|Newspaper Title||Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 - 1915)|
|Trove Title||Who Was the Thief? A Story Founded on Fact|
The road to Peter's selection ran post the
house occupied by Lizzie Marsden and her
mother. Lizzie was standing at the door when Peter came up, and he was invited to dismount and come in. His pale features and restless manner soon attracted the at- tention of Lizzie, and she enquired the reason of his trouble. In a few words he told her the story of the charge against him, and an- nounced his intention of leaving Barrenjoey never to return until his name was cleared from the imputation which would rest upon it.
Poor Lizzie cried as if her heart would break; but when she could find words, "Surely, Peter," she said, " Cælia does not believe you to be guilty."
''She does, then," said Peter, 'it's all over
between us now."
"Oh, Peter, how could she, and you her affianced husband ? How awful !"
"Its one good thing anyhow ; its let me see what a cold calculating woman I have loved, and its perhaps a merciful Providence that planted that £5 note, to save me from her."
Lizzie commenced to cry again, but made no reply. Peter's own eyes were a little dim, as he looked at her, and the truth dawned upon him that he had been a blind ass. That like six men out of every dozen in the world, he had been going to marry the woman he loved, or fancied that he loved, and let the woman who loved him eat her heart away, He took Lizzie's hand : "Come, little woman," he said, "don't fret about it ; all will be right by and bye, and then you'll see me back again, and then—well, we'll see about it. I must be going now."
" Going where, Peter ? Oh ! do not go. Stay and see it out like a man. To go would seem like conscious guilt," said Lizzie.
Peter started ; he had not looked at it in that light, he said. And before going away Lizzie had half convinced him that it would be better to stay and " fight it out," as she
expressed it, sustained by the consciousness of his own innocence.
The next day, however, Lizzie received a letter from Peter, in which having expressed his gratitude for her faith in his honor, he announced that he had left Barrenjoey. The letter concluded by stating the intention of the writer to leave New South Wales, and to send his address when he got settled.
Some, weeks afterwards Lizzie received another letter. It was dated " Charters Towers, Queensland." Peter was mining, and on the road to fortune. Let us quote
from his letter :
" We are on a splendid reef, and if it holds out I shall be a rich man : but I would give all the gold I am likely to get to hear that old Hawkins had found that five-pound note. If you ever hear anything of it, if it should ever turn up, lose no time in writing to me. I shall be here, probably, for months to come and will write and let you know when I change my abode. To Barrenjoey I will never return till I can meet Hawkins face to face and make him eat his words."
There was a lot more in the letter of inter-
est to Lizzie, and which made that young woman cry a good deal, but as to what it was all about we leave to the imagination of our
Just about this time Cælia Hawkins fell dangerously ill of a fever, and for a long time her life was despaired of. During her illness, and subsequent recovery, she was nursed by the woman whom she hated. There was no one in the neighbourhood disposed to run the risk of infection, and the brave little Lizzie insisted on undertaking the task of nursing the woman who had first robbed her of, and then rejected the man she loved. It was during Lizzie's stay at Mr. Hawkins', in the capacity of nurse to Cælia, that something occurred which materially
affected all the circumstances in connection with this short, but eventful history. The particulars of that occurrence must form tho subject of another chapter.