|Newspaper Title||Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||The House of White Shadows|
THE HOUSE OP WHITE SHADOWS.
BY B. L. FABJEON, Author of "Bladeo'-Grass," "JoshOA Mprvtl/i "Bread and Cheesa fturl Kisses," "aril," -'London'* Heart," Ac.
Baloombe stood at the door gazing at the retreating figure of the Advocate. It passed through the clear Ught of the lamps, became dimmer, was lost in the darkness. The corridor was long, and before the sound of the the slightest impressions became the medium for gloomy reflection. As the figure of the Advocate grew more and more inaiBtinot, and was finally lost to sight, Baloombe's eyes still followed an invisible form, moving not through spaoe but through events, in whioh he and Adelaide were tibe principal actors. Confused images, resolving themselves into defined pictures, crowded to his mind, the leading features of whioh were the consequences arising from the donble betrayal of love and friendship. A moment's time sufficed for the creation of numberless picture), lie was recalled to himself by a soft tapping at the door of the inner room. He hastily unlocked it, and released Adelaide, who raised her eyes, beaming with animation, to his. In his eyes astonishment dwelt Bethought to see her pale, frightened, trembling. Never had he beheld ner more radiant. " He is gone," she said aloud in a gay tone. " Hush 1 whispered Baloombe. He may return." "He will not," she said; "you will aee him no more to-night." " Thank Ood the danger is escaped. I feel as if I had been guilty of some horrible " Whereas, you have only been guilty of obliging poor little innocent Me in the most harmless fancy that ever entered a woman's head—to wish you a simple good-night. Arthur, I heard every word. 1 " I thought you would have fallen asleep.' "There would have been positive danger if I hod—for in my sleep 1 might have ca lied out your name. Yea ; I beard every word." " How could yon be BO imprudent, so reckless, as to laugh ?" 4 4 How can I help being a woman of impulse? You do not know of what I am capable for your sake !" " Will you be capable of one thing for my sake, Adelaide ?" " Only tell me what it is." 41 Prudence." *' Well, I will try, if you are good. And ho heard my laugh—and went to the wrong door to listen. Is that like a man in love ? Not to be able to distinguish the Bound of his wife's own voice ! There is not a thine be does that does not convince me more ana more that he has no heart. But if he had oome to the right door, and thrown it open and seen me, 1 should have known how to act. Arthur, what did you mean by saying to him, * My thoughts are pot under my control while you have your hand on that letter ?' \VTint letter did you refer to?" " Your note to me, which Dionetta left in
this room. How often have I cautioned you to be more careful 1 He was sitting by the desk, upon which I had laid the note, and his baud was upon it" "And you were frightened—ah, but you are prudent 1 To think that he had Imt to open that little iunoccut bit of paper 1 what a scene there would have Ibeen! If I had had a fairy godmother I should have summoned her to my side, and implored her to put mo somewhere where I could see all that was going on. What a shock it would have riven him if I had suddenly called out as he held my letter, 1 Open it, my love, open it, and read it!'" " You promise me to be prudent." " Tyrant I I did not promise you not to think. I %oa$ prudent, with the exception of that little laugn, you did not hear me breathe. I have a good mind to be angry with you. You are positively ungratefoL You shut me op in a room all by myBelf, in the dark, Wnere I quietly remain, tuc very soul of discretion—upon my word, now 1 think of r.t, there is somcthiug comical in your asking me to be prudent— and you do not give me one word of praise for my courage in not screaming out. Tell me instantly, Sir, that I am a brave little woman." • 4 You are." " You have heard, you say, every word of the conversation wo have ueld. He trusts me—he believes in me. 1, 4 1 And you trust him—you believe in him ?" "I do. "Are you a man, with a man's reason, or ore you utterly, utterly blind?" she asked vehemently, ana there wis now a red Hush upon her face and a lieht of anger in her eyes. " Have you ever asked yourself whether such a man as he ie worthy of trust and bolief ?" "It has never occurred to mo to ask myself a Question; BO strange. My friendship for him nas come in a natural way." She gazed at him in amazement. "Has he ever told you he loved me ?" " Never." 4 1 Nor was ever likely to—he loves another," she said, in a tone of contempt. It was his turn now to express amazement. " Do you forget already," she asked. what has passed between you ? If it had happened that I loved him, after his confession to-night I should hate him with a woman's hate, which in a way is stronger than a woman s love. But it is indifferent to me upon whom he has set his affections; with all my heart I pity the unfortunate creature he loves. She neea not heed me ; I shall not barm her. You still look incredulous. It gives me hopes that where you believe you cannot doubt •—and you believe in me; but I shall never give you cause to doubt me. He endeavoured to get at the heart of your secret; he was unsuooesafui But you got at the heart of his when yon asked nim if a woman was involved In it; and you compelled him to confess that his honour—and of course hers; mine is of no account—was at stake in his miserable love affair. He loves a woman who is not bis wife. Are your eyes opened? Of course he most keep his secret close—of course he could not speak of it to his friend, whom he tried to hoodwink by professions and twisted words. You must be indulgent of each other —that is to say, discovering that he is base instead of noble you must be indulgent towards him, and say * Edward, it is perfectly right that you should love one woman and marry another; it is a proof of the greatness of your natare 3 way, is what makes him so great. He married me, I suppose, to satisfy his vanity; he wanted the world to see that old as he was, grave as he was. no woman could resist him. And 1 allowed myself to be persuaded by worldly friends. Ah. if you had been but near ma then! I simply laugh at him, and despise him ? There 1 Enough of him. I should not shed a tear over him if he died to-night. He has insulted me, and what woman ever forgets or forgives an insult ? But he has done me a good scrvice, too, and I thank him. How sleepy I am 1 Good night. My minute is up, and I cannot stay longer. 1 muBt think of my complexion. Good night—good night."