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A TIGER LILY: A GOLDEN ROD., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 314, 8 April 1881
A TIGER LILY: A GOLDEN ROD.
CHAPTER lll—Redeemed^With a Price. —[continued.] The St. Bbville’s post was one of its eccentricities. It came ; in betimes in the evening;: but though the letters were sorted then, they were not delivered, for the convenience of the letter carrier, till daylight and, rooming ; sunshine. , People who would not have borne an hour’s unnecessary delay with?: out an outcry and a fight for it at home, submitted meekly ‘to* twelve hours’ delay from home at Stßoville’S. Mr HopkinsV hearing something of* Lauderdale’sexcitemeiit about<the post,,, offered, with his* obliging temper—which was part of the man’s graciously, dangerously pliant nature—to go,out of the way to his lodging, call for. the; St. Boville’s House dettets, and ; birin-g; them back with him, before he went' into quarters for the pight 5 ‘ As iittlte can- do,’ - argued. Gregory to. himself, cheerfully;. ‘ when*, he is smoking and lounging about in dusk, for he won’t go into his lodgings,, and take a book in . his hand, so long as he can help it.'. He, had, better,make himself useful by humoring a sick woman’s fancy. She would, do more for him any day.’ At once, Lauderdale knocked ,-the proposal on the head. ' Fred Mopkibs heard her do it when he was waiting, in the drawing-room, more forlorn than ever, now that there was not even the clever, kind caricature of :a woman to welcome a man, while Gregory was speaking of it to his sister; as he made his brief sojourn with her, sitting on ' the front of the bed. Fred heard Lauderdale :say, in the middle .of her J fits of coughing,’ ‘ Grfeg, f IP im l hiucn 1 - obliged to you and him, but l’d rather |- not. Don’t ytf® remember:,the post-| office is next to one of the hotels ? It is not right to throw a man into temptation, and it is very hard to pull up full-grown ; weeds by the ifoptsl ‘ He 0 waed to a -w/laE that . -hfel' could never pass . such, a places, with money in his pockef particularly, without turning in to have one game at billiards, and a couple'*of glasses of wine. AH right; we would not stint a t I man in his pleasures, but it would not ! ! be a dozen games of ’ billiards or a [ bottle of wine Fred Hopkins might rise under, for he mast drown care. He I was late of coming this morning. : He : could not eat any breakfast with you ; and he said very politely he was afraid he was feeling. seedy, and was sorry to have fo send out' for sbHa waterl 1 was lying listening to 'it alj; so be •, you sure and thank him, but say he, - need not trouble, the letters caff wait” J Fred Hopkins went -directly home that night and covered his face with his hands, and took them away wet, after Uayihg prefer WTriS soul, * God be merciful t6)me r a sinner. God, what make? that woman~care so " much for me, who have only been a grievance to her?’ Lauderdale’s letter, carae at last, and : was seized upon by . her, though she was as unwell as ever. But all at once she announced-: that -the: paia.Jn • her chest was gone; and though she» coughed still, the cough no longer dis» tressed her. She got up and r wrote i. little, notwithstanding that she was un- r . r accountably weak—certainly, She was ‘ not accustomed to be an invalid—and then she came and lay contentedly Oft ' the hard drawing-room sofa on which Fred Hopkins used to groan. When Gregory and Mr Hopkinssaw Lauderdale there, they started, looked . at each other, aghast with concerned, ' frightened gravity, while they spoke to 1 her with forced gaiety,' and took the first opportunity to snatch a word with each other apart. ‘ A doctor ?’ whispered Hopkins.' * Slap bang,’. consented poor Gregory, unconsciously speaking slang, with parched Ups. ‘ Any of the tribes If one is not at home go for another. Fetch a couple if you think fit.’ . , < A doctor came, to Lauderdale’s surprise, and a little to her vexation. The busy woman had never had a doctor to attend her in her life, and shft - was conscious of looking very grotesque ,? in her nightcap; but She Has so weary and sleepy she could not feel so indignant as she ought to have felt . The doctor found the case too serious to be one of triumph in the dignity of physics being acknowledged * at last, though he persisted in regard-1 ing it as un instance, of retribution, fit was a case of inflammation- in- \ne lungs, aggravated, neglected,- and ! allowed to run on to its last ' hopeless stage. :■ Nothing could be done for Miss * : Wainwright, strong woman as she. had " 4 been till a fortnight ago ; no power on". . earth, not all the riches of all','itjr kingdoms, could save her, or pay. the forfeit. She might suffer no more, except from oppression: of breathing; but twelve hours would -pfoHabfjf' end the struggle—no mbre time lluta -ihd \ had waited for the post’s bringing the . * golden fruit of the toil ir». which she had sacrificed her life, ? [, r No.one had toldher. padjpCHip: > back to bed, and slept in ignorance, since the doctor’s :Visit - She • Wa* startled when she hwoke aW * saw ' Gregory standing beside- Wet,-'ld|e, and*, looking old" add* grim,' Slid' Fred Hopking. through ( a halfopety floor, idle too,' look ing, yquqg with a wasted youthfulqess, lb©:!infinite sadness of the fabled dryads and fauns
of the old myths, those whose hahawakened souls could comprehe-d and bow before sorrow, but could n .t com pass repentance and resistance to fai . Then when Gregory said to her wistfully, ‘ Laudie ’ —using an old caressing, childish name which he had not applied to her for thirty years—‘ ca n I do nothing more to make you comfortable/ there was no need to tell her. ‘ She had dragged herself up that ipprnjng with a vision of fresh work before herr—now all work was done, n.-;: and nothing was left for her but to go - u hdme and take her wages. Her work Was done: in that she could resign V /bei»lf,.taie courage, and even rejoice 1 faintly iti 'the far-off heavenly echo, / All is well*, '] -‘ ,sa *dr in feeble mockery woifc to. be her chaffing, and with her plainness pathetic in US - last light, <you will miss me, old fellow, jgfass hobse will look blank for tI :"f wbue me; but that will force you to form other and closer ties, better ’for you in the end. You will miss., me, too, .Fred Hopkins, but I helped you, and Greg will do the best he oaaior you,and you will-manage to r■' get yourself on your feet, as you told me your sister tried to get you, lest she and I should not rest in our graves. Kiss me, Greg, and you too, Fred Hopkins; you have both a better Friend than I, to whom I am going, and to whom I shall say a word for you, if I may. But we cannot speak of these things ; only comfort each other, dears/ v When Lauderdale was gone, it was
found that she had left the draft of a
will., written so lately as in the beillness,, bequeathing the bulk ot her little property in artists’ • tools and impressions to her brother; ' bat the last sum of money that she had worked for-—a considerable sum for a woman to earn, in return for a large and ..troublesome commission —to Fred&ick Hopkins, to be laid past . tijlithe soth October, which date, with itS Teference, he would understand. GrfeJjory hot only paid the proposed legacy readily, but religiously fulfilled the obligation...which Lauderdale had transferred to him ; when pith in backbone t 'seemed to have been restored tb'FredHopkins by the very depth of . the sadrifice made for him. The two men did not swear friendship and dwell ’ together in. all time to come, with their antecedents and inclinations as widely remoyed as the poles. But Gregory ; recommended Hopkins to a studio where he could be thoroughly instructed in a photographer’s art, and obtain
scope for his natural talents and taste, and Gregory aided Fred. Hopkins with . experience, influence, even what little r money,[her.could lend; on- the first openingfora new artist. Thus-it happened that when Mr Hopkios was a ■fashionable photopyapher. piqued the world into showing him favor; by , the gentlemannot; imperious not fawning, but perfectly easy—manner in which he - solicited: its votes,' he was in the habit of sending: to Gregory Wainwright ' Copies of his finest. achiieveirients, and Gregory was jrt the habit of sending ‘Mr Hopkins, in return, examples of •- bis rarer walk in the. higher, field of pure . gears of nature—animated and still * life-in . antiquity and archaeology. Thesegifts were a small attempt at the ■*'ifter• the fashion of Raffaelle’ Sanzio and Albercht Durer, but wejre not too small to be, a kindly, friendly interchange of compliments of .itome value.
More than that, ‘in Mr Hopkins’s studio, before all Kis aesthetical studies, jhdpg ; the bizaftt head bf an . irregular-' woman,aged with work and care, bearing;the irregular inscription, my dear
friend and ,bene|actress.’ When any visitor took it upon him to remark on Ihe/preference given to this likeness, •Mr ■ Hopkins- always roused himself to say : eagerly and wonder.! put’her there; was the best woman X ever knew. ’ Lis. Mrs Hopkins not jealous?’ you say. ‘ ‘ Not at all. Mrs Hopkins knows that I should not be here this, day had H riot' been for a disinterested, charitable soul, whose memory she loves and and. whose name ,we have givep .’to'. out. children.: ~ Good and .noble Lauderdale Wainwright! She made a man of me; and she taught me Ib'ieverence Womankind.’ . 1 ’ ' (Conduded). -
A TIGER LILY: A GOLDEN ROD., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 314, 8 April 1881
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