Chapter 195881582

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Chapter NumberII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article195881582
Full Date1886-10-15
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count4330
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Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitlePort Adelaide News and Lefevre's Peninsula Advertiser (SA : 1883 - 1897)
Trove TitleDora Dunbar. An Australian Story
article text

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" d o r T ¥ U ¥ B A R 0 " AN AUSTRALIAN STORY.

CHAPTER II. (Continued.)

"BY MONA."

"Have yon arranged a match for Saturday 7" she asks. "Yes, we"—meaning the grammar eohool olub, of which he is a member—".play the state school first twenty." "They beat yon last time, didn't they?" pursues Ag. " Only by two behinds." "Who do yoa think will win the next match?"* " The G. S, of course." " G.S.—Gigantic Shame, cih?" I chime in, but he loftily ignores my interpretation. ' Don't count your chickens'—yon know the rest," says Ag, "Saturday will show." " Where have yon been since sohopl ?" asks Freddie, anxious to keep the ball rolling. " On the flat watching the Stars and Imperials, they had a match on to-day," answers Tic. The Stan ran Fen Myers oft She grout d." " What was that for?" " Swearing and abusive language." " Bravo the Stars !" commends Freddie. "Poor fellow," sighs Ag, "he was never taught batter," -"They are going to hold a meeting to consider expelling him altogether" Via goes on. " Talking of meetingB, we had one at eohool daring recess, to settle what form ear presentation to Mr, Sutherland is to take." "What didyoudeoideon2" asks Ag. "Aring—" "A ringl" interrupts Freddie, " I'm sure -he won't like that," picturing, no doubt, some glaring* abomination a lot of boys would be likely to seleat. " How do "you know?'' unsuspiciously inquires Vic. " We thought of a desk first, but Mr. Mathews—he's helping as—said he had one already. Some of the boys suggested an inkstand, a prime affair you know, silver mounted, bat it leaked out then that thechoir meant to give him that." " Who let it out?" I ask. " George Howell—his sister is in the choir, bo she knows. Then we thought of books, bat he's no end of them, and ten to one we'd . piekBome he has. At last we asked Mr. Mathews to suggest something, explaining the fix _ we were in, and he said, taking all things into consideration, he thought a plain, handsome ring would be suitable, so he's to choose it, and he's going to draw ap an address to present with it." " Yoa talk in quite a money-no-object strain, Vio. Can yon oollect enough among you for each a ringl" asks Ag. "I think so—there's a lot of as, and Mr. Mathews has given as a guinea for a start."

"Well done; Mr. Mathews 1" chorus Ag and L " He's not a bad sort at all, and he's awful sorry Mr. Sutherland is going, I think. \^iat kind of a coon shall we get in his plaoe, I wonder?" " There's someone -coming, then?" " Yes. Williams is his name, Mr. Ernest Williams. That's all ws know so far." Then tQting back his chair, "but I say, Freddie, yoa mast think I'm Boft to be so easily drawn off the scent 1 What was that business of yours Doll got into disgrace over ?" " Children should be seen, and not heard," erashingly responds Freddie, " attend to your dinner." j< I have satisfied my inner man, thank you; now I want to satisfy my curiosity," but Freddie only becomes more deeply absorbed in the contents of her plate. "What was it, Doll? you might tell a fellow.'" 1 1 May I tell him, Freddie f He must know sooner or later." " Oh, hang it 1 if that's the case don't keep me in suspense,' Develop the m&sly secret,' as Spoopendyke Bays; or let Doll." - . "MayI?" I ask, and Freddie nods asaent. , " Allow me then,tR0ft/rer«," I begin with a flourish, •< to introduce you to the fature Mrs. Lex Sutherland." " Whoop 1" cries Vic, -tossing his tablenapkin in -the air, and making a snatch at Freddie's vanishing skirt-tails as she hastily feats, a retreat. " Hold on till I wish too Joy, Freddie." ' "Then catching her round the waist he jfl*ncea her round the long table singing lostily: "" • " Forhe's a jolly, good fellow, And so say all of us." - In a moment Ag pinions his arms, and -1 clap my hand ovej hia month with a warning ; " Hush I do yoa want the chief down on nsl" Then, with a final bear-like hog, and a hearty " long life and happiness to you, old girH" he resumes his seat, while Freddie, laughing and rosy, runs oat of the room. " Does the chief know ?" asks Vio. ••Yes." •.. • ** Who told him?" " That's ihe query. He came home this

fjoiiGcr oj jj'g i;si.fin6 gjjc fee&t in starch ol'yoa with the buggyzcoxe ruffij s tsce o{ eniTTjl ^It^s^fKfftaffikofcaaHBi^ JHto'taf tifcwfiMf"^ ^FGH sucinjGiPpjS^L-q hlffi " 'd G "5p£EiJ 46!fp PIS cporce 1 He-goes of! to pajr a goodnight vist t obis pet kangaroo, while I follow Ag. with an ermfal 6f dishes to the Mtchen, for the chief rives us no' opportunity of testing the trutn of that common saying "Servants are plagues." Why should he, "with three great women in the "house?" to quote his own words. So Freddie is nurBeandrnwplewoman.Ag. Is miBtreSsoof the,wiliU6ry jflfr partmrat, and-I c5«nte® the^arte ot hopee; maitftod^fal^my^arobito.aidBgjtOfeaBT ofihe chief.' „ - Aioirit fiveihe ^owrog^elfingrl 5 -®^ mto lhe i^en, ,, V; idviara^ tdmrmea Ben^ya hfiflcPoragato OHAPiEEEIII. i £pi'[ xuv imici at uai.prv.'J c then verbatim account of-what was said, ,tfai have tried; hard: to da^o.s.jErom ; what, W could ;i Rattie* ; Sromiex, Mus j chid.was his appreciation flf the. "young-gentleman s sterling worth of character;" encourftgedhim in the bright hopes of the Juture, and wound up-by^rinly refusing to countenance ejfliei; engagement or correspondenoe between him anaFredaie:>; . .^.wtv Maniage. in his opinfen, tm. a jaflSter^o? such moment—there iweresupKintereMs invoWM^-themsppinpBS iof twoliveB at etake. he might say,-wsfliht had e seen so moch of the misery resulting -from ,-harty s BBd ; . rfladvieed anions, that with his consent his daughter shouia not enter the holy bonds, or even into an engagement, till die was of age, and knew her own mind, which he doubted a woman's doing_even then. © If £iex found, twelve months, hence, Winifred was still desirous otJjecdming ids wife,wSl andgooi Be ehi.ald„cfiet no ofejection.J With.^hatiLex had toWoontent; argdments «nd«ntreatiea failed Jo mpve him, , He graciously agreed, ioweveriW-aliS^-gwc'IS^wfilwmllfctBi^i decision to FreS^ie. even esoortingliim^o tb? Utttedra^gioomi-whereftiwiMing^. ^ her good'days;- nuimma was Jiitting . witn her firsSorn ih a&endaiice.' Then hejwpnMjaek to1}ie i; " aten^=and f q»ent the -next luyiXjiS grading his-^eeth 1 ttfeerPhis .-magnanimpRS ss—BoVifieaid; cropsto bea^'^ut, 0 aB mtanmatcdi yearwbalSfeoori^plate.'l v . v^/ .'i To my -sumrise and ; delight, :«hjuaf awsefetoMrerSuthfelatJd'eMquest^xif which Lex is the bearer—that I may spend Friday evening "with her^ and a pleasant one. I find it. I return home feden withlovingmeBBageB for Freddie from her and her huBband—Lex having told them all' the previous day—and both eeem delighted with his choice. Three weeks "later Lex leaves ub, bearing with good wishes innumerable, and many .tokens of afiection and esteem, none of which he values more than a lock of sunny hair. That night Freddie sobs herself to sleep with her cheek pillowedon his parting gift— a locket containing Sis likeness—hut she appears -at the breakfast table next' morning BO bravely smiling .and cheerful,, that the chief, who, doubtlese, has been gloating in anticipation over her lovelornity, sends her to Coventry for weeks after in his disgust, but I don't think she frets. Mr. Ernest Williams, the new assistant at the grammar school, soon becomes quite a favorite in oar little community, thanks to his obliging good-nature. He is rather slight and delicate - looking, with something—to my idea—decidedly insipid about his bine eyes, fair hair, and delioate color. To oor surprise, the chief and he became greatjshum&r-such «humB«that he frequently ._^ures at * our ' ^- festive board, which, considersicg ]that thtfoMefis. _ich., disbeliever in the s^pturaliDiun(r usehospitatfty OIK to aether without is no smaT ma&vf his favor. We Eoon disoover the inciting cause of hi unusual liberality. Mr Ernest Williams is a Deist—Ag a Christian in deed and thought, as well as name, and his opinions, whioh the chief beguiles him into airing faedy when die is present, give her positive pain. When, as sometimes Happens, the warmth, of her feelings impels her to take op the cudgels in defence of her faitb, the chief ohnckles in his delight at having 'found a weak place in hiB "householdsaint's armour," as he terms her patient endurance. .This warm December evening, as we sit after dinner in the little verandah that shades the drawing-room windows, such an instance occurs:

"Mr. Williams," demanded Ag, with unusual heat in her low, Bweet yoioe, " do you -believe in the bible at all ?" "I do not,Miss Agnes. If ever a bookcaricaturedthe Greator, that book is the bible. It makes him lose temper, alter his mind, get thwarted at every tarn, pat lying spirits in men's months, and that is riot the half. It is the ugliBt caricature of the Creator the world ever Bawl" " Does it caricature Mm in this psssage?" asks Ag, softly, "' lake as a father pitieth his children^ the Lord pitieth them that fear him;' or in this 'When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will jake me up;' or tins, 'There is a friend that Btioketh closer than a brother.' Does John's beautiful definition, 'God is lore' caricature Him!" " I'm afraid you shut one eye, Mies Agnes, when yon read-the bible, and see only what pleaBes you." " Granting, for argument's sake, that I do, can.you deny doing the same? The only difference is, I shut my eyes to the incomprehensible and evil, wnQe.you close yoars to all that is good, and sweet, and comforting." A shake of the head is the only answer, and sbegoeB on: " Tell me, Mr. Williams, do yoa believe m a life to come?" "No. I look for no future etate. I think I shall be in the same state, or same plaoe, a thousand years hence, as a thousand years ago. Death is, in my opinion, "an eternal "Once/i says Ag, half to herself, " I used to wish it so—I had an onntterable dread of death. Now I agree with Mrs. Hemans. ' Alas for love, if thou wert all, And nought beyond,- Oh earth 1' " " Have yoa ho &ead ot death now?" he asks, cnrionsly, "None. I feared "it indescribably when, like you, I recognised in God only a supreme controlling power —the great and terrible* God of the universe. Bat my fear was' swallowed up in the love when I came to know him as Christ revealed him—as the t3od of the lilieB and sparrows—the God of

?£*:?ou forget that your Siviour is to me a mnthi, onat the tnost.an enthusiast," he refmwisiier a little^tiffly, "We have only the fljoxdibfiaiew ignorant fishermen—" Granting that," Ag Interrupted, "could welMSve • a" better proof that thdr doctrine was of divine origin than the v/ay in whioh it has stood the test of ages? Would f£«g6l?q&ve come to nought long ago othercan we be expected to believe in Hilf^ien so many ot his own time refused to&TBD 1 ?" be asks, evading the question. '(^Hs waa despised and rejected of men, a inaja" pf Borrows and of grief,'" dreamily qapteB Ag. " True, yet HiB greatest enemiee testified how many more believed in Him, irben ihsy cried in their vexation, • The world has gons after Him ;* and what a grand testimony was that wrung from their re Iuotant lips, 4 Never man spake like this man.'" At this point the chief iB called away to put a few Btiofaes in a child's cut finger, and carries her off with him to fill the place of the little fellow's half-fainting mother. " Art convinced, mon amiT' I ask, laughingly; - «• No. X still maintain that the Bhallow pretensions of Christianity are as the candle to the sun, whfen in contrast with the truths o { mature," he replies; " what are your ideas ?" . " Undeveloped," I say, shortly, and he then ttuns the subject by asking me if I feel in good trim; for Thursday. i " For the examination, you mean ? Moderately^-nervousness doesn't enter largely into my composition." " " Yon go down, on Wednesday, I sup- PDseff?-. ti-must—there isn't an early tram on Thursday." " A two day's ordeal, is it not, for certificate?'. 1 < « Ye8, not a severe one this year, I hope, f&r my own sake." « " Allow me to second the bope, and wish you'EUCceBS," he says, as we adjourn to the drawing-room, drawn in by Freddie's exquisite rendering of " Aald Bobin Gray." "Do you sing ?" he asks me, presently, as Freddie, having finished her performance and and been duly thanked and complimented, le&veb tbe piano, and at the question, the others smile broadly, my feeble attempts at making melody being standing jokes among US. v. -' . - . I^'No," I inform him, and appeal laughingly to Vicrby wbqmimy .singing (?) is mertjiStsly •> sat upon," on all occasions. " Vic, can leing?" - • fi'jAa much as!aqcroBs,.ont saw," he responds; j" Bhe's an : awful. mutton-head at mpBio; JJr. WilliamB, can't tell ' Finnigan's Wake ' from the SDead March,' it's a fact." "Aocording tO Shakespeare, ! mast be a desperate character, eh ? ^ He -that hath no music'la-his soal is -fit-for murders, treasons,' «! Do yoa not lite, listeningito singing ?" ; «f,It depends on the singer a deal. I can listen ecstatically to the flattest of fiat singing, if l^ethefiUiger,'',, : j'iThat'fi a coiffrt thrust ^t me, Mr. WUlianis.'V putfl io Ag., ^'VCome, to rescue you from h^r clq^ches before she makes you as sarcastic as herself, I challenge yon to a game of cribbage." . ... KTi^ ,afe foon .deep in the game, and I take advantage «f the fact to Blip away and put fop fiinishing touch ,tp a new frook I am to ^gure in on Thursday. ' • Jeeping into mamma's room as I pass, I find Vio there before, me, doing his best to make her forget time in a page or two of hie beloved Spoopendyke. They dp not notice me, and I pass on with misty eyes. Poor Vicl lank of limb, slangy of speech, and unattractive generally,, what a tender devotion is yours to the little mother, spent and worsted in the battle of life! * * ; • * Ten o'clock on Thursday morning finds me, with about forty, or fifty others, deep in the mysteries,—or difficulties, perhaps, would be a better word—of the arithmetic paper under the inspector's eagle eye at Ballarat. _ " The different faces are worth studying, as the papers are handed round, and as I am one of the laBt to get one I amuse myself by taking notes. Those who have " stewed " well for the examination, and now reap their reward in the comparative simplicity of the work, beam with delight, while the faces of the unfortunates who have come up in a "cbance-theluck" mood lengthen to the dimensions of the proverbial fiddle. . Over one verdant youth, who—woe is me 1 has taken np hjs quarters just in front of me, I am divided between pity and wrath, as he twists and turns aimlessly in his Beat—now . glariog~fiercdy at his paper, and anon hopelessly scratching his head. My arithmetic, geography and grammar questions are hopefully disposed of, but then, the second day, comes the tug of war— the school management paper! I look blankly at the formidable array of " staggerers," as Vio would call them, and ask'myself dismally " How am I, with my limited practical knowledge of teaching, to answer them ?' Then my old faith in " having it oat," comes to my $id, and I waste no time in vain queries, but vigoriourly attack question 1. Luckily I have , crammed "Gladman on Echool management," and that, and a fertile imagination, enableB me to answer, somehow, every question. * The other subjects are got rid of by half past four, and, making my way out into the grounds, !• compare notes with two or three others, with not very satisfactory results. " However, it is too late to mend matters now. There is no getting our papers back oat of the inspector's relentless clutches. The only thing we can do is to make up our minds to endure, as patiently as possible, the weeks of suspense before as. By the evening train X return home, and, having a compartment all to myself, I doze away the dull hour, waking only when, as we steam intp the familiar station, Vic thrusts a great plume of pampas grass into my face through the open window, with a hearty: " Wdl Doll, old gal, what sort of a fist did you make of it?'' " Pretty fur, Vio; I feel hopeful about everything but echool management." " Tou get h, second chance for that, Miss Dora," puts in Mr. Johnstone, the head master of our looal state school, from whom J have been taking lessons lately. He is here to rneet two of his staff, who have been up for certificate, and pauses on his way to see how I got on. ^ "Iknow, Mr. Johnstone," I reply "but I want to get through right off." ., "O, ambition, thy name is D. D." laughs the little man, hurrying on to hear how those in whom he is more deeply concerned fared. Vic - escorts me to a cab, and, as we rattle homeward, posts ike up in particulars of the state of the Danbar barometer—the chiefs temper. " It's been falling gradually the last two days," he informs me, with a grimace, "We may look oat for squalls by to-morrow, at the latest." "Who'sin for it particularly, Vic?" I ask, ruefully. _ „ , . ... " Can't say for certain. He's been snubbing Ag all day, and sitting on Freddie at € V » I Happy girls 1" I interrupt* groaning dismally. . "They are safe at any rate. This poor unfortunate must be in for it." j «I'm afraid It's you, Doll," Vio assents i we «e," you'll soon know now."

The worst fears are confirmed, as the cab comes to a stop at the gate, by.the ohiaf'e making hie ' appearance — smiling _ Tfith ominous sweetness—to assist me to alight. With ceremonious politeness he escorts me into the hall, and helps me to remove my wraps, making inquiries in his silkiest tones as to my success. Then, just as becomes to his last question comes a peal at the bell, and before any of us can answer It, the doOr is flang open, and Id rushes little Mrs. Ellis, the wife of out leading local solicitor—a gentleman noted chiefly for his liabit of " holding communion with spirits," as The Vagabond happily puts it, and his partiality for spirited horses. Bafcween the two, it seems he has come to grief at last, and his little better-half earns my lasting gratitude by bearing off the chief nolens volens to attend him, and gaining me a few hours' respite. After giving mamma and the girls a brief account of my performance at Ballarat, I hurry eff to be^determined, as I tell them, to recruit my exhausted energies, and pre pare myself for the morrow's encounter. " Have you no idea, Dora dear, what it is 7" asks mamma. "Not the remotest," I assure her. " When did he gooff onhts 'igh 'orse?" I ask Ag, blind to mamma's reproving glanoes. " Soon after the postman called on.Tharsday—he took the letters himself," replies Ag. " The mystery deepens I" I exclaim, melo ! dramatically. ^ , " Heigho I It's a weary world 1 _ Good night, mamma dear, good night girls, mast go, or I shall be caught." Soon after breakfast next morning, I get the dreaded summons. Meeting me at the den door, the chief gallantly ushers me in, and places a .chair before me. Then, slowly and silently, he takes from Ms pooket-book a 6maU oblong rose-tinted envelope, whioh, as he hands it to me, I see is addressed to myself. " Bead it,"- he orders, briefly, as I turn it about, and, with wondering alacrity, I draw forth the perfumed sheet of Tose-colored paper it contains. Jt proves to be as Bentimental and ridicu tously far-fetched a love-letter as ever was penned, I .think. I gallop it through to the signature " W. S.," and by the time I reach that I am ready to roar with laughter—even under the chief's august eye—at tbe writer's assurances that I—prosaic, matter-of-fact Dora Danbar—am the " light of his life, the star of his existence," that my voice is music in his ears and my presence ehedf • a "golden sammer-like radiance" above him. " W. S." Who in the name of all that ie idiotic oan W. S. be, I wonder ? Like a flash it comes to me ' W. S.'—Will Stephens, of course—a verdant youth of BeVenteen, whom I have met several times at Mr. Johnstone's. Will Stephens, perish the thought—my romance is at an end. The most imaginative maiden in the soathern hemisphere ooald not weave one about that slab-like figure and Idiot 1 jackanapes! unmitigated assl I mentally designate him, as the chief's stem tones recall me -to the storm he hsB brought down about my ears. " Who wrote it ?" peremptorily. " I don't know," I answer truthfully, in a literal eense*Jor I am not acquainted with the young gentleman's writing. " You have a suspicion, though. Whose initials are these?" tapping the offending miseive. "I have only a suspicion—" I began, but, stamping with re ge, he cuts me short. . " Whom do you euspect ? The insolent puppy deserves horsewhipping thoroaghly, instead of screening. Am I to understand that you refuse to divulge his name ? that you are encouraging him ? Ay, in all proba' bility, so far forgetting maidenly modesty as to meet his advances half way—" " Stop 1" I interrupt- in my tnrn, goaded beyond endurance," you should be the last to accuse me of that. I know nothing of that letter, and the best thing you could have .done wonld have been to nave burnt it and said nothing about it—" " Ton impudent hueiy ?" speaking through his clenched teeth, and at the same time striding towards me with uplifted hand— " How dare yoa address me in each a meaner ?"' " Don't I" I say, desperately, looking him steadily in jthe face, " * The last straw breaks the camel's back,'" But the threatening hand descends. Not with its whole force, bat sharply enough to make me stagger. Burning with indignant rage, I rash oat of the room,regBrdless of his peremptory "stay," and, locking myself in my room, I sob my wrath away and myself into a feverish sleep, from whioh I am awakened by Ag's petition for admission.^ Hastily smoothing my ruffled plumes, I open tbe door, and give her a slight sketch of what has transpired, winding up with*—1> " Yoa can tell mamma. I'm going to walk offtheremainB of my righteous indignation and a headache. \ Sympathetically she helps me into my ulster, and sees me off, bidding me take a good long walk, and not to harry home for lunch, as the ohief is ofi for the day. Taming oat of the Gate, I collide with "W. S." and instantly reduce him to the verge of extinction by a dead cut. m t p t c k d n J t Ga

CHAPTER IV. For days after the chief completely ignores my existenoe, forgetting my delinquencies only when,a week before Christmas, Lex re-appears. Then It takes him all his time to thwart Freddie, and make her miserable. New Zealand agrees with Lex, judging from his appearanoe, for he looks health personified, and is happier-hearted and band- Bomg} than of old. "Long and interesting are his descriptions of his new quarters and Mends, and he spins his yarnB so well that,as I laughingly remark, to Ag," It makes me long to cut Freddie out, so that I might go to New Zealand," at which she only smiles faintly. It is such an unusual thing for Ag. to turn a deaf ear to our remarks, that I regard her in surprise, and, for the first time, it strikes me she is not looking hersdf. This pale, heavy-eyed, drooping creature, bears Bcant resemblance to our bright, winsome, lovable Ag—oar " Home Sunshine," as mamma calls her. Looking up suddenly, my steady gaze confases her, and, with a forced smile, she " What is it, Dora ? A penny for your thoughts." " I was just wondering," I reply, bluntly, " what ailed you. Suoh a change in anyone I never saw." " Nonsense, Dora I your Imagination is at fault." ' " May be,"I say soeptioally, " nevertheless, you'd make a first rate model for a ' maiden crossed in hopeless love.' " Is mine a random shaft that bas found its mark ? I wonder, aB from throat to brow the hot blood surges, receding as swiftly, and leavinpher paler thaaJ>efore. Gathering up her work, die rises to leave the room with a would-be careless air. " Talk sens?, Dora 1 my kead aches a little, chat's all. I think I'll lie down-fer a few minutes." Fast asleep I find her, a little later, but great tell-tale tears glitter on her long lashes, and convulsive sobs raok her breast, even iii. {To te