|Newspaper Title||The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)|
|Trove Title||In Days Gone By|
Sales and ffcetxfces.
IN PAYS GONE BY.*
By ax Old Settles.
**I peesume I can dispense with the time honoured initiatory phrase — ' I was born of poor bat honest parients.' Yon will take my word for that. boys. '
44 Ay, half as much, * from Sims. ' No interroptiooB,' said Jacques, ' let the boy from the Emerald Isle tell his bit av a story, bad cess to ye.' *' Gentlemen, those — ah — interruptions are, to cay the least, unseemly, and if persevered in my nataral modesty will move me to retire from public gaze. Verbum sap.' 'Oh, stow your low Patch, and reel off that yarn. H e sball be ready for some more eggs before yoo bave fairly commenced.' ** As my esteemed friend has more than hinted, I am a native of the first isle of the ocean — first gem of tbe sea, Abem ! I believe there existed an understanding that each of oar tales was to have special relation to Christmas time. Oh ! happy time this— turtle eggs and brackish water. Bow can you fellowB have the heart to require & Tnitn to fa to ish. forth a narrative on such. ** Brain food, brain food,' growled Sims. 'Though I think it would require Mark Twain's whales thoroughly to furnish your needful supply of medullary matter. Is not that the phrase V ' Oh ! go on for heaven's sake ** said 'Gently, melancholy. 1 will a tale unfold that will chill your — not young— ao, middle aged blood ; freeze the marrow in your veins ; and make each particular hair of your bead to stand on end with horror. It was the merry CbxietaiBfi time, m the year oi grace — well, no matter. I am as nice about my age as a spinster of thirty and six years. I was on a borough town 00 the east coast. Christmas Day io that particular year fell on Son day. It is necessary to mention this fact to explain bow I came to be where I was found. My relations were, as they were proad of driving into my care less ears, of that persuasion called Indepen dent. Protestant Dissenters was the peculiar phrase in vogue in oar set. I regret to say that I was supremely indifferent as to the merits of either, or any of the divisions of the so-called assemblage of the elect ; being, as I was frequently assured by my maternal aunt, in the bonds oi sin and tbe thrall of iniquity. ?Pig 'ords, pig 'eras,' as Flnellen says, ' prave ' ords. ' bat conveying no distinct meaning to me* ' How he has changed,' said Jacques, sotto voct, 'There was a holding forth at the taber nacle that night by an ex-tailor, who had been 'called.' I frequently called him myself— in j, manner far from complimentary. I was in s. manner the staff of my auot'e declining years. She did not forget to lean heavily enough on me, to impress the fact on roy memory. I was impressed to support her steps to the temple, and carry her book. X had no intention of goffering tbe inflection of the stitcher's discourse, so when I had landed the old lady in her pew I levanted, and betook myself to the Parish Church, where my acquaintances, boys and girls, attended. The night was cold and dark, and tboagh, osaally, the reading of the first lesson was their — that is the boys' — signal for entering, they loitered about the porch in the mean* time, exchanging information on local topics, said quizzing those of tneir acquaintances who came late. Not one was to be seen ; so after shivering in the draughty porch for a few minutes I entered, and, contrary to my usual habit, went op the middle aisle. What pew shall I enter ? I thought. The Bishop's pew, withitsgorgeoas silken hangings caoght my eye. bat tbe one next was my choice. It belonged to one of tiw. family s in the neighbourhood, and was comfortably, nay. loxnriantly cushioned, hassocked, ami carpeted. Rags were io rieoty, for the the church was of immense size and height, was at times inhospitably cold, tbe three great stores in the middle aisle only diffusing heat to a limited extent. The building bad formed Dart of ao old abb y. dating back to the time of Heory VII, and the chancel was crowded with effigies of his defooct hollies, and in eome instances their wires. Large etooe effigies, life size, with their lees crossed to show they had made tbe ** Grand toor ' in their day ; and fought tbe infidel io Palestine. Grim looking warriors, in mail, and sparred, in readiness for the white horses awaiting them in tbe sweet by -and- bye, as they fondly believed. From a previous re mark yon will readily understand that either service or sermon had small attraction for us. Though, by the way. the Grand Chaplain of the Freemasons preached on that occasion, and in honour of the craft of which mr father was & tnenibeT, I ahould have listened to bis dis course. I opine the podding sod brandy - eauce at d loner was answerable, aa I felt more disposed to sleep. I knew that. save oa very 'special occasions. Done of the family attended evening service, and having a larpe circle of guests then, as I knew from one of the boys who was a school mite. I was free from all ratroaion. Having plenty of material at band J made up a com fortabJe bed, and covering myself op with a aof&cient camber of foot rags, disposed myself to rest. Though to the most curious way I seemed to hear the preacher's voice, and the music of the choir. Gradually tbe noise ceased, sad was replaced by ooe which struck terror to my heart. I beard the dank of heavy boots, and spars, along the stone floor. A voice speaking in low submissive tones, sod then t^*nt dread* fnl unearthly deep-rolling bstas voice de ? Written for tbe Ctijwimi oAmu by » ffnUeman of long uul varied colonial «*speri«ae»
minded, ' What doth be here, in tbe seat of oor holy lord Abbott ? Bras-de-fer, remove tbe scorner from the presence. The bell hath sounded for midnight prayers, our visions may not be cursed by the presence of an heretic.' I seemed to see a crowd of mailed figures with visions down, sorrounding the one who had jost spoken. And be ? Sorely it was the effigy of Sir Maurice Fitzeastace, which lay in tbe porch — and oo whose recum bent form I bad often rested myself, A Ggure advanced, clasped me io bis strong arms, and bore me away. Oh 1 How deadly cold his grasp ; it froze my heart's blood. On through the chancel ; the painted window opened of itself, and my bearer strode through into a portion of the ruins, the wslls of which, were in good preservation, and were studded with urns and memorial tablets. Stopping before a large urn, which by the inscription on its base contaioed the ashes of Sir Raymond Fitzurse, my bearer raised tbe corner and dumped me down into the ashes of the defunct warriors, replacing the lid, axtd, I sop pose, joining bis fellows at prayer. An impalpable dust filled my nostrils, and a enamel house odour nearly stifled roe. A low, sweet, reedy -sounding voice said, so tow that I rather seemed to feel the words than hear them, * -what doest tboo here Elijah?'1 I heard afterwards that was tbe minister's text. 1 felt very foolish. I could not find any answer. What was I doing there indeed ? as if I came there of my own free will ? While I was pondering what these things meant, the lid of the urn was raised, aod a sweet pale face, peeping oat amidst tbe folds of a vototcinoos lace veil, looked io tearfully. Seeing me crumpled up, where I suppose she expected to see tbe much loved dost of her lord. She started back and uttered a wall ing sound. I heard a flatter of silken robes, and some words in a tongue which was Greek to me. Yon see my education was neglected in tbat particular, I was not taught Norman- French. It did not form part of the corricalnm io those days. Several young and pretty faces also peeped in, draw* ing back with exclamations of horror and pity. Oh ! Who could have dooe tbia wofal deed ? To desecrate my Raymond's remains by con tact with a foul heretic. Somehow the lady could talk Anglo Saxon on a pinch. Gracioas lady, said one of tbe attendant nymphs, whom X thought was exceedingly pretty, and very much like George Lovien, between whom aod myself there existed a fast friendship, only that, and nothing more, ' gracioas lady, who but that arch villan. Bras-defer, would dare such a deed. Call Da Vale, and let him be removed to the dnngeon. * Alaa ! poor youth/ said Georgie'sdouble, what bashe done? He is not here of his own accord. Doabtleaa, Bras de Fer found him wandering in the cloister, and hath in his malignant spirit impri soned him here. Madam let him be released. I vowed I would remember her to Georgie for her goodness, and situated as I was, it being impossible to express my gratitude in a fitting. way, I made a resolution to do it by proxy. Tbe clank of spurs on the flagged floor announced tbe coming of Da Vale, They all seemed booted and sparred in readiness for a jooroey. Do Vale take this fool heretic hence and smother bim in tbe fosse. The gaunt mail-clad figure extended his gautletted hand* aud pinning me by the nape of the neck lifted me oot of the urn, causing me io volun- tarily to disturb the sacred dust, which spread ingroondeetthe wholebevysneezing. Holding me at arm's length, as if I were some venomous reptile, mf captor strode back into tbe church. Tbe chancel window, which was of an immense size, falling back to back to admit oor entrance. The church was brilliantly lit np, as I had never seen it. We had not arrived at gas even ; one candle be tween each two pewB set-red to half light tbe immense building. Tbe organ was being played ia such a way as old Rivers, the organist, could never compass. The pulpit was occupied by a person in an old-fashioned donblet. I noticed, however, that he had a gorgeous apron on, gleaming with gold and jewels. He seemed to be holdiog forth in an animated strain : but when be tnroed towards as— bah ! There was no speculation in hit eyes. The splendidly adorned figure was surmounted by a eknll — a ghostly, grinning, sknll. The music ceased, there was a flattering of wings ; some of them brushed my nose The procession filed through the chancel windows. Last among the throng were Fizeostace and Brae-de-Fer. I had hoped to escape their notice, particu larly as Du Vale had followed hm lady. Fitzeastace said. ' And now brave retainer and faithful friend, farewell until next Christmas night, when we meet again. I most go to my cold bed in the porch. Thou to thine own place. Hark ! What have we here ? This losel '. G*ve I not him in charge to thee ? Yes, my good lord, and I pat bim in Sir Raymond's am. How he hath escaped I know not. Time presses ; I mnat away. Sit on bim. Bras -de- Fer, ait on bim, till cock crows ; quelcb the heretic Tbe ponderous male clad figure flopped down on me, and nearly made a pancake of me. I endured tormenta for some inde6nite time. Ah, the weight was becoming lighter. Cockadoodle doooo. He vanished, and taking to my heels I stampeded op the aisle. (To be continued. ) Wohas, with dog jo raping at her, to Pro fessor, owner of the animal — ' For Heaven Bake, man, call yoor dog off or he will upset me.' Professor, standing on one foot, and scratching his bead — 'One minute, m-J»m one minute ; (to himself) — as sooo as I can remember the infernal brnte*s name.' Fabmeb Wvbzle (meeting the curates wife, who is a bee-keeper) — ' No mam ; I've no call to bod any fault wi' your bee-keepin' bat I do wish as they 'oodnt light on my clover. I foa&d ooe ©' my sheep stang sd bia znoutb this moraine.' Cerate's wife naively—*' And, pray, Mr. WnrzJe where would yoo look for its toagne be* in its nboth T