[from 'The Manxman' 1894]
SOMEWHERE in the dead and vacant dawn Philip went to bed, worn out by a night-long perambulation of the dark streets. He slept a heavy sleep of four deep hours, with oppressive dreams of common things swelling to enormous size about him.
When Jem-y-Lord took the tea to his master's bedroom in the morning, the tray was almost banged out of his hands by the clashing back of the door, after he had pushed it open with his knee. The window was half up, and a cold sea-breeze was blowing into the room; yet the grate and hearth showed that a fire had been kindled in the night, and his master was still sleeping.
Jem set down his tray, lifted a decanter that stood- on the table,' held it to the light, snorted like an old horse, nodded to himself knowingly, and closed the window.
Philip awoke with the noise, and looked around in a bewildered way. He was feeling vaguely that something had happened, when the man said-
" The horse will be round soon, sir." " What horse ?" said Philip.
" The horse you ride, sir," said Jem, and, with an indulgent smile, he added, "the one I ordered from Shimmen's when I posted the letter."
" The letter you gave me to post before I went to bed."
All was jumbled and confused in Philip's mind. He was obliged to make an effort to remember. Just then the newsboys went shouting down the street beyond the churchyard: "Special edition-Death of the Deemster."
Then everything came back. He had written to Kate, asking her to meet him at Port Mooar at two o'clock that day. It was then, and in that lonesome place, that he had decided to break the news to her. He must tell all; he had determined upon his course.
Without appetite he ate his breakfast. As he did so he heard voices from a stable-yard in the street. He lifted his head and looked out mechanically. A four-wheeled dogcart was coming down the archway behind a mettlesome young horse with silver-mounted harness. The man driving it was a gorgeous person in a light Melton overcoat. One of his spatted feet was on the break, and he had a big cigar between his teeth. It was Ross Christian.
The last time Philip had seen the man he had fought him for the honour of Kate. It was like whips and scorpions to think of that now. Ashamed, abased, degraded in his own eyes, he turned away his head.
Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2008