Chapter 31165080

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Chapter NumberVIII
Chapter Url
Full Date1892-01-16
Page Number4
Word Count2731
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleQueanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)
Trove TitleFor Cora's Sake
article text

Ire torete 1I r" FOR CORA'S SAKE. dIiAPTER VIII.-' TiEn PEACIE OF OOD winOII PASSETII ALL UNDERSTAýDING.' In the late dawn of that darlk winter day Mr. Clarence came down into, the p:irlour, and found Cora. still there, with one gas jet burning low. 'Up s, early, my dear child ' ?he ?";?,'4, as he took her hand and gave heri, the good morning kiss. * I have not been in hbed, ,'do replied. 'Not in bed all night ': That was wrong. How cold your hland?:itre? Go to bed now, dear.' .. "' Icannot. To do not wish to.' ' My.. P'', doubly hereaved child, bhow much I feel for you !' he said in a' tender to? andl still holding her hand. ('Do not mind me, Uncle Clarence. I do .not feel for myself. I am. numb. I feel nothing-nothing,' she replied. i Mr. Clarence, still holding her hand, led her, to a large easy chair, and1 put her in it. Then lie wont antd rang the bell. Tell the cook to make it strciig cup of coffee as quickly as she can, and bring it here to Mrs. Rochsay,' he said to the man who answered the call. When the servant entered with the cntrt', Mr. Clarence himself took it from the man's hand, and persuaded his niece to drink it. Presently IMr. Fabian came in, and greeted his niece and his brother in a grave, muffled voice.. 'A little later breakfiasts was served. :' Some one should go up and see if grand 'pa.will .have anything sent to him. Will you, Uncle Fabian ? ' inquired Coirn, as they seated themselves at the table. Mr. Fabian left his chaiii for the purpose, but before he had crossed the room they heard the heavy footsteps of the Iron King coming down the stairs. He entered the dining-room ahd all arose to receive him. He came up and shook hands.with each of his sons in turn and in silence. Then he took his place at the table. The three younger members of the' frnily looked at him furtively whenever they could do so without attracting his attention.. Some change had come over him, but not of a softening nature. His hard, stern, set face, was, if possible, more stony than over. Neither Clarence nor Cora dared to speak to him; but Fabian, feeling the silencen awlk ward and oppressive, iit length ventured to say:, '?.y dear fattier, in this our severe bereavement- But he got no further in his speech. Old A~ron Rookharrt raised his hand and stop ped him right there, and then sail: " ot'one word from illy one ?f ymu to me or ir'mny presence on this vonll, either now,, or"ver. It hallpneii in the course of. itaturc. Drop the. shnhlect. Fabian, how are miatters ;'going on at, the weirk1s ' S.1 do tnot know, sir,' replied Mr.. Fabian, speaking for. the tirst iand last and only time, abruptly and indiscreetly to his despotic father. But the Iron King took no notice of tihe words, nor did he repeat the question. He ldrnk one cup of coffee, ate half a roll, and then arose and left the table, without a word. Ho',did not return to his hidead wife's chamber which he p1robably knew' would now have to ho!..given up to dressers if the dead and to tlihe undertakers. Hie went and looked himself in the library anrl was seen in, more thait dclay. Cor'n?, witl her woman's intuition, under ste?od the accession of hardness that was sorli an it mask to conceal grief and S'.Be patient with him, Uncle F',ah 1i. e is.?vour father, after all. And he f - Oh, he suffers I Yes; much tIoure than any of us do,' she said. . ~. 'Do you think so, Com?' ' inquired [Mr. Fabian, looking at her. in surprise. T.' I know lie dots,' she answered. 'Well, he hais good reason to I' concludedr M', Fabian.' Theii, iafter a piruse, he added : 'Put I am sorry I spoke roughly to my father! IT will make it up to him,; or try to do so, by 'xtira deference.' Tlhen they all arose fronm the table. Mr. Fabian tianid Mr. Clarence to attend to the business of tih mournful occasiMon, which OJd .aron Rocklhart, in his proud, reserved abhsorbed sorrow, seciemel to have ignored orl forgotten. Cora stopped away to her grandiothet:'s room, to have a quiet hour beside the beloved dead before the iundcertaker rlhould come in and take possession. 'T. is only her body that is deadl, I know B?yt the hands have caressed me and tle lips kissed me'; and, right or wrong, I love that Ibody 'as well as the heavenly soul that lised within it ! 'The flesh cleaves to the flesh. And so long as we 'are in thie flaesh iwe will, we must, haunt tihe shrinns that con tain the biodies of those we lovb,' she theo,,ht, as reverently she ente'red the cham her nf death, cltisedl thdii dloor, and went up ti, the bedl whereon lay the tonrinttleiss templcin which so lately lived tIie most lovin.., thIe most patitient spirit she hLtd Ievor Icnown. But; what is this ? Into what strange

Rphanre ot inllenai, peace ilas ultra enter'l( She had a gentle impulse to close her eyes to all visil.,le mitters and yield herself up to the sweetness of this sphere. ,. Hr delar one was. living, was young algiin, waI haIppy, was sleeping, watched by angels, who would presently awaken her to the eternal life,. Cora knelt down by the hed and lifted up ihr heart to the Lord of life in silent, word leak. thoughtlcAs, profoundly quiet aspiration. Not long had she knelt there in this rapt r.eronity, when ?he was conscious that some onn was rapping softly att the do(lo. This did not disturb her. She arose fromn her knees, still in deep peace, went to the door, ann said : * Presently. I will open presently. W¢ait a mllOment.' Then she went back to tie aed, turned down the shnet, auid gazed upon the beloved face. Tiowplacid it was, and how beautiful.` Death had smoothed eovery trace of nge and canm from that little fair old face. She lay 'asif slerping, and almost smiling, in her sleep- "As though by fltnees sh had won The seorot of snmo happy dream." Cora stooped down and kissed the placid Ibtrow, then covered the face and went to open'tho door.+ The gry.-haired old Jatou was nwaiting outside.

' If you please', mn'am, it is the-' - I know, I know,' said Cr,.ra, quietly. ' Sho?wthem in.' And she passed out and went to her own room. The funeral 4.t Jds. Rockharrt. took place on the third day after her death, and aftar the rit*ý' tvera over, the family returned to thei,,a lty home, hut only for the night; for preparation had already been completed for their romovai to Rockhold, there to pass the year of mourning. Old Aatron R].ockhar:i't never changed from his look of stony immobility. If he mourned for his patient wife of moie than half a century, no outward sign betrayed his feel ings. If his spirit suffered with suppressed grief, his strong frame, bore up under it without the slightest weaikening. SOn the afternoon\of his .return from his wife's -funeral he shut "h'imself up in the library and remained there all the evening, refusing to come to dinner, calling for a bottle of wins and a sandwich, and desiring I after ward to be left alone. Later in the evening lhe sent for Mr. Fabian to come to him, and there opened to his eldest son and partner. in whose business talents lie had great confidence, a schenie of speculation so venturous, so gigantic that. the younger man was shocked and staggered, rand beogn to lose faith in the sound intellect of the Tron King. 'This will make us twice told the wealthiest Smen ill' the United States, if not in the wlhole world,' concluded d31 Aaron Rockhlarrt. SIf it should succeed,' said Mr. Fabian, dubiously. "' 'It shall succeed; I say it. We shall go

doiwn to ]Rickhold I.o iorrow 1m.oriton1, on?3 the noxt dtiy to thel works, anlil Lthe I shall give illy withle mind to this inatter and imlke it succeled, di you hIt:ar ? l Mak it succeedlu I An.1 pi lle( Oy 1ir e tllla lt, thie he:al of the lint of wealthy imni of thils age.' Mr. Fahbit did not dIin ti raiso i ly oljeotion. 1 run pleased., sir,' he. said, ' that you find in thiis nI' etnlrpriseo at1 ojllc:t of ?o mucholl illnterlet to entigigA Syilur nitnrli Employ tmit ill tiny Vway you think fit. T lil quite at your service, is it i my, hound in duty to he.' Very well; that is as it should be. Now T amun going to led. (God.-night,' saidt the 'ron Kinhg, a?iruptly dismissing his son, nod then ringing for his valet, whose ottice, sinlc the patient old lady's death, wits no ltonger it si 1 ur101 . ITt sc1nts plsisiing stI 'Oe6. that I. 1ma11 of seventy-six year.?s, who I;ilju.t, l.ti hist life Iing and bolovod compantii --for in his o1wn sellish way he loverd helur after t sort, mod pirhlutps morn thau1 hie loved a?y humian being in the world-lid who must expuct before Imnny years to follow her', should, he so full of this world's avatrico and ambition. Strange, yet the iame of such a one is legionm;. But in thie case of Old Aaron Rock hItrrt there midght have been this additiolmd inotivo-tho necessity to seek refuge froni the pains of grief andtl i'onorso in the anxieties and activities of speculation. So he was very eager to got back a11 soon Its possibl , to, husiness antid to enter iat once upon the enterprise lie had plaluned. Coura was also anxious to leave the city, which she knew was in a fresh fermenb of

gossip and conjecture on the subject of ier lost husband, the decease:d governor-elect. The news front the Indulian te,.ritory had renewed all the public interest in the mystery of his disappearance. Conjecture uhad once been wild as to the cause of his disappearance-had he been murdered or kidnapped, or both? Those were the questions then. Conjecture was now rampant as to the cause of his sudden flight and self-expatri ation to the Indian territory. Every news paper was full :f the problem, which none but one could solve, and she was bound to secrecy. But it gave her inexpressible pain to know that his motives and his character were being discussed Iand cenouredl for that course of conduct for which onl0 horself was to hbe blamed, and which only 'she could explain. A word from her would show him in a different light before his r.-itics. But she must not speak that word to save his repu tation. So Cora was anxious to leave the city. The next morning the whole family set out on their return journey to Rockhold, where they alrrived early in the afternoon. They found everything in good: order, for Cora had taken the precaution to write to the housekeeper, and warn her of the return of the family. The grilf of tlhe servants for the Inss of their kind and gentle old mistress broke out afresh at the sight of the young lady. Fortunately. MIr. l'ockharrt haid gone at once to his oroom, anl so escaped tinnoyance from their noise.

. After dinner the old man badne them an abrupt goodl night and loeft theU room. COrnr felt sorry for himt, despite his lharshness. She stepped after him inuld asked : Gran?ldfathor,,can hbe of any service to you at all ? Help you at your- ' He stopperi her hy turning and handing his gra3y 1)r.i'.w over thU lie.rn black eyes which fixedl hor motionless. Hfuo -stared at her for IL fewv moments, than said : 'Ni, certainly not,' and turned and wont up'tai rs. Comt 'returidrl slowly to thn.dlwih room at thin open door of which stood Sylvan, who hlitdr heard ill that had passeil. IYoru Ihad bhtter lot the old rnrl alone, Corn, or you'll have your h:uil hittli ,lf. I don't wvant tro break th9 fifth coltnimmanrtlhnent, by sayinig anything i'lrrevernt of our glrand fiatthe, but. indeed, it is as mnluch 2s Olin's life, at least, on!'s temper, is worth, to.npeak to him,' said the young man, I. )Inever 1l'ove'rerd el my gran'dfathnr as muc1h as T r41 nbow, Sylvan,' ropliel Corn, very gravely. 'That's all right I Rnoverenao him as utlcuh as you please?; but don't go too unrlt' thu o.ld lion in his present mno)id. Come and sit dlown on the sJfa by Ine, sister ; atld let us have al pleasalnt talk- ' 'Pleasant talk I Oh, Sylvan !' ' Well then, Corn, dear siste;r, a cozy, confidential talk. Do you know we have not hIdr one for years and years and years ?' They sat?down side by side holding each otller's hands in silence for Ia little while, Corn said : D)o you think you will gradua to next year Sylvan ?'

'Yes, Cora, certainly.' 'And then you will come home for:a long visit.' . ' For a short one, on leave.' ' And afterward, Sylvan ?' ' Well, afterward I shall be ordered out to "The Devil's Icy Peak." ' 'What !' 'That was Aunt Cassy's name for all remote parts, you knowi, "Devil's Icy Peak," which in my destination means some remote frontier fort, among hostile Indians,' border ruffians, grizzly hears, buffaloes, rattlesnakes, mosquitoes, malaria, and other wild beasts. There is where they send all the new-fledged military officers from West Point, and there they may spend the best parb of their lives,' said Sylvan. 'Unless they have influence with' the higher authorities. If they have such influence, they inty be sent to choice ponts near the great cities, in reach of all the best society, best libaries, and all the luxuries and advantages of the highest civilization.' 'Yes, I know; but-' said the young cadet hesitatingly. 'You, or rather our grandfather, has in fluence enough to have you ordered to Washington, New York-any place.' ' Yes, but-' ''.:But what, Sylvan 7' ' Cora, our grandfather's influence is that of wealth-great wealth-and it is a mighty power in this world: but I would not con sider it honest to use it in such a way.' 'You are entirely right, dear brotker. And I tell you this: Though I must and will remain with my grandfather so long as he shall need me-so long as he shall live

yob, whoen he departs, if you should be stationer) at one of those Iborvler posts, I will go out and join you, Sylvan,' said Corn. . No, dear sister, you shall not make such a sacrilico for' me,' he answered. B Dut after my aged grandfather, whose days on earth cannot he long, whom have I in this world to live for but you, Sylvan?' 'Other interests in life, I hope, will arise, sistcir, to give you happiness.' Corn shook her hearl, than bade her brother good-night, and retired. - The next morning the young cadet hado good-byo to his friends and loft for West Point. Old Aaron Roekharrt went up to North End, 'where his sons awaited him ; there to inspect the works, and commence proceed ings toward that vast enterprise which the Iron King had planned out while in the city. And from this clay forth " Rockharrt & Sons " devoted all their energies into this mammoth spooulation, while the months passed, it grow into huge and huger pro portion and great and grntoer success. Old Aaron Rockharrt's spirit rose with the splendour of his fortune. 111e was nearly seventy-seven years of ago, yet he said to himself in efl'ect: ' Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years.' Corn, meanwhile, living a secluded and almost solitary life at Rookhold, occupied herself withi n labou'r of love, in writingi the life of her late husband, with extracts frbm his letters, speeches, and newspaper arlteles. In doing this her soul seemed to bo once muore joined to his. In this manner a year passed, and. the month of January ivas at hand.