Chapter 166688453

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Chapter NumberX
Chapter Url
Full Date1861-12-21
Page Number2
Word Count3272
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleSydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871)
Trove TitleWhich Wins? A Tale of Life's Impulses
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Chaptbb. X. Him-iit km TbijlL.

Fob nearly two months I ?waited by my grandfather's bedside through tediout day, and tardy nights. Op presBtd by the tnemoty of more recent struggle), I main tout little iemenAte.nce of the cvanto of taat period ; it seems aa if my life had then been in. a li*t- . Itn Mate of temi.conacioutnesa, from which I -ru rudely awakened. It was perhaps well, for my body had to meet eo much labour that my. mind lay idle, ?nAinreat get energy that afterward* was but too surely needed. I have, howerer, preaerved a few atray notes and letters that may indifferently all up the blank, asd I give them according to the date which iViM annmntn hfitr.

September 7ih.— (The day on which I had the in terview with Henry Bwrelt, mentioned in my laat chapter.) It it evening, and 1 tit alone by the bed side of the dear old man. He U quiet; looking up to the ceiling, but occasionally closing his eyes and mo tioning with bis blue, speechless lips. So Dr. Lennbn says he may lie for weeks, or he may break at any : moment into, violent delirium. He talks loftily and mysteriously of some oppression on the mind, thbt has worn it long,' Until, at last, here is a relapse that may end fatally. 'He will need careful watching.' Oh. surely, surely he shall have it 1 — all that a gentle heart, full of love, can suggest for him elia.ll be done. Henry is at home: I saw him ride slowly down the road about seven o'clock. I wonder where he has been all day. ^ September 8th.— Grand; jusr the same ; he takes bis food when put to his mouth, just as a baby sub mits to be fed, only not so eagerly. j Olavb to Ieoui. It crieves me to hear of your grandfather's illneas. I will come and help you to nurse him, Iasla. It will be a blessing to me to do so, so deny me not ; I need to«scspe from myself and from some others too. Cousin Charles Alvern is here, ss you know, and in deed he gives mc trouble. He is not what I thought him, isola ; he is much older, st least five.and-twenty ye an older than myself, lint he is not to contempt able as I [expected, either. I am afraid of him— I can't conceal that. Rich, handsome, and wary, be has won over my father and mother, who in truth are not hard to win, and neither he nor they will see the 1 open dislike with which I treat him. He has taken upon him airs which speak the accepted suitor : if I frown he tells me how well a serious look becomes me j he flatten me to my face, and talk* rapturously of me to others. You will smile, Isola, and say he is . not very delicate, but to me it is no matter for smiling. What is to be done i I feel, even in thirty I hour,, that I am being drawn into a vortex, on the . brink of which t shudder. Vet if I stay here I shall inevitably sink. Let me come to you for escape. I oan make a good sick-nurse, believe me. Indeed it is not that I would see the object of my unhappy affection ?gain. I saw his aversion only too plainly after my wild display on the night before last, and too. plainly ever again to hope. I saw hla lore for you. I will stay st Orandy'a cottage, and not go near the bouse, Vet me come. Isola to Ol av*. On no account will I let you come here. Mr leaaosy are twofold. First, you are not to be trusted, dear gul, just sow. Your affections are not under your own control; that you think it necessary to make the protestations which conclude your letter is sufficient proof to satiafy me, and I do not want any more such scenes as you have lately got up. There u Iet a stronger reason against your coming here;— the loctorhas just been in and does not seem at all sure of the nature of my poor grandf ather's attack, and has even given me a plain hint that 1 myself ran into danger by staying with him. But while there is life in the cheriaher of mv childhood, bv his bedside is my place, nor shall a paltry fear of danger to self deter me from the duty. I aaid aa much to Dr. Iiennsn, and, as he is now gone up to the house, 1 fear opposition from there ; but you, friend Olave, must net add to my trouble by proving contrary. Aa for Henry, I think you had better not cross kira ?gain. Mot, my dear, that he is to me what you sup pose : I have told you before and told you truthfully lhat It was not so. But— I do not seek to blame you, believe me— but you have lost by your premature madness all oower over him for ever. Crush out of your heart that ungovernable love, Olave ; it is hope less now. The best amongst men — and that is not Henry Barrett— gives only contempt in return for the love that comes to bits anatnl. Thu CiLulw Jkl vem — may It not be that he is worth care, and worth your care, friend ? I ceased trom writing and lolied the preceding letter as I saw my father and the Doctor coming down the road from our house. The Doctor only looked in as he had promised to take and deliver iny letter at the Great House. My lather parted trom him at the door, came in, and, walking to the bed-side, looked musingly down for a time on our helpless patient. A. -wild, u resolute expression upon his features arrested my attention, and overcome by the inexplicable sense of fear that I now always felt before anything un usual, I approached the bed that I might more clearly examine his face. Then, pushing tne back from my pretended task of smoothing the pillow, and himself nervously arranging it, he said, with his eye* still bent on Grandy, ' Child, this as probable to be more setioua than a week's extra labour, and 1 must relieve you of a charge that is beyond your strength. We wui give your grandfather into good hand*, Isola, but you must relinquish your purpose of tend ing him through this illness.' I was strong then to my duty ; I only stepped for

ward to the old man s side with the intention of ?ssetting with greater emphasis by his prostrate foim my right to watch over him. Before I 1 -und time ' to speak, a strong hand had lifted me away to Uie most distant comer, and my father stood before me palei- and with blood-forsaken lipg. 'Child!' he mid, imploringly ; 'child, yield to my will In this, I will promise you— I myself will promise you never to leave him day nor night. I will not dote my eyes; 1 will not rent my head; butgo you to a place of safety. Inflict not on me a greater agony than I can bear. If I lose you I cannot live; man does not bear unscathed two such trial* la one short lifetime.' I only stared up at him in aatoni^hment, not cam prehen ning the meaning either of his strange words or stranger passion. Earnestly and tenderly hie ayes rested upon mine as I gated until he Buddenly shud dered all over and exclaimed, ''Take off from me your mother's eyes, Isola. So— just so— she looked ere she turned away from me for ever ; and so you look, and so you too will go and leave me in tny age. Ah, bitterest of aU are the blows given to our huptt by those who are dearest to our souls 1' 'Father,' I cried in perplexity; 'father, what have I done that yov apeak so sliingtly ? I tliall not leave you. I never mean to leave you as long as ever you can wast to keep ine.' He only repealed, ' I want you to go now, Imla.' 'What can I do?' I aaid. ' You would not surely have me leave Oiandy now f Who cite should tend him in his hour of need, if not 1 — the j child he pieaerved so tenderly when he had a hard struggle for life-bread r Woulil you have me leave him, on his first necessity, to the care of hired attendants r' ' No, my own noble child, no, no. But leave him in my hands and go. You can truet your fattier, Isola, surely i Go, my child, and be sure that with me your grandfather shall be well tended.' I was confused by his eamettne&g, and uliould perhaps have yielded, had it not been that another j consideration flashed vividly over me. ?' It is evident J that a fear, springing frnm your great love, prompts I you 1f- speak thus anxiously. I cannot tell what Dr. j jLennait may have skid, but I supposes he foam in f-»i. j tion. There (s draper to mc, and your kin- love would shield me from it even at your own expense; t but, my father, you leave it to your child tu remind I you of your duty.' j ' Yes, y--s,' lie interrupted lustily ; 'it it my duty to protect you in anyiwe, Inula. ' ' I did not tresi) that;' and my hand wandered caressingly in his rnuch-siivered hair. ' 1 meant that you had a higher duty to perforin- My own kind father, will you leave the church and the penple you vowed to nrve truly before God, that you miy attend one ailing member of your own family and spare another from a dangerous duty; or, will you cany from jout own lamilv the seed of death into the abodes of your people and among assembled wor shippers r' ' What shall I do, my child r' was tlie only answer I received, and its t-irunge tone oi abandonment, seeming to spring from some secret despair, I could not comprehend. Was this fearful, tremulous mnn my stern and taciturn father, woe a question I was tempted to esk. Could even the fear of my death so alter his character in a few hours - All, but in mc was O'nly fust .breaking the Are that burned in his heart with no less vigour that it wot untuMpected. But it was necessary to answer, ami ] knid H. steadily as 1 could, ' Jji-ave me in 'iod'f liai.ils'un. fearingly my father. Come and tuwig then me with

voux presence,; if you «aa with safety ; if, not, slringtben »e ^ith your prayew.' lie made uo immediate observation in reply; but. drew my head to rest 6n his shoulder, and, stroking , my hair inihe fashion of earlier day's, mhsed silently for some mlnoUs. Thtm suddenly knd sadly he ques tioned, ' Think, do you love tne, Isola ?' ' Yes, Indeed, my father,' I rejoined ; ' why ask such an unnecessary question V ' lyoveme best, Isola i' ' Beat in aU the whole wide world, dear father.' ' Father,' he murmured, ' yea, I will be your father end be content. I ought to be content with bring your father, eh, my child f' I could make no answer to that, snd he continued, ' But if you found your true father you would love him best, and you may form a love dearer than that of any child to any parent, Isola.' I telt then that tne man standing before me was dearer than nil the world beside could ever become, snd I said so, I said that the leve of such a father ves sufficient quite for me. 1 got one earnest kiss upon the forehead in return,. How long this inter view might have been protracted, had it been unin terrupted, 1 cannot tell. My father teemed bent on extracting such protestations of affection as I have eJtfJn fneered at in the high-flown novels of the day, and inclined to be satisfied with nothing short of the calibre of the moBt highflown among them, . But it was interrupted. My grandfather sprang upright on his bed, and, screaming woefully but un intelligibly, made signs to us to approach him. When we came r.esr, he addressed me in words gasped forth with great MiflUulty : ' Emily, Emily, thou poor lost one I tome into tliy old lather's arms. My child— my pretty child 1 thou shalt be my pet again, and we will not name all the bad past.' ' He is wandering,' said Mr. Barrett quickly, 'you must not htisd any of his wild talk, Isola.' Stooping ever Grandy, he added softly, ' Old friend, can you not govern yourself a little. There is none here but John Barrett and kola. You remember isola, of course.' 'Thee means Emily's child,' my grandfather re plied vacantly : ' the poor little sickly babe that she j let me uVc away from her so cirelessly. She is safe ; I assure thee she is in safe keeping : 'but if I told thee where, her mother would hear and steal her sway, for Emily is lure, JBtmly is here : I feel that she is near me ; my child shall rest on her old father's heart yet.' He aozsd into a slumber again, bat I had heard then the first words that were to rereal the seciet of my life to me. My father, yielding to my renewed entreaties that I should not be removed from (bandy's bedside, went to find a nurse who should relieve me of Actual labour and I am now watching alone by my grandfather s bedside, and writing to while away the weary night. September 12th.— Grandy mostly lying in stupor, but occasionally calling piteou'sly for Emily. It is ' fortunate that my appearance at such times will itn-. ; mediately soothe him j he appears to identify me -with that name. Henry has offered to share my watch, and ia very angry because I refuse. He says i he «nly waits iny reappearance to take his departure I I for Sydney. I half wish he would go at once. He | should not be «o obstinate ; there is something Belfish in the love th-t insists ever on having its own will. I saw Miss La we go down the road to the house just now with a quicker step than usual. 1 wonder what makec her go there when she knews I am not at home, bhe waved her hand to me quite gaily, aud threw over the fence the following note : — Olive to Isola.. 'You tell me well to tear out of my heart a passion that ia part of o-y being ; if 1 tear away the roots of life round which it is tangled, what will you say, cold-blooded friend! But i must needs tear it out, becstifce my heart ia no lunger pure enough to cherish it. Only where such a love is all in all to heart and eoul, lilting up the life to a purer walking before God tliruugh a great sense of thankfulness for its allsuffi ciency,— only then is the heart a fit Banctuary for its reception. Ilom of heaven, it flies heavenwards at the spproach of « more earthly passion. And so I niUbt suiter any way ; if 1 tear it not out it will tear itself out, for, lbola, 1 am netted. Tliis man — this Chutes Alvern— he is fascinating me, drawing me in tpite of myself. I hate him! bis soft voice stings me — hit. rich smiles burn tne— but I cannot resist. My father by tuii.6 storms and eigtis over refractory tetn pert ; wy roothtr tells pointed tales of the submission »( children ill her young days; and even Ralph, in his boyi*h jokes, slily couples Charles and Olave to gether, and couple*) tueni unchecked. 1 have lost all my energy. 1 have not any longer that secret hope to upliear mc, and 1 shall be ? sacrificed assuredly, Jsuls, MirrtUfcUUi, M- Wo* I msn if he treated me in the constant, unpretending tender manner that, he observes te quiet tittle Miss Lowe.' Whet can I say to such wildness ? Nothing. Be fcides, in her stutc uf health it is desirable that she should have as little communication with a sick house as possible. I will not write. {H'ptcnitKr 29th: Nine o'clock, p.m.— My gtand f itlur raving constantly. He c»Us continually on Emily, but if 1 make any attempt to get more than the nxrne frr hi him, he puts his fingers on his iipa and says,*' No, it might come to Dottums' ears.' X am feeling uiiwell mjsell, and tlie nurse I have is of little use, for I csnnut so far dvpend on her as to leave her iiior.t. Mv father has come everyday, and insisted on my taking a half-hour's walk. I have thus met Henry once or twice : he is pale, seems to be reading haid, and talks with a constrained air on none but common subjects. It is, 'Isola, may I ask you ' Uola, will you oblige me ;' in the place of tlie old hesrty 'Isola. do thu- !' «r 'I wish that.' I ain sure t wish he Wf-uld not be so offended with me for | relusing what it is beyendmypower to grant. Olave wishes to meet me on these walks, but her parents have foibidJen her, and 1 think rightly. She is in jult that mental state that predisposes to fever — seemingly wore and more involved with ilr. Alvem, and ^et more averse to htm. I cannot .understand her; I would yield to no auch.' fascination,' a$ she calls it, Ten o'clock p.m. — I am frightened ft little, and wish the night were over. Half an hour ago I laid aside my writing and commenced reading to my grand father. . TLis him although 1 canuot see that he comprehends it. He fell asleep, but, interested in my auljcct, I continued reading to myself. I felt tiitt creeping, cold sensation that I have often noticed intimates that there is some unrecognised life breath ing the same air as yourself, but, shaking the feeling off ss nonsense, 1 continued readiug. 1 had come to those words of C'hribt, ' Go, and sin no more;' and, 1 doting my hook, I repeated tliem half aloud. Then cunie on the perfect silence of the night, a deep, low \ groan, and raising my head at that to the little window near Granay's bed, wliirh had been left open , for the sake of the air, I saw such a face ! — white, white with great despairing eyes Sited on me. Shall I ever get it out of my memory ? Two gaunt hands covered thoi-e hopeless eyes ; the face drew back, and I heard [ retreating footateps that I dared not follow. I will not tell Mr. Barrett, for I know— 1 know it was my mother. ?