Chapter 64974511

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Chapter NumberXXXIII
Chapter TitleSO NEAR AND YET SO FAR.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64974511
Full Date1881-08-06
Page Number0
Corrections0
Word Count1341
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleIllustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872)
Trove TitleThe Golden Link
article text

CHAPTER XXXIII.

So NEAR AND YET SO FAR.

Four months had passed away since Matthew Bolton had

been laid in his grave, and still nothing had been heard . which threw even the least ray of hope upon the search for Phillip Armstrong.

In another month the weddings were to be, and as day after day went on, poor Edith's cherished hope grew fainter

and fainter.

She would have given almost anything that Phillip might be found before the day of gladness.

There was still hope-hope almost up to the very last

minute.

Edith, too, had pretty well convinced herself by that peculiar method with which people contrive to make them- selves believe anything that they particularly desire to, that he would be found before the wedding day ; and, conse- quently it seemed to her that every week which brought her marriage and that of Janet nearer, brought also nearer the finding of that brother whom, next to her intended hus- band and brother, she loved above all men alive.

They did not even know that , he was in the colony, but they believed it, though for very little stronger reasons than those which made Edith believe he would be found. They wished it, but if any one had told Walter or Edith that, day after day, when in Sydney they passed beneath Phillip's window; that, day after day, they saw the pale, grief-worn face of her whom they would only be too glad to recognize as a sister-^ would they have believed this ?

Yet they had never seen Julia at that window, and Julia had never recognized the wonderful likeness between her husband and his brocher and sister whom, though unknowing

I it, she knew so well.

j This was all very strange-or seems so - almost too i strange. Poor Julia-she had no time for thought then.

' Between one and two o'clock in the afternoon of that last

day Walter found himself standing on the doorstep of the Australian Joint Stock Bank, with some couple of hundred , pounds in his pocket.

He stepped down into the street and, through some fancy or other, paused before crossing the roadway.

Suddenly the thought came across him that he was standing near where his brother had saved the life of her

who waa now his wife.

He involuntarily stared down at the stones as if he expected to get some information out of them.

Half a minute afterwards, when be looked up, he saw what he could swear to have been Phillip's form, getting into a cab on the opposite side of the street.

With a shout whicli convinced half the people round him that he was an escaped madman, he dashed across to

the vehicle.

But it drove off at a rattling pace before he had covered half the distance, in spite of the cries of those around, who now began to perceive the truth of the case, that instead of a lunatic it was only a gentleman wanting to catch a

friend.

In half a dozen seconds Walter was standing on the board of another cab and saying to the astonished driver,

" I'll give you five pounds to catch that hansom that just

left."

The man needed no other stimulus, and dashed off in pursuit at express speed, as if there were no such thing as a Metropolitan Transit Commissioner.

" Had Phillip seen him ?'' was Walter's first thought. He fancied not, and this gave him better hopes.

The cab he was following turned up Liverpool Street, not a hundred yards in front of his.

He felt as if he could have got out and run the rest of the distance, so near did the two vehicles seem.

" Only not to lose sight of him," he thought.

Half-way up the street the driver pulled up with a jerk

which sent Walter out of his seat.

" What the deuce," he began, and then looked down into

the road.

A girl had fallen in the street right across the roadway ; she was lame, and her crutch had slipped in attempting to

hastily cross the street.

Walter looked up, but the other cab was out of sight. He sprang out and rushed to the top of the street, but it was nowhere to be seeu, and very, very mournfully he

returned to the place where the girl had fallen.

"It's of no use." he said, shaking his head sadly, " I can't see it anywhere."

The driver, almost as disconsolate as he, admitted that it would be perfectly useless to attempt to follow the vehicle

any further.

Walter put a sovereign into his hand, " At any rate," he said, "you did your best," and then turned to apologize to the girl for his neglecb in not helping her up at once.

She begged him not to think about it-she was only too sorry that she had c uised him so much trouble.

Oh ! if he could only have known-if he had only thought of saying to that girl,

"I am looking for Phillip Armstrong, and would gladly give a thousand pounds to find him," she would have

answered him,

" Go to such and such a mimber in such and such a street, and there you may see him any time you like," for the girl was Emily's cousin.

But it was not to be just yet, so he was obliged to content himself with going home and telling Edith what he had

seen and done.

And the next morning found two happy couples standing before the altar in St. James' Church - happy bride- grooms, happy brides, bound together in the should-be indissoluble knot by the contract of holy love which God has given to man as his choicest earthly gift.

There were no six and thirty year old bridesmaids there, asked out of compliment ; neither bridegrooms nor brides liked that sort of thing-all was youth and beauty.

Everybody seemed happy, and after all had done the fullest possible justice to the marriage feast, brides and bridegrooms started off to Melbourne on their wedding trip, looking as perfectly satisfied with one another as it was possible to wish.

Phillip read all about the weddings in the paper, but he was still too proud to think of forcing himself upon those whom he could not think would desire it, and so he went on toiling away athis hard task without a murmur ; and in the eveuing, when he came home with a burning browand wearied mind, his wife would lay aside her work and let him lay his head on her breast, and sit patiently for long, long hours, while clasped in her loving arms, he slept the refreshing

sleep of weariness.

And at times her arms would ache, and she would have given almost anything to have stretched them ont just once, but she feared lest the least movement should awaken him, and so she sat quietly on, watching his sleep and think

ing of the great love he bore her, and wondering whether she had yet done anything which had paid off even the least part of that debt.

Dear little wife-but what would he have said had he known your thought ? To him it seemed as if the debt had ' long since been paid off, as if it required all he could do not

to get behindhand.

Happy, happy husband ; happy, happy wife ; where each fears "My love is least, I must do more than this."

And sometimes she would think, "He has not repented of that which he has done for me. He loves me more than all the world."

And at those times her heart was very, very glad.

And when he waked she would stoop down and kiss him, and very often a bright, warm tear would fall upon his cheek to tell him how much, how very much above all else,

his wife had learned to love him.