Chapter 31185477

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Chapter NumberXIII
Chapter TitleA PROFESSIONAL VISIT. This farewell, when spoken, Is the last. -Adelaide Anne Proctor.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31185477
Full Date1907-12-31
Page Number6
Corrections0
Word Count1908
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Age
Trove TitleFate and Patricia
article text OCHAPTERXIII: 1A Pano asioxi AL V02r8. ` .This farewell, when spoken, Is the last. --Adelaide Anne Proctor. Wit her lire the memory of that night JE went with Patricia ; all her. life she : saw in dreams the white stirring curtains where the, breeze: came to the window and peeped in. Outside a kindly f darkness clasped the hills and the trees in' the garden, the window space. of a starred sky and the white furnishings of a Patricia's room were all but variations of 1 that blackness into which through long a hours the girl lay staring, eyes dry with s the agony of renunciation, hands clasped tightly to either side of the bed. Patricia's emotions ,were strangely .,primitive that. night. The thought of " parting.idid niot hurt h'ei;, though she knew Seo surely it must comne.: Parting was a secondary consideration away in i the background of her brain . The all embracing tragedy of the thing lay 'in r the loss of anticipation-the non-fulfil ment of that discovery they had been go ing to make together. .Her mind qeemed, as it weie, fixed into a: groove, and re Ifused to idove to any realization beyond 'this point. ;Fo6r sizs weeks past they.had been traivelling'sideby side, even through" absence, to a wonderful country, but now that country's gates were closed against them, and they were trespassers upon the road, If but for a moment they could have tasted the airs that blew there, and glanced once down those wondrous streets. It was a sign of her straightforward nsature that Patricia at once recognised in Waiter Hunt's caenless disclosure the certain end of their dream.' Even" the. consolation of the ordinary human struggle with herself was denied her, for not once did she contemplate the possi bility of keeping the truth from Walter. Hunit and allowing *things to go'on as lthey were before. Six months ago Pa triciahad learnt soniething that was to change all her future,and, put an end to severalcherished hopes of hers. Since -then :she had been' busily engaged in hiding this discovery from the other members of her family. The strain of this double life had been too great for her ever to dream of enlarging herliabili ties in that respect. So she watched the night slip by and the dawn coihe steathily. :'She saw the -stars against the window space of sky blink, and go out, and` the sky grow grey with black trees standing. against it. Then presently she kniew that the trees were not black at all, but green--. a dark, cool green, and that they lay a-. gainst a sky pink-tinted and beautiful, the face'of a new day, flushed. with the joy of its youth and promise. But the flush faded'by and by, and the day 'en tered into its heritage of stressful labour. It had many winds to regulate, and young life to nourish with light and air, and so, in teinding the youth of other things, its own went by. Then Patricia slept. At $ o'clock Ida, going to waken her, found her 'lying fast- asleep,' .her,,face turned towards.the. window. She looked so white and 'exhausted' that Ida; with quick concein, darkened the. room and ,crept away. Btit at 9 o'clock, when she toolein her breakfast, Patricia was awake, .thougli sheshowedno sign .of moving.. With the' rooni 'stilll darkened she tay among the pillows passively like one who had been an invalid all her days:. S[I'vejustt, hadi a villianoous~ night," shie said, trying to laIgh-: in answer- to Ida's anxious queries. " I 'minired,?an'd -and I think I won't get up for a little while." Ida -went' hurriedly to her mother. SI think Patricia is ill,'i she said; ' I thought so last night. I often Lthink' so. Mother, won't you make her hiave -the doctor ?". - "Doctor ?. Ill ?" echoed Mrs. Heriot inconsternation: ."But Patty is never. ill,'child.ý Surely not.: She hhurried away to Patricia's roonim felthler.pulse, examined her tongue, and iasked if she felt feverish.. But Patricia laughed at the idea, said it was only want of sleep, iand finally promised. to stay "in bed all, day and rest. This ;promise "as the. more chleerifully given; because the girl felt: such a disinclina tionito.rmove,i nd k.new that the ,ordeal ofomeeting:W:alter Hunt until she- felt stroniger. was more than she could bear; :So Mrs., Heroot's 'anxiety, was allayed; and she went off wivith her usual.. cheer fulness to church: Inhthe.afternoon Dick and Walter ap;peared, and fonhd thait for once Patricia was absent from the fatmil ly circle. When Mrs. Heriot explained the reason Walter was loud: in his ex pressions of concern, aiid hoped tlheir loni w'alk" :bof the6 day before had inot overtired her. Dick said nothiiig, brit he had :brought Patricia tile .Christmas Bulletin, and he asked Ida to take it to her. Patricia; turning.the pages, came upon Dick'sistory of the open door, and read it through again with delight. She re cognised the silent message it brought her,:and knew. that Dick', like Walter, Was makingher responsible for all the good.things that befell him. But where as 'Walter had told her' so in actual words, Dick. let the things speak for thWemnselves?,and so gave her i? more sac tual prdof. She could inot help thinking rather wistfully that Dick's :was the more delicat?e -compliment- to Iher, and i she' felt graitefnl to him for b ,. .:such:a very gobd comrade. 'After a whil. she came to i- that this compliment conveyed her another mes sage, the most helpful in. this moment of unhappiness. For it was an uncon scious reminder that, whatever hap pened, her work was left her, and that since.it had inspired this successful story it must be worth pursuing. .Thethought calmed her a little, so thiat twhen night came she was'able to sleep nmoresodndly. But Ida was -still anxiouis,and she spoke to her mother again, and Mrs. Heriot,. who was, going to town next morning, tried to persuade Patricia to accompany her and' see a doctor. - ' "You are.a pair 'of geese, you, and Ida," Patricia said, laughing at the idea; "if you tell me I'm ill any more I-shall. believe it, and be ill. You know my vivid imagination, mother." Mrs. Heriot was always at a loss when Patricia took this tone, but she was really anxious about the girl, and alie, sighed at her bbstinacy. a .' You have such very narrow views about doctors," she protested. " Well, if you don't want to come to town, let me f send Mr. Hunt down to see you. He is' f, duly qualified 'iow, and hlie could pre= f scribe a tonic at least. I'mm sure youqn? need one. I'll call and speak to him on my way to the train, and you ':must see l him, like a dear child to relieve my an xiety." L r Patricia hesitated, for at her, mother's F words a certain possibility' had presented I 'itself. Hitherto she lhad no idea as to how she should convey a certain piece of information to Walter Hunt. She knew it would be impossible to tell it to him in the ordinary /course of conver sation, and now she wondered if this might not be her"opportiinity. While she hesitated Mrs. Heriot, .who was very wise in $ome respects, slipped out of the room, calling out to her as she went, '" I'l send Dr. Htint down to you, then, SPatty." Patricia started up from among her pillows, as though 'to follow her, but changed her mind, and flung herself backi with a sigh. Evidently.this was to be her opportunity, she thought, and so 'mhde no furthei protest, but settled herself on the library. conch with a. book,- and waited for him to come. - S.'She purposely gave herself no time to I think what she should say to him, and' so, when at length he came; she was able-to greet him quite calmly, anid'with apparent gaiety. He was 'very hot after his 'walk, and Patricia noticed, as on~ -"always does notice peculiarities at an important- mo ment, that he was wearing a tio that did not suit him. She attached an -odd =im portance to the fact, for she had never known him do such a thing before, arid it offended her good taste. 'Yet she was rather glad' of it, too, be cause it' seemed to make the task before her less difficult to perform. Ida came into the room with Waltei Hunt, and Patricia's first business was to get rid of her; so she developed a long: ing for tea,; andisaid sshe . felt "ure M 1r. Hnnt would ilike somi;ething ifter '.his long walk. Ida obediently went off ,to see about it, and then Patricia knew~ that the moment for- her disclosutre had: come, and wondered vagiely at her own calmniess. h "Dr. Hunt,";she cried, " can you keep a secret ?" r Walter laughed, and said he icould. keep some secrets very well. . " I want you ,to keep one of mine, then," Patricia told him. "1I have lipt it carefully from every one for some'time, so you must promise faithfully inot to give it away. Will .you;iDr. Huint' ?' ? ' " Rather," exclainied Walter boyishl ly, " I wont tell a soul, Misa ? Patricia; It is awfnully jolly of youn to trist m." - '! Oh"! it's ' matter of :necessity," said Patricia; somewhat ruefully: ' It's not a. se?et-tliat will initerest you much. You see-it is a: kind ,of.professional secret. " . ',' '"Oh I" said-Walter. He rose suiddenly, reminded'er` thlit this visit :vwas also profesiiontal n lok iit hisstethoscope,' and came. to thesiide of tI the cochi.. ?liTe boyish gaiety of 'his manner vanished, and. he was' alert, eager, interested in his subject. Patricia noticed the chaiige in him, as she' had noticed his tie, and in spite of herself was alniost as mnd irritated by it. She did not like to think he could so easily sink his personal in his professional in terests, and she could not help fe~lingg that itiugured a certaili amouint" of ornelty in his nature.' She.ieven derived some p!easlusire from the tliQught of, op posing him, aid roused herself to set her inclination and will against his. Theie fore whei hie approached with liis stetho scope she laughed and motioiied him away. ... L .: ? ." " Olh !I know that inothier asked you to examine me' doctor ,"she said, " bhit thete is io nemcessity,I ilreadjyknow whatis the matter with me, and that is whereimy se-e cret cdmes in.. 'I.: have kept itc'aitrefuhllyf from mnother and the girls- be" nsiaeit could do?io good for them to konw, and it would oinlyyworry, the?--" - :To be Contihued i TP. 17. - IIs this the first timi you hay e been in love, darling ?"- ? "Yes, but it's s~i nice that I- hope it! won't be the last."r: 4 ' a.How'e things ?' asked thetailor;:) " On the mend, :said thetiniker. How is it with you I He: ' Th;iis shoppig-busine ss. is ai awful nuisance." : She:- "You have no reasonto tcom-, plaini. 've done aill thesh?ppng ehhi :' All you do is to carry the parcels. - .., The strength of a horse enals that of seven and a half men. 'lieo total number of desertionsh frnin the B'ritish army excieds b5000 anamill.l