|Newspaper Title||The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||The Two Little Runaways|
The Two Little Runaways.
[WRITTEN FOR THE ' SYDNEY MAIL.']
We must now go back a little in our story to relate what had really become of Ada and Nellie. The two slept in a small room together, so that they had ample opportunities for talking over their grievances — a privilege of which, as you may suppose, they availed themselves to the utmost. Poor timid little Nellie was frequently in disgrace for not answering questions, solely for the reason that she was too shy to speak out ; sometimes she would begin to repeat her lesson in scarcely audible tones, then Miss Rogers' s sharp ' Speak louder, Nellie,' took away all her courage, and she broke down sobbing. Miss Pocklington always invited her pupils' parents and brothers, besides some of her own friends, to a
party before breaking up for the Christmas holidays, and the proceedings commenced with recitations and the distri bution of prizes. It was no wonder then that nervous Nellie shrank from the prospect of having to recite the part of Prince Arthur before such a large audience, and the thought of it weighed on her mind as if some dreadful punishment were hanging over her. ' I don't know what to do, Ada,' she said, as 6oon as they were alone on the opening night of our story ; ' I can never 6ay the part. I can never stand up before all those people on the 20th.' -fWhy don't you tell Miss Pocklington, then?' sug gested Ada. ' Oh, that would do no good. It would only make Miss Rogers cross.' There was a few minutes' pause, then Ada asked ab ruptly, 'How much pocket-money have you left, Nell ?' ' Only two shillings,' answered Nellie, dolefully. ' And I have not much more. I don't know exactly how we could manage ; it's too late to write home for more.' ' Whatever do you mean, Ada ?' 'I was thinking '—here Ada dropped her voice to a whisper — ' if we could not go home now.' 'What! runaway?' exclaimed Nellie so loudly in her surprise that Ada put her hand before her mouth in fear of discovery. 'Hush!' she said. 'Yes, I think it's a splendid plan. Cousin Walter ran away from school once ; , he had to walk miles, but he said it was capital fun.' ' But we are not boys,' objected Nellie. 'Never mind, that will make it all the better. You trust to me, Nellie, and I'll see that it is all right. We must start-to-morrow by the half-past 5 train, and mean time mind you don't say a word about it to any one.' . Accustomed as she was to yield to her friend's guidance in everything, Nellie only said quietlv, ' Very well, Ada,' and would have been quite contented to drop the subject ; but Ada was -wild with excitement, and kept on talking long after they should both have been asleep. Next day Nellie had some difficulty in keeping the secret, and Ada was several times on the point of letting it out ; but on the whole they managed very well, though the girls remembered afterwards a few words of Nellie's which were rather suspicious. When school was over they went, ?with Miss Pocklington's consent, to Mrs. Stanford's, which was not far from Minerva House. Mrs. Stanford was a little surprised when they told her that they were obliged *o Eo back to tea at school, as Miss Pocklington had been ^IjT8- -Lv**b willing for them to remain ; however, she sup posed it was in consequence of some infringement of rules, and would not inquire too closely into the matter. Accord mgly the two girls set off on their way to the railway station without any fear of being found out. Nellie's heart mis gave her all the while and she was frightened besides, but Ada never stopped to consider how wrong she was, and was too much occupiedintryingto keep Nellie's spirits up to haveany jear herself . It was bite but not yetdark when they reached ?nei station. There were a good many people there, all busy ptting their tickets, seeing after their luggage, and attend ing to their own affairs generally, so that the two little girls were pushed and jostled by porters and impatient passengers, having no one to take theirparts. Nellie clung to her friend jnalarm, and whispered that perhaps it would be better to return even now to Minerva House and beg Miss Pockling rons forgiveness. But Ada said they had gone too far now w turn back, though in truth her courage began to fail a 'We, and she was half inclined to adopt Nellie's suggestion, however, she took their tickets for Picton, which left them «weaty-four miles to walk before they reached Mittagong, wnere Ada's parents lived. They might have saved some «'»£ by travelling second-class, but fortunately they de attett to go as usual. Most of their fellow-passengers took nonobce of the two forlorn-looking children ; but one fat, 6°«l-tempered old Scotchwoman, seeing the tears trickling
down Nellie's pale face, said kindly, ' Hoots, my wee lassie, and are ye no ganging to see yer ain friends r' Nellie looked up, uncertain what to answer, so Ada spoke for her. ' Yes, ma'am, we're going to our friends — at least to my father and mother. Only, you see, this is the first time we have ever travelled quite alone at night.' ' Puir tilings .'' exclaimed the old My. ' But na doot yer friends will be waitin' to meet ye ?' ' No,' answered Ada, hesitating, ' I don't expect they wilL In fact we've run away, and they don't know we're coining.' ' Is it a hard school, marm,'ye're rinnin' fra?' asked Mrs. Tozer BympathiBingly. The girls could not honestly answer ' Yes,' and only mumbled something inaudible. Mrs. Tozer was puzzled ; she had a vague notion in her motherly heart that all schools were places of torment for the young, and yet to judge by the unhappy faces of the two children the prospect of going home did not seem to be a very bright pne. ' It's no posseeble that those twa bairns have been doing vera wrang,' she murmured to herself, and during the rest of the short time they travelled together Bhe spoke kindly to our poor little heroines, who grew more and more miserable as the distance between them and Minerva House became greater. The old woman put a small packet into Ada's hands as she got out of the train, saying, ' It's no much, but I'll wager ye're hungry.' The two girls thanked her as well as they could, and were really very grateful for the supply of sandwiches which it contained. It was past 10 o clock, and Nellie's troubles were momentarily forgotten in sleep, when the loud voice of the guard informed them of their arrival at Picton. Nellie, still half asleep, jumped out after Ada, and the two forlorn children found themselves alone on the platform with a drizzling rain falling and no sign, of a moon, or of stars, through the dark clouds. ' Now, then, where are you two young uns going to ?' shouted the guard, roughly, as they stood uncertain where to turn. ' We don't know,' said Ada humbly. ' Well, you can't stand there all night,' continued the guard ; ' it's against all the rules and regulations, so you'd better look Bharp and find out where you're going.' (To be continued.)