|Chapter Title||THE WILES OF THE SIREN.|
|Newspaper Title||Queanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||For Cora's Sake|
S UAPNTtwr XT.-This W1xs oV TWls Smntf. Whewth bri1J pair had ab ted ontheir journey the wedding guests dispersed.
The family returned to Rockhold in May. Here they lived a very monotonous life, whose dullness and gloom pressed very heavily upon the young widow. Mr. Ronkharrt and Mr. Clarence rode out every, morning and returned late in the afternoon. Cora occupied herself in completing the biography of her late husband, which had been interrupted by a season in the city. Cora's. evenings were as solitary as her mornings. Pug a change was at hand. One evening, on his : nturn home, Mr. Rocl:hset, brought his own mail from the post 'live at North d. After dinn,,r in.tend of retiring to i ollict as usual, he came into the drawing room and found Cora. Dropping himself down in a large arm chair beside the round table, he drew a letter from his breast pocket, and said-: 'My dear, I have a very interesting com munication here from Mrs. Stillwater-Miss Rose Flowers that was, you know.' 'I know,' said Cora, coldly, and wondering what was coming next. - ' Poor child I Sh4 is a widow, thrown destitute upon the cold charities of the world again,' he continued. Cora said nothing. She was marvelling to hear this harsh, ,cruel, relentless man speaking with so much pity, teniderness and consideration for this adventuress. ' But I will read the letter to you,' he said, ' and then I will tell you what I mean to do.' -Very well, sir,'7she. replied, with much misgiving. He opened the letterand~began to read as follows:
Wirt House, Baltimore, May 15, 18 My MOST HONOURED BENEFACTOR,--I should not:presume to recall myself to your recollection had you not, in thq large bounty of your heart, once taken pity on the forlorn creature' that. I am, and made me promise that if ever I should find myself homuless, friendless, destitute, and desolate, K should write and infurrm you. My most revered friend, such is toy sad, hope less, pitiable condition now. My poor husband died of yellow fever in the West Indies about a year ago, and his inocame and my support died with him. For the-ast twelve months I have lived on the sale of my few jewels, plate, and other por s tnal 'property, which has gradually melted away in the furnace of my misfortunes, while I have been trying with all my might to obtain employment at my sometime trade as teacher. But, oh, sir I the requirements of modern education are far above my poor capabilities. Now, at length, when mny resaurces are well nigh exhausted--now, when I can pay my board here only for a few weeks longer. and at the end of that time must go forth-Heaven only iknews where-I vanture, in "accordance with your own gracious permission, to maike this appeal to you. Nut for pacuniary aid, which you will pardon me if I say ,I could not receive from anyone, but for such advice and assistance as your wisdom and benevolence, could afford me, in finding me some honest way of earning my bread. Feeling assured that your great goodness will not cast this poor note aside un noticed, I shall wait and hope to hear from you, and, in the meanwhile, remain, Your humble servant, - ROSE STILLWATEI. / 'That is what I call a very pathetlo appeal, Cora. She ie a widow, poor child I Nob such a widow as you are, Cora Rothsay, with wialbh, friends, and position l She is
a widow, indeed H Homeless, friendless, penniless -about to be cast forth into the streets ! My dear, I got this letter this morning. I answered it within an hour I invited her to come here as our guest, and to remain as long as she should feel inclined to stay-certainly until we could settle upon some plan of life for her future. I sent a cheque to pay her travelling expenses to North End, where I shall send the carriage to meet her. You will therefore, Cora, have a comfortable room prepared for Mr;.I Stillwater. T think shl ny with us :; early as til-lirwrrr w o ,r:,: > ; ' ~ t ; _1 i'mýT r , A - w te "an " ;n ro ..t -of 0h4 p leaving ous grul1daughtier--on fond -i . Rose Stillwater the widow of a year's standing ! Rose Stillwater coming to Rock hold as the guest of her aged and widowed grandfather ! What a condition of things ! What would be the outcome of this event I Cora shrank from conjecturing. She felt that there had been two factors in bringing about this situation : first, the death of her grandmother; second, Fabian's marriage. The field was thus left, open for the operations of this scheming adventuress and siren. Cora did not know what to do. She was at her wit's end.. She resolved to write at once to her Uncle Fabian. Surely he must know the true character of this woman, and he must have broken off his very question able acquaintance with her before marrying Violet Wood. Surely he would not allow his father to be so dangerously deceived in this designing guest.
She would also write toSylvan, who from the very first hia.d disliked and distrusted the 'rose that all admire.' And she thanked heaven that Cadet ,.4aught would, soon graduate and returrd4 home for his stimmer holidays. While waiting/ answerd from the two absent men shewould consult her Uncle Clarence. Truth to tell, she had but little hope of help in this aftihir from her younger uncle. Mr. Clarence was so far from think ing evil of any one, he would be sure to feel compassion for Rose Stillwater. And that the Iron King should ever be seriously taken in by the beautiful and bewitching creature he would never believe. Yet Cora know from all past experience that Rose Still. water was more esteemed by old Aaron Rookharrt and had more influence over him than any living creature. Strange that a man so hard headed as the Iron King, and so clear brained on all occasions when not blinded by hi5s egotism, should allow himself to be so deceived in any one as he was in Rose Still water., , But, then, she knew how to flatter this egotism. She was beautiful and attractive intperson, meek and submissive in manner, ctimplimentary and caressing in words and tones. Corn asked herself whether it would be I fright, proper, or expedient for her to give information of that secret interview between Mr. Fabian and Mrs. Stillwater, to which she I herself had been an-accidental and most un- I willing witness, on that warm nighit. in e September, in the hotel parlour at Baltimore. She could not refer to it ins her intended letter to her Uncle Fabian. To do so would
be useless and humiliating, if not very offen sive. Her Uucle Fabian knew much more about that interview than she' could tell him and would be very much mortified and very indignant to learn that she knew anything of it. He might accuse her of being a spy and an eavesdropper, or he might deny and dis credit her story altogether. No good could come of referring to that interview in her letter to her Uncle Fabian. She would merely mention to him the fact that. Mrs. Stillwater had written to Mr. R.,:khnarrt an appealing letter declaring her hot ;o be widIowed and destitute, and isking lher to R . .u01.1 t.I0 an imba1"inewe ; ."01 1, uLa sent her a cheqlue to piy hler ;tiveilinig expenses. She would tell Mr. Fabian this as a mere item of news, expressing no opinion and taking no responsibility, but leaving her uncle to act as he might think proper. She could not tell her brother Sylvan of that secret interview, for she was sure that he would act with haste and indiscretion. Nor could she tell her' Uncle Clarence, who would only find himself distressed and incap able under the amergency.. Least of all she could tell her grandfather, and 'make an everlasting breach between himself and his son Fabian. No. She could tell nio one of that secret interview to which she had been a chance witness-a shocked witness-but which she had only half-understood, and which, per haps, did not mean all that she had feared or suspected. On that subject. she must hold her peace, and only let 'the absent' members of the family know of Mrs. Stillwater's
intenided visit as an item of domestic news, and leave any or all of them to act upon their own responsibility unbiased by any word from her. Cora's position 'was a very delicate and embarrassing one. She did not bolieve.that this former!nursery governess of hers was or over had been a proper companion for her. She` herself-Cora Rothsay - was now a widow with an independent income, and was at liberty to chose her own companions and make her home wherever she might choo ej But how could she leave her aged. widowed grandfather, who had no oth r daughter or granddaughter, or any other. woman relative to keep houso forbhim? Ai id yet how could she associate daily with a woman whose presence 'she felt to be a degradation 1 As we have seen, she knew and felt that it would be vain' to opposo her grandfather's wish to have Mrs. Stillwater in the house, especially as he had already invited her and sent her money to come-unless she should tell him of that secrot interview she had witnessed between Mr. iPabian and Mrs. Stillwater. That, indeed, might banish' Rtose from Rockhold, but it would also bring down a domestic cateclysma that might break up the household and separate its members. No, she could say nothing, do nothing that would not make matters, worse. She must let events take their course, bide her time and hope for'the best, she said to herself as' she arose and rang the bell. Tohn, the footman, answoed the call. (To 6ocontinued in ouor next.)