|Newspaper Title||Traralgon Record (Traralgon, Vic. : 1886 - 1932)|
|Trove Title||A Christmas Wedding. A Story for Our Girls|
CHAPTER MII. The morning of the trial broke dark and gloomy, black with thunaer clouds, dismal, ?eary. Leo had pissed a wretched night.' To his proud nature there was something torturing in the mere thought of standing a prisoner in the dock, to be gazed upon, remarked upon by whosoever would. The morning light showed lines upon his brow that no after peace and happiness could efface. There was 4 Qterner look about the mouth that must for evermore be there. Could Hodges have seen him as he flung himself, crushed and despairing, on the floor, the man in his sullen vindic tiveness would have gloated in triumph over his revenge. As the hour drew near for the sitting of the court, Leo roused himself. When he entered the prisoners' dock it was with a step as firn as if he walked once more among his fellow men sans peur ci sans reproche His eyes wandered round the court, but not one friendly glance did he receive. Many gazed from curiosity, more still witl scorn, but not one with pity. No-stay. There is Gladys, pale and ,ervous, bowing a;d sofiling towards him, and with a world of sympathy ih her sweet blue eyes. He saw it, and such a sudden brightness irradiated his face that she could hardly keen the tears that filled her eyes from falling, so deeply was she moved. And Leo lost himself in a dream of what might have been. "Too late! too latel" That saddest of all dries rose unspoken to his lips. A long ingmintese fot'a oy now beyond his reach sprangup In his !ching heart. Never now.
could he ask Glaiiya to his wie. r n ately, he regretted halit., sicriced ihim:.nif for Kathleen. And Set. ,ould he tot- a.?i.d otherwise? The insti: c of chitv?lr.y s strong in his nature. Vot i hei hse had a woman for whom he ca f..r i;t isplace And he did care very ,?ntL frr Kf.thlecs, though the strong dot-ep J?ve his lift oss given to another, as I?e hi s.t to ate di covered. . , Gladys was there as witness, it she het not much evidence to give. ' Yes, itr Wyi:it was alone in the rooun heret the .. s eny ws,.. hut only for a few niaatc?, and as all ?r?, doors and windows W.ri tpee, aynod ; -..ight have slipped in unno tctl utter he hrP left, Why, I might have dene so," she adwi-e. "Did you 1" she is skted. "No, but [certainly coidt. had i caI win i" When Mrs Rivers isa ctlirs, she c"::id scarcely control hersaef anit eo:; ," answer, and as she was erleutiy --'- :t:oh upset she was allowed to rcc ,., :r -eat after one or two unimlr o,, p,, i formation had been eext,.r: h . r. The time dragged on entil at :e ',,,rl the jury retired to considerthe Ioidtesnc. they were not long, but it nwa . t i, a :ve?y waiting to all. The dsy wses close ansd heavy-the court crowned toe n?:?,:ati~ c Great flies buzzed noisily tiout, :st l4 -u hed their bodies inanely against reling ad.,t win dow-pane in away that trial the ovtsse ? 'r ht nerves of Mrs Rivers. "Siesie," she whispered to ?cor siee, shall scream in a moment. c-,t b.a r r ,. Is there no way to get out." hnauseus. B i hr ousce t-d.- . an?ions to await the return of 'ri. Scarcely had they leftwhe .l ?!-n te good men and true filed in. Ti:t ,t:, t ,<< found the evidence sufficient, ofd , resrl: of "Not nuillty" was given. Leo started with surprise. t -ida h.:.I sprang up in his heart Freedo: s,:1 ~ria i might yet be his, bat as he gla o.i frio: o0:. face to another, hope fatded an steithetd. True, he was acquitted, but, as he look,-I round the court he realised that in the evte of the audience assembled he 'ws it thief. The manner of the judge was coldT. and a Leo passed down the conrt-hotes? , oi ne stepped forward to greet him. ?ib ltI:llew I 'oked him full in the face, and can him dead. Her daughter asl Cora Lynn shuddered as he passed, andl once the word I " thief" reachled him clearly and dlstirstly, though by whom it was slken he ktner not. With head proudly erect he strale den, the street. ie heard footsteps' hba tesin'g alter him, but did not turn round tcih a ?o,. voice said, pleadingly, " Mr Wtfylee SIr WVyldel please wait one moment. s Eciss , my stopping you; but I must tell you ltse sorry I am." It was Gladys. Leo turned, and takiu, her outstretched hands in his, gazed dowt into her eyes without speaking. " Mr Wylde, you looted so trohubled just now because the people were so horrid anod rule, but yon most not mind, you really must not. It will all come right soon, they cannot help believing in you, because, be cause-" and her voice fsltred. "Hecause of what, little Oladys?" he asked. She dill not answer for a moment, and then she said, softly : "They must all be mad to dream for one moment yeo could do such a thing." "Yon believe in me," he said, more as an assertion than a question. " Believe in you I" -she began, and then her uplifted eyes said the rest. "I mast go," Leo spke, aruptly; he did not dare stay lest he should sly words he would ever after regret. There must be a hrighter fate for Gladys than to be the wife of Leo Wylde. "Good-bye; I can never tell you how precious to me your truet in me has been," and he left her, walking with rapid steps towards Woodsidle, his home, so soon to be his no more. His hands were clenched, he drove his nails deeply into the flesh, hbut did not know it. fie was conscious only of an aching void in his heart that could never be. filled, and of a wild longing for Gladys.