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Chapter NumberIX
Chapter Url
Full Date1895-12-14
Page Number2
Word Count2509
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)
Trove TitleWhatsoever a Man Soweth
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Rssea Meadowsere was a man who preferred rather to remain iu the ccslusioo of his home, end enjoy life in his own quiet way, than to gu into society. Grace's tendencies also lay in the same direction ; but, as she said, " we must not be too selfish. We uwe a duty to sooiety, which ought to be fulfilled." And so they had invited their friends to what Reece termed, although only in his wife's presence, "an afternoon's tea-drinking contest," and "a meeting for the discussion of other people's business." In spite, however, of hie saroxstic allusions to the contemplated garden party, and his forebofin^B of disappointment acd disaster, Grace felt sure of his hearty co-operation, aud appraised hia remarks exactly at their true value. Though he die!iked company, he was, ehe wail knew, capable of playing "the host" to perfection; and no fear of failure haunted her She had given garden parties before, and, in spite of the siuallness of the grounds at her disposal, the gusets had been kept amused and had enjoyed themselves thoroughly. This occasion proved co exception to the rule, and when, lace in the afternoon, Rsbcrt- JIul'iiiny and his wife, who were the last to leave, said good-by to Reece aud Grace at the garden gate, Grace had the eatisfactioa of feeliog that her expectations had bees realized. Nothing had ooourred to mar the proceedings; everything had gone off without a hitch. " Well, that's over," said Reece, with a aigh of relief, aa he retraced hia steps to t.he house, his wife's arm being linked within his own. " No more tea parties for me. I'm growing too old for auch frivolities." "Poor feliow," laughed Grace, hanging heavily on his arm. " Any one who saw how you ill-treated the tennis bails would not have thought it. Why, one uf them is on t"ie roof' of the house now." "Don't be sarcastic, Mrs. Meadowsere. Siiah remarks do not coma well from you after your uuieemlv conduct in rushing ail over the garden after Carlo this morning." " Bus he had Taiaie'a doll in his mouth," said Graoe, smiling at the reaollectiou of her wild chase. "Tuat iB no excusc. Understand once and for all, Mrs. Meadowsere Ihe nenteuoe was not finished, as Grace atruok him lightly across the mouth with her handkerchief and ran on ahead. As Reece joined her at the verandah he said— "For grave, staid persons, suoh as we are represented to be, don't you think that we

often indulge in a good deal of nonsense, dear ?" "Don't you know why that is, Reeoe?" aBked Grace, placing one arm about his neck. "It is because we are so happy. Sometimes I feel as though I oould shout for very joy." "Don't do it—don't do it. But, really, some of our friends would be rather surprised if they came upon na in eur lighter moods." "They would indeed. But why shouldn't we have a little fun as well as other people? It does us both good to indulge in nonsense occasionally." " I'm sure I didn't give way to such weakness before my marriage," eaid Reece, smiling. " Which simply proves that marriage has brightened your whole life. Now, confess; isn't it so?" "It is—undoubtedly. Life would be very gloomy without you, my wife—too gloomy to contemplate." "Then do not think about it. We have each other, and are happy—that is enough for the present. Let the future take c»re of itself. Did you notice how well Air. McTinny was looking ?" " Yes, and hia wife, too. She is a very different woman to what she used to be before her marriage. Married life evidently agreeB with them both, in spite of the large family they have." " there are only six, Keece, including Kate, the one they adopted. What a pretty girl she is growing ! We must really go and see the children before they leave town, or else have them here some afternoon." "Have them here,"eaid Reece, absently. "I don't believe you know what I have been talking about, sir. Where are your thoughts?" "They were far away," answered Reeoe, coming to himself. "As you were saying, that obild of MoTinny's, or rather tbe one bis wife adopted, ia very pretty—very pretty indeed. I am glad Mrs. Silvermede managed to come," he added, breaking off on a new topic. It is unfortunate she had to leave BO early, though. Ethel was anxious to get away too ; her boy has aroup. I do hope that Telsie won't be troubled with it." " Where is she?" " With Margaret, I expeot. But I must run and see cook about something. You had better amuse Telsie a little ; she hasn't seen much of you to-day." Reese remained on the verandah for a little while after bia wife left him. Her ohanoe allusion to the ohild crowing up as one of McTinny's own reoalled to his mind the interview be had bad with Mrs. Hill ton many years before. What a strange whim it had been, this adoption of Stephen Stornhill's offspring! But what a luoky thing for the little girl, who now took ber place in the home aa the eldest daughter ! Surely Barney must have stifled his real feelings when he consented to fall in with Mrs. Hillton's suggestion ! Was it possible that he had experienced no jealousy of StornhiU? or was it that his heart had had no room for anything save love for the woman who was now hia wife? This must have been eo, and he had reoeived his reward, for a better wife than Barney had no man oould wish for. But why had Mrs. Hillton desired to adopt the ohild in tbe first plaoe? Meadowsere remembered what she had told him long ago; yet though he admired her for what she had done be oould not help muttering to himself as he entered the house—"A woman has many sides to her oharaoter. She is the greatest riddle of the world." Reeoe went first to the room used as a nursery, but it waa empty. " Where is Margarent ?" he asked of a servant he met. "She has a bilious attack, sir, and has gone to bed." "What's that? Margaret ill?" eaid Grace, who was returning from her interview with tbe oook, and overheard the servant's remark. "One of her old attacks," answered Reeoe.

" You had better Bee what you oan do for her, Grace." "Yes; I shall go at once. But where is Telsie ?" " She cried so much to go into your room that I took her there, ma'am," the servant said, looking rather uncomfortable. " And left her there alone?" "Only for a little while, ma'am ; sheseemed so good and I bad some work to attend to." " She is there now, I suppose ?" "Yes, ma'am." "Then I will see whatmisohief she is up to,"said Reeoe, "while you attend to Margaret, dear." As Reeoe entered his wife's room be was weloomed with a cry of delight by Telsie, who, seated on the floor, was surrounded by toys and articles of all sorts. " Is 'oo turn to pay wif me, papa ?" " Play with you? There doesn't appear to be much play about this, young lady. Things look a bit serious." " I'se bin p'ayin' turch, papa. Did 'oo 'ear me 'ingin' ?" "Singing I suppose you mean. It Btrikes me you will sing a very different tune when mother aees this mese." Taking the child in his arms he tossed her high up in the air several times, then set her down again. "Now, what's to be done, eh? It's worse than I thought. have been turning out all the things m mother's private drawer; the one she usually keeps lucked I suppose she forgot it in the excitement of preparing for the garden party. She didn't expect to have a young monkey like you visiting tbe room. You deserve to be punished, don't you think eo ?" " Ess," s»id Telsie, gravely surveying the untidy floor. Tnen looking up at her father she observed, "Mamma call me a 'aughty 'ikied irly.'' " Well, yes, I think that's very probable." "I 'idn't mean to be 'aughty, papa." "Didn't you?" Telsie shook her head, " I'se wery sorry wif myself." R9eae bent down and kissed the ourly head. "Never mind, my darling, you didn't know any better; and now will you help me put all these things baok again in mamma's drawer before she oomes ?" " Ess, papa," cried the ohild, delighted. Reece made himself oemfortaole on the floor, and prepare! to restore order oat of the the confusion. The drawer that Telsie had amused herseif by uupaoking was one of a set beautifully arranged in an ebony cabinet, which had bean given to Grace by her husband. Graoe almost invariably kept the drawers looked, but so-day, probably through an oversight, one of them had been left open, and Tulsie, overcome by ouriosity to see what waa inside, had turned out everything. So parfu3t was the trust Meadowsere had in his wife, and eo used were they to discussing all things ot interest to them, and even to exchaugiug thoughts, that Reece never for a moment felt that Grace might not like him to medrile with her private belongings. For the most part they were little nicnaos, and he replaced them in iba drawer without even glancing at tiiem, bsing indeed fully ocoupied iu listening to the ceaseless chatter ot little Telsie. "Papa, papa,"she cried ence, "oo'a toot my 'lkle dolly iu mamma's door." "Have I?' laughed Reece. "Dear me! what a caiaaiity," an i taking out the doli he handed it so its rightful owner, who reoeived it with great tenderness. "Poor ikl6 doily," 6he Eaid, pressing the much-disfigured doll in her arms ; oo 'ood a deen emoverea to deff." Oaca ahe remarked with aa air of great satisfaction—Mamma 'oa't know nuffiu, as I'se deen 'aughty, : nl 'er, papa r"Oh ! but taat wouldn't be right, Telsie. You m-.ut tell mamma all about it, and ask

her to forgive you." I'eliie was very quiet after thi<. No doubt she was thinking over her father's words, and iu har childish way trying to understand them. The task was nearly completed when Reece picked up from the door an ancient-looking Oouk, and immediately his ourio«iey was excited. "What have we here?" he said to himself. " A Biule, aud, if I'm not mistaken, an uncommon one. I must have a look at this; it appears to be one of a very old edition. I wonder Grace never mentioned it to me." The light wasgrowing dim within the room, aud he curried the book to the window. " A regular gem in its way," he said, turning over the leaves. "Ah! here's some writing. Grace Melville Arkoyd, with a dying mother's love. Into Thy hands, Oh God ! I commend my ehiid." A great silence fell upon the room, and Reeoe stood motionless, staring fixedly at the small, neat handwriting. "Grace Akroyd ! Grace Arkoyd!'' he repeated over and over again in hia mind, and uradually there rose up from cu5 the mist of the past the scene of a river at night, aud ou the bank the figure of a lonely woman enveloped in a heavy cloak. In his imagination he heard the splash of a falling body striking the water, and the low voice of tbe woman telling him it was the body of her ohild. How clearly the voice soundeii iu his oars ! Ho» weli he re:ueiubered it ! Where had he heard it since? In hia own home. The woman who that night had stood on the river's bank, the viclim of Stephen StornhiliV Stornhill's KHnmnLfit-.v sensuality, vrnc was tho the mii'o wife he lovGd U...J and believed to be purs as the driven enow. Tiioughts so agonizmg that they drove the blood from his cheeks fi»ihed swiftly through his brain. He recalled how Grace had been unwilling to accept him as her husband ; how Bbn hud hinted at some event in her past life which made it impissible -ior her to do so. Was this the explanation of her reluctauca to bscoma his wife ? Was she indeed that Grase Arkoyd whom even now hesometimes thought of with a strong feeling of pity? Good God ' it could not be. It was impossible —impossible ! "Papa! papa!" said a childish voioe. "Sail I toot is in mamma's door?" Mechanically he looked down at little Telaie, who clung to his leg with one hand whilst sho held up tha other towards him, exhibiting a small dark object she had picked up from the floor. Reeoa, without speaking, took it from her. It proved to be a purse. One glance was suffiaient. He saw that it was the purse he had given to Grace Arkoyd years before There could be no doubt of it; his own name was lettered thereon. A stupefied look oame his

eyes, and the pursefellfrom his grasp ; yet still the Bible remained olasped in his hand. With eyes whioh saw nothing, he stared through the window at the grey sky without. His faoe was rigid, his lips the colour of a corpse, yet he gave no other sign of suffering. It was in vain that Telsie called "Papa!" and tried to attract his attention. He was deaf to her ories; blind to all his surroundings; silent and motionless. "Reeeo! Reece !" It was hia wif a, oalling to him from another room; but he did not answer, did not even eeem to hear; and Grace, ooming to the door, remained there a moment watching. What s pretty scene it was, she thought. On the floor Telsie was again playing with har doll telling it that "Papa was finking and dolly 'uat be kiet." And there, by the window, was the husband who was all tbe world to her. With a noiseless step she glided across the room, and suddenly throwing her arms round Reeoe's neck, olasped her hands over his eyes Hedid not move nor speak. " Whois it?"said Grace in a feigned voice, " I give you three guesses." "Mamma !" shouted Teleie, but Reeoe said nothing. " What is the matter dear?" Grace asked, raising herself on tiptoe, and peeping over his shoulder with a smiling faoe. _ She saw the book in his hand ; the name written on the flyleaf; and tbe smile on her face vanished away. One bitter cry she gave, and then again all was silent. The moments passed, and there was no ohange. Then Reece turned his head, and looked at his wife. Their eyes met, and he knew that what he feared was true. Without a word he laid the Bible on the window-Bill and left tbe room.