|Newspaper Title||Queanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||For Cora's Sake|
1 FOR ' CORA'S SAKE_ 1 1 i 'T?rR III.-(Coontinued). Cora was delighted, and frankly expressed her oy : 'Oh, Regulas, I am so glad ! Now every afternoon when I've done my lessons-I am in Comnly's ftirst speller, ,Feter Parley's first book of history, and first book of geography, and I -am as far:as short ;division in arith mIntic, and round hand in the copy book-so as soon as'I get through with my lessons, and you get through with your work, you cane to this back porch, where I play, and I will bring my old, primer and white slate and I will teach you. If you jet here.beifore I do you wait for me. I will never be long away. If I get here before you, I will wait for you,' she concluded. The Iron King, Mr. Fabian, or M lr. Clarence, passing out of the 'back door of an afternoon would see the little lady seated in one of the large Quaker chairs, her feet dang ling over its edge, busy with her doll's dresses and-furtively watching her pupil, who, seated before her on one of the long piazza benches, would be poring over his primer or his slate. As time went on everyone began to wonder at the earnestness and constancy of this childish friendship. So the lessons went on through all the spring and summer and early autumn of that year. Before the leaves had fallen, Regulas had learned all she could teach him. Then their parting came about naturally, inevitably. When the weather grew cold, the lessons could no longer be given on the exposed piazza, and the little teacher could not be permitted to bring her rough and ragged pupil into the house. Cora begged of her kind Uncle Clarence some of his old school books, which ahe knew to be among the rubhish of the garret, which was her own rainy-day play roomn in summer and offered the books to the boy as a loan from herself, because she dared not.offer the lad aigift. Later, she loaned him a 'Boy's Life of Benjaminl Franklin.' It was that book, perhaps, that decided the boy's destiny. He read it with avidity, with enthusiasm. The impression made upon his mind was so deep and intense that his heart became fired with a fine ambition. He longed to tread in the steps of -. Benjamin Franklin-to become, a -printer, to rise to position and power, to do great and good things for his country and for humanity. -: Re brooded over all this. To begin, he resolved to become a printer. So, when the spring opened, he came to Rockhold and bade good.by to his little friend and went, at the age of fourteen, to the city to seek his fortune, walking all the way, and taking with him testimonials as to his charac ter for truth, honesty, and industry. There were at that time three, priuting offices in tht.eity. Rule applie'd to: the first and to the second without success, but when he applied to, the third-the office of the Wa-lci--and showed hIis credentials, the pro prietor took. him on. He and his little friend corresponded regulary from month to month. No ong objected to this-letter writing, any more than to the lesson giving. .It was but charity of the little lady given for the encour agement of the poor, struggling orphan boy. It was.nearly four years after the departuro of Rule from the wo,'ks at North End to seek his fortune in a printing office of the sneigh. boring city.; He had never yet i-reurned to see his friends, though his correspondence with Cora had ,been kept up. In the four. years that Rose Flowers had lived at Rockhold she had won the hearts of all the household, from the master down to the meanest drudge. She was, indeed, the frag rance of the house. All admired her much - and loved her more, and yet- - And yet in every mind there was a latent distrust of her, which seemed unjust, and for which all-who felt it reproached themselves in every mind but one. The fron King felt no distrust of the sub missivebeautiful creature, whom he continually hehl up to:other members of his family as the very model of perfect womanhood. ' He did-not see, he said, why she should now when it was finally decided than Corn should be sent to the young ladies' institute, at the city, why -Rose should leave the house. . She -:might remain; as companion for l Mrs. Rockharrt. But when this was proposed to Miss Flowers, the young governess explained, with much regret, that, not anticipating this Sgenerous offer, she had already.. secured anotlher situation. With tears iin her beautiful eyes, Rose Flowers took the old man's hand and pressed Sit to her' heart and then to her lips as she bent her head asnd cooed : 'I will remember all you have told nme--all the wise and good counsel you have ever . given mrne,'all the precious acts of kindness you have ever shown nme. And w'henT conaso to remeuber theln, si', nmay heaven forgot in? ' :' There,'there, mny chlild. You arm mu I,.lby '--?a inere' bi?hy I' said the Ironu King, as hlo patted her on the head and left her. 'Thi interview:n?ccurred a few days bIefore
Christmns. It was now a beautiful Christmas morning, nearly four years after the departure of hlul Rnthsay. . It was a fine clear cold dlay: Bright with colour was the village of North t. End, where all the houses were decorated with ;holly and the people, in their Sunday clothes; ,were. out- in the 'streets on their way to the churchl which had been beautifully decoratedl for the occasion. TiTe Rnockharrt family-with the exception of old Aaron lRockharrt, vho did not choose to turn out that lday, and Miss Rose Flowers, who stayed homn to keep him company andl to *vwit on: him-caeno early in their capacious and comfortable and commodious family carriage. They had a large, square, hand somely upholatered pew in the right-hand upper corner of the church. When theny were all quietly settled in their seatc and the voluntary was going on, the elders of the party bowel their heads to offer up thei preliminlnary prayers. Dut Corn, girl like, loolkcdl nIanmt her, letting her glances wander over the well-tilled pews, and then up toward the galleries. A moment later she suddenly gave a little start aild arn half .suppreused exclamation of delight. Mrs. RIockharrt, who had finished her prayer, looked around in surprise at the girl, who had committed this unusual indecorum.
' Oh, grandmna, it is Rule I lule, up there in the boys' gallery-look !?' Cora whispered, in eager delight. The old lady raised her eyes and recognised Regulas Rothsay-but so well grown, so well dressed, and well looking as to be hardly recognizable, except from his strong, charac teristic head and face. He wore .. neatly fitting suit of dark-blue cloth ; neat woollen gloves covered his large hands ; his hair was tri-immed and as nicely dressed as such rough tawny locks could be. At length the beautiful service was finished, and the congregation tiled out- oE the church into the yard, where all immediately began shaking hands with each other. Presently Cora saw the youth come out of the church, look earnestly about him until lie descried her party, and then walk directly toward her. ' Oh, Rule, I am so glad to see you ! When did you get hero? 1VWhy didn't you come straight to Rockhold? Why didn'tyou write and tell me you were coming ?' Core eagerly demanded, as she met him, and hurrying question upon question before giving him time to answer the first cne. The youth raised his cap and bowed to the elder memblers of the party before answering the girl Then he said : ' I did not know that I could come until an hour before I started. I camne by the mid night express, and reached here just in time for church. 1 have not seen, or I should say, I have not spoken to anyone here yet except yourself. ' Last evening, being .Friday evening, we were at work very late on our Saturday's sup plement, and a Christmas story in it. Very
often we havo to work on Christntmas nilght if thel next day is at week r(ly ; anrid every Sun lay nighlt--that is, from twelve inidni"nt, when the ablnatlh endts-we have to work to get out Mont?y morning's pallpe'.' SOh, yes; of course,' said Fabian. 'Woll, I never have had a wholo holiday sinceO 1 have hern in the Iatich oflic ; but last night about half'past tlln, after the paper had gone to press, the foreman came to mIIe, pllt miy wages iup to the lfirst of January, and told II0 that I need not roturn to the ollice at midnight after Sullry, liut might have lIeav of abselnce until Monday morning, so is to have tUni to go anld spend Christlas w'ith lily friends(l if I wished to do so.' .J ust than Clarence ltockllharrt joined theml andii sahitl nnxiously : i'?lther, dlealm, I think you had hotter got into the carritgl. It, is very bleak out Ilere and you might, take cold.' M?rs. Rlocliarltlt att once to the arni of h?er youngest and hfBst-heloved son and let hint ltad helr away to tile spot whrel the hcomifo't abhl faltlily coach awaIited thdi'ni. Mr. Fabian started to follow witll Cor,. i Come with us to thie carriage door, rItul,' said tihe girl, looking back and stretching her hand out towards the youth. i Yes I .CoIme I' added plpasant lM. Fabian. Iteguhls toucled his hat and followed. F?ahlan put his niece in thu sent beside Ilher gratllllllther, tand thleil turnedi to tile youth and inquired : r What are you going to do with yourself to-day 7' 'I shall go down to lily old hont0, si'r, Mother Soythia's hub.'
'Oh I Ah Yes; I rememlier, ;You are going to stop there1 ' " -'Yes, sir ;but T shall try; to : see all old friends to-diay or to-morrow, and I should like to go to Rockhold to thank all the friends therel who lhave been kind to me, and to tell Mirs. Rockharrt and Miss Cora, who were kindest of all, how I got on in the city.' 'Certainly ! Certainly, Rule ! Comlo when over you like ! Anld see here ! It is a long, rough road from here to old Scythia's Roost, which is right on ouri way to Rockheld. Sorry we cannct offer you a sent in the carriage, but you see there are but four seats and there are' already fiva people to fill them.' ' Oh, si'r, I should not expect such a thing,' said the youth. ' But I was about to say if you will mount at seat beside the coachlnan, you are heartily welcome to wlhat used to be my own ' most favourite' perch in my younger days. And we can set you down at the foot of the path lenading up to old Scythia's hut,' concluded Mr. Fabian. ' Oh, do, Rule. Please do !'.pleaded Cora.. Regulas, with his sturdy, independence of spirit, would most likely have declined this favour had not the girl's beseeching face and voice persuaded him to accept it. ' I thank you very much, sir,' he said, and promptly climbed to the seat. Three miles down the road the carriage was pulled up at the foot of the highest point of the mountain range, and Rule camne down from his perch beside the coachman, stepped up to the carriage window, took off his hat, thanked the occupants for his ride, and then drew i. neat, white inch-square parcel from his vest pocket, and holding it modestly, said :
I hope you will accept this, Miss Corn.' The girl toonk it with a smile,. but before shel could open her lips to express her thanks, the youth hltd bowcnl, turned from the carriagr, andi was speeding on his way up the rough. mountain path, springing from crag to cr'ag up to to the ledge on which stood old Scythia's hut. Cora lpo ned the parcel lnd found an inch squar'e little ctsket of red 'morocco. Sthe ,)penedl1 this with It spring, anld( found Ia small gold ?hart reposing in a bed of white satin. I How pretty it is I' she said softly to herself as she took the trinket from its case. ' Look grandmna, what Itle has brought me for at Christmas gift I A little gold heart I A pure gold heart I His is a pure gold heart, is it not ?' she added, earnestly, as she placed the tlinket in t~he llady's hand. Mrs. lloclkhtlart looked at it with interest, and then passed it on to her eldest son. The ride wias continued, and presently the carriage was driven oil' the boat nd tiullp th?? avenue leading to the house. As the vehicle dlrew tp before the froht doorls, a pretty picture might have been soeen tlhrough the dlrawinhg-r'ooll windows. A. lbrighlt fireshilo, an olt.I itait eclhinintg in hiis luxuriouis atn?-chair ; It beautiful girl seatedi on a hassock at his fooet, restlilng to him, notl at intervals lifting. her lovely blue eyes in childish adoration to Ilis face. They mighti havo been' grandfathtor and grand. ldaughterl, but they were, in fact, old Aaron Rlockhltarrt anld .Miss Ilosti Flowers-Me-rlin and Vivien agnin, except tlhat tlhe Iron King was- rather ta rugged and unilanageable Morlin.
Meanwhile, lRegulas Rothsay had climbed the rugged mountain path that led to Scythia's hut. On the back of the broad shelf of rock' on which the hut stood was a hollow in the side of the precipice. Scythia had cleared out this hollow of all its natural litter. Before this apartment she had built another room, with no better material than fragments of rock found on the spot, and filled in with earth, moss and twigs. She had roofed this over with branches of evergreens piled thick and high, to keep ofl rain and sun. A heavy bulthlo robe, fastened with large wooden pins at its top to the roof of the hut, served for a door. Thera was no window. In the inner or cavernous apartment she had built a rude fire.place and chimney going up through a hole in the rock. A pallet of rough furs and coarse blankets lay in one corner of this room and a few rude cooking utensils occupied another. In the outer room there was a rough oak table and two chairs. Up before the edge of this natural shelf on which the hut stood appeared the tops of a thicket of pine trees that grew on the mountain side fifty feet below. Up behind this shelf arose other pines, height above height, until the highest tops seemed to pierce the clouds. When rule reached this shelf, he found the tops of the pine trees, the ground, and the hut all covered with snow. ' Cood morning, mother ! A merry Christ mas to you !' said Rule, gaily. > ' I hope you have made yourself as comfort as possible in this place,' said the youth L anxiously. ' Yes, Rule I always as happy and as much at case as my past will permit.'
' Oh, what is-what was this terrible pas't ' inquired the youth-not for theo first time. 'It was, it is, and it will over be I This past will be present and future so long aslI live onl this earth. And some day, when time alnd strife and woo have made you strong and hard and stern, I will lift the veil and show you its horrihle face I But not now, my boy I not now ! Come in.' As the weird woman said this she led the way into the hut., where the rude table stood covered with a coarse white cloth and arlorned.with two white plates and two pairs of steel knives and forks. Here the Christmas dinner was eaten, and afterwards the two began a close conversation, '"other,' said the youth, ' I shall have to leave here tomorrow night. I should go away so much more contented if I could see you living down in the village among people. Hero you are dwelling alone, far from human help if yoi should require it. The winter coming on, too.' tRule, T hate the village. .TI hate the haunts of humaln Ubings I I love the wilder ness and the wild creatures that are around tile. IBunt, mother, if you should be takenot ill up her alono?' ' Tahould get well or die; and it would not in thie l,:*st matter which.' ' l:u you might linger, you might suffer.' ' I am used to sullbring, and however long I might linger, the end would come at last Recovery or death, it would not matter which.' Oh, Mother Scythia I' said the youth, in a voice full of distress.
? Rule, I am as.happy here as my past will pnrmit me to be. I abhor the haunts of the human. I love the solitude of the wilderness. The time may come when you, too, lad, shall hate the haunts of the human, and long for the lair of the lion. You will rise, Rule. As sure .as flame leaps to the air you will rise. The fire within you will kindle into flame. ,You will rise. But-beware the love of woman and the pride of place. See. Listen.' The face of the "weird woman changed became ashen gray, her form became rigid, her eyes were fixed, her gaze was afar off in distant space. ' What is it, mother ?' anxiously demanded the youth. " I see your future and the emblem of your future-a splendid meteor, soaring up from the earth to the sky, filling space with Jight and glory. Dazzling a million of eyes, then dropping down, down, down into darkness and nothingness-That is you I' ' Mother Scythia !' exclamed the youth in troubled tones. (To be continued in our next.)