Chapter 198382127

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Chapter NumberXXXIX
Chapter TitleTHE RECORD .
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198382127
Full Date1883-09-15
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count2556
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)
Trove TitleThe House of White Shadows
article text

THE HOUSE OF WHITE •;• SHADOWS.-

By a L. FARJEON, Author of " Bl»de-o'-OtM«" "festal Mam*. "Bnad and OhMse and aOsaes," "OiH" " Iondon'. Bait," Su.

CHAPTER XXXIX. THK RIOOSD OOKTIKUID.

"' Ton will not leave me,' I Mid, 'and wa will not apeak of this in private until after some kind of explanation is aflorded me from your own lipe and the Upsof your friend. Ia saying I insult yoo,ih«i!» is scnJy k mistaken , idea In tonr mind m to whttisdae from yon to me. M. OthriiJ, whom I onoe - called friend, fa here, joying 017 hospital*** ** whidi I trait to 'la* tad no reason \ plain. I find y^u in fears by his side, by his Attitude aMjaa T ouring toppnaale 1 Whealask yon.dn.iii* prcecnof. wiir.wm in grief, yon do Dot come to me for consolation, Too reply- that I caanot comfort 700. Vet tdd wnv ^opebtfaiK oomfort from nbn, who fa not yotoMbOsbwa. It suggests StaeU to roe {hat if as insult baa been passed It has been passed npon me. I do not, however, receive it las to*'! for if an tnknlt ban been offered to m i l 'Qabrisl bpartly responsible for It, aud it is only between equals that-such an fakdigntty out be offered.' " 4 Equals f cried M. Gabriel 1 he under- Etood my trcrd) in the aeaselbtended them. ' 110 certainly yotnr eqoaL' "' It haa to M'pnrraa,' I retorted. 'lose the term in so.far. as it affects honour and straight ooniuiit between mail and man. You can bring agiiiast zae no aoAuationof having faiiea Is thoae ceapeota respects > ia my taf behaviour towards yon. It haa to be seen whether I can in truth bring snch an aecnaation against yott ; »nd if I can, and III can substantiate it by evidence, .which tbe commonest mind wonld Mt i^eet. you are not my eauaL I aee that tiiia plain and honest reasoning disturbs. yon i it should not without sufficient citise: Soiietliiijt more;' If; baseness, to describe which I oaa find 00 fitting terms.' " He grew hot at this. ' I decline to be present any longer,' he said,' at an inter- 9 view conducted u toch a manner,' and be attempted to leave me; bat I-stood in his way, and would not permit him to pass.

"' From this moment,' I aaid, 'I diaohaige myself of all duty towards yon aa yonr host. room, and as he accompanied it by viol en be 1 seized his tyros, fend threw biin to tbe (round. He rose, and etood trembling before me. '"I make no exense, madam,' I said to my vile,' for tbe turn thi* scene has taken. It is unseemly for men to brawl in presence of a lady; but there Me occasions when, of two evils, the least ><huat be chosen. ^Should I find myself mistaken, I shall give to M. Gabriel the amplest apology he oould desire. Let me recall to Tour mind the day on which M. Gabriel first entered, my gates aa my guest. I brought him to yon, and presented him to yon as a friend whom I eeteemed, and whom I wished yon also to esteem. You received him as a stranger, and I bad no reaaqo to suspect that he and yon haa been intimate friends, and that yon VeTe Already well known to each other. You .alio wed. me to remain in ignorance of this fact. Was it honest? ' It was not honest,' she replied. "'It made me happy,' I oonthined, 'to sec, after the lapse of a few days, that von found pleasure in his society, and I regarded him in the light of • brother to yon. I trusted him implicitly, and although, madam, yon and I have been most unhappy, 1 had no suspicion that there was any guilt in this, aa I believed, newly-formed friendship.' " ' There was no guilt in it,' she aaid very firmly. " I receive your assurance, and believe it in the sense in which yon oBer it; bat in mv extirpation the word I use (a the proper word. In the concealment from me'oY a fact whicji you or he should have hastened to make me acquainted, in tbe secret confidences necessarily involved in the carrying out of snch an intimacy as yours, there was treachery from wife to husband, from friend to friend, and in that treachery then was guilt By an accident within the past month .a knowledge had come to me of a, shameful scandal which, had I not nipped it in the bud, would have brought open disgrace upon my name and bouse; but the secret disgrace remains, and you have brought it Into my family.' " ' A shameful scandal 1 she exclaimed, and her white face grew whiter. ' Who has dared' " ' The world has dared, madam, the world over whose tongue we have no control. The •ature of the intimacy existing between you sod M. Gabriel, far exceeding the limits of friendship, has provoked remark and comment from many of your gnests, and we who should have been the first to know it, have been tbe last. From a lady stopping in my house I-learnt that yon and M. Gabriel were lovcra before yon and I met—that yon were affianced. Madam, had yon informed me of this fact yon would have spared yourself the deepest nnhappiness under which any human being can suffer. For then yon and I would not have been bqond to each other by a tie which death alone can sever. I have, at all events, the solace which right-doing sometimes sheds open a wounded heart; that sola* cannot «nhaft>Hy be yours. Ton bare

erred oOnBciously,<md bmoeeht though you proclaim yooraelf, yon have brought shame upon yourself and me. I pity yGo, but cannot bdp yon further than by the action 1 intend to take of preventing the occurrence of a deejpef ahame and-a deeper disgrace foiling npou-me. For M. Gabriel I ha^e no iedings but thpef of utter abhorrence. I request him to iemo<re himself Immediately from my ueaenoe and fram this house. Tins !evening Iis will send for hi; paintings, which shall be delivered to MsoWer, They will 'be placed in this 4Umm6r-b6«se. And tn yohr presence, m&dartj I givi M, Gabriel the waismg that if at anytiir.e «r ander anyeircumrtanoee he intrudes himself within these wails, be will do Bo'rit his 6wn l»ril. The protection which my honour—not e^fe in yonrkeeping, madam —needs I shall' while I Ura be 'able to supply.' • This,- in substance, is all that took place while my wife was with as. When she was gone I gave instructions' that M. Gabriel's paintings and property should be brought to t he Bummer honseimmediately, and informed 1 him of mjf intention, at noon of the following da y, to fiurn it te the groimd. He replied that I would have,to give him a more satis factory eipluiatim of tny condnct, I took no notioe of thethraat, ~ At the himr I had appointed I executed my resolve.' With my own hands,'1 «t to the simmeir-hoaee, and dldhot terra ^mtfllfwaH is alshea. " On the evening of that day,my wife sent for ice, and la tbe preaanfe -of {teniae, onr faithiol servant, heard my reeolve with reference to oar 1 fatare life,and aoqaainted me w5ia> bei"own. The eatea would never again be opened V)'friends. Out life to be utterly setaaiMdi' and the bad drfertnined tievef to qott htatebms nnlese for exercise in the gnftmds-Mieaeh ttmeS : Ui IwM«baent fromttto. 'tMilght?^she telfl, *|j will neveropWAy llfcs to yon, nor, willingly, will louver 4gUn : usten' toVottr xMpe.' ,In this interHeW-I tfearst theinu^i vfaVbji' W i f e ' i H l n t W m bMihiAttOm.

wife's. I repeat, tbe fadlt -alAliie: 'T have been ^^Ti^W^ nhftgM bftTf — apart from any oonsiderstion of M. Gabriel— u»t mytiabte rar^riMUMter,anpJMpi^sr age, were entirely unsuitable to-the fur girl I J badMrtiedi •"' ' "•"" etrangely.«an)igli/gtwn i»e. a fyinmsad .idea aatothe*M«4^iip<»>'wlrieiiMookipUo«) but ra^ooneeffeaaying thatftwaa wtthU' Idin'ddajt- Thewfad elbpne^ ; thc rain was tailing,. {.Aad resuiufd my. old habits, And u&s awake in my-etady,.ixiwkaeh I'am now writing,' Ididaomtailigent«ork<iDittgthosA ead daw. -If 'l foroejd n™lf to wnt?, I Invariably t ^ W t k w i i t t I read diem ««th p. clearer • .ul read, ttww scaroely «uh intelligenoe. ana withao profit or i«UaL The ocoupatioo that claimed me, sad would not be diverted, strive as I might, waa Aat of brooding ovtr the circumstances attendant 0 pon my wooing and my miuriage. For ever brooding. Waiting to ai)d fro, dwelling upon each little detail ..01- my intunaoy with any cirl wife, and revolving cn my mind wbether 1 eould have prevented'vrhit had oocarred— whether, if I bad done this or that, 'I ooold have averted tba misery in whicl> 6ar Uyqi were wrapt It was a profiUeaa oocnpaiioa, but loould not teu ttysalf from ifc Tbore was a morbid fascination in it whitdi heid' me fatt That-it-tiaiKiwfiH iimh' tm'huud iuu, made me smart and bleed, matteied not. It cluug to me, and I to It Thus do we bog

onr misery to our bosoms, and infiiot apon ourselves the moat intolerable sufferings. • - " I ihwi toeaoape-from it, t&fiK my Klod npon aomealrenae auiaect. -npon.aoate diffi.- colt dy. imf like a danon to whop I bad sold n^yionlit *ould not be denied, intmdeaalwaya this "one pidare—Uip laco c3 a beiby-bdy, mine; my dear aon ^rthuf, ifing asleep, in bis mother's ahna. let meaiy here, thatTt>6Y# h^rbottred the thought of de priving my wffe of this rireoious oonaolanon, that never m {ths slightest effort have 1 endcavrored to estrange him from her. The love be pore to me—and I thank God he grew to love me--spr&ag from his own heart, which also most have poen sorely perplexed and have endured great pain in the estrangement tbat existed between bis parents. Well, this pretty baby-fade, always Intruded itself-this soul which 1 bad brought Into life lay ever Jpefore me, weighted with a myriad mysterious and strange suggestions. It might live to accomplish great and coble deeds—it might live to inspire to worthy deeds—it might become a saviour of men, a patriot, an emancipator. And but fa- me it would never have beta. Even tbe supreme tribulation of hit parents' Uvea might De productive of some great actions which would bring a blessing •pop mankind. Jn that case it waagoodtosnT let. Forbnt forme, he wonldnever bare been. " Aft&r some time—not in those days, but later on—this thonght became a consolation to me, although it troubled and perplexed me to thlnk whether tbe birth of a soul which, w*a destined to shine as a star among men was altogether a matter of chance. "A dark, stormy night. I created voices in tlie sweeping of tbe wind. They moke to me in groans, b whKpcrs, In loud shrieks. Wa* it fancy that inspired the wail, "Tonight. to-night, shall be yonr undoing r Midnight struck. I paoed W .and fro, listening to the voices of the wind. Presently another sound—a sound not created by my imagination—came to mj ears. It was aa though something heavy had fallen in the grounds. Perhaps a tree which had been blown down. Or from another cause, which warneA 'of dinger. " I baateoMiinmediately into the groqnda. The'seBfce of danger erMlamted me-1 was in a mood which oonrted death as a boon. Willingly would I have gone, oat to meet it, as a'certain cure for the anguish of my mat Thns I believe it is sometimes with soldiers, and tbey become heroes by force of desperation. " I could aee nothing. I was about to return When .a moving object arrested my purpose. I sprang towards it — threw myself npon it. And in nVy arms I clasped

the body of a man, just recovering conacipnsneea from a phyaioaL hurt. "I did not speak, a word, I lifted the body fn' my arms—it had not yet sufficient atretigth 'to repel me—and carried it Into my stndy. The moment the light of my lamps shone on the face of this man I recognised him. It waa M, GabrieL I laughed with savage delight as I placed him oil a couch. ' You villain—1 on villain V Imutteted. ' Your last hour or mine has ootne. 'Tbls nigbt one or both of us shall dief '• : " I drew my chair before the couch, so that bis'eyes, when he opened them, should rest optm my face. He waa recovering consciousu^a, but very slowly. '' I could . kill yon here,' I said aloud,' and no man would be the wiser. But I will first have speech with you.' His eyelids quivered, opened, and we were gazing at each other race to face. The sight-of fioe-oonfonnded -him for awhile, but presently he realized the position of affairs and he strove to rise. I thiast him back fiercely. "'Stay you there;'I'said, '-until I learn yonr purpose. You- nave ^entered my house as a thief, and you bore given yonr life into .my hands. 1 told -you if you ever intruded yonrself : within tMM walls that 700 would do so at your peril. What brought you here! Are yon woold-bs thief or murderer f You fool betrayer sod coward.) So you climb walls in the dark in pnrsuanoe of your villainous schemes i Answer me; do you come here by appointment, and an you devil enough to make me believe that a pure and misguided girl would be weak enough to throw herself into jour or ma 1 Fill up tbe measure of your baseness, and declare as much/ "' No,' he replied; ' I alone am culpable. No one knew of my coming—no one suspected it. I could not reat' " I interrupted him. 'After to-night,' I said gloomily. ' Yon will rest quietly. Men such as you must be removed from the earth. You steal Into my house, you thief and coward, with no regard for the fair fame of the woman yon profess to love—reckless what infamy you cast upon her and of the lifelong shame you would deliberately fling upon one who has been doubly betrayed. Yon have not the courage to suffer in silence, but yon would proclaim to all tbe world that you are a martyr to love, tho very name of which becomes degraded when placed in association with natures like yours. You belong to tbe class of miserable sentimenwhom they entangle with tl maudlin theories. Misohief enough have you accomplished—this nigbt will put an end to your power to work further ill.' "' What do yoa intend to do with me V he " ' I intend to kill you,' I replied ; ' not in cold blood—not as a murderer, but as an avenger. Stand up.' "He obeyed me. His fall had stunned him for a tune; be was not otherwise injured. "' 1 will take no advantage of yon,' I said. ' Here is wine, to give you a false oourage. Drink, and prepare yourself for what is to come. As sure aa you have delivered fourself into my hands, so surelj shall you die I'