|Chapter Title||- III, IV Sunday at Home|
|Newspaper Title||The Australian Star|
|Trove Title||Dolph Meldrum's Wooing|
DOLPH MELDRUM'S WOOING
An Australian Story.
By Mrs. BALDWIN HODGE,
V' , 1- ' > ... ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.' , ; -v
GR'ABTEIt V.— Contiuucd. - I
"Oh, it's taut Prfcd— the young terror, ho fas- | toned her hair to this." The mother was always "her" and sho while she was bound In tho toils of her enemy, Even .Dolph nevor addressed or spoko of her
by '.the old ta\tfoot\ name of 'mother wnon possible toV-avoid dpiiig so. Ah the truitli dawned on tho mon tboy, Iilto Nita, could find no- other vent for thoir roliof' save in hysterical laughter. That of the elder man was brieL for tears camo at tho sight of the young girl's patient1 Augers .undoing . die mischievous work, and at sight of the woman that called her. daughter.
>. AO Aliyu ,IHW IUUI7J A.V uiwm UIU11UI ..». lDolph' followcd .him back into tho lonely kit chen. Bettor a stablo, or hut, or humpy, than paradiso in presence of tho wretched woman, onco so oomely in appearance. pHAPTER IV.— SUNDAY 'AT HOME. ' Tho following Woducsday tho coacli loft Pal morston en routo for Hill End, and boro away among its passengers Moldruin, tho' elder. Tho days intervening between tho momorablo "Wed nesday were spent by tho family — mother ex cepted, who still remained in her holplcss con- edition,, aiuV wholly- unconscious of tho change 'tliat.nvouVd -mark Vaiv era in her life — In getting ready tho outfit for tho journey. Dolph and Ills father In making purchases, and Nita in put- ling in tho ncccssai-y stl'lches for Ills comfort, and pondering with loving, thoughts over the pleasure it would glvo her best loved to gazo on- lior handiwork. On Tuesday afternoon father 'and son wcre'Tn'-Cdlib's-storo" for tlio purpose of purchasing sonio-slight hitherto forgotten article. Georgo Cobb v.'a3 wandering In lordly, careless fashion through the Ironmongery and grocery department, and as Meldrum pore went forward Dolph and ho oxchangod a- few words, as usual ... Cobb- taking tho lion's share of the confab, whllo 'Dolph. listened. . "Still In the blues,; , he sard, ' ' alluding.' to Dolpii's idowncast 'expression of coun tenance; ' ntt'd' .then without waiting a reply began to talk .-on a subject nearer, his hoart. I vo , -proposed;- old' ripn," be said, "I boon rejoct- ' ed. ' Thinks I'll' ask her again, I expect, for X 'am sui-o she' cdn'uot'. rare Tor ' anybody olse; for they keep hor ljke a nun, and she has seen no one except mb—und, well, y'oii don't count, for " I'm sure yoii'ro not the out to attract a girl, like Meldrum mado no reply, but almost uricon- ; sciously. A. Unj- 'glimmer of sunshine! crept Into I the encompassing 'gioom.' ' ' ' ' ' "Coyness,"' I' reckon; -went on Cobb, or -pride, | because isho' suspects -the- -paten wlthbolds ms B1I"Perbaps so," murmured- Dolph. "I'll Pu' ' the pater, for a' month, and- If she'll have mo 1 11 'let' the. trip abroad- slide."- ' ; DoIpK's 'thoughts -and- hopes -travelled atj light ning. rate. .Coilld he, a man with nothing to oltei'" ih 'ther shape of wdalthr or even . respecf- ' ability— foi' his mother s siu dimmed the lustre "of that— ask Agnes Holme to be his wife.' H6 UnbU' .'such hopes' wore Impossible of rea lisation, yet the mere thought made him dizzy. . Cobb, notlcqd his. preoccupation, and resented his taciturnity as an insult to himself, and mock ingly referred to' the probable cause of it. In nately taotloBs; good .'feeling never balanced so. much as a hair's breadth his consideration for another's feelings. _ 1 "Still in tho blues,. I see/', he remarked, and thou added, meaningly,; "Nothing wrong at home, 1 None but Cobb Would havo alluded to _the veiled- skeleton that cast Its shadow over Meldrum 3 life ' . Meldrum' lifted 'his ' head -haughtily. _ - . . . g;" jiq said briefly, What should .there hO?" '" . . . . " " _,,, nhhb.
... "Nothing tnat 1 Know 01, "-h.-" — abashed; : though he knew woU enough the vam- -plro that devoured tho peaco of Ms friend at lr- 'rcgular IntArValfi was 'holding high r.ovel. _ "Dolph " 110 asked, after a pause, and ho found, that Dolph was not 'likely to flden'co l'felatlng to the trouble at. home YVTmt a ' your guv.'nor after. . Is he really going auay to "Ycs,1 replied Dolph, hauteur of tone stlll |"' bepUblo'"in his even voice, and coiaiy- distant "Trotton game," said Chbb. "All he'll get will ho experience, 'and that'll toko overy penny ho s 1 got' to gain— that to, every penny ho can spaie th"There'sS 'nothing. doing In Palmoraton. It's tlullbr, and money's harder to get than it V' "Butfthero's always nps and down3. l£ok at my old buffer, The world goes, well with him, llDblph 'drew a long breath tos he_ looked 1 at the well-droned, portly figure of Cobb, senior, and thon at tho spare, close-knit frame and sbfibby atiiro'df his own parent. # . The following morning at daybreak Dolph re turned to the cottage, a£tor wltnesBlnE tho a&- parture pf the mall coach from the Diggers Rest." Nlto was busy over hor household duties, working by .lamplight, until the day grew, older. "1' shy, Dolph," sho said, turning round to ' confront lilm with a scrubbing brash In her light hand, She was standing on a chair, and scour- tog tho kitchen dresser. "I think we d betor lot . .her. .know, father ha3 gone before she gets an> more— It might sober her." . . "Is, she still on the sofa?" . "Yob: I lockod.the door and took tho koy,. so 11 ,she does go out she must come this way.- .On. Dolph;. If only shold give it .up, and father have ' luck, and intUi© our /fortunes, wouldn t tt bo glorious?". '""It would," BkiDolph dubiously; "but menu-, .time wa hadl.better. earn, am save as muchVas we cau,;for fpar ho should comeback poorer than ho goes." ' ' " ' ' \ "But, Dolph; I wouldn't be tho leaslj surprised If thtngsdldu't turn out- well for; ug-udA his. Ho's liad such a lot to put up with through hor, that.tt'd only ho fair if he was lucky now." . Dolph smiled at hor reasoning, and telling her "It did always follow that ill was followed by good hick," ho went to see if the erring one was, in lit condition to receive tho news he intendod - to tell her. . , -- She was seated on tho untidy, uncomfortable, couch, weighted with the miserable burden of her excesses. At sight of her appearanco all filial love— and It was great— gave way to resentment. "You are satisfied now,' he said sternly, as he sat down In a chair opposite ' hor couch. "Why?" sho asked tearfully.. Sho ..was at that stage of her disease when the effect of previous libation was wearing awajv and the nauseating craving for more brought 'her to the verge of despair. ' "You have driven father away— our only friend— a man as good and. true, and patient as any man yot born." 1 . She began to shed teardj-" weak, slowly-fallpg tears, that trickled through the slender white lingers that covered her face. Dimly sho begau to realise that something unexpected had befal len her. "You are hard, Dolph. Your own mother, who nursed you. when you were a baby." "My own mother ?" he cried, standing ..before her, "Ah! yes; in that fact lies the qttng; It 1s never absent, from, my thoughts, and the know ledge maddens .me. Woman, I wonder my fa ther has not killed you." His angry outburst seemed to steady her sway ing noryos. , She lifted lier head, burtbened with Its mass of'untldy hair, and Iopked at him with a dignity. .Ill-suited to her bp-ijiuddled apearance. "Wonder!" she sold, "rather that I, 'a' Mor- daunt, should have placed 'mjtoelf . in a position to be looked down on by my own' son— the son of a 'common labouring meehanic.Woiider rather that ! should have mated with such. Marble cannot! ahlmllate with freestone " "The 'labouring mechanic' Is worth a dozen Mordauilts," he said fondly. 'Dolph," sho cried,' loftily, A"you have their blOod in you velns . fGursc it! To my cost I know It," he cijleil, a blaze of anger niumlnfhg the' clesft jgrey of his eyes'. "Some , day," sho went on, heeding' nolther. his interruption nor anger, "I should,not bo surprlBT ed tb hear that' my father— If he Ts alive— should send for one of you boys. Or, at any irate, send something, to.- help -you." ..
\ "The best and. only, help I .nosd'ls a sober mo ther. That Is debarred mo so all olse is usoloss. I want 110 help from any man— least, of all from 'your relations." - . He walked away. Left alone sho bowed hor lioad and wept. Tho weak futile tears of a mlsorablo friendless crea- 'turo. Dolph had never spokou so plainly lioforo. His love for. lior had liolpod to hide hor alfllotlmi, and bear with Its aoiiBequoncoB. "Fool! fool!" sho sobbed, and tho words wero wrung from a dry, aching throat. "I should no- ' ver touch It? Poor weak . fool— poor, weak, fool!"
Sunday. Tbo.poaceful day of the week; and tho most restful day in Dolph'B week. Not restful In the eyos of somo for eaoh hour of It was mapped out as each day of tho. preceding wock.had been. In tho early morn a. long, .walk during which ; somo milos of ground wero travorsed, then come broakfust, and after It morning eorvleo, this combined physical reBt with time for thought. Ho rarely mlEsod either morning or evening service, and to outwnrd nppoarnneo was a moBt devout young man. Yot tho feollngB that drew him to church wore- not religious, but puroly selfish onos, Wltblu the quiet edifice whilst tho prayers and formal portions wore gone' through lio pondered over muuy sooular problems that 1 puzzled his brain. Ills mother had always held church attendabco a3 of primal Importance to ono of hor gentle birth; and had consequently brought up hor children to bo constant church-goers. Thus . from Ills earliest childhood ho had boon accus tomed to utter the responses, and although he loved their words and melodious intonations. If . not tliolr language, lie- followed tho sorvlco with'' 110 mental effort at all, and was.frco to .dwell on top!cs,that had crept Into- his mind during the - working, week. " ' . 1 . , Tlio Sunday following his father's departure ho had walked' Ms usual loiigth of 'miles, and- re turned home in time to breakfast with only Nlto ' for company, for. his mother and' the boys wore not early, risers, and then after performing ono or- two.dulte3, usually ddrio by hto father to bene fit Nlto In hor housework, ho dressed as usual ' for mliurch. He was somewhat surprised - to - find Ms' mo ther, Bobby and Jack equipped, in Sunday out door apparel also. Sb prevailing fashion of crinoline and ohlgnpn, and the hoys In smart -Icniekor BUits, with deep whlto collars.' . .'...., ' All signs of her recent debauch had vanished, and sho appeared If anything better In outward apponraiice for It. She looked years .younger than the mother of' Buch a son ordinarily does. Household cares, and worries that plant crow'q feet round the oyes of most -mothers left no im press on her smooth features, for sho know tlioni nbt. "Yes,-" she said, In her.-quick way,- In imply to his .mute iuqitiry. "I am going to church— 3hall wo accompany you", or will you go alone?" His thoughts wont bnek to many similar Sun days, wh'on after every drunken,' bout, she went with ponltont contrition to wipe away her or- rors In church attendance., "Wo can go together," he said, quietly. "Aro you coming Nlta?" The samo question had been ' asked "for a score, of previous. Sundays.' The mother folt It Ineumhont on hor to ask file question and re ceive Nlta's petulant "Ho.w .can I?" In reply, Although sho knew the duties that had gradu ally 'devolved on tho girl's shoulders made It Im possible for hor to perform them- In time for morning service. They wore early for church'. From his secluded
corner he watched tho congrogatlon straggle in ono by one In genteel quietness: until tho building was fairly well filled. Tho Pleyers, tho Nowtowns, the Grahams and tho Holt-Browns, all families moving in the highest rank of Palmerston society, and ropro- soriysd by fashionably-dressed mothers ancj daugh ters, and fathers and sons. .Then came Agnes Holmo, . in the raidnt of a dozen girls of varied .ages, pupils of her nunt— a maiden lady, who walked stiff and orect at the rear of hor charges, like the martinet those under her knew, her to bo to tho cost of their comfort. Lost of the'little. pro cession was Mrs. Holme, a timid-looking little widow, with nothing of her sister's stiffness about her to denote thoir relationship, Next cams tho Horeombes, a family whoso grandfather Was', ac cording to local tradition, sent to this colony for M3 coUntty's good, and who departed- this life most conveniently when he had amassed a fortune large enough to enable. hto heirs and heiresses to became large landed proprietors, and people of note In tho land of their birth. After the rustlo of early sumrner'flnory and silken attire had set tled In quietness, Cobb, pero, mere ot ill, made their appearance. Dolph's lip curled as ho watchod their assump tion of grandeur. Tho mother, whose squat figure was handsomely robed In rich silk and laco, and the father, otout, florid and pompous, "whose every gesture betokened tho satisfaction and pride of a self-made man, well pleased with his Creator and his Creator's work. Then Ills eye fell on the ladylike, graceful, flguro of hto own mother. The air of oxtornal refine ment that Mrs. Cobb lacked was an evldenco in her ovory toaturo. . Thon tho service common cod; and the real sweetness of tho Sabbath began for Dplph Mel drum. Tho familiar sorvloe calmed his thoughts. Ho mentally wandered from hto. external sur roundings Psychological questions camo to him. .The connection between mind and mattor. Human thoughts, human life and human action. Life In its'beglnrilng and life In Its ending, life In repose, life iq action, lfg In Its manifold parts, tond llfo in Its entirety, . By nud bye .the drowsy hum of tho preacher's sormoh came to him, and he followed in mute dis sent tho dlscourso on a future life. .yiPJVhen'thto vllo body dies," continued tho preacher; "and returns to the earth from which tlio Creator fashioned It, and from Its bodily d'oatU.sr-"1 ' gs a Life Eternal. Tho puror, sweeter life of tho believer, where sin and unbelief shall 'hot enter to dofile, nor sorrow and grlof come to pain, us, Thon shall tho reward of Bellof and Faith be ours for evermore. "When tho darkness of Unbollovors can cast no shadows over our Faith and Purity, and the sunshlno ot the Saviour's countenance and tho eplonfiour of His love shall bo ours, not dreamily as now, but a beautiful reality, close and near to us. Thon shall tho recompense ot Belief be ours through the Life Everlasting. XVhon the Cross ot thlB life and the Crown of Thorns is replaced- by crowns of dnzzl- lng gom3, and tho weoplng of this sorrowful world ls: removed and; replaced . by everlasting Vmslc from harps of gold. Then shall the glory of our Trust in God and In Hto Holy Son, and In tho Holy . Ghost, the Mont Blessed Trinity bo ours. Oh, my dear Brethren, think of this, end of tho great Judg ment Day, and what peace, what joy, what com fort, will bo yours If, whon tho great trumpet shall sound Its groat call, faith and bellof have opened .your spiritual ears that you may hear, and, being' awakened, bo prepared to enter thq dread presence' of your Maker. Oh! bellove. everyone, that. are. soarchqrs after tho truth, and soekcrs aftor righteousness, that by faith aro yo healed, By your faith- are- ye mado whole, by your faith aro ye purified, by your faith are yo rendered fit for the life hereafter. Do not de lude yourselves by false hopes, and think that, through charity, or honesty, or by good deodB ye shall enter Into the Kingdom of Heaven. Not one of theso things shall avail you anything. Tho doors of Heaven will not open to you except you are filled. w.lth the true faith. Having know ledge of our sapctity and belief, let us glanoo briefly at thooyersejilMre, at tho sad lot of
those a jealous but jUBt' God has cost Into Hell for everlasting damnation. Listen to their awful' voices crying aloud for help, for mercy that can not be given. Harken to their pitiful cries for slumber that comes not to their aohlng, weary bodleB, for tho refreshment they will ineossantly crave for, and never know, or tasto of. Oh ! my dean friends, I cannot dwell longer on this ter rible, this most awful' piraishmont thit justly! - comes to tho unbeliever who turnB a deaf ear to the warning of God's chosen preachers. It un-. nerves mo to dwoll on the .ovorlastlng torments; that awaits them now, and Is awaiting for over the unfaithful and the- unbeliever.. If r have given you hope. If I' havo given you a glimpse of comfort, if I have given you a glance at tho , paradise that awaits for you beyond the deep, dark grave to which we aro each and ell travel ling, I am repaid. To God alone Is the glory. I am but a poor, focblo Instrument struggling and trusting through Faith and. Belief to become worthy of Him in whom I put my trust, and may tho blessing of God tho Father and God the Son and God tho Holy Ghost rest on the rendering ot His holy "Word! Amen." (TO BE CONTINUED.)