Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
A Waif of the Plains Bret Harte

Chapter XI

Page 3 of 4

Table Of Contents: A Waif of the Plains

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

"Your father, Clarence!" said the priest, in a trembling voice.

The boy drew back, with a white face. "My father!" he repeated. "Living, or dead?"

"Living, when you first left your home," said the old man hurriedly, seizing Clarence's hand, "for it was he who in the name of your cousin sent for you. Living--yes, while you were here, for it was he who for the past three years stood in the shadow of this assumed cousin, Don Juan, and at last sent you to this school. Living, Clarence, yes; but living under a name and reputation that would have blasted you! And now DEAD--dead in Mexico, shot as an insurgent and in a still desperate career! May God have mercy on his soul!"

"Dead!" repeated Clarence, trembling, "only now?"

"The news of the insurrection and his fate came only an hour since," continued the Padre quickly; "his complicity with it and his identity were known only to Don Juan. He would have spared you any knowledge of the truth, even as this dead man would; but I and my brothers thought otherwise. I have broken it to you badly, my son, but forgive me?"

An hysterical laugh broke from Clarence and the priest recoiled before him. "Forgive YOU! What was this man to me?" he said, with boyish vehemence. "He never LOVED me! He deserted me; he made my life a lie. He never sought me, came near me, or stretched a hand to me that I could take?"

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

"Hush! hush!" said the priest, with a horrified look, laying his huge hand upon the boy's shoulder and bearing him down to his seat. "You know not what you say. Think--think, Clarence! Was there none of all those who have befriended you--who were kind to you in your wanderings--to whom your heart turned unconsciously? Think, Clarence! You yourself have spoken to me of such a one. Let your heart speak again, for his sake--for the sake of the dead."

A gentler light suffused the boy's eyes, and he started. Catching convulsively at his companion's sleeve, he said in an eager, boyish whisper, "There was one, a wicked, desperate man, whom they all feared--Flynn, who brought me from the mines. Yes, I thought that he was my cousin's loyal friend--more than all the rest; and I told him everything--all, that I never told the man I thought my cousin, or anyone, or even you; and I think, I think, Father, I liked him best of all. I thought since it was wrong," he continued, with a trembling smile, "for I was foolishly fond even of the way the others feared him, he that I feared not, and who was so kind to me. Yet he, too, left me without a word, and when I would have followed him--" But the boy broke down, and buried his face in his hands.

"No, no," said Father Sobriente, with eager persistence, "that was his foolish pride to spare you the knowledge of your kinship with one so feared, and part of the blind and mistaken penance he had laid upon himself. For even at that moment of your boyish indignation, he never was so fond of you as then. Yes, my poor boy, this man, to whom God led your wandering feet at Deadman's Gulch; the man who brought you here, and by some secret hold--I know not what--on Don Juan's past, persuaded him to assume to be your relation; this man Flynn, this Jackson Brant the gambler, this Hamilton Brant the outlaw--WAS YOUR FATHER! Ah, yes! Weep on, my son; each tear of love and forgiveness from thee hath vicarious power to wash away his sin."

Page 3 of 4 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
A Waif of the Plains
Bret Harte

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004