|Newspaper Title||Sydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871)|
|Trove Title||Which Wins? A Tale of Life's Impulses|
WHICH WINS ? A TALE OF LIFE'S IMPULSES.
?? Ilr wbo feeds the ravens Will give bit children breaa.' COWPkH, Ctt;iiT bb was that white hospital ward, I uir and lieaid sufficient in my first contcioubdays to be well convinced that 1 had not passed through the portal* beyond which there is nothing evil, and no taint upon that which u good. From the many beds around me rose voices ol querulous complaint and angry impa tience, mingled with the uncontrollable moan of help.
man is heir to sin and consequent sorrow. Neither weie the faults of health, wealth, knowledge, and po sition unexetnpliiied within the narrow world that was bounded by those four while walU, aa the abode ot sickness, poverty, and most ofteu ignorance and degradation. I heard the medical man, secure in his own skill and penetration, check with flippant acorn the timid inquiry of the invalid who suffered go pain foil;- ftom her own doubi as to the nature of her dis ease re she did from its bodily torture, I saw the jaded nurse give way to the infirmities of a much iried temper, aud silence, by a few hari.li words, the cries that were, in . their poor way, a relief to the anguished t-ufferer that uttered them. I watched the laoy TiBitors sweep up the room, with supercilious pity in the tones with which they questioned the poor recipients of their hospituliy, to a degree that would have been accounted alike unfeeling and impertinent if used towards their equals. 1 saw the wince of pain caused by an awkward movement thai might easily have been avoided, a hareh sound that might have teen softened, or the rustling ol a bilk dress that should never have been admitted. But, it I saw wrong thus clearly, I saw also meek charity and all-forgiving love bending tenderly above the cu'uch of the (sick and sinful ; I «»w women with the loveliness ul pious thought upon their grave brows, and with voices tuned by earnest purpose, watching to win the i-ouls that trouble had softened ; and I saw men of learned bkill choosing carefully the simplest t ei me to carry information to their eager questioners, modulating their deep voices with a woman's gentle ness, inventing bope with ils brightest colours, and striving to divett hopclcnanets ol its darkness by pointing to the Light of eternal salvation. Vet evil and good were so strangely blent an ouly upon earth they can be, and slowly theditlinct dream with which I had fallen into unconsciousness faded from my niemury ai*d I aguin began to look life fully in the ft.ee. One came to me often that reconciled me to the dismal prospect. This was the Mrs, Hume of whom the mute had spoken — the angel of my delirium dream etid the tuccuurcr ol my weakness at this time. 'Jail, stately, with a full-rounded figure, and a large finely, mouldid headset on a pillared neck, this was one of thote noble beings who, ever gentle «nd loving, hating vet firm strength not only to guide their own actions but with which to inspire others of weaker will. Ilei clear olive features were rounded and large, the (rank mouth, ruddy and smiling, and the rciby cheeks dimpling with every movement. Full, btraight-glancing hazel eyes looked out from beneath heavy black ejebtows, and a broad lo w forehead, that was crowned with thick folds of shining jetty hair, spreading iootely from the parting to the back, where it loaned a gleaming mats about tier comb. Her low clear voice cheered me through a tedious convales* etnee and imparted hope and determination for the future. It docs me good to talk of her now, as it used then to do me good to look upon her. She toid me how she had found me beneath the market wall, and that the had thought me one whose misfortune re sulted upon her misconduct, and tben she demanded gently an account of that misfortune's real causes. 'I am rtsolved to assist you,' she said, ' but that I may do so, I tnuet be acquainted with, your name and your circumstances.' My name ! I hesitated at that. Some name I must have, but the last wbiih I had a right to take was that which I bad borne for so many years, and I shrunk from my father's name as I had shrunk from my lather's voice ; there was none left but my grand father's, and so I took back the old childhood title and called myself Isola Ellyes. Was it not sufficient that I had renounced the love and the presence of the man I loved, but must I also renounce the poor con solation of the name with which his adoption had gifted me r Fate seemed to press me hard. With the reservation of names of personB and places I told Mrs. Hume my whole tale unreservedly. I did not expect her approbation, nor did I get it. She could not comprehend the wild passion that tould prompt me to tollow my mother and to quit my adopted father and proposed huEbtnd, while at the very moment I confessed an unreserved affection towards him. She thought the order of my conduct should be reverted. ' Besides,' sbc maintained, ' you owe a duty to your adopted parent in return for all his care and love that you cannot lightly cast oft.' 'Should I marry him ftom a sense of duty?' I questioned impatiently. 'No; not from that alone,' she returned gently; ' but, my child, when duty and love tend both to waidB the same point, you may be nearly certain of the count? vou should take.' ' Yes,' I said ; ' and duty and love alike prompted me to seek to win back my erring mother.' 'They who would save the shipwrecked do not themselves lightly brave the angry waters,' was.her matter. ?' No,' I retorted eagerly; ' but nevertheless they do brave them, and often, often they eucceed in then generous purpose. Oh 1 thank you for that Bimile.' ' Your life- boat f' she questioned. ' My Father's arms are round me; 'the Baoda of distrens' will not drown me, 1 know, while I hate that Hire support.' ' Do you know,' she inquired, ' that those who are in such a position as your mother's are most dim cull of reclaiinal ; tluit the tenderest and most un ceasing and powerfully supported efforts have a greater likelihood of failure than success, and cm you, a weak asd friendless girl, hope for a better re sult than experienced, earnest men and women have met?' 'I can and do. I am not weak nor friendless while Ood is strong. I think experienced and very earnest people ere too apt to go to straight to their purpose, that they forget to avoid the little knobs in the cha racters with which they come in contact. Love will teach me a better method to win my own mother. Besides, how can I know that her ein is the result of wilful design, or but that of the almost unavoidable necessity consequent on a first fall. Displace a stone from the top of a hill and the probability is that it will roll until it reach the bottom.' And then I spoke of Una, and of the c trild that I had fancied must be her ; I pleaded that her inno cence would be my aid, and that it was a clear duty to preserve her innocence. I convinced my listener, whose kindly bean was on my side, and she entered warmly into many plans for my assistance. But 1, thanking her gratefully for the kindly charity that she had extended to me when I could not help but receive it, yet refused to receive more than a shelter in her house until such time at I could secure a situation as governess in some family in Sydney, so that I should mill be able to keep watch for my mother. I thought that if I must live on charity, I had better go bisck and accept that of John Bar rett, When I left the hospital my first care was to write to Mrs. Collins and get the money which I had left in my desk, and I managed ao well that I got it through the post without a possibility of my address being detected. Thus I was enabled to resume a be coming dress for the position I wished to 611. Bat to find that position was net so enBy. Day after day I attended on new appointments, and day after day returned dispirited and unsuccessful. One lady ' required that her children should learn two or three continental languages ; another made dancing a first requisite of education ; a third must have a governess who had studied music under the first masters ; and a fourth required credentials from the first colonial families. All wanted some satisfaction that I could not tflbrd them, and, weak end outwearied, I had often yielded to despair, had it not been for the cheerful encouragement of Mrs. Hume. Once, in the many walks I took in my fruitless search, I saw John Barrett's pale face advancing through the crowd, and, to avoid him, turned into the next shop. Faint and cold I stood until he passed the doer, and then followed him up the street, until he sprang up an omnibus's steps and hub taken from my sight. And once, too, I saw Henry. He trod as firmly and looked as calm and thoughtful as if Isoli had never existed to annoy him. Verily it would make no. gap in his life were my existence blotted from the world, I thought, it would not even cause his step to flag. I sought often for the child I be tiered to be Una, and tor my net, Jumbo, but found neither. At hist, when I was almoit exhausted with uieless ? efforts, Mrs. Hume succeeded infindlng me a situation in the home of a friend -who was almost as good as herself. There, employing myself in the education of two little girls, I remained in comparative happiness for a, few months.