Chapter 31165051

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Chapter NumberVII
Chapter TitleNEWS OF THE MISSING MAN.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31165051
Full Date1892-01-13
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count2753
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleQueanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)
Trove TitleFor Cora's Sake
article text

_he _ toratel y. FOR CORA'S SAKE= CHAPTER VII.-Nxws o' TIIR MISSINo MAN. The next morning while Aaron Rockharrt slept the sleep of dead-in-seltishness, his wife arose and crept into the bedroom of her granddaughter. Cora was awake, but not yet up. ' Oh, grandmin, you will get your death of cold I walking atbout the house in your night gown. What is it ? What do you want? Can I do anything for you ?' cried the girl, springing out of bed to turn on the heat of the 'register, and wrapping a large shawl round the old lady and putting her into a cushioned easy chair. "Now what is it, dear grandma? What can I do for you V' she inquired, as she drew on her wadded dressing gown and sat on the side of the bed near the old lady. ' You can do something to set my mind at ease, my, dear; but it will be painful to you, and I do not know whether you will do it,' said she old lady, with timid hesitation. ! I can do this, 'dear t Then of course I will do it,' replied the girl. 'It is almost too much to ask of you, my ebild.' 'There is nothing that I would not do to give you peace-you poor dear, who have so little peace,' said Cora tenderly. Well, my child,' she said, ' your grand father is going to have a little talk with you soon-on the subject of your self-seclusion. Oh !.for my sake, Cora,.for my sake; do not disobey him.' 'Dearest dear, I will leave undone any thing in the world you wish the not to do. I will no longer rebel against my grand father's authority, even when he exercises it in such a despotic manner,' anid Corn. "Mis. Rockharrt gathered trh girl in her armis antI kiesed hot', wvith a few wink tent's, but with no more words. She did not tell Corn of the cruel threat made by the tyrant to turn her out of doors if she failed to obey him, and she hoped that 'the girl might never hoar of it, lest in her wounded pride she might forestall the threat and leave the house of her own accord. Žjow be at ease, dear,' said Cora, sooth ingly. I No6 more trouble-' A.;bell rang sharply and cut off the girl's speech: '.Oh, there lie is awake ! I must go to him,' exclaimed the timid old creature. During breakfast Aaron Rockharrt said ',irs. Rothsay, you will come to me in the library as soon as we leave the table. I have something to say to you that must be said at once and for the last time.' ' Very well,' sir,' replied the girl. Half an hour later she was closeted with her grandfather.n t ' Mradam, I do not intend to waste much timre over~you this morning. I merely mean to put a test question, whose answer shall decide my future course in regard to you.' ' Very well.' " I must preface my question by reminding yoti 'that you have constantly disregarded my wishes and disobeyed my orders by refusing to see my guests or to go out in company with me.' "Yes.' 'When honouted with an invitation to thegtate, dinner at the executive mansion you' declined to go, even though I expressed myy will that you should accompany me.' '.Yes.' ' But for the future I intend to be master of my own house and of every living soul within it. ' Now, then, for my test question. You have received cards to the ball to be given-at the-house of the Chief Justice to morrow evening. I wish you to attend it, and my wish should be a command.' ' Of course. ' What is your answer? Think before you speak, for on your answer must depend your future position in mny house.' Cora was silent for a few moments. 'Sir,' she began at .length, ' you are a just man, at least, and you' will not refuse to hear and consider; my, reaslns for seclusion.' 'I will consider nothing. I know them as well as you do. And I will have none of it." I will be obeyed, and you shall gn out into society; or else-' .'Or. else.l what will be the alternative, sir ?' 'You leave my house. I will have no rebel in my family.' Had Cora followed the itpnulsw of her proud and outraged spirit, she would have walked out of the library, gone to her room, put on her bonnet and cloak, and left the hituse, leaving all her g"itls to i sent mf ti' 'her ; hut the git'l thought of her poor, gentle, eufferitig grandmother, atid bore the itisult. *Sir,' she said, with pntient dignity, ' do you think that it would have been decortous, under the peculiar circumstances, feirt tie to tippear in public, and especially at a State 'dinner at thA executive miunsion?' ' Madam, I instructed you to accept that invitation sand to tittend that dinner. Do you dare to hint that I would counsel you to any indecorous act?' 'LNo, sir, ceruainly not, ifyot liad stopper? ' Let that go. But in the question of this hall. Do you mean to obey me?1' Cora's heart swelled ; her eyes flushed; she longed to defy 'the despot; but she K'thought of hte' rneak, patient, long'auflering granrimothee, and answered, coldly:~ * I will go to the ball, sir, since you wish

' Very well. That will do. Now leave the room. I wish to read the mnruing papers. - But Fate had cecided that Corashould not attend that hail, or any other place of amusement, for a lopg time. And he was just on the brink of discovering the iii pertinent interference of Fate in human affairs, and especially those of the Iron King. He took up a Washington paper-a government organ-and read, opening his eyes to their widest extent as he read the following head-lines A MYSTERY CLEARED UP.

THE FATE OF GOvEnNoR REGULAS ROTHSAY. KILLED BY THE COMANCHES ON NOVEMBER 1st. A despatch fromFortSecurity to the Tnrlian Bureau, received this mornin~, announces another inroad of the Cnmanchfs upon the new settlement of Terrepeur, in which the inhabitants were massacred and their dwellings burned. Among the victims who perished in the flames in their own huts wvas Regulas Rothsay, late Governor elect of-, and at the time of his death a volunteer missionary to this treacherous and blood-thirsty tribe. Another man, under the circumstances, might have been unnerved by such sudden

and awful news, anl let Fall the paper. 1oub not the Trott King. HF grasped it only with a firmer hand, and readi it again with keener eyes. 'What under the heavens took that 2oa(2 out there 7 Had he gono suddenly mnad 7 That seems to be the only possible explana tion of his comauct. To ahaanront his bride on the day of his marriage-to abandon his high oflicial position iLs governor of this State on the day of his inaugurJtioiI, and without giving any living creature a hint of his intentions, to fly off at a tangenb to the Indian country, and become a maissionioy to those reel devils, and be massacred for his pains-it was the work of a raving man.iac. But what drove him mad 7 Surely it wias .not his high elevation that turned his head, for if it had heen, his madiness would never have taken this parbicular direction of (lying from his honours. No! it is apt T have always suspected. He heard, in sumo way, of the girl's English lover, alnl he, with his besotted devotion to her, was just the 2man to he morbidly, marlly jealous, and to do som0o such idiotic thing as he has done, and got himself murdered and burned to ashes for his pains I Yes, and it serves hiaa right -it serves him right I He sat glowering at the parngiuph, and growling over his news for some time Innger, but at length he took it up and walked over to the back parlour, where he felt sure he should find his two woamnn. Mrs. Uockhitrrt and Cora, who sat at the tahle before the gloomy coal fire, and were engaged in some fancy needlowork, looked up I uneasily as 1he entered ; not that they a

expected bad news, but that they feared had temper. ' Cora,' he began, ' I shall not insist on your going to the ball to-morrow.' She looked up in suprise, and a grateful exclamation was on her lips, but he fore stallel it by saying ' I suppose the news is all over the city by this time. I am going out to hear what the people are saying about it, and to see if the government house and the public offices are to be hung~in mourning. There-there it is told in the first column of this paper.' And with, cruel abruptness he laid the newspaper on the table between the two women, and pointed out the paragraph. Then lie stalked oiut of the roomi, and called his manservant to help him on with his heavy overcoat. That house, on the previous night, had been one blaze of light in honor of the State dinner. Now, ais well as he could see dimly through the falling snow, it was all closed up, and men on ladders were ftstooning every row of windows 'vithi black goods. 'Yes, of course, it is as I expected. The news has gone all over the town already,' said chi Aaron Rockharrb, as he strode through the snowstorm to the business centre of the city. Every acquaintance whom he niet stopped him with the samne question in slightly. differenit woirds. Have y fu heard 4 ' and so forth. Evt'ry i otimiate friend he encountered asked : £ How dies Mrs. R1thisay hear it?' or \What on earth (ver took the governor out there I '

To all questions the Tree King gave curr answers that discouraged discussion on the suhbject. He walked on, noticing that the stores and otlices of the city were being festooned with mourning, and that nutwith standing the severity of the storm thu street corners were occupiel by groups talking excitedly of the fatal news. He went into the editorial rooms of all the city. papers and attempted to diotate to the proprietors the manner in which they should write of the tragie ovent. As h, spent an hour on the average at each ofhies, it was late in the winter of the afternooii when he got homne. It was not yet dark, however, and ho was surprised to see a man servant shut the windows before night. The old man looked nervous and distressed and answered vaguely: - Ft is the mismse, salm.' Th'lie idea that his wife should tike the liberty of ordering the 1.ouse to he closed for the night at this unusual hour. of the after noon, without his authority, enraged him I Serve dinner at once.' And them ihi strode into the back parlour, which was the uuttl sitting loom of his wife c and granddaughter. It wits empty and darkened. More than ever infuriated by fatigue, hunger, and the supposed disregard of his authority, he casme out and walked up stairs to look for his wife in her own room. He pushed open the door and entered. That room was also dark, only for the faint i rel. light that coamne from the coal fire in the grate. 1y this he dimly perceived a fEnnali u form sitting near the bed, and whom he c supposed to be his wife.

' Why, in the fiend's name, is the whole mouse as dark as pitch ' he rtuglhly 'lenandled, as he threw opeo the shutters, letting in thi white light of the snow storin. Grandfather !' It was the voice of Cora that spoke, and there was a something in its tone that awed even the Iron King, He turned abruptly. Cora had risen from her chair and was now. standing by the bed. But on the bed laya little, still, fair form, with hands folded over her breast, with the eyes shut ioown forevzor, and all over the fair, wan, pliil fac;t w. , " the peace of God which passeth all unler standing." What is this ?' demanded Old Aaron Rockliarrt as he came up to the bed. ' Look at her. She rests at. last. I have been with her twenty years, and this is the first time T have ever seen her rest in peace.' Old Aaron Rockliarrt stood like a stone beside the bed of the dead. ' She is safe now, never more to be startled, or frightened, or tortured by anyone. ' Safe, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the'weary are at rest," continued Corn. Still Old Aaron stood like a stone beside the bed and gazed down on the dead. Suddenly, without moving or withdrawing his gaze from where it rested, he asked in a low, grim h tone: How did this happen ?' ' She fainted in her chair, and died in that faint.' When ? where ? from what ?' ' Within an hour after you had left us together in the back parlour, with the paper contoining the news of my husband's death,'

answered Corn, spe. king in a tone of most unnatural calmuness. ' Had .the excitem nt anything to do with the *swnon ? I do nut know.' ' Give ?ot' l) Lrticulla s.' *.Wo--ii, r:thier, ic, first took up the paper, tno1 'irr.raut ko wing what the news was that you rold us t look at, gave it to me and askeil rtae to rei 1 it. T, as soon as I saw witit it was-I st all control over mnysoif. I do not know ow I behaved. But alih took the piper to se what it was that had so disturbed me, a in then, she, too, becamo very Much agitat I ; but she tried to consrde 111m, tiinO( for ft Ion time to comfort ne, ritanding over my chi r and carressing and talking. At lIst she oft me, and sat down i and loaned hack in Ih r own chair. I was trying to be quiet, and it last nucceeded, andl thou [ arose and wont o her, meaning to tell her that r would hr calm and not diatress lie, any more. W\h i I lacked at. her I found that she had frtintedl, r rang rcid son t ill for a doctor inst*intly, and while waiting for hire did all that w'as possible to rErvivo lher, but without effedt. When the doctor came and examined b.er condition he pronou oned her quite dead.' ' This must haLvo occurred four or rive hours r igo. Why was I not sent for?' 'Yo u were sent for iinmreldritoly.. M'esin gers were dispateched in every. direction. Blt yr-u could nowhi'er' in fount. They dlii not, indeed, know where to look rir you.' Now closo thn window ngiiin, and then go and' leave me alone; and do it it let any one disturb me on any account,' so rid the old man, who had not once moved from the

bed.side, or even lifter) his s-.. few,.r the fece .1' rhi,, dee l.re h.f. re u0-nmaorw, but, my uncles will 1e her(. this evening. Shall I send you word when they arrive 1' 'No. Let no one. come to me to-night.'. ' Shull I send you up anything, grand father 7' ' No, no, TE r require anything I will ring for it. Go now, Comr, and leave me to myself.' The girl went away, closing the door behind her. As she descended the stairs she heard the key turned, and she knew that, her grandfather had' so shut out all likely intruders. He who came home hungry and furious as a famished wolf never appcared at the (linner that lie had so peremptorily ordered to be served: at once, but shut himselr up fasting with his derid. If his eyes were now opened to see how much he had made her suffer through his selfishness, cruelty, and despotismu all her married life-if his late remorse awoke-if he grieved for her-no one ever knew it. He never gave expression to it.' (To be continued in our neot.)