|Chapter Number||PART II. III.|
|Chapter Title||DAVID TELLS ELMIRA OF HIS MISSION TO NEWFOUNDLAND.|
|Newspaper Title||The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Under the Great Seal|
[NOW FIRST PUBLISHED.]
UNDER THE GREAT SEAL,
Author of "Clytie," "By Obdeb of the
Czab," " John Needham's Double,"
"Cbuel London," &c.
David Tells Elmiea of his Mission
" Steadj, let them come up to us," said
The Plying Scud's boat drew alongside* " Oapp'n Webb says yo moughtn as well put back, be be agoin to land catch at jetty and 'ull be hum to snpper."
As a rule, the fishermen ferried their hauls from the roads to the beach, where the women washed and packed the mack- erel or herrings, as the case might be, while the auctioneer's bell resounded along tbe coast, to notify the fish he had for public sale. In the regular season, when " the poor man's fish," was the harvest of the sea, in which Yarmouth chiefly engaged the beach, was a sight to behold. Men must have a chief. If some bold spirit does not elect himself to domineer over a community, the community will elect one. ' Even Heart's Delight, freed from the tyranny of the Admiral's rule when the fishing season was over, must have a leader, and they obeyed David Plympton. The Yarmouth fishermen in the old days, and quite late in the present century, would elect a " mayor," to settle all disputes that might arise among them. He was dressed in a half classical kind of way to represent Neptune, and was car- ried about the town in a gaily decorated boat on wheels. In the midst of these opening festivities, the Dutch fishing fleet would come sailing in, and then there was the " Dutch Sunday," with its comming- ling of foreign folk, and British, and " all the fun of the fair," which the knowing Hollanders held upon the beach for the áale of various toys and wooden shoes, globes of cheese, red-faced apples. Added to the Dutch fleot, the North country boats often brought owners, and captains and their wives, and they lodged in the rows, and helped to make Yarmouth busy on market days, when the local tradesmen And kiddiers laid out their stalls and spread their white awnings, making the market square gay and busy.
But this July fishing of Zaecheus Webb and the rest, was what might be called the off-season, and it made no particular addition to beach life of the time. More- over, old Zacky had a warehouse ami fisk curing place in the town, and he generally had carts at the jetty to carry his cargoes thither, except now and then iii the mat- ter of a small take in a July fishing.
"All right," said David, and BJ mira waved her handkerchief to the Plying Scud which had lifted her anchor aid iras already inviting the breeze with her great
" But we won't put baek, eh ?"
" No," said Elmira. " Won't yo* tatet saul, and then you can talk without stop- ping to puff and blow Kke a grampus, as father would say."
She leaned back aud laughed as she criticised her companion, who had found his secret and the heat a little trying
" I am not quite up to my usual Abroi I grant you," said David, " hut I'm equal to row you to the opposite coast and cast anchor at Schevenham, if you so wish."
"No thanfe you. I know how strong you are, and how proud you are of it," she replied still laughing.
" Who have you been sharpening your wit upon in town P" the boy asked, shipping his two heavy oars.
"If you smudge my gown I'll never forgive you," she said, without noticing his question, but moving as far away as she could from the mast and ropes which David began to get into place. Presently, he hauled up the lugger sail, and Bimír¿ put the boat about to catch the breeze which began to freshen as tho sun
" You really ought to be a sailor," said Elmira, as the boy hauled the sail taut against the mast, and offered her the con- trol of the rope.
" There," he said rearranging his estom perised cushion, "if you'll sit here and sail her I'll come to the tiller. That's it ; and if I ought to be a sailor I'm sure you ought to be a sailor's wife."
" Oh, indeed," she said, " it is not my ambition I assure you."
" I hope not, for I am *o be a lawyer ;
but- law or no law we'll have our boat Mira, net to say our yacht."
" Will we ?" she said, settling herself comfortably at his feet, where he had packed hits jacket and tarpaulin for her use, and holding the line with the hand of an expert.
" Will we ! Why of course we will ; and we'll sail right round the world. When I come in$o my money, Mira, I fear I shall astonish poor old Petherick."
" Yes P" she said, " I didn't know you were coming into any money, David."
"Nor did I," said David, "until this week ; that is one of the things I want to
" Very well, I am listening."
"This is how it is: my grandfather Plympton died ten years ago ; he left me liin heir, but his lands had been confis- cated ; the case has been in the Courts ; his trustees have been fighting it off and on ever since he died, and at last it has bften decided that a certain piece of terri- tory at Heart's Delight in Newfoundland, originally granted to his father and which he inherited, is to be restored to his heirs and assigns-well, Mira, my deai^ I am his heir and assigns, aud I am to go to Newfoundland to take possession."
"To Newfoundland!" Elmira exclaimed. " Yes, to Newfoundland." " You seem very glad."
" To go away P And yet you say you
love me and cannot live without me !"
" That is why I am glad."
"Because, you see, when all that is settled I shall come back and marry you."
" It takes two to make a wedding," said
The sole right of publication in West Aus- tralia has been purchased by the proprietors
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"I know that, and we shall be the happiest two in the world," he said, leaning over her and kissing her.
" You are very masterful now that yon are going to have a bit of money," she said, untying her hat, and pinning the strings to the waistband of her gown.
" Yes, my own," he said, smoothing her her hair as she coquettishly laid her head near him and then rested it upon his
"And are you going to be rich, David ?" "No, not exactly rich; Petherick doesn't know what the land's worth yet ; and there is, it appears, a recent purchase; a curious kind of a deal that the old man
made just before he died, but Petherick says chat's a piece of no man's land that's worth nothing to nobody, unless there may be minerals ; but supposing there are, they might not be worth working."
"1 never said I would marry you," laughed Eloura, pressing her head against him.
" Ton have said it in your eyes ; you have «aid it with your lips when they ut- tered no words, and with your dear hand when we have said good night ; you are saying it now. Oh, Mira, what would become of me if you were to say no, or if I lost yon, or we were parted !"
She let the sail slump for a minute or two, and permitted David to draw her
nearer to him so that he could look into
her eyes, and as he loosed the tiller, and the boat drifted with a flapping saï, he kissed her with his burning lips and in a hoarse wh'sper, asked her if she truly loved him ; '' not as I love you," he said, "with all my heart and soul, and wich every thougbt,and at every moment of my life, night and day ; but enough to let me devote my life to you ?"
"Yes, David, I love you," she said, overcome witfh his passion, and returning his hot kisses, "and I will marry yon !"
ki£j darling?" he exclaimed, "My darling !" and he could say ne more ; nor did she speak for ever so long. The boat
drifted round and headed as if of her own accord for Oaister and home.
The sun was sinking beneath the sea. The young moon like a crescent o? cloud appeared. A light cool breeze arose. David kept the Swallow's head straight for Caister; and for the time being the world held no happier conple than David Keith and Ellmira Webb. 8ho had given herself up to the glamour of the time. He had realised in her confession the dearest wish of his heart.
" 'Twas Dowx is Cupid's Gabden."
Love is a ticklish business-or what is generally known as love. Elmira, with David's arm round her as they walked along the dunes in the. moonlight to her father's cottage, believed she loved David Keith. She had thoughts, however, be- tween his embraces and as sequels to his predictions of happy days in store of what Harry Barkstead would say. He was the bean ideal of the East Coast girl's fancy -he was so bold, " had such a way with him," and was " so much the gentleman."
There were also other wooers who had
followed Elmira with their eyes and sent her hot love messages on St. Valentine's day.
It oceurred to her to think there was something selfish in David's desire to secure her all to himself, to rob her from the freedom of flirtation ; but the last he should never do, she whispered to herself, even as he talked of his trip to Newfound- land and his return to marry his lov^e and set up housekeeping wherever she pleased.
The truth is Elmira had not the gift of constancy. She was constitutionally dia Sgenious. She could _ot help it perhaps,
she had had some guiding, authority to warn her against her natural shortcomings she might have improved upon them.
She lacked conscientiousness. Her moral faculties were weak. What phrenologists eau self-esteem and amitiveness were out
of proportion witli the controlling organs necessary to make them virtues. Elmira's mother, moreover, died when she was a child, and she had a certain politic strain in her intellectaal organism that enabled and induced her to disguise from her father the characteristics which might have shocked or pained him, rough and uncultured though he undoubtedly was. His education had been obtained in this
rough school of experieuce by land and sea altogether ontsido of books.
Like finds out like. Harry Barkstead suspected Elmira of these little infideli- ties, and he found pleasure in studying them. Harry was not exactly motherless as Elmira was ; hnt, like her, he had lived his life' without a mother's active influ- ence. Mrs. Barkstead had been bed- ridden as long as Harry could remember, a sweetly disposed woman whom his father loved and reverenced, not merely for what she had been when he married her, a bright, happy, girl, but for her patient en- durance of suffering and her gentle self
The common people of Caister and Yarmouth called Harry's father* Jtistiee Barkstead, the county folk knew him as Sir Anthony Barkstead, Baronet. As a Justice of the Peace, however, he ha>d won more renown than he had- in his
position as a baronet of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He was a regular attendant at the Sessions, and he was a County magistrate as well as a magistrate of the borough of Yarmouth, having qualifications in both county and town. He was a very rich man, had come of a rich family, and had married a rich wife, chiefly through whose influence he had been made a baronet ; for curiously enough his descent from the Barkstead who was military governor of Yarmouth for Cromwell, had militated against him with the King and the Gov ernmentj so long reaching is the royal and aristocratic memory of England. Yarmouth had sided with the Parliament, and had suffered considerably for its hos- tility to the king. At the restoration, the Yarmouth0 corporation Was purged of its disaffected members, and an address of sorrow and grief that had been voted on the death of Cromwell was obliterated from the town records. The local charters were surrendered for new ones, which gave the King power to nominate his 'adherents to the ehief offices of the borough. Barkstead and others of the Parliament's adherents fled to Holland. The States, under pressure, gave them up, and they were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn. Barkstead, the ancestor of the Yarmouth Justice of our
f-tory, with the rest, taking their death cheerfully and maintaining that what they had done was in the causo of -justice. Succeeding Barksteads lived to prosper and win the respect of Hollanders and
the men of Norfolk and Suffolk, but whenever honours for any of them were spoken of the Premier of the time shrunk from recommendiug for distinction the descendants of a man who signed the death warrant of Charles and was hanged at Tyburn. Strange that this should have been remembered against them in spite of services in Parliament and in battle ; but when Squire Barkstead of Ombersley Hall, Justice of the Peace and million- aire, married into the family of the loyal Pastonnes, the criminal strain, so-called, was overlooked, and while quite a boy, Harry was made heir to a baronetcy as well as heir to thousands of f rehold acres
besides foreign scrip and shares in the New River near London. Sir Anthony was a man of scrupulous honour, generous to a fault, but rigid in his views of morality and religion, a fearless and honest Justice of the Peace, regarding the poor with lenience than the rich, whom he debited in his judgments with their advantages of education and re- sponsibility to society whenever it came to be his duty to deal with what Yarmouth called the quality.
Justice Barkstead had loved his wife devoutly. On her deathbed she had com- mended Harry to his affectionate care and Sir Anthony had found comfort in the lad's advaucemeut until of late years when he had grown out of his control and authority, a patron of the turf, fond of society, a man of fashion in London, with a stable at Melton, a yatch at Cowes, and guilty of everyextravagance. Of late years he and his father had had serions words
about his exoossive expenditure. Sir Anthony had pointed out to him that such a leakage as he had introduced into the Barkstead banking aecount might in time drain off not only thousands but millions. Harry would for a time neutralise the ill effect of these scenes by a visit to Ormsby, to join his father in his country work and pleasures, visiting his friends, sitting with him on the Boneh, shooting over his manors, flushing1 the duck covers at Pritton and Ormsby broads, and making himself generally agreeable.
These visits, alas, were incidents in some of the lives of the girls of Yarmouth and Lowestoft» that left sad shadows behind them. Harry Barkstead was known to tho country as a Remarkably successful young* fellow with women, " a regular Don Juan, by Jove," it was said
alt the countrr dnb. The worst of it all
the fellow had snob pleasant and gracions manners; he was, just as free and f sa ok with the poor as 'be waa with the rich ; be had inherited tram his mother the eharm of manner for which the Pastonnes were distinguished, and with it the graceless ness and vtWatnoas gallantries of the Court at whbh the Pastonnes were notorious in its worst days. When Harry bronght his yatch round to Yarmouth he would make friends wifh the entire community, take seats for their now theatre, attend their concerts, visit the Mayer, and boat along the shore to talk to the beachmem. He had long «bown a particular fancy for old Zacky WeW» and the look-out men of Caister Point. Many a time had he sat and smoked a cigar in the little house on stilts and disonssod nautical affairs with
them. He loved " to get Old Zacky on
about Sir Anthony's notions concerning the destinies â£ S ero by Sands and
David felt it an honour to have Harry Barkstead for his friend whenever that
young hidalgo visited Ormsby Hall. What wonder, then, that Elmira Webb should feel flattered fey his attentions. She was clever enough, however, to understand that there was more of the real true lover
in David than in Harry. She was vain enough to think she could rival the prettiest of women, whatever their high position may be, if she had a ehance ; but it was already a tradition of fhe coast that Harry Barkstead was net a marrying man. On the contrary he was hwked upon hy such young women as Elmira had heard discuss him as a sultan who threw his handkerchief, a cavalier who counted his conquests and could never be caught in the bonds of matrimony. Elmira went to church and taught in the Sunday school; so she knew what the young women of Yarmouth thought about young Squire Barkstead, as some of them called him. Furthemore, Mildred Hope had in her quiet way ventured to caution her against the blandishments of Sir Anthony's son, who not only chatted with Zaccheus at Caister Point, bu$ looked in occasion- ally at the cottage on the dunes to talk with him about the mysteries of his trade.
Indeed when David and Elmira arrived
at Webb'« quaint, old house on the night of their memorable sail, Harry Barkstead was sitting 3n the little garden, smoking^ a cigar. He had been there for over an hour, during the latter part of which he had been watching through a short, but effective glass the manouvres of the Swallow, not to mention the manoeuvres of the boat's happy occupants. The devil of selfishness and lust had tempted him to be jealous of his unsophisticated friend,
[To be eo&Hnued on Wednesday.)