Chapter 64974444

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Chapter NumberXXVI
Chapter TitleNOT QUITE ALONE.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64974444
Full Date1881-07-09
Page Number0
Corrections0
Word Count1717
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleIllustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872)
Trove TitleThe Golden Link
article text

CHAPTER XXVI.

NOT QUITE ALONE.

Poor Phillip ! things had seemed to go hard with him since he had left Mr. Bolton's residence, but he laboured on, quietly and without murmuring, comforting himself with the thought that when things had come to the worst they would begin to mend.

And so each evening found him sitting in his own little room, which overlooked Woolloomooloo Bay, gazing rather vacantly across the harbour, and thinking of all the past.

Occasionally a tear would come into his eye, and steal slowly down his cheek, and then another, and another, and soon he would bury his face in his hands, and be weeping very, very bitterly.

Was he repenting already of what he had done. No those were no tears of repentance ; he was not weeping

because he was sitting there alone with no one to comfort

him.

But his mind had wandered a long long way back into the past, and, in his fancy, he was again standing before the grim, stern squatter, and again he could hear the soft sweet voice, the thought of which had cost him so many tears since, saying to Matthew Bolton,

" What think you of my boy ?"

It was the memory of this which made him weep.

"I can't stand this any longer," he exclaimed, one night, suddenly starting to his feet; "I shall go mad if I mope much longer, but I could not take her away, I could not ask her to leave them all, though I believe she would have done it for me. Well ! well !" and he leaned his head against the mantel-piece and said, gently,

" I will not think on what is ill,

My hopes aie strong against my fears ;

I will look on into the years, I

And bend my trouble to my will." j

Then for a long time there was silence.

At length he turned away from the window and left the room, but re-entered it again, almost immediately, wrapped up in his cloak, then taking his hat, and having rung the bell and ordered his supper at ten, he opened the street

door and went out.

It was a cold, wet evening, but he drew his cloak tightly

round him and bade defiance to the weather.

He passed by her home and looked up, and saw the lights in her rooms, and heard voices within. He even fancied he could hear her laugh amongst them.

And he shuddered and passed on.

"At any rate she is happy," he thought to himself,

(' that's one comfort."

But she loves you more than you believe, Phillip.

As hard as he could walk he went off in the direction of the railway station with a somewhat troubled heart.

Near the top of Brickfield Hill his attention was called to a crowd collected round an unfortunate 'bus horse which had fallen. The passengers, after waiting some time, had all got out, and refused to pay the fare.

No one attempted to help the driver to get the poor animal

up.

He was a young man, and looked very ill and weary.

The crowd soon melted away, save a few larrikins, and the poor fellow seemed almost in despair.

" Here, man, let me give you a hand," said Phillip, taking

pity on him.

The man looked up at him as he spoke.

"Thankee, sir, if you would just 'old 'is 'ed down for a minnit or so I could lay the cloth for 'is feet ; its o' no use trying to get 'im up on the bare ground."

Phillip did as requested, and, in a couple of minutes more, the horse was harnessed again.

As he turned to go away the man seized him by the hand, and looking him in the face said earnestly

" God bless you, sir, for your kindness."

And Phillip, already not sorry that he bad come out that night, went on his way with a somewhat lighter heart.

But his way was not the same that he had commenced. He had retraced his steps, and was passing the Town Hall. As he did so he instinctively looked up at the clock.

" Five-and-twenty minutes to nine."

He smiled and murmured to himself, "the old time," and then turned his steps in the direction of the Domain,

towards the old familiar seat.

When close to it he started with astonishment at finding the seat already occupied.

There was no help for it, so, with a more peevish ejacula- tion than had crossed his lips for some weeks, he turned aside. It was their favourite seat, and this was why he had come and why he growled.

"Mr. Armstrong," and a little hand was laid on his

shoulder.

" Julia !" he exclaimed, more astonished than ever, " what on earth has brought you here ?"

As he led her back to the seat this answer came to him, and made him glad

" I scarcely know, but something or other told me you would be coming here to-night ; so I slipped away from them, for I could not bear to think that you Bhould spend a homeless evening, and all for my sake."

I " How very, very kind," he murmured; "but I am so sorry

you have come away from home, from all its pleasures and

comforts."

Then these words stole out almost in a whisper " Where you are is home to me." - And after that there was a long silence.

Then he drew her more closely to him and spoke to her great words, " the words which make a man feel strong in

speaking truth."

But first he made her promise that, never from that night would she call him-never even think of him-as " Mr. Armstrong" any more, but as " Phillip," and she smiled and promised to try her best.

Then he told her how this love which she had given him had wrought a great change in him, changed him from what he had been to what he was ; how a few months, ago when, outwardly, everything had seemed well with him, when he had wealth, all that is deemed of worth to make a man happy, in his grasp, he had borne about within him a grief which had weighed him to the earth-a want of something which he could scarcely define to himself, of some one in whom he could fearlessly, unreservedly trust. True, he had a sister, a brother, both of whom he loved as his life ; but they were young, and their thoughts were scarcely their own,-and, besides, it had been a sin in him to have taught them that which he believed, lest their lives should have become as some believed hi3 to be-wilful, disobedient, foolish. He knew men called him "fool" for having cast away all hopes of that wealth which no one doubted would have been his had he held on that course they would have shaped for him, but which he hated with an unconquerable hate ; yet had he not found in her a more than recompense? a wealth more than all Australian mines could yield ? a friendship which should outlive the very name of friend ? a love which could never die ? What if they railed at him for that which he had done ? Should their railiug blight this bud that it should never grow into the perfect flower ? He trusted this could not be. For him, he held it as a truth that a man should leave all to possess the heart of one who

would bind her life to his.

And then she answered him, that she had thought much of this that he had done, and she trusted it might be well, that something in her heart was telling her that if there should be any change it would not be in him, but in her ; yet she would speak that her love was very strong, even beyond her life ; she had dreamed that night of one who bound a bridal wreath about her brow, and the morning had found a smile upon her lip, and she trusted it might

not be that his words should seem to mock her dream.

Then he drew her to him more closely, and whispered to her words which cannot be written, which must be heard to be felt ; a^nd he forgot all about the home he had left, and if afterwards a thought of it stole in upon his joy, he answered it with such an one as this,- " That he, whom

they pitied, had known more happiness than they who pitied

him."

But one cloud of sorrow came upon him, as they walked homewards, for he remembered that the morrow must be a dark day to him-a day on which her smile should not even for, a moment lighten his path, and she knew what it was that made him look so sad, and walk such a long time in silence by her side, and she spoke, hoping to comfort him, that she trusted she had somewhat lightened his burden by this love she had shewn, and that the memory of the brightness of the night would tend to dispel the gloom of

the morning.

And he smiled a sad sweet smile, and said he trusted it

might be.

So her love brought peace to two true hearts.

And they passed homewards through the rain which had again begun to fall, and she stayed a moment on the step before she went in to join the home circle, and to refuse to tell them what had become of her all the live- long night, she laid a hand on his shoulder and said,

" God bless you, dearest !"

Then one long parting kiss, and she was gone, and he was left alone with the wind and the storm. But he heeded them not, for his heart was clothed in a strong peace, and when he sought his rest that night it was with a more thankful heart than did many of those who do not know that the merriest hearts are not always the happiest.