|Newspaper Title||The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)|
|Trove Title||The Hermit Convict|
THE HERMIT CONVICT.
By the Rev. William Draper.
"My dear friend, have you any idea where this is likely to terminate?"
The speaker was Stewart, and the person to whom the question was addressed was his part- ner, David Argyle. More than three months elapsed before the latter was able to move about beyond an occasional walk from room to room, or around the house and garden.
By the time that he reached home after his accident, he was in a strong fever. The journey had been too much for him; the broken arm, although it was put into a sling, was frightfully inflamed, and a messenger was dispatohed for Mr. Sinclair, whose surgical skill, Mr. Coles knew, was far superior to his own. In duo course he arrived and the arm was set, but by this time Argyle was delirious, and the worst
But by patient, careful watching he was gra- dually restored to health, but ho was very weak for a long time, and on this account stimulants were recommended, bottled porter, port wine, and occasionally a little brandy; but that which was intended to be goodwill ended in a great dis- aster. Argyle had nothing to do; he could do nothing in fact but read, and this soon became a trouble. He was no bookworm, and the kind of literature in which he took any interest was very light, and the stock was soon exhausted. So he took to smoking, and this became a mania, for the poor follow smoked morning, noon, and night. Very soon he could not smoke without drink, and the drink screwed into his system the end of a chain, which speedily became a rein, and David Argyle was driven captive along the road to intemperance.
Stewart fancied that he saw signs of the power of stimulants upon him; he said nothing, but re- solved to watch the closer. Hence he tried to get him away from home as frequently as he could. Argyle pleaded so often however that he could not endure the fatigue to which his friend exposed him, that after awhile he ceased to ask him to accompany him. Frequently Stewart rode over to Burnham in the evening, and then David, having no restraint, drank wine and brandy until he was forced to retire to bed, always, however, before he lost control over him-
On the Sunday when Stewart accompanied Colonel Tomlinson and his friends to the after- noon service, it will be recollected that Argyle pleaded illness as a reason why he could not go, and he left the party to return to Leyton. Feeling somewhat weary on arriving at home, he threw himself on the sofa, after giving direc- tions to Black Bill to attend to his horse, "and then," said his master, "come into the keeping-
Billy, however, had the animals to feed and so on, and it was fully an hour before he re- turned to the house. He could not find Argyle.
No one was at home, for the housekeeper had gone to Burnham Church, and was at that mo- ment enjoying a teté-a-teté cup of tea and chat with the housekeeper at the parsonage; so Billy went into every room, but his master was gone, "leavin his hat ahind," said he to himself. "I'll go smoke 'bout tis 'ere."
He was not to smoke about it, for as he sat down on the verandah for this purpose, a shout reached his ears, which came as plainly as possible from the men's huts, which were about three hundred yards from the house. "What tat?" said he, and he listened with the keenness of a startled deer. Presently the sound of a fiddle from the same quarter put him into an ecstacy. A fiddle was the grandest instrument in tho world to Black Bill. It is asserted that once upon a time, when he was in Calcutta, he was asleep rolled up in a mat, when the strains of a fiddle reached his ear, and though he did not actually wake up, he was drawn by its sound out of his own room, and to the consternation of a numerous circle of visi- tors, who were listening to a tolerable good per- formance of a solo upon a violin, he bounded into the room and began dancing a jig of a most extraordinary character in the most scanty cos- tume imaginable. A good sound kick from his master sent him reeling out of the room, but as he afterwards said to Stewart, who engaged him from the same gentleman, "I do not believe he could resist the temptation to dance a jig if he
heard a fiddle."
In an instant Billy was on the verandah, and if Stewart could have seen him he would have been shocked. He danced and leaped, bounded up and down, and backwards and forwards, sometimes turning a complete somersault, alight-
ing on his feet again, and than recommencing an extraordinary series of figures, which might possibly have some kind of affinity to elegance, but there is much reason to dispute this statement. In the meantime Jacky, who had been asleep in the wool-shed, happened to wake up.
Jacky looked at the performance, uncertain whether he should join in it or stay where he was, till, at an extraordinary flight of double and treble somersaults in which Billy excelled, Jacky burst out into a regular roar, clapping his hands and shouting to the top of his voice. This brought one of the men out of the hut, who asked him what he was shouting at.
Jacky said nothing but pointed to the house, and naturally enough Jack Williams, for it was he, as much amused as the boy, called to the rest to come and look at Billy. Of course this brought out all the men, David Argyle amongst them dreadfully intoxicated.
"What is't?" he said, "Jacky? Is't Jacky? I say 'tis Jacky!"
The men were more amused than ever; they had very little principle when there was a chance of getting a drop of drink, and though they
knew that Stewart's orders were strict about
such matters, what were they—so they rea- soned—when one of the masters brought down the brandy bottle? So they drank, and Argyle, not able to drink much without danger, took enough to throw him completely on his beam ends, and then all restraint was at an end. Con- sequently he would have a song, then one of them must play the fiddle; and now Argyle was mad for a jig. There was no stopping him: "Come on, come on!" said he, "more brandy indoor; come on, I say. We'll have a jolly night!" So saying, he led the way to the house, the men, nothing loath, following.
Black Bill saw them coming, and in an in- stant discovered the state that David Argyle was in. He was carrying the brandy, and shouting, dancing, and singing most unnaturally, and the levity of the black man was turned instantly to grief. He saw what the affair would come to, and slipping away before they arrived he saddled a horse, and, in the greatest consternation, rode off to Burnham, but meeting the housekeeper on
tho road, he communicated the intelligence to her. Quickening the pace of her horse she ar- rived at Leyton to find David Argyle dancing on the table of the keeping-room, two of the men fighting, and the other two lying asleep upon the floor; glasses broken and thrown about the place in all directions, and Jacky crouched up in a corner of the room bleeding from a wound in the cheek, which he had received from a broken glass his master had thrown at him.
The woman was no coward, and fortunately Billy was as strong as he was faithful. In two
minutes she cleared the house of the the men
who wore fighting, and in a very few more Billy
had carried the other two to the huts.
"Now," said Mrs. Jones to David Argyle, "now, sir, please to get down." " See the conq—rin—"
"Will you please to come down, sir?"
"With—great'st pleas—great'st, I 'sure you."
"Sir, I ask you once more, will you——"
The words were stopped with the utterance of the "you," for Argyle fell down from the table with a terrible crash, and for several moments he did not stir. They got him into his room, but he did not wake all that night. Stewart had re- mained at Burnham. Mrs. Jones knew not why; hour after hour she watched but still ho did not come; morning arrived and Argyle slept on, breathing heavily as if in pain. At 8 o'clock Stewart arrived, to see his friend and partner open his eyes, groaning out the words, "My head, my head."
Deep and poignant was the grief of poor Stewart when he heard the sad news. It was useless to use words of reproach, for David Argyle was seriously ill again, and for several days he was suffering under a species of delirium tremens. By an examination of the store it was evident that he must have habited himself for some time to take strong drink in such a quan- tity as completely mystified his partner. But on inquiry, he found that though Argyle retired to rest early, he seldom put out his light him- self, it had generally burnt out; so Mrs. Jonos said "she had given him lately only a small piece of candle, fearing they might be burnt in their
"Did he always have liquor in his room?"
"He always kept a bottle of brandy in his
It was about ten days after that fatal Sunday when Stewart put the question to David Argyle with which this chapter commences. It was an unfortunate time, however, for the latter was sitting on the verandah, smarting under the order, which he was compelled to yield to, that no liquor should be included in the general list of stores which the drays were gone to fetch. There was no liquor in the house, and the poor follow was looking as careworn and dejected as one who was sinking in the miro of abject misery. He was in no humor to be instructed
or lectured to.
"Where is all this to terminate! That is my business, I think,"
"Nay, David, I did not say all this; I put a very simple question to you in the kindest spirit."
"I cannot say, James Stewart, that I take it kindly; you are acting the part of a dictator to
"Just as your medical attendant advises, David. God forbid that I should bo unkind or unjust to you; but if I am told that you must not have this or that I can only assent."
"But am I not my own master? Suppose I choose to have this or that, as you call it, who
is to hinder me?"
"If I saw you about to take poison——"
"But I am not going to take poison, James;
I know better."
"Pardon me, my dear friend, but liquor is poison to you; it will kill you, depend on it."
"Oh! hang it; I don't want to be preached to," said Argyle, interrupting Stewart in a great pet. "I am not well; don't talk about it."
Mr. Stewart heaved a heavy sigh; a future of misery seemed in store for him. But what would his unhappiness be in comparison with that of this misguided man? He plainly saw that any further discussion now was useless, so he turned away with a heavy heart to get his
horse to ride over to Burnham Beeches.
David Argyle watched him as he slowly left the house, and in his heart he felt that he could give all he possessed to be restored to his right senses; but the tempter was too strong for him —the craving for drink was positively frightful. If a good thought flashed through his mind, the demon drink drowned it in the constant cry which would be heard in spite of everything, "Give me drink! Give me drink!" Poor fel- low, he could not help it; he was chained, bound as fast as the miserable wretches in the tombs to whom the Saviour spoke. He would have risked everything this afternoon for one glass of brandy.
Do not blame too rashly, total abstainers, such would surely have been some of you if you had not been snatched as a "brand from the burning." Pity, compassion, mercy will meet such a case, not hard words; though alas! it must be confessed that very often pity is not wanted; compassion is not appreciated; mercy is not sought.
THE HUNTERS HUNTED.
Captain Oliver and his servant, after leav- ing the camp, jogged on, resolving to ride to- wards the east, and shortly after mid-day to retrace their steps to camp, which would lay due west. For some time nothing particular attracted their attention; but at length they reached an open plot of clear ground, surrounded on all sides with thick bush, without any ap- parent egress except by the track by which they
had entered. In the centre of this was the re- mains of a native camp. Some of the huts were quite perfect, and around the fires, one of which was still warm, there was abundant evidence that a large number of natives had been here, the bones of animals and pieces of skin and other signs of wholesale slaughter abounding everywhere. The dogs did not like the appear- ance of the place at all—they sniffed about and showed signs of uneasiness, but touching not so much as a bone or a piece of raw meat, some of which was hanging to the pieces of skin.
Captain Oliver took in the whole at a glance; said he, "we must turn back, James."
"I think so," replied the man. "This fire was burning last night, sir. They can't be far
"No," replied the captain; "that is certain. Hark! Did you hear anything? These black fellows frequently leave a scout or two behind
them; or it may be there are some laggers after
"By jingo, sir," exclaimed the man; "that dog hears something."
It was so; the bull dog began to growl. He stood looking most fiercely into the far side of the bush from that by which they had entered. The Newfoundland had laid down, evidently suspecting foul play, but as yet he gave no sign beyond crouching as if he was watching some- thing.
"What shall be done, James?"
"Get out of this, captain, that is the first thing."
"You are right, James. On ye go as quickly as ye can. I don't like fighting these wretches with a bush for them to retreat to."
"Not too fast, Captain Oliver," said his ser- vaut; "not too fast. If they see we are afraid, it will be the very thing to bring them round us. Let us draw the charges of shot and put in bullets instead, and then as quietly as possible get out of this."
They spoke in whispers, and now the dogs, as if they understood what their masters were doing, crouched at their feet, still growling, and evidently being as uneasy as possible. The loading with ball was accomplished in about five minutes, and then the return march began. For a mile or two nothing occurred to excite farther alarm, but now a fresh source of un- easiness arose. The sun was obscured with clouds, which, though at first only thin enough to produce a pleasant shade, had increased in blackness. Still on they went for another mile, every step they took being somewhat uncertain, and yet they thought that they knew the place, until after passing a creek which they knew they had crossed in the morning they entered a valley which neither of them recognised.
"Here's a pretty go, James; we are out of our track, that is plain enough, yet I could have sworn that I knew that creek."
"So could I, sir. I confess that I had some doubt about the flat which led to it; but when we reached the creek, says I to myself, 'All right now.'"
"Where does the creek lead to, I wonder?" "Perhaps to the lagoon, captain."
"You may be right. Suppose we follow it
"With all my heart. And yet the horses do not seem to turn that way, Captain Oliver."
It was so; those sagacious creatures were al- lowed to have the reins, and immediately they began to retrace their steps.
"Captain Oliver," said his servant, "we are wrong—that is plain. They are going over the creek again."
"Hang them, though; I don't like going in the direction of that camp again," replied Cap-
"Nor shall we. See, sir; they turn up the bank of the creek. Depend on it, we crossed higher up."
At this moment the bull dog burst out into a furious roar, and there was a loud and fearful yell behind the travellers, which was followed
by a shower of spears, one of which struck Captain Oliver's horse, and, though it did not inflict any wound, roused the animal so as to increase its pace to a gallop. To this Captain Oliver did not object; but here a new difficulty arose. In holding the reins tight, the horse no longer had permission to take his own route, and after a little while the increasing thickness of the bush materially increased also the alarm which both the captain and his servant felt. Besides this, the dogs were now most furious. But onward they went—there was no help for it—until they reached a rock which seemed to bar all further progress; and here, in a perfect trap, they found themselves hailed up. There was no time for discussion, or opportunity to retreat. They were surrounded—this was very evident; but the captain was not a man to die without a struggle. He knew the dread with which the natives regarded firearms, and this was the only chance they had of life. So he fired at random one way, and his servant an- other, as fast as possible; and when the bullets were gone, the servant loaded with shot as his master discharged the guns. There were shrieks and groans, but still the spears plainly told the fact that the natives were not beaten; and in a few moments stones from the cliff above them showed that the enemy could reach them from that quarter. It seemed to be coming to a hand to hand conflict, and already the blacks, who had discovered their advantage, were peering out of the bush preparatory to a final rush. Captain Oliver thought that it was all over now; the ammunition was all but gone, It was man's ex- tremity, but then it became God's opportunity, for at this instant a sharp, shrill voice cried, "Hold, hold! stay! Back, back, everyone to ze camp! Go back, back! Now, now, go
Colonel Tomlinson beheld Henry Judd, whom he recognised as the man whom he had seen at
Mr. Baines' station.
"What do you here?" he said.
Judd did not reply till the colonel had re- peated the question; then he said, "I come to warn you."
"Warn me! Of what?" "Of danger."
"A large tribe of natives have been watching you. They are camped out there."
He pointed in the direction which Captain
Oliver had taken.
"Good God!" cried Colonel Tomlinson; "and Captain Oliver is there."
"I cannot remain here. I came to spy your camp. I must return now; I know not how many eyes are on me."
The colonel had arisen as Judd appeared,
and stood at the entrance of the tent with a double-barrelled rifle in his hand.
"Stay," said he to Judd, "one moment. Cannot you save my friend?"
"I have no power; but if he is the man you speak of, he may be——"
"He is, he is!" said Colonel Tomlinson.
"Mogara's father!" cried Judd, and he sprung into the air as if he had boon shot, and disap- peared at the back of the rock.
The colonel lost not a moment in making a signal to the man who was fishing at the lagoon, and it was at this moment that the report of the firing of the first gun by Captain Oliver reached their ears. This was followed by others so quickly that it was evidently something more than sport. Colonel Tomlinson looked exceed- ingly disconcerted.
"Come on John," said he to his servant. "Bring all the powder, and your own gun and horse-pistol; we have no time to get the horses. By George, they are firing quick now. God grant we may be in time."
"Onward! The guns cease——"
There is no more onward. Heart and flesh have failed, and Colonel Tomlinson is prostrate on the ground. The tension of the nerves was too great; he has fallen; blood is oozing from
his nose; his tongue protrudes from his mouth; his jaw is fixed; all his limbs seem paralysed.
"May God Almighty help me!" cried the man, "I cannot help myself."
"He will help," exclaimed a voice close to
COMMENCEMENT OF TROUBLE.
The voice was Judd's, and Captain Oliver and his servant were with him, Mogara follow- ing. The reunion was most opportune, but it was much embittered by the fact that Colonel Tomlinson was insensible. Captain Oliver bent down and felt the pulse of his friend, then put his hand upon his heart, and shook his head.
"I fear it is a bad job. How did it happen,
The man explained that ho was fishing at the lagoon, and, hearing the colonel call to him, he went to the camp instantly, and then he told him to get "the guns and follow him quickly." He said no more, but when the guns were heard his excitement increased; he exclaimed, "Faster, faster, John!" and groaned as if in pain. "Then he fell," said the man. "You know the rest."
"Yes," replied Captain Oliver; "we were in for a fight, but these good people were sent by providence just in the nick of time to deliver us. I do not know your companion, my good fol- low, but I thank you both most sincerely. Poor, good-hearted Tomlinson—what can we
"Carry master to camp, sir; that must be the first thing."
"How far is it?" said Captain Oliver.
"Near two miles, I should say," replied
At this juncture Mogara stepped forward; she had kept in the background hitherto.
"Blackfellow carry gentleman," said she.
She cooeyed twice and the bush seemed alive
Captain Oliver seized his rifle instantly, and the two men imitated his example, but the tu- mult was quelled in a moment.
"Speak, Henry; speak to white men. Zay no fear. I go tell my people."
She did so, gathering them together by a word, and in a hurried address she expressed her command. To this some at first demurred, Eagle Hawk amongst the number; but in an instant the whole of these savage creatures were silenced by these words: "My father. That white man my father."
Some will tell us that the parental tie is not appreciated by these poor creatures; it is a libel. The black natives of Australia are not fallen so low as not to acknowledge the parental tie. Some are cruel enough to slaughter their offspring; but may we not find illustrations of this by the hundred amongst civilised and even noble life? Thousands upon thousands of white children are slaughtered, both as to their tem- poral and eternal interests, and as many are forced into untimely graves because of the cruel and inexcusable neglect and ignorance, of heart- less parents.
"That white man is my father!" She spoke the words with emotion, and the black creatures around her understood now much that had al- ways been a mystery to them.
"Carry zick man. Make tree bed."
Meanwhile Judd explained to Captain Oliver what Mogara was saying, and that he might be quite sure that there was nothing to fear.
"See, sir," continued Judd; "they are mak- ing tree bed. Plenty of men carry master back to station. We will get him home, never fear,
It was a strange sight, and there was a wild- ness about the constant jabbering of the na- tives, and the whole scene, which, under other circumstances, would have been very ieteresting to the captain and his servants; but the in- creasing anxiety which Colonel Tomlinson's in- sensible state created left no other desire but
that of getting him to Burnham Beeches as quickly as possible. In a few minutes the litter was made; it was covered with Mogara's opos- sum rug, and the colonel was placed gently upon it. He opened his eyes for a moment as the natives lifted the litter, but closed them again
with a heavy sigh. The whole tribe formed the escort, Captain Oliver riding by the side of the colonel, and Mogara and Eagle Hawk following
close in the rear.
What a chain of events was there here. Cap- tain Oliver's early indiscretion, or crime it must be called, in forming an unholy alliance with the mother of Mogara; the revengeful determi- nation of the daughter to follow the aggressor to the death; the wound which he had conse- quently received; the lengthened illness which
followed; his restoration to health pleading that he should indulge his leisure in some ex- citable pursuit; the readiness of his friend to assist him to that which pleased him best; out of this came as the climax Colonel Tomlinson's indisposition, which might have passed away amidst the rest and quiet of a day in camp, but which was terribly heightened by the peril in which he, Captain Oliver, was placed.
"I am the author of it all," said he to him-
self, although he did not—nay, could not—go back so far in the history as the reader. He only saw the hunting expedition in the diorama
which at this time passed before his thoughts;
had he seen the connection between this and all his past life he would have been totally crushed in spirit, for Captain Oliver was a far
different man from what he was in his youth. Then he was rank with atheism; but he had long ago abandoned this folly, and under the genial influence of Colonel Tomlinson's society
he had become "almost a Christian." Alas! many reach this, but, like Agrippa, go no further. There is no record which throws much
light upon Captain Oliver's after life; the reader may surmise however, and if it be true that none ever perish who truly ask that they may have divine light to see the right path, then we may believe with tolerable certainty that the latter end of life was better with him than the beginning.
It may be objected that he must have known Mogara; but the objection has no weight. She was only twelve years of age when her mother and herself were mercilessly abandoned to fight their way as best they could. The child was a pet, but the mother! what could have induced so fine a man to have looked upon such a crea- ture it was difficult now for him even to say. She lived in his house ostensibly as his servant; the daughter was a source of amusement—she could not be called anything more. He took pleasure in teaching her everything she would learn, and she was quick and clever. In other circumstances she would have shone brightly as a noble woman. Poor faithful creature, true to the last, she lived but for one object.
But promotion came to Captain Oliver. The society in which he moved was of a higher class; he had property to which he eventually suc- ceeded, and in addition to this his regiment was ordered home. He would have taken the child with him, for she was really a handsome girl, her half-caste skin imparting a peculiar attrac- tiveness of such a character as many style beauty, without the necessity of anything arti- ficial to increase it. But the girl would not leave her mother; nothing could move her, and at last the captain, who worked himself up to a terrific passion, struck the child. It was some- thing awful to see the tempest of anger with which she received the blow. It was sufficient to drive her father out of the house, to which he did not return again. One message he sent to
the child—"Would she come where he was and speak with him?" "No," she returned answer. "I am here if my father wants me."
In a week from that day Captain Oliver was on his way to England. He had left his house and furniture in the hands of his solicitor to dispose of, with instructions to send tho child after him if she would consent to leave her mother. The lawyer made very short work of the matter. He regarded the whole affair in the most unromantic light, treated it as a pure question of business, and finally turned the black woman and the child into the road to do the best they could. The sequel the reader is acquainted with.
Twenty-two years had passed since this oc- curred, and it will be easily imagined that this period of wild savage life had worked a corres- ponding change upon the woman. It is true that when Mogara appeared so opportunely and
rescued her father and his servant from a terrible
danger, as he looked upon her, there was just a momentary retrospect of the past, but the light was soon extinguished, he said, "No, it cannot be." She saw the impression, watched how it vanished, and resolved to bide her time.
"Not one word to father," she whispered to Judd, as soon as an opportunity occurred.
He understood her and kept her secret.
In the journey home, nothing could exceed the kindness of the poor natives. They carried by turns the litter, upon which Colonel Tomlin- son reached home by the evening of the next day, as tenderly as if it contained the most
brittle of substances.
Colonel Tomlinson revived about an hour after he was conveyed to the camping place. He opened his eyes, and when he saw Captain Oliver, he smiled and feebly said, "Thank God, you are safe!"
The captain took his hand, saying, "How do you feel, my good friend. What is the matter?"
"Heart, Oliver—heart disease. Would to God I was at home. My poor dear girl, my poor Julia!" He burst into tears as he spoke these words, and they seemed to afford him a temporary relief; presently he said, "Home, Oliver—home, if possible."
The natives had withdrawn to some distance
from the tent, and only Captain Oliver was with the colonel. Ho replied:
"There are a number of blacks here who are
under some extraordinary influence exerted upon them by the old man who was at Baines' sta- tion. There is a half-caste woman with them
who is their queen, or something like it. They brought you here, colonel, and I am sure they will help us to get you home. Fool that I was to take you away from thence."
"No, Oliver; don't say so. It was the Lord's doing, I believe; but what you do, do quickly,
He did not finish what he intended to say, for a paroxysm of pain seized him, which alarmed Captain Oliver to the utmost. He hastily conferred with Judd, and in a few minutes after the home journey was commenced and continued throughout the night—which was fortunately moonlight—with only a halt to administer to the sufferer a little refreshment.
It was quite dark as the little army of black- fellows reached the station, or the sight of so many of them would have alarmed the people. Captain Oliver requested that the bearers would halt while he sent on for some of the men at the station. It was only for a few minutes that this was necessary, and speaking to Judd some few words about camping for the night, he went on to the station before the rest to break the sad news to Miss Julia.
IN THE DARK VALLEY.
There was a quiet consternation at Burnham Beeches that night. The term is paradoxical, but terror, abject grief, and wringing of hands —ah! and of hearts also—reigned, in conjunc- tion with humble dependence upon His love who is too wise to err—always too good to be un-
Julia could not weep; her heart was literally chilled with sorrow; not a tear could flow. The blow was so unexpected, so sudden, she seemed to be paralysed. Captain Oliver had dispatched a messenger to Stewart by the colonel's special wish, and he was speedily on the spot. It is difficult to express the feelings with which he gazed first on the bed on which the colonel lay, and then into the face of his
affianced bride. It was not the time to ask
questions. Mr. Coles and Mr. Sinclair had both been summoned, and their united opinion was unfavorable to the recovery of the patient. As Stewart entered the room, they were talking in whispers at the window—Mrs. Judd, Alice, and Julia being on either side of the bed; Cap- tain Oliver, Mr. Wright, Mr. Gumby, and Over- seer Brown being in the keeping-room close by. The colonel had not spoken since he was carried to his bed. One word had escaped him as the men brought him into the house—"Thanks;" and he again relapsed into a kind of stupor, from which he could not be roused. For five hours he continued thus, and then, with a heavy sigh, he opened his eyes, fixing them so tenderly upon his daughter that the long pent-up fountain burst forth at last, and a torrent of tears and sobs told her grief and love. The good, kind father gazed at her as if he could weep also; but he had other work to do now. His eyes turned upward, and then his hands were clasped; his lips moved, but not a sound was heard. At length he put out his hand, and gently took his daughter's in that grasp which was the soul utterance of the father, and then he spoke—
"My dearest father, here I am."
"I know it, my love. Can you read to me?" "Yes, dearest father. What would you
"John's Gospel, chapter xiv., my child."
It was a hard task which the father set his daughter. She knew that no strength of her own could perform it. One long, hard-drawn prayer—"Help, oh! do help me, my God! Help thy servant too!"
The prayer was answered. How she read she never know. Never was there such a living automaton as that dear tried creature. She
heard every word her father spoke as he com- mented on the verses she read; but how she
read them she could not tell.
He lifted his hand as she read:
"If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will
"True, true—very true. Mark this, my
child; I have found it so."
Again: "I will not leave you comfortless; I
will come to you."
"Always, always. He has brought your mother to me, dearest. Not only has He come Himself, but He said, 'In times of bitter sorrow are they not all ministering spirits?' No, He will not leave you orphans; He will come to you.
Again she read, but as if her heart would break, until she came to the 27th verse—"Peace I leave with you"—and the tongue refused to speak any moro.
The colonel took up the words, and slowly, but with emphasis, finished the verse. By this time there was a weeping in very deed, but the dying man went on:
"The angel which hath redeemed me from all evil bless you."
It was at this moment that he saw Stewart
and beckoned to him. He went instantly to the
"Sit down, James—there, next to Julia."
He gazed most earnestly into both their faces, and then, fixing his eyes upon Stewart, he beckoned him to put his hand into his, and then to his daughter with the same sign, and, clasp- ing both their hands in his, he said: "I gave her to you once; I leave her to you now. Love her, James, for my sake—for hers, for Christ's
"I will—I do—ever till death, and beyond it," was the solemn response.
"Heaven registers this union," said the colonel. "As soon as possible after I am gone,
let it be——"
He was exhausted, and again closing his eyes, he remained motionless for some minutes. Then he reopened them, and said:
She was on the other side of the bed, and upon her also he looked with a gaze full of meaning. At last he spoke:
"Kate, one great trouble has been yours; 'but God shall be with you, and bring you again into the land of your fathers.' One great request I make. You will grant it?"
"Anything, my dear master—any possible thing."
"This may not be possible to man, but it is possible to God. All things are possible to Him, Kate, and He will help you. I have seen your husband; he came down with me; he nursed me like a mother. Can you forgive him?"
"Anything I can do for your sake I will; but
"I have been thinking of this. He is so quiet, so good. Stewart knows him—has talked with him. He will get you all off to America, and there you can end your sorrows together."
"My kind, good master."
"Nay, can you, Kate? I want to make peace on my dying bod."
"It shall be done, dear friend, if God will."
"Then it will. James, Mrs. Judd will tell you what she has received from me; this is to
be continued. She was our old servant."
"Mr. Coles, pray—pray."
The minister knelt, and all followed his ex- ample. His words seemed to be words of fire, which were lighted at the altar of God. How he besought that "if it were possible, this cup might pass;" and how subdued were the words, "nevertheless, not as we will, but as Thou, O righteous Father, doth intend," they all remem- bered long after that trying hour.
At the close of the prayer, the colonel dropped into a quiet sleep, and the clergyman and Mr. Sinclair thought that it might be favorable, but they remained by his bedside, watching every movement, and frequently testing the pulse. Midnight passed, and the first grey dawn of morning indicated the approach of another day; but still he slept, and the day was somewhat advanced ere he awoke.
Captain Oliver had been expecting a visit from the blacks; but, with a delicacy which he had not anticipated, they did not approach the station. Judd had come, and with him Mogara and Eagle Hawk, but they were all per- fectly unarmed, and when they heard of "master's continued illness "—or, as it was told them, "Him no better—him die,"—their grief was as poignant as that of any. Captain Oliver told Stewart that they were at the men's huts, and he went to see them. Judd especially was glad to see him, and in the conversation which ensued he gave him just the hope that a reconciliation and reunion might be accom- plished. He knew not that Mogara understood all he said; but we must not anticipate the re-
It was not long before Stewart was re- summoned to the dying man's bedside. The colonel awoke, breathing heavily, as if he was struggling for life. But this mercifully passed away for a brief period only, and in that period the last mournful words were said. Stewart had brought Judd to the house, and whispering to the colonel that he was there, he told him to bring him in. The scene was intensely interest- ing as the old man entered, for he dropped on his knees by the bedside, sobbing out:
"May God Almighty bless you, master! You visited the poor and needy. Bless you, bless you!"
The colonel did not reply, but beckoned to the weeping and excited wife. She came and knelt, and Alice followed, and the dying man raised his hand over them, saying, "Love one another for my sake—for Jesus' sake."
"Julia, dearest—my darling Julia—my dearest love, next to my Jesus—you—you—Father— Saviour—bless—"
He paused, the awful silence of death over-
shadowing them all. It was a glorious, but wonderously trying moment.
"Sing, sing, sing,"
"Could we but climb—climb—where—"
The clergyman tried to sing, and there was a subdued whisper in the notes which some tried to raise; but in the midst of the line—
"Not Jordan's streams, nor death's cold flood,"
the departing soul made one effort; it was a grand one: "Safe to landing—safe, safe—Jesus
Colonel Tomlinson was "present with the
Two loud shrieks went up to heaven with that ransomed soul. The daughter's cry was loud; but louder, far louder was the loving, yearning,
home-seeking cry of a bitter soul, who saw re- fuge at last in the cry, "Father, dearest father,
never let me go from zoo again." [To be Continued.]