Chapter VI
 

The flame in the oil-lamp is dying out, having a smell of burning. It is near sunrise. A large, clean, fisherman's hut. A skilfully made little ship is fastened to the ceiling, and even the sails are set. Involuntarily this little ship has somehow become the centre of attraction and all those who speak, who are silent and who listen, look at it, study each familiar sail. Behind the dark curtain lies the body of Philipp--this hut belonged to him.

The people are waiting for Haggart--some have gone out to search for him. On the benches along the walls, the old fishermen have seated themselves, their hands folded on their knees; some of them seem to be slumbering; others are smoking their pipes. They speak meditatively and cautiously, as though eager to utter no unnecessary words. Whenever a belated fisherman comes in, he looks first at the curtain, then he silently squeezes himself into the crowd, and those who have no place on the bench apparently feel embarrassed.

The abbot paces the room heavily, his hands folded on his back, his head lowered; when any one is in his way, he quietly pushes him aside with his hand. He is silent and knits his brows convulsively. Occasionally he glances at the door or at the window and listens.

The only woman present there is Mariet. She is sitting by the table and constantly watching her father with her burning eyes. She shudders slightly at each loud word, at the sound of the door as it opens, at the noise of distant footsteps.

At night a fog came from the sea and covered the earth. And such perfect quiet reigns now that long-drawn tolling is heard in the distant lighthouse of the Holy Cross. Warning is thus given to the ships that have lost their way in the fog.

Some one in the corner says:

"Judging from the blow, it was not one of our people that killed him. Our people can't strike like that. He stuck the knife here, then slashed over there, and almost cut his head off."

"You can't do that with a dull knife!"

"No. You can't do it with a weak hand. I saw a murdered sailor on the wharf one day--he was cut up just like this."

Silence.

"And where is his mother?" asks some one, nodding at the curtain.

"Selly is taking care of her. Selly took her to her house."

An old fisherman quietly asks his neighbour:

"Who told you?"

"Francina woke me. Who told you, Marle?"

"Some one knocked on my window."

"Who knocked on your window?"

"I don't know."

Silence.

"How is it you don't know? Who was the first to see?"

"Some one passed by and noticed him."

"None of us passed by. There was nobody among us who passed by."

A fisherman seated at the other end, says:

"There was nobody among us who passed by. Tell us, Thomas."

Thomas takes out his pipe:

"I am a neighbour of Philipp's, of that man there--" he points at the curtain. "Yes, yes, you all know that I am his neighbour. And if anybody does not know it--I'll say it again, as in a court of justice: I am his neighbour--I live right next to him--" he turns to the window.

An elderly fisherman enters and forces himself silently into the line.

"Well, Tibo?" asks the abbot, stopping.

"Nothing."

"Haven't you found Haggart?"

"No. It is so foggy that they are afraid of losing themselves. They walk and call each other; some of them hold each other by the hand. Even a lantern can't be seen ten feet away."

The abbot lowers his head and resumes his pacing. The old fisherman speaks, without addressing any one in particular.

"There are many ships now staring helplessly in the sea."

"I walked like a blind man," says Tibo. "I heard the Holy Cross ringing. But it seems as if it changed its place. The sound comes from the left side."

"The fog is deceitful."

Old Desfoso says:

"This never happened here. Since Dugamel broke Jack's head with a shaft. That was thirty--forty years ago."

"What did you say, Desfoso?" the abbot stops.

"I say, since Dugamel broke Jack's head--"

"Yes, yes!" says the abbot, and resumes pacing the room.

"Then Dugamel threw himself into the sea from a rock and was dashed to death--that's how it happened. He threw himself down."

Mariet shudders and looks at the speaker with hatred. Silence.

"What did you say, Thomas?"

Thomas takes his pipe out of his mouth.

"Nothing. I only said that some one knocked at my window."

"You don't know who?"

"No. And you will never know. I came out, I looked--and there Philipp was sitting at his door. I wasn't surprised--Philipp often roamed about at night ever since--"

He stops irresolutely. Mariet asks harshly:

"Since when? You said 'since.'"

Silence. Desfoso replies frankly and heavily:

"Since your Haggart came. Go ahead, Thomas, tell us about it."

"So I said to him: 'Why did you knock, Philipp? Do you want anything?' But he was silent."

"And he was silent?"

"He was silent. 'If you don't want anything, you had better go to sleep, my friend,' said I. But he was silent. Then I looked at him --his throat was cut open."

Mariet shudders and looks at the speaker with aversion. Silence. Another fisherman enters, looks at the curtain and silently forces his way into the crowd. Women's voices are heard behind the door; the abbot stops.

"Eh, Lebon! Chase the women away," he says. "Tell them, there is nothing for them to do here."

Lebon goes out.

"Wait," the abbot stops. "Ask how the mother is feeling; Selly is taking care of her."

Desfoso says:

"You say, chase away the women, abbot? And your daughter? She is here."

The abbot looks at Mariet. She says:

"I am not going away from here."

Silence. The abbot paces the room again; he looks at the little ship fastened to the ceiling and asks:

"Who made it?"

All look at the little ship.

"He," answers Desfoso. "He made it when he wanted to go to America as a sailor. He was always asking me how a three-masted brig is fitted out."

They look at the ship again, at its perfect little sails--at the little rags. Lebon returns.

"I don't know how to tell you about it, abbot. The women say that Haggart and his sailor are being led over here. The women are afraid."

Mariet shudders and looks at the door; the abbot pauses.

"Oho, it is daybreak already, the fog is turning blue!" says one fisherman to another, but his voice breaks off.

"Yes. Low tide has started," replies the other dully.

Silence. Then uneven footsteps resound. Several young fishermen with excited faces bring in Haggart, who is bound, and push Khorre in after him, also bound. Haggart is calm; as soon as the sailor was bound, something wildly free appeared in his movements, in his manners, in the sharpness of his swift glances.

One of the men who brought Haggart says to the abbot in a low voice:

"He was near the church. Ten times we passed by and saw no one, until he called: 'Aren't you looking for me?' It is so foggy, father."

The abbot shakes his head silently and sits down. Mariet smiles to her husband with her pale lips, but he does not look at her. Like all the others, he has fixed his eyes in amazement on the toy ship.

"Hello, Haggart," says the abbot.

"Hello, father."

"You call me father?"

"Yes, you."

"You are mistaken, Haggart. I am not your father."

The fishermen exchanged glances contentedly.

"Well, then. Hello, abbot," says Haggart with indifference, and resumes examining the little ship. Khorre mutters:

"That's the way, be firm, Noni."

"Who made this toy?" asks Haggart, but no one replies.

"Hello, Gart!" says Mariet, smiling. "It is I, your wife, Mariet. Let me untie your hands."

With a smile, pretending that she does not notice the stains of blood, she unfastens the ropes. All look at her in silence. Haggart also looks at her bent, alarmed head.

"Thank you," he says, straightening his hands.

"It would be a good thing to untie my hands, too," said Khorre, but there is no answer.

ABBOT--Haggart, did you kill Philipp?

HAGGART--I.

ABBOT--Do you mean to say--eh, you, Haggart--that you yourself killed him with your own hands? Perhaps you said to the sailor: "Sailor, go and kill Philipp," and he did it, for he loves you and respects you as his superior? Perhaps it happened that way! Tell me, Haggart. I called you my son, Haggart.

HAGGART--No, I did not order the sailor to do it. I killed Philipp with my own hand.

Silence.

KHORRE--Noni! Tell them to unfasten my hands and give me back my pipe.

"Don't be in a hurry," roars the priest. "Be bound awhile, drunkard! You had better be afraid of an untied rope--it may be formed into a noose."

But obeying a certain swift movement or glance of Haggart, Mariet walks over to the sailor and opens the knots of the rope. And again all look in silence upon her bent, alarmed head. Then they turn their eyes upon Haggart. Just as they looked at the little ship before, so they now look at him. And he, too, has forgotten about the toy. As if aroused from sleep, he surveys the fishermen, and stares long at the dark curtain.

ABBOT--Haggart, I am asking you. Who carried Philipp's body?

HAGGART--I. I brought it and put it near the door, his head against the door, his face against the sea. It was hard to set him that way, he was always falling down. But I did it.

ABBOT--Why did you do it?

HAGGART--I don't know exactly. I heard that Philipp has a mother, an old woman, and I thought this might please them better--both him and his mother.

ABBOT--(With restraint.) You are laughing at us?

HAGGART--No. What makes you think I am laughing? I am just as serious as you are. Did he--did Philipp make this little ship?

No one answers. Mariet, rising and bending over to Haggart across the table, says:

"Didn't you say this, Haggart: 'My poor boy, I killed you because I had to kill you, and now I am going to take you to your mother, my dear boy'?"

"These are very sad words. Who told them to you, Mariet?" asks Haggart, surprised.

"I heard them. And didn't you say further: 'Mother, I have brought you your son, and put him down at your door--take your boy, mother'?"

Haggart maintains silence.

"I don't know," roars the abbot bitterly. "I don't know; people don't kill here, and we don't know how it is done. Perhaps that is as it should be--to kill and then bring the murdered man to his mother's threshold. What are you gaping at, you scarecrow?"

Khorre replies rudely:

"According to my opinion, he should have thrown him into the sea. Your Haggart is out of his mind; I have said it long ago."

Suddenly old Desfoso shouts amid the loud approval of the others:

"Hold your tongue! We will send him to the city, but we will hang you like a cat ourselves, even if you did not kill him."

"Silence, old man, silence!" the abbot stops him, while Khorre looks over their heads with silent contempt. "Haggart, I am asking you, why did you take Philipp's life? He needed his life just as you need yours."

"He was Mariet's betrothed--and--"

"Well?"

"And--I don't want to speak. Why didn't you ask me before, when he was alive? Now I have killed him."

"But"--says the abbot, and there is a note of entreaty in his heavy voice. "But it may be that you are already repenting, Haggart? You are a splendid man, Gart. I know you; when you are sober you cannot hurt even a fly. Perhaps you were intoxicated--that happens with young people--and Philipp may have said something to you, and you--"

"No."

"No? Well, then, let it be no. Am I not right, children? But perhaps something strange came over you--it happens with people-- suddenly a red mist will get into a man's head, the beast will begin to howl in his breast, and-- In such cases one word is enough--"

"No, Philipp did not say anything to me. He passed along the road, when I jumped out from behind a large rock and stuck a knife into his throat. He had no time even to be scared. But if you like--" Haggart surveys the fishermen with his eyes irresolutely--"I feel a little sorry for him. That is, just a little. Did he make this toy?"

The abbot lowers his head sternly. And Desfoso shouts again, amidst sobs of approval from the others:

"No! Abbot, you better ask him what he was doing at the church. Dan saw them from the window. Wouldn't you tell us what you and your accursed sailor were doing at the church? What were you doing there? Speak."

Haggart looks at the speaker steadfastly and says slowly:

"I talked with the devil."

A muffled rumbling follows. The abbot jumps from his place and roars furiously:

"Then let him sit on your neck! Eh, Pierre, Jules, tie him down as fast as you can until morning. And the other one, too. And in the morning--in the morning, take him away to the city, to the Judges. I don't know their accursed city laws"--cries the abbot in despair-- "but they will hang you, Haggart! You will dangle on a rope, Haggart!"

Khorre rudely pushes aside the young fisherman who comes over to him with a rope, and says to Desfoso in a low voice:

"It's an important matter, old man. Go away for a minute--he oughtn't to hear it," he nods at Haggart.

"I don't trust you."

"You needn't. That's nothing. Noni, there is a little matter here. Come, come, and don't be afraid. I have no knife."

The people step aside and whisper. Haggart is silently waiting to be bound, but no one comes over to him. All shudder when Mariet suddenly commences to speak:

"Perhaps you think that all this is just, father? Why, then, don't you ask me about it? I am his wife. Don't you believe that I am his wife? Then I will bring little Noni here. Do you want me to bring little Noni? He is sleeping, but I will wake him up. Once in his life he may wake up at night in order to say that this man whom you want to hang in the city is his father."

"Don't!" says Haggart.

"Very well," replies Mariet obediently. "He commands and I must obey--he is my husband. Let little Noni sleep. But I am not sleeping, I am here. Why, then, didn't you ask me: 'Mariet, how was it possible that your husband, Haggart, should kill Philipp'?"

Silence. Desfoso, who has returned and who is agitated, decides:

"Let her speak. She is his wife."

"You will not believe, Desfoso," says Mariet, turning to the old fisherman with a tender and mournful smile. "Desfoso, you will not believe what strange and peculiar creatures we women are!"

Turning to all the people with the same smile, she continues:

"You will not believe what queer desires, what cunning, malicious little thoughts we women have. It was I who persuaded my husband to kill Philipp. Yes, yes--he did not want to do it, but I urged him; I cried so much and threatened him, so he consented. Men always give in--isn't that true, Desfoso?"

Haggart looks at his wife in a state of great perplexity, his eyebrows brought close to each other. Mariet continues, without looking at him, still smiling as before:

"You will ask me, why I wanted Philipp's death? Yes, yes, you will ask this question, I know it. He never did me any harm, that poor Philipp, isn't that true? Then I will tell you: He was my betrothed. I don't know whether you will be able to understand me. You, old Desfoso--you would not kill the girl you kissed one day? Of course not. But we women are such strange creatures--you can't even imagine what strange, suspicious, peculiar creatures we are. Philipp was my betrothed, and he kissed me--"

She wipes her mouth and continues, laughing:

"Here I am wiping my mouth even now. You have all seen how I wiped my mouth. I am wiping away Philipp's kisses. You are laughing. But ask your wife, Desfoso--does she want the life of the man who kissed her before you? Ask all women who love--even the old women! We never grow old in love. We are born so, we women."

Haggart almost believes her. Advancing a step forward, he asks:

"You urged me? Perhaps it is true, Mariet--I don't remember."

Mariet laughs.

"Do you hear? He has forgotten. Go on, Gart. You may say that it was your own idea? That's the way you men are--you forget everything. Will you say perhaps that I--"

"Mariet!" Haggart interrupts her threateningly.

Mariet, turning pale, looking sorrowfully at his terrible eyes which are now steadfastly fixed upon her, continues, still smiling:

"Go on, Gart! Will you say perhaps that I--Will you say perhaps that I dissuaded you? That would be funny--"

HAGGART--No, I will not say that. You lie, Mariet! Even I, Haggart-- just think of it, people--even I believed her, so cleverly does this woman lie.

MARIET--Go--on--Haggart.

HAGGART--You are laughing? Abbot, I don't want to be the husband of your daughter--she lies.

ABBOT--You are worse than the devil, Gart! That's what I say-- You are worse than the devil, Gart!

HAGGART--You are all foolish people! I don't understand you; I don't know now what to do with you. Shall I laugh? Shall I be angry? Shall I cry? You want to let me go--why, then, don't you let me go? You are sorry for Philipp. Well, then, kill me--I have told you that it was I who killed the boy. Am I disputing? But you are making grimaces like monkeys that have found bananas--or have you such a game in your land? Then I don't want to play it. And you, abbot, you are like a juggler in the marketplace. In one hand you have truth and in the other hand you have truth, and you are forever performing tricks. And now she is lying--she lies so well that my heart contracts with belief. Oh, she is doing it well!

And he laughs bitterly.

MARIET--Forgive me, Gart.

HAGGART--When I wanted to kill him, she hung on my hand like a rock, and now she says that she killed him. She steals from me this murder; she does not know that one has to earn that, too! Oh, there are queer people in your land!

"I wanted to deceive them, not you, Gart. I wanted to save you," says Mariet.

Haggart replies:

"My father taught me: 'Eh, Noni, beware! There is one truth and one law for all--for the sun, for the wind, for the waves, for the beasts--and only for man there is another truth. Beware of this truth of man, Noni!' so said my father. Perhaps this is your truth? Then I am not afraid of it, but I feel very sad and very embittered. Mariet, if you sharpened my knife and said: 'Go and kill that man'-- it may be that I would not have cared to kill him. 'What is the use of cutting down a withered tree?'--I would have said. But now-- farewell, Mariet! Well, bind me and take me to the city."

He waits haughtily, but no one approaches him. Mariet has lowered her head upon her hands, her shoulders are twitching. The abbot is also absorbed in thought, his large head lowered. Desfoso is carrying on a heated conversation in whispers with the fishermen. Khorre steps forward and speaks, glancing at Haggart askance:

"I had a little talk with them, Noni--they are all right, they are good fellows, Noni. Only the priest--but he is a good man, too--am I right, Noni? Don't look so crossly at me, or I'll mix up the whole thing! You see, kind people, it's this way: this man, Haggart, and I have saved up a little sum of money, a little barrel of gold. We don't need it, Noni, do we? Perhaps you will take it for yourselves? What do you think? Shall we give them the gold, Noni? You see, here I've entangled myself already."

He winks slyly at Mariet, who has now lifted her head.

"What are you prating there, you scarecrow?" asks the abbot.

Khorre continues:

"Here it goes, Noni; I am straightening it out little by little! But where have we buried it, the barrel? Do you remember, Noni? I have forgotten. They say it's from the gin, kind people; they say that one's memory fails from too much gin. I am a drunkard, that's true."

"If you are not inventing--then you had better choke yourself with your gold, you dog!" says the abbot.

HAGGART--Khorre!

KHORRE--Yes.

HAGGART--To-morrow you will get a hundred lashes. Abbot, order a hundred lashes for him!

ABBOT--With pleasure, my son. With pleasure.

The movements of the fishermen are just as slow and languid, but there is something new in their increased puffing and pulling at their pipes, in the light quiver of their tanned hands. Some of them arise and look out of the window with feigned indifference.

"The fog is rising!" says one, looking out of the window. "Do you hear what I said about the fog?"

"It's time to go to sleep. I say, it's time to go to sleep!"

Desfoso comes forward and speaks cautiously:

"That isn't quite so, abbot. It seems you didn't say exactly what you ought to say, abbot. They seem to think differently. I don't say anything for myself--I am simply talking about them. What do you say, Thomas?"

THOMAS--We ought to go to sleep, I say. Isn't it true that it is time to go to sleep?

MARIET (softly)--Sit down, Gart. You are tired to-night. You don't answer?

An old fisherman says:

"There used to be a custom in our land, I heard, that a murderer was to pay a fine for the man he killed. Have you heard about it, Desfoso?"

Another voice is heard:

"Philipp is dead. Philipp is dead already, do you hear, neighbour? Who is going to support his mother?"

"I haven't enough even for my own! And the fog is rising, neighbour."

"Abbot, did you hear us say: 'Gart is a bad man; Gart is a good-for-nothing, a city trickster?' No, we said: 'This thing has never happened here before,'" says Desfoso.

Then a determined voice remarks:

"Gart is a good man! Wild Gart is a good man!"

DESFOSO--If you looked around, abbot, you couldn't find a single, strong boat here. I haven't enough tar for mine. And the church--is that the way a good church ought to look? I am not saying it myself, but it comes out that way--it can't be helped, abbot.

Haggart turns to Mariet and says:

"Do you hear, woman?"

"I do."

"Why don't you spit into their faces?"

"I can't. I love you, Haggart. Are there only ten Commandments of God? No, there is still another: 'I love you, Haggart.'"

"What sad dreams there are in your land."

The abbot rises and walks over to the fishermen.

"Well, what did you say about the church, old man? You said something interesting about the church, or was I mistaken?"

He casts a swift glance at Mariet and Haggart.

"It isn't the church alone, abbot. There are four of us old men: Legran, Stoffle, Puasar, Kornu, and seven old women. Do I say that we are not going to feed them? Of course, we will, but don't be angry, father--it is hard! You know it yourself, abbot--old age is no fun."

"I am an old man, too!" begins old Rikke, lisping, but suddenly he flings his hat angrily to the ground. "Yes, I am an old man. I don't want any more, that's all! I worked, and now I don't want to work. That's all! I don't want to work."

He goes out, swinging his hand. All look sympathetically at his stooping back, at his white tufts of hair. And then they look again at Desfoso, at his mouth, from which their words come out. A voice says:

"There, Rikke doesn't want to work any more."

All laugh softly and forcedly.

"Suppose we send Gart to the city--what then?" Desfoso goes on, without looking at Haggart. "Well, the city people will hang him-- and then what? The result will be that a man will be gone, a fisherman will be gone--you will lose a son, and Mariet will lose her husband, and the little boy his father. Is there any joy in that?"

"That's right, that's right!" nods the abbot, approvingly. "But what a mind you have, Desfoso!"

"Do you pay attention to them, Abbot?" asked Haggart.

"Yes, I do, Haggart. And it wouldn't do you any harm to pay attention to them. The devil is prouder than you, and yet he is only the devil, and nothing more."

Desfoso affirms:

"What's the use of pride? Pride isn't necessary."

He turns to Haggart, his eyes still lowered; then he lifts his eyes and asks:

"Gart! But you don't need to kill anybody else. Excepting Philipp, you don't feel like killing anybody else, do you?"

"No."

"Only Philipp, and no more? Do you hear? Only Philipp, and no more. And another question--Gart, don't you want to send away this man, Khorre? We would like you to do it. Who knows him? People say that all this trouble comes through him."

Several voices are heard:

"Through him. Send him away, Gart! It will be better for him!"

The abbot upholds them.

"True!"

"You, too, priest!" says Khorre, gruffly. Haggart looks with a faint smile at his angry, bristled face, and says:

"I rather feel like sending him away. Let him go."

"Well, then, Abbot," says Desfoso, turning around, "we have decided, in accordance with our conscience--to take the money. Do I speak properly?"

One voice answers for all:

"Yes."

DESFOSO--Well, sailor, where is the money?

KHORRE--Captain?

HAGGART--Give it to them.

KHORRE (rudely)--Then give me back my knife and my pipe first! Who is the eldest among you--you? Listen, then: Take crowbars and shovels and go to the castle. Do you know the tower, the accursed tower that fell? Go over there--"

He bends down and draws a map on the floor with his crooked finger. All bend down and look attentively; only the abbot gazes sternly out of the window, behind which the heavy fog is still grey. Haggart whispers in a fit of rage:

"Mariet, it would have been better if you had killed me as I killed Philipp. And now my father is calling me. Where will be the end of my sorrow, Mariet? Where the end of the world is. And where is the end of the world? Do you want to take my sorrow, Mariet?"

"I do, Haggart."

"No, you are a woman."

"Why do you torture me, Gart? What have I done that you should torture me so? I love you."

"You lied."

"My tongue lied. I love you."

"A serpent has a double tongue, but ask the serpent what it wants-- and it will tell you the truth. It is your heart that lied. Was it not you, girl, that I met that time on the road? And you said: 'Good evening.' How you have deceived me!"

Desfoso asks loudly:

"Well, abbot? You are coming along with us, aren't you, father. Otherwise something wrong might come out of it. Do I speak properly?"

The abbot replies merrily:

"Of course, of course, children. I am going with you. Without me, you will think of the church. I have just been thinking of the church--of the kind of church you need. Oh, it's hard to get along with you, people!"

The fishermen go out very slowly--they are purposely lingering.

"The sea is coming," says one. "I can hear it."

"Yes, yes, the sea is coming! Did you understand what he said?"

The few who remained are more hasty in their movements. Some of them politely bid Haggart farewell.

"Good-bye, Gart."

"I am thinking, Haggart, what kind of a church we need. This one will not do, it seems. They prayed here a hundred years; now it is no good, they say. Well, then, it is necessary to have a new one, a better one. But what shall it be?"

"'Pope's a rogue, Pope's a rogue.' But, then, I am a rogue, too. Don't you think, Gart, that I am also something of a rogue? One moment, children, I am with you."

There is some crowding in the doorway. The abbot follows the last man with his eyes and roars angrily:

"Eh, you, Haggart, murderer! What are you smiling at? You have no right to despise them like that. They are my children. They have worked--have you seen their hands, their backs? If you haven't noticed that, you are a fool! They are tired. They want to rest. Let them rest, even at the cost of the blood of the one you killed. I'll give them each a little, and the rest I will throw out into the sea. Do you hear, Haggart?"

"I hear, priest."

The abbot exclaims, raising his arms:

"O Lord! Why have you made a heart that can have pity on both the murdered and the murderer! Gart, go home. Take him home, Mariet, and wash his hands!"

"To whom do you lie, priest?" asks Haggart, slowly. "To God or to the devil? To yourself or to the people? Or to everybody?"

He laughs bitterly.

"Eh, Gart! You are drunk with blood."

"And with what are you drunk?"

They face each other. Mariet cries angrily, placing herself between them:

"May a thunder strike you down, both of you, that's what I am praying to God. May a thunder strike you down! What are you doing with my heart? You are tearing it with your teeth like greedy dogs. You didn't drink enough blood, Gart, drink mine, then! You will never have enough, Gart, isn't that true?"

"Now, now," says the abbot, calming them. "Take him home, Mariet. Go home, Gart, and sleep more."

Mariet comes forward, goes to the door and pauses there.

"Gart! I am going to little Noni."

"Go."

"Are you coming along with me?"

"Yes--no--later."

"I am going to little Noni. What shall I tell him about his father when he wakes up?"

Haggart is silent. Khorre comes back and stops irresolutely at the threshold. Mariet casts at him a glance full of contempt and then goes out. Silence.

"Khorre!"

"Yes."

"Gin!"

"Here it is, Noni. Drink it, my boy, but not all at once, not all at once, Noni."

Haggart drinks; he examines the room with a smile.

"Nobody. Did you see him, Khorre? He is there, behind the curtain. Just think of it, sailor--here we are again with him alone."

"Go home, Noni!"

"Right away. Give me some gin."

He drinks.

"And they? They have gone?"

"They ran, Noni. Go home, my boy! They ran off like goats. I was laughing so much, Noni."

Both laugh.

"Take down that toy, Khorre. Yes, yes, a little ship. He made it, Khorre."

They examine the toy.

"Look how skilfully the jib was made, Khorre. Good boy, Philipp! But the halyards are bad, look. No, Philipp! You never saw how real ships are fitted out--real ships which rove over the ocean, tearing its grey waves. Was it with this toy that you wanted to quench your little thirst--fool?"

He throws down the little ship and rises:

"Khorre! Boatswain!"

"Yes."

"Call them! I assume command again, Khorre!"

The sailor turns pale and shouts enthusiastically:

"Noni! Captain! My knees are trembling. I will not be able to reach them and I will fall on the way."

"You will reach them! We must also take our money away from these people--what do you think, Khorre? We have played a little, and now it is enough--what do you think, Khorre?"

He laughs. The sailor looks at him, his hands folded as in prayer, and he weeps.