervous alarm roused the
young man's pity. He was startled by a shot, that struck his gray hat
simultaneously with the report.

In a moment he sprang over the hedge in the direction whence the smoke
rose, and came upon Cruel Coppinger with a gun.

"Oh, you!" said the latter, with a sneer, "I thought I was shooting a
rabbit."

"This is the second time," said Oliver.

"The first," was Coppinger's correction.

"Not so--the second time you have levelled at me. The first was on the
wreck when I struck up your hand."

Coppinger shrugged his shoulders. "It is immaterial. The third time is
lucky, folks say."

The two men looked at each other with hostility.

"Your father has insulted me," said Coppinger. "Are you ready to take
up his cause? I will not fight an old fool."

"I am ready to take up his cause, mine also, and that of----" Oliver
checked himself.

"And that of whom?" asked Coppinger, white with rage, and in a
quivering voice.

"The cause of my father and mine own will suffice," said Oliver.

"And when shall we meet?" asked Captain Cruel, leaning on his gun and
glaring at his young antagonist over it.

"When and where suits me," answered Oliver, coldly.

"And when and where may that be?"

"When and where!--when and where I can come suddenly on you as you
came on me upon the wreck. With such as you--one does not observe the
ordinary rules."

"Very well," shouted Coppinger. "When and where suits you, and when
and where suits me--that is, whenever we meet again--we meet finally."

Then each turned and strode away.



CHAPTER XLIV.

THE WHIP FALLS.


For many days Judith had been as a prisoner in the house, in her room.
Some one had spoken to Coppinger and had roused his suspicions,
excited his jealousy. He had forbidden her visits to Polzeath; and to
prevent communication between her and the Menaidas, father and son, he
had removed Jamie to Pentyre Glaze.

Angry and jealous he was. Time had passed, and still he had not
advanced a step, rather he had lost ground. Judith's hopes that he was
not what he had been represented, were dashed. However plausible might
be his story to account for the jewels, she did not believe it.

Why was Judith not submissive? Coppinger could now only conclude that
she had formed an attachment for Oliver Menaida--for that young man
whom she singled out, greeted with a smile, and called by his
Christian name. He had heard of how she had made daily visits to the
house of his father, how Oliver had been seen attending her home, and
his heart foamed with rage and jealousy.

She had no desire to go anywhere, now that she was forbidden to go to
Polzeath, and when she knew that she was watched. She would not
descend to the hall and mix with the company often assembled there,
and though she occasionally went there when Coppinger was alone, took
her knitting and sat by the fire, and attempted to make conversation
about ordinary matters, yet his temper, his outbursts of rancor, his
impatience of every other topic save their relations to each other,
and his hatred of the Menaidas, made it intolerable for her to be with
him alone, and she desisted from seeking the hall. This incensed him,
and he occasionally went up-stairs, sought her out and insisted on her
coming down. She would obey, but some outbreak would speedily drive
her from his presence again.

Their relations were more strained than ever. His love for her had
lost the complexion of love and had assumed that of jealousy. His
tenderness and gentleness toward her had been fed by hope, and when
hope died they vanished. Even that reverence for her innocence and the
respect for her character that he had shown was dissipated by the
stormy gusts of jealousy.

Miss Trevisa was no more a help and stay to the poor girl than she had
been previously. She was soured and embittered, for her ambition to be
out of the house and in Othello Cottage had been frustrated. Coppinger
would not let her go till he and his wife had come to more friendly
terms. On her chimney-piece were two bunches of lavender, old lavender
from the rectory garden of the preceding year. They had become so dry
that the seeds fell out, and they no longer exhaled scent unless
pressed.

Judith stood at her chimney-piece pressing her finger on the dropped
seeds, and picking them up by this means to throw them into the small
fire that smouldered in the grate. At first she went on listlessly
picking up a seed and casting it into the fire, actuated by her innate
love of order, without much thought--rather without any thought--for
her mind was engaged over the letter of Oliver and his visit the
previous night outside. But after a while, while thus gathering the
grains of lavender, she came to associate them with her trouble, and
as she thought--"Is there any escape for me, any happiness in
store?"--she picked up a seed and cast it into the fire. Then she
asked: "Is there any other escape for me than to die--to die and be
with dear papa again, now not in S. Enodoc Rectory garden, but in the
garden of Paradise?" And again she picked up and cast away a grain.
Then, as she touched her fingertip with her tongue and applied it to
another lavender seed, she said: "Or must this go on--this nightmare
of wretchedness, of persecution, of weariness to death without dying,
for years?" And she cast away the seed shudderingly. "Or"--and again,
now without touching her finger with her tongue, as though the last
thought had contaminated it--"or will he finally break and subdue me,
destroy me and Jamie, soul and body?" Shivering at the thought she
hardly dare to touch a seed, but forced herself to do so, raised one,
and hastily shook it from her.

Thus she continued ringing the change, never formulating any scheme
of happiness for herself--certainly, in her white, guileless mind, not
in any way associating Oliver with happiness, save as one who might by
some means effect her discharge from this bondage--but he was not
linked, not woven up with any thought of the future.

The wind clickered at the casement. She had a window toward the sea;
another, opposite, toward the land. Hers was a transparent chamber,
and her mind had been transparent. Only now, timidly, doubtfully, not
knowing herself why, did she draw a blind down over her soul, as
though there were something there that she would not have all the
world see, and yet which was in itself innocent. Then a new fear woke
up in her, lest she should go mad. Day after day, night after night,
was spent in the same revolution of distressing thought, in the same
bringing up and reconsidering of old difficulties, questions
concerning Coppinger, questions concerning Jamie, questions concerning
her own power of endurance and resistance. Was it possible that this
could go on without driving her mad?

"One thing I see," murmured she; "all steps are broken away under me
on the stair, and one thing alone remains for me to cling to--one only
thing--my understanding. That"--she put her hands to her head--"that
is all I have left. My name is gone from me. My friends I am separated
from. My brother may not be with me. My happiness is all gone. My
health may break down, but to a clear understanding I must hold; if
that fails me I am lost--lost indeed."

"Lost indeed!" exclaimed Coppinger, entering abruptly. He had caught
her last words. He came in in white rage, blinded and forgetful in his
passion, and with his hat on. There was a day when he entered the
boudoir with his head covered, and Judith, without a word, by the mere
force of her character shining out of her clear eyes, had made him
retreat and uncover. It was not so now. She was careless whether he
wore the hat or not when he entered her room. "So!" said he, in a
voice that foamed out of his mouth, "letters pass between you!
Letters--I have read that you sent. I stayed your messenger."

"Well," answered Judith, with such composure as she could muster. She
had already passed through several stormy scenes with him, and knew
that her only security lay in self-restraint. "There was naught in it
that you might not read. What did I say? That my condition was
fixed--that none could alter it; that is true. That my great care and
sorrow of heart is for Jamie; that is true. That Oliver Menaida has
been threatened; that also is true. I have heard you speak words
against him of no good."

"I will make good my words."

"I wrote, and hoped to save him from a danger, and you from a crime."

Coppinger laughed. "I have sent on the letter. Let him take what
precautions he will. I will chastise him. No man ever crossed me yet
but was brought to bite the dust."

"He has not harmed you, Captain Coppinger."

"He! Can I endure that you should call him by his Christian name,
while I am but Captain Coppinger? That you should seek him out, laugh,
and talk, and flirt with him--"

"Captain Coppinger!"

"Yes," raged he, "always Captain Coppinger, or Captain Cruel, and he
is dear Oliver! sweet Oliver!" He well-nigh suffocated in his fury.

Judith drew herself up and folded her arms. She had in one hand a
sprig of lavender from which she had been shaking the over-ripe
grains. She turned deadly white.

"Give me up his letter. Yours was an answer!"

"I will give it to you," answered Judith, and she went to her workbox,
raised the lid, then the little tray containing reels, and from
beneath it extracted a crumpled scrap of paper. She handed it calmly,
haughtily to Coppinger, then folded her arms again, one hand still
holding the bunch of lavender.

The letter was short. Coppinger's hand shook with passion so that he
could hardly hold it with sufficient steadiness to read it. It ran as
follows:

"I must know your wishes, dear Judith. Do you intend to remain in that
den of wreckers and cut-throats? or do you desire that your friends
should bestir themselves to obtain your release? Tell us, in one word,
what to do, or rather what are your wishes, and we will do what we
can."

"Well!" said Coppinger, looking up. "And your answer is to the
point--you wish to stay."

"I did not answer thus. I said--leave me."

"And never intended that he should leave you," raged Coppinger. He
came close up to her with his eyes glittering, his nostrils distended
and snorting and his hands clinched.

Judith loosened her arms, and with her right hand swept a space before
her with the bunch of lavender. He should not approach her within
arm's length; the lavender marked the limit beyond which he might not
draw near.

"Now, hear me!" said Coppinger. "I have been too indulgent. I have
humored you as a spoilt child. Because you willed this or that, I have
submitted. But the time for humoring is over. I can endure this
suspense no longer. Either you are my wife or you are not. I will
suffer no trifling over this any longer. You have as it were put your
lips to mine, and then sharply drawn them away--and now offer them to
another."

"Silence!" exclaimed Judith. "You insult me."

"You insult and outrage me!" said Coppinger, "when you run from your
home to chatter with and walk with this Oliver, and never deign to
speak to me. When he is your dear Oliver, and I am only Captain
Coppinger; when you have smiles for him you have black looks for me.
Is not that insulting, galling, stinging, maddening?"

Judith was silent. Her throat swelled. There was some truth in what he
said; but, in the sight of heaven, she was guiltless of ever having
thought of wrong, of having supposed for a moment that what she had
allowed herself had not been harmless.

"You are silent," said Coppinger. "Now hearken! With this moment I
turn over the page of humoring your fancies and yielding to your
follies. I have never pressed you to sign that register--I have
trusted to your good sense and good feeling. You cannot go back. Even
if you desire it, you cannot undo what has been done. Mine you are,
mine you shall be--mine wholly and always. Do you hear?"

"Yes."

"And agree?"

"No."

He was silent a moment, with clinched teeth and hands looking at her,
with eyes that smote her, as though they were bullets.

"Very well," said he. "Your answer is no."

"My answer is no, so help me God."

"Very well," said he, between his teeth. "Then we open a new chapter."

"What chapter is that?"

"It is that of compulsion. That of solicitation is closed."

"You cannot, whilst I have my senses. What!" She saw that he had a
great riding-whip in his hand. "What--the old story again! You will
strike me?"

"No--not you. I will lash you into submission--through Jamie."

She uttered a cry, dropped the lavender, that became scattered before
her, and held up her hands in mute entreaty.

"I owe him chastisement. I have owed it him for many a day--and to-day
above all--as a go-between."

Judith could not speak. She remained as one frozen--in one attitude,
in one spot, speechless. She could not stir, she could not utter a
word of entreaty, as Coppinger left the room.

In another minute a loud and shrill cry reached her ears from the
court into which one of her windows looked. She knew the cry. It was
that of her twin brother, and it thrilled through her heart, quivered
in every nerve of her whole frame.

She could hear what followed; but she could not stir. She was rooted
by her feet to the floor, but she writhed there. It was as though
every blow dealt the boy outside fell on her: she bent, she quivered,
her lips parted, but cry she could not, the sweat rolled off her brow;
she beat with her hands in the air. Now she thrilled up with uplifted
arms, on tip-toe, then sank--it was like a flame flickering in a
socket before it expires: it dances, it curls, it shoots up in a
tongue, it sinks into a bead of light, it rolls on one side, it sways
to the other, it leaps from the wick high into the air, and drops
again. It was so with Judith--every stroke dealt, every scream of the
tortured boy, every toss of his suffering frame, was repeated in her
room, by her--in supreme, unspeaking anguish, too intense for sound to
issue from her contracted throat.

Then all was still, and Judith had sunk to her knees on the scattered
lavender, extending her arms, clasping her hands, spreading them
again, again beating her palms together, in a vague, unconscious way,
as if in breathing she could not gain breath enough without this
expansion and stretching forth of her arms.

But, all at once, before her stood Coppinger, the whip in his hands.

"Well! what now is your answer?"

She breathed fast for some moments, laboring for expression. Then she
reared herself up and tried to speak, but could not. Before her,
threshed out on the floor, were the lavender seeds. They lay thick in
a film over the boards in one place. She put her finger among them and
drew No.



CHAPTER XLV.

GONE FROM ITS PLACE.


There are persons, they are not many, on whom Luck smiles and showers
gold. Not a steady daily downpour of money but, whenever a little
cloud darkens their sky, that same little cloud, which to others would
be mere gloom, opens and discharges on them a sprinkling of gold
pieces.

It is not always the case that those who have rich relatives come in
for good things from them. In many cases there are such on whom Luck
turns her back, but to those of whom we speak the rain of gold, and
the snow of scrip and bonds come unexpectedly, but inevitably. Just as
Pilatus catches every cloud that drifts over Switzerland, so do they
by some fatality catch something out of every trouble, that tends
materially to solace their feelings, lacerated by that trouble. But
not so only. These little showers fall to them from relatives they
have taken no trouble to keep on good terms with, from acquaintances
whom they have cut, admirers whose good opinion they have not
concerned themselves to cultivate, friends with whom they have
quarrelled. Gideon's fleece, on one occasion, gathered to itself all
the dew that fell, and left the grass of the field around quite dry.
So do these fortunate persons concentrate on themselves, fortuitively
it seems, the dew of richness that descends and might have, ought to
have, dropped elsewhere; at all events, ought to have been more evenly
and impartially distributed. Gideon's fleece, on another occasion was
dry, when all the glebe was dripping. So is it with certain
unfortunates, Luck never favors them. What they have expected and
counted on they do not get, it is diverted, it drops round about them
on every side, only on them it never falls.

Now, Miss Trevisa cannot be said to have belonged to either of these
classes. To the latter she had pertained till suddenly, from a
quarter quite unregarded, there came down on her a very satisfactory
little splash. Of relatives that were rich she had none, because she
had no relatives at all. Of bosom friends she had none, for her bosom
was of that unyielding nature, that no one would like to be taken to
it. But, before the marriage of her brother, and before he became
rector of S. Enodoc, when he was but a poor curate, she had been
companion to a spinster lady, Miss Ceely, near S. Austell. Now the
companion is supposed to be a person without an opinion of her own,
always standing in a cringing position to receive the opinion of her
mistress, then to turn it over and give it forth as her own. She is,
if she be a proper companion, a mere echo of the sentiments of her
employer. Moreover, she is expected to be amiable, never to resent a
rude word, never to take umbrage at neglect, always to be ready to
dance attendance on her mistress, and with enthusiasm of devotion,
real or simulated, to carry out her most absurd wishes, unreasoningly.
But Miss Trevisa had been, as a companion, all that a companion ought
not to be. She had argued with Miss Ceely, invariably, had crossed her
opinions, had grumbled at her when she asked that anything might be
done, raised difficulties, piled up objections, blocked the way to
whatever Miss Ceely particularly set the heart on having executed. The
two ladies were always quarrelling, always calling each other names,
and it was a marvel to the relatives of Miss Ceely that she and her
companion hung together for longer than a month. Nevertheless they
did. Miss Trevisa left the old lady when Mr. Peter Trevisa became
rector of S. Enodoc, and then Miss Ceely obtained in her place quite
an ideal companion, a very mirror--she had but to look on her face,
smile, and a smile was repeated, weep, and tears came in the mirror.
The new companion grovelled at her feet, licked the dust off her
shoes, fawned on her hand, ran herself off her legs to serve her, grew
gray under the misery of enduring Miss Ceely's jibes and sneers and
insults, finally sacrificed her health in nursing her. When Miss
Ceely's will was opened it was found that she had left nothing--not a
farthing to this obsequious attendant, but had bequeathed fifteen
hundred pounds, free of legacy duty, and all her furniture and her
house to Miss Trevisa, with whom she had not kept up correspondence
for twenty-three years. It really seemed as if leathery, rusty Aunt
Dionysia, from being a dry Gideon's fleece, were about to be turned
into a wet and wringable fleece. No one was more astounded than
herself.

It was now necessary that Miss Trevisa should go to S. Austell and see
after what had come to her thus unsolicited and unexpectedly. All need
for her to remain at Pentyre was at an end.

Before she departed--not finally, but to see about the furniture that
was now hers, and to make up her mind whether to keep or to sell
it--she called Judith to her.

That day, the events of which were given in last chapter, had produced
a profound impression on Jamie. He had become gloomy, timid, and
silent. His old idle chatter ceased. He clung to his sister, and
accompanied her wherever she went; he could not endure to be with
Coppinger. When he heard his voice, caught a glimpse of him, he ran
away and hid. Jamie had been humored as a child, never beaten,
scolded, put in a corner, sent to bed, cut off his pudding, but the
rod had now been applied to his back and his first experience of
corporal punishment was the cruel and vindictive hiding administered,
not for any fault he had committed but because he had done his
sister's bidding. He was filled with hatred of Coppinger, mingled with
fear, and when alone with Judith would break out into exclamations of
entreaty that she would run away with him, and of detestation of the
man who held them there, as it were prisoners.

"Ju," said he, "I wish he were dead. I hate him. Why doesn't God kill
him and set us free!"

At another time he said, "Ju, dear! You do not love him. I wish I were
a big strong man like Oliver, and I would do what Captain Cruel did."

"What do you mean?"

"Captain Cruel shot at Oliver."

This was the first tidings Judith had heard of the attempt on Oliver's
life.

"He is a mean coward," said Jamie. "He hid behind a hedge and shot at
him. But he did not hurt him."

"God preserved him," said Judith.

"Why does not God preserve us! Why did God let that beast----"

"Hush, Jamie!"

"I will not--that wretch--beat me? Why did He not send lightning and
strike him dead?"

"I cannot tell you, darling. We must wait and trust."

"I am tired of waiting and trusting. If I had a gun I would not shoot
birds, I would go behind a hedge and shoot Captain Coppinger. There
would be nothing wrong in that, Ju?"

"Yes there would. It would be a sin."

"Not after he did that to Oliver."

"I would never--never love you, if you did that."

"You would always love me whatever I did," said Jamie. He spoke the
truth, Judith knew it. Her eyes filled, she drew the boy to her
passionately and kissed his golden head.

Then came Aunt Dionysia and summoned her into her own room. Jamie
followed.

"Judith," began Aunt Dunes, in her usual hard tones, and with the same
frozen face, "I wish you particularly to understand. Look here! You
have caused me annoyance enough while I have been here. Now I shall
have a house of my own at S. Austell, and if I choose to live in it I
can. If I do not, I can let it, and live at Othello Cottage. I have
not made up my mind what to do. Fifteen hundred pounds is a dirty
little sum, and not half as much as ought to have been left me for all
I had to bear from that old woman. I am glad for one thing that she
has left me something, though not much. I should have despaired of her
salvation had she not. However her heart was touched at the last,
though not touched enough. Now what I want you to understand is
this--it entirely depends on your conduct whether after my death this
sum of fifteen hundred pounds and a beggarly sum of about five hundred
I have of my own, comes to you or not. As long as this nonsense goes
on between you and Captain Coppinger--you pretending you are not
married, when you are, there is no security for me that you and Jamie
may not come tumbling in upon me and become a burden to me. Captain
Coppinger will not endure this fooling much longer. _He_ can take
advantage of your mistake. _He_ can say--I am not married. Where is
the evidence? Produce proof of the marriage having been
solemnized--and then he may send you out of his house upon the downs
in the cold. What would you be then, eh? All the world holds you to
be Mrs. Coppinger. A nice state of affairs, if it wakes up one morning
to hear that Mrs. Coppinger has been kicked out of the Glaze, that she
never was the wife. What will the world say, eh? What sort of name
will the world give you, when you have lived here as his wife."

"That I have not."

"Lived here, gone to balls as his wife when you were not. What will
the world call you, eh?"

Judith was silent, holding both her hands, open against her bosom.
Jamie beside her, looking up in her face, not understanding what his
aunt was saying.

"Very well--or rather very ill!" continued Miss Trevisa. "And then you
and this boy here will come to me to take you in, come and saddle
yourselves on me, and eat up my little fund. That is what will be the
end of it, if you remain in your folly. Go at once to the rector, and
put your name where it should have been two months ago, and your
position is secure, he cannot drive you away, disgusted at your
stubbornness, and you will relieve me of a constant source of
uneasiness. It is not that only, but I must care for the good name of
Trevisa, which you happen to bear, that that name may not be trailed
in the dust. The common sense of the matter is precisely what you
cannot see. If you are not Coppinger's wife you should not be here. If
you are Coppinger's wife, then your name should be in the register.
Now here you have come. You have appeared in public with him. You have
but one course open to you, and that is to secure your position and
your name and honor. You cannot undo what is done, but you can
complete what is done insufficiently. The choice between alternatives
is no longer before you. If you had purposed to withdraw from
marriage, break off the engagement, then you should not have come on
to Pentyre, and remained here. As, however, you did this, there is
absolutely nothing else to be done, but to sign the register. Do you
hear me?"

"Yes."

"And you will obey?"

"No."

"Pig-headed fool," said Miss Trevisa. "Not one penny will I leave you.
That I swear, if you remain obstinate."

"Do not let us say anything more about that, aunt. Now you are going
away, is there anything connected with the house you wish me to attend
to? That I will do readily."

"Yes, there are several things," growled Miss Trevisa, "and, first of
all, are you disposed to do anything, any common little kindness for
the man whose bread you eat, whose roof covers you?"

"Yes, aunt."

"Very well, then. Captain Coppinger has his bowl of porridge every
morning. I suppose he was accustomed to it before he came into these
parts, and he cannot breakfast without it. He says that our Cornish
maids cannot make porridge properly, and I have been accustomed to see
to it. Either it is lumpy, or it is watery, or it is saltless. Will
you see to that?"

"Yes, aunt, willingly."

"You ought to know how to make porridge, as you are more than half
Scottish."

"I certainly can make it. Dear papa always liked it."

"Then you will attend to that. If you are too high and too great a
lady to put your hand to it yourself, you can see that the cook
manages it aright. There is a new girl in now, who is a fool."

"I will make it myself. I will do all I can do."

"Then take the keys. Now that I go, you must be mistress of the house.
But for your folly, I might have been from here, and in my own house,
or rather in that given me for my use, Othello Cottage. I was to have
gone there directly after your marriage, I had furnished it, and made
it comfortable, and then you took to your fantastic notions, and hung
back, and refused to allow that you were married, and so I had to
stick on here two months. Here, take the keys." Miss Trevisa almost
flung them at her niece. "Now I have two thousand pounds of my own,
and a house at S. Austell, it does not become me to be doing menial
service. Take the keys. I will never have them back."

When Miss Trevisa was gone, and Judith was by herself at night, Jamie
being asleep, she was able to think over calmly what her aunt had
said. She concerned herself not the least, relative to the promise her
aunt had made of leaving her two thousand pounds, were she
submissive, and her threat of disinheriting her, should she continue
recalcitrant, but she did feel that there was truth in her aunt's
words when she said that she, Judith, had placed herself in a wrong
position--but it was a wrong position into which she had been forced,
she had not voluntarily entered it. She had, indeed, consented to
become Coppinger's wife, but when she found that Coppinger had
employed Jamie to give signals that might mislead a vessel to its ruin
she could not go further to meet him. Although he had endeavored to
clear himself in her eyes, she did not believe him. She was convinced
that he was guilty, though at moments she hoped, and tried to persuade
herself that he was not. Then came the matter of the diamonds. There,
again, the gravest suspicion rested on him. Again he had endeavored to
exculpate himself, yet she could not believe that he was innocent.
Till full confidence that he was blameless in these matters was
restored, an insuperable wall divided them. Never would she belong to
a man who was a wrecker, who belonged to that class of criminals her
father had regarded with the utmost horror.

Before she retired to bed, she picked up from under the fender the
scrap of paper on which Oliver's message had been written. It had lain
there unobserved where Coppinger had flung it, now, as she tidied her
room, and arranged the fire-rug, she observed it. She smoothed it out,
folded it, and went to her workbox to replace it where it had been
before.

She raised the lid, and was about to put the note among some other
papers she had there, a letter of her mother's, a piece of her
father's writing, some little accounts she had kept, when she was
startled to see that the packet of arsenic Mr. Menaida had given her
was missing.

She turned out the contents of her workbox. It was nowhere to be
found, either there, or in her drawers. Her aunt must have been prying
into the box, have found and removed it, so Judith thought, and with
this thought appeased her alarm. Perhaps, considering the danger of
having arsenic about, Aunt Dionysia had done right in removing it. She
had done wrong in doing so without speaking to Judith.



CHAPTER XLVI.

A SECOND LIE.


Next day, Miss Trevisa being gone, Judith had to attend to the work of
the house. It was her manifest duty to do so. Hitherto she had shrunk
from the responsibility, because she shrank from assuming a position
in the house to which she refused to consider that she had a right.
Judith was perfectly competent to manage an establishment, she had a
clear head, a love of order, and a power of exacting obedience of
servants without incessant reproof. Moreover, she had that faculty
possessed by few of directing others in their work so that each moved
along his or her own line and fulfilled the allotted work with ease.
She had managed her father's house, and managed it admirably. She knew
that, as the king's government must be carried on, so the routine of a
household must be kept going. Judith had sufficient acquaintance also
with servants to be aware that the wheel would stop or move
spasmodically, unless an authoritative hand were applied to it to keep
it in even revolution. She knew also that whatever happened in a
house--a birth, a death, a wedding, an uproar--the round of common
duties must be discharged, the meals prepared, the bread baked, the
milk skimmed, the beds made, the carpets swept, the furniture dusted,
the windows opened, the blinds drawn down, the table laid, the silver
and glass burnished. Nothing save a fire which gutted a house must
interfere with all this routine. Miss Trevisa was one of those ladies
who, in their own opinion, are condemned by Providence never to have
good servants. A benign Providence sheds good domestics into every
other house, save that which she rules. She is born under a star which
inexorably sends the scum and dregs of servantdom under her sceptre.
Miss Trevisa regarded a servant as a cat regards a mouse, a dog
regards a fox, and a dolphin a flying-fish, as something to be run
after, snapped at, clawed, leaped upon, worried perpetually. She was
incapable of believing that there could be any good in a servant, that
there was any other side to a domestic save a seamy side. She could
make no allowance for ignorance, for weakness, for lightheartedness. A
servant in her eyes must be a drudge ever working, never speaking,
smiling, taking a hand off the duster, without a mind above flue and
tea-leaves, and unable to soar above a cobweb; with a temper perfect
in endurance of daily, hourly fault-finding, nagging, grumbling, a
mind unambitious also of commendation. Miss Trevisa held that every
servant that a malign Providence had sent her was clumsy, insolent,
slatternly, unmethodical, idle, wasteful, a gossip, a gadabout, a
liar, a thief, was dainty, greedy, one of a cursed generation; and
when in the Psalms, David launched out in denunciation of the enemies
of the Lord, Miss Trevisa, when she heard or read these Psalms,
thought of servantdom. Servants were referred to when David said,
"Hide me from the insurrection of the wicked doers, who have whet
their tongues like a sword, that they may privily shoot at him that is
perfect," _i.e._, me, was Miss Trevisa's comment. "They encourage
themselves in mischief; and commune among themselves how they may lay
snares, and say, that no man shall see them." "And how," said Miss
Trevisa, "can men be so blind as not to believe that the Bible is
inspired when David hits the character of servants off to the life!"

And not the Psalms only, but the Prophets were full of servants'
delinquencies. What were Tyre and Egypt but figures of servantdom
shadowed before. What else did Isaiah lift up his testimony about, and
Jeremiah lament over, but the iniquities of the kitchen and the
servants' hall. Miss Trevisa read her Bible, and great comfort did it
afford her, because it did denounce the servant maids so unsparingly
and prepared brimstone and outer darkness for them.

Now Judith had seen and heard much of the way in which Miss Trevisa
managed Captain Coppinger's house. Her room adjoined that of her aunt,
and she knew that if her aunt were engaged on--it mattered not what
absorbing work, embroidery, darning a stocking, reading a novel,
saying her prayers, studying the cookery book--if a servant sneezed
within a hundred yards, or upset a drop of water, or clanked a
dust-pan, or clicked a door-handle, Miss Trevisa would be distracted
from her work and rush out of her room, just as a spider darts from
its recess, and sweep down on the luckless servant to worry and abuse
her.

Judith, knowing this, knew also that the day of Miss Trevisa's
departure would be marked with white chalk, and lead to a general
relaxation of discipline, to an inhaling of long breaths, and a
general stretching and taking of ease. It was necessary, therefore,
that she should go round and see that the wheel was kept turning.

To her surprise, on entering the hall, she found Captain Coppinger
there.

"I beg your pardon," she said, "I thought you were out."

She looked at him and was struck with his appearance, the clay-like
color of his face, the dark lines in it, the faded look in his eyes.

"Are you unwell?" she asked; "you really look ill."

"I am ill."

"Ill--what is the matter?"

"A burning in my throat. Cramp and pains--but what is that to you?"

"When did it come on?"

"But recently."

"Will you not have a doctor to see you?"

"A doctor!--no."

"Was the porridge as you liked it this morning? I made it."

"It was good enough."

"Would you like more now?"

"No."

"And to-morrow morning, will you have the same?"

"Yes--the same."

"I will make it again. Aunt said the new cook did not understand how
to mix and boil it to your liking."

Coppinger nodded.

Judith remained standing and observing him. Some faces when touched by
pain and sickness are softened and sweetened. The hand of suffering
passes over the countenance and brushes away all that is frivolous,
sordid, vulgar; it gives dignity, purity, refinement, and shows what
the inner soul might be were it not entangled and degraded by base
association and pursuit. It is different with other faces, the hand of
suffering films away the assumed expression of good nature, honesty,
straightforwardness, and unmasks the evil inner man. The touch of pain
had not improved the expression of Cruel Coppinger. It cannot,
however, with justice be said that the gentler aspect of the man,
which Judith had at one time seen, was an assumption. He was a man in
whom there was a certain element of good, but it was mixed up with
headlong wilfulness, utter selfishness, and resolution to have his own
way at any cost.

Judith could see, now that his face was pain-struck, how much of evil
there was in the soul that had been disguised by a certain dash of
masculine overbearing and brusqueness.

"What are you looking at?" asked Coppinger, glancing up.

"I was thinking," answered Judith.

"Of what?"

"Of you--of Wyvill, of the wreck on Doom Bar, of the jewels of Lady
Knighton, and last of all of Jamie's maltreatment."

"And what of all that?" he said in irritable scorn.

"That I need not say. I have drawn my own conclusions."

"You torment me, you--when I am ill? They call me Cruel, but it is you
who are cruel."

Judith did not wish to be drawn into discussion that must be
fruitless. She said, quietly, in altered tone, "Can I get you anything
to comfort you?"

"No--go your way. This will pass. Besides, it is naught to you. Go; I
would be left alone."

Judith obeyed, but she was uneasy. She had never seen Coppinger look
as he looked now. It was other, altogether, after he had broken his
arm. Other, also, when for a day he was crippled with bruises, after
the wreck. She looked into the hall several times during the day. In
the afternoon he was easier, and went out; his mouth had been parched
and burning, and he had been drinking milk. The empty glass was on the
table. He would eat nothing at mid-day. He turned from food, and left
the room for his own chamber.

Judith was anxious. She more than once endeavored to draw Coppinger
into conversation relative to himself, but he would not speak of what
affected him. He was annoyed and ashamed at being out of his usual
rude health.

"It is naught," he said, "but a bilious attack, and will pass. Leave
me alone."

She had been so busy all day, that she had seen little of Jamie. He
had taken advantage of Captain Coppinger not being about, to give
himself more license to roam than he had of late, and to go with his
donkey on the cliffs. Anyhow Judith on this day did not have him
hanging to her skirts. She was glad of it, for, though she loved him,
he would have been an encumbrance when she was so busy.

The last thing at night she did was to go to Coppinger to inquire what
he would take. He desired nothing but spirits and milk. He thought
that a milk-punch would give him ease and make him sleep. That he was
weak and had suffered pain she saw, and she was full of pity for him.
But this she did not like to exhibit, partly because he might
misunderstand her feelings, and partly because he seemed irritated at
being unwell, and at loss of power; irritated, at all events, at it
being observed that he was not in his usual plenitude of strength and
health.

That night the Atlantic was troubled, and the wind carried the billows
against the cliffs in a succession of rhythmic roars that filled the
air with sound and made the earth quiver. Judith could not sleep, she
listened to the thud of the water-heaps flung against the rocks; there
was a clock on the stairs and in her wakefulness she listened to the
tick of the clock, and the boom of the waves, now coming together,
then one behind the other, now the wave-beat catching up the
clock-tick, then falling in arrear, the ocean getting angry and making
up its pace by a double beat. Moreover flakes of foam were carried on
the wind and came, like snow, against her window that looked seaward
striking the glass and adhering to it.

As Judith lay watchful in the night her mind again recurred to the
packet of arsenic that had been abstracted from her workbox. It was
inconsiderate of her to have left it there; she ought to have locked
her box. But who could have supposed that anyone would have gone to
the box, raised the tray and searched the contents of the compartment
beneath? Judith had been unaccustomed to lock up anything, because she
had never had any secrets to hide from any eye. She again considered
the probability of her aunt having removed it, and then it occurred to
her that perhaps Miss Trevisa might have supposed that she--Judith--in
a fit of revolt against the wretchedness of her life might be induced
to take the poison herself and finish her miseries. "It was absurd if
Aunt Dunes thought that," said Judith to herself; "she can little have
known how my dear Papa's teaching has sunk into my heart, to suppose
me capable of such a thing--and then--to run away like a coward and
leave Jamie unprotected. It was too absurd."

Next morning Judith was in her room getting a large needle with which
to hem a bit of carpet edge that had been fraying for the last five
years, and which no one had thought of putting a thread to, and so
arresting the disintegration. Jamie was in the room. Judith said to
him:

"My dear, you have not been skinning and stuffing any birds lately,
have you?"

"No, Ju."

"Because I have missed--but, Jamie, I hope you have not been at my
workbox?"

"What about your workbox, Ju?"

She knew the boy so well, that her suspicions were at once aroused by
this answer. When he had nothing to hide he replied with a direct
negative or affirmative, but when he had done what his conscience
would not quite allow was right, he fell into equivocation, and
shuffled awkwardly.

"Jamie," said Judith, looking him straight in the face, "have you been
to my box?"

"Only just looked in."

Then he ran to the window. "Oh, do see, Ju, how patched the glass is
with foam!--and is it not dirty?"

"Jamie, come back. I want an answer."

He had opened the casement and put his hand out and was wiping off the
patches of froth.

"What a lot of it there is, Ju."

"Come here, instantly, Jamie, and shut the window."

The boy obeyed, creeping toward her sideways, with his head down.

"Jamie, did you lift the tray?"

"Only on one side, just a little bit."

"Did you take anything from under the tray?"

He did not answer immediately. She looked at him searchingly and in
suspense. He never could endure this questioning look of hers, and he
ran to her, put his arms round her waist, and clasped to her side, hid
his face in her gown.

"Only a little."

"A little what?"

"I don't know."

"Jamie, no lies. There was a blue paper there containing poison, that
you were not to have unless there were occasion for it--some bird skin
to be preserved and dressed with it. Now, did you take that?"

"Yes."

"Go and bring it back to me immediately."

"I can't."

"Why not? Where is it?"

The boy fidgeted, looked up in his sister's face to see what
expression it bore, buried his head again, and said:

"Ju! he is rightly called Cruel. I hate him, and so do you, don't you,
Ju? I have put the arsenic into his oatmeal, and we will get rid of
him and be free and go away. It will be jolly."

"Jamie!" with a cry of horror.

"He won't whip me and scold you any more."

"Jamie! Oh, my Lord, have pity on him! have pity on us!"

She clasped her hands to her head, rushed from the room, and flew down
the stairs.

But ten minutes before that Judith had given Coppinger his bowl of
porridge. He had risen late that morning. He was better, he said, and
he looked more himself than the preceding day. He was now seated at
the table in the hall, and had poured the fresh milk into the bowl,
had dipped the spoon, put some of the porridge to his mouth, tasted,
and was looking curiously into the spoon, when the door was flung
open, Judith entered, and without a word of explanation, caught the
bowl from him and dashed it on the floor.

Coppinger looked at her with his boring, dark eyes intently, and said:
"What is the meaning of this?"

"It is poisoned."

Judith was breathless. She drew back relieved at having cast away the
fatal mess.

Coppinger rose to his feet, and glared at her across the table,
leaning with his knuckles on the board. He did not speak for a moment,
his face became livid, and his hands resting on the table shook as
though he were shivering in an ague.

"There is arsenic in the porridge," gasped Judith.

She had not time to weigh what she should say, how explain her
conduct; but one thought had held her--to save Coppinger's life while
there was yet time.

The Captain's dog that had been lying at his master's feet rose, went
to the spilt porridge, and began to lap the milk and devour the paste.
Neither Judith nor Coppinger regarded him.

"It was an accident," faltered Judith.

"You lie," said Coppinger, in thrilling tones, "you lie, you
murderess! You sought to kill me."

Judith did not answer for a moment. She also was trembling. She had to
resolve what course to pursue. She could not, she would not, betray
her brother, and subject him to the worst brutality of treatment from
the infuriated man whose life he had sought.

It were better for her to take the blame on herself.

"I made the porridge--I and no one else."

"You told me so, yesterday." He maintained his composure marvellously,
but he was stunned by the sudden discovery of treachery in the woman
he had loved and worshipped.

"You maddened me by your treatment, but I did not desire that you
should die. I repented and have saved your life."

As Judith spoke she felt as though the flesh of her face stiffened,
and the skin became as parchment. She could hardly open her mouth to
speak and stir her tongue.

"Go!" said Coppinger, pointing to the door. "Go, you and your brother.
Othello cottage is empty. Go, murderess, poisoner of your husband,
there and wait till you hear from me. Under one roof, to eat off one
board, is henceforth impossible. Go!" he remained pointing, and a
sulphurous fire flickered in his eyes.

Then the hound began to howl, threw itself down, its limbs were
contracted, it foamed at the mouth, and howled again.

To the howlings of the poisoned and dying dog Judith and Jamie left
Pentyre.



CHAPTER XLVII.

FAST IN HIS HANDS.


Judith and Jamie were together in Othello Cottage--banished from
Pentyre with a dark and threatening shadow over them, but this,
however, gave the boy but little concern; he was delighted to be away
from a house where he had been in incessant terror, and where he was
under restraint; moreover, it was joy to him to be now where he need
not meet Coppinger at every turn.

Judith forbade his going to Polzeath to see Uncle Zachie and Oliver
Menaida, as she thought it advisable, under the circumstances, to keep
themselves to themselves, and above all not to give further occasion
for the suspicions and jealousy of Coppinger. This was to her, under
the present condition of affairs, specially distressing, as she needed
some counsel as to what she should do. Uncle Zachie at his best was a
poor adviser, but on no account now would she appeal to his son. She
was embarrassed and alarmed. And she had excuse for embarrassment and
alarm. She had taken upon herself the attempt that had been made on
the life of Coppinger, and he would, she supposed, believe her to be
guilty.

What would he do? Would he proceed against her for attempted murder?
If so, the case against her was very complete. It could be shown that
Mr. Menaida had given her this arsenic, that she had kept it by her in
her workbox while at the Glaze, that she had been on the most
unsatisfactory terms with Captain Coppinger, and that she had refused
to complete her marriage with him by appending her signature to the
register. She was now aware--and the thought made her feel sick at
heart and faint--that her association with the Menaidas had been most
injudicious and had been capable of misinterpretation. It had been
misinterpreted by Coppinger, and probably also by the gossips of
Polzeath. It could be shown that a secret correspondence had been
carried on between her and Oliver, which had been intercepted by her
husband. This was followed immediately by the attempt to poison
Coppinger. The arsenic had been given him in the porridge her own
hands had mixed, and which had been touched by no one else. It was
natural to conclude that she had deliberately purposed to destroy her
husband, that she might be free to marry Oliver Menaida.

If she were prosecuted on the criminal charge of attempted murder, the
case could be made so conclusive against her that her conviction was
certain.

Her only chance of escape lay in two directions--one that she should
tell the truth, and allow Jamie to suffer the consequences of what he
had done, which would be prison or a lunatic asylum. The other was
that she should continue to screen him and trust that Coppinger would
not prosecute her. He might hesitate about proceeding with such a
case, which would attract attention to himself, to his household, and
lay bare to the public eye much that he would reasonably be supposed
to wish to keep concealed. If, for instance, the case were brought
into court the story of the enforced marriage must come out, and that
would rake up once more the mystery of the wreckers on Doom Bar, and
of Lady Knighton's jewels. Coppinger might and probably would grasp at
the other alternative--take advantage of the incompletion of the
marriage, repudiate her, and let the matter of the poisoned porridge
remain untouched.

The more Judith turned the matter over in her head the more sure she
became that the best course, indeed the only one in which safety lay,
was for her to continue to assume to herself the guilt of the attempt
on Coppinger's life. He would see by her interference the second time,
and prevention of his taking a second portion of the arsenic, that she
did not really seek his life, but sought to force him, through
personal fear, to drive her from his house and break the bond by which
he bound her to him. For the sake of this going back from a purpose of
murder, or from thinking that she had never intended to do more than
drive him to a separation by alarm for his own safety; for the sake of
the old love he had borne her, he might forbear pressing this matter
to its bitter consequences, and accept what she desired--their
separation.

But if Judith allowed the truth to come out, then her husband would
have no such compunction. It would be an opportunity for him to get
rid of the boy he detested, and even if he did not have him consigned
to jail, then it would be only because he would send him to an asylum.

Judith went out on the cliffs. The sea was troubled, far as the
horizon, strewn with white horses shaking their manes, pawing and
prancing in their gallop landward. There was no blue, no greenness in
the ocean now. The dull tinctures of winter were in it. The Atlantic
wore its scowl, was leaden and impatient. The foam on the rocks was
driven up in spouts into the air and carried over the downs, it caught
in the thorn bushes like flocks of wool, and was no cleaner. It lay
with the thin melting snow and melted with it into a dirty slush. It
plastered the face of Othello Cottage as though, in brutal insolence,
Ocean had been spitting at the house that was built of the wreck he
had failed to gulp down, though he had chewed the life out of it. The
foam rested in flakes on the rushes where it hung and fluttered like
tufts of cotton-grass. It was dropped about by the wind for miles
inland as though the wind were running in a paper chase. It was as
though sky and sea were contending in a game of pelting the land, the
one with snow, the other with foam, the one sweet, the other salt.
Judith walked where, near the edge of the cliffs, there was no snow,
and looked out at the angry ocean. All without was cold, rugged,
ruffled, wretched; and within her heart burned a fire of apprehension,
distress, almost of despair. All at once she came upon Mr. Desiderius
Mules, walking in an opposite direction, engaged in wiping the
foam-flakes out of his eyes.

"Halloo! you here Mrs. Coppinger?" exclaimed the rector; "glad to see
you. I'm not here like S. Anthony preaching to the fishes, because I
am a practical man. In the first place, in such a disturbed sea the
fishes would have enough to do to look after themselves and would be
ill-disposed to lend me an ear. In the next place the wind is on
shore, and they would not hear me were I to lift up my voice. So I
don't waste words and over-strain my larynx. If the bishop were a mile
or a mile and a half inland, it might be different, he might admire my
zeal. And what brings you here?"

"Oh, Mr. Mules!" exclaimed Judith, with a leap of hope in her
heart--here was someone who might if he would be a help to her. She
had indeed made up her own mind as to what was the safest road on
which to set her feet, but she was timid, shrank from falsehood, and
earnestly craved for someone to whom she could speak, and from whom
she could obtain advice.

"Oh, Mr. Mules! will you give me some advice and assistance?"

"Advice, by all means," said the rector. "I'll turn and walk your way,
the froth is blown into my face and stings it. My skin is sensitive,
so are my eyes. Upon my word, when I get home my face will be as salt
as if I had flooded it with tears--fancy me crying. What did you say
you wanted--advice?"

"Advice and assistance."

"Advice you shall have, it is my profession to give it. I mix it with
pepper and salt and serve it out in soup plates every week--am ready
with it every day, Mrs. Coppinger. I have buckets of it at your
disposal, bring your tureen and I'll tip in as much of the broth as
you want, and may you like it. As to assistance, that is another
matter. Pecuniary assistance I never give. I am unable to do so. My
principles stand in the way. I have set up a high standard for myself
and I stick to it. I never render pecuniary assistance to any one, as
it demoralizes the receiver. I hope and trust it was not pecuniary
assistance you wanted."

"No, Mr. Mules--not that, only guidance."

"Oh, guidance! I'm your sign-post, where do you want to go!"

"It is this, sir. I have given poison to Mr. Coppinger."

"Mercy on me!" the rector jumped back and turned much the tinge of the
foam plasters that were on his face.

"That is to say, I gave him arsenic mixed with his porridge the day
before yesterday, and it made him very ill. Yesterday----"

"Hush, hush!" said Mr. Mules, "no more of this. This is ghastly. Let
us say it is hallucination on your part. You are either not right in
your head or are very wicked. If you please--don't come nearer to me.
I can hear you quite well, hear a great deal more than pleases me.
You ask my advice, and I give it: Sign the register, that will set me
square, and put me in an unassailable position with the public, and
also, secondarily, it will be to your advantage. You are now a
nondescript, and a nondescript is objectionable. If you please--you
will excuse me--I should prefer _not_ standing between you and the
cliff. There is no knowing what a person who confesses to poisoning
her husband might do. If it be a case of lunacy--well, more reason
that I should use precautions. My life is valuable. Come, there is
only one thing you can do to make me comfortable--sign the register."

"You will not mention what I have told you to anyone?"

"Save and defend us! I speak of it!--I! Come, come, be rational. Sign
the register and set my mind at ease, that is all I want and ask for,
and then I wash my hands of you."

Then away went Mr. Desiderius Mules, with the wind catching his coat
tails, twisting them, throwing them up against his back, parting them,
and driving them one on each of him, taking and cutting them and
sending them between his legs.

Judith stood mournfully looking after him. The sign-post, as he had
called himself was flying from the traveller whom it was his duty to
direct.

Then a hand was laid on her arm. She started, turned and saw Oliver
Menaida, flushed with rapid walking and with the fresh air he had
encountered.

"I have come to see you," he said. "I have come to offer you my
father's and my assistance. We have just heard----"

"What?"

"That Captain Coppinger has turned you and Jamie out of his house."

"Have you heard any reason assigned?"

"Because--so it is said--he had beaten the boy, and you were incensed,
angry words passed--and it ended in a rupture."

"That, then, is the common explanation?"

"Everyone is talking about it. Everyone says that. And now, what will
you do?"

"Thank you. Jamie and I are at Othello Cottage, where we are
comfortable. My aunt had furnished it intending to reside in it
herself. As for our food, we receive that from the Glaze."

"But this cannot continue."

"It must continue for a while."

"And then?"

"The future is not open to my eyes."

"Judith, that has taken place at length which I have been long
expecting."

"What do you mean?"

"This miserable condition of affairs has reached its climax, and there
has been a turn."

Judith sighed. "It has taken a turn, indeed."

"Now that Captain Coppinger has been brought to his senses, and he
sees that your resolve is not to be shaken, and he releases you, or
you have released yourself from the thraldom you have been in. I do
not suppose the popular account of the matter is true, wholly."

"It is not at all true."

"That matters not. The fact remains that you are out of Pentyre Glaze
and your own mistress. The snare is broken and you are delivered."

Again Judith sighed, and she shook her head despondingly.

"You are free," persisted Oliver, "just consider. You were hurried
through a marriage when insensible, and when you came to consciousness
you did what was the only thing you could do--you absolutely refused
your signature that would validate what had taken place. That was
conclusive. That ceremony was as worthless as this sea-foam that blows
by. No court in the world would hold that you were bound by it. The
consent, the free consent, of each party in such a convention is
essential. As to your being at Pentyre, nothing against that can be
alleged; Miss Trevisa was your aunt and constituted your guardian by
your father. Your place was by her. To her you went when my father's
house was no longer at your service through my return. At Pentyre you
remained as long as Miss Trevisa was there. She went, and at once you
left the house."

"You do not understand."

"Excuse me, I think I do. But no matter as to details. When your aunt
went, you went also--as was proper under the circumstances. We have
heard, I do not know whether it be true, that your aunt has come in
for a good property."

"For a little something."

"Then, shall you go to her and reside with her?"

"No; she will not have Jamie and me."

"So we supposed. Now my father has a proposal to make. The firm to
which I belong has been good enough to take me into partnership,
esteeming my services far higher than they deserve, and I am to live
at Oporto, and act for them there. As my income will now be far larger
than my humble requirements, I have resolved to allow my dear father
sufficient for him to live upon comfortably where he wills, and he has
elected to follow me, and take up his abode in Portugal. Now what he
has commissioned me to say is--will you go with him? Will you continue
to regard him as Uncle Zachie, and be to him as his dear little niece,
and keep house for him in the sunny southern land?"

Judith's eyes filled with tears.

"And Jamie is included in the invitation. He is to come also, and help
my father to stuff the birds of Portugal. A new ornithological field
is opening before him, he says and he must have help in it."

"I cannot," said Judith, in a low tone, with her head sunk on her
breast. "I cannot leave here till Captain Coppinger gives me leave."

"But, surely, you are no longer bound to him?"

"He holds me faster than before."

"I cannot understand this."

"No; because you do not know all."

"Tell me the whole truth. Let me help you. Let my father help you. You
little know how we both have our hearts in your service."

"Well, I will tell you."

But she hesitated and trembled. She fixed her eyes on the wild,
foaming, leaden sea, and pressed her bosom with both hands.

"I poisoned him."

"Judith!"

"It is true, I gave him arsenic, once; that your father had let me
have for Jamie. If he had taken it the second time, when I offered it
him in his bowl of porridge, he would be dead now. Do you see--he
holds me in his hands and I cannot stir. I could not escape till I
know what he intends to do with me. Now go--leave me to my fate."

"Judith--it is not true! Though I hear this from your lips I will not
believe it. No; you need my father's, you need my help more than
ever." He put her hand to his lips. "It is white--innocent. I _know_
it, in spite of your words."



CHAPTER XLVIII.

TWO ALTERNATIVES.


When Judith returned to Othello Cottage, she was surprised to see a
man promenading around it, flattening his nose at the window, so as to
bring his eyes against the glass, then, finding that the breath from
his nostrils dimmed the pane, wiping the glass and again flattening
his nose. At first he held his hands on the window-ledge, but being
incommoded by the refraction of the light, put his open hands against
the pane, one on each side of his face. Having satisfied himself at
one casement, he went to another, and made the same desperate efforts
to see in at that.

Judith coming up to the door, and putting the key in, disturbed him,
he started, turned, and with a nose much like putty, but rapidly
purpling with returned circulation, disclosed the features of Mr.
Scantlebray, Senior.

"Ah, ha!" said that gentleman, in no way disconcerted; "here I have
you, after having been looking for my orphing charmer in every
direction but the right one. With your favor I will come inside and
have a chat."

"Excuse me," said Judith, "but I do not desire to admit visitors."

"But I am an exception. I'm the man who should have looked after your
interests, and would have done it a deal better than others. And so
there has been a rumpus, eh? What about?"

"I really beg your pardon, Mr. Scantlebray, but I am engaged and
cannot ask you to enter, nor delay conversing with you on the
doorstep."

"Oh, Jimminy! don't consider me. I'll stand on the doorstep and talk
with you inside. Don't consider me; go on with what you have to do and
let me amuse you. It must be dull and solitary here, but I will
enliven you, though I have not my brother's gifts. Now, Obadiah is a
man with a genius for entertaining people. He missed his way when he
started in life; he would have made a comic actor. Bless your simple
heart, had that man appeared on the boards, he would have brought the
house down--"

"I have no doubt whatever he missed his way when he took to keeping an
asylum," said Judith.

"We have all our gifts," said Scantlebray. "Mine is architecture, and
'pon my honor as a gentleman, I do admire the structure of Othello
Cottage, uncommon. You won't object to my pulling out my tape and
taking the plan of the edifice, will you?"

"The house belongs to Captain Coppinger; consult him."

"My dear orphing, not a bit. I'm not on the best terms with that gent.
There lies a tract of ruffled water between us. Not that I have given
him cause for offence, but that he is not sweet upon me. He took off
my hands the management of your affairs in the valuation business, and
let me tell you--between me and you and that post yonder"--he walked
in and laid his hand on a beam--"that he mismanaged it confoundedly.
He is your husband, I am well aware, and I ought not to say this to
you. He took the job into his hands because he had an eye to you, I
knew that well enough. But he hadn't the gift--the faculty. Now I have
made all that sort of thing my specialty. How many rooms have you in
this house? What does that door lead to?"

"Really, Mr. Scantlebray, you must excuse me; I am busy."

"O, yes--vastly busy. Walking on the cliffs, eh! Alone, eh? Well, mum
is the word. Come, make me your friend and tell me all about it. How
came you here? There are all kind of stories afloat about the quarrel
between you and your husband, and he is an Eolus, a Blustering Boreas,
all the winds in one box. Not surprised. He blew up a gale against me
once. Domestic felicity is a fable of the poets. Home is a region of
cyclones, tornadoes, hurricanes--what you like; anything but a Pacific
Ocean. Now, you won't mind my throwing an eye round this house, will
you--a scientific eye? Architecture is my passion."

"Mr. Scantlebray, that is my bedroom; I forbid you touching the
handle. Excuse me--but I must request you to leave me in peace."

"My dear creature," said Scantlebray, "scientific thirst before all.
It is unslakable save by the acquisition of what it desires. The
structure of this house, as well as its object, has always been a
puzzle to me. So your aunt was to have lived here--the divine, the
fascinating Dionysia, as I remember her years ago. It wasn't built for
the lovely Dionysia, was it? No. Then for what object was it built?
And why so long untenanted? These are nuts for you to crack."

"I do not trouble myself about these questions. I must pray you to
depart."

"In half the twinkle of an eye," said Scantlebray. Then he seated
himself. "Come, you haven't a superabundance of friends. Make me one
and unburden your soul to me. What is it all about? Why are you here?
What has caused this squabble? I have a brother a solicitor at Bodmin.
Let me jot down the items, and we'll get a case out of it. Trust me as
a friend, and I'll have you righted. I hear Miss Trevisa has come in
for a fortune. Be a good girl, set your back against her and show
fight."

"I will thank you to leave the house," said Judith, haughtily. "A
moment ago you made reference to your honor as a gentleman. I must
appeal to that same honor which you pride yourself on possessing, and,
by virtue of that, request you to depart."

"I'll go, I'll go. But, my dear child, why are you in such a hurry to
get rid of me? Are you expecting some one? It is an odd thing, but as
I came along I was overtaken by Mr. Oliver Menaida, making his way to
the downs--to look at the sea, which is rough, and inhale the breeze
of the ocean, of course. At one time, I am informed, you made daily
visits to Polzeath, daily visits while Captain Coppinger was on the
sea. Since his return, I am informed, these visits have been
discontinued. Is it possible that instead of your visiting Mr. Oliver,
Mr. Oliver is now visiting you--here, in this cottage?"

A sudden slash across the back and shoulders made Mr. Scantlebray jump
and bound aside. Coppinger had entered, and was armed with a stout
walking-stick.

"What brings you here?" he asked.

"I came to pay my respects to the grass-widow," sneered Scantlebray,
as he sidled to the door and bolted, but not till, with a face full of
malignity, he had shaken his fist at Coppinger, behind his back.

"What brings this man here?" asked the Captain.

"Impertinence--nothing else," answered Judith.

"What was that he said about Oliver Menaida?"

"His insolence will not bear reporting."

"You are right. He is a cur, and deserves to be kicked, not spoken to
or spoken of. I heed him not. There is in him a grudge against me. He
thought at one time that I would have taken his daughter--do you
recall speaking to me once about the girl that you supposed was a fit
mate for me! I laughed--I thought you had heard the chatter about
Polly Scantlebray and me. A bold, fine girl, full of blood as a cherry
is full of juice--one of the stock--but with better looks than the
men, yet with the assurance, the effrontery of her father. A girl to
laugh and talk with, not to take to one's heart. I care for Polly
Scantlebray! Not I! That man has never forgiven me the disappointment
because I did not take her. I never intended to. I despised her. Now
you know all. Now you see why he hates me. I do not care. I am his
match. But I will not have him insolent to you. What did he say?"

It was a relief to Judith that Captain Coppinger had not heard the
words that Mr. Scantlebray had used. They would have inflamed his
jealousy, and fired him into fury against the speaker.

"He told me that he had been passed, on his way hither, by Mr. Oliver
Menaida, coming to the cliffs to inhale the sea air and look at the
angry ocean."

Captain Coppinger was satisfied, or pretended to be so. He went to the
door and shut it, but not till he had gone outside and looked round to
see, so Judith thought, whether Oliver Menaida were coming that way,
quite as much as to satisfy himself that Mr. Scantlebray was not
lurking round a corner listening.

No! Oliver Menaida would not come there. Of that Judith was quite
sure. He had the delicacy of mind and the good sense not to risk her
reputation by approaching Othello Cottage. When he had made that offer
to her she had known that his own heart spoke, but he had veiled its
speech and had made the offer as from his father, and in such a way as
not to offend her. Only when she had accused herself of attempted
murder did he break through his reserve to show her his rooted
confidence in her innocence, in spite of her confession.

When the door was fast, Coppinger came over to Judith, and, standing
at a little distance from her, said:

"Judith, look at me."

She raised her eyes to him. He was pale and his face lined, but he had
recovered greatly since that day when she had seen him suffering from
the effects of the poison.

"Judith," said he, "I know all."

"What do you know?"

"You did not poison me."

"I mixed and prepared the bowl for you."

"Yes--but the poison had been put into the oatmeal before, not by you,
not with your knowledge."

She was silent. She was no adept at lying; she could not invent
another falsehood to convince him of her guilt.

"I know how it all came about," pursued Captain Coppinger. "The cook,
Jane, has told me. Jamie came into the kitchen with a blue paper in
his hand, asked for the oatmeal, and put in the contents of the paper
so openly as not in the least to arouse suspicion. Not till I was
taken ill and made inquiries did the woman connect his act with what
followed. I have found the blue paper, and on it it is written, in Mr.
Menaida's handwriting, which I know, 'Arsenic. Poison: for Jamie, only
to be used for the dressing of bird-skins, and a limited amount to be
served to him at a time.' Now I am satisfied, because I know your
character, and because I saw innocence in your manner when you came
down to me on the second occasion, and dashed the bowl from my lips--I
saw then that you were innocent."

Judith said nothing. Her eyes rested on the ground.

"I had angered that fool of a boy, I had beaten him. In a fit of
sullen revenge, and without calculating either how best to do it, or
what the consequences would be, he went to the place where he knew the
arsenic was--Mr. Menaida had impressed on him the danger of playing
with the poison--and he abstracted it. But he had not the wit or
cunning generally present in idiots----"

"He is no idiot," said Judith.

"No, in fools," said Coppinger, "to put the poison into the oatmeal
secretly when no one was in the kitchen. He asked the cook for the
meal and mingled the contents of the paper into it so openly as to
disarm suspicion."

He paused for Judith to speak, but she did not.

He went on: "Then you, in utter guilelessness, prepared my breakfast
for me, as instructed by Miss Trevisa. Next morning you did the same,
but were either suspicious of evil through missing the paper from your
cabinet, or drawer, or wherever you kept it, or else Jamie confessed
to you what he had done. Thereupon you rushed to me to save me from
taking another portion. I do not know that I would have taken it; I
had formed a half-suspicion from the burning sensation in my throat,
and from what I saw in the spoon--but there was no doubt in my mind
after the first discovery that you were guiltless. I sought the whole
matter out, as far as I was able. Jamie is guilty--not you."

"And," said Judith, drawing a long breath, "what about Jamie?"

"There are two alternatives," said Coppinger; "the boy is dangerous.
Never again shall he come under my roof."

"No," spoke Judith, "no, he must not go to the Glaze again. Let him
remain here with me. I will take care of him that he does mischief to
no one. He would never have hurt you had not you hurt him. Forgive
him, because he was aggravated to it by the unjust and cruel treatment
he received."

"The boy is a mischievous idiot," said Coppinger; "he must not be
allowed to be at large."

"What, then, are your alternatives?"

"In the first place, I propose to send him back to that establishment
whence he should never have been released, to Scantlebray's Asylum."

"No--no--no!" gasped Judith. "You do not know what that place is. I
do. I got into it. I saw how Jamie had been treated."

"He cannot be treated too severely. He is dangerous. You refuse this
alternative?"

"Yes, indeed, I do."

"Very well. Then I put the matter in the hands of justice, and he is
proceeded against and convicted as having attempted my life with
poison. To jail he will go."

It was as Judith had feared. There were but two destinations for
Jamie, her dear, dear brother, the son of that blameless father--jail
or an asylum.

"Oh, no! no--no! not that!" cried Judith.

"One or the other. I give you six hours to choose," said Coppinger.
Then he went to the door, opened it, and stood looking seaward.
Suddenly he started, "Ha! the Black Prince." He turned in the door and
said to Judith: "One hour after sunset come to Pentyre Glaze. Come
alone, and tell me your decision. I will wait for that."



CHAPTER XLIX.

NOTHING LIKE GROG.


The Black Prince had been observed by Oliver Menaida. He did not know
for certain that the vessel he saw in the offing was the smuggler's
ship, but he suspected it, as he knew that Coppinger was in daily
expectation of her arrival. He brought his father to the cliffs, and
the old man at once identified her.

Oliver considered what was to be done.

A feint was to be made at a point lower down the coast so as to
attract the coast-guard in that direction; whereas, she was to run for
Pentyre as soon as night fell, with all lights hidden, and to
discharge her cargo in the little cove.

Oliver knew pretty well who was confederate with Coppinger, or were in
his employ. His father was able to furnish him with a good deal of
information, not perhaps very well authenticated, all resting on
gossip. He resolved to have a look at these men, and observe whether
they were making preparations to assist Coppinger in clearing the
Black Prince the moment she arrived off the cove. But he found that he
had not far to look. They were drawn to the cliffs one after another
to observe the distant vessel.

Oliver now made his way to the coast-guard station, and to reach it
went round by Wadebridge, and this he did because he wished to avoid
being noticed going to the Preventive Station across the estuary at
the Doom Bar above St. Enodoc. On reaching his destination he was
shown into an ante-room, where he had to wait some minutes, because
the captain happened to be engaged. He had plenty to occupy his mind.
There was that mysterious confession of Judith that she had tried to
poison the man who persisted in considering himself as her husband, in
spite of her resistance, and who was holding her in a condition of
bondage in his house. Oliver did not for a moment believe that she
had intentionally sought his life. He had seen enough of her to gauge
her character, and he knew that she was incapable of committing a
crime. That she might have given poison in ignorance and by accident
was possible; how this had happened it was in vain for him to attempt
to conjecture; he could, however, quite believe that an innocent and
sensitive conscience like that of Judith might feel the pangs of
self-reproach when hurt had come to Coppinger through her negligence.

Oliver could also believe that the smuggler captain attributed her act
to an evil motive. He was not the man to believe in guilelessness, and
when he found that he had been partly poisoned by the woman whom he
daily tortured almost to madness, he would at once conclude that a
premeditated attempt had been made on his life. What course would he
pursue? Would he make this wretched business public and bring a
criminal action against the unfortunate and unhappy girl who was
linked to him against her will?

Oliver saw that if he could obtain Coppinger's arrest on some such a
charge as smuggling, he might prevent this scandal, and save Judith
from much humiliation and misery. He was therefore most desirous to
effect the capture of Coppinger at once and _flagrante delicto_.

As he waited in the ante-room a harsh voice within was audible which
he recognized as that of Mr. Scantlebray. Presently the door was half
opened, and he heard the coast-guard captain say:

"I trust you rewarded the fellow for his information. You may apply to
me----"

"O royally, royally."

"And for furnishing you with the code of signals?"

"Imperially--imperially."

"That is well--never underpay in these matters."

"Do not fear! I emptied my pockets. And as to the information you have
received through me--rely on it as you would on the Bank of England."

"You have been deceived and befooled," said Oliver, unable to resist
the chance of delivering a slap at a man for whom he entertained a
peculiar aversion, having heard much concerning him from his father.

"What do you mean?"

"That the shilling you gave the clerk for his information, and the
half-crown for his signal table were worth what you got--the
information was false, and was intended to mislead."

Scantlebray colored purple. "What do you know? You know nothing. You
are in league with them."

"Take care what you say," said Oliver.

"I maintain," said Scantlebray, somewhat cowed by his demeanor, "that
what I have said to the captain here is something of which you know
nothing--and which is of importance to him to know."

"And I maintain that you have been hoodwinked," answered Oliver. "But
it matters not. The event will prove which of us is on the right
track."

"Yes," laughed Scantlebray, "so be it; and let me bet you, Captain,
and you Mr. Oliver Menaida--that I am on the scent of something else.
I believe I know where Coppinger keeps his stores, and--but you shall
see, and Captain Cruel also, ha, ha!"

Rubbing his hands he went out.

Then Oliver begged a word with the Preventive captain, and told him
what he had overheard, and also that he knew where was the cave in
which the smugglers had their boat and to which they ran the cargo
first, before removing it to their inland stores.

"I'm not so certain the Black Prince dare venture nigh the coast
to-night," said the Captain, "because of the sea and the on-shore
wind. But the glass is rising and the wind may change. Then she'll
risk it for certain. Now, look you here. I can't go with you myself
to-night, because I must be here; and I can only let you have six
men."

"That will suffice."

"Under Wyvill. I cannot, of course, put them under you, but Wyvill
shall command. He bears a grudge against Coppinger, and will be
rejoiced to have the chance of paying it out. But, mind you, it is
possible that the Black Prince dare not run in, because of the
weather, at Pentyre Cove, she may run somewhere else, either down the
coast or higher up. Coppinger has other ovens than one. You know the
term. His store-places are ovens. We can't find them, but we know that
there are several of them along the coast, just as there are a score
of landing-places. When one is watched, then another is used, and
that is how we are thrown out. There are plenty of folk interested in
defrauding the revenue in every parish between Hartland and Land's
End, and let the Black Prince, or any other smuggling vessel appear
where she will, there she has ready helpers to shore her cargo, and
convey it to the ovens. When we appear it is signalled at once to the
vessel, and she runs away up or down the coast, and discharges
somewhere else, before we can reach the point. Now, I do not say that
what you tell me is not true, and that it is not Coppinger's intent to
land the goods in the Pentyre Cove, but if we are smelt, or if the
wind or sea forbid a landing there, away goes the Black Prince and
runs her cargo somewhere else. That is why I cannot accompany you, nor
can I send you with more than half a dozen men. I must be on the look
out, and I must be prepared in the event of her coming suddenly back
and attempting to land her goods at Porth-leze, or Constantine, or
Harlyn. What you shall do is--remain here with me till near dusk, and
then you shall have a boat and my men and get round Pentyre, and you
shall take possession of that cave. You shall take with you provisions
for twenty-four hours. If the Black Prince intends to make that bay
and discharge there, then she will wait her opportunity. If she cannot
to-night, she will to-morrow night. Now, seize every man who comes
into that cave, and don't let him out. You see?"

"Perfectly."

"Very well. Wyvill shall be in command, and you shall be the guide,
and I will speak to him to pay proper attention to what you recommend.
You see?"

"Exactly."

"Very well--now we shall have something to eat and to drink, which is
better, and drink that is worth the drinking, which is best of all.
Here is some cognac, it was run goods that we captured and
confiscated. Look at it. I wish there were artificial light and you
would see, it is liquid amber--a liqueur. When you've tasted that,
ah-ha! you will say, 'Glad I lived to this moment.' There is all the
difference, my boy, between your best cognac and common brandy--the
one, the condensed sunshine in the queen of fruit sublimed to an
essence; the other, coarse, raw fire--all the difference that there is
between a princess of blood royal and a gypsy wench. Drink and do not
fear. This is not the stuff to smoke the head and clog the stomach."

When Oliver Menaida finally started, he left the first officer of the
coast-guard, in spite of his assurances, somewhat smoky in brain, and
not in the condition to form the clearest estimate of what should be
done in a contingency. The boat was laden with provisions for
twenty-four hours, and placed under the command of Wyvill.

The crew had not rowed far before one of them sang out:

"Gearge!"

"Aye, aye, mate!" responded Wyvill.

"I say, Gearge. Be us a going round Pentyre?"

"I reckon we be."

"And wet to the marrowbone we shall be."

"I reckon we shall."

Then a pause in the conversation. Presently from another, "Gearge!"

"Aye, aye, Will!"

"I say Gearge! where be the spirits to? There's a keg o' water, but
sure alive the spirits be forgotten."

"Bless my body!" exclaimed Wyvill, "I reckon you're right. Here's a
go."

"It will never do for us to be twenty-four hours wi' salt water
outside of us and fresh wi'in," said Will. "What's a hat wi'out a head
in it, or boots wi'out feet in 'em, or a man wi'out spirits in his
in'ard parts?"

"Dear, alive! 'Tis a nuisance," said Wyvill. "Who's been the idiot to
forget the spirits?"

"Gearge!"

"Aye, aye, Samson!"

"I say, Gearge! hadn't us better run over to the Rock and get a little
anker there?"

"I reckon it wouldn't be amiss, mate," responded Wyvill. To Oliver's
astonishment and annoyance, the boat was turned to run across to a
little tavern, at what was called "The Rock."

He remonstrated. This was injudicious and unnecessary.

"Onnecessary," said Wyvill. "Why, you don't suppose fire-arms will go
off wi'out a charge? It's the same wi' men. What's the good of a human
being unless he be loaded--and what's his proper load but a drop o'
spirits."

Then one of the rowers sang out:

    "Water-drinkers are dull asses
      When they're met together.
    Milk is meat for infancy;
    Ladies like to sip Bohea;
    Not such stuff for you and me,
      When we're met together."

Oliver was not surprised that so few captures were effected on the
coast, when those set to watch it loved so dearly the very goods they
were to watch against being imported untaxed.

On reaching the shore, the man Samson and another were left in charge
of the boat, while Wyvill, Will, and the rest went up to the Rock Inn
to have a glass for the good of the house, and to lade themselves with
an anker of brandy which, during their wait in the cave, was to be
distributed among them. Oliver thought it well to go to the tavern as
well. He was impatient and thought they would dawdle there, and,
perhaps, take more than the nip to which they professed themselves
content to limit themselves. Pentyre Point had to be rounded in rough
water, and they must be primed to enable them to round Pentyre.

"You see," said Wyvill, who seemed to suppose that some sort of an
explanation of his conduct was due. "When ropes be dry they be
terrible slack. Wet 'em and they are taut. It is the same wi' men's
muscles. We've Pentyre Point to get round. Very strainin' to the arms,
and I reckon it couldn't be done unless we wetted the muscles. That's
reason. That's convincin'."

At the Rock Tavern the Preventive men found the clerk of S. Enodoc,
with his hands in his pockets, on the settle, his legs stretched out
before him, considering one of his knees that was threadbare, and
trying to make up his mind whether the trouser would hold out another
day without a thread being run through the thin portion, and whether
if a day, then perhaps two days, and if perchance for two days, then
for three. But if for three, then why not for four! And if for four,
then possibly for five--anyhow, as far as he could judge, there was no
immediate call for him to have the right knee of his trouser repaired
that day.

The sexton-clerk looked up when the party entered, and greeted them
each man by name, and a conversation ensued relative to the weather.
Each described his own impressions as to what the weather had been,
and his anticipations as to what it would be.

"And how's your missus?"

"Middlin'--and yours?"

"Same, thanky'. A little troubled wi' the rheumatics."

"Tell her to take a lump o' sugar wi' five drops o' turpentine."

"I will, thanky"--and so on for half an hour, at the end of which time
the party thought it time to rise, wipe their mouths, shoulder the
anker, and return to the boat.

No sooner were they in it, and had thrust off from shore, and prepared
to make a second start, than Oliver touched Wyvill and said, pointing
to the land, "Look yonder."

"What!"

"There is that clerk. Running, actually running."

"I reckon he be."

"And in the direction of Pentyre."

"So he be, I reckon."

"And what do you think of that?"

"Nothing," answered Wyvill, confusedly. "Why should I? He can't say
nothing about where we be going. Not a word of that was said while us
was there. I don't put no store on his running."

"I do," said Oliver, unable to smother his annoyance. "This folly will
spoil our game."

Wyvill muttered, "I reckon I'm head of the consarn and not you."

Oliver deemed it advisable, as the words were said low, to pretend
that he did not hear them.

The wind had somewhat abated, but the sea was running furiously round
Pentyre. Happily the tide was going out, so that tide and wind were
conflicting, and this enabled the rowers to get round Pentyre between
the Point and the Newland Isle, that broke the force of the seas. But
when past the shelter of Newland, doubling a spur of Pentyre that ran
to the north, the rowers had to use their utmost endeavors, and had
not their muscles been moistened they might possibly have declared it
impossible to proceed. It was advisable to run into the cove just
after dark, and before the turn of the tide, as, in the event of the
Black Prince attempting to land her cargo there, it would be made with
the flow of the tide, and in the darkness.

The cove was reached and found to be deserted. Oliver showed the way,
and the boat was driven up on the shingle and conveyed into the
smugglers' cave behind the rock curtain. No one was there. Evidently,
from the preparations made, the smugglers were ready for the run of
the cargo that night.

"Now," said Will, one of the Preventive men, "us hev' a' labored
uncommon. What say you, mates? Does us desarve a drop of refreshment
or does us not? Every man as does his dooty by his country and his
king should be paid for 't, is my doctrine. What do y' say, Gearge?
Sarve out the grog?"

"I reckon yes. Sarve out the grog. There's nothing like grog--I think
it was Solomon said that, and he was the wisest of men."

"For sure; he made a song about it," said one of the coast-guard. "It
begins:

    "'A plague of those musty old lubbers,
      Who tell us to fast and to think.
    And patient fall in with life's rubbers,
      With nothing but water to drink.'"

"To be sure," responded Wyvill, "never was a truer word said than when
Solomon was called the wisest o' men."



CHAPTER L.

PLAYING FORFEITS.


"Here am I once more," said Mr. Scantlebray, walking into Othello
Cottage with a rap at the door but without waiting for an invitation
to enter. "Come back like the golden summer, but at a quicker rate.
How are you all? I left you rather curtly--without having had time to
pay my proper _congé_."

Judith and Jamie were sitting over the fire. No candle had been
lighted, for, though a good many things had been brought over to
Othello Cottage for their use, candles had been forgotten, and Judith
did not desire to ask for more than was furnished her, certainly not
to go to the Glaze for the things needed. They had a fire, but not one
that blazed. It was of drift-wood, that smouldered and would not
flame, and as it burned emitted a peculiar odor.

Jamie was in good spirits, he chattered and laughed, and Judith made
pretence that she listened, but her mind was absent, she had cares
that had demands on every faculty of her mind. Moreover, now and then
her thoughts drifted off to a picture that busy fancy painted and
dangled before them--of Portugal, with its woods of oranges, golden
among the burnished leaves, and its vines hung with purple
grapes--with its glowing sun, its blue glittering sea--and, above all,
she mused on the rest from fears, the cessation from troubles which
would have ensued, had there been a chance for her to accept the offer
made, and to have left the Cornish coast for ever.

Looking into the glowing ashes, listening to her thoughts as they
spoke, and seeming to attend to the prattle of the boy, Judith was
surprised by the entry of Mr. Scantlebray.

"There--disengaged, that is capital," said the agent. "The very thing
I hoped. And now we can have a talk. You have never understood that I
was your sincere friend. You have turned from me and looked elsewhere,
and now you suffer for it. But I am like all the best metal--strong
and bright to the last; and see--I have come to you now to forewarn
you, because I thought that if it came on you all at once there would
be trouble and bother."

"Thank you, Mr. Scantlebray. It is true that we are not busy just now,
but it does not follow that we are disposed for a talk. It is growing
dark, and we shall lock up the cottage and go to bed."

"Oh, I will not detain you long. Besides I'll take the wish out of
your heart for bed in one jiffy. Look here--read this. Do you know the
handwriting?"

He held out a letter. Judith reluctantly took it. She had risen; she
had not asked Scantlebray to take a seat.

"Yes," she said, "that is the writing of Captain Coppinger."

"A good bold hand," said the agent, "and see here is his seal with his
motto, _Thorough_. You know that?"

"Yes--it is his seal."

"Now read it."

Judith knelt at the hearth.

"Blow, blow the fire up, my beauty," called Scantlebray to Jamie.
"Don't you see that your sister wants light, and is running the risk
of blinding her sweet pretty eyes." Jamie puffed vigorously and sent
out sparks snapping and blinking, and brought the wood to a white
glow, by which Judith was able to decipher the letter.

It was a formal order from Cruel Coppinger to Mr. Obadiah Scantlebray
to remove James Trevisa that evening, after dark, from Othello Cottage
to his idiot asylum, to remain there in custody till further notice.
Judith remained kneeling, with her eyes on the letter, after she had
read it. She was considering. It was clear to her that directly after
leaving her Captain Coppinger had formed his own resolve, either
impatient of waiting the six hours he had allowed her, or because he
thought the alternative of the Asylum the only one that could be
accepted by her, and it was one that would content himself, as the
only one that avoided exposure of a scandal. But there were other
asylums than that of Scantlebray, and others were presumably better
managed, and those in charge less severe in their dealings. She had
considered this, as she looked into the fire. But a new idea had also
at the same time lightened in her mind, and she had a third
alternative to propose.

She had been waiting for the moment when to go to the Glaze and see
Coppinger, and just at the moment when she was about to send Jamie to
bed and leave the house Scantlebray came in.

"Now then," said the agent, "what do you think of me--that I am a real
friend?"

"I thank you for having told me this," answered Judith, "and now I
will go to Pentyre. I beg that you will not allow my brother to be
conveyed away during my absence. Wait till I return. Perhaps Captain
Coppinger may not insist on the removal at once. If you are a real
friend, as you profess, you will do this for me."

"I will do it willingly. That I am a real friend I have shown you by
my conduct. I have come beforehand to break news to you which might
have been too great and too overwhelming had it come on you suddenly.
My brother and a man or two will be here in an hour. Go by all means
to Captain Cruel, but," Scantlebray winked an eye, "I don't myself
think you will prevail with him."

"I will thank you to remain here for half an hour with Jamie," said
Judith, coldly. "And to stay all proceedings till my return. If I
succeed--well. If not, then only a few minutes have been lost. I have
that to say to Captain Coppinger which may, and I trust will, lead him
to withdraw that order."

"Rely on me. I am a rock on which you may build," said Scantlebray. "I
will do my best to entertain your brother, though, alas! I have not
the abilities of Obadiah, who is a genius, and can keep folks hour by
hour going from one roar of laughter into another."

No sooner was Judith gone than Scantlebray put his tongue into one
side of his cheek, clicked, pointed over his shoulder with his thumb,
and seated himself opposite Jamie on the stool beside the fire which
had been vacated by Judith. Jamie had understood nothing of the
conversation that had taken place, his name had not been mentioned,
and consequently his attention had not been drawn to it away from some
chestnuts he had found, or which had been given to him, that he was
baking in the ashes on the hearth.

"Fond of hunting, eh?" asked Scantlebray, stretching his legs and
rubbing his hands. "You are like me--like to be in at the death. What
do you suppose I have in my pocket? Why, a fox with a fiery tail.
Shall we run him to earth? Shall we make an end of him? Tally-ho!
Tally-ho! here he is. Oh, sly Reynard, I have you by the ears." And
forth from the tail-pocket of his coat Scantlebray produced a bottle
of brandy. "What say you, corporal, shall we drink his blood? Bring me
a couple of glasses and I'll pour out his gore."

"I haven't any," said Jamie. "Ju and I have two mugs, that is all."

"And they will do famously. Here goes--off with the mask!" and with a
blow he knocked away the head and cork of the bottle. "No more running
away for you, my beauty, except down our throats. Mugs! That is
famous. Come, shall we play at army and navy, and the forfeit be a
drink of Reynard's blood?"

Jamie pricked up his ears; he was always ready for a game of play.

"Look here," said Scantlebray. "You are in the military, I am in the
nautical line. Each must address the other by some title in accordance
with the profession each professes, and the forfeit of failure is a
pull at the bottle. What do you say! I will begin. Set the bottle
there between us. Now then, Sergeant, they tell me your aunt has come
in for a fortune. How much? What is the figure, eh?"

"I don't know," responded Jamie, and was at once caught up with
"Forfeit! forfeit!"

"Oh, by Jimminy, there am I, too, in the same box. Take your swig,
Commander, and pass to me."

"But what am I to call you?" asked the puzzle-headed boy.

"Mate, or captain, or boatswain, or admiral."

"I can't remember all that."

"Mate will do. Always say mate, whatever you ask or answer. Do you
understand, General!"

"Yes."

"Forfeit! forfeit! You should have said 'Yes, mate.'" Mr. Scantlebray
put his hands to his sides and laughed. "Oh, Jimminy! there am I
again. The instructor as bad as the pupil. I'm a bad fellow as
instructor, that I am, Field-Marshal. So--your Aunt Dionysia has come
in for some thousands of pounds--how many do you think! Have you
heard?"

"I think I've heard----"

"Mate! Mate!"

"I think I've heard, Mate."

"Now, how many do you remember to have heard named? Was it five
thousand? That is what I heard named--eh, Captain?"

"Oh, more than that," said Jamie, in his small mind catching at a
chance of talking-big, "a great lot more than that."

"What, ten thousand?"

"I dare say; yes, I think so."

"Forfeit! forfeit! pull again, Centurion."

"Yes, Mate, I'm sure."

"Ten thousand--why, at five per cent. that's a nice little sum for you
and Ju to look forward to when the old hull springs a leak and goes to
the bottom."

"Yes," answered Jamie, vaguely. He could not look beyond the day,
moreover he did not understand the figurative speech of his comrade.

"Forfeit again, General! But I'll forgive you this time, or you'll get
so drunk you'll not be able to answer me a question. Bless my legs and
arms! on that pretty little sum one could afford one's self a new tie
every Sunday. You will prove a beau and buck indeed some day, Captain
of Thousands! And then you won't live in this little hole. By the way,
I hear old Dunes Trevisa, I beg pardon, Field-Marshal Sir James, I
mean your much respected aunt, Miss Trevisa, has got a charming box
down by S. Austell. You'll ask me down for the shooting, won't you,
Commander-in-Chief?"

"Yes, I will," answered Jamie.

"And you'll give me the best bedroom, and will have choice dinners,
and the best old tawny port, eh?"

"Yes, to be sure," said the boy, flattered.

"Mate! mate! forfeit! and I suppose you'll keep a hunter?"

"I shall have two--three," said Jamie.

"And if I were you, I'd keep a pack of fox-hounds."

"I will."

"That's for the winter, and other hounds for the summer."

"I am sure I will, and wear a red coat."

"Famous! but--there I spare you this time--you forfeited again."

"No, I won't be spared," protested the boy.

"As for a wretched little hole like this Othello Cottage----" said
Scantlebray. "But, by the bye, you have never shown me over the house.
How many rooms are there in it, Generalissimo of His Majesty's
Forces!"

"There's my bedroom there," said Jamie.

"Yes; and that door leads to your sister's?"

"Yes. And there's the kitchen."

"And up-stairs!"

"There's no up-stairs."

"Now, you are very clever--clever. By Ginger, you must be to be
Commander-in-chief; but 'pon my word, I can't believe that. No
up-stairs. There must be up-stairs."

"No, there's not."

"But by Jimminy! with such a roof as this house has got, and a little
round window in the gable. There must be an up-stairs."

"No there's not."

"How do you make that out?"

"Because there are no stairs at all." Then Jamie jumped up, but rolled
on one side, the brandy he had drunk had made him unsteady. "I'll show
you mate--mate--yes, mate. There three times now will do for times I
haven't said it. There--in my room. The floor is rolling; it won't
stay steady. There are cramps in the wall, no stairs, and so you get
up to where it all is."

"All what is?"

"Forfeit, forfeit!" shouted Jamie. "Say general or something military.
I don't know. Ju won't let me go up there; but there's tobacco, for
one thing."

"Where's a candle, Corporal?"

"There is none. We have no light but the fire." Then Jamie dropped
back on his stool, unable to keep his legs.

"I am more provident than you. I have a lantern outside, unlighted, as
I thought I might need it on my return. The nights close in very fast
and very dark now, eh, Commander?"

Mr. Scantlebray went outside the cottage, looked about him, specially
directing his eyes toward the Glaze. Then he chuckled and said:

"Sent Miss Judith on a wild goose chase, have I? Ah ha! Captain
Coppinger, I'll have a little entertainment for you to-night. The
preventives will snatch your goods at Porth-leze or Constantine, and
here--behind your back--I'll attend to your store of tobacco and
whatever else I may find."

Then he returned and going to the fire extracted the candle from the
lantern and lighted it at a burning log.

"Halloa, Captain of thousands! Going to sleep? There's the bottle. You
must make up forfeits. You've been dishonest I fear and not paid half.
That door did you say?"

But Jamie was past understanding a question, and Mr. Scantlebray could
find out for himself now what he wanted to know. That this house had
been used by Coppinger as a store for some of the smuggled cargoes he
had long suspected, but he had never been able to obtain any evidence
which would justify the coast-guard in applying to the justices for a
search-warrant. Now he would be able to look about it at his leisure,
while Judith was absent. He did not suppose Coppinger was at the
Glaze. He assumed that an attempt would be made, as the clerk of St.
Enodoc had informed him, to land the cargo of the Black Prince to the
west of the estuary of the Camel, and he supposed that Coppinger would
be there to superintend. He had used the letter sent to his brother to
induce the girl to go to Pentyre, and so leave the cottage clear for
him to search it.

Now, holding the candle, he entered the bedroom of Jamie, and soon
perceived the cramps the boy had spoken of that served in place of
stairs. Above was a door into the attic, whitewashed over, like the
walls. Mr. Scantlebray climbed, thrust open the door and crept into
the garret.

"Ah, ha!" said the valuer. "So, so, Captain! I have come on one of
your lairs at last. And I reckon I will make it warm for you. But, by
Ginger, it is a pity I can't remove some of what is here."

He prowled about in the roomy loft, searching every corner. There were
a few small kegs of spirit, but the stores were mostly of tobacco.

In about ten minutes Mr. Scantlebray reappeared in the room where was
Jamie. He was without his candle. The poor boy, overcome by what he
had drunk, had fallen on the floor and was in a tipsy sleep.

Scantlebray went to him.

"Come along with me," he said. "Come, there is no time to be lost.
Come, you fool!"

He shook him, but Jamie would not be roused, he kicked and struck out
with his fists.

"You won't come? I'll make you."

Then Scantlebray caught the boy by the shoulders to drag him to the
door. The child began to struggle and resist.

"Oh! I'm not concerned for you, fool," said Scantlebray. "If you like
to stay and take your chance--my brother will be here to carry you off
presently. Will you come?"

Scantlebray caught the boy by the feet and tried to drag him, but
Jamie clung to the table-legs.

Scantlebray uttered an oath--"Stay, you fool, and be smothered! The
world will get on very well without you."

And he strode forth from the cottage.



CHAPTER LI.

SURRENDER.


Scantlebray was mistaken. Coppinger had not crossed the estuary of the
Camel. He was at Pentyre Glaze awaiting the time when the tide suited
for landing the cargo of the Black Prince. In the kitchen were a
number of men having their supper and drinking, waiting also for the
proper moment when to issue forth.

At the turn of the tide the Black Prince would approach in the
gathering darkness and would come as near in as she dare venture. The
wind had fallen, but the sea was running, and with the tide setting in
she would approach the cove.

Judith hastened toward the Glaze. Darkness had set in, but in the
north were auroral lights, first a great, white halo, then rays that
shot up to the zenith, and then a mackerel sky of rosy light. The
growl and mutter of the sea filled the air with threat like an angry
multitude surging on with blood and destruction in their hearts.

The flicker overhead gave Judith light for her cause; the snow had
melted except in ditches and under hedges, and there it glared red or
white in response to the changing, luminous tinges of the heavens.
When she reached the house she at once entered the hall; there
Coppinger was awaiting her. He knew she would come to him when her
mind was made up on the alternatives he had offered her, and he
believed he knew pretty surely which she would choose. It was because
he expected her that he had not suffered the men collected for the
work of the night to invade the hall.

"You are here," he said. He was seated by the fire; he looked up, but
did not rise. "Almost too late."

"Almost, maybe, but not altogether," answered Judith. "And yet it
seems unnecessary, as you have already acted without awaiting my
decision."

"What makes you say that?"

"I have been shown your letter."

"Oh! Obadiah Scantlebray is premature."

"He is not at Othello Cottage yet. His brother came beforehand to
prepare me."

"How considerate of your feelings," sneered Captain Cruel. "I would
not have expected that of Scantlebray."

"You have not awaited my decision," said Judith.

"That is true," answered Coppinger, carelessly. "I knew you would
shrink from the exposure, the disgrace of publication of what has
occurred here. I knew you so well that I could reckon beforehand on
what you would elect."

"But, why to Scantlebray? Are there not other asylums?"

"Yes: so long as that boy is placed where he can do no mischief, I
care not."

"Then, if that be so, I have another proposal to make."

"What is that?" Coppinger stood up.

"If you have any regard for my feelings, any care for my happiness,
you will grant my request."

"Let me hear it."

"Mr. Menaida is going to Portugal."

"What!"--in a tone of concentrated rage--"Oliver?"

"Oliver and his father. But the proposal concerns the father."

"Go on." Coppinger strode once across the room, then back again. "Go
on," he said, savagely.

"Old Mr. Menaida offers to take Jamie with him. He intends to settle
at Oporto, near his son, who has been appointed to a good situation
there. He will gladly undertake the charge of Jamie. Let Jamie go with
them. There he can do no harm."

"What, go--without you! Did they not want you to go, also?"

Judith hesitated and flushed. There was a single tallow candle on the
table. Coppinger took it up, snuffed it, and held the flame to her
face to study its expression. "I thought so," he said, and put down
the light again.

"Jamie is useful to Mr. Menaida," pleaded Judith, in some confusion,
and with a voice of tremulous apology.

"He stuffs birds so beautifully, and Uncle Zachie--I mean Mr.
Menaida--has set his heart on making a collection of the Spanish and
Portuguese birds."

"Oh, yes; he understands the properties of arsenic," said Coppinger,
with a scoff.

Judith's eyes fell. Captain Cruel's tone was not reassuring.

"You say that you care not where Jamie be, so long as he is where he
cannot hurt you," said Judith.

"I did not say that," answered Coppinger. "I said that he must be
placed where he can injure no one."

"He can injure no one if he is with Mr. Menaida, who will well watch
him, and keep him employed."

Coppinger laughed bitterly. "And you? Will you be satisfied to have
the idolized brother with the deep seas rolling between you?"

"I must endure it. It is the least of evils."

"But you would be pining to have wings and fly over the sea to him."

"If I have not wings I cannot go."

"Now hearken," said Coppinger. He clinched his fist and laid it on the
table. "I know very well what this means. Oliver Menaida is at the
bottom of this. It is not the fool Jamie who is wanted in Portugal,
but the clever Judith. They have offered to take the boy, that through
him they may attract you, unless," his voice thrilled, "they have
already dared to propose that you should go with them."

Judith was silent.

Coppinger clinched his second hand and laid that also on the table. "I
swear to heaven," said he, "that if I and that Oliver Menaida meet
again, it is for the last time for one or other of us. We have met
twice already. It is an understood thing between us, when we meet
again, one wets his boots in the other's blood. Do you hear? The world
will not hold us two any longer. Portugal may be far off, but it is
too near Cornwall for me."

Judith made no answer. She looked fixedly into the gloomy eyes of
Coppinger, and said--

"You have strange thoughts. Suppose--if you will--that the invitation
included me, I could not have accepted it."

"Why not! You refuse to regard yourself as married, and if unmarried,
you are free--and if free, ready to elope with----" he would not utter
the name in his quivering fury.

"I pray you," said Judith, offended, "do not insult me."

"I--insult you? It is a daily insult to me to be treated as I have
been. It is driving me mad."

"But, do you not see," urged Judith, "you have offered me two
alternatives and I ask for a third, yours are jail or an asylum, mine
is exile. Both yours are to me intolerable. Conceive of my state were
Jamie either in jail or with Mr. Scantlebray. In jail--and I should be
thinking of him all day and all night in his prison garb, tramping the
tread-mill, beaten, driven on, associated with the vilest of men, an
indelible stain put, not on him only, but on the name of our dear,
dear father. Do you think I could bear that? or take the other
alternative? I know the Scantlebrays. I should have the thoughts of
Jamie distressed, frightened, solitary, ill-treated, ever before me. I
had it for a few hours once and it drove me frantic. It would make me
mad in a week. I know that I could not endure it. Either alternative
would madden or kill me. And I offer another--if he were in exile, I
could at least think of him as happy among the orange groves, in the
vineyards, among kind friends, happy, innocent--at worst, forgetting
me. _That_ I could bear. But the other--no, not for a week--they would
be torture insufferable." She spoke full of feverish vehemence, with
her hands outspread before her.

"And this smiling vision of Jamie happy in Portugal would draw your
heart from me."

"You never had my heart," said Judith.

Coppinger clinched his teeth. "I will hear no more of this," said he.

Then Judith threw herself on her knees, and caught him and held him,
lifting her entreating face toward his.

"I have undergone it--for some hours. I know it will madden or kill
me. I cannot--I cannot--I cannot," she could scarce breathe, she spoke
in gasps.

"You cannot what?" he asked, sullenly.

"I cannot live on the terms you offer. You take from me even the very
wish to live. Take away the arsenic from me--lest in madness I give
it to myself. Take me far inland from these cliffs--lest in my madness
I throw myself over--I could not bear it. Will nothing move you?"

"Nothing." He stood before her, his feet apart, his arms folded, his
chin on his breast, looking into her uplifted, imploring face.
"Yes--one thing. One thing only." He paused, raking her face with his
eyes. "Yes--one thing. Be mine wholly--unconditionally. Then I will
consent. Be mine; add your name where it is wanting. Resume your
ring--and Jamie shall go with the Menaidas. Now, choose."

He drew back. Judith remained kneeling, upright, on the floor with
arms extended--she had heard and at first hardly comprehended him.
Then she staggered to her feet.

"Well," said Coppinger, "what answer do you make?" Still she could not
speak. She went to the table with uncertain steps. There was a wooden
form by it. She seated herself on this, placed her arms on the board,
joining her hands, and laid her head, face downward, between them on
the table.

Coppinger remained where he was, watching and waiting. He knew what
her action implied--that she was to be left alone with her thoughts,
to form her resolve undisturbed. He remained, accordingly, motionless,
but with his eyes fixed on the golden hair that flickered in the dim
light of the one candle. The wick had a great fungus in it--so large
and glaring that in another moment it must fall, and fall on Judith's
hand. Coppinger saw this and he thrust forth his arm to snuff the
candle with his fingers, but his hand shook, and the light was
extinguished. It mattered not. There were glowing coals on the hearth,
and through the window flared and throbbed the auroral lights.

A step sounded outside. Then a hand was on the door. Coppinger at once
strode across the hall, and arrested the intruder from entering.

"Who is that?"

"Hender Pendarvis"--the clerk of St. Enodoc. "I have some'ut
partickler I must say."

Coppinger looked at Judith; she lay motionless, her head between her
arms on the board. He partly opened the door and stepped forth into
the porch.

When he had heard what the clerk of St. Enodoc had to say, he
answered with an order, "Round to the kitchen--bid the men arm and go
by the beach."

He returned into the hall, went to the fireplace and took down a pair
of pistols, tried them that they were charged, and thrust them into
his belt.

Next he went up to Judith, and laid his hand on her shoulder.

"Time presses," he said; "I have to be off. Your answer." She looked
up. The board was studded with drops of water. She had not wept, these
stains were not her tears, they were the sweat of anguish off her brow
that had run over the board.

"Well, Judith, our answer."

"I accept."

"Unreservedly?"

"Unreservedly."

"Stay," said he. He spoke low, indistinctly articulated sentences.
"Let there be no holding back between us. You shall know all. You have
wondered concerning the death of Wyvill--I know you have asked
questions about it. I killed him."

He paused.

"You heard of the wreckers on that vessel cast on Doom Bar. I was
their leader."

Again he paused.

"You thought I had sent Jamie out with a light to mislead the vessel.
You thought right. I did have her drawn to her destruction, and by
your brother."

He paused again. He saw Judith's hand twitch: that was the only sign
of emotion in her.

"And Lady Knighton's jewels. I took them off her--it was I who tore
her ear."

Again a stillness. The sky outside shone in at the window, a lurid
red. From the kitchen could be heard the voice of a man singing.

"Now you know all," said Coppinger. "I would not have you take me
finally, fully, unreservedly without knowing the truth. Give me your
resolve."

She slightly lifted her hands; she looked steadily into his face with
a stony expression in hers.

"What is it!"

"I cannot help myself--unreservedly yours."

Then he caught her to him, pressed her to his heart and kissed her
wet face--wet as though she had plunged it into the sea.

"To-morrow," said he, "to-morrow shall be our true wedding."

And he dashed out of the house.



CHAPTER LII.

TO JUDITH.


In the smugglers' cave were Oliver Menaida and the party of Preventive
men, not under his charge, but under that of Wyvill. This man, though
zealous in the execution of his duty, and not averse, should the
opportunity offer, of paying off a debt in full with a bullet, instead
of committing his adversary to the more lenient hands of the law,
shared in that failing, if it were a failing, of being unable to do
anything without being primed with spirits, a failing that was common
at that period, to coast-guards and smugglers alike. The latter had to
be primed in order to run a cargo, and the former must be in like
condition to catch them at it. It was thought, not unjustly, that the
magistrates before whom, if caught, the smugglers were brought, needed
priming in order to ripen their intellects for pronouncing judgment.
But it was not often that a capture was effected. When it was, priming
was allowed for the due solemnization of the fact by the captors;
failure always entitled them to priming in order to sustain their
disappointment with fortitude. Wyvill had lost a brother in the cause,
and his feelings often overcame him when he considered his loss, and
their poignancy had to be slaked with the usual priming. It served, as
its advocates alleged, as a great stimulant to courage; but it served
also, as its deprecators asserted, as a solvent to discipline.

Now that the party were in possession of the den of their adversaries,
such a success needed, in their eyes, commemoration. They were likely,
speedily, to have a tussle with the smugglers, and to prepare
themselves for that required the priming of their nerves and sinews.
They had had a sharp struggle with the sea in rounding Pentyre Point,
and their unstrung muscles and joints demanded screwing up again by
the same means.

The Black Prince had been discerned through the falling darkness
drawing shoreward with the rising tide; but it was certain that for
another hour or two the men would have to wait before she dropped
anchor, and those ashore came down to the unloading.

A lantern was lighted, and the cave was explored. Certainly
Coppinger's men from the land would arrive before the boats from the
Black Prince, and it was determined to at once arrest them, and then
await the contingent in the boats, and fall on them as they landed.
The party was small, it consisted of but seven men, and it was
advisable to deal with the smugglers piecemeal.

The men, having leisure, brought out their food, and tapped the keg
they had procured at the Rock. It was satisfactory to them that the
Black Prince was apparently bent on discharging the cargo that night
and in that place, thus they would not have to wait in the cave
twenty-four hours, and not, after all, be disappointed.

"All your pistols charged?" asked Wyvill.

"Aye, aye, sir."

"Then take your suppers while you may. We shall have hot work
presently. Should a step be heard below, throw a bit o' sailcloth over
the lantern, Samson."

Oliver was neither hungry nor thirsty. He had both eaten and drunk
sufficient when at the station. He therefore left the men to make
their collation, prime their spirits, pluck up their courage, screw up
their nerves, polish their wits, all with the same instrument, and
descended the slope of shingle, stooped under the brow of rock that
divided the lower from the upper cave, and made his way to the
entrance, and thence out over the sands of the cove. He knew that the
shore could be reached only by the donkey-path, or by the dangerous
track down the chimney--a track he had not discovered till he had made
a third exploration of the cave. Down this tortuous and perilous
descent he was convinced the smugglers would not come. It was, he saw,
but rarely used, and designed as a way of escape only on an emergency.
A too-frequent employment of this path would have led to a treading of
the turf on the cliff above, and to a marking of the line of descent,
that would have attracted the attention of the curious, and revealed
to the explorer the place of retreat.

Oliver, therefore, went forward toward the point where the donkey-path
reached the sands, deeming it advisable that a watch should be kept
on this point, so that his party might be forewarned in time of the
approach of the smugglers.

There was much light in the sky, a fantastic, mysterious glow, as
though some great conflagration were taking place and the clouds over
head reflected its flicker.

There passed throbs of shadow from side to side, and as Oliver looked
he could almost believe that the light he saw proceeded from a great
bonfire, such as was kindled on the Cornish Moors on Midsummer's Eve,
and that the shadows were produced by men and women dancing round the
flames and momentarily intercepting the light.

Then ensued a change. The rose hue vanished suddenly, and in its place
shot up three broad ribbons of silver light; and so bright and clear
was the light that the edge of the cliff against it was cut as sharp
as a black silhouette on white paper, and he could see every bush of
gorse there, and a sheep--a solitary sheep.

Suddenly he was startled by seeing a man before him, coming over the
sand.

"Who goes there?"

"What--Oliver! I have found you!" the answer was in his father's
voice. "Oh, well, I got fidgeted, and I thought I would come and see
if you had arrived."

"For heaven's sake, you have told no one of our plans?"

"I--bless you, boy--not I. You know you told me yourself, before going
to the station, what you intended, and I was troubled and anxious, and
I came to see how things were turning out. The Black Prince is coming
in; she will anchor shortly. She can't come beyond the point yonder. I
was sure you would be here. How many have you brought with you?"

"But six."

"Too few. However, now I am with you, that makes eight."

"I wish you had not come, father."

"My boy, I did not come only on your account. I have my poor little Ju
so near my heart that I long to put out if only a finger to liberate
her from that ruffian, whom by the way I have challenged."

"Yes--but I have stepped in as your substitute. I shall, I trust, try
conclusions with Coppinger to-night. Come with me to the cave I told
you of. We will send a man to keep guard at the foot of the donkey
path."

Oliver led the way; the sands reflected the illumination of the sky,
and the foam that swept up the beach had a rosy tinge. The waves
hissed as they rushed up the shore, as though impatient at men
speaking and not listening to the voice of the ocean, that should
subdue all human tongues, and command mute attention. And yet that
roar is inarticulate, it is like the foaming fury of the dumb, that
strives with noise and gesticulation to explain the thoughts that are
working within.

In the cave it was dark, and Oliver lighted a piece of touchwood as a
means of observing the shelving ground, and taking his direction, till
he passed under the brow of rock and entered the upper cavern.

After a short scramble, the dim yellow glow of light from this inner
recess was visible, when Oliver extinguished his touchwood and pushed
on, guided by this light.

On entering the upper cave he was surprised to find the guards lying
about asleep, and snoring. He went at once to Wyvill, seized him by
the arm and shook him, but none of his efforts could rouse him. He lay
as a log, or as one stunned.

"Father! help me with the others," said Oliver in great concern.

Mr. Menaida went from one to the other, spoke to each, shook him, held
the lantern to his eyes; he raised their heads; when he let go his
hold, they fell back.

"What is the meaning of this?" asked Oliver.

"Humph!" said old Menaida, "I'll tell you what this means. There is a
rogue among them, and their drink has been drugged with deadly
night-shade. You might be sure of this--that among six coast-guards
one would be in the pay of Coppinger. Which is it? Whoever it is, he
is pretending to be as dead drunk and stupefied as the others, and
which is the man, Noll?"

"I cannot tell. This keg of brandy was got at the Rock Inn."

"It was got there and there drugged, but by one of this company. Who
is it?"

"Yes," said Oliver, waxing wrathful, "and what is more, notice was
sent to Coppinger to be on his guard. I saw the sexton going in the
direction of Pentyre."

"That man is a rascal."

"And now we shall not encounter Coppinger. He will be warned and not
come."

"Trust him to come. He has heard of this. He will come and murder them
all as he did Wyvill."

Oliver felt as though a frost had fallen on him.

"Hah!" said old Menaida. "Never trust anyone in this neighborhood; you
cannot tell who is not in the pay or under the control of Coppinger,
from the magistrate on the bench to the huckster who goes round the
country. Among these six men, one is a spy and a traitor. Which it is
we cannot tell. There is nothing else to be done but to bind them all,
hand and foot. There is plenty of cord here."

"Plenty. But surely not Wyvill."

"Wyvill and all. How can you say that he is not the man who has done
it? Many a fellow has carried his brother in his pocket. What if he
has been bought?"

Old Menaida was right. He had not lived so many years in the midst of
smugglers without having learned something of their ways. His advice
must be taken, for the danger was imminent. If, as he supposed, full
information had been sent to Captain Cruel, then he and his men would
be upon them shortly.

Oliver hastily brought together all the cord of a suitable thickness
he could find, and the old father raised and held each Preventive man,
while Oliver firmly bound him hand and foot. As he did not know which
was shamming sleep, he must bind all. Of the six, five were wholly
unconscious what was being done to them, and the sixth thought it
advisable to pretend to be as the rest, for he was quite aware that
neither Oliver nor his father would scruple to silence him effectually
did he show signs of animation.

When all were made fast, old Mr. Menaida said:

"Now, Noll, my boy, are you armed?"

"No, father. When I went from home I expected to return. I did not
know I should want weapons. But these fellows have their pistols and
cutlasses."

"Try the pistols. There, take that of the man Wyvill. Are you sure
they are loaded?"

"I know they are."

"Well, try."

Oliver took Wyvill's pistol, and put in the ramrod.

"Oh yes, it is loaded."

"Make sure. Draw the loading. You don't know what it is to have to do
with Coppinger."

Oliver drew the charge, and then, as is usual, when the powder has
been removed, blew down the barrel. Then he observed that there was a
choke somewhere. He took the pistol to the lantern, opened the side of
the lantern and examined it. The touch-hole was plugged with wax.

"Humph!" said Mr. Menaida. "The man who drugged the liquor waxed the
touch-holes of the pistols. Try the rest."

Oliver did not now trouble himself to draw the charges; he cocked each
man's pistol and drew the trigger. Not one would discharge. All had
been treated in like manner.

Oliver thought for a moment what was to be done. He dared not leave
the sleeping men unprotected, and he and his father alone were
insufficient to defend them.

"Father," said he, "there is but one thing that can be done now: you
must go at once, fly to the nearest farmhouses and collect men, and,
if possible, hold the donkey path before Coppinger and his men arrive.
If you are too late, pursue them. I will choke the narrow entrance,
and will light a fire. Perhaps they may be afraid when they see a
blaze here, and may hold off. Anyhow, I can defend this place for a
while. But I don't expect that they will attack it."

Mr. Menaida at once saw that his son's judgment was right, and he
hurried out of the cave, Oliver holding the light to assist him to
descend, and then he made his way over the sands to the path, and up
that to the downs.

No sooner was he gone than Oliver collected what wood and straw were
there, sailcloth, oilcloth, everything that was combustible, and piled
them up into a heap, then applied the candle to them, and produced a
flame. The wood was damp and did not burn freely, but he was able to
awake a good fire that filled the cavern with light. He trusted that
when the smugglers saw that their den was in the possession of the
enemy they would not risk the attempt to enter and recover it. They
might not, they probably did not, know to what condition the holders
of the cave were reduced.

The light of the fire roused countless bats that had made the roof of
the cave their resting-place, and they flew wildly to and fro with
whirr of wings and shrill screams.

Oliver set to work with all haste to heap stones so as to choke the
entrance from the lower cave, by which he anticipated that the
smugglers would enter, should they resolve on so desperate a course.
But owing to the rapid inclination, the pebbles yielded, and what he
piled up rolled down. He then, with great effort, got the boat thrust
down to the opening, and by main force drew it partly across. It was
not possible for him completely to block the entrance, but by planting
the boat athwart it, he could prevent several men from entering at
once, and whoever did enter must scramble over the bulwarks of the
boat.

All this took some time, and he was thus engaged, when his attention
was suddenly arrested by the click of a pistol brought to the cock. He
looked hastily about him, and saw Coppinger, who, unobserved, had
descended by the chimney, and now by the light of the fire was taking
deliberate aim at him. Oliver drew back behind a rock.

"You coward!" shouted Captain Cruel. "Come out and be shot."

"I am no coward," answered Oliver. "Let us meet with equal arms. I
have a cutlass." He had taken one from the side of a sleep-drunk
coast-guard.

"I prefer to shoot you down as a dog," said Coppinger.

Then holding his pistol levelled in the direction of Oliver, he
approached the sleeping men. Oliver saw at once his object: he would
liberate the confederate. He stepped out from behind the rock, and
immediately the pistol was discharged. A bat fell at the feet of
Oliver. Had not that bat at the moment whizzed past his head and
received the ball in its soft and yielding body, the young man would
have fallen shot through his head.

Coppinger uttered a curse, and put his hand to his belt and drew forth
his second pistol. But Oliver sprang forward, and with a sweep of his
cutlass caught him on the wrist with the blade as he was about to
touch the trigger. The pistol fell from his hand, and a rush of blood
overflowed the back of the hand.

Coppinger remained for one minute motionless. So did Oliver, who did
not again raise his cutlass.

But at that moment a harsh voice was heard crying, "There he is, my
men, at him; beat his brains out. A guinea for the first man who
knocks him over," and from the further side of the boat, illumined by
the glare from the fire, were seen the faces of Mr. Scantlebray, his
brother, and several men, who began to scramble over the obstruction.

Then, and then only in his life, did Coppinger's heart fail him. His
right hand was powerless; the sharp blade had severed the tendons, and
blood was flowing from his wrist in streams. One pistol was
discharged, the other had fallen. In a minute he would be in the hands
of his deadly enemies.

He turned and fled. The light from the fire, the illumined smoke, rose
through the chimney, and by that he could run up the familiar track,
reach the platform in the face of the cliff, thence make his way by
the path up which he had formerly borne Judith. He did not hesitate,
he fled, and Oliver, also without hesitation, pursued him. As he went
up the narrow track, his feet trod in and were stained with the blood
that had fallen from Coppinger's wounded arm, but he did not notice
it--he was unaware of it till the morrow.

Coppinger reached the summit of the cliffs. His feet were on the down.
He ran at once in the direction of Othello Cottage. His only chance of
safety lay there. There he could hide in the attic, and Judith would
never betray him. In his desperate condition, wounded, his blood
flowing from him in streams, hunted by his foes, that one thought was
in him--Judith--he must go to Judith. She would never betray him, she
would be hacked to death rather than give him up. To Judith as his
last refuge!



CHAPTER LIII.

IN THE SMOKE.


Judith left Pentyre Glaze when she had somewhat recovered herself
after the interview with Coppinger and her surrender. She had fought a
brave battle, but had been defeated and must lay down her arms.
Resistance was no longer possible if Jamie was to be saved from a
miserable fate. Now by the sacrifice of herself she had assured to,
him a future of calm and innocent happiness. She knew that with Uncle
Zachie and Oliver he would be cared for, kindly treated, and employed.
Uncle Zachie himself was not to be trusted; whatever he might promise,
his good nature was greater than his judgment. But she had confidence
in Oliver, who would prove a check on the over-indulgence which his
father would allow. But Jamie would forget her. His light and
unretentive mind was not one to harbor deep feeling. He would forget
her when on board ship in his pleasure at running about the vessel
chattering with the sailors, and would only think of her if he wanted
aught or was ill. Rapidly the recollection of her, love for her, would
die out of his mind and heart; and as it died out of his, her thought
and love for him would deepen and become more fixed, for she would
have no one, nothing in the world to think of and love save her
twin-brother.

She walked on in the dark winter night, lighted only by the auroral
glow overhead, and was conscious of a smell of tobacco-smoke that so
persistently seemed to follow her that she was forced to notice it.
She became uneasy, thinking that someone was walking behind the hedge
with a pipe, watching her, perhaps waiting to spring out upon her when
distant from the house, where her cries for help might not be heard.

She stood still. The smell was strong. She climbed the hedge on one
side and looked over; as far as she could discern in the red glimmer
from the flushed sky there was no one there. She listened, she could
hear no step. She walked hastily on to a gate in the hedge on the
opposite side and went through that. The smell of burning tobacco was
as strong there. Judith turned in the lane and walked back in the
direction of the house. The smell pursued her. It was strange. Could
she carry the odor in her clothes? She turned again and resumed her
walk toward Othello Cottage. Now she was distinctly aware that the
scent came to her on the wind. Her perplexity on this subject served
as a diversion of her mind from her own troubles.

She emerged upon the downs, and made her way across them toward the
cottage that lay in a dip, not to be observed except by one close to
it. The wind when it brushed up from the sea was odorless.

Presently she came in sight of Othello Cottage, and in spite of the
darkness could see that a strange, dense, white fog surrounded it,
especially the roof, which seemed to be wearing a white wig. In a
moment she understood what this signified. Othello Cottage was on
fire, and the stores of tobacco in the attic were burning. Judith ran.
Her own troubles were forgotten in her alarm for Jamie. No fire as yet
had broken through the roof.

She reached the door, which was open. Mr. Scantlebray in leaving had
not shut the door, so as to allow the boy to crawl out should he
recover sufficient intelligence to see that he was in danger.

It is probable that Scantlebray, senior, would have made further
efforts to save Jamie, but that he believed he would meet with his
brother, and two or three men he was bringing with him, near the
house, and then it would be easy unitedly to drag the boy forth. He
did, indeed, meet with Obadiah, but also at the same time with Uncle
Zachie Menaida and a small party of farm-laborers, and when he heard
that Mr. Menaida desired help to secure Coppinger and the smugglers,
he thought no more of the boy and joined heartily in the attempt to
rescue the Preventive men and take Coppinger.

Through the open door dashed Judith, crying out to Jamie whom she
could not see. There was a dense, white cloud in the room, let down
from above, and curling out at the top of the door, whence it issued
as steam from a boiler. It was impossible to breathe in this fog of
tobacco-smoke, and Judith knew that if she allowed it to surround her
she would be stupefied. She therefore stooped and entered, calling
Jamie. Although the thick mattress of white smoke had not as yet
descended to the floor, and had left comparatively clear air beneath
it--the in-draught from the door--yet the odor of the burning tobacco
impregnated the atmosphere. Here and there curls of smoke descended,
dropped capriciously from the bed of vapor above, and wantonly played
about.

Judith saw her brother lying at full length near the fire. Scantlebray
had drawn him partly to the door, but he had rolled back to his former
position near the hearth, perhaps from feeling the cold wind that blew
in on him.

There was no time to be lost. Judith knew that flame must burst forth
directly--directly the burning tobacco had charred through the rafters
and flooring of the attic and allowed the fresh air from below to rush
in and, acting as a bellows, blow the whole mass of glowing tobacco
into flame. It was obvious that the fire had originated above in the
attic. There was nothing burning in the room, and the smoke drove
downward in strips through the joints of the boards overhead.

"Jamie, come, come with me!" She shook the boy, she knelt by him and
raised him on her knee. He was stupefied with cognac, and with the
fumes of the burning tobacco he had inhaled.

She must drag him forth. He was no longer half-conscious as he had
been when Mr. Scantlebray made the same attempt; the power to resist
was now gone from him.

Judith was delicately made, and was not strong, but she put her arms
under the shoulders of Jamie and herself on her knees and dragged him
along the floor. He was as heavy as a corpse. She drew him a little
way and desisted, overcome, panting, giddy, faint. But time must not
be lost. Every moment was precious. Judith knew that overhead in the
loft was something that would not smoulder and glow, but burst into
furious flame--spirits. Not, indeed, many kegs, but there were some.
When this became ignited their escape would be impossible. She drew
Jamie further up; she was behind him. She thrust him forward as she
moved on upon her knees, driving him a step further at every advance.
It was slow and laborious work. She could not maintain this effort
for long and fell forward on her hands, and he fell also at the same
time on the floor.

Then she heard a sound, a roar, an angry growl. The shock of the fall,
and striking his head against the slate pavement, roused Jamie
momentarily and he also heard the noise.

"Ju! the roar of the sea!"

"A sea of fire, Jamie! Oh, do push to the door."

He raised himself on his hands, looked vacantly round, and fell again
into stupid unconsciousness. Now still on her knees, but with a brain
becoming bewildered with the fumes, she crept to his head, placed
herself between him and the door, and holding his shoulders, dragged
him toward her, she moving backward.

Even thus she could make but little way with him; his boot-tops caught
in the edge of a slate slab ill fitted in the floor and held him, so
that she could not pull him to her with the additional resistance thus
caused. Then an idea struck her. Staggering to her feet, holding her
breath, she plunged in the direction of the window, beat it open, and
panted in the inrush of pure air. With this new current wafted in
behind her she returned amid the smoke, and for a moment it dissipated
the density of the cloud about her. The window had faced the wind, and
the rush of air through it was more strong than that which entered by
the door. And yet this expedient did not answer as she had expected,
for the column of strong, cold air pouring in from a higher level
threw the cloud into confusion, stirred it up as it were, and lessened
the space of uninvaded atmosphere below the descending bed of vapor.

Again she went to Jamie. The roar overhead had increased, some vent
had been found, and the attic was in full flagrance. Now, drawing a
long breath at the door, near the level of the ground, she returned to
her brother and disengaged his foot from the slate, then dragged, then
thrust, sometimes at his head, sometimes at his side; then again she
had her arms round him, and swung herself forward to the right knee
sideways; then brought up the other knee, and swung herself with the
dead weight in her arms again to the right, and thus was able to work
her way nearer to the door, and, as she got nearer to the door, the
air was clearer, and she was able to breathe freer.

At length she laid hold of the jamb with one hand, and with the other
she caught the lappel of the boy's coat, and assisted by the support
she had gained, was able to drag him over the doorstep.

At that moment passed her rushed a man. She looked, saw and knew
Coppinger. As he rushed passed, the blood squirting from his maimed
right hand fell on the girl lying prostrate at the jamb to which she
had clung.

And now within a red light appeared, glowing through the mist as a
fiery eye, not only so, but every now and then a fiery rain descended.
The burning tobacco had consumed the boards and was falling through in
red masses.

Judith had but just brought her brother into safety, or comparative
safety, and now another, Coppinger, had plunged into the burning
cottage, rushed to almost certain death. She cried to him as well as
she could with her short breath. She could not leave him within. Why
had he run there? She saw on her dress the blood that had fallen from
him. She went outside the hut and dragged Jamie forth and laid him on
the grass. Then, without hesitation, inhaling all the pure air she
could, she darted once more into the burning cottage. Her eyes were
stung with the smoke, but she pushed on, and found Coppinger under the
open window, fallen on the floor, his back and head against the wall,
his arms at his side, and the blood streaming over the slate pavement
from his right gashed wrist. Accident or instinct--it could not have
been judgment--had carried him to the only spot in the room where pure
air was to be found, and there it descended like a rushing waterfall,
blowing about the prostrate man's wild long hair.

"Judith!" said he, looking at her, and he raised his left hand.
"Judith, this is the end."

"Oh, Captain Coppinger, do come out. The house is burning. Quick, or
it will be too late."

"It is too late for me," he said. "I am wounded." He held up his
half-severed hand. "I gave this to you and you rejected it."

"Come--oh, do come--or you and I will be burnt." In the inrushing
sweep of air both were clear of the smoke and could breathe.

He shook his head. "I am followed. I will not be taken. I am no good
now--without my right hand. I will not go to jail."

She caught his arm, and tearing the kerchief from her neck, bound it
round and round where the veins were severed.

"It is in vain," he said. "I have lost most of my blood. Ju!"--he held
her with his left hand--"Ju, if you live, swear to me, swear you will
sign the register."

She was looking into his face--it was ghastly, partly through loss of
blood, partly because lighted by the glare of the burning tobacco that
dropped from above. Then a sense of vast pity came surging over her
along with the thought of how he had loved her. Into her burning eyes
tears came.

"Judith!" he said, "I made my confession to you--I told you my sins.
Give me also my release. Say you forgive me."

She had forgotten her peril, forgotten about the fire that was above
and around, as she looked at his eyes, and, holding the maimed right
arm, felt the hot blood welling through her kerchief and running over
her hand.

"I pray you, oh, I pray you, come outside. There is still time."

Again he shook his head. "My time is up. I do not want to live. I have
not your love. I could never win it, and if I went outside I should be
captured and sent to prison. Will you give me my absolution?"

"What do you mean?" And in her trembling concern for him--in the
intensity of her pity, sorrow, care for him--she drew his wounded hand
to her and pressed it against her heaving bosom.

"What I mean is, can you forgive me?"

"Indeed--indeed I do."

"What--all I have done?"

"All."

She saw only a dying man before her, a man who might be saved if he
would, but would not because her love was everything to him, and
_that_ he never, never could gain. Would she make no concession to
him? could she not draw a few steps nearer? As she looked into his
face and held his bleeding arm to her bosom, pity overpowered
her--pity, when she saw how strong had been this wild and wicked
man's love. Now she truly realized its depth, its intensity, and its
tenderness alternating with stormy blasts of passion, as he wavered
between hope and fear, and the despair that was his when he knew he
must lose her.

Then she stooped, and, the tears streaming over her face, she kissed
him on his brow, and then on his lips, and then drew back, still
holding his maimed hand, with both of hers crossed over it, to her
heaving bosom. Kneeling, she had her eyes on his, and his were on
hers--steady, searching, but with a gentle light in them. And as she
thus looked she became unconscious, and sank, still holding his hand,
on the floor.

At that instant, through the smoke and raining masses of burning
tobacco, plunged Oliver Menaida. He saw Judith, bent, caught her in
his arms, and rushed back through the door.

A moment after and he was at the entrance again, to plunge through and
rescue his wounded adversary; but the moment when this could be done
was past. There was an explosion above, followed by a fall as of a
sheet of blue light, a curtain of fire through the mist of white
smoke. No living man could pass that. Oliver went round to the window,
and strove to enter by that way; the man who had taken refuge there
was still in the same position, but he had torn the kerchief of Judith
from the bleeding arm, and he held it to his mouth, looking with fixed
eyes into the falling red and blue fires and the swirling flocks of
white smoke.

There were iron bars at the window. Oliver tore at these to displace
them.

"Coppinger!" he shouted, "stand up--help me to break these bars!"

But Coppinger would not move, or, possibly, the power was gone from
him. The bars were firmly set. They had been placed in the windows by
Coppinger's orders and under his own supervision, to secure Othello
Cottage, his store-place, against invasion by the inquisitive.

At length Oliver succeeded in wrenching one bar away, and now a gap
was made through which he might reach Coppinger and draw him forth
through the window. He was scrambling in when the Captain staggered to
his feet.

"Let me alone," said he. "You have won what I have lost. Let me
alone. I am defeated."

Then he stepped into the mass of smoke and falling liquid blue fire
and dropping masses of red glowing tobacco. A moment more, and the
whole of the attic floor, with all the burning contents of the garret,
fell in.



CHAPTER LIV.

SQUAB PIE.


Next morning, at an early hour, Judith, attended by Mr. Zachary
Menaida, appeared at the rectory of St. Enodoc. She was deadly pale,
but there was decision in her face. She asked to see Mr. Desiderius
Mules in his study, and was shown into what had, in her father's days,
been the pantry.

Mr. Menaida had a puzzled look in his watery eyes. He had been up all
night, and indeed it had been a night in which few in the neighborhood
had slept, excepting Mr. Mules, who knew nothing of what had happened.
The smugglers, alarmed by the fire at Othello Cottage, and by the
party collected by Mr. Menaida to guard the descent to the beach, had
not ventured to force their way to the cave. The Black Prince, finding
that no signal was made from the ledge above the cave, suspected
mischief, heaved anchor and bore away. The stupefied members of the
Preventive service were conveyed to the nearest cottages, and there
left to recover. As for Othello Cottage, it was a blazing and smoking
mass of fire, and till late on the following day could not be
searched. There was no fire-engine anywhere near; nor would a
fire-engine have availed to save either the building or its contents.

When Mr. Mules appeared, Judith said in a quiet but firm tone, "I have
come to sign the register. Mr. Menaida is here. I do it willingly, and
with no constraint."

"Thank you. This is most considerate to my feelings. I wish all my
flock would obey my advice as you are now doing," said the rector, and
produced the book, which Judith signed with trembling hand.

Mr. Desiderius was quite ignorant of the events of the night. He had
no idea that at that time Captain Coppinger was dead.

It was not till some days later that Judith understood why, at the
last moment, with death before his eyes, Coppinger had urged on her
this ratification of her marriage. It was not till his will was found,
that she understood his meaning. He had left to her, as his wife,
everything that he possessed. No one knew of any relatives that he
had, for no one knew whence he came. No one ever appeared to put in a
claim against the widow.

On the second day the remains of the burnt cottage were cleared away,
and then the body of Cruel Coppinger was found, fearfully charred, and
disfigured past recognition. There were but two persons who knew that
this blackened corpse belonged to the long dreaded captain, and these
were Judith and Oliver. When the burnt body was cleared from the
charred fragments of clothing that were about it one article was
discovered uninjured. About his throat Coppinger had worn a silk
handkerchief, and this as well as the collar of his coat had preserved
his neck and the upper portion of his chest from injury such as had
befallen the rest of his person. And when the burnt kerchief was
removed, and the singed cloth of the coat-collar, there was discovered
round the throat a narrow black band, and sewn into this band, one
golden thread of hair, encircling the neck.

       *       *       *       *       *

Are our readers acquainted with that local delicacy entitled, in
Cornwall and Devon, Squab Pie? To enlighten the ignorant, it shall be
described. First, however, we premise that of squab pies there are two
sorts: Devonian squab and Cornish squab. The Cornish squab differs
from the Devonian squab in one particular; that shall be specified
presently.

_How to Make a Squab Pie._--Take half a pound of veal, cut into nice
square pieces, and put a layer of them at the bottom of a pie-dish.
Sprinkle over these a portion of herbs, spices, seasoning, lemon-peel,
and the yolks of eggs cut in slices; cut a quarter of a pound of
boiled ham very thin, and put in a layer of this. Take half a pound of
mutton cut into nice pieces, and put a layer of them on the top of the
veal. Sprinkle as before with herbs and spices. Take half a pound of
beef, cut into nice pieces, and put a layer of them on top of the
mutton. Sprinkle as before with herbs and spices. Cut up half a dozen
apples very fine, also half a dozen onions, mix, and proceed to ram
the onions and apples into every perceivable crevice. Take half a
dozen pilchards, remove the bones, chop up and strew the whole pie
with pilchards. Then fill up with clotted cream, till the pie-dish
will hold no more. (For Cornish squab add, treated in like manner, a
cormorant.) Proceed to lay a puff paste on the edge of the dish. Then
insert a tablespoon and stir the contents, till your arm aches. Cover
with crust or ornament it with leaves, brush it over with the yolk of
an egg, and bake in a well-heated oven for one or one and a half hour,
or longer, should the pie be very large (two in the case of a Cornish
squab, and the cormorant very tough).

In one word, a squab pie is a scrap pie. So is the final chapter of a
three-volume novel. It is made up, from the first word to the last, of
scraps of all kinds, toothsome and the reverse.

Now let the reader observe--he has been already supplied with scraps.
He has learned the result of Mr. Menaida's collecting men to assist
him against the smugglers. Also of his expedition along with Judith to
the rectory of St. Enodoc. Also he has heard the provisions of Captain
Coppinger's will; also that this will was not contested. He has also
heard of the recovery of the Captain's body from the burnt cottage.

Is not this a collection of scraps cut very small? But there are more,
of a different character, with which this chapter will be made up,
before the pie-crust closes over it with a flourishing "Finis" to
ornament it.

Mr. Scantlebray had lost his wife, who had been an ailing woman for
some years, and being a widower, cast about his eyes for a second
wife, after the way of widowers. There was not the excuse of a young
family needing a prudent housewife to manage the children, for Mr.
Scantlebray had only one daughter, who had been allotted by her father
and by popular opinion to Captain Coppinger, but had failed to secure
him. Mr. Scantlebray, though an active man, had not amassed much
money, and if he could add to his comforts, provide himself with good
eating and good drinking, by marrying a woman with money, he was not
averse to so doing. Now, Mr. Scantlebray had lent a ready ear to the
voice of rumor which made Miss Dionysia Trevisa the heiress who had
come in for all the leavings of that rich old spinster, Miss Ceely, of
St. Austell, and Mr. Scantlebray gave credit to this rumor, and acting
on it, proposed to and was accepted by Miss Dionysia.

Now when, after marriage, Mr. Scantlebray found out that the sweet
creature he had taken to his side was worth under a quarter of the sum
he had set down at the lowest figure, at which he could endure her,
and when the late Miss Trevisa, now the second Mrs. Scantlebray,
learned from her husband's lips that he had married her only for her
money, and not for her good looks or for any good quality she was
supposed to be endowed with, the reader, knowing something of the
characters of these two persons, may conjecture, if he please, what
sort of scenes ensued daily between them, and it may be safely
asserted that the bitterest enemies of either could not have desired
for each a more unenviable lot than was theirs.

Very shortly after the death of Captain Coppinger, Judith and Jamie
left Bristol in a vessel, with Uncle Zachie, bound for Lisbon. Oliver
Menaida had gone to Oporto before, to make arrangements for his
father. It was settled that Judith and her brother should live with
the old man, and that the girl should keep house for him. Oliver would
occupy his old quarters, that belonged to the firm in which he was a
partner.

It is a strange thing--but after the loss of Coppinger Judith's mind
reverted much to him, she thought long and tenderly of his
considerations for her, his patience with her, his forbearance, his
gentleness toward her, and of his intense and enduring love. His
violence she forgot, and she put down the crimes he had committed to
evil association, or to an irregulated, undisciplined conscience,
excusable in a measure in one who had not the advantages she had
enjoyed, of growing up under the eye of a blameless, honorable, and
right-minded father.

In the Consistory Court of Canterbury is a book of the marriages
performed at the Oporto factory, by the English chaplain resident
there. It begins in the year 1788 and ends in 1807. The author has
searched this volume in vain for a marriage between Oliver Menaida
and Judith Coppinger. If such a marriage did take place, it must have
been after 1807, but the book of register of marriages later than this
date is not to be found in the Consistory Court.

Were they married?

On inquiry at St. Enodoc no information has been obtained, for neither
Judith nor the Menaidas had any relatives there with whom they
communicated. If Mrs. Scantlebray ever heard, she said nothing, or, at
all events, nothing she said concerning them has been remembered.

Were they ever married?

That question the reader must decide as he likes.


FINIS.



Transcriber's Note

A Table of Contents has been added by the transcriber for the
convenience of the reader.

Saint is abbreviated to both S. and St. in this book.

The author refers to plants by the names of escallonica and
eschalonia. It's likely that both are errors for escallonia, but they
are preserved as printed.

Instances of archaic spelling (e.g. taught meaning taut) are preserved
as printed. Variant spelling (e.g. jewelry and jewellery) is preserved
as printed except where there was a clear prevalence of one form over
another, as follows:

    Page 21--Wyvell amended to Wyvill--"... on one occasion a
    preventive man named Ewan Wyvill, ..."

    Page 21--Wyvell amended to Wyvill--"Wyvill had disappeared,
    and the body was recovered ..."

    Page 79--jassamine amended to jessamine--"... a-smelling to
    the jessamine is the surveyor ..."

    Page 191--stupified amended to stupefied--"... so stupefied
    was he by his terrors, ..."

Hyphenation usage has been made consistent.

Minor punctuation errors have been repaired.

The following printer errors have been fixed:

    Page 31--contion amended to condition--"The chancel of the
    church was in that condition ..."

    Page 32--omitted 'a' added for sense--"... was to be
    anticipated from a broken-hearted widow and helpless
    children ..."

    Page 34--repeated 'the' deleted--"... who occupied a
    double cottage at the little hamlet of Polzeath."

    Page 35--she amended to he--"... with a jerk of the rein and
    a set of the brow he showed ..."

    Page 56--Bluet amended to Blue--"... Boy Blue blew his horn,
    ..."

    Page 63--companian amended to companion--"... the friend and
    companion of Judith."

    Page 70--it amended to in--"... the voice summoned her to
    come in, ..."

    Page 104--repeated 'had' deleted--"... had seen him with his
    carriers defile out of the lane ..."

    Page 120--keenist amended to keenest--"A cry of intensest,
    keenest anguish ..."

    Page 126--repeated 'the' deleted--"That star on the black
    sea--what did it mean?"

    Page 162--aught amended to ought--"... but that he was told
    it was there, he ought to see it, ..."

    Page 163--hime amended to home--"... "may I get out now and
    go home?""

    Page 168--springs amended to sprigs--"... covered with sprigs
    of nondescript pink and blue flowers."

    Page 238--repeated 'and' deleted--"... and never once as I'm
    a Christian ..."

    Page 241--coldnesss amended to coldness--"... formed the
    resolution to break down the coldness ..."

    Page 247--or amended to of--"... to take this accumulation
    of wreckage ..."

    Page 248--officient amended to officiant--"... immediately
    over the head of the officiant, ..."

    Page 259--remorselesss amended to remorseless--"...
    remorseless and regardless of others, ..."

    Page 278--Judiah amended to Judith--""Nothing," answered
    Judith, ..."

    Page 285--Travisa amended to Trevisa--"... by a little
    sentiment for Miss Judith Trevisa, ..."

    Page 337--chose amended to choose--"... and if I choose to
    live in it I can."

    Page 351--superfluous 'where' deleted before 'there'--"Judith
    walked where, near the edge of the cliffs, there was no snow,
    ..."

    Page 362--breakfeast amended to breakfast--"... in utter
    guilelessness, prepared my breakfast for me, ..."

    Page 397--kness amended to knees--"... and herself on her
    knees and dragged him ..."





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