Chapter 67365682

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Chapter NumberNone
Chapter TitleCONCLUDED
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article67365682
Full Date1880-06-19
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count3500
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)
Trove TitleLongstaff's Marriage
article text

Safes ami ^efcbcs.

LONGSTAFFS MARRIAGE. ICcatimd.)

Aum kept her word; she said nothing to ; Diana about the interview. The young Americans came out -and sat upon the shore the next day, and tie next, and the next, and Agatha watched intenfiy for Mr. Owgstaff a reappearance. But she watched m vain ; day after day be ra absent, and hia absence confirmed his sad prediction. She thought all

tliis a wonderful thing to happen to a woman, and as she glrir** askance at her beantifnl compsuion, she m almost irritated at seeing her sit there ao careless and serene, while a poor young man was dying, aa one might say, of love for her. At moments she wondered whether, in spite of her promise, it was not her Christian duty to tell Diana bis story and give her the chance to go to him. Bat it occurred to Agatha, who knew very well Oat her companion had a certain stately pride in which she beneK was lacking, tint even if she were told of bis eondnaau Diana might decline to do anything; and this she felt to bea most painful contingency. Beside she had r*^F'™^. and she always kept her with Mr. T — r*--r. and tie romance of the afiair. Th»^ n*^f her fntdwcholy, and. ri»»? tujfciy. mnc& less Han mmrl. Suddenly she was aroused from a reverie by hearing Diana express a careless cariosity as to what had beromeoftiieaoGtaTy yomiguan whoosed to ait on die w^bonrihg bench and do them the honour to stare at them. For almost; the first time in her life Ag».t*»* GflBSug defiberatdy dissembled. ' He ha& tether gone away or be has takes to hia bed. I believe he is dying alone, in tKW* uiblLued merce&wy lodgtog. 'I prefer to believe eaaetiimg more cheerful,** eaid Diana. ' I believe he is gone to Park and is eating a beantSiil dinner at tire Ttaa frese* Ptawencam.' flgfltfi^ for a ^nfFttrmit- said nftfoirg ; and ?hen — **I don't fliiittr yon care what becomes of him. she Tentnred to onservfc, 'My dear chad, why should I carer Diana demanded. And Aggtfffl Gosling was forced to admit that there reaDy was no putxcnlar letwn. But tfae event fwwti aWrirtwi her. une days afterward ahe took a drive with her friend from which they jfluuiril just ai dosk was dosing in. As they descended from the carnage at the door of their lodging, die ohsenwi * ngure steading in the street, sfighuy apart, which even in tbe eaiiy darfc neas ?*?»* an air of familiarity. A ^rfoofHi her attention. She immediately determu*ed to give him a liberal ueasare at it Diana left tne vehicle and passed into tne bouse, while file i^«*^mi' fbrtnnatdj asked for orders far tie monov. Agatha hriefiy gave men as were necessary, and then, before ffiug in. tuioea to £be Doming £gure. It approached on tiptoe, hat in hud, shaking its bead very sadly. The old man wore an air of friMwt»--tT «fiffr-ftTri which indicated Oat Mr. Longsbff was a generous master, and he proceeded to address Miss Gosling in that 4T*'«a.n. of Italian domestics who hare seen the wmld. 'I stole away from my dear gentleman's facdwnc on uufpuee to have ten words vith yoo. T^eojdwoman at the &nit-*taU opposite told me tint yon had gone to drive, » I waited, but it seemed to me a thousand years tiD yoo retarned r 'Bat you have not left vooi* master alone?' eaid Agatha, **He has two Sister* of Charity — heaven reward them ! They watch with him night - and day. fis is very low, panrre dttr hommz!' I And the old man looked at his mterlocutress with, that clear; bnmni sympathetic glance j witli which fta-lHinf of aD classes bridge orer ! tne Boctal gulf. Agatha felt that he knew his ' master's secret, and that she might discuss it i -with him freely. j 'Is he dying?' she asked. ' 'That's the question, dear lady ! He ie very low. The doctors have given him op ; but the doctors don't know bis malady. They have felt bis dear body all over, they have sounded bits longs, and looked at his tongue and counted his poise ; they know what he eats and drinks — if s Boon told ! But they haven't seen his nzttZ, dear lady. I have ; ' and so far I'm a better doctor than they. I know his secret — I know heloves the beaotifa] girl above V and the old man painted to the upper windows of the house. ' Has* yonr iMMfpr tatb'i yon tVifei iiin confi ne hesitated a moment ; tfcen shakinc ^-*g bf»fu7 a if**j*» «mif laying his hand on his 'Ah, dear lady,' he said, 'the point is wfcether I have taken him into mine. I have jw^, I confess ; be is too far gone. But I iia*L ni4#») ininaaH $q he iuB doctor and to by a remedy the oUiere bare nerer thonght oL Wl you beip me!' 'If lean,' said AgtOa. 'What is your remedy r Xiie old man pouiled to Qw npper windows M Vonr iorely friend * Bang her to his bedside.' 'H hen dying,' said Agatha, 'how woold snthdp bun f 'He's dying for wast of it. Thafa my idea at least, and I think if s worth trying. If ayonngsumloTegaheistiEnl woman, and, haring never so much as touched the tip of her $o»e, bib into a mortal iBoesi and wastes ?way, it leouires no treat wit to see that his JSnees doeant come fnxs iam having mdnlgai himself too grossly. B comes rather from the opposite cause! She sinks when she's away, perhaps hell come op when she's there. At any rate tfcaf s my theory, ml any theory is

good that wfl] save a dying man, Let Diana come sod stand a. moment by his bed. and lay her hand Boon his. We shall see what happens. H he gets arefl, if« worth while ; if he doesn't, there is no harm done. A young lady risks nothing in going to see a poor gentleman who lies in a stBDor between Cwo holy women.' Aga£taa was mnch impressed with tais it was quite impossible that her '»-??*«?'' friend should go npon Una moos errand without a special invitation from Sir. Loofistaff. Even ?hiwT^ lie beg Diana to «?-??»?- to him Acatlia was by no means sure her companion would go ; but it was very c&rtam. she wonld not take anch an extraordinary step at the mere so^stesbon of a serasL 'But yon, dear lady, hive the happiness not to be a servant,' the old man replied. 'Let the suggestion be yones.' M From me it ***M1^ -'Wihj wiUi no forces for what *—* I supposed to know *h*it^ juui poor master?' 'Ton have not told the Diana what he told yoa lie other day r Agatlia answered this qnestaon byanotiier question. ' Did be tell yon what be had told me !' The old *'?' tapped his ft*rg^iff*^ an iostant and «*nilffd. 'A good, flervaiat, yon know, dear UAj, . syw?g twrr to be told tf**»y»i \ If yon have met. repeated my masters words to yoor besnticGal friend. I bee you most earnestly to doso. 1 am afraid she i» rattier cold.' windows and lahea ahe gave a silent nod. She wondered greatly to fi^yj til ^ if ojsciiBsinf Diana*e rharactw vith. this aged TwrrtwJ ; hot tie wdtoation was so strange and romantic that one's old landmarks of uunmiuLy were quite obliterated, audit seemed natnsaltbat a mfef -U tiuambr? should be -sbank and famOU as a servant xn an old-€asfaioned comedy. sbaB aend-*forete^anK lad^f' Mr. Long staffs ^^wMTttar resomedp UI think I can pRMmse you that he wflL Let me urge you, meanwhile to talk b- her. B she is oold, melt her down. Prepare her to find him very gennenian, lymg mere aa sxui ana V'''''**0 as if he were hra own monument in a castpo mmto. I think he would interest.' Tins seemed to Agatha a very touching ...r«y ijof tfat j»a»y^s» to a BnrF that her inter view with Mr. Loogstaff's iTypwul ilnn. now unduly prolonged, was aswrniing a noctonat character. Sbeabrnptij brocght ittoacloee, having assured her interlocutor tiiatahe woold reflect npon what be had told her, aadshe tioo. Ltte that evening her agitation broke oat. She went into Diana's room, where she ftmnd this young lady -*-™K-g white-robed before her mirror, with her auburn besses rippling down to her knees ; and then, taking her two hands, ebe told the story of the young y^glM^i mm'ii prawni, told of b** cominE to talk to her tiat day that Diana had left her alone on the bench by the aea, and of his venerable valet having, a couple of hours before angst cpeecb rf her own «o the same ?abject Diana Gste&ed. at first with a roey flush. M-fl tten witit a. gAM. an Jmff!»t cruel lzown. 'Take pity on him,' aaid &&&*. Gosling. — 'take pity npon him and go and see him.' ** I don't nnderstsnd,** said her **'-nirra*'VTfr 'and it seems to me very disagreeable. What is Mr. Lnngstaff tome?' Bat before they separated. *g*t*** bad persuaded her to say that if a message really should come from the young man's destii-bed, she would not not refuse him the light of her presence. TbcniessagereaQy-aane, brought of coarse by -3i£ invalid's zealous T*»Mnlw-4*iw Be re appeared on the morrow, araoTmcing tiiat his master very humbly begged for die honour of ten. minutes conversation wiui tile two young tadies. They consented to follow him, and he led the way to Mr. Langstaifs apartments. Diana still wore her cloadv brow, but it made \ her terribly handsome. Under the old man'B ' guidance tiiey passed through a low green door ' m a yellow wall, across a tangled garden full of orange-trees and winter rases, and into a white-wainscoted saloon, where they were presently left alone before a great classic. Empire dock, perched upon a frigid southern chimney-piece. They waited, however, but for a few moments ; the door of aa adjoining room opened, and the Sisters of Charity, in white-winged hoods and with their hands thrust into the loose sleeves of the opposite arm, came forth and stood witij downcast eyes on either aide of the threshhold. Then the old servant appeared between tbem and beckond to the two young girls to to advance. itelatta-aMnpIif^witbacertamhesititiaii, and he ted them into the chamber of the d vmg man. Here, pointing to the bed, he silently left them and withdrew; not ^'inng, however, the door of cominnnication of the aa Imw. where he took op his position with tire Sisters of Charity. TH—ia an*^ h**r Tmptnton ffiftuu* together in the middle of tite darker room, waiting for an lay in his bed, propped upon piQowB, with moment he simpl y gazed at tabes ; he waa as white as the sheet tint covered him, and he certainly ??vfr*^ like a dying ?'»« Bat be hid tite flfRugth to bead forward, mod to Ml^oldyoabeso kdnd^naid Mr. Loog Agatha Gosling gently* poshed her friend forward, tmtshelaOowed her to tie bedside. Diana stood there, her frown bad netted away aod the yonog man sank back upon his {?How* and looked at her. A £uatcolour came into ois face, and be clasped his two bands together on fan breast. For some moments lie simply gazed at the beautiful girl before him. It was aa awkward sibimtion for ber. and fttjiiln expected her at anr momnit to tarn away in disgust But slowly, her loot of proud mnimiWwi, of

?nvrhaniral oompEanee, was exchanged far frunfUrine more patieut and pfoing. The nmng Endishman a face rlfrMfl a kmd of spiritual ecstasy which, it was impossible not to fed, gave ? peculiar sanctity to the 'It was very generous of joo to come.' he he said at hut ' I hardly ventured to hope you would. I suppose you know— I suppose Jour friend who Batoned terns so kindly, tea told you.' 'Sea, she-knows,* murmured Agatha- 'she 'I did not intend you laborfd kaownnta after my death,' he went on ; 'bsti' and be paused V moment and shook fan daned hands I together.— 'I eaddnt wait! And when I felt that I could** wait, a new idea, a new desire came into «ny nrind.' He was silent for an instant. sOl looting wBh wordnpfal entreaty at Unas. 7k odour is his Cue deepened. 'UissomeUringtbatyoninaydo for ac Ton will think S ?- mssteztnwr dinary request ; bat, in my position, a man grows boH. Dear hdy, wO yon many '^?Oh. dearr cried Agatha Gosling just attitsaVaeemed tossy that in fins remarkable ratnaWnn, cne tiling was no more sniprising than another. Bat she pan Mr. Umbra rropml the respect of sbwly ssstzBg ieradf m^ehair whichhad heen placed near his bed: here she rested m maidenly majesty with her eyes fixed on the cratma. 'It will help me to die happy, sum d» I must T the yoiig man ooutoed. 'It will enable me to do eomethmg for yon— the only thing I can do, I have property, —lands, houses, agieatmsir/faBBBUtUnk-thinp I have loved and aan very sorry to las ksvmg behind me. Lying here fcdpV Mill hopdesi to me of what - bum it wadTbe to know that they would rest in yonr hands. If yon w»Bne l&y wne utev wonuz nss vnwavmwsvji Tea might be spared mnch annoyance ; and it is not only that. I have a fancy beyond that. It would be the feeling of it ! lam fondafEn. Idoutwantto jie : but since I nxntdicHwouUbeahaminestto hare got just tins ?-ei«fnfe-4imTjommg-f am- hands before a priest. You could go away then. For ym it would make no rhmgn it would benoburdeu. But I should have a few boura mwhiehtoBeanatmmtcfmyIisiujia»ss There was wlaiiiu} in the juuim, man's tone so simple sad ancere. ao tmmsr sad argent that Agatha Gosling was touched to tan. 9ie famed away to hide them, sod went on tiptoe to the window; where she wept sOenfly. Diana apparently was not uumovaL She raised bareps. and fat them rest kindly on those of Mr. Umgstaff. who continued soUy to urge his proposal. 'It could be a great charity.' beesid, 'a great *^fntd*an*HW-Pi- ; afld it can nradnce no cobbb* qneneetoyoutlntyoncanldreeret. Itcanomly five you a larger liberty. Ton knew very UtUeaboutmVbotl have a feeling that, so far a. belief goes, yon can believe me, and that n aU I ask of yo*. I dout ask yon to lore me,-that takes time, tt is something I caunot pretesd to. H is only ta consent to the form, Ike ceremony. I have seen the English clergyman; he says he will perform it. He will tell yon, besides, aU about me, -that Inn an EneSah geatle. and that ftenamelofferyouisooEof the bestm thewodd.' It was strange to hear s, dying man Ik there and argue his point in this categorical fashion ; but now. apparently, his axgument was umshed. There was a deep auence. mad ^K***** tiioffi^it it wonld he dsneafa SB her own part to retire. She moved quietly into the adjoining room, where the two Sisters of Charity stffl stood with their hands in their sleeves, and the old Italian mfet was taking snuff with a, melaneholy gesture, lOsaper plexed diptomxtist. Agatha turned her back to these people, and, approaching a window again, stood looking out into the garden upon the orange-trees and tite winter roses. It seemed to her that she had been Ijsh-ninc to the most beautSul, most rnmantir, and most eloquent of declarations. How could Diana be insensible to it? She earnestly hoped her companion would consent to the aolaan and interesting ceremony proposed by Mr. Lobg staft. and though her delicacy had prompted her to withdraw, it permitted her to listen eagerly to what Diania would say. Then, (as she heard nothing) it was ecupaed by the desire to go back and whisper, wiUi a sym pathetic loss, a word of counsel. She glanced around again at the Sisters of Charity, who was one of suspense. One of them detached herself and as Agatha retmaed, followed her a few steps out of the room. Diana had got up from her chan1. She was looking about uneasily. She grasped at Agate's hand. Begmail Loogetaff lay there wSJThie waited face and his brilliant eyes, looking at than both. Agatha toot her friend'ntwo hands in both her own. **Ifs very little to do, dearest,' ahe mur mured, 'and it -vill make ham very happy.' The young man appeared to have bend her, and he repeated her words in » tone fif intense 'It w very little to do, dearest'' Kan looked round at him an mstsnt Then, for an instant, she covered ber face with her two hands. Removing them, but holding them stffl against her cheeks, she looked at her companion, with eyes that 'r** alwxya remembered — eves through which a thin gleam of mockery flashed from the aerionsness of her face. 'Suppose, after aU, be should get weDr she murmured. Longstaff heard it; be gave «. long, soft moan, and famed away, ttte Siaterjmme diatdyapprouhea the bed, on the ether side, dropped on her knees lot bant over him. while he leaned ma bead against the gnat white cape along which her emanx depended. Diana stood ? moment longer, looking at him ; then, gathering her shawl together with a great Sjgmty, she nkwly walked eat of the

room. Agatha could do nothing fcat ntkjsr her. The eld Italian hoklmglSe door open for them to pass out, made tbem sa exagge rated aMssoce. In the garden Diana paused, Witt a flush in her cheekTand said, ?TfheconJd4iewiUia,heaKiMdiewiaiont it' Bat beyond the garden garden gate, in tWeatasty smny street, she tnddmny bant jntonmm. Agatha made no reproaches, no comments; botWcoaiptrion, during the rest of the day, spoke of nfr'Umgstaff several times with on ?Will ?—? ? li JnrlinnrHnii ehepronouneed his conduct indelicate, ezatutic, impertinent^ ahe declared that ahe haS found ti-e scene most revouiog. Agatha, for the mouunt, remainea saentThut fte.M* day she ^tempted to Toungman. Then DUna,with great enpoaan beggedhertobesog«oi«nerar to mentiap hfc name again; anS she added that he had put her completely out of humour with Sice, from wttcn^ttee they wonH immediateiy g taketiMirdeurton. This they did without M delay ; they began to faavelj again. Agatta-^ beard t» morTrf Beghuli Lougsoff ; tte Engliah ladies who had been her original source of information witti regard to him hud now left Nice! otherwise she would ban have written to them for news. That is, ane would have thonght of writing to them; I suspect thai, on the whole, she would have daned hemdf this aathxaction, on the ground of ioyahv to her friend. Agatha, at any rat, could only drop ? tear, at solitary boon, upon the young man's unanswered fayer and early dWhTCimn* be confessedThowever, tint mmfthnm, as the weeks elspsed, a. oertain faint displwsjun tuisgled BssK with her sympatky-a wish Oat, nnghlv sneaking, powMtl^sKstaffr^leathemsLoe. rSnce flmtstinngeutoriiev^t bis bedside things had not gone well; the charm of their earBsr eontsDfanentaeemed broken. Agatha said to hmclf viatL nisa&y. 3 she were tnptxtt^tsotiMp she nrigntfancyttst Diana's condnet on this occasion had brought them imder an era charm. It was nonmuwsUtjiUwi, watajuly. to think that this young ladg had lust acertam cstnTBmed nHacciiiiiHjiiieo|HnMmssndMcoponBd ntmatoral plans. It is fane feat disagreeable thiiijjs wftte coswstajntly haiuwmiig to tlien — thmga which wonld hnTwt the most onmfiled spint. Their poekhcraes broke down, tteh-posaions ?«, impetUueiit, tiaar loggage went astray, then- servants betrayed them. The heavens themselves seemed to jouw the conspiracy, and for days together were narfc and unsenemna. tEeabnc ^^— ' obSt to waffing winds and watery chmu. It was, ma large measure, in the light of after yean that Agatha judged Sris period, but even at the time she at it to be depressing, un comfortable, nnnatnrrJ Diana apparently shared this feeling, tbongh she nevcr^psuly avowed it She took nxkge m a kind of haughty rs3enee, and whenever a new eos (retospsesme to her knowledge, she simply greeted it with a bitter smue which Agatha always interpreted as an ironical reflection on p«r,fantM&,obtwsiraMr. LongsbfC, who, through seme myBterJouB action upon the machinery of natnre, had toned the tide of their fortunes. At the end of Ihe summer, suddenly. TJumacnmosedthey ahnno^bume. in the tone of n nersmVtegraimnimiekw. straggle. Agatha assented, and the two Sadies returned to America, mnch to the relief of Hiss Goaling, who bad an sncomfoitabie sense that there was ammlliiiife smezpinsed and nnregnkted between them, which gave their ujimjMlionare»fniH»niftaaaiiltrraiaraing. But st home ttey separated vay tenderly, far Agatha had to go and devote hendt to her nearer kmaMk m lie country. These good people after her long absence were exacting, so that for two seansne saw nothing o£ berlate otmipsnion. (7V- 6e wndndai next igmr.)