Chapter 166692974

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Chapter NumberVIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166692974
Full Date1861-12-07
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count2198
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleSydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871)
Trove TitleWhich Wins? A Tale of Life's Impulses
article text

'WHICH WINS ?

A TALK OF LIFE'S IMPULSES. BY AttlEL. CuU-TBH VIU.

' All nif ! for aught that cm I could rra4, Could ever hear by talc or history, The course of true love never did run«mo»Ui.' MlDSUHMl^ NlullT'i, UakAH. «' Why did the love him 1 Curious fool, be still : 1b tum»n love the growth of human wUU' Lint. Thb*« week* later, I tat again in the tame room. Lile bad 'gone on in tbe interim much as ordinary.

iienrj carried on his usual duties, rode with us as usual i was just the tame to all, but that there was a udder tinge in his earnestness than heretofore. Thin before others ; but, did we happen to be alone, he grew suddenly dark-looking, and so by his manner kept me at a distance that 1 did not due do thai for which 1 longed — take his hand and entreat, for the sake of the dear old friendship, » renewal of his favour. Olive came in and out as usual, indulging in constant outburst* against her cousin, who had not yet made his .appearance. To myself sbe presented her sweet est character, an though tacitly regretting the effect that she saw the knowledge ot her secret had made upon me. But the wan herself changing it&dly in ap jtearancc ; her skin, that bad once been so clear, waf- taking a dingy hue of pale-brownish purple, wnilc LfT hand was always hot and throbbiug. Yet to all inquiries sh« answered that 'she wan well ; never belter. Looks had got nothing whatever to do with the fact ; one couldn't expect they would lust for ever.' it was something akin to pleasure that touched me in those days to nnd that llr. Barrett wan a very careful watcher over his child, and that he was, sen Bibly alarmed by my declining spirit* and wuat of energy. When I found bis grave eyes watching me at nualf, and that he deserted his study to sit and walk with me, I strove hud for the mastery over my self ana in put gained it, so that I could feign a mirth I did not feel, and affect a hem linens ia duties that were heaviness to perform. For tUat reason I was singing in a loar voice, in the drawing-room on on the day ot which. I am speaking ; my foiuer could hear from his study, and would be satisfied by it. Suddenly 1 was interrupted: there waa a quick, dis connected rap at the uuiar door, a thing so surprising because people were wont-in our parts unhesitatingly to open the door of the parsonage aa treely as if it were that of their own homes. I therefore ran iuto the hall in considerable trepidation, but wflen I opened it my surprise was heightened. There stood Miss Lowe, whom I had known for years, and never seen a bali-ruile from the Great House on foot before ; and, not only that, but she — the grave and proper!— was all flushed and panting, as if from a long run. ?- What is the matter :' I asked, for tbe moment as much flurried as herself ; ' Wnal con b* the matter i' ' ' Nothing, nothing, my dear;' she lepliuU in a tremulous tone ; ' but where is Mr. itarrett r I wont to see him at once.' ' Come in,' 1 eaid, ' rest, and let rue get you a cup of tea after your walk ; then I will tad him.' ' Vo, no, I must bee him now, Isola, now.' '? Well, st least don't stand there, Miss I.owe. Come in,' I repeated, ' and 1 will bring him to you.' But there was no need for that ; he stood by my eide, for he had beard her voice from his atudy, anil came out at the sound. She saw him at the same moment that I did, and almost flew post me to meet him. I turned round ewifily es she did so. She Mood, her two thin hands resting heavily on hu arm, her body collapsed so that sha seemed making to the ground, but for that support, and her head thrown back so that its light ringlets, trom which her bonnet had fallen, were streaming below her waist. Her overflowing eyes were used upon Mr. liarrett'e face. and she was making vehement but fruitless efforts to . apeak; her excitement had so overcome her us lor the moment to destroy the power of articulation. While 1 looked a great darkness came over me— not only my tight butayroul was blackened— and, while it luted, I oated the woman that stood tlere with the whole force of my being. For I thought 1 read there tier secret at last — she loved my father, and was come to claim bin love, and take horn me my list stay. Alas ! and was it ever to be that the woe of inyaterie* in which 1 had no share was to fall on my head in the rebound. One glance at him and my soul was saved from a deadly tin; not tor worlds uncounted would I have had test upon me the cold, sorrowful frown with which he regaided the upturned face of that weep ing woman. Vet his voice was unsteady when lie spuke. ' Mary, Mary, be careful ! What has excited yoa thuar IIubu! Let Isola help you.' He tried to to loosen her hands from his arm, but sue only clung closer lot the attempt. 'No1.' she almost shrieked when I advanced; 'go back, child. Z. came to teli you newo, iohn iiartett. Be is come, at last, he is come !' My lather started and wrenched away his arm, '? What ! Charley comet' he shouted fiercely, glaring on her while he wailed her answer. fche murmured indistinctly, ' I have waited so loug and he u come at last.' She stood quite still, in the very drooping attitude in which he had turn from her the support ot his arm, tier eras following him languidly, while she continued her lepeated muttenngs, ' He is come at last ; I have waited to long, but he is come el lost.' My lather paced the long hall with an angry step, and his right hand clasped tightly over his eyes. In a lew minutes he caino to a dead slop before her. 'You know I pity you, Mary; but lor him, tell him that I am a Christian, or— No, no, don't tell him that. Tell him, whatever he does, not to come near me yet ; 1 hare too command over mysuli'. I must tee him but not yet ; I have not sufficient strength. Do you bear, Wary r Don't let him come near me, or mieeaiet may happen. Keep him away for a day or two.' She continued looking vacantly into his face, and as he gaiied upon her his etern voice failed and flit tered. 'Heaven knows how my heart aches tot you, poor wretched weakling 1' he tughed, ' you* sin lias tearfully tound you out. Mary,' he exclaimed,. his voice suddenly dilating with a new emotion, and lay ing his hand heavily on her shoulder, ' Mary, you are indulging your soul in false hopes— hope* that ate a deadly tin f Woman, be just ; think ot the poor - castaway, who is probably 'wandering through the world. It we can touch his heart, and if JSoiiiy is still living, he must make the only reparation in his power : he must marry her. and—' Slowly, slowly, as he spoke, she sank, without a sigh or moan ; slowly her eyes glazed and closed, and her clenched hands relaxed. I thought she was dead and kaiHtbyker side. My father had seemed to forget my presence lrom the time she spoke until I thug recalled hie attention to it. He exclaimed pas sionately, ' Begoue, Isola ! Let her alone, I gay ! Sead Mis. Collins here, but don't come back yourself. She line only fainted, and won't hurt, for the rest it will give to her senses. Go, kola.' I went : it was not in me to resist that command ing ten*. I lent in Mrs. Collins, and busied myself in preparing a cup of tea, until her return. Iu half an hour the came back for that very thing, ' The poor lady was done up by such a long walk,' oar mstter-of-fact housekeeper (aid, ' and no wander she fainted dead away— she, so feeble, too, poor creature ! but we tave laid her on the sofa, and sne'li do nicely now. The master bid her tell me I had better leave her perfectly quiet, anil she would soon be well.' I understood that this waa u repetition of the desire that 1 should keep away, and I had no inclination to dis obey. Indeed, it was presently beyond my power, for I had a Dew visitor to entertain. Olave ro&e rapidly up to the gate, and, scarcely staying to fasten her hone, came in looking Hushed and tired, u she was beginning to do constantly now. 'You must come into the dining-room,' I said, going to meet her ; ' my father has got a private, audience in the other.' I ' Very well,' she answered in a sort of passive voice, and letting me lead her in by the hand! lm-l taken. When we got inside, she pushed me into the near est chub, and, sitting down on the floor beside me, laid bet turning heed on my lap. Hiding her face thus, she said, ' He's come, Isola ; Charles Alvcrn's come, and my father— be did not mean to be unfeel ing, I think— introduced me to him with, ' Here's a line bride for you to win,. Charley, my boy !' Isola, if I was as bee from the foolish fancy that is killing roe h» I was at ten years of age, I would not marry him after that speech.' 'My poor pet!' I sighed, looking at her wasted ' hands, '* I wish I could help you. You arc very ill, Olave, and you will be worse if there is not a change. Come and 'stay with me awhile, my dear.' ' In the same house with him r No, Isola. Hut I thank you too for your Undnesi. It's strange that I hang on you so much, Isola. According to the story books I ought to hate you a* my worst foe, and you ought to keep me at arm's length from your lover. But, then, I suppose you feel too secure for jealousy, andl am too leant of triends to forfeit you because vou.have succeeded best in winning the love of a good loan, .That's just how it is.' 'Olave, dntling,'! said, lifting upta head and

holding it between my two konda, as taat I could lock in the fact, ' you are mistaken. Henry is no more to me than a very dear friend, aid surer, never can be.' , { 'lam waiarusUeina»ewi6m, a'«aU, dark figure ro»e bom. fft aftn-chaSr. (hat hi&fcecfc turned with the back towardi jk and Bcnry BineU made a move ment .to reacn the door,, cMHfig iupon me, M he passed, » look of utter agony, that was unconceal feble. ? He did not reach it, for Olave sprang away (torn my arms and intercepted his passage, with flashing eye* and « smile of exultation on her tips. ' She docs not love you!' the exclaimed eagerly; 'you beard her say it. Now, hear me; 1 love you ; my heart is drying into the grave for want ot you, every moment of my, life is a dream of you, the night air is peopled with visions of you. Henry Barrett, I love you— what a weak word ! I worship yon !' He looked at her gravely, compassionately, sadly. '' Little children, give not your heart to idols,' ' he said; and, as she reeled at what she felt a rebuke, he took her in his arms and carried her to the chair he had left. ' Lie there, poor child !' he said; ' tar be it from me to condemn you. But, Olave, remember this in your more rational hours; that, when Isola said Henry Barrett could never, never be more to her than a dear friend, Henry Barrett replied that unto him she would ever, ever be his only love.' And so he left us, It was a weary two hours, be fore 1 could fcuffieiemly soothe her excitement u- make her return safe. Then! went to inquire for Miss Lowp, and found that, half an hour fince, my father had walked with her towards the Great House. I and Olave followed the came track on horseback, itnil, meeting my father just after hit parting with hie companion at the outer gates of her home. Olave rode on to avcrtttke her and I returned with him.