Chapter 198382760

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Chapter NumberXLVII
Chapter Url
Full Date1883-09-28
Page Number4
Word Count1059
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)
Trove TitleThe House of White Shadows
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GHAFTBB XLVEL . aaiBtBimoir.

B* J8. L. FABJEON, ^nthor eC " Jochua "Bread la* f>im and JOsssr don'fHMVte.

An uiifiTlht imithiot guided him; a human puw pas.«n«l lilni,antl at ml „ _ •—tbongh ha wmld keep noooont of time—he fotmd HlmaaM within the gates of the Honse of White Shadawa. Upon his Iipe, oontnuted and snasmsrtts vftb pain and (offering, apraged a ptMslili —ille, aa he gated at a windo* oc tbaappe* floor, and aw a light re flentadfrott Artbnr Balcombe's room. "Theyan tbwn,' he mattered^ "I dull pot die nTmrmfH." .The wafer wn» heart high. He battled through it aiad reached the open door of the villa. Slowly be aaoeoded the stain imtil he arrived m the landing above. He listened at Arthur Balwbe'a door» bat heard no Bound. Boraaw} at the thought that the* might, atte* all, bwe escaped hto( he dashed Into the roaia ajul called oat the names of hU wife and ftlsaiL Sttenoe answered Mm. He etateeted towards the lamp, which stood OD a table, oowed with a shade- whioh threw the Eight dswaward. Before the lamp was a Serosal. A Eteadler survey of the room brought Its terolation. At the extreme end of the apart, molt lay a woman still and motionless. Ho crept towards bet and knelt by her; It was Ills wife, coli and dead. A rosy tint was her cheeks; a smile waa 00 her Use; har death had brought no suffering: wlthit. " Fair soft blue," he said.' " Beauty b a Wn."" - Then, tuning, he saw what had before Escaped hii netaoa—the form of Arthur Bal* combe lying aear the table. He pat his ear to Balcombe's heart, and felt a aught beating. " He csn wait, muttered the Advocate. "T will first read what he haa written." He <tres about to sit at the table, when he heard B Barging-seoad without. He stepped .into the passage, and saw the waters swaying beneath hEa: "It IB well," he said. "In a Utile while all will be over for those who have sinned." This reflection softened him scttaewhat towards those who lay within the room, and by when he believed himself to have been wronged. Was he not himself ths greatest sinner in that fatal honse! He returned to the table and read what JMhur'Btfloeaabe had written :<*r " Edward—I pray that these words may naobyour eyes. Above all things on earth . have I valued your friendship, and my heart Is frrung with anguish by the reproach that I have not been worthy of it. Last night, vrhen yoor wife and I parted, I knew that yoa had discovered the weak and treacherous part I had played towards yoa; for as I turned towards my room, at the very moment looking downwards, I saw yoa below. I did not dare to some to yoa. I did not dare to show my faoa to tbe man I had wronged. It was my intention to fly this morning from yoor presence and hess, and never to Bee yoa in ore; and also to write to yon the words to ,tho troth ef which, by the memory of all 1 hold sacred, I now solemnly swear, that the wrong I have done you is compassed by weak, sentbMntal declarations. I do not seek to excuse myself. I know that, between you and me) treachery in thought is as base as treachery in est. Yet in alThumbleness I Implore yoa to endeavour to find some pal* lianon, afthaagh bat the slightest, of my conduct in ths reflection that sometimes by the strongest me»—even in suoh a man as yourself, whose Blind and life are most pure and noble—error sannot always be evaded. We arp hurried into wrong by subtle forces which thrust aside our earnest endeavours to step (n the right cath. Thus it has been with me. If you will neal certain words which were spoken in oar conversation at midnight in the room in whioh this is written, voa will understand what was meant when I said that I flew to the mountains in the hope that I might rid myself of a terror which possessed me. Yon who have never erred, you who have never sinned, may not be able to find it in your heart to forgive me. If it be so, I bow my head to your judgment—which is just, as in all your actions yoa are known to be. Bat if you cannot forgive me, I entreat yoa to pity me. " Yoa wen not in the house to-day when we endeavoured to escape to a place of more secure shelter. We did not succeed—we were beaten backhand being engulfed in a sudden rush of waters I could not Bave your wife. It was I who Bhould have died, not she : but my last moments axe approaching. Think kindly of her if you can,—ABTHUBBALCOMBK." I {Had he not been absorbed, not only in the last words written by Arthur Balcombe, but in the reflections which they engendered, the Advocate would have known that the floods were increasing in volume, and that in the short time he had been in the house the waters had risen several feet. But he was living an inner life—a life in which the spiritual pert of himself was dominant. He stepped to the body of his wife and Slid— " Poor child!—mine the error 1" Then he knelt by the side of Arthur Balcombe and raised him in his arms, and he gazed vacantly st the Advocate ; but presently a look of terror flashed into them. " Be not afraid," said the Advocate ; " I bave read what you have written. I know all." " I am very weak," marmured Arthur Balcombe. "HI could hope that you would pity me—- "Ipity and forgive you, Arthur," said the Advocate, in a very gentle voice. " Thank God I—tihank God 1" said Arthur Balcombe, and closed his eyes, from whioh the warm tears gushed. " God be merciful to sinners!" murmured the Advocate. When daylight broke, the Honse of White Shadows and all that it contained had been swept from the face of the earth. A bare waste was all that remained to mark the record of hnman love and human ambition. CUB BHD.