Chapter 52446337

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Chapter Number4. XII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52446337
Full Date1893-05-27
Page Number3
Corrections0
Word Count3213
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Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleMorning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)
Trove TitleUnder the Great Seal
article text

TALES AND SKETCHES.

[SOW FIRST rUDLISItED.]

UNDER THEGREAT SEAL,

A NOVEL,

BY JOSEPH HATTON.

Author of " Clytie," " By Order of tho Czar,"

"John Needham's Double," "Cruel Lon- don," &c.

[ALL BIGHTS RESERVED].

PART IV.

CIIKFTKU XII.-THE PATIENCE or ZACCIIEUB

WEBB.

" Yo'n a aiglit batter this moram'," Bnid Charity Dene, " doan't say yo hain't."

"I duima," said Xacchcus Webb, taking tho scat that Mrs. Dene placed for him.

'* You dunua, but I do : whetlicr's took turn for better, yon old hunx o' your'n say«: lisliin's good likewise."

" Aye Blinuldna wonder," replied Webb, "1 dunno mek nowt much a what you bc arter, Charity. You'll got news, ch ?"

*? Not about her, no news o' Mira ; news of

him."

*' Who?" asked Webb, as bc took tho slice of bread which Charity cut for him and laid a rasher of bacon upon it,

*' Him ns killed t'other wuu ?"

" Aye, so bc did, I'd forgotten ; 'were David made a boggort on him-think I seed un t'other night."

" Seed un 1 Seed who ?"

" Boggert o' him as cum here and made off wi' Mini. They was rccd-cutting' at the

time."

" Wish you'd go reed cullin' or sutnmat," said Charity : " drink yourcoffeo ; I thowt yo was a-coming' to your senses, and you yo

mundill on wuss than ever."

Mrs Dene talked to Zacchcusasif he were both deaf and blind. He hud only recently come out of what she called "his Kt o' sittin' over fire and talkin' rubi isl) to hissen."

" I know what ya's talkin' on," said Webb, drinking his coffee and eating his bread and

bacon.

"Uh, you do, do you ; well, I'm glad to hear yo say BO ; it argues you're comiu' round. I was ugoiu' to tell ye about case at

'Sizes."

, " 'Sizes ?"

"Doan't yo' remember me a-telling' yo'all about row at Norfolk. Doan't yo remember prison visitor tellin' yo ?"

" Missie Hoape ?"

" Uh, yo remember her, do yo ?"

" Mildred Hope, she wor fond o' Mira, she

wor."

At thought of thc two girls as he had seen them together, Zacchcua left tho table and sat down by thc fire.

" lill dear, there ye go agen." said Charity Dene, " yo'u say no more for a week. I'm gettiu' kinder tired o' this. Herc, take your pipe, you're au owd inawkiu ; juBt as yo was comin' round, in all !"

The woman filled his pipe audgave it to him. He looked up her in a dumb, distressed way, remarking, " I knaw all about it; doan't yo bother; she'll come hum, Mira,.will, she'll come bum."

"I dessay she may, and I desBay she mayn't," suid Charity, ligbing his pipe, at which lie began to pull.

" Mek no doubt on it, all i' good time," he

said.'

" Lord, Lord, what a fuss about a bit of a wench ; why, when I was a gel it waa a common thing for a lass to run off, aye, and to scmethiu' even wuss than what Mira's gat. Wuss 1 Why I heard say i' Yarmouth oanly yesterday as she'd left Squire Barkstead for a dooke, and was n-drivin' i her carridgc wi' don't knaw how many servants, the like of which was fit for a queen. Well, she had a way wi' her had our Mira, it was that impcruous at times as yo'd a thought she was brought up ou a nigger plantation wi' a whip in her hand, but mostly good tempered, mostly that's true, and such a merry grig ; not no good a trying' to keep a hiss o' that build down here fishiii' and muddlin' about, not no kind o' use that. I said so to Squire Bark- stead. .And to think o' they twoamcetin' as they did ! and him a-killin thc other, test ways dom' of him in a feight. But he wor a '»gil tempered un, that David ! And proud 1

I should think so !"

" When wether tnk up I enid she'll come, not i' thc enaw and slush, but i' thc sun wi' a westerly breeze."

"Yes, oh yes," said Charit}', scornfully,

"and lire at hoame and tak' a hand wi' thc berrin' emin', shouldn't wonder, and help mek the beds and mess about wi'stops and the like. That's reicht, she'll come."

" I dunno what yo means 'bout 'Sizes."

" Hello, what wakkin' up again ; well, I'm sure ! Why, he was tried at 'Sizes yesterday, and bor Green, as brougbtgroccries from Yar- mouth, says they've quitted un."

"Killed un, didn't 'c?" Webb asked looking round with a curious attempt at understanding.

" Killed un, aye, and Crowuer said it was with extended circumstances, lucanin' as t'other struck fust blow."

" So I sbouldna wonder." '

" Well, he was buried and t'other was tried; last time pays for all-tried at 'Sizes-David Keith for manslaughter, and jury said Kot Guilty."

" Not Guilty !" Webb repeated, and turned

once more to the fire.

" They said at fust, tho jury dui, and he was justified, but judge he said that mun put it more explicit, BO after puttin' yeds together a bit, they said Not Guilty ; and hoc, David Keith he be quitted doau't c' see, quitted of the whul thing."

" David was mortal fond ; but she'll come hum, Mira will."

" Why, bless mc, here bc Miss Hope : she'll tell you all about it. And surely Master David Keith his very self ? Lor', sir, I axes yonr pardon. Last time you was herc you was upset and I was upset, but I hadn't got right hand o' things-and truth is I liked him better uor you, and I couldn't help it, so there ; but I meks my humble pology all thc

same."

" Don't mention it, Mrs. Dene," said David, "I was anxious at thc first opportunity to seo my old friend."

"Here bc Master David Keith," said Charity, plucking Webb by thc sleeve.

Webb turned his head ant tried to fix his blinkiug eyes on David, who drew a chair near thc old man and laid his hand upon his

arm.

"Don't you know me, Zaccky, dear old

friend ?"

"Knaw yo'? Yns, I kusws yo'. She'll come, doan't yo' nick no doubt. Knaw yo' ! Oh, my God 1"

''Thc old man rose to his feet, held Iiis hand upon his heart, and began to pace thc room. Then seeing Mildred he paused to

look at her.

" An' yo brawl her hum ?" lie asked.

" Not yet," said Mildred, " wc must pray for her, ami have patience."

"Thai's BO: patience; have patience; I eau wait, I can wait ; wiutcr'll pass all ¡'good

time."

Then he sat down again. David took his hand. Thc old man Birdied in a helpless kind of way.

" You have let your pipe out," said David ; " let mo light it for you."

David took tho pipe and lighted il. Zacckcus put it to Iiis lips,

"It be irue," he said iu a whisper, "yo'

be Master David Keilli ?"

" Quite true, old friend."

" Charity 'muses mu wi' fables ; hut I knaw yo' well onough, ii yo' say I bsint dream itig'."

" Dreaming, Zacclicus, not a bit of it," David replied, "haven't wc had many a voyuge on tho Scud ? Haven't I rowed tho diugey muny a limo lo meet you off Gorcl

ston ? j

_ " Surely, surd)'," said Zaoclieus, laying his Eipc aside and withdrawing his hand from

.avid to rub his palms together, remarking with a chuckle, " and Charity says I bestark,

st arin' mad."

" She.is only joking," said David.

" I kDaw, I knaw ; Bhc thinks I doa knaw as Mira have gone ; she thinks I doai ; knaw thc world's agoin all wrong, and the fi

is a' caught ; doan't tell inc, I knaw all abo

it."

He rubbed his wrinkled hands togcthi smiling knowingly, but with such a sad lo- in his eyes that the tears came into David and he turned to ask Mildred to speak to t poor old fellow.

Hut Charity Dene had beckoned Mildred thc window seat. Having answered Mildrei many questions about tho old man, she hurst became the interrogator. "Ves, it was qui true," Mildred said, "that thc first finding thc jury was considered to he infornu although it meant, that David had acted self-defence, that his action was justifiabl Tho judge had instructed thom that this heil their opinion-and thc foreman said it w their unanimous opinion-their formal verdi bhould bo Not Guilty. There was great a; plauso in Court at this ; and then thc jury co suited together, and thc foremanstood forwup and in uiiBwer to thc Clerk of Arraigns ho sai they found the prisoner ' Not Guilty.' Thei was more applause in Court at that, and Davi turned towards his father with a great sigh < relief, and the next moment father and sc embraced each other, and people shed tears i thc old man laid his head upon David shoulder, overcome with emotion."

" El), dear, eli, dear, just to think of it, said Charity Deue, " and I've kuawed a nm to bc hanged for poaehiu'. "

" Wc arc all deeply thankful to God fe David's escape, and shall never cease to di plore thc death of his assailant. You h av much to regret UIBO, Charity Dene."

"I knaw, I knaw,"said Charity, "and shall, of course, never hear the last of that < McBtcr .Justice Barkstead towd nie I ought t

j bc whipped, and I don't forget first words s

you said to mc when yo know'd as I iel them in the house together ; but what was

to do ? He was sa oncommon pleasant, und s rich, aud paid mc so well. And what's mun I thought itwor best thing for Miss Webb." I "Oh, Charity, you could not have thong]

that?" Haid Mildred, quickly.

" Hot 1 did ; it mougbt hev been my blesse ignorance, but I did."

" You don't think so now ?"

"No, I got over that I'll allow, nudist that never no good can come of a bad actior Don't bc angry wi' mc, Miss Hope, I hev don my best since then, uud will to the end ; un though I did like young Squire Barkstead 0 was killed better nor t'other, I will say I ar qlad Master David Keith is better than I c> pected he inought hev been, and I'm tuorU glad they didn't conclude to hang Mm."

Charity, while penitent to some extctit i regard to lier share in thc tragedy, could 110 feel sufficiently kind to lot Mildred off withou these passiug reflections.

" David Keith's first wish on being uti I auimously acquitted by a jury of his fellow

countrymen, and with the approval of th judge," said Mildred, " wus to see Elmira1 father ; and this is his first cuting during hi convalescence, for you know that ho wa dangerously wounded, do you not, in tba unhappy meeting?"

" Yes, I knaw'd that, and I was mail sorry," said Charity.

" And furthermore, he wished to drive ove to the Look-out, to see some other old friend of his and Mr. Webb's ; aud then wc sa; good-bye to you. David will go and tell th Look-out men that he is going to present ther

with a new boat to be called the Zacchcu Webb."

" Which I'm sure they need one, aud thcy'l be proud to have it ca'd ufter our master they oft'n comes the men do to ask after him and Borne ou um tries to hev a crack wi' him but they finds it 'rd to mok anything out c um, and he do look at 'em sometimes tba queer as you doesn't know whether to laug!

or cry."

" Who is managing his bUBiucss ?"'

" Oh, as for that they're baint mud management to it, that owd hunx Williati does his best, and Lookout cap'n he gives 1 sort of band to it, and Mr. Petherick b atakin' interest in things."

" Then you may be sure the best will b done that can bc done in that direction," sail

Mildred.

" I tek that for granted, and I hope you'I excuse nie for sayin you looks hearty, miss, : hope us prisoners and other poor folks i

doing putty well."

" Thank you," said Mildred, " I wish '. could do more for them," moving toward the tiru, us David rose to take leave 0

Zacchcus.

"I must say good-bye now," said David laying his hand upon the old man's arin.

"David Keirb," muttered Zucchetti " made for a sailor, mortal fond o' Mira. "

*' Good-bye, old friend."

Zacchcus held David's hand.

"It was while the Scud was laid up i Doston," he said.

" Yes," David replied, " try and thiul when wc used to sit iii the garden and talk o ships at sea and first signs of the herring."

" I incant it to a ben a fine weddin', whet David come back-David Keith, young Iawyei chap os aimed to bo fisherman ; but there yo uivver knaw how weather's goin' to bc wi glass shiftin' up and down like a skip-jack."

" lt will be settled weather soon," |sait 'David, "then 111 come back, and Mildred will come, and wc will put to sea in |a three master und sail right into the sunshine."

"I dunno what ben-talkin' of, but I like: to hear yo'-doan't leave me."

The old man turned his wrinkled and

pitiful face np to David, who still held thc old man's trembling hand.

" I will como back," said David.

" It's a long timo waitui'," tho old man re- marked, his mind going off again to thoughtE of Mira. " I'n waited and waited ; but she'll come, 1 inek na doubt, if can only live throng! the storm; it's a hard un to weather; but we mun newer despair."

"That's right," said David. "Good-bye for thc present."

Zaccheus lapsed into silence, his gaze fixed upon the fire, his hands lying idly upon his knee, his worn face showing 110 further signs of intelligence or life.

Mildred knelt down by his side and thought a prayer for him, and as she rose she kissed thc helpless hands and said " Good-bye, poor dear broken-hearted father 1 Good-bye."

"That's wust on it," said Charity, smooth- ing her apron ; " he goes off into them fits o' unconsciousness, or whatsumevcr they may be, and it ul tck me hours to rouse him."

"I am sure you arc good to bim," said Mildred; "let mo ask you to accept this little gift, andi want you to write a letter to an address I shall send you, thc postage will be costly but. I will give you money."

" Yes, miss, who be I to get to write him. " I forgot that you cannot write, Charity ; I will ask one of Mr. Petherick's clerks to wait upon you, and you can tell him what you wish to say."

"Thank you kindly," said tho womau, making a curtsey.

"Good-bye, then," said Mildred.

David dividing his attention bottveen thc silent ligure hy the fire and Mildred's leave taking, watched thc prisou visitor with a new born admiration of her gentle ways and her

soft sweet voice.

" A blind woman might see. which way thc cat's a' juinpin'," said Charity lo herself as sile watched Mildred and David plodding over thc sandhills to thc lookout station, " it. is a wonderful thing how events do come about ; she was always fond 011 him, thal religious lass wi' her soft ways and her iusiuoaliu' voice, and as I says religion uiut no bar to love, not a hit, though men's shy on it ; ont as religion ever seemed to hurt Mildred Hope so far as bciu' happy and thc like, und even piissiu' over a joke good nattir'd, I never sec a neater ankle, nor u nattier foot ; I've heard Mira say thc same, and I think il nindi' Mira go to that high and mighty bootmaker ns got Iiis warcB, they says, from Franoc, uot as Mildred needed euch 'elps to nattiness; aud os for her figure, well I often said tho young man as gets Mildred wcan't need lo repine, staid as they say she is, far she's blcBSud wi' everything', I should say, as a young man might desire. I dessay that Master Kelti) may be Muster Right to her

bul he's a way wi' him as I never liked so well as Squire Barkstead : but then he had never thc money ; the way as Squire chucked his guineas about, well, it was enough to turn a lassos head, it turned minc I knaw, and I'se sorry for it; but what's tho good a suyin' 'lead us not into temptation,' when a tine spoken young feller like him comes about wi' his guineas, aud his dimin's aud his jewels und his nico manners, and u-singin' songs like a mule angel, as I says to Mira many's thc time. Well, wo newer knows what's ugoin lo (»me to pass-bul if them two uiut made up their minds about a weddin' ring and all the rest, Charity Dene's no judge, and you can just count lier out OB no good. Hello, dear, why you'll burn your boots, come out o'

that !"

The old man had slipped towards the fire until his boots rested on the bars. His face was curiously drawn and his eyes were full of

tears.

"Come, come, maBtcr, what's thc matter, get up, man, get up."

Sho took him by thc ann, pushed his chair from thc fire and he began to sob.

" That's rcight, now you'll bc better, I wus afoerud it was somcthin' wuss, that a was. I onco seed my father in a tit. and it began just like that. But there, it's only come from feclin' a bit upset thinkin' o' things. Come, master, let me gie yo a drop o' drink that'll put you rcighl,"

81ie went to thc cupboard and brought out a tumbler into which elie poured a fair modicum of brandy and pressed it lo his lips.

"That's rcight," she B&id, as the old man opened his lips and began to drink. " That's rcight, wc all us our feelings, and yo'n been hard put to it, that's a fact."

" Thanks," said thc old man, " thanks" and, stretching his stiffened linihs, he rose to

his feet and walked to the winduw.

" Want to seo om ? They'sc gone to the Look-out. He bc goin' to gie cm a boat and calljt after yo-Zaccheus Webb."

" That's so," he said, hailing against thc window frame, Iiis wet eyes wuudering over the grey sea.