|Newspaper Title||Queanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||Love's Conquest|
LOYE'S CONQUEST. OC L?i~~ft'l XXVI.----Continued. 'I Ididn't know IIl this,' he s id, breaking the long pause that followved Denys' narra - tion.' 'Itb was a very differerb account of Lady Adela that I heard. It must have been a gross misrepresentation.' ' From whom did you hear it ' Denys inquired. ' I wanted to.fitd out that before, but you would never g.ve me your authority.' ' It was Mrs Hilton who toll -me. She showed me a letter from a friend of hers some young lady who lived in the neighbour hood of Brideeford and knew the Colling woods well. Let me see-her name was a peculiar one-an old family, and historical yes, of c ,urse, it was Throgmorton-and she was the sister of your friend.' ' Mande T.srogmorton !' ejaculated Denya, in wonder and amazement. ' Why, Adela looked upon her as a friend?' 'She is a false friend, then. and you would think so if you had seen that letter. It was full of vile insinuations She must have been a horn mischief-mker i' ' She made vary serious mischief, whether she meant or not,' said Denys, with a sigh. SIf it turns out that she was the cause of the estrangement between us, I shell find it hard to forgive her. Oh. why don't th-y send down word how Addla is, as they promised ? I must go up and see !' In his present state of misery and anxiety he could think of nothing bu- the terrible troublh which hung over him ; and he presently made his way hick to his wife's room, where he remained, sharing the w.tch with the doctor and the nurse through the whole night. Sir Patrick, feeling that he could do no good by staying up, acted upon the doctor's advice and retired to his room He went to bed in the firm c nviction that he would not be able to close his eyes; but he was so worn out by fatigue and excitement that he was asleep in ten minutes, and did not wake till the sun was high in the heavens the next morning. SHe: got up, and, dresaing himself in haste, hurried down-stabs, expecting to hear that all was over ; but Denys face, though hti' hard and worn, was a shade more hopeful. Adela was no worse, and the doctor said it was a great thing that she should have got through the night. In a dreary hour just before dawn thee had come a crisis in which all the watches had thought that her life was ebbing sway ; but once more she was recalled by the agonised pleading of a deas familiar voice, and supported hy a strong arm that seemed to refuse to let hemr go. 'Your son's strength and tenderness were simply invaluable,' Doctor Wells sail, when he saw Sir Patrick alonr after t,reakfast ;" 'and I never stw anything like the influence he had over her. I thought she was certainly sinking in the small hours of the morning ; but he would not let her go, and I vet ily believe thete is a chance now. nHe ha~ mande her want to live-and that, in a case like , this, is h If the battle. Last night, as you know, I thought there was not the ghost of a chance.; but every hour that she clings to life gives m ire hope, and now I almost believe that we may pull her through.' As he spoke, Doctor WVells scanned his old friend's face narsewly, for he knew Sir Patrick well enough to feel certain that this change for the better in the patient could. not be altogether goid news to him; but, if Sir Patrick felt any disappointment, le did not show it by word or sign. He was very silen,. and his grave set features betrayed nothing. Perhaps he did not put much : faith in the hopes held out hy the doctor; bhut duiing the day a well-known specialist, for whom Denys had telegraphed, arrived, and he confirmel the view expressed by Doctor Wells that the pati.nt hal taken a favour.ble turn. The sunny hours of the summer'day wore away-hours of hushed suspense to the whole : ~htiusehqld, but to Denys a time of desperate. Slyanxious watching.: with terrible alternation r of hope and fear--but towards the end of the day it became evident that Adela had rather it gained than lost strength, and hope pre- t dominated. -The improvement continued-it a was very gradual, but it was steady-and in a few days she was pronounced to be out of danger. d Denys was in the seventh heaven of happi- ct ness..' The light had come back to his eyes, a the joyous tones to his voice. In the buoyancy of his recovered spirits he took d everyone's s)mpathy for granted, and did a not observe how far his father was from S shsring his retlet. He spent most of time In ol
his wife's room, ind did nob know how grave and silent Sir Patr'ck was during his absence. How was it all to end 1 That was the question that Sir Patrick was constantly asking himself. irhe prot.l.m which had seem.d so simple a short time ago was now more difficult and perplexing than ever. He could not see the daily tokens of Denys devotion to his wife and his blissfulness in having her given back to him again without some feeling of sympathy ; and there was too much generosity and magnanr.imity in Sir Patrick's composition for him to gradge Denys his happiness, even though it was at the expense of his own dearest hopes and wishes. He was forced to admit tha the death of the young wife might have involved the wreck of his son's life ; but her recovery was undoubtedly a shock to his own hopes and plans. What was to happen now I Was this wretched estrangement. to go on. and was he again to lose the son who seemed to have been restored to him ; or must he give way, and receive as a daughter a woman whom he had vowed should never eater his hoesse ? She had entered his house indeed, but in circumstances that were beyond his control. Those cicumsstences, so extraordinary, so exceptional, so utterly unforseen, offered an onportunity which would make reconcilia tion easy, and involve no compromise of his dienity in the eyes of the worgld. The thing that he culd not bro,,k was the thought that Lord Castlehurst'a daughter, this Lady Adele, against whom he had such deeply-rooted prejudices, should be Denys wife, and that he should he compelled to accept her as the mistress who weuld reign over Moreton. In the natural course of things Denys, now that he was married, would retire from the Army and live at Moreton, taking up the occupations which were beginning to he too much for his father. Sir Patrick longed to have his son at home, taking his place in the county ; and the idea of being again left in loneliness and desolation made his hetrb sink. There was another alternative. Denya, whose ig Quixotism with regard to money matters was well known to Sir Patrick, would, he knew, of he perfectly satisfied to go as he had been n doing, on a basis of friendliness. He evid ently considered that the quarrel had been s made up ; but he did not trouble himself in e, the Ileast about his father's testamentary intentions, ant would'he quite content to go e depending upon his profession and living at Pinehurst with his wife and child. He r- spoke of it as a matter of course, and said ;- that Sir Patrick must catme over and see a them ; but the old man always passed over these references in silence. e Adela's recovery was slow and tedious, and June slipped by before she was fairly B, cinvalescent. As soon as she was able to sit up, Denys asked his father to come and see her ; but Sir. Patrick shrank from the meeting, and, when he was pressed, made one excuse after another for putting it off. t ' It might not be good for her,' he said ' she mu,st be very weak still, and I am sure i any agitation would he had for her.' ' I don't think so,' Denys declared. ' Noth e ing could be so had for her as the strains she feels now. She is not happy about hav b int been brought here, and I can't persuade her that you do not look upon it in the light of an imposition. T should :be glad if you Y woultl come and see her. A few words e from you would set her at ease.' n This appeal to Sir Patrick's sense of hos. s pitality was well calculated. He was punctilious in such matters, and could he depended upon not to fail in courtesy towards a guest. He bonged Denys to asure Lady Adels that she was welcome, but he did not go o-see her ; and, perceiving at last the stiffness and constraint of his manner whenever he spoke of her, Denys felt dis appointed and hurt. Sir Patrick had however found his way into the nursery without invitation and unknown to Denys, and took considerable interest in his little grandson. The baby was a nice little fellow, with a fair and rosy skin, and beautiful blue eyes ex.,ctly like Denys's, and the hold which he gsinedI upon Sir Patrick's " affection and imagination strengthened with every day that passed. Denve, who pretended to have a grudge against his son, was exceedingly uncompli mentary and unpaternal in the remarks he made about him, and Sir Patrick at last was quite annoyed and indignat. One evening abouta month after the accident, the father and son were sittirng at dinner in the great sombre dining-room, where Sir Patrick was always served with as much state as if a score of guests had been present, and Denys had been descanting upon the imperfections of his son and heir with even less charity than usual, beo.,use the ' little brat,' ,a he called hits, had kept his m-.tler awake during the night. * Do you ever see the child, that you take so little interest in hIis welfare and speak so unfeelingly about him 1' Sir Patrick asked, with a touch of acertity in his tone.
' Oh, yes~! Adela inistbs upon his being brought in every afrernoon for me to see what progress the diminutive mortal has made since the day before. Wretched little f caricature of humanity ! At least you won't insult me, as Adela did this afternoon, t by pretending to see a resemblance to me in t those vacant and shapeless features I She declared that he was the very image of me; ; and my outraged feelings had to be sup- t pressed, or we should have quarrelled on the subject.' ' He is exactly like what you were at his i age,' Sir Patrick said with perfeet truth. a ' Oh, all babies are alike at that age I ' s Denys replied, laughing. ' This one seems as uninteresting as his kind at present ; but u I hope he may grow up to be a credit to us v in tihe future. He seems to have a super- a abundance of energy. Listen to his yells I ! That's how he kept on for hours last h niglht! ' A distant sound of infantine cries might indeed have. been heard by very keen ears ah je that moment ; and Sir Patrick looked tl anxious, and expressed a hope that the child pi was not ill. be SNot he; it's only temper. I hope he oi does not upset the household much; but of be course he must I It's very good of you to w endure the nuisance, sir; hub it won't he for pi much longer. I have to go baok to my in duties at Pinehurst next week, and Adel.t will soon be strong enough to come home. os She is wonderfully better, and was quite her st old bright self again this afternoon. She Ti
ie will be able to come.down-stairs in a day or is two, I hope.' 'Don't be in a hurry to move her,' said ie Sir Patrick. If you want to take up your ly work at Pinehuat, I suppose you must; but a you can ride over in the morning and come Sb ck at night. You need nob take your e wife and child away yet. They had much . better not be moved too soon, and there is n no occasion for hurry.' lt It was the most cordial expression of wel come that he had uttered since Adelal' y recovery had become assured, but it was ir called forth by Den; s's expressed intention of n I,'aving the house n Sir Patrick was greatly perturbed, and he made up his mind that he would not wait f f.or his daughter-in-law to come down-stairs te before he went to see her. He said nothing s about his intention to his son, and Denys d felt rather dispirited at.the persistency with ,, wLich his father avoided any refei-ence to d Adela. When he went up to her the next ; day, Adela 'saw at once that something w is re weighing on his nlind; but he would not n tell her what it was, and she could only try is to distract him by being p.trticularly bright hiercelf. ' It has been such an amusement to me, d Denys, since I have b-en getting well to a prowl round this room and examine all the in relics of your boyish days,' she said. ' All your possessions and treasures seem to be here; and they are chiefly arms of offence, ranging from the citapult and bow-and arrows of your boyhood to a coll.ction of e guns and diggers wraih I suppose you must have invested in later. It is an interesting and instructive commentry upon your tastes y and predilections ! ' She w.as moving slowly round the room on a tour of inspection as s?e spoke, looking very graceful and charming in the loosely falling folds of the soft gray dress that became her so well, and Denys's eyes followed P her with pleasure and delight. e ' That is MDis. Appleby's doing,' he said, at easily beguiled from the care that oppressed d him; ' he has alwavs looked after my things and stored them up here.' ' She has arranged them with marvelloeusly re good effect. I wonder whether that is s accidental, or whether the old lady has es natural artistic instincts of her own! Here are your books '-pausing near a massive an oak book-shelf-' from Robinson Crusoe downwards-Marryatt, Ballantyne, Man n devill, Fenn-all the hooks of adventure n that ever were written, I should think I y Wh t an adventue-loving scopegrace you i mnst have been! Denys, doesn't it seem at funny to yon to see me bhre amongst all e these trophies of a time when you never knew tnor dreamed of my existence,' e She turned round, smiling, and, s'rangely r moved by her words and the vision of the beautifully beloved face amid the subjects s* that she referred to, Denys crossed hastily to y her side. 0 'My ,lear wife, it is somer hing more that I wonder if you know yet how precious you e ate tome 'I am afraid I have cost you very dear I' she murmured, hiding her face upon his shotu!der. e ' What cost would be worth counting for the happiness that has come to me through you 7 Oh, Adela, if I had lost you l I cannot bear to think of it !' A shadow of care came over her face. e Since she hi.d come from her husband's b home, the trouble which had always been a u cloud on her happiness had pressed more e heavily upon her than ever, and her heart sink at the prospect of its continuance. She ha.I said nothing about it to Denys, hub she s had noticed and felt keenly the way in which Sir P trick had ignored her, and she believed F that he would never forgive her. ' You are tired,' said Denys, observing the e look of depression in her face and knowing t what she was thinking of. ' Sibt down, dear. r You must not over-exert yourself to-day, for I have set my heart on getting you down stairs to-morrow.' A 'Ah, not to-morrow,' Adela exclaimed, shrieking from the idea. 'Yes. It is dull for you to be kept to one room for so long, and you want - a little change,' he persisted, not however giving his real reason, which was a determinttion to put an i nd to the suspense which he saw was trying her. ' This is such a charming room, and it is so full of interestifor me. I am perfectly happy here,' she said sweetly. * But you must come down, stairs sooner or later. I shall not like to leave you until you do.' ' Leave me i'-with a startled look. ' Yes; I must go bhck to my work at Pine hust in a day or two. I a,, sirpris d tLt they have left me in peace so long' 'Take me nome with you, Danys dear,' Adola said entrestingly. ' No, dear-not yet. It would be too much for you. And my father begs you to stay on. There are many reasons why it is better andil wiser that you should.' 'I can't-I really can't stay here without you. Denys, don't ask me,' she cried in a tbroubled voice.
' I would not it it were n~b absolutely i necessary. But I shall only be a few hours I a?ay every day. I can make this my head i quirters, and ride constantly backwards and forwards. Won't tht do 7' Adela sigheod-it was a sigh of resignation; i but before she cou!d answer there Icame a tsp at. the door. ' Come in,' Denys said, supposing it was the maid ; but it was Sir Patrick's tall figure that appeared in the doorway. Denys sprang up from the half recumbent position in which he had been reposing with his head against Adela's knee, and a look of surprise I and gratification flashed into his face as he c saw his father. C 'My delar father-you have come to loak & us up. Row good of you,' he said, hastening n with characteristia tact to bridge over any f aww,ardness that Sir Patrick might feel. t ' Here is my wife, whom I need not introduce ] however, as you hve stolen a march upon I me and already made her acquaintance.' r Sir Patrick felt a curious pang-not of it jealousy exactly, but something akin to it, at f, the sight uf De..ys with his wife, and the F perception of the relations that existed a between them, Irought home to him with y clearer c.,nviction than ever how futile had g been his hopes-but the sweetness of the look V with which Adela met him, and the glad I pride in Denys' fico ras he stood ty her, In might soften a harder heart than his. in Adela rose hurriedly from her chair as he at came in, and, as he took her hand he was a strnok afresh by her sympathetic beauty. or The sweet pecaliar tenderness of a wife and cl
mother invesed her with a new and touching charm; and, ia spite of the prejudice withb which he regarded her as Lord Oastlehurst's daughter, Sir Patrick was obliged to acknowledge to himself that he had nut been mistaken in his first impression of her beauty. There was something of involunb try iu the tone in which lie addressed her. ' It was as strangers that we met before,' he said gravely; ' and I little thought who the young lady who waq so shy of me would turn out to be. I trust you are now fairly on the way towards recovery? You do not look very strong yet.' He felt her hand tremble in his, and saw the colour come and go in her face. Her beautiful luminous eyes looked wistfully into his, hut she answered steadily 'I am very much batter, thank you-so much better that I am ashamed to trespass any longer upon your kindness. It was kind of you to come and see me. I have been so wanting to thank you for your chivrlarous interventiona in the railway carriage when you did not know who I was.' ' I should have done the same for any lady in your position,' said Sir Patrick with studied politeness ; ' you owe me no thanks. And I trust you will not be in a hurry to leave my house. Ify son has been talking to me or going back to P.nehurst; but you need not move yet. I hope you will not think of it.' This was what Sir Patrick .had come to say, and he said it several times over. He expressed his wish more warmly and cordially each time that he repeated it, and he was so clearly in earnest that Adela had no choice but to ace apt the invitation to stay on. His manner to her now was the perfec. fection of courtesy and consideration; but, even if she could have forgotten the letter that he had written to her, there were a look in his eyes and a sterness about his straight brows that would have reminded her of it, and though he spoke most kindly, she knew intuitively that he was still implac. able. He stayed a very short time that after noon, and it was a relief to Adela when the interview was over. When Denys came hack to her side, shle looked up anxiously into his face. 'Well,' he said, smiling as he answered her unspoken query, ' you have not. been eaten up so far, you see. It will be all right, Addie. He will come round.' ' But, Denys-don't think ma mercen ary-you know I care about it only for your sake-do you think that he will carry his forgiveness so far as to reinstate you in your inheritance 7 He declared that he would disinherit you if you married me. Is there any chance that he will change his miind about that 7' ' H-m-I don't know !' said Denys. ' My father may change his mind, but it goes hard with him to go back from his. word. Whatb he says he will do he almost invariably does ; but, if he forgives us, and yet feels bound to stick to his threat, I am sorry for him. It will be a worse punishment to him than to u~. We are happy as we are-I am sure no one could be happier, Addie-but it will be a heavy cross to him.'