Two men knew very well—the man who had been ducked, and his companion, a younger man, who was also in the still-room, and had lent a hand in carrying Feltram up to the house.
Tom Marlin had a queer old stone tenement by the edge of the lake just under Mardykes Hall. Some people said it was the stump of an old tower that had once belonged to Mardykes Castle, of which in the modern building scarcely a relic was discoverable.
This Tom Marlin had an ancient right of fishing in the lake, where he caught pike enough for all Golden Friars; and keeping a couple of boats, he made money beside by ferrying passengers over now and then. This fellow, with a furrowed face and shaggy eyebrows, bald at top, but with long grizzled locks falling upon his shoulders, said,
“He wer wi’ me this mornin’, sayin’ he’d want t’ boat to cross the lake in, but he didn’t say what hour; and when it came on to thunder and blow like this, ye guess I did not look to see him to-night. Well, my wife was just lightin’ a pig-tail—tho’ light enough and to spare there was in the lift already—when who should come clatterin’ at the latch-pin in the blow o’ thunder and wind but Philip, poor lad, himself; and an ill hour for him it was. He’s been some time in ill fettle, though he was never frowsy, not he, but always kind and dooce, and canty once, like anither; and he asked me to tak the boat across the lake at once to the Clough o’ Cloostedd at t’other side. The woman took the pet and wodn’t hear o’t; and, ‘Dall me, if I go to-night,’ quoth I. But he would not be put off so, not he; and dingdrive he went to it, cryin’ and putrein’ ye’d a-said, poor fellow, he was wrang i’ his garrets a’most. So at long last I bethought me, there’s nout o’ a sea to the north o’ Snakes Island, so I’ll pull him by that side—for the storm is blowin’ right up by Golden Friars, ye mind—and when we get near the point, thinks I, he’ll see wi’ his een how the lake is, and gie it up. For I liked him, poor lad; and seein’ he’d set his heart on’t, I wouldn’t vex nor frump him wi’ a no. So down we three—myself, and Bill there, and Philip Feltram—come to the boat; and we pulled out, keeping Snakes Island atwixt us and the wind. ‘Twas smooth water wi’ us, for ’twas a scug there, but white enough was all beyont the point; and passing the finger-stone, not forty fathom from the shore o’ the island, Bill and me pullin’ and he sittin’ in the stern, poor lad, up he rises, a bit rabblin’ to himself, wi’ his hands lifted so.
“‘Look a-head!’ says I, thinkin’ something wos comin’ atort us.
“But ’twasn’t that. The boat was quiet, for while we looked, oo’er our shouthers, oo’er her bows, we didn’t pull, so she lay still; and lookin’ back again on Philip, he was rabblin’ on all the same.
“‘It’s nobbut a prass wi’ himsel”, poor lad,’ thinks I.
“But that wasn’t it neither; for I sid something white come out o’ t’ water, by the gunwale, like a hand. By Jen! and he leans oo’er and tuk it; and he sagged like, and so it drew him in, under the mere, before I cud du nout. There was nout to thraa tu him, and no time; down he went, and I followed; and thrice I dived before I found him, and brought him up by the hair at last; and there he is, poor lad! and all one if he lay at the bottom o’ t’ mere.”