Chapter 71114772

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1889-02-02
Page Number33
Word Count803
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAustralian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)
Trove TitleCrushed Flowers. Breathing Fragrance All Around Him
article text

Crushed Flowers.




_ ' i i

(Begun in TOWN AND COONTBY JOURNAL of January 19.)



The minutes glided by; and still in the one position he pondered long and deeply. Suddenly an audible groan escaped'him ; and he lifted a weary, wan face; his arms fell listlessly at his sides ; and his Mps moved in silence. It was Mrs. Noel's habit to dust the drawing-room with her own hands every morning ;' and so she entered now. -, .; ( ..

( " I thought you were gone. Jasper," she said, in some surprise. Then, noting something strange about him, sho added

; " Are you ill-too ill to go the city ?"

; " No," he answered testily, and rising from his chair as if every, bone in his body ached. " But I am not such a young man as I thought. Thaf s

j Mrs. Noel watched his movements anxiously as ne made bis exit ; and then she sank on her knees at... the chair he had just vacated, and sobbed out : J "Oh ! we are all miserable alike now. He suspects. I know he does, Oh ! my brave boy - my handsome Charlie." Her face was hidden in'her hands ; and her tears fell thick and- fast. A hand pressed her shoulder almost to nain ; and she turned to see Jasper standing over her. ,,, "

! "Get up," he said, his lips visibly bleaching. Siie rose . mechanically,, and, from sheer fright, unable to stand, dropped into the chair, looking

at him in wonder and .distress.

, " Don't fret for Charlie," he went on; " I have quick ears and quick eyes, too. I Caught your words, and1 came back to sayi " Don't fret for Charlie.'. ^Now,"" he asked, through ? set lips, "how long have you known this?" :''

, " Known what, Jasper ?"

i He.fplded his arms, byer, his breast, as if to bide the storm of misery, swelling there, and said quietly, " Don't be afraid of me. I will-.not kill you. I wUl not.harm . Blanche or your brave Charlie. " l am hot mad:- Tell me all you know."

j, " Oh, Jasper, what can you mean ? You terrify


¡ "What do I mean ?" he echoed, lifting his eyes, heavenward. And then he added solemnly, " I

mean that those children love each other'. You know it. And I know it now." /<, . .

¡ " They have tried their best to forget it," she qried, hysterically. " We all value your happi ness before our own. But Charlie lovedher dearly almost from the first ; and she loved' him, yet determined bravely to battle against it. They are good and honorable, and young. They will get over it, and you shall be happy still, and have Blanche all your own. How have you. found it but?"

j "Through the over-anxiety for concealment. Since your return from Melbourne all has been different. Through the look I saw in his eyes andi hers last night. Through the hidden misery' Which has wrecked that poor 'child's health.; Through an unnatural gravity warping bis happy4 nature. Is it not enough ?" ... j "Oh! Jasper, Jasper."

¡ "Don't waste tears. Do I shedi them ?" No,

indeed. His eyes were hot and dry,- "¿ One word more. I desire you to say nothing of this till I have spoken first." y¡*. *

j He turned to leave her. But she called him ; ; and he stood at the door, handle inland, awaiting

her next words.

j "Promise mernot to blame him. You can never know hoTvihefhas suffered." :

i jasper's thoughts K-flew swiftly back twenty years to an episode'in his life, of which she knew nothing ; and he said with fine, bitter irony. , "Ay, perhaps not. Anything more ?"

j "He is noble and, good," pleaded the mother. " He is determined to live down his misery, and his . whole thought is how to serve you. His Anxiety to sell his picture well is that he might 'Bestow a fitting present on your wedding day, out

bf the fulness of his love and gratitude, with some of the gold earned by a talent, which assuredly might have lain dormant, but for you. These are his own words; and he means them, every one."

i Jasper opened his mouth .more than once before he could speak; arid then, with a mild, unrebuk ing glance bent on her, he spoke thickly

j " I blame nobody ,but myself." .

j So the door shut behind him; and Mrs. Noel

was alone.