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THE CHIMNEY CORNER.

THE NEW JERUSALEM. A Millerite Story. ( Concluded). Before noon of the next day it was known all over Stillwater that Judith Sinclair’s lover had come back. Opinions varied as to whether her father would allow her to see him or not. Many thought that, although his worldliness might have been eliminated by his regular faith, his obstinacy had not, and that it would not be safe for Frank Pritchard to venture near the house. But on that Saturday—within a few hours of the end of ail things, according to his unquestioning faith—the old man was utterly oblivious of the things of this world. Judith was free to walk and talk with her lover as she pleased, and, save for a dread which haunted her mind that the Millerite prophecy might prove true, and all earthly joy be destined to a speedy end, her happiness was perfect. No thought of Dr. Peleg and his absurdity crossed her mind. Since she did not need him to appease her father, it was easy to forget him. He lover urged her to take advantage of her father’s state of mind and let their marriage take place privately that day, but Judith was sufficiently imbued with the prevailing ideas to shrink from marrying at such a time. But she promised him that so sure as the sun did not refuse its light on the next day she would walk quietly across the fields with him to Upper Stillwater, and be married there. It was really Mis’ Pel’tiah Sanders’ suggestion. She had seized Frank Pritchard, from her back-yard fence, as he was passing, and advised him to “ make sure of Judith a-Sunday, when the Millerites would have found out what poor deluded creturs they were, and Enus Sinkley would feel too meachin’ to make a fuss.” Meetings were held, with scarcely any intermission on that Saturday. In the last watch of the night the trumpet was to sound, and worldly cares and hopes were all laid aside and forgotten by the Millerites. But at none of the meetings did Dr. Peleg appear. He had retired to the woods, as he had a habit of doing occasionally, and it was reported that he had one of his “ melancholy spells,” but the brethren thought he had better seek the consolations of religion, rather than those of nature, and where were they to be found except in the meeting where the faithful were singing and shouting in an ecstasy of expectation ? It was feared that Dr. Peleg, after having preached to others, had become a castaway.

Never did a more beautiful day dawn upon Stillwater than that Saturday. It was early summer, and overhead was intense, cloudless blue —under foot freshest, living verdure. Doves cooed placidly on the eaves, bobolinks were riotous in the meadows, the very air seemed full of joyous life. But there was a strange hush and solemnity among the people. Even those who ridiculed the Milierite prediction had not wholly escaped the pervading sense of expectation. Business was almost entirely suspended. The butcher was a Milierite, and had exchanged his frock for an ascension robe, Mr. Pel’tiah Sanders’s store was open—owing to the determined spirit of Mis’ Pel’tiah, her lord being a prudent soul, who did not believe the world was coming to an end, but thought “ as there was consid’able many of them Millerites it wa’n’t

best to run across their grain too much —for there was another store. Mis’ Pel’tiah sold nothing but an occasional plug of tobacco, which was intended to revive the drooping spirits of some unbelieving and outwardly scoffing, but inwardly apprehensive soul. The dressmaker had halted between two opinions until the preceding night, when she was thoroughly converted to the Millerite faith by a mysterious occurrence. This event was nothing less than the unaccountable abstraction of all her hair-pins from beneath her pillow. The same extraordinary phenomenon had on previous occasions presaged wonderful happenings, which were regarded by the dressmaker as

visitations from her deceased husband,

Coming at such a time, she regarded this one as conclusive evidence of the truth of the Millerite prophecy, and she immediately abandoned all worldly occupations, leaving Mis’ Pel’tiah Sanders’ new dress, which she expected to wear on Sunday, uncompleted, to the worldly woman’s great wrath—which wrath was only partially appeased by the fact that as the milliner was also a Millerite she could not have her new bonnet to wear if it had been finished. The pastor of the two churches preached earnestly against . the Millerite doctrine, as “ unscriptural and unedifying,” but in spite of all their efforts the heresy crept in among their flocks, and many, like Mis’ Deacon Spettigue, felt that it would be wisdom’s ■ part not to clean house or buy their » summer bonnets until they were sure that the world was going to last. The night was spent by most of the Millerites upon their house-tops. Some Were in a state of exaltation, a few women were hysterical, but most of them viewed the matter in an astonishingly practical light, and seemed to take great satisfaction in the prospect of getting the better of their neighbors. They sang and prayed all through : the night, and with greater fervency as the last watch drew near. The cracked old bell in the church steeple struck the hour. A breathless hush followed. For an hour there lasted a silence that could be felt

But instead of the sound of the last trumpet came the cheerful crow of the cocks irom the barn-yards. A rosy flush crept into the eastern sky. Some sleepy robins aroused themselves and poured forth a jubilant song. The dawn came on, fresh and dewy and sweet, and the busy old world moved on, with its burdens and sorrows, as if it was full of youth and freshness, and nobody had dreamed of its end. In the flush of the early morning Judith Sinclair attd her lover walked across the fields to upper Stillwater, where they were to be married. Sinclair had retired to hisowh house, and barred the door against all intruders. There were rumors afloat that he was hopelessly crazed. Some of the Millerites believed that

this dissappointment was only a trial of their faith, but it was apparent that Sinclair’s faith was gone. To Judith and her lover it seemed that the old world, with its doubts and dreads, had come to an end, and a new Eden had dawned. But the blissful illusion was shockingly dispelled. From the shadow of a clump of trees, beside the way, the insane old man, Judith’s father, suddenly rushed upon them. He heaped imprecations,upon his daughter’s head, but his fury seemed to be chiefly directed towards the young man. With the strength and quickness which madness gives, he raised his heavy gun, and aimed a heavy blow at his head. But it fell not on Frank Pritchard’s head but that of the little hunchback, Dr. Peleg, who threw himself before him. Then, apparently terrified at what he had done, the maniac fled, Frank Prichard raised Dr. Peleg’s head from the ground. “ He saved my life,” he said, “ but he has given-his own.” The hunchback opened his eyes with an effort and looked wistfully up into Judith’s face as if for some sign of gratitude. “ It’s no more than he ought to have done! He told father —he set him on ! He must have—there was no one else !” she cried, excited. “ You don’t think that of me, Judith ! You can’t think that!” he moaned. “ I was afraid he’d do it, and I’ve been wacchin’ him, so’s to prevent it. Sometimes the devil told me to keep out of ihe way; it wa’nt none of my business ; but I did’nt, and the Lord let me save him for you, and I’m thankful. I’m ready to go, now, ready to go ! And, mebbe, Judith —in the new Jerusalem —Sophie Sweet in Good Company.

CONVICTS ON THE SEA.

We were about 800 miles south of the Cape of Good Hope, and our ship’s head pointed nearly due east. “Twelve knots an hour,” says I to the skipper, in reply to “ How much is she making ?” The dripping log line was rolled up and the time-glass placed away in the binnacle. An extra pull was taken on the braces, the yards pressed hard against the stays, and right well did the old Marathon lie over from the heavy breeze that swelled our canvas to its greatest tension. I hove the log again. “ How much now ?” says the skip-

per. “ Twelve and a half, sir,” “ I guess that is about all we can get out of her with this wind ; that extra pull gave her the other half knot.” In ten days after passing Kerguelen’s Land the high and irregular coast of Australia was raised from the masthead by. our first mate, Mr. Bolter, who shouted the glad tidings to those on deck. No sooner had the sound of his voice died away than a baker’s dozen were running up the ratlines, eager to obtain even a distant view of the great island.

A number of us old salts, who had sailed for Australia before, contented ourselves by snuffing the air like so many porpoises.

After we had passed between Tasmania and the South Sea continent we caught a light breeze on our quarter and headed for Sydney. No sooner had we dropped our right bower in the river just off the town than our vessel was boarded by the surgeon of the port, who examined our papers, and being satisfied that we were in good health, our ship was allowed to haul up nearer the city. The old man went ashore to make his report to the Consul, but when he returned his face wore a troubled look. He called Mr. Bolton and myself into the cabin, where, to our surprise and chargrin, he stated that the Consul informed him that when the cargo was discharged he should have to press the ship into the service for the Government to carry a lot of convicts to Van Dieman’s Land. The vessel that brought them was disabled, and could proceed no further. The skippei remonsterated against the seizure, but it was of no avail. The Consul said he was sorry, but it could not be avoided —our vessel being the only one in port that would answer the purpose, and the convicts must be got off without delay. This news found its way among the crew, and several of them ran away and took to the bush, not caring to risk themselves at sea with a lot of desperate men fresh from the prisons of England. The skipper quieted the fears of the rest by telling them that no danger could possibly arise, as the convicts would be heavily ironed and placed between decks with a guard over them. On the following morning, between decks were prepared for the reception of our live freight. A strong double bulkhead was put up just forward of the cabin, and one just aft of the chainlockers, and extra bars and padlocks were secured for the hatches.

When I surveyed the work of the Government carpenters my mind felt somewhat easier.

Everything being in readiness, our guests were marched down between files of soldiers. Each convict was hand-cuffed, and on the right ankle of every man an iron ring was fastened, to which were attached heavy chains. Six of them being fastened together, their movements were quite slow and retarded. As they filed up the gangplank to the deck, I counted eightyseven. Some were large, powerful men, others were weak, and wore a sickly expression, but they all had a look of dogged determination, their closely cropped hair and striped trousers and jackets making them look all the more savage. When No. 87 reached the deck they were drawn up in line and inspected by the Superintendent and his assistants. Each convict was thoroughly searched, in order to see if he had any weapons. Nothing was found, however, but what was proper for them to have. So the inspector informed us that there would be no danger, and he would soon be rid of them. The guard that was to accompany us had been selected with great care, each one having a musket, two revolvers, and a cutlass. Several extra casks of water were got on board for fear we would not have enough to last during the run. As no signs of our runaways were to be had, the skipper was obliged to ship several men in order to fill his complement. One of these fellows was a villainouslooking customer, and I asked the captain why he shipped such a man. I le replied that it was the best he

could do. Sailors were scarce, as nearly every one was off in the mines or stockraising. I told Captain Billows that I did not relish having such a man on board the Marathon, but he laughed at my fears, and said the man had been discharged from a Liverpool ship some two months before, and as he wished to return-home, he thought he would ship on the Marathon.

{1 o be continued. )

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THE CHIMNEY CORNER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 210, 7 December 1880

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