|Chapter Title||THE NEW COMERS.|
|Newspaper Title||Queanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||For Cora's Sake|
FOR CORA'S SAKE.1 CuIersn XXXV.-Tua V sw COMERS. ' Yes, colonel,' briskly 1eplied Clarence, ' 1 am really going out to the' frentier I I have not enlisted in the army, nor have I received any iappointment as post trader or. Indian agent from the government, nor missionary or schbolmaster from any Christian association. But, all the same, I am en route for the wilderness on my own responsibility, by my own expense, and with this outgoing trail if there be no objection,' added Clarence, with a sudden obscure doubt arising in his miiid that there might exist some military regulation against the attachment of any outsiaer to the trail of army waggons going over the plains from fort. to fort. Objections ! What objections could there possibly be, mny dear sir 1 I fancy there could be nothing worse than a warm welcome for you,' replied the colonel. At that moment Captain Neville, who had put his wife in their carryall, came up to see what had delayed his guest. My dear ?airs. Rothsay, we are ready to start,' lie said. Then seeing 'Mr. Clarence, w4honm he had met in Washington and liked very much, he seized his hand and exclaimed: ' Why, Rockharrt, ily dear fellow ! You here! . This is a surprise indeed. I ani glad to see you. How are you 'l When did you arrive? anmd lie shook the hand of the new coier as if he ivwuld have shaken it ul(1 'I am very well, thank you, captain, and have just lauded from the boat. I hope you and your wife are quite well.' ' lobust, sir ! Robust ! So ;clad to see you ! But so sorry you did.not arrive a few days sooner, so that we might have seen more of you. You have, come, I suppose, all this distance to bid a last, supplementary farewell to your dear favourite niece '1 I have come to go with her to the fron tier, if I may have the privilege of travelling with your trail of waggons' ' iWhy, asiuredly. We are always glad of good company on the way,' heartily i'e spourled the captain. p 'Oh, beg pardon, and thank you very much; but I don't intend to 'beat ' Ily way back. Look there ,' exclaimed Clarence, with a brighter smile, as he pointed to the commodious carriage drawn by a pair of line draught horses, that stood waiting for him, and to the covered waugon, drawn by .a pai' of stout mules, that was coming up behind. 'Oh ! Ali Yes, I see ! You are travelling with your retinue. But is this notia very sudden move on your part 7' demanded the 'cpao sudden in its impulse that iti.iight be uiistakon for the flight of a crisminal had it not been so deliberate in its execution. The fact is, sir, I am very much attached to my widowed niece, and not being able to dissua'de her from her purpose of going out into the Indian country, and heing her natural protector and an tuiincuimbered hachelor, I decided to follow her. Anrid now I feel very happy to have overtaken her in the nick of time.' .Isee I see ! ' said the captain with a laugh. While this talk was going fn, Corona turned to take .a better look at the great, strong carriage in which her 'uncle had driven up froiu the steamboat .handiug, and her heart leaped with joy to see the dear familiar faces of the coloured servants who had been about her from her childhood. Corona uttered-a little cry of joy as she hastened towards the waggoin. The three coloured people saw her at once, and, with' the unconventionality of their old servitude, shouted out in chorus: ' How do, Miss C'rona ?' Saivint, mliss CO'rona I +'Didn't 'spect to see we cubtu . tropeesin' titter yet' 'way out yore, did yet now Aind they also grinned and bobbed,tind grinned - between every ' word, as they. tumbled off their seats and went to meet her. Clarence hoisted the two winmei to their seats, fine on each side of the driver, anil thlen turned to Cora. Coni, my dear. Let mnn put you unte our carriage,' le said. 'Oh'! T have not taken leave of Colopel yet. 'W'here is, he 7' .hie inquired, noking round. 'Here 1' m, niy dear \lrs. Itothsay. Whiting at the carriage door to put you iii vour seat 'indl to wish you a pleawsntjouvfey. Ani certainlyl if this initial flay is ally iidex, yii " ill have :i. leiasant oine, for I ý.ineveur sa linerai weahrn th is .se 'syn of thn' yemir,' saul the colon1eltchrily. Tthialtk you, colonel, fom idl thle kilidie~s 1 hav e received at your hmands and at those if lMrs --. I shall iiever~ foi'get it. (loord by,' said Coin, giv in hsnm hci hand. Ho lifted the tips of lhe' lingers to his lips, bow'et atid stspperl bak. Claimence entered the ceiriage and gave the order to the younig co clean. Gartiage toid covered wvaggon thet' tell into the' pio. essioii, w'hiclthiegail t'i illov ii . A fare. wmell "un wits tired froit tha' tort. *Uncle Clarence,' stint Gritii after tlte
party nlaui neei r11,1 [111: OU.L aU Lnm Imu , ' how came you first to think of such a strange move as to leave the works and come out here ' And when did . you lirst make up your mind to do it'f' EI think, Corn, my dear, the idea carne vaguely into my mind, as 1L more possibility after my father's death. It occurred to inn that there was no absolute necessity for my romainhtg longer at the works. You see, Cora, howaver much I might have wished for a chango in my life, I never could have, vexed my father by, even expressing such a: wish, while he lived. After his death, I thought of it vaguely.' Oh, why didn't you tell me ?' ' My mind was not made up; therefore I spoke of the matner to no one. I only hinted something to you, when on bidding youL rnnad-hy at North End Junction I told you that you might possibly see me beEore you, would expect to do so.' 'Yes; I remember that well. I thought you only said thab to comfort me. ' And you really meant that you might possibly follow me?' 'Yes, my dear; that is just what I meant. I could not speak more plainly because I was not sure of my course. I had to think of Fabian.' ' Yes. How, at last, came you to the conclusion of following your poor niece?'
£ Fabian and myself could not agree upon a certain policy of conducting our business. There was no longer the father's controlling influence, you see, and Fabian is the head of Ythe firm; and I could not do business on his principles,' said Mr. Clarence, flushing up to his brow. ' No; I suppose you could not,' said Cor, I meditatively; and then she was sorry that she had said anything that might imply a reproach on the good humoured uncle she had left behind. ' Still I said nothing about a dissolution of partnership, until Fabian complained that I, or my policy, was a dead weight around his neck, dragging him down from the most magnificent flights to mere sordid drudgery. Then I proposed that we should dissolve partnership. And he said he was sorry. We disagreed, my dear Cora, but we did not fall out; we parted good friends and brothers with tears in our eyes. Poor little Violet cried a good deal. But you know she has a tender heart, poor child !-Look at that herd of deer, Cora, I hope nobody will shoot at them !' exclaimed Mr. Clarence. So they fared on through the glorious autumn day-over the vast, rolling, solitary prairie. At noon the captain called a halt, and all the teams were drawn up in a line; and all the men got out to feed and water the horses and mules, and to prepare their own dinner. Mike O'Reilly, the captain's orderly; was busy spreading a table cloth on the grass, at the foot of a hill on the right, and old John. Mr. Clarence's mlan, was emulating Mike by spreading a four yard square of white damask a short distance behind him.
Our, friends had nearly finished their liuch, when something - she never could tell what--caused Corona to look behind her. Than she shrieked. All looked to see the cause of her sudden fright. There stood a group of. Indians, ,with' blankets around their forms, and gleaming tomahawks about their shoulders. * Pawnees-friendly. Don't be afraid. Give them something to eat,' said the captain, in a low tone, addressing the tirstpart of his conversation to Corona and the last part to Mrs. Neville. But Corona.hnd never see al Indian in. her life, and could not at once get over the panic caused by the sight of those hare, keen-edged axes, gleaming in the sun. Captain Neville spoke to them in their native tongue, and they replied. The con veraition that ensued was quite unintellig ible to Clarence and Corona, but not to Mrs. Naeville, who beckoned to two squaws who stood humbly in the rear of the braves. They were both clothed in short, rude, blue cotton shirts with blankets over their shoulders, the elder squaw carried a paek on her back; the younger one carried a baby snugly in a hood, made of the loop of her blanket at the back of her neck. They both approached the ladies, chatter ing as they came; the elder one threw down her pack on the grass and began, to open it and display a number of dressed raccoon I skins stretched upon sticks, and by gibbering and gesticulations expressed her wish to selL them. Neither of the ladies wished to buy; bub Mrs. Nevillo gave her loaves of bread and junks of dried beef from the hampers on tho
grass, and Corona gave her money. She put the money in a little fur pouch she carried.at her belt, and she packed the bread and beef in the bundle with the highly flavoured raccoon skins. She was not fastidious. When all was ready the wayfarer took leave of the Indians and re-enitered their conreyances anul resumed their route, leaving the savages still feasting on the fragments that remained. Men and women,-mules and horses, hadI all been rested-and refreshed by their nid day halt and repast. Clarence took out his cigar and lit it, and as he smoked he watched the descending sun until it sank below the horizon and sent up the most singular after-glow that Clarence had ever seen-a shower of sparks and needle-like flames from the edge of the prairie immediately under the horizon. 'Looks like de worl' was ketchin on fire ober dere, Marse Clarence,' said young Mark, speaking for. the fli-st tune since they had resumed their march. ' It is only the light reflected by the prairie, my boy,' kindly replied Mr. Clarence. And then he smoked on in silence, while the after-glow died out, the twilight faded, and one by one the stars came out. Corona seemed to be slumbering in her seat. Young Mark crooned low, as if to himself, a weird, old camp meeting hymn. It was so dark that he could not have seen to guide his horses, had not the captain's - lantern carried by the advance guard shown the way. What's the nuatter 2 ' suddenly cialled but Mr. Clarence, who was aroused 'froni his
reverie by the halt of the whole prdcession. ' We 'pears to got sumwburze,' replied Mark, strongly pulling in his horses, which had nearly run into the back of the captain's stationary carryall in front. ' We are at Burley's,' called out Captain Neville from his seat. While he spoke Mike O'leitly brought up a lantern to show their way to the house. Clarence alighted and handed down his niece, took her 'arm, and followed Captain Neville past the waggons and mules and groups of men through a door that admitted them into a long low.ceiled room. It was a rough habitation. Captain Neville and Clarence returned to the waggons to see for themselves thldt their valuable personal eflocts were safely bestowed for the night, and that the horses and mules were well cared for. The proprietor of this place attended them. WVhile Mrs. Neville and Corona were still walking up and down in the 1-0o01n, a small dark-haired woman came in and nodded to them, and asked if they would like to go upstairs and have some water to wash their faces. Both ladies thankfu'ly accepted the kind offer, and followed the landlady up a rude flight of steps that led np from the corner of the room to an epen trap door, through which they entered the garret. This was nothing better than a loft, whose rough plank floor formed the ceiling of the room below, and whose eloping roof rose from the floor front and back. Here they rosted through the night. Let us hasten on. It was the thirteenth day out. The trail had crossed nearly the
whole of the Tridian territory, and were within one day's march of Fort Farthermost on the Texan frontier. They had passori the previous night at Fort WV., about twenty miles nearer their destisnitioni. They -rested thrner for two hours. As usual at tire noon rest, moits oinl horses were unhrrmn..eed anrt let .1eon n to tho stream to be wantnunl and fed. Fires were built and rustic cranes improvisedl to hang the pots and kettles, gipsy styic. When all was ready the party of four sat down on the dry grass to partake of the meal, to every course of which they did ample justice. This is our last al ffcsco feast,' said Capt. Neville, after dinner, as he filled the ladies' glasses and propose,) the toast: Our lasting friendship.' It was honoured warmly. Then Clarence proposed : *Mrs. Neville,' which was also honoured, and responded to by the captain in a neat little speech, at the end of which he pro posed : ' Mrs. Rothsay.' This was duly acknowledged by Clarence, who proposed the health of Our gallant captain,' which was drunk with enthusiasm. - The captain responded, and proposed Mr. Clarence ]1ockharrt.' Then Clarence made his last little speech of personal thanks. After this the whole company arose and separated, to wander about the camping ground, to stretch their cramped limbs before returning to their seats on their.
carryalls. 'Come, Clarence, let us follow this little stream up to its head. It cannot bo far away,' said Cora. Clarence silently drew her arm within his and they walked up the littleaselley until it narrowed into a gorge, clothed with stunted treos in brilliant autumn hues, through which the grey rocks jutted. The tinkling of the spring which supplied the stream could le, heard while it was yet out of sight. ' Did you bring your drinking cup with you, Claronce 7 r should like a draught from the spring,' said Cora. ' Oh, yes,' said her uncle, producing the silver cup. They clambered up the side of the gorge until they reached the spring-a great jet of water issuing from the rock. But there both ,stopped short, spellbound, in ama.ement. On a ledge of rock above the spring, annl facing them, stood a majestic man, clothed in coat of buckskin, faced and bordered with fur, leggings of buckskin and sandals of bufltlo hide. On his beid lie woro a fur cap that half con coaled his tawny hair. The face was fine, but sunbunt and half covered with a long tawny beard. Corona looked up, and recognised Regulas 1Rothsay I With a cry of terror she struck her hands to her eyrs, as if to dispel an optical illusion, and sank half fainting, to be caught in the arms of her uncle and laid against the side of the rocks, while lie sprinkled her face with water from the spring. She recovered her breath, opened her eyes, and looked anxiously, fearfully, all
aLround her. There was no one~ in ight anywhere.' Th~.j a~pparitio)n 1110 J"Minheori. (:or' an her( 1 1 uncle wvere ;il eo.