The Well - Beloved HTML version

The Old Phantom Becomes Distinct
'Since Love will needs that I shall love,
Of very force I must agree:
And since no chance may it remove
In wealth and in adversity
I shall alway myself apply
To serve and suffer patiently.'
--Sir T. Wyatt.
In the course of these long years Pierston's artistic emotions were abruptly suspended by
the news of his father's sudden death at Sandbourne, whither the stone-merchant had
gone for a change of air by the advice of his physician.
Mr. Pierston, senior, it must be admitted, had been something miserly in his home life, as
Marcia had so rashly reminded his son. But he had never stinted Jocelyn. He had been
rather a hard taskmaster, though as a paymaster trustworthy; a ready-money man, just and
ungenerous. To every one's surprise, the capital he had accumulated in the stone trade
was of large amount for a business so unostentatiously carried on--much larger than
Jocelyn had ever regarded as possible. While the son had been modelling and chipping
his ephemeral fancies into perennial shapes, the father had been persistently chiselling for
half a century at the crude original matter of those shapes, the stern, isolated rock in the
Channel; and by the aid of his cranes and pulleys, his trolleys and his boats, had sent off
his spoil to all parts of Great Britain. When Jocelyn had wound up everything and
disposed of the business, as recommended by his father's will, he found himself enabled
to add about eighty thousand pounds to the twelve thousand which he already possessed
from professional and other sources.
After arranging for the sale of some freehold properties in the island other than quarries--
for he did not intend to reside there--he returned to town. He often wondered what had
become of Marcia. He had promised never to trouble her; nor for a whole twenty years
had he done so; though he had often sighed for her as a friend of sterling common sense
in practical difficulties.
Her parents were, he believed, dead; and she, he knew, had never gone back to the isle.
Possibly she had formed some new tie abroad, and had made it next to impossible to
discover her by her old name.