Chapter 3045755

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Chapter NumberPART IV. X (continued)
Chapter TitleTHROUGH THE VALLEY.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3045755
Full Date1893-03-01
Page Number6
Corrections0
Word Count3150
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954)
Trove TitleUnder the Great Seal
article text

OUR NOVEL.

/{SOW FIBST PUBLISHED _

UNDER THE GREAT SEAL

A NOVEL, _ BT

'"¿I' JOSEPH HATTOK,

Author of " Clytie," " By Order or the - - C&tB," " John Nebdham's Double,"

' -, "Cbuel London," Aks.

PART IV.

CHAPTER X (continued). "-Thbough the Valley."

r First, as is recorded in the legal hand! ^ol the ease, came the inquest, its adjourn-; moot, and the bnrial of the body., Then ' esme adjournment after -, adjournment

until David's deposition could be taken,: lad it was taken with the fear of death before his eyes, and fortunately for hint Itte few questions put to him were very; ..imple, and his Btory was amply corrobo ifetea. While Mr. Petherick had no

ttöctfß standî beîore the Court, except by tH^'eourtesy of the Coroner, he was an jmftfrtant factor in formulating the., evi llfenef» . and drawing forth the /.points

¡favourable to David. The accounts

.|giv¿n.by the looker-on who saw the begin-;

laing of the altercation, the first blow; -straek- by Barkstead and the last by Keith, were very explicit, and tended not only to reduce the crime to manslaughter, .bat even to suggest the possibility of a verdict of justifiable homicide, though the law at the time was far more severe than; kia now.

VJXû.the end, the jury, after some discus- sion as to the form and presentation of their verdict, gavef it as manslaughter, Tiirith extenuating circumstances. . r : ! _lie Coroner therefore [issued his irarrant for the arrest of David Keith.

îh response to this, medical evidence satisfied the authorities that David was -Hot in a fit condition to be removed from "Hartley's Row.

A few weeks later the case came before ' the magistrates. < David was well enough to plead. The case was taken in the chief magistrate's room, a limited number of the public being admitted.

?! The evidence given before the Coroner waa repeated, and the magistrates came to 'the conclusion that it was their duty to commit David for trial at the forthcom : ing assizes, but they were willing to take bail*»-to take substantial bail-for his .appearance.

Sir Anthony Barkstead, to the surprise of everybody present, thereupon rose /from a seat with which he had been 'accommodated apart from the magistrates' table, and offered himself as one of David's sureties, Mr. Waveny Petherick at the same time standing forward as ;another.

The sureties being in every way satis- factory, David was released to take his - trial at the regular gaol delivery in March.

"! Permit me to thank you, sir, for your great kindness in this painful matter," said Alan Keith, approaching Sir ?"' Anthony as he was leaving the Court.

"I conceive it to be only an act of

duty," was Sir Anthony's reply.

The two fathers bowed to each other and pa&sed on their way.

'Mildred had watched the magistrate's

house from afar. She dared not trust herself in the court. When; she saw David come forth with Miss Mumford, his father, and Mr. Petherick, and go towards Hartley's Row, with many ?sympathisers following, she followed too,

'uttering little prayers of thankfulness that David was better and a free man. She had not reckoned upon a committal . to;the Assizes. On her way she met Mr. Petherick going to his office. He in- formed her of the magisterial decision.

"Don't be alarmed," he said, answer- ing her sudden expression of anxiety, "he is sure to get off with a very light punish- ment, perhaps with no punishment at all; if you.have to count him among the prisoners at the Toll-house gaol he will . not need your visitations for long."

CHAPTER XL

A Bad Dbeam with a Lovely !

Image in it.

v February had set in with unusual, sug . gestions of an early Spring. Tufts of '?crocuses appeared in the flower pots that

filled every one of the window sills of Miss Mumford's house in Hartley's Row.

Alan Keith had already begun to rise at an early hour, and take long walks, revolving in his mind his long cherished 7,idea of visiting Newfoundland and un ¡ earthing his buried treasure.

: ^;By the banks of the Waveny, and '.through the meadows by .dike and home

' stead, he had already heard the wood-lark and the thrush. Along the beach the sea Trolled in with a pleasant sound of promise. 'Fishing smacks came and went with every d tide. Ou market days the stalls were .'brightened with the first flowers of the

'year, and the drying winds of March began to stir the dust long before - February fwas at an end.

. _.David was fast recovering.

; . It was noted by Sally Mumford, with a fateful joy, that he said nothing of

lraira. She almost hoped that the effect of his wound might have been to wipe old Webb's daughter entirely out of his ??"memory. She had heard of such things

happening as the obliteration of certain -occurrences in the minds of men and f women who had sustained hurt in fearful

accidents.

As David improved in health, Mildred Hope became shy and reserved. He . never failed to ask after her whenever

she stayed away from the honse more . : than one hour or two at a time. Sally de-

clared the lad conld not get along with- out Mildred. Alan Keith had come to find the girl a necessity. She knew so many things, was so deft with her needle, so learned as to geography, and so gener- ous and wise in her views of religion, theology having of late become quite a serious subject with Alan. Furthermore, her charities were so remarkable and on so large a scale, considering that she was poor and had no seemingly settled organ-

isation.

As for David, he seemed to be awaken- ing from a dream. He mixed up the loss of the u Morning Star " with the incident

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of ttie TOmhBaek aud Zaccheua now and then appeared td be the same person. ?pk^frA^ebb/.was éçmething to pity, not 4» sigh for ; a fjairy ©I th«j mist wb,o had lnpcked hint to his shame ; a something .sjiflhjas oldjMattjWhite might have seen Barnen he beckoned jtnd waved imaginary -flags before'ha-'flung himself ovorboard to cool his burning1 faee and find a lasting "rest ^

It was a bad dream with a lovely image in it, and a syren's voice ; they no longer "pulled aClusmtarlif and it might be that the tender eyes ,and calm, sweet face of Mildred HopeTiad already began their eclipse of the Jbold, handsome, defiant countenance of Elmira Webb.

One day when Sally Mumford had designedly left David sod Mildred alone in the house, "Alan being at Gorleston discussing ships with a skipper almost as battered as himself. David asked after

Zaccheus Webb.

David was sitting in an old arm chair by the fire. Mildred was embroidering a bodice for a county lady, in the interest of a poor little cripple of Gaistor. She was in one oí her happiest moods; ~foöked~~th6~picture of an honest loving English maiden, > small na to stature, as we knew, but with soft grey pyes, rich brown hair, a month made rather for lovo than religions reclnseship, and white teeth that made her laughter lovely.

_While, he talked wiik-her David looked mostly into the fire. "Once in a way he turned to her as if-to emphasise a ques- tion^ Jliildred_.answ.ered him-in a quite

subdued voiee. There was still between the two in mannerlraore ' oJLthe invalid and the nurse than belonged to the inter conraejof neigh boars and .friends.

The old clock ticked regularly in an encouraging and soothing way, and the hot cinders dropped now and then into the firepan beneath the grate, with a simi Jar^ drowsy influence "that helped calm

conversation.

" I had almost forgotten old Zacohy. How is the poor old chap P"

-" Quite weUrbodily," said Mildred.

"Still waitingP" asked David, his mind, which had kept clear of the sad memory of his return to the cottage, now going back to it.

"Yes/'

"For her?" " Yes."

" Still waiting, sitting by the fire and saying she'll come home ?"

" Yes."

" Poor old Zacky."

"He rarely leaves the house."

" I can see him as I saw him that day, shattered, broken, a very sorrowful old man ; it was not he who told me about

her."

This was the first time David had mentioned Elmira.

"No?"

"It was that woman misnamed Charity."

This was the first harsh words he had uttered.

" She seems to be very kind to the old man," said Mildred.

"Yes?"

" I have been there very often and have always found her attentive to his wants."

" How good you are !" David answered, looking at her.

" It is easy to be good when there is so ranch misery about," said Mildred, bend- ing afresh over her work.

" Easy for you to be good," said David, turning his face once more to the fire.

" You say truly," she answered, " it is easy for me to be good ; but think of Mr. Webb, he is good, yet his heart is break- ing."

" ' Keener than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child,' " said David, "how true, how sad. I will go and see Zaccheus, we will both go."

"When you are well enough," said Mildred, " you have been reading Shakes- peare ?"

" A little ; if Zaccheus only had a younger daughter to comfort him, he is childless, you see, now."

David sank back in his chair and put his hand to his head. The blow that Harry Barkstead had struck him with his loaded whip was a terribly shrewd one, cruelly aimed, viciously given. Perhaps Harry had noted the murderous light in David's face and had meant to anticipate the lad's attack : David had had a very narrow escape of his life.

"You have talked too much," said Mildred, laying down her work to hand him a jar of salts which the doctor had recommended whenever David felt faint, and at the same time she reminded him that it was time he took the tonic that had been prepared for him.

David put out his hand, not to take the salts, but to clasp his long fingers over the white soft hand that held them.

" No, I am not faint, I am better, my memory is coming back to me in bounds, some things I am~~thinking of overcome me a little. Won't you sit by me,

Mildred P"

" Yes, if yon wish it," she answereJ, drawing np her chair by his side.

He took her hand in his, pressed it gently, and looked into the fire once more, not seeing how her colonr came and went, not feeling the quick beating of her heart.

"Dear Mildred," he said, "you were good to her because I loved her ; yes, I know it ; yon could not have loved her, I know you didn't ; you were sorry for her, you tried to help her, yon did it for my sake ; nay, do not take yonr hand from me, Sally has told me."

" I never said so," Mildred answered. " No, you never would have said it, I know that ; I always knew you were good and generous, but never knew how good -how should I, a thoughtless, selfish, happy lad, without any experience of the world and its ways, how should I ?"

"You were never selfish," said Mildred, "and youth is necessarily thoughtless ; thought comes later with sorrow."

" What is your highest ambition, Mil-

dred ?"

" I don't think I quite know," was the reply.

" I began to think I knew mine," said David, " but what is yours, Mildred ? My father was fall of his yesterday, full of it, and if he does not dream, and I think he does not, he is a very rich man. He loves you, .Mildred, loves you, he says, as if you were his own daughter-and when I get free-if I do get free, Mil- dred-he wants to do something for your people, something to help you to fulfil your highest hopes ; he wants, he says, to be providence to your prayers, to answer them with a full hand, so that you may gire with a lavish one."

" How he loves you !" said Mildred, " to think so much of your friend's ambi

tion. Bat you «ipi if yoraviobtaia your freedom P What do you mean T*

"Ah, my dear friend, you forgot that I have ^yet-to stand ,in the dook at the Assizes," said David» "and it does not need a Shakespeare to tell us o£,Qie^un- certainties of the 1aw¿ ' the scripture teaches UfTtha1^-who knowsrpöThat» you may extend your prison ministrations to

me!"

" Oh, David, yon make my heart ache," said Mildred, suddenly, withdrawing her hand to cover her faee, " they can never send yon, to such a place as that !"

" Mildred," he answered, turning to- wards her and bending bia head over her, "it would bo Heaven enough for me if you were there !"

CHAPTER X11.

The Patience of Zacchevb7 Webb.

"To'n a-sight-better-this morning,'*] said Charity Dene, " doan't say yo hain't."

"I dunno," said Zacoheus Webb, taking the seat that Mrs. Dene placed

for him.

" Ton dunno, but I do; weather's took turn for better, yon old hunx o' your'n says; fishing good likewise."

" Aye shouldna wonder," replied' Webb. " I dunno meknoWt much a what you be arter, Charity. You'n got news, eh P " !

"Not about her,'no news o' Mirai; news

of him." J7» - » - 1

- Who ? " asked Webb, as' he took the sliee of bread whiptrtJharity cut for him and laid a rasher of bacon upon it.

" Him as kiUed t'other one P "

" Aye,f so heüdM¿ I'd forgotten; 'twere David made atbqggart on him-think I seed un t'other'night." >

"SeedunP Seed whoP" ' \ *" Boggart o' him as cum here and made off wi' Mira. They was reed-cottin' atthe-time."- '

" Wish yoa'd go reedËeuttin' or sum-l mat," said Charity; "drink your coffeeí I thowt yo was a-comin to your senses, and yon go maudlin on wuss than ever."

Mrs. Dene talked to ¡Zaeeheus as if he were both deaf and blind. He had only recently come out of what she called " his fit o' sittin over fire and talken' rubbish to hissen."

"I knaw what ya's talkin' on," said Webb, drinking his coffee and eating his

bread and bacon.

" Oh, you do, do you ; well I'm glad to hear yo say so; it argues you're comm' round. I was agoing' to tell yo about case at 'Sizes." .

«"SiaesP"

" Doan't yo' remember me a-tellin' yo' all about the row at Norfolk. Doan't yo remember prison visitor telliu* yo P "

«. Missie Hoape P "

" Oh, yo remember her, do yo ? "

" Mildred Hope, she wor fond o' Mira." At thought of the two girls as he had seen them together, Zaccheus left the table and sai down by the fire.

"Eh dear, ther ye go agen," said Charity Dene, "yo'n say no moref or a week. I'm gettin kinder tired of this. Here tek your pipe, yo're an owd mawkin ; just as yo was comin' round, an all ! "

The woman filled his pipe and gave it to him. He looked up at her in a dumb, distressed way, remarking, "I knaw all about it : doan't yo bother ; she'll come hum, Mira will, she'll come hum."

" I dessay she may, and I dessay she may'nt," said Charity Dene, lighting his pipe, at which he began to pull.

"Mek no doubt on it, all i' good time,"

he said.

" Lord, Lord, what a fuss about a bit of a whench; why, when I was a gel it was a common thing for a lass to run off, aye, and to something even wuss than what Mira's got. Wuss ! Why I heard say i' Yarmouth oauly yisterday as she'd left Squire Barkstead for a dooke, and was a drivin' i' her carriage wi' don't knaw how many servants, the like of which was fit for a queen. Well, she had a way wi' her had our Mira, it was that imporuous at times as yo'd a thought she was brought up on a nigger plantation wi' a wip in her hand, but mostly good tempered, mostly, that's true, and such a merry grig ; not no good a trying' to keep a lass o' that build down fishin' and mudlin about, not; no kind o' use that. 1 said so to Squire Barkstead. And to think o' they two a-meetin' as they did ! And him a killin' the other, leastways doin' o' him in a feight. But he wor a 'igh tempered nn, that David ! And proud ! I should

think so!"

"When wether tuk up I said she'll come, not i' the snaw and the slush, but i' the sun wi' a westerly breeze."

" Yos, oh yes," said Charity scornfully, " and live at hoarae and tak' a hand wi' the herrín' curin', shouldn't wonder, and help mek the beds and mess about wi' slops and the like. That's reight, she'll

come.

" I dunno what yo' means 'bout'Sizes." "Hello, what wakkin' up again; well I'm sure ! Why, he was tried at 'Sizes yesterday, and boy Green, as brought gro- ceries from Yarmouth, says they've quitted un."

"Killedun, didn't 'e?" Webb asked, looking round with a curious attempt at understanding.

" Killed un, aye, and Crowner said it was with extended circumstances, meanin' is t'other struck first blow."

" So I sholdna wonder." ,

" Well, he was buried and f other was ried ; last time pays for all-tried at Sizes-David Keith for manslaughter, md jury said not guilty."

"Not Guiltyr Webb repeated, and

turned once more to the fire.

" They said at fust, the jury did, as he vas justified ; but judge he said they mun mt it more explicit, so after puttin' yeds ogether a bit, they said Not Guilty ; and tor David Keith he be 'quitted, doan't 'e ee, 'quitted of the whul thing."

"David was mortal fond; but she'll ome hum, Mira will."

[To be continued on Saturday."]