Chapter 33100564

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Chapter NumberXV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article33100564
Full Date1894-03-10
Page Number40
Corrections0
Word Count1884
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleWestern Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)
Trove TitleUnder the Southern Cross
article text

CHAPTER XV.

Lorne's resolution was taken as she 1ST there sobbing, while the sun went down and all the gandy wealth of clondland faded to chili cold grey. She wonld not do this thing unless her father drove her to it. She would tell him of the great 'love that had come to her, and ask him to pity hereto feel for her as his child.

It required a good deal more courage to do this than to run away with Basil Armi- tage, hut ber love, and some newly awak- ened chord within her, gave her strength.

She decided to hasten home and recover her letter before Rosamond had fonad it, then she would steal away and tell Basil that they most, at least, try to wia her father's consent before they raised an insuperable barrier between them and his forgiveness. If be said no, well, they must wait ; and if he made home intoler- able to her, she wonld leave it ; but here, on the threshold of a broader life, her heart craved for a gentle word, a Kind hand clasp before she went out of her father's Ufo for ever.

But when she reached home a dreadful thing had happened. Mr. Prescott had returned unexpectedly, and found Rosa- mond in the act of reading Lorne's hastily written note. She showed it te him at once, and stood watching him read it with a white scared face when Lorne enterad.

"Here she is!" cried Rosamond, in tones of unspeakable relief. "Oh, Lorne, it was a joke then P Why did you frighten

me sop"

' She knew it was not a joke, but she wanted to screen Lorne from her father's

anger.

John Prescott went towards his young, ©st daughter, and his face was terrible to look upon.

" What does this letter mean ?" , "It means-but I have changed my

mind," said she, through white lips. j

He gripped her shoulder and said with j an awful quietness. . j

" Ton are going to tell me what it

means !" \ - \

" I want to tell you ! Oh, don't look at

me like that, fainer 1 I hare come hack >

to tell you all!" I

" Be qniok about it then," and be shook her arm roughly. " What were yon going todo?"

" Oh, let me go 1 Toa hart me ! Onlv iet me sit down for a moment and I will tell'youalir

" Father," «ried ' Rosamond starting forward, " please be kind to hir. Don't yon see how white she isp Shh will tell me if von leave ns for little while."

"Silence !" thundered her father. " If yon speak" again : .you. shall leave this

room!" Then to Lorne he ^aid once

more: -:\ V"' >;?

i " I ara waiting to hear yon-tell me eyerything!" ,7 . . . i

. ^los^Jt want .to tell "yon,*' her lips were a^%utahe'strtiggled bravely on.

" Six weeks ago I met a strange man ont ahbotüjgjh the scrub. Ii have met him very of ten since-I love him arid he loves me! He is good and kind and noble, and we were going away to be TOBRM inj&ris^^

"Oh, Lorne, Lorne 1" Rosamond moaned. " How could you think of it P"

"Rozzie, don't reproach mel" she cried, passionately. " I did not go, you see. I have come baok. I only consented this morning, before I had had time to think r

w Why did yon come baok f* berfather asked, almost gentry.

Lornegathered courage. "Because I want lo do right 1 Oh, father, I want yon ta love yoe >little J . What have I ever done that yon should hate nwso P"

'?Llate^. to' ina, LorJjRli"^, yon foplish ohild^ wpaHhiak if that man mean* ^ to go »m^^M^Mm^^ Good and

noble ! Oh, yes, that is the kind of. thing

those mea do !"

. "Bat he is good !" said Lorne, bravely. " Oh, yoa don't anderstand ! There is a reason why he cenld not meet and ask yon for me ; bot there is no one like him in all the world!"

"Ton little fool, there is only one reason for wooing a girl clandestinely ! The reason every betrayer has when he ia seeking to wreck a woman's honour !"

Lorne's face went scarlet.

" He is no betrayer 2" said she, proudly. " He told me that you hated his name without any cause, and that yon would never consent to marriage between us ! Toa and his father were enemies long ago -and he says you never either forget or forgive."

"Who were enemies? What is this man's name P"

Father ! Oh, do not look like that ! I love bim and would die for him. His name is Basil Armitage."

"Armitage!" her father's voice was like the roar of an angry beast, " Richard Armitaga's son P"

"I do not knew. The sou of the man you-nearlv killed long ago ! Oh, why are you so hard P If he forgives, surely, surely father, you need not be so cruet to usP"

John Prescott's face was transformed with such frightful passion that his daughters shrank away in horror.

" That man's son ! Oh, great God, to think that I should live to hear this P" ,

"Father, they were the most iujurod; and if tfiey can forgive---"

,? Forgivo ! What are you saying P" he cried, while the veins in his forehead stood iu knots. " They offer forgiveness to me ! Oh, Almighty God, look down upon me-or I shall do murderthisnight !"

It is terrible to think that men like this when about to do any inhuman deed, should call upon their Maker to witness

it.

He lifted his strong brown hand as Tie he spoke, and struck a cruel blow that sent Lorne staggering across the room, nntil she fell-striking ber head against

the wall.

" Father !" exclaimed Rosamond, in

horror, " take care of what you do-take care !" for there was murder ia his gleam- ing eyes.

"Girl ! go ont of my sight, and take her with you ! I cannot trust myself amy longer! That man, her loverr is the son. of the devil I know-but he is her Own brother!" ' ? ;.. ;

Lorne, lying half stunned upon the floor, beard him ; and, with a sharp cry,

like some tender animal that has received < its death-blow, she covered her face with her hands.

Rosamond with an ashen faoe, looked straight into her father's eyes.

" I think you have killed her !" said she. Tuen putting her strong arms round her sister, she murmured softly.

"Come away, poor child, come away !" Lorne,. still veilim? her face with her hands, was half led, half earned, to her own room. " Let me put you to hedi my poor darling. Are you hurt anywhere P there is blood upon your neck!"

' "Oh I don't fcuöw whether I am hart, Rozrae, I think I am dying !"

" Here is a cut on the back ol your head where you fell against the door.'. Heavens, what a brute a man can be !" she muttered, in hot anger, as she removed some of the dark hair with a pair of scissors, and dressed the wound tenderly.

" Don't let it break your heart, Lorne," she whispered soothingly. " It must be an awful mistake ! I will find out to-night."

" How P" Lorne asked faintly.

" I will go him and demand to be told what he means by making such a mons- trous assertion."

"No, no, Rome, don't ask him anything. I don't want to know anymore-only keep ont of his way, or he will kill yon !"

"I am not afraid of him," she replied, hotly. "I am ashamed to call such a tyrant father ; but I intend to find out why he said that dreadful thing. Hush !"

She listened intently for a little while, then saying :

" III be back in a minute," she went

ont.

Rosamond had never lost her presence of mind during that dreadful scene. When her father was beside himself with passion, she remembered to be thankful that her lover had gone for his usual evening walk before dinner ; and now her quick ear had noted his footstep on the verandah and she hastened to meet him.

"Lome is very ill," said she, going close to him. " I was helping her to get into bed, poor darling. And father is dreadfully upset! Will yon just stay here for ten minutes dear P I am in great trouble about Lorne."

She hurried away before he had time to

Wpoor Rosamond, it was sot easy for her

to Mt apart that she had never studied. She was decidedly conscious that it would never do for her íover to hear of that scene -and the altogether disgraceful cause of it. Maggie came to meet her with an anxious fabe} she had heard load voioes, though elie «oûld not dlstlogulsh any words.

" What abeat dinner, Miss ?" shs ashed. " The masther has gone ont, 1 see."

" Has be ?" Rosamond was glad of a breath ¡og space. "Let me think," she took a long breath and then said rapidly

" You may put dinner on the table at once, and keep something hot for the master when he comeB in," and she passed

on.

" How are you now, darling P" she asked, going softly to Lorne's side.

Lorne did not seem to hear. She lay with wide open anguish stricken eyes, and hands folded languidly upon her breast.

"You must not look in that hopeless way, dearest. You must not despair. I am sure it is all a dreadful mistake."

" Oh, Rozzie, what does it matter P I feel that my life is over, and nothing can ever matter any more !"

Rosamond made a movemcment of impatience.

"Dear Lorne, it will never do to give way like this! Father behaved, like a madman. I feel that I can never forgive him for it, but still I must dissemble. I

wish, there was no one stopping in the '* house ! I'll get Charlie to go to-morrow, bnt until he does I shall have to keep all

this from him."

"Poor Rozzie ! Yes, he must not hear of - it. I saw you on the verandah this evening. You love him, dear Rossie P"

Rosamond flushed «lightly. " He is very fond of me, and I thought Í loved him, but I can thiuk only of you now, darling."

"Where is he?" Lorne asked presently. " Go to him, Rozzie. He will thiuk it strange if you keep away;"

" You will drink some tea, Lome f It will do you good."

"Oh, no, no! Rosamond. Nothing would do me any good, except laudanum ! Please go, before I ask you for that !"

And Rosamond, with a storm of sobs in her heart and a smile on her lips, wont

ont to where her lover waited.

(2*o be continued.)