Chapter 160786563

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Chapter NumberV
Chapter Url
Full Date1888-12-22
Page Number18
Word Count1548
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Falling Cross - Two Christmas Days
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Patty was some little time in coming round, the revulsion having been extreme, and Treffleand Lucy could not nnderetand the thing at ell. At last they heard her story, and Treffle recovered hie revolver in corrobo ration of it, if thiB had been needed. " Well, now that you are here," he said, " we shall keep you for a good long visit, but we must telegraph to your people at once, to relieve

their minds."

? It iB unnecessary to enter very minutsly into the details of Treffle's escape from death. He could never tell how long he remained UDOn the ground, bnt when he came to his senses he was in bed in a squatter's house, having been nursed through a severe attaok of brain fever. For many days his life had hung by a thread, and it was weeks after his

return to consciousness before he was able to rise from bed. He had been picked up by a party of men on horsebaok, crossing the conntry from one station to another, their dogs having sniffed him out, and a doctor who saw him was of opinion that the wound in the fleshy part of his arm, which had bled freely, had Baved him from dying of heat apoplexy. The wound was seen to have been caused by a bnltet (being Stoper's last friendly good-by), and the holes in his sleeve were visible where this bad passed through and

through, bnt Treffle ootid give no account of | how tie chine by tbe hut,

Treffle had reached home about a fortnight prior to Fatty's coming, and he had been intending to write to the Ropers, bnt had put off doing so from day to day. He had been busily trying to find aome employment, and had at last anooeeded in obtaining a billet in a merchant's office, to which he was to go the following week. It was no great prize; but at all events it would serve to close the floodgates of his exchequer, which was getting ominously low.

The burning question was now the gold, and how it was to be recovered. Ireffle felt that it all belonged to him,- both in equity and legally, as the signed tontine agreement, which he had preserved, and the death 01 the ether two parties to it, gave him an indis putable title. But this was of little use without the gold itself.

The only clue left by which to trace it was contained in Jenkins's last words—" Under —failing—croBB—park"—and this was a riddle which Trefile felt required an CEdipus to solva. He lived inGilberton, and be made a practice of walking daily to and from the oity by the Hackney Bridge, and through the park; and not only did he do this, but he haunted the vicinity on Saturday afternoons, and whenever he was free from his occupation. Bis idea was that some dilapidated portion cf fence in or about the park, bearing a fancied resemblance to a cross, marked the spot where the little box

was concealed, but he could find nothing to ' satisfy the conditions, though he searched most diligently and pertinaciously. Hie habits of observation were materially quiokened by his continued quest, and hie discovered that the ubiquitouB gumtree, with its long arms and scanty foliage, was far more fertile in the production of fantastio forms in the gloaming than its more umbrageous brethren ot the foreBt. Pome of them appeared most curious to his fancy, and one in particular in the corner of the Agricultural Society's Ground, the last seen on the right-hand aide by him when loooking straight down Frome-ro&d, seemed to have tbe

form of a huge female figure stretching ont a ' warning hand towards Adelaide. This one he pointed out to hiB little son Robert in the dusk one evening when he happened to have been with him in town, and the boy, who had the morbid taste lor the supernatural possessed by most children, at once gave it name of "the Bogie-meetabooboo Tree." But

he did not see it at its best, for,as Sir Walter | says of fair Melrose—

11 thou wonldst view Tabooboo aright, Go visit it by tbe pale moonlight.

Time rolled on, and Treffle began to weary of his hopeless task, fretting much at his want of success. Bis wife, seeing how the anxiety was preying on his mind, tried to persuade him to abandon the search and to

look for advancement to his own exertimu in | a more hopeful field. He so far eofeplied as to endeavour to reconcile himBtif to the loss, and he ceased to make his journeys to the

Eark excepting when his way lay thither,

ut he could not dismiss the subject from hie


The Christmas season came round onoe more with its joyous associations, and the Treffles tried to make it a happy time for the children. Little Noella, now two years older than when she was rescued from the ooean,

was growing up a bonnie child, and most I lovable in disposition, with large dreamy eyes and curly golden locks. Perhaps it was

tbe association of her name which had oaused Lucy to speak more to her than to the others abont Christmas, bnt whatever the reason, she, of all the children, seemed to be the moBt imbued with the spirit of the season. It was Christmas morning, and the Treffles were going to attend servioe at the Cathedral, aooompanied by Noella and Robert. As they happened to be ready long before it was necessary to start Treffle sug gested that they ahould walk round through the Park, and, though Lucy smiled m she detected the motive, she consented, stipulat ing that they should go slowly for the

children's sake, as the morning, though not ] oppressively hot, was bright.

They were sauntering through the park, Trefile and Lucy In front, and the two children straggling a few yards behind, when suddenly Noella cried, "Robert, there's a Christmas cross, but it's tumbling over." Treffle started as if he had been shot, and, rushing back to Noella, followed with his eyes the direction in which she was still pointing. There met his astonished gaze a veritable cross, formed by the thick limbs cf a gumtree, and Btanding out clearly against a leafy background. He only mar velled that he had never noticed it before.

Treffie brought back with Mm that day not I tbe faintest impression of the sermon, as he was too much exoited to think of it, and he did not even reooilect whether the Bishop

bad preached or not. Noella, herself a ? Christmas gift, had hit upon tbe right thing, and there were great rejoicings when, after a furtive visit with a trowel to the hollow of the tree, Treffle returned with the tin box oontaining the preoioua clue. Still greater jubilation followed when, not without a good deal of trouble, he succeeded by its aid in finding the cache, and the fortunes of the Treffles were restored.

Should any one desire to Bee the tree of the

falling cross he can do so by entering tbe ] park by the large gate at Hackney, and then, proceeding along the main drive, and keep

ing abont 7 or 8 feet from the edge of the tide j

walk on the right, he must stop when he is opposite to the twentieth bush on that side, taking no notice of the gap between the eighth and ninth. He must then look away over the graeB diagonally to his left and front, and in the distance he will

see the cross. It is not so good as it was, as ; the trees are growing and beginning to hide it a little, and perhapB the beat light to see it in is when there is plenty of this, but a pass ing cloud obsoureB the sun for a moment. Ihe cross is still distinctly visible, and it will remain so for some time longer unless good Dr. Schomburgk's axemen, who have ap proached dangerously near to it, should not "spare tbat tree." it will hardly be worth any one's while, however, to try to find any more tin boxes, as the only one that was there has gone.

A lady stood hanging on the strap of a street car. when a workman in tho far oorner arose and politely offered her a seat. "I thank you," she said in a very sweet tone, " but I dislike to deprive the only gentleman in the car of a seat."

Wife (at breakfast)—" I took speoial pains

with the breakfast this morning, John. Is ,

everything all right?" Husband—"Well— I

er—er—tbe coffee is a little too hot." Wife —" I am glad of it for your sake, dear. You wouldn't be happy if yon weren't a little bit dissatisfied."

Herbert—" Really, Miss Edith, I am sorry I biBsed you. I didn't think what I was doing. It is a sort of temporary insanity in our family." Miss Edith (pityingly)—"If yon ever feel any more snob attacks coming

on yon bad better come right here, where 1 your infirmity is known, and we will take sue c f yon."