Chapter 197737499

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Chapter NumberXXXIII
Chapter TitleNEWS OF HARRY'S DEATH.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197737499
Full Date1880-03-13
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count818
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)
Trove TitleFreebench. A Tale of South African Life
article text

CHAPTEE XXXIII.

NEWS OF HARRY'S DEATH.

As Smiley went homeward in the enjoyment of a conviction that fortune was favouring him, certain doubts began to cross his mind. What was the value of a married woman's undertaking to repay money out of the profits of an estate which was not settled to her separate use; and bow far, independently of that, could he recover as necessaries for a wife a sum of money advanced to procure tbe return of her husband ? Smiley had but a dim idea of these questions; nevertheless it occurred to him that it would be wiser to pay future sums to Mrs. Faircraft for tbe maintenance of her gueet. Then he began to wonder how far he would be assisted by Massinger, and whether, by a series of blunders or accidents, Holroyd might not come safe to hand after all. At one moment it even occurred to Blinkeyee that the shortest way to compass his ends would be to join the filibusters himself, and trust to a lucky chance for compassing the destruction of bis rival. And long into a sleepless night did Smiley lie the victim of these doubts and fears. Phyllis, on the other band, slept as peacefully as if she had not become an orphan and a brigand's wife almost at the same moment. The consciousness of having performed a kind and thoughtful and wifelike act lulled to rest even a passing doubt as to the prudence of the money from Smiley. The application of the fund appeared so righteous as to work a kind of pardon for any error in the mode of acquiring it. At all events, she slept the sleep of youth and innocence. On the morrow, how the happiness and misery of these two was to be reversed! In the forenoon the Transvaal mail came in and in two hours afterwards the two newspapers in the city each issued a little Supple ment on a long slip of paper, a little wider than a column, and the boys took them round to th« houses of the subscribers. It is difficult to imagine the intense delight «bich inflated the bosom of Smiley as he sat opposite the following paragraph, which formed part of a communication dated from Lydenbnrg. " News has been received of the death of Holioyd, an Englishman, who 'was femployed as courier to carry despatches from Fort Burgers.

On tbe 13th, as he was returning to the oamp from this town, and riding as he always did without escort, he fell into a trap laid tor him by Sekukuni's Kafirs. On the 22nd, «t all events, one of Sekukuni's tribe, who was caught along with others, was found riding Holroyd'* horse, with his saddle, and, in answer to a quation, said they had killed the owner at a place Vhich he mentioned, and which is about twenty ibilea from the Fort. The pitcher went to the fountain once too often. They say he leaves* widow in Natal." Smiley read the paragraph over and over again with a profound joy. He thought ha should never be tired of reading what there «• of it, and cursed it from tbe bottom of his heart for not containing more details, so as to mak» him happier etill. t All legal doubts were at an end. It waa to • widow, and not to a wife, that he had lent hia money; it waa a widow's signature that stood at the foot of his receipt; the object of his affeotions would soon be free to listen to his biasdishmente, and it wanted little more for him. to imagine himself the master of Earlstowe, where, after turning out the stepmother, who bad marred his early prospects, and had mocked him afterwards, he would dispense a graceful hospitality to the gentry of the neighbourhood and enliven them with his brilliant reminiaceneee of colonial life. Kay, who could nj that tbe fortune of Smiley would terminate in the obaeurefunctions of a eotfntry gentleman? Might not those twitching hands graap at «MM> thing higher, and those blinking eyes be soma day directed to the eye of Mr. Speaker? Ha laughed out loud aft the glorious prospect ot legislating for the colonies that had been nnkinfl to bim! At last he brought tiimaelf down to business. He must get evideooe of the death, or of the circumstances which would be held to prove H. and then make himself first necessary ajod then attractive to the heiress of -Barlstowv. How long would it take him to arrive at tfa* latter stage, and when might he venture OB* positive declaration ? He wisely resolved not to approach Phyftia until she sent for bim, and eo he walked off to business with a serene smile diffused over hia features, and dallying fondly over hia pleasing doubts. He met Tambooti, but sent no meaaag» to hia mistress.