Hall Caine.

Capt'n Davy's honeymoon ; The last confession ; and, The blind mother online

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Produced by David Widger


By Hall Caine

Harper And Brothers - 1893


"My money, ma'am - my money, not me."

"So you say, sir."

"It's my money you've been marrying, ma'am."

"Maybe so, sir."

"Deny it, deny it!"

"Why should I? You say it is so, and so be it."

"Then d - - - the money. It took me more till ten years to make it, and
middling hard work at that; but you go bail it'll take me less nor ten
months to spend it. Ay, or ten weeks, and aisy doing, too! And 'till
it's gone, Mistress Quig-gin - d'ye hear me? - gone, every mortal penny of
it gone, pitched into the sea, scattered to smithereens, blown to ould
Harry, and dang him - I'll lave ye, ma'am, I'll lave ye; and, sink or
swim, I'll darken your doors no more."

The lady and gentleman who blazed at each other with these burning
words, which were pointed, and driven home by flashing eyes and
quivering lips, were newly-married husband and wife. They were staying
at the old Castle Mona, in Douglas, Isle of Man, and their honeymoon
had not yet finished its second quarter. The gentleman was Captain Davy
Quiggin, commonly called Capt'n Davy, a typical Manx sea-dog, thirty
years of age; stalwart, stout, shaggy, lusty-lunged, with the tongue of
a trooper, the heavy manners of a bear, the stubborn head of a stupid
donkey, and the big, soft heart of the baby of a girl. The lady was
Ellen Kinvig, known of old to all and sundry as Nelly, Ness, or
Nell, but now to everybody concerned as Mistress Capt'n Davy Quiggin,
six-and-twenty years of age, tall, comely, as blooming as the gorse;
once as free as the air, and as racy of the soil as new-cut peat, but
suddenly grown stately, smooth, refined, proud, and reserved. They loved
each other to the point of idolatry; and yet they parted ten days after
marriage with these words of wroth and madness. Something had come
between them. What was it? Another man? No. Another woman? Still no.
What then? A ghost, an intangible, almost an invisible but very real and
divorce-making co-respondent. They call it Education.

Davy Quiggin was born in a mud house on the shore, near the old
church at Ballaugh. The house had one room only, and it had been the
living-room, sleeping-room, birth-room, and death-room of a family of
six. Davy, who was the youngest, saw them all out. The last to go were
his mother and his grandfather. They lay ill at the same time, and died
on the one day. The old man died first, and Davy fixed up a herring-net
in front of him, where he lay on the settle by the fire, so that his
mother might not see him from her place on the bed.

Not long after that, Davy, who was fifteen years of age, went to live as
farm lad with Kinvig, of Ballavolley. Kinvig was a solemn person, very
stiff and starchy, and sententious in his way, a mighty man among the
Methodists, and a power in the pulpit. He thought he had done an act of
charity when he took Davy into his home, and Davy repaid him in due time
by falling in love with Nelly, his daughter.

When that happened Davy never quite knew. "That's the way of it," he
used to say. "A girl slips in, and there ye are." Nelly was in to a
certainty when one night Davy came home late from the club meeting on
the street, and rapped at the kitchen window. That was the signal of the
home circle that some member of it was waiting at the door. Now there
are ways and ways of rapping at a kitchen window. There is the pit-a-pat
of a light heart, and the thud-thud of a heavy one; and there is the
sharp crack-crack of haste, and the dithering que-we-we of fear. Davy
had a rap of his own, and Nelly knew it.

There was a sort of a trip and dance and a rum-tum-tum in Davy's rap
that always made Nelly's heart and feet leap up at the same instant. But
on this unlucky night it was Nelly's mother who heard it, and opened the
door. What happened then was like the dismal sneck of the outside gate
to Davy for ten years thereafter. The porch was dark, and so was the
little square lobby behind the door. On numerous other nights that had
been an advantage in Davy's eyes, but on this occasion he thought it a
snare of the evil one. Seeing something white in a petticoat he thew his
arms about it and kissed and hugged it madly. It struck him at the time
as strange that the arms he held did not clout him under the chin, and
that the lips he smothered did not catch breath enough to call him a
gawbie, and whisper that the old people inside were listening. The
truth dawned on him in a moment, and then he felt like a man with an eel
crawling down his back, and he wanted nothing else for supper.

It was summer time, and Davy, though a most accomplished sleeper, found
no difficulty in wakening himself with the dawn next morning. He was
cutting turf in the dubs of the Curragh just then, and he had four hours
of this pastime, with spells of sober meditation between, before he came
up to the house for breakfast. Then as he rolled in at the porch, and
stamped the water out of his long-legged boots, he saw at a glance that
a thunder-cloud was brewing there. Nelly was busy at the long table
before the window, laying the bowls of milk and the deep plates for the
porridge. Her print frock was as sweet as the May blossom, her cheeks
were nearly as red as the red rose, and like the rose her head hung
down. She did not look at him as he entered. Neither did Mrs. Kinvig,
who was bending over the pot swung from the hook above the fire, and
working the porridge-stick round and round with unwonted energy. But
Kinvig himself made up for both of them. The big man was shaving before
a looking-glass propped up on the table, and against the Pilgrim's
Progress and Clark's Commentaries. His left hand held the point of his
nose aside between the tip of his thumb and first finger, while the
other swept the razor through a hillock of lather and revealed a portion
of a mouth twisted three-quarters across his face. But the moment he saw
Davy he dropped the razor, and looked up with as much dignity as a man
could get out of a countenance half covered with soap.

"Come in, sir," said he, with a pretense of great deference. "Mawther,"
he said, twisting to Mrs. Kinvig, "just wipe down a chair for the

Davy slithered into his seat. "I'm in for it," he thought.

"They're telling me," said Kinvig, "that there is a fortune coming at
you. Aw, yes, though, and that you're taking notions on a farmer's girl.
Respectable man, too - one of the first that's going, with sixty acres
at him and more. Amazing thick, they're telling me. Kissing behind the
door, and the like of that! The capers! It was only yesterday you came
to me with nothing on your back but your father's ould trowis, cut down
at the knees."

Nelly slipped out. Her mother made a noise with the porridge-pot. Davy
was silent. Kinvig walloped his razor on the strop with terrific vigor,
then paused, pointed the handle in Davy's direction, tried to curl up
his lip into a withering sneer that was half lost in the lather, and
said with bitter irony, "My house is too mane for you, sir. You must
lave me. It isn't the Isle of Man itself that'll hould the likes of

Then Davy found his tongue. "You're right, sir," said he, leaping to
his feet, "It's too poor I am for your daughter, is it? Maybe I'll be a
piece richer someday, and then you'll be a taste civiler."

"Behold ye now," said Kinvig, "as bould as a goat! Cut your stick and

"I'm off, sir," said Davy; and, then, looking round and remembering that
he was being kicked out like a dog and would see Nelly no more, day
by day, the devil took hold of him and he began to laugh in Kinvig's
ridiculous face.

"Good-by, ould Sukee," he cried. "I lave you to your texes."

And, turning to where Mrs. Kinvig stood with her back to him, he cried
again, "Good-by, mawther, take care of his ould head - it's swelling so
much that his chapel hat is putting corns on it."

That night with his "chiss" of clothes on his shoulders, Davy came down
stairs and went out at the porch. There he slipped his burden to the
ground, for somebody was waiting to say farewell to him. It was the
right petticoat this time, and she was on the right side of the door.
The stars were shining overhead, but two that were better than any in
the sky were looking into Davy's face, and they were twinkling in tears.

It was only a moment the parting lasted, but a world of love was got
into it. Davy had to do penance for the insults he had heaped upon
Nelly's father, and in return he got pity for those that had been
shoveled upon himself.

"Good-by, Nell," he whispered; "there's thistles in everybody's crop.
But no matter! I'll come back, and then it's married we'll be. My
goodness, yes, and take Ballacry and have six bas'es, and ten pigs, and
a pony. But, Nelly, will ye wait for me?"

"D'ye doubt me, Davy?"

"No; but will ye though?"


"Then its all serene," said Davy, and with another hug and a kiss, and
a lock of brown hair which was cut ready and tied in blue ribbon, he was
gone with his chest into the darkness.

Davy sailed in an Irish schooner to the Pacific coast of South America.
There he cut his stick again, and got a berth on a coasting steamer
trading between Valparaiso and Callao. The climate was unhealthy,
the ports were foul, the government was uncertain, the dangers were
constant, and the hands above him dropped off rapidly. In two years Davy
was skipper, and in three years more he was sailing a steamer of his
own. Then the money began to tumble into his chest like crushed oats out
of a Crown's shaft.

The first hundred pounds he had saved he sent home to Dumbell's bank,
because he could not trust it out of the Isle of Man. But the hundreds
grew to thousands, and the thousands to tens of thousands, and to send
all his savings over the sea as he made them began to be slow work, like
supping porridge with a pitchfork. He put much of it away in paper rolls
at the bottom of his chest in the cabin, and every roll he put by stood
to him for something in the Isle of Man. "That's a new cowhouse at
Ballavolly." "That's Balladry." "That's ould Brew's mill at Sulby - he'll
be out by this time."

All his dreams were of coming home, and sometimes he wrote letters to
Nelly. The writing in them was uncertain, and the spelling was doubtful,
but the love was safe enough. And when he had poured out his heart
in small "i's" and capital "U's"? he always inquired how more material
things were faring. "How's the herrings this sayson; and did the men do
well with the mack'rel at Kinsale; and is the cowhouse new thatched, and
how's the chapel going? And is the ould man still playing hang with the

Kinvig heard of Davy's prosperity, and received the news at first in
silence, then with satisfaction, and at length with noisy pride. His boy
was a bould fellow. "None o' yer randy-tandy-tissimee-tea tied to the
old mawther's apron-strings about _him_. He's coming home rich, and
he'll buy half the island over, and make a donation of a harmonia to the
chapel, and kick ould Cowley and his fiddle out."

Awaiting that event, Kinvig sent Nelly to England, to be educated
according to the station she was about to fill. Nelly was four years in
Liverpool, but she had as many breaks for visits home. The first time
she came she minced her words affectedly, and Kinvig whispered the
mother that she was getting "a fine English tongue at her." The second
time she came she plagued everybody out of peace by correcting their
"plaze" to "please," and the "mate" to "meat," and the "lave" to
"leave." The third time she came she was silent, and looked ashamed: and
the fourth time it was to meet her sweetheart on his return home after
ten years' absence.

Davy came by the Sneafell from Liverpool. It was August - the height of
the visiting season - and the deck of the steamer was full of tourists.
Davy walked through the cobweb of feet and outstretched legs with the
face of a man who thought he ought to speak to everybody. Fifty times in
the first three hours he went forward to peer through the wind and
the glaring sunshine for the first glimpse of the Isle of Man. When at
length he saw it, like a gray bird lying on the waters far away, with
the sun's light tipping the hill-tops like a feathery crest, he felt so
thick about the throat that he took six steerage passengers to the bar
below to help him to get rid of his hoarseness. There was a brass band
aboard, and during the trip they played all the outlandish airs of
Germany, but just as the pacquet steamed into Douglas Bay, and Davy
was watching the land and remembering everything upon it, and shouting
"That's Castle Mona!" "There's Fort Ann!" "Yonder's ould St. Mathews's!"
they struck up "Home, Sweet Home." That was too much for Davy. He
dived into his breeches' pockets, gave every German of the troupe five
shillings apiece, and then sat down on a coil of rope and blubbered
aloud like a baby.

Kinvig had sent a grand landau from Ramsey to fetch Capt'n Davy to
Ballaugh; but before the English driver from the Mitre had identified
his fare Davy had recognized an old crony, with a high, springless,
country cart - Billiam Ballaneddan, who had come to Douglas to dispatch a
barrel of salted herrings to his married daughter at Liverpool, and was
going back immediately. So Davy tumbled his boxes and bags and other
belongings into the landau, piling them mountains high on the cushioned
seats, and clambered into the cart himself. Then they set off at a race
which should be home first - the cart or the carriage, the luggage or the
owner of it; the English driver on his box seat with his tall hat and
starchy cravat, or Billiam twidling his rope reins, and Davy on the
plank seat beside him, bobbing and bumping, and rattling over the
stones like a parched pea on a frying pan.

That was a tremendous drive for Davy. He shouted when he recognized
anything, and as he recognized everything he shouted throughout the
drive. They took the road by old Braddan Church and Union Mills, past
St. John's, under the Tynwald Hill, and down Creg Willie's Hill. As he
approached Kirk Michael his excitement was intense. He was nearing
home and he began to know the people. "Lord save us, there's Tommy
Bill-beg - how do, Tommy? And there's ould Betty! My gough, she's in
yet - how do, mawther? There's little Juan Caine growed up to a man!
How do, Johnny, and how's the girls and how's the ould man, and how's
yourself? Goodness me, here's Liza Corlett, and a baby at her - - ! I
knew her when she was no more than a babby herself." This last remark
to the English driver who was coming up sedately with his landau at the
tail of the springless cart.

"Drive on, Billiam! Come up, ould girl - just a taste of the whip,
Billiam! Do her no harm at all. Bishop's Court! Deary me, the ould house
is in the same place still."

At length the square tower of Ballaugh

Church was seen above the trees with the last rays of the setting sun
on its topmost story, and then Davy's eagerness swept down all his
patience. He jumped up in the cart at the peril of being flung out, took
off his billycock, whirled it round his head, bellowed "Hurrah! Hurrah!
Hurrah!" After that he would have leaped alongside to the ground and
run. "Hould hard!" he cried, "I'll bate the best mare that's going." But
Billiam pinned him down to the seat with one hand while he whipped up
the horse to a gallop with the other.

They arrived at Ballavolly an hour and a half before they were expected.
Mistress Kinvig was washing dishes in a tub on the kitchen table. Kinvig
himself was sitting lame with rheumatism in the "elber chair" by the
ingle. They wiped down a chair for Davy this time.

"And Nelly," said Davy. "Where's Nelly?"

"She's coming, Capt'n," said Kinvig. "Nelly!" he called up the kitchen
stairs, with a knowing wink at Davy, "Here's a gentleman asking after

Davy was dying of impatience. Would she be the same dear old Nell?

"Nell - Nelly," he shouted, "I've kep' my word."

"Aw, give her time, Capt'n," said Kinvig; "a new frock isn't rigged up
in no time, not to spake of a silk handkercher going pinning round your

But Davy, who had waited ten years, would not wait a minute longer, and
he was making for the stairs with the purpose of invading Nell's own
bedroom, when the lady herself came sweeping down on tiptoes. Davy saw
her coming in a cloud of silk, and at the next moment the slippery stuff
was crumbling, and whisking, and creaking under his hands, for his arms
were full of it.

"Aw, mawther," said he. "They're like honeysuckles - don't spake to me
for a week. Many's the time I've been lying in my bunk a-twigging the
rats squeaking and coorting overhead, and thinking to myself, Kisses is
skess with you now, Davy."

The wedding came off in a week. There were terrific rejoicings. The
party returned from church in the landau that brought up Davy's luggage.
At the bridge six strapping fellows, headed by the blacksmith, and
surrounded by a troop of women and children, stretched a rope across the
road, and would not let the horses pass until the bridegroom had paid
the toll. Davy had prepared him-self in advance with two pounds in
sixpenny bits, which made his trowsers pockets stand out like a couple
of cannon balls. He fired those balls, and they broke in the air like

At the wedding breakfast in the barn at Ballavolly Davy made a speech.
It was a sermon to young fellows on the subject of sweethearts. "Don't
you marry for land," said he. "It's muck," said he. "What d'ye say,
Billiam - you'd like more of it? I wouldn't trust; but it's spaking the
truth I am for all. Maybe you think about some dirty ould trouss: 'She's
a warm girl, she's got nice things at her - bas'es and pigs, and the like
of that.' But don't, if you'rr not a reg'lar blundering blockit." Then,
looking down at the top of Nelly's head, where she sat with her eyes in
her lap beside him, he softened down to sentiment, and said, "Marry for
love, boys; stick to the girl that's good, and then go where you will
she'll be the star above that you'll sail your barque by, and if you
stay at home (and there's no place like it) her parting kiss at midnight
will be helping you through your work all next day."

The parting kiss at midnight brought Davy's oration to a close, for a
tug at his coat-tails on Nelly's side fetched him suddenly to his seat.

Two hours afterward the landau was rolling away toward the Castle Mona
Hotel at Douglas, where, by Nell's arrangement, Capt'n Davy and his
bride were to spend their honeymoon.


Now it so befell that on the very day when Capt'n Davy and Mrs. Quiggin
quarreled and separated, two of their friends were by their urgent
invitation crossing from England to visit them, Davy's friend was
Jonathan Lovibond, an Englishman, whose acquaintance he had made on the
coast. Mrs. Quiggin's was Jenny Crow, a young lady of lively manners,
whom she had annexed during her four years' residence at Liverpool.
These two had been lovers five years before, had quarreled and parted on
the eve of the time appointed for their marriage, and had not since set
eyes on each other. They met for the first time afterward on the
steamer that was taking them to the Isle of Man, and neither knew the
destination of the other.

Miss Crow looked out of her twinkling eyes and saw a gentleman
promenading on the quarter-deck before her, whom she must have thought
she had somewhere seen before, but that his gigantic black mustache was
a puzzle, and the little imperial on his chin was a baffling difficulty.
Mr. Lovibond puffed the smoke from a colossal cigar, and wondered if the
world held two pair of eyes like those big black ones which glanced
up at him sometimes from a deck stool, a puffy pile of wool, two long
crochet needles, and a couple of white hands, from which there flashed a
diamond ring he somehow thought he knew.

These mutual meditations lasted two long hours, and then a runaway ball
of the wool from the lap of the lady on the deck stool was hotly pursued
by the gentleman with the mustache, and instantly all uncertainty was at
an end.

After exclamations of surprise at the strange recognition (it was all
so sudden), the two old friends came to closer quarters. They touched
gingerly on the past, had some tender passages of delicate fencing, gave
various sly hits and digs, threw out certain subtle hints, and came to
a mutual and satisfactory understanding. Neither had ever looked
at anybody else since their rupture, and therefore both were still

Having reached this stage of investigation, the wool and its needles
were stowed away in a basket under the chair, in order that the lady
might accept the invitation of the gentleman to walk with him on the
deck; and as the wind had freshened by this time, and walking in skirts
was like tacking in a stiff breeze, the gentleman offered his arm to the
lady, and thus they sailed forth together.

"And with whom are you to stay when we reach the island, Jenny?" said

"With a young Manx friend lately married," said Jenny.

"That's strange; for I am going to do the same," said Lovibond. "Where?"

"At Castle Mona," said Jenny.

"That's stranger still; for it's the place to which I am going," said
Lovibond. "What's your Manx friend's name?"

"Mrs. Quiggin, now," said Jenny.

"That's strangest of all," said Lovibond; "for my friend is Captain
Quiggin, and we are bound for the same place, on the same errand."

This series of coincidences thawed down the remaining frost between the
pair, and they exchanged mutual confidences. They had gone so far as
to promise themselves a fortnight's further enjoyment of each other's
society, when their arrival at Douglas put a sudden end to their

Two carriages were waiting for them on the pier - one, with a maid
inside, was to take Jenny to Castle Mona: the other, with a boy, was to
take Lovibond to Fort Ann.

The maid was Peggy Quine, seventeen years of age, of dark complexion,
nearly as round as a dolley-tub, and of deadly earnest temperament. When
Jenny found herself face to face and alone with this person, she lost no
time in asking how it came to pass that Mrs. Quiggin was at Castle Mona
while her husband was at Fort Ann.

"They've parted, ma'am," said Peggy.

"Parted?" shrieked Jenny above the rattle of the carriage glass.

"Ah, yes, ma'am," Peggy stammered; "cruel, ma'am, right cruel, cruel
extraordinary. It's a wonder the capt'n doesn't think shame of his
conduck. The poor misthress! She's clane heartbroken. It's a mercy to me
she didn't clout him."

In two minutes more Jenny was in Mrs. Quiggin's room at Castle Mona,
crying, "Gracious me, Ellen, what is this your maid tells me?"

Nelly had been eating out her heart in silence all day long, and now the
flood of her pride and wrath burst out, and she poured her wrongs upon
Jenny as fiercely as if that lady stood for the transgressions of her

"He reproached me with my poverty," she cried.


"Well, he told me I had only married him for his money - there's not much

"And what did you say?" said Jenny.

"Say? What could I say? What would any woman say who had any respect for

"But how did he come to accuse you of marrying him for his money? Had
you asked him for any?"

"Not I, indeed."

"Perhaps you hadn't loved him enough?"

"Not that either - that I know of."

"Then why did he say it?"

"Just because I wanted him to respect himself, and have some respect for
his wife, too, and behave as a gentleman, and not as a raw Manx rabbit
from the Calf."

Jenny gave a look of amused intelligence, and said, "Oh, oh, I see, I
see! Well, let me take off my bonnet, at all events."

While this was being done in the bedroom Nelly, who was furtively wiping
her eyes, continued the recital of her wrongs: -

"Would you believe it, Jenny, the first thing he did when we arrived
here after the wedding was to shake hands with the hall porter, and
the boots who took our luggage, and ask after their sisters and their
mothers, and their sweethearts - the man knew them all. And when he heard
from his boy, Willie Quarrie, that the cook was a person from Michael,
it was as much as I could do to keep him from tearing down to the
kitchen to talk about old times."

"Yes, I see," said Jenny; "he has made a fortune, but he is just the same
simple Manx lad that he was ten years ago."

"Just, just! We can't go out for a walk together but he shouts, 'How
do? Fine day, mates!' to the drivers of the hackney cabs across the

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