|Chapter Title||FOUND AT LAST.|
|Newspaper Title||Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872)|
|Trove Title||The Golden Link|
CHAPTER XXX i V.
FOUND AT LAST.
Stronger and stronger than ever, and yet everything
seemed to fail.
And thus it was that, instead of having realized that bright hope of his boyhood, that, before he died, he should hear the voices of his children ringing through the home which had been his father's, Phillip was still toiling on, working for his daily bread.
Yet he did not murmur at his lot ; for, during those three long months when he had been stretched on the bed of sick- ness, almost of death, he had learned that tobe true-which he bad so long silently believed-he had found that for which he had so often wished-he had proved it to the uttermost, and it had not been found wanting, in that gentle, loving wife, who had watched over him so tenderly during his hours of peril, he had seen all that is most lovely on earth - he had found, as man had never found before, the fulness of the beauty and strength of woman's devo-
And this was the harvest which he reaped of that seed planted amid so many trials-a harvest to which the wealth of the Indies is but as dross, whose price is far above
But he was well again now, and the old, wearied look, which had left him for awhile, was beginning to find its place again on his brow, and she prayed him, if not for his sake, yet for hers, to give himself more rest, and he was continually promising to obey her will ; yet, day after day still found him at his toil, and there was no better prospect of things brightening up.
And so, for two'long months he struggled on without a murmur, without a sigh, beating down all the fears which presented themselves to him as he strove to look on into the future, and making his wife's heart glad with his dreams of their cloud's bright silver lining.
And she-had she no part in this toil of him who had borne and was still bearing so much for her sake ? Oh ! wrong not her heart. Her love was beyond all thought. His every wish was anticipated. . In his every labour she contrived some plan to render it less heavy to him. Her smile chased away his darkness ; her voice cheered him when his heart was troubled ; her love moved round him like some guardian angel, warning, encouraging, comforting, whenever there was need.
She knew what he had sacrificed, he knew what he had gained.
Thus bearing one another's burdens, and ministering to one another comforts, they moved down the wide stream of life, and if at first they found the tide strong, and the water stormy, it was that, when they should reach the haven of their rest, the remembrance of the cloud which
had hovered over their morning should impart additional splendour to the brightness of their after day.
"When things get to the worst they begin to mend," said Phillip, as he sat down by his wife's side, one evening in the summer following Matthew Bolton's death.
There was something in his tone which told her at once that he had some good news to tell that night, so putting down her work she laid her head in her favourite place on his shoulder, and looking up into his face waited for him to speak.
It was good news, too; he was to have three hundred a year at once, and to go up by fifties until it reached five, provided he could do the work.
There, what did she say to that ? And she put her arm round him.
" My own husband, I am so very, very glad."
And for a long time both their hearts were too full to speak, then he said reverently,
" My wife, God has been very good to us, we ought to be very thankful, and trust in him the more. I think we shall never doubt again, my wife."
And she knew that he was thinking of that terrible time when every moment she had feared to hear the death angel's call, when her cry had gone up in bitterness to
" My God, can this thou doest be well?"
But her faith was very strong now-by much tribulation had they learned that His word was truth, and the bread which two loving mothers had so many years ago cast upon the waters, had been found at its appointed day.
It has been a dark night, dear Julia-a hard trial during those long months-but the reward shall be soon, the reward of thy strength having overcome.
Phillip sat down to his evening's work, and she again took up hers.
After awhile she laid it aside, and finding him still busy opened a book which was lying beside her and began to
" Phillip !-"
But he was still too deep in his thoughts to heed her voice, and so, like a good wife, she waited patiently until she perceived some signs of returning consciousness, and then again she said,
"Half a minute," was the answer, as he wrote along as
if for hard life.
" Now, then, what is it it wants ?" as he threw down the pen and sprang to his feet.
She handed him the open book and said,
" It seems so true to-night." \ He knew the lines very well, for they were written deep in his heart ; yet, for the pleasure that he took in pleasing her, he read them through, but, as he laid the book down again upon the table,
" Nay, nay," he said, " but you know most. I may know the 'many,' but I have no chance against you in the ' much.' However, the ' many ' and the ' much ' make the chain complete, and we won't quarrel about which has
the largest half. But come, sing me my song, for I have finished my work for to-night."
And so she went to the piano, and sang him all the songs he loved to hear. For nearly an hour she sang, though it had only seemed a few minutes, and she was quite sur- prised when he called out that it was nearly supper time.
"The old song once more," he said, and he went and stood beside her while she sang it, and he thought it had never
sounded .so sweet before.
How little'it takes to make two hearts that understand one another happy.
And while he stood there, looking at his wife's beauty and drinking in every sound of her voice, all the thought of his trouble passed away, seeming to him as a dream which had frightened him in the night, but which he could smile at in the morning.
And he stoops down and kisses her forehead, and, as he kissed her someone gently opened the door, so gently that he did not hear it ; and when he again raised his eyes it was
to meet his sister's smile.
" Edith !" he exclaimed half fearfully.
But she did not speak, but walked up to the piano and stretched out a hand to him and stooped down and kissed his wife, and asked her to love her as a sister.
And then she withdrew her hand and went back to the
door and brought in Sam Carter, and led him up to them
" My husband."
And before they could speak she told them all, and all the trouble they had had to find them, and how at last the de- tective they had employed had found Phillip out ; and that they had come up the very moment they had heard, not even waiting until they could tell Walter their good news.
And during the whole time that she had been telling this Julia had stood with her eyes fixed on her husband's face, and, when it was all over he turned to her, and he thought of the night when she had first stood beside him in that room, and, as then, he put his arm round her and drew her
to him and kissed her and said
" My wife, you are very beautiful."
But she-she could not speak-it seemed almost too'much
to be true.
And Edith had feared at first, but those few seconds, when unseen she had looked upon them, had dispelled every doubt, and from that day Julia Armstrong was to her as
the dearest of sisters.
And when she held out her hand to her brother, and said " Forgive me, dear Phillip, all my thoughts which have been unjust to your wife." ,
And then there was all the tale of his illness, which explained his not seeing their advertisements, in fact, a hundred things to talk about, and at the end Phillip
' ' It has all been for our good ; for us, we have had to try one another's love to the uttermost, and neither failed when the hour came ; and for you-you have learned that there are still men left in the world who can hold woman's love to be of more worth than gold."
And when he said this his wife turned to him and laid a hand in hi3, and smiled one of her brightest, happiest
j And Edith said, "I am so very, very glad it is all over
And Sam Carter looked a long way back and said, laughing
" To think of that fellow having ever been a misogynist."