Chapter 3046036

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Chapter NumberPART IV. XIII.
Chapter TitleALL ON A SUMMER'S DAY.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3046036
Full Date1893-03-08
Page Number6
Corrections0
Word Count3017
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954)
Trove TitleUnder the Great Seal
article text

OUR NOVEL.

[JJOw* PIRST'TUBraSBJBD.I

UNDER THE 6REAT SEAL:

A NOVEL,

BY

JOSEPH HATTON,

^?^£ Anther of " Clttib," "By Obdbb of the

i|^7;^|^dtos?iv.'" John Needham's Double,"

WB0&^&^:iC¦¦'" Cbubii London,"" Ac.

PART IV.

CHAPTER XIII

All ok a Summer's Dat.

When the sommer came again Zaccheus Webb's bed. was drawn np to the window that he might, propped np on his pillows, see the garden and look ont to sea.

He only spoke now in whispers. Except i fortho hair upon them denoting a strength

that had gone, his hands were white and So thin that you could count the'bones in thbnil'. His f Abb had . lost nibst. bf its \ cajFiooV puckered wrinkles. A. straggling "" hw^ partly concealed his month-and chin. Hi&':eyw%ere;8nDken. There was a rost f ubie& in their expression and in tho ;^tiie^onth that betokened the approach '?*fl;^p^nlg8jl(.-death;;" He was like a- ship

? bitwari bound that waited for a favour

ing^wind.

'"'¦" Hsneath the window was a rustic seat

Wabco-; Harry .Barkstead had waited for David, and Elmira on that, day when David had told the girl of his prbjeotecl trip -to Newfoundland, and had walked home 'afterwards too triumphantly for Harry's jealous and crooked nature. The dusty'beauty with her golden crown,and

lier-weatherbeaten face still dominated the old seat. The nasturtiums were

eHmbiite over her faded gown. The box-' ;4^gedir!flbwer beds had been somewhat Neglected, but they put |forth radiant' tri-' Bates to the sun nevertheless?peonies,! elovepink, rosemary, pansies, sweet pea; *Jth£l lilac and laburnum were, shedding; ^he^Bowers upon the gravelled walk inj a fading splendour of perfume and colour.1 Over ?' the cottage porch a thou-' Ipad rose-buds were bursting into bloom; Taad'ddwn even to the margin of the sea:

the^dnnes were decorated with waving

^i|s%sand: humble flowers that trailed ?albi^' the sands as if nature were de-

signing a carpet for fairy footfalls.

,On one of the stillest days of this sweet summer time a steam yacht, one of the jftrst handsome vessels of the kind built' for pleasure and fitted with a luxury of furniture and convenience hitherto un

l known in sea-going .craft, appeared off : (Jaister and cast anchor. .

'.JC, 1?accheH8 saw it. Charity Dene saw!

il;. The sun seemed to give it a friendly recognition, flashing on its brass stan-; onions and whitening its smoking funnel. ' -:. Presently a boat was lowered. Two r s^ it; A woman de

' seondod by a short rope ladder. She!

waved her hand to a gentleman in a yachting jacket as she took her. seat in | ' .the stem, and the two sailors pulled for tte shore.

s T/he old man watched the boat, and Charity Done watched Zaccheus.

r "To* an got eyes of late that look' straight into future," said the wjinan in alow voice;'" what do yo' make on it ?" " " *l£ira!" said the old man, "Mira!"

"Pray God it be!" said Charity, now more "gentle in her manner towards the old mau than when we saw her last. The presence of death had softened her, and she was sorry for tbe broken-hearted old

nsherman:

''I^by prayed," said Zaccheus, lifting; his head with difficulty, so as not to lose; sight of the boat.

" To be the most patient man I hov ivver knawd. Master Webb," said Charity, raising his head and propping him np with an extra pillow.

" I knawd she'd come," he replied, and there could be no mistaking the lithe, active woman who?the boat being driven right upon the beach?leaped ashore and made straight for the old cottage.

Charity did not seem to have the power to leave the room. There was nobody below stairs; they heard their visitor swing open the garden gate, heard her . enter'the cottage^ heard her call in an

impatient, anxious way, "Charity, where are you? Father!"

The old man looked at Charity, who ? responded with an anxious glance to-

wards the door. All was quiet again. The visitor had evidently gone into the back part of the eottage. Then the door at the foot of the stairway was unlatched, , add a footstep was heard approaching?a

quiet footstep, as if the visitor had soddenly learnt that there was sickness

- in the house.

,' The door opened. A lovely woman, with a pale tearful face, stood in the door wey'?for a moment; and then, with a smothered cry, flung herself upon her ' knees by the bed.

"Mira!" said Zacchens, stretching out a long thin arm tpwards her. " Mira!"

She buried her face in the bedside, and with one hand felt for his across the clothes.

Their{hands found each other. Zacchens tried to draw his child towardshim, but he was-very feeble.

"Do'e got up," said Charity, taking Elmira gently by the arm.

"Oh, my God!" said the woman, chok- ing with her tears, " I have killed him!"

' " Mira/' said the old mac, "I knawd yo'd come ; Mira, kiss me."

1 She leaned over and pressed a burning kies upon his mouth and stroked his thin hair, and sobbed and cried until Charity Dene could do nothing but sit down and smother her own tears in her apron.

But there were no tears in the eyes of Zaccheus. On the contrary, he smiled and looked happy.

" Oh, father, father, I have nothing to say, only I love yon, yes, dear, I do. I was mad, vain, I?-"

" My dear love," whispered the old man. ".Mira, I knawd yo'd never let me go,

and not say good-bye."

> "Father, I have one thing to say," she : went on, between her sobs, "I am a married woman now and have a son, and he will some day be an earl aud-"

'.'''"-.-./Zaccheus did not care whether she was

married or not. He heard none of the cheap explanation with which the poor vain foolish woman hoped to soothe his last hours. He was not afc any time

The sole right of publication in West Aus- tralia hat !">?"?' purchased by tho proprietors ef the West Austb^lian.

sufficiently trained in the ways of the: world to appreciate thor honour which an; aristocrat had conferred on the mistress of another; nor to understand the distinc- tion of «being nths grandfather of a dis- honoured'sen.- He only 'knew that his child had come oack to him. He only remembered; her as the bright angel of his widowhood, his pretty Wring girl who sang " Cupid's Garde^" ami could handle

an oar with the' best beacbman of Tar

mouth. He did not see the jewel on her finger, or note the texture pf her yacht- ing gown. He felt her hand in his, heard her voice, she 4iad kissed him; he remembered nothing j of her but what1 was sweet; and all he had to say was "Mira, love, 1 kuaw'd yo'd come."

* * . * ; * * *

The sun shone brightly on sea and garden as he slept. It burnt in at the window so lavish of its beams that Charity drew the blind. They both sat long by the bed. aud Elmira remembered snatches of prayers that Mildred Hope had taught her; but he did not wake again. The patient soul of the Caister sinacksman had put to sea. It was enough for Zac- chens that her hand was in his when he; was signalled to lift anchor for his latest1

voyage.

CHAPTER XIV.

The Bobbed Treasure.

The same sweet sam mer's dayjtharsaw. Zaccheus Webb wpighaucbor/or hisJast voyage, saw, Alan Keith- and David, his

son.sail into the still waters oft Wilder-: ?ness^CreelK

It was On jaat such a day that Alan: had first discovered the secret Iiarbpur.

Here it was once more with its reflec-!

tiona of Demon's Rock, its sandy shores,' its distant range of sheltering hills, and; its weird and happy memories.

When David dropped the anchor of the smack/Ifantila a, j whioh his father had bought at St. John's, the old man after; contemplating the scene for some minutes could only remark, " It's very hot, David, for Labrador." It was not a romantic observation. But as the leading inci- dents of Alan's life passed before him; -almost like a flash with this remarkable, denouement?this return to Nasquappe

and the harbour and tho rendezvous of;

his band of patriots, and, freebooters?his I mind seemed, to find relief in the most prosaic observations.

" Is it ?"?" was< David's none the less; common-place reply.

"Maist as hot as Spain," said Alan,

" and'the' silence o' the place-reminds mej

o'Venice when I made excursions on the lagoons i'theneight time."

"It is very?¦quiet/' said David, ^and' very, beautiful."

" 1 propose we just tek a drink, David," said the old mah,"as^for niysel I'll tem- porise the watter wi' a nip o' whasky."

As he spoke Alan drew half a tumbler of water from a keg, sheltered from the sun in the stern of the boat. He filled up the vessel with whisky from a stone. jar which was part of certain necessaries of food and drink stored close by.

"Here's to ye!" said Alan, wiping his j lips, and passing the jar. to David. -

"Water for ine, father," said David. " I'll try your dew of the mountain later,

when we smoke."...

"As yo will," said Alan, restoring the jar to the hamper, and the horn tumbler with it. "Ye did nae thenk there was aught -as fine as -this - i' - these latitudes,

eh?'

"As fine," said David, "but not:as beautiful; why it might be one of *he holiday lakes one hears about in your

native Scotland."

"Eh, man, ye're reight tliere, it's the sairt o' country that gets iuto your brain, and I tell yo, my. son, the story o' this harbour is to me something like a fable o' long and long ago, and yat at the minute

when We run in here as if we'd oiled our

keel it was like yesterday, wi' all its strange and true happenings thick in my memory."

" Don't you think we might moor the Smack to yonder piles?" said David.

" The thing I wae gaen to' sae lnysel', David, if they'll houd. I remember John Preedie and Donald Nicol ¦ driving them, nigh on thirty years back," said Alan.

" They look strong enough for a ship, let alone a smack," said David, hauling up, the anchor which he had previously dropped; "' will you take an oar, father ?"

Alan thrust a long oar into its rowlock, David: taking up another, trying to use it as a pole to shove the boat and

steer her at the same time.

Alan laughed, a rare habit with him; David hardly remembered when he had heard him laugh, though, his smile was pleasant to see, and frequent.

" Te meight as weel try to sound the Atlantici_wi' a marline-spike; map, it's a' but fathomless i' the middle; gradual as the shores . shelve downwards they come to the same kind o' precipice as the table- land above tho rock yonder,, and then it's watter below just as itVtsky above; pull, noo, starboard; .that's it laddie .;¦ noo sling your rope; that's got her!"

"Hold," said David, straining on the rope," why, the timber is as solid as the

rock/'

The smack lay as still as she had lain before, her keel breaking into the reflec- tions of the.noble face of Demon's Rock

" Te see the cairns yonder araang the foot hills o' the rock P" Alan asked, point- ing across the sandy shore to the mountain.

" Tes," David replied, pulling on his rough jacket.

" The sand and the wind and the bit growth.o' sea-thistles and tho like hae been vera... usefu'?whae'd think o' ques- tioning the siriceerity o' tombstones on which time has written such epitaphs!"

"They look grim and serious," said

David.

" Laddie, they are grim and serious maist o' them?all except the three i' the middle?I ca' them the three graces?and the one to the north o' the row."

" How do you know one from the other ?-the real graves and the treasure casks P"

" How did I ken the channel that

brought ns here ?" was Alan's reply.

David had asked his question in a non- committal inquiring spirit, more by the way of saying something than with a view to question his father. He had it in his mind to prepare himself and his father for the breaking up of a wild illusion, the bursting of a bubble, the awakening from a dream; for he had never altogether, even in Ins most sanguine moments, accepted his father's account of th.e buried treasure as anything more than an uncoucious exaggeration of some more or less trivial secreting bf hard-won savings,: if not the baseless fancy of a mind dis-

traught. I*

M David, I hae dreamed ^ mysel shontin' and danein'if ever I lived to resurrect the three graces; I hae thought o' mysel' as goin' just wild when the time-should come that; I stood here again, and it's only o'" late as ye ken .that 1, began to: think o' ye by my side* my son.'Hannah's child. What wad hae been theuse: o' the good and things, wi'out ye, David ? And yet I used to dream aboot/beinl here and gloatin'? ower it; but that mun a been prophetic in a way, for it tirasr surely ordained that I should find ye at last as I did. Eh, man, what a meetin' it was! Dayid, we'll bo grateful. to God; for it ;

we'll consider oursel's hisstewards." '

David felt Mfr ddubte iacreaso as -his. father went rambling on^ r.ever attempt- ing to advance towards the pathetic look-

ing cemetery with its ston&s packed up:

originally into the shape of-crosses, now i crooked, fallen into odd formen with grey; bits of woodland lichen^ on them, and; drifts of sand held together by marum or; other wiry grasses, suclt.as-repeated.here! and -there,'Weedy growths that, reminded; David bf the dunes, at Caistor.

"I couldna hae believed that I should stand here sae calm and businesslike, as if the cairos-o' Wilderness Creek, and the mighty rock above them, to say naethingi about the,caVern beyond, were! the maistf cbtniiion-place: thibgs.^ i' Nature. D'ye. see the' cavern* David,?/ Te-lt - imagine i it's the- eiftraaee> to- af Cathedral; l man,I when ye hae paae^djthe1 foothills and thiel eairnVs*d-g^

above that I h^ster^;tHb other bit o'> taoney-and-qcnp I-tertryeTofrand the wee ? bit hutsandthe rest,"

David's imagination^was touched with.! the lonely beatty of the B*enMtoe atrauge-1 nass of their lisit; the wok towards whichj his fattier' Wave4rhir !*&& Mtitj hand; a j vast sblid m^^ seemed Wj^h ridges eut into It and 8ha^,le3gbf,raad]

with a tall smooth; crownvontrastHBg, in j a strikingiwaywith'tho jagged peals audi points of tb*nrtoyof'sentinelsthat took ( their orderb, aa'it.Werei'from the fetiiefi and went ranging Along, the coast, fori miles and miles, looking out to sea and at < the same time peering up into the; heavens.'.''.'

?'Shove^ off the gangway, David, my son," said'Al'aat presently, "wo might as: weel gae ashore tb ohr work i' comfort

and i' order."

David -made, a gangwayvofroae otthe se?era! plank*, thitilay/amiiahapei with shovels, pickaxes,1 and other ioiplemetf ts, carefully stored ont of sight under a heavy tarpaulih.

" Nop, lad, the tools."

While David swung a couple of shovels over his shoulder, his father drew forth a blacksmith's hammer and an. axe?very much like the -formidable weapon that

Damian the dwarf had wielded with

deadly effect upon the " Anne of Dart-

mouth."

David was ,tho first to step ashore. His were the only footprints to be seen, of either- man, -bird, or animal; Millions of insects seemed^ tp Btart np and carry the news from.tiny hillock to tiny valley of the new and strange arrival.

Shouldering his axe and carrying the great - hammer iu - his hand Alan Keith followed his son. Their tall shadows

climbed ahead as if to pioneer them toj tho little cemetery.

"Noo, lad, we'll need the trunk," said Alan, dropping his hammer and'his axe.

David returned for a leather packing case that had handles foreand aft.

Father and son carried it betweeu them.

A flight of birds rushed screaming from"

the cavern 'beneath Demon's Rock as

they approached it. Alan started,'David uttered an exclamation of surprise. The birds disappeared among the foothills.

"When it's dark and stormy," said Alan, proceeding on his way, " that's the

sort o'etna' animal the sailors mistake for demon's, and fiends and the like."

" I don't wonder at superstition," said David, " the sea must set in upon this coast with awful force in winter."

"It's just wonderfu' to me that we can stand talkin' here and fortune wi' both her hands full waitia'our pleasure," said Alan, contemplating the cairns.

" Yes, it-is," Davidrreplied^ half reluc- tant to begin, the idea of some great disillusion awaiting his father.

" Noo, lad; lay to," said Alan, beginning to shovel thesandaway from the base of the pile of stones that' covered the centre grave, " tek the boulders off the top."

David inserted, his pick into the inter- stices of the stones an^then with a shovel began to clear away the sand and weed

beneath.

His heart was beating with a hopeful anticipation that all his father had led him to count upon might come true. As he worked at the unsealing of the alleged horde pf gold and silver, of lace and spice, audamber, and precious stones, he thought of the great things Mildred might accom- plish by wa? of fulfilling her ambition of charity and love; what/he might see of - the- great worlds sailingf round it -for pleasure; what Petherick1 would say ir hen he called onhini at Yarmouth; what he might be permitted to dp, to smooth the last days; pl' Zaccheus Wobb, little thinking that-the old smacksman - had already on that very day solved'the great mystery of all.

[To be continued on Saturday.~\