Chapter 64974318

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberXIX
Chapter TitleTHE VIPER'S STING.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64974318
Full Date1881-05-14
Page Number0
Corrections0
Word Count1005
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleIllustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872)
Trove TitleThe Golden Link
article text

CHAPTER XIX.

THE VIPER'S STING.

And still Matthew Bolton's letter was unanswered ; in fact, it was forgotten.

Then when that morrow's morrow came, it brought a hard word to Phillip-a word which sent the blood back cold into the warm heart it had left just before-a word whose full meaning was concealed from all save him ; for when he had read it he knew that from that day he must begin all over again-not from where he would have had to have begun I before that, but far, far farther back, for Matthew Bolton

? had lost all confidence in him.

j It was a weary, weary task to think upou.

He would not, rather than did not, see the malicious smile with which Martha Woolston's face was lighted as she watched him reading that letter; and calmly, as if it had contained nothing out of the common, he folded and replaced

it in the envelope.

Humbly and respectfully he answered it, freely acknow- ledging his faults of the last few weeks. He could not help saying that the provocation had been great ; but, at the same time, admitted that he ought to have been able to have resisted the folly which had led him astray. He hoped that for the future all would be well, as far as he was

concerned, at any rate he would do all in his power to atone

for the nasfc.

The answer to this was short, and characteristic of the man who penned it.

"All this," said the writer, "is well enough; but to promise is not to fulfil. You have given me reason to doubt you, and you cannot, therefore, be surprised if, for some time at least, you do not find yourself treated with the same cordiality which I have hitherto been glad to

believe existed between us."

Phillip's proud heart half rebelled against this letter, and it was not without an effort that he could force himself to bend to his guardian's will.

Again he wrote to the old squatter, admitting that he had deeply erred, and begging that he might be allowed to accept a situation in some house of business-some indus- trial establishment, where he would have a chance of fight- ing his way upward by his own efforts.

The reply was a letter bidding him return at once with Edith, Walter, and Martha Woolston. To Phillip the summons appeared most unwelcome. He felt only too deeply that he was no longer the Phillip of his school days, and his sin weighed upon him as the brand of Cain. But to disobey would have been madness, even though obedience were misery; so, firm set against all the bitter words with which he expected to be greeted,-he put on his most dogged expression, and went to meet the man whom now, for the first time, he was ashamed to look in the face.

To Martha Woolston the letter seemed the very herald of triumph. To bring the accused face to face with the man j whose confidence he had abused, whose kindness he had j seemed to spurn, had long been her chief desire.

Her time was come. It must be now or never.

i The cordial greeting which Phillip met with from his j guardian completely upset him ; all seemed to have baen

forgotten. Before the first week had been spent he felt I that it might yet be a3 it had been before.

And as soon as Martha Woolston knew this too, she again I began to prepare the poison for Matthew Bolton's ears , poison mixed by a hand which knew only too well how to mingle the bitter with the sweet, the sweet with the bitter. But Phillip began to think all was getting right again, and was fast forgetting, in the pleasures of the present, all that cast even the least cloud over the memory of the past.

A week had passed away and brought very little change, even in the usual rows incident to the war which Martha Woolston still waged without the least intermission ; but these were everyday sort of things, aud on the whole Phillip began to think be was enjoying himself very well.

But the poison was beginning to work, though he knew it not. Nor did even Matthew Bolton know it. Who is there so wise that he can for long resist the subtleties of a woman's heart ? Who can tell whether she works for good or for

evil ?

Poor Phillip, he had found it very hard for him when he had, as he thought, given up all to strive to walk in the right path, and had only found that all his hopes had been beaten clown, that all his dreams had had a rough awaken- ing, and from what reason he did not, he could not know. As yet he had learned neither the depth of woman's deceit, nor the exceeding greatness of her love.

Then before another week had added its days to the first, Phillip's hopes were bordering on the lowest depths of despair on three several occasions in that one week. The fact that Matthew Bolton had no longer any confidence in him had sent the cold chill into his heart, and made the angry spirit of rebellion again all strong in his breast ; but he beat it down, for he loved the old man very much, even while despising him for his weakness he loved him for his kindness, and he knew that "he who wrongs his friend wrongs himself more," therefore he strove against his trouble, though it was very, very hard to bear.

Too noble-hearted to say one thing when he meant another, Martha Woolston continually contrived to engage him in those very conversations which he most of all desired to avoid, on those topics in which his views were directly opposed to Matthew Bolton's, and her scheme succeeded even beyond her own best expectations.

{To be continued.)