Chapter 160786557

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberII
Chapter TitleAN EXPEDITION.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160786557
Full Date1888-12-22
Page Number17
Corrections0
Word Count2515
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Falling Cross - Two Christmas Days
article text

CHAPTER II.

AN EXPEDITION,

Between three and fonr months had been pasBed in the proceBB of looking around and pioking up oolonial ways. Lucy had learned to do a great many things for herself, which

ehe had been accustomed at home to dele gate to her servants, and as she had the true spirit of a lady, she experienced no loss of dignity in doing so. She and her husband, however, would often laugh when they spoke of what the probable effect upon the nerves of some of their London acquaintances would be if she had wheeled out the perambulator there, or had done in their piesence some of the other equally BhockiDg and depraved actions which she now performed with alight heart. " A sad place this," Treffle remarked to her one day when he had been chopping wood for the kitchen fire. "It actually teaches people how they can be of more nse in the world than they ever dreamt of

before."

This was all very well, but no actual progress had been made towards a livelihood. Soon after their arrival, notwitstanding the un certainity of their remaining permanently in Adelaide, the Tref9.es had aeeided that it would be oheaper and more comfortable to take a small house, buy some furniture at auotion sales, and engage a general servant, than to remain an indefinite time in a board ing-house. And their little house was a happy one. Cheerfulness and love abounded, and hope, the last tenant of Pandbra'sbox, was still in the ascendant. Witheoonomy they considered that their funds wonld last for two years, even if not supplemented, but

Barely long before then something would he found to bring in the grist merrily to the

mill.

The first shock experienced by Treffle was when he found how feeble a reed for him to lean upon as a dernier reasort was the agri cultural life suggested by what hei had read land for a mere song, and no previous know ledge required ! He had not the books with him then, and he could not remember which colony had been particularly referred to, but he found that in South Australia at least any land still to be had directly from Govern ment was a long way from the principal centres, while for any other, in second hands, priceB were asked in proportion to the con venience for a market, Besides, he made a

few trips and aaw what an nnoertain matter | the pnrenit waa even for those who had some | little (and sometimes it waa very little) know edge of farming; and, moreover, to what d.ndgeryit wonld condemn bis wife to attempt to make that his sole resource. Treffle aaw at onoe that he most dismiss the idea and find something else, but this was not'an easy task. The wave of depression hadaetln,and commercial houses were all curtailing their expenses wherever they conld do so, while the "general business knowledge" which Treffle possessed was rather a drug in the market in doll times, and the commodities of whloh he had special knowledge were not need to any great extent in the raw state by oolonial consumers.

Nothing having turned up when Treffle j had been six months in South Australia, he determined to go round the other colonies. On the eve of his Betting ont the postman brought a letter, an nnnanal ocoorrenoe ex

cepting on the days when the English mall 1 had arrived. " A oircnlar, of coarse," said Luoy, as she handed her husband the mis sive, and the latter having opened the envelope a simple printed hueiness card was disclosed, and nothing else.

"Roper!" exclaimed Treffle; "James Roper I Why that is the name of the man my cousin Mary married. If they heard that we were here why on earth did she not write? Simply his name, ooonpation, and address in Melbourne. Perhaps Mary is no longer living; but why this peouliar way of communicating with na ?" The envelope was merely directed to Edward Treffle, Adelaide, but he had left his addreBB at the poBt-office, bo that anything coming should he sent np.

Neither of them eonld see the objeot of a simple bnsineas card being sent, and as Treffle was going to Melbourne so soon they wisely did not trouble themselves about the matter, bnt left it to be cleared up when he ehould get there. Though they bad to wait for this it may as well be explained here how the thing came about. By mere ehanoe Mary Roper happened to be opening a parcel which had been wrapped in newspaper some months previously, and the name Treffle caught her eye. Looking more closely at it she saw a paragraph with the list of arrivals per Telemachoa, and Treffle being by no means a common name ahe had a etrong conviction that the passsngere who bore it were of her kindred. Still she scaroely liked to write without being certain of the matter, and her husband suggested sending the card. If the people were her Treffles they wonld reoog niee hie name, and if they were strangers they would look upon the card as a kind of advertisement and throw it away. A few days later the answer came in the person of

Treffle himself, who received a warm welcome I from his cousin.

The Ropera were in very comfortable ofr- ! ci! IE stances, though hardly to be termed wealthy. Their family had been numerous, avd six were living, of whom the eldest, Patty, was twenty-two years of age, Treffle wkb struck by the earnestness of her character, though, in common with the rest oi the family, she was of a lively and cheerful disposition. It was only by degrees, for she made no display of it, that he found out how much good Bhe was quietly doing. The clergyman in whose parish they were had entrusted her with a large district, in which she took great interest, and many a poor heme was brightened by the comfort which she brought, both by her words and by aid in a more material form.

Treffle stayed with the Ropers for over three weeks, during which he tried in every possible way to find a good opening for him self, but, although he had the assistance of Mr. Roper's introductions, he was unable to meet with anything to induce him to remove with his family to Melbourne. Things seemed to him to be almost as bad in that city as they were in Adelaide, and he determined to try whether anything could be done in Sydney before coming to a deoision about his future movements. When leaving Adelaide he had calculated on a probable absenoe of

two monthB, and owing to the fact of his ' having been his cousin's guest while in Mel- j bourne, the funds he had brought with him were to a large extent Intact. He had no reason then to cat his journey short on the score of expense.

No bettor fortune awaited Treffle in

Sydney, and he began to feel very despon dent, It waa disheartening to spend the greater portion of a day in following np advertisements whioh had given promise of fruit, but whioh turned out to be hollow as Dead Sea apples, and he would oocaslonally retire to the water's edge to brood over his position, and to refresh his eye and soothe hie spirit by the contemplation of the quiet beauty of the matchless harbour, repeating to himself a parody

Where Nature's prospect pleases. Bat oh 1 all else is vile.

Clean and trimly planned Adelaide seemed ! to him a paradise alter his experience of the other two cities, and as for their greater

" life and bustle, whioh some people seemeid I to set such store by, he was too recently from London to think anything of that.

Things had gone on in thiB way for about a

fortnight, and Treffle was thinking about' returning to Adelaide, when one day, as he waa walking meditatively along, ne waa saluted by a loud "Hulloa, shipmate! What cheer ? ¥oo're in a brown study," and, look ing np, he saw his fellow-passenger (aoross

the social line) Jenkins. Now, u this had j occurred a few months previously, it is not unlikely that Treffle wonld have turned on his heel and given Jenkins the cat direct, but circumstances had wrought a wonderful obange. His spirit was chastened, and in stead of resenting the familiarity he actually welcomed the companionship, even of Jen

kins. He felt all the better tor meeting with I some one whom he had known before, and so it happened that, after walking a short dis tance with Jenkins, he made no demnr whan the former led him into an hotel to have a drink and a chat.

Jenkins had not improved in appearance since they had parted on the steamer. His clothes indeed were quite as good as those he had son on board ship, and perhaps better,

but hia faoe bore traces of dissipation, and he I looked as if he had been living a fast life.

Such in fact was the case. He had remained in Melbourne enjoying himself after his own fashion, and he haa only moved on when the state of his exchequer warned him that it was time for him to be carrying out his projeot for obtaining a farther supply. In this he was associated with two otner men, and It had been agreed that they should meet aboat this time for the purpose of patting their plan

in execution.

One of these men, when the compact was made, was living in Sydney, and the other was to be fonnu at a certain station far up the country, on the way to the place where the gold lay. It was the latter who possessed the most knowledge of the locality, and it woe questionable whether the other two conld have found the place without him. He it was who had discovered it originally, and though be bad taken the others there and made a joint business of it, he had pnrposely mystified them as mnch as he oonld with reepeot to the direction and the marks by which he knew it.

Jenkins, however, found that the Sydney nan had died in the interval, and ae hie fondawcre at a low ebb, and it would take a long time to communicate with hia friend np the country he bad been at a lost what to do, Certain articles were needed for their equip ment, atd be aim knew that a third man was neoeeBary, or at all events desirable for the party ; bnt the difficulty was who-to take. He bad some acquaintances in Sydney, bat they were of the wrong kind. They were not overbntdened with cash, bat the greatest objection to them was that they wera all too knowing, and he was sure that net one of them would be acceptable to hia other friend aa a participator in their eeoret. Jenkins bad been in a etate of perplexity for two days, and in his dilemma he hailed with delight his ohanoe of meeting with Trtffle, bb he thonght that if the latter conld be induoed to go he would be juet the man. He was strong enough for a rough expedition, and he was a perfectly green hand, ao that be oauld be dealt with afterwards as circnmBtanoes might suggest What these might prove to be Jenkins did not care to oonsider. He had just sufficient oonsoience to eaose him to shun all discussion of the question with him self, and any doubts that be had were satisfied by a feeble resolution not to do any wrong to Treffle. At the same time he was perfectly aware that hie friend, who went by the name of Stoper, was an unscrupulous blackguard, who would stick at nothiog.

After exacting a solemn oath of secrecy Jenkins informed Treffle of the intended expedition, and invited him to be of the party. He painted in glowing colours the advantage to be gained of securing a certain fortune within three or four months, and impressed upon him how lucky he should con sider himself in getting the obance, as there were plentv of people who would iump at it. He would have to make up his mind to some hard work, and as the price of his admittanos to the party he would have to furnish the needful outfit for the three, which alter all was a email affair compared with the gain. The gold was a matter of fact, as Jenkins had seen it himself, and made a large haul when he was previously at the place.

Although Jenkins knew a good deal of Stoper's bad record, he had no miegivingsas to hia playing him false, either in not going to the tryetiDg-place or in having visited the ground on his own aocount. There had been a solemn agreement that the latter was not to be done excepting by the three in com pany, after the stated interval, and Jenkins was confident that Stoper, bad as he might be in other respecte, would keep his word

with him.

To Treffle, almost at hia wit's end, the pro posal came like a shower to a dry and parched country, and the epice of adventure there wbb in the bnsiness added a zest to it in hie mind. Still, three or four months was a long time to leave hie family without being able to communicate with them, and he told

Jenkins that he would think the matter over until the following day, when he promised to meet him again.

By the next day Treffle had made up his mind to go, and baviog told Jenkins so they made their arrangements. Their impedi menta were to be as light as possible, bat they had to prepare for living and sleeping in the open air, and to take the requisite digging tools and a supply of provisions. Their intention was to go as far as possible by coach and then to buy horseB, whioh they could get more cheaply in the outlying parts. Treffle had to write to Adelaide for some more money, and he sent a farewell letter to his wife, telling her in a general way that he was going np tne country with Jenkins on am expedition which promised great results, and that she might possibly not hear from him for the next fonr months. He told her not to fret about him as there was absolutely no danger, and he hoped to return to her with his fortunes very materially Improved.

There being no troublesome bleaks where they were going arms were not needed, bat Jenkins recommended the purchase of a double • barrelled shot gun for possible kangaroos. Treffle had also his presentation revolver, which he had brought from Adelaide, thinking that, as he bad it, it might aa well go with him on his travels.