|Chapter Title||SOLD! AND ALL THBOUGH A WOMAN.|
|Newspaper Title||Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||Breelong Dora|
SOLD! AND ALL THBOLGH A WOMAN.
Morning came, Jerry had, according to instructions, "called them early," and had prepared a splendid meal for all.
Poor Dora, eho could not eat, she said, and
small wonder either. Ihe day was a bright sunshiny one, but, oh, what a terrible day it was for her ! If Jack should fail, if Warlaud before they arrived should by any means dis cover their pit t—it was horrible to think of. Yes, no wonder we say the poor girl could cat no breakfast. Was she not depending, as it were, on the cast of the dice, trusting her very honouron the snooessful issue of a well-planned scheme ? Yes, she would go through it, rely ing on Him who listens to the prayers of those who tiust in His goodness to sustain her.
Jerry brought a cup of tea to her roam, which she managed to drink; and shortly before !) o'olock he was followed by her father to tell her that " Fleetwing was at the door waiting for her mistress's guiding hand onoe more." It was now when Mr. Badgers for the first time b&w the mare that he a9ked how she oame to be at Breelong, when he knew Jack rode her away. This, of oourso, was said with a motive.
"Oh," said Warland, "I brought her home, as I felt sure Dora would want her to-day. I left Jack 'all well' at Ohowilla, where, I think, he intended stopping for a few days ; but,"oontinned he, "let's have no more fool ing. The sooner we make a start the sooner I shall be able to olaim Miss Dora as my wile." Dora here oame out, and was helped by her father to mount; and then the party, consist ing of Mr. Rodgers and Dora, Warland and his mate, with Jerry as whipper-in, made a
start for Rockvillo. Poor Dora looked round as she was passing out of the gate, and said to her father "Dad, shall I ever eee dear old Breelong again ?—ah, God only knows !"
Yes, Dora Rodgers was indeed a brave girl in more ways than one. She was olosely veiled, and as she spoke quietly to her father, who, she felt convinced, although he said nothing, was still fearing the worst,
Astheyneared the township Mr. Rodgers beckoned Warland to ride up beside hiin, and then told him his proposed course of aotion. " You - know, or you ought to know, Warland," said he, " that this marriage of my daughter is to say the least of it very distaste ful to me, but being in your power we know we .cannot help ourselves. Wo therefore want as little publioity as possible. I propose, therefore, that we go to the Criterion Hotel:
it is tbe quietest and also the first we oome to. There we will take a private room, send for the minister, and have tbe ceremony quietly per formed. While waiting his arrival we can have a drink; for if you will not want some Dutoh oourage to enable yon to say the words 'I will,'I know 1 shall to make me sign what I. believe will be tny daughter's death-warrant." Warland onoe again hesitated. He wished to go to his friend's house, but as they were so near tbe township now he felt it would be dangerous to contest the point, eo reluctantly agreed, and very Boon after the whole party rode into Rockviile and pulled up at the Criterion. The horses were put into the yard, and then all prooeeded to the private entrance of the hotel. Mr. Rodgers and his daughter being well known, it was no unexpeoted thing that the landlord and his wife should be in the passage to meet them.
A room was asked for and obtained, and all were soon seated, Dora being close to the door. Mr. Rodgers then obtained pen and paper, and writing a hurried note to the minister, which he submitted to Warland foe approval, gave to Jerry to deliver.
Needless to eay that he never left the hotel, and that letter was not delivered. "Now," said Mr. Rodgers touching the bell," while we are waiting we may as well refresh the inner man." The landlord appeared, and drinks were ordered; but as he seemed rather long in preparing them Warland seemed to giow im patient, and just as he was going to the door to urge the iandiord to hurry' up, that indivi dual arrived with drinks, followed by the bar man with n tray of bread and oheese, remark ing as be oame in, "That he was rather long, but thought that they would like a snaok after their ride." "All right," said Warland, "Rodgers pays." Then after putting some water in his liquor he stood up, and raising his glass said, "Now, gents, I give you a toast, ' Here's health and happiness to Miss Dora Rodgers, my bonny bride that iB to be."'
Hardly had ho finished the sentence before the door wae violently pushed open, and Jaok Fitzgerald bounded in, followed by the ser geant of police and three troopers. "Never, you devil," said Jaok, "as long as I live," and with one blow knooked tbo glass from his band. Warland made a sudden grab at hie revolver, but again was he too late, for be and hisoompanions were already covered with the troopers' weapons. "Jim Warland,"said the sergeant, "put up your hands, you are my prisoner. I arrest you for stealing about 200 head of cattle, the property of John Robert son, of Mardoo Station ; and you, also, Bob Smith and Charles Thomas, with aiding and abbetting this man." "And I also charge you, Jim Warland, and your two mates," said Mr. Hodgers, "with etealing from my Chowilla outstation my grey mare Fleetwing and my rifle, also with assaulting my foster sou, John Fitzgerald ; and last, but not least, with attempting to carry off by force my daughter Dora."
Tbo men were soon handcuffed, not even making the semblanoe of a resistance. Jerry, in teliing some of his friends later on said, "It was as good as a play to see the flabbergasted look on their faces as Master Jack rushed in ; hint as they in their cunning had thought was still tied to the bunk at Chowilla; but, sure, they were a mean lot of cowards—devil a one of thera attempted to raise a hand."
Warland was the first (after the excitement had subsided a little) to speak. "Sold, sold,'1 said he ; " liberty and perhaps life, and all foi a woman ! I waB always told that tbe sex would be my ruin, but I never believed it; but now I have proved it, by . As for you, Rodgers, you old thief, if ever I get out of' this scrape I will be even with you ; and you, Jack Fitzgerald, mark my word, will ere many months And it desirable to remove to a much cooler climate than that to be found in New South Wales. You always were my enemy; but, now my hands are likely to ) » tied for eome time, you will have to reckon with my friends ; so lookout."
"Thanks, Warland," said Jock, "for the hint; but really I don't think it was needed. But there is just one thing I should like to remind you of, and that is, you will not have the satisfaction of calling at Chowilla with your bride as you said you would, just to show herher old sweetheart starving to death. Yds, that is postponed at any rate for tbe present. Cunning as you were, you have met your
match this time."
With the first rush of the police into the room Don had slipped out, and waa now sit ting in tbe landlady's private parlour aa Jack oame id. Directly she saw him she rose, and, throwing herself into his arms, exolaimed, "Oh, Jack, Jack, my darling; think what yon have saved me from. Can my love erer repay you t"
Reader, we will, I think, discreetly close the door and leave this happy couple to enjoy their new-found happiness. We have no desire to trouble our readers with a report of either the Police or Supreme Court trials of the prisoners. Suffice to say that Warland was sentenced to twenty years' hard labour, and Mb two accomplices to ton years eaoh. What became of them when liberated depo nent sayeth not, but certain it is that Bree long saw them no more,
Tbe return ride of the party to Breelong w&b indeed a happy one. Jack told his foster father of liis happiness. "Ah," said tbe old gent, " I told you so. Did I not always any, my boy, that you were made for one another, and now that it is likely to come off, old Jack Rodgers is not going to be the man to separate you. Here, Dora, come here my love, and let your poor old lather kies you." Her reply waa only a laugh and a challenge. " Oome on, dad, I. will race you to tho slip-panel, and if you can oatcb me then you shall have your kiss, that is provided, of course, if Jack will let you." Needless to say, the old man did not accept the ohallenge, but all the same when they arrived at Breelong, and he lifted her off her horse, he reoeived the promised reward a hundredfold. Coppo, who had been left at borne in charge, waa in waiting at the gate as the party arrived, and it was worth almost all the excitement of the day to see his happy, pleased expression when he saw Jack was riding on a new saddle, which he well knew was for him.
Twelve months later, end when the Btirring events of onr story had almost passed into oblivion, there was a quiet wedding at Bree long—the minister being sent for on this occa sion in real earnest — and Dora Rodgers became the happy bride of him who bad the means of saving, aye, her very life. That it was a merry gathering assembled in tbat station borne it is needlesB to say. All, or nearly all, of Dora's old admirers had been invited, and one and all agreed that Jack Fitzgerald was a lucky man.
Ooppo and his mateB were not omitted, having been piovided with new clothes, ana to this day our old friend is one of the respected pensioners on Breelong.
The oake was made by Jerry himBelf, and when Jaok and Dora rode away en route to Sydney to spend their honeymoon, there was no one who said " God bless you, my bean tios," with more earnestness than did this true gem of the Emerald Isle.
That they were happy in their wedded life we know. Dora steadied down a good deal
after her adventure, and hardly ever wont out unless accompanied by Jack.
In after years it was bar father's greatest pleasure to take a fine strong boy and a flaxen haired girl on hiB knee and talk to tbom of days long long ago. And no sight pleased Dora better than to see the old man so occu pied ; for, as she was wont to say, Dear old Dad, be is happy now be has got Bome one to talk to who will listen to bun. John Rodgers has years since passed away, and John Fitz gerald, now an old man, ib with Dora hiB wife the happy owner of Breelong Station. Tbey have bad many ups and downs during the years that have passed, but the one great event of their lives will never be forgotten by