|Chapter Number||III. (Continued.)|
|Newspaper Title||Queenscliff Sentinel, Drysdale, ... (Vic. : 1882 - 1884)|
|Trove Title||Dark Days: A Story of Light|
DARK DAYS. A STORY OF LIGHT. Br G. MexvIrm FsNN. CHAPTER III. (Continued.) Thevery next day, when the major, having satisfied himself that there was plenty of actinism, as he called it, in the atmosphere, had been busily photographing a picturesque group of rocks, Barry acting as his aid from having a fair knowledge of the process, they were asked in, and the brothers 'insisted upon their taking tea. They needed but little pressing, and in the midst of a dissertation on gardening from Captain Sanctuary, there was an interruption. Richard Barry was sitting back iq his chair, atullhing x'Sanctuary, who was bending over her work and forming, he thought, a very charming picture as the light from the shaded lamp fell upon her soft white face and busy hands, while from time to time she looked up to show how she was interested in her father's words and exchanged glances with him. "Yes, sir; it has now become the dream of my life. You see, we take a camera and focus the lens, till we have upon a piece of ground glass the inverted image of somebody, or say the countenance of my daughter here. Then we insert a sensitised plate, expose it for a longer or shorter time, and after certain processes of fixing, we have the exact repre sentation of the features to the smallest defect." "And a very beautiful art is is," said Barry. "Beautiful and wonderful," said the major; "but it has one enormous defect. Now then, what is it ?" "My knowledge of photography is only limited, Major Sanctuary, but I should have supposed it to have had several.',' "So it has, my dear sir; but one great one. Look at my daughter's face." "Papa, I must protest," said May, smil. fug. "I second the protest," said Barry, smil. ing. S"Might find something worse to look at," said the major tartly; " then look out of ,that window. There, sir, what do you see?" "A delicious little piece of nature's most exquisite coloring." "Exactly," said the major, "colo- that is what we cannotget in photography, It is cold black and white." "But you get very beautiful half-tints, papa," said May. "Yes, my dear, yes; butif we could only reproduce nature's more bright colors ! Sir, it is the dream of my life to attempt that, and I shall work at it till I do." "Are you experimentalising, sir ?" broke in;Lushmore. "Every day, sir, every day," said the major. "I am consulting chemistry." "You should take Richard' Barry into your confidence, sir. He is a famous chemist." "Indeed 1" cried the major. "Professor and lecturer in the gentle art," - said Lusmore. "He nearly blew my head off with his experiments." " Mr. Barry," cried the major, '"will you look into what I am doing by the rpintroduo ' tion of bromine for aensitising 't-silvered plate?" "After Danguerre's fashion ?" said Barry quietly; "certainly." Just then May raised her eyes, and they met his, and it seemed that her look had changed, and as if she were gauging him. And then the door opened, and the gentle man in the yachting dress entered uncere. moniously, and seemed astounded to find the two friends apparently quite at home. "Ah I Basman," said the major, "just in the nick of time. Here is Mr. Barry, who is a great- Here, bless my heart I you are strangers. Mr. Barry, Mr. Eric Basman, a great friend of mine. Mr. Lusmore, Mr. Basman. Excuse my clumsy way, gentle. men. Very glad you came in, Basman; sit down." " Mr. Eric Basman don't seem glad that he has come in and found them here," said Dinah Sanctuary to herself, and she glanced at her father, and then laughingly imitated him by drawing down the corners of her snouth. . Captain Sanctuary shook his fist at her, and they laughedunseen. "Mr. Barry is a chemist, Basman, who takes great interest in photography," said the major. "Indeed i" "For the matter of that," said Barry, '"I take great interest in any science where chemistry can be brought to bear." "And do you think, now, that you can help me ?" said the major eagerly. " That is a question I cannot answer off. band, sir," replied Barry quietly, and as he spoke he became aware of the fact that May Sanctuary was watching him narrowly. "I knowthe ordinary routine of photography, and I'have pretty well studied the chemicals used in the process, but I am not prepared to say that I could invent such an advance as you suggest." "No," said Basman shortly; .it is not likely." "Let-let him speak, Basman," said the major,.who was excited. "Oh, certainly; as long as you like." " There, are abler chemists among us, Major Sanctuary, who have declared your idea to be impossible," said Barry. "Ha, ha, ha i Do you hear that, major!. said Basman, with a rather offensive laugh' "Yes, yes, 1 hear," replied the I major; "but they may not have gone so deeply into the matter as I have." . " And wasted so much money," said. Cap: ' ain Sanctuary gruffly, S"Now, my dear Jack, I never find fault •with you for spending money over fire places and flues for forcing plants in green houses." "' And scorching them all to death;" said Basman, laughing. "Perhaps so, sir," said Captain Sanctuary; and he proceeded to tell Lusmore how he had m~ade too much fire upon one occasion, and nearly killed all his choicest plants, while the major gave the dark gentleman a quiet look, that evident,, meant, " Have :the goodness to be silent I' "The fact is, Mr. Barry," he continued, '" I think I may say that I have made this .discovery." "It is not premature to speak!'' said Bas. man quickly. "I do not ,see that it dan be," said the major quietly. "The secret is mine." "But the patent is not thoroughly secured as yet." " 'What matter 1" saidthe major. "I am talking to gentlemen," Basman shrugged his shoulders meaningly, and Barry felt as if he would have liked to Ikick him. "If you have discovered the secret, Major 'Sanctuary," said Barry, "there can be no necessity for imparting it to another." t"But there is necessity," replied the major. "The fact is, I have discovered :the means-that is, the materials-but I have .not mastered them; and I confess that-I cannot do this without the assistance of i zhemis$t, Now I thought, Mr, Barry-.,-"
"Surely, my dear major, you will not make your plans known until you have made everything secure ?" said Basman. "May, dear, will you give us a little music " said the major, without making any response, and he opened the piano himself. May Sanctuary gave her father an earnest look as she took an old bound music-book from the canterbury, and henodded, smiled, and patted her cheek : while, at a glance from her cousin, Dinah joined her at the piano, and then the tones of the old-fashioned duet, "Flow on, thoushiningRiver," floated out on the evening air; till as the last note seemed to quiver in the stillness, and Richard Barry sat there with his eyes half-closed, his lips apart, and his very fibres thrilling with the sweet harmonies of the two voices that had just ceased their pleasant task, the air was taken up from below the cliff, deeply,. but far from inharmoniously, as the crew of one of the luggers passed on the way to their fishing ground for the night. "Hang these fellows I They have impua dence enough for anything." " We take it as a compliment, Mr. Bas. man," said the major stiffly ; and he crossed to the window, and stepped out into the garden to walk amongst the rocks with the' last speaker, who took out his cigar-case, and offered it to his companion. "Thanks, no. I will not smoke to-night;" and they walked in and out for a few minutes in silence, listening to a bright little ballad that Dinahwas singing to her cousin's accompaniment. At last Basman stopped by an opening where there was a rock-seat overlooking the sea, the major by his side, their two figures plainly seen against the evening sky by Barry, as hesat in his folding chair listening to Dinah, and thinking how beautiful May's fingers looked playing and flitting over the ivory keys by the light of the softly-shaded lamp. "Look here, major," said Basman sud. denly, "what does all this mean ? Why are these two fellows here?" "These two gentlemen are friends of mine, sir." "No, they are not," cried Basman rudely. "Confound you, sir I how dare you 1" " Chut I chut I don't get in a passion and let them know you are out of temper," said Basman coolly. "I'm speaking plainly; I always do. .'hese are not friends but a couple of strangers you met on the pier, and they wended their way into your confidence. I don't know that they are not a couple of swindlers." " And I know, sir, that they are a couple of gentlemen." "Well, I hope they are, but after what has passed between us, I don't see any fun in coming here to play second fiddler to Mr. Richard Barry's lead." "Mr. Richard Barry is a thoroughly gentlemanly fellow I" exclaimed the major, "and if he can give me a little assistance "I don't want his assistance. I've given up time and money to your projects, and have seen people in London for you, and have been getting the whole thing into shape, and I'm not going to stand quietly by after beating the bush, to see Mr. Richard Barry catch the bird. There, look at that." He pointed to the interior of the pretty little drawing-room, which presented a charming picture from that point of view, and as he spoke, Barry had just risen and walked to the piano, at which Dinah was now seated, and May was at the other end. The shaded lamp was standing on the piano, shedding its radiance upon the group, May's eyes just then meeting those of Barry, as he took a piece of music from Dinah and seemed to speak. Then came the fresh chords of the prelude, and the major said "Well, what, sir ? I see nothing but what is attractive to the eye.". "See nothinf? What does that fellow come here for' "I might retort, why do you come here ?" "I'll tell you, though you know well enough why I have devoted myself, time, and money to your service. Of course, I love May, and you have tacitly sanctioned my intentions." " Never," cried the major, "never. I should not think of making my child pay ment for a bargain between us." "It is false, sir, "How dare you?" cried the major, in a low angry voice. "Because it is true, and I tell you this, sir, you have gone too far now If you think I am going to be thrown over in favor of ouir friend the chemist, you are wrong." "Mr. 'Basman, you are angry-out of temper for some reason," said the major with dignity; "but I will not quarrel with He stopped, for the duet was in full pro gress; the voices of May Sanctuary and Barry blending most harmoniously, and floating forth to where the disputants were standing. It seemed as if it was impossible to bandy angry words while these sweet sounds filled the evening air, and they listened in silence till the last notes died away. . " Brayva, brava, brasva 1" cried the major, clapping his hands loudly, as he walked towards the window, while Eric Basman uttered a curse, and kicked a stone fiercely downinto the dark void beneath, where the waves were washing among the weed.hung rocks, and a faint phosphorescent gleam flashed lambently as the waters broke.
CHAPTER IV. -"No, Fred, I don't think I shall ever marry. If I -do, it will be a woman:ivho loves me for myself alone." ' Go:ahead, then, and, make .-May Sanc tuary love you for yourself alone. You could cut out that fellow like a shot." " My dear Fred, am I the sort of 'man to gorrunning after a-lady where the-first steps are to ' cut out,' as you call it, another Sman 7" _"Dick,, I- haven't patience with .you l" ýcried Lusmore. "Hang youfor a confounded old alkali." "Volatile alkali?" said Barry smiling. " Volatile ? Bah I you're one of the most neutralising .of alkalies,"' cried, Lusmn, m,. "You haven't a bit of acid in- you ; you've no, spirit; hang me if I think-you've any active principle. Here's a charmingly sweet, ifresh, innocent girl, just theisort :of wwoman ,who would make you an ideal wife. Will inothing stir you 1"' "To create.dissension in a happy home? No." "But I tell you it is.not happy, man alive! Dinah tells me --" ,.' " ~ill6lh : Has it arrived :at that confi dential stage, Fred ?" "' Never you mind, you ugly old misogy nist. DinDah-tells ine-that she does not be. jlieve her. cousin cares a bit for this Basman, only lie.eediiis to have got such an influence over her uncle. - '!"And consequently you two-you with your legal acumen, and she with her feminine match in sting ins titsrhave laid your heads together; Thanks, Fred--labor ,in vain."----- --- 1 aI dscorn you !" cried Lusmore; "you in : vetebrate mollusk of "a- m'an.- Why, if I thought. that, sweet, pale Marguerite of a girl like May Sanctuary would smile on me, i'd go mad for joy." . Sh~ would, h ve something to rmile at
then," said Barry, quietly. "When shall we go back " "Oh I hang it, not yet." "Yes; we must go this week. I have promised the major to go through a course of experiments on sensitising plates." "I don't care, I'm not obliged to be back yet, and I'm not going to spoil my holiday on the major's account. "You stay then, old fellow, and enjoy yourself. Perhaps I can help the major over this, for it would be a grand discovery." "But he has nearly found out the way ?" "He thinks so, but I do not. By the way, Lusmore, he is a fine old fellow, a thorough gentleman, and as you see, per fectly unworldly. You are a lawyer--.' "Barrifter, my dear fellow; call things by their right names." "Well, :well ! ;you understand l;the?law.: 'Now I wish you would see into this matter for me a little. The major tells me he has spent a great deal of money. Basman has been seeing to the patent for him, and get ting up a company to work it." "But, hang it all, man, you can't get up a company to work something that don't exist." "That is how it struck me." "But has Basman been getting up a company ?" "I have not quite got therights of it yet, for I don't like to question the major, who, acting under Basman's advice, is'exceedingly reticent; but, from the hints he has dropped, I am afraid that he is working very much in the dark, trusting to this man, who is leading him into a great many expenses be yond his control." Lusmore laughed, and rubbed his hands with delight. "Don't be unfeeling, Fred." "Libel and slander; Basman versus Barry; two B's; black case-double-black, like very black drawing pencil. Sergeant Frogmore with you, Lusmore; brief marked fifty guineas. " What are you talking about?" " My chances in life as one of the briefless. Things look so bright, Dick, I shall propose to Dinah Sanctuary this very day." Barry looked at himnin a puzzled fashion. "Dick, old fellow, you delight me. But there, I won't tell Basman you slandered
" The major was poring over a work on chemistry as Basman cutered " (See Tale),
him; you think he his imposing on the old gentleman, eh? Hang it! I'mnot surprised. I want practice, and if I don't sift all this out-" "But carefully, my dear fellow; I would not have the major wounded for the world." " One momnent Dick. I understand you to say that, in spite of Basman, you, are going to take up the major's project." " With all my heart, and I'll make the discovery if I can."' "What, to benefit Basnian ?" "To help a thoroughly genuine English gentleman, who has a soul as transparent as you water amongst the rock'.' "He's hit-dead - hit," cried Lusmore, jumping up and stamping about with de ilight. "Now, you;wretched old impostor, how dare 'you pretend ~that what, you` are going to do is for the loveof science? What do you take me; for--a child ?. Sir, I am a barrister, and if I had you in a witness-box, I'd turn you regularly inside' 'out. Talk about the major being transparent ! Why, Richard Barry, you wrapped-up old student, you are a very child to him !" "I can't help it, Fred." "My dear old boy, who wants you tohelp it? Why, Dick, this genuine unwordly nature of yours has made me feel what a lucky fellow I am in getting you for a friend. You do me no end of good. 'Why, even cynical old Captain Sanctuary says it's a treat to talk to you-and talk of people and in they pop." They were down below the cliff in a sandy nook, and just then Captain Sanctiiary came round a projecting mass of rock, with a basket in one hand, an old table-knife in the other. "Hullo; captain I" cried Lusmore, "caught ! What desperate deed were you about to do with that knife ?" "Tear Asplenium marinum from its na tive home in that bit of a cave behind you," said the captain, gruffly. Then with a grim smile he walked back' a few yards and shouted, " Here, girls, I've found a couple of specimens-Idlium Londiniensis." "Oh! papa," cried Dinah; and directly after the cousins came hurrying round the mass of rock. " Oh, papa !" How it happened Richard Barry did not know, for he was too much wrapped in his
own thoughts to attribute it to the mis chievous prank of Lusmore and Dinah Sanc tuary, but when at last he awoke, as it were, out of a day-dream, it was to find himself alone with May, now slowly walking along some stretch of sand, with the crystal water rippling about their feet, now helping her over some more rugged piece of rock than usual. No conversation could have been more simple and commonplace, but somehow that half-hour's walk seemed to be the turn ing-point of two lives. And when after wards Dinah began to banter her cousin .upon having stolen away with the young chemist, and asked her whether their dis course had been entirely upon analyses, May laid her hand upon her cousin's tenderly, and said " Don't, inah, lease ".y u ie . CHAPTER V. As soon as Captain Sanctuary had gone out that morning fern-hunting for a little grotto that he had been constructing in a corner of the garden, to which he had led a spring of trickling water, Eric Basman threw down the paper which he had been reading and .walked straight to the major's little study, a tiny room over looking the shore, and smelling strongly of bad sherry, though the odour was not due to wine, but ether, used in experiments. The place was full of apparatus, with a few attempts at ornamentation. Weapons of war, which the major had collected when abroad; his own sword, with its tornised knots; a telescope and stand; and fishing tackle hung about the wall. The major 'was poring over a work on chemistry as-Basman entered, and he closed the book with a sigh. . "Now suppose, as we can be alone for a bit," said Basman, smiling, "we do a little business. We must not let the grass grow under our feet, major. That brings me to the next step. We must have two hundred and fifty younds to carry on the prelimi. naries for the company. I ought to be five hundred, but I can tide on for the present with two-fifty." "But after what I have laid out, I really have not the money, Basman. Had we not better 'be content, and let the matter drift ?"
"Give up just as success is waiting you, major? Absurd !" "But I cannot touch my daughter's money." ,. "Don't touch it. I beg you will not. I anticipated all this, and you see I have come prepared." -As he spoke, he siilingly drew a pocket-book from his breast, -and pulled out three little slips of stamped blue paper, which' he carefully smoothed out upon the table. "Bills ?" said the major. "Acceptances. There, don't look at these little objects of convenience as if they were horrors. I I just draw upon you for three hundreds at reasonable dates." ' But you 'said two hundred and fifty would be enough.".'.. . . " In hard"&'cash;, y.es;j but ISFave to get: these discounted, and that will reduce the amount. Now, am I not as deeply wrapped up in this as you are ? ' Will it not produce ,wealth for us both?" "But if it should fail?" "There's no such word for enterprising men,"'said Basman, as he rapidly. filled up the bills. " There, pray have a little more confidence in me, and all will 'be well. During the last month everything seems to have changed. 'Only a few weeks ago, and all I did was right. Now you seem suddenly to have become distrustful." "If I have, it is because I do not feel so confident." " Then let me give you confidence," said Basman. "Every one I' have consulted is delighted with the idea, and prognosticates not only success, but fame. Will you kindly sign across there-" Accepted. Payable at the West End Bank. Thomas Sanctuary." The major took up the pen, laid it down, took it up again, and once more laid it down. "As you will, major," said Basman. "I only wish to tell you that if we do not go on now a thousand pounds of your money and seven hundred and fifty of mine are thrown away. I make no appeal to you. I only say that it seems very hard." The major took (up the pen and accepted the bills, while Basman's eyes glistened. "The nearness to success makes you nervous," he said. "No," said the major, quietly; "but I
feel that now I have gone so far I must con tinue." "Continue 1" cried Basman, as he folded the blue slips of paper; "of course. And the world will be startled by our success." He rose as he spoke, and his eyes were directed towards the window with its wide prospect of sea and shore, He started so that he nearly let fall the pocket-hbook; but recovering himself he hastily thrust it into his pocket, and took down one of the telescopes from its slings, adjusted it, and took a long, steady glance at something that had caught his attention. "1 You told me the other day that I was unjust, suspicious, and asking too much when I spoke about your visitors, and we nearly. came taz words. Now, as a gentle 'man and amad ofdhonor, I ask yong iis that The major took the glass and gazed through it at the sands. He'closed the glass thoughtfully, and laid it up the table, remaning silent for a few mo ments. "Basman," he said, "I made no promises. I could not. I will never influence my child unless it is to check her if I see that she is taking steps'.that will produce future misery." "And I tell you. Major Sanctury," cried Basman, in a low, angry voice, "that I am not one to be played with. I[go to London to-morrow or next day, and if I find these men here when I come back- " The major gazed angrily at him, as if ask ing for the end of, his speech; but Basman only tightened his'lips and smiled meaningly, and left the room. (To be continued.)