Chapter 33156161

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Chapter NumberTHE LAST.
Chapter TitleTHE LAST.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article33156161
Full Date1898-04-15
Page Number53
Corrections0
Word Count3809
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleWestern Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)
Trove TitleThe Wealth of the West
article text

¡pwr" VfÇBÀwraià' -OTÉ--IÍAES. ' . ? ,' .:";;.{

¡j'Ir lt was-tue city of Eternal £uanis:\ !

t Above it is^ih« high precipitous maj\->i'î

rock on :í^^^lM¥imjnetíb picturesque Turbia, whose history goes far back into Roman times, and which looks down on the living illustration of how the times change and. how the world changes with

them. "Tt Js the same -scene. ' Once .togaed Romans pondered their schemes in the neighbourhood of the point which was, they knew, the end of the world. Now mell and women grow haggard in the fierce race for wealth-which is, I suppose, as great to them as were the enterpi'ises of great Cosar to him-for the equation is the same whether the world be desti'oyed to the mau or the man to the world. The extinction of one man is death ; the extinction of ' the world is the death of one man multiplied.

It is as fair as a garden of the Lord, but it is a garden whence the Lord has withdrawn, and-where His spirit walks no longer in the cool of the day.

It is fair in the morning when the spears of coming day flood ali the thirsty east with gold-when the eternal miracle

of the sun-riss makes the world aft'esh when" golden galleons of cloud grow orange and crimson and silver and yellow--when thé forests of ilexes andi lemjon.jand the_ .grpvBs._qf branga "tra»;, and all the wonder and wealth pf tropiéaî

foliage, weinutyeiSy.. the; 'hand of the? jU^tj;:V!^^°^d-lira'^ . longer mera ; leaves ändäree trunks, but are trembling

fahy, banners and .fairy-wands ; and $ne: waters are circled round-with diamonds and pearls and amethysts and- all the precious atones and gems that John- saw in his vision on^Patmos (which are only dewdrops}, when* the. waters of the Mediterranean, which have been. the cradle and play ground andi war ground of the trace, 'blush intojife and reflect back again ihe luxuriance of beauty that girdles them-when, the long mys of sunlight ¿teal over mountain and valley, and into the long «urving¡ bays where the watfcr combs up in its' crystalline ripples, and -over the long tongues of land, and over, the houses . nestling among the hills, and over -the white s ails of the shipping-when it floods the -faces of the cliffs from summit to wave

lapped base^whën îyon'jgaze.^m the heights of the Cornice Soad over the whole inexpressible .panorama-- fair when the sun only serves td reveal the 'high rock and the terraces, and the big . square of llfonte'Oarlbë For we are at Monte Carlo, and that ÍB Nice with its

:to;r^nt;jaj^^

, f;$$: ísjá^ri^bjiung ^bft"^ :. :'ît . 4s Itáe"

^^i^^ßg^^aj^si ,$l^;ia#lbp>^^ îieiiyy^|§^%Blb^.^^föÄueä overit are ?the stars j lina beliw ^rethestaVs.agamj ^gá»u% ûprïrbni ?^e m^rp^f^ai^èa} »iigh\ as fullbf ;magic. and mesmerism ; as those on high, The inbon -rises and. shines on the same s cene that hailed flie ;á¿f^'¿ îe^

äfes sainé things^ut now everything - ib»B E ¿bw ;çliai*^^

e^rth . and sky still contains a -rivalry bf ' beauty, an4 bbauty "b5ffe^^ l>eauty as one star differs from anotherln glory. -Now the eye' can no longer take in tue twhole sweep and profusion and piied-up prodigality of scene. Vistas open among the trees, where shadows lurk and where -mysteries are. Long terraces reveal themselves from vagueness, and charm in mid sweep, only to conceal themselves in vagueness again. Vistas of trembling silver open on the waters, too, and thrust themselves like rapiers bf light among jthe hills and into the curves of the inJets-and are gone again .-and return again-and always lead the eye away, away, away into Nature's infinite %ook bi secrecy--and then are . lost. ,. À scene so chaining that it ^^à\^^tÈ^êvè^;^^i^S' night of

ISappleon - (the pf. the

|Gomice Boad. bf tb-d^^hen ; thé -load ~jfjti«d:^^guest* arid*dav^"ambition lay" japon hiinjliîut íiot so. hêavUy.that this j^rden /oî l^^ôàs-hoM^rioi Mess 'him ^th^bui^^

:üescenaiug upon him! like the' dew of"

-Hebron. ' .' 'z- " ' ~

f : Years had passed since'theconvenient 'death bf the Warden. It is as well not tb follow the trail'of the serpent too far or'too.'deep.

- 'On thisiiight, whenall Nature seemed 1» :e^end~;'ihen^-.iii, effects, of beauty, two people wjsre walking along a terrace thatlay below, the big square of the city .-they were Yeend and Phyllis. They had not parted. His threat that they would do so was only an ingenious de- vice .of a torturer who found it bard to invent il fresh pleasing for himself. What., hjs fortunes hid -been is best illustrated by theil' convevsatiau.

i She ivas walking at his side. She had apparently ho eye for the glowing panorama, .bat continiiully sought his face with her eyes, which looked sad and worn, and wereiu keeping" with her ^ad and worn face. ; \ :' ;.

They juid;beQS} talking^ few^ipjaents before, and when he spoke his words had irefétónce. txi somethiu-ç sha biid' been

^ytogy/il ,v: J: -. '] '.'

?$Sy ae^Kyllis,". ha'\said.'ta.mtag -w^^^^iljha^

^.^cMsti^^ when yöa'

i'1r.^|^swé ypäf^&jj d«i; vyifcîi artistic «iSèet-^àn^^îiSç-jiie/' ionise nie: now.. i_Eefr«s have., what the wó¿i?n-iii England ^alj^ii^pS^iyV'' - . . .

,s.''^lienî talk ît is to save you. ;When

ï wéia it is "for jo j'-aotfôr"aiyielf.'"-. -"Xobîç.^ . . . -'

4,Öou i.frcricr at lue." -.- . .'.

."l'-yiiis I Jik^d. ron'batte? when yon B:IÔW<^Î spine ii;v. FOL' heaved s".Sake stop t'tiè ir-"1 v;:~w.iihe; Ta?y soy a

constant drbppmg wears away * stone, and yon hare shed enough tears to wear, "away any man's patience-if ii was as big as a mountain and as hard as what I think is called the nether millstone."

She faced him in the inoôniight, and placed both hands on his shoulders and looked him lovingly in the face.

" Dear, you are out of temper." r

"I am not," he said sharply, and shrinking as if he would avoid her.

"Then, Dick, let me say if you were, you have had reason."

" I wish you had a little."

" You are playing heavily, and-you have lost heavily."

. He shook her off impatiently and turned away.

" Dick, dear, let me speak."

"Then speak the truth,'* he said savagely, " and speak sense. You have, as you would put it, clung to me up to now. Do you dread to share my poverty ? Is that ,what you meanP" he went on with a sneer. " Woman's love !"

" I know you have bad misfortunes." " I have ; you are one of them."

" You know I do not dread your .poverty. I haye shown you-have I not P

.~how. little Í..dreads/whatever I may.; shai^wittyfi^' f

. ' "You don't'dread'jny»ipoverty P. *ÏP>" -he said . bitterly,; ''it iwould be unneces- sary j^you ; would leavej-me." You?'.- Tie addëd after a pa^se/^aud with c^u#ug suggestion, " you and your kind always

have resources."

She. looked ; steadily, at him for a moment, and then drew back a pace.

"Dick!"

He laughed and muttered something expressive as he threw away his cigar stump.

"You liked me better*' she said slowly, and dangerously, '" when I .showed some fire. , .Take care I do not; show some nowT' .

,.. ".What do you mean? You take a; tone l don't like-won't have."

- "Why do you taunt me-torture me? Why do you pretend tb doubt me ? I 'know that in your heart you dp not-yon .cannot. Have I not given you proof Hover and over again. Be bitter with all the world, but not with me. Oh; the world has been bitter to me. '. I havô hated-^-with all my heart; but I love with all my heart, too. ' I am not like your cold, fair women-who never con- fess. Why should I hide it? I lore írpuí J3ick> ^öÜAäw?|ny Jifê:. ïïlâëvët felt tb antone ías ï have to you; : You db -

ou do 0ii know ^o)a ^g^i^^^vaé' ? torture %ough ^p^^$MúT^W^íot know "rikf"; Have ^im:|»^|^^fiiBÍ^? íbát yon can say ¿to &e what vould make á woman iwholoy^

hated her P My heart is weak, Bick, BO, . weak! "You ¿nt .love there; do. not crash it bttfc. Ohjthat lore can fail and

tben-r-V ;;;, ;. ;;;, \Xr % . ? v ;

,;; She went tip to hun,""janel leaned lier head on his shoulder and wept: hitterly,,

He suffered it like a statue. Women ; .are such hores when they grow emotional.- :

She raised i her head and said rapidly and passionately,

"lam a woman with two motives-I love ; I hate. I love you, hut you can be ..po crueh. You rouse strange thoughts in my heart sometimes. Sometimes--' sometimes they make me afraid of myself-.

They exchanged glances steadily, theu he said with a mixture of admiration, pleased vanity, and concUiation- ~ .

" You have shown fire now, Phyllis."

There was a pause, and then she said without a trace of ber previousagitation,

butèarnestly^ ; ! " Bick, you must not. play any more. ?:

You are -losing; losing, losm^i-^always :

losing. I amvnot 'a'.sßhöolgul-I have :

j lived, 'arid 'jï know. - Yón- cannot* play; against the tobie. Bight and left you Jiáve mèn.who have made it a science.

Why «lo you pooh-pooh;and laugh when ? j say these: things? .'>Ho.w much ^uin

?have you and I seen since we - cams here ? to- this glittering hell? Mademoiselle Blanchard was wealthy, but she . played and lost. To-day. she went out.

I saw her face. She'said ' Good-bye, Phyllis."Dick, she witt never come baçk -«he is, of that nature.. The French doctor j the English colonel-were, they not wealthy?. Are "they not ruined now for ever and ever? Dick,"-suddenly

" do you know what it. is to beg f I did .-^once. 1 do not fear poverty with you, no, nor anything ; but if your money goes to that terrible croupier, .what will you do?. It will not be how will you ¿¿wc-no, Dick, it v?ill be how will you

die:'

Yeend laughed-quietly. "AU this doeä you crédit, Phyl. I believe yon arc quite right."

" How much money have you left ?"

; "How much oak isithere in the acorn ? I've enough to make a fortune out of it, if . ......

'] " Yes," she said mournfully, " ' if '

luck!" ? - '

. " Just so-luck." . -

f *?A*difinotP-> - - .. . . - r

-j"¿"If upt,.thejre will be that big; terrible jffàûi pi ypufa to faöe. tahalí end it ¿ip with something short and sharp." ' /'Andi?'* .

." He laughed pleasantly.

. " You must think of- the>uierry time we had, my deáiv^-hów we floated in moonlight at Venice-how we spent ?*one .Bummer night in- Munich'-^the gay months we passed - iii tho beautiful city- of - ' Paree '-the" gondolas-the boulevaids-rthe laughter'-the -love and the gaiety. Have we not had then! all?"

Vate--- - ? j-ïSX-¿j¡* ^££Ç*i^JS53?-.r«-. . î.-j

Ä^i And â àe end, W widj^te table-! the ruin-and the something you call

. short and sharp. Ah * she sighed, turn- ¡ ing and looking absently at the scene? j

" do J not remember-and were we not

happy!" !

" Happy "-r-with a short laugh, aud then his head drooped for a moment as if he were thinking-* well, it has come to this at last, Phyl. If I win to-night -and I must win to-night-good-bye to rouge et noir and all the rest for ever."

" Tes, that is what Madame Blanchard said ; but she will never come back. Why not give up now ?"

He turned and pointed to the lights of the town, and shook his head.

" I can't, I can't, I can't. Once more, Phyllis, girl, and then-"

He stooped and kissed her. There was something in the caress that re- minded her of the days-how long ago ! how deep, deep .buried, how irre- vocably gone !-when the love, on her side, was pure, and when she had built her castles in Spain on the shifting sand of a man's love.

-And- then they went up together to I meet their fate. -

i '#'' # # * . #

I^ejr^j^r^ihß.ahie chamber «f. the . City of Destruction with the air of .old habitués;. . The lights, the tables,, the rich, hangings; the calling and ."gilding,;

the phubby cherubim,, that had .looked down on success and ruin, on ferer and despair, on prayers and execrations-all the deeper because ' not jittered but hidden, under studied^indifferenee-the croupiers, who looked as if the whole thing bored them, the rich dresses, the

bright, eyes, the haggard faces that art j

and will could not hide-it was all as old as an oft-told tale to them.. :

-They were somewhat late in entering. The cry of the coupier was beard in the land,. " Make your play, gentlemen, make your play," and his rake raked in the pileB of gold. ; ..

A. young gentleman dressed as per-; fectiyasfor my lady's "at home" was in the act of withdrawing from a group «bout one of the tables. He had played and lost. ; He had the same interesting paleness as one who was about to be sea-sick. His wife took his arm and looked up anxiously m hhs face. He walked on as if unconscious of her

presence. They passed Phyllis, and she " .shivered as she watched them. ? She said :

f Yéeiid^ tus ^lue^^^

mstde ^&?'|pi^ ¿ÜITOUBIJ^^

lp havôànrslr of^^sú^éy^T^yat^^ -^xpectejäJnofeodyand vrished tb meefrno re<M>gnreing « eye; ;- Hé - had kepi this up Ér. a *rhUe, '.«nt^It^^;%omtf»S aowî

e: -^íad ¿ got the gambler^ ^second; wind," ana Was äb . mucjx athome as ever lié was-that is to say, he. was fascinated. .. ¿He . followed .. the red-* ;«nd the ??- black, and pijt his money on the colours in the most approved methods of reckoning the chances; black was steadily losing ; he placed it'.on black and waited , for re- versal of . luck pit the principle that underlies the divine law ot average.

Phyllis went quietly up to him and touched him lightly on thé shoulder.

He looked at her pretty much as a man. would who was in the midst of an opium smoke-he, like the young man who had - juBt gone out, seemed hardly aware of

her presence, but he waved her away ^ abstractedly and turned to the table ' again. It was always hopeless. Of late she had once or twice tried the same, thing, and always with the same result. Jerome in his cave was not more dead to. all the-other attractions of -the

world than the man who was under, .the 'spell, of .the 'master vioe - for gambling is one of the .few-vices that,, like music, does not pall by frequent Repetition. She retired hopelessly tb her seat;, the .croupier .croaked out his çtfys-the- crbupTier¿plied his"; rake ; the " bank n was having a good, night, and the' yellow b oys chink ed and glistened

j under the light as tilley fell musically to

I erether.

The pendulum - was making a . long swing this time before it gravitated back to the. centre of average and over to the side. of luck for the man. who staked against the bank. Black had lost again. "Yeend leaned back and wiped thc per- spiration from his forehead. He staked on black again. He felt, so deep was. his abstraction, as utterly alone as if he were in the centre of the Sahara. There was nobody around him, there were no voices, there was no. lighted room-there was only the clink and the yellow of the little piles of gold. Marvellous ! BlackT did the impossible thing and lost again.

His nerves were "hot quite his own. to-, night.

" That girl's damned twaddle bas got on- to my brain," he said in a lucid, interval and turned away mèchanically to'go somewhere where'he could get a bejithof'freshi air. \ _ ' .

. "Phyllis on the watch noted it, and was at his side in a~ moment and linked

her arm in his. He ßtopped and fâceft her fiercely. ' She :knew; TOS" symptom and'the'cónditióñ of mhïd'iehind it;; .'

1 ~" Siek,"" she 'said in pre&v miicH the same tone as she -would use to a sleeper., "Dear,.dear Dick, do be warned. Do not play any more. Iitick is against yo«"

He made as if. he vvould shake her off, bat she onlv clung the Closer,

-"Dick!"' , . . - - .... -

" For God's sake sit down will you," be said in à savage suppressed-tone. " I ; will not be distracted by iou. Yon have

iione enough damage--surás you," »ë : added as a postscript.

"But Dick

" My luck -will turn."

"Au, how often have you said that!

How often have trusted to that. When,

has your belief ever been true ? Come away with me:"

" I-will-not," he ßaid very slowly and with invincible savage obstinacy. '.'I will nob. I tell you. I have enough to bear without your childish chatter.

Go to the hotel."

He used the last phrase with all the force of a conventional imprecation, and shook her off roughly. She only sighed, and retired. She would go home with him as usual, when the usual trance was ended for another night,

The little altercation had broken the monotony almost as wall as a breath of fresh ah'. He had felt savage and had wanted to expend it on something, and there is nothing so good as a woman for that sort of thing, because the right kind of woman feels and winces under it

more than anything else, and so gives infinitely more satisfaction. Therefor« Yeend felt revived, and pulled himself ..together- and -went...back..to -the tabla again. ..

: " Make your play, gentlemen, make vour olav." T :

And the group put their money on the colours. . »

Yeend had as accurate knowledge of the condition of-his finances as an adept teller in a bank-that is, an ordinary conventional bank in the city, rle drew a long breath, and said mentally-.

" AU or nothing."

The croupier called. It was not worth ?changing one's mind at the psychological moment, and he put his coins on black And left his pockets empty. He grinned as" he thought that was the last of Oom wall's money as well as- his own. The . impossible and the inevitable happened.

Black lost again. The bank was

having a"night of it. ; ^

Yeend drew another long breath, and brought his fingers down with a heavy pat. r -

"Done!"

: It was the equivalent of Napoleon's " All is over " at Waterloo, and just as serious in proportion.

: Some new people had come into the Sahara during the last few minutes. As he turned froni the table Phyllis started forward; but ftes^eV^iiiers wereheforé

^6'armiuetieateíyi andlsaid, r C

? i. '. Mr.^énd^îâUik:^ A v " .:¡ u Mjy name is Barnard.** -

*' Mole's* Skeggs." dad you weren't

drowned.that .tame.'*. ** .-. ' " Yes", you devil, and mine's Cornwall. - Where's my money ?"

"Ask the man with the rake. He knows."

''Mi*. Yeend, ? otherwise Barnard." said another voice, "I have a warrant

for your arrest as ah absconder," said., the English detective.

" There you are, Mr. Bates." said Skeggs with his unmoved childlike face, "there's your man alive and doing as well as could be expected. So I hope Sour mind is at rest. That ends my

usinées which has its first principles in sentiment. The absconding racket is for the British lion to claw over flavoured, as it were, with a personal spice of feeling on the part of Mr. Corn- wall. Who's the lady? She's fainted! Here clear, some of you people, and let's get her into the open air !"

It was Phyllis.

That was the only thing that attracted attention. All the rest might have been, .sb far as the bystanders were concerned, a conversational meeting among friends."

Yeend did not-seem ito take very much \ interest in the business.- But he started when Phyllis fainted.

\ She -revived for a moment, and' mut- : tered in a dazed way

" Good-bye-rob, goöä-bye, Dick."

^He"heai^ it, ahd: for once-just for .. once-all that was left of good in him returned. It was the last flash in the candle of sentiment. ~

" Good-bye my girl, good-bye " he said or whispered, and took hi6 handkerchief from his pocket. When he took it down again something fell on the floor. "It was a phial and there was an odour of bitter almonds. *

Yeend fell. It was hydrocianic acid, and he had been false to the principles of the place by openly committing suicide. It had been done in a moment,

and no one bad had a chance to interfere. .

Play was stopped. A crowd gathered round, and the detective took charge of the body of the absconder.

*****

I/envoi

It was a year or two afterwards.

The Colonel was sitting in the dusk of the evening looking out at one of the French casements at, Poxcross. Aman . who was not clearly distinguishable was

sitting opposite to lain. , '

" Where are those two people, Bates?" Bates looked: out and* pointed down the.garden. .' '

: " Saw "em go down there a minute ago." - ' * ' c.

. The " two " were" walking together .among the trees. : - " . .

And. what was it made you i-ealiy believe it could have .beeu yourself that did i'la«, Prank?" .

lt Was the one secret he "could not

break.

" Whatever: it was, Maggie, doss not matter now. It has gone, gone, gone, thank <3od for ever. It-it was au hallucination which sometimes came upon .me in moments of excitement-it was the effects of an accident when I was

a boy. Don't let tis mention it .any more. The main thing, is ?. not what is past, but what is present. Are you happy f"

a *' Am I happy !"

And just then the Colonel was saying to Bates,

"I alwaysk had the most unshaken belief in Conyers, Bates, always. "What people were thinking of to erer seriously doubt him "I don't know. No you don't, no more fire water, Bates. I've got you in hand, and I'm going to drive off your family demon if it takes up the rest of your life."

" I hope to heaven you will, Colonel. 1 am the one blot on what might be entirely happy. My demon takes long to lay."

_^(THE END.)