CAPT'N DAVY'S HONEYMOON
By Hall Caine
Harper And Brothers - 1893
"My money, ma'am—my money, not me."
"So you say, sir."
"It's my money you've been marrying, ma'am."
"Maybe so, sir."
"Deny it, deny it!"
"Why should I? You say it is so, and so be it."
"Then d——— the money. It took me more till ten years to make it, and middling hard work at that; but you go bail it'll take me less nor ten months to spend it. Ay, or ten weeks, and aisy doing, too! And 'till it's gone, Mistress Quig-gin—d'ye hear me?—gone, every mortal penny of it gone, pitched into the sea, scattered to smithereens, blown to ould Harry, and dang him—I'll lave ye, ma'am, I'll lave ye; and, sink or swim, I'll darken your doors no more."
The lady and gentleman who blazed at each other with these burning words, which were pointed, and driven home by flashing eyes and quivering lips, were newly-married husband and wife. They were staying at the old Castle Mona, in Douglas, Isle of Man, and their honeymoon had not yet finished its second quarter. The gentleman was Captain Davy Quiggin, commonly called Capt'n Davy, a typical Manx sea-dog, thirty years of age; stalwart, stout, shaggy, lusty-lunged, with the tongue of a trooper, the heavy manners of a bear, the stubborn head of a stupid donkey, and the big, soft heart of the baby of a girl. The lady was Ellen Kinvig, known of old to all and sundry as Nelly, Ness, or Nell, but now to everybody concerned as Mistress Capt'n Davy Quiggin, six-and-twenty years of age, tall, comely, as blooming as the gorse; once as free as the air, and as racy of the soil as new-cut peat, but suddenly grown stately, smooth, refined, proud, and reserved. They loved each other to the point of idolatry; and yet they parted ten days after marriage with these words of wroth and madness. Something had come between them. What was it? Another man? No. Another woman? Still no. What then? A ghost, an intangible, almost an invisible but very real and divorce-making co-respondent. They call it Education.
Davy Quiggin was born in a mud house on the shore, near the old church at Ballaugh. The house had one room only, and it had been the living-room, sleeping-room, birth-room, and death-room of a family of six. Davy, who was the youngest, saw them all out. The last to go were his mother and his grandfather. They lay ill at the same time, and died on the one day. The old man died first, and Davy fixed up a herring-net in front of him, where he lay on the settle by the fire, so that his mother might not see him from her place on the bed.
Not long after that, Davy, who was fifteen years of age, went to live as farm lad with Kinvig, of Ballavolley. Kinvig was a solemn person, very stiff and starchy, and sententious in his way, a mighty man among the Methodists, and a power in the pulpit. He thought he had done an act of charity when he took Davy into his home, and Davy repaid him in due time by falling in love with Nelly, his daughter.
When that happened Davy never quite knew. "That's the way of it," he used to say. "A girl slips in, and there ye are." Nelly was in to a certainty when one night Davy came home late from the club meeting on the street, and rapped at the kitchen window. That was the signal of the home circle that some member of it was waiting at the door. Now there are ways and ways of rapping at a kitchen window. There is the pit-a-pat of a light heart, and the thud-thud of a heavy one; and there is the sharp crack-crack of haste, and the dithering que-we-we of fear. Davy had a rap of his own, and Nelly knew it.
There was a sort of a trip and dance and a rum-tum-tum in Davy's rap that always made Nelly's heart and feet leap up at the same instant. But on this unlucky night it was Nelly's mother who heard it, and opened the door. What happened then was like the dismal sneck of the outside gate to Davy for ten years thereafter. The porch was dark, and so was the little square lobby behind the door. On numerous other nights that had been an advantage in Davy's eyes, but on this occasion he thought it a snare of the evil one. Seeing something white in a petticoat he thew his arms about it and kissed and hugged it madly. It struck him at the time as strange that the arms he held did not clout him under the chin, and that the lips he smothered did not catch breath enough to call him a gawbie, and whisper that the old people inside were listening. The truth dawned on him in a moment, and then he felt like a man with an eel crawling down his back, and he wanted nothing else for supper.
It was summer time, and Davy, though a most accomplished sleeper, found no difficulty in wakening himself with the dawn next morning. He was cutting turf in the dubs of the Curragh just then, and he had four hours of this pastime, with spells of sober meditation between, before he came up to the house for breakfast. Then as he rolled in at the porch, and stamped the water out of his long-legged boots, he saw at a glance that a thunder-cloud was brewing there. Nelly was busy at the long table before the window, laying the bowls of milk and the deep plates for the porridge. Her print frock was as sweet as the May blossom, her cheeks were nearly as red as the red rose, and like the rose her head hung down. She did not look at him as he entered. Neither did Mrs. Kinvig, who was bending over the pot swung from the hook above the fire, and working the porridge-stick round and round with unwonted energy. But Kinvig himself made up for both of them. The big man was shaving before a looking-glass propped up on the table, and against the Pilgrim's Progress and Clark's Commentaries. His left hand held the point of his nose aside between the tip of his thumb and first finger, while the other swept the razor through a hillock of lather and revealed a portion of a mouth twisted three-quarters across his face. But the moment he saw Davy he dropped the razor, and looked up with as much dignity as a man could get out of a countenance half covered with soap.
"Come in, sir," said he, with a pretense of great deference. "Mawther," he said, twisting to Mrs. Kinvig, "just wipe down a chair for the gentleman."
Davy slithered into his seat. "I'm in for it," he thought.
"They're telling me," said Kinvig, "that there is a fortune coming at you. Aw, yes, though, and that you're taking notions on a farmer's girl. Respectable man, too—one of the first that's going, with sixty acres at him and more. Amazing thick, they're telling me. Kissing behind the door, and the like of that! The capers! It was only yesterday you came to me with nothing on your back but your father's ould trowis, cut down at the knees."
Nelly slipped out. Her mother made a noise with the porridge-pot. Davy was silent. Kinvig walloped his razor on the strop with terrific vigor, then paused, pointed the handle in Davy's direction, tried to curl up his lip into a withering sneer that was half lost in the lather, and said with bitter irony, "My house is too mane for you, sir. You must lave me. It isn't the Isle of Man itself that'll hould the likes of you."
Then Davy found his tongue. "You're right, sir," said he, leaping to his feet, "It's too poor I am for your daughter, is it? Maybe I'll be a piece richer someday, and then you'll be a taste civiler."
"Behold ye now," said Kinvig, "as bould as a goat! Cut your stick and quick."
"I'm off, sir," said Davy; and, then, looking round and remembering that he was being kicked out like a dog and would see Nelly no more, day by day, the devil took hold of him and he began to laugh in Kinvig's ridiculous face.
"Good-by, ould Sukee," he cried. "I lave you to your texes."
And, turning to where Mrs. Kinvig stood with her back to him, he cried again, "Good-by, mawther, take care of his ould head—it's swelling so much that his chapel hat is putting corns on it."
That night with his "chiss" of clothes on his shoulders, Davy came down stairs and went out at the porch. There he slipped his burden to the ground, for somebody was waiting to say farewell to him. It was the right petticoat this time, and she was on the right side of the door. The stars were shining overhead, but two that were better than any in the sky were looking into Davy's face, and they were twinkling in tears.
It was only a moment the parting lasted, but a world of love was got into it. Davy had to do penance for the insults he had heaped upon Nelly's father, and in return he got pity for those that had been shoveled upon himself.
"Good-by, Nell," he whispered; "there's thistles in everybody's crop. But no matter! I'll come back, and then it's married we'll be. My goodness, yes, and take Ballacry and have six bas'es, and ten pigs, and a pony. But, Nelly, will ye wait for me?"
"D'ye doubt me, Davy?"
"No; but will ye though?"
"Then its all serene," said Davy, and with another hug and a kiss, and a lock of brown hair which was cut ready and tied in blue ribbon, he was gone with his chest into the darkness.
Davy sailed in an Irish schooner to the Pacific coast of South America. There he cut his stick again, and got a berth on a coasting steamer trading between Valparaiso and Callao. The climate was unhealthy, the ports were foul, the government was uncertain, the dangers were constant, and the hands above him dropped off rapidly. In two years Davy was skipper, and in three years more he was sailing a steamer of his own. Then the money began to tumble into his chest like crushed oats out of a Crown's shaft.
The first hundred pounds he had saved he sent home to Dumbell's bank, because he could not trust it out of the Isle of Man. But the hundreds grew to thousands, and the thousands to tens of thousands, and to send all his savings over the sea as he made them began to be slow work, like supping porridge with a pitchfork. He put much of it away in paper rolls at the bottom of his chest in the cabin, and every roll he put by stood to him for something in the Isle of Man. "That's a new cowhouse at Ballavolly." "That's Balladry." "That's ould Brew's mill at Sulby—he'll be out by this time."
All his dreams were of coming home, and sometimes he wrote letters to Nelly. The writing in them was uncertain, and the spelling was doubtful, but the love was safe enough. And when he had poured out his heart in small "i's" and capital "U's"? he always inquired how more material things were faring. "How's the herrings this sayson; and did the men do well with the mack'rel at Kinsale; and is the cowhouse new thatched, and how's the chapel going? And is the ould man still playing hang with the texes?"
Kinvig heard of Davy's prosperity, and received the news at first in silence, then with satisfaction, and at length with noisy pride. His boy was a bould fellow. "None o' yer randy-tandy-tissimee-tea tied to the old mawther's apron-strings about him. He's coming home rich, and he'll buy half the island over, and make a donation of a harmonia to the chapel, and kick ould Cowley and his fiddle out."
Awaiting that event, Kinvig sent Nelly to England, to be educated according to the station she was about to fill. Nelly was four years in Liverpool, but she had as many breaks for visits home. The first time she came she minced her words affectedly, and Kinvig whispered the mother that she was getting "a fine English tongue at her." The second time she came she plagued everybody out of peace by correcting their "plaze" to "please," and the "mate" to "meat," and the "lave" to "leave." The third time she came she was silent, and looked ashamed: and the fourth time it was to meet her sweetheart on his return home after ten years' absence.
Davy came by the Sneafell from Liverpool. It was August—the height of the visiting season—and the deck of the steamer was full of tourists. Davy walked through the cobweb of feet and outstretched legs with the face of a man who thought he ought to speak to everybody. Fifty times in the first three hours he went forward to peer through the wind and the glaring sunshine for the first glimpse of the Isle of Man. When at length he saw it, like a gray bird lying on the waters far away, with the sun's light tipping the hill-tops like a feathery crest, he felt so thick about the throat that he took six steerage passengers to the bar below to help him to get rid of his hoarseness. There was a brass band aboard, and during the trip they played all the outlandish airs of Germany, but just as the pacquet steamed into Douglas Bay, and Davy was watching the land and remembering everything upon it, and shouting "That's Castle Mona!" "There's Fort Ann!" "Yonder's ould St. Mathews's!" they struck up "Home, Sweet Home." That was too much for Davy. He dived into his breeches' pockets, gave every German of the troupe five shillings apiece, and then sat down on a coil of rope and blubbered aloud like a baby.
Kinvig had sent a grand landau from Ramsey to fetch Capt'n Davy to Ballaugh; but before the English driver from the Mitre had identified his fare Davy had recognized an old crony, with a high, springless, country cart—Billiam Ballaneddan, who had come to Douglas to dispatch a barrel of salted herrings to his married daughter at Liverpool, and was going back immediately. So Davy tumbled his boxes and bags and other belongings into the landau, piling them mountains high on the cushioned seats, and clambered into the cart himself. Then they set off at a race which should be home first—the cart or the carriage, the luggage or the owner of it; the English driver on his box seat with his tall hat and starchy cravat, or Billiam twidling his rope reins, and Davy on the plank seat beside him, bobbing and bumping, and rattling over the stones like a parched pea on a frying pan.
That was a tremendous drive for Davy. He shouted when he recognized anything, and as he recognized everything he shouted throughout the drive. They took the road by old Braddan Church and Union Mills, past St. John's, under the Tynwald Hill, and down Creg Willie's Hill. As he approached Kirk Michael his excitement was intense. He was nearing home and he began to know the people. "Lord save us, there's Tommy Bill-beg—how do, Tommy? And there's ould Betty! My gough, she's in yet—how do, mawther? There's little Juan Caine growed up to a man! How do, Johnny, and how's the girls and how's the ould man, and how's yourself? Goodness me, here's Liza Corlett, and a baby at her——! I knew her when she was no more than a babby herself." This last remark to the English driver who was coming up sedately with his landau at the tail of the springless cart.
"Drive on, Billiam! Come up, ould girl—just a taste of the whip, Billiam! Do her no harm at all. Bishop's Court! Deary me, the ould house is in the same place still."
At length the square tower of Ballaugh
Church was seen above the trees with the last rays of the setting sun on its topmost story, and then Davy's eagerness swept down all his patience. He jumped up in the cart at the peril of being flung out, took off his billycock, whirled it round his head, bellowed "Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!" After that he would have leaped alongside to the ground and run. "Hould hard!" he cried, "I'll bate the best mare that's going." But Billiam pinned him down to the seat with one hand while he whipped up the horse to a gallop with the other.
They arrived at Ballavolly an hour and a half before they were expected. Mistress Kinvig was washing dishes in a tub on the kitchen table. Kinvig himself was sitting lame with rheumatism in the "elber chair" by the ingle. They wiped down a chair for Davy this time.
"And Nelly," said Davy. "Where's Nelly?"
"She's coming, Capt'n," said Kinvig. "Nelly!" he called up the kitchen stairs, with a knowing wink at Davy, "Here's a gentleman asking after you."
Davy was dying of impatience. Would she be the same dear old Nell?
"Nell—Nelly," he shouted, "I've kep' my word."
"Aw, give her time, Capt'n," said Kinvig; "a new frock isn't rigged up in no time, not to spake of a silk handkercher going pinning round your throat."
But Davy, who had waited ten years, would not wait a minute longer, and he was making for the stairs with the purpose of invading Nell's own bedroom, when the lady herself came sweeping down on tiptoes. Davy saw her coming in a cloud of silk, and at the next moment the slippery stuff was crumbling, and whisking, and creaking under his hands, for his arms were full of it.
"Aw, mawther," said he. "They're like honeysuckles—don't spake to me for a week. Many's the time I've been lying in my bunk a-twigging the rats squeaking and coorting overhead, and thinking to myself, Kisses is skess with you now, Davy."
The wedding came off in a week. There were terrific rejoicings. The party returned from church in the landau that brought up Davy's luggage. At the bridge six strapping fellows, headed by the blacksmith, and surrounded by a troop of women and children, stretched a rope across the road, and would not let the horses pass until the bridegroom had paid the toll. Davy had prepared him-self in advance with two pounds in sixpenny bits, which made his trowsers pockets stand out like a couple of cannon balls. He fired those balls, and they broke in the air like shells.
At the wedding breakfast in the barn at Ballavolly Davy made a speech. It was a sermon to young fellows on the subject of sweethearts. "Don't you marry for land," said he. "It's muck," said he. "What d'ye say, Billiam—you'd like more of it? I wouldn't trust; but it's spaking the truth I am for all. Maybe you think about some dirty ould trouss: 'She's a warm girl, she's got nice things at her—bas'es and pigs, and the like of that.' But don't, if you'rr not a reg'lar blundering blockit." Then, looking down at the top of Nelly's head, where she sat with her eyes in her lap beside him, he softened down to sentiment, and said, "Marry for love, boys; stick to the girl that's good, and then go where you will she'll be the star above that you'll sail your barque by, and if you stay at home (and there's no place like it) her parting kiss at midnight will be helping you through your work all next day."
The parting kiss at midnight brought Davy's oration to a close, for a tug at his coat-tails on Nelly's side fetched him suddenly to his seat.
Two hours afterward the landau was rolling away toward the Castle Mona Hotel at Douglas, where, by Nell's arrangement, Capt'n Davy and his bride were to spend their honeymoon.
Now it so befell that on the very day when Capt'n Davy and Mrs. Quiggin quarreled and separated, two of their friends were by their urgent invitation crossing from England to visit them, Davy's friend was Jonathan Lovibond, an Englishman, whose acquaintance he had made on the coast. Mrs. Quiggin's was Jenny Crow, a young lady of lively manners, whom she had annexed during her four years' residence at Liverpool. These two had been lovers five years before, had quarreled and parted on the eve of the time appointed for their marriage, and had not since set eyes on each other. They met for the first time afterward on the steamer that was taking them to the Isle of Man, and neither knew the destination of the other.
Miss Crow looked out of her twinkling eyes and saw a gentleman promenading on the quarter-deck before her, whom she must have thought she had somewhere seen before, but that his gigantic black mustache was a puzzle, and the little imperial on his chin was a baffling difficulty. Mr. Lovibond puffed the smoke from a colossal cigar, and wondered if the world held two pair of eyes like those big black ones which glanced up at him sometimes from a deck stool, a puffy pile of wool, two long crochet needles, and a couple of white hands, from which there flashed a diamond ring he somehow thought he knew.
These mutual meditations lasted two long hours, and then a runaway ball of the wool from the lap of the lady on the deck stool was hotly pursued by the gentleman with the mustache, and instantly all uncertainty was at an end.
After exclamations of surprise at the strange recognition (it was all so sudden), the two old friends came to closer quarters. They touched gingerly on the past, had some tender passages of delicate fencing, gave various sly hits and digs, threw out certain subtle hints, and came to a mutual and satisfactory understanding. Neither had ever looked at anybody else since their rupture, and therefore both were still unmarried.
Having reached this stage of investigation, the wool and its needles were stowed away in a basket under the chair, in order that the lady might accept the invitation of the gentleman to walk with him on the deck; and as the wind had freshened by this time, and walking in skirts was like tacking in a stiff breeze, the gentleman offered his arm to the lady, and thus they sailed forth together.
"And with whom are you to stay when we reach the island, Jenny?" said Lovibond.
"With a young Manx friend lately married," said Jenny.
"That's strange; for I am going to do the same," said Lovibond. "Where?"
"At Castle Mona," said Jenny.
"That's stranger still; for it's the place to which I am going," said Lovibond. "What's your Manx friend's name?"
"Mrs. Quiggin, now," said Jenny.
"That's strangest of all," said Lovibond; "for my friend is Captain Quiggin, and we are bound for the same place, on the same errand."
This series of coincidences thawed down the remaining frost between the pair, and they exchanged mutual confidences. They had gone so far as to promise themselves a fortnight's further enjoyment of each other's society, when their arrival at Douglas put a sudden end to their anticipations.
Two carriages were waiting for them on the pier—one, with a maid inside, was to take Jenny to Castle Mona: the other, with a boy, was to take Lovibond to Fort Ann.
The maid was Peggy Quine, seventeen years of age, of dark complexion, nearly as round as a dolley-tub, and of deadly earnest temperament. When Jenny found herself face to face and alone with this person, she lost no time in asking how it came to pass that Mrs. Quiggin was at Castle Mona while her husband was at Fort Ann.
"They've parted, ma'am," said Peggy.
"Parted?" shrieked Jenny above the rattle of the carriage glass.
"Ah, yes, ma'am," Peggy stammered; "cruel, ma'am, right cruel, cruel extraordinary. It's a wonder the capt'n doesn't think shame of his conduck. The poor misthress! She's clane heartbroken. It's a mercy to me she didn't clout him."
In two minutes more Jenny was in Mrs. Quiggin's room at Castle Mona, crying, "Gracious me, Ellen, what is this your maid tells me?"
Nelly had been eating out her heart in silence all day long, and now the flood of her pride and wrath burst out, and she poured her wrongs upon Jenny as fiercely as if that lady stood for the transgressions of her husband.
"He reproached me with my poverty," she cried.
"Well, he told me I had only married him for his money—there's not much difference."
"And what did you say?" said Jenny.
"Say? What could I say? What would any woman say who had any respect for herself?"
"But how did he come to accuse you of marrying him for his money? Had you asked him for any?"
"Not I, indeed."
"Perhaps you hadn't loved him enough?"
"Not that either—that I know of."
"Then why did he say it?"
"Just because I wanted him to respect himself, and have some respect for his wife, too, and behave as a gentleman, and not as a raw Manx rabbit from the Calf."
Jenny gave a look of amused intelligence, and said, "Oh, oh, I see, I see! Well, let me take off my bonnet, at all events."
While this was being done in the bedroom Nelly, who was furtively wiping her eyes, continued the recital of her wrongs:—
"Would you believe it, Jenny, the first thing he did when we arrived here after the wedding was to shake hands with the hall porter, and the boots who took our luggage, and ask after their sisters and their mothers, and their sweethearts—the man knew them all. And when he heard from his boy, Willie Quarrie, that the cook was a person from Michael, it was as much as I could do to keep him from tearing down to the kitchen to talk about old times."
"Yes, I see," said Jenny; "he has made a fortune, but he is just the same simple Manx lad that he was ten years ago."
"Just, just! We can't go out for a walk together but he shouts, 'How do? Fine day, mates!' to the drivers of the hackney cabs across the promenade; and the joy of his life is to get up at seven in the morning and go down to the quay before breakfast to keep tally with a chalk for the fishermen counting their herrings out of the boats into the barrels."
"Not a bit changed, then, since he went away?" said Jenny, before the glass.
"Not a bit; and because I asked him to know his place, and if he is a gentleman to behave as a gentleman and speak as a gentleman and not make so easy with such as don't respect him any the better for it, he turns on me and tells me I've only married him for his money."
"Dreadful!" said Jenny, fixing her fringe. "And is this the old sweetheart you have waited ten years for?"
"Indeed, it is."
"And now that he has come back and you've married him, he has parted from you in ten days?"
"Yes; and it will be the talk of the island—indeed it will."
"Shocking! And so he has left you here on your honeymoon without a penny to bless yourself?"
"Oh, for the matter of that, he fixed something on me before the wedding—a jointure, the advocates called it."
"Terrible! Let me see. He's the one who sent you presents from America?"
"Oh; he piled presents enough on me. It's the way of the men: the stingiest will do that. They like to think they're such generous creatures. But let a poor woman count on it, and she'll soon be wakened from her dream. 'You married me for my money—deny it?'"
Jenny was leaning her forehead against the window sash, and looking vacantly out on the bay. Nelly observed her a moment, stopped suddenly in the tale of her troubles, and said, in another voice, "Jenny Crow, I believe you are laughing at me. It's always the way with you. You can take nothing seriously."
Jenny turned back to the room with a solemn face, and said, "Nellie, if you waited ten years for your husband, I suppose that he waited ten years for you."
"I suppose he did."
"And, if he is the same man as he was when he went away, I suppose his love is the same?"
"Then how could he say such things?"
"And, if he is the same, and his love is the same, isn't it possible that somebody else is different?"
"Now, Jenny Crow, you are going to say it's all my fault?"
"Not all, Nelly. Something has come between you."
"It's the money. Oh, Jenny, if you ever marry, marry a poor man, and then he can't fling it in your face that you are poorer than he."
"No; it can't be the money, Nelly, for the money is his, and yet it hasn't changed him. And, Nelly, isn't it a good thing in a rich man not to turn his back on his old poor comrades—not to think because he has been in the sun that people are black who are only in the shade—not to pretend to have altered his skin because his coat has changed—isn't it?"
"I see what you mean. You mean that I've driven my husband away with my bad temper."
"No; not that; but Nelly—dear old Nell—think what you're doing. Take warning from one who once made shipwreck of her own life. Think no man common who loves you—no matter what his ways are, or his manners, or his speech. Love makes the true nobility. It ennobles him who loves you and you who are beloved. Cling to it—prize it—do not throw it away. Money can not buy it, nor fame nor rank atone for it. When a woman is loved she is a queen, and he who loves her is her king."
Mrs. Quiggin was weeping behind her hands by this time, but she lifted swollen eyes to say, "I see; you would have me go to him and submit, and explain, and beg his pardon. 'Dear David, I didn't marry you for your money——' No," leaping to her feet, "I'll scrub my fingers to the bone first."
"Say no more, Jenny Crow, We're hot-headed people, both of us, and we'll quarrel."
Then Jenny's solemn manner was gone in an instant. She snapped her fingers, kicked up one leg a little, and said lightly, "Very well; and now let us have some dinner,"——
Meantime Lovibond was hearing the other side of the story from Captain Davy at Forte Ann. On the way there he had heard of the separation from the boy, Willie Quarrie, a lugubrious Manx lad, eighteen years old, with a face as white as a haddock and as grim as a gannet.
"Aw, terr'ble doings, sir, terr'ble, terr'ble!" moaned Willie. "Young Mistress Quiggin ateing her heart out at Castle Mona, and Captain Davy hisself at Forte Ann over, drinking and tearing and carrying on till all's blue."
Lovibond found Captain Davy in the smoke-room with a face as hard as a frozen turnip, one leg over the arm of an elbow chair, a church-warden pipe in his mouth, a gigantic glass of brandy and soda before him, and an admiring circle of the laziest riff-raff of the town about him. As soon as they were alone he said:
"But what's this that your boy tells me, captain?"
"I'm foundered," said Davy, "broke, wrecked, the screw of my tide's gone twisting on the rocks. I'm done, mate, I'm done."
Then he proceeded to recite the incidents of the quarrel, coloring them by the light of the numerous glasses with which he had covered his brain since morning.
"'You've married me for my money,' says I. 'What else?' said she. 'Then d——— the money,' says I, 'I'll lave you till it's gone.' 'Do it and welcome,' says she, and I'm doing it, bad cess to it, I'm doing it. But, stop this jaw. I swore to myself I wouldn't spake of it to any man living. What d'ye drink? I've took to the brandy swig myself. Join in. Mate!" (this in a voice of thunder to the waiter at the end of the adjoining room) "brandy for the gentleman."
Lovibond waited a moment and then said quietly, "But whatever made you give her an ungenerous stab like that, captain?"
Davy looked up curiously and answered, "That's just what I've tooken six big drinks to find out. But no use at all, and what's left to do?"
"Why take it back?" said Lovibond.
"No, deng my buttons if I will."
"'Cause it's true."
Lovibond waited again, and then said in another voice, "And is this the little girl you used to tell of out yonder on the coast—Nessy, Nelly, Nell, what was it?"
Davy's eyes began to fill, but his mouth remained firm. He cleared his throat noisily, shook the dust out of his pipe on to the heel of his boot, and said, "No—yes—no—Well, it is and it isn't. It's Nelly Kinvig, that's sarten sure. But the juice of the woman's sowl's dried up."
"The little thing that used to know your rap at the kitchen window, and come tripping out like a bird chirping in the night, and go linking down the lane with you in the starlight?"
Davy broke the shaft of his churchwarden into small lengths, and flung the pieces out at the open window and said, "I darn't say no."
"The one that stuck to you like wax when her father gave you the great bounce out—eh?"
Davy wriggled and spat, and then muttered, "You go bail."
"You have known her since you were children, haven't you?"
Davy's hard face thawed suddenly, and he said, "Ay, since she wore petticoats up to her knees, and I was a boy in a jacket, and we played hop-skotch in the haggard, and double-my-duck agen the cowhouse gable. Aw dear, aw dear! The sweet little thing she was then any way. Yellow hair at her, and eyes like the sea, and a voice same as the throstle! Well, well, to think, to think! Playing in the gorse and the ling together, and the daisies and the buttercups—and then the curlews whistling and the river singing like music, and the bees ahumoning—aw, terr'ble sweet and nice. And me going barefoot, and her bare-legged, and divil a hat at the one of us—aw, deary me, deary me! Wasn't much starch at her in them ould days, mate."
"Is there now, captain?"
"Now? D'ye say now? My goodness! It's always hemming and humming and a heise of the neck, and her head up like a Cochin-China, with a topknot, and 'How d'ye do?' and cetererar and cetererar. Aw, smooth as an ould threepenny bit—smooth astonishing. And partic'lar! My gough! You couldn't call Tom to a cat afore her, but she'd be agate of you to make it Thomas."
Lovibond smiled behind his big mustache.
"The rael ould Manx isn't good enough for her now. Well, I wasn't objecting, not me. She's got the English tongue at her—that's all right. Only I'll stick to what I'm used of. Job's patience went at last and so did mine, and I arn't much of a Job neither."
"And what has made all this difference," said Lovibond.
"Why, the money, of coorse. It was the money that done it, bad sess to it," said Davy, pitching the head of his pipe after the shank. "I went out yonder to get it and I got it. Middling hard work, too, but no matter. It was to be all for her. 'I'll come back, Nelly,' says I, 'and we'll take Ballacry and have six craythurs and a pony, and keep a girl to do for you, and you'll take your aise—only milking maybe, or churning, but nothing to do no harm.' I was ten years getting it, and I never took notions on no other girls neither. No, honor bright, thinks I, Nelly's waiting for you, Davy. Always dreaming of her, 'cept when them lazy black chaps wanted leathering, and that's a job that isn't nothing without a bit of swearing at whiles. But at night, aw, at night, mate, lying out on the deck in that heat like the miller's kiln, and shelling your clothes piece by piece same as a bushel of oats, and looking up at the stars atwinkling in the sky, and spotting one of them, and saying to yourself quietlike, so as them niggers won't hear, 'That's star is atwinkling over Nelly, too, and maybe she's watching it now.' It seemed as if we wasn't so far apart then. Somehow it made the world a taste smaller. 'Shine on, my beauty,' thinks I, 'shine down straight into Nelly's room, and if she's awake tell her I'm coming, and if she's asleep just make her dream that I'm loving nobody else till her.' But, chut! It was myself that was dreaming. Drink up! She married me for my money, so I'm making it fly."
"And when it's gone—what then?" said Lovibond. "Will you go back to her!"
"Maybe so, maybe no."
"Will anything be the better because the money's spent?"
"Will she be as sweet and good as she once was when you are as poor as you were?"
Davy heaved up to his feet. "What's the use of thinking of the like of that?" he cried. "My money's mine, I baked for it out in that oven. Now I'm spending it, and what for shouldn't I? Here goes—healths apiece!"
Next day Lovibond and Jenny Crow met on the pier. There they pondered the ticklish situation of their friends, and every word they said on it was pointed and punctuated by a sense of their own relations.
"It's plain that the good fools love each other," said Jenny.
"Quite plain," said Lovibond.
"Heigho! It's mad work being angry with somebody you are dying to love," said Jenny.
"Colney Hatch is nothing to it," said Lovibond.
"Smaller things have parted people for years," said Jenny.
"Yes; five years," said Lovibond.
"The longer apart the wider the breach, and the harder to cover it," said Jenny.
"Just so," said Lovibond.
"They must meet. Of course they'll fight like cat and dog, but better that than this separation. Time leaves bigger scars than claws ever made. Now, couldn't we bring them together?"
"Just what I was thinking," said Lovibond.
"I'm sure he must be a dear, simple soul, though I've never set eyes on him," said Jenny.
"And I'm certain she must be as sweet as an angel, though I've never seen her," said Lovibond.
Jenny shot a jealous glance at her companion, then cracked two fingers and said eagerly, "There you are—there's the idea in a cockle-shell. Now if each could see the other through other eyes!"
"The very thing!" said Lovibond.
"Then why don't you give me your arm at once, and let me think me over?" said Jenny. In less than an hour these two wise heads had devised a scheme to bring Capt'n Davy and his bride together. What that scheme was and how it worked let those who read discover.
Six days passed as with feet of lead, and Capt'n Davy and Mrs. Quiggin were still in Douglas. They could not tear themselves away. Morning and night the good souls were seized by a morbid curiosity about their servants' sweethearts. "Seen Peggy lately?" Capt'n Davy would say. "I suppose you've not come across Willie Quarrie lately?" Mrs. Quiggin would ask. Thus did they squeeze to the driest pulp every opportunity of hearing anything of each other.
Jenny Crow, with Mrs. Quiggin at Castle Mona, had not yet set eyes on Captain Davy, and Lovibond, with Captain Davy at Fort Ann, had never once seen Mrs. Quiggin. Jenny had said nothing of Lovibond to Nelly, and Lovibond had said nothing of Jenny to Davy.
Matters stood so when one evening Peggy Quine was dressing up her mistress's hair for dinner, and answering the usual question.
"Seen Willie Quarrie, ma'am? Aw 'deed, yes, ma'am; and it's shocking the stories he's telling me. The Capt'n's making the money fly. Bowls and beer, and cards and betting—it's ter'ble, ma'm, ter'ble. Somebody should hould him. He's distracted like. Giving to everybody as free as free. Parsons and preachers and the like—they're all at him, same as flies at a sheep with the rot."
"And what do people say, Peggy?"
"They say fools and their money is quickly parted ma'am."
"How dare you call anybody a fool, Peggy?"
"Aw it's not me, ma'am. It's them that's seeing him wasting his money like water through a pitchfork. And the dirts that's catching most is shouting loudest. 'Deed, ma'am, but his conduct is shocking."
"And what do people say is the cause of it, Peggy?"
"Lumps in his porridge, ma'am."
"Yes, though, that's what Willie Quarrie is telling me. When a woman isn't just running even with her husband they call her lumps in his porridge. Aw, Willie's a feeling lad."
There was a pause after this disclosure, and then Mrs. Quiggin said in another voice, "Peggy, there's a strange gentleman staying with the Captain at Forte Ann, is there not?"
"Yes, ma'am; Mr. Loviboy."
"What is he like, Peggy?"
"Pepper and salt trowis, ma'am, and a morsel of hair on the tip of his chin."
"No, a long wisp'ry man."
"I suppose he helps the Captain to spend his money?"
"Never a ha'po'th, ma'am, 'deed no; but ter'ble onaisy at it, and rigging him constant But no use at all, at all. The Capt'n's intarmined to ruin hisself. Somebody should just take him and wallop him, ding dong, afore he's wasted all he's got, and hasn't a penny left at him."
"How dare you, Peggy?"
Peggy was dismissed in anger, and Mrs. Quiggin sat down to write a letter to Lovibond. She begged him to pardon the liberty of one who was no stranger, though they had never met, in asking him to come to her without delay. This done, and marked private, she called Peggy back and bade her to take the letter to Willie Quarrie, and tell him to give it to the gentleman before the Captain came down to breakfast in the morning.
The day was Sunday, the weather was brilliant, the window was open, and the salt breath of the sea was floating into the room. With the rustle of silk like a breeze in a pine tree Jenny Crow came back from a walk, swinging a parasol by a ring about her wrist.
"Such an adventure!" she said, sinking into a chair. "A man, of course! I saw him first on the Head at the skirts of the crowd that was listening to the Bishop's preaching. Such a manly fellow! Broad-shouldered, big-chested, standing square on his legs like a rock. Dark, of course, and such eyes, Nelly! Brown—no black-brown. I like black-brown eyes in a man, don't you?"
Captain Davy's eyes were of the darkest brown. Mrs. Quiggin gave no sign.
"Then his dress—so simple. None of your cuffs and ruffs, and great high collars like a cart going for coke. Just a blue serge suit, and a monkey jacket. I like a man in a monkey jacket."
Captain Davy wore a monkey jacket; Mrs. Quiggin colored slightly.
"A sailor, thinks I. There's something so free and open about a sailor, isn't there?"
"Do you think so, Jenny?" said Mrs. Quiggin in a faint voice.
"I'm sure of it, Nelly. The sailor is just like the sea. He's noisy—so is the sea. Liable to storms—so is the sea. Blusters and boils, and rocks and reels—so does the sea. But he's sunny too, and open and free, and healthy and bracing, and the sea is all that as well."
Mrs. Quiggin was thinking of Captain Davy, and tingling with pleasure and shame, but she only said, falteringly, "Didn't you talk of some adventure?"
"Oh, of course, certainly," said Jenny. "After he had listened a moment he went on, and I lost sight of him. Presently I went on, too, and walked across the Head until I came within sight of Port Soderick. Then I sat down by a great bowlder. So quiet up there, Nelly; not a sound except the squeal of the sea birds, the boo-oo of the big waves outside, and the plash-ash of the little ones on the beach below. All at once I heard a sigh. At that I looked to the other side of the bowlder, and there was my friend of the monkey jacket. I was going to rise, but he rose instead, and begged me not to trouble. Then I was vexed with myself, and said I hoped he wouldn't disturb himself on my account."
"You never said that, Jenny Crow?"
"Why not, my dear? You wouldn't have had me less courteous than he was. So he stood and talked. You never heard such a voice, Nelly. Deep as a bell, and his Manx tongue was like music. Talk of the Irish brogue! There's no brogue in the world like the Manx, is there now, not if the right man is speaking it."
"So he was a Manxman," said Mrs. Quiggin, with a far-away look through the open window.
"Didn't I say so before? But he has quite saddened me. I'm sure there's trouble hanging over him. 'I've been sailing foreign, ma'am,' said he, 'and I don't know nothing—'."
"Oh, then he wasn't a gentleman?" said Mrs. Quiggin.
Jenny fired up sharply. "Depends on what you call a gentleman, my dear. Now, any man is a gentleman to me who can afford to dispense with the first two syllables of the name."
Mrs. Quiggin looked down at her feet.
"I only meant," she said meekly, "that your friend hasn't as much education—."
"Then, perhaps, he has more brains," said Jenny. "That's the way they're sometimes divided, you know, and education isn't everything."
"Do you think that, Jenny?" said Mrs. Quiggin, with another long look through the window.
"Of course I do," said Jenny.
"And what did he say?"
"' I've been sailing foreign, ma'am,' he said. 'And I don't know nothing that cut's a man's heart from its moorings like coming home same as a homing pigeon, and then wishing yourself back again same as a lost one.'"
"Poor fellow!" said Mrs. Quiggin. "He must have found things changed since he went away."
"He must," said Jenny.
"Perhaps he has lost some one who was dear to him," said Mrs. Quiggin.
"Perhaps," said Jenny, with a sigh.
"His mother may be, or his sister—" began Mrs. Quiggin.
"Yes, or his wife." continued Jenny, with a moan.
Mrs. Quiggin drew up suddenly. "What's his name?" she asked sharply.
"Nay, how could I ask him that?" said Jenny.
"Where does he live?" said Mrs. Quiggin.
"Or that either?" said Jenny.
Mrs. Quiggin's eyes wandered slowly back to the window. "We've all got our troubles, Jenny," she said quietly.
"All," said Jenny. "I wonder if I shall ever see him again."
"Tell me if you do, Jenny?" said Mrs. Quiggin.
"I will, Nelly," said Jenny.
"Poor fellow, poor fellow," said Mrs. Quiggin.
As Jenny rose to remove her bonnet she shot a sly glance out of the corners of her eyes, and saw that Mrs. Quiggin was furtively wiping her own.
Meanwhile Lovibond at Fort Ann was telling a similar story to Captain Davy. He had left the house for a walk before Davy had come down to breakfast, and on returning at noon he found him immersed in the usual occupation of his mornings. This was that of reading and replying to his correspondence. Davy read with difficulty, and replied to all letters by check. His method of business was peculiar and original. He was stretched on the sofa with a pipe in his mouth, and the morning's letters pigeonholed between his legs. Willie Quarrie sat at a table with a check-book before him. While Davy read the letters one by one he instructed Willie as to the nature of the answer, and Willie, with his head aslant, his mouth awry, and his tongue in his cheek, turned it into figures on the check-book.
As Lovibond came in Davy was knocking off the last batch for the day. "'Respected sir,' he was reading, 'I know you've a tender heart'... Send her five pounds, Willie, and tell her to take that talk to the butchers."
"'Honored Captain, we are going to erect a new school in connection with Ballajora chapel, and if you will honor us by laying the foundation stone....' Never laid a stone in my life 'cept one, and that was my mawther's sink-stone. Twenty pounds, Willie. 'Sir, we are to hold a bazaar, and if you will consent to open it....' Bazaar! I know: a sort of ould clothes shop in a chapel where you're never tooken up for cheating, because you always says your paternoster-ings afore you begin. Ten pounds, Willie. Helloa, here's Parson Quiggin. Wish the ould devil would write more simpler; I was never no good at the big spells myself. 'Dear David....' That's good—he walloped me out of the school once for mimicking his walk—same as a coakatoo esactly. 'Dear David, owing to the lamentable death of brother Mylechreest it has been resolved to ask you to become a member of our committee....' Com-mittee! I know the sort—kind of religious firm where there's three partners, only two of them's sleeping ones. Dirty ould hypocrite! Fifteen pounds, Willie."
This was the scene that Lovibond interrupted by his entrance. "Still bent on spending your money, Captain?" he said. "Don't you see that the people who write you these begging letters are impostors?"
"Coorse I do," said Davy. "What's it saying in the Ould Book? 'Where the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.' Only, as Parson Howard used to say, bless the ould angel, 'Summat's gone screw with the translation theer, friends, should have been vultures."
"Half of them will only drink your money, Captain," said Lovibond.
"And what for shouldn't they? That's what I'm doing," said Davy.
"It's poor work, Captain, poor work. You didn't always think: money was a thing to pitch into a ditch."
"Always? My goodness, no!" said Davy. "Time was once when I thought money was just all and Tommy in this world. My gough, yes, when I was a slip of a lad, didn't I?" said he, sobering very suddenly. "The father was lost in a gale at the herrings, and the mawther had to fend for the lot of us. They all went off except myself—the sisters and brothers. Poor things, they wasn't willing to stay with us, and no wonder. But there's mostly an ould person about every Manx house that sees the young ones out, and the mawther's father was at us still. Lame though of his legs with the rheumatics, and wake in his intellecs for all. Couldn't do nothing but lie in by the fire with his bit of a blanket hanging over his head, same as snow atop of a hawthorn bush. Just stirring the peats, and boiling the kettle, and lifting the gorse when there was any fire. The mawther weeded for Jarvis Kewley—sixpence a day dry days, and fourpence all weathers. Middling hard do's, mate. And when she'd give the ould man his basin of broth he'd be saying, squeaky-like, 'Give it to the boy, woman; he's a growing lad?' 'Chut! take it, man,' the mawther would say, and then he'd be whimpering, 'I'm keeping you long, Liza, I'm keeping you long.' And there was herself making a noise with her spoon in the bottom of a basin, and there was me grinding my teeth, and swearing to myself like mad, 'As sure as the living God I'll be ruch some day.' And now—"
Davy snapped his fingers, laughed boisterously, rolled to his feet, and said shortly, "Where've you been to?"
"To church—the church with a spire at the end of the parade," said Lovibond.
"St. Thomas's—I know it," said Davy.
St. Thomas's was half way up to Castle Mona.
The men strolled out at the window, which opened on to the warm, soft turf of the Head, and lay down there with their faces to the sun-lit bay.
"Who preached?" said Davy, clasping hands at the back of his head.
"A young woman," said Lovibond.
Davy lifted his head out of its socket, "My goodness!" he said.
"Well, at all events," explained Lovi-bond, "it was a girl who preached to me. The moment I went into the church I saw her, and I saw nothing else until I came out again."
Davy laughed, "Ay, that's the way a girl slips in," said he. "Who was she?"
"Nay; I don't know," said Lovibond; "but she sat over against me on the opposite side of the aisle, and her face was the only prayer-book I could keep my eyes from wandering from."
"And what was her tex', mate?"
"Beauty, grace, truth, the tenderness of a true heart, the sweetness of a soul that is fresh and pure."
Davy looked up with vast solemnity. "Take care," said he. "There's odds of women, sir. They're like sheep's broth is women. If there's a heart and head in them they're good, and if there isn't you might as well be supping hot water. Faces isn't the chronometer to steer your boat to the good ones. Now I've seen some you could swear to——."
"I'll swear to this one," said Lovibond with an appearance of tremendous earnestness.
Davy looked at him, gravely. "D'ye say so?" said he.
"Such eyes, Capt'n—big and full, and blue, and then pale, pale blue, in the whites of them too, like—like——."
"I know," said Davy; "like a blackbird's eggs with the young birds just breaking out of them."
"Just," said Lovibond, "And then her hair, Capt'n—brown, that brown with a golden bloom, as if it must have been yellow when she was a child."
"I know the sort, sir," said Davy, proudly; "like the ling on the mountains in May, with the gorse creeping under it."
"Exactly. And then her voice, Cap tain, her voice—."
"So you were speaking to her?" said Davy.
"No, but didn't she sing?" said Lovi-bond. "Such tones, soft and tremulous, rising and falling, the same as—as—."
"Same as the lark's, mate," said Davy, eagerly; "same as the lark's—first a burst and a mount and then a trimble and a tumble, as if she'd got a drink of water out of the clouds of heaven, and was singing and swallowing together—I know the sort; go on."
Lovibond had kept pace with Davy's warmth, but now he paused and said quietly, "I'm afraid she's in trouble."
"Poor thing!" said Davy. "How's that, mate?"
"People can never disguise their feelings in singing a hymn," said Lovibond.
"You say true, mate," said Davy; "nor in giving one out neither. Now, there was old Kinvig. He had a sow once that wasn't too reg'lar in her pigging. Sometimes she gave many, and sometimes she gave few, and sometimes she gave none. She was a hit-and-a-missy sort of a sow, you might say. But you always know'd how the ould sow done, by the way Kinvig gave out the hymn. If it was six he was as loud as a clarnet, and if it was one his voice was like the tram-bones. But go on about the girl."
"That's all," said Lovibond. "When the service was over I walked down the aisle behind her, and touched her dress with my hand, and somehow—"
"I know," cried Davy. "Gave you a kind of 'lectricity shock, didn't it? Lord alive, mate, girls is quare things."
"Then she walked off the other way," said Lovibond.
"So you don't know where she comes from?" said Davy.
"I couldn't bring myself to follow her, Capt'n."
"And right too, mate. It's sneaking. Following a girl in the streets is sneaking, and the man that done it ought to be wallopped till all's blue. But you'll see her again, I'll go bail, and maybe hear who she is. Rael true women is skess these days, sir; but I'm thinking you've got your flotes down for a good one. Give her line, mate—give her line—and if I wasn't such a downhearted chap myself I'd be helping you to land her."
Lovibond observed that Capt'n Davy was more than usually restless after this conversation, and in the course of the afternoon, while he lay in a hazy dose on the sofa, he overheard this passage between the captain and his boy:—
"Willie Quarrie, didn't you say there was an English lady staying with Mistress Quiggin at Castle Mona?"
"Miss Crows; yes," said Willie. "So Peggy Quine is telling me—a little person with a spyglass, and that fond of the mistress you wouldn't think."
"Then just slip across in the morning, and spake to herself, and say can I see her somewheres, or will she come here, and never say nothing to nobody."
Davy's uneasiness continued far into the evening. He walked alone to and fro on the turf of the Head in front of the house, until the sun set behind the hills to the west, where a golden rim from its falling light died off on the farthest line of the sea to the east, and the town between lay in a haze of deepening purple. Lovibond knew where his thoughts were, and what new turn they had taken; but he pretended to see nothing, and he gave no sign.
Sunday as it was, Capt'n Davy's cronies came as usual at nightfall. They were a sorry gang, but Davy welcomed them with noisy cheer. The lights were brought in, and the company sat down to its accustomed amusements. These were drinking and smoking, with gambling in disguise at intervals. Davy lost tremendously, and laughed with a sort of wild joy at every failure. He was cheated on all hands, and he knew it. Now and again he called the cheaters by hard name, but he always paid them their money. They forgave the one for the sake of the other, and went on without shame. Lovibond's gorge rose at the spectacle. He was an old gambler himself, and could have stripped every rascal of them all as naked as a lettuce after a locust. His indignation got the better of him at last, and he went out on to the Head.
The calm sea lay like a dark pavement dotted with the reflection of the stars overhead. Lights in a wide half-circle showed the line of the bay. Below was the black rock of the island of the Tower of Refuge, and the narrow strip of the old Red pier; beyond was the dark outline of the Head, and from the seaward breast of it shot the light of the lighthouse, like the glow of a kiln. It was as quiet and beautiful out there as it had been noisy and hideous within.
Lovibond had been walking to and fro for more than an hour listening to the slumberous voices of the night, and hearing at intervals the louder bellowing from the room where Captain Davy and his cronies were sitting, when Davy himself came out.
"I can't stand no more of it, and I've sent them home," he said. "It's like saying your prayers to a hornpipe, thinking of her and carrying on with them wastrels."
He was sober in one sense only.
"Tell me more about the little girl in church. Aw, matey, matey! Something under my waistcoat went creep, creep, creep, same as a sarpent, when you first spake of her; but its easier to stand till that jaw inside anyway. Go on, sir. Love at first sight, was it? Aw, well, the eyes isn't the only place that love is coming in at, or blind men would all be bachelors. Now mine came in at the ear."
"Did you fall in love with her singing, Capt'n?" said Lovibond.
"Yes, did I," said Davy, "and her spaking, too, and her whispering as well, but it wasn't music that brought love in at my ear—my left ear it was, Matey."
"Whatever was it then, Capt'n," said Lovibond.
"Milk," said Davy.
"Milk?" cried Lovibond, drawing up in their walk.
"Just milk," said Davy again. "Come along and I tell you. It was this way. Ould Kinvig kep' two cows, and we were calling the one Whitie and the other Brownie. Nelly and me was milking the pair of them, and she was like a young goat, that full of tricks, and I was same as a big calf, that shy. One evening—it was just between the lights—that's when girls is like kittens, terr'ble full of capers and mischievousness—Nelly rigged up her kopie—that's her milking-stool—agen mine, so that we sat back to back, her milking Brownie and me milking Whitie. 'What she agate of now?' thinks I, but she was looking as innocent as the bas'es themselves, with their ould solem faces when they were twisting round. Then we started, and there wasn't no noise in the cow-house, but just the cows chewing constant, and, maybe, the rope running on their necks at whiles and the rattle of the milk in the pails. And I got to draeming same as I was used of, with the smell of the hay stealing down from the loft and the breath of the cows coming puff when they were blowing, and the tits in my hands agoing, when the rattle-rattle aback of me stopped sudden, and I felt a squish in my ear like the syringe at the doctor's. 'What's that?' thinks I. 'Is it deaf I'm going?' But it's deaf I'd been and blind, too, and stupid for all down to that blessed minute, for there was Nessy laughing like fits, and working like mad, and drops of Brownie's milk going trickling out of my ear on to my shoulder. 'It's not deafness,' thinks I; 'it's love'; and my breath was coming and going and making noises like the smithy bellows. So I twisted my wrist and blazed back at her, and we both fired away, ding-dong, till the cows was as dry as Kinvig when he was teetotal, and the cow-house was like a snowstorm with a gale of wind through it, and you couldn't see a face at the one of us for swansdown. That's how Nelly and me 'came engage."
He was laughing noisily by this time, and crying alternately, with a merry shout and a husky croak, "Aw, dear, aw, dear; the days that was, sir—the days that was!"
Lovibond let him rattle on, and he talked of Nelly for an hour. He had stories without end of her, some of them as simple as a baby's prattle, some as deep as the heart of man, and splitting open the very crust of the fires of buried passion.
It was late when they turned in for the night. The lights on the line of the land were all put out, and save for the reflection of the stars only the lamps of ships at anchor lit up the waters of the bay.
"Good night, capt'n," said Lovi-bond. "I suppose you'll go to bed now?"
"Maybe so, maybe no," said Davy. "You see, I'm like Kinvig these days, and go to bed to do my thinking. The ould man's cart-wheel came off in the road once, and we couldn't rig it on again no how. 'Hould hard, boys,' says Kinvig; and he went away home and up to the loft, and whipped off his clothes, and into the blankets and stayed there till he'd got the lay of that cartwheel. Aw, yes, though—thinking, thinking, thinking constant—that's me when I'm in bed. But it isn't the lying awake I'm minding. Och, no; it's the wakening up again. That's like nothing in the world but a rusty nail going driving into your skull afore a blacksmith's seven-pound sledge. Good night, mate; good night."
Next day Lovibond saw Mrs. Quiggin at Castle Mona. He had come at once in obedience to her summons, and she took his sympathies by storm. It was hard for him to realize that he had not seen her somewhere before. He had seen her—in his own description of the girl in church, helped out, led on, directed, vivified, and transfigured by Capt'n Davy's own impetuous picture, just as the mesmerist sees what he pretends to show by aid of the eye of the mesmerized. There she sat, like one for whom life had lost its savor. Her great slow eyes, her pale and quivering face,' her long deep look as she took his hand, and her softly tightening grasp of it went through him like a knife. Not all his loyalty to Capt'n Davy could crush the thought that the man who had thrown away a jewel such as this must be a brute and a blockhead. But the sweet woman was not so lost to life that she did not see her advantage. There were some weary sighs and then she said:—
"I am in great, great trouble about my husband. They say he is wasting his money. Is it true?"
"Too true," said Lovibond.
"And that if he goes on as he is now going he will be penniless?"
"Not impossible," said Lovibond, "provided the mad fit last long enough."
"Is remonstrance quite useless, Mr. Lovibond?"
"Quite, Mrs. Quiggin."
The great slow eyes began to fill, and Lovibond's gaze to seek the laces of his boots.
"It is sorrow enough to me, Mr. Lovibond, that my husband and I have quarreled and parted, but it will be the worst grief of all if some day I should have to think that I came into his life to wreck it."
"Don't blame yourself for that, Mrs. Quiggin. It will be his own fault if he ruins himself."
"You are very good, Mr. Lovi-bond."
"Your husband will never blame you either."
"That will hardly reconcile me to his misfortunes."
["The man's an ass," thought Lovibond.]
"I shall not trouble him much longer with my presence here," Mrs. Quiggin continued, and Lovibond looked up inquiringly.
"I am going back home soon," she added. "But if before I go some friend would help me to save my husband from himself——"
Lovibond rose in an instant. "I am at your service, Mrs. Quiggin," he said briskly. "Have you thought of anything?"
"Yes. They tell me that he is gambling, and that all the cheats of the island are winning from him."
The pale face turned very red, and quivered visibly about the lips.
"I have heard him say, when he has spoken of you, Mr. Lovibond, that—that—but will you forgive what I am going to tell you?"
"Anything," said Lovibond.
"That out on the coast you could win from anybody. I remembered this when they told me that he was gambling, and I thought if you would play against my husband—for me———"
"I see what you mean, Mrs. Quiggin," said Lovibond.
"I don't want the money, though he was so cruel as to say I had only married him for sake of it. But you could put it back into Dumbell's Bank day by day as you got it."
"In whose name?" said Lovibond.
The great eyes opened very wide. "His, surely," she said falteringly.
Lovibond saw the folly of that thought, but he also recognized its tenderness.
"Very well," he said; "I'll do my best."
"Will it be wrong to deceive him, Mr. Lovibond?"
"It will be mercy itself, Mrs. Quiggin."
"To be sure, it is only to save him from ruin. But you will not believe that I am thinking of myself, Mr. Lovibond?"
"Trust me for that, Mrs. Quiggin."
"And when the wild fit is over, and my husband hears of what has been done, you will be careful not to let him know that it was I who thought of it?"
"You shall tell him yourself, Mrs. Quiggin."
"Ah! that can never, never be," she said, with a sigh. And then she murmured softly, "I don't know what my husband may have told you about me, Mr. Lovibond—"
Lovibond's ardor overcame his prudence. "He has told me that you were an angel once—and he has wronged you, the dunce and dulbert—you are an angel still."
While Lovibond was with Mrs. Quig-gin Jenny Crow was with Capt'n Davy. She had clutched at his invitation with secret delight. "Just the thing," she thought. "Now, won't I give the other simpleton a piece of my mind, too?" So she had bowled off to Fort Ann with a heart as warm as toast, and a tongue that was stinging hot. But when she had got there her purpose had suddenly changed. The first sight of Capt'n Davy's face had conquered her. It was so child-like, and yet so manly, so strong and yet so tender, so obviously made for smiles like sunshine, and yet so full of the memories of recent tears! Jenny recalled her description of the sailor on the Head, and thought it no better than a vulgar caricature.
Davy wiped down a chair for her with the outside of his billycock and led her up to it with rude but natural manners. "The girl was a ninny to quarrel with a man like this," she thought. Nevertheless she remembered her purpose of making him smart, and she stuck to her guns for a round or two.
"It's rael nice of you to come, ma'am," said Davy.
"It's more than you deserve," said Jenny.
"I shouldn't wonder but you think me a blundering blocket," said Davy.
"I didn't think you had sense enough to know it," said Jenny.
With that second shot Jenny's powder was spent. Davy looked down into her face and said—
"I'm terr'ble onaisy about herself, ma'am, and can't take rest at nights for thinking what's to come to her when I am gone."
"Gone?" said Jenny, rising quietly.
"That's so ma'am," said Davy. "I'm going away—back to that ould Nick's oven I came from, and I'll want no money there."
"Is that why you're wasting it here, Captain Quiggin?" said Jenny. Her gayety was gone by this time.
"No—yes! Wasting? Well maybe so, ma'am, may be so. It's the way with money. Comes like the droppings out of the spout at the gable, ma'am; but goes like the tub when the bull has tipped it. Now I was thinking ma'am——"
"She won't take any of it, coming from me, but I was thinking, ma'am—"
"Yes?" Davy was pawing the carpet with one foot, and Jenny's eyes were creeping up the horn buttons of his waistcoat.
"I was thinking, ma'am, if you could take a mossle of it yourself before it's all gone, and go and live with her—you and she together somewheres—some quiet place—and make out somehow—women's mortal clever at rigging up yarns that do no harm—make out that somebody belonging to you is dead—it can't kill nobody to say that ma'am—and left you a bit of a fortune out of hand——"
Davy's restless foot was digging away at the carpet while he was stammering out these broken words:
"Haven't you no ould uncle, ma'am, that would do for the like of that?"
Jenny had to struggle with herself not to leap up and hug Capt'n Davy then and there, "What a ninny the girl was!" she thought. But she said aloud, as well as she could for her throat that was choking her, "I see what you mean, Captain Quiggin. But, Cap tain——"
"Ma'am?" said Davy.
"If you have so much thought—(gulp, gulp)—for your wife's welfare (gulp), you—must love her still (gulp, gulp)?
"I daren't say no, ma'am," said Davy, with downcast eyes.
"And if you love her, however deeply she may have offended you, surely you should never leave her. Come, now, Captain, forgive and forget; she is only a woman, you know."
"That's just where the shoe pinches, ma'am, so I'm taking it off. Out yonder it'll be easier to forgive. And if it'll be harder to forget, what matter?"
Jenny's eyes were beginning to fill.
"No use crying over spilled milk, is it, ma'am? The heart-ache is a sort of colic that isn't cured by drops."
Jenny was breaking down fast.
"Aw, the heart's a quare thing, ma'am. Got its hunger same as anything else. Starve it, and it'll know why. Gives you a kind of a sinking at the pit of your stomach, ma'am. Did you never feel it, ma'am?"
Davy's speech was rude enough, but that only made its emotion the more touching to Jenny. Between gulp and gulp she tried to say that if he went away he would never be happy again.
"Happy, ma'am? D'ye say happy? I'm not happy now," said Davy.
"It isn't everybody would think so, Captain," said Jenny, "considering how you spend your evenings—singing and laughing——"
"Laughing! More cry till wool, ma'am, same as clipping a pig."
"So your new friends, Captain, those that your riches have brought you—"
"Friends? D'ye say friends? Them wastrels! What are they? Nothing but a parcel of Betty Quilleash's baby's stepmothers. And I'm nothing but Betty Quilleash's baby myself, ma'am; that's what I am."
The stalwart fellow did not look much like anybody's infant, but Davy could not laugh, and Jenny's eyes were streaming.
"Betty lived at Michael, ma'am, and died when her baby was suckling. There wasn't no feeding-bottles in them days, and the little one was missing the poor dead mawther mortal. But babies is like lammies, ma'am, they've got their season, and mostly all the women of the parish had babies that year. So first one woman would whip up Betty's baby and give it a taste of the breast, and then another would whip it up and do likewise, until the little baby cuckoo was in every baby nest in the place, and living all over the street, like the rum-butter bowl and the preserving pan. But no use at all, at all. The little mite wasted away. Poor thing, poor thing. Twenty mawthers wasn't making up to it for the right one it had lost. That's me, ma'am; that's me."
Jenny Crow went away, crying openly, having promised to be a party to the innocent deception which Captain Davy had suggested. "That Nelly Kinvig is as hard as a flint," she told herself, bitterly. "I've no patience with such flinty people; and won't I give it her piping hot at the very next opportunity?"
Jenny's opportunity was a week in coming, and various events of some consequence in this history occurred in the mean time. The first of these was that Capt'n Davy's fortune changed hands.
Davy's savings had been invested in two securities—the Liverpool Dock Trust and Dumbell's Manx Bank. His property in the former he made over by help of the advocates, and with vast show of secrecy, to the name of Jenny Crow; and she, on her part, by help of other advocates, and with yet more real secrecy, transferred it to the name of Mrs. Quiggin.
The remains of his possessions in the latter he lost to Lovibond, who gambled with him constantly, beginning with a sovereign, which Mrs. Quiggin had lent him for the purpose, and going on by a process of doubling until the stakes were prodigious. Every night he discharged his debt by check on Dumbell's, and every morning Lovibond repaid it into the same bank to the account of his wife. Thus, within a week, unknown to either of the two persons chiefly concerned, the money which had been the immediate cause of strife between them passed from the offender to the offended, from the strong to the weak.
That was the more material of the changes that had come to pass, and the more spiritual were of still greater consequence.
Lovibond and Jenny met constantly. They made various excursions through the island—to the Tynwald Hill, to Peel Castle, to Castle Rushen, the Chasms, and the Calf. Of course they persuaded each other that these trips were taken solely in the interests of their friends. It was necessary to meet; it was desirable to do so where they would be unobserved; what else was left to them but to steal away together on these little jaunts and journeys?
Then their talk was of love and estrangement and reconciliation, and how easy to quarrel, and how hard to come together again. Capt'n Davy and Mrs. Quiggin provided all their illustrations to these interesting themes, for naturally they never spoke of themselves.
"It's astonishing what geese some people can be," said Jenny.
"Astonishing," echoed Lovibond.
"Just for sake of a poor little word of confession to hold off like this," said Jenny.
"Just a poor little word," said Lovibond.
"He has only to say 'My dear, I behaved like a brute,' but——"
"Only that," said Lovibond. "And she has merely to say, 'My love, I behaved like a cat,' but——"
"That's all," said Jenny. "But he doesn't—men never do."
"Never," said Lovibond. "And she won't—women never will."
Then there would be innocent glances on both sides, and sly hints cast out as grappling hooks for jealousy.
"Ah, well, he's the dearest, simplest, manliest fellow in the world, and there are women who would give their two ears for him," said Jenny.
"And she's the sweetest, tenderest, loveliest woman alive, and there are men who would give their two eyes for her," said Lovibond.
"Pity they don't," said Jenny, "for all the use they make of them."
Amid such bouts of thrust and counter-thrust, the affair of Capt'n Davy and Mrs. Quiggin nevertheless made due progress.
"She's half in love with my Manx sailor on the Head," said Jenny.
"And he's more than half in love with my lady in the church," said Lovibond.
"And now that we've made each of them fond of each other in disguise, we have just to make both of them ashamed of themselves in reality," said Jenny.
"Just that," said Lovibond.
"Ah me," said Jenny. "It isn't every pair of geese that have friends like us to prevent them from going astray."
"It isn't," said Lovibond. "We're the good old ganders that keep the geese together."
"Speak for yourself, sir," said Jenny.
Then came Jenny's opportunity. She had been out on one of her jaunts with Lovibond, leaving Mrs. Quiggin alone in her room at Castle Mona. Mrs. Quiggin was still in her room, and still alone. Since the separation a fortnight before that had been the constant condition of her existence. Never going out, never even going down for her meals, rarely speaking of her husband, always thinking of him, and eating out her heart with pride and vexation, and anger and self-reproach.
It was the hour when the life of the island rises to the fever point; the hour of the arrival of the steamers from England. All day long the town had droned and dosed under a drowsy heat. The boatmen and carmen, with both hands in their breeches' pocket, had been burning the daylight on the esplanade; the band on the pier had been blowing music out of lungs that snored between every other blast; and the visitors had been lolling on the seats of the parade and watching the sea gulls disporting on the bay with eyes that were drawing straws. But the first trail of smoke had been seen across the sea by the point of the lighthouse, and all the slugs and marmots were wide awake: promenade deserted, streets quiet and pothouses empty; but every front window of every front house occupied, and the pier crowded with people looking seaward. "She's the Snaefell?" "No, but the Ben-my-Chree—see, she has four funnels." Then, the steaming up, the firing of the gun, the landing of the passengers, the mails and newspapers, the shouting of the touts, the bawling of the porters, the salutations, the welcomes, the passings of the time of day, the rattling of the oars, the tinkling of the trams, and the cries of the newsboys: "This way for Castle Mona!" "Falcon Cliff this way!" "Echo!" "Evening Express!" "Good passage, John?" "Good." "Five hours?" "And ten minutes." "What news over the water?" "They've caught him." "Never." "Express!" "Fort Anne here—here for Villiers." "Comfortable lodgings, sir." "Take a card, ma'am." "What verdict d'ye say?" "She's got ten years." "Had fine weather in the island?" "Fine." "Echo! Evening Echo!" "Fort Anne this way!" "Gladstone in Liverpool?" "Yes, spoke at Hengler's last night—fearful crush." "Castle Mona!" "Evening News!" "Peveril!" "This way Falcon Cliff!" "Ex-press!"
Thus, leaving the pier and the steamers behind them, through the streets and into the hotels, the houses, the cars, and the trains go, the new comers, and the newspapers, and the letters from England, all hot and active, bringing word of the main land, with its hub-bub and hurly-burly, to the island that has been four-and-twenty hours cut off from it—like the throbbing and bounding globules of fresh blood fetching life from the fountain-head to some half-severed limb. It is an hour of tremendous vitality, coming once a day, when the little island pulsates like a living thing. But that evening, as always since the time of the separation, Mrs. Quiggin was unmoved by it. With a book in her hand she was sitting by the open window fingering the pages, but looking listlessly over the tops of them to the line of the sea and sky, and asking herself if she should not go home to her father's house on the morrow. She had reached that point of her reverie at which something told her that she should, and something else told her that she should not, when down came Jenny Crow upon her troubled quiet, like the rush of an evening breeze.
"Such news!" cried Jenny. "I've seen him again."
Mrs. Quiggin's book dropped suddenly to her lap. "Seen him?" she said with bated breath.
"You remember—the Manx sailor on the Head," said Jenny.
"Oh!" said Mrs. Quiggin, languidly, and her book went back to before her face.
"Been to Laxey to look at the big wheel," said Jenny; "and found the Manxman coming back in the same coach. We were the only passengers, and so I heard everything. Didn't I tell you that he must be in trouble?"
"And is he?" said Mrs. Quiggin, monotonously.
"My dear," said Jenny, "he's married."
"I'm very sorry," said Mrs. Quiggin, with a listless look toward the sea. "I mean," she added more briskly, "that I thought you liked him yourself."
"Liked him!" cried Jenny. "I loved him. He's splendid, he's glorious, he's the simplest, manliest, tenderest, most natural creature in the world. But it's just my luck—another woman has got him. And such a woman, too! A nagger, a shrew, a cat, a piece of human flint, a thankless wretch, whose whole selfish body isn't worth the tip of his little finger."
"Is she so bad as that?" said Mrs. Quiggin, smiling feebly above the top edge of her book, which covered her face up to the mouth.
"My dear," said Jenny, solemnly, "she has turned him out of the house."
"Good gracious!" said Mrs. Quiggin; and away went the book on to the sofa.
Then Jenny told a woeful tale, her eyes flashing, her lips quivering, and her voice ringing with indignation. And, anxious to hit hard, she hovered so closely over the truth as sometimes to run the risk of uncovering it. The poor fellow had made long voyages abroad and saved some money. He had loved his wife passionately—that was the only blot on his character. He always dreamt of coming home, and settling down in comfort for the rest of his life. He had come at last, and a fine welcome had awaited him. His wife was as proud as Lucifer—the daughter of some green-grocer, of course. She had been ashamed of her husband, apparently, and settling down hadn't suited her. So she had nagged the poor fellow out of all peace of mind and body, taken his money, and turned him adrift.
Jenny's audacity carried her through, and Mrs. Quiggin, who was now wide awake, listened eagerly. "Can it be possible that there are women like that?" she said, in a hushed whisper.
"Indeed, yes," said Jenny; "and men are simple enough to prefer them to better people."
"But, Jenny," said Mrs. Quiggin, with a far-away look, "we have only heard one story, you know. If we were inside the Manxman's house—if we knew all—might we not find that there are two sides to its troubles?"
"There are two sides to its street-door," said Jenny, "and the husband is on the outside of it."
"She took his money, you say, Jenny?"
"Indeed she did, Nelly, and is living on it now."
"And then turned him out of doors?"
"Well, so to speak, she made it impossible for him to live with her."
"What a cat she must be!" said Mrs. Quiggin.
"She must," said Jenny. "And, would you believe it, though she has treated him so shamefully yet he loves her still."
"Why do you think so, Jenny," said Mrs. Quiggin.
"Because," said Jenny, "though he is always sober when I see him I suspect that he is drinking himself to death. He said as much."
"Poor fellow!" said Mrs. Quiggin. "But men should not take these things so much to heart. Such women are not worth it."
"No, are they?" said Jenny.
"They have hardly a right to live," said Mrs. Quiggin.
"No, have they?" said Jenny.
"There should be a law to put down nagging wives the same as biting dogs," said Mrs. Quiggin.
"Yes, shouldn't there?" said Jenny.
"Once on a time men took their wives like their horses on trial for a year and a day, and really with some women there would be something to say for the old custom."
"Yes, wouldn't there?" said Jenny.
"The woman who is nothing of herself apart from her husband, and has no claim to his consideration, except on the score of his love, and yet uses him only to abuse him, and takes his very 'money, having none of her own, and still——"
"Did I say she took his money, Nelly?" said Jenny. "Well of course—not to be unfair—some men are such generous fools, you know—he may have given it to her."
"No matter; taken or given, she has got it, I suppose, and is living on it now."
"Oh, yes, certainly, that's very sure," said Jenny; "but then she's his wife, you see, and naturally her maintenance——"
"Maintenance!" cried Mrs. Quig-gin. "How many children has she got?"
"None," said Jenny. "At least I haven't heard of any."
"Then she ought to be ashamed of herself for thinking of such a thing."
"I quite agree with you, Nelly," said Jenny.
"If I were a man," said Mrs. Quiggin, "and my wife turned me out of doors——"
"Did I say that, Nelly? Well not exactly that—no, not turned him out of doors exactly, Nelly."
"It's all one, Jenny. If a woman behaves so that her husband can not live with her what is she doing but turning him out of doors?"
"But, Nelly!" cried Jenny, rising suddenly. "What about Captain Davy?"
Then there was a blank silence. Mrs. Quiggin had been borne along on the torrent of her indignation, brooking no objection, and sweeping down every obstacle, until brought up sharply by Jenny's question—like a river that flows fastest and makes most noise where the bowlders in its course are biggest, but breaks itself at last against the brant sides of some impassable rock. She drew her breath in one silent spasm, turned from feverish red to deadly pale, quivered about the mouth, twitched about the eyelids, rose stiffly on her half-rigid limbs, and then fell on Jenny with loud and hot reproaches.
"How dare you, Jenny Crow?" she cried.
"Dare what, my dear?" said Jenny.
"Say that I've turned my husband out of doors, and that I've taken his money, and that I am a cat and shrew, and a nagger, and that there ought to be a law to put me down."
"My dear Nelly," said Jenny, "it was yourself that said so. I was speaking of the wife of the Manx sailor."
"Yes, but you were thinking of me," said Mrs. Quiggin.
"I was thinking of her," said Jenny.
"You were thinking of me as well," said Mrs. Quiggin.
"I tell you that I was only thinking of her," said Jenny.
"You were thinking of me, Jenny Crow—you know you were; and you meant that I was as bad as she was. But circumstances alter cases, and my case is different. My husband is turning me out of doors: and, as for his money, I didn't ask for it and I don't want it. I'll go back home to-morrow morning. I will—indeed, I will. I'll bear this torment no longer."
So saying, with many gasps and gulps, breaking at last into a burst of weeping, she covered her face with both hands and flounced out of the room. Jenny watched her go, then listened to the sobs that came from the other side of the door, and said beneath her breath, "Let her cry, poor girl. The crying has to be done by somebody, and it might as well be she. Crying is good for a woman sometimes, but when a man cries it hurts so much."
Half an hour later, as Jenny was leaving the room for dinner, she heard Mrs. Quiggin telling Peggy Quine to ask at the office for her bill, and to order a carriage to be ready at the door for her at eleven o'clock in the morning.
When the first burst of her vexation was spent Mrs. Quiggin made a secret and startling discovery. The man whom Jenny Crow had stumbled upon, first on the Head and afterward on the Laxey coach, could be no one in the world but her own husband. A certain shadowy suspicion of this had floated hazily before her mind at the beginning, but she had dismissed the idea and forgotten it. Now she felt so sure of it that it was beyond contempt of question. So the Manx sailor in whom Jenny had found so much to admire—the simple, brave, manly, generous, natural soul, all fresh air and by rights all sunshine—was no other than Capt'n Davy Quiggin! That thought brought the hot blood tingling to Mrs. Quiggin's cheeks with sensations of exquisite delight, and never before had her husband seemed so fine in her own eyes as now, when she saw him so noble in the eyes of another. But close behind this delicious reflection, like the green blight at the back of the apple blossom, lay a withering and cankering thought. The Manx sailor's wife—she who had so behaved that it was impossible for him to live with her—she who was a cat, a shrew, a nagger, a thankless wretch, a piece of human flint, a creature that should be put down by the law as it puts down biting dogs—she whose whole selfish body was not worth the tip of his little finger—was no one else than herself!
Then came another burst of weeping, but this time the tears were of shame, not of vexation, and they washed away every remaining evil humor and left the vision clear. She had been in the wrong, she was judged out of her own mouth; but she had no intention of fitting on the cap of the unknown woman. Why should she? Jenny did not know who the woman was—that was as plain as a pickle. Then where was the good of confessing?
While Jenny Crow was doing her easy duty at Castle Mona, Lovibond was engaged in a task of yet more simplicity at Fort Ann. On returning from Laxey he found Captain Davey occupied with Willie Quarrie in preparations for a farewell supper to be given that night to the cronies who had helped him to spend his fortune. These worthies had deserted his company since Lovibond had begun to take all the winnings, including some of their own earlier ones; and hence the necessity to invite them. "There's ould Billy, the carrier—ask him," Davy was saying, as he lay stretched on the sofa, puffing whorls of gray smoke from a pipe of thick twist. "And then there's Kerruish, the churchwarden, and Kewley, the crier, and Hugh Corlett, the blacksmith, and Tommy Tubman, the brewer, and Willie Qualtrough, that keeps the lodging-house contagious, and the fat man that bosses the Sick and Indignant society, and the long, lanky shanks that is the headpiece of the Friendly and Malevolent Association—got them all down, boy?"