|Chapter Number||PART III. II|
|Chapter Title||A DREAMER OF DREAMS.|
|Newspaper Title||The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)|
|Trove Title||Under the Great Seal|
%%Uz mi «f kttthtsi.
[SOW FIBST PCEIJSHEB.] UNDER THEGREAT SEAL, A KOVEU
Br JOSEPH H&TTON. Antijor of ' Clyiie,' ' By Order of the Czar,' 'John Keedbam's Doable,' 'Cruel Ion don,' &c.
fALL BIGHX5 BESEBVED.1 PARTHL Cbafteb XT.— A Dbeakeb of Dreams.
To lutes to Father LsceUo, the robust cue of Verona, formerly the young enter prising priest of Heart's Delight, was for many dayB the height of happiness to the wiry, qoixote-lookiaeAlttn Keitii
tle uvea again, ine past came Dacic 10 hull without its passion or its pain. It V3S like a story told! He saw himself outside hinwW He was & looker-on, deeply interested, bet only a looker-on. He loved that other Alan Keith for loving Tfnn'***, to whom huTsonl went back in worship and Black, stormy clonda swept over his soul at thought of Benrzand Ristaek, bat they passed as quickly as they came, the sunshine pre Father Lavello was eloqnent in dwelling npott the mercy of God and the sympathy of the Holy Mother of God for Alan and the dear one who had gone before. He kept Alan's thoughts among the gentle places of the past, and tfae boundless lore of Alan for his wife filled so much of bis vision in looking back, that it sweetened the bitterness of his souL His recollection of die early davs of Heart's Delight were now above all memories the most vivid and real Alan told the priest of the visits of Hannah to bis a^nfp*ffti. »»yt the cure turned, tbc tender fancies to good religions Account. The mud Knglich^**! aoon became known as a deront Catholic. The failHul deemed this to be ample evidence of his perfect swiry. Even in those days Venice had her scoffers, and the lean and withered Englishman mortifying him - self vaa, to them, somewhat hamoaroas in a
grim lund of way ; for most of the Church's devotee* were mng and fat, and of contented diapndtaom ; whereas the mafl Englishman was met at all hours in the city wandering Erom church to church, from narrow footway to narrow square j while fiirhffrTn-in encount ered him at equally varied bours, plying the B&ndolo,. that ^htvp cood-natnred d*isen It*'^ lent -him, now with our or paddle, now skimming along under sail, a veritable ancient manner.: with sparkling eyes and thin grey locks that flntteredin the wind. Father Lavello bad been enabled to almost complete Alan** story of the secret barboor of Labrador, the wreck of the «L Dennis, the arrest of Plympton, bis acquittal and death, and the destiny of bis son David and the woman Him nab, in whose charge the boy had been left. The core's ad-rice kept Alan still in Venice. He bad agents who could follow up the doe to David's whereabouts, where they had left it some dozen or fifteen years previously. He had long ago been convinced of Alan's death; other ties and responsibilities bad diverted his attention from the story of David, bis son. Heart's Delight and aU that belonged to it bad more or less faded away except as incidental to hia career. A core in Verona, such ambition as be bad encouraged at Heart's Delight with dreamy Tist*& of new conquests for the Church, bad died ont. The priest's mind bad gradually taken up the colour and temper of his environment. He lived a quiet reflective life, enjoyed bis garden, drank bis mhite wine and red, confessed bis flock, married them and buried them, visited bis clerical nexgbbonn, went on voluntary pilgrimages to monastic establishments where he was heartily welcome with his genial face and bis happy views of life ; and altogether had *'»*wnr a calm, contented, well-to-do core with bis little house, bis careful old house-keeper, who was an excellent cook, his library, and his uniformly Rood health. For a time he bad been, Iio^erer, greatly moved at the meeting with Alan Keith. Like his old parishioner of Heart's Delight during their conversations, be felt some of the old passion of the colonial days, the inspiration of adventure born of the Atlantic .Sea. Once more he felt his pulse hurry on with remini scences of the stirring episodes of the Fisheries, in summer, and winter stories by the Great House fire when the winds were raging without, making snow drifts mountains high in the valleys, and wrapping the shore as far as eye could see in a vast winding sheet. Furthermore bis sense of the romantic had been piqued by Alan's honest story of the ad venturers of Demon's Creek, though be bad crossed himwlf many times during Alan's narratives of the capture of the Anne of Dartmouth, and the vengeance that had been reeked upon the three fishing admirals. Alan had to undergo certain incidents of prayer and penance before the cure could feel justified in assuring him of that forgive ness with which he was empowered to console !»m in the same of St. Peter ; all the same the good priest found himself sympathising with his penitent whose confessional exercises were ratoer secular than religious, triumphant rather than humble and contrite. Alan was, however, as wax in the bands of the core, so far as outward form and ceremony were con cerned ; and once more be thought Hannah came to him-and he dreamed the old dreams over again, the dreams that hod made life and his long imprisonment a possibility of life and sanity ; for as we know, however, Venice might Agree with the Moorish gaoler in call ing him 'p^i Atfn bad tiven him ample evidence of a strong power of mind that had enabled him to withstand the breaking down and rain of his mental faculties. It is not
madness to dream ; it is madness not to dream. *'ltwouldna a*been a matter for wonder if VA gane dean daft, a Jack o' Bedlam,' Slid Alan, in one of his talks with the cure ; 'think oT it! Twenty years oT bondage ! First i slave, a Christian slave amang blacks. Lastly, a prisoner, barely -seem the leight for nigh upon ten year or inair I I didna. count the time then, but Fve been reckoning the year's era. mice I fiat free *' 'It is terrible,* said the cure, 'as you say it is wondcrfol that you have retained your reason, my poor dear friend ; but Christ and his Holy Mother have bad you in their keeping. And how came you in the hands of the slave-dealers V - 'Saving me from the sea and the ja-med rocks divine Providence tfaocht reight to drop me into the hinds of what they call Ritf pirates, trading in human flesh ; they mode naeoiflerencebetweenChristiaiisa&dbeatbenfl, Europeans and Africans; and I went wi* the rsst ; yeVL a thocht if ye*»nld jnst aseen me, wi* nae mair flesh on my bones than was enough to baud them thigether, that the in human beasts would a let me free ; but nae as I tell ye I went wi' the rest !' ' My poor friend f said the cure, 'It is said there's nae depth without a lower, and its true ivvry word of it. Eh, bow I sighed for the da?s o' the slavery ! When they shut me up between stane walls, I had nae idea how happy Fd been sLtvin' V the sua, taUia' the gronad, carrying heavy loads, polling an oar chained to the seat, getting now and then a bitter taste of blows, sleeping at neight vrV a shedfu' o' African niggers, and a'maist as many Europeans who like mysel, hod once been white ! God, man, when I think o' it, I thirst for blood like a tiger turn'd to bay !' Alan tore'open bis oriental vest and robe as if be were choking, and paced the floor, animal-like, as if he were caged, the good priest slowly following him, uttering kindly and soothing words. ' Forgive me !' said Alan, presently* 'forgive me ! There are times when the devil seems totek faoudo1 roe, and upbraid me, that I didna find opportunity to cnt the throats o' them ! And, man, I did seek it, but they bad the scent o' blndhounds for danger and all tbeir watchfulness !' 44 There, there, my son, my dear old friend, be calm, ait down,' -urged tbe priest, tlit thought passing through hiu mind that bad be himself bees more intent upon the technical observances of Holy Church be might have elected to pass his days in some lonely con veatB&lceU. ' I ask your pardon,' said Alan, ' I anna quite luysel at times, and use wonder as ye are gude enough to say thinking o* ' the gude time I hae wasted !n ?* Why did they detain you in prison V* asked the priest, deeply interested in Alan's story, whenever hii strange friend was willing to relate his adventures.
*' Nae, 1 dinna ken ! I just expected they'd tek my heed o£ Sometimes I wish they had, saving your rirerance'a presence as puir Pat Doolan used to say, when he ootzaged the deesoattne -o' the Church. Eh, boo often I bae tbocht o1 those days of Heart's Delight, sometimes comuf tae regard them a'as just a dream, a siaxt ©* life a roan nugnt bae leered before be was born ! D'ye nae ken yersel the' day when ye've felt ye hae liv'd in anitber warld, and that ye hae been left somehow behind in this V ' It is the next world Fm most concerned about,' said the priest, again patting the old man's bony hand, and looking into the wander ing eyes of bis friend with compassion, and the wish to soothe and comfort him. ' Aye, .vrery man to his trade,'' said Alan, ' but ye were asking -why they didna bang me?' ** No, why they kept you in prison ?' 'That's ane o* the puzzles I often axed mysel ! 1 earned naething for them in prison, I was jnst a wee bit nsefn* ootsHe. Bat ane o* my gaolers drops a bint ane day that by the intervention o1 the Christian poweis, Christian slaves bad been abolished, and that even piracy bad become a deeficult business. Ye tee there had been some kind o' rebellion V the land ; a risxn o' the tribes, and I had taen a hand in it, tain' suddenly freed far that purpose ; but it was just a fizzle, and I had nae time cether to pet into the feigfat or run for liberty, before 1 was a prisoner iu the bands o1 the Snltan or the king, or wbativrer they ca'd the turbanneil devil, and when I wonldna boo wi the rest, insteed o1 haeing my head chopp'd of, I was taen aside, and my nationality btin' discovered by tuvc they ca'd an interpreter, I was released as a slave, and imprisoned as a traitor, or a foreign spy, or what ye will, God in heaven only knawg I din do, but they kept me in the prison o' Tafilet. I gathered from mv gaoler that I was recorded as an unc-inaie ktud o* agent in the rising; a danger to what they ca'tl the State. and being English a kind o' feend eltiier t-o kill or chain up and sae in mcrcifn con sideration o' their victory they decided to chain me up, and shut me oot frae the light o* heaven !' I wouMoa abeen surprised gin they had seen me rise up from the -coral strand tliat I was the very fiend himself come to plague them. En bo t it was just a wonderfu' thing bow I made my way out o' that fearsome watier wi' the rocks that jagged, you might a thought, even the evil one could nae hae survived them !' ' Almighty God was good to yon, iny son,' said the cure. '* I hae tried to think sae, my dear friend,' Alan replied, 'bat what about the j there that perished 1' 'The lllessetl Saints must have interceded for you,' said the cure, ' end Our Almighty Father liad work for you who knows perhaps, for the glorification of his Church, for you were as 1 remember, my eon. a brand snatched from the burning !iy the good influence of that saintly woman who was giytn to yon as a helpmate add companion. ' *' It passes belief that God could bae any Work for sae poor a creature, for ane aae
punished and persecuted,' Alan answered, 'and yet it was mCraculous that I was ressurrected, as you might say, from that liviu grave lo be plonged iutae anither and still be saved to see ye once again in the flesh. IVbJle iwery timber o' the ship went to pieces and iweiy man o' the pair bodies who bad sailed wi me and fought wi me went to the bottom, I was lifted oot o' the breakers, and in the settin o' the son I rose ragbt up, a' torn and ragged it is true, wi bleedin bands and feet,T*ut I stood reight up a the sauie like a Uvin pillar on a mighty plain o ribbed sand ? and I started off to walk agio the red bars o' the sun. On and on, the sand hot to my bleedin feet, a1 the land red *n tlic last light o1 the day. And when I reached tiie long, low-lyin city that I thonght on as the New Jerusalem, a refuge and a blessm, 1 Lad only risen from the dead to fall iuto slavery, heathen slavery. I -='ne uigb upon cursing God and mysel— asking your rever ence's pardon ! Kae dinna torn fr.ie me, 1 ta nae sae wicked as ye think !' 11 You have been most unfortunate, said the priest. ' From slavery to a freedom hardly worse, frae freedom to enforced service V the field, ieightin' for what I didna ken ; I only desired to be free The fiends mnn a smothered the voice o' my saintly intercessor at the mercy seat. It seemed that I couldna dee, for when I was healed ol my wounds and. come to kc& mysel again I was a prisoner, what should hae been a hospital was a dungeon what should hae been air and sun was just a stifling pest and darkr**^*- Is it nae strange 1 bae the patience to tell yc o* my woes?1* '* 1 he wonder is, my poor unhappy son, that you do not proclaim them from the house tops,' the cure replied, affectionately press ing Alan's bony hand. ' You were &lwavs kind, and considerate, my father,' said Alan, his voice Bofteuiog, his eyes moist with emotion, 'and I am gratefi.', dinna ye think Iamna; there are times in this heavenly city when I forget everything, savin* the sunshine, the blue skies, and the wondrous palaces, and when I feel as if I bad begun to walk the aacred streets a* Paradise. D'ye mind the saintly, tender wife I had out yonder in Heart's Delight ? Ah, it was only she kept me frae madness. She came tome and sat by me, and talked to me in her soft sweet; voice, and bad me be patient ; and aiany'a the time the gaoler looked as if fae jnst envied me my chains wben he beard my cheerfu' voice in response to hers ; and he'd fairly greet wben I towdhim wholhadvisitin' me, and thanked him for lettia' her through the gates ; eht bat it was a sad day for me when die owd man deed and anither come V his place who kenned uae Joseph, as the Scripture hatb it *.' 'It was the Blessed Mary that led her thither, my son ; you had prayed to the Holy 'I had prayed to God and the blessed Yircin. ta bledaed Miefcjiel the archjuureL *n
the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the saints Fd ever heard you name in those happy days in the little chapel in the bay and the Grear House inshore ; and I asked for Hannah, her name was on my lips in season and oot ; and one day or neight she came — I couldna much distinguish night frae day — she came with a great leigbt About her. 1 could see iwery stone V the slimy wall o' my cell, iwery bit o' mortar and deevflish thing that crawled there; and then it a1 changed to the valley o' Heart's Content, and we sat outBidc die teat they nude her tticrc, and I could see her gracious countenance and hear her heavenly voice, and feel faer soft hand in mine ; and that was happiness enough to wipe out years o* misery ; and she came again and again, day after day, and the prison waUsfell down and we sat beneath the bees of Heart's Content ; but sin I left that hoose o* detention and sailed the sea and anchored in this haven that is a sea and a dry a' in one, I nae bad sight o* her but once !' ' You have seen her again *' said the priest. 'Aye, ast neight of a* ithers; but it is different frae the prison and it was only in a dream; she came to me the neight and she Jed a young man by the hand ; he was dripping wet wi the sea ; 'twas a sailor lad, and she said unto me soft and low bat in dear accents,, impressive and deliberate, * This is our dear son Darid, be good to him, he will need your help and love.' At first I thought lie muu be dead, bat she smiled as if ahe keen* my thought and said, *Ko, he lireg ';and then I woke and went fortb ; it was break o* day and Atilio was up and In hia boat and he put her head about and we sailed into the lagoons, end the world was just beautifu' beyond imagina tion, and I said to mysel I'll see him here ahonts, my dear son David, and the wind com ing in from the blue sea I just thought answered me and said, yes ; and I felt that I should ken him the moment I pet eyes upon bin?, for ifie lad site lield so tender-like by the hand bad her winsome look in's eyes, and I could remember my ain sel when like him I was that tall and straight, like a young poplar swaying in the wind ; thou^i now I look like thai same tree blasted by the lightning, with bare branches, a jest ami a scoffing to those who hae escaped the storms.' ' Not so, dear friend, grey hairs are honour able, and the lightning has not withered your heart, nor blighted your life. You have sinned greatly.' ' Aye, I fcuow it !' said ALm. ' We have all sinned greatly,' continued the priest, ' but few Iiave been pnmshc*. upon earth as oar Heavenly Father hatb punished you ; and as I have already vouched for it ou yonrcootrition, your resolution to sin no more, and your humble confession, your sins are for given you. To-morrow in chapel, fitting time and place, we will speak further of Oiia. Meanwhile, Atilio, you see, lias laid the doth, and it is fitting we refresh tfae physical man ' 'Aye, but ye tak me straight back to Heart 'a Delimit!' said Alan, poshing h& Btragglipg hair from bis forehead. ' Ye always knew how to win a man from unlupnv thoughts, bow to soothe bis temper. Spuitual
of Ilia miseries Uito ti-e genial .tmoqibere ol It took months, howerer, to conduct the cor respondence Wlule they were »'UI«J?! ^formation, Alan and Father I-™'''™ their disposition) for the fntnre of Alan a son anfhdrTThecnre, with » righteous re«rd or hisher powera than their own, took fre qMntlccaim to warn Alan by reference to Sie past, that what miRht eeem to man the mostwise and vrloous plans *? .n1°'j*!'™S fina lavonrwith Co°. The* tod'»*h. .^~ hopes, nercrtlielesa, that Alan m^ht Ii»eto emteice hi. son and «dow t™.»*«',1SI1^-f his worldly good* as he 4'^^? ~5! by with a reversion of other treasures to Ine scrrice of Holy Mother Conrch. Mamirhile, with Ae aid of airtaeconncBlor and banker in Vcuice, AUn bad been enabled to wSndrlw fromtte BanV o! **&*** considerable ram of money that had Uintliwe on deport rfnee «he days when David Pljin£ ton had induced his son-in-law to pUce there a part of Hannah's dowry and certain savings 'it waTfortonate for Alan that no legdw other record of his piracy had come between him and his written and duly witnessed order for his money, the admiral who fongbt die ' St. George ' baring, as we have seeu, wipe.1 ont with his official narrative every soul con nected with it, the only living creature who conld have given evidence to Uie contrary being Lester Benlz, who having been knighted 'fordurtingnished Bcrvices for the country, was at that time doinp official duty as Gover nor of a group of islands fer away from New foundland, Sir Lester Bentx vras indeed » man of influence and consideration. He bad taken out with him to his island borne a yonng wife, and it is quite possible that be has founded a family of colonial governors who wiU carry ihe name of Benti with honour and dsUDCtion to official graves. Father Lavdlo declined to discuss iridi AUa the mysterious, not to say peculiar, ways of Providence as exemplified in the case of Sir Lester Bentz, except to point out to him tfae nspfnlnw of Sir Lester's absence from England, and the otter improbability of his ever being in a position to do farther injury to him or bis So the time went on, and Alan found him self not only no looger penniless but a man of current means, with gold in bis pocket and sold in the Venetian bank. From being lamshed at in Venice and treated with pitying smiles, be became the wonder and admiration of the city, beloved of tfae poor, respected of the rich, an eccentric it is true, «ffl a little mad, but wif& method in his madness, and ia bis bright, flaahiwg eyes the light of benevolence. The solitary Turk salaamed him, for be had brought light and warmth and furniture and tapestries -back to the old palace. The gon dolier and hit wife obeyed bis every whim, for he bad made then- gloomy cover in the back ways of the palace homelike and com fortable ; so that when the winter came thty were not perished, and they had wine every day, and blessed the Virgin and her messenger, the mad Englishman, for it Tims in these days of nu premature age and solitnde, Alan Keith found something of consolation and recompense for much of his sttfiering, and with promise of a living son to take his band and pass down the last hillaof life with him, asoatowhom be could talk of his mother, a son to whom he conld tell his secret of Demon's Creek, a son whom he could endow with wealth and power, a son wbo might restore the names of Keilh and Tlymp ton to honour and respect at home and in Newfoundland.