Chapter 62144802

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Chapter NumberXII
Chapter Url
Full Date1884-09-13
Page Number6
Word Count1216
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleClarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton, NSW : 1859 - 1889)
Trove TitleJohn Brown and His Dog Faithful
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John Brown, on his war bask to Daylesford, pon- dered a good deal on what Hebe had told him of her father's words on board ship, and his state of mind at times. He felt Lyndhurst had some object in view regarding the escritoire. It was such a strango request-an oat of the way request, to Brown's mind. He determined to lay the matter before Achates, to see if he oould give a solution of tho Íiroblera. So when he reaohed the hotel at Dayles ord (Wombat hotel) in the evening, Brown com-


" Hebe sends all her love to you Achates, and so


" Not quite all her love, John Brown : I don't want to be so heavily handicapped os all that. I like a plaoo, though, in tko dear ohild's hoart. As

frisky and childish as ever, I suppose ?"

" No my friend, the dark-eyed is no longer a ehild -the twelve or moro months under the Misses-our frionds-havo wrought wondors. Frisky and playful she is. but through it all you can see the woman the lady. Thu crudo mind hos shot beyond her years. She Bees and grasps more than she can express; yet she can express herself at times in a marvellous manner. Another year at the same rate of progress will land her at tho hood of the school. Her natural ability is great."

" Ah 1 John Brown, the brunette will wean you from the idiosyncrasy I think sometimes you hold regarding the fair sex. Well, you may have a reason ; but it is a sealed book to me."

" So it will remain," soliloquised John Brown. "There is a secret door of ray heart that even you, my friend, cannot enter. I am more than pleased Hebe is so promising."

" Tes, she has grasped this truth, that we are sow- ing seeds of truth or error-of dishonesty or integ- rity-every day we live, and everywhere we go, that will take root in somebody's life. She is learning that we raise oursolves by adoring that whloh is better than we are. lt is the one virtue of the soul whioh is always tending upwards by its proper motion-upwards to something lighter, purer,


" Good, my nobld friend ; to hear you speak re- minds me of my matar. Did that worthy piece of flesh Lyndhurst put in an appearance at all ? for I hear he is in Melbourne. Mrs Psycho Handslip has favoured mo with a letter, asking a great many questions about the fellow : Why he left us, amount of gold dust, and queries too numerous to mention. I have not replied yet"

" Yes, Lyndhurst did call, and in connection with his visit to Hebe, there is a matter I want to con- sult yon on. Now, give me all ' your attention." Achates' hand went up to tho upper lip at this ; down came tho chin, and up wont the nasal excrescence. " I fully believe Lyndhurst had a deep object in view in calling at the school."

Then John Brown went on to relate all ho know Mr Handslip's words to Hebe on shipboard ; his fits of delirium ; the forgetful state ho was loft in after- wards ; his words about the secret drawer ; Lynd hurst's request, this visit to the father's death-bed, and alone with him, while Hebe and her stop-mothor were away. AU this John Brown vory oarofully referred to, while Aohates' features wero working.

, " Toa must give me time to think, old boy ; to- morrow I'll give you my opinion. Good night," and np went the hand again as ho loft the room.

Next morning at breakfast the conversation of the previous night was resumed. Aohates had slept on it, BO he commenced,

" There is something in what yon tell me, John, and I havo been racking my brain to got at the bottom of it. You say the scoret drawer was empty, and farther, that Hebe read and re-read her mother's letters, and ean get no clue. That act of tho father giving her the key os he died. I should like to see this escritoire. Lyndhurst may have got the key from his dying brother, and emptied the drawers ; but then, you say, no one would ever dream of a drawer being there. Then comes the question. If Lyndhurst were informed of this drawer, or knew of it (being a family relio of the first Mrs Handslip), and so removed some papers, how comes it he seems so inquisitive about the contents of the desk, and wants to get possession of it ? I frankly COB foss I cannot fathom the matter. I would like to have him in the prisoners1 dock, on his oath/'

" I am afraid, Achates, oath or no oath would be all tho same to Lyndhurst. I look upon taking an oath os a vaia formality, which binds no scoundrel, and strengthens nat the statement of an honest man. As oaths are administered in a court, they becorao a

farce ; repeated by the clerk of tho court liko a parrot -irreverently. Yea, oven worse ; tho thumb kissed instead of tho book, the doer thinking ho by so doing is not taking an oath. Conscience may become sa cowardly that it won't even accuse blasphemy. I say again, it is naught to a scoundrel ; if ho won't speak tho truth without it, there is but little hopo of speak- ing it with it. Bopeated oaths maka oallous. I many times pity tho police on this account. What can they think of it? Of what terror or value to them, when many of thom may have to tako it ten or twenty times a day in small oases. If ignorant persons are sworn, they think they may lie, and lying to an extent is mado blameless in their eyos. An honest man will speak the truth, oath or no oath. An oath makes not his statement stronger or purer. I would banish tho oath, and severely punish any one proved to have lied in giving evidence. I think oaths and oath-taking have done moro than any other thing to impair and destroy a regard to truth. Why drag God's nama on or from impure lips? That name the Jews so highly reveronoed. Lot a person affirm he speaks tho truth, and punish him with the utmost rigour of tho law if ha does not do so. Add not sin to sin by making him swear. I have wandered from my point in a measure. Lyndhurst knows law ; ho hos got hold of something. He will oct carefully-ho does not put his head in Caloraft's noose. Come with rae next week and wo will have a talk with Hebe, and you shall Bee the escritoire for Sarsolf. What are you going to say to Mrs. P.


" Why, she will bo as wiso about matters whon she roads my reply as she was before she got it. Mrs P. H, will hove to do her own work."