Dead Man's Rock eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Dead Man's Rock.

Joe’s voice had a curious break in it, and his whole bearing was so unaccountable that I did not wonder when Tom quietly said—­

“Joe, you’re telling lies.”

Now Joe was, in an ordinary way, the soul of truth:  so I looked for an explosion.  To my surprise, however, he took no notice of the insult, but turned again to me—­

“Jasper, lad, run along back:  do’ee now.”

His voice was so full of entreaty that a sudden suspicion took hold of me.

“Joe, is—­has anything happened to mother?”

“Noa, to be sure:  she’ll be gettin’ well fast enough, if so be as you let her be.”

“Then I’ll go and see Uncle Loveday, and find out if I am really to go back.”

I made a motion to go, but he caught me quickly by the arm.

“Now, Jasper, doan’t-’ee go:  run back, I tell’ee—­run back—­I tell’ee you must go back.”

His words were so earnest and full of command that I turned round and faced him.  Something in his eyes filled me with sickening fear.

“Joe, what were you carrying?”

No answer.

“Joe, what were you carrying?”

Still no answer; but an appealing motion of the hand.

“Joe, what was it?”

“Go back!” he said, hoarsely.  “Go back!”

“I will not, until I have seen what you were carrying.”

“Go back, boy:  for God’s sake go back!”

I wrenched myself from his grasp, and ran with all speed.  Joe and Tom followed me, but fear gave me fleetness.  Behind I could hear Joe’s panting voice, crying, “Come back!” but the agony in his tone set me running faster.  I flew through the archway, and saw the small procession half-way across the cove.  At my shout they halted, paused, and one or two advanced as if to stop me.  But I dashed through their hands into their midst, and saw—­God in heaven!  What?  The drowned face of my father!

Tenderly as women they lifted me from the body.  Gently and with tear-stained faces, they stood around and tried to comfort me.  Reverently, while Joe Roscorla held me in his arms behind, they took up the corpse of him they had known and loved so well, and carried it up the cliffs to Lantrig.  As they lifted the latch and bore the body across the threshold, a yell of maniac laughter echoed through the house to the very roof.

And this was my father’s “Welcome Home!”

Nay, not all; for as Uncle Loveday started to his feet, the door behind him flew open, and my mother, all in white, with very madness in her eyes, rushed to the corpse, knelt, caught the dead hand, kissed and fondled the dead face, cooing and softly laughing the while with a tender rapture that would have moved hell itself to pity.

In this manner it was that these two fond lovers met.



Project Gutenberg
Dead Man's Rock from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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