The Deemster

Catalog Record: The deemster : a romance | HathiTrust Digital Library
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The deemsters also promulgate the Laws on Tynwald Day by reading out brief summaries of them in English and Manx. There are currently three full-time Deemsters. The offices of First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls were combined in , [3] and a new office of Deputy Deemster was created in [4] but abolished in Additional Deemsters are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor on the recommendation of the First Deemster. Unlike judges in the United Kingdom, Deemsters have no security of tenure and thus have no legal protection against dismissal by the government.

The appointment and removal of Manx judges on the formal advice of United Kingdom politicians is seen as an effective alternative. Owing to a lack of early records, the list cannot record any Deemsters before , and is therefore not necessarily complete for the earlier years. External Reviews.

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Presently the door opened again, and the Archdeacon, with a long grave face, stood on the threshold and beckoned to Thorkell at the head of his table. I have done you a great wrong. Then on the instant Danny found himself concocting a trick to defeat appearances. In passing out of the church the parson came face to face with Hommy-beg, who was pushing his way up the aisle. Binding protected in stiff clear mylar, archival quality.

Metacritic Reviews. Photo Gallery. Trailers and Videos. Crazy Credits. Alternate Versions. Rate This. The Bishop desires Dan to become a Director: Howell Hansel. Writers: Hall Caine novel , Edfrid A. IMDb's Guide to Horror. Photos Add Image Add an image Do you have any images for this title? Daniel Mylrea Marian Swayne Mona Sidney Bracey Deemster, Father of Mona K. Barnes Clarendon Ewan Alexander Hall Davy, Dan's Friend James Levering Quayle Ben Lodge Billy Quilleash Tom O'Malley Fisherman William V.

Fisherman Freeman Barnes After the gospel and the prayers, the Archdeacon, in his white surplice, took the infant into his hands and called on the godparents to name the child, and they answered Ewan. Then as the drops fell over the wee blinking eyes, and all voices were hushed in silence and awe, there came to the open porch and looked into the dusky church a little fleecy lamb, all soft and white and beautiful.

It lifted its innocent and dazed face where it stood in the morning sunshine, on the grass of the graves, and bleated and bleated, as if it had strayed from its mother and was lost. In an instant the baby-lamb had hobbled away, and before the Archdeacon had restored the child to the arms of blind Kerry, or mumbled the last of the prayers, there came the hum of many voices from the distance. The iron hasp of the lych-gate to the churchyard was heard to chink, and at the same moment there was the sound of hurrying footsteps on the paved way. The company that had gathered about the font broke up abruptly, and made for the porch with looks of inquiry and amazement.

There, at the head of a mixed throng of the riff-raff of the parish, bareheaded men, women with bold faces, and children with naked feet, a man held a young woman by the arm and pulled her towards the church. She was young-twenty at most. Her comely face was drawn hard with lines of pain; her hazel eyes flashed with wrath; and where her white sun-bonnet had fallen back from her head on to her shoulders, the knots of her dark hair, draggled and tangled in the scuffle, tumbled in masses over her neck and cheeks.

It was Mally Kerruish, and the man who held her and forced her along was the parish sumner, the church constable. When the Archdeacon stepped down from the side of the font, the simmer with his prisoner drew up on the instant, and the noisy crew stood and was silent. Her head was bare, her eyes were quick and restless, her lips firm and long, her chin was broad and heavy.

The woman elbowed her way forward; but when she was brought face to face with the Archdeacon, and he asked her if she charged her daughter, she looked around before answering; and seeing her girl Mally standing there with her white face, under the fire of fifty pairs of eyes, all her resolution seemed to leave her. She did not answer at first, and he repeated the question.

Let me go, will you? He faced about and walked towards the communion and entered it. The company followed him and drew up outside the communion-rail. He took a Testament from the reading-desk and stepped towards the girl. There was a dead hush. She made no show of taking it. He thrust it into her hand. At the touch of the book she gave a faint cry and stepped a pace backward, the Testament falling open on to the form beneath. Then the murmur of the bystanders rose again. Blinking Kerry stood apart, hushing the infant in her arms; it made a fretful whimper.

Thorkell stood behind, pawing the paved path with a restless foot. Mally let her hands fall from her face, and turned her eyes full on the eyes of the young mother at her side. In dead silence the two rose to their feet together. At the next instant Mally Kerruish was being hurried by the sumner-down the aisle; the noisy concourse that had come with them went away with them, and in a moment more the old church was empty save for the company that had gathered about the font.

There was a great feast at Ballamona that day. Thorkell himself sat in his place and laughed noisily and drank much. Towards sunset the sumner came to say that the girl who had been taken to prison at the Peel had confessed, and was now at large. The Archdeacon got up and went out of the room. Thorkell called lustily on his guests to drink again, and one stupefied old crony clambered to his feet and demanded silence for a toast.

Presently the door opened again, and the Archdeacon, with a long grave face, stood on the threshold and beckoned to Thorkell at the head of his table. Thorkell went out with him, and when they returned together a little later, and the master of Ballamona resumed his seat, he laughed yet more noisily than before, and drank yet more liquor. On the outside of Ballamona that night an old woman, hooded and taped, knocked at the door.

The loud laughter and the ranting songs from within came out to her where she stood in the darkness, under the silent stars. When the door was opened by Hommy-beg the woman asked for Mylrea Ballamona. Hommy-beg repulsed her, and would have shut the door in her face. She called again, and again, and yet again, and at last, by reason of her importunity, Hommy-beg went in and told Thorkell, who got up and followed him out.

The Archdeacon heard the message, and left the room at the same moment. Outside on the gravel path, the old woman stood with the light of the lamp that burned in the hall on her wizened face. It was Mrs. Kerruish, the mother of Mally. Me, was it for all? May the good God judge between us, Master Mylrea. Take care, Ballamona. Is it justice to punish the woman and let the man go free? Here, I say, take them! The old woman stood silent for a moment, and her pale face turned livid. Then by a sudden impulse she lifted her eyes and her two trembling arms. As the woman spoke his face quivered, and his knees shook perceptibly under him.

Then he took her by the arms and clutched her convulsively. She disengaged herself and went away into the night. For a moment Thorkell tramped the hall with nervous footsteps. The Archdeacon stood speechless. Then the sound of laughter and of song came from the room they had left, and Thorkell flung in on the merry-makers. Away with you! One by one, with many wise shakes of many sapient heads, the tipsy revellers broke up and went off, leaving the master of Ballamona alone in that chamber, dense with dead smoke and noisome with the fumes of liquor.

At first his thoughts were of revengeful defiance. By fair means or foul the woman Kerruish should suffer. She should be turned out of house and home. She should tramp the roads as a mendicant. He would put his foot on her neck. Then they would see what her uncanny threats had come to.

The Deemster by Sir Hall Caine

He tried this unction for his affrighted spirit, and put it aside as useless. No, no; he would conciliate the woman. He would settle an annuity of five pounds a year upon her; he would give her the snug gate cottage of old Ballamona to live in; his wife should send her warm blankets in winter, and sometimes a pound of tea, such as old folks love. Then must her imprecation fall impotent, and his own fate be undisturbed. As the day dawned he opened the window, and thrust out his head to drink of the cool morning air.

The sun was rising over the land behind, a strong breeze was sweeping over the marshes from the shore, and the white curves of the breakers to the west reflected here and there the glow of the eastern sky. With the salt breath of the sea in his nostrils, it seemed to Thorkell a pitiful thing that a man should be a slave to a mere idea; a thing for shame and humiliation that the sneezing of an old woman should disturb the peace of a strong man.

Superstition was the bugbear of the Manxman, but it would die of shame at its sheer absurdity, only that it was pampered by the law. Toleration for superstition! Every man who betrayed faith in omens or portents, or charms or spells, or the power of the evil eye, should be instantly clapped in the Castle. It was but right that a rabid dog should be muzzled. Thorkell shut the window, closed the shutters, threw off his clothes, and went back to bed. In the silence and the darkness, his thoughts took yet another turn. What madness it was, what pertness and unbelief, to reject that faith in which the best and wisest of all ages had lived and died!

Had not omens and portents, and charms and spells, and the evil eye been believed in in all ages? The old woman, Kerruish, should be pensioned; she should live in the cosy cottage at the gates of Ballamona; she should have blankets and tea and many a snug comfort; her daughter should be brought back and married-yes, married-to some honest fellow. He awoke with a start. The lusty rap of Hommy-beg was at the door of his room.

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He had been there this morning, and was now returned with a letter for his master. Thorkell took the letter with nervous fingers. He had recognised the seal-it was the seal of the insular Government. The letter came from Castle Rushen. He broke the seal and read:. The letter was signed by the Secretary to the Governor.

What did it mean? Thorkell could make nothing of it but that in some way it boded ill.

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The Deemster is a novel by Hall Caine published in , considered to be the first 'Manx novel'. It was Caine's third novel, the second to be set in the Isle of. A deemster (Manx: briw) is a judge in the Isle of Man. The High Court of Justice of the Isle of Man is presided over by a deemster or, in the case of the appeal.

In a bewildered state of semi-consciousness he ordered that a horse should be got ready and brought round to the front. Half an hour later he had risen from an untouched breakfast and was seated in the saddle. He rode past Tynwald Hill and through Foxdale to the south. Twenty times he drew up and half reined his horse in another direction. But he went on again. He could turn about at any time. He never turned about. He seemed to be expected, and was immediately led to a chamber on the north of the courtyard.

The room was small and low; it was dimly lighted by two lancet windows set deep into walls that seemed to be three yards thick. The floor was covered with a rush matting; a harp stood near the fireplace. A lady rose as Thorkell entered. She was elderly, but her dress was youthful.

Her waist was short; her embroidered skirt was very long; she wore spangled shoes, and her hair was done into a knot on the top of her head. Thorkell stood before her with the mien of a culprit. She smiled and motioned him to a seat, and sat herself. He had regained all his composure. She is told that by your great industry and-wisdom-you have raised yourself in life-become rich, in fact. Thorkell stammered some commonplace. Mylrea; you shall not depreciate yourself. The Countess has heard that you are a man of enterprise-one who does not begrudge the penny that makes the pound.

He was to be made Deemster, but he was to buy his appointment. The Countess had lost money of late, and the swashbuckler court she kept had lately seen some abridgment of its gaieties. Mylrea, the Countess has half an intention of suggesting your name for the post, but before doing so she wished me to see in what way your feelings lie with regard to it. He placed one hand over his breast and bent his head. The milestones fell behind him one after one, and he did not feel the burden of the way.

His head was in his breast; his body was bent over his saddle-bow; again and again a trill of light laughter came from his lips. Where were his dreams now, his omens, his spells, and the power of the evil eye? He was judge of his island. He was master of his fate. Passing through St.

Where the trees were thickest in the valley he drew rein by a low, long house that stood back to the road. It was the residence of the Bishop of the island, but it was now empty. The bishopric had been vacant these five years, and under the heavy rains from the hills and the strong winds from the sea the old house had fallen into decay. Thorkell sat in the saddle under the tall elms in the dim light, and his mind was busy with many thoughts. His memory went back with something akin to tenderness to the last days of old Ewan his father; to his brother, Gilcrist, and then, by a sudden transition, to the incidents of that morning at Castle Rushen.

How far in the past that morning seemed to be! The last rook had cawed out its low guttural note, and the last gleam of daylight died off between the thick bows of the dark trees that pattered lightly overhead, as Thorkell set off afresh. When he arrived at Ballamona the night was dark. The Archdeacon was sitting with his daughter, who had not left her room that day.

Thorkell, still booted and spurred, ran like a squirrel up the stairs and into the bedroom. In twenty hot words that were fired off like a cloud of small shot from a blunderbuss, Thorkell told what had occurred. Her silence acted on Thorkell as a rebuke, and when her eyes rested on his face he turned his own eyes aside. The Archdeacon was almost speechless, but his look of astonishment was eloquent, and when Thorkell left the room he followed him out. Then there was an interchange of further amity.

In due course Thorkell Mylrea became Deemster Ballamona. He entered upon his duties after the briefest study of the Statute Laws.

'The Deemster' - But not by Hall Caine! | Transceltic - Home of the Celtic nations

A Manx judge dispensed justice chiefly by the Breast Laws, the unwritten code locked in his own breast, and supposed to be handed down from Deemster to Deemster. The popular superstition served Thorkell in good stead: there was none, to challenge his knowledge of Jurisprudence. As soon as he was settled in his office he began to make inquiries about his brother Gilcrist. Thorkell addressed him a letter and received a reply, and this was the first intercourse of the brothers since the death of old Ewan. Gilcrist had lately married; he held a small living on one of the remote moors of Yorkshire: he loved his people and was beloved by them.

Thorkell wrote again and again, and yet again, and his letters ran through every tone of remonstrance and entreaty. The end of it was that the Deemster paid yet another visit to the lady deputy at Castle Rushen, and the rumour passed over the island that the same potent influence that had made Thorkell a Deemster was about to make his brother the Bishop of Man.

After the christening she rarely left her room. Her cheeks grew thinner, paler they could not grow, and her meek eyes lost their faint lustre. She spoke little, and her interest in life seemed to, be all but gone. There was the same abject submission to her husband, but she saw less of him day by day. Only the sight of her babe, when Kerry brought it to be nursed, restored to her face the light of a fleeting joy. If it stayed too long at her breast, if it cried, if its winsome ways made her to laugh outright, the swift recoil of other feelings saddened her to melancholy, and she would put the child from her with a sigh.

She sent for her husband and bade him farewell. The Deemster saw no danger, and he laughed at her meek adieu. She was soon to be the mother of another of his children-that was all. That day the wife of the Deemster passed beyond the sorrows of the life that had no joys. The angels of life and death had come with linked hands to the new homestead of Ballamona, and the young mother had died in giving birth to a girl.

When the Deemster heard what had happened his loud scream rang through every room of the house. His soul was in ferment; he seemed to be appalled and to be stricken not with sorrow, but with fright and horror. He summoned no mourners, and few stood with him by the open grave. Before sunset he waited by the wooden landing jetty at Derby Haven. The old sea tub, the King Orry, made the port that day, and disembarked her passengers. Among them was the new Bishop of Man, Gilcrist Mylrea. He looked much older for the six years he had been away.

His tall figure stooped heavily; his thick hair fell in wavelets on his shoulders, and was already sprinkled with grey; his long cheeks were deeply lined. As he stepped from the boat on to the jetty he carried something very tenderly in his arms. He seemed to be alone. The brothers met with looks of constraint and bewilderment.

It was a baby-boy. The ceremony was not an imposing one. Few of the native population witnessed it. The Manxman did not love the Church with a love too fervent. The Bishop was enthroned by Archdeacon Teare, who filled his function with what grace his chagrin would allow. Thorkell watched his father-in-law keenly during the ceremony, and more than once his little eyes twinkled, and his lips were sucked inwards as if he rolled a delectable morsel on his tongue.

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The Bishop and his brother, the Deemster, got on their horses, and turned their heads towards the episcopal palace. The old house was lit up for their reception. He went up to the little room where the child lay asleep, and stooped over the cot and touched with his lips the soft lips that breathed gently. The dignity of the Bishop as he stood four hours before under the roof of St. Thorkell was in great spirits that night. Twenty times he drank to the health of the new Bishop; twenty times he reminded him of his own gracious offices towards securing the bishopric to one of his own family.

Gilcrist smiled and responded in few words. He did not deceive himself; his eyes were open. He knew that Thorkell had not been so anxious to make him a Bishop as to prevent a place of honour and emolument from going to any one less near to himself than his own brother. His people watched him closely.

He found his palace in a forlorn and dilapidated state, and the episcopal demesne, which was about a square mile of glebe, as fallow as the rough top of the mountains. He had no carriage and no horse for riding. When he made his pastoral visitations he went afoot. He set his face against the contraband trade, and refused communion to those who followed it.

The teachers were appointed by his vicars-general. According to the malcontents, the schoolmaster was unable to divide his syllables, and his home, which was the schoolhouse also, was too remote for the convenience of the children. Though a zealous upholder of Church authority, the Bishop was known to temper justice with mercy. He had not been a month in the diocese when his sumner told him a painful story of hard penance. A young girl from near Peeltown had been presented for incontinence, and with the partner of her crime she had been ordered to stand six Sundays at the door of six churches.

The man, who was rich, had compounded with the Archdeacon, paying six pounds for exemption, and being thenceforward no more mentioned; but the woman, being penniless and appalled at the disgrace before her, had fled from the island. She resisted all appeals until her time came, and then, in her travail, the force of the idea had worked upon her, and she could resist it no more. When she rose from bed she returned voluntarily to the island, with the sign of her shame at her breast, to undergo the penance of her crime. She had stood three Sundays at the doors of three churches, but her health was feeble, and she could scarcely carry her child, so weak was she, and so long the distances from her lodging in Peeltown.

She was Mally Kerruish. The island was in the province of York, and bound by the English canons, but the Bishop made his own canons, and none were heard to demur. Some of his judgments were strange, but all leaned towards the weaker side. A man named Quayle the Gyke, a blusterous fellow, a thorn in the side of every official within a radius of miles, died after a long illness, leaving nothing to a legitimate son who had nursed him affectionately.

This seemed to the Bishop to be; contrary to natural piety, and in the exercise of his authority he appointed the son an executor with the others. A rich man of bad repute, Thormod Mylechreest, died intestate, leaving an illegitimate son. The Bishop directed the ordinary to put aside a sum of money out of the estate for the maintenance and education of the child. But Thorkell came down in the name of the civil power, reversed the spiritual judgment, ordered that the whole belongings of the deceased should be confiscated to the Lord of the Isle, and left the base-begotten to charity.

The canons and customs of Bishop Mylrea not only leaned-sometimes with too great indulgence-to the weaker side, but they supposed faith in the people by allowing a voluntary oath as evidence, and this made false swearing a terror. Except in the degree of superstition, he encouraged belief in all its forms. He trusted an oath implicitly, but no man ever heard him gainsay his yea or nay. And as Billy the Gawk drank his drop of the real stuff he laughed very loud, and boasted that he could outwit the Bishop.

But the liquor got into his head, and from laughing he went on to swearing, and thence to fighting, until the innkeeper turned him out into the road, where, under the weight of his measure of corn taken in solution, Billy sank into a dead slumber. The Bishop chanced to take an evening walk that day, and he found his poor pensioner, who fared hard, lodged on a harder bed, and he had him picked up and carried into the house. Next morning, when Billy awoke and found where he was, and remembered what had occurred, an unaccustomed sensation took possession of him, and he stole away unobserved.

But if Billy never came again, his kith and kin came frequently. It became a jest that the Bishop kept the beggars from every house but his own, and that no one else could get a beggar. Billy the Gawk was not alone in thinking that he could outwit the Bishop. The first winter after his arrival in his Patmos, he wanted a cloak, and sent for Jabez Gawne, the sleek little fox who had been spokesman for the conspirators against James Quirk, the schoolmaster.

Jabez had cut out the cloak, and was preparing it for a truly gorgeous adornment when the Bishop ordered him to put merely a button and a loop on it to keep it together. The Deemster was present at that interview, and went away from it tittering audibly. This was no less a catastrophe than a general famine. The land of the island had been held under a tenure of straw, known as the three lives tenure; the third life was everywhere running out, and the farms were reverting to the Lord of the Isle.

This disheartened the farmers, who lost all interest in agriculture, let their lands lie fallow, and turned to the only other industry in which they had an interest, the herring fishing. The herrings failed this season, and without fish, with empty barns, and a scant potato crop, caused by a long summer of drought, the people were reduced to poverty.

Heaven seemed to have given him a special blessing. The drought had parched up the grass even of the damp Curragh, and left bleached on the whitening mould the poor, thin, dwarfed corn, that could never be reaped. The Bishop sold to those who had money at the price that corn fetched before the famine, and in his barn behind the house he kept a chest for those who came in at the back with nothing but sacks in their hands. Once a day he inspected the chest, and when it was low, which was frequently, he replenished it, and when it was high, which was rarely, he smiled, and said that God was turning away His displeasure from His people.

The eight hundred bushels were at an ends in a month, and still the famine continued. Then the Bishop bought eight hundred other bushels: wheat at ten shillings, barley at six shillings, and oats at four shillings, and sold them at half these prices. He gave orders that. A second month went by; the second eight hundred bushels were consumed, and the famine showed no abatement. The Bishop waited for vessels from Liverpool, but no vessels came. He was a poor priest, with a great title, and he had little money; but he wrote to England, asking for a thousand bushels of grain and five hundred kitchen of potatoes, and promised to pay at six days after the next annual revenue.

When patience was worn to despair, the old King Orry brought the Bishop a letter saying that the drought had been general, that the famine was felt throughout the kingdom, and that an embargo had been put on all food to forbid traders to send it from English shores. Then the voice of the hungry multi tudes went up in one deep cry of pain. Just at that moment a further disaster threatened the people. Their cattle, which they could not sell, they had grazed on the mountains, and the milk of the cows had been the chief food of the children, and the wool of the sheep the only clothing of the old men.

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With parched meadows and Curraghs, where the turf was so dry that it would take fire from the sun, the broad tops of the furze-covered hills were the sole resource of the poor. At daybreak the shepherd with his six ewe lambs and one goat, and the day-labourer with his cow, would troop up to where the grass looked greenest, and at dusk they would come down to shelter, with weary limbs and heavy hearts.

The rumour created consternation, and was not at first believed. But one day the Deemster, with the Governor of the Grand Enquest, drove to the glen at Sulby and went up the hill-side. Not long after, a light cart was seen to follow the high road to the glen beyond Ballaugh and then turn up towards the mountains by the cart track. The people who were grazing their cattle on the hills came down and gathered with the people of the valleys at the foot, and there were dark faces.

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They overtook the cart halfway up the side of the mountain, and the Bishop called on the driver to stop, and asked what he carried, and where he was going. The man answered that he had provisions for the Governor, the Deemster, and the Grand Enquest, who were surveying the tops of the mountains. The Bishop looked round, and his lip was set, and his nostrils quivered. A huge knife was handed to him, such shepherds carried in the long legs of their roots.

He stepped to the cart and ripped up the harness, which was rope harness; the hafts fell and the horse was free. When they got to the top of the mountain they could see the Governor and the Deemster and their associates stretching the chain in the purple distance.

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Punish him if you can. The Bishop then took a step forward. The Bishop approached the Governor. To all comers the master shook his head, and refused to sell. The cargo is not mine. And the Bishop heard their threats. About a week afterwards, another ship put in by contrary winds at Castletown. It had a cargo of Welsh oats bound to Dumfries, on the order of the Provost.

The contrary winds continued, and the corn began to heat and spoil. The hungry populace, enraged by famine, called on the master to sell. He was powerless. What wild joy among the people! What shouts were heard; what tears rolled down the stony cheeks of stern men! And then God remembered His people, and their troubles passed away. With the opening spring the mackerel nets came back to the boats in shining silver masses, and peace and plenty came again to the hearth of the poorest.

The Manxman knew his Bishop now; he knew him for the strongest soul in the dark hour, the serenest saint in the hour of light and peace. He needed all his strength and all his tenderness for the trials that were to come. The arrangement was agreeable to both brothers while it lasted. It left Ballamona a silent place, but the master reeked little of that. The Deemster kept no company, or next to none.

He dismissed all his domestics except one, and Hommy-beg, who had been gardener hitherto, became groom as well. The new Ballamona began to gather a musty odour, and the old Ballamona took the moss on its wall and the lichen on its roof. The Deemster rose early and went late to bed. Much of the day was spent in the saddle passing from town to town of his northern circuit; for he held a court twice weekly at Ramsey and Peeltown.