paint how your knife bit deep into his carcase and how
he fell over the precipice, how one groan curdled the
moonlight as lemon curdles milk, and how the hour was
afterwards quite still.
She will believe, for she desires
above all things so to do. Afterwards — a week hence —
I would have you return to the Monte and learn the
truth for your own sake. Then, if indeed he is not
rotten, it is no matter. Tell him his wife lives, and
hath become greatly enriched by the death of Donna
Margot. That will bring him hot-footed back to Las
Palmas and his former dwelling, distant but half a mile
from this of mine. You stare. Leave me to manage
my own affairs. I know the world."
Marcella now appeared, and the men between them
speedily convinced her of her husband's death. An
hour later Diego and the woman went away and walked
slowly by the waterside. They talked earnestly and
rapidly ; then the boat-builder's arms went round the
tall girl beside him, and he hugged her very close and
" Free, free ! " said Marcella ; " free before Christ
and His Mother to wed with you. This comes to me
as a reward for long, black years of suffering and some
steps into the shadow of death. Yet am I not of great
age and will be a good wife these many days, albeit no
longer very fair to look upon."
Diego went home with his heart full, and Nicholas
reaped some benefit to the extent of a little bag of silver
coins. A week later he departed for the Monte.
During that time his friend was mighty busy, but did
not take the boy into his confide,nce, explaining that it
was better for various reasons he should not do so.
WHEN Nicholas by his question to Pepita, showed
some familiarity with Manuel's past career, that
gentleman turned an evil colour and assumed an ex-
pression which made his face appear even less attractive
" Hold up the light and look at the man you were
going to marry, Pepita."
" Was, and yet am," answered Pepita. She held up
the light and regarded Nicholas instead of her discom-
" Was, but never will. Manuel Gandalin here, the
musician and knife-fighter and stabber of women, has
yet a wife in the land of the living."
" It is a vile lie. My wife is dead."
** She lives. You left her for dead and crawled
here to blight other lives, as grubs blight the vines.
You left her for dead : so I left you for dead, after
striking you off the Ledge. And as I hoped you were
no more, yet feared it, so you hoped and feared the act
you fled from."
" Is this true, Manuel } " asked Pepita.
Then Nicholas answered for him.
" As true as that Donna Lucinda Margot, who died
not long since in the city, left to Marcella Gandalin,
this man's wife, good store of gold in reward for past
services. Manuel knows I am speaking the truth."
" Why, you have learned these things at Las
Palmas ? God has been gracious to me, and I am
THE CUP OF THE CALDERA 261
innocent of my wife's blood ! 'Tis no small weight off
the mind, I promise you. Did she speak of me ? "
" It is thought that you took your own life when
you fled. People cannot have known you very well to
" Truly no — the suicide is always a coward. What
money did you mention .'' I heard no sum named."
"Great store — immense store."
" I will go back again to her. Pepita, you under-
stand ; do you not } Little moon-flower, who are so
sensitive and so sympathetic — you cannot want me any
more — is it not so ? "
The amazing coolness of the man kept the others
" It is my duty," he said ; " bone of my bone — flesh
of my flesh. To think a few pints of white wine and red
should have come between us and made me draw my knife
upon one of God's fairest saints ! 'Twas thy face which
so resembled my Marcella's that made me love thee,
Pepita. She will need me sorely, for she was ever a
shiftless woman with money."
" Get back to her then, and show thyself here no
" I could play a glad hymn of praise," said Manuel,
picking up his bollo ; " but the time is not ripe. I will
instead take my leave."
He slung the musical instrument on to his back, and
advanced towards Pepita, who moved shuddering from
" Thou wilt not kiss me ? Well, as a man married
to one better, older, wiser than thou art, Pepita, I
care no more for thy budding lips. I am virtuous in
these matters, and my love for thee hath suffered sudden
262 THE FOLK AFIELD
death before this knowledge of Marcella. Yet there is
in my power to do an act for which you two, boy and
girl, might thank me."
" There is," said Nicholas : " that you depart and
see us no more. Never did such filthy weed as thou
art stick rankly up in the vine-lands."
" 'Tis a brave little cock quail ; and I owe it sundry
payments, which the future may see made in full. But
happy men fight not. Promise me to keep knife in
armpit, and, ere I depart, I will give thee a morsel of
good news, Nicholas Perez."
" I have no need to fight thee on my own quarrel,
and no right to do so on another's," said Nicholas, look-
ing at Pepita. " Come," he added, " tell me your news
and let us take ourselves from Pepita's company. God
send her third lover is to the maid's liking and an
" No, she must hear me too. All is fair in love, as
you know ; and I, believing my precious wife with the
saints in Paradise, looked upon Pepita and loved her. I
softened her heart with music, won her affection, and,
the moment being ripe, ousted my noisy little cock
quail, employing the strategy of towns. This much I
say in exchange for your news from Las Palmas. In
the past, I gave you a message from Pepita : she sent
none ; in the past, I delivered her a message from
Nicholas Perez : he was not responsible for it — nay ! no
knives between us now. Life is too good. Besides, I
understand your ways. I should not fall over the Ledge
twice. Farewell ; love one another, and suspect any
man who carries messages between you. The Lord
be with you both ! You will never forget me — that I
know, so need not ask for a place in memory. Re-
THE CUP OF THE CALDERA 263
member to break bread with me when you come again
to the city, Nicholas. I forgive the past and am content
to look forward."
He vanished into the darkness, and Pepita stood and
gazed at Nicholas.
" You have done this woman, Marcella, an evil turn.
It will break her heart to find Manuel still out of the
" Not so, Pepita ; she is in good hands and has won
a worthy man's love. There will be no gold for this
fleering devil. A few inches of steel is all that he
deserves, or is ever likely to win."
" I did very ill to believe him."
"So did I. The greater fault was mine. Can you
forgive me .-' "
" There is nothing to forgive on either side ; only a
wicked man to forget and much sorrow to bury."
The next moment Nicholas put his arms round her,
and as he did so his foot went through the bollo which
Manuel had presented to Pepita.
" It is well done," she said. " I swear I would
never have played the vile thing again."
With the morning Manuel, in high good humour —
for the loss of Pepita and the cave seemed a small matter
beside the vision of his wife's wealth — started to Las
Palmas, and going by the same road which Nicholas
had tramped six months or more previously, soon found
himself in the city again amidst familiar sights, sounds,
and faces. It was midday before he stood at the lofty
door of his old home and on tiptoe peeped into the
room where he had left his wife for dead a year before.
He came back to her with nothing but his bollo and his
264 THE FOLK AFIELD
sublime impudence. He doubted not that a little tact,
a little penitence, a little display of reformation, with
fewer visits to the wine-shop and more to the priest,
would win back her affection. So he knocked softly,
and stood with downcast eyes and dejected mien waiting
for Marcella to open the door and forgive him. But
she took no notice of his summons, and he knocked a
third and fourth time, each occasion being louder and
longer than the last. After twenty minutes of waiting
a stranger passed and told him that the house was
empty ; then, almost immediately afterwards, there
appeared a noisy and jovial party of holiday folks in
their best clothes. A babel of voices met his ears ; he
recognised more than half the people in the company,
which now surrounded him ; but their dismay and
astonishment at his appearance called for some explana-
tion. He silenced the cries and ejaculations sharply,
and asked a question.
" What are all you fools dressed like carnival for to-
day, and Where's my wife ? Don't gape ; shut your
jaws and answer me."
" We are now come from her wedding, Manuel
Gandalin. Believing you dead, and getting proof positive
of the fact from an upland man, she hath wedded
Lorenzo Diego, the boat-builder ! "
" A wedding to-day ! Faithless jade ! to leap to
my death at the first idle rumour ! Luckily I am in
" 'Twas a right wedding, gossip, at no less a place
than the cathedral, before the brave altar where Mary
and the Child stand life-size in blue and white attire.
And Diego gave the priest a gold piece, for my wife
saw it pass."
THE CUP OF THE CALDERA 265
" They must be undeceived as quickly as may be.
Would I had been in time to stop this stupid mockery."
" Tis well to wish that ; but who shall undeceive
them now ? Man and woman alike believe themselves
rightly and sufficiently wedded each to the other."
" Mine be the pleasant task of opening their eyes,
then. Where are they ? Counting on a happy honey-
moon doubtless .'' "
" And like to get it, Manuel Gandalin. Thou hast
come back a little too late, my friend." The speaker
pointed to a veil of black tangled smoke stretching
ten miles along the distant horizon of the sea.
"They are under that," he said.
" No man can tell you. We wished them good joy
and saw their great ship off, but her destination embraces
many ports, and Diego did not choose to throw light
upon his future. One thing alone he assured us : he
hath left Gran Canaria for ever. You will see Marcella
A fortnight later Manuel returned to the vine-lands.
He had drunk himself into a frame of mind suited to
the purpose, and now, regarding Nicholas as his dearest
foe, returned to the Caldera with the intention of doing
all the wickedness in his power. But while the golden
island was so small that Nicholas by strange chance had
learned the truth concerning his rival, yet its size was
such that two separate roads led from the Monte to Las
Palmas ; and while Manuel hastened to his revenge by
way of the hills, Pepita and the man she had married that
morning proceeded with all their earthly possessions in
a cart to the city by another route — that which winds
266 THE FOLK AFIELD
through the flat lands of the " Telde," or banana country.
The cavern was deserted in favour of the greater pros-
perity and possibiHties of the town ; and when Manuel
trudged thither, he found no sign of man's habitation
remaining about it. The old people had returned to
Atalaya, and the young, by happy chance, had escaped
their enemy ; neither did they ever again set eyes upon
him. For a time the man took up his abode in the
cave he once coveted. With his bollo he never quarrelled,
and music stole round the edges of the Caldera for many
nights. Then Manuel vanished, as men will vanish
from the midst of communities ; and none cared at all.
^TO — can't say as much in the way of adventures
^ comes to a craft tradin' in old bones an' such
like sundries 'twixt Southampton an' Cardiff; but
rum things happen now an' again, even on a coaster.
For instance, the cabin-boy us got from Penzance.
The Copperhead was a topsail schooner, and Bassett
was master and Price Evans mate — a chap wi' a face
like a worn-out figure-head — a deep man, silent an'
much given to his awn thoughts, which weren't none
too pleasant most times by the countenance of un.
Chips, our carpenter, reckoned as Evans was a petticoat-
troubled man, an' certainly his lady, as corned down to
the docks now an' again to see un off from Cardiff, was
a bit too noisy for a peace-loving sailor-man. Red in
the gills likewise, wi' a voice similar to the Crack o'
Doom — which doubtless it were to Evans.
'Twas arter we'd put into Penzance three voyages
running as Tommy Bates comed aboard for cabin-boy.
Evans had got rid of Bill Davies, as was no sort of use
on a ship for certain, an' Tommy seemed all right an'
willing, though a greenhorn. Price Evans had catched
sight o' the lad loafin' on Penzance Quay, an' shipped
un right away. We was gwaine up along to Southamp-
• -;n that time, an' the lad — a good, spry youngster —
got his fust dose o' weather off Portland Bill, wheer it
blowed half a gale. He wasn't too happy, an' us never
268 THE FOLK AFIELD
seed un in the fo'c'sle, for Evans gived un a shake-
down aft. But us all liked un very well, an' reckoned
he'd make a tidy seaman some day ; an' Evans took
amazing kind to un also. Bein' a jealous cuss, he hated
to see the boy friends wi' anybody else, an' alius kep'
him away when he could ; but Tommy weern't by no
means so fond of the mate as the mate 'peared to be of
him, an' I fancy now an' again he took delight in getting
the wool fairly off of Evans.
Us had a Dago aboard — a mongrel bred chap from
Lord, he knaws wheer, but so gude a Dago as ever I
sailed with ; an' Evans hated un, an' Tommy liked un,
which got matey so sore an' crooked in his speech as a
bested tom-cat. An' Tommy took awful kind to Chips,
too, which didn't make Evans no happier, seein' him
an' Chips were old enemies. In fact, the damn boy
worked a spell on Evans, an' he'd pretend to be gruff as
an old owl wi' un, an' really he was so fond of the lad
as though he'd been his own cheeld. On cold days
he'd call Tommy in his cabin out the wet, an' give un
baccy, no doubt, an' many a swig out of his private
bottle ; so us comed to have theories 'pon it, an' Dago
judged as Tommy was the mate's son in sober earnest,
though seein' his gert grey eyes an' purty yellow hair,
'twas easy to see he took arter his mother. Well, us
mostly reckoned that Dago was right in his surmise ;
an' one day I axed Tom plump out if 'twas so, an' he
laughed an' his bright eyes shined, and he said, " Maybe
I am ; maybe I aint."
So of course us judged it must be so, an' reckoned
the cat fair out the bag. But we was wrong all the
same, an' the truth comed out later — a purty darned
curious thing too.
THE CABIN BOY 269
Time passed, an' we was off the Isle o' Wight at
last, after a long, tedious voyage. Me an' Chips, it
being our watch below, were just smoking an' waiting
for dinner, when somebody sings out " Man Awver-
board ! " Us tumbles on deck to find 'tweern't no man
at all, but the blessed boy ; an' afore the Copperhead
comed up, an' us dropped a boat on the lee-side, Evans
was in the water ! He could swim like a porpoise, an'
got to the lad 'fore he'd been in the sea half a minute ;
an' we was purty slippy too, I assure 'e. Me an' Dago
an' Chips took the boat, an' fetched alongside the pair
of 'em, though a nasty sea for such a job. Tommy
was starin' up out o' the water cruel, an' Evans had
grabbed un an' ditched hold his neck like a vice. Then
me an' Chips got 'em both in the boat, while Dago kep'
her head up against the seas, an' arter a kicklish job of
it, we fetched the lee of the ship again, an' glad to get
They rigged a line an' took Tom an' Evans up one
arter t'other; an' Evans marched the boy straight in his
cabin to change his togs ; an' the lad went like a lamb,
cryin' an' gasping an' spitting the ocean out of his
" Touch an' go," I sez to Dago ; then, as they got
us an' the boat inboard, the furrin' chap told me a thing
as surprised me considerable.
" Tommy went in the sea a purpose," he said.
" No mistake — I see him give a big jump when he
think nobody lookin' ! "
Well, I could awnly tell Dago he was a liar, not
knawin' none o' the facts ; for who ever heard tell of a
young youth, with all the world afore him, a-tryin' to
drown hisself for fun t
270 THE FOLK AFIELD
Anyway, presently Tommy an' Evans corned along
to the cuddy in dry togs — the boy wi' a red shirt of the
mate's, an' socks an' trousers a mile too big for un — an'
Evans in his shore-gwaine clothes,
Tom was so white as curds, an' shakin' still wi'
terror, an' shed tears, but more frightened than hurt
'peared to us ; an' Evans was grim an' silent as a stone
— same as usual, though not any the worse for wear by
the look of un.
" Eat an' drink. Tommy," I sez. " What the blazes
was you about to go fallin' in the sea like that, you silly
little sweep ? Never heard tell of sich a thing afore,"
He just sniffed an' snuffled an' didn't say nothing.
Then Chips pours out two fingers o' rum an' puts hot
water to it, an' makes the boy drink. I mind the way
of it as if 'twas esserday. Theer sat Evans forrard, wi'
his arms crossed, grim as a effigy of Guy Fawkes, wi'
his eye on Tommy, an' Chips was mothering the poor
skeered boy, an' me an' Dago sat t'other side the table,
which was laid for dinner. Leastways, the forks was
stuck in the wood, which is how us makes ready to feed
in the fo'c'sle when it blows.
" Drink ! " says Evans to the boy, short an' stern ;
an' Tommy turned round upon 'im like a tiger ! Cook
corned in from the galley same minute.
" Doan't you speak to me no more, you wicked
devil ! " says Tommy, his eyes flashin' an' shinin' wi'
Which was a bit rough, seein' as Evans had gone in
the sea after him.
" Remember your promise," says the mate, his skin
so grey as the winter sea.
THE CABIN-BOY 271
" I doan't care for that. You've took false oaths,
so I will. Look at un ! " he goes on, pointin' at Evans.
" I thought I was the true, lawful wife of un — married
afore the registrar to Penzance ; an' to-day Dago here
tells me he've got a wife to Cardiff — an' me a defence-
less gal ! Why didn't 'e let me be drownded .-' Why
didn't 'e let me be drownded ? "
My stars ! Us blinked, I can tell 'e. You see,
Price Evans, not fancyin' his fust home, reckoned to
start another at Southampton wi' a li'l woman he'd
found in Penzance as suited him very nice ; but the
show was bust up along of his Welsh meanness. He
thought to take the gal round by sea for nothin' an'
save money, which ended in her hearin' a thing he'd
kep' from her careful. An' that's all the yarn.
She chucked Evans, of course, an' a month later,
blame me if she did'nt marry Chips, as was a widow-
man, an' mighty took wi' her. An' a gude wife to un
too, by all accounts.
"PIERROTIN" FROM PARIS
SEPARATING the fertile valleys of Hyeres and
Gapeau in the Var, there lies a chain of low
but rugged hills, the Maurettes, or little Maures. Le
Fenouillet is their principal peak, and it rises above
forests of cork-trees that clothe these elevations. With
this crag the chain breaks sharply, and at the feet ot
Fenouillet there spreads a land of many homesteads, of
fruit and flowers. During summer, miles of the vine
hide the red earth here, and the vintage is the first
thought in men's minds.
Three people climbed up through the cork-trees to
Fenouillet's crown, and their feet crushed the leaves of
rue and lavender, or brushed the scent from golden
coronillas that brightened the way. About them the
naked trunks of the trees, last robbed of bark, stood
wine-red and made rich colour through the grey and
green masses of stones and foliage. Dense shadows
dwelt in the underwoods, and April's blazing sunlight
beat upon the pedestrians as they emerged from the
forests and began to climb a steep pathway to the
" We will wait here a little," said the leader of the
party. " Aunt Ursule is getting too hot. She must
rest and grow cool."
274 THE FOLK AFIELD
Old Mademoiselle Chaperon nodded and panted,
but did not speak. She opened a white umbrella and
sat down under a cistus that had just opened its first
pale purple eyes upon the spring. She was very stout,
and now her massive bosom rose and fell, like the sea
waves on the shore. The man who spoke wore holiday
garb. His clothes were black and he had a black soft
hat on his head. He was a tall youth of six-and-twenty,
with huge shoulders, very large hands and feet, and a
handsome but wooden face tanned to darkest brown.
Denis Moreau's mother was a small freeholder of vine-
lands in the valley beneath. He dwelt there with her,
looked after her property, and was her sole support. It
is true that she had another son, but he lived in Paris,
and, albeit her favourite, she seldom heard from him,
and had not seen him for five years, Madame Moreau
was a bedridden invalid, and her afflictions had soured
" Natalie," said Denis, in his stolid, slow style, " if
you look straight down past that lentisque into the
plain, you will see our house and land."
The third of the party, a laughing, fair girl, with
wealth of uncovered pale hair, shaded her eyes and
followed the direction of his hand,
" How tiny it looks from up here — like a red pocket-
handkerchief spread out, with green spots on it."
" It is pretty large, nevertheless. The vines are
budding. They promise very well. You can almost
see them grow."
They looked down into a sun-soaked vale where the
blue of the sky seemed caught and reflected by the
warm summer hazes of earth. In this transparent,
azure mist a rosy light of countless peach and almond
"PIERROTIN" FROM PARIS 275
trees hung like a low cloud above the land. Pearly
shades of cherry-blossom and silver-green foliage filled
this mighty valley. Long straight roads stretched across
it like silver threads. Round about, the hills rose,
fledged with pine, and to the west stony mountains
ascended plane upon plane with huge cliff faces, where-
in lurked hidden cannon that protected the port below.
Beneath, shimmering through the heat made visible,
gleamed Toulon harbour, and southerly, like burnished
copper, shone the sea.
" Now I can climb to the top," said Ursule Chaperon.
She was Natalie's aunt, and owned a little basket-making
establishment at Hyeres. The Chaperons and Moreaus
were already connected, and now it became only a ques-
tion of time when their relations should grow closer and
the orphan girl, Natalie Chaperon, take Denis in marriage.
To-day was Easter Monday, and the vine-grower
had planned a modest entertainment for niece and aunt.
He loved the girl in his slow, undemonstrative way, and
would have given his life for her. Once he had asked
her to marry him, and she had demanded a clear year
to think about it. Now she was nearly eighteen and
the year had passed.
At the top of Fenouillet, Denis set down a big
basket, and Natalie opened it and arranged the meal.
She cried out with amazement at the good things her
lover had brought, and Mademoiselle Chaperon, who
liked fine food, smiled and said :
" My faith, here is some pretty eating and drinking
for us ! "
Denis Moreau bored her as a rule, because he was
heavy and had no wit ; but to-day she felt kindly before
the contents of his basket.
276 THE FOLK AFIELD
The huge man made a light meal and did little more
than tear the flesh off a chicken's leg with his teeth and
toss one half-bottle of red wine down his throat ; but
Aunt Ursule and Natalie atoned for his poor appetite
and enjoyed the noble banquet that he had dragged up
the mountain for them. Pasties and cakes from Toulon,
fruit and walnuts and sweet sparkling wine, all played
their part. Then the old lady, full and happy, crossed
herself and returned thanks. After that she bade Denis
and Natalie depart in peace and leave her to sleep
awhile. The man opened his white umbrella and stuck
it behind her head ; he then took off his coat and made
a pillow for the small of her back. She was a rich old
woman and deserved these attentions.
" Now you will be comfortable. We shall come
back in an hour or so," he said.
" Do not hurry. It is a very fine day," she
Aunt Chaperon's great dark eyes soon disappeared
under their wrinkled lids. She folded her hands over
her stomach and patted it once or twice, as one pats an
obedient dog. Then her head rolled over on to one
side and she slept.
Elsewhere Denis and Natalie climbed to the cross at
the top of the mountain and sat down there with the
glory of the summer world unfolded beneath them.
Easterly, the white walls and scarlet roofs of Hyeres