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'Then I consider that my duty is, to impart to her everything that cannot lead to mischief.'
'How could you have any doubt of it, my dear? And as to the mischief, I am the proper judge of that.'
Dr. Upround laughed, in his quiet inner way; and then, as a matter of form, he said, 'My dear, you must promise most faithfully to keep whatever I tell you, as the very strictest secret.'
Mrs. Upround looked shocked at the mere idea of her ever doing otherwise; which, indeed, as she said, was impossible. Her husband very nearly looked as if he quite believed her; and then they went into his snug sitting-room, while the maid took away the breakfast things.
'Now don't keep me waiting,' said the lady.
'Well, then, my dear,' the rector began, after crossing stout legs stoutly, you must do your utmost not to interrupt me, and in shortto put it courteously-you must try to hold your tongue, and suffer much astonishment in silence. We have a most distinguished visitor in Flamborough, setting up his staff at the Thornwick Hotel.' 'Lord Nelson! I knew it must be. Janetta is so quick at things!'
Janetta is too quick at things; and she is utterly crazy about Nelson. No, it is the famous Sir Duncan Yordas.'
'Sir Duncan Yordas! why, I never heard of him.'
'You will find that you have heard of him, when you come to think, my dear. Our Harry is full of his wonderful doings. He is one of the foremost men in India, though perhaps little heard of in this country yet. He belongs to an ancient Yorkshire family; and is, I believe, the head of it. He came here looking for his son, but has caught a most terrible chill, instead of him ; and I think we ought to send him some of your rare soup.'
'How sensible you are! It will be the very thing. But first of all, what character does he bear? They do such things, in India.' 'His character is spotless; I might say too romantic. He is a man of magnificent appearance, large mind, and lots of money."
My dear, my dear, he must never stay there. I shudder to think of it, this weather. A chill is a thing upon the kidneys always. You know my electuary; and if we bring him round, it is high time for Janetta to begin to think of settling.'
My dear,' said Dr. Upround; well, how suddenly you jump! I must put on my spectacles to look at you. This gentleman must be getting on for fifty!'
'Janetta should have a man of some discretion: somebody she would not dare to snap at. Her expressions are so reckless, that a young man would not suit her. She ought to have someone to look up to; and you know how she raves about fame, and celebrity, and that. She really seems to care for very little else.'
"Then she ought to have fallen in love with Robin Lyth, the most famous man in all this neighbourhood.'
'Dr. Upround, you say things on purpose to provoke me, when my remarks are unanswerable. Robin Lyth indeed! A sailor, a smuggler, a common working-man! And under that terrible accusation!'
'An objectionable party altogether, not even desirable as a grandTherefore say nothing more of Janetta and Sir Duncan.' 'Sometimes, my dear, the chief object of your existence seems to be to irritate me. What can poor Robin have to do with Sir Duncan Yordas?'
'Simply this. He is his only son. The proofs were completed, and deposited with me for safe custody last night, by that very active man of business, Geoffrey Mordacks, of York city.'
'Well!' cried Mrs. Upround, with both hands lifted, and a high colour flowing into her unwrinkled cheeks; from this day forth I shall never have any confidence in you again. How long-if I may dare to put any sort of question, have you been getting into all this very secret knowledge? And why have I never heard a word of it till now? And not even now, I do believe, through any proper urgency of conscience on your part, but only because I insisted upon knowing. Oh, Dr. Upround, for shame! for shame!'
'My dear, you have no one but yourself to blame,' her husband replied, with a sweet and placid smile. Three times I have told you things that were to go no further, and all three of them went twenty miles within three days. I do not complain of it; far less of you. You may have felt it quite as much your duty to spread knowledge, as I felt it mine to restrict it. And I never should have let you get all this out of me now, if it had been at all incumbent upon me to keep it quiet.'
'That means that I have never got it out of you at all. I have taken all this trouble for nothing.'
'No, my dear, not at all. You have worked well, and have promised not to say a word about it. You might not have known it for a week, at least, except for my confidence in you.'
'Much of it I thank you for. But don't be cross, my dear, because you have behaved so atrociously. You have not answered half of
my questions yet."
Well, there were so many that I scarcely can remember them. Let me see; I have told you who the great man is, and the reason that brought him to Flamborough. Then about the dangerous chill he has taken; it came through a bitter ride from Scarborough; and if Dr. Stirbacks came, he would probably make it still more dangerous—at least, so Mordacks says; and the patient is in his hands, and out of mine; so that Stirbacks cannot be aggrieved with us. On the other hand, as to the milkman from Sewerby, I really do not know why he shook his head. Perhaps he found the big pump frozen. He is not of my parish; and may shake his head without asking my permission. Now I think that I have answered nearly all your questions.'
'Not at all; I have not had time to ask them yet, because I feel so much above them. But if the milkman meant nothing, because of his not belonging to our parish, the butcher does, and he can have no excuse. He says that Mr. Mordacks takes all the best meanings of a mutton-sheep, every other day, to Burlington.'
'I know he does. And it ought to put us to the blush, that a stranger should have to do so. Mordacks is finding clothes, food, and firing for all the little creatures poor Carroway left, and even for his widow, who has got a wandering mind. Without him, there would not have been one left. The poor mother locked in all her little ones, and starved them, to save them from some quite imaginary foe. The neighbours began to think of interfering; and might have begun to do it, when it was all over. Happily Mordacks arrived just in time. His promptitude, skill, and generosity saved them. Never say a word against that man again.'
'My dear, I will not,' Mrs. Upround answered, with tears coming into her kindly eyes. I never heard of anything more pitiful. I had no idea Mr. Mordacks was so good. He looks more like an evil spirit. I always regarded him as an evil spirit; and his name sounds like it, and he jumps about so! But he ought to have gone to the rector of the parish.'
'It is a happy thing that he can jump about. The rector of the parish cannot do so, as you know; and he lives two miles away from them, and had never even heard of it. People always talk about the rector of a parish, as if he could be everywhere, and see to everything. And few of them come near him in their prosperous times. Have you any other questions to put to me, my dear?'
'Yes, a quantity of things which I cannot think of now. How it was that little boy-I remember it like yesterday-came ashore here, and turned out to be Robin Lyth, or at least to be no Robin Lyth at all, but the son of Sir Duncan Yordas? And what happened to the poor man in Bempton Warren?'
'The poor man died a most miserable death, but I trust sincerely penitent. He had led a sad, ungodly life, and he died at last of wooden legs. He was hunted to his grave, he told us, by these wooden legs; and he recognised in them Divine retribution, for the sin of his life was committed in timber. No sooner did any of those legs appear and the poor fellow said they were always comingthan his heart began to patter, and his own legs failed him, and he tried to stop his ears, but his conscience would not let him.'
"Now, there!' cried Mrs. Upround; what the power of conscience is! He had stolen choice timber, perhaps ready-made legs.'
'A great deal worse than that, my dear; he had knocked out a knot, as large as my shovel-hat, from the side of a ship homebound from India, because he was going to be tried for mutiny upon their arrival, at Leith, it was, I think. He and his partners had been in irons, but unluckily they were just released. The weather was magnificent, a lovely summer's night, soft fair breeze, and everyone
rejoicing in the certainty of home within a few short hours. And they found home that night, but it was in a better world.'
You have made me creep all over.
And you mean to say that a wretch like that has any hope of heaven! How did he get away
Very easily. A little boat was towing at the side. There were only three men upon deck, through the beauty of the weather, and two of those three were asleep. They bound and gagged the waking one, lashed the wheel, and made off in the boat wholly unperceived. There was Rickon Goold, the ringleader, and four others; and they brought away a little boy, who was lying fast asleep, because one of them had been in the service of his father, and because of the value of his Indian clothes, which his ayah made him wear now in his little cot, for warmth. The scoundrels took good care that none should get away to tell the tale. They saw the poor "Golconda" sink with every soul on board, including the captain's wife and babies; then they made for land, and in the morning fog were carried by the tide towards our North Landing. One of them knew the coast as well as need be, but they durst not land until their story was concocted, and everything fitted in to suit it. The sight of the rising sun scattering the fog frightened them, as it well might do; and they pulled into the cave, from which I always said, as you may now remember, Robin must have come-the cave which already bears his
'Here they remained all day, considering a plausible tale to account for themselves, without making mention of any lost ship, and trying to remove every trace of identity from the boat they had stolen. They had brought with them food enough to last three days, and an anker of rum from the steward's stores; and as they grew weary of their long confinement, they indulged more freely than wisely in the consumption of that cordial. In a word, they became so tipsy that they frightened the little helpless boy; and when they began to fight about his gold buttons, which were claimed by the fellow who had saved his life, he scrambled from the side of the boat upon the rock, and got along a narrow ledge, where none of them could follow him. They tried to coax him back, but he stamped his feet and swore at them, being sadly taught bad language by the native servants, I dare say. Rickon Goold wanted to shoot him, for they had got a gun with them, and he feared to leave him there. But Sir Duncan's former boatman would not allow it, and at dark they went away and left him there. And the poor little fellow, in his dark despair, must have been led by the hand of the Lord through crannies too narrow for a man to pass. There is a well-known land passage out of that cave, but he must have crawled out by a smaller one, unknown even to our fishermen, slanting up the hill, and having outlet in the thicket, near the place where the boats draw up. And so he was found by Robin Cockscroft in the morning. They had fed the child with biscuit soaked in rum, which accounts for his heavy sleep
and wonderful exertions, and may have predisposed him for a contraband career.'
'And perhaps for the very bad language which he used,' said Mrs. Upround thoughtfully. It is an extraordinary tale, my dear. But I suppose there can be no doubt of it. But such a clever child should have known his own name. Why did he call himself " Izunsabe"?"
"That is another link in the certainty of proof. On board that unfortunate ship, and perhaps even before he left India, he was always called the "Young Sahib;" and he used, having proud little ways of his own, to shout, if anybody durst provoke him, "I'se young Sahib, I'se young Sahib," which we rendered into "Izunsabe." But his true name is Wilton Bart Yordas, I believe; and the initials can be made out upon his gold beads, Mr. Mordacks tells me, among heathen texts.'
'That seems rather shocking to good principles, my dear. I trust that Sir Duncan is a Christian at least, or he shall never set foot in this house."
'My dear, I cannot tell. How should I know? He may have lapsed, of course, as a good many of them do, from the heat of the climate and bad surroundings. But that happens mostly from their marrying native women. And this gentleman never has done that, I do believe.'
'They tell me that he is a very handsome man, and of most commanding aspect-the very thing Janetta likes so much. But what became of those unhappy, sadly tipsy sailors?'
'Well, they managed very cleverly, and made success of tipsiness. As soon as it was dark that night, and before the child had crawled away, they pushed out of the cave, and let the flood tide take them round the Head. They meant to have landed at Bridlington Quay, with a tale of escape from a Frenchman; but they found no necessity for going so far. A short-handed collier was lying in the roads, and the skipper, perceiving that they were in liquor, thought it a fine chance, and took some trouble to secure them. They told him that they had been trying to run goods, and were chased by a revenue boat, and so on. He was only too glad to be enabled to make sail, and by dawn they were under weigh for the Thames; and that was the end of the "Golconda."
'What an awful crime! But you never mean to tell me that the Lord let those men live and prosper.'
That subject is beyond our view, my dear. There were five of them, and Rickon Goold believed himself the last of them. But, being very penitent, he might have exaggerated. He said that one was swallowed by a shark, at least his head was; and one was hanged for stealing sheep; and one for a bad sixpence; but the fate of the other (too terrible to tell you) brought this man down here, to be looking at the place, and to divide his time between fasting, and drinking, and poaching, and discoursing to the thoughtless. The women flocked to hear him preach, when the passion was upon him; and he used to hint at awful sins of his own, which made him earnest.