Chapter 64974312

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberXVIII
Chapter TitleTHE GOOD ANGEL.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64974312
Full Date1881-05-14
Page Number0
Corrections0
Word Count1402
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleIllustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872)
Trove TitleThe Golden Link
article text

CHAPTER XVIII.

THE GOOD ANGEL.

"ANOTHER terrible row," wrote Edith a few days after this to Janet Carter, "I believe Mrs. Woolston will drive Phillip to do something desperate if she goes on in this way. Poor fellow, he did his best to please her I am sure, for a long time after we first came up ; but, you know, as I told you in my last, she provoked him beyond endurance one night, and since then I have scarcely ever seen him until last evening, when there was a most awful quarrel. I am really getting so afraid I can hardly endure to live in the house with them. Something dreadful I am sure will happen soon, for Phillip never comes home at night now until ever so late ; and Mrs. Woolston says such horrible things about him, that either he or she will have to leave the house soon, I am convinced. Oh ! dear, dear, and he used to be so very, very kind, and now he scarcely ever speaks

to me."

Poor little sister ! but Janet Carter can do nothing for thee in this trouble, and Phillip will not listen to thee now ; there is nothing left but to pray, and thy single, simple prayer amongst all thia evil.

Not thine alone ; there is another prayer goeth up night after night, though from a humbler couch; but the prayer is as pure, the faith that it shall be answered as great as thine, and the love for him for whom ye both pray is even deeper in her who kneeleth in that little, dark room than in thee, thou sweet, gentle sister j but pray ye both on and

trust.

And Phillp, all this while ?

" Wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction," spake He who spake as never man spake, and Phillip had entered in at that wide gate, and was hurrying down in that broad way faster and faster every

day.

A frenzy had seemed to have seized on him, and careless of life, careless of all, he hurried on, without heeding either

what was before or what was behind him.

Night after night was spent in wild revelry. Drink, drink, drink ! was all his cry. The good spirit seemed to have utterly forsaken him, and with a wild yell of fiendish joy the evil demon had laid his hands on his throat, and was dragging him, a willing victim, fast, fast down the pathwhich

leads to eternal death.

Never once did he pause-he dare not pause in his mad career-he must be drunk, he said, the devils could not

claw him then.

His wildest companions gazed on him with awe, for he

out-devilled the most reckless of them.

There was scarcely a public-house in the city which had not heard the echo of his laugh--a midnight haunt that had not rung with his wild, maddeniug cry for drink.

The fearful effects of his revelry were beginning to tell upon him. He moved as one bowed down by long years of suffering, his eye was heavy and glazed with that horrible glare which proclaims so well the power of the drunken god, his hands shook as with a palsy, his head-the very fires of hell seemed burning there.

And yet he went madly on.

I Matthew Bolton had heard all, and he had written a , kind, scarcely even a reproachful letter; but Phillip could I not listen to reason now, and his answer had sent a thrill of

pain through the old man's heart.

But he said to himself, " This used not to be so. Is thia the Phillip Armstrong I once knew ? There is something

behind all this. I will wait and see."

He was a kind, good old man yet, but the doubts still in their infancy were growing fast in his heart, and the hand which sowed them was not slack ; and day by day the doubts grew, and so well were they watered that ere the end of that terrible time they had grown as the child which has grown into the man.

At last there came to Phillip a letter from Mr. Bolton, in which he was plainly told he must alter his course at once, or be turned adrift to follow his own inclinations.

With an oath, it was torn into fragments, and Phillip with the madness of utter recklessness, resolved to bravĀ«

things to the verv worst.

" What bave I to live for?" he said wildly; "everything round nie is the very reverse of what I would have it. There is nobody to care for nie now," he added, very, very sadly, and the poor fellow sank back in his chair, and groaned in

very agony of soul.

He hated the life he was leading, and the life he had led, in his madness preferring the present to the past. The future he dared not to look into, but there was hope behind

that dark cloud yet.

Without waiting for any breakfast, Phillip, with a throb- bing brain and aching heart, walked across the Domain in

the direction of the Botanic Gardens.

Moodily and wearily he moved along, his eyes cast down on the ground as one ashamed to look on the light of day.

Suddenly a little hand was laid on his arm, and a sweet,

sweet voice said

"Oh ! I am so glad you are come back again."

But the next words were those of fear. "How ill you

look ?"

The first sound of her voice had startled him terribly, but he recovered his composure by a strong effort, and answered very slowly, and without raising his eyes from the ground

" L have been, I am still very ill."

The knowledge of his shame had come to him at last, he v.'ared not look up into those sweet blue eyes which he

remembered before his sin now.

But the battle was half won already.

"Yes, I promised to come," he said, as he bade her fare- well, and the good angel stooped down and gently kissed her forehead as they parted, for he had need of her again

! So her work was begun. Can she bend this stubborn heart to the right ? We will follow her and see.

Once more Phillip found himself in the coffee room at the Golden Fleece, sitting thinking as he sat moodily near the fire-place, until at length, wearied out, he feel asleep.

For a long while he slept, and his sleep seemed to be of

peace.

Suddenly with a start he awoke.

Julia was standing beside him, and before he had re coveied from his surprise sufficiently to remember where he was, her kind voice fell like music on his ears.

" I am afraid you are very ill to-night."

He did not speak, but taking her hand, pressed it against

his brow.

She started back as she felt the burning heat there.

"You really must be ill," she said; "you are killing

yourself."

Strangely and darkly the answer came from the troubled

soul within.

" It will make very little matter to anyone if I do ; there is nobody to care for me now."

But, even as he said this, a warm bright tear fell upon his hand, and the cold, sorrow-stricken heart was melted ; and with a passionate burst of weeping, he started from his chair, and threw his arms round her, and kissed her again and again.

The strong pure kisses of a first youthful love, and she did not shrink away from them ; it was good she did not they were the seeds of a better life.

Surely her dream may now be true !

And then, while he lay weeping on her breast, he told her all-all bis suffering, all his sin-he hid nothing from her.

He only prayed her to forgive him, that he might begin

anew.

And she, what could she say ? Her heart was too full to speak. At last he looked up, and kissed the tears away that were fast flowing down her cheeks, and said he should like very much to see her home that night, and so those two went forth into the cool evening air ; but their hearts were

at peace.