|Chapter Number||XI. (Continued.)|
|Newspaper Title||Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||The Wealth of the West|
THE " WEALTH OF THE WEST."
BY LOUIS MONTCALM.
[WRITTEN FOR THE WESTERN MAIL.]
He was sitting up in a chair. She ran to him, and kissed his face, his hands. She threw her arms round his neck—but, even in the abandonment of the moment, as tenderly as if he were a sick child ; and she kept relaxing and renewing the pressure, as if her fingers were trying to speak too. He felt her lips trembling as they met his. He smiled inwardly, and thought—
" Good God, how this woman loves me," and felt pleased with his versatility, that enabled him to swindle syndicates and make a woman love him. He re- minded himself of historic blackguards of the dramatic Byronic type, and felt,
as an interlude in the monotony of getting well, how interesting all this was, especially on the fields, where
women were so scarce.
"That will do, Phyllis," ' he said,
putting her arm away, " I am glad you
" Oh ! Dick—Dick—why didn't you send for me before ? Why didn't you
let me know? Why didn't your trust
me? You don't know how I have
suffered. I thought you were dead, and I thought I should die, too."
He laughed the convalescent's tired laugh.
" We're neither of us dead yet, Phyllis."
" Tell me, Dick, how was it you escaped? Everyone thinks you are dead. Why don't you let them know you are not?"
"My dear girl, nothing was ever more
fortunate. The dead—the happy dead —are removed from the inquiries of the miserable people who are alive and who want to know where the money has gone to. And while I remain dead, I can't be interviewed about anything. There- fore I shall remain dead. Simple, isn't
She paused a while before answering.
She had evidently lived long enough
on the fields to understand.
" But you cannot, live here for ever," she said
" I haven't the slightest intention of doing so," he said. "Though I find the company and conversation of Mr. Corn- wall full of a kind of natural wit and entertainment."
She glanced aside.
" Do not anger him, Dick. You do not know what he might do."
" There is nothing to fear, and it is my only amusement.
" Has he——" she paused. He laughed again.
" Certainly, my dear. I understand your delicacy. You would say, is Mr. Cornwall another man who has made money, in excess, as it were—not to put too fine a point on it. As a matter of fact he is." And what is better, Phyllis,
I hold it for both. Hence my amuse-
'' Oh, Dick, what a dangerous ,game you play. Suppose it should be dis-
" Suppose it shouldn't? You are a believer in the theory that murder will out. That is because you are not a deep thinker. We can only hear of the dis- covered crimes—not that we are speak- ing of crimes at all, but merely in illus-
tration. But what about the things that are done by the wise persons ? Those are the things that no one hears of, and so, to the, vulgar mind, appear not to have happened at all. You see the logic?"
" Yes, Dick, and how many of those who have been discovered have said just what you are saying now ; but they were discovered all the same."
" Roll me a cigarette, Phyllis, and be agreeable. You are speaking of that which you do not know."
" When are you going away? " He stretched out his arms.
" As you just now remarked, I cannot stay here for ever. As soon as I am in condition again, whenever that may be, I shall go to Perth, and thence away."
" And then ?"
" And then—the old life again. Life, life, life, Phyllis."
" Yes?" she said, looking up in his face," and speaking with a queer note of interrogation in her voice.
She had rolled the cigarette while they were talking. He put it between his lips, and a malicious look came into his eyes. He, glanced at her as an Inquisitor might have, looked at his
victim in the torture chamber to
calculate how much he could bear. u " Then, Phyllis, then, we must part—
you and I."
Only one syllable, but it was the moan
of a tortured animal under the hand of
a pitiless vivisectionist. The simile may
not be good but it is expressive—and it is true.
" We must part then, Phyllis."
" You must not talk like that. You
don't know how you—how you torture me—because—oh, Dick, Dick," she wailed, "You don't know how I love you."
Her head sank on her hands and she sobbed, and Yeend looked down at her and rather enjoyed it. It was another
source of amusement added to that which Cornwall afforded. Moreover it had peculiar features of its own which
the other lacked,
" You see, a woman would cause so many impediments. All the failures of the world have been the work of women. They mean well, Phyllis, but they don't
" You didn't always say that."
" Because one cannot always be equally wise. Besides you must be tired of this kind of life. As you said just now, one cannot live this kind of life for ever."