Chapter 140233475

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Chapter NumberVI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttps://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140233475
Full Date1922-06-17
Page Number55
Corrections0
Word Count2163
IllustratedN
Last Corrected1970-01-01
Newspaper TitleThe Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946)
Trove TitleDaughters of the Seven Mile
article text

CHAPTER VI.

Her mother and father were sitting in the dining-room when she unceremoniously entered and laid Michael on the couch.

?Bis head was still swimming, and he closed his -eyes on the unfamiliar room as Ann's motlier arose In consternation, and looked at Mm with *'Oh! Ann! What does this mean?".

"Here! What the deuce hare we got now?" said, her father, staring at Michael.

"Hot water, ? please, mother," replied Ann coolly. "Joe Carter tried to kill Michael. They had a ^ght, and he's knocked out. Oh! Quick with some water! This left eye is all bruised ana blackening!" She was unloosening Michael's collar as she spoke, and did not .notice the look of displeasure on her father's face.

.. "Been a bit of a fight, eh?"

"Can't you see, dad. Throw me down that old comb, please. Oh! Michael lore: your hair and your dear _face." . She kissed him aoftly. -' But you'll soon feel easier." Her mother-brought the water, and white Ann washed and bathed his face and bruises, the parents stdod regarding the young man. So -this was Michael! ; - -

"Really, Ann!" Michael kept protesting, weakly. "I'm all riglft, dear, I ?'wish oh!" he gave a fiudaen cry. "My ankle, Ann!" . ' - . .' - - v

"P'raps it's sprained!" said. Wilson.

"Let's nave a look! Never saw anyone look eo lively after a £glit with Joe be fore.'^ .. .

'I'm glad you think "he looks lively," replied Ann,.-as her father examined the young man's ankle. "Michael could scarcely breathe a while ago."

"Well! He's no -broken bones. Joe generally breaks a few bone6. No! His ankle isn't sprained. Just a bruise! 1 think if you ask me he's come off lucky."

"So do I," said Mary, helping Ann to dress the anke. "What was the fight about?"

"Joe made a disturbance, and insulted Michael, end Michael struck him.4'

'SHujnph!" Wilson looked with less dis nloasod eyes on Michael.

"I-I'm veryeony fa) intrude like this, Mr. Wilson."said Michael, looking up at the face of Ann's father. "I presume it is Mr. Wilson. We've never met before, bnt I've always intended, to come and ask you for ^nn.

"Isow she's brought you home without asking. Well!" "

"I'm marrying Michael, dad," said Ann shortly. "Not Joe Carter."

"Ate you? .Oh; Ann! Ann!" burst in

4/iiv

to embra^i'her, bat there wai t oneness in all hiB'GmbB> and be was glad to He beck upon the couch again. .

!TeeI a,bit sore, eh, young man?' mooted Wilson, taking no notice of Ann's impor

tant announcement.

"Yes. I'm afraid I do feel sore, Sir. Wilson."

"I've seen fellows look much worse than you. And I've known 'an feel a lot sorer after Joe Carter's fists."

Ann looked up at her father, and knew by his face that Michael , had not made a good impression upon him.

"With al] his soreness he's not half as

sore as Joe is to-night," she said. "No body'll ever breathe it to you, because no bodyHl ever dare. Jot's had the lesson of his life to-night." : "

"What! From him?" cried Wilson, point ing at Michael.

Yea," answered Ann, "partly from him and partly from me."

Her father was silent at this, and again he wag inclined to look with less distaste upon the unfortunate young nyui thus pre sented to liim. Her mother, regarded Michael quietly. Secretly she did not dis like him. Her heart had gone out to meet him in absolute sympathy and understand ing, though she did not know why, as soon as Ann had brought him in; but we seldom disagreed with her husband, so, rising ab ruptly, she said, VOh! Ill get some sup per." . ~

"And I'll go and have "a smoke," added

Wilson.

"No you won't,dad and mum, cried Ann, looking defiantly from one to the other. "You'll jitay here and talk to Michael while I get the supper."

Michael, uneasy both in mind and body, half'rose again in protest. He did-not,-and could not, grasp the situation into which he had been thrust. The antagonism of Ann's parents was -evident, and he was tired and wanted to sleep.

"I-I must go,"Ann," he managed to say with so much dimity ? that! for a moment, she was disarmed and felt wrath against

?her parents, thinking that Michael would not want to marry her now* that he had "met them, and they had treated him in such an ill-bred manner.

. But she loved Michael so much, and site felt herself to be so thoroughly mistresB master of the scene, that she was'able to command him to Btay, and, turning to her parents, said, "What is all the worrying "about, mum and dad? Aren't you glaa I've decided at laet who my husband is to be?"

They did not answer her.

"Joe behaved like a yelping dingo pup," she said. "You can be quite sure that I have choscn the right man. Take it from

me." . "

Her father sat down determinedly at this, and put his frauk, open eyes on Michael."

"Well, young man," he said. "Sit up, and let s have a look at you."

Michael, startled out of all ease by this rough, peremptory order, Bat up nervously, and, seeing that there was.no escape, stam mered, "Really, Mr. Wilson, I "

"Never mind the Mr. Wilson. If I'm dad to Ann, and you're to be her -husband, well, I suppose I'll be dad to you, too."-.

"Oh! Dad!" breathed Ann gratefully.

"Thank you/.' said Michael, not knowing what else to Bay.

Wilson was ill at ease, far more nervous, in fact, than Michael, and Mary knew it is she stood fingering her frock.

Wilson began: "Ann's not nearly 21 yet. But she can choose her Own mate.' Only I've a right to know who you are, and what you are, and how you mean to keep

her."

"Dad," protested Ann, "Slichael isn't fit

to talk." ?

"Oh! Oh! Yes, of course!" cried Michael, amazed at Wilson's remark, and the wav in which it was hurled at him. "I-I thought Ann had told you who I

was." ?

Ann's lips quivered.

"Well! I've-really never asked you, dear," she said.

"No. Of course. I don t suppose I have." Michael put a sympathetic hand over hers. ".Well, I'll have to go back a bit. Mrs; Wilson, do .sit down, won't you?"

Mary sat down- on the sofa beside him. Ann sat neiar her father.

Michael's uneasiness increased, and the fact that Ann and her parents.took it all.

more or less,-as a matter of course did not ? help him. ^ ? -

To have been suddenly thrust mto a fight with a raging buliock driver, knocked com

pletely out by him, and carried off bodily . by the woman he loved-to give an account of himself to an aggressive stranger was almost too much' for the sensitive soul of the young musician, '

For .V moment he felt like running away. Then he caught the look of'adoration in Ann's eyes, and jiegau his story hur riedly'. ' ? . 1 - . , ....

"My grandfather was v an architect in Loudon. He. lived in ? horwood, and my father ivaS a cld'k in his office. I think that granddad was pVfetty well off. . He must have1 been, because mother was only one of raauy servants. Well! there; you are! You see I am no good at telling a

chewnaid, I -tbipfe. to £££% ; Shewas very jp«tto and M3gff. - fell in love- with her, and

Granddad turned themout, *nd ^ ^d^ter Uad a bard attune for

till father decided to come ^;AjU*F®L^:_i, fS

'.'Australia?" cried Ann. Are they here ,

of <»ai«e, I jfe? "fe-vVfl

tioned them to jwb. So^, Am.

1 Buppose I've been too eettwh to ttlkflt

anything else but my ,. -v haw been in 3Sew South Wales lot «»ap ^

J?"i?ew; South Wales? What doing? f|

"Ther baie a selection." - .^s "A seleewm?" cried 'Wilson. ? V'.li

"Yea, sir. I-I thinly ' Mich#^ hegw |g searching hisjwckete, and drew out a Jj

Wilson, who, with Mary and Ann, looses ^

at it. . . "

S;:,? :; p.^ *»*«

«1« ». Micl«!." dj ^

said. "Why did you never tell me or ..;

show me? Look, mum."

Mary looked down at the beaufaful faee^

"She is lovely," she *aid- i5 any other children besides you.Wchael. - ;.

"Yea. Here they are. And this *

another view of the selection. «?a_

"It's a nice little place, commented Wa

son. "Where is it?' r " TOp"

"North Coast somewhere. ^

He took the picturefromMnWil®^

looking at the back of it, read. WttUB ,

Hollow,. Jerrabimbi, New ^uth Wjd«.

Mother, On the left, peeling « on the 'wire fence.. Bobbv with the goat. ^ Eight, father on piebald. ;;

"How wonderful! I'd, never haw g dreamed it. Would you, mum. cried ^

How do they come to be here % without you, Michael?" - >?

"I stayed on in Manchester with «f -

uncle, because mother wusbed me ®°?T ?*$ toue with my music. I^tely Aethou^t > Australia might give^ me ^^5^P««X ->

fiinitfps That s why I left my studies ana ^

Sme here I got a little playing to dom _ Srdney ^hen I landed. } am ^

'to be a veiy fair accompanist. I dia a «* ^ of accompanying at concerts at home. ^

Brisbane with a concertgag-;** that disbanded there. Ihen I heaid of«. ^ opening for a pi6«ofort,t^h«

borough, and came up. Mothcr and f^H»« ^

were verv disappointed that I <M not g&Tr them for a while. I came to Bn*bw* vessel. But I have been getting

here that I decided not to go lo , Christmas, when perhaps J may take Ann

with me; That's all, sr.

"Are you settling down at Wattle Hollow after Christmas?" . .

"Oh I No. You fice I am organist ac ot. ^ Ktenhen'fi now as well, sir!'

"Don't 'sir' me! Didn t I tell you

1 "Nof^d!T' Michael almost jjPPpedJpf

the Internal famiiiaritr of Ann^fei^^ « -I couldn't do much at a sdectoonoa^

hinder them. You see, «r-^d^Wc;

wouldn't allow me to pve up rnvmuac., ,

"You don't like bush Uf?,/!» -

"Well er-IVc never tried it. 1 ve *1^ xrays wanted to be a musician or-or *

^"House painter? Well! that's the

sensible trade you've ®|°tlon*®i-1,

"Dad!" cried Ann. How could JWIfi Michael means painting picture?,

von, dear?'"' , " -.-it?

"Yes, I did, but- . . . - Michael's head began to cwrn

The strain had been almost too mncb*gj|g him. He longed, to sleep.. He was

pletely out of place in this-rougb^_

home, and-ret Ann meant so much to

tliat he kept answering her father's tions, though he thought at every mo he must break away. II they would let him rest. But they did not J

stand. H3S very teeth aefced^ rtfll _.T - "Joe's blows, and. half closmg

- opened them fluickly again as Wilson^

the npmk suddenly at hun.

"Hoy old are you, young man?: - "Twentrfcwo," he stammered.

"And you're no farther on in your » thau.organist at St. Stepbene?"

. -'HRo; but J hope to get on." tt jaap- t ness and soreness were going to bat TO after all. His voice lost ite ynthmMffc*

?"DO you -think you can iwep Ann »0| vourself- on -yotar music?5 ." .. ;r .

* 'Til try, sir. But I m in Ann's banot gir." "J __ , ? ? i .

"Dad, dad," corrected WHson.

Michael looked up at u» haid, faec of Wifetfn; and hdd tie like-Ann's, just for a minute.

Baidpleadmfe:. "fm so b^ten.

, we discuss a another timet"

WilspffiSvieart .wais toaewtt.

b$4 u-on/him bjr tiiose simple to- .

' ^The - boy 's «ick. r ^Vii&t the d(k^ 1*

yoii let' irie go on talking to him s

ftjr? - Ann, Jo'u women are

han be.. The boy « pot well.,, Stop ' iMjifin." -J ; ?

He-was tm.vois feet now,s"_"^T.

more than"- evei* by his tudden t®& v ;s

-.manner.'".

"Ha\*e vou no spirits ln-tlte

raised.Jiis" yoicp. v<<WUt! tfflt^Jbeqp^

brandy for a boy that s been half-killec that "blackguard Carter. How do yOU j mt boy? I'm sorry for talking BO. quiet -- -* -

t& d<

Go^'lMVtts!' two ttoia- «

ing there gaping at me for? Cant yoa^:; see the boy's sick? Go *nd get

?*

* Ann and ^lary withdrexv hastily to nue tea, and Wilson with, "lie there, and be quite still, «ed FJ1 aSe

worry you any mrortymy lad," insisted that.

Michael should dose his eyes. -n Micliaelwasonlj-tooglad to doao. g Wilson lit his pipe, and grumbled into it - ^ about ttife ^f women. ,, . . :

"Come on,*owJ Hurry up: he caueo.

"The lad wajits to sleep." £i

(TO BE COVHSCED.) 5