Chapter 140232518

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttps://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140232518
Full Date1922-05-27
Page Number51
Corrections1
Word Count2665
IllustratedN
Last Corrected2019-04-26
Newspaper TitleThe Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946)
Trove TitleDaughters of the Seven Mile
article text

DAUGHTERS OF THE SEVEN MILE THE LOVE STORY OF AN

AUSTRALIAN WOMAN.

By ZORA CROSS.

CHAPTER I.

When Ann Wjltson Raddled Iier mare and rodg nut of HillborQugbiuthe clear spring air she had in no wise solved the problem .the liioineniouKnetts of which had induced her- to put it in her own ivords.-"to kill a whole live frnnday at Uncle Bob's."

She liked both joe and Michael, hut ehe realised that whe could no longer k«ep each ycwng man dangling on her honnet-gtringg. She lowed those *«me firings now, for the blue.- sun-bonnet die wore, though _ it

shielded her fair Imp from the sun, and ? kept in' jilncc her manses of rebellious red g Id hair. wa# not comfortable.

Site hud lunched early, with Aunt Em and Cousin Ada, and hoped to, be at Moonee before diii say '"Yes" to Michael.

She turned .at the top of the racecourse iiill. Hiui wared iier riding-whip in a last farewell to Ada,- w ho was washing ber from their aide verandah. 'Ada called out ."JjlheV^pn the hill, irniiu. Quick, or you'll

mils her."

-'. A nd. Aunt Kin came out, and waved a white wiping-iip cloth to Ann. Then ih vtantly.the niare «,n.d her rider Were out of 'eight. . ? - ...

< " \ Veilsighed Ada, returning to her

irpning. "'she haen t deefded yet. which one she's going to choose: and it's ray opinion

she'll lose them both?'

'-Poopiii" answered Aunt. Km. "Atiy ;one ae iire^tjKas Ann can afford to lose

;Jovert.". .; - . . .'

» '?Not lover*1 like Joe . and Michael, , mother,protested Ada. "There is not a

single girl in Hill borough Michael couldn't get, or ,Toc cither for that matter."

, Aunt Km, who was busy baking for her .hovR, never wearied of discussing Ann. I She was proud.of heiniece, almoet ae proud

of, her as she wall of Ada, though there was

little likeness between the cousins.

'.She^altould take Joe, mum," Ada began, folding shirts carefully. ? "Well, so Auntie Alai-y wiy*. H isn't; as if she'knew any thing about Michael."

"Ann can take e«-e of bereelf if 1 know anything about her. Oh ineJvy! there's Bert 'waking upl Get the table cleared quickly."

The two women hastened to remove eigne of cookiug and ironing, and spread a spot less white cloth over, an equally spotiees white tahle, .for, if the Burton boys were miners, and did dine without coats, it wag ulwaytj ait immaculately clean table, and in immaculately clean shirt sleeves they sat

.The exclusive light of publishing this work 'throughout fhe Australian Coronioswwaiiii )»e been purchased by Ujeuroprletors ol "Tbe Australasian," Literary, dramatic, and moving ' picture eppy r!*ht ivy Xdrv Grogs throufhont Awstraliii and Jifcw Zealand, - and nil other British Dominions. Our.readers an infonneti that.ali cluiraeterein tide story sre^-purely tm»«inaiy, and if the name of any living perawi happens to be mentioned no per sonal implication is intended.

.4ow9,Moth«-.«aw,

^fiSaS^ "one^or;5&e Settee

Aid; yeare^sgo,:' tie

r. (a^Tpto^l,

i:j3iwt wag 'Aiiii Wil^n^sCo

Bert, a long-legged youth of 17, taroe-out"-' as Ada was putting the knives aipl ipriufe

round the table. "Aim gone?" he adfced.""

"Yes. !?ouie time," answered Adz/*n&,£ " at his look of disappointment,. "Oh, -

look so sad. Whe hasn't decided -

husband is to be -yet; .So. there's. _iV. chance for you." ; - * ?"

J'Not with JJUrihael Famey _

aiouaS a!) the timc wlien she's in

Joe Carter threatening to kill a. man

looks at her at Moonce," retorted 'whose frank* worefrip of Ann vfasl*^ ? of nine!) amusement.to botti ,fa

^'Xeithcr of theni is worth Ann anyway,"!

But it was not that fa<£ thai was ling Ann as she rode on towards her

Marryiiig Michael meant leaving thiat ] marrying .Toe Htnving; and It wa^rju problem of whether she could gjre

nee for Hiilborough- that had fee away from the former even tor orife s

Now that she had turned ha

problem grew even m«re difficult to i She did not like Hiilborough.

brought up as Ann Wilson was could town such as Hiilborough. Its narrow streets, ending promt

mullock heaps, deserted shafts er wor

o!d whims, held no attraction forhefl' was iisedL.^o open country, to long, * white roads, and the great scrub, ?!

which her father drew timber. Ofte had helped him" cut a load- She

body and mind and soul, to the

and the deeper she rode on' into it the I

she realised it.

' "l, believe if marrying Michael living anywhere but the H0!f" Ann

her booDet-strings as she rode -mr racecourse and dipped towards the/

mile bridge, "I'd .have said 'jft,1 Miohael, because I feel sore I

But imagine me in a bouse like Aunt j bang np against some other woman *i with three hens scratching cp ay

a half cabbages in the bact yard;; rose gloomily surveying a

nium in the front patch. So 'cor, np no horse, no calf, no vineyard,* no -

patch! Miners nodding to roe ais:% pass! Baker calling! Ada coming Jiyf me to choir practice or lodge And Michael-Michael playing §:.

day, I suppose, or ^ing to the d to practise on big organl So! 1

Ann Wilson there." She whit * mare . and galloped %ith f&ce . over ? the Five-wile ~ ."'Joe's good and steady," her til .gab again. "He's. got his own

and mum like him. I-can get _ his family, and I've only to

and up go the first- posts of wr'4|B|p "arid 1 could put it up mostly tiqgr as dad and mum put up Woonee.

I~can have tlmt himdred cWred :_,

.the scrub - at any tiqie." III only ? ,._B minutes from mum find Miomt;

have my own cows and pige, and th be ao interfering pawenfby beyond" Billy and old SeHy Srihke and their or, say, a tramp or two. Yes; it T if it'll'"have to be

Joe's team came up the other side!

CVfcr Creirfr jaat w Abb,' ejill t, -rode to the top irf it. * ?*=:?? 5

*fr -Joe before he aaw fen !M«e4 a ridwiK smiling p*st bis leader* lie liKtked up and flashed at eight of %il! Ku mistake, and you did surprise Ami, he said, stopping his team and sg «n his Iwl lock-whip awkwardly. for though he loved Ann and had pro to iier very many times, was always

_i.ftcr presence.

% .worried lam with grey, pleased eves. Jfte were t«e t>elle of the district. Joe

" easily "the catch."

mi his strong, brows arms to his frank «, -so good to look at e»» in its semi

-yoiid,itioi\, Jowas & lover worth W«ng, and she leaned and con

'over her saddle. :

Sunday »t Aunt

ftp#..* Joe, and I .stayed ta-day to do eSP* I didn't think ! ti soe you ? this side ot the Seven Mile," she eaid.

I wouldn't lK.. coming in at ail to-dav," j £oe whs still )U at ease, but gradually gain

conndewo, "if #t weren't for the Cedar

.{ ? il'Wv brjk^.

» ?"es- , ^y, I was almost for* I u" 0,1 Saturday night, isn't

I : '.t s to be a ding-dong J aSair and no mistake. 1 proniieed to knock f yP a lorros for the hall. That's why i AT gating »' e«r!y with tbif. load. Tlie ] <j«siram«? are sorking hard for ttr We I T® * mwUfig yestePdav, and decided npon ' f "%tn. '.." things. \ou shouldn't have

| tttow it.

I ^,I *r,,K"r'TJ T»«vt tbf«- But mother r w® t<^i'ne »" ahont it. ril have to liurrv

1 up and 1rx a new dneSE**

. s,lrely didB*t fareet the danee, p ,,t 1?(nc t?PreSSd h® diaap fi^pWtiB«rt at the thought. "I ou nroiaiwd ^ two week?- ago to come with me.

jj hadn,t foBgOtt?H, Otlfv I l.g'gB t dream it was so near. Neither did k £° Wltl\/oa exactly, Joe." I hcr pommel reflee

rl /saotl>V Ann, but this i* a r. ,' afty tl"? time" J« was be 1 -xS^utfi^0 **««.., "One *ide of the ?^BTBitteg wanted the towniee, a»d ' i come arid play; bnt

dead *ga'P»t that, and if T? P»ano put their noses in OH

3 to Utter a cw of

Si^ra1 fl, ti,cn do«d it. She had

< Cre^ ,HW d'd not ' nr^mrf- iP^ffeal t'le dance on this

. she dffl iKrt think that the . '?a^m fo- ife c&nt ^ ^ ^ane^ whieh was in aid

T BGllboroiigh^ and

thyty^Seart, in petfectly

it sociable. Joe," Ann

wd^^igBanti^ "Ik ton-n bovs will y-thfirgtrlg. Surely jonll Jike

1 niiiiem and their girlg

Fai,r s fa'>- We have a TOttgn^me-yhen they come. "We don't

^±,.^ piano'J and ll;e>' W0'V t stand j ^ and mouth-organ. Von

n. that though they've

peket&f and U»^ committee Kpye that

SSfr ho.ve" word -j .7 ^J'e» and if ther show

fe'S '1"1- ""I

Hill hoy® and girls.

there just! They're coming jn . framjiB far ag the Twelve Mile.'' . * ' "

v 1 didn't know that it was conic

^ jwpt.lar. All the, same a

- 8 v-anSfi 'rit,lout JUcfiael Tar

: -Be3".|Haymg. \ oull hare telle fair -to the '^si^en>, and let Michael play.

? 6 the one we'i^ aliaead^inrt^ Jbe ?d. «>ining cloeer to .Aan« laarc jtis '^n j putttnj| a -Iiaxid .-upon: B^r

V X?u trim when you' wer® jw, Ann: \ j--:.-; .

3sn^tf^ ^ ''oe^ my busirieSs.

%, ®f cottrae' it ^ r you %nd I

11m such good fr^^ «fcwe were "Sin^he-came." * 7^ . .

* . Bat I'm tafe.

Y nana m thia dance trouble. I'm one ^committee wbo voted for the town ;to come, mainly beeat»e t simply

5? Sno«T*a concertina. And think the buah giris ^otft iAiow .i

3'*" !;'».vs get rough, yon know "

fere^waa a glint of figlit in her eyes. Answered it wrth fire from his own

wsrastas^ te ibt

kneccsnariW. But I mean if the town

Inhere "W°n * TS' ,IOB8en8e

talk»ng big, Ann, and you only £.*&* ""ith y°a> Joe, any day,

Not quite. Yon awing J . . ^ou re as strong tad -ie Jn,1!L ' when it comes to jr .you 1* a woman, and that tell* ',a?-s 8"t 110 t eal fight in her ''

* JJ <a;e, .Joe."

* ?'w"- offence to you, Ann." p. Alnay« yonr friciaJ, Joe,

s»!te ^ ^

if? 11, Jt.'« little and j®' r Jf " a" 'or making money and

jaf'.t l>C^e 8t tbe bAek «f- it

ont ®f them. It's all

/ot^tmcB fluick and gudden and

"No.' That isn't all. Every town ifl the ?trorid -iaa't-* gold-mpiiug town like the BiU, Joe, Aivd tbiere'te ijo need tokeep-its people out of the bush if they w&ntto go .jthere." Mi*.* .

"The town push Have dasices to which they don't ask ua."

, "No. They don't. Vou aren t in a good mood to-day, Joe."

"Doesn't seem like it," he answered. And be might hav^ added that Ann's resolve to take the side of the Hill did not help to make it any better.

"Well, I must be getting along/ Ann picked up her loose rems; Joe gripped ber bridle tighter.

"What dances are you easing for me., Ann?'' lie afcked suddenly, in a tione full of rough tenderness.

She smiled provokiugly. "Oh, I might be saving all. Joe." _ -

She was about to ride on at this, but he still clung to the bridle, and his face Jiit up with a smile. "You mean that really?"

? She did not .reply.

"Atin,- if you'd give me that promise.- the town push <-sti come and carap for life on Cedar Creek. I cjui turn the word of-the bnsh boys so easily, Ann, give me your word." *

"What? That 111 give you every dance?

she cried. "Oh, Joe Carter, yoji greedy .thing. And you a shareholder in the 4 Souui Great Western!"

"Yes. But I don't want to be a share holder in you, Ann. I xyant you all. You're more than a gold inine. You're you're all Australia to nie. You're the whole, wide . world: You--" He - was lost for words. "You're *o strong and so beautiful, and " Love lent bhn aid* and his wooing came vigorous and fresh as liis axe strokes. " I want you Ann. I'm jeal ous of Farney. I'm jealous of everyone. I've Baved every penny to buy this team,

because every bnUock meant a step to you.. The waggon's inine, and I'm only 21. 1 don't drink nor gamble. You know how 1 came by those shares, and I'll sell out to-morrow for your sake. Ann, give hm your word you'll marry me rand not Farney, and I'll turn this load into the HUI MiS and have «1»' the* Hill - our home." He bad never made such a

long speech' in'all his Ute.-and'he- moved from the mare's head,, slid bis nand along the bridle, and caught Anil's braid, '

- 'Slve was amtated stjbis unusual outbiim and sat lowing at him perplexedly.* She was filled with a tremendous desire 'to lean over and kisi Jep, lutcb \ier mare behind the waggon with lis horse, and elimbjny on to\tbe loga.as ahe 'had Aooe so often ift a «hild,-ride triumphant! v into Hill borough, .and '-no proclaim to all . that litjsle world that shejiad chosen Jog and -bis logs/ But the thought of HiUborougti -brought Michael to ber miud, and she KJIS

just as eager to say "No/' dennitely to Joe, and to gallop bade to Michael lotell him that ebe had said "No," and bee decision

was made in his favour. .* ." -

But Joe went on talking, and. Ins eyes grew misty with emotion. "We've been kids together, Ann," he pleaded. ''I car ried your bag fo Cedar Creek .School. I stole oranges from old Roper's for you, You promised ,-to marry me that day

1 killed the snake in the . Blue Grass, and you . nearly trod on it. There was no qiiestioii of you nftt mamnng me till rHrnev came."

"Oh, yes there was," Ann interrupted jwftly. You like othergirls as well-ju m*, Joe. and other girls like yon." -? '

"Who? Kame one."

"Well! There's Milly Brown.'

Joe was silent, for he did like Milly Brown, and, in his thoroughly practice? way, be had made up his mind to marry ber if Ann finally refused him. Joe s-as

not a sentimentalist. Milly would make - bim ngood wife, and a good wife a uwn-wjs liound to. have. His feelings for Atih were different, but he could not dispute his fond ness for MiHy. Joe was too honest fov

that. ?

"Yes-Lfldmit I do like Milly a good ileal, Ann," he said simply. "Wl»o wouldn't? But it's you I want. Say "y®8- You must

'"Ana/' !' ,

Shfe letiher .gaK wander from his , face as she a^^|ed him just as simply: ."Joe, I can't. I^S8^airi't--not yet."

"QUI. You're going to throw me over, he wmoBt wailed.-,:

His feeling^ as well.ah his pride were hurt... . *?' ' ? ?

TW, despair in, his voice "moved Aitn so that tine impulsively fessed the rough hand that lef her go.';

let me go now and I'll give 'you 'your /answer for certain at the dance on "Sutorday night." ,,

"Yon will? Squate^St' all?" His eyes -brightened.

"Square an' all. So long until to-morrow. Ill be looking out^for you with some tea oil your way home." , -

"Right. " he nodded, well-pleased, waited, for her to pass aiid watched tier go. Then he cAeked his whip.

"Nowiben, Bally!, Ginger! Gee! Wliot-. -back!" she heard fairn shoot. .

But wbat she did hot bear was this

spoken only to the patient Tjulloeka-"Joe Carter, your uame's not what it is if Michael Fnnwy and bis push gel to that

dance/' *