Chapter 169576165

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Chapter NumberIV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article169576165
Full Date1891-10-17
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count4203
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)
Trove TitleThe Devil's Own. An Australian Story
article text

THE DEVIL'S OWN

(ALL BIGHTS RESERVED.) CHAPTER IV (Continued).

AN AUSTRALIAN STORY B BY Mrs. Richmond Henty.

"It's to do with the squire's death," said they. "It has nothing to do with the squire's death," said Fanchetle, showing her

small t : eth like ad itat& ‘squirrel,’ and stamping her foot 'angrily; i “Shull ' I take a pretty little path,” sho added, co quettishly, a' serious look shading the 1 sweet face, telling of an inward fight she was trying to control. -So /they let her alone. Then - followed ’ illness so : severe that : when news came of her lover har ing met with an accident, and being past all hope of recovery in Sf; George’s Hospitalj Fahohelte took.it very iqaietly, even to of his ' so’far as* outward appearances went, bearing her grief in silence: ; Much f she cared for the poor fellow,” said one ; : “ coquette tliat sho is,” said another. Porlunately for Fanchette she* was spared the taunts and ill-natured remarks of her friends, for when on a fair way of recovery a distant connection of the baronet’s being' in tho neighborhood; offered to take thd girl as companion, which Banchette joyfully accepted, for the lady in question ( had been kind ’to Ffttichctto’s mother when a’ governess and poor. '' ' ' ; , The rector 1 of Marley and ‘the doctor, 1 indeed every one-was surprised and dis appointed'-at the new baronet's letteri “So unlike Captain Armytage” all* agreed y however, it generally ended with " Poor Captain Armytage, poor fellow ! he rout indeed be altered to write such a letter, ' perhaps 1 illness or'/i trouble may have changed himy one never knows. 1 We ‘must not- be - too ? hard' 1 upon poor fellow, away in a strange land— and so longaway froin ; all 1 kith and kin;” CHAP PER V ‘ • (,i ’ “My ‘all that the owner should be hn brhameht to the- house and l ‘Pot the house fb ‘the owner,—CiCEiio.' u ’ ' ' Not very far ! from the beautifuf little township of Albury' (New South’Wales)' with its vine clad-hiKs; its qutiiht German * •homesteads and cottages of the vignorons —sturdy, honest, hard - working, pcdple— was Seringa,- a cattle station, par excel lence, owned'by Norman Fortescuo—as good a man, dn every-sedstt of the word, as one could meetfin A long .day’s march, 1 perhaps tdo hone£f,’and ' trusting himself to believe in any man’s dishonesty—not (hat he ranked in the -category of fools, nor was-he a goody goody in-the worldly souse of the term, fbr-he was’ho ‘humbug, and even- hated tliatt-'objeq’ionable com*- modity in all ils moods and tenses; He had pride, add ‘who hasn’t ? But if Norman Fortescue’ had - any surplus pride it was in-the’-beautiful piece of country he rented from the Sydney government and which he hoped some day to have in v freehold possession and call his own. ? ? ' >' } , v '' Seringa <and its surroundings was a station any !;, man . would be' proud, of. Fault finding squatters with an cyo only for pounds, shillings and 1 pence, said some of the land was flukey, and ergo not fit for sheep ;ibut like -the' celebrity, who,' when told that his rooms wore' too small even;to -swing a cat in, replied “I don’t want to swing a • cat,” so,- Norman Fortescue, when certain-friends suggested taring Seringa into a sheep station, said “Idon’t wonfcf sheep ; ho, no, I prefer cattle, for freedom and : pleasurable excite ment; for an hones?,healthy and jolly bush life, give me a- cattle station; -No doubt, sheep pay heat, but sheep farming is like an egg without salt compared to the rattling exciting life of- a cattle station. Besides sheep are a bother compared to cattle. You have to keep a staff of sh-p herds and they cost you seventy 'pounds a year each, whereas for o' cattle station half a dozen-stockriders, 1 and an overseer suffices for tan thousand cattla' Cat»lb pay me ; very, well .and I understand th-ir management: of sheep l know but little, sol am quite content.”.- . - . You see, he was, no itnoney grubber— ga!hering into his bams and garners greedily, ho simply thought !ife‘ worth living for/ih its pTeasabtest and 1 healthiest fashion, and he_ wasn’t wrong in his esti mation of stotiqp, life with !>its> fresh! air and healthy occupations, its^freedom, its manly pursuits .and"amusements —above; all its life of quiet- contentment, with hope, the great lod-star of ; a :squattor’s life spurring him o.n jfco the. goal; of his ambition, wealth property, for both, winding up with aj.BatiafactoryolJ ago of peace and rest, ; - Norman Fqrtesoue wos. of tlio fow/ who. bad spared no/.tlmaght, no trouble ia try ing to make his as , English- and homelike as,possible, and there.- was an air of comfort : about it, and civilization rarely to be,met with in the crown lands of Now South Wales in. those days. , . The homestead, wi>h,its , Ipng rango of substantial brick buildings and goodly array of lystilus hedges, was for a wonder brautifully situated. I say for a wonder, for the most of sites chosen for stations in the early times were ugly in the extreme, generally on a flat or deep in ii-foresv valley.to bo near or on a, creek, ;or. river, or waterhple, for the* sake of water, a very scarce commodity too often in those days., Seringa was ait exception—-built on the brow of a picturesquely shaped hill-—it looked pver an immense extent: of wooded ,ecenpry in the far distance ,hko a silvery streak of bright ore, or the Severn from the Malvern hills on a clear summer morning was tho : river -Murray glistening in -the sunshine,- whilst ..wind ing along the yalhy beneath tholjieu.so and its eloping garden; west he' pretty Gurrajong crcolr shaded I>y tlve riclrgrcen foliage Mimosa, or . and part of theyrar. nb'nze with the sweetly eoonted golden blossoo of the same which lined Ibo Inmksjjnqucji luxuriance, .Near, fcho Murray not ; n.greit distance from- Seringa were Lagoons and Bwampß,..tho; paradise for wild fowl ,of -every deserjp lion. Hero therft ajli .tlmps shoo!: ing o.iough.-tb,,")iddoar tho-lieart .of tho spoilsman,.. Snipe, quail wood pigeon, jabounded - in- this; dis trict, and if you hud tiaie - for,jiv-i» w days fishing you wore amply repaid for your pleasant.fjtrip .itp; -0r ; down (ho. Murray, by.somq spletidid Mutray, odd. and mlvit |»orch—t hr silmpn of t]io an tipoddK—.iljo! oroi long, bavo right,down. frcshEpgUsh salmon,. Thanks to. a, few-.; generous- f uud 'Witor*. prhlng Jodibril»• tlio 'ascl fxiS***-ssiition7*o £ i fialraoii nI) prose % groat boqn ,i,u/( Aus tralia, llnancinljy to.T .tlici 'fiportfiman,, in «le%d,p!. fi *uir§e, -.tjieli Rabbit,;. sparrow/, «nd Tom fopl’s .i^por^atij»n-.pf- vSeptoh; thistles, have,- proye<|> : f . ; A-. twenty pound Alurray cod jWOuldMho tyo:-.mean a-plfiAfeures>lnid«t!^u^i:

stealing, floating,, or rowing down the wide, cool, and >p'acid Rooking; Murray,, wjth its.shady'inlets. - Snakes certainly at times marred the . day*B/ sport along the banks, causing many a shudder of dread at iho sight now and then of one of these deadly | reptiles, lying basking, coiled up in the path in the hob summer sunshine,, though the sportsmen regularly keep their eyes on the look out and their senses on, the qui, vi.yo,.,against such .deadly enemies. Seringa fjouse itself was a model of com fort and convenience. A modern, .builder would Jiavo laughed to scorn the -peculiar : nrchiteoture(if even itdeserved thntname); 1 a wing here,,;a room a little greenhouse squeezed in a corner, an ex tra bath room, etc;; 'etej but it needed no apology, it was in' c keeping with the useful ahd<" comfdrtab.'b .surroundings which cannot be said of. every domicile, > and the hot summer climate had been carefully studied,in the ..Bungalow, style of residence, shaded by it* very broad verandah, matted with western Bogan villior and choice creepers, ibus keeping out Iho hptteM rays of the sun from the rooms, only hino in number as to reception and bedroom?, for tin ser vant’s rooms and the kitchen and oth v r. Qfficea wore detached; except lint n trel- Used comniunicat-ou connected the kit chen quarters with the house, which was , and model of comfort and coolness, the rooms all opening inside to a square roomy hall, the .receptacle; for hats, cloaks, tennis and croquet sets, the walls ornamented with velvet shields, on which were w<-ll arranged savage imple ments of war from Fiji,'New Zealand, as well as the native tribes and other primi tive places, contributions fr.nn distant friends or kindly travellers visiting the Fortescuo’s. Outside the rooms all opened vrhh French " windows to. the 1 yemndah with newspapers and poriod cals of the latest; edition to be liad, ex cept at tea time, when, tea and gossip; ; weighed supreme. Very little gossip by. the way, for as the nearest - neighbor Ijved some miles distant topics of scandal,: wore few,, and far between, and news at and premium, got mostly from old Paddy O’Brien—the postman—a genuine re toilfer of gossip; on the ; premises and off thtr premises, generally leaving the ser vants in .fits of laughter, and the interior *qf. the kitchen department strongly savouring of cheap whisky and inferior tobacco, as old Paddy, wended his way on, a steed, (only in name) to the . next Neighbor’s domain. ‘ i At the end of the verandah; ’was a '? small,room Or office, .which contained in variety more articles than all the rooms put together. A peep at this sanctum sanctorum was enough to distract the brain of any ordinary mortar sensitive tq. order and neatness. In vain Mrs. prctestel against the general untidiness of it and “ the disreputable amalgamation of rubbish,” a*f. she called id, and begged to bo allowed to, put it to rights. Norman was seldom known t> frown, but at the bare mention of the corner room being interfered witli, even ! by ''hid loving little wife, was too- much— 'his brows contracted beware ! “ Now, Comro, ray deir, once and for aU I’ll nob have my den even dusted,” was enough, «pok n as it was with a puckering of the eyebrows and tightened mouth. Oona'- quently the aforesaid - den was deft in dusty repose'and' cobwebby neglect for the reve's of and masm flic*?, ; etc., to the tarturei of flies.- Altogether the interior of this spider’s eden was curious, con tat meg’an omnium g.itlnrum of everything agricultural, .floral, hisr topical, chronological, useful and useless, a human - skull so absurdly monkeyish in shape, one alsiost began to believe in Dnrtvin’s theory;, snake skins, guns of all kinds, new and old, ( orman in. sisting always on religiously locking up his own and everyone else’s gun when finish'd with, to avoid “battle, murder, and sudden death ” out of season, as he expressed it); powder flasks, shot do., cartridges, opossum and other skin«, fishing rods, with tins of eye. bai*’, too often h f* uncared for, to die of SMrva tion and render thorns-Ives obnoxious: when the tin happe >ed to want locking into; garden seeds, tobacco of all grad- s, from ja r s of fragrant S*takia to the dried leave**, of the. plant grown by way of.ocporiio' nt (iu the garden) or for sheep washing purposes; s imip’r-s of wool pi every description, goodj bod and in -.different, dirty, g r oa?y, washed, scoured, a collection generally much - increased after a visit to neighboring stations; for Norman was a good hearted fellow, and took a Icindly .interest in other,-people’s weaknesses and hobbies; even to wool, though not a wool grower himself, so that when neighbourly ( said you must sob my samples, of . this yca-’s clip, Norman would give one of his brightest smiles, generally ‘returning home! with ,‘whole budgets, of oily smelling tofts of wool to add trthn al ready over-crowded collection. , How fortunate sortie pesple are in fclid possession ' of a pleasant, and happy manner, together with a suaviter.- in mpdo. qualities or attributes far above rubies or wealth in going through the monotony of -every day life—a golden key (o get through the world wbh and ensuring .a welcome whorov-sr yon may go. Norman Fortescue was one of these. He entire.) into your plan's,' your ideas, and*lie’invariably made you !satisfied and- -contented with yourstlf au|l life in general (a great art wiiich so few possess), find you come home pleased and iri charity towards all mankind. . It was before the curse of .free selection —a gigantic mistake which intruded upon, and brtke tip the lands laid' as tenants of the crown, by thp,,baily selec tors—these selection's . were limit id to half a square mile or throe hundred and twenty ' square acres, and ; just imagine ypqf* horror at finding that a> selection and been taken up ,clpse to your homestead, hud people without capi tal, to- cultivate, and who, therefore, made it tbeir business to annoy ; you, and, if posslilo .live at your .expense. No 'station holders thought Biieotors ; a 1 nuisance in more ways than,bite,. but particularly because the value pf the run ; becamo very much lessoned if. not actually destroyed. It is lip part of my plan in writing my story to enter into the oapecte, pf, the case, bui" merely to show there was sufficient oauso to provoke the- best tom-: pored man. Moreover, Norman Fprtesouo was no laggard, and' though an 1 Aus tralian native, ho inherited, some of I he, best: blood of old England, and had; no false pride* so when work was to be. done at the 'station or on . the run, , hands v^oro , short;. he was of on up at break pf dawn; or might, bo seen at eventide .busy'at'work in his phirl sleeves, ’ re pairing a fence, or doing a ,little carpentering about the homestead, rfriidnd’ the Wojrte fdr hisworky, always' Joyously about Iho -bpuee pV v whistling m J tib'd ‘ garden,' hop i ing in the' hirp' and laying out his cl reach plans for his ; child reh four h&ndsomo boys find a fairy 1 ddt 'of.a .girl—thinking how hest belco'iilcl decidß :?6rt them in tlfoir^ffitnre* 'efireef; how

draw oat their different talents to be o use to them in life; how educate them to the best.advantage so that they might becvme not only a credit to their name and the country, they: were bora in,'but useful members in the busy hive of the world. Many an hour Of pleasant,dream land did Norman Eortdscuo indulge in, mostly, after the day’s toil, or heat, or business wiva ovorj and ; hh little wife was “away, with the young ones in tha nur sery j” as he expressed it, and ho could have arquiet hour of co istdoration and 1 thought to himself snipping carefully h>re, pruning carefully there in the old garden,' as be thought of his little boys arid girl, not that ha had the slightest presentiment or idea : of any trouble, chance' or otherwise, happening to him. He wis too clqan mindoi. trusting in God believing in. the Bible, thankful for health and gratiful for God’s benefits, a true Christian at heart, - though nothing would tempt him to undergo “,a church stew,” as he tanned it, on a hot Sunday after several mile* drive to A 1 bury, not oven - if the Archbishop of O.a iterbury had boon advertised, to preach. Norman Fortesoue had a good onsoioiice ‘and Christian constitution, -unsullied by -con ventionalities, and newfangled no tions in religion as ‘well as In other sub jects, and ho would have open ? ! his dark grey eyoi -wide and i-hon sigh-d* in sorrow and pi y had you told him thgt pure, unadulterated .Christian religion was fast going out in th*v educated (»>r sup posed to be) and aristocratic world, and high society in general had turned into a modern and artificial collection of atheists, deists, pessimists, posutivisis, and a whole host-of other sec s, ? all pull ing different ways, and o-.di .section sotting up an ideo-bf its own, regardless of the plain, clear, and simple teaching of the Gr- at Mediator.' Norman Fortes cuo was none of these, hut of the good bid school of Christians now so rare in' this conventional and metaphysical ago. Like Richter, he “ would rather dwell in the dim fog of superstition than in air tariffed to nothing by the air pumps of unbelief, in which the' breast’'expires vainly and convulsively g»sping for breathi" *••••?,' - { CHAPTER Yl. - “Nothing lovolim can be found in womanilhah to study household good, and good works in her husband to promote:” rr* Milton. “ Norman, dear, are you there ? ” said Mrs, Fortesoue, running into the little office and surprising her husband as he was busy totting up his bank book and comparing his cattle account one hot -morning in December. “ Oh, Norman dearest, I have had such a long letter from Vera, and what do you ; think ? they wilhbo hern to-morrow—to-morrow, dear ; I am so glad. I must run down to the cottage and see to things, being finished. I shall be so busy all day.” Norman Fortesoue put down his pen and shut up h‘s bank and other books, to take in thoughtfully and sensibly all his wife had hurriedly-inf mined him. , “ Wait a wee, Connie, 1 ” ho said slowly, l “ I’ll go with you ; but it is very hot - for you to go our, dear. Couldn’t. I do it for you, or see to things at the cottage. I have to go that way- to ; see Smithson about some fencing ho is doing in the horse paddock.” “ You. Norman, you are a dear old goose to think you could turn substitute for me —me, with a big M—mind ; why I shoal'd die of laughing at your arrange ment of furniture to begin with, per haps.” But* joking apart, will Fritz and the others be homo for'lunch? You will have to content yourselves with a ‘cold collation’ (<o quote the newspapers), £<>r I want all the maids to help hvj at the cottage, and we shall be as busy as bees for hours,” The “den ” was looked, the key hung np, and Norman and his wife ’ strolled nwiy arm in arm, happy as : they always wore in their own society, through the garden with.its trellised vines, its orange grieves scenting the air filled with .1 hoir delicious perfume; its terraced walk-? sloping gradual'y down th * hil', the • to a bend of the creek, past the old cattle yaird ; to a little nook well hidden by thick timber—a veritable rust’c bower— as* the cottage was, with its thickly mttt'-d sjveriug of honeysuckle, j ssa mine, roTes and scarlet passion flower, hanging hoivily Jike massive drap-ry 'over the roof and verandah, aim st to the entire concealment of the small ru tic porch. The “ Nest,” as it was called, had been the manager’s quarters for some years, but poor man, hia children had increased anil multiplied at such an alarming rate that, like the old woman who lived in a ahte, who had so many children she did’ hot know, what 1 to do—he had no aUerna tivo—but to tty a now sphere of no’ion and money-making, by taking up some land with the small capital ho had saved, for the “ Nest ” was much too. limited in size for the little colony of Spills’, and, moreover, Mr. Fbrtcscue, now ho intend* and “to I remain on the sta ion, no longer wajnted a manager, though ho-hud not had the heart to send Richard Spil’s and his encumbrances away. Mrs. Fortesoue had “spotted” (to use Norman F-.*rtoa cud’s word) this:rustic retreat one Sun- morning. in her peregrinations in search of ferns mt long after the exodus of Mr.; Spills and suite; hud found it empty and the door locked, ard after investigating the wlnlo habitation through the - windows, and rejoiced in ths. garden with its glorious array of fruit trtos, rpw.of bee hives, and.oilier signs of comfortable cottage life, to gether with tho deliciously scented at mosphere of mignonette and violets* tiio little dame forgot all about her fern ex plorations and intentions, OVOII to leaving a fresh gathered col-ection 10 wither unnoticed, down by tho gtrden gat**, as she tfippod away quietly, over the.creek and up tho hill to i-hoi house*’ '•* brimmiqg over with a grand idea,” she B»id, as she. sat hers If down stiffly and bolt upright-(as.if for, basinefe) on the stretched oat logs (I believe limbs is the new und, proper word in society at this ! period) of her husband* who,, fof .a won der* was indulging io the “Jolco, far niento/’ Lp., lying at lull long-h,. under the! ,verandah * in one * of the bamboo IbujigeS, with an antimacassar off one of thol drawing -room chairs ho had* taken by way of a mosqUitO/curlain or 1 fly pro tection-for hia head and face; a ninth abound novo)—Kingsley’s “Two Years Ago’’—lying upside down in a disorderly tumbled mess on the ground close'to his chpir, and Norman sound asleep. Fortiscuc looked at him,for a second*, or ralllnr what -was to bo noticed of his pronto (under the antimicas«ar, ;switcb d a fl£off his hand*- pinked up his book, ftndjstolo, softly iatyuy on tiptoe, leaving her -worthy spduso jto’ hia happy dreadip, hiidl reserving her 'project : about-, the “ Ntedv” till a,,moro convenient ‘season, fcbb&y a filing; remand galling iher poiilt next day; ,? when she received.pur mission ..to, s appropriate the. Nest” for, 'lidrlown. use)and. solo 10 por-r miejion sUogladlymmde the best' (use of,

fitting up; decorating, and Ornamenting the. little hermitage to lit.** hearts con tent, making it ready a? a pleasant re treat, eibhorin summer or winter, autumn or spring, for those of her friends who longed fdr a little shooting or a month's rest, or qaiet country life, for a time, picnic fashion and rustic simplicity, without the trammels of. society ..habits and coinvenb J onal otfttoms and fashions. The cottage itself resembled a pet shoot ing box, buried deop in ope of the beauti ful wooded- valleys of ;old England,- or a keeper's lodge hidden- 1 away for shelter in some svquestorod corner of tho'Hjghlands, but instead of heather around, thorp was a good old English garden of years' cu!- tiv «tion and growth; old fashioned per haps with ite.'wbll trimmed rosemary borders, its showers of golden laburnum, lilac, and delicious scent of .syringa, whilst the useful part of the garden ad joining the creek, contributed v go table* and fruit of, every kind, the most de licious peaches and apricots weighed down f the old trees. Too often was the oro-‘k almost, if not quite, dry summer, but this year, had been an exception, late heavy rains having altered the whole as , peeb of dryness into one of freshness and verdant foliage. Certainly the glen was lovely at most times—-a verb able sylvan bower—‘he cool water rippling past over mosiy stones, hero and thei*e eddying into little gro*n] comma, the roosts of the duck and water-hen,, shrouded with mimosa and-of her picturesque shrubs; a fairy corner with , its carpet of mosses and fens, fit for an Elfin Quean to hold court amidst fays and pxies in the moon light. ; , . “ Norman, d<»ar, why didn’t you bring mo here for our honeymoon 1 I ’ Hko it better than the house. This peep up 1 the Valley is positively lovely,” said Mrs, Forioscue, drawing back a curtain and liooking out of one of tlie : bedroom win dows. > - “Woman, thy name-is ingratitude,” said heir husband, striking a match and lighting his meerschaum contentedly. ‘“No; the most learned men of all ages, from Shakespeare down, invariably have said that women and dogs are the only creatures possessed of gratitude, but r'enlly this place is just fit for a newly married pair,. - How delighted,Vera will We, I know she will go into rap tures with such a romantic dell, but if it is as hot os to-day,' what a tir ing journey they will have, and the children, poor darlings,” and Connie sat ? down and heaved a deep sigh as her thoughts wimt back to her pretty cousin, who, with her husband and three little children, had promised to come and spend their last few weeks with the Portescue’s, before leaving the . colony. The Armytagc’s hoped to have eaten their Christmas dinner in London, but, ojving to a serious illuogs lately to Mr. Armytage, had : altered their plans, the 'doctor's recommending them to wait until the winter was os’er in England and the springfhad set in before they attempted to land, win re the climate after the Aus tralian sun was so trying. (to db continued.)