|Newspaper Title||Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)|
|Trove Title||Light after Darkness|
FOR THE CHILDREIL -4-- LIGHT AFTER DARKNESS. Written for the "Examiner" BY "ETHELBURGA," LAUNCESTON. CHAPTER XI. 'Has she had a shock?" asked the doctor. "No, doctor," answered Mrs. Roberts. "We have had a little trouble lately. I fear she has been fretting about it. But, is she seriously ill?" "She- must be kept very quiet," ~aid the doctor. "Let her be put, to bed now." Several days passed, and Elsie grew worse. Fever set in, and in her de lirium she uttered words that caused her mother the deepest anguish. "Miriamn!" cried the tortured girl; "Darling Miriam, come back! I am the thief! I took the box and hid it in the barn! Oh, wretched jealousy! But I'l! find it, and replace it. Yes, come- come--see! Here it is! Oh, this heavy i:on! How it tears my hands. I'm so tired. But we must find it-yes, we must find it! It is under this heapD Hush! .Quiet now! Is Bob looking? No, all is still. It must be here! I put it under the rubbish! Oh, help me, Miriamn! See how I have cut my poor hands! Alh! it is indeed gone! No, no; it cannot 'be! Lootk again, liriam -look again! Not there, did you say? You are mocking me! Yes, yes; some one has taken it. Don't look at me in that way! Pity me, pity me!" And thus during the long hours of night did the poor girl rave, and the patient; distracted mother watched over her. But in the mother's heart there was .a deep sorrow-an, intense. despair, as the suspicion that her darling had sinned so treacherously against ner cousin, grew into- a dark reality. Gradually the fever left hr,: but though there was still danger, the doc tor had strong hopes of her recovery. When co'nscicusness returned, Elsie found' rher mother watching patiently at her bedside. "Mamma!" sihe whispered. "Yes, dear! Pi'ray, do not apeak. Your have been very ill, but you will soon be well again. Only you' must not tallk." "But, mamma, I must ?peak. I want to tell you how wicked I have been. Oh, if I were to dio without telling you." "Hush, dear, I know all. You have been delirious. A letter came from Miriam yesterday. She is at St. Kilda, and we have sent a message by cable for her to return. Here is her answer: --'Am leaving Melbourne to-day.' " "Oh, mamma; will she forgive me?" "I anm sure she will. Say no more now." "But the. box!' Who could have taken it?" "Keep silent, Elsie. All will be well." And Elsie was forced to obey. But a load had been lifted from her heart. and she soon slept peacefully. There was no return of the fever, and before Miriam came, all danger was over. The 'meeting of the.cousins' was an affecting one. Elsie told of her sin, and its cause-of the loneliness of her Idfe after Miriam bad left her--her re pententance and desire to replace the box; and the shock she had received when she found it had been stolen. Miriam was gentle and forgiving and as Elsie listened to her words of comfort, the heavy load of misery lifted from her heart, and there fell upoln her a peace that came of revived. hope. Strength came back slowly, and months passed bef3rc Elsie was re stored to complete health. One day a letter and parcel came for Miriam from her brother Charles. She read the let ter with a joy that all could see in her eyes. "Oh. uncle!" she exiaimed; "now you s'hall know my secret. I sent the manuscript of a tale to Charley, and he has succeeded in getting a publisher. He sends me an order for £40. Charley tlir,ks it is not nearly enough, but I thank it is a fortune." "Well done, Miria.m," cried Mr. Roberts. "I always thought you were clever. Allow me, most talented lady; to congratulate you upon your success."' And when he kissed the dear girl, there was a look in 'his eyes that told' her morecthan words could' tell how deeply he regretted the unkindness that had sent her Ofrom her home. What showers of congratulations were heaped upon. the happy girl, and how delighted they all were with her book, a copy of which Charley had' sent~-a very humble effort, truly; but one that was, both interesting and pleasing, containing passages of strik ing originality. And so the dark clouds That had : gathered over "The Acacias" were dis Delled; but the mystery of the stolen money remained unsolved. CHAPTER XII. "The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and .ill together." -Shalkespeare. "The future--'Tis the promised land. To which Hope points with prophet -L.E.L. Seven years bad passed. It was again the time of the harvesting, and the work was proceeding as briskly at "The Acacias" as it was .on the day of the opening of our story. Very few changes had taken place. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts were still living and well. Elsie and Miriam had grown to be beautiful women, their lives having been spent in study and the perfor mance of duties, which seemed to in crease with their years. The day was gloriously fine--a day that brought the spirit of youth into the hearts of the aged, and gave new vigour and cheer fulness' and hope to the young. Two young ladies were conversing in the well-kept flower garden that sur-. rounded the homestead, and now and then sounds of merry laughter told of lightness of heart and clheerfulness of disposition. 'Why, Elsie," exclaimed the taller of the two; "you are full of fancies. That is another of your day dreams" "'o, Miriam," said her companion; "I feel that I am right. Somethiui tdll· me that we shall soon hear news of that unfortunate box of money. Is it not strange that the myusteiy should •have i'emnained so long un'iavellcd? iDo yo:0lmno~w I li-a'e often tholught th'at Bob took it with him When he di3ap-:. peared so suddenly." - "Well," said Miriam, ',t seems hr?'d ' . ,I ' '" " "
to blame the absent; but the same thought has frequently occurred to me. I wonder where the boy is-I should say man. for if alive he would be grown up now. It is strange he never wrote to his father alfter he sent that one letter. But. Elsie, who is this .stranger? See, he has stopped at the :gate. Why, I declare he is coming in." The gate to, which. Miriam directed her cousin's attention was about a hun dred yards distant from the garden. Elsie looked and saw a tall young man enter. He approached the ladies, who noted that lte was very handsome, and w~il dressed. He came towards them. and, lifting his hat politely, said: "Pardon me, ladies; but does Mr. Roberts still reside here?" "Yes," said Miriam. "He is away at this moment superintending the farm work. If you wish to see him we will send for him." "Thank you," said the stranger. "Is Mrs. Roberts still alive?" "Yes." "And have I the honour of address ing Miss Miriam Grahame?" "Yes. You speak as- if you had known, me. I cannot remember your face. My cousin may have a better memory." "Yes; I think she should have re membered me," said they young man, as he glanced at the beautiful girl. "No, I cannot," said Elsie, decisively. The stranger hesitated for a moment, then he said, laughingly: "Lady of the! golden hair, bid me dive to the bottom of the ocean for pearls of priceless value, or to clinml the summit of the snow-capped moun tain to gather flowers of the rarest beauty, and I'll do it or perish in the attempt. I have' spoken." Miriam stared in astonishment; but Elsie sprang forward and seized the young man's hands. "Why, Miriam, it is Bob!" "Yes," said Bob, for it was *.deed he who had returned as suddenly as he had flown. And both girls threw off their reserve, and eagerly put question after question in rapid succession. "Where have you been all these years? Why did you not write? Have you made your fortune? How you have grown. Why, you are quite a man!" "That 'is the work of nature;" said Bob, laughing. "But tell me before I answer your questions, is my father living?" "Yes," replied Elsie. "He left 'The Acacias' three years ago, having pur chased the adjoining property. IHewill be glad! to, see you. He is doing well, too. Oh, how .happy you will make him. But come and see mamma. What a surprise! We were talking of you when you came!" "I feel honoured," said Bob. "You were saying something good of me, I hope." The girls were silent, and looked at each other guiltily. Then they moved towards the 'house, and Bob was soon engageld in conversa tion with Mrs. Roberts, who extended to him a hearty welcome. Mr. Roberts was sent for, and expressed delight to see the prodigal. (To be Conltinued.)