noted Stephen's absence, and "Where's your man?" she said to
Liza, with tantalizing light in her eyes.
"Maybe where yours is, Bella," said Liza, with a toss of the
head ; "near enough, perhaps, but not visible to the naked eye."
The effects of going to church on Liza Killey were what they
often are of a woman of base nature. With a man to work for
her she became more idle than before, and with nothing to fear
from scandal more reckless and sluttish. 'Having hidden her
nakedness in the gown of marriage, she lost the last rag of
The effects on Stephen Orry were the deepening of his sloth,
his gloom and his helplessness. What purpose in life he ever had
was paralyzed. On his first coming to the island he had sailed
to the mackerel fishing in the boats of Kane Wade a shrewd
Manxman, who found the big, dumb Icelander a skilful fisherman.
Now he neglected his work, lost self-reliance, and lay about for
hours, neither thinking nor feeling, but with a look of sheer stu-
pidity. And so the two sat together in their ditch, sinking day by
day deeper and yet deeper into the mire of idleness, moroseness,
and mutual loathing. Nevertheless, they had their cheerful hours
The "king"' of Nary's toast soon came. A child was born a
bonny, sunny boy as ever yet drew breath; but Liza looked on
it as a check to her freedom, a drain on her energy, something
helpless and looking to her for succor. So the unnatural mother
neglected it, and Stephen, who was reminded by its coming that
Rachel had been about to give birth to a child, turned his heart
from it and ignored it.
Thus three spirit-breaking years dragged on, and Stephen Orry
grew wo-begone and stone-eyed. Of old he had been slothful
and spiritless indeed, but not a base man. Now his whole nature
was all but gone to the gutter. He had once been a truth-teller,
but living with a woman who assumed that he must be a liar, he
THE BONDMAN 33
had ended by becoming one. He had no company save her com-
pany, for his slow wit had found it hard to learn the English
tongue, and she alone could rightly follow him; he had no desires
save the petty ones of daily food and drink ; he had no purpose save
the degrading purpose of defeating the nightly wanderings of his
drunken wife. Thus without any human eye upon him in the dark
way he was going, Stephen Orry had grown coarse and base.
But the end was not yet, of all this man was to be and know.
One night, after spending the day on the sea with the lines for
cod, the year deepening to winter, the air muggy and cold, he went
away home, hungry, and wet, and cold, leaving his mates at the
door of the "Plow," where there was good company within and the
cheer of a busy fire ! Home ! On reaching Port-y-Vullin he found
the door open, the hearth cold, the floor in a puddle from the driv-
ing rain, not a bite or sup in the cupboard, and his wife lying
drunk across the bed, with the child in its grimy blueness creeping
and crying about her head.
It was the beginning of the end. Once again he fumbled the
haft of his seaman's knife, and then by a quick impulse he plucked
up the child in his arms.
"Now God be praised for your poor face," he said, and while he
dried the child's pitiful eyes, the hot drops started to his own.
He lit the fire, he cooked a cod he had brought home with him,
he ate himself and fed the little one. Then he sat before the
hearth with the child at his breast, as any mother might do, for at
length it had come to him to know that, if it was not to be lost
and worse than orphaned, he must henceforth be father and mother
both to it.
And when the little eyes, wet no longer, but laughing like
sunshine into the big seared face above them struggled in vain with
sleep, he wrapped the child in his ragged guernsey and put it to
lie like a bundle where the fire could warm it. Then all being done
he sat again, and leaning his elbows on his knees covered his
ears with his hands, so that they might shut out the sound of the
woman's heavy breathing.
It was on that night, for the first time since he fled from Ice-
land, that he saw the full depth of his offense. Offense? Crime it
was, and that of the blackest; and in the terror of his loneliness
he trembled at the thought that some day his horrible dumb secret
would become known, that something would happen to tell it that
he was married already when he married the woman who lay be-
At that he saw how low he had fallen from her who once had
34 THE BONDMAN
been so pure and true beside him, and had loved him and given up
father, and home, and fame for him ; to this trull, 'who now dragged
him through the slush, and trod on him and hated him. Then the
bitter thought came that what she had suffered for him who had
given him everything, he could never repay by one kind word or
look. Lost she was to him forever and ever, and parted from him
by a yet wider gulf than eight hundred miles of sea. Such was the
agony of his shame, and through it all the snore of the sleeping
woman went like iron through his head, so that at last he wrapped
his arms about it and sobbed out to the dead fire at his feet, "Rachel !
All at once he became conscious that the heavy breathing had
ceased, that the house was silent, that something had touched him
on the shoulder, and that a gaunt shadow stood beside him. It
was the woman, who at the sound of his voice had arisen from her
drunken sleep, and now gasped:
"Who is Rachel?"
At that word his blood ran cold, and shivering in his clothes,
he crouched lower at the hearth, neither answering her nor look-
Then with eyes of hate she cried again:
"Who is Rachel?"
But the only voice that answered her was the voice that rang
within him "I'm a lost man, God help me."
"Who is Rachel?" the woman cried once more, and the sound
of that name from her lips, hardening it, brutalizing it, befouling it,
was the most awful thing by which his soul had yet been shaken
out of its stupor.
"Who is she, I say? Answer me," she cried in a raging voice;
but he crouched there still, with his haggard face and misty eyes
Then she laid her hand on his shoulder and shook him, and
"Who is she, this light o' love this baggage?"
At that he stiffened himself up, shuddered from head to foot,
flung her from him and answered in a terrible voice:
"Woman, she is my wife."
That word, like a thunderbolt, left a heavy silence behind it.
Liza stood looking in terror at Stephen's face, unable to utter
But next day she went to Parson Cell and told him all. She
got small comfort. Parson Cell had himself had two wives; the
first had deserted him, and after an interval of six years, in which
THE BONDMAN 35
he had not heard from her, he had married the second. So to
Liza he said:
"He may have sinned against the law, but what proof have
you ? None."
Then she went to the Deemster at Ramsey. It was Deemster
Lace a bachelor much given to secret gallantries.
She got as little cheer from this source, but yet she came
away with one drop of solace fermenting in the bitterness of
"Tut, woman, it's more common than you think for. And
where's the harm ? Och ! it's happened to some of the best that's
going. Now, if he'd beaten you, or struck you" and the good man
raised both hands and shook his head.
Then the thought leaped to her mind that she herself could
punish Stephen a hundredfold worse than any law of bishop or
deemster. If she could she would not now put him away. He
should live on with her, husband or no husband, and she with him,
wife or no wife.
On her way home she called at the house of Kane Wade, sat
down with old Bridget; shed some crocodile tears, vowed she
daren't have tould it on no account to no other morthal sowl, but
would the heart of woman belave it? her man had a wife in his
own counthry !
Bridget, who had herself had four husbands, lifted her hands
in horror, and next day when Stephen Orry went down to the
boats Kane Wade, who had newly turned Methodist, was there
already, and told him whittling a stick as he spoke that the fish-
ing was wonderful lean living gettin', and if he didn't shorten
hands it would be goin' begging on the houses they'd all be, sarten
Stephen took the hint in silence, and went off home. Liza saw
him coming, watched him from the door, and studied his hard
set face with a grim smile on her own.
Next day Stephen went off to Matt Mylechreest, the net-maker,
but Matt shook his head, saying the Manxmen had struck against
foreign men all over the island, and would not work with them.
The day after that Stephen tried Nary Crowe, the innkeeper, but
Nary said of course it wasn't himself that was partic'lar, only his
customers were gettin' extraordinary nice about a man's moral
As a last hope Stephen went up to Cleave Kinley, who had land,
and asked for a croft of five acres that ran down to the beach of
36 THE BONDMAN
"Nothing easier," said Kinley, "but I must have six pounds for
it, beginning half-quarter day."
The rent was high, but Stephen agreed to it, and promised to go
again the following day to seal his bargain. Stephen was prompt
to his engagement, but Kinley had gone on the mountains after
some sheep. Stephen waited, and four hours later Kinley returned,
looking abashed but dogged and saying he must have good security
or a year's rent down.
Stephen went back home with his head deep in his breast.
Again the woman saw him coming, again she studied his face,
and again she laughed in her heart.
"He will lift his hand to me," she thought, "and then we
But he seemed to read her purpose, and determined to defeat it.
She might starve him, herself, and their child, but the revenge she
had set her mind upon she should not have.
Yet to live with her and to contain himself at every brutal act
or bestial word was more than he could trust himself to do, and he
determined to fly away. Let it be anywhere anywhere, if only
out of the torture of her presence. One place was like another in
Man, for go where he would to any corner of the island, there she
would surely follow him.
Old Thurston Coobragh, of Ballacreggan, gave him work at
draining a flooded meadow. It was slavery that no other Chris-
tian man would do, but for a month Stephen Orry worked up to
his waist in water, and lived on barley, bread, and porridge. At
the end of his job he had six and thirty shillings saved, and with
this money in his pocket, and the child in his arms, he hurried down
to the harbor at Ramsey, where an Irish packet lay ready to sail.
Could he have passage to Ireland? Certainly he could, but
where was his license?
Stephen Orry had never heard until then that before a man
could leave the Isle of Man he must hold a license permitting him
to do so.
"Go to the High Bailiff," said the captain of the packet; and
to the High Bailiff Stephen Orry went.
"I come for a license to go away into Ireland," he said. "Very
good. But where is your wife ?" said the High Bailiff. "Are you
leaving her behind you to be a burden on the parish?"
At that Stephen's heart sank, for he saw that his toil had been
wasted, and that his savings were worthless. Doomed he was for
all his weary days to live with the woman who hated him. He
was bound to her, he was leashed to her, and he must go begrimed
THE BONDMAN 37
and bedraggled to the dregs of life with her. So he went back
home, and hid his money in a hole in the thatch of the roof, that
the touch of it might vex his memory no more.
And then it flashed upon him that what he was now suffering
from this woman was after all no more than the complement and
counterpart of what Rachel had suffered from him in the years
behind them. It was just yes, it was just and because he was
a man and Rachel a woman, it was less than he deserved. So
thinking, he sat himself down in his misery with resignation if
not content, vowing never to lift his hand to the woman, however
tormented, and never to leave her, however tempted. And when
one night after a storm an open boat came ashore, he took it and
used it to fish with, and thus he lived, and thus he wore away
his wretched days.
And yet he could never have borne his punishment but for the
sweet solace of the child. It was the flower in his dungeon ; the
bird at its bars. Since that bad night, when his secret had burst
from him, he had nursed it and cherished it, and done for it its
many tender offices. Every day he had softened its oatcake in his
broth; and lifted the barley out of his own bowl into the child's
basin. In summer he had stripped off shoes and stockings to bathe
the little one in the bay, and in winter he had wrapped the child
in his jacket and gone bare-armed. It was now four years old
and went everywhere with Stephen, astride on his broad back or
perched on his high shoulders. He had christened it Michael, but
because its long wavy hair grew to be of the color of the sun he
called it, after the manner of his people, Sunlocks. And like the
sun it was, in that hut in Port-y-Vullin, for when it awoke there
was a glint of rosy light, and when it slept all was gloom.
He taught it to speak his native Icelandic tongue, and the
woman, who found everything evil that Stephen did, found this a
barrier between her and the child. It was only in his ignorance
that he did it. But oh, strange destiny! that out of the father's
ignorance was to shape the child's wisdom in the days that were
And little Sunlocks was eyes and ears to Stephen, and hope to
his crushed spirit and intelligence to his slow mind. At sight of the
child the vacant look would die away from Stephen's face; at
play with him Stephen's great hulking legs would run hither and
thither in ready willingness; and at hearing his strange questions,
his wondrous answers, his pretty clever sayings, Stephen's dense
wit would seem to stand agape.
Oh, little Sunlocks little Sunlocks floating like the day-dawn
3 8 THE BONDMAN
into this lone man's prison house, how soon was your glad light to
be overcast ! For all at once it smote Stephen like a blow on the
brain that though it was right that he should live with the woman,
yet it was an awful thing that the child should continue to do so.
Growing up in such an atmosphere, with such an example always
present to his eyes, what would the child become? Soured, sad-
dened, perhaps cunning, perhaps malicious; at least adapting him-
self, as his father had done before him, to the air he had to breathe.
And thinking that little Sunlocks, now so sweet, so sunny, so art-
less, so innocent, must come to this, all the gall of Stephen Orry's
fate rose to his throat again.
What could he do? Take little Sunlocks away? That was
impossible, for he could not take himself away. Why had the child
been born ? Why had it not died ? Would not the good God take
it back to Himself even now, ir. all the sweetness of his childhood?
No, no, no, not that either ; and yet yes, yes, yes !
Stephen's poor slow brain struggled long with this thought, and
at length a strange and solemn idea took hold of it : little Sunlocks
must die, and he must kill him.
Stephen Orry did not wriggle with his conscience, or if he
cozened it at all he made himself believe that it would not be sin
but sacrifice to part with the thing he held dearest in all the world.
Little Sunlocks was his life, but little Sunlocks must die ! Better,
better, better so!
And having thus determined, he went cautiously, and even
cunningly, to work. When the little one had disappeared, he him-
self would never be suspected, for all the island would say he
loved it too tenderly to do it a wrong, and he would tell everybody
that he had taken it to some old body in the south who had wished
to adopt a child. So, with Sunlocks laughing and crowing astride
his shoulder, he called at Kane Wade's house on Ballure one day,
and told Bridget how he should miss the little chap, for Sunlocks
was going down to the Calf very soon, and would not come home
again for a long time, perhaps not many a year, perhaps not until
he was a big slip of a lad, and, maybe who can tell? he would
never come back at all.
Thus he laid his plans, but even when they were complete he
could not bring himself to carry them through, until one day, going
up from the beach to sell a basket of crabs and eels, he found Liza
drinking at the "Hibernian."
How she came by the money was at first his surprise, for
Nary Crowe had long abandoned her ; and having bitter knowledge
of the way she had once spent his earnings, he himself gave her
THE BONDMAN 39
nothing now. But suddenly a dark thought came, and he hurried
home, thrust his hand into the thatch where he had hidden his
savings, and found the place empty.
That was the day to do it, he thought ; and he took little Sunlocks
and washed his chubby face and combed his yellow hair, curling it
over his own great undeft fingers, and put his best clothes on him
the white cotton pinafore and the red worsted cap, and the blue
stockings freshly darned.
This he did that he might comfort the child for the last time,
and also that he might remember him at his best.
And little Sunlocks, in high glee at such busy preparations,
laughed much and chattered long, asking many questions.
"Where are we going, father? Out? Eh? Where?"
"We'll see, little Sunlocks; we'll see."
"But where? Church? What day is this?"
"The last, little Sunlocks; the last."
"Oh, I know Sunday."
When all was ready, Stephen lifted the child to the old perch'
across his shoulders, and made for the shore. His boat was lying
aground there; he pushed it adrift, lifted the child into it, and
leaped after him. Then taking the oars, he pulled out for Maug-
Little Sunlocks had never been out in the boat before, and
everything was a wonder and delight to him.
"You said you would take me on the water some day. Didn't
"Yes, little Sunlocks, yes."
It was evening, and the sun was sinking behind the land, very
large and red in its setting.
"Do the sun fall down eve'y day, father?"
"It sets, little Sunlocks, it sets."
"What is sets?"
The waters lay asleep under the soft red glow, and over them
the sea-fowl were sailing.
"Why are the white birds sc'eaming?"
"Maybe they're calling their young, little Sunlocks."
It was late spring, and on the headland the sheep were bleating.
"Look at the baby one away, away up yonder. What's it doing
there by itself on the 'ock, and c'ying, and c'ying, and c'ying?"
"Maybe it's lost, little Sunlocks."
"Then why doesn't somebody go and tell its father ?"
4 o THE BONDMAN
And the innocent face was full of trouble.
The sun went down and the twilight deepened, the air grew
chill, the waters black, and Stephen was still pulling round the head.
"Father, where does the night go when we are asleep?"
"To the other world, little Sunlocks."
"Oh, I know heaven."
Stephen stripped off his guernsey and wrapped it about the
child. His eyes shone brightly, his mouth was parched, but he did
not flinch. All thoughts, save one thought, had faded from his
As he came by Port Mooar the moon rose, and about the same
time the light appeared on Point of Ayre. A little later he saw
the twikle of lesser lights to the south. They were the lights
of Laxey, where many happy children gladdened many happy fire-
sides. He looked around. There was not a sail in sight, and not
a sound came to his ears over the low murmur of the sea's gentle
swell. "Now is the time," he thought. He put in his oars and the
boat began to drift.
But no, he could not look into the child's eyes and do it. The
little one would sleep soon and then it would be easier done. So
he took him in his arms and wrapped him in a piece of sail-cloth.
"Shut your eyes and sleep, little Sunlocks."
"I'm not sleepy, I'm not."
Yet soon the little lids fell, opened again and fell once more,
and then suddenly the child started up.
"But I haven't said my p'ayers."
"Say them now, little Sunlocks."
"Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, Look upon a little child, Guard
me while in sleep I lie, Take me to Thy home on on "
"Would you like to go to heaven, little Sunlocks?"
"I want to keep with with my fath "
The little eyes were closed by this time, and the child was
asleep on Stephen's knees. Now was the time now now. But
no, it was harder now than ever.
The little face so silent, so peaceful how formidable it was!
The little soft hand in his own big hard palm how strong and
Stephen looked down at the child and his bowels yearned over
it. It cost him a struggle not to kiss it; but no, that would only
make the task harder.
Suddenly a new thought smote him. What had this child done
THE BONDMAN 41
that he should take its life? Who was he that he should rob it
of what he could never give it again ? By what right did he dare
to come between this living soul and heaven? When did the
Almighty God tell him what the after life of this babe was to be?
Stephen trembled at the thought. It was like a voice from the
skies calling on him to stop, and a hand reaching out of them to
snatch the child from his grasp.
What he had intended to do was not to be ! Heaven had set its
face against it ! Little Sunlocks was not to die ! Little Sunlocks
was to live! Thank God! Oh! Thank God!
But late that night a group of people standing at their doors
on the beach at Port Lague saw a tall man in his shirt-sleeves go
by in the darkness, with a sleeping child in his arms. The man
was Stephen Orry, and he was sobbing like a woman whose heart
is broken. The child was little Sunlocks, and he was being carried
back to his mother's home.
The people hailed Stephen and told him that a foreigner from a
ship in the bay had been asking for him that evening. They had
sent the man along to Port-y-Vullin.
Stephen hurried home with fear in his heart. In five minutes
he was there, and then his life's blood ran cold. He found the
house empty, except for his wife, and she lay outstretched on the
floor. She was cold she was dead; and in clay on the wall above
her head, these words were written in the Icelandic tongue: "So
is Patricksen avenged signed S. Patricksen."
Avenged ! Oh, powers of Heaven, that drive the petty passions
of men like dust before you !
THE LITTLE WORLD OF BOY AND GIRL
THREE days later the bad lottery of Liza Killey's life and death
was played out and done. On the morning of the fourth day, some
time before the dawn, though the mists were rolling in front of
it, Stephen Orry rose in his silent hut in Port-y-Vullin, lit a fire,
cooked a hasty meal, wakened, washed, dressed, and fed little
Sunlocks, then nailed up the door from the outside, lifted the
child to his shoulders, and turned his face toward the south. When
he passed through Laxey the sun stood high, and the dust of the
roads was being driven in their faces. It was long past noon when
42 THE BONDMAN
he came to Douglas, and at a little shop by the harbor-bridge he
bought a pennyworth of barley cake, gave half to Sunlocks, put
the other half into his pocket, and pushed on with longer strides.
The twilight was deepening when he reached Castletown, and there
he inquired for the house of the Governor. It was pointed out to
him, and through heavy iron gates, up a winding carriage-way lined
with elms and bordered with daffodils, he made toward the only
door he saw.
It was the main entrance to Government House, a low broad
porch, with a bench on either side and a cross-barred door of
knotted* oak. Stephen Orry paused before it, looked nervously
around, and then knocked with his knuckles. He had walked six
and twenty miles, carrying the child all the way. He was weary,
footsore, hungry, and covered with dust. The child on his shoulder
was begrimed and dirty, his little face smeared in streaks, his wavy
hair loaded and unkempt. A footman in red and buff, powdered,
starched, gartered, and dainty, opened the door. Stephen Orry
asked for the Governor. The footman looked out with surprise
at the bedraggled man with the child, and asked who he was.
Stephen told his name. The footman asked where he came from.
Stephen answered. The footman asked what he came for. Stephen
did not reply. Was it for a meal? Stephen shook his head. Or
money? Stephen said no. With another glance of surprise the
footman shut the door, saying the Governor was at dinner.
Stephen Orry lowered the little one from his shoulder, sat on
the bench in the porch, placed the child on his knee, and gave him