Chapter 166695838

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Chapter NumberXX
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1862-03-01
Page Number2
Word Count1930
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleSydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871)
Trove TitleWhich Wins? A Tale of Life's Impulses
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Chapter XX.

IubeDtedoBiIone. ' » » And hop#, now for me, bow against me, dragged My spirits onward. ? ? ? ??u tide all 1 all thaVa lone ! and all UiaVe gained ? If this then be need*, 'tis dionalcr ' Thtn any failure.' Hat. Browktko, Not very euf wu the bix months life that foltovrel At fint my mother m contented and happy in her changed position, but at weeks wore on ehe became peevish and rcstlnai. Habit. -trnno» n,—

education or love^ resiatleialy strong as nature, incli ned her heart towards the same vagrant life she hud been leading, and made her look back to it with unconquerable regret. Not any effort of unceasing love on my part could prevent an occasional outbreak, in which tne set decorum at defiance and went roving through the afreets with the uncertain step that 40 surely denotes vacuity of purpose. I did not know how'to prevent her when entreaties and expostulation failed, and the thing occurred again and again. And worse than even this— she came more than once home, in tuch a state as showed too well that she had not escaped the net of the fiend who reigns triumphant in Sydney— Intemperance. I had to' Ijcit the bight of my mother in that state ; — the pure dream ol my innocent childhood tainted by the impure odour of the ginBhop, the fond hope of my girlhood distorted to a brandy-drugged babbler of worse than witlesi cess, the found, treasure of my womanhood covering me with shame in the face of alt I knew. I wept and besought in vain. I -could easily win her to sorrow ana to promises, but not to performances. None could be more keenly sensible than herself of her degradation, but in *a week or two the un steadiness would come ajjain, and, with an ineffec tual struggle, or with no struggle at all, she would yield to the powerful tempter and the miserable scene ef sin, remorse, and self-condemnation would be repeated, only to be again repeated with the greater facility with which every successive temptation is admitted through the effects of a previous one. In raising her above the necessity of a ' day's work for a day's bread' I had been the innocent means ot in creasing this habit upon her, which, although of no new growth, had yet been kept within bounds before by the barrier of absolute ntcestity. 1 did every thing to divert her mind ; drew her out for green country walks that cast me midnight hours to re deem loBt time, read aloud in hours that should hire been spent in requisite rest, but all my doings were futile : still the insstiable appetite ate up her energies, mastered her will, and led her in shameful captivity. I had no help but in Ood ; there I knew was sure help. The old child's pure thought grew stronger, and as each new trial came I sought anew the Saviour's bosom, end never came away comfortless. The time of trial, the time of trial '.—that is the time of the power of God. When the world bends all its mighty energies to try your bouI, then turn you with all your own feeble energies (faltering not that they are feeble) and tiy your God. For you it shall be a blessed hour of triaL Never think blue air im pervious to your voice— you little know how won drously the subtle ear of God catches your lightest whisper. Never think your complaint too email for Bis great mind to receive, ar yourself too smell to attract his notice. 1 have seen a mother bending over her youngest babe with that ineffable new love that was born witk its birth, shielding it from a mosquito bite, protecting it from a pin prick with unwearied assiduity. Little evils they were truly ; but then the child was weak for even tuch evils : she'd rather evil came on her elder children cot that she loved them less, but that hhe had better strengthened them to bear. So with God : it is His weak ones over whom He specially watches, Ilis lambs that He carries ip his arms, His babes for whom He will prepare milk diet. So in those ssd days was I helped : if I had trial, I had strength to bear ; if my efforts to reclaim my mother failed, my hope and belief of eventual success grew stronger ; if I missed the mother's love I had so purely pictured to myself, my own love grew with every breath of life, and I le.irnt practically how much holier and better it is to love than to be loved. If there was sin and sorrow in my home, there wss (I do not say it arrogantly) the Spirit of Ood and pcace in my tool. I found that I had strength according to my need. Meanwhile my poor mother, conscious of the pain she gave me, made many trial* to escape from my home, but Una was the tie that kept, her ; I had won my sister's heart, and by it I gained power over my mother. I made the child promise that she would never escape from my care, and I knew I was sure of her, for she was innocent and pure as her Spenserian name sake. Once my mother went away, but unable te part from the child, she returned in a day or two ; she went a second time and tcck Una with her ; but that same night this little guardian angel led her home. She pleaded eagerly and often with me to let her go, and to return myeelt to Mr. Barrett. ' Child, darling child,' she would say, for she always lavished upon me all the endearing terms she could bring together, ' you try to look bright and cheerful, but you csunot deceive me. A mother's eyes — even a bad mother's, see well, IsciU, and I know what your hollowing cheeks and too bright eyes mean, my love. I do not (ail to see you prers your lipB tight and liftyoui hand so wearily to your head, and I know well where your soul is down when you gaze through the window until your heavy tears splash on the win dow silL Go back to John Barrett, Isola.' ' Mother, if I am still so silly — ' ' So silly, Isola r Rather say to very wise. Oh, child, few men love as that man can love. What moBt men mean by th at word is a thing tnat debases woman. They'll make her their pet and plaything, and use her as a liring ornament to their homes. I'erhaps they' 11 even make an idol ef ber, and think that they bless her by laying upon her that terrible Christ's curse on those 'by whom the offence cometh.' Or maybe (and that s much better, child) they'll make a cook end housekeeper of her, and pay her with meaning less words that they choose to pass for love. But John Barrett's wife will be loved with a different love, Isola. He will consider her real good before his own joy, or even her pleasure, and yet that will be dear to him. She will be more precious, twice over, in his eyes, than his own soul, and yet he'd see her die before his face, 'ere he'd take n wrong Etep for her sake. He'll want a wife's duties from a wife, bat he'll expect them to emanate from love, just as true Christiana say works are consequent on faith — they Can't help doing them. They say faith is the only requisite for salvation, end thus love (and you love him) is the only requisite for a wile, But, then, suc cessive deeds are the natural fruits in both cases.' ?* Mother, dear, I love to hear you talk in that way, if only ' ? ' Hush, dear child. I know what that sweet kind look means very well. \ou would tell me that if I can talk so I must be aware what a wrong life I have led, and am leadLing. You would have me change and be as good and holy as this little gentle daughter of mine, en ? Is it not so ?' I leant my head on my hand wearily, for that half toneof sad sarcasm warned me of failure. ' Not like me, mother, I would wish you to become. Where is the need of such comparisons at all ? But if I could influence you to quit, quit '—I stammered there. 'Quit drinking r' she demanded, harshly. 'Yes;' and I hung my head and blushed with shame and sorrow. ' I cannot,' she returned, wildlv ; ' it has become neccssary ; degrading bb may be the habit, miserable as may be its effects, it is necessary to me. Oh, I was as' innocent as you are once ! It would have been ss easy for me to make my peace with God as it has been lor you. When John Barrett loved me I was hjlf a Christian ; but then I went mad ; your father fascinated me, and heaped sin, woe, destruction on my life. God let it be ; and now there is an impusable barrier between Him and me.' ' No, my mother, there can be no impassable barrier between our souls and God,' I interposed, ' There can, there is 1' she exclaimed, passionately. ' Accepted sin is an impassable barrier, is it not ?' 'Oh, yes,' I sighed.' 'Very well ; I am not so silly as to deceive myself with specious words. I love your father, love'him with my whole soul and being, love him in every breath, and in every moment, and, if I lay upon my death-bed, I would love him with the last pang. I don't flatter myself— I know that is sin ; but I won't give it up, never, never. What, then, Isola ?' ' I was silent. How could I turn and accuse my mother of sin in loving my father ? Yet how very barely I escaped hating him at that moment, ' And so I drink,' she continued : ' I am not very blest in this life, and believing, as the devils do, I tremble at the next. I drink and drown both. Isola, ? my dear, good child, do not ask me to forego that one comfort. Let me go. I shall not live long now to trouble you. I must keep my little pretty Una to the last, but for all that, you will have her in a very few months. Go, then, my good, dear child ; go and blesq John»J3arrett, as he I know will bless you : be . h^ppy .and try never to think of the poor lost mother, except to remember that she loved you dearly in the . midst of all her faults,'

' I will never leave you, mother j and, God helping me, you shall not die such a bitter death as you picture.' Such conversations were frequent between us, end ing always as fruitlessly, making me sadder, and my mother not better, But I prayed, and hoped, and worked on ; I knew God was heaping up fuel for my fire behind the screen.