There was silver there without a doubt, and the many thin veins they came across lured them on with constant hope of mighty pockets and deposits of which these were but the flying indications.
And all putting in and getting nothing out results in stressful times, in business ventures as in the case of individuals. The great shafts sank deeper and deeper, the galleries branched out far under the sea, and there was a constant call for more and more money, lest that already sunk should be lost.
Mr. Hamon, disappointed in his view of raising money on the farm by Tom’s obstinacy, in the bitterness of his spirit and the urgent necessities of the mines, conceived a new idea which, if he was able to carry it out, would serve the double purpose of satisfying his own needs at the recalcitrant Tom’s expense.
“I must have more money for the mines,” he said to his wife one day in private. “I’m thinking of selling the farm.”
“Selling the farm?” gasped Mrs. Hamon, doubtful of her own hearing. For selling the farm is the very last resource of the utterly unfortunate. “Aye, selling the farm. Why not? It’ll all come back twenty times over when we strike the pockets, and then we can live where we will, or we can go across to Guernsey, or to England if you like.”
But Mrs. Hamon was silent and full of thought. She had no desire for wealth, and still less to live in Guernsey or in England, or anywhere in the world but Sark.
He had been a good husband to her on the whole, until this silver craze absorbed him. She had never found it necessary to counter his wishes before. But this idea of selling the farm cut to the very roots of her life.
For Nance’s sake and Bernel’s she must oppose it with all that was in her. If the farm were sold the money would all go into those gaping black mouths and bottomless pits at Port Gorey. The home would be broken up—an end of all things. It must not be.
“I should think many times before selling the farm if I were you,” she said quietly, and left it there for the moment.
But old Tom, having made up his mind, and the necessities of the case pressing, lost no time over the matter.
“I’ve been speaking to John Guille about that business,” he said, next day, in a confidently casual way.
“About the farm. He’ll give me six hundred pounds for it and take the stock at what it’s worth, and he’s willing we should stop on as tenants at fifty pounds a year rent.”
His wife was ominously silent. He glanced at her doubtfully.
“I shall stop on as tenant for the present and Tom can go on working it. When we reach the silver, and the money begins to come back, we can decide what to do afterwards.”
Still his wife said nothing, but her face was white and set. It was hard for her to put herself in opposition to him, but here she found it necessary. He was going too far.