|Chapter Title||THE MILLIONAIRE.|
|Newspaper Title||Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876)|
|Trove Title||Harry Linton's Downfall: A Story of Old Sydney|
HARRY LINTON'S DOWNFALL A STORY OF OLD SYDNEY. BT R. A. ATKINS. CHAPTER II. THE MILLIONAIRE. " They don't live quiet, as they ought, and hide. Nay, Proud of exclusion from the British Isles, Some .........shame ! Very strange tales Are toid ......of New South Wales." ?? L~rT :e r fOf.r ima ti.e East.?? On the north shore of Sydney Harbour dwe!t William Hard Cash, Esq, gentleman. His residence was, comparatively speaking, palatial in the extreme. " Large was his bounty," but his "soil" was far from being sincere ; for when he subscribed to any public charity he did so with a flourish of trumpets, and took care that his name should be duly blazoned for in the largest type. His character was excellent, as times went - that is to say, he had so far succeeded ............as to be able....to take the corner of a silk hankerchief protruding from a gentlemen's pocket without being noticed and then easily appropriate it to his person. .........and he could transact business at a shopkeeper's counter, without making any demonstrations towards the till, seeing this as a difficulty to be overcome, and just as the man in "Barnaby Rudge" took pleasure in feeling his friends' necks, so Mr. Cash took especial delight in examining locks, and other inventions employed for the protection of property. When passing some unusually well guarded domicile, he would suddenly stop and draw diagrams upon the rude pavement with his rude walking-cane, and, after working out the problem, would rub his hands together with an air of intense satisfaction, and ejaculate, "It certainly is a pretty stiff crib. but I could crack it !" Mr. Cash had "left his country for his country's good," having been sent out to Sydney for breaking into a bank in London, and abstracting therefrom the immense sum of fifteen thousand pounds sterling. The thief was transported, but the money was not recovered. He arrived in Australia during the administration of Governor Hunter - some fourteen years previous to the date of our story. During the time he was a prisoner, a lady apparently wealthy, arrived in Sydney, and to her Cash was assigned as servant. This lady was his wife, and her wealth consisted of the £15,000 extracted from the bank. Soon afterwards Cash was emancipated, and succeeded, by dint of successful speculation, in possessing himself of an immense fortune. The partner of his crimes and joys, died a few years after her arrival in the colony, and so we find Mr. Cash, at the age of thirty-seven, a widower, without encumbrance, and worth - goodness knows how much money ! He was not a man of prepossessing appearance, his 'tout ensemble' being decidedly of the Bill Sykes' school, and his manner too much resembled that of a conscientious cat to be altogether agreeable. It was a beautifully mild night, in early Spring, as Mr. Cash strolled pensively down hls lawn, which sloped towards the moonlit waters of Sydney Harbour. The only sound that broke the stillness was the merry chirrup of numberless locusts, or the night-song of some waterman, growing fainter in the distance, as he lazily rowed his boat to her mooring. The silver water rose and fell, like the ringed corselet of a sleeping warrior, and across this brilliant expanse Cash gazed expectantly. Presently the sound of oars fell upon the ear, and a small skiff, rowed by a single man, shot swiftly to a landing stage close by. " Is that you, Wilkins ?" enquired Cash. "Of course it is !" responded the other, impatiently. "Who else should it be ?" Cash took no notice of this question, but
waited until the man had made fast his boat, and joined him on shore. " I'll tell you what it is, Bill," said the new arrival, addressing Cash, " I'm jo!ly well tired of this work. If I am your assigned servant, surely you could find me some p!easanter job - if only for old acquaintance sake !" " Cease your chatter, and tell me what you've seen !" exclaimed the millionaire, impatiently. "You know the 'cat,' and I suppose you have no wish for a second taste of it." " And so did you know the 'cat' in Governor King's time," said the other, fiercely. But why do I rave thus ? You are now a rich, free man, and I your assigned servant !" This was spoken quietly, almost humbly, by Wilkins, although an angry flash glistened for a moment under his shaggy brows. He was a man of about fifty - his countenance indicative of unrestrained passions and dissipation. His head resembled that of a 'cobra de cappello', and would cause a believer in phrenology to shudder. Cash heard him with a quiet smile, and simply said, "Go on !" " Wel!," commenced Wllkins, " I took up my old position under the Colonel's window unnoticed. There sat the old gentleman, the young lieutenant, and the girl." " Miss Winter," said Cash pompously. " Of course !" asented Wilkins, " Miss Winter, and very jolly and cosy they all looked sitting round the table, and didn't the young lady laugh at all the Lieutenant's jokes, and wasn't he attentive to her. i'll tell you what Bill, you've no more chance there than I have, with all our money. He's the finest young fellow in Sydney, besides them aristocrats would take good care not to marry their daughters to the likes of we, no matter how poor they may be !" This was said maliciously, and the speaker paused to watch Cash who stamped his feet impatiently, and ground his teeth with rage. " Why don't you tell me what you saw ?" he exclaimed at length, " without giving tongue to your own foolish remarks." " As to what I saw," replied the other, " its only the tale of the four nights over again. They talked of the marriage, (that is the old man and Lieutenant did ), as how its to come off in exactly two months' time, provided the young fellow hands over to the Colonel four hundred pounds cash down, wittin five weeks from today." " Ah ! " said Cash, " Tell me what they said." " Why, the young man said as how he was bound to receive his allowance out from England in less than a month, and seemed quite jolly on it. The old chap said, "Look here Harry Linton, unless you do, you shall never marry my daughter," here the young woman began blubbering, " for," says he, " I'm a poor man, and my debts of honour must be paid, I say must be !" and the old Turk hit the table with his fist ! Well, then the Lieutenant rose to go and said "good night" and you should just have seen him when the old 'un turned his back, going up to the girl so shy and -" " Never mind that !" said Cash hastily, * What came next ?" " You ask me what came next and won't Iisten to me when I tell you," growled Wilkins. I next went to Reghetti's ; and in about an hour's time, in came old Winter. He came with five pounds, and lost it all at hazard ; besides running twenty pounds in debt to Jos. Levi. If Reghetti and I hadn't been old chums working in the same gang, he'd never have admitted me into his club, for I know I don't look respectable even with these things on," and the speaker coolly divested himself of a pair of false whiskers, which he carefully folded up in a parcel with a pair of gloves. He then proceeded to the boat, and taking out a small carpet bag, he opened it ; and extracted a suit of clothes, such as would become a gentleman, proceeded to fold and dust them carefully and replace them in the bag : this done he walked leisurely towards the house. Cash waited a moment, until the other was out of hearing, and then gave vent to a satisfied chuckle." " All goes well !" said he. " Go on you old fool, run your head into the noose, Jos. Levi knows how to skin you, and when the time comes he'll hand you over to me. And as to you my young lieutenant, you can, I think, be made useful, and put out of the way, at one and the same time ! And as to you, my pretty Dora, you will become the wife of the richest man in Sydney, William Hard Cash Esquire ! " And so with a light heart, and easy conscience, the millionaire sought repose.