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Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

11 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



FROM DARKNESS TO DAWN. A STORY OF SOUTH WALES. By WM. BRETT PLl'MUER. AUTHOR OF Tht Vicars Son," II ])own a Coalmine," V Another Man's Money? "}l'x:ks Ahead?$•<?. li\LL ItlGHTS RESERVED BY THE AUTHOR.] CHAPTI, R M. —GOOD-BYE TO BOXWOOD DALE. .o_Jr. 1 LA c.- 6) T is not astonishing T is not j&i j2fl ts in a little town like ,V»V\S Boxwood ])ale that a. fy news travels fast and Sa, '( the fact of the }j&r fw* Major's death was consequently quick- (nW\ r*V ly known all over the place. Mrs. 5*&i Greena way's I/*{ f" Hotel was soon £ 53 J beseiged by a t&y crowd of servile \ij 4* « tradesmen, each § £ anxious to turn |L g an ^ones^ penny out • > of the circumstance. '• Jellaby took the affair into his own hands, thT *nd gave the requisite instruo abo* f°r what mourning eto. that was i Q*«ly and immediately necessary. The sSQSt local undertaker got the order to ecejve Nle late Major's remains and forward 1 to London, where they were to be placed i&e care of the Metropolitan Necvoplis ^?ipany who would take what steps were re- ITi v* 'n*€rmen'; °f the deceased. locator's Arms was soon to be restored '« usual scenes of quietude; Boxwood ae was once more to be in its normal con- ltion, for on tLe following morning, much to for one, for Alice was in too unsettled a state to eat anything, and as she saw them from the door coming down the road she quickly realised that her father had definitely decided on his plans and that it was no use trying to dissuade him. W ith a heavy heart and almost whirling brain the unhappy girl thereupon went out into the little strip of garden at the back to avoid what to her was certain to be a sad and unpleasant remembrance. The bargain between the two men was quickly struck. As for the actual furniture Nat possessed, it certainly wasn't worth much, but Alice had managed to save one or two good old-fashioned pictures, and she had besides a few little knick-knacks of her own and several pretty I trifles of her dead mother's, which she had for years preserved with a tender, loving eye, and I' which in themselves were rather valuable. Nat did not, however, regard such things in the same light as did his daughter. He had I no reverence for anything that stood between h'm and his desires, and they were, conse- quently, thrown into the general sale. The whole lot i,eatisedfifteeii pounds and some odd shillings, and that day:at twelve, while Alice was out, Nat received the money in a small canvas bag, and Mr. Pleydell, assisted by a carman, cleared the entire cottage. He had, indeed, been gone but a few minutes, leaving Nat. ruminating, when Alice returned. Her face was positively white, but not a tear was in her eye. An expression of un- utterable disgust had taken possession of her features, and in her calm, stolid dignity the girl looked almost queenly. Nat looked askance at her two or three times, dropped his eyes under her steady gaze, shuffled about uneasily, and then pulling himself together with an effort, clumsily blurted out— "That's right, my poppet, taking things as you ought to. eh ? There's a lit Lie bit of love in you yet for your poor, unlucky old father. 1 knew you wouldn't turn against me when you came to think it over. and here you are, looking as bright and jovial as it does one's heart good to see. Bless you, my girl, bless you. There's only two of us, Ally, and we out/fit to stick together, oughtn't we P" He paused for an answer, but got none. Don't be silly, poppet," he continued in a sneaky, whining voice. "Don't be siltyji what I'm doing's for the best, it is really. You'll benefit by it, so shall I, and no one will be any the worse, I promise you that, Alice, on my word of honour." But she spoke not, neither moved. A f pause of a few seconds, and the burly brute had sprung forward, struck her on the fore- head, and sent her reeling backwards against tha wall. Now, you see, I can bully as well as appeal. Don't provoke me any more. Am I to be crossed by my own flesh and blood when a fortune lies ready at my hand ? I won't, I tell you, I won't, I'll kill you and myself first. I'll A change came over him as the blood returned to his face. There, I'm sorry I let my temper get the better of me, Alice, but-hut-don't anger me again, there's a good girl. I'll be a better father to you than ever I have been, if you'i! only do I what I ask. It isn't much. Do look at it Mrs. Greenaway's chagrin—for she bad be- come ?o fond of the dear lone girl—Miss I'entland had expressed her intention of con- tinning her journey to town. After two stiff glasses of rum and milk, 1rhlch were positively necessary to pull toge- ther his shattered and disturbed thoughts, Nicholson left the Morning Lark and Tnade his way down one of the streets at the bottom of the High-street, wherein stood a kniall shop 11VJ,vb'ch second-hand furniture, old clothes, *nd m.scellaneous articles distrained, lost, and riot, (jt was hinted), infrequently stolen were e*posed for sale. Nat knocked at the door, *nd inquired if Mr. I'leydeiJ, the proprietor, within. Yes, he was at honir, and, as he ■'ways was, quite ready for a deal. He knew ha^ l->y sight, and Nat knew him, for Nat ad 0Jlce swjn(jic(j ijjm over a jog, ancj he had 11 not forgotten it. The couple were soon seated 'n tIb well-sanded taproom of the Blue Bells. Now, Mr. Pleydell," said Nat, after bury- !nS his nose deep iu his glass, "you buy second- ed goods v do,retorted Mr. Pleydell, burying his *nd# in his pockets, that is, if they're °nestly come by." ^Vhat the dev thundered Nat. rumg. CI Tot, tut, man," interrupted the ready- jjoney dealer. '• 1 didn't say they weren't, on't be 80 hasty. 'J hat is only a little stipu- 1011 1 always make. It's positively neces- a'y11 assure you." 'Veil, you needn't make it in my case," retaliated Kat" for what I want you to buy ftine—understand that: honestly got and Pald for ?" "Of course; wouldn't doubt it for one moment," responded the imperturbable Pley- dell. '• Is it jewels, or clothing, 0r what '"Neither one nor the other—i(/8 solae furniture; that's all." ^'hy, are you going to leave us, then Yes, I am; I can't stand this cursed, quiet P *ce any longer. There's no money in it, and a man can't sorape a living together tIr»y, try how he may. I've tried hard for feari, and the best I can get is an exis- tence." What are you going to do ? Ha ven't made my mind up yet. Emigrate, «~rhap3; but that's neither here nor there. I jnant to sell off. I'll take a fair price provid- cin ^°u?" Pay mc the money down, ask no e £ tions) and remove the slicks out of the ay at onCe, I've no time to haggle. Will *,11 "r won't you ? If you don't, somebody se Will, and there's an end of it," • OD^h" Sa^n £ > d''aine<l °ff hi;* glas3, put his hat, and rose as if to go. r want me to come down now then, yPpose ? inquired Mr. Pleydell. (>- v; °s— if you can't it's no good to me." well," assented the dealer, "it's a Hint*5 *t out of the ordinary way of business, w. you wish it, why, I'll come with you >H5*»omeQt." Weakfast was still on the table when reached Nat's abode; it was only laid sensibly, there's a dearie. I didn't mean to hurt you, Alice, you know I didn't. It's the first time [ have ever lifted my hand to you, and I promise I never will again, only don't drive me to desperation. Don't, Alice, for both our sakes." I lie was trembling with emotion at what he had done, for in his heart (savage though he was) he was sorry, lie made a sudden step forward, caught her hand in his, and put his other arm lovingly around her. Poor, mother- less girl! She seemed totally helpless now under his influence, and, laying her weary head upon his shoulder, burst out into a ilood of tears. u There, now, don't take on, my girl. Say you forgive me, and we'll get on better than ever." She murmured something between her sobs, and Nat lifted up her face between his two hands and kissed her pale forehead over and over again as gently and as tenderly as if he had been a woman. Nat was a strange mixture, an incongruous character, and, as I' most rogues usually are. a capital actor. Alice, having unburdened her heart, like any other ordinary woman felt a st-.nso of relief I after her tears, and gradually became calmer. Nat took advantage of this to sneak out into the garden, empty the flower pot of its treasure, and refill the vacant space with mould. Hav- ing done so he returned to his child, and together they for ever left behind them the old home wherein they had shared so many sorrows and so few joys. Nat despatched his daughter to the station to await his coming, while he paid his last visit to the Piscator's A rms to gather any remaining information necessary for the carrying out of his scheme. Fortune seemed to be favouring him, for the majority of Miss Pentland's luggage was standing under the portico ready labelled and addressed to her at the Brunswick Hotel, London. It was going on in advance by the next train. This was all that Nichol- son wanted to know. He had got her definite destination, and in another hour father and daughter had placed many miles between themselves and Boxwood Dale on their way to the Metropolia.








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