Chapter 138657724

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138657724
Full Date1893-07-22
Page Number36
Corrections0
Word Count3291
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946)
Trove TitleOne Christmas
article text

THE STORYTELLER.

OHE CHRISTMAS.

Bt Mbs. HEgMTKT H.ninmi.

Chapixe IIL

The next morning broke dett, crisp, and heaatifol, villi no trace oi Juuate'a angry mood. I drew aside the window carta irn and looked oat en the pare earth beneath, dotted in her dress of white, and gptleriug with a thn—d geai. Yes, my native ooantry was evetythinc flat I had pictured it m Ask far-off tend, and dAt was no dosbt aboat it, OiwIbw m the time of all others to retam to it"

"Ootne in," I called oat to Rdgersoo, vho was heating a tattoo on my door with his fcnnrHra, and wanting to know if I was ready.

"What a jolly day its going to be," he

said. "Idxaght by the look of thiy ha u(jbtthit itvugoiagtonoriKaWdL

Yoa**e not forgotten yoor skating, I hope T

•"Ihope not," Imncnl; "bat^ m toa

we dahU get wwW factue

$

my fatrtio— &nl! Bat I say. ,did fam hear any noise last night

rafter we went to feed r

tdttfutoiianiaer ;

ray dots

tboagh* jS

itheaeSoot

At

t;batl

' had no lijrhr, so. of coarse, I coald not see

1 anything.**

I Nonsense, my dear fellow? Christmas ban, yoa m*y be sure, and nothing else."

| " I dare say; t>ne the odd part or it is that : when I stayed here one night last week I

|heard exactly the same thing. I called}

; ont 3

j " Nightmare f®

"Don't humbug, Angus! 1 called oat, I

I tell yoa, because I heard someone try the

handle of my door, very softly: bat at the ; so and of my voice, whoever it was scorned : off, in fast the same queer sort of way. j There's the breakfast gong," he interrupted ? himself, and, locking his arm in mine, we ; found oar way to the diningroom, which had 1 always been a cheerful room, and which this I Christmas morning was bright and warm | with a hoge crackling fire, a long wide table ( with everything of the best upon it, and, of

! course, a real Scotch breakfast.

| I was met with sacb bright smiles, such [pleasant greetings on all sides, it seemed | chat these kindly people were doing all in j their power to lessen the regret I naturally | felt that 1 was, after all, but a stranger and

[a viator in my old home.

What a thoroughly happy family they j seemed : though sometimes, as Lady M'Far } lane's eyes wandered over the merry party, I 1 fancied that a shadow dickered across the , sunshine of her face.

! "You have brought us a really beautiful ; morning, Mr. Malcolm," she said kindly as

| she handed, me my coffee. " I suppose you [ young people have made all sorts of plans for

today f

} "Indeed we have, mother,® said Jessie.

; gaily. " There is always {dotty to do as k»og !

, as the ice holds, and we want to practise : curling. You will like that, will yoe not, Mr.

Malcolm Y

£be smiled at me in the sweetest, frankest way she had. and of coarse I declared that there was nothing in the world I should like

better.

"Well, ces't let us waste the whole morning here," said Archie, springing up the

instant he hid swallowed his last mouthful ?? of catcake and marmalade. " Who's oa for: the Loch! I say, father; these new skates ; you gave me are jfwsxmpIll lend you my ! old pair if you like, Mr. Malcolm." j

" Very kind. I'm sure," laughed Rogersoa,; pinching Lis ear playfully: and " How: genaous we areexclaimed Moilie, in scornful accents, though she was in reality • Master Archie's devoted slave and admirer. 1 Trie lake was a beautiful piece of water; aboct a mile from the house, and in tee; mid ile of it was quite a " large little ® island,f which had been the scene of many skating lunches in winter time, and many boating

teas in the long days of midsummer. Many ?! a rirae had Kogessoc and I been " Robinson Crusoe and his man Friday * on that sure

little

<jL

We had a gfcdoss morning en the ere.

ooce CSi - utt U.UA,US. V*

more through the t-right trusty air. I could hare sung ak/oi oci of sheer fight-hearted

Des, and then how sweet and kind was . Jesse! Rogersoa na-i put on her skates : ooctiafy, but it was to me she gare her httfc- ? hands, and crossing them with mine, j together we seemed to fiy round the lake; again and yet again till at last, breathless*

we halted by tire old boatfeoBse. -j

" That akne was worth coming ten thou-1 sand miles for," I said, as I footed at her; raee-fiusbed face, feer ETn'iwg eyes, and the i little rings of golden *ha£r "that peeped and - played beneath the dainty hat, with Its scarlet tip. Ah me ? I think it nset surely have been then wad. thrie chat, she sole toy

heart! - - „i. .

Pretty qukk work.! But bow was a tase man to withstand the gmceatcaaoa of sb many charms! - " |

" I am sure you masf be-vwyglad to be' back again in your own country, tad yet 1 j am afraid you can't help minding—us,' she' said, with a dear little apologetic saiku " It. is nay hard for yew." i

1 tdd Iter that at first I bad dreaded, j almost as mesh as I had longed, to see my • aid borne, but that they had all teen so good * to me that I was not gome to mind it any'

more.

"lam so {M,r she said simply: "and now tell rae something about jour life in Australia. It it widely different to all tins, of course?"—waving btr hand is the direc tkattf the from mere and the animated

group of skaters.

"Indeedit as,® I answered emphatically. "Not that it is by any means a bad life out there either. I hiri, as the Americana say, a

[ real good time. Of course, though, mast of tar life was spent in rim bash, learning ' station work, but, thanks to the kind old I man, I always went ooce a jest either to

S Sydney or lieiboume for what we called a

' epefl." We always managed to get down ; about Cap riwir all the ran ia going on | then—and Mr. Smriarr (he was the cousin who adapted me, you knovjwas as keen : about homes and races ae tm he could be. All tbe yeare that he bad Bred is Australia ; he never mimed a Cm. You don't know ' what a dear old man he una, Mrm M'Ksriane,

and bow much I nrisBedhim when—but really I don't see wby I should bore you with all my

family history."

" fife indeed, yoa are not boring me," abe deduei "Me. Bogesaae wiH teB you bow often we seed to ask ium after yoa. Mather •Inissadyoaanaah s aad atory, and whenwefimt cimheBjanah«Biae<Hd then, bat I can remember what lamentations were raised every (jae we «at into the village- Ibefieveit waaa long while before they realty forgave us Car turning here. Somehow ttoy seemed to think that we had tsnahdyoa osL~

to base toughen yoa

~ « .» V

bob ow# to rids fitiq' T^laughed,} "jiwlmi from what I saw las* njgH"

"Co, yes* of coarse ttogr hate now, poor

old toiim?. mH I am jdad of it. You realty;

mart

debnoot iotgrren at, or ever wBL Only tototriKse mto *? CM**I

?MweyamtoikiihTaiSit we bad! done with 'toe Malcolm,* cad rim the

ttowtod^waacMto^tektoinain'r

"Poorold Jean* Andaotoe nalxD to the and of the firing? Sfaetonskfaemtein her dotoge.1 should tfaU. Tea. MimM^kriam Itonaidfifcetogomrtaw net aety aanrh. j

you wiS take aae; and vrihMabout Ihgrnwi now—of coarse yoa aoan made friends wbh himfheaaaaGbarealgood JeUowf laafced with Madriaretoan diploma*.** I was so anawtotoknowhowtoe ujnidil Ba. Bn of course, aaatbare fallen fit lore whfa her!

hatgagts

" Yea, we all like him so ranch - hen fast ton a tog toother yoa haw" toe replied.'

I thought, and toe

(etc. They had come to disport themselves

upon the ice, and immediately there was a . " merry Christmasing/ a great kissing ana , shak-ing of hands, and I noticed that witn ; everyone Mi<^ MTarlane was a prime j

favourite.

Half an hoar later Rogerson and I were on j our way to his home. " Dunard, eo caneo . from its position on the top of a hill. Heeaw ? he had to see his factor, and if I did not mind j we would go home to lunch, and return in the j afternoon, as Lady if'FarLine hau asked us j to dinner. , . ' We walked along rather silently for a bit, i and then Rogerson sail, " Well, what do you i think of bery* . \

" Which her f I asked, rather taa<icioosIy j it most be confessed, for of coarse 1 knew as j well as be did. j

" Oh, don't be a fool *. I saw you having :

no end of a talk with her." , , , .. . !

" Well, old chap," I answered. ' I think j she's the prettiest and the sweetest girl I ever met, so there f .

" Thedeooeyoa do T said Rogerson. kicking aside an unoffending lump of snow. "Hello! who's this r as young Archie came blowing

up behind as.

"Hold on, you fellows," he called out. "I'm coming home with you if you don't

mind, XieL Mr. Makolm said he was ^oing

to unpack his thing* this afternoon. what j

about the make skin and the eggs f asked the boy, taming his bright young lace to me.

"Oh. you shall have them with pleasure/ I answered (what a look of Jessie he had);

"and kick here, I've got a stockwhip, and if j you can erack it first shot you shall have

that toa"

*" Yob are a brick

"It is a very oid oc?. with the handle all carved over with texts from the Bible. Not very appropriate in the hands of a stockman,

I'm afraid /

" Well, now, I should bare thought that was rather a cariosity. Makolm, and the sort

of thmg yoc would iike to keep yourself," j said Rogersoo. {

" No, I have another one that is really a cariosity. It wis carved by an old black

feiiow, and belonged to Mr. Sinclair. I j should not like to part with that. The only I other things I have got in the ' native j industry' fine are some gam leaves, with j little bcssb scenes painted mi them—and, of, course, some emu eggs. They are beautifully ! caned, bat I baressj you have seen heaps of I them." I

So chatting we soon arrived at Rogwsou's j home. lake myself, fce had beeas an orphan s far many years. At the death of his parents —who died within a year of each other— wb«i he was only a very small toy, his j gTaoi mother and a maiden aunt of very un-1 certain age had come to the oki noose, and had taken op their abode there ever since. If the truth muss be told they were rather an awe- - tnspirmg pair—jealously keeping to all the* old ideas, narrow-mir led and prejudiced to a painful degree. So ft ss not to be wondered at that, oc every passible occasion. Rogeison spent his time m the more geiial society of his neighbours,

Jfrs. Rogezsoe was a very old lady—I don't exactly know how old, bat everyone said eh* was " gotnj on for a hundred "— woodenuliy strong asi active in body, hut bex memory had gone to sleep long ago. She was very deaf, and her poor old mind was in

a very dsaooc state.

As he entered the very prim, old-fashioned drawnvrrocw, she looked at me Winkly. nor outtld she, in spite of all Ragerson's wiles. be pssoaded to pre me any sort of a wel

' Tve beooght yoc a visitor. Granny," he ' mii"Qf coarse, you've not forgotten Angus i

Matetm."

BBtriesarUaaeeofQe

" I don't know yer! Who are ytr? I don't know yet f* she kept repeating in a puzzled

?V.

Oh, yes. Granny! You know Amytnf You remember be lived at the 'Gien/ He was my friend when we woe two naughty little

boys."

"That's no Angus Malcolm! He's dead , faagsyne." I

Miss SogeiBCBt, who had not forgotten

mentvtead been quietly inspecting me, «

broke l_

" Xo, mother! It's his father that's dead."

she screamed, "It's his fariter," ebe repeated.

—III" V ?? U— -u ul.'. mmm* ?? i ? I ????? ms, «.» to hB ftttUCT,

pitting he* Hps to the oid lady's ear. ,

"J3 \ h^*r -**' dear, I hear ye. Eis! mother's dead you my. Ah ! she was a sweet!

uetUif too, I Bad. hot a pair feck faaa bogy and where'a fafa father v

" He's ufemi, mother !"

"Madllalie indeed? WeH well! poir hody !^ Who can comprehend tite ways of a mcmfal Providence. Then who's that I dct/t know yer, who are yerr

Afl tois time the old lady had been holding myhand and peering into my face, bat u

£?i

mgberb^ete mattered tobaself, "That's no AngaaMatcotm! Don't tell me."

«f* » Miss Rogeaon 'a iiggol iMmtt m, I tm core, occupied by ytumgAxdne. Hergnm vaage refaxed era wtoaaylewfaea ahemw his bright boriah

face, or hemdlaa happy laagh. AKkiTiw i allowed to tan aB aarts otn& and pfay «li!

ST^J^L *£?*>" fc^etaon ^ in

iiy'"-"' g- ?«* fegyV.g

jofceaatteera aDowed hereof to smile at,

E£"32£ SS SJ*? at-"""" "P, i"' 'T ,* *ad, as it were,

?aacjg22Sh^£!eS?todTS^

n % Tm '* -1 I

PKUgn, I VM Wiott

flmkdmwcrikapocmMfas Roc« wasenrirely tafam op with Awfak awe thad, at any rate, a fah p—. helooged to hex cat—Tabitha—?

111 faet tha

jne Lyu iuw , he aiw^a ooi

am?. iaa, ptm, acea not

* Jm twr bow i Ihs Asat Jama Ja.ft when tl>

MnlTIikyttwasthehttko

ii

^^Tdd^*^«s°£?m^doo, 01 "hSSKS "ilbtJb hdM "ilAsn^

£sn*ffi58&5E

and his long sermons, too.) v-toolm \

"Well well, so this is Angus Jiaiooimi Fh but ve were s wild laddie when ye bid us fn'«EdbreAngus! I hope ye are more

^fiy mindeHowaday, though I mis S yon wild foreign parte. By-M£ty. £ Je$ notake it ill, I'll just inquire a wee into

your condeetion." , . , t

"There's something for rou to ^oK forward to." whispered Archie, while Koger eon remarked thk as lunch was on the table, perhaps we had better inquire into tha ^i'm thinking, Angus," said Mr.. MTntyre, after he had partially appeased his appebte on a large plateful of roast goose— * ®

inc Te'll have many een teres ting tales to tell

SfoMoreiSGantries.

Miss Janet"—be never called her Miss

R<Sr«T-" that it would be agreatwieetion

to our readings next week if he , « OS something of what he has been about all ^^Oh^Tm afraid public speaking is not in my line stall, Mr. MTntyre,''I cned inutenii; "and, besides, you know there really is not

Sorely when

ye've led such a deefferent life to this, j e must have something to tell us." „ .,

" Of course he has, Mr. M Intyre, said Rogetson brutally. " Von just get him onbis leg sat the next penny meetings, and see if he does not make the villagers hair stand on

en**"oh ves. do—do," chimed in Archie. " Do you know, Mr. MTntyre, he ssjts that people out there crack snakes just as they do stock whips, and their heads fly off.

"Well that's not exactly un wwy-daj occurrence, Archie," I explained; but I hav e seen it done. I remember 1 had only been a week in the colony, when old Billy—a very old station hand he was-astonished me by seizing a large snake that he found asleep on the haystack by its tail, waving it.in the air, and cracking its head clean off." „

" S&kes alive! I never heard the like,

ejaculated old Ramsay, stopping half way between the sideboard and the table, with the sherry decanter in his hand. He was a very old and privileged servant, who, in moments of forgetful ness, was sometimes betrayed into joining in the "conversation.

"Go on. sir," he whispered to me as^he filled my glass: " tell us more, Mr. Ancus."

" That will do, Ramsay," aaid Miss Rogerson; " you can leave the room now. Find out if your mistress is for anything more." _ ...

Providentially old Mrs. Rogetson did not come down to the diningroom for her meais. They were sent up on a tray to the drawing room, where she and Tabitha enjoyed them

together.

'• If no one's for anything more, said Miss Rogetson, rising from the table ; " will you ask a blessing, Mr. MTntyre, and we'll go up

the stair."

Mi. M'lntyre stood np and complied with alacrity, and immediately afterwards he added that he thought this would be a fitting occasion to offer up special thanks for the murcifai return of the wanderer, and with Miss Janet's penneession he would like to

make a few remarks.

" Oh' but I say T broke in Archie; " there won't be rime, there won't, indeed ! He's got to show ns soch heaps of things— skins and eggs—and it's Christmas Day, Mr. MTntyre—it's not fair 5"

'Whist, whist, bairn cried Miss Rogetson,

Rogetson gave me a resigned look, and I muttered that I was enre it was very kind of Mr. MTntyre to take so much

trouble for me.

But the good man was offended, and would not be appeased. He looked at the lad's flashed face and said severely—

"I am in a great taking about you, Archie, for 1 hare remarked a oonseederable backsliding in your speech and ways since ye went to yon school, and I'm much aieard that ye're rena carnally minded."

" Oh, I hope he's not so bad as that," said Rogetson hastily; "but look here, Mr. M'lntyre, what about that school treat, you know—toast beef, plum-pudding, apple-pies

—all that sort of thins? Yon and Aunt Janet arrange it all. for Im very much afraid we must be going now. Why, how late it is!" glancing at the clock, "and are promised lady MTariace moat faithfully to be early— skating party, aiding, dinner—awfully aony to hurry away."

And so we three degenerate creatures has tened out of the room and the house, Archie declaring that Rogetson was a tramp, and had managed beautifully.

" By Jove! what an escape!" I gasped as we got fairly away. "That's to say if he's

anything lite what he used to be mi other

* ?miiWk'UMiii /wnaioMu * •

'My dear fellow, he's worse—infinil worse," aid Rogetson; " I believe he wo hare thought that a special opportunity ] been pantei him of omretting the whoh Australia in your 'meesetaUe peraon,* i mat he would hare kept us there the wh

afternoon."

"Isay, Kiel, did I make an awful um myself? Dont mind me," a j Archie. " It just slipped out, you know."

. "•» * expect you're put a rod in pic for yourself, young man," laughed Rogers His fuse was as good as a play, and p cMAnnt Janet's, too. Oh, Archie,

dams for yourself in i quartet; I m afraid!