One of the short magazine style serial stories in the one and only known copy of Warrior And Pacific Magazine for August 1901.
Only one part is known to exist – how might it end?
By the Old Stile – A Tale in Two Parts by Major Pearl. [Part 1]
It is dusk and dimly through the shadows can be seen the dark figure of a man leaning against a broken stile. He does not move but seems to be waiting and, deep in thought, is gazing moodily on the ground.
At last he raises his head as through the darkness comes a woman’s form with a light swift tread. She reaches the stile and now her face can be seen. Beautiful it is beyond all doubt, beautiful in the full beauty of womanhood and yet there is a winning girlish charm about it too.
The next paragraph is edited and blanked out but as far as I can make out it reads thus: “Lovely blue grey eyes add such depth and sweetness to the face as to make it [irresistible?] in its beauty.”
She raises expressive blue grey eyes to the man’s face and they speak to him as no words could do. No greeting passes between them, only the man gazes with enraptured eyes at the beautiful woman before him.
At last he speaks in a hurried forced manner .
“Have you brought him?” he asks.
“No”, she replies steadily, “You knew I should not bring him. I have told you over and over again that I will not bring him.”
“Then I shall come and tell him, your supposed husband, what you are to me; that you are my lawful wife and that boy is your own child. I shall tell him of all your treachery to me, your deceit to him. I shall not spare him – nor you either,” returns the man fiercely.
“Oh Laurie, be merciful. Think of our boy. Think of the shame and disgrace for me. Think of the unhappiness for all of us,” and as she raises her lovely pleading face to his, he cannot resist it but kisses her lips with passionate kisses.
Then he draws himself up quickly as though he had forgotten for the moment what this woman was – his wife, yet married to another man; so fair and yet so false.
“Doreen,” he says sternly, after a long pause, “I tell you now for the last time that if you do not give up our boy to me, I will disclose the whole of your disgraceful tale to your supposed husband. If you are happy with that man, I do not seek to disturb your happiness. You do not care for any pain I have to bear but you know I have been merciful to you and your – husband.” He paused before that last word as though it hurt him to say it.
“Long ago I could have told him all, but to save you I kept silent and now in reward for this, you think in your selfishness that you will keep our boy but I swear to you I will have him if I ruin you for it. Why will you not bring him to me quietly at this place?”
“I will bring him,” she answers quickly, “Tomorrow night at this stile.” Then she disappears in the darkness and the man is left alone.
To be continued in our next [issue]
Or not continued as the case may be.
Almost 120 years later this tangled little bizarre love triangle remains unfinished, the second part remains missing along with any other copies of the Warrior And Pacific Magazine.
Four lives at least hang in the balance still, unresolved 120 years later – the beautiful Doreen, stern Laurie, their unnamed boy and her supposed husband.
Lots of questions remain unanswered.
Someone wise once said “Impediment improves a narrative.”
What might happen to Doreen and their boy?
How old is the boy? How many years “Long ago I could have told him all …”?
How did Doreen end up with two husbands, Laurie and the newer unnamed ‘supposed’ husband?
Will she really return the next night with their boy?
What will Laurie do next?
What if she does not bring him, what will Laurie do next to ‘have the boy’ even if he ‘ruin’ her for it?
How will they explain all this to the child?
How might they explain the boy’s absence, if Laurie takes him away?
How has she explained the boy’s presence to others so far as to escape shame and disgrace?
Is Doreen really Laurie’s lawful wife? Why are they separated?
Many is the story, ballad and plot device of a missing husband declared dead, who then returns to find his former wife married to another man, but the presence of the child complicates all this.
A shame that this stirring tale was not illustrated by the Warrior And Pacific Magazine team.
Lots of possible outcomes here.
No prizes for this one. It just awaits some possible end.
If anyone fancies finishing Major Pearl’s unfinished tale of two parts, I can happily link to someone’s blog post etc.
What might happen to resolve this story? Will it end happily? Will it end bloodily? Will it end tragically?
Will Doreen return with a pistol or a steely blade and murder Laurie at the old style the next night?
What if she gets held up and cannot get herself away with the boy to the old style the next night?
What if she appears at the style with the boy and runs away with Laurie, leaving her second supposed husband?
Will she do away with herself?
Will the supposed husband follow her the next night and fight it out with Laurie?
Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN 10 July 2020