“Oct. 10th.—Awake all night, trying to soothe the cries of the child, and at the same time keeping a good look-out for the mutineers. The sea is terribly rough, and the poor corpses are being pitched from side to side of the cabin. At midday I heard a cry on deck, and judged that Kelly had dropped from the rigging in pure exhaustion. The noise in the forecastle is awful. I think some of the men there must be dead.
“Oct. 11th, 5 p.m.—The child is dying. There is a fearful storm raging, and with this crew the vessel has no chance if we are anywhere near land. God help—”
TELLS OF THE WRITING UPON THE GOLDEN CLASP; AND HOW I TOOK DOWN THE GREAT KEY.
So ended my father’s Journal—in a silence full of tragedy, a silence filled in with the echo of that awful cry borne landwards on the wings of the storm; and now, in the presence of this mute witness, shaping itself into the single word “Murder.” Of the effect of the reading upon us, I need not speak at any length. For the most part it had passed without comment; but the occasional choking of Uncle Loveday’s voice, my own quickening breath as the narrative continued, and the tears that poured down the cheeks of both of us as we heard the simple loving messages for Margery—messages so vainly tender, so pitifully fond—were evidence enough of our emotion.
I say that we both wept, and it is true. But though, do what I could, my young heart would swell and ache until the tears came at times, yet for the most part I sat with cold and gathering hate. It was mournful enough when I consider it. That the hand which penned these anxious lines should be cold and stiff, the ear for which they were so lovingly intended for ever deaf: that all the warm hopes should end beside that bed where husband and wife lay dead— surely this was tragic enough. But I did not think of this at the time—or but dimly if at all. Hate, impotent hate, was consuming my young heart as the story drew to its end; hate and no other feeling possessed me as Uncle Loveday broke abruptly off, turned the page in search of more, found none, and was silent.
Once he had stopped for a moment to call for a candle. Mrs. Busvargus brought it, trimmed the wick, and again retired. This was our only interruption. Joe Roscorla had not returned from Polkimbra; so we were left alone to the gathering shadows and the horror of the tale.