Chapter 62145350

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Chapter NumberXXI.-CONTINUED.
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article62145350
Full Date1884-11-08
Page Number6
Corrections0
Word Count3132
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Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleClarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton, NSW : 1859 - 1889)
Trove TitleJohn Brown and His Dog Faithful
article text

JOHN BROWN:

AWD

HIS DOO- FAITHFUL

BY

ur. a. w. muas,

LAWRENCE, CLARENCE RIVER, N. 8. W.

CHAPTER XXL-CONTINUED.

Mrs Pandora stood in the dining-room doorway for folly ten minutos after Lyndhurst left the house -stood dumbfounded, as one beruft of all reason and action-a perfect dullard for the time. The power of speech to all appearance was gone ; her gestioula tory powers were dry-parched. She played no ladies' antio tricks by shrieking, scratching, scream- ing. She did not even throw herself on the floor, .nd work herself into hysterics. No, there was no hysteria about Mrs Fnma Pandora ; she was a woman, tho' a simple-minded ono in most things.

When she reoovored from the lethargio spell that Lyndhurst had thrown he- into by his unexpected appearance, she went ami locked the back door ; then picked up thc pieces of tho broken water jug, and oarriod them to her own sitting-room. Thun, with anything but Arin steps-for she was still in a kind of lethargy-sh» walked to her high-backed chair of state, as if seeking protection of the Egyptian gods. There resting hui.* forehead iu the palm of ono hand, she sat and thought.

Mrs Pandora had hoard something of Hobo's room being broken into at Castlemaine. Sho loved the orphan ohild with all her heart. Her love, such as it was, for Lyndhurst was not dead.

In somo way, Mrs Pandora seomed to be fully oon vinoed tho lawyer's visit to Montagua-house was in Connection with Hebe's room. She had gauged the feelings of tho orphan towards tho undo. The relict of old Pandora-thc fragile poroeloin figuro hoad, had studied John Brown's piotú¿é as far as her nature could, and tho conclusion arrived at was that Hebe was true and loyal to the core to those about her, especially to her father's relatives. She thought of the orphan child-tho disgrace perhaps that would fall upon her, if it waru known of her undo entering the house in the surreptitious manner ho did-enter- ing the sacred precinct of a ladies' acadomy us u com- mon burglar. Uer heart gave her a twinge as she thought of this, for her heart was not callous, hard- ened, insensible to Lyndhurst. The Latin proverb is true-holds good to-, livy os on the first day it was Used-tint- anuit. ant adit inulivr.

Just as Mrs Pandora decided on her course of action, the front door bell rang. The musical harmony was not over till ll o'alock- -longer, through tho encores, than expected, hence tho detention of the inmates of Montagu" seminary.

Mrs Faina Pandora was glad of it-glad of the respite, for it gave hor timo to think, aud como to u decision in her courso of procedure.

Mrs Pandora manoeuvred with suoh adroitness that the kept Hebe from going up to her room before

supper.

All « it down to tho bread, butter, ohcoso, and oold water in tho highest spirits, but poor, watchful Mrs Pandora. If she had that night to propare for the Auto da fi, she could not have looked more serious, grave, solemn.

She tried to liston to tho animated conversation of tho pupils rogarding the concert. She listened, yet she heard not. None uotiodd how absent-minded she was (fur all woro used to Mrs Pandora's peculiari- ties) but Hobo. Tho causo of her attention being drawn to it was, to her surprise, sho found the widow looking straight at her several times, a most unusual thing for tho housekeeper of tho academy to do. Thore was something- in the look that puzzled tho nut-brown maid, BO immediately prayers worn over, Hebe took Mrs Pandora by tho hand without a word, and walked with har to her own room. Tho widow locked tho door, and wont to her chair. Hobo drow a footstool, and sat at Mrs Pandora's foot, holding her hand in silent sympathy.

" My dear Hobo," began tho roliat of old Pandora, "I havo had a terrible shock this evening. Your undo entered tho house in a clandestine manner-came ' in at tho back door as a common robber, unknown to mo. How long ho was in your room I know not. Oh I Hobo, Hebe, why did ho act so ?"

Tho orphan waa on hor feet in an instant, and con- fronted poor Mrs Pandora with two eyes that shono like diamonds. Thore was a tremor on her lipa as sho spoke.

" Mrs Pandora, you aro beside yourself-suffering , from a mind diseased, or clso becoming a pessimist. ; Vnole is away in Koynton on somo law oase. Even ' if ho wera not away from Molbonrno, ho would hover act so. No, novcr I ho is too much of a gontlomau. . Mrs Pandora, I love and respect you, but I must

1 demand of you to recall yonr-"

Though tho orphan BO »poko, her heart misgave her. She felt thero waa truth in tho housekeeper's state

' ment.

Tho widow broko in, bofore Hobo hail finished,

" Wait, wait my darling Hebe, please a minute, and I will toll you how I know it was your unale."

Than sho recapitulated to tho girl all tho roador knows, and showed her tho fragments of the water jug. Further, snid that Lyndhurst's name in con- nection with that night's work would ba buried iu oblivion as far OB she was concerned.

Hobo stood boforo tho housekoopor and listonad listened without once interrupting her; stood and listened with dilating nostrils and heaving bosom. Sho saw truth stamped indelibly on every word spoken by Mrs Pandora ; but her father's namo was at stake. This foot-the magnetic ¡nfl uenoo that was to guido hor-hor ono nnd only goal-was to uphold tho family namo, to koop its escutcheon bright and clear of ovory stain.

Hobo nover wavered when sho thought of hor dead

father.

So tho child-woman would not acknowledge she was convinced, nor would tho promised sllonoo of Mrs Pandora appooso her. In gentleness, yet firmness, sho spoko :

" Dear Mrs Pandora, you hoing in this groat house alono all the evening has made you nervous. Your ñervos havo beon so unstrung that you havo imagined you saw my undo. I have read of similar oases (whiali was true). You havo boen snlforing from a kind of hystoria. I don't doubt you really think you saw unolo Lyndhurst. I will go to my room and

? seo. Wait hero."

' Whon sho saw Mrs. Pandora rising, as If to accom- pany hor, sho contlnuod,

" I will not bo long, and I will soon convinco yon how mistaken you aro,"

Hobo loft the sitting-room, dosing tho door care- fully after hor. As soon as «ho did so, no oyo being upon her, sha pressed her hand to her burning brow, ejaculating under her breath,

" My-, hos ho at last so for forgotten himself 1 -descended so low, My fnthor's brother I Great Father of heavon, have morey on him. Yes, a' com- mon burglar 1 Oh I fathor, it is your nome I would shield from blemish. This man it your brother ; nursod in tho samo motherly arms, cradled at tho same kneoj your playmate in your boyhood days, a brother you told mo again and again on shipboard you dearly loved. Fathor, your brother must not f all by your child's hand. No, no, I must avert this trouble Your loving daughter Hebe will odor any sacrifico in tho way of her own suffering to shield this man, because ho is your brother, and you loved

him."

With tottering steps, Hobo went upstairs.

At hor tadroom door sho paused a moment, rub- bing her forehead, as if to clear hor overcharged . brain, and Kain strength for tho ordeal sho folt she would havo to pass through.

She entered ; those searching black oyes quickly Bcannod tho room. Everything appeared in that oasis Blooping apartment just as she had left thom. Sho approached tho tablo, to put down the light. With a suppressed ery, sho dropped tho light ; her oyes had caught sight of the handkerchief over the statuette, and rested on a namo In onu oornor.

'.; Hobo gropod about till she found somo wax vestas ; then rc-lit tho candió and stood a moment, her brain

'in' a whirl. *

Evory lineamont of hor fnco revealed tho agony she had and was passing through, to tho very marrow

of her soul.

-To (¡escribo tho foatnros of tho orphan, as sho stood with light in hand boforo tho handkerchief, I cannot, roador. Not only wero her lips bloodless her foco more than a death-like paleness, but a pent up agony-a death-llko agony, that soomod to bo struggling to disengngo itself through tho child's fea- tures. The very norvos of tho heart woro at war in tho deadly struggle It was a deadly war to tho knifo between nerves, fooling, and tho strong-minded Hebe. The face-that infallible index of tho mind -mirrored the internal strugglo that was still going on. None could havo looked at that faco, ns it was refloated in the pier-glass, without trombling for thc result-tho crisis, tho decisive moment when body and soul would bo snapped asunder, or tho brain yield-succumb to the death-like pressure.

The embryo strong-minded woman raised the

pookat-nand »errhief from har father's boat, and read

on it :

" Simon Lyndhurst Haadslip."

Yes, the trained barrister of Linooln'a Inn, in bia haste and the bull's-eye going oat, forgot his hand-

kerchief.

Never were those words of Holy Writ more clearly exemplified-" Be sure thy sin will find thee out."

It is rare, very rare indeed, that rascality leaves no Eroof of guilt behind. The muiderer over-reaches

iraaelf in hia caution ; the highwayman may reverse his horse's shoes, to throw the bloodhounds of the law off the scent, yet he does something, or let. íes some- thing undone, that boco mas the bow for the barbed arrow of the law ; and that bow shoots the arrow to the human target as straight and unerring as ever William Tell sent a feather-pointed weapon pluoked from his quiver or case of arrows ro its goal.

The burglar leaves some indentation on the drawer he forcea open ; the drawer opening instru- ment is found in his possession, and it becomes the

hammer that rivets the iron nail of guilt. So it is, tempux mania rerelat, from a kind of propelling force from behind.

When poor Hebe read the name, she dropped that guilty tell-tale piocii of cambric, and pressed her two hands to her heated brow. She stood fully five minutes agitated, in a piteous, agonising state ; again she rallied herself-brought her nerves to that pitch of tension by the key of her strong mind, that

she was able to act.

Pioking up the pocket handkerchief, she thrust it hastily under the palliasso of her bcd, then knelt down, burying her face in hor two hands, and heaved such a convulsive sob, that the recording angel must have noted in His book of remembrance. Never did a Magdalen pray more earnestly for grace and strength, than did that innocent orphan, Hebe the bruised reed, thc suffering one, for her unole's

conduct.

Sha rosa from her knees, took tho bust statuette of her father in her two hands, and reverently kissed the lips, as something divine. She bathed her face in a basin of water, to iciuove every trace of tears ; once more took a quick survey of tho room, then descended to Mrs Pandora's room, not as Helve, the child, but as Hube, the woman.

"Como, dear Mrs Pandora, see my room is in ordor ; your burglar has taktm away nothing as far as I know. Come, and see for yourself, then you will ho able to get a good night's rest. I have brought you my va a du CUUHJUK to bathe your head, especially your temples ; come."

The widow rose, and acoompaniod tho brunette to

her room.

When the relict of old Pandora saw everything in tho room in it-) place, she murmured,

"Strange, vury strange, I know I did see him (rubbing her forehead with hor hand). Yes, it was not a vision, for the back door was unlocked. Do

you think, Hebe, your unolo walks in his sleep-that

he is a somnambulist ? I read in a book one day that thoro wore such people." Not waiting for a reply, she went on,

" What a sad affliction for your poor uncle. You know, Hebe, ho was, I think, very fond ot mo at Teinrfe House ; it was all but a marriago, but he be- came very strango in his manner suddonly ; perhaps it was the thought ho was subjected to somnambu- lism, and did not wish to frighten me at night. I wish he had told me that was the oause ; I should not have cared ; I would have triod to oure him. I would havo kopt his feot warm, and given him a warm boil to sloop in, than be would not have gone wandering about in the cold night air. Attend wall to your foot warmers, my dear girl, or you might become a sleep-walker like your poor unolo. I have never heard of you walking out of your room in your slaep ; perhaps you walk about your room. Keep your door locked, my dear. There are no windows in tho room you can walk out of ; I am so glad, for your sake, it is so. The book I road told me a som- nambulist never remembers where he hos been in his sloop. Now, I ara thankful it is so ; for what would your unolo feel if he know ho had walked at night into a ladios' seminary." Mrs Pandora was very tonaoious whan she arrived at a conclusion, as old Pandora well know, so she went on, " Yes, that ex- plains all, poor man. Porhaps, after all, ho came to soo mo in his sloop. You know, Hebe, waking thoughts aro nightly dreams. So, during tho day he was thinking of mo, his mimi dwelling on my isolated position,' it made him restless in his sloep, so ho oamo unknown to himsolf ; but then, how he did opon tho door ? Perhaps I never looked it after nil. Ah 1 Hobe, I hopo he won't como to the ladies' semi- nary, Montague Houso, again in his sleep, to seo mo. I wish I had known he walked in his Bleop before, nud then I would not havo told you anything about it, to upset you. I am glad I read that book about

somnambulism. I know it is true, for, as I told you, I road it in a book-(a foot-tho remark was, ' I know lt is truth, for I road it out of a book, and ovorythlng a book states mimt be true).' Hebe, I must ask you ploaso, for my sake, to say nothing to Miss B, or anyone, about what I told you to-night. Miss B, would bo horrified to think your uncle came in his sleep at night to seo mo. Will you promise f"

"Yes," replied Hobo, with difficulty restraining a

laugh.

Hobo did not even smile, but so schooled horself, oxeroised her powers of self-restraint, that she looked as solemn as Mrs Pandora did at the supper table. Hebe pitied the woak-minded woman before her ; yet sho was thankful Mrs Pandora had read the book on somnambulism. Tho brunette did not wish to be 3uestioned, so she continued on hurriedly, yet with a

egroo of calmness,

? ' . " YOB, I unconditionally promise. Now, Mrs Pan- dora, go to bod nnd rest ; a good night's Bloop will do you good ; your nerves are unstrung." '

Poor ohild, hor own ñervos were moro terribly un- strung, but she Bald nothing about it, like a heroine

that sho was. . I

Hobo oontinuod :-" Go now and batho your head with.tho cnn? de cologne, and if you find you oannot Bloop, placo a damp towoi at tho book of your neok, at tho base of tho brain-mt excetlcnt remedy."

Thc rellot of tho figuro head went, not to her chamber, but to her " sanctum," to think of the bar- rister, in her chair of tho gods.

Hobo immediately closed and looked tho door, murmuring, - ? .

" A kind, good, but slmplo-ailndcd woman ; lt pains mo to allow her to remain undor the erroneous delu- sion. I feel koonly tho degradation of the part I am forced to play. Tho query is, am I right in acting

soi" ??? ' -'- ? "' ?

Tho ohild woman stood thinking, working out the tho problem. At times, passed through her mind tho oomio, ludiorous look of Mrs Pandora, as she Bpoke with a kind of snivel of tho sleep-walker ; but in no way did sho lidioule the housekeeper ; no bursting into a gullaw at hor simple-mindedness. llobo'B alloy was not of that nature.

As the hall clock struck two, tho orphan took her bunoh of keys to examino hor drawors and boxes. Her quiok oyes told hor the things in tho chest of drawors wero not as she loft thom. Sho drew her own conclusion with tears in hor oyes-for now sho was alono. She allowed hor pent-up feelings to find an outlet In tears. When aho carno to her sea chest, thoro was no questioning what had boon dono ; the broken look ; tho mark of tho Hst Btainod shoes on tho white linen clothes ; the miscellaneous artioles thrown into tho box at random, all told their own

talo.

Ono by one Hobo took out tho contents of thc chest, and replace J them In the tidiness, noatnoss, and

order sho loved so well.

Tho coo olock strnok four ero tho orphan finlshod and dragged hor fntlguod, heavy limbs to her bed. Onco moro sho knelt, and prayed for pardon and strongth ; thon, after a teodor loving look at tho bust statuotte, she sought repose, worn out in body and mind. - ,

Sho required no soporiflo to produco that somnolent state so essential to an overwrought brain ; nature was exhausted. So she soon stopt as placidly aa an infant, after tho breast. ? '

Good for Ilobo lt was so, for slcop is tho groat re- novator of mind and body, that tunes our norveB, our wholo boing. for life's daily battles,

Slcop I the groat artery of lifo ; tho galvanism that ro-charges our worn-out framo with lifo's oxhilarant.