Hide and Seek | Wilkie Collins | Literary Fiction | Soundbook | English | 2/10

Hide and Seek | Wilkie Collins | Literary Fiction | Audiobook | English | 10/10

book 2 chapter 17 of hide and seek by Wilkie Collins this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by on ocimum matthew crisis revenge now they're looking to the right nor the left neither knowing nor caring whether he went matthew Grice took the first turning he came to which let him out of bag Rev Square it happened to be the street communicating with a long suburban road at the remote extremity of which mr. Blythe lifts Matt Philip this road mechanically not casting a glance at the painters abode when he pass it and taking no notice of a cab with luggage on the roof which drew up as he walked by at the garden gate if it only looked round at the vehicle for a moment you must have seen Valentine sitting inside it and counting out the money for his fare but he still went on straight on looking aside of nothing he fronted the wind and a clearing quarter of the sky as he walked the shower was now fast subsiding and the first rays of returning sunlight as they streamed through mist and cloud felton Lily and warmly on his face though he did not show it outwardly there was strife and trouble within him the name of Zack was often on his lips and he varied constantly on his rate of walking now quickening now slackening his pace at irregular intervals it was evening before he turned back towards home night before he sat down again in the chair by young 'those bedside I'm a deal better tonight Matt said Zack answering his first inquiries that good fellow Blythe has come back he's been sitting here with me a couple of hours or more where have you been to all day you're Restless old rough and tough he continued with something of his natural light heart of the men are returning already there's a letter come for you by the by lent lady said she'll put it on the table in the front room Matthew found an opened letter which proved to contain two enclosures one was addressed to mr. Blythe the other had no direction the handwriting the letter being strange damn Matt looked first for the name at the end and found that it was foob wait a bit he said as axe poked again just then I want to read my letter we'll talk after this is what he read some hours have passed since you left my house I've had time to collect a little strength and composure and have received such assistance and advice as have enabled me to profit by that time now I know that I can write calmly I sent you this letter my object is not to ask how you became possessed of the guilty secret which had kept from everyone even for my wife but to offer you such explanation and confession as you have a right to demand from me I didn't cavil about that right I admit that you possess it without desiring further proof than your actions your merciless words and the bracelet in your possession have afforded me it is fit you should first be told the assumed lien by which I was known a Dibble Dean merely originated in a foolish jest in a wager that certain companions of my own age who were accustomed to ridicule my fondness for botanical pursuits and often to follow and disturbed me when I went in search of botanical specimens would not be able to trace and discover me in my country retreat I went to Dibble Dean because the neighborhood was famous for specimens of rare ferns which I desired to possess and I took my assumed name before I went to help in keeping me from being traced and disturbed by my companions my father alone was in the secret I came to see me once or twice in my retirement I have no excuse to offer for continuing to preserve my false name at a time when I was bound to be candid about myself and my station in life my conduct was as unpardonably criminal in this as it was in greater things my stay at the cottage had taken lasted much longer than my father would have remitted if I had not deceived him and if he had not been much harassed at that time by unforeseen difficulties in his business as a foreign merchant these difficulties arrives at Laos at a climax and his health broke down under them his presence or the presence of a properly qualified person to represent him was absolutely required in Germany where one of his business houses conducted by an agent was established I was his only son he had taken me as a partner into his London house and had allowed me on the plea of delicate health to have send myself for my tutees for months and months together and to follow my favorite botanical pursuits just as I pleased when therefore he wrote me word that great part of his property and great part consequently of my sister's fortunes depended on my going to Germany his own health not permitting him to take the journey I had no choice but to place myself at his disposal immediately I went away being assured beforehand that my absence would not last more than three or four months at the most while I was abroad I wrote to your sister constantly I had treated her dishonorably and wickedly but no thought of abandoning her had ever entered my heart my dearest hope at that time was the hope of seeing her again not one of my letters was answered I was detained in Germany beyond the time during which I had consented to remain there and the excess of my anxiety are even vented to write twice to your father those letters also remained unanswered when I at last got back to England I immediately sent a person whom I could rely to Dibble Deane to make the inquiries which I dreaded to make myself my messenger was turned from your doors with a fearful news of your sister's flight from whom and of her death it was then I first suspected that my letters have been tempered with it was then – when the violence of my grief and despair had the role abated that the news of your sister's flight inspired me for the first time with a suspicion of the consequence which had followed the commission of my sin you may think it strange that this suspicion should not have occurred to me before it would seem so no longer perhaps if I detailed to you the peculiar system of home education by which my father strictly and conscientiously and effort to preserve me as other young men are not usually preserved from the moral contaminations of the world but it will be useless to dwell on this now no explanations can alter the events of the guilty and miserable past anxiously though privately and in fear and trembling I caused such inquiries to be made as I hope might decide the question whether the child existed or not they were long persevered in but they were useless useless perhaps as I now think with bitter sorrow because I've trusted them to others and had not the courage to make them openly myself two years after that time I married and their circumstance is not of an ordinary kind what circumstances you have no claim to know that part of my life is my secret and my wife's and belongs to us alone I've now dwelt long enough for your information on my own guilty share in the event of the past as to the present in the future I've still a word or two left to say you have declared that I shall expiate by the exposure of my shameful secret before all my friends they're wrong your sister suffered at my hands my life has been one long expiation for that wrong my broken health my older character my weary secret sorrows and partaken and uncon sold have punished me for many years past more heavily than you think do you desire to see me visited by more poignant sufferings than these if it be so you may enjoy the vindictive triumph of having already inflicted them your threats will force me in a few hours from the friends I've lived with at the very time when the affection shown to me and the honor conferred on me by those friends have made their society most precious to my heart you force me from this and from more for you force me from my home at the moment when my son has affectionately entreated me to take him back to my fireside these trials heavy as they are I'm ready to endure if by accepting them humbly I may be deemed have made some atonement for my sin but more I have not the fortitude to meet I cannot face the exposure with which you are resolved overwhelm me the anxiety perhaps I ought to say the weakness of my life has been to win and keep the respect of others you are about by disclosing the crime which it is on at my youth to deprive me of my good Fame I can let it go without a struggle as part of a punishment that I have deserved but I have not the courage to wait and see you take it from me my own sensations tell me that I have not long to live my own convictions assure me that I cannot fit they prepare myself for death until I am far removed from worldly interests and worldly terrors in a word from the horror of an exposure which I have deserved but which at the end of my weary life is more than I can endure we have seen the last of each other in this world tonight I shall be beyond the reach of your retaliation for tonight I shall be journeying to the retreat in which the short remainder of my life will be hidden from you and from all men it now only remains for me to advert to the two enclosures contained in this letter the first is addressed to mr. Blythe I leave it to reach his hands through you because I'm ashamed to communicate with him directly as for myself if what you said about my child be the truth and I cannot dispute it then in my ignorance of her identity in my estrangement from the house of her protector since she first entered it I've unconsciously committed such an offense against mr. Blythe as no contrition can ever adequately atone full now indeed I feel how presumptively merciless my bitter conviction of the turpitude of my own sin has made me towards what I deemed like sin in others now also I knew that unless you have spoken falsely I've been guilty of casting the shame of my own desertic child in the teeth of the very man who had nobly and tenderly given her an asylum in his own home the unutterable anguish which only the bare suspicion of this has inflicted on me might well have been my death I marvel even now at my own recovery from it you are free to look at the letter to mr. Blythe which I now entrust to you besides the expression of my shame my sorrow and my sincere repentance it contains some questions to which mr. Blythe in his Christian kindness will I doubt not readily write answers the questions only refer to the matter of the child's identity and the address I've written down at the end is that of the House of Business of my lawyer and agent in London he will forward the document to me and will then arrange with mr. Blythe the manner in which a fit provision for my property may be best secured to his adopted child he has deserved her love and to him I gratefully and humbly leave her for myself I am not worthy even to look upon her face the second enclosure is meant for my son and is to be delivered in the event of your having already disclosed to him the secret of his father's guilt but if you have not done this if any mercy towards me has entered into your heart and pleads with it for pardon and for silence then destroyed the letter and tell him that he will find a communication waiting for him at the house of my agent he wrote to ask my pardon he has it freely freely in my turn I hope to have his forgiveness for severity 'he's exercise towards him which were honestly meant to preserve him but times from ever falling as his father fell but which I now fear were persevered in to hardly and too long I have suffered for this error as for others heavily more heavily when he been in his home should ever wish him to know you said he lived with you and that you were fond of him be gentle with him now that he's ill for his mother's sake my hand grows weaker and weaker I can write no more let me close this letter by entreating your pardon if you ever grounded me then I also ask your prayers with this letter ended Matthew said holding it open in his hand for a little while he looked round once or twice at the enclosed letter from mrs. old to his son which lay close by on the table but did not destroy it did not so much as touch it even Zack spoke to him before long from the inner room I'm sure you must have done reading your letter by this time Matt I've been thinking old fellow of the talk we used to have but going back to America together and trying a little buffalo hunting and roaming about in the wild if my father takes me into favour again and can be got to say yes I should so like to go with you Matt not for too long you know because of my mother and my friends over here but a sea voyage and little scouring about and what you called lonesome places would do me such good I don't feel as if I should ever settle properly to anything till I've had my fling I wonder whether my father would let me go I know he would Zack you how I'll tell you how another time you shall have your run Zack you shall have your heart's content along with me as he said this he looked again at mr. Thorpe's letter to his son and took it up in his hand this time oh how I wish I was strong enough to start come in here Matt and let's talk about it wait a bit and I will pronouncing those words he rose from his chair for your sake Zack he said and dropped the letter into the fire what can you be about all this time asked young soul do you call to mind said Matt go into the bedroom and sitting down by the lads pillow do you call to mind me saying that I be brothers with you when first us to come together well Zach I've only been trying to be as good as my word trying what do you mean I don't understand old fellow never mind you'll make it out better someday let's talk about getting a board ship and going up buffalo hunting now they discussed the projected expedition until Zach grew sleepy as he fell off into a pleasant doze met went back into the front room and taking from the table mr. Thorpe's letter to mr. Blythe left Kirk Street immediately for the painters house it had occurred to Valentine to unlock his bureau twice since its returned from the country but on neither occasion had he found it necessary to open that long narrow drawer at the back in which had secreted the hair brace of years ago he was consequently still totally ignorant that had been taken away from him when Matthew cries enter the painting room and quietly put it into his hand consternation and amazement so thoroughly overpowered him that he suffered his visitor to lock the door against all intruders and then to lead him peremptorily to a chair without uttering a single word of inquiry or expostulation all through the narrative on which Matt now entered he sat totally speechless until mr. Foggs letter was placed in his hands and he was in fooled that Madonna was still to be left entirely under his own care then for the first time his cheeks showed symptoms of return to their natural color and he exclaimed fervently thank God I shan't lose her after all I only wish he had begun by telling me of that the moment you came into the room saying this he began to read mr. Thorpe's letter when he had finished it and looked up at Matt the tears were in his eyes I can't help it said the simple hearted painter it would even affect you mr. Gryce to be addressed in such terms of humiliation as these how can he doubt my forgiving him when he has a right to my everlasting gratitude for not asking me to part with our darling child they never met he has never never seen her face continued Valentine in lower and fainter tones she always wore her veil down by my wish when we went out and our walks were generally into the country instead of town way only once remember seeing him coming towards us and then I crossed the road with her knowing who were not on terms there's something shocking in father and daughter living so near each other yet being one may say so so far so very far apart it is dreadful to think of that it is far more dreadful to think of it having been her hand which held up the hair for you to look at and her little innocent action which led to the discovery of who her father really was do you ever mean to let her know as much about it as we do asked Matthew the look of dismay began to appear again in Valentine's face have you told Zack yet he inquired nervously and eagerly no said Matt and don't you when Zacks on his legs again he's going to take a voyage and get a season's hunting along with me in the wild country over the water I was fond of the lad as if he was a bit of my own flesh and blood I cut into him when he hid out so Hardy for me at the singing shop and we've been brothers together ever since you might not think it to look at me but I've spared Zacks father for Zach's sake and I don't ask no more reward for it than to take the ladder hunting for a season or two along with me when he comes back home again and we say goodbye I'll tell him all what's happened but I won't risk bringing so much as a cross look into his eyes now by dropping a word to him of what's past would twix his father and me although this speech excited no little surprise and interest in Valentine's mind it did not succeed in suspending the anxieties which have been awakened in him by Matthews preceding question and which he now began to feel the necessity of confiding to mrs. Blythe his grand counselor in all difficulties and failing comforter in old troubles do you mind waiting here he said while I go upstairs and break the news to my wife without her advice I don't know what to do about communicating our discovery to the poor dear child do you mind waiting no Matt you willingly wait hearing this mr. Blythe left the room directly he remained away a long time when he came back his face did not seem to have gained in composure during his absence my wife has told me of another discovery he said which her motherly love for our adopted daughter enabled her to make some time since I've been sadly surprised and distressed at hearing of it but I need to say no more on the subject to you and that mrs. Blythe and that once decided me to confide nothing to Madonna to marry I ought to say until Zack has got well again and has left England when I heard just now from you of his projected voyage I must confess I saw many objections to it they have all been removed by what my wife has told me I heartily agree with her the best things that can do is to make the trip he proposes you are willing to take care of him and I honestly believe that we may safely trust him with you a serious difficulty being thus disposed of Valentine found leisure to pay some attention to minor things among other questions which he now asked was one relating to the hair bracelet and to the manner in which Matthew had become possessed of it he was answered by the Franca's confession and confession which tried even his kindly and forbearing disposition to the utmost as he listened to it and which drew from him when it was ended some of the strongest terms of reproach that had ever passed his lips met listen till yet done then taking his head to go method a few words of rough apology which Valentine's good nature induced him to accept almost as soon as they were spoken we must let bygones be bygones said the painter you've been candid with me at last at any rate and in a recognition of that can I say goodnight mr. Gryce as a friend of yours still when Matt returned to Kirk Street the landlady came out of her little parlour to tell him of a visitor who had been to the lodgings in his absence an elderly lady looking very pale and ill had asked to see young mr. Thorpe and had prefaced the request by saying that she was his mother Zack was then asleep but a lady had been taken upstairs to see him in bed had stooped over him and kissed him and had then gone away again hastily and in tears Matthew's face grew grave as he listened but he said nothing when the little lady had done except a word or two charging her not to mention – Zack what had happened when he woke it was plain that mrs. Thorpe had been told her husband's secret and that she had lovingly devoted herself to him as comforter and companion to the last when the doctor paid his regular visit to the envelope the next morning he was called on immediately for an answer to the important question of when Zack would be fit to travel after due consideration and careful inspection of the injured side of the patients head he replied that in a month's time the lad might safely go on board ship and the sea voyage proposed would do more towards restoring him to perfect health and strength than all the tonic medicines that all the doctors in England could prescribe Matthew might have found the month in action to which he was now obliged to submit for Zacks sake rather tedious but for the opportunity arc street of a professional visitor from Dibble Dean though his client had ungratefully and entirely forgotten him mr. Ted had not by any means forgotten his client but had on the contrary attended to his interests with unremitting resolution and assiduity he had discovered that Matt was entitled under his father's will to no lesser sum and two thousand pounds if his identity could be properly established to effect this result was now therefore the grand object of mr. Todd's ambition he had the prospect not only of making a little money but of establishing a reputation in double Dean if he succeeded and by dint of perseverance he ultimately did succeed he carried mad about to all sorts of places insisted on his signing all sorts of papers and making all sorts of declarations and ended by accumulating such a massive evidence before the month was out that mr. Nobby has executed to the late joshiya Grice declared himself convinced of the claimants identity on being informed of this result Matt ordered the lawyer after first deducting the amount of his bill from the forthcoming legacy to draw him out such a legal form as might enable him to settle his property forthwith another person when Miss ITAT asked to be furnished with the name of this person he was told to write Martha Beck over Mary's child has got you to look after her and money enough from her father to keep her submit as he put the sign instrument into Valentine's hands when Martha Peck overs old and past her work she may want a banknote or two to fall back on give her this when I'm gone and say she earned it from Mary's brother the day she stopped and suckled Mary's child by the roadside the day of departure drew near Zack relates so rapidly that he was able a week before it arrived the go himself and fetched the letter from his father which was waiting for him at the agents office it assured him briefly but very kindly of the forgiveness which he had written to ask referred him to the man of business for particulars of the allowance granted to him while he pursued his studies in the art or otherwise occupied himself BIRT him always to look on mr. Blythe as the best friend and counselor that he could ever have and ended by engaging him to write often about himself in his employments to his mother sending his letters to be forwarded through the agent when Zack hearing from this gentleman that his father had left the house in bag Rove square desire to know what had occasioned the change of residence he was only informed the state of mr. Foggs health had obliged him to seek perfect retirement and repose and that there were reasons at present for not mentioning the place of his retreat to anyone which was not deemed expedient for his son to become acquainted with the day of departure arrived in the morning by valentine's advice zack wrote to his mother only telling her in reference to his proposed trip that he was about to travel to improve and amuse himself in the company of a friend of whom mr. Blythe approved while he was thus engaged the painter had a private interview with Matthew Grice and very earnestly charged him to remember his responsibilities towards his young companion met answered briefly and characteristically I told you I was as fond of him as if he was a bit of my own flesh and blood if you don't believe I shall take care of him after that I can't say nothing to make you both the travelers were taken up into mrs. Blythe room to say farewell it was a sad parting Zacks spirits had not been so good as usual since the day of his visit to the agents and the other persons assembled were all more or less affected in an unusual degree by the approaching separation Madonna had looked ill and anxious though she would not own to having anything the matter with her for some days past but now when she saw the parting looks exchanged around her the poor girl's agitation got beyond her control and became so painfully evident that Zack wisely and considerately hurried over the farewell scene he went out first Matthew followed him to the landing then stopped and suddenly retraced his steps he entered the room again and took his sister's child by the hand once more bent over her as she stood pale and in tears before him and kissed her on the cheek tell her someday that me and her mother was playmates together he said to mrs. Blythe as he turned away to join Zack on the stairs fella Tyne accompanied them to the ship when they shook hands together he said to Matthew Zack has engaged the comeback in a year's time shall we see you again with him met to the painter aside without directly answering him if ever go to banbury he whispered look into the church art in the dark corner amongst the trees there's a bit of woolen wood planking put up now at the place where she's buried and be a comfort to me to know that it was kept clean and neat I should take it kind of you if you give it a brush or two with her hand when you're near it for I never hoped to see the place myself no more sadly and thoughtfully Valentine returned alone to his own house he went up at once to his wife's room as he opened the door he started and stopped on the threshold Madonna was sitting on the couch by her adopted mother with her face hidden no mrs. blights bosom and her arms clasped tight round mrs. Blythe Nick have you ventured to tell her all levy he asked this flight was not able to speak in answer she looked at him with tearful eyes and bowed her head fell and I lingered at the door for a moment then softly closed it and left them together end of chapter 17 end of book two closing chapter of hide and seek by Wilkie Collins this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by on ocimum a year and a half afterwards it is sunset after a fine day in August and mr. Blythe is enjoying the evening breeze in the infinite room besides the painter and his wife and Madonna two visitors are present who occupy both the spare beds in the house one is mrs. hope the other mrs. Peck over and they've been asked to become Valentines guests to assist that a joyful ceremony of welcoming Zach to England on his returned from the wilds of America he is out state as he has leave of absence by nearly six months and his appearance of mr. Bligh's has become an event of daily or more properly of hourly expectation there is a sad and significant change in mrs. thorpes dress she wears the widow's cap and weeds it is nearly 7 months since her husband died in the remote Welsh village to which he retired on leaving London with him as with many other confirmed invalids nature drooped to her final decay gradually and wearily but his death was painless and his mental powers remained unimpaired to the end one of the last names that lingered lovingly on his lips after he'd bade his wife farewell was the name of his absent son mrs. Thorpe sits close to mrs. Blythe and talks to her in low gentle tones the kind black eyes of the painters wife are brighter than they have been for many a long year passed and the clear tones of her voice cheerful always have a joyous sound in them now ever since the first days of the spring season she's been gaining so greatly in health and strength the favourable turn has taken place in her melody which was spoken of as possible but the doctors long ago at the time of first sufferings she has several times for the last fortnight removed from her couch for a few hours to comfortable seat near the window and if the fine weather still continues she is to be taken out in a day or two for an airing in an invalid chair the prospect of this happy event and the pleasant expectation of Zach's return have made Valentine more gayly talkative a more nimbly Restless than ever as he skips discursively about the room at this moment talking of all sorts of subjects and managing to mix art up with every one of them dressed in the old jaunty frock coat with his short tails he looks possible younger plumper rosier and brisker than when he was first introduced to the reader it is wonderful when people are really youthful at hard to see how easily the girl of Venus fits them and how long they contrive to keep it on without ever wearing it out mrs. Beck OVA arrived in festively flaring cap ribbons sits close to the window to get all the air she can and tries to make more of it by Fanning herself with the invariable read cousin pocket handkerchief to which she has been all her life attached in bodily circumference she has not lost an inch of her eternity suffers in consequence considerably from the heat and talks to mr. Blythe with parenthetical paintings which reflect little credit on the cooling influence of the breeze or the ventilating properties of the pocket-handkerchief fan Madonna sits opposite to her at the window as cool and prettier contrasts as can be imagined in her white muslin dress and light Rose coloured ribbons she is looking at mrs. Beck over and smiling every now and then at the comically languishing faces made by that excellent woman to express the little Mary the extremity of her sufferings from the heat the whole length of the windowsill is occupied by an aioli and harp one of the many presents which Valentine's portrait painting expeditions have enabled him to offer to his wife Madonna's hand is resting lightly on the box of the harp for by touching it in this way she becomes sensible to the influence of its louder and higher notes when the rising breeze draws them out this is the only pleasure she'd can derive from music and it is always during the summer and autumn evenings one of the amusements that she enjoys in mrs. Blythe's room mrs. Thorpe and the course of her comfort mrs. Blythe has been reminded of a letter to one of her sisters which he has not yet completed and goes to her own room to finish it Valentine running to open the door for her with the nimblest juvenile gallantry then returned to the window and addressing mrs. speck over hard as ever eh shall I get you one of Levy's fans says mr. Blythe no thank you sir I am quite melted yet answers mrs. Beck over but I'll tell you what I wish you would do for me I wish you would read the Masters X last letter you promised you know sir and I would have performed my promise before mrs. back over if mrs. Thorpe had not been in the room there are passages in the letter which it might revive very painful remembrances in her to hear now she has left us I've not the least objection to read if you are ready to listen saying this Valentine takes a letter from his pocket Madonna recognizing it asked by a sign if she may look over his shoulder and read it for the second time the request is granted immediately mr. Blythe may sir sit on his knee puts his arm round her waist and begins to read aloud as follows My dear Valentine although I'm writing to you to announce my return I cannot say that I take up my pen in good spirits it is not so long since I picked up my last letters from England that told me of my father's death but besides that I've had a heavy trial to bear in hearing the dreadful secret which you all kept from me when it was discovered and afterwards imparting from Matthew Grice what I felt when I knew the secret and hurt why Matt and all of you had kept it from me I may be able to tell you but I cannot and they're not right about it you may be interested to hear how my parting with Matthew happened and I were related to you as well as I can you know for my other letters all the glorious hunting and writing we've had and the thousands of miles of country we've been over and the wonderful places we've seen well baya the place i now write from has been the end of our travels it was here I told Matt of my father's death and he directly agreed with me that it was my duty to go home and comfort my poor dear mother by the first ship that sailed for England after we'd settled that he said he had something serious to tell me and asked me to go with him northward half a day's march along the Seacoast saying we could talk together quietly as we went along I saw they'd got his rifle over his shoulder and his baggage at his back and thought it odd but he stopped me from asking any questions by telling me from beginning to end all that you and he knew about my father before we left England I was at first so shocked and amazed by what I heard and then had so much to say to him about it that our half days March by the time we'd got to the end of it seemed to me to have hardly lasted as long as an hour he stopped though at the place he had fixed on and held out his hand to me and said these words I've done my duty by use Eck as brother shoot by brother the times come at last for us to to say goodbye you're going back over the sea to your friends and I'm going inland by myself on the Tramp I'd heard him talk of our parting in this way before but it never thought it really take place and I tried hard as you may imagine to make him change his mind and seal for England with me but it was useless no Zach he said I doubt if I'm fit for the life you're going back to lead I've given the trial and a hard and bitter one it's been to me I began life on the Tramp and on the Tramp I shall ended goodbye Zach I shall think of you when I light my fire and cook my bit of fiddles without you in the lonesome places tonight I tried to control myself Valentine but my eyes got dim and I called fast hold of him by the arm Matt I said I can't part with you in this dreary hopeless way don't shut the future up from both of us forever we've been 18 months together let another year and a half pass if you like and then give yourself and give me another chance say you'll meet me when that time is past in New York or say at least you'll let me hear you are his face worked and quivered and he only shook his head come Matt I said as cheerfully as I could if I'm ready to cross the sea again for your sake you can't refuse to do what I ask you for mine will it make the parting easier to you my lad he asked kindly yes indeed it will I answered well then Zack he said you shall have your way don't let say no more now come that's cut it as short as we can or we shan't part as men should god bless you LED and all of them you're going back to see those were his last words after he'd walked a few yards inland he turned round and waved his hand then went on and never turned again i sat down on the sand hillock where we'd said goodbye and burst out crying what was the dreadful secret he'd been telling me as we came along and then the parting when I didn't expected all I had that the man about me gave way somehow in a moment and I said alone crying and sobbing on the sand hillock with the surf roaring miles out at sea behind me and the Great Plain before with Matthew walking over it alone on his way to the mountains beyond when I'd had time to get ashamed of myself for crying and it got my I sighed clear again he was already far away from me I rented the top of the highest hill ik and watched him over the plain a desert without a shrub to break the miles and miles of flat ground spreading away to the mountains I watched him as he got smaller and smaller I watched till he got a mere black speck till I was doubtful whether I still saw him or not till I was certain at last that the great vacancy of the plane had sward him up from sight my heart was very heavy Valentine as I went back to the town by myself it is sometimes heavy still for though I think much of my mother and of my sister who have been so kind of father to and whose affection it is such a new happiness to me to have the prospect of soon turning I think occasionally of dear old math to left my manically moments when I remember that he and I are not going back together I hope you will think me improved by my long trip I mean in behavior as well as health I've seen much and learned much and thought much and I hope I've really profited and altered for the better during my absence it is such a pleasure to think I'm really going home here mr. Blythe stops abruptly and closes the letter for mrs. Thorpe re-enters the room the rest is only about when he expects to be back whispers Valentine mrs. Peck over by my calculations he continues raising his voice and turning towards mrs. Thorpe by my calculations which not having a mathematical head I don't boast off mind as being infallibly correct Zack is likely I should say to be here in bout hash hash hash cries mrs. Peck OVA jumping up with incredible agility at the window and clever her hands in a violent state of excitement don't talk about when he will be here here he is he's come in a cab he's got out into the garden he sees me welcome back master Zack welcome back hooray hooray here mrs. Beck over forgets her company manners and waves the red cotton handkerchief out of the window in irrepressible bursts of triumph sex hearty love has heard outside and his quick step on the stairs then the door opens and he comes in with his beaming sunburned face healthier and heart her than ever his first embraces for his mother his second for Madonna and after he has greeted everyone else cordially he goes back to those two mr. Bligh's is glad to see that he sits down between them and takes their hands gently and affectionately in his matthew crisis and all their memories when the first greetings are over Valentine and Madonna look at each other and the girls fingers sign hesitatingly the letters of Matthew's name she's thinking of the comrade you've lost as the painter addressing himself a little sadly to Zack the only living soul that's kin to her now by her mother's side adds mrs. Peck over it's like her pretty ways to be thinking of him currently for her mother's sake are you really determined Zach to take that second voyage asked Valentine are you determined to go back to America on the one faint chance of seeing Matt once more if I'm a living man 18 months hence Zack answers resolutely nothing shall prevent my taking the voyage Matthew Rhys loved me like a brother and like a brother I will yet bring him back if he lives to keep his promise and meet me when the time comes the time came and on either side the two comrades of former days in years so far apart in sympathies so close together live to look each other in the face again the solitude which had once hardened Matthew Grice had wrought on him in his riper age to better and higher ends in all his later roamings the tie would have bound him to those sacred human interests in which we live and move and have our being the tie which he himself believed that he had broken held fast to him still his grim scarred face softened his heavy hand trembled in the friendly grasp that held it as that pleaded with him once more and this time pleaded not in vain I've never been my own man again said Matt since you and me wished each other goodbye on the Sandhills the lonesome places I've got strange to me and my rifles heavier in hand than ever I knew it before there's some part of myself that seems left behind like between Mary's grave and Mary's child must I cross the Seas again to find it give us a hold of your hand Zack and take the leavings of me back along with you so the noble nature of the man unconsciously asserted itself in a simple words so the two returned to the old land together the kiss with which his dead sisters child well got him back cooled the tramps fever forever and the man of many wanderings rested at last among the friends who loved him to wonder no more end of hide and seek by Wilkie Collins recording by Anna Simone

One thought on “Hide and Seek | Wilkie Collins | Literary Fiction | Audiobook | English | 10/10

  1. Hide and Seek | Wilkie Collins | Literary Fiction | Audiobook | English | 10/10
    29: [00:00:00] – Book II – Chapter XVII. Matthew Grice's revenge
    30: [00:30:13] – Closing Chapter. A year and a half afterwards

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