[from 'The Manxman' 1894]
ON the second morning afterwards the air was quiet and full of the odour of seaweed; the sky was round as the inside of a shell, and pale pink like the shadow of flame ; the water was smooth and silent; the hills had' lost the memory of the storm, and land and sea lay like a sleeping child.
In this broad and steady morning gate came back to consciousness. She had slid out of delirium into sleep as a boat slides out of the open sea into harbour, and when she awoke there was a voice in her ears that seemed to be calling to her from the quay. It was s familiar voice, and yet it was unfamiliar; it was like the voice of a friend heard for the first time after a voyage. It seemed to come from a long way off, and yet to be knocking at the very door of her heart. She kept her eyes closed for a moment and listened ; then she opened them and looked again.
The light was clouded and yet dazzling, as if glazed muslin were shaking before her eyes. Grannie was sitting by her bedside, knitting in silence.
" Why are you sitting there, mother ? " she asked.
Grannie dropped her needles and caught at her apznn. "Dear heart alive, the child's herself again !" she said.
"Has anything happened?" said Kate. "What time is it?" "Monday morning, bogh, thank the Lord for all His mercies !" cried Grannie. .-
The familiar voice came again. It came from the direction of the stairs. "Who's that?" said gate, whispering fearfully.
" Pete himself, girry. Aw well ! Aw dear !" ,Pete!" cried Kate in terror.
"Aw, no, woman, but a living man come back again.- No fear of him, bogh ! Not dead at all, but worth twenty dead men yet, and he brought you safe out of the storm."
"The storm ? "
"Yes, the storm, woman. There warn such a storm on the island I don't know the years. He found you in the tholthan up the glen. Lost your way in the wind, it's like, and no wonder.
" But let me call father. Father! father ! Chut ! the man's as deaf as little Tom Hommy. Father! " called Grannie, bustling about at the stair-head in a half-.demented way.
There was some coir motion below, and the voice on the stairs was saying, "This way? No, sir. That way, if you plaze."
" D'ye hear him, Kirry ? " cried Grannie, putting her head back into the room. "That's the man himself. Sitting on the bottom step same as an ould bulldog, and keeping watch that nobody bothers you. The good-naturedst bulldog breathing, though, and he hasn't had a wink on the night. Saved your life, darling. He did; yes, he did, praise God."
At mention of the tholthan, Kate had remembered everything. She dropped back on the pillow, and cried, in a voice of pain, " Why couldn't he leave me to die?"
Grannie chuckled knowingly at that, and wiped her eyes with the corner of her apron. "The bogh is herself, for sure. When they're wishing themselves dead they're always mending. Father ! But I'll go down instead. Lie still, bogh, lie still?"
The voice of Grannie went mused down the stairs with many '- "Aw dears, aw dears! " and then crackled from below through the floor and the unceiled joists, saying sharply but with a tremor, too, "Nancy Joe, why aren't you taking a cup of something upstairs, '' woman ? "
| Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2008