|Chapter Title||THE RECORD .|
|Newspaper Title||Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||The House of White Shadows|
THE HOUSE OP WHITE SHADOWS.
don's Beast," Ac. By B. L FABJEOH,
CHAPTER XXXIX. USE RECORD OOKTIITDED.
" I will not recount tbe continual endeavours 1 made to win my wife to checrfoliiess and a better frame of mind. Sutlioient to eay that they were onsncceesfaL and that many and many a time I gave up tlie attempt in despair, to renew it again under the influence of false hopes. Unhappy and disheartened, the pursuits in which 1 bad always taken delight afforded me now no pleasure, and, though I Bought relief in soli* tude and study, I did not find it. My peaco of mind seemed to be utterly wreokethlThere was, however, in the midst ol toy wretchedness one ray of light. In the course of a little while a child woald be born to u?, and this child might effect what I was unable to accomplish. When my wife pressed her babv to ber breast, when it drew life from her uosom, she mi#bt be reoallcd to a scnao of duty and of some kind of auction, which I was ready to acoept io the place of that thorough, devoted love I bore to her, and which I had hoi)ed she would bear to me. Considering this matter with as much wisdom as 1 could bring to my aid, 1 reooguised the desirability ot surrounding my wife with signs of pleasant and eveu joyful life. Gloomy parents are cursed with gloomy children. I would fill my house once more with friends: my wife should move in an atmosphere of cheerfulness ; there should bo music, laughter, sunny looks, happy voices. These could not fail to influence for good both my wife and our little one soon to be born. "1 called my friends around me, and I took special care that there should be many young people among them. Their presence, however, did not at first arouse my wife from the melancholy, and it wae not until tbe man, whose name I have already mentioned, M. Gabriel, arrived that I noticed in her any change for the better. He came, and I introduced him to my wife, believing them to have been hitherto strangers to each other, i had no reason to believe otherwise when I presented U. Gabriel to her; liad they met before, it would have been but honest that one or both shoald have made me acquainted with the fact. They did not, by direct or indirect word, and I had therefore no cause for suspicion. Things went on as usual for a week or two after M. Gabriel's arrival, and then I notieed with joy that my wife was beginning to grow nsre cheerful. My happiness was groat. I have been too impatient, 1 thought, with t&s young girL The shock of losing her parents, one after another, under oircumstanoes so distressing* was sufficient to upset a stronger mind than hers. How unwise in me tfcat 1 should have tormented myself as I had been doing for so many months past And how sujust to her that, because sne was sorrowful aod silent, 1 should have doubted ber love for me. But all was well now ; comfort had eonte to hec bruised heart, and the book of happiness was not closed to me as I had feared. A terrible weight, a gnawing grief, were Lifted from me. For I could imagine no bWker treason thau that a woman should delfbentfcaly deceive a man into tlie belief that she loved him, am! that she should marry hiin uuder such conditions. wife had not done this: L had wrong«\i her. Most fervently did I thank God that 1 had discovered my error before it wua too late to repair it. " 1 saw that my wife took pleasure in M. Gabriel's society, and I mado hiin as froe of my house as if it had been his own. ile liad commissions to execute, pictures to paint. * Pamt them here,' I said to him ; ' you bring happiness to us. I look tf]>ouyou as though you belonged to my family.' In the aummernouse was a room which he usad as a studio ; no artist could have desirod a better, and M. Gabriel said he had never been able to paint as well as be was doing in my house. It gladdened me to observe that my wife, who had for a little while been so reserved towards M. Gabriel, looked uuon him naw as a sister might look upon a brother. I encouraged their intimacy, and was grateful to M. Gabriel for accenting my boepttality in the free spirit in which it was tendered. He expressed a wish to paint my wife's portrait, auu I readily consented. My wife gave him frequent sittings, sometimes in my coui}>aoy, sometimes alone. And still so word was spoken to acquaint mc with the fact that my wife and be bad known each other before they met in my house. "My child was born—a boy. My happiness would have been complete had my wifo hbown me a little more affection ; but, again, after the birth of our child, it dawned upon mc that ebc cared very little for me, aud that tlie feeling she cntertaiood for me in uo wise resembled those which a loving woman should feel towards a husband who was indefatigable, as indeed I wss, in his efforts to promote her liappincss. Even then it did not strike me that she was happier iu M. Gabriel's society tlian she wis in mine. The truth, however, was now to be mode known to mc. It readied me through the idle tittletattling of one of my guosts ; of uiv own prompting I doubt whether I should ever have discovered it. I overheard this lady making sonic injurious obaerrations respecting my wifo : no man's name was mentioned, lut I had beard enough to cause uie to resolve to hear more, and to jmt an end at once to tlie uttcranoes of a malicioua tongue. " 1 did not act immediately ; I waited till tbe next day, determined to do noticing rashly. During my life, in matters of great moment, I have seldom acted a pun impulse, aud the value of calm ddil>eration after a sudden excitement of fcellug has frequently been made apparent to roe. "1 sought tbis lady, thou, on the following day, and requested her to give mc au inter view, making it a matter 01 honour tatween ns that what passed shew Id be kept private. 1 tol.l her that I had overheard the romarks ehe had made on Viae previous day, aud that J fwaa profoundly impressed bv tbcm, anJ intended to know what foundation there was for even a breath of scandaL I hod some difficulty in bringing her to the point, but I was determined, and would he satis lied with no evasions. M , I love my wife, madam.' I said, 'too well to be content with half words aud inuendocB, which in their efiect arc wor^e than oj>en accusations.' " 'Accusations!' cxclaimed the lady. 'Good heavens ! I have brought nouo.' "'It is just tliat I complain of,' I said ; 4 accusations can be met, and are by no meaud so much to l>c feared as idle words which &!Tu<:t the honour of those who are tlie subject of them.' "'I merely repeated, then,' said the lady, 1 what others have bceu saying for a long time past.' " ' And what have others been saying for a long time past, madam?' I ukod, with am outward calmness which deoeived her into e belief that I was not taking the matteiscrioualy to heart. "'I em sure it is very foolish of others,' said the lady, ' anil tbut there is nothing io it. But |>eople ar< so mischievous, and plate such dreadful contractions m*n thiu^d ! It is, after all, only natural that when, after a fong .separation, young lovers meet, they should feel a little tender towards each other, t hough one of them has got married in tlm interval We all go through such fooli-h experiences, and when we grow as old as you and I are we laugh at them.' "' Probably, madam/ I said, still with exceeding calmness, ' but before wc cau lau^h with .any genuineness or enjoyment, it is necessary to have some knowledge of tho cause of our mirth. When young lovers meet, you said, after a long separation, it is natural thoy should feel a tenderness towards cach other. But wear© speaking of my wife.' " * Yes, she replied, ' of your wife; and I am sure you are too sensible a man—so much older than that sweet creature S—to make any unnecessary bother about it,' 4 She knew well bow to plant daggers in my heart. ' My wife, thai, is one of thoseyoung lovers? You really mast answer me, inad&m. These arc, after all, but foolish ^ *I am giad you are taking it so Rensibiy,' she rejoined. 'Yes, your wife is one of the young lovers.' " 'And the other, madam!' " ' Why, who else should it be but M. Gabriel! You know well enough without: forcing me to tell you. It sounds so coarse I' "I aid not speak for a few moments; tho Ghock vvos so severe that I required time to rocovcr some semblance of composure. 1 1 * My mind is much relieved.' I said, 'there not tbe slightest foundation for Ecandsl, and 1 trust that this interview will put an cQbctual stop to it. My wife and M. tiabriel have not been Ion; acquainted ; they met cach other for the first time m this house.' "'Ahl' cried the lady, very vivaciously, ' you want to deceive me now -fbut it is nonfceDB©. Your wife and M. Gabriel have known c.uh other for many yearn—they were on.'c nrfianctd. H.id you not stepped in, tiiore id 110 knowing w hat niif:ht have 0. <-unv«l. It in much better as it is ; I am sure you think so. What can be worse for a youuc an-1 Ik> uitiful cicaturc than to marry n f>oor and struggling aitist? M. Gabriel is very talented, but ho i> vciy poor. By the time he is n middle n. vd li.an lie may have made hid way in the u( iId, and then hid l:tiio romance wili ho f< n.'OtUii—qniti> Mi gotten. 1 dare say i/du v. m | ha-.L' to Uv time when ymi v*.-rc »h , r he i", ami can fecal anuvl»j.ly v<>u v., ' 1 l!v in «ilh, but of uY -u v,-j ,iik a occi I by tli. i.1,1.ciuncc, iLiii.s arc so conur.cJi. yun e. And don t let us talk auy more about it.'
I hag do daqira to eiiphange toother irora with the Udr Sinn the mbjoot: I allowed her to rest u> the belia! that I had been •OQuainted with the whole affaif, and did not wUh & lb get about, she t^omiscd me nera-to 4P«ak vt it *e*ln to her fiimdi in any IzunrfUta way. Hid It wua nil pMuan to eee »lnl a saaaihla.ffiew I took of the nutter, ant nr tntariicv n at an end. "I had temiaS. Atlength, at length my eyes epentd, and the perfidy whloh had been paatnaad towards me wac revetted. All m explained. My wife's oombteot ooMuea, hs» inesBsibility to all the affeotlonate (tdnnoee I had made towaidi hoc, her rieaanw at meeting her tow the OB' mrthy pioter* lay before my eight. There ws» no looser any opportunity for eelf-deoephavB been haee to myovn trtocm. It «aa ™ not that they had been lom»—that knowledge la itacH would hare been hard to bear j bat ttat tbey should have eoneealed it from me, that tbey ahoold have met In my not thick with t 1 these Mpeots of the misery which had 1 forced upon me, for ah% my wife, was in the first in •tanoe raspeisible for our marriage—ehe ceold hare nfued me. I was in utter Ignorance of a tore which during all these yean was bornJng in her heart, and making her life and aw a torture. Had she been honest, had she been true, she would have said tome, 'I low another j how, then, can I aooept tps tore yon offer me, and how can you hope for a return 7 If circumstances compel ma' to many you there most be no concealment^ no tnaan. Yon most take me as I am, and never, never make my ooldnees a cause of rsproaoh or unhapptness.' Yes, this much ake might have said to me when I offered her my name—an honoured name, npon which there has hitherto been no Btain and no dishonour. Ishooldnothave married her; I should have acted as a father towards her; I should have conducted her to the arms of her lover, and into their lives and mine would not have crept this infamy, this blight, this shame, which even death cannot efface. " Of such (^nature were my thoughts daring the day. " Then oame the resolve to be sure before I took action in the matter. The evidenoe of my own senses should convinoe me that in my own house my wife and her lover were playing a baae part-^were systematically deceiving me and laughing at me, '"Of this man, this friend whom I had taken to my heart, my horror and dismast were complete. I, whose humane inatmota had in my youth been made the sport of my companions, who shrank from inflicting the slightest injury upoh the meanest oreature that crawled upon the earth, who would not even strip the leaves from a Sower, found myself now transformed. Had M. Gabriel been in my preseaoe at any moment during these hoar* of agonising thought, I would have torn htm limb from limb and rejoioed in my cruelty. So little do we know ourselves. " I kept up the whole of the night; I did not close my eyes, and when morning broke J had Bohoowd mveelf to the taek before me —to assure sayself of the truth and the extent of the shame. " I kept watch, and did not betray myself to tbem, wd what I saw filled me with amazement at my blindness and credulity. That my wtfs was not guilty, that she was not faithless to me in the ordinary acceptation of the term, was no palliation of her conduct. There fe a pollution of the soul as infamous in my judgment as a pollution of the body. "Steadfastly I kept before me one unalterable resolve. In the eyes of the world the name I bore should not be dishonoured, if by any earthly mean it could be prevented. We would keep oar shame and our deep unbappiness within ear own walls. In the light of this fssolve it was impossible that I could challenge M. Gabriel; he must go unpunished by me. My name should not be dragged thxoogh the mire, to beoome a byoword for ptoy. " By degrees, upon one excuso and another. I got rid of my visitors, and there remained in the villa only I, my wife and child, and M. GabrieL Then, in M. Gabriel's studio, I broke in upon the lovers, and found my wife in tears. " For a moment or two I gazed upon them in silence, and they, who had risen in confusion when I presented myself. confronted me also in silence, wailing for the storm of anger which they expected to burst from me, an outraged husband. They were mistaken ; I was outwardly calm. *' 1 Madam,' I enquired, addressing my wife, • may I enquire the canse of your tears f " She did not reply : M. Gabriel did. ' Let me esplain^he Biud, but I would not allow ' 1 I £ UU not iwi need ucou you,' juu, I x said, mm, ' to vu Luiviinnc interpose openly between man and wife. I may presently have something to say to von. Till then, be silont.' Again I addressed my wife, and asked her why she was weeping. She lackcd neither courage nor endurance. " ' They are not the first tears I have shed,' she replied, 'sinoe I entered this unhappy house. '"I am aware of it, madam,'I replied; 1 yet the honse wsb not an unhappy one before yon entered it. Honour ana truth and faithfulness were its characteristics, and towards no man or woman who has received hospitality within these walls has any kind of treachery been practised by me, its master and year husband. Tears are a sign of inief, and aafihrhig from it, as I perceive you am, I ask you why you have not sought consolation from the man whose name you hear, and whose life since you and he first met has bad but one aim—to render you ' You canaet comfort me,' she said. -"Can hef I asked, pointing to M. Gabriel. "' You insult me,' she said, with great dignity; ' I will leave you. We oan speak of this in private? Beeacii or PkSmise of Mabeiaub.—On Wednesday last at the Local Court, Redruth, a young woman named Geach brought an action against an unfaithful lover, one Jonest to recover fl*>0damages for iaiUng to fulfil his promise of marriage to her. Ab in usual in these caass, several highly poetical elfusionB, inspired doubtless by the defendant's highly amorous disposition, wero read in Court. It was alleged in evidence that defendant was the father' of plaintifTs child which was barn a few months ago. It transpired that Jones subsequently "married another girl," hence, no aonbt, the action. The Jury manifested their sympathy with the plaintiff by awarding her £1&0 damages. Metropolitan Brick Company.—At an Chambers, King William-street, on Wednesday, September IS—shareholders present by Mr. 1 , seconded by tit. Wendt—" That the oamtal of the Compaaybe iaerMaed to £15,000 by the issue of IDIOM shares of 10s. each, the present shareholders to have the privilege of taking them ap pro rtta ; balance (if any) to be issued as the Directors may think fit" Carried unaBimoualy. Proposed by Mr. Bonnin, and aecondea by Mr. Frafler— That a general meeting of shareholders be sailed for Thursday. September 27, to confirm the above resolution,- The M&bibi Board.—This Board met on Thursday morning, and approved of the Will tinea oammenoag deepening above Jervois Bridge, the Wallaroo taking up the work below it It was reperted that Barge No. J had oollided with the lighthouse, and in a discussion that ensued the nautical talent was divided in the opinion whether the master of the barge should be under the captain of the tugboat or not It was decided that the President should thoroaghly investigate the matter, and if necessary, make regulations to urevant a recurrence of the accident. The Board declined the Mount Cam bier o£Esr for stationing a life-rocket apparatus in the town. A SrOCHIlROEKR'8 QOOB INVESTMENT.-" Sandhurst, Victoria. Messrs. FAtfLDIKa & Co., Adelaide. Gentlemen - a considerable time I suffered from aeote Tfcemnattsni. 1 tried remedies Innumerable, without experiencing rallef. At the solicitation of a personal triad, I was prevailed upon to try St. Jacobs OIL After two applications the pain modified, and before the bottle w half finished the complaint entirely iflmpe—red. Ton aje fit liberty to give any pabOcity to una testimony of the efficacy of this Justly celebrated remedy—Jas. O'Bubn, Stock tuid Share Broker." The Great Gtraan Beinedy, St. Jacobs Oil, relieves and caves RhfflimaUtmi, NeaiHlgla, Headache, Toothache, Backache. Sore Throat, Quinsy, SwoUlais, SoraeeaB, ChaBngs, Eruptions, Inflammations, Chappwl Hands. Coras, Bullous, Ftosted Feet and Ean, and all bodily pains for which an External Bsnsdy may be applied. Sold by Druggists and Chemfcta. Price in Victoria, Half rca-inucndcd Cor Bushvotk. Or Wo am Kirnwim.—That the Largest Clothing i -d Tailoring prsmlms to Adelalds, and Uic Bunt, u.ost Stylish, aifed Cheap sit Selection of Men's Youths', and Boys' Clothing end Outfitting, is at O. ft W. Shlerlaw's, Glasgow House, U, Hbdlsy street Proof Is ths tset; toy tbem. Ocvd £37" Some very floe Colonial-made Jewellery may now be seen at the establishment of P. Bassd, B6, Bondle-atieet, which cannot be equalled either In ^uaUtf, WOoiwff