|Chapter Title||A BRIEF SURVEY OF THE WEB.|
|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 of " Blade-o'-Grajy," "Joshua Marvel, "Bread and Cbeeae and Kisses," <Jri£," "London's Heart," <4c.
A DKISf BUBVBT OF TRE WEB. It may not be unprofitable here to pause a moment and ooatemplatc the threads of the web which Chance, Fate, and Retribution u4 w I'uviog round this man. With tbe exception of a few idle weeks in bis youtb hia life hod been a life of honour and renown. His ambition was a worthy one, and success had not been attained without unceasing, unwearying labour and devotion. Clow study, and application, zeal, earnestness, unflagging industry, a conscientious belief inthebonesty of hia aitna, theie were the steps in the ladder he had climbed Had it not been for his keen intelieot these qualities would not have been sufficient to condoct him to the goal he had io view. Good lack is not to be despised, bat unless it is allied with brain power of a high order only an ephemeral success can bo achieved, Thero was nothing ephemeral in the position the Advocate had attained. Never, to outward appearance, was a great reputation more stable or better deserved. His wonderful talents and the victories ho had gained in the face of formidable odds had de etroyed all the petty jealousies with which he had to cope in the outset of his career, and he stooa now upon a lofty pinnacle acknowledged by all as a master of his craft. Wealth ana distinction were his, and higher honours lay within his grasp ^ and, in addition, he had won for his wife one of the most beautiful of women. It seemed as if the world had nothing to add to his happiness. And yet destruction stared him in tbe face. Tha fabric he hod raised, on a foundation so sccurc that it appeared as if nothing could shake it, was tottering, and might tail, destroying him and all ne had worked for in the ruins. What influences were threatening him? He stood at the door of the only man the world to whom be had given the full measure of his friendship. \Vith all the strength of hie nature he believed in Arthur Balcoznbe. In the present crisis of his life he would have called this friend to his side, and would have placed in his hands, without hesitation, his life, his reputation, and his honour. To Arthur lialcombe, in their convenation, he bad revealed what may be termed his inner life, that life tbe workings of which were concealed from all other men. Within the room at the door of which he was waiting stood his one friend, with white face and guilty conscience, about to admit him and grasp his hand. Had the heart of this friend been laid bare to him, he would have shrunk from it in horror and loathing. And from that moment to the lost moment of his life the sentiment of friendship would have been to him tbe bitterest mockery and delusion with which man was ever cursed. Not five yards from where he stood lay Pierre Lamont, listening and watching for proofs of the perfidy which would bring disgrace upon him—which would make men ana women sj>eak of him in terms of derision for his blindness and scorn for his weakness —which would make a byeword of him—of him, the groat Advocate, who had played his part in many celebrated cases in which woman's faithlessness and disloyalty were the prominent features—and which would cau.se him to regard the sentiment of love as the falsest delusion with which mankind was ever afflioted. In the study he had left but a few minutes since slept a man who, in a certain sense, claimed comradeship with him, a man whom he had championed and set free, a self-confessed murderer, a wretch so vile that ho had fled from him in horror at the act he had himself accomplished. And in the open air, upon a hill, a hundred yards from the House of White Shadows, lay John Vanbrugh, a friend of his youth, a man disgraced by his career, watching for the signal which would warrant him in coming forward and divulgios what was in his mind. If what John Vanbrugh had disclosed in his muttcrinm during his lonely watch was true, ho held in his hands the key to a mystery which revealed would overwhelm the Aavocate with disgrace. Thus was he threatened on all sides by fricud and foe alike.