Chapter 65754444

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Chapter Number4. VII
Chapter Title
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Full Date1893-05-13
Page Number8
Word Count1844
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)
Trove TitleUnder the Great Seal
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fates attft jfffcefritfg. [NOW WBST PUBLISHED.] UNDER THEGREAT SEAL, A NOVEL, BY JOSEPH~HATTON. Author of ' Clytie,' ' By Order of the Crar,' 'John Xeedham's Double,' 'Cruel Lon don/* ftc. [AIX RIGHTS BESEBYED]. PART IV. ChaTTEB V1L — SfBPBISES P0K HaBTLEt's Row. ' Beg pardon, us you Mia Mildred Hope 5' asked & tall, strange man, encumbered with a. for coat and cap, and speaking with a enriona Scottish accent AUn Keith as he entered the bright par ticular comer where Sally's green shutters, white blinds, and brass knocker gave distinc tion to Hartley's Row, came npon Uildred shutting her own door, and evidently about to walkover to Sally's.' He had heard bo much about both women and the locality of their two dwellings, that he could not have miaiakgn the trim, dainty little figure of the Prison visitor. ' Yes.' she aid, ** that is my name.' ' We're wed met,' replied the stranger, 'I hae news o' jour froend, David Keith.-' 'Oh, have von*-' was the quick reply in which diere was a mixture of hope and appre hension, ' U it good news i' 'Aye, I'm glad to say it is.' 'Thank God!' Mildred exclaimed, with fervour. ' Ye bad ill tidings I'm tliiakinY' 'Yes, oh yes, the news came yesterday.1* 'What news!' ' The loss of the Morning Star. ' ' (Teel, that's true enough ; but our David was saved.' ' You don't know what a blessed messenger you are !' said Mildred. ' Yet I dinna undervalue the tidin's I bring ; I suppose yere thinkin' o' Sally Mom ' Yes,' said Madrea, 'but who are you, sir, may I aak *' ?Tm tdt rare a God-fearin' little woman, a releegions liu?ie, one who can stand firm in joy or sorrow!' 'I am a humble servant of Christ,' said Mildred, 'bat only a poor creature.' *-I am Alan Keith.' said the stranger; David's father.' ' Yftn arr pnT^nifing wTir*^'*** I1* exclaimed Mildred, starting back a pace or two. ' Wee\ Idiiroa ken bat what you're reight ! And itaeams to me it's just providential tJiat I met you i' this, promiscuous way. for the reason thatlwantyoujust to go into tnathouae wT the .brass knocker, and acquaint Sally Stamford wi' the fact that not on]; is David alive, was lost and is found, but that bis fatfcer is.alsae in the land o' thelivin,' ani when ahe'sina.cooditian toaee me, 111 step in and assure her o' my reality.' '* Yes, yes ; oh, yoa are very thonghful — And David, where is he T 'On, heuua. faraway,' said Alan, with a roast grim land of wink that was intended to !be humorous, '' there was jest & person be lhad to see oot yonder; but heTl na be lang— ??and noq. Miss Hope, gae and prepare the way Jor me and my .guae tidin's.' ' I am rather bewildered,' said Uildred, -' You're a bonnie lassie,' said Alan, 'for a yry4''* lassie .you're just a marvel o' sweet halts and a'most tweeter voice ; besides it's veet «anld ; gae in lassie, and when Sally's equal to meeu? guests and the like^come ye to the dear.' Ala* .stood in the Bttic court for some time noting its dean red bricks, its raddled pots filled with greenery, notwithstanding the Dip ping frosTO of ^winter. Stray beams of sunshine glinted in upon him. Then tite wind would rush round an adjacent corner and ruffle the grey fur of his coat collar, as if it had some business of indeo.tifica.tiau ou hand and whs going to carry the strange news out to sea. Presently Mildred in a soft, dove-coloured dress cute to die door and Alan followed her into the house. A pinched, red-eyed old lady met him -almost on the door step, and then recoiled as he put out his *'«'*' ' Heaven support me, ** she exclaimed, ' how you must have sufifred !' ' And ye mite as if ye'd nae had aae vera - gude a time yersel' I' vat- Alan'e calm reply. 'Oh dear, dear, your poor grey hair, and your hollow cheeks ! Ob, my dear, kind, abused master ;n Sally went on kissing his .liands snd weeping over them. ' My dear Saliy, ye were ouce as buxom -and fresh as a rose, but there I canna tell ye UioajdadXam.ta8ee.jEei' .. . ?'Dear master, luy poor,- kind, brave master,' went ou Sally, 'aud you've seeu David your son ! Merciful God,'- how myster ious *re Toy Tfavs '.' ''Aye 'said Aim, ' come noo «t ye down, Sally, my lass, and I'll jnsf tek off those over powering wraps that David would Joad me wi' fear I'd be tekkin canld, the dear thoughtful lad that he is!' ' I will return by and Lye,' and Mildred, who felt herself in the u-ajp, and was atudous to leave Sally and her oM master to unburden 4 heir memories to eadiather iu private. ' So, -my love, do^nt tiiee go, eh my dear master, you don't know what a comfort she's been.ta me.' ?' Oh, yes I do, David's tdt me all about Miss Hope,' said Alan, -removing his wraps and standing forth in the quaint Oriental garb that be had worn in Venice. He ,oolte-1 tin yean younger now that his figure was more -or less f oee {row incumhrauee ; the same Jiitchet face, the same strong, well-shaped nose, the deep stuiken eyes, the -mast erf ul if -gentle expression that had attracted tile artis tic Venetian's when first they aw him. Mil

dred felt awed in his presence ; he was differ ent from any other man she had seen ! He seemetl in her nntntored imagination like a prophet out of the Bible. Sally could only ait down and stare at htm and sigh And wonder, until her first surprise and amazement over, she asked for David. The same grim effort At optical 'humour that had startled Mildred, was Alan's response. ' But where is he!' asked Sally, 'did he come with yon *' ' Aye, he did, we came by the coach fra£ London.' ' Yes !' said Sally, ' and then ?' ' Why, he bade me come jod here and pre pare the -way for him, while he went on a little business of his aw.' The same wink, with tile same ludicrous results. Then it suddenly dawned upon Mildred that David had gone to Caistor. She glanced at Sally, who read her thought, and started to ber feet. 'Dear master, don't say he has gone to Caistor 5' 'There's a person named Webb lives at Gaistor, eb V was Alan's response, but tbbj time, the wink was checked half-way, by an expression of terror that distorted the face of Sally Mnmford, which had already been worn into a permanent expression of pain and 'Oh, where did he say he was going*' asked Sally. 'To see his sweetheart, and bring ber here to complete our family parry,' said Alan. 'Oh, dear, dear !' exclaimed Sally, burst ing into tears, and hiding her face in her apron. ' Kae, there'ssometbiug wrang I' said Alan looking from Sally to Mildred, who had turned pale, bat stood as stiffly as a statue gazing at Alan. ' Yes,' she said, her lips trembling. 'What is it?' ' Elmira is no longer worthy of David,' said Mildred. 'How? Why!' ' She has forgotten him and herself ,' said Mildred. 'Dinna beat about the bush; I had begun to tbenk be was tco happy, that I was too happy,** said the old man with a sigh, and stooping as he spoke like a man in the attitnde of bending his back to a blow. ' She has cone away, with a young man called Harry Barkstead.' 'Good God! he was David's best friend.' ' David thought so,' said Mildred. ' She has fcft her father and her home, and is living with David's friend r' asked Alan, turning his deep set eyes upon Mildred. Mildred amply said 'Alas,' and looked upon the ground. Alan' t£mst his long. fingers through his .thin whisps of hair, dragged a chair towards the inglenook, sat down, and looked .into the fire, almost in an attitude similar to that in which Zaccheus Webb was sitting when David found him. ' Disgraced fcersen, as treel as be' untrue to David, is that what ye say f he asked, staring at the cracking irood and coal. ' I fear so, led away hy a designing and wicked man,' said Mildred. ' His friend !' said Alan, ' bis friend ! It will hurt David ; please God to be nae a mortal hurt. His tnither was sn angel —is an angel— I last her? death took her. Poor David ! This EJmira Webb was his heart and soul/his life and hope and ambition— and he's lost her, and there's a loss that -trorse than death ! WhatTl he do* If they meet there's bat one thing he can do. His mither ow'd her death to villainy aud persecution, they jest broke her heart ; but I smote them, hip and thigh-aye, I did V ' Sir,' said Mildred, facing Alan as he rose np and began to put on his cloak, ' David is a man oF peace.' ' Is he 1 L=t me tell ye, then, that David's a man o' war ; A life fora life : will you deny him a righteous vengeance ?™ ' ' Vengeance is mine, saith the LorJ, I will repay,'' answered Mildred ; and Sally, tak ing AUui's hand, leaucd her head upon hid arm and continued to weep and sob. ' Forgive me, I aniua used to be wano women : I'm just bragging like some waster, besides forgettin' a1 the misery that belongs to what's ca'cil tekkin the Ian- into one's own bands ; but ye hae telt me the saddest news 1 hae heard for more'n twenty year. It sets my aold heat t beatin' like a blacksmith's hammer ; I mun gae into the air. Moreover I miin find him. How will I get to Caistor ? He hired htm a gig.'' ' I will show you,' said Mildred- ' May I go with yon V ' If yell gae new.' ' I will,' sahl Mildred, trying her bonnet under ber chin and wrapping her thick grey cloak about her. ' I canna be left, I won't be left here. ?? said Sally - take me wi' ye. But for David's sake, you shoulJn't be sorry ibout alout Elmira Webb ; she were a bad lot at heart. I nivver liked bei.' 'Eb, bat David worshipped her,' said Alia. 'Take me to David,*' said -Sstlly, 'I must Mildred ran upstairs for Sally's shawl and a great muff that David had bought her, and a. boi for her neck, ami they went forth as a wintry sun was being blown out by a. north west n-ind that was lieatin? an into a £alc