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

The life that Davy had led that day-was infernal At the first shaft of Lovi-bond’s insinuation against Mrs. Quiggin’s fidelity he had turned sick at heart.  “When he said it,” Davy had thought, “the blood went from me like the tide out of the Ragged Mouth, where the ships lie wrecked and rotten.”

He had baffled with his bemuddled brain, to recall the conversation he had held with his wife since his return home to marry her, and every innocent word she had uttered in jest had seemed guilty and foul.  “You’ve been nothing but a fool, Davy,” he told himself.  “You’ve been tooken in.”

Then he had reproached himself for his hasty judgment.  “Hould hard, boy, hould hard; aisy for all, though, aisy, aisy!” He had remembered how modest his wife had been in the old days ­how simple and how natural.  “She was as pure as the mountain turf,” he had thought, “and quiet extraordinary.”  Yet there was the ugly fact that she had appointed to meet a strange man in the gardens of Castle Mona, that night, alone.  “Some charm is put on her ­some charm or the like,” he had thought again.

That had been the utmost and best he could make of it, and he had suffered the torments of the damned.  During the earlier part of the day he had rambled through the town, drinking freely, and his face had been a piteous sight to see.  Toward nightfall he had drifted past Castle Mona toward Onchan Head, and stretched himself on the beach before Derby Castle.  There he had reviewed the case afresh, and asked himself what he ought to do.

“It’s not for me to go sneaking after her,” he had thought.  “She’s true, I’ll swear to it.  The man’s lying...  Very well, then, Davy, boy, don’t you take rest till you’re proving it.”

The autumn day had begun to close in, and the first stars to come out.  “Other women are like yonder,” he had thought; “just common stars in the sky, where there’s millions and millions of them.  But Nelly is like the moon ­the moon, bless her ­”

At that thought Davy had leaped to his feet, in disgust of his own simplicity.  “I’m a fool,” he had muttered, “a reg’lar ould bleating billygoat; talking pieces of poethry to myself, like a stupid, gawky Tommy Big Eyes.”

He had looked at his watch.  It was a quarter to eight o’clock.  Unconsciously he had begun to walk toward Castle Mona.  “I’m not for misdoubting my wife, not me; but then a man may be over certain.  I’ll find out for myself; and if it’s true, if she’s there, if she meets him....  Well, well, be aisy for all, Davy; be aisy, boy, be aisy!  If the worst comes to the worst, and you’ve got to cut your stick, you’ll be doing it without a heart-ache anyway.  She’ll not be worth it, and you’ll be selling yourself to the Divil with a clane conscience.  So it’s all serene either way, Davy, my man, and here goes for it.”

Meanwhile Mrs. Quiggin had been going through similar torments.  “I don’t blame him,” she had thought.  “It’s that mischief-making huzzy.  Why did I ask her?  I wonder what in the world I ever saw in her.  If I were not going away myself she should pack out of the house in the morning.  The sly thing!  How clever she thinks herself, too!  But she’ll be surprised when I come down on her.  I’ll watch her; she sha’n’t escape me.  And as for him ­well, we’ll see, Mr. David, we’ll see!”

As the clock in the hall in Castle Mona was striking eight these good souls in these wise humors were making their several ways to the waterfall under the cliff, in the darkest part of the hotel grounds.

Davy got there first, going in by the gate at the Onchan end.  It struck him with astonishment that Lovibond was not there already.  “The man bragged of coming, but I don’t see him,” he thought.  He felt half inclined to be wroth with Lovibond for daring to run the risk of being late.  “I know someone who would have been early enough if he had been coming to meet with somebody,” he thought.

Presently he saw a female form approaching from the thick darkness at the Douglas end of the house.  It was a tall figure in a long cloak, with the hood drawn over the head.  Through the opening of the cloak in front a light dress beneath gleamed and glinted in the brightening starlight.  “It’s herself,” Davy muttered, under his breath.  “She’s like the silvery fir tree with her little dark head agen the sky.  Trust me for knowing her!  I’d be doing that if I was blind.  Yes, would I though, if I was only the grass under her feet, and she walked on me.  She’s coming!  My God, then, it’s true!  It’s true, Davy!  Hould hard, boy!  She’s a woman for all!  She’s here!  She sees me!  She thinks I’m the man?”

In the strange mood of the moment he was half sorry to take her by surprise.

Davy was right that Mrs. Quiggin saw him.  While still in the shadow of the house she recognized his dark figure among the trees.  “But he’s alone,” she thought.  “Then the huzzy must have gone back to her room when I thought she slipped out at the porch.  He’s waiting for her.  Should I wait, too?  No!  That he is there is enough.  He sees me.  He is coming.  He thinks I am she.  Umph!  Now to astonish him!”

Thus thinking, and both trembling with rage and indignation, and both quivering with love and fear, the two came face to face.

But neither betrayed the least surprise.

“Hope I don’t interrupt any terterta-tie,” continued Davy.

“I trust you won’t allow me ­” began Nelly.

And then, having launched these shafts of impotent irony in vain, they came to a stand with an uneasy feeling that something unlooked for was amiss.

“What d’ye mane, ma’am?” said Davy.

“What do you mean, sir?” said Nelly.

“I mane, that you’re here to meet with a man,” said Davy.

“I!” cried Nelly.  “I?  Did you say that I was here to meet ­”

“Don’t go to deny it, ma’am,” said Davy.

“I do deny it,” said Nelly.  “And what’s more, sir, I know why you are here.  You are here to meet with a woman.”

“Me!  To meet with a woman!  Me?” cried Davy.

“Oh, you needn’t deny it, sir,” said Nelly.  “Your presence here is proof enough against you.”

“And your presence here is proof enough agen you,” said Davy.

“You had to meet her at eight,” said Nelly.

“That’s a reg’lar bluff, ma’am,” said Davy, “for it was at eight you had to meet with him?

“How dare you say so?” cried Nelly.

“I had it from the man himself,” said Davy.

“It’s false, sir, for there is no man; but I had it from the woman,” said Nelly.

“And did you believe her?” said Davy.

“Did you believe him?” said Nelly.  “Were you simple enough to trust a man who told you that he was going to meet your own wife?”

“He wasn’t for knowing it was my own wife,” said Davy.  “But were you simple enough to trust the woman who was telling you she was going to meet your own husband?”

“She didn’t know it was my own husband,” said Nelly.  “But that wasn’t the only thing she told me.”

“And it wasn’t the only thing he tould me.” said Davy.  “He tould me all your secrets ­that your husband had deserted you because he was a brute and a blackguard.”

“I have never said so,” cried Nelly.  “Who dares to say I have?  I have never opened my lips to any living man against you.  But you are measuring me by your own yard, sir; for you led her to believe that I was a cat and a shrew and a nagger, and a thankless wretch who ought to be put down by the law just as it puts down biting dogs.”

“Now, begging you pardon, ma’am,” said Davy; “but that’s a damned lie, whoever made it.”

After this burst there was a pause and a hush, and then Nelly said, “It’s easy to say that when she isn’t here to contradict you; but wait, sir, only wait.”

“And it’s aisy for you to say yonder,” said Davy, “when he isn’t come to deny it ­but take your time, ma’am, take your time.”

“Who is it?” said Nelly.

“No matter,” said Davy.

“Who is the man,” demanded Nelly.

“My friend Lovibond,” answered Davy.

“Lovibond!” cried Nelly.

“The same,” groaned Davy.

“Mr. Lovibond!” cried Nelly again.

“Aw ­keep it up, ma’am; keep it up!” said Davy.  “And, manewhile, if you plaze, who is the woman?”

“My friend Jenny Crow,” said Nelly.

Then there was another pause.

“And did she tell you that I had agreed to meet her?” said Davy.

“She did,” said Nelly.  “And did he tell you that I had appointed to meet him?

“Yes, did he,” said Davy.  “At eight o’clock, did she say?”

“Yes, eight o’clock,” said Nelly.  “Did he say eight?”

“He did,” said Davy.

The loud voices of a moment before had suddenly dropped to broken whispers.  Davy made a prolonged whistle.

“Stop,” said he; “haven’t you been in the habit of meeting him?”

“I have never seen him but once,” said Nelly.  “But haven’t you been in the habit of meeting her?

“Never set eyes on the little skute but twice altogether,” said Davy.  “But didn’t he see you first in St. Thomas’s, and didn’t you speak with him on the shore ­”

“I’ve never been in St. Thomas’s in my life!” said Nelly.  “But didn’t you meet her first on the Head above Port Soderick, and to go to Laxey, and come home with her in the coach?”

“Not I,” said Davy.

“Then the stories she told me of the Manx sailor were all imagination, were they?” said Nelly.

“And the yarns he tould me of the girl in the church were all make-ups, eh?” said Davy.

“Dear me, what a pair of deceitful people!” said Nelly.

“My gough! what a couple of cuffers!” said Davy.

There was another pause, and then Davy began to laugh.  First came a low gurgle like that of suppressed bubbles in a fountain, then a sharp, crackling breaker of sound, and then a long, deep roar of liberated mirth that seemed to shake and heave the whole man, and to convulse the very air around him.

Davy’s laughter was contagious.  As the truth began to dawn on her Mrs. Quiggin first chuckled, then tittered, then laughed outright; and at last her voice rose behind her husband’s in clear trills of uncontrollable merriment.

Laughter was the good genie that drew their assundered hearts together.  It broke down the barrier that divided them; it melted the frozen places where love might not pass.  They could not resist it.  Their anger fled before it like evil creatures of the night.

At the first sound of Davy’s laughter something in Nelly’s bosom seemed to whisper “He loves me still;” and at the first note of Nelly’s, something clamored in Davy’s breast, “She’s mine, she’s mine!” They turned toward each other in the darkness with a yearning cry.

“Nelly!” cried Davy, and he opened his arms to her.

“Davy!” cried Nelly, and she leaped to his embrace.

And so ended in laughter and kisses their little foolish comedy of love.

As soon as Davy had recovered his breath he said, with what gravity he could command, “Seems to me, Nelly Vauch, begging your pardon, darling, that we’ve been a couple of fools.”

“Whoever could have believed it?” said Nelly.

“What does it mane at all, said Davy.

“It means,” said Nelly, “that our good friends knew each other, and that he told her, and she told him, and that to bring us together again they played a trick on our jealousy.”

“Then we were jealous?” said Davy.

“Why else are we here?” said Nelly.

“So you did come to see a man, after all?” said Davy.

“And you came to see a woman,” said Nelly.

They had began to laugh again, and to walk to and fro about the lawn, arm-inarm and waist-to-waist, vowing that they would never part ­no, never, never, never ­and that nothing on earth should separate them, when they heard a step on the grass behind.

“Who’s there?” said Davy.

And a voice from the darkness answered, “It’s Willie Quarrie, Capt’n.”

Davy caught his breath.  “Lord-a-massy me!” said he.  “I’d clane forgotten.”

“So had I,” said Nelly, with alarm.

“I was to have started back for Cajlao by the Belfast packet.”

“And I was to have gone home by carriage.”

“If you plaze, Capt’n,” said Willie Quarrie, coming up.  “I’ve been looking for you high and low ­the pacquet’s gone.”

Davy drew a long breath of relief.  “Good luck to her,” said he, with a shout.

“And, if you plaze,” said Willie, “Mr. Lovibond is gone with her.”

“Good luck to him,” said Davy.

“And Miss Crows has gone, too,” said Willie.

“Good luck to her as well,” said Davy; and Nelly whispered at his side, “There ­what did I tell you?”

“And if you plaze, Capt’n,” said Willie Quarrie, stammering nervously, “Mr. Lovibond, sir, he has borrowed our ­our tickets and ­and taken them away with him.”

“He’s welcome, boy, he’s welcome,” cried Davy, promptly.  “We’re going home instead.  Home!” he said again ­this time to Nelly, and in a tone of delight, as if the word rolled on his tongue like a lozenge ­“that sounds better, doesn’t it?  Middling tidy, isn’t it.  Not so dusty, eh?”

“We’ll never leave it again,” said Nelly.

“Never!” said Davy.  “Not for a Dempster’s palace.  Just a piece of a croft and a bit of a thatch cottage on the lea of ould Orrisdale, and we’ll lie ashore and take the sun like the goats.”

“That reminds me of something,” whispered Nelly.  “Listen!  I’ve had a letter from father.  It made me cry this morning, but it’s all right now ­Ballamooar is to let!”

“Ballamooar!” repeated Davy, but in another voice.  “Aw, no, woman, no!  And that reminds me of something.”

“What is it,” said Nelly.

“I should have been telling you first,” said Davy, with downcast head, and in a tone of humiliation.

“Then what?” whispered Nelly.

“There’s never no money at a dirty ould swiper that drinks and gambles everything.  I’m on the ebby tide, Nelly, and my boat is on the rocks like a taypot.  I’m broke, woman, I’m broke.”

Nelly laughed lightly.  “Do you say so?” she said with mock solemnity.

“It’s only an ould shirt I’m bringing you to patch, Nelly,” said Davy; “but here I am, what’s left of me, to take me or lave me, and not much choice either ways.”

“Then I take you, sir,” said Nelly.  “And as for the money,” she whispered in a meaning voice, “I’ll take Ballamooar myself and give you trust.”

With a cry of joy Davy caught her to his breast and held her there as in a vice.  “Then kiss me on it again and swear to it,” he cried, “Again!  Again!  Don’t be in a hurry woman!  Aw, kissing is mortal hasty work!  Take your time, girl!  Once more!  Shocking, is it?  It’s like the bags of the bees that we were stealing when we were boys!  Another!  Then half a one, and I’m done!”

Since they had spoken to Willie Quarrie they had given no further thought to him, when he stepped forward and said out of the darkness:  “If you plaze, capt’n, Mr. Lovibond was telling me to give you this lether and this other thing,” giving a letter and a book to Davy.

“Hould hard, though; what’s doing now?” said Davy, turning them over in his hand.

“Let us go into the house and look,” said Nelly.

But Davy had brought out his matchbox, and was striking a light.  “Hould up my billycock, boy,” said he; and in another moment Willie Quarrie was holding Davy’s hat on end to shield from the breeze the burning match which Nelly held inside of it.  Then Davy, bareheaded, proceeded to examine what Lovibond had sent him.

“A book tied up in a red tape, eh?” said Davy.  “Must be the one he was writing in constant, morning and evening, telling hisself and God A’mighty what he was doing and wasn’t doing, and where he was going to and when he was going to go.  Aw, yes, he always kep’ a diarrhea.”

“A diary, Davy,” said Nelly.

“Have it as you like, Vauch, and don’t burn your little fingers,” said Davy; and then he opened the letter, and with many interjections proceeded to read it.

“’Dear Captain.  How can I ask you to forgive me for the trick I have played upon you? ‘(Forgive, is it?)’ I have never had an appointment with the Manx lady; I have never had an intention of carrying her off from her husband; I have never seen her in church, and the story I have told you has been a lie from beginning to end.’”

Davy lifted his head and laughed.

“Another match, Willie,” he cried.  And while the boy was striking a fresh one Davy stamped out the burning end that Nelly dropped on to the grass, and said:  “A lie!  Well, it was an’ it wasn’t.  A sort of a scriptural parable, eh?”

“Go on, Davy,” said Nelly, impatiently, and Davy began again: 

“‘You know the object of that trick by this time’ (Wouldn’t trust), ’but you have been the victim of another’ (Holy sailor!), ’to which I must also confess.  In the gambling by which I won a large part of your money’ (True for you!) ’I was not playing for my own hand.  It was for one who wished to save you from yourself.’ (Lord a massy!) ’That person was your wife’ (Goodness me!), ‘and all my earnings belong to her.’ (Good thing, too!) ‘They are deposited at Dumbell’s in her name’ (Right!), ‘and –­’”

“There ­that will do,” said Nelly, nervously.

“’And I send you the bank-book, together with the dock bonds,... which you transferred for Mrs. Quiggin’s benefit... to the name... of her friend...’”

Davy’s lusty voice died off to a whisper.

“What is that?” said Nelly, eagerly.

“Nothin’,” said Davy, very thick about the throat; and he rammed the letter into his breeches’ pocket and grabbed at his hat.  As he did so, a paper slipped to the ground.  Nelly caught it up and held it on the breezy side of the flickering match.

It was a note from Jenny Crow:  “’You dear old goosy; your jealous little heart found out who the Manx sailor was, but your wise little poll never once suspected that Mr. Lovibond could be anything to anybody, although I must have told you twenty times in the old days of the sweetheart from whom I parted.  Good thing, too.  Glad you were so stupid, my dear, for by helping you to make up your quarrel we have contrived to patch up our own.  Good-by!  What lovely stories I told you!  And how you liked them!  We have borrowed your husband’s berths for the Pacific steamer, and are going to have an Irish marriage tomorrow morning at Belfast ­’”

“So they’re a Co. consarn already,” said Davy.

“‘Good-by!  Give your Manx sailor one kiss for me ­’”

“Do it!” cried Davy.  “Do it!  What you’ve got to do only once you ought to do it well.”

Then they became conscious that a smaller and dumpier figure was standing in the darkness by the side of Willie.  It was Peggy Quine.

“Are you longing, Peggy?” Willie was saying in a voice of melancholy sympathy.

And Peggy was answering in a doleful tone, “Aw, yes, though ­longing mortal.”

Becoming conscious that the eyes of her mistress were on her, Peggy stepped out and said, “If you plaze, ma’am, the carriage is waiting this half-hour.”

“Then send it away again,” said Davy.

“But the boxes is packed, sir ­”

“Send it away,” repeated Davy.

“No, no,” said Nelly; “we must go home to-night.”

“To-morrow morning,” shouted Davy, with a stamp of his foot and a laugh.

“But I have paid the bill,” said Nelly, “and everything is arranged, and we are all ready.”

“To-morrow morning,” thundered Davy, with another stamp of the foot and a peal of laughter.

And Davy had his way.