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"For your wife: when you marry."The loss of his mother was a terrible blow for the young man. His disposition had always been unsociable; he became now moody and sullen. The solitude around him was complete. Hitherto it had been mere isolation; now his life was a blank. While we have only one companion, life is endurable; left alone, it seems as if it is impossible to struggle on, and we fall back in the race, which is the first sign of despair. As time rolls on, however, we discover that duty is a series of compromises; we contemplate life, regard its end, and submit; but it is a submission which makes the heart bleed. Gilliatt was young, and his wound healed with time. At that age sorrows cannot be lasting. His sadness, disappearing by slow degrees, seemed to mingle itself with the scenes around him, to draw him more and more towards the face of nature, and farther and farther from the need of social converse and, finally, to assimilate his spirit more completely to the solitude in which he lived.
"DEALER IN CATTLE, ALIVE AND DEAD, OLD CORDAGE, IRON, BONES, AND TOBACCO FOR CHEWING. PROMPT PAYMENT FOR GOODS, AND EVERY ATTENTION GIVEN TO ORDERS."A man must be sceptical indeed to contest the existence of those stones and of the house in question. Now both these circumstances were injurious to the reputation of Gilliatt. Only the most ignorant are unaware of the fact that the greatest danger of the coasts of the Channel Islands is the King of the Auxcriniers. No inhabitant of the seas is more redoubtable. Whoever has seen him is certain to be wrecked between one St. Michel and the other. He is little, being in fact a dwarf; and is deaf, in his quality of king. He knows the names of all those who have been drowned in the seas, and the spots where they lie. He has a profound knowledge of that great graveyard which stretches far and wide beneath the waters of the ocean. A head, massive in the lower part and narrow in the forehead; a squat and corpulent figure; a skull, covered with warty excrescences; long legs, long arms, fins for feet, claws for hands, and a sea green countenancesuch are the chief characteristics of this king of the waves. His claws have palms like hands; his fins human nails. Imagine a spectral fish with the face of a human being. No power could check his career unless he could be exorcised, or mayhap fished up from the sea. Meanwhile he continues his sinister operations. Nothing is more unpleasant than an interview with this monster: amid the rolling waves and breakers, or in the thick of the mist, the sailor perceives sometimes a strange creature with a beetle brow, wide nostrils, flattened ears, an enormous mouth, gap-toothed jaws, peaked eyebrows, and great grinning eyes. When the lightning is livid, he appears red; when it is purple, he looks wan. He has a stiff, spreading beard, running with water, and overlapping a sort of pelerine, ornamented with fourteen shells, seven before and seven behind. These shells are curious to those who are learned in conchology. The King of the Auxcriniers is only seen in stormy seas. He is the terrible harbinger of the tempest. His hideous form traces itself in the fog, in the squall, in the tempest of rain. His breast is hideous. A coat of scales covers his sides like a vest. He rises above the waves which fly before the wind, twisting and curling like thin shavings of wood beneath the carpenter's plane. Then his entire form issues out of the foam, and if there should happen to be in the horizon any vessels in distress, pale in the twilight, or his face lighted up with a sinister smile, he dances, terrible and uncouth to behold. It is an evil omen indeed to meet him on a voyage. At the period when the people of Saint Sampson were particularly excited on the subject of Gilliatt, the last persons who had seen the King of the Auxcriniers declared that his pelerine was now ornamented with only thirteen shells. Thirteen! He was only the more dangerous. But what had become of the fourteenth? Had he given it to some one? No one would say positively, and folks confined themselves to conjecture. But it was an undoubted fact that a certain Mons. Lupin Mabier of Godaines, a man of property, paying a good sum to the land tax, was ready to depose on oath that he had once seen in the hands of Gilliatt a very remarkable kind of shell. It was not uncommon to hear dialogues like the following among the country people: "I have a fine bull here, neighbour; what do you say?" "Very fine, neighbour? " "It is a fact, tho' 'tis I who say it; he is better though for tallow than for meat." "Ver dia!" "Are you sure that Gilliatt hasn't cast his eye upon it?" Gilliatt would stop sometimes beside a field where some labourers were assembled, or near gardens in which gardeners were engaged, and would perhaps hear these mysterious words: "When the mors du diable2 flourishes, reap the winter rye." "The ash tree is coming out in leaf. There will be no more frost." "Summer solstice, thistle in flower." "If it rain not in June, the wheat will turn white. Look out for mildew." "When the wild cherry appears, beware of the full moon." "If the weather on the sixth day of the new moon is like that of the fourth or like that of the fifth day, it will be the same nine times out of twelve in the first case, and eleven times out of twelve in the second, during the whole month." "Keep your eye on neighbours who go to law with you. Beware of malicious influences. A pig which has had warm milk given to it will die. A cow which has had its teeth rubbed with leeks will eat no more." "Spawning time with the smelts; beware of fevers." "When frogs begin to appear, sow your melons". "When the liverwort flowers, sow your barley." "When the limes are in bloom, mow the meadows." "When the elm tree flowers, open the hot-bed frames.' "When tobacco fields are in blossom, close your greenhouses." And, fearful to relate, these occult precepts were not without truth. Those who put faith in them could vouch for the fact. One night, in the month of June, when Gilliatt was playing upon his bagpipe, Upon the sand-hills on the shore of the Demie de Fontenelle, it had happened that the mackerel fishing had failed. One evening, at low water, it came to pass that a cart filled with seaweed for manure overturned on the beach in front of Gilliatt's house. It is most probable that he was afraid of being brought before the magistrates, for he took considerable trouble in helping to raise the cart, and he filled it again himself. A little neglected child of the neighbourhood being troubled with vermin, he had gone himself to St. Peter's Port, and had returned with an ointment, with which he rubbed the child's head. Thus Gilliatt had removed the pest from the poor child, which was an evidence that Gilliatt himself had originally given it; for everybody knows that there is a certain charm for giving vermin to people. Gilliatt was suspected of looking into wellsa dangerous practice with those who have an evil eye; and, in fact, at Arculons, near St. Peter's Port, the water of a well became unwholesome. The good woman to whom this well belonged said to Gilliatt, "Look here at this water," and she showed him a glassful. Gilliatt acknowledged it. "The water is thick," he said, "that is true." The good woman, who dreaded him in her heart, said, "Make it sweet again for me." Gilliatt asked her some questions: whether she had a stable? whether the stable had a drain? whether the gutter of the drain did not pass near the well? The good woman replied, "Yes." Gilliatt went into the stable, worked at the drain, turned the gutter in another direction, and the water became pure again. People in the country round might think what they pleased. A well does not become foul one moment and sweet the next without good cause; the bottom of the affair was involved in obscurity; and, in short, it was difficult to escape the conclusion that Gilliatt himself had bewitched the water. On one occasion, when he went to Jersey, it was remarked that he had taken a lodging in the street called the Rue des Alleurs. Now the word alleurs signifies spirits from the other world. In villages it is the custom to gather together all these little hints and indications of a man's career; and when they are gathered together, the total constitutes his reputation among the inhabitants. It happened that Gilliatt was once caught with blood issuing from his nose. The circumstance appeared grave. The master of a barque who had sailed almost entirely round the world affirmed that among the Tongusians all sorcerers were subject to bleeding at the nose. In fact. when you see a man in those parts bleeding at the nose, you know at once what is in the wind. Moderate reasoners, however, remarked that the characteristics of sorcerers among the Tongusians may possibly not apply in the same degree to the sorcerers of Guernsey. In the environs of one of the St. Michels he had been seen to stop in a close belonging to the Huriaux, skirting the highway from the Videclins. He whistled in the field, and a moment afterwards a crow alighted there; a moment later, a magpie. The fact was attested by a worthy man who has since been appointed to the office of Douzenier of the Douzaine, as those are called who are authorised to make a new survey and register of the fief of the king. At Hamel, in the Vingtaine of L'Epine, there lived some old women who were positive of having heard one morning a number of swallows distinctly calling "Gilliatt." Add to all this that he was of a malicious temper. One day a poor man was beating an ass. The ass was obstinate. The poor man gave him a few kicks in the belly with his wooden shoe, and the ass fell. Gilliatt ran to raise the unlucky beast; but he was dead. Upon this Gilliatt administered to the poor man a sound thrashing. Another day, Gilliatt seeing a boy come down from a tree with a brood of little birds, newly hatched and unfledged, he took the brood away from the boy, and carried his malevolence so far as even to take them back and replace them in the tree. Some passers-by took up the boy's complaint; but Gilliatt made no reply, except to point to the old birds, who were hovering and crying plaintively over the tree. as they looked for their nest. He had a weakness for birdsanother sign by which the people recognise a magician. Children take a pleasure in robbing the nests of birds along the cliff. They bring home quantities of yellow, blue, and green eggs, with which they make rosaries for mantelpiece ornaments. As the cliffs are peaked, they sometimes slip and are killed. Nothing is prettier than shutters decorated with sea-birds' eggs. Gilliatt's mischievous ingenuity had no end. He would climb, at the peril of his own life, into the steep places of the sea rocks, and hang up bundles of hay, old hats, and all kinds of scarecrows, to deter the birds from building there' and, as a consequence, to prevent the children from visiting those spots. These are some of the reasons why Gilliatt was disliked throughout the country. Perhaps nothing less could have been expected.
"Qu'elle passait pour telle dans le regiment."Mess Lethierry used to say, "She has a head of hair like a ship's cable." From her infancy she had been remarkable for her beauty. The learned in such matters had grave doubts about her nose, but the little one having probably determined to be pretty, had finally satisfied their requirements. She grew to girlhood without any serious loss of beauty; her nose became neither too long nor too short; and when grown up, her critics admitted her to be charming. She never addressed her uncle otherwise than as father. Lethierry allowed her to soil her fingers a little in gardening, and even in some kind of household duties: she watered her beds of pink hollyhocks, purple foxgloves, perennial phloxes, and scarlet herb bonnets. She took good advantage of the climate of Guernsey, so favourable to flowers. She had, like many other persons there, aloes in the Open ground, and, what is more difficult, she succeeded in cultivating the Nepaulese cinquefoil. Her little kitchen-garden was scientifically arranged; she was able to produce from it several kinds of rare vegetables. She sowed Dutch cauliflower and Brussels cabbages, which she thinned out in July, turnips for August, endive for September, short parsnip for the autumn, and rampious for winter. Mess Lethierry did not interfere with her in this, so long as she did not handle the spade and rake too much, or meddle with the coarser kinds of garden labour. He had provided her with two servants, one named Grace, and the other Douce, which are favourite names in Guernsey. Grace and Douce, did the hard work of the house and garden, and they had the right to have red hands. With regard to Mess Lethierry, his room was a little retreat with a view over the harbour, and communicating with the great lower room of the ground floor, on which was situated the door of the house, near which the various staircases met. His room was furnished with his hammock, his chronometer, and his pipe: there was also a table and a chair. The ceiling had been whitewashed, as well as the four walls. A fine marine map, bearing the inscription W. Faden, 5 Charing Cross, Geographer to His Majesty, and representing the Channel Islands, was nailed up at the side of the door; and on the left, stretched out and fastened with other nails, appeared one of those large cotton handkerchiefs on which are printed, in colours, the signals of all countries in the world, having at the four corners the standards of France, Russia, Spain, and the United States, and in the centre the Union Jack of England. Douce and Grace were two faithful creatures within certain limits. Douce was good-natured enough, and Grace was probably good-looking. Douce was unmarried. and had secretly "a gallant". In the Channel Islands the word is common, as indeed is the fact itself. The two girls regarded as servants had something of the Creole in their character, a sort of slowness in their movements, not out of keeping with the Norman spirit pervading the relations of servant and master in the Channel Islands. Grace, coquettish and good-looking, was always scanning the future with a nervous anxiety. This arose from the fact of her not only having, like Douce, "a gallant", but also as the scandal-loving averred, a sailor husband, whose return one day was a thing she dreaded. This, however, does not concern us. In a household less austere and less innocent, Douce would have continued to be the servant, but Grace would have become the soubrette. The dangerous talents of Grace were lost upon a young mistress so pure and good as Deruchette. For the rest, the intrigues of Douce and Grace were cautiously concealed. Mess Lethierry knew nothing of such matters, and no token of them had ever reached Deruchette. The lower room of the ground floor, a hall with a large fireplace and surrounded with benches and tables, had served in the last century as a meeting-place for a conventicle of French Protestant refugees. The sole ornament of the bare stone wall was a sheet of parchment, set in a frame of black wood, on which were represented some of the charitable deeds of the great Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux. Some poor diocesans of this famous orator, surnamed the "Eagle," persecuted by him at the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and driven to take shelter at Guernsey, had hung this picture on the wall to preserve the remembrance of those facts. The spectator who had the patience to decipher a rude handwriting in faded ink might have learnt the following facts, which are but little known:"29th October, 1685, Monsieur the Bishop of Meaux appeals to the king to destroy the temples of Morcef and Nanteuil.""2nd April, 1686, Arrest of Cochard, father and son, for their religious opinions, at the request of Monsieur the Bishop of Meaux. Released: the Cochards having recanted.""28th October, 1699, Monsieur the Bishop of Meaux sent to Mde. Pontchartrain a petition of remonstrance, pointing out that it will be necessary to place the young ladies named Chalandes and de Neuville, who are of the reformed religion, in the House of the `New Catholics' at Paris.""7th July, 1703, the king's order executed as requested by Monsieur the Bishop of Meaux, for shutting up in an asylum Baudouin and his wife, two bad Catholics of Fublaines." At the end of the hall, near the door of Mess Lethierry's room, was a little corner with a wooden partition, which had been the Huguenot's sanctum, and had become, thanks to its row of rails and a small hole to pass paper or money through, the steamboat officethat is to say, the office of the Durande, kept by Mess Lethierry in person. Upon the old oaken reading-desk, where once rested the Holy Bible, lay a great ledger with its alternate pages headed Dr. and Cr.
"Barbarians! we are Frenchmen born;Self-banishment was the only resource left. Nothing, perhaps, seems simpler than flight, but that monosyllable has a terrible significance. Every obstacle is in the way of the man who slips away. Taking to flight necessitates disguise. Persons of importanceeven illustrious characterswere reduced to these expedients, only fit for malefactors. Their independent habits rendered it difficult for them to escape through the meshes of authority. A rogue who violates the conditions of his ticket-of-leave comports himself before the police as innocently as a saint: but imagine innocence constrained to act a partvirtue disguising its voicea glorious reputation hiding under a mask. Yonder passer-by is a man of well-earned celebrity; he is in quest of a false passport. The equivocal proceedings of one absconding from the reach of the law is no proof that he is not a hero. Ephemeral but characteristic features of the time of which our-so-called regular history takes no note, but which the true painter of the age will bring out into relief. Under cover of these flights and concealments of honest men, genuine rogues, less watched and suspected, managed often to get clear off. A scoundrel, who found it convenient to disappear, would take advantage of the general pell-mell, tack himself on to the political refugees, and, thanks to his greater skill in the art, would contrive to appear in that dim twilight more honest even than his honest neighbours. Nothing looks more awkward and confused sometimes than honesty unjustly condemned. It is out of its element, and is almost sure to commit itself. It is a curious fact that this voluntary expatriation, particularly with honest folks, appeared to lead to every strange turn of fortune. The modicum of civilisation which a scamp brought with him from London or Paris became, perhaps, a valuable stock-in-trade in some primitive country, ingratiated him with the people, and enabled him to strike into new paths. There is nothing impossible in a man's escaping thus from the laws, to reappear elsewhere as a dignitary among the priesthood. There was something phantasmagorial in these sudden disappearances; and more than one such flight has led to events like the marvels of a dream. An escapade of this kind, indeed, seemed to end naturally in the wild and wonderful; as when some broken bankrupt suddenly decamps to turn up again twenty years later as Grand Vizier to the Mogul, or as a king in Tasmania. Rendering assistance to these fugitives was an established trade, and, looking to the abundance of business of that kind, was a highly profitable one. It was generally carried on as a supplementary branch of certain recognised kinds of commerce. A person, for instance, desiring to escape to England, applied to the smugglers; one who desired to get to America, had recourse to sea-captains like Zuela.
Pity us, glorious, yet forlorn."
"So that is understood?" "Perfectly. " "As is arranged? " "As is arranged." "A man will wait here, and can accompany Blasquito to England." "Paying the expense? " "Paying the expense." "Blasquito will take the man in his bark." "Without seeking to know what country he belongs "That is no business of ours." "Without asking his name?" "We do not ask for names; we only feel the weight of the purse." "Good; the man shall wait in this house." "He must have provisions." "He will be furnished with them." "How? " "From this bag which I have brought." "Very good." "Can I leave this bag here?" "Smugglers are not robbers." "And when do you go?" To-morrow morning. If your man was ready he could come with us." "He is not prepared." "That is his affair." "How many days will he have to wait in this house?" "Two, three, or four daysmore or less." "Is it certain that Blasquito will come?" "Certain." "Here to Pleinmont? " "To Pleinmont." "When?" "Next week." "What day?" "Friday, Saturday, or Sunday." "May he not fail?" "He is my Tocayo." "Will he come in any weather?" "At any time. He has no fear. My name is Blasco, his Blasquito." "So he cannot fail to come to Guernsey?" "I come one monthhe the other." "I understand." "Counting from Saturday last, one week from to-day, five days cannot elapse without bringing Blasquito." "But if there is much sea?" "Bad weather?" "Yes." "Blasquito will not come so quickly, but he will come." "Whence will he come?" "From Bilbao." "Where will he be going?" "To Portland." "Good." "Or to Torbay." "Better still." "Your man may rest easy." "Blasquito will betray nothing?" "Cowards are the only traitors. We are men of courage. The sea is the church of winter. Treason is the church of hell." "No one hears what we say?" "It is impossible to be seen or overheard. The people's fear of this spot makes it deserted." "I know it." "Who is there who would dare to listen here?" "True." "Besides, if they listened, none would understand. We speak a wild language of our own, which nobody knows hereabouts As you know it, you are one of us." "I came only to make these arrangements with you." "Very good." "I must now take my leave." "Be it so." "Tell me: suppose the passenger should wish Blasquito to take him anywhere else than to Portland or Torbay?" "Let him bring some gold coins." "Will Blasquito consult the stranger's convenience?" "Blasquito will do whatever the gold coins command." "Does it take long to go to Torbay? " "That is as it pleases the winds." "Eight hours?" "More or less." "Will Blasquito obey the passenger?" "If the sea will obey Blasquito." "He will be well rewarded." "Gold is gold, and the sea is the sea." "That is true." "Man with his gold does what he can. Heaven with its winds does what it will." "The man who is to accompany Blasquito will be here on Friday." "Good." "At what hour will Blasquito appear.?" "In the night. We arrive by night, and sail by night. We have a wife who is called the sea, and a sister called night. The wife betrays sometimes; but the sister never." "All is settled, then. Good-night, my men." "Good-night. A drop of brandy first?" "Thank you." "That is better than a syrup." "I have your word." "My name is Point-of-Honour." "Adieu." "You are a gentleman; I am a caballero."It was clear that only devils could talk in this way. The children did not listen long. This time they took to flight in earnest; the French boy, convinced at last, running even quicker than the others. On the Tuesday following this Saturday, Sieur Clubin returned to St. Malo, bringing back the Durande. The Tamaulipas was still at anchor in the roads. Sleur Clubin, between the whiffs of his pipe, said to the landlord of the Jean Auberge, "Well; and when does the Tamaulipas get under way?" "The day after to-morrowThursday," replied the landlord. On that evening Clubin supped at the coastguard officers' table; and, contrary to his habit, went out after his supper. The consequence of his absence was that he could not attend to the office of the Durande, and thus lost a little in the matter of freights. This fact was remarked in a man ordinarily punctual. It appeared that he had chatted a few moments with his friend the money-changer. He returned two hours after Noguette had sounded the Curfew bell. The Brazilian bell sounds at ten o'clock. It was therefore midnight.
"The captain of police is dead,He knelt down a second time. Nothing reappeared. Only, at the spot where the officer had been engulfed, he observed on the surface of the water a sort of dark spot, which became diffused with the gentle lapping of the waves. It seemed probable that the coast-guardman had fractured his skull against some rock under water, and that his blood caused the spot in the foam. The Quaker, while considering the meaning of this spot, began to sing again,
Through having lost his life."
"Not very long before he died,He did not finish his song. He heard an extremely soft voice behind him, which said, "Is that you, Rantaine? Good-day. You have just killed a man!" He turned. About fifteen paces behind him, in one of the passages between the rocks, stood a little man holding a revolver in his hand. The Quaker answered, "As you see. Good-day, Sieur Clubin." The little man started. "You know me?" "You knew me very well," replied Rantaine. Meanwhile they could hear a sound of oars on the sea. It was the approach of the boat which the officer had observed. Sieur Clubin said in a low tone, as if speaking to himself. "It was done quickly." "What can I do to oblige you?" asked Rantaine. "Oh, a trifling matter! It is very nearly ten years since I saw you. You must have been doing well. How are you?" "Well enough," answered Rantaine. "Very well, " replied Clubin. Rantaine advanced a step towards Clubin. A little sharp click caught his ear. It was Sieur Clubin who was cocking his revolver. "Rantaine, there are about fifteen paces between us. It is a nice distance. Remain where you are." "Very well," said Rantaine. "What do you want with me?" "I! Oh, I have come to have a chat with you." Rantaine did not offer to move again. Sieur Clubin continued, "You assassinated a coast-guardman just now." Rantaine lifted the flap of his hat, and replied, "You have already done me the honour to mention it." "Exactly; but in terms less precise. I said a man: I say now, a coast-guardman. The man wore the number 619. He was the father of a family; leaves a wife and five children." "That is no doubt correct," said Rantaine. There was a momentary pause. "They are picked menthose coastguard people," continued Clubin; "almost all old sailors." "I have remarked," said Rantaine, "that people generally do leave a wife and five children." Sieur Clubin continued, "Guess how much this revolver cost me?" "It is a pretty tool," said Rantaine. "What do you guess it at?" "I should guess it at a good deal." "It cost me one hundred and forty-four francs." "You must have bought that," said Rantaine, "at the shop in the Ruelle Coutanchez." Clubin continued, "He did not cry out. The fall stopped his voice, no doubt." "Sieur Clubin, there will be a breeze to-night." "I am the only one in the secret." "Do you still stay at the Jean Auberge?" "Yes; you are not badly served there." "I remember getting some excellent sour-krout there." "You must be exceedingly strong, Rantaine. What shoulders you have! I should be sorry to get a tap from you. I on the other hand, when I came into the world, looked so spare and sickly that they despaired of rearing me." "They succeeded though; which was lucky." "Yes; I still stay at the Jean Auberge." "Do you know, Sieur Clubin, how I recognised you? It was from your having recognised me. I said to myself, there is nobody like Sieur Clubin for that." And he advanced a step. "Stand back where you were, Rantaine." Rantaine fell back, and said to himself, "A fellow becomes like a child before one of those weapons." Sieur Clubin continued, "The position of affairs is this: we have on our right, in the direction of St. Enogat, at about three hundred paces from here, another coast-guardmanhis number is 618who is still alive; and on our left, in the direction of St. Lunalrea customs station. That makes seven armed men who could be here, if necessary, in five minutes. The rock would be surrounded; the way hither guarded. Impossible to elude them. There is a corpse at the foot of this rock." Rantaine took a sideway glance at the revolver. "As you say, Rantaine, it is a pretty tool. Perhaps it is only loaded with powder; but what does that matter? A report would be enough to bring an armed forceand I have six barrels here." The measured sound of the oars became very distinct. The boat was not far off. The tall man regarded the little man curiously. Sieur Clubin spoke in a voice more and more soft and subdued. "Rantaine, the men in the boat which is coming, knowing what you did here just now, would lend a hand and help to arrest you. You are to pay Captain Zuela ten thousand francs for your passage. You would have made a better bargain, by the way, with the smugglers of Pleinmont; but they would only have taken you to England; and besides, you cannot risk going to Guernsey, where they have the pleasure of knowing you. To return then, to the position of affairsif I fire, you are arrested. You are to pay Zuela for your passage ten thousand francs. You have already paid him five thousand in advance. Zuela would keep the five thousand and be gone. These are the facts. Rantaine, you have managed your masquerading very well. That hatthat queer coatand those gaiters make a wonderful change. You forgot the spectacles; but did right to let your whiskers grow." Rantaine smiled spasmodically. Clubin continued, "Rantaine, you have on a pair of American breeches, with a double fob. In one side you keep your watch. Take care of it." "Thank you, Sieur Clubin." "In the other is a little box made of wrought iron, which opens and shuts with a spring. It is an old sailor's tobacco-box. Take it out of your pocket, and throw it over to me." "Why, this is robbery." "You are at liberty to call the coast-guardman." And Clubin fixed his eye on Rantaine. "Stay, Mess Clubin," said Rantaine, making a slight forward movement, and holding out his open hand. The title "Mess" was a delicate flattery. "Stay where you are, Rantaine." "Mess Clubin, let us come to terms. I offer you half." Clubin crossed his arms, still showing the barrels of his revolver. "Rantaine, what do you take me for? I am an honest man." And he added after a pause, "I must have the whole." Rantaine muttered between his teeth, "This fellow's of a stern sort." The eye of Clubin lighted up, his voice became clear and sharp as steel. He cried, "I see that you are labouring under a mistake. Robbery is your name, not mine. My name is Restitution. Hark you, Rantaine. Ten years ago you left Guernsey one night, taking with you the cash-box of a certain partnership concern, containing fifty thousand francs which belonged to you, but forgetting to leave behind you fifty thousand francs which were the property of another. Those fifty thousand francs, the money of your partner, the excellent and worthy Mess Lethierry, make at present, at compound interest, calculated for ten years, eighty thousand six hundred and sixty-six francs. You went into a money-changer's yesterday. I'll give you his nameRebuchet, in St. Vincent Street. You counted out to him seventy-six thousand francs in French banknotes; in exchange for which he gave you three notes of the Bank of England for one thousand pounds sterling each, plus the exchange. You put these banknotes in the iron tobacco-box, and the iron tobacco-box into your double fob on the right-hand side. On the part of Mess Lethierry, I shall be content with that. I start to-morrow for Guernsey, and intend to hand it to him. Rantaine, the three-master lying-to out yonder is the Tamaulipas. You have had your luggage put aboard there with the other things belonging to the crew. You want to leave France. You have your reasons. You are going to Arequipa. The boat is coming to fetch you. You are awaiting it. It is at hand. You can hear it. It depends on me whether you go or stay. No more words. Fling me the tobacco-box." Rantaine dipped his hand in the fob, drew out a little box, and threw it to Clubin. It was the iron tobacco-box. It fell and rolled at Clubin's feet. Clubin knelt without lowering his gaze; felt about for the box with his left hand, keeping all the while his eyes and the six barrels of the revolver fixed upon Rantaine. Then he cried, "Turn your back my friend." Rantaine turned his back. Sieur Clubin put the revolver under one arm, and touched the spring of the tobacco-box. The lid flew open. It contained four banknotes; three of a thousand pounds, and one of ten pounds. He folded up the three banknotes of a thousand pounds each, replaced them in the iron tobacco-box. shut the lid again, and put it in his pocket. Then he picked up a stone, wrapped it in the ten-pound rote, and said, "You may turn round again." Rantaine turned Sieur Clubin continued, "I told you I would be contented with three thousand pounds. Here, I return you ten pounds." And he threw to Rantaine the note enfolding the stone. Rantaine, with a movement of his foot, sent the bank-note and the stone into the sea. "As you please," said Clubin. "You must be rich. I am satisfied." The noise of oars, which had been continually drawing nearer during the dialogue, ceased. They knew by this that the boat had arrived at the base of the cliff. "Your vehicle waits below. You can go, Rantaine." Rantaine advanced towards the steps of stones, and rapidly disappeared. Clubin moved cautiously towards the edge of the escarpment, and watched him descending. The boat had stopped near the last stage of the rocks, at the very spot where the coast-guardman had fallen. Still observing Rantaine stepping from stone to stone, Clubin muttered, "A good number619. He thought himself alone. Rantaine thought there were only two there. I alone knew that there were three." He perceived at his feet the telescope which had dropped from the hands of the coast-guardman. The sound of oars was heard again. Rantaine had stepped into the boat, and the rowers had pushed out to sea. When Rantaine was safely in the boat, and the cliff was beginning to recede from his eyes, he arose again abruptly. His features were convulsed with rage; he clenched his fist and cried, "Ha! he is the devil himself; a villain!" A few seconds later, Clubin, from the top of the rock, while bringing his telescope to bear upon the boat, heard distinctly the following words articulated by a loud voice, and mingling with the noise of the sea, "Sieur Clubin, you are an honest man; but you will not be offended if I write to Lethierry to acquaint him with this matter; and we have here in the boat a sailor from Guernsey, who is one of the crew of the Tamaulipas; his name is Ahier-Tostevin, and he will return to St. Malo on Zuela's next voyage, to bear testimony to the fact of my having returned to you, on Mess Lethierry's account, the sum of three thousand pounds sterling." It was Rantaine's voice. Clubin rarely did things by halves. Motionless as the coast-guardman had been, and in the exact same place, his eye still at the telescope, he did not lose sight of the boat for one moment. He saw it growing less amidst the waves; watched it disappear and reappear, and approach the vessel, which was lying-to; finally, he recognised the tall figure of Rantaine on the deck of the Tamaulipas. When the boat was raised, and slung again to the davits, the Tamaulipas was in motion once more. The land-breeze was fresh, and she spread all her sails. Clubin's glass continued fixed upon her outline growing more and more indistinct, until half an hour later, when the Tamaulipas had become only a dark shape upon the horizon, growing smaller and smaller against the pale twilight in the sky.
The luckless man was still alive."
"Si Jamais flu passes le Ras,the Mortes-Femmes, the Deroute between Guernsey and Jersey, the Hardent between the Minquiers and Chousey, the Mauvais Cheval between Bouley Bay and Barneville, have not so evil a reputation. It would be preferable to have to encounter all these dangers, one after the other, than the Douvres once. In all that perilous sea of the Channel, which is the Ægean of the West, the Douvres have no equal in their terrors, except the Paternoster between Guernsey and Sark. From the Paternoster, however, it is possible to give a signala ship in distress there may obtain succour. To the north rises Dicard or D'Icare Point, and to the south Grosnez. From the Douvres you can see nothing. Its associations are the storm, the cloud, the wild sea, the desolate waste, the uninhabited coast. The blocks of granite are hideous and enormouseverywhere perpendicular wallthe severe inhospitality of the abyss. It is in the open sea; the water about is very deep. A rock completely isolated like the Douvres attracts and shelters creatures which shun the haunts of men. It is a sort of vast submarine cave of fossil coral branches a drowned labyrinth. There, at a depth to which divers would find it difficult to descend, are caverns, haunts, and dusky mazes, where monstrous creatures multiply and destroy each other. Huge crabs devour fish and are devoured in their turn. Hideous shapes of living things, not created to be seen by human eyes, wander in this twilight. Vague forms of antennae, tentacles, fins, open jaws, scales, and claws float about there, quivering, growing larger, or decomposing and perishing in the gloom, while horrible swarms of swimming things prowl about seeking their prey. To gaze into the depths of the sea is, in the imagination, like beholding the vast unknown, and from its most terrible point of view. The submarine gulf is analogous to the realm of night and dreams. There also is sleep, unconsciousness, or at least apparent unconsciousness, of creation. There, in the awful silence and darkness, the rude first forms of life, phantomlike, demoniacal, pursue their horrible instincts. Forty years ago, two rocks of singular form signalled the Douvres from afar to passers on the ocean. They were two vertical points, sharp and curvedtheir summits almost touching each other. They looked like the two tusks of an elephant rising out of the sea; but they were tusks, high as tall towers, of an elephant huge as a mountain. These two natural towers, rising out of the obscure home of marine monsters, only left a narrow passage between them, where the waves rushed through. This passage, tortuous and full of angles, resembled a straggling street between high walls. The two twin rocks are called the Douvres. There was the Great Douvre and the Little Douvre; one was sixty feet high, the other forty. The ebb and flow of the tide had at last worn away part of the base of the towers, and a violent equinoctial gale on the 26th of October, 1859, overthrew one of them. The smaller one, which still remains, is worn and tottering. One of the most singular of the Douvres is a rock known as "The Man." This still exists. Some fisherman in the last century visiting this spot found on the height of the rock a human body. By its side were a number of empty sea-shells. A sailor escaped from shipwreck had found a refuge there; had lived some time upon rock limpets, and had died. Hence its name of "The Man." The solitudes of the sea are peculiarly dismal. The things which pass there seem to have no relation to the human race; their objects are unknown. Such is the isolation of the Douvres. All around, as far as eye can reach, spreads the vast and restless sea.
Si to ne meurs, tu trembleras;"
"At Sea, 10th March. To Mess Lethierry of St. Sampson. "You will be gratified to receive news of me. I am aboard the Tamaulipas, bound for the port of "No-return." Among the crew is a sailor named Ahier-Tostevin, from Guernsey, who will return and will have some facts to communicate to you. I take the opportunity of our speaking a vessel, the Herman Cortes, bound for Lisbon, to forward you this letter. "You will be astonished to learn that I am going to be honest "As honest as Sieur Clubin. "I am bound to believe that you know of certain recent occurrences; nevertheless, it is, perhaps, not altogether superfluous to send you a full account of them. "To proceed, then. "I have returned you your money. "Some years ago I borrowed from you, under somewhat irregular circumstances, the sum of fifty thousand francs. Before leaving St. Malo lately, I placed in the hands of your confidential man of business, Sieur Clubin, on your account, three bank-notes of one thousand pounds each, making together seventy-five thousand francs. You will no doubt find this reimbursement sufficient. "Sieur Clubin acted for you, and received your money, including interest, in a remarkably energetic manner. He appeared to me, indeed, singularly zealous. This is, in fact, my reason for apprising you of the facts. "Your other confidential man of business, "RANTAINE. "Postscript-Sieur Clubin was in possession of a revolver, which will explain to you the circumstance of my having no receipt."He who has ever touched a torpedo, or a Leyden-jar fully charged, may have a notion of the effect produced on Mess Lethierry by the reading of this letter. Under that envelope, in that sheet of paper folded in four, to which he had at first paid so little attention, lay the elements of an extraordinary commotion. He recognised the writing and the signature. As to the facts which the letter contained, at first he under stood nothing. The excitement of the event, however, soon gave movement to his faculties. The effective part of the shock he had received lay in the phenomenon of the seventy-five thousand francs entrusted by Rantaine to Clubin; this was a riddle which compelled Lethierry's brain to work. Conjecture is a healthy occupation for the mind. Reason is awakened; logic is called into play. For some time past public opinion in Guernsey had been undergoing a reaction on the subject of Clubinthat man of such high reputation for honour during many years; that man so unanimously regarded with esteem. People had begun to question and to doubt; there were wagers pro and con. Some light had been thrown on the question in singular ways. The figure of Clubin began to become clearerthat is to say, he began to be blacker in the eyes of the world. A judicial inquiry had taken place at St. Malo for the purpose of ascertaining what had become of the coast-guardman, number 619. Legal perspicacity had got upon a false scent, a thing which happens not unfrequently. It had started with the hypothesis that the man had been enticed by Zeula, and shipped aboard the Tamaulipas for Chili. This ingenious supposition had led to a considerable amount of wasted conjecture. The short-sightedness of justice had failed to take note of Rantaine; but in the progress of inquiry the authorities had come upon other clues. The affair, so obscure, became complicated. Clubin had become mixed up with the enigma. A coincidence, perhaps a direct connection, had been found between the departure of the Tamaulipas and the loss of the Durande. At the wine-shop near the Dinan Gate, where Clubin thought himself entirely unknown, he had been recognised. The wine-shop keeper had talked; Clubin had bought a bottle of brandy that night. For whom? The gunsmith of St. Vincent Street, too, had talked. Clubin had purchased a revolver. For what object? The landlord of the "Jean Auberge" had talked. Clubin had absented himself in an inexplicable manner. Captain Gertrais-Gaboureau had talked. Clubin had determined to start, although warned, and knowing that he might expect a great fog. The crew of the Durande had talked. In fact, the collection of the freight had been neglected, and the stowage badly arranged, a negligence easy to comprehend if the captain had determined to wreck the ship. The Guernsey passenger, too, had spoken. Clubin had evidently imagined that he had run upon the Hanways. The Torteval people had spoken. Clubin had visited that neighbourhood a few days before the loss of the Durande, and had been seen walking in the direction of Pleinmont, near the Hanways. He had with him a travelling-bag. "He had set out with it, and come back without it." The bird's nesters had spoken: their story seemed to be possibly connected with Clubin's disappearance, if instead of ghosts they supposed smugglers. Finally, the haunted House of Pleinmont itself had spoken. Persons who had determined to get information had climbed and entered the windows, and had found inside-what? The very travelling-bag which had been seen in Sieur Clubin's possession. The authorities of the Donzaine of Torteval had taken possession of the bag and had it opened. It was found to contain provisions, a telescope, a chronometer, a man's clothing and linen marked with Clubin's initials. All this in the gossip of St. Malo and Guernsey became more and more like a case of fraud. Obscure hints were brought together; there appeared to have been a singular disregard of advice; a willingness to encounter the dangers of the fog; a suspected negligence in the stowage of the cargo. Then there was the mysterious bottle of brandy; a drunken helmsman; a substitution of the captain for the helmsman; a management of the rudder, to say the least, unskilful. The heroism of remaining behind upon the wreck began to look like roguery. Clubin besides had evidently been deceived as to the rock he was on. Granted an intention to wreck the vessel, it was easy to understand the choice of the Hanways, the shore easily reached by swimming, and the intended concealment in the haunted house awaiting the opportunity for flight. The travelling-bag, that suspicious preparative, completed the demonstration. By what link this affair connected itself with the other affair of the disappearance of the coastguardman nobody knew. People imagined some connection, and that was all. They had a glimpse in their minds of the lookoutman, number 619, alongside of the mysterious Clubinquite a tragic drama. Clubin possibly was not an actor in it, but his presence was visible in the side scenes. The supposition of a wilful destruction of the Durande did not explain everything. There was a revolver in the story, with no part yet assigned to it. The revolver, probably, belonged to the other affair. The scent of the public is keen and true. Its instinct excels in those discoveries of truth by pieces and fragments. Still, amidst these facts, which seemed to point pretty clearly to a case of barratry, there were serious difficulties. Everything was consistent, everything coherent; but a basis was wanting. People do not wreck vessels for the pleasure of wrecking them. Men do not run all those risks of fog, rocks, swimming, concealment, and flight without an interest. What could have been Clubin's interest? The act seemed plain, but the motive was puzzling. Hence a doubt in many minds. Where there is no motive, it is; natural to infer that there was no act. The missing link was important. The letter from Rantaine seemed to supply it. This letter furnished a motive for Clubin's supposed crime: seventy-five thousand francs to be appropriated. Rantaine was the Deus ex machina. He had descended from the clouds with a lantern in his hand. His letter was the final light upon the affair. It explained everything, and even promised a witness in the person of Ahier-Tostevin. The part which it at once suggested for the revolver was decisive. Rantaine was undoubtedly well informed. His letter pointed clearly the explanation of the mystery. There could be no possible palliation of Clubin's crime. He had premeditated the shipwreck; the proofs were the preparations discovered in the haunted house. Even supposing him innocent, and admitting the wreck to have been accidental, would he not, at the last moment, when he had determined to sacrifice himself with the vessel, have entrusted the seventy-five thousand francs to the men who escaped in the longboat? The evidence was strikingly complete. Now, what had become of Clubin? He had probably been the victim of his blunder. He had doubtless perished upon the Douvres. All this construction of surmises, which were not far from the reality, had for several days occupied the mind of Mess Lethierry. The letter from Rantaine had done him the service of setting him to think. He was at first shaken by his surprise; then he made an effort to reflect. He made another effort more difficult still, that of inquiry. He was induced to listen, and even seek conversation. At the end of a week he had become, to a certain degree, in the world again; his thoughts had regained their coherence, and he was almost restored. He had emerged from his confused and troubled state. Rantaine's letter, even admitting that Mess Lethierry could ever have entertained any hope of the reimbursement of his money, destroyed that last chance. It added to the catastrophe of the Durande this new wreck of seventy-five thousand francs. It put him in possession of that amount just so far as to make him sensible of its loss. The letter revealed to him the extreme point in his ruin. Hence he experienced a new and very painful sensation, which we have already spoken of. He began to take an interest in his householdwhat it was to be in the futurehow he was to set things in order; matters of which he had taken no heed for two months past. These trifling cares wounded him with a thousand tiny points, worse in their aggregate than the old despair. A sorrow is doubly burdensome which has to be endured in each item, and while disputing inch by inch with fate for ground already lost. Ruin is endurable in the mass, but not in the dust and fragments of the fallen edifice. The great fact may overwhelm, but the details torture. The catastrophe which lately fell like a thunderbolt becomes now a cruel persecution. Humiliation comes to aggravate the blow. A second desolation succeeds the first, with features more repulsive. You descend one degree nearer to annihilation. The winding-sheet becomes changed to sordid rags. No thought is more bitter than that of one's own gradual fall from a social position. Ruin is simple enougha violent shock; a cruel turn of fate; a catastrophe once for all. Be it so. We submit, and all is over. You are ruined: it is well; you are dead? No; you are still living. On the morrow you know it well. By what? By the pricking of a pin. Yonder passer-by omits to recognise you; the tradesmen's bills rain down upon you; and yonder is one of your enemies, who is smiling. Perhaps he is thinking of Arnal's last pun; but it is all the same. The pun would not have appeared to him so inimitable but for your ruin. You read your own sudden insignificance even in looks of indifference. Friends who used to dine at your table become of opinion that three courses were an extravagance. Your faults are patent to the eyes of everybody; ingratitude having nothing more to expect, proclaims itself openly; every idiot has foreseen your misfortunes. The malignant pull you to pieces; the more malignant profess to pity. And then come a hundred paltry details. Nausea succeeds to grief. You have been wont to indulge in wine; you must now drink cider. Two servants, too! Why, one will be too many. It will be necessary to discharge this one, and get rid of that. Flowers in your garden are superfluous; you will plant it with potatoes. You used to make presents of your fruits to friends; you will send them henceforth to market. As to the poor, it will be absurd to think of giving anything to them. Are you not poor yourself? And then there is the painful question of dress. To have to refuse a wife a new ribbon, what a torture! To have to refuse one who has made you a gift of her beauty a trifling article; to haggle over such matters, like a miser! Perhaps she will say to you, "What! rob my garden of its flowers, and now refuse one for my bonnet!", Ah me! to have to condemn her to shabby dresses. The family-table is silent. You fancy that those around it think harshly of you. Beloved faces have become clouded. This is what is meant by falling fortunes. It is to die day by day. To be struck down is like the blast of the furnace; to decay like this is the torture of the slow fire. An overwhelming blow is a sort of Waterloo; a slow decay, a St. Helena. Destiny incarnate in the form of Wellington, has still some dignity; but how sordid in the shape of Hudson Lowe! Fate becomes then a paltry huckster. We find the man of Campo Formio quarrelling about a pair of stockings; we see that dwarfing of Napoleon which makes England less. Waterloo and St. Helena! Reduced to humbler proportions, every ruined man has traversed those two phases. On the evening we have mentioned, and which was one of the first evenings in May, Lethierry, leaving Deruchette to walk by moonlight in the garden, had gone to bed more depressed than ever. All these mean and repulsive details, peculiar to worldly misfortune; all these trifling cares, which are at first insipid, and afterwards harassing, were revolving in his mind. A sullen load of miseries! Mess Lethierry felt that his fall was irremediable. What could he do? What would become of them? What sacrifices should he be compelled to impose on Deruchette? Whom should he dischargeDouce or Grace? Would they have to sell the Bravees? Would they not be compelled to leave the island? To be nothing where he had been everything; it was a terrible fall indeed. And to know that the old times had gone for ever! To recall those journeys to and fro, uniting France with those numberless islands; the Tuesday's departure, the Friday's return, the crowd on the quay, those great cargoes, that industry, that prosperity, that proud direct navigation, that machinery embodying the will of man, that all-powerful boiler, that smoke, all that reality! The steamboat had been the final crown of the compass; the needle indicating the direct track, the steam-vessel following it. One proposing, the other executing. Where was she now, his Durande, that mistress of the seas, that queen who had made him a king? To have been so long the man of ideas in his own country, the man of success, the man who revolutionized navigation; and then to have to give up all, to abdicate! To cease to exist, to become a byword, an empty bag which once was full. To belong to the past, after having so long represenced the future. To come down to be an object of pity to fools, to witness the triumph of routine, obstinacy, conservatism, selfishness, ignorance. To see the old barbarous sailing-cutters crawling to and fro upon the sea, the outworn old-world prejudices young again; to have wasted a whole life; to have been a light, and to suffer this eclipse. Ah! what a sight it was upon the waves, that noble funnel, that prodigious cylinder, that pillar with its capital of smoke, that column grander than any in the Place Vendome, for on that there was only a man, while on this stood Progress. The ocean was subdued; it was certainty upon the open sea. And had all this been witnessed in that little island, in that little harbour, in that little town of St. Sampson? Yes; it had been witnessed. And could it be that, having seen it, all had vanished to be seen no more? All this series of regrets tortured Lethierry. There is such a thing as a mental sobbing. Never, perhaps, had he felt his misfortune more bitterly. A certain numbness follows this acute suffering. Under the weight of his sorrow he gradually dozed. For about two hours he remained in this state, feverish, sleeping a little, meditating much. Such torpors are accompanied by an obscure labour of the brain, which is inexpressibly wearying. Towards the middle of the night, about midnight, a little before or a little after, he shook off his lethargy. He aroused, and opened his eyes. His window was directly in front of his hammock. He saw something extraordinary. A form was before the windowa marvellous form. It was the funnel of a steam-vessel. Mess Lethierry started, and sat upright in his bed. The hammock oscillated like a swing in a tempest. Lethierry stared. A vision filled the window-frame. There was the harbour flooded with the light of the moon, and against that glitter, quite close to his house, stood forth, tall, round. and black, a magnificent object. The funnel of a steam-vessel was there. Lethierry sprang out of his hammock, ran to the window, lifted the sash, leaned out, and recognised it. The funnel of the Durande stood before him. It was in the old place. Its four chains supported it, made fast to the bulwarks of a vessel in which, beneath the funnel, he could distinguish a dark mass of irregular outline. Lethierry recoiled, turned his back to the window, and dropped in a sitting posture into his hammock again. Then he returned, and once more he saw the vision. An instant afterwards, or in about the time occupied by a flash of lightning, he was out upon the quay, with a lantern in his hand. A bark carrying a little backward a massive block from which issued the straight funnel before the window of the Bravees, was made fast to the mooring-ring of the Durande. The bows of the bark stretched beyond the corner of the wall of the house, and were level with the quay. There was no one aboard. The vessel was of a peculiar shape. All Guernsey would have recognised it. It was the old Dutch sloop. Lethierry jumped aboard, and ran forward to the block which he saw beyond the mast. It was there, entire, complete, intact, standing square and firm upon its cast-iron flooring; the boiler had all its rivets, the axle of the paddle-wheels was raised erect and made fast near the boiler; the brine-pump was in its place; nothing was wanting. Lethierry examined the machinery. The lantern and the moon helped him in his examination. He went over every part of the mechanism. He noticed the two cases at the sides. He examined the axle of the wheels. He went into the little cabin; it was empty. He returned to the engine, and felt it, looked into the boiler, and knelt down to examine it inside. He placed his lantern within the furnace, where the light, illuminating all the machinery, produced almost the illusion of an engine-room with its fire. Then he burst into a wild laugh, sprang to his feet, and with his eye fixed on the engine, and his arms outstretched towards the funnel, he cried aloud, "Help." The harbour bell was upon the quay, at a few paces' distance. He ran to it, seized the chain, and began to pull it violently.
"I have written to Breme for the timber. I have appointments all the morning with carpenters for the estimate. The rebuilding will go on fast. You must go yourself to the Deanery for a licence. It is my wish that the marriage should take place as soon as possible; immediately would be better. I am busy about the Durande. Do you be busy about Deruchette."He dated it and signed "Lethierry." He did not take the trouble to seal it, but merely folded it in four. and handed it to Grace, saying, "Take that to Gilliatt." "To the Bu de la Rue?" "To the Bu de la Rue."