“There’s a berg driftin’ down on the trap. We’ll have to take her in,” he announced.
“But ‘tis Sunday,” exclaimed his wife. “You’ll never be workin’ on Sunday.”
“Aye, ’tis Sunday and ’tis against my principles to fish on the Sabbath day. I never did before, but ’tis to save our cod trap now. The lads and I’ll not fish. We’ll just haul the trap.”
“The Lard’ll forgive that, whatever,” agreed his wife.
Skipper Tom went out when he had eaten, but it was not long until he returned.
“I’m not goin’ to haul the trap today,” he said quietly and decisively. “There are those in this harbor,” he added, turning to Doctor Grenfell, “who would say, if I hauled that trap, that ’twould be no worse for them to fish on Sunday than for me to haul my trap. Then they’d go fishin’ Sundays the same as other days, and none of un would keep Sunday any more as a day of rest, as the Lard intends us to keep un, and has told us in His own words we must keep un. I’ll not haul the trap this day, though ’tis sore hard to lose un.”
For a principle, and because he was well aware of his influence upon the folk of the settlement, Skipper Tom had made his decision to sacrifice his cod trap and the earnings of his lifetime. His conscience told him it would be wrong to do a thing that might lead others to do wrong. When our conscience tells us it is wrong to do a thing, it is wrong for us to do it. Conscience is the voice of God. If we disobey our conscience God will soon cease to speak to us through it. That is the way every criminal in the world began his downward career. He disobeyed his conscience, and continued to disobey it until he no longer heard it.
Skipper Tom never disobeyed his conscience. Now the temptation was strong. His whole life’s savings were threatened to be swept away. There was still time to save the trap.
But Skipper Tom was strong. He turned his back upon the cod trap and the iceberg and temptation, and as he and Doctor Grenfell climbed the hill to the chapel he greeted his neighbors calmly and cheerily.
Every eye in Red Bay was on Skipper Tom that day. Every person knew of the cod trap and its danger, and all that it meant to Skipper Tom, and the temptation Skipper Tom was facing; but from all outward appearance he had dismissed the cod trap and the iceberg from his mind.
When dusk fell that night the iceberg was almost upon the cod trap.
[C] Pronounced kentel in Labrador; 112 pounds.
THE SAVING OF RED BAY
At an early hour on Sunday evening Skipper Tom went to his bed as usual, and it is quite probable that within a period of ten minutes after his head rested upon his pillow he was sleeping peacefully. There was nothing else to do. He had no doubt that his cod trap was lying under the iceberg a hopeless wreck.