Chapter 65756359

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Chapter NumberPART III. V
Chapter Url
Full Date1893-04-15
Page Number8
Word Count2795
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)
Trove TitleUnder the Great Seal
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©ate and £ketd»&


B7 JOSEPH HATTON. Anthor of ?? Clyfe,' ' By Order of the Csar,' 'John Needbam's Double,' 'Cruel Lon don,' 4c.

{ili RIGHTS RESERVED.] PART IIL Charek Y.—Mxtx& To-jiobrow.'

It was with dosed doors and in secret that Aim Keith confided to his ton, David, the mysteries of Wilderness Creek. The gondolier Atflio and his wife Tense

were aoea, icuer LAveuo oaa gone name m his snng quarters at Verona. David had been alloted a comer oi Us father's spacious apartment. Terese had made np a snog bed lor him, with a cnrt&in round it. Toe !F^irkish custodian tFas dreaming on his coocb in a niche of. his ova private apartment over looking the Quadrangle. Alan and David were keeping themselves warm with wine and tobacco. Winter is of such short duration in Venice that a fire is a luxury hot little known. The German stove and ' the open grate are innovations of the present day. Furs, cushions, wraps, and among the old *— I . poor the JScalilum* were almost the only protection against the cold. David and Alan sat with their feet upon a couple of large cnsnions that neutralised the chat of tie marble floor. Wise people who feared Hie cold were in bed, or iinddled together in some caie where animal heat, a few lamps, and the absence of ventilation kept the topers warm. HandwMne even in decay was the spacious room where David listened with ware and wonder to such parts of his father's story as Alan thought well to narrate. Two or three sconces on the wall with lottg.wit^sd candles Bickered upon frescoed panels and deepened lihe shadows of recesses and clipboards. There were no lights in the old bronze chandelier that swung from the painted ceil ing, but the table held an old oaLuup, a tall flagon of wine, pen, ink and * paper, s Datch tobacco' box of embossed silver, which the Turk had lent his lodger-guest, one or two Kureinberg glasses, a glass flask of Chianti, and other things in artistic disorder. Alan sat facing his son, who found it a special comfort to smoke. It sootbed bis nerves and helped him to keep his i**'11^^*'- auee and bold bis tongue. More than once he had come to the cooelnsion that Ira father

was mad; all through Lbs intercourse with him he was fascinated by the old man's masterful and remarkable personality. ' I question if I hae been strectly retglit in keepin a' this back in eoufession,n said Alan, 'but lam naereightlyatrueCathol'o havin' been brought up i' the Protestant faith, sae 1 inun get Fattier LaveOo's forgiveness on that account; he's & generous priest, and besides well gie the church somethin' to mek absolu tion easy.' ' There's no effectual confession that is not made to our Father which art in heaven,' said David, quoting unconsciously from Mildred Hope, 'and no person between the sinner and his God can help him except the intereeder, Christ Our Lord.' ' Ye've ta'en, Co religion then. David!' said Ms father, tuterrogatirely, while fining his long, quaint pipe from the Turk's silver tobacco jar. 'I don't profess much in that way,' said David, 'but Miss Mumford has x friend who talks reugkm to us, and my rescue from the sea nas made me feel that her prayers and God's goodness may be the reason why I am sitting bere at this time.' 'Aye lad, you're reight, and what a mercy it is ! We deedna mek a theological discussion ?o' that, David ; as for sects and denoutena tjons and the like, your milter belonged to that other church, sae I took upwi' it becans sbe B-aJ mair to me, David, than a' the ?cbon-Tiga on Birth. And the last I ken o' her wnen ate wanr happiest, she was just preeBiu1 you to her breast. It's a l&ng time to lake fi&rward from your a^e to mine, but to luke baefc, weel they lay truly when they say life's just a span. Man, it's nac mair than a day to luke back upon, a butterfly's day, a bit o' sun, and then storm and stress, old age and death. The n fa for you, David. And by the might o' bourne Scotland, ye shall hae it $~our path shall be paved wi* gaud And ?grouted in wi precious stones. It shall, my liiddie, it shall '.' Alan laid down his pipe and paced the roow. The curtains at the door stirred as if with the action, but it was the wind that had crept through crevice and doar~w*y to moan and tell of the chills without *' Wad to heaven,' the old man went on,

—ye might find some o' the brood o' Ristaek, -,aa-i Ruddock, and Bentz to get your haud on ttheir throats, to trample on them, to grind them, to tear them down, them aud their beusttiald gods and —Nae but I maun forget a* that. ' I hae had my revenge ; the Lord delivered my enemies into my luuds, aud I smote 'em, hip and thigh.' The remembrance of the capture of the Anne of Dartmouth ignited long slumbering tires. Alan langhed a wild laugh that stirred the sleep of the Turk in hu mattressed niche. He ottered a prayer to Allah and went off Again into dreams and forgetfulncss. ' Down,- yeimp of Hefli Aye, bat I made ye lick the dust ! And your Rear Admiral, Mow he crackled and splutttred in the fire .' But God a' mercy on me ! I had repented o' .a' that ; and the guile priest had granted me absolution and rest !' He paused, looked round, saw David, who wrus watchiog him, fearing he bad gune mad. 'Forgire roe, David, ray son, I am nae .«^a»T once now and again, and it's hard to

realise that yc dm be here by my bide ; nae, dinna think I'm daft. Eh. bat I hae suffered sae, it wouldna be surprisin* if I were; its ju*t wonderfu' Fm as rational as I am.' He sat down by the stove, took up his pipe, and laid his riant hand upon David's head. ' ll'B over, laddie, it was just a fit o' keen remembrance, it's over, 1 find it hard to be sure I am nae Jreaniin' a' the time ; your saintly milliec sat by me i' the dungeon a& ye are sitting now and— bnt there she was just a spirit, I never touched her hand as I touch yours, and naebody else aaw her, only me, David, only me V David took his father's hud, remarking, ' I am Besh and blood, father; there's no mistake about me ; .but I can nndersta&d your fancy ing strange things; I do myself; I wake in the night shivering in thst boat at sea, with poor old Matt Wright, of the Welsh Back, ?fr'nlK'E imaginary sails. Take another cup of wine, father, and let me give you a light.*1 David passed the flagon of Chianti, aud lighted a spill at the smouldering fire, and Alan smiling drew along breath, and sent the bine wreaths of smoke np into the shadows of the painted ceiling. ' That's*' reight ! Noo, Davidlookat this ; it ij a bit of the map nf Korti America, showisg the coast of. Newfoundland to Labrador; I tore it from a chart. I bought in the Square a week or t«ra back.'. . He laid upon the table s strip of paper, and held over it a small hand lamp that might have lighted an ancient doge to read h» missal, so quaint and old was it, and yet so fitting to the bony hand of Alan Keith, so much in keeping was it with his glittering eyes, bis long face, and bis picturesque robes. 'The names arc in Italian,' but I fiae marked the points in English, sac that in case we are not destined to complete our voyage together, ye may find your way alone. Here, ye see, is St. John's,— this, by the way, is lalifax— from St. John's ye ken running North here is the coast line ; here i» Heart's Delight.' He paused as his long forefinger rested at tile* point he hsd especially msrked, and heaved a sigh that almost brought the tsars to David's eyes. 'At the back of Heart's Delight,' -went on tltc bid ?'*'? it Waiting bnnsdf. jbbA. p'Hing the lamp on the table, Da-rid standing by ha aide, 'is Hearth Content, or was; *nd there, beneath the tamarack, lie your said ted iniUter and oor-ood dog.SaUnpsoo, wiio thought lie was joEt as strong and capable is X was, bat be kenned nought aboot the ovenriielniia* norabers and the knife that awaited him ; FZI sbow ye the spot, please tlod ; bat I manna*, waste JamejnLthpw. rhinpH. thff_mair-&Q- that they tear at my heart and disable iny miod. The past is dead~s&e far iliat we canaa bring it back, the future ia tor the young, it ts for yaa, David. Koo, follow my finder $ ye see a1 this streteh o* the coaat ; for miles it tniglit be just a vast sea-n-atl baflt by God himself, with sneakin* rocks rnnnin* oat into tlie open that the deil might hae planted to tnp the unwary mariners. Aud sae ye see it goes, broken now and then by gaps, and dien risia' again into lofty capes -with their extremities seawards to mark the entrance to the great bays, Conception, Trinity, Bonarista, and Notre Dame. We cross them, d'ye see, and come to the Northern headland ; yell mind the scenery here the longest day ye lire, rocks ©' every imaginable shape, jagged, pointed, tall, short, wi1 mighty predpicfes: ceep clear o* them, gie them a wide berth. This point I hae marked strong ss Cape Build, the northern point of Quirpon, four degrees north o' St. John's. When the ran ba* loosened the icy cables that hold them, riif icebergs oT the frozen north ooute tgjliiig down here through the Straits o' Belle Isle. That's Belle Isle, d'ye mark, barren, desolate, the cand air filled 4hey say wi' cries -? demons and fiends, wi' deevils i-ampanfr- and the like ; but that's an and wife's tile; there are sae demonsaresaejwickedandhelliahasman ;Ihae stood on the wfld shores o' Belle Isle i' the neigbt, and heard nought but the wind and the breakers, wf once and again the cries o' neigbt birds and wild animals. Ssh !' Ihe pioneer of Labrador looked round the room and laid a hand noon David's shoulder. ' Ssh ! Ve see the point here, lmrboard o' the Isle! Yc do'. Well, that's Nasquappe Point ; you see the spots and scratches mnnin' from it seawards. W'eel, that is the course to Wilderness Creek — the impossible course to

all but you and me, David. Yc see the promontory that rises (o the east of Ttas guappp, that's Demoo's Rock, the guardian o' oar secret harbour.' He took from a deep pocket beneath bis girdle another scrap of paper which he opened and Uid before bin son. ' Tide, is a sailing chart, it shoivs you the course from deep water off Nasquappe, into the creek, every bit o' rock, every bit channel marked to a dead certainty, no *c**lin* nm^tj»r could gae wrang wi' it, and an ordinary sailor coold work a JSsbin' smack into the fcner harbour withont sae much as a foul o' the slightest conseqnence. Noo, David, iek these papers, and just oue itlier.' Re folded the papers and gave them to his 'The ither one is hardly necessary, but landmarks are landmarks, and it's weel to be safe ; this other bit shou-s you a spot between the outlet of Demon's Cave and a clearin' ; not a clearin' by the hand o' man, but a clearin' a Cod's own wi' Sowers and fruits ¥ the summer, and when we find it I mek nae doubt tbcril be tile remains o' a habitation. Ye see on this paper 1 hae marked distances from landmark to landmark, rock to rock, tree to tree, jnst as in the ithers I hae set down the latitude and longitude to the finest point and proper tokens of distance in the matter o' the sailidg course, heights o' rocks, and somethuig in the matter o' depths o' water aud no on. And now ye are.thinkio' what a' this is to lead to. On tlie eastern shore o the iuuer harbour o' Wilderness Creek at the foot o' Demon's Rock, there are several graves, msrked wi' memorials o' snch Christian burial sb could be vouchsafed at the

time. vTflderaess Creek, was my anchorage when I was feightin' the enemy, when I bad joined onr britnen of America against their persecutors and mine — aye, and yours, David ; lersecnton who were the death o' your milier, Dersecotors who trod out the life o hearths 'and hames that should hae - been sacred to a' that men bond dear ! Bull must nae dwell on that. In the midst o' the graves I tell ye of, there are three cairns. They cover three casks o' good, precious stones, silks, textiles, and irher treasures, and there is one ither, making four, that covera a- more miscellaneous store, spices, perfumes, God knows what. At a point marked on the third bito' paper, on the heights above, at the north of a jutting rock, a mighty boulder, near a clump of firs, yell find two bags o guineas; sonic scrip, a bundle o' Bank of England notes, and sundry like securities, ajl properly testified, moneys o' your grand father's and mine, and this ye will fcnep ex dosirely for* memorial to your mither on the Bpot where sbeis buried, sod the Test yell invest for your wife and bairns, if ever ye should be blessed i' that way. I hae a land o' Bentiment about this money ; as for the casks among the graves at the foot o' Demon's Rock, I hae only one condition : gi Hearts Delight a, school or church in honour o Father Lavello ; the rest, spend it as ye will ; be happy, mek the name of Keith famous ; let it be known honourably at Hearfs Delight, mek it feared at St John's, be generous, be happy, and I will no burden ye wi' a word or thoucht o' vengeance; indeed, I hae no advice to offer, ye, no counsel ; I canna offer ye myainlifeu an example, mair humility, ess pride, nse thonchts o vengeance would be Lavello's wish, and he is a good, honest, trnly religious man, practises his preachin', -nd— ' Here Alan paused, and fell gently back in hit chair, the pipe Which he bad held is his right band dropped from bis fingers. . ' What is it, father!' David exclaimed. Alan smiled but did not speak. David took his iisnd and chafed it. Alan's lips moved. David looked into the cupboard where Alan kept his wine in the hope of find ing some brandy. He fonnda flask of spirits, and poured & little into a. glass .-which he tatted : it waaa liqner. Jnst as be was about to press the glass to Ids father's lips the old man heaved a deep eigu and moved his bands. 'Don't be -a/eared,' he whispered, 'I wus overwrought, I am uae eae young as I ms.' 'Thank God you are better,' said David, 'let me lead you to bed, it must be morn ing.' 'Aye it is,' said Alan, still very softly, ' it's five o' the clock. Yell find the brandy in a square bottle that looks like Geneva, its down by the right on the floor.' David started for the square black bottle aud found it. Alan had risen to his feet steadying himself by the back of bis chair. 'I'm an aud man, David,' he said, still weakly and in measured terms, ' bnt I hae tond yc a' Uiat's necessary, and to-morrow well lay onr plans.' He took from David's hand agtas of cognac, drainedit, sighed, and smiling moved from the 'Tnt a' reight, David, jnst * bit weak, I tek it as a warning my mission's aboot at an end, God has been ower gnde to me to bring ye here towards thedose7 aye laddie. III gang to bed ; to-morrow well tek counsel aboot the eailin' ; to-morrow 1 D'ye nae ken T this wee bit life, David that it's a'ways to-morrow, the gade we hope for, the blessings we pray tor — always to-morrow !'