|Newspaper Title||The Record and Emerald Hill and Sandridge Advertiser (Vic. : 1872 - 1881)|
|Trove Title||The Law's Decree: An Original Story|
THE LAVS . DECREE.
AN ORIGINAL STORY, ;
13 r "Q'uiz."
OnAPTER IX., (Continued.) .
. Mrs. Severn wis at the.piano playing a soft solemn," plaintive old air, such ari one as the iviud might, be heard .to sigh througli the old old ouk-treo'joudeiy with such an! usually touch of pathos that'May and Harry; sitting side by "side around the little reading desk, drawn up close to the tire, cast oil' the spell infatuation of Lalli Ilookh, over whoso loves and triumphs tho former blushed andsighed and the, latter sighed and. imprecated, and
"Started . iu' wontforirient^at tliu-.uuuauul-fch rill,, in which their motherV playing seemed i to imbrue them; and, until the last jjotpmn chdrU' had" diod a^ay ,iu~fs~"6n-u"echo7they continued to gaze in ecstatic admiration across the room at tho impassioned musiciau. Though tlioy did. not, know how completely the hitter's soul' was enveloped in tho simple air wliich.issued forth so plaiutively from out tho multitudinous mystilicution of tho instru ment, they felt' that some uncommon occur rence liad befallen their mother aud them selves, and in respecting hor silence they only sought not to obtrue updn'the privacy "of her misfortune and unmistakable discomfituro. They might not have had: the picture of their misfortune presented to Miem so early and so realistically were it not for . a heart-rending sob bursting forth irresistibly from the player as she concluded her self-imposed,task at tho
pianoforte. They"immediately'hastened to her side but culy just in time to proveut.tlioir mother falling' in a swoon"upon the floor. Caught and eulocked in their fond arms, they aTerted such a disaster till the assistance of tho'sorvauts could be procured to remove hor to the couch, where she was carefully placed aud attended until the services of Diamond Gadswing, tho first medical gentleman iu the district, could be procured. The old atten dant in passing down Change Alley on his way to X'r. Gadswing, beheld the solitary figuro of Percival Gray moving slowly upend down the little garden which surrounded liis quiet dwelling, aud, thiuking that the friends of the family should be made acquainted with tbo stato of affairs at the Villa, he hastily ac costed him from the street.
11 Beg pardon, sir," cried tho old domestic across .tho fence,'" Mrs." Severn's taken bad and I've been ordered to go for Dr. Gads wing.
"It is vory sudden,Tandem," answered the
startled clerk as he dashed in to tho house and'
appeared a second later in the streot dragging a heavy overcoat after him, " What can pos sibly have happen?" , t .
" Duuuo, sir," said Tandem,' " but the 'ousemaid s'poses its tho 'art's affected."
" Dunderhead's au ass, and you are another to suppose anything of the kind. i3o oil', sir, and never let mo hear you talk Buch nonsense again."
" I was only say'n as Dunderhead tol' me, but I think it's ofit she's got.meself," replied the old domestic, who seemeeT to consider that he had dono sufficient,, iu acquainting Gray of the indis position of his mistress.
" You cannot find Gadswiug," said Gray, moving away from-his gato iu the direction of tho Villa, "he's gone to Tanunda;" old Sparkles is a fool, so you had better run ovor to Smalltalk,- tho chemist, and bring him back to see Mrs. Severn. In the meantime I will proceed to Barossa Villa, and make myself useful."
"You alu's do, sir, but if you go baro hoaded people'll think as sum'ats gone wrong," suggested Taudum, who had noticed that although Gray had taken tho precaution to provide himself with au overcoat, ho had altogether forgotten his hat in tho momentary excitement which tho nows of Mrs. Severn's sudden and uuoxpeoted indisposition pro vokod. This immaterial oversight was quick ly remided, and Percival Gray lost no time iu betaking himself to the Villa.
He approaqhed tho placo hurriedly, b'ut his anxiety calmed down and subsided under tho calm assurances of little May,i'vho ran joyously.down tho gravel walk to receive him, that her mother was nearly wo 11' again, aiid had or.ly suffered for d' few seconds.'
Percival Gray entered tho parlor iu which Mrs. Severn still lay pale and oxhausted upon
" Peaceful as some immeasurable plain
By tbo lirst beams of dawuiug light impressed."
and thelirstsight of hor lithe graceful figuro, thrown carelessly upon tho numerous elcantly-worked cushions that encumbered the°couch impressed him with thoughts of tho grandeur and nobility of womau, aud doubt
less he would havo dwelt in impassioned ecstasy upon the thoine, than which none other hold a more sacred place in his communings, wero it not for tho obvious change which had overtaken her aspect since last he saw her. Then, he beheld a Hushed and'heautiful sorrow in the attitude of its paroxsyui;-, enduring in jury and injustice with that submission which a promised retribution gradually heightens inio revengeful lougiug and despair; but uow that aspect was altogether changed. A. complete transformation hud overtaken hor and he beheld that sorrow cleaved away au ; supplantod by a purer calm, a uew 'deter miuutiou to accept the dccraoa of fata with
firmness and resolution, though thoy should estrange lior oven from those whom she hold nearest and dearest. Sho would bo another and a nobler woman, and seek to expiate her offending, 6uch as it was, on the altar of eelf donial. Henceforth sho would put away all those externalities which conduce to self enjoyments and selfish gratifications, turn
from those trivial vanities and blandishmeuta of life which harass freedom and distort the understanding, and live alono the guardian of her darlings, uninfluenced by the world with out and untroubled by its turmoils aud vicis
"Oh, Grace, how changed you are," said Percival Gray in surpriso as ho entered the room aud hurried towards the couch upon which sho reclined " What is the meaning of
it all ?"
" Nothing, Mr. Gray, nothing; do you really lliiuk I havo changed ?" asked Grace in a tremulously calm voice, whose sweetness at once disarmed hiin, as she sought to avoid for the present an explanation. Ho was not to
- " Changed 1 You are. So much so, indeed, that I hardly recognised your face when eutsring the room.
" Oh you stupid !"
"Am I stupid in thinking that something unusual l-as happened ?" lie asked.
"No," she answered, without reserve, but unwilling to narrate circumstances which sho had already withheld from the kuowledge of her darlings, their presence placed au obstical in the way of making him acquainted with her grief. Sho would havo requested the children to withdraw, but she feared losing their confidence in denying to participate
with them in the secrets which she desired
to discloso to Gray. May quickly perceived how matters stood, and bravely caiue to the rescue by iuviting Harry, who lay doggedjy enseonsed in the folds of an oppossuui rug upou the hearth, to go into tho garden and gather a boquet of (lowers lor their mutual friend, 'i'lie suggestion was readily accepted,
and tho children left the room.
They were now alone and silence continued for 'several seconds, and was only broken whori Gray said, . ;
" You havo seen him, then 1".
"Yes,'1 she answered, "last night after the children had gone to bed, I felt oppressed and stifling, and sought the open air for relief. X wandered out among the trees aod away I know not where, the atmosphere was so refreshing and so clear, and tho waning moon declining in the west, seemed to beckon me away from earth. -I was happy, oh, so happy, and wandered away not heoding
where I went till the calin waters of the Giwler obstructed further progress. 11 o disod then the distahco I bad traversed, aud would have iustuntly returned, but a strange infat "ualioiT' seemed to possees liie and takeTmo further from my homo."
She paused for a moment lind went 110
"I know it was not right, but I could not resist tlio temptation. Everything seemed to combine in leading me away, the very trees' called me onward, and tho light wind which mooned through 1 heir leafy branches / ap peared to echo "' Onward, hasten onward," and I threw off my fear, and pursued the!
river's bank up to thu hanging rouk. which! overlooks tho Myrtle Grovo." ;
; " Heavens,. what ever induced you to go
"Instinct. Wlaon I climbed the. rock aud .looked out ovor Iho grove, the first object, w'jich struck my attention was a small wliite cottage encircled round with a host of, wattle
"Well." . . .
. " A .light liurued brightly in tho window,, and' a tliiri curl, of 'smok . issued from the chimney!' I hastened forward with Iho im petuosity of despair.' A tri-.p aud pair stood waiting at the door, and u? 1 crawled, like a tliiof, beneaih tho ahado of the nearest wattle, the cottage door suddenly opened and he camo out leading a lady, 110 a woman, on his
" Help mo heaven,1 but at that moment I could and would, did I possess the means, hare shot him through the heart. But no 1 wits calm aud let him puss before ino without a murmur. I fell fainting to'tho ground, as they drove away, and only camo to my senses at day-break. I hastened homo, but thaufcs to fate, my children had not
" gtraiif;e .. mused Gray who seemed puzzled at the imformation. "Did you not see any thing more than yon have described ??.
"STolhing. Oh yes the man who stood at tho head of the horses seemed to be known to me, but I did not recognise hiin. When tho horses turned the peuk, I havo a dim nnd shadowy recollection of seeing his Ggure load ing a saddle horse out of a wattle bush behind
" Could ho havo been Dick Wearing ?" " I eanuot say. 11 might havo been.".
'.Never fear ho was not far away. We will see presently what he has made of our iustruo
itions....,^^.^ __ ;