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show the sea, and the beach is fit for landing on; it seems to my eyes that I can see the boat, with my husband standing up in it. He had a majestic attitude sometimes, with one leg more up than the other, sir, through one of his daring exploits; and whenever I see him, he is just like that; and the little children in the kitchen peep, and say, "Here's daddy coming at last, we can tell by mammy's eyes; and the bigger ones say, "Hush! You might know better." And I look again, wondering which of them is right; and then there is nothing, but the clouds and sea. Still, when it is over, and I have cried about it, it does me a little good every time. I seem to be nearer to Charley; as my heart falls quietly into the will of the
'No doubt of it whatever. I can thoroughly understand it; although there is not a bit of resignation in me. I felt that sort of thing, to some extent, when I lost my angelic wife, ma'am, though naturally departed to a sphere more suited for her. And I often seem to think that still I hear her voice, when a coal comes to table in the well-dish. Life, Mrs. Carroway, is no joke to bandy back; but trouble to be shared. And none share it fairly, but the husband and the wife, ma'am.'
'You make it very hard for me to get my words,' she said, without minding that her tears ran down, so long as she spoke clearly; 'I am not of the lofty sort, and understand no laws of things; though my husband was remarkable for doing so. He took all the trouble of the taxes off, though my part was to pay for them. And in every other way he was a wonder, sir; not at all, because now he is gone above. That would be my last motive.'
'He was a wonder, a genuine wonder,' Mordacks replied, without irony. He did his duty, ma'am, with zeal and ardour; a shining example, upon very little pay. I fear that it was his integrity, and zeal, truly British character, and striking sense of discipline, that have so sadly brought him to-to the condition of an example.'
'Yes, Mr. Mordacks, it was all that. He never could put up with a lazy man; as anybody, to live, must have to do. He kept all his men, as I used to do our children, to word of command, and no answer. Honest men like it; but wicked men fly out. And all along, we had a very wicked man here.'
"So I have heard from other good authority-a deceiver of women, a skulk, a dog. I have met with many villains; and I am not hot. But my tendency is to take that fellow by the throat, with both hands, and throttle him. Having thoroughly accomplished that, I should prepare to sift the evidence. Unscientific, illogical, brutal, are such desires; as you need not tell me. And yet, madam, they are manly. I hate slow justice, I like it quick-quick, or none at all, I say; so long as it is justice. Creeping justice is, to my mind, little better than slow revenge. My opinions are not orthodox; but I hope they do not frighten you.'
They do indeed, sir; or at least your face does; though I know
how quick and just you are. He is a bad man-too well I know it -but, as my dear husband used to say, he has a large lot of children.' 'Well, Mrs. Carroway, I admire you the more, for considering what he has not considered. Let us put aside that. The question is-guilty, or not guilty? If he is guilty, shall he get off, and innocent men be hanged for him? Six men are in jail at this present moment, for the deed which we believe he did. Have they
no wives, no fathers and mothers, no children-not to speak of their own lives? The case is one in which the constitution of the realm must be asserted. Six innocent men must die, unless the crime is brought home to the guilty one. Even that is not all, as regards yourself. You may not care for your own life, but you are bound to treasure it seven times over, for the sake of your seven children. While John Cadman is at large, and nobody hanged instead of him, your life is in peril, ma'am. He knows that you know him, and have denounced him. He has tried to scare you into silence; and the fright caused your sad illness. I have reason to believe that he, by scattering crafty rumours, concealed from the neighbours your sad plight, and that of your dear children. If so, he is worse than the devil himself. Do you see your duty now, and your interest also?'
Mrs. Carroway nodded gently. Her strength of mind was not come back yet, after so much illness. The baby lay now father's breast; and the mother's had been wild for it.
'I am sorry to have used harsh words,' resumed Mordacks; but I always have to do so. They seem to put things clearer; and without that, where would business be? Now I will not tire you, if I can help it, nor ask a needless question. What provocation had this man? What fanciful cause for spite, I mean?'
"Oh, none, Mr. Mordacks, none whatever. My husband rebuked him for being worthless, and a liar, and a traitor; and he threatened to get him removed from the force; and he gave him a little throw down from the cliff-but what little was done, was done entirely for his good.'
'Yes, I see. And after that, was Cadman ever heard to threaten him?'
Many times, in a most malicious way, when he thought that he was not heeded. The other men may fear to bear witness. But my Geraldine has heard him.'
There could be no better witness. A child, especially a pretty little girl, tells wonderfully with a jury. But we must have a great deal more than that. Thousands of men threaten, and do nothing; according to the proverb. A still more important point is-how did the muskets in the boat come home? They were all returned to the station, I presume. Were they all returned with their charges in them?'
'I am sure I cannot say how that was. There was nobody to attend to that. But one of them had been lost altogether.'
One of the guns never came back at all!' Mordacks almost shouted. Whose gun was it, that did not come back?'
'How can we say? There was such confusion. My husband would never let them nick the guns-as they do at some of the stations for every man to know his own. But in spite of that, each man had his own, I believe. Cadman declares that he brought home his; and nobody contradicted him. But, if I saw the guns, I should know whether Cadman's is among them.'
'How can you possibly pretend to know that, ma'am? English ladies can do almost anything. But surely, you never served out the guns? ›
'No, Mr. Mordacks.
But I have cleaned them. Not the inside, of course; that I know nothing of; and nobody sees that, to be offended. But several times I have observed, at the station, a disgraceful quantity of dust upon the guns, dust, and rust, and miserableblotches, such as bad girls leave in the top of a fish-kettle; and I made Charley bring them down, and be sure to have them empty; because they were so unlike what I have seen, on board of the ship where he won his glory, and took the bullet in his nineteenth rib.'
'My dear madam, what a frame he must have had! But this is most instructive. No wonder Geraldine is brave. What a worthy wife for a naval hero! A lady who could handle guns!'
'I knew, sir, quite from early years, having lived near a very large arsenal, that nothing can make a gun go off, unless there is something in it. And I could trust my husband to see to that; and before I touched one of them, I made him put a brimstone match to the touch-hole. And I found it so pleasant to polish them; from having such wicked things quite at my mercy. The wood was what I noticed most, because of understanding chairs. One of them had a very curious tangle of veins, on the left cheek behind the trigger; and I just had been doing for the children's tea, what they call "crinkly crankly,"- treacle trickled (like a maze) upon the bread; and Tommy said, "Look here, it is the very same upon this gun!” And so it was; just the same pattern on the wood! And while I was doing it, Cadman came up, in his low surly way, and said, “I want my gun, missus; I never shoot with no other gun than that. Captain says I may shoot a sea-pie, for the little ones." And so I always called it "Cadman's gun." I have not been able to think much yet. But if that gun is lost, I shall know who it was that lost
a gun, that dreadful night.'
All this is most strictly to the purpose,' answered Mordacks ; 'and may prove most important. We could never hope to get those six men off, without throwing most grave suspicion elsewhere; and unless we can get those six men off, their captain will come and surrender himself, and be hanged to a dead certainty. I doubted his carrying the sense of right so far, until I reflected upon his birth, dear madam. He belongs, as I may tell you now, to a very ancient family, a race that would run their heads into a noose, out of pure obstinacy, rather than skulk off. I am of very ancient race myself; though I never take pride in the matter, because I have seen more
harm than good of it. I always learned Latin at school so quickly, through being a grammatical example of descent. According to our pedigree, Caius Calpurnius Mordax Naso was the Governor of Britain, under Pertinax. My name means "biting;" and bite I can, whether my dinner is before me, or my enemy. In the present case, I shall not bite yet; but prepare myself for doing so. I watch the proceedings of the Government; who are sure to be slow, as well as blundering. There has been no appointment to this command as yet, because of so many people wanting it. This patched-up peace, which may last about six months (even if it is ever signed) is producing confusion everywhere. You have an old fool put in charge of this station, till a proper successor is appointed."
'He is not like Captain Carroway, sir. But that concerns me little now. But I do wish, for my children's sake, that they would send a little money.'
'On no account; think twice of that. That question is in my hands; and affords me one of the few pleasures I derive from business. You are under no sort of obligation about it. I am acting under authority. A man of exalted position, and high office-but never mind that, till the proper time comes; only keep your mind in perfect rest, and attend to your children, and yourself. I am obliged to proceed very warily; but you shall not be annoyed by that scoundrel. I will provide for that, before I leave; also I will see the guns still in store, without letting anybody guess my motive. I have picked up a very sharp fellow here, whose heart is in the business thoroughly; for one of the prisoners is his twin-brother, and he lost his poor sweetheart through Cadman's villany, a young lass, who used to pick mussels, or something. He will see that the rogue does not give us the slip; and I have looked out for that, in other ways as well. I am greatly afraid of tiring you, my dear madam; but have you any other thing to tell me of this Cadman?'
No, Mr. Mordacks; except a whole quantity of little things, that tell a great deal to me; but to anybody else would have no For instance, of his looks, and turns, and habits, and tricks of seeming neither the one thing nor the other, and jumping all the morning, when the last man was hanged-'
'Did he do that, madam? Are you quite sure?'
'I had it on the authority of his own wife. He beats her; but still she cannot understand him. You may remember, that the man to be suspended was brought to the place, where-where
"Where he earned his doom. It is quite right. Things of that sort should be done upon a far more liberal scale. Example is better than a thousand precepts. Let us be thankful that we live in such a country. I have brought some medicine for brave Tommy, from our Dr. Stirbacks. Be sure that you stroke his throat, when he takes it. Boys are such rogues
'Well, Mr. Mordacks, I really hope that I know how to make my little boy take medicine!'
SHORT SIGHS, AND LONG ONES.
Now it came to pass that, for several months, this neighbourhood, which had begun to regard Mr. Mordacks as its tutelary genius-so great is the power of bold energy-lost him altogether; and with brief lamentation, began to do very well without him. So fugitive is vivacious stir; and so well content is the general world to jog along, in its old ruts. The Flamborough butcher once more subsided into a piscitarian; the postman, who had been driven off his legs, had time. to nurse his grain again; Widow Tapsy relapsed into the very worst of taps, having none to demand good beverage; and a new rat, seven fold worse than the mighty net-devourer (whom Mordacks slew; but the chronicle has been cut out, for the sake of brevity), took possession of his galleries, and made them pay. All Flamborough yearned for the 'gentleman as did things,' itself being rather of the contemplative vein, which flows from immemorial converse with the sea. But the man of dry hand-and-heel activity came not; and the lanes forgot the echo of his Roman march.
The postman (with a wicked endeavour of hope to beget faith from sweet laziness) propagated a loose report, that death had claimed the general factor, through fear of any rival in activity. The postman did not put it so; because his education was too good for long words to enter into it; but he put his meaning in a shorter form than a smattering of distant tongues leaves to us. The butcher (having doubt of death, unless by man administered) kicked the postman out of his expiring shop, where large hooks now had no sheep for bait; and Widow Tapsy, filled with softer liquid form of memory, was so upset by the letter-man's tale, that she let off a man, who owed four gallons, for beating him as flat as his own bag. To tell of these things may take time; but time is thoroughly well spent, if it contributes a trifle towards some tendency, on anybody's part, to hope that there used to be, even in this century, such a thing as gratitude.
But why did Mr. Mordacks thus desert his favourite quest, and quarters, and the folk in whom he took most delight-because so long inaccessible? The reason was as sound as need be-important business of his own had called him away into Derbyshire. every true son of stone and crag, he required an annual scratch against them, and hoped to rest among them, when the itch of life. was over. But now he had hopes of even more than that; of owning a good house and fair estate, and henceforth exerting his remarkable powers of agency on his own behalf. For his cousin, Calpurnius Mordacks, the head of the family, was badly ailing, and having lost his only son in the West Indies, had sent for this kinsman, to settle matters with him. His offer was generous and noble; to wit, that