Daphne Dumorier Fullscreen Restaurant Jamaica (1936)


One thing at least, we have no traps or baggage, but can travel light, as they travelled of old."

Mary looked up at him, her hands gripping the sides of her chair.

"I don't understand you, Mr. Davey."

"Why, yes, you understand me very well.

You know by now that I killed the landlord of Jamaica Inn, and his wife, too; nor would the pedlar have lived had I known of his existence.

You have pieced the story together in your own mind while I talked to you just now.

You know that it was I who directed every move made by your uncle and that he was a leader in name alone.

I have sat here at night, with him in your chair there and the map of Cornwall spread out on the table before us.

Joss Merlyn, the terror of the countryside, twisting his hat in his hands and touching his forelock when I spoke to him.

He was like a child in the game, powerless without my orders, a poor blustering bully that hardly knew his right hand from his left.

His vanity was like a bond between us, and the greater his notoriety amongst his companions the better was he pleased.

We were successful, and he served me well; no other man knew the secret of our partnership.

"You were the block, Mary Yellan, against which we stubbed our toes.

With your wide enquiring eyes and your gallant inquisitive head, you came amongst us, and I knew that the end was near.

In any case, we had played the game to its limit, and the time had come to make an end.

How you pestered me with your courage and your conscience, and how I admired you for it!

Of course you must hear me in the empty guest room at the inn, and must creep down to the kitchen and see the rope upon the beam: that was your first challenge.

"And then you steal out upon the moor after your uncle, who had tryst with me on Rough Tor, and, losing him in the darkness, stumble upon myself and make me confidant.

Well, I became your friend, did I not, and gave you good advice?

Which, believe me, could not have been bettered by a magistrate himself.

Your uncle knew nothing of our strange alliance, nor would he have understood.

He brought his own death upon himself by disobedience.

I knew something of your determination, and that you would betray him at the first excuse.

Therefore he should give you none, and time alone would quiet your suspicions.

But your uncle must drink himself to madness on Christmas Eve, and, blundering like a savage and a fool, set the whole country in a blaze.

I knew then he had betrayed himself and with the rope around his neck would play his last card and name me master.

Therefore he had to die, Mary Yellan, and your aunt, who was his shadow; and, had you been at Jamaica Inn last night when I passed by, you too — No, you would not have died."

He leant down to her, and, taking her two hands, he pulled her to her feet, so that she stood level with him, looking in his eyes.

"No," he repeated, "you would not have died. You would have come with me then as you will come tonight."

She stared back at him, watching his eyes. They told her nothing — they were clear and cold as they had been before — but his grip upon her wrists was firm and held no promise of release.

"You are wrong," she said; "you would have killed me then as you will kill me now.

I am not coming with you, Mr. Davey."

"Death to dishonour?" he said, smiling, the thin line breaking the mask of his face. "I face you with no such problem.

You have gained your knowledge of the world from old books, Mary, where the bad man wears a tail beneath his cloak and breathes fire through his nostrils.

You have proved yourself a dangerous opponent, and I prefer you by my side; there, that is a tribute.

You are young, and you have a certain grace which I should hate to destroy.

Besides, in time we will take up the threads of our first friendship, which has gone astray tonight."

"You are right to treat me as a child and a fool, Mr. Davey," said Mary. "I have been both since I stumbled against your horse that evening.

Any friendship we may have shared was a mockery and a dishonour, and you gave me counsel with the blood of an innocent man scarce dry upon your hands.

My uncle at least was honest; drunk or sober, he blurted his crimes to the four winds, and dreamt of them by night — to his terror.

But you — you wear the garments of a priest of God to shield you from suspicion; you hide behind the Cross.

You talk to me of friendship—"

"Your revolt and your disgust please me the more, Mary Yellan," he replied. "There is a dash of fire about you that the women of old possessed.

Your companionship is not a thing to be thrown aside.

Come, let us leave religion out of our discussion.

When you know me better we will return to it, and I will tell you how I sought refuge from myself in Christianity and found it to be built upon hatred, and jealousy, and greed — all the man-made attributes of civilization, while the old pagan barbarism was naked and clean.

"I have had my soul sickened….

Poor Mary, with your feet fast in the nineteenth century and your bewildered faun face looking up to mine, who admit myself a freak of nature and a shame upon your little world.

Are you ready?

Your cloak hangs in the hall, and I am waiting."