|Chapter Title||THE WIDOWED BRIDE.|
|Newspaper Title||Queanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||For Cora's Sake|
lihe tovitelIr. _ .FOR CORA'S SAKE.. CurAPTER VI.-TIIE XVIDOWEI'D BRIDE. The amazement and confusion that follow ed the discovery of the mysterious disappear ance of Governor-elect Regulas Rothsay, on the' morning of the day of his intended inauguration, has been already described in an earlier chapter of this story. The most searching inquiries were made in all directions without any satisfactory result. Then advertisements were put in all' the principal newspapers in all the chief towns and cities throughout the country, offering large,-rowards.,?for any information that should leadRto the discovery of the missing man or'of.his fate. ,These in time drew forth letters from all points of the compass from people anxious to take a chance in this lottery of a reward, and who fabricated, reports of the lost goy ernor having been seen in -this, that, or the other place, or of his body having been found here, there or elsewhere. Prompt investigation proved the falsehood of these fraudulent letters in every instance. No one really knew the fate of the missing man. No one but Cora Rothsay had even, the clue to the cause of his disappearance; and she-from her, sensitive pride no less than froni her sacred promise not to reveal the subject of her conversation to her hus +band on that fatal evening of his flight or of his death-kept her lips sealed on that subject. Days, weeks, and months passed away without bringing any authentic news of the lost ruler. At length hope was given up. The ad vertisemnents were withdrawn from the papers. ;Still occasionally, at long intervals of time, vague rumours reached his friends-a sailor had seen him in the streets of Rio de JTaneiro; a fur trader had found him in Washington territory; a miner had met him in California-but nothing came of all these reports. ".: One morning, late in December, there came some news, not of the actual fate of the'governor, but of the long-lost man who had'seen the last of him alive. 'Despite the bitter pleading of the poor, berieaved bride,, who dreaded the crowded city and desired to remain in seclusion in the :,country, old Aaron had removed his whiole' family" to their torvn house for the winter. They hnaddbeensettled only, a few days,. ard: were gattidi'td round the bieakfast table when a card was brought in to Mr. Rock halrt. . : ',Captain Ross WIieho, in the fiend's name, is Captain .Ross I . And wht t doe-s he wai antat. this early hour.. of the' ilornilig ?' demtanded thei' Iori Kilngi'i afteri'hi hid read the lnalne on the., card. Then, as hlie scrutinized it, he saw faintly. pencilled lines below the iamne and read : The late visitor who called on Governor elect Rothsay on the evening of his dis appearance.' --A Show-the man in the library, Jason,' exclaimed old Aaron Rockharrb, rising, leaving his;untasted breakfast, and striding out of the" roomi. ". In the library lie found a young skipper, tall! robust, black bearded, and sunburnt. ' Captain Ross ' said the old man, inter .rogatively ... ;, o I The same, at .your service, sir--Mr. Rockhirrt, I presume ?' said the visitor with SThat's my .name. - Sit down,' said . the TIron King, pointing to one chair. for his Svisitori, 'aid takig:another for himself. 'So you waei: tie ? last sitor to 'Mr: Rothsiy, hl ?.o , Yes, sir. VWell, can, you give any information regarding the disappearance of my grandson in law ' .. ........... . ........ :.. ............ t S..cNo,.sir";4,but learning, that I had been advertised.for, T have come forward.' ' At rather, a late date, upon my soul and honour ! . Where have you 'been all. this r " iti , i , , , At: sea W lien I called on iMr. Riothsay it was to congratultote him on his position an~d tlj bid hlim good.by.,. I was on. the eve bf saniling for tidia; and, in faet, left the city by tue night's express and sailed the next morning. I.think we must have been out of sight of land :hfodre the news of the governor's disappearance was spreald. 'What: explanation can you give off his sudden disappearance?' ' None whatever, sir.' 'Then, in the demoni's name, why have you come forwarld at all at this time ?' ' Because I was advertised for.' ' That iis months ago.' . But mnonths ago I was at sea and knlelw nothing of the matter. :. Iwvo hbut just returned from a long sea voyage, and heaIring amnong other matters that.O Govel:nor Rothsay Sliiad been missing sinco the lily of his iatint-uguation, tlhatovernorKennledly reigned. S his stead, .nm I that the latest visitoir 'f ( the mnissih g ,an, had long been waanting, Ii have coet,.' .2 .','D~, ylou qtlpprecniateethio gravity of yoetI
own posuiton, st; unoer ino crcumnstances I' ster dnly ? driilaiil thel Iron ;King. " *'+]21- :urinfitle nrsaid you,' said the skipper in evd.lent pnrplexity. -'You don't 7 That is strange. You are the last man-the last nerson wll-- ho saw Goovernoriolect BlthsayjUliv, 'at oleven , -?'bhlocl -on. the night of hisl'dishppearance. .Afte, that hour hei was iissing and you had run away.; Tilh young sailor smiled. i." Steamed away, ntd tlsailed aiwy, you shoulcd esy, sir. I see tie suspicion to which your , words point, and lwill answer them at once: On thle night ini 'question t was aT guest' at Crockett House.'. I was absent from Atlat house only half :' n hour-from a quarter to eleven to a quarter past cloven-., -duiring which time I walked to this "house, -sanw.the Governor-eleot, and walked back to the hotel, only to pay my bill, tako , hack .4and drive to the Railway station. Do you think that in half an hour I could Ihavo done all that and murdered the governor and made away with his body bosides, Mr. Rookharrt 1' 'You will have to provn the truth of your words, air,' replied the Iron .King.", SThat is na'ily dane by the people ait the .:hotel. I did not tell. them where I was, going. I never even thought of tolling I
them. l ut they know I was only gone half an hour ; for heforn going out, o,,rjusLt n I was g,ilng out, I order'di the carriage to he ready to take me to the depot at a quarter past eleven.' 'They may have forgotten all about you.' 'Not at all. I am an old customer, though a young man. They know me very well.' 'Then it is very strange that when e-Iery anxious inquiry was made for this latest visitor of the governor-elect, these hotel pe.ople did not come- forward and name you.' ' But I repeat, sir, that they did not know I was the latest visitor. I did not think of telliii~g' kiyone that I was going to see Rothsay before I went, or of telling them that I had seen him after I went. They had no more reason to identify me with that late caller than any other guest' at the hotel, or, in fact, any other man in the world. Come, Mr. Rockharrt, you have complimented me with one of the blackest suspicions that could wrong an honest man, but I will not quarrel with you. I know very well that the last' person seen with a missing man is often suspected of his taking ofl. As for me, I invite the most searching investiga tion.' ' Why did you come here after so long an internal 1' demanded the Iron King, in no way mollified by the: moderation of his visitor. 'As I explained to you, I come now because I have just heard that I had been advertised for; and after this long interval because I have been for months at sea. I had, however, another motive for coming to tell you of. the strange manier.of Regulas
.utothsy dturing Illy inferlliow with Ihim-- malnnillrc thltb dole 101t eemui to. hltvo hlrn ob~.irved by any olln (11)iH., fir 111 iPpoak 3and write of hit I nlth and extratrdinary goo., spirits on the evening of his iarrival in thle city nly. tl few hours before I si 8 him, whoI h?si e mnnci to be very far front being in good heattlh aind good spirits, IT fact, it ionre utterly broken matn I never saw in Iny life.' 'Ah I a. l I what is this you toll mOe Give loe particulars,' 53aidl the Tron King. ' Indclnl, I do mnot think I crun give you prirtiulutrs. 'u'n ol'uYut ho seemed to pro duco %vas that of it generatl prostlration of body and mind. On.ounming into tile ro0,1 where .watited for him, lhe semedi pale 1tUn[ haggalrd; he totteredl rathler than walked ; ihe droppedl into his ch1lir riather thliln siat down in it; his lhands full uilpoiln thllt ar3tllS ral'ther than grlnpehl . tho ll ; ? lo wia3 ginloi0oy, Ilbse14lt-illindliedI, and lwhf1n hi spoke al t all, smelldll!( t3o spel)k withl groat lflort.' L A I hl I' exclailne-d tll Iron King. T tlnhought tho fatigue landl OXoitolnleiit of tile day had boon tOl inuellh for him, and I 00soon de him good.night. He wished Ino a piroslerous voylage, but did not ilnvite ile to visit htim on my return-a kindness that hoe had nvr before omlittetd. Thiln I thought his manner anild appearance only tile effect; of excosivo fatigue and excite mInult. Now, sion in the lighlt of fulturo evenllts, I attatch It much molre serious mean. ilnI to them,.' \Vlht I whllat I whatl i ' deinilliided the Troll King, . I thlilhk that somll fatial i6iw lind ro)uhed him ; or that solme heavy sorrow hald felleo
uIpon him.; or, worse thane all. sudrlden iju?:nity-had ovrtake -hiun. Thit,- unhr tile lash of ,no ,r a1,th;i., h t fid the hnuIIe andl tlhe city, slnd -miadtl away with him self.' 'Now, Heaven' forbid !' exclaimed old Aaron Rockharrt, dropping into his chair. 'One favour I aslk of you, Mr. Rockharrt, and that is, that the most searching investi gation be made of my movements on that fatal evening of the governor's disappear ance.' ' It shall be done.' I- shall remain at the. David. Crockett until all the friends of the late governor are smitistied so far as I am concerned,' concluded the visitor as 'he arose, took up' his hat, bowed, and left the room. Old Aaron Rocklharrt returmied to the breakfast table, and resumed tho meal in silence. He dlid not think proper to speak of his visitor, inor did any member of the family venture to question him'. SAndl this was well, se far as Co.,ra was concer ned. She now never mentioned her husband's name; yetl he was never for a moment absent from her mind. The old grandmnother, who dared not speak to her lorld and master on any subject "that he did not liis-t broach, and yet who felt that she must talk to some one of that which oppressed her bosom so heavily, at length confided to her youngest sor"i. ' [do think Coma's heart is breaking in this suspense, Claronce. If Rule had (lied there would have been an end of it ; but this awful suspense, anxiety, uncertainty as to his fate, is jusi killing her. I wish we coull do something to save her, Clarance.'
Ir wish so, too niotherl* T see how she is failing ,iioiil t1ikin'g, annd I own that this upris,, m, I r'nlly thought that Cor? was f1as!illtt.intd hy that ftellow in London.' 'And I thoui'hit that sho only married R1,tlhisiy from it sensi o.,f duty, T can't under stanlld her gri?'ing'h r.uilf ti,o death for him 'IOh, Clarennc I she was fascinated by the rank and aupleoidour anld perronal atttbractions of the younig lulko; hotr hlnart ans never toucheld I Shei hati not snan lItt hsiay for so long i. tilie tllht his itnaglie. hadsgol soowhat falded in lintr mnonry whitui this sphltnlhi youtng fedllow orossed het path and dazzlt!ri her for a tirnm I 1ut you can she for your self how really site loved llnths.i y when you son thm anxiety for his fattu is bre'akig liar hlnatl't.' ' I 4oo, nother denar ; hu iT doit't under= stand. If my fattlhei' doesuot think proper to isuggist suilothitg, we . lIUt t hot, for it would. tltiake Itittte's mtuchi worset.' £Yvs,' sighed the old lady ; anwl the sub ject was dropped. Ohlarnce had said thi t-iho did not under stand Corn's state o minid.. No; nor did oll M rs. ltocklharrt. How could they, when Corn had not understood herself, until su flring brought self-knowledge. From her childhood tip sheo hiad loved Iule llothsay as ia sister loves a favourite brother. In her girlhood, kInowing no stronger love, dn the sti'regth of this she acenptpd thi tfilhrezo hand. of Itothsay, antl Wats en;gagted to he mlnrried to hiimt.. She muant to have been faithful to him ; but it was a long etngageSitent, during which she travelled with lher grandparents for three
yiL;ir.I, while th irn)''nory of her oaLlnly lived I))Tr.)r re I " t :Il I- l). Iat n . )" r ltih. -IFl n. P .'.P 1 a i ..:h "I, . t,, :ýi . .v:.;i til . IhI.a iron;, wil a.c.iiplidhx..I y ii 14 Daike of Camber vale, an.Il the inlf Ltu tin, th? .h-illucinatiii, thrat enslaved her ilIL4inLtimn for a peai.lt,. Then began. the mental conflict. betweeiL inclination arnd duty, endling, in her resolu tiorn to forget lherEnglish lover, and to be true :to Rule. Up to the very wedding diy she hadr sup pressed, and controlled her feelings witli heroic firmness; but on the evening )f that day, ;while waiting for hlielIHusbanndi , the long, severe tension of her nerves utterly gave way, and when found in a paroxysmn of tears and questioned by him, in her wretchl edness and misery she had confessed the infidelity of her heart and: ljeaded for time to conquer it. She hiad expected bitterreproaches, but there were none. She had dreadedl fierce. anger, but there was imdne. She' had an-' ticipaterl obduracy, ti!u ,there was none.: There was nothingih`but intense sufferiifn' divine compa:ssion, and infinitre ran uIniatiOnl. He pitied her. IHe snot)thllH her. He die fended her from the repraiulhes fri her own conscience. THe ptrtecite'l her by an ilnpoisel provision th;at"for her owin. aike s:ie s:hi'ull not tell others what she hil tll himon h.Ail, then.- He laid down all. the honours that his life long toil and self-denial had won for her sake, and he went out from his triumphs1 went out from her life-out, out into:-tie outer darkness of oblivion,, to be seen no more. of Cmen, to, be leard of ;no, more. byr men. All for her' sake. And before the
majesty of such infinite love, such infinite itrnunciation, her 'whole soeil: bowed dliwn in idorition. Yes, ntilast, tii t ie hour of losing him she loved hinm iis he longed to bli`loved by her. She had hut orno desire on earth- to be at his side;: 'But one prayer, and that w\as her :' vital breatir "-for his return. Sloe felt .horself. to, be unworthy of the? measutreless love that,. he had 'given l hor-- that he still gavoeher if he still lived, for his love had known no l s adow .of turning,' nor over woiulrl iuf?er chn age. - ' But, oh I where in space was he? How could she reach hlii i? How .fIi'ld she mnake him hear' the cry of eer' h 't '" One messagie,'like a. v co fronm the grave, had, indeed, come to r from him since his disrappearance, bu had been seitibefore lie left the lhou , it was in .the lettHr lie hadl written and cod in the s c'ret drawer of her wl'iriit' nle:k lfon r liwe. tit fortli' that fatartl ºit, a t wLilerri throug ih the world's wilrlenrtms..' She had found it on that day, about thre6i week's atftl' his loss, when ehe : had.come. into the parlour for the first tinem siice?'ilis illness, and when, lofb alone fo r a few minutes by her grandmother,,slhe h ad - gone to her- writing desk, and in the iditohess of misery had begun carelessly, aimlessly, to turn over her. papers.: In the same mood she pr sed thie spring of the secret dr.awer, and it sing open and projected the hitter heforo- S., She recogised his handwriting, soizued the paper, i.lld -opened 'it. It con taihred only a fwv words of farewoll, with It prayer for heti haippinots and a parting blessi wno to tg. us There Was nio mlltisiomr made to thit cause
of their separiait. .PreobalylRihledhad tbhruhti- of tht' IetteAr' fTlliig intio dthir hinls M?, a irt Irs; so l hiul rofrcii?il ft mn refer_ ri"- to her- u?..t, 1et shei shoul ,lsulfuf r rieproach Efom her fiamily. "O?ra; read this. letter, with deep` emotion over and over again, until she found herself stariny at tho liines without gathering their meaning, aitd then she felt herself growing gildy and faiiti, for she was still very weak fromn 'recent illiness. She hastily dropped thei letter into'the desk and shut down the: lid, only just hefore a film camne over her eyes,?ia ;miufled sound - in her. ears, and oblivion over :?er `sefises:, This 'Was the' swoornitjn wliioli'she was founcluby- Mrs Rockharrti and for which she coull ygive no satisfactory reason."" When Cora recov;red fromi that swoon her first care, ont the H?at opportunity, was to go to. heri.writing desk .to look for hier precious Jettes-RothsayI'snlast letter td:her No one hiad opened her desk or disturbed its Sihe fouiri her lettei, pressedl it to hei hekrt .and lips _many times ; then mnade a little silkrin ha'?into which she put it; then tiel it round her neokl with a narrow bit of i F: ,ni that day;it'rested on. her henirt. It w:vas her magic talisman, still 'onnecting lher with the lost in an oo ult way. It. was her anchori"~i hope, pr'omising thefinal return of. her lost husband. While Cora .mourned .and dreamed aivway these 'first dRys of ithe family's retupn to their town house,'ild'Aaron Rockharjt was siftinig the evidence of the story told by Captain: Ross.;:he proved;.the trutlV of the
skipper's: account and ho,,failed toconnect the: young man's :visiton tlhat fatal ;night with thin almost simultaneous ;disappearanco of ItRmhsimy. ; Th? 'season passed ori ~ buit no persuasions nor, aiiigumentiiis could proievail oin Corn to go' into any society. Not even the ibin will of the Iron IKing could conquer in this iiimatter. Her persistent reofusal to do this put h imr in a'gloomy, tseth-'grinding, impotent rage. Odra'is ofago.-She 'hnas: a very sufuicient provision.; And nowif sho. does not return to her dcityatidrend i; 'heirself am-enala to _-imyduthority;, I shall order' hor .to.. -nd inoother lihomen,; for I iineahn-'ta boniasier of my own house and, of everybody in it I' he said, navagely;to his?timid wife, one evening when she was doingvalet'sdut by by dressing ;hiR lihir foraK dinnr;:partty. fT , , ' Oh, Aaron lAaronl I have pity on the poor heail't-brokic'i girl I ' plIudled tho old ladyil, falling inot6'a fit of tremrnblihg that interfered with her task. '* old your tongue anid heed iny?;?r>iiils, for I shall iioi as Isay. And mind what you anr about now I You have scratched my oar i?ith the bristles of the brush.'. 'I hog your paiidon, Aarmoni but my hand shakes so.' - ' If that young woman don't subailt her self to my will and' obey my eordeor, . I will pack her oub of this house, and then, perhaps your nerves will be quieter I 'I'll do it, for I mn tiot parlticularly fond of having grass widows hbout me,' he growled. . She:made no reply. She could not trust harself to poeak. It required all her self control to, stoidy her hands to complete her maste's toiltto.
a ehen h sh oi .dess herself in hastoe and SLgl?Lr)n tcii ehready'-in time to a cotnph V • hexrcuti've uls.i$nii) , wlhich ·'Ls (1ev occupied9 l by Lieu tomLnt-Governiir Koni lemn Kenn6edy'... and from' which -the Irozi &in would nobt, allow his wife to absent herself. Mrs. Rockharrt Was very anxious to' have' a talk with her granddaughterr, to wairn her; of impending dlatgar, and to implore her to' obey the wishes of her grFnclftlthler buitthe i poor: lady haid o .opportunity, Core sat for her grandp?prents, in case they should necd any of her services on thei . 'return They camne in very late, and. then they exactions of the domnestic tyrant kept his wife-iii attendance on himi until they: were. all in bed. (To be continued in Our n?xL.)