Chapter 138676127

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Chapter Number
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138676127
Full Date1902-11-15
Page Number54
Corrections0
Word Count1649
IllustratedN
Last Corrected1970-01-01
Newspaper TitleThe Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946)
Trove TitleA Fair Revenge
article text

THE STORYTELLER.

A FAIR REVENGE.

By M. FORREST.

'To thine own self be true-thou can si not then be false to any man," quoted Maiy.

'If is all very well. I can't-can t, can i,'

said ttngnmnni^ impatiently.

'Can't what? Be false?" There was a little wonder in Mary's gentle voice.

"No.canliotbe true." "To yourself t"

"To myself? Yes, I can. That is why I cannot be true to any man. It's a fact, Mary, if I am false to myself I can re main true to Jake, by a great effort, but if I follow my natural instincts-am true to myself-six months will see me as weary of my beloved Jake as I hare been even tually of every man 1 ever came in con

tact with."

Mary looked shocked.

It was a cool and peaceful spot the girls had chosen to rest in this afternoon. The ground sloped up to a sandy pine ridge. A winding path ran through a group of wattle trees, gold crowned, and sweet smelling, while a big bloodwood tree towered above the login which the girls wore seated. From amongst the timber came ever and anon the long, liquid note of the butcher-bird.

"Then, why did von engage yourself to Jake?" asked Mary* alter a pause.

"Oh, I was worried into it! W hv do I ever do anything? Because people ask me to. I have the fatal gift of making myself

~tf?i nt^inr* men. and to be agree .iCone^m^ifitjegay 'Xo,! one must tem

sp too long you end

ySjfng 'Tei^v'jBer voice sank wistfully

she went on, rvTware best., perhaps, to bs thg^staPjsu^ge-marry. I mean-and ^theb V*R «tfma not, get out of it. I have

it oat of napjf/engagements, Mary!"

have been more than into" one engagement.

forTlBt^^PBressentially a woman intended by nature for the domestic fireside, sighed and shook her head.

"Von really should not talk like this, Rosamond-, it isn't nice."

"Oh, let me speak out sometimes, and re lieve my heart! Jake will l>e here pre sently, and I will have to mince and smile after the approved fashion. Let me be a natural woman. Let me by myself-yet the Lord only knows what my type is! I don't own a nice property like you, Maty, but what I hare I would gladly give to know I shall not change this time! But it is no use. Oh! I was only meant to play in the sun a little while, as the butterfly plays among the flowers; and then Nature in tends me to die young, while the laughter is still ringing in my ears, and the light is still dazzling my eyes; SfrhiTft. to be more prac tical, ipen think 1 am worth running after! A woman's Opinion now-Mary, do you

-think 1 am pretty?"' " j

She took off her big hat and laid it on the grass, fluffed up the hair at her temples with the palms of her hands, and smiled into Marys face.

Mary looked at her critically up and down. "I suppose you are," she said grudgingly, for she honestly could^ never guess what men saw iu Rosamuud*6 face. The clear brown akin, the patch of glowing colour in each smooth cheek, and the red brown hair, which Man- always thought untidy, were well enough in their wav.

but

Mary sighed, and thought of the piles of household linen she had put by years ago; in the unspoken hope of preparation for the days of matrimony not yet accomplished. Why did men want to marry feckless creatures like Rosamund? While she, Marv, who would have worked her fingers to the bone for the man 6he loved, would probably grow, live, and die in single

blessedness.

Rosamund laughed, and leaned back against the bole of the bloodwood tree.

"We will ask Jake; here he comes."

Along the j>ath between the wattle trees Jake was coming towards them, eager, 'tall, and straight, and Rosamund's eyes bright

ened.

He look her hands in his, for the moment

almost forgetting Mary, who had risen, blushing nervously at hi* approach.

"I think I will stroll up to the house," she said. "YOB two can follow after."

"Mary is tactful," said Jake when her figure had disappeared among the trees, and he picked up Rosamund's hat and pro

ceeded to cover the glinting brown hair {torn the slant of sunshine which shone through the over-arching boughs.

"Don't put on airs of proprietorship," mocked Rosamund, evading his hand with her red tempting hps close to his facc.

"Why, aren't you my property?" be said with a slightly fatuous smile-the mark of the newly betnrothed.

"No; 1 am no one's property-not even my own-the EjJort of tne winds that blow/' she sighed. "1 was made in some freakish hour when Nature was tired of bang serious, and dedicating lives to cer tain en As. There was no time to finish my eoul. eo she said, 'let it be*-she is not in tended to arrive at any results or for serious purposes. I jet her play in the sun shine, and when the rain comes let her creep into a corner, fold her little dragged wings about her head, and go to sleep-go to a sleep from which not even Jake can wake Iter!"

She patted bis hand playfully. Jake looked troubled.

"You talk above mv head, ItogSe. I wish"-be paused, and his eyes followed the path "Mary had taken.

"You to I was more like other people Maiy, for instance."

She laughed, slipping her hand caress ingly through bis arm, "1 am very fond of,

- to-day, Jake." .

. " Jot wbv to-day-why must you iadd that?" be aaked, half suspicious, half ntoUi

no one can answer for to-ipor Whocan tell what a day may bring' ? ^Wby .can't you be like rue-live for

. j

. jHust think of "thej . Almost as origihaj as] .inSpodmrl." V'-. -1 fyflamT?" She moved a litQel

pfed. her hands behind jkffj amoved mischievously, s»erj

gavea man's answer. Hij

w&nt totiuu£$? "lood ^irls in,that tone #'

aminute or t\po Utfe t |r©tt admirably." -;

" would not feare

eye? . looked * iher J

would care mipremely-JBhot4<ibe ?«y]

^WThy^yon qualify everything? PoiS]

that mean you would not be j ealousa year hence? Are you chang&bie, Raser . - t

"That is not the word for it, Jake! But nevermind. I can't imagine .myself a sallow old maid-any more than. I can imagine my self a respectable married woman, growing middle-aged and dreaming of my dinner: and if you jilt me-perhaps, I won't get another chance!" ---.?.

"You are always making ton of a fellow. Be sensible for a little while, Rosamund

dear."

"By being sensible yon mean Bit hand in hand and make eyes. Well-there-don't look cross, I will be good.... Tell me bow much you love me and I will listen; Mid. wake me out of my dream in time for tea,

Jake."

. . . .

The wattle had bloomed and withered for three seasons on the Westmead Bun, when one afternoon the silence of the glade was broken by a woman's voice, Maiy Tregas ken was walking there with her new-made husband. She was a bonnier, brighter-look ing Marv than of old, for the changing beauty of happiness was on her face. As they paced side by side down the wattle path Jake stopped to stare at an old log, naif buried in the long bush grass, for it had been a rainy season on Westmead.

"This is where Rosamund was so fond of sitting," said Mary thoughtfully. "I never came here after she left; it seemed such waste of time. What a strange girl she was, Jake. Three years ago, when we sat here, I remember her telling me she would tire of of-of any man in six months."

Jake turned his eyes away. Why should he wince under his wife's words! He had heard the same tale from Rosamund's own lips long ago A blow to one's vanity, no doubt-when given as a reason to break off an engagement.

"But you did not care, did you dear?"

Mary had no jealousy now of Rosamund; that was over long ago. Mary was a wise woman, and accepted facts. Jake's en gagement to Rosamund had been short lived, and they bad always been quarrel line while it lasted. So Mar)' argued Jake had nothing to regret; consequently no regrets. One could not expect to be a man's first love as well as his,last. Rosamund had been very nice about their marriage, and had sent Mary a charming wedding pre

sent.

"Care? Of course, not. Did you say you had a letter from her this morning?"

"Yes! She is in Rome. She is not going to marry that Russian fellow after all. Grace Marlowe saw her in the winter, and said she was so thin, with such a bad cough, but more brilliant-looking than ever. Poor girl," with the pride of her newly-acquired position, "it is such a pity, she doesn't settle down. And, oh! by the way, she gave me a message for you. What was it? Something about a butterfly. Wait, I

think I have her letter here.

She searched a moment; then drew out the letter. "Yes, there! 'Tell Jake the wings are getting draggled, and the sleep is very near.' What does she mean? The wings are getting draggled-the wings are getting draggled-the wings ?"

"All right! All right. Maiy, for pity's

sake!"

"Oh, well, of course, if it is a secret," she paid, with emphasis, a slow colour, mounting her fair cheek, "I won't say

more."

"As if I should have a secret from you. It is some old joke 1 have forgotten."

Mary was appeased. Where he had once kissed the butterfly he now kissed his wife. A kiss of complete reconciliation.

But-had he forgotten?