Chapter 166693090

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberXII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166693090
Full Date1862-01-04
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count2434
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. TALE OF LIFE'S IMPULSES.

BY A1UBL. Chafteu X1L

' As gold muBt be tried by fire, | So a heart mutt be tried by pain,' i- *. . ^ a * . . . . PttOCTKIW ! 'My heart mutt have broken, ere I broke a fetter Thysolf did undo, love,— ! All, there's many a purer, and many a better. I But more loved— oh, how few love !' I Owen Mit&enmi. {

vjotober 20tu.— Mj- grandfather has got through the shock he received by my mother's appearance ?with life, and will in a Jew days be up from his bed, I hope. Meantime, for me, can grief have any deeper sting of 3ni*ety— for, at laat, I know all, and my Lie is unshrouded of its mystery. Down with your head, Isola; bow your head in unavailing sorrow, for a bitterness worse than death has come upon you. Let your tears flow hot and freely: m&vhap they shall lave off shame's perpetual blush. Press your lips closely, closer yet, that none may ever suspect that the thought of a smile rested there. Oh, I could pity myself with a moBt pitiable comoassion, if it were not that my own heart is swelling wftli scorn at the thing that I am. Was it I that denied myself for wife to Henry Barrett with that most petulant pertinacity ? Yet, well was it for me that 1 did, for those grave eyes could rest upon me with a most burning calm of irritated forbearance. And there might have been worse : hid I loved him I should have let my life melt into unison with his as softly as summer clouds mmgle on the horizon, and the tearing away would have been wild as the storm that parts such clouds. Yet I know that stem man's hands would have made the separation, that he might stand apart from one whose life was pilfered out of God's hands. There ii one cause for thankfulness that this need not be. And there is another cause for thankfulness that there is a breach between me and Olave, for could I bear the loosing of my friend's hands, the avetted eye and the cooling voice of my friend for such a cause as this. Oh, God, pity me, 'for the waters are come in usto my soul.' Yet, events I spealr, new ' floods of distress' have gone over me, and I drown in another and more acute dash of agony. Through all the years offender protection that ray father— ah me, not my father any longer, for my childliness is due to another —the parent's right being inalienable, even by the parent's sin : but, through all the years that Mr. Jianett has called me his child, he must have known the wild bad secret, and yet he never scorned me. Oh, glad thought lor me, through all life's future blacknese, that whatever else happened he never scorned ine ; I never once taw his lip cotl when I crowed his eight ; his voice never once chimed harshly in any words he spoke to me : no glance of reproach ever for a moment lit his eye j and if, of late, his manner has been embarrassed towards nie, what wonder, when such a father and such a child were so near together, and his only chance of preventing their recognition of each other was in the forbear, ance of a lever-frantic old man. Hut I bless him for all those years of peace, and for all his fostering of my boul's holiest powers, so that I have strength to meet this emergency, anil, blessing him with my last best blessing, I will go forth and leave him. My shadow shall 110 longer darken in his home, cloud his eye, and vex Iub heart. 1 know I can trust the old man to his care lor a few mouths' kindness, and a quiet grave at last, and I will be gone. I will be gone j gone from the morning hand-clasping and the evening kiss; from the low, soft words and the thoughtful smiles ; goue from out of the atmosphere he breathed, and which I was blest in breathing also : yes, I must be gone. If his head aches, Isola's hand must no longer be ready to bathe it ; if he is weary, Isola's voice must no longer sing low, soothing melodies ; if he is Bad, Isola's niustno longer be the tongue that reads to him of tiie sacred truth for comfort ; if he sleeps, Isola's hand must no longer wander softly through his liair : no, I must be gone. I must be gone, for a rude hand has broken away the tie of lather and child, and iny love and my life must henceforck stand apart from his. 1 must go out into the world to earn the food that life requires — to bow my head before those who ask who was my mother ; to turn away at the name of 'father;' to look through tears at all joy ; to think only on the past ; to hope only in tlie heaven-future. Mother, I never thought of this. How could my heai t conceive it umprouipted r Mother, oh mother, w ho, unknown wast tbe idol of my childhood, the one w islied-for drop that should fill up the cup of my girlhood's happiness, was it reserved for you to brush out the last thought of peace from your child's heart r Will not the thought of me and of my blighted life increase : Ah, my wan, sad mother, what am 1 doing to wail thus for myself, and give no tear to you ! Doubtless, many and bitter have been jour thoughts, poor, sad mother ! many your yearn ings towards the straight path of peace ; many, perhaps, your wild desires to stand in the presence ol that Jesus who erewhile silenced the accusers of one tuch as tliou, and himself condemned her not. Did I cling to you when I believed you pure, and shall I turn iroin you now when I know you spotted with that which, in the world's eye, is a woman's worst blackness. l'ar be that from me, oh my mother! How know 1 the temptations you bore unyielding, or tbe strength of that wliith bore you down at la9t ? How know I the lustre that God in heaven may see around you, mother, dearer to me now than ever. No, mine be a nobler task tlian that of the scorner— mine be it to seek you out, and lead you with a child's tender guidance to the foot of the Cross, at which we may both kneel together, and where the lesser and the greater sin are equal in the eyes of that Mercy who paid equally the piice of blood for botli. There sin and there sorrow alike shall fade from our memory, and fall from our 60ula. Mine be the task, heuctfoith, oh iny mother. There ends my imperfect diary ; God turned over a new page for me next day, tbe only writing ot -which was sorrow-born, and efforts baulked, and tearful last results — a page such as memory constantly Tecurs to in the dreams of night and the fever of sick nest. My mind was settled as to what I should do, and I determined to leave the Parsonage as soon as I could find a home as governess in some quiet family. Meanwhile I wrote thus to Olave : — Isola TO OllVE, Events have liappeued, Miss Lysthor tint hive rolled between me and you a greater impediment than if the Pacific flowed between us. Friends we can never be again; there ii that fallen upon me which lor ever parts our souls. We shall never meet again, for I go from Mr. Barrett's house never to return. I mean to acknowledge no past, and to look for no future on ibis side of the grave. But, remember, as the last word of one who was once very dear to you, and to whom you still are and still will be very dear, that if you marry Charles Alvem, you will repent it in Tears of agony and shame, that you will gs down to the grave repenting it, and that, on your death bed, blushe6 will burn through your last pallor to witness your penitence. I know whit the skeleton in your house will be, Miss Lysthor, and I tell you that it is such that you would turn your head away and close your eyes, 'and £11 your ears, rather than look in Charles Alvern's eyes or listen to his false in sinuating voice again, did you know it. Remember, I have warned you !' And bo, that duty finished, I laid down my pen wearily, and looked out on the evening scene. The day had been one of vehement heat, and burdened with a hot, dry wind, that curled the leaves and made all the greenery look faded and worn out. It had died down now, leaving a sultry calm in the air, which visibly palpitated the few last straggling rays of sunlight. The sun had not set, but a heavy'ridge of cloud was enveloping it in its folds, and casting over the earth a welcome shadow. A few distant flasheB of lightning, the growling of far-off thunder, the perfect silence of all things but the frogs and locusts, all forboded the approach of a heavy storm. I sat silent and watched it with a struggling satisfac tion in the growing gloom, that coincided with my darkened mind, when a heavy hand was laid on my shoulder. There was no need to look who it was ; my head sank heavily back on Mr. Barrett's arm, and I crew a long unrestrainablc sigh. ' Grieving, my Isola f' he questioned ; ' then I hove a father's right to know wherefore.' He took from my hand as he epoke the letter to Olave and read it. As lie- finished he stooped and kissed my forc-head, raised my head to rest against his shoulder, and then for a long time looked out into the night. I could not pee his figure but by the vivid lightning flashes, ere he spoke again. At last he inquired, ' How much do you know, my poor child f' ' All,' I replied. ' How did you find it out r' 'By my grandfather's talking.' ' I ought not to have left you there,' he whispered, ' But, Isola, you are talking of going away ; where will you go, my child t' I said quietly — you see I had no tears left to weep — that 1 h^l already sent an advertisement, stating my requirements, to a newspaper, and hoped soon to have another home ; that I owed him the gratitude of a lifetime for his kindly care of me ; but that, under the circumstances, I did not think it right to live on his bounty any longer.

' You have f' he demanded hastily. ' How came you to act ao madly without my permission ?' ' J knew you would not consent,' I answered, 'and, as I was determined in my resolve, I acted without asking a useless question.*' 'I fcwed something like this,' he declaimed; but, Isolai do you know, I would rather havemjr . heart torn Sway from me than part from this little slight girl with the pile face apd loving eyes.' . Nevertheless, I must go. Sir,' I sail ' Sir ! are you mad, liolj t CsU me father, as you used to do.' 'I know my real father, now,' I whispered, and turned away my head as a lightning-dash burst upon his face, making it look ghastly in its earnestness. 'And so you cast me off?' he inquired sorrow fully. ' No,' I said, 'but I am unworthy to be to you what 1 have been. I must not hang on you, a disgraceful burden all my lifetime ; I must earn my bread.' 'Unworthy!' he cried passionately; 'you pure child without one thought of etrtn's badness in yout soul, do you know that it has been my prayer night and day to God, that he would not deem me unworthy to have one so pure beneath my roof.' This was balm to me after all my bitter grief, and I lay quiet and happy in his arms, but with no thought of remaining, for all his kindness: the kinder he grew, the more I saw plainly that it was my duty to go. We were silent long, and the storm rolled and flaahed mightily above our heads as we sate. It was after a louder peal, when I involuntarily tightened my clasp upon his arm and shuddered with terror, that he bent down his head and said slowly, ' Little child, do you know that I love you ?' *' Yes, my friend, dearer than a father ; I know it well,' was my answer. It was a needless question, for my heart was recalling at the moment all the proofs of his love that he had given ine with wild thankfulness. But his next question was stranger still, ' and you choose that I Bhould keep that love in my heart, Isola r' ' Of course,' I said : ' does a bird desire the hips to grow on the rosebush r' And I looked up in asto nishment. He held me closer aud murmured, ' Isola, my own little girL' Uf course I was ; 1 knew that before, but I was glad for him to tell me r lor all my know ledge. . After that night I waited day by diy, aud no letters came from the post. Tnere were plenty ot governesses with better qualifications than mine, who had learned accomplishments from the first masters, who had references from the first colonists. It rained incessantly, with a steady, dreary downpour that soon swelled all the creeks, and cut us off, by the third day, alike from cither town. But there was happiness at the Parsonage. 0 randy continued to recover, Henry was gone, and between me and Mr. Barrett there was a closer, sweeter communion than ever. He scarce left me from his Bight, and no term of endearment seemed to cscapc his lips. But I never called him ' father,'