WESTCROSS, A GLAMORGANSHIRE STORY. .|1881-07-02|The Cardiff Times - Welsh Newspapers Online
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A GOOD BTR0KE"0F BUSINESS.

HEROISM IN MEDICINE.

A MICHI(MN~YILL^OE IN ASHES.

WESTCROSS, A GLAMORGANSHIRE…

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| [ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY THB AUTHOR.] WESTCROSS, A GLAMORGANSHIRE STORY. BY THE Author of "After LongYears," "Among the Welsh Hills," &c. CHAPTER XIII.—A QUIET WEDDING, When evening came, Thornton returned to the cottage. Elsie's shy glance and vivid blush were flatter- ing welcome but when he pressed for her answer she was evasive and irresolute. I a ould be such a useless wire," she objected, nervously clasping and unclasping her hands as they lay in her lap. I could not even look after your house. Besides, I have always heard that an invalid wife is a terrible draùback; a sor;, of dead weight about a man's neck. I could not bear," in a trembling, passionate tone, to be a burden to yon." You will never be a burden to te, Elsie, except," he added with a smile, when I carry you up and down stairs; and then a very precious one." Unconsciously he had hit upon an argument in his own favour. To Elsie, to whom all walking was difficult and the clitllbill of stairs particularly irksome, the idea of swift and easy transit to and fro in the safe clasp of strong, kind arms was very attractive. Thornton perceived that his words had made an iiti|«ressioi), and was encouraged to proceed, "I am ready to admit," said he, "that to a young man with his way to make in the world, an invalid wife would be a hindrance. But I am not a young man. I have fought my battle, and have attained a fair position and a sufficient in- come. I don't wish my wife to trouble herself with the fatigues of housekeeping; there will be no need. I only want her to love me, and make my house home by her presence. I want to find her ever by the hearth, with a smile and a kiss and "kind word for me when I come home. Would that be too much to ask, Elsie?" leaning forward and laying his hand on her nervous, flut- tering fingers. No," she answered in a low voice. You are generous you give much and ask little. But why you should ask this little of me—woy you should wish me. a weak useless invalid, to be your wife passes my comprehension. Tell me why ? she entreated, suddenly lifting her eyes to his, For the best of reasons because I love you," he answered tenderly. But if you want to know why I love you, I can give no reason beyond this, that you remind me of one very dear to me a sweet and lovely girl, who died loug agonheni was a youug man, too poor to marry. You Imve her eyes and gentle" ays, and beside her you are the only woman who has ever touched my hearr, This is the only explanation I can give. Does it coutent you, J £ l*ie ? "Yes," she answered with a sense of relief. The fact that she in some respects resembled Thornton's first love made his affection for her seem more natural. It removed the sense uf strangeness and. unreality that had oppresed her, and also affaced from her mind the half conscious suspicion that be might have been influenced by pity. Then you consent ? You will be my wife he cried eagerly, his grip tightening on her hand. "Yes; if you will still have it so," she answered quietly, "And you love me?" The girl hesitated. It is so sudden. I hardly know." "Then I will teach you." saiil Thornton, smil- ing, ( "'Will it be a hard lesson, think you ? Look up, Elsie, and tell me the truth." She obeyed, and read in the rugged face bending over her a depth of affection that touched her to the quick. As gazed a sense of wonder and happiness, not unmixed with awe, almost deprived her of the power of utterance. I think." she faltered, It will be a lesson easily learnt, and—and never forgotten." Amy had heard from Janet of Mr Thornton's expected visit while in London, but she was not informed of Elsie's engagement until her return home, whin she was much surprised and de- lighted, as her friends expected her to be. A few weeks later the wedding took place at Westcross Church. Mr Tresillian performed the ceremony and Amy, and Janet, and Ellis Lee, who gave aw y the bride, were the only friends present. As the bridal pair stood side by side, the disparity of age was very apparent, and a stranger might have considered it au unequal match; but one glance at Elsie's liappy face was sufficient to prove that her heart went freely with her hand. ¡ At the churchyard gate au open carriage and pair were waning to convey Mr and Mrs Thornton to Cardiff. They would drive slowty, halt on the way for lunch, and arrive at their destination in time for dinner. At Cardiff they would remain for a day or two, and then go on by lail to Lon- don, all invalid carriage being procured for Elsie, and evtry possibly precaution taken to lessen the fatisjue of the journey. When the ceremony was concluded, Thornton led his biide slowly and tenderly down the nave an i out into the porch, then, without a word of warning, lifted her gently in his arms and carried her off to the carriage. You must not walk any more to-day, Elsie. You have done too much already. You see," lie added, looking with a smile into the blushing face so near his own, I lose no time in asserting my new authority. It will be useless to rebel." But the new-mvide wife showed no signs of re- belling. Her Lead rested contentedly on her husbaud's shoulder, and she did not even trouble herself about her new bonnet A few minutes later the farewells were spoken, and Janet, with tearful eyes, stood watching the wedding carriage until it turned a coiner and disappeared from sight. The parting betwe n the sisters was keenly felt on both sides but perhaps moat by her who was left, who had now lost the object of her constant care and solicitude. But after a few quiet tears JalJet quickly recovered herself. She was far from unhappy. Her own future now lay before her, fair and unclouded. In the following October she was to leave for India, to become the wife of her faithful lover, and in the meantime was to spend a month with Amy, afterwards goincr on to London to remain with Elsie until the day of departure arrived.. Wei), and so it is the invalid who is married I first, after all," observed Mr Trissilliun, as the little party walke i back to the Rectory. c, Who woul1 have tbOll"ht iP" "Who indeed!" returued Ellis, This is not only an unexpected but also a very romantic way out of the difficulty. Is it not ?" turning to Amy. "Yes, an I a bappv way too. I hope," she re- plied. "Y ou have taken a great d^al of trouble, 3lr Le She looked up, aud their eyes met. It was for her sake that he had first interested himself in Eiste.andsheknevit." "Yes, we are greatly indebted to Mr Lee for ad his kindness," said Janet warmly, I don't know," she added, glancing at him." whether there is anything you ) a ticnlarly desire to make you happy, but if there is, I hope and wisn,with all my he it, that you may get it. Don't j'ou, Amy?" with a smile and a look of mischief, I hope Air Lee may have hatever is good for him," she replied, dea.urely but there was, a soft colour in her cheek, and she dared tiot lock "n The succeeding weeks flow rapidly bV Amv was delighted to find herself at home' again Once more amor., mine own people," she had saidt': ,,er rather, with a smile, as they drove Once more amor., mine own peopJe," she had said to ,,er rather, with a smile, as they drove tiirough the village on the evening of her return She had suffered much under Arthur's roof" but it was over now. She had escaped the a'iguish and the contlict, and the »c;nse of relief was so great that it seemed for the time as though she had letc all pam behind. Her soirit rose, and she resumed ner various duties and occupations with the energy and interest of former day. with the energy and interest of former day. danet was happy aUo. She had had doubts about I her sisters marriage; doubt, whether" a man might be trusted to take proper care of her dear invalid. But the spirit of joy and content which breathed through Elsie's letters dispelled all these misgivings a load was lifted from her shoulders, and she entered with hearty enjoyment shoulders, and she entered with hearty enjoyment into all the little festivities which Amy planned in her honour. At these sociable little picnics and unpretending al Jresco tea-drinkings Ell is not unhequently assisted, doing much in an unobtrusive manner to ensuie their success. Amy did not percive at the time how he contrived to lighten her labours and promote the enjoyment of all present nothing I was a trouble that he did for her. She did i;oc guesa how he h id counted the days of her absence, and how he rejoiced at her return, for he was now to conceal his feelings. The first keen glance showed him that she had suffered. There was a tired look on the pale, lily and the sweet dark eyes turned towards him with a shade of ap- prehendon which struck him with remorse. Never again should she he pained with any words of his. He had resolved beforehand how he would comport himself towards her in the future, and took up his new rule tho moment they met, maintaining it on all occasions with such stern eelf-cwntrol that Amy soon ceased to think of him as a cruel lover, and began to lean on him as the kind familiar friend, whose help aud advice were always to be relied on. Sometimes her confidence filled him with delight, at other times witli dismay but whatever he felt he gave no sign, and if the struggle was hard he had his reward in the smile of welcome on Amy's lip that no.v greeted his appearance. He would hear anything rather than that sue should shrink from him. It is the happiest days, alas! that fly the fastest, and all too soon the time came when Janet must say good bye to Westcross and the friends she loved. For all her bright prospects her he at was heavy, as her eyes rested for the last time on the Rectory garden and the green Colhugh, on the quaint rambling old village, and the sweet flowery lanes which slie iidght. never spe again. By the time shehad reached London,however, she had recovered I er spirits and a day or two later sent Amy a long and amusing letter, giving a full and particular account 01 Elsie's new home and surroundings. It you could see her," she wrote, "you would think she had been married for months, so well does her new position suit her, and she it. You know that I have had fears and doubts not a few. The affair was so sudden, and altogether unexpected, but now that I have seen husband and u ife together, and wituossed with my own eyes the care he takes of her, I can go to India with an easy conscience, for I know that it is a happy marriage." Aud Janet was right. It was a happy marriage. The husband and wife not only loved, but suited each other. letter, and the smile, the kiss, arid the kind word were never wanting, A wife fond of society, who made her own engagements if respective of his Ci mini's and goings, would not have suited him at all. But he never found Elsie out.Enrly or late, wet or fine, she was always waiting for Idui. In the winter her easy chair was piaced by the fireside, in the summer by the window but wherever 1'1* might be her eyes always turned to the door, her face always brightened when tie entered. To come (into his wife's sitting room, and find her bright «nd happy with her books, fancy-work and lowers; prettily dressed, and surrounded by every y>mforf. that affection could sagaest, was a con- tnnal delight to the busy, hani-woiking mrgeon. left all worries ami professional cares outside he entered that gentle Dresence. andbrnathed for a "bile the refreshing atmosphere of domestic peace and felicity, Klsie's white hands were not very industrious, perhaps, bnt they did that which stronger and more active fingers might have failed to do. They wove into the w .rp of her husband's life the golden threads of love, gladness, and con- tent. CHAPTER XIV.—WON AT LAST. A year passed away, and again it was summer. One sultry afteinoon Amy was returning to West- cross through the meadows, having taken a. message from her father to a neighbouring farm. Mr Tressillian had bidden her to walk quickly for the glass was falling, and he feared a storm but it « as haymaking time and he had DO one else to send. Amy obeyed and walked rapidly but now she was half wav home, the storm did not come, and islie was getting tired, and insensibly her steps slackened. It was the anniversary of Elsie's wedding-day. How quickly time had flown it seemed but as yesterday, and yet a whole year had rolled away. "I suppose I have been happy," she thought, with a sellse of surprise, and uncan- sciously her lips parted in a smile. Yes now she came to reflect, life had flowed plea-antly of late. The last year had been marked by no great events, but it had been a time of rest and tran- quillity after the storm of paiD, humiliation aud distress which had preceded it. She would never forget the misery which the news of Arthur's marriage occasioned her, nor the pain she had endured while under his roof. She looked back upon that visit to London as to a kind of fiery ordeal through which "he had passed by her own decree. The experience had been salutary; she had come out victorious and" on back her peace of mind, But the victor had been bruised and wounded, and though the scars were hidden, if a rough or sudden hand were laid upon them she would wince even yet. She had conquered, but she was naturally faithful and could not forget. But Amv's mind just now was not occupied by any but pleasant themes. She was engaged in reviewing the past year, and" as a^tonisned to fimt ho in all its small events Ellis Leesti od for- ward a central figur., How.kind and goo i he had been to her When she had felt dull and lonely after Janet's departure. ow wauy little things he had done to cheer her. When once she began to remember his kindnesses they spread out into a long list too numerous to be couuted. And never bv word or look had he distressed her by any allusion to that scene on the mariner's path some 15 months ago. Of late she had often won- dered if he remembered it, and the words he had then used. He appeared to be quite contented, and dropped no hint of anything wanting in his life. And yet his words had been, "Is all be waiting, waiting always,"aad Amy did not like to think that ho had forgotten. But what -as this patte ing down on the top of her parasol? The rain had come at last W' ile she had been engrossed in thought the storm had been steadily drawing nearer and nearer, and now the sky II as black and threatening, and an omin. ous flash rent the murky clouds. Amy g ized round in ahum, and seeing a cottage on t e other side of the field, ran to ards it with all speed. The thunder rolled and the r ain fell in torrents as Ellis Lee hurried along a bye road in the vicinity of High Meadow on his way home from visiting- a sick child. "Dilly a face at the window," but the sight of it was enough to arrest his progress, and bring him promptly to the cottage door. What.in the world are you doing here 2" he exclaimed, as Amy met him on the threshold. I have been to Sweetwater Farm, and was overtaken by the storm on my way back, and ran here for shelter. There is no one in," she added, seeing him glance round. ''They are all out haymaking, I sni pose." No doubt. Have you been here long ? Half an hour I have been looking out of the winuow and longing to see somebody come." A re you afraid ?" he asked kindly. "Not afraid, exactly," she answered, colouring, "But I don't like to be quite alone in a thunder- storm" And I don't care to be out in one." said Ellis with a smile, shaking the water from his hat, 0: How it does come down You have not escaped altogether," he added, noticing the limp condition of her pretty blue muslin dress. Oh, that is nothing. What should I have done if there had been no shelter near? or fit these good, unsuspicious folks had locked the doors behind them when they went out hay making ? It was very fortunate they didn't," said Ellis, approaching the fireplace. The fire had been carefully damped down, but a judicious poke from the doctor caused it to show signs of life, and with the aid of a few sticks lying near, a cheerful blaze soon sprang up. Then he looked about, and finding some small logs in a corner, promptly threw one on, "I know old Rogers and his wife who live here," he explained, They are a respectable old couple. I'll make it all straight with them. Come to the fire, I am suie you must be cold," She obeyed, and stood beside him, looking round the room" itla more attention than she had hitherto bestowed upon it. It was a neat, homely kite en, and contained a substantial chest of drawers, and a dresser wetl supplied with willow-patterned plates and dishes. A short, chequered curtain shaded the window, and before it stood a deal table, another smaller one, with three legs, occu- pyillg the ceutre oi the Hoor. On one side of the fire place there was a wooden arm chair, and op osite, with its back to the window, stood a small settle capable, perhaps, ot holding two persons ar, a pinch, Won't you sit down ?" suggested Ellis. "Sit here on this settle and you won't see the lightning so much," for he noticed that she instinctively sought to cover face whenever there was a pariicularly bright flash. Amy sat do n and Ellis took the armchair. I he log on the fire was now blazing merrily, and the ruddy flames lightened the gloom that every moment grew deeper. The storm was cer- tainly getting worse. Their ears were deafened with the roaring alld cracking of 'he thunder over- bead, and the forked lightning v as almost continuous. Amy cowered in her corner, and covered her eyes that she might not see the terrible blue light that filled the room. Ellis left his scat and stood be-ide her, He wculd like to have taken her into his arms if he had dared. "How long will this last, do you think?" she enquired anxiously. Oh, it will soon be over now," he answered, in a reassuring ton«. "T think it is moderating alreacx ° They relapsed into siieuce again. In a severe thunderstorm ordinary conversation is not only difficult but displeasing. It grates against the feelings of most persons as irreverent and out of place—like laughter in a church. But though they did not speak, each was acutely conscious of the other's presence. They had never been alone for any time since that memorable interview on the cliff, the thought of which, by some subtle link of sympathy, was now present in the minds of both. The strong, bearded man whose tender glance rested on the gill's bowed head, was wondering whether the time had come when he might ven- ture to speak again, Hope had sprung up in his heart of late, for he felt that there was a change in Amy. He felt, but could not define it. It 1\ as penetrating but impalpable, like the sweet breath ot spring in the air, which delights the senses and defies analysis. He had said that he would remain silent until by some token of encouragement she gave him leave to spek, Migiit he venture to interpret this lieW, iK'tfiscribhble something in her looks and manner as the sign^ lie sought or would it be better to wait a little longer ? She might not as yet be aware of any difference in might not as yet b aware of any difference in her e'f, and though his love y-a3 p seionate and his need of her great, v.ouirt Vait for months or years rather thiS :"cur the risk of wound; an:| distressing her as e had done befoi j, Ellis was so absorbed in his reflections that !:& did not perceive that the stotm was abating until Amy looked upwind said with a smile, "I wonder what Mis lvogers wonid say if she could see us making ourselves so much at home in her kitchee," I She wouldn't object, lam sure. I shall take the earliest opportunity of telling her all about it." As he epoke lie moved towards the window, and Amy followed him. The sky showed signs of clearing, but the rain still fell, aud the narrow lane in front was con- verted into a water-course. ABlY eyed the muddy stream with some appre- hension, I wonder how deep it is. Or if-" You are not thinking of walking ?" interrupted Ellis quickly. But I must; my father will bs anxious. You I see the storm is nearly over now." Yes, but the roads will he in a terrible state, not fit walking for ladies. Do you think I would let you go through that ?" pointing to the turbid water. "I will drive yon home. My iiouse is close by. If you don't mind waiting fur ten minutes or a quarter of an Jour, I "ill be back with the dog-cart in that time." You are very kind," said Amy, grateful but hesitating. But—but you will have to go tiirough the wet yourself. And it is giving you so much trouble. Trouble he echoed,and his fine eyes said as plaiidy as words that nothing was a trouble he did tor her. In-a little over the time name the do cart drew up at the cottage door and Ellis sprang out. •' I have va feminine wrappings to offer you, but I think this might do," said he, unfolding a grey Scotch plaid. Amy hwked doubtful, I don't think I waut anything." Yes you do," said he decidedly. Do you consider a imiftHn dress and ecarf suitable attire for driving in the rain ? Come, let me put in on." He spoke with kind authority and she sub- mitted standing meek and silent, her dark lashes sweeping her cheeks, and a faint blush coding and going. Perhaps the doctor w as more susceptable to the electrical influences in the air then he would have cared to admit, for his hand trembled a. he arranged the folds of the shawl around Amv's shoulders, and once when he accidentally touched her warm, white ncok he felt a positive shock. In a few minutes they had taken their places, and were bowling swiftlv to •ards Westcross, Amy declined an umbreila, anddre.v a corner of the plaid over her heat), The rain is nothing now, and I like to look round. It is so pleasant driving in a high vehicle like this," Lee thought it pleasant also, with her for a companion, too pleasant to continue at that pace, or their destination would be reached in a few minutes, and he accordingly took advantage of the first gentle ascent to check his hoise to a sober walk. Yes; it is Elsie's wedding day. It does not seem a year sines she was married, does it ? How quickly 111110 has flown," He locked pleased. "I am glad you think so. I i\ as sf.aid you ¡ would find life at Westcross very dull, and the place uninteresting, after your visit to London." On the contrary, I like it better new than I ever. "And the people ?" he asked eagerly. "The people are much the eime, I think." Havt.ii't yotir feelings changed towards any of them he persisted. h Is there DO one whom you like better than you did—bay fifteen mouths ago ?" .l "I don't khow whom you mean," she answered nervously. "Yes, you do, Amy, love," and the man's very soul seemed breathed in those low.toned words. Have Too nothing to say to met'5 1 The eirl trembled. What shall I say?" "Give me leave to speak," There was a pause. Ellis saw that she v, as much agitated. His app al had touched a chord that had never vibra ed before, and for a few minutes she could not speak. He waited. Gradu- ally her Jips ceased to quiver; the sweet lily face was slowly turned towards him, iind a soft voice Whispered, tC Speak; I am willing to listen." ¡ With the sound of «edding bells my story closes. Amy made a sweet > ife, and was popu- larly considered to be far more attractive and charming as a matron than she had ever been as j a irl, though there are one or two well-informed persons who even no will never allow her girlish fascinations to be decried. In the course of time 1 children's voices and happy laughter rang through the old rooms and quaint gardens at High Meadow; and if any trace of the old pain lingered iu the young wife's heart it vanished for ever at the first touch of baby lips. Ellis continued to follow hi« profes-ion, and became well kilo, nand much liked in the vicinity and although he never became rich, and was never heard of beyond the limits of his own lleighhourhood, I think he may be considered a successful man, for he bad attained his heart's desire, and was grateful, happy, and contented. It was a rare thing for husband or wife to leave the home which they so dearly lowd. Arthur Tressillian is a Q C. and a member of Parliament, aud further distinctions are supposed to be in store for him. His ability alld success are often spoken of, and if he is ever haunted by teuder memories or vain regrets none klows it but himself. To the surprise of his friends he has turned out a devoted husband, and the sil,dow is gone from the face of his beau iful wife. Augusta writes a long, kind letter now and ihen to Mrs Lee. and thus ec oes from the world of politics and fashion find their way to 1 iitrh Meado v. Amy likes to hear what is going OD, but no tinge of envy mars the serenity other hap. y life. [THK END.]

----------PECULIAR TRIAL FOR…

A CHICAGO GUNPOWDER j PLOT.…

THE WEATHER AND THE CROPS.

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-__---FATALITIES AT SEA.

A WILL SUIT ARRANGED.;

---_-----------SHOCKING ACCIDENT…

EXPLOSION ON BOARD A SHIP.

SERIOUS TRAMWAY ACCI-' DENT…

THE CHILDREN'SHOUE: COLUMN…

Y GOLOFN GYMREIG .

AT EIN GOHEBWYR.

YR ANGEL.

YR AGERDD. ^

-----THE NEW SEAHAM COLLIERY…

THE TIN PLATE TRADE.

THE CONVERSION OF CYFARTHFA…