|Chapter Title||AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS|
|Newspaper Title||Bunyip (Gawler, SA : 1863 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||One Who Loved His Fellow Men|
One Who Loved His Fellow Men.
(Continued from last issue ) CHAPTER IV. After Fifteen Years.
Fifteen years! what changes and vicissitudes are included in such a term. So thought a man, whom a careful scrutiny would prove to be the same James Blair, who for duty's sake and the love of his fellow men, had been driven- from his native land fifteen years previously. True, the casual observer would not now identify him, for he has grown a busby beard, his face
wears a more serious look, and he has added several stone of flesh to his frame, which, coupled with minor alterations, give him a very different appearance to that which he possessed when we first made his acquaintance. But, despite these changes, his sympathetic countenance and features remain the same as of yore, so that he is still recognisable to his friends. Well might he moralise too the changes and vicissitudes of life, for since leaving home he has indeed had a chequered career. After a somewhat uneventful voyage he landed and tried to procure work as a fitter, but, as times were then very dull, he found this to be an impossibility. For some time he remained idle, but as the bottom of his purse poon hove in night he was glad lo obtain employment us a farm laborer, after which he accompanied an exploring expedition into the interior. On returning he worked on the wharves at one of the ports, and finally took up land in one of the new farming centres, on which he worked at such times as he found it impossible to get work at his trade. At first this occupation procured plenty of work for him with little pay, but eventually, as things assumed a more civilised state and good seasons were the order of the day, his position was much better than hitherto. He married some few years after his arrival, but as the events which led up to this happy termination would be of little interest to my readers I merely state the bare fact, but may add that, as a result thereof he is now the happy possessor of four fine boys and two daughters.
But enough of family matters. As the population of the district became settled, numerous opportunities were afforded Blair of bettering the condition of his fellow creatures, which, needless to say, he gladly availed himself of. Many a time has he helped one and another with advances and gifts of money, coupled with valuable advice. But it was in the interests of general enlighten- ment and advancement that his chief energies were devoted. He early established an institute in the town, of which he was elected president; he also initiated several literary societies, a co-operative store, a hospital, a church, and other institutions for the improve- ment of society, in addition to which he was always an active worker in trade and democratic movements. True this activity has won for him, from a certain class, such, titles as agitator, socialist, revolutionist, &c., but the great bulk of the population, in whose interests he worked, loved and honored him. But of all the events in which he figured there is but one which I need particu- larise. One morning as he was walking down one of the principal streets of the town he was startled to see a wounded and unconscious form being carried to the hospital. Inquiries elicited the fact that the poor unfortunate had been attacked when out prospecting and almost killed by a party of blacks, who were on an expedition for red ochre. His sympathy being aroused our friend followed the solemn procession within, looked on the ghastly spectacle, and recognised the face of his old enemy Figgin, by whose influence he had been driven from his native land. Although deeply conscious of the
injury to which he had been subjected he immediately set about alleviating the suffering Figgin, feeling such a course to be in accordance with his ideal of loving his fellow men. Soon the dying man opened his eyes, but on seeing Blair cried, "Why do you torment me?" Comforting words succeeded in quieting him, and after some general remarks as to the cause of the injuries, etc, he plaintively asked Blair if he could forgive him for the evil he had done. "Gladly I will, my friend," Blair replied, "for I try to love my fellow men, whatever they are or have been. If forgiveness is desired you have it full and free." With a sigh of relief the dying man clasped the hand of his old workmate, and murmured, "How could I have treated you so harshly ?" For some days he lingered on, during which time he told his tale of how an evil life had ended miserably in destruc- tion, but the wounds received were so severe that recovery was hopeless, and a week later he ended a wasted and miserable life, the last days of which were somewhat brightened by the know- ledge that he had the forgiveness of a friend, who loved both friends and foes. THE END.