|Chapter Title||THE CURTAIN FALLS.|
|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 In A. A ATKINS. (WVriten expressly for the Portlindl Guardian.) ADDI'IONAL'- CHAPTER. THE CURTAIN PAL.LS. That this song of the kettle's was a song of in vitation anud we!come to somebody out of doors: to;somebody at that moment coming on. to the snugold home and the crisp fire : there .is no doubt whatever. * e . It's a dark night, sang the kettle, and the rotten leaves are lying by the way; and, above, all is mast and' darkness, and below;' all is'mire and clay ;: and there's only one relief in all the sad and murky air ; and I don't know that it is one, for it's nothing -but a glare; of deep and angry crimson, where the sun and wind together; set a brand upon the conds for being guilty of such weather; and the widest open coustryis a long dull streak of Ilack ; and there's boar-frost on the finger post, and thaw upon the track; and the ice it isn't water, and the water isn't free; and you couldn't say that any thing is what it ought to be ; but he's coming, coming, coming l- Charles Dickens. Twelve m'onths have ilapsid since the occurrenco of events recorded in the last chapter.., It is an English Christmnas Eve; and Linton Hall is full of bustle and activity, mnaking-preparation-to welcome home the Squire, and those whom he has gone up to London: to meet. The.;old housekeeper is. on the alert, scolding and encouraging the servanits, all of whom go about their work 'in earneit, and seem to vie with each other in getting :everything in 7drder before the master's.return. The squire is expected home.to-night, and Harry Linton and Mrs.. Harry quondam, Dora'Winter, who have only'landed at Lon don a few days ago, after, a prosfperous voyage a'of 'six months* and' a' half, from Sydney;- accompanied by: Colonel. Winter, Mr. Corip, Miss Grey, Wilkins. and Hedge, together-- with -Colonel- de-.Yere, .Captain Lamtiirt aid other officers of the 73rd regi ment, which hlad been ordered oft Colonial eor ice andhad,reached r Pngland.' some two months previously, are all coming' to stay on a visit at the hall: Old, Peggy also is with them, very old and very shakyhby this time. The countytyentry, the tenants, the farm laborers, the women end children from the ._vilage, are all determined todo their best to, show the pleasure they feel at the happy re turn of Harry to thehome "of his ancestors. :Ldrge bonfires are laid ready for lighting in opiomicient poinis around the hall. r The house ,is. thrown,,open, and some fine old ale broached in the park, ale such as can never ,'be-tasted out.of Shropshire ; a beverage that of old hmademen brave, kind, and true; and warmored their hbearts, without firing their brains.,- The weath'er. is unpleasant, as a thaw has setin ; and we hear the drip, drip, of the icicles as they slowly melt from the hoise.roof. If any one wants to know more about the weather, I can only refer him, to -that beautifJl-bit of descriptive writing prey ::fixed to this chapter, the kettle describes a night prtcisely similar to the one on which Squire Linton. and his guests are" on their way to the Hall. BlDt what matt m rs the weather, when 'ires aire bright'and hearts warm I At length the sond of wheelslh'beard in the distance, it grown every i?oment more ,idstinct,,and theni the report of a small hovwitaer, informs those who are waiting in and near the big house, that the Squire has passed the park gates. Now then I is all ready. .hsher:e they are, look out l lip, hip I and, amidst hearty cheers, up dash the heavy old fashioned travelling chariots, drawn each one by its four horses, withl postillions. Then there is sucl Ihandshaking, embracing, 'liughing, crying. and general commotion that the narrator becomes confuoed, and only recovers himself to see Squire Linton, Harry, and Dora standing at the hall entrance, and to hear the old man say to the largo coni course standing in front of the house : "My dear friends, thank you all. Every thing has righted itself in God's good time, and to Hfim *' "'"- " praiso. I bid you
all a hearty.welcome to Linton Hiall " ' And then more cheering, and another dive into the house to ask when supper will to ready, and to eat a "snack " meanwhib. Hedge and Wilkins are seized upon and straightway carried into the setvants hail, and there dosed with ale, and wine, ano I know riot what else, so that when they cra ready to tell their experiences of "furrin parts,". especially Mr. ;'Harry'e 'reletse, their utterance is, thick, and .their elocu tion anything 'blit perfect. Old- PCgVg is stated in state in the house-keeper's-roam, telling.of Mr. Hairy's wedding, and. al l,the finery that Miss Dora wore onsthe occasion, and how Governor MacqPliarie was present aid kissed the bride, and othbe'r inides;irIs all of which appear to affqr'd t?ie ladies infinite satisfaction.. . - -,. 'And.then a ibugle sounds, .tiid. there is's.a general movement to the greathall where the bill is to take place. .The band of the North Shropshire Yeomanry; and, the-village Peg ganinini,' occuis a prominoet p?sition at thbo top of the noble old room ; and, from the walls, grim portraits of - old -Lintons, who have long since 'crumbled to dust in teo family vault in the village church, 'or fallen isto'soldiers' graves in far off' lands, look down on the scene-ot joy, and revelry en acted below them. .-Statesmen. Lintons.with huge ruffs and coolars, clerical Lintons with orthodox robes and bands, -military Lintons in armour and bearing oil kinds of warlike weapons l"no rascally Roundheads," as the Squire boastfully says, "amongst themo I!') civilian Lintons wlhose taces tell of 'good humour, and amiability; and lady Lintons dressed in all fashioiis, and of all shades of personal beauty,' though' none t'thorn can. compare to the fair-girl whom 1Harry claims as his bride. Thermuie strikes ip ithe Tiumnph, rnd off they go I: Lord Hill. the " IeIro of Al maraz," leading'the dance ivith 'Dra Linton. There they are, down the centre.: -What a long lane, and what pretty; smihong faces on the left, and happy faces on their right, as they go down, and on the' reverse` sides as they come up again Look with what spirit they " foot it,"-why it's worth fiifty of otir modern, insipid, vapid. quadrille parties. Blow. away, Trumpeter I Scrape pway, Fidd ler I Skip away, merry. dancers I : - " No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet To chaso'the glowing hours with flyting fleet t" And as"I yet watch them, the dark curtain of Time falls over the. scene, : and hides it trom my view. --Reader, my story is-finished-the play is played out. IHowever, ill these matter of tact days, .I feel it incumbent on mne briefly to state what is known of the ultimate fate of some of the characters. As regards Harry Linton, and all those who accompanied him to the home of his forefathers,, suffice it to say that they lived long and happily-some at them are living yet. Wilkins for years kept the lodge at Linton Hall, and died, an old man, esteemed by all. , Mr. Cash never took his trial on the grave charges that had been brought against him. le was arraigned before the bench of magis trates at Sydney, and committed to take his trial at the Central Criminal Court. iHe-was found by the turnkey dead in his cell the morning before the court opened; and the gaol surgeon attributed his death to. disease of the heart. The " hell-keeper," Righetti, ' and his confrere, Jos. Levi,. were sentenced to long terms of penal servitude. for fleecing a pi geon," Who, to'their disgust turned out to be anything but as gentle as a dove. Major-General Macquarie, after a labori ous administration of 'nearly twelvet years, was succeeded, as-Governor of New South Wales,:, bhj Major-General 'Sir Thomas Brisbane, K.O.B.- He immediately returned to his native land, and very soon after died, in the.year 1824, much and justly regretted in the:colony which he had-so long and ably governed. Yet-n few words -before I close.- -I must agtin requeetthe reader not to judge of the characters in my'story by the same laws that they would use towards persons livine and acting in the present day. It must be re membered that-they-lived -in a city where Vice- stalked:openly at noontide, and- where Virtue hid'her head in shame. RIe live in anage when Virtue walks forth at noontide, and-Vice is shut up in a darkroom, and not allowed to be seen. And ought we not to be thankful, Sir or Madam, that we live in such good, moral days, when we all respect ap pearances, and commit ourselves only in se cret? .How.much better we are than those wicked, shameless creatures of old I Suppos ing that' porter-imbibing Queen Elizabeth could revisit the earth, and have Slalt an hour's chat with a fine lady of the present day, would the latter think her Majesty's language parliamentary? I fear not-and yet Elizabeth was thought to " talk well " in her day. So let it be with the characters in this story.' If there is anything that ap pearsecalculated to shock our sense of pro priety,.let us attribute it to the shocking times in which they lived. Novelists, gene rally; go as near the truth as possibloi but if th only told " the truth, the whole truth, an nothing bt- the truth," what would their readers-think of them? I? n conclusion, Icannot'do better thuan 'use the words of an eminent living author, who says:--'An author will not be wvitout cx cuse for a criticismupon the scope antd inten tion of his own work-for it is not only the privilege ot an artist, but it is sometimes his duty to the principles of art, to place the spectator in that point of view wherein the light best falls upon the canvass. 'LI)o not place yourselt there,' says the painter. ' To ]udge of my composition you mu. stand where I place you.