|Newspaper Title||The Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)|
|Trove Title||The Devil's Own. An Australian Story|
THE DEVIL’S OWN
AN AUSTRALIAN STORY
CHAPTER XXVI (Continued.)
BY MRS. RICHMOND ENTRY. (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
“I have been so spoilt lately with at tention that I feel I am quite helpless, and cannot do without a man about me,” said Miss Vavasour.
“ And you know there will be a lot of lawyers work if it is half true about poor Herbert Anneylaye. I think there must bo some truth in it, there.” “No smoke without fire, and a woman is such n helpless mortal where law is concerned.” “ Bat have you considered the expense of our going, though, of course, I shall be paymaster.,' “ You will be nothing of the kind,” she said. “ Wasn’t I clever about the cabins, even Vera never knew anything of my clever arrangements.” And so the days passed by, and still Lord Verekor remained on interesting in valid, constituting himself head nurse, he said, and spending hours with the children on the beach. Indeed, one morning Mrs. Fortescuo and Mrs. Anney laye had gone to the bench to look for the children, when, to their horror, who should they see but Lord Verekor him self buried in the sand with the whole pile of smaller children sitting upon him. Mrs. Fortescue was very angry, and looked it, to the children’s fright. “ You naughty children,” said both she and Mrs. Annelaye. “ Bat Dolly, we let him stick his' head out to get some air,” said Master Puck, as if apologising for not covering up the visitor altogether. “ Where is nurse 1” said Mrs. Anney laye. “ I sent her away to be useful,” said Lord Vereker, shaking^the sand off his clothes as he rose laughing, followed by the children. “ You will require a Turkish bath after that Lord Vereker,” said Mrs. Fortescue seriously. “ Well, do you know, I had made up my mind to have one this morning, the weather is so warm,” said Lord Vereker, not liking to confess that the sand had got uncomfortably down bis neck. it was raining hard one morning, such an uninterrupted continuation of it that going out was almost impossible for any one, much less the children, who were particularly wanted out of the way that day, so that the packing might proceed more comfortably. “ Such a nuisance the rain, when there is so much to do. I never thought a voyage would bo such an said Mrs. Fortescue, counting over small articles of attire in dozens, and laying them tightly in a large trunk “ And, mummy dear, here are ray things; they must be packed you know,” said a small voice, os a little face peeped in, and Enid throw down a marvellous variety of articles—a steam engine that looked as if it hod assisted in the barri cades of a French revolution; a broken nosed doll with one leg only, and in an indecent state of nakedness; a largo Noah’s ark, the animals of which were in the various stages of delapidation. “ My dear, I really cannot find room for such broken toys; we will got better ones in England.” ' " Como away little one, don’t disturb mother," said Mr. Fortescue’s voice from his dressing room, where ho bad been hunting in a coat pocket for a letter that required answering. “ Come here ohicky; come down with me.” They descended to the drawing room, whore they found Miss Vavasour and Mrs. Anneylaye writing letters, as quiet as mice. “That won’t do,” said Mr. Fortescue, shutting the door softly and entering the drawing room, where Lord Vereker, with en antimacassar round his neck, was kindly allowing himself lobe sbav. and by one of the boys with a paper razor. “ Look here, Verekor, Ibis doing noth ing kind of thing is abominable, and there is no use in going outto be drenched through like. ducks for nothing but the honor and glory of it.” “ What's to bo done, give us a tip like a good follow.” “ 1 don’t see what we can do, except make toffee. Have you got any treacle or honey or lemons ? ” “Oh, plenty of all that,” said Nor man. “ Come along then, we want a Urge tray, and we shall not spoil the tablo. Marcus and I used to make pounds on wet days at Woodleigh, and one day to our horror, my old aunt, Lady Canute, called,-to our dismay, and caught us though we ha I flown up the back stairs like the wind, laden with as much as wo could muster—saucepan, lemons, tray and other things. To ;our disgust we found we had .left the great jorum of treacle on the table,. aud two pantry towels, sticky to a degree. Didn’t we catch it. Ah, you boys may laugh, but may you never be inflicted with a shock ingly terrible old aunt, whoso looks go through you like a volley of arrows, mak ing your blood creep, creep, creep,” said Lord Vereker, shuddering tragically, which made tlu young people laugh louder. “ I vote we adjourn to the kitchen and make some, if Mrs. Oookey will allow us, This is only an apology for a fire, though I don’t see why one is wanted at all ” ” Only because it is damp and cheer less,” said Norman. “I believe in having fires when its chilly—nob like I hear they do in Eng land—have fires so many, months a fixed length of time only.” “ Right you are, sir.' You speak like an oracle, but about the toffee,” said Lord Vereker. An hour later and everyone was eating toffee, oven to Miss Vavasour, who had been told by Ernie to open her mouth and shut her eyes and see what God woul4 send Iter, which command the kind old soul had good-naturedly complied with, only to find.that a gigantic, three cornered piece of honey toffee had been put in her ipouth, -positively distorting her “downy pheok,” Mr. Fortescue declared. And so days flew by at the Nest, each one busy witli their own preparations for the voyrge. Mrs. CJhphripndelcy with fier companion had lj?ft, for England the pioath before; > the Jones and other fashionable members of Goldsborough bad' moved to some seaside, dislant place. The society crowd had departed with the days of the old year, which had seen its last some weeks before.;' 1 ' The heat was intense, and Bayfconr, like other seaside resorts, was -crowded. The poach no longer the quiet retreat it had been; picnic partied were everywhere along the sands, and songs and laughter qrowned the once quiet sounds of the lopping of the waves, 1 making almost tile grounds of the Nost disagreeable, for more than once bad some .of..the holiday trqyaterers entered tho garden, and boldly
walking up to tho house had enquired if there was any water to be had, or milk to be bought, to tho servants infinite rage and disgust, so the gates were locked, and a board of warning to trespassers put up. The inmates of tho v oah’s Ark, ns Nor man Fortesoue called the Nest, would not be sorry when tho time come for them to siy good-bye to Bay ton for months to' come; all enjoyment of the pretty retreat seemed to have terminated with the advent of neat excursionists *»nd country bumpkins, who thought nothing of climb ing up the fence and staring in at the tennis players on the lawn. Jimmy Goidon and Norman Fortcscuo had more than oneo frightened them out of their very wits by introducing a police man on the scene, who made them go off the fence and take to their heels, but tho discomfort still remained, there was no help for it. “ They are such a thick skinned lot of brutes,” said Gordon one day, after haranguing certain intruders, who only stared the more. “ On your return Mrs. Armytage you will have to raise your fence, we had the same trouble, though I keep a mastiff that frightened the very life out of tho baker in the morning. There’s a class of 1 vrrikin whom threats have no effect,nothing short of aesvere punishment is of any use, they deserve no considera tion. The fact is larrikinism has come to such a pass in Australia that a man isn’t safe in his own house unless he beeps j something that will cow the savages, the ! very police have to think twice before they can tackle the brutes.” “ It’s pretty much the same in Eng land," said Lord Vereker, “the only difference is that all the young ragamuffins and ne’er-do-wells are rescued from tho street and provided for by the Shoe Black and other societies that have done so much good and kept employed the rising generation of street arabs. t ex pect here tho young scamps are too inde pendent, too much their own masters to bear any supervision in tho way of em ployment.” “It all comes, ray cook says, of en couraging them”dirty radicals inParlimint, as has a follow feeling for tho varmint, and they brings their new fangled no tions they call acts that upsets the order of all things amongst dacent folk, and encourages tho young divils in their bad behavior.’ My cook is an M.P. in petti coats when she holds forth, only a precious deal more sensible than nine-tenths of those supposed to be honorable represen tatives. Just a truce to so unsavory a subject, I suppose you know the mail is in—no? Not very much news, the Bangalore went on the rocks on New Year’s eve. One or two passengers drowned, at least missing; poor Stanton for one. I am sorry for him, for he is a good fellow, but afflicted with a devil of a wife,” added Mr. Gordon, shutting his white teeth viciously; “and that courier, that very picturesquely ut'ired individual. You remember the baronet’s man Friday. Ho always reminded me of some stage scene, whore an Hungarian comes on and stamps furiously about in the serai-darkness of a wood, distroct ingly waiting for his lady love —a hand some fellow. X wonder the baron kept such a good looking man. Kitty,my yong eat girl, declares she would rather h ive had him for a husband than his master, but I told Kitty the grapes were sour, and made her so cross.” “ I was half in love with him myself,” said the widow. “Ho bad such an effec tive stylo and imposing manner. I really could not help staring at him as he walked through tho garden to the beach one day Connie declares ho is a prince in disguise.” “You remind me of tho two Wedder burn women, stiff and starched old maids on the shady side of forty—they lived near ray mother’s place. They gave s bucket of milk and five shillings to a dirty ragamuffin looking fellow with a dancing boar. They declared tno fellow was a Russian prince in disguise, and really expected an offer to follow the milk and money arrangement,” said Mr. Gordon.