Chapter 174507986

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Chapter NumberXXIX.-(Continued).
Chapter TitleMIRTH.
Chapter Url
Full Date1892-01-09
Page Number1
Word Count1453
Last Corrected2020-07-02
Newspaper TitleThe Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)
Trove TitleThe Devil's Own. An Australian Story
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CHAPTER XXVII (Continued.)


" It was spiced beef what there was of it, Maude," said her sister. “To continue—small rice pudding, an natural; stewed pears and Stilton cheese

cold— there !" “Well, girls, you deserve to want if you couldn’t be content with such a lunch,” said Sir Felix. WE should have been content, but every one went in full tear for the cutlets, and I, being a junior, had to smilingly eat cold meat, my especial aversion ever since I read one of Dickens’ works, it always sets my teeth on edge, and gives me a goose going over my grave kind of sensation. But pater, do listen, two such nice new chums there. It was quite exhilarating to see a new face—one a baronet, the other his fidus achates, Mr. Forth, both just imported, wasn’t it bonny of Mrs. Jones giving us the first toss; we got on splendidly. Mind you, I don’t fancy the baronet could set the Thames on fire, but he is a genuine baronet, and Watkins, Mrs. Jones’ maid, said his dressing case was the talk of the ship, and his jewel case feet square and pounds in weight. Won’t it be fun at the Whitesmore’s dinner to-night; I imagine my triumph over those horribly conceited girls, and after all their people were only small tenant farmers or crofters, I think it was. I intend to say with my nose on end, min la, so Sir Hubert Armytage told me—don’t you know Sir Hubert, not Sir Hubert Armytage our now baronet . Ah! well, I heard he was very ex- clusive, etc., etc.” “I liked Mr. Forth far the best; you are quite welcome to your ' barrownight,’ ” said her sister. “And after they were talking about that pretty widow and the Fortescues. Poor Norman Fortescue has to sell Seringa; not his fault poor fellow; they are coming down for a month to stay with Mrs. Annel- aye. How is the gout pater?” '“Gout? It’s nothing of the sort,” said Sir Felix, ruffled. “Well, you’ll have to get well, pater, for there is no end of gaiety coming on. “Yes, the Jones’s are going to give a series of princely entertainments, regardless of ex- pense. Such a lot of people arrived by the mail. I hope my baronet arrived heart whole after such a cargo of temptations.” “And pater, dear, what do you think, Sir Hubert (haven't I got the name, pat.) asked me if possums were good eating. I said de- licious—exactly like human flesh, kept for a fortnight well. Dicky Ferrers said so; what bettor authority? They are staying at the Continental. I believe they both wore agree- ably surprised at finding we did not live in mia-mias or wig-wams, and are awfully disappointed at not seeing real live aboriginals running about in a primitive state of Adam and Eve. ” “Maude!” “Well, they didn’t say so exactly, but they looked it—a nod’s as good as a wink to a blind horse.” “Sad-de-dado, daddle-de-dar,” said Miss Maude; “oh, I wish it was night,” she added, waltzing round the room in her ex- uberance of spirits and airy style, only cut short by the voice of Sir Felix. “My dear girl you would shock your new friend with such unladylike slang.” “Pater” said she, “you never told me how you got on at the Bishop’s last night. Did you get a shot dinner and a long grace with family prayer, sauce and a sermon or desert. " “ No; it was a very good dinner; well ap- pointed table, in fact it was perfect, except the prayers after. Why will people mix up religon with feeding—a great mistake, bad for the indigestion, to say nothing of having to go down on your marrow bones with your head low enough to bring on a fit of apo- plexy.” “Well, pater, l think it must have done you good, for, do you know, I fancied there was an air of [sweet submission, gentle resignation on your face last night when we came home,” said his daughter. “Has anyone been here?” said her sister. “We had such an awful fright—yer could a knocked me down with a feather, as Maude would say.” “What a tarradiddle ; I wouldn’t,” said Miss Maude. ” “Girls, you are not to be trusted alone if you cannot behave decently,” said Sir Felix. “Well, listen pater, else I won’t tell you. It was turning the corner of Longcloth Terrace, we came full tilt upon, who do you think? Mr. Athanins.” “Well, what of that; how is the father confessor?” said Sir Felix. “ I haven’t the least idea, I never thought of asking him, but he didn’t tell me that he was suffering from any particular complaint—in fact I was in too awful a fright to stop to talk—fearing he might ask what books we were carrying—what could we have said? I should have been driven to say they were for you, pater—what would he have said? He might have ordered us to do penance in a wet sheet alone in the church all night. How- ever, I hold the strap firm and religiously kept the tacks downwards, so he never caught sight of the first letter “C” in Chandos or “R” in “ Red as a rose is she” Julia Vernon lent us.” “l am sorry about Fortescue," said Sir Felix, “but doubtless his rich relations will help him out of it—it’s only what his father did for them—old Renton would never let poor Fortescue go to the wall; for his father’s sake they will help him.” “Mr. Joshua Renton ! my poor, dear, in- nocent, old pater! what a mind of sweet simplicity you must have, dear, charitably minded old gentleman." “Get out with you calling me ‘old gentle- man,’ said Sir Felix, who rather prided him self on his juvenility. “ Well, you must be simple-minded if you endow old Renton with such heavenly attributes as goodness and generosity. Mr. Renton, my dear sir, he is the kin of skinflints. Fanny Milner told me she went to Rosebank to get a subscription for her school feast, and Mrs. Renton, who was nobody you know, a Vandemonian, and moreover, she said very primly, looking as if she had breakfasted on ramrods, that she didn’t see why children should be crammed with buns and other indigestible things, and as to romping about and tearing their clothes, it only excited them and rendered them unfit for the duties of life; thirdly, and lastly, the homily ended in a subscription of eighteenpence.” Sir Felix laughed, he was naturally good hearted, “I wish,” he said, “ I been half as careful with my pennies—it will give me a lesson. ” “If you do I’ll run off with the first man that offers, even if is the new baronet’s courier. Mrs. Jones told me Sir Hubert gives his courier two hundred a year, and Mr. Forth five hunderd.” “ I don’t believe it,” said Sir Felix, “if you say Mr. Forth is only a friend is it likely, unless he was a tutor or companion or keeper.” “A keeper! what an ideal it never struck me—perhaps the baronet is a shingle-short —what fun ! and really when I come to think of it—l fancy he is rather eccentric. I re- member he kept one glove on all lunch time— perhaps it is the last fashion. I attributed it to the privilege of a rich man, sweet inno- cents— I intend to cram them at the Vernon garden party, such simplicity of character, _is really quite refreshing—Oh, dear,” said Miss Pomdeterre —“what a world it is, sirs.” “And pater, what do you think Mr. Forth asked? If there were many convicts at large in society.” “ What did you say?” said Sir Felix, laugh " My face would have done credit to a stage Gorgon, I looked so horrified at the word—l said sh, sh, sh, for heaven’s sake never mention the word convict unless you wish to be hung, drawn, and quartered; it is such a delicate question as to who has and who has not had a convict ancestor of some kind that we never use the word—except in its very modified state—assigned servant — and even that sparingly. We shudder at the word convict in Goldsborough, not being a penal settlement, but you see—those lament- ably tainted sinners of sister colonies, if they or their fathers have sinned ever so much are gifted with non-mi ricordo constitutions.” “I only hope Sir Hubert does’nt think we have any tainted veins,” added Miss Maude severely.