Read CHAPTER IV. of Capt'n Davy's Honeymoon 1893 , free online book, by Hall Caine, on ReadCentral.com.

Next day Lovibond saw Mrs. Quiggin at Castle Mona.  He had come at once in obedience to her summons, and she took his sympathies by storm.  It was hard for him to realize that he had not seen her somewhere before.  He had seen her ­in his own description of the girl in church, helped out, led on, directed, vivified, and transfigured by Capt’n Davy’s own impetuous picture, just as the mesmerist sees what he pretends to show by aid of the eye of the mesmerized.  There she sat, like one for whom life had lost its savor.  Her great slow eyes, her pale and quivering face,’ her long deep look as she took his hand, and her softly tightening grasp of it went through him like a knife.  Not all his loyalty to Capt’n Davy could crush the thought that the man who had thrown away a jewel such as this must be a brute and a blockhead.  But the sweet woman was not so lost to life that she did not see her advantage.  There were some weary sighs and then she said: ­

“I am in great, great trouble about my husband.  They say he is wasting his money.  Is it true?”

“Too true,” said Lovibond.

“And that if he goes on as he is now going he will be penniless?”

“Not impossible,” said Lovibond, “provided the mad fit last long enough.”

“Is remonstrance quite useless, Mr. Lovibond?”

“Quite, Mrs. Quiggin.”

The great slow eyes began to fill, and Lovibond’s gaze to seek the laces of his boots.

“It is sorrow enough to me, Mr. Lovibond, that my husband and I have quarreled and parted, but it will be the worst grief of all if some day I should have to think that I came into his life to wreck it.”

“Don’t blame yourself for that, Mrs. Quiggin.  It will be his own fault if he ruins himself.”

“You are very good, Mr. Lovi-bond.”

“Your husband will never blame you either.”

“That will hardly reconcile me to his misfortunes.”

["The man’s an ass,” thought Lovibond.]

“I shall not trouble him much longer with my presence here,” Mrs. Quiggin continued, and Lovibond looked up inquiringly.

“I am going back home soon,” she added.  “But if before I go some friend would help me to save my husband from himself ­”

Lovibond rose in an instant.  “I am at your service, Mrs. Quiggin,” he said briskly.  “Have you thought of anything?”

“Yes.  They tell me that he is gambling, and that all the cheats of the island are winning from him.”

“Well?”

The pale face turned very red, and quivered visibly about the lips.

“I have heard him say, when he has spoken of you, Mr. Lovibond, that ­that ­but will you forgive what I am going to tell you?”

“Anything,” said Lovibond.

“That out on the coast you could win from anybody.  I remembered this when they told me that he was gambling, and I thought if you would play against my husband--for me------”

“I see what you mean, Mrs. Quiggin,” said Lovibond.

“I don’t want the money, though he was so cruel as to say I had only married him for sake of it.  But you could put it back into Dumbell’s Bank day by day as you got it.”

“In whose name?” said Lovibond.

The great eyes opened very wide.  “His, surely,” she said falteringly.

Lovibond saw the folly of that thought, but he also recognized its tenderness.

“Very well,” he said; “I’ll do my best.”

“Will it be wrong to deceive him, Mr. Lovibond?”

“It will be mercy itself, Mrs. Quiggin.”

“To be sure, it is only to save him from ruin.  But you will not believe that I am thinking of myself, Mr. Lovibond?”

“Trust me for that, Mrs. Quiggin.”

“And when the wild fit is over, and my husband hears of what has been done, you will be careful not to let him know that it was I who thought of it?”

“You shall tell him yourself, Mrs. Quiggin.”

“Ah! that can never, never be,” she said, with a sigh.  And then she murmured softly, “I don’t know what my husband may have told you about me, Mr. Lovibond ­”

Lovibond’s ardor overcame his prudence.  “He has told me that you were an angel once ­and he has wronged you, the dunce and dulbert ­you are an angel still.”

While Lovibond was with Mrs. Quig-gin Jenny Crow was with Capt’n Davy.  She had clutched at his invitation with secret delight.  “Just the thing,” she thought.  “Now, won’t I give the other simpleton a piece of my mind, too?” So she had bowled off to Fort Ann with a heart as warm as toast, and a tongue that was stinging hot.  But when she had got there her purpose had suddenly changed.  The first sight of Capt’n Davy’s face had conquered her.  It was so child-like, and yet so manly, so strong and yet so tender, so obviously made for smiles like sunshine, and yet so full of the memories of recent tears!  Jenny recalled her description of the sailor on the Head, and thought it no better than a vulgar caricature.

Davy wiped down a chair for her with the outside of his billycock and led her up to it with rude but natural manners.  “The girl was a ninny to quarrel with a man like this,” she thought.  Nevertheless she remembered her purpose of making him smart, and she stuck to her guns for a round or two.

“It’s rael nice of you to come, ma’am,” said Davy.

“It’s more than you deserve,” said Jenny.

“I shouldn’t wonder but you think me a blundering blocket,” said Davy.

“I didn’t think you had sense enough to know it,” said Jenny.

With that second shot Jenny’s powder was spent.  Davy looked down into her face and said ­

“I’m terr’ble onaisy about herself, ma’am, and can’t take rest at nights for thinking what’s to come to her when I am gone.”

“Gone?” said Jenny, rising quietly.

“That’s so ma’am,” said Davy.  “I’m going away ­back to that ould Nick’s oven I came from, and I’ll want no money there.”

“Is that why you’re wasting it here, Captain Quiggin?” said Jenny.  Her gayety was gone by this time.

“No ­yes!  Wasting?  Well maybe so, ma’am, may be so.  It’s the way with money.  Comes like the droppings out of the spout at the gable, ma’am; but goes like the tub when the bull has tipped it.  Now I was thinking ma’am ­”

“Well, Captain?”

“She won’t take any of it, coming from me, but I was thinking, ma’am ­”

“Yes?” Davy was pawing the carpet with one foot, and Jenny’s eyes were creeping up the horn buttons of his waistcoat.

“I was thinking, ma’am, if you could take a mossle of it yourself before it’s all gone, and go and live with her ­you and she together somewheres ­some quiet place ­and make out somehow ­women’s mortal clever at rigging up yarns that do no harm ­make out that somebody belonging to you is dead ­it can’t kill nobody to say that ma’am ­and left you a bit of a fortune out of hand ­”

Davy’s restless foot was digging away at the carpet while he was stammering out these broken words: 

“Haven’t you no ould uncle, ma’am, that would do for the like of that?”

Jenny had to struggle with herself not to leap up and hug Capt’n Davy then and there, “What a ninny the girl was!” she thought.  But she said aloud, as well as she could for her throat that was choking her, “I see what you mean, Captain Quiggin.  But, Cap tain ­”

“Ma’am?” said Davy.

“If you have so much thought ­(gulp, gulp) ­for your wife’s welfare (gulp), you ­must love her still (gulp, gulp)?

“I daren’t say no, ma’am,” said Davy, with downcast eyes.

“And if you love her, however deeply she may have offended you, surely you should never leave her.  Come, now, Captain, forgive and forget; she is only a woman, you know.”

“That’s just where the shoe pinches, ma’am, so I’m taking it off.  Out yonder it’ll be easier to forgive.  And if it’ll be harder to forget, what matter?”

Jenny’s eyes were beginning to fill.

“No use crying over spilled milk, is it, ma’am?  The heart-ache is a sort of colic that isn’t cured by drops.”

Jenny was breaking down fast.

“Aw, the heart’s a quare thing, ma’am.  Got its hunger same as anything else.  Starve it, and it’ll know why.  Gives you a kind of a sinking at the pit of your stomach, ma’am.  Did you never feel it, ma’am?”

Davy’s speech was rude enough, but that only made its emotion the more touching to Jenny.  Between gulp and gulp she tried to say that if he went away he would never be happy again.

“Happy, ma’am?  D’ye say happy?  I’m not happy now,” said Davy.

“It isn’t everybody would think so, Captain,” said Jenny, “considering how you spend your evenings ­singing and laughing ­”

“Laughing!  More cry till wool, ma’am, same as clipping a pig.”

“So your new friends, Captain, those that your riches have brought you ­”

“Friends?  D’ye say friends?  Them wastrels!  What are they?  Nothing but a parcel of Betty Quilleash’s baby’s stepmothers.  And I’m nothing but Betty Quilleash’s baby myself, ma’am; that’s what I am.”

The stalwart fellow did not look much like anybody’s infant, but Davy could not laugh, and Jenny’s eyes were streaming.

“Betty lived at Michael, ma’am, and died when her baby was suckling.  There wasn’t no feeding-bottles in them days, and the little one was missing the poor dead mawther mortal.  But babies is like lammies, ma’am, they’ve got their season, and mostly all the women of the parish had babies that year.  So first one woman would whip up Betty’s baby and give it a taste of the breast, and then another would whip it up and do likewise, until the little baby cuckoo was in every baby nest in the place, and living all over the street, like the rum-butter bowl and the preserving pan.  But no use at all, at all.  The little mite wasted away.  Poor thing, poor thing.  Twenty mawthers wasn’t making up to it for the right one it had lost.  That’s me, ma’am; that’s me.”

Jenny Crow went away, crying openly, having promised to be a party to the innocent deception which Captain Davy had suggested.  “That Nelly Kinvig is as hard as a flint,” she told herself, bitterly.  “I’ve no patience with such flinty people; and won’t I give it her piping hot at the very next opportunity?”