|Chapter Title||BACK TO THE HEART'S PLACE HERE I KEEP FOR THEE.|
|Newspaper Title||Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918)|
|Trove Title||Gathered Rue. An Australian Novel|
.AN AUSTRALIAN NOVEL.
By Eli.eiiton Gay. : Author op "Driftinq Under the Southern Gross," "Aohoss the GuMf,"&o.
Chapter XXX.— Back to the Heart's Place Herb I Keep por. Thee.
"Basil," she saicl timidly, when thedsok be- camo deserted j "In all theia days shoe you were restored to mo. I havo navor bad an oppor tunity of kneeling to you to plead for pardon J Are you feeling otrongar noir, and may i venture to anoak of exoitlng topics ?"
"I am atrong onougUjAIora, be eaid, calmly; " but I do not aoo what can be gained by revert ing to th» oubjoot you are thinking of. ' "If it will not exoito you," »be oald, with tears in her eyas, "you mu«t lot raotell you of my remorso for. having doubted yon;' / "Your remorse might have had, mutt have had, some efleat if it bad been expressed beforo a. certain foot oame to your knowledge, Mora. Now, it seems to me to be worthlosB. It is not
unnatural that you should rcgrst having grossly misjudged mo when the proofs have been given to you. I should havo'heen surprised, knowing your nature as I do, if you had not some such feeling, I should have deeply valued some evidence of yotir belief in mo, which demanded nothing more than my assertion that my con duct was honorable. I cannot look upon re pentance from after knowledge in the same light." Mora sat with her head bowed in her hands. She felt the truth of what ho said, hut its oold- ne«s and hardness Bent a pain like a knifo through her heart. Sho felt as though sho wore being judged h-fore a stern tribunal, and that sho had acaroe unytbing to advance in her own favor. "Baiil,"elio oald passionately; "listen, my heart s darling. Where I have failed, bewaro of tho pitfall yourself. Beliove what I am now going to oay, on my word alone, though I was blind and self willed enough , not to beliove in yours. I swoar to you tliBt long boforo Bridget Mofan told mo how you bad shioldod Kstherino Craven, I was only waiting to sec yon face to face to toil you that I doubted, you. no more, that I was convinced thoro wss no diBgraco for you behind tho mystery of Margaret's birth. I felt that I had beon mad to doubt you." j "It may be so. I, should ,bo glad to believe "You must beliove it. What can I say? How oan I convinoe you?" "I am prepared to act us though I believed you." "Do you. think I oan bo satisfied with that," Mora snid, with passionate energy; "no, indeed, it is liko your deep consideration for me, in writing to bo by every mail, that no ono should commont on our rolstions. . Your cold kindness was only a refined form of cruelty ; at last, when I was hungering for the sight of you, when I suffered "You suffered! Good -God, Mora, do you suppose ;I havo not suffered ? Was It nothing; to mo to bo belierod the basest of mankind by tho wife I adored ? To ho doubted and questioned like a convioted liar? To have to make myself a voluntary exilo beoaiuo I would not condemn you openly of n failing in what I conceive a wife's faith ? To bs miles from you and know that tho man I had warned you of, but whom yon ohose to bolievo in preference to ine, was your.- guest at Moondaburra, fdtod and honored?" "Oh, that is not true. Who has slandered . me toyou ? He oame with the right of a traveller, unasked, unwoloome, and woa passed on tho noxt morning. Ambrose Domareaquo will tell you." " You answer but one of my griefs, perhaps the least of them, though my jealousy may have magnified it. Can youat all realise what I wont throngh when I was as near you as Ekaterinska and daro not trust myself to see you, except one evening when I rode all tho way over only to got a glimpse of you lying on tho verandah, half in tha light, of the open windows? All through my long journeys, when your beloved faoe was liko n mirago in front of me, always receding into tho background as I rode towards it? When I had to say over and over again to myself, ' This wife whom you lovo so devotedly believos you a traitor, adulterer, a liar and slanderer,' or I must have oomo back aud flung mysolf at your feet." . " Basil, don't, my lovo. You torture me," Mora moaned. "I torture you ! Well, it Is a very bald and imperfeot statement of tho tortures I endured. Do-you think it wonld havo been an easy matter to confess," even to you,' the miserable shame that sooioty decrees should sit more liehtly on a man's than on a woman's shoulders? Reserve and pride are foibleB and defeats, maybe, but they are nob oonquercd easily in a oharactsr like mine. Secure in my own honor, perhaps I asked too' much' whou I expected you to believe me without further explanation. When I left Yowarreo in health and strength, with poor young Hagan (whose sufferings bar description, and to whom death must havo been a release), I meant to eome as straight to you as I oould, and toll you that I would make allowanoe for your weakness, and if you demanded proofs to give you suoh as were, in my power. But now, Mora, now that you.kuow all that I knew, nay more, I do not forgivo your want of failh in me. Aebange has oomo over ine, I cannot forgivo you, Mora." " You cannot forgive me?" sho gasped, feebly ; "Basil, you oannot be so cruel ! What will you do?" "Do? Nothing;" " You will go away and leave mo again ?". " Possibly. It is no fault of yours that you have failed in reaohing an ideal point of faith. It shall not be visited upon you. No one shall over know that wo are ; not all in all to. each other." "I will not have your tender oars for my name, if I havo not your love," Mora said proudly; "if lama dishonored wife in your eyes, let all tho world know it," " You talk nonsense, my dear," said her hus band, who bad now quite recovered his amo tion ; " tbis is a matter that must be left to my management. I will talk to your father. It is perhaps fortunate that tbero ia no ohild of our union." He looked at her coldly ; then, wondering what bad caused tho color to dye hor pale cheeks,, bis hssrt stirred with deep tsndernesa in spite of hirasslf at the sight of her sweet beauty. Her modesty at blusliing.at the mention of snoh a subjeot had a fresh oliarm for him, and a pas sionate look of love ekased the coldness from his dork face. With his words had oomo to Mora a joy and hope suoh as finding water in a seeming desert is to tho lost traveller whan all expectation of finding it had fled. It had been agreed between her father and herself that he should breathe no word of tho existence of his grandchild, burst ing with pride, and longing as ho was to exult over it. Mora wished to toll bar husband at her own time anil in ber own way. Sho started half guiltily to. think how hor feelings of a mother had been put aside for the . all absorbing anxieties of a wifo. Now her heart filled with tho swoet joy of motherhood, and a seoret voico whispered to her that at boms there lay a rosy little pesoo maker who would plsad for 'hor in baby language. : She did not venturo to look at Basil lest ho should read her seorot: in her eyes. "We need not go Into .particulars now," Basil resumed. " You must not think I havo oeased to lovo you ; it will bo the greater part of my punishment that I love you as doarly hb over." Mora snatched his hand and covered it with kissss, as a steward oame an deck bringing oysters and bread and buttor for Basil. "Basil," she "whispered, when tho man had gone to bring something olse, " Thoro is one at homo who will speak to you in my defence; do not oondemn me further until you hoar." . "Mrs. Wilmott? Sho oannot dofond you more warmly than your father." " Wait until wo got home." Perhaps Basil woo roadlor than lie knew to drop the painful oubjoot into oblivion, at any rate he made no further allusion to it. The short seavoysgo had been of the greatest benefit to him. Wbon he arrived in Brisbane ho looked quits a different person from the one who left Untballa. Sir Matthew. Mouril yen's own car riage was at : the pior waiting for him. Mora's buggy was there; too, and. leaving her father. to oomo with Basil in tho carriage, she drove very
rapidly homowarde, arriving thoro almost beforo Basil's friouds had finished' their congratulations on his safo return. Thero had boen quite a littio deputation of prominent colonists to wel come him, and it was with difficulty' that Mors, muoh moved with their kind sympathy, could slip away. A few moments to array hsrsclf ia a becoming garment while tho baby (who to her great grief had not rocogniscd her) was being also made very smart in soft laces and frills, and Mora was roady to make what she fait was her great coup, - In tho room at tho ond of tho verandah,: whero Basil had'sat to writeTiis letter to her after see ing her: with Gaoffroy Underwood; she sat cooing to liar baby, waiting until Mrs; Wilmott, by previous arrangoment, should direct his stops in that direction. She heard his stops on tho verandah with something unoortaln in tho sound— something thnt marked tho difference from tho firm, ringing tread of more than a year ago. She rose with the baby in her arms. One of her rosy little fists was twiuod in hor mother's hair, tho other was waring about in frantic delight as she made a bubbling noiso with lior lins whioh seemed to please her immensely. Mora trembled with repressed excitement — sho could hardly stand. Tho stop was oloss ; in, another moment Basil would bo in the: room. Baliy's cooing sound must havo fallen strangely on his ear. Sho wondered if he was noticing it, and what he thought it .wss. - He stood in tiie doorway, one hand raised above his liead'as he steadied himself with it against the frame ol the door. M era came and threw hersolf on'ber knees boforo hor husband in an exalted frame of mind, which soemedto make that attitude ' tho only possible one for her. Tho baby seemed delighted, her littio hand still olutohing tightly amongst her mothor'a wavy hair. Sho looked up with a successful bubble of merriment as aho kicked off one of her little boots. Mora waa silent, save for a sob that escaped her. Sho seemed to be holding the baby to Basil to tako. " What doos it mean, Mora? Is this youro?" " Oars, BniiL" .. " Darling wife," he murmured softly. "Take hor, husband I Ki.s her ; give her a name 1" Basil lifted up his wifo and ombraeed both iogethor. " She muat plead my cause, my dearest. Will you listen to her?" Mora said tenderly. "She muat make you believe my penitenco for my temporary disbelief in her father." "Her advocacy is unnecessary, my darling, I take you both to my heart of hearts." It was very odd, but jnst when Mora Tre- mnyno. had given up' all dread of her father's marrying again, he marrisrl Mrs. Wilmott ! He always says it was her affeolion for his grand- dnughtor Evelyn that had won his heart,' and Mora was not in tbo least jealous or dis< appointed. ' (the end.)