Chapter 52030912

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Chapter NumberXV
Chapter Url
Full Date1884-07-26
Page Number3
Word Count3031
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleMorning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)
Trove TitleRonald Walton: A Tale of Early Squatting Life in Moreton Bay
article text

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WK must now skin over a space of three Tears. Ronald and Ada had peen married two years and a half, and Silas Blast and Mary, two years. Giovanni had become a man, and had only BÍX months more to serve with Blast, when one day tho latter received a large som of money at a bouse in town, and put it into his pocket with the intention of placing in his office-table drawer. When he returned to his office a client was waiting to eeo him, and after that person left, Silas Blast went home to dinner. In the evening he looked into the drawer for the money, intending to lock it up in his iron safe till the bank opened in the morning, but to his astonishment it was not there. He went quitely to HardshelTa room, and asked if he had seen any one in his office during his absence at any' time that day. The clerk replied that he had only seen Giovanni putting something into the drawer. He then told Hardshell that he had missed the money from the drawer, and sent him to tell Gio- vanni he wanted him io his office. His order was quickly executed.

"Giovanni," said Blast. "What were you doing at my drawer; What did you take


" I took nothing out, sir. I put that deed of transfer there when I hod done copying


.'" Why did you put it in that drawer ?"

"Because, sir, you told me that it was a valuable document ; and as I knew you some- times put deeds of that nature there, and as you were not in, I took the precaution of putting it in thinking you would better pleased if I did so,"

'.' If you thought there was any danger of its being mislaid in my absence, why did you not give it to Mr. Hardshell Ï"

"I was in a hurry, and did not think of it, at the moment, or I should have done so,


?"You took nothing out?" said Blast, looking very hard at him.

" Nothing whatever, sir."

" You did. No, no-it is no use denying it. You took a roll af bank notes ; you were seen doing it."

This was thrown ont os a random shot, Blast thinking to force Giovanni to confes- sion, and restitution. It had a very different effect on the young Italian, who grew paler than usual, and exclaimed,

"Liar I"

" You wliite-livored Italian pickpocket 1 You Bon of a foreign murderer and thief 1 Would you call me such a name t You shall be lodged in gaol. Hardshell go for a con- stable?'

Hardshell obeyed. Giovanni stood motion- less, and Blast put his back against the dcor. The young man said,

"You have treated mc like a beast since I had the misfortune to enter your service. I wish I hod starved in the bush rather than come herc. I have worked hard for you, and got nothing but abuse for it ; now you want^ to ruin roy character by putting me in goo'

but you Bhall not have that pleasure-Let me

out !"

" Yes, to gaol !"

Footsteps were heard outside. Giovanni took up a heavy ruler from the table and flung it at Blast with all his force. The

missile hit him on the forehead, end he fell. Instantly, Giovanni turned to the bock window, opened it and leaped out. In doing sp, he received a severe hurt on the breast- bone ,by coming into contact with a sharp pointed paling. Hardshell and the men with bim, not being able to open the door, for it was locked, or get an answer from Blast, they obtained an entrance through Hardshell a office. Blast lay on the Boor with the

splinters of the ruler about him. Not a drop of blood had been spilt, but a large blue lump on the right side of the prostrate man's fore- head revealed the true state of affairs to those

present. He was lifted on to the sofa, and a

doctor wi «eut for.-In the-oourse-of-an hour Blast was sufficiently recovers d toproceed home-s desolate home; as will shortly be ex- plained. .. ...

The moraine after tho above events, Silas Blast nut on his overcoat previous to proceed- ing to Dis office, as the weather waa chilly He put bis pocket-book into the inna, breast pocket, and then became aware of a packet that was already in it. He took it out, and the injustice he had done Giovanni tho day before flashed across his mind. The packet was the roll of notes he had accused the young man of stealing. He had gone home to duiner, aud had bung his overcoat up thinking he would not require it again that day, and was quite under the impression that he had carried ont his intention of putting the money into the drawer. After the discovery his train of thought took the follow-

ing turn.

" Well, it will not do to let it be known that I mode such a mistake. It would injure me in my business. That limb of the devil, and son of a murderer, has got clear away, and tiie only recompense I can make him which is more than he deserves-is to take no further measures for bis arrest. 1 have taken out a warrant for his apprehension, but it will never be served unless I offer a reward for his capture. I owe him six months' wages

that's one comfort."

Silas never said a word to any one-not even to Hardshell-about bis discovery, but quietly placed thc money, with some more, in

tlic bank.

He did not deposit the exact ¿um he bad stated he had been robbed of by Giovanni, fearing that it might in the future turu up as evidence against himself. Thus did that religious individual allow the terrible im- putation of robbery to reston an innocent person, . whose good character aud natural fair talents were all he hod to start with in life. What could the young man do under

the circumstances T We shall see.

What a change was worked in Mary Robinson during tue throe years passed over 1 We left her comparatively happy as the

affianced of Silas Blast. Now we lind her in thc lost stage of decline-a wreck in body and Bplrit. \V"ith her pretty infant, Florence, scarcely a year old, she again lived with her good aunt, Felina. How truly pood that aunt was, she now understood. Her detest- able husband, who hod married her only to show Ada how little he cared for her rejection of him, now showed out in his true colours that is, to poor Mary only, for tho cowardly wretch did nothing openly in the way ol abuse or ill-usage. He hod a reputation for being moral and religious, which was useful to him, and he would not for all the world com- promise himself openly. He knew that Mary would not speak of his cruelties, for she was toe true to him, indépendant of which, he had forced her to Bwear that she would never open her mouth to betray him to any living creature. Scenes, of which the following is a specimen, not unfrequently occurred. Helloo

struck her.

"Oh, Silas ! I never provoke you. I stud) you io every way. Bo not ill-uso me so. What can I do to please you ?" she exclaimec

as she kuelt beside her infant's cot.

"You always provoke inc. The verj sight of you is provocation. I bate you !"

" Why did you ask me to marry you then I was happy with aunt. I loved you, am could bo happy with you now, if you woult treat mc like a woman. If there is anything I can do, however degrading, to please you I will do it I Oh ! my little infant ! Wha

will become of von T"

" Perish your infant, and you too, a thousand times over 1 I wish you were both

dead I"

" Why do you hate your little one, Silas ?" "Because it is a girl, and because it is yours."

"Would it please you better if I lived away from you ? I could live with aunt, and would tell her and every one else it was my


"Ko, it would not please me. Besides, I could not have my revenege then, I loved Ada Brandon, and could have lived happily

en too;

his wife and children shall be reduced to want. It may be that I will have her yet, though ehe refused to be my wife. He is in the toils now, fast enough. I have kindly advanced him more money from time to time. He con never clear himself, and when the time comes I will foreclose. Ha i ha 1"

" Oh, Silos 1" the poor wife said in an agony at his perfidy. "Could you not spare

her and her children?"

" Could I not spare kim, you mean-you false woman 1 I saw it au, though you thought I did not. I knew how deeply interested you were in him. once, end you shoU pay for it.

"I have loved you and been true to you Silos, and you know it."

" Look here," he said, reaching a Bible off a shelf, " swear to me that you will never mention, at the peril of your Boulj what I

have said to you."

"I promise you that. I never break a promise, Silos."

He kicked her, and forced her to repeat the oath after him, and kiss the book ; then left her. During the whole time, she had been on her knees, and after his crowning act of brutality stretched herself instinctively over the cot of her little innocent ; not in prayer, or in grief, but in a half-stunned state, in which she continued for a long time.

Mary bad not been reduced to such an abject state all at once, it was the result of a systematic course of ill-treatment. She was a brave and true woman ; and though she saw her aunt almost, every day, she never even hinted at the misery of her soul, or the cauee of it, but intime, she began to wear an outwardly haggard, wretched look, that did not escape the anxiouB eye of her aunt.

When questioned, ehe attributed the change j of ill-health, which, in her then condition . was not improbable. Aunt Felina, though j quieted, was not fully satisfied, for she detect- j ed an expression in Mary's countenance j that alarmed ber, and that her condition did not satisfactorily account for. Thus it went on for weary months ; at length, at a few weeks prior to the time we found Mary again an inmate of Neptune Villa, a scene occurred which brought matters to a climax. Silas had treated her with unusal brutality, and was about to follow it up with Borne violence to her child. That was too much. He might kill her if he willed, but thc child must be protected, and in a state of fear, border- ing on frenzy, shelled bare headed from tho bouse out into the cold wet night, and away to her aunt. Silas did not follow her, for ho dreaded exposure. Healwayschoscsuchtimes and places as would be most likely to secure him immunity for the prying eyes of servants or others, and so far, he had been lucky in evading them.

When Mary reached Neptune Villa with ber infant, her aunt was about to retire for the night, and was in the oct of putting down her window blind. It took a good deal to alarm thc old lady, but when she saw the blanched face, and dripping garments of her niece, who was holding thc tiny bundle to ber bosom, she thought it was an apparition ; but when the poor girl spoke emploring her to let her in, she ran to the door, only to find Mary stretched before it in a swoon. Aunt Felina called Snowball, whir-just _ then appeared with Pearl in her hands, wringing wet; for that wicked cat disregarded the natural instincts of her kind, and went freely into the rain or dew at night. No doubt the frequent bathings hod demoralised her.

" Here, Snowball, take the baby, while I lift my dear brother's child inside. She is

wringing wet. Mercy on us Í What is this

matter?" said Aunt Felina.

"Will I put de baby in de cats' nursery, 'ra? Dere's gC"*-<!"-e dere now."

" Yes. Take tv co the fire, and take off them wet wraps.",

While aunt Felina spoke she was carrying her unconscious niece into her own bedroom.

She placed herein a couch, and used, success- fully, some of the many means known to ladies for the recovery of their fellow women in rimilqr plights, then proceeded to undress

' «er. Mary -kept her eye« &ttd^^fT^^^B

face with a sort of da^ expression, but j^^^^B

"Oh, Maryl'' ehe -suddenly exclâ$n^^^| "How awfully thin you arel WhatislHH thill Oh, meroy what to all this? . -.'.<>? ;*a|^^B Well might «he ask. The poor girl MlBJ bruised from her neck to her feet. Brnias^H in all stages, from the fresh contusion tb 4iu^B faded yellow green of those that were JyüyjM

"The wretch has been beating youl Tll^| expose bim: He shall bo hunted oy themobl ''J He shall pay for this with bis life] Ines lt "Ja all now. He has dared to raise his hand to 'J tho flesh and blood of my saintod brother l a

Ohl" , , - -'J

She bid her face in the pillow on :which ;i Mary's head rested, fairly overcome with

horror and passion. Mary turned ber ;head ' ? with difficulty, and faintly said,

" Aunt, Sf you whisper a word of tins, X shall die. Never mention this to me, or to

him, or to any living soul." : ?

It was said with such an unmistakably be- seeching look, that her aunt made no further observation, but proceeded to lift her wasted

form on her own bed.

"There,"she said," "you can rest safely in my bed, my child,-"

"Oh I" exclaimed Mary, in an agony of terror. " Has fe-has any one got jnyj-^tot my pretty one ? Give mc by babe 1 ¿ On I Where is it?" !

' ' Safe, my child-Snowball, bring the baby - here." r

The infant was quickly placed beside her,

and she received it with a smile of love and satisfaction, that can only illumine the fea- tures of a mother. Thc wee thing crowed and nestled in, all unconscious of the desola- tion within tho true breast to which it was so fondly clasped. Thc sad, weary look faded rom Mary's countenance, and she fell asleep.

What Cs a Mother's Lovo?

anoblo, nure, and tender name, j

Enkindled from above ''*~~*V~aJ

To bring a helpless babe to light, T . v 'JÊ

Thon while it Iles forlorn, -'V^sm To'cwo upon that dearest slgbt, - ??'?mm

' And feel herself new born, . In Its existence lOBe her own. - 1 .

And live and brcatho In lt alone ; , ; !?

Tills tes. Mother's Love!" .

Her aunt rnkde up tho fire, end wU^f Bose and Pearl for companions, watcj^^H sadly at thc bedside of her ill-used nieeé^^H hours. The little oue woke first, and. B^^H Felina endeavoured to take it up and so^^^H it by the fire, that it might not disturb' l^^^H but thc latterrf eeling the attempt to TSB^^H it, tighter to her saying, > J^^H

" Oh 1 don't Silos ! Bo not hurt

one, or take it from me !" 'Dien eba ïi^^^^B saying, "ls it late, aunt? Why do'yi^^^^H go to bed ? Come in with me, do. ïç^^^^H so happy with you and my little Floa^^^^H

Aunt Felina.¿id so, .but didj^^^^^^H She had been too much allocked j^J^^^^H had discovered, and ws^.er^)VcxeflsjH|^^H course she should pursue. She hodTde^^H mined one point irrevocably. Mary sbb^^H never return to thc inhuman monster as l^^H os she could prevent it. ^^mm

Silos Blast wrote a note and dispatched^^H to Mary, demanding her instant return.' 3^^H aunt intercepted it, and wrote in her, a^^J largo, firm characters :- j^^H

" Silas Blast,-Mary is too ill from the c0octs^a^^^B I ficndiiA treatment to attond tc any coimnfl^^^H

from you. Xever intrude your hateful pnsonle*/^^^H this roof again. Would 1 were a man-or better|^^^H tiiat my brother were now living-you should net^^^H a M'hole bone in your loathsome body. Enov^^^^H Mary never leaves this house for youra so long w ^^^H prevent it. Hake one attempt to assert your authf^^H

and I will expose you through tlic length and h^^^H

of the land.

"PELIKA Rosna] She did not Bhow Marr either his lei ber reply ; nor did she ever allude i circumstance. When Silas Blast rç3 letter, his fury knew no bounds, for bel she would carry out her threat to tile J andhe dared not brave the exposure. HeJ

in the meantime have his revenge.

burn his will, and draw up another, < putting off his wife and child from

icipation in the enjoymentof hiB)J

¿ed out the first part of his i

.intending to con

Mary had henceforth a quiet asylum in the home of her childhood, but the fresh healthy stream of her life was poisoned too deeply tb allow of her cujoyiug the sweet repose ot mind that ehe possessed before leaving it for her husband's house. She grew thinner week by week, and her hollow checks, which BO long had borne tho fullness and bloom of health! now wore thc hectic flush of disease.

(To be continued.)