|Newspaper Title||The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||Mother's Story|
By Auce Etton.
«-O-h,' sighed the trees. ' O-h-h,' sighed the wind. The leaves, which already tinted the ground with brown, took up the refraiu, and sighed Is they moved restlessly over each other. Curioso, her purple gown soiled with trailing in the dust, also sighed and murmured : «« « This must be to-day, which was to-morrow. 'Then she commenced once more her journey to
» She had hardly gone a mile when she came upon two maidens shaking hands. One was clad ma brown sUk robe, a wreath of gold-brown leaves en circling her brow. Her eyes also were brown, and had a restless look which reminded Cunosoofthe sighing leaves. The other was dressed m brown, tooTbf t her robes were touched with bright colours. They both looked up as Curioso approached, greeting her exactly as January had done. ' ' Goo'd-flav, Curioso.' «.-?.. «? This time she was able to reply after their own fa^l-°Good-dav. gentle maidens. Canst then tell me how much further on the castle is ? Shall I reach it ?*The'meidens exchanged glances. The brown eyed one said gently to her companion : . ?? « Thou had'st best take care of the Princess, February, till the month be run .' ' ? What is a month ? ' asked Curioso. _ ' A month is a drop from Father Time's immortal goblet. But I must to my work in Earths gardens. a'eShee-disappeared. And CurioEO, who alwayB had a question on her tongue, asked : ' « Who is that ? ' . _, ... ' « Autumn,' replied her companion. Thou wilt Eee her again. For the present, if thou likest, we will sport amongst the falling leaves. -~ - _- '?But I wish to reach the castle. And, on!; conldst thou tell me who lives there ?' 'A look of - terror spread over February s face. She held out her hands. ? ' ' Ah, ask not— ask not ! All the world forgets, and why not we ? ' . . ' Curioso, who, knowing nothing, was not afraid, '?^Oh/if it distresses thee,' she said, « we'll say no more. I shall find out myself shortly. ?'February glanced at her reflectively, then said ^Oane with me to yonder brook. I wish to Bhow thee something.' ' Stepping across the pathway they reached a large green lawn, at the further end of which a brook ran softly on its way. This brook was very clear. So clear that when February bade the Prin cess look in, it reflected bactt her face as well as any looking-glass could do. ,,.,.?, A , 'Whereat Curioso was delighted, and clapping her bands exclaimed : ' ' How beautiful I am ! But, looking closer, ' there's a nasty mark on my forehead.* ' She took a tiny lace handkerchief, and, dipping it in the water attempted to remove the little black line which lay so srraightly betwixt her two eye brows. In vain. It would cot be removed. The Princess turned with' a troubled mien to February. ' ' What is it ? ' she asked. ' ' Ah, Curioso,' was the reply, January hath left it thee as a memento of her death. Listen ! Better had it been for thee to dwell peacefully in thy father's land. Thou wert cursed with a desire to traverse these grounds which rightly should be called the Laud Wherein All is Decay. Thouknowest what a day is? Well, many days go to the making of a month, which is what they call my sisters and me ; and many mojjths to a year. And many years shalt thou see ere thou reachest yonder castle. Each day, and month, and year will leave on thy face a tiny line, so that, before the end, the lines will be many and deep. When thou reachest the castle the King who dwells therein will read, by these same lines, thy past life. If it bo happens thou hast done what is pleasing to him thou wilt be amptly re warded. If not, thou art doomed to further con tinue thy weary wanderings.' ' CurioEO, who had listened impatiently, drew herself haughtily up. „.,.'., ,,r i ' ' What ! ' she exclaimed indignantly. ' Knowest thou not that 1 am the Princess Curioso, daughter of King Content ? How can these things thou speakest of affect me ? Hast thou not heard that every man in mir fafhAr'R kine'dom would sacrifice his life at the
pleasure of his King or his Princess ? ' ' February laughed. ' ' All thy mighty kingdom,' she said, ' availed thee not in thy desire to explore these grounds.' ' The Princess bowed her head. i- i True,' she murmured ; ' and could I but re trace my steps I should be happy.' ' * Thou would'st not,' answered her companion, 5 for our King's eyes had fallen on thy beauty, and were held by it. Then sent he to thy heart the little sprite Desire, who led thee thither. But think not of thy journey : think rather of the things around thee. Come, let us leave this brook.' ' Taking the Prhicess'e hind, she. led her to a seat, where they talked of many things. February showed what little plants and flowers lived under her own watchful eyes until CurioBO became quite interested. As she listened the sun sank slowly in the west, sleep came stealing to her tired eyes, and thus the day passed. ' On the morrow Curioso continued her journey, February accompanying her, and in like manner twenty-seven days weat by. The Princess was be ginning to tire of her companion when one morning she woke to find her gone. Wondering whom ehe would meet next, she looked expectantly up the pathway and saw her old acquaintance Autumn. After mutual greetings the latter said : ' ' Well, my Princess, thou hast commenced thy pilgrimage.' ' Curioso frowned discontentedly. ''Yes,' sb.9 replied. 'To reckon in your own strange fashions, I have conversed with and passed two months Tell me— there are others coming ere the year be made— what are their names ? and ehall I weary of them even as I did -of February ? ' '* ' Thou wilt meet,' answered Autumn, ' with March, who now is somewhere about— April, May, June, July, August, September, October, Novem ber, and December ; by which time thou wilt have passed a year. As to wearying of them, doubt Jess thou wilt do so for a little while. Though some times, in admiring the beautiful things around thee, thou wilt forget to be wearied ; and often thou wilt not have the time to. be bo. For travellers here find many things to do. Perhaps when thou hast passed - the months and years but a few times thou wilt despair of ever reaching the castle. And perhaps thou wilt occasionally forget that thouart journeying there.' ' A look of fear for an instant flitted across Curioso's face. Then it fled, and she answered Autumn as she bad answered February : ' ' How can these things thou speakest of affect me?* ' But it happened so. The Princess watched the birth and death of days, months, and years. _ She watched the seasons walk calmly through the fields and gardens. She helped many a plant to grow beautifully, and many a crooked tree to make itself straight. And all the wbile the lines gathered fast on her face. To-day ehe knew she would soon reach the castle, and the pathways she had thought so long
and difficult seemed, on looking back, to be very short. '? Thus the journey ended. And an aged Curioso walked slowly into the Mysterious Castle.' CHAPTER in. ' The sun shone brightly in on the tesselated floor and massivo marble arches of the spacious cautle hall, one end of which was composed entirely of thick glass. Through this glass our weary traveller caught a glimpse of smooth lawns, sparkling foun tains, and cool, shady seats. Curioso's dim eyes and faltering feet wandered over each peaceful spot. She stopped beneath a green arbor to catch the strain of wild music which floated overhead. Then sounded a greeting long familiar to her ears. ' ' Good-day, Curioso.' ' It was the voice of an old, eld man who ap peared to have lived since the beginning of all things. Yet his back was not bent like Curioso's. Neither had the lines gathered on his face. Only he possessed a look of wisdom which comes to those who live long. ' This look impressed the Princess who returned his greeting reverently, and then asked : ' ' Art thou he whom I have journeyed so far to see?' ' ' I am he.' With a kindly look he. led her to a seat. ' When thou art rested T will show thee some of my treasures. And,' smiling, ' thy desire will be f uifilled.' ' The PrinceEB sighed. ' ? Why,' she asked, ' dost tbou send desire to mortals' hettrts ? But for that I had been now in my father's home— a young, beautiful, and beloved Princess.' ' The old man looked grave. ' ' Tell me,' he said ; ' didst thou not learn many things on thy way thither ? ' ' ' ' I learnt,' answered Curioso, ' that everything within thy realm is doomed to decay. I myself es caped not. I saw sweet singers midst floods of melody, wither at the approach of some day, or month, or year. I saw once healthy plants lying dead on the ground. I greeted many travellers, who, ere they knew me. vanished. I gained one desire, and have now another, if thou canst grant it me, that I may teach othera the value of my lesBon .' ' ' What is thy new desire ? ' ' ' To know ! Know why so many things are born only to die again. We in Simplelaud ne'er heard of death. Why does such a thing exist ? And age ! What use is there in age ? ' *4 ? Death and age,' was the reply, ' do not exist.' - ' « But,' exclaimed Curioso, * I have met with age. All the days, and weeks, and months, and years I passed showed me both death and age.' ' ' Days, months, and years ! ' replied the old man, fixing his gaze upon her. ' Why, thou hast been but a day in coming hither.' ' Curioso looked startled, and was about to reply ?when she felt herself growing- young again, her back became straight, the lines walked quietly off her face. Yes, after all, it did seem only a day since the glass boat dropped her into the Forbidden Ground. ' The old man rose and held out his hand. ' ' Come,' he said, * I will show you some things that really do exist.' ' With a light Btep the PrincesB lollowed him into a lofty apartment off the hall. It was full: of .books. Books lined the walls and covered the tables. From/ all the thousands of books there glided tiny figures, apparently very much alike, though in reality some - ' were quite different to others.' ' ' This place,' said the old man^ ' is called Imagination. It is real.' ' Then they entered a long passage filled with ferns, and mirrors, and cosy seats. ' ' This,' said the old man, ' is where Melody lives.' ' As he spoke numberless figures filled the passage, and as each passed Curioso heard echoes of music which were in turn wild and sad, merry and mourn ful. ' From the passage the old man led her to a large gallery filled with pictures. ' ' This,' he said, ? is where Art lives.' ' Beside each picture stood a man or woman, brushes and palette in hand. They all looked happy and triumphant. Curioso would have spoken to some, but the old man beckoned her on,
' They approached a beautiful garden, thronged with people. ' ' This,' said the old man, ' is where Love lives. ' But the Princess heard him not. Giving a cry of joy she rushed toward a tall figure in the crowd. ''Ah,' she cried, * my Prince! Dost thou not know me ? ' ' ' Sweet Princese,' he exclaimed, ' I have been searching for thee. Come, let us go to the King.' ' Curioso took his arm, and — lo ! the garden faded away. She stood once again beside her betrothed in the court of Content.' (Concluded.) Mock Auction.— The place whore the buyer is sold. The Highest Approbation.— Applause from the gallery. Captain Wynyard's county (Hampshire) in two matches in succession had to field, first for the Abel Brockwell record of 379 for first wicket and three days later for H. W. Bainbridge and' W. G. Quaife, while they registered 324, but in the latter case the rest yielded little, and the innings, which had promised to acquire great dimensions, closed for 475. Hampshire, however, though disposed of for 137 at the first attempt came famously with 326 for six wickets (.Wynyard 67 and 37, Andrew 106, and A. ' J. H. Hill 100).