Chapter 169144577

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Chapter NumberXIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttps://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article169144577
Full Date1927-03-30
Page Number30
Corrections1
Word Count5028
IllustratedY
Last Corrected2019-04-27
Newspaper TitleSydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938)
Trove TitleSons of the Seven Mile
article text

Sons of the Seven Mile

An Australian Novel of

Country & City Life

by Zora Cross

[?]

CHAPTER XIII.

/«« the whim stands still, and the wheeling swallow in the sVent shaft hangs her home of clay, And the lizards flirt and the swift snakes follow O'er the grass-grown hrace in the summer day.' — Edward Dyson. TV /TORE than twenty years afterwards, when the days

moi the deep-level mining were beginning lo de cline at Ilillborough, Minnie Markham, tlie young est of Ruin's four children, was coming home up Lucky Hill with Die Regan and Casey children. She was bragging- thai she would win the Fairfax prize for her school and herself. Home for her was with her Auntie .Teanie for I he present, since her mother was away in Brisbane trying to raise money lo pay off the mort gage on Mombea. Ruth's extravangances and the social life she bad al ways lived had been the cause of much anxiety to Dave, though his love for her had never faltered. The banks had practically seized Mombea, Dave's old home, and all the family, except Minnie, were living at Orange Park, a small farm which belonged to a friend of Dave's. They were renting it for the time being. The his 'For Sale' sign had been put up at the Mombea pales by (lie bank which had seized it; but though the sale was fixed for a definite date a few months ahead, Ruih and Dave had an option on the property. If they could pay up the £500 mortgage within two months Mombea was to be theirs again. Ruth had three chances of getting it. She could borrow it — get it from her step father, who would scarcely miss the sum. or by some miraculous good fortune get an engagement as a singer on the stage and ask the manager to advance tier the money. Her stepfather was her chief hope, but lie was a very old man, and as grumpy as old. He had taken a dislike lo Ruth, and again and again refused lo give or lend her money. Ruth was Jiaving a very anxious time with money

lenders, and her stepiatiier, a n d theatrical managers, . while her carefree little daughter was strolling up Lucky Hill bragging about winning the most coveted University prize in all Aus Iralia for girls silling for the 'junior.' Minnie had quite decided lhal she would get a scho larship, and . by-and-bye, when she went to Ipswich Grammar School, she would win the Fairfax. Ipswich was famous for carrying it j off. Her name would be I wriiton in gold and hung on I the school wall — Minnie I Markham. A French, A His- I iory, A Mathematics, A Eng- 1 lish, A Latin, A German, A I Greek. She was 'very asser- I live and confident about her I prospects. I Kalie Regan, who went to I the convent, was learning I 1 henry, because she ha.d been promised the cane in the morning if she missed it again. Minnie, who was a freckled, little, slight oval faced child of i3. with a straight plait down her back, said, 'Music is only waste of time, and so is fancy-work.' This started an argument which ended in Katie iiitting Minnie with her bag of books, and Minnie flying to the old deserted whim, crying back at her, 'Couldn't catch a ilca ?

Katie Regan. Who dropped her books?' Katie Regan was also 43, red-haired and Irishi and she picked up a bit of broken quartz which had roiled down on 1he road from a mullock heap near^ and threw it at Minnie, who repeated her cry, 'Couldn't bit a 11 v. Try again. Ha! Red-headed Regan! Red-headed K. . i--! 'Red-hair, hurry home. Ask your mother to give if a comb.' Minnie was about lo turn and run for her own home at this when a stone thrown by one of Katie Regan's mates almost hit her on the shin. 'I'll tell the p'leece on you,11 Minnie called out. slooping' to pick up a stone. Piie ihrew it at Katie, who now had assembled her mates in a body and was pre paring to attack Minnie in earnest. Two or three hoys from the boys' department of the school which Minnie attended slid suddenly round a mullock heap and said, ''Are those convent kids throw ing stones at you, Minnie?' 'Yes,' Minnie replied. 'And one nearly hit me.' 'Ho, come on! Come on, Piper, Reeves, come on. Here are all the convent kids shying stones. At them. Come on ? ' Quite a battalion of litile boys now came from be hind the mullock heap, where already they had been waiting for the children from the other school, and Minnie -saw that they all had stones. 'Ob, don't hurt them.' sbe said, pulling one of Hie hoys back. 'They didn't hit me much.' But the war had begun. Soon stones were flying in all directions, till one of Katie's mates set up a howl of 'Oh. look what you done now. O-oli-— me mouth's all bleeding. Ough— Mumina! Oooh!'' There was a scatter at this, for the chiJd war was never waged after someone had ijeen hurt:. Minnie, feeling that she had been the guilty one, and a little upsel that' after all her promises to herself she had started lighting again, even after she had become a scholarship girl, lied lo the top of the hill.

DROVERS : A SCENE IN THE BURRAGORANG VALLEY, N.S.W.

She was getting home late, too, and she wondered if she could slip into the back yard without any one seeing her'. No. Her Uncle Andy was squalling on the front verandah ' scowling' over the newspaper. She could not dodge, him. Most of I he miners on Lucky Hill who had been working the eight 'o'clock 'shift were home now, and the four o'clock shifl men had gone lo work. Minnie had heard the four o'clock whistle blow when she and Kalie Regan wer.e arguing 'about whether Mabel Blake was prettier than Rose Regan or not, down near the old whim bridge, and a lot of time had passed since. Minnie knew every house on Lucky Hill -and every house on both sides of it— one dropping down to the peace of Golden Creek, which was an arm of the Hill horough River, and Ihe other dropping by Ihe railway to Rrisbane down by lilfle miners' collates lo the big grey dam, into which the mighty North (irenl Victory gold mine poured out its slag and Ihe slush I hat held no gold. The massive wooden frame of the mine towered high above the houses. IMAGINATIVE Minnie thought it. looked like the ghastly skeleton of some tremendous animal. Below the platform, where Ihe truck-boys, looking- like litlle grey beetles wheeling toy (rucks high above her childish head, wheeled the mullock to I ho end and lipped it over, a high mullock heap v*as j-earcd like a great mountain, and it sparkled like silver in tlie sunlight. The mullock heap was about as tall as the frame of the mine. All the people who lived near Ihe Ulakes on Lucky Hill, and some of those from- either slope of the hill, congregated at times about the home, of Minnie's aunt, for Jeanie was sociable, and there never was a miner's wife who wanted five pounds who could not gel Jeanie Blake to raffle a picture for her or make a cushion or a table-runner with her own clever lingers, and collect

iiy a runic oi it me money required. When the boys' football broke . Hie window of the church on Lucky Hill Jeanie held the sale of work that bought a new window. When Alec Thompson lost his legs down the Cale ?lonian mine Jeanie arranged a dance, 11 ie proceeds of which bought, him a chair and a shop. When twins come lo Ihe house of a wo mm who had been expecting . but one child Jeanie was now and again at the door with little garments for the wee one and very likely a daugh ter Svith her offering to help Hie mother. ANDY BLAKE, her hus band, worked at the Victory mine, but Min nie understood lhat he was not a man who used a pick and shovel, though he. went ?off to the mines at the same time as the miners. He was boss of them once he got un derground, and though he was hard and stern to a lil t lie girl corning home late from school, he could not read his paper in the peace of his ferny verandah with out being interrupted with a cheery, 'Good - evening, Andy,' every few minutes from one or other of the passing miners. The social evenings and dances at Blakes1 were the

talk of Lucky Hill, and nol to be present at them was to be out of all the fun. Casey's 'Hotel, . where anyone could make a? bet on the races, which were Jield ? frequently ? was almost opposite Blake's, back ^a'le, and when Minnie reached- Casey's she could .hear the- noisy roar of men who were drinking and smoking- within; TWo or. three horses were tied. up to iron hooks at the hotel posts, and for fear Mrs. Casey should have heard she had been throwing stones at., Cassie Casey, Minnie hurried pastr -and, arriving at the back sate, pulled at.it anxiously, trying to dodge in. Just then her uncle Andy looked up and saw her. . ?;.-.? 'Come iii, Minnie; hurry- in,' he said, glancing over at the hotel as if he feared . his enemy, Regan might.be .there.' 'Don't I foe dawdling^ about; the ' -gate.' . Unable: tor open the gate, Minnie has-', tened along 'by the white paling fence, ner vously .ftPRing each pointed paliiig as she' did so, tilt she, came', to the little front gate . which, opened out on the .stone path of her, aunt's garden. This was bordered on each ? side by; bits of broken slate and bright coloured china and terracotta' and stone. At the: steps, on either side,' a pink and purple jarool tree grew, pouring a fine filmy .rain, of ..delicate flowers down in the lovely October, weather, but now in the autumn it was scattering a shower of yel-. low and golden and bronze leaves about. Minnie slid in through, the gate like a ghost, and reached the front dpor. Good luck! Uncle Andy had not asked her about the Regans. Almost every afternoon his first ques tion on seeing her was, 'Did you come home with the Regans, Minnie?' And if she answered in the affirmative he would always say, 'Then never do it again, or you'll have to leave my house.' Aunty Jeanie's house was not nice Mom foea, the dear old home that she and her only brother, Johnny, had loved so much. Minnie always thought that her aunt's Nome was like a fascinating piece of fancy work. You never knew whether a chair was to sit on or just to look at, arid you had to be careful how you treated any thing, for Aunty Jeanie went about the house all day at times, with a pot of glue and bits of coloured glass and china which .she seemed to stick about everywhere. Her white-bearded uncle, with the stooped shoulders, the blue eyes, ana utg white teeth, seemed to be sitting now in the midst of a china shop, for Aunty Jeanie's verandah was like a fernery and pot-plant house all in one, and every fern and stag horn, and coleus and begonia grew in a tin which she had made gay by covering with bits of bright broken china. Her aunt had evidently just been sort ing china, or perhaps the children had been ransacking rubbish tips for her — as there was a heap of yellow and red and blue glass at the door. . She was about to step into the front room to avoid passing her uncle, who was frowning heavily as if some mine news had upset him, when her cousin Mary called out, 'Don't come through the front room with your dirty boots, Minnie. Go round by the bush-house.' MINNIE could see Mary vigorously cleaning her shoes at the steps for the dance that was to be held on the verandah after the drawing of Mrs. Pea cock's raffle that very night. Mrs. Peacock was raiffling two pictures to buy her crippled daughter a new crutch, and, of course, the drawing was to take place at Rlake's. .. The pictures which the cripple had , painted had been on view for days in . Blake's front room — the very room wjijch . Mary had spent nearly all day cleaning,' , and now guarded sacredly until the. reveK . lers arrived and made it untidy and, dusty

again for her. : ? , . - Minnie glanced in at the room in which she, .could easily have spent a whole delightful day merely. counting the china ornaments. It was fragrant.. now. with, early violets and autumn roses — pink and pale and , puffy. , ''. Mary, who was a thin, somewhat sickly £irj., with a pa'Uid. yellow skin, came 16 the parlour doo£'.wlii(jh .was opposite the front door, a shoe in one hand and a blackr ing brush in the other. ' . '?'.',,?? ??,' . ? ' '.,'??? 'Go on, Minnie,' she said. 'Get avvay,, and don't make my mats crooked.' ..?..?. ''' . There were dozens of little mats, sprinkled, about- the . linoleum, of the front room, at the 'doors, arid; under the piano. . ,,'.., ...'.' '..'.;. . Soon Mary would be trying to shield, tljese, from. .the Heavy boots . that some of the visiting miners , might ; chance to wear. , ' ? ??,? ,.?;',..'.?.,.';., Minnie did not dare to go through'., the front ropiri ? after. tliis, and she was now obliged. to pass .'lier, uncled ,,' . Just as she was successfully sliding) by he cried out, looking up from his paper, the, little' girl thought, like Red Riding. Hood's wolf, 'Ah! that .thief, that scoun drel!' ._._..,— ? _. ;l Minnie jumped for safety at the 'end of th£ vefan dah, which was. latticed in, and where there were corner seats with red and holland cushions. It was but one step to the bush-house — green and cool with maiden

hair and ''other ?ferns'— and -:. Minnie' inight. have* flown through- it:- tOfrthe^safety i)f^ the parlour, .w^hich^ opened oiit on It, had she ; heeh ; qujpitl nbugii.- ;She ?,\v.as - not; .t\ '' Her unpjejturned irrlUlpiy, an^said, 'What are you jumping abouj';;tH^ ;.. y Minnie stood .sicken. .' Her: uncle ahyays filled- 'her with fear wheri he -spoke to her. Though' his youngest child, Lena, wlio was nb\V only six, pulled his; beard and treated him like a big white bear, Minnie was terrified: of ?'him. ' '.??.?: ?'..'?. ?-. ? ??;?;':.; ?.. ?? v-.v ..... ... She stood shivering,' and stammered, 'I-— I ;;was only riurryihg, 'Uncle— — ' ' ' ; \ ? ;'!^.. *c ---?/?«?- ;,, 'Well, go .and tell yourraunt I1 /want her,' lie said gruffjy,. scarcely giving. \Iinnie's;. plain, little, : dirty, freckled face, her sea-coloured, grey-blue eyes — about, which /escaped: straight bits- of , . lies ; i untidy: haiiy were falling— or : her broken boots,' and mended :school-bag, a *. glance. :' Thoughihe! was very proud; of' her in' his isomfe wliat grumpy way, he seldom' spoke to hetl ' ;?_?????! ? ''/?'? She \yas ^clever. ,at her }essoins|; th'o.iigh: 'shte'/generiill.y1 came home, fj^mVsciiools.i^dkj'hg as,;if siie Jiad/,b6eh;iiii,'.a dog-flghT'iiist'ead'df 'sitting patiently; in a,scljbi^s)}tp'- class. bent: upon t winning-, a: grammar school/ scholarship/. ' He had consented willingly enough to her staying with him, that she might walk to school every day in stead of riding in ? from Orange Park, which was so

many miles from town, and she was use ful in the house, too. Dave had always been a good friend to him, and he was Jeanie's brother— a man; to be pitied, too, having; as .every one knew, a flighty* extravagant wife with new-fangled notions about what women should do. She had mortgaged Mombea to send Grace and Jane to boarding school, and she had been gallivanting about between Sydney arid Brisbane and Hillborough try ing to borrow or beg the money to pay off the mortgage for the past year or more. Now the banks had closed on them, and she had to get the money in a month or ' two, or lose all/ A silly little' woman Ruth Markham — beginning as an actress, and always would be an actress. A .NDY; had lived ,to. be glad Dave had /\ married her and not himself., Though v. 1 V Jeanie was a plain r woman, she., was more ; solid, and if weak in one way. was ?y strong in: others. - . i!r ?; ..;;?..„.: .'.;...,.: : Minnie, in some ways, vivas like her ; mother, often beginning^ to dance and' jig . about ? the place suddenly, or' burst into . song like a lark. But the child had none of 'Ruth's beauty. ? - ' - ! ; ''? 'Stir yourself; now,' he said,; as ^Min hie seemed to' be hesitating about1 obeying . .him. . ?;. ; i : : ?' '-; , ? ? ?' '?'?- '?- ?; ? ' ? Lena Blake was -playing shop; in -the : ,. 'summer-house in the garden with' some of the i other children from the: hill, -and she : , called out, 'Come'n have a i game of'sh'op; Minnie.' ' '.?''.?'..;..?? .?.?:-? :,-, ? ??.-.?-? ??'??' But Minnie fled. Her aunt was in the parlour shaking a stern vegetable-stained finger at Mabel, her eldest girl, because Mabel would not prac tise hev music, Minnie thought, as she now stood waiting to deliver her uncle's mes sage. The parlour, wherein the old piano stood, was spotlessly clean, and before Minnie could speak Mary appeared and said, 'Did you wipe your feet, Minnie? If you leave a mark on my floor you'll have to wipe it up — --' Mabel hung her head down and her fair hair, which she had been crimping, was hanging about her like a golden «loud. Mabel was as fresh and lovely as a rose, beside the lily-like pale Mary. Her mother suddenly caught her by the shoulder and instead of shaking a fin ger at her threatened her with a stout fist. 'Mind you,' she said in a low, terrible voice, 'Mabel, if I hear you've been sneak ing out anywhere with Paddy Regan, danc ing with him or walking up and down Gol den-street with him, I'll pull out every hair : of your head, and break every bone of your body. Do you understand?' 'Yes, mumma,' big Mabel said meekly as her mother thumped her two or three times as a reminder of what might hap pen. 'Jeanie! Jeanie! Jeanie, where are you?' ? Minnie plucked timidly at her aunt's sleeve as the latter proceeded to lecture Mabel again. 'Aunty Jeanie, Uncle Andy wants you ? ' 'Jeanie! Jeanie! Jeanie!' Aunty Jeanie, her straight brown hair screwed up tightly on the top of her head, her grey eyes flashing angrily now, because she had discovered that Mabel was nurs ing a secret passion for the son of her father's old enemy, turned round sharply. She was a tall, rather stately woman, even' in her white apron and spotted print dress. 'I can't come. Tell him I can't come,' ; she said, Avith the sharp rasping voice- of one to whom Pate had been unkind. For eager' as Jeanie was always to help others she never forgot that if it had not been for ; ?: Charlie' Regan she and Andy would have .been rich. .Pate had dealt an unkind blow : not easily to be forgotten. She almost . glared, sulkily, at Minnie. ' ?

Minnie, who was considered poor at arithmetic, though good in other subjects, would rather have been asked to do six stocks and shares sums than go back to= her unclei ' ? ? ? .: ' 'Jeanie!'. lie suddenly roared, coming in with the roar, the 'Hillbbrough Times' in his trembling hands. ;. .'What. is, it 2.. What is it?' Jeanie replied, for she was ahyays sympathetic with Andy and perhaps a little afraid- of him. -?; 'That mean scoundrel Regan,' he said, 'robbing us all of a fortune. ? The Eastern Phoenix is paying an other dividend— -another dividend, and getting better arid better, and better. ? Mabel!' .. ,.'Yies,,dadda,' ...-.,,,. ' . He shook his fist - at her as her mother had done, and, trembling iWith ange^ stood on the step from the X Font d∨ to the parlour like a grim and terrible figure of- '.'vengeance; ? ? . ?- ?' ! r 'If you— if yoii speak to Paddy Regan or any of the Regans— ybu :/carai.'t 'stay in my house. Not one of thfcm do, you want , tc see— not otie of them. Minnie ! ' , .Minnie, gripped a piece of her own print frock 'arid bit, her trembling lips»; . : 'Don't you dare walk home from school with any of the Regans— not one step of the way.' ? : (Continued on Page 57.)

Sons of the Seven Mile (Continued from Page 31.)

?'No, Uncle.' 'And you mind me, too, Jeanie. Don't you even sell a raffle ticket to a Regan.' He turned from the door and tramped hack murmuring a sort of chant of despair llirqugh the front room to the verandah again. Mary went after him and wiped up his footprints without a word. Jeanie, scared herself at the threat, bit lier lip like a girl. Raffles wer^ raffles — and the Regans, she knew, had bought tickets for the Peacock pictures — what would happen if Mrs. Regan won the pictures. 'Now, hurry up and get lea,' she said 1o Mabel. 'Min, -you can set the table.' 'I'll set it, mamma,' Mary said. 'Minnie might break a cup, and we've only got just enough if everyone comes to-night.' 'AH right,' Jeanie said. 'Let her run out to Lena.' Minnie was escaping when her aunt railed her back. 'Take your school book, Minnie,' she said, for Jeanie had had litjle schooling, ;md was proud, too. ,of the niece who was fioing for a scholarship which she might win. SOON Minnie was silling in Lena's shop, the feud between the Regans and the Blakes behind her, and she was bragging1 lo a company of little onlookers who knew nothing' of what she was bragging about. 'Tm sure to win a scholarship in Septem ber. Then I'm going to Ipswich, and I'm poina; for the Junior there — and I'll win the Fairfax, and ? ' Minnie had made a chant of it. 'It must be bard to study for a scholar ship,' one of the elder children, who had called for her young sister, said. 'Show's your book. What arc you learning?' 'Rivers of Spain,' Minnie said. 'Poof! 1 don'f. think they're hard ? ' Mabel ^lake suddenly ran out of the house and said, 'Bella, your mother wants you.' Then she dropped a note on Minnie's open hook and whispered, 'Quick, Minnie, when you see Paddy Regan pass give him lhat.' Then she ran back. Minnie was terrified. Mabel Blake, all long legs and wavy hair, looked back at her from the bush-bouse door. She was tall for eighteen, but Min nie thought her lovelier than any of the girls on Lucky Hill. She had left school

and was a dressmaker. Out of Ibe house Mabel was bright and lively, at home quiet and meek. Minnie thrust the note into her pocket guiltily, as if she had stolen something. What else could she do with it? When would Paddy pass? Her uncle had said she was not to speak to any of the Regans. \vnat would he say if he knew about the note, which was probably a love-letter? Very likely he would break every bone in her body. Minnie thought love was very silly, and. glancing suspiciously about her, felt her arms as if already her uncle were break ins her bones. 'Your mother's always running away from your father, isn't she, Minnie ? That's why you stay with your aunt, isn't It, Min nie. Don't you ever miss your mother? I'd cry myself sick if my mother went away and left me.' Minnie felt uncomfortable as Vida Volt herg, one of Lena's playmates, who was about, eleven years old, said these chatter ing words about her absent mother. Minnie had an aggressive little soul un der the shy and shrinking exterior she usually showed to her elders. She was always finding- il, necessary to remind herself that now she was in the scholarship class she must not fight. She wanted to hit Vida hard and call her a Ger man, though she knew she was a Dane. But she clenched her small hands and re torted, 'My mother's away nursing my grand father in Brisbane, and when she comes hack she's going to bring a lot of money with her.' The children did not believe that. As Minnie very often cried, not only about her absent mother, but her sisters and only brother, and her old home in the bush, she fought harder now against an impulse lo kick Vida's shins as Vida said, 'My mother wouldn't leave me for moriey. I'd scream the hill down if I saw her go ing* away.' 'Vida! Vida!' the little girl's virago of a mother suddenly screamed from the other side of the road. 'Gome home, or I'll give you the slick.' 'O-oh!' Vida said, and scrambled quickly over the fence. Minnie did not laugh at Vida's expense as she might have done. Mabel's note was far too upsetting, and there was some thing in what Vida had said. Minnie often

wanted her mother, though Jane was Ruth's favourite. Minnie understood that her grandfather was her mother's stepfather, who had been cruel to her as a girl, and now wanted to leave her all his money. That was why her mother was away, as far as she had been told. The family had kept the truth about Mombea as much as possible from the children, but references to her mother always made the. sensitive little girl sad, and she could have cried over her school books and her own ? ab- . sence from home had she not seen Paddy Megan's tall figure and his laughing Irish face boldly passing the fence.. ?'„':.? 'Good-evening, Mr. Blake,' ~ Paddy said genially, seeing Andy among the ferns. Trapped in a rocking chair, out of which he could not get easily, and always polite even lo his enemies, Andy replied gruffly. 'Good-evening,' and looked hard at his pa per. Impudent Paddy stopped, clutched two of the painted palings in his hand as if he were about to leap over the fence and perhaps sit down on the top step and have a yarn, and then said, 'Your pony's in the town pound, Mr. Blake.' As Andy had been looking for his pony for days, lie was gratified by this informa tion. 'Oh, thank you,' he said graciously, if gruffly, and looked u\) to see Paddy had gone whistling1 by. Andy got out of his chair, and grumbling because he had spoken to his own enemy went roaring again through the house ordering his supper. Minnie, the feud between the families making her quick to intrigue and deceive, saw her opportunity; and as her uncle dis appeared she ran to the side fence beside which stood a mullock heap which over shadowed the house, and, as Paddy passed, she said, 'Sss!' 'Oh, hello, Min,'he said, his blue eyes lighting at the sight of her, and showing, when he smiled, strong even teeth white as pearls. Minnie dropped me note, and witn almost diabolical cleverness, dropped down from the fence with a cry of 'Oooh,' as if she had been frightened at;seeing the enemy. But she was trembling.; Paddy Regan had a face that was almost beautiful, though it was brown and strong. He stood six feet high in his socks, and he .played, full-back in the Hillborough football team. She liked him, and she wished Mabel would ask Jier . to go and wait round by the mine where ?' he worked to give him a verbal message ' some day. Paddy Regan would then talk to her and smile down on her with the careless ;mis- ? chievous eyes, haunting and fascinating,

that had the beads of all the - girls on Lucky Hill turned. Even now Hetty Blair was standing an in white at her gate smiling at him. A little further on Christie Olsen, with ear rings in her ears, and a black velvet rib bon round her brown, slender throat, was sitting on the grassy patch before her house among other girls waiting for Paddy Regan lo say. 'Hello, Chrissy!' And all the' while Paddy was trembling because Mabel's note was in his hand, and 'he -would read it when he got home. He dared not risk reading it before. 'Minnie? Lena! Come in to your sup per,' her aunt called. As Minnie passed through the summer ;, house Mabel pulled her skirt. 'See him?' she whispered. Minnie nodded. Ecstasy expressed itself all over Mabel's .rosy face as she took her seat at the sup- ' per table. 'Say grace, Mabel,' Mr. Blake said sternly. They bowed their heads and Mabel blessed the meal. 'Did you see Paddy Regan as lie passed ?' he asked when they lifted their heads. 'No, dadda,' Mabel said in feigned sur prise-that Paddy. should have passed. :. 'Humph!' -'DlcUyou, Minnie?' ?. \ (To be Continued.) j