Chapter 123821941

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter Number
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1910-12-11
Page Number39
Word Count2549
Last Corrected2019-01-19
Newspaper TitleSundayTimes (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930)
Trove TitleAll Roses
article text


(By MRS. FORREST — For the 'Sunday Times.')

A Delightfully told Sentimental Story, with the Principal Scenes laid in Queensland.

THE roses nodded their dew-sodden heads about the window. Under- neath the lattice was a water-butt —a dark iron-girt cask, which leak- ed at every seam, put there to catch the overflow from the creeper-bur- dened spouting, and the shingled roof, to whose ragged brown

edges the banksia clung— white roses, the soft unscented beauties one places round a dead face, pressing a quick fearful kiss on the brow, which was never so cold be- fore; white roses to strew the starlit path to Heaven — but to the girl in the room they spoke not of Death— to her they had the sweet living scent which she found in grass and leaf and other things in which grown-ups saw no perfume. The moon was showing on the rose faces and shining on the iron roofs of the station buildings, the deep pool be- hind the dam where wild fowl swam un- molested, the streaming green-tressed willows, in whose shadow the black duck waited among the lily buds, the bogie _____ where the children disported at ______ nce was there now, with the Sj,**-^ ' 'Spf a lifting bream flash ?^f!)j ^*n tne moon rays — ''% -**»??*_ * {hrcugh'the wln ^^^^k, X yielding chin vjk '-.of a woman Wkf 1 ' -;onderneBB ?«|pe,tol4 the'

'old to-morrow. Sno wanted a flno day for . her.._birthdny, she wondered . with a ohy : anticipatory pleasure whether father was really going to give her tho new English ? Baddle she covetod; she wondered ?aBout; ' many things', above all what it felt llko to' ' bo sixteen; and whother her drosses ought not to bo longer. It was September wea ther, shearing wa3 in full swing — the days, warm, tho nights soft and Spring-like. She stood by the winnow, her bare feet on the. tanned 'dingo skin, Her white night- ; dress falling straight and simple about her, her tangle of short thick golden hair on her shoulders. She was pale, with a vivid red pout of lips. She did not know how exquisite a thing she looked framed in banksla roses, ivory white, green leaved, trailing nrms. But the man pac- * ing the grape-vine trellis when others slept, smoking a late pipe, and dreaming of other things than girlish innocence, saw, and turned away with a sigh. She had always seemed a 'lanky' .schoolgirl to him, something or a hoyden, inclined to be 'cheeky' to young Englishmen learn ing to be squatters, until to-night — but the budding woman was. there among tho roses and the moonlight — Unconscious of any eyes but those of the blinking golden stars; unconscious of any' cars but the roses, 'or, maybe, an adventurous 'possum leaving the . security of his gumtroes to scamper on the roof.. ? ...... She half-cloBed the window, lit a candle, . took down the frock she intended to wear next day, and began rapidly to unpick the hem'.' ' She had decided to surrepti tiously let down two Inches. Was ehe not sixteen to-morrow? . , ' And through tho open Bhuttcrs came the gbntro' tappJnjf'bf 'the* rose lingers and that sweet Bubtlo scent that waa hot n per- '

y fumii, only thobroalh of living, lovable, and beautiful things. , ' .Pluk roses! They were In tho deepening ? bronzo of her hair; they odged the eor '?' sago of her low-cut frock above the protty ?net tucker mother had quilled In with such tondor hands, recalling her* own youth. ? . 'Tliore' was no ornament on tho tnllkskln ' nod throat, no dangling cluvln over tho ??silk-white bosom. Whlto frocked and . '.snow-skinned, sho was a dream of purity, ?' only thd pink roses guve tho flUBh of color .to match tho rare roso excitement had brought to her smooth cheek. Mother and maid stood back delighted ere they helped her Into her dainty cloak. Her skirts swopt tho floor now, and hid the arch of sntin slipper. It was four years slnco sho had stood by tho window In tho moonshine, and put away childish things, 'sho was going to a ball in tho townshp to-night, and secretly her homo folk felt assured of her bellcshlp. Tho ' danco was to bo held.- In a long woathcrboard house, with -lattice- work verandahs. Behind it stretched an old gardon, n garden of plccabccns, brought by a former polico magistrate) who had owned tho property and loved tropical things, of torn clumps In damp corners, tho Inevitable pepper trees and polled codars. Tho young moon cast a faint light on tho broad faced sunflowers by tho paling fonce, a young moon backed by a sky full of stars — and there wa3 magic and music, and Summer and love potion lu ' the air. Her cloak slid back^ from her round shoulder, her oyes were soft and mys torlous, wonderful— and O, tho little lift ' of 'her chin.' Tho man's oyes seemed to cat up her face, her glistening scarf, her grace of outline — tho young slcndsrncss he had once designated as 'lanky.1' How different is the tree .to tho soedling ! Sho was a goddess to-night — a moon godde3s— young and sweet as the young sweet moon — perhaps as unattainable. Sho looked into his eyes and laughed — tho woman's laugh of unconscious chal lenge. Love was a mystery yet; 'life in toxicating. He took her in his arms. Her roses were crushed. She had lost tho blossoms from her hair — roal roses from tho garden at home — pink monthly \roses she hart tended herself. Her cheeks wore white, her oyes full of surprised and angry tenrs. Sho stood before tho long mirror in tho empty dressing' room. . Through tho closed door camo tho swing of a heartless waltz. Still she seemed to hoar his voice asking forgiveness, vainly; still her mouth trembled from her, own passionato outburst, 'O, how I. hato'you!' nnd on thu^sniooth sllk-whlte of nor shoul der were two. tiny rosy marks — the lcivo petals prossed there by a' man's hot lips. ? Sho wnntod to go homo;, sho wanted to toll her. mother, sobb'ing on- her breast; but' they would novcr understand— no, ' nev'eiv- they: would say it must surely have .boon; her own -fault.. Men always know 'how, 'to treat riico modest girls— ugh — v platitudes: She dimly comprehended a ; headlong passion thnt must have— dimly, : for tall ; her Innocence— something deep ?'. dqwn.ln her. heart, made her almost under . '.-stand; but she would never forgive — ?' ' novor, never; nover. Sho drew her cloak, over 'her shoulder — shivered — throw it' back— and lingered that strange rose-loaf ? mark ' softly with ono hand, the dawning of a omllo round her tremulous lips. . i Then sho went back to tho ballroom. Under tho stars a man walked .up and -down, : swearing gently to his cigarotte. Ho wa3 furious with himself ; calling him self, a cad and a fool, but all the while, ';'. b'ratlt down as ho might, hi3 heart sang '?'. tho triumph song which, is as old aa sex and ojdor. far than civilisation. Whlto roses again — a window wide — a maid kneollag at her lect lastomng a tiny bouquet of orango blossomr to the ' ?corner of her veil. -Sun on tho gardon walks; sun on tho gumtroes by the creek; sun on the little mi-mis of the black's - camp over tho way; sun — and in the house a bridegroom waiting. ? 'You are happy. Maldic?' The mother's anxious eyes tried to road the girl's, droam eyes fixed on banksia buds and sun-, stcopod garden. Maidic .leaned from, tho window, laughed, glancing down at. the. water-butt, full of black drippings .from tho crecpoi decay in tho Bpouts that al ways wanted cleaning at tho station. 'Of course, mother; one always Is on one's wedding day, isn't ono? But, O, do look, hero's the fairy princo come to wish me good luck!' ' '. '-'?.'??? .The fairy princo wan her namo for tho ? big greon toad who lived in the old cask. . . . ..Her mother slghod. Sho would have; ' liked a Httio more seriousness, n little ? nervousness, on tho girl's wedding morn ing. From tho vary beginning Maldic had . . treated her engagemont as a joke almost And yet her parents wore so pleased. He' was a good deal oldor than the girl, of course, but then he was bo stoady, so roliable; they knew all about him, and (perhaps above all). It was so satisfactory, that he had no. mortgage on his station ' properties, like they had, alas ! He would . be able to take Maldie about, and provide

*--' ''toi '? hb'r woll — and— and then If tho bank -. foreclosed It did not much matter. . So ? -.-' mothorB arguo from their world-wlBo hearts — taking no toll of tho unknown quantity. Tho fairy princo blinked In tho sun, dripping water from his clammy baok; ono drifted roso petal floated on the sur faco of tho Inky pool, which reflected tho girl's bright face. Thon . someone came to' tho door to romind them in the house tho bridegroom waltod. It was tho time of roses, nnd the small florist's shop that adjoined tho big dra pery establishment in Queen-street, Bris bane, W6B full of them. DamaBk, deep rod and lntoxicatlngly sweet, a small indif ferent cluster of whlto banksla, maman ?cochots, nnd tho flame-colored blooms ot the Roso of Deception. .' The middle-aged lady in black wanted white — all white — and sighod ovor tho preponderance of colors. The lean brown faced man who lounged in attracted tho ' keen, ploasant eye of tho florist, versoj in the ways of men, with a recognition of tho fact that bushmen don't mind what they give for {lowers when they are buy Ing for tho woman of their acquaintance, Sho went to him whilo the doubting cua tomcr fingered her purse and tho whlto . roses alternately. 'Anything for you, sir?' Ho was cye . ing a long vase of pink monthly roBOB thoughtfully; then ho was caught by the depth nnd swoetness of tho damask.. Tho lady turned, adjusted her spectacles, and hold out her hand. 'So Now Guinea has wearied you at last.' 'I did not know yuu ror a moment,' he bald. 'Yos, I h.avo been at Cook's Is Innd for tho past your, aud rhcught I should take a trip to Australia again. Aro they— all— well ?' Her eyes clouded. 'You knew about Ma I die, I suppose?' Her hands trembled on her worn purse; tho rain followed the cloud In her eyes. 'No.' What was he; going to hear about Maidlo? His pulse quickened. Ho remem bered a garden long ago; tho sway ot tho plccabccns and a girl's voice, 'I shall never forgivo you — novor.' Maidia whom thoy had married to that dry-as-duat old chap with tho paying station propor . tics. Maidlo with her soft chin, and her ? What was ho going to hear about Maidie? ' 'Sho is dead— she. died when her baby v/as born. It seemed so strange— so hard. She had everything a woman could want,' with an inward inventory of all Maidie'u nintorial comforts. 'Yet tho doctors said sho would not rally. She did not seem to care to live. Took no interest in tho child oven; and it so like ltB father. You must . come out to us. Must see Maidie'3 little / girl. Do you remember how you used to teaao her and call her 'lanky;' and tho bnnksia round her window; these roseB made mo think of her.' 'Good God!'. Yes, he remembered tho banksia round her window; remembered the night ho had watched her unseen — poor little short-lived maid. 'I wa3 buy ing rose3 for her grave. Sho 13 burled hero.' Again she lingered her thin pur bo thoughtfully. Tho -bank had foreclosed on the station, and life was not too cany; one had to think before one was reckless with Elxnonces, and Maidie's hucbjind had . .. married again — a widow ucarer l;Is own ' age, so, of' -course, Bho could not nnk him. Ho let her see tho child whenever ;sho liked; that was the one comfort left .' to her. She lifted her anxious cyca to tho bushman's. 'Somehow white seomed al ways Maldic'scolor.' She had suclr a calm, ? peaceful sort of life.'- ? : Ho looked at the pink roses arid again . , at tho 'damask, .noddod \n the girl, indi ' cited the lavish bowl full— roses- red' os .passion and warm as hate. ; .. . ?.?'-.: -/?-' 'I will tsikb all thcrse;' ; ' Ho laid :half . ' a sovereign on tho counter, arid '? turned ' : witlua lordly indifference nboiit- 'cbnn'go' which awed 'Maidie's mother; surely people .must make money on Coble's Is land.' -?? '. ; ' .''? .:''-: ' '?'?''. ' .. 'When- you. go 'to J tho cemetery— take ?those from ine— to Mahlie,' ho said; ' . -The mother's expression was divided bo . tween gratitude and doubt. It did not r seem quite, nice to put theso deep-toned damasks on a grave, particularly, as she . had remarked, as white seemed a better , indication of Maidio's short colorless life —but e'lio would not have called it color ~ , ' Icbs— her word was 'comfortable.' Ho ? seemed to havo forgotten her as she bar gained for tho banksia. He had also on ? tiroly forgotten tho gallant ? errand on jvhich he had como to tho florist's. Ho stood bareheaded nt tho door of tho shop, looking into the street. ' To him tho damask roses typified tho something wanting in Maidio's life — the one thing missed. :- Perhaps' that was why ho chose them to 1 1 carry his message to. her. ( 'Funny, isn't It ?' 'What ?' ''Call a man level-headed, and he's pleased; but call him flftt-headod, and he'll knock you down.' , H « « 'Jandldate :'You have not any doubt -. d3' to' 'my 'character, havo you ?' ^ Voter :'0h, of'oourse not.'-' Candidate ^-''Then, -why don't you voto for 'mo ?'' Voter: 'Because I havo ho doubt as' to your character.' ' l ' ft ' « « ' . Thlmpor :'Your friend Scribbler ecctus to bo always short of funds. If his books don't sell, why .don't, you try him at office ? work whon you need a. new man ?' Thumppr (an auctioned-) : 'j-lo upp.' A, man who can't succeed aa a novelist hasn.'^ imagination enough for tho auctioneering