|Chapter Title||NIGHT THOUGHTS|
|Newspaper Title||The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)|
|Trove Title||The Hermit Convict|
THE HERMIT CONVICT.
By the Rev. William Draper.
Judd no sooner entered his old home than he divested himself of his wet garments, and hang- ing them on some pegs which he had put in the wall for this purpose long before, he accepted Stewart's offer of the blanket which he had re- served for his own use, upon the assurance that he could not sleep, and intended to watch.
"I will watch," said he, in a whisper. "Fear not. You are excited—lie down, sleep will re- store you."
The silence of night now reigned supreme. It was just before midnight, strange, mystical period, when the air seemed to grow colder, and the watcher gathers up his mantle closer. In spite of all the religious philosophy which one can practice, the only aid which it brings to us is profound reverence. "When thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee." Did this mean that He merely cast a look on Nathaniel to see what he was about? By no means. He was there as truly as He was visibly breaking bread at Emmaus. Now turn the thoughts to the Joseph of Arimathea tomb. One was gazing into it with glistening eyes, the fullest of heart sorrows welling up in the most profound den- sity of overwhelming grief. Did it want the two or three then to insure the presence of the Great God with us? No; He withheld even the footfall of a step from the notice of the suf- fering, loving, holy minded saint, to say first of all, "Woman, why weepest thou?" In the same way, in the whisper of the evening zephyr, or the deep sonorous lessons of the hurricane, or in the mysterious silence of midnight, He draws near to us. Often have we sung in feelings of rapture, in Mendelsohn's wonderful Elijah, "And in that still voice onward came the Lord," and felt it too. People may call it enthusiasm, but music is a heaven born art, and the power, the influence which it exerts is not to be weighed or measured. God came near to the prophets of old, as they, with harp accompaniment, sought Him; and James Stewart, in the stillness of the supernatural music of the midnight in Hermit Glen felt His presence. He covered his face with his hands—these were his mantle—and thought.
Into the thoughts an angel poured some re- flections about the past, promises about the future, and assurances that all was working for good. Yes, it was so; if any dispute it, give the proof on the reverse side. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them who are heirs of salvation?" What do they do in this ministry? Look on, walk around us, merely witness our actions? No, no, they are not dummies, but realities. Ask the young man whose head is bowed down in thought in that rough cavern, and he would tell you that life would have been all but insupport- able to him on account of the horrors he had endured, had it not been for this sacred influence which seemed to be constantly present to com-
But what a confusion of images, real living personages, passed before him as he gave the rein to his thoughts. They came as shadows, but each one bore with it a living fact, which they dropped in the treasury of his recollections.
Again and again these mementos dazzled or per- plex him in turn, as they appeared grievous or joyous. His class in the Sunday-school at Southampton, ah! this sent a thrill of joy through his soul, as he thought of some from whom he had heard, who wore walking in the ways of truth. The poor stricken creature be- fore him, the author of all his misery, this sub- ject was too painful for him. He thought, and the silence grew more intensely monotonous, until a slight sound which escaped from one of the sleepers aroused him to a listening position. For a moment he know not who it was who was speaking, for it was talking in sleep that he heard, but soon found that it was Judd who had fallen into a deep sleep. He could not dis- tinguish what he said, but as he watched and listened very intently, he saw evident signs that one of the others was on the point of waking, and in a minute afterwards Argyle raised him- self on his elbow, looking at his comrade with somewhat of a perplexed countenance. The moon was shining brightly into the cave exactly where Stewart sat upon the ground leaning against one of the door posts, bringing him into the strongest possible relief with the light and
"What is up?" said Argyle.
"Hush!" replied Stewart, pointing to the old man, who lay apart from the others.
Turning his head in the direction indicated, Argyle peered into the semi-darkness but could make out nothing in particular which warranted such caution, so again he spoke: "What is it,
Stewart beckoned to him in reply, and walk- ing outside the hut Argyle followed.
"There is some one lying where I pointed, David, he came in after you were asleep, wet and weary. He is the man who made this place
and lived here."
"Ah! What kind of a monster is he?"
"Not a Caliban exactly, although he looked nearly as wild and haggard as many likenesses of that celebrated character which I have seen."
"What did he say?"
"He asked what we were doing here. I told him we were travellers, and the storm had com- pelled us to make use of the first shelter we could reach."
"But who can the fellow be who lived such a
hermit life in this wild place?" said Argyle.
They both spoke in a low whispering tone of voice, and Stewart replied, "The man is a shep- herd, and is driving some sheep up to Burnham."
"Driving sheep? A pretty shepherd to leave them to shift for themselves."
"So I thought, but I fancy he is ill; he was terribly excited, wet to the skin, and I do not think he knows much about sheep driving."
"I should think there will be precious few left in the morning," said Argyle. "Is he asleep sound enough to let a fellow look at
"No; don't do that," said Stewart, laying his hand on the shoulder of the other, "don't
Argyle looked steadily at the speaker as if he would read some explanation of his agitated manner, but he could not solve it. The intense silence, unbroken by any sound, except the hard breathing of the sleepers and the continued muttering of Judd, seemed to startle Argyle, for he kept turning round as if to catch the words which the sleeper uttered, and now the scene and the incidents attending it became ex- citing to both the young men. A strange, unde- finable sort of mysticism hung like a cloud around their existence at this moment. The air
was chill also, and they both shivered. It was the set time for the revelation. Contact with anything imaginary or unseen will produce its corresponding influence. Hamlet, on tho ram- parts at Elsinore, says, "The air bites shrewdly, it is very cold," and terror, in its degrees of vehemence, chills the blood, strikes dumb the spirit, makes cowards of us all.
Argyle felt this as Stewart laid his hands on his shoulders, looking keenly into his face say- ing, "The man in there is known to both of us."
"Judd, then, by Heaven!" replied Argyle.
"You are right, my friend, but do not agitate yourself."
"James Stewart," said Argyle, with some vehemence, "I have sworn to deliver that man up to justice if ever I met him again in this
"And I have passed my word that he shall be unmolested so long as he is in my sight."
"James, that promise is not binding on me
"No, David; but respect for my word must leave him free according to my promise. I de- mand, nay, forgive me, I intreat this at your
"It matters little," said Argyle, in a discon- tented tone; "as soon as he leaves, those hands shall try to arrest him."
"Why, my dear friend, why should you bear revenge so keenly upon your spirit? The man's crimes have been deeply punished, depend on it. See this desolate home! he tells me that here he has lived for nearly ten years. Surely the fire of vengeance will be suffered to burn out some-
"Not till its victim is consumed," replied Argyle. "This man's crimes need a hundred pursuing feet to bail him up, if it wera only to hear the word of confession from his lips, why and how he did those accursed things. I think you are wrong, James, in your notions. It is compromising felony."
"Have your read the parable of the unmerci- ful servant, David? He had nothing to pay, and his lord freely forgave him; but he went and took another by the throat, and persecuted him with vengeance. What did the Saviour say
"Very true; but then, according to this rea- soning, courts of justice must be altogether un- necessary, and prisons places of unjust torture."
"No, no, for oven by the direction of Scrip- ture we are to count some as heathens and in- fidels, if they persistently refuse to hear us."
"Where can you find a wretch——" "Don't use strong epithets, David."
"I cannot help it, James," replied Argyle, "the villain first of all ruined you—nay, give me leave to go on—he did not look ahead and say, I am helping James Stewart to a fortune, and a happy, free, and honorable life. No; he only saw in the future, James Stewart a con- victed felon, whom no one would look upon, no one would receive, none would take by the hand; in short, he conspired to work out your destruc- tion. Hear me, if you had met your death in the ship which brought you here, reeking as it was with the worst of fevers, what could have compensated for that?"
"Eternal glory, I hope, David!"
"Ah! yes, and I admire your consistent be- lief in those things; but I hold that a man's life thus shortened by another's act, is actually cut off—well, murdered—so I regard it."
"Yet it is the will of God," replied Stewart, with a very quiet, subdued voice.
"I reason by law and justice," said Argyle.
"And if we are all to be judged by law and justice," replied Stewart, "where would any of
"Men, wiser than I am," replied Argyle, "have instituted courts of justice, as I know to my cost. This follow, by his villainous treachery, is a perjured hypocrite, an abominable forger, a cruel murderer, and you are his advocate. I cannot say that I admire your policy."
"Oh! do bear with me, David, I intreat you. I do not defend the man, but if you had seen him as he knelt and said 'Amen,' and wept and groaned about his past life, you must have been moved. I could not lay a hand on him for any reward, or desire to avenge the past."
"I have not a doubt that he is sorry," replied Argyle. "Judas was sorry and wept, I doubt not, and tore his hair and cast the money down, beseeching the old bloodthirsty priests and rulers to undo what his greediness led him to do at their desire. But it was too late, and, by-the- bye, you forget that even our Lord has said about some, 'the door was shut.' In other words, their hope of happiness was gone, they
were too late."
"This is trespassing on the sacred prerogative of One who is the Judge of all. We cannot pretend to discern as He can. He can never be wrong, but we do err, and frequently."
"We shall never agree upon such nice defini- tions as these," said Argyle. "I say the man is worthy of death, and if these hands——"
"Can do what, young man?" The voice was that of the man of whom he was speaking. With the rug thrown over his shoulders, he stood within a yard of David Argyle, the three con- victs met in a triangle. Breathless, for a mo- ment they gazed on each other, neithor attempt- ing to move; but Stewart stepping forward as if to stand between the other two the act was understood by each, for Argyle angrily cried out, " James Stewart, I will have no interfer-
"Nor is there any need, Mr. Stewart," replied Judd, "I have heard the most of your conver- sation with this man, and know now what I have to expect. I absolve you from the promise you made to me. If I am to be a marked vil- lain as Mister Argyle says, let it be so. I give you both the chance; you go your way and I will go mine; if not, let it be war to the knife."
"War to the knife, you desperate rascal," shouted Argyle. "Why did you not say, war with the knob of a riding whip?"
He rushed upon Judd as he spoke. The blanket fell from the old man, and his hands grasped the bare shoulder, for Judd was now completely naked. By this time all the sleepers were aroused, and the confusion was indescrib- able. Both Judd and Argyle fell violently to the ground, the former being underneath the power- ful grasp of the young squatter, who was trying to untie his cravat handkerchief in order to bind the hands of his opponent, while Stewart was calling to the men to release Judd from his grasp. None of the men, however, knew what to do; they did not understand the affair; at last Stewart laid his hand on Argyle, which, causing the latter to turn sharply round, Judd seized the opportunity, and with a tremendous effort he actually threw his opponent off from him with such force that before a hand could be stretched out to save him be fell over the rocky
platform on which the scene had occurred, and, rolling from stone to stone, from point to point, with a cry of horror
Stewart saw his friend drop from the last projecting stone into the rushing stream which was roaring with the might of tempest waters through the glen. It was all the work of a mo- ment, but in the same instant Judd sprang up and merely shouting, "You that can, follow me," rushed down the chasm by a way known only to himself and leaping from ledge to ledge, where it seemed no one could possibly stand, the frightened men who still stood on the cliff saw him plunge into the boiling stream, and in a minute or two after his voice was heard, now some distance down the glen, shouting for assis- tance. Stewart was perfectly paralysed, he knew not what to do, nor did either of the men seem as if they could stir a step. In fact, it ap- peared impossible for anyone to follow Judd with the slightest chance ff life. In this inter- val of terrible suspense, the shoutings still ringing in their ears, Black Bill, looking up into his master's face, cried out, "Sich a faithful dog, massa," and instantly bounded over the precipice. They watched him as his natural instinct led him to take the most direct route to the place where the shouting was now most vehement. It was trying in the extreme to stand and hear the cries, none daring to move; the noise which the raging waters made as they rolled along with a force which nothing could resist was enough to appall the stoutest heart. At last one of the men managed to get down upon a large ledge of rock, which was fully six feet below the platform on which the rest stood, and, assisted by Stewart and the rest, another followed. It was almost impossible to stand anywhere, the stones were so loose and exceed- ingly slippery, but still on they managed safely to go. They had nearly reached the torrent when a louder cry, which they all know to be Black Bill's cooey, raised the hope that Argyle had been rescued, and in another minute this was confirmed by a still louder shout, "He-ar, he-ar, sich a faithful dog, massa I got massa David." The two men answered with a shout, and with almost incredible exertions, with numberless falls and not a few bruises, they crawled along the sides of the glen, directed by the continued cooey of Black Bill. To this they kept replying, but fully five minutes must have passed ere they reached the spot where he stood. Apart from the associations of the mo- ment, the spectacle which the men gazed upon created mingled feelings of admiration and terror. From the mountain side the waters rushed down in a number of streams which, uniting at last in one, presented the appearance of a boiling cauldron, which formed a hundred little whirlpools. The bed of the torrent here varied incessantly: now as a broad river, then it narrowed into a channel of a couple of yards or so, and here it waged incessant warfare with stones and logs, groaning and roaring as if a part of its mission was to remove obstacles by terror, but in one place two immense stones had fallen into the bottom of the glen, they were fully five feet in depth, and nearly ten in length, and tolerably flat upon the top. Both these stones had fallen so us to form a natural breakwater, with only about eight inches of space between them. The waters in a moderate rain ran quietly through this gap, but when a storm swelled the stream to a raging torrent they could not be carried off in sufficient volume by this outlet. Then a mass of water accumu- lated on the other side until it flowed over the tops of the two stones, and fell in a cataract on the other side. In the centre of the stones the rush of water through the gap was then tre- mendous, and this being precipitated far be-
yond the face of the stones, met the water as it descended from the top and a beautiful spectacle was the result. But just above the same spot another watercourse poured a considerable volume into the glen, and this meeting the other stream, seemed to dash it back against the water which fell over the stones and thus the spectacle was increased in interest. It was here that David Argyle was rescued. Much injured he fell into the stream, but managed to catch some branches of shrubs and trees, by which he was supported for a while. He knew not how he did it, so he said afterwards, but he seemed to float along, still holding something which supported him. It was in reality one of those long vines which are found growing in scrubs which he had snatched as he fell. On- ward he rolled and floated for a dozen yards or so, when he found a footing on a sunken log, but from this he was soon washed; and then he recollected that he was dashed against some hard substance and became unconscious. It was then that Judd, swimming—and none could swim better than he—caught the all but lost David Argyle. Unencumbered with clothes he seized him with one arm, while he held on to the rock with the other, and with almost supernatural strength he lifted him up to the top of one of these flats stones, to which reference has been made. Fortunately, the torrent had somewhat abated, and the water over these rocks was not more than a foot in depth. Judd easily reached the spot, and instantly took the insensible man in his arms. There did not ap- pear to be any life left in him. It was a terrible position to be in, for it was impossible to get away from the place without going backwards or forwards. The sides of the glen here were precipitous for at least ten feet, and, reaching the top of this place, Black Bill first discovered the two men in the position which has been de- scribed. The blackfellow, with his usual keen- ness, took in the whole position at a glance, and putting a question to Judd about the easiest way of getting down into the stream, he disappeared with a shout. This was the first that Stewart heard. In lees than two minutes he had reached the place which Judd had indicated. Now he must face the stream or his help would be use- less. Throwing off his coat, shirt, and hat, and hastily too—"It was done in a jiffy," so he said, and he spoke correctly—and then shout- ing, "Sich a faithful dog, massa," the good fellow faced the torrent. More than once he lost his footing, and when be reached the rocks the water was so violent he knew not how to face it. But Black Bill was a splendid climber, and he scrambled up the aide of the glen where it was less steep, laying hold of some roots which presented themselves most invitingly in his way, and thus reached a place where he could stand firmly. "Now give me massa," said he, "I hold him while you get down there; then you take him, and we carry him up." It was a hard struggle for the noble lad to hold the stout burly frame of the insensible man, but he did it, every limb quivering with the exer- tion. Judd had little difficulty in getting down from his rocky platform, and receiving Argyle from Black Bill he carried him to the place where the two men relieved him of the burden, and, aided by the black boy, they bore him slowly up the sides of the glen. Argyle was rescued from death, and by the aid of stimu-
lants and the warmth of the fire he soon revived
and opened his eyes. He was terribly injured;
one arm was broken and there was a fearful gash over his temple. But where was his de- liverer? One was by his side anxiously looking on, but the other was gone. "Vanished," Black Bill said, "gone to Jericho. He must have come from tere. Jeroosalem! he's a rum
AN EVENING AT THE MINISTER'S HOUSE.
Some people shake their head at the idea of a parson's soiree; "too stiff and religious,'' they say. The objection does no particular credit to the critic, but in practice is such a gathering open to such a charge? If anything is wrong or open to objection in a minister's house, it is not to be suffered in any other re- spectable family. Why should a minister of re- ligion be debarred, because he sustains such an office, from the common enjoyments of life? It will be answered, "Love not the world, neither the things of the world." Right, but these words mean that you are not to set your heart upon them. To love a wife and children is lawful, right, holy, and reasonable. To love them above the Creator is idolatry. A social party at the Rev. Edward Coles' house might have been open to severe criticism by mere cavillers, but he had no misgivings about any- thing which was done there. Let us look in at the already announced tea party on a small scale. It is summer, so all the windows and doors are open. Two doors in the parlor lead out upon the verandah, which runs round the whole house. Before this verandah is a gravelled carriage road, and in front of this a lawn, with sundry flower beds. The cottage has four rooms and a kitchen. It is furnished with some degree of comfort, and at the back there is a kitchen garden and a paddock. Fruit trees of all kinds are here and there, without any par- ticular regard to design or order. Such, in a few words, is the description of this neat little residence. Mrs. Gumby was pleased with it, which was ample testimony in favor of the place.
At 5 o'clock tho whole party was assembled— Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair, Mr. and Mrs. Gumby, the two young ladies, and Mr. Brown. Mrs. Gumby was duly installed in a most capacious "come and love me" easy chair; Mrs. Sinclair
in a less pretending one, on the opposite side of the room, Mr. Sinclair and the Rev. Edward Coles were chatting on the verandah; and the young ladies were operating upon the risible faculties of Mr. Brown. At least one of them was, and he, nothing loath, was firing away by a complimentary return of merry jokes.
But tea is preparing all the while, and punctu- ally at five minutes past 5 it is ready. A bless- ing is asked: why should it ever be omitted? Suppose the blessing of the health and life Givor should be withheld, what a calamity would ensue. The creature is about to partake of the Creator's mercies, it is only meet and proper to seek His good will, so that the food may be assimilated to our particular need. The hospitality of the host was then shown to all, and that they enjoyed it there was abundant proof.
"Do not spare, Mrs. Gumby. Make yourself quite at home. We are plain folks up in this part of the country. Excuse me, Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair, of course I mean your humble servant."
"Do not mention it my dear sir," said Mr. Sinclair. "We at The Vineyard delight in homely comfort, without any ostentation. Every one is heartily welcome; that is our rule."
"And a regular jolly good rule," chimed in Mr. Brown. "I like order, neatness, and that sort of thing; but as for mere show, give me reality—that's what I say."
"I never was more comfortable in my life, Mr. Coles," said Mrs. Gumby. "This is very
"I am so glad," said Mrs. Sinclair. "I have no doubt that you will be very happy after a while. All of us have had to suffer inconveni- ence at first, and if people can do that without feeling it very much, it is a sign that they may prosper."
"I have not the least doubt of it," said Mr. Gumby. "As for me, I like the country very
"And how do the young ladies agree with these opinions?" said Mr. Coles.
Miss Julia said she perfectly agreed, and Miss Lottie declared it was the most jolly free life she had ever known. "If Miss Tomlinson and the other girl, whatever her name was, were only regular bricks, wouldn't they put some life into the people." Of course this sent all the com- pany into a laughing humor. Mrs Gumby, however, held up her finger, and said, "Fie,
"So we will, mamma, and behave like good girls into the bargain. I am sure Mr. Coles does not wish to see us with half a yard of dropsy hanging from each eye, and a bib under our chins to catch the melancholy."
"No, no, Miss Lottie; I do not believe that the religion of the Bible enjoins any such thing. Be as happy as possible, but be wise with the enjoyment of such things as ye have."
"Yes, but Mr. Coles, who is to be the judge about these things?" said Mrs. Sinclair. "Some people would make very bad judges of their conscience."
"Not if they read the Bible with an earnest desire to be guided by its sacred light of truth."
"Perhaps not. But suppose they are not readers of the Scriptures?"
"Then, my dear madam, they must most as- suredly make sad mistakes Now, as a proof of what I feel on this question, you Bhall this evening enjoy yourself to your heart's content, and then we will ask God's blessing upon it be- fore we retire to our rest. My rule is this— whatever I can ask God to bless I cannot regard as sinful. In fact, my lips would refuse to utter a petition which my heart could not unite
"Just my creed exactly," said Mr Brown. "As I says to my youngsters, 'Now, you boys and girls, do what is right, and you won't be ashamed.' We lifted up this flag years ago, and when any of 'em falls into the wrong ditch,
we haul 'em out, and says to 'em, 'That is not following the family track;' and we all unite in singing our hymn, which you have heard, Mr. Coles, many a time. It begins——"
"Do the right, brother, do the right."
"I have heard it, neighbor Brown; and I
know how well you have managed to lead your family, and how God has blessed you."
"Yes, tolerably well, for that. We all lay hold of the wheel, and, even though the dray does stick fast, we axes the help of Providence, and give a tremendous lift ourselves, and out it comes, and on we go again."
"Well done," shouted Mr. Gumby.
"But now music was proposed, and while the tea was cleared the music portfolio was delibe- rately inspected, but of course the ladies
"could not play," and severe colds had deprived them of all control over their voices as they could wish. Some one ought to invent a social warming up machine, to ensure enjoyments at the commencement of a meeting of guests.
Very frequently the overture is an exhibition of starched politeness, during which no one has the power to sing, play, or make themselves in the least sociable. The heating process then begins to operate, and the starch gives way; chairs begin to find an attractive influence by which their occupants are able to approach within confidential quarters with Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So. The notes of music, accidentally or casually struck, send the heating process a few degrees higher, and forthwith the steam begins to hum; now it sounds louder and louder, and on it progresses, until the whole party are at the boiling point. All unnecessary reserve is melted in the process, and henceforth the even- ins is happily enjoyed.
There were no preliminary experiments of this kind at Mr. Coles' house. He led the way into every kind of social pleasure. First, he played "The Pastoral Symphony," from "the Messiah," and then the old favorite, "Bay of Biscay," which he sung with fervent vivacity. Then the case of fossils and other curiosities was opened for the ladies, the beautiful portfolio of sketches and engravings also; pipes, and a round table on the verandah, were provided for the gentle- men; the young ladies were kept at the piano; the minister now saying, "Thank you, miss, that is beautiful; please favor us with some- thing else." Then he found time for a little argumentative discussion with Mr. Sinclair, during which his eyes were looking round to where the ladies sat, ever and anon explaining the name of some fossil, or pointing out the beauty of some picture. In fact the people were his guests; his duty was to entertain them,
and he did so.
Some will say, "Where is there any religion in this?" In the first place, the man was known, his principles were not hidden either in the pul-
pit or the life. Test him with a temptation to
do a wrong, and the righteous indignation of the man was a thing to be remembered. Ask him to go to comfort a poor sick or dying person, and his soul was instantly in the work. Was there one to whom he could do good?—he was ready. His inner life was expressive of humble, devoted attachment to the Saviour. The out- ward expression of that life was a decided disposition to claim for himself and his brethren all the privileges, as citizens of a commonwealth, which other men enjoyed. His home enjoy-
ments were as pure as earth's pleasures can be, yet he loved many things which some would condemn. He could sing a glee or a song heartily, and, now that he had the chance, Bishop's "Chough and Crow" was sung with the utmost enthusiasm, the young ladies taking the soprano and alto parts, and the minister the bass. After this, they sang the "Kyrie Eleison" of Mozart's Twelfth Mass, and then Mr. Coles sang the opening air, "Comfort ye," from "The Messiah," Miss Julia Gumby then sing-
ing, "I know that my Redeemer liveth." Then they had a round or two, and a few illustrations of quadrille and waltz music, during which Mr. Coles challenged Mr. Sinclair to a game of chess, Mr. Brown and Mr. Gumby had a discussion about pastoral matters, the two elder ladies being confidentially immersed in domestic
Fruit of various kinds was placed on the sideboard, which was open to all, but there was no wine. Mr Coles was an abstainer, but upon this ground: First, he could not afford it; secondly, he considered it to be his duty to set an example to others. Beyond this he did not pretend to go. If others thought proper to take intoxicating drink, provided thoy did not exceed the bounds of moderation he never interfered. But if he knew of anyone who could not take it without falling into vice, then he tried the utmost powers of persuasive influence to induce
them to abstain.
Thus the evening passed pleasantly and happily enough. Mrs. Gumby proved to be a very estimable woman under certain circum- stances. Let her have the comforts of a good home, and she was at home; but she could not forget the home she had left. Emigration at fifty-five years of age is not all pleasure or pro- fit. At 8 o'clock Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair's horses were saddled and brought to the front of the house, and Mr. Brown had gone to the paddock to got his own Black Bess into necessary trim for a ride home, when a loud cooey was heard, and this being repeated by another, and then by a third, the whole party were on the veran- dah in a trice, wondering what it could mean. In a minute or so Black Bill rode up to the
house with a letter for Mr Coles.
"From Massa Stewart, Misser Coles."
EVERYBODY ON THE MOVE.
Judd only waited to see Argyle safely carried to the hut; he then returned along the bed of the stream till he came to a place where he could climb to the top of the cliff. Not a moment did he delay, for it was daybreak by this time. With a swift foot and determined will, onward he strode, one strong motive impelling him— there was no longer any safety for him. Every consideration of duty, every feeling of religious hope, every desire to redeem the past dissolved like vapor in the light of the sun. "The fates are against me," he cried, as he sped through the valley where he had left the sheep. Even the sight of them had no effect upon him. "To the blacks," said he to himself, and then, raising his voice, he roared out, "The knob of a whip! he has sworn to follow me! to the blacks; to the blacks!"
In the meantime David Argyle's wounds were washed and bound up. So serious, however, were some of them, that what could be done to
get him home was the source of most anxious solicitude to Stewart. But finally he decided to dispatch the black lad to Leyton to request the overseer to bring on the spring cart, with other necessaries, as quickly as possible.
The morning wore along rather monotonously, but us they knew that it would be impossible for the cart to get to Hermit Glen, part of the time was occupied in making a rough litter to carry the wounded man to tho road side. It was midday when this was accomplished, but by this time strong fever had set in, and David Argyle began to give evidence of the most alarming symptoms of delirium. It was with no small satisfaction, therefore, but with great surprise, that in half an hour after they had reached the road two light waggons were seen approaching, which, on reaching the place, Stewart found to be the travelling cortege of Colonel Tomlinson and his suite.
The sight of a wounded man lying on a litter would have attracted attention if there had been no other reason why the cortege should have
stopped. But the surprise of the colonel was very great, for he exclaimed, "By the powers, James Stewart, what brought you here, and
who have you there?"
"Fortunately, colonel, we are just in time to meet you. We started upon this errand, for we heard of that unfortunate affair through your overseer, Brown, and resolved to come on
and render assistance if we could."
"In doing which you got crippled," said the
colonel. "But who is it?"
"David Argyle, colonel." "You don't say so?"
The colonel immediately alighted, and, briefly
introducing the ladies, he went to the litter.
The interviews which followed were painful and pleasing. Mrs. Welland was rejoiced to see Stewart, but the recollection of the past flashed across her memory with horrors which cannot
"How did it happen?" was the inquiry of
The question was too pointed to be answered direct, but Stewart was no hand at evasion. He said that a dispute had arisen with some man whom Argyle knew, and in the scuffle which ensued the latter had fallen over a rock and broken his arm. To Colonel Tomlinson, however, he told all the facts, without men- tioning Judd's real name.
Of course there was great sympathy with the wounded man. The ladies all alighted; in fact, everyone forming the cortege, with the exception
of Captain Oliver.
To gather up the fragments of half-an-hour's discussion, and to get the travellers in safety to their several destinations, it is only necessary to add that Argyle was placed in the waggon with Captain Oliver, and, as speedily as was consistent with the roughness of the roads and the position of the wounded man, the journey was brought to an end. It was 4 o'clock when they had ten miles to go; but then they met the cart, and into it Argyle was removed; and, as the track to Leyton somewhat diverged from this spot, tho two parties separated with many congratulations, anticipations of happy intercourse, and sincere hope that the wounded
man would soon be convalescent.
Black Bill delivered his letter, which an- nounced that Mr. Argyle had met with a severe accident; that his arm was broken, and en- treated mr. Coles, who was somewhat ac- quainted with medicine and surgical operations, to ride over to Leyton immediately on receipt of the letter, as they hoped by that time to be at home. Black Bill was detained at Leyton, and consequently arrived late at Mr. Coles' house. Mrs. Gumby was profoundly disturbed upon hearing the disastrous news. Of course "the horrid country" came in for its share of invectives; but when Mr. Brown said that he would go over to Leyton but for the fact that his people would be alarmed at his non-return home, but he was sure Mr. Gumby would not object to ride over with the minister, the wrath of the lady became something curious to contemplate.
It rose to fever heat, then descended as rapidly to zero—in which condition the good lady ap- peared to be hysterical—from which singular state she gradually dissolved into the benignity of summer heat, and placidly declared that "this was the climax of her troubles." It is difficult to estimate what might have been the issue of this fresh feature of Mrs. Gumby's complaint, but as she gave utterance to these memorable words one of the Leyton stockmen rode up to the house, stating that Colonel Tom- linson was at hand, and would arrive in hald an hour. Mr. Stewart had sent him on with the colonel's party, the more surely to lead them home as speedily as possible.
Mr. Coles could not, under the circumstances, remain to receive the colonel, nor would he hear of Mrs. Gumby being disturbed by the proposed visit of her husband to Leyton. He did not need any one to go, he said. Mr.
Stewart's people were there, he would return with them, and probably come back in the morning. In the meantime Mr. and Mrs. Gumby were at liberty to remain for the night at his house. So the storm blew over. The whole of the party adjourned to the station and had scarcely arrived when Colonel Tomlinson and his suite completed their toilsome journey, and the colonel entered upon the possession of his new home.
AMONG THE NATIVES.
Judd reached the camp of the natives in about half-an-hour after leaving Hermit Glen. It was daylight, but only one man was to be seen, and this one happening to be Eagle Hawk, without any hesitation he walked up to him, held up his hand in token of friendship, and addressed his old comrade in the native tongue, which he could speak pretty well. The black- fellow was very uneasy; he had passed the night in patrolling round the camp, spear in hand, which he used as a staff or carried over his shoulder. He adored Mogara for her beauty and courage. Once he had ventured to hint something beyond this, but the rage with which she listened to his words, and which burst into a tumult when he had finished, banished from his mind any hope that she could be to him any more than a friend. The advent of Judd to the tribe was a constant source of anxiety to the old black. It was by Mogara's order that he had been spared, for it was customary to spear every white man whom they took pri- soner; but Judd's life was spared as an excep- tion to the rule. It was very evident why the half-caste queen insisted upon this, so evident
indeed that once Eagle Hawk remonstrated
She replied, "It is my command," and the mandate was obeyed—more than obeyed, for every man and woman in the tribe vied with each other to do him honor. Judd became a favorite amongst them with only one or two exceptions. When he escaped, Eagle Hawk in secret rejoiced; and upon his reappearance his old uneasiness returned with renewed vigor.
Externally he showed nothing but pleasure; he even kissed Judd's cheek, and laughed as if he could not show delight enough; but his heart was all gall and bitterness. When Mo- gara therefore invited Judd to return to them he would have suggested many objections, but a glance at her eye was enough. He knew her mandate, and he was not one to resist it. All that night, however, he was conning the pro- bable results of Judd's influence over Mogara. It was with no pleasure therefore that he saw Judd coming towards him, or heard the words, "I come to live with you again."
So Judd became again a sojourner amongst the natives. This time he was more reconciled with his position, for it was forced upon him.
Self-protection was a primary virtue with him. He had early in life habited himself to cunning and trickery, which inevitably produce fear and want of manliness; and, if he had any courage, it was that of desperation—there was nothing
natural in it. His life was therefore one con- tinual expression of suspicion. Still he tried by every means to gain the confidence of the natives, and was kind and good to all who were willing to be friendly; but there were some who regarded him with mingled feelings of scorn
and mistrust. Mogara, on the contrary, now cast off all reserve, and was Judd's constant companion. All her admiration for the man returned, even though ten years of hardship had whitened his hair, so as to give him a most venerable appearance.
Thus three months and more passed away, during which they had not migrated far from Hermit Glen, when one beautiful evening Mogara and Judd were seated under a tree near the top of the range. The place was
pleasant, and they halted for a while. The halt naturally led to a chat, and this was how it
"How long do you remain in this place, Mo- gora?"
"I not quite know, Henry, what we do. I hear zome zay we go in that country 'gen." She pointed towards the south.
"Why do you go there? I no want to go that way," said Judd. "Soldier, they will take me, and put me in prison."
"Ha!" said Mogara, in alarm "Ha! I
zee. Zen we no go zere."
"Not safe for me here, Mogara, if we stop too long. Men seek for me and find me——"
The woman caught Judds arm as he spoke, as if she would hold him fast. Judd misunder- stood her at first, but seeing that her eyes were full of tears, he went on to say—
"I would rather be with you than the white men. They no do me good—much harm."
"Mogara protect zoo, Henry. But zoo no wish to go 'way 'gen?"
"No, Mogara I come live with you all, and
you are very good to me. I no wish to go away
"Yet! I zay—Mogara zay—zoo never go
'way. Why zoo with to go back to zem who hate zoo and me? I kill my enemy, zat left my mother. Henry, her die like dog. I zay I
would kill him, and I zhot——"
"Your own father, Mogara."
What a look the half-caste turned upon Judd as he spoke these words! Will it be believed that this poor despised, but in some respects clever creature had never allowed her thoughts to rest on any other idea than revenge for an
alleged outrage against her mother. "Her
"Yes, Mogara, he is so," said Judd, as she paused upon these words, repeating them with
She was gazing at no particular object. It was one of those seasons of despair which seize us as a terrible revelation bursts upon the in- tellect for the first time. She was staring into nothingness, seeing nothing, yet gazing with the eye of a linx; immersed in the deepest thought, with her eyes wide open, but she saw only the word "father." Judd saw the emotion which was agitating the black-eyed savage beauty with an influence she could not control. He placed his hand upon her shoulder, but she moved not—seemed not to notice him; repeat- ing, in whispers now, "Father! my father! My father!" Presently she cried out with an awful vehemence, "And I killed him! my father! Henry, I killed him!"
Nature came to her relief, for she burst into a flood of tears. Judd spoke to her, tried to com- fort her; told her he was the man who was standing at the door when she fired, and that when he left there was no particular danger.
It was long before she could be pacified. The words "my father" were uttered with increased vehemence nd bitterness. She stood up, took out her little revolver, dashed it to the ground, wrung her hands, and alternately burst into tears, or sat with a kind of indolent stupor. At last Judd took up the two animals which they had killed, and, gently laying hold of Mogara's hand, he led her away without any resistance. Slowly they returned to the camp, to find the whold tribe in the highest excitement. One of them was wounded, and another killed, by a party of bushmen who were travelling on the road. The blacks had been surprised as they were lying on the grass by the roadside. The moment they saw the bushmen they hastily de- camped, but, for mere sport sake, they were fired at, one man being sent into eternity and another poor creature lamed for life. Loud were the horrible threats which sounded through- out the camp. Eagle Hawk was haranguing a large group as Mogara and Judd came in sight. A shout which rang through the woods greeted their approach, and instantly fifty men ran to meet them, shouting in the native tongue, "White man kill! white man kill!"—every one of them scowling upon Judd, his white, or rather brown skin seaming to them a relation- ship to the aggressors which for a while they were unable or unwilling to forget.
"White man kill! Woopa malar ban!"
The first word was shouted with terrible ve- hemence, tho "woop" being elongated in a sort of cooey. The scene was very exciting; and when they discovered in Mogara the unmis- takable evidence that she had been weeping, every eye again turned to Judd, now with in- quiring glances, and then with suspicious signs, which meant far more than Judd felt comfort- able in witnessing.
But Mogara understood her people better
than he did.
"To ze camp, to ze camp!" said she, in com- manding accents. "Burrima, burrima! (hastily, quickly.) Instantly whe was obeyed, and, with shouts and frantic cries, rushed to the place where Eagle Hawk was still vehemently haran- guing a group of excited men.
"What iz it? what iz ze matter?" exclaimed
Mogara, as she took her stand by the side of Eagle
"Father killed," was the reply of a young fellow. "Father killed—white fellow kill!" and
he dashed his great club on the ground, and
burst into tears.
"Zee, see, Mogara! Zee!" and he took off a blanket from the dead body which was lying near the spot. Mogara drew near to look at the corpse, saying, "Who did this?"
"One two, three, six white fellow," was the reply from a dozen voices.
"Quiet!" said Mogara, waving her hand. "We kill for zis. Go sleep. Morrow we find out white fellow. Blood for blood! White man he kill; black man kill too. Go zleep, zleep—morrow get up; I tell you what do. Eagle Hawk, come with me; Henry, zoo come
The trio left the excited natives, and entered the bark humpie of the queen, and here a lengthened debate ensued.
"Eagle Hawk," said Mogara, "I am zick of
"Let us have blood, then!" exclaimed the
"No, no; zoo no understand. Zoo, or me, or Henry may be zhot like Ballu."
"Blood, blood!—kill!" Eagle Hawk trem- bled with passion as he cried out—"I say blood! Let us go burn, kill!"
"No, Eagle Hawk," said Mogara, "we must not. We no strong to fight against long guns. Zey zhoot—kill—we no able to get near. Our people turn run, fly-zhot like dog. No, no,
zat never do."
"But we must have revenge; blackfellows no rest till they have blood. We kill one whie man for black. One black kill—one white he die for black. You know this, Mogara!"
"I do know it, Eagle Hawk, and it iz right. We have no law like white man.Zey hold up hand everywhere against us. We no able to talk with zem about our rights. Zey strong— we weak. Zey put zeir hand on heart, and zay, 'Curse, curse—damn, damn them!' and then
they fire, kill."
"As there is a God in heaven, she is right,"
"Let us go, then, morrow day," said Eagle Hawk. "Go up borru (west); we find plenty sheep there; we kill sheep—eat them; we find man—we kill him—burn, dance, sing!"
The conference was lengthened into a discus- sion of minor details. Mogara began it with a recollection of her father suffering from her hand, and the thought of blood made her shudder, but gradually the dreadful influence of her life among the natives exerted its power, and she was as eager for revenge and blood as any of the tribe.
Mysterious are the ways of Providence, but all are in goodness, kindness, wisdom, as golden chains fastened by eternal promise to the throne of God. Frequently the darker the cloud the brighter the central glory. Judd knew this; he was ever trying to educate Mogara to some such manner of thinking and judging, but there was too much bitterness in him at times for such reflections to be of any lasting benefit. He re- gretted that he had saved Argyle's life; then he was glad that he had done so; then he wished for another opportunity of trying his strength with "the youngster;" and finally he resolved to quit his present life, and at any risk get down to the towns and escape for ever from the misery of such an existence as that which he was com- pelled to experience.
Alas! all his ideas were like frost in the sun;
they melted away; were absorbed in constantly recurring events which seemed to harden him again into adamant; and when on the morrow he found that the tribe was about to move to- wards the west—that the circle of his fate was drawing closer and closer around him, and soon he would stand upon the spot where the whole would be concentrated in the one great view, of which the climax was to be death.
To-morrow! ah! to-morrow! what thoughts does the well-known phrase suggest.
"To-day—to-day," thought Judd, "I go on to the end. What will it be!"
[To be continued.]