|Chapter Number||2. I|
|Chapter Title||MOTINNY'S DOUBTS.|
|Newspaper Title||Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||Whatsoever a Man Soweth|
WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH.
BOOK II. — THE RIPENING OE THE CROP. CHAPTER I. . MOTLNNY'S DOCErS.
Robert MoTiuuy occupied lodging a almost in the heart of the city. Hts was the proud possessor of two furnished rooms—a bedroom and --.Using room. They were not furnished luxuriantly, for McTmuy was not wealthy; and even had he basn so is is more than likely that tbe furnishing of his rooms would have occupied but a small plaoe in bis mind. He
was tond of comfort, however; but btill, in his opinion, oomfort did not necessarily depend upon luxury, nor even appearances. He liked an easy chair and a oouch ; he had both, and was satisfied. The day had been hot and trying, but towards evening a cool change eet iu, and the window of Mo Tinny's sitting-room wasopen6d wide to admit the fresh, pure air. Tbe gas had not yet been lighted, so that the room was in semi - darkness, and the form of Mo Tinny himself, lying listlessly stretohed upon the eouoh, could hardly be discerned through the deepening gloom. His hands were oia^ped behind his head, and between his : lips he held a huge pipe, the bowl of which rested on his chest. He wae in his shirt sleeves, his coat and vest having been thrown on a chair beuide him. On the table eSuod a seltzogene and near by a brandy bottle half empty, and a few glasses. Leaning against tbe window-sill, gazing abstractedly into the street below, was Captain Jones, his faoe silhouetted againBt the faint glow of the evening Bkv. In one hand he held a cigar, whilst with the other he gently stroked hiB moustache. Neither of them had spoken for some time, eaoh man being busy with his own thoughts. The room grew darker, and the lamps in the street, gathering power as the twilight faded, reflected strange images on tbe houses opposite. Tbe duli rumble of passing vehioles was distinctly beard, and the footsteps of the passers-by re-echoed along the pavement. Above all sounded the monotonous " tick, tick" of a olock which etood on the mantelpieoe. The sky became overcast, tbe air heavy, the darkness of the heavens intense. Heavy drops of rain fell, at first singly, and then with united force and regularity. Into the still
night there rose a sweet peculiar soent, caused by the falling of the rain upon tbe heated earth. Against tbe window panes rattled the welcome drops, and into the room they splashed. The Captain drew baok, and partially olosed the window. An he turned, the end oi his oiear glowed through the gloom like a living coal. " Asleep, Barney?" he asked. "No." "Shall I light the gas?" " Not unless you are anxious to. It makes the room so hot." "Very well." He felt hia way aoross the room and dropped heavily into an armchair. " Ah I this is more comfortable. Rain sounds nice, doesn't it? By Jove, though, I've only got a thin pair of shoes on. How the deuoe am I to get home ?" "Take a cab, of course," said McTinny, brusquely. "The cab stand iealongway off, "murmured the Captain. " Never mind—can't be helped. I pay. Barney ?" Weil." " It's a good thing the rain didn't oome on earlier, isn't it ?" VVhv so? " " Why? It would have spoilt the wedding. Bridesmaids would havabaec afraid of ruining their art sss. As it was, everything nice and bright, went otf well—ladies and dresses lovely ; by Jove, tbey were." McTinny said nothing, and for a few mouicuts both men smoked in silence ; whilst th9 rain beat steadily upon the roof. "Fuuny thing," muttered Jones, half to himself. " Very funuy thing." "What'fi that you said?"' asked McTinny sharply. "I was thinking about o tor chill's marriage. Can't understand it, 'pon my soul I can't." "Then why did you aot as his best man ?"
"Eh? " Oh, muit do a fellow a good turn, Barney. Had no relatives, you see, and you wouldn't act for him. He toid me he asked you." Did he !" said McTinny drily. " Yes. S;ornhill's a lucky man. Beautiful woman Miss Rsmerequa; strange woman, though. Nearly engaged to me once—fact, I assure you. However, she was changeful— t'-.ok a fancy to \£eadovrgere. Fine fellow, Meaaow9»re—ends up by marrying Stornhill. It's a curious business. Woman, thy name is enizma! Life's too short for enigmas. I give this oneup." Barney laughed. "You're a bit of an enigma yourself, Jones; or a bit of a philosopher." Thenaptain stroked his moustache. " I oan see as far through a sto^e wall as most men," he said modestly. " I don't doubt it. And so the wedding went off well, did it?" "Yes ; bride rathoroutof sortB,I thought. Didn't like leaving mamma, perhaps ; brides never do. Stornhill wasn't like himself either. Still—big crowd there—tine spread afterwards—everybody good-tempered and jolly, excepting the happy couple. They Wiire a subdued look; it's a failing with newly married persons to fancy tbey are attending a funeral. Awfully ridiculous ! Nearly said so ton at the breakfast; thought it wouldn't be polito, thoucrh." " Stornhill aad his wife have gone to Tasmania, I believe," observed McTinny, enquiringly. " Ta-ratsnia first—then New Zealand. Nice trip that; went there myself once; enjoyed it immensely." McTinny rose and lit the gaa. " Have a drink, Jonee?"he asked. "Thanks . Don't care much about that sort of thing 1 as a rule; but a fellow must drink something thie weather." TheCaotain took thabrandy-and-seltzer that was handed to him, and drained the ela^s at a
gulp. MoTiany began paoing restlessly abnufc t'-e room. " Don't you intend taking a drink yourself?" askei Jones. "No—rarely touch spirits now. I find I get on better without stimulants." "Uroph! Kind of you to keep brandy for youi visitors." " Have you ever wondered why I refused to act as best man for Stornhill?" asked McTinny, after a short pause. "Struck me as peculiar, considering how friendlyvou uied to be,"answered the Captain. "Didn't think much about it, though curiosity isn't ft failing of icine; never interfere with other people's business. You had good reaKonw for refu^intr, no doubt." "This marring'-ought never to have taken plaop." bur»t out .MnTinny. " You're jealous. liarney. Terrible thing— jealousy. Never suff^r.id that way myself; a man is a fool to j»aU>us. Don't be a fool, Barney; iliss liemi?.-a:iue has changed her nr.me—marriud w.iuiun now ; plenty of single ones l«ft. and von ar« youne y»t, dear boy." "No. I not jealous If Miss R^marsquej or rath <r Mrs. Stornhill, as 1 must call her now," said McTinnv bitterly, "had married Reoce MeuriowHere I should have been giad, and even happy. I loved her myself, but had no hooe of winning her. Me.°.dowsere would hat a msdft h«r a good husband. A9 bis wife, shf r ra'ght have bfcomo a noble woman. Now —God onlr knows what she will become, for alrea-ly phe h.ii raanv faults, and Stornhill is not the man to help her to conquer them." " Better if she had married Meadowsere porhnps. But then, you pee, women are strange creaturns. Never know what is best for th*m—scm to have a weakness for fellows who have ' played it up'a bit. Don't sec the fun of goin^ fast myself—like to take thinss pnsy ; not that I haven't SBPII a good deal of lite, t.kougii. Bui nbcut Miss Remersque—I beg her uardoa—Mrs. Stornhill. She might have mimed—ah, well, »ome one else, you know ; but ehe didn't. Preferred Stornhill. Don't altogether admire her taste, but—never mind, can't he helped." " She preferred Meadowsere '." exclaimed McTinnev excitedly. " If ever a woman loved a in in she loved him." "Eh? Well, she adopted a most remarkable manner of showing it." " Who iH to blama for that ? Why was her engagement to itleadowaere broken off : No one knows ; but I say that Stornhill it responsible for all that has takf n p'.ace." " Of uouraa he is," said the Captain in pure aetoaiehment.
" You don't understand me," and McTinny threw himself upon the couch. "That's a fact, and I'm no fool either. What are yon driving at, Barney ?" "I will ask you a question. Do you consider that Stornhill cares for hia wife ?" "Certainly; wouldn't have married her e I S" Then I doa't think so. He is in love, but not with his wife. He married Miss R3- mersque because he bated Meadowsere; and be won her by foul means. That is my opinion." . . "Ah—exouse me, Barney; but are you quite sure that you have given up taking spirits ?" . , 'McTinny laughed as he again rose, and moved restlessly about the room. _ i!.verything seems wrong with me, to-night, captain," he said. " I am out of sorts ; but 1 will tell you wbat haB led me to the conclusion 1 have expressed. Perhaps this will put me in abetter frame of mind. Do you remember how cynical Stornhill uaed to be at one time. How he uaed to remain oalm and self-possessed under all circumstances ? And how impossible it was to make him exhibit any spark of feeling, even when his pasBionB were fully arouBud ?" "I do. Don't lose my temper often; consider it vulgar. But I must confess that Stornhill'8 sneering manner used to make me wish to punch bis head. Never did it though. Controlled myself. Used to be very annoying—very annoying, indeed." " I rather admired his Belf-oommaud in those days," continued McTinny. " We were great friends, almost inseparable in faot. But Stornhill left Melbourne on business, and much to my surprise remained at a station of his for a considerable time. As you know he returned to the city at the beginning of the summer; and I soon noticed a change in bim. He was irritable, and used to disappear for days together. I learnt that he was often hanging about the low streets of the town, and questioned him. He lost his temper, and told me to mind my own business. Then a slight coolness sprang up between us. Becoming more intimate with Reeoe Meadowsere I began to realize that it was possible for a man to lead a pure and a good
life; and a desire to emulate his example rose within me. This led to my breaking with Stornhill altogether. Now I come to Meadowsere's engagement. Of this it is unnecessary to speak gave to say that I noticed Stephen Stornhill was doing all in his power to create ill-feeling between Meadowsere and Miss Remersque. I had long been aware that he hated Meadowsere, aud saw at once what his objeot was. But I never dreamt that he would meet with any measure of success. On Christmas Eve I met a friend of mine named Stanton. He had been visiting Hallowton, a township nearStornhill'e station, and told me a piece of news whioh explained Stomhill'e strange conduot in haunting the slums of the city. It appears that he had been making love to a schoolteacher at Hallowton named Grace Arkoyd, and report says that matters went too far. Be that as it may, tbe girl disappeared and has never been heard of since." " You think she is kept by Stomhill somewhere ?" queried the Captain. " No ; he knows nothing of her, and this is wby he has been searching high and low. He is anxious to discover some trace of her." "Not very likely, Barney. Tired of her long ago, I expeot." "I aen't fancy so. it isn't a common thing for a sneering devil like Stornhill to feel a very deep affection for any one; but when he does —well—he loves as he hates ; and I think that, for tbe first time in bis life, he has been struck hard." Despite the Captain's assertion that he was devoid of curiosity, he appeared to be growing interested. "Wbat has led you to this conclusion ?" he asked. " In the first plaoe he tried to discover some clue to the girl's disappearance when he was at Hallowton. He evidently learnteneugh to show that she came into Victoria, and
he has secretly kept up the search. When I found that Meadowsere's engagement had come to an abrupt termination I immediately suspected that Stornhill was at the bottom of the affair. Then I heard tbat Mias Remerbque had beoome engaged to him, and my suspicions were confirmed. I firmly believed that he had employed foul means to bring about this change; and my love for Miss Remersque and my respect for Meadowsere made me determined, if possible, to solve the mvBtery." MoTinny stared through the window a moment; then drew down tbe blind, and threw himself into a chair. Tbe Captain, wbo had allowed his cigar to go out, struok a lucifer and resumed his smoking. " I went to Scornhill's hotel," continued MoTinny, abruptly, "and asked to Bee him. I was shown into his sitting-room, and my entrance was evidently unexpected, forStorubill was crying out 'Grace! Grace I' and employing a number of endearing terms which one would hardly believe him capable of uttering. My first thought was that he was going in for amateur theatricals, and was rehearsing his part; but I suddenly noticed that in his oonfueion he had dropped a photo on the carpet, and as he atood speechless, and made no attempt to pick it up, I stooped and performed the duty for him. The photo had fallen face downwards, and on the back of the card I noticed iu a girlish handwriting— ' To dearest Stephen; with love from Grace.' I turned it over, and the portrait was one of a handsome girl just vercine on to womanhood. Tbe faoe Beamed to look out at me with a merry, haunting smile; and I think it has haunted Stornhill for many a day. It was the face of Graoe Arkoyd. When I handed tha photo to him he took it without a word, and plaoed it in his breast pocket. After a minute or so he asked me in a surly tone wbat I wanted. I told bim that I had called for
confirmation of the report tbat be was engaged to MIES Remersque. He answered that, for once report had spoken truly. Then followed a scene. I aooused him of having played tbe part of the villain, and hinted plainly that he had employed dishonourable means to affect hiB purpose. At first be appeared confused, and I saw that my word contained a good deal of truth. - But he soon guessed that I held no tangible proof of his bavin? aoted falsely, and regaining his selfpossession, he laughed at me, and wished to know whether I had oome aa Meadowsere's deputy. " You went about it in a wrong way, Barney," interrupted the Captain." " You ought to have appeared friendly, talked the matter over, aud so in a joking way wormed ycur^elf into his confidence ; that's the method to adopt, dear boy. If there tad been anything to find out, you would have succeeded in time, and then oould have turned the tables. See '." "It is easy to talk like that," said MoTinny, bitterly. "Of course, that is what I ehouid bave done, but instead I made a fool of myself, and soon discovered it. Then I turned the conversation in thn direction of Grace Arkoyd, telling Stornhill wbat I had heard and seen, and aleo commenting upon the portrait. Stornhill changed his tone then. He confessed that he had been anxious to find her, even acknowledged that he was very fond of the girl, and would have married her only he had received proof of her death. We had some further talk, but not of an interestiun kind. Stornhill appeared auxious to disabuse my mind of all tboughts cf treachery on his part, and, as he told you, asked me to aot aa his groomsman at bis approaching marriage. I refused, and came away, mere confirmed than evf-r in my belief that tbere bad been foul play somewhere." " No ; do you think the girl is dead."
" No; neither does he, for he continued bis search for eome time after that. He is very likely doing so even now." The Captain etroked his moustache thoughtfully. " It is a queer business, Barney ; no proof that Stornhill bas behaved dishonestly, though; purely oiroumstantial evidence, as the lawyer wouid say. Woman very changeable ; M'.ss Remeresque—oan't call her anything else yet—may have grown tired of Meadowsere. Cm't altogether blame Stornhill in soma ways; still, ought to play fur; 'everthing fa r in love aud war,'though—so people say. Won't ; believe it for all that. Cau't make it out; no use bothering—marriage takes plaoe—can't ba altered—better try and imagine every thine fair and square, Barney." "That is impossible. I'll take my oath that Stornhill hatched some infernal plor. or other," exclaimed Mo L'inuy exoitedly, " and by it won bis wife. Sooner or later it will oome to light, and then—and then ; but it is useless. As you say, the marriage has taken olace: nothing can be altered now. I loved that woman, and for her sako I dread the future. But—but I am helpless. We will speak of this no more to-night." He ended abruutly, and bowed his head upon the table. Captain Jones rose, saying with assumed cheerfulness— " B6 all right to-morrow, Barney ; bit down in the mouth—out of sorts—all "that sort of thing. Must look on the bright sirio of things. Go to bed—good night's sleeu—take plenty of exercise; grand thing exercise. Good-by, Barney ; see you acein soon." "I'll walk to the cabstand with you," said McTinny wearily. "A breath of fresh air may rouse me up a bit." The Captain changed colour. "Not going to rideWome, Barney. Exerc-iae—grand thing —said" that bpfore — worth saying twice. Think I'll walk home." "Walk home! with thin patent leather shoes on ! Don't be ridiculous, .Tonea. Why, a little whil.i back you were worrying about having to walk to the oibjtsnd." " Rain stopped now—nothing to be afraid of." " But the streets are wet," said MoTinny, eyeine the Captain ounously. Suddenly he asked— " dhall I lend you some money, Jonas ?" The Captain appeared relieved. " Awfully glad if you would old fellow- Don't like borrowing, but haven't a cent. Changed my olothas after the breakfast—left my money in them—only had half a sovereign in mypocket. That's all, 'pon toy soul." " And you gave that away, I suppose
"Yes; man stopped me m the streetslooked terribly Ul-hadn't had anything to eat for two days. Wife home dying, several ohildren, all starving. Gave him the halfsovereign—oouldn't cut it m two you Know. "No; I suppose not. He will be able to havea good ' drunk'on that." " No," no; genuine ease this. These fellows oan't impose upon me, I can tell you. iSum them up in half a second." „ "You are a marked man Captain, said McTinny with a smile. " I have often seen you stuck up by different persons for money, but I never remember having seen yon refnse to assist any one. All the oases yon meet with are genuine, I presume ?" " SSvery one Barney—at least—most of them. Lot of misery in this world—very sad—oan't be helped—must make the beet of it—help the needy, fatherless, motherless, and so on." "I have known you to give money to men who go straight to tha nearest hotel and spend it in drink." "Doesn't matter—makes them happy. I like to enjoy myself: so do y ou; so does every* body. Different ways of doing it, Barney. Some men happy when sober—some when drunk. Men were born to be happy—therefore they ought to be. Many poor devils are not— something wrong—don't know what it is— n e v e r worry about it—like to give a fellow a leg up thoueh—few shillings go a long waynothing to do with me how its spent." McTinny made no attempt to upset the Captain'd logic, but handed him some loose silver, which Jones carefully oounted. "Eighteen shillings here, Barney, he said. "Better count it—always do things in a businesB-like manner." . "I'll take your word for it, Jones; and now, good nieht! I don't think I shall go out with you after all." . __ . "Better not—might rain again. Ihanks for the loan—will return it to-morrow—ehan t forset—never forget anything." The Captain bad gone, and MoTinny said to himBelf, as be sank baok into a chair— "I like Jones. He ii t straightgoer, and bis heart is as tender as a' woman a. Rather good advising me to take exeroise,
considering he ne-rer walks hiipaelf when it is possible to ride. I'll guarantee that be will drive round in a cab to-morrow morning to repay that money.-' It's just bis style. He has a good opinion of himself, but I like Jones. To use his own expression—' Pon my soul I do.' "