HallCaine CHAPTER PAGE PROEM 361 I MYLREABALLADHOO 362 II INPEELCASTLE 367 III "MACK'REL—MACKER-EL—MACK-ER-EL!" 373 IV THEFIRSTOF"THEHERRINGS" 376 V CHRISTIANMYLREA 379 VI THENETFACTORY 381 VII THELASTOF"THEHERRINGS" 390 VIII "SEEMSTOMEIT'SALLNATHUR" 396 IX THEHERRINGMEAILLEY 399 X "THEREISSORROWONTHESEA" 406 XI THESHOCKIN'POWERFULSKAME 414 XII STRONGKNOTSOFLOVE 417 XIII THEFLIGHTANDPURSUIT 421 XIV "BILLISGONETOBED" 426 XV ARESURRECTIONINDEED 431 XVI GOD'SWRITINGONTHESEA 438 XVII "OH,ABSALOM,MYSON,MYSON"
444 XVIII SHE'SALLTHEWORLDTOME 451 XIX THEWORLD'SWANTISMEN 457 XX THEFAIRYTHATCAMEFORRUBY 461 XXI OIELVERREE 467 XXII ONTHEMOARREEF 472
PROEM Thisisthestoryofhowawoman'slovetriumphedoverneglectandwrong,and ofhowtheunrequitedpassioninthegreatheartofaboytroditsdeviouspathsin thewaytodeath,untilitstoodalonewithitsburdenofsinbeforeGodandthe pitilessdeep. InthemiddleoftheIrishSeathereis,aseveryoneknows,anislandwhichfor manyageshashaditsownpeople,withtheirownlanguageandlaws,theirown judges and governor, their own lords and kings, their own customs and superstitions,theirownproverbsandsaws,theirownballadsandsongs.Onthe westcoastoftheIsleofManstandsthetownofPeel.Thoughcleanandsweet,it isnotevenyetmuchofaplacetolookatwithitsnooksandcorners,itsblind lanesanddarkalleys,itsnarrow,crooked,crabbedstreets.Thirty-fiveyearsago it was a poor little hungry fishing port, chill and cheerless enough, staring straight outovermilesand milesofbleaksea.TothenorthofPeelstretches a broad shore; to the south lies the harbor with a rocky headland and bare mountainbeyond.Infront—dividedfromthemainlandbyanarrowstrait—isa rugged island rock, on which stand the ruins of a castle. At the back rises a gentleslopedottedoverwithgrayhouses. Thisisthesceneofthefollowinghistoryofthelovethatwaswonandthelove thatwaslost,ofdeaththathadnostingandthegravethathadnovictory.Wild andeeryasthecoastonwhichIlearneditisthisstoryofloveanddeath;butitis true as Truth and what it owes to him who writes it now with feelings deeper than he can say is less than it asks of all by whom it is read in sympathy and simplefaith.
CHAPTERI MYLREABALLADHOO Theseasonwasearlysummer;theyear1850.Themorninghadbeenbrightand calm, but a mist had crept up from the sea as the day wore on, and the night, when it came, was close, dark, and dumb. Laden with its salt scent, the dank vapor had enveloped an old house on the "brew" behind the town. It was a curious place—ugly, long, loose, and straggling. One might say it was a featureless and irresolute old fabric. Over the porch was printed, "Prepare to meetthyGod."ItwascalledBalladhoo,and,withitslands,ithadbeenforages theholdingoftheMylreas,anancientManxfamily,oncerichandconsequently revered,nownotoriouslylesswealthyandproportionatelymorefallible. Inthishousetherewasaparlorthatfacedthebayandlookedouttowardstheold castleandthepieratthemouthoftheharbor.Overthemantel-piecewascarved "God'sProvidenceisMineInheritance."Onemightaddthatitwasamelancholy oldmansion. Agentlemanwasbusyatatableinthebaywindowsortingandarrangingpapers bythelastglimmeringdaylight.Hewasamanofsixty-five,stout,yetflaccid, andslack,andwearingasuitofcoarsebluehomespunthatlaylooselyuponhim. Hiswhitehairhungaboutafacethatbespokeanunusualcombinationoftraits. Theeyesandforeheadwerefullofbenevolence,butthemouthwasalternately strongandweak,harshandtender,uncertainwhethertheproperfunctionofits mobilecornerswastoturnupinlaughterordownindisdain. This was Evan Mylrea, member of the House of Keys, Harbor Commissioner, andboat-owner,philanthropistandmagistrate,coroner,constableand"local"for the Wesleyan body, and commonly known by his surname coupled with the nameofhisestate—MylreaBalladhoo.MylreaBalladhoodidnotbeliehisface. Hewasthesortofmanwhogiveshisdogoneblowforsnappingathishand,and then two more for not coming back to be caressed. Rightly understood, the theoryofmoralsthatanactlikethisimpliestellsthewholestoryofMylrea'slife and character, so far as either of these concerns the present history. It was the rule on which this man, now grown old, had lived with the young, reckless,
light-hearted,thoughtless,beautiful,anddarlingwifewhomhehadbroughtfrom England thirty years ago, and buried at home five years afterwards. It was the principleonwhichhehadbroughtupheronlyson. Justnowtherecamefromsomeremotepartofthehousethemostdolefulwails that ever arrested mortal ears. At times they resembled the scream of the cormorant as he wheels over a rock at sea. At other times they recalled more preciselytheplaintiveappealofthetaillesstabbywhensheispressedhardfor timeandspace.MylreaBalladhoowasconsciousofthesenoises.Glancingonce at his face, you might have thought it had dropped to a stern frown. Glancing twice,youmusthaveseenthatithadrisentoabroadgrin.Onemightcertainly saythatthiswasagruesomedwelling. There was a loud banging of doors, the distant screeches were suddenly abridged; there was the tread of an uncertain foot in the passage without, the dooropened,andanelderlymanentered,carryingalamp,whichheplacedon thetable.ItwasJamesQuark,thegardener,commonlycalledJemmyBalladhoo. Thatmentionofthecormorantwaslucky;thisman'seyeshadjustthesea-bird's wildstare.Thetwolittlegray-greenglobesoffirewere,however,setinafaceof themostflabbyamiability.Hishair,whichwasthinandweak,traveledstraight down his forehead due for his eyes. In one hand he carried something by the neck,which,asheentered,hemadelateandfutileeffortstoconcealbehindhis back. "It's Mr. Kerruish Kinvig, sir, that's coming up to see you," said the man in a meekvoice. "Showhimin,"saidMylreaBalladhoo;"and,Jemmy,"headded,shoutinginthe man'sear,"formercy'ssaketakethatfiddletothebarn." "Takehimtothebarn?"saidJemmy,withanaffrightedstare."Why,it'scoming hereheis,thisveryminute." "Thefiddle,thefiddle!"shoutedMr.Mylrea."Ialwayshadmydoubtsaboutthe musicthat'sinit,andnowIseethere'snone." Jemmytookhimselfoff,carryinghisfiddleverytenderlyinbothhands.Hewas allbutstonedeaf,poorfellow,andhadneveryetknownthefullenjoymentof his own music. That's why he was so liberal of it with people more happily endowed.
Abigblusteringfellowthendashedintotheparlorwithoutceremony. "Balladhoo,"heshouted,inavoicethatrangthroughthehouse,"whydon'tyou havethelifeofthathowlingdemon?Here,takemyclasp-knifeatitandsilence itforever." "It's gone to the barn," said Mylrea Balladhoo, quietly, in reply to these bloodthirstyproposals. The newcomer, Kerruish Kinvig, was a prosperous net-maker in Peel, and a thorninthesideofeverypublicofficialwithinaradiusofmiles.Thejoyofhis lifewastohaveadelightfulrowwithamagistrate,acoroner,acommissioner,or perhaps a parson by preference. When there was never a public meeting to be interrupted,nevera"vestry"tobebrokenup,KerruishKinvigbecameasflatand stale as an old dog, and was forced to come up and visit his friend Mylrea Balladhoo,justbywayofkeepinghishandin. On the present occasion he had scarcely seated himself, when he leaped up, rushed to the window, peered into the night, and shouted that the light on the harborpierwasoutoncemore.Hedeclaredthatthiswasthethirdtimewithina month; prophesied endless catastrophes; didn't know for his part what in the name of common-sense the commissioners were about; could swear that smugglingwasgoingonundertheirverynoses. "I'll have the law on the lot of you," bellowed Kinvig at the full pitch of his voice,andmeantimehehelpedhimselftothewhiskyonthetable,andfilledhis pipe from the domestic bowl. "It's the truth, I'll fling you all out," he shouted throughacloudofsmoke. "Eh,you'llhaveyourfling,"repliedtheunperturbedMylrea. Then,goingtothedoor,themasterofBalladhoorecalledthegardener. Fromthesubsequentconversationitappearedthat,topreventillicittrading,the ImperialGovernmenthadbeencompelledtostationacutterineveryharborof theisland;thatthecutterstationedatPeel,havingcomebysomeinjuryamonth ago, had been removed to England for repairs, and had not yet been brought back. Kerruish Kinvig declared that some gang of scoundrels, perceiving the incompetenceofthehomeofficials,wereavailingthemselvesoftheabsenceof theGovernmentshiptorunvesselsladenwithcontrabandgoodsunderthecover ofthedarkness.
Jemmycameback,andMr.MylreasenthimtofetchhissonChristian. Jemmywentoffforthatpurpose. Some talk of the young man then ensued between his father and Kinvig. It transpired that Christian had had a somewhat questionable career—was his father's only son, and had well-nigh ruined the old man with debts contracted duringamysteriousabsenceofsixyears.Christianhadjustreturnedhome,and MylreaBalladhoo,sternontheoutside,tenderatthecore,lovinghissonasthe onethinglefttohimtolove,hadforgiveneverything—disgrace,ingratitude,and impoverishment—andtakenbacktheprodigalwithoutaword. And, in truth, there was something so winsome in the young fellow's reckless, devil-may-careindifferencethathegotattherightsideofpeople'saffectionsin spite of themselves. Only those who come close to this type of character can recognisetheriftofweaknessorwilfulness,oritmaybeofselfishness,thatruns through the fair vein of so much good-nature. And if Mylrea Balladhoo saw nothing,whothenshouldcomplain? Now,KerruishKinvigwasjustasfondofChristianasanybodyelse,butthatwas no just cause and impediment why he should hold his peace as to the young man'smanifoldweaknesses.Soitwas— "Lookhere,Balladhoo.I'vesomethingtosayaboutthatfinesonofyours,and it'smiddlingstrangetoo." "Dropit,Kerruish,"mutteredMylrea. "SoIwill,butit'sintoyourearI'lldropit.Doyouknowhe'shangingroundone ofmynet-makers—eh?" "You'refondofaspellatthejoking,Kerruish,butinageneralway,youknow,a mandoesn'tliketolooklikeafool.You'vegottoomuchfuninyou,Kerruish; that'syourfault,andI'vealwayssaidso." Therewasatwinkleintheoldman'seye,butitwentofflikesummerlightning. "Whoisshe?"heasked,inanothertone. "MonaCregeenthey'recallingher,"saidKinvig. "Whatisshe?" "Don'tItellyou—oneofmynet-makers!"thunderedKinvig.
"Who are her people? Where does she come from? What do you know about her?WhathasChristianhadtosaytoher—" "Holdon;that'samiddlingtidylottobeginwith,"shoutedKinvig. ThenitwasexplainedthatMonaCregeenwasayoungwomanofperhapsthreeand-twenty,whohadrecentlycometoPeelfromsomewhereinthesouthofthe island,accompaniedbyheragedmotherandlittlesister,achildoffive,closely resemblingher. Jemmy,thegardener,returnedtosaythatChristianwasnotathome;leftanhour ago;saidhewouldbebackbeforebedtime. "Ah!it'sthe'JollyHerrings'he'soffto,"saidKinvig.The"JollyHerrings"wasa lowhovelofaninndowninthetown. "AsIsay,you'veafinefeelingforthefun,Kerruish,"saidMylrea;"Jemmy,put on your coat quick. You have to carry a message to the harbor-master. It can't waitforMasterChristian." Now, Jemmy Balladhoo had, as we have seen, one weakness, but it was not work.Herememberedquiteopportunelythattherewasaboyinthekitchenwho hadjustcomeuponanerrandfromthetown,andmustofcoursegobackagain. Itwasquiteaninspiration,butnonethelessplainlyevidentthattheboywasthe verypersontocarrythemessagetotheharbor-master. "Whoishe?"shoutedKerruishKinvig. "DannyFayle,"answeredJemmy. "Pshaw!he'llnevergetthere,"bawledKinvig. "Bringhimup,"saidMylreaBalladhoo. Aminutelater,afisher-ladofeighteenshambledintotheroom.Youmighthave said he was long rather than tall. He wore a guernsey and fumbled with a soft blueseaman'scapinonehand.Hisfairhairclusteredintangledcurlsoverhis face,whichwassweetandcomely,buthadasimplevacantlookfromalagging lowerlip. Dannywasanorphan,andhadbeenbroughtupnonetootenderlybyanuncle andaunt.Theuncle,BillKisseck,wasadmiralofthefishing-fleet,andmasterof afishing-luggerbelongingtoMr.Mylrea.To-morrowwastobethefirstdayof
theherringseason,anditwasrelativetothateventthatDannyhadbeensentup to Balladhoo. The lad received from Mr. Mylrea, in his capacity as harbor commissioner,amessageofsternreproofandwarning,whichhewastoconvey to the official whose lack of watchfulness had allowed the light on the harbor piertogoout. "Runstraighttohishouse,Danny,mylad,"saidMylreaBalladhoo. "And don't go cooling your heels round that cottage of the Cregeens," put in KerruishKinvig. Afaintsmilethathadrestedlikearayofpalesunshineonthelad'ssimpleface suddenly vanished. He hung his head, touched his forehead with the hand holdingthecap,anddisappeared.
CHAPTERII INPEELCASTLE WhenDannyreachedtheoutsideofthehouse,thenightwasevenmoredarkand dumb than before. He turned to the right under the hill known as the Giant's Fingers,andtookthecliffroadtothetown.Thedeepboomofthewatersrolling slowlyonthesandbelowcameuptohimthroughthedenseair.Hecouldhear the little sandpiper screaming at Orry's Head across the bay. The sea-swallow shot past him, too, with its low mournful cry. Save for these, everything was still. Dannyhadwalkedaboutaquarterofamile,whenhepausedforamomentat thegateofacottagethatstoodhalfwaydownthehilltothetown.Therewasa lightinthekitchen,andfromwherehestoodintheroadDannycouldseethose whowerewithin.Asifbyaninvoluntarymovement,hiscapwasliftedfromhis head and fumbled in his fingers, while his eyes gazed yearningly in at the curtainless window. Then he remembered the harsh word of Kerruish Kinvig, and started off again more rapidly. It was as though he had been kneeling at a fairshrinewhenacruelhandbefouledandblurredit. Danny was superstitious. He was full to the throat of fairy lore and stories of witchcraft.Thenightwasdark;theroadwaslonely;hardlyasoundsavethatof hisownfootstepsbrokethestillness,andtheghostlymemorieswouldarise.To banish them Danny began to whistle, and, failing with that form of musical society, to sing. His selection of a song was not the happiest under the circumstances.Oddlyenough,itwasthedolefulballadofMyleCharaine.Danny sang it in Manx, but here is a stave of it in the lusty tones of the fine old "Lavengro"— "O,MyleCharaine,wheregotyouyourgold? Lone,lone,youhaveleftmehere. O,notinthecurragh,deepunderthemold, Lone,lone,andvoidofcheer." There was not much cheer that Danny could get out of Myle Charaine's
company, but he could not at the moment think of any ballad hero who was muchmoreheartsome.Hehadagoodstepoftheroadtogoyet.Somehowthe wildlegendoftheModdeyDhoowouldcreepupintoDanny'smind.Inthedays whentheoldcastlewasgarrisoned,thesoldiersintheguardroomwerecurious about a strange black dog that came every night and lay in their midst. "It's a devil,"saidone."I'llfollowitandsee,"saidanother.Whenthedogarosetogo, the intrepid soldier went out after it. His comrades tried to prevent him. "I'll followit,"hesaid,"ifitleadstohell."Aminuteafterwardtherewasanunearthly scream;thesoldierrushedbackpaleasacorpse,andwithgreatstaringeyes.He said not a word, and died within the hour. The Moddey Dhoo kept tormenting poorDannyto-night.Sohesetupthesongafresh,andtoheightenthesportive soulofit,hebegantorun.Oncehavingtakentohisheels,Dannyranasifthe blackdogitselfhadbeenbehindhim.Bythetimehereachedthetownhewas fairlyspent.MyleCharaineandtheModdeyDhootogetherhadbeentoomuch for Danny. What with the combined exertion of legs and lungs, the lad was perspiringfromheadtofoot. Thehouseoftheharbor-masterwasalittleivy-coveredcottagethatstoodonthe east end of the quay, near the bridge that crossed the river. The harbor-master himself was an unmarried elderly man, who enjoyed the curious distinction of havingalwayswornshortpetticoats.Hisfullandcorrectnameseemsalmostto havebeenlost.HewasknownasTommy-Bill-beg,aby-namewhichhadatleast acertaingenealogicalvalueinshowingthattheharbor-masterwasTommythe son of Little Bill. When Danny reached the cottage he knocked, and had no answer.Thenheliftedthelatchandwalkedin.Thehousewasempty,thougha light was burning. It had two rooms and no more. One was a dark closet of a sleeping-crib. The other, the living room, was choked with nearly every conceivable article of furniture and species of domestic ornament. Shells, fishbones, bits of iron and lead ore, sticks and pipes lay on tables, chairs, chests, settles, and corner cupboards. A three-legged stool stood before the fire-place; and with all his wealth of rickety furniture, this was probably the sole article whichtheharbor-masterused. There was a facetious-faced timepiece on the mantel-piece; and when folks pitiedtheisolationofTommy-Bill-beg,andaskedhimifheneverfeltlonely,he alwaysreplied,"NotwhileIheartheclocktick."ButTommy-Bill-beghadnot heard the clock tick for twenty years. He resembled Jemmy Quark in being almost stone-deaf, and had a further bond of union with the gardener of Balladhooinbeingmusical.Heplayednoinstrument,however,excepthisvoice,
which he believed to be of the finest quality and compass. The harbor-master waswofullywrongastotheformer,butrightastothelatter;hehadavoicelike arasp,andasloud as afog-horn. Printedcopies ofballadswerepinned upon variouspartsofthewallofhiskitchen.Tommy-Bill-begcouldnotreadaline; but he would rather have died than allow that this was so, and he never sang exceptfromprint. Danny Fayle knew well how often the musical weakness of the harbor-master was played upon by the Peel men; and when he found the cottage empty he suspectedthatsomewagsoffisher-fellowshaddecoyedTommy-Bill-begaway to the "Jolly Herrings" for the sport of having him sing on this their last night ashore.Dannysetofffortheinn,whichwasinCastleStreet.Hewalkedalong thequay,intendingtoturnupapassage. Thenightseemeddarkerthanevernow,andnotabreathofwindwasstirring. The harbor on Danny's left was some twenty yards across, and another twenty yardsdividedthemainlandfromtheislandrock,onwhichstoodtheruinsofthe oldfortress.Thetidewasout,andthefishing-luggerslayatsecureanchorageon theshingle,andinsixinchesofmud.Thepierwasstraightahead,andtherethe lightshouldnowbeburning. As Danny approached the passage that led up to Castle Street he heard the distantrumbleofnoisysinging.Yes,itcamefromthe"JollyHerrings"beyond question,andTommy-Bill-begwasthereairinghissinglevanity. Dannywasabouttoturnupthepassagewhen,inalullinthesinging,hethought hecaughtthesoundofvoicesandofthetreadoffeet.Bothcamefromtherock outside,andDannycouldnotresistthetemptationtowalkonandlisten. Therecouldbenodoubtofit.Somepeopleweregoinguptothecastle.What couldtheywantinthatdesolateplaceatnight,andthuslate?InDanny'smind the ancient castle had always been encircled by ghostly imaginings. Perhaps it wasfearthatdrewhimtoitnow.Probablyordinarycommon-sensewouldhave suggestedthatDannyshouldrunofffirsttotheharbor-masterwiththemessage that he had been charged to deliver, but Danny had neither part nor lot in that ordinaryinheritance. Near the bottom of the ebb tide the neck that divided the pier from the castle could be forded. Danny stole down the pier steps and crossed the ford as noiselessly as he could. A flight of other steps hewn out of the rock went up fromthewater'sedgetothedeepportcullis.Dannycreptup.Hefoundthatthe
oldnotchedandbarreddoorleadingintothecastlestoodopen.Dannystoodand listened.Thefootstepsthatheheardbeforewerenowfaraheadofhim.Itwas darkest of all under these thick walls. Danny had to pass the doorway of the ruinedguardroom,terriblewiththetraditionoftheblackdog.Ashewentbythe doorheturnedhisheadtowarditinthedarkness.Atthatinstanthethoughthe heard something stir. He gasped, but could not scream. He stretched his arms fearfullytowardthesound.Therewasnothing.Allwasstilloncemore;onlythe recedingfootstepsdyingaway.Dannythoughthehaddeceivedhimself.Itwas asthoughhehadheardtherustleofadress,butitmusthavebeenthesoftrustle ofleaves. Yettherewerenotreesinthecastle. Dannysteppedforwardintothecourtyard.Hisfeetfellsoftlyonthegrassthat now grew there. But he stopped again, and his heart seemed to stand still. He couldhaveswornthatbehindhimheheardalightstealthytread.Dannydropped tohisknees,breathlessandtrembling. It was gone. The deep, thick boom of the sea came from the shore far behind, andthethin,lowplashofbrokenwatersfromtherocksbeneath.Thefootsteps had ceased now, but Danny could hear voices. He rose to his feet and walked towardwhencetheycame. He found himself outside the crumbling walls of the roofless chapel of St. Patrick.Heheardnoisesfromwithin,andcrouchedbehindastone.Presentlya lightwasstruck.Itlightedalltheairaboveit.Dannycreptuptothechapelwall andpeeredinatoneofthelancetwindows. A company of men were there, but he could not distinguish their faces. The single lantern they carried was now turned with its face to the ground. One of themhadacrowbarwithwhichhewasprizingupastone.Itwasagravestone. Themenweretearingopenanoldvault. There was some muttering, and one of the men seemed to protest. "Stop!" he cried; "I'm not going to have a hand in a job like this. I'm bad enough, God knows,butnomanshallsaythatIhelpedtoviolateagrave." Dannyshookfromheadtofoot.Heknewthatvoice.Justthenthesea-swallow shotagainoverhead,utteringits low,mournfulcry.AtthesameinstantDanny thoughtheheardahalf-stiffedmoannotfarfromhisside,andoncemorehisear caught that soft rustling sound. Quivering in every limb, he could not stir. He
muststandandbesilent.Heclungtothestonewallwithconvulsivefingers. The man with the crowbar laughed. "Dowse that now," he said, and laughed again. "Och,thetimidheistobesure,andthereligious,too,allatonce." Dannyknewthatvoicealso,andknewaswellthattoutterawordorsoundat thatmomentmightbeasmuchashislifewasworth.Themenwereraisingthe stone. "Here,bearahand,"saidone. "Never,"saidthefirstspeaker. Therewasalow,gratinglaugh.Oneofthemenleapedintothevault. "Now,then,tailonheremorehands.Let'shaveit,quick." Then Danny saw that, lying on the ground, was something that he had not observed before. It was like a thick black roll some four feet long. Two of the mengotholdofittohandittothemanbelow. "Come!laydown,d'yehear?" Danny'sterrormastered him. Heturnedto run.Thenthe manwhohadspoken firstcried,"What'sthat?" Therewasamoment'spause. "What'swhat?"saidthemaninthevault. "I'llswearonmysoulIsawawomanpasstheporch." Abitterlittlelaughfollowed. "Och,it'salwaysawomanhe'sseeing." Dannyhadfoundhislegsatlast.Flyingalongthegrassassoftlyasalapwing,he reachedtheoldgate.Thenheturnedandlistened.No;therewasnothingtoshow thathehadbeenheard.Hecreptdownthestepstothewater'sedge.Thereina creekhesawaboatwhichhehadnotobservedongoingup.Helookedatthe name. Itwas"Ben-my-Chree."
Danny turned to the ford. The tide had risen a foot since he crossed, but he paddledthroughthewaterandgainedthepier.Thenheranhomeasfastashis longlegswouldcarryhim,wetwithsweatandspeechlesswithdismay. Next morning Danny remembered that he had forgotten all about the harbormasterandthelight. "Och,thecursedyoungimpthatheis,"criedhisuncle,BillKisseck,hitchinghis handintoDanny'sguernseyattheneck,andsteadyinghimasifhehadbeena sackwithanopenmouth."Aw,thebooby;justtakingarovin'commissionand snappin'hisfingerattheouldmasther.Whatd'yethinkwouldahappenttoyou, ye beach-comber, if some ship had run ashore and been wrecked and scuttled andallhandslost,andnotapoundofcargoleftather,andneveralightonthe pier,andallalongofyou,yeidiotwaistrel!"
CHAPTERIII "MACK'REL—MACKER-EL—MACK-ER-EL!" Itwasabrilliantmorning.Thesealaylikeaglassfloor,andthesunshine,likea million fairies, danced on it. The town looked as bright as it was possible for Peel to look. The smoke was only beginning to coil upward from the chimney stacksandthestreetswereyetquietwhenthesilveryvoiceofachildwasheard tocry— "Sweetvioletsandprimrosesthesweetest." Itwasalittleauburn-hairedlassieoffive,withruddycheeks,andlaughinglips, andsparklingbrowneyes.Sheworeacleanwhiteapronthatcoveredherskirt, which was tucked up and pinned in fish-wife fashion in front. Her head was bare;shecarriedabasketoveronearm,andastrawhatthatswungontheother hand. Thebasketcontainedflowerswhichthechildwasselling:"Aha'pennyabunch, ma'am, only a ha'penny!" The little thing was as bright as the sunlight that glistenedoverherhead.Shehadmadeasongofhersweetcall,andchantedthe simplewordswitharhythmicswing— "Sweetvioletsandprimrosesthesweetest." "Ruby,"criedagentlemanatthedoorofahousefacingthesea."Here,littleone, givemeabunchofyourfalderolls.What?No!notfalderolls?Isthatit,littleone, eh?" ItwasMr.KerruishKinvig. Thechildpoutedprettilyanddrewbackherbasket. "What!notselltomethismorning!Oh,Iseeyouchooseyourcustomers,you do,mylady.ButI'llhavethelawonyou,Iwill." Rubylookedupfearlesslyintothefaceofthedreadiconoclast.
"Idon'tloveyou,"shesaid. "No—eh?Andwhynot,now?" "Becauseyoucalltheflowersbadnames." "Oh,Ido,doI?Wellnevermind,littleone.Saywestrikeapeace—eh?" "Idon'tlikepeoplethatstrike,"saidRuby,withavertedeyes. "Well,then,cryatruce—anythingyoulike." Rubyknewwhatcryingaflowerorafishmeant. "Here,now,littleone,here'sapenny;that'sdoublewages,youknow.Don'tyou thinkthelawwouldupholdmeifIaskedfora—" "Awhat?"askedthechild,withinnocenteyes. "Well,sayakiss." Thebargainwasconcludedandthepurchaseratified.Inanotherminutethelittle feetweretrippingaway,andfromasidestreetcamethesilveryvoicethatsang — "Sweetvioletsandprimrosesthesweetest." Atthenextcornerthelassie'schildliketonesweresuddenlydrownedbyalustier voice which cried, "Mack'rel! Macker—el! Fine, ladies—fresh, ladies—and belliesasbigasbishops'—Mack—er—el!" ItwasDannyFaylewithaboardonhisheadcontaininghislastinstalmentofthe season'smackerel.Whenthetwostreet-venderscametogethertheystopped. "Aw now, the fresh you're looking this morning, Ruby veg—as fresh as a dewdrop,mychree!" The little one lifted her eyes and laughed. Then she plunged her hand into her basketandbroughtoutabunchofwildroses. "That'sforyou,Danny,"shesaid. "Och,formeisitnow?Aw,andisitformeitis?"saidDanny,withwondering eyes."Thecleanruineditwouldbeinhalfaminute,though,atthelikesofme,
Ruby veg. Keep it for yourself, woman." Louder: "Mack'rel—fine, ladies— fresh,ladies—Macker-el!" Thenlower: "Aw now, the sweet and tidy they'd be lookin'inyourownbreast,mychree—thesweetextraordinary!" The child looked up and smiled, looked down and pondered: then half reluctantly,halfcoquettishly,fixedtheflowersinherbosom. "Danny,Iloveyou,"shesaid,simply. TheobjectofRuby'saffectionblushedviolentlyandwassilent. "AndsodoesSissy,"addedthelittleone. "Mona?"askedDanny,andhistongueseemedtocleavetohismouth. "Yes,andmamatoo." Danny'sface,whichhadbeguntobrighten,suddenlylostitssunshine.Hislower lipwaslaggingwofully. "Yes, Mona and mama, and—and everybody," said the child, with ungrudging spontaneity. "No,Rubyven." Danny's voice was breaking. He tried to conquer this weakness by shouting aloud,"Mack-er—Mack—"Then,inasoftertone,"Noteverybody,mychree." "Well,"saidthechildinearnestdefense,"everybodyexceptyouruncleKisseck." "Bill?Bill?WhataboutBill?"saidDanny,hoarsely. "Whydon'tyoufightintohim,Danny?You'reabigboynow,Danny.Whydon't youfightintohim?" Danny'ssimplefacegrewverygrave.Thesoftblueeyeshadanuncertainlook. "DidSissysaythat,Rubyveg?" "No,butshesaidBillKisseckwasa—wasa—" "Awhat,Rue?" "Abrute—toyou,Danny."
The lad's face trembled. The hanging lower lip quivered, and the whole countenance became charged with sudden energy. Lifting his board from his head,andtakingupthefinestofthefish,hesaid: "Ruby,takethishometoMona.Herenow;it'satthebottomofyourbasketI'm puttingit." "Myflowers,Danny!"criedRuby,anxiously. "Aw, what's the harm they'll take at all. There—there" (fixing some seaweed overthemackerel)—"nice,extraordinary—nice,nice!" "ButwhatwillyouruncleBillsay,Danny?"askedthelittleonewiththeshadow offearinhereyes. "Bill? Bill? Oh, Bill," said Danny, turning away his eyes for a moment. Then, withanaccessofstrengthasheliftedhisboardontohisheadandturnedtogo, "ifBillsaysanything,I'll—I'll—" "No,don't,Danny;no,don't,"criedRuby,thetearsrisingtohereyes. "Just a minute since," said Danny, "there came a sort of a flash, like that" (he swungonearmacrosshiseyes),"andallofasuddenIknewmiddlin'wellwhat todowithBill." "Don'tfight,Danny,"criedRuby;butDannywasgone,andfromanotherstreet came "Mack'rel—fine, ladies—fresh, ladies—and bellies as big as bishops'— Mack-er-el!"
CHAPTERIV THEFIRSTOF"THEHERRINGS" Laterinthedaythefinalpreparationswerebeingmadeforthedepartureofthe herring fleet. Tommy-Bill-beg, the harbor-master, in his short petticoat, was bawling all over the quay, first at this man in the harbor and then at that. Bill Kisseckwasalsothereinhiscapacityasadmiralofthefleet—aninsularoffice forwhichhehadbeendulyswornin,andforwhichhereceivedhisfivepounds ayear.Billwasabigblack-beardedcreatureintop-boots—arelicofthereignof theNorsemaninMan.Tommy-Bill-begwaschaffedaboutthelightgoingouton the pier. He looked grave, declared there was "something in it." Something supernatural, Tommy meant. Tommy-Bill-beg believed in his heart it was "all along of the spite of Gentleman Johnny"—now a bogy, erst a thief who in the flesh had been put into a spiked barrel and rolled over the pier into the sea, swearingfuriously,aslongashecouldbeheard,thattoprovehisinnocenceit washisfixedintentiontohauntforeverthesceneofhismartyrdom. Kerruish Kinvig was standing by, and heard the harbor-master's explanation of thegoingoutofthelight. "It'smiddlingstrange,"shoutedKinvig,"thattheghostshouldpotteraboutonly whentheGovernmentcutterhappenstobeoutoftheway,andTommy-Bill-beg isyelpingandscreechingatthe'JollyHerrings.'I'dhavealawonsuchbogies, andclaptheminCastleRushen,"bawledKinvig,"andallthefiddlersandcarolsingersalongwiththem,"headded. Theharbor-mastershookhishead,apparentlymoreinsorrowthaninanger,and whisperedBillKisseckthat,as"thegoodouldbook"says,"Badisthemanthat hasnevernomusicinhissowl." ItwasoneofTommy-Bill-beg'speculiaritiesofmentaltwistthathewasfullof quotations, and never by any chance failed to misascribe, misquote, and misapplythem. The fishing-boats were rolling gently with the motion of the rising tide. When everythinghadbeenmadeready,andthefloodwasathand,thefishermen,tothe
number of several hundred men and boys, trooped off to the shore of the bay. There they were joined by a great multitude of women and children. Presently the vicar appeared, and, standing in an open boat, he offered the customary prayerfortheblessingofGodonthefishingexpeditionwhichwasnowsetting out. "Restoreandcontinuetoustheharvestofthesea!" Andthemen,ontheirkneesinthesand,withuncoveredheads,andfacesintheir hats,murmured"YnMeailley." Thentheyseparated,thefishermenreturningtotheirboats. BillKisseckleapedaboardtheluggerthatlayatthemouthoftheharbor.Hissix menfollowedhim."Seeallclear,"heshoutedtoDanny,whosailedwithhimas boy.Dannystoodonthequaywiththedutyofclearingropesfromblocks,and thenfollowinginthedingeythatwasmooredtothesteps. Amongthewomenwhohadcomedowntotheharbortoseethedepartureofthe fleet were two who bore no very close resemblance to the great body of the townswomen.Onewasanelderlywoman,withathinsadface.Theotherwasa youngwomen,ofperhapstwoorthreeandtwenty,tallandmuscular,withapale cast of countenance, large brown eyes, and rich auburn hair. The face, though strong and beautiful, was not radiant with happiness, and yet it recalled very vividlyaglintofhumansunshinethatwehaveknownbefore. InanothermomentlittleRuby,redwithrunning,pranceduptotheirside,crying, "Mona, come and see Danny Fayle's boat. Here, look, there; that one with the coloronthedeck." Theadmiral'sboatwastocarryaflag. The two women were pulled along by the little sprite and stopped just where Dannyhimselfwasuntyingaknotinarope.Dannyrecognizedthem,liftedhis hat,blushed,lookedconfused,andseemedforthemomenttoforgetthecable. "Tailonthere!"shoutedBillKisseckfromthelugger."Showalegthere,ifyou don'twanttherat'stail.D'yehear?" Danny was fumbling with his cap. That poor lagging lower lip was giving a yearninglooktothelad'ssimpleface.HemutteredsomecommonplacetoMona, andthendroppedhishead.Atthatinstanthiseyesfellonthelowerpartofher
dress.Thebluesergeofhergownwasbleachednearherfeet.Danny,whocould think of nothing else to say, mumbled something about the salt water having takenthecoloroutofMona'sdress.Thegirllookeddown,andthensaidquietly: "Yes,Iwascaughtbythetidelastnight—Imeantosay,Iwas—" She was clearly trying to recall her words, but poor Danny had hardly heard them. "Youcursedbooby!"criedBillKisseck,leapingashore,"pratingwithapackof women when I'm a-waiting for you. I'll make you walk handsome over the bricks,myman." WiththathestruckDannyaterribleblowandfelledhim. Theladgotupabashed,andwithoutawordturnedtohiswork.Kisseck,stillina tempest of wrath, was leaping back to the lugger, when the young woman steppeduptohim,lookedfearlesslyinhisface,seemedabouttospeak,checked herself,andturnedaway. Kisseckstoodmeasuringherfromheadtofootwithhiseyes,brokeintoalittle bitterlaugh,andsaid: "I'mrightupanddownlikeayardofpumpwater;that'swhatIam." Hejumpedaboardagain.Dannyrantheropefromtheblocks,theadmiral'sboat cleared away, and the flag shot up to the mast-head. The other boats followed oneafteronetothenumberofnearlyonehundred.Thebaywasfullofthem. When Kisseck's boat had cleared the harbor, Danny ran down the steps of the pier with eyes still averted from the two women and the child, got into the dingey,tookanoarandbegantoscullafterit. "Sissy,Sissy,"criedRuby,tuggingatMona'sdress,"lookatDanny'slittleboat. What'sthenamethatisonitinredletters?" "'Ben-my-Chree,'"theyoungwomananswered. Thentheherringfleetsailedawayundertheglowofthesettingsun.
CHAPTERV CHRISTIANMYLREA It was late when young Christian Mylrea got back to Balladhoo that night of Kerruish Kinvig's visit. "I've been up for a walk to the Monument on Horse Hill,"heremarked,carelessly,ashesatdownatthepianoandtoucheditlightly to the tune of "Drink to me only with thine eyes." "Poor old Corrin," he said, pausing with two fingers on the keyboard, "what a crazy old heretic he must have been to elect to bury himself up yonder." Then, in a rich full tenor, Christiansangabarortwoof"SallyinourAlley." The two older men were still seated at opposite sides of the table smoking leisurely.MylreaBalladhootoldChristianoftheerrandonwhichhehadwished tosendhim. "The light? Ah, yes," said Christian, turning his head between the rests in his song, "curious, that, wasn't it? Do you know that coming round by the pier I noticed that the light had gone out; so"—(a run up the piano)—"so, after ineffectual attempts to rouse that sad dog of a harbor-master of yours, dad, I wentupintotheboxandlititmyself.Youseeit'sburningnow." "Humph! so it is," grunted Kerruish Kinvig, who had got up in the hope of discreditingthestatement. "Only the wick run down, that was all," said Christian, who had turned to the pianoagain,andwasrattlingoffalivelyFrenchcatch. ChristianMylreawasahandsomeyoungfellowoffiveorsixandtwenty,witha refined expression and easy manner, educated, genial, somewhat irresolute one mightsay,withaweakcornertohismouth;naturallyofasportivedisposition, but having an occasional cast of thoughtfulness; loving a laugh, but finding it ratheraptoflatetodieawayabruptlyonhislips. Gettinguptogo,Kinvigsaid,"Christian,myman,you'venotseenmynewnetloomssinceyoucamehome.Wonderfulinventions!Wonderful!Extraordinary! Talkofyourlocomotive—pshaw!Comedown,man,andseethematworkinthe