Chapter 195881556

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Chapter Number1
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Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article195881556
Full Date1886-10-08
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Word Count4713
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Last Corrected1970-01-01
Newspaper TitlePort Adelaide News and Lefevre's Peninsula Advertiser (SA : 1883 - 1897)
Trove TitleDora Dunbar. An Australian Story
article text

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AN AUSTRALIAN STORY.

BY "MOHA."

CHAPTER L

When Jack's inlovehe'e no judge o! Jill's beauty,' is that true, girls ?" The speaker is Winifred, or Freddie, as we generallycall her, the eldest of the " Danbar_ girls " as I orise heard us styled. There are" ttiree of na, and, the three (myself included— mock-modesty is not one of my many tailings) axe pretty. ; *Judge for yourself, reader, as- we sit together in the dear, shabby old room that has served its * the doable purpose of dining-room andfftudy,as long as I oan remember. :Ttie graeefol-looking girl lounging, book in-hand, in the big ohair whose worn leather . Jcov$ring- majgs. each a good back-ground ''w -lij^f^wl^ing,- Irish - blue.. eye, earn-.' ilexion of xoses and lilies, and sonny hairia Soned Freddie. The soarleti^chestnut-haired, brown-eyed demoisstandingReside her, sotalland stotely- "looiring fpfherfleyenteenyears, is Agnes oqr #ptfr."jAnd theslender girl ol sixteen, bine e^ and yellow-brown looks, : the ' •mirror reflect0,is myself, Dora'Don- TV-r •' : .-•- - , ^in.jackVin.love he'sno judge of _ Is that true" ?" queries Freddie, ig opjrbnj her book.:, dypuask, masoturV I hasten,to an- •e-Ag-'can db. so r " SeeingthaVyour it^:& JKa§fol~Gountenanoe loo'ki on ljQqit diafigutes your nasal organ ie|dens hotly., s||^etterttie:gWTityof theSphinxitself than grin some -people exist •IPj! herannihilatitig xetort. .• n^Y.ove fe'blind,' Is fliat not an fact ?" aeka Ag, coining to the rescue in het usualgenltoxole of peace-maker. vLove'isabthing of the kind. Lore wiD ezcaBe ; and glfiss over faults in a loved ope, tat-r'V:*" -i.;..-

«Mina yonr p i 's and q's, girls, here's the ffojefl" , ThlflinJterraption to myeloquence-comes from Vic, the only sonandhope otthefamily, whose roundraddy head appears for a moment, like a* danger-signal, round the door while he ddiversit. " • ' • - • Had a dynamiteexplasion on a small scale taken place in oar midstit oonld hardly have caused a greater commotion. In an instant Freddie is on tier feet and out of the door behind her, and Ag is bending over her workbasket, nervously reducing ife order to the mildest chaos, while even through me—pugnacious, strong-nerved' me, runs a thrill of apprehension as the.smilingiaoe.of the chief —otherwiee Dr. Thomas Danbar, our paternal parents-appears at the door, for experience has tanght usttiat the chief in smiles means his family in tears or something akin thereto. . ^ . . Bather. a handsome, interesting faoe, it is _Jn its keen-eyed r high-browed pallor, and thoroughly doesit mask the inner man of his heart. Heart! hasheoneat aU?I?ometimes wonder.. " Dora, my dear,' be kigd enongh to send Freddie to me." Sty only answeris ayacant stare. When the^ ohief indulges inendearirig terms, air,, more still, abbreviation of our nangai^ there id alwa^ a heavy ripd inpicklefor some * -'jjne. ' .' . -,., . ';,*;' _Often have Ihsteried, blandlysmlling, to ^patienb einging liis praisea. and,,as,o,pe declared him "so "nice and sympathetic," and another ^so pafierit and gentle," wished , inwardly they had to live with him. > - Insteadof lecturing me on my stupidity lor Bitting staring at him like an owl, as I expect him to, he only smile? more genially than ever -as he turns away in the direction of his «• den"—as we call his consultingroom. . Poor Freddie, then, is the delinquent this time, and,- doubtless, she Is hugging herself delightedly on her escape, and pitying Agi andme the infliction she thinks we are «nvfnsg r.. • ,..-.;.. / ; J^^htt^I anticipated—metaphorically shAfng; hands : with herself and smiling gleefull&l^lier smiles fade before my first word, ^Be want^ypu, Freddie." ; MWa&tsine 7" she gasps in dismay. ••-Yes, he sent me to tell you." " O, Dora.what can lie want me for2" "Perhaps it's about Lex," I venture'rae- "fully.' •• Oh no I 0 Dora, what shall I do 7" * "Go and get; it over," I advise, gashing iter gently towards the door, -"MypatieQceJ Freddie it makes me wild to see you, %Woman of twen^ almost,'in each abject f6ax"of him. ore not a child 'now, and KrfgtiiHeihe foond it 'outl Tou aret)nly adding fad to the fire through keeping Jiim ^"'tioitta with me, Dong" in piteous en-

" " JSo um,' he wouldn^t let me in," I answer laaowcaUy. i^dly. would I give, her the jsi^port ol. ttie ; unUoBhing . audacity that generayy jrtMidB me in such good sleadin in' mterneW with the chief, but ; 'I~knowI Bhoiild only be politely bowed out" of 1 the xopm, BO I watch her nil she disappears in the " dfen" as a'moose might in a lion's jaws, fiKaiicjoinAg. . . . . " Wiiat'a in the wind no w, I wonder ?" I JMk gloomily. " I don't know. unlesB its something about Xtex." r I'm afraid it is. Neddie was foolish tokeep in the dark—there^s nothing like being above board. All the same, it's too bad ofiim to treat us as he does I He wants tarring' and feathering, or burm&g in e£5g$—" "Q -Doiaj. : - :<Honor thy' father and mother,' " quoth Ag. in Enocked remonetarance. v"*-• ^ "^Fathers provoke not your children to wrath,'" I: counter-quote with mote impatiMice thah nverenoe. .".Thafa just as binding, Ag, yet I am sure ours is a constant provocation to wrath, and he tnowa it, and glories in it. He's only "Kappy when he's mating us miserable, acd-bis greatest desire is to break our spirits as he has poor mamzna's; Instead of the. pinched, povertystricken hermit lives he makes us lead, we should be -enjoying every oomlert and pleasure his hoarded hundreds coold command 1 My blood boQs when l think of it ajl—our^bl^ited uehildlioodi and mamma's spoilt Ub, for what happiness has she to .thank him forZ^Good heavens 1 it would have boenjxue kindness on his part .to have i^ui^ered .lier duteight. in their wedding Jwu^than to have orashed her hopes, broken ier spirit, and killed her by inches as he has been doing. Is he'man or fiend? I wonder sometimes. His conscience, If he has one, ninst be capable of etre^obing to. any extent 1 "* it I haven't an^tom of aSecttonVrr rfor hiin; ^ At Hmea I ooald almost rjieart to hate Jiim." i you ttever pity him ? Think (n&^lbld age, he laying np for ;•• Wind, he must reap laays sententiously. "Be- |ri^W t^ioiy<smaBnna—the way ehe holda to

Mm in spite of all makes me think its, true— - •A women, a.dog, and a walnut tree, - ' The more you beat them, the better they be." " Bat, Dora, he nevcx beat—" No, you little simpleton. Who sud he did? But wouldn't you ten times zather have a cat-o-nine tails curling round occasionally than the 'continualdropping' of petty wonries she has to put up with? What an idea though for you to entertain even for a moment-4hat Dr. Duubar boat his wife! What a wholesale slander his penetrating patients and. hundred and one admirers would vote it, «h ? Oh 1. how I long sometimes to tear off Ins strut-angel mask, and expose the house-devil reality beneath. How you and Freddie can eat humble-pie at the rate you do for him eaps me completely." "The riddle is soon .read as far as lam concerned. First and foremost fear has to answer for my consumption .of '.humble-, pie' as yon call it; If I saw his face;whiten and eyes jblaze«ver me as you made <them'the night mamma wos^o bod, I should go oat of iny wits, I tbink.f <•1 should havee^)loded if I hadn't let off steam in some way. Fancy bis begrudgipg her a little wine when she was so ill, and thq dot cupboard stuSed with his whisky and cigars all, the .time. Indignation lent me courage that night. "But reason No. 8 ?" " Beluotance to distress mamma—and my third the consideration that as our father we owehim obedienoe." " Eubbish, Agl"I consider the obligation cwoelled by his non-fol&Lment of a father's duties.'' # "Two wrongs don't make a right, Dora." " No, my fair moralist, nor two blaoka s white—" ^ • • ." Here I am out short by Freddie's hurried passage throqgh the room—her bright, bonny face pale and.teu-stained, . "Go to her, Ag/' I enjoin "ril sacrifice myBelf on the shrine of sisterly devotion and do the^mialde for the chief's benefit." Happily the sasrifioe is not called for, as t^e chief goes off do wn the Btreet a minute later, and leaves me free to seek the others. . I find them in the large, comfortable, but by no means Insurious room the three of as share. Freddie stifling ; sobs 7 in the pillow other own little white b^d, with Ag. kneeling pitiful-faced and oareesing-handed beside her. - . « Leave her alone, Ag, let tier have it ont," I advise, seeing that^Ag's tender attempts

at consolation only add'to the distress of their recipient. I was always—and am etill^a firm.believer in "havingit ont, 1 ' no matter what' the is might mean—from an aching tooth to a skirmish with a chief. In this instance my advioe seems goo^, nevertheless it is some time before Freddie can control herself sufficiently to. tell be her tale, and even then Ihave to help hear on with a few leading questions. " What was it, Freddie ? ~ Has lie heard aboutLex?"-' ! " Ye-ee" chokingly. " Hubphjwhat asftinet I.wonder?" r ;; ' ; . » He—he didn't fePjmef' 1 '' " Of oouree jibtl^Sn.toe Ethiopian change his skin?' Werej'youiigoose enongh: to imagine the chiefiniaant "to turn over a new leaf at this late:' hpur?f r i, When did he ever give a member (K^l^^tBi^f'£ny satisfaction—" . « ! — ; «•»»«):' • ' " What did he say; Freddie ?" giotty interrupts Ag. " I can't remember 'the half, he talked so fast. He mocked :&t the idea ot-6p engagement between Lex and me, and raieeiced at our ' love in a cottage scheme 'as. he catted it, and oh 1 lie said such hard things of Iiex. He said lie was an onprincipled scoundrel 46 entioe me into a secret engagement »nd-" "And yousat calmly by listening to it all?'' I ^jacnlate indignantly. "No; I gotjdeBperate at last andsaiditwas all my fault, that Iiex wished to speak to him at otaoe, but I wouldn't let him." " Ton cut'a xod for jour own back in confessing th'atl" " I know,tie hardly heard me out before he thundered'Why not?' so fiercely that I lost my -wits entirely, and cried like a baby," "The best thing you could have done I Well?' " Then he asked me had I told mamma, and I was wicked enough to feel grateful that she had been too poOifly to trouble her^bont anything thfe last week or bo." - ; ; " It's as well, for now he can't arimse her of ' encouraging you to .defy his authority and treat him with contempt,'—I fanpy I hear him saying it.Whit nextT'" i*1 r <[f " He said tie could never give his approbation—V " ' "Why didn't yon tell him towait tnrhe was asked?" . "DoraI. Dora 1" remonsttated Ag, imf l am unimpressionable,and only eign to Freddie to proceed. ..... " If I se; his commands at nought I must count the -cost. He'will countenance > no disobedience under his roof, and if,in defiance of his disapproval, I continue to receive attentions from Lex, I must choose between -him and you all—" ' "And Freddie Dunbar, do you mean to say you hesitated—with Lex, love and liberty on the one hand, and the chief, tbeay theleast.on

the other?" - - " Dora dear yoa iozget mamma.'V Softly puts in Ag. •' " True St. Agnes 1 " Self gener^ly -enters first into my oaloolationB. Suoh » ^we^wlaoh from tier fiist-born would, I beliewi%qw tiw " Oh, how lightly you talk !" criea , !Freddie' passionately, this hapless fate of her V love's young dream" thrust out of^aght by the dread possibility I had iBdggeaied. .. "Dol? but then you know— , ' The lightest heart makes sometimes heaviest mourning'." A sflence ensues. All of us remember that Freddie and Ag have always bein inseparable, confidantes, a modern femigine edition of Damon and Pythias, and what they are to each other mamma'has been to me as far as her failing health would permit. When that interfered Tie and I were associated in—well, not .exactly scientific research; and the assotiation has largely oorrapted my English, or, rather, strongly seasoned it with slang: \ "Heighol" I sigh heavily, "we are wasting time. Have yon much more to tell us, Freddie?" "No/only"that the first hint papa has of my holding communication/with Lex is to be the signal for me to quit his roof, and I am never to darken his doors-again. Fancy what -fl nine day's wondcir -Fd be in 8— 1 How its good people would rack their brains—" "Apologies therefore 'yon mean? It wouldn't be over and above pleasant to be pointed* out as the girl whose father turned her out, - especially- when you remember what a paragon that father is esteemed, and what «, Jlack sheep you'd be reckoned to compel him to take snob extreme measures." " But tO ACome to the point. What oan I do?" , '.'Give Jiex np^' I-enggest calmly r but she seoute the idea. . " Many him at.once then ?"—-cttoly ignoring his voice inthe mattsr. "Oh nol I've no intention of doing tiiat—i* "Allthe same ift-yoa^had ypu^ue nftder age," lintenvptaZa: Job's «amfcwt^ . V' Besides L£t - is Aardlyi in a ^position to marry, though jhe will be shortly, thanks to thiB Hew Zealand^iOBfc" ••. « When does he start for Daaedin ?" ? " In a fortnight or thi^a weeks."

"And did jou mean to let him go without "•No,"lugubriously, " I was only staving oS tbe evil day. Lex meant to interview him, whether l agreeci or not." '(Gome, come 1 We are getting 'no furttier' very fast,' to.quote Vio. Ag, you are very Bparing of ypurwords. Advise as." " Telfiiiill and be gnided by bom." " Hajpy thought J - considering that, it's sitae than Freddie'e life's worth to he caught speaking -to Irim. Stay, though, we'll enlightenitm by proxy. I'll waylay him—Ag won't I know—and put him in possession of the'f acts of the case, then he can'follow the bent of his own sweet will 1" " He'll go ^straight to papa," groans Freddie. '. . . . "And 'wars and rumors of wars will follow, but what of that! We are used to them, -or ought to be, and use is second ne t jre. Let me see, it wants a few minutes to fire and Lex never leaves school till that hour on Wednesdays. I shall be just in time, so I may ^as well do the deed before my. courage cools. Ag, yon see to mamma," whisking out my hat and cape, "she'll be wondering where we are. Freddie set your heart at rest, and the table for dinner at the same time," drawing on my gloves, "remember •what a double champion yours is, and don't return evil for good by only half setting the table and getting me in for one half of the chief's lectures on sins of omission and negligence of daily duties. Now I'm oil. Tou might send an old shoe after me for luck. Au revoir 1" CHAPTER IL A brisk walk of less than five minutes down ttie main street of 3—, a thriving town not a hundred miles from Ballarat, britiga me to the solid-looking red brick building known as the Grammar School whereof Lex is assistant-master. "Fortune favors me/' I say to myself as" down the steps domes the taU figure of the grave, handso'me young Scotchman, whose chosen among women Iseddie has the honor of being. I use the words in no sarcastic sense, for happy ana honored, Indeed, are the women whom such men as Lex Sutherland ohoose for theirlife-companions. The only eon of our old minister, we had knopn him for years, and rejoiced when we learned that his boyish liking for Freddie had ripened into'love, ior we'knew Mm to be an upright, honorable man, just as well as

generous in his dealings, and Wnscientious to a fault. He ruses his Jiat with a smiling "good Bfternoon" as soon as lie sees me, then warmly shakes hand*. " Good afternoon Lsx—Mr Sutherland, I mean." " Lsx, an it pleaee your ladyship." -"Lex, then. May I-escort you home ?" demurely," don't collapse under the honor." " I'll~iry not to. I shall feel honored, but why not reverse the order and let me see you home?" "Because. That's a womag's^reason." _ " And must oontent me, I wa&pose ?" "No, you shall have th^ why and the wherefore in due course^ Meanwhile) on the principle that' the longest way round is shortest way&onie,? I'Jm going to,take you the back jr&y?' ^ioubtful ooinpliment, young lady." llf^pfinetllr'at all, sir. I have by going the lbhg^itway^alt^ave more time to till it." ' V Ucomsrehend, jand foronce I must plead jgnilty to-a targe Bhare of that essentially ffeminitfe gaaJity—enriosity." " I won^t wait to nndicate the charaoter of my sex—time won't permit, br—*? ; "Curiosity oompds me"w : ;jgSSgterous. I'D consider it vindioated, F r °- oeed." Euier saidihan done/'for. for a wonder, I am 4|jsjpss forewords. Time is precious, howevKE,' and ^t length I blurt out: " Donbtless, Lsx, you are aware that Freddie infonned ns—Ag and me, I mean—of her engagonent?" " Having'lieen warmly congratulated by both of you, I may safely say that I am," he'aud langhin^y. " You know, too, we aided and abetted her in keeping it secret J" " Tes," gravely. " In explanation of whigb you learnt what probably surprised you, that Dr. Dnnbar at home, and Dr. Dunbar abroad, were too very different persons?". »:',." Yes," morfrgravely stilL T "Wdi, now, I have to tell you that it would have been wdl for nsto have taken vour adnoe; for the chief—papa I mean—has discovered all." "•Indeed?" -> Yon take it very coolly 1" I cry, exasperated'by the oalmneBS Witb which he reoeivea the intelligence, -" l ^ridi yon had been summoned to a tete-a-tete interview with him instead of Freddie l It might have npset your equanimity a littlei" . « Mine lias to come," he laughs. " How did Freddie's wid?" ' , ' v In a decree, as unalterable as &e Medea and Persians,"sternly fotbiddmg her to communicate withi. S.—which, shebeingone of the dutiful i&, explains my honoring you with the preset interview."^- < ^ "An honor of^diicih I amdeeply sensible,"

with an ^r of mock gravity. " Tell me, 4hoogb,"did Dr. Dunbar state his reasons for l£uing'the€ecfree ?" : i * "Is it ttot enough thatwilled other- "wise?' 1 I aek, wearily, wsathfully conscious that Lex his his comparative T 'impe(nQiioBity mostf'tiiat being a weighty disquabfieation&itJiB^ihief's^eyes; - Perhaps', he perceiveB the evasion, for he XJreis.ses Are *no further, bat changes the subject, fi«ft bidaing me in cheery tones, to trouMemy "'wise littIehead" *no more about it, as he means to pay papa a visit on the morrow, and has strtag hopes of over-riding his decision. •< Tell Freddie so," he concludes, "iam only sorry I so weakly allowed myself to be persuaded into secrecy. It is quite natural that Dr. Dunbar should feel aggrieved. However, I will see him to-morrow, all being well, and in the meantime' nildesperandum, must "be our motto, eh Dora? or Dolores I shall call yon if yen wear that doleful faoe. Come, look yourself, nnless you want me to think you regret that I ever proposed becoming your brother-in-law." p " Oh, no, no 1*' I assure him," There is np one I'd sooner have, but—" » < But me no buts,'" he quotes, gaily," It will come right, you'll see. Here we are at J home, and yob must come in and tiave some tea with ns, unless yon want to get in the mater's black books. See,.there she is." A pretty picture it makeB. The snug, flower-framed cottage, with the firelight glowing through its deep, French windows, and the smiling face and silver hair of the mother Lex holds eo dear, lighting up the doorway* .„ - • Fain would I stay, bnt l dan not absent mysdlif-tbiB evening from the dinner-table and brisB the vials of ttie chiefs wrath on Freddies hopeless head. : , r " Not to-night, Lex^ I say soberiy. . "Must l exert my p^suasive powers in vain?" ' " I'm afraid so; for once." " Mother," cried hex, " come herel "This young lady turns a deaf ear to me bht she can't resist you." j " 'Hewho figbtsuid juns away May live to fight ano&er^|ay.' "I think I'll rem More yoar mothe oomee."

«' Too late," laughs Lex, as the motherly figure in it3 soft dark dress and snowy cap joins as. .. V How-do you do, Dora, my dear?" says the soft, srrious voice so like , her son's, and almost before I can answer, it goes on making inquiries after mamma, my hand meanwhile imprisoned in her firm, warm clasp. Then, with a fond, proud glanoe at the tall figure beside her, that contradicts her words, sheeaye: " What is it that tronbleeome boy of mine wants, Dora?" '' I have been trj ing to induce her to take tea with ns, mother, and failed lamentably," Lex answeiis-for me. " W4II you not. dear ? We ehall be pleased to haveyou." With a questioning glanoe of ttie kinaly eyes. " I cannot to-night, thank . you, Mrs. Sutherland, or I would gladly do so. They expect me at home, and I must hurry off, or theyUl think I'm lost." " Some evening this week, then, you must come to us. Will Friday suit you?" "I cannot promise," I say sadly, conscious that her pretty home may be forbidden ground to us .ere then, seeing that Lex had fallen under the chief's ban. " Tpromise for her, motheri" puts in Lex, " so have potato-cakes in the bill of fare," in jesting reference to an old weakness of mine. "If I fail to put in appearance make him eat my share of giem, Mrs. Sutherland," I Say, at which he makes a wry face, potatooakes being his bete noir. Then I hurry away,firmly refusing to allow Lex to accompany me. . "Keephim please," I beg his mother, " I have been fondly fancying myself-a lord of creation, and gallantly volunteered to eecoit him home, and I want to keep up the delusion a little longer, while he, base ingrate 1 longs to dispel it." Truth to tell, I'm ntraid of running against the chief on his way home, and dread doing so with Lex in attendance. •Two minutes later I have cause to congratulate myself on being alone, for, as I turn a icoroer into the main street again, the wellknown figure of the author of my being is the first I see. -" What, Dora?" in tones of suppressed surprise. Yes, sir," I meekly reply. "What are you doing abroad at this hour?" There is no evading the jjoint-blanl; question, and with a calmness born of desperation I reply : " Acting deputy for Freddie."

A moment's silence follows, then, bending hss head, be looks me in tbe face with that strange whitening of his own, and flash of the eyes Ag dreads so much, while through. his clenched teeth he hissss just the.two words: "Damn you I" - . " One moment, Dr. Dunbar," says a voice behind—the voice of the dapper little chemist: whom he patronizes, and whose shop we have - just passed, " you are forgetting this,"—this \ being a tiny white parcel he is holding ' out. "Oh, thank you, thank ytfu, Mr Harrison I" smiling gratefully. " My daughter . and I were so deep in disoussion that I quite: forgot it." " It must have been a very pleasant one," smirks the little man bowing himself off! backwards.^ •'It waa—very," smoothly .assents the: chief as he rejoins me where—well an I know: him—I stand aghast at his coolness. . ' In silence we continue our walk. No words are h&eded; for it is taking me all my time 1 to digest those two, and an unpalatable dose I find them. '- " How can he 1—how dare he address, suoh words to me?" I cry rebelliously again and again to myself. "O, Godl what have we done to have a father so unlike other, fathers?" A few minutes more bring us to the large, dingy-white house, whose brass door-plate bears the inscription " Dr. Dnnbar." Passing through the small, Old-fashioned garden before it, the chief turns at once to the "den," ordering me to send his dinner there. "Does he think to annoy us by denying us the pleasure of his company ?" I say to myself, the truth being—a sad, unpleasant truth—we all enjoy our meals more when he is absent from the table." " Is dinner ready ?" I ask. " Nearly. It's hot six yet. Is papa in ?" "Yes. He's not going to favor us with his presence, though. Send his dinner to him." "Why? Oh. Dora I have you offended 1 him?" - " It seems so." "Oh dear I how did yon do it?" '• Too long a story to tell you now. Wait till by-and-bye," I say, ridding myself of my wraps, *• Where's Freddie ?" " With mamma, I think, she—" But I wait to hear no more. Gently opening the door of our invalid mother's room, I dis- .cover Freddie kneeling beside her oouch. As I enter she turns her faoe to me, and ttie shy smiles and'deep blushes beautifying it, tell me a tale. Seating myself on a little hassock near them and embracing my kneeswith my arms, 1 ooolly enquire,' " What do you think of Freddie's choice, mamma ?" :" Lynx eyes!" smiles mamma. " How do

you uiow she told me ?" twining her ttiin, white fingers in my hair. - " Ttie fact was written in vermilion on tier face when I came in. Art content, ma mtreV' " More than content, Dora dear. I can gladly giveLexmy little daughter." Freddie's proportions are giantess-like compared with here. "I wish though," she goes on, "you had told papa." ' " So do I, but it's no use crying over spilt milk, is it ? Lex means to see him to-morrow, and has strong hopes of coming off with flying colors," in answer to the mute interrogation of Freddie's eyes. "I'm glad of it," murmnrs mamma, a little wearily. " There's the dinner-bell, dear, don't keep papa waiting." Leaving her in blissful ignorance of his dining in solitary state, I follow Freddie from the room. Ag and Yic are already in their places. I take Freddie's post behind the teacups, and she carves. " Isn't the chief coming ?" asks Yic, seeing this. "No," Ag makes reply, " I took him his i dinner." " Whew ?" whistles Yic. " Who's in hot -water now?" < " Freddie and your humble servant," I rejoin. " You, Dora?" ejaculates Freddie, the juicy slice She has just severed from the joint suspended in mid-air. "Yes, me, if that's good grammar. I came in collision .with the' powers that be.,'" waving a milk jug towards the den," and had to give an account of myself." •' What did you tell him ?" asks Ag. >•' I was doing business for Freddie." - .. "0 Dora I What did he say 1" gasp's: Freddie. t . "• Condemn you'—only he nsed.a shorter • and uglier word." . " Oh 1". from Ag and Freddie. j f " What was the business, Doll?" queries > Vio, he being the only one I allow llijis & i mutilate my name.. ' * • " Ask Freddie." . . ^ " ' Era -he oan do So Ag Bign&T^p/^fiynco while e!ae gives 'thankB^itqm^dijiteW^Iter'; •which sheadTOitly bM^^ljie—to ffilrrsMi T6M'isdMim&S'>,"•" "••• \ : j ; rJ