your father, and if I am poor you know best who made me so."
"We are poor, too, sir; we have nothing, and we do not forget
who is to blame for it," Thurstan growled.
"You gave everything away from us," grumbled Ross.; "and,
because your bargain is a rue bargain, you want us now to stand
aback of you."
And Stean and Jacob and John coming in at that moment,
Jacob said, very slyly, with something like a sneer:
"Ah, yes, and who took the side of a stranger against his own
children? What of your good Michael Sunlocks now, sir? Is he
longing for you? Or have you never had the scribe of a line from
him since he turned his back on you, four years ago ?"
Then Greeba's eyes flashed with anger. "For shame," she cried,
u 4 THE BONDMAN
"for shame ! Oh, you mean, pitiful men, to bait and badger him
Jacob threw up his head and laughed, and Mrs. Fairbrother
said: "Chut, girl, you're waxing apace with your big words con-
sidering you're a chit that has wasted her days in London and
hasn't learned to muck a byre yet."
Adam did not hear her. He sat like a man who is stunned by
a heavy blow. "Not for myself," he mumbled, "no, not for myself,
though they all think it." Then he turned to his sons and said:
"You think I came to beg for bed and board for myself, but you are
wrong. I came to demand it for the girl. I may have no claim
upon you, but she has, for she is one with you all and can ask for
her own. She has no home with her father now, for it seems that
he has none for himself ; but her home is here, and here I mean to
"Not so fast, sir," said John. "All she can ever claim is what
may one day be hers when we ourselves come into anything.
Meantime, like her brothers, she has nothing but what she works
"Works for, you wagtail !" cried Adam ; "she is a woman !
Do you hear? a woman?"
"Woman or man, where's the difference here?" said Gentleman
John, and he snapped his fingers.
"Where's the difference, you jackanapes? Do you ask me
where's the difference here? Here? In grace, in charity, in
unselfishness, in faith in the good; in fidelity to the true, in filial
love and duty ! There's the difference, you jackanapes."
"You are too old to quarrel with, sir; I will spare you," said
"Spare me, you whipper-snapper! You will spare me! But
oh, let me have patience ! If I have cursed the day I first saw my
wife let me not also curse the hour when she first bore me children
and my heart was glad. Asher, you are my first-born, and Heaven
knows what you were to me. You will not stand by and listen
to this. She is your sister, my son. Think of it your only
Asher twisted about, where he sat by the window nook, pre-
tending to doze, and said: "The girl is nothing to me. She is
nothing to any of us. She has been with you all the days of her
life except such as you made her to spend with strangers. She is
no sister of ours."
Then Adam turned to Ross. "And do you say the same?" he
THE BONDMAN 115
"What can she do here ?" said Ross. "Nothing. This is no place
for your great ladies. We work, here, every man and woman of
us, from daylight to dark, in the fields and the dairy. Best send
her back to her fine friends in London."
"Ay," said Jacob, glancing up with a brazen smile into Greeba's
face, "or marry her straight off that is the shortest way. I heard
a little bird tell of some one who might have her. Don't look as-
tonished, Miss, for I make no doubt you know who it is. He is
away on the mountains now, but he'll be home before long."
Greeba's eyes glistened, but not a muscle of her countenance
changed. Only she clutched at the back of her father's chair and
clung to it. And Adam, struggling hard to master the emotion that
made his whole body to sway and tremble in his seat, said slowly :
"If she is not your sister, at least she is your mother's daughter,
and a mother knows what that means." Then turning to Mrs.
Fairbrother, who still stood apart with her housewife's apron
to her eyes, he said: "Ruth, the child is your daughter, and by
that deed you speak of she is entitled to her share of all that
is here "
"Yes," said Mrs. Fairbrother, sharply, "but only when I am
done wfth it."
"Even so," said Adam, "would you see the child want before
that, or drive her into any marriage, no matter what ?"
"I will take her," said Mrs. Fairbrother deliberately, "on one
"What it is, Ruth ?" said Adam ; "name it, that I may grant it."
"That you shall give up all control of her, and that she shall
give up all thought of you."
"That you shall never again expect to see her or hear from her,
or hold commerce of any kind with her."
"But why? Why?"
"Because I may have certain plans for her future welfare that
you might try to spoil."
"Do they concern Michael Sunlocks?"
"No, indeed," said Mrs. Fairbrother, with a toss of the head.
"Then they concern young Jason, the Icelander," said Adam.
"If so, it is my concern," said Mrs. Fairbrother.
"And that is your condition?"
"And you ask me to part from her forever ? Think of it, she is
my only daughter. She has been the light of my eyes. You have
never loved her as I have loved her. You know it is the truth.
ii6 THE BONDMAN
And you ask me to see her no more, and never more to hear from
her. Now, God punish you for this, you cold-hearted woman !"
"Take care, sir. Fewer words, or mayhap I will recall my
offer. If you are wise you will be calm for the girl's sake."
"You are right," he said, with his head down. "It is not for me
to take the bread out of my child's mouth. She shall choose for
Then he twisted about to where Greeba stood in silence behind
his chair. "Greeba," he said, with a world of longing in his eyes,
"my darling, you see how it is. I am old and very poor, and, Heaven
pity my blind folly, I have no home to offer you, for I have none
to shelter my own head. Don't fear for me, for I have no fear for
myself. I will be looked to in the few days that remain to me,
and, come what may, the sorry race of my foolish life will soon be
over. But you have made no mistakes that merit my misfortunes.
So choose, my child, choose. It is poverty with me or plenty with
your mother. Choose, my child, choose ; and let it be quickly, let
it be quickly, for my old heart is bursting."
Then the brave girl drew herself proudly up, her brilliant eyes
aflame, and her whole figure erect and quivering.
"Choose?" she cried, in a piercing voice; "there is no choice.
I will go with my father, and follow him over the world, though
we have no covering but the skies above us."
And then Adam leaped from his chair to his feet, and the
infirmity of his years seemed gone in an instant, and his wet face
shone with the radiance of a great joy. "Do you hear that, you peo-
ple?" he cried. "There's grace, and charity, and unselfishness, and
love left in the world still. Thank Heaven, I have not yet to curse
the day her body brought forth children. Come, Greeba, we will go
our ways, and God's protection will go with us. 'I have been
young and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken,
nor his seed begging bread.' "
He strode across to the door, then stopped and looked back to
where his sons stood together with the looks of whipped dogs.
"And you, you unnatural sons," he cried, "I cast you out of my
mind. I give you up to your laziness and drunkenness and vain
pleasures. I am going to one who is not flesh of my flesh, and
yet he is my son indeed."
Again he made for the door, and stopped on the threshold, and
faced about toward his wife. "As for you, woman, your time will
come. Remember that! Remember that!"
Greeba laid one hand softly on his shoulder and said: "Come,
father, come," but again he looked back at his sons and said : "Fare-
THE BONDMAN 117
well, all of you ! Farewell ! You will see me no more. May a day
like this that has come to your father never, never come to you."
And then all his brave bearing, his grand strength, broke down
in a moment, and as the girl laid hold of his arm, lest he should reel
and fall, he stumbled out at the threshold, sobbing beneath his
breath : "Sunlocks, my boy ; Sunlocks, I am coming to you I am
coming to you."
Chaise A'Killey followed them out, muttering in an under-
breath some deep imprecations that no one heeded. "Strange,"
said he, "the near I was to crucifying the Lord afresh and swearing
a mortal swear, only I remembered my catechism and the good
At the gate to the road they met Jason, who was coming down
from Barrule with birds at his belt. With bewildered looks Jason
stood and looked at them as they came up, a sorry spectacle, in the
brightness of the midday sun. Old Adam himself strode heavily
along, with his face turned down and his white hair falling over
his cheeks. By his side Greeba walked, bearing herself as proudly
as she might, with her head thrown back and her wet eyes trying
hard to smile. A pace or two behind came Chaise, with his pony
and cart, grunting hoarsely in his husky throat. Not a word of
greeting did they give to Jason, and he asked for no explanation,
for he saw it all after a moment: they being now homeless had
drifted back to their old home and had just been turned away from
it. And not a word of pity did he on his part dare to offer them,
but in the true sympathy of silence he stepped up to Adam and
gave him his strong arm to lean upon, and then turned himself
about to go their way.
They took the road to Ramsey, and little was said by any of
them throughout the long two miles of the journey, save only-fey
Chaise, who never ceased to mutter dark sayings to himself, whereof
the chief were praises to God for delivering them without loss of
life or limb or hand or even out of a den of lions, for, thanks be
to the Lord ! He had drawn their teeth.
Now though the world is hard enough on a good man in the
hour of his trouble, there are ever more tender hearts to com-
passionate his distresses than bitter ones to triumph over his ad-
versity, and when Adam Fairbrother came to Ramsey many a door
was thrown open to him by such as were mindful of his former
state and found nothing in his fall to merit their resentment. No
hospitality would he accept, however, but took up his abode with
Greeba in a little lodging in the market-place, with its face to the
cross and its back toward the sea. And being safely housed there,
ng THE BONDMAN
he thanked Jason at the door for the help of his strong arm, and
bade him come again at ten o'clock that night, if so be that he was
in the way of doing a last service for a poor soul who might never
again have it in his power to repay. "I'll come back at ten," said
Jason, simply, and so he left them for the present.
And when he was gone Adam said to Greeba as he turned in-
doors: "A fine lad that, and as simple as a child, but woe to the
man who deceives him. Ay, or to the woman either. But you'll
never do it, girl ? Eh? Never? Never?"
"Why, father, what can you mean? Are we not going away
together?" said Geeba.
"True, child, true," said Adam ; and so without further answer
to her question, twice repeated, he passed with her into the
But Adam had his meaning as well as his reason for hiding it.
Through the silent walk from Lague he had revolved their position
and come to a fixed resolution concerning it. In the heat of his
emotion it had lifted up his heart that Greeba had chosen poverty
with him before plenty with her mother and her brothers, but when
his passion had cooled he rebuked himself for permitting her to do
so. What right had he to drag her through the slough of his own
necessities! He was for going away, not knowing the fate that
was before him, but on what plea made to his conscience dare he
take her with him? He was old, his life was behind him, and,
save herself, he had no ties. What did it matter to him how his
struggle should end? But she was young, she was beautiful, she
might form new friendships; the world was before her, the world
might yet be at her feet, and life, so sweet and so sad, and yet so
good a thing withal, was ready and waiting for her.
Once he thought of Michael Sunlocks, and that the arms that
would be open to himself in that distant land would not be closed
to Greeba. And once he thought of Jason, and that to leave her
behind was to help the schemes that would bring them together. But
put it as he would, no farther could he get than this, that she must
stay, and he must go away alone.
Yet, knowing the strength of her purpose, he concealed his in-
tention, and his poor bewildered old head went about its work
of preparation very artfully. It was Friday, and still not far past
noon, when they reached their lodging by the cross. After a hasty
meal he set out into the town, leaving Greeba to rest, for she had
walked far since early morning. At the quay he inquired the date
of a vessel that called there sometimes in summer on its passage
from Ireland to Iceland, and to his surprise he found that she was
THE BONDMAN 119
even then in the harbor, and would go out with the first tide of
the next day, which would flow at one o'clock in the morning.
Thereupon he engaged his berth, and paid for his passage. It
cost six pounds, besides a daily charge of four shillings for rations.
The trip was calculated to last one month with fair wind and
weather, such as then promised. Adam counted the cost, and saw
that with all present debts discharged, and future ones considered,
he might have somewhat between six and seven pounds in his
pocket when he set foot in Reykjavik. Being satisfied with this
prospect, he went to the High Bailiff for his license to leave the
Greeba had heard nothing of this, and as soon as night fell in
she went up to bed at her father's entreaty. Her room was at the
back of the house and looked out over the sea, and there she saw
the young moon rise over the waters as she undressed and lay
down to sleep.
Prompt to his hour Jason came, and then Adam told him all.
"I am going away," he said, "far away, indeed into your own
country. I go to-night, though my daughter, who is asleep, knows
nothing of my intention. Will you do me a service?"
"Try me," said Jason.
And then Adam asked him to stay in Ramsey overnight, that
he might be there when Greeba came down in the morning, to break
the news to her that her father had gone, and to take her back with
him to Lague.
"They will not say no to her, seeing her father is not with her ;
and the time is coming when she will hold her right to a share
of all they have, and none of them dare withhold it."
Jason, who had been up to T.agnp, ^^^ezxdofatt that had
passed there, and played his own part, too, thougn^ie-T*r~.
of that He was now visimy Agitated. His calm strength
him His eyes were afire, his face twitched, his hands trembled,
and he was plainly struggling to say what his quivering lips refusec
"Is there no other way?" he asked. "Must she go back to
Lague? Is there no help for it?"
"None," said Adam ; "for she is penniless, God forgive me, and
beggars may not be choosers."
At that word Jason was unable to support any longer the wild
laboring of his heart.
"Yes, yes, but there is a way," he cried, "for there is one to
whom she is rich enough though he is poor himself, for he would
give his life's blood if so be that he could buy her. Many a day
120 THE BONDMAN
he has seen all and stood aside and been silent, because afraid to
speak, but he must speak now, or never."
Hearing this, Adam's face looked troubled, and he answered:
"I will not misdoubt you, my good lad, or question whom you
And Jason's tongue being loosed at last, the hot words came
from him like a flood:
"I have been an idle fellow, sir, I know that; good for nothing
in the world, any more than the beasts of the field, and maybe it's
because I've had nobody but myself to work for; but give me the
right to stand beside her and you shall see what I can do, for no
brother shall return her cold looks for her sweetness, and never
again shall she go back where she will only be despised."
"You are a brave lad, Jason," said Adam, as best he could for
the tears that choked him; "and though I have long had other
thoughts concerning her, yet could I trust. her to your love and
keeping and go my ways with content. But no, no, my lad, it is not
for me to choose for her; and neither is it for her to choose now."
Pacified by that answer, Jason gave his promise freely, faithfully
to do what Adam had asked of him. And the night being now
well worn toward midnight, with the first bell of the vessel rung,
and old Chaise fussing about in busy preparation, the time had
come for Adam to part from Greeba. To bid her farewell was impos-
sible, and to go away without doing so was well-nigh as hard. All
he could do was to look upon her in her sleep and whisper his fare-
well in his heart. So he entered on tiptoe the room where she lay.
Softly the moon shone through the window from across the white
sea, and fell upon the bed. Pausing at the door, he listened for her
breathing, and , at la<=- ^ h^at-H it, for the night was very still, and
onl" !.' ' sa s & entle P Ias h on the beach was the silence broken.
* reading softly, he approached the bedside, and there she lay, and
the quiet moonlight lay over her the dear, dear girl, so brave and
happy-hearted. Her lips seemed to smile ; perhaps she was dream-
ing. He must take his last look now. Yet no, he must kiss her
first. He reached across and lightly touched her pure forehead
with his lips. Then she moved and moaned in her sleep, and then
her peaceful breathing came again. "Now, peace be with her,"
Adam murmured, "and the good hand to guard her of the good
Father of all."
So Adam Fairbrother went his way, leaving Greeba behind him,
and early the next morning Jason took her back to Lague.
THE BONDMAN 121
THE WOOING OF JASON
Now the one thing that Jason did not tell to Adam Fairbrother
was that, on hearing from Jacob, as spokesman of his brothers,
the story of their treatment of Greeba and their father, he had
promised to break every bone in their six worthless bodies, and
vowed never to darken their door again. His vow he could not
keep if he were also to keep his word with Adam, and he deferred
the fulfilment of his promise ; but from that day he left Lague as a
home, and pitched his tent with old Davy Kerruish in Maughold
village, at a little cottage by the Sundial that stood by the gates of
the church. Too old for the sea, and now too saintly for smuggling,
Davy pottered about the churchyard as gravedigger for Maug-
hold had then no sexton with a living of three and sixpence a
service, and a marvelously healthy parish. So the coming of Jason
to share bed and board with him was a wild whirl of the wheel of
fortune, and straightway he engaged an ancient body at ninepence
a week to cook and clean for them.
By this time Jason had spent nearly half his money, for he had
earned nothing, but now he promptly laid his idle habits aside. No
more did he go up to the mountains, and no longer out on to the
sea. His nets were thrown over the lath of the ceiling, his decoy
was put in a cage, his fowling-piece stood in the corner, and few
were the birds that hung at his belt. He was never seen at the
"Hibernian," and he rarely scented up the house with tobacco
smoke. On his first coming he lay two days and nights in bed with-
out food or sleep, until Davy thought surely he was sick, and, willy-
nilly, was for having his feet bathed in mustard and hot water, and
likewise his stomach in rum and hot gruel. But he was only set-
tling his plans for the future, and having hit on a scheme he leaped
out of bed like a greyhound, plunged his head up to the neck in a
bucket of cold water, came out of it with gleaming eyes, red cheeks,
and a vapor rising from his wet skin, and drying himself with a
whir on a coarse towel, he laid hold with both hands of a chunk
of the last hare he had snared, and munched it in vast mouthfuls.
"Davy," he cried, with the white teeth still going, "are there
many corn mills this side of the island?"
"Och, no, boy," said Davy; "but scarce as fresh herrings at
6 VoL II.
122 THE BONDMAN
"Any mill nearer than old Moore's at Sulby, and Carlow's
wife's down at Laxey?"
"Aw, no, boy, the like of them isn't in."
"Any call for them nearer, Davy?"
"Aw 'deed, yes, boy, yes; and the farmer men alwis keen for
one in Maughold, too. Ay, yes, keen, boy, keen; and if a man
was after building one here they'd be thinking diamonds of
"Then why hasn't somebody set up a mill before now, Davy?"
"Well, boy, ye see a Manxman is just the cleverest of all the
people goin' at takin' things aisy. Aw, clever at it, boy, clever!"
There is a full stream of water that tumbles into the sea over
the brows of Port-y-Vullin, after singing its way down from the
heights of Barrule. Jason had often marked it as he came and
went from the hut of Stephen Orry that contained his stuffed birds,
and told himself what a fine site it was for anybody that wanted to
build a water mill. He remembered it now with a freshened in-
terest, and bowling away to Mrs. Fairbrother at Lague for the pur-
chase of a rod of the land that lay between the road and the beach,
to the Bailiff for the right of water, and to old Coobragh for the
hire of a cart to fetch stones from the screes where the mountains
quarried them, he was soon in the thick of his enterprise.
He set the carpenter to work at his wheel, the smith at his axle,
and the mason at his stones, but for the walls and roof of the
mill itself he had no help but old Davy's. Early and late, from
dawn to dusk, he worked at his delving and walling, and when
night fell in he leaned over the hedge and smoked and measured
out with his eye the work he meant to do next day. When his
skill did not keep pace with his ardor he lay a day in bed thinking
hard, and then got up and worked yet harder. In less than two
months he had his first roof-timbers well and safely pitched, and if
he went no farther it was because the big hope wherewith his sim-
ple heart had been buoyed up came down with a woful crash.
"Aw, smart and quick, astonishin'," said old Davy of Jason to
Mrs. Fairbrother at Lague. "Aw 'deed, yes, and clever too, and
steady still. The way he works them walls is grand. I'll go bail
the farming men will be thinking diamonds of him when he makes
"And then I wouldn't doubt but he'll be in the way of making
a fortune, too," said Mrs. Fairbrother.
"I wouldn't trust, I wouldn't trust," said Davy.
"And he'll be thinking of marrying, I suppose. Isn't he, Davy ?"
said Mrs. Fairbrother.
THE BONDMAN 123
"Marrying, is it ?" said Davy ; "aw, divil a marry, ma'am. The
boy's innocent. Aw, yes, innocent as a baby."
Mrs. Fairbrother had her own good reasons for thinking other-
wise, though Jason came to Lague but rarely. So with hint and
innuendo she set herself to see how Greeba stood toward the future
she had planned for her. And Greeba was not slow to see her
mother's serious drift under many a playful speech. She had
spent cheerful hours at Lague since the sad surprise that brought
her back. Little loth for the life of the farm, notwithstanding
Ross's judgment, she had seemed to fall into its ways with content.
Her mother's hints touched her not at all, for she only laughed at
them with a little of her old gaiety; but one day within the first
weeks she met Jason, and then she felt troubled. He was very
serious, and spoke only of what he was doing, but before his grave
face her gay friendliness broke down in an instant.
Hurrying home, she sat down and wrote a letter to Michael
Sunlocks. Never a word had she heard from him since he left the
island four years ago, so she made excuse of her father's going
away to cover her unmaidenly act, and asked him to let her know
if her father had arrived, and how he was and where, with some
particulars of himself also, and whether he meant to come back
to the Isle of Man, or had quite made his home in Iceland; with
many a sly glance, too, at her own condition, such as her modesty
could not forbear, but never a syllable about Jason, for a double
danger held her silent on that head. This she despatched to him,
realizing at length that she loved him, and that she must hear
from him soon, or be lost to him forever.
And waiting for Michael's answer she avoided Jason. If she
saw him on the road she cut across the fields, and if she came to the
house she found something to take her out of the kitchen. He saw