Chapter 37576086

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37576086
Full Date1908-08-01
Page Number49
Corrections0
Word Count1007
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleWestern Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)
Trove TitleBinks: The Story of a Great Endeavour
article text

CHAPTER in.

In course of time' due preparations were made for the abandonment of tbe little kingdom above the sand dunes, and tho entering upon that larger sphero to which Sir Arthur Monteith

had been called. Tho observant stran

ger who had at first been the hearer of the news, and who represented tho firm ol English lawyers retained by the house of Monteith, had paid many visits to the little seaside homey and found a pleasure in doing so. Tho young baronet, with his uncertain ' health, his impossible theories and his

intense Austral*ar.ism interested him deeply. Ithoda interested him even

more.

Could he have chosen ene woman from tho many of his acquaintance to fill this, unexpected role, bo would have chosen her. Her character had a breadth and stability which rendered her peculiarly fitted to cope with the unlooked-for: she was capable alike of lofty renunciation or d» ¡'pest self-sacri- fice, and the heights and depths of joy or sorrow hut tempted her fine spirit. Intensely human, marriage had deepen- ed her sympathies and brought to life all that was beat in her. Arthur Mon- teith had made a wise choice when he took her for Ids wife.

On a late summer evening tho law- yer stepped along tho sea wall on his way to the cottage above the sandhills. ? Everything bad been arranged with the

facility which money . makes possible. Sir Arthur Monteith s Australian affairs

had been wound up, and in tho lawyer's breast pocket two first-class.single tic- kets to the old world were safety fold- ed. This was his last visit to the cot-

tage : to-morrow the young _ couple

would hand it Over to the auctioneer's . hammer, and the place that had known

them once would know them uo more.

They were standing together now on - the shuttered verandah that faned the

sea, taking their last look at the sun-

set.

The lawyer hesitated to interrupt their tete-a-ete, and, turning aside, he , sat down oil a bench which commanded

a view of the house, and waited.

The great red disk of the sun was just touching the watery horizon, and its glow lay warm upon Rhoda's face and glinted in her hair. She wore a loose white cashmere gown which curv- ed to the lines of her fine figure. Her

child lay within the shelter of her arm,

his whito rob© falling to her knees. Rhoda's motherhood was a perfect one : there was a touch of awe in her affec- tion for her child, and, since his birth, a deeper note of tenderness in her love towards her husband. Her disengaged hand lay now upon his arm, and the glow which heightened her robust beau- ty touched his face with a delicate spirituality. It was th© face of an idealist, a dreamer of beautiful dreams, the frail clay of mortality, but a shell . for the great germs of the immortal.

The man on the bench turned his face resolutely seaward. There was that upon their faces which was not for his eyes. They were saying farewell to

what had been.

The red disk of the sun slid down behind the rim of the sea and drew the warmth of the late summer day with it. The air grew chilly, a faint breeze stirred among the sandhills, and a great loneliness crept up from the sea.

The verandah was deserted, and it was growing dusk when the lawyer climbed the rough steps to the house.

Later, when the business of vhis visit had been transacted, it was Rhoda w-ho showed him out. When he had gone she looked into tho study, where her husband still sat writing. The win- dows were wide open, and the crescent of a young moon, which had hung in the west, was following the sim behind tho sea. The low sighing of waters, ob- scured by a light grey mist, crept into the room j the air was chilly, and Rhoda, with a slight shudder, whether from cold or a nameless melancholy which chilled her spirit, crossed the room and shut out the night.

"Do not he long, Arthur," she said, and paused for a moment, her hand upon her husband's shoulder.

For answer he drew her to his arms, and she knelt beside him, her face upon his breast.

There were many pages of manuscript on his desk.

"Forgive mo, dearest," he said, "but it is my fancy to put the finishing touches to my book to-night. To-mor- row there will be so much to do, and I want it to be quite ready for the publisher's hands."

"Just for a little while, then," she answered, and. drawing his face to hers, kissed his forehead with her warm lips.

An hour later she awoke from a dreamless sleep, to find her husband's place still vacant. The hour pointed to midnight.

A nameless fear took possession of her. and when the child stirred un- easily she gathered him to her bosom, and stole on bare feet to the study.

Her husband still sat at his desk, pen in hand, but his head rested light- ly on his left arm in an attitude of re-

pose. '

The light from the dimly-burning lamp fell softly upon his face, and it was very calm.

In one awful moment realisation came to Rhoda

Thc Australian novel was completed. Its author had written "Finis" upon its last fly-leaf , and his pale hand lay yet lovingly upon the scarcely-dried mk-but he was dead, and Sir Arthur Monteith lay smiling in the blissful ignorance of Tiabyhooa, warm and beau- tiful, in his mother's arms : a sacred trust to her, secure in the possession.

of

"Lovo th it lives and stands up re-

created,

Love moro etrdug,.than*dcath*or all

things fated s

Child's and mother's lit by love and

. led, -

Love that found : wlmt -life, lotie -

airawaited,?':';-* .-y-~ :.<?.*.<?.s A~IHÎ ih*ís isHmv true"story of how the

Australian novel was written.