Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ether rewarded his father's endeavours. During his resience in England, he had acquired certain modern doctrines which were highly obnoxious to the old Deemster. New iews on property, new ideas about woman and marriage, new heories concerning religion (always re-christened superstiion), the usual barnacles of young vessels fresh from unknown aters; but the old man was no shipwright in harbour who as learnt the art of removing them without injury to the ull. The Deemster knew these notions when he met with hem in the English newspapers. There was something aweome in their effect on his stay-at-home imagination, as of ices confusing and difficult to true men that walk steadily; -ut, above all, very far off, over the mountains and across the ea, like distant cities of Sodom, only waiting for Sodom's oom. And yet, lo! here they were in a twinkling, shunted nd shot into his own house and his own stackyard.

[ocr errors]

I suppose now," he said, with a knowing look, "you think ack as good as his master?"

"No, sir," said his son gravely; "generally much better." Iron Christian altered his will. To his elder son he left -nly a life-interest in Ballawhaine. "That boy will be doing omething," he said, and thus he guarded against consequences. He could not help it; he was ashamed, but he could not conuer his shame-the fiery old man began to nurse a grievance gainst his son.

The two sons of the Deemster were like the inside and outide of a bowl, and that bowl was the Deemster himself. If homas Wilson the elder had his father's inside fire and softess, Peter, the younger, had his father's outside ice and iron. Peter was little and almost misshapen, with a pair of shoulders hat seemed to be trying to meet over a hollow chest and limbs hat splayed away into vacancy. And if Nature had been rudging with him, his father was not more kind. He had een brought up to no profession, and his expectations were imited to a yearly charge out of his brother's property. His

וו

his residoctrines r. New age, new superstinknown Our who

to the

et with

ng awe

1, as of

ceadily; ross the odom's hunted

a think

tter." he left doing

ences.

t con

vance

d out

f. If I softiron.

lders limbs been

e had

were

His never

his

Charlotte de la Tremouille, called after the lady of the family of Christian had their share of the her all men. She had fine eyes, a weak mouth, and gr Gentle airs floated always about her, and a sor brightness twinkled over her, as of a glen with ering through. Her mother died when she wa twelve, and in the house of her uncle and her cou been brought up among men and boys.

One day Peter drew the Deemster aside and to expressions of shame, interlarded with praises acuteness) a story of his brother. It was about name was Mona Crellin; she lived on the hil House, half a mile south of Ramsey, and was d man called Billy Ballure, a retired sea-captain, and well-met with all the jovial spirits of the town.

There was much noise and outcry, and old 1 his son.

[ocr errors]

'What's this I hear?" he cried, looking him woman? So that's what your fine learning co Take care, sir! take care! No son of mine shall self. The day he does that he will be put to the Thomas held himself in with a great effort. "Disgrace?" he said. "What disgrace, sir, if

"What disgrace, sir?"

repeated the Deemster,

son in a mincing treble. Then he roared, "Beha ourably to a poor girl-that what's disgrace, enough? eh? eh?”

"More than enough," said the young man. doing it? I'm not."

"Then you're doing worse. Did I say worse I said worse. Worse, sir, worse! Do you hear n You are trapsing around Ballure, and letting t take notions. I'll have no more of it. Is this wh to England for? Aren't you ashamed of you your place, sir; keep your place. A poor girl's and a Deemster's a Deemster."

"Yes, sir," said Thomas, suddenly firing up, a man. As for the shame, I need be ashamed of is not shameful; and the best proof I can give you

The old Deemster turned his good ear towards his son's ace, and the young man repeated his threat. Never fear! o poor girl should be misled by him. He was above all polish conventions.

Old Iron Christian was dumbfounded. He gasped, he ared, he stammered, and then fell on his son with hot reroaches.

"What? Your wife? Wife? That trollop!--that minx ! at-and daughter of that sot, too, that old rip, that rowdy latherskite-that- And my own son is to lift his hand to ut his throat! Yes, sir, cut his throat! And I am to stand y! No, no! I say no, sir, no !

[ocr errors]

The young man made some further protest, but it was lost his father's clamour.

"You will, though? You will? Then your hat is your ouse, sir. Take to it-take to it!"

66

[ocr errors]

No need to tell me twice, father."

Away then-away to your woman-your jade! God, eep my hands off him !"

The old man lifted his clenched fist, but his son had flung ut of the room. It was not the Deemster only who feared e might lay hands on his own flesh and blood.

"Stop! come back, you dog! Listen! I've not done yet. top! you hotheaded rascal, stop! Can't you hear a man at then? Come back! Thomas Wilson, come back, sir! homas! Thomas! Tom! Where is he? Where's the boy?" Old Iron Christian had made after his son bareheaded own to the road, shouting his name in a broken roar, but the Dung man was gone. Then he went back slowly, his grey air playing in the wind. He was all iron outside, but all ther within.

That day the Deemster altered his will a second time, and s elder son was disinherited.

TT

PETER SUcceeded in due course to the estate of Balla

his son's er fear! Dove all

ped, he

hot re

minx! rowdy

and to O stand

as lost

s your

God,

flung feared

e yet.

man sir! oy?" eaded

at the grey at all

and

alla

Mona Crellin without delay. He loved her, but
afraid of her ignorance, afraid also (notwithstand
ciples) of the difference in their social rank, and
tended to give her up when his father's reproach
to fire his anger and to spur his courage. As
became his wife he realised the price he had p
Happiness could not come of such a beginnin
broken every tie in making the one which brough
The rich disowned him, and the poor lost respect
"It's positively indecent," said one.
"It's pot
ing herrings,” said another. It was little better
ger marrying thirst.

In the general downfall of his fame his prof him. He lost heart and ambition. His philoso stand him in good stead, for it had no value in th which he brought it. Thus, day by day, he sank the ooze of a wrecked and wasted life.

The wife did not turn out well. She was a fr with a good face, a bad shape, a vacant mind, and of vanity. She had liked her husband a little as when she saw that her marriage brought her no she fell into a long fit of the vapours. Eventual herself believe that she was an ill-used person. ceased to complain of her fate. Everybody trea she had laid plans for her husband's ruin.

The husband continued to love her, but little grew to despise her also. When he made his firs had prided himself on indulging an heroic impul not going to deliver a good woman to dishonour seemed to be an obstacle to his success. But sh realised his sacrifice. She did not appear to und he might have been a great man in the island, b and honour had held him back. Her ignorance and he was ashamed of it. In earning the contem he had not saved himself from self-contempt.

The old sailor died suddenly in a fit of drunl fair, and husband and wife came into possession and property at Ballure. This did not improve t between them. The woman perceived that their po

he reminded him, in order to re-establish her wounded vanity, hat but for her and hers he would not have so much as a roof O cover him.

Yet the man continued to love her in spite of all. And she was not at first a degraded being. At times she was bright and heerful, and, except in the worst spells of her vapours, she as a brisk and busy woman. The house was sweet and homey. There was only one thing to drive him away from it, but hat was the greatest thing of all. Nevertheless they had their heerful hours together.

A child was born, a boy, and they called him Philip. He was the beginning of the end between them; the iron stay that eld them together and yet apart. The father remembered his isfortunes in the presence of his son, and the mother was tung afresh by the recollection of disappointed hopes. The oy was the true heir of Ballawhaine, but the inheritance was ost to him by his father's fault and he had nothing.

Philip grew to be a winsome lad. There was something weet and amiable and big-hearted, and even almost great, in im. One day the father sat in the garden by the mighty uchsia-tree that grows on the lawn, watching his little fairaired son play at marbles on the path with two big lads whom e had enticed out of the road, and another more familiar laymate—the little barefooted boy Peter, from the cottage by he water-trough. At first Philip lost, and with grunts of satsfaction the big ones promptly pocketed their gains. Then Philip won, and little curly Peter was stripped naked, and his p began to fall. At that Philip paused, held his head aside, nd considered, and then said quite briskly, "Peter hadn't a air chance that time-here, let's give him another go."

The father's throat swelled, and he went indoors to the nother and said, "I think—perhaps I'm to blame-but someow I think our boy isn't like other boys. What do you say? Toolish? May be so, may be so! No difference? Well, no— 0!"

But deep down in the secret place of his heart, Thomas Vilson Christian, broken man, uprooted tree, wrecked craft in

« AnteriorContinuar »