Chapter 31164873

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Chapter NumberIV
Chapter TitleA RETROSPECT.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31164873
Full Date1891-12-16
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count2509
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleQueanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)
Trove TitleFor Cora's Sake
article text

CIAPTERvu TV.-A RETROSPECT. It was near, the close of a cold, bright day early in Jnhtiary, that Mrs. Rockharrt and Corona Hafight, escorted by Mr. Clarence, stepped fromi: the train at the depot of the capital city of their State-which must, for obvious reasoi, be nameless-and were driven to the Young Ladies' Institute,' where the girl was left., and as the adieus were being said it was explained to Core that discretion and social. conventioniality dictated that her correspondence with young R' thsay should cease. Clarence stated that he would write to the youth ,hnd explain that the rules of tih school, also;. forbade such a correspondence. I will alsq'tell him that he cati continue to sand thellVaetclh to you, with his own para grapils marIkep as before,' said Corona's uncle. 'There can be no law against that. I will correspond with Rule occasionally, and keep' you posted up as to how he is getting on. Theretcan be no school law against your uncle writing to you.' Cora Haught graduated when she was eighteen. In all these years she had not seen Rule Rothsay. She only heard from him through his, letters to her Uncle Clarence, reported second-hand to herself. She knew that in this five years Rule had risen step by step, in the office where lie had begun his apprenticeship; that he had risen to be fore man, then sub-editor, and now he was part proprietor and one of the most powerful political writers of the paper. The workingmen's party wished to put hiim up as a catididate for the State legislature. What a power he would have been for their cause ini that place ! But when the subject was proposed to hilm, lie admonished the spokesman that he was. as yet, little less than of legal age. for an oflice that required its holder to be at least 25 years old. After Cora's graduation the Rloclkhold family spent a week in their town house, preparatory to a summer tour through the - Xortlhrn States and Canadla. -One inirning, after the whole family were sitting arounill the h,-eakfast table, old Aaron ]tocklharrt suddenly spoke: SFabian, now that mny granddaughter has left school,'she will want a companion near her onn age, ~ Miss RoseFlowers wouldl suit very well. -.Have you any idea whtere she is ?' 'Mists R',sm Flowers, my dear sir, is now ;1rs. Slydell.Stillwater, the-' .lMarrledl I. nterrupted all voices except that of the Iron King, who bent his heavy. gray brows as he gazed upon his son. 'Stuff'and nonsense. how did you know anything ablout her mnarringe i' demanded old Aaron Rockharrt. In the simplest and most natural way, sir. T saw it it in the newspapers about three year ago. And, in point of fact, I forgot it, and should never have thought of it again hut for your enquiries about the young woman this inorning. Her hushanrd is Captain Slydell Stillwate,', captain and half.owner of thI East Indiaman, " Queen of Sheba," replied ?M r. .4 -'?abian. 'Poor child I To he parted from her hus band more than half the tine. Ts Captain Stillwater no*d at sea ' SI think he must he, sir, as there has hardly heen tinme for his return since he sailed soon after his marriainue.' 'Do -you kmm,,w whlier Mrs. Stillwater lives'1' TI do not, sir; but T might, find out by inquiring of sime mutual acquxaitt.anre.' ' Do so. - And, Mrs. Itockhnrrt,' the King added, turniing to his little old wife, ' you will write a note to Mrs. Stillwater, inviting her

toJain our party for a .smmer tour, and as our guest, remember. Fabian, you will see that the note reaches the lady in time.' ' I will do my best, sir,' said Mr. Fabian. ' Very well,' said the wife. The note of invitation to Mrs. Stillwater was written. Mr. Fabian used such dispatch in his search for the lady that his efforts were soon rewardted with success. A t.,etor* came from .Mrs. Stillwater, postmarked Baltimore, in which she cordially thanked Mrs. Rock hatrrt for her invitation, gracefully accepting it, antd ollffered to join the Rockharrt party at ny point, most convueient to thl. latter. Phis answer was communicarld to the family autocrat, who thereupon issued his commands. W' rite and say ti .Mrs. Stillwater, that we will stop at Baltino le. on our way, and call for her at her hotel, on Friday ; but say that if she should not. be ready, we will wait her convenience.' This letter was also written and sent off. Three days later the whole family left the capital for lBaltimore, which they reached at night. They went directly to the lhotel where Mrs. Stillwater was staying, and tengaged rooms for the whole party. They sctrcely took time enough to wash the travel dust from their faces and bhrush it from their hair, and change their travelling suits for fresher dresses, before they hurried down stairs to their private parlor, whence Mrs. Rockharrt sent her own and her grand. daughter's cards to Mrs. Stillwater's room. A few minutes after, the young siren appeared. 'Heavens, how beautiful she is! More beautiful than before. "Look, Qora. Was

thern over such n perfect creature Y' said Mr. Clarence.. ulnder his breath. Corn looked at her foI'Irmer overnesss with R it? tit of involuntarIy wonder and ai lnirnltionl. RoIs Stillwater' was more beautiful than ever'. Her exquisite oval face was a little more i'ounded. Herl fair complexion had a richer bloom on the checks and lips. He hair was darkelr in the slhadrl and brightor in the light; her blue eyes were softer land sweeter ; hier ga'nceful forml fuller. She wvas ldressed in soni Iloatinig material that envelopedl hlerl ligure like a cloud. She camle, loolllng, heaming, smiling, into the rorion, wlhero all arose to meet lier. She wont, lirat to Mr. liockai'rt, and buen, slud walnlost knelt, hbefore him, and raised his hand to hint' lips as if hie haid been her sovereign; andl then, before hl could respond1-for shl saw that he was slightly mnbill'rilssed ias well ias greatly pleased with this adoration-slte t.nrtner anid sank into the armns of old Mrs. Rlocklitarrt, and cooed forth : i -ow sweet of you to lllelllmeier your pool lonely chilil Inl call liher to your tsi'e. !' I Why dhidn't you tell lint you were going to be married, my deert?' wits the practical question of the old lady. It wits II?ynIess o In my ipart. I. dlltred not hli'tlro lily poor)' atlris onl your li tttntioni until you shoniuld notice mo int som wiy,' slhe meekly i'nplied, and thLol shie gi'acefully slipped out of Mrii. Iloclklniart's tilrttacct and wont and fnhled Corai to hei' hosonl , murmuring : Ssl y owni darling, how hippy CI laml to mIleet you again I How lovely you ar, mny sweet angel I' Oht, why did you not write to life that you were goitng to be inartied I I should hlave so

liked to have boont your bridt'smaid !' com plained C ra. 'Swee,,t s' sweet; if I had drtamed such honour tans ltpppiness werte possible for me, I should haveo wtiLtt-n and claimed theist with pride anrtd delight. But I diared not, my darling ! T dared not.' T was buti a poor governets, wit.hout atly claims t; your tremetm trtnct, and should not now bi will you I;ad tot the dear lady, you- grntlinmant'on, kindly ,.ecaled her poor dependant to mitnd and brought me int,, her circle.' 'O)it, lose, do not speak so. T should hate , tI?.r even thet poust lt?uli of ourt house l :k so. NYou wentl Invl grt':lllllll's -,p'entld ;ant, or anybotdy's dependzant. You wa,.,,. nu, of thie noble, arlny s'I,)1 I honour mtr :' thl all the mtotnarclhs of t. eartlh,' said C.t',ta eatrnostly. "'Vitlsh mitembal)itrnces and delightful chat lt evening was wearing iway, tnilt it was time for the party to retire to rest. Two ditys after this the Rocklharts, with Cor IIaught and Mrs. Stillwater, left Balti more fori the North, en rout.e to Canada and Now Brunswick. The party went fisat directly to Boston, where they stayed for a few days, to atttund the cotmmencernent of tie collegiate school at which Master Sylvanus Hfaught was preparing himself to Ihcome a cnndidate for admission to the military academy ast West Poirt; but where, its yet, he had not distinguished himself by application to hiis studies. On promising to do better, Sylvan was permitteod to accompany his friends on their suIntl lr° LotrI'. The party spent the season in travelling, and it was not until the 15th September that

they set out onl their return South. They ranched 13altimmoe late in Septomber,; yet found the weather in that latitude oppressively waittml, and rtI'Joom(,l Iat? I Iotel. rIme it Ihad been tacitly undelrstood fromn thn, tirst that Trcs. Stillwater was to remain, while the reost of the party should proceed on their journey West. :uut the fiunily despot had becnnme so habituated Cl to e incenseo hourly cllered up to his egotism hby Circe, that ho felt her society to bI essential to his contentment. So he issuod his conmmands to his wife to invite Mrs. Stillwater to accompany the family party to llocklhohl for it long visit. "''ho old lady very willingly obeyed those orders, for she also rIosired the visit from the fitscinatotr, whsen presencc kept the tyrant in a good humour mlr on hisc good hIhaviour. So she pressed RiC(o Stillwater to accomcpaoly them to tleir mc mntain homne. Rose Stillwater raised her heautiful soft blue e yes, |hrinnincg with tc?'s tlhat cver" ccntio at will, gntzed sorrowfully, pcit~aenctly, depre. catingly, into the lady's face and coned: 'I foeel tas if it were a sin to refuse you 1 You who have hbeein . Ittmotlher to Ime. An?l, ih, how dearly I should lo\'ve to fstcy with you and w 'it on you for over ancd over. T could not conceive a happier life. Ut cLty con strains mo ton dcly myself this delight, mcl to wrcnch myself wacy from a ll I love.' llnty Vllhat duty, my dcear girl I i do not uniors'tand that. . You have no children to take care cf, no Ihoutset to look. after, no husband to please, for Captain Stillwater is ctt sea. '.'The Queccn of Schobu was stpokecn andt passed by the Liverpool and Now York ocean

steamer Arctic, on Sitturday, within three days' sail of land. - And he may arrive here alt ,ny hour. IT must wait to receive him.' ' Indeed I I did not know that. My dear, I congratulate you on your coming happiness. I can urge you no more, of course. It is a sacred duty as well as a sweet delight for you to remain here and meet your husband. So, of course, we must resign ourselves to our loss; but, I hope my dear, that you and your husband will come together at an early datte anal make us a long visit.' 'T hope so, dearest lady !' When, a little later in the evening, the iron king, heard the result of this interview, he was-- ui his wife fear d=-drendfully di.:-p pointed, and consequently in one of his morose tind diabolical tempers, and sullenly set his depotic will :,gainst the reasonable wishes of everybody else. He announced that they should all set forward the next day. It was high time that they should be at homb looking after the house and business. So it was settledl. As the party needed rest, they retired very early. That night Cora HFaught had a very strange adventure, to relate .which intelligibly I must describe the situation of their rooms. The suite occupied by the Rockharrt party was on the third floor of the house and consisted of five rooms in a row, on the left hand side of the corridor, from the head of the stairs. The. front room, overlooking an avenue, was tenanted by Mr. and Mrs. Rockh.ari't the next one was occupied by Corn HI-aught, the third room was the.:private. parlor of the suite, the fourth room was that of Mrs. Stillwater, and the fifth and largest,

was at double bedded room, tenanted jointly by ~Ir. Fabian and Mir. Clarence. All-these rooms had doors communicating with each other, and also with a corridor, all..or any of which could be loft open or 'made fast at discretion. Cora's room, between her grandparents' bedroom and their private parlour, was the smiallest, the closest,- and the warmest of the suite, That September "night was sultry and stifling. Scarcoly It breath of air came from without. The girl could not sleep for the heat, Anathematizing her room as a "black hole" of Calcutta, she lay tossing from side to side, end listening for the hourly strokes of a neighibouring clock, and praying for the night to ii over. Slb heard that clock strike cloven, twelve, one. Then Cor' thought she would go into the priva'.n parlour next her own room to get ia broath of fresh air. She felt sure she would he ?xfeo from intrusion, as shu'dkieiv that the doolr leading fromll the parlour into the corridor wais secured frolil within by a strong bolt, and thin other two doors led, the one into her own little room, and the other, on the opposiet side, into M"rs. 0Atillwatnr'i. So that she would hle a secluded as illn lher own chamber. She slippeid on a thin, dark blue silk dr1os5 inig gown, thrust her feet into slippers, opened t lh door, and passed into the parlour. 'rlTh room was very dark, still' and cool. The two side windows overlooking the alley were open, and a rising breeze from the hIirhbour blow in. Cora went and sat down in an oauiy chair in the angle of the corner between alln open id window -and her own room door.

The-roomnwas pitch clark. The darkness, the coolness, 'and t.hi. stillness were -all- so, soothing and refleshing to the girl's heated and excited nerves that, she sank back in her high cushiofned ihair and dozed off' into sleep -into such a doep and dreamless sleep that she knew nothing until she was awakened, or rather only half awakened, by the sound of a key turning in a lock and a door creaking upon its hinges. The sound seemed to come from the direction of Mrs. Stillwater's room ; but Coin was still half asleep, and - almost unconscious . of her whereabouts. As ii, a dre.n, she heard I some one tiptoe slowly across and jar a chair in the deep de rklmess. Shl heard the hnlt of the door leading into the corridor glatos is it was slipped back. ThiPi awakened her thoroughly. She was about to, call iut i......... 'WIn, is there 7' Then a voice that she recognized even in its low whispering tories spoke and arrested the words on her lips. It said: (To becontinued in our next.)