|Chapter Title||PLATING WITH EDGED TOOLS.|
|Newspaper Title||Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||Whatsoever a Man Soweth|
WHATSOEVER A SOWFLTH. MAN
Br ECGAH. BOOK I.—WHEAT AND TABES.
CHAPTER III. PLATING WITH EDGED TOOLS.
It was the afternoon of Mrs. Duval's garden party, and oould that lady have had the ordering of the weather to said herself she oould ' hardly have ohosen a more perfect day. The iky above was oloudless and of the deepest blue; the lawn beneath looked oool and inviting, shaded as it was from the genial rays of the son by shrubs of many kinds and dense folmge. The ladies had no dread of spoiling their fine dresses, so were perfectly happy At BD affair of this kind nothing tends to destroy • Woman's pleasure so mueh as the fear of a midden shower of rain, which may perhaps totally rmn the effect of soma striking costume, which has taken time, thought, and money to t f W !? 0e ;u If , anaertainty about t the weather at all it will soon be made manitest by the uneasy elanoes WLth which the membereof the gentle sex regwd the heavens; indeed, it u the only reason for which many of them ever do oast their eves heaven- But on this particular afternoon there Muld be no uncertainty whatever, and the finale mmd was at rest. Costumes rich, bwutifnl, tasteful, and origmal wore there evenafew of the gentlemen appeared in astyleof dress well calculated to ezoiteattenlion. Captain Jones, resplendent in a new mmmersmtof faultless cut, and a new hat with very little brim, strutted here and there like a peacock anxious to display its plumage whilst a portly old gentleman, wearing a long Bilk coat and a white helmet. stalked solemnly about, with a huge umbrella tucked ' under hifl arm. At one end of the lawn stood Robert Mo- Tinny, and with him Stephen Stornhill, the friend of whom he had spoken to Mrs. Hillton on the evening of the Silv«rin 'de's ball Sjornhill had only arrived i„ Melbourne the day before, but being an intimate friend of Mrs.Dnvals he did not hesitate to attend h e garden party, although he had received no invitation. He gazed around him with a calmly critical air, and a cynical smile played about his bps. "What do you think of the oellection, Barney? he asked. " Plenty-of coin wasted on some ot them—en > "YOB," answered MoTinny, "too much. But there s stacks of style about one or two of
', the younger fillies—regular goers." "Most of them will never see forty again, I fancy. Bat where s this paragon of female loveliness—Miss Bemersque? I hope she doesn't intend to disappoint her numerous admirers. "There she is," answered MoTinny, as Miss Bemeraque and her mother, followed by a group of gentlemen, strolled leisurely across the lawn. Ah!" said StornhillsaroMtically,«' acoompanied by a bodyguard. Is that the usnal thing?" " Yes, confound her!" Stornhill laughed. "What's the matter, Barney?" he asked. "Hasn't the fair one been kind to you ? "She served me a dirty trick the other night at Mrs. Silvennede'a,"eaid MoTinny, angrily. " In what way?" .•'She was engaged to me for a waltz, and, when I went to claim it oalmly told me that I was mistaken, and went off with Meadowaere as cool as yon pleaso." "Meadowsere, eh?" said Sternhill, with a darkening face. "Yes; I don't think he knew anything about it, though. The truth is that Miss Bemenque took a fancy to his handsome igurehead, I suppose, and left me in the luroh." VShe is a very fine woman, at any rate," said Stornhill briefly. "But there's Mrs. Hillton all alone ever yonder; I'll go and have a ohat with her, and see you later on, Barney." "All right!" answered MoTrnny moodily; " I'll have* walk round the course." Stornhill cross slowly over to where Mrs. Hillton eat gazing abstractedly before her. As he approached sbe looked up suddenly, and a faint oolour mounted to her cheeks, but quiokly faded, leavik-g them very pale. " How are you, Mri<. Hillton ?" asked Stornhill, holding out bis band. "Muoh as uaual," she answered, shaking hands with him rather coldly. " You are a stranger, Mr. Stornhill." " It is some months since I was in Melbourne certainly. Are you glad to see me?" he asked, with same Bh«w of tenderness. "Why should I be?" ^.J thought tibat most parsons were glad to fcieefc ftfseBdsjiter 6 l&ag ibs?nce." "Indeed !" "Yes; especially some friends."
"So they are; some friends." " Then you are glad to «« me ?" "It doesn't follow, Mr. Stornhill." " Bnt yon are glad ?" he persisted. "No !" she replied firmly; "I am net." " You are very unoomplinentary." "Do you think so?" " Why do you try to hide yonr real feelings, Mary? You know I can read your heart," he eaid reproachfully. "You have a very high opinion of yonr powers," was the quiet rejoinder. , "A woman loves bnt onoe," said Stornhill, - in a low voice, "and yen gave your leve to me '.. lonfraTo." " Yes,"sbeanswered, bitterly, " I did; and how did yon reoei ve it 5" "If you had not been so obstinate we might have been man afitt wife by now," was his answer. < "Might have been!" she exclaimed, soorn folly. " Might have been 1 Thank heaven I was obstinate, as you call it." "Yet a woman loves but once," observed Stornhill, sneeringly. "Some day, Stephen Stornhill, you will discover, to your cost, that it is possible for a woman to love more than onoe." Stornhill started, as if etung by a sudden thought; but, quiekly recovering himself, he eaid coolly— "Yon are not one of those women. Whilst loving me yon married a man old enough to be your father; and did you ever love him ?" Mrs. Hillton turned and looked at Stornhill with quiet contempt. " He was a gentleman, whioh you are not, she eaid deliberately. "I respected him and owe him muoh. He was to me a true husband, and hie death a bitcer loss. As for you! I would sooner die than marry you, because despise yon. Yes, despise you utterly." . She roBe with quiet dignity, and Stornhill - rose also. Her words had stung him sharply, but his self-command was great, and he said, with a laugh— " Yon use hard words, Mrs. Hillton." "Butnot too hard,"she answered. "For months you have Bought to amuse yourself at my expense, knowing that I had po protector. Yon have taunted me with loving you; you would like to flirt with me. Now you know what I think of you. I am not a fool; I know a gentleman when I see one, and I see one now—Reeoe Meadowsere." "So Meadowsere is yoar type of gentleman,
is he?" " Yes; and even were he less a gentleman than he is he would be worth many suoh men as yon, Mr. Stornhill." Stornhill, usually so oalm, self-possessed, and cool, now turned white with passion. That Mrs. Hillton, of all women, should thus •peak to him, was as surprising as it was annoying and humiliating; for thought she had once broken with him, after a few weeks' engagement, be felt sure that she was by no means indifferent to him. He was about to make some angry retort, but Mrs. Hillton Rave him no opportunity. She quietly moved away, and be oould hardly do otherwise than follow her example. Aa/fae slowly crossed the lawn be passed Bear to the group of which Meadowsere formed a member. Mrs. Silvermede and her daughter were also there, and the former, seeing Stornhill passing, oalled to him to join them. He'obeyed, though rather unwillingly ; and having just returned to the oity after a longabsenoe, it was natural that he should be greeted with a show of cordiality. Every one shook hands with him exoepting Meadowsere, who, taking ne notice of the hand that Stornkill extended to him, bowed haughtily, and resumed his conversation with Miss Silver- ' ingdfl. This little inoident did not piss unnoticed, aad to complete Stornhill's disoomfiture he : became aware ef the near presence of Miss Bemeraque, who was gazing at him with an . Mmsed smile upon her face. Evidently she had 'witnessed the eoene, and was inwardly oommenting upon it. Doubtless many others were doing the same, and Stornhill, biting his lip in a vain attempt to control his anper, abruptly departed from the gardens of Mrs. Duval, The little group now broke up, and Meadowsere found himself exchanging greetisgs with MISB Remeraque. Almost unconwiously the two strolled off together, and soon found themselves alone in a secluded part of the grounds. They sat down on a mstio seit, and Reeoe gazed about him with evident enjoyment and approval. „ "The more I see of these grounds,^ be said, "the more I find to admire in theiru "They are very pretty,certainly, answered Miss Bemenque, "and particularly well Wepted for a gathering suoh as we have here ibis afternoon." _ "Yes," assented Meadowsere ; I almost •nvy Mrs. Duval the possession of so beautiful • place." " I thought you were above such a oommon Weakness BB that of envy," eaid Miss J&emereque, with a smile. "Why?" "I was under the impression that you were «o absorbed in the study of your fellowcreatures that you had no honght for anything else " t0 the "Tben'you oonsider me b$>d 4Matlw of nature V'
" I won't say that; bat human nature possesses greater attractions for you." "Undoubtedly! Yet we ourselves are but a small part of oature, and it would be folly to study a part to the negleet of the whole. I have as keen an appreciation of the beauties of nature as others have, Miss Bemer/que." " I do not deubt it, Mr. Meadowsere. You take what I said too seriously." "Then yon don't always speak seriously?" "No, notal ways, "answered Miss Bemersqae, her lipi twitching in the endeavour to control a smile. " I am triad of that," said Reeee quietly. "Glad!" exclaimed Miss Reinoreque, genuinely surprised. '« Why, I thought you would be shocked." It was now Meadowsere's turn to smile. " You appear to have formed rather peculiar notions regarding my nature at any rate,"he said. " Well, candidly, I thought you were very learned—very good—and—and all that eort of thing you know." Reeoe laughed heartily. "And don't you think so now?" he asked. "Oh, yes. But I don't quite understand you, Mr. Meadowsere." " I am in exaotly the same predioament with regard to you, ,Miss Remersque, s% we are quits." "There isn't much to understand about mo,"said Miss, Remersque. "Iam just like other people." ^ "So am I in many things, but no two persons are exaotly alike." " No, I suppose not," said Miss Remersque" thoughtfully. " But why did you say you were glad that I was not always in the habit of speaking seriously ?" "Perhaps it was because I myself am rather apt to take all things, no matter how trivial, a little too seriously. I sometimes envy persons the psBsession of an easy-going, happy-go-lucky disposition. We find many such, aud they never worry about things they don't understand. They take everything as it comes; forget the past, live in the present, and never trouble about the future." " Envy cropping up again ! Really, Mr. Meadowsere, t shall soon begin to oouBider you a very dissatisfied man." "Sol am—at times. I always feel oontemDt for a man who lives for pleasure alone; he is selfish, shallow, often heartless, and without thought for others. Yet, it seems to me, that he is happier than those who desire to do what good they oan for their fellow-creatures. Let a man once set up an ideal, and the more he tries to live up to it the more he becomes aware of his own weakness and shortcomings; whilst another, whose chief oare is for self, goes through life without any misgivings or
upbraidings whatever. For my own part, I am neither very good nor very bad, and I am dissatisfied with myself because I do not reach my ideal. I am a man naturally of a melanoboly temperament, indifferent to most of the pleasures of life, taught to admire the good and true; and yet strongly impressed with the unreality, the falseness, and hollowness of all I see about me, and which it is not within my power to ohange. It saddens me, makes me miserable and dissatisfied. Therefore, I say I am glad that you oan be li^hthearted and gay, that you oan laugh and jest, while to me it seems as though the world contained more to grieve than to laugh at." Rsece had risen, and was pacing restlessly to and fro. Mis') Remersque looked at him in astonishment. Was he mad? she wondered. Or had ha been drinking? At any rate he was extremely rude, and her faoe showed that she felt deeply annoyed, so much so that Reeoe, oatohing a glimpse of it, stopped suddenly. " Have I vexed you ?" he asked, gently. " I think you must have forgotten yourself, Mr. Meadowsere," she answered, with great eoldnesB. The excitement whioh had lit up Meadowsere's faoe died out, and his eyes wore a troubled look. "Yes," he said, in a low tone; "I forgot myself—that was it—I forgot myself;" and he sank into the seat with a sigh. He looked so confused, and yet so handsome, that Mus Remersque at onoe softened towards him. "You know," she said, with a smile, "a woman hardly likes to be told that she is despised." Reece glanced up wonderingly. " I do not understand you, Miss Remersque." " You say that you feel oontempt for a man who lives for pleasure alone. What about a woman who does the same?" "There may perhaps be moreexonse for a woman; but still I could not admire any one who looked upon this life as one of pleasure simply." " And yet you say that I do so !" "No, no!'' exolaimed Reeoe, in evident distress. " You misunderstand me, Miss Remersque, you do indeed. I meant that I was glad because you were so different from what I am. Y ou look on the bright side of things, whilst my nature compels me to do the opposite; and thus I become gloomy and despondent. Surely yon oannot misunderstand my meaning?"
But Mies Remersque wee not so easily persuaded. "Had we not better rejoin the others ?" she asked. Reeoe threw back his head proudly. " Certainly, if you desire it, Miss Bemeraque." They proeeeded a short distance in perfeot silenoe. Reeoe was by nature very reserved, and rarely indeed did he give utterance to his inmost thoughts, his hopes and fears. He was not a man who made many friends; he was too proud, melancholy, and sensitive, and suffered at times from depressions which occasionally lasted for long periods, and oaused the whole world to grow in his imagination —the abode of evil. At such times he would beoome more reserved than usual, and, save by his mother, was almost unapproachable. He was but young, and so strong was the influence of his home training upon him that he despised from his heart all that was false and hypocritical, and when in one of his gloomy moods would almost doubt the existence of anything genuine in the world of fashion in which he li ved. Some suoh thoughts were troubling him when he oame to Mrs. Duval's garden party; and yet, instead of preserving his usual air of insorctable reserve, he had given vent to his feelings in the presenoe of a woman whom he had met but onoe before. He felt humiliated and bitterly annoyed with himself. What an utter fool sbe must consider me, he thought: and what an amusing little tale Bhe will be able to oonooct for the edifioation of her friends. But Miss Remersque was thinking far otherwise. Meadowsere's remarkable appearanoe, his undoubted earnestness in all that he said and did, together with the very palpable distress he had manifested at the thought of having caused her annoyance, had impressed MiBS Remersque strongly. As they approached the gay and pleasure-seeking orowd her footsteps grew more and more slow, and at length she paused. Meadowsere looked down at her in some surprise, but her face was turned away, and with eyes cast upon the ground she eaid shyly— " Are you quite sure Mr. Meadowsere that you do not think me merely a pleasure-seeking creature?" "I am sure you are not," was his grave reply. " But your remarks just now sounded so muoh like a reproach, as if you intended to
blame me for enjoying my life aB I do." " Believe me Miss Remersque, I intended to convoy no such meaning. It is right that you should enjoy yourself, so long as it is not at the expense of others, and this I feel assured you would not do. And even if it were otherwise, I—almost a total stranger—would not bB justified in reproachinir you in suoh a manner.", Miss Remersque looked up with a smile. 'Tben, shall ws be friends?" "If you will." For a moment their hands clasped, their eyes met, and then they parted. Reeoe eat alone in his study for many hours that night, but not a line did he write. The dark eyes of Hilda Remersque seemed to hover above the paper, and the memory of that handclasp oould not be shaken off. CHAPTER IV. A GLANCE BA.CKWABD. When Reece Meadowsere had first determined to emerge from the retirement of his own home, and, in deferenoe to his mother's wishes, aocept to a certain extent the position which society appeared desirous of thrusting upon him, he was little more than twenty-one years of age; and, although well versed in the manners and customs of the world of fashion, his knowledge had been derived from books and from his mother's teaobing rather than from any actual experienoe.' It was natural, therefore, that his first feeling should have been one of intense pleasure as the brilliant >anorama of upper sooial life unfolded itself. 3ut Beece was tar too sensible to be deceived by any mere outward show, no matter how gorgeous; and he craved to see that which was beneath the surface. The result was disappointing—nay, more than disappointing, absolutely revolting—to a man the very eoul of honour. Here was wealth, beauty, wit, education, and even refinement in no Bmall degree; yet here also was deceit, cunninor, and glaring immorality. He loathed it, shrank from it, aud went buck to his books and the oompanionship of hie mother. But he had beoome unsettled and restless; he oould not oontro! his thoughts ; his pen refused to do his bidding, and a short time found him again in the midst of the worldly and gay. He studied those with whom he came in oontaot, their habits and characteristics. Both his eyes and his ears were kept well open, and there was little that escaped his notice. He formed his own opinion of what he saw, and heard, and the result was given to the world, honestly and fearlessly. It did not always please; far from it. But Reece never expected that it would. Amongst the many acquaintances Reeoe made early in his career was Stephen Stornhill. Stornhill was his senior by several years, and a thorough man of the world. The two became friendly, but their friendship did not oontinue for any length of time. Reece speedily disoovered that StornhUl's charaoter would not bear analysing, nor were their
tasbes at all similar, and gradually thsy drifted further and further apart. It was about this time that Stornhill became pri vately engaged to a lady friend of Raece'e— Mary Marlow, an orphan. By Stornhill" expresB wish the engagement was kept secret, so that when a few weeks later it was broken off very few save Reece Meadowsere and those most interested knew that anything of the sort had ever existed. No reason was given for the disruption, bat Reece rightly guessed that Stornhill was to blame, and from that date a marked ooldne3s arose between them, In course of time Mary Marlow became Mrs, Hillton, so that outwardly it seemed as if her love for Stornhill had been oonquered, al though such was not the case. Nevertheless, she proved a good and faiihful wife, and never regretted the step she had taken. After her husband's death Stornhill renewed his atteo tions ; but whatever his designs might have been they were utterly frustrated by the calm, oold manner in which Mrs. Hillton received hie advances, and the scene at Mrs. Duval's garden party proved the last chapter in tho romance of her life so far as it related Stephen Stornhill personally. But Reece was less fortunate. He had studied Stornhill's charaoter very closely from the day that his engagement to Mary Marlow was broken off, and the result proved simply astounding. Stornhill, when but a youth, had come into possession of immense wealth. Ha became the owner of several sheep-stations, the largest being "Dingo Station," aoross the South Australian border. Most of his life, however, was spent in Melbourne, and proved a life of folly and dissipation, Meadowsere he seemed a man without one single redeeming virtue. In appearance and education he was a gentleman, and received m society as such. In reality he was a blackguard, and Reeoe Meadowsere had come to realize this fact. Stornhill understood this, and felt that Meadowsere despised him. The result was resentment, which gradually re> solved itself into hatred. A sceundrel, how ever much he may affect to regard with oontempt and bold up to ridioule a man who is his superior morally, even if not mentally, will yet have to aoknowiedge in hiB heart that suoh superiority does exist; and in the oase of Stornhill this feeling was all the more intensified beoause he felt that, both morally and mentally, Meadowsere was immeasurably his snperior; and naturally the breach between them gradually widened. But now oame the climax. Meadowsere one evening chanced to be at fashionable ball, and not feeling in a dancing mood he left the ballroom and wandered into the grounds which surrounded the house,
Lazily dropping into a garden seat, be lit cigar and sat for a time, enjoying bis smoke and listening to the strains, of the band which floated into the still night. As the music ended he rose and slowly strolled along the terrace. Suddenly he beoatne aware of a figure crouching against the wall of the house, and striving to gaze through the brilliantly lighted windows at the gay scene within. The idea of burglars at once suggested itself to him; but on drawing nearer he found the figure to be that of a young woman, who, upon hearing his approaoh, turned round with a startled faoe, then attempted to steal quietly away. " Stay !" said Meadowsere, sternly; and the woman stopped ac once. The light streaming through the window fell upon a faae so haggard and miserable that Beece felt an involuntary thrill of pity pass through him. " What are you doing here?" he asked gently. " I—I wished to see some one." " You have ohosen a strange manner of doing so. Are you aware that you are liable to ba imprisoned for trespassing?" " Yes: but I could think of no other place. It was my last hope—and—and it has failed. A stifled sob fell upon his ear. "Ho w has it failed ? Is the person you wish to see not here ?" " Yes; he is." " And you have seen him ?" "Yes; through the window." " What more do you wish ?" The woman gave him a swift, searching glanoe. "To speak with him," she whispered eagerly. "Then why not go to the front of the house and ask for him ? Why hang about here like a thief?" "No, no; I cannot do that. It—it would not do for me to be seen at the front entranoe,"and she laughed bitterly. " Whom do you wish to speak with ?'" asked Reece abruptly. Again the woman gave him a lightning-like glance, and evidently the result proved satis faotory, for she answered without hesitation, "Mr. Stornhill." .Meadowsere started with surprise. What does she want with Stornhill? he thought, But it'« nothing to do with me. "I can give you Mr. dtornhill's address," he answered. " You Had better call upon him in the morning." "I know his address, and have called there
more than onoe, but could not see him." " How did you expect to succeed to-night?" " I thought he might come out here as you have done, and then I should speak to him. It was my last nope—my last hope." Her voice died away in a despairing moan, and she wrung her hands in aguny. " Have you written to Mr. Stornhill ?" asked Reeoe. " Yes, but received no answer," was the sad reply. Rsece thought a moment. Oould this woman be an impostor? Was she making a fool of him? But no ! Every word she had uttered had impressed him strongly; he felt that she had spoken the truth, and guessed that there was some secret trouble oonnected with her life—a trouble with which Stephen Stornhill was in some way connected. What was it. Reeoe was too chivalrous to enquire, but the woman had roused his sympathy, and he deRired to prove of some assistance to her. " Would you like me to bring Mr. Scornhill out hero?" he asked. "Oh! if you would !" was the almost joyous reply. "Then remnn quietly in the ehadeof one of the shrubs till I return. I shall do my best." He pointed to a number of shrabs at a little distance from the window, and the woman obeyed without a word. Then Reece returned to the ballroom. He was fortunate enough to meet Stornhill just issuing from the supper-room. "Could I nave a word with you, Stornhill?" he asked. "Certainly! Two if you like," answered Stornhill flippantly, but with some surpriso. " Let us go into the garden, then." " What's his little game?" said Stornhill to himself, as he followed Reeoe round to the right wing of th9 hoa?e. But Meadowsere did not appear in a communioative mood, and preserved a dogged silence until he neared the shrubs in whose shade he had bade the woman wait. Then he called softly " Are you there ? A shadowy form at oace emerged, and before Stornhill oould utter a word a woman had flung herself at his feet with a low laugh of (ieiight. For a moment there was silence, and Meadowsere was moving away, when Stornhill clutched his arm savagely, and exclaimed in a hoarae voice "What the devil does this little comedy mean—eh, Meadowsere ?" Reeoe shook him off, and said coldly, " You
can be3t explain that yourself, Mr. Stornhill; I know nothing save that the woman desired to speak with you, and I have supplied the means. I will leave you now to settle your business alone." "No, that you shall not do! ThiB is jrour affair—not mine; and, by God ! you oan see is through," hissed Stornhill, as he attempted to shake off the woman, who, however,ciung to him frantically. "No! no! Stephen," she exolaimed. "] will not let you go. I will speak." A fe&r lest thay might be observed by some of the guests crossed Ssornhill's mind, and he atonoa resavered hia usual self-possessed and sneering manner. "Truly a very pretty pantomine," he said jeermgly. "But let us move a little further from the house, and then you can have your say to your heart's content. Come, Meadowsere! you brought me out, and are responsible for what follows; so it is bat fair that you should accompany us." "Thank you! I have no wish to interfere with what does not concern me." " Dear me ! And yet you took the trouble to bring me out here? Did that oonoern you?" "I felt that I was doing this woman a service." "H>w kind!" and Stornhill laughed with polite irony. " But, believe me, I should be g'ad of your company." The woman shuddered. She knew but too well that Stornhill's mood betokened danger, and seeming to recognise in Meadowsere a friend, she whispered "Come, for my sake," and Meadowsere went, although sorely againBt his will. "Now," said Stornhill, when they had gone a little distance, "say what you have to eay, and say it briefly." " S-ephen ! Stephen ! you are oruel." " H"-w did ycu know my name was Stephen ?" The woman looked at him in astonishment. "How did I know ?" " Yes; that was my question." The woman appeared stupefied. "God of Heaven ! what a question," she muttered. But here Meadowsere interfered. " Yoar manner but a moment ago was sufficient to prove that this woman was well known to you, Stornhill. Therefore why attempt to deny it "Your opinion was not asked, Mr. Meadowsere/'said Stornhill. " I am here at your request, Mr. Stornhill," was the reply, "and I ventu.e my opinion unafked." " Very well. To precipitate matters, let us conclude th&t this woman is an acquaintance of mine. What then ?" "Stephen! I am dying. This is the last time I shall ever trouble you. Won't you be a little kinder to me?" and the poor woman clnng to his arm, but Stornhill shook her off.
"Oh, you'ie dying, eh? I am very sorry to hear it. Can I be of any assistance ?" " I do aot want help for myself, Stephen, but for our ohild. What is to become of it when I am gone ? Surely you will do something. Ah, yes, I know you will/' _ "Our child !" exolaimed Stornhill with wellsimulated surprise. " By Jove, that's a little too much. Perhaps Meadowsere understands the drift of all this, but it'a considerably more than I do." Meadowsere, who waa retiring out of hearing, heard these last words and turned back. " You are acur—a oontemptiblescoundrel, he said in a low voice of passion. Bat Stornhill laughed in his face and eaid snseringlv— "So this is what I have been brought here for, eh? You two have hatched a conspiracy against me—is that it ? Ha, ha, Meadowsere", with all your native cunning you have bowled yourself out completely. Good-night. Ieav6 you with your lady love. Ha, ha !"' Meadowsere turned on him fiercely; but like a flash the woman was between them. Stung to madness, she cried "You lie, Stephen Scornhill. You were my lover; you deceived and ruined me; you left me to starve ; you are the father of my child, and you would leave that to starve also. Then, to finish your work, you mock at my misery. Once more I ask will you provide foi the child ?" "No ; I'm hanged if I do." " Then, as sure as there is a God above you will rue this night's work." She sprang at him, and the bright blade of a long knife flashed in the moonlight. But Meadowsere seized her arm; the knife dropped, and she fell to the ground, covering her eyes wich her hands, and sobbing bitterly. Her passion was spent. She was but a woman again—brokenhearted, weak, and ill. "Now," Baid Meadowsere sternly, "it iB my turn. You have addressed words to me Stephen Stornhill, that I shall not forget Do n8enli t0 retr&0C them of your own wM?" free "jf I say no?" " Then I saall take steps to make you." Stornhill was not a coward ; yet the sight of that keen blade, turned against him by e woman who had loved him, had proved some what unnerving. And now, as he saw the pale, stern faoe of Meadowsere. and the flash of those dark, piercing eyes, which seemed to see right down into the depths of his blaok heart, he shivered slightly, and said with an uneasy laugh—" Enough of this fooling, Meadowsere. I was only joking.',' "Do you admit that you are the father of this woman's ohild ?" " Yes, if you are anxious to know."
"Then what do you intend doing in the matter? '•Nothing Why should I support a woman of this kind ? "Who made me what I am?" asked the woman passionately. There was no answer. 4( Q^P® you hear ?" said Meadowsere, sternly. She asks you a question." _ " Let her go to the devil with her questions ; and you, too. I shall say no more." was Stornhill's sullen reply. In a moment he lay stretohed, half-unoonscious, upon the ground, for Meadowsere, his sense of honour wholly outraged, had struck out fieroely and caught Stornhill a terrifio blow just above the temple. Then was witnessed a proof of the inscrutability of a woman s nature. She who but a moment before had sprung at Stornhill with the ferooity of a wild beast now knelt by his side in an agony of fear and grief, and bestowed upon him a wealth of tenderness and love which to Meadowsere seemed, under the circumstances, simply marvellous. He looked at them, eilent and wondering. Nor did he speak even when the woman, in the midst of endearing words addressed to Stornhill, turned to him with reproaches and abuse upon her tongue. She forgot that Meadowsere had attempted to befriend her—she felt only that he had struck down the man she loved, and she hated him for it. Meadowsere began to feel nneasy as Stornhill lay helpless and motionless; but presently he had the satisfaction of seeing him stagger to his feet and brush the dirt from his clothes, cursing volubly all the time. He shook off the woman savagely as sh9 attempted to cling to him, and then turned to Meadowsere. I will be even with you yet, Reece Meadowsere," he hissed in a low voice. He walked unsteadily towards the house without bestowing so muoh aa a glance upon the poor girl, who listened breathlessly to his wordB. "Stephen! Stephen!" she cried, "ycu will not leave me without & promise of help. He stopped and turned on her fiercely, with an imprecation. That was all he had to eay to the woman whom he had once sworn he loved above all other women upon earth, and his harshness seemed to stupefy her. She gazed after him with the iudiffereuce born of despair, then left the garden, weeping bitterly, and Meadowsere followed her quietly.
Through street after street she made her way, followed by ileaJo.vsere, who kept well out of eight. At length the woman stopped at a small, disrepucable-looking house, und, after a moment's hesitation, entered. Beece looked about him, and saw that he was in the lowest quarter of the city. Evidently the person he had toileted belonged to the army of outcasts of society, and from her appearance he guessed that sbe had not long to live. What could he do for her ? Nothing; and so he went home. But a great wave of pity had entered his soul, and his heart was heaving at the misery he had witnessed. On the morrow bo caused enquiries to be made, and indireotly learned the woman's story. It waB as she had said. Stornhill had led her astray, as he had many others, and tben forsaken her. Unable to hide her shame she had been driven from her home and friends, and had wandered into the world with none to pity or to save. She sank lower and lower, and now it had come to this. Meadowsere lost no time in displaying a practisal proof of his sympathy. Knowing low useless it would be to appeal to Stornhill, he at once placed a certain sum of money with a respeotable solicitor, and instructed him to write to the woman, informing her that if she would but retire into the country, and ask no questions, sbe would be provided with a small monthly inoome sufficient for her needs. And poor woman, thinking that Stephen Stornhill was her unknown benefactor, gladly assented to thesp oonditione, and left the city, almost happy. It was shortly after this that Stornhill departed on a visit to his home at Dingo Station, intending to return to Melbourne in the summer. But the summer passed, and the winter crept on, yet he came nos. But now. at the beginning of another summer, Stephen Stornhill was seen again in the city.