Chapter 233670598

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title"One Event Happeneth to All"
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article233670598
Full Date1876-04-15
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count3252
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleWeekly Examiner
Trove TitleHerbert Howard
article text

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HERBERT HOWARD. Ck?TPTEB I.—" ONE EVENT HAPPENETH TO ALL."'

, Gery?se. Howard, of ^Vallance, was', d^iog. Sir Christopher |Kureiall had been summoned from London and. had i pronounced the case hopeless.: , There •tfasquite a Sensation ia thé neighborhood, and, indeed, throughout the country, for Gervase Howard 'was one ojfth e wealthiest'?ien in it. It was true.that h? ,had-raade,his money in trade;but±hien,he was computed to be wortha sum thit wtinld have bought aristbcWitB within a radins of twenty miles. Tt grievsd Lord Spendpïaàt febr?ljr. to, see siicb a deplorable •jpfeji* as jGîérvase Howard, a fellow who had piade hisjnoneyby selling yards of calico and print, in possession of his ancestral ball:; but then it was a questlbn of imobey, you see. : That infernal lltir&e Bkyro?ket had let him iii .for it, and, ; Çiervàse. had offered somé&thou??udsmore than any one else. ,:j|t. was a ; Btrange and startling change from the days -whenGervase bad stood hungrily gazing upon' the dainties in a cook's Shop—had 'been accosted by a benevolent individual who bad' placed him in bis . warehouse—had . worked himself steadily upwards, until he had acquired wealth an4 -ipl}uence-rhad left the city and entered infopossession of the old mansion of the Vieriphasts. But though be bàd Igàibeâ the summit of his âtnhitipn, <3 er vaste Howard jcas far. |fóm the e?joytnent?e bad ?nfc^nated.; His innate vulgarity repelleà the'better portion of the country gentry who might have overlooked bis plebeian origin, hadthose business talents which enabled him to achieve success been àccômpanièâ by those qualities of mind and heart which nature distributee equally to the lofty and the lowly. Unfortunately, ,for Gervase, his mind was as narrow as.liis means were ample.

He had but one pride, the most hateful of all pridés—that of wealth ; and though a few citizen knights and encumbered esquires' did him the hoe'or of eating his dinners and drinking bis wiûes, the major portion held aloof ; and even those who condescended to associate with him, snubbed him whenever they could safely do so. Bis only son, Dalton, was one of those careless, good-natured, indolent, and cley?r fellows, whom . we cannot .help liking, and yet secretly despise. He was, upon the whole, a favprite. with the scions of the neighboring gentry who found him û" sufficiently pleasing companion, and an exceedingly convivial fellow to borrow from. Some few hours after the departure of Sir Christopher Kureall from Vâllànce, a» very modest vehicle drove up at the lodge gates, which were instantly, " Thank you Miles, I will walk to the hàll. In the present melancholy condition of my friend, it is better to avoi<i anything approaching to noise or alarm." The speaker was'a highly respectablelooking ma?, habited in blaick. His clothes were not fashionably cut, but tbe^ were becoming to bis tall, Wellproportioned '^figûre. Hiii, ïîultlesi llpiffl—pl?iii, gold giiard and st^dâ—bis carefully trimmed V muttôn chop',' whispers and clean shaven lips—all conveyed the impression of thorough respectability. 1 There "was something ?? r pleasaht about tbe foce, though. It «mid not béiii "thé sqiiàirë, lbùt, nBÎ chip-—in ithe firm closely, set lips— the straight nojàp^thë^rk VeU^efined eypbrowa—the lofty bro*. , No,—it,was , • t' " --r- r —i Hot not m in any w one nm of these, though perhaps •

it madeitself.felt through them ail.;' but ) wbeii t?ie usually drooping eyelids w ère' raise'!!, then—there it was !; In those steely grey eyes was the unpleasantness. In ;the sttamge, searching, glittering! hard, unfeeling expression of those eyes one côtïld read cruelty ; and token in conjunction with the firmly set lips, and;- the ,square jàw—à determination..that, would override all opposition — that would attain ' its ' end by any means, however daring that end—however , unlawful those means. Mr Malpas with j slow, measured steps left his carriage atid went to the hall—was admitted and. uBbpred, into the room of the dying :. " Ah ! Malpasj you have lost no time—you're a rare fellow for business," said Gervase Howard, in a voice singularly sharp and clear for one .who w?s pronounced to be near his end. " Your message, Mr Howard, reached meat an"auspicpus moment. I should have been out of town half an hour later." Very glad you were not—I don't know what I shoiild do without you, terrible lot to be cl?m?. Youtvôfraught paper and pen, ofcourse. I intend all foir Dalton if something that;£V« heard isn't true." . ' ^ 1 ° o , , - vr : MrMalpas raised his feyelids and f fehot a searching glance at his " triép'd," but made no comme&b. • •' • "I oughtn't to.hâvà put it oft so long, Malpas, bu t ï didn't think there was any cause for hurry. Why, I'm only sixty-three—no age at all. Per r haps Kureall's wrong, but be ought to know. What an awful charge he mâkès, and perhaps is no better than any o'ther dbbtoï,. 'But' ï'iiké'to have the best óf everything ; if money i?? do a thing, who is better able than Ï am to do it ? Now let us get to work. Mind what I say, Vallance and all is Dalton's, provided, mind you, providéd he isn't married." " Married !" exclaimed Mr Malpas, in affected amazement. " Have you any reason for supposing that he is mar.

ried ?" " We won't discuss that, Malpas. If he is not married, as I said before, Vail mce and all is his. If he is married, I give and bequeath thè whole of my personal property for the endowment of a charity to be called the Howard Charity." Mr Malpas looked across the,room as some one tapped at the door. There was a -very strange light in those unpleasant eyes of hiè, but as his face was averted from bis client, whatever its expression, might have been, was unnoticed. " Mr Dalton, sir." Ah !" exclaimed Gervase, "hehas come, has he ? Didn't know he thought so much of his father ; but Vallance and two hundred and fifty thousand makes a very affectionate son, very." And the old man chuckled at the thought of the hollowne?s of the friendship that his wealth had secured for him. " Mr Malpas, I believe ?" said Dalton Howard, as he entered the room and extended his hand to the lawyer. Mr Malpas bowed, and took the proffered hand very gently and respectfully. " Well, father, this is a. bad piece of ,work. , .They tell me that jCureàll catf t do anything |or. you, but I don't be; lieve it. Why you're a young man ye,t —what/is sixty-three? AH our race baye 1 been long livers, haven't they ? Chéer up—i;when thé springtime come? again you'll be better." . t .There w?s something honest and ojatspoken ?bou'tth? .youij'g man's litteriance that carried cpnvjciion óf his sinicerity .to : the.heart. of his father, an$ predisposed i him to put a (favorable coustruction w w — »V«»WM u^ruM tipbn «anythinghe.might u j vuiu|j. ouiguv say or do. In tbe whirl ôf gaiety,«nd

tófhaps dissipation Dalton had sometimes forgotten the existence of the parent to whom he owed it that the means of indulgence were in his power. But there were better moments in the ^oung man's life—shadowy, vague, imisunderstood aspirations for something different to the mere animal existence he was leading—a dim consciousness that the great wealth he was enjoying was not given merely to minister to selfish gratification, but that an account would be required of his stewardship. "How did you hear that I was ill ?" asked his father. "I was with Merton, and be told me that Sir Christopher had been summoned to Essex. I thought there was only one mail who would be likely to ' send for him in the quarter to which be bad gone, and concluded that something must be wrong ; so I ran down and here I ain." " What motive had you for coming %" said the old ma?, regarding him curiously, and with a slight tone of cyn-' i?ism. ' '! Motive, father ! What motive could; .1 bave but a desire to know how you were?" ; " How suddenly you have awakened to an interest in me ; it is about six months since I have seen you, and you 'spent exactly an hour with in e then." " True enough, father. I have not been as dutiful as I ought to have been, bùt^ you must not think that I am unfeeling. When a fellow gets among a host, of' others and is busy with one t?aóg and another, be is apt to forget ; (feat it^does not follow that he doesn't feèlj.ifather-."" ., , . ,. r < "Humphj What .have you been busy with ï" . " Oh, regimental duties^ they must bé attended to. . I.tbink there is sotaéthing approaching to à chance of •promotion. Major JElwick .is gone the way of , all flesh, and Merton will step into his shots, consequently I shall get a lift."

. "It does bot matter whether you dD or not. I have just directed Malpas to draw up my will in your favor, bnt I have a question or two to ask you, which I hope you'll be able to answer satisfactorily. Is it ttùe that when quartered at Borley, you became.acquainted with a family named Shenstoue ?" Mr Malpa? rose from his seat and walked ' to the window. It may have been that he was desirous of removing to such a distance that there should be no restraint upon the interlocutors, or it may have been that the seat he had been occupying prevented him from observing the face of Dalton Howard. , I think it wàô the latter, for he placed him??lf iii. such 1 a position that he commanded thè view j of the whole room; and of the countenances of both father and sou. The : face of the latter wàs à study at this moment. There Was to a keen observer a shade of uneasiness in it—just a momehtàry shadow as it were—then a, light, as if he had thrown off a disagreeable subject and was occujjiéd'in à pleasant contemplation. What impression was produced upon Mr Maljjds it; Would bé impossible to say, but jibe keen grey eyes took in every movement as the ears took in every word, though the'jrobm was spacious, and somé men wqujd jj?ye see?.nothipg and h'eai^ but little.. But Mr Malpas .sa w thé ahadè—• Mr Malpas the ?lighii very pjigH flush—Me "Malpas heard the . ^éply, Ye?j-father." • . . - ; . . " Ah. ! you became acquainted with à fômijy hafLéd Sbënstonë. Hbw many w?je'.;";the'rej father, liiotliër, so?"» ilaóghterB^-^iow many. ?",. , , .y - , : Jf&o Jai^ei, flnjy a widowed móth?r ànd an" Only daughter."

" Was tbe girl pretty ?" " Sotue people might think so." "Did you think so?" » Well—yes." " And what then?" " What then, father ? What do you mean ?'' The old man's eyes were fixed searchiugly upon the face of his son. " I mean this, Dalton—did you marrv her?' ^ The words were hissed rather than spoken, but the young man lioked calmly, almost haughtily, down upon the face of his father, and a smile played about the corners of his mouth. , "Every man has his price," said Walpole, and it must be acknowledged that the estate of Vallance and two hundred and fifty thousand pounds was a high price. The cynical words flashed across Dalton's memory—the thought that nothing could compensate for a mind diseased—that nothing could pluck from his memory the lie that the fiend whispered was necessary—made him pause for an instant before he answered • but he was indolent, he was luxurious in his habits, he had an overpowering dread of poverty ; honor heknew only by name, and so with one desperate effort he uttered the words, " No, father." "That will do, Dalton. If you had done so I would have cut you off with a shilling." Dalton feltasenseofgreatrëliefwhenhiB father spoke, for an uncomfortable doubt of how far his father's knowledge of bis conduct extended made him anxious lest each step he was taking might be involving him in a more intricate, labyrinth of error. ; ; " Now, Dalton, leave us for a short time. Mind, bcy^-averything is vours. i You will spend a decent?um upon my fanerai, not less than five hundred ; but iof this,I will speak in my will. Keep lip the respectability of the family. You are not given to races and; fooleries of that sort, so that the property will not be" wasted in your hands ; and when you

marry,mind that it is to some one of family, some one of good birth ; that is all we want. The name is good enough ; we bave money enough. Give us the family and we can hold our heads as high as the highest. I am glad you have not been fool enough to marry that girl ; yoa would have utterly disappointed nae, and I should haye been exasperated into punishing you ; I should indeed. Sbenstone ! Shenstone ! Why I knew the fellow whence hadn't sixpence in the world ; they have always been beggars—proud beggars, too. 'l lost sight of him, and beard that he had got married to some beauty or : other, and that he was starving her and himself, as he always did. So they tried to trap you, did they ? I am glad you escaped them. A pretty catch you would bave been. Master of Vallance and a quarter of a. million ! You are not deceiving me, boy ? You ar? quite sure that yoa are not entangled with the girl though —eh ?". " I hope you give me credit for more sense, father. Some one seems to have been Tery anxious to construct a damaging story out of a very simple incident. We were quartered there at Burley and bad a good deal of trouble to pass the time. Of course a pretty woman or two enlivened tbe dulness a little, and every officer in our mess paid as much attention to Miss Shenstone as I did." " Yes, I have no doubt of it. Well, go,my boy, and let Malpas get to work." TheJast words were kindly spoken, and Dalton withdrew. /.MrMalpas approached the bedside, listened attentively to the instructions of his ,client, and then descended to. one of the lower apartments, where he completed his labors. Ee : ascendiug, hfepded; the will tq, • Gerva.se Ho war ïhe old man called for his sheets' /

and carefully perused the document. "Call Tinley," be said. An old man, but, as Dalton expressed it, "in good preservation," entered the room. "Now, we must have another witness, who shall we get?" asked Ger- V a «^Tbere need be no difficulty out of your large circle of friends ; some one can he found," said Mr Malpas. " I don't know what your experience of life has been, Malpas; but I tell you Idon't believe I bave a friend. However, get some one, and lose no time, for I feel my strength failing." At this moment a servant tapped at the door, and whispered that Mr Merton desired an interview. u iphe very man," said Gervase Howard. " A particular friend of Dalton's. Call him in." Mr Merton came, spoke a few words, and then the business that weighed so heavily upon the old man's mind was concluded. . " Now leave me. Send in Dalton. I mu6t have him by my side when I am going. What a short titue I have lived ! What a little enjoyment I have had ! Sixty when I bought Vallance, and only sixty-three now that I am dying." Dalton Howard came in; Mr Malpas and the remainder withdrew ; father and son were left together. Hour after hour passed away, and still "the spark called vital" lingered in the " mortal frame," and it was not

until late the next day that the spirit of Gervase Howard departed. Then there was " a splendid funeral"— plumes, hearse, mourning coaches in long and sombre array,—and people who cared no more for the dead man than the hearse did" tried to look sorry, many of them failing utterly in the attempt. And then the will having been read, Dalton received the congratulations of all who felt interested in him, and there were many, for he was as kind-hearted as he was careless, and uas worth something over a quarter of a million ! There was one drawback to his enjoyment, however. I say enjoyment, because there is a wide difference between enjoyment and happiness, though the assertion may seem somewhat paradoxical. He had a conscience, though it slumbered and slept—and in the stilly night, notwithstanding his richly canopied and downy pillowed bed, he tossed restlessly from side to side with a certain tormenting recollection that he owed his grandeur, his wealth, his sycophantic friends, Vallance and the quarter of a million, to a lie. Moreover, Mr Malpas had been closeted with his father for an hour or so on the day of his death, having come suddenly, and to Dalton rather unwelcomely, from London by express. Mr Malpas was a thoroughly respectable man, credited by his numerous clients with sterling integrity—a prosperous professional man, and a member of a leading religious body ; but notwithstanding all these powerful recommendations, Dalton could not help feeling a little uncomfortable when the recollection of the man of law crossed his mind. Conscience suggested that he (Dalton Howard, of Vallance), dreaded the lawyer, because the said lawyer was a man of •unimpeachable integrity —one who could not and would not blink at any moral obliquity. His (Dalton's) suddenly conceived dislike to Mr Malpas was the natural antipathy of bad to good. But then self-love whispered that he was not so very bad after all— he had told his father a lie, to be sure but look at what he would have lost if be bad spoken the truth ! Besides it would have been a monstrous injustice to have robbed him of his birth-

right, merely because he had acted like a man of honor, and married the woman he loved. It was but a venial fault after all, and why should he worry himself about it. He would give a handsome sum towards the erection of that new church at Milford, about which so much had been said of late, and on the subscription list of which he had noticed the name of Mr Malpas for a large amount? That would mollify the lawyer and be a good deed into the bargain. It would show Malpas that he intended to make a good ^use of the money left to him, and he would be the more "inclined to overlook the trifling sin of which he muBt acknowledge lie had

been guilty, though he must say for.liimself that the temptation was so strong •hat he felt almost justified in commiting it. After all how foolish he w?s to worry himself about it. Malpas might not know anything of his marriage; How should he ? And if he did, a man could do a great deal with a quarter of a million ! (To be Continued.)