Chapter 52443714

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Chapter Number2. I
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52443714
Full Date1893-02-22
Page Number3
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Word Count4813
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Newspaper TitleMorning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)
Trove TitleUnder the Great Seal
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TALES AND SKETCHES.

[NOW PIBST rimusiiED.]

UNDER THEGREAT SEAL,

A NOVEL,

BY JOSEPH HATTON.

Author of " Clytie," " By Order of tho Czar,"

"John Needham's Double," "Cruel Lou- don," &c.

[ALI. niOHTS KHSEIIVEII.]

PART II.

ClIAlTEK I. - (JllOSTS OF HliAllT's DF.MOUT.

For twenty years Alan Keith disappears from view among thc surf-swept reeta of

Bahama's thousand islands.

As his Raunt figure fades ont in thc mists of that mocking sunshine which found him alone, the ono living remnant of thc St. Dennis, thore uriscs in thu natural courso of this romance, thc lithe young figure of David his son. It looms up clean cut against tho grey horizon of en English champaign country bordering on thc sea.

They might be limned ns human types of Hope und Despair, this father and this sou.

Away beyond thc Spanish main Alan Keith, galled with manacles of body and soul, tried to give to that of Ifuunah ids wife ¡1 companion vision of David their worse than orphaned sou. That lie could never do sn encouraged him to believe thc hoy was living, lt almost made him think that thc deserted offspring was happy. Otherwise he surely would have been able to summons him to tho darkness of his cell.

.Such is thc love of mau, Hint Ahm, nil sin stained mid half crazy with fasting und con- finement, wan able to win thc sweet companionship of Hannah from thc Elysian fields. For years, in his imagination, hardly A day had passed when she had not glided through thc massive walls of his prison to sit by his side and talk to him of their happy days. They had often spoken of little David, speculating upon what might be his fortunes. Strange, too, that thupaihclic ghost of Hannah Ply milton had no spiritual tidings of their sou. This again argued for his life aud happiucss. Dead he would assuredly have joined her with tho saints. Unhappy, she would have had

u mission to him of comfort and consolation.

The gaolers heard their familiar prisoner in his neglected den talking as was his wont

with unsecu visitors.

Tlie mad Englishman was indeed very mad since he no longer complained of his lot, no longer craved for food, but took thc stuft" they gave him with a grateful smile.

One day they would relieve him of his chains and unbar his door. But would it be death or human freedom thal would make thu award of liberty ! Aud what could so broken witted a creature do for himself in the strange world upon which liberty would thrust him Y It would surely bc best for him that he should

die.

Yet Alan in. his blackest despair saw Glimpses of u star shining afar off through the

arkness.

Happily for David's peace of mind his father was dead to him, though the heroic story of his life, as he had heard it from Sally Mumford, and read of it in documents signed by David Plympton, lived continually in his fancy. To bavo known the truth about the {irisoner of Tarifa would have been a heavy

inrdou for tho generous .hearted and romantic lad to carry. He loved thc memory of his father, could sec him in his fancy sitting in tho porch of the great house with his mother, could see him in command of his avenging ship, fighting for thc freedom of his fellows, und paying thc glorious penalty of his courage and devotion. Whether he had any suspicion ot the truth or not, David's father was tn thc son a boro whose memory was worthy of reverence and veneration. Miss Mumford liked »othilie; better than to tell David stories of Alan Keith's famous deeds, his kindness to her and his devotion to his wife.

Miss Mumford was an old maid for David's sake. She looked thc character of a cheery spiuster to the life. Her trim little home in a corner of ono of thc Yarmouth Hows, with bright brass knocker und white lace curtains was not less neat than herself. It was a

picturesque house, its windows full of flowers, the Court or Bow, in which it was the principal duelling, white with limewash, its pavements red with freshly-washed bricks.

Hartley's Bow at this point branched off into a small court, with three or four quaint houses, that might have suggested to thc traveller a stray bit of Venice, an unlooked for incident in some straggling bit of street abutting on a back canal. Indeed, to this day there are by-ways in Yarmouth that might be by-ways of the city in the ena, when

tho sun shines and soft shadows fall from

window pediments and overhanging gables in well-kept rows that run off quiet and still from buBy thoroughfares.

But Miss Mumford WUB more of a Dutch- woman than a Venetian in the'matter of cleanliness. Her house, with its immediate approaches, was constantly washed and brushed up. Tho window-panes shone, the doorstop was us white as the uliuds, the very atmosphere bf the placo was immaculate. Miss Mumford und her neighbour, Mildred Hope, in Hartley's Row, were the centre of a clean and Godly influence. Miss Mumford was only fifty, nfrer all tho years that had passed over Heart's Content and Heart's Delight, with wreck and ruin, with Bim and storm. Hero she lived once more in the country of her fathers; mid, though a spinster, was still a mother to David Keith, beloved by thc gracious lad, and respected by all their neighbours.

She had had a hard time of it when the new

settlement ut Hoart's Content was broken up. Before thc arrest of Plympton and the others tho Muster had been able to place in her hand sufficient moneys for her own and David's security against want. By his advice silo had followed him to London, and had taken a lodging there not far from thc prison where ho was confined. Plympton's durance was nut of long continuance. He had influential friendB at Court. His story was honestly told hy one who knew, it weil. The time was favourable for his cause. He was honourably acquitted of the charges brought against him, and received a certain compensation for tho loss of his property, which no duly settled in

trust for David Keith. This secured to thc

boy an education and a small income for life. With thc moneys of which Miss Mumford was already possessed, thc two were able tp live in comparative affluence in Hartley's Row nt

Yarmouth.

If at this moment it seems odd to speak of Sally as Miss, you would he satisfied if you could li ave seen her in her prim black silk with white fichu and apron, a pair of gold spectacles on her nose, nnd her grey hair dressed in two hunches of curls about her thoughtful pleasant face. She looked older than she was, on account of thc troubles she had econ, and the responsibilities that Providence had placed upon her " unbeknown and unexpected."

Fortunately, as well for Plympton's com- panions us himself, they were supported in their defence by ardent petitions for their release Even St. John's joined in the Ïrayers of the last of thu men and women nf

lean's Delight and Heart's Content, Furthermore, thc prisoners came before the Council by way of preliminary inquiry, ut the moment when thc new Governor, Admiral Sir Richard Godwin Keats was on thc point of sailing with instructions for the more en- lightened government of Newfoundland, thal had been inspired hy recent events in that un- happy colony, backed by something like a rovolt of thc merchants nt St. John's. As evidence of this refractory spirit, Sir John Duckworth had felt called upnn to report, thu case of a merchant there, who had thought proper to dispense with thc Governor's leave, and had'violcntly attempted tu build a house, which, iii a daring letter to tho .Sherill', ho hud avowed his intention of letting as a dwelling house. This attempt, moreover, «ns not thal of an individual, but was instigated and supported by a company of merchant* and settlers, who had raised a fund, " the real

object of which," doctored the Governor " was to oppose tho government, and estab- lish the right of property upon a quiot possession of twenty years." This was no further hack than the early years of the present century. In April, 1813, tho new Governor was authorised to mako many changes, one or two of which may he men- tioned. Tho publicans of St. John's, in con- sideration of their license to sell urdeutspirits, had to uct os constables i they were now to be relieved of this particular duty and taxed for their privileges, tho monoy thus obtained being set apart to create a civic arm for thc proper preservation of peace and order. Grants of land at an anuna! quit rent, for thc purposes of cultivation were sanctioned, hut with severe restrictions as to renewal of leases ; tho inemorinl of certain Admirals, a rigorous continuation of tho enforced return of seamen after the close of ouch fishing season as heretofore, or for the right to seize thuin and bring them on hoard His Majesty's ships wa6 diaregarded ; and further evidence was not wanting on all hands, for endorse- ment of the faith that had made Alan Keith obstinate in his hopes of a free Newfoundland, with rights to dig and delve und mako the

land blossom us the rose.

Such was the generous mood of the Govern- ment, « hen David Plympton and his fellows stood for judgment, mid thc magnanimity of thc lime has hurdched thc shoulders of Her Majesty's Ministers in our own day, and hampered thc natural progress of the en- franchised island. Although France had been the disturber of I he peace of Eu ropo, and her ruler wis chiefly indebted to England for his throne, Great Britain, utterly disregarding the petitions of Newfoundland and her own colonial and naval interests, and without any reason whatever, unless it was in the way of still discrediting anil crippling thc native settlers, voluntarily engaged lo restore to thc French, the colonies, fisheries, factories, and establishments of every kind which-thcy had possessed in 1702, on thu seas and on thc continent of America. It might bc doubtful whether after all Newfoundland had boen successful as a training ground for the British navy, hut it is the settled and expressed opinion of specialists that except for the generous concessions of England as regards Newfoundland, France might to-day bc almost without a navy.

So liberal also were t he privileges conceded

to America that in a short time I ho incentive thus given to foreign competition was soon the cause of serious embarrassment to thc

colonists. Duly impressed with thc impor- tance of the fisheries, both thc French und Americans at once established a system of bounties for their encouragement, and at the same time secured for their own fishermen, a

monopoly of their markets by a prohibitory duty on thc import of foreign fish. This literally broke thc financial backs of u vost majority of tho Newfoundland mordíante and fishermen. It was us if Government relenting of her tardy acts of justice turned puce more to rend thc unhappy colony. Tl* price of Iwll fell from forty-five shillings per quintal to twelve. Many large mercantile firms became bankrupt. Others realised thoir property and retired from the country. No less than nine hundred cases arising «ut of the general failure came boforc thc civil courts. Bills to the value of a million sterling were dishonoured. Thc entire colony was at a standstill for work, und thc modest savings of thc industrious classes were swept aivuy. Thc Government had to send aid to thc starving people, and did so with no unstinting hand. Thc innate pluck of tho colonists, thc recuperative power of the English people eventually utilised the new and beneficent laws of local and Imperial government ; but to this day thc magnanimity of the home Govcrumcut to a beaten- foe at the expense of thc colony, is an ever growing seed of trouble aud danger.

It was lucky all thc same, as I have Baid, for Plympton and the rest that their revolt,' so-called, had to be considered when the Government was in a forgiving und a generous mond. Plympton was released und to some extent compensated, thc others were per- mitted to take service in His Majesty's fleet, in which capacity they disappear from these

pages.

Lester Bcntz, who sailed into port with the triumphant St. George, was rewarded for his patriotic services with au official position un thc Governor's staff. Cowardice and cunning had come out successfully in his case ; and he had the satisfaction of bestowing an official snub upon Master David Plympton, whose business brought thc two together, Plympton us a suppliant, Lester Bentz as an officer of authority in the colonial department. Thc Admiral of thc St. George hod to report thc complete annihilation of the St Dennis, which had been used by Alan Keith for piratical purposes. It was debated whether Keith and his men should be proclaimed malefactors ; hut a super-sensible member of I the Council of thc Admiralty urged that they wasted time in discussing dead men. More- over, there had been something gallaut in the way in which Keith had captured thc brigantine from thc King's enemy ; aud ¡twas plain that he hud been driven to revolt and mildness hy thc overstrained authority ol Ristack uud thc other fishing Admirals, who had used their powers for their individual advantages ; Keith aud his fellows being dead-victims to their temerity in fighting au English ship-there let them rest. And tine in effect was thc verdict of the Court, which was too busy with thousand liviug questions

to do more at the moment than advance thc promotion of thc commander of thc St. George, aud authorise the speedy distribution ol whatever prize money belonged to his ship. Lester Beutz had said something nbout tin pussibility of hidden treasures that might bc found in tho locality of Keith's hiding pluce ; but he was vague and hypothetical in his suggestions, and thc Admiral of the St. George declared "fore gad" that any man wat welcome to whatever they might dig out ol

i tlic Godforsaken coasts and creeks about Demon's Rock.

Plympton having arranged with one of thc

trustee» of David und Miss Mumford for theil

removal to Yarmouth, where he had legal and other associations, went back to Newfoundland, and busied himself there for some time, more especially in the northern territory of Labra- dor. Within a year or two lie died, and was buried by the side of his daughter Hannah.

The Bettlers had cleared tho forest there- abouts and made, a cemetery of tho sacred spot. Thc graveyard took in the tree uudci which thc clog Sampson was buried ; and upou thc shadowing trunk of the tamacrack a plate had been let in bearing Sampson's name, with a brief reference to thc manner of th« dog's heroic death.

And so thu years passed away, and thc buried treasure of Wilderness Creek rearct

its triple-headed lie among tho graves of tin dead and gone, and took upon its stony from

tho Bailie tokens of Time aud Weather thal marked thu true mementoes. lu winter then silent sentinels of the Cave of Demon's Rod were white with snow and frost, ghosts of tin icy Wilderness. .Summer found them greet anil grey with moss und lichen.

lu latter years an occasional traveller pioneer of trade and commerce, missionary o civilisation, prospector of metals, and hiddci stores nf earth and sea, would cross himsel ol' doff his cap, at sight of tho little cometer; with its three cairns that stood higher thai the rest, os Fate might liavo designed for i landmark in thc mtives of this strange event ful history, their mystic shadows creepin, outside thc stormy portals of Na«|uappc am tho Demon's ridge to light upon thc fortune of David Keith, thc deserted son of Ahm, an others within the orbit of his influence fe good or evil on tho Eastern coast of Euglaml

CiiAiTKit IL-DAVID'S SWKBTHKAHT.

She was the only daughter of Zacchcii Webb. He was a fisherman, well-to-do, an of high repute along thc coast, north an south, from Cramer to Yarmouth, froi Yarmouth to Lowestoft. He lived at Caistct

and hud helped to build thc look-out Statio

at CaisU-r Point, which Is still one of th artistic details nf thc wild coast-Uue thc adorns many a draughtsman's study of casi cout scenery. Old Zacky, «j hi« inti nat

friend« loved to call him, liked nothii better on quiet Bummer evenings when he hi leisure to smoke a pipe, to sit with the look-ol and talk about tho adventures they bad sei in the North .Sea, and ilia ships that had bei lost on tlic Scroby Sands and thc Midd

Cross. His favourite themo when he was

un argumentative mood was to deny tl possibility set up by .1 uBticc Cubit that son day Scroby Sands might bc u seaport, whi Yarmouth would have gone inland descru hy the sea us Sandwich hud-Sandwich in tl Straits of Dover. But Zaccheus was not of controversial disposition ; nor was he a mn of educational culture. He could sign hi name, und make sufficient sense of figures t calculate his gains aud profits, and estimai thc costs aud risks of bis business. Hi parents could huvc bad no idea of til possibilities nf thc character he would develo when they gave him his unusuul aud diflicu! Christian name of Zaccheus, which accardiu to the Syriac is understood to mean iuuoceiice but it was a true forecast. - Old Zacky was ;i unsophist teated a man outside his own bus ness as eau bc well imagined, and ss guilelcs even in his trading as is consistent wit keeping a balance in your stocking or at you hankers, Zaccheus had witli all t his a certai shrewd view of things that kent, him nul oui straight with the world hut forth-ou und i front nf his neighbours. Briefly, it may b said of him, that he knew bis trade, believe in God, thc Flying Scud, und his daughtc

Elmira.

David Keith boped to marry Elmira Web' as soon as hu had ubluincd his articles au< should bc tal.cu into partnership by hi master, n conveyancing lawyer and genera practitioner who thought more af thc fin manly qualities of bi« articled clerk titan lt did of hts littlest; for professional life.

David did bis utmost to acquire sud knowledge as best pleased old Petherick, hi chief. But he knew more about lishing thai conveyancing. It came natural to Iiiin t sail a boat, interpret thc signs of the heriiuj season, and forecast thc weather. He wa boru for the sea, and an eccentric Fate hat humid him to thc law. Mr. Waveny Petite rick was a kindhearted man ; he did no stand in the way of David's nautical cujoy mcnts ; bc approved of his engagement ti Elmira Webb, and, once a week gave thc lat a half-holiday, nu which occasions Davit donned such gear of oilskin and canvas, ai delighted thc heart of Zaccheus Webb, tin smack owner of Caistcr.

For most of thc week David sat ut his desk copying drafts or professing to rend law while his mind wandered away with the ship: that caine and went, moored for a little timi opposite bis window to load cr unload ; bul on this summer day that is eventful in thii history lie modo holiday, and it was in hil ininti to have it settled both with father uttc

daughter whether he should be accepted trulj

as thc future busbaud of Elmira Webb. Ht bad never closed his desk and put on hil nautical suit of blue flannel and rough-tanned boots with such a business air. Besides, il had become necessary that he should look tilt future full in the face, und there was nt future for bim which did not give him Elmira as his wife and companion. Miss Mumford agreed with his intention to come to a tina! understanding with Elmira and her father. She bad failed to impress David with hit youth and inexperience; she liad argued thal lie might sec some other girl whom he could love ; that Elmira knew but little of tin world, aud that she might meet sonic otbui young gentleman whom she could care foi more thuu she cured for him. She had dwell upon tho inadvisability of boys and girls beiui. engaged before they could really know theil own minds ; but finding that David was des peratcly in love, and believed himself to be t man ; finding thatZaccltcus VVcbbencourager David's unmistakable pretensions, and thal David had u fiue prospect oí being well-oil* it thc matter of money, she encouraged him t< have it out with Elmira.

When he lcfL Hartley Row that afternnoi ' to meet thc girl, Miss Mumford wished hi» "Good luck," and after he had gone wepi tears of anxiety and hope, and said a litt lt Ërayer fir his unabated happiness. Mildred

[ope, who was known os "thc pi ison visitor,' came in soon after David's departure, arid Miss Mumford poured out to her all berhopei

and fears.

Mildred listened with a deeper personal interest than Miss Mumford understood 01 than anyone else could have dreamed of ; foi Mildred had no WÍBII beyond the good ol others, no object in life except that of true and unselfish philanthropy, young us she was, und, according to many, comely ¿nd pretty. But Mildred Hope comos into this romance ti little later iii the story.

Meanwhile attention ie called to David

Keith waiting for thc girl he loved with all thc urdaur of his youthful und romantic

nature.

Ho stood upon a wind-swopt ridge of the North Dunes, now shading his eyes to scan the distant roadway that came circuitously from Webb's house, now watching the high- way that crossed the sands from Yarmouth, now looking out to scaatid in fancy lifting thc

veil of the future.

So bad Alan, bis father, looked out into the years lo imagine a future the very opposite from that which lay hithlcu from mortal kcu, to behold which ut any time might paralyse the strongest.

To David the outlook was bright HS thc swelling sea at his feet. He could see it even through thc stonewalls aud great..tin boxes of l'cthcrick's musty office. Thc walls, and all thc dingy maps and Iegul notices with which they were decorated, would melt away before David's thoughtful gaze, and always ulong the bright road that lay before him lie would rejoice in thc companionship of thc pret tiest, the smartest, tho merriest girl in nil the world, Elmira Webb.

But shu kept him waiting, this wilful beauty. She was a creature of caprice, way wurd, tantalising, but David loved her all the more for her feminine weaknesses, her coquetry, her pouting, and her mad-cup follies. Was she not her luther's pet? Did not everybody in Yarmouth when she went there, turn to look at her in the streets ? Did she not outshine all the other beauties of the coast ? And was she not one day to he David's wife! If Zacchciis Webb trusted lier with his heart and fortune, aud loved the very ground she trod upon, who was David that he should be impatient with her for u single

second ?

Presently, behold she cometh, tho pretty, self-conscious maiden, brave in bright apparel ; all in her Sunday bes!' ; flower-decked tutean hat; short-waisted summer gown with flow- ing sash ; and dainty boote. She has been to thc town, it is market-day ; and furthermore site has been on business there for Zuccheus, lirSr father ; and nocds must wear her best. She has been delayed somewhat, too, and there is no time to chance for tho little sea trip she hus promised David, who is bent on bringing in from l.cr father's smack some of the tish with which thc Flyiug Scud is laden.

Elmira, alighting from the mail-carl that Bet her down on the road lending to her father's house, lakes her way uuross the Dunes, und leaves behind her it long trail of tiny footfalls, prims nf a dainty, high-heeled shoe, and the murks thereof arc wayward and uncertain. Now they »ink tleep into the drifting sand, aud leave but shallow shapes; now there are heel marks strong mid firm, us if they emphasised sonic passing thought ; und now there arc light and vague impressions af both sole anti heel, level footfalls of a shapely silver-buckled shoe.

While Davitl wailed fur her and beguiled thc time with imaginative pictures of their future, another marked her footfalls ; one who knew her wayward nature without read- ing its imprint on thc sand.

They were friends, tho hoy who wailed and thc mau who folio«eil, the one true us steel, thc other unreliable, and fascinating in a manly way as Kimmi wus attractive in a certain feminine imperiousness that (iuds its most lender sympathiser in temperaments such as that which made Davitl Keith her slave. Harry Barkstead had the kimi of reputation that has a charm for many woman, however innocent. He was overbearing with the sex, raaetcrful, suspected of being on too

familiar terms with thc charming widow, Mrs. Leyton-Wcst, whose country house was adjacent to his father's properly ; ami he was knowu to have made a conquest of more hearts that ono among thc high-bred damsclB of the county who patronised (ho town on great occasions of public slate and ceremony,

'ppositc natures often fraternise thc bettor for their contrasting individualities. David Keith admired Harry Barkstead, almost envied him his knowledge of the world, und delighted to make excursions with him in lu's yacht, und to shoot over the Brcydou waters, and trap thc game by Ormcsby Luke and Fritton. Moreover Harry was in David's confidence, knew all about his love for

Elmira, and sympathised with him in his

ambition, domestic and otherwise. Yet Harry could not, try as he would, keep hack au unfair, if not unholy, inspiration of com- petition with his friend for Elmira's favours. Ho did honestly struggle against this un- friendly motion of his inclination, and when most he thought he had conquered, Elmira threw ont nignals of encourayeiitent, and he went blindly on ; us he did on this summer day, following her in tho hope that ho might have a pleasant tMr-à-tt'te. while old Zacky was busy ut tlie fishing. Thinking that.she was going home, he resolved to call on some pretext or other, cither to sec her father or to ask ofter David, or with any other excuse, when shu struck off, away from thc house, in thc direction of the Lower Dune:-, by thc sea. His curiosity was piqued. He followed, never thinking, however, that she had seen him ; for where thc lil tlc hills and valleys gave him shelter he took it, and wandered on, noting thc impress of her footfalls, and dwelling upon tho sylph-like willowy motion of her splendid figure, line in form yet round und supple, too. She saw the shadow of it on the saud and gave it her own u-implimcutary regard as well. She rejoiced in her beauty, she revelled in the healthy beat of her pulse, and thc general sense of elation that came of both, combined witli her well-cut gown und artistic hat und Rummer flowers.

Alan Keith hail suffered ratliff tlntn Hannah, his wife, loved him with ns trite a heart-beat as his own. How will David, his son, fare with a love that isa« uncertain as an April day, and yet io as bright as the sun that

shines between thc showers ?

Tlicrearo innocent, wilta1, wayward beauties who only need thc masterful hand of a true aud loving consort to make them all that mau can desire, who, like thc bruised blossoms of the richi, send, forth their richest perfume beneath the pressure of a rough, unmindful footfall. Some women need control in thc strongest sense of masterful authority ; ull women arc tho better when their own natural

I tendency to tyrannise is held in check by thc I stronger will of a noue the lt^s affectionate

lover who respects himself, and tho man's ordained authority, while he relinquishes to thc woman all that betones to lier rightful share of power, and pays all deference to that very feminine strength which in mau would

ho counted weak.

(To bc continued.)