Chapter 33101902

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Chapter NumberXVII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article33101902
Full Date1894-03-17
Page Number47
Corrections0
Word Count1742
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleWestern Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)
Trove TitleUnder the Southern Cross
article text

CHAPTER XVII.

Mr. Prescott's brows grew black as night.

"Go ont of my sight I" he cried, fiercely. " How dare yon come questioning me P The way I used your sister should be a warning to you !"

" I am not afraid of you," she replied, unflinchingly. " You have nearly killed Lorne-may God forgive you! She has been delirious, and unless you can dis- prove the dreadful tbiug yon said, I don't know what will happen to her I"

Mr. Prescott looked at her strangely, as

if bs had not heard her. '

" How can Basil Armitage be Lorne's brotherP" she asked hurriedly. "She was a yonng woman. I have not forgotten

her-"

"Stop!" said her father angrily. " What are you saying P He is not her son. I never meant that 1 Bat she-she left my home. Oh, God, how could she do it P And lived ia shame with that man's father !"

Rosamond's face went white as snow. " Father, father, yon mnst be wrong,1 : I can remember her-I loved her ! She was good !"

' "GoodP I used to think so. The fool

I was! the trusting fool! I knew when I married her that she bad loved him but I hoped to change her heart. We were happy enough for a year, and then she met him by chance, and learnt that he had been trae when she was led to believe him false-"

He was pacing the room in long uneven strides. When his voice broke she put out her hand as if to arrest him, and

asked:

"Did yon make her believe he was falser T

He stood looking down on his daughter ! defiantly and answered,

" I did. I loved her and I believed she

would be happy with me-as she would have been had he not come between uk But sha hated me from thst dsy, awl I when Lorne was born she would not look

at her, because shs was mine ! Because she wai' mine !" He drew tho muslin cnrtains «side and looked oat into the 'Starkness.

.Rosamond aproached until she almost I touched him.

" But father, she was so gentle!' She had such a tender heart. Oh, surely it is a mistake-she Cannot have done it !"

"There is no mistake. .Wheo Lorne iras three weeks old the mother who hated lier left my home for the home of her old lover! If Lorne can find it possible to marry this man's son, it will be no worse than 1 expect of her. Like; mother, like daughter 1 But if she does it I will carse her with a father's curse, and pray that her home may be; blighted, as mine has

been I" ~

"Oh, my poor dering*!" Rosamond w»*^ weeping bitterly. . ** Ton need not curse her, father-I can answer for Lorne! Bat^b, why dM jrou merry hoi mother hy treachery P Why did yon bring all this sin and misery into theil lives P"

"Tea, it becomes you to preach to mc and teach me my duty!" said her father, with stern reproach. /. 'Have I ¡had nc time for remorse bi alíjese'years? Tot know better; brit the"krong I did wac nothing in comparison with tba? wrong that was dóne te me. Go away, «ri-gc away I" . V

Thet great change in her fathergcausecl by thU -aight^e jvivid recollections, wac

terrible to see. His stern face hal taken an ashen- hps, «and his broad suoulden

draped bj^vjly, aa .rf fee had, 4dd9nl.

grown ola. " 4 - * « »-1 {?

; . » But father, I d05tbiak.it migljfc ail hf a terrible w$j&»?-ï&& Rpsamoq|. Hei Wt blèdWr this matt, wno; if|be bai

:éinnea^hadsu&ly been terribly punished

Have - yon absolute proof jbf What yoi say?" f

¡-..' {Tobit ÎVesfjtfcstared at her from undei Iiis shaggy brows.

*' Ï have the best of proof," he answerec harshly. " Her own writing, telling nu so, and they wen» seen ^^tg Away to gether. Go away, Rosamond ; go ont oj my sight ! When she wakes you can giv< her her choice-her lover and my curse or my home!"

"Home!" Rosamond echoed, bitterly " Whit kind of a home has this been foi my poor innocent darling all these years! But I know whick she will take."

"I do not! She has her mother') blood and will come to a bad end?'

" It will not be her fault if she 0000,' said Rosamond, hotly. "Tour ornslty i enough to make her desperate. May Go* forgive you, father!" ' <

" Go ont of myeight, I say! I want m forgiveness. I would do the semi again.**

a^tamona ww» iw»j wtttw-v wotto

. ?:? \V.': ??. ???". ..> ' : v:-ï'< r^WSt

word, and stole softly into her own room. Lorne was still asleep, and breathing almost regularly.

"Thank Heaven, she is better," thought Rosamond. t " If she grew worse I shonld have bad to'make Charlie remain here longer, and he would be sure to learn what it was ali about."

She lay down on her bed .without -undressing, intending to rest only; but after an hon»* or two, weariness overcame her, and she sank into a sound sleep.

When she opened her eyes it was early day. She turned hastily to look at her sister, and found Lorne's eyes fixed upon her steadily. "How are you now,i darling P" she asked, slipping out of bed', and laying her lips on her sister's fore«; head. " Better and cooler, I tbink P"

Lorne was very white and tired looking. " I sm quite well, Rozzie," with aweary sigh. " Did yon stay up all uight thinking I wai going to be ill P"

" You were very ill indeed, for a little while, and frightened me."

" Poor Rozzie ! yes, I know I feel very' strange, but I remember a-great deal and I want to know all. Didn't you say you were going to ask him what he meant P"

Rosamond lowered her eyes. She had. not been able to decide what to do. It seemed impossible to tell the truth to. Lorne, yet it was monstrous to allow her to live under the belief that Basil was her brother !

"I it was very late when he came in," she stammered, " and 1 did not like leav ing you."

" Rosamond, look at me !" Lorne cried ' in sharp, anguish. " Ton did ask bim, and yon are keeping something from

Jie !"

" Yes, I did ask him, aud-and-it was altogether dreadful ! Oh, but of course darling, that was not trne ! BaeiJ is no, relation of yours at all."

Lorne's face flushed, scarlet, and in an instant; we^tlwhiter Man snow. > The' horror of Â:ajwneavly choked heiv Jandj then to think she had been made to. suffer sb for nothing!

"Then why did he say so ? she cried, hotly;') "Itt-wonld have boen kinder to

kill me than to tell such a lie as that!"

" I know it was awful. I did not be-

lieve it for an instant, and yet I felt it so horrible that such a thing should be said ! He did not stop, I suppose, to consider what a shock it would be to you."

" But why is he so hard aud cruel P Why did he invent such a shameful lie P Rozzie, you are not open with me 1 You are keeping something back !

Rosamond slipped her arm round her sister, and turned her head away.

" Don't ask me. Oh, poor Lorne, there is a reason for giving him up ; you must

try to forget him, I will tell you more 1 when you are stronger. Surely he cannot j have become very dear to you in such a ¡

short time P"

" Dear to me P Basil !" she murmured. " Oh ! my own, my own, I wish I had gone with yon last night as you wanted ! I wish I had never turned back !"

"You must not say that Lorne, for God's sake ! Yon must put him out of mind for ever; yon must forget that you

ever met !"

Lorne smiled a wise, little smile.

" Goold you put Charlie out of yonr mind, If I told you top If you could, Rossie, you do not know very much about love!"

,. " But this is different ! Oh dear, dear Lorne, try to believe that this is different withont wanting to know why."

Lorne gripped her sister's wrists.

I "lam not a child, Rosamond! lam

[old enough to be told! What do you ¡ know that I most not ask about P"

I " It is something about his father-that happened long age! Oh, don't ask me, Lorne. I do not know how to say it !" '?.

" His father-what about his father P"

the sick girl asked quickly. " Ours nearly

murdered him-that much I know !"

" Yes, but you do not know why P"

" Do yon P" Lorne's lips were parched and her eves looked wildly eager in the growing day.

" It was because he took your mother from us, dear I Oh, my poor Lorne, she went away with him when yon were only three weeks old !" %

Lorne with a cry wrung from the depth, of her soul, fell back on her pilow, pressing \ ber folded arms across her eyes.

" What eau I say to you, Lorne P It is mora dreadful than anything I ever heard j of 1 I wanted not to tell you. He knew [ it, and it is shameful that he should have

taught yon to love him Í Ho is not worthy dear-he is selfish and cruel ! Oh, try to forget bim Lorne. The son of the nun i who left yon worse than orphaned."

' " Is it trae, ResamendP" she whispered. ; "Yes, yes ! I askedrthat, but there is every proof. Thai is why father has always seemed so bard !"

Lorne flung her arms out with a most bitter cry.

" Oh, mother» mother, what a heritage for your child P why did you bring nié Into th» World for this P Fottbiir

? !c.