|Chapter Title||A BRILLIANT MATCH.|
|Newspaper Title||Queanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||For Cora's Sake|
FOR CORA'S SAKE. CH. ITERa T.-A 1i ILLIANT .i ATCII. ' I RIi1iMEMBEiR11 Regulas lRitdlthiy-or ule', as we used to call hintn--whe' lie waits a little bit of a felloi'.v hardly up to lmy knee, running about bare-footed and doing odd jobs round the foundry. Ahl ! and now he is elected governor of this State by the biggest ninjority -ever heard of, and ongaged-to bet married to the finest young lady in the country. with the full 'oiUent o,f all her proud relations. To be married to-day and to he ina;uguratcd to. nmorrow, and he only thirty years old this blessed seventh of June ! ' The speaker, a hale nlu of sixty years, with a bald hload, a sharp face, a ruddy complexion and a' tigure as twisted as a yew tree, and about as tough, wss Silas Marwig, one of the foremen of the foundry. :'* Well, I don't believe Regulas Rothsay would ever have risen to his present position if it had not beer. for his love of Corona Haught. No more do I believe that Old Rockharri would ever have allowed his beau. tiful granddaughter to be engaged to Rothsay if the young man had not been elected Sgovernor,' observed a stout florid-faced matron of fifty-five. ' How hard he worked for her ! And how long she waited for ihim ! Why, I remember them both so well. They were the very best of friends from their childhood-the wealthy little lady and the poor orphan boy.' 'That is very true, Mrs. Bounce,' said a young man who was a newcomer in the neigh bourhood, aid one of the bookkeepers of the great firm. ' But how did that orphan get his education 4 ' '1By hook and by crook, as the saying is, Mr. Wall. I think the little lady taught him to read and write, and she loaned hiin books. He left here whein he waA about thirteen years old. He went to lthe city, and got into the printing oflice of The Nation ad Watch. And he learned the trade. And, oh, you know a bright; earnest boy like that was bound to get on. He worked hard, and lihe studied hard. After a while he began to write short telling pai'agraphs for the Watch, and these at length were noticed and copied, and he became assistant editor of the paper. By the time he was twenty-five years old he had bought thi paper out.' 'And of course lie nmade it a great power in politics T see the rest. He was elected State representative ; then Senator.' .' Yes, indeed, you've hit it. And he is going to marry his first love to-day, and to take his seat as governor to-nlorrow,' contiinlued the matron, with a little chuckle. ' Regulas Rothsay will never take his seat as governor,' spoke a sclenln voice from the thicket on the right of the road along which the party wore walking to the scene of the grand wedding. All turned to see a strange form step out from the shelter of the trces---a ball, gaunt, swarthy wonlan, stern of feature and harsh of tone ; her head covered with wild, straggling, black hair ; her body clothed in at long, clinging garment of dark red serge. SOld Scythia,' muttered the imatron, shud dering;g and shrinking closer to the side of tile bookkeeper, for the strange creaturee wvas reported and believed by the ignorant and superstitious of the neighbourhood to be powerful and nmalignant. '? egulias llothsay' will novei- take his seat as governor .f this State !i As the beldame repeated and emphasized these wordls, she raised her hands with it pro plhr:tie gesture anid advaniced upon the groip of pedestrians. * No-w, then, you old crow I What are you up to with your croaking 1' demanded Mr. Maarwig. ' Look here, 'Mistress Beelzebub I Do you know thalt you are at very lucky wolman to live in a land wher'e not only a barefootcd ;boy may rise to the highest honours by talent and perseverance, hut where a malignant old witch may torture and 'terrify her neighbours without fear of the clucking stool or the stake 1' he demanded. The: beldame looked at him scornfully, and disdained to reply.. ' Wait ' said a stout,; dark, middle-aged, black-whiskered man, Timothy 'Rlyland by name. 'WVtit, I want, to question this mioer able 'lunatic. Silo maty. have: got wind of something. - Tell me, old mother, why will not the governer-elect take his seat, to inorrow 4' 'Because Fate forlids it,' solemlnly replied the crone. 'Will tlhe governor he-murdered '' 'No ; Regulas LRothiay has not an mnoieny in the world I' SWill he he killed onn the railroad or kid napped ' 'No.' ' \Will lie be taken suuddclly ill?' :?' o.' 'What then i'l the fiend's nameo. is to prevelit his taking his seat to-mori'ow ' impa tiently demanded the mlanager. * An evil so di!re, so awful, so ,nystelrinus, that'its licke niver' happenedl oin tarthl I' SAr'ecst lher, Mr. Rtyland I Shie ouight to Io lockedl up until she ceoid iu sent t, tli .asylum l' exclnilmed old Marwig. - '.I hIave ino pow'er to do "so, lily f ieind,'
'Why, where is shel?' inquired. Mtrs. Bounce, trembling. ' Who saw her go? ' ,No one taswered, but every one lokled around. Not na tracen of the witch coull he seen. Shie ld passed like a dark cloud from among them andt was gone. It was ia glorious lday in June. A long deep, green valley lay low between two lofty ridges of the Cunmberland mountains, running north eand south for tell miles, and near the boundary lines of three States. This lowly valley was watered by a merry sparkling little river calledhl thI \Whirligig, which furnished the power for the huge Iacthinlery of the gre'a firm of lRockhlarrtr tll Sons, proprietors of- the Plutus iron (ines and the NoFth End foundries, "which supplied the mighty engines on the great lines of railroad from the ERas to the WVest, and whose massive buildings, forges, furnices, storehouses, rand labour'ers' cottages occupied all the groundl between the i.foot of the mountain and thll lbanks of the river, on both sides of the Whirligig, at the upper or north andi of the valley, where a ubis,ttntial bridge connected tlhe two shores. This settlement, called froml its positibon,. North Endl, was quite a thriving little village. It't'as not only blessed with a tnission-churchl wlhic had ia ichoolro110 ill its baOsemnt, bull it was provided with a post office, a telograph,
a drig tore,, kept by a1 regular physici?n who dispensed his own physic (ladvice and 1merdicine one dllar), and a generil store, whore every thing to eat, 'rink, wear or use (except drugs) was kIpt f or sale. On this bright June morning, however, the great. works were ali stopped. There was a general holiday, anlt as this was at. the cost of thie firm, it gave general satisfaction. All the people of North hdl, except the aged, iniorLn and infantile, were trooping downi the valley, on the rough road between the foot of tile W~Vst Ridge and the side of the river, to a tfei to lie given them at. Rockhold on the occasion of the marriage of old Aaron Rock harrt's graindlaughiter, Corona I-Taught, to Regulas Rothsay, the go,vernor-elect of theo State. It was It lllarriaLe- of very rare interest to the workmen and their families. To the men, beccause the governor, lect had been one of their own class. The elders remembered him from the time wheni he was a friendless orphan child, glad to ran the longest errand or do the hardest day's work for a dime; but also a very independent little follow, who would take nothing in the shape of alns from anybody. To the women, because he was going to marry his first and only sweetheart, and on the very day before his itnauguration, so tlhat she might take part in the pageantry that was to be his first great success and triumph. Oi one side of the river, at the foot of the East ridge, stood 1tRockhold, .the country seat bf the ]ickhlirrts, in its own park, which ilay between the mlountain and the river. The house itself was ia large, heavy, oblong build ing of gray stone, two stories high, with cellar and garrett. From the front of the
house t)o the edge of the river extended ua gl'eeli lawn, shaded here and there by great folest trees. Underl' many of these trees, tables with refresh?lllnnts were sot, and seats were placed for the nectnolllllation and re -freshlnent of the outdoor guests. Tn sunny spots, also, somne white tents were raised and(1 lecoriLtedl with ftlags. As IL group of working 2mlen land Vwomllenl saLt on the wVest ?lank of the river, waiting iupa ciently for the return of the ferryboat, they saw, Fro minuti e to tminute, carria.ges d'rive up .thie lwn avenue, dischrl'ge the occupants ait the mldin entralco of the house, and then roll off to the stable yard in thell rear. These se!me112d to Il1comel in a slow procession. iOnly the tie'rest relations 2and most illi. mateI friends of the Fellnily are invited .tO t!he cerolllonly. - Thero Ihve only bIen live c~uri Lgls p? 1sll.S si.2)ll)e we havn beell sitting here, 2all .1 Iiin't bIllievo there was one conime hofor we 2itnllle, orI 0 tllt therl'll Ibe anotherI1 coime after that last, one, which was certainily the groom's,' saih Old Maowig. SOh I w? it, indeerd '1 lilt how do you Ik now i' ddlnalrtllld M?I '. BouIJ ce. ' I? is the nlow car'l'rilg fronl North End Hrotel. And hle andl his groomsnasllll had engaged it. That's how I know I Hlr'e comles the ferryboat I Now? for it I' Theo Itoat touchedll the banks, nd i(s Illriny a1s could find rool1m crowdedll into it, land wle'r) speodily landed onl thile other side, wherin they fouwl 'l fewt of tilh. lawn party there before 'There is M1r. (larelce I?ltockhar'2 t coaming toward Ius,' said lia'rs, BFounice, as the party walked up from the luanding, tand a medium
sized, plump, fair man of mid.lle nge, with a round fresh face, a smiling countenance, blue eyes and light hair, and in ' a wedding gar ment' of the dLy, came down to meet, them, and shook hands with all, warmly welcoming them in the name of his father. Then he led them up to the lawn and gave them chairs among the unoccupiedl seats at the various tables. 'If you please, M31 . Clarence, is the groom in good health and sporrits ' mueaningly en quired .Mrs. Bounce. £ Mr. RIothsiay is in exce'llens healdt and spirits, thank you,' replied the gentlemrtan, looking a little surprisied eºt thle question ; and then moving off quickly to receive some new ar?ri vals. The guests for the hL\aw party were con stantly arriving, and the ferryboat was kept plying from shore to shore. It is nlow time to introduce our readliers to the house of ]Rockhartrlt. Oldt Aaron Rlockluirrt, the -head of the house was at this tlime seventy-five years of ngo and a wonder of health and strength. lie was called the ' Iron King,' no less from his great hardihood of body and mind than from his vast wealth in mines and foundries. 1n size he was almost a giant, with a large head covered by closely-curling, steelgray hair. His character may be summed up in a very few words : Aaron Rockhlarrt wats the incarnation of monstrous selfishness. HIis manners to all, but especially to his dependLnts, were arrogant, egotistical, and overhtairing. -IHe was utterly destitute of sympaethy or compassion. There was no room for either in a soul so full of self. In his
opinionl thlore was no one o0n earth, neither Icing nor kIcisor, saint nor hero, so important to the universe aLs Aaron ltockhirrt, head of Rocklhrrt & Sons. Yet Aaron R.ockharrt had two redeoming points. H- was strictly truthful in word and honest in d(0edr. His wife was near his eavn ago, ai quiet., gentle, little oll lady, smanll and slim, with wlhito ltairt half iitlddl by a lacet cap. TIf she over hind any individuality, it had bee0n quite crushed out by the heeol of her husband's iron will. The oldest son and second partner in thin firm W'as lFbiin ltockliarrt, n tfine animal of lifty years nil, though scarcely looking forty. HIo had inherited his father's greOt strength of Iotly and of mind, with more than his ftthemr's I:usiness talent; but he had not inherlited tlh truth ttanid honesty of his fatlher. Yet there is no o0n wholly evil, and Fabian itockhiarel,'s one redenming quality was a certainli good nalture ) or benevlonce which is m0ore the result of temperamntll than of principle. This quality rendered his manner so kind and considerate to all hisi employses thatt ho was tile most popular Inemher of his fanily, Clarence, the secondl sotn, was muchol younugo tihan his eldlor brothelr, and so diametrically opposite to him and to their father, both in person0 and charactor, tliit he scarcely seemed to come of the samo race. IHe wits really thirby-five years old, but looked ten years loss, end was a fair blonde, inedium-sized and plump, with a round head coveored with light, curling yellow hair, it round, rosy face as bare as a baby's anrd almost
as innocent. -le hadl not the satanic intellect of his father or his brother,. but he had a tine moral and spiritual nature thtit neither could understand or appreciate. There were yet t.vo other exceptions to the family character of wurdliness and selfishness. These were Corona and Sylvanus Haught, a sister and brother, orphan" grandchildren of AILton locklharrt, left him by his deceased only daughter. Sylvanus, a fine, manly young fellow, resembled his Uncle Clarence in person and in charoeter, having the sanme truthfulness,. generosity and sincerity, but with a mocking spirit that turned evil into ridicule rather than into a subject for serious rebuke. He was three years younger than his sistor. Corona was a beautiful brunette, tall, like all the llockllarrts, with a superbly' developed form, ia tlin. head, adlorned with a full suit of fine curly black hair, delicate classic features, straight, low forehead, aquiline nose, a 'Cupid's bow' mouth, and tinely curved chin. This was her wedding-day and she wore her bridal dress of pure white satin, with a veil of thread lace and wreath of orange buds. Here was the very triumph of a love match, for she was about to wed one whom she had loved from earliest childhood, and for whom she had waited long years. -ere was Corona Haught's great victory, She had seen his opponents, her own family, bow down and worship her ownidol. - Yet, at the culmination of her triumphs, on this, her bridal day, why did she sit so pale and wan ? Fronm her deep sad roverie she was aroused by the entrance of her six gay bridesmaids. 'Corona love, good morning I Many happy returns, and so on,' said Flora Fields, the first
bridesmaid, coining up to the pale bride and kissing her. All the others followed the example, and then Miss Field said : ' ' C'al' dear, the scone is sot--otherwise the company are' itll assembled in the drawing room. Granilpapa and grandmamma are' in their seats of honour. The hbishop, in his catnonicals, is waiting. The groom and his groomsmnt are expectant. Are you ready 7 'I know getting muttriesd must be a serious, a solemn, even atn awful thing when it comes to the point. And' most brides do look pale. But you-you look ghastly I Como, take somel composing spirits of lavender--do I ' ' Yes ; you may give nme some. You will lind the vial on the dressing table.' The restorative was administered, and then the ' Invy of fair Inaids' left the chamhoer and wellt down stairs. " There, in the groat hall, they meo the bride groom and his six groomsmen ; for it was the custom of that time and place to have a gronnmsman for anoh bridesmaid. The bride groom and governor.oloet was not a handsome maI-thlat was conceded oven by his best friends-- but Ito was tall and muscular, with a look of strongth, manliness and nobility that was impressive. A son of the people truly, but with the brain of the ruler The whole rugged lorm and fauo assumed a" gentleness and courtesy that almost conferred grace and beauty upon him as, heo advanced to greet his bride., WVly did shi shrinkl from him 7 No one kntw,. Itb was only fofr a moinent and happily he, in the shnplioity of a single,
honest;. heart, had noab- seen the momnentary-. shudder.. H:te drew her hliid' within .:his airm, looked.I down on her with a beam of innffable tender ness, delight, and adoration, anti then waited, as he'had been instrtiatd to do,.until the groomsmen and bridesmaids had formed the procession that was to usher them intio the drawing room and before the officiating bishop. They entered the crowded apartment. The bishop in his white robes, stood on the rug, supported by the Rev. Mr. Wells, tem porary minister of the mission church at North End, and the ceremony began. All went on weill uiltil he came to that part of the ceremony where the ofliciating minister must read-though ia mere form-this solemn adjuration to the contracting lovers: 'I require and charge ye both, as ye shall answe, aLt the dreadful day of judgment, alien the secrets of all hbarts shall be dis closedt, that if either of you know just cause why ye may not be united in matrimony, ye do now declare it.' There was a pause, to give opportunity for reply, if any reply wvas to be made-a mere form, as the adjuration itself was. Yet the bride shuddered throughout her frame. Many noticed it, but not the bridegroom. The ceremony went on. 'Who giveth this woman to be married to this man ?' Old Aaron Rockharrt, who stood on the right of the bridal party, stepped forth, took his granddaughter's hand,. and placed it in that of the groom, saying with visible pride : ' I do.'. (To be continued in our next.).