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Chapter NumberPART III. IV
Chapter Url
Full Date1893-04-08
Page Number8
Word Count4639
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)
Trove TitleUnder the Great Seal
article text

fairs and gkttthts.

[saw pibst published.] UNDER THE GREAT SEAL, A NOVEL,

BY JOSEPH H&XTOX. Antlior of ** Clytie,' ** By Order of the Czar,' 'John NeedhamT« DoaUe.' ?* Cruel Lon don,' &c.

[4 IT. EIGHTS RESERVED.] part m. Chapter IV.—' Was Lost asd is Focxd, ?tax Dead axd is Auve AfiiiN.

One of the sharpest agonies of Bhipwreclted men afloat is the passing of ships whose look out they hare been unable to attract. The morning has come with a cry 'A sail, mail !' The day has been spent in niakiug stguals. The night has fallen vith the sea once more a watery desert. David Kcitb and his companion, Matt White, at the Welsh Back, bad no means of

TngiHMiing. They had neither mast nor ou. They were adrift upon the ocean without any power to direct or control their boat. AUit would stand up now and then and wave a Jiandker cbiet Be did this, however, more by way of com forting his companion in mufortone than with any hope of winning the attention of anything or* anybody within their horizon of vision. Futhennore, he save David the benefit of his nautical ohaervaaons as to their latitude and longitude, and by the help of his knife he con trived to torn one at the boat** seats into a rudder, with which he professed to steer the boat, telling David that aU they bad to do was to keep in the track of ships. Matt White was a kind-hearted old fellow; and without the slightest faith in the possi iHlity of their l-eing picked np, be nevertheless encouraged hta'yomnger companion to hope, for he argued, as if the idea had only just occurred to any hmo*o bang, that while there wxs life a man bad no right to despair. Matt knew he was doomed. Hehadsaidso before sailing. He had predicted the lot* of the Morning Star. It uis 1 cruel law tliat compelled a oian to £O on board a doomed ship. What were omens for! be argued. They were to guide the mariner. Why did cats meet a man when he was going on board ? and why did pigs also give warning? because they were so ordained ; and as for a dream, why it was nothing short of impiety to disre gard the forecast of a voyage when it was accompanied with other signs and tokens of dim* Mr. But there, it was all over, the ship had gone, the captain who wouldn't beadvised and the mate and all the crew, except him and the one passenger: and all they had to do was to wait God's own time, and hope for the best.

effect, M*tt \yhjtff communed with himself while David slept ; and curiously eaougu tlie lad slept for many boors after the boat began to drift away- from the scene of the wreck. ?On the other hand, Matt White could not sleep a wink. He watched and talked, grew .hungry and athirst, f*p^'** he saw sans when the sea was as empty of them as his own hopes, much as be pretended to the contrary. The sun was hot all day, and at night the breeze was sultry. On the next day there was a thunderstorm. The sea was not rough. It rose and fell witfi a strange uniformity of anQQ^prm without; frn*n^r*nif Xlte ft n bad aassaged the thirst of the two waifs of the sea. Matt bad caught it in bis hands and laughed over it. He had been more or less feverish from the (int. David h*4 held his face up to the great czopic-like drops, and was re freshed. O&e de^xre tg*ig5***i| tKgy -*wmo hnnow. 'Tie next day was burning hot. The son seemed so tire the waters. There was no stir in the air. Matt said .another storm, was Ifftwing At night there came * heavy mist. It broke now and then into glrastly form. David ooce mor* slept, but awoke every now and then feeling faint and weak. He tried to rise, and found *h**' 1ii« limbs were stiff and painful. Matt was always busy, whether David slept or not. He would ahule Iiis eyes with liis Iiands and look out into the night just as he did when he could see in the daytime. Then he would mumble and chnckle. Once he awoke David with his singing. It was an old sea-Bong that he was trying to remember, ever harking back for the words, and always chuckling wben he tfaoaght he had snatched them out of his tiding memory. On the third day David felt as if he were dying, so weak, so hopeless, so empty, so iin capable of thought. He lay with open eyes in th* stern of tlie l*-at -watching Matt, who was in a raging fever. It was bis particular ounia. in these last hours to fancy every cloud a salL He Stalled them with cries and laugliter. He Tthou^-bt they signalled him. He answered them ; he shouted the name of the foundered lease! ; at least he tbongiit he shouted it ; but liis voice was a hoarse wLLjper ; liis uacgue dove to rhe roof of his mouth. After an hour or two of this mad exercise, waring his arms and answering signals, he suddeirfy flung himself into the sea. David had neither the strength nor the inclination to attempt hid rescue. He stared vacantly at tlte empty place which Matt White bad filled a moment before, and then shot his eyes as lie ill ought— if he thought at all— iu death. He remembered no more until he found hiiiiself in the cabin of an Italian vessel homeward ' .Itfiund for Venice. j When he awoke he thought lie was in| Hartley's Row ; then he thought he was on the Morning Star after a had dream. Trying to move he felt his body stiff and sonc. He looked round the cabin and noticed that there iwas another bunk in it, and that by hia side were medidue betfles, and wine glasses and

a soup basin. He turned over and tried to collect bis faculties Tbe effort was too much for him, and it was many Jrours before lie again became sensible of his surroundings. It was oue of theae curious tricks 01 Fate that are comniou enough however Etartllng they may seem, that Alan Keith should have been sit: ing on the quay when the captain of the barqne Eldorado walked by with a young fellow leaning upon his arm. They were on their way to a certain charitable refuge for unfortunate sailor?, the boy being no other than .Alan's boh, whom Father Lavello was moving heaven and earth to find, and for whom the released prisoner of Taulct had began to boild castles in- the air. Sitting there upon the quay while David passed, he was apparently watching the new ly moored ship, with the busy coming and go ing of sailors and merchants, or looking out over the broad lagoons ; but in reality Alan saw none of the sights that lay immediately under his eyes* heard none of the various ionnds all about him. He av a grave in the bosom of Hearths Coutcot ; he saw several cairns at the li&se of Demon's Rock ; he saw between the outlet of the cavern and the log hut where be and Preedie, and liis compaiifuis of the c&pturod -Ajime of Dartmouth, had wGed away the winter, a certain dump of trees and rocks where he bad buried his own honest Savings ApATt from tlwrft^tirfHtl jlntiJa»r of the Bristol trailer, the St Dennis, and other prizes. It was aotne liaU-recogusaed instinct of honour that bad induced liiin to keep his ova mtney apart from the treasures 0J the crew's ; it might have been conceived in the spirit of feir pUywitb the view to the ultinu te divinon stipdUtedJor in tlte articles of agree ment between nim-aad his men. Some vague idea of devoting this honest cold to the memory of his vife may have' influenced him. Bat as he sat onjtinsjwight wjnter'«, re gardless of the 'chill air that' came in little goats of nearching winds from the Adriatic, apparently mucli engrossed in the Eldorado or the shivering lagoons, lie experienced no particular feeling in regard to Hie difference between the treasures in Wilderness Creek and the hidden box on the way to the but with its surrounding bit of garden, now no doubt wiped out- with weeds, and. shrubs, and underwood of aU kinds. He felt a craving to unearth the strange jumble of gold and precioos stones, of Bflver cups and golden, oroa menls, of. lacev-And silks, and other textiles, embroideries, and strange spices. His memory carried him back with angular clearness, and considering all that had 'hap- pened, he had not the remotest doubt that he was the sole inheritor of the secret trea sures. Once a transient shadow of fear crossed bis mind in the form of. Lester Bentz. and even in hia present penitential mood be wished be had killed him. At tlit same time be came to the conclusion that Bentz could not possibly have known of the hiding of the treasure, and it seemed to him that making them part of the dead, giving them memorials of mortality, was a sufficient disguise for all lime, apait from the inaccessibility of the spot, and the superstitious dread which belonged to Kasqoappe and Deuton'a Ridge, ' My son,7* he said to himself, as he wan dered homewards, taking the narrow, unfre quented ways of the city, and p? titt 'g now and then to exchange some canoes or friendly greeting, ' my son David, it is time that ye came for your inheritance; I canna live much longer; I feel ghostly warning, noo that I bae made my peace wP Almighty God and His Blessed Son, it's like I mae be caa'd at ony moment; it's borne in upon my distracted mind dial I'll see thai aooL, and I ben tliy bee, my dear, as weel as if I'd seen it a' iny days; I haeanen it i* spirit. thymitherleadui' tbee by the bond and sayin' in her ain sweet heavenly voice, * Alan lore, this is David our dear son !' ' That night in bis dreams Alan saw bis wife and son again, and this time David was no longer wet with the damps and needs of the sat A strange unrest took possession of him after this. He wandered forth into (he cold night, took Atilio's boat and rowed himself down the ftrand dual, anil let the wind toss him ojion the waves of the incoming ride away past the quay where llie frlldotado was lyiuj;. and oat upon the lagoons towards die Lido. The thunder of tlie Adriatic beating upon the sandy barriers within which slept the ocean city, recalled loliim the rollers of tlie Atlantic outside die liarbourof Wilderness Creek. It wa& on the next day tliat the English Consul, who had taken an interest in Father Lavello's inquiries, called upon* him at his temporary lodging in Venice, to acquaint him with the landing of a young EagUshinan who said his name was David Keith, and that lie had been picked np in an open boat on the homeward voyage of tlie Kldorado, famiijut d with cold aud hunger, and for a lime thought to be dead. He liad, however, survived bis terrible privations, and was iiow in kindly htnds at the sailors' retreat near the ArserjaL Father Lavelio went at once to investigate this information, which seemed toliim nothing short of miraculous ; though to lie sure, it might have chanced that some other ship luul picked up the lad and taken him to some orher port. The cmsul said somctliiug noble in tbe aspect of the yoang fellow, despite his miserable plight, had stiuiulutnd the usually benevolent sentiments of sailors towards any uufortnnate victim of the sea; and for him self he was buund to say that he also was much impressed by the lad's handsome face aud dignified figure. They had dressed him in sailor garb, some tliuig bet ween a pirate anil a blue- jacket, aud the highest compliment they noulil pay him u-aa t-i say that lie was the beau ideal of an Italian youth, his hair black, and his eyes iTark ami sift, Ins face of an olive complexion, ami his form as lithe as that of a ynung faun. A Moravian froin the Lido who vLJtcil the house of eliarity said he was worthy to lie the hero of a poem hy their crcat and learned Byron, who some 3rears previously had lived among them, glorifying their language and worshiping Veniep. '?

lVrhaps the Moravian found an added beautyuT D*vid for the reason that the youmj Fellow was a Protestant, »na while respecttul to tte priests let them nuderstand that lie aidlhis were of the Reformed uitk But Father UvcUo found the boy tolerant and Kentle, the more eo when be irf°™*-£ J?™ that be had knowu Us mother and fcliier. had confessed them in the days of their courtship, and blessed them at the altar of tbe Holy Catholic Church wben ttey beaoae man and mi e. . T ? .' That is,' said tbe cure, 'if yooarcasl make uo doubt, the sou of Alan and Hannah Kek|i, of Heart's Delight.' 'So far as I-know.' eaid David, 'I»m Miss Mnmford, who noned we and carried me to England, tddmeso. andlwasoumy way to Newioundland to daim my patrimony when I was wTeeked.' ' ? 'Indeed ; you bad some special authority '. 'The authority of tlie tnuues under the will of iny grandfather, David Wyioyton.' ' Proved, I bdiere, in Uie Courts by iny chief, Mr. Wavcny Pelberick, of Yarmouth. ' Ves,' said the priest, ' with whom you were at tided to die law f ' You seem to know me weU,' said David, cmiliug. 'It is strange to be shipwrecked and brought into Veuice to .mert.oue who knew my parents and who has knowledge of me also.' 'It is,' said the priest, 'and who until lately had kept trace of yon and record for the sake of the old days wtea you were sn infant, - and your father and mother were members of his flock. Strange! Yes, the ways of God are strange to mortal man; the prayers of your saintly mother hire been heard, her uitercesaoa has borne fruit, for the Almighty Father is no respecter of .persons where the holy intercession of the Ulessed Virgin is obtained, and ber voice can prevail even though the sinner be Protestant olid outside the pale. Nay, my son, spare me tiy answer. Let ns give Almighty God tliankll for thia miracle of thy preservation.'' David Celt himself snbdned by the earnest words and manner of tbe priest, only ven turing to remark that he hoped be bad been sparea for some Rood wotk in tile world. - 'A pious and worthy ambition,' said the priest, ' and be sore it fa so; your future should be reaiarkable for good; for you have been mirarnlonftly caved, and for such a meet ing in this city of marvels as* your wildest dreams can hardly have forecasted. That you are ? Prutestani^ and desire it to be so known argues a. certain piety ; it b the nun of no religion, tlie infidel, the scoffer, for whose soul the Church is most solicitous. Von have prayed to Bod' You have thanked God for your deliverance t' '-Yes, with aU tny heart and soul,' said David. catchin-; something of the rriigkiaB taae of the priest's manner; ''sorely tbe worst of (jod's creatures would' have done that, bad he been raised from the dead as I have been, ;for my preservation almost amounts to that, the doctor said so only yesterday when we parted; and, is truth, when. I but shot my eyes in that boat st sea, it was to die, and when I awoke, it was as if I had been dead and come to life again.'' ' Was lost and is found, was dead and is alive again,' said ibe priest. ' I wish yourrefereneeapplied in fall tomy case, ar,' said David, 'even though I should be called a prodigal and had herded with swine.' ' Who shall say what a merciful and all -see- ing God may not have in store far yon ! 'I am surely His messenger to you in this miraculous deliverance. Are you strong enough to receive tidings of as great joy as that of your own deliverance to those who shall learn of it when most they think you lost ? Your foster tnotiier for example. ' 'And the girl who is betrothed to me,' said Daiid, ' they will hear of the loss of the Horning Star, ana it will break their hearts.' ' We must take means to acquaint them of your safety,' said the coiv, 'I will obtain tlie aid of the British Consul for (hat paroose without delay.' r *^ 'Thank yon, oh, tliank you,' said David, more deeply moved than lie had yel shown himself. ' You are very young to marry }' said tlie priest. ' When one loves sincerely, and EimiraV father is willing, and my' foster mother approves, and Mr. Wavcuy Pethcriek does UOL object, and one can provide a hoiiie, a year one way or the other U no serious matter ? ' David made this statement ratber in the way of asking a question than propounding a 'Perhaps not,' said thecun:', 'since you are so far pledged, let us hope there -aii be no otiier objection.' ?' What a blessing it is that my London trustee sailed licfore me, or rather not in the Morning Star. He was to prepare the way for iny coming, aau meet Ibe Morning Star at 'It canna lie but the Divine liand is strongly in all this,' said the cure ; ' but you did not answer mer Are you sUong enough to receive a further shock, not au uiT happy one, but a shock ; I am something of a physician, let me sec.' Re took David's hand and felt liis puUc - ' We must not put you hick iuto a fever. A* bttlc rest aud I will come to you agaiu.' ' I am stroug enough for anytliinc. sir ' said D*vid, ' have no fear for me ; I luink'l have passed a physical examination that should ansAvtr for me. You have KouieUiiug btrauge to tell me, something you are auxious to disclose, what is it *:*' Divi.l drew himself up aud faced the priest, recalling M rather Lavello the figure of the si;ttlcr who, in the stormy -la.v* of Htairt's Delight, defied Admiral Rutack' and softened only- at thought of hi, «aintly wife, tlie rose of tliat desert by the sea. '1 will tike you at your word. Put this cloak aliout you aud come with me.' {

Ite cure took m? a cloak -Jujtja^twng seat in the gloomy lootans boat. The priest Stowing directed the .nlilary g?«^l' the TurkiBh J'slnce ; and sat skutly «on tcnnlatimT the ifater and the .ptooyon of l^ndimrT with their vistas «£ tack-canals, i^lXe££ WslLoaghl. far tbe coding mterviewoffali«*»J»»-. .__; _,. Alan Keith aat smokmg m ^'i^Sr W paUtial room. He bal ^J^.1' ^S perdinai «at*bo«lhinis wund ta neek was loosely wrapped a crimson silk awrt He S ^toi inVull^rm chair tbatl bad w eUAoraw/carveatact At hi. dbw? ™» small tabte upon which lay *n open book freKcek There «~ heaiT ^{«*°~ portiere over the doorways; and «naU ESows bere and there Winded wMi dust STm^rble floor was talovely to»e fro» » artistic-point of «ew, and it was covered here and there with mats andj ruga. ' Alas,' said the Priest, having bidden OavuTremain within the shadow of tbe vesti bule, 'ourprayenanltheinteroessuaofyour safatiy wifewtth the Holy Mother ot God bave prevaileTL ' Alan turned his bright eyes towards the ? priest u if writing further speech. 'Be calm, dear friend,'' in- the cures '?Tiun calm,' saiAAUu, 1»- ing down h« long pipe. 'What is it r 'Kod has sent jour son to Venice,' said ?? rVaiscd be His holy name !' Alan replied. The priest stepped back to beckon David, who came forward. ' This is your father,' said tbe priest, 'David, I expected you,' ?aid «he father, conuolling himself with a. nugliW euort, but onlyforammnentw ' I expected you !' lfcu-id looked »t his father, «dd a sharp cry of sururise esopedliiin. 'Oh, my God !' Alan cxebimed, Meppiiig - towards tbe boy and opening Ins arms. David burst into tears and buried his face in theoW man's neck. ? Father Lavello stealthily withdrew. Alan rocked the tall fellow in his arms and crooned in a pathetic way over him for some moments ; and then thrust him apart to gaze open him. - : - 'My dear David, my sou, my ain son, whatamirade! After a' these heartJMeskui' years to aee ye in die flesh, to bear- your met! Eh man, but I bae nae beard your voice. Speak to ate, David.' ' Father,' said the lad. 'Aye, butgae -n; tell me where ye hae come frae, talk to ue ! I hae hard mrk to keep myself frae ydlin' oot like a maniac' 'Sit down, lather,' said David, 'and calm yourself.' 'Don't leave me, lad !' exclaimed Alan, ' where's your wither r Hannah, ye hae brought htm hame, but ye hae left us V Alan sat down in his chair again, still keep ing Di rid s hand in his. David looked round the room, -and felt too as She might have lost Us senses, as if he had eaten of (be insane root, so many strange things had happened to him suoce-he went }iy coach to Bristol and took his berth on baud ' the Morning Star. 'Forgive me. David, if I amna quite mywT. Ye see your sainted ' mitier has brought ye to me oae often in my dreams that it seems as if she too might he here, though I ken vest enough she's dead and -buried years and years agone. Nac, lad, 111 be mysel' in a minute.' The gaunt figure once more rose np and stood by tbe side of the young; lithe waff of 'Tek houd of my arm;, let us walk about and pinch oorsels and be sore we are awake,' be said, pulling the boy's arm within his own and pacing the apartment with him. 'le think me a strange father; some o' these foolish kind folk in this city call roe the mad Englishman; I'm nae mad, David, though I might ha' l«en excused for such a fa' cousulera' what I hae gane through. I'm neither mad nor poor, David ; ye shall find I'm rich, oiy sou, rich, far inair than even Lavello dreams ; j hae been wailing to tell ye; I hae tonil them nought Lavello kens a little, but it's nought-to what I hae cot toiell ;'c, David ! But ye look faict, ye are nae strong, well hac some food and drink. Hello, there, Atilio, Tereae. Well kill the fatted calf, David ; well open our best wine -^ntV. drink and »« meny-Twas losr and is fonod — was dead and is alive again.' * Once more overcome with excitement, Alan staggered back to bbaeat, and David soothed him with filial words of comfort. ' I'm justaii aud fool,' said Alan, presently. 'I thought I was what the priest. -ab\ stoic, and I'm just an aud fooL David, sit ye doon, and feel you're at bame, and 111 just mek an eflbrt to be mysel'. Eh, hat its sae long sin I had ye for a sou. It just drives me wild to uiink o it. The gond.ilicr ond his wife came running 'Quick,' said jyan, 'food and wine ; all yeVe got : the fatted calf-thc bext of every uiuig ; tiiis is my son.' Herose up with « .haughty waveof his bony haud as ue made this declaration 31ie Italian .crouits expressed their aud ddighL Tcrcsc said the yonu kiudrat inui in tlie woriil. Terese aililul Hut duner u-as nearly ready and proceeded will. AUbo » askance to ,lmg fort), a lul.lo near Uie stove and begin to lay Ihc doth. Father Lavello, as Uie servants withdrew, U.oujriit it a happy moment to return. S 'Eli man,' said Alan, 'ye'rejusl iu time -'I,'','™11'* ye-D'«. my son, UuTfa my good friend aud confnxir Fatlier Lavello,

who kenned ye wiieo ye were just a baby.' For (lie moment Alan had forgotten that it n the priest who tad brought lib son to 'My dear David Keith,' said the core, '1 congratulate you upon thus happy meeting.'1 *? But I'm foegeeUog,' said Alan, 'and ye man forgie me, for Fm i leetle beside myseT, it was yon, dear friend, who found bi*n, 50a who have been God's instrument of kindness in*' this. Forgie me. David, I'd niwer a seen ye again bat for Father LaveUo.' 'lue good father came to me at tbe Home, where die caplaio secured1 me * lodging,' said David, 'and has earned my eternal gratitude,' 'Here's the dinner,' said Alan, a* dre servants came in with some smoking dishes. *? Father LaveUo, -tiis is the least, nae, I willoa say for the prodigal son, HI jnst say far the prodigal father; and I wish it was.*, better repast ; tmt we'll make op for it in die choicest ObiantL Come noo, let's fa' to. I ken this lost and isfonnd, God Mess turn, is borh ahnneered and attairst.' Father lavello asked a blessing upon tbe feast ; and die three fell to heartily. Daring the meal, David, responding to his father's Questions, gave him some particulars of bis life and his adventure in the Morning Star. Although lie had spoken of EUnini to the priest be nude no mention of her over dinner. Something made him pause when her name ins on his tongue. He felt as if the declaration of his engagement wbs how a. matter to be privately mentioned to his father. Alan drew from die cure stories of their past experiences of Newfoundland, and Alan himself talked of Heart's Delight, and _ wondered what it was like after all those years' He was modi interested when David spoke of Miss alomford, and Alan therefore re peated, not witliont some bitterness, fhestory of bis capture, and Pat Doolan's account, related to bim long afterwards, of his -rescue of Sally and Baby David from the King's buccaneering, law-p nrerf ol scoundrel*. He laid down bis knife and fork and listened with eyes and ears to David's account of Sallv's home and Petherick's office-: .nd

every now and then in a kind of stage aside, when Father lVarello was most engaged with his meat and wine lie would say to bis son. ' Ride*, wee, my son, just bide a i», &uJI11 tell ye a story that'll make the Wood dance in your young veins. Bide.- a wee.** David would nod knowingly ia^retnrn, falling in with bis tattler's humour, -and pntting his warning promise down to the upset of their meeting. ? But David bad by no means talccn I he measure of his father, Alan Keith 5 nor had Father Lavdlo; -bis friend and confessor. In all bis dreams, daring all his confessions, not in any single narrative of adventure, nor when luost lie appeared to be unburdening, himself, had the mad Englishman of Venice disclosed the secret of the buried treasure of Wilderness Creek. (To be am&uitd.)