|Newspaper Title||The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||The Moon Ray|
I BY M. FORREST.
It was the most impudent Moon Ray in. the world. That's saying a good deal, for all Moon Rays are inquisitive and at times shock ingly pushing. Don't they poke into grape vine trellises where the newly-engaged coup . les .sit— those dark corners which are such a temptation to throw Chinese crackers at on the Fifth, of November, to hear the silly grown ups say 'Yow,' instead of sitting quiet and holding each other's hands in the way which seems so absurd to sensible children nAnnla Hut- tfin mnflf Imu«tj9.avi4-. lUTrknvi TJ n *.
. of them all was the one that slipped through Robbie-Boy's window— a high Venetian shut tered one, overlooking Sydney Harbour from the Mosman side. ' ' Robbie-Boy had como down from the bush, and he was staying with an aunt who had no little boys of her own, because, as she said, she had refused so many offers of marriage, thinking she was better off without a man trespassing into the house with muddy boots on, or smoking the curtains yellow. Now, people who think like that are tire some to stay with. They mind a little clean dirt too much, and are always sending you to wash your hands when they are so clean already that they don't leave a single mark on the face towel. It's such a waste of soap and water, and Aunt Eliza always gave yellow soap to little boys; she considered nice scent
ed wasted on them. Robbie wasn't having the time of his life by any means, and be missed the pet carpet snake he: held such long conversations witU up at the station. To-night he had had an awful disappointment, too, for a kind fat man who lived next door had asked Aunt Eliza to let him take Robbie to the Biograph, and Aunt Eliza said 'No, it would be too late for him to sit up,' just for the sheer pleasure of being disagreeable, it seemed to Robbie, and he had buried his face very deep down in the pillow when he went to bed, for even moon beams must not see manly chaps cry ever so little. Then he slept. Sleep has a way of pouncing on one so suddenly, and shutting up one's eyes quite unexpectedly when one is young; so Robbie had been asleep some hours, and the house was quite still except for one window the maid had forgotten to latch creaking away downstairs. It was the impudent Moon Ray that woke Robbie, sliding through the Vene tians and lighting up his face. That Moon Ray would have got through where more modest ones hesitated. It had been the same from babyhood, and a great care to the large - faced mother moon up in the sky. 'Wake up,' it whispered to Robbie-Boy. 'Wake up and talk to a fellow; it's an awlul bore knocking about alone at night.' iRobbie yawned, opened his ejres, shut them again, and turned over. The Moon Ray fus sed about the metal buttons on his clothes hanging over the back of the chair, lit ou his new knife, and examined It carefully, danced on the knobs of the bed and touched Robbie's face again. 'Lazy bones, wake up!' 'What — cher — want?' Robbie-Boy thought It was Aunt Eliza, and he was too sleepy to be very civil. The Moon Ray hit him smartly in the eye with its bright finger. 'Wakeuii! I want to talk. It's the horriblest thing in the world to want to talk, and find none who will listen. That's what takes so many men orating in the Sydney domain, because their wives won't lis ten to them at home. What men can say never sounds so clever to their wives as it does to themselves.' 'You seem to know a lot,' said Robbie-Boy, sitting up and staring at the Moon Ray. 'I should think so!' snorted the Ray. 'Haven't I all the chances in the world, be sides being naturally quick?' 'I s'pose you have,' answered Robbie. 'You can squeeze through the cracks of doors and the slits of shutters ... keyholes with the keys out, and between the slabs of bviah huts. . . . into 'possums' nests and — ' The Moon Ray wanted to talk itself, so It interrupted Robbie, perching on the shiny end rail of the bed. 'Yes, and dip down through the waters of the harbour aad see the black ugly sharks looking for prey. Once I slipped into a dead man's eye, and caught the reflection of the stars there, and it made me think that God was looking down, and was so sorry for him that he had sent the stars to guide his soul to Heaven. Another time I kissed the white neck of a Mermaid as she took a moon bath, wrapped in her long green hair, where the waves dashed up below Macquarie Lighthouse. But the Mermaids are shy; they don't even care to be seen by Moon Rays, and they dodge the search-lights of the ships like rabbits before a gun. She was a very lovely Mer maid,' sighed the Moon Ray. Robby sighed, too, for far away on the bor ders of Queensland and New South Wales he had once known a beautiful sea fairy — but that is another story. The Moon Ray was so much afraid that if Robby began to talk it would not get in all It wanted to say that it hurried on: 'Once I crept through a barred window of a prison cell, and heard a file eating, eating-, into the bars- I could see a dark shaven head bobbing up and down, and the glint of the file where the rubbing had worn the rust away. I hurried off and shone into tlie sentry's drowsy eyes, and tried to make him understand that a srisoner was likely to es cape; but do you think I could make him see? I clawed him with my moon fingers, but he only rubbed his eyes and stumbled away into the thick shadow whei-e even I could not push, and the prisoner got out and crawled over a wall, and became the fiercest bushranger the country had known for many a day, till at last he was shot by a daring trooper who crept up behind him. That's a long time ago, for I'm not as young as I look,' said the Moon Ray. 'You couldn't be that,' answered Robby, meaning to be polite, for since he had lived with Aunt Eliza he had learned that it is al ways polite to tell people they look young, unless they really are, and the , Moon Ray had a nice complexion — the «ort ,o£. pearly white time does not affect. 'Seme people admire stars,' continued the Moon Ray, slipping off the end of the bed, and glancing at the white China jug in the wash-hand basin, 'but I think they are in clined to be yellow. They don't have the exercise we do. Did you ever meet any star fairies?' 'No,' said Robbie. Outside in the dew-wet garden a bird chittered drowsily. The nigLt was growing. towards morning. 'Oh! I'll tell one to drop in to see you. I've a few friends among them; the classy ones. There has been so much rain lately they haven't been out much. Well. I'm afraid I must say good-bye for the present, for I'm due elsewhere.' He disappeared through the shutter, leaving the room very dark for a time, then slowly the light that is before the day began to grow. 'You don't look as though you had slept well,' said Aunt Eliza at breakfast. Aunt Eliza Is one of those people who really have nicer hearts than their faces show. 'I think I went to bed too soon after din ner,' answered Robbie; 'Mother always says one should sit up at least two hours after a big meal.' 'H'm. Well.' Aunt Eliza smiled, thinking a little as she cut the top from her egg, and put it aside for the canary. 'Well, perhaps to-night, the Biograph.' When Robbie-Boy got outside the door, he jumped like mad for two minutes on the hairy mat, so as not to make too much noise, then he ran through the garden with a mes sage to the fat man to say Aunt Eliza thought, just for once, the pictures would not be sit ting up too late for him. : When he got away from the house, he looked up at the sky. 'Thank you, little Moon Ray,' be said. . '-^- Now do you think there -ytfoa' any reason to thank the Moon Ray for ke'elrtfig' him awake? I don't know what you think, but I know What Robbie -Boy did! . *