|Chapter Number||PART III. II. (Continued.)|
|Chapter Title||A DREAMER OF DREAMS.|
|Newspaper Title||The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Under the Great Seal|
[NOW PIEST PUBLISHED.!
UNDER THE GREAT SEAL,
Author of "Clytie," "By Order of the
Czar," " John Needham'b Double,"
" Cbuel London," &c.
CHAPTER II. (Continued.)
A Dreamee of Deeams.
,t( Almighty God was good to you, my son," said the cnre.
"I hae tried to think sae, my dear friend," Alan replied, " bnt what about the ithers that perished ?"
"The blessed saints must have inter« oeded for yon," said the cure, " and our Almighty Father had work for yon, who knows perhaps for the glorification of his Church, for you were as I remember, my bob, a brand snatched from the burning by the good influence of that,saintly wo* man who was given to you as a helpmate and companion."
" It passes belief that God could hae any work for sae poer a creature, for ane sae punished and persecuted," Alan answered, -"and yet it was mirac- ulous that I was ressurrected as you might eay, from that living grave to be plunged intae anither, and still be saved to see yo again in the flesh. While iwery timber o' the ship went to pieees and iwery man o' the puir bodies who had .ailed wi me and fought wi me went to the bottom, I was lifted out o' the break- ers, and in the aettin' o' the sun, I rosa reight np, a' torn and ragged, it is trae, wi' bleedin' hands and feet, but I stood reight up, a' the same like a livin' pillar .n. a mighty plain o' ribbed sand; and I started off to walk agin the red bars o' the san. On and on,the sand hot to my bleed in' feet, a' the land red wi' the last light o' the day. And when I reached a long, low-lyin' city that I thought on as the New Jerusalem, a refnge and a blessin, I had only risen from the dead to fall into slavery, heathen slavery. I came nigh «pon cursing God and mysel-asking your reverence's pardon! Nae, dinna tarn away frae me, I'm nae sae wicked as ye
- "You have been most unfortunate/'said the priest.
"From slavery to a freedom hardly worse, frae freedom to enforced service i* the field, feightin' for what I dinna ken ; I only desired to be free. The fiends ann a smothered the voice o' my saintly intercessor at the mercy seat. It seemed I conldna dee, for when I was healed o' my wounds and come to ken mysel again I was a prisoner, what should hae been a hospital was a dungeon, what should hae been air and ann was just a stifling peat and darkness. Is it nae strange I hae the patience to tell ye o' my woes P"
'? " The wonder is, my poor unhappy son, that you do not proclaim them from the housetops," the cure replied, affectionately pressing Alan's bony hand.
" Ton were always kind and consider« ate, my father," said Alan, his voice softening, his eyes moist with emotion, "and I am gratefn', dinna ye think I amna; there are times in this heavenly city when I forget everything, savin' the sunshine, the blue skies, and the wondrous palaces, and when I feel as if I had begun
to walk the sacred streets o' Paradise. D'ye mind the saintly tender wife I had oat yonder in Heart's Delight P Ah, it waa only she kept me frae madness. She came to me and sat by me, and talked to ma in her soft sweet voice, and bad me
be patient; and many's the time the gaoler looked as if he just envied me my chains when he heard my cheerfn' voice in response to hers ; and he'd fairly greet when I tow'd him who I had had visitin' me, and thanked him for lettin' her through the gates ; eh, but it was a sad day for me when the owd man deed and anither come i' his plaee who kenned nae Joseph, as the Scripture hath it !"
" It was the Blessed Mary that led her thither, my son ; you had prayed to the Holy Virgin P"
" I had prayed to God and the Blessed Tirgin, to Blessed Michael the Arch- angel, to the holy apostles Peter and Pani, and to all the saints I'd ever heard yoa name in those happy days in the little chapel in the bay and the Great House inshore; and I asked for Hannah, her name was on my lips in season and oot ; and one day or night she came-I conldna much distinguish night frae day-she came * with a great leight about her. I could see
irvery stone i' the slimy wall o' my cell, iwery bit o' mortar and deevilish thing that crawled there ; and then it a' changed to the valley o' Heart's Content, and we sat outside the tent they made her there, and I could see her gracious countenance and hear her heavenly voice, and feel her soft hand in mine ; and that was happi- ness onough to wipe out years o' misery ; and she came again and again day after day, and the prison walls fell down and we sat beneath the trees of Heart's Con- tent ; bnt sin' I left that hoose of deten- tion and sailed the sea and anchored in
this haven that is a sea and a city a' in .ne, I nae had sight o' her but once !"
" Ton have seen her again P' said the priest.
" Aye, last neight of a* ithers ; but it was different frae the prison, and it was only in a dream ; she eame to me the neight and she led a young man by the hand ; he was dripping wet wi' the sea ; 'twas a sailor lad ; and she said unto me soft and low, but in clear accents, im- pressive and deliberate, ' This is our dear son David be good to him, he will need your help and love.' At first I thought he mun be dead, but she smiled as if she knew my thought and said, ' No he lives;' and then I woke and went forth ; it was break o' day, and Atilio was up and in " his boat and he put ber head about and we.sailed into the lagoons, and the world was just beautifn' beyond imagination, and I said to mysel I'll see him here- abouts my doar sou David, and the wind coming in from the blue sea I just thought answered me and said, yes ; and I felt that I should ken bim him the momnnt I set eyes upon him, for the lad she held so tender like by the hand had her winsome
- The sole right of publication in West Aus- tralia has been purchased by the proprietors of the West Austbaman.
look in's eyes, and I could remember my
ain sel when like him I was that tall and
straight, like a young poplar swaying in the wind; though now I look like that same tree blasted by the lightning, with bare branches, a jest and a scoffing to those who had escaped the storms."
"Not so, dear friend, grey hairs are honourable, and the lightning has not withered your heart, nor blighted your life. You have sinned greatly."
" Aye, I know it !" said Alan.
" We have all sinned greatly," con- tinued the priest, " but few have been punished upon earth as onr Heavenly Father bath punished yon ; and as I have already voucned for it on your contrition, your resolution to sin no more ; and your humble confession, your sins are forgiven you. Tomorrow in chapel, fitting time and place, we will speak further of this. Meanwhile, Atilio you see has laid the cloth, and it is fitting we refresh the physical man."
" Aye, but ye tafc me straight back to Heart's Delight !" said Alan, pushing his straggling hair from his forehead. " Te always knew how to win a man from un- happy thoughts, how to soothe his temper. Spiritual and pheesical 1 always said Father Lavello had nae equal on airth ! Terese bring the chekkens. Atilio, pour
out the wine."
The care smiled and drew his chair to the table and talked of the ¿uistrians and the fortunes of war, told stories oE Venice when she was mistress of the seas, talked of Verona, and coaxed his host back from the hard lines of his miseries into the
genial atmosphere of the Lion of St.
Father Lavello set his agents in Eng- land to work finding out David Keith : and they traced him to old Petherick's at Yarmouth. It took months, however, to conduct the correspondence. While they were waiting for information, Alan and Father Lavello made their dispositions for the future of Alan's son and heir. The cure, with a righteous regard for higher powers than their own, took frequent occasion to warn Alan by reference to the past that what might seem to man the most wise and virtuous plans did not always find favour with God. They had both good hopes, nevertheless, that Alan might live to embrace his son and endow him. with such of his worldly goods as he deemed honestly come by, with a reversion of other treasures to the service of Holy Mother Church.
Meanwhile, with the aid of a wise councillor and banker in Yenice, Alan had been enabled to withdraw, from the Bank of England, a considerable sum of money that had Iain' there on desposit since the days when David Plympton had induced his son-in-law to place there » part of Hannah's dowry and certain savings pf his own.
It was fortunate for Alan that no legal or other record of his piracy had come between him and his written and duly witnessed order for this money, the admiral who fought the "St. George" having, as we have seen, wiped out with his official narrative every soul con- nected with it, the only living creature who could have - given evidence to the contrary being Lester Bentz, who having been knighted "for distinguished services to his country," was at that time doing official duty as Governor of a group of islands far away from Newfoundland. Sir Lester Bentz was indeed a man of influence and con- sideration. He had taken out with him to his island home a young wife, and it is quite possible that he has founded a family of colonial governors, who will carry the name of Bents with honour and distinction to official graves. Father Lavello declined to discuss with Alan the mysterious, not to say peculiar, ways of Providence as exemplified in the case of Sir Lester Bentz, except to point out to him the usefulness of Sir Lester's absence from England, and the utter improbability of his ever being in a position to do farther injury to him or his son.
So the time went on, and Alan found himself not only no longer penniless, buta mam of carrent means, with gold in his pocket and gold in the Yenetiau Bank.
From being laughed at in Yenice and treated with pitying smiles, he became the wonder andadmiration of the city, beloved of the poor, respected of the rich, au eccentric, it is true, still a little mad, but with method in his madness, and in his bright, flashing eyes, the light of benevo-
The solitary Turk salaamed him, for he had brought light and warmth and furni- ture and tapestries .back to the old palace. The gondolier and his wife obeyed his every whim, for he had made their gloomly cover, in the back ways of the palace home- like and comfortable; so that when the winter came they were not perished, and they had wine every day, and blessed the Yirgin and her messenger, the mad Englishman, for it.
Thus in thesedays of his premature age and solitude, Alan Keith found something of consolation and recompense for much of his suffering, and with promise of a living son to take his hand and pass down the last hills of life with him, a son to whom he could talk of his mother, a son to whom he could tell his secret of Demon's Creek-a sou whom he conld endow with wealth and power, a son who might restore the names of Keith and Plympton to honour and respect at home and in New-
Bad Omevs job the "MoBxnrc
No sooner was the "Morning Star" well on her way than she became the sport And scoff of the elements. Ships are lucky or unlucky as men are. The "Morning Star was unlucky.
If there had been a league of fate against her, she could not have been worse beset than she was on this voyage, which was to be memorable in the career of David Keith.
He set out with a cheerful heart. His hopes rose high with his love. Elmira had given him a token of her pledged affection. It was a ring in exchange for one he had pressed upon her finger at parting. Sally Mumford,his foster mother, had said " Good-bye " bravely, without a tear that he could see. Mildred Hope had permitted him to kiss her forehead and press her generous hand. Zaccheus Webb had broached a special keg of brandy that had been smuggled from the Moun seers, and had drunk himself into ballads and sea songs ; and Harry Barkstead had gone as far as Bristol with his friend and. made the coach ride merry with his free and hearty manners ; furthermore, he had
given quite an air of distinction to David's sailing by his patronage of tho captain and owners of the "Morning Star" bound for Halifax and St. John's.
Nothing could have been more promis- ing than David's trip until the " Morning Star " began to buffet the great rollers of the North Atlantic. Her troubles did not come upon her suddenly or altogether unexpected, for the glass begun-to fall steadily from the time she was clear of the land. But one peril followed another with the direst persistence. She encount- ered a steady crescendo of disaster.
There was not a clond when she en- countered her first fierco gale. The skies were a steely blue. Walking over the dunes at Caister, or tramping atong the Yarmouth streets, you would have said it was a fine, breezy day. The high, clear skies wonld have been voted cheery. Fishing smacks might have delayed put- ting out to sea until the glass changed ; otherwise it would not have been thought, especially by landsmen, anything but good weather; yet on board the "Morning
Star " it was awful.
The winds raged from every quarter of the compass. The sea rose in vast waves that beat upon the ship with thunderous
David Keith had seen storms in the North Sea. He had ridden through heavy gales with Zaccheus Webb in the "Flying Scud," that did not fly, but laboured and kept her keel strong and steady, a veritable Dutchman for stern and beam ; but he had seen nothing like the North Atlantic, had heard nothing like the roar of the winds that drove
against the " Morning Star " and at times threatened ¿literally to blow her out of the water. Now she was on her side, now she wonld right herself to rise upon the topmost wave as if to slip into the gulf beyond ; all the time straining and crying like a living thing. The sailors Strove to ease her, tying np of everything that could give an extra grip for the strong unseen arms of the wind that tore at her and ripped hor sails whenever there was a stretch of canvas to lay hold upon.
" Tell 'e she be unlucky," David heard one of the Bristol men say to another during a passing lull in the tempest. " I grant as yon says that she did not sail zactly on a Friday, but it were the 13th of the month, and Matt White, of Welsh Back, met a cat as he wor going on board to the slip where the * Star ' was moored."
" I dnnno as cats is onlusky," said the other, "I don't hold with all they says about cats, nor yet about pigs being onlucky."
" Don't 'e ! Well then I tell 'e they be as onlucky as priests or women on a ship!"
«' Well, Billy," was the reply, " I'd risk the luck if I had my gal aboard."
" Wonld 'e now f Then I wouldn't, so I tell 'e ! I believes strong in omens, and yon mark my words ; and talking of pigs, there was a drove of beasts unloading in the Welsh Back the very day we was towed down the river. And yon knows well enough that Matt White dreamed as the'Morning Star' would go down and didn't waunt to sail in her bnt they mod him ; and once afore on a similar dream the ' Warlock ' did go down as sure as we are in for the dirtiest weather as ever was!"
David being the only passenger on board had opportunities of becoming acquainted with the officers and crew. Dnring the first few days he enjoyed the trip immensely. The captain was a sturdy if somewhat silent man, bnt he listened respectfully to David's fishing
The first mate liked to talk and he found David a good listener. The north- ern coast of Newfoundland was well known to him and he gave it a bad charac- ter. It was not only a danger to ships bat it harboured desperadoes. The coast was sparsely populated and all manner of ruffians occupied it, building themselves shanties in the rocky oaves and to his certain knowledge practising the villainous work of wrecking and robbery. From this they drifted into the traditions of the coast and then into the stories of |the sailors. David told him what he had over- heard, and the mate confessed that there was a feeling of uneasiness in the ship. He had advised the captain to let Matt White quit, but the captain was a rigid disciplinarian and he would not hear of a man who had signed articles being released on frivolous grounds; for Matt had confessed that the only reason for his desire to get another ship was on account of a dream.
During the heaviest stress of the first gale that was noted in her log two of the crew of the "Morning Star"came upon throwing Matt White, of the Welsh Back overboard, a a Jonah, but they relented when the storm abated and Matt had shown himself as willing as he was capable takingeverybitofdangereusdaty assigned to him with a cheerful " Aye, aye," and holding out npon the yards with a superb grip when the sail at every bulge seemed as if it must fling him into the sea* If Matt feared he did not show it, except when omens were talked about. No sailor aboard had a sterner nerve, none worked as Matt did, without a murmur.even when piped from tho short and intermittent
rests that hollowed the cheeks of other
men and took the strength out of their
[To be continued on Saturday."]