Chapter 148380260

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Chapter NumberIX
Chapter TitleAN OLD FACE WITH A NEW MASK.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article148380260
Full Date1893-10-21
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count1389
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEastern Districts Chronicle (York, WA : 1877 - 1927)
Trove TitleMaoriland Ho! Nature's Enchanting Wonder Isle. A Weird and Entrancing Romance
article text

CHAPTER IX.

AN OLD FACE WITH A NEW MASK.

It is night-a M<;ht >lial Aue,B n'jt ,n'f" sent itself many times durmt; tlie sutim ei season in Maoriland. Tho

(.limmeraon rock and chawai, <m "e°Td ahruh, and on tho wide, duaty Ureat

South road leading to Otago.

With tlie privilege of the novelist we must leave those of our character a. Vmefalls under the tender care and hoa pitality of Major Weldon and his family while we draw aside the curtain, mid re

veal*,me others who have I'T"1'"6" ! parts in this geno-comedy of actua lit Across the uplands and tlie rugged ..W T\himmCrW under the moon. r«vs kin'' iiliadows lie, mingled with a pale,' llittmu lisht, which shifts from.nd};e to rid' C. and then ib gone like a ghost,

S^l.e landscape riubed with bars of | ^Out 011 the western ridge, beavinssea ward and fuUv twenty miles du.taiu, tlio, lights of Tauranga arc clearly discern

,b u'i .ht and left, aa far as the ai^ht can

the shadows of thick .forests

',1 retch, like black garments, awaitinv-; the mcic touch of the sun to c liangethem int.", thr -r.-eii and golden glory of New ^I n^aiiioii^"their embowered darkness, lonely oven in thought, flickcr and ah., e ? lie manv lights of a large mansion, and from whoso open windows there comes at litful times the faint echo of music, winch rcacheo the lonely, dusty road.

It comes like a lost voice calling

the nHit for somo solitary, wanderm lf,"riT. for whom it had woaned .pd ^Astf i» obodienco to the mournful call, t.slowly within its echo comes a wavfaier, so £au«t and ghastly th,t it needed but one touch of moonlight to chaii"e him into u Rhost. His tattercd coat °and tho pale face above it, bathed iti the wan glimmer, had a weird, unearth

>y AffiUti a soft refrain rushed across tho kauri trees and into the highway , w hero tho vnunv.t wayfarer stood and sU!ver^: He starf-d as though a livine vo.co had

called him by name.

" I atn coming-coming, lie said, hnr riedlv '1'ln ii nnitterint! a. n<ilco oath on hi* folly, sat down to rest liiui ^Viohftd hardly slid down upon a heap u{ Jrfa'is at his feet when a sharp \oice Ca"C?laUoa, man ! do you want to be run over? t>et out of tho way ; my horse uvidently does not like you. . .

The tramp rose slowly, but kept in th shadow of tlie tall ferns, which

crew taller than tho fence. rrou» T vautiiL'O ground ho scanned tho well-pp pointed vehicle ot't'.io newcomer, lua high itotifiue horno, and lastly his handsome face, on which tho mouulisht foil with a CU"Lo!fkr'hero my man." lie cried, » thero'is a sate about liore somewhere , find it for me, and hold it open,and thor-'B lialf-a-crown J\»ryour truub.e.

" I l;tiow iiuiliitiK about your {lato. ,

,1-m a Strang, r hero," cried the other,

lonelily.

1 oh? Never mind, you

"Well! will yon find the gate for mo V" anlceJ the other, without deigning to not ico ilie rudeness.

"Yes. Where is it i which side of the r«i;id ?"

" To tlio left, near yonder log.'

The sate \v;is opened, and, with hat slouched over his eyes, the wnnderer stood holding it «r the linndaomo dogcart dashed through. fifty yards away the vehicle was pulled up suddenly,

" TImnk yon ! hern's your money," he cried, mid down came the ring of a heavy

coin.

" Wlint place is this ?" asked the

tramp,

"(iHrcninl, mid this road is a short cut to it," replied thn oilier. " Shut the yate, and ]>ut yourself on the other side of it, my mail. TIicin! are any amount of tierce dogs at Gleiicourl, and they Are by no menus partial to tramps."

"1B that (?'lencourt away yonder with ;ill the 1 iizlits gleaming through the win dows ?" <jiiL-rivd the tatterdemalion.

"Tiuu's it. 'f here's,i hall tliero to-night and I'm late, so mustsay ta-ta. If you're thinking of trying your luck, better do so lo-morrow. You'll yet nothing to night."

Whistling a snatch from same opera ho drives on, the dust of his wheels flying back in the face of the wan holding the gate.

There is a queer look on that same face as he closes the gata with a sharp snap, as if it had been the terrible jaws of some sea monster closing on its prey.

Thu mim doos not even lopk for the money thrown to liiin, but limps olowly along the path the other has gone.

It is a broad carriage drive, lined on cither side with noble kauri pines, but it has many zig-zag windings. From tree to troe, keeping still in the gloom, he treads his way, until a turning of the long avenue brings liini in view of the house.

It is a large structure, the ground be ing open about it. He can boo the great gates of the lodge, and the lodge itsolf ablaze with light, and the road leading to it crowded with carnages. ;

The place is fully a mile distant, but all the surroundings are plainly dis cernible. Beyond the mansion,, on the opposite side of tlio hedge, there is a long shrubbeiy, like an arcade, and lit up with Chinese lanterns and other parti-colored lights. From this there floats upon the ears of the wayfarer, laughter, and the low hum of many voices, with anon a strain of soft music.

" What a devil of a strange world this is," mutters the tramp, talking and look ing wistfully before him. " Here have 1 been two whole days without a grain of food having passed my lips, and yonder the people are surfeited with dainties. I wonder what they would say if I pre sented myself, and begged a good square meal ? Bah ! J 'in not on for any such foolery. I'm strong yet, and can wait. Patience is a virtue, and, ecod ! it is the only virtuo left to me, since no other al ternative has been left to me but to prac

tice it."

lie looks about, and finding a soft couch of young ferns beneath the lofty canopy of a wide spreading pine, seats himself thereon, with something like a groan of pain.

" I'll May here till morning," he con tinued in the same muttering tone, as if that kind of self colloquy was habitual to him. " There'a the dog-star only A yard high. It can't be far off daylight. Ah! it's a good tiling for a man who hasn't the time ot day in his fob to know some thing of the stars. How many long hours of the night, which if they could be totted up would go into years, have I watched them from between the bars of iny cell at Pentridge They have teemed to ine just like a man's life-rising-soaring falling - then gone from sight alto gether."

His reflections seem to bring another train of thought.

" I had hoped that the terrible picture of :ny old life had gone for ever from my memory," ho says, presently. ' "The face of this man brings back the ugly dreain in all its stem reality. Why should I think of my sufferings in that dro.i-" *"<il, earthly hell - Pentridge? Why I That man brought memories that formed the couuccting link. Humph! Jocelyn Vanboroagh, if that tab not your voice, it was tliat of your ghost. Let me think.'" And lie lay hack at full " length on the fragrant ferns, with his hands claspsd (irmly round his head.

In litful gusts the early morning breeze brought the strains of the far-off music to his cars, intermingled betimes with a faint peal of merry laughter.

Whatever might he tlio subject of his thoughts it took him a long tiino tp think the matter out. Tlio stars had began to pale, giving place to the purple blush of dawn itc he moved ; when he rose, how ever, there was a settled, fixed purpose in his eyes, and in evory line ol his rugged

face.

" I'll do it. Yes, by the living Lord, I will," he cried, as he bent his steps to

wards Glencourt."