|Chapter Number||PART IV. XV|
|Chapter Title||DAVID'S WIFE.|
|Newspaper Title||Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Under the Great Seal|
TALES AND SKETCHES.
[NOW FIRST rUBLlSHED,]
UNDER THEGREAT SEAL,
BY JOSEPH HATTON.
Author of " Clytie," " By Order of the Czar,"
"Johu Needham'. Double," "Cruel Lon- don," ic.
[ALI. RKllITS RESEEVED],
PART IV. .
CiiAiTitR XV.-DAVID'S WIFE.
After frowning upon him and pursuing him with misadventure, even unto tile very valley of thc shadow of death, Fortune smiled upoa David Keith und endowed him with happiness without a* drawback beyond thc common discounts that belong to the natural suite ol man. She liad not altogether Bbieldcd him from the penalties of his hereditary passion oi vengeance ; but she had brought him through thc perils thereof with a far lees and much briefer punishment than that which had fallen
to tlic lot of his father.
Moreover, David's good fortune in thia respect was further secured, and guarantees given to Fate by his marriage with a wotmui who had thc power and thc opportunity to in- fluence him in thc diicctiou of the most perfect charity.
Mildred Hone also had her reward of a silent and self sacrificing love in the realisation of her most sanguine hopes. She had never dared to pray for such bliss as had been vouchsafed her. Tho reader knows that her views of prayer were not in the direction of petitions for material blessings. They were rut lier the register of her own ambition to do good deeds, and to be worthy of heavenly recognition, than supplications for this, and that, und blessings upon her worldly enter- prises. Hoping all things good, desiring power tor thc sake of others, she had inherited her unspoken desires, and saw her way to bc
it had been a quiet wedding at the church where Mildred as a girl had received her first impulse of religious faith and active charity. She was a very beaming bride, despite that
touch of seriousness in her manner and attire
that had appealed to the worldly mind of Mrs. Charity Dene as not incompatible with love. Sally Mumford confessed that Bbc had no ideu how pretty Mildred really waa until Bite saw her dressed for thc wedding, that made Sally not less happy than the bride herself. David had recovered his strength, and his eye was almost as bright as bis father's, his lips continually parting to laugh or say something expressive of his joy. He had come to love Mildred with a full heart, .and to feel in it that sense of rest, security, and serene happiness that could nut for a Bingle day have gone hand in band in u union with Elmira Webb. Alan Keith was at thc wedding, erect, clean-sliavcn, bony aud wrinkled as ever, but with thc deep set eyes, long thin hands, prominent none,audbroad wrinkled fore heard, that characterised his first appearance in Hartley's Bow. Instead of tho rough flannel cotton that usually fell about his throat, tied with a silk scarf of some odd colour, Sally Mumford had induced him to put on a white linen shirt and a light blue stock with a gold pin in it Nothing would induce him, however, tochangehisgaberdinish coat and his curious vest, but tile buckles in bis shoes had been polished, and they were nearly BS white ns Mildred Hope's teeth, which flushed now and then between her red lips. Sally was dressed in a grey silk gowo with a. pretty old-fashioned pelisse, and her grey hair was gathered in clusters of curls on each temple. Mr. Petherick gave tho bride away, and Mr. Margrave, thc trustee under Plymptou's will, was one of thc witnesses.
Margrave hud waited at St. John's until thc news of the loss of thc Morning Star hid left him nothing else to do hut return horne ; and now, after thc wedding, Mr. Alan Keith had been able to give him such a fee, with contingent promilo of another, aa induced him to accompany thc party on thc wedding tour. The trip was to St. John's, this time from the I/ondou docks, and by steam. The voyage had been delightful, and they had reached St. John's with thc first warm sunbeams of an early Bummer.
They had been able to rent a furnished house belonging to one of the principal residents, who lind been tempted to toke a holiday in Europe on thc strength of Mr. Margrave's proposals for thc house, which Che astute London lawyer had made through the agent with whom lie had long been in communication in regard to David Plymptou's bequests. These testamentary gifts were chiefly in favour of David Keith, the property including certain wild and waste lands along the coast of Labrador, and extending for some
distance inland above Demon's Rock.
Soon after ^the party landed, therefore,
Mildred found herself mistress of what Mas considered a very fine house for St John's, with her father-in-law, Alan Keith, Sally Mumford, and Mr. Margrave as visitors. She proved quite equal in every way to her new duties, and Sully never tired of praising her, and congratulating David on his clever and pretty wife. The only anxious times the two women experienced were their excursions to Wilderness Creek. There was no real
cause for unxicty, and their fears were brief ; they only belonged to the hours or days when tbc voyagers did not return very close to thc times appointed ; but David and Alon could not count upon the moment they might sail through the natural gateway of St. John's with their mysterious cargoes.
Everything had happened favourably for the Labrador treasure collectors. Mr. Mar- grave proved himself a nscful ally in the disphsul of the valuables. He made a journey to Now York with bullion and precious stones, and paid a very large sum to David Keith's account through New York into thc the Bank of England, besides making deposits in David's name, for which he brought back scrip in three of thc leading banks of thc
Thc deposit which Alan made in the friendly oasiB above Demon's Rock he paid without fear or reservation into the bank at St. John's. Whatever he might feel na to certain of Hie treasures of Wilderness Creek, at least the hoard he had buried away in a secret corner only known to himself was without taint It consisted of thc fund made over to
him hy his father-in-law, and in part of Iiis own hard-earned savings, when it had been settled that he and Prcedie should go to Salem or Boston and buy a ship to light against thc buccaneering Ristuck. Thc bank manager was only too glad to welcome to St. John's thc heirs of David Plympton, father and son. and Alan announced his own and his son's intentions of promoting enterprises, both commercial and charitable, hearing upon thc welfare of thc colony. The bright-eyed old man even spoke of a railroad from St John's to thc two nearest neighbouring settlements, and mode various other wild suggestions that were quite in keeping with Iiis strange foreign appearance. The first contract upou which he entered was preliminary to thc erection of the fine memorials which now mark thu locality of thc lust resting places, firstly of Hannah Keith, and secondly of thc New- foundland dog Sampson. The broken column with its guardian angel that marks thc grave of thc belle of the vanished Heart's Delight, and thc monolith with its sculptured head of a dog that stands in thc shadow of a group of tamaracks and other forest trees, arc features of Buck-Buy Valley, sacred to memories »hat already belong to trudition and romance.
Thc new Heart's Content interested Alan Keith only iu u negativo way. It did not even suggest the village of Heart's Delight ii)iou the ashes of which it was built. There was no trace of thu Great House. Thc fish flakes were all new. The stakes up against which thc well-dressed bodies of Ristack and Ruddock had floated, grim tributes to thc rough justino of a great revenge had dis - appeared. Thc houses were mostly of brick and stone. Thc quay was a firm and solid fiiccc nf workmanship. There were gardens,
mt thc arbour of the Great House had been
burnt up in Die gcucral conflagration and
Clearing which hail boon undertaken under the authority of the Great Seal of England. All was changed indeed. The inhabitants had little or no record of the past. Thc people Whom Alan had known were mostly dispersed. Even to this day Heart's Coutcut liuB little or un record of thc village upon .the ashes of which it was built. The oldest in- habitant had his Btorics of thc days o[ thc Fishing Admirals and of tile war with A incrica, hut he waa garrulous, und oft cn forgot names und dates and so varied his stories that
they hod come to bc regarded as fables. The grave in Back Bay Valley, and thc legend of tho dog let into the tamarack hud held their place in such romance as tho district provided, and thc valley had become a pic-nic ground once in a way during autumn days when thc fishing was over, for family parties and thc school, which was thc principal institution of thc new- town. Alan had felt a deep sense of gratitude to Heart's Content on tliiB account, and he gave practical expression to it in establishing thc foundation of thc schools and church beyond thc possibility of
If Heurt'sContent disappointed Alan hy its absence of family landmarks, it was neverthe- less thc kind of fishing village and barbour that he and Plympton had thought of us possible ut some future day. Plympton, ns wc all know, was fur less sanguine than Alan, who was imbued with a pathetic sense of thc destiny of the oldest British colony. Un- grateful step-mother as thc nhl country undoubtedly was, Alan, willi thc keen-sighted prevision of a shrewd and enterprising Scotchman, gauged thc destiny of a territory that was bound to pass through thc darkness in which bc found it into thc light of commercial prosperity, if not Imperial dis- tinction. Alan's hopes and prophecies have been fulfilled, hut thc height to which ii i B forecast pointed discloses other heights which have to bs climbed in thc confirmation of
Newfoundland's rights and privileges, and in fulfilment of thc duty thc mother country Btill owes to her oldest and nearest colony.
In their operations at Wilderness Creek,
David and Alan had concluded that it would bo well to concentrate their attention upon the cemetery, and leave tho upper regions of the territoiy for their final labours. Not a soul appeared in the legion of Nusqunppe to disturb them. A couple of eagles evidently
had their home on u distant cliff seawards. They would sail now and then in a wide circlo over the harbour and disappear behind thc lower ranges of thc hills ; at night mysterious wings wonid swish by them as they curried their last loads to thc smack-bats or owls or both ; hut no human voice was heard, no human footprint except their own mark eil tho sandy shore of the secret harbour. At sea, beyond the shelter of Wilderness Creek,
and far away from the drcuded rocks and. shoals, fishing ships rode nt unchor or trailed their nets ; otherwise the two men were as much alone and as safe from interruption as the men of thc St. Dennis had been with their added protection of look-outs and sentinels. Thc light of the furnace which had during the favourable and lovely summer converted thousands of Spanish and English dollars and guineas into solid'ingots, and liad obliterated thc identity of many an antique vessel, costa lurid light upon the foothills of thc entrance to thc cavern, and startled such winged life as had been hitherto unaccustomed to any of thc disturbing evidences of man's ingenuity. David and Alan laboured away with Btcuoy persistence. They had soon become ac- customed to their wealth. David bod long coased to utter exclamations over every new find ; but at night on board the smack before turnjng in, father and son bad built all kinds of castles in the air, castles tliat even their cargoes of treasure« were not sufficient to compass; and now and then David would draw from his father fresh details of his adventures, and thc futher from David hitherto unrelated incidents of his first voyage and wreck, Narratives of his carly days in Venice would crop np in all Alans stories; they came as his chief relief to thc horrors of Iiis slavery aud imprisonment. Then he would go back to Heart's Delight, and picture ta David the winter nights with his grand- father, and his mother and Father Lavcllo, in thc family circle. Considering thc changes that had taken place in 1 lie colony, thc settled peace at home, thc countries covered in his fat her's record, his own boyhood, and thc very remote times that Sally Mumford had spoken of, thc similies connected with thc Wandering Jew which Alan used uow and then seemed
quite appropriate, and David found himself searching his memory for other parallels of his father's strange and long career. Alan told his son that when he reached his age he would find that looking back over half a century was no more than thc yesterday of a youthful retrospection. What made the time appear a little longer than time was, to persons who remained in one spot all their lives, were the many landmarks of varied events in different places ; but even these at thc last came very close together, and life, after all, was juBt no more and no less than Job described it, " Wc are hut of yesterday and know nothing because our days upon earth arc a shadow."