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Chapter NumberXX (Continued)
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Full Date1927-05-04
Page Number22
Word Count2412
Last Corrected2019-04-27
Newspaper TitleSydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938)
Trove TitleSons of the Seven Mile
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Sons of the Seven Mile An Australian Novel of Country and City Life

By Zora Cross

CHAPTER XX.— (Continued)

ARTHUR'S sister, Gipsy. on-? nf I lie prel liesl girls in Hillborough. and a magnificent contralto singer, had just run away from homo — everyone said wilh Barnle'y, of Ihe Hill pictures, a form of entertainment that was held once or twice a week in the old town theatre. Arthur's youngest sister, Ellie, had married against her parents' wishes, too; and Arthur's mother, Ann Far nev, was one of the bravest and saddest of women. Grace put her hand to her heart suddenly. 'What's tlie matter?' Jane asked, as she prepared chocolate and coconut for Lamington cakes. 'Nnfliine' 1 was inst thinlchifr nf rmr mother and

Arthur's mother. Aren't mothers sad, strange things?' Jane cut up the sponge cake she was going to cover with chocolate and coconut. 'Not nearly so sad and strange as fathers. Sh! Is that Dad?' 'Are you home, Dave?' a voice said. The sisters started. It was Mr. McPhie again. Jane' ran out- her fingers covered in desiccated coco nut. Grace followed. They had to say their father was not home again. 'Funny,' Sandy said. 'I wonder would he be in town ?' The girls were now startled. He had so often threat ened to go after their mother. Suppose lie had done so ? 'He might have gone into Blake's,' Grace said. 'But he'd have told us if he had been going there. He said last night he was going up to Ihe scrub.'' Sandy rode away again, and his eyes narrowed, while his face clouded. As he rode along towards Wilson's, who lived on the Seven-Mile, he saw Mabel Blake and Paddy Regan walking arm-in-arm together. Sandy's hand tightened on his bridle. 'If a girl of mine walked out. with a lad I didna like I know what she'd get,' he thought. For Sandy was a hard father. He found that he was riding towards the Hill, per plexed about the money Ronny had lost. Sandy was not fond of Jeanie Blake. They often fell to bickering over trifles, and he was a little afraid of her, for he had been an eye-witness that day when she had broken her umbrella over Regan and hyrt him severely in Golden-street. Sandy had a Scotchman's tongue. It was generally wise and silent in business. It became loose in other matters. He did not wanl lo accuse Dave about this money of Ronny 's. But the bush and road track had been searched in vain for it. The black-girl, Polly, could And almost anything that was lost. She could not And Ronny's five pounds. So Sandy had a yarn with the publican at the Race course Hotel, and got his two drinks over the fence, as it were., and instead of feeling more genial he felt ag gressive. If Dave %vas not at Blake's and Jeanie could not tell him where he was there might be trouble.

As a matter of fact, Jeanie. knew where Dave was. They had always remained good brother and sister, and he had sent her a message to tell her that he was going after Ruth. Jeanie had often told him to do this, and she was very glad he. had gone. Sandy, riding quickly up Lucky Hill and seeing no one in sight but little Minnie Markharn, who was read ing a book on the verandah, hoped that the meeting would be peaceful, but had no idea what was going to happen.

CHAPTER XXI All that was 1, I gave, 0 Life! What- gavest me? Only the pain That cries m vain; 0 Passionate Heart! Only the smart. Mary G'tlmore. MARY was lying down with a headache, and Jeanie herself was sitting behind the drawing-room door doing some fancywork. She always worked be hind the door on Sunday, as the minister sometimes called and she could bide her materials there, and she met him with a pious smile, and outstret died hands of wel come. Minnie saw Sandy first. She called out. so quickly, ''Aunty. Aunty, here's* Mr. McPhie,' that Jeanie thought it was the minister, and, dropping her work, went out to meet him smiling. 'Oil, it's only Sandy.' Jeanie said as he rode up to the gate. 'Andy's over at Macpherson's. Did you hear about the win Mac had at tlie races? He's been drunk ever since, and says he made three hundred pounds.' 'Oh,' said Sandy, '] didn't want Andy. I was looking for Dave.' As Dave had not. told Jeanie to keep his journey a secret, and she imagined he had gone out on the mid night mail, she asked Sandy in. He was inside tlie gate, and she had picked up a garden trowel that had been left there, when she told him Dave had gone to Ruth. 'What,?' cried Sandy, feeling that he had cause to be more than suspicious of Dave now. Minnie jumped, hesitated, and wondered if she should go away. But she was stuck on the chair, which was one of her aunt's new make and design. She was not feeling well, either, and wished it were midwinter vacation. 'Where'd he get the money to go ?' Sandy said, get ling excited at the thought that Dave was guilty. 'I don't know,' Jeanie retorted in amazement. She had never liked Sandy much ; she liked him less now. 'I think 1 know,' Sandy replied, losing liis head, as the excitable Scot may in a crisis. Jeanie was now up in arms, and her face flushed. 'Eh?' she said. 'Eh!' said Sandy. He backed from Jeanie and her aggressive-looking

trowel. She was a woman to mind at any time,' for all tier good-heartedness. 'I don't know what you're driving at,' Jeanie cried, gripping the trowel tighter, and following Sandy as he edged back to the gate. Minnie, getting out of her chair -with difficulty, watched the elder pair in sheer alarm. She was sure her aunt meant to hit Sandy with the trowel. Sandy had reached the gate, and he shook his head at Jeanie. 'If you're trying to shield him, you can tell him I know all about it,' Sandy said. Jeanie's voice rose. She caught Sandy by the arm before lie could escape. 'What are you meaning? Are you just drunk, or are you accusing Dave of some thing?' she said. Sandy was not so lost as to accuse Dave. 'You tell him Ronny hasn't found the money be lost at the hall last night, and if he knows anything about it he'd better speak up before it goes to 'the courts.' 'What?' cried Jeanie, now lifting the trowel. 'Do you mean to tell me, you mean little Scotsman, that you're accusing my brother of going off lo Brisbane with your money? Out of my gate and on to your horse, and don't, come here again — you, nor your son. nor any one of you!' Sandy was on tlie other side of the gate now, and stood his ground, though he was trembling so much that liis legs seemed to bend out. further than usual, and his bands were shaking. Minnie ran to the front steps, and then, uncertain what to do, ran through the drawing-room and called out: 'Mary, Mary. Mr. McPhie's come making an awful row about something, and it might be Mabel.' 'I'm too sick to care,' Mary said, turning over on her face, which was burning hot. All her limbs ached, and she was sure she was get ting dengue fever. Minnie, hearing the voices lifted louder, went out again. Sandy was getting on his horse. 'You've got a lot to talk aboul. my good woman,' he said. 'Your own girl walking- out in the bush with Regan's boy!' » Jeanie stood stricken as Sandy meanly drove home his last point. She dropped the trowel from her hand, and for a second felt as if Sandy had stabbed her. Then she turned away and came back up the path quickly, thinking. 'What's the matter, Aunty?' Minnie asked. 'Don't ask me any question,' her aunt replied ; 'and bow dare you stand there listening? Go down and tell your uncle that Mabel's walking out with Paddy Regan; and Mary, Mary!' Mary, with a wet handkerchief oil her forehead, came trailing ti redly out. 'What's up?' she asked. . 'Don't you ever speak to Ronny McPhie again, nor have anything to do with the McPhies — not one of them!' 'Why?' Mary cried, reeling with the pain in her head. 'Don't ask me why. And Mabel is out with Paddy

( Continued from Opposite Page.) Regan. Did you know she was going to meet him to-day?' 'No, mumma,' Mary replied meekly. 'No. Oh, the wickedness of that girl! She1]] be punished. Mark my word, she'll be punished. All girls and boys who disobey their parents get punished. Her father'Il break every bone in her body when he catches her.' 'Oh, mumma,' Mary cried, 'I feel so sick!' 'Go and lie flown, then,' Jeanie said, beside herself with anger to think of Mabel's disobedience. She walked back to the gate, and she saw Andy and Macpherson approaching, with Minnie timidly plucking at her uncle's ? sleeve. Sandy was with them, and Andy's eyes were blue and angry. Sandy was still aggressive, as if he were believing that Andy and Jeanie were both shielding Dave. 'You're drunk, man!' Jeanie hard Macpherson cry as they came near the gate. The neighbours and people of Lucky Hill were pepping over fences and peering from behind doors and windows. 'Come inside, Minnie; I'll tell your uncle,' Jeanie cried, and Minnie detached herself from the group. 'Go in to Mary,' her aunt said, awaiting tlie men, who seemed in no hurry to get to her. Minnie ran out to Mary, only to And her crying. 'Oh, Mary, what has happened?' she said. Mary clutched at her arm wildly. 'Quick! Quick, Minnie! I'm too sick to go, but you must go out and tell Mabel and get Paddy Regan to run away, and ask them all not to tell. Ob! Oh! Dadda'll kill Mabel. He hates Paddy Regan so.' Minnie, in terror began to change her shoes for her boots, and to get her hat. 'What is all the trouble over, Mary?' 'Money, money. Regan robbed Dadda. It was over some mining shares. There's something between miners and mates Mr. Regan broke— I don't know. I'm too sick. But, go and tell Mabel. Quick! Quick!' Minnie was dressed now, and went out lo tlie door wondering how she would steal away. Macpherson and Sandy seemed to be quarrelling, and her uncle, with angrier, eyes, was at the gate saying; 'I'll get my horse and go for her at once.' Minnie's heart* sank. How was she to get out to Mabel faster than her uncle's horse? She hoped he would have some difficulty in finding it, as he often had. She stole out to* the summer-house, and wailed her opportunity to get over the fence: She would be seen if she went the back way, because she would have to go by the big gate. By slipping over the fence she could hide between the fence and the mullock heap until her aunt 'and uncle went in, and then dash across to Casey's hotel and dip down to the river, cross by, the little bridge, and take her life in her hands for Mabel and Paddy and go through the lonely; bush. There was an old track out to the Seven-Mile that way. Her heart contracted as she heard Macpherson say: ''iou look to your own boy, Sandy McPhie. You look to your own boy.' Minnie heard no more. She was too afraid to wait, and she ran down through the bushhouse and climbed over the fence near the vegetable gar den, then ran down and got through the railway fence, followed the line some distance, came back and crossed the road dipping to the river, found Ihe bridge and road running, and darted towards the bush, where she knew an Indian hawker often pitched his tent. She must get to Mabel before her uncle. She must! She must! . ? Oh, why. did girls and boys want to do what their parents forbade them ^-.v to do? She was as bad. Why did the young disobey the old? ? :

She saw to the right of her a tent, and a man with a turban 011 his head standing near it. ... ?:'f' . For a. second she felt like running back, but on and on she pressed bravely. She did not so much as glance at the In dian. who thought she was a ghost as she fled by his tent, and went, with flying hair and flying heels deeper and deeper into the forest. * -? ' , * * MEANWHILE Sandy and Andy were both on the road, riding- towards the Seven Mile. Sandy, who had often heard rumours of Ronny-s love for the racecourse, knew Macpherson frequented the races, and, after his interview with him and liis insinua tion about Ronny. Sandy was inclined to let the matter of the money drop. Ronny might have used it himself. Sandy felt sorry he had mentioned Mabel and Paddy Regan. ? Ronny would never for give him for causing trouble between himself and Mary. Ana Mary was a sick girl.

Maggie, his wife, too, could bicker when she .liked, and altogether Sandy was feeling that it was an unfortunate thing he had ridden over to Markbam's. ' He had half a wish to accidentally, drop in at Wilson's and mention thai, he saw Mr. Blake on his way out. Sandy knew that Mabel's friends would probably warn her in time. He had got a good start of Andy, whose grey horse he could not see when he looked back towards Hillborough. He was crossing the bridge near the old .'whim, and decided to ride through the bush and get there quicker. Little dreaming that he was taking the track Minnie had taken, he reached the Indian hawker's tent. * The Indian asked him the time, and caused Sandy to pause for a second. Then he said 'Are you looking for a little girl?' . ' . 'No,' Sandy replied. 'Why?' 'I saw one running through the bush there She looked very upset.'. : {To be Continued.)