|Chapter Title||? AND DAUGHTER.|
|Newspaper Title||Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||The House of White Shadows|
THE HOUSE OF" WHITE SHADOWS.
By B. L. FARJEON, Author o< " Blade-o'Graaa," " Joshoft "Bread and Cheese and Kisses," "GriX," 'London's Heart," 4c.
' A hundred questions of (hie kind were a._t to me, sometimes when the young lady was present, sometimes when the mother ana 1 were alone. While this was going on I noticed that Mdlle. Beatrice often came from her mother's room in a state of great agita* tioo, and as if she had been crying. From a iran these signs can be hidden: from a woman, no ; a man is too often blind to the ways of women. I am sure Mr. Baioombe knew nothing of what was passing between mother and (laughter; but even if he had known he would not have understood the meaning of it; 1 did not at the time. '•WeB, appearance among us with a face in whieh (lie greatest delight was expressed. She talked to the servants quite graciously, and nodded and smiled, and did not know what to do to show how amiable she was. 1 What a change in the weather I' we all said. The reason was soon forthcoming. Our master and her daughter were engaged to be married. " We were none of as sorry; we all liked Mdlle Beatrice, and it was sad to think that a good old race would die outif Mr, Balcombe remained single all the days of his life. Yes, we talked over the approaching marriage, as did everybody in toe village, with real pleasure, and if good - feeling and sin3ere wishes could bring happiness, Mr. Baioombe and bis young and beautiful wife that was to be, could not have failed too^joy it. "'it is true, Madomoiselle, is it not?' I asked of her. ' I may congratulate you ?' "'I am engaged tj be married to Mr Balcoml>c/ she said, 'if that is what you mean. 1 "' You will have a good man for your husband, Mademoiselle,'I said, * You will bo very happy.' But there was something in her manner that made me hope the approaching chaugc iu her condition would not make her proud. It was cold and distant, different from the ivay she had hitherto behaved to me. " So the old house M as gay again ; improvements and alteratious were made; your boudoir, my lady, was added to the villa; where the new chalet Btande, which has been built in liouour of your visit, a larger summer house was erected, which was afterwards burnt down by Mr. liulcoinbe's own hands. It had a lumber of rooms in it, and was in i iself a most beautiful residence. Very soon we wove thronged with visitors, who came :uid w i ut and laughed and danced as though life were a i^rpetual holiday. But Mdlle. lieatrico was not as light-hearted as before ; ishe moved about slowly, and with a certain aaduees— it was noticed by many. I thought, Jicvhaps, that the contemplation of the change in her life made her more serious, or that she liud net yet recovered the shock of her father's death, The old lady was in her jjlory, ordering here and ordering there, and giviLg herself such airs that one might have supposed it was she and not her daughter who was going to get married. Mr. Bal combe gave Mdlle. Beatrice no cause for disquiet. He \\;is entirely and most completely rle. oted to her, aud 1 am sure that no Ionian in the world ever had u more faithful lover, lie watched her every stop, and followed her al>out with his eyes in a way that would have filled any ordinary woman's heart with delight. As for presents he did not know how to do enough for the beautiful girl who was sooo to be his wife 1 never saw each beautiful jewellery as l.c bought for her, and he seemed tD* be continually studying what to do to give her iilcature. If ever a woman ought to have Jw.cn proud of a man she ought to have been cf him. " WfcH, they were m&med, and the day will never be forgotten iu the village. Mr. Balcombe made everybody happy, the cliihlrcu, the grown-up people, the poor, and the well to do. New dresses, ribbons, Hags, [lowers, music, ;ui<l feaatiug from morning to ttuhl—llitrc was ne.i.r seen anything like it. Tiio blide looked like an <iugel, am 1 Mr. Bal combe b face had a light in it such as 1 had uevoi teen before —it Bhoue with joy and lull-hearted happiness. In the afternoon tliey dej urtcd on their honeymoon tour, and the old Lady nmvs left mistress of the villa. <luring the aWuee of the newly-married piir. Mie e.scivised her authority in a way th.it was uot i leasing to us ; a disagreeaolc change was suddenly observable in her, and she cJotniiKired over iho servants in amostob- .Hiti<>iKiblc manuvr. It was as though bIig was determined to show how superior she v as to those who would have been happy to fieivc her if she had behaved with reasonable Limlucss. No wonder, therefore, that we looked upou her with dislike, and spoke of it as an evil day when she came among us ; but that did not lessnu our horror at an aeeidiut which befel her which led to her death. Mr. Qud Mrs. Baljoinbe had been absent hanly three weeks when the old lady, going into a distant part of the grounds where workmen were employed iu building uu some reeks to sci ve as an artiticiul waterfall, fell into a pit, and waj so frightfully bruised uud hl.akeu that when sir; was taken up the doetois declared she jould not live another twenty four hours. Letters were immediately scut oil to Mr. lUlcoiube, but there was uo chance of his receiving them before the uufort unite old ladv breathed her last. We did everything we could for her, and she took it iuto her head that she would, have no one attend to her but me. " ' My daughter is fond of you, 1 she said, ou her death-bed, ' and if I am to die, I must ask vuu something first.' ''But it was many hours before she could bo made to believe that there was no heme for Iter, and when the conviction was forced upon her she cried in a tone of great bitterness— " ' This is a fatal house. First my husband ; uow me. Will Beatrice be the next ?' "And then she bemoaned her hard fate that ehe should have to die just at the time that a life of pleasure was snread before her: Yes. ehe s|>oke like that, like a youn^ girl, instead of an old woman with white hair. A life of ]ilcasurc. Do sonic people nevor think of another life, a life of rewards and punishments, according to their actions iu this world ? The oldlady was one of these, I am afraid. Three or four hours before she died she eaid she must. s|«?ak to me quite aljno, and the doctors accordingly left the room. "' 1 want you to tell me the truth, Dcnise,' she said—I had to placc my car quite close to her lit>6 to hear her. " * 1 will tell it you,' I said. " " 'It would be a terrible sin to doceive a dying woman,' she said. 1 1 answered 1 knew it was, and 1 would not dcceivc her.' " ' Beatrice ought to be happy/ she said, 'I l a -e d„nc uiy best to make hor so—against lur owu u ibhes ; but is it likely she should know better thau her mother'! You believe she will be happy, do you not, Deui.se ?' "' I replied that 1 could not doubt it; that tdie had married a good man, against whom lio pertou could breathe a word ; a mau who ccmmai.dtd resii^-et, und v. ho was lookc I ii| on by the poor as a benefactor—as indeed " ' That is what I thought ' said the dying woumn; ' that is w hat 1 told her over and over afain. A good man, a kind man, a rich n.an—a very rich man, Aud then we were nudci' obligations to him ; there was no other way to re J ay him. ' 4 1 1 could not help saying to her then that when Mr. Balcombe rendered a service to any one be did not look lor a iiayineut. " ' Ah.' she said, impatiently, ' but we are of noble descent, aud wc never rocer favour without returning it. All I thought of was my daughter's happiness. And there was the future—hers as well as mine—it was dreadful to look forward to. Tell me truly, Denisr— Did my daughter ever complain to you V " 4 Ni vor,' 1 nns .voted. " ' Did she ever sav I war. a hard mother to her—that 1 was leading her wrong—that 1 was pclliblt, and thought ouly of myscif? Did ahe? Answer me truly.' Never,' I 6ohl, aud I wondered very much lo hear her speak in that way. ' She never B|-oke a single word against you. If idic had any cuch thoughts it would uot ha been proper for her to have opened them inc. 1 am only a servant.' " 1 That is true,' she muttered. ' Boatricc lias i'tile. Yes, thauk (iod, she has pride, a*id if she suffers can sulicr in silence. But why should she suffer? She his everything— everything. 1 torment myself without caus:. 1 (To Oi- continued.) Pianos tuul American Oroa.vs can be Purcliascd to Lho best rulvjintji^e from the Importers, P. Fail; it Co., Cluwicr pbce, City. 212tbslQk tS~ TVouTll Knowinq.—Thnt the largest Clothluj and TcII.trins Prt.uiis»s in Adelaide, Rod the Beit, must Myli^h, anil (Jhuiiptst Si-loction of Meo'i. Youth?', and B«\s' Cintliine Mul Outflttlnff, la at O. A W. Slii^rlaVs, Ola^KOW Houne, 11, UlnJloyu.'LBit'i.Linillii*: the be.nt tuedicnl dlttn<l>inco, rould - * :oil' f. ill. IMIIIC to thu rjciota county Ivor- I ...it.. W.-arrii I into an.i out n( on , - : - !„ 'nift.. ... '.i;..„ \f* -r Hie f iilure I, ttu-- ! : i. ••-< 'i- •••• i i *•" iii? f vjl: M- > : HI- II 1 .'.•>'•'. Til Bl..i;e«l;t. « 11 l.|. ifiiUp.i liv llm P.iii I'.irl^in .ILLli (Ohio) U.S.A.