|Newspaper Title||Queanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||For Cora's Sake|
lie tfr tettVr. i FOR CORA'S SAKE S CHAPTER XXVIL-(Continuedl.) SLook 'yere, marister, leas' said s,,ne,' ' mended where she's 'cerned. I (cda?n teil you ou'y but jns' dis : She 'peaidtld yre 'bo?r twenty year ago, or mo'. She built deat dere hut wid her own han's, an' she use to make baskets an''brackets an' sick, an' fetch, 'em roun' to do people to sell. Sle use to tell fortins, too; an' tolks did say as she tole true, an' sonoe slid say as she had ia tell us-maln ring ,w'ich, when she wore it, shlle could set inter do futur'. But' she hobber would take no money for tellin' fortins w'ich ws's curons. D)e berry day as de gubner-leck was missin' ob, she wanished too. ::When de cons'able went to 'rest her, he foiri' her gone an' de hut burnt up. Nowi :yure wis, young Inarse, at de lan'in ', an' ysu;can getright our yere 'dout wettin' your' feet,' saiid 'the old ferry'man, ias he pushed the boat up *to the dry end of the wharf. The passenger astonished the old fer'rym:in: by putting k'quairter of an eagle ilt his haind, and: then sprang from the boat and ran up the aivenue leading toward the house. There was no liglhtt visible from the winaiies of the- mansion. ,The dinner" party was .n strictly private family affair, aind nothing but the solitary lamp at the head of the avenue appeared to guido the perlestritin's s'tpis: tlirough the: darkness of the newly fallen miight. tHe reached the house, and was admitted by thii,old servant. Vlien his toilet was complete, the; duke weant.'ilvn- to the drawing-room to join the family- circle. The dinner, quiet as it was, was a success. To. be sure the diners weere, all in deep moulrning, and the conversation- was irather suibdited ; but, then, it was perhaIps on that account hthe more interesting. :The:many courses, altogether, occupied more than an hour. When the cloth was drawn and the dessert :pliaced upon the table, at a signal frola the Irdon King the butler went around the table and" tilled every glass with champagne, then returned and stood at his master's back. Mir: 'ockharrt arose and made at speech, and proposed a toast tliht greatly astonished his 'company and compromised itwo of them. With his glass in his hand, he said : "'My sons, daughters, and friend: -:You all doubtless understand the object of this family gathering, and also why this cele bration.of an interesting family event must necessarily' be conined .to ..tho members of the family. In a word, it is my duty and pleasure to announce to. you all the be throthal in marriage of his grace the Dulke of Cumbervale and my granddabugh'teir, Mrs. Corona Rothsay. I propose tih health of the betrothed pairi.' SCorm put.down her glass and turned livid withl dismay and indignation.: All the other diners, the didke" among themi, arose to the occasion and honoured the toast, and then sit downr., all except the duke, who remained standing, and though somewhat embarrassed by this unexpected proceedingon lthe part of thq Iron Iing, yet vaguely supposed it mightbe.a local custom, and at all events was certainly very muchl pleased with it. .Being, in love and being taken by surprise, he cotild not be expected to speak 'sensibly, or even coherently. I' osaid : ' Lajies and .gentlemen : This is th e happigst day of .my life as yet. I look for sward[;io' a hapiier one in the near future, when I shall call the lovely lady .at my:side by the dearest name that mnan can utter, and '1 'shall call. you not only moy dear friendcs, but my near relatives. I. propose the heeialf of the grteatest benefactor of the humai race iow living. The man, who, by his 'inhty life's work,' has opened up tlihe resoilrces of nature, compelled the ever hlstiligjnountains to 'give up their priceless tieasuiies of coal and iron ore; given am ployinept to thousands of men and women ; mnade :this sanvago i=vilderness of rock and water "'bloom and blossom as:tlhe rose," anid hu? with the stir of iindustry like m'yridd hives'bf bees. I propose the health of Mr. Aaron- tockharrt.' ' ' All; except Corn, rose and honoured this toast. '. Mr. Fabian replied on t~he part of his fathei. " •'Tl'en_ the health of each member of the pkrty ?was proposed in turn. When this was qsi;e the twiid6 ladies' withdrew mind went into the drawing room, hleaing the gentle-, men to their wine. ' Oh, iny dear, dear Corn ! I am so glad i I wish yotu .jiy witlh my whole heart,' ex claimdi, Violet, as. shelo clasped Core to her heart. '.: The next instant she lot her go andl gazedrat her ,in surprise and dismay. " ;Wly,w?,liat is the matter, Corn? You are'as white and cold as deatlh... 'WVhat is the rmatter I' tlemanded Violet as sheiR led aind half- upported Corn to" an easy chair, in which the latter dropped. S'Teill'ne, Cra. What is itrdesarl? What can Idb for you ? Is all this emotion caused by thoe announcement of your betrothal to :duke :'> " '- ' T
,hall be all right presently. Doi't be frightened, darling,' said Cora, as well as she could speak. SBut leyt me lo something for you I,'. ' You canti (l iiothirig. L' PBuf jl ita citused this . ' My feelingg lve been outrage(d- that is I I[Hiw I Surely 'notby Mr. Rockhatrrt's annuiacemnent. of your ongagemenit to the ldke. It was rather eibarrrassing 'to the hIetrothed .:pair,, I admit ; but it was the proper. thing to do.' . .' Tljhi proptr thing to ilo. Violet it: was falseo I am not hetrotlhnd to the rluke." I never' shall' be. I :would not marry. an emperor to share a throne. .My life is corn. secrated to :l'ord vorkl in the very fitld in which my dear husbhnd died. I have said this to my gibnnilfatier aid you 'all. If it had not bee) for..Mr fl Rockharrt'r accident ,that endangered his life I should have gone with'iiy brother. I' shall go at thel (lrst opportunity.'. .- Cora poke very excitedly, being beside horself with wrath. 1,'lthuriuht, the-duke -wt'as an'old 'admirer of yn?dti, Iand haul conmn over., on purpose to marriy you,' said Violet.' .'1 'hat iý too.trul'U'v 'le. entleni agailst mny will.; 'I nevor gave hit the sliglthts1i on w~~~ ~~ il ee ae
o uragement. How could I when my life is onsecr aterl to the memnory of my husband ? I fear grandfather asserted the duke of my hand; :,s6 hathati vhen he heard the false announcement of our betrothal he took it for granted it irks all" right. He must have clone so; though he himself was much taken by surprise.' ' How very strainge of MIr. Rockharrt to do such a tihing. -If I had been you, Cora" I should have got up and disclaiiued it,' said Violet. ' No, you would not. You would 'not have made a'scene at the: dinner table. I was in no way responsible for the announce nment, and in no way bound by it. The silence that seemed to endorse.it was made compulsory by the circumstances.' 'But wlhm't shall you do about'it 'I' 'As soon as I can speak of it without making ait scene, I shall tell 'Mr. Rockharrt and the Duke of Cumnbervale, that a most reprehensible liberty has been taken with my name. I will say that I never have been and never 'ill:be engtiged ,q the duke, or to, anyone else.' 'It would mortify the duke.' ' I do not care if it does.' ' And, indeed, it would put the oron King into a terrible .rage.' 'I cannot help it. Here come the gentle men.' SAt- that moment .the - fouri gentlemen entered thde drawihg room;: he: h l' uke amln directly up to Cora, and srid softly. : 'Corona, you have blessed i?b beyond the power of words-' .. ,. 'I think there is some serious. mistake here, sir, which we may set right' at some
more litting opportunity. W ill you have tihe goodrnss not Jto refer to the conmedy onactedtl t tdinner.' 'I will oblige"you, iltinU''li'" do not und(erstaild you,' said the dukoe ' Oblige noe, Duke f ? ',_ wit :tc show you a mnp of the prijnoteid )itgregtii. and Aloikita rnilroad,' said the 'Tron King,comning towards his guest .vith a roll of parchment in his hands. The duke ilnmediately arose i.nd(,1antlL ofil with his host to IL dlistant table, wheie the nutp wais spread out, and the two gentlemen sIt dlown tfo e lxaminel it. Mr. Flabiaoi and Ml'r. Clarence calml over to joib Corna and Violet. S'tihis is a pretty inar ch you h~rlo stolen on us Corn. I had no Mor1n idea of tiis thiin the im ni in thhi moon. But I congratulltto you, my dear.. Your prltfa3nt from rie shall Ih a sot of the most spletidid dil?nnidsl tlitt cant be got togethert by the rligrinondl ior cillllts ofl E?trop.ll No ? inkm sot lttt co.lat l picked tip reatily Siot, oh 7 i)inandinds trlat shall grace It duchess, Illy diLar I' said Mr. h'anllltl ostentattiously. Soin, lily dlear, I wis as nuch si.rprised as IFabian. lut,J-ohI I I was happy for yourlI sake. 'Trie duke isn, good fullw, I.al srl'O, and awfully in love withli you, All, didnl't lie offer a just ittl heartfelt trihutni to fin tihr. I inullare, Cora, I neverifutlly appreciated mny fatheri , lo realilsd whait a gireat Iboloifctcr lie ?hto to thle itmar it aco, until the diluro ihoiu at little mpuiec in proptosing his huntlth. H:how ilpprcllriiti.v thel duke is. 11 ally, (o1r, doltr, you are a ivery hitappy wiitit, antid conogratiutlito you with nitl lily llheart mild soul; indeeood I do,' said Mr. Clarunce,
wringing the young lady's Mend, and turning away to hide the tear's that tilled his eyes. 'Thank you, Uncle Clarence. Thank you, Uncle Fabian. I acu gr-ttcful for your con gratulations, ?n accountr of your good inten tions; but-congriatulations are uncalled for on:this occasion.! ' ' Why- what oi' earth ;do .you mean Cora ' inquiired Mrr. Fabian, while Mr. Clarence'looked :full of uneasiness. 'I mean that I have never been engaged to the Duke of- Cumbervaile, aind never mean to marry him. M-r. Rockhari·t's' announce ment was unauthorised anrid unfounded. ":It was just an act of diespotic will, t0o oblige me to contract a marriage which he favours.' The two men looked on the speaker in mute amazelent. . ' We will not talk more of this to-night. But thenmatter must be set right to-morrow,' said Cora. A little latei-:Mr. arid:Mrs. Fabian Rock harrt took leaveand departed for their home.