Chapter 138621356

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138621356
Full Date1891-12-19
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count1658
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946)
Trove TitleThe Charm That Works
article text

Chaptxb iil

Hie junior Churchill partner returned home next day from a six months' trip, and the house at IkxHak was much excited by the event, for be was a great man in. its eyea. He lived an independent life at the clab and in a Biiitc of sunptaous chambers in East Melbourne, when on this aide of the world, but was received by bis hither and step-mother on his first arrival, and entertained until his own establishment was ready -for him. His step mother, before she was bis step-mother, had badly wanted to be his wife, and it was a source of extreme satisfaction to her that he still remained on married and disengaged, though thirty-five last birthday, and one of the greatest catches in the colony. She never would have a pretty governess in the house, lest Anthooyshouldbe tempted; and she^kept a sharp eye upon the girls who sought and sighed for him—their name vras legion—when able to do so, and systematically circumvented them. He was too good, she s&id, to be thrown away- In. other words, it would be too dreadful not to have him at dinner on Sundays, and in and out of the house all the week through, petting her(in a strictly filial manner), and esoortingherabout when bis father was busy.

"People talk of the troublA of step mothers," she used to aay, with her most maternal air. "/ have never had any trouble. Sly step-children never objected to me for a moment, and they are just the eomfort of my

life."

Of the two, Anthony was her greatest comfort; he was always theie~ whenhe wasnotin England. Mary Oxenham was a dear woman, but she seldom came totowp.

Mam and bmfjtiher went tomeet the ship that brought Anthony back. Mrs. ChuHshill stayed et hooMy to put flowera Into big bedroom, and be ready to welcome Wm on the doorstep in a twenty-guinea tea-gown, designed on purpose.. The boai^ they bad been informed by telephone from the offioe, was expected atfiveo'clock, but when Mrs. Oxenham called fog her father athalf-past three, be told herit wouldnot be in before aii at the earliest; sad he was in rafter a state of mlndlest Anthony's dinner shouldbe foiled.

He sentimmsage to hb^to'ipoi^eif to half-past eight, sad Mm. Oxepham t#dahe wouldldjdtimefcy fotogto the tea-room.

fti

[pbt Mke'to ibbtk

On entering the yellow room, it was evident to her that all was well

for; Severa! people were taking-tea and scones, and the newcomer!

A ***** whomOIaude S introduced there yesterday had come again, and she had n , , -

witoher-^r^piTOnptly recogatBed the possibiliUesofthe newestaiaSf ipent as a place for meeting-one's friends. She wfoWgingatgr^lZ momof thc low.fmriuoned -cbaira, with her feet crossed and herglov^

8*tbn8 *n another, with his anna on his kneea, which toutoed her pretty gown; they both sat ap-very suddenly when Mr*

QroWto ham^ M a w

tp^SSS^'^T. ?" **

waa,Jeony Liddo?. who came "forward with a glowing face and directed her patroness to a particularly nice chair inSarah'B neighbourhood Mrs. Oxenham sat down, and maflekind inquiries Of her proterie as t«

how she was getting on*

A«#%%l«uv replied, with~fervo*r, i'toanks to yoo and Ma —jrohill. We have had quite a number of customers already—we are paying our why, even now-mid they all say that the tea and Bcones am 800^" Y...... S. : .. J- j'v • ttre

"Get me sapfiej, dear."- ; : ?, * , * > , ;?, ^

Jenny ffitt«flW&*he Bcreen, and came lntek arift theifmgrant teapot and the pM of sweet batter that she was so careful to keep cool; and Mrs Oxenham ate and drank with the enjoyment <rf a dainty woman ac customed to the bfest, and not always finding it where it should be. She talked to her young hostess as the girl paased-toaod fro, with the object of making her feel that she was still recognised as a lady as well as a restaurant-keeper; for Mrs. Oxenham had ideas as to the status of women

and what determined it, which were much in advance of those popularly

held.

" I am on my way to meet the,maU steamer," she said, rising when she

had finished her tea, andlooking at her watch.

" Yes," said Jenny. " My brother told me Mr. Anthony Churchill was expected." She added with alittte sigh, "The sea will be looking lovely

now."

" You ought to get down to it whoa you can," said Mrs. Oxenham. " The air in this street is not very wholesome. You should have a blow cm the St Hilda pier of anight when work is over."

" By-snd-by," said Jenny, " when we can afford it we will have a little home there, and come in end out by tram. At present' we do not Upend -a- penny more than is quite necessary. We walk to the house where we sleep, and back. We just keep a room to sleep in; our land lady at this place is a fixture, find takes charge in our absence. But we live

here."

" Not wholly on tea and scones, I hopef

"No," smiled Jenny. "Mother sees to that"

"You must take care to {day no tricks with your health. Mind that" , " I am as careful as X can be, Mrs. Oxenham."

" Take my advice, and don't grudge sixpence for a blow on the pier; it will be the most paying investment of all, you'll find. Where's your brother? What does he do for you ?"

Jenny Unshed slightly. " There's nothing he wouldn't do for us if we would let him," die said. " But we won't allow him to cripple himself."

" Does he lire with you T V - " Not now. He has taken lodgings for himself." " He doesn't approve of the tea-room, does he?"

Jenny blushed a deeper hue, " He is only a boy," she murmured indulgently. " He doesn't understand. He will some day."

Shesowaomeof her customers makes movement to rise, andMre. Oxenham ami led farewell and departed, glad to be blocked on the dark staircase by new people coming up.

" Brave little creature!" was her inward ejaculation, as she stepped into her carriage, which seemed to block the narrow street " I see what she has had to fight against Ah, well, women are not ell talking dolls, as Tony calls them. I wonder what Tony will say to her?' She paused to consider, and thought it would be as well not to take Tony three. " I hate to see all those men lounging about on ha little chairs," she said to her self. " They are not meant for men. I do hope and trust they won't any of them take it into their empty heads to make love to her. She is not exactly pretty, but she is very attractive—dreadfully attractive, for such a place. She doesn't know it in the least, but she has a face that one can hardly take one's eyes off."

The carriage clattered up to the door of the palatial business premises of Churchill and Son, and the chief stepped out with the alertness of a young

man*

" ifa early," he said, " but we may as well catch the 4.30. Better he too

soon than too late."

Mrs. Oxenham agreed, and they were driven to the neighbouring station, where they bade the coachman return to meet the special, and took train for Wtiliamstown. Arrived at that rather squalid port, toe old gentleman buttoned his great-coat and helped his daughter into a sealskin mantle; and they prepared for a long pacing up and down toe breezy pier, between toe tails trucks, while they waited for Tony. But in half an hour the Bhip appeared, and for another half hour, while she was being warped into her place, they had the bliss of seeing toe dear fellow, though they could not reach him, and of hearing the beloved voice shouting greetings and questions at thou. Amongst the swarm of passenger* hanging over the rails, Anthony Churchill, with his red beard on a level with toe hats of ordmiiry men, was easily distinguishable. He was a very fine man, and a very hand some one, sb well as amiable jmd rich; ao it was no wonder that the girls, of whom there seem each aterribl? number in proportion to their possiute suitors, ran after him. . , ,^„i:fni

" How well be looks!" exclaimed Mrs. Oxenham—meaning how beautuni and distinguished, compared with other women's brothers.

"Splendid i" said the father, proudly. .

Then toe gangways were fixed, and he came hurifog down tbrongh tbe ascending and descending crowd, and the majestic woman put her arms

vuradytortut. TM,wmtaU»lnwwwtatMilpb«. •"""J™

Anthonytasted .to "Hbtt*"«

and his father and sister after that jwnng lady for whomhu h searching so long. For they bad a desire to see him settledwit

wife, and bringing up sons and daughters, though Monde had j am

" I have not found her yet," the young man confessed. I ewp ^ ^ hard to please, but I don't seem to have met anybody with enough

asake it worth while to go ao far as matrimony.*

"What should she haveto her?" asked Mrs, Oxenham, smd g.

"What you have in you,; Polly," be veplied. "Some sense. Someia

beyond dressii^ and smirking#* roes." ^ ~ ,. .y.,,. "As I

"Oh, well, you had better put yourself in my hands, said sli - # know there art plenty of «Hsh wbmeib lW«nd«Uketo fiiidyouone.

**. Thanks 1 but Td rather findher for myself." when " A man never finds a woman of that aorti He y leave it heseesber. He doetft know J! degenerate into to me, Tony. Time is getting on, and we cant allow to egenem

stolfoh old club bachelor, folnkiog of '^jcaow

bwtoftimoe. bcr atad for a womeoti m • **&*! town,r-'ul,Aveothom8

to^boreS^^i?W^tiroe,to dreoa ,%uy

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have tod htoagnnijfT