Chapter 166689476

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Chapter NumberXIII
Chapter Title
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Full Date1862-01-11
Page Number2
Word Count2868
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleSydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871)
Trove TitleWhich Wins? A Tale of Life's Impulses
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Chapteh XIII,

' True love, remembered yet through all that mint of yeira, Clung to with tuch vulu, vain lovc-w cut with such vain Anon, How steadily the rain came down! It fell, aa if it had . deliberately and dcteraia&tcly set about the work- not by any mew impetuously, or as if it were flurried, but gently, ioftly, ceaaeleuly. had obtti Eitely. The sky did not frown about the matter, as it does sometime* before it pours down » {temporary

aerugo on to tne eartn ; it was too much in earnest for that : on the contrary, it, was light, and an occa sional silvering about its edges led one into delusive hopes, that it was about .to clear.. When you see weather like that, make up your minds patiently to a weeVe Wet; the rain may lull, but it won't clear; the wind may rise, but it won't clear; the clouds may break, and even some venturous sunbeam succeed in slipping through, but it won't clear ; don't believe it, it wont ; I know from experience. The fact is, ! that the watery element is so well aware of its own powers that it is a little careless of appearances, and if ' you ate so foolish as to cherish flattering fancies, it can afford to let you do so. Well, such was the weather of those three days, during which 1 waited for the applications of people who might want a governess wno was only able to teach children their mother-tongue, the rudiments of accomplished education, and a regard to moral rec titude ot conduct.' Hid 1 expect any answer to such a ridiculous advertisement r Well, upon the whole, yes ; I thought there might be some few mothers in this wide land of ours who, having little innocent children to be led up into self-reliance, might think the best way waa to make them well-informed and sincere men and women in the first place, and let the matter of polishing them be a secondary considera tion. And did you get any answers r My good reader, I undertook to communicate to you the story : of my life, as far as it bsB gone, but I never undertook to answer all the impertinent questions which you might, could, and I doubt not would, if I were to permit you, but which you most certainly should not ? put to me. For consider for a moment the mess I have already got into through this unfortunate under taking of mine. Instead of simply telling you my own troubles, which, in all conscience, were sufficient, I must also show you the black clouds about the life of all my fiicnds, until I feel so wrapped up myself in all theBe gloomy folds, that I almost despair of ac quainting you with how the light broke through and my sky became as blue and as sunny as it is at pre sent. Oh, and so your sky did become blue and sunny at last ? Patience, my good friend reader ; I got a letter at last. Those days were the three halcyon days of my memory for many a long month afterwards ; in which long months I got few words but those of contempt and repulsion, few looks but thoBe of scorn or insult. In those three days I felt perfect happiness, as far as happiness can be perfect on earth : nothing but common words came from Mr. Barrett's lips, but there was a sense of new sweetness in them, a tremor of tenderness before which my eyes drooped, sur charged with too much thankfulness for me to dare to ahow. His hands had often before rested upon my head, but now they touched it with a new feel ing—cold, shudderingly cold, and yet calling through my whole frame « strange thrill of contentment that they rested there at all. Very wrong, Mrs. Fair. Appearance, since this man might no longer call himself my father r Well, but I was going out of his sight and of his reach ; I was going to dig up my heart out of the garden of affection in which he had planted it, and go forth with it bsre in my hand, for all men to stick pins in and to brush roughly against. Ho you grudge to me the poor little consolation of his last blessing and loving kindness, because it did not 'look well.' Oh, world ! world ! how often ie it that thou callest that which is good as if it were evil, and writest upon the worat sins thy vilely false ' very good 1' The rain came heavily down ; heavier than ever on the third night, when I went to my room with a wondering flush upon my face. For my father had, when I held out my hand for the usual good night, caught me in his arms, pressed me closer still, and called me ' ever and always his own.' ' Yee,' I said, ' I shall always be thankful and grateful to you for your kindnesses to me, Sir.' ''Thankful and grateful for your kindnesses, Siri' ' he repeated with a low laugh. 'Ah, you are my shy little pet, that cannot realize our new positions yet, and must needs hide your embarrass ment in those prim words. But, for all that, you are my dearest and best-loved, and shall always be my owh, own darling, even beyond the grave and be yond all trouble. So understand that once for all, love.' I broke away vehemently. What could he mean, I wonder : W hy did he caress me ao passionately r What new positions could we hold to each other i On the contrary, was not every position but that of utter strangers broken between us, and must wc not hence forth stand coldly apart bom each other in the world r Why, then, did he try to weigh me down, and kiU all my poor feeble resolutions on the side of right by his mistimed kindness r Oh, but it was a cruel mistake. And while I stood by my table, mu sing thus, as 1 marked in my glass what a round, red flush 1 wore on cither cheek. Now, my eyes were flashing, and what a clammy damp was upon'my fore head, my glance suddenly fell upon a letter, lying on the comer of the table, directed to me in the writing of the man who gave me the Bubjects of my musing. ' llere is an explanation,' I thought, and snatching it to me, I sat down on the side of my bed, and broke .open the seal. John Benoni Bajiiiett to Isola. My gentle little girl, — Wifh the new relations that we have assumed towards each other cornea upon mej a duty from which I shrink most painfully. Pardon me, my little darling, if I cannot bear to look in your questioning eyes or see your sorrowful face while I tell you a dreary tale, in which you are concerned, and the whole particulars of which 1 and your grand father and two other people are alone able to commu nicate. It is this tale that will clear up'oll the mystery that has shrouded your early days, and which it is now moat necessary that you should know. Your grandfather will not tell you, and the other two per sons — your father and your mother — are, 1 trust, even unceitain as to the fact of your existence. It therefore devolves upon me to make the sad recital ; end again I beg of you, dear, pardon me that I am cowardly enough to resort to pen and paper as a means of escape from witnessing the pain I must in flict upon you. _ ' To make things clear I must go back to my own echool-dsys, which were SDent in a quiet country vil lage, in the home of a kintf old clergyman, and in the companionship of another lad, who shared with me the advantages of his most excellent tutorship. As a boy I was thoughtful beyond my yeats, and was, in consequence, largely trusted by our master, even so far as to have considerable discretion given to me in the control of my own spare time and that ef my friend, Charley Bell. This licence I never felt in-1 dined to abuse, for, lad as I waa, I had large and conscientious scruples about my conduct, which I regulated very strictly, in anticipation of entering the church as a profession. I waa ' the eldest child of my mother,' and she ' was a widow,' who had conse crated her best lamb to the service of ber God, and I had no inclination to dispute her will, for it exactly' tallied with my own. I had looked round the world, and, beneath all its pompous fooleries, had distinctly recognised the position of a clergyman as the highest a man could hold ; inasmuch as the am bassador of the King of kings waa assuredly higher than any earthly monarch, to whom he was empow ered to dictate his Master's will ; and this high posi tion I had determined to fill — it gratified my more in tense because deeply hidden pride, that I could at tain to euch a moral first rank in the woild. Enough of myself; this will enable you to comprehend my character far into my manhood. ' My companion, Charley Bell, was an impulsive, rank, handsome fellow, who appeared to have no ultimate aim in life but that of getting the highest degree of gratification out of the present moment, and of stepping et last into the estate of a rich old bachelor uncle, who always partially justified his hopes, by his great liberality to all his whims. He bore tne name of Bell commonly among his friends, but that I believe was his mother's name, who had married again twelve months from his father's death, and when he was only a nine-months' babe. His own name I never heard until lately : he is the Mr. Charles Alvem who is now visiting at Mr. Lysthor's. This will be sufficient to explain the connexion that there was in early life between me and this gentle man—we were simply two attached schoolcom panions. Five years later I saw him for ten minutes, when X, unaware of who he was, fished him out ol the Thames, when he had been knocked from off a pleasure steamer by some accidental push. Three , years after that, when my mother and his uncle were both dead, we met again, and renewed our friendship. My mother had not left to her son any riches, but that priceless jewel of a dying saint's blessing; but with a little struggle I succeeded in

pasting through the ceremony of my ordina tion, end , at 'the time I again met Cnarley Bell I woe hesitating between the' ? acceptance ol an 1 obscure country curacy add 'an appointment to a living' ' in this colony. ? Pboh, old leUoW,' said Charley, in his eff-hapa manner, 'don't bury yourself alive ' down in that Wld sepulchre, but ceme along with me to the Antipodes. There's my old uncle gone and slipped away with a rcurvy trick to me ; left all his property to a little laes of six months old, who is crow ing over it somewhere out in Australia. Well, there's no use wailing over broken porridge, but I'll go out there and keep watch over tne maiden. I'll may- be marry her and Tonnegh together yet, and you shall tie the knot, old fellow. Woe on the hour that saw me acquiesce in that suggestion, and start with Bell for the colonies ! ' In the same vessel in which we sailed came out two pietty girls, who meant to earn their living in the new country as governesses. One of them was tall and alight, with a quantity of rich-bnwn curls, full trustful grey eyes, a confiding mouth, a quickly blushing cbeek ; not, in reality, very beautiful, but pile of those facee that epeak such a simple, guileless nature within, that one loves it as by an instinct rather than passion. Her name waa Emily Ellyss. Your mother, my beloved onel Yes, this was your mother. The other of these girls was a little, alight, fair, merry fury, whose every step was a dance and every word a laugh ; who seemed never at teat unless she was tormenting somebody, and by whom it was yet sweet to be tormented. Of this bright creature you will scarcely believe that your quiet governess, Miss Lowe, is all that remains. Yet, so it is ; remem ber, my dear, nearly twenty years are past since the time of which 1 write. We young men were thrown into frequent and familiar contact with theBe young women, and before the voyage was half over, some thing more than mere friendliness had grown up among us. Charley attached himself to Miss Lowe with the stme vehement ardour with which in his boyliood'e days he had followed every wild scheme of his truant fancy, and the pretty creature met hie ad vances with evident and unconcealed pleasure. I did not envy him his prize, for, in the more haughty and reserved, hut far deeper and nobler mind of Emily Ellys8, 1 found a mine of inexhaustible delight. Oh, my Isola, if ever woman on this earth was pure and holy in every thought of her soul, it was your mother at the time of which I speak. Time passed, and 1 read in her sweet eyes the confession which she in vain etrove to smother, that I was' not indifferent to to her, and I hoped a blight and happy future should be spent with her in the bright land to which wc were coming. And then a woman's wicked caprice came in to break all my happy dreams for ever. Mary Lowe had some light quarrel with Charley, and to take the only revenge which her silliness could dcviBe, turned all the powers of her coquettish beauty upon me. As she made advances my pure Emily grew colder, and I, blind madman that I was ! seeing only her coldnetB without its c&ubc, became angry, and entered into an unlimited flirtation with the little mischief-maker who was tempting me. Charley im mediately retorted by paying every attention to Emily, and she, poor misguided wronged one ! smart ing under the thought that I had slighted her, and conceiving also a sudden and passionate love towards him, yielded to his persuasions. ' Matters were thus when wc arrived in Sydney, and I saw' him put my darling into a cab and take her away before my eyes, and 1 had no right to inter fere. Had I known — had I suspected the villany he contemplated, ithadgonehard;butl had nevertheless made myself a right. But there, I saw her no more, end of course I parted on ship-board from Miss Lowe, whom I saw no more either until f met her, a jaded and prematurely aged woman, residing in Mr. Lys thor s family. I met Emily once in Sydney, and heard from her own lips all her sad and sinful history — together with the fact that 6he had had one child— yourself, Isola— which, however, had disappeared and had not been refound, for all her own frantic exer tions, and the quieter and more careless searchidgs made by Charley. Poor girl, for all her flaunting, bright attire, I could distinctly recognise the bruised Bpirit within. ' When I came to this place, I found you out by your name and your likeness— though a plainer one— to your mother, and took you into my heart and my home at once, for her sake. Since you came into them my great grief for her loss has been gradually healing, and years ago I knew that the dearest to me was my little Isola. But there was an inmate of the house, another son of my dead father, and one whom my mother on her death-bed had commended to my care for his sake, an. this boy— this brother — I knew loved you, and I would not thwart his love. I thought you loved him too, and taught myself to re- : joice in your happiness, until he told me, a week or two ago, that you had refused him. The poor fad ! I pitied him, but I hoped for the first time for myself. ' And now, Isola, little wife, let me have the right to call you that against all the world quickly, for 1 fear tb&t your father, since you choose so to call him, may find you out, now he is so near to you, and take my little one away from me as once he took her mother. Come to me, Isola.'