Imágenes de páginas




IT was Saturday, and the market-place was covered the carts and stalls of the country people. After some f of eating breakfast, Pete lit his pipe, called for a basket, announced his intention of doing the marketing.


Coming for the mistress, are you, Capt'n ?

"I'm a sort of a grass-widow, ma'am.

to-day, Mistress Cowley?"

[ocr errors]

What's your

'Sixteen this morning, sir, and right ones too. They v telling me you've been losing her."

"Give me a shilling's worth, then. Any news over y side, Mag?"

"Two-four-eight-sixteen-it's every appearance v be getting a early harvest, Capt'n."

"Is it yourself, Liza? And how's your butter to-day? "Bad to bate to-day, sir, and only thirteen pence ha'per Is the lil one longing for the mistress, Capt'n?"

"I'll take a couple of pounds, then.

What for longing all when it's going bringing up by hand it is? Put it in a bage leaf, Liza.”

Thus, with his basket on his arm and his pipe in his mo Pete passed from stall to stall, chatting, laughing, bargain buying, shouting his salutations over the general hum hubbub, as he ploughed his way through the crowd, but tening intently, watching eagerly, casting out grapples to ca the anchor he had lost, and feeling all the time that if any showed sign of knowledge, if any one began with "Capt' can tell you where she is," he must leap on the man li tiger, and strangle the revelation in his throat.

Next dor Sunder his friends from Sulho como to quiz

He was lounging in his shirt-sleeves on a deckip's cabin, smoking a long pipe, and pretending id at peace with all the world.

ing, Capt'n," said John the Clerk.

g a fine morning, John," said Pete. he sea, too," said Jonaique.

l fine on the sea, Mr. Jelly."

ir wind, though, if anybody was going by the pool. Was it as good, think you, for the misnight, Mr. Quilliam ?"

tee," said Pete.

ough-I wouldn't have thought it of the same aldn't raelly," said Jonaique.

, and landing on the other side so early in the John the Clerk.

common! It isn't every woman would have Kelly the Postman.

= mighty boys of women deese days-we have ed the constable, and then they all laughed to

ed their wheedling, fawning, and whisking of en he said, "Chut! What's there so wonderful ngoing by herself to Liverpool when she's got ing at the stage to meet her?”

ng faces lengthened suddenly. "And had she, n the Clerk.

furiously, rolled in his seat, laughed like a man full of water, and said, "Why, sartenly-my e."

rinkled his forehead. "Uncle," he said, with a oat.

ncle Joe," said Pete.

oked helplessly across at John the Clerk. John ered up his mouth as if about to whistle, and - faltering way, "Well, I can't really say I've of your Uncle Joe before, Capt'n.”

Poto with a look of astonishment

" Not

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

The churc

himself that, usual.

"She'll be
Yancy" he sa

He was swin
Then he heard
"It's shock
g that." It
rattle of kn
king like a
e night; bitt
ace at him li
Talking about

bbish-it's sh
and quaver
"You can't

[ocr errors]

from Kimberley, and since then he's been writing cons 'Send her across,' says he; 'she'll be her own woman a like winking.' And you never heard tell of him? Not U Joey with the bald head? Well, well! A smart ould : though. Man alive, the lively he is, too, and the laugh and the good company. To look at that man's face you'd the sun was shining reg'lar. Aw, it's fine times she'll be ing with Uncle Joe. No woman could be ill with yo ould man about. He'd break your face with laughing was bursting itself with a squinsey. And you never h tell of my Uncle Joe, of Scotland Road, down Clarence way? To think of that now!"

They went off with looks of perplexity, and Pete tu into the house. "They're trying to catch me; they're v ing to shame my poor lil Kirry. I must keep her r sweet," he thought.

The church bells had begun to ring, and he was te himself that, heavy though his heart might be, he must be as usual.

"She'll be going walking to church herself this mor Nancy," he said, putting on his coat, "so I'll just slip acro chapel."

He was swinging up the path on his return home to di when he heard voices inside the house.

"It's shocking to see the man bittending this and bit ing that." It was Nancy; she was laying the table; there a rattle of knives and forks. "Bittending to ate, but pecking like a robin; bittending to sleep, but never a win the night; bittending to laugh and to joke and wink, a face at him like a ghose's, and his hair all through-ot Walking about from river to quay, and going on with all rubbish-it's shocking, ma'am, it's shocking!"

"Hush-a-bye, hush-a-bye!" It was the voice of Gra low and quavery; she was rocking the cradle.

"You can't spake to him neither but he's scolding scandalous. 'I'm not used of being cursed at,' I'm say 'and is it myself that has to be tould to respect my own Ki But cry shame on her I must when I look at the lil bogh t and it so helpless and so beautiful. 'Stericks, you say?

to it, Nancy. His poor head's that moidered like a black pudding-there's no saying what's But he's good, though; aw, right good he is for orld's cold and cruel. Lave him alone, woman; e, poor boy."

awoke and cried, and, under cover of this com-
he crowing and cooing of the two women, Pete
to the gate, clashed it hard, swung noisily up the
lled into the house with a shout and a laugh.
1 Grannie, my gough! Who'd have thought
nnie, now? And how's the ould angel to-day?
the lil one there? Aw, you rogue, you. You're
lap, are you? How's Cæsar? And how's Mrs.
? Look at that now-did you ever? Opening
⇒ make sure if the world's all right. The child's
00-00 ! Smart with the dinner, Nancy-won-
the chapel's making a man. Coo-oo! What's

et her to my knee like this I can see my own lil
said Grannie, looking down ruefully, rocking
one knee and doubling over it to kiss it.
like the mammy, is she?" said Pete, blowing at
I tickling its chin with his broad forefinger.
one to the ould uncle's-hasn't she, my lam-

annie fell to rocking herself as well as the child, a hymn in a quavery voice. Then with a ratthrowing off his coat and tramping the floor in es, while Nancy dished up the dinner, Pete be

on Kate's happiness in the place where she had


us grand the ould man's house is-you wouldn't g'lar Dempster's palace. The grandeur on it is pattern. Plenty to ate, plenty to drink, and a r with white buttons dotting on his brown coat, --like a turnip-field in winter. Then the man

ha, ha,


rose wit



smoking Cæsa and neith

a brief a

been sen Peter Ch thousand

so much

would act Pete to

got the m Pete looke Caesar, "b who's take house nec

own venge

But Pet

won't live it'll do for

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Cæsar would have been objecting. He's fit enough ha, ha, ha!"

Grannie looked up at Pete as he laughed, and th rose withered on his face.

"H'm! h'm!" he said, clearing his throat; "I dreadful wanting a smook." And past the dinner-tab smoking and ready, he slithered out of the house.

Cæsar was Pete's next visitor. He said nothing o and neither did Pete mention Uncle Joe. The intervi a brief and grim one. It was a lie that Ross Christi been sent by his father to ask for a loan, but it was tr Peter Christian was in urgent need of money. He wa thousand pounds as mortgage on Ballawhaine. Had H so much to lend? No need for personal intercourse; would act as intermediary.

Pete took only a moment for consideration. Yes, got the money, and he would lend it. Cæsar looked a Pete looked at Cæsar. "He's talking all this rubbish," t Cæsar, "but he knows where the girl has gone to. He who's taken her; he manes to kick the rascal out of l house neck and crop; and right enough, too, and the own vengeance."

"The ou

But Pete's thoughts were another matter. won't live to redeem it, and the young one will neve it'll do for Philip some day."


FOR three days Pete bore himself according to Lis thinking to silence the evil tongues of the little world him, and keep sweet and alive the dear name which the waiting to befoul and destroy. By Tuesday morni strain had become unbearable. On pretences of busi pleasure, of God knows what folly and nonsense, he be scour the island. He visited every parish on the north, through every village, climbed every glen, found his w every out-of-the-way hut, and scraped acquaintance with old woman living alone. Sometimes he was up in the

[merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »