|Newspaper Title||The Record and Emerald Hill and Sandridge Advertiser (Vic. : 1872 - 1881)|
|Trove Title||The Law's Decree: An Original Story|
TEE LAW'S 'DBCREB.
CHAPTER Til. (Continued.)
i Ho was most unwilling to lose the advan
tage he hud so striven for and succeeded in obtaining over his euoni}*, more especially so uow that a oircumstanco enhanced the value of that advantage;- When he returned to the quietude of his private .apartment subsequent ly. to >palming oil' upon Dorset Severn the spurious pocket book, Peruival Gray was a
little ustonished to find his friend .Richard
Wearing, sit'.ing,comfortably and calmly in on arm chair drawn up immediately m front of the warm: rough log lire which blazed and sparkled with all tno life and buoyancy of Mint most levelling element, shedding a soft mellow light over the 'timely furnished apartment. JNo other light but the somnolent reflection Ironi the lire place lit.up Ihe room, and as Gray came in noiselessly,- the scene preaenled to his .mind picture.ol sad/less and .desola tion rather than of pieturesqucuesg, Vet it was
.a picturo- of such excellence that few could; pourlray^it with the poetry-with which it appeared-to be imbued. For a moment'Gray
lost: that look of cars which had of lato set
tled down upon him and as he remained
standing in thoopon dnor--.vay with the handle of l.hodoor'still, wifcfiiivliis grasp, cont tcniplaling tho scciire, his heart throbbed, and his puis;) grow 'iuHunted with the recollections ivliich tli0:so!i(ai'3* figure, :aud. the .S'lenthalf dim/room~brbii'glit "biToIc. * ifoisclesily' ami cauLiously .he,closed tho -door, iiiui moved to the centro of tho room,wlion he agaiit survey ed' the place, nj if in doubt of its identity. Tiie liguro of.tho occupant of tho arm chair, was so balm and immovable, that at first Gray feared lest some mishap should havo befallen llis friend, but us ho was :about to move for ward ami arouie l.bo sleeper, Wearing sighed
heavily, and fettled; again into his warm: re.-' fc.eat. 'l'horc was no doubt abjut the loom, it was his old homo in which lie had experi enced maiiy toilsome days and niglilVbut apart . Iroui these considerations .altogether,, it was: tiic retreat ho loved best. -£lie' recollections of the past made it dearost of all.. ..
He moved slowly up to the lirc-placo bo-: side Wearing, and drawing a chair after hint,
sat down upon it at right angles.to;thc. sleep-; or. The hitter's eyes were not closed, but tin; was oblivions of existence, and sat there in a deep reverie, gazing,; into .space,- and, though in sucli close proximity to Gray", continued in a state of coma,-into-.vliieli !ie-liad-f«lloi:, until ho was aroused by a plaintive hush cooey which Percival Gray'foreibly delivered into his responsive r^r. This quickly placed'him upon his feet, but only to bring'Ilia hard and
well seasoned head into immediate contact
with a large overhanging petal like vase, which . occupied a ceiitV.il position iipoii- the marble mantelpiece.
" Dam-'! lie had .partially exclaimed, when. his opening eyes beheld the figure of his al armist, laughing heartily'at the'discomfiture into which his precipitate action had placed him, when his visage melted away, and lie joined in tbo langi: against himself.
They were soon on the best of terms, when mutual explanations followed, and Wearing described in primitive English, which. lio.-fen deavoured to enhance by throwing in here and there ejaculatory.anathcmasjthe discovory he had made. He described graphically the scctic which-lio witnessed upon the couimsn,
and.what had coino of it, so far as ho was iu-. dividuully concerned, mid I'ercival Gray heard him out quid ly to the end .without a word of astonishment or alarm. ' . '.
When he had finished, tho latter induced him to ro-narrats the couvcrsationj-and-whilo Wearing proceeded ti.-perform-.thetask, I'ercival Gray took curei'ul aud accurato-notes iu his memorandum book. , .."'"v Si s
: Ho missed nothing. Tlio "words, though they-brought an occasional-chaiigo-'tb the complexion, and peih-ips also' iui occasional curl to the proud lip of tho listener, fell like drops of balm upon his eager auxious ear, and he greedily absorbed thenr; ,
When the lask had been completed, Per cival Gray, in a tjuc of disagreeable lndif
ferenco asked whether ho had not examined tlie
pocket-book and its contents,-and Wearing
"Indeed no, I diil not lliink that I would bo justified in doing so. :It is oho thing to fiucl u bookmill retain it knowing to whiiiu it belongs, but it is quits. aiiotlior to rille ila contents."'--- '.- . . :
' "Not even when you are suspiciru's that it may contuin'n.miirs niiiul I nnlv a:iv may, throw a li(.*nt upon u grave'mill .lurriblu charge that lias oeeir placed. against vour ; integrity, mid. your Jiouor £ asked." >-far:iv.
ingeniously, for it was evident- to him that ! Wearing had not: even taken tlie precaution
'to-'examine tho external puns ot ihe-iboob,
much less to rille itcontents. - --vu-.-; :; j
"That might... alter . the oast'," mused Wearing, undeeidikl;, libw tb/ariswoiv " but still it is quite." a q^.tiou whether ii mail would be justified iii doing eo. Hud I tiic lua>t riUrfpicion l hairVuuil Vvrfs LUec,i^,a^ Uie timo wbon I discovered tho book, had I even . thought, of the wrong which Dorset Severn
sought *: to do. mi-,. I, .might have .done so, ! but now 1'ani 'cr.Imer aiid" would 'not,'without your concurrence touch the book." -' -
" }£ou may safely do so with the book which you liavo found,' linswor Percival
Gray, "and without incurring tho slightest responsibility." .
" How aui.horitivelv you dispose of tile' question," srtid Wearing, not knowing what' to make of the seeming indifferent manner of
his friend. "To bear you talk, u stranger: might imagine that wu_were simply disctt33ing jin what sort of formal manner a private packet should be, opened. What do you moan ?" As ho asked this questioc he dro'wi .'from his breast coat pocket the book, aiid pliiomg it before biui' in-the'dini light1 of the ilire,.^discovered for the first.;time;that ho had
only: become possessed of a worthless book; which formerly belonged to himself.
; . -His astonishment' wus insupportable^ and jbe'was forced to introduce a little light upon the subject. .. . j
. ^ ? Wlion tho caudles hud been lighted, Pcrci yal; (JrAy, oxpltimed- ^witli one. or-two ,par-t donable littlo reservations, and there was grea . hand "slinking and mutual rejoicing for the rest of tho eveniug. ? '
/.?After supper it was arranged bow they should net'lon tho;.loss -and mistake being .discovered, and pursuant to this understand
ing Richard Wearing loft GUwlor the . next .; morning on receiving a letter from Percival Q-rayr-which ? reallv- only -contninod an- ad monition to, positively;;nnd unmistakably oarryout-theirainderitandingl } * ;