|Chapter Number||PART IV. XV|
|Chapter Title||DAVID'S WIFE.|
|Newspaper Title||The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)|
|Trove Title||Under the Great Seal|
fairs and JFketcke&
[SOW nBST rCBUSHED.] UNDER THEGREAT SEAL, A NOVEL,
Bf JOSEPH HSTWK. Author of ' Cfctie,' ' By Order of the Car,' 'John JfeeSuun1* Doable,' 'Cruel Lod 400,' *c.
fili SJOHIS SESEBVZD}. PART IV. Chutkr XV.— David's Wire.
After frowning upon him and punning bim with misadventure, even unto the very valley of the shadow of death, Fortune smiled upon David Keith and endowed bim with happiness without a drawback beyond the common discounts that belong to the natural cute of man. She had not altogether shielded him from the ptnalties of hii hereditary passion of
vengeance ; but sue baa rjcougut nuu tnrougn the perils thereof with a far less and much briefer punishmenl than that which had fallen to the lot of his father. Moreover, David's good fortttne in this respect was farther secured, and gnarantea given » Fate by hii marriage with a woman who had the power and the opportunity to in unence him in the direction of the most perfect charity. Mildred Hope also had her reward of a silent and adf sacrificing love in the realisation of her moat sanguine hopes. She had uever dazed to pray for such bliss aa had been vouchsafed her. The reader knows that her views of prayer were not in the direction of petitions for material blessings. They were rather the regitter of her mi ambition to do good deeds, and to be worthy of heavenly recognition, titan supplications fur this, and that, and blessings upon her worldly enter prises. Hoping all thing! good, desiring power ior the sake of others', she had inherited ber TinT***' **»?*''«. and aaw her way to be God's almoner. It bad bees a quiet wedding at the chorea where Mildred as a girl bad received her first impniM* of religions faith and active charity. She w*» a very beaming bride, despite that touch of seriooaness in ber manner and attire that bad appealed to the worldly mind of Mrs. Charity Deae as not incompatible with love. Sally Mnmford rnnfrsnrrt that she had no idea how pretty Mildred really was until she saw ber dressed for the wedding, that made Sally no', less happy than the bride herself. David had recovered his strength, and his eye was almost as bright as his father's, his lips continually parting to laugh or say something expressive of liis .joy. He bad come to love Mildred with a foil heart, and to feel in it that sense of rest, security, and serene happinem that —^nl*? not for a single day have cpne hand in hand in a union with Elniija Webb. Alan Keith was at the wedding, erect, dean-shares, bony and wrinkled as «ver. but with the deep set eyes, long thin bands, prominent nose, and broad wrinkled fore beard, that characterised his tint appearance in Hartley's Bow. Instead of the roogh flannel cotton that usually fell about his t&raat, tied with a silk scarf of same mid colour. Silly Mumford had indnced him to put w a white linen shirt and a light blue stock with a gold pin in it. Nothing would induce nim, however, to changebis gaherdini&u coat and his curious vest, but the buckles in hu shoes had been polished, and they were nearly as white as Mildred Hope's teeth, which flashed now and then between her red lips. SaHy was dressed in a grey* silk gown with a pretty old-fashioned pelisse, and her grey hair was gathered in clusters of curis on each temple. Mr. Petherick gave die bride away, and Mr. Margrave, the trustee under Plympton's will, was one of the witnesses. Margrave had waited at St. John's oatil the news of the loss of the Morning Star had left him nothing else to do but return home ; and now, after the wedding, Mr. Alan Keith had been able to give him such a fee, with 'Contingent promiw of another, as induced him 4o accompanv the party on the wedding tour. The trip was to St. John's, Una time from tthe Londou docks, and by steam. The voyage liad been delightful, and they had reached St. John's with the first warm eunbearui* of an early summer. They had been aUe to re&t a furuuhed house belonging to one of the principal residents, who bad been tempted to take a holiday is Europe on the strength of Mr. Margrave's proposal* for the bouse, which the astnte London lawyer had made through the agent with whom be had loag bees in communication in regard to David Plympum's bequests. These testamentary Rifts were chiefly in favour of David Keith, the property including certain wild and waste lands along the coast of Labrador, and extending for some distance inland above Demou'a Bock. Soon after the party landed, therefore, Mildred found herself mistress of what was -considered a very fine bouse for St. John 'a, with ber father-in-law, Alan Keith, Sally Mnmford. and Mr. Margrave as visitors. -She proved quite equal in every way to her new duties, and Silly never tired of praising -her, and congratulating David on his clever and pretty wife. The only anxious times the Two women experienced were their excursions to Wilderness Creek. There was no real ?cause for anxiety, and their fears were brief ; they only belonged to the hours or days when the voyagers did not return very close to the lima- appointed ; bnt David and Alan could -not count upon the moment they might sail through the natural gateway of St. John's with their mysterious cargoes. Everything had happened favourably for the Labrador treasure collectors. Mr. Mar grave proved himself a- -useful ally in the disposal of the valuables. He made a journey to New x'ork with bullion and precious -stones, and paid a vety huge cum to David
Keith's account through New York into the the Bant of England, besides making, deposits in DavidV name, for which he brought back scrip in three of the leading banks of the United States. The deposit which Alan made in the friendly oasis above Demon's Bock be paid without fear or nervation into the bank at St. John's. Whatever be might feel as to certain of tbeax-easurea of Wilderness Creek, at least the board he had buried away in a secret corner only known to himself was without taint. It consisted of the fund made over to him by bis father-in-law, and in part of bis own hard earned savings, when it had been settled that he and Preedie should go to Salem or Boston and buy a ship to light against the buccaneering Ristack. The bank manager was only too glad to welcome to St. John's the heirs of David Ptympton, father and son, and Alan announced bis own and bis son's intentions of promoting enterprises, both commercial and charitable, bearing upon the welfare of the colony. The bright -eyed old man even spoke of a railroad from St John's to the two nearest neighbouring settlements, and made various other wild suggestions Uiat were quite in keeping with his strange foreign appearance. Hie first contract upon which he entered wa- preliminary 10 the erection of the fine memorials which now mark the locality of the last resting places, firstly of ! Hannah Keith, and secondly of the New foundland dog Sampson. The broken column with its guardian angel that marks the grave of the belle of the vanished Heart's Delight, 1 and the monolith with its sculptured head of a dog 1 hat stands in the shadow of a group of tamaracks and other forest trees, are features of ltack-Bay Valley, sacred to memories that already belong to tradition and romance. The new Heart's Content interested Alan Keith only in a negative way. It did not even suggest the village of Heart's Delight upon the ashes of which it vu built. There was no trace of the Great House. The fish fiakes wereal! tiew. The stakes up against which the well-dressed bodies of Ristack and Ruddock had tloated, prim tributes to the roogh justice of it great revenge had dis appeared. The houses were mostly of brick and stone. The qua)* was a firm and solid piece «f nwrfcioarisiuji. There were gardens^ but the arbour of the Great House bad been burnt up in tlie general conflagration and clearing which had been undertaken under the authority of the Great Seal of England. All was changed indeed. The inhabitants had little or no record of the past. The people whom &l«n had knovra «ttc mostly dispersed. Even to this day Heart's Content has little or no record of the village upon the ashes of which it was built- The oldest in habitant had his stories of the days of the Fishing Admirals and of tbe war with America, but he wabgarruloug.andoften forgot nimes and dates and so varied his stories that they had coine to be regarded as fables. Tbc grave in Back Bay YaUey, UHtTbeleliN. of the dog let into the t«fnarack bad Aetu\ their plsce in such romance as the district provided, and the valley 'bad become apic-oie ground once in a way duringiavtuma jayfe when tbe fishing was over, for family parlies and the school, which was tlie principal institution of tlie new town. Alan had fi-lta' deep sense of gratitude to HearlVCsnttnl on this account, and he pave practical expression to it in i^tablishing tlie foundation of tlie ecboolc and church beyond the pos ibility of If Heart's Content disappointed Alan by it* absence of family landmarks, it was neverthe less the kind of n&hiug village and harbuur that he and liympton had thought of an possible at some future day. l'lympton, as we all know, was far less sanguine than AUn, who was imbued with apathetic sense of the destiny of the oldest British colony. Un grateful step-mother as the old country undoubtedly wad, Alan, with the keen-sighted prevision of a shrewd and enterprising Scotchniiu, gauged the destiny of a territory that was bound to pass through the darkness io which he found it into tbc light of commercial prosperity, if not Imperial dis tinction. Alan 'it hopes and prophecies have been fulfilled, but the height to which his forecast pointed discloses other heights which have to be climbed in the confirmation of Newfoundland's rights and privileges, and in fulfilment of the duty the mother country still owes to her oldest aud nearest colony. In their operations at Wilderness Creek, David and AUn had concluded tliat it would be well to concentrate their attcntiou upon tbe cemetery, and leave the upper regious of the territoty for their final labours. Xot a soul appeared in the tcgion of Xasquappe to disturb them. A couple of eagles evidently had their home 011 a distant cliff seawards. They Mould sail son' and then in a wide circle over the harbour and disappear behiud the lower ranges of tbe bills ; at night mysterious wings wonhl swish 1*3' them ££ they carried their last loads to the smack — bats or owls or both ; but no huinan voice was heard, no human footprint except their own marked the sandy shore of the secret harli&ur. At sea, beyond the shelter of VYtldfcrabM Creek, and far away from the dreaded rocks aiid shoals, fishing Mhips rode at anchor or trailed their nets ; otherwise tlie two men were as njuch aloue and as safe from interruption as the men of the St. Dennis had been with their added protectiou of look-outs and sentinels. The light of the furnace which had during the favourable and lovely summer converted thousands of Spanish and English dollars and guineas iuto solid iuj-&te, and bad obliterated tbe identity of many an antique vessel, cast a lurid light upon the foothills of the entrance to ihc cavern, and jstarclccl such uinged lifcas had been hitherto unaccustomed to any of ibe disturbing evidences of man's ingenuity. Davitl and Alau laboured au-ay with, steady persistence. They had soun become ac customed to their wealth. David had loug ceased to utter --xc)amatious over every n-;w fiiul ; but at night ou board the smack before turning in, father and son had built all kinds of castles in the air, castles that even their
cargoes of treasures were not oufiicient to compass : and now and then David would draw from his father fresb detail* of his adventures, and tbe father from David hitherto unrelated incidents of hit tint voyage and wreck. Narratives of bu early days in Venice would crop up in all Alan « stories ; they came as bis chief relief to the botrore of his alarery and imprisonment Then lie would go back to Heart's Delight, and picture to David ibe winter nights with bis grand f»ther, and Ms mother and Father Larello, in the family circle. Considering the changes that bad txken place in : he colony, tbe settled peace at home, tbe countries covered in his father's record, his om-u boyhood, and tlie very remote times that Sally Mumforil had spoken of, tbe similiegconnected with tbe Wandering Jew which Alan used now and then seemed quite appropriate, and David found himself searching his memory for other parallels of his father's strange and loug career. Alan told his son that when he readied bis age he would find that looking back over half a century was no more than tne yesterday of a youthful retrospection. What made the time appear a little longer than time was, to persons w1m- remained in one spot all their lives, were the many landmarks of varied events in different places ; but even these at the last came very close together, and life, after all, was just no more and no less than Job described it, ' We are but of yesterday and know nothing because our days upon earth are a shadow.'