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FOR LIFE OR DEATH?Page 177.
THEFISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.BT THE ALTHOR OF"JESSICA'S FIRST PRAYER," "FERN'S HOLLOW,""CHILDREN OF CLOVERLEY," ETC.LONDON:THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD;AND 164, PICCADILLY.
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CHAPTER I.NEAR the centre of the Irish Sea lies the little Isleof Man, alone in the midst of the waves, which floodand ebb around it in ceaseless tides, creeping upevery tiny creek and every narrow rift in the rocks,as if they were striving to loosen the foundations ofthe lonely islet, and float it away altogether from itsposition. So small is the island, that a man may walkfrom end to end of it on a summer's day without beingoverwearied, and to cross it from east to west is nomore than a pleasant morning's march; while fromthe summit of its hills not only does the whole landlie beneath the eye with its pastures and corn-fields,but far beyond it on every hand you may see the bluesea stretching away in the distance until it seems tomiir: le with the blue sky, save for a few faint lines^ % ;.... "'B; -;," " ,_. **** "
4 THE FISHERS OF DERBY 'HAVEN.afar off, which look like clouds, but are in reality thehills of Ireland, England, and Wales.All the summer through, towards the evening time,there may be seen a.thin, white, vanishing banner ofsteam floating upon the air, and marking the courseof a steamer as it draws near to the chief bay of theisland, and telling of a whole crowd of pleasure-seekers, who have come across the water from Eng-land in search of health or enjoyment. It is no morethan a few hours' sail, amid sunshine, and music, andlaughter; and before the English coast faces quiteaway on the distant line where the sea and sky appearto meet, the little island grows into view-a tiny, far-off speck upon the water, until it gradually displaysitself, with its range of mountains rising in curved"outlines against the sky, and its wild, jagged rocks,which front the restless waves, like the great founda-tion walls of some strong fortress. The waves them-selves are so clear and transparent, that you can seefar below you the many-coloured pebbles which pavethe floor of the sea; or, gazing steadily into theirbright depths, you can look down upon a forest ofseaweed, green, and purple, and crimson, floating toand fro, and waving their long branches in the limpidwater, as the trees toss their branches and flutter theirleaves in the soft summer winds. While in DouglasBay, enclosed on its three sides by sheltering hills,-numbers of slender pleasure-boats, brightly coloured,and with outspread, snow-white sails, like the wings
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 5-of the seagulls, waft hither and thither on the surfaceof the sunny and buoyant waves, carrying gay andmerry crews, whose voices echo in softened tonesacross the sounding water.All this is in the summer season. When the darkand gloomy days of winter set in, and the thick fogsgather upon the seas, drawing a heavy curtain overland and water, many a vessel passes close under theisland, and sees nothing of it, as it lies enshrouded inthe November mist; or, more luckless than to passby without a glimpse of it, many a beautiful ship, orthe fisherman's small craft, gets caught up on itssharp and savage rocks, which lurk in concealed mis-chief behind the deceitful haze, or under the boilingsurge. Then the water is no longer clear and smooth,but it roars and rages all along the rocky coast inceaseless anger, tossing up waifs and fragments ofwrecks, and now and then washing up on the sandsof some solitary little bay the dead body of a drownedseaman, whose home, may be, is in some distant town,where his wife and children are daily looking for hisreturn. The pleasure-seekers have forsaken the placeuntil another summer comes in its course; and all theManx people, who love their tight little isle as fondlyas we love our own larger island, settle down to feelquietly at home, with the winter, and the wrecks, andthe wild winds which sweep at one breath across theirland from shore to shore.Down towards the south of the Isle of Man, a little
6 THE FISHERS OP DERBY HAVEN.out of the way of most of the pleasure-seekers, thereis a small hamlet called Derby Haven, which consistschiefly of fishermen's houses, with a farmstead or two,and is situated upon a bay sheltered from all windsexcept the east. A round, safe haven it is, with abreakwater built upon a ridge of low rocks across themiddle of the bay, within which the children of theplace can row and paddle about in their boats in per-fect security when the tide is up, or ramble with barefeet among the slippery seaweed, in search of shrimpsor small crabs, when the tide is down. Beyond thebreakwater, a headland of rocks, lying together likehuge knives with their sharp edges upwards, juts outboldly into the sea, and, bending southwards, stretchesa line of the same keen, high crags, for more than amile in length, ending with a needle-like point, whichcatches the billows upon its spike as they dash uponit in vain fury. Beyond lies the Bay of Castletown;and the rocks, returning in the direction of the fisher-men's hamlet, form a peninsula, with but a verynarrow neck of land dividing the haven from the bay.This peninsula bears the name of Langness, and manya sorrowful story could be told of vessels tossed bythe wild waves upon its sharp-edged rocks; and allalong the border of the fields which lie upon the sum-mit of the cliffs there can be traced the graves ofshipwrecked men; while upon one part of Langness,called St. Michael's Island, there are even the ruinsof a little chapel, roofless and shelterless, with only
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 7four bare walls left; but all around it lie the small,trodden-down mounds, which are the neglected gravesof many unknown and forgotten people, who metdeath upon these spiked and pitiless rocksBut on the day of which I am going to tell you,no one would have thought of storms and death whenthey looked round upon the sea and sky. It wasSunday evening; and the tide, which was just at thefull, lay within and without the breakwater as smoothand bright as some inland lake, with scarcely a ripplecreeping across its untroubled surface, until the veryshadows of the houses seemed to rest upon the waveswithout motion. In the sky a multitude of littleclouds, pure white, except for a slight flush of rosylight shining through them, floated softly across thepeaceful blue towards the mountain top, behind whichthe sun was setting; and so glassy were the wavesbelow, that every tiny cloud was mirrored on theirbosom. The fishermen's dwellings, white and quiet,seemed asleep, or at least resting from their every-daywork; while a number of boats, anchored inside thebreakwater, rocked leisurely from side to side uponS the sea, as though they had never pushed their wayhomewards against the rolling of the tide and in theeeth of a storm. The larks, which had built theirnests upon the sweet grassy sward of the downs lead-ing off to Langness, had just finished their eveningsong, and were twittering among the golden gorsejushes; but besides that there was scarcely a sound
8 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.to be heard, until the strong voice of a man, accom-panied by a boy's shrill and clear note, suddenlybroke the silence by singing these words:-"We'll stem the storm, it won't be long;The heavenly port is nigh:We'll stem the storm, it won't be long;We'll anchor by and by."They were sitting upon the shore, at a little distancefrom the hamlet, their faces turned towards the sea.The man was a tall and strong-looking fisherman,with a sunburnt and weather-beaten face; and theboy at his side was a sturdy, thick-set lad, with short,rough curls of hair clustering over his bare head andkeen dark eyes, from which nothing on land or seacould escape." There's not much sign of storms, Ned," said theboy, glancing from sky to sea, and away to the sunsetting behind the burnished outline of the mountain."It looks as much at peace as if the Lord's king-dom was come," answered Ned, looking round with asolemn and almost sorrowful expression upon his face." Peter, my lad, someway it makes me feel sad-like,nights like these, to think it's all on the outsideonly."The boy was silent for a few minutes, half ashamedof looking into Ned's grave face, while his own grewmore and more thoughtful"Peter," continued Ned, "I always feel more sin-ful such evenings, a Sunday evening too, than on
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 9work-a-days, when there's work and storms about,and one has to be up and stirring. I feel somehowall out of my place. I suppose it's true what thecaptain said. If we could be caught up into the Lord'sheaven, and see all the goodness and peace there, weshould feel miserable; may be like a fish if we took itout of the water, and laid it on the softest grass wecould find. What a sinful man I should feel, and howsad I should be there! Why, I'm scarcely fit forhis kingdom here; and so days like these make memore sorrowful than stormy days.""I like storms best," said Peter, after a pause;and his eyes sparkled, and his broad chest heaved witha sigh, as once more he gazed upon the unruffled seaand the quiet blue of the twilight sky." Ay, ay lad," answered Ned, "it's because we'renot fit for the calm yet. Storms seem more like us,and our brawls, and quarrels, and pride, and our loveof strength; but there'll be none in the Lord's king."dom when it comes. And we shall be full of peaceourselves, like the sea was when Jesus said, 'Peace, bestill; and there was a great calm.' Nights like this Ifeel as if all the sky, and the sea, and the hills werefinding fault with me, as if they wondered why Ifretted myself, and fumed, and worried, and fought,and quarrelled. I say again, Peter, nights like this Ifeel that I am a sinful man."""Ned," asked Peter, in a quiet voice, "what is thekingdom ?"L*
10 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN."I hardly know, lad," he answered; "I'm noscholar like Captain Seaforth. But he told us therewere only two kingdoms in the world, and we mustbelong to one or the other. There's the prince of thisworld-that is, the devil; and there's the Prince ofpeace-our Lord Jesus Christ, and we must be subjectto one of them. He talked to us about our Fatherin heaven being the King. Yes, God in heaven isthe King, but upon the earth his Son Jesus Christ,who was made a man like us, is to be our King; sothat it is the kingdom both of our Father and ourLord Jesus Christ; and it must go on and conquer,till the devil and all his works are destroyed. Andthe captain gave us a verse to think of: 'To himthat overcometh will I grant to sit down with me onmy throne; even as I also overcame, and am set downwith my Father in his throne.' Think of that,Peter-sitting down with Jesus on his throne in thekingdom of God!""I should like to belong to that kingdom," saidPeter, thoughtfully."Ah but we must be like the King, then," con-"tinued Ned; " we must be like the Lord Jesus. Maybe we should have said we couldn't be like God inheaven, so he sent his Son to be like us first. Why,his life was just the same as ours. He used to go outnights in the fishing-boats, and storms would come on,and he'd be on deck with the waves dashing over him.He kiows just what it is to be cold, and wet, and
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 11hungry, and disheartened, and for the fish to fail.Many a time he's seen the net hauled in, and no fishin it; so when we're out seeking for signs of theherring, I think how the Lord Jesus would haveborne it all in patience and hope, and just quietlywaited; only ready to work with a will when theright moment came. That is our King, Peter; theKing of the poor fishermen. Thee try to be like him,and he'll take thee into his kingdom."While they had been speaking, a man at some littledistance along the shore might have been seen un-loosing a boat which had been lying at anchor infront of the nearest cottage. Now a loud, shrillhalloo caused them to turn round, and Peter's facegrew overcast; but he looked down earnestly intohis companion's eyes as he sprang to his feet, andthen he lifted up his hard, brown, boyish hand to-wards the blue heaven above him."He shall be my King !" he said; and not stayingto utter another word, he bounded along the shoretowards the boat, which was already a few oars'strokes from land.
CHAPTER II.PETER'S feet were not encumbered with shoes, and hewas too well used to the water to hesitate upon theedge of the rippling tide. He plunged at once intothe wake of the boat; and though the surly and silentman within plied his oars well, in a minute or two hishand seized the gunwale, and he dragged himself,heavy with the weight of the water, into the seat be-hind the boatman. They were rowing for the break-water; for Brideson, the lighthouseman, was absentfor a week, and Killip had undertaken to attend tohis duties. There was something in the bowed headand rounded shoulders before him which warned theboy to be silent; and for a few pulls not a word wasspoken by either of them. But the face which Petercould not see was heavy and louring; and there wasan angry set about the mouth which would have madehis heart beat with fear."Who was that thee was idling thy time awaywith ?" asked the man at last, in a tone which drovethe blood back from the boy's brown face, and madehim wince and shrink as if he were trying to escapefrom the fall of a lash; " what lazy lubber was cooling
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 13his heels on the shore, and getting thee to help himat doing nothing ? Speak out, lad.""Ned Kelly," answered Peter, not daring to addanother word."'Ned Kelly!" repeated Killip, in a tone ofsmothered anger: "now, I'll tell thee what, lad, if Iever catch thee speaking to that canting scoundrelagain, I'll thrash thee to within an inch of thy life.So I've told thee. Wasn't it Ned Kelly as setCaptain Seaforth against me with his tale-bearing?and hasn't he got my old mates to put me out of theold crew, with Sandsbury of Craigneish for our captain ?a jolly crew we were before the captain spoiled it withhis preaching and psalm-singing. I'll have no con-sorting with' Ned Kelly. Thee shall take thy oaththat theel't have no more to do with him." Peter didnot answer, but bent his whole strength to his oar, forthe angry man was pulling with more force thanusual. The boat skimmed swiftly across the bay,and in a few minutes grazed against the end of thebreakwater, where the small lighthouse stood. Stillwithout speaking Peter climbed the ladder whichrested against the stone-work, and was proceedingtoStrim and light the lamp, when he found that Killiphad followed him, after securing the boat to the lowestof the rungs of the ladder." Look here !" he said, grasping Peter's shouldersw1ih an iron gripe, "thee hast got to swear never tospek to Ned Kelly again, or hearken if he speaks toEL..-
14 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.thee. I'll have no mutiny aboard my boat, if it is nomore than a fishing-boat. If I've only one lad, he'llhave to knock under, I promise thee. Thee used toknow how to swear well, and thee hasn't forgot thatlesson, I reckon. Swear me a good oath that thou'ltnever change words again with Ned Kelly."The boy stood for a breathing time, looking firstat the enraged man, and then at the means of escape.The breakwater was nothing more than a long, broadsea-wall, built in the middle of the bay, and surroundedeverywhere by the sea when the tide was up. Hemight run a hundred yards or so along the top of thegreat wall, but at the other end he could only turnand face his pursuer. If they were on the shoresome of the neighbours might intercede to save himfrom the stroke of the heavy rope which Killip wascoiling round his wrist and hand; but here, thoughthey might catch the distant sound of his cries, noone could come in between him and the punishmentwith which he was threatened. His flesh crept atthe sight of the lash and the cruel face of his master;but he would take no oath, not he. Nor would heeven promise to keep away from Ned Kelly." I'll not swear," he said, planting his bare feetupon the massive stones of the sea-wall, and liftingup his head resolutely, as he faced his tyrant; butthe instant afterwards his head drooped, and hereeled and swayed under the keen pain of the ropeupon his shoulders.
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 16It was such a flogging as Peter had borne many atime-so many times that he could scarcely reckonthem up. But there was this difference on his part:formerly he had been wont to scream, and shout, andswear, under every stroke, until the neighbours wouldrutn out of their cottages to put an end to the disturb-ance. But this sabbath evening, in the quiet, peacefultwilight, with the stars peeping down upon him, hebore it silently, save for a sob that now and then waswrung from his compressed lips. Killip's arm wasSwearied before he ceased to lift it in his fury; andthen he gave the silent boy a contemptuous kick."I warned thee," he said, savagely, "I'd beat theeSwithin an inch of thy life. This is only a taste of therope-end. Get off with thee for a sulky, lubberlyrascal. Get off, I say."S Peter crept away with his bleeding and achingshoulders, half blinded with unshed tears; and,scarcely knowing whither he went, his weary, nakedfeet carried him to the farthest end of the break-water. He sat down there, looking across to the paleradiance which still lingered behind the slopes ofSouth Barrule, where the sun had set half an hourago, while Ned talked of the peacefulness of heaven,and he had said boastfully he liked storms best. Hisheid felt dull and heavy; and his heart, which hadSfull of bright resolution and hope only so short aefore, seemed ready to break with its passiontof ed and revenge against his tormentor. He
16 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.recollected how last winter the fierce waves had rolledin from the sea, and dashed over the breakwater inone strong, resistless force of white and foaming water,which thundered all along the shore, and crushedbefore it everything that stood in its way. If thequiet sea would only leap up now to avenge him ofhis cruel enemy! He would be willing to perilhimself under the great and terrible wave if only theman who made his boyhood a misery might be sweptaway by it into the wide and unfathomable ocean.But there the waters lay, all round the breakwater,unruffled and smiling, with the crimson streaks of thesunset growing dimmer and dimmer upon their glassysurface; and the stillness was so profound, that aftera while he heard the splash of an oar, and turninground, he saw Killip's boat quitting the other end ofthe sea-wall, and sailing leisurely away in the directionof the hamlet.A sob and a curse rose together to Peter's lips, buthe thrust both back again, and sat still and motionlessas the stones beneath him, while he watched the re-ceding boat. It would be full three hours beforethe tide was out, when the space between him andthe shore would become a tangled swamp of sand andsea-weed, across which he could find his way withease and safety. To be sure he could swim thedistance-he had done so many a time; but he couldnot manage it in his heavy clothes. There wasnothing for him but to remain on the bleak and lonely
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 17sea-wall until the tide went down. Before him, in ahalf circle along the curve of the haven, stood theShouses of the hamlet. The windows began to beSalight with candles and fires within; some in the|upper storeys, as if the people were already goingcomfortably to bed. There was Captain Seaforth'shouse almost in the middle, but there were no lightsSin his windows, except in the kitchen, for he wasgone away on a long voyage, and nobody knew whenhe would return. Yonder, too, was the large farm-house belonging to Mr. Taggart, where Ned Kellylived part of the year as farm-servant, dividing hisStime between such service and the herring fishery inthe summer months. All along, from end to end ofthe hamlet, Peter knew every dwelling, and theinmates of each, and what they were probably doing.and talking about around their warm hearths. Itwas a dreary thing to be shivering there alone in the"night wind, and listening to the incessant murmur ofthe waves lapping against the wall beneath him, whilehis head still ached, and his bruised shoulders smartedin the keen air. Yet what was it, he began towonder, that had kept him silent under the cruellash, and even now seemed to fill him with a newpatience ? It had never been so before. Only aweek ago, when Killip flogged him, he had at lastcried out until the whole hamlet had rung with hisidiries, though he had firmly resolved beforehandiU lhe would be too manly to betray his pain. How7
18 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.had he gained this greater courage and strange powerof endurance?He rose at last stiffly, for he had been sitting stilluntil his limbs were benumbed. The glow had quitefaded away from the sky, but behind him in theeast the pale moon had risen, as it seemed, out ofthe sea, and a fine slender pathway of silvery bright-ness stretched tremblingly away from the sea-wall upto the shining light. Wherever the moonbeams fell allwas soft and lovely; and even the rocks at Langness,which he could only dimly see, looked as if there wasnothing keen and terrible about them. That long-line of moonlight might be a pathway for the angelswho were coming down from heaven to comfort him.Then he remembered how once the disciples saw theirLord walking upon the sea at night, and how he said,"It is I, be not afraid." Peter's heart was melted; thesob which he had thrust back rose again to his lipswithout the curse; and he knelt down upon the coldstones of the sea-wall, and wept without restraint.There was not any prayer upon his tongue, and hewas hardly conscious of praying at all; but when hestood up again after a few minutes he felt quite adifferent boy. His heart was as calm and peaceful asthe untroubled sea and the cloudless sky above him.The dull, heavy pain in his head had passed away;and though his shoulders still smarted in the sharpair, there was a smile upon his face and a brightlight in his eyes. He stepped briskly along thebreakwater to the beacon where the lamp was burning
TIHE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 19with a cleal and steady flame; and getting on thesheltered side of the small wooden tower, where hewas partially protected from the wind, he drew aTestament from his jacket pocket a little Testamentgiven to him by Captain Seaforth; and holding it upagainst the lamplight, his eyes fell upon the verse,"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world:if my kingdom were of this world, then would myservants fight, that I should not be delivered to theJews; but now is my kingdom not from hence."For a long time Peter leaned against the light-house, with the tide rushing past him back into theopen sea, while his thoughts were full of this idea ofa kingdom in which Jesus was King. He recollectedthat his last words to Ned Kelly were, "He shall bemy King." It flashed across his mind like a sunbeam,that perhaps the secret of his new courage and endur-ance was because he had entered into the kingdom ofJesus, and was being made like him, and fit to be hissubject. He thought of the words spoken aboutChrist, "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again;when he suffered, he threatened not; but committedhimself to him that judgeth righteously." Onceagain he knelt down upon the hard stones, and aftersaying softly to himself, "Our Father," he fell asleepnder the shelter of the little lighthouse; and by thee that the moon came round to the southern sky,one down upon him slumbering peacefully andsmrely, while the gentle waves kept up a soothingand lulling murmur all around him.
CHAPTER III.WHEN the moon shone full upon his face, Peterawoke from his quiet slumber. The tide was down,and between him and the hamlet there lay only themoist swamp with which he was well acquainted.There were no lights now to be seen in any of thewindows, and, as far as he could guess by the heightof the moon in the sky, it was an hour or two pastmidnight. The sea beyond him, no longer lit upwith the shining tract of the moonbeams, looked blackand vague, and its hollow roar, now unblended withany of the familiar sounds of daily life, echoed with adeep, full booming which he had never heard in itbefore. Peter began to tremble a little, and to feelthose painful and undefined fears which beset mostpeople who find themselves alone in a strange situa-tion. He was about to descend the ladder, when, inthe gathering darkness-for the moon was hidden be-hind a thick cloud, and the only light was the singlegleam of the lighthouse lamp-he heard the familiarsound of the keel of a boat grating on the low rocksat the base of the wall below him. The boy was nocoward, though a minute before his heart had quailed
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 21while listening to the solemn thunder of the sea; andhe peeped cautiously over the edge of the breakwaterinto the darkness beneath. The figure of a man wasjust visible, dragging a boat within the shelter of thesea-wall, and as he crossed the gleam of the lamp,Peter recognised who it was."Ewan Cowley," he whispered to himself; and hedrew back instantly into the black shadows of thelittle lighthouse, only daring to listen to the soundsbeneath him. The man was busy for some minutesS fastening the grapnel safely, where the returning tidewould neither loosen it nor dash the boat against therocks; and as he was so occupied, he hummed tohimself the tune of the hymn which Ned and Peterhad been singing together the evening before. Onceor twice Peter felt inclined to chime in, but he checkedhimself. The appearance of Ewan Cowley at thisplace and this hour was a circumstance which he couldnot understand, and with a caution which the ill-treat-ment he was used to had produced, he cowered downin the shadows to watch and wait.Before long Ewan marched away, crossing once-more the gleam of the lamp, and Peter's keen eyetook in a clear impression of his tall, strong figure,with the fisherman's creel strapped upon his back.Without doubt it was Ewan; and after he was out ofght and hearing, and a few minutes longer lest heelf should be visible in the lamplight, Petered down the ladder to the side of the boat which
22 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.had just been anchored. He could not see it exceptas a long, black mass lying upon the rocks, but 4edrew his hand slowly along its edge. Surely this wasKillip's boat-the very one in which he and his mas-ter had rowed across to the breakwater six hours ago.How had it got here, down at low water, where Killipcould not get at it when the tide was up ? And whathad Ewan been doing with it? He deliberated for alittle while, but at last he left the boat, and made hisway slowly across the swamp, along which little rillsof the returning tide were already flowing.He had bent his course in the direction of Killip'sdwelling, which was a small, one-roomed hut, facingthe sea, and the last in the hamlet, built at some dis-tance from the other houses. Behind it, enclosed infour strong stone walls, was a fold-yard belonging tothe farmer whom Killip and Ned Kelly both served;for most of the men in Derby Haven were farm-labourers one half of their time, and fishermen theother half. There was no chance of Peter gettingadmittance into the hut, where his own chaff mattresslay on a kind of broad shelf over Killip's bed; buthe had been too often turned out of doors, both onrough nights and fine, for him to be uncertain whathe must do. Fixing his toes and fingers into thecrevices between the unhewn stones of the wall, heclimbed nimbly over it into the fold-yard. The man-gers at which the oxen had been fed were partly filledwith soft hay, and he lay down in one with a glad
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 23sense of rest and thankfulness. " My King slept ina manger," said the boy to himself; and, with a smileupon his brown face, he was soon once more wrappedin a sweet and profound slumber.It was broad daylight when he was awakened by arough but not unkindly shake, and his slowly openedeyes gazed up into Killip's face. His master's pas-sion was over for the present, and he bade him go tothe house and get some breakfast before he set towork. Peter was quickly round at the door of thecottage, which stood open to admit the fresh air ofthe morning. The interior was so crowded withhomely furniture that he had to enter carefully, lesthe should upset the round table covered with crockery,or throw down a chair loaded with clothes. A tidy,hard-featured, middle-aged woman was moving brisklySabout her household work, yet with an habitual ex-pression of fear upon her face, as if she were alwaysSlistening for a sound which she dreaded to hear-theSsound of her husband's. foot upon the door-step.M:When Peter appeared alone her face brightened alittle, and she made haste to pour out a basin of hotbroth for him, yet still with her eyes turned anxiouslytowards the half-open door. The smile with whichPeter had fallen asleep and awakened again had notyet passed away from his face, and he put his hand onie woman's arm, and kissed her tenderly.j ion't be afeard, mother," he said; "Killip sente himself."
24 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.These few words pacified and reassured her; and asPeter sat down on a low stool in the chimney cornerout of the way, she left her work to stand beside him,with her hard hand resting on his thick curls, and herface bent over him with a look of great affection."Lad," she said, "Peter, it's nigh upon threeyears since ever I heard thee call me mother. Neversince Killip told thee thou wert no child of ours.What is it, lad? What makes thee look so brightthis morning after being locked out all night ?"" Mother," answered the boy, " I'm happy, happierthan I can tell. I've gone into the kingdom. Theeknows how Captain Seaforth talks about the kingdomof God. Well, I've gone right into it. The LordJesus is my King now; and I've begun to be likehim. When Killip thrashed me last night I nevercried out or swore; but I was as silent as my Kingwas when he was buffeted by the soldiers; and Islept all night in the manger, like he did. I'm sohappy! I shall never be miserable again-neverAnd when I came into my breakfast it seemed pleasantto call thee mother. He had a mother, and was apoor boy like me once. That's it. He was like meonce; and now I'm going to be like him.""Hush! hush!" cried Bridget Killip, lookinground her with a frightened glance; " there must beno talk of that sort here, thee knows. Eh, lad! if webelong to any kingdom, it's the devil's kingdom. Iused to know all about it once, and I'm sore at heart
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 25at times; but we must keep peace in the house as farS as we can. Thee must say nought of this sort here,or Killip '11 kill thee, I warn thee."" "I'm not afraid," answered Peter, boldly; "ISwouldn't even promise last night on the breakwaterto have no more to do with Ned Kelly; and Killipmight kill me afore I'll give up my King. Why! itSis the Lord Jesus who is my King; and he can takecare of me. What can Killip do at me ?"Bridget shook her head and groaned; but Peter'sface was so full of bright confidence and happinessthat she could not bear to say anything further todamp his gladness. On the other side of the wallthey could hear Killip harnessing the farm-horses fortheir morning's work, with many an oath and angryshout at them; for it was his firm conviction thatnothing could be done in a manner worth doing with-Sout a great deal of passion and swearing being spentupon it. Peter and Bridget listened for a few mi-nutes, while the woman's face grew clouded and dullSIgain; but Peter seized a lump of the black bread inhis hand, and still with a bright gleam in his dark"eyes, he nodded to her from the door-sill, and ranround into the fold-yard.It was not long before Bridget heard the heavy,lumbering wheels of the waggon crushing over thepebbles down towards the shore, where the heaps ofseaweed left by the last tide were to be gathered upfor manuring the fields on Langness. Peter was atIS| ,j-
26 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.the horse's head, whistling; she could catch the soundof it-the tune to which his favourite chorus wassung; while Killip, with his three-pronged fork overhis shoulder, was tramping a few paces behind thewaggon. It was yet early in the morning; the skygrey and cloudy, yet with a shining of the sun behindthe clouds, which brightened both land and sea, whilethe tide, stealing back to the haven again, splashedsoftly and quietly, as if afraid to disturb the villagerswho were still sleeping. A cormorant had been stand-ing upon a point of low rock which the tide had justbegun to cover, and it flew slowly and sluggishlyaway as the noisy wheels came rolling over the peb-bles; and at the edge of the water was a solitaryfisherman, just returning from a night's fishing, anddragging his boat as high as he could upon the sandbefore fastening it with his grapnel. Suddenly Killippaused, stood for a minute gazing keenly about theshore, while Peter went merrily onwards; and thenwith a few rapid strides he overtook him, and stoppedthe waggon with an impatient jerk at the horse'shead."Where's the boat, you dog ?" he cried, seizingPeter's jacket with his strong hand, and shaking himwith the sudden vehemence of rage; "it was an-chored up here last night: what hast thou done withit, rascal?""I know nothing about the boat," answered Peter,hastily; "I was on the breakwater last night. What
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 27could I do with the boat? I couldn't anchor it uphere when I was out yonder. It was thee broughtit home, and thee anchored it."": It's one of thy old tricks," said Killip, whoseface was purple and swollen with passion; "howdidst thee get home-what time of the night, eh ?""I walked home as soon as the tide was down,"Peter answered sullenly; "I'd nought to do withthe boat, and I know nought about it. Loose me, Isay; it's nothing to do with me."" Killip," called the fisherman, and his voicesounded low but distinct along the water's edge,"yon boat under the lighthouse is thine, isn't it?It's an awkward place, man; there'll be no getting toit till the water's down again; and if the wind should7 freshen-"He said no more, but both Killip and Peter lookedSround the sky for signs of the coming weather. TheSbreeze which was fanning their faces might either lull:or freshen; it was only the draught of the morning,but if it freshened, the tide rushing in round the end.of the breakwater would lift the little boat upon everyiwave, and grate its keel upon the rocks beneath.Killip's eye and mouth were frightful to look at, andPeter's knees knocked together, and his heart utterlypank within him.S"I know nought about the boat," he cried, withdesperate earnestness; and, looking up into his mas-ter's face, he swore with some of the oaths which hadL-:
28 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.long been familiar to him, but with more wicked em-phasis than he had ever spoken them before, that heknew nothing about it, and had done nothing with it;so that Killip released him with a savage kick, andbade him go on to his work.But all the gladness had died out of the boy'sheart. The sun was there, the sky, the sea, the littlewaves creeping nearer and nearer to his feet, and thesweet, soft wind fluttering about him. Yonder werethe slopes of South Barrule glowing purple in themorning light, and out upon the water were the whitesails of vessels floating past before the breeze; buthe saw nothing, and cared nothing for them all. Thekingdom which he had seen and felt in his mind hadquickly faded away like a pleasant but mockingdream. He was a liar and a swearer. There couldbe no such character in the blessed kingdom of whichhe had caught a passing glimpse, only to be shut outof it altogether. He had shut himself out. Lastnight only he had borne the full weight of his mas-ter's cruel anger, and never flinched i& his determina-tion neither to make a false promise nor to utter anoath; and this was the end of it all! He was just tofall back into his old ways, and grow up to be a manlike Killip, whoin everybody dreaded and disliked.There was to be no King for him, and no kingdom,save the vile, hateful slavery of sin, from which hethought he had escaped.The hours passed by sullenly, with slow and
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 29wretched length. He cursed the horses, and the sea-weed, and even the gentle little wave that rippled'round his bare feet; and Killip chuckled with awicked triumph, notwithstanding all his anger andvexation about the boat. He felt sure that Peterhad some knowledge of how it came to be down atthe end of the breakwater; but he was pleased tohear the evil words uttered by the lad, who had borneso severe a flogging the night before rather than takean oath into his lips. Luckily the wind lulled insteadof freshening, and in the noontide light they couldsee it lying safely under the breakwater, whereEwan Cowley had anchored it. When again, in theafternoon, the tide was down, Killip left his farm-work, and, crossing the swamp, he rowed away intothe sea beyond to visit his lobster-pots, which he hadbaited on Saturday, and to bring away any lobstersthat might have been caught in them. He would notreturn until the evening, when he would tarry at thelighthouse to trim the lamp; so that when Peter'swork was done, he found himself with a whole quietsummer's evening at his own disposal, altogether freefrom the tyranny and caprice of his master. Whatwould he do with it?
80CHAPTER IV.IF Ned Kelly had been at home, Peter might havecarried his trouble and sin to him, and found comfortin the confession, and help from Ned's counsel. Butit was the beginning of the season of the herringfishery, and Ned, in common with the greater numberof the Manx men, formed one of the small crew of alugger, and had gone out with the herring fleet toseek the shoals of fish which were coming down fromthe thawing waters of the great Northern Ocean.1 Hehad walked across the island to the town of Peel, andset sail with his mates as soon as the tide would carrytheir boats out of harbour. In a mood of sulky de-spondency Peter loitered about the door of Killip'shut for a little while, answering Bridget's questionswith short and surly sentences, which drove away allthe pleasant thoughts that had been coming into hermind ever since their conversation in the morning.To hear the boy speak of Jesus as his King had re-called her own young days, when she had gone toSunday school in Castletown, and learned to singhymns about the Saviour's kingdom; and as she hadbeen busy to and fro about the house, she caught
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 31herself humming the long-forgotten words and tunes,and thinking how she would get Peter to read achapter or two in his little Testament to her, whileKillip was safe out of the way after his lobster-pots.But when Peter came home from his work, hisclouded face and his sharp answers drove back allher new and pleasant desires, and her half-formedresolves; and she began to feel that, after all, theold dreary bondage of sin, and hatred, and miserymust continue to the end.At last Peter sauntered away, with his hands deepin his pockets, and his head bent down, while his feetpaddled lazily in the curling edge of the water. Hetook no heed of the shouts of other lads, who calledhim to join them in their play; and without thinkingmuch about it, he found himself after a time up onthe other side of the haven, where a broad, steeproad led away from the shore to some pasture-landat the top of the cliffs. With the same dreary, list-less wretchedness of heart, he pursued the road tothe meadows, and followed the narrow and windingpath, no wider than a sheep-track, which bent inand out along the edge of the cliffs. The sheepSlooked up and stared him in the face, and the roughcattle paused in their grazing, as if to question what"silent and heavy-browed lad was this, who passed bythem quietly, and made no effort to disturb them.SPeter saw nothing of them, with their large eyes fullSof wonder, and their broad-fronted heads lowered;L"
82 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.nor could he hear the sharp twittering of the stone-chats chirping upon every gorse bush, and the sweet,ringing song of the lark high overhead. All thesound he heard was the echo of the oaths he haduttered in the morning.You would have known that the path was afamiliar one by the way Peter mechanically, andwithout lifting his eyes, kept a straight course, afterhe left the edge of the cliffs, for the point where aladder was reared against each side of the stone wallwhich enclosed the meadow. Once over that heseemed to awaken to some fresh thought, for his facebrightened, and he looked up into the sky, wherethe sun was still shining far above the horizon; andapparently making some calculation as to the timeof the evening, he started off at a rapid run. In tenminutes he had reached a broken wooden bridge,spanning a lovely little stream, which, with manynoisy leaps and eddies, and making numberless tinywaterfalls along its rocky channel, seemed to be ina hurry to reach the sea, which was waiting for ithardly a mile distant. On the other side of thestream, but almost hidden among trees and brush-wood, stood a lonely cottage, so lonely that therewas no other dwelling within sight of it; and theonly sounds that could reach the ears of its inmateswere the brawling of the brook and the songs of thebirds, and the loud, satisfied humming of the beesamong the honeysuckles. Even the deep voice of
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 33the sea could not make itself heard in the quietdingle, which might have been very far inland uponsome large continent for any trace or token that ithad of the nearness of the ocean. Peter stood stillfor a minute, with a sort of calm and hush breathingover his troubled spirit; and then crossing the brokenplanks noiselessly, he crept up to the open doorof the cottage, and looked cautiously into the interior.It was a room very like Killip's hut, except thatthere was a greater scarcity of furniture, and thewalls were not so well whitewashed as those whichBridget had to keep clean. The hearth had no gratein it; but there was a raised, flat hearthstone underan open chimney, upon which remained the embersof a wood fire, with the half-burned logs scattered inconfusion about it, and an old kettle hanging by achain above them. The low, curtainless bed in thecorner was strewn with disordered bedclothes; andupon the wooden dresser under the window therewas a pile of pitchers, which were waiting for someone to wash them up. No one could be heard"speaking or seen moving about the desolate-lookingShut; but Peter's eyes went straight to the quiet" figure of, a little girl who sat on a low cricketSbeside the extinguished fire, with her hands restingi upoa her knees, and her face, wearing a very wistfulSexpression, turned towards the open door. Therewas a little terrier dog lying at her feet, whichshivered and winked his eyelids, as Peter stood uponD
34 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.the threshold, but did not leave his mistress for aninstant. The child turned her head a little on oneside as if to listen more intently, while a low sighbroke from her lips; but when Peter whistled a long,clear, merry whistle, which made all the birds pausein their chirping, she uttered a shrill cry of delight,and, standing up, stretched out her arms eagerlytowards him."It's me, Aggy," cried Peter; "why, she'd knowme if I made any kind of a noise. She'd never beafeard of Peter. Been by herself all day, has she?No fire and no tea, I see. And where's father ?""I don't care for anything now," said Aggy,clinging with all her might round Peter's neck."Father was out all night, and a-bed all morning;and now he's gone with some crabs and lobsters toBalla-salla and Malew. He put some bread for me,and a cup of water close by; but I was lonesome,and didn't want them. I'm so glad thee'rt come,Peter."" Ay, ay," answered Peter, cheerily, " and I'm gladtoo. So now we'll have some tea. See, little Aggy,I'm going to kindle the fire, and boil the kettle, andmake the bed, and set the house to rights. Motherhas taught me all that, thee knows."" Oh, I wish I could see!" cried the child, raisingthe eyelids which had been nearly closed until now,and straining her sightless eyeballs in a vain attempt."Oh! Peter, I wish I could see."
.THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 35"Once," said Peter, in a sorrowful voice, '"therewas a King who could open the eyes of those whowere born blind; and if we'd only lived then, Aggy,we'd have started right away, and I'd have led thee,and carried thee, till we'd found Jesus, and he wouldhave opened thine eyes.""But did he live in the Isle of Man?" asked thelittle girl, "or did he ever come here? Else howcould we get across the sea? and how should weknow where to find him? If he was a very, very longway off, Peter, how could we ever reach him?"They were questions which Peter could not answer.He had been excusing himself all day by the thoughtthat if his King were only living upon the earthnow he would obey him better, and should mostScertainly do nothing to offend or grieve him. But,as Aggy spoke, he began to think that his Kingwould not be always with him; nay, that he mightSnever even see him at all, just as he had never seanthe grand Queen Victoria, who was the sovereign ofthe Isle of Man. If the Lord Jesus were livingipon the earth, perhaps it would be in some veryfar-off country, whither a poor boy and girl, likeself and Aggy, could never find their way. Heied himself with laying the logs together uponhearthstone, and he was about to strike a matchire to them, when Aggy spoke again in a""m voicse."Wer," she said, "I'm so tired of being in the
86 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.house, and I've never felt the sunshine all day. Iknow it's been shining by the singing of the birds.I've never heard the tide. Take me along the cliffsby Santon River, and let me eat my bread there. I'da great deal rather do that, Peter."Peter could not refuse the child's request, andvery soon he was carrying her carefully over thebroken bridge, and guiding her steps along the windingpath across the meadows, followed by Terry, againstwhom the, cattle lowered their shaggy heads threaten-ingly. Presently they found a little grassy plat-form upon the edge of a cliff, almost overhanging thesea, which was rolling into the caves beneath themwith a deep, thunderous sound. The warm sunshineplayed about them; and Peter talked to Aggy aboutthe stonechats, and the curlews, and the white-winged seagulls, and the ships upon the sea, thesloop with its one mast, and the two-masted schooner,and the lugger with its long sail, and the steamer,with its white vanishing banner of steam, which wasbearing the pleasure-seekers to the distant bay ofDouglas. But through all his cheery talk thereran a tone of sadness which soon caught the blindchild's quick ear."Peter," she said, "thy talk is like a rainy day,when there's no sun, and the birds never sing. HasKillip been cruel to thee again? Has he beatenthee? Tell Aggy."Peter remained silent for some time, for the
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THE FISIHRS OF DERBY HAVEN. 37wretchedness he had tried to shake off was weighinghim down more heavily than ever. Not far awaybelow them he could see Killip in his boat, takingup the lobster-pots, which he had set near the mouthof Santon River. He had a shrewd guess thatnothing would be found in them; and that Killip'sdisappointment and fury, if he discovered that hehad been robbed, would make it dangerous for him toreturn home. Still it was not that which causedhis silence and sorrow. The sight of the boatbrought back to him the sweet peace of last night,and the cowardly sin of the morning; and as helooked he hid his face in his hands, and sobbedbitterly."Oh, Aggy," he said, " I'm a wicked, wicked boy.Last night I said the Lord Jesus should be my King,and I'd be like him always; and this morning Ibegan to swear again, just as I used to do, and Isaid dreadful things-thee knows what I'd say in apassion; and now I feel as if God Almighty up inheaven is the King, and he'll do to me everythingI said in my passion, and never, never let me enterinto his kingdom. It's the devil's kingdom that Ibelong to, and I shall grow worse and worse till I'mlike him, and Killip, and-"He was going to say Ewan Cowley, but his tender-ness for the blind child beside him would not sufferhim to mention her father's name. He was puzzled,too, about Ewan; and while Aggy, in her childish
38 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.mind, was pondering over Peter's confession, histhoughts went back to her father."Aggy," he said, hesitatingly, "father's a goodman, isn't he ?""Yes," she answered; "he goes to Santon churchalways, and to Captain Seaforth's meetings.""And he was out all night a fishing ?" continuedPeter."All night long," said Aggy."But he lost his boat last winter ?" he answered."Mr. Brideson said he might have his boat,"replied Aggy, "and he caught six lobsters and somecrabs. More than three shillings they'll be, if hegets sixpence apiece for the lobsters. Father knowswhere he can sell them always."They were silent again after that, and Peter's eyesfollowed the course of the boat as it coasted alongunder the cliffs, keeping just beyond the white lineof breakers which foamed and fretted over thejutting rocks that were hidden below the surface ofthe sea. His eyes grew dim again, and he turnedhis face away, and his voice faltered, as he repeatedpartly to himself, and partly to Aggy, "I said thatJesus should be my King; but I'm a wicked boy.""Hush!" whispered Aggy; "somebody:is coming-two people."Peter looked behind him quickly, and saw twomen coming towards them across the meadow in thelight of the evening sun. The one was a tall, strong,
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 39powerful-looking fisherman, with a creel slung acrosshis shoulders; and the other was a middle-sized, broad-set man, about forty years of age, with a seaman'scap on, and a rough pea-jacket lying over his arm.They were so far off that no sound of their voices hadreached Peter's ears, though Aggy had caught thefaint whisper; but his keen, far-seeing eye recognisedthem in an instant, and pressing Aggy's hand in his-with a feeling of sudden joy, he exclaimed, "It's thyfather, and Captain Seaforth's with him.":: '" *.''
40CHAPTER V.THE two children stood up as Captain Seaforthdrew near, Aggy holding fast by Peter's hand. Theheavy and bitter floods of tears had left unmistakale.traces upon the boy's cheeks and in his dark eyes;but his sudden gladness had made him forget hissorrow, and he waited, with a smile upon his tear-stained face, to welcome the captain with a sailor'ssalute as he passed by. But Captain Seaforth stoodstill, and fixed a kind but searching gaze upon thechildren, and after thus looking at them for a minute,which seemed almost an age to the boy, he said, in atone partly questioning and partly reproving, whichbrought the colour burning back into his cheeks,"What! crying, my lad?" Peter could not speak.Now and then he had crept towards the outskirts ofthe little congregation which was wont to gatheraround Captain Seaforth when he preached in theopen air upon the beach; but he had never dared toventure into his house, where the meetings were heldin wet or wintry weather, nor had he ever beenbrought so directly face to face with him. Yet,looking on from a distance, he had loved to see the
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 41captain stroll about the shore, or saunter away to-wards the great rocks on Langness, or put out to seain his trim little yacht; and there had been always asense of protection in his presence in the hamlet, foreven Killip did not care to attract his unfavourablenotice by any cruelty towards the boy. Yet, for oncein his life, Peter's tongue failed him when he longedto speak; and the captain would have received noanswer but for Aggy."Peter thought the Lord Jesus was going to behis King," she said, in a meek and sorrowful voice;"but he's too wicked."Peter ventured to glance up in the captain's facefor a moment, and, emboldened by the kindly gaze ofhis steady eyes, he planted his feet firmly togetherupon the rock, and lifting up his head with an air ofcourage, he looked from Captain Seaforth to EwanCowley, who stood at his side." I'm not afeard," he said, " and I'll just tell theeall, captain. Last night Ned Kelly and me weretalking about the kingdom out yonder on the way toLangness, and I said to him, Jesus shall be my King,'and I thought he was, and that I should always belike him as long as I live. So when I went withKillip to trim the lighthouse lamp, because Bridesonis away, he flogged me with a rope-end, and left meall alone upon the breakwater, because I'd neither,take oath nor promise never to speak to Ned Kellyagain. And I neither swore nor cried out, but was
42. THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.silent, like my King was. It was lonesome out there,captain, in the dark, but I didn't feel scared, becauseI was thinking about the Lord Jesus, and how, maybe, he might be walking past me on the sea, like thattime when they thought it was a spirit. I shouldn'thave been scared if I'd heard him call to me to cometo him upon the water; but I neither saw nor heardhim. But whilst I was waiting and waiting, just asthe tide was out, what should I hear but a boatcoming up out of the darkness, and who should be init but Ewan Cowley!"" It's a lie," stammered Ewan, his face growingwhite with suppressed passion; "the Lord in heavenknows I was a-bed till four o'clock this morning. Itwas somebody else the lad saw.""Captain," continued Peter, most earnestly, andstepping a little nearer to Captain Seaforth, " I'm nomore afeard now than I was then. It was Killip'sboat; and I saw him there get out, and walk off homeacross the beach, with his creel on his back. Then Iwent home too, and. slept in a manger like my King,and I was bent upon being like him always; butwhen Killip saw his boat anchored down at the break-water, he said it was one of my tricks; and I daren'ttell him about Ewan; and I said I knew nothingabout it; and at length, being afeard, I swore overand over again that I'd never seen the boat. Insteadof remembering my King, I told a lie, and cursedand swore about it."
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 43There was a dead silence when Peter finished.Ewan Cowley had swung his creel down upon theturf, and stood with his hands clenched together, asif to keep himself from felling the boy to the ground,even under the captain's thoughtful and stedfast gaze.Peter's head drooped again upon his open hands.Aggy, at the first sound of the sobs which he couldno longer restrain, found her way to his side, andnestled up against him; while Captain Seaforthlooked at them with a grave and calm, but verytender scrutiny."Who is this child?" he asked, after a while,laying his hand upon Aggy's uncovered head; and athis touch the blind girl lifted up her face with a smile."It's my little Aggy," answered Ewan wrathfully;"and the Lord, he knows Id never leave a littleblind creature like her in a lonesome place, where,may be, the spirits and the fairies are about all thenight long. Brideson lent me his boat, and I wentout to my lobster-pots first thing this morning. Iwouldn't tell thee a lie, captain. It was somebodyelse the lad saw with Killip's boat.""I believe you, Ewan," said the captain, with apleasant smile; "the night was dark, and the boyhere mistook some one else for you. I've too muchfaith in you, my man; we've known each other a longtime and well. But you must not be angry with the,lad. It is a mistake.""Nay, I'm not angry," replied Ewan; "but it
44 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.stands to sense, captain, I could do nought of thekind, when Bridget Killip's my own sister. I takeKillip's boat on the sly, indeed! I could ask him forit any day.""Let it pass, Ewan," said the captain; "the boywas mistaken. So you think you have shut yourselfout from the kingdom of heaven, my lad? "" Ay !" cried Peter with a sob, " there are no liarsand swearers there, I reckon. It was only last nightit seemed to me as if I had gone right into it; andnow I'm as bad as ever.""Peter," answered Captain Seaforth, "there is butone entrance into the kingdom, but every one may goin thereat and be saved. 'Jesus came preaching thegospel of the kingdom of God, saying, The time isfulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repentye, and believe the gospel.' Repentance and faithalone can give us a right to call Christ our King.Let us sit down here for a few minutes, and talkabout this matter."They were still standing near the edge of the cliffwhere the turf formed a grassy platform, which lay inthe brightest beams of the setting sun. Upon theleft hand was the deep and narrow ravine throughwhich the little river Santon flowed down from Ewan's.cottage to meet the tide, which was now filling thetiny creek at its mouth with its salt waters. Uponthe other hand there could be seen, about a mileaway, the white houses and the breakwater of Derby
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 45Haven. As upon the evening before, there was aprofound peace and repose brooding over both landand sea; and as the captain looked round, with eyesthat seemed to dwell lovingly upon every point of thefair view, he sighed deeply." It might be a paradise !" he said: "ah! if wemen had only kept ourselves fit for the paradise Godgave to us, the kingdom of heaven would never haveleft the earth. All his laws, which are only the lovinglaws of a father, would have been kept by all hischildren. We should not have needed to pray 'Thykingdom come,' for the kingdom of our God wouldhave been established amongst us." There was anearnest and persuasive tone in Captain Seaforth'spleasant voice, which seemed to make his words stealdown to the very heart; and as he spoke, Aggy creptcloser to his side, and Peter fastened his eyes uponhis face. Yet Ewan Cowley kept his look of rage;but his head was turned away from the others, andneither Captain Seaforth nor Peter saw the scowlwhich lowered upon his dark features."Ewan," continued Captain Seaforth, "you knowwhat we were talking about as we came along thelanes. We are all called to repentance and faith, notonce in our lives only, but constantly, day by day,alway repenting us of our sins, and believing in theLord Jesus-Christ. The kingdom is to come again;the kingdom of the Father and of his Son; and eachone of us may hasten its coming by quitting the
46 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.service of the devil, and going over to the great armywho are Christ's faithful soldiers and servants, fight-ing manfully under his banner. Even this little child,of whom Jesus said 'Of such is the kingdom ofheaven,' may make longer the time of his absence, ormay hasten the coming of his kingdom. Doubtless,if every subject of the King had been faithful, evennow Jesus might have reigned in the hearts of allpeople, and 'all the earth would have been full of theknowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.'"" There'd be no men living like Killip, and no boyslike me," said Peter reflectively." No," answered Captain Seaforth, smiling; " therewould be neither cruelty and oppression, nor dread andlying. Every soul of, man would be delivered fromthe bondage of sin, and shame, and sorrow.""Lord, let thy kingdom come," said Ewan, in alow and husky voice."Amen!" said the captain, solemnly yet joyfully;"but, Ewan, we may use another title in the place ofLord. We are free to say 'Our Father.' Peter,when you think of God as your King, take anotherthought of him beyond that, as your Father. It isthe Father's kingdom which is to come, wherein weshall not be servants, but sons; and when we hastenthe time of its coming, we are getting nearer to ourFather."The captain paused, and then, in a soft, low, andquiet voice, which fell almost into a whisper at times,
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 47he sang a verse or two of a hymn, until Aggy laidher small hand upon his, and let it rest there in fullcontentment and delight." Now then, Ewan," he said, when he had finished,"" you must take your little girl home before nightfall,and let Peter have your creel to carry the fish to myhouse.""Captain," said Ewan, earnestly, "the lad is mis-taken. As sure as I'm here safe and sound-thanksbe to Almighty God for it-I never set foot inKillip's boat last night.""I believe you," replied Captain Seaforth."The Lord above, he knows," added Ewan, givinghis creel to Peter; and lifting Aggy on to his broadshoulders, he strode away along the brow of the deepvalley which led inland; while Captain Seaforth andPeter followed the narrow path winding in and outupon the edge of the cliffs, until it reached the roadwhich ran through Derby Haven.
48CHAPTER VI.CAPTAIN SEAPORTH'S house, like most of the othersin the hamlet, was built close upon the shore, withonly the road running between it and the line towhich the sea rose at the highest tides. There waslittle more than a single row of buildings bleak andbare, lying around the edge of the bay; and CaptainSeaforth's house stood almost as the central one. Noone knew why he had fixed upon that remote andlonely fishing village as his home; nor was it knownwhence he came, nor where he went during his fre-quent and prolonged times of absence. Only everynow and then he suddenly made his appearance amongthe people, as he had done this summer's evening,and spent a few weeks in a quiet and undisturbedseclusion upon the solitary shore and the great rocksof Langness. His house was kept by an elderlyservant, to whom he sometimes sent notice of hiscoming; and this proved to have been the case on thepresent occasion, for before the captain, and Petercarrying the creel, had reached the door, they couldsee her, in her brown stuff gown and white linen cap,standing out in the road to watch for his arrival.
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 49The glimmering light of a fire shone upon the uncur-tained panes of the window, for the cold air from thesea made it pleasant to draw up to a warm hearth asthe night closed in; and through the open door ofthe kitchen came a savoury smell of cooking. Thehouse was small, with the parlour on the right andthe kitchen on the left, and a staircase leading upstraight from the front door to a story above, withtwo bedrooms and a large attic over them. But itwas spacious enough for Captain Seaforth, of whomit was rumoured among the people of Derby HavenS that his wife and children had been lost at sea.Peter lingered about the shore, after delivering upEwan Cowley's creel, until it was dark enough forhim to creep under the walls of the house unseen,Sand peep in through Captain Seaforth's window. Itwas the captain's fancy never to have his windowcurtained; and whenever he was at home, the lightof his lamp could be seen flickering across the bay ascertainly as that of the beacon on the breakwater.S Peter crawled noiselessly along the pebbly walk andlooked in. It was a large, low-roofed room, the wallsof which were decorated with pictures of shipwrecksand terrible storms at sea, except one portrait of asweet and gentle face, which hung above the hearth,and which the fishermen said was the likeness ofCaptain Seaforth's wife. Upon the high mantleshelfthere were curious shells, and models of boats andships, and in the deep embrasure of the casementE
50 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.stood the captain's telescope and compass. ButPeter had seen all these things a hundred timesbefore, and his attention was given wholly to thecaptain, who at first moved to and fro about theroom, placing everything in the neatest and mostship-shape order, and then sat down in an old oakenchair at the fireside, with his face turned towards thewindow. A brown and weather-beaten face it was,such as Peter was well accustomed to in the sturdyfishermen; but there was upon it such a look ofthoughtfulness, and patient long-suffering, and quietpeace, that the boy, as he gazed earnestly through thewindow, growing bolder every minute, felt that heshould love and obey the captain all his life long.In the dead silence that had fallen upon the littlehamlet with the coming of the night, there reachedPeter's ears the splash of oars in the bay; and startingfrom his reverie, for he had been lost in vague wishesas he gazed at Captain Seaforth's face, he turnedtowards the breakwater, and saw that the light of thebeacon had been kindled since he last looked round.Killip therefore was coming home; and if his fearsand queries were true, he would be a terrible man tomeet upon his landing. Yet he must face him. Foran instant Killip's fierce countenance seemed to standout clearly in his sight; and then he looked backwith fresh yearning and longing to rest his eyes uponthe captain's thoughtful and patient face, as he benthis head over the book before him, and smiled as he
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 51reac. A swift resolve flashed across Peter's mind.The house door stood open, as did also the parlourdoor, which was close beside it; there was no needto knock and wait; half-a-dozen steps would carryhim into the captain's presence, with its sweet andstrengthening sense of protection. He pulled off hiscap, and smoothed the rough hair down upon hisforehead; and as the sound of the oars drew nearer,and grew a little fainter again as Killip rowed in thedirection of his own cottage, Peter stepped resolutelyinto the house, and stood upon the threshold ofCaptain Seaforth's parlour." Captain," he cried, in a breathless and earnestvoice, "Killip's come home, and he'll thrash me again;that he will. He lays about him, Killip does. But,may be, if thee were about the shore and spoke aword for me, he'd mind thee.""But what will he flog you for, my lad ?" askedthe captain, putting down his book, and lookingkindly at the excited boy."His lobster-pots were robbed in the night,"answered Peter; "I know that sure enough; be itEwan Cowley or no that went out in the boat.Killip doesn't stay to hear reason. Captain, comeand walk along the shore a little bit. I must run offand meet Killip. Do come."He darted out of the house again, not daringto stay any longer; but as his own noiseless feet ranalong the road, he heard the welcome sound of foot-
52 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.steps following him, and he gained fresh heart andcourage. Killip was dragging his boat up to a placeof safety for the night, and Peter stood aloof for aminute or two before approaching him, to give thecaptain time to come up to the place. In the duskylight he could dimly see his figure as it drew nearerand nearer to them; and then he ventured to runforward and lay his hand upon the boat, in order tohelp his master to draw it to land; but Killip lashedhis fingers with such sharp and ready violence that hecould not refrain from uttering a short, shrill cry."Killip," said a calm and pleasant voice close athand, which sounded distinctly in the great stillness," what fish do you bring to shore ?""Fish !" repeated Killip hoarsely, "not a singleclaw of a lobster! I've four lobster-pots, captain,.two out towards Santon, and two under St. Michael's;and some thief has been and robbed them all. Myboat was out last night, captain, and this youngrascal is at the bottom of it.""As sure as I'm alive," cried Peter, "I've hadnought to do with the boat. When I was out onthe breakwater last night, I saw somebody bring itin, and anchor it down yonder at low water; but Iknow nought else. I'll take my oath-""No need of any oath, my boy," said the captain:"the law of the new kingdom is, Swear not at all;but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay; lest yefall into condemnation.' Killip, take the lad's word
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 53for it, and tell me how many lobsters you caught lasttime.""Five," grumbled Killip, "and six crabs. I soldthem all at Castletown for three shillings and three-pence.""Run home, Peter," said the captain. "I'll lendKillip a helping hand. Come, I know a boat as wellas any of you; and a better fisherman's boat thanthis doesn't sail out of the Haven."A faint grunt of satisfaction might have been heardfrom Killip's throat, and Peter started off homewardsat once; but as he waited near the door of the.cottage, he could still see the dusky outlines of theirfigures bending over the boat, and then standingtogether for some minutes, apparently in earnest con-versation. When Killip at last came up from theshore, he was very quiet; and after taking his supperin silence, except for occasionally thrusting his fingersinto his jacket pocket and making the chink of moneythere, he ordered Peter to climb up to his shelf underthe corner of the roof, and in a short time the inmatesof the hut were fast asleep.It was Tuesday morning when Peter awoke; butwith the dawn of light there came a bright thoughtand determination into his mind, which grew stronger:eery day, until the end of the week. Sunday morn-ing passed as usual in the ordinary duties of attendingto the horses and cattle on the farm; but, as theafternoon drew near, Peter became restless, yet
54 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.watchful, with an eager expression in his face, whichdid not escape Bridget Killip's notice. It was arainy day, and Killip could not stroll idly away, as itwas his custom to do -on fine Sundays, either toSt. Michaels Island or to Langness Point; but hesat indoors smoking his pipe, and enforcing uttersilence upon his companions. Never had Peter beenso anxious for the rain to clear away, or more ven-turesome in going to the door to look for signs of theweather; until, at length, Killip gave him an im-patient kick, and bade him begone out of the house,and shelter where he could. Bridget stole after him,on the pretext of looking after her chickens; but, toher extreme surprise, Peter's face was radiant withdelight. He drew down her ear to his lips, andspoke in a cautious whisper."Mother,", he said, "I'm off to the captain'sSmeeting."There was no time for Bridget to warn or dis-courage him, for before she fairly understood hisdaring words, he was running nimbly towards Cap-tain Seaforth's house. But his steps slackened as heScame near to it, and his heart began to beat violently.Now and then he had stood afar off, or stolen behinda wall to listen, while the captain was teaching thepeople out upon the shore; but it would be a verySdifferent thing to go into the house, and be distinctlyseen and curiously inspected by all the captain'shearers. Peter knew that neither Killip nor himself
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 55bore a very good character among the people ofDerby Haven; and the knowledge made him hesi-S tate. There was a small shed at the side of thehouse, and he sheltered himself under the eaves whilehe watched the people coming and passing in throughthe open door. Such decent, respectable people, inSunday clothes, and with such very grave and un-sympathizing faces; not one of them smiled at himand said, "Come with us, Peter Killip." He wentover the whole matter again very carefully in histroubled mind. He had been thinking about it ever"since Tuesday morning; but it put on a very differentaspect now that the last moment had arrived. Howshould he endure Killip's rage, if he ever came tohear of it ? And would not one or other of the littlecongregation be certain to tell him? Besides, hewould look so strange amongst them, with his barefeet and uncombed hair; for, though both of thesewere common enough upon ordinary week days, mostof the lads of Derby Haven wore shoes and stockings,and brushed their rough heads before going topreaching on a Sunday. Peter could not helpshrinking from the close scrutiny of the respectablej people whom he had seen enter; and he delayedunder the sloping eaves of the shed until, throughthe open window, he heard the captain's voice beginthe simple service, by reading out the first verse of ahymn with this chorus to it:-Ifl
56 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.Let us ne'er mind the frowns nor the scoffs of the world,For we all have the cross to bear;'Twill only make the crown all the brighter to shine,When we have the crown to wear.It was an odd, unsteady, riotous sound of singingwhich reached Peter under the shed; for he couldhear the shrill notes of children, and the rough, sea-broken voices of fishermen, and the thin, shakingquavers of old people, all of them mingling togetherwith little regard to the tune; but the captain'sstrong, steady voice, keeping right and deep amid allthe din, went straight to the boy's heart. He drewhimself up, and stroked the raindrops off his roughjacket; and with his head held bravely up, and hisblack eyes sparkling with resolution, he strode inthrough the open door. The meeting was held inthe kitchen, and every seat in the house, and somefrom the nearest neighbours, were collected in it; butevery one was filled, and the colour deepened inPeter's cheeks as he glanced shyly round for somecorner to hide himself in. Everybody was busy withthe chorus, but it did not prevent them from staringhard at this unexpected new comer, until the mannearest to him gave him a gentle push forward, andthe next repeated the action, till he found himselfside by side with the captain himself, who had beenbeckoning him to come up to him, and who now gavehim half of his hymn-book to look over with him.But Peter could see nothing, for all the room seemed
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 57to whirl around him. He was standing at the cap-tain's right hand; he knelt beside him; he sat closeto him while he was preaching his plain and simplesermon; and he felt strangely and wonderfully happy.SNever again would he be afraid of Killip; never againwould he be guilty of any sin. He should neverforget the sermon, and especially the text, which thecaptain repeated several times with a very clear andmarked utterance: " And Jesus.saith unto them, Whyare ye so fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose,and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a;great calm."c. ; '*
CHAPTER VII.As soon as the last prayer was ended, and before anyone else rose from their knees, Peter left the houseand ran away homewards. Ewan Cowley was sittingby the fireside, deep in conversation with Killip; andbefore long Peter learned from what they said thathis master and himself were about to complete thecrew of a lugger, which would sail out with the her-ring fleet from Peel the following day. Ewan hadbrought Aggy to stay with Bridget during hisabsence, and the little girl was sitting up in thecorner upon Peter's stool, silent and patient, but witha wistful straining of her sightless eyeballs, untilPeter himself drew near to her, and sat down on thefloor at her feet. For the rest of the eveningBridget was busy getting together the articles offood and clothing which he and Killip would needwhile they were away; for their absence would cer-tainly be for a week, and very probably for a fort-night. After a time Killip went out with Ewan,and the children were left to themselves. Not eventhe expectation of going out to sea with the fleet, anevent he had looked forward to from his earliestboyhood, could put the captain out of Peter's mind;
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 59and as Aggy listened with undivided attention, hedescribed to her again and again how kindly he had- spoken to him, and how gentle his voice was, andhow heartening the smile with which he looked uponhim.Late at night, Ewan, Killip, and Peter set offon their journey across the island to Peel. Once inhis life Peter had been as far from Derby Haven asthe top of South Barrule, a hill about five miles away;but his holidays had been very few, and his masterhad given him but little liberty. Now, as he caughtglimpses of the country through which they passed,lying dark and gloomy in the faint starlight, he felta strange blending of delight and dread, which causedhim to keep near to the men, who marched on brisklybefore him, yet made him almost wish that he coulddare to fall behind and be alone. The captain's"sermon had told him of that night when Jesus wentalone up into a mountain to pray; and here wasSouth Barrule rearing its steep and desolate slopesSbeside him, so majestically alone, that surely he couldpray there with all his heart. Yet no sooner did heperceive that while he tarried gazing at the grand,black outline of the hill, his companions had goneso far as almost to leave him out of sight, than hestarted with superstitious fear, and fled as fast as hisfeet could carry him until he overtook them. Heloitered behind no more till they approached Peel,and at sunrise found themselves in view of the fleet,Li
60 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.lying at anchor in the bay, and waiting for themorningtide.There were not a few battered-looking luggersamong the sixty or seventy which formed that por-tion of the Manx herring fleet; but the one to whichKillip and Ewan went, followed by Peter, was cer-tainly the least seaworthy of them all. The re-mainder of the crew consisted of four men, allstrangers to Peter, who received them with a gruffwelcome, and set the boy to work upon the spot incooking herrings for breakfast, while they overhauledtheir nets and made ready for sailing. The samepreparations were going on in every one of the boats,and loud cries, and shouts of laughter, and a medleyof rough voices, were to be heard on all hands;while the sun, as it rose brightly over the brow ofthe mountains, shone upon the tackling of the littlefleet, and made even the patched sails of Killip'slugger look gay in its beaming light. Peter set tohis work with a hearty will, and cooked a marvellousnumber of herrings, until the hunger of the crew wassatisfied; and then he turned contentedly to his ownbreakfast, while he feasted his eyes upon the animatedscene around him."Peter, ahoy !" he heard at last; and as his namewas called over and over again from some one of theluggers in the bay, he started up, and gazed eagerlyabout him. Presently he caught sight of Ned Kelly'sfriendly face, though it was half hidden by his hands,
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 61which were rounded about his mouth to form a kindof trumpet; and Peter tossed up his old cap into theair as high as the mast in a frenzy of delight."What crew and captain?" shouted Ned; andPeter sprang upon the gunwale to make himself bothseen and heard better."KIillip and Cowley of Derby Haven," he cried,"and me and four others. Killip's captain. Weshall get the best haul, ye'll see.""Ay! ay!" answered Ned; "all right, my lad.But remember the King, Peter."Peter felt sobered in an instant; and he lookedabout him as if his eyes had been just opened. Themen below were paying no heed to him, for they weretalking fast and furiously, with angry gestures andfierce oaths; all except Ewan Cowley, who stoodlistening.and looking on with an expression upon hisface which made Peter shrink instinctively from him,more than from his rougher and more violent com-rades. He was going to be imprisoned, as it were,with these six wicked men, within the narrow limitsof their little vessel, and he knew full well that hewould be the common drudge and butt of them all.The thought that Ned's words brought to his mindwas that of a tender and loving Master; one who hadbeen tossed upon the sea, and been drenched with thespray, and slept at night upon the open deck; yet atwhose word even the winds and waves were stilled.Oh, if he could only have sailed with him! Or,
6: M1E FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.since that could never be, if he might but go out intothe great sea with some one of those who belongedto his kingdom; with Captain Seaforth, or with NedKelly! Bridget Killip had spoken nothing but thetruth when she said it was no kingdom of God whichthey belonged to, but the kingdom of the devil; andhere he was in the midst of it, brought into the nar-row compass of a herring-boat. Suppose God shouldlet the lugger, with his enemies on board of it, sinklike a stone to the bottom of the sea, and so punishthem all together for their sins! His eye fell uponthe starting planks, and the old, rotten masts, andthe tattered sails, so different to the tight and trimboats about them. It would need no storm to breakup the crazy and shattered lugger; a swell of thesea would be enough to sink her and her wickedcrew. It was a desperate thing, thought Peter, tosail out upon the ocean with no shipmates exceptGod's rebels.But most of these disheartening thoughts passedaway when the fleet sailed out upon the turning tide,and, with their red sails set to the wind, glided softly-away towards the north,, to seek for signs of theherring. No one of the many witnesses who watchedtheir sailing was so incautious as to count the numberof the boats, lest some accident should befall the fleet,or some vehement storm should arise. They had allthe boundless sea to float about in, each lugger atsome distance from its nearest neighbour, yet alto-
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 63gether forming a chain which seemed to stretch faralong the horizon before they disappeared beyond it.Down from the north-east was coming the Scottishfleet to join them, and along the north-west the boatswere sailing from the seaboard villages of Ireland,until all the Irish Sea was girdled by a band of fish-ing craft. All day long there was little to be donebeyond keeping each lugger in sight of the others,and gliding lazily before the breeze towards the pointwhere there was the best chance of a shoal. Most ofthe men were sleeping in the sunshine, upon the littledeck which covered the forecastle; for they had beenwalking all the night before, and would be fishing allthe coming night. But Peter could not sleep; andhe sat at the bows, nursing his knees with his hands,and with his chin resting upon them, while he lookedout keenlyandeagerlyfor the signof the sea-birds hover-ing over the surface and diving down upon their prey.Towards sunset the crew began to bestir themselves;and Killip, stretching his arms with a loud yawn andrubbing his drowsy eyes, stood for some minuteslooking over the sea, which now encircled them onall sides, except that very far away towards the souththere lay an atom of a speck upon the horizon, whichonly Peter's long-sighted eyes could see, and whichwas his own island home. The water was like glass,with hardly a ripple quivering upon it, a clear, whitishsea, save that here and there were blue channelscrossing and recrossing each other like the paths upon
64 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.a common,, or on the table-land of mountains. Allthe surface of the broad space of water was dotted*over with the red-sailed luggers; and away towardsthe north could be seen, by the trained eyes of thecrew, an appearance like the shadow of a cloud, vastand black, above which there hovered an innumerableflock of sea-birds, whose shrill cries came faintlyacross the water like a distant echo. The black masswas tumbling and heaving just beneath the surface,and seemed to be rolling in the direction of Killip'slugger; at sight of which Peter sprang down fromthe forecastle deck, where he had been standing nearhis master, on to the great heap below him, wherethe nets lay coiled up, but ready for service."Hallo, mates!" cried Killip, "I'm out of myreckoning here. I thought I knew every fathom ofthese seas, but I know nought of yonder channels.It'll be a rare night for those that are in luck; thesails are lifting and shivering, and there's a galecoming up. If it 'ud only be dark enough, it 'ud bea prime night. How's the moon, Ewan?""Three days old," answered Ewan, "and chance,enough of a dark night. Hallo, Peter! What's thelad about?""Aren't we going to shoot the nets out?" criedPeter, his face crimson with excitement and the tugshe was giving to the coil of nets; " the herrings arecoming straight down upon us. See yonder!"He pointed eagerly to the great, tossing shoal
THE FISHERS 01F DERBY HAVEN. 65which was rolling towards them, followed by thehovering flock of sea-birds overhead; but Ewansneered, and laughed contemptuously."Lubber!" he said in a scornful tone, which madePeter's ears tingle, "we should have left thee at homewith the women. Shoot thy nets in the daylight,and scare the fish away! A rare fisherman thou'ltmake! Get to thy fryingpan, and leave the nets tous.")Thus rebuked, Peter sneaked away to his cookingagain, getting ready a good. meal for the crew beforethe night's work began. But he listened anxiouslyto an earnest discussion amongst the fishermen as tothe direction of the currents, and the depth at whichK the shoal were swimming after their food, and theI height of the tide; but as the conversation grewwarm, the four strangers disagreed with Killip andEwan, and it was resolved upon that they should runwithin hail .of the nearest lugger, and ask the opinionof her crew."Whose boat is she ?" asked one of the fishermen."Ned Kelly of Derby Haven's aboard of her,"aid Peter, glad to be able to put in a word; "andey say he's the best fisher that puts out of our. He'd know all about it."'s hail Ned Kelly, then," said the man, whileif fied to Peter with an uplifted rope, ready tolah t i&- if ih had not leaped hastily back to hiscookiin fire.F
66 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN."We'd best do the contrary to what he says,"remarked Ewan, drily; "there's no love lost betwixtus and Ned Kelly, I can tell ye.""Let's hail him, anyhow," answered his mate:"here, lad, thy tongue's the shrillest; ask him howlow the fish'll swim to-night, and what yon currentis to westward?""With the activity of a willing obedience, Petersprang upon the forecastle again, and forming hishands into a speaking-trumpet, he hailed the distantboat. He did not make himself heard at the first cry;and as he paused, with his open hand behind his ear,listening if any answer was sent to him, he caughtthe sound of singing among the crew. The windbore the tune and words softly to his attentive ear,and he felt as if he could almost join the chorus ofthe last line, "Crown him, crown him, crown himLord of all." But he glanced round the cluster ofhard and brutal faces which surrounded him, and inthe pause between the' verses he raised his voice to ahigher pitch, as he shouted again to Ned's lugger.This time he was heard, and answered heartily; andPeter asked the questions which the man at his siderepeated to him." They'll swim deep to-night," shouted Ned; " wesink ours eighteen feet. Keep wide of the drift."There was a scowl upon Killip's face, and a sneerupon Ewan's, as Peter reported Ned's answer; and-they both- laughed a short and bitter laugh. But
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 67I already the sun was gone down beneath the sea, andthe red light was beginning to fade softly and slowlyfrom the freshening waves. All was hurry and busi-ness now aboard the lugger. Supper was rapidlydespatched; and before the twilight had quite gone,"one end of the long fishing-net was lowered over theside of the boat, Killip, whose skill as a fisher wasconsidered very great, taking care that its mesheshung square, and smooth, and even in the water;and so, drifting along with the current, they shot outthe whole length of the net by slow degrees, until itlay below the surface of the sea, a long, hidden snarefor the great army of herrings.
68CHAPTER VIII.IT was as dark a night as any fisherman could lookfor in the month of June; for heavy clouds had ap-peared at nightfall, ahd had drawn a thick shroudacross the sky, while the freshening breeze stirred thewaters into ruffled waves, which were most favourableto their chance of success. Peter at last sank tosleep from sheer exhaustion, though he fought againstthe weakness with all his might; but at the firstgleam of light in the east he was awakened from hisprofound sleep, that he might be ready to help inpicking the fish out of the meshes, as they hauled inthe net. Ned's lugger was still close at hand, andthe nets of his crew had lain all night almost in alevel line with their own; already he and his com-rades were taking in their net, and as the dawn "strengthened, the fishes and the cook-boy were visible,busily occupied in freeing the herrings from the snarein which they had been securely caught while followingafter their prey. The lugger was even near enoughfor Peter to see the glittering scales of the fish-blue,and green, and silvery white-as the net was drawnin, little by-little, out of the sea. As for their own
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 69net, that also was being carefully hauled in, wet andslippery, with here and there a tangle of brown sea-weed, and now and then a few herrings caught in themeshes, but sometimes a great rent, where the dog-fish had pierced his way through it. As the twoboats slowly retraced the course they had takenduring the night, the success of Ned Kelly and hismates was so manifestly superior to their own, thatoaths deep and sullen were all the words that wereuttered'for some time by Killip and his crew.STheir labour was soon ended, except for the mend-Sing of the nets, which would be a work of time; butaboard Ned's boat all hands were kept busy forseveral hours, every fresh haul bringing to view more-herrings securely captured. It would be a loss andan expense for Killip to make for the Irish coast inorder to dispose of the few fish which his net hadcaught, so it was agreed to sell them to the smackswhich were already purchasing from other boats; butas soon as Ned Kelly's crew had gathered in theirlucky take, which filled the deep bottom of the luggerwjith a glistening pile, they hoisted all sail, and ranb(efore a favourable breeze to the nearest seaport. Itwas a hard day for Peter; for the sullen ill-humour ofK4lilp and Ewan soon spread to the spirits of theis and was strengthened by the frequert drams*hib they drank to cheer themselves. They quar-re e with dne another over an old pack of cardsw:hich Killip produced, and with which they played
"70 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.until there was hardly time sufficient for mending therents in the dirty and slippery net lying at the bottomof the boat. It had been a cold and cloudy day, andthe night brought driving gusts of rain, which beatsharply against their faces, and quickly soaked throughevery thread of their coarse clothing, as they let downthe net again sulkily over the side of the boat, cursingthe clouds, and the dog-fish, and the bad luck of thenight before. In the morning they found their haullittle better than that of the foregoing day; andthe spirit of discontent and mutual dissensiongrew stronger in the hearts of the rebel crew.So it continued throughout the week, with littlechange of fortune. On Thursday night they hadmore luck, as they called it, and caught a fair shareof the prey. It seemed to be all chance, certainly,for some of the nets, which formed the great circle ofsnares, took large and rich prizes; while others closeat hand captured only a few straggling fish. Uponthe night between Friday and Saturday, the lastfishing night of the week, Killip's crew secured scarcelysufficierit for their own supply during the two follow-ing days. Altogether they discovered that they hadnot cleared the week's expenses; and they bore downto the north-western coast of Ireland, which they hadgradually approached during the toil of the week, andwhere they intended to stay over Sunday, and resumetheir fishing in the same place. In spite of every-thing the week had not been without its pleasures to
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 71Peter. He had made his first fishing voyage into thewide seas. He had learned a great deal about the lifeand habits of the herring; and there had been a keendelight to him in freeing them from the meshes, andseeing a pile of them, sparkling with rainbow colours,grow larger and larger at his feet. If he could onlyhave been with Ned Kelly, whose success was said tobe the greatest in all the fleet, his enjoyment wouldhave been perfect. Still, in his own lugger the talkof the men, as they told their stories of peril andadventure amongst storms and tempests, had kept hima charmed listener, when many a time he wouldotherwise have been asleep.It is not to be wondered at that, amidst all thenovelty and toil, and shat up with the godless crewwithin the limits of the fishing-boat, Peter hadsometimes forgotten, at other times been afraid, ofpraying to his heavenly Father and King. HisTestament, drenched through and through with rainand sea-water, remained unopen in his jacket pocket;and though from time to time he was reminded of itlying there, as he pressed against it when leaning overthe gunwale, he never gained courage enough to takeit out, and dry and air it in the sunshine. Occa-saially, when he caught sight of Ned's lugger, whichhe could distinguish a long way off by an oddly-shaped patch upon the mainsail, there would comeacross his memory a sharp and troubled remembranceof God; and he would tremble for a minute, and try
72 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.to utter a prayer in his heart. But he was so busy,and his work was so new to him, that it was veryseldom his conscience made him afraid.Towards noon on Saturday they found themselvesat the entrance of a little Irish port, in which some ofthe luggers, Ned Kelly's among the rest, intended tocast anchor for the Sunday; but Killip declared thatthe week's luck would not bear the expense of theport duties, and as the weather was so calm andfavourable that there was no danger to be dreaded,he proposed that they should stay outside and anchorin a small creek, which was well sheltered from thewinds by surrounding rocks, and not far from ahaven should a storm arise. All the crew agreed toit; and when the tide was highest, they ran their boatas close to shore as was safe, and moored it as securelyas they could. The Saturday night was one of deepand prolonged sleep for all the crew; for their week'stoil, and the disturbed rest they had taken during thedaylight and in the heat of the sun, had thoroughlyexhausted them. It was late, therefore, on the Sundaymorning before any of them bestirred themselves;and after a substantial breakfast three of the strangerswent ashore to spend the rest of the day. Killip, ascaptain of the crazy old lugger, spent the morning inportioning out the money which had been earnedduring the week, which he did with a multitude ofsullen oaths and murmurs; and it was getting wellon in the afternoon, when they heard a voice hailing
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 73them. It was Ned Kelly, who had come round theheadland in a little boat, and whose bright and friendlyface soon appeared above the gunwale."Mates," he said, "it's dull work lying on one'soars so long. Here's some books and papers thecaptain gave me specially for the Derby Haven men.Hold out thy hand, Peter, they're for all of ye."Peter stretched out his hand, but a sudden switch ofthe rope-end, which Killip always seemed to have inreadiness, made him drop it again with a shout of pain."I'm always ready for thee, my lad," said Killip;"thou'lt play no tricks with me, I warn thee. And asfor thee, Ned Kelly, the sooner thou'rt out of my sightthe less mischief there'll be. Id as lief see thee deadand drowned as see every mesh of my net full.""Husht! husht!" said Ewan, coming to the sideof the lugger. " Killip's put out, Ned, with thy luckthis week. Here, my lad, give me thy tracts; it isdull work spending Sundays aboard; and if thee seesthe captain afore me, tell him I found 'em a blessingto me."" Don't speak aforehand, Ewan," said Ned, gravely;" but, lads, I'd have been glad to have paid the portdues for ye, if I'd only known Derby Haven fisherswere lying outside. But if a gale comes on at sun-down or morning, don't stand in for the land, butkeep the sea. It'll be safer, man, unless ye'll comeTound with the tide, and let me settle for ye in themorning."
74 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN." I'd sink the old boat first," growled Killip; andNed rowed away from the solitary lugger, whilePeter watched the dipping of his oars in the sparklingwater, until he rounded the head, and disappearedfrom his view."When the dispirited boy turned his head againtowards his companions, he saw that Ewan had takenhis stand upon a barrel placed endwise on the deck,and, with one of Captain Seaforth's books in his hand,was giving out a hymn two lines at a time, which hebegan to sing in a howling and sing-song tone, amidstthe cheers and mockery of his comrades. Encouragedby this success, he went on to mimic the captain'spreaching, and so ridiculous was the imitation, thatPeter, in spite of himself, joined his shrill, boyishlaughter with the coarse merriment of the fishermen."Hallo! young Methodist!" cried Ewan, inter-rupting himself, " art thee sniggering? Was that likethe captain's preaching last Sunday? Come, theeheard him last; what was his text? and I'll give ye asermon from it. I'm bound to be a match for thecaptain."Killip had been lolling upon the deck, but now heraised himself upon one arm, and his eyes glowedfiercely beneath his shaggy eyebrows, as he gazedsteadily at Peter."I wasn't there," cried Peter, in extreme alarm;"I've never been to hear the captain. I'd hate tohave to go, even if Killip made me."
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 75"Nay, nay," said Ewan, with a cruel sneer, "thouwert there, and stood aside of the captain, and lookedover the same hymn-book with him. Come here, andlet's show Killip how it were done. I'm the captain,and Peter's Peter."He jumped down from the barrel, and catchingPeter by the arm, dragged him, notwithstanding hisresistance, to a standing place before Killip; and thenseizing his hand wihd a grasp like an iron vice, heclosed his fingers upon one side of the hymn-book;while he commenced the hymn again, and sang it,swaying himself and Peter to and fro, until hesuddenly relaxed his hold of the boy, and sent himreeling and staggering forwards to the spot whereKillii was sitting. He fell at his feet, and Killipgave him a savage kick."Now then," said Killip, " I've had just as muchof this as I can stand. We'd a brush, my lad, notlong ago on the breakwater, and I told thee then I'dflog thee to within an inch of thy life. Thee thoughtthee had beat me; but I'm not going to be beat thistime. Thou'lt never set foot in Derby Haven againif thee doesn't agree to my terms. Many a lad's beenlost at sea, Peter."SThere was a cruel meaning in Killip's words, and aferocious look in his eye, which made Peter's heartdie within him. Many a boy had been lost at sea,and it seemed an easy thing for the wicked crew toaccount for his disappearance, should they return to
76 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.Derby Haven without him. The green waves uponwhich their vessel floated seemed to be lapping roundthe planks, as if waiting to suck him, and bury himdeep down in a grave which would betray no secret.He raised himself upon his knees, and gazed up intoKillip's face in utter and speechless terror, while histyrant drew slowly out of his own pocket a little sea-stained book, which he recognised at once as beinghis neglected Testament." Now," said Killip, in an awfully quiet voice, "Ifound this in thy pocket whilst thee were asleep thismorning. Well, on thy bended knees, then, thou'lthave to swear me an oath that thou'lt never, as longas thou lives, read this book again, or consort withNed Kelly and the captain. Thou'lt swear that thou'lthate them as I do. And more than that, thou'lt swearme a strong oath that thou'lt not go whining about thysoul and getting salvation. Confound thee, thou young'riscal.! where I go to will be good enough for thee!"Peter cast a despairing glance round the boat.Ewan Cowley was sneering with unconcealed malice;and the other fisherman was looking on partly in-different to, and partly amused at, Killip's cold furyand the boy's terror. Nothing could be seen but theblue summer sky, flecked with white clouds, and thesolitary headland stretching out into the sea. There wasno help for him; he was left all alone to the crueltyof these wicked men. Great drops of perspirationgathered upon his forehead, and his tongue was too
PETER'S TEMPTATION.Page 76.
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THE FISHERS OF DERBY IIAVEN. 77dry to pronounce a syllable when he first attempted toanswer his tyrant. It was no use, he felt, to contendany longer. Killip was pressing the Testament intohis nerveless hands, and repeating, in distinct and ter-rible clearness, the words of the oath he was to take.In a few seconds the contest was over. He hadtaken the oath which shut him out for ever from thekingdom of heaven. He had denied and renouncedall. He hadi sworn never more to think of hisSaviour, and seek his blessing and love. Once morehe had ranged himself with the vast army of sinners,who were under the command and authority of Satan;.and this he had done with a solemn and terrible vow;The blue sky above him must never remind-him ofheaven; or if it should, it would only be to bring tohis memory the oath by which he had sworn to giveup all hope of ever going there. He crept away asfar as he could from the forecastle, and lay down uponthe net, with his face hidden from the light; but hecould not weep, though the tears seemed to burnunder his eyelids. The Testament which Killip hadleft in his hands felt as heavy as lead, yet he could-not drop it among the wet meshes and ropes of thenet. So he lay there, utterly despairing and broken-.hearted, until he heard Killip call him to help to rowthe small boat they had with them to port. Thecommand was welcome to him; anything would bebetter than continuing in this inactive misery whichhad come upon him so suddenly.
78 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.Arrived at the fishing village, Killip went at onceto the public-house, leaving Peter to saunter aboutalone for an hour. He did not care whither he went;but as he paced bitterly down the village street heheard Ned Kelly's voice reading aloud in one of thecottages. Peter slunk by in his wretchedness andshame; but the sound of Ned's voice had recalled afeeling of care for his Testament which he had swornnever to read again. He returned to the public-house, and looked f cautiously through the window.Killip was seated with a group of fishermen, andquite unconcerned about him. With anxious precau-tion he stole past the open door into a little roombeyond, where the landlady was sitting with her chil-dren. He had a penny of his own, and he bought asheet of paper with it, thinking sorrowfully that it nolonger signified whether he bought things on a Sundayor not. Then he wrapped up his Testament, and tiedit round with several pieces of packthread which hehad about him; after which the eldest son of thewoman, a boy three or four years older than himself,wrote upon the parcel, " For Mr. Ned Kelly, of DerbyHaven. From Peter Killip." With this little packet inhis hand he went back to the cottage where Ned wasstill reading aloud; and with a bitter pang, as if hewas snapping the last strand of the cable which hadhitherto kept his anchor sure and steadfast, he laid hisforsworn Testament upon the door-sill, and retracedhis steps sadly to the shore to await Killip's orders.
79CHAPTER IX.ALL day long there had brooded upon the northernhorizon a dark, angry cloud, which had remainedsmall and stationary until the suf began to sink lowdown in the west, when it spread swiftly and denselyacross the evening sky, and a low wailing wind couldbe heard sweeping over the fields and forests of theland. Numbers of moaning seamews and gulls camebeating their weary wings against the breeze, as they,sought to shelter themselves in their own hauntsamong the rocks; and out against the headland thewaves were beginning to curl over each other inwhite wreaths of foam, while tiny sprays of frothwhirled high up on the dark surface of the rock likea troop of snowy butterflies. It was with consider-able difficulty that Killip and Peter forced their boatround the headland as they returned to the lugger;Sand while crossing the mouth of a creek with high":ocks on each side, such a vehement gust of windrushed down the narrow gully, that the boat span-round giddily, as if caught in an eddy. Ewan andhis comrade were dozing again in utter unconscious-l ness of the coming storm; but just as the boat
80 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.grappled the side of the lugger, a sudden peal ofthunder, loud and crashing, burst over them, and wasechoed with a sullen boom from the water. In aninstant they started to their feet, and looked aroundthem. Overhead there lowered a black and threaten-ing cloud, spreading its dusky wings over the wholeexpanse of sky; except that from the sun, which wassetting over the land behind them, a single lurid lineof light shot across the sea like a pathway of blood.The livid gloom seemed more awful to them, sincethey could see one another's evil faces, than even thedarkness of the night, which hides all things fromview. It was a thick, yellow, murky obscurity thatwas pressing down upon them, and encircling themon all sides, and cutting them off from any aid fromtheir fellow-men. They could see the frowningheadland rising like a barrier between them and thehaven, and the red gleam tinging the tossing waveswith an angry hue, and the black outline of the coastbehind them almost lost in the blackness of the densecloud. Before any of them could speak, and beforePeter and Killip had climbed into the lugger, thiscloud appeared to be rent to its centre, and a fierysheet of lightning blazed forth, which seemed to wrapthem all in its blinding brightness, whilst it revealed,in terrible distinctness, the vast sea stretching east-ward, and the dashing of the waves against the head-land, which stood between them and safety. In a fewminutes the rebel crew bore up against the terrors
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 81which were besetting them, and laughed and jestedabout the storm; but as the last red light died away,.Sand as the cloud overhead hung lower and blacker,now with an utter darkness, they grew silent, and aprofound stillness pervaded the boat for a few moments,which seemed almost endless in duration.Peter and Killip had entered the lugger; the boyhad grasped Killip's arm; he did not shake him off,but stood motionless at the helm, turning his headfrom side to side, as if seeking for some glimmeramidst the rayless obscurity. It came before theywere prepared for it, notwithstanding all the awfulmoments of waiting-a second blinding, flamingflash, which seemed to hover about them, and returnto them, and play about them as if in mockery, whilethe thunder rolled above them, and broke in furiousmutterings against the rocks and sea, scarcely dyingaway before there came another glare, with its at-tendant roar of thunder. The mute tongues wereloosened then, and Ewan and Killip, louder than theircomrades, cried to God to have mercy upon them,and vowed that they would amend their lives andSgive up all their sins. Killip held Peter's handtightly, and clung to him, praying that, at the least,SGiod would spare them for the young lad's sake, whohaanot been a great sinner like them. But Peterspoke not a word. In the roar of the thunder heheard the horrid oath repeated, by which he hadengaged to forsake his King, and forfeit his salvation..G
82 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.It was only a few hours since he had been overcomeby his dread of man to swear that he would nevermore pray to God, the great and dreadful God, whohad power beyond that of his master and tyrant, and,who now sent this storm for their destruction. Hefelt as if his tongue and heart refused to lift up onesingle prayer to him. In the intervals of dazzlinglight, the faces of his companions darted into vividlife before his eyes, and he fancied he saw in them thedespairing and agonized faces which would surroundhim in that solemn day, when he would see many,very many, coming and sitting down in the kingdomof God, while he himself would be shut out.In the midst of their frenzied alarm the helplesscrew became aware that their anchor was loosened, andthat they were being driven out to sea upon thereceding tide, and before the wind which was blowingoff shore. They gave themselves up for lost then, andcried upon God more vehemently than before as they"drifted out into the invisible gulf before them; butstill Peter neither spoke nor stirred, while his whiteface, uplifted to the angry clouds, shone in the fitfulflashes of the lightning-a hopeless, despairing face,looking from afar off to the heaven which he had lost.But by-and-bye the violence of the storm abated some-what; and before they had quite lost sight of shore,the gloom so far dispersed as to grant them a glimpseof the harbour lighthouse, beyond whose beam NedKelly's lugger was anchored in safety, while they were
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 83orolling about perilously in the dark trough of thebillows. With the bating of the storm the courage ofthe three fishers revived, and they set to work tomanage their shattered craft as well as they could inthe open sea; but their terror had been too great forthem to recover altogether from its effects, and thoughthey were kept busy until morning, an unusual gravityprevailed among them, and the toilsome hours of thenight passed by without either oath or jest passingtheir lips.With the morning, however, there came a completedeliverance from their dread. Killip was the first toswear as he looked round at the damage done to theold lugger; and Ewan Cowley laughed at the profane"words he uttered. All the three seemed anxiousto blot out the recollection of their cowardly prayersby a more foolhardy use of their evil language, andby a more reckless indulgence in dram-drinking.They made their way back to the bay to take in theirmates, and to wait for the setting out of the fleet; andwhile Peter was set to watch, his masters yielded tothe heavy slumber which followed upon the toil of thenight and their excess in drinking.All the week through there came neither hope norcomfort to Peter's heart. A settled despair had seizedupon him; and now his conscience smote him with thethought that, if anything could have prevailed to drivehim to prayer again, the terrors of the thunderstorm,which had conquered the hardened spirits of the
84 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.wicked crew, would have wrung a cry from his soul toGod. It was a sign that his heavenly Father hadforsaken him, even as he had denied and renouncedhis King. He went about his work heavily, with nobrightening of his eye, nor eager glow upon his face;and neither Killip's kicks nor Ewan's taunts couldmove him. He knew he should grow up to be a manlike them, but the thought did not trouble him now.He did not feel as if he should ever care for anythingagain; his heart was growing hard and strong. Sothrough all the changes and chances of the week'sfishing he did his own work under the lash of histyrant, and without any heavenly Master or heavenlyhome to look up to.
CHAPTER X.THE Manx fleet put into Port-le-Mary, the mostsoutherly port of the island, upon Saturday afternoon;and before long those of the fishers who belonged tothe south had disembarked and dispersed to theirhomes, leaving the men from the north in charge ofthe anchored vessels. Killip and Ewan, with Peterlagging behind them at a little distance, started off inthe direction of Castletown, beyond which lay DerbyHaven. Already Peter could see the point qf Lang-ness stretching out to sea, but there was no quickeningof his pulse, or hurrying of his footsteps. He trudgedon gloomily, with steady and mechanical pace; hishead bent down, and his arms hanging at his sides.Once or twice the merry melody of the larks fell fromthe sky upon his ear with a sweet and cheering sound,after the ceaseless splash of the waves and themoaning cries of the sea-birds. But though heforgot himself for an instant, and peered up throughhis rounded hands for a sight of the nearly invisiblewarbler, he quickly drooped his head again, andresumed his heavy-footed and heavy-hearted march.Even when they entered the narrow streets of Castle-
86 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.town, where the people seemed all alive for an houror two, and the bellman was going round with hisbell to announce that herrings were being sold in themarket-place at thirty for a shilling, Peter could notlay aside his dogged and miserable aspect. As ifeverybody were staring at him, and whisperingtogether about him, he stole shamefacedly throughthe streets; until seeing. Killip and Ewan enter apublic-house, jingling the money in their pockets,he stayed no longer in their wake, but with somewhatquicker steps went on his way to Derby Haven.About half-way between Castletown and DerbyHaven there stands a small artificial mound over-looking Castletown Bay, which bears the name ofHengo Hill. Upon it there remain the ruins ofan old square tower, where, in former times, thosecriminals were executed who were condemned tosuffer the extreme penalty of death. Peter had beenwont to hurry past the tower on the other side of theroad whenever the twilight was creeping on; but thisevening he felt impelled to climb up into the ruin, andsit there for a while, looking out with his grey andgloomy face towards the sea. The last man who hadbeen hanged here, so people told him, had been atraitor. He knew what a traitor was; one who wasfalse-hearted towards his king, a man who betrayed -the trust confided to him. Well, this man, whoeverhe was-he did not know much about him-had beenhanged up there in the light of day for only being
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 87false to an earthly sovereign, and for betraying anearthly trust. Peter's conscience was very busily andmiserably at work; and just now, in thoughts whichhardly took the shape of words, it was piercing deepdown into his troubled soul, the accusation thathe also was a traitor; and all at once, as if ithad caught the blinding flash of the lightning, itstamped upon his brain this verse, which he had heardthe captain read in a very solemn and sorrowfulvoice, " Whosoever shall deny me before men, him willI also deny before my Father which is in heaven."Peter's inmost spirit trembled with despair. Againand again, just like the restless waves which werebreaking upon the shore, the sentence echoed throughhis mind. And he knew them to be the words of hisKing. It seemed almost as if he had but to open hiseyes, and the Lord Jesus would be standing therebefore him, looking very sad, yet with an awful judg-ment in his face and voice, as though he could not, ifhe would, recall the deathlike doom. All at once hefelt afresh what it was that he had lost. He had lostthe right of belonging to God, and of being thefaithful soldier and servant of the Lord Jesus. Therewere only two kingdoms in the world; and he hadpledged himself to belong to the kingdom of evil, andmisery, and sin. He had openly declared himselfa stranger and an enemy to Christ; and that momentJesus had also denied him before his Father inheaven. He was lost. Lost! he repeated to himself.
88 THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.He knew what men meant by being lost at sea. Theboat driving on wildly, no one knew whither, throughthe scowling darkness, heavy and dank with fog; ortossing from the hollow of one wave to another; everymoment horrible and full of suspense; and at last thesudden crash, and the cruel rocks catching the frailvessel on their sharp points, and bruising the drowningwretches before they were swallowed up by thedevouring sea. His little bark was lost; he had him-self cut the cable which anchored it safely in theharbour, and it was drifting he knew not whither;only the end of all would be that he would hear theLord's voice through the dense darkness, denyinghis name in the presence of the Father and of theholy angels.He roused himself at last heavily, and dragged hisleaden feet from the Traitor's Hill. The hedgerowswere golden with gorse blossoms, and the meadowson each side the road were snowy with daisies, allclosing up their tender blossoms in the cool of theevening. The milch cows had been turned out fortheir summer night's pasturage, and the air wasscented with their sweet breath; and their quiet andsatisfied lowing mingled with the twittering of thebirds and the gentle murmur of the sea in the havenat home. He was close upon Derby Haven now, andat any moment he might encounter Captain Seaforth.He could not meet anybody who would not know him,and stop to make inquiry about the week's fishing.
THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN. 89It would never do to have to talk while he felt such achoking sensation in his throat, and such a whirling ofthought in his brain. So he climbed over one of thegolden hedgerows into a corn-field, and sitting downin the shadow he waited for the night to come andhide him from every eye.It appeared a very long time in growing dark, as ifthe day grieved to leave him in his wretchedness;and the darkness, when it came, was not deep enoughto hide the outlines of the western hills from hissight. He crept along in the shadows still, startingat every sound, and afraid of the sleeping dogs, whichgave him a drowsy bark of welcome as they saw theirfriend passing cautiously by. There was a singlebeam of light shining through the lattice panes of"Killip's cottage, for Bridget expected them home to-night, after their fortnight's absence. She was her-self at the door, looking eagerly into the darl; butwhen Peter saw her he slipped aside into an old lime-kiln which stood near the house. It was of no use,for Terry came bounding to meet him with loud, gladbarks of delight; and Bridget ventured a few stepsfrom the doorway, and called in a timid voice, "Peter,Peter!""It's me, mother!" answered Peter, waiting forher to come a little nearer to him in the darkness;for he felt that he could meet her better thus in thegloom, where she could not look searchingly into hisface. Yet it was pleasant to touch her outstretched