Chapter 64974369

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Chapter NumberXXIII
Chapter TitleA GOOD ANGEL.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64974369
Full Date1881-06-11
Page Number0
Corrections0
Word Count1769
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleIllustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872)
Trove TitleThe Golden Link
article text

CHAPTER XXIII.

A GOOD ANGEL.

Phillip agaiu found himself in Sydney.

There were none to control his outgoing or his ingoing. He was free to wander where he pleased ; for it was felt that the day was rapidly approaching when he would cease to be a member of the household of which Mr. Bolton was the venerable head.

Why he returned to the busy city he hardly knew or cared. He felt like one in a dream, one whose movements

were not under his own control.

Just as he was about to turn down Hunter Street a hand was suddenly laid on his shoulder, and the merry voice of

cousin James exclaimed

" Run you to earth at last, old boy ! I saw you at the station and then lost you in the crowd."

Phillip looked at him for a moment or so half stupidly. " What the devil has brought you here?

" I've come up to pull in a race that's one thing," was the reply ; " but Janet and Sam are up in town for a few days

and so-"

An angrily muttered oath interrupted him.

He looked up in astonishment, and when he saw the cloud on Phillip's brow a terrible thought for a moment passed

across him.

"Did he love Janet yet ?"

But he cast it from him at once ; for he had learned that he might trust as firmly in Phillip's honour as in Janet's faith, yet his voice was very sad when he spoke again.

" Phillip, old boy, what does all this mean ?"

" Forgive me, James," the answer came almost in the old tone, " forgive me, they are driving me almost mad at home; I can't endure it much longer, I'll swear I can't."

" Oh, never mind it, old fellow," his companion said as cheerfully as he could," at any rate not to-night. I want you; to come over to Lane Cove with me and give Janet a . pull on the river. I have been searching for you these two

hours."

'* No, not to-night," Phillip answered hastily, " I'm afraid I cannot come to-night ; I have another engagement, per- haps I may to-morrow.

But the to-morrow almost died on his tongue.

" If you are going straight on I must say good-bye, as I want to go down to call on a fellow close by before I go home ; so, if all goes well, I'll look you up to-morrow, eh ! Good-bye," and they parted.

" To-morrow," muttered Phillip to himself as he passed up Pitt Street and through Market Street ; " where shall 1

be to-morrow at this time?"

He wandered into the George Street markets, staring at the fruit and flowers as long as he could, until he reached the farther end of the market and passed into the busy thoroughfare.

" H alf-past five" he said, glancing up at the Town Hall dock; I shall go down now I think, but first I must buy something for her."

Returning to the market he invested in a basket of peaches, aud then set olf in the direction of the old place, and, as he thought, for the last time.

And the thought of this came upon him sadly, but he tried to cast it away,-besides, he was almost too excited to

be sad.

He gave Julia the fruit he had brought for her, but, scarcely trusting himself to speak beyond asking her if she would go out for a walk with him that evening, passed on into the coffee-room at once, leaving her very sad ; for she had not failed to notice, both from his manner and his looks, that something very unusual had occurred.

While he was sitting there alone the thought came to

him that there was one beside Edith and Walter whom he was sorry to leave.

Was he in love with Julia ?

The answer came to him sooner than he expected.

Obtaining permission from Mr. Nolan, Julia rushed up to her room, and in a few minutes was ready for the evening stroll with Phillip.

They walked quietly and silently on until they reached the gates leading into the Domain, then Phillip seemed to have awakened from his reverie, and became quite cheerful all on a sudden, which took her as much by surprise as his sadness had before, but she said to herself,

"If it is anything I ought to know he will tell me when

the time comes." .

She was right ; as they rested on one of the seats in the Botanic Gardens, and gazed dreamily over the waters of the harbour in the direction of the Heads, the storm broke.

" Julia, I am going to sea !"

She glanced quickly up into his face as he said this, but his head was turned half away, and she could only read a steady resolution written on all his features, and her fear grew very strong upon her, and she hung down her head and said, very sadly,

"Do you mean soon?"

" To-morrow," the answer came to her terribly. " I have had another row with that-woman, and I have made up my mind to go at once, I cannot endure it any longer ; but I could not go without thanking you for all the kindness you have shown to me since we have known one another. I have very few to be kind to me, you know," he went on, speaking very quickly, "so few that I cannot afford to lose a single friend. You won't quite forget me when I am gone, will you ?"

It was a dark dreary night, and there was scarcely another creature in the vicinity beside themselves.

He waited a few seconds for her answer ; but, oh ! how differently it came from what he had dreamed. He had, perhaps, expected some outbreak of feeling, but he was not prepared for this-a deep, grief-born sob.

" Julia, child !"

But it was of no use now, the flood-gates of her heart were opened-her grief must have way.

Weeping and sobbing as if her heart would break she buried her face in her hands. The truth had come upon him and he was compelled to feel its power ; he put his arm around her, and the cloud passed away from his brow as, gently kissing her cheek, he whispered to her strong words-the happiest words she had ever heard in her life.

"My Julia, I love you very, very much ; it shall be even as you wish.".

Julia was no English dame, nursed in the lap of stiff eti- quette and schooled to consider carefully beforehand how her every act would be construed by those around her. She was but a colonial born woman, and she did that which her woman's heart prompted her to do ; she threw her arm round her lover's neck and kissed him, and her head fell

gently on his shoulder, and she wept there the brightest, the happiest tears that have ever been shed.

But there was very much to be done yet.

"Julia, some time or other you must know the truth, and to me it seems better now than after. I have never spoken to any woman as I have to you. I have never known what j it was to be loved with such love as you have given me. Tell me truly," and he took her hand in his, and his voice trembled as he asked-"tell me truly, can you love me well enough to be my wife ?"

And when she heard that word she raised her head from his shoulder and laid her other hand on that which held hers, and spake out fearlessly and strongly

" I know only too well," she said, " how different is my station to yours ; I owe you my life, but, apart from that, the kindness you have ever shown 'me has made it impos- sible for me not to love you. I have loved you long, but I dared not let you know it-I fear it is wrong of me, but I cannot, indeed, I cannot help it-but-I dare not ask you to-you must not sacrifice what I am sure you will have to, for my sake-if without that-but no, I feel it cannot be oh ! I would do everything-bear everything for you-love you as never husband was loved-but it cannot, it cannot

be."

And the tears came down again very, very fast, but he drew her closer to him and spoke to her these earnest

words

' ' I have tried to think, dear, of all this, and I want you to listen to what I am going to say. I eannot, will not live in that house any longer-I would almost sooner die. I have some little, at any rate sufficient to keep myself, of my own. I shall still carry out my intention of going away to-morrow, and, by making them believe I have gone to sea, he all the better able to hide myself on land ; then, you see, by getting some other work, I don't care what-for I'm ready to work at anything-I hope soon to make enough to keep us two."

"I cannot tell you what I think," she said as soon as he had finished, " I fear it is very wrong of me-1 only hope it will be all right in the end."

"Wrong of you? All right in the end?" he answered somewhat in astonishment, " why, of course it will, if we only stick to one another."

And then the two lovers rose and passed out into the busy world, one save in name.

And even amid the roar of the city bright thoughts came and went and came in those two hearts, and glad words were spoken of faith stronger than life, and of what the years should bring to them who held love all in all.

"They will rail at you, darling," he said, "if ever they hear your name ; and yet I know not why they should-the earth is made for all, and the same God watches over us all."

Afterwards, when the night stole on him, these words murmured round him till he slept

" Their railing is nothing to me ; it is enough that to you I seem worthy to love and to beloved."

And his sleep and hers that night was very sweet.