Chapter 198382733

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberXLV
Chapter Url
Full Date1883-09-27
Page Number4
Word Count1703
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)
Trove TitleThe House of White Shadows
article text



By a U FABJBOK, Author of " Blade-fr'-Ora** fJoataoa Mftrvel," "fMd and (Ihawo and KUws," m Orii," M .Loa* 4ca't Hnit," Ac.

"Star much doe« be fcnawf fchoa#hfc Plate lAobnt? "or we hia roiplolonB bat jast Aroued t There ia ft weight upon hia aool whioh texea all bis strength. It ia grand to ae« & strong inait aaSer as he ia Buffering. Ia there a mystery in his trouble with which I am not acquainted? His wile —I know about ber. Gautran—I knowr about hits. Bat the stranger he left fa hie etadf in the middle of the night—a broken-down gentleman vagabond, with a apice of the devil in him—who is he, and what Was hia tnlation? Of one thing I most aatlafy myself before I am aaeored that he ia worthy my oompAAsion." Then he spoke aloud. " Yon said juafc now there are worse things than death. * "Aye." " DiBgraoeT "In a certain form, that m&y be borne, and life yet be worth the having. " Good. Dishonour V "It matters little," s&id the Advocate, "btat were the time not precious I should be wuiona to lean why yod desire to get al the heart of my secrete. ' " The argument would be too long," said Pierre Lemont, with earnestness; ''but I could justify myself. There are worse things than death. Pardon me—an older man than yourself, and one who is well-disposed towards yon—for asking you bltwtly whether such things have oome to yon ?" " They have. You can read the signs in my face." " Bat if yon have a secret, the revealing of whieh would be hartfnl to you, cannot the mlsohief be averted! AB far as 1 can expect, yon have been frank with me. Frankness for frankness. Say that tho secret refers to Gaatran, and to your defence of him ?" "I have been living in a fool's paradise," said the Advocate, with a scornful smile. "To whom else is this known?" " To Fritz the Fool, and to rao, through bim. He saw Gautran in your study after the trial"— "Have I been watchcd?" "The discovery was accidental He was excited by Bome love-verses I read to him, and becoming sentimental, he dallied outside Diooetta's window after the manner of foolish lovers. Then the lights of your study window attracted him, and ne peeped through. When Gautran left the villa Fritz followed him and heard him in bis terrified BoliloqoieB proclaim his guilt. Were this to go out to the world, it would, according to its fashion, construe it in a manner which might be fatal to you. But Gautran is dead, ana I can be silent, and can put a lock upon Fritz's tongue—for in my soul I believe you were not aware the wretch was guilty when you defended bun." "I thank you. I believed him to be innocent" " Why, then, mv mind is easy. Friend, shake hands." He held the Advocate's hand in his thin fingers, and with something of wistfnln&s said, " i would give a year of my life if I could prevail upon you to remain with ue." "You cannot prevail upon me. So much being said between us, more is necessary. The avowal of my ignorance of Gautran'^ puilt at the time I defended him—I learned it after the trial, mind you—will not avail me. A written confession, sworn upon his dying oath, exists, which accuses me of that which the world will be ready to believe Strange to say, this is my lightest trouble. There are others of graver moment, which more vitally concern me—unknown to you : unless, indeed, you possess a wizard's art of divination." "Comrade," said Pierre Lamont, slowly, and with emphasis, " there breathes not in the world a woman worth the breaking of a man's heart." " Stop 1" cried the Advocate, in a voice of agony. In silence, he and Pierre Lamont gazed upon each other, and io the old lawyer's face the Advocate saw that his wife's faithlessness and bis friend's treachery were known. "Enough," he said, "thereis for mc no deeper shame, no deeper dishonour." And he turned abruptly from Pierre Lamont, and left the but, staggering like a drunken man. " Fritz !—Fritz !" cried Pierre Lamont; "come quickly !" Fntz instantly made his appealance from the iuner room. ''Look you, Fritz,' 1 said the old lawyer, in a hurried, excited tone, " the Advocate has gone upou his mad errand—has gone alone. After him at once! and if you cau save him from the consequences of his desperate resolve—if you can aaviee, assist bim ; do so for my sake. Quick, Fritz—fjuicJi !" "Master Lamont," said Fiitz, "are you asking me to do a man's work'!" " Yes, Fritz; you can do no moro." " Well and good. As far as a man dare go I will go; but if a madman persists iu rushing upon certain death it will not help him for another man to follow hiB example. I am fond of life, Master Lamont—doubly fond of it just now—for reasons." Ue jerked his thumb over his shoulder to the room which contained Dionetta. "But 1 will do what ftpn be done; you may depend upon me," He was gone at least two hours, and when he returned he was exhausted and panting for breath. " I was never born to be drowned,".he said; and be threw himself; into a chair and eat there gasping. " Well, Fritz—well?" cried Pierre Lamont. " Be patient—be patient. Wait till I got my brcatn. I followed this great Advocate as you desired, and for some time, so deep was he in dreams, he did not know I wfrs with bim. But once, when be was waist high in water—not that he cared, it wag/aa though bo was inviting death—and I, who was acquainted with the road through which he was wadine. pulled him suddenly back, and eo saved nis life. He turned upon mo savagely, and demanded who I was. lie recognised me the moment he epoke the words. I will say this of him, that in the presence of another man he never loses his self-posseseion; and that, in my belief, ho would be a matoh for death if it presented itself to him in a visible, palpable shape. 4 Oh,' said he, € Yon arc Enta "the Poof; why do you do;; me ¥ * I do not dog you,' I replied; ' Master Lamont bade me guiae and assist you, if you needed guidance and assistance, tie is the only man for whom I would risk my life. 1 * Honesty is a rare virtue,' he said ; 1 keep with me, then, forjastas long as you know yourself to be safe. You saw my wife and Mr. Baloombe leave the House of White Shadows Is it likely they took this road?' • They could take no other aud live,' I said, "but there is no trace of them. They must have turned back to the yilla-.' 'Could they reach it, do you think ?' he asked. ' A brave man can do wonders,' I replied; 'some hours ago they may have reached it; but they could not stop in the lower rooms, which even at that time must have been below water-mark. I will not answer for the upper part of the house at this moment, and before morning it will be swept away.' ' Guide me as far on the road as you care to accompany me/ said he, * and when you care to leave mo point mc ont the way I should go.' I did so, and wc had rare escapes; but tor me he would not have been alive when I left bim. We came to the bridge which spans the ravine of pines, two miles this side of the House of White Shadows. A great part of it bad been torn away, and is the great gulch below a torrent >u rushing fieroe enough to beat the life out of an; living being, human or animal. ' There is no other way but this/ I said, '-to the House of White Shadows. I shall not cross the brides.' He said no word, but struggled on to tue bridge, whioh—all that was left of it—consisted of three slender trunks half hanging over tho ravine. It was nothing short of a miracle that he got across.' No sooner was he upon the other side than the remaining portion of the bridge fell into the. gulch. Be waved his hand to me, ana I soon lost sight of him in the darkness. I sorambled back here as well as I could. Master Lamont, I never want another journey snch as that; had not the saints watched over mi I should not be here to tell the tale. This is the blackest night in my remembrance." " Do you think he can oscape, Fritz ?" asked Pierre Lamont. " His life is not worth a straw," replied FriU. " bwk you here, Master Lamont If \ wore to see hlirl to morrow, or any other day. alive, I should know that he iB in league with the Evil One. No human power oan save him." .... ., i » " Peace be with him," said Pierre Lamont. "A great man is lost to as—a noble mind has gone." " Master Lamont," said Fritz sententiously, " there is such a thing as being too clever. Better to be a simpleton than to be over-wise or over-confident I intend to remain a fool to the end of my days. Who climbs must risk the fall. Not rocky peaks, but level groand, with bits of Boft moss, for Fntz the FooL" He slept well and soundly, but Pien-e Lamont tossed about the whole of the night, thinking with Badness and regret upon the downfall of the Advocate. TIIF. INCOMING MAIL STKAMEE.—The R.M.S. Miraapore arrived at Albany from Colombo at 5.15 p.m. on W cdnoaday. She may be expected to arnve at Uieuelg on Saturday night or early Sunday morning.