The Project Gutenberg EBook of Pearl of Pearl Island, by John Oxenham This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Pearl of Pearl Island Author: John Oxenham Release Date: March 4, 2005 [EBook #15259] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PEARL OF PEARL ISLAND *** Produced by Steven Gibbs and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. PEARL OF PEARL ISLAND BY JOHN OXENHAM WITH SIXTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS FROM PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN SPECIALLY FOR THIS BOOK HODDER AND STOUGHTON PUBLISHERS LONDON 1908 TO MY WIFE CONTENTS ILLUSTRATIONS PEARL OF THE PEARL OF THE SILVER SEA! PART THE FIRST—PEARL PART THE SECOND—LOST PEARL PART THE THIRD—PEARL ISLAND PART THE FOURTH—PEARL OF PEARL ISLAND PART THE FIFTH—PEARL IN A RING PART THE SIXTH—SMALLER PEARLS WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR ILLUSTRATIONS Frontispiece (untitled) THE CONVANCHE CAVERN HAVRE GOSSELIN LADDERS IN LITTLE SARK THE GAP IN THE HEDGE IN THE FRESHNESS OF THE MORNING THE SOUFFLEUR IN DERRIBLE BAY THE ROCK BEHIND TINTAGEU IN THE WINDOW-SEAT SARK CLIFFS, FROM BELÊME THE SEIGNEURIE GARDEN IN GRANDE GRÈVE THE HARBOUR IN THE GLOAMING ROUND THE ISLAND UNDER THE AUTELETS PEARL OF THE PEARL OF THE SILVER SEA! PEARL Iridescent! Pearl of the sea! Shimmering, glimmering Pearl of the sea! White in the sun-flecked silver sea, White in the moon-decked silver sea, White in the wrath of the silver sea,— Pearl of the Silver Sea! Lapped in the smile of the Silver Sea, Ringed in the foam of the Silver Sea, Glamoured in mists of the Silver Sea,— Pearl of the Silver Sea! Glancing and glimmering under the sun, Jewel and casket all in one, Joy supreme of the sun's day-dream, Soft in the gleam of the golden beam,— Pearl of the Silver Sea! Splendour of Hope in the rising sun, Glory of Love in the noonday sun, Wonder of Faith in the setting sun,— Pearl of the Silver Sea! Gaunt and grim to the outer world, Jewel and casket all impearled With the kiss of the Silver Sea!— With the flying kiss of the Silver Sea, With the long sweet kiss of the Silver Sea, With the rainbow kiss of the Silver Sea,— Pearl of the Silver Sea! And oh the sight,—the wonderful sight, When calm and white, in the mystic light, Of her quivering pathway, broad and bright, The Queen of the Night, in silver dight, Sails over the Silver Sea! Wherever I go, and wherever I be, The joy and the longing are there with me,— The gleam And the glamour come back to me,— In a mystical rapture there comes to me, The call of the Silver Sea! As needle to pole is my heart to thee, Pearl of the Silver Sea! Pearl of the Pearl of the Silver Sea! To some you are Margaret, but to me, Always and ever, wherever I be, You are Pearl of the Pearl of the Silver Sea! J.C.G. THE CONVANCHE CAVERN PART THE FIRST I NOTE.—It would be impossible to depict the Sark of to-day without using the names native to the Island. All such names here employed, however, are used without any reference whatever to any actual persons who may happen to bear similar names in Sark. The characters are to be taken as types. The incidents are in many cases fact. If you want murders, mysteries, or mud—pass on! This is a simple, straightforward love-story. "Jock, my lad," said Lady Elspeth softly, nodding her head very many times, in that very knowing way of hers which made her look like a Lord Chief Justice and a Fairy Godmother all in one, "I've found you out." And when the shrewd old soul of her looked him gently through and through in that fashion, he knew very much better than to attempt any evasion. "Ah!" he said meekly, "I was afraid someone would, sooner or later. I've been living in constant dread of it. But it's happened before, you know, between you and me. What is it this time, dear Lady Elspeth?" "Here have I been imputing grace to you for your kindly attentions to a poor old woman whose race is nearly run, and setting you up above the rest of them therefor, and lo, my idol——" "Ah!" he said again, with a reproving wag of the head, for he knew now what was coming,—"idols are perverse, camstairy things at best, you know, and a bit out of date too. And, besides,"—with a touch of remonstrance—"at your age and with your bringing-up——" "Ay, ay, ye may be as insulting as ye choose, my laddie, and fling my age and my upbringing in my face like a very man——" "There isn't a face like it in all England, and as to——" "I prefer ye to say Britain, as I've told ye before. Your bit England is only a portion of the kingdom, and in very many respects the poorest portion, notably in brains and manners and beauty. But ye cannot draw me off like that, my laddie, whether it's meant for a compliment or no. I was just about telling you you were a fraud——" "You hadn't got quite that length, you know, but——" "Will I prove it to you? Haven't you been coming here as regular as the milkman for a month past——" "Oh, come now!—Only once a day. I've an idea milkie comes twice, and besides——" "And what did ye come for, my lad?" with an emphatic nod and a menacing shake of the frail white hand, pricelessly jewelled above, comfortably black-silk-mittened below. "Tell me that now! What did ye come for?" "To see the dearest old lady in England—Britain, I mean. And—" "Yes?—And?—" and she watched him, with her head a little on one side and her eyes shining brightly, like an expectant motherly robin hopping on treasure trove. He smiled back at her and said nothing. He knew she knew without his telling. "And so I was only second fiddle—" she began, with an assumption of scornful irascibility which became her less than her very oldest cap. "Oh, dear me, no! Leader of the orchestra!—Proprietor of the house!—Sole director and manager and—" "Tuts! It was Margaret Brandt you came to see," and the twinkling brown eyes held the merry gray ones with a steady challenge. "Partly,—and I was just about to say so when you interrupted me—" "Ay! Were you now? Ye can out with things quick enough at times, my laddie!" "Well, you see, there are some things one does