|Newspaper Title||Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||The Wealth of the West|
I Phyllis Adams was a girLwith great
possibilities for goad or evil, happiness br the other tbing. People of that kind usually come in for both, the evil and the other thing. She lived in the present tense, imperative mood: abe was Spanish on the mother's side and that perhaps I accounted for it.""Sue" wasTorie of those
[persons about whom, ît îs "never safe to predict-she acted scarcely at all upon principle, and almost entirely on im- pulse-with the usual reservations of course. Fortunately for those about her, her impulses were mostly kind ones; and when they brought evil consequences, it was in niue cases out of ten upon
j herself that they were visited.
The Colonel, who knew most people, knew her mottler ; and for the sake of companionship for Margaret he had arranged for her to stay at his place at ¡ Foxcross for *a few weeks. And with "that eye for dramatic proprieties which lies perdue iu the mind pf mother Nature, it was willed * that at Foxcfoss she should make . the acquaintance of
Now, Phyllis was a girl for whom to Uve and to love meant very much the same thing. Her attachments were soon formed ; and she -soon formed ouè for the masterful Yeend-She was one of . the women who liked a manly tuan '.and a masterful nature, Ac., &c. *?5be "was-not skilled in artifice; She liked' him and "she showed it--în a perfectly' niodest and feminine 'way, but-she showed it. . Which is an error pf general-, ¡ship condemned by all the authorities pu .woman's , methods. Yeend. pretty¿; f re-, .quenby imagined a conquest wherejie ; had not made one; he ueve".faileîâ;>tp,
jietect one where it did exist. He detected the-fact in this case; and der preciated^Phyllis in consequence-^as -the imanly men of his fibre usually do hence feminine hypocrisy in matters ;
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..-1 do not " anticipate," but in passing ¿t. inay. he'. remarkedr that Phyllis: .never .saw her mother alive .again. A. sudden
.seizure, au hour of.*,' agony, and Mi's. \ Adams, was to die^ and Phyllis, to arrive - at a desolated house to weep over the ¡ deathbed of .the truest friend she bad
(«veç known^and so.far,as the word r'j&iend "- /means anything else hut ¡a form of pleasant acquaintanceship, the only one ehe ever was to know from that time forth. Sic transit, etc.
Margaret insisted oa her returning to Toxcross after the bereavement. But
the two girls were not destined to be j long together. Though the Colonel's sow was a kind one, he .really loved no one in the whole world but his daughter.
He was a deep and subtle -reader of the human heart, but he had no eye for poor Phyllis. He could not understand to his entire satisfaction why. Mar garet should love, tiny man better than she loved fct-mi-and that kept his mind tccunied. Ho accepted
the fact when he could no longer dispute it,, with the best grace «be could mußter, which was not much.f But it surprised him.-it certainly surprised
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Yeend was a godsend on the evening on which Frank had found the way out of the Colonel's grounds.
The Colonel himself was cut up. He had liked Frank as well as he had ever^ liked any man. If Margaret was idiot enough to go through the exploded and threadbare fallacy of falling in love with a person of the opposite sex (which he really could not understand-nice home -money-certainty as to the future horses to ride-books to »'ead-music mistress of a house, with none of its worries and no responsibility-entertain- ing, old gentleman at bér command, who knew really the most witty stories going and was only a trifle over sixty-what .the deuce "more could the .girl want, and yet-) Humph ! Well, if it must be, Frank Conyers wa3 as good as, or no worse than, the next. And, at least, it saved the bother of being introduced to some stranger.'and getting reconciled to him as an impertinent fellow who wanted to rob a man of his choicest jewel, and at the same time expected that : man to look pleasant over it.
Now; that was all over. Conyers was a scoundrel of the .first water ; and thanks to bis (the Colonel's) knowledge of human nature, the said scoundrel's true character had been revealed in ?time: , Still, he was shocked ; certainly,, .he had all ...along noticed things in Conyers".,which he had objected to. He knew too much pf men. and things not to have noticed them. But this was a rather more startling revela-
tion ,than,eyeu;he had lookedfor. He. ate' and -drank with a bad grace, and Smoke would not console bim; neither was there any solace in wine. And then
'nest week was the time when his in- evitable Jiver was due ; and as if that was not enough, here was this thing.
" Yeend," he said "I am Out of humour; Never mind what about. Fm
I out of humour-and shall remain out of humour for some time- I'm not jgoing to talk mines to you to-night. The syndicate is practically formed, the mine will be bought, your price will be given, there will lie a meeting ten days hence, mind you be there.. I know that much about" it. Now that's enough for to- night. I'm out of it. I can't entertain
people. I don't want.them to try and ~ entertain me. I don't want to-be' annoyed. You know which wine you like best. You know whether my cigars or yours are the best-your weeds from Kanischatka or Cossack, or whatever it is, notwithstanding. Leave me alone. Don't talk to me, "don't look at me, and we shall get along all right. There are two women in the house. They're useless if they're left alone. They'll bore you to death if you don't leave them alone. Still, amuse them. Fiddle to them, sing; bntJeave ms alone."
Yeend laughed. It was an amusing old bear. Still his wine was good and his. cigars were, prejudice apart, very
much better than his own. The two
men sat on opposite sides of the maho- gany and indulged in both-the Colonel speaking never a word ; but steadily drinking and smoking and thinking.
.When they rose to give Yeend (he opportunity of amusing the two women in the house, the Colonel went with him and sat down npart, in a comer of the room, and would have smoked there if he had dared. He hated to be alone, or he would have gone to his own room and given up the evening to making himself
more miserable than he was.
Margaret was as bad, in her way. But she disliked Yeend ;. and. -feared bow
much those bright eyes of his could see^ . and how much the brain behind them could make out of what they saw ; and so'-f orced the pace, and assumed a cheer- fulness which was sufiîcïently like the genuine thing to escape notice.
Yeend would as soon' have cut off a :fiuger as make, himself disagreeable in the slighfe3t-rtuTkis mine was safe ;'but he managed by a diplomatic question here and there, and by. putting little pieces of the puzzle together,.to arriye.at a, guess jas to' how things were going,. : . .
Besides riding and shooting and box .jnj> and all- the rest of bis repertoire, he: had a clever impressionist; style: on the violin ;* and when conversation flagged he proposed music. And as he played, Phyllis, the impressionable, sat and listened:'"At 'first she was occupied in thinking how: much"" 'Yeend cared for Margaret, and how much Margaret cared fdr him ; ' but gradually ' the, music asserted itself,. and.. drew her thoughts along wita it. She ceased to consciously .pitch, and slowly relaxed -her ..attitude < till;she reclined on the sofa; and she shaded her eyes with, her hands so^that she ; saw nothing but the man who was. playing on the violin. - Her imagination.: was vivid, her mind; was poetic, and : her eyes were fixed upon the bow that glided and nodded and vibrated across the BtringB. It began as a TJOW, but gradually became alive and looked like a snak'e's head, like a woman's face, like a wand, like a streak of light. '" It mesmerised her. The walls pf the room went off in smoke, and she bad a vision of gay cavaliers, impossibly handsome and grand, and beautiful ladies in beautiful dresses, who . bowed and curtsied to one another and swept through a midsummer night s dream of graceful misty measures to the sound of delightful music ; and the world of men and women was no longer of men and women as we know them, but of people
who loved one another and who lived in. an atmosphere of peace and harmony. And castles and streams and forests arose from the land of Nowhere, and morning breezes swept over whole acre3 of fragrant flowera, and the dew sparkled, and the birds of the air trilled and quivered and twittered, and Titania sported in the shade, and Paul and Virginia came walking arm in arm through the avenues, till they became lost in" a crowd of people who stood upon a shore speaking and waving and look- ing adieus, while gay ships sailed out of harbour and across seas where long bands of morning sunlight made the water into gold. But a storm comes on, and thunder rolls and the waves arise with mighty power, and lovers say mad adieus to one another and go down, in the crown and flower of youth and love, into the dark waters, while prayers are said for them in wide, reverend churches, where coloured lights fall and solemn music swells and mutters and blesses, and where dim crowds of thousands of men and women are gathered silently together ; and the glory of the Shechinab is on the place, as it was in the Holy of
Holies in the tabernacle, and the wings . of. cherubim and of angels hover shelteringly in the air. Thin wreaths of smoke curl up from censors and gather and spread till it is thick battle smoke, and maddening battle music is in the ears; and thousands rush upon thou- sands ; and deeds of magnificent heroism are done ; and the ghosts of the great dead seem to rise in response to the fierce music they loved in the bad old
times; and Romans and Spaniards - succeed one another in misty battalions; and Mooi's, with long lances, sweep out from arabesque castles, and wind along the passes in the hills ; and old deeds of chivalry are dons over again; strange
things are done in that strange land of , dreams, and there is no squalor, no hatred, no hunger, no pain, ho anything any more, but light and colour and movement, and "Romance-Romance-. " Romance-as it is born in a lover's head when music is in the air. ...
The consequence of which was that at the end of the evening Phyllis was more
in love with Yeend than ever. She went - through the old trick of transferring all she had seen aud felt and imagined into association with the charming man who had played the impressionist music on the. violin; and be had seen it iu her eyes and attitude and in her silence when be stopped playing-and he smiled.
To Margaret, it had aU been as the whistling of the wind in the eave3. Her father had told her what had passed between bim and Frank ; and she was wondering where Frank was, what he was doing and what he would do, and what he would say when he wrote-for she was sure he would write some woi-d of farewell and explanation. But she was not a fool ; and sh 3 had few illusions ; she knew that it'was all over between her and the man she loved-not had loved, observe, but loved--that they could have no longer any thought of life companionship ; .that be was one of the men who go to make up the percentage of so much human wreckage to so much human life-and it was all very wretched; and the beautiful world of the morning was quite a different' thing from the other kind, of world of the evening. And so thinking, she looked at Frank's photo as she went to bed, and dreamed the world right again.
Phyllis dreamed, too, but dreamed as she sat at her window and looked out in
the moonlight, and (as Olive Schreiner has said) of the joy of the dreamer no one knoweth but -she who dreams the dream.
Mr. Yeend merely thought what a deucedly clever fellow he really was, and that the bnsiness of the mine was all light, put out his light, and went to sleep.
The Colonel--alas for the Colonel, he consumed more cigars, more wine, and brought on liver whole days earlier thar it would have come in the course of nature.
(To be continued.)