|Chapter Title||THE TWENTY-FOURTH OF NOVEMBER.|
|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. By R. A. ATKINS. CHAPTER VIII. THE TWENTY-FOURTH OF NOVEMBER. " Bear and forbear, whatsoe'r be your station; Some there must be both to give and receive. What would avail all the wealth of the nation, Were it not meant to assist and relieve ?" Carpenter. " The dew of the morning Sunk chill on my brow; It felt like the warning Of what I feel now. Byron. Directly Colonel Winter had despatched to Dora that ambiguous letter in which he expressed his doubts as to Harry's ability to pay the four hundred pounds, he regretted the step he had taken. He knew that Dora loved the young man devotedly, and felt ashamed at having written that which would cause her uneasiness and pain. The more he thought of the business, the more serious to his mind, it became, and after considering it for some days, he at length came to the conclusion that the best thing he could do would be to pay a visit to his old friends at Parramatta. He was also in hourly expectation of receiving a visit from Mr. Cash ; and it was desirable to avoid this. So he started for Parramatta early on the morning of the 23rd, after vainly trying to persuade himselt that he had done well in writing Dora the letter. It is true he did not feel sure about the money, and walked up and down his room growling about it, loud enough for his old housekeeper to hear him ; still he could not, on this account, justify the means which he had taken to prepare Dora for what he feared. He intended starting on his return at sunrise
next morning, and was in no pleasant mood as he rode towards the house of Mrs Grey. He was well acquainted with Mr. Camp, that lady's brother, who was a barrister, and who possessed, in addition to the highest professional attainments, strong common sense, a kind heart, and great firmness of character. The first sound that greeted Sir John when he entered the house, was the musical laughter of Dora, who was evidently in high spirits. How was this ? Surely, if she had read the letter, laughter would not be the means whereby she would give vent to her feelings. When he entered the room, he saw Mr. Grey, Dora, and Mr. Camp, chatting away pleasantly together, and looking as happy and contented as if there were no such misfortunes in the world as dishonourable defalcations in payment of just debts, ruin, and broken hearts. They all rose in surprise to greet him. " Why Winte r!" exclaimed Mr. Camp, " What brings you here ? I am greatly surprised, although heartily glad to see you." The Colonel greeted his friends with a certain air of embarrassment, as he inquired of Dora, " Did you receive a note from me ?" " Yes, Papa" said Dora, calmly. " Yes !" repeated Mr. Camp, "And we have just been stting in solemn council relative to it. We have decided that no notice is to be taken of the doubts you express ; and further that even if this four hundred pounds is not paid you by Linton on or before the twenty-fourth of the month it is a matter of deuced little consequence !" Colonel Winter gazed from one to the other in speechless astonishment. At length he waxed exceeding wrath. " Of little consequence ? deuced little consequence !" he exclaimed in a perfect passion. " What is the meaning of this, sir ? Do you take this opportunity of insulting me in your own house ? I'll tell you what, Mr. Camp," he continued, with difficlty controlling himself, " it's of so much consequence that if the money is not paid no power on earth would persuade me to consent to Dora's marriage with Linton - not even if he paid me five times the amount at one second after twelve o'clock tomorrow night." Mrs. Grey looked calmly at the fiery old man over her spectacles, and the younger lady sat pale and trembling by her side. " Brother, we had better leave you gentlemen alone to talk the matter over, but remember lunch will be served very soon," and as she thus spoke the old lady led Dora from the room. " Now, my dear Winter," said Mr. Camp, as the door closed on the ladies, " I'll tell you briefly what conclusion we have arrived at, for you know, John, that you possess no older or truer friends than my sister and myself, and therefore I expect you to listen calmly to what I have to say." Colonel Winter had by this time cooled down again, and seeing this Mr. Camp resumed : - " One thing is certain - Dora devotedly loves young Linton - therefore to prevent the marriage at the eleventh hour would be cruel in the extreme. You seem to think that Harry will break his word : well, supposing he does - will that justify you in breaking your daughter's heart ?" The Colonel was about to give way to a second fit of passion, but the other was too quick for him. " I know what you are going to say very well - that the money must be paid - that your honour is in danger - and, that if Harry fails you, he will henceforth be your greatest enemy. Now, Colonel, if Harry cannot lend you the money to morrow I can, and will !" " Sir," said Colonel Winter, " I thank you for your kind offer, but remember, that if you lend me the money it will in no way alter the determination I have come to in respect to Harry, supposing he fails to keep his promise." I think that I have before said that the Colonel was an obstinate man, and certainly if Mr. Camp had held any doubt on the subject this last speech would at once have dispelled them. He was at first at a loss to reply. Knowing, as he did, the real affection which, under all this show of sternness, the old officer felt for Harry, he had fancied that any chance of escaping the unpleasant alternative of breaking off the match would have been eagerly seized. " Then I'll tell you what, Winter," he replied, in a tone of vexation, " in that case I'll lend the money to Harry, if he requires it. For all I am not personally acquainted with him, his father and I know each other well. So you see," he added, in a lighter tone, " there is no possibility of the match being broke off. To-morrow the money must be paid, so we'll ride over to Sydney together." During the delivery of this speech the cloud had gradually cleared from the Colonel's brow, and at its conclusion he shook Mr. Camp warmly by the hand. " Thank you, my old friend," he said, smiling. " You have at length found the way to overcome all difficulties. If it had only been a month later, my own money would have come out from England." At this moment the two gentlemen were summoned to lunch, and, as they entered the room, the ladies at once perceived that everything thing had been satisfactorily settled. That day was the happiest that Dora or her father had spent for some time, and their joyfulness spread itself over the whole party. They spoke of plans for the future - Mrs. Grey and her brother intended shortly returning to England - and before evening, Colonel Winter had made up his mind to join them, provided Harry and Dora were also inclined to return to the old country. And so the evening wore away, and, sorrow was forgotten. Little did they know what the morrow would bring forth !