Chapter 164384994

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Chapter NumberVII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article164384994
Full Date1884-01-12
Page Number55
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Word Count4089
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Newspaper TitleThe Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912)
Trove TitleSubstantive or Adjective
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. Substantive or Adjective.

Bt C. H. Spence.

Chapteb VII.

Phoebe's delight at Tom Frankland's return, was more noisy **'»' his mother's, if not quite so deep. There was much talk and questionings. The novel retreated quite into the background in a manner astonishing to Tom, who bad been so thoroughly engrossed by it in the months of conception, composition, and expectation. A perfectly new lifewas opened before him. Harry said that if Tom took to pastoral life he should have a partnership, but it might be for his advantage to continue Ms profession of geological surveyor in a country so rich in minerals of all kinds and so badly off for water as New South Wales. And indeed nnnntinn mieht arise whether he could not do better in

England in his profession, and allow the motherto have one son near her. ? ? ? ?? With his care thrown off, Tom appeared in his true colours, and his brother saw what a delightful companion he was. Ellice Grant joined the family parly in the evening with an expression of relief on hee, tace. She was now satisfied. There was nothing now to conceal. Tom felt remorseful for the shun he had put upon her ; but as he said, half penitently, half tenderly, ' What is the use of friends if one cannot take advantage of them ? ' Phoebe went to the piano and played and sang. Tom had a fine second, and their.voices harmonised well together. A flirtation of an airy kind at once sprang up between them. Somebody lively and handsome, and, above all, somebody new, was always very acceptable to Phoebe, and she had not seen Tom since she was a child. Frankland's countenance fell ; Ellice looked thoughtfuL One could scarcely tell which of the two first felt the shadow of annoyance ana apprehen sion, but they felt it together. There was, however, nothing but perfect satisfaction on Mrs. Frankland's part She sunned herself in the presence of her long-absent sons, her dear friend, and her lively ward. She did not care to eay much. She was satisfied to look and listen. Under cover of the music FranMand carried on a conversa tion with Miss Grant, which the old lady felt most interest ing. She was glad to hear that a good judge like Ellicehad no doubt as to the novel. It was good and would be proved good some day. ?' He has just what I want, brilliancy and humour, as well as a gift in poetical expression, and he is most in-v ventive. My work, though conscientious and accurate, is Bomewhat sombre. Of course, one admires what one does not possess.' ' it was the failure of his venture rather than dissatisfac tion with your own arrangements that saddened you when you returned from London,' said Frankland. ' Yes, because he was so sanguine, and so'indeed was I, much more certain bf its ultim&te sucoeBs than I was with anything of my own. Of course I had many rebuffs and disappointments on my own entrance into the profession of letters, but they were half forgotten, and I (Care say they did me good. But just because he was so different from me I felt impressed by this first book. I thought he had creative genius, not mere talent or faculty such as . I have. Perhaps you understand now why your brother has been always so interesting to me/' ' Not quite,' said Frankland ; ' but I am' Btudying the subject from all poipts, and light may fall upon it.' ' Don't study too much ; these things are best seen by a . sort of ' revelation, not- by close investigation. Friendships tthich have an intellectual basis have such a wide range for sympathy ; you could see that in the character of Tom's letters io me. I nave one woman friend with whom I am in even more ' perfect accord than with your brother, and she is my chief attraction to London, though, of course, business considera tions also lead me thither. And Emily 'White, too, is younger than myself.'' Was this a 'blind? WaB itpossible thatahy female friendship could be so strong as this between her atid his biother ? It 'was quite possible that Tom might take the ? thing more lightly, butitwasevident Bhe did not like his devotion to Phoebe.', r'Y;-. ? r - ' Emily differs from me in her estimate of Tom's hoveil, and that has somewhat staggered tbe as to its merit,' said .Miss Grant. ' She eays it lacks cohesivenees and conoen ' tration, and that a series of even brilliant episodes will not make a novel.'' ' ' Then die iB not so partial to him as you are F' ' We stayed with her, you know, while we were in town. She was very kind to Tom, both on my account and on his own, but ehe has not known him long, and of course cannot like him so well.' F' I suppose it was Tom who was. with you the night of the theatricals?' ' Yes, he had juet arrived.' V'.It was foolishly melodramatic to. come to Truscott incog, and not look near ub,' said Mrs. Frankland. ' 1 dare say it was very, absurd ; but he came to me first to hear the fate of his book, and. then he begged to have one .more trial ; and we had to wait in' London for the reading and decision which was to be final.' Frankland was silent a little, and then asked abruptly, ' Have you no near.relatives there ?' ' None nearer than a great uncle, who is a sort of mysogynist hermit down in Cornwall. He never forgave . my mother for marrying my father, and he never forgave me for being a girl and not a boy !' ' There must be some advantage in our sex,' said Frank land, ' for I have heard many women say they wished they were men ; while, perhaps, no man ever wished to be a woman, even the man wno admired women mbBt as morally much the better of the two sexes.' ' I suppose no man ever seriously wished to be an angel or a fairy, ' said Ellice, ' though he was ever bo much dis gusted with mortal sins and sorrovrB ; yet we have heard of

a-igeJs and fairies who were willing to change their bright existence for ours.'; ' Bat that is a mere mortal imagination which springs from our human sense of oar own importance,'1 said Frank - land. (- With men and women there is so much equality of capacity and interests that the wish to change is natural ; only I think it is one-sided/' 41 1 hate felt tbe wish you speak of,' said she ; ' bat I think' it was for the career and the independence, which are accidents rather than essentials. latterly I hare been per fectly satisfied, not merely resigned like the Jewish women in their ,fonn of thanksgiving.'* ' You have eeiz£d on thd career and the independence, and thus have nothing to regret; and, ' continued Frank land, with more intuition than his mother could have credited him with, ' even when filling a recognised position, and doing your daily work, there are odds and ends of time, thereare even portions of yourself, that you can spare to your friends and to objects ont of yonr daily work, as no business man can do. I understand now why life is good to von. It will be good to yoa everywhere and at all times, eo long as you keep your sympathies so warm and so active. My brother must have a great deal of good in him to have won so much ot yonr regard.' ' Yes ; so mnch good that it will conquer the bad, I hope,' said Ellice. But she caught the sound of the badinage at the piano, and the could not help seeing that Phoebe wanted to excite love on the part of the one brother, or jealousy on that of the other: ' But he is impressible very impressible,' she said, with a slight sigh. To .a rover like Tom there was a great charm in this j shallow girl. He heard- that she made an impression on everybody, and that no one could make a las tine: impression on her ; and this roused him to a trial of what he could do. The fascination that she exercised could not be analysed, but it was powerful. In. all other things Tom appeared to be reasonable ; and he was certainly happy, except for a remorseful feeling that he had led his only friend, on the other side of the world, into a ruinous speculation which could not be put down amongst his debts and cleared off. A few days after Tom's acknowledged return to his old home Mies Grant received an urgent summons from her great uncle in Cornwall,, who was very ill and sent for her. This was the .first recognition of her existence which she had received from him. ?* Ah ! now,'' said Tom, when she came for a hurried farewell to her friends, the Franklands, ' virtue is to be rewarded at last, and you are going to come in for a fortune.'' ' L know nothing about that,' said she; 'but I must go, though it is most inconvenient. Will you forward my letters to Penal ana ? The time of my return is most uncer tain; but on the proper day the house must be emptied of all my possessions, ana if 1 am not here to pack up what 1 mean to keep Bome one else must do it. Jackson will be the best.'* Jackson was the carpenter whom Phoebe had spoken of. ' Depend on me,' said Tom. . ? ' I have not much confidence in your powers in thai way. [ would rather rely on Jackson.' It was not by any means -a pleasant thing for Ellice to.. -?o to her only relative, who had never forgiven his niece for marrying Clement Grant, -whose character, temper, and profession were all equally distasteful to him. He had never seen Ellice, though her mother had paid him three visits before her death, if she had been a boy he wouldhave liked to adopt the child, 'but that would not have been good for any one of the parties. He had heard with some con tempt that his niece had taken' to literature ; he read nothing that he knew to be written by a woman, and con sidered it as much of a derogation from female propriety as going on the stage itself would be. Butnow in extreme old age, feeble and suffering, he thought she might be useful, and he sent for her as peremptorily as if she had owed him love and duty. *- He was not at all prepared to Bee so old a Woman. She was always Laura's little girl in his thoughts, and when she established herself as headnurse and housekeeper it seemed tchim as if a generation had rolled back and as if it was Laura herself again. Everything ia the house looked like wealth and easy circumstances, more so than hsr mother's descriptions had in any way prepared her for, especi ally as she bad been told tbat mining property had fallen in value in the neighbourhood. He rallied surprisingly after her arrival ; he got ont of bed, he began to get out of doors, and the medical man in attendance said he was goodfo years yet if he took care of himself. JBnt he was most unwill ing to part with EUice. She had made herself indispens able as a narse, and afterwards as a companion. Her father wasdead, no human being in the world had any claim on her services. Her absolute loveliness left her no excuse to plead for not spending her life with him at Penaldna. As for her career, he persisted in ignoring, it. No woman's career was worth a moment's consideration when ia man wanted her. And he did want her. He was pillaged by his servants and neglected by his neighbours, co whom he hod not been particularly ple&Bant in his days of health and strength. Chapter Vlil. Miss Grant had considerable difficulty in obtaining per mission to return to Truscott to arrange her affairs, and she now saw the prospect of having her life far more circum scribed than it had been in her father's time. He had to acknowledge that, as the bread-winner, she must arrange her own times, and that her work was paramount, but this older man had regulated everything and everybody in his household to suit his own convenience, and his niece w as to be no exception. She was to be his reader, his nurse,' his housekeeper, his factotum ; and this life might go on for many years. There was a Bhadow of sadness and disap pointment on her face when she returned to Truscott. There was to be no meeting with the Franklands iu London for. her ;' Bhe had only to make arrangements for the sale of her belongings and depart with some things she would not sell to Penal una. She was preparing to spend the last evening at Mrs. Frankland's when a telegram summoned her back by the earliest train, which was the night train to London. Mr. Arnold was alarmingly ill. She must lose no time. It was a night of wind end rain. The brothers eaw her to the station and the elder Frankland said he would see her to her journey'B end. ' ' That's right,' said Tom, 'take good care of her.' There'were other passengers in the carriage, and the con versation was limited to general subjects. Ellice was qot soreat first whether she was glad of Frankland's company or not; but she soon found out that it was a pleasant thing to be cared for a little. As for the visit to Penaluna, he made out that it was the very thing he had most wished, to see an English mining district, for there were indications - on his own near neighbourhood that might turn oat good. On the following morning they made an early start, and as they had a carriage to themselves, Frankland led his com panion to talk of Tom. He showed that he Was somewhat . disappointed in him—spoke with a- little impatienoe of his volatile nature and want Of perseverance, and the easy way in which he accepted obligations ; and everything: pointed, in Miss Grant's mind, in one direction: that Tom had interfered with his brother'* promising love affair with Phoebe, and the elder Frankland naturally felt somewhat sore on the subject. It' was hot easy to siy what she thought She did not think Phoebe worthy of either brother ; but Tom would be none the worse for an incom petent helpmate than Harry, who wonld neither be made nor marred by any woman. 'I had quite different views for Tom,' said Frankland, with an impatient tone in his voice. 'And I thought Miss Hose's fancy was turned ele where,' said Miss Grant. ' As for Tom, he always was very susceptible.' ' ' Excuse me ; but I thought from his letters and from his talk that Tom thought yoa the best and dearest woman in the world,' said Frankland, hesitatingly. ' ' The best, perhaps, v said Ellice, Bmiling ; ' but one doe - not fall in love withwhat one thinkB the best. The dearest, until he really falls in love, which I am not sore that hs hasdoneyet. I have seen Tom as devoted before, and it came to nothing. He never could afford to settle down ani marry before this time, and even with your generous offer it iB only prospectB he has before him. He ought to be more independent before he asks any woman to many him, especially one with a little fortune.' ' But now,' said Frankland gravely, ' that should be no impediment, for, as in a case which I_ had put to myself

before, which I. thought wonld be for his advantage', I am ready to supplement the lady's portion with an equivalent.' V Don't, don't. Mr. Frankland,' said Ellice eagerly, ' don't offer a bribe for a hasty and ill-considered marriage. In making a sacrifice, one must not be carried away by feel ings of generosity. You should think whether the sacrifice will really beneht the person for whom you make it.' ' If marriage will, as I think, steady Tom for life, what sacrifice is it to me to guarantee a certain income which he may add to by his own exertions.'' ' Surely there is another sacrifice involved,' said Miss Grant, as timidly as Fraklaud had done with regard to his own supposition. 'No; not at all,' said Frankland laughing. ' On the contrary, I was made aware of the unreality of my fancied liking for Phoebe, by seeing how she was monopolised by Tom. She would never have suited me at all.' ' Ah,' eaid Ellice, ' is it so ? Still, I advise you to pause lor a while, and let things take their coarse. It may not be the best thing — 1 feel quite sure it would not be a good thing at all for Tom to settle down with a woman who will never 6pur his ambition, or take large and noble views of life, or understand his mobile and sensitive nature, or sym pathise with his scientific and literary tastes.' ' But you could have seen me thus mated with com placency,' said Frankland, a little resentfully. ' She could not have harmed you so much.' I ' And you do' not care so much whether she did or not. That is natural enough. You have put large stakes on Tom, and you should like to see him rura up trumps at last.' ' Yes, it is impossible that I should feel so anxious about one who-can so perfectly well take care of himself as you.' This is putting him down as uninteresting, as usual, but yet there was a sensation of satisfaction in the idea that . neither of them needed the misplaced pity of the other for a -love disappointment. V Irbelieve it will wear iteclf out, Mr. Frankland, and that they will tire of each other. Miss Roee is not the true ad . jective for Tom. In reading the journals of Caroline Fox, which I have got to review just now, I Bee a most beautiful specimen of that sort of woman. Everybody turns the best side of his character to her, every one tells what is most characteristic of himself. She does not give her own opinions, she does not chronicle her own remarks, which we know must have been good, always sympathetic, sometimes - incisive, to draw out so much from her interlocutor. When she gees to hear Carlyle lecture, she seizes on the salient points, the noteworthy pregnant utterances, and gives one who has not read or heard them a worthy idea of the subject and the treatment. If I were keeping such a journal, I believe I should make myself much more prominent. I 'should, bring forward my own objections, or the reasons why I agreed with. what was said to me. 1 could not keep my o\v n personality eo much in the background. She must have been a most charming woman.' ' But her experience is in quite 'another direction from my cOusin Phoebe's. It was intellectual and moral sympathy andreceptiveness tbat she showed. There is no sign of a capacity lor flirtation on her part.' ' ' No, and Buch an adjective as Caroline Fox would suit Tom Admirably— for her sympathy would make him do his best intellectually, and her perfect moral nature would -strengthen his. 1 do not despair of his finding the right adjective yet.' Frankland felt that this subject was thus settled for the present, and he turned to another; 1 ' You have been k-rg accustomed to the care of an' invalid ?' '.Yes, but I am not a born nurse. It is perhaps the thing that 1 naturally do worst, and which I would shirk if I could, but this unhappy old man seems to be in utter need of me. He seems to have no tie but the mercenary one to bind him to humanity. He thought my father died in miserable poverty, but he was rich compared to my uncle Arnold. Not that I was much of a nurse, but 1 was a companion, and he had many resources in books and interests outside of me which Mr. Arnold has not.' ' My mother tells me you were an admirable nurse and devoted daughter,' said Frankland. ' She did not see where I came short. I feel dissatisfied on looking back. * My father was very dependent on me, and I had so much work that demanded my undivided atten tion' that I could not be to him all that 1 would. Still he sympathised in the work to a certain extent, and was a valuable critic, though yoa know I was a great jdisappoint ment to him. He wanted me to go on the stage. He belonged to a family of actors, and he had the highest idea of the dignity of the profession. He himself was a great cctor, who had Jost his voice— lost it com pletely in' the prime of life. That wonderful voice, (hat used to thrill pit, boxes, and gallery subdued. to a hoarse whisper. Nobody at Truscott knew ' my father as he was. Nobody but Tom Frankland cbuld form the least idea of what it was to him to drag out his .existence as a silent, ruined man in a little provincial town where his old vocation was held in disrepute.' ' And why did you not gratify your father in your , choice of a career ?' ' Partly from a distaste for that Bort of publicity, and partly because I gauged my powers more accurately than my father did. I should never have made a good actre'Bs either in tragedy or cemedy. He refused to see with my eyes. To his dying day he believed I had made a mistake, and it was a bitter disappointment to him. Because I was the best performer at amateur theatricals here, he thought I might be a star in London and New York. Now even your brother Tom knows better.' ' What did your father think of Tom?' ' A great deal. It is a sort of hereditary thing, my liking for your brother. He was the only one in Truscott who could rouse my father to anything like his old self. Tom's vivacity, his impulsiveness, and his war with Philistia went to my father's Bohemian heart. He used to say a visit from Tom had the effect on him of a very fine day. No one but an invalid sensitive to weather and confined to the house for many months of the year in this variable climate can ap preciate that simile.' ' I wonder your father did not recommend the stage to him.' ' He did, and I discouraged the idea. After all his long and costly education, it would have been sheer waste to make him into a second-rate actor.' ' Then yon did not think highly of his hisfrionic power a any more than of your own V' ' No, and 1 thought the life would be bad for him besides, but it was through my father that we first began to corre spond. Tom's letters were addressed at first to him, and were highly appreciated, but gradually the duty of answer ing them devolved on me. My father began to file and back up these letters from distantlands, and though not - methodical by nature I have kept it up, aB I try to do with all the things my father loved.' - What soft, tender tones there were in Ellice's voice— what unwonted moisture in her eyes when she spoke of the father whom every one considered as a burden and a hindrance to her.