Myr nah rheynn yn obbyr aym Gaelg er skeealyn beggey y chur, ta mee gobbraghey er skeealyn P. G. Wodehouse. My ta shiu fakin marranys ennagh ayns my obbyr, as s’cosoylagh dy nee, cur fys dou my sailliu. Ta fys persoonagh er y duillag "mychione".
As the next part of my project to translate short stories into Manx, I'm working on the short stories of P. G. Wodehouse. If you notice any errors in the work, which there certainly will be, please let me know. Contact information is on the "about" page.
She giarrey sporranyn va keird Vnr. James ("Doo-Oallee") Buffin. She drogh-chooilleen va'n ceau traa echey. Cha hass eh rieau noi lhiggey da'n ghrian lheie er y chorree echey. Dy jarroo, she lurg tuittym ny hoie dy ghow eh cooilleeney share er ny ymmodee noidyn echey. She oie ghorraghey v'ayn, as eshyn geeck coontey Vnr. Kelly, ny eer ainjyssagh da James, tra roie eh stiagh ayns jymmoose Veoir-shee Keating son y chied cheayrt. Va'n ronney echey cur er shooyl trooid oaylyn cliaghtagh Yames.
As eh er n'o-lhie son Vnr. Kelly, hooar eh eh ayns fo-hraid froshagh ‘syn ard Chlerkenwell, as ren eh shirveish da lesh poagey geinnee.
Shoh eh dy haink stiagh Meoir-shee Keating ayns e vea. Va James kiart er çhee faagail, as eh gennaghtyn dy row currym jeant echey, tra roie Meoir-shee Keating da, ny 'akiner foddey jeh'n chooish, as ghow eh greim er.
B'neuhurrallagh eh, eshyn y chur eie er meechoardailys lane phersoonagh eddyr daa ghooinney ooasle, agh cha row red erbee ry-yannoo. Va'n meoir-shee kiare claghyn jeig er trimmid, bunnys, as dod eh er n'ee Mnr. Buffin. As jiarg-chorree sthie er, hie eh dy kiune, as ayns traa cooie, v'eh er ny hashtey ersooyl er argid y Reiltys, rish tammylt tree feed laa.
Bentyn rish y chorp, cha nel ourys erbee dy ren y pryssoonaght mie da. Ooryn reiltagh, as arran as ushtey ayns ynnyd y vee b'oayllagh rish, haree ad e 'laynt wheesh as jeih as feed 'sy cheead. B'inçhynagh yn assee. She fer jeh ny h-inçhynyn ynnydee-injil kiart-cho-mie v'echey, nagh nod agh un eie cummal ayndaue, as car ny tree feed laa lomarcan kiune, v'eh follym lesh myskid sheer-aase noi Meoir-shee Keating. Dagh laa, rish jannoo yn obbyr pointit echey, v'eh guirr ny skiellaghyn echey. Cha row dagh oie agh jerrey laa elley va lhiettal eh jeh toshiaght yn obbyr trome: Cooilleen. Goll er tayrn dys prysoon son kiartaghey noid persoonagh lesh poagey-geinnee - shen bun y ghah. Ayns preevaadjys y chilleen, hug eh e aigney rish feme chooilleen. Ghow y chooish toshiaght blass Halee Noo y ghoaill urree hene, blass Chroshaid ennagh.
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Skeayll ny laaghyn shaghey, as hug lhieu geurrey da Clerkenwell, as Mnr. Buffin myrane lesh. Haink eh erash da ny shenn oayllyn echey oie Jeheiney ennagh, as eshyn keyl, agh ayns callin vie. Mastey ny kied ainjyssee honnick eh, shen Meoir-shee Keating. Va cooinaght mie son eddinyn ec y veoir-shee; hug eh enney er, as scuirr eh.
"As t'ou uss mooie, ghooinney aeg?" dooyrt eh dy gennal. Tra nagh row eh tarroogh lesh currym keirdey, she dooinney kenjal v'ayn. Cha row drogh aigney erbee echey er Mnr. Buffin.
"Um," as Mnr. Buffin.
"Ayns foaynoo mie?"
"Goll lesh shilley er kuse dy ny fir as ceau beggan traa, s'cosoylagh?"
"Wahll, jean shaghney y lught Frith Street, ghooinney. S'drogh-yantee adsyn. As my vees oo kiangley roo, tayrnee uss boirey ort hene reesht roish my vees fys ayd. As bee oo laccal shaghney y lheid nish."
"Mannagh tayrnee uss boirey ort hene," as y meoir-shee dy giare-'ocklagh, "cha vees feme ayd er scapail eh."
"Um," dooyrt Mnr. Buffin. My va lheamys erbee echey myr coloayrtagh, she beoyn unsheeanagh ennagh eh, dolley arraghys as bioid 'sy vynloayrtys echey.
Hie Meoir-shee Keating roish, lesh cowrey laue ooasle agh caarjoil, myr fer ta gra, "Ta nyn gied ayd dy 'aagail."; stroog Mnr. Buffin ny cassyn echey 'sy troa elley, er ouyl, as eshyn smooinaghtyn wheesh as dod eh lesh y chullee inçhynagh voght v'echey.
Fy-yerrey, haink beggan oardagh er ny smooinaghtyn fud-y-cheilley echey. Ren eh briwnys shickyr, as rere shen, dy beagh eh foym y kiartagh mooar y yannoo, cha darragh eh lesh agh tra nagh row y meoir-shee gobbraghey. Derrey nish, v'eh er sheiltyn eh hene soiaghey er Meoir-shee Keating ayns tullagh neuarryltagh er y ronney. Nish v'eh baghtal dy row shen erskyn smooinaght. Er y ronney, cha row tullee neuarryltagh erbee da'n veoir-shee. Va arreydys kiune 'sy chormid echey, as shen hene ny chowrey gaue.
Cha row agh un red ry-yannoo ec Mnr. Buffin. Kied echey neughooghyssagh eh da, b'egin da freayll sheshaght rish y dooinney, cosney treisht jeh, geddyn keim dy 'eddyn magh ny red eh 'sy traa seyr echey.
Cha dug y meoir-shee lhiettrimys erbee da'n çhalee. By hene-barrantys do-heiy eh yn ard-hro echey. S'goan ad meoiryn-shee Lunnin scaagh, as cha row Meoir-shee Keating nyn mast'oc. Cha smooinee eh rieau dy row aignaghyn follit fo caarjys Vnr. Buffin. V'eh jeeaghyn er Mnr. Buffin myr t'ou jeeaghyn er moddey v'eh ort oghsan da y chur. Cha nel oo jerkal rish y voddey lhie couyl-chlea ort as greimmey. Cha row Meoir-shee Keating jerkal rish Mnr. Buffin lhie couyl-chlea er as greimmey
Myr shen, dagh laa, tra v'eh shooyl rish y ronney echey, snaue cummey goan Ghoo-oallee Buffin rish. Dagh laa cheayll eh "Moghrey Mie, Vnr. Keating" y Ghoo-oallee, derrey b'chliaghtey eh ayns Clerkenwell dy 'akin Meoir-shee Keating shooyl dy fondagh rish y phemmad, as Doo-oallee Buffin er e heu, clashtyn fo druiaght da barelyn er Bea as coyrle er Aghtys.
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Chloie Mnr. Buffin paart mie. Ro-vie, dy jeeragh. She shiaghtoo laa y çhalee v'ayn, as eh snaue dys y reih thie-lhionney echey, tra dennee eh crank er y gheaylin. Ec y çhallid cheddin, chianglee arm rish e arm hene, as hug eh sthap meein er. Va daa 'er rish, as adsyn mastey fir s'ardjey-ennymagh y Skimmee Frith Street, Otto y Pronnag as Conning Butler. She mair y Chonning v'er chrankal er e gheaylin. She arm Otto y Pronnag va walkit 'syn arm echey hene.
"Hai, Ghoo-oallee," dooyrt Mnr. Butler, "baillish Sid fakin uss rish tammylt."
Dennee y Doo-oayllee nagh row craueyn 'sy lurgaghyn echey. Cha row lorg erbee ayns ny focklyn dy chur aggle er fer, agh er lesh dy row e chleaysh chliaghtit er gronnaghey çhirmid neuhaitnysagh ennagh er coraa y loayreyder. Sid Marks, ny hoshiagh ooilley-niartal y Skimmee Frith Street; va'n Doo-oallee er ngoaill kiarail vie dy haghney freayll sheshaght rish yn 'er aeg.
Ny hoie ayns staydoilys ayns oasteyraght faggys da, hug Sid mooar lane ny sooillyn feayr as feyshtagh da'n cheayrtagh. Va cummey imneagh as boiragh er Mnr. Buffin. Loayr Mnr. Marks.
"Ghow dty chumraa' Keating Keish Binns moghrey jiu," dooyrt Sid.
Hyndaa cree y Ghoo-oallee dys ushtey.
"Uss as y slish shen," as Sid, dy jarroodagh, "t'shiu gee ass beeal y cheill' ny laghyn shoh."
Cha ren Mnr. Buffin lhiggey er nagh row eh toiggal. Va Sid Marks jeeaghyn er dy olk. Va Otto y Pronnag jeeaghyn er dy olk. Va Conning Butler jeeaghyn er dy olk. She jeerid feroil eh reih whallid y cheayrt shoh. Mastey sheshaghtyn cliaghtey Vnr. Buffin, va gaueyn smoo ry-gheddyn ass far-hoiggalys na oltaghey neughennal.
Ghow eh toshiaght soilshaghey y chooish dy jeean.
"Cur ort, Sid," as eh dy cabbagh, "cha nel eh myr shen. Ooilley kiart. Dar y lioar, er lhiat dy vel mee my 'leetçh?"
Ren Mnr. Marks caigney straue ayns tostid.
"Ta mee lhie cooyl-chlea er, Hid," lhig magh Mnr. Buffin. "S'feer eh. Bwoaill mee mannagh nee. Cha nel mee agh jannoo eab dy 'eddyn magh c'raad t'eh goll 'sy traa soccar echey. Ghow eh mee, as ta mee lhie cooyl-chlea er-e-hon."
Aasmooinnee Mnr. Marks. Hug Conning Butler y barel ammyssagh dy bare eh Mnr. Buffin y chur ny hrooid. Cha row red erbee myr jannoo shickyr. Lesh cur Mnr. Buffin ny hrooid, hug eh roish, veagh ad cosney cre erbee haghyragh. Dy beagh eh er "neayrt" da Meoir-shee Keating mychione Keish Binns, veagh eh er ny chosney. Mannagh beagh - wahll, ver eh eh jeh jannoo y lheid keayrt ennagh ry-heet. Er aggle ny haggle, shen coyrle Vnr. Butler, as Otto y Pronnag shassoo rish. Va daah y vaaish er Mnr. Buffin; er lesh nagh row eh er jeet da quail ghaa 'ir ny smoo neuhaitnyssagh.
Lurg da caigney y straue echey rish tammylt tost, ren Sid Mooar e vriwnys. Verragh eh vondeish yn ourys da'n chappagh jiu. Ga dy row y skeeal neu-hochredjallagh dy liooar, foddee dy row eh firrinagh. Va Meoir-shee Keating er ny ghoaill, gyn ourys. Va shen ass e lieh.
"Ersooyl lesh, y keayrt shoh," as eh, "agh my vees oo goaill toshiaght deayrtey laa 'nnagh, Ghoo-oallee, 'sayd er ny higgys."
Hayrn Mnr. Buffin ersooyl, er creau.
She geyre-ghaue v'ayn nish. Mannagh nod eh taishbyney y chiarail ghlen as onnoroil echey çhelleeragh, darragh bea dy ve gaueagh ass towse da. B'egin da jannoo er y chooyl. Smooinaghtyn er ny haghyragh dy beagh Frith Streetagh elley goll er greimmey roish my nod eh, Mnr. Buffin, taishbyney neuloghtynid bentyn rish caarjys lesh Meoir-shee Keating, dirree e chooid folley feayr.
Hug lesh kinoauyn snaie airhey y chront da. Kiart er y nah voghrey, hirr Mnr. Keating er, gyn drogh ourys erbee, y gholl da'n thie echey lesh çhaghteragh da e ven.
"Abbyr jee," dooyrt Mnr. Keating, "dy vel fer pabyr-naight er chur ynnydyn dou son y chloie noght, as bee'm thie ec kerroo dys shiaght."
Denee Mnr. Buffin myr denee Cromwell ec Dunbar, gyn ourys, tra daag ny h-Albinee y doon slieau oc as haink ad neose dys y çheer rea.
Va toshiaght chreoie dy liooar er geurrey y vlein shoh; as Mnr. Buffin ny hassoo ayns ny scaaghyn faggys da entreilys y thie ooasle va Meoir-shee Keating cummal ayn 'sy traa soccar ayd, haink e vairyn cass y ve slane lhejit. Cha b'lhoys da stampey e chassyn; foddee yn ourallagh roshtyn ec traa erbee. As my ta'n ourallagh kiare claghyn jeig er trimmid, cosoylaghey rish hoght claghyn dy lieh yn ard-saggyrt, b'vondeish da kiarail y ghoaill, my t'eh son jerrey mie da'n oural. Myr shen, duirree eh as lhejee eh ayns tostid. B'obbyr gewagh eh, as hug eh eh hug y sym doo v'ec coontey Veoir-shee Keating hannah. Cha row mian drogh-chooilleeney smoo torçhagh er ve er rieau. B'ouryssagh eh dy beagh briw feer resoonagh as cairagh er chur foill er Mnr. Keating kyndagh rish Sid Marks cur drogh-ourys (as ny v'eh tayrn lesh) da Mnr. Buffin; agh ren y Doo-oallee shen. Va myskid dowil er noi y veoir-shee son cur eh ayns stayd cho gaueagh as neuhaitnyssagh. As eh smooinaghtyn er y chooish, char eh e vair ny s'çhenney mooish y vaidjey v'echey.
As eh jannoo shen, cheayll eh troagyr breeoil chassyn, as feddanys gennal "The Wearing of the Green". She arrane trimshagh t'ayn dy cadjin, agh rere jannoo Veoir-shee Keating as eh çheet thie lesh tiggadyn thie-cloie, va boggoilid carr caggee er.
Niartee dagh muskyl ayns corp Vnr. Buffin. Ghreim eh y maidjey as duirree eh. B'ollym eh y raad. Ayns tullagh elley...
As eisht, ass neunhee, roie magh cummaghyn dorraghey neuchronnal, gollrish roddanyn. Scuirr y feddanys ayns mean y varr. Vleast magh mollaght lhean-chleeauagh, as eisht mestey sheeanyn fud y cheilley, cassyn screebey, gyrnal bunnys gollrish moddey, screeagh, scredey, as erskyn ooilley, coraa vuillvollee Veoir-shee Keating baggyrt traartys orroo.
Rish thullagh, dreill Mnr. Buffin ny hassoo; cha nod eh arraghey. Va'n chooish cho doaltattym, cho jeean. As eisht, as eh toiggal ny va taghyrt, dirree ennaghtyn aggair neuhurransagh ayn myr tonney. Cha aashagh eh ny h-irreeghyn shoh y hoilshaghey, agh v'ad smoo gollrish adsyn ynlaghteyr er brishey y paiteen echey, ny adsyn ughtar er myngyraght yn eie echey. Rish shiaghteeyn - as adsyn gollrish bleeantyn da - v'eh er chowraghey Meoir-shee Keating myr cragh echey. Rish shiaghteeyn v'eh er dorçhaghey inçhyn neuchliaghtit rish smooinaghtyn lesh cur er skeimyn y chummey dys creaghnaghey y dean echey. V'eh er scammyltey e ghooghys liorish ymmyrkey doaieagh da meoir-shee. V'eh er chur e vea ayns gaue liorish tayrn drogh-ourys Hid Marks er hene. V'eh er gionnaghey maidjey. As v'eh er n'uirraghtyn ayns yn 'eayraght derrey va'n eddin echey gorrym as e chassyn nyn vlockyn rio. As nish... nish... lurg ooilley shen... shoh possan dy yoarreeyn meereggyragh, gyn cair erbee er y dooinney b'cosoylagh eh, dy beagh y firrinys er fys, er son vian meeooalse er myn-argid, b'lhoys daue roie stiagh as roie-chionnaghey eh erskyn e ghaa hoill.
Lesh un yllagh keoie, as eh jarrood e chassyn riojit, hrog Mnr. Buffin y maidjyn as lhig eh sheese y raad dys coadey e chair...
"Shoh eh," as coraa. "Deayrt stiagh beggan elley ayn, Yerry."
Doshil Mnr. Buffin e hoillyn. Va blass oayllagh ayns e veeal. Er lesh dy row peiagh feoiltagh ennagh deayrt ushtey bea sheese e scoarnagh. Foddee eh ve ayns Niau? Dirree eh e chione, as dowanee pain roie ny hrooid. As myrane lesh, cooinaghtyn. By chooinee lesh nish, dy dullyr, myr dy beagh eh er daghyrt ayns bea elley, roie keoie sheese y raad, scuirr thootçhagh ayns y 'treeu, as eisht aanooaghey feaiyragh ny smoo na rieau. By chooinee lesh labbal er toshtal as jesh lesh y vaidjey. By chooinee lesh yllee ny guintee, pian e chassyn riojit, as fy-yerrey, builley red ennagh creoi as trome er e chione.
Hoie seose eh, as hooar eh dy row eh ny vean hionnal beg. Shen Meoir-shee Keating, lhuddyrit agh slane; tree meoiryn-shee elley, as fer jeu er e ghlionnyn rish as boteil beg ayns e laue; as ayns greimmyn y daa nyn shassoo, daa 'er aeg.
By Otto y Pronnag eh y derrey yeh, as Conning Butler yn jeh elley.
Y meoir-shee er e ghlionnyn, v'eh garral y boteil da reesht. Ghlack Mnr. Buffin eh. Er lesh, shen ny va smoo ry-laccal echey ec y traa v'ayn.
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Ren eh ny dod eh. Hirr y briw beg feanish jeh. Dooyrt eh nagh row y lheid echey. Dooyrt eh er lesh dy row marryns ayn, gyn ourys. Lesh mongey cassit cour ny pryssoonee, dooyrt eh nagh by chooinee lesh fakin yn derrey yeh ayns y 'treeu, ny'n jeh elley, noadyr. Cha dod eh credjal dy row ad ayns shoh er chor erbee. Cha dod eh credjal dy jargagh ad jannoo lheid y red. My va dooinney erbee ayn as eh ny sloo cosoylagh dy soiaghey er meoir-shee na Otto y Pronnag, by Chonning Butler eh. Hug y Caair Vriwnys gys cooinaghtyn echey dy row y daa neufoiljagh shoh er nyn veddyn ayns greim Veoir-shee Keating, dy jarroo. Vyngheayr Mnr. Buffin mongey throng, as ghlen eh bine dy ollish jeh e vaaish.
B'ard-jeean eh Meoir-shee Keating. Hug eh cooney jeh'n chooish voish toshiaght dys jerrey. Myr ragh Mnr. Buffin beagh eh er ve er ny varroo. Myr ragh Mnr. Buffin nagh beagh pryssoonee erbee 'sy whaiyl y laa shen. Va'n seihll lane lesh deiney as creeghyn airhey dy liooar oc, agh cha row agh Mnr. Buffin ayn. Dod eh craa laue Vnr. Buffin?
Hug y briw beg sarey dy dod eh. Ny smoo, yinnagh eshyn y red cheddin. Lesh symney Mnr. Buffin cooyl y voayrd echey, ren eh shen. Dy beagh ny smoo deiney jeh lheid Vnr. Buffin ayn, beagh Lunnin ny voayl share. She feddyn magh nish as reesht ghooghyssyn eethyragh myr dooghys Vnr. Buffin nyn mast'ain dy dug ort credjal dy row seihll braew roish kynney deiney.
Stroog y reih-ghooinney e chassyn magh. By hollys as grianagh eh 'sy 'traid, agh cha row sollys erbee ayns cree Vnr. Buffin. Cha nee fer kioot v'ayn, agh v'eh er jeet tappee dy liooar da'n vriwnys nagh row Lunnin y reih voayl da. Va Sid Marks er ve 'sy whaiyl, caigney straue as cur tastey geyre da'n 'eanish, as va Mnr. Buffin er hayrn e hooill er hene rish tullagh. Cha dod feanish-lhee er meefollanid Lunnin er ny hickyraghey ny s'lajerey.
As eshyn mygeayrt y chorneil, roie eh. Va roie gortaghey e chione, agh va reddyn ny chooyl dod gortaghey e chione ny smoo na roie.
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Ec entreilys yn 'o-Halloo, scuirr eh. Son dy 'aagail yn ard, va feme echey er argid. Loaght eh 'sy phoggaid echey. Dy moal, fer as fer, hayrn eh magh ny leaghee echey. Y skynn... y gunnane... ooreyder airhey y vriw beg... Yeeagh eh orroo dy trimshagh. Shegin daue ooilley goll.
Hie eh stiagh ayns shapp gioaltee ec corneil y 'traid. Minnid ny ghaa ny s'anmey, as argid 'sy phoggaid echey, lheim eh stiagh 'syn o-Halloo.
The profession of Mr. James ("Spider") Buffin was pocket-picking. His hobby was revenge. James had no objection to letting the sun go down on his wrath. Indeed, it was after dark that he corrected his numerous enemies most satisfactorily. It was on a dark night, while he was settling a small score against one Kelly, a mere acquaintance, that he first fell foul of Constable Keating, whose beat took him through the regions which James most frequented.
James, having "laid for" Mr. Kelly, met him in a murky side-street down Clerkenwell way, and attended to his needs with a sand-bag.
It was here that Constable Keating first came prominently into his life. Just as James, with the satisfying feeling that his duty had been done, was preparing to depart, Officer Keating, who had been a distant spectator of the affair, charged up and seized him.
It was intolerable that he should interfere in a purely private falling-out between one gentleman and another, but there was nothing to be done. The policeman weighed close upon fourteen stone, and could have eaten Mr. Buffin. The latter, inwardly seething, went quietly, and in due season was stowed away at the Government's expense for the space of sixty days.
Physically, there is no doubt that his detention did him good. The regular hours and the substitution of bread and water for his wonted diet improved his health thirty per cent. It was mentally that he suffered. His was one of those just-as-good cheap-substitute minds, incapable of harbouring more than one idea at a time, and during those sixty days of quiet seclusion it was filled with an ever-growing resentment against Officer Keating. Every day, as he moved about his appointed tasks, he brooded on his wrongs. Every night was to him but the end of another day that kept him from settling down to the serious business of Revenge. To be haled to prison for correcting a private enemy with a sand-bag--that was what stung. In the privacy of his cell he dwelt unceasingly on the necessity for revenge. The thing began to take on to him the aspect almost of a Holy Mission, a sort of Crusade.
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The days slipped by, bringing winter to Clerkenwell, and with it Mr. Buffin. He returned to his old haunts one Friday night, thin but in excellent condition. One of the first acquaintances he met was Officer Keating. The policeman, who had a good memory for faces, recognised him, and stopped.
"So you're out, young feller?" he said genially. When not in the active discharge of his professional duties the policeman was a kindly man. He bore Mr. Buffin no grudge.
"Um," said Mr. Buffin.
"Feeling fine, eh?"
"Goin' round to see some of the chaps and pass them the time of day, I shouldn't wonder?"
"Well, you keep clear of that lot down in Frith Street, young feller. They're no good. And if you get mixed up with them, first thing you know, you'll be in trouble again. And you want to keep out of that now."
"If you never get into trouble," said the policeman sententiously, "you'll never have to get out of it."
"Um," said Mr. Buffin. If he had a fault as a conversationalist, it was a certain tendency to monotony, a certain lack of sparkle and variety in his small-talk.
Constable Keating, with a dignified but friendly wave of the hand, as one should say, "You have our leave to depart," went on his way; while Mr. Buffin, raging, shuffled off in the opposite direction, thinking as hard as his limited mental equipment would allow him.
His thoughts, which were many and confused, finally composed themselves into some order. He arrived at a definite conclusion, which was that if the great settlement was to be carried through successfully it must be done when the policeman was off duty. Till then he had pictured himself catching Officer Keating in an unguarded moment on his beat. This, he now saw, was out of the question. On his beat the policeman had no unguarded moments. There was a quiet alertness in his poise, a danger-signal in itself.
There was only one thing for Mr. Buffin to do. Greatly as it would go against the grain, he must foregather with the man, win his confidence, put himself in a position where he would be able to find out what he did with himself when off duty.
The policeman offered no obstacle to the move. A supreme self-confidence was his leading characteristic. Few London policemen are diffident, and Mr. Keating was no exception. It never occurred to him that there could be an ulterior motive behind Mr. Buffin's advances. He regarded Mr. Buffin much as one regards a dog which one has had to chastise. One does not expect the dog to lie in wait and bite. Officer Keating did not expect Mr. Buffin to lie in wait and bite.
So every day, as he strolled on his beat, there sidled up to him the meagre form of Spider Buffin. Every day there greeted him the Spider's "Good-morning, Mr. Keating," till the sight of Officer Keating walking solidly along the pavement with Spider Buffin shuffling along at his side, listening with rapt interest to his views on Life and his hints on Deportment, became a familiar spectacle in Clerkenwell.
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Mr. Buffin played his part well. In fact, too well. It was on the seventh day that, sidling along in the direction of his favourite place of refreshment, he found himself tapped on the shoulder. At the same moment an arm, linking itself in his, brought him gently to a halt. Beside him were standing two of the most eminent of the great Frith Street Gang, Otto the Sausage and Rabbit Butler. It was the finger of the Rabbit that had tapped his shoulder. The arm tucked in his was the arm of Otto the Sausage.
"Hi, Spider," said Mr. Butler, "Sid wants to see you a minute."
The Spider's legs felt boneless. There was nothing in the words to alarm a man, but his practised ear had seemed to detect a certain unpleasant dryness in the speaker's tone. Sid Marks, the all-powerful leader of the Frith Street Gang, was a youth whose company the Spider had always avoided with some care.
The great Sid, seated in state at a neighbouring hostelry, fixed his visitor with a cold and questioning eye. Mr. Buffin looked nervous and interrogative. Mr. Marks spoke.
"Your pal Keating pinched Porky Binns this mornin'," said Sid.
The Spider's heart turned to water.
"You and that slop," observed Sid dreamily, "have been bloomin' thick these days."
Mr. Buffin did not affect to misunderstand. Sid Marks was looking at him in that nasty way. Otto the Sausage was looking at him in that nasty way. Rabbit Butler was looking at him in that nasty way. This was an occasion where manly frankness was the quality most to be aimed at. To be misunderstood in the circles in which Mr. Buffin moved meant something more than the mere risk of being treated with cold displeasure.
He began to explain with feverish eagerness.
"Strike me, Sid," he stammered, "it ain't like that. It's all right. Blimey, you don't fink I'm a nark?"
Mr. Marks chewed a straw in silence.
"I'm layin' for him, Sid," babbled Mr. Buffin. "That's true. Strike me if it ain't. I'm just tryin' to find out where he goes when he's off duty. He pinched me, so I'm layin' for him."
Mr. Marks perpended. Rabbit Butler respectfully gave it as his opinion that it would be well to put Mr. Buffin through it. There was nothing like being on the safe side. By putting Mr. Buffin through it, argued Rabbit Butler, they would stand to win either way. If he had "smitched" to Officer Keating about Porky Binns he would deserve it. If he had not - well, it would prevent him doing so on some future occasion. Play for safety, was Mr. Butler's advice, seconded by Otto the Sausage. Mr. Buffin, pale to the lips, thought he had never met two more unpleasant persons.
The Great Sid, having chewed his straw for a while in silence, delivered judgment. The prisoner should have the benefit of the doubt this time. His story, however unplausible, might possibly be true. Officer Keating undoubtedly had pinched him. That was in his favour.
"You can hop it this time," he said, "but if you ever do start smitchin', Spider, yer knows what'll happen."
Mr. Buffin withdrew, quaking.
Matters had now come to a head. Unless he very speedily gave proof of his pure and noble intentions, life would become extremely unsafe for him. He must act at once. The thought of what would happen should another of the Frith Streeters be pinched before he, Mr. Buffin, could prove himself innocent of the crime of friendliness with Officer Keating, turned him cold.
Fate played into his hands. On the very next morning Mr. Keating, all unsuspecting, asked him to go to his home with a message for his wife.
"Tell her," said Mr. Keating, "a newspaper gent has given me seats for the play to-night, and I'll be home at a quarter to seven."
Mr. Buffin felt as Cromwell must have felt at Dunbar when the Scots left their stronghold on the hills and came down to the open plain.
The winter had set in with some severity that year, and Mr. Buffin's toes, as he stood in the shadows close to the entrance of the villa where Officer Keating lived when off duty, were soon thoroughly frozen. He did not dare to stamp his feet, for at any moment now the victim might arrive. And when the victim weighs fourteen stone, against the high priest's eight and a half, it behooves the latter to be circumspect, if the sacrifice is to be anything like a success. So Mr. Buffin waited and froze in silence. It was a painful process, and he added it to the black score which already stood against Officer Keating. Never had his thirst for revenge been more tormenting. It is doubtful if a strictly logical and impartial judge would have held Mr. Keating to blame for the fact that Sid Marks' suspicions (and all that those suspicions entailed) had fallen upon Mr. Buffin; but the Spider did so. He felt fiercely resentful against the policeman for placing him in such an unpleasant and dangerous position. As his thoughts ran on the matter, he twisted his fingers tighter round his stick.
As he did so there came from down the road the brisk tramp of feet and a cheerful whistling of "The Wearing of the Green." It is a lugubrious song as a rule, but, as rendered by Officer Keating returning home with theatre tickets, it had all the joyousness of a march-tune.
Every muscle in Mr. Buffin's body stiffened. He gripped his stick and waited. The road was deserted. In another moment....
And then, from nowhere, dark indistinct forms darted out like rats. The whistling stopped in the middle of a bar. A deep-chested oath rang out, and then a confused medley of sound, the rasping of feet, a growling almost canine, a sharp yelp, gasps, and over all the vast voice of Officer Keating threatening slaughter.
For a moment Mr. Buffin stood incapable of motion. The thing had been so sudden, so unexpected. And then, as he realised what was happening, there swept over him in a wave a sense of intolerable injustice. It is not easy to describe his emotions, but they resembled most nearly those of an inventor whose patent has been infringed, or an author whose idea has been stolen. For weeks - and weeks that had seemed like years - he had marked down Officer Keating for his prey. For weeks he had tortured a mind all unused to thinking into providing him with schemes for accomplishing his end. He had outraged his nature by being civil to a policeman. He had risked his life by incurring the suspicions of Sid Marks. He had bought a stick. And he had waited in the cold till his face was blue and his feet blocks of ice. And now ... now ... after all this ... a crowd of irresponsible strangers, with no rights in the man whatsoever probably, if the truth were known, filled with mere ignoble desire for his small change, had dared to rush in and jump his claim before his very eyes.
With one passionate cry, Mr. Buffin, forgetting his frozen feet, lifted his stick, and galloped down the road to protect his property....
"That's the stuff," said a voice. "Pour some more into him, Jerry." Mr. Buffin opened his eyes. A familiar taste was in his mouth. Somebody of liberal ideas seemed to be pouring whisky down his throat. Could this be Heaven? He raised his head, and a sharp pain shot through it. And with the pain came recollection. He remembered now, dimly, as if it had all happened in another life, the mad rush down the road, the momentary pause in the conflict, and then its noisy renewal on a more impressive scale. He remembered striking out left and right with his stick. He remembered the cries of the wounded, the pain of his frozen feet, and finally the crash of something hard and heavy on his head.
He sat up, and found himself the centre of a little crowd. There was Officer Keating, dishevelled but intact; three other policemen, one of whom was kneeling by his side with a small bottle in his hand; and, in the grip of the two were standing two youths.
One was Otto the Sausage; the other was Rabbit Butler.
The kneeling policeman was proffering the bottle once more. Mr. Buffin snatched at it. He felt that it was just what at that moment he needed most.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
He did what he could. The magistrate asked for his evidence. He said he had none. He said he thought there must be some mistake. With a twisted smile in the direction of the prisoners, he said that he did not remember having seen either of them at the combat. He didn't believe they were there at all. He didn't believe they were capable of such a thing. If there was one man who was less likely to assault a policeman than Otto the Sausage, it was Rabbit Butler. The Bench reminded him that both these innocents had actually been discovered in Officer Keating's grasp. Mr. Buffin smiled a harassed smile, and wiped a drop of perspiration from his brow.
Officer Keating was enthusiastic. He described the affair from start to finish. But for Mr. Buffin he would have been killed. But for Mr. Buffin there would have been no prisoners in court that day. The world was full of men with more or less golden hearts, but there was only one Mr. Buffin. Might he shake hands with Mr. Buffin?
The magistrate ruled that he might. More, he would shake hands with him himself. Summoning Mr. Buffin behind his desk, he proceeded to do so. If there were more men like Mr. Buffin, London would be a better place. It was the occasional discovery in our midst of ethereal natures like that of Mr. Buffin which made one so confident for the future of the race.
The paragon shuffled out. It was bright and sunny in the street, but in Mr. Buffin's heart there was no sunlight. He was not a quick thinker, but he had come quite swiftly to the conclusion that London was no longer the place for him. Sid Marks had been in court chewing a straw and listening with grave attention to the evidence, and for one moment Mr. Buffin had happened to catch his eye. No medical testimony as to the unhealthiness of London could have moved him more.
Once round the corner, he ran. It hurt his head to run, but there were things behind him that could hurt his head more than running.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
At the entrance to the Tube he stopped. To leave the locality he must have money. He felt in his pockets. Slowly, one by one, he pulled forth his little valuables. His knife ... his revolver ... the magistrate's gold watch ... He inspected them sadly. They must all go.
He went into a pawnbroker's shop at the corner of the street. A few moments later, with money in his pockets, he dived into the Tube.
Yn Aunlyn Share
Hoie Eve Hendrie seose 'sy lhiabbee. V'ee er cheau daa oor lesh shirrey cadley, agh cha daink ee lesh. Cha row ee er n'ennaghtyn ny s'doostey rieau.
V'eshyn er daa oyr. Va red ennagh boirrey urree, as accrys mooar. Cha row y daa ennaghtyn noa jee. Neayr's haink ee dy ve cooidjaghtagh eeckit da Bnr. Rastall-Retford, cha b'gooin lhee tullagh gyn accrys. Tammylt er-dy-henney, va fer lhee Bnr. Rastall-Retford er goyrlaghey bee Spartagh jee, as myr cooidjaghtagh, v'eh er Eve ayrn ayn y ghoaill, ny arryltagh ny dyn. Cha b'haitnyssagh eh da'n un ven na'n ven elley, agh er y chooid sloo, va fys ec Bnr. Rastall-Retford dy row eh cosnit dy mie eck liorish soyllaraght firrinagh ny bleeantyn. Cha row lheid y gherjagh ec Eve.
Ny sodjey na shen, ren bee thanney colgys Bnr. Rastall-Retford ny strimmey na rieau, as eshyn cronnal dy liooar 'sy toshiaght. She ben feer vooar v'ayn, as glaare eddin cronnal eck, as lieh ghussan dy smeggyn, as gaghtey cour ny failleydee eck vrasneeagh skimmee lhong hraghtee varrey Heear er y nah aavainshter oc. Cha nee scell greiney v'ayn fo e teaym share. As neayr's toshiaght yn oardagh staaynagh, she e teaym smessey v'ayn.
Agh cha nee merginaght kyndagh rish e failleyder va boirey er Eve. Shen sheer-ghrogh. Ny va cur ee cho fud-y-cheilley noght, shen roshtyn doaltattym Peter Rayner.
Va Eve cliaghtey ginsh jee hene ymmodee keayrtyn 'sy laa nagh denee ee agh meehaitnys da Peter Rayner. Cha ren ee eab erbee dy 'endeil yn ymmyrkey shoh dy resoonagh, agh chum ee eh seose ny yei shen. As eshyn çheet stiagh 'sy chuillee noght, v'ee er nyannoo eab dy chowraghey liorish e gaghtey nagh by chooinee lhee eh agh fo eab trome, as y treanid shen jeant eck, v'eh foee eshyn y yarrood çhelleeragh. As v'eh er mongey dy gennal, dy keainal, as er myngheayrey urree gyn scuirr dys traa ny lhiabbagh.
Roish my daink ee dy ve cooidjaghtagh Bnr. Rastall-Retford, va Eve er ve ny ben ynsee da Hildebrand, shey bleeaney d'eash, mac Vnr. Elphinstone. She staartey souyr v'ayn, trooid as trooid. Cha b'vie lhee Bnr. Elphinstone, agh va Hildebrand biallagh, as va bea meein as taitnyssagh derrey haink braar Vnr. Elphinstone son keayrt. By Pheter Rayner eh y braar shen.
Ta sorçh dy fir ayn ta sooree lesh folliaght as fastid faitçhagh guilley baa ta lhiggey thie oast Neear Feie. Va Peter nyn mast'oc. Huitt eh ayns graih marish Eve ec y chied hilley, as mannagh va fys ec peiagh erbee 'sy thie rish jerrey y chied laa, b'egin da ve Hildebrand, shey bleeaney d'eash. As va smooinaght ennagh eer ec Hildebrand, gyn ourys.
Va Bnr. Elphinstone mastey ny kied ghow tastey jeh. Rish daa laa, rio-hostagh as gimladagh e sooill, ren ee cooilleeiney sooree tendreilagh Pheter veih foddey jeh; eisht ren eh. Hug ee Peter dys Lunnin, as cur shee er lesh cuirrey dy heet erash y nah hiaghtin. As shen jeant eck, foddee ee jiooldey Eve. Rish y cho-akin scarrey, loayr ee beggan ny sloo thortagh na by chairagh ny currymagh; as daag Eve y fastyr shen dy hirrey staartey elley, jiargaghey as arryltagh dy caggey noi y clane chynney Rayner. Hooar ee y staartey noa ec thie Bnr. Rastall-Retford.
As nish noght, as ish ny soie 'sy chuillee cloie y pianney da'n ‘ailleyder eck, va mac y ven er shooyl stiagh (ny ghooinney aeg liauyr, imneagh, creddal dy kinjagh as bentyn rish speckleyryn airh-oirrit) as fockley magh dy row eh er chur lesh e charrey, Mnr. Rayner, dy cheau laa ny ghaa 'sy çhenn thie.
As eshyn er chur laue da'n ven-oast echey, hyndaa eh ny coair. Va'n jeeagh er e eddin foast ry-akin eck. Shen jeeagh guilley baa ec kione y turrys tooilleilagh, tra t'eh fakin skell caarjoil uinnagyn y thie oast trooid keeiragh ny h-oie, as sheeyney son y ghunnane echey lesh osney vaynrys. Cha dod daa cheeall ve ec y jeeagh shen. Chowree eh, cho baghtal as yllaghey, nagh nee cohuittymys v'ayn; v'eh er ny lorgey dys shoh, as v'eh fosyn goaill toshiaght reesht myr va'n chooish faagit oc.
By sneihagh Eve. By ghwoaieagh eh ish y lorgey myr shoh. Hannee ee ny soie rish queig minnidyn, smooinaghtyn er cre cho dwoaieagh v'eh, as eisht hooar magh ee dy row accrys ny smoo ny rieau urree. Va boirey corporagh er ve jarroodit eck rish tammylt. Nish, er lhee dy row ee er çhee goaill neeal jeh'n accrys.
Woaill clag cooaig unnane er çheu elley y dorrys. As ec y traa shen, chooinee Eve dy row brishtagyn er lieh-voayrd y çhamyr vee.
Tammylt ny yei shen, v'ee snaue sheese ny greeishyn dy kiune.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
By ghorraghey as scaanagh eh er ny greeishyn. Va'n thie lane dy heeanyn. V'ee gerjoil lesh roshtyn y çhamyr vee; by haitnyssagh eh y sollys y ghoostey. Heiy ee y dorrys dy lhean, as yllaghey. Va'n sollys dooisht hannah, as ec y voayrd, cooyl ny coair, va dooinney ny hoie.
Cha row emshir eck er son çhea. Va fosley y dorrys cluinit echey, gyn ourys. Ayns tammylt, veagh eh çhyndaa mygeayrt as lhiemmey urree.
Loayr ee dy craaynagh.
"Ny—ny gleash. Ta mee jeeraghey gunn ort."
Cha ngleaysh y dooinney.
"Chaillin neuhushtagh!" as eh, dy bog. "Dy lhiggagh eh!"
Dockle ee yllagh yindys.
"Uss! C'red ta shiuish jannoo ayns shoh, Vnr. Rayner?"
Darree ee stiagh 'sy çhamyr, as haink feaysley dy ve jymmoose. Va feill lieh-chirkey, bwilleen, praasyn feayrey as boteil dy lhune er y voayrd.
"Ta mee gee, bwooise da Jee!" dooyrt Peter, lesh goaill praase. "Ghow mee toshiaght smooinaghtyn nagh eein arragh reesht."
"Gee. Ta fys aym dy lhisagh dooinney ennaghtagh as cooyrtoil freayll veih spooilley buttee y ven oast ayns jerrey ny h-oie, agh she baase eh accrys da jeih-ellynys. She builley moggylys grianagh ta cur y çheu share ayd er y thalloo as trome ny cadley. She dooinney aeg sunt mish, as cred mee, ta feme ain er y skon beg shoh. Feme trome. Noddym giarrey slissag feill kirkey dhyt?"
B'ghoillee jee jeeaghyn urree, agh hug moyrn niart jee.
"Cha nod," as ee, dy caulgagh.
"Vel oo shickyr? Y chaillin veg voght; fys aym dy vel oo lieh-hanglanit."
"N'abbyr-jee y lheid dou, Vnr. Rayner!"
Diu eh lhune boteilit dy smooinaghtagh.
"Cre'n fa dy daink oo neose? Geayll oo sheean as credjal dy nee maarliee oie v'ayn, foddee?" as eh.
"Cheayll," as Eve, goaill rish y sheiltynys dy bwooisagh. Begin jee y ghreesaght viscaid y 'ollaghey er chor erbee.
"Shen creeaghtagh dy liooar. Soie sheese, nagh nee?"
"Cha neeym, ta mee goll dy lhie reesht."
"Cha nel oo foast. Ta cooishyn aym dy loayrt orroo mayrt. Soie sheese. Shen eh. Nish, coodee d'abaneyn veggey voghtey vaney-yiargey, ny yiow oo——"
Yeeagh ee er dy doolaneagh, as eisht, lesh goaill yindys urree hene jannoo eh, hoie ee sheese.
"Nish," as Peter, "c'red t'ou çheet er? C'red t'ou çheet er, ratçhal ersooyl ass thie my huyr gyn faagail fockle erbee dou er c'raad v'ou uss goll? Va fys ayd dy vel graih aym ort."
"Oie vie, Vnr. Rayner."
"Soie sheese. T'ou er chur trubbyl mooar orrym. Vel fys ayd dy dug mee magh punt airhey myr dooree roish my hooar mee magh yn enmys ayd? Cha dod mee feddyn eh ass my huyr, as v'eh orrym keishtey y botleyr. T'eh bunnys foym eshyn y 'reayll ass yn argid poagey ghoys oo y chied hiaghtin."
"Cha danneeym ayns shoh as clashtyn ort——"
"Va fys mie ayd dy row mee son dty phoosey. Agh ersooyl lhiat gyn fockle erbee, as oanluckey dty hene 'sy voayl almoragh shoh marish gorgon ta troiddey rhyt as dty vraggartaghey——"
"Aght yesh dy loayrt er y ven oast ayd," as Eve, dy craidoil.
"Aght feer vlanderagh. Er lhiam nagh dug ben erbee lheid y vee-haitnys orrym rieau cho tappee. As ish goaill toshiaght postyrey ort, b'ghoillee dou— Agh cha voddey eh nish. Shegin dhyt çheet ersooyl er y chooyl. Hemmayd er poosey ny yei y Nollick, as foddee oo goll as cummal marish my huyr 'sy vean-hraa——"
Deaisht Eve ny tost. Wheesh shen va ry-ghra eck, v'ee balloo liorish neuyantys y reih.
"Cre cho leah nod oo goaill toshiaght? Dy ghra myr shen, nhegin dhyt fogrey mee y chur ny red ennagh myr shen?"
Dirree Eve lesh gearey beg.
"Oie vie, Vnr. Rayner," as ee. "Ta shiu er ve feer taitnyssagh, agh ta mee çheet dy ve skee."
"Ta boggey orrym dy vel y chooish choardit ain," dooyrt Peter. "Oie vie."
Scuirr Eve. Cha dod ee goll ersooyl dy meein gyn gra fockle erbee jeh ny va jingey e h-inçhyn.
"Er lhiats," as ish, "dy vel eh foym uss y phossey? Vel oo credjal, rish eer thurrick——"
"Dy jarroo!" as Peter. "Bee traa braew ayd veih'n traa shoh magh, myr aayeeilley er son ny t'ou uss er surranse. Bee'm feer vie rhyt, Eve. Cha bee boirey erbee ort, y chaillin voght." Yeeagh eh urree dy graihagh. "Ta mee goaill yindys cre'n fa dy vel deiney mooarey rieau tuittym ayns graih rish mraane beggey. Shoh uss, dty chretoor dendeaysagh, ferrishagh, eethyragh; as shoh mish——"
"Dty vuc mooar, roauyr, jioogh!" vrish ee magh, "gyn smooinaght agh er bee as jough!"
"Cha row mee son dy ghra myr shen dy jeeragh," as Peter, dy fastagh.
"S'olk lhiam dooinney jioogh," as Eve, trooid ny feeacklyn eck.
"Ta mian-bee slayntoil aym," ren Peter plaiynt. "Shen ooilley. T'eh 'syn 'uill. Rish y Chaggey Theayagh, va Rayner ny ghuilley geaylin da'n Ree Çhalse, as v'ee gee çhaghteraghtyn dy mennick, er son nagh huittagh ad da ny noidyn. Va enney er er son shen."
Rosh Eve y dorrys as çhyndaa.
"S'beg lhiam uss," as ee.
"Oie vie," as Peter, dy meiyghagh. "Hemmayd magh son cosheeaght moghrey mairagh."
Va'n faaishnys echey slane chiart. V'eh toghtaney tudjeen ny lurg anjeeal tra haink Eve da. By vane-jiarg as meeviallagh e h-eddin, agh va lonnyr 'sy tooill eck.
"Vel oo aarloo dy heet magh, Vnr. Rayner?" denee ee. "Dooyrt Bnr. Rastall-Retford dy nhegin dou cur lhiam shiu dy yeeaghyn y reayrtys jeh'n vagher golf."
"Gowee oo ram taitnys jeu," as Peter.
"Cha ghoym," deeackle Eve. "Agh ta Bnr. Rastall-Retford geeck faill dou dy yannoo ny t'ee cur orrym, as shegin dou ish y chosney."
Car y chosheeaght, va'n coloayrtys gyn co- son y chooid smoo, agh ny h-oraid liorish Peter. She moghrey oor as yrjee v'ayn, as v'eh jeeaghyn dy row aigney mie co-chadjin echey cour dagh ooilley nhee crooit. Veeinee eh eer er cooish Vnr. Rastall-Retford, as hug eh magh sheiltynys dy row yn aght quaagh eck ny eiyrtys drogh-ghellal 'sy lambaanid eck.
Deaisht Eve ny tost. Cha loayr ee derrey rosh ad thie 'sy raad erash, bunnys.
"Vnr. Rayner," dooyrt ee.
"Hoi?" as Peter.
"Va mee loayrt rish Bnr. Rastall-Retford ny lurg anjeeal," as Eve, "as dinsh mee red erriu jee."
"Ta cooinsheanse seyrey aym."
"Oh, cha nee loght v'ayn. Yiarragh kuse dy 'leih dy nee feeudys v'ayn." Yeeagh ee ersooyl harrish ny magheryn. "Dinsh mee dy vel shiu nyn shaghneyder foalley," as ee dy neuchooishagh.
By liauyr y tostid. Eisht dooyrt Peter tree focklyn, dy jeeragh ass e chree.
"Y chaillin imshee!"
Hyndaa Eve as jeeaghyn er, as va ny sooillyn eck drilleenagh.
"Shen eh!" as ee. "As hed oo nish, foddee."
"Gyn uss?" as Peter, dy dunnal. "Arragh!"
"Ayns Lunnin foddee oo gee car y laa—red erbee by vie lhiat. Foddee oo snaue mygeayrt y chlub ayd as caigney feill chirkey car ny h-oie. Agh my hanneeys oo ayns shoh——"
"Ta eie foasley ayd er bea fer club Lunninagh," dooyrt Peter. "Dy snaueagh mee mygeayrt y chlub caigney feill chirkey, beagh y ving my yei. Tanneeym ayns shoh as goaill kiarail jeed. C'red ta bee, ny yei?"
"Inshym dhyt ny vees y bee ayd, my b'aillt. Ny bare lhiat fuirraghtyn as lhig da ve ny yindys dhyt? Wahll, er son kirbyl, bee praasyn broit as caayl as bee millish—red ennagh myr cooyrag. As er son jinnair——"
"Dy jarroo, agh tootçhey my saillt," as Peter. "My ta mee my haghneyder foalley, cre'n oyr hug roish oo er mish goaill ooilley'n 'eill chirkey va ry-gheddyn aym riyr, as jeeaghyn shirrey ny smoo orrym?"
"Oh, shen cre cho currymagh dy vel oo. Cha row oo son cur boirey orrin, ga dy begin dhyt treigeil ny prinsabyllyn ayd. Agh t'eh mie dy liooar nish. Yiow uss dty lossreeyn."
Hayrn Peter ennal mooar—ennal fer dooinney ta niartaghey eh hene as cur bwooise da cre jeeghyn erbee t'ayn er son e annym neuvarriaghtagh.
"S'cummey lhiam," dreggyr eh. "'A book of verses underneath the bough, a jug of wine, and thou——'"
"Oh, as ren mee jarrood," vrish Eve stiagh. "Dinsh mee jee dy vel oo slane obbaltagh myrgeddin."
By lhiurey foast y tostid.
"Ta'n traen share," as Eve, fy-yerrey, "ec jeig as daeed lurg jeih."
Yeeagh eh urree dy feyshtagh.
"Y traen share?"
"Cra'n fa er lhiat dy vel anaase aym er traenyn dys Lunnin?"
Ghow Eve greim er e meill.
"Vnr. Rayner," as ee, ny yei tammylt, "gooin lhiu kirbyl laa dy row, ec thie Bnr. Elphinstone, as ren shiu obbal pesmadjyn? Dooyrt shiu, er lhieusyn, dy row y chied ynnyd ec pesmadjyn lesh meeilley, as roie geayr prooshagh as strickneen myrgeddin."
"Wahll?" as Peter.
"Cha nel eh veg," as Eve. "Agh ren mee marranys bolvaneagh. Dinsh mee da'n aarlider dy vel shiu currit da pesmadjyn. Gow-shiu my leshtal."
Yeeagh Peter urree, as eh fastagh. "Ta mee surranse mooarane er dty hon," as eh.
"Cha nel feme. Cre'n fa nagh jed shiu ersooyl?"
"As faagail uss geulit er y chlagh, Andromeda? Cha nel son y Whing! Cha row mee ayns shoh agh rish oie, agh ta mee er vakin wheesh dy vel fys aym dy nhegin dou uss y chur lhiam ersooyl. T'eh marroo uss, dy jarroo. Va mee goaill tastey jeed riyr. Ta aggle ort eer lesh y çhenn ven vollaghtagh goaill toshiaght dy 'osley e beeal. T'ee broojey y bree assjeed. Tanneeym ayns shoh derrey jirrys oo dy nee oo my phoosey, ny derrey cheauys ad mish magh."
"Ta pesmadjyn son jinnair noght," as Eve, dy meein.
"Haink ad dy ve mie lhiam. Ta blass cosnit orroo, gyn ourys. As orryms chammah, foddee. Foddee dy vel mee myr pesmad, as shegin dhyt cliaghtaghey rhym."
"T'ou uss myr leaddan," as Eve, dy geyre. "Cha beign er gredjal dy nod fer erbee aghtey myr t'ou."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Dyn y wooise jee hene, rish ny laghyn ny yei, dennee Eve sneih-aigney ny keayrtyn. Cha dod ee creoiaghey e cree agh liorish insh jee hene nagh row kiart erbee echey dy eiyr urree dys y thie shoh, as dy row eh slane seyr dy 'aagail traa erbee by vie lesh. As cha row eer yn aasmooinaght shen slane chooilleenagh; v'eh cur urree smooinaghtyn er quoid va'n graih urree echey dy hurranse lheid ny h-uilk er e son.
As va uilk ayn, gyn ourys. She thie dree v'ayn dy cheau laghyn geuree ayn. Cha row lioar erbee dod oo lhiah er chor erbee. Va'n stashoon traenagh sniessey queig meillaghyn ersooyl. Cha row eer voddey dy loayr rish. Cheau eh fliaghey, son y chooid smoo. Ga nagh vaik Eve monney jeh Peter, faagail magh lhongaghyn as y chuillee ny yei jinnair—cheau Bnr. Rastall-Retford mooar-chooid y laa 'sy çhamyr soie eck hene, as begin da Eve ve ry laue—smooinee ee er, as ga dy ghleck ee, cha dod ee agh boggaghey beggan. Va'n moyrn eck annoonaghey. Va drogh-eiyrtys urree liorish tendeil kinjagh er y failleyder eck. Cumraagys imlee marish Bnr. Rastall-Retford, cha ren eh greinney aigney voyrnagh as annymoil.
Cha row e sheiltynys er ro-vooadaghey angaaish Pheter. Er lesh ymmodee sleih, ta Dante er chur y fockle s'jerree er cummal kimmee erreish da baase. Ny yei kied hiaghtin y cheayrt, dod Peter er chur eie ny ghaa da.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
S'neuhaitnyssagh eh dy ve lieh-hanglanit. S'neuhaitnyssagh eh dy ve caaidjit ayns thie çheerey 'sy gheurey gyn veg dy yannoo. S'neuhaitnyssagh eh dy ve dty hoie ec lhongaghyn as clashtyn da'n chaillin ynrican hug oo graih urree rieau goll er postyrey ec shenn ven as shey smegyn eck. As va dagh fer jeh ny neuhaitnyssyn shoh er Peter ec y traa cheddin. S'mooar y feeudys da dy row y fer s'jerree foddey ny strimmey na ny fir elley.
V'eh ny lomarcan, son y chooid smoo. Veagh Mnr. Rastall-Retform ny share na veg myr cooidjaghtagh, agh she fer neuheshaghtagh v'ayn. She skelleyder roish cliaghtagh v'ayn. Veagh eh mayrt yn un thurrick, as y nah, veagh eh er snaue ersooyl dy kiune. As eer ny keayrtyn nagh ren eh briwnys dy skellal roish, b'anvennick eh dy ren eh ny smoo na creddal dy faitçhagh as cloie lesh ny speckleyryn stronney echey.
Keayrt dy row, rish eash y ghuilley, va Peter er creau liorish skeeal dooinney va jingit ayns Mooir yn Amlee. Er lesh nish dy row dreeid Vooir yn Amlee er ny vooadaghey dy mooar.
Va briwnys cherraghey cur e chair hene da Peter, gyn ourys. V'eh er mreigey stiagh 'sy çhaaghlagh Rastall-Retford liorish ard-chialg. Cho leah as cheayll eh dy row Eve cummal marish Bnr. Rastall-Retford, as dy row lieh-enney echey er mac y ven cheddin ass laghyn Cambridge (fer daink e whaiyl 'sy chlub ny keayrtyn, mannagh honnick eh eh hoshaight), hug eh eh hene da jannoo seose rish Mnr. Rastall-Retford aeg. V'eh er ngoaill greim er 'sy chlub, as goaill toshiaght dy loayrt er ny shenn laghyn Ollooscoill braew, gyn tastey da mertraght y fer elley. Y cooinaghtyn ynrican baghtal echeysyn er shenn laghyn Ollooscoill braew y jees oc, shen bentyn rish oie jinnair-builley dy row, tra ren ymmodee commee 'syn 'eaill, fo stiureydys Pheter, naardey ny shamyryn echey as baarey lieh y farveeal aeg jeh. Rere skeeal Pheter, ayns ny shenn laghyn Ollooscoill braew, v'ad er goaill ayrn ayns boggey as trimshey y cheilley, as trooid as trooid, cosoylit roo, va Damon as Pythias myr daa fir chrosh-choloayrtys garroo ayns fer jeh ny hallaghyn kiaullee s'feiyrey. Gyn cuirrey lheid y charrey dy 'uirraghtyn marish, dy beagh eh 'syn ard laa ennagh, bee shen granganagh ass towse, va'n tannish. Va eiyrtys trome er Mnr. Rastall-Retford aeg, as hug eh y cuirrey çhelleeragh. As nish va cooilleeney y chialg çheet thie. Foddee nagh vel Nemesis ny Alfred Shrubb, agh t’ee roshtyn my lhiggys oo traa jee.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
She faggys da mean y nah hiaghtin dy daink Eve stiagh 'sy chuillee roish jinnair, as feddyn Peter ny hassoo rish yn aile. Cha row ad er ve nyn lomarcan marish y cheilley rish ymmodee laghyn.
"Wahll?" as eh.
Hie Eve da'n aile as goaill çhiow echey da e laueyn.
"Wahll?" as eh, dy lhag-chreeagh.
V'eh gennaghtyn imneagh as çhing. Va Bnr. Rastall-Retford er geau y clane laa fo e teaym s'caulgey, as son y chied cheayrt, dennee Eve dy row ee er ny bwoalley dy trome. V'ee goaill aggle rish ny h-ooryn liauyrey roish traa ny lhiabbagh. Smooinaghtyn dy beagh biritçh ny lurg jinnair, foddee, va çhingys gailley urree. Er lhee nagh dod ee surranse gleckey trooid oie viritçh.
Tra va teaym ghaueagh urree, reih Bnr. Rastall-Retford fea ny keayrtyn, as ceau emshir ny keayrtyn elley. My she fea va reiht eck, hie ee stiagh 'sy çhamyr eck as baarail e nieu er yn inneen lhiabbagh; my she ceau emshir, bee biritçh ayn, as yrdjee biritçh dagh drogh-veoyn eck. V'ad cloie er son cooinagyn ayns thie Rastall-Retford, as by chooinee lesh Eve er keayrtyn daink keoieid urree, bunnys, lesh coayl keead ny ghaa jeh ny cullee coonee ymmydoil shen da Aittys 'sy Thie. V'ee mastey ny cloiederyn-biritçh ta cummal troddan noi Kynoauin cour y ghamman, as tra nagh row ee caartrey Kynoauin, v'ee caartrey y commagh eck son y chooid smoo. By Eve shen dy kinjagh; as v'ee cur padjer dy reihagh e failleyder fea. V'ee cloie dy h-olk marish Bnr. Rastall-Retford er bun imnea hene. V'ee er dayrn erash keayrt dy row, as va thurrick agglagh ayn, as ram aachassid ny yei.
Yeeagh Peter urree, as eh briaghtagh.
"T'ou uss glass noght," as eh.
"Ta çhingys king aym."
"H'm! Cre'n aght ta'n ven ooasle ain? Kiune? Ny dorrinagh?"
"Cheayll mee ish postyr y chaillin eck tra hie mee shaghey y dorrys eck; myr shen, dorrinagh, er lhiam."
"As traa olk ayd, myr shen?" dreggyr eh, dy co-ennaghtagh.
"S'cosoylagh. My chloieys shin biritçh. Agh foddee dy jed ee dy lhie ny lurg jinnair."
Ren ee eab braew dy chiunaghey e coraa, agh cheayll eh y brishey.
"Eve," as eh, dy tappee, "nagh lhiggys oo dou cur lhiam uss ersooyl? Cha nel y gamman shoh cooie dhyt. Cha nel oo creoi dy liooar. Ta feme ayd er graih as keainid as——"
Ren ee gearey as craa ayn.
"As vel enmys ben ennagh ayd dou, as feme eck er cooidjaghtagh nod ee cur graih as keainid er?"
"Ta enmys dooinney aym."
Hug ee arm er y voayrd çhymlee as tannaghtyn myr shen, jeeaghyn stiagh 'sy lossyr gyn fockle erbee.
Roish my dod eh loayrt reesht, cheayll ad kesmadyn rish y dorrys, as haink Bnr. Rastall-Retford stiagh 'sy çhamyr ny moostrey.
Cha row Eve er chur mee-vaght er ny cowraghyn sterrym. Va'n teaym cheddin er yn 'ailleyder eck myr v'eh ny sleaie. Va tostid ayn cour jinnair, bunnys. Va Bnr. Rastall-Retford ny soie gyn fockle as grouig urree. Va sooill feayr as baggyrtagh eck, as lesh obbraghey trooid ny lossreeyn echey, va Peter er creau er son Eve. V'eh er doiggal y tannish eck mychione biritçh: v'eh mastey'n veggan beg v'er vakin Bnr. Rastall-Retford cloie y gamman shen, as hug eh padjer nagh beagh biritçh yn oie shen.
Nagh feoiltagh eh! Traa va biritçh ayn, va braghtanyn ayn. Ec nuy er y chlag dy jeeragh er oieyn biritçh, va'n botleyr cliaghtey soiaghey moggaid dy vraghtanyn feaill chirkey er çheu-voayrd, as (myr arrym da feill-haghney Pheter) moggaid sloo dy vraghtanyn caashey. Rish jerrey'n ghamman, ghow Bnr. Rastall-Retford braghtan jeh'n jees oc, diu ee lane mairane dy ushtey bea as ushtey, as hie ee dy lhie.
Va Peter sheer-laccal braghtan ny ghaa ny laghyn shoh. Agh v'eh arryltagh as boggoil adsyn y 'aagail dy beagh y ven oaasle cur jee biritçh son yn oie shen.
Cha beagh. 'Sy chuillee, ghooisht Bnr. Rastall-Retford ass y taaue-neeal v'er as yllagh er son ny kaartyn dy mooaralagh. Lesh fakin y laue v'echey rish y chied chur magh, va faaishnys ec Peter dy beagh eh ny h-oie dooillee dy beagh ny kaartyn echey cho mie ny cour. Ny keayrtyn elley v'ad er gloie, by ghooillee da eh shickyraghey dy chosnagh y ven ooasle echey rubbyr ny ghaa, eer tra va kaartyn castrey echeysyn. V’eh ny chloieder mie ass towse, as myr y chooid smoo jeu, va cooinsheanse ellynagh echey. Hug eh pian da gamman moal y chloie, eer er ny h-oyryn share. Dy beagh dagh laue echey cho lajer as y chied 'er, honnick eh dy beagh craght ayn. Cha dod eh shaghney barriaght.
She Bnr. Rastall-Retford v'er chur magh y laue, as ren ee fogrey diaman meehraaoil. Ren y mac neuvacoil echey dooblaghey, as er y fa dy row chicane ec Eve—ny drogh-haghyrt dod ee er scapail liorish ymmyd keeayl vayrey, er lesh y co-chloieder eck—chosnee Peter as y co-chloieder echey dy braew gyn scansh da eabyn share Pheter.
Hug magh mac y thie y nah laue. Doadree Eve ny kaartyn echey gyn bree. V'ee gennaghtyn skee quaagh. Va'n inçhyn eck dromm.
Myr y chied laue, hie y nah dy slane da ny deiney. Chosnee Mnr. Rastall-Retford queig trickyn ny yei y cheilley, as rere lonrey e hooill veen, v'eh son cosney wheesh ny shliee as nod eh. By host as fergagh ee Bnr. Rastall-Retford. Va lectraght 'syn aer.
Hug mac y thie spaag roish. Chloie Eve kaart gyn smooinaght.
"Nagh vel spaag ayd, Vnr. Hendrie?"
Chlish Eve, as jeeaghyn er y laue eck.
"Cha nel," as ee.
Chred Bnr. Rastall-Retford dy ouryssagh.
Cha nel cho foddey er-dy-henney, ayns Westport, Connecticut, U.S.A, va dooinney aeg enmyssit Harold Sperry, ny obbree çhellvane, tarrarey trooid boalley thie er son dy chur snaie yiarn ny hrooid. V'eh lhiggey feddan dy gerjoil tra dobbree eh. Cha row fys echey dy row eh er reih y boayl jeeragh raad, clussaghey fo ny breekyn, va piob ushtey leoaie mooar. Y chied chowrey haink er, shen skioot dy ushtey woaill eh feed trie erash as stiagh ayns thammag rose.
Myr dennee Harold y traa shen, dennee Eve nish tra ronsee ee y laue eck keayrt elley, dy yannoo shickyr nagh row spaagyn erbee eck, as feddyn 'nane y chlein keekal dy nearildagh urree veih cooyl shiaght ny kiebbaghyn.
Haink daah y vaaish urree. Cha taitnyssagh eh rieau dy hayrn erash ayns biritçh, agh er lesh Eve yn oie shen she craght erskyn insh v'ayn. Yeeagh ee er y cho-chloieder eck. Dod ee fakin dy baghtal ny haghyragh dy gerrid, mannagh——
Nish as reesht, ta'n inçhyn deiney taishbyney arryltys neuchadjin fo brod egin. Ren inçhyn Eve shen nish. Rish boirey urree haink eie doaltattym.
Yeeagh ee mygeayrt y voayrd. Kiart er gosney y trick jerrinagh, va Mnr. Rastall-Retford er jaglym eh myr fer va plannal ard-eaghtyn, as ymmyrkey sthie-akinagh echey; v'eh smooinaghtyn dy çhionn, as grouig ayns e ghlaare-eddin. Va'n voir echey ceau sooill fargagh er ny kaartyn eck. V'ish gyn cronnaghey.
Gleck ee y caa. Dirree ee jeh'n toiag eck, hooill ee dy tappee da'n çheu-voayrd, as e cooyl nyn noi, skirr ee y kaart marrooagh stiagh ayns braghtan caashey dy schleioil.
Goit seose dy bollagh ayns ny kaartyn, cha dug Bnr. Rastall-Retford tastey jee rish thurrick. Eisht dyllee ish.
"C'red ta foyd, Vnr. Hendrie?"
Va Eve tayrn ennal dy tappee.
"Va—Er lhiam dy by vie lesh Mnr. Rayner braghtan, foddee."
V'ee rish e uillin as y voggaid eck. Chrie ee 'sy laue eck.
"Braghtan! Ny bee cho perkinagh, Vnr. Hendrie, my saillt. Yn eie hene—as y laue foast ny chloie——" Lheie ny focklyn ersooyl dys mungley myskidagh.
Chlish Peter. Va'n smooinaghtyn echey er ngoll er shaghryn. Yeeagh eh veih braghtan dys Eve as eisht erash da'n vraghtan. V'eh fud y cheilley. Va cummey banglane olive er—foddee eh ve? Foddee dy row ee son cowrey——? Ny row eh ny faghid croutagh? Quoi ec va fys? Agh v'eh ny vraghtan er y chooid sloo, as ghow eh eh gyn doalchraueeaght erbee.
"S'treisht lhiam dy row keeal dy liooar ayd dy chooinaghtyn dy vel Mnr. Rayner shaghney foalley, Vnr. Hendrie," as Bnr. Rastall-Retford. "Cha nee braghtan feill chirkey t'ayn?"
"Cha nee," as Eve; "cha nee braghtan feill chirkey."
Vong Peter er as eh bwooisal. Hrog eh y banglane olive as greimmey stiagh lesh bree dooinney shanglanit. Ec y traa cheddin, hayrn Eve e hooill urree.
"Vnr Hendrie!" dyllee Bnr. Rastall-Retford.
Chlish Eve dy trome.
"Vnr. Hendrie, nee oo cloie, my saillt? Ree ny spaagyn dy gheddyn harrish. Cha s'ayms cre 'sy theihll t'ort noght."
"S'treih mooar lhiam," as Eve, as hug ee sheese nuy ny kiebbaghyn.
Cheau Bnr. Rastall-Retford sooill fergagh urree.
"Boghtynid," as ish. "Shegin da 'nane ny spaagyn ve ayds. Mannagh vel, quoi ec t'eh? Yeeagh nyn drooid reesht. Vel eh ayd?"
"As c'raad t'eh, myr shen?"
"C'raad t'eh?" daaheeanee Peter, lesh goaill greim elley.
"Wahll—wahll," as Eve, as ish jiargaghey, "cha—cha—cha nel agh queig kaartyn aym. Lhisagh ve shey aym."
"Queig?" as Bnr. Rastall-Retford "Ommidjys! Jean coontey reesht. Vel oo er lhiggey da tuittym dys y laare?"
Chroym Mnr. Rastall-Retford as jeeaghyn fo y voayrd.
"Cha nel eh er y laare," as eh. "S'cosoylagh dy row eh er coayl ass y sthock roish my hug mee magh ad."
Cheau Bnr. Rastall-Retford ny kaartyn eck sheese as irree dy trome. V'eh maghlaghey ee, ayns aght neuchruinn, nagh row peiagh erbee eck dy chur foill er. "Hem dy lhie," as ish.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hannee Peter rish yn aile as jeeaghyn er Eve ny soie er yn aashag. V'ad nyn lomarcan 'sy çhamyr, erreish da Mnr. Rastall-Retford lheie ersooyl ny host rish marroo-stroo e voir. Dy doaltattym, ghow Eve toshiaght gearey ass stiurey.
Chrie eh e chione urree.
"Shoh foddey ny s'geyrey na feeackle ardnieu," as eh. "Lhisagh oo ve jannoo mooar lhiam, gyn gearey. Vel oo credjal dy ghear y Ree Çhalse er my hennayr tra dee eh ny çhaghteraghtyn? Ny yei shen, ta mee gennaghtyn dy row eh y chied cheayrt neayr's rosh mee y thie shoh dy vel mee er n'ee lhongey mie."
Çhelleeragh, va Eve trome-chooishagh. Skell y mongey j'ee. "Vnr. Rayner, ny smooinee dy vel mee meewooisagh. Cha nod mee shaghney gearey, agh cha noddym ginsh dhyt y bwooise t'orrym ayd. Cha s'ayd ny beagh er daghyrt dy row ee er ngeddyn magh dy dayrn mee erash. Ren mee eh keayrt dy row, as v'ee goll dy kinjagh erash huggey rish laghyn ass towse. By atçhimagh eh." Ren ee craa. "Er lhiam dy vel kiart ayd, as ta'n chreeaght aym faagail."
"As uss—mairagh, er y chied traen. Ta mee goaill yindys cre cho leah nod shin poosey? Vel fys erbee ayds er kiedyn er lheh?"
Yeeagh ee er dy quaagh.
"T'ou creoi-aignagh dy liooar," as ish.
"Fondagh," chiartee eh. "Fondagh. Noddagh oo paggal noght, er lhiat, as bee aarloo da'n jeih as daeed lurg jeih mairagh?"
Ghow ee toshiaght tayrn jesheenaght camlaaghagh er y laare lesh baare y chass eck.
"Cha leayr dou cre'n fa dy vel oo coontey wheesh jeem!" as ish. "Va mee neuchenjal dy liooar dhyt."
"Boghtynid. T'ou er ve lane veen as benoil."
"As ta mee son insh y fa dhyt," hie er ee. "Dty—dty huyr——"
"Ah, myr smooinee mee!"
"Ish—vaik ee dy row oo tuittym ayns graih rhym, as——"
"Dooyrt ee reddyn neufeoiltagh as—skielleydagh," as Eve, dy injil.
Hooill Peter tessen jee ny soie as ghow eh y laue eck.
"Ny bee imnea ort urreeish," as eh. "Cha nee drogh-yantagh t'ayn dy firrinagh, agh ta feme eck er troiddey braaragh mysh daa cheayrt 'sy vlein ny higgys ee y ve ro-ghaaney. Ta fer ry-heet urree rish ny laghyn shoh çheet.
Ren eh stroogey e laue.
"Ta trostey glenney as greinnaghey yn inçhyn," dooyrt eh dy smooinaghtagh. "Er lhiam dy bee red ny ghaa er lheh dy ghra jee y cheayrt shoh çheet."
The Best Sauce
Eve Hendrie sat up in bed. For two hours she had been trying to get to sleep, but without success. Never in her life had she felt more wakeful.
There were two reasons for this. Her mind was disturbed, and she was very hungry. Neither sensation was novel to her. Since first she had become paid companion to Mrs. Rastall-Retford there had hardly been a moment when she had not been hungry. Some time before Mrs. Rastall-Retford's doctor had recommended to that lady a Spartan diet, and in this Eve, as companion, had unwillingly to share. It was not pleasant for either of them, but at least Mrs. Rastall-Retford had the knowledge that she had earned it by years of honest self-indulgence. Eve had not that consolation.
Meagre fare, moreover, had the effect of accentuating Mrs. Rastall-Retford's always rather pronounced irritability. She was a massive lady, with a prominent forehead, some half-dozen chins, and a manner towards those in her employment which would have been resented in a second mate by the crew of a Western ocean tramp. Even at her best she was no ray of sunshine about the house. And since the beginning of the self-denying ordinance she had been at her worst.
But it was not depression induced by her employer that was disturbing Eve. That was a permanent evil. What was agitating her so extremely to-night was the unexpected arrival of Peter Rayner.
It was Eve's practice to tell herself several times a day that she had no sentiment for Peter Rayner but dislike. She did not attempt to defend her attitude logically, but nevertheless she clung to it, and to-night, when he entered the drawing-room, she had endeavoured to convey by her manner that it was only with the greatest difficulty that she remembered him at all, and that, having accomplished that feat, she now intended to forget him again immediately. And he had grinned a cheerful, affectionate grin, and beamed on her without a break till bedtime.
Before coming as companion to Mrs. Rastall-Retford Eve had been governess to Hildebrand, aged six, the son of a Mrs. Elphinstone. It had been, on the whole, a comfortable situation. She had not liked Mrs. Elphinstone, but Hildebrand had been docile, and altogether life was quite smooth and pleasant until Mrs. Elphinstone's brother came for a visit. Peter Rayner was that brother.
There is a type of man who makes love with the secrecy and sheepish reserve of a cowboy shooting up a Wild West saloon. To this class Peter belonged. He fell in love with Eve at sight, and if, at the end of the first day, there was anyone in the house who was not aware of it, it was only Hildebrand, aged six. And even Hildebrand must have had his suspicions.
Mrs. Elphinstone was among the first to become aware of it. For two days, frostily silent and gimlet-like as to the eye, she observed Peter's hurricane wooing from afar; then she acted. Peter she sent to London, pacifying him with an invitation to return to the house in the following week. This done, she proceeded to eliminate Eve. In the course of the parting interview she expressed herself perhaps a little less guardedly than was either just or considerate; and Eve, flushed and at war with the whole race of Rayners, departed that afternoon to seek a situation elsewhere. She had found it at the house of Mrs. Rastall-Retford.
And now this evening, as she sat in the drawing-room playing the piano to her employer, in had walked the latter's son, a tall, nervous young man, perpetually clearing his throat and fiddling with a pair of gold-rimmed glasses, with the announcement that he had brought his friend, Mr. Rayner, to spend a few days in the old home.
Eve could still see the look on Peter's face as, having shaken hands with his hostess, he turned to her. It was the look of the cowboy who, his weary ride over, sees through the dusk the friendly gleam of the saloon windows, and with a happy sigh reaches for his revolver. There could be no two meanings to that look. It said, as clearly as if he had shouted it, that this was no accidental meeting; that he had tracked her down and proposed to resume matters at the point where they had left off.
Eve was indignant. It was abominable that he should pursue her in this way. She sat thinking how abominable it was for five minutes; and then it suddenly struck her that she was hungrier than ever. She had forgotten her material troubles for the moment. It seemed to her now that she was quite faint with hunger.
A cuckoo clock outside the door struck one. And, as it did so, it came to Eve that on the sideboard in the dining-room there were biscuits.
A moment later she was creeping softly down the stairs.
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It was dark and ghostly on the stairs. The house was full of noises. She was glad when she reached the dining-room. It would be pleasant to switch on the light. She pushed open the door, and uttered a cry. The light was already switched on, and at the table, his back to her, was a man.
There was no time for flight. He must have heard the door open. In another moment he would turn and spring.
She spoke tremulously.
"Don't—don't move. I'm pointing a pistol at you."
The man did not move.
"Foolish child!" he said, indulgently. "Suppose it went off!"
She uttered an exclamation of surprise.
"You! What are you doing here, Mr. Rayner?"
She moved into the room, and her relief changed swiftly into indignation. On the table were half a chicken, a loaf, some cold potatoes, and a bottle of beer.
"I'm eating, thank goodness!" said Peter, helping himself to a cold potato. "I had begun to think I never should again."
"Eating. I know a man of sensibility and refinement ought to shrink from raiding his hostess's larder in the small hours, but hunger's death to the finer feelings. It's the solar plexus punch which puts one's better self down and out for the count of ten. I am a large and healthy young man, and, believe me, I need this little snack. I need it badly. May I cut you a slice of chicken?"
She could hardly bear to look at it, but pride gave her strength.
"No," she snapped.
"You're sure? Poor little thing; I know you're half starved."
"How dare you speak to me like that, Mr. Rayner?"
He drank bottled beer thoughtfully.
"What made you come down? I suppose you heard a noise and thought it was burglars?" he said.
"Yes," said Eve, thankfully accepting the idea. At all costs she must conceal the biscuit motive.
"That was very plucky of you. Won't you sit down?"
"No, I'm going back to bed."
"Not just yet. I've several things to talk to you about. Sit down. That's right. Now cover up your poor little pink ankles, or you'll be catching——"
She started up.
She looked at him defiantly, then, wondering at herself for doing it, sat down.
"Now," said Peter, "what do you mean by it? What do you mean by dashing off from my sister's house without leaving a word for me as to where you were going? You knew I loved you."
"Good night, Mr. Rayner."
"Sit down. You've given me a great deal of trouble. Do you know it cost me a sovereign in tips to find out your address? I couldn't get it out of my sister, and I had to apply to the butler. I've a good mind to knock it off your first week's pin-money."
"I shall not stay here listening——"
"You knew perfectly well I wanted to marry you. But you fly off without a word and bury yourself in this benighted place with a gorgon who nags and bullies you——"
"A nice way to speak of your hostess," said Eve, scornfully.
"A very soothing way. I don't think I ever took such a dislike to a woman at first sight before. And when she started to bullyrag you, it was all I could do—But it won't last long now. You must come away at once. We'll be married after Christmas, and in the meantime you can go and live with my sister——"
Eve listened speechlessly. She had so much to say that the difficulty of selection rendered her dumb.
"When can you start? I mean, do you have to give a month's notice or anything?"
Eve got up with a short laugh.
"Good night, Mr. Rayner," she said. "You have been very amusing, but I am getting tired."
"I'm glad it's all settled," said Peter. "Good night."
Eve stopped. She could not go tamely away without saying a single one of the things that crowded in her mind.
"Do you imagine," she said, "that I intend to marry you? Do you suppose, for one moment——"
"Rather!" said Peter. "You shall have a splendid time from now on, to make up for all you've gone through. I'm going to be awfully good to you, Eve. You sha'n't ever have any more worries, poor old thing." He looked at her affectionately. "I wonder why it is that large men always fall in love with little women. There are you, a fragile, fairy-like, ethereal wisp of a little creature; and here am I——"
"A great, big, greedy pig!" burst out Eve, "who thinks about nothing but eating and drinking."
"I wasn't going to have put it quite like that," said Peter, thoughtfully.
"I hate a greedy man," said Eve, between her teeth.
"I have a healthy appetite," protested Peter. "Nothing more. It runs in the family. At the time of the Civil War the Rayner of the period, who was King Charles's right-hand man, would frequently eat despatches to prevent them falling into the hands of the enemy. He was noted for it."
Eve reached the door and turned.
"I despise you," she said.
"Good night," said Peter, tenderly. "To-morrow morning we'll go for a walk."
His prediction proved absolutely correct. He was smoking a cigarette after breakfast when Eve came to him. Her face was pink and mutinous, but there was a gleam in her eye.
"Are you ready to come out, Mr. Rayner?" she said. "Mrs. Rastall-Retford says I'm to take you to see the view from the golf links."
"You'll like that," said Peter.
"I shall not like it," snapped Eve. "But Mrs. Rastall-Retford is paying me a salary to do what she tells me, and I have to earn it."
Conversation during the walk consisted mainly of a monologue on the part of Peter. It was a crisp and exhilarating morning, and he appeared to be feeling a universal benevolence towards all created things. He even softened slightly on the subject of Mrs. Rastall-Retford, and advanced the theory that her peculiar manner might be due to her having been ill-treated as a child.
Eve listened in silence. It was not till they were nearing home on their return journey that she spoke.
"Mr. Rayner," she said.
"Yes?" said Peter.
"I was talking to Mrs. Rastall-Retford after breakfast," said Eve, "and I told her something about you."
"My conscience is clear."
"Oh, nothing bad. Some people would say it was very much to your credit." She looked away across the fields. "I told her you were a vegetarian," she added, carelessly.
There was a long silence. Then Peter spoke three words, straight from the heart.
"You little devil!"
Eve turned and looked at him, her eyes sparkling wickedly.
"You see!" she said. "Now perhaps you will go."
"Without you?" said Peter, stoutly. "Never!"
"In London you will be able to eat all day—anything you like. You will be able to creep about your club gnawing cold chicken all night. But if you stay here——"
"You have got a wrong idea of the London clubman's life," said Peter. "If I crept about my club gnawing cold chicken I should have the committee after me. No, I shall stay here and look after you. After all, what is food?"
"I'll tell you what yours will be, if you like. Or would you rather wait and let it be a surprise? Well, for lunch you will have some boiled potatoes and cabbage and a sweet—a sort of light soufflé thing. And for dinner——"
"Yes, but one moment," said Peter. "If I'm a vegetarian, how did you account for my taking all the chicken I could get at dinner last night, and looking as if I wanted more?"
"Oh, that was your considerateness. You didn't want to give trouble, even if you had to sacrifice your principles. But it's all right now. You are going to have your vegetables."
Peter drew a deep breath—the breath of the man who braces himself up and thanks whatever gods there be for his unconquerable soul.
"I don't care," he said. "'A book of verses underneath the bough, a jug of wine, and thou——'"
"Oh, and I forgot," interrupted Eve. "I told her you were a teetotaller as well."
There was another silence, longer than the first.
"The best train," said Eve, at last, "is the ten-fifty."
He looked at her inquiringly.
"The best train?"
"What makes you think that I am interested in trains to London?"
Eve bit her lip.
"Mr. Rayner," she said, after a pause, "do you remember at lunch one day at Mrs. Elphinstone's refusing parsnips? You said that, so far as you were concerned, parsnips were first by a mile, and that prussic acid and strychnine also ran."
"Well?" said Peter.
"Oh, nothing," said Eve. "Only I made a stupid mistake. I told the cook you were devoted to parsnips. I'm sorry."
Peter looked at her gravely. "I'm putting up with a lot for your sake," he said.
"You needn't. Why don't you go away?"
"And leave you chained to the rock, Andromeda? Not for Perseus! I've only been here one night, but I've seen enough to know that I've got to take you away from this place. Honestly, it's killing you. I was watching you last night. You're scared if that infernal old woman starts to open her mouth. She's crushing the life out of you. I'm going to stay on here till you say you'll marry me, or till they throw me out."
"There are parsnips for dinner to-night," said Eve, softly.
"I shall get to like them. They are an acquired taste, I expect. Perhaps I am, too. Perhaps I am the human parsnip, and you will have to learn to love me."
"You are the human burr," said Eve, shortly. "I shouldn't have thought it possible for a man to behave as you are doing."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
In spite of herself, there were moments during the next few days when Eve felt twinges of remorse. It was only by telling herself that he had no right to have followed her to this house, and that he was at perfect liberty to leave whenever he wished, that she could harden her heart again. And even this reflection was not entirely satisfactory, for it made her feel how fond he must be of her to endure these evils for her sake.
And there was no doubt about there being evils. It was a dreary house in which to spend winter days. There were no books that one could possibly read. The nearest railway station was five miles away. There was not even a dog to talk to. Generally it rained. Though Eve saw little of Peter, except at meals and in the drawing-room after dinner—for Mrs. Rastall-Retford spent most of the day in her own sitting-room and required Eve to be at her side—she could picture his sufferings, and, try as she would, she could not keep herself from softening a little. Her pride was weakening. Constant attendance on her employer was beginning to have a bad effect on her nerves. Association in a subordinate capacity with Mrs. Rastall-Retford did not encourage a proud and spirited outlook on life.
Her imagination had not exaggerated Peter's sufferings. Many people consider that Dante has spoken the last word on the post-mortem housing of the criminal classes. Peter, after the first week of his visit, could have given him a few new ideas.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It is unpleasant to be half starved. It is unpleasant to be cooped up in a country-house in winter with nothing to do. It is unpleasant to have to sit at meals and listen to the only girl you have ever really loved being bullyragged by an old lady with six chins. And all these unpleasantnesses were occurring to Peter simultaneously. It is highly creditable to him that the last should completely have outweighed the others.
He was generally alone. Mr. Rastall-Retford, who would have been better than nothing as a companion, was a man who enjoyed solitude. He was a confirmed vanisher. He would be present at one moment, the next he would have glided silently away. And, even on the rare occasions when he decided not to vanish, he seldom did much more than clear his throat nervously and juggle with his pince-nez.
Peter, in his boyhood, had been thrilled once by a narrative of a man who got stuck in the Sargasso Sea. It seemed to him now that the monotony of the Sargasso Sea had been greatly exaggerated.
Nemesis was certainly giving Peter his due. He had wormed his way into the Rastall-Retford home-circle by grossly deceitful means. The moment he heard that Eve had gone to live with Mrs. Rastall-Retford, and had ascertained that the Rastall-Retford with whom he had been at Cambridge and whom he still met occasionally at his club when he did not see him first, was this lady's son, he had set himself to court young Mr. Rastall-Retford. He had cornered him at the club and begun to talk about the dear old 'Varsity days, ignoring the embarrassment of the latter, whose only clear recollection of the dear old 'Varsity days as linking Peter and himself was of a certain bump-supper night, when sundry of the festive, led and inspired by Peter, had completely wrecked his rooms and shaved off half a growing moustache. He conveyed to young Mr. Rastall-Retford the impression that, in the dear old 'Varsity days, they had shared each other's joys and sorrows, and, generally, had made Damon and Pythias look like a pair of cross-talk knockabouts at one of the rowdier music-halls. Not to invite so old a friend to stay at his home, if he ever happened to be down that way, would, he hinted, be grossly churlish. Mr. Rastall-Retford, impressed, issued the invitation. And now Peter was being punished for his deceit. Nemesis may not be an Alfred Shrubb, but give her time and she gets there.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It was towards the middle of the second week of his visit that Eve, coming into the drawing-room before dinner, found Peter standing in front of the fire. They had not been alone together for several days.
"Well?" said he.
Eve went to the fire and warmed her hands.
"Well?" she said, dispiritedly.
She was feeling nervous and ill. Mrs. Rastall-Retford had been in one of her more truculent moods all day, and for the first time Eve had the sensation of being thoroughly beaten. She dreaded the long hours to bedtime. The thought that there might be bridge after dinner made her feel physically ill. She felt she could not struggle through a bridge night.
On the occasions when she was in one of her dangerous moods, Mrs. Rastall-Retford sometimes chose rest as a cure, sometimes relaxation. Rest meant that she retired to her room immediately after dinner, and expended her venom on her maid; relaxation meant bridge, and bridge seemed to bring out all her worst points. They played the game for counters at her house, and there had been occasions in Eve's experience when the loss of a hundred or so of these useful little adjuncts to Fun in the Home had lashed her almost into a frenzy. She was one of those bridge players who keep up a running quarrel with Fate during the game, and when she was not abusing Fate she was generally reproaching her partner. Eve was always her partner; and to-night she devoutly hoped that her employer would elect to rest. She always played badly with Mrs. Rastall-Retford, through sheer nervousness. Once she had revoked, and there had been a terrible moment and much subsequent recrimination.
Peter looked at her curiously.
"You're pale to-night," he said.
"I have a headache."
"H'm! How is our hostess? Fair? Or stormy?"
"As I was passing her door I heard her bullying her maid, so I suppose stormy."
"That means a bad time for you?" he said, sympathetically.
"I suppose so. If we play bridge. But she may go to bed directly after dinner."
She tried to keep her voice level, but he detected the break.
"Eve," he said, quickly, "won't you let me take you away from here? You've no business in this sort of game. You're not tough enough. You've got to be loved and made a fuss of and——"
She laughed shakily.
"Perhaps you can give me the address of some lady who wants a companion to love and make a fuss of?"
"I can give you the address of a man."
She rested an arm on the mantelpiece and stood looking into the blaze, without replying.
Before he could speak again there was a step outside the door, and Mrs. Rastall-Retford rustled into the room.
Eve had not misread the storm-signals. Her employer's mood was still as it had been earlier in the day. Dinner passed in almost complete silence. Mrs. Rastall-Retford sat brooding dumbly. Her eye was cold and menacing, and Peter, working his way through his vegetables, shuddered for Eve. He had understood her allusion to bridge, having been privileged several times during his stay to see his hostess play that game, and he hoped that there would be no bridge to-night.
And this was unselfish of him, for bridge meant sandwiches. Punctually at nine o'clock on bridge nights the butler would deposit on a side-table a plate of chicken sandwiches and (in deference to Peter's vegetarian views) a smaller plate of cheese sandwiches. At the close of play Mrs. Rastall-Retford would take one sandwich from each plate, drink a thimbleful of weak whisky and water, and retire.
Peter could always do with a sandwich or two these days. But he was prepared to abandon them joyfully if his hostess would waive bridge for this particular evening.
It was not to be. In the drawing-room Mrs. Rastall-Retford came out of her trance and called imperiously for the cards. Peter, when he saw his hand after the first deal, had a presentiment that if all his hands were to be as good as this, the evening was going to be a trying one. On the other occasions when they had played he had found it an extremely difficult task, even with moderate cards, to bring it about that his hostess should always win the odd rubber, for he was an excellent player, and, like most good players, had an artistic conscience which made it painful to him to play a deliberately bad game, even from the best motives. If all his hands were going to be as strong as this first one he saw that there was disaster ahead. He could not help winning.
Mrs. Rastall-Retford, who had dealt the first hand, made a most improper diamond declaration. Her son unfilially doubled, and, Eve having chicane—a tragedy which her partner evidently seemed to consider could have been avoided by the exercise of ordinary common sense—Peter and his partner, despite Peter's best efforts, won the game handsomely.
The son of the house dealt the next hand. Eve sorted her cards listlessly. She was feeling curiously tired. Her brain seemed dulled.
This hand, as the first had done, went all in favour of the two men. Mr. Rastall-Retford won five tricks in succession, and, judging from the glitter in his mild eye, was evidently going to win as many more as he possibly could. Mrs. Rastall-Retford glowered silently. There was electricity in the air.
The son of the house led a club. Eve played a card mechanically.
"Have you no clubs, Miss Hendrie?"
Eve started, and looked at her hand.
"No," she said.
Mrs. Rastall-Retford grunted suspiciously.
Not long ago, in Westport, Connecticut, U.S.A., a young man named Harold Sperry, a telephone worker, was boring a hole in the wall of a house with a view to passing a wire through it. He whistled joyously as he worked. He did not know that he had selected for purposes of perforation the exact spot where there lay, nestling in the brickwork, a large leaden water-pipe. The first intimation he had of that fact was when a jet of water suddenly knocked him fifteen feet into a rosebush.
As Harold felt then, so did Eve now, when, examining her hand once more to make certain that she had no clubs, she discovered the ace of that ilk peeping coyly out from behind the seven of spades.
Her face turned quite white. It is never pleasant to revoke at bridge, but to Eve just then it seemed a disaster beyond words. She looked across at her partner. Her imagination pictured the scene there would be ere long, unless——
It happens every now and then that the human brain shows in a crisis an unwonted flash of speed. Eve's did at this juncture. To her in her trouble there came a sudden idea.
She looked round the table. Mr. Rastall-Retford, having taken the last trick, had gathered it up in the introspective manner of one planning big coups, and was brooding tensely, with knit brows. His mother was frowning over her cards. She was unobserved.
She seized the opportunity. She rose from her seat, moved quickly to the side-table, and, turning her back, slipped the fatal card dexterously into the interior of a cheese sandwich.
Mrs. Rastall-Retford, absorbed, did not notice for an instant. Then she gave tongue.
"What are you doing, Miss Hendrie?"
Eve was breathing quickly.
"I—I thought that Mr. Rayner might like a sandwich."
She was at his elbow with the plate. It trembled in her hand.
"A sandwich! Kindly do not be so officious, Miss Hendrie. The idea—in the middle of a hand——" Her voice died away in a resentful mumble.
Peter started. He had been allowing his thoughts to wander. He looked from the sandwich to Eve and then at the sandwich again. He was puzzled. This had the aspect of being an olive-branch—could it be? Could she be meaning——? Or was it a subtle insult? Who could say? At any rate it was a sandwich, and he seized it, without prejudice.
"I hope at least you have had the sense to remember that Mr. Rayner is a vegetarian, Miss Hendrie," said Mrs. Rastall-Retford. "That is not a chicken sandwich?"
"No," said Eve; "it is not a chicken sandwich."
Peter beamed gratefully. He raised the olive-branch, and bit into it with the energy of a starving man. And as he did so he caught Eve's eye.
"Miss Hendrie!" cried Mrs. Rastall-Retford.
Eve started violently.
"Miss Hendrie, will you be good enough to play? The king of clubs to beat. I can't think what's the matter with you to-night."
"I'm very sorry," said Eve, and put down the nine of spades.
Mrs. Rastall-Retford glared.
"This is absurd," she cried. "You must have the ace of clubs. If you have not got it, who has? Look through your hand again. Is it there?"
"Then where can it be?"
"Where can it be?" echoed Peter, taking another bite.
"Why—why," said Eve, crimson, "I—I—have only five cards. I ought to have six."
"Five?" said Mrs. Rastall-Retford "Nonsense! Count again. Have you dropped it on the floor?"
Mr. Rastall-Retford stooped and looked under the table.
"It is not on the floor," he said. "I suppose it must have been missing from the pack before I dealt."
Mrs. Rastall-Retford threw down her cards and rose ponderously. It offended her vaguely that there seemed to be nobody to blame. "I shall go to bed," she said.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Peter stood before the fire and surveyed Eve as she sat on the sofa. They were alone in the room, Mr. Rastall-Retford having drifted silently away in the wake of his mother. Suddenly Eve began to laugh helplessly.
He shook his head at her.
"This is considerably sharper than a serpent's tooth," he said. "You should be fawning gratefully upon me, not laughing. Do you suppose King Charles laughed at my ancestor when he ate the despatches? However, for the first time since I have been in this house I feel as if I had had a square meal."
Eve became suddenly serious. The smile left her face.
"Mr. Rayner, please don't think I'm ungrateful. I couldn't help laughing, but I can't tell you how grateful I am. You don't know what it would have been like if she had found out that I had revoked. I did it once before, and she kept on about it for days and days. It was awful." She shivered. "I think you must be right, and my nerves are going."
"So are you—to-morrow, by the first train. I wonder how soon we can get married. Do you know anything about special licenses?"
She looked at him curiously.
"You're very obstinate," she said.
"Firm," he corrected. "Firm. Could you pack to-night, do you think, and be ready for that ten-fifty to-morrow morning?"
She began to trace an intricate pattern on the floor with the point of her shoe.
"I can't imagine why you are fond of me!" she said. "I've been very horrid to you."
"Nonsense. You've been all that's sweet and womanly."
"And I want to tell you why," she went on. "Your—your sister——"
"Ah, I thought as much!"
"She—she saw that you seemed to be getting fond of me, and she——"
"Said some rather horrid things that—hurt," said Eve, in a low voice.
Peter crossed over to where she sat and took her hand.
"Don't you worry about her," he said. "She's not a bad sort really, but about once every six months she needs a brotherly talking-to, or she gets above herself. One is about due during the next few days."
He stroked her hand.
"Fasting," he said, thoughtfully, "clears and stimulates the brain. I fancy I shall be able to think out some rather special things to say to her this time."