A Loose End and Other Stories by S. Elizabeth Hall


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Page 2

"Tells 'em that, does he?" said the father, his sea-blue eyes suddenly
clouding over.

"That he does; and says he'd take up the inshore fishing, if he'd the
money to spend: and they should be supplied regular with crabs and

old, and what with being lame, and one thing and another, what can you
expect, and such blathers!"


the path, and turning round upon her with a face ablaze with anger. "I
should like to hear him sayin' that, I should."

"Now, Daddy," she cried with a sudden change of tone, "don't you be
getting into one of your tantrums with him. Don't, there's a dear Daddy!
I only told you, so you shouldn't be putting too much into his hands.
But he'd be the one that would come best out of a quarrel. He's only
looking for a chance of doin' you a mischief, it's my belief."



awhile--that's a certain thing. Paul Nevin would suit me a deal better
in many ways, only I' bin keepin' Pierre on out o' charity, his pore
father havin' bin a pal o' mine. But he's a deal stronger in the arms,
is Paul."

They reached the cottage, which stood on the first piece of level ground
on the way to the mainland. There was no other building within sight;
and with its bleak boulders and rocks of strangest form, in perpetual
death-struggle with the mighty force of ocean, resounding night and day
with the rush and tramp of the wild sea-horses, as they flung themselves
in despair on their rocky adversary, and with the many voices of the
winds, which scarcely ever ceased blowing in that exposed spot, while
the weird notes of the sea-fowl floated in the air, like the cries of
wandering spirits, the solitary headland seemed indeed as if it might be
the world's end.

The cottage consisted of one room, and a lean-to. Nearly half the room
was taken up with a big bed, and on the other side were the fire-place
and cooking utensils. Opposite the door was a box-sofa, on which Marie
had slept since she was a child, and which with a small table, two
chairs and a stool, completed the furniture of the room; the only light
was that admitted by the doorway, the door nearly always standing open;
the lean-to was little more than a dog-kennel, being formed in fact out
of a great heap of stones and rubbish, which had been piled up as a
protection to the cottage on the windward side; and three dogs and two
hens were enjoying themselves in front of the fire.

It was here that Marie had lived, ever since she could remember, in
close and contented companionship with her father: whom indeed,
especially since he had the fever which crippled him three years before,
she had fed, clothed, nursed and guarded with a care almost more
motherly than filial.


CHAPTER II.

Marie was leaning over the low wall of a cottage garden in the
'village,' as a clump of small houses at the meeting of four cross-roads
was called, and waiting for the kail which she had come to buy for the
evening's soup from Mrs. Nevin, who cultivated a little plot of ground
with fruit and vegetables. The back-door of the cottage, which opened on
the garden, was ajar, and she could hear some one enter from the front
with a heavy tread, and call out in a big, jovial voice, "Hullo, Mother,
we're in luck to-day! You'd never guess who's goin' to take me on. Lame

time or two to try. Says I'm strong in the shoulders, and he guesses I
can do him more good than Pierre. I should think I easy could too, a
pinch-faced whipper-snapper like that!"


Nevin; "often it is I've told Marie, as there she stands, that her
father don't ought to trust the fish-sellin' too much to that Pierre: a
lad as could rob his own grandmother the moment the life was out o' her
body."

"Well, Mother, you've often told me about that five franc piece, but
nobody can't say that she hadn't given it him before she died, as he
said--"

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Sun 15th Sep 2019, 16:34