Chapter 39697199

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Chapter NumberX
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1897-09-04
Page Number2
Word Count798
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLaunceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)
Trove TitleLight after Darkness
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CHAPTER X. "Affliction flies, and Hope returns; Her lamp with brighter splendour burns; Gay Love, with all his smiling train, And Peace and Joy are here again." -Langhorne. "We'll have that old ruin down next week," observed Mr. Roberts, one morning ant breakfast. "Of whali old ruin are, you speak ing?" asked Mrs. Roberts, as she handed a cup of cocoa to Elsie. "The barn; it is a very unsightly building, and not worth patching up. Good gracious, Elsie! what Is the mat ter? How careless you are!" Elsie had dropped her cup and saucer, and the hot cocoa had scalded her father severely. "I am very nervous, papa, this morn ing. I-I don't feel very well." "Well, never mind, dear. It can't be helped now. Bust it was hot, and you have spoilt my-but there! don't cry, it is -a mere trifle." "I'm very sorry,. papa. When did you say you would pull the barn clown?" "Oh, don't trouble your little head about the barn." "But when, papa? Do tell me." "Next week, my pat. Everything will be cleared oiut to-day." "To-day, papa?" repeated Elsie, ner vously. "Yes, to-day. But why are you so anxious? Are you in love with the old barn, -or 'have you a treasure hidden there?" "Oh, no-;- I am- only curious, that is all. I am glad; yes, so glad V is coming down." "Well, you don't look glad. Why, my child, you are quite pale. Is any thing the matter?". "Elsie, has not been herself, since Miriam left," remarked Mrs. Roberts. "I am afraid she is frettiig about her." "Fretting! Nonsense!" exclaimed Mr. Roberts, in a tone of irritation. ''She has been gone these three weeks, and I never noticed it. Fretting would not give her those pale cheeks. Are you in want of a companion, Elsie? If so, speak, and you shall have one. There are plenty of girls who would be glad to make The Acacias a home." "No, dear papa," said Elsie. "I do not think I would care for a stranger. No, I shall soon be well. I am not fretting." "Well, you must get the coilour back in those cheeks again, Elsie, or I shall - have to send you away for a change.. Perhaps you are poring over your books too closely. Take a holi day, my pet. Go inth the fresh air, ride, walk-anything, but make your s-elf happy." "Happy!" sighed Elsie, as she left the house an hour after this conver sation. "I feel that I shall never be happy again. Olh, my darling Miriam, if you had only waited!" Elsie walked sl-wly towards the barn, as if she had no particular ob ject in view. When she reachaed the building she lcokcd in every direction to see that she was not observed, and then ent red. Again she- disturbed the pile of'iubbish under which she believed the box'lay concealed. Could she bh deceived? Was it gone? She al most screamed. Again and again she ovirt'ureed the rusty- pieces of iron and broken framewprk -that had been niled over the 'box. -, Her hands were bleeding, and she, was exhausted from

the exertion, too great for her slight form. But at length the' truth was forced upon her; and she sank back, appalled at the discovery. Her strength forsook her; and with a low gasp she fell. For the second time in her life Elsie had aiunted. Her father found her a few minutes later, and he carried her into the house. "The poor girl must be seriously ill," he hurriedly explained Ito his wife. "I found her thus in the barn. Do your best to revive her. I'll ride off foi the dodtor." Mrs. Roberts was a woman of ac tion,.and though dismayed at the, sight ofther darling in such a condition she did not lose h'r presence of mind.. Slowly the girl returned to conscious- ness, but her first words caused her mother tol start back in astoaish ment and fear." '"The box!' tlei box! It is gone- gone' Oh, 'mamma, mamma, some thief has stolen it from the barn." " My p;oor child, do, not think of the box. It was never in the barn. Is it ,of that you have been fretting, my darling? But do not worry. Some day we shall find it, and the thief will be 'punished." "Punished, mamma! Yes, punished! She dtesee'ves it, does she n~cit? Oh, wicked, wicked girl." "Hushi, dearest; don't speak like that. Miriam is innocent, I know. But keep quiet'. The, doctor will soon be here." The girl sank back and clcsed her eyes, and Mrs. Roberts waited pa tiently for the doctor's arrival. When he came he saw at a glance that EI sie's condition. was serious. (To be Continued.)