|Chapter Number||PART IV. VII|
|Chapter Title||SURPRISES FOR HARTLEY'S ROW.|
|Newspaper Title||Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Under the Great Seal|
TALES AND SKETCHES.
[NOW KIEST rUBUSHED.]
UNDER THEGREAT SEAL,
BY' JOSEPH HATTON.
Author of " Clytie," " By Order of tho Czar,"
"John Needham's Double," "Cruel Lon- don," &c.
[ALI. niciiTS RKSEUVED].
l'A RT rv.
CHAiTKn VII. -Si-nrmsES FOI. HAHTI.KY'K
" Ucg pardon, are you Misa Mildred Hope Ï' asked a tall, Bl range man, encumbered with « fur coat and cup, and speaking with a curiom
Alan Keith us he entered the bright par- ticular comer where Sally's green shutleis, white blinds, and brass knocker gave distinc- tion to Hartley's Row, came upon Mildred shutting lier own door, and evidently about lo walk over to Sally's."
He had heard so much about both women and thc locality of their two dwellings, that he could not have mistaken the trim, dainty little ligure of thc Prison visitor.
" Ves," she said, " that ta my name."
" We're wcel met," replied the stranger, "I hae news o' your freend, David Keith."
"Oh, have you*" was tho quick reply in which there was a mixture of hope and appre- hension, "is it good IICWB?"
" Aye, I'm glad to say it is."
"Thank God!" Mildred cxclaLncd, with
" Ve had ill tidings I'm tilintan'?"
"Yes, oh yes, the news cunio yesterday."
" What news;"
"The loss of thc Morning Star."
" Wool, that's true enougli ; but our David
" You don't know what a blessed messenger yon arc !" Slid Mildred.
" Yet I dinna undervalue tho tidin's I bring ; I suppose yere thinkin' o' Sally Mum- ford, eh ?'*
" Yes," said Mildred, "but who are you, sir, may I ask V
"I'm telt vere a God-fearin' little woman, a rcleegious Tassie, one who can staud linn in joy or sorrow !"
"I am a humble servant of Christ," said Mildred, " but only a poor creature."
"I am Alan Keith," said thc stranger;
" You are proclaiming miracles !" exclaimed Mildred, starting back a pace or two.
" Weet, I dinna ken but what you're reight ! And it seems to me it's just providential that I met you i' this promiscuous way, for thc reason that I want you just togo'into that house wi' thc brass knocker, ana acquaint Sally Mumford wi' tho fact that not only is David alive, was lost and is found, but that his father is ahne in the lando' tho livia,' and when she's io a condition to see me, I'll step in and assure her o' my reality."
" Yes, yes ; oh, you arc very thonghful and David, where is he !"
"Oh, he Una far away," said Alan, with a most grim kind of wink that was intended to bc humorous, "there was jest a person he bad to sec oot yonder ; but hoU na be lang- end noo, Miss Hope, gae and prepare the way for me and my gude tidin's."
" I am rather bewildered," said Mildred,
" You're a bonnie lassie," said Alan, " for a fireachin' lassie you're just a marvel o' sweet ooks and a'most swoeter voice ; besides it's vera cautd ; gae in lassie, and when Sally's equal to scein guests and the like come yo to
Alan stood in the little court for some rime noting its clean red bricks, its raddled pots filled with greenery, notwithstanding thc nip- ping frosia of winter. Stray beams of sunshine glinted in upon him. Then thc wind would rush round an adjacent corner and ruffle thc grey fur of his coat collar, os if it had some business of indentification on hand and woe going to carry thc strange nous out to sea.
Presently Mildred in a soft, dorc-coloured dress came to the door and Alan followed het into the house.
A pinched, red-eyed old lady met him almost ou thc door step, and then recoiled as he put out his hand.
" Heaven support me, "Bbc exclaimed, "how you must have suffered !"
" And ya luke as if ye'd nae had sae vere gude a time ycrscl' !" was Alan's calm reply.
"Oh dear, dear, your poor grey hair, and yonr hollow cheeks ! Oh, my dear, kind, abused master ;" Sally went on kissing his hands and weeping over them.
"My dear baliy, ye were once os buxom and fresh us a rose, but there I cauna tell ye hoo glad I am to see ye !"
"Dear master, my poor, kind, brave master," went on Sally, "and you've seen David your son ! Merciful God, how myster- ious are Thy ways !"
" Aye " said Alan, " come noo sit ye down, Sally, my lass, and I'll just tek off those over- powering wraps that David would load me wi' fear I'd bc tekkin cauld, the dear thoughtful
lad that be is !"
" I will return by and bye," said Mildred, who felt herself in the way, and was anxious to leave Sally and ber old master to unburden their memories to each other in private.
" No, my love, doaut thee go, eh my dear master, you don't know what a comfort she's
been to me."
" Oh, yes I do, David's telt me all about Miss Hopo," said Alan, removing his wraps and standing forth in the quaint Oriental garb
that he had worn in Venice. He looked ten years younger now that his figure was moro or less free from incuinbruucc ; thc same hatchet face, the same strong, well-shaped nose, the deep sunken eyes, thc masterful if gentle expression that hod attracted the artis- tic Venetian* when first they saw him. Mil- dred felt awed in his presence ; he was differ- ent from any other man she hod seen ! He seemed in hor untutored imagination like a prophet out of the Bible.
Sally could only sit dowu and stare ut him and sigh and wonder, until her first surprise and amazement over, she asked for David.
The same grim effort at optical humour that hod startled Mildred, was Alan's
" But where is he!" asked Sally, "did he come with you ?"
" Aye, he did, we came by thc coach frac
" Yea Î" said Sally, " and then ?"
" Why, he bade me come on here and prc fiare the way for him, while lie went on a
ittlc business of his oin."
The samo wink, with the same ludicrous results.
Then it suddenly dawned upon Mildred that David had gone to Caistor. She glanced at Sally, who read her thought, and started to
"Dear master, don't say ho has gone to Caistor I" j
"There's a person uamcd Webb lives at
Caistor, ch !" was Alan's response, but this i time, thc wink was checked half-way, by an I expression of terror that distorted the face of Sally Mumford, which had already been
worn into a permanent expression of pain and j
"Oh, where did he say he was going?" asked Sally.
" To sec his sweetheart, and bring her herc to complete our family party," said
. " Oh, dear, dear !" exclaimed Sally, burst- ing into teurB, and hiding her face in her
" Nae, there's something wrung !" said Alan looking from Sally to Mildred, who had lurned pale, but stood BB stiffly as a statua gazing at !
" Yes," she said, her lips trembling.
"Elmira is no longer worthy of David,"
" She has forgotten him and herself." said
" Dinna beat shout the bush ; I had begun to thenk he was too happy, that I was too
'laPPy." said tlic old man With a sigh, and stooping os lie spuke like a man in the attitude nf bending his nock to a blow.
"She has gone away, with a young man called Harry Barkstead. "
"Good God 1 he was David's best friend." "David thought sn," said Mildred.
" Sho has left her father and her home, and
is living with David's friend? ' asked Alan, turning his deep set eyes upon Mildred.
Mildred simply said "Alas," and looked upon the ground.
Alan thrust his long fingers through his thin whisps of hair, dragged a chair towards the iuglenook, sat down, and looked into the fire, almost in an attitude similar to that in which Zaccheus Webb was sitting when David
" Disgraced boreen, at woel as be uutruc to David, is that what yo say ?" ho asked, staring at thc cracking wood and coal.
" I fear so, lcd away hy a designing and wicked man," said Mildred.
" His friend !" said Alan, "his friend ! It will hurt David ; please God to bo nae a mortal hurt. His mithcr was an angel-is an angel-I lost her ? death took her. Poor David ! This Elmira Webb was his heart und soul, his life and hope and ombition-and he's
lost her, and there's a toss ( hat worse than j death ! What'U he do Ï If they meet there's but one thing lie can do. His mithcr ow'd her death to villainy and persecution, they jest broke her heart ; hut I smote them, hip and thigh-aye, I did ?"
" Sir," said Mildred, facing Alan as he rose up and began to put on his cloak, " David is a mau of peace. "
" Is he ! Let ma tell ye, then, that David's a mau o' war ; A life for a life : will you deny him a righteous vengeance ?"
" * Vengeance is minc, saith thc Loni, I will repay,'" answered Mildred; and Sally, tak iug Alan's hand, leaned her head upon his arm and continued to weep and Bob.
"Forgive me, I amna used to be among women : I'm just bragging like some waster, besides forgottin' a' the misery that belongs to what's ca'ed tekkin thc law into one's own hands ; but ye hoc telt mc the saddest news I hae heard for more'n twenty year. It sets my auld hearthoatin'likeablacksmith's hammer ; I mun gae into the air. Moreover I mun find
him. How will I get to Caistor ? He hired ] him a'gig." ]
" I will show you," said Mildred. " May I go with you ?"
"If ye'll gae noo."
" I will," said Mildred, trying her bonnet under her chin and wrapping her thick grey
cloak about her.
" I canna be left, I won't be left here,'' said Sally " take me wi' ye. Dut for David's sako, you shouldn't bc sorry about atout Elmira Webb ; she were a bad lot ot heart I uivver
"Eh, but David worshipped her," said
"Take mc to David," said Sally, "I must go-"
Mildred rau upstairs for Sally's shawl and a great muff that David had bought her, and j
a boa for her neck, and they went forth as a wintry sun was being blown out by a north- west w iud that was beating up into a gale.