Tải bản đầy đủ

The watters mou


TheWatter’sMou’

ByBramStoker


ChapterI
Itthreatenedtobeawildnight.Alldaybanksofsea-foghad
comeandgone,sweepingonshorewiththesouth-eastwind,which
issofatalatCrudenBay,andindeedallalongthecoastof
Aberdeenshire,andlosingthemselvesinthebreezyexpansesof
thehighuplandsbeyond.Asyetthewindonlycameinpuffs,
followedbyintervalsofominouscalm;butthebarometerhad
beenfallingfordays,andtheskyhadonthepreviousnight
beenstreakedwithgreat“mare’s-tails”runninginthedirection
ofthedangerouswind.Uptoearlymorningthewindhadbeen
south-westerly,buthadthen“backed”tosouth-east;andthe
suddenchange,nolessthanthebacking,wasominousindeed.
Fromthewasteofseacameaceaselessmuffledroar,whichseemed
loudestandmostfullofdangerousimportwhenitcamethrough
themysteryofthedrivingfog.Wheneverthefog-beltswouldlift

ordisperse,ordisappearinlandbeforethegustsofwind,the
seawouldlookasthoughsweptwithgrowinganger;forthough
therewereneitherbigwavesasduringastorm,noragreatswell
asafterone,allthesurfaceofthewaterasfarastheeye
couldreachwascoveredwithlittlewavestippedwithwhite.


Closertogethergrewthesewavesasthedayworeon,theangrier
everthecurlofthewhitewaterwheretheybroke.IntheNorth
Seaitdoesnottakelongforthewavestorise;andallalong
theeasternedgeofBuchanitwastakenforgrantedthatthere
wouldbewildworkonthecoastbeforethenightwasover.

Inthelittlelook-outhouseonthetopofthecliffover
thetinyharbourofPortErrollthecoastguardondutywas
pacingrapidlytoandfro.Everynowandagainhewouldpause,
andliftingafield-glassfromthedesk,sweepthehorizonfrom
GirdlenessatthesouthofAberdeen,whentheliftingofthe
mistwouldlethimseebeyondtheScaurs,awaytothenorth,
wherethehighcranesoftheBlackmanquarriesatMurdochHead
seemedtocleavetheskylikegiganticgallows-trees.

Hewasmanifestlyinhighspirits,andfromthemannerinwhich,
oneafteranother,helookedagainandagainattheMartini-Henry
rifleintherack,thenavyrevolverstuckmuzzledownonaspike,
andthecutlassinitssheathhangingonthewall,itwaseasyto
seethathisinterestarosefromsomethingconnectedwithhiswork
asacoastguard.Onthedesklayanopentelegramsmootheddown


byhishardhands,withthebrownenvelopelyingbesideit.It
gavesomesortofcluetohisexcitement,althoughitdidnotgo
intodetail.“Keepcarefulwatchtonight;runexpected;spareno
efforts;mostimportant.”

WilliamBarrow,popularlyknownasSailorWilly,wasavery
youngmantobeachiefboatmaninthepreventiveservice,albeit
thathisstationwasoneofthesmallestonthecoast.Hehadbeen
allowed,asarewardforsavingthelifeofhislieutenant,to
jointhecoastservice,andhadbeenpromotedtochiefboatmanas


afurtherrewardforaclevercaptureofsmugglers,whereinhe
hadshownnotonlygreatbravery,butmuchabilityandpowerof
rapidorganisation.

TheAberdeencoastisanimportantoneinthewayofguarding
onaccountofthevastnumberoffishing-smackswhich,duringthe
season,workfromPeterheadupanddownthecoast,andawayonthe
NorthSearighttotheshoresofGermanyandHolland.Thisvast
comingandgoingaffordsendlessopportunitiesforsmuggling;and,
despiteofallvigilance,aconsiderableamountof“stuff”finds
itswaytotheconsumerswithouttheformalityoftheCustomHouse.


Thefishtrafficisaquicktraffic,anditsreturnscomeallat
once,sothatatrulyenormousstaffwouldberequisitetoexamine
adequatelythethousandfish-smackswhichusetheharbourof
Peterhead,andonSundayspackitsbasinswithasolidmassof
boats.Thecoastlineforsomefortymilessouthisfavourablefor
thisillicittraffic.Thegneissandgraniteformationsbrokenup
byeveryconvulsionofnature,andwornbythestrainandtoilof
agesintoeveryconceivableformofrockybeauty,offersanendless
varietyofnarrowcreeksandbayswherethedaring,towhomthe
rocksandthecurrentsandthetidesareknown,mayfindsecret
entranceandspeedyexitfortheircraft.Thisseasonthesmuggling
hadbeenchieflyofanovertkind—thatis,thegoodshadbeen
broughtintotheharbouramongstthefishandnets,andhadbeen
takenthroughthestreetsundertheeyesoftheunsuspecting
Customsofficers.Someofthesetakesweresolarge,thatthe
authoritieshadmadeuptheirmindsthattheremustbeagreat
amountofsmugglinggoingon.ThesecretagentsintheGerman,
Dutch,Flemish,andFrenchportswereaskedtomakeextraexertions
indiscoveringtheamountoftheillicittrade,andtheirlater
reportswereofanalmostalarmingnature.Theysaidthatreally
vastamountsoftobacco,brandy,rum,silks,laces,andallsorts


ofexcisablecommoditieswerebeingsecretlyshippedintheBritish
fishing-fleet;andasonlyaverysmallproportionofthiswas
discovered,itwasmanifestthatsmugglingtoalargeextent
wasoncemoretothefore.Accordinglyprecautionsweredoubled
allalongtheeastcoastfrequentedbythefishing-fleets.Not
onlywerethecoastguardswarnedofthedangerandcautioned
againstdeviceswhichmightkeepthemfromtheirworkatcritical
times,buttheywereapprisedofeverynewshipmentasreported
fromabroad.Furthermore,thedetectivesoftheserviceweresent
abouttopartswherethemenweresuspectedoflaxity-orworse.

ThusitwasthatSailorWilly,withtheexperienceoftwo
promotionsforcause,andwiththesenseofresponsibility
whichbelongedtohisoffice,feltineverywayelatedatthe
possibilityofsomedaringworkbeforehim.Heknew,ofcourse,
thatasimilartelegramhadbeenreceivedateverystation
onthecoast,andthatthechanceofanattemptbeingmadein
CrudenBayoritssurroundingswasasmallone;buthewasyoung
andbraveandhopeful,andwithanadamantinesenseofintegrity
tosupporthiminhiswork.Itwasunfortunatethathiscomrade
wasabsent,illinthehospitalatAberdeen,andthatthestrain


atpresentontheservice,togetherwiththemenawayonannual
trainingandinthenavalmanoeuvres,didnotpermitofa
substitutebeingsenttohim.However,hefeltstrongenough
toundertakeanyamountofduty—hewasstrongenoughand
handsomeenoughtohaveagoodopinionofhimself,andtoo
braveandtoosensibletolethisheadbeturnedbyvanity.

Ashewalkedtoandfrotherewasinthedistanceofhismind—
inthatdimbackgroundagainstwhichinaman’smindawoman’sform
findssuitableprojection—somesortofvaguehopethatawild
dreamofrisingintheworldmightbesometimerealised.Heknew
thateveryprecautioninhispowerhadbeenalreadytaken,andfelt
thathecouldindulgeinfancieswithoutdetrimenttohiswork.He
hadsignalledthecoastguardatWhinnyfoldonthesouthsideofthe
Bay,andtheyhadexchangedideasbymeansofthesignallanguage.
Hisappliancesforfurthersignallingbydayornightwerein
perfectorder,andhehadbeenrightoverhiswholeboundarysince
hehadreceivedthetelegramseeingthatallthingswereinorder.
WillyBarrowwasnotonetoleavethingstochancewheredutywas
concerned.



Hisday-dreamswerenotallselfish.Theywereatleastsofar
unselfishthattheresultsweretobesharedwithanother;for
WillyBarrowwasengagedtobemarried.MaggieMacWhirterwasthe
daughterofanoldfishermanwhohadseendaysmoreprosperous
thanthepresent.Hehadonceonatimeownedafishing-smack,
butbydegreeshehadbeencompelledtoborrowonher,tillnow,
when,althoughhewasnominalowner,theboatwassoheavily
mortgagedthatatanymomenthemightlosehisentirepossession.
Thatsuchaneventwasnotunlikelywasmanifest,forthemortgagee
wasnootherthanSolomonMendozaofHamburgandAberdeen,who
hadchangedinlikemannertheownershipofahundredboats,and
whohadthereputationofbeingasremorselessashewasrich.
MacWhirterhadlongbeenawidower,andMaggiesincealittlegirl
hadkepthouseforherfatherandhertwobrothers,Andrewand
Niel.Andrewwastwenty-seven—sixyearsolderthanMaggie—
andNielhadjustturnedtwenty.Theelderbrotherwasaquiet,
self-contained,hard-workingman,whonowandagainmanifested
greatdetermination,thoughgenerallyatunexpectedtimes;the
youngerwasrash,impetuous,andpassionate,andthoughinhis
momentsofquiescencemoretendertothosehecaredforthan
wasusualwithmenofhisclass,hewasanever-endingsource


ofanxietytohisfatherandhissister.Andrew,orSandyashe
wasalwayscalled,tookhimwithconsistentquietness.

Thepresentyear,althoughagoodoneinthemain,hadbeen
butpoorforMacWhirter’sboat.Neveroncehadhehadagood
takeoffish—notone-halfthenumberofcransofthebestboat;
andtheseasonwassofaradvanced,andthesupplyhadbeenso
plentiful,thatafewdaysbefore,thenoticehadbeenupat
Peterheadthatafterthefollowingweekthebuyerswouldnot
takeanymoreherring.

Thisnoticenaturallycausedmuchexcitement,andthewhole
fishingindustrydeterminedtomakeeveryefforttoimprovethe
shininghourslefttothem.Exertionswereonallsidesredoubled,
andonseaandshoretherewaslittleidleness.Naturallythe
smugglinginterestbestirreditselftoo;itschancefortheyear
wasintherushandbustleandhurryofthecomingandgoingfleet,
andanythingheldoverforachancehadtobeventurednoworleft
overforayear—whichmightmeanindefinitely.Greatventures
werethereforetakenbysomeoftheboats;andfromtheirdaring
theauthoritiesconcludedthateitherheavybribesweregiven,or


elsethatthegoodswereprovidedbyothersthanthefishermen
whoundertooktorunthem.Afewimportantseizures,however,made
themenwary;anditwasunderstoodfromthelessfrequentbut
greaterimportanceoftheseizures,thatthepricefor“running”
hadgreatlygoneup.Therewasmuchpassionateexcitementamongst
thosewhowerefoundoutandtheirfriends,andageneralwishto
discovertheinformers.Someofthesmugglingfishermenatfirst
refusedtopaythefinesuntiltheyweretoldwhohadinformed.
Thispositionbeingunsupportable,theyhadinsteadpaidthefines
andcherishedhatredintheirhearts.Someofthemorereckless
andturbulentspiritshaddeclaredtheirintentionofavenging
themselvesontheinformerswhentheyshouldbeknown.Itwasonly
naturalthatthisfeelingofrageshouldextendtotheCustoms
officersandmenofthepreventiveservice,whostoodbetweenthe
unscrupulousadventurersandtheirharvest;andaltogethermatters
hadbecomesomewhatstrainedbetweenthefishermenandthe
authorities.

ThePortErrollboats,likethosefromCollieston,wereall
upatPeterhead,andofcourseamongstthemMacWhirter’sboat
theSeaGullwithherskipperandhistwosons.ItWasnowFriday


night,andtheboatshadbeenoutforseveraldays,sothatit
wasprettycertainthattherewouldbeafullharboratPeterhead
ontheSaturday.Amarriagehadbeenarrangedtotakeplacethis
eveningbetweenThomasKeithofBoddamandAliceMacDonald,whose
fatherkeptthepublic-houseTheJamieFleemanonthenorthernedge
oftheErrollestate.Thoughtheoccasionwastobeagrandone,
thenoticeofithadbeenshortindeed.Itwassaidbythebride’s
friendsthatithadbeenfixedsohurriedlybecausethenoticeof
theclosingofthefishingseasonhadbeensosuddenlygivenoutat
Peterhead.Truthtotell,somesortofexplanationwasnecessary,
foritwasonlyonWednesdaymorningthatwordhadbeensentto
theguests,andasthesecamefromallsortsofplacesbetween
PeterheadandCollieston,andtakingasweepofsometenmiles
inland,therewasneedofsomepreparation.Theaffairwasto
topallthathadeverbeenseenatPortErroll,andasTheJamie
Fleemanwasbutatinyplace—nothing,infact,butawayside
public-house—itwasarrangedthatitwastotakeplaceinthe
newbarnandstorehousesMatthewBeagriehadjustbuiltonthe
innersideofthesandhills,wheretheycameclosetotheWater
ofCruden.



ThroughoutalltheeastsideofBuchantherehadforsome
timeexistedawonderamongstthequiet-goingpeopleastothe
strangeprosperityofMacDonald.Hispublic-househad,ofcourse,
apracticalmonopoly;forastherewasnotalicensedhouseon
theErrollestate,andashiswasthenearesthouseofcallto
theport,henaturallygotwhatcustomtherewasgoing.The
fishermenallalongthecoastforsomesevenoreightmiles
wenttohimeithertodrinkortogettheirliquorfordrinking
elsewhere;andnotafewoftheColliestonmenontheirSaturday
journeyhomefromPeterheadandtheirSundayjourneyoutthere
againmadeadetourtohaveaglassandachatandapipe,if
timepermitted,with“TammasMac”—forsuchwashissobriquet.
Totheauthoritiesheandhishousewerealsosourcesofinterest;
fortherewassomekindofsuspicionthatsomeoftheexcellent
brandyandcigarswhichhedispensedhadarrivedbyasimplerroad
thanthatthroughtheCustomHouse.Itwasatthishouse,in
thegoodolddaysofsmuggling,thatthecoastguardsusedtobe
entertainedwhenarunwasonfoot,andwheretheysleptoff
theirdrunkennesswhilstthecargoeswerebeinghiddenortaken
inlandinthereadycarts.Ofcourseallthisstateofthings
hadbeenaltered,andtherewasasimprovedadecorumamongst


thesmugglersastherewasasternerruleanddisciplineamongst
thecoastguards.ItwasmanyalongyearsincePhilipKennedy
methisdeathatKirktonatthehandsoftheexcisemanAnderson.
Comparativelyinnocentdeceptionwasnowthesmugglers’only
wile.

Tonightthewholecountry-sidewastobeatthewedding,and
thedancewhichwastofollowit;andforthisoccasionthelion
wastoliedownwiththelamb,forthecoastguardswerebiddento
thefeastwiththerest.SailorWillyhadlookedforwardtothe
dancewithdelight,forMaggiewastobethere,andontheBilly
Ruffian,whichhadbeenhislastship,hehadbeenlookedonas
thebestdancerbeforethemast.Iftherebeanymanwhoshuns
adanceinwhichheknowshecanshine,andatwhichhisown
particulargirlistobepresent,thatmanisnottobefound
intheRoyalNavalMarine,evenamongstthoseofthemwhohave
joinedinthepreventiveservice.Maggiewasnolessdelighted,
althoughshehadasourceofgriefwhichforthepresentshe
hadkeptalltoherself.Herfatherhadoflatebeenmuch
disturbedaboutaffairs.Hehadnotspokenofthemtoher,and
shedidnotdaretomentionthemattertohim;foroldMacWhirter


wasaclosemouthedman,anddidnotexchangemanyconfidences
evenwithhisownchildren.ButMaggieguessedatthecauseof
thesadness—ofthedown-bentheadwhennonewerelooking;the
sleeplessnightsandthedeepsmotheredgroanswhichnowand
againmarkedhisheavysleeptoldthetaleloudlyenoughtoreach
thedaughter’sears.Forthelastfewweeks,wheneverherfather
wasathome,Maggiehadherselflainawakelistening,listening,
inincreasingagonyofspirit,foroneofthesehalfmoansorfor
thesoundofthetossingoftherestlessman.Hewasasgentle
andkindtohisdaughterasever;butonhisleavingthelast
timetherehadbeenanomissiononhispartwhichtroubledher
tothequick.Forthefirsttimeinhislifehehadnotkissed
herashewentaway.

OnthepreviousdaySailorWillyhadsaidhewouldcometothe
weddingandthedanceifhisdutiesshouldpermithim;and,when
askedifhecouldspareafewrocketsfortheoccasion,promised
thathewouldletoffthreeBoardofTraderockets,whichhecould
nowdealwithasitwasthreemonthssincehehadusedany.He
wasdelightedattheopportunityofmeetingthefisherfolkandhis
neighbours;forhisofficershadimpressedonhimtheneedofbeing


ongoodtermswithallaroundhim,bothforthepossibilitywhich
itwouldalwaysaffordhimofknowinghowthingsweregoingon,
andforthebenefitoftherocket-servicewhenevertheremightbe
needofwillinghandsandheartstoworkwithhim,forintheBoard
ofTraderocket-servicemuchdependsonvoluntaryaid.Thatvery
afternoonhehadfixedtherocketsonthewallofthebarnwith
staples,sothathecouldfirethemfrombelowwithaslowmatch,
whichhefixedready.Whenhehadgotthetelegramhehadcalled
intoMaggieandtoldherifhedidnotcometofetchhershewas
togoontotheweddingbyherself,andthathewouldtrytojoin
herlater.Shehadappearedalittlestartledwhenhetoldherhe
mightnotbepresent;butafterapausesmiled,andsaidshewould
go,andthathewasnottoloseanytimecomingwhenhewasfree.
Nowthateveryarrangementwascomplete,andashehadbetween
puffsofthesea-foggotacleansweepofthehorizonandsawthat
therewasnosailofanykindwithinsight,hethoughthemight
havealookthroughthevillageandkeepinevidencesoasnotto
createanysuspicioninthemindsofthepeople.Ashewentthrough
thestreethenoticedthatnearlyeveryhousedoorwasclosed—
allthewomenwereatthenewbarn.Itwasnoweighto’clock,and
thedarkness,whichisslowofcomingintheNorth,wasclosing


in.Downbythebarntherewerequiteanumberofcarts,andthe
horseshadnotbeentakenout,thoughtheweddingwasnottobe
tillnineo’clock,orperhapsevenlater;forMrsMacDonaldhad
takencaretotellherfriendsthatKeithmightnotgetoverfrom
Boddamtilllate.Willylookedatthecartscarefully—someidea
seemedtohavestruckhim.Theirletteringshewedthemtobefrom
allpartsround,andthenamesmostlyofthosewhohadnotthe
bestreputation.Whenhisbriefsurveywasfinishedhelooked
roundandthenwentswiftlybehindthebarnsothatnoonemight
seehim.Ashewenthemutteredreflectively:

“Toomanylightcartsandfasthorses—toomuchsilenceinthe
barn—toolittleliquorgoing,tobeallsafe.There’ssomething
upheretonight.”Hewasundertheleeofthebarnandlookedup
wherehehadfixedtherocketsreadytofire.Thisgavehimanew
idea.

“Ifixedthemlowsoastogooverthesandhillsandnot
benoticeableatColliestonorbeyond.Theyarenowplacedup
straightandwillbeseenforfiftymilesiftheweatherbe
clear.”



Itwastoodarktoseeveryclearly,andhewouldnotclimb
uptoexaminethemlestheshouldbenoticedandhispurposeof
acquiringinformationfrustrated;butthenandtherehemadeup
hismindthatPortErrolloritsneighbourhoodhadbeenthespot
chosenfortherunningofthesmuggledgoods.Hedeterminedto
findoutmore,andstraightawaywentroundtothefrontand
enteredtheroom.


ChapterII
AssoonasSailorWillywasseentoenter,alargepartofthe
gatheringlookedrelieved,andatoncebegantochatandgabblein
markedcontrasttotheirpreviousgloomandsilence.PortErroll
waswellrepresentedbyitswomankind,andbysuchofitsmenas
werenotawayatthefishing;foritwastheintentiontomaskthe
smugglingschemebyanassemblageatwhichalltherespectability
wouldbepresent.Thereappearedtobelittlerivalrybetweenthe
twoshoemakers,MacPhersonandBeagrie,whochattedtogetherina
corner,theformertellinghiscompanionhowhehadjustbeendown
tothelifeboat-housetosee,asoneoftheCommittee,thatitwas
allreadyincaseitshouldbewantedbeforethenightwasover.
LangJohnandLangJim,thepolicemenoftheplace,lookedsprucer
eventhanusual,andtheirbuttonsshoneinthelightofthemany
paraffinlampsasiftheyhadbeennewlyburnished.Mitchelland
hiscompanionsofthesalmonfisheryweregroupedinanothercorner,
andAndrewMasonwastellingMackay,thenewflesher,whoseshed
waserectedontheedgeoftheburnoppositeJohnReid’sshop,of
agreatcrabwhichhehadtakenthatmorninginapotoppositethe
TwaEen.



ButtheseandnearlyalltheotherPortErrollfolkpresent
werequiet,andtheirtalkwasoflocalinterest;themainclack
oftonguescamefromthemanystrangemenwhostoodingroups
nearthecentreoftheroomandtalkedloudly.Inthemidstof
themwasthebridegroom,morejoyousthanany,thoughinthemidst
ofhislaughterhekeptconstantlyturningtolookatthedoor.
TheministerfromPeterheadsatinacornerwiththebrideand
hermotherandfather—thelatterofwhom,despitehisconstant
laughter,hadananxiouslookonhisface.SailorWillywas
greetedjoyously,andthegiverofthefeastandthebridegroom
eachrose,and,takingabottleandglass,offeredhimadrink.

“Tothebride”,saidhe;butseeingthatnooneelsewas
drinking,hetappedthebridegroomontheshoulder,“Come,drink
thiswithme,mylad!”headded.Thelatterpausedaninstant
andthenhelpedhimselffromMacDonald’sbottle.Willydidnot
failtonoticetheact,andholdingouthisglasssaid:

“Come,mylad,youdrinkwithme!Changeglassesinoldstyle!”
Anoddpallorpassedquicklyacrossthebridegroom’sface,but


MacDonaldspokequickly:

“Takit,mon,takit!”Sohetooktheglass,crying“No
heel-taps”,threwbackhishead,andraisedtheglass.Willy
threwbackhisheadtoo,andtossedoffhisliquor,but,ashe
didso,tookcaretokeepasharpeyeontheother,andsaw
him,insteadofswallowinghisliquor,pouritintohisthick
beard.Hismindwasquitemadeupnow.Theymeanttokeephim
outofthewaybyfairmeansorfoul.

Justthentwopersonsenteredtheroom,oneofthem,James
CruickshankoftheKilmarnockArms,whowasshowingthewayto
theother,anelderlymanwithabaldhead,keeneyes,aragged
greybeard,ahookednose,andanevilsmile.Asheentered
MacDonaldjumpedupandcameovertogreethim.

“Oh!MrMendoza,thisisbraw!Wehopittaeseeyethenicht,
butwewerethatfearedthatyewadnacome.”

“MeinGott,butwhyshallInotcome—onthisoccasionofall—
theoccasionofthemarriageofthedaughterofmeingootfrient,


TamSmack?AndmoreoverswhenIbringtheseasIhafpromise.For
you,meinfrientKeith,thischeque,whichoneweekyoucash,and
foryou,mytearMissAlice,thesesobrightnecklace,whichyou
willwear,antwhichwillsellifsoyouchoose.”

Ashespokehehandedhisgiftstothegroomandbride.Hethen
walkedtothecornerwhereMrsMacsat,exchangingakeenlookwith
hishostashedidso.Thelatterseemedtohavetakenhiscueand
spokeoutatonce.

“Andnow,reverendsir,wemayproceed—allisready.”As
hespokethebridalpairstoodup,andthefriendscrowdedround.
SailorWillymovedtowardsthedoor,andjustastheparsonopened
hisbook,begantopassout.TammasMacimmediatelyspoketohim:

“Ye’renogangin’,SailorWilly?Sureye’llwaitandseeTam
Keithmarritonmylass?”

Heinstantlyreplied:“Imustgoforawhile.Ihavesomethings
todo,andthenIwanttotrytobringMaggiedownforthedance!”
andbeforeanythingcouldbesaid,hewasgone.



Theinstantheleftthedoorheslippedroundtothebackof
thebarn,andrunningacrossthesandhillstotheleft,crossedthe
woodenbridge,andhurryinguptheroadwaybythecottageonthe
cliffgainedthewatch-house.Heknewthatnoneofthecompanyin
thebarncouldleavetilltheservicewasover,withtheminister’s
eyeonthem,withoutgivingcauseforaftersuspicion;andheknew,
too,thatastherewerenowindowsonthesouthsideofthebarn,
nothingcouldbeseenfromthatside.Withoutamoment’sdelay
hearrangedhissignalsforthecallforaid;andastherockets
whizzedaloft,sendingawhiteglarefarintothesky,hefeltthat
thestrugglehadenteredonitssecondstage.

ThenighthadnowsetinwithadarknessunusualinAugust.The
swaithesofsea-mistwhirledinbythewindcamefewerandfainter,
andattimesasuddenriftthroughthedrivingcloudsshowedthat
therewasstarlightsomewherebetweenthedrivingmassesofmist
andgloom.WillyBarrowoncemoretriedallhisweaponsandsawthat
allhissignalswereinorder.Thenhestrappedtherevolverand
thecutlassinhisbelt,andlitadarklanternsothatitmightbe
readyincaseofneed.Thisdone,heleftthewatch-house,locking


thedoorbehindhim,and,afterlookingsteadilyacrosstheBayto
theScaursbeyond,turnedandwalkednorthwardtowardstheWatter’s
Mou’.Betweenthecliffontheedgeofthisandthewatch-house
therewasacraneusedforraisingthegranitebouldersquarried
below,andwhenhedrewnearthishestoppedinstinctivelyand
calledout,“Whoisthere?”forhefelt,ratherthansaw,some
presence.“Itisonlyme,Willy,”cameasoftvoice,andawoman
drewastepnearerthroughthedarknessfrombehindtheshaftof
thecrane.

“Maggie!Why,darling,whatbringsyouhere?Ithoughtyouwere
goingtothewedding!”

“Iknewyewadnabethere,andIwantedtospeakwi’ye”—this
wassaidinaverylowvoice.

“HowdidyouknowIwouldn’tbethere?—IwastojoinyouifI
could.”

“IsawBellaCruickshankhandyethetelegramasyewentbythe
PostOffice,and—andIknewtherewouldbesomethingtokeepye.


OWilly,Willy!whydoyedrawawafraeme?”forSailorWillyhad
instinctivelyloosenedhisarmswhichwereroundherandhaddrawn
back—intheinstanthisloveandhisbusinessseemedasthough
antagonistic.Heansweredwithblunttruthfulness:

“Iwasthinking,Maggie,thatIhadnocausetobemakinglove
hereandnow.I’vegotwork,mayhap,tonight!”

“Ifearedso,Willy—Ifearedso!”Willywastouched,forit
seemedtohimthatshewasanxiousforhim,andansweredtenderly:

“Allright,dear!Allright!There’snodanger—why,if
needbe,Iamarmed,”andheslippedhishandonthebuttofthe
revolverinhisbelt.TohissurpriseMaggieutteredadeeplow
groan,andturningawaysatontheturfbankbesideher,asthough
herstrengthwasfailingher.Willydidnotknowwhattosay,so
therewasaspaceofsilence.ThenMaggiewentonhurriedly:

“OhmyGod!itisadreadfu’thingtoliftyerhan’insica
deadlymanneragainstyerneighbours,andyenotknowingwhatwoe
yemaucause.”Willycouldanswerthistime:


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