|Newspaper Title||The Record and Emerald Hill and Sandridge Advertiser (Vic. : 1872 - 1881)|
|Trove Title||The Law's Decree: An Original Story|
THE LAW'S DECREE.
CHAPTER VIII. (Continued.J
in so tar as possessing a key to the mysteries which had long cast a glamour of disappoint ment and unhnppiness over Barossa Villa and its inmates gave him an advantage over his natural antipathy, Percival Gray was master of tho situation ; but, he was not at all clear with respect to the course which lie should pursue to conserve that advantage to the interests of those for whom ho considered ho was acting. The very possession of thoso papers, for an insight into which he had striven so untiringly aud persistently, seemed to pluce him still further from his object, to hamper his freedom and to surround his energies with fresh aud moro potent difllcul tios and obstructions, than his foresight had apprehended or his judgment provided for. To possess himself of the coveted papers had been his day dream and nightly trouble, aud yet when a circumstance placed within his grasp, the object of so much solicitude', he relented. His approhension was now rifo with uew and insurmountable troubles, which ho feared to face. Not from coward instinct, for no such motive ever iullueuced him
through life, but from a sense of dubious disaster which seemed to ourclopo him in a cloud, and overawe his riper and more solid judgment, lie thought that in tho pocket" book he possessed a great advantage over Dorset Severn, and that with it ho might bo enabled to exercise such an iulluence over him as to bring about an immediate and satisfactory settlemout of the disorganization which existed at tho Villa, jet ho feared to take the first step to that end lest his an tagonist should place him suddonly at a dis« advantage by ascribing tho possession of tha book lo other causes than those by whioh he had succeeded in gaining a hold upon it. Ho
relied 'upon this tuct anil judgment to guido liim in his subsequent conduat with respect to I he stops which should bo initiated, and depended upon the identification of tho poeket-pook and its contents, with Dors-ct Sev,crn.to,3hiokl hiui from tho consequences of tile part ire lihd t'uken iu tho matter. ^..3?oe. i time this lust idea seemed tonnblo enough, but on examining the book Gray could not iliseover ought in it to practically identify it 113 tho property of Dorset Severn, sbouid that gentlemen feel it inoro convenient to. disown timii cluim it. This ho feared. To
identify the book with .Dorset tieveni, should : have beeu his lint consideration, us it was now his only and all absorbing thought. His folly in not having tafceu means even at tho interview between the lawyer and Dorset Severn, to practically and vumistakubly iden tify the book with the latter, presented 'itself in all its annoying reality, as follies only .will when it is ton lute to make reparation. Truly there was Don Severn's I.O.U., but that: might bo held by anybody. There waa evidently no hopo there, so ho abandoned tho idea for a rummage through the book again, only to recur to tho f.O.U. His thoughts wandered as ho sat at tho tablo in the partially lighted room resting his troubled forehead upon bis right hand, but they persistently returned lo tho scrap of paper which acknow ledged an indebtedness of £f70 to some per son or persons unknown. There was some thing seductive about the tiny scrap of papor which though common iu itself, seemed to hold out a hope in mockery of tho troubled aspect of tho enquiror, yat upon its faco mora seemed to be inscribed than was visible to
the naked eyo.
Though upon tho identification of this scrap of paper with Dorset Sovern "centered
the solution of the difficulty, it was impossible to place any great reliance upon it, for after circumstances might show that it was never the property of that gentleman. That it; might prove so, he longed.
Granting in his dilliculty that upon it alone could be placed auy kope of proving the identification of Iho book, ho looked for a solution. This was not easily found, but tho greater the appeatance of the dilliculty, the move persistent wore his elforts to unfathom
Thus pursuing his difileult and harrassod career through the troublos which surrounded him, wo must leavo Percival Grray for the present.