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THE CHIMNEY CORNER.

ON THE VOYAGE OUT. [Continued.] “ And this is to last four months,” thought Annie with a sob. “It is impossible ! It cannot be! How shall we all live through it? And Dick? Poor Dick !” She longed, if she might, to comfort the poor creature in the next cabin, but consolation from her, Annie thought, would be irony. Well, God knew she pitied her. “ Annie !” cried Dick, starting up . from his troubled sleep, and dismayed, on seeing his young wife in tears. What on earth is the matter? Why are you crying ? This is unkind,” She suffered the reproach rather than distress him by telling him what she •; had seen. So she feigned that she had. " been thinking of home, and looking at ■ E England for the last time. She was , r . so devoted to Dick that she would have said anything rather than grieve him, or let him suppose that she was dwellingon the trouble that had befallen them. And indeed with all truth, had he touched on the subject, she could have told him that her jealousy was swallowed up by pity, and her one desire was, short of giving up Dick, to make the poor girl in the next cabin happy. For many successive days Miss Brand never appeared either at the table or on deck. She refused to leave her cabin. The doctor was called in, aqd 4 came out looking very grave, Caruthers, the Blundells, all Besought ' her, in vain, to make an effort, but She i E was resolute. She pleaded sea-sickness, languor, and finally grew excitable. “ Nothing should tempt her to she said. . , ‘ V/’ . k,. Another week passed, and still 'Miss Vi Brand never appeared. Stewards began to grumble; they thought she might come to meals, but the boy Who was told off to wait upon her shrugged , _ his shoulders, as though he knew more | than he chose to say. Mrs. became nervous, and confided to Annie one day on deck that she feared Miss Brand was very ill—peculiar, in fact. Indeed, she dared hardly say what, she thought. “It was too bad of hec friends to send a girl like that out with; out a special attendant, or relatives of her own, to look after her. She had . , been recommended the long sea-voyage, but she was evidently unfit to travel. So obstinate. She had taken a, fit—"a 1 mania—into her head that she .Would not leave her cabin all the voyageVand she supposed no one could prevent ; ■ her doing as she liked.” ■

That evening Annie confided what Mrs. Caruthers had told her to' Dick* vi He was not sorry to find his wife open ~ the subject of her own a!ccofd, showed him her mind was in a healthier 1 state. --.i “Do you know, Dick,” she continued, “poor Miss Brand is in a bad way, and I wonder, dear, if—-if—” “If what ? Speak, Annie, and don’t : be afraid. ” “ Well, if I might go and -waitr on her and take care of her. ' I should like to if I might; for oh Dick,” seizing his hand, “ by what I feel'fcr you I know what she has lost, and must now be suffering, and I am so—so —sorry for her” : .■/' / ; A. ,

Dick remained silent. First of all he was thinking what a golden-hearted little woman he had for a wife,, and . how, despite everything, he preferred her before all the world. “You don’t answer me,; Dick. Won’t you let me ?” she asked. “ I was thinking, dear,” he said quietly, “ that I love you for your request, but I would rather you did \ not offer. It is kind of you—and like jyou —but you could never do her any good, poor girl.” “Why?” >1 I 1

“ Because —Ah, don’t ask me, Annie. Now that the subject is not tabooed between us, let me tell you that I would rather we kept apart from her, ■ .If it is not well for her to be in her cabin* it , would be the worse for to see me always with you. Now do you understand ?” . : , r “ Just as you please. But I feei as if I owed her some reparation for—oh, Dick, darling, I have seen her anguish. It is too dreadful, and sometimes in the night, when the ship is quiet, and ■ r there is no sound stirring but the tread JL of the officer of the watch, then; I He awake and hear her moan and sigh, and I can’t sleep.” “Poor girl!” sighed Dick, sadly. “It has been awfully unfortunate. I *| never cease to regret this trouble to . 1 her, and to us all. I would rather f have lost hundreds of pounds than it should have happened. lam perately afraid that it will end in the old misery.” “ What old misery ?”

“Nothing to do with me, dean <Joij’t fear. But say no more, for I can't bear to revive old sorrows.” 1 ’f Days and weeks passsed. The doctor : I still went in and out of Miss Brand’s cabin, growing more serious as time went on. The ship was sailing into warm latitudes, haying come lately through a belt of squalls j each .day thf ■ equator was getting nearer. Annie had f often seen Miss Brand as she had found her on that first morning. But lately i ; her grief had taken a new turn. At night, when Dick was smoking in the fore part of the vessel, Annie wouldcome down to her cabin, and in, the stillness she could hear the poor girl mutter audibly : “He might have waited; he might have waitedand then she would l 1 mutter incoherently like one distraught w What poor Annie felt at . such moments can never be fully described. % She was a pious little soul, and used to pray a good deal that some way might * be found out of the trouble. It became an accepted fact at last that Miss Brand- - was an invalid who kept to her cabin. “Too bad,” the captain, was oyer- , , heard to say, “tosend a girl on boUrd ' | in that state of health, and without an ■*"* attendant too. But since she is here,, you must look after her, dbetoiy^intltf the ladies, and we must make the best

of it. They will have to send' her T home again, I expect, as soon as Ishe; . - gets out.” Thus the matter was finally dismised^. The weather grew days of calm, when the ship refusedyta .. .. move, but laid like a loginsiseaof molten .glass. ; In - the cabins Kt stifling; and Adelaide ;Brapd, ; -W£s suffering intensely. t The ; passengers had grown tired of the refractory invalid, and left her very much

to herself She was a puzzle iu i... . all, and only one on board l."ow *’ j truth, that dared not be rev^-aVd. Poor Annie, from her port, siiil k. pt a silent watch, and yearned with all her soul to compassionate the sufferer. At length a breeze sprang up. How grateful all on board were to see the ship going even five knots an hour! After the 3 o’clock dinner was over, all hurried on deck to welcome the breath of air that was waiting to refresh them. As the evening wore on, the ladies had their tea brought to them on deck. Everyone on board was in good spirits, all except our friend Annie, who felt weighed down by sad presentiment and the burden of another’s sorrow. Dick noticed that she was looking pale and sad. “ Don’t you feel quite the thing ?” he asjeed.

- “ No. If you don’t mind, I think I’ll go below for a little and lie down. Its the hot weather we have had that makes me feel languid.” “ All right, dear. Let me help you down the companion. A nap will set you up.”

It was not to lie down that Annie wanted. -All her desire was to be near the poor, grieving girl in the next cabin. She could think of nothing else, and it was from pure sympathy that she often t6 be the unseen, unknown companion of her lonely hours. ; Suddenly, while indulging in these thoughts, as she sat by the open port, she saw something move not very far from her. In these latitudes the twilight is short, and had all but faded, but the moon had not yet risen. It was too dark to see distinctly, but it was some one in the direction of Miss Brand’s cabin. Soon all doubt was-at rest, as the long, white figure of Adelaide crawled through the port into the main chains.

;; Without another thought, Annie divined her intention, and rushed on deck; Unable to discern her husband in the. darkness, she screamed his name- 1

Dick, Dick, save her !” - In a moment Dick Munro was at his “What is it?” he cried, “What has happened ?” ‘‘ Hush ! Don’t let her hear you,” said Annie passionately; and, pulling him to the ship’s side, she pointed to the white figure about to take the fatal leap. There was no time to be lost She had made the spring, and with a shriek was gone. Dick saw it all. In a flash of thought he tore off all superfluous clothing, saying, as he did so : “It is Miss Brand. She has fallen overboard: For God’s sake, stop the ship.” ; Being a splendid swimmer, he flung himself in after her.

A cry of “ Man overboard ! Lower the beats !” soon rang through the ship j orders were given to slacken sail, and volunteers were at hand to rescue both.

Annie stood on the deck in mute agony. Moments were like eternity. How would all end ? Was it thus she must give up her life’s joy? Were these two to pass into the other world together, and for ever ? “ God’s will be done 1” was her brave and only prayer, as, with her hands pressed on her temples,and her eyes firmly closed, she awaited that awful crisis. The excitement on board was intense. Some of the ladies were in hysterics; everyone was anxious ; but the bravest of all was the one who suffered most. £oor Annie 1 Amid the din and confusion she looked up and whispered to the doctor: : “Tell me the worst when it comes.” : The crowd moved aside to let her pass to the opposite side of the vessel, whore, with her hands still pressed on Ker temples, she paced up and down the deck; in the restlessness of her anguish, - ■ Oneoriwo ladies came up to her, but she motioned them away. Onlyalone could she live through these moments. J At the end of half an hour the doctot caime to her, saying ‘? Both bodies have been found.” : “ Drowned !” she screamed.

■“ We don’t know yet. There is still hope, and every restorative is handy.” “ It’s all up with the lady. She’s gone,” said the sailor who carried her on board. “ But there’s life in the gentleman.” And the speech was handed on from mouth to mouth. ‘ Dick was carried to the doctor’s cabin, and restored to consciousness. Health and strength were in his favor, and bis recovery was not protracted under the good care of his wife and the doctor. KPoor Adelaide Brand was buried in a few days. Great were the tions among the passengers to account for her fall overboard. " I think I’ll tell the Captain the whole story when I’m well again,” said Dick to Annie one day, during his convalescence. “ I don’t know whether I ought not to have done so from the cQm'tpencetnent. But I was afraid of doing her an injury.” as there anything besides her love lor you I” yes, there was this,” answered Pickj touching his forehead significantly. “That is why it was broken off between us. We had been engaged foara”yeaiv A week before we were to have been married she went out of her mind, j,l can’t tell you any more. The blow nearly killed me; for the doctors all said that, although she might and did get well, she was liable to a recurrence at any time. Any strong excitement was sure to be fatal. It is

three years now since we parted. I hoped she was thoroughly cured. No doubt all l would have gone well had we never met again.; but as it has turned out. Jjld memories were revived, and proved too much for her. Poor Adelaide!” . “ Poor -■ Adelaide !” echoed Annie, with a profound sigh; ■ “ Do you know, Dick, Pam glad you tried to save her. It ifcaSt;.hayie been a’happiness to her at lf’—” here she lowered her Voice toj a whisper—" and if she can see us nqw Dick, she will know that we meam to love and remember her alwayfci-you andl together.” generous-hearted little wife!” GdcF bless you for this.” 'Ste Kill of tbars as he kisses. ? li^r 3 Shd a truly love gains by V ; Ttnslrfs Magazine. iV v ‘V- -- 7 "~‘ r kind of a 1 with his ribs on flntairly 4” ■

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18810205.2.16

Bibliographic details

THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 261, 5 February 1881

Word Count
2,160

THE CHIMNEY CORNER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 261, 5 February 1881

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