|Chapter Title||"MY WIFE, HOW BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE!"|
|Newspaper Title||Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872)|
|Trove Title||The Golden Link|
" MY WIFE, HOW BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE !"
It was the twenty-eighth of July, a disagreeable, wet, chilly day, but Phillip did not much mind this ; it was one of his red-letter days, for it was just a year ago that very day since his lips had first softly touched those of the
woman for whom he had borne so much.
" Shall it ever be," he wondered to himself when he awoke from his sleep that morning, ' ' that the memory of
that kiss shall pass away ?"
And something within him whispered " Never !"
And he believed it.
He was, however, in anything but a good humour when he sat down to breakfast that morning.
The two previous days he had been confined to the house, and the evening before the doctor had told him that it would be nothing short of madness in him to attempt to go out on the morrow, so he should not see her that day, that day which he loved almost above all other days in the
" Well, I suppose there is no help for it, he growled to himself as he rung the bell to have the breakfast things
" Curse those doctors ; though if I had not been fool enough to have had that fellow called in I might have been
out yesterday. "
But it did no good, all his complaining.
"Poor, dear gentleman," said Mrs. Smith, his landlady, to the next door, " I never seed him so cantankerous afore. But them sore throats is severe trials, which, if anybody ought, there's no one should know better than myself ; and though it isn't for folks like me to say that I believe the poor gentleman must have quarrelled with 'is sweet'art, though 'ow I should know that 'e 'ad is quite a conundrum ; but this I do know, that he's a raging and a chafing in that front room like a Bengal tiger in a gin, and there's no one but myself dare go within a yard of 'im."
" Bless my life," said the next door ; " well, I never."
"One o'clock-will it never rain? If it would only rain there would be some chance of the fog clearing away, and
then one might see the opposite houses, which would be some
Poor Phillip, but your patience must wait a long time
yet for its reward.
"Dinner-thank goodness that is something to do."
But it was over iu almost no time. " Oh dear, dear !"
At last, taking down Longfellow from his bookshelf, he threw himself on to the sofa and began to read.
The book opened at a well worn place-the first page of " Evangeline." This poem had always had great charms to him. He had read it many, many times through, and scarcely
ever without being moved to tears. For some time he read '
I quietly on, and then one might have seen a tear drop gather i ing in his eye and steal slowly down his cheek, and theo
another, and he read half audibly -
" Sat by some nameless grave, and thought that perhaps in its bosom
He was already at rest, and she longed to slumber beside him."
He laid the book down on the table and buried his face in the cushion of the sofa and cried like a child.
And when it was over he took the book up again, but he did not attempt to finish the poem-he only read passages
here and there.
Four o'clock struck, but he still read on.
And for a good half hour longer there was not a sound to be heard in the room but the sharp turning of the leaves and
the flicker of the flame.
After a while other thoughts came upon him of some far, far away, and he wondered how all was going on there whether Matthew Bolton was still as fond of Walter as ever, and how Edith liked the life at " Old Bolton's."
Poor Edith ; it almost made him cry again when he thought of her.
Had he repented at all of that which he had done yet ? It was getting hard to bear, that fighting up the hill. Phillip, it is not boo late yet ; think in time.
. And for long through that weary evening he thought of the past, of the present, as far as he could of the future, and after a long, long silence he said, in a low quiet voice,
" What I have done, I have done."
Then, ringing the bell, he asked for a cup of coffee. He drank it, rang, and it was taken away.
Then he drew the curtains across the windows, and blew out the candles, and having wrapped up his feet in his cloak, laid himself down on the sofa, and, for the first time that week, enjoyed an undisturbed sleep.
Eight o'clock came, and found him still sleeping.
1 Then there came a knock at the street door, and a voice
asked if Mr. Armstrong lived there.
And the girl said, " Yes ; what did you want with him ?" And the voice answered, "I want to speak to him for a
"He's not been well," was the reply, "for the last few days, and I don't think he would like to be disturbed, as he is very likely asleep."
But the voice said again, "I think he will excuse my going in."
" Well, if you want to go in I suppose you must. That's his door," and the girl went downstairs, and told Mrs. Smith that it was someone as wanted to see Mr. Armstrong important ; and Mrs. Smith began wishing it was supper time that she might have the chance of hearing something
In the meantime the door of Phillip's room had been gently opened and shut again so gently that the noise had not even awaked him, and Julia was standing, gazing ear- nestly, very earnestly, on the rest of him whom she loved
better than her life.
She looked very beautiful that night ; but there was a strange, a very strange expression came over her face, as the sleeper, murmuring some words which she could not quite hear, opened his eyes and sprang to his feet, on find- ing that he was not alone in the room.
"Julia !" he exclaimed ; "you here, and at this time of night too ?"
She raised her large blue eyes to his, and, with a voice faltering at every word, she said very slowly,
"I have been accused of being a thief; they have dis- charged me without a character, and my uncle has turned
me from his door."
She had spoken these words without once turning her eyes away, and when they were ended she still looked firmly into the face of him to whom she had come as her last hope.
For a few moments he did not speak, every second seemed an age to her.
At last he laid a hand on each of her shoulders, and look- ing more earnestly than ever into her face, he said
" My wife, how beautiful you are !"
And with that he put his arm round her, and drew her to
him and kissed her.
And in that kiss the bud brake into the perfect flower.