|Chapter Number||BOOK IV XIII|
|Chapter Title||MR. NORTH SPEAKS.|
|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
|Trove Title||His Natural Life|
His Natural Life*
BOOK IV. CHAPTER XIII. MR. NORTH SPEAKS.
BY MARCUS CLARKE.
THE method and manner of his revenge became a subject of whispered conversation on the island. It was reported that North had been forbidden to visit the convict, but that he had refused to
accept the prohibition, and, by a threat of what be would do when the returning Teasel had landed him in Hobart Town, had compelled the Commandant to withdraw hia order. The Com mandant, however, speedily dieoorered in Rufua Dawes signs of insubordination, and set to work again to reduce ttfll further the "mint" he had ao ingeniously "broken." The unhappy oonriot was deprived of food, waa kept awake at nights, was put to the hard—t labor, wu loaded with the heaviest from. Troke, with devUiah malice, suggested that, if the tortured wretch would decline to ace the chaplain, some amelio ration of Ma condition might be effected ; but hia suggestions were in rain. Fully believing that hia death waa certain, Dawesdung to North aa the saviour of hia agonised aoul, and rejected all such inaidioua overtures. Enraged at this obstinacy, Frere aentenoed Ua victim to the "apnad esgle" and the "stretcher." Now the rumor of Che obduracy of thta un daunted convict who had been reoalled to her by the clergyman at their etrange interview, had reached Sylvia'a ear*. She had beard gloomy hint* of the punishments inflicted on him by her husband's order; and a*—constantly revolving in her mind that last conversation with the chap lain—she wondered at the prisoner's strange fancy for a flower, her brain began to thrill with those undefined and dreadful memories which had haunted her childhood. What waa the link between her and this murderous villain I How came it that she felt at times ao strange a sym pathy for hia fate> and that he—who had at tempted her lifer—cherished to tender a remem brance of her aa to beg for a flower which her hand had touched. Bhe questioned her husband concerning the ' convict's misdoings, but with that petulant bru tality he invariably displayed when the name of Rufus Dawes intruded itself into their conversa tion, Maurice Frere harshly refused to satisfy her. This but raised her cariosity higher. She reflected how bitter he had always seemed against, this man—she remembered how, in the garden at Port Arthur, the hunted wretch had caught her dress with words of assured oonfidenoe—ahe re collected the fragment of doth he had passion ately flung from him, and which her affianced lover had contemptuously tossed into the stream. The name of "Dawes," detested as it had become to her, bore yet some strange association of com fort and hope. What secret luiked behind the twilight that had fallen upon her childish memo ries f Deprived of the adnce of North—to whom, a few weeks back, she would have confided her misgivings,—she resolved upon a project that, for her, was moat distasteful. She would herself visit the gaol, and judge how far the rumors of her husband's cruelty were worthy of credit. One sultry afternoon, when the Commandant had gone on a visit of inspection, Troke lounging at the door of the New Prison, beheld, with sur prise, the figure of the Commandant's lady. " What is it, mam t" he asked, scarcely able to believe his eyes. " I want to see the prisoner Dawes." Troke's jaw felL " See Dawes f" he repeated. "Yes. Where is her Troke was preparing a lie. The imperious voice, and the clear, steady gaae, oonfused him. "He's here." "Let me see him." . " He's—he's under punishment, mam.". "What do you mean? Are they flogging him!" "No; but—but he's dangerous, mam. The Commandant^——" "Do you mean to open the door or not, Mr Troke ?" Troke grew more confuted. It was evident that he was most unwilling to open the door. " The Commandant gave strict orders " "Do you wish me to complain to the Com mandant ??' cries Sylvia, with a touch of her old spirit, and jumping hastily at the oonolusion that the gaolers were, perhaps, torturing the conviot for their own entertainment. "Open the door at once! —at once f Thus commanded, Troke, with a hasty growl of its " being no affair of bis, and be hoped Mrs. Frere would tell the captain how it happened," flung open the doer of a cell on the right hand of the doorway. It was bo dark that, at first, Sylvia could distinguish nothing but the outline of some framework, with something stretched upon it that resembled a human, body. Her first thought wss that the man was dead, but Uiis was not so—he groaned. Her eyes, accustoming themselves to the gloom, began to see what the " punishment" was. Upon the floor was placed an iron frame about six feet long, and two and a half feet wide, with round iron bars, placed transversely, about twelve inches apart The man she came to seek wua bound in a horizontal position upon this frame, with his neck projec- Ing over the cud of it. If he allowed his head to hang, the blood rushed to bis brain and suf focated him, while the effort to keep it raised strained every muscle to agony pitch, His face was purple, and be foamed at the mouth. Sylvia uttered a cry. " This is no punishment; it is murder I Who ordered this ?" " The Commandant," says Troke, sullenly. " I don't believe it Loose him 1" "I daren't, mam," says Troke. " Loose him, I say ! Hailey I — you, sir, there I" The noise had brought several warders to the spot "Do you bear me ? Do you know who lam ? Loose him, I say I" In her eager ness and compassion, she was on her knees by the side of the infernal machine, plucking at the ropes with her delicate fingers. " Wretches, you
* The oopjrright of " Hi* Natural Lifo" bma bean pur ahaaad by the proprieton of Tht QumiUpnitr from Mr. Manas Clarke,
have eat his flesh I He b dying t Help! Ton h*v« Mled him T The prisoner, in fact, seeing this angel of mercy itooping over him, and hearing close to him the tone* of a Toiee that for seven yean he had heard but in hii dreams, had fainted. Troke and HaOey, alarmed by her vehemence, dragged the stretcher oat into the light, and hastily oat the lashings. Dawes rolled off like a log, and his heed fell against Mrs. Frere. Troke roughly polled him aside, and oalled for water. Sylvia, trembling with sympathy, and pale with passion, turned npon the crew. " How long has he been like this r "An hour," said Troke. " A lie r said a stern voice at the door. "He has been there nine hours f MWretehesr cried Sylvia, "you shall hear moreofthis. Oh, oh! lam sick " she felt for the wall-.* 4 I—l ." North watched her with agony on his face, but did not move. " I faint I—"—she uttered a despairing cry that was not without a touch of anger. " Mr. North Ido you not see f Take me home—take me home 1" and she would haTe fallen across the body of the tortured prisoner had he not caught her in his arms. Rufus Dawes, awaking from his stupor, saw in the midst of a sunbeam which pane* trated a window in the oorridor, the woman who came to save his body, supported by the priest who came to save his soul; and staggering to his knees, he stretched out his hands with a hoarse cry. Perhaps there was something in the action which brought back to the dimmed remembrance of the Commandant's wife the image of a similar figure stretohing forth its hands to a frightened child in the mysterious far-off time. She started, and pushing back her hair, bent a wistful, terrified gaae upon the face of the kneeling man, as though she would fain read there an explanation of the shadowy memory which haunted her. It is possible that she would have spoken, but North—thinking the excitement had produced one of those hysterical crises which were common to her—gently drew her, still gazing, back towards the gate. The convict's arms fell, and an undefinable presenti ment of evil chilled him as he beheld the priest —emotion pallid in his cheeks—slowly draw the fair young creature from out the sunlight into the grim shadow of the heavy archway. For an instant the gloom swallowed them, and it seemed to Dawes that the strange wild man of God had in that instant beoome a man of Evil—blighting the brightness and the beauty of the innocence that clung to him. For an instant—and then they passed out of the prison archway into the free air of heaven and the sunlight glowed golden on their faces. " You are ill," said North. " You will faint Why do you look so wildly V " What is it," she whispered, more in answer to her own thoughts than to his question— "What is it that finks me to that man! What deed—what terror—what memory I I tremble with crowding thoughts, that die ere they can whisper to me. Oh, that prison I" " Look up ; we are in the sunshine." She passed her hand across her brow, sighing heavily, as one awaking from a disturbed slum ber, shuddered, and withdrew her arm from his. North interpreted the action correctly, and the blood rushed to his face. " Pardon me, you can not walk alone; you will falL I will leave you at the gate." In truth she would have fallen had he not again assisted her. She tamed upon him eyes whose reproachful sorrow had almost forced him to a confession, but he bowed his head and held silence. They reached the house, and he placed her tenderly in a chair. " Now you are safe, Madam. I will leave you." She burst into tears. " Why do you treat me thus, Mr. North f What have I done to make you hate me ?" " Hate you !" said North, with trembling lips. M Oh, no, Ido not—do not hate you. lam rude in my speech, abrupt in my manner. You must forget it, and—and me." A horse's feet crashed upon the gravel, and an instant after Maurice Frere burst into the room. Returning from the Cascades, he had met Troke, and leaned the release of the prisoner. Furious at this usurpation of authority by his wife, his self-esteem wounded by the thought that she had witnessed his mean revenge upon the man he had so infamously wronged, and his natural bru tality enhanoed by brandy, he had made for the house at full gallop, determined to assert his authority. Blind with rage, he saw no one but his wife. " What the devil's this I hear ? You have been meddling in my business I You re lease prisoners ! You " '?Captain Frere I" said North, stepping for ward to assert the restraining presenos of a stranger. Frere started, astonished at the intru sion of the chaplain. Here was another outrage of his dignity, another insult to his supreme authority. In its passion, his grow mind leapt to the worst conclusion. " You here, too I What do yon want here— with my wife t This is your quarrd, is it f His eyes glanced wrathfully from one to the other ; and he strode towards North. " You infernal hypocritical lying scoundrel, if it wasn't for your black coat, I'd " " Maurice 1" cried Sylvia, in an agony of shame and terror, striving to plaice a restraining hand upon his arm. He turned upon her with so fiercely infamous a curse, that North, pale with righteous rage, seemed prompted to strike the burly ruffian to the earth. For a moment, the two men faced each other, and then Frere, muttering threats of vengeance against each and all—convict, gaolers, wife, and priest—flung the suppliant woman violently from him, and rushed from the room. She fell heavily against the wall, and as the chaplain raised her, he heard the hoof-strokes of the departing horse. " Oh 1" cried Sylvia, covering her face with trembling bauds, " let me leave this place." North, enfolding her in his arms, strove to soothe her with incoherent words of comfort. Dizzy with the blow Bhe had received, she clung to him sobbing. Twice he tried to tear himself away, but had he loosed his hold she would have fallen. He could' not hold her—bruised, suffering, and in tears—thus against his heart, and keep silence. In a torrent of agonised elo quence the story of his love bunt from his lips. " Why should you be thus tortured ?" he cried.
" Heaven never willed you to be mated to that boor—you, whose life should be all sunshine. Leave him—leave him. He has oast you oft We have both •offered. Let us ltave thii dreadful place—this isthmus between earth and hell I I will give you happiness." "I am going," ahe said, faintly." "I had already arranged to go." North trembled. "It was not of my seeking. Fate has willed it We go together-1" They looked at each other,-^-*he felt the fever of hia blood, she read hia passion in his eyes, she comprehended the " hatred" he had affected for her, and, deadly pale, drew back the cold hand he held, "Go I" she murmured. " If you love me, leave me—leave me! Do not see me or speak to me again " her sUenoe added the words she oould not utter, till tie*.
Chaptkb XIV. aiTTINO READY FOB UA. Maxtbioi Fbkri's passion had spent itself in that last act of violence. He did not return to the prison, as he had promised himself, but turned into the road that led to the Cascades. He repented him of hia suspicions. There was nothing strange in the presence of the chaplain. Sylvia had always liked the man, and an apology for his conduct had doubtless removed her anger. To make a mountain out of a molehill was the act of an idiot. It was natural that *he should release Dawea—women were so tender hearted. A few well-chosen, calmly-uttered platitudes anent the necessity for treatment that, to those unaccustomed to the desperate wicked ness of convicts, must appear harsh, would have served hia turn far better than bluster and abuse. Moreover, North was to sail in the Lady Franklin, and might put in execution his threats of official complaint, unless he was carefully dealt with. To put Dawes again to the torture, would be to show to Troke, and his friends, that the "Commandant's wife" had acted without the " Commandant's authority," and that must not be shown. He would not return and patch up a peace. His wife sailed in the same vessel with North, and he would in a few days be left alone on the island to pursue his "discipline" unchecked. With this intent he returned to the prison, and gravely informed poor Troke that he was astonished at his barbarity. "Mrs. Frere who, most luckily, had appointed to meet me this evening at the prison, tells me that the poor devil Dawes had been on the stretcher since seven o'clock in the morning.. " You ordered it first thing, yer honor," said Troke. " Tee, you fool, but I didn't order you to keep the man there for nine hours, did I ? Why, you scoundrel, you might have killed him !" Troke scratched his head in bewilderment " Take his irons off, and put him in a separate cell in the old gaol. If a man it a murderer, that is no reason you should take the law into your own hands, is it f You'd better take care, Mr. Troke." On the way back he met the chaplain, who, seeing him, made for a bye-path in curious haste. "Halloo!" roan Frere. "Hi! Mr. North!" North paused, and the Commandant made at him abruptly. " Look here, sir, I was rude to you just now—devilish rude. Most ungentle manly of me. I must apologise." North bowed, without speaking, and tried to pass. " You must excuse my violence," Frere went on. " I'm bad tempered, and I didn't like my wife interfering. Women, don't you know, don't see these things—don't understand these scoundrels." North again bowed. "Why, dammit, how savage you look 1 Quite ghastly, bigod ! I must have said most outrageous things. Forget and forgive, you know. Come home and have some dinner." "I cannot enter your honseagain, sir," said North, in tones more agitated than the occasion would seem to warrant Frere hunched his great shoulders with a clumsy affectation of good humor, and held out his hand. " Well, shake hands, parson. You'll have to take care of Mrs. Frere on the voyage, and we may as well make up our differences before you start Shake hands. " Let me pass, sir I" cries North, with height ened color; and so ignoring the prof erred hand, strides savagely on. "You've a d—fine temper for a parson, said Frere to himself. " However, if you won't, you won't Hang me if I'll ask you again." Nor, when he reached home, did he fare better in his efforts at reconciliation with his wife. Sylvia met him with the icy front of a woman whose pride has been wounded too deeply for tears. " Say no more about it, she said. "I am going to my father. If you want to explain your oon duct, explain it to him." " Come Sylvia," he urged ;MI was a brute, I know. Forgive me." "It is useless to ask me," she said; " I cannot I have forgiven you so much daring the last seven years." He attempted to embrace her, but she with drew herself loathingly from his arms. He swore a great oath at her, and too obstinate to argue farther, royally sulked. Blunt coming in about some ship matters, the pair drank rum. Sylvia went to her room, and occupied herself with some minor details of clothes-packing (it is wonderful how women find relief from thoughts in household care), while North, poor fool, see ing from his window the light in hers, sat star ing at it, alternately cursing and praying. In the meantime, the unconscious cause of all this—Rufus Dawes—sat in his new eell —won- dering at the chance which had procured him comfort, and blessing the fair hands that had brought it to him. He doubted not but that Sylvia had interceded with hia tormentor, and by her gentle pleading bought him ease. " God bless her, he murmured. " I have wronged her all these years. She did not know that I puf fered." He waited anxiously for North to visit him that he might have his belief confirmed. " I will get him to thank her for me," he thought. But North did not come for two whole days. No one came but his gaolers ; and, gazing from his prison window upon the Bea that almost washed ita walls, he siw the schooner at anchor, mock ing him with a liberty he could not achieve. On the third day, however, North came. His manner was constrained and abrupt. His eyes wandered uneasily, and he seemed burdened with thoughts which he dared not utter.
«I mat you to thank her for me,Mr.Hot*," ?SidDaweS. "Thank whom!" "Mrs. Frere." The unhappy print shuddered at hearinc*!]* name. "I do not think you owe any thanks to h«r. Tour irons wan removed by tho Con* maadant's order." "Bat by her persuasion. I foal aura of H. Ah, I waa wrong to think aba had forgotten jna, Aak her for her forgiveness." " ForgiTeneH!" aaid North, raeallinf the eosm in the prison. " What have yon done to awl her forgiveness!" "I doubted her," aaid Rufua Dawes. "I thought her ungrateful and treacherous. J thought ahe delivered me again into the bondagel from whenoe I had escaped. I thought aho had betrayed me—betrayed me to the villain whose, baae fife I saved for her sweet sake." " What do you mean T" aaked North, M $jea never spoke to me of this." > . ;. " No—l had vowed to bury the knowledfs, of it in my own breast—it waa too bitter to apsefe." "Saved hie life I" wAy,andbera! I made the boat that curled her to freedom. I held her in my arma/aw}-. took the bread from myown lips to feed airl. ( "She oannot know this," said North, ia aa. undertone. ' .. .. . " Sh* has forgotten it perhaps—for she was bvj}, a child. But you will remind her-*-wttl. sou not ? You will do me justioe in her eyea before I die ? You will get her forgiveness for me V North could not explain why such an inter* view as the convict desired waa impossible, and so he promised. " She is going away in the schooner," said be, concealing the fact of hi* own departure. " I will aea her before aha goes, and tell her." " God bless you, air," aaid poor Daivoa. " pray with me ;" and the wretched priest mecha nically repeated one of tho formulat hia chores) prescribed. The next day he told his penitent thai ttf*. Frere had forgiven him. Thia waa a lie,, He had not seen her; but what should %Heqe to him now f lies were needful in tho to*-, tuous path he had undertaken to taiad. Yet the deceit ha waa forced to precis* o°4 him many a pang, fie had succumbed to his passion, and to win the love for which he yearned had voluntarily abandoned and honor; but standing thus alone with hki sin, ho despised and hated himself. To deadea. remorse and drown reflection, ho had recourse, to brandy ; and though the fierce excitement of Ma hopes and fears steeled him against the stupify* ing action of the liquor, ho waa rendered by i} incapable of calm reflection. In certain nervous conditions our mere physical powers are proof against tho action of alcohol, and though tea times more drunk than the toper, who, inco herently stammering, reela into .the gutter, we can walk erect and talk with fluency, Indeed, in thia artificial exaltation of tho senaiblliUea, men often display a brilliant wit, and an acute* ness of comprehension, calculated to delight their friends and terrify their physicians. North had reached this condition of brain-dninkennsas, In plain terms, he was trembling on the verja' of madness. r The days passed swiftly, and BluntVprepan tions fur sea were completed. There were $Wo stern cabins in the schooner, one cl,wh»ch'*af appropriated to Mrs, Frere, while the other was set apart for North. Maurice had not attempted to renew hia overtures of friendship, and the chap lain had not spoken. Mindful of Sylvia's last words, he had resolved not to most her until fairly embarked upon the voyage which he f*> tended should link their fortunes together. Oft the morning of the 19th December Blunt do» dared himself ready to set sail, and In the after noon the two passengers earns on board. Rufus Dawes, gasug from his window upon the schooner that lay outside the reef, thought nothing of the fact that after the Commandant's boat had taken away the Commandant's wtfs another boat should put off with tho chaplain. It was quite natural that Mr. North should desire to bid his friends farewell, and through tho hot still afternoon he watched for the returning beet, hoping that the chaplain would bring him some message from the woman whom he waa never to see more on earth. The hours wore on, however, and no breath of wind ruffled the surface of the aea. The day waa exceedingly close and mltrt. heavy dun clouds hung on the horison, and It seemed probable that unices a thunderstorm cleared the air before night, the calm would Ma* tinne. Blunt, however, with a true sailor's ob stinacy in regard to weather, swore there would be a breeze, and held to his purpose of sailing.- The hot afternoon passed away in a sultry sunset, and it was not until the shades of evening had begun to fall that Rufua Dawes distinguished a boat detach itself from the aides of the schooner and glide through the oijy water to the istty. The chaplain waa returning, and in a few hours perhaps would be with him, to bring him the message of comfort for which his soul thirsted. He stretched out his unshackled limbs, and throwing himself upon his stretcher, fell to recal ling the past—his boat-building, the news of his fortune, his love, and his self-sacrifice. North, however, was not returning to bring to the prisoner a message of comfort, but ho was returning on purpose to see him, nevertheless. The unhappy man, torn by remorse and passion, had resolved upon a course of action which seemed to him a penance for his crime of deceit. He had determined to confess to Dawes that the message he brought was wholly fictitious, that be himself loved the wife of the Commandant, and that with her he was about to leave the island for ever. "lam no hypocrite," he thought, in his exaltation. "If I choose to sin, I will sin boldly ; and this poor wretch, who looks up to me as an angel, shall know me for my true self.-" The notion of thus destroying his own fame in the eyes of the man whom he had taught to love him, was pleasant to his diseased imagination. It was the natural outcome of the morbid con dition of mind into which he had drifted, and be provided for the complete execution of his scheme with that cunning which is born of working mischief in the brain. It was desirable' that the fatal stroke should be dealt at the last possible instant; that he should suddenly unveil his own infamy, and then depart, never to be seen again. To this end he had invented •»
•nose for returning to the shore at the latest possible moment. He had purposely left in his loom a drawing-bag—the lort or article one is so mWy to forget in the hurry of departure from one's'hbuae, and so certain to remember when the time comes to finally prepare for settHnff in another. He had ingeniously extracted from Brant the fact that "he didn't expect a wind bvfore dark, but wanted aU ship-shape and aboard," and then, joat m darkness fell, remem tAred that H was imperative for him to go ashore. tftßa*peeting Blunt cursed, but. if the chaplain faaktr 1 npon going, there waa no help for it lM There be a breeae in leea than two hours," alid be. "You're plenty of time, but if you're itft back before the flirt poft, I'll sail without ftai as ante aa you're born." North aanired fib of Us punctuality. "Don't wait for me. i^, if Tm not here," aaid he, with that wMncss of tone which men naato mask their asuriety. " I'd take him at hia word, Blunt," atfdihe Commandant, who was dhbly waiting to fake final farewell of Ua wife. "Give way there men." he ahouted to the crew, "and wait aFtfie jetty. H Mr. North misses hia ahip Ul^mart jnnr himeM, jtrn'll pij firrrt" Bcrthe boeVeM ttfrY North laughine; uproarioualy at the tlfettft" of befog late. Krere observed with ?pme Mtrnl^— —* that the chaplain wrapped bmetftf in a boat doak that by in the atera iSetoT "Doea the fellow want to amother him aAlf on a night like this r waa hia remark. The truth waathat, though hia hands and head were burning North's teeth chattered with cold. rWnepa this was the reason why, when landed afed o£t of eyeshot of the crew, he produced a m lrflfcfi-fl~ v of rum and eagerly drank, The SiHn him oottrage for the ordeal to which iVhad eendemned himself; and with steadied ?ife, he reached the door of the old prison. To UtMrprtse, Gimblett refused Mm admission I *• *But I have come dtrectfrom the Command *£jk*iny order, air f "*Order! No." "**l em't let you in, your menace," said ttmbtett. " to see tl» prisoner Dewes. I hare a •^•tlal message ior him; I hare come ashore on very sorry, air " '' "The ship will sail in two hoars, man, and I anall niUs her," eaya Nor**, indignant at being SES^tratedmhbdeirffn: « Let me ness." 1 *Upon my honor, sir, I daren't," said Oim- M^LNrho waa not without his good point* •^Wknow what authority is, air, a. weUasl ' North was in despair, but a bright thought ift&k Urn—ft thought that, in his soberer moments, would never hare entered his head— ?•would buy adtmseion. He produced the vrAmifiask from beneath the sheltering cloak. "Come, don't talk nonsense to me, Oimblett To* don't suppose I would come here without aa&ority. Hera, take a pull at this, and let me jbLt" GfanWett's features relaxed into a tafeflsT '*' W«H, sir, I suppose it's all right, if you lay so,** said he. And dutehing the rum-bottle wrttone hand, he opened the door of Dswes* •ill with the other. the door dosedbehind h&"the priao^erTwho had been lying app*< Ntitfr asleep' tlpop V* bed, leapt up, «sd made Ho^us Dawes had dreamt a dream. Alone, aifial'tM gathering glooms, his fancr had W v^Ed!*ihe pas Land bdi. peopled It with memo ass, i He tAoushi that he was once more upon SS'brrenstrand where he had first met with t£s sweet child he >red. H» lired again hi* S^ •eefuloees and, honjor. He saw himself working at the boat, embarking, and putting out ie aaa. The fair head of the Innocent girl was •j^pOlpwed on hia breast; her young lips fSft murmured words of affection in his greedy '«&.' Frere was beside him, watching him, as ie had watched before. Once again the gray I** spread around him, bairren of succor. Once Mainiin the wild, wet morning, he beheld the brig bearing down upon them, and •saw theWrded faces of the astonished crew. He aaw Frere Uke the child in his arms and mount upon the deck; he heard the shout of OjeUght that went up, and pressed again the wet* bands which greeted the rescued oaeta- W*ye7Th« deck was crowded. All the folk he had ever known' were there. He saw the white hairs 'an? stern features of Sir Richard Derine, and beside him stood, wringing her thin hands, his i weening mother. Then Frere strode forward, . and after him John Hex, the oonriet* who, ; * roughly elbowing through the crowd of prisoners 'tanoflaolers, would have reached the spot where stood Sir '.Richard Devine, but that the corpse of tfee murdered Lord Bellasis arose and thrust him , hack. How the hammers clattered in the shiA ? bwUer's ja^rd ! Was it a coffin they were mak , fau? foir Sylvk—surely not for her !' The 'ffgrowß^eayr.^idwjCh flame, and black; i.wHhamoke. the Hydajipea is on fire! Sylvia eflnga to her husband. Base wretch, would you shake her qfL iLook up ; the midnight heaven is Ottering with stars ; above the smoke the sir breathes delicately.. One step—another ; fix your efespntnine—so—to my heart. Alas t she turns ; "fcf'catches at her dress. What! It is a priest j a. priest—who, smiling with infernal joy, would ' drag ncr to the flaming gulf that yawns for him. The dreamer leaps at the wretch's throat, and . erytnfc, " Villain, was it for tkit fate I saved her V „ ——awakes to find himself straggling with the nyffnV»t- of his dream, the idol of his waking lenses—"Mr. North." North, paralysed no less by the suddenness of the attack than by the words with which it was accompanied, let fall bis cloak, and stood trem bling before the prophetic accusation of the man whose curses he had come to earn. "I was dreaming," said Rufus Dawes, "a terrible dream ! But it has passed now. The message—you have brought me a message, have you not? Why—what ails you? ,You are pale —your knees tremble. Did my violence ?" North reoovered himself with a great effort. "It is nothing. Let us talk, for my time is short. You have thought me a good man—one blessed of God, one consecrated to a holy service; *"T n honest, pure, and truthful. I have re turned to tell you the truth. I am none of these things." Rufus Dawes sat staring, unable to comprehend this madness. " I told you that
the woman yon loved—for you <fe lore her sent you a message of forgiveness. I bed." "Whatr v I never told her of your confession. I never . mentioned your name to her." - And she will go without knowing—oh, Mr. North, what have you done f' M Wrecked my own aoul!" cries North, wildly stung by the reproachful agony of the tone. "Do not cling to me. My task is done. Tou will bate me now. That is my wish—l merit it. Let me go, I aay. I will be too late." "Too late! For what r He looked at the doak—through the open window came the murmured voioea of the men in the boat—the memory of the rose, of the scene in the prison, flashed across him, and he understood it aIL , " Great Heaven, you go together 1" 44 Let me go," repeats North, in a hoarse voice. Rufus Dawes stepped between him and the door. * No, Madman, I wfll not let you go, to do this treat wrong, to kill this innocent young soul, who—God help her—loves you f North, confounded at thia sudden reversal of then- posi tions towards each other, crouched bewildered against the walL WI say you shall net go ! Tea shall not destroy your own aoul and hen! Ton love her ! So do I; and my love is mightier than yours, for it shall save her i" "InGod'sname "cries the unhappy priest, striving to stop his ears. "Ay, in God'a name ! In the name of thai God whom in my torments I had forgotten J In the name of that God whom you taught me to remember! That God who sent you to save me from despair, gives me strength to save you in my turn !—Oh, Mri North—my teacher—my friend—my brother—by the sweet hope of mercy which you preached to me, be meraful to thia erring woman!" North lifted agonised eyet. « But I love her! Love her, do you hear? What do you know of loveT "Lover cries Rufus Dawes, his pale face radiant. "Level Oh, it is you who do not know it. Love is the saorinos of aelf, the death of all desire that is sot for another's good. Love is God-like I You love?—no, no, your love is seMahness, and will end in shame! Listen, I will tell you the history of such a love aa yours." North, enthralled by the other's overmastering will, fell back trembling. " What do you mean?" "I will toU you the secret of my life, the reason why lam here. Come doser.
Chaptw XV.. TB> DWCOVSBT. Taa house in Clarges-ttraet mi duly placed at the disposal of Mrs. Richard Devine, who wu installed in it, to the profound astonishment and disgust of Mr. Smithem and hit fellow-servants. It only remained that the lady should be formally recognised by Lady Ellinor. The rest of the ingenious programme would follow as a matter of course. John Rex was well aware of the pod. fion which, in hlsassumed personattty.he oeoupied in society. He knew that by the world of servants, of waiters, of those to whom servant* and waiters oould babble ; of such turfites andtnen-about town as had reason to enquire concerning Mr. Richard's domestic aflairs^—no opinion oould be expressed, sate that "Devine's married some body, I hear," with Variations to. the save effect. He knew well that the really great world, the Society, whose scandal would have been socially injurious, had long ceased to trouble itself with Mr. Richard Devine's doings in any particular. • If it had been reported that the Leviathan of the Turf had married his washerwoman, Society would only hate intimated that "it was just what might hare been expected of him." To say the truth, however, Mr. Richard had rather hoped that—disgusted at his brutaUty—Lady Eliinor would have nothing more to do with him* »nd that the ordeal of presenting his wife would not be necessary. Lady Ellinor, howerer, had resolved on quit* a different line of conduct The intelligence concerning Mr. Richard Devine's threatened proceedings, seemed to nerve her to the confession of the dislike which had been long growing in her mind; seemed even to aid the formation of those doubts, the shadows of which had now and then oast themselves upon her belief in the identity of the man who called him self her son. , "His conduct is brutal," said she to her brother. " I cannot understand it." "It is more than brutal, it is unnatural," re turned Francis Devine, and stole a look at her. " Morever, he U married." " Married !" cried Lady Devine. " So he says," continued the other, producing , the letter sent to him by Rex at Sarah's ditta-? tion. "He writes to me stating that his wife, I whom he married last year abroad, has come to [ England, and wishes us to receive her." , , < *°I will not receive her !'* cried Lady Devine, | rising and pacing the room. ? ??? \ "But that would be a declaration of war." ; ?aid poor Francis, twisting an Italian onyx which ; adorned his irresolute hand, " I would not advise that" , Lady Devine stopped suddenly, with' the ges ture of one who had finally made a difficult and long considered resolution. " Richard shall not sell this house," she said. * ' " But, my dear Ellinor," cried her brother in . some alarm at this unwonted decision, "I am afraid that you can't prevent him." "If he is the man he says he is, I can," re turned she with effort. Francis Devine gasped, "// he is the man 1 It is true I have sometimes thought 0, Ellinor, can it be that we have been deceived !" She came to him and leant upon him for support much as she hod leant upon her son in the garden where they now stood, nineteen years ago. " I do not know, I am afraid to think. But between Richard and myself is a secret—a shameful secret, Frank, known to no other living penon. If the man who threatens me does not know that secret, he is not my son. If he does know it " "Well, in Heaven's name, what then V "He knows that he has neither part nor lot in the fortune of the man who was my husband." "Ellinor, you terrify me. What does this mean ?" " I will tell you if there be need to do so," said the unhappy lady. " But I cannot now. I never meant to speak of it again, even to him.
.Consider that H is hard to break »sflenoe of newly twenty yean. Write to this man, and tell him that before I receive his wife, I wish to see h«nt alone. No—do not let him come here until the truth be known. I will go *° kun." It wu with aome trepidation that Mr. Richard, sitting with hia wife in the drawing-room, on the afternoon of the 3rd May, 1840, awaited the advent of hia mother. He had been very ncr- Toot and unstrung for aome days peat, and the prospect of the ooming interview was, for aome reason he ooukl not explain to himself, weighty with fears. " What does she want to come alone for t And what can she have to say Fhe asked himself. "She cannot suspect anything after all these years, surely." He endeavored to reason with himself, but in vain ; the knock at the door which announced the arrival of hie pretended mother made hia heart jump. " I feel deuced shaky, Sarah," he said. "Let's have a nip of something." " You've been nipping too much for the last five years, Dick." (Bhe had quite schooled her tongue to the new name.) "Your 'shakintas" is the result of ' nipping,' r m afraid." " Oh, don't preach, I am not in the humor for it." "Help yourself, then. You are quite sure thai you are ready with your story T The brandy revived him, .and he rose with, ejected heartiness, MMydear mother, allow me to present to you ." He paused, for there was that in Lady Ellinor'a face which confirmed hia worst fears. "I wish to speak to you alone," she said, ignor ing with steady «yea the woman whom she had ostensibly o^fii* to see. John Rex hesitated, but Sarah saw the danger and hastened to confront it " A wife should be a husband's best friend, tntiiam Your son mar ried me of his own free will, and even hia mother can have nothing to say to him which it is not my duty and privilege to hear. lam not a girl, as you can see, and can bear whatever news you bring." Lady Devine bit her pali lips. She saw at once that the woman before her was not gently bora, but she felt also that she was a woman of higher mental calibre than herself. Prepared as she was for the worst, this sudden and open de claration of hostilities frightened her, as Sarah had calculated. She began to realise that if she was to prove equal* the teak she had set herself, she must not waste her strength in skirmishing. Steadily refusing to look at Richard's wife, she addressed herself to Riohard. "My brother will be here in half an hour," she said, as though the mention of his name would better her position in some way. "But I begged him,to allow me to come first in order thatT might speak to you privately." "Wall," said John Rex,"we are in private. What have you to say f "I want to tell you that I forbid you to carry out the plan you have for breaking up Sir Richard's property." . "Forbid me!" cries Rex, much rebsved. "Why I only want to do what my father's will enables me to do." • " Your father's will enables you to do nothing of the sort, and you know it." She spoke, as though rehearsing a series of set-speeches, and Sarah watched her with growing ahum. "Oh, nonsense!" cries John Rex, in sheer amusement. " I have a lawyer's opinion on it" " Do you remember what took place at Hamp* steed this day nineteen years ago f "At Hampetead I" said Rex, grown suddenly pale. "This day nineteen yean ago. No! What do you mean V "Do you not remember f' sheoontinued,lean* ing forward eagerly, and speaking almost fiercely. " Do you not remember the reason why you left the house where yon were born, and which you wish now to sell to strangers f" John Rex stooddumbfounded, the blood snflue ing Us temples. He knew that among the secrets of the man whose inheritance he had stolen was one which he had. never gained—the secret of that sacrifice to which Lady EUinor bad once referred, and he felt that that secret was to be revealed to crush him now. Sarah, trembling also, but more with rage than terror, swept towards Lady Ellinor, <T Speak out!" she said, "if you have anything to sayt Of what do you accuse my husband f" "Of imposture I" cried Lady Ellinor, all her outraged maternity nerving her to abash her enemy. "This man may be your husband, but he is not my son !" Now that the worst was out, John Rex, chok ing with passion, felt all the devil within him rebelling against defeat "You are mad," he said. "You have recognised me for three yaw", *nd now, because I want to claim that which is my own, you invent this lie. Take care how you provoke me. If lam not. your eon—you have recognised me as such. I stand upon the law and upon my rights." Lady Ellinor turned swiftly, and with both ' hands to her bosom, confronted him. " You shall have your rights! You shall have what the law allows you ! O how blind I have been all these years. Persist in your infamous imposture. Call yourself Richard Devine still, and I will tell the world the shameful secret which my son died to hide. Be Richard Devine ? Richard Devine was a bastard, and the law allows him—Nothing!" There was no doubting the truth of her words. There was no doubting that even a woman whose home had been desecrated, as hers had been, would invent a lie so self-condemning. Yet John Rex forced himself to appear to doubt, and bis dry lips asked, " If then your husband was not, the father of your son, who was f' " I am not ashamed to name him," said Lady Devine, with a sort of desperate pride in her tone, "My cousin, Armigell EarnS Wade, Vis count Bellasiß." John Rex gasped for breath. His hand tug ging at his neckcloth rent away the linen that covered bis choking throat He seemed to see the whole horizon of his dark put lit up by a lightning flash which stunned him. His brain, already enfeebled by excesu, was unable to with stand this last Bhock. He staggered, and but for the cabinet against which he leant would have fallen. The secret thoughts of bis heart rose to his lips and were uttered unconsciously. "Viscount Bellasis! He was my father also, and he has avenged himself—for I killed him!"
A dwßdfanihpi^toi and then Lady Dertne, ?tretflhing oat her hands toward* the Mlf-ooo feaMd murderer, with A aort of frightful respect, ?aid in a whiiper, in which honor and ?applica tion were strangely mingled, "What did you do with •on? Did you kill A*» also T Bat John Bex, wagging hia head from aide to aide, like a i^imH"l beast that has received a mortal stroke, made no reply. Sarah Purfoy, awed as she was by the dramatic f one of toe situation, nevertheless remembered that Franda Devine might amve at any moment, and saw her last opportunity for safety. She advanead and touched the mother on the shoulder. " Your sen is alive f' " Where T "W3l yon promise not to hinder as leaving tillshoweill toll youT "Tes-yea." "Will you promise to keep the eonfeaaka which you haT« heard awrat untfl we have left <rI prombeanything. In Qei'B nanMLWoman, if you have a woman's heart, apeak T Where is . my son r* Sarah Pvutoj torn orer the enemy who had defeated her r and said in ler»l,aeHb«ratea«ente, M They call him Bofus Dawea. HeisaeonTtot at Norfolk laUnd,transportad lor life forth* murder which you heard my husband ooafaai to having committed AhF . Lady Dariaa had fainted. , [will as eo*ci.ui>s» nr cm wan.}
Tn Cirt or Ba* Fbakoboo.—The ink of the Pacific Mail Company's ttne of steamers, boih specially to cany the Audit between New Sooth Wales and San Franeisoo, arrived at Sydney on Thursday night, January 6. 1%» Svdnn Morumf Btraid describes her as a truly splendid vessel She wu built at Cheater, United (Mate*, by the well-known firm of John Roaah ani tons, who have tamed out many of the finest steamers afloat She ia 866 feet long, with a beam of 49 feet, and hat three decks, via., main, war, and hurricane, on the aame principle at the Colima, and 1» similar in general appear anoc and air'angaßiints. The dining •uoon ia placed on the main deck, from the after part of which rune an alley-way, with ennloied cabins on either aide. These apartments are fitted with every conceivable convenience, and olaborately furnished. Mention may especially be made of four huge oabina, known aa the bridal chamber*. On the apar deck m a targe, well-ventilated, withdrawing saloon, fur niahed with lounges, piano, Ac.; and above this again, and immediately under the hurricane deck, ia an elegantly arranged boudoir. These several apartmenta are reached by broad massive staircases formed of aoUd rosewood. The fur niture throughout is of crimson velvet, and the ioore are richly carpeted. The panelling is formed* of highly-polished American woods of the finest kinds, relieved by large mirrors, forming, a general efleet very difficult to describe. The after portion of the ship affords accommodation for 150 first?<<ass jissasngsrs, which will convey some slight idea of the sue. The comforts ear* ried out for the second and third class passengers ate of the same spacious character, but of course not so elaborate fci ornamentaejon. The ao eommodation for the officers is, on the spar deck, running forward from the upper saloon. The hurricane deck forms a fine promenade, right fore-and-aft, on the fore part of which .fa plaood the wheel-house, with its steam steering machinery. The forepart of themain deck is allotted to cattle and sheep pens, windlass, to. The vessel is propelled by a four-bladed screw, driven by compound direct-acting engines of 800 horse-power nominal which will give a mean speed of 12 knots without any extraordinary pressure, on a consumption of 50 tons of fuel per day, which k fully borne out by the fact of the splendid run from Ban Francisco, although only using one-half the boiler-power. The vessel fa rigged as a barque, and shows a large spread of canvas. There are also ten large hydrants dis tributed abmit the decks, and immediately con neoted with the main engine; steam-winches are placed at the various hatchways, and every modern appliance has been brought to bear-to economise labor. In short, the vessel appears perfect in every particular, and no expense has been spared by the company to make her a credit to the servioe. It is at all times an exhilarating spectacle (says The Melbourne leader), to behold a good man who is willing to sacrifice himself for the benefit of his kind, and such a spectacle is afforded us by the Rev. Dr. Bleas dale. This gentleman is supposed to know a good deal about wine, in fact to be an exoellent judge of that description of liquor. But still, with the modesty which always characterises true genius, he thinks that there is yet a good deal to be learned, and so, throwing aside his own personal convenience, he has proposed to take a jaunt through the wine-producing countries of Europe, in order that he may ac quire a stock of wrinkles for the edification of Australian vignerons. The only drawback is that most usual and most troublesome drawback, money ; the question being where his expenses ar* to come from. Dr. Bleasdale did not broach his scheme in Victoria, where he is so well known, but in South Australia, presumably when the hearts of bis auditors were opened ; and with the lavish generosity of oolonists, those who listened to him immediately came to the conclusion that the expenses should be defrayed, not by themselves, who were imme diately interested, but by Government. The South Australian Government having been per suaded to move in the matter applied to the Government here to ascertain if Victoria would be inclined to share the expenses of the trip, but as yet there has been no response. We think that the Government should lose no time in putting an end to the suspense by giving a decided answer in the negative. If the vigner ons think that the services of Dr. Bleasdale will be of any commercial value to them, their proper course will be to club together and provide for his expenses. At the same time, we cannot con ceive that there is any necessity for the journey at all. By the latest advices we learn that Mr. Francis is at present residing in the south of France, where, at bis own cost, he is doing the very thing which Dr. Bleaadale proposes to do at the public expense.