Chapter 59751117

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Chapter NumberIV
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1883-06-30
Page Number3
Word Count601
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleMercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)
Trove TitleClare
article text

[FA~MIY HERALD.] CHAPTER IV. (Continued) The letter which called Ivor Strahan from Ventnor so suddenly was signed "Frederick Strahan, " and contained but three lines "You imagined me dead ; but you are wrongfully in possession of my pro perty. However, I am willing to negotiate terms whereby you may~'still enjoy your present position, jif yodiwill come to me here." The address was a Continental one; and, overwhelmed with dismay, more for his wife's sake than his own, Ivor Strahan hurried to town, and thence to the gay German city specified. He found Frederick Strahan a worn, dissipated, reckless man-, whose sole ideas of happiness seemed to consist in gambling and drinking. His account of his adventurous life assured?poor Strahan of his identity ;but strangeM to say, he showed no desire to take public possession of his property. " I found out only by chance," said he, " that the governor had not cut me off with a shilling ; but I'm not the sort to shine in the country, and I've a notion for foreign quarters-and, ' tisn,t every one that looks the out-and-out squire like yourself. The folks would hang off me, I reckon; but I won't give themn the chance. Let me draw o:, you for a cheque when I please, and folk can think the property yours for aught I care." In vain Strahan, firmly at first, then feebly, represented to him that by right he must publicly resign the inheritance. "I tell you, " said he, "I'm content to make you my banker-and I won't be exorbitant either. Two thousand down will silence me for a tidy'bit." Strahan slowly wrote two cheques for one thousand pounds each ; and in the parlor of the German ale-house they settled terms for the future. But conscience rendered Ivor "Strahan miserable; he dared not face his friends with the secret of the rightful heir locked up in his breast. He grew pale when home letters told him of the .eminent physicians attending Clare; terribly sauio0us as he was for her,' he felt himself an impostor when he thought -of the lavish expenditure in connection with his .establishment. Conscience kept him from England, and he wandered, a miserable man, through the gambling saloons of the German city. He noted the money glided through the gambler's fingers like water; who could tell what enormous claim might drain his property-ar rather the property supposed to be his -from time to time? A tender remonstrating letter from his mother describing the approaching preparations to celebrate his wife's birth day, drew him at last back to Lyndon; - and it was there that the battle betweein honor and expediency came to a decisive end. "Do what you ought,, happen what may, " had hitherto been the motto of his life, and he could not persiitefitly' resist the voice of conscience. Better proclaim his losses to the world than forfeit his own self-respect; .better: bring sorrow to Clare than incur the displeasure of Heaven. His mind once made up, he did not. allow himself time for deliberation, but; wrote to Frederick Strahan from his' London hotel, stating he had sent his address to the family solicitors, and would make the fact of his existence known, as it was certainly injustice to continue in a wrongful position. Ereeither Frederick Strahan or Mr. Sharpe could reply, the Squire of Southrocks took the train for Kent; very sore at heart, yet, after all, relieved murmuring as he gazed'atClare's face in the locket on his chain "I could not love thee, dear, s:- much : Loved Inot honor more."'