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Title: John Herring, Volume 1 (of 3) - A West of England Romance
Author: Baring-Gould, S. (Sabine)
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "John Herring, Volume 1 (of 3) - A West of England Romance" ***

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                             *JOHN HERRING*

                      _A WEST OF ENGLAND ROMANCE_

                         BY SABINE BARING-GOULD

                          AUTHOR OF ’MEHALAH’

                            IN THREE VOLUMES

                                VOL. I.

                 SMITH, ELDER, & CO, 15 WATERLOO PLACE

                         [All rights reserved]


                          THE WEST COUNTRY._)

In a tale of the West of England in which are introduced some of the
lowest types of rustic humanity to be found there, it is impossible to
avoid the use of the local dialect. This dialect has, however, been
modified, as much as possible to render it intelligible without
transforming it into the language of the schools.  The vulgar dialect is
regardless of gender and reckless in the use of cases.  A cow is he, and
a tom-cat wags her tail.  At a trial in Exeter, at the Assizes, a man
was charged with the murder of his wife, a woman with an aggravating
tongue.  The jury found a verdict of ’Not Guilty’ against the clearest
evidence, and, when the Judge expressed his surprise, ’Ah, your
lordship,’ said the foreman in explanation, ’us ain’t a-going to hang he
for the likes of she.’  It is perhaps necessary to explain that ’the
Cobbledicks’ are no creation of the imagination—the clan has only been
dispersed of recent years; the old man who lived in a cyder-cask is
dead, but he was alive ten years ago.  The clan was literally one of
half-naked savages.



                            THE FIRST VOLUME


      I. The Cobbledicks
     II. What the Cask Did
    III. West Wyke
     IV. Mirelle
      V. The Owl’s Nest
     VI. That Old Tramplara
    VII. That Young Tramplara
   VIII. Cicely
     IX. Dolbeare
      X. A Musical Walking-Stick
     XI. The Giant’s Table
    XII. Ophir
   XIII. Captain Trecarrel
    XIV. Under The Hearth
     XV. Eheu, Bubones!
    XVI. Trustee not Executor
   XVII. In the Summer-House
  XVIII. Salting a Mine
    XIX. Two Strings to one Bow
     XX. Grinding Gold

                            *JOHN HERRING.*

                              *CHAPTER I.*

                           *THE COBBLEDICKS.*

’Log!’ said the voice of Cobbledick the Old from a cyder cask.

’I be a logging like the blue blazes,’ answered Cobbledick the younger.

Then a dry and dirty hand emerged from the cask, and with a gorse bush
struck at the girl—that is, at Cobbledick the younger.  She evaded the

’Be quiet, vaither, or I won’t log no more!’

’You won’t?’ with a horrible curse; ’then I’ll make you, if I whacks and
whacks till you be all over blood and prickles.  There, I will, I swear.
Glory rallaluley!’

On a spur of Dartmoor that struck out into the proximity of cultivated
land, stood a cromlech or dolmen—a rude monument of a lost race, reared
of granite slabs.  This spur of moor was a continuation or buttress of
Gosdon Beacon, which, next to Yestor, is the highest point attained by
Dartmoor, and is indeed the second highest mountain in the south of

The dolmen was composed of four great slabs of granite set on edge, two
parallel to the other two, with a fifth stone closing one end.  The
whole five supported an enormous quoit or block, plain on the nether
surface, but unshaped above.  Local antiquaries, pretending to
knowledge, but actually ignorant, called this erection a Druid altar,
and pointed to a sort of basin on the top formed by the weather, with a
channel from it to the edge, and this they asserted was a receptacle for
the blood of human victims, and a means of lustration for those who
stood below.  Other antiquaries, knowing a great deal, and not ashamed
to confess ignorance where knowledge ended and guesswork began, said
simply that the monument belonged to prehistoric times, and that they
neither knew who had built it, nor for what purpose it was raised.  The
country folk called it the ’Giant’s Table.’

On the lee side of this cromlech was a cyder cask, tethered to the
cromlech by a piece of cord passed through the bung-hole, and attached
to a stout stick within the monument, entering between the interstices
of the blocks.

In this cask lived an old man, named Grizzly Cobbledick by his
neighbours.  He had lived in the cask many years.

Some miles away, to the north, in another parish, that of Nymet, lived
the parent stock from which he sprung, in an old tumble-down cottage,
sans windows, sans doors, sans chimney, sans floors, sans everything
save the ’cob’—that is, mud walls—and the ragged roof of thatch.

This hovel was what the Germans would call the ’Stamm-burg’ of the
Cobbledicks. That is to say, it was the ancestral cradle of the race; it
was also the hive in which they continued to dwell.  They lived there,
apart from their fellows, with whom they held no communication, never
entering a village nor dealing at any shop, never seen at market or
merry-making, least of all at church.

Their unsociable habits went further.  They allowed no one to invade
their hovel and pry into their mode of living.  If any of them saw a
person stand still near the house to observe it, or to watch a
Cobbledick at his work or his play, a yelp called the whole clan
together, and with howls and curses they set on the inquisitive visitor,
pelting him with stones, and flinging sticks at his head, so that he was
glad to beat a retreat.

The Cobbledicks were half-naked savages. They wore, for warmth not for
decency, some wretched rags.  When the scanty supply of garments failed
entirely, then the whole crew dispersed over the country, hunting by
moonlight for a fresh supply; they stole whatever came in their way that
could be converted into covering to clothe their nakedness. Anything
served—a potato-sack or a flour-bag. One or other would change into coat
or gown by making in it slits for head and arms.

Once a farmer lost an oilcloth stack-covering. It was deliberately taken
off his stack one rainy night before he had thatched his wheat.  He
recognised it torn up and utilised as curtains to the open holes that
served as windows to Cobbledick Castle.  The farmer prosecuted, but
first a rick and then a stack was burned, and he was glad to stay
proceedings and suffer the savages to keep his oilcloth, fearing for the
thatch of his farmhouse, and himself, his wife and babes beneath it.

When the neighbourhood was aware that the Cobbledicks ran short of
raiment, old worn garments were purposely left out at night on hedges
for their use.

The migration of Grizzly Cobbledick to the parish of South Tawton took
place in this wise.  It marked an epoch in the history of the race.  The
Cobbledicks had not arrived at that stage of civilisation in which
property becomes personal.  Their views as to property were undeveloped.
The world belonged in part to the Cobbledicks, and the rest did not.
What belonged to the Cobbledicks belonged to the family, not to any
individual in the family.  They owned land, reclaimed from the waste
long ago, clay land overgrown with rushes, partly bog; but this land was
not the property of this Cobbledick or that, male or female, old or
young, it belonged to all, on the principle of the Russian mir.  Not
only so, but the utensils of the house and of the farm were common, so
also were the garments. The pipkin cooked for the whole family, and the
hoe raised the potatoes for all to eat.  The pipkin was not private
property when Poll stirred it, the hoe was not private property when
Dick worked with it, and the potato-sack was not owned by him or by her
who wore it.  If, by any chance, it were taken off, it thereby fell back
into the common store.

The Cobbledicks never had been civilised. They were autochthones.  The
oldest inhabitant of Nymet remembered them.  They did not increase much,
but they did not die out. Their congeners, named the Gubbins, lived in
the Lydford glens in Charles the First’s reign, when a poet thus
described them:—

    And near hereto’s the Gubbins’ cave,
    A people that no knowledge have
      Of law of God or men;
    Whom Cæsar never yet subdued,
    Who’ve lawless lived, of manners rude,
      All savage in their den.

    By whom, if any pass that way,
    He dares not the least time to stay,
      For presently they howl;
    Upon which signal they do muster
    Their naked forces in a cluster,
      Led forth by Roger Howle.

One night a star fell from heaven and descended into the hovel of the
Cobbledicks through the hole in the roof which allowed the smoke of the
communal fire to ascend; and this spark sank into the heart of Old
Grizzly—he was not Old Grizzly then.  What his name was then in the clan
never transpired.

That divine spark conveyed to this particular Cobbledick the idea of
personal property. This idea, once conceived, becomes to the social body
what a backbone is to the physical organism.  There is all the
difference in social conditions between those who have accepted personal
property and those who have not arrived at it, that exists between
vertebrate animals and invertebrate polypi.

Cobbledick rose from his lair by the fire where he had been snoring,
caught up a female for whom he had long been sighing, stuffed a wisp of
hay into her mouth to prevent her from alarming the sleepers, threw her
over his shoulder, and strode out of the Cobbledick hovel.

The dispersion at Babel was caused by the discovery of the possessive

After having carried his burden beyond earshot, Cobbledick set her down,
pulled the plug out of her mouth, and said, ’If you holler, I’ll smash
your head.  So hold thee gab and come along of I.’

The female was overawed into submission, and she paddled along at his

When day broke they found themselves on a shoulder of down in close
proximity to Cosdon.  Rambling over the moor, the woman hopping and
squealing as she touched the gorse with her bare legs, they lighted on
the grey cromlech, and the male, curling his tongue in his mouth,
produced a loud cluck. The female, as an imitative animal, clucked
responsive.  ’Bags!’ said Cobbledick male, and by this simple formula he
had claimed the cromlech as personal property to himself, his heirs and

The idea of property had swelled to large dimensions in his heart since
he had first admitted it.  The tract of moor was at that time—we are
speaking of seventy years ago—wholly uninclosed.  Since that date many
encroachments have been made, and much of the furzy waste placed under

Xenophon opens his ’Anabasis’ with the words, ’The Greeks began it.’  In
the record of the conquest and reclamation of the moor it stands
written, ’The Cobbledicks began it.’

First they filled up the interstices between the blocks of granite of
the dolmen with turf and moss, then they strewed the floor with bracken,
and made bed and seat of heather. Then they marked out a portion of the
moor, collected stones from off the surface with infinite labour, and
fenced it round with these stones set as a dry wall.  This they tilled,
and, their appetite for property growing, they inclosed more.  The
tillage was rude, but then it was the beginning of tillage to the whole
Cobbledick race.  It took that race six thousand years to arrive at a
crooked stick with Mrs. Grizzly dragging it, and Mr. Grizzly driving
with a switch, and his weight resting on the tail of the simple plough.
When he took his weight off, to quicken the motions of Mrs. Grizzly with
the switch, the plough levered out of the ground, she fell, and he also
was thrown forward on his nose.  When Grizzly left the ancestral seat,
he carried with him, in addition to a woman, two ferrets in a bag, and a
sharp flintstone.  With the ferrets he caught rabbits, and with the
stone he flayed them.  Grizzly was a neolithic man.

On their first taking possession of the cromlech, Grizzly fought his
wife for the sack she wore.  He wanted to utilise it as a screen for the
entrance.  The door was to the south, but the south wind is a rainy wind
and must be shut out.

Mrs. Grizzly resisted, for the same heavenly spark that had brought to
him the idea of appropriating one woman as wife, had carried to her also
the idea of keeping as her own, her very own, the one potato-sack in
which she walked and worked and slept.

This resistance on her part stimulated invention on his.  He devised a
screen of wattles and heather for the door, and this proved a better
shelter than any sack could have made. Thus we see how the sense of
property quickens invention.  The heavenly spark never expired in the
breasts of the Cobbledicks; they felt no desire, like the Apostles of
old and reformers of the present day, to revert to the conditions from
which they had escaped.  The spark burned brighter, it demanded fuel.
They proceeded to obtain a cow.  How they procured it nobody knew,
though all suspected. The Cobbledicks disappeared from Tawton parish for
several days.  When they reappeared they were driving a cow before them
down the flanks of Cosdon.  Had they fished her out of the swamps round
Cranmere pool? or had they gone far, far beyond, and acquired her in the
South Hams, and driven her across the moor, leaving no traces in the
spongy soil and on the blooming heather whereby they might be traced, in
the event of those from whom she had been acquired disputing their right
to make off with her?

But if this latter were the case, what labour and perseverance it must
have cost them to convey a cow across brawling torrents, over
granite-strewn mountains, and through treacherous bogs!

This was the way of the Cobbledicks. When they wanted anything, they
went after it over the moor.  Beyond was El Dorado, between the pathless
waste, a barrier forbidding pursuit.  They never robbed their neighbours
of anything beyond turnips and field potatoes.  They had made sufficient
advance along the path of social culture to recognise a sort of
fellowship with their neighbours, and to respect the property of near
neighbours.  But this sense of fellowship did not extend beyond the
moor.  On the other side was a sea full of fish, into which whoever
would might dip his net.

One day the female Cobbledick became a mother, and Grizzly a father.

Soon after this the wife died.  Grizzly dug a hole in the floor of the
cromlech, just under where the fire burned, and laid her there.

She was pleased, when alive, to sit over the red ashes, spreading out
her toes, and laughing at the yellow flames.  Under the hearthstone she
should lie, with her face to the ashes, and her toes turned to the
blaze. The Cobbledick ideas were growing.  The first dawn of that
sentiment which in another generation might flower into poetry had
appeared in Grizzly’s mind.

But the experiment was not happy.  At night, as Grizzly slept, he
thought he saw the old woman working her way up out of the ground,
throwing the earth forth like a mole, and then peering at him from a
corner. After that she dived again and disappeared. Presently he felt
her heave the earth under him where he lay, and roll him over, so that
he could not sleep.  He was very angry, and he got a great piece of
granite and beat the floor hard with it.  But this was of no avail. Next
night the old woman was heard scratching with her nails at the bases of
the granite slabs.  Once she had been given a hunch of saffron cake by a
farmer’s wife, and she had picked all the currants out and eaten them,
before attacking the substance.  She was now at work on the granite,
picking out the hornblend, mistaking the black grains for currants.
’Her’ll do with these great stones as her did with the cake,’ said
Grizzly; ’her got that all crumbled with hunting the currants, and
her’ll treat the stones same way, and bring the table down on our

After that he disappeared for three days, and when he returned he was
rolling a cyder-cask before him down Cosdon.  This cask he brought
alongside of the cromlech, and attached it to the old house in the
manner described.  He lined it with fern, and retired into it, along
with the child, at night.  He would no longer sleep in the stone mansion
that was being undermined by the dead wife. He did not object to occupy
it by day; and when he ate, he always threw some crumbs or bits of meat
into the fire, to satisfy the cravings of the old woman.  He supposed
that she picked at the stones because she was hungry.

The child slept with him in the cyder-cask till she grew too big, and
made it uncomfortable for her father.  One night he had cramp in his
leg, and kicked out, and kicked her forth, head over heels; then he bade
her go for the future to the old house, and sleep there and be darned,
glory rallaluley. Occasionally, in spring, when all is waxing and
wanton, the Methodists held revival meetings on the down, and Old
Grizzly was accustomed then to prowl about the outskirts of the
assembly, listening to the preachers, and to the hymns and rhapsodical
outcries of the converted. These camp meetings reminded him in some
particulars of the ways of the primitive Cobbledicks. The new feature,
unfamiliar to him, was the association of religion with these orgies.

From such meetings Grizzly had picked up a few cant expressions which he
used for rounding his sentences without in the least understanding their
import.  If he began a sentence with a curse, he finished it with a
hallelujah, much as a grocer, having put an iron weight into one scale,
heaps the other with sugar till the balance is complete.

Cobbledick father and daughter were not in the unseemly condition of
nudity affected by their relatives at Nymet.  These latter so far
resembled Adam and Eve in the period of man’s innocency that they were
naked and were not ashamed, but with the sense of personal property came
the sense also of self-respect. The land on which Grizzly and his wife
squatted belonged to the manor of West Wyke, of which the Battishills
were lords, and the Squire took care that his tenants should not go
unprovided with old clothes.  The Battishills were very poor, and wore
their garments till the last moment consonant with respectability; then
they passed them on to the squatters, whom they made, if not
respectable, at least decent.

’Log!’ screamed the old man from the cask.

’I be a logging[1] like the blue blazes,’ answered the girl, and she
spoke the truth.

[1] To ’_log_’ is to rock.  Thus a logan stone is a rocking stone, and a
woman logs her baby in its cradle.

She was seated with her back to one of the great stones of the ’Giant’s
Table,’ with a bare foot resting on the cask on each side of the
restraining rope.  She worked her feet alternately, so as to produce a
vibratory motion in the barrel from left to right.  The old man liked
being rocked to sleep; he exacted the task of his daughter: and only
when he began to snore and ceased to swear, dare Joyce Cobbledick desist
from logging and retire to her own lair.

The evening had fallen.  The sun was set, but a haze of light hung like
a warm hoar frost over the head of Cosdon, though darkness had settled
down in the valleys, and the village of Zeal began to twinkle out of all
its windows.

The air was still.  The rush of the stream over the granite masses that
choked its course was the only sound audible, save the fretting of the
cask on the turf in its oscillations.

The girl was tired, and one of her feet was bleeding.  She had cut it
with a sharp stone that day.

Joyce Cobbledick was aged eighteen.  She was a tall, well-built girl,
with bright colour, a low forehead, and dark eyes.  Her hair was as
uncombed and uncared for as the mane of a moorland pony.  It was dark
brown.  Her jaws were heavy and her cheek-bones high, like those of her
ancestry.  There was some beauty about her—the beauty of a fine animal;
she was perfectly supple in every limb, admirably proportioned, easy and
even graceful in her movements, unrestrained by shoes and cumbrous
clothing.  Her face was even fine, but there was nothing like
intelligence illumining her dark eyes.

She wore a thin print gown, and that was in tatters from her knees by
scrambling through hedges to steal turnips, and brushing through gorse
brakes after rabbits.

Presently the girl intermitted her trampling movement, believing the old
man to be asleep.

The stars were coming out.  The one street of Zeal, lying between rich
meadows and wood, was like a necklace of diamonds embedded in black

Joyce leaned forwards to listen if her father were snoring.  All was
still in the cask, preternaturally still.

She bent her head lower.  Then, suddenly, with a roar, ’Darn your eyes,
glory rallaluley!’ an old grey, frowzy head and face shot out of the
barrel, and with it a long arm. A heavy blow of the furze bush fell
across the girl’s head and cheek, making her cry out with pain.

She recovered her position in a moment, and dashed her feet together
savagely at the cask.  The violence of the action was more than the cord
could endure, already fretted against the rugged edges of the granite
blocks. It snapped, and in a moment the cask was driven forward by the
impetus of Joyce’s angry kick.  It rolled over and over, ran down a
bank, then along an incline of smooth turf, dashed against a stone which
somewhat diverted its course, bounded into the high road, where it shot
forth its tenant, and continued its course in rapid revolutions down the
road that here ascended from the valley. Joyce uttered a cry, sprang to
her feet, and ran after the rolling barrel towards the highway, and
there saw her father lying stretched across the road, stunned and

                             *CHAPTER II.*

                          *WHAT THE CASK DID.*

As Joyce stood on the bank about to leap down into the road to her
father’s assistance, she was arrested by a sight calculated to fill her
with dismay.  A chaise drawn by a pair of horses was approaching from
the direction of Okehampton at a brisk pace.  The cask was in full
career down the road, gaining velocity as it rolled.  A curve hid it
from the postillion, and Joyce stood breathless, powerless to warn the
post-boy or arrest the cask, watching for the result.

The boy was in spirits; he cracked his whip, and stimulated the
horses—fresh from the stable at Okehampton—to take the hill in style.
The cask was whirling on.  Then it reached the sweep in the road, and it
went direct against the bank, danced light-heartedly up it, reeled back,
swung itself round and shot straight down the road at the horses.  In
another moment it was on them, leaping at them like a tiger at the
throat of his prey.

What followed was so sudden, and the light was so imperfect, that Joyce
could not quite make out what she saw.  She heard a loud cry from the
post-boy, who was thrown. Whether one of the horses went down and
floundered to his feet again she was not sure; she believed it was so.
Next moment the chaise was off the road, the two frightened animals
tearing away with it over the common.  Forgetful of her father in the
excitement of the spectacle and in dread of the final catastrophe, Joyce
ran after the carriage, which she saw bounding over heaps of peat that
had been cut and laid to dry, lurching into hollows, jolting over tufts
of gorse, and jarring against stones.

Then she saw against the light of the horizon the figure of a man
emerging from the window of the chaise, trying to open the door.  Almost
simultaneously the wheel of the carriage struck a huge block of granite,
and in an instant the chaise was thrown on one side, the horses were
kicking furiously, and the whole converted into a wreck of living beasts
and struggling men and splintered fragments of carriage.

’Ho, heigh! stay them osses,’ yelled the post-boy, who had picked
himself up and was running over the down.  ’Sit on their necks; kip ’em

Joyce ran also, and reached the spot soon after him.

The postillion went straight at the horses, regardless of everything
else, and cut their traces; whereupon they ran off, and he careered in
full pursuit after them.

’Leave the beasts alone, boy,’ shouted a young man who had disengaged
himself from the shattered carriage, and was helping out a young lady.
’Leave the beasts and come here.’

’No, no, sir!  The osses fust.  Them’s my concern.’  And away went the

’Here, girl,’ said the same young man to Joyce, as she came up; ’help
me.’  He signed to her what to do, to raise a man who was lying
motionless among the fragments of the carriage, to carry him a little
distance, and lay him on the turf at full length.

’Stay by him whilst I go for the young lady.’

Joyce nodded.

The young lady was seated on the rock that had upset the carriage.

’What frightened the horses?’ she asked.

’I do not know.  Are you hurt?’

’My foot is sprained.  I cannot walk; but no bones are broken, of that I
have satisfied myself.  How goes my father?’

’He is seriously injured.’

’He did wrong to try and open the door. The carriage must have fallen
over on him.’

’Will you remain here whilst I go back to him?

’Certainly.  The moss is soft as a cushion on this stone.’

’Your father, I fear, is seriously hurt.  As you say, he was leaning out
of the window when the coach turned over, and it went down on the side
where he was.’

’Bring me my cloak from the chaise.  It is chilly, and the spot is
desolate.  Il me donne les frissons.’  She spoke with wonderful
composure.  She might have been on a picnic, and the dish with the
chicken pie broken; yet she had narrowly escaped death herself, and her
father was lying dead a few feet from her.  The young man looked at her
face, a little surprised at her perfect coolness. The face was wax-like,
of transparent whiteness; there was no colour in it.  But then she was
cold and possibly frightened, though betraying no fear in her manner.
Her features were regular and of extraordinary beauty. Her eyes were
large and the lashes long; her hair abundant and black.  Of emotion in
her face there was none.

’I remember my father said he had suffered from the rheumatism.  Pray
take him from off the grass.’  The young man thought to himself, ’He
will never suffer from that more;’ but he made no answer.  He went back
to the man lying on the turf, knelt over him, and examined him.  Joyce
stood by with arms folded.

’Is there any house near to which this gentleman could be removed?  he

’West Wyke,’ answered Joyce.

’Where is that?’

She made a motion with her chin, indicating the direction.

’And is there a gate to be had on which I can lay him?’

She jerked her chin again.

’Now, sir,’ said the post-boy, coming up, ’I’ve got the osses quiet,
what can I do for you?’

’This gentleman must be removed at once on a hurdle or gate.  Run and
bring me one.’

’Be he hurted cruel bad?’ asked the boy.

’He is dead.’

’Deary me!’ exclaimed the post-boy. ’What a mussy it weren’t one of the
osses. Make us truly thankful.  I’ll get you a gate.’

’I’ll help you,’ said Joyce.  ’You don’t look a sort to carry a gate.
Do you call yourself a man or a rat?’

Presently the two returned with a hurdle; that is to say, Joyce was
carrying one on her head, casting occasionally a contemptuous glance at
the dapper little fellow at her side.

’Is my father able to speak yet?’ asked the lady.

’No,’ answered the young man.  ’Do not be alarmed.  We must carry him to
a house, where he can be put to bed, and then we will return for you.
Do you mind being left alone, or can you walk as far as to the house?’

’I have already told you that I cannot walk.  You are forgetful,

’Then this girl will remain with you till we return.’

’Very well.  If she likes to remain she may remain.  It is her affair.’

The young lady spoke with a foreign—a French accent, which was pretty.
Indeed, there was a foreign grace in her attitudes, and taste in her
dress, which showed that, if an Englishwoman, she must have lived a
great deal in France.

The gentleman returned to Joyce; he was a tall and fine young man, with
dark hair and moustache and frank blue eyes.

’Will you remain here with the lady while we go on to the house?’

Joyce nodded and went over to the rock on which the young lady was
seated.  She planted herself before her.

’The ’ouse to which we must carry the gent be yonder,’ said the
post-boy.  ’I seed him as I went for the gate.’

’Do not be alarmed if we carry your father.’

’I shall not be alarmed.’

Then the post-boy going before and the young gentleman following, they
proceeded very gently to carry the motionless form in the direction of
West Wyke.

Joyce remained with the young lady; she studied her with great attention
from head to foot.  The sky was clear, and there was still much light
entangled in the upper atmosphere. The whole of the north was full of
silvery twilight.

’I niver seed a born leddy afore so close,’ said Joyce.

’I am a born lady,’ replied the other, haughtily.

’Did I say you wasn’t?  Have you any other rags on but what I sees?’

’Rags!’ indignantly.  ’What do you mean, girl?’

’Look here,’ said Joyce, ’I hasn’t.  Fust comes the gown, and then comes
I.  Down in the good land to Zeal and Tawton, where the lanes be cut
deep, I seed there be nethermost hard rock, then over that comes
shellat, then a sort of gravelly trade (stuff), then a top o’ that meat
airth; and over all, like the gown, the waving green grass.  Up here on
the moor t’ain’t so.  There’s the granite and then the moss, and if you
scrats through the moss you comes right on and on to the stone.  That be
like us as lives up here, vaither and I, but wi’ the quality it be
different, as lives in lew (sheltered) places; they has more coverings
nor us, night and day, I reckon.’

’You have no more clothes on you than that thin gown?’

’No, us be like moor rock, fust the moss, then the stone.’

’Are you begging?’

’I never axes for naught; what I wants I takes.’

The lady shivered and drew back on her seat.  She was disgusted with the
appearance, and offended at the rudeness of the girl.

’Why don’t clothes grow on our backs, thick and warm as the wool on
sheep, the fur on rabbits, and the moss on moorstones?’Twould come
handier,’ observed Joyce Cobbledick.

The lady made no reply.

’Wot’s that man, that young man as spoke to you and I?’ asked Joyce.

’I do not know his name.’

’He don’t belong to you?’

’Most certainly not,’ with a contemptuous shrug.

’Where did you get mun?’

’He is travelling with us—that is all. He joined my father in taking a
chaise from Launceston.’

’Why didn’t y’ travel by the mail-coach? Her goes by ivery day.’

’The coach had left Launceston when we arrived there from Falmouth, so
we engaged a chaise.  My father was in haste to reach Exeter, and that
person joined us.  I do not know his name, neither do I care. My father
satisfied himself, I presume, of his respectability.  That is all.’

’Where do’y come from, mistress?  Over t’other side of the moor I

’I come from France.’

Joyce was puzzled.  Her geographical knowledge was too limited for her
to know of France.

’I reckon that be a long way off, t’other side o’ Prince’s Town and the
prisons, surely. Be there savages in them parts?’

’Savages! certainly not.’

’There be here.  I be one.  I be a Cobbledick, and the Cobbledicks be
all savages. But vaither and I be better nor the rest out Nymet.  They
be savages and no mistake.’

’I have no doubt of it.’

’I say, young lady, is that man as they carried on the gate to West Wyke
your vaither?’

’He is my father.’

’Did he bang you about much?  Did he whack you often wi’ a bunch of
vuzz?  Not but you’d mind over much wi’ all them pack o’ clothes to your

’Certainly not.’

’Did you have to rock him to sleep o’ nights in a barril?’


’Mebbe you niver had much dodging out of the way of the stones he
throwed at your head.’

’Of course not.’

’My old vaither doth all these to me. He whacks me wi’ brimmles and
vuzz, and he throws turves and stones at me, and I has to rock mun every
night or he wouldn’t sleep a wink.  Of all the proper blaggards in the
world there ain’t an ekal to vaither.  But I reckon vaithers is vaithers
all the world over. They be all like oaksticks, some crookeder nor
others, but none straight.  You don’t mind over much what has happened
to yours?’

The young lady only imperfectly understood the girl, owing to the
rudeness of her speech and her strong provincial brogue.

’There be my old vaither rolled out of his barril right across the high
road, and I don’t know if he’ve a broke his neck or no; and I don’t kear
hover much, no more nor you does because your vaither ha’ gone and done
the same.’

’What do you mean, girl?’

’I mean what I sez.  I know what broke necks mean.  I ha’ broke the
necks o’ rabbits scores and scores o’ times.  Him’s just the same, ivery
bit and croome.’

The young lady shuddered.  She did not cry, but her breath caught in her

’Mon Dieu!  Ce n’est pas vrai!  Comme cette fille me fait peur!’

’What be that jabber about?  You oughtn’t to mind.’

’For the love of God, girl, do not frighten me.  It is wicked—it is
cruel.  It is not true.’

’Not true!’ echoed Joyce; ’I knows it be.  I knows a broke neck in a man
as in a rabbit.’

’Be quiet.  If you want money, _en voilà_, take and leave me tranquil.’

Joyce struck her hand aside.

’What’ll you do wi’ he now?  Mother be poked under the hearthstone,
where the fire can warm her.  But when Old Grizzly goes, I shan’t put he
along o’ mother.  He can’t sleep under the table now, and her’ll lead’n
a life of it, if he be put under the hearthstone along of she.  Her
niver worrits me, but her don’t leave old vaither alone not one minnit
of nights.  Her does it because he knacked her, and beat her scores and
scores o’ times when her were alive.  Now her thinks her turn be come.
But her’s got no vice in her.  It be all play, only vaither be that
crabbed he don’t put up wi’ it.  When Old Grizzly goes, I’ll up wi’ his
heels and send him into a bog once for all.  He’ll be wet and cold there
I reckon, and the moss grows so thick over them quaking bogs, that once
in there be no getting out, no more than when you’re gone under the ice
on Rayborough Pool.  Then he’ll leave me in peace I reckon.’

’You will do that, you long cripple (viper), you!’ screamed the old man,
who had overheard the arrangements planned for his interment, and
disapproved of them. ’You will do that!’  He rushed on Joyce from
behind, raining furious blows on her with his fists.  ’You will stog me
in a bog, will’y?  I’ll put you in fust, curs’d ever-lasting rallaluley
if I don’t.’ The old man yelled with fury.  He stepped backwards and
leaped at Joyce, and beat and swore.

The young lady was frightened, and cried out for help.  The horrible old
man seemed to her to be some superhuman apparition rising out of the
moor soil—a vampyre, a ghoul from a cairn, come to destroy the wretched
girl before her.

’You chuck down thicky (that) stone, vaither?’ cried Joyce, as he
stooped and took up a piece of granite in both hands.

’I won’t, I won’t.  I’ll mash you first, you unnat’ral varmint!  You
nigh upon killed me by rolling me over and over in the cask, and shan’t
I nigh upon do the same by you?  Glory rallaluley, blast me blue!’

Joyce was unquestionably stronger than old Cobbledick, and might have
disarmed him, but the divine spark had been communicated to her; it
flickered faintly in her dim soul, and a dumb instinct forbade her
raising her hand against her father.  She had borne his brutality for
many a year, and had not resented it.  She was his child, for him to
deal with as he thought best.  The sense of property had become strongly
rooted in the minds of this branch of the Cobble dicks, and as forces
are correlated, and heat, and light, and electricity, and sound are but
the same force acting in different ways, so was it with the sense of
possession.  In the breast of Joyce it had transformed itself into a
consciousness of filial duty.

Joyce put up her hand to ward off the blow.

Then the young man who had carried the injured gentleman away arrived,
running up, summoned by the cries, and with one stroke of the stick he
held in his hand, he made the old man drop the stone.

’In another moment he would have beaten out your brains,’ said he,

’I reckon he would,’ observed Joyce.

The old man howled with pain, dancing about holding his arm where

’Who are you?  What are you doing here?’ asked the gentleman.

’Never you heed he,’ said Joyce.  ’Hers old vaither.’

’Help me away from this horrible place,’ entreated the lady: ’I have
fallen among savages in a dreadful wilderness.  Am I in England, in
Europe—or is this the wilds of Northern Canada?’

’She is lame,’ said the young man to Joyce.  ’Assist me in conveying her
to the house yonder.’

Joyce put herself submissively on one side.

’How is my father?’ asked the young lady.

’No better,’ he replied.

’This strange girl tells me he has broken his neck.’

He was silent.  He could not tell her the truth.  It must be broken
gently to her.

’I should wish to know if it be so.’

’Let us hope for the best.  I have sent the post-boy to Okehampton for a
doctor. He will know better than I what is the matter, and what must be

’But you can surely tell me whether he be alive or dead.’

’He is still unconscious.’

’I know he be dead,’ said Joyce roughly. ’What’s a broke is a broke, and
his neck be broke as sure as a bit o’ cloam.  I told her so.’

’Is he dead?’ again asked the young lady.

She was now being carried to the house. There was no tremor in the arms
that rested on the shoulders of her bearers.

’I asked you a simple question.  It is unmannerly to refuse an answer.’

’I believe he is dead,’ said he with an effort.

’I am very sorry,’ was her calm reply.

The young man stopped; the girl Joyce stopped also.  The twilight from
the north-west was full on the white lovely face; there was no
expression of distress on it, none of grief—not a trace of a tear in her
large dark eyes.

’Why do you not go on?  I said I am very sorry, naturally.  He was my
father.  What else should I say?’

                             *CHAPTER III.*

                              *WEST WYKE.*

The young man and Joyce conveyed the lady between them under a low
embattled gateway into a small yard or garden—it was too dark to
distinguish which—and halted in the porch of a house.

Joyce said: ’Stay, I go no vurder.  I niver ha’ been inside a house and
under hellens (slates) afore, and I bain’t a going now.’

The door opened, and a blaze of ruddy light fell on them.  A young lady
had opened to admit them.

’There be Miss Cicely Battishill,’ said Joyce.  ’Sure her will take my
place once for all.’

’Another step more, girl,’ said the young man to Joyce, ’and our burden
is in a chair.’

’Why do’y call me a gurl?’ asked Joyce. ’I bain’t a gurl, I be a maiden.
There be maidens in these parts and no gurls.  I dunnow, but the leddy I
been a helping may be a girl; hers different from I, I be a maiden.’

’Never mind distinctions,’ said the young man, impatiently.  ’Go on
another step.’

’No, I’ll put my head under no hellens. I be a savage,’ said Joyce,
obstinately.  ’You go on yourself, and get Miss Cicely to help.’

’I will take your place, Joyce,’ said the young lady at the door; and
she assisted the strange pale girl to come in.

The young man looked back over his shoulder, and said, ’Thanks for your
help as far as it went, maiden.’

Joyce stood without, the red light on her, with the dark garden, the
moor, and the night sky behind, her strange face appearing even handsome
in the glow, and the flicker reflected in her dull eyes.

The figure struck the young man with an evanescent sense of pity.  She
seemed an outcast—desolate, friendless.

Then the door closed, and the light was cut off.  But Joyce did not
leave.  She stood in the porch with her arms folded looking over the
black garden wall at the wild, blacker moor beyond, over which the wind
was soughing. She was lost in a day-dream unintelligible to herself.

The light from the window streaked the garden and fell on an orange lily
that stood out luminous and fiery against the inky background of foliage
and wall.  The stars were coming out in the sky.  Joyce remained
motionless, with her eyes on the fiery flower.

In the meantime the pale young lady was conveyed to a seat by the fire.
The porch door opened immediately into the hall or parlour.  This was a
small low room, irregularly built, with a bay in which was the window.
It was so small that with twenty people within it would be crowded
inconveniently; it was so low that a tall man could touch the ceiling.

The hall was panelled throughout, very unpretentiously, with plain black
oak; there was no carving except over the great fireplace, where was a
coat of arms, once heraldically emblazoned, but now obscured by smoke.
The coat was curious.  Azure, a cross crosslet in saltire, between four
owls argent, beaked and legged or.

On the walls were hung a few old portraits in tarnished oval frames.
The paint was cracked and peeling off.

The ceiling was crossed by moulded oak beams of great size, black with
age and smoke.

A tall, very thin gentleman, Mr. Battishill, the owner of the house, and
squire of West Wyke and lord of the manor, had been seated in a
high-backed leather-covered chair beside the fire.  He started up and
offered it to the young lady with many rather uncouth bows. This
gentleman was old; he still wore his hair tied back by a black riband,
though the fashion had gone out.  His suit was rusty, his boots were
split in the upperleather, and the elbows of his long coat were patched.
His face was peculiar.  The nose was pointed and aquiline, and, as
forehead and chin receded, it gave his head the appearance of that of a
bird.  The eyes were very wide open, prominent, and of the palest grey.
His hair was frosted with age.

The expression of his eyes was one of eager inquiry.  His mouth was
weak, and the lips were incessantly quivering.  There was a kindly look
about the feeble mouth which assured those who studied the face that a
kind heart was lodged within, and showed them that the qualities of this
organ were superior to those of the head.

Mr. Battishill’s daughter Cicely was a fine girl, about the same age as
Joyce—eighteen. She was somewhat stoutly built, with hair of a glowing
auburn, almost red, but not harshly red, rather of the richest, sunniest
chestnut. Her complexion was of that quality, seen nowhere but in Devon;
transparent, delicate, white, with the brightest, healthiest, purest
colour conceivable; a face in which the mounting of a blush had all the
beauty and splendour of a sunrise.  Her eyes were hazel, dancing with
life and intelligence.  There was buoyant good nature in every line of
her face.  At the present moment her expression was that of distressed
sympathy with the lovely girl just introduced into her father’s house.

The contrast between the two was striking. The new comer was absolutely
colourless. Her hair was dark, almost if not wholly black.  She was very
slenderly built, her hands were long, and the fingers fine and tapering.
The hands indicate culture and purity of race; those at which Cicely now
looked were hands belonging to a lady of high nervous sensibility and
perfect breeding.  Her features were regular, and singularly delicately
and beautifully cut.  The eyes, when raised, sent a tremor to the heart
of him on whom they rested; they were deep, full, and mysterious.  A
soul lay in those unfathomed pools, but of what sort none might guess.
There was nothing in the expression of the face to assist in the
inquiry.  And yet the face was not a blank page and therefore
uninviting. The expression that sat on it was one of reserve, and
therefore as provoking as those wonderful eyes.

Cicely was frank and impulsive; her heart was visible to all the world,
she had no reserve whatever, what she thought she said; and her heart
spoke through her eyes, a genial, affectionate heart, fresh and simple.

The pale young lady was evidently relieved by being placed in a chair by
the fire. Her foot had pained her; it was now rested on a footstool.

’I beg your pardon,’ said Mr. Battishill, ’I did not catch the name.  It
is such a pleasure to me to know to whom I am able to offer hospitality.
It places persons on a footing of friendship at once when they are able
to address each other by name.’

’My name is Mirelle,’ said the young lady, without raising her eyes from
the fire or moving a muscle of her face.  ’My mother was the Countess
Garcia.  She married my father, a Mr. Strange.  It is not necessary in
Spain to take the paternal name; I prefer to be called Mirelle Garcia de
Cantalejo. Cantalejo is territorial.’

Mr. Battishill listened with open mouth and staring eyes, and drew
himself up.  A distinguished guest this.

’And Canta——’

’Cantalejo,’ interrupted Mirelle, ’is in Segovia—in Old Castile of
course.  We belong to the purest of the ancient Castilian nobility.
Cantalejo belonged to the family from the earliest period; it is even
said that when Saint Jacques came to Spain he was the guest of my
ancestor, and that is why we bear an escallop on our coat. Cantalejo
belonged to us till the sixteenth century.’

’And now?’

’It has ceased to belong to us for three hundred years.  But before that
we exercised sovereign powers in the country, we coined our own money,
and hung malefactors on our own gallows.’

’Your poor father,’ began Mr. Battishill, his nervous mouth working and
his eager eyes staring, ’that is, Mr. Strange—I think you said Strange—’

Mirelle bowed an affirmative.

’Your poor father, Mr. Strange, lies, I fear, in a very sad and
precarious state.  He has been placed in the spare bedroom upstairs, and
the doctor has been sent for, but cannot well be here for an hour.’

’I am told that my lather is dead,’ said the young lady composedly.  ’I
am very sorry.  And what increases my desolation is that he was a

’You love him,’ whispered Cicely, looking pained and puzzled.

’I have always prayed for him, and I will pray for him still,’ said
Mirelle.  ’He did not know the truth, so his invincible ignorance may
save him.’

’You would hardly like to see him now,’ suggested Cicely.

’No, perhaps to-morrow.’

’You love him,’ persisted Cicely.

’Of course,’ answered Mirelle.  ’It is my duty.  But you must understand
that I have not known him except by name till last fortnight.  I had not
seen him at all till a fortnight ago, when he came to Paris to take me
away from the Sacré Coeur.’

The young man had been watching her face intently.  He had seemed more
pained than Cicely at her want of feeling.  Now he drew a long breath, a
sigh of relief; these words of Mirelle explained her coldness.

’I am sorry that he is dead,’ she went on, ’but he ought not to have
married my mother.’

’We cannot regret that,’ said Mr. Battishill with awkward gallantry,
’since to that we are indebted for the pleasure of making your

Mirelle considered for a moment, then she said simply, ’You mean that I
should not have existed.  True; I did not think of this.’

Mr. Battishill and the young man were unable to repress a smile.  She
was a curious mixture of simplicity, reserve, and frankness. The reserve
was exercised over her feelings, but she was perfectly frank about her

’Have you ever been to Cantal——?  I have not quite caught the name.’

’I have never been in Spain at all,’ answered Mirelle.

’Where, then, have you lived?’

’In Paris.  Where else should I live? One lives in Paris, one exists

’But your father?’

’Mr. Strange was a Brazilian diamond merchant.  I mean a merchant of
diamonds living in Brazil.  My mother married him there.  It was very
good of my mother, but she was an angel.  He was rich—_comme ça, mais
bourgeois_.  When I was born, my mother came to Paris to have me
properly educated, and I lived there till the good God took her. I have
been at school with the English sisters of the Sacré Coeur.  When my
father came to Paris he took me away, to bring me to his home in

’Where is his home?’

’He has none; he would make one.  He has retired from his business.’

’What relations has he?  They should be communicated with.’

’I do not know that he has any.  My mother never spoke of my father’s
relations. She knew nothing of them; she did not want to know them.  In
this world everything is on shelves, and the things on each shelf are
kept to themselves.  Where they get mixed there is inextricable
confusion. Above, angels; then kings, nobles, bourgeois, peasants,
monkeys, and so down to the lowest form of life—those laid on the floor.
My father’s relatives were not noble.’  Then suddenly, ’Are you noble,

Mr. Battishill threw up his head proudly. ’My family is gentle, and of
ancient degree,’ he said.  ’We appeared in the Heralds’ Visitation of
1620 in four descents, but I have title-deeds that show we were lords of
the manor of West Wyke from the time of Edward the Third.’

’Those are your arms?’ asked Mirelle, looking at the chimney-piece.
’What birds are those?’

’Owls,’ answered Mr. Battishill, proudly; ’owls argent, beaked and
clawed or.’

Mirelle contemplated the owls, then looked at the gentleman, with his
blank eyes, beak-like nose, and grey hair.  Her lips twitched slightly,
but she was too well bred to smile.

’The bird is dedicated to Minerva.  It is the symbol of wisdom,’ she

’The Battishills were ever owls,’ said he, proudly.  Then he asked,
glancing at the young man, ’Is this gentleman your brother?’

Mirelle looked up full for the first time into the young stranger’s

’He is no relative of mine.  I do not even know his name.’

’My name,’ said he, stepping forward, ’is John Herring.’  He was
interrupted by a laugh from Mirelle.

’Herring!’ she exclaimed, ’Quel drôle de nom!  That is a fish they split
and pickle, and pack in barrels, is it not?’  The young man coloured.

’The name is bourgeois—Herring!’

The young gentleman drew back, wounded. He said nothing more about
himself, but asked Mr. Battishill in a low voice for a lantern.

’The trunks and portmanteaus are lying with the broken chaise, and I
must see to their being placed under shelter and in security.  Are there
men about the premises who can assist me?’

’There will be some difficulty about finding a man,’ answered Mr.
Battishill.  ’We do not keep one in the house, and the cottages are at a
distance.  You will not find your way to them by night.  Do not trouble
about the trunks; leave them till morning. No one will touch them.’

’I prefer removing them.  When the post-boy returns from Okehampton with
the doctor, I will secure his assistance.’

Cicely had lighted a lantern whilst her father was speaking.  She
offered it to John Herring.  ’I will go for you to the cottages,’ she
said; ’I will send some men to help you.’  She accompanied him to the
door.  ’It is quite right that the things should not be left out all
night on the moor.  There are tramps on the Exeter road, and the
Cobbledicks are close by.’  She opened the door, and the light fell on

’Why, Joyce, you here still?  I thought you had gone back to the Giant’s

’If I were to go back to vaither, he’d kill me.  I ha’ lost he his old
barril, and him won’t sleep under the table a’cos mother be there wi’
her playful ways, tormenting of he.’

’What do you mean, Joyce?’

’I means this, miss.  His barril be rolled away down hill, and I dunnow
where her be rolled to.  Where be vaither to sleep?’

’Under the Giant’s Table.’

’That won’t do, ’cos o’ mother.  Her be lively o’ nights when vaither be
there.  ’Tain’t wickedness, it be her playful ways.  Her leaves me alone
right enough.  But vaither won’t go there.  Now if he might sleep i’ one
o’ your linnies,[1] he’d be right vast enough as a nail in a door.’

[1] Lean-to sheds.

’By all means let him sleep there, Joyce, at least for a while, till you
can recover the cask.’

’Then I can go back to he.  If I hadn’t that to say, he’d ha’ killed me.
Now he’ll go snuggle into the straw like a heckamall[2] in a rick.
That’s beautiful!’

[2] A heckamall or heckanoddy is a tomtit.

’Joyce,’ said Cicely, ’this gentleman is going to the broken carriage.
Perhaps you can assist him to remove some of the trunks. They must not
be left out where they are.’

’There be some scatt right abroad,’[3] answered Joyce; ’I seed mun, and
the things be coming out like.’

[3] Broken to pieces.

’More the reason why they should be collected and brought under cover.’

’I’ll go right on end,’ said Joyce.  ’And vaither may sleep in the

’Yes, he may.’

’Oh, rallaluley, he’ll be glad!’

So Joyce led the way, followed by Herring, and Miss Cicely Battishill
went in quest of assistance.

When Herring and Joyce reached the scene of the accident, they
discovered Old Grizzly hopping about amidst the wreck, pulling the
pieces of the broken carriage apart. He had made some clearance in the
confusion, but not from disinterested motives.  Everything in the shape
of cushion and cloak had disappeared, and the old wrecker was engaged in
collecting chips of the broken wood for firing.

John Herring did not notice particularly what he was about; it was too
dark to distinguish much.  He went directly to the boxes.

Of his own goods there was little to take care of save one valise, and
that was safe. The rest of the trunks and portmanteaus belonged to Mr.
Strange and his daughter.  The trunks lay, some still corded, on the top
of the chaise; others thrown off, one with its lock sprung.  This box
had either been very much shaken by the fall, or Grizzly’s arm had been
turning it over, for the lid would no longer close over the confused and
overflowing contents.

Grizzly Cobbledick decamped when he saw the lantern brought to bear on
the wreck. Joyce called after him, but he made no reply. Then she went
in pursuit to announce to him the glad news that he was to sleep in the
straw of the calves’ linney at West Wyke.

’I wonder,’ mused John Herring, ’whether that old rascal can have stolen
anything of value.  If he has, there is no one to bring him to book.
The owner is dead, and the daughter probably knows nothing of the
contents of the boxes.’

If he had known!

                             *CHAPTER IV.*


It is aggravating to the reader to be asked to move backwards when he
has been well started in a story.  He resents it, as he resents the
backing of a train when he has left the station where he took his
ticket, and is impatient to reach his destination.

The author is aware that he is trying the patience of the reader when he
asks him to turn into a side alley which bends in the same direction as
his starting point.  He would avoid asking him to turn if it were
possible to do so.  But it is not always possible.  To a drama, to the
farce of half an hour, is prefixed the list of characters.  In taking up
one of Lacy’s acting copies, the reader learns at a glance that Box is a
journeyman printer, and Cox a journeyman hatter, and that Mrs. Bouncer
is a lodging-house keeper.  He learns a great deal about them before he
comes to a word of dialogue.  He is informed that Box wears ’small
swallow-tailed black coat, short buff waistcoat, light drab trousers
(short, turned up at the bottom), black stockings, white canvas boots
with black tips, cotton neckcloth, and shabby black hat;’ further, that
Cox is apparelled in ’brown Newmarket coat, long white waistcoat, black
plaid trousers, boots, white hat, black stock;’ that Mrs. Bouncer is
costumed in ’coloured cotton gown, apron, cap, &c.’  He feels at once
that he knows all about these characters.  He reads their past in their
costume, they wear their souls on their limbs.  Note that ’turned up at
the bottom’—the words illumine the abysses of the character of Box, and
make them clear to us.

But the novelist is debarred what is allowed the dramatist.  He must
haul up his curtain on a situation without an introductory word, and
then, when the reader is puzzled as to the characters, antecedents, and
purposes of the _dramatis personæ_, he is obliged to step forward, stick
in hand, as in a wax-work, point out the several personages and describe
them.  This is the way of novelists. It is a bad way, it is inartistic,
but it is exacted by the reader.

Now, in describing the characters of a novel it is not sufficient to
give minute accounts of the costume—in the case of the Cobbledicks this
is done in a word; the author is required to give his readers a key to
the inner mechanism of his puppets, to show why they walk or pirouette,
and what may be expected to be the limits of their powers. He can rarely
do this without retrogression.

That Mirelle may be understood and not be judged with undue severity, we
must step back to a period before her birth; but we shall be as rapid in
our survey as we can, and shall resume the thread of our story after a
very short divagation.

The Countess Garcia de Cantalejo was a poor Spanish lady sent out to
Brazil by her relatives, who were by no means near, to be got rid of by
marriage, malaria, or mosquitoes, as might be, but anyhow to be got rid

She was handsome, but, like the milkmaid in the ballad, ’her face was
her fortune.’  Now in Spain pretty women abound, and ugly women are
exceptional.  Marriageable men look out more for money, which is scarce,
than for beauty, which is a drug.  Money, moreover, they know, in
prudent hands will wax; beauty they know, however well conserved, will

In Brazil she was seen and admired by Mr. Strange, a diamond merchant,
and she consented to give him her cold hand, intending at the earliest
opportunity to supplement it with the cold shoulder.  She married him
because no one else would have her, and because he was well off.  She
was proud of her family, and it was a condescension on her part—like
that of the sun which stoops to kiss the puddle—for her to link the
proud name of Garcia with that of Strange, and Cantalejo—which was
territorial, with a blank, for the Stranges had never owned any more
ground than the six foot allotted them as graves, and that only till
they had mouldered.  They had made, but not coined, their money,
certainly never had hung men on their own gallows.

Mr. Strange, and the Countess Garcia de Cantalejo lived together for a
few years like oil and water.  At length the Countess became the mother
of a daughter, who was baptized Mirelle at the font in the Cathedral of
Bahia, by the Cardinal Archbishop himself. After this Donna Garcia
informed her husband that their separation was inevitable.  The child
could not be decently suckled, weaned, and educated in a colony,
certainly not in a city so mean as Bahia.  The child, the heiress of the
coronet and of the name with its territorial tail, must go to Europe.

The Countess did not purpose returning to Spain; there were
circumstances attending her departure from her native country which had
embittered her against her relatives there.  No!  she would go to Paris,
the centre of the civilised world.

Mr. Strange raised no objections.  He was weary of association with a
woman full of caprice, of fading charms, and of intolerable pride.  He
was a reserved and a disappointed man.  To every bird comes its time of
song; to the swan only at death, to the nightingale in balmy spring
while mating; it is only the chatterers that chatter ever.  The song
time, the flowering time, the moment when the dullest life breaks into
poetry, is the moment of love.  Mr. Strange had gone through this and
had been disenchanted, and thenceforth his life became dull, prosaic,
without melody and colour, unimpassioned.  His heart had flamed, and his
wife had extinguished its fires with ice.

Mr. Strange had no love for babies. Babies are to men objects as
offensive as naked infant rabbits.  A doe eats her young rather than
expose them to the strange eye before their fur is grown.  If women were
as wise as does they would never exhibit the contents of their nursery
till the children could talk and run about.

Mr. Strange heard a squalling in the house; the object his wife had
produced was thrust under his eyes and nose with indecent haste.  It
dribbled when teething, erupted with the thrush, and had a difficulty in
keeping down its milk.  Consequently, when the Countess proposed to
remove the babe to Paris, Mr. Strange gave a cheerful consent, and this
consent was made doubly cheerful by the certainty that the mother would
accompany her child.

If Mr. Strange acted in a somewhat callous manner in granting this
separation between himself and his wife and child, he was in other
particulars generous.  He made the Countess an allowance which, for his
circumstances, was handsome, and as the child grew, and greater demands
were made on his purse, he met these demands without remonstrance.

Arrived in Paris, the Countess Garcia had not long to swim before her
feet touched ground.  She had a perfectly legitimate right to her title,
her pedigree was unassailable, her manners were polished.  She appeared
at the balls of the Spanish ambassador, and associated with the best
French and Spanish families belonging to the old noblesse.  It was well
known that she had married a moneyed Englishman, of no birth, nor
station, nor religion.  It was known that she had married for money.  No
one spoke of Mr. Strange.  The great people among whom she moved would
as soon have inquired about a boil that troubled her as about the
husband whom ’for her sins’ she had saddled on her. No persons of
breeding invite their friends to introduce them to the family skeleton.

Mirelle was brought up by the Countess to think of her father as a man
who had taken a mean advantage of her mother’s poverty. He was her
father by sufferance; _de facto_, alas, not _de jure_.  She had
inherited her mother’s complexion, eyes, and hair; the blood in her
veins was her mother’s, Spanish and aristocratic; her sentiments were
her mother’s, as also her prejudices and her faith.  It was hard to say
what she derived from her father except her living and schooling for
which he paid.  For that she owed him nothing.  He was fulfilling his
duty, and a privilege he ought to value.  What was he, to be the husband
of a Garcia and the father of a Garcia?  He was English, he was a
heretic, worst of all he was bourgeois.

The Countess bought herself silks with Mr. Strange’s money, wore the
diamonds he sent her, hired good rooms in an aristocratic quarter, and
paid for them from his remittances.  She had nothing whatever of her
own.  She owed him everything, to her handkerchiefs and her shoestrings.
She knew this perfectly, and writhed under the knowledge.  The greater
the debt she owed him, the deeper the detestation with which she
regarded him.  Each present he sent her was repaid by instilling a drop
of bitterness into the heart of his child towards him.

One stipulation with regard to his daughter’s education Mr. Strange had
made. He insisted that she should have an English nurse, and that when
she grew older she should have English playmates and English
governesses.  When old enough to go to school her mother sent her to
English nuns, because Mr. Strange refused to allow her to go to any
other convent than one of English sisters.  Thus it was that Mirelle
grew up to speak English fluently and well, and to thoroughly understand
the tongue.  But of English ways of thinking and of feeling she had not
the faintest conception.  Proud, cold, selfish, and bigoted her mother
had been, and the ambition of Mirelle was to model herself on her
mother.  Thus she, too, became proud, cold, selfish, and bigoted.  It
was not her fault—the fault lay in her training.

The Countess was a woman of the world, who combined religious zeal with
worldly self-seeking.  She was a vain woman, and though she did her
utmost to conserve her beauty it withered, and the child blooming into
lovely maidenhood at her side made the contrast distressing, because
noticeable.  This was the reason why she placed Mirelle in a convent in
her fourteenth year.  She saw the girl often, but never, if she could
help it, was seen in her company.

This separation from her mother was of advantage to Mirelle.  It
preserved her simplicity.  There was no craft in her; she was absolutely
guileless, distressingly frank, and innocent of the trickery as well as
of the wickedness of the social world.  She was cold, because the spring
had not yet come to her frozen heart.  She loved her mother, but without
passion, for her mother was too selfish to awaken passionate love.  Her
nurses and governesses had changed so often that she could not count
them.  Among the cold sisters, lilies of virtue, the exhibition of
emotion was, if not sinful, yet smacking of imperfection.  Natural
affections were weaknesses of the moral spine, to be conquered by
wearing a perpetual back-board.

Suddenly the Countess died—died in her chair before the looking-glass,
reciting the Litany of Loreto, whilst her face was being enamelled.  The
beautifier entreated Madame la Comtesse not to draw her mouth down on
one side, it was cracking the enamel before it was dry—-just when she
had arrived at the ’tower of ivory.’  Then Madame la Comtesse gave a
gasp and the enamel came off, washed away from her brow by the sweat of
death, and running in a milky river down her nose and cheeks, and
dripping on the peignoir under her chin.  The beautifier rang the bell,
and said, ’Sacré mille diables!  To whom shall I send in the bill?
Madame is no more in condition to pay.’

When Mr. Strange heard of his wife’s death, he settled his affairs in
Brazil.  He was a strictly conscientious man, and he felt that now it
was his duty to look after the child. He had no idea that the child had
sprung up into maidenhood, and was a tall, lovely girl, lovelier than
her mother had ever been.  His wife had not taken the trouble to send
him a miniature of his daughter.  Miniatures are expensive, and the
Countess wanted all the money she received for herself.  She did,
indeed, once send him a bit of her hair, tied with blue silk; but then,
that cost nothing. Mr. Strange thought of his child as a limp piece of
mortality in a long white garment, with a frill round the red head like
that put round a ham-bone—a thing of squeals, that in its squealing
showed a pair of toothless gums, a quivering red tongue, and a crinkled
white palate.  He could hardly believe his eyes when introduced to his
daughter.  She received him with perfect self-possession, without
raising her eyes from the ground to look at him, for the sisters had
taught her the custody of the eyes.  According to S. Paul, there is but
one Man of Sin, and he is in the future; to the religious all men are
men of sin, and in the present.

Mirelle curtsied gracefully.  She spoke the best copy-book sentiments of
filial respect, and assured him (out of the Catechism) of the obligation
to filial duty under which she lay.

Then he took her away from the nuns of the Sacred Heart, and carried her
about Paris, sight-seeing, in the hope of making her unbend.

The decorator sent in a bill for two thousand francs, his charge for
beautifying madame, hoping to get fifty, and ready to accept five.  Mr.
Strange tore the bill, and lit his cigar with it.

An old woman who had laid madame out asked five francs for her pains.
Then timidly produced a lock of hair she had cut off madame’s head as
she laid her in the coffin.  The hair was beautiful still! and, oh!
madame had looked so sweet, so peaceful, like a holy angel, actually
young again.  Then Mr. Strange took the lock reverently, turned his face
away, and did not speak.  Something in his throat troubled him.  He
thought of twenty years ago—of the time when his heart bounded, of the
singing of the nightingale, of the flowering of the wheat, of the short
dream of poetry. Then he recovered himself, and put something in the old
woman’s hand.  The old woman went chuckling away.  When she reached the
street she said, ’That was a brave invention. Madame’s complexion was
that of a toad’s belly.  She was hideous as a monkey.  I could not pick
the paint off her skin.  Some adhered, the rest flaked away.  That lock
of hair was part of her false front.  Mon Dieu! how soft men’s hearts
are!’  Mr. Strange speedily discovered that he and his daughter had
about as many subjects in common as an Esquimaux has with a native of
equatorial Africa.  She was above all things a Catholic, he a
Protestant.  She was religious, and, because religious, somewhat
conscientious.  He conscientious, and, because conscientious, somewhat
religious.  His religion was to his life what stockings are to a
traveller’s portmanteau, something to fill corners with where nothing
else will go.  With Mirelle religion was the chief packing of her life,
and this was a condition incomprehensible to her father. She had
artistic instincts; she loved pictures and music.  Now, pictures and
music happen to be two things not to be got in Brazil, except in such an
execrable state of degradation as to be unendurable.  But he liked the
theatre, and to attend the theatre Mirelle considered wicked.  Mirelle
had learned history from the sisters of the Sacré Coeur—that is, she had
learned that every modern political idea is positively evil, that
absolutism is ideal perfection, that the mediæval times were the only
times in which it was worth living, for then the popes gave and withdrew
crowns, kings kissed their feet, and emperors held their stirrups.  She
had been taught geography out of French manuals, and had learned that
France is to the rest of the European powers as the sun to the planets;
from it they derive their light, and about it they rotate.

Mirelle had her acquaintances, the Princess L’Amoureuse, Prince
Punchkin, Countesses, Baronesses by the score, the mothers and aunts of
her schoolfellows and friends of her mother.  Not one of these was known
to Mr. Strange even by name, and when she spoke of them she might have
been, for aught he cared, reciting the list of European lepidoptera.

Even in their eating their tastes were opposed.  Mr. Strange was fond of
pickles, Mirelle loved sweets.  Chillies tickled his palate, chocolate
soothed hers; crystallised angelica carried her into heaven, and plunged
him into purgatory, for he had a hollow tooth. Mr. Strange endeavoured
to talk to Mirelle of her mother.  Now that the Countess was dead some
of the old romance that had surrounded his wooing reappeared, and his
heart softened to the memory of the woman.  Mirelle was ready enough to
speak of her, but she had nothing to say that vibrated a chord in his
heart.  She spoke of her mother as a fashionable lady, living in
society, dressing for balls, driving in the Bois de Boulogne, or holding
a plate at the door of the Madeleine—not of her as a woman feeling,
loving, suffering.

This condition of affairs was becoming intolerable.  How was Mr. Strange
to live with a young lady with whom he was utterly out of sympathy,
whose head was where his feet stood, and her feet at his head?  They saw
different worlds, they breathed different air.

The first thing to be done was to get her away from France.  That was a
plain necessity. On English soil common interests might spring up.

Mr. Strange had a friend of former times living at Avranches, a friend
of whom he had lost sight for many years.  He knew his address, and he
knew also that he was married to a French lady.

Mr. Strange’s nearest relative, a cousin, had lived formerly at
Falmouth, and, he supposed, lived there still.  Mr. Strange resolved to
visit his old friend at Avranches, and go on in the packet from St. Malo
to Falmouth. He would consult both on what was to be done with Mirelle.
He had other reasons, which will appear in the sequel.

So he hurried away from Paris, and went to Avranches.  His old friend
was delighted to see him, shook hands—both hands, with the utmost
cordiality, asked half a dozen times after his wife and children, and
forgot as frequently when told that his wife was dead, and that there
was but one child, a daughter. He insisted on carrying his dear friend
Strange with him to the café, and on his drinking with him a glass of
_eau sucrée_ flavoured with syrup of orange, and eating with him sponge
biscuits.  Would he further, in recollection of old times, favour him
with a game of dominoes?  The Frenchified Englishman did not introduce
Mr. Strange to his wife, or ask him to bring Mirelle from the hotel to
his house, and finally, looking at his watch, remembered he was due to
take his wife a drive, shook hands with his dear old friend with
effusion, and begged, if he were again passing through Avranches on his
way to or from Brazil, not to omit to call and drink again with him
sugar and water and eat a sponge cake.

Mr. Strange departed, his grave face looking graver.  After a rough
passage, in which Mirelle suffered extremely, and her father smoked and
looked at the waves unconcernedly, they arrived at Falmouth.  Cato, when
at sea, jumped overboard, saying he would rather die than endure another
half-hour of sickness.  Cato was a stoic philosopher, Mirelle was
neither a philosopher nor a stoic.  She was profoundly wretched, and
looked ghastly when she landed in a drizzle at Falmouth.  Thus her first
arrival in England was not encouraging.  Mr. Strange inquired for his
cousin, and learned that he was no longer at Falmouth; he had removed to
Launceston.  Mr. Strange heard such an unsatisfactory account of his
cousin that he was greatly disconcerted.  His cousin’s name was
Trampleasure.  He found a universal consensus of opinion at Falmouth
that Mr. Trampleasure was a man unprincipled and unscrupulous, and that
he had moved to Launceston only because he had made Falmouth too hot for

Mr. Strange remained a couple of nights at Falmouth, and then took coach
to Launceston. There he neither called on his cousin nor stayed.  He
found at the inn a young gentleman equally anxious with himself to push
on to Exeter, and he offered him a seat in the chaise he had hired.
Thus it was that Mr. John Herring was with him and his daughter when the
accident occurred.  Before leaving Brazil Mr. Strange had made his will,
bequeathing everything he possessed to his cousin, Mr. Sampson
Trampleasure, and to his Avranches friend, in trust for his daughter,
and had constituted them her guardians. This will was in his desk.  He
did not unpack his desk at Falmouth and cancel his will; there was time
enough to do that on his arrival at Exeter.  Man proposes: God disposes.

                              *CHAPTER V.*

                           *THE OWLS’ NEST.*

West Wyke is a perfect specimen of a small country gentleman’s house of
the sixteenth century.  Two or three hundred years ago every parish in
the West of England contained several gentle families, not acred up to
their lips, but with moderate possessions. These small squires farmed a
large part of their own estates themselves, gave moderate portions to
their daughters, who were not ashamed to marry yeomen and even
tradesmen, and their younger sons went to sea, or were apprenticed to
merchants in the towns.[1]

[1] Thus, in the Visitation of Devon of 1620, a Cholmondeley enters his
brothers as ’silkman on London Bridge,’ and ’prentice in London,’ and a
Wolston registers his sisters as married respectively to a ’labourer’
and a ’clothier’; a daughter of Glanville married a blacksmith of

When the heralds came round to hold their courts and examine into the
claims of gentility and right to rode to court with their title-deeds in
their saddle-bags and their signet rings on their hands, and showed
convincingly that they had held their acres for many generations and had
borne coat armour.  Hard drinking, gambling, an extravagant style of
living, have destroyed these little gentry, and the same causes have
effected the extermination of the yeomanry.

In the parish of South Tawton two hundred years ago there were seven
families of gentle blood—the Weekes of North Wyke, the Burgoynes of
Zeal, the Northmores of Will, the Oxenhams of Oxenham, the Battishills
of West Wyke, the Mylfords, and the Fursdons.  All have gone; their
place is only known by the old houses they have left behind, and a few
tombstones with their heraldic bearings on them in the church.  The
grand old mansion of the Weekes is now parted in twain, one half a
farmhouse, the other a labourer’s cottage.  The park is cut down, the
ceilings are falling, the panelling is decaying. The house of the
Burgoynes is now a village tavern; Will, a cottage, its grand old
gateway levelled with the dust; West Wyke is a farmhouse.

If we would know how our gentle ancestors lived, let us look closely at
West Wyke—it deserves a visit and a description.

The house stands on the moor, in the midst of a little patch of
reclaimed land.  The situation is too lofty and exposed to allow of
trees to flourish.  A few ash stems attempt to live there, and they are
twisted from the south-west.  A few feet below the surface the roots
reach the rock, and when the taproot touches stone the doom of the tree
is sealed.

West Wyke House was built in 1583—the date is on it—by William
Battishill.  It is a house which a substantial farmer nowadays would
scorn to inhabit.  It consists, on the basement, of one hall, a ladies’
bower, a kitchen, and a large dairy—that is all.  And that is the
basement plan of many hundreds of similar mansions in the West, once
tenanted by proud squires and their ladies, well born, well bred, and
well attired.  Look at their portraits—they were gentlemen of breed and
honour, they carry it in their faces; they were ladies of pure and noble
souls, refined in mind, simple in life.  It is written on their brows.

In 1656 Roger Battishill, the reigning lord of the manor, walled in a
garden in front of the house, and at the side built an embattled
gateway, only twelve feet high to the crown of the battlements; a
gateway of shaped granite blocks and carved granite mouldings; and over
the centre, proudly also sculptured in granite, the arms of Battishill,
the cross crosslet in sal tire between four great owls. He planted the
garden with lilies, white and orange, with honesty, golden-rod, and
white rocket.  These flourished here, sheltered from the winds by the
inclosing walls; and a monthly rose ran up the side of the house, about
the hall window, and bloomed up to New Year’s day.

No road led to the embattled gateway. No carriages were used in those
days, and for the horses’ hoofs there was the spongy turf. When a rough
track had been trampled through the moor grass, and made black with
oozing peat water, the riders rode afield and made another way till the
first had grassed itself over again.

Observe the date on the embattled gateway. Charles I. was executed in
1649, Cromwell had issued his edict in 1655 for exacting the tenth penny
from the Cavaliers, in order, as he pretended, to make them pay the
expenses to which their mutinous disposition exposed the nation.  To
raise this impost, which passed by the name of the decimation, the
Protector appointed major-generals, and divided the kingdom into
military jurisdictions under them.  These men had power to subject whom
they would to decimation, and to imprison any person who should be
exposed to their jealousy or suspicion.  Now Roger Battishill had been a
Royalist, but his twin brother Richard had been a Roundhead.  There were
two other brothers, Robert and Ralph. Now, when the commissioner came to
Okehampton to levy decimation, he summoned Squire Battishill before him;
whereupon the four brothers, all habited in grey, with very erect hair,
protruding ears, and staring eyes, and a general puzzle-headed
expression in their faces, appeared before him, and so bewildered the
commissioner with their Roger and Richard, and Robert and Ralph, and
their extraordinary likeness to each other, and their profound
puzzle-headedness, which made it impossible for Roger to speak without
involving Richard and Robert and Ralph, and so through the rest—that he
dismissed them undecimated, fully impressed that the Royalist was Ralph,
who, being only just of age, could not have been in the past a dangerous
recusant.  Thereupon the four brothers rode home to West Wyke, hooting
with joy, and in commemoration of this achievement set up the embattled
gateway, to shut themselves in and the world and politics out for ever.
Over the gateway they carved the four owls, their arms, said Roger and
Richard, and Robert and Ralph—their own portraits said the malicious
world of South Tawton.

Some account of the hall has been already given.  In our day the oak
panelling has disappeared as fuel for the great hearth, but in the
granite mullioned window is still preserved in stained glass the
cognizance of the Battishills, the four owls impaled with, azure, three
towers argent, on which are squatted three white birds.

A gentleman of the present day, if not exacting, might possibly
accommodate himself in the lower part of the house, but would hardly
acquiesce in the upstairs arrangements, for there all the bedrooms were
_en suite_.  In the centre slept the squire and his lady, when he had
one; on the right were rooms for the men; in the furthest slept the
apprentices, in the nearest the sons and brothers of the family.  On the
left were three rooms all in communication. The first was the state
guest room, the next that allotted to the young ladies; beyond that,
over the cow-shed, the room for the servant maids.

We have a great deal to learn from our ancestors, and we are learning
much.  We copy their architecture, we reproduce their dyes, we affect
their costume, but we do not go back to their sleeping arrangements.

Some days passed.  Mirelle remained at West Wyke; John Herring was
lodged in the inn at Zeal, not far distant in the valley. He devoted
himself to the affairs of Mirelle. Mr. Battishill was most kind, but
quite unable to be of real use.  He was prepared to discuss with Herring
what must be done, and he would undertake to do what he thought
desirable, but he never did anything.  The dead man might have lain a
month, three months, a year upstairs, before Mr. Battishill took steps
for his interment.  He had a theory of his own relative to the disposal
of the dead.  He believed that elm was an unsuitable wood for the making
of coffins.  Alder was the proper timber, because alder grew in swamps,
and was presumably damp-resisting. It was in vain that Herring explained
to him that alders did not attain a sufficient size to be sawn into
planks.  That was because alders were not suffered to grow; they were
treated as weeds and cut down.  ’Grow them,’ said Mr. Battishill; ’give
them time and see for yourself.’  He would have allowed the dead man to
occupy the spare room till the alders were grown.

Then, again, he had a theory that coffins ought to be filled with that
powerful antiseptic, brown Norwegian pitch, pitch from the pine, none of
your villainous coal tar, but brown pitch like old treacle.  And so on,
from coffins to alders, and to Norway tar, and the dead man waiting for
the alders to grow and the pitch to be extracted.  John Herring was
obliged to see to everything, to arrange with the undertaker, and to fix
the funeral. Then, again, Mirelle might have remained on till she
married or died for all that Mr. Battishill would have done to discover
her relations; perhaps it would have been better had it been so.  We
take infinite pains to do what is just and kind, and find afterwards
that everything would have been better had we put our hands in our
pockets.  We give in charity and pauperise; we effect reforms which
bring in a state of affairs worse than existed before.  There is more
mischief wrought by doing good than by doing nothing.

Before the funeral, Herring discovered that the deceased had an account
with an Exeter bank.  He found this through a letter in the pocket-book
of the deceased addressed to him in Paris from Exeter, acknowledging the
receipt of several thousand pounds, transferred by a Brazilian bank, and
notifying the opening of an account in Mr. Strange’s name.

Herring communicated with this bank, stated what had taken place, and
the banker allowed him to draw a limited sum for funeral expenses.  The
young man requested, even insisted, on Mr. Battishill being present when
he examined the dead man’s pocket-book and purse, and he required him to
sign a statement of the amount of money found on him.

Mirelle remained perfectly passive; she took her residence with the
Battishills as a matter of course.  The accident had happened near their
house, on their land; it was only proper that they should shelter her.
If she gave the matter a thought, this is the result of her cogitation,
but actually it did not trouble her.  She had always been provided for,
and had never had to consider how she was to be provided for.  She did
not excuse herself for taking advantage of the hospitality of strangers,
for it did not occur to her that such an excuse was necessary.  Herring
was obliged to take on himself what Mirelle omitted.  He apologised for
her.  A strange chance had constituted him her guardian, at least for a
while.  She allowed him to arrange everything. If he asked her to advise
him as to her wishes, she replied that she was without any; he must act
as he thought proper.  She knew nothing of the ways of England; he must
do whatever was conventional.

It did not enter her head that his journey was interrupted on her
account, and that he was put to very serious inconvenience by his
difficulty in leaving her without a protector. To trust Mr. Battishill
to do what was requisite was to trust a piece of bread and butter not to
fall butter downwards.

Mirelle took it for granted that Herring was doing his duty or following
his pleasure. She accepted his services as she accepted those of the
girl who blacked her boots.  Each fulfilled a function for which they
were called into existence.  She neither thanked him nor rewarded him
with a look.  What he was like she did not know, neither did she care.
He wore very big and shapeless boots, but that was proper; boots like
these became a bumpkin.

At the funeral he wore black, and gave her his arm.  He and she were the
sole mourners.  She did not wish to attend.  She supposed that only men
attended the funerals of males; but when it was explained to her that
this was not the custom in England, she submitted.

Mr. Battishill did not follow the coffin. There was a difficulty with
him about black clothes.  He had one best suit, but that was dark blue
with brass buttons.  He was not provided with ready money, and a new
suit of clothes would cripple him for some years, as it would have to be
paid for in instalments, a leg and an arm at intervals of a quarter; the
coat-tails at equal and similar intervals. Mr. Battishill did not like
to admit this, so he was prostrated with a convenient attack of the gout
the day before the funeral, and sat in his chair with the lame foot
swaddled on a stool before him.  We laugh at the shifts of the gentle
poor, and label them meannesses, whereas they are necessities.  Cicely
remained at home.  There was but one servant kept at West Wyke, a cook,
housemaid, parlour maid, kitchen maid, laundress, condensed into one,
and Cicely had sufficient to do to keep the house in order.  A funeral,
moreover, entails extra work—eating, drinking, and doleful making merry.

Herring gave her some money from Mr. Strange’s purse, telling her that
it was to be spent on things necessary, and would be accounted for to
the executors.  It was not right nor reasonable, it was not in the least
necessary, that the Battishills should be put to expense by reason of
the funeral of a man who was an entire stranger.  The deceased was well
off, and the small expenses of his funeral would be nothing deducted
from the six thousand pounds which they knew was at the bank, and would
go to his daughter.

Cicely frankly accepted the money, and made greater preparations than
she could otherwise have made.  She put more saffron and currants in the
cakes, and with these necessary condiments the luxury of candied peel.
Instead of providing cyder she put sherry on the table, and gave the
bearers and undertaker cold round of beef instead of squab pie.

As Herring and Mirelle left the churchyard after the funeral, she took
her hand off his arm, and in their walk back to West Wyke she was
interested in the ferns and mosses of the banks.  Herring spoke to her
occasionally, trying to begin a conversation; but she answered shortly,
and either dropped behind to examine a fern or was arrested by the view
through a gate, plainly showing him that she declined to converse.

When they were on the moor, John Herring suddenly stopped and picked a
tuft of white heath.  He offered it to Mirelle, and she accepted it

’Although this be a day of sadness, Countess, yet here is an omen that
some brightness is in store for you.  It is said in the West that the
white heath brings good luck to the person that secures it.’

’You found it, monsieur, not I.’

’But I pass on my luck to you.  Keep it; I hope it may always spring up
in your path as it has this day.’

She made no reply, but gathered a sprig of pink heath.

On reaching the gate of West Wyke Cicely met them; she had been looking
out for their return.

’Voyez!’ said Mirelle, ’I have picked a lovely bouquet of ferns and moss
and wild flowers on my way.  We have no ferns in France, at least I have
never seen such.  In this one particular you surpass us.’

She showed her bunch.  The white heath was not there.

’Oh!’ exclaimed Herring, incautiously, ’the best flower of all has
fallen—the white heath.’

’So it is,’ said Mirelle.  ’I am sorry; my hand was full.’

’Shall I go back for it?’

’No, it has fallen in the mire, and is trodden under foot.  I shall
doubtless find my own good luck some day myself.’

                             *CHAPTER VI.*

                         *THAT OLD TRAMPLARA.*

As they entered the garden, Mirelle was about to take Cicely’s arm, and
walk round it with her, looking at the flowers, when John Herring stayed

’Excuse me, Countess, I must trouble you one moment.  I think it time
that we should make an attempt to find out your father’s relatives or
connections in England.’

’I do not suppose that he had any.’

’Why not?’

’He did not speak to me of any.  Besides, these people do not hang
together like persons who have pedigrees.’

’But something must be done.  Whither are you to go?  What is to become
of you?’

’Comme le bon Dieu veut!’

’You cannot remain here till some one turns up to claim you.’

’Why not?’

Mr. Herring was staggered.  He could not reply, and say that she was
trespassing on the hospitality of entire strangers.  She turned to
continue her walk.

’That is a fine orange lily,’ she said to Cicely.

’You must really allow me to detain you,’ pursued Herring.  ’All I ask
now is, may Mr. Battishill and I look through your father’s desk that is
in his trunk?  His bunch of keys has been given to you.  Will you open
the desk, or shall we do it with your sanction?’

’Do what you like, Mr. Fish.’

Cicely looked reprovingly at Mirelle, and ventured on a correction.
’Mr. Herring, you mean.’

Mirelle’s cheek tinged faintly.

’I beg your pardon, sir.  Your name had escaped me.  I am not yet
familiar with English names, which seem to me harsh or grotesque.  I
remembered that you belonged to the fishes, but to which particular
family of fish I did not recall.’

Herring bit his lip, then said quietly, ’Would you prefer opening your
father’s desk yourself, Countess?’

’Mon Dieu, non!’

’Then will you give me the key, and allow us to examine the contents of
the desk?’

’Certainly.  But I do not know which is the key.  Here, take the bunch,
and do as you will.’  Then she turned impatiently round, and walked

When Herring had entered the house, Cicely said gently, ’I think,
Mirelle, you are bound to try and remember poor Mr. Herring’s name.’

’Why should I?  It in no way concerns me.’

’But you hurt his feelings.  I saw he was pained.’

’Oh, but no! that is not possible.  He cannot care about such a droll
name. Herring!—red herring—pickled herring!—the thing is ridiculous.
When the name is historical, then—c’est bien autre chose.  But when it
is ignoble, and, in addition, is ridiculous, what is there to be proud
of?  If there be no pride, there can be no wound. These people,
moreover, have not the feelings that we have—I mean about their names. I
should resent it were I called anything but what I am.  But then the
Garcias fought the Moors.  Don Luis de Garcia with one blow cleft a
Saracen through his turban, ’twixt his eyes, to the very saddle, and the
saddle itself was cloven.  We had the saddle and the sword in our
armoury three hundred years ago.  We held the county of Cantalejo, we
coined our own money, and hung on our own gallows.  But the Herrings!
they swim in the vast sea along with the sprats and the congers, the
common plaice and the little dabs.  They have no history.  They spawn
ten thousand at a time; they are the bread of the nobler fish.  No—a
Herring has no cause to be offended if his name be forgotten. There,’
Mirelle laughed, ’I have said my say.’

’He is a gentleman,’ said Cicely, with some warmth; ’I know nothing of
his family, but I judge by his manners and appearance.’

’I have noticed neither.  I do not consider those who in no way concern
me.  I cannot describe to you the colour of the eyes and hair of the
postillion who upset us, and I know and care as little about the nobody
who had the bad fortune to be upset with us.  Il m’ennuie, c’est tout

’He has been very considerate towards you.  He has done a great deal for
you deserving of gratitude.’

’For what else did the good God create men but to be useful—to assist
the ladies? He made the dog the servant of man, and man the dog of the
woman.  The man does not thank or consider the dog that fetches him a
stick out of the water, and the woman has no occasion to pat and praise
the man who executes foolish trifles for her.  If the dog shakes himself
near his master, when emerging from the water, then the stick he brought
is applied to his sides, and when the man makes himself over officious,
woman turns her back on him.’

’You have an odd idea of the reason why men are placed in the world.’

’I have a perfectly just idea.  At the convent of the Sacré Coeur the
good sisters kept several tame men.  There was old Jean who sawed the
firewood for them, and ancient Jacques who gardened.  There was even a
devout sweep who cleaned their chimneys, and though his face was black,
his soul was white.  There was a venerable chaplain who heard
confessions, and there was a domesticated notary who did their legal
business. The sisters worried these men a great deal, especially the
notary and the confessor; the latter made a good end in a lunatic
asylum. They all took it in good part.  Their backs were made to bear
their burden.’

’You will not forget his name again?’

’Whose name?  What! ce bon Poisson! I will remember for your sake.’

John Herring brought down the dead man’s desk into the hall, that Mr.
Battishill and he might examine its contents together. Mr. Battishill
hastily put his leg up as Herring entered.

’Sorry that I could not attend the funeral,’ said the old gentleman,
’but the sins of the fathers are visited on their children.  I endure
the gout because my father and grandfather tippled port.  Sit down,
Herring, and I will tell you a good story.  In the grand old days when
there were many squires about here, and the Knapmans were at Wansdon,
and the Whiddons at Whiddon, the old Squire Knapman was getting into a
bad way financially, like me.  He was invited to dinner at Whiddon, and
drove there in his great coach.  After dinner, Squire Whiddon saw him
into his overcoat in the hall, and was about to accompany him to the
door when old Knapman said, "No, no! you will catch cold; keep in, man."
But the squire was too hospitable for that, and he attended Knapman to
the coach. "Don’t come out, for heaven’s sake, you will get your death
of cold," said Knapman. "Why!" exclaimed Whiddon, "what is the meaning
of this, Knapman?  Going to ride on the box instead of inside, a night
like this?"  "I prefer it," answered Squire Knapman, proceeding to
ascend to the box.  But Whiddon would not allow it; he went to the
coach-door and opened it—when, lo! he found it full of hay.’

’How came that?’ asked Herring.

’Why, do you not see?  Old Knapman was badly off for hay for his horse,
and when he went out anywhere to dinner he told his coachman to fill the
carriage with hay from his host’s rick, and himself went home on the

’A good story, sir; but I think we had better examine the contents of
this desk before we tell any more.’

’Sit down, sit down, man.  Do not drive the willing horse, and let an
old man give you a piece of advice.  Let well alone, and do not
precipitate yourself, as Orlando says, "from the smoke into the

’But you forget, sir, this that you advise me to leave alone is not well
at all.  The young lady is an orphan, and we know nothing of her

’Go on, then!  How full of briars is this working-day world!  What do
you propose to do with the lady?’

’I cannot tell till I have ascertained whether she has relatives in

’If she has not, she must be made a ward in Chancery, or you must marry
her, and so take her affairs into your own hands.’

’Mr. Battishill!’  John Herring flushed to his temples and looked down.

’I am putting an alternative case.  Now, to make her a ward in Chancery
is to put a fly into a cobweb.  Her few thousand pounds will be bled
away.  By-the-by, talking of thousands, do you know any one inclined to
speculate in silver lead?  I have a rare lode on my property, but I have
not the means to work it.  I have set three men on the shode, and they
have been engaged there for several days.  There is no mistaking that
grey-blue stuff that comes up.  But I cannot go on myself. If I could,
the property would be cleared in no time.  As it is, I am crushed by
that damned old Tramplara.  Do you remember how Sinbad had to carry the
Old Man of the Sea on his shoulders who picked all the apples and ate
them himself, whilst Sinbad perished of hunger?  Do what he would,
Sinbad was powerless to dislodge the horrible creature astride on his

’Yes, I remember,’

’Well, I am in the same predicament; I have got that old Tramplara on my

’Who is Tramplara, sir?’

’Tramplara!  Not know Tramplara?  I thought every one knew and had felt
him.  He is a Cornish lawyer, who lived at Falmouth, till Falmouth
passed him on to Launceston, having had enough of him.  He has lent me
money. He knew that I wanted to improve my property; I was hot on
draining at one time, and thought if I drained my marshes I should fill
my purse.  But, Herring, draining does not pay in all lands.  It don’t
pay in clay at all.  The only thing I drained effectually was my pocket.
Then I was drawn on to speculate in Cornish mines that old Tramplara
whispered great things of to me.  As a particular favour he put me up to
splendid investments before they were opened to the public.  By all the
saints in Cornwall—and they are more numerous than those in
Paradise—that mining did for me completely.’  The old man stamped his
gouty foot on the ground.  ’It was a swindle.  And now I am entangled in
the toils of old Tramplara, and cannot get out. Ah!  Herring, if I could
but work the lead mine myself, I should clear myself of Tramplara.  But
I cannot do it; the cursed rascal robs me of all my rents, and I am
unable to nurse the mine until it can run on its own legs.  I must call
in strangers to form a company, and that means they are to swallow the
cup and give me the dregs.  Moreover, I am afraid of Tramplara finding
it out.  If he does; if he suspects what a lode there is at Upaver, he
will foreclose, take the property, and work the mine himself.’

’I have no capital at my disposal,’ said Herring.

’I do not suppose you have.  But only think!  Supposing that Mr. Strange
had come here alone, to recover of his fall, and that I could have
induced him to sink some of his thousands here!  Come along with me; I
will take you to Upaver and you shall judge for yourself.’  The old man
jumped up, and walked across the hall to his hat.

’Your gout, sir!’

’Oh, that is all right now.  A walk will do it good.’

’Another time, Mr. Battishill.  Just at present we must examine the
desk, and see if we can find any clue to the family of Mr. Strange.’

’To be sure, to be sure,’ said Mr. Battishill, returning to his chair.
’You drew me off our business.  Open the box and get the matter over.’

Herring was trying the keys.  Before he had found the right key, Mr.
Battishill put his hand on the bunch and said, ’By the way, before we go
on with our inquiry, tell me, do you belong to the Herrings of

’I did not know there were Herrings there.’

’No; I do not mean now.  In 1620 Hugh Manning, of Newton Bushell,
married Elizabeth, daughter of John Herring, of Codrington, in Devon; so
it stands in the Visitation, under the Manning pedigree.  I do not think
much of your family not appearing in that Visitation, as some good Devon
families just emerging from the yeoman class, or not caring to appear at
the court of the heralds, are left unregistered. It was so in this
parish.  Neither the Oxenhams nor the Northmores appeared, and yet they
held lands here from time immemorial.’

’Had we not better seek out the Strange family, instead of exploring the
past of the Herrings?  The latter will keep.’

’You are right, quite right, my young friend.  Good Lord, what
pertinacity you have. It is like that of a ferret hanging on to a rat.
Open the desk.’

The desk contained a considerable number of papers, almost all connected
with business, and in a foreign language—Portuguese—which Herring could
not read.

Mr. Battishill leaned back in his chair and looked before him out of the
hall window, lost in his meditations.  He muttered something

’I beg your pardon,’ said Herring, looking up.  ’Did you address me?’

’I?—no,’ answered Mr. Battishill.  ’I merely said, Damn old Tramplara!’

Herring resumed his examination.

’The scoundrel has his claws in my neck, and the mischief is he is
dragging more than myself down.  There is poor Cicely as well.’

’Can you decipher these letters?’ asked Herring, holding out a couple of
papers to the old gentleman; ’they are written either in Spanish,
Italian, or Portuguese.’

’I cannot say.  My knowledge is limited. "Ignorance is the curse of God,
knowledge the wing whereby we fly to heaven."  I once read Latin, but
that was long ago.  I may remember a few words of French.  "Dieu et mon
droit," that means "God and my right."  "Honi soit qui mal y pense,"
that means something about the Duchess of Gloucester’s garter.  No, this
is Chinese to me.  "There is no darkness but ignorance."’

’Hold!’ exclaimed Herring; ’here is his will.  Shall we look at it?’

’By all means.  No other document is so likely to help you to what you
want to discover.  Give it to me.’

The will was very short.  Mr. Strange had drawn it up himself before
sailing for Europe. The substance has been already given. Mr. Strange
left everything he possessed to Mr. Eustace Smith, of Avranches,
gentleman, and Mr. Sampson Trampleasure, of Falmouth, solicitor, in
trust for his daughter, Mirelle, till she attained the age of
twenty-three, and empowering them to expend from it such moneys as were
needed for her entertainment and education.  They were constituted sole
guardians, trustees, and executors.

Mr. Battishill uttered a groan.

’That scoundrel again!’

’But, sir, this is Trampleasure, not Tramplara.’

’It is the same.  He writes himself Trampleasure, but nobody dreams of
calling him anything but Tramplara.’

’He is constituted her guardian.’

’Yes; but associated, fortunately, with another, Mr. Eustace Smith.’

’But should he renounce?’

’Then good-bye to Mirelle’s six thousand pounds.  It will go down Wheal

’Wheal what?’

’Wheal Polpluggan, that engulfed my money, and me.’

                             *CHAPTER VII.*

                        *THAT YOUNG TRAMPLARA.*

’What is to be done?’ asked Herring.  There was a small black square
ruler on the table, belonging to Mr. Strange’s desk.  He took it up and
played with it, now balancing it across his finger, then standing it up
on the table, with the end in his palm.

’Let things take their course,’ answered Mr. Battishill.  ’I advise with
Gloucester, "Thy greatest help is quiet."’

’I will write to Mr. Eustace Smith at once.’

’Do so.  If he renounces, mark my words, Polpluggan swallows the young
lady’s fortune. Friend Herring, I have the eyes of my heraldic
cognizance, and can see in the dark.  A wonderful mine, Polpluggan.  The
amount of capital sunk in it must have constituted a silver lode

’When I have heard from Mr. Eustace Smith I will communicate with Mr.
Trampleasure—not before.  I suppose I am justified in doing this?’

’Justified!  Certainly.  I have never seen Polpluggan myself.  It is
situated in the Scilly Isles.  Of these there be forty; but I have been
unable myself to make out in which Polpluggan lies, whether in Presher,
or Bryher, or Annette, or Tean, or Great Gannilly, or Little Gannilly,
or Gweal, or Withial, or Ganniornich, or——’

’I beg your pardon.  May I borrow some notepaper?’

’By all means.  There is some.  The beauty, or the mischief of the
matter is, that the lode of tin is in the granite and under the sea.
Mining in granite is costly, and the proximity to the sea dangerous,
entailing extraordinary precautions.  The water gets in.  Now when this
takes place there follows a call on the shareholders for pumping it out.
Every great storm drowns the mine and fills the shareholders with
despair; the pump goes down into their pockets.  Then the tin vein does
not yield as at first.  Once there were bunches like those of Eshcol,
the dividends were seven, seven-and-a-half, eight, eight-and-a-quarter,
going, going, going up, and then, slow but sure, as the miners sank
their shaft so did the shares sink, and the dividends with them, till
they reached zero.  After that, a rapidly swelling minus quantity.’

’I have written the letter.  Have you sealing-wax?’

’There it is.  Now the beauty, or the mischief is—beauty from the
Tramplara, mischief from the Battishill point of view—that old rascal so
fired my imagination, and was so accommodating, that I borrowed the
money of him to sink in Polpluggan.  If I had speculated with my own
little savings—but no!  I had no savings—that would have been bad
enough, but to speculate on borrowed capital is ruinous.  That rascally
old Tramplara led me on till he led me into his trap, and then snap, the
door shut behind me, and I am fast. Poor West Wyke!  Poor Cicely!
Poor—’ he looked at the stained coat in the window, ’poor ancestral

A shadow fell across the table from some one passing the window.

’Good God!’ exclaimed Mr. Batishill; ’here comes that young Tramplara.’

A rap with the handle of a riding-whip on the hall door, and, without
waiting for a response, Tramplara entered.  He was a young man, good
looking, with dark hair and eyes, and a dark moustache.  His cheeks were
florid. He had been drinking, and that gave a gloss to his face and an
uncertainty to his eye.  He came in with his hat on.  He wore a short
coat, knee breeches, and tall boots.

’I say,’ he began roughly, ’what is the meaning of this?  There have
been those—with an oath—Cobbledicks inclosing a fresh piece of the down.
I won’t have it.  They will establish rights, and it will be hard to
displace them.  Their fences must be tore down.’  His pronunciation was
West country, his grammar occasionally so.

’Have you observed that Mr. Battishill is in the room?’ asked Herring,
quietly.  He had just sealed the Avranches letter.

’I see him right enough.  I was addressing him, not you.’

Herring looked at the old gentleman; he had become limp.  His jaw had
fallen, and his hands trembled as he laid them on the arms of his chair.

’Then perhaps you will remove your hat, Mr. Tramplara.’

’I object to be so called,’ answered the young man sharply.  ’My name,
sir, is Trampleasure, and only those who can’t spell call me otherwise.’

’Very well, Mr. Trampleasure; will you remove your hat?’

’Who are you?  I don’t know you.  Never had the pleasure of seeing your
face that I am aware of.  What may your d—d name be, hey?’

’Sir,’ said Herring, rising, ’I will stand no insolence.  When you ask
my name properly, you shall have it.’

’O Lord! who cares a brass button what you be called?  Keep your name to
yourself if you like.’

Herring walked straight up to him, composedly and firmly, looked him
full in the eyes, and said, ’You have been drinking. Remove your hat, or
I will knock it off.’

Tramplara took off his beaver and put it testily on the table.

’I am not a bad fellow,’ he said, ’when asked a civil question, but I
object to be bullied.’

Then he seated himself near the table, looking sulky.

’I am Mr. Sampson Trampleasure, junior, gentleman,’ he said.  ’Now
perhaps you will tell me your name.’

Herring gave him in return his sur and Christian names.

’Never heard of you,’ said Tramplara. ’What are you doing here?’

Herring made no reply to his impertinence.

’I say,’ began the young man again, in a loud tone, ’I won’t have those
Cobbledicks encroaching.  I saw that old Bufflehead, Grizzly, but could
not make him understand, or leastways he wouldn’t understand.’

Mr. Battishill bridled up feebly.  ’You are premature, Mr. Sampson; West
Wyke is my property, and I have the right to settle on it whom I

’Oh, ah! that’s good,’ said young Tramplara. ’Yours on sufferance.  You
know well enough that my governor has his foot under your chair, and can
kick you over any day he has a mind to.’

’When he does that he can deal with the Cobbledicks as well.  Naked came
we into the world, and naked we shall go out, Battishills and
Cobbledicks together.’

’That’ll soon take place unless you shell out.  You know what I have
come about.’

Mr. Battishill’s brief indignation and assumption of dignity expired.
He put his hand into his pocket, and drew forth his handkerchief, and
wiped his lips.

’You have come on an unfortunate day, Mr. Sampson.  We have had a death
in the house.’

’I don’t care whether there be a death or a birth,’ answered the young
man rudely.  ’I know one thing, if I do not go back with the interest
due last Lady in my pocket, there’ll be pretty summary dealings in a
place and with persons not the other side of London, nor in China, nor
New Zealand, nor Bra——! Why! how in the name of Ginger came this into
your hands?’

His eye was resting on the will that lay open as John Herring had left
it when extracting from it the address of Mr. Eustace Smith.  He put out
the crook of his whip and drew it over to him.  ’Ten thousand
crocodiles!  There is my name in it. Sampson Trampleasure, of Falmouth,
Solicitor. No! that is my father.  Last will and testament of James
Strange, of Bahia, Brazil! Why, that’s a kinsman of ours.  My
grandmother was a Strange.  How the devil came this into your hands?’

Mr. Battishill looked at Herring.  Herring was disconcerted.  The
surprise and indignation caused by the intrusion and insolence of the
young man had prevented him from recollecting to fold up and put away
the document.

’Writing to one trustee,’ said young Tramplara, taking up the letter,
’and in duty bound about to write to the other when interrupted by me.
I will save you the trouble.  But how came this into your hands?  Will
you answer me that?’

’I have already told you, Mr. Sampson, that there has been a death in
the house.  An unfortunate and melancholy accident took place last
Friday, a carriage was upset near this house, and a strange gentleman
killed. He was brought here, and has been buried to-day.’

’That was Mr. James Strange?’

’It was.  He was a gentleman who, according to his daughter’s account,
had lived many years in Brazil as a diamond merchant.’

’I know that.  He was my father’s first cousin; consequently he
was—blowed if I know—but cousin of some sort, and about the only
relative on that side I had.  What did he die worth?’

’That will be for your father to ascertain,’ said Herring.

’It seems to me a most extraordinary thing to find a will of one not
even remotely belonging to you lying on your table where it might be
torn to light pipes with.’

’The reason is very simple,’ said Herring. ’Mr. Battishill and I knew
nothing about Mr. Strange, and his daughter seemed to be equally in the
dark about his relatives.’

’What, is that pretty girl in the garden along of Miss Cicely his

’That young lady is his daughter. Mr. Battishill and I examined the
papers of the deceased.  Most were in Portuguese, which we were unable
to read.  From the will we gathered who were the trustees and guardians
of the lady.  That was what we sought, and that was what we have

’Well, this is a rise,’ said young Tramplara. ’This is like going out
after a partridge and starting a pheasant.  But never mind.  I keep my
game in my eye.  You will have to unburthen your pockets, Battishill,
old boy!’

’Has the sea broken in on Polpluggan?’ asked Mr. Battishill dolefully.
He knew well enough that the visit did not relate to Polpluggan, but he
tried to put off the worst.

’Polpluggan,’ said the young man, with a touch of melancholy in his
voice; ’Polpluggan is swamped outright.  The mighty Atlantic has got on
top of him, and is pouring himself down his throat.  There ain’t no more
pumping to be done there, more’s the pity.’

’No more calls, then, on the shareholders?’


’Nor dividends either?’

’Oh dear no.  What’s lost is lost.  Polpluggan was a very pretty thing;
but there—his day is over, more’s the pity.’  He sighed. ’He was as fine
a fellow in the way of tin as you might wish to look on.  But with the
best intentions you can’t go after a lode into the bowels of the stormy
deep.  The public don’t like it; and when you call on them every month
to pump out the ocean, they turn unpleasant, and apply live coals to
your tail and make you squeak.  No—Polpluggan is no more.’  Then with a
boisterous laugh and a slap on the table, ’Never mind the death of
Polpluggan, old chap.  We aren’t seen the end of Cornish mining yet.
There are many more, bigger nor Polpluggan, looming in the future.  But
that’s neither here nor there. What I’ve come about is the interest that
ought to have been paid last Lady.’

’It has been a bad time, Mr. Sampson. The sheep have been cawed, and I
have done all I could to save them.  It was the rain last fall and all
the winter that did it.  I kept them off the clay land, and I tried
every remedy I could think of.  The last, and that which promised best,
was bruised box leaves. We cut off all our box borders in the garden,
used every green sprout and leaf, but it was not sufficient.  The poor
beasts picked up a little on it, but no lasting cure was effected, and
they just rotted away.’

’Oh, blow the sheep!’ said young Tramplara, coarsely.  ’It ain’t them I
want, but the money.’

’But I have not got the money,’ sighed Mr. Battishill.  ’If I could have
sold my sheep I could have paid.  But not only so. The farmer at Upaver
has lost his sheep as well, and several bullocks to boot, so that he has
fallen behind with his rent.  It is a very extraordinary thing that my
sheep should get cawed, for I have never known such a thing happen
before in this high land.  Down in the valley on the clay is another
matter. But you never saw any of that blue grass on my upland, which is
the signal Nature throws out that no sheep are to draw nigh.  It has
always been said that peat——’

’Faith! it is only a matter of time.  A year or two don’t matter
particularly,’ said Sampson Tramplara, ’sooner or later scatt you go.
If you chose to speculate you must look out for the consequences.  You
ought to know what mining means at your age.  You don’t think to walk
over a bog, and not get stogged.’

’Your own father urged me on.  But for him I would have had nothing to
do with Polpluggan.’

’Nor with draining either?’

’That was my blunder.  Polpluggan was the pit down which I fell
hopelessly, and your father led me to the brink and pushed me over.’

’There are plenty to keep you company, if that be a consolation,’ said
young Sampson. ’Now it has just come to this.  You don’t suppose my
father hasn’t lost also in Polpluggan, do y’.  I can tell you he has—a
brave bit of money too.  He wants his money as much as you do; and he
will have it too.’

’You must have patience; all seasons are not bad.’

’But if you nip your fingers you squeak. My father is nipped pretty
tight, all along of Polpluggan.  You see he has another mine in view,
and it wants capital to get that floated.’

’Look here,’ said Mr. Battishill, desperately. ’If it comes to that, and
he wants another mine to start upon, let him come to me.  I will put him
upon a lode, a real lode, and I stake my life there is silver lead, and
plenty of it, at Upaver.’

’That won’t do,’ said Tramplara.  ’It isn’t what comes out of a mine
that makes it pay, but what is put into it.  You don’t understand these
things, or you would never have gone head over heels down Polpluggan.
There is nothing to be had from you, so I don’t mind saying it.  And you
are an old friend, and are sucked dry, and about to be turned inside

’There is no water that can drown my mine.’

’More is the pity.  It is just the water that makes it pay.  But come!
It is too late for you to learn the alphabet of mining.’

The bottle of sherry that had been purchased for the funeral was on the
table, along with some glasses.  Without invitation the young man poured
out and drank.

’There’s twenty pounds goes home in my pocket, or it don’t.  And if it
don’t, worse luck for you.’  He put his hand to the bottle. Herring drew
the decanter from his reach.

’What do you mean?’ asked Tramplara. ’Give me the sherry this moment.’

’You have been drinking before coming here,’ said Herring, ’and you
shall not further insult Mr. Battishill by becoming drunk in his

’What is that?’ shouted young Sampson. ’Hey! what a moral man we have
here.  All for total abstinence, I presume.’

He jumped up, whip in hand, and switched the whip two or three times
before him; then, looking Herring full in the face, with an insolent
smirk on his lips, clapped his hat on one side of his head, and planted
himself before him with legs astride, his left hand on his hip, and the
right hand brandishing the whip.

Instantly Herring twisted the whip out of his hand, and knocked his hat
off his head with it, across the hall.  Then he handed him the whip
again, coolly, in a manner that meant.  ’Touch me with it, if you dare.’

Tramplara’s face became mottled.

’Thank you, Mr. Herring, thank you.’ said Cicely, who entered at that
moment with Mirelle.  Her cheeks were prettily dimpled, the brightest
colour glowed in her face, and her eyes danced with delight.

Tramplara drew back, grasping the whip by the middle, clenching his
teeth, and looking quickly from one to another in the group.

’Come into the little drawing-room,’ said Mirelle, composedly.  ’I
dislike being present at vulgar brawls.  These two young men have
forgotten themselves: perhaps next they will proceed to box, which is a
disgusting sight.’

’Stay one moment,’ said young Sampson. ’Ladies, you must hear the truth
at once. Miss Strange is my cousin.  My father is her guardian.  She
shall not remain in this house any longer.  I will take her away with me
to Launceston, where my mother and sister will receive her.  I have just
read her father’s will.  It is all right, ain’t it, Mr. Battishill?
Besides, this house is not likely to be able to afford her hospitality
and shelter any more. Is it not so, Mr. Battishill?  So pack up your
duds, missie, and be ready to start to-morrow. I will bring a chaise out
of Okehampton.’

’I am not going with you,’ answered Mirelle, coldly, and without looking
at him.

’Oh, ain’t you, though?  I am your cousin, Miss Strange, and am come to
fetch you away.’

’I know nothing about you,’ said Mirelle with perfect composure.  ’You
are not my cousin.  I am not Miss Strange.  I am the Countess Mirelle
Garcia de Cantalejo.’

’You have had your answer,’ said Herring to the young man.  Then,
turning to the ladies, ’Now, Countess, and you, Miss Battishill, I must
ask to withdraw.  I want a word myself with this—person.’

Cicely smiled at him, and drew Mirelle away.

Herring watched them depart, but his eyes were upon Mirelle, not Cicely.

Then, going to the table, he drew a cheque book from his pocket, and
wrote on it an order for sixty pounds, payable to Mr. Battishill.

’Will you kindly endorse this, sir?’ he asked of the old gentleman.

Mr. Battishill, hardly comprehending his purpose, complied.

’Now,’ said Herring to young Sampson Tramplara, ’take this, and write
out at once a receipt to Mr. Battishill.’

’I refuse it,’ said Sampson, sullenly. ’How am I to know that you have
so much money in the bank, and how do I know that your cheque will not
be dishonoured?’

Herring pointed to the little black ruler.

’You will sign the receipt at once, or I will break this ruler across
your head.’

Tramplara made no further remonstrance. With a hand that shook partly
with anger and partly with fear, he complied.

’Very well,’ said Herring, ’now go.  Pick up your hat, it is in the
corner, and take yourself off.’

Tramplara sulkily obeyed.  When he reached the door he turned, his face
white, his hands quivering with passion.

’The time will come, Mr. Herring, when it will be in my power to repay
you this, and then, by God, I swear——’

’What do you swear?’  Herring held up the black ruler.

Tramplara shut the door, and was gone.

                            *CHAPTER VIII.*


When John Herring turned to look at Mr. Battishill, he found the old
gentleman fallen back in his chair, his face distorted, and scarcely
conscious.  He saw at once what had happened.  The excitement had
brought on a stroke.

Herring went into the kitchen and called the maid.

’Make no noise; help me.’  She assisted him to remove the master
upstairs.  He sent her for the doctor, and then tapped at the door of
the parlour that he might break the news to Cicely.

Two days later, Mr. Battishill was sitting up in his own room, decidedly
on the mend. The attack had been slight, nevertheless it was a seizure,
a first—and such are warnings of others in store.  Cicely came down into
the hall to meet Herring, who had walked up to West Wyke from Zeal,
where he was staying.  She went up to him, and he noticed that there
were tears in her eyes.

’Mr. Herring,’ she said, ’my father is better.  I am glad to have a
moment in which I can leave him and speak with you alone.’

’I am entirely at your service,’ he said.

She looked into his eyes with her frank, bright smile—a luminous smile
that flickered through a veil of tears.

’I know that perfectly, Mr. Herring, and have no scruple in making use
of you.  Here you have remained in our neighbourhood, instead of going
on your way about your own concerns; you have spent the greater part of
every day with us, instead of seeking to amuse yourself—all because you
knew that your assistance was needed.  That is not the way with many
young men.  Another in your place would have taken his valise and gone
by the next coach after the accident, and left Mirelle to shift for
herself.  You have been everything that is kind and considerate to
Mirelle—I beg her pardon—the Countess Garcia.’  A smile twinkled in her
pleasant face.  ’And this emboldens me to appeal to you in my trouble.’

Herring was about to protest his own readiness, but she put up her hand
to stop him, and went on:—

’You have been foolishly generous, Mr. Herring. You have advanced sixty
pounds to my father, to stave off the ruin that is impending.  It is of
no use.  Do not venture to do this again.  You ought not to have done it
even once.  However, let me clear off the debt in part immediately.  I
have butter money—not the entire sum, not even a half.’

’Dear Miss Battishill, I will not take it.’

’Let us understand each other,’ she said; ’do not interrupt me.  I have
had a little battle with myself upstairs before I could nerve myself to
meet you.  I do not know why it is that gentlefolks shrink from speaking
of money matters one with another.  Now I am wound up, and can go on
ticking, but if you say a word, it is like putting a feather among the
wheels, it arrests the movements, and the clock ceases.  What I have to
say must be said.  Mr. Herring, it will not do to lend us money, we are
hopelessly involved to the Trampleasures.  Nothing that you can do will
save us, without involving you in our disasters.  My dear father has
relied on the hereditary wisdom of the Battishills,’ she looked up at
the stained glass in the window, and the pretty dimple came in her rosy
cheek. ’Those heraldic owls have done us harm. They have bred in our
hearts the belief that Wisdom went with the cognizances, and had set up
her temple at West Wyke.  My dear father always supposed that he was
about to make his fortune by the application of the hereditary wisdom to
the development of the resources of the property, or else in
speculations in mines.  Alas! an owl can see in the dark, but not even
one of our owls in the darkness that envelops Cornish mining.  My father
was led on by Mr. Trampleasure, who flattered him by appealing to his
judgment in various matters, and now we are clipped past recovery.  The
Tramplaras will take from us everything—the dear old house, our moors,
our little farms.  I have foreseen this for some time, and I have known
that it is inevitable.  Sooner or later the crash must come, and it is
better that it should come now, rather than later when my father will be
less able to bear it.’

Herring made another effort to interrupt.

’No,’ she said again, with a faint smile, ’let me go on ticking.  You
have advanced my father sixty pounds.  Next Michaelmas he will have to
meet another demand for a larger amount.  There are thousands of pounds
owing to Mr. Trampleasure, of which this is the interest.  He may call
in that debt at any time, and then—how are we to meet it? All the money
my father borrowed is gone without having been of the smallest advantage
to us—gone in unfortunate ventures which have engulfed everything.  The
dear old man would do the same thing to-morrow if he were able.  He is
now full of the notion that he has discovered a silver lead mine at
Upaver, and he may try to persuade you to embark in it.  Do not be
persuaded.  Do not listen to him.  Nothing that my father touches ever
succeeds.  As long as I can remember he has been on the point of making
a fortune, but has invariably missed the point, and fallen after each
venture into deeper disaster.’

’I have been to Upaver.  I walked there yesterday, and saw what had been
brought up.  There is silver lead there, of that I am certain.’

’Have nothing to do with it,’ said Cicely. ’Fortune’s wheel has been on
the turn for the Battishills for some time, and always downwards.
Promise me to banish Upaver from your mind.  Promise me not to put your
money into it.’

’I have no money to put in.’

’And never, never again lend my father money—or me, however earnestly I
may beg for it.  It is of no good; we must go down, down, down.  Most of
us small Devon gentry are like buoys moored to a sandbank.  Every wave
goes over our heads, We are never wholly above water.  After a while the
canker gets into our hearts; we break away from our sandbank, and drift
away—away into the vast unknown.  We Battishills are about to drift;
decay has set in.  Nothing but a miracle can save us, and the age of
miracles is over. There, take my butter-money, it consists of eighteen
pounds, no more; I shall, however, be able to pay you two pounds in a
fortnight, and you shall have the rest, if I can possibly manage it,
next year.  I cannot promise an earlier payment.  Take it.’

Herring drew back his hand.

’Take it,’ said Cicely.  ’It is stocking money.  An old stocking is the
surest of banks; it never breaks.’

’No,’ said Herring, ’you want the money. I am not a rich man, by any
means, but I am not so hard pinched that I cannot lend a trifle.  You
will hurt me if you refuse the loan.’

’I said to myself when I came down that we should fight,’ said Cicely;
’but I will not suffer you to conquer me.  Do you not understand that I
have pride, and that it is the part of a gallant gentleman to humour

’Give me the money,’ said Herring.  ’One thing, however, I will not
promise.  You asked me never to listen to you again if you begged a
loan.  This money and more will always be at your service on an

’That is settled,’ said Cicely with a sigh of relief.

’Now we come to a second matter; again I appeal to your good nature.
Look at this letter.  My father has received it from Mr. Trampleasure,
requesting him immediately to bring his ward—Miss Strange as he calls
her—to Launceston, along with her boxes and her father’s papers.  The
will must be proved and an inventory of goods taken for probate. Mr.
Trampleasure does not offer to come for Mirelle himself, he expects my
father to conduct her to Launceston; he knows that the demands he makes
on my father must be complied with. Now it is out of the question that
the dear old man should take this journey in his present condition of
health, and I dare not leave him. There is no one we can trust except
yourself. It is true I might write and say that my father is ill and
unable to travel; then Mr. Trampleasure would be forced to come himself,
but I dread an interview between my father and the man who has ruined
him.  In his present weak state and partial convalescence, it would not
be wise.  The doctor says he must be kept from everything liable to
excite him.  So I fall back on you.  I told you that I knew you were
ready to do whatever is kind, and because I know this, I make no scruple
in using you. Was I not right?’

’I will do what you wish—gladly.’

’And,’ said Cicely, hesitating and colouring, ’as you return on your way
to Exeter, you will call on us again?  You cheer my father, who quite
counts on your visits, and, I am not ashamed to confess it, I want
advice.  There is no one in this neighbourhood I can speak with on these
matters.  Accident or Providence—I believe the latter—has brought you
here, and made you a welcome guest, and has constituted you almost the
confessor and adviser of the house.’

’I will certainly see you again.’

’By the time you return an answer will have arrived from Avranches, and
we shall then know whether Mirelle will have another protector, or must
be left to the uncontrolled disposal of the Tramplaras.’

’Yes,’ said Herring impetuously, ’if only for that I must return.  It is
too dreadful to think that she who has been accustomed to the purest and
most refined surroundings should be thrust into association with persons
like Mr. Tramplara and his son, and that her property should be
intrusted to a man who plays ducks and drakes with all the money that he
gets a chance of fingering.’

’I am glad you feel warmly in this matter,’ said Cicely, laying a slight
touch of sarcasm on the words ’feel warmly.’  ’Mirelle will apparently
need protector, confessor, and adviser as much as we, if not more so.’

’She is so helpless, so solitary,’ explained Herring.

’By the way, chivalrous defender of unprotected maidens,’ said Cicely,
brightening up, ’you come to us like the mysterious knight in a romance,
we know not whence, nor whither you go.  It shows how utterly selfish we
have been, how centred in our own troubles, that no one has cared to
inquire whether you too have troubles, and whether you are alone in the

Herring smiled.  ’There is no mystery about me; I am plain John Herring,
nothing more.  I eat, I grow, I sleep, I talk. Troubles!—no, I have
none.  Alone!—well, yes, that I am.  You and the Countess I find acting
in tragedies, but my part hitherto has been in a farce?’

’And you so little regard your good luck that you offer it to the first
girl you meet.’

’What do you mean?’

’Only the sprig of white heath,’ said Cicely, laughing.

Next day Mirelle left West Wyke in company with John Herring in an open
caleche. Cicely parted with her in a friendly manner, but without great
cordiality.  The coldness and pride of Mirelle repelled her, and she did
not like her contemptuous treatment of Herring. Yet—strange mystery that
the female heart is—she would have liked it quite as little had Mirelle
gratefully accepted his services.

She resented also her want of tenderness towards her father.  Cicely
could not understand it.  But then she had been brought up with her
father, knew him, respected even his weaknesses, and loved his many
virtues.  She was unable to understand that a like great love could not
grow out of the acquaintanceship of ten days, passed in coaches,
steam-packet, and hotels.  She judged Mirelle more harshly than justly.
That is, she judged her as one woman judges another.  As Mirelle was
driven away Cicely turned back towards the house, saying, ’She is an
icicle; she freezes my blood.’

Herring turned to Mirelle and said, ’How kind, and good, and simple Miss
Battishill is.’

’I have never before seen such red cheeks,’ answered Mirelle.  ’Do you
think she paints?’

                             *CHAPTER IX.*


A bright day, with a few fleecy clouds drifting before a west wind.  A
sky bright as that which overarches a young heart.  The prospect as
smiling as that which opens before youth.  Barriers bathed in sunlight
and indistinct in haze.  Clouds without threat of rain casting
cobalt-blue shadows.

The wild range of Dartmoor rose into peaks, with gullies seaming their
sides, down which the Taw and the Ockments rushed foaming from their
cradles.  A glorious scene inviting exploration, an enchanted land
calling the traveller to enter its seclusion and dispel its mysteries.
Bathed in sunlight, enveloped in that finest haze that pervades the air
on the brightest day in the West Country, who would suppose that all he
saw was barrenness and naked desolation?

’Do you see that castle rising out of the woods?’ asked Herring,
pointing to some ruins of a keep on a hill to the left of the road,
after they had passed Okehampton.  ’That castle belonged to the
Courtneys.  There is a story of a certain Lady Howard who lived there in
the reign of James I.’

’I have not heard of him.  Was he an English king?’

’He was king of England.  He was the father of the ill-fated Charles I.’

’I have heard of him.  He married a French princess, so he comes into

’Lady Howard was married four times; she had one daughter by her first
husband, whom she hated.’

’Perhaps she only despised him because he was not noble, and had taken
advantage of her poverty to marry her.’

’On the contrary, she was rich, an heiress, and her first husband was a
son of the Earl of Northumberland.’

’Then I understand nothing about it,’ said Mirelle, leaning back in the
carriage as if the story had ceased to interest her.

’When she was married to her second husband she refused to see her
daughter.  The poor girl came here to Okehampton; some relations sought
to effect a reconciliation.  She was introduced to her mother under a
feigned name—here, in this castle, and Lady Howard did not know her.
But when the daughter fell on her knees to her mother and entreated
recognition, Lady Howard started to her feet with an exclamation of
aversion, and attempted to leave the room.  The girl clung to her,
entreating her love, as the unnatural mother was escaping through the
door.  But Lady Howard flung together the oak valves as she escaped, and
they caught the daughter’s arm between them and broke it.’

’She was a bad woman; but she is expiating her crime in purgatory.’

’Her purgatory is a strange one,’ said Herring.  ’Every night she drives
along this road from Okehampton Castle to Launceston Castle in her great
coach drawn by four headless horses, with a skeleton driver on the box,
and her favourite bloodhound runs beside the coach.  When they arrive at
Launceston the dog plucks a blade of grass from the mound on which the
keep stands, and then they return in the same way to Okehampton, which
they reach before break of day.  And she is condemned to do this
nightly, till every blade of grass has been plucked off Launceston
Castle hill; and that will not be till the end of the world, for the
grass grows faster than the hound can pluck it.’

’Have you ever seen the carriage with the lady in it?’

’No.  During the war French prisoners have been confined in the
dismantled castle, parts of which have been converted into prisons for
them, and several who have died in confinement are buried in Okehampton

Mirelle shivered.

’I would not, I could not lie here.  I should be wet under this dripping
sky.  Poor men!  Why did you not tell me this before, and I would have
visited their graves and prayed over them in their native tongue?  It
contracts my heart to think of them, lying here, away from la belle
France, and the golden sun, and the vineyards, and the waving corn, and
the scent of incense, and the shadow of the cross.’

’The sun shines here.  It is shining now.’

’_It_,’ said Mirelle.  ’You are right when you say _it_, not _he_.  In
France he shines, he laughs, he illumines, he warms and even burns. He
is always in the sky.  Here you have a phantasm of the sun, without
power and blaze and fire.  I do not call that the sun; it is a
make-believe, a constitutional monarch allowed to peep out between the
clouds now and then, not reigning by right divine, dispelling the

Herring looked round at the girl in astonishment.  She was echoing
sentiments she had heard in the convent and among her mother’s
aristocratic acquaintance.  ’And,’ she went on, ’your church is the
same—a phantasm, a mock sun.  When the servants of Saul came to seek
David, Michal, his wife, took a log of wood and put on it a bit of
goat’s skin, and threw over it the bedclothes.  Then the servants said,
It is David asleep.  And that was what your Reformation consisted of.
You substituted a log for the living body. But why should I speak to you
of all this? You and I use the same names for expressing different
ideas.  You have never eaten grapes off a vine, nor figs warm with the
kiss of the sun on their cheeks; and by grapes you mean raisins brown
and dried, and by figs withered fruit packed in wooden boxes.  When I
speak of the sun, I mean something indescribably glorious; you, a round
tuft of cotton wool up in the clouds, that you can see sometimes when
supremely lucky.  So in other things; what you mean by a king and a
church are altogether different; pale ghosts of what I mean by the same

Herring was amused, and not a little perplexed.  She put him down with
an air of superiority, as a schoolmistress would put down a boy in her
class who had made a stupid blunder, which merited a whipping, but was
let off with degradation.

After some pause in the conversation he ventured to remark, ’You will
not deny that this scenery is lovely.’

’It is beautiful in feature, but wanting in colour.  I could cry out for
my paint-box, and spill the colours over the scene to make it perfect.
My master taught me, when I learned to paint, that shadows were to be
made of carmine and ultramarine.  There are no such colours here.
Shadows must be put in with Indian ink.  I could copy all the tints with
a child’s fifty-sous box of paints, warranted free from poisonous
matter, as also from all real colour.  Besides,’ she added, ’Venus when
she rose from the sea must have been intolerable till dried.  Your land
is fair, but ever-lastingly dripping.’

She spoke without a smile.  Herring turned his head aside to laugh.

So they went on; he telling her traditions to while away the journey,
she setting him down.

At length they arrived at Launceston.

The town is curious, perched on a height, rising precipitously out of
the valley of the Kensey, and culminating in a rock that has been shaped
by the hands of men, and crowned by a circular keep of concentric rings
of masonry.

The main street of Launceston is entered under an ancient gateway.
Scarcely another English town has such a picturesque and continental

On the steep slope of the hill, clinging to its side, was the quaintest
conceivable house—a long narrow range of gables, roof and walls encased
in small slate-like mail armour. In front of the house is a narrow
terrace, with, at one end, a sort of summer-house, furnished with
fireplace and chimney. Below this terrace the rock falls abruptly to the
valley.  The foundations of the houses in the street above are higher
than the tops of the chimneys of ’Dolbeare,’ as this picturesque old
house was called.

In Dolbeare lived the Trampleasures, as they called themselves;
Tramplaras, as the world called them.  Herring knew little of
Launceston, and he had some difficulty in finding the house.

The door opened to them, and they were introduced into a hall, with
stairs branching off on either side.  Then a stout red-faced man, with
perfectly white hair, burst out of the adjoining room, with a noisy
shout of ’Oh, here you are at last!  Come to my arms, Cousin Strange.’

Mirelle drew back before the coarse man.

’I say,’ pursued he with effusion, ’what’s your pet name, darling?
Let’s be cosy and familiar at starting.  What are you?  Mirrie? Rellie?’

Mirelle turned to ice.  ’You have mistaken the person,’ she said.  ’I am
no cousin. I have no other name than that of Countess Mirelle Garcia de
Cantalejo.  I have come here till my affairs are settled, and then I
shall go elsewhere.  I pray let this be understood from the outset.  I
am not a Strange, and we are not relations.’

The old man stood open-eyed and open-mouthed without speaking, and then
burst into a roar of laughter, which made his face blaze a fierce red,
horrible against the snow of his hair and whiskers.  His eyes were
black, with a cunning twinkle in them.  His hands were large, the
fingers short and fat, the palms very wide.  Altogether a repulsive old
man. to whom the hoar head was no crown of glory, but he a dishonour to
hoar hairs.

Mirelle contemplated him with undisguised aversion.  Then she turned to
Herring and said, ’I cannot lodge with this person.  Take me back to the

Herring did not know what answer to make.

’Pray, who are you?’ asked the old man. ’Brother or lover of the lady?
Perhaps a cousin whom she does condescend to recognise; a Parley-vous
Mossou, hey?’

’My name is Herring,’ said the young man, gravely.  ’Mr. Battishill is
ill, and Miss Battishill cannot leave her father.  Consequently they
asked me to escort the Countess to Launceston.’

’The Countess!’ exclaimed Mr. Tramplara. ’Oh, Ginger! a live Countess in
the house.  Lord! the little rooms won’t contain her.  We must throw out
bow windows. Come here, Orange, come here, Polly, and see a live

As he called, a feeble old woman, in a big cap with lilac ribands and a
pink bow under her chin, appeared at a side door, and with her the
daughter whom he called Orange. The latter entered the hall.

’Father,’ said Miss Orange Trampleasure, reproachfully, ’you are too
boisterous with the young lady.  Do you not see?  She is tired with her
journey, and your noise frightens her.’

’Frightens me!’ repeated Mirelle, with perfect composure.  ’Non, il ne
me fait paspeur—il me revolte.’

’Come with me, cousin,’ said Orange. ’Let me take off your things, and
show you your room.’

Mirelle hesitated.

’My dear,’ Orange went on, ’there is no help for it.  Whether you like
it or not, here you must stay; you cannot go back to the Battishills.
It is unreasonable to expect them to take charge of you.  Besides, your
father committed you to us.’

’My father has left a gentleman in France my guardian equally with this
person here.’

’Then you must stay with us till he has been communicated with,’ said
Orange. ’Come with me.’

Mirelle allowed herself to be conducted upstairs.

Old Tramplara went into a muffled convulsion of laughter.  He winked at
Herring and said, ’She’s a queer piece of flesh, ain’t she—full of
French hoity-toity?  We must take all that out of her, and make good
English homespun take the place of mouslin-de-laine, parley-vous,
bong-soir, mossou!’  Then the old man curtsied and grimaced, and went
into attitudes.  ’So,’ said he, ’you be the gent that has escorted my
Lady High and Mighty here!  My son said something about you. You gave
him a rap over the knuckles, hey? Serve the beggar right.  He had been
drinking, I’ll swear.  He said he had come across a temperance fellow
who had insulted him. And you also, I suppose, are the party that have
been paying sixty pounds for old Battishill; lending him the
money—making him a present of it, I should rather say—for he who lends
to him don’t hear the chink of his coin again.  I suppose you have
plenty of brass to throw away.  Well, there be better investments than
West Wyke, I can tell’y.  I wish I had been by to have tipped you a
hint. Herring is your name!  I wonder whether you are any relation to
old Jago Herring, of Welltown?’

The young man did not enlighten him.

’Look here,’ said Mr. Trampleasure.  ’Stay and pick a bone of mutton
with us at supper. Don’t be shy about meeting Sampson.  He ain’t here,
now at least—and what’s more, he’s not the fellow to bear malice.  Lord
bless you! if he were a bit rampageous, it was because he had been
drinking; and as Moses who was the meekest of men said, when the liquor
is in the manners is out.  But the contrary is also true—and I Sampson
Trampleasure say it—when the liquor is out the manners return.  And,
though I ain’t a Moses, and a prophet, and all that sort of thing, yet
I’ve a pretty shrewd head of my own, and what I say is worth attending
to.  Come along, Herring, and have a bite with us all, and see the young
lady nestle into the bosom of the family.  By Grogs!  I’ve lost my
manners though.  Here’s Mrs. Trampleasure, and I’ve never introduced you
to her.  Mr. Herring, Mrs. Tram, the flame of my youth, the solace of my
age—eh, old woman?’

’Have done wi’ your funning, Tram,’ said the old lady, giggling feebly.
’Will you step in, sir?  It gets chilly of an evening, and a fire is
agreeable, sir, especially when one is troubled with a cold in the

’Look here, Herring,’ said Trampleasure, familiarly.  ’You are not
returning to West Wyke to-night.  That is impossible.  You are going to
sleep at the White Hart or the King’s Arms, that is certain.  Well, it
ain’t always lively of an evening at an inn.  You can plead no
engagement, and therefore I will take no excuse.  You stay with us and
save your pocket the cost of supper.  If you are fond of music, we’ll
give you some.  "Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast," you
remember the text—in Malachi I believe, and he was the last of the
prophets.  If that was the last thing he ever said it was the truest.
Is her Serene Highness at all in the tum-tum way?’

’I really cannot say.’

’Because, if she is, she’s where her talent will be drawn out.  I play
the bass violin, Sampson is a Boanerges on the flute, and Orange can do
pretty well on the harpsichord. But there she comes herself, all along
of her Ladyship.  Come in, Herring, this is Liberty Hall, with no more
forms and ceremonies in it than in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.’

He drew the young man into the sitting-room. ’There’s another musician
in the house,’ he said, ’but of him, mum.  He don’t let himself be heard
often, thanks be.’

Herring reluctantly submitted.  He was repelled by the old man, but he
was concerned for Mirelle.  Could she endure this association? Was the
daughter, Orange, better than her father, or was she equally vulgar?
The mother was feeble and commonplace, not obtrusively offensive.  He
would like to be satisfied that in Orange poor Mirelle would find a
refuge and a support against the coarse father and from the brutal son.

He could learn this only by staying, and he therefore accepted the
invitation, though not with the best grace.

The table in the little dining-room was laid with a white cloth, and
there was a dish with a cold leg of boiled mutton on it at the head.
Cheese, butter, and bread were dispersed, not arranged, on the surface
of the table.  In the centre stood a plated cruet-stand with old mustard
turned brown in a pot, and a bottle of sauce down whose sides the sauce
had trickled and caked.

Mirelle entered with Orange, pale, her long dark lashes drooping on her
cheek.  She was ashamed, perhaps afraid, to look up. Herring thought he
saw something on the lash.  A tear?—hardly a whole tear.  A brilliant,
not a diamond.

The room was comfortable.  It was panelled with painted wood of Queen
Anne’s period, the mouldings heavy and the panels large.  The room was
low.  A fire burnt in the grate.

Orange Tramplara came up to Herring.

’You have had a long journey—tedious also,’ she said.

’Not tedious by any means.  That was impossible in such company.’

’Well, long.  I wish we had known for certain that my cousin would be
here to-night, then we would have had a warm supper ready.’

’Don’t bother with excuses,’ burst in old Tramplara.  ’Men do not heed
what they eat, but what they drink.  Cold mutton is a very good thing,
especially with a glass of hot grog on the top.’

Herring looked steadily at Orange.  She was a tall, stoutly built,
handsome girl, with black hair, florid complexion, and very beautiful
dark eyes.  Her lips were crimson, ripe and sensuous.  She had a fine
throat and a swelling bust.  Herring could make out nothing more.  Men
cannot read women’s characters from their faces.  It is well that they
are denied this faculty, or the race would become extinct.  Marriages,
says a proverb, are made in heaven.  No—marriages are made in
Paradise—the paradise of fools.

Whilst Herring studied Orange ineffectually, she was making her own
comments on him.  She read more of his character than he had been able
to decipher of hers.  But he had deciphered nothing.  She saw that he
was good-looking, honest, and amiable, and that he did not lack ability.
She read good-nature in every curve, and turned contemptuously away.
Good-nature is weakness.

’Come along.’ said Mr. Tramplara, ’the travellers want to peck.  Sit you
all down. "For what we are going to receive."  Under-done, missie? or
tasting of the butcher’s fingers, eh?’

                              *CHAPTER X.*

                       *A MUSICAL WALKING-STICK.*

As Herring sat at table, he noticed opposite him, hung against the wall,
a large pastille portrait of a gentleman in a red coat, with powdered
hair.  The face was refined.

By way of conversation, Herring asked Orange, who sat next him, whether
this were a family picture.

’What—this, this?’ said Tramplara, taking the answer out of his
daughter’s mouth. ’Nobody knows who the red man is.’

’An ancestor, however, I presume,’ said Herring.

’Lord bless you! no; he don’t look like an ancestor of our family.  No
flesh and blood and muscle and go-ahead there; all thinness and fine
bone and whimsy, very well for show, but no use for work.  Though I do
not know who the party was, yet I do know something queer about the
picture.  This house don’t belong to me, I rent it; and in the lease
that picture goes with the house, and so does a bundle of old
walking-sticks that we keep in the attic.  Now ain’t that curious?  I
reckon the sticks belonged to that old fellow in the red coat, but I
can’t say.  He and the house and the sticks go together.  You can’t rent
the house without the sticks and the picture. The sticks are not worth
much; they would not fetch half a crown, the whole lot of them, at a
sale.  There is one with a head I thought was silver gilt, but it is no
such thing, it is gilded copper; there is a second, mottled with things
like trees on it; and there is one, and that the queerest of all, has an
ivory handle with holes in it, like a flute, but with tongues to them
like those in an accordion, so that any one up to that sort of thing
might play a tune on it.  Sampson could do it if he tried, but there is
a reason why he don’t try.  It is all cursed superstition, but still it
won’t do to tempt Providence; that’s my doctrine, and I challenge
Scripture to make better.  What—no appetite?’ he asked, when Mirelle
declined a slab of cold mutton placed before her.  ’Come, come, we must
get hearty to our meat in Old England, and have no pecking of crumbs and
nibbling of salads here, like birds and rabbits.’  He ate himself and
said, ’Missie! you don’t get mutton like this in France.  I’ve been in
Paris, and I ought to know.  I dined in the Palley-royal, and I said to
the garçon—garçon! By the way, missie! what is the name you call
yourself by?  Garçon, garçon?’

’Garcia,’ answered Mirelle, haughtily.

’Garcia, is it.  Well, garçon means waiter, so I take it Garcia means
bar-maid, eh?  Why, there are the boys.  I hear them in the hall. Excuse
me a moment, I want a word with Sampson.’  Down went his knife and fork,
and the great fellow dashed noisily out of the room.

The situation for Herring was not pleasant, but young Tramplara relieved
him of his embarrassment the moment he entered by going directly to him
with extended hand: ’Very sorry I wasn’t polite t’other day; but there,
forgive and forget, as the foot-pad said to the traveller when he
relieved him of his purse.’

’No, no, Sampy,’ put in his father; ’you are out there, my boy.  Verify
your quotations, say I.  That same sentiment proceeds from
Shakespeare—one of the writers of the Apocrypha,’ he added, in
explanation to Mirelle; ’not quite a prophet, but tinged with the
prophetic fire.’

Herring frankly accepted the apology. Young Tramplara was followed into
the room by a gentleman, tall, with light hair and very light moustache,
a military air, and a handsome face and figure.

’Miss Strange,’ said old Tramplara, ’let me introduce my friend, Captain
Trecarrel. Captain Trecarrel, Miss Strange, _alias_ the Countess Garcia
de Something-or-other-unpronounceable. Same, Mr. Herring.  Take a chair,
Trecarrel, and try your teeth on the mutton.  Miss Strange is the
daughter of my first cousin, Jimmy Strange.  "Though lost to sight, to
memory dear," as the sacred penman has it.  The young lady don’t fancy
her name somehow, it isn’t high-flavoured enough for her foreign ideas;
however, she is a Strange, so sure as lamb is young mutton.’

Captain Trecarrel declined.

’What—no meat!  Oh, a Friday.  You Catholics——’

’Vous êtes Catholique, monsieur?’ asked Mirelle, suddenly waking into

’Si, mademoiselle.’

’Et vous parlez Français?’

’Assez bien.’

’Tenez.  Quand on sait penser en Français, on n’est plus bête, et quand
on est Catholique, voilà l’âme qui vit.’

Herring noticed the look of surprised admiration with which Captain
Trecarrel contemplated the wax-like face before him.  He saw also the
smile that leaped into her eyes when the Captain confessed his religion
and spoke in French.  She had accorded _him_ no smile.  Orange also
noticed the admiration awakened in the Captain, and the encouragement
given him by Mirelle.  Her cheek darkened and she bit her lip.

’No parley-vous here, please!’ said old Trampleasure.  ’No one any more
mutton? Well, a merciful man is merciful to his beast, says Holy Writ,
and so say I.  Bella, take out the meat for your own supper.’  When the
red-haired servant, who walked from her shoulders, had cleared the
table, and had put another log on the fire, and impregnated the
atmosphere of the room with a scent of yellow soap, Tramplara said: ’Now
for some music. Do you tum-tum, missie?’

Mirelle did not notice the question.

’Beg pardon, Countess Garcia de Candelstickio. If you don’t play
yourself, perhaps you will enjoy good music when you hear it? Now then,
Orange, sit you down.  Sampson, get out your flute, and here is my bass
viol, big and burly, and sound in the wind as jolly old Trampleasure

’Do you play at all, Countess?’ asked Herring.

’Occasionally; according to where I am. I am not Orphée.  I do not
pretend to tame the beasts.’

’Come along, Captain, you must not absent yourself from the concerto.
Can you manage any other music than blowing your own trumpet?’

’If Miss Orange will supply me with a comb and some silver paper, I can
give you a rude imitation of the pan-pipes.’

Orange became grave at once.  ’Do not jest on that subject, Captain

’No, no,’ threw in Trampleasure, ’it is all cursed superstition, but
still, "Let sleeping dogs lay," as Chalker observes in the "Canterbury

’What do you mean?’

’You have heard of the old gentleman in red who is said to walk here,’
answered Orange, in a subdued tone.  ’The tenants who had Dolbeare
before us let the walking-sticks lie at the agent’s, and they were
fairly routed out of the house by the noises.’

’It was rats,’ said Trampleasure; ’women are cowards about noises.’

’What has this to do with my impromptu musical instrument?’ asked
Captain Trecarrel.

’This,’ answered Orange; ’whenever there is any great misfortune about
to befall those in the house, a sound is heard going through it such as
that you proposed to make.  What is singular is that one of the
walking-sticks that goes with the house has some such a musical
instrument in the handle.’

’Who is supposed to walk and pipe woe to the house?’ asked the Captain.

’That red man hanging on the wall behind you.’

Every one turned to look at the picture.

’He appears harmless enough,’ said Trecarrel.

’Has any one heard his music?’

’None of us have,’ answered Orange; ’but it has been heard by others
before we came here.’

’It is a strange story,’ said Trecarrel.  ’It reminds me of the tenure
of Tresmarro, not far from here.  There the house is let with a human
skull.  The farmer there, not liking the object, buried it; but noises
of all sorts, voices, knockings, tramplings, heard at night, made the
place unbearable, so he dug up the skull and restored it to its niche in
the apple chamber, where it stands now, and then the disturbance

’Come, never mind about the ghosts,’ shouted old Tramplara, ’we want
music;’ and he drew his bow across the bass viol, making the room

Captain Trecarrei drew his chair beside Mirelle.  Orange saw this, and
said, ’Captain, to your post of duty.  I want you to turn over the
leaves whilst I play.’

A look of annoyance came over his face; he rose, and took his place by
the piano.

The concert began.  The flute was out of tune, the bass viol roared and
drowned the piano.  Mirelle shuddered, and drew back against the wall.

’Are you fond of music?’ asked Herring, during a pause.

’Of music, yes.  Of noise, no.’

’Countess,’ said he in an undertone, ’before I leave allow me to ask of
you a favour. I go to-morrow, and perhaps shall not see you again.

’Most probably not.’

’It pains me to see you thus left with uncongenial surroundings.  Your
position here may become unendurable.  Should you, at any time, need
help, and you think I can give you assistance, do not fail to summon

’You are very good to make me the offer, but I am hardly likely to make
use of it.  I shall not remain in this house a moment longer than I am
obliged.  I have another guardian living at Avranches.  As we passed
through the place, on our way to England, my father called on him.  When
he is ready to receive me I will go to him, and leave England for ever.’

’But suppose he declines to act.’

’He cannot decline.  My father saw him at Avranches.’

’We will hope for the best.  But on the chance of your desiring
independent advice, will you take and keep my card?  My address is on
it—that is, the address from which letters will be forwarded to me.’

’I thank you.  I will preserve it,’ said Mirelle, stiffly.  ’For myself
it will be needless, but I will recommend your firm to my acquaintances,
and I hope obtain some orders.’

Herring looked puzzled.  Mirelle took the card and twirled it in her
fingers without glancing at it.  She was annoyed with what she regarded
as an impertinence.

With a crash on the piano, a shriek from the flute, and a bellow from
the bass viol, the symphony concluded.

John Herring rose to depart.  The musicians were engaged on their
instruments. Captain Trecarrei was leaning over the piano, talking to
Orange.  As Herring rose, Mirelle rose also.  She knew he was going to
depart, and that, perhaps, for ever.

She was relieved to think so.

He ventured to hold out his hand.  Purposely she avoided seeing it, but,
raising her eyes, she looked him in the face.  Wondrous, mysterious eyes
they were.  They dazzled Herring.  This was the second time only that he
had met her look.

’I am very anxious about your future, Countess.’

’I pray you give it no thought.  My future is in my own hands alone; it
cannot concern you.’  She slightly curtseyed.

Then there came a faint musical strain as on some reedy instrument
stealing through the house.  It was heard outside the door, in the hall,
then it passed round the room and went on into Mr. Trampleasure’s office
beyond; a strange music, distant yet near, so distant that the ear was
sensible of an effort to hear it, yet so near that the vibration could
be felt.  The air played was familiar; a solemn, quaint old melody,
associated with these words:—

    Since first I saw your face, I resolv’d
      To honour and renown you;
    If now I be disdain’d, I wish
      My heart had never known you.

Orange turned pale.  Old Tramplara was startled.  Mirelle and Herring
did not at first realise that this was the music that had been alluded
to at table.  Some moments elapsed before those in the room had
recovered from their surprise sufficiently to speak, and then only
Orange had the courage to refer to it. She turned sharply, almost
fiercely, on Mirelle, and said, ’It is you—you! who have brought this on

’Brought what?’

Orange was too agitated to explain.  ’I have told you what this means,’
she said.

’What have we here on the floor?’ asked Tramplara, in a shaking voice.

’A card,’ answered Mirelle.  ’Mr. Herring’s address.’ She raised it and

’Lieut. Herring, 25th Reg.
                N. Cornwall.’

’Why!’ she exclaimed, supremely shocked, ’he is an officer in the army,
and I thought he was a _commis voyageur_ for some grocery or drapery
business.  Where is he?’

John Herring was gone.  She had not even thanked him for what he had
done for her, and he had done for her, and would do for her, far more
than she knew.  However proudly she may have resolved to hold her future
in her own hands, that future was in his.

’Herring!—Welltown!’ echoed Mr. Trampleasure: ’why, he is the son of old
Jago Herring after all.’

’Twenty-fifth!’ echoed Captain Trecarrel: ’why, he must have been at

’Waterloo, by all the rules of military science, ought to have been a
victory to the Emperor,’ said Mirelle.  ’Indeed, it was a victory, but
the arrival of the Prussians, and thereby the preponderating numerical
power brought to bear against our troops when exhausted, compelled them
to retreat.’

’Sampy,’ said Trampleasure, in an undertone to his son, ’I had a peck or
two at old Jago, and there must be flesh on the bones of the son.  The
old fool has sent his son into the army to make a gentleman of him.
Quick! run after him, my lad, and beg him, whenever he passes through
Launceston, to give us a call, and see how the Countess Candelstickio is
picking up her crumbs.’

                             *CHAPTER XI.*

                          *THE GIANT’S TABLE.*

Herring drove back next day to West Wyke. He was not in good spirits; he
had not slept much the night before.  The thoughts of Mirelle, of her
isolation in the midst of coarse, sordid natures, of her exposure to the
impertinence of Sampson, junior, and the vulgarity of the elder
Tramplara, had kept him awake. His sole hope lay in Orange, that she
might prove a refuge and protection for Mirelle. The Countess had
repelled him.  She had not even thanked him for what he had done for
her.  She had treated him as a travelling bag-man, had absolutely
declined his proffers of friendship.  Was it likely that they would meet
again—that he should again look into those dark, inscrutable eyes?  She
filled all his thoughts.  He could give attention to nothing else.  Poor
Mirelle!  Unsuited utterly by her bringing up for battling with the
realities of life.  Reared in purest cloudland she was translated to
grossest proseland. Nursed in a convent, she found herself suddenly at
its spiritual and moral antipodes. She had spent her life hitherto
secluded from the rush and roar of life.  Now she was plunged in the
swirl of the current, and knew not how to swim.  Poor Mirelle!  Herring
sighed.  He was thinking of her when he reached West Wyke, and Cicely’s
cheerful voice roused him from abstraction.

She met him in her frank and genial manner, and showed how pleased she
was to see him.  What a contrast between his reception to-day and his
dismissal over night! Then a frost had fallen on his heart, now a
sunbeam thawed it.  And yet he could not avoid contrasting Cicely
unfavourably with Mirelle.  Cicely was eminently sober, sensible, and
practical; perfectly natural, entirely without disguise.  Mirelle was
dreamy, unreasonable, unpractical; her nature altered by her education,
her character a riddle.  Cicely had her congeners everywhere.  Herring
had met a thousand equally fresh and charming girls; hers was the type
found in every manor house and parsonage of Old England.  These girls
are sweet, wholesome, but not piquant.  Every one knows what they are;
the sounding line goes to the bottom of their souls at once, and all the
way through fresh and crystal waters. But Mirelle was mysterious.
Herring had never met with one like her.  He could not fathom her; he
dare not even cast the plumb. That she had a shrewd spirit he saw; that
she had depth of character he suspected; that she was good as an angel
of God he was so convinced that he would have died for his faith.  He
liked Cicely, he loved Mirelle.  He could imagine nothing about Cicely;
he knew all.  He knew nothing about Mirelle; his imagination could soar
in contemplation of her, and see her still above him.

Mr. Battishill was delighted to see Herring. He took the young man’s
hand in his. He would not let it go, but kept shaking it, and repeating
how pleased he was to see him. Herring was touched.  There was something
in this reception like a coming home.  Then they got to talking about
Mirelle.  A letter had come from Mr. Eustace Smith, a peppery, indignant
letter, refusing to have anything to do with executorship to the
deceased’s will, trusteeship of his property, and guardianship of his
child.  Consequently Mirelle was left wholly at the mercy of Tramplara.
Nothing further could be done by Mr. Battishill or by John Herring.

’Do you understand Mirelle?’ asked Cicely of the young man.

’What do you mean by understand?  I cannot answer you without a
definition of terms.’

’I mean——  What is your opinion of her?’

’I should like to know yours first, Miss Battishill.’

’That is not fair.  However, you shall have it.  I think Mirelle has no
heart.  She has been brought up by a selfish mother, and by sisters who,
in their religious way, are selfish also.  She is one of those persons
whom it is impossible to love, for there is nothing lovable in her.  But
it is quite possible to pity her, and pity her I do from the bottom of
my heart.  Her character is as cold and colourless as her exterior.’

’You misread her,’ said Herring, ’or I am vastly mistaken.  She has a
heart, a very warm and tender heart, but it sleeps like a flower-bed
under the snow.  It is a heart full of promise——’

’How can you say that?  Have you dug through the snow to explore it?’

’I should say, full of possibilities.  She is not really selfish—I mean,
she is not naturally selfish, but she has not been placed in a position
where she can attach herself to any person.  She has been reared to love
ideas, not individuals—the Church and la belle France, and to these
ideas she has attached herself warmly.  With us the object of education
is to enlarge the sympathies; with those who have trained her it has
been the object to narrow them.  Each system has its advantages, and
each its defects.  If we enlarge the sympathies they run shallow, if
they be narrowed they become intense; and the men and women who make
their mark, who influence the destinies of their fellow-men, are those
of one idea and fiery prejudice.  Mirelle is self-restrained without
being reserved.  She is frank as to her thoughts and impenetrable as to
her feelings.  What she believes to be true she speaks with crudeness,
because she is unaware that the world will only accept the truth cooked
and sauced.  She is wholly ignorant of life, more so than a child with
us of fourteen, because an English child lives in its horae, with
brothers and sisters, and its associates are of every sort and degree.
Mirelle has had no home, all her associates have been of one type, of
one class, and of her own sex.  She has never been brought into contact
with the poor, and has never associated with men.  The defects you
notice are superficial, and will fade as she grows older and gains

’You judge her more kindly than I,’ said Cicely.  ’But that is like you.
You are always generous.  Men see the good side of women, and women only
the worst side of their sisters. Woman is to man like the moon, always
showing one face, and that serene and luminous. That there is another,
systematically turned from him, passes his philosophy.’

’I grant the likeness,’ said Herring vehemently.  ’But why should that
other side be dark and unsightly?  No; Paradise is on the unseen face.’

’Omne ignotum pro magninco,’ said Mr. Battishill; ’I remember so much

’You would like, Miss Battishill, to drag the moon down out of the sky
and turn her round and show me a desert of lava.’

’I should like to see exactly what the moon is made of.  I see volcanoes
and chasms on this face, I cannot suppose green hills and flowery plains
on the other.  She naturally shows us the only decent face she has.’

’There we differ as the poles,’ said Herring, warmly.  ’I prefer to see
her far, far above me, and I do not wish to bring her down to my level.
I idealise her hidden side, and believe I do not see it because of my
own unworthiness.’

’Let us change the topic,’ said Cicely, ’or we shall quarrel, and I
cannot afford that.’

’By all means,’ answered Herring, ’and so, tell me, has anything been
seen of that strange girl who helped me to carry the Countess to your

’What!  Joyce?’

’Yes, I think that was the name you gave her.’

’No, I have been too occupied with my father to think of her.  She is
more than half a savage, and lives with her old father in a Druidical
monument called the Giant’s Table, not far from here.’

’If I had not come to the rescue in time, the wretched old man would
have killed her.  I am not altogether easy in my mind.  The father was
beside himself with rage, though what had angered him did not

After he had eaten—for Cicely insisted he should not go out till he had
been given a meal—Herring went in search of Joyce.  His purpose was to
give her a crown for her assistance; he judged from her appearance that
she was wretchedly poor.  Moreover he was desirous to see that the girl
had not been ill-treated by her father after his protection was

The moor was ablaze with the gorse in full flower.  The air that is
wafted from the Spice Islands cannot be more fragrant than that which
played over these masses of growing gold.

Herring had no difficulty in finding the Giant’s Table.  The little
clearing effected by the Cobbledicks lay as an island in the moor. Their
rude stone fences walled out the gorse gold and the rosy heather.
Adjoining this inclosure was the grey mass of granite stones set on
edge, capped by an enormous block; the interstices were filled in with
moss. Herring looked round.  Not a human being was visible; no one
worked in the clearing. A faint sweet smoke hung about the mysterious
old monument, showing that a peat fire burned within.

The young man walked round the cromlech and discovered the entrance.
Within it was dark.  His eyes were dazzled with the gorse bloom.  He saw
the smouldering embers of a turf fire, and the smoke crept out at the
doorway, which served equally the purposes of chimney, window, and door.
Then he stooped and entered.

’Is any one here?’

’Here be I,’ answered a voice from the further end.

’Who?  Joyce?’

’Yes, sure.’

’Why, Joyce, what are you doing here? What! lying down?  Are you ill?’

’I be broked all to pieces,’ she answered; ’I be going to die.’  Her
voice was hoarse.

’Good heavens, Joyce! how has this occurred?’

He went to the upper end of the cromlech, and knelt by her.  Now he was
able to see. The girl lay on the cushions of the chaise, and some of the
rugs were thrown over her.

’How has this come about, Joyce?’

’I won’t tell’y, unless you swears not to let the constable know.  I
don’t want no hurt to come to vaither of this.  Vaither were here a
minute agone, but I reckon he seed you acoming, and so he sloked away.
Hers afeared the constable’ll be after’n all along o’ doing this.’

’But what has he done to you, child?’

’He’s a’most scatted me to bits,’ she said. ’Look’y here?’  She held out
her arms. Both were broken below the elbows, and the hands hung limp and
powerless.  ’I’d angered ’n; and yet, t’warnt my fault neither.  The
coord snappt acause the coord were wore out. But never heed that.  You
won’t tell o’ he? See now; say after me, "Blast me blue if I does."’

’My poor girl, I will not tell.’

’Say what I sez: "Blast me blue, and glory rallaluley!"’

’There is no necessity for that.  You may trust my word.’

’He’d a right to do it,’ argued Joyce.  ’I be his daughter, and a
vaither may do what he minds to wi’ his child.  That’s reason.’

’I dispute that.  He had no right whatever to maltreat you.  But, tell
me, have you had no doctor to you?  Your bones must be set.’

’A doctor won’t do me no good, maister. I niver seed a animal as had
been mashed that hev come right again.  ’Tain’t in nature.  I be going
to die right on end, I be.  But I don’t wish vaither no hurt for it.  I
be his daughter, and he has a right to do as he pleases.’

’Joyce, when was this done?’

’When were this done?  Why, that night the carriage were overset and the
man killed.’

’What! all that time ago, and nothing done to your arms!  Did not your
father put splints on them?’

’What be they?  Vaither can’t mend nothing. He’ve abroked and tore down
scores and scores of things, but he’ve amended nothing.’

’And no one has been here to help you?’

’Nobody niver comes here.  My vaither be a sight better now than he
were.  I’ll tell’y how that comed about.  I’ll tell’y the whole tale
right on end.  When I returned home after I’d a’ been to West Wyke wi’
you, carrying the lady wi’ the white face, him were a’ lying in wait for
I, and when I comed up, then he set on me wi’ a great stone, and he
hurted me all over, and broke what he could break. You see I’d a angered
’n, and he forgot himself. I’ve a forgot myself a times too.  After that
I crept in here, and laid me down, by the turve fire.  But vaither, he
wouldn’t come in, he stood and peeped in at the door.  I seed ’n and I
sed, "Vaither!  Miss Cicely sez you may go and sleep in the calves’
linny among the straw, and it will be warm and comfortable for’y,
vaither, better nor the old barril was.  So you go along, and let me
bide quiet and die in peace."  Then he went.  In the night I were that
burning hot I could not sleep, and I opened my eyes, and there I seed
old mother wot be buried under the hearthstone; her were a heaving up in
the midst of the fire.  I seed her head sticking straight out of the
burning turves, and her looked hard at me; her face were red as live
coals. Then her went on heaving and pushing till her’d a worked herself
right out of the earth, in the midst of the fire, and the burning turves
tumbled this way and that as her comed out.  Then I seed that her old
gown were flickering wi’ blue light, just as you’ve seed old touchwood.
Her comed to me and her kissed me, but sure her lips were like fire, and
they burned me.  Then her sed, "Joyce, tell your vaither that I be
acoming after ’n if he does you any more harm.  I knows where he be, in
the linny, lying warm in the straw. But I’ll make ’ll warmer.  I’ll
throw fiery turves in among the straw, and he’ll burn, he’ll burn, he’ll
burn!"  As her were a saying of that her went backerds into the fire,
and down through the turves, and they closed over she just as afore.
But I heard her still a mumbling to herself under the hearth-stone,
"He’ll burn, he’ll burn, he’ll burn!"’

’Oh, Joyce, you were fevered and wandering in your mind,’ said Herring,
who belonged to the nineteenth century after Christ.  The condition of
Joyce’s mind was that of a savage three centuries before Christ.

’After that,’ she went on, ’I told vaither all, and he hev come here and
been very good to I. You see he be mortal afeered o’ being caught asleep
in the linny in the straw by mother wi’ a flaming turve in her hand.  He
thinks her won’t make much worrit o’ nights, becos of disturbing me.
And then he laughs and sez, "Mother be that pleased I hev a given her
summat to play with, and her be a playing wi’ that and won’t trouble no

’Joyce, your father must be very sorry for what he has done.’

’He is that for sartain.  All becos you see he’ve a got to do everything
himself now. Afore, I did a deal of things.  I got up the taties, and I
baked ’em in the ashes, and I milked the cow, and I did scores and
scores of things.  But now that I hev my arms a broke it puts a deal o’
work on vaither.  Her hev to do everything from morning to night. And
vaither be getting an old man, and not up to work as he were years by.
He feels it, sure, very much, and wishes he hadn’t a done it now.  But
wot’s the good o’ wishing. Wishing won’t mend broken bones.’

Herring was kneeling by her.  He could not understand the girl.  Was she
delirious, or was this the outpour of her reasonable soul?  He put his
hand on her low forehead, brushing up the shock of coarse hair.  He
wished to feel her pulse, but could not touch the artery in the broken
hand.  She lay very still with her eyes fixed on him.

’You are feverish,’ he said.  ’I am going to fetch a doctor.’

’I say,’ exclaimed Joyce, vehemently, ’you’ve swore not to tell the
constable of vaither.  If you were to do that, I’d never be friends wi’
you more.’

Friends with him!  The poor savage and the lieutenant in His Majesty’s
service! Herring was unable to suppress a smile.

’Joyce,’ he said gravely, ’you must have those poor arms patched up.
The surgeon must attend you.  I shall have you carried hence. No doubt
Miss Cicely will know of a cottage where you can be received.’

’No,’ she said hoarsely, even fiercely, ’I’ll go over no drexil
(threshold).  Let me lie here and die where I’ve a lived.’

’But I insist on a doctor attending you.’

’What can a doctor do for me?  It ain’t in nature.  What be broke be
broke; be it a leg, or a neck, or a arm, or a heart, it be all one.
What be a broke be a broke for ever and ever, Amen.’

After some difficulty he persuaded her to consent.  Then he ran off to
South Tawton for a surgeon.  He returned with one rather over an hour
later.  Then he stood outside whilst the medical man entered the den and
examined the patient.  Presently he was called.

’She is severely bruised, but no other bones are broken except those in
her arms. She is obstinate, and I cannot induce her to allow me to put
splints on and bandage the arms.’

’Oh, Joyce! if you wish to be well you will submit.’

’I don’t care one way or other,’ said the girl sullenly.  ’I wouldn’t
give the turn of a turf whether I lived or whether I died.  Wot’s life
to me?  It ain’t anything I cares for.’

’But I do care very much about it, Joyce. You must have your bones
mended and get well to make me happy.’

’You care, do’y?  Then I’ll live.  There!’  She held out her broken
arms, but as suddenly drew them back.  ’I won’t hev the doctor touch me.
Blast me blue if I will.  If I be to get well and live, then you must
make me well and live, and none else.  Take my hands and do what you
will.  You may cut ’em off and I won’t cry.  You may tie ’em up and I’ll
say nort.’

The surgeon said to Herring, ’You had better humour her.  She is not a
rational being.’

So Herring put the splints in place, and bound the bandages tightly
round them.

Joyce watched him with her large animal-like eyes fixed on his face.  A
feverish fire was burning in them, giving them a factitious light.  She
did not withdraw them from him for a moment.

’You’re right for sartain,’ she said.  ’If I’d ha’ died, what ’ud
vaither ha’ done?  And her be growing a brave age.’

Then, still kneeling by her, Herring spoke with the surgeon about the
girl, as to what was to be done with her arms and what she was to eat.
Suddenly he exclaimed with a start and recoil, ’Good heavens, Joyce!
what are you doing?’

He looked at her.  A human soul was struggling to emancipate itself from
brute instinct.  He saw it in her feverish eyes.  She had them fixed on
him as those of a dog look at its master—and _she was licking his hand_.

                             *CHAPTER XII.*


’Sampy, my boy,’ said Tramplara the elder, ’improve each shining hour,
says Paul, afterwards called Saul, and he couldn’t have given a better
piece of advice if he’d been paid to do it.  Since Polpluggan has been
blown I have had nothing to do, and I want not only to follow Paul’s
advice and improve the shining hour, but do better, and improve the
overcast and rainy ones.  You and I, Sampy, are the men to whom the
future belongs, the representatives of the age, and it will not do for
the likes of us to keep our light under a bushel.  That ain’t
Scriptural, and it ain’t advantageous neither.’

’All right, gov’nor.  What is this the preface to?’

’Sampy,’ said Tramplara, confidingly, ’we must start another mine.’

’What—tin? lead? manganese? copper?’

’Better still, my gosling.’

’I don’t know what you can have better except coal, and coal don’t
luxuriate alongside of granite.’

’Gold—the noblest of metals—gold.’

’Oh, ah! gov’nor, that won’t do.  There’s no gold to be found here.’

’Why not?’

’Why not?  Because no folks are fools enough to sink it in such a
venture as gold mining.’

’You are wrong.  There is one quality I can always rely on—as the
Apostle says, "Folly never faileth, everything else may vanish away."
If you appeal to men’s reasons, it is like looking for ghosts in haunted
tenements; they are supposed to be there, but never found when wanted.
Human folly is like Dozmare pool, it is unfathomable, though you let
down into it all the bell-ropes of Cornwall.  You can set up windmills
in Essex, for there the wind always blows; and you can establish water
wheels in Cornwall, for the rain supply is inexhaustible; and you can
float speculations where you will, and the fools will keep them going.
In the story of the Fisherman in the "Arabian Nights" the fish that have
been scraped and disembowelled and put in a frying-pan over the coals
stand up on their tails and say, "We are doing our duty.  If you reckon
we reckon; if you fly we mount and are content."  Now those fish we are
told were men. And men are just the same now.  They do their duty in
coming to be scraped and gutted and roasted, and what you pipe they
repeat; they have no pleasure apart from yours, and they rush into your
hands to be cleaned out, just as the martyrs asked to be tortured.’

Sampson junior nodded.

’What is it that Solomon said, "A fool and his money are soon parted?"’

’I say, gov’nor, it is dry work listening. Let us have in some grog.’

’Bring the spirits out of the cupboard and ring for Bella to give us
sugar and hot water. Are you listening to me?  What I say is important.
I am leading you after gold.’

’All right; but you were speaking of human folly.’

’Human folly is the cable[1] that incloses the ore.  It is not for
nothing, Sampy, that I have been regular at chapel and paid for my pew
at Salem.  Mr. Israel Flamank, the minister, is a very good man; a sort
of cedar in Lebanon, always green, and he is as soft as butter and as
easy to make a pat out of with, at pleasure, a crown or a goose at top.
There are in the world good men of whom with Scripture it may be said,
"It were better that a millstone had been hanged round their necks than
they should have learned to read and write."  For, you see, Sampy, they
read a great deal without knowing the relative value of what they read,
and they write the first craze that comes into their heads to set other
fools crazy after them.  When there is a choice of herbs set before an
ass, he prefers a thistle, because, as Shakespeare sings, "It is his
nature to."  You may take my word for it, gosling, there is a parcel of
people in this world with an exuberant fund of piety in their
constitutions, just as some children are born with water on the brain.
And as these have no definite belief, the pious element within washes
about, unable to settle.  When you was a boy, Sampy, it was your delight
to make silver trees.  You had a fluid clear as crystal in a bottle, and
into it you introduced a scrap of carpet thread, and all at once the
metal held in solution crystallised about the rubbish you had inserted,
and built round it a mass of sparkling metal, hard as steel and shining
as silver.  It is the same with folk of the calibre of Israel Flamank.
Their dilute piety is ready to settle round any trashy notion that gets
into them, and rear about it a tree of fantastic conviction.  Flamank
has done a deal of crystallising since I have known him, about all sorts
of odds and ends.  First he was a total abstainer, then a vegetarian,
then he found the gospel in the pyramids, and now he is all for the

[1] The rock altered by the vein of ore it surrounds is termed by miners
the cable.

’But, father, what does this concern us?’

’Everything, my son,’ said old Tramplara, with sunny self-complacency.
’Fill your glass and listen.  Do you know what the Phoenicians were?’

’I don’t know, and don’t care.’

’Then I’ll tell you.  The Phoenicians were next-door neighbours to the
Jews, and, what is a wonder, were on speaking terms, and did each other
little neighbourly acts, which shows they lived in the Dark Ages.  You
don’t happen to know anything about the Cassiterides, do’y, Sampy?’

’Not a farthing.  Had they anything to do with the Phoenicians?’

’Oh, what an ignorant boy you are!  You are living in the midst of the
Cassiterides, and don’t know it.  Cassiterides is the Phoenician for
Devon and Cornwall.  It means the place whence the Phoenicians drew
their tin; and where the Phoenicians went the Jews went also.  Marazion,
as every fool knows, is called also Market Jew, because the Jews came
there to buy metal for Solomon’s temple.  You haven’t a Bible, have’y,
Sampson junior, ready to hand?’

’I doubt if there be such a thing in the house.’

’There is, though, only I don’t know where it be stowed away this
present moment.  I bought one for taking the level of the Phoenicians
under the guidance of the Reverend Flamank.  Now Solomon; you’ve heard
of Solomon?’

’Which, the pawnbroker?’

’No; Solomon the wisest of men, and because the wisest the richest.  He
sent a navy of ships with his own men and Phoenicians to get gold for
the temple at Jerusalem and his own house.  There is one thing strikes
an earnest inquirer like me about King Solomon, and makes me admire the
beauty of his character greatly.  When he were building the temple he
built his own palace at the same time, and didn’t make of ’em separate
accounts. So the Jews gave profusely for the building of their temple,
and how much of that subscription went to the King’s house, I reckon
Solomon himself would have been pushed to answer.  He was seven years
building the temple, and thirteen years over his own palace, and when
you know that, you can guess how the material went.  But that is neither
here nor there.  I was just giving you a sample of the wisdom of
Solomon.  Well, the ships of Solomon came for gold to Ophir, and fetched
thence four hundred and twenty talents of gold-dust; that, Israel
Flamank tells me, is nigh on fifty-three thousand pounds weight. Think
of that!  Now where gold came from, there gold is to be had.’

’But where did it come from?’

’From Ophir, to be sure.  We must find Ophir.’

’Governor, that won’t do.  You and I are not going to leave Old England
gold prospecting. You are too old, and I am disinclined.’

’Didn’t I tell you we were in the Cassiterides?’

’Yes; but Cassiterides is not Ophir.’

’But Ophir may be in the Cassiterides.’

’Gold never was found in the West,’ said Sampson junior, shaking his

’There never was any tin in Wheal Polpluggan,’ said the old man, who
turned blazing red with suppressed laughter.  His sides shook, his white
hair gleamed ghastly against his red skin.  Then he broke into a roar,
and slapping Sampson on the knee, he shouted, as he waved his glass of
grog over his head, and spilled the contents on his silver hair and
gleaming cheeks, ’To the prosperity of Ophir!  Drink, Sampy, drink! to
Ophir, the Ophir of Solomon in the West Country.’

’Polpluggan was tightly salted,’ said young Sampson, ’and salted only
with tin.  Besides, Polpluggan was in the Scilly Isles, some forty or
fifty miles from Penzance.  There were many who would rather jeopardise
their money than risk their breakfast in a rough passage.  But gold——’
He shook his head.

’We’ll salt Ophir when we have found the spot.’

’What! with gold dust?  You’ll sink a fortune in that, and the success
is doubtful.’

’It is bound to succeed,’ answered the father.  ’My boy, I’ve come to
see that there is a pan of cream has not been skimmed yet, and I hope,
if I live long enough, to skim it. There is not much more to be done at
those pans we have gone over hitherto.  We must try a fresh one.  I’ll
tell you what that big rich pan is; it is the big rich pan of religious
fanaticism.  I’ll take a lesson from the rats. The rat when he has an
eye on the cream sits down with his back to it, and looking up at the
wall lets drop the end of his tail into the cream; then he pulls it up
with a shocked and bashful air, sucks it, and lets it down again, and in
half an hour he has cleared the pan of all but sky blue.’

’I don’t see how it is to be done,’ said young Tramplara, meditatively.

’You are young and inexperienced,’ answered his father.  ’You haven’t
sounded the depths of human folly yet.  Lord bless you!  I’ve been
surprised myself at its profundity.  And when we come to religious
folly, my private conviction is that it goes down through the world and
out at the other side. It is like the well of Zem-zem, that has no
bottom.  I have not been an earnest inquirer at the feet of the Reverend
Israel Flamank for nothing.  Whilst kneeling to him I have been like a
shoemaker taking the measure of his foot.  I know the sort of gate he
will clear, and where the bellwether goes all the flock will leap.  You
listen to me and I will give you a parable—a mighty comforting one.
There was an old manganese mine long disused, and the adit ran level out
into a meadow where some bullocks were feeding.  One hot day, when the
flies were troublesome, one bullock took refuge in the adit, and when
the others saw that in they walked after him, each thrusting forward the
fellow before him. Presently they got frightened with being so far from
the light, so the foremost bellowed, and the second bellowed, and this
was repeated to the last, who, in mighty alarm, dug his horns into the
hinder quarters of the bullock in front, and he repeated the performance
on the one before him, and so on, driving one another further and
further into the heart of the mine.  Well, they got so far that there
was no getting them out, and the owner had to kill them where they were.
They were too frightened to back, and to turn was impossible. Sampy,
that good foolish Israel Flamank is just like the leading bullock.
He’ll go into Ophir eagerly, and all his congregation after him,
thrusting one another on, and we shall have the slaughtering of them.
They will be too compromised to back when they find themselves in the
wrong place.’

’But how about the salting?’

’There are various sorts of salting.  You only know one sort.  You have
seen Polpluggan salted with tin ore brought from elsewhere, and
basketfuls drawn out of the shaft that had been previously put in.  That
is one sort of salting, and I allow that with gold this would come
expensive.  I shall have to manage more economically.  My dear boy, when
fools are hungering to be deceived, they are not particular about the
meat that feeds their folly.  They don’t inquire if the mutton comes of
rotten sheep.’

’How shall you float it?’

’Nothing easier.  Let us find Ophir, and the Reverend Israel will do the
rest.  He conducts a religious paper, entitled "The Western Cornucopia,"
much read by those of his persuasion, and throughout the West of
England.  I like that word persuasion, Sampy. When I hear a man talk of
his persuasion, I feel that he is persuadable to any sort of suicide.
Now, let me get my truck on Israel’s rails, and it will run down by the
law of gravity.’

’But where will you light on Ophir?’

’I do not know yet.  I am an earnest inquirer, and I have been sitting
with the Reverend Flamank many an hour, as solemn as a Quaker, over our
Bibles, making it out. I’m hard to believe, he eager to convince. He has
no idea that I am leading him on; he believes he is driving me.  Now and
then, as the light of nature prompts, I throw out a suggestion, and he
snaps at it enthusiastically, appropriates it, and reproduces it as an
original inspiration.  Country folks will tell you that every cloud
brings with it wind.  That is the reverse of the fact.  It is the wind
that brings the cloud.  So in this case there occurs a little mistake as
to which is the impelling power.  The Reverend Israel has shown me that
the situation of Ophir is pretty accurately indicated.  It is said in
Scripture that Ophir lies between Mesha and a mountain in the East
called Sephar.  Now, with my incenting, the Reverend Flamank has arrived
at this—that Mesha is the village of Meshaw, near South Molton, and that
Sephar is Sheepstor, which is a mountain due east of Launceston.’

’It is due south of Meshaw.’

’Yes, but it is due east of Salem Chapel. People always reckon from
where they are themselves.  You see the line uniting them passes through
Crediton, South Tawton, Cosdon——’

’By the way, father, Squire Battishill told me he had found a silver
lead mine at Upaver.’

’Upaver!—Upaver!—Ophir!  Ophir! Sampy!  By the wisdom of Solomon, we
have spotted Ophir!’

                            *CHAPTER XIII.*

                          *CAPTAIN TRECARREL.*

Captain Trecarrel was Captain only in the militia, yet he flourished his
captaincy with as much pride as if he were in the regulars. He was
Trecarrel of Trecarrel, the head of one of the oldest families in
Cornwall.  When we say that, we mean that he was head in the sense of a
tadpole’s head, which is head and nothing else.  Trecarrel was head and
nothing else.  There was no tail of younger brothers and sisters
dependent on the property.  But then the property barely supported the
head, and by no possibility could have sustained the burden of a tail.

It was not always so.  At one time the Trecarrels were the chief family
in the neighbourhood, and Sir Henry Trecarrel, Knight, at his proper
cost, to the glory of God, and in honour of St. Mary Magdalen, rebuilt
the parish church of Launceston in the most sumptuous manner he was
able.  Not one stone was set in the fabric that was not the finest
granite, and not one block was unsquared and unsculptured; the sculpture
was as delicate as the grain of the granite would allow, with trees
distilling balsam, plumes and palm-branches, with the arms of Trecarrel,
and with minstrels harping and playing the rebeck, the tabor, and the
bagpipe.  Under the east window in a niche was sculptured the recumbent
effigy of that most yielding of saints, the Magdalen, wrought in the
most obdurate of stones.  The pinnacles and gurgoils were all cut out of
the same material with infinite labour, and at extraordinary cost.

The church was not quite finished when the Reformation came.  Then the
King’s Commissioners paid a visit to Launceston and swept from the
church its valuables in silver and gold, for the filling of the royal
exchequer and for the abolition of idolatry.  After the Commissioners
had departed, a rabble followed, headed by one Bunface, a butcher, who
burst into the church and destroyed what the King’s Commissioners had
spared.  They smashed the stained glass in the windows, and broke the
legs of the Christ on the rood, but left the thieves on either side
unmolested. They extinguished the perpetual lamp and spilled the oil
over the chancel floor.  They threw down the altar, and, having broken
open the shrine, cast the sacrament under their feet.  They knocked the
heads off the apostles, and lastly, with a lever, overthrew the font,
and in so doing exceeded the intentions of the Reformers, who having
destroyed five sacraments, and reduced a sixth to a stump, elected to
maintain the seventh intact.  After that the party rang a peal in the
tower and finished the evening by getting uproariously drunk at the Pig
and Whistle.

Bunface never again appeared in church, for though the Government passed
a law to force the people to attend divine service and receive the
sacrament, under pains of fine and imprisonment, just as children have
to be whipped to make them swallow medicine that is necessary but nasty,
yet Bunface could not be induced to put in an appearance.  ’Let me burn
the Bible, or break the Commandments, or test my cleaver on the
minister’s head, but if this be denied me, if there be no more
destroying to be done, then I’d rather pay my fine than go.’

When Sir Henry Trecarrel refused to sit in the church under the
preacher, and take the sacrament at the mean table under the pulpit, the
magistrates cautioned him, and when he disregarded their monition they
fined him, and when he paid the fine and continued recusant they threw
him into the common gaol, and there, after languishing two years, he
died of the gaol-fever.

Sir Harry Trecarrel was succeeded by his son, who suffered also in purse
and liberty for his attachment to the old religion.  He was convicted of
harbouring a Popish priest, and of hearing mass in his private chapel.
The priest was hung, drawn, and quartered—that is to say, he was cut
down the instant after he had been slung up, sliced open, and his heart
torn out of his breast whilst still palpitating.  That was the way in
which recusant priests were dealt with by that bright Occidental Star,
good Queen Bess.  Mr. Henry Trecarrel saved his neck only by the
surrender of one of his best manors.

In the civil wars Trecarrel made large sacrifices for the King, and was
accordingly dealt with as a Malignant by the Protector. Confiscation and
fine diminished his estates still further.  On the Restoration he went
to London, and laid the record of his services and sufferings at the
feet of Charles II.  The King commended his loyalty, and promised him,
if he would take holy orders, that he would recompense him with at least
a canonry; but as Trecarrel was unable to do this, being a Papist, he
was dismissed with, as his sole reward, a portrait of the royal martyr,
full length, in which the lower limbs were so adjusted that, had they
been true to life, the royal martyr could neither have walked nor sat on
his throne.  The Trecarrel of the reign of George I. gambled away
everything that had been left except the house and home barton of
Trecarrel, which were inalienable. This Captain Trecarrel had inherited
from his ancestors, together with the picture of Charles I. with
distorted limbs, the Catholic faith, and the Trecarrel blue eyes and
beauty—but chief of all these things, in his estimation, were the
hereditary blue eyes and beauty.

Captain Trecarrel’s income was small, so small that he could not marry
on it.  He was obliged, therefore, to look out for a wife with money.

Now, as has been said, nature and his ancestors had bestowed on him
aristocratic good looks, and he was admitted by the ladies of the
neighbourhood to be the handsomest man they knew.

He was aware of his beauty, he knew precisely the effect he could
produce on the female heart by a look out of his blue eyes, blue as the
borage blossom.  There was not a marriageable girl who would not have
abjured her faith, have adored Mumbo-Jumbo, if required, to become Mrs.
Trecarrel of Trecarrel.  The Captain knew his value, and was not
impatient.  The young ladies of good birth in the neighbourhood were
neither heiresses nor well dowered.  He looked further afield, and was
caught by the handsome face of Orange Trampleasure, and by the handsome
fortune with which popular opinion endowed her.

Old Tramplara was thought to be enormously rich, and to be eager to
marry his daughter well, and to be ready to pay for the blood and
position that would come to the family through a good alliance.

Captain Trecarrel was not a man to feel deeply.  He liked Orange, and
that Orange liked and admired him was obvious to his blue eyes.  But
then, he was accustomed to be liked and admired, and he had only to
smile and look languishingly to draw to him any amount of affection from
any number of marriageable girls.  He looked for something more
substantial than liking and admiration.

After much hesitation, Trecarrel proposed to Orange Trampleasure and was
accepted on the spot.  But the proposal was only the first scene in a
long drama, and the second scene did not pass with the same rapidity and
success.  Captain Trecarrel had no intention of being married till he
was quite satisfied as to the sum of money Orange would bring with her.
Old Tramplara spoke grandiloquently, and made large promises of what he
would leave her when he was not himself in a position to enjoy his
money.  But this was not what the Captain wanted—which was something
present, not prospective.  At last he did get the old man to name a very
liberal dowry, and when he next asked in what shape this dower would
come, he discovered an eagerness on the part of his prospective
father-in-law to pay it in Patagonian securities.  Now Patagonian bonds
were not at par.  They had been declining very steadily in the money
market, and when the South American State deferred meeting its coupons
with punctuality, the drop had been nearly to zero, for it was
anticipated that Patagonia was meditating repudiation.

Mr. Trampleasure supposed that the Captain was unaware of this, but
Trecarrel was not as innocent as his blue eyes led people to suppose.
He was one of those few men who know exactly on which side their bread
is buttered; and Captain Trecarrel knew further, what very few people do
know, how to eat bread and butter with most satisfaction to himself.  An
adult eats his slice with the butter uppermost, but a child turns the
buttered side down.  By so doing he extracts from it the utmost
enjoyment it is capable of giving, for by this expedient the tongue is
brought into immediate contact with the butter.  Captain Trecarrel was
not going to eat his bread with thin Patagonian scrape over it, instead
of yellow English gold.  Those innocent blue eyes of his could see as
far into a millstone as the keen sloes of Mr. Trampleasure.
Consequently, till that Patagonian business was satisfactorily settled,
Captain Trecarrel held aloof from hymeneal felicity.

The arrival of Mirelle and her admission into the family at Dolbeare
were opportune. Captain Trecarrel was struck with her beauty, but then,
he was struck with the beauty of every girl whose looks were pleasing.
But what struck the Captain far more than her beauty was the opportunity
this arrival afforded him of rousing the apprehensions of Orange and her
father that he might slip through the meshes of their net.

He resolved to pay his court to Mirelle, to exhibit a lively interest in
her, to wake up a little convenient jealousy in the bosom of Orange, and
to give the father clearly to understand that he himself repudiated

The curious mixture of simplicity and shrewdness in Mirelle amused him.
It was a real pleasure to him to converse with her, and a particular
pleasure to look into those deep eyes and speculate what lay beneath.

Once a month a priest came to Trecarrel on a circuit through the north
of Cornwall, and said mass in the chapel near the house. On these
occasions Mirelle walked over to Trecarrel.  Trecarrel lies, like most
old manor houses, in a hollow.  A small stream dribbling through the
hollow constituted the only attraction which could lead a gentleman to
build his stately mansion in such a spot.  A stately mansion Trecarrel
must have been in its prime.  The great banqueting hall was of hewn
granite, with granite windows and doorway and chimney-piece.  A little
chapel stood south of the hall, also of cut granite.  The mansion-house
itself is, at the present date, reduced to a fragment of the great house
that once occupied three sides of a quadrangle. At the time of which we
are writing it was more than dilapidated, it was falling into utter
ruin.  There was no glass in many of the windows, and the roofs were
breaking down. Next to the hall the glory of Trecarrel was the gatehouse
of granite, with a richly sculptured doorway of the same intractable
material, moulded deeply, with strawberry leaves carved in the hollows
of the mouldings.  The Trecarrel who gambled pulled down the gate-house
because coaches could not pass beneath the arch; but when he had pulled
it down he had not the power or the means to remove the huge blocks, and
so he left them encumbering the ground where they had fallen, and there
at the present day they lie, rankly overgrown with nettles.

Captain Trecarrel could not suffer Mirelle to walk home unattended when
she made her monthly pilgrimages to his chapel.  She was always pleased
to see and converse with him. He was her equal, a gentleman and a
Catholic—the two qualities which made them akin and separated them from
the ignoble and unbelieving around.  In these walks the Captain told
Mirelle the story of Sir Henry Trecarrel and the building of Launceston
Church, and the way in which the work was arrested.  He told her what
his ancestor had done and suffered in the civil wars, and he showed her
one day in the hall the sole reward he had received for his sacrifices.
Mirelle was able to sympathise with the misfortunes of the house; she
also represented a generous race, that had fought the Moors, had ruled a
county, coined its own money, and set up its own gallows. In that last
particular the Garcias and the Trecarrels had differed.  The Garcias had
hung men, the Trecarrels had had much ado to keep themselves from being

The story of the self-sacrifice of the Trecarrels for Church and King
stirred the soul of Mirelle, ready to warm to all that savoured of
heroism; and she looked on the Captain as the noble representative of a
glorious line of confessors and martyrs.  She fondly deemed him made of
the same stuff, ready to lay himself down on the altar if need be.  But
no! Trecarrel was wholly free from the spirit of self-sacrifice.  He
would not surrender his independence for five thousand pounds in
Patagonian bonds.  During one of these walks the Captain ascertained
from Mirelle that her father had left her six thousand pounds, not in
Patagonian bonds, but in hard cash.  Six thousand pounds!  That was one
thousand above the sum that Orange was promised.  Six thousand pounds in
coined gold, with his Majesty’s head on each piece, God bless him!
Trecarrel’s tone assumed more tenderness, a softer light shone out of
his celestial eyes, and he slightly squeezed the arm that was on his own
under the big umbrella, as he paddled with Mirelle to Launceston under a
Cornish drizzle and through West Country mud.

That night the Captain did not sleep.  He tossed on his bed.  He sat up
and hammered the pillow into shape and put it under his neck.  Then he
got up and drank cold water. Then he tried to count sheep going through
a gap in a hedge.  All was in vain.  He could not sleep and he could not
count the sheep, because his mind was active.  He was stung into
wakefulness by the consideration whether it would be possible for him to
be off his engagement to Orange, and on with one to Mirelle.  It would
not be consistent with his honour as a gentleman and an officer (though
only in the militia) to become engaged to Mirelle before breaking with
Orange.  It would also not be proper for him to break with Orange; but
it would be perfectly honourable for him so to conduct himself as to
force her to break with him.  He made no doubt that Mirelle would have
him.  No woman could refuse him, with his eyes and name, his profile and
his position.  Besides, Mirelle manifestly liked him.  She made no
secret of the pleasure she took in his society.  Now the only means of
effecting a rupture with Orange was for him to pay marked attentions to
Mirelle, and to wane in his attentions to herself. Orange would then
speak to her mother, and the mother would communicate her daughter’s
trouble to the father, and then a crisis would be attained.  The father
would either break off the match, in which case he would be free to
address Mirelle, or, in his dread of losing such a son-in-law, he would
drop the Patagonians and offer ready money.  Orange and five thousand
pounds; Mirelle with six! There was no comparing the lots.

Captain Trecarrel turned the situation into an equation.  As Mirelle is
to Orange, so is 6,000*l*. to _x_.

    Mirelle x *x* = Orange x 6,000*l*.

    or − = 6,000*l*.

Now Orange was of an inferior social grade, and this difference could
not be estimated under 1,000*l*.  Then Orange had incumbrances, in the
shape of very vulgar parents and a cur of a brother.  This could not
figure at less than 1,000*l*.  Orange was plump, and plump girls become
obese women; a serious detriment that could only be covered with another
1,000*l*.  Mirelle was a Catholic, and her faith was worth 1,000*l*.

The equation therefore stood thus:—

    Mirelle + 6,000*l*. = Orange + 10,000*l*.

’Hah!’ said Captain Trecarrel, as he hammered his pillow with both
fists.  ’I’ll not take Orange under ten thousand pounds, I’m confounded
if I will.’

It must not be supposed that Orange Trampleasure was ignorant of the
walks taken by the Captain with Mirelle.  Captain Trecarrel did not
desire that she should remain in ignorance of them, and when he escorted
Mirelle home he came on with her to the house to pay his respects to
Mrs. Trampleasure, and inquire after her cold in the head and her
bronchial tubes.  He usually remained on such occasions for the early
dinner, and spent the afternoon with the girls in the garden-house when
it rained, or strolling with them in sunshine through the Castle

At these times he was civil to Orange, and even attentive, but he let
her plainly see that when engaged in conversation with her his eyes and
thoughts were roving, and roving in the direction of Mirelle.  Orange
would not have been a woman, and a loving woman, if she had not observed
and been hurt by this.

Orange had set her heart on marrying him, not only because she loved
him, but also because she was ambitious.  She had more culture than her
father and mother and brother, and she felt their coarseness.  She
disliked their friends.  She was a proud girl, and when the prospect
opened before her of becoming Mrs. Trecarrel, she resolved to make this
the means of shaking herself free from the sordid society in which she
had been forced to move, and to take her place, as of right, in a class
above it in culture, in traditions, and in aspirations.

Orange volunteered to walk to Trecarrel with Mirelle on her monthly
expeditions, and the offer was frankly accepted.

Mirelle did not know that her cousin was engaged to Trecarrel, she had
not been let into the secret; Orange was not of a confiding nature, and
the intercourse between her and the Captain had of late been strained.
Mirelle regarded him as a friend of the family; she rather wondered what
he could find in the Trampleasures to make him seek their society, but
she entertained no suspicions of a nearer tie than friendship.

The jealousy of Orange was roused.  She became less demonstrative in her
affection towards Mirelle, but she was not unkind. She harboured
bitterness in her heart, but it was not suffered to brim over her lips.
The only token she gave of wrath and jealousy was a heightened colour
and a dangerous flicker in her eye, whenever subjected to one of those
slights which are only perceptible to the eye of love.  Trecarrel
noticed this, and was content.  He would achieve his end by means
strictly honourable.  Mirelle was unconscious and unsuspicious of what
was going on around her.  She liked the Captain, she told Orange as
much, without colour rising in her transparent cheek or lowering her
eye. She liked Orange, who, if not cordial, was kind, and who proved a
very serviceable screen against the brutality of her father and brother.
That the Captain was playing her off upon Orange for his own selfish
purposes, and that deadly jealousy and hate against her were being
kindled in the bosom of her cousin—of this Mirelle was unsuspicious.

                             *CHAPTER XIV.*

                          *UNDER THE HEARTH.*

John Herring visited Joyce daily.  He had no choice.  She would allow no
one else to touch her bandages.  He was impatient to prosecute his
journey, but was detained by this poor savage, who refused doggedly to
allow the doctor or Cicely to touch her arms. Herring remonstrated, and
insisted that he must go.  Cicely Battishill volunteered to take his
place.  Then Joyce became wild, she tore at the rags with her teeth, and
would have ripped them off and relaxed the splints, and undone all that
had been done for her broken bones, had not Herring hastily promised to
remain and attend to her daily, and so with difficulty allayed her
apprehension and anger.  He was particularly anxious to be in Exeter,
but he could not risk the health of Joyce by deserting her in this
juncture. He was held captive at West Wyke, held in captivity by Joyce’s
broken hands.  The reason why he was impatient to go forward was that he
had been summoned to Exeter to rejoin his regiment, then quartered
there.  The morning following the accident he had applied for an
extension of leave, but no answer had come to his application.  He knew
that he ought to be with his regiment.  He would get into trouble for
his absence, and yet—he allowed himself to be detained.  The call of
humanity was one he was unable to resist. He was good-natured, that
is—weak.  The strong men are the selfish men.  Herring’s simple and
kindly heart was interested in Joyce, but perplexed and pained.  He had
no experience of life, and no knowledge of its problems.  He had never
before been brought in contact with a character utterly rude and
destitute of that elementary knowledge which we take for granted is as
universally diffused as the atmosphere.  He sat under the Giant’s Table
and talked to Joyce, asked her questions, and endeavoured to draw out
the thoughts of her clouded brain.  But the profound ignorance, the
gross barbarism of her mind and manner of thought amazed him.

He saw nothing of Old Grizzly, who, as Joyce expressed it, ’sloked away’
whenever he came in sight.

’Joyce,’ said Herring one day, as he knelt by her, having just bandaged
her arms, ’do you know the difference between right and wrong?’

The question was called forth by some words of the girl showing a
startling ignorance of the elements of morality.

’In coorse I do,’ she answered; then sitting up on her bed of heather,
’I’ll tell’y how I comed to know.  I were once in a turnip-field
fetching a turnip for our dinner. There were a wooddoo (dove) running up
an oak hard by, and he sings out, "Tak’ two, Joyce, tak’ two;" and in an
old holm tree sat a raven, and her shooked her head and said, "Very
wrong, Joyce, very wrong."  But I minded more what the wooddoo sed, and
I took two.  Then as I were climbing over the hedge, I dropped one
turnip back in the field whence I’d took ’n; and the wooddoo called
again "Tak’ two, Joyce, tak’ two."  "So I will," sez I, and I pitches on
my feet again in the field where the turnip had fallen to, and as I
picked ’n up, in at the gate comed Farmer Freeze, and he seed me and set
his dog Towzer on me, and my legs be scored now where Towzer set his
teeth in me.  After this I knowed never to believe wooddoos no more when
they sez "Tak’ two."  The raven were right.  I shud ha’ tooked one or
three or five.  I knows now that it be wrong to take even numbers of
aught, and right to take odd.[1]  For you sees,’ she continued
earnestly, ’if I had taken only one turnip, I’d ha’ been over the hedge
and away avore Farmer Freeze comed in; but as I minded the wooddoo, and
waited to take two, I were tore cruel bad by Towzer.’

[1] This story was told the author by a poor Devonshire labourer.  He
believed he had understood the language of the birds.

Herring looked in her face with wonder.

’Joyce,’ he said, ’is this possible?  Pray, have you ever heard of God?’

’Who be he?’

’He is above the sky.’

’What, over the clouds, do’y mean?’


’I’ve seed ’n scores and scores o’ times.’  (Here we must note that by
this expression Joyce meant ’any number of times.’  She could not count
above ten, the number of her fingers, and a score was her highest
reckonable number, for that was the number of her fingers and toes.)
’You mean the sun as goes running everlasting after the moon; she be his
wife, I reckon.’

’Why so?’ asked Herring, with a smile.

’Becos her be always a trying to get out of his way.’

’Did your father ill-treat your mother?’ he asked.

’In coorse he did, though I can’t remember much about it.  Her was his
wife, and he had a right to.’

’Do you mean that he beat and kicked her, as he has beaten and kicked

’Kicked!’ echoed Joyce.  ’Who ever sed as he kicked mother or I.  It be
gentlefolks and wrastlers as kick; us has nothing on our toes, and so us
don’t kick for fear of hurting ’em.’

’Does your father often beat you?’

’As he likes, but that don’t matter now.’

’Why not?’

’Becos I don’t belong to ’n any more.’

’What! emancipated at last, Joyce?’

’I belongs to you.’

’To me!’  Herring drew back, staggered by the thought.

’A coorse I do.  Vaither a’most broked me to pieces, and I’d a died, but
you mended me up and made me to live again.  So it stands to reason that
I don’t belong to vaither no more, but belong to you.  ’Tes clear as a
moor stream.  I can see the reason on it as sartain as I can a trout in
a brook.  I’ve been a thinking it over and over, and I never could
reckon it right out.  Then, one night mother began to grub her way up by
thicky stone. I seed her grey hairs coming out o’ the ground, and I
thought ’twere moss; but after some’ut white and round like a turnip
comes, and I sed to myself, "How ever comes a turnip to be growing here,
under the Giant’s Table?"  Presently I seed her eyes acoming up, and
then I knowed it were mother.  Then I went over and I helped her wi’ a
rabbit’s legbone.  I scratched the earth away, so as her could get her
nose and mouth out of the ground, and her were snuffling like a horned

’My dear Joyce, you were dreaming.’

’It were true—true as I see you here.’

’But, Joyce, how could you have helped her out of the ground, as you
say, with your arms broken?’

Joyce was puzzled.  Like other savages, she had not arrived at that
point of enlightenment in which dream and reality are distinguished.

’I don’t know nothing about that,’ said Joyce, ’but it be true what I
ses, I know that very well.  Let me go on.  At last when her could speak
plain, her sed, "Joyce, you belong no more to Grizzly, you belong to the
young maister."  So I sez to her, "How can that be?"  Then her answers,
"You mind the old iron crock as were chucked away by the Battishills.
They’d a broke ’n, and wanted ’n no more.  Then your vaither found ’n
and mended ’n up somehow.  There her hangs now wi’ turnips and cabbidge
a stewing in her over the fire.  Do thicky crock belong to the
Battishills now any more? No, her don’t, they broke ’n and chucked ’n
away.  Her belongs to Old Grizzly for becos he took ’n and patched ’n
up.  That be reason," sed my mother, "for sartain."  And what her said
be true and right.  So I belong to you.’

’But I decline the honour, Joyce,’ said Herring, laughing.

’Will you beat and break me and cast me away, like as did vaither?’

’I beat and hurt you!  God forbid, my poor child.’

’Then till you does, I belongs to’y—that’s sartain!’

She laid herself down on the cushions with the action and tone of voice
that implied the matter was concluded past contradiction.

Here was a state of affairs!  A state of affairs sufficiently startling.
A few weeks ago John Herring had been his own master, with no one
depending on him, and without responsibility.  Now he was in a measure
responsible for three girls.  Mirelle, it is true, had asserted her
independence, but she had nevertheless imposed on him obligations.
Cicely made no scruple of declaring that she relied on him for
direction, not to be got from a father never very dependable, and now
enfeebled in mind and body.  Joyce now informed him that she had
transferred her allegiance to him from her father, and he had seen so
far into her dark mind as to perceive that what she said she meant, and
what she meant she acted on.

’Here,’ said Joyce, ’you put your hand on my elbow.’

’Why on your elbow?’

’I can feel there what I want to feel.  My hands be as hard as my feet,
and they don’t feel much.  When I wants to know if the porridge be
scalding, or whether I can eat ’n, I don’t put a finger in, I put my
elbow.  Now do as I ax’y.  Put your hand there.’

She made Herring place his hand above the splints on the elbow.  Then
she fixed her eyes on him and asked, ’Wot’s her name?’

’Whose name?’

’Her wi’ the white face.’

’What—Mirelle!’  The name dropped involuntarily from his lips.

’You may take your hand away,’ she said, ’I know what I wanted to know.’

’What did you want to know, Joyce?—the name?’

’Ah!  I wanted to know more nor that; and I’ve a learned all in a
minute.’  She paused, still intently watching him.  Presently she asked,
’Where did you take her to? Where do you live?  Did’y take her to your
own home?’

’No, Joyce, of course I did not.’

’Why of course?  You likes her more than any other.’

’I—I—Joyce! are you daft?’

’I bain’t daft,’ answered the girl.  ’What I’ve a found out I know.  My
elbow told me the truth.  When you had your hand on my arm one day I
said to’y something about Miss Cicely, and your hand were quiet as if I
spoke about a tatie to one wi’ a full belly.  But when I axed about the
Whiteface—I cannot mind her name—then you gave a start, and your hand
shocked.  We’m friends, you and I, and you won’t hide nothing from me.
Where be Whiteface to now?’

’I took her to some relations—cousins of hers.’

’Ah! we’ve folks (kindred) too out to Nymet, but ours be reg’lar
savages.  We have clothes to our backs, and taty ground, and a new take.
I reckon Whiteface’s folk be of other sort.’

’Of course they are.  She is comfortable and well cared for by them.’

’Why didn’t they come and fetch her away when her father broke his neck,
instead of leaving you to take care of her and take her away?’

That was not a question Herring could easily answer.

Joyce did not wait for a reply.  ’No,’ she went on, ’’twere you as cared
for her and did iverything for her, as you’ve a cared for and done
iverything for me.  But me you think on just now and then, and her
you’ll be thinking on night and day, I know that very well.  It be
natural, and I say nort against it.  And how be’t wi’ her I wonder.  Did
her tell you afore her left how good you’d been, and how her’d niver
niver forget what you’d a done for her?’

’No, Joyce.’

’Didn’t her then look you in the face as I do now, and if her didn’t say
it in words, let you see in her eyes that her thought and felt it?’

’No, she did not look at me at all.’

’See there now!’ exclaimed Joyce.  ’I be nort but a poor savage, but I
be better nor her. I know what be right and vitty (fitting)—and her

’Of course you know what is right, with the guidance of wooddoves.’

’It were the raven, not the wooddoo,’ said Joyce, eagerly.  ’The wooddoo
told me wrong. The wooddoo sed "Tak two, Joyce, tak two."  But that’s no
count.  It’ll come right wi’ Whiteface and you in the end.  Her’ll find
them folk of hers not like you, always a thinking and caring for her,
and then her’ll remember you and think on you, just as I do lying here.
Be you a going?’

Herring had risen from his knee as if to leave.

’Stay a bit longer,’ pleaded Joyce.  ’Do’y know what it be after it hev
been raining all day, and cold and wisht, out comes the sun afore he
goes down, and the clouds roll away, and Dartmoor seems to be all
alight, and then for the glory and the beauty and the warmth you forget
all the time o’ cold and darkness and rain?  It be so wi’ me.  Here I
lies and I sees none but vaither, and her grumbles becos I can’t work,
and when vaither bain’t here I sees nobody, and it be wisht, I reckon,
till you comes; and then I be that full o’ gladness and joy I remember
no more the time o’ loneness and pain and trouble.  You’ll bide a bit
longer, won’t’y?’

’I really cannot stay, Joyce, with the best will to pleasure you, I
cannot.’  The demonstrative admiration and affection of the poor
creature confounded and distressed him.

’I’ve more to tell’y,’ Joyce continued. ’I’ve that to tell’y which be
most partikler. Do’y know what vaither did to make mother lie quiet?  He
gived her some’ut.  But her bain’t no more a child to be amused wi’ toys
like them.  May be for a night or two her sat and turned ’em over and
was kept quiet wi’ looking at ’em.  But it bain’t the likes o’ them as
will make mother still and sleep o’ nights, instead of rooting about in
the earth under the table like a mole.’

’What does she want, Joyce?’

’Her wants you to do it.  You mun lift the hearthstone and say glory
rallaluley, and Our Vaither—kinkum kum over her.  Her told me so
herself.  I cannot do it.  I don’t know the words.  I’ve just picked up
a word here and there when the Methodies ha’ been out on the down,
singing and preaching, and hugging and praying.  You can say kinkum kum
over mother and make her lie quiet and sleep.’

Poor dark soul!  Joyce had no knowledge of God, and very dim, perverted
conceptions of right and wrong.  Her only faith was in troubled spirits,
and that was no faith, but a confusion of mind between death and life,
and dreaming visions and sight when waking. Her sole idea of prayer was
a spell to lay the restless dead.  Herring’s heart was softened by
compassion for the girl.  She watched the expression of his face very
intently, somewhat mistrustfully, fearful of a refusal, and, worse than
all, of ridicule.  But though Herring did meditate refusal, no thought
of the ludicrous in her request stirred a muscle of his mouth.  He was
grieved for her, and he was touched by her ignorant simplicity.

’Poor Joyce!’ he said, and knelt down by her again.  ’Poor Joyce!’

Then he tried to soothe her and turn her thoughts into another channel.
She, however, persisted in forcing the task on him of saying sacred
words over a dead and buried woman. When Joyce had made up her mind to
anything she was inflexible.  Herring was being forced into one
position, then into another, for which he was unsuited.  Joyce had made
him her doctor, her nurse, her guardian, and now she made him her
priest.  He was good-natured, and good nature is weakness.

After holding back he at length, out of pity, and to humour the
headstrong girl, did as she required.  She made him raise the
hearthstone, and trig it up with a piece of granite.  He could not lift
the stone out of its place, though Old Grizzly had been able-armed
enough to do this unaided.  Then Herring knelt and gravely said a
prayer—the prayer.

Joyce was satisfied.

’That be right,’ she said.  ’Now mother don’t want her toys no more.
There be a stick wi’ a crook to the end i’ thicky corner.’

’I see there is.’

’Fetch ’n, and scrabble with ’n under the hearthstone.’

’What for?’

’Do as I tell’y.  You’ll see what for fast enough.  Hav’y got the stick?
Now thrust it well in, and poke about till you comes to some’ut hard.

Herring groped as bidden, rather uneasy in his mind at what he was
doing, lest he should rake out the bones of the dead woman.

’Do’y feel nort?’

’Yes; there is something there hard and heavy.’

’Vang ’n in to’y.’

Herring obeyed.  There certainly was something there.  As the crook
struck it, it sounded like a metal box.  After some working with the
stick he managed to get it out. It was a small box of japanned iron,
which had been locked, but had been battered till the lock had given
way.  The lid accordingly was loose.

’Open it,’ said Joyce.  ’Vaither found ’n the night o’ the axidenk.  He
found ’n in one of the boxes that had gone scatt wi’ falling from the
carriage.  He thought there might be some’ut in him, and so he tooked ’n
away and brought ’n here, and wi’ a bit of stone knacked the lock all
abroad.  I see ’n do it. That were after he’d a broke me to pieces, When
I came by my wits I seed old vaither sitting by the fire and working
till he’d a got the lid started, and then he looked in and seed what
were there, and he sed he’d give me some if I’d take ’em.  But they wos
no good to me, and I couldn’t a done nort wi’ ’em with both my arms
broke.  I couldn’t move my fingers, and I were that deadly ill I didn’t
care for nort but to lie quiet and die right on end. So then, after a
bit, vaither said he knowed what he’d do wi’ ’em as they were no good to
he.  He’d give ’n to mother, her’d play wi’ ’em o’ nights and be quiet.
So he heaved up the hearthstone—vaither be a deal stronger than you—and
he shoved the box under, just over where mother’s heart be.  There,
look’y what brave fine things they be.’

Herring had opened the box.  He looked in in speechless amazement.  Then
he raised a tray and looked further, and beneath the tray was more

Presently he found his tongue, drew a heavy breath, and said, ’Good
heavens, Joyce, these are diamonds.  There are thousands of pounds worth
of diamonds here.’

’They be brave shiney stones.’

’They are diamonds.’

’Well, you may take ’em.  They belongs o’ rights to the Whiteface.  You
can take ’em and give ’em to her or keep ’em yourself, just as you

                             *CHAPTER XV.*

                            *EHEU, BUBONES!*

When Balboa, from a peak in Darien, discovered an ocean untroubled by
waves, unstained by the shadow of a cloud, he named it the Pacific.
John Herring’s exploration of life was the reverse of Balboa’s course;
he had left behind him the Pacific Ocean, in which he had hitherto
sailed, and he had sighted the sea of storms.  Balboa had little idea of
the extent of the watery tract he discovered, and Herring had but a
faint suspicion of the nature and fretfulness of the sea on which he was
about to embark.  A few weeks ago the problem of life had seemed to him
a simple addition sum; he was about to discover that it consisted in the
extraction of surds, which when extracted prove dead and dry symbols.
’Vanity of vanities,’ said the Preacher, after he had worked at the sum
all his days; the conclusion of the whole matter is, ’all is vanity.’

With a sense of alarm Herring became aware that Joyce had put into his
hands more destinies than her own.  Mirelle’s future was contained in a
little casket of which the lock was broken, and which was placed at his
unchallenged disposal.  The fortune that had been confided to the
trustee under the will was certain to be engulfed as the ship that
strikes the Goodwins.  Here, however, was the bulk of her property,
providentially saved from the grip of Tramplara, and lodged in honest
hands.  What was he to do with this? Was he justified in retaining it
till Mirelle should need it, and then delivering it to her untouched, or
was he bound to deliver it to him who was constituted legal trustee by
the will of her father?

The conflict stood between moral and legal obligation.  It was a
question whether, if he acted in accordance with legal obligation, he
would not be morally guilty were Mirelle’s entire fortune made away

A week or two ago, had the question been proposed, If you find a guinea,
should you return it immediately to the owner or keep it till you think
the owner needs it?  Herring would have been ready with an answer that
cost him little consideration.  Now he was not sure that the ready
answer was the right answer.  Life is not a simple matter; it is a
veritable problem.  The problem of life is the Pons Asinorum.

He met Cicely at the gate of West Wyke. She was looking distressed, and
she touched his arm.  ’I want a word with you.  Look here.’  She held
out a letter.

’I have ventured to open it.  The letter is addressed to my father, but
as it has the Launceston postmark, and I knew the handwriting to be that
of Mr. Tramplara, I did not show it to my father.  I opened it.  Was I
right?  I feared it might contain something to distress him, and I found
the contents more distasteful than I had anticipated.  I was right, was
I not, to open the letter?’

A week ago, if asked, Is any one justified in opening another person’s
letter?  Herring would have answered in the negative.  But now, all the
cut and dried precepts of morality he had learned began to fail him.
They did for copybook slips, not for rules of life.

’You have something in your hand, Mr. Herring,’ said Miss Battishill,
observing the iron box.  ’Is that yours?’

He hesitated.  Is it justifiable ever to tell a lie?  Is it justifiable
to evade the truth, and so deceive?  He had no doubts on this head a
week ago.  He doubted now, and did evade giving a direct answer.

’The box is broken, and I am going to have the lock mended.’

’But, Mr. Herring, you have just come from the Cobbledicks.’

’Yes,’ he answered, and then hesitated. He was unaccustomed to fence
with the truth. ’When the accident took place, the box was lost somehow,
and Joyce has found and restored it me.’

’I hope you have lost nothing of value from it.’

’I have lost nothing from it,’ he replied. ’But never mind the box now,
Miss Battishill. Tell me what it is that now occasions you trouble.’

’Old Mr. Tramplara has written a peremptory letter to my father, calling
up all the money that he has advanced him on the security of the

’And your father is not in a position to pay?’

’I am sure he is not.  The letter must be answered, and that speedily.
I need your advice.  I dare not let my dear father see the letter; the
result might be fatal in his present state.’

’No,’ answered Herring, ’he must know nothing of the demand.’

’But if we do not meet this call, and meet it we cannot, Mr. Tramplara
will turn us out and sell the estate.’

’Is there no way of avoiding this?  Cannot a portion be sold to clear
the rest of incumbrance?  What amount does your father owe?’

’I do not know.  Will you ascertain that from him, and then consider
with me what must be done?  If we are forced to leave West Wyke, it will
kill papa.’  Then her tears came.

’Miss Battishill,’ said Herring, in great distress—he was unaccustomed
to woman’s tears, and therefore moved by them—’dear Miss Battishill, do
not give way.  We will find some mode of escape.  I will do my utmost
for you; be very sure of that.’  He took her hand and pressed it.  She
returned the pressure, and, looking up into his eyes through her tears,
said, ’You give me confidence, you are so strong and sure.’

’I strong!  I sure!’ exclaimed Herring. At that moment he was feeling
the weakness of his principles and the uncertainty of his course.

’Go in, and talk to my father,’ she said, ’whilst I try to forget my
troubles among my flowers.’  Then with a relapse, ’Oh, Mr. Herring, I do
so love this sunny south garden, and the old house, and the heathy
moors, and Cosdon reigning like a king over all.  It will go nigh, to
break my heart as well as my father’s, if I am forced to leave West

’We must put faith in the future,’ he said.

’I did believe in the future till of late, but now my path lies under
eclipse.’  She paused and sighed.  ’But after all, is it worth while
deferring to tell my father?  He must shortly know the truth.  It is
only a matter of weeks.’  She made a little effort to control her
emotion.  ’You decide whether he is to be told or not.  I am not
competent to form an opinion.  I shrink from agitating papa, lest it
lead to another stroke; if however this must be done——’  She turned
sharply away, and signed to him with her hand to leave her and go

Herring entered the hall.

Mr. Battishill was in his arm-chair.  He was much enfeebled by his
seizure, but though his utterance was not as clear as formerly, his
loquacity was undiminished.

’Mr. Herring,’ he said somewhat peevishly, ’I have been left a long
while alone, and yet not altogether alone, I have had Shakespeare and my
own thoughts to company.  But alas! as Lear says, "My wits begin to
turn—I will be a pattern of all patience, I will say nothing."  Herring,
sit down in that chair and have a talk.  I wish you had known us in
better days, and when my wife was living.  We had more of an
establishment then.  Now there is only a maid-of-all-work, then we had a
cook and housemaid, and a nurse for Cicely.  I do not think we were the
happier for having so large an establishment.  I believe it killed my

’What, sir?’

’The servants killed her.  I have puzzled my brain to know which were
created first, the beasts, or the parasites on their backs; but, of
course it was the beasts, for they could do without the parasites, but
not the parasites without the beasts.  So I believe that the common ruck
of humanity was made to feed on the noble specimens of the kind.  We,
the aristocracy, exist not for ourselves, to enjoy our lives and follow
our wills, but for our servants, to support them and be subject to their
whims.  That which the palmer worm hath left hath the locust eaten, and
that which the locust hath left hath the canker worm eaten, and that
which the canker worm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.  My dear
wife always insisted that this was an Oriental and prophetical manner of
describing the servant nuisance.  That which the housemaid has left the
cook carries off, and what the cook spares the kitchen-maid embezzles,
and what the kitchen-maid leaves the charwoman whips off in her basket
under her shawl.  My poor dear wife fought a long battle to keep the
house up, but in vain.  The aristocracy I explained to her are the pigs
and poultry of mankind, kept and fattened to be eaten.  She succumbed at
last, and when, dear soul, she was dying, almost the last words she said
were, "Where I am going there will be no servants."  In this hope she
made a happy end.’  The old man paused and wiped his eyes. ’When the
first woe was ended, then came the second.’

’What was that?’ asked Herring.

’That was Tramplara, of course.  I was pretty well in Tramplara’s web
before the first woe was overpassed.’

’May I ask the amount of your indebtedness to Mr. Train pleasure?’

’Lord bless you!—you ask me more than I can answer.  I have borrowed so
often, and when I have not paid as I expected, I contracted an
additional loan,—like an owl that I was.  Pace, Bubones!’ the old man
touched his forehead as he looked at the heraldic glass. ’However, if it
be an amusement to you I give you full liberty to overhaul my desk.’

’It would be as well if I were to get your indebtedness into shape,’
said Herring.  ’If I can be of any help to you in this way, command me.’

’I don’t see that you can help me; I am past that.’

’It struck me, sir, that by the sale of a portion of your property you
might be able to wipe off some of the debt.’

’Wipe off the debt! as soon wipe a child’s nose dry.  I said to a little
urchin one day, "Blow your nose, and cease snuffling."  "Please,
Squire," he answered, "it ain’t no good, it won’t bide blowed."  It is
the same with my accounts.  I have tried to wipe off my debts several
times, but the debtor side keeps running.  Look at my books, you will
find the figures show as remarkable a tendency to turn one way as do the
heads of the trees at this elevation.’

’You will then allow me to overhaul them.’

’Certainly, if it will give you pleasure. There is no accounting for
tastes.  There is an old woman in one of my cottages who has a bad leg,
and insists on showing it me.  I say to her, "Betty, keep that for the
doctor, it revolts me."  It is the same with a gentleman’s accounts.
They are his running sore. But he is wiser than Betty, he covers it up.
If you are a doctor of sick ledgers, by all means examine, and I wish
you joy.’

Herring was now staying at West Wyke. He went carefully over the
accounts of Mr. Battishill, and found them to be in utter confusion.
The old man kept receipts sometimes, but not invariably.  He received
his rent when he could get it, and by instalments; his tenants were
always behindhand because punctuality of payment was not insisted on. It
took Herring some time to arrive at a just idea of what the old
gentleman owed, and he was startled at the amount.  He also obtained an
approximate value of the estate.  It was clearly impossible for him to
meet his liabilities.

Herring saw no course open except the disposal of the property, or of
part of it.

The estate was small, it had been reduced, and the land was of inferior
quality.  It was possible that the sale of Upaver alone might suffice to
clear off the mortgages, but then it was doubtful whether Mr. Battishill
and his daughter could live on at West Wyke, farming the barton, when
Upaver was sold.  To farm without capital, and without being able to
superintend the workmen, meant to sink deeper into the bog after having
been extricated from it.  The wisest course for Mr. Battishill would be
to sell the entire estate, and retire to a cottage on what remained of
the purchase-money, after all the liabilities he had contracted had been
discharged.  He was reluctant to propose this, and yet it was the
proposal which would be most advantageous to the old man.

’Well,’ asked Mr. Battishill, a few days later, ’my good friend, what
has come of this pondering over my papers?  You have grown portentously
dull, and left all the talking to me.’

’The case is hopeless,’ said Herring, sadly.

’I knew it was,’ said the old man, with a look and air of
discouragement.  In spite of his words, he had nursed a hope that
Herring would by some feat of ingenuity find a mode of relief, and would
assure him that the situation was not desperate.  ’"I by neglecting
worldly ends, all dedicated to closeness and the bettering of my mind
... by being so retired, in old Tramplara waked an evil nature."  My
situation is not unlike that of Prospero—here I dwell with my Miranda.
Well, well! what will be must be—

    He that has and a little tiny wit,—
      With heigh, ho, the wind and the rain,—
    Must make content with his fortunes fit,
      Though the rain it raineth every day.’

The old man, though discouraged, did not believe that the case was

’Never mind,’ he said, ’the world of West Wyke will hold out my time.
There is but one thing that I ask of Providence, and that I am sure
Providence will not deny me.  I desire nothing but to die here and be
laid with my ancestors.  Do you know what our motto is?  You would never
guess, "Eheu! Eheu!  Eheu!"  I suppose that was given as resembling the
hoot cf an owl, but it was ominous.  Poor Cicely! she will not be able
to carry the ancestral house with her when some Ferdinand comes to carry
her off.  She will take with her nothing but the owls, and he who
marries her will bear those owls on an escutcheon of pretence on his own
coat.  So at last, at last, it will come to this, that the white owls
who have nested here in honour for so many centuries will spread their
wings and seek a perch elsewhere.  Eheu!  Eheu! Eheu, Bubones!’

                             *CHAPTER XVI.*

                        *TRUSTEE NOT EXECUTOR.*

Although John Herring had been devoting his attention as closely as
possible to the affairs of Mr. Battishill, and had found them an
engrossing study from the confusion which pervaded them, he had not been
able to shake off the sense of responsibility incurred by the possession
of Mirelle’s diamonds.  Joyce had constituted him trustee of the fortune
of this maiden.  Mirelle had two trustees now, as her father had
intended, but John was trustee without the knowledge of the other, and
over a fortune of the existence of which that other was happily
ignorant.  Tramplara was trustee by virtue of the testament of Mr.
Strange, John Herring by virtue of the caprice of Joyce.

Herring satisfied his conscience that he was acting rightly in retaining
the jewels. He knew that they could not be safely intrusted to Mr.
Tramplara.  When he turned the matter over in his mind, he thought he
could make out the course of events which had influenced Mr. Strange.
This gentleman had called at Avranches on Mr. Eustace Smith, the
co-trustee, but he had not called on Mr. Trampleasure when he passed
through Launceston.  There must have been a reason for this.  He had
probably heard in Falmouth sufficient as to the character of Tramplara
to determine him to cancel his name from the will, as a person not to be
trusted with the fortune and destiny of his only child. It was clear
from Mr. Eustace Smith’s letter that he had not been consulted when Mr.
Strange saw him at Avranches.  The deceased must, therefore, have
determined, when renewing his acquaintance with him, not to trouble him
with the executorship or guardianship of his child.  Mr. Strange had, no
doubt, intended to draw up a fresh will when he reached Exeter.  As we
know, Herring’s conclusions were correct.  Cruel fate had cut the father
off before he could rectify the error into which he had fallen.  Now a
happy accident had constituted Herring guardian of the major portion of
Mirelle’s property.

John Herring had confidence in himself. It was impossible for him to
commit a dishonourable action.  The diamonds were as safe in his hands
as in the strongest bank cellar.  He believed the trust was given to him
by Providence.  He was a simple-hearted young man, and believed in
Providence.  He recognised in this rescue of the jewels, and their
committal to his custody, an interposition of Heaven in behalf of the
orphan. Whom could Providence have chosen more trustworthy than himself,
and more interested in the welfare of Mirelle?  The more he considered
the situation the more convinced he became that a finger out of heaven
was pointing to him a plain duty, and that he could not shirk that duty
justifiably.  But he had no desire to shirk it.  He was anxious and
interested about Mirelle.  He was certain that Tramplara would risk her
fortune in some rash venture.  He had heard of the man. He now
remembered that his father had lost money by him.  Tramplara would take
the coin intrusted him, put it in a handkerchief over the table before
the eyes of his victim, and, presto! it was gone, and the kerchief
empty. A clink under the table told that the coin had fallen into the
conjuror’s pocket.  It was not possible for John Herring, knowing the
character of Tramplara, and suspecting that the deceased had desired to
cancel his will, it was impossible, morally, for John Herring to
surrender to him the trust now committed to him. Of all men, he, John
Herring, was the most calculated to look after Mirelle’s interests, for
he loved her better than any one else in the world could love her.  John
Herring being, as has been said, very simple, thought that duties rose
to the surface like earthworms to be taken by the crows.  Here was an
obvious duty which had worked up under his eye, and he swooped down on
it, and made it his own immediately.

But if Mirelle was his first care, the Battishills formed his second.
Without any seeking on his part, they had thrown themselves on him, and
he could not without cruelty withdraw his support.  He saw a good and
kind, if somewhat fantastical old man and his sweet helpless daughter,
menaced with the greatest of evils—banishment from their home, to become
outcasts in the world, with no income, or very little, to sustain them;
he struck down by sickness, and she too ignorant of life to know how to
meet it, weighted with the burden of a paralysed father.

What was he to do?

Then a bright idea struck him.  He would try to help Mirelle and Cicely
at once.  To do this he must go to Launceston, and to go to Launceston
he must obtain leave of absence from Joyce.

John Herring was now, for the first time, opening his eyes to the fact
that to be good-natured and ready to oblige all those appealing to him
was to involve himself in many difficulties.  Among swimmers they who
are drowning lay hold of him who maintains himself above water; it is
necessary, though painful, to give each a kick in the face and send him
to the bottom, if the swimmer will reach the shore himself alive.  It is
only the selfish man who can sing as he walks in the face of the robber.
He has nothing to give, what he has is too ingeniously stowed away to be
discoverable.  Life is a Hounslow Heath where footpads beset every road,
and, where they leave a gap, beggars step in.  And these demand and take
from the traveller everything he has, and kick him, when stripped, off
the heath, with a jeer, into the black beyond.

A kind-hearted man such as John Herring does good to others as he
_would_ be done by.  Would is in the optative and ever unfulfilled mood.
It is not the criminal who is stung by remorse; the only crime that
brings self-reproach is generosity to a brother in need. The glow that
succeeds a good deed is the sting of repentance for having done it.

Of all this Herring was ignorant.  Puppies are born blind, but when
thrown into the water that is to drown them they open their eyes.
Herring was beginning life.  He must pay his footing.

If Herring had not been ridiculously simple, he would not have gone to
the Giant’s Table and explained to Joyce that he could not attend to her
arms for a couple of days. Would young Sampson have done this, or
Captain Trecarrel?  They had their eyes open, and allowed none to catch
their ankles as they swam.  Herring took pains to make Joyce understand
that she must be patient, and not by impatience undo the good already
done her.

She was stubborn and despotic.

’Joyce,’ said he, ’I am going to see Mr. Trampleasure.  Do you know

’I know’n,’ she replied.  ’He were here yesterday along with vaither.
Vaither went off with ’n up the Coomb by Rayborough.’

’Mr. Tramplara was here!’

’Yes, he were.  He came down on vaither hard, and sed he were going to
turn us out of our land, and tear down the Table, and send us out
without home or ground of our own.’

’This is strange.  He did not come near West Wyke.’

’I reckon not.  He said as how he were going to turn the Squire and the
young lady out as well.  He said we might give ’em shelter under the
Table for a bit till he knocked that all abroad too.’

’Why did he go to Rayborough?’

’I reckon he were searching after some mine.  But I don’t know.  He
scared vaither pretty smart; but he got vaither at last as meek he would
do anything he were axed. Then Tramplara made ’n come along of he on to
the moors, and I seed mun no more.’

’Joyce, I hope to save West Wyke for Mr. Battishill, and that is why I
am going to Launceston.  If I succeed, then you also will be safe from
disturbance.  Your Table will not then be thrown down.’

’Squire won’t hurt of us—t’ I know by; he never did nobody harm, he.’

’Then, Joyce, you understand, I shall not return till the day after
to-morrow, and you must let the doctor or Miss Battishill attend to your

’I won’t.’

’But you must.  I tell you I cannot be here.’

’You may go.’

’Thank you for giving me my furlough,’ he said with a smile.  ’But, as
you see, when I am absent you will have to be attended by some one

’Neither vaither, nor doctor, nor Miss Cicely shan’t touch me, not by
the blue blazes.  I tell’y you may go, and my arms shall bide as they
be.  They won’t take no hurt, I shan’t do nort to ’em till you comes
back.  There, that’s settled.’

Herring informed Mr. Battishill and Cicely of his meditated expedition
to Launceston to see Mr. Trampleasure.  He told them that he was in
hopes of bringing him to another mind about the mortgages, but he did
not enter into the particulars of his scheme, nor did he tell them what
he had learned from Joyce relative to Mr. Trampleasure’s visit the day
before and exploration of Upaver. Herring conjectured that the old man
had seen the ore brought up from the mine recently opened, and was eager
by foreclosing to secure it for himself, having formed a high opinion of
its value.  Herring went again that evening to Upaver and explored the
workings, taking with him one of the labourers Mr. Battishill had
employed on it.  The man was familiar with mines, and was confident that
the lode was good.  The ’shode’ had led to as beautiful a ’bunch’ as a
man might hope to see in a lifetime.  A fortune was to be made at

To his surprise, Herring learned from the man that though Mr.
Trampleasure had passed the workings, he had not paid them any
attention, but had gone further up the glen.  But then, as the miner
said, with a jerk of the chin, there was nothing lying about which might
lead any one to suspect what was below.  All the samples were buried or
hidden in the gorse brakes.

Herring carried off with him some of the best specimens of pure ore,
and, on his return to West Wyke, showed them to Mr. Battishill, and told
him his opinion of the mine. He said that he was confident, if a respite
could be obtained from Tramplara, and a company be formed to work the
mine, that the royalties on the lead extracted would speedily clear the
property of its burdens.

The old man was elated.  He talked over the prospect, offering many
suggestions, some utterly unpractical, and his hollow cheek flushed with

’Ah!’ said he, ’if Tramplara knows about that lead he’ll not grant a
respite, but be down on me at once if he sees profit to be got by it.

    I’ll have my bond: I will not hear thee speak:
    I’ll have my bond; and therefore speak no more.
    I’ll not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool,
    To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield
    To Christian intercession.’

The old man shook his head.  ’No, Herring, you will not prevail on him
with prayers. "It is the most impenetrable cur that ever kept with men."
No, you must attack his self-interest if you will bend him, and how you
will manage that passes my conception.’

’But suppose I say to Tramplara, Here is the money.’

Cicely looked sharply up from her work.

’Mr. Herring, you made me a promise.’

’My dear,’ said Mr. Battishill, ’you have often let me see that you
disapproved of my speculations, as if I must be blind.  But see! here at
last, in Upaver, I have hit on one that will succeed.’

’You have hit on it, father, for others to make fortunes out of it.  You
have hit on it as West Wyke is slipping from us.’

                            *CHAPTER XVII.*

                         *IN THE SUMMER-HOUSE.*

As John Herring entered the gates of Dolbeare, he saw Mirelle go into
the summer-house.  This summer-house stood at the edge of the terrace
between the garden-gate and the house.

He desired to see her alone, and therefore, before going to the front
door, he turned to the garden lodge and stood in the doorway.

Mirelle saw him and bowed slightly. Herring went in, and up to her.
Then, after a moment’s hesitation, she held out her hand.

He took it, but he might as well have touched an icicle.  No token of
pleasurable recognition appeared in her face.

’You are surprised to see me,’ said Herring, ’I dare say.’

’Not at all,’ she answered.  ’Why should I be?  I know nothing of your
movements. If you had told me you were going to Moscow, and I had seen
you start in that direction, I should be surprised to see you here now;
but as I know neither where you live nor what places you frequent, there
is nothing in your reappearance to justify surprise.’

’I have come to-day from West Wyke.’

’Indeed!  I hope you left all well there.’

’Only fairly so.  You have not heard what happened to poor Joyce.’

’I do not know who poor Joyce is.’

’Joyce is that wild girl who helped you to West Wyke on the evening of
the accident.’

’I remember an uncouth and unmannerly _paysanne_.  Is her name Joyce?  I
did not know it.  If I had heard it, the name escaped my memory.  Joyce!
what is the derivation of the name Joyce?[1]  Joieuse, I presume—a
singularly inappropriate name in this case.’

[1] In the South Tawton Register stands this entry under Baptisms:
’Jocosa, anglicè Joyce, daughter of ——,’ &c. It was formerly a common
name in Devon.

’Very much so, poor child.  That brutal father of hers broke her arms,
and otherwise seriously injured her.’

’Indeed!  These savages have their ways.’

Herring was shocked at her want of feeling.

’You do not seem to feel for her, and yet she helped you, as you may

’Of course I am very sorry.  I am sorry when I hear a mason has fallen
off a scaffold, or a child has tumbled into a well, or a horse has
broken his knees; I am sorry when a donkey is roughly treated.  But
unless I am acquainted with the mason, and the child, and the horse, and
the ass, I do not feel more than a transient pity.  You possibly have
seen sufficient of this wild girl to possess some interest in her; I
know absolutely nothing of her.  How, then, can I feel for her more than
I do when I say I am sorry?’

’May I take a chair?’

’Certainly.  Sit down, and we will talk. I have something I wish
particularly to say to you.  I am sorry that I let you go the other time
without thanking you formally for having rescued me from the broken
carriage, for having seen to the funeral of my poor father, and for
having conveyed me hither to the care of these people here.’

She spoke without any expression in her tone, simply as though repeating
a lesson learned by rote.  When she had spoken, she drew a long breath
like a sigh of relief.  She had discharged a duty.  It was off her mind,
and she was free.

’You see for yourself, Mr. Herring, that the feelings of the heart are
too sacred to be dispersed over the earth, to be scattered like coins
amidst a crowd of beggars.  One meets with some thousands of persons in
the course of existence, and cannot cut one’s heart into little bits and
present each with a portion. We must reserve it for true friends, and
give it them entire.  Those who pass us by, and whom we see but for a
while, are like the figures of a mastic-lantern slide: they make us
laugh, or they interest us for the moment, and then are forgotten.  When
we hear that a slide is broken, we ask, which?  The man driving a
wheelbarrow, or the old woman who desired she were pope, or the cabbage
that becomes a tailor?  When we are informed, we do not weep, we merely
say, It can be replaced.’

’I hope you do not class the Battishills among your magic-lantern

’No, I know them, and they have been kind to me.  I even like Mr.
Battishill.  He has his ideas.’

’And Miss Cicely?’

’She is rustic and good-hearted.  But she does not think.  She has no
knowledge of books.  She could be made passable if sent to school, but
must be recreated to be given ideas.  Besides, I am not fond of the
plump and the _ingénue_.’

’You have not asked after Mr. Battishill. If it be not too great an
effort for your memory, you will recall that he had a stroke before you
left West Wyke.’

’Do not be sarcastic.  I remember that perfectly well.  If you will
trouble your memory, you will recall that I did, on first learning you
came from West Wyke, ask after Mr. and Miss Battishill.  I remember that
he had a paralytic stroke, but I recall as well that he showed good
signs of recovery.’

’I am afraid, Countess, that he stands the chance of another stroke; for
he is menaced with a great evil, and any profound agitation is likely to
bring on a second seizure.’

’I am very sorry to hear it.’

’His affairs are involved to such an extent that it will be necessary
for his property to be sold, and he will have to leave West Wyke.’

’Then he can go and live in France; anywhere must be better than that
dismal old house on a barren moor.  It is best that it should be so.  He
will escape from a dungeon.’

’You do not understand that his heart is bound up with West Wyke, and
that to transplant him from the home of his ancestors will be to kill

’He thinks West Wyke a Paradise only because he has never crossed the
Channel. When he reaches a nook where the sun shines and the flowers
ever bloom, he will thank Heaven for having released him from his prison
and exile in that wretched house and on that howling waste.’

’Countess, you are young, and have no conception of the power that
association has on the old.  You can begin life anywhere, and everywhere
hopes and interests start up. To the old it is not so, they are without
hopes, and their only pleasure is in recollection.  To the aged the
looking back is almost as sweet as the looking forward is to the young.’

’Then let him sit down in an arbour of roses, and dream of the past
there; not in a dingy old parlour with smoked ceiling, and the rain
pattering against the window.’

’I fear that he will be turned destitute into the world, or, if not
destitute, nearly so; and to a broken and sick man that means death.’

’He can hardly be worse off elsewhere than he is now.’

’He will have to go into a new home and accommodate himself to that, at
a time of life and in a condition of health unfitting him for a change.
You are unfeeling, Countess.’

’Pardon me, I am not.  I know Mr. Battishill, and I respect his many
good qualities, but I cannot put myself in his frame of mind.  It seems
to me that, were I he, all thought of being allowed to leave such a
spot, with the world before me, would fill me, if sick and dying, with
new life.  I would start up in my bed and cry out, Take me to France;
there I know I shall be well.’

’As he does not know France, he has no such desire.  And he is too old
to acquire new tastes.  There comes a time when the mind as well as the
body is tired, and all it asks is to be given rest.  New scenes, new
associates, new habits exact too much of the exhausted spirit.  Have you
not seen a feeble flame extinguished by fresh fuel being put round it
with the hope of coaxing it into a blaze?  This is not all; the rupture
of old associations is the rupture of the thousand filaments the tree
root has woven in the soil about it.  Break these, and though the tree
be transplanted from cold clay to richest loam, it will die.  Think of
your own forefather when he lost Cantalejo.  Think how his heart ached,
how he turned to take a last look at the ancient walls, and could see
nothing, for, strong man as he was, his eyes were full of tears.  He
knew that with him his entire posterity was banished for ever.’

’I can understand that,’ said Mirelle, sadly; ’never more able to coin
his own money, nor hang any one on his own gallows.’

’And your ancestor went forth hale and able to meet the world, and
conquer himself a new place in it.’

’Yes,’ said Mirelle, raising her head proudly, ’he was a brave soldier.
He fought, and was killed in the wars.’

’But this poor old man is broken with years and infirmities.’

’It is the will of God.’

’He dies, and his daughter is cast adrift, without means, and ignorant
of the world.’

’Do not speak to me of her.  She is the embodiment of prose—pleasing and
entertaining, but still prose.  The world is prosaic, and she will
always find a hole in it into which she can fit.  It is those with
ideas, the originals and the poets, who are adrift and homeless.  Every
gate is closed to them.’

’Countess, think of that evening when the accident took place, and your
poor father was killed.  You were left on the moor, knowing nothing of
the place where you were, or of the people among whom your lot was to be
cast. What if, by an unlucky chance, I had not been present to assist
you, and the Battishills had not been ready to receive you?  What would
you have done on that moor, alone, without adviser, without home, and
without money? The savages would have fallen upon you—that ruthless man
who has smashed the bones of his own daughter would not have spared

Mirelle shivered.

’You may well shudder; I do not know what would have become of you.  But
a merciful Providence interposed in your behalf, and raised up to you
friends who have cared for you.’

’Yes,’ she said, ’I see that.  I see that now.’

’Cicely Battishill is like to be placed in a very similar position; to
be left homeless and friendless in the world, standing by a father, who,
if not dead, is as bad as dead for all the help he can afford her.  She
cannot become a governess and earn her bread, she has her father to
nurse.  Now, Countess, when you think of your own condition on that
eventful night, and of what might have become of you unless the
Battishills had thrown open their door to you and cherished you, then,
perhaps, you will be able to realise the condition of Miss Battishill,
who, though she may be prosaic, as you say, is a delicate maiden, and
has the nurture of a gentlewoman.’

’Mon Dieu! quo puis-je faire, moi!  You speak to me as though I could
save them.  I can do nothing, with the best desire to help them.  I
cannot invite them to make this their refuge.  This is not my home.  It
is simply a menagerie in which I am allowed a cage among the bears.’

’I think it is your _duty_ to do what you can to assist the

’Show me the way, and I will not shrink from performing any duty.  But
you must see I am unable to help these good people.’

’Not altogether unable, Countess.  Your father has left you several
thousand pounds, which are in the hands of Mr. Trampleasure, in trust.
He must invest them for you.  He is also the man who has a hold on the
estate of the Battishills.  Get him to take your money, or as much of it
as is needed, in payment of the sum owed him by Mr. Battishill. and to
transfer to you his claims on the property.  That is, let him transfer
the mortgage on West Wyke from himself personally to himself as trustee
for you.  Then you will be mistress over the estate of the Battishills,
and if you will not foreclose, I can promise you that the interest shall
be regularly and punctually paid.  I am certain that the investment is
sound.  By this means you will be benefiting the Battishills and
yourself simultaneously.’

’I understand nothing about mortgages, investments, or interest, I leave
that to others.  If this proposal of yours enable me to wipe off an
obligation I owe to those who have been kind to me, I accept it gladly,
and if it be a duty I shall make it a matter of conscience to fulfil

’It is a duty.  At least I think it is. Judge for yourself.  You see
your benefactors the Battishills in distress, and you have it in your
power to rescue them from ruin at no cost to yourself.  It seems to me
that no duty could be put in a plainer form before you.’

’Mr. Trampleasure is in the house.  He will have to be consulted.  We
cannot act without him.  Will you summon him hither, and we will arrange
the matter on the spot. You will not find me one to shrink from the
discharge of a duty.’

John Herring left Mirelle, and did as she desired.  He found Mr.
Trampleasure at home, as she had said.  He was engaged with his son in
the dining-room on some plans, and they had a bottle of spirits and a
jug of hot water on the table at their elbows, though the time was early
in the afternoon.

Old Tramplara greeted Herring with effusion, the young one sulkily.
Herring told the father that the Countess wanted to speak to him in the
summer-house for a few moments, if he would oblige her with his

’See what comes of having a live Countess in the house,’ said the old
man, laughing; ’I have to dance after her.  Now, if she had been plain
missie, she would have come here to see me.’

Then he accompanied Herring to the summer-house.  This house was, in
fact, a room of fair size, furnished with a fireplace and carved
mantelpiece, that contained a quaint old painting on panel.  The windows
were large, and that to the south-east overhung the precipice, and
commanded a magnificent view down the valley of the Tamar and up that of
the Lyd to the range of Dartmoor, which rose as a wall against the
horizon, broken into many rocky peaks, a veritable mountain chain.

Mirelle had a chair and table in this window, and was engaged on the
manufacture of tinsel flowers for the chapel at Trecarrel.

The table was covered with scraps of foil and bits of coloured silks;
and the snippings strewed the floor.

’Well, Serene Highness de Candlestickio!’ exclaimed the old man,
noisily, as he came in, with a burst of laughter; ’what does your
consequentialness desire?  Some wires to stick them gewgaws on?’

Mirelle shrank before the uproarious old man, and spoke in her coldest
and most reserved manner.

’I have sent for you, Mr. Trampleasure, about my money which has been
intrusted to you.  Mr. Herring has been advising me how to dispose of

’Oh, indeed; very good of Mr. Lieutenant Herring.’

’I do not myself understand these matters, and so I have requested Mr.
Herring to explain my wishes to you.  It seems that Mr. Battishill is in
trouble, and owes you money!’

’That is true as gospel,’ said Tramplara; ’he owes me an imperial bushel
of it.  There are some persons who have a liking for borrowing, and much
prefer that to paying. Mr. Battishill is one of these, and I have been
his victim.  And although David does say, "Blessed is he that borroweth
and payeth not again," yet that is one point on which David and Sampson
Trampleasure are at issue.’

’Mr. Battishill is prepared to pay regularly the interest on the loans
he has contracted,’ said Herring.

’But, my dear lieutenant,’ said Tramplara, ’I happen at this moment to
be in immediate want of a very large sum of ready money.  I call on
Battishill to refund what he has borrowed.  He can’t do it, and I sell

’You are very hard.  Are you aware that he has had a seizure, and is

’Can’t help that, lieutenant, I want money. You saw sweet Sampy and me
engaged on some plans when you came into the room. Well, we are in for a
venture, and shall want money to carry it out.’

’What the Countess proposes——’

’Oh, blow your Countesses,’ said young Tramplara, putting his head in,
and then following with his body.  ’There are no Countesses in this
shop.  The lady yonder is Miss Strange, only daughter and heiress to
James Strange, Esquire, of Bahia, Brazil.’

’Shut your trap, Sampy,’ said his father. ’No impertinence here.
Manners before ladies of the tip-top aristocracy, please.  What do you
say, sir, about the proposal of the Countess?’

’I decline to discuss this matter before your son,’ said Herring,
indignantly.  ’It in no way concerns him, and he was not invited to be

’The business is Trampleasure and Son,’ said young Sampson.  ’The firm
bears that name throughout the county.’

’But the firm has nothing to do with the affairs of the Countess Mirelle

’Oh!  I beg pardon,’ said the young man. ’The trustees and guardians of
her ladyship are Trampleasure and Herring—more correctly, Herring and

’I have no further right to interfere,’ said Herring, with difficulty
retaining his composure, ’than as spokesman for the Countess, who has
empowered me to act in her name. Have I your authority for what I say
and do, Countess?’  He turned to Mirelle.

’My full authority,’ she answered.  ’I have requested you to speak my
wishes in this matter to Mr. Trampleasure.  As for his son, I must
request him to efface himself, and not to trouble his head with my

’Go, Sampy,’ said his father.  ’Good angels attend you.’  The young man
withdrew sullenly.  ’Now then, Lieutenant Herring, I am at your

’The Countess wishes that her money, left in your hands as trustee, may
be invested in the mortgages on the West Wyke estate. These mortgages
you hold.  Five thousand pounds are owing to you, and you are in
immediate need of the money.  Take five thousand of her money, and
transfer to her the claims on West Wyke.’

’Oh, ah!  When is she likely to get her interest?  You had to help the
Squire out of one hobble, and he will be dropping into another shortly.’

’I can answer for it that the interest will be paid punctually and in

’I don’t approve of the investment.  I don’t regard it as sound.’

’I wish it,’ said Mirelle.

’My dear pet and pearl of the aristocracy,’ said the old man, ’I am
solely responsible for what is done with the money.  I must look after
your interest in the matter.  Why, if I yielded to your request, you
would get only four and a half for your money, and I can assure you of

’She would prefer the smaller sum on this security than the larger on
one more risky.’

’Risky, risky! what!—Ophir a risk! My dear Herring, I know better than
you where security lies.  The young lady’s money will be invested in a
gold mine—in the gold of Ophir!  I said seven per cent., but I am
sanguine of a rise to ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five.  What do you
think of that, eh?’

’Mr. Trampleasure,’ said Mirelle, ’if I have any voice in this matter——’

’You have none—none whatever.’

’And if I particularly entreat you not to run risks with my money in
gold or other mines, but to dispose of it for the relief of the

’Then I shall turn a deaf ear to you.  I am responsible to no one.  Your
father has left me supreme judge in the matter, and I shall act as my
own conscience and your interest direct.’

’Surely, Mr. Trampleasure——’

’Surely you cry to a stone wall.  I shall discharge the obligation your
father laid on me with strict fidelity.  I am a man of wide experience,
and I venture to think that Mr. Herring’s knowledge of money investments
is recent and partial.  I object to his interference, and, but for the
respect I owe to the memory of his father, Jago Herring, I should resent

’I have no right, I admit,’ said Herring, ’other than that I derive from
an interest in the welfare of both the Countess and the Battishills, and
from the request she has made me to speak in her name and make a
proposal which will benefit both parties.’

’I refuse what is offered,’ said Tramplara, his natural insolence
breaking through the varnish of politeness he had assumed.  ’I refuse to
be dictated to; and I shall act as I choose with both missie’s money and
with that owl of a Squire.’

’One moment,’ said Herring, whose cheek was flushed with anger.  ’I ask
one question of the Countess.  Is it still your wish that the
Battishills be saved from ruin?’

’Certainly I wish it.’

’Allow me to ask further, supposing the means of relieving them were at
your disposal, would you act in the way I have suggested? That is,
supposing you had money independent of Mr. Trampleasure, would you
invest it in the West Wyke mortgages?’

’I would do so.’

’You are quite sure of your own mind?’

’I do not speak without meaning what I say.’

’Then, Mr. Trampleasure, you shall not lay a finger on the estate.  It
is safe.  The money shall be forthcoming on the day you name to receive

’Are you going to find it?’

’That in no way concerns you.’

’If you are, you are softer than I supposed.’

’The money will be ready for you.’

Mirelle rose, and, stepping up to Herring, held out her hand.  There was
more feeling in her voice and warmth in her hand than before.

’I thank you, Mr. Herring.  I am not ungrateful.’

’What for?’ asked Tramplara, rudely.

’For crossing your plans,’ she said, and turned to look out of the
window at the view.

                            *CHAPTER XVIII.*

                           *SALTING A MINE.*

Tramplara paid several visits to Upaver without calling at West Wyke,
sometimes alone and sometimes along with his son.  He did more than
visit Upaver; he got some men to break ground there and begin a mine,
without asking permission of the landlord, Mr. Battishill, or letting
him know what he was about.  The farmer who rented Upaver held his

One day, however, old Tramplara came to West Wyke House, along with a
person whose looks betrayed what he was—a dissenting minister; in fact,
the Reverend Israel Flamank.

Mr. Battishill was by no means pleased to receive Tramplara.  A mouse is
not elated at the sight of the cat.

Nothing, however, could be more friendly than the manner of Tramplara.
He was gushing and jovial.  He presented his friend Mr. Flamank, under
whom, he said, to his soul’s welfare he had sat, one whom he should
always regard as, under Providence, the man who had brought him to
realise the great value of eternity and the infinite nothingness of
to-day.  Then followed a great deal of this sort of unctuous flattery,
’laid on with a trowel’ and sticking wherever applied. Mr. Battishill
looked on with amused surprise to see how readily Mr. Flamank accepted
the splashes, coarse and thick as they were.

Then Tramplara addressed himself directly to the Squire.

’You must allow me, Battishill, to shake your hand once more; you must
indeed.  My friend and shepherd, Flamank, has made a discovery—a
discovery of such moment that I doubt not it will astonish you.  That it
will please you, I do not doubt either.  Flamank is a divine who has
made prophecy his special study, and his knowledge of Bible history and
geography is simply surprising.  By the way, before I tell you what his
find is, will you let me know whether you really propose to pay me back
in full what I advanced some years ago?’

’I shall not be able to do so,’ answered Mr. Battishill, ’but a friend
has offered to find the money, and to relieve you of the mortgages.’

’You mean young Herring.’

Mr. Battishill nodded.

’But where the devil’—Mr. Flamank started and looked remonstratingly at
Tramplara—’where in Deuteronomy—I said Deuteronomy,—he can have come
upon the money, I can’t think.  I did know something about old Jago
Herring, his father, and I thought he had been a plate licked pretty
clean.  I did not suppose there was much fat left sticking.  But I dare
say the old woman had money.’

’What old woman?’

’Mrs. Jago Herring, the lieutenant’s mother.  And as there was no
daughter, her money naturally came to him.  It is possible that is how
he must have come by it.  Where is he now?’

’In London, I believe.  He left a week or two ago.’

’I may take it for granted, I suppose, that the money will be
forthcoming?’ asked Mr. Trampleasure.

’I do not doubt it.  Mr. Herring is a man of his word,’ answered the old

’I congratulate you, Battishill.’  Mr. Battishill winced each time he
was addressed with familiarity.  ’I congratulate you.  It would have
gone hard with me to sell you up. I would not have done it unless forced
to do so.  What drove me to threaten was need of money, and the occasion
of needing it I leave to my reverend friend here to unfold. Whether I am
wise in trusting him, I cannot say.  But what is a pastor for but to
lead? But I must open the case, he is too modest to tell the tale, as it
redounds to his honour and is a brilliant example of sagacity.  I must
tell you, Battishill, that I have been privileged to attend his Bible
lectures, and he has deeply impressed me with the greatness and
commercial enterprise of the Philistines.’

’Phoenicians, of course,’ said Flamank.

’Phoenicians, of course—you see, Squire, I’m not well up in the story.
I follow my guide, but all this lore is puzzling to me. Well, you know
the Phoenicians came to Cornwall to fetch tin and gold, and that
Solomon’s servants came along with the servants of Hiram for the
purpose, and they brought the tin and the gold to Jerusalem for the

’Mr. Battishill must have heard of the Phoenicians,’ said Mr. Flamank,
now on his particular ground, and able to trot.  ’From them we derive
clotted cream.  It is a singular and significant fact that clotted cream
is made nowhere in the world except in Devon, Cornwall, and Phoenicia.
That is a well-established fact, and it speaks volumes in favour of an
early intercourse between the Cassiterides and the natives of Tyre and
Sidon. The Cassiterides have been for some time identified in the minds
of antiquaries with Devon and Cornwall.  The only difficulty in the way
is this.  The Cassiterides are described by the ancient geographers as
islands. But the difficulty vanishes when closely considered.  The
Phoenicians ascended Brown Willy and Cosdon, and from these heights saw
the sea on both sides, and, not supposing they were in an isthmus, they
hastily and incorrectly concluded they were in an island. But the fact
of clotted cream being found only in Phoenicia and the West of England
is, to my mind, absolutely conclusive.  A point not considered by
antiquaries has arrested my attention.  The point is, that the Jews came
with the Phoenicians, and that they actually formed permanent
settlements in our West Country.’

’Jews, Jews!’ put in Tramplara: ’they would go after tin anywhere.’

’Look at Marazion,’ continued Mr. Flamank; ’the Bitter Waters of Zion.
The place bears the stamp of its origin in its name. There is Port
Isaac, also, no doubt named after the patriarch, and Jacobstow, and,
touching memorial, Davidstow, so called after the sweet psalmist by the
servants of his son Solomon.  There is a hamlet of Herodsfoot, and a
village of Issey, that is, Isaiah, and St. Sampson, after the strongest
of men.  Still more remarkable is the fact of the Israelitish colonists
founding a parish which they called Temple, because they were at the
time engaged on building that wondrous structure in Jerusalem.  Redruth
derives its name from the ancestress of David, and we still speak of
sending persons to Jericho, which is a farm not far distant from
Launceston.  A careful study of the Scriptures led me some time ago to
this conclusion, that what the profane writers call the Cassiterides
are, in the sacred page, called Ophir.’

’Ophir—"over the sea and far away!" You recall the text, Squire,’
interjected Tramplara.

’Our friend’s familiarity with the Scriptures is late, and not as
accurate as might be desired,’ apologised Mr. Flamank, with a look of
pity cast at Tramplara.  ’Suffice it that, led by a delicate chain of
evidence as clear and unmistakable as that of clotted cream, I was led
to seek Ophir in these western counties.  You will recall that the
inspired penman lays down the situation of Ophir with great nicety.  It
lies between Mesha and Sephar.  Now Mesha is undeniably Meshaw in North
Devon, and Sephar is Sheepstor in South Devon.  Draw a line between
Meshaw and Sheepstor, and it passes over Cosdon.’

’Why, bless my heart,’ exclaimed Mr. Battishill, ’you are not going to
find Ophir here!’

’We have found it,’ said the dissenting minister, gleefully.  ’The
identification is complete.  Do you happen to see my "Western

’Cornucophir, what is that?’

’My paper—a monthly originally entitled the Cornucopia, because of the
abundance of good things it contained.  When this surprising discovery
dawned on me, I changed the name to Cornucophir—Cornu, for Cornubia,
Cornwall, and Ophir, for the Land of Gold.  The combination is happy.’

’But you are looking for Ophir in Devon, not in Cornwall.’

’Devon was included in Cornwall till the time of Athelstan, who drove
the Britons back over the Tamar, and restricted them to Cornwall.
Tamar’—Mr. Flamank paused and rubbed his hands—’there again, the river
called after the daughter of David and twin sister of Absalom.  Having
arrived at this remarkable discovery by an exhaustive process and
irrefragable evidence, in which every step is capable of being
demonstrated with mathematical certainty to Christian believers, I
begged Mr. Trampleasure, who has wide experience in mines——’

’Polpluggan,’ groaned Mr. Battishill.

’As in Polpluggan, as you rightly observe, to examine the line between
Meshaw and that mountain in the east, Sheepstor.  Mr. Trampleasure is
not as sanguine in this matter as I am.  He is hard to be convinced even
now; I am not sure that his faith is firm.  Whilst we were discussing
the nature of the land between Meshaw and Sheepstor—he resolutely
refused to explore the red sandstone and clay land, maintaining that
gold is never found except in the proximity of granite—he told me of a
farm of yours called Ophir.’

’Ophir!’ exclaimed the old gentleman; ’I have no such farm.’

’Excuse me,’ said Mr. Flamank: ’you have, and I have been over it
myself, exploring the ground for gold.’

’I believe you call the place Upaver,’ said Tramplara, with a twinkle in
his eye, which watched the Squire intently.

’Upaver!  You have not been hunting up my silver lead mine, have you?’

’Silver lead, no!’ answered the pastor; ’we have been hunting for gold.’

’But this is stark nonsense,’ exclaimed Mr. Battishill; ’the place never
was called Ophir.  It is, and always has been, Upaver.’

’Upaver and Ophir are all the same, just as Sheepstor is the same as
Sephar.  I asked the farmer the name of the place, and without
hesitation he said that he minded in old times it was called Ophir, but
that the maps spell it with an _U_.’

’He has not been fifteen years on the farm, and I have been here

’He has heard from the oldest inhabitant.’

’I am the oldest inhabitant,’ protested Mr. Battishill.  ’I can show
you, moreover, leases of a hundred and two hundred years ago, in which
it is called Upaver.’

’The leases were drawn up by lawyers ignorant of the pronunciation of
the name. What the farmer told me was confirmed by another man, an old
wild-looking creature, almost a savage.  He also said the place wras
called Ophir, and he clenched his statement with a dreadful imprecation
on all those who called it otherwise.  What is more, he showed me a
silver coin he had found, and I bought it of him for five shillings.  If
you will examine it, you will see Hebrew characters on it.  I have seen
this coin figured in Commentaries on the Bible; on the obverse a vase,
the pot of manna, I presume, on the reverse a flower, Aaron’s blooming
rod.  It is a shekel. Now I ask you, how came a shekel to be found at
Ophir unless the Israelites had been there to drop it?’

Mr. Battishill took the coin, and turned it over in his hand.  He was

’That man you describe is old Grizzly Cobbledick, who lives under the
Giant’s Table.’

’I have seen the Giant’s Table.  It is an Israelitish monument, a
Gilgal.  There are many such in Cornwall, as well as upright stones—the
same that Jacob set up and anointed with oil.’

’There are plenty of these upright stones on Dartmoor,’ said Mr.
Battishill.  ’On the side of Belstone Tor is a circle called the Nine
Maidens.  The story goes that they were damsels so fond of dancing that
they would not desist on the Sunday, and in consequence were turned to
stone.  And it is said that even now on Sunday at noon the stones come
to life and dance thrice round in a circle.’

’I must make a note of this for my article in the "Western Cornucophir."
I pray you to observe the continuance of Sabbatical ideas, an evidence
of Jewish teaching; and of the resistance to it on Belston Tor, a
mountain dedicated to Bel or Baal, the Sun God of the Phoenicians.’

’But you are holding back from Mr. Battishill the most important
discovery of all,’ said Tramplara, who saw that the old gentleman was
not much impressed by the biblical and antiquarian theories of his

’At my request, and against his own convictions,’ continued Mr. Flamank,
’my good friend Trampleasure searched Ophir for gold.  A more qualified
person could not have been found, for he is thoroughly conversant with
the metals and their ores.  He brought me one day some sand, granite
washings, with grains in it that certainly looked like gold. We tested
them with nitric acid, and, sure enough, they proved to be gold.  I had
no rest in my mind till I had persuaded Mr. Trampleasure to accompany me
to Ophir, and to assist me in the examination of the place. He conducted
me to the spot where he had found the gravel, and there we searched and
I found this.’

He held out some shining yellow cubes.

’That is mundic,’ said Mr. Battishill; ’it looks like gold, but is

’So Mr. Trampleasure said.  He laughed at me for my mundic find, but I
could hardly be convinced that it was not gold.  However, later, I found
these grains.  Here they are in my kerchief, with the quartz and mica as
I took them up.  I did not find much, but still, enough to show that the
metal is present.’

He spread out his handkerchief on the table.  In the midst of the coarse
white gravel were certain yellow granules that looked like gold.

’You found this in Upaver valley?’ asked Mr. Battishill, in great

’Yes, I was more successful than Trampleasure. But then I worked in
faith, and he was dubious, so I dare say looked with less eagerness.’

’This is very extraordinary,’ said the old gentleman.  ’I never
suspected the existence of gold on my property.’

’Why not?’ asked Trampleasure.  ’Gold is always found in connection with

’That is true; but none has been found hitherto in Devon.’

’And yet the whole valley has been streamed by miners in olden times.
Their mounds of refuse are traceable all the way to the source of the
stream.  No gold has been sought because none was expected to be found.
The Bible has led me, by a course of inductive evidence, to the
identical spot whence came the gold that overlaid the temple, and that
made the shields with which Solomon adorned the walls of his palace.’

’Whence that gold was got, more gold must be obtainable,’ put in
Tramplara; ’especially with our modern appliances.’

’It is most amazing,’ said Mr. Battishill. ’Bless me!  I wish I were
well enough to get out; but I am stricken, and can only creep about with
the aid of a stick.  I should like myself to examine the place where you
say you found the gold.’

’Surely you cannot doubt my word,’ said Mr. Flamank.  ’I can give you
the best possible proof of my sincerity.  I am ready to embark my little
savings to the last penny in the mines of Ophir, if you will consent to
their being worked.’

’I have no objection whatever, so long as I am not asked to risk any
money in them myself.’

’Look you here, Squire,’ said Tramplara; ’let us strike whilst the iron
is hot.  I am as anxious as the Reverend Flamank about Ophir.  You can
lose nothing, and may make a pot of money.  I have brought with me a
lease; read it.  I will pay you a yearly rental of a hundred pounds, and
you shall have the usual royalties on the gold raised, Then I will
undertake to form a company to work the mines of Ophir.  Not one penny
can you lose by it.  If you choose to take shares you may run some risk,
not otherwise. If the mine proves a success, your fortune will be made,
and so will mine, and those other lucky devils——’

’Lucky what?’ inquired the startled pastor.

’Lucky devotees, I said.  I said devotees distinctly.  Those lucky
devotees who took shares in Ophir.  "Out of the hills ye shall dig
brass," said the great lawgiver, and his prophecy will be fulfilled, for
brass in colloquial English means money.’

Tramplara took a lease out of his pocket and opened it before Mr.

’Read it—nothing can be fairer.’

’Father,’ said Cicely, who had come in, ’please do nothing till Mr.
Herring returns. Take his advice before signing any document.’

’Nonsense, my dear; I can lose nothing.  I shall not take a share, and I
may gain thousands of pounds.’

’If you will work the mine yourself, do so,’ said Tramplara: ’if not,
let us work it. The religious public is already screwed up to a pitch of
screaming excitement.  The "Western Cornucopia"——’

’"Cornucophir," corrected the pastor. ’Besides, I object to the term
screaming excitement.’

’It is allegorical and Oriental—Phoenician, in fact,’ explained
Tramplara.  ’The "Cornucophir" has been leading them on week by week,
expecting the discovery of Ophir. Now all is ready for the announcement
that it has been found, and with that announcement we must publish the
prospectus of the Ophir Gold Mining Company.  If you do not accept my
terms, all I can say is, the place will be invaded by religious
gold-diggers, who will turn everything topsy-turvy and carry off every
particle of gold they find without giving you any share in their spoil.’

’I will sign the lease; it is only for a year,’ said Mr. Battishill,
eagerly; ’but I can take no shares, I have not the money.’

’I will take as many as I can,’ said the minister.  ’Ophir must

’Now then!’ shouted Tramplara, waving the lease over his head.  ’Now for
the run of gold.  Blow the trumpet in Zion; call the solemn assembly of
sharetakers together.  I shall be ready for them with my crushing
machines.  Hoorah for the gold of Ophir, and the fortunes that will be
made out of it!’

                             *CHAPTER XIX.*

                       *TWO STRINGS TO ONE BOW.*

Captain Trecarrel had the good luck to find Mirelle alone in the garden
house, engaged on her flowers.  She had not been taught to do useful
work.  She cut out lace patterns in paper, and made imitation flowers.
She could play and sing, but there was no piano in the garden house, and
she spent most of her time there, so as to be away from the rooms
frequented by Trampleasure senior and junior.

Captain Trecarrel was playing his cards very carefully.  He did not
intend to be off altogether with the old love till he was quite sure
that it was to his pecuniary advantage to be on with the new.  He was
curious to know in what Mirelle’s money had been invested. This was not
easy for him to find out.  He could not inquire of old Tramplara.

After turning the matter over in his head, the Captain resolved on
trying to ascertain what he desired to know through Mirelle herself, who
was too simple to suspect his purpose.

He took a seat by her in the window. She smiled at him, and made room
beside her.

’I have been thinking a great deal about you, Mirelle,’ said he.  He had
slipped into calling her by her Christian name, and she did not resent
it.  ’And the more I think of you, the more I pity you.  Your poor dear
father made a sore mistake in confiding you to the care of these

’They were his relations,’ she said.

’True; but then you are so utterly out of place among them.  You are
unable to sympathise with them——’


’Fortunately, indeed, or you would not be charming.  A grievous error
has been committed, I may even say that a great wrong has been done you,
unintentionally, and the consequence is that you suffer.  I see it in
your face.’

’Captain Trecarrel,’ said Mirelle, ’I once thought to myself, suppose
Heaven were to rob me of all means, and I were obliged to be a servant
maid in the kitchen, then I thought how utterly unable I should be to
live in such a place, not because it was a kitchen, but because of those
I should have to associate with.  I and they would have no interests, no
pursuits, no ambitions, hardly a thought in common.  To all intents I
might as well live in a stable with horses, or in a fowlhouse surrounded
by cackling pullets.  I should not mind in the least shelling peas, for
I could think my own thoughts whilst so engaged; but to be encompassed
with others who think no thoughts, who have no ideas worth uttering, who
live as to their outsides, and have no inner life, that would be
unendurable.  I find myself now in such a situation.  The Trampleasures
and I do not see the same sights nor hear the same sounds. We have not
even the sense of smell in common, for Mr. Tramplara and young Sampson
like to sniff brandy and puff bad tobacco, and I am convinced that
Orange and her mother do not dislike these, to me, intolerable odours.
In the garden is a sweet rose and a bed of mignonette.  I have not once
seen a Trampleasure apply his nose to a flower.  We have the same
organic structure, and are classed together in natural history as
belonging to the same genus, but there the similarity ends.  The
likeness is superficial, the dissimilarity is radical.  The likeness is
physical, the dissimilarity psychical.  The Trampleasures are animals
made in the likeness of man.  I am human, made in the likeness of God.
I can see what is beautiful in nature and art.  I can feel music in my
soul, I have aspirations beyond making money and getting married.  I
have interests beyond the claque of Launceston gossip.  But these
Trampleasures have no sense of beauty, no poetical instinct, no
spiritual aspirations.  Orange is the best of them, but in her I only
think I perceive a soul, I am not sure that it exists. God took some of
the beasts he had made and bade them stand up on their hind legs, that
they might look at heaven instead of contemplating earth.  But their
souls did not stand up also.  The result was the ape.  There are men,
likewise, not superior.  They walk on two feet, but their souls run on
all fours.’

’Poor Mirelle!’ said Trecarrel, looking tenderly at her out of the
Trecarrel blue eyes. ’Yours is a cruel fate.’

’Yes, it is cruel, and, but for this summer-house where I can be alone,
would be insupportable. Life to these Trampleasures, and people cast in
their mould, is a harpsichord on which they drone a strain void of
invention, freshness, and thought.  When you have heard their
performance—it is the song of life—you are aware that you have listened
to a succession of notes unworthy of being termed a melody, in chords
undeserving of being designated harmony.  When one with higher thoughts
sits down to the same instrument and plays a piece like a sonata of
Beethoven, they yawn and say, "Let us have something out of the Beggars’

Little did Mirelle guess how mean and commonplace was the barrel-organ
tune that Captain Trecarrel cared to play on his harpsichord of life.
Because he was a gentleman by birth, and a Catholic in faith, she
supposed that he stood, like Saul, a head and shoulders higher than the
vulgar beings that surrounded him and her.  We shall see, in the sequel,
how egregiously Mirelle was mistaken.

’Is there no escape for you?’ asked the Captain.

’I see none.  I should like to return to Paris, to the convent where I
was reared, but Mr. Trampleasure will not hear of it.  I should be quite
content to be a nun.’

’A nun!’ exclaimed Trecarrel.  ’Oh no, no! dear Mirelle, that must not
be.  With your gifts of mind and soul and person, you are suited to live
and shine in the world.’

’In what world?  This mean, dull English world?’

’Your place is here.  Your heart has not yet spoken.  You are still
young.  Some day you will make a good man happy, and you will find your
proper sphere of usefulness, with a congenial spirit at your side, not
in shelling peas, but in spreading enlightenment among the dark and
erring souls around you.’  His voice shook.  He took her hand, and he
felt it tremble in his.

’No, Mirelle, you were not born to wither in a convent unloved and
unloving.  Excuse me if I give you my opinion with great plainness.  You
are here without a guide.  These Tramplaras cannot advise you, because
they cannot understand your position.  Trust me as a brother.  Let us
regard each other in the affectionate and familiar light of brother and
sister—that is our relationship in the faith.  Allow me to counsel you.
My heart aches when I think of your loneliness.  I place myself at your
disposal: trust me, and suffer me to be your adviser.’  He raised her
hand to his lips, and kissed it fervently. The little hand shrank back,
and when he looked up he saw alarm in her dark eyes.

’A brotherly kiss,’ he said, reassuringly, ’the seal of our bond,
nothing more.  Shall it be so?’

’The seal will not need renewal,’ she answered.

He saw that her eyes were filling.  He knew that she liked him; he was
doing his best to make her love him.  It would be easy for him to
advance from brotherly to lover-like affection, and it was quite
possible to remain stationary on fraternal regard.  This he thought to
himself, and he said in his own soul, ’Bravo, Trecarrel! you have not
compromised yourself by a word.’

’And now, dear sister Mirelle,’ he said, with his sweetest smile, ’the
thing I desire to know is, What has become of your father’s money?’

She was surprised.  He saw it; but he went on quietly, ’You see in what
a brotherly and practical spirit I approach your affairs. I want to know
exactly how you stand, for—between four eyes be it spoken—I am not
satisfied that a certain whitehaired person who shall be nameless is the
most prudent man to be intrusted with money.  He sank a large sum in
Patagonians which might just as well have been sunk in Cranmere pool. If
he made a fool of himself with his own money, he may play the fool also
with yours.  For how long is he your trustee?’

’For five years.  I am eighteen, and I do not come of age till I am

’Unless you marry.’  Trecarrel sighed, and looked hard at the distant
peaks of Dartmoor.

’I do not think there is anything about my marriage in the will, which I
have read, and I know the contents.’

’Oh!’ said the Captain, and his mouth went down at the corners.  ’You do
not come into possession at marriage.’

’I believe not—not till I am three-and-twenty.’

The Captain released the tips of Mirelle’s fingers which he had seized
when he put the question.

’Then Tramplara has the entire and uncontrolled disposal of the money
for five years, and if you were to marry now you would still have to
wait five years till you got it—if you got it, in the end, at all.’

’I suppose so.’

’Do you happen to know what the old fellow has invested your money in?
I ask as a friend, because I wish to protect your interests, and to
advise you what you should do.’

’I have already had an adviser here—Mr. Herring: he was anxious about
the money.’

’He was, was he?’  Captain Trecarrel drew nearer, with revived interest,
and again attempted to possess himself of the hand, but failed.

’Yes, he appeared very anxious.’

’On what grounds?  What possible right had he to inquire about it?’

’He expressed friendly regard for me.’

’A sort of brotherly interest?’ inquired the Captain.

’No,’ answered Mirelle, curtly, and drew herself up.  The Captain looked
hard at her.

’Have you given him any encouragement? Have you allowed him any right to

Mirelle’s cheek coloured, and a haughty flash came into her eye.

’Captain Trecarrel, I do not comprehend you.’

’My dear Mirelle,’ he said in a gentle, soothing tone, ’do not
misunderstand me. What I mean is harmless enough not to offend you.  Did
you ask his advice, and in your first loneliness give him such occasion
as to suppose that he was necessary, that as a pert and pushing
cock-sparrow he has hopped in where not wanted, since you have come
under the protection of others?’

’No,’ answered Mirelle, ’I have always kept him at a distance.  When he
has volunteered help it has been declined.  He came here about the money
not for my sake only, but for the sake of some friends whom he wanted to
assist out of a difficulty.’

’Oh! he wanted to help friends to your money!  How disinterested and how

’He wished to have my money invested in mortgages on the estate of West

’What did Mr. Trampleasure say to that?’

’He absolutely refused.  He said he had a better investment in view, one
that would render double.’

’What was that?—not Patagonia?’

’No; Ophir.’

’What!  The gold mines of Ophir?’

’Yes, my money is to be put into that.’

Captain Trecarrel vented a low whistle, and stood up quickly.  ’Dear
Countess, always command my services—as a friend,’ he said. ’Excuse my
flight, I must have a word with Tramplara at once.’

He hurried from the summer-house, and entered the front door of
Dolbeare.  He was so often there that he no longer went through the
formality of ringing.  It was Liberty Hall, as Tramplara assured all his

He tapped at the dining-room door and went in.

There he found Mr. Tramplara smoking and working at accounts.  Orange
sat near the window; she had been speaking with her father, and had been
crying.  Both father and daughter rose hastily as the Captain came in,
and Trecarrel had sufficient penetration to see that he had been their

’Halloo, Captain!’ exclaimed the old man, turning almost purple.  ’Talk
of the—hum, and he is sure to appear, as the psalmist says. The very man
I wanted to see.  How are you?’

Orange slipped out of the room.

’Sit down, Captain, and let us have a talk.  Fact is, I want
particularly to have a bone picked with you.  There is Orange, poor
girl, wasting to a shadow.  You are not dealing fairly by her; you are
engaged, and yet you won’t come to the scratch.  She says you are
tateytating with the other party on the trotters, as Mirelle calls the
pavement, and give Orange the gutter to walk in.  That won’t do.’

’You entirely mistake me,’ said Trecarrel, his blue eye becoming cold;
he drew himself up, and began to point his moustache, whilst he looked
Trampleasure over contemptuously. ’Do you dare to insinuate that I—a
gentleman, a Trecarrel—am behaving otherwise than honourably?  I love
your daughter as much as I loved her at first; but you and I are men of
the world, and we both know that love and onions are poor commodities on
which to keep house.  You are well aware what my circumstances are, for
I have concealed nothing from you; and you must therefore know that I
cannot, as a gentleman and a man of honour, invite a lady to share my
future with me unless she be prepared to provide pepper and salt with
which to season the onions.’

’I know that.  Orange is not penniless.’

’No, but Patagonian bonds are not flourishing, Mr. Trampleasure.’

’Who said that Orange would bring nothing else with her?’

’You offered me five thousand pounds with her in securities which are

’I offered you those bonds before I knew they would depreciate so
greatly.  They may recover any day.’

’I incline to wait for that day before setting up house with Miss

’Nonsense, Trecarrel.  If you won’t take these bonds, you shall have
some sounder stuff.  I am a man of my word.  I said I would give Orange
five thousand pounds, and five thousand she shall have, the day she is

’In bonds?’

’In shares, if you like, in one of the most promising of all ventures.’

’In Ophir—no, thank you.’

’You are a fool to refuse them.  Why, man! have you read the
"Cornucopia"?  Have you seen the prospectus of the company?’

’Mr. Trampleasure, I will have no paper at all.  Give me with Orange the
sum of five thousand down, and insure me five thousand more when you are
dead, and I will ask her to name the day.’

’You are mercenary.’

’I am practical.  You know that Trecarrel will support a bachelor—that
is, keep him in mutton chops and fried potatoes, and a new coat twice a
year.  I will give you a sample of my penury.  Whenever I have
apple-tart for dinner, I think twice before I indulge myself with
clotted cream over it. My circumstances will not allow me to support a
wife and family.  I am bound to look ahead, and to consider my wife’s
interest as well as my own.  I cannot offer her the humiliations of

’Well, well,’ said Tramplara, ’you shall have the money down.’

’Your word?’

Tramplara held out his hand, ’I give it you.’

’I should prefer it in black and white,’ said the Captain.

’You shall have it in yellow and white,’ said the old man.  ’And now in
return you shall grant me a favour—your name as a director of the Ophir
Gold Mining Company.’

’My name is Trecarrel,’ answered the Captain, freezingly.

’I know that well enough—that is why I want it.’

’And that is precisely why you shall not have it.’

’You refuse me this favour?’

’Emphatically.  I do not believe in Ophir.’

The old man drummed with his fingers on the table, and raised his eyes
furtively to the Captain, met his cold, supercilious stare, and dropped
them again.

’Well! go into the drawing-room, and patch up the rent with Orange.’

Then, when the Captain was gone, Tramplara laughed heartily.  ’By
Grogs!’ he said, ’who would have thought the fellow so keen? He don’t
look it.’

The Captain found Orange standing in the drawing-room leaning against
the mantel-piece, tearing a white lily that she had plucked out of a
vase into many pieces.  Her fingers were stained with the pollen.  Her
cheeks were flushed, and an angry glitter was in her eyes, twinkling
through tears of mortified pride.

Trecarrel had not much difficulty in changing the expression of that
handsome face, and before he left the reconciliation was complete,
sealed with a kiss, and the day was named.

                             *CHAPTER XX.*

                            *GRINDING GOLD.*

In a remarkably short space of time two ’leats,’ that is, channels of
water, had been brought from Rayborough Pool along the side of the moor
to the site of the gold mine. Buildings had been erected, wooden sheds
run up and tarred, and a crushing machine was in operation.  One stream
of water was conducted over a wheel, and the wheel set in motion half a
dozen hammers that pounded the granite; then the granite thus pounded
was passed under an iron roller which effectually reduced it to powder.
This powder was made to slide through a trough into water brought by the
second leat, and the water, as soon as it received the pounded quartz,
became milky.  The milky water overflowed into a second tank, depositing
in both much that was held in solution, and then ran away into the
river, which it discoloured for some distance down.

Old Tramplara looked regretfully at the white water.  If Ophir had been
nearer Plymouth or Exeter, he might have sold it as milk.

The deposit in the tanks was subjected to a second and, indeed, a third
washing. It was washed and rewashed till all the quartz had been carried
away and nothing remained but glittering gold.

The excitement created by the discovery of Ophir was prodigious.  The
neighbourhood came to see the works.  The miners extracted granite, and
placed the pieces under the stampers, and then transferred the gravel
into which they had been pounded to the roller. Any one might watch the
process.  Everything was above board; there was no attempt at
concealment.  Only, no one was allowed to approach the precious deposit
unattended by the overseer.  Any respectable person was allowed to
follow the washing and drying to the final process, where nothing
remained but the costly yellow grains.  All he had to do was to write
for permission to Mr. Tramplara, or to send in his card at the works,
and leave to go over the entire mine—without any reserve—was freely
accorded.  The number of crowns and guineas pocketed by the very
respectable overlooker ripened the fruits of civilisation in him.  He
became courteous, eager to instruct, pious, and sober.  Christian graces
grew on golden roots. There was a fixed time in the day when visitors
were given admission to the mine.

The limitation of time was rendered necessary by reason of the crowd of
visitors eager to examine the works, and the consequent interference
with the working.  The regulation was reasonable and unassailable.
Another rule was made that no one was to be allowed to go within arm’s
length of, nor to handle the gold after final washing.  The overseer,
however, made exceptions in favour of every respectable visitor, letting
him understand that the exception in his case was unique, and only
granted because of his—the visitor’s—really extraordinary
respectability.  He was allowed to gather up in his palm and turn over
with his finger the golden dust, and the polite and pious overlooker
always reaped a rich harvest from this exceptional favour.

Readers of the ’Western Cornucophir’ came from all parts of Cornwall;
serious men, with heavy brows, big jaws, and firm lipless mouths.  Women
also—married women, likewise serious, (unmarried women, speaking
broadly, are flighty,) in rich but sober dresses, arrived in chaises,
wearing spectacles and false fronts, and having bibles in their pockets,
and vinegary attendants carrying shawls, and guardians of their virtue.
There were many Methodical Christian, and Unmethodical Christian, and
Primitive Christian, and Latter Day Christian, and Universal Christian,
and Particular Christian, and Ne-plus-ultra Christian ministers, all
intensely interested in Ophir, taking up the matter as one of _stantis
vel cadentis ecclesiæ_.  These were treated with exceptional courtesy at
the mine, by express command of Mr. Tramplara.  They were shown
everything.  They were set to work themselves in the adit.  They galled
their soft palms in picking at the gold vein, or granite supposed to
contain the vein of gold. They carried the lumps of their own extraction
to the crusher.  They watched them being pounded and rolled, not turning
an eye away the whole time.  They assisted at the washing.  They picked
out the gold themselves from the pan, and were liberally allowed to
carry home with them each at least a guinea’s worth of the precious
grains. Thereupon each became in his special circle an agent of the
company.  And Methodical Christian, and Unmethodical Christian, and
Primitive Christian, and Latter Day Christian, and Universal Christian,
and Particular Christian, and Ne-plus-ultra Christian applications for
shares, poured in by every post.

But the greatest hit of all was the solemn opening and dedication of

A huge tent had been hired from Exeter, capable of seating many hundred
persons. Bunting in profusion, of every colour, fluttered from it.  Over
the entrance rose a flagstaff from which waved a gold-coloured banner
adorned with the Seal of Solomon.

A cannon had been brought from Exeter, and it was discharged at
intervals.  The Okehampton band was engaged, and it played out of tune
alternately with a military band from Exeter, which played in tune, and
rivalled it in the worthlessness of the music performed.

The day was magnificent.  An autumn day, with a glorious sun illumining
the moorland rosy with blooming heather, as though raspberry cream had
been spilt over the hillsides.  The scarlet uniforms of the band, the
gay colours of the flags, the white tent, the glitter of the falling
water over the wheel, combined to form a charming scene.  All
Okehampton, all North and South Tawton and Chagford was there, and many
also from Tavistock, Launceston, Moreton Hampstead, and Exeter.  The
people were scattered over the moor slopes, listening to the music which
was not worth listening to, in the way in which English people do
listen—that is, talking the whole time; they raced and rolled over on
the short grass, and strewed the hillsides with sandwich papers and
empty ginger-beer bottles.  Ginger-beer bottles! ay, and bottles of cold
tea.  For Ophir was a great Temperance mine, and the dedication of Ophir
a Temperance demonstration, Ri-lid-de-riddle-roll! Who cannot rollick on
ginger-beer? Who that is by nature inane can fail to make an ass of
himself when out on a holiday on cold tea?

Ophir was a great Temperance mine.  All the washers were sworn in as
total abstainers. As was stated on the prospectus, the workings were to
be carried on only with water. ’We may as well fish in two ponds,
Sampy,’ said old Tramplara; ’let us angle for the Temperites as well as
for the Israelites.’

Thus the dedication of Ophir was not only a grand religious
demonstration for all those who looked for Israel in England, but also
of those who have supplanted the Ten Commandments by one, ’Thou shalt
not drink fermented liquor.’  Old Tramplara was desirous to have the
mines blessed by ministers of all denominations—twelve, if possible, to
represent the twelve tribes.  He had therefore applied to the bishop of
the diocese, and requested his presence for the opening of the
proceedings.  But the bishops of the Anglican Church are not the tugs
that lead, but the boats that follow, popular opinion.  They bless
nothing till authorised to do so by the daily papers, and as the daily
papers had not yet spoken on the subject of Ophir, the bishop was in the
bewildered condition of the priest of Delphi when the oracle is silent.
If Ophir were to prove a magnificent success, he would never forgive
himself for not having been at the opening.  If it proved a disastrous
failure, he would never forgive himself for not staying away.  So he
temporised, after the manner of weak men and weak classes of men; he
discovered that he was due at the opening of a (barrel) organ at the
Land’s End on that particular day, and he wrote a letter full of
apologies, expressive of his warmest interest in the proceedings,
promising his heartfelt prayers, invoking the most solemn blessings on
the gathering, and then ate his breakfast, devoured the ’Times,’ and
forgot everything about Ophir and the barrel organ at the Land’s End.

But though the bishop of the diocese was unavoidably absent,
representative pastors of all the Christian denominations in the West
were present, and prayed and harangued to their hearts’ content, and ate
and drank to their stomachs’ content as well.

The tent was filled to overflowing.  Grace was said simultaneously by
twenty-nine ministers to avoid giving offence by exalting one above
another.  A noble collation had been provided.  Waiters dressed like
clergymen attended on the guests.  ’Lemonade, sir?’ ’Gooseberriade,
ma’am?’ as they uncorked long-necked bottles with gold foil about the
throats, and poured the effervescing drink into champagne glasses.
’Temperance cake, miss?’ with an offer of an inviting dish of
sponge-cake sopped in—well, non-alcoholic brandy—and with flummery over
it to hide its blushes.

Reporters were present from every West of England paper and several
London journals as well.  These gentlemen were supplied freely with
’gooseberriade,’ and grew cheery in spirit, and red in face, and watery
in eye, and uncritical in disposition under its influence.  They began
to believe in Ophir as much as a reporter can believe in anything.  And
when, on raising the napkins under their finger-glasses, each found a
ten-pound note, the enthusiasm of the press for Ophir bordered on
fanaticism.  After lunch, the entire party sought the mine, and those
who could get in hammered at the stone, and there was much ado in
wheeling to the stampers the ’gozzen’ that had been extracted.

Tramplara particularly urged on the reporters to dig and wash for
themselves, and they complied with his request.  The prayers and
blessings of the pastors of discordant Christianity had been of avail.
Never before had the rock yielded so much gold.  There it was—in
glittering granules—strewing the washing floor.  The rock had been
quarried by ten reporters, seven pastors, and one old lady, with a grim
face and severely plain, untrimmed costume.  The stone had been wheeled
by them to the crushers, at that time clear of every particle of stone.
The grim old lady had not wheeled, but carried her specimens in her
gown, exposing thereby some elaborate lace frills beneath it.  The
entire party saw the granite thus extracted washed in several waters.
They washed it themselves, no workman touched any part of the machinery,
or dipped a finger into the water, and there—there was the
gold—gold-dust in abundance.  There could be no deception. There was no
room for deception.

John Herring was there also, looking on, much puzzled.  He had not been
at the lunch, but had strolled to Ophir after it.  His lead mine was not
advanced.  No company was formed to work it.  Who would look at lead
when gold was available?  He watched the whole process critically, and
was convinced that there was no deception in what passed under his eye.
There the gold was.  Every one present was given a grain as a memorial
of that day.  The whole affair was marvellous. The expense to which
Tramplara had gone was prodigious.  Would he have thrown his gold away
in shovelfuls unless he were sure of getting gold out of the mine?
Herring was young and simple.  He was right.  Tramplara would not have
gone to this lavish expense unless he had made sure of getting gold out
of the mine?  But then, it did not follow that he was going to extract
it from the granite. Some things are softer than granite, and the gold
may be got easily enough by those who can touch the vein.

’What!  Lieutenant! you here?’ exclaimed Mr. Trampleasure, coming up to
Herring, looking flushed and glossy.  ’Glorious day, this.  Wonderful
discovery, this Ophir. "Thither the tribes go up!" said the prophet,
speaking of this day and the way in which they went into the tent to
their dinner.  Come in and have a glass of wi—, of something comforting
but not exhilarating.  Come in, my dear lieutenant; there is only the
band there, making clean the cup and the platter, when their betters
have done.’

’No, thank you,’ answered Herring, ’I have had an early dinner.
Besides, I must trouble you no longer to style me lieutenant.’

’Why so?’

’Because I have sold out.’

’Sold out!  Become a civilian again!’

’Yes.  I have things to attend to which demand my presence here.  I am
going to work the silver lead.’

’My dear fellow, don’t throw money away on that.  Take shares in gold.’

’I prefer lead.’

’Herring, is that why you are taking up the mortgages on West Wyke?’


’You’ll never work the lead yourself? You have no experience.  However,
we will talk of that another time.  Are you likely to be in Launceston
next week?’

’Yes.  I shall go there to pay you the mortgage money.’

’Very well.  We are going to have a kick about on Thursday—the first
dance in the season.  There is a reason: Orange is engaged to Captain
Trecarrel.  Will you come?’

Herring thought a while before answering.

’Look here!  I will tell that little bleached puss of a missie to expect
you, and put your name down as her partner for the first caper.’

’I will come.’

All at once the Reverend Israel Flamank was seen flying down the valley,
with coat tails expanded like wings, and his white tie loose and
flapping.  He was shouting and waving his arms.

What was it?  Had he been bitten by a serpent?  Had he found a nugget?

When he came up, he was breathless and of inflamed countenance.  At
length he gasped—’I have been privileged to discover it?’  Then he
paused again.  A circle formed round him.

’A do-deka-penta-hedron,’ he said.  Then seeing the reporters with their
notebooks in hand and pencils pausing in mid-air, and fearing that their
knowledge of Greek surpassed his (he need have entertained no
apprehension), he added simply, ’Solomon’s Seal carved on a rock.’

The whole crowd went after him.  Here was a wonderful coincidence!
Coincidence! Avast!  Conclusive evidence that the servants of Solomon
had worked at this identical place. The symbol of Solomon, the
interlacing triangles, cut in imperishable granite, was there as an
eternal witness to Ophir.

Herring did not follow the troop: he turned to go back to West Wyke.  He
was not eager to inspect the ’Dodekapentahedron.’

                        END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.

                           LONDON: PRINTED BY
                         AND PARLIAMENT STREET

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