And Julie Hamon sprang to her feet with blazing eyes, pointed a shaking hand at Gard, and screamed:
“Murderer! Murderer! Murderer!”
HOW SARK CRAVED BLOOD FOR BLOOD
Stephen Gard walked slowly down the road towards Plaisance in the lowest of spirits.
This strange people amongst whom he had fallen, possessed, in pre-eminent degree, what in these later times is known as the defects of its qualities.
Black sheep there were, of course, as there are in every community, who seemed all defects and possessed of no redeeming qualities whatever. But, taken as a whole, the men of Sark were simple, honest according to their lights, brave and hardy, very tenacious of their own ideas and their island rights, somewhat stubborn and easier to lead than to drive, and withal red-blooded, as the result of their ancestry, and given to a large despite of foreigners, in which category were included all unfortunates born outside the rugged walls of Sark.
He had done his best among them, both for their own interests and those of the mines, but no striving would ever make him other than a foreigner; and in the depression of spirit consequent on the trying experiences of the day, he gloomily pondered the idea of giving up his post and finding a more congenial atmosphere elsewhere.
Still, he was a Cornishman, and dour to beat. And, if he had incurred unreasonable dislike, he had also lighted on the virgin lode of Nance’s love and trust, and that, he said to himself with a glow of gratitude, outweighed all else.
He had left the school-house at once when he had given his evidence, and had heard no more of what had taken place there. The bystanders had let him pass without any open opposition, but their faces had been hard and unsympathetic, and he recognized that life among them would be anything but a sunny road for some time to come.
If the people at Plaisance had told him to clear out and find another lodging he would not have been in the least surprised. But they had no such thought. In common with all who really got to know him, they had come to esteem and like him, and they had no reason to believe that he had had anything to do with Tom Hamon’s death.
He had pondered these matters wearily till bed-time, and he turned in at last sick of himself, and Sark, and things generally. But his brain would not sleep, and the longer he lay and the more he tossed and turned, the wearier he grew.
Sleep seemed so impossible that he was half inclined to get up and dress and go out. The cool night air and the freshness of the dawn would be better than this sleepless unresting. Suddenly there came a sharp little tap on his window.
A bird, he thought, or a bat.
The tap came again—sharp and imperative.
He got up quietly and went to the window. The night was still dark. As he peered into it a hand came up again and tapped once more and he opened the window.