|Newspaper Title||Sydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871)|
|Trove Title||Which Wins? A Tale of Life's Impulses|
WHICH WINS ?
A TALE OF LIFE'S IMPULSES.
Chapter XXIV, |
11 limp Dies urn ueare »w»y our mi, At d u the shadowy train depart, Tbe memory of sorrow bidwh A lighter hunlf!' m; i.. . ? iiBVAHI. Ok the evening of the second day of Henry's abience n-y mother evinced «n air of constrained reatleaanesi that ray much alumed me. I left the exercise* whioh l mi preparing for the uee of tnjrpupila on the following day, and eat by her pillow, reading aloud. ' She directed me to the parable of the Prodigal Son, and, whtn I had read it once over, asked a repeti tion. I read again, but stopped at theie words — ' And he a me and came to hit father.' Tor my mother'* hand vu laid hetvilr unon tbiro anil hw
poor tearful eyes were looking wistfully in my face. ?' But,'— -she said earnestly— ' but tupposo that poor ?inner could not have arisen; that, with never so good ? wish, he had had no power to perform it; must he have died unpardoned, my child ?' I read on, for answer to that eager question: * ' Whtn he vol yet a great rnvoff, hitfathtr taw him, and had companion, and ran, and fell on hit neck, and kiuti him.' Mother, he would never have waited until he had seen him, bad he known where to find him before he saw him. He would have gone to him.' f ' My mother buried hfrbead in her hands and sobbed. I could not catch all her indistinct words, but I heard broken exclamations' of ' Father— dear— much-wronged— too gentle father.' f 'Mother,' I said, pulling awsy her hands, wet with her flowing tears, and lusting away thoac that were still falling, ' 1 will write to Grandy, my own dear mother, and he shall be by your side within forty-eight hours.' ' No, no, no !' she exclaimed sadly : ' I could not meet his poor, sad old ejee— they would petrify lne with one look. Besides, it is not fit that he should come to far to me— he, the upright and the wronged, to me the sinning and the fallen.' ' Not fallen, now, my mother,' I stud soothingly; ' no longer fallen whom Christ has raised.' ' Would,' she tighed bitterly, ' would that my father thought so. But he is so stem, Isola. Yet, yet— oh, mutt I die unblessed by him r' ' No, he is just, and he shall bless you, mother.' And inly I resolved that, come what might, 1 would write to my grandfather that very evening. ' He ia jurt,' the repeated, 'and his justice re q uires what 1 cannot give. He demands that 1 Bhould vetign my love to your father, child. 1 cannot do it. I hate my tin, I abhor his ; but 1 love him, Isola, and my last mortal breath will net draw out that love. If it bsrs my admittance to heaven, child, it vill not be for want of the endeavour to lay it aside. For 1 have prayed, If-ols, prayed through long and painful nights that, if in God's eyes such a love was sin, G od would in mercy tear it from my heart. Yet it is not gone ; it beats stronger es I near the grave.' 1 broke in psssionatc-lY there : ' It is not sin in 0 od's eyes, my own hnly mother ; it will not bar your admittance to tbe heaven for which it makes you more lit. Love purifies that outlives a bitter wrong like yours, mother dear.' ' My gentle, tender child ! Ah, if my father could think so, I should have his blessing yet.' ' You chall ! you shall !' I sobbed. For the next hour she lay quiet with exhaustion. 1 should have thought she slept but for the occasional stealing of a tear through her closed eyelids. I set silent, thinking what great changes a few days would bring forth, for would my grandfather keep any knowledge of me from Mr. Barrett. I knew he would not ; that, though I should ask of him, entreat him to be silent, he would yet hasten to him with knowledge that Isola was found. And then — oh, wild beating heart, be still ! Was the shame gone bom your name, Isola, that you should pant so wildly at the' thought that he would seek you out, and claim you beyond recall at last r No : but my thouehtshad changed on the subject. I had learnt to look on my self with jutter eyes, recognising, in the single soul within, not only an immortal being, but the essential ' I' of even earth's existence. I understood now how beauty, name, fame, fortune, the whole visible frame, were mere world-trappings that so good ft man as John Barrett could afford to despise. I understood now that in seeking me for a wife he had sought — not a mere fellow-fighfecirin Time's battle-field ; not- a mere fellow-rambler uirouch Time's pleasure-grounds — but a kindred seul-spirit to go with him beyond Time, and twin with his soul even in the sacred Eternity. And I, who had shrank away, love-prompted, from the lower conception of wifehood, love- prompted, sprang exultantly to this higher one. I,- who had feared that if I stood by his side upon earth, some of earth's scowls that were meant for me might blacken his life, did not so fear to stand by his side in heaven, knowing that the seal upon the brow levelled the merits of all Christ's chosen ones, and gave to all alike full surety of all Heaven's smiles. And so my views had changed; and so, if John Batrett sought a nameless Isola again for wife, she would not flee again because she was nameless. And vet I would not seek him myself, nor even let him know my whereabouts. For — be calm, Isola— remember that, pure and noble though your inmest thoughts may be, high aud holy though jour love may beat in strong pulses, yel you remain for all but a pallid girl, who moat cer tainly did reject that man's love when it was offered to you. There are many fairer, many better women in the world than you ; many women more fit for the love of John Barrett. Who shall say that he has not found one among them in these long months that you have been apart r who say that his eye dwells not softly on another; that his voice trembles not for another ? that his prayers do not ascend for another more surely than for you. Judge yourself and your position, Isola, andcherish no fond, fooiish hopes. Bo I schooled myself as I sat quietly with my hand clasped in those two wasted white ones of my mother. But she looked up at last, with a patient smile in her wet eyes. 'Is the child asleep;' she asked. ' Yes. Una had been long breathing the soft, long breaths of healthy childhood. ' Because— I'd not like her to hear it— but I think I'm dying, Isols.' 'The doctor says — ' «? What i' I hung mv head and sighed ; it seemed such bitter mockery to tell her that the doctor limited her life to a short week or ten days. ' Isola, you have been an angel to me, seeking and saving me from my sin. Will you do one other angels work for me;— bring to my death-bed a father's blessing.' ' I will write—' I began. ' No, dear, that will not do. I dare not look in my father's face, I tell you — I dare not do it. You must go to him and beg that, for the love of a merci ful Ood, be will send me a pardon and a blessing, and let me die in peace.' ' I will go, my mother.' ' In the morning, Isola r' ' In the morning, mother.' She smiled thankfully. ' Then we'll sleep, dear, both of us, for we'll need atrength, you for your journey, and I for mine.' She slept as Boftly as the child, but sleep came not to me. 1 wrote to my employers, excusing my una. Toidable absence; I engaged Mrs. Hume's servant to attend on my mother and sister lor the next day, and then I sat and thought of the morrow, which should take me once moie into the atmosphere of love. But I resolved John Barrett should not know of my pre eerce* Whirling on over ground that I had trodden in pain and sorrow. Fast the spot where I had cooked the kindly drayman's breakfast; past the house from which I had turned, dog-driven end downcast, to the weary road again ; past the bush where I had hidden in trembling terror from the rough bullock-drivers, and where I sad found my little pet and faithful compa nion, Jumbo. , , And just as ve passed that spot, while I looked on it with thankful feelings that that weary tramp had had no worse Jesuit than poverty and sickness, the coach stopped, there was a scuffle and a yelping with out, end e man came to the window, carrying betwoen thumb and finger a little dog by the nape of the neck —it was my little J umbo. . ' Does any of you in here know anything of this here beast r be asked gruffly. I had started forward at the sight of the dog, but my astonishment had kept me sufficiently silent for its capita er to apeak first. Meanwhile, poor Jumbo, excited by my vicinity, writhed and wriggled and jelped in an ecstatic agony to get to me. ' Oh, give him to me ; he is mine,' I said, holding out my aims. 'Well, I'm not that sure,' the man began, but Jumbo cut short his hesitation by jerking his head suddenly round, dosing his teeth upon the de taining hand, and, let loose by the sharp pain, spring, ing joyously into my lap, and nestling there Tu assured security. The man uttered an audible ana thema, and looked sulky and restive, but the rough auengers set up # loud laugh, and I interposed be
tween my dog and his wrath by slipping into his hand a piecc of money. j 'Let the dog stay with me, friend,' I said; 'I csntiot t*U how he followed me, but since he is here, let him remain.' Mollified by tbe great salve of all sores, he made answer, ' I'm content to do as you like, ma'am. But the vicious little brute do bite sharp.' Where was he f' I asked. 'Hidden away beneath the box, ma'am.' And the coachman returned to his seat, leaving me with a travelling companion on whose company I had not reckoned. I ' I'd rather you had stayed at home, Jumbo,' I said, but the faithful little dog frisked to joyously that I was perforce pleased to have his gambols. Whirling on : — down that weary road that I had trodden so painfully ; passed the door of my kind Irish hostesi, who atood there with the baby of twelve months past playing at her feet, and a younger newer incumbent in her arms. Whirling on, until at the foot of a hill I saw, at noontide, the dear old village of St. Cudgereewonga. I scarcely feared to be rtcogniaed— I bed grown so pale and so thought worn, but, for prudence' sake I drew into the corner, and let the coach get clear of the village, before I left it. Then over fields and through buth, by the straigbtest road that I could remember, I hurried with uneven step and palpitating heart. How it drew me on, breathlessly, madly on ; the thought of what face I might ate soon, so soon. Had a river lain before me I should have gone through it ; had a wall barred my path I should have sped over it. As it was, fallen trees entangled me, but I tore my skirts loose ; logs lay in my path, but I over-leapt them ; slip-rails fronted me, end, too eager to lower them, I stooped through, and on, on. I had got within his attraction, and now no influence could prevent me from gravitating to my centre. So, through a broken lehce in the dear old garden, uninterruptedly, out at the white gate, and acrosB the flower-beds, until I stood behind the creeping rose, and looked in at his study window. He was there ; sitting at the old table, in the old, thoughtful posture, but not with the old face. This was sadder, more composed, with more lines of pain in its composure. There was more compression in the set lips, a lower btnd in the always downcast head, a heavier fall in the drooping eyelids. He looked as if he rnii-sed something. Was it me f I feasted my eyes there, but my tears ran until his form was haloed in their radiance. I gloated over his lone lineFS, and thanked God passionately that he looked so sad, for, oh ! it seemed to bring me nearer to my hope, and make him dearer in my heart. I woke to recollection when Jumbo stirred in my armB, and teemed disposed for 'a restless bark, and stole down the road to my grandfather's cottage. The old man sat in the porch, looking towards the road as I came down. 1 saw him rise, shade hiB dim eyes with one old shaking hand, and grasp at his cbair for support. With a wild, sobbing cry, I (prang forward and lay on his shoulder exhausted. All he said was, again and again, ' I knew thee'd come back, Dottums, I knew thee'd come back.' I laughed and cried by turns unrestrainedly and long, but growing calmer, I threw mv head back to examine the dear old gnarled face. That much glad nets was for me, that he looked stronger and better than when I left him last year. ' You are well, Grandy ' Yes, Dottums, I have had no illness but the bitter loss of thee ; and now I'll be as blithe as the old brown grasshopper that sings to the last.' 'But, Grandy, I must go again.' ' Never, my bird ; thee'll never leave the old nest again.' ' But I must, Grandy, and this very day too.' ' Nay, my pet, I '11 find one who'll stay thee.' ' You'll not stay me, Grandy, and you'U not tell him (for I know you mean, Mr. BaiTett) that I've betn here at all,' And then, with my arms round his neck, and his face bent down to mine, I told him all my tale. j ? ' Thee art an angel, Dottums ' — he commenced, when I had ceased. ' No, Grandy, but a little wandering girl, begging a pardon for her erring, but penitent and dying mother. ' Oh, if I dared to pardon the poor loBt child, Dottums ; thee cannot tell how her old father's heart loves her, my blossom, better far than ever he loved thee, and God in bcaven knows that was well. But thee tells me she does not renounce her love to thy wicked father r' ' Grandy, Grandy, will you be harsher to your child than her God r I tell you she would not see him if he came to her dying bedside, that she con stantly speaks of her sfn with Temorse, that her love is pure as the love of angels above to sinning men. Oh, Grandy, she may be weak, but if God above did not deal gently with out weaknesses, what would become of us all ?' ' Thee has conquered thy old wicked Grandy, my pretty pet.' he said gently. ' God love thee, Dottums, for tbou art one of his angels on earth, and He will, he does.' ' I know He does, Grandy. Then may I tell my mother that you send her your parion and your blessing r' *' Nay, darling, I will go myself and see my own child once again.'' . ' No, dear Grandy.' And, with long pleading, I persuaded bim to forego that purpose, until I could reconcile my mother to the eight of him. I did not despair of doing that when I could tell her of his sure forgivenets. Then, for time had slipped by, I lose to go back to the coach. My grandfather walked with me. 'Tell her,' he said, as we walked, ' that I love her, and ever have loved her ; tell her that I send her my fullest pardon, and my best blessine, and that I pray God pardon and bless her even as her poor old lather does.' ' I will,' I answered ; ' and now, Grandy, do you piomisc me that you'll not let Mr. Barrett know you have seen me !' ' I better had, Dottums. Does thee know that he loves thee ?' I clenched my teeth to keep in the joy. ' Do you know that, Grandy r' ' Aye, Dottums ; he'll not live without thee. Better' let me tell him.' ' No, Grandy, not now. But I'll write and per haps one day 1 11 say yes. For— a secret in your ear, Grandy — I love him.' 'I knew it, Dottums; thee never kept secrets well.' We reached the coach, and then for the first time I missed Jumbo ; it was evident that he had been locked in G randy's cottage when we came away. ' I cannot return for him,' I said, 'but take care of bim for me until I reclaim him, Grandy, will you?' ' Aye, aye, my pet.' I reached home at nine o'clock that night, and my dear mother slept m peaceful assurance of reconcilia tion alike with her Father in Heaven and her father upon earth. I, too, slept and dreamed of Hope. » Musketry Ikbteuction. — In a late issue we gave some of the results of the course of mus ketry instruction through which the Balmain and St. Leonards Companies of Volunteer Rifles had passed. We may now state that the Glebe Company finished the course at the Military butts, on Saturday lsst. Fifteen members only of the company commenced the course, and twelve of these qualified themselves for the second class, by making fifteen points and upwards in the third class. Of this number, nine passed into the filBt cIbbs, having made twelve points and upwards in the second, and all the nine became en titled to marksmen's badges, by making seven points and upwards in the first class, Corporal Lankester was the highest Bcorer, with seventeen points, in the first-clasB ; Sergeant Sloman, with twenty in the second class, and Captain Goodlet, with thirty-two points in the third. The cumber of men who com menced tbe course was necessarily very small, as the company is not large, and unfortunately, many of its numbers were precluded by their hours of business from going through the course ; but the proportion of men who became maikemen to the number who commenced the course, is better than in either of the two companies previously referred to. In individual scores, however, the Glebe Company has been suipassed by members of the St. Leonards Com pany in first and second class— the scores being nine teen and twenty-two— and by members of the Balmain Company in sccond and third, the scares being twenty-two and thirty-five. The shooting of all three companies has been highly creditable. PoiKirivE Methodist AIebitko.— A tea meeting, followed as usual by a public meeting, was held in the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Bay-street, Glebe, on Monday evening. The tea meeting was numerously attended, and it went off to the satisfaction of all con. cerned. After tea, tbe company re-assembled at the Sublic meeting, when after psalmody and prayer, the lev. E. Hartley took the chair, and opened the pro ceedings with an appropriate address. From this, it appeared that the principal object of the meeting was to raise funds to discharge part of the pecuniary liabilities remaining on the chapel. The meeting was subsequently addressed by the Rev. G. Nairn and several laymen, and the pioceedingB closed shortly after nine o'clock.