|Chapter Title||FICKLE FORTUNE SMILED.|
|Newspaper Title||Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918)|
|Trove Title||Gathered Rue. An Australian Novel|
TALES AND SKETCHES.
cathered rue. AN AUSTRALIAN NOVEL.
Br Ellkbton Gat. acthor op "Driftino Under the Sodthern Cross," "Aonosa the Golf," io.
flnAPTRR XXV.— "Fickle Fortune Smiled."
Indue coarse Mora received an answer to her nt fervent appeal to her father to rotnrn to ber. The letter waa headed Delhi, and was a jocular reply, nuoh na ho might have written to I child wholinil complained of the disoiplino of l rcliwil In ffhloli he had perfeot aonfidenoo. He ,ii«l that uart of tlio letter bv naviuc —
" On the first neruaal I con feus I sent every tea dying in different directions to find out ibont traini and ateamere, dalre and dhutrioa— or whatever they oall tliuir special mail service In this outlandish country— and I got myself Into a fever of prickly hoat and perspiration bceauio I eould notstnrt that very moment and he with ray darling child in tho wink of an eye ; hut tbe enforocd delay gave me time to think ho yon and Basil would have laughed togother over my taking ao seriously what waa only a little temporary mianntloratanding between my poilt little girl end her great, strong, faithful husband, in whom I linvo more confidence and tint then in any man living. Trust him, any dear, in all thinga, then there eannutbeany last ing disagreement between you. I could not give mr young wife better adrics than that, nor in this epeoial ooio — knowing Basil as I do— eould Iimproro npon this simple maxim. " lit went on to give his impressions of India, there bo wsi lotting liimsolf seriously to learn the conditiona of life of the poorer classes with thi thoroughness that characterised everything he took in hand. Nora waa satisfied that he should havo treated her letter as he had, but she longed to sec him Bore than ever, though ehe would sacrifice that joy rather than have to confess the stato of aifiiri between her husband and herself. If he could have dropped In npon her and hava asked! no questions, have doinnudod no oxplanatlons, ho joyfully she would havo rcocivcd him. . Life passed quietly for them at Hoondabiirra, led thoy were close upon Ohristmastide with out sny change having ooourred in the oool and distant communications between Basil and her- itlf. Then' bio weekly - letter mentioned that business woo oalling him to Sydney, and that his letters for the next few weoks might be Irregular. Mora rejoiced at tho news, for ahe felt euro that thay could not meet without a perfeot re conciliation. From the first eho had- '-never counted upon a asps ration lasting mora than a re weeks, now snontlse had pasted and sho longed with her whole being to oee him'again. ltnevtr once struck her that he could possibly comedown, viait Brisbano and Sydney,, and go bsek without onoo ooming near lier at Moonda- turrs, yet that was what Basil intended to do. Mora went about the house with a light etep,- bok an -interest in wlsnt woe going on, 'drovo stent the run, assd oeesned altogether adiiferont tcing. It happened that Arnbrooo Dnmarerqire, who tsd heard from Trcmayne, waa tho first to en- tgnlen mora about her husband'e-bnainess and 5 i . . ®Mn to Moondaburra, to have a few 9 jays duck and quail shouting, bringing Honor B Moore and her brother Miles, the hard-worked tlnl servant who waa taking bis annual hoii- lal'Mru".' lo be in Sydney for tho sb m. f y" bnow, so ho takes stenmer froraRockhnmptaru Though I must 1 l think it is a roundabout course. Ho JnrBdewa as far as Unthulla in hia ' buok- MoreialA""0 muck h'1011' bueineiato holiLteie»nj Dumatesqaeaaid gallantly, mp jing the tenderer course tuoli a oorreapon- art to h. .#ltUt.',lly ta,ke- " The P>»« Ikst iho h.»una 1 auo"on B' but it seoroa .b'nltP«Pl«. Who hold Craven's mort- ilDdsrSl10?1""®0' a PleJEO to that follow »'«ld"»u th'o me Tr,miiyn0 i,11'lm»ted that he 111,. .1 j ort8»Ra over." Ctto £?, 3»wr,?W-tl,?t Underwood Wired .s «r .? rtms , 'or when nlie first lAS&Sff sxtrs: ««minPg hy " tEwk„rm,ka he 8hould ,rlbVssllwLhnlH0 V,'S?E'llt Ekatorinoka waa "It is nnt .. ',eint M0fa Would bo horrirf t i "ld Uumaroiqu," but it Banil thoueht R. "iV, 1 neighbor there, b'heep have nl»W l ' " for 11 oattl rmi. Sf»ay.h!i„. Jon any good here, and. ' Uader w'cHid » y d8t4rmined not to lot knowa t're run well, nchu Bull ,!n ,r ?lvo B '"8 prioa for it ,\iriltln thahln i to offer rather than ' &"«i" Mora said « 5.m on# h" did not wn"t ' "hVhinvkllow'm lmro0'"he Wi" "U0000J nbl t0 » that. aist myself !- '" , ''8 wtretlior I oould ponslbly ' bs may hi.n l,, f 10 l'"c" oolno. But inl bathing it I« tlLnMa 8ydney of wlllcl1 1 1) tome bcolt," mIIOB3'tilo to guesa when he imjf ? r.illb; TUU m" Bbout th n®» ; Jf'ots sho le. v.„ ' o1!0 ' ,l0Pe he may be baok S leavlq. ha'r i,„n tttnally eoming away "me. ? '''! »nd hnaband for the 1 Mrs. Craven to cpma at.
inl,S„lurn?'.ibut S,h8 dclRrea that nothing on MEkaTesttim" 00,,", WUh'a 30 reile" "I havo met her a few timea on that maeni- m ich ' T ,?6 Shoh»» blt«»d s i "y m!,01h. ,r thought her looking ouriously a Ohr:.manV'' P' W"h a nolisW1 fR0 " q.Uit0 ®!"' ,8ho h»» mentioned han wrfttcn to mo!'1 tb fow letto »k« . do Fu "Ry to having a nhot at tho ducks this ovonlng J" naid Miles Moore, ooming up 1 the garden to tho vorandah wlmro hia hoateaa 3Sfi!,larf'qUeJ r0ro talkinB; "I havo been ,l' w'han<l. nevor Rbything like tho ?t u im?' thoroaro flooko of overy sort, black duok and widgeon, whiotlora and grebe, and I oan't tell what." " ' at." !f you Jlk.e'" 8aid Uumarojque with leia en- thuoiaom but we will only Bhoot a few for the Sfeh«m »MaS t"flUughtcr eroatnumhera ot thorn this hot woatbor, wlien tlioy would have to be thrown away tho next day. Will you oome down to tho lagoon, Mrs. Tremsyno 7" Mora called Honor, and while the guns were E' r"fy they walked .lowly down to the beautiful lagoon. Tho evening iky waa en tirely orimaon, and shed a rosy light on every thing ; the gaunt white trunks of the ring barked gum trees took tho color of tho sky, and ?iW,?r 1, le? m tllQ l«BOon icomed to he filled with it to the brim. In the rosy splendor Venus Bhone brilliantly, queen of this roaltn of boauty. The olumps of willowa round the lagoon threw a grateful shade, growing aa they did in all their natural beauty and luxnrianoe, not lopped and disfigured. They aat down on a fallen tree wlsioh was oovorod with a softousliion of the long white liolien, known as "old man's board, and watolied with amuaement a group of about 40 native companions whioli wero llauntiug their lavender wings and coquetting tlioir orimaon heads in the rood of tho lagoon, apparently in the figures of some intrioato and unending danee, from whioli they seemed to dorivo intenBo pleasure. " Can't you fanoy tiiey aro fanning themselves and spreading out their skirtn minuet fashion for tho curtsey? But both tiexos seem to bo od dioted to flirting to an alarming oxtent ; I dc- olnrOp sftid Honort 11 it it onougb to corrupt our morals to sea the ahamelcss way 'they oglo eaoli other."- " Don't you feel aB though you wsro deaf and so oannot hear the orohestra which is direeting their quadrilles?'' said Mora. " I slo indeed, " said Honor, to whom the eight wa!1 uew. "I think they are ail reinoarnations of ballet girls, with Madame Veotrie at their head ; they should be zotranaportod to the boards of a theatre." "I think I have seen in one of Offenbaoh's operas a ballet in which tho costumes were rather like theee great cranes. Can you row." " Oil yes, well enough. " . "When these sportsmen oome down they shall launoh the boat for us, anil we eass drive the ducks in any direotlon for them." An hour or so later, when thay were oil four walking with gay talk and laughter back to the house, they taw that Mrs. Wiimott was enter taining. a fresh arrival, who sprang to bis feet at sight of them, and oamo to join them under the nprioot trees, where they had stopped to eat some lato hanging fruit, Mora's brows met in ksen annoyance; it wee Geoffrey Underwood. "Is there any way of disembarrassing our selves of tbie visitor?" she said in a low voioeto Dumareeque." "I am afraid not, but.ho shall go on his busi ness in the morning. I'll arrange that for you." Underwood was reesived with a politeness whioli Mora mado as ohilling as possible, but her coldness seemed to make no impression on him. 1 "I am on my way to Ekaterlnaka," ho ex plained ; there were a few matters I was unable to look into last time." " Thon you are riding on there to-night," put in Dumareeque brusquely. " Hardly 1" lie exolsimed with a smile ; "un less Mrs. Tremayne turns me away." Ho looked at liar with an odious certainty that she would do nothing of the sort, " You know there is always a room in tho barraoks for all chance comers, Mr. Under wood," Mora said. "Have your horses been seen to? Will you join tho others? they are just going down for a bathe.- Come, Honor, or we shall be late for. dinner." Underwood walked by Mora's side to the house, but as she went almost at a run ho had iittio time to profit by his obtrusiveness. "Ths continuation of our conversation on the beaoli at Narong has been long deferred," lie said in alow tone. "I shall be happy to stay now until it is oonvanient for you to give mo a tSte-i-titt opportunity of finishing it.". . "It was finished then so far as I am oon- earned," Mora said proudly, with head ereot aud flashing eysa. "I shall have no private conversation with you. You are aware that my husband objects to yonr presenoe in any house of his." 1 ' "This is your, house." " It is my fathor's, not mine. In any ease, permit me to toll you that it would be in good taste for you to pass it by ; though being here the usual hospitality is, of course, extended to you." "You must allow ma to tell you what the quarrel is between your husband anil me. I mnat do so in my own defence, on omplo defeneo yon will admit when you beer it." "Ism satisfied to aot on an expression of my husband's wishes without hearing any reason." Mora turned from him without giving him time for a reply. She longed to keep her room that evening and send an exeuse, but this courso savored of oowardloe, and she knew Underwood's hand would be strengthened if he thought she feared him. Tlio conversation at table was lively enough, Miles Mooro being in high spirits at tho suooess of his first slaughter of game, and, full of bright anticipations for his fortnight's holiday, rattled on about horses anil shooting with the gusto of a schoolboy. Dumnreiquo was ready to fill any gap with moro serious sulijeots, nnd gentle Mrs. Wiimott, who guessed nothing of the undercurrent of affairs, was bor usual bright placid self, and seemed eager for information on any nnd all sub jects. Before the after dinner tobacco was finished on the vorandah, the ladies said good-night. Honor was tiled witli her journey, and Mora pretended letters to write. At breakfast tho next morning Dnmarcsqne came in late. Before sitting down ha earns to Underwood'e aide. "Your horses havo been run in with the others. What time would you like them saddled?" No stronger hint than that your departure that day is oxprcted can bo given in tho bush than to eay your horses are brought in, which leaves only the time, not the date, of tho departure to the decision of the guest, " Thank you, Mr. Duraarosquo," Underwood said with assumed carelessness. "If the bey has recovered his lameness I should like to start at onoo," The wholly imaginary lameness of ono of the horses might have been » sufficient oxouso for overlooking thi hint to depart, but Milan Mooro blew away the exouae without knowing what a servioa ho waa conferring. "loan set your mind at rest, old fellow. I saw them both this morning ; they could not-bo.
in better fottio, not a sign of lameness or any bavn n ? T ,l!y that th« samo bay oalled mo master 1" "And what did he call you, dorlin'?" said his chance ,"Hodidn,t 0411 you an bf'ey ka ,TrouM hBV« "aid something Wittier if ha had spoken at all," Miles re- torfceu "Nothing ao self evidont?" Honor wont on teasing her brother. "Some of tho bo«t jokes I ever hnghert at liavo been raado by dumb croatures. Who can help joining in whon that sidesplitting joker tho laughing jaokass oommencos." a "J m10"',d obU b 'Rugliing jsokass dumb 1" said Miles IiaBtiiy, seoing tho trap hln niHter was setting for him. " Really ! I congratulate you. I did not know you could understand aud translate thoir langu- age. Wo will take you out this afternoon about 4 o'clook and you shall interpret all the jokes for us— that is, all that may be repeated before ladiee— whon tho jackasses begin laughing. It will be as good ae a Punch and Judy show with clown and pantaloon thrown in." This little banter fulfilled its minion and tided over an awkward moment. If a sileneo liad followed Miios's explanation about Under wood's liorso, it might havo acsmed necessary that Mora should uttor some polite hope that Mr. Underwood would suit his own oonvonicnee in leaving ; but the talk went on without any suoh speech being noecssary. "So you are going to gitoupboinga rolling stone, and procoed to gather moss, Air. Under wood," Mrs. Wiimott eaid. "If I succooi in getting Ekatcrinske, Mrs. Wiimott, if not I think I shall go down south," " I havo always thought that moss was a very useless appendage to a stone, and that tho plea sure of rolling must more than compensate for its lost," Dumareaque said. "What do you think, Alias Mooro?" "Moss in tho beautiful old ago of tho stone," Mora eaid. " In its restless, volatile youth it is content to bo always moving and gathers none, but it should rejoice to have its angularities so clothed and hidden when advancing ago decides it to settle down." "I think there is plenty of time for Mr. Underwood to think of stopping tbe railing process when he is muoh older," Honor eaid. "When the impetus is so great that a stopping becomes very difficult, Miss Mooro ?" Underwood said. " If I stop rolling now, I wonder if the partioularly beautiful moss I have my eye on wilt oling to me?" This said in a lower tone, to be heard by Honor alono. She knew that though he looked at her meaningly there was no speoinl intention in his words, and sho was angry with herself at feeling her oolor rise and a fluttering agitation at her heart. " I agree with Air. Dumnresqua that moss is a most useless appendage of the stone itself," seld Honor generally; "about as useless us the money and tlio olothos and provisions they put into the coffins of tbe Chinese when they bury them. " I ahall change tho name if I buy Ekater- inakt. I shall find out the native name, whioli moans ' sweet waters ' or something of tbat sort," Underwood said ; and tliay fell to talking of the nomenclature of colonial town ships and stations and the want of imagin ation displayed in most placeB where the native uames had been unsought or disoarded. When breakfast waa over Mora pointedly took leave of Underwood, saying that eho ebould he busy for some time, and should not see him again before he left; Geoffrey Underwood confessed himself foiled hut not beaten. He determined not to call there on his return journey, but to talk very opeuly at the club, when he returned to the oapitul, of the very pleesant visit ho had been making at Aloondaburra, where pretty Airs. Trenmyno had gathered a few— very few — inti mate friends, nnd how sorry he was that busi ness in Sydney liad ourtailed hia visit, though he had been pressed to stay. He oalouiatcil tbat those epeeohes would oome to the oars of Basil Trcmayno sooner or later, and be anything but agreeable hearing to his enemy— as he otiose to oall him. He was right. The words were inoidentally repeated to Tre mayne us he stood on the steps of the otub only a few hours after his return from Sydney. Tlio weatliBr wss extremely hot even for the time of year— January; but Basil, dressed entirely in smooth white glosBy linen, looked oool enough, and very handsome and quiet. -He was julnotl thereby Air. Sydney Bohun, who had been vainly endeavoring to quenoh an un- qucnolisble thirst with "John Ooiiioa's" in numerable. "You are a luoky beggar, Tremayne ; yon are not obliged to stew here during the hottest part of the year ae we poor devils in the Treasury bavo to do 1 You are just baok from Sydney, and off you go, I suppose, to Moondabnrre, where your wife has a soleot circle of friends to meet you." ' "I want to see Dumareaque. Do you know where he is now?" "I don't. He wae at Hoondabiirra when Underwood was staying there. He dined with ha tha day he same down, and lie told me they had a very- jolly time and ho enjoyed himself immensely. The Moores were there, too. Miles and his sister. By the way, can you tell me if Underwood has bought that place he has bean after? I am ourious to knew, as he has asked mh to some and stay -with him to shoot wild bulls in the sorub, aud to do that is the dream of my life;" ' "Is is not what I should oall very exciting sport," Tremayne Baid, " but such as it is you are very welcome to go and enjoy it there next winter. I have bought it, not Underwood." "Thanks, old fellow; I'll take you ut your word 1 Will you be there in June or July ?" Tremayne looked as if he were thinking if he eould manage it. " Impossible to eay but you eun go up and take any one you like. I ahall have a manager there who will eee to your eom- fort nnd introduce you to the haunts of tiie old wild bulls that he will be wanting to get rid of." "By Jove, I'll take you atword." : "I menn'you to, and I hope you may have aa much enjoyment from the sport us you antioi- pato." ... Nothing showed- tho stab that Basil Tre mayne hud received -in- the information im parted to him by Air. Bohun ; he was outwardly as oalm'and nnconoerned as ever. He would atk no questions, but he longed to hear further particulars. "Then you have no idea where Ambrose is likely to bo now ?" "Not the slightest. I don't think Under wood knew how long Dumarcsque was going to stay on when he unwillingly tore himsolf away against their ontroatlos tbat he would remain. Devilish amusing fellow Underwood is when ho likes. Here's a man who may know Duma- reique'a movements," he said iu a lower tone. " He is the town ahrouiole and kuows every thing." " Joo," he eaid familiarly, slapping tho new comer on the hick, " Wlioro's Ambrose Duma- reiquo at this -present moment?" "On bis way to Tasmania; started this morn ing by the Ellenborough. Game dowu from -Moondaburra last. week. Why?" 'fSouy l cannot-', insrease your budget by
filling in your 'why.' I simply nsked fori curiosity, Bohun said careieusly. "Have a drink, Joe?" If Joe had ever refnssd a proffered drink tho fact had nover become publio— in foot tho con- '"y was confidently stated. Trotnayno do- olmed to join them, and wandered out into tho ohady rctreno of tho lovoiy Botanical Gardens to think alone. Ae he was crossing the toad Dr. O'Brien'e bnggy drove up, and he was hailed by tliu genial, oily voice of the dootor. ." ?2W Bro y"i Tremayno? And how iB ths missis ?_ Keeping well, I hope?" "Quite well when I heard last. I have only just arrived from Sydney, and have not Boon hor latoly." " Oil, she will go on all right ; I have pro mised to go to her, you know, and I will. It will ho quite a holiday. God bless you, my boy." Tho dootor drove off only half bearing, but pussling over, Basil's response. "Yes; do go up, dootor, whenever you can, tho sooner the bettor." " Good gracious !" was the doctor's satto vice exclamation. Yet again eolitudo waa denied to him. He had hardly onsconcod himself in a seat in tho deep shade of a Aloreton Bay fig tree whon ho waa again saluted, this timo by a man who had boon hiu tutor formerly, Philip Armstrong, a man who lmd oxooption&l talont, but one failing to which he gavo way at intervals, and which humbled nnd lowered him iu his own oyes to suoh a degree that ho raraiy sought tho eooiety of other mon— his equals in birth and education, his inferiors in intellect — lest ho should read in thoir eyes that they despised him. Through drink ho kept himself so much in tho background that his genius had no ohanco of expression. Philip Armstrong had lost several positions through this one cause, and as he walked through the gardens that hot evening ho was wrestling with himself in dospnir of conquering tho ovorpowering inclination to make his way to a certain fifth rate hotel, from whioh he know lie would not havo strength to issue until degradation had overtaken him. Ho eoized at the ohanco of salvation from himself the cnoounter with Tremayne gave him. " Basil," he said in a tone between weak ness and humility, " I am glad to soo you, my dear fellow. By what ohanco do I find you sweltering in the heat of this city when nothing binds you to the otornal grind of work, work, work ?" " I havo but just arrived, " Basil explained, shaking him cordially by the hand in a manner that brought a light into Armstrong's eyes and made him straighten hia bent figure with more self respect. "BusinosS took mo to Sydney, and I have just oome back. I shall not bp staying more than a day or two." " Where is Aire. Tremayne— pretty little Alora Klrby as she wae when I knew her?" " She is at Moondaburra." "And you aro going to join her there? Basil, tako ma with you." Basil hesitated for a reply, Armstrong notioing It went on hastily, "You oan trust me, I swear that you can, and I feci that It will be my salvation. I oould not betray mysolf before your wife's oyes ! If I stay hero with nothing to hold me baok in another hour I ahall be in that hell whose portal seems to pro mise Paradise— a fair seeming with the first glass or two, but a bitter reality with those that coma after and lead straight into IiolL" "Believo me when I toll you I am not hesi tating because I have the loast doubt of you, or tho smallest disinclination to comply with your request, but solely beoauia I have no thought of going to Aloondaburra at all. Affaire are going there like olookwork. I have a manager who has no aqual, while out at Yowarree, where my largest interests lie, tbore is a great (leal for me to do— and yon romombcr what an appotito I always had for work." "I do, Basil, I remembor how you attacked a problem, or your .Esohylue— how you kept up your Greek." Armstrong smiled faintly and tried not to look disappointed. Basil pondered deeply what ho could nrrango for tbe poor fellow, whoso haggard looks ap pealed to him so strongly. Ho had never hesi tated in his determination not to go to Mora. If he hod what he had just been told of Under wood'e visit to her would have ohunged hie pur pose. Yet it was most desirable tbat he Bhouid pay a visit to his new acquisition and arrange matters there to his own satisfaction. "I have so few books at Yowaree that I am always glad to fall back on tbe dossics," ha replied, still thinking out some plan to holp Armstrong. "A never failing resource. You bavo no ohlld, Basil?" "No. Armstrong, will you eturt with me at daylight to-morrow and go up to Ekaterinskafor a few days, then I will bring you baok here, where my business, must wait?" Tears earns into Armstrong's oyes us he saw before bim the relief be bad given up. "Go with you Basil? Yes. more gladly than I can say I" " I will ask you as a favor not to mention to uny one where we aro going. I cannot go to Moondaburra for such u hasty trip as this must be, so we will avoid the station, and I will not go there until my business is done." "Anything, anything, I will promlso you any thing. You give me new life I" "Then como back with me to tho olub and dine with me in tho strangers' room; and you must rcolte your last posm to me, and toll me all tbat you are doing or thinking of doing." " Basil, my friends are too kind to me, too kind I Thoy havo faith in mu when I have nous in mysolf. But I will improve, I will, pleaeo God. Here, this is what I wrote last — it has some humor, bat not muoli merit hesides. Read it if you like, but not to phrase mo. I will write something good, bettor than anything I havo dnno yet, whilo I am with you." He handed Basit a slip from the printorc, on whioli a short poem appeared. " I have somo moro slips some where. Read it whon I am not by. I alwaye feel as though I wero under a powerful micro, aoope, and all tlio workings of my soul wero visible, when I know my poems aro hoing read. I shiver with apprehonsion, I oannot aocount for it, for afcer all they are written for tho publio and meant to be read. Whore is Air. Kirby, 'Honest Dan'?" Ha is travelling about Europe or Asia, for all I know. Ho meant to be nbsent about two years, and only about a half of that time has expired." " Are you happy, Basil ?" Armstrong looked at him aentely. "There la something about you that seems new to me. There is a sombre iook In your eyes that I have nover seen tbero before." "My good fallow?" oxolaimod Basil good bumoredly, "you see with tho eyes of u poet, and he ia bound to find something that either doe or does not exist, or is too purely imaginative to bo aeon by other eyes 1 We may as well go baok and dino now if you aro ready, " "Oan I go as I am?" Armstrong said, doubt fully looking down at bis shabby nether garments and at tiie loose Bilk coat whioli aluiiglimply to bin gaunt frame, and had obviously seen consider able wear einoe it last visited the washtub. "Certainly, " said Basil promptly, doubting whether any bettor garments might' be forth coming. . "Coolness and comfort, are tlio only
considerations that neod trouble a man in this Turkish bath heat," He might havo added another "c," namely, oieanllness. (to be continued.) ''