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- Michael's Crag - 1/19 -


MICHAEL'S CRAG

BY

GRANT ALLEN

AUTHOR OF "WHAT'S BRED IN THE BONE," "TENTS OP SHEM," "IN ALL SHADES," ETC.

With over Three Hundred and Fifty Illustrations In Silhouette

BY

FRANCIS CARRUTHERS GOULD

AND

ALEC CARRUTHERS GOULD

CHICAGO AND NEW YORK:

1893

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER.

I. A CORNISH LANDLORD

II. TREVENNACK

III. FACE TO FACE

IV. TYRREL'S REMORSE

V. A STRANGE DELUSION VI. PURE ACCIDENT

VII. PERIL BY LAND

VIII. SAFE AT LAST

IX. MEDICAL OPINION

X. A BOLD ATTEMPT

XI. BUSINESS IS BUSINESS

XII. A HARD BARGAIN

XIII. ANGEL AND DEVIL

XIV. AT ARM'S LENGTH

XV. ST. MICHAEL DOES BATTLE

CHAPTER I.

A CORNISH LANDLORD.

"Then you don't care for the place yourself, Tyrrel?" Eustace Le Neve said, musingly, as he gazed in front of him with a comprehensive glance at the long gray moor and the wide expanse of black and stormy water.

"It's bleak, of course; bleak and cold, I grant you; all this upland plateau about the Lizard promontory seems bleak and cold everywhere; but to my mind it has a certain wild and weird picturesqueness of its own for all that. It aims at gloominess. I confess in its own way I don't dislike it."

"For my part," Tyrrel answered, clinching his hand hard as he spoke, and knitting his brow despondently, "I simply hate it. If I wasn't the landlord here, to be perfectly frank with you, I'd never come near Penmorgan. I do it for conscience' sake, to be among my own people. That's my only reason. I disapprove of absenteeism; and now the land's mine, why, I must put up with it, I suppose, and live upon it in spite of myself. But I do it against the grain. The whole place, if I tell you the truth, is simply detestable to me."

He leaned on his stick as he spoke, and looked down gloomily at the heather. A handsome young man, Walter Tyrrel, of the true Cornish type--tall, dark, poetical-looking, with pensive eyes and a thick black mustache, which gave dignity and character to his otherwise almost too delicately feminine features. And he stood on the open moor just a hundred yards outside his own front door at Penmorgan, on the Lizard peninsula, looking westward down a great wedge-shaped gap in the solid serpentine rock to a broad belt of sea beyond without a ship or a sail on it. The view was indeed, as Eustace Le Neve admitted, a somewhat bleak and dreary one. For miles, as far as the eye could reach, on either side, nothing was to be seen but one vast heather- clad upland, just varied at the dip by bare ledges of dark rock and a single gray glimpse of tossing sea between them. A little farther on, to be sure, winding round the cliff path, one could open up a glorious prospect on either hand over the rocky islets of Kynance and Mullion Cove, with Mounts Bay and Penzance and the Land's End in the distance. That was a magnificent site--if only his ancestors had had the sense to see it. But Penmorgan House, like most other Cornish landlords' houses, had been carefully placed--for shelter's sake, no doubt--in a seaward hollow where the view was most restricted; and the outlook one got from it, over black moor and blacker rocks, was certainly by no means of a cheerful character. Eustace Le Neve himself, most cheery and sanguine of men, just home from his South American railway-laying, and with the luxuriant vegetation of the Argentine still fresh in his mind, was forced to admit, as he looked about him, that the position of his friend's house on that rolling brown moor was far from a smiling one.

"You used to come here when you were a boy, though," he objected, after a pause, with a glance at the great breakers that curled in upon the cove; "and you must surely have found it pleasant enough then, what with the bathing and the fishing and the shooting and the boating, and all the delights of the sea and the country."

Walter Tyrrel nodded his head. It was clear the subject was extremely distasteful to him.

"Yes--till I was twelve or thirteen," he said, slowly, as one who grudges assent, "in my uncle's time, I liked it well enough, no doubt. Boys don't realize the full terror of sea or cliff, you know, and are perfectly happy swimming and climbing. I used to be amphibious in those days, like a seal or an otter--in the water half my time; and I scrambled over the rocks--great heavens, it makes me giddy now just to THINK where I scrambled. But when I was about thirteen years old"--his face grew graver still--"a change seemed to come over me, and I began . . . well, I began to hate Penmorgan. I've hated it ever since. I shall always hate it. I learned what it all meant, I suppose--rocks, wrecks, and accidents. I saw how dull and gloomy it was, and I couldn't bear coming down here. I came as seldom as I dared, till my uncle died last year and left it to me. And then there was no help for it. I HAD to come down. It's a landlord's business, I consider, to live among his tenants and look after the welfare of the soil, committed to his charge by his queen and country. He holds it in trust, strictly speaking, for the nation. So I felt I must come and live here. But I hate it, all the same. I hate it! I hate it!"

He said it so energetically, and with such strange earnestness in his voice, that Eustace Le Neve, scanning his face as he spoke, felt sure there must be some good reason for his friend's dislike of his ancestral home, and forebore (like a man) to question him further. Perhaps, he thought, it was connected in Tyrrel's mind with some painful memory, some episode in his history he would gladly forget; though, to be sure, when one comes to think of it, at thirteen such episodes are rare and improbable. A man doesn't, as a rule, get crossed in love at that early age; nor does he generally form lasting and abiding antipathies. And indeed, for the matter of that, Penmorgan was quite gloomy enough in itself, in all conscience, to account for his dislike--a lonely and gaunt-looking granite-built house, standing bare and square on the edge of a black moor, under shelter of a rocky dip, in a treeless country. It must have been a terrible change for a bachelor about town, like Walter Tyrrel, to come down at twenty-eight from his luxurious club and his snug chambers in St. James' to the isolation and desolation of that wild Cornish manor-house. But the Tyrrels, he knew, were all built like that; Le Neve had been with three of the family at Rugby; and conscience was their stumbling- block. When once a Tyrrel was convinced his duty lay anywhere, no consideration on earth would keep him from doing it.

"Let's take a stroll down by the shore," Le Neve suggested, carelessly, after a short pause, slipping his arm through his friend's.

"Your cliffs, at least, must be fine; they look grand and massive; and after three years of broiling on a South American line, this fresh sou'wester's just the thing, to my mind, to blow the cobwebs out of one."

He was a breezy-looking young man, this new-comer from beyond the sea --a son of the Vikings, Tyrrel's contemporary in age, but very unlike him in form and features; for Eustace Le Neve was fair and big-built, a florid young giant, with tawny beard, mustache, and whiskers, which he cut in a becoming Vandyke point of artistic carelessness. There was more of the artist than of the engineer, indeed, about his frank and engaging English face--a face which made one like him as soon as one looked at him. It was impossible to do otherwise. Exuberant vitality was the keynote of the man's being. And he was candidly open, too. He impressed one at first sight, by some nameless instinct, with a certain well-founded friendly confidence. A lovable soul, if ever there was one, equally liked at once by men and women.

"Our cliffs are fine," Walter Tyrrel answered, grudgingly, in the tone of one who, against his will, admits an adverse point he sees no chance of gainsaying. "They're black, and repellant, and iron-bound, and dangerous, but they're certainly magnificent. I don't deny it. Come and see them, by all means. They're the only lions we have to


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