Chapter 31165169

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Chapter NumberXII
Chapter TitleTHE SIREN AND THE DESPOT.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31165169
Full Date1892-01-27
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count2608
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleQueanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)
Trove TitleFor Cora's Sake
article text

CI{APTERt XTT.-Tjur Siucs, .nk T '1 - Dcst'~o'r. Thait May ,fight was clear tiid cool. The sky was brilliant. with stairs, sparkling and flashing from the pure, dark blue empyrean. In the house was chilly, so Cora had caused fires to be built in all the grates. The drawing robn at Ii.ockhold lpesented a:eIvry lttrective appearance. In the small diing,;roonu, thu table vatsqt 1o*r linner, in the best spare room all was prepared for its expected occupant. Cora, in her widow's cap and dress, sat in' an arm bdi'0 before the ';drawing room fire, awaiting the arrival. Half past eight had been the hour named by her grandfather for, their comiingd' Rut a, few lninutes after. the blocklhad sh'rck, the s'ut inof'ierriagoe wheels was heard on the avenue approaching the house., Old. I 2t 'l h'alldour just as the vehicle drew up anid stopped. 1r. RIocklharrt alighted ,and theiu gave his h. land to his companipn,; wi.si tºrippted lightly to the paveuelt, nod let tlui owl liher up stairjt and into the house. Cota stiotl at the =doori'ofatlierdi'awving roomit ,.Mi*. lockhattrrt led his visitor up to hin grailddughter, and ' Mrs. Stillwater is vury much fatigued, Cora.: 'rako her atsoute, to her. room and make her comfortabie; nnd have dinner 'oi the table by the tiee she is ready to come dowil.' He uttered these words in a peremptory manner, without waiting for the usual greet. ing 'thaltiioulli ham, passed hpliuweunn the hostess and the visitor. r yCorn todgcliod W bel) " . Oh I let me ri ' ntreae lau sweet Cle first of all I Alt I mny swoet child I You and T botli widowed since the last 'time we met II cooedtonse,,in her mostdeleut tones, as she drew Cora-to her boson and kissed her be fore the latter otuld draw back.$ lHow do you dou ' was the formal greeting that fell from the lady's lips. ' As y'6u '4'ee dearest-'Not. happy, but m'P'sierned, tplaintiveJy. replied the widow. 'You quote from a king's muitione, I think` said Cora coldly. hose took no notice of the criticini, but tenderoly inquired.

And you, dearest one 7 How is it with you ?' 'I am very well, thank you, ' replied the lady. 'After such a terrible trial. But you always possessed a heroic spirit.' We will not speak of that, Mrs., Still water, if you please,' was the grave reply. Mr. Rockharrt looked around, as well as ,lhe could while old Jason was drawing off his [spring overcoat, and said:, 'Take Mrs. Stillwater to her room, Cora. Don't keep her standing here,' 'I have rung for a servant, who will at. tend to Mrs. Stillwater's needs,' replied the lady, quietly. The Iron King turned and stared at his granddaughter angrily, but said nothing. Thel'ousemaid came'up atthis moment. ' Mairha, sliow Mrs. Stillwater to the chamber prepared for her, and wait her orders there.' The negro woman wiped her clean hand on her clean apron-as a mere useless form and-then held it out to the visitor, saying, with` the scorn of conventionality and the freedom of an old family servant : ' How do, Miss Rose ? 'Deed I's mighty proud to see you ag'in-'deed I is. How han'some you has growed. You allers was lhan'some, hub now you's han'somer'n ever I' 1 ' Thank you, Aunt Martha,' she said, and followed the woman up stairs. Why did you not attend Mrs. Stillwater to her room ?' sternly. demanded the Iron Kin;, as soon as the visitor was out of hearing. 'Ity.is not usual to do anything of the soet, sir, except in the case of the guest

boing Ii vory distinguished person' or a very dear friend. My ox-governess is neither: She shall, howoever, bo treated :wiLh all due respect byu me so long-as she remains-under your roof,' quietly repliod Cora. You ought to see that she is,''retorted the Tron King as he stilked up stairs to.his rumni, followcd by his valet. Cora returned to the drawingrooim, to all lIppearances quite composed, but in reality very much perturbed. Had she acted well in her manner to her grandfather's guest'? After all, she kneiv no positive evil of the wonfnn. She had only strong cicumnstantial evidence. She recalled an old saying of her father's ' Bettor trust: a hundred rogues than dis. trust one honest than.' Yet Courts instiinet warned her not to trust Rose Stillwater. After all, she could do nothing. Half an hour afterwards holi meditations were inter rupted by the entranco of the guest. Mrs. Stillwater seemed determined hot to take of ence at her coldness. Rose came in, drew her chair to the Lire, and spread hlet! pretty hands over its glow, .:ooiuig her delight to be with dear friends again. ' Oh, darling Cora,' she, purred, ' you do not know-you cannot even fancy - the inetl'able sense of repose I feel in being here, after all the turbulence, of the past year. You read my letter to your dearest grand. father 1' 'Yes,' answered Mea. Rothsay. `'Fro ntthet you milst have seol,. to what straits I was reduced. Think I After having sold everything I possessed in the world-even all my clothing, except two

changes for necessary cleanliness-to pay my board; after trying in every.direction to get honest work to do; I was in daily fuar of being told to leave the hotel because I could not paynmy board.' ' That .vas very sad; but was it. not very expensive living at Wirt House 7 Would ie not have bean better under your circimin stances to have taken cheaper board 7'1 'Perhaps so, dear; but Captain Stillwater had always made -his home at Wirt House, so that I felt at home there, you see.'' ' Yes, I see,' said Cora. p ' Oh, my fondly cherished darliq -you, loved, sheltered, caressed.; yop. rich, admired, and flattered -cannot understand or appreciate the trials and suflh, ings of a poor woman. I was homelesst penniless, and friendless.' 'I am sorry to hear all thi ' said Corn. And then she was prompted to (add : ' But where was Mr. Fabian Rockhnarkt ? He was your earliest friend. He fint introduced you. He never lost sight of you after you left us, but corresponded with~you often and gave us news of you frony'time to time. Surely, Mrs. Stillwater, had/ he known your straits, he would have fou/id some .way of setting you up in some business lie never would have allowed you do suffer privation for a whole year.'' 'Why, dear love, of )urse I did write to Mr. Fabian first of all, and told him of the death of my poor lines lnd, and asked him if he could help me to t'another situation.' And he did not re pond ?' ' Oh, yes ;indeed lfe did. He replied very promptly, writing tlght he had a situation in view for me which 'would be better suited

for my needs than any I had ev r filled, and that he should come to Baltimibre to ixplidh and consult with me.' / The next day, doer, hel inI-, and-I hato to betray his conthirance sn.d tall you. ' Then do not, I bg cif you.' ' But-i hate imore1 o keep i secre" froth you. lIi short, lie acked mu to marry bin.' ' W'has' exclani d Corn, in surprise and incredulity. 'Yes, may love that was what, l lool to explain. The Aosition of his wife wint.li& situation he ad to otter me, and which lie thought word suit mie botter than any Tother IThad oveayilled.' 'Vhn was this proposal made 9 ' Ab t five months ago, and about smven mont mfter the death of may dear husband. ~e 11 that he would be willing to ;vriit i I the year of mnourning should b0 over.' 'Oh, that was considerate of him.' £ But I was still heartbrokln for the loss of my dear husband. 1 could notjthing of another marriago at any time hom Ever dis tant. I told him so. I told hi how much I esteemed and respected him id even loved him as a dear friend, butt t I could not he faithless to the memory my adored hus. band. I was very' s y; for he was very angry. I was gi d to hurt Mr. Fabian, though.' I do not link that he wis selously injured, least I am sure that his wounds healed - idly ; for in a very few weeks lie pro dI to' Miss Violet Wood awl was pted by hlr. They were married on the ourtecath day of February, and sailed for Europe the next dcy,' said Mrs. Rotlisay.

'Yes; I know. Disappointed men do such, desperate deeds; commit suicide or marty for revenge.: Poor, dear girl I' murmured Rose Stillwater, with a deep sigh. ' Why poor, dear girl ?'"inquired Cora. ' Oh, you know, she caught his heart iin the rebound, and she will not keep it. But let us talk of something else, dear. Oh, I am so happy here. So ftee from fear and anxiety. Oh, whbit ineffable peace, rest, safety I enjoy here. No one will pain me by presenting a bill that I cannot pay, or frighten me by telling me that my roon will be wainted for someoneo,else. Oh; how: I thank you, Cora. And how F theiik your honoured grandfather for this city of refuge, even for a few days.' 'You owe no thanks to me,' replied Cora: ` A thousand thanks, my darling ! ' said Rose, and hearing the heavy footsteps of the Iron Eing in the: hall, she added-as if she heard them not':. 'And -as for Mr. Rock harrt, that noble,- Iai'gu brained, great hearted man, I have no words to express the gratitude, the reverence, the adoration with which his magnanimous character and munificent benevolence inspires me. H9 is of all men the most-' t But here she seemed first to have cnught sight of the -Iron E.King, who was sta 'ding in the doorway, and who had heard 'every word of adulation that she had spoken/ Cora, is not diinier ready 4 the inquired. '.Yes, sir; .only waiting forlýou,' answered the lady. / Mr. Rockharrt gave his arm to Mrs. Still water, to take her to the t'able. ' Will not my Uncl Clarence be home this evening ?' inquimieUCora, as ithe three

took their seats. ' No; he will not be home before Satur day night. He is very busy over the accounts,;. working night and day,' replied the Iron King. dirs. Stillwater was the life of the little party. If she was a brokenlhcarted widowv, she did nut show it there. Shef smiled, gleined, glowed, iparkled in coriintenance and winds. 'nhe t moody :Iron King was liieercrled and exhilarated, and said, "ns he filled her glass for the first time vith Tokay, ' Though you do init need wine to stiniulato you, my child. You are full of joyous life. and spirits.' 'fOh, sir, pardon Ine. Perhaps I ought to control myself; but, I am so happy to be hero through your great goodness, that I forget all my losses and all limy sorrows, and give myself up to delight. Pardon me, sir; I know I ought to be calmor.' Not at all, my child. I ama gila to see you so gay. You have sufibred more than either of is, for you have not only lost your life's a ompanion, but home, fortune, and all your living. My granddaughter here, as you may see, is a immonsument of morbid, se liih sorrow, which she will not try to throw oil' oven for my cake. But you will brighten us all.' ' I wish I:might; Oh how I wish I might,' said Rose. ' It seems to iue so easy to be happy if one has only a safeo hnot aid a good friend.' ' And those you shall always hmavo in tile and in miiy house,'said the Iron King. Cora listened in pure amazement. Her gritmdfatlier syiupathotis I Her grandfather giving praise I What was the matter with

him 7 Not softenitg of thIe heart; he had never possesseiltsuch a commodity. Was it softening of the brain then 7 As soon as they liad finished dinnern-hd returned to the drawing-rooinu the Iron cKing said to his guest: ' Now, my child, I shall send you off to bed. You have had a long and fatiguing journey, and must have a good, long night's .sleep.' And with his own han ls he lighted a wax taper and gave it tolier. Rlse reueivezl it .with a grateful s-nile, hade a sweet-toned good night .to .Mr. Rockharrt and Mrs. 1Citlisay, and went tripping out of the room:, '1I shall say goodl-night, too.. .., But .let me say this before I go : Do you'tt yto take patterri'by that idmirable child. See how she tries to make the best of everything and to be pleasant under all her sorrows. You have not had half her troubles, and yet you will riot try. to get get over, your own. Imitate that, poor child, Cora.' 'Ohild, grandfather l .Do'you forget that Mrs. Stillwater is'a widow thirty-six years old V' inquired. Cora. ' Thirty-six.. I had not thought of it, and yet I know of it'. Well, so much the better. This \iwill be a ,brighter house for her presence,' said the Iron King, as he took up his taper, and left the room. Cora sat for a long while in meditation before she arose and followed, his. example. When she entered her chamber she was sur prised and annoyed to find Rose Stillwater there. , . 'Corn, love, it ism not yet: eleven o'clock, though the dear master did send us off to

bed. But I wanted to speak to yogi, darling before woeparted for the night.'., ' Yeas,"said Corn, ' Whatki. it ?' ' Only this love : T'hat I have not come here to sponge upon your' kindness.! I. will he ino drono,' I wish to be 'useful to you, Cot',.. Now you tiro fat away from all good nidlliiqrr, drosstuakers, and seafistresses, and : em very skilful with wmy ineedlo, and can do everything you might is to have done in that line--I mteant ii, the .way of trimming and altering bonnets or dresses. I' do ntt think I could outland fit.' Mrfis. Stillwatar ' ititerrtlilited COrs, 'you are our guest, aindyotb must not think of such a plan as you. suggest.'. ' Oh my dear Cora, do ijot spoak to me as if I were only company. I, your ' old governess. Do'not d make .a stranger of tme. Let me be as one of the family. Let mne be somewhat useful to you and to your. dear grandfatherm. TItin ' I shall feel at home thenI shall be hipp*,' pleaded' Tosa. , But, Mrs. Stillwater, we have not Loea accustomed to set our guests to work. The idea is' proposturouns,' said the inexorable Core. ' O1, my dear, do not treat me as a guest. Treat me as. you (lid when I was your governess. Maku Ine useful, will you not, dear Corn 7 ' ' "You are very. kind,. btit I would ratiheP not trouble you.' 'Alt, I see; you are tired and sleepy. I will not keep you up, bumit I'must make my self useful to you in 'soae way. 'Well, good night, 'dear,' said the widow, as she stooped and kissed her. hostess. Then she left. ('Lb bo contieued in our nect.)