Chapter 63620198

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Chapter NumberXI
Chapter TitleDR. BOANERGES FIRES A TRAIN.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63620198
Full Date1886-07-15
Page Number0
Corrections0
Word Count4121
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleIllustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872)
Trove TitleSociety, Friendship and Love
article text

CHAPTER Xt.

DR. BOANERGES FIRES A TRAIN.

" Religion ; what treasures untold,

Reside in that heavenly word."

-Cowper.

Among the audience on the fatal night of the play, con- spicuous in the front seats, were Dr. Boanerges and his wife, whom it was at present the desire of Mr. Broadhurst to

conciliate by every means in his power. With this view Mrs. Broaihurst hid presented Mrs. B>anerges with two free tickets to good places, and the reverend doctor, who was not above the social vanities of his day, had availed himself of these passports.to good society. But his views of the matter underwent a considerable change when he discovered the smallness of the audience, the large propor- tion of the larrikin element, and when he finally saw him- self abandoned by his supposed associates in society, who rolled home in their respective chariots, leaving him to make the best of his way through a noisy rabble, largely composed of antagonistic spirits, who recognised the doctor as theauthor of the "Fiery Brand," and assailed his ears with derisive and abusive epithets, till he was glad to take refuge in a humble omnibus. Tuere he sat, pouring his disgust of things in general into the ears of his meek little wife, who had as much idea of soothing him a3 of dancing a hornpipe.

But this was not all, for the next morning there appeared an article in the " Jerniau Liberator," giving a most ludicrous and unkind account of a high-class comedy, pro- duced under the auspices of Society, prominent amongst whom was a certain reverend doctor. This last stroke exhausted the reverend gentleman's patience ; he cast about for means of retaliation, and, as he chose to consider Mr. Broadhurst as personally responsible for all the humiliation he had undergone, he resolved to inflict condign punishment on the offender in the columns of the "Fiery Brand."

In his attack, Dr. Boanerges gave triumphant proof of the skill and ability which had made the "Fiery Brand " an important organ of public religious opinion. He did not waste his time and paper in useless charges of scepticism and impiety ; he did not denounce the play, or endeavour to describe himself as an innocent victim to the arts of its promoters ; he at once singled out the weak place in Mr. Broadhursts armour, and boldly proclaimed him a secret friend to the system of intolerance and persecution which he was ostensibly opposing as a leader of the new educational party. He exposed the editor of the " Trumpeter " as a secret partisan of an Ultramontane Oligarchy, and half his

readers who had not the least idea what sort of an evil beast this might be, were all the more convinced that it was something very terrible and dangerous. Miss Broad hurst's engaejément was not expressly mentioned in words, but it was distinctly alluded to, and the writer called upon all readers ot* the "Fiery Brand" and kindred spirits, to state whether they were inclined to place their trust in a champion who, while pretending to uphold their cause, was at the same time endeavouring to ally himself by the strongest ties with the most bigoted of their opponents.

To prevent any possibility of the article escaping Mr. Broadhursts attention, a carefully-m irked copy of the " Fiery Brand " was sent to his house, and he had tbe satisfaction of reading it at his own breakfast table, between the intervals ot tea and toast. It so happened that Dorothea was late that morning, and had not yet appeared, when Mr. Fitzalan and the boys retired to their own ter- ritory. As soon as they were alone, Mr. Broadhurst threw the paper across to his wife, and invited her to read the marked article. Her indignation, when she found what it was about, was uubounded, and expressed in various inter- jectional phrases, such as "Brutes!" "Idiots!" "Poor dear Maurice !" "Poor darling Dolly !" and the like.

Mr. Broadhurst meanwhile continued his breakfast in silence. He was not given to waste his words, and if his wife liked to indulge in idle exclamations, he saw no reason for assisting her. For these two had already held a conver- sation on the subject of Dorothea's engagement, and arrived at the conclusion that the sooner it came to an end the better.

Maurice Gower was not so well off as they imagined at first. It would take years to pay off the mortgages on his estate, and he seemed pretty determined to try his fortune in Fiji on a cocoa-nut plantation. This could scarcely be considered a brilliant prospect for the lovely Miss Broad- hurst. And then Mrs. Grimleigh had imparted to Mrs. Broadhurst in strict confidence that it was a pity dear Dorothea had so quickly acceded to Maurice's proposals, for Walter had only waited till she should have time to know him a little better, before confessing his own attachment and that with him there would be no dim mlties about religion-and it would be so pleasant for them all to keep her with them, and to see her take such a position in society as Walter's wife would be entitled to hold, etc., etc. And to all this Mrs. Broadhurst had listened with perfect complacency, and a growing conviction that the engagement with Maurice had been a great mistake.

Mr. Broadhurst also had received some hints that his daughter's iatended marriage with a Roman Catholic was shaking the confidence which the free, secular, and com- pulsory party had hitherto placed in him. For reasons into which we need not here enter, it was at this moment very much to Mr. Broadhursts interest to keep in with his party, and such attacks as the "Fiery Brand" had seen fit to make upon him were dangerous as well as dis- agreeable.

" It's perfectly abominable that people should be allowed to write such scurrilous trash !" cried Mrs. Broadhurst at

length, throwing down the obnoxious paper.

"Trash, my dear, as much as you please, but the other epithet is scareely admissible. However, I am not inclined to quarrel with the " Fiery Brand '' at the present moment, for it only expresses my own views about this absurd engagement. Have you told Dolly that she must

break it off?"

Good gracious, Charles ! Is that the way you would set about it? Think of thè poor child's feelings, and Maurice's, too."

4 ' As far as Dolly is concerned, 1 think we can leave the 'task of consoling her to young Grimleigh," said Mr. Broad- hurst, drily. "And as for Gower-well, Ido not think your love-born swain will have far to go either to find a

comforter."

" What do you mean ?"

" To whom does he apply now whenever he has one of those numerous quarrels with Dorothea, which have relieved the monotony of the house for the past few months ? To my mind he cannot do better than promote his confidant to be his lady-love. Margaret having no strong prejudices of her own, will let him believe what he likes, and do as he pleases."

" Margaret !" exclaimed Mrs. Broadhurst, in a tone of such horror and consternation, that her husband fairly laughed at her. " Artful, intriguing, deceitful-: ! But it is all nonsense, Charles, he could not look at Margaret after loving Dorothea. And besides, Margaret is going to marry the Count, and a very good match it will be for her."

" Now, Dora, just listen to me for one minute," said Mr, Broadhurst, seriously. " I am not given to interfering ia what you are pleased to do, as you very well know ; but

there are some things that even I will not allow. I will not have that greasy impostor forced upon Margaret in this house. That you will ever succeed in making her marry him is beyond belief, but she loathes the sight of him, and she shall not be tormented with him. Break off the mar-

riage with Gower in any way you please-you understand.

how to manage Dolly better than I do-but let the matter * come to a speedy eüd, and above all things do not let me hear another religious squabble. T am sick of theology."' With this declaration of his sentiments, Mr. Broadhurst took his hat and departed, and as he went out at the front door, Dorothea came into the dining room.

She looked as fresh and dainty as a rosebud with the dew

on it.

«1 Poor Maurice !" said Mrs. Broadhurst, tenderly, to her- self. "And Margaret Latimer to take her place. Pre- posterous !"

"What is the matter, mother, dear ?" said Dolly ; " you

look worried."

" So I am worried," said her mother. "All this trouble with Maurice is enough to worry any one."

"But there is no trouble about him just now. He has forgotten all.about the play, at least he has said no more about it, and we are quite good friends."

" Yes, but for how long ? My dear child, I do hot be- lieve he cares for you as he ought. He will not give up anything for you, though he expects you to go and bury yourself in Fiji, or, at best, ina stupid little English county, and he will want all the money your father can give you to get his estate out of difficulties. You know you will not be able to live in London till you are an old woman, perhaps."

"Dear mother," said Dorothea, with rather a forced smile ; " what has Maurice done to offend you?"

" He has done nothing to offend me. I am really very fond of him, but I cannot bear to see you throw yourself away, and there is Walter Grimleigh-"

"Yes, mother, what of Walter Grimleigh?" said Dolly

quickly.

" Only, my dear child, that he is breaking his heart for you, and that his father and mother would give any-

thing-"

"Yes, I know that, Mrs. Grimleigh has told me more than once, but I cannot help it. I cannot be false to poor Maurice, and I still hope that our religious difficulties will be solved. But it is of no use to speculate ; we must leave these things to Providence."

" But, Dolly, read this, it was sent to your father, this morning, and he does not know what to do about it." : 1 .,

Dorothea took the ' ' Fiery Brand " and read Dr. Boan erge's effusion. "It is very horrid," she said. " Mother, I think I must insist upon Maurice making some little con- cession to me, if it is only for my father's sake, and when he sees that 1 am in earnest, he will surely feel that it h his duty to give way. I hear him in the hall. Will you leave me alone with him ? It is impossible to say how al] this will end, but indeed, as I said before, we must leave il

to Providence."

" Dear child," said her mother, kissing her, and she wen 1 out, leaving this pious and admirable young woman to en- counter her unlueky lover alone.

He came in, not quite with bis old air of unconcerned gaiety, for there were some anxious lines about his face which had been invisible in the early days of his courtship still he showed the cheerfulness of a man who is uncon scious that anything is brewing against his peace of mind but the first glimpse of Dolly's face frightened him, and hei words were not of a kind to allay his alarm.

"Maurice," she said, solemnly, "I am glad you ar« come. I have a great deal to say to you. But first reac

this"-and the everlasting "Fiery Brand" was laid befor<

him.

He made a wry face, but read as he was bid, and when hi put it down he actually laughed. .

" It is not a laughing matter," said Dolly, with an air o gentle suffering, which made him at once feel that his levit; was indecent. " 1 am going to ask you again to do me, an< my father, and all of us in fact, a great favour, but I an afraid to ask it, because you have already refused me some thing of the same kind. Maurice, will you at least listei to me quietly, aud not fly into a rage, or misconstrue m;

motives, or-"

" My dear Dolly, I did not know I was such a monster c violence and injustice," he said, ruefully.

"I am sure you are not," she said ; "but never min that just now. What I have to say had better be said a once. Yon see what these fanatics say of my poor fathei He cannot just now afford to quarrel with them ; he is not as you know, a religious man himself, like uncle Dunstar or of course he could not act with them at all ; it is ver sad"-with a little filial sigh-"but it cannot be helped and most people think (though perhaps I ought not to sa it), that it is better that he should play into the hands ( that party than lose the opportunity of being useful to hi country. He is one of the few men who have its interés! really at heart." As she made this pretty speech, sh looked up at him with great candid eyes, so transparent! innocent, that he who knew something of Mr. Broadhurst disinterestedness could scarcely forbear a smile.

"You are a charming little politician, my darling Dolly,

he said.

" But I do not want you to say pretty things to me jui now, but to listen to me. My father is, of course, in very painful position between his love for me, and his regal for you-for he is fond of you-on the one hand, and tl absolute necessity for conciliating these people on the othe He has not said anything to me about it, except through m mother ; but. Maurice, an idea has occurred to us two, ai we have agreed that I should propose it to you. It do not commit you to anything ; it will pacify these poopl and make me happy. I want you to consent to go and s< uncle Dunstan, and talk over these differences of religu two or three times, quite amicably, and really with no id of converion on either side, but just to show that you a not too bigoted to enquire into the matter."

" And may I ask, Dolly," said Maurice, rather dril " how this extraordinary step would smoothe Mr. Broa hurst's difficulties? t should imagine that Dr. Boanerg would be by no means interested in learning that M Powell and I saw fit to sit and wrangle on religion two

three times a week, and I do not suppose he cares a stra whether 1 am bigoted or not."

" I cannot go into the question any more," said Doroth< Wearily. " If you mean that you will not do what I a

you, say so;"

" Dear Dolly, I think I may be allowed to hesitate wh you calmly ask meto make a pretence of turning Protestai in order to pacify Dr. Boanerges and his myrmidons ; i this proposal either means that or nothing. It seems to i

th at-the position would not only be wanting in scrupulous honesty, but would have the further advantage of being

supremely ridiculous."

"I know I am asking you to make a great sacrifice, but do you think that I on my side have not to make sacrifices --r-more, perhaps,. than you can imagine^-" She stopped . abruptly, and Maurice looked at her in some' perplexity.

" What sacrifices have you to make, Dorothea, that I do : not know of ? Pray let us be frank with each other."

She changed colour a little. '-Forget what 1 said,

Maurice ; I did not mean it. But will you not do what I

ask ?"

"Í will talk to Mr. Powell, if you like, till we are both exhausted, but I do not see what good it will do. And Dolly, I wish I could understand what you really mean. We seem always to talk at cross-purposes. I suppose you do not want me to go to the "Fiery Brand" office and say, "Here 1 am, Dr. Boanerges, please try and convert me."

" Very well, if you choose to take that tone, it is idle to discuss the matter any more. It seems that I believed too much in your affection for me. I am not likely to fall into the saine error again. I-I-" and Dorothea stopped with a little sob, the prelude to one of those bursts of hysterical grief with which she always ended her quarrels, and which generally drove Maurice to the verge of distraction. But either he was becoming hardened to these scenes, or his self-control was greater than usual.

" Are you sure that it was my love you over-estimated?'

he asked, very quietly, and withoutjdrawing one step nearer

to her.

" You are unjust as well as unkind," cried Dorothea, taking her hands from her face, all bathed in tears. " Do yon know that they have advised and begged me to give you up, and that I have refused-that only this morning-"

" Yes," said Maurice, drily, seeing her hesitate, " What

: happened this morning?"

" If you must know, my mother begged me for her sake and my father's to break off my engagement. They cannot bear to let me go so far away-they want me to remain amongst them. I hear nothing else on all sides. Do not look at me in that way. Of course I have refused. Do you ' think I would break my promise ?"

" Am I to understand,' then, that your promise is all that holds you ?" he asked in the same dry quiet tone.

" How unjust,: and how unreasonable you are !" cried Dorothea, passionately. " You cannot care for me or you would not speak so to me. Only yesterday Walter Grim- leigh--" but as this name escaped from her lips she sud ,, denly stopped short, flushing crimson, and would have

rènewed her reproaches against Maurice, to cover her real or assumed confusion. He interrupted her unceremo-

niously

" Let us leave my misdemeanours on one side for a moment, Dorothea. I should be glad to know what Walter Grimleigh has to do with this matter. Is he one of those

. friends who are urging you to break off your engagement

with me ?"

"How can you insult me by such suggestions? It is evident now that it is jealousy which has prompted your conduct to me lately. I do not see what good we can do by . prolonging the discussion,-and-and I am not well. ' I can

not bear any more just now. We shall be better apart, Maurice, until we are both cooler. I do not bear any malice, but you have quite upset me." She pressed her hand to her brow as she spoke, and looked at him as a pitying guardian angel might look at an erring soul, which has been his charge, and which he must now abandon to its fate. Such wounded love, such gentle dignity, such sweet forgiveness, and such sad regret, should have brought her lover to her feet in a passion of self-accusation and remorse ; but this perverse young man stood his ground, and would not even take the hand offered to him in token of pardon. For a moment he looked searchingly into her face, she tried to meet his glance, but her eyes fell before his, and she turned away her head. When she looked round again, he was gone, and Dorothea heaved a little sigh of relief as she

heard the front door close behind him.

At the end of the drive Maurice met Mrs. Grimleigh with her eldest son and daughter. They would have stopped tc speak, but he saluted them and hurried on. He was nol just then in a condition to talk to anybody, least of all tc Walter Grimleigh. He had never in his life felt at once more miserable, and more uncertain of his own feelings anc desires. For the moment he was incapable of asking him self what he wanted. He was only conscious of a vague longing to see Margaret Latimer, for might she not hel{ him in this new trouble as she had helped him before ? Anc then it suddenly occurred to him to go and see Mr. Powell not to talk theology, as Dorothea had recommended, but ti see whether it was he that had been sowing doubts anc difficulties in her mind. " Perhaps we may be able ti understand each other," said Maurice, wearily, to himself ' ' At any rate Mr. Powell cannot take refuge in tears.1 And he had really forgotten at the time that the Christma holidays had just beguu, and that the chances were ten ti one he should meet Miss Latimer as well as her uncle.

Meantime Dorothea had gone upstairs to her mother' room. " Mother, dear," she said, " I am beginning ti think you are right. It is terrible to imagine such a thinj for a moment : but Maurice is so impracticable and selfisl that I may find my best happiness after all in giving him up I have hinted as much to him to-day, and of course he i terribly upset. I cannot bear to think that I may b spoiling his life ; but it would be a greater sin to marry ; man in whom I could not feel perfect confidence.' But shall suffer terribly, too, in withdrawing my promise." Am Dorothea lifted her tearful eyes to the ceiling with an ex pression of meek heroism, beautiful to behold.

"Dear child," said her tender mother ; "but some on else would suffer if you persisted in marrying Maurice, ?" you ought to think a little of him ; he has been so guo

and patient."

"Dear mother, do not say anything about him just s present, I cannot bear it ; and it seems unwomanly. If could but feel that Maurice would get over it, I could bea my share of the pain more easily."

"You need not fear but Maurice will get over it. Me never die of these things. He will marry some loud, coare woman, with red hair and a harsh voice, who will henpec him, depend upon it; unless, indeed, he adopts you

father's suggestion, and consoles himself with Margare

Latimer.''

" Do not joke about it, mother, it is not kind. Poe Margaret ! I wish she conld marry some nice, sensible mai who would be able to support her ; and as for Maurice, I wish I could believe he will marry anyone."

And Dorothea sighed again, for she had conjured up

vision of such dainty melancholy that she could not bear : to be disturbed by vulgar suggestions of commonplr.ee mai

riage. She would marry Walter Grimleigh, of course, because ber friends wished it, and he loved her, and she would do her best to make him a good wife-that is to say, she would school herself to become such a leader of society that none would imagine she had never quite forgotten her early .disappointment. And Maurice, meanwhile, poor Mauricè ! would be expiating in a gloomy monastic cell his love and his remorse. Why Mr. Gower should be tor- mented by remorse, it might have puzzled even Miss Broadhurst to explain ; but remorse was an appropriate state of mind for a monk, and would add much to the pic- turesqueness of his appearance. Dorothea was still racking her brains .to remember what religious house was most remarkable for the severity of its rule, when she happened to glance out of the window and saw the Grimleighs, who were now approaching the house. She looked into her mother's mirror, and ascertained to her satisfaction that she had not shed tears in any unbecoming quantity, and that wet eyelashes were decidedly effective.

Two. minutes later she went downstairs to greet her friends, her eyes still' moist, her cheeks still flushed, a smile on her lips, and a bunch of roses in ber belt.

(To be continued )