Chapter 138605669

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Chapter NumberNone
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138605669
Full Date1898-10-08
Page Number46
Corrections0
Word Count3072
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946)
Trove TitleA Bush Post-Office
article text

THE STORYTELLS*

A BUSH POST-nrtiT/-,*.

1

By ADA A. KIDfiifr r

di 1ftters» five .papera! That's f °nea for mother, one's for (1a

» to, bad. |

tf.the.TOt.I.No.meTbj'cTt,1'e T"t

a mile to the main road, even in

thereto fetch it. To dip into the i

tin nailed to an old gum at Hi» 09en6

to Bee what the mail ma*23?" "* was thrilling. bad lhro^ iu

"I wonder what in tho ivn-ui

Mrs. Ganter was saying «S\\ did send us a box of L

she packed and posted it Ivemelf to^

too bad! Some thief hag been a Zv'*

Been taken out of the Hn ti . ,

suggested Dirry. 5°U thmk!"

"Oh, dear, no!" put in dad. "TW- " . at all likely. For eleven years has 5 m°* doe duty, ."d !?« «»'»»

tampered with." .)#

"I am disapointed not tasting rv. .

Neil's wedding-cake, and mad, too, a^'v

jng written .her euch a letter. BheYo.SE bilrt, and hasn't got a scrap left, or else she would send it She says she's pos«

a brooch for my birthday next J you 11 have to be over for the mail in goolj

time next Thursday, dad."

"Alright, but you needn't think anv.

a,3tS,b",",fc

Here a diversion was created bv the i>n trance, in her riding-habit, of the eld5 daughter, Codge, evolved mysteriously from Constance. Her pretty face was flushed and her expression a curious mixture of de

nance and nervousness.

"Where are you off to?" asked ber

mother sharply.

"To ride as far as Blaney's panel-with Greg Brown. You said you wouldn't ivant rTnf; an«iT]»y S'ants exercise so badlv, so

wv11® call at Simons's for your-" "Yes; you've a hundred good reasons, no doubt, but you said nothing about riding when I said there was nothing particular to do this afternoon-and still less about Greg Brown. You're not going with that fellow, so run and take your habit off."

Codge stood her ground.

^ "D'ye hear your mother?" aslced Mr. Ganter lazily, in response to a mute com mand for support from the wifely eye.

"I should think she did," interposed Dirry, hotly. "Nice cheek she's got ridin' round the country with a cad that's taken her father to court, and damaged our fences, and impounded our cattle, and-"

"Spare us that everlasting story, and you mind your own business, Dirry," his sister interrupted.

"It is my business, and I'll see the fellow shot before you go ridin' with him."

"And me, too, I suppose? Mother, are you going to let Dirry rule the bouse, and

are you going to blame Greg Brown for hii

father's cantankerous ess?'

"We'll leave the law business out, then," said Mrs. Ganter," taking pji a good humoured tone; "the immediate question is, are you going to obey your paivnts'r' Codge recovered Tier temper ns ber mother grew conciliatory. "Ah, mother, just this once? You wouldn't have me make a fool of the man; he's waiting at the slaughter-house gate. Just a little, tiny ride, to get that recipe Mrs. Simons pro mised you?" .

Mrs. Ganter was preparing an emphatic refusal, -when her husband interposed with "Well, mother, let the girl go ibis once; the ride will do, ber good. But mind you, Codgie; it's the last time-with him."

"All right, daddy. 1 know mother s wild to get that nop-beer receipt."

Out the front door she went, to where brother Hal. her warm coadjutor in every act, had Bally waiting, saddled. Away she galloped towards ber cavalier, who, iiu

Eatient and unhappy for ten long minutes,

ecame all smiles as the familiar figure oil the grey horse appeared to view.

The ride took up the greater part of three 'houra. It would have been shorter, but

that it was not till almost home that Codge recollected ber self-imposed commis

sion to Simons's, and feverishly set her i

borse to retrace its steps.

It was an idvllic ride. Thu/s it seemed to Constance and Greg, who were in that charming phase of iove^tbe misty ami un defined. , . ,

"Mrs. Ganter s temper was not improved bv her daughter's dilatoriness, but she re covered it after tea on the arrival ot a ..prime favourite of hers-Mr. George <%. ' gald, owner of the neighbouring run. Mr. i Siggald had the squatter's dislike to selec j tors ns a body, but be n.o.le an exception i in favour of the Ganters, tlio oldest

. torsonBondameer Station. Not only had

he a .genuine liking for. old John, but Mrs. Ganter, with a mother's shrewdne«; gu«^ that he extended that sentiment ton aids their eldest daughter. It was h"

tion of Mr. admiration foi Codg^ quite as muclTas the bro'J8 aiT ' jy with old lJrpwn, that led her .to <strojJf discourage young Greg's pretensions.

though she had her own oniinon on t^ maternal scheming, did not. s,'mj »}r sig fiance, and was # WW«ou.to Mr.

turbod, the chief item of thei)ost..bug|s

n

wrath. ; He M*qmc very K thin*

the Brown, family, "^rX" to with Codge received peremptory o . mon draw all countenance from th » .j r amJ

Stf with her m#.**:"gLass,!e f3 »? brother, arrayef^inst J|f^ t rid« snJ

dea&sspff &

|,er ^ we^.«tprrty.e^e^ d " ^y of

Ganter. to »toowledge tue before, s& had piwted «iree » astray,

l5e ^Tbere vM

nri-r volico," said Ganter, with unpleasant Sledkiua oi' sundry eases'in which ijtf

t."j lieon tlie loser.

-We'll be our own police. Wait till I cntch them," thundered hot-tempered %',;'{hr following Thursday, an hour or i,vo before (ho mail was due, a queer little scene was enacted at the old eucalypt that held the Gan(er post-box. Codge came with1

timid s^ps down the dusty track that joined ! the foach road, and making straight for the tin hurrially snatched something from its depth*, iir.ii looking round to see that no

one observe.! her.

Some time later Greg- Brown hurried to the same goal. He. too, drew out some thing from <hc box, but this time there was a mill ess. In a minute old Canter had snrmi? out from behind the scrub, where j,e had kin concealed, and clutching the votilii bv l'1<? thront, exclaimed

" "Greg'Brown! You rogue, you scoundrel, j're cMight you nicely, haven't I? It'ts you ,v!io robs <he bos, is it? Nice sort of. vil lain your hithevs got [or a son! Whose ! (urn ivill it ho </> bring nn action now? I'll! flioiv you up before the whole district. Hold him. Wiry. -Make him give up what he's

Jiim^

^jjlrry was contributing a choice invective,

choking the captive.

, ive f Ji.it oat of your pocket," he demnudeil. "Hand it over before I choke 'gW struggled for freedom. Scarcely rould'he net l.reaih to utter a word, but at 1,1-t he gasped. "It's none of yours; it's mine. Von t-.m know it's not yours, tor the coach is only coming now with yoar mai3." .

"Vou give ii up, and hold your tongue,1 roved Dirry. " ..?--- --.--Li

left for

vou 511 <?" ,

brooch and every! hing else now.

Greg wenched himself free, but big and

{trough !kj »;i.s he was hardly a match for

' rms were around him like a

"Yon p>> ,

roared Dirry. "h s something a neighbour's left for ii'. .mil you thought you'd get it, vou jneak t bid"! NVe'll know all about the

IWU.

vice, while "!<1 Unntcr, worked up to an on accustomed rage, tried to get at liis pocket. This stung <>i'<g to madness^ and jnst as the old iikiti dragged out a thick envelope lie made a gigantic effort, shook Ditry off, and seizin- hold of the packet, tpreit into several p;icvs. and then swallowed the lot.

? Vou wivf'-h!" thundered Dirry, pommel liu" lrm. "Vou go home, dad, and leave him <o mo. He'll get the beginning of his punishment before I'm many minutes

rer- ivering breath, smiled derisively. "You are going to light me, are you? All ri?ht.''

'.?\e>. I am.

Dim's fa;her, glad of a rest after each t warm tus-!e, was content to take up the! role of sv ifmor. The young men stripped off their'coals-ihcir ha-tfc were already bat tered *\tlV;s in the dust-and proceeded to busmen. It was hacd to say who was the victor in 1 hat inglorious fight. They were well mauled in size, strength, and deter roin.-vtion. and the result was two bruised and injured specimens of manhood. As Dirry limped up the garden path he met Codge.'

"Dirry! What is the matter?"

"Mind your own business^" was has re

sponse.

"1 see you've been fighting. Ugh! Don't come near me. Don't I wish Lily Pataon could see you now!"

Dirry cared JiUle for Codge's opinion. He tried ban! to avoid his mother, but she found him, and exasperated him with her tears and questions, and the dozen reme dies jshe prescribed for his bruises.

"Father will tell you all about it. -Do let me alone, mother," was the- return her sympathy met. Indignation blotted out every rXher emotion when die heard her lu?han<r.s story of the thiefs detection.

'fire? 1S;O.vh! I never liked him. I might have known he'd be as bad as his fami]y~l.M a thief! Who'd have thought it? Da you think he'll have melted the brooch di'ivn, father?''

1 expect the police will find that out. Ill pet the warrant signed, and have him taken up to-morrow, but, mind you, not a word to C'o lge yet. She 8 that soft «he*Il

be trying t« get round me not to prose

cute.

The Oaliters were pleased that Codge had not been iri-ct by a knowledge of the after noon sevii it..;, on seeing her smiling recep tion ot A'r. Siggajjd, who came that evening

alter a week s absence.

A? far as his swollen face would allow, irog Jangiied at first at the idea of being jiaii.ed t.i »:iol as the robber of the mail,

tut fie MY-eutly realised that it was a seri ousi matter. "My word," he said, "they can nuke th'ngs a l):t hot for me, unless-but its not i.i^ly i'u break my promise. Thev jw.-'ii1!'')'vSi anyLlVnS» and it's ten to-one

°\ , ''1 'he whole matter drop when thev I'cHi]"'1':i" ^n-vua-v» I £ave that cub a good Jlfc1 l,ay you£F B^own found, that things seliVCUul-\ o ?' Gante*"S arrived atjns Meflion wiih Senior-constable M'Pull'fi'oin J101idaniPi-1-, carrying a warrant for his arr

Oi eg turned white with shame at tbs

S r;f made thus cold-bloodedly :® " r11"' t ,ie 63 w it. was useless to taknn !,-f' and,wen' quietly,away to the cene" solemnly protesting inno tru^i .,?antrCT cot insight ot last into tlie

when il l' 0 ,. ,1' daughter's feelings

^ {hat night Tressie blurted out: t ,l ". y' r,rcg Brown's in gaol! - He's been token up for stealing." v«wtwji Cod"^ !,^arn yo" b«rst from arm"]/.,, u le,gr'pJ8Ke Ba.ve her sister's

, 'til it black and blue for days., "" .noliier'r"0 lny arm! It'a ^ wn't it, brcal-"'-l!,',aL a"a','J' Jessie Ganter. nnd ril

? j-iir S"i.

mi'"Cf"iS .looked at'their plate^ Tlwre, Dim" I-i b '.'rv the table. brokea

. iftht." ' a toic, and serve him

bUiL011 upwardly scandalmonicer!." b!a

to him To m " 8 wor^1 didu t belong woikr'- some of your revengefm

of^h/',"c ;ins1u'erP(J> and she floudted out

"Vm, i V ^av,ng her tea untouched. :: mother "]\ir telp her the truth, able voic-n »<1? muttered in amiBer .SOITJ- a nil0n

be rather' ug ^eUer* He used to

Kood-i0()kin'" (d0e0c?,ntBl1 youiit chsp-^ind

, uu» the «A

toom tidied the barking sound of a trotting 1

visitor. It was Mr. BiSwd» WP? he had dropped an jmpoipPv W^ book there the nights Jb?|»£Sv jomed in o conscientious 86RW® j old mother indulging in a Ijuietf

Wheic's Codge?

"Go and bring; ber.Tress. She's sure to* have noticed where Mr. Siggald pooped it'

dwra. .

TreaBis returned to announce that Codge, had a headache,i and could not come out into the light.

"A temper ache," snapped the mother, in an undertone. "Is there any bringing girls

to reason?"

Mr. Siggald found the book was really of no immediate importance; he could ride: over again in the course of the week, and: probabTyitwonld hare turned up. Those moonlight nights were certainly very tempt- . injrfor long ride?. He settled himself down

Ehuosophically for two or three hours' crib

age with Tressie and the eld people, only

casting an occasional glance towards the door. Codge, however, did not appear, and soon after ten the visitor got np to depart. When he wort with Dirry to the fence where he had left bis hoise that animal was nowhere to be sees; the gate was open. Vials of wrath descended on Hal, whose duty it was to. see to the gates.

"You should bare put him' up in the Btable, Mr. Siggald," said Ganter. "It's too bad to leave a critter standing like that so long. Never mind; we'll give you a shake down, and the boys will find Laddie for you in the morning. All our hones are turned out, so you can't get home to night."

After half an hour's fruitier quest they returned to the house, to find that Laddie was not the only truant. Tressie met them at the door, with the news that Codge had gone to Blaney'e. She had left a note in her room saying she would stay the night there.

"Weft, I'm going down to bring her back," said her father.

"Nothing of tbe sort," said his wife. "She can stay for awhile. I don't want her around stormin' -while this /case is going on."

As tunal, Ganter was overruled by his wife, but he felt uneasy, and had not slept at all, when he was disturbed by the sound of someone opening the back door. Surely this was no evil tidings of his favourite, Codge. Hardly had he reached his own door before the errant girl rushed fran tically np to him, overwhelming him with a torrent of accusation.

"Such wicked, wicked lies!" Bhe sobbed, seizing hist by the arm; "such hateful cruelty! (Hi, to think Greg is in gaol through the. folly of my own father and brother."

She was exhausted with emotion and exertion, and, all her forces spent, there

was nothing for it but to throw herself j down in a torrent of wild weeping.

Her mother, sister, and brothers, as well

as Mr. Siggald, were around her by this j time. Lights were brought, and then poor < Codge told her tale.

"Forgive me for taking Laddie, Mr. Siggald," she pleaded. "I took care of him, and I pnt him in the stable just now with a good supper. He's not a bit knocked np."

Mr. Siggald smiled, and of course averred that a fifteen-mile ride was nothing to Laddie. She was quite welcome to his ser vices if she would only explain.

She rushed away, it seemed, soon after Mr. Siggald's arrival, determined to know tbe truth about Greg. She bad reached the township a little after 9, and had. immediately stormed tbe local police

station. Senior-constable MDull had been prevailed on to tell her the circumstances of tbe case, but greatly to her indignation bad refused to let bis prisoner go on hear ing her explanation of the affair.

It will be all right," be Baid, "but I can't let him put till be'a brought before

the J.P."

Her story was that it was a letter written by herself to him that Greg had taken from the post-box, nnd only on hour or two be fore she had been there to get one from him. _ Since her parents' prohibition of their intercourse they met but seldom, but wrote nearly every day. She had made Greg promise not to say a word about the

correspondence, but she was going to marry him the day she was twenty-one, though all the world were against it.

No one liad much to say, and they were all glad of the excuse of fatigue and the lateness of the hour to get away from Codge's wrath.

Mr. Ganter was too repentant of the hastiness of his action to think of anything else, but his wife asked, certainly in a sub dued tone, "But what about the things that are missing?"

"What do I know-what do I care?" re turned Codge. "All I know is that Greg has been most unjustly treated. What are you going to do about it, father?"

"I'll make it all right to-morrow" said he, like a lamb. "But get to. bed now, child-you've ridden fifteen miles since tea."

, From force of habit, early next morning Codge Went down to the old tree which had guarded love?s messages so long. No dear, white note this morning, of course;. She gave the battered tin a good shaking. As she did so a burst of amazement came from her lips. She^had discovered some thing. Plunging her hand down {he sheet of stout bark, cut through by the ringing of the tree, that bulged just behind tbe tin, she dug up treasure after treasure. There was' a small box, evidently containing wedding cake, a heavier one that might hold a brooch, seren letters, a draper's roll of patterns, a small newspaper, and. two or three trifles. After a brief examination she thrust everything back, and ran madly for borne. Arriving breathless, she was just in tijne to eaten her father Btartihg on bis journey to Bondamee?. ? She gave, no intelligible explanation, but urged Both him and her inothet along the mile trade to the letter-box.

?? "Poke yonr-arm down,.father, and see whothethiefial" she cried at tbetree, puUmjrtbe,$Rse back.fijwn.ttbe.bark.

Ola Ganter brought article after article to light, and then, with scarce a word, turned his horae towards, the township. Alter seeing the police, be obtained <ra interview-with Greg, and was magnani mously forgiven by that young man, In tbe jov of having his cbarac$qr cleared, and in the prospect of a pleasant termination to another matter which he was sagacious enough tbforeeee. ... - ; . Gnnter no time In banting op a justice of tbe peace, hnd after the forms bad been duly respected, Greg was freed from durance, a«£ escorted home in pern wwma <&»&>»

far b6uroi^r3eMej or aifr

in't mix me up ^svitK Abe oldiniin's