Chapter 65786738

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Chapter NumberNone
Chapter TitleSYNOPSIS
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65786738
Full Date1889-06-08
Page Number9
Corrections0
Word Count3072
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)
Trove TitleA Pit Brow Lassie
article text

Stall* and f feetcltos.

[NOW FIRST PCBLISUED.] A PIT BROW LASSIE.

BY JOHN MONK FOSTER.

Author of 'The Moss r*it MyBtery,' 'A Poor Man's Tragedy,'' 'Judith's Romance,' 1c

[ALL KKSnTf RESUtCKD.] SYNOPMS O? PKEVIOUS CHAPTERS.

19 th,*Kr?Pit.*«h?« w.iri.'*] Kite UiZ% ' pit brow lass e,™ somewhit above heordin lit run of the colliery Luke Stao'Hsh. a collier of if-t«llL.'t-'* cc ami rome approaching wa^on, hut, slipping him*elf, sustains a serious accident, which pro-trxtes hitu fo- some time. an asgnauitioce spri-i;js U|» U-tm-cea tuenr He lends her - copy of Miss BraddTi's ''To the bitter End ' to read.

Chapter HI.— In Dinrley Wood. It wae between three and four o'clock on a Saturday afternoon in mid- August, and the heat of the fierce snnraye would have been intolerable had they not been tempered by a light breeze that had been blowing since noonday. Three miles or thereabouts from Ashfocd lay the pretty village of Altynoham and hither had come this Saturday afternoon some three or four hundred of the Ashford towns folk to celebrate the annual pic-nic of the Wesleyan Sunday Schools. The spot selected for the picnic was a level piece of pasture laud close by Dio-ley Wood, a long strip of lovely woodland lying in a deep valley, from which circumstance it derived it name. ApleasanterpLs.ee for ?'ch a fete it wo 'ild have been difficult to fin-L The field adjoining the wool presented a bright and animated scene. In the centre was a brass band playing a lively dance, and many a ecore of dancers were keeping, or trying to keep, time with the music Sturdy pitmen and their buxom partners, cotton operatives and pleasure -loving factory wtnehea, collier lads and weather-tanned pit brow laseiee were footing it lightly or heavily, but all merrily, over the level award ; pausing now and again to wipe their perspiring faces, and then off again at a mad pace. In one corner of the field a number of youngsters were playing at cricket ; in another a band of youths were ch.sing the leathern globe : beside the margin of the wood in the shadow of the trees there gyrated a huge kissing ring ; and within the wood itself ewings had been constructed by tying a few yards of rope to the far stretching limbs of the trees. Taken altogether the scene presented a pleasant picture of innocent enjoyment that must perforce have given satisfaction to say well balanced mind. Such a simple event as this pic-nic was a festival of great importance to those hard toilers, looked forward to maybe for many daye, and they would commence the struggle for existence afresh on Monday all the better for the afternoon's play in the open air. In a couple of youug people among the dancers the reader has an interest. These were Luke St&ndish and Kate Leigh The former had qur.e recovered from his injury and in a couple of days he was to begin work again- . . . ?

Tbe pitman had not gone to tne pic-nic with Kate, bnt knowing that she would be there he had made a point of attending it. He had asked her to try a dance, she bad complied, and they were now threading their way as best they could through the tangled crowd of dancers. Luke's love for hU handsome partner had been growing, so it seemed to him, every day since be saved Kate from the waggon wbeelB, bat up to the present it hid found no utterance : this afternoon it was almost certain to do bo. Many an opportunity of declaring his love hid offered itself during the period of his confinement, but he had refrained from sneaking because he did not «1e-irv to take any advantage of Kite. H* wanted her t .. give him love for love ; not to receive hi* Iwi* ont of pity's sake, or on account of any obligatiou she owed him. But he had come t.i the pio-nic with th* definite resolve in his mind t- tell Kite heLli | of the affection she had inspired him with, - come what might of the attempt. \nd I somehow he felt that her ausw«r w--u--1 be -ue I to satisfy him. Tne dance «nd*id and tin; (!an-_'t?rs name to a standstill. Full of t; - rwol .tiou i-e ir,.l ? into effect. Sti:' mciinintr Kateo arm, in said in as in.iilfjrcnt a tone as he could ' What do vou biv to .ri.io the woo.-i 1 How cool and Mleaiint ,M |.,r.kj mi.ier li»= She nodded assent, and they strolled »!otc!y tovrards the stile that lc-1 into the woodland. He vaulted lightly over tm- hjr, js hiW.v as he was agile, aud wait»;.l for ti~r t'i dca^cn-i. Then aide by si-'.e tln-y a cut .ilon^. ilo- uward towards the brook in th,? aha.l.iw oi tne n,.i' lcaved timber. Luke chose a pith tliit f .llwd the hr.-x, winding as th. rivul-t .wlf, «-hici, fl mvJ throat t:.c w..o,i - deep cre.-n hi- .r' It »-a» a pleaBitit pa'.h »-itn th_- .-it.r -1-. »i.: i'u-s-«i« over the many-colourM ii-l-hle-, l.i:licil h.'.e in .aoligl-.t. ti.ere iu shadow, the d-,-,- i«t.-l leaves flulterin,; ai^ve them, '.he c.,..l gia-^-fiil ferns bprioi;inj Irani out ??( tiie Iniumo'. gia.bL--, her.- rtnd there mu..Bli il..- m,.,, .1 llimpse of amber com ready f.-r the ?v.-ltle. They ?trolled on fora little »|-aee in -ilrucc. for Lnke was trying to frame into words the thoughts running not in his brain. Panang t, moment beside an elder bash be plucked o

banch of dark ripe frnit and offered it to Kate. She took Ihe berries w-ith softly spoken thinks, ate one or two, then played «-i:h the remainder ; twnttinir them between her finR. r and thumb in a preoccupied manuer. She was half conscious of what was posing through her companion's mind, and was wondering -what reply to make when he : spoke. | Exchanging a word or two now aud atraiu they went onward, still foUuniui; the la' Ming streamlet. Now she would stop t-- p'ck and eat the great luscious blackberries tint g ew : so abundantly thereabouts, whilst he was wood sage, sun spurge, nettle-leadd bell flower and golden rod, with its ebony clusters backed by two fronds of a lady fern. 'Flo* era to the fair/' he said h.'.f smilingly, half gravely, as he held out t-,e ' Acd sweets to the sweet,' she cried langh ingly, taking the fl jwers and giving him a .landful of blackberries in exchange. They had paused beneath a copper beech, and throuijk the filming leaves the suutight fell upon them in a stream of Hie. She was

fastening the flowers ia her breast, seeraiLgly wrapt iu her occnp&tion ; he was crushing the ripe berries between his great fingera whilst hiB love eurged np to 1 is lips. ' I love yon, Kate !' he bnrst oat suddenly [oved von ever since I first saw yon that day on the pit brow. You love me a bit, dou't She was sUent, though her pale face was j flushed a rosy red. She was biting her lips i and her fingers were playing nervously uiih the bright clusters of Lhe golden rod. *' Speak, Kate,' he cried tremulously. c* Don't yon love me 2' 'I do,' Buttered softly from her lips, ** but I cannot leave my mother.' He waited to hear no more. Taking her in his arms he pressed her against bis madly beating heart, and kissed her sweet face as he had never kissed any woman's face before. They made a fair picture standing there in the first ecstasy of love's dream. Us was so strong and manly, she so radiantly fair ; and the red light of the copper beach fell around them like a halo : the heart-glow within them and tbe enn-glow without seemed to apotheosize both. ' Yon shall never leave your mother, Kate,' he said, when listening to her entreaties he ceased to biss her for a spue. '* Let us sit down and talk about our future, darling ' Thev seated themselves on a green shelving bank, with their faces to the brook, which langhed and Bmiled as it dashed noiBily onward as if it knew what had just happened. And they prepared to talk of their future with all ' There are only four of us, Kate — your are married we can all lire together, eh !' hhe shook her preity head rather gravely. Wiser than be was in such matters she fel: that a pair of mothers-in-law no matter how amiable they might be, would be no aid to the happiness of a newly-wedded couple. ever so long yet, dariiDg ; not until I have a home fit to take you to I .lull study hirder certificate, and who knows what good luck situation as soon as I passed my examination.' ' You might, Luke,' &he answered, ' and I hope so. You deserve to succeed — and everyb -dy says you will, too, some day.' He kiased her for her insnirinr words of

praise, and Lia honest face was aglow with perfect hapDiness and hope. The full mea*ure of his ambition at tbat moment was to pass his examination, obtain the management of a colliery, and make sweet Kate Leigh bil wife. And all his faculties— his immeasurable love, his indomitable will and quick in telligence — spurred him on toward the ? consummation of those hopcr. He would win them all. Of this he felt certain. Sooner or later every hope that now stirred his soul should be realised. T.:uB it came t.- lie un lere'ood between Luke St&ndish and '.\--.r L.vl: u.*t th.y »«n ? ngaged to each other, aDd although ui deliulte period was BxeJ f..r th.-ir niarriaci-, is permitted. With r:atter« thus s tiled tlw. ''luI.i had numiM.!i...-/.iUf'ti ns M p-' t.. his sweetheart. Unwanted t.ikni,* a.l liei hi,t..ry u,. : . Ill- m..-n«i.t I.- tiisl ...»? li.-r uu the K.uj pit brow thai alt*n ? n .il) ut x*.. ^ (.ii»t life tli-\ -be .Id 71. it -esire l,i:n Vo Lcoiv i ,ib..ut tbir;y jvirs .f a^c : thi-v 11 . i b« . .-nirried »1j'.-j: t..r. yr .rs, had Lai s.-wi: hi'Jrtu ui..ie.lui.i u 11 i,\vr iu-i :i.r . and, m fit wiinl.-, hv! !is .' uu:r .n.r.n.l '''jona'thsir L-i^h'wls n n«lir, ..f IVi.,11 I.-. 'lirii by. Tio .^ iu »-?„ i ^, tl 'aim, a:,.; ;,ri ir to Ir.a m:irr:..Cf tin- pnfy ?-??« ??? lli etpiLKj .-Mai li. . br^.i'.is a Ci.-toi. ipinnTintheAriwicki.uiri r ol Slr.i..«Hlrr w.itrc bite w;*.- t -i^ aaj ui' ??Joaty' L.ia.-i, a-. t.»c--Ti,.i« .-*ilei i,m,i, ! wa» nei'.l.cr ...ghe.- n ji l..w.-r ia i :el..l II. .n |of*d.i*c'-racing'auyi.i'noa«bir' wre.^liiij -?' - » Now Jonathan Lei^h'a wife was cousi Jerably above the mm oho had married in intelligence,

aspiration, as well as solidity of character. ' .-he could read and write, while he ?«. wholly illiterate. She was temperate, prudent, and earnestly desirous of getiing on in th*- world, whereas he was intemperate and SuodayBort ofTfellow. C°He worK-i hartl bat ep-nt most of his earniags over ^od above ] what waa ntcilfc*! for hotistholil tij'-tiisefi. This was Lhe cause of much dU^atie faction to Margaret Leigh. It pained her eitremtly to kg her husband working from five o'clock afternoon— atnvys t- iling hard, and as a rule regularly, and tlieii wbtn reckoulng day came ? to eee liiiii filngiag away the money obtained j by the pereoual expenditare of bo much effort. Her marriage wi'.b l^i.h wae in no way a i their in, ion hed i«ud\y imagined that when I ttiey t^rc settled d .wn she cuuld easily brc . t him cf hia intemperate kaLits and make & better man of him. The oid a'lagc which says that ' a man is cases, but iii sotnr cases onlv. Margaret

L igh, prior to her wifehood, waa a fer\*ent believer ic the old siw, but after halt a dozen ; yecxB of married life her faith in it had ' completely dU appeared. In spite of her eipoatalatioaB and entreaties, Jonathan Leigh went hia own way after hia own fashion. He wae not a worse hatband than hie mates, but be fell far bbort of the staodaid of excellence hie wif£ had expected him to reach. Perhaps both husband and wife were to blame — tbe latter for '? expecting too much ttie former for attempting ? to achieve go little. So matters had run, and Margaret L.cig'» wae i a greatly disappointed wuman. Witn her \ pvisonal attractions she mi^ht bave ma-Je a | much better march— she hid hii tbe refusal of a clerk in one of the Manchester b*nke— bat she loved ' Jonty ' Leigh, and had married him believing his reformation po&eible in her h^nds, ThoB things stood when Margaret Leigh's wedded life was ten yean oU, and when her fifth child Baw the Ught. The new comer was a girl, and contrary to all her predecessors eae was a. fine healthy child. Soon after this eve .t a ditpnte arose at the Pendleton colleries between employers and employed, and finally a strike resulted. As there seemed to be email probability of the dispute ending for many weeks Jonathan eastward, and the Bpot selected was AfiMord. Some of Lt-igh's mates bad g'^ne thither some mouths before the ttriLe at Pendelton, and as they reported well of tbe place he had decided to f-.Uow them and settle down there. He sought employment at the King pit, got work there, and commenced the next For eome time things went on very much as usual with the Leigh household. Jonathan was still hiB old self, working bard aud drinking deep, with his old happy-go-lucky philosophy of life. Tbe movement i^tward Had not worked any reformation in hini such as Margaret had hnped for. She hid jumped readily at the idea, of leiviutr Pendleton for Asufoid. thinking that her husband would be more amenable to hi-r promptings wh--n divided from most of his old companions. But here again bhe met with diiapnointmpnt. In a fortnight aftfr tneir coming to the place *' Jonty' Lei.;h hid picked up witli a tot of new mates of the same devil-m iy-care ord.r as those he bad left behind Mini, and all hops of his reformation had to be desimirinelv dismissed

from the mind of his disgusted wiie. A few month? after they left Pendleton Margaret Leigh encountered a preut turprit^. It was tbe fortnightly pay-d*}*, and as Jonathan was enable to go ror his wages, owing to a severe illness brought on by & dri-:kiDg bout, she weut for hia money. W hen her husbaud'e name and number were cdll d oat che enrrrcJ the pay-uffioe, and the cifhier wbo banded her Jouathan'a wages \ proved to be lo other than LJeor^e lidrnf--rth, | the g*-ntlt-ma.ii who Uad uuue Iil-vii u cicrk iu alir.ut twcl're yens li^iore, h^j iskdd liri h .nj in mariiagc. J 1 he Mirprite ui5 mut j ».L ( ieorge Bjmforth I exp.utedly, a;.d shi- n.-t'd tha i;xpre3=: .n of] ^''ey's' 'iT- »i ?l€e;.U- .-Ii'ii-.i, -i.. co!ii.; ' a\'.''l i' K^il^ iu'ao v?t*irti*r*l!*ir'u-lz.ry \ V. ,i ? .i ??? ; , .j'.i ?. - lira. - h .?»» irf. J. lit' Iv I di.-i j.-'.. ? :.y ?..-.- .'li-.i^' i::-tin? wit= n.-r c!:l ^'.'..i,- 'hir.Hi. cii-.'iinii !.? thr v.iy *...il. Ill t tui .-c in-.- l1.ii.- in ::ic i-ay^riio^, ur ?.,'..-..;?...,'?.( ?: :!ju.; L. i, ^li.: hu-:. :!i-l |i.- .t_e lor a «-ee ' : thru !. ? ni-|^.il i.it. li 5 I miner grew 6nl|f.n and lizy, and ^Ir. I Bamforth's pereaMdvc wotds wexe received

with curses, and the cashier was told to mind Jonathan had learned from his wife that Bainforth was the man nho ba4 proposed to her yearn ago, and this knowledge had set the miDer'ii heart a^low with jealooa imaginings. Leigh's jealousy increased to snch an extent — fed by the flippant taunts of his comrades — that ht: upenly arensed Bamforth of designs on Margaret, and swore to kill him if he entered the house again. When the cashier went away there ensoed a furious tjQajTfcl between man and wife. Stuns to madness by the suspicion be harboured he taunted his wife with infidelity, and vowed to leave her next day and eo to America Next morning Jonathan got np when the kQ'-cker-up called him at half paet four, dountd his pic clothes, took, bis lamp aud » cut out. it was a na-ty morning in tbe drj.:.:i of winter. A --lonn of elect was roa.. itiir out-ide. ttn Lhrimgh the bedroom wIdju-. Margaret watched him go down the Btrett ia the dircc'Jon of the King --:it. Tut she n-wr saw him again. Wbither he went she had never learn tri. When evening

came and her liudband letcmed not ehe made inquiries at tbe colliery and uaa -ot.i Uiat he had not been working that day. 7 hat I.e had kept his passionately uttered vow of tbe preceding night was evident, and to disarm her suspicions, and so get clear away, he had gone away in his uorkiog clothes. Fur a fortnight tbe deserted wife lived on at A&hford, hoping acd prayiog for the return of her misguided husband. But never a word fortnight had pasted waiting in vain for that wh:.* ' c.me not, Margaret Lei^h prepared heitelf for tbe struggle for existence. Then all the nobility of this woman's character e bowed, itself. Tbe shame of being de&eried w-is too ketuly felt by her to make her remaining at Ashford possible. Save Mr. Bamforth she hai no friends to whom ehe flight debarred her from accepting the slightest help at his hands. Htroaly relative, a brother, had gone to try his fortune in Australia before she wae married, and ehe had eince heard nothing of him. She whs inclined to think him dead— titiuck dono probably ia some remote quarter of the great southern content. Hearing that cotton epinnera were required for a mill just then erected at Orrelham, a large village situated between Bolton and Wigan, the went there immediately was fortunate enough to find employment, and in the village ehe obtained lodgings for herself and child, now a. fine girl of three yean. {To be continued.)