|Newspaper Title||Queanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||Love's Conquest|
"LOVYE'S ONQUEST, CHAPTER XXV.--COontinued. It was indieed in the very grouunde of More ton. Manor thKb the accident had h`happened; and Sir Patrick declared at once that he woull have the young ladyr carried t3 his house. : 'I travelled twithmherf oui London, Doctor, and I had tod proteot her from a blackguardly scoundrel who was insulting her, so I stand almost' in loco parentis ;towards her. It is natural that I should take an interesoin her, poor young thing-i sweet-looking girl, with the prettiest eyes you ever saw. I won't have her moved into one of those pokey little dens in the village.' The doctor was glad to secure so comfort sla . a lodging for his patient; and Sir SPatricks offer wms natural enough, for he was a hospitable man, and the manor was a huge mansion, and had emnp'y rooms which would have provided accommodationfor a dozen such sufferers. Fortun itely the. number of passengers in need of succour did not amount to anything like so high a figure. Five people had been killed outright-three min and two woman -but, besides Adlea, there were only two caseq of serious injury, and then. wer. both inhabitants of the place, who were taken to their homes 'Most of the passengers, like Sir Patrick, had escaped with a severe shaking and a few contusions ; and, consider ing the appearance of the train, which h -d been wrecked by leaving the line and running down a steep embankment, the fatalities were extraordinarily few. Sir Patrick looked at the mass of debris the broken carriages, the spli.tered wool lying all abort the place-and then, through the impr,,vised coverings which had been thrown over them, he saw the ottlines of the dead passengers on the bank, and, turning away sick at heart, he ntrried the men who were constructing a litter under his orders. The engine, wLich had torn its way down the slope, had now ceased from its dreadful hissing and was getting cold. Underneath the broken. boil*r was the mangled figure of the driver, and they were trying to extricate him'; but he was 'so crushed that it was difficult to get him out. The poor fellow was quite deal-the . scalding steatn had 'lone its work effectually-bnt the sight was ghastly, and the crowd of people, that stood like a black fringe on the embankment, were all pressing forwar I to see it. 'Faugh,' Sir Patrick ejaculated, with intense disgust-' what a set of vultures they are-all craving for the sight of horrors! Pooh-vultures indeed I Oarrion.crows, every one of them !' He turned his back upon the scene, and, persuading the old doctor to accompany him, followed the men who were meking their way across the fields with their burden. Ten minutes' tramp brought them,, to the lodge gales.; and, in the deep dusk of the June evening, Adela was borne along the winding drive and coroa' the threshold of her hus band's home. They carried her up stairs and laid her on a bied in a room that had in .the' old days ben Denys's, and had always been 'kept ready for him in cise be sho,,ld come home suddenly at any time. Sir patrick' had given ordesis at the time of his "-son's mnar rinige that the rorm should be-dismantled, as it would not be wanted again ; but his housekeeper, a motherly old hody, who was even more attached to the pleasant-manne-ed young Captain than the rest of the servants, was a person who thoroughly:unrderatood the art of passive resistance.: She had. ;quietly, kept up.her custom, and the `room was always in readiness, arranged just as he liked it, with everything aired and dusted and kept spotlessly clean and fresh. Sir, Patrick remained in the library, restlessly pacing to and fro,_: waiting im. patiently for the doctor's report. . ' Well ' he questioned eagerly when the drc'or at list made ''his appearance. , IL she any better ? Has she come to herselt yet 4' 'No,' the doctor answered, with an eix' ceedingly:grave face; 'and I fer she naever will.' Shi is in at very oritical'state, and the litt'e life left ii her may sli!, away at any moment without her recovering. conscious ness. Her relatives ought to be summoned without loss of lime. Have you' any idea who she is, Sir Patrick i' 'Not the slightest. I on'y know that she liven at Pinehurst ; and I 'hink she suid her hInsbannd had somethling to do with the Staff 0 11Olg tIhere.' SYuu don't know her Iame 2'
.'Of counsa not I How should -I 1 Sir Patrick said impatiently. 'I never taw her till to-day.' The doctor stood silent, revolving the matter in his mind. 'Will you come upstairs 7' he said sud denly. ' I did not like to mike any search until I knew that it was necessary ; but we cannot communicate to her friends without some clue, and we may find a letter or other means of identification about her.' He led the way upstairs, and the master of the house followed unwillingly. It pained him to see the motionless figure upon the bed, the sweet face as white as the pil low it rested upon, the beautiful eyes closed, and the dusky hair all ruffled and tumbled about the hand ; and, when the doctor, after a prolonged s'arch in the folds of the gray travelling-dress, turned out a pocket which was too small to admit his big hand, .Sir Patrick felt us if he was assisting at an act of sacrilege. They found nothing but a smwill purse containing five . sovereigns and some lose silver, and a little pocket-handkerchief of fine lawn; but in the corner of the hand. kerchief were the initi. 1 * A. O.,' worked in an elahorate monogrmrn ; and Mrs Applleby, t.he housekeeper, who was s'anditg by, in formed the doctor in a whisper that the same initials were worked on some of the poor lady's clothing, with a coronet above them. S'That is something to go upon,' said the doctor. ' Shte is a young lady of rank and position, that is clear. Very odd she should have been 'ravelling by herself ! Is there nothing else--' Pausing, he hent over the unconscious girl, and examined the rings that-she wore; then he lifted one passive 'hand and gently tried to take off the wedding-ring. ,-It had nevel been off her finger sinee the tlay Denys had put it on in church, and, the jewelled keeper-ritg ti tin; tightly, the doctor had some difficulty in getting it off ; and Sir Patrick stepped forward to prevent what s emrwd to him an unnecessary and desecrating action. 'What are yot doing, man I' he exclaimed. ' What is the good of taking off the poor girl's wedding ring I You will gain nothing by that.' ' People have their names engraved some times. Ah, yes-I thought so !' said the dtoctor, holding the ring upto the light'of the candle which the houseke'.per ivwas. holding. * Here's an inscription of some'sorb I ' Sir Patrick waited eagerly to hear what it was ; but the old dooeor had not pt; oal his sp n',,c'ee, and it took him a long time to decipher it. 'Di-nys and Adela,"' he readd out-at lastb 'No surname, you see ; bit thlere is ,a date if I could only make it out.' He was still puzzling over it, when he fe:lt himself clutched by the shouller, and Sir Pa-rick took the ring from him. ' Let me see !' the old man s id hersely. The doctor lo ,kel in gstonishmeut at ?his ol-l friend, who wae fumbling helplessly for his glasses. Sir Patrick was in a terrible state of agitation, and in an instant the cause of it flashod into the doctor's mind. No wonder the B ]ronet was agitated. It was bin son's wife who was lying there-the daughter-in-lsw whom Sir Patick had refused to accept. Every debtail confirmed tlht- upposition-the place of residence, the initials, th,- coronet, the names on the ring. There was not the 1-act room for doubt, and the doc'or only wondered that it had not occured to him before. With a curious exptession of bewilderment and troehble on his face. Sir Patrick returned to the b-dside awl handed the ring back to the docror. The date was the 20th of November, at year and a half ago-the very day of his son's marriage. And, as the doctor replaced the rings on the slender inert finger, Sir Patrick recognised a diimond ring that he-I belonged to Denys's mother, which in the old days Denys had been food of wearing. Tie thing was true beyond a doubt, and Sir Pitrick stood as if thunderstruck by the strangeness of it A storm of conflicting emotions swept over him; hut in the calm presence which might be that of, death he f-It a restr.int which checked his exp..ossing what he felt. With halting uncertaint steps strangely unlike his unual firm bread, he hurried from the room and descended the stairs. When the doctor came down he found Sir Patrick in the library, sitting in his easy chair, with a blank exlpression in his eyes and a deep line between- his contracted brows. Doctor Wells knew the story cf the quarrel between father and son k bub he dtlid not hesitate as to the course which it was Ihis duty to take. ' ' ' Oaptain Esmonde imui b'e sentfor, at once,' said the doctor decisively. ' Hive you a telegrnir fo m here, Sir Patrick ? Perhaps 1 had ietter send the message. Sir P.,trick got 'up and found aitelegr.ph form, which he hatded: mechanioielly to the Dootor. - To think that she shouild have leen lbrought here,'< said Sir; -Patrick, as if think.
Ing alolu-- IltUI r fULs puce, mum u. fun uL all man.' ' Sir Patrick,' said the old Doctor gravely, ' If you will allow me to eay.so, I thinkltilat is the one gleam of Ibright,,esm in the whole sad 'tragedy. To what more fitting place could your son's wife have been carried 9 And whose iduty is it more than yours to comfort and support the O0 ipain in the cruel bereave. ment which has overtaken him b' As he tp ike, Doctor Wells was rapidly filling up the telegraph-form, and hiving finished it lie rean the bell and deliver.l it to the butler, with instructions not to lose a aWcond itn getting it dispatched. Sir Patrick looked on apathetictally. He was like a man in dream, and it seemed as if his thoughts would tun only in one groove. ' That I should tray I with her, anld enter into a conversation with her-and should in my ignorance inqulire about DenyA. Ah, I see now the reason of her unaccount able behaviour-I see why she looked at me so strangely. She was going to tell me. She must have guessed who I was,; nd that was the reason she shrank away from me. She was so shy-but, oh, how like 5£ollv.' Sir Patrick was thirlking aloud, but he checked him=elf suddenly as. he became aware'thatbthe Doctor 'was listening. And ib was as well, for whlin he compared the Romers wiiLh the" Gollingwoods mnd thought of the'family Denys took his wife from his .brow darkened so oninously that the Dootor broke in .pon his reflections. ' Thtis will be a terrible b'ow to Oaptain Esmonde. Do you realise, Sir' Patrick, that
if he does not reach here very soon be will probably never see his wife again I' SIs h.-r condition that critical V' asked Sir Patrick, roused from his brooding medita tions. ' It is so critical that I do not expect her to last the night. It is, humanely speaking, a hopeless case.' Sir Patrick was silent. TLe Doctor was called away by the house keeper, who came to say they had pub the lady to bed, and would he coinme and see what ought to be done next I He hurried upstairs, m:nd Sir Patrick wad once more left alone. Two h urs at least must elapse before Denys cou'd arrive. It was now past eight and the library was getting dark. In the exciement and confusion occasioned in the usually quiet and well organised house hold the servants had forgotten to bring lights, and Sir Patrick did not think, of rin ing for any. The long French windows overlooking the lawn and gardens were thrown open, and the last ' Good-night' twittering of the birds entered with the soft and scented air of the summer evening. Lost in painful thl)uuht, Sir Patrick sat waiting for Deny's arrival ; and at last the sound of a horses hoofs trottir.g quickly in the distance fell upon Sir Patrick's expictant ears. Could t that be Denys? Yes-the horse had turned out of the road and was coming up the drive at full gallop. Now it was clattering over the bridge that crossed the stream which meandered Ihrough the woods. He I would bh here in a minute; and Sir Patrick t hastened to the hall to receive his son. After the long absence and estrangement t Sir Patrick felt his pulses quicken. and his heart beat fast at the thought of seeing again the handlsome face which was so dear to him, and a glow of feeling came over him that was a not to be subdued by the tragedy which had a brought a'.out the meeting. a He stepped forward, mote moved than he cared to show by the sight of his ton's tall t figure in the old hall where it seem.d so I familiar; tut he felt in a moment that it was not the Denys of cli days. Dismount ing from the foaming steaming animal, the r young man entered the house with as little 1 heed or formality its if he had not been a day absent from it. He put down his hat in:its t- old accustomed plact ; but it was as a hus . band, not as a son, that he stood there, and e the suspense and anguish in his ftice, telling .how every consideration was absorbed in the one overwhelming anxiety, were at once a t .shook and a revelation to Sir Patrick. s 'Am I in time?' D nys gasped, in a o tone of intense anguish, before he uttered a ,word of greeting or even tock the had his r father held out to him. 'Is she still e living?' ' I think so-I trust so. Manders, will you t go up immediately and let the Do:t nr know r that Mas'er Denys--that Oaptain Esmonde has arrived? Come in here., PD.nys,'-and Sir Patrick led the way into the dim library. a He rang for lights, and made a remark r about the unhoped for quickness with which Denysha.l come; but Denys male no answer He sat with his hand shading his face, unable to speak, not heeding Sir Patrick's Sobservati ,ns. It seemed a long time before Manders I ret urned, with an expression of alarm on his I face, holding out a scrap of paper on which s Doctor Welts had scribbled a few words in pencil. Deays read it by the light of the I candles which had been brought in, and ,h·n crushed it up in his hand with a look of despair that pierced his father's heart and broke down for the moment every outwork of pride and prejudice. ' Vhat does he say, Denys? L'"t me see,' he.exclaimed, auguring the worst, and hold ing oat a trembling hand. Denvs Itaded the paper to his father without a word ; and with some little difficulty Sir Patrick made out the words scrawled upon it. ' Good heavens,' lie ej uculated, I had no idea of this ! This is terrible I ' Denys s?sat sill in stony silence, He had tiken a chair close to the doir, which stood open, and was straining every nerve to listen o,,, the sounds which . oame from upCstairs. He sat in that posture for an hour, speechless himself, uand deaf to every attempt a" diarrciion or crnrolation nmade by Sir Patrick. At la.t there came a sound that made, him gasp, and spring to his feet. It was the feeble but unmistakble wail that seems the prophetic announcement of a new life born to a heritage of woe-a baby's cry. Denys stood still, his heart Hcarcaly beating, as he Waited for a summons; :and before long a frightened maid servant came hurrying down thle staireand breathlessly delivered her message. 'Please sir, the Doctor says she's sinking; andt will you come at once ?' :Denys rushed up.stairs; and Sir Puatrick was left to himself in a st .te of suspense that made it seem hours before the Doctor appeared to relieve his solitude. . ,. ' How is she going on ? Where is my son ?' he asked hastily. t He is still with her,' the D,octor answered, a mist dimming his keen gray eyes. 'It would be cruel to part them f ?ra moment
Sgood than any remedies I could devise. I thought she was gone when I sent for him ; but shln rallied when she saw him, and his desperatbn entreaties and the strong bond, between them seem to keep her up' a little and prevent her from sinking. She may live a few hours longer for it.' ' Is there any likelihood of her recovery 7' Si.r Patr:ckdemnanded withiouriolts intent!ess, though he knew what the answer would he before he saw the Doctor shake his head. ' Eumanly speaking, none. But. it is' impossible to say with certainty ; nd while there is life there is always hope. l is a b 5d case of shook, and there have been internal injuries, I am tfraid; ; ub extraordinary recoveries have been known. The boy will live, I think.' 'The boy! It is a boy, then, and lving 4' ' Yes-your grandson is a nice little fel low, and none the worse for coming into the world a few weeks too soon. He will have cost the life of the young mother, buti he m y grow up to lie a -comfort to his father. Poor Oap*'in Esmonds-he will need, con a ,atioti sedly.l' ' Denys will marry again,' Sir Patrick said quickly. ' He may-ib iaspossible that he may,' the doctor said disapprovingly.; .' but .:if you could see him now, you would nob think so. It is a bond of no ordinary strength that links those two, and there are some natures in which such a bond cannot he snapped I even by death. Captain Esmoado is young
and he may form new ties in time to come; but you cannot count upon it.' Sir Patrick was counting upon it however, aind the doctor's warning fell upon ears that were obdtinately closed against it. Denys was little over thirty yet, and he would get over tl.is. Ha must marry again -for the sake of giving a mo her to his child it would he his duty to do so-and this time his choice might fill on Maisie Neville. Fate had worked in Sir Patrick's favour, and things might yet fall out according to his wishes. This poor girl, against whom it was impos.ible to cherish a g- udge now that she was dying, would starnd in their way no longer, and her death would pave the way for complete forgiveness and reconciliation. Denys would learn to forget her, and his Grst marriage would b- remembeted only as an unfortunate episode in his life. Sir Patrick co.ld have found it in his heart to wish that Denys had not been encumbered by a child of this unlucky marriage, or, at least, that it had not been a boy; but, after all, this was a consideration that should niot trouble him much. The boy might very likely nct live to grow up, and if he did, and showed any trace of the hateful Colling wood characteristics, he should not be the heir. Denys would most likely have another san who would be more worthy of the inher itance that Sir Patrick was free to leave exactly how he chose. Looking forward into the future, Sir Patrick planned out how it was to be, and sew it all smooth and clear, and happily mapped out as he wished. He was sorry in a way for the terrible event which had happened-especially when he thought of the dying girl, not as the ob jectionable daughter of Lord Oastlehurst and' Denya'a wife, but as a young girl who reminded him of Molly Romer-and he could not think without he.tviness of heart of the look of desolation he ha 1 seen on his son's face ; but it was not unnatural, from his point of view, that he should look beyond this. He saw the other side of the question, and to him it seemed as if the sudden tragedy was the interposition of Providence to bring about reconciliation and reunion.