Chapter 62145501

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Chapter NumberXXIV.-CONTINUED.
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article62145501
Full Date1884-11-22
Page Number6
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Word Count3600
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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:

ANO

HIS DOG- FAITHFUL

11Y

aar. a. w. lounr,

LAWRENCE, CLARENCE RIVER, N. S. W.

CHAPTER XXIV.-CONTINUED.

Alone again wa« Hebe with tho dead.

Header, do you know what it ia to bo alone with I the dead? Do you know what it ia to be «hut up ¡ within four walls with only the eye» of tho dead looking on you, and Hombre look of tho room, when the dead chamber is go hushed that you can hear tho beating of your own heart : when the very atmos- phere of tho room seems loaded, surcharged with death ; when you instinctively, with that hushed tread gentleness that would lead an onlooker to sup- pose you were afraid to awaken the friend now no more ; when you are afraid to raise your voice above a whisper ; when you can feel the very air you breathe is clammy, cold, devoid of oxygen ; tho ?npporting olemcnt of lifo throwing a pall upon tho .pints, a depression that passes through your whole being, when you enter for tho first timo a damp clammy vault. If you have experienced all this, reader-passed through this ordeal-then you can realise to un i rt, tit the dreadful tension Hebe's nerves were <. trung to ns «ho stood alone that evening. 1 nay, to an vjtrnt, for remember, tho' Hebe, our heroine, tho' I say she was no ordinary child-vet, she was but a school girl-her feeling*, those keen edged sensibilities that give us consciousness nf pain or pleasure, tenderness or emotion, affections or pas- sions ; that raise our hearts to heaven, [or thrust us down to the lower world ; thnt waft us on the sweet musio of the Zephyr wind, that is niusie to the soul that no Eolian harp can give, or lacerate us to tho morrow of our being to an extent thai no anatomist, with scalpel in hand, can dissect or describe.

God has so ordained things, that woman hoskeonor sensibilities than man. He has to meet the cutting frost of tho world, while she is tho balm in Gilead to temper tho bleak wind to the shorn lamb ; and why, and how Í First, in and by God ; then by her delicate sensibilities. She is tho main-spring to tho clock. But oh I my reador, a woman at times suffers for it. Mo joy without a sorrow ; no gift without its draw- back or danger.

Mary, tho mother of our Re loonier, was the most blessed among women ; but what said tho nged Simeon to her, in the very temple of God, when her heart was over charged with joy on account of tho birth of tho holy infant :-" .«I »ward «hall pierce through thy own WK/."

No joy without a sorrow ; a roso must hove its thorn. Such ls life here below.

So tho keon sensibilities suffor ns tho teudor oousolonoe whon wrong is done. . .

Hebe bad only witnessed ono other death-that of her father. Sho remembered that day, or rather morning, whon tho lamp gave light to tho scone, Such thoughts noted on nor sensibilities-the burn- ing lamp, the hushed chamber, the dead body. Her fathor sho loved from tho bottom of her heart. Now Bho looked on tho ono truo, triod, faithful friond

deatl.

' Think of all this, reader, and judgo if you can sum up tho orphan Hone's feelings.

'. Tho city physician arrived, and was at ones ushered into tho room of death. Keenly ho scruti- nised nebo as sho stated her views, shaking his head every now and again, Baying to himself,

A remarkable girl, a remarkable girl."

After duo examination of the body of John Brown, in a kind, By m pa the t lo voioc ho said :

,i. " No uso, no uso, my door young friend. What makes you think what you have stated to' ino ?"

" Hobo, pointing to Faithful, said, " That true and

noble animal." ' .' Another shako of tho hoad.

" Too late, my child, death hos dono its work, leav- ing no trace."

" You can do nothing in (his case then, slr ?"

" Nothing, nothing, doer young lady. You seok reposó, for this sombre ehambor is no place for you. You aro too anxious. I ara afraid, if you do not seek rest, brain fover will supervene. ' Will you follow my

advioo?"

" You mean kindly by what you say, sir. I am Btrong-mtnded, but not nelf-mUled ; ti rm, but not hog-hoadod. I oannot at prosont carry out. your advice-1 have other work to do. Mr Aohates will

soon bo herc. I can trust him, so to him I will impart my plans. Good night, kind sir."

" Strango girl, strange girl ; remarkable girl," mur- mured tho kind-hearted physician, as he descended tho stairs, putting on his gloves. Brain fever-per- haps death. Wonderful girl ; what oyes I Roads your thoughts beforo thoy aro uttered."

" No help from you. no help on earth ; but thors is in heavon, God is my holp. Mr Achates, como quiokly,"

For another half-hour was Hebe again alono, sit- ting by tho inanimate body of John Brown.

When Achates arrived at half-past 10 p.m., accom- panied by tho oidor Miss B., tho landlord of tho hostelry mot them at the foot of tho stairs, and in- formed them of all that had taken place.

;'; 'Aohates noso and chin hud never since their birth played such pranks as they did w hilo listening to tho prating, talkativo innkeepor. Tho facial movoments, up and down, wont nt such a rapid rato that electri- city appeared for tho timo to be the motive power, with mouth ajar¡

" I must think tho matter ovor," said Aohates, turn- ing to Miss B., "think it well ovor orel enter tho room. Hobo's words,-how strange. Strange, strange notion she has got into her head. Yet Faithful's actions ; it is a problem, au enigma I must havo time to con over, to viow beforo I meet thc little ono. What tho solution will be I know not."

" Well, do so ; point out tho room, and I will go and comfort my darling girl-do what I can."

" One word before you go, Miss B,, don't thwart her, for if we aot too much in a thwartly manner we both will havo trouble. I will be with you in half an-hour. If I manngo to como to a deoislon in that brief timo, I shall have done well. Go now, Miss B" and be on your guard with tho old dog."

Miss B. entered tho chamber with a gentle tread. As Bho approached Ilobo a kind, sympathetic expres- sion spread ovor her face. Sho took the anxious watohor to her breast. No loving mother could havo acted moro kindly or tenderly to her first-born than Miss li. did towards tho orphan.

'. Hebe sobbed on the bosom of her sonior for a timo ;

then she raised her head, and pointed to the bed. J

" I know all my darling girl ¡ your noblo conduot, ! and what your opinion is. Worry not yourself ; wo aro in the hands of God, let us submit to his decree."

" Yes, yes, dear Miss B. I do not wish my will to be Hod's, but lil* will mino. I fool I am right. That noble dog tells me so, and he is nevor wrong ; ho has in some mysterious mannor conveyed to my brain the impressions of his own. Where is Mr Aohates ?" '..-..' I

" Ho will ba with us directly. Ho wished to think over your view of the matter. You know ho ever requires time to work out a problem ; he is not quiok at thought, as our lato friend."

" Late friend I" and Hebe throw herself on her knees by the side of John Brown's bcd.

Tho old dog Immediately walked round and placed himself between thekneeling orphan and her teacher, remaining thero ns still as death till Hobo roso from her knees.

Will you not now rest, my child ?" " No, no, not now."

"I,will remain here, Hebe. You must keep.up your strength,' J If '.you break down, my noble girl, your sufferings will bo great afterwards ; yon will never be satisfied not having seen the end. Keep up your strength for what you nava undertaken."

Hebe in after years blessed Miss B-- for those

wnrdfl nt aulviae.

. " You DIO right, I havo muoh yot to do ; but I must seo Air. Achates, first. Ho will remain hero with his noble, genoroua-hoartcd friend. You require rest j you have your duties. Let Mr. Aohates oorao."

Achates did come, entering the room os pale and ghost-like as tho body on tho bed.

Faithful looked up as ho entered, and gave a sub- dued whine ; then, putting his head on one side, as il to ace- If nnyono waa behind'his matter's fritad, sniffed, as to be sure the almond-eyed doctor wat not larking behind. Even with thia th« dog appeared

notwtixfied, tor he walked to the door, miffed agaia,

thea walked, ar rather trotted dow» the paatage, ead . ?tooodat the head of the atair» looking down with . eon erect : then barked, a* if challenging the ;

physician or any other intruder to mortal com- bat. With that he tamed hi* hind quar- ters on the landina;, aa waa hui wont, to show contempt ; used his hind feet with anch vigour that he aent the foot-mat from the top to the bottom of tho stairs ; then went back to the room, and sat looking aa grace aa it he were a judge trying and judging a moat momento aa case.

In a subdued tone Hebe, addressing Achates, said : " What do you think r"

Achates, placing hi» left hand fingers in close proximity to his nose, replied :

" I know not what to think just yet. I have weighod the case to a hair's breadth-as far as time would permit-and the equilibrium of the acales is so equally poised that the matter will require more thought.

Achates' statement was not quite true, for from tho bottom of his heart he believed Hebe wrong in her opinion ; but he dare not say so. Ho would save hor pain ; ho would gradually prepare her for the worst. He would not buoy her up too much, then dash her on the shoals of despair. Ou the other hand, he would not wound her at onae beyond re- covery by uttering his thoughts. Hence his reply.

" Well," said Hebe, with a light of hope in her eyes, I am glad, and thank Ood even for this reply from you. Mr. Achates, your words give me hope."

I Tho old dog put his nose against her hand. She

threw her arms around his neck, and wept silent tears of joy.

Hebe would not seek repose till Achates promised to sit by the side of John Brown, till she released him in his vigil.

Tho old dog gavo a piteous whine as she was leaving tho room. The brunette returned, and after fondling thu Newfoundland, she placed her hankcrchicf near the head of the bed, on thu floor. The caresses and the pookct-hunkcrehief had the desired effect, for the dog stretched himself near tho head of the bed, with his two paws and nose on the kerchief.

We speak of .' dog sleep," " Bleeping with one eye open." Truly, Faithful did thatnight,fortoallappear unco one oyo was open watching his master's face ; tho other was closed os if in sleep.

Achates sat on through the night, many, many thoughts surging through his mind during the hours of his vigil.

Be not surprised, reader, when I tell you Hebe slept on till nearly ten o'clock a.m. Still Achates moved not from his post.

Kind Miss B-had entered the brunette's chamber at break of day, ere she returned to the city, to be ready for her scholastic duties and the annual oxamlnation. She had, with velvety tread, entered tho room, closed the shutters, and closely drawn the blinds, so os to darken tho room.

That sleep of thu orphan saved her brain, for sleep ls tho strongest of all medicines, when it is natural

repose.

History hands down to us that Lord Brougham, on his return to his house after his matchless, unique dofenoo of poor Queen Caroline, went to his chum bur, leaving strict command not to be disturbed, howover long ho might sleep. These orders were carried out to the letter, in tho face of tho consterna- tion of his servants, as tho rising yoong barrister slept on for Homo forty-eight hours. Brougham's medical advisers afterwards stated most emphatically, that those oight and forty hours' repose nipped braut fever in tho bud ; and tho' more than likely it waa only the marvellously recuperativo powers of youth that onablod him to fall back on nature's great romedy ia ono suoh great draught. His great, uncom parable capacity for work to extreme old age may not improbably have been duo to a constitution en- dowed with such maana of repairing at night thc waste of tho brains during tho previous day.

On Hobo entering the bedroom of John Brown, she cast a swift glance first at tho bed and then on Achates' faco ; then gently sighed.

The old dog went towards her, and licked hor band ; then marched to his post at the head of the bed.

Aohates had placed food and water near the New- foundland, but both remained untouched.

In a voico that hardly ruffled tho air, or broke tho stillness of the room, tho orphan said :

" Go now, dear Mr. Aohates, and rest," and silently she took the ohair that Aohates had risen from as she entered the room, at the bedside.

" Jtent," soliloquised Jidus Aohates. " Heit ; there is nono on earth for me now. The friend of my youth, tho one truo companion of the meridian of my days, hus gono beyond recall,"

Achates quickly left tho room, fooling ho would bo unmanned-break down. Ho feared to copo with our horoina ; to combat hor opinions, to speak his views, to give her a death-stab, to meet her quoitlons to bo oateohetlaally queried by the strong-minded school girl. So ho went. Looking at his watch, as he roached the landing he said :

" Half-post ten I The coffin is to be here at eloven sharp ; what am I to do 7 . . . If she sees it, it will unhingo her mind. Tho Bight of it,-the tolling of

har death-knell I' -

Quiokly he sought the master of the house, and was olosetod with him for some time, conferring how

to act. ' : '

. Tho sombre, melancholy six-feet box reached the

inn unknown to our heroine mourner. Within a locked room it was placed, and the bearers informed when they would be required to " screw tho gentle- man down." Then thoy would receive their orders

about the hoarse. '

About fi o'olook p.m., Aohates succeeded in getting Hobo to go to her ohamber to get nf ow hours' repose, Immediately afterwards ho dispatched a note to Montague Acadomy. ? ? ??? "

Miss B-, on recolpt, sent off a noto to Lynd- hurst. ' . ; >

Tho barrister was out, so the note remained at his hotel till 8 o'olook. On his return, ho read tho mis- sive, with a sardonio expression on his face.

" Dead 1 John Brown dead 1" running his fingers through his hair with astonishment, yot savage glee. Good,-clears my path, sweeps away some of the entangled web, opens up an avenue through tho labyrinth roaching to my goal. Achates I fear not, now eagle is no moro. Yes, doath terminates the agreement regarding Hobo ; sha muet by law como at once under my caro. No, I fear not Aohates, now hawk-eye is dead."

Lyndhurst forgot the French proverb : ' Ch&tèau rn

etj/iiffiifl.

He continuad : " That chit was strengthened and backed up by John Brown. Why should I not give her a strong narcotio? Go to by-bye. Verdict, /clo tie ne, on account of John Brown's death ; then I as her unolo and guardian, got possession of her foods and ohattols. This the elogo (funeral oration),

must try and boston the funeral', and put my plans into oxooution. Well, I must at once be en route,"

Tho B.A., after taking a Satan's fortifier, left the hotel for thc cab-stand.

The paroquct-noso had loft its peron ; poked that beak round a corner, as if looking for some ono. Parrot chirped, as if satisfied ; thon chirped again ! '

"Something In tho-wind,-to the fore at'onoe'. Yes, somothing on tho titjiis, or why his quick move- ments? 7 will quiokon wy movements, Bo be in at tho death." ? . ¡ .

The man of Lincoln's Inn hailed a Jehu ; entered his cab. . _ V '

Parrot's nlmblo action onablod him, unseen, to perch behind tho chariot, and as that rara ari» held on tho vohlolo, it hoard tho words : >.::> >. ».'

" Half a Bov,, cabbio, if you roach-hotel, Kow, in half time."

Tho paroquet gavo a subduod whistle, and felt its

noso.

Lyndhurst entered tho hotel, and was shown into the room of death, Aohates simply nodding his head to the barrister, while thc old dog showed his teeth and lashed his tale in a very significant manner.

De Wert walked into tho inn at once, and entered into conversation with tho landlady, and BO ingra- tiated himself that tho hostess contrived to givo Elm a private interview with Hebe.

De Wert said, on her entering tho room,

" Pardon, Miss Handsllp, for mo intruding mysolf upon you at this hour, and seeking an interview in tho hour of your groot grief."

The orphan bowed stiffly.

11 Mr Brown was well known to mo, and tho' I am

to you a total stranger, yet you aro far from being unknown to »ie. So permit mo to say, I asked to seo yon to aid you to tho utmost of my power."

Hebe Inclined her head.

" Have Mr Brown or Mr Achates ever mentioned to you ono Entre nom ?"

Tho brunette for a moraont placed her hand on her forehead, as if to think and cool her tired brain, and then gave a slight start.

"Yes, yes, Hr Brown once said very seriously. ' Remember, yon have, if I mistake not, a firm friend in one Untre »icu*.' I questioned my dear guardian, but he was silent."

" I am Entre mm*. Misa HandaMp, and would prara ray, or rather feb Brown's worda, by asking yoa to trust ma. There ia a question I would ask, tho' painful to you.-4 Are yon perfectly aatlsfted Hr Brown came by his death naturally 1"

'. Oh 1 sir, what do you mean .' Explain, for pity's

sake ?"

'?Hiss Handslip, calm yourself please ; I only speak knowing you have an enemy, and perhaps that enemy would try to reach you through your late firm

friend."

" Mame, sir, that enemy, for I am ignorant who that enemy is." Hebe drawing nearer to Do Wert as she spoke.

"Yes. I will name him ; but at. present let it be in confidence. I will pain you, but I know yon to be strong-minded, having heard much about yoa. Your enemy is your uncle Lyndhurst. Start not ; I sae by your faoe you know it. To-night I saw your nnole hastening here. I dogged his steps-pardoo me. mademoiselle, for the expression-and learned on my arrival from the landlady that Mr Brown was no more. I have made a vow to protect you at any cost from your enemy, so again allow ino to put tho question,-Has Mr. Brown come by his death in the

duo oource of nature ?"

" Yes, yes, rest fully at ease on that point. Undo" -she said thc word uncle with a quiver-" has no hand in this. May I ask how you know my father's only brother is my enemy /"

" Ten thousand pardons, mademoiselle. Let it suffice now for me to say, a word in the columns of the Aryn* addressed to Entre mm* will And me in your hour of need ; and remember peer Mr Jiroirn't

?irani*"

De Wert was gone-gone ere Hebe could speak a

word.

The orphan stood alone in the room, dazzed, be- wildered. How muoh moro she wanted to ask, but ho was gone-mystery. She reoalled his every word, and saw he was more than in earnest. Then there were tho words of John Brown-Itenwiiiher. Uer uncle was in the house, the stranger said ; he had dogged bis steps. She would not see him if she could help. Confidence I Yes, towards Lyndhurst. He said nothing of confidenao as regards Achates ; she would speak to him, for was not Aohatcs her guardian's friend-Fid UK Achate*. This Entre »oin spoke of Achates. Why should ho have mode a vow to protect herat any cost? His words she would remember.

All these thoughts rushed thiough the orphan's

mind.