Chapter 3046359

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Chapter NumberPART IV. XVI.
Chapter TitleA HAPPY FAMILY.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3046359
Full Date1893-03-18
Page Number6
Corrections0
Word Count2188
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954)
Trove TitleUnder the Great Seal
article text

t OUR NOVEL.

{< - [NOW FIRST PUBLISHED.]

UNDER THE GREAT SEAL:

% A NOVEL,

BY

JOSEPH HATTON,

Author of '" Clytie," " Bt Ordbe of the . ' Ceas," "John Needham's Double," * "Cbuel London," Ac.

&¿ -? }¿f PART 17.

§\, CHAPTER XVI.

í?c * A Happy Family.

¡pi?;''/ When the " Nautilius " made her last g/ voyage,and Alan and David had shovelled S|.:hac1k the sand and re-erected the atonas Ë^nboye the emptied treasure casks, Alan pi proposed that they should charter a vessel ||l. of more importance aud fitted for comfort, ££vto make a pleasant coastiDg trip to Wild ^.t^erness Greek, carrying sailors ned carpen liters, and certain passengers, with a view |p;to a few weeks soujora at the Berry |0Qarden3,as he called the green spot above .¿Demon's Rock.

É"; David fell in with the idea, and in the

Ipîwaning days of summer they set abont |; tarrying it ont. First the treasure had to ff^be secured, and, as far as possible, in vest |j|i.ed. This was done with the aid of Mr. ||:\iMaxgrave, and such remainders as the 1^ Keiths'desired to keep intact were packed, |fp some of it into strong boxes and deposited git/^in the bank, other stores being built ^£ into the cellars of the houses they had |íí; rented, and which, during their absence, ||< was placed in charge of the police, now p£ properly organised and a responsible body, || altogether different from the unofficial c5 constabulary that did volunteer service |#iwhen Alan Keith first knew the capital of ^i the colony. David Plympton, besides his i^T territorial rights at Heart's Content, had li;' left certain properties beth at Halifax and H;-':St. John's, and when Alan and his party p£ 'sailed on their cruise for Labrador it was gfe'màde known in a general way that they |£iirere going to surrey the land that |f ^Plympton had bought just before his death. | v Mysterious hints were thrown, ont that ^valuable minerals had been discovered ^ there, accounting for Plympten's invest- ie ment, which to all, who had been made ac

r'nted with it, was regarded as nothing

t of a mad waste of money.

*£ v There was a handsome vessel lying at |4,}St. John's, which exactly fitted Alan's re ^ quirements. He chartered H for the trip

with its captain and crew. To these he! ¿¿padded several local carpenters and a pfbnilder. By way of cargo, he took in an avample; store of provisions, with a few (t /articles of furniture, a store of bedding Ilutad cushions, and other necessities for an É^i .encampment. The passengers were Alan l^-Kèith, Mr. and Mrs. David Keith, and f^iSally, Mumford. The London lawyer |i> could not spare the time for holiday-mak .V//ing. ,He had many details of business ^ toeomplete in connection with the Keith ^fortunes, and, moreover, he felt that it. Il'^ras best for him to remain at the be¿k >:^aiid call of the local bankers and solicitors, ||v :who found themselves unusually busy with ^|inveeiments,transfers of stocks, shipment* 01 ai bullion, and so on, not to mention the H'clearing np of the bequests of the late H David Plympton.

pi When the St. John's captain found i -himself off the point whore Alan desired ¿; him to shape his course for Wilderness fi »Creek, the experienced old sailor flatly t& refused to give the necessary orders. He H^Was not going to risk his ship, let alone p¿ the lives she carried, on the word of any *$. man. - He had his sailing chart. He knew | the coast. Alan had his chart also, and i,.';he knew the coast far better, he claimed, ^i: than the St. John's captain. Alan's chart i;',.Wa8 an example of a most complete survey, ;§; írith every rock and, channel clearly r.marked, not to mention soundings ana i points of observation that went into al i most unnecessary details. The captain fii examined the nautical map with interest ; jand curiosity. He admitted that there j-'i';were harbours none the less safe because |í. they were comparatively unknown, others i that as yet had no place in recognised r «harts ; he did not deny that there had i been instances of ships being literally | a blown into sheltering waters where they |c only' expected destruction, and from the Éfvêry rocks, that eventually proved their i; chief protection; indeed, he challenged I' none of Alan's statements, except that of |:| olean safe channel lying inside the jagg pr-ßäi rocks at the very point upon which

i; Alan desired him to steer. After a time, if-the" captain found himself leaning. his /¿back upon an argument that Alan soon. I i'founds means of practically combatting, i The St. John's man said his crew would

i mutiny if he headed his ship for w.hat

/most to them seem certain destruction ii; even in the finest weather ; one touch of /such teeth as those that showed blaek and

i sharp in the blue, would be enough to cnt ;iia hole in the stoutest ship, or hold her

tight and fast until she broke np. Finally, ¡however, this last objection was overcome [f by the lowering of a boat,David and Alan i taking the oars, and having with them the i mate, and one of the oldest hands among r .the crew. The sea was like a millpond, y'except where it climbed about the rocks i that seemed to snap and bite at the waves ! A in the mouth of the channel. Alan pro- posed to steer. Three hours were occup- er iéd with this experimental trip. The

mate's report, backed by the enthusiastic i endorsement of the old sailor, was aoem

Shatic in Alan's favour that the ship was

eaded for the creek, and with a summer U;. breeze from the sea, not more than enough

to carry her behind the rocks and into deepwater, the St. John's captain ran his > vessel into the lovely harbour, amidst ex 'v clamations of surprise and such express-

ions of wonder as one might have imagined | bursting from the pioneer crews of Col y, xmbus and Cahot in presence of their pearliest discoveries.

¡c Before sundown the cargo was un ^ loaded, and portions ox it dragged through i the cave, and hauled upon the table land i;above the rock. Early the next morning i the carpenters began to transform the

ruined huts and sheds of the dead and

^ gone crew of the " St. Dennis " into habit

i able shelters. Within thirty-six hoars

the little settlement was complete. The iisailors andAvorkmen remained onboard

i ship. A lan'and the rest, with a couple of "/servants, took np their quarters iu and

*'o»./Mi*ii1 f ha "RarvtT d-avripn. Mr. and Mrs.

!,, ¿The cole right of publication iu West Aus [.; ~tralia has been purchased by tbe proprietors } ' of the West Australian.

David Keith were quite luxuriously ac- commodated. Sally Mumford was in- stalled as head housekeeper, and she and her maids had a little wooden house all to themselves. Alan had his hammock slung in a cabin at the Western corner of the garden, dominating the valley, and also having a broad view of the sea, and bits of the rocky coast. The perfume of land flowers all the time mingled with the smell of ocean weed that came up with whiffs of pungent ozone. The plants

which would bear their various fruits in the autumn were in full bloom in the Berry Garden. Swallows that had built their nests on the face of Demon's Boek filled the sunny air with their brisk cries. In the early morning singing hirds, with fewer notes bnc gayer feathers than the songsters of England, made their humble music in the grove of larch and spruce and birch that dipped down into the valley beyond. Butterflies winged their lazy flight from flower to flower and from bush to bush. The drowsy hum of bees mingled with the tiny plants, and curious signallings of still smaller things. Nature was just as busy in every direction as if all the civilised world had been looking on. It is wonderful to think what myriad communities of beings perfect of their kind, endowed with beauties beyond all the arts of man, are living within the laws of nature and by the divine fiat in every part of the globe, utterly irrespective of human knowledge and beyond all human ken. In this vast animal kingdom phil- osophers tell us the fittest survive the universal conflict for existence. It must be a study of vast import and interest to consider the survival of the fittest in families and nations. The survivals Of the wrack and blight of a hard world who come within the reader's contemplation at the conclusion.of these faithful records, whether they be the fittest or otherwise, are notable examples of mixed fortunes; and while it is always more or less sad to say good-bye, in this case one has the satisfaction of taking leave when the glass of good fortune is at " set fair " in the lives of men and women whom we love. 1 hope I may say " we" in this con- nection, for then I shall not be alone in my reluctance to turn away from the Berry Garden of Labrador on this closing picture of a happy holiday.

They are sitting in the doorway of Alan Keith's log cabin, the four persons who bring this history to an end.

It is evening. The sun has gone down. The sea is beginning to reflect a few stars and the image of the young moon. Alan Keith is smoking his long pipe. Sally Mumford is coaxing from her knit- ting needles the consolation of a more feminine habit. Alan does not taste the tobacco. Sally only hears the chatter of her needles. They are both thinking of the past, while finding their happiness in the present ; for David is their happiness, David and the sweet wife who is worthy to be named while they are thinking of his mother. Mildred and David have risen from their low seats to watch the last beams of the san give way to the silvery light of the crescent moon, which now looks like a brooch on the bosom of the sea. They are all touched by the beauty of the scene, and there is just the merest suggestion of a pang in the note of the plover that comes up from the valley. They have already heard its warning cry. They know the summer is over. Thoughts unbidden and reflections that come of themselves belong to moments such as these. David finds himself hoping that when the last change of all comes to his father and the faithful woman who sits with her knitting on her knee and her thoughts far away, it will be like the summer that gradually fades into autumn and goes out with a gentle sigh that yon do not know for one or the other, summer

or autumn.

Presently there rises np in the Berry Garden a figure that looks like an antique warrior, the victorious counterpart of that torn and bleeding waif of the sea that gathered himself up from the jagged rocks of the cruel Bahamas and faced the lances of the burning sun.

«Many a time I've stood and looked across the waters and seen visions," said Alan, " some hae come trae, and some hae mocked me i' the storm. I wonder what

ye may see, David, my son, as yo look out now wi' your wife by your side and God's immortal stars above ye, and that wonder fu' wee bit moon down yonder sae clear and bright that the sea might be the heavens and the heavens the sea ?"

Alan put his arm about David's shoulders as he spoke, and David drew Mildred still closer by his side.

" May I answer for David ?" the young and happy wife asked, leaning her head against David's strong arm.

" Aye, my lassie, tell us what ye see wi' your gentle spiritual eyes?"

" I see a great hospital, with soft-voiced nurses flittingfroin bed to bed; Iseegentle almoners visiting the fatherless and the widow ; I see orphan waifs of the streets gathered into clean and homely shelters and fed and taught to read and pray ; I hear the voices of a happy choir singing in a new church at Heart's Content; I see ships of God going out into the dark waters to take comforts for soul and body to the fishermen of the North Sea and their brethren of Newfoundland; I see unsuspected misery discovered by sym- pathetic search and restored to health and work ; I see a sad world made brighter and hear thousands blessing the name of

Alan Keith."

"My child," said the old man, " if this may be sae it shall stand as an everlasting assurance of the unbounded mercy o' God to a wicked but penitent sinner."

[The End.]