|Newspaper Title||Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 - 1915)|
|Trove Title||Sybil's Error. Or, How Sybil nearly Spoilt Ina's Christmas|
., . When I gae out at e'en,
*?'., ' OP ?walk at morning air, j I Ilk rustling hush will seem to say . ;.i Í. Ü I used to meet thee there:
j .. ; . < Then I'll sit down and cry, :?'.». i ; i., t. ,:And live nneath the tree, .. j,.-,..
I ' And when a leaf fa's i' my lap . , , , I'll pa't a word frne thee.
IT was Christmas eve. How Ina lived through the two preceding weeks she never knew. All days had seemed alike to her. She went about like one dazed, avoiding everyone. She was only a shadow ot, her former self./
1 Arthur had been over four days before, and it had nearly broken his heart to see her thus. " Bear up a lhtle longer,; Ina," he said, pressing her hand; "it will all come right soon-it must. Oh, if you could only have loved me, I would have made you so happy. Never mind, dear, I will say no more if it pains you;" he said, breaking off ; " but I would
five my life to see you. happy again,
wish I had never listened to that woman," ho muttered, as he turned away ; " but Ina shall be happy again,
at any cost." ,: ,
# # * * : # *
But it was how .Christmas Eve. The sun had set, and it- was now get- ting dusk.' haa was . sitting in the summer house,1 her head resting on the. table. She could. not cry ; ; tears would not. come.' " She supposed she had shed them all. " How will it end !" she would sob over and over
again. Oh, Geraldj Gerald, how could Î>ou do it ; how could you make me ovó you only to leave mo,!".'. . !, " Ina, Ina, my darling !" said a voice she "knew ,sb, weih She, looked up half af raid. One glad cry of "Gerald I\ and. she was in.his, arras.,, 1-Tears,came, readily enough now ; sobs wore shak- ing her slight form from head to foot.
S " Cry on, cry on, dear," said Gerald,
kissing her tenderly, " it will do you good. I will never leave,you again nevor,,as long as Iliye." ,, , , ;
j At this Ina s sobs ceased, .and Gerald led her, to a seat. V Do not, speak dear," he. said, seeing she was, aoout to .say,something.,,,"Sit down here and, I,will explain,all.,. It,was,here you heard me talkihg^to Arthur.twas ltnot ?,There, never mind,'; he added, ás he felt her shudder ; ": it.is, all over,
now.,' .Well,.!i will, tell,¡you what..I; was telling Arthur, and; you,, will see how it is yqumisunderstqpdme."
f ! ". Three years iago, I saved a'? young girl. from drowning.,,, Shel had fallen, out of , her boat, aha was going, under for the last time when I reached her, and when I brought her to shore she was, insensible. , T carried her to.the house, which happily happened to be her home; she lived .with; ,her father, being an only child. . After that, we were close friends. ;I treated her like a sister, and never dreamt that she liked me more than a i brother, till one day her father told mo she loved me. . I,cared for no one else, so I asked her to be, my wife, and was, of course, accepted. Before, I left England she seemed to get tired of me, and; I; thought that if I ¡wentaway for a, short timo.it would do.; us both ;,good. You know the rest. . :L met you"kneW;L¡loved you* ,ánd you!,only¿¡iand I, was telling Arthur ¡that I,, intended writing to her, to ask her; to release me. . It ¡was the last part of my story you heard, and very naturally you misunder- stood me. That evening Sybil Cleve came to me, and; told me;yöu had heard.my story., I asked1 her to beg forgiveness for me. but.she returned^
telling me you would never'forgive me, '.or willingly.vlook : on ; my> tace
¡again. You can imagino my feel-
ings. Never for a moment thinking' that there hacL. been'" a; misunder- standing I rushed off, packed-up, and left for Sydney that higbt ih the coach. . Just i two ./hours* - before I was leaving. Sydney ¡ for " England Arthur's; telegram -arrived,'' begging ?me to come back; at once j there had been' á;,mistake.!-"He ''mot-me 1 half way, and -tóldame* Sybil had let you thinkthat l didn'tdoyo you,' because she loved me;her8elf.!' She persuaded Arthur'<tó- keep silent, telling hiní thatiyou; did- nöt'«really cärö: for -me, but for him. ; thatybur.'pride was only [ .wounded. -''And novvi'liere I hm; dear; heyer to leave you again. We must bb'thkrikful^that "Arthur's tölegram reached me in ti me, or very.likely we should'h'áve< been 'unhappy tor the
remainder Of our lives." v- '
j «We had better "go inside and seo papa,"- said '-'.' Ina ;1 " I ; m ust ask his pardon for misjudging bim. ' You knoWi"Gerald,¡Ithought he told you I loved you, and I-said I could never forget you. And/I must forgive poor S3rbil too ; I can "quité' understand all she r hiis done ? if she loves you so. Poor girl, hoing found out will be enough punishment for her, without our reproaches."
"It's just like you, Ina," said Gerald. "To err is human, to forgive divine. But come, you belong to me now. I am not going to have you catch
" Let me go in first Gerald," pleaded Ina, "I want to see if they notice
any change in me. Poor Doris and papa felt it almost as much as I did, and I think Sybil repents her rashness already."
So Ina ran in first, Gerald follow- ing more leisurely. Mr. Melford was sitting in a low chair at the window,
Doris at his feet.
" Poor little Ina," he was saying, " what a miserable Christmas she
will spend this time."
" No she won't," said a joyous voice in the doorway. They turned and saw Ina, with her old bright smile, looking far happier than she had looked for a long time. At first Doris thought that the shock sho had, had been too much for her ; but after she saw behind Ina, the outline of a man's figure, that she knew Gerald had come back, and Ina was happy again.
After all had been explained to Mr. Melford and Doris, they looked round and found that Sybil had slipped from the room.
" I will go up and find her," said Ina. " Poor Sybil, she must be very
" Sybil was going away, papa," she said when she returned. " Poor girl, she was so unhappy. I told her we had all forgiven her. You do, don't you, Gerald," she asked turning to
;" Yes, dear," answered Gerald ; " I can bo generous now that I am so happy." "~ :
; " We only want Charlie here now," said Ina, " and we should all be happy."
"Who is Charlie, Ina?" asked Gerald. . . "?. ['" '
" Oh, Charlie Hill has been engaged to Doris for more than a year. ' They are going to be married in January."
" Well, we'd better have a double wedding then," returned Gerald.
" I am glad you have all forgiven Sybil," said Mr. Melford, when they were saying good night ; you will never be sorry for it. I think it will be a lesson to her-in fact, all of you to the end of your lives. If Sybil had only thought for a moment, she must have seen that it would do her no possible good. She might have known that Gerald would have gone home at once to England, and marry the lady he was engaged to there. " Look before you leap," is my motto, and if Sybil had looked, she would never have done such a foolish thing ; and now, remember my children, whatever you are doing, or thinking of doing, you will find that it is wise to stop-think of my motto-and " Look before you leap."
There was a double wedding at Melford in January. Ina and her husband went away, to England, where Gerald's uncle loved Ina, first for Gerald's sake, and then for her own. Doris and Charlie live at, Mel- ford, Mr. Melford giving them; part of the farm : as a wedding present. Arthur never married ; helbad loved Ina too well to think of marrying anyone else. Sybil went away from Melford a sadder: and wiser woman. She is now married, but she first told her husband of her error when, at Melford ; .of' how she " Leapt before she looked." - , :i > , ¡ii : .
[Written by " SOLA'' (aged 10) Ulmarra.]