|Chapter Title||EARTH HUNGER.|
|Newspaper Title||Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918)|
|Trove Title||Gathered Rue. An Australian Novel|
TALES AND SKETCHES.
CATHERED RUE. AN AUSTRALIAN NOVEL.
By Elleeton Gat. innon of "Drifting Under the Southern Oboss," " Aoitoss the Gulf," &o.
Chapter VII.— Earth Hunger.
A year later the blow bod fallen, the: fiat. had (one fortli, anil Mrs. Tremayno knew thus bar llored Basil was to leave her and to 'travel out lathe unknown country to encounter unknown tirdihins and trials, losses and disappointment, shili she stayed at liome and rolled the well ailed whoeU of routine at Oondalla, and eon- nmeil her henrt in ignoranoo'of what .might bo willing him. Evelyn was to go too, but that nil lessor' evil and an almost unimportant litsil.
Bull would have left him with her if alio had uprsned the desire that he ehould remain; hot sbo preferred that' he ehould go. What haltered that he would enooiinter the name dingeri, the ssmo hardships ? He would at leaet «s comfort end companion to hia brother, end if say dread thing happened he would be there to record it. So ifter the summer rains had fallen and re- freshed the parohed, caked earth, had filled the mtki end watcrholee, and started into rapid I P"."1 sweet, groea grase and herbage, I J?!1' >nd Evelyn, with some stockmen and a I thiumen cook who aooompaniod them in a I lowed oart, with a number of horses and with I a etaoiee, pioked herd of cattle, atartod out to I '»s vast new traot of land that Basil had I tested from tho Grown. A traot not muoh I Miller than the whole of England, and oon- I -""'"K rolling plains which swayed with tall over the liende of lioreo and ridor. It contained, too, arid watorlees country, sparsely j»'"sd with stunted bushos, stony ridges and eoeuian gum forests ; a lake, which was 'lick with never disturbed wild fowl— duoks, J01' Eooso, flnmingooe and pelicans. i«j . trnv,"od thoy added to their herd 'J? 'he number of thoir party, and for throe . i iurneyed ever towards the wost, i.e? 'nUll,'r he stare and living sparely «... fuff' Basil's indomitable will overcame 'j'JBouHy and kept the party under him A I II. F antl in thorough didoipline. llm.I hlaoke hung upon thoir flanks at iMu ,ftrna?ct' moat at the unaccustomed thf u 1 "heeled vehicle, but, unlike the war- sin.u . Rorthcrn coast, thoy wore occur ii tlra'd to attaok tlicm, though sr» i!? ' a «poar wounded a young hoifer, A flw ilnBraI1k etruok down a lagging horse. 1'lht '8 ' a revolver aoon put thorn to ioo»VuOC'<raan aanB tho Hvolong day; ho hut J one S0,"Bi und but one verso of that, eruUil. i' was nt emoltlng, elooping, he was singing— Jlcound gooe tlio worruld, Its troubles ol defy. At a jogging along together p . Wo ouhl grey maro and 1 1 irnt t/i„ h' a Journal whioh be ultlmatoly "nrlno Ha llcr Rumanian eobool. tretch Is dreary daye, when every a dozen miles seemed a more
repetition o! tho last, or tho ono before, while tho hardy untiring horses plodded on, with no smell of home m their nostrils to hasten thoir steps, Evelyn talked often to Basil of his nttaohment to Morn, and how ho hoped ono day to neit her to marry him. Basil listened patiently, lovingly, to hia brother's youthful enthusiasm, and promised to aid him to tho best of bin endeavors. " In throo or four years, with anything lileo III ok, wo ought to b© able to sco our way ole&r You shall go baok mid marry Mora and llvo in I3riflbano, or at Ooodalla, and manage nil our business from there, and I will livo out nt this now place, and work it up until it is stocked with two or throo thousand shaop, and is worth at many pounds. And thon ? Well, I shall bo ablo to think of other things besides money-making. I will beoomo a member of Parliainont, and try my hand at patching up the land laws— like every new squatting member. I ehall think out a panacea for all oar ills during tlieeo years. I say that looks like a now butterfly. Shall I catch it for your collection ?" At last Basil Tremayno set foot on tho soll.of his groat undertaking, and soon a site for the head station waa chosen, and every man tollod alike at tho construction of the huts and yards, anil tho Chineso oook contentedly shared tho labor and baked his first damper on tlio stones ho had laid himself. Tho oreek by whioh thoy had mado thoir permanent camp gave its namo to tlio proporty, which would henoeforth be known as Yowarrco Creek. In a few weeks the bullock teams whioh wero lowly following in their woke with supplies and tools roaehed Yowarree Creek, and Basil had organised the work of the station. He had marvellous good fortuno in tlio euo- cesiling yours, but it was spioed with danger and 8wootsnod with hard work. Ho novor spared hirneolf, nor others, and out of tho chaos produced ordor and fair seeming in tho wilderness. Ho had a thorough grasp of finance, and never hesitated to ptungo into tromondous undertakings to ensure the success of what ho had boguu. Unwaternl traols wore to be supplied with artesian walls ; dams wore to bo constructed to defy tho most prolonged period of drought ; »ud paddocks of soveral thousand aores were to bo fonoed in readiness for the sheep whioh wore to supplement tlio oattle in tho noar future. Undaunted by difficulties, he boldly onooun- tercd and overoame thorn, so ho prospered ex ceedingly. The earth hunger grew upon him so that he longed to seoure -othor blooks of country whioh adjoined Yowarreo Oreek and seemed better waterod.
He left Evelyn with a stanoh Sootoh mana ger in ohargo, and went back to civilisation to see his mothor, who longed to see him after hie absence of .three years, and to make arrange ments for the acquisition of the additional square miles of country that ho coveted. He agreed with "the Bachelor of Nature," Thoronu, who said, "to sit on a pumpkin and have it all to oneself is better than to be orowdud on a velvet onshion," but Basil Tremayno wanted his pumpkin to be of inordinate size ? Chapter VIIL-" With the Memories We Amassed." During Mora's absenoo at soliool Dan Kirby eolaoed himself by arsnewal of his parliamentary work whioh hadocoupiodsomuohof his attention when she had been too young to- fret at his long absencss from MoonJaburra during the ses sions. "Honest Dsn" was -a stanoh Liberal, the hopo and mainstay of the " horny handed sons of toll," and the despair of theultrn-Cousorvativo squatting mombers. The latter oould not under stand how a member of thoir fraternity, a squatter, whose interests were identioai with their own, should be ontirely opposed to the mea sures they judged necessary for the good of the colony. The time honored reoipe for converting a oolonial Liberal into a Conservative — namely, by bestowing upon him a squatting property — was out of. the question in this oase; thoy oould not bind him to thoir side by giving him a now interest in the questions of "solootion before survey " and "pre-emptive rights," for he had as deep a personal interest in these things ae themselves. Personal interest oould never blind Honest Dan to the wants of the majority and the true interests of the oolony. He saw that those must consist in close ssttlemcnt on farms and small .selootions, making the wilderness to blossom as the rose with oorn fields, vineyards, olive gardens end the silk producing mulberry, instead of 'being: hold in large blooka.of millions of aores populated by sheep alone, and held in ! perpetuity by the few rich men. "If. we admit free ssleotion we shall have these selfish wretches picking out the eyes' of -qurxqns 1" his opponents argued hotly. " We isre tho pioneers of civilisation and colonisation ; iareiwe to bnvo no rights .and privileges? Are wo to be compelled arbitrarily to purchase our .runs or to submit tamely to have them wrested jfrom us by nn iniquitous law?" " Yes," answered Kirby and his party, "you have done the work that was demanded of you, we do-not deny that as pioneers you have done a great work for the eolony, but you must stop aside uow.and leave room for: the man of small flacks and farms to .settle down and beoomo the. most useful, of colonist.. Tin reign of the greatest good for tho greatest number must now set in. .If you want your lands you must go into.open.aaurt and compete with the others." . '1 But you will ohange your note. when Moon- daburra is proolaimed » settled district and be comes open for free selection." " I swear," said Honest Dan solemnly, "nover to scours an aor. of land but by honest msanB, though they take my water frontago and my horn paddook!" Hie party oould not understand how it hap pened that suoh ft stanoh supporter had no placo in tho Ministry. He munt certainly bo rewarded for his servioes; so a little sliuilling of plaoos followed, and Daniel Kirby was ollored ths portfolio of.Ministsr of Works. Ho accepted tho honor and retired for re-election, and then Mora came baok from school, a vciy grown up young lady, nearly 19,. and not entirely unaware, of hor own charms and attractions. She Is not sliy, nor bold But simply self-possessed — was espcoially trus of a colonial girl, called Mora ICirby. Brought up in an ntmospbaro of lovs and doforcnos sbo soomed as unsuspicious as a child of any rebuff or misnpprohension. Hor frank, girlish faos and manners wero very attraotivs, and sbo had no sensitive shyness in exhibiting her accomplishments, hor vivid thoughts, or lior oxpeotation of plessiug. She liked to be taken <iu aerieux, and to have hor remarks listened to with boeoming deference, but with moro good humor than might bnvo been expsotsd from a spoilod child, she graoo- fully accepted correction and reproof if suitnhly administered. Her father oould sen no fault, in hor, and a sure path to his favor was through admiration for Mora ; and no there was no laok of that ho came to think tlioro was moro good taste in tho world than he had previously given it credit for. . Needless to say she qnoenod it in her own sot in royal stylo, and accepted adoration and allegianoo as tier duo, treating all male siibjeots alike with playful raillory and an air of friendly interest (whioh none but a soured old maid oould stigmatise as flirting). ... Tho thorn in Mora's side was the chaperon whioh, by the staid advice of an old friend, hor father had been led to provide hor with. Mora
was fain to consider that she might easily have dispensed with euoh an adjunot. What alio cared moBt for was that sho thought tho amiable widow who had taken the office - with ouoh manifoat ploasuro and alacrity oxhibited a determination to subjugate Daniel Kirby and to give hor a dearer right to tho ohaporonago of his daughtor. Mrs. Wilmott was a Blook, oaressing littlo lady, whoso amiability was sincerity smoothod with kindness of heart. Nothing was further from hor thoughts than what Mora attributed to her, and tho petit toina sho displayed for Mr. Kirby wero the outcomo of the warmth which would have ombraood ovary ono, nod would bnvo found extenuating olroumstancas — liko a Frenoh jury — for orery orimo. Mora, there fore, did hor an injustiao, whioh occasionally displayed itsolf in overt aots, but for tho most part she submitted to tho gentle restraint Mrs. Wilmott excroised with a good graco, and in after years fully indemnified the unconscious lady of the unjust suspicions sho had enter tained. She appreciated the opnsidcration that her fathor's ofiioiai position gave her, and entered with the zest of n freshly emancipated sohoolgirl into tho gaieties of tho winter season, the first alio had known. When Basil Tremayno oamo to tho capital, after visiting his mother at Oondalla, ha first met Mora at a plonio. Ho lmd not givon hor a thought (although Kirby's accession to tho Ministry had boon a constant subjoot of conver sation at Oondalla), so ho found himsolf look ing at hor bright young faoo with only half recognition, when she discovered and hailed him. The party was assembling in four in hand traps and coaches, Basil himself was to tool a team of roans that had been driven down from Oondalla, and was waiting to rsoeive any of the party on his drag that the patroness of ths picnic chose to assign to him. Ho knew very fow of tho party, ntid only joined them because they wero anxious to avail themselves of hi. team. " Basil 1" oxclaimod Mora, who had just mountod tho box seat of a couch whioh was drawn up along side of his ; " Oh, I must come to your drag I Don't tell mo you have promised tho box seat to any one else I "Why, Mora," Basil said with brothorly frankness, " I hardly knew your faoo under that smart hat. Got thorn to lift you down, of oourso you must coma and sit by me. I have a lot of things to tell you." In a lew minutes Mora was bosido him, paoifying with gracious littlo speeohes tho for saken ohariotecr who left bis seat to rcmon-
strfttc "I am glad to see you, Basil," Mora said, giving his hand a friindly littls squeeze that sont tho blood tingling through his veins and oaused a dark flush to mount into his bronzed handsome countenance. "I have so often though of you— and Evelyn— away out thero in that dreadful 'Never Novor oountry."' "It is not in the least dreadful," ho said, re suming bis usual reserved tons; "Evtlyu will not be there very muah longer. He sent ail sorts of messages to yon — but ho wroto to you also, so it iB hardly necessary for me to give you now. of him." "Dear Evelyn," said Mora affootlonately, 'Ha lie well and happy? Has lie grown at all liko you?" She looked oritically and approv ingly at Basil. " Liko mo," said Basil with a man's oontsmpt for his own nppoaranoo "Not lu the least, I should say. Ho is notblaok and tan liko me. He !b shorter and slighter, but very robust and athletio ; can boat mo at boxing and ainglestiake soraetimoe." " But tell mo about your life at Yowarreo Crook," Mora asked, with bright interested eyes fixed upon liim. " How do you manage for books, for instance, you who are suoh a reador, and have not Evelyn's unvarying resources of poking about among iuseets and beasts? Do you rememher how I hated all the livq things ho used to carry about in his poekots ?" " He ha. quite a menagerie now," said Basil. " He is training a tamo magpie for you. Mag is. beooming a most amazing , linguist., Ab for books, ono does got rather soon to the end of one's stook of literature— but we brgin again, and thon there are always tbo polyglot adver tisements for Holloway a pill, and Eno's fruit salt to amuso ono by translating." " What a time thoy are getting ready to start," Mora said impatiently. "I have put Mrs. Wilmott into a buggy with a' very young man that I wantod to disembarrass myself of, and I am dreadfully afraid one or the other will demur and suggest some other arrangement." " Shall we drive off alone?". said Tremayno jokiugly. " I do not want anyono elso if you don't" "Ob, Mr. Tremayno," said pretty Mrs. Sydney Boliun, who was organising the picnic, coming to the side of Basil's drag and display ing a .protty foot and ankle as sho held her dainty skirt, away from tho wheel. "I am afraid you must -think wo shall novergot off I I am glad you have Mora there to amuse you. I am coming with you, if I may, and we will not overcrowd your drag. I think about throe more — men — wilt bo enough. What do you say, Mora?" " Bring whom you like, ; Mrs. Bohun," said Mora brghtly ; " so long as you don't dethrone mo from the seat of honor, I want to havo Mr. Tremayno to myself all the way. I feol liko a very small girl with a very big sake. I know I can't. eat it all, and I don't want to be greedy ; but loan enjoy the glory of possessing it— nt least I want to for a little while. Now are these the very last arrivals ?" she nskod, as two protty girls, driving a rakish looking ohestnut, dashed up to join tbem, and promptly jumped off tho high wheel of the buggy. "Thank goodness, yes 1" said Mrs. Bohun. " I nover know Violet and, Hetty Gage .iu time for anything in my life." In a few minutos every ono was in thoir alloted place, aud five four-in-hand teams. end various buggies and waggonettes filed off at a spanking pace from the rendezvous, "Now toll mo about yourself, Mora," said Basil, whan he had patiently answered all her interrogations, "Here I find you quite grown up and a person of distinguished importance, without whom no gathering can be considered oomplete. I speak from observation, bo it Under stood, not information. No ono has forestalled tlio account you ore going to give mo of your self." "To tell ypu the honest truth, Basil, I enjoy every minute of my life. I am afraid It sounds very ' young ' to make suoli a confession ; but it is alsp delightful ! To brgin with, nobody ovor had a father liko mine. I am so proud of him ! I go to tho House every time ho is going to speak, nnd I get quite oross with thoso young Conservative members who will come up to the Ladies' Gallory to talk to us, beoauso they say thoy have not tho satisfaction of scoing us from whoro thoy sit, and all the tiino I only want to listen to father. Everybody is very nice to me. Oh, Basil, do you liko balls, or are you too storn and dignified for anythiug so frivolous ?" " Of oourse I liko balls, but I don't suppose you will condescend to danoo with a clumsy busiiman when you have all your young town dandies about you. I used to bt fond of danc ing, but perhaps it will not surpriso you to hear that wc seldom got any balls at Yowarree." "Thon you will oomo to tho ball? That's just what I wanted to know, becauis I shall
havo to pat yon down for some danacs if you are coming to tho club ball to-morrow night, or thoy will all bo gone. As it is I shall have to throw over somo one. I have promised all my waltzes." They had rapidly left tho town and suburbs behind them, and their road lay for a time parallel with the broad shining river. Tho sky was oloudlossly blue, with just enough brcozo to ripple the watsr, and sond a gentle ruotlo amongst the ragged banana leaves and a louder swaying and tapping in tho oiumps of bamboos. Tho shrubs aud trees and olimbing vines that hordorod tho rivor wero whito with tho dust tlm' Sow in oiouds behind thoir calvacade, so it was a relief whon tboy turnod off tho highway nnd drove under tho trees, whoro they oould strike out a lino of country for thomsclvos, skirting logs and undergrowth, nnd jolting considerably ovor tho short tufted grass. " I shall certainly olaim thorn," said Basil, " and you must give mo ono ovor for Evolyn." "Dear Evelyn," Mora said for tlio second time. " Ho dancos beautifully ; but doyou know I don't remember how you dancs." " I hardly expeotod that you would. I am glad," ha went on with an air of restraint. : "that you have not forgotton Evolyn. I can not toll how much lie talks and thinks of you. I could hardly faoo him if I had to tell him that you had no kindness left for him. Ho is very oonstnnt nnd true." " I am not so inconstant to my friends as you com to think," Baid Mora, with a smilo at Basil's gravo faos. " Will yon lot mo drive now? Indesd I can liandlo a team. Father has silo wed ma to drive tho wholo way from Moondaburrn sometimes." Basil allowed her to take tho reins, which gava him mors lolsuro for looking at hor. It gave him a keener ploasuro than lie had anticipated to watoh hor dark violet eyes glisten with tho excitement of driving tho spiritsd team. Ho noticed tho dolioatc, dark coloring round the eyes whioh added an unexpected and unusual beauty to them. Hor brown hair ourled in light rings, and Bhowed pals gold tints at tho ends, bar dark eyebrows made a single arch divided in tho middle. Her eyolashas were dark,' too, endlong. Tlio youthful soft coloring of hor ehoeks was a littlo heightened, and became mors so as she found Basil was studying hor so earnestly. "You have grown very pretty," ha' said suddonly. "Do you know I feared you were going to be quito plain and ordinary looking when I saw you last. I cannot think how I could-ever have entcrtainod such an absurd notion."
"lam rather glad you do not now," sho said laughing, and displaying a swift dimple. " It is a little unusual to be so outspoken on suoh a topic, -theroforc I suppose I ought to feel embarrassed and utter a fervent dis claimer ? Mrs. Bohun," Bho oriod, turning to speak to thoir companions behind, whom Mrs. Bohun was keeping amused with a flow of merry unocdotes with eomioimitations. "And when hor husband claimed a separation because her complexion -was had, she told the judgo it was owing to his treatment of her, for " the iron that had entered her sonl came out iu freokies on hor faoo 1" said Mrs. Bohun, finish ing her story before answering Mora, "What is it, Mora ?" "Ab Mrs. Wilmott is not hero I only wantod to ask you the proper thing to say wbon an old Iriond tells you that you are not so plain as he expected to find yon?" " A olear oase for returning tho compli ment," said Mrs. Bohun, with anarch glanoc at Mr. Tremayno; "but beware how you approuoh suoh an inflammable thing.fts a man's vanity with a naked light !" From that timo Tremayno was no longer allowed to,- monopoliso, -Mora. Mrs. Bohun, though sho was quito equal to amusing hor poaae of young men herself, drew the girl into their lively ohatter,' and Basil, who was gifted with a .very small share of tho , faouity of small talk, contented himsolf with listening .to Mora's bright laughter and occasional flashes of wit, and so proved rather irresponsive to the advances Mrs. Rohan was making to him. " Miss Kirby," said ono of thoir party, Dick Btabazon, a member of a distinguished family, and a Conservative, colonial legislator, "Can you toll mo why a gum tree is liko an M.L.A.?" "Liberal or Conservative ?" Mora in quired reflectively, looking over hor shoulder at the speaker. - " Whioh you please," said Dick Brabazon. " A gum tree is like a few Conservative M.'sL. A. that I know, because .it takes a vory Arm root on the laud without oooupying much of it profitably," Mora said, amid cries of ".Oh I oh I" " and it is likea Liberal M.L.A., because it is ropresontativo of the soil of. the . entire oolony I" .. What . an incorrigiblo littlo Liberal you pro," exolaimed Brabszon, half-annoyed, feeling that tho proper answer to his riddle would fall flat. "I shall not tell you my answer, hut ask. you anothor. Wo ars always, informed there Is nothing new under the \ tun, then uuder whioh planet do the fashions spring up ?" "VenuBfiundoubtedly," said Mrs. Bohuniand Mora together ; "because of her sax." "You aro wrong," said Pathriok ,Smy tho, anothor of the party. " Venus encourages the beliof that beauty should be unadorned. , I say it must he the moon, end the man In the moon is a lunary M. - Worth. Is that it, Brabazon ?" "Under the.moon, yes, "--said .Mora. "And that is why they aro always changing their pliftBe. " " Undor all the planets," .explained the pro- pounder of. the riddle ; because they, aro -never
stationary. . "Talking of tho fashions," said Mrs. Bohun oomioally. " bow soon tliey filter through, the olossos. I deolore one aeos the pattern of -one's last new froek the followiug .week on tho baok of ono of the last batch of .emigrant Irish colleens 1" . They aro filtered through- a sieve made of the meshes of n purse," Mora added- acutely ; " the cheapest things get through first. As for that ahstrsot quality— tasta— that remains. Neither money, nor .fashion oan ensure it. .Your . Irish colleen onnnot filoh'.that from yo\t, Mrs, Bohun I" , "Tho sea hath its pearls, the dust heap its oyster shells," snid Brabazon oraouiarly. " I notice, Miss Kirby, thero is a point at whioh a woman's liberalism stops. . Confess that you would not bo averse to the introduction of umptuary laws with a compulsory costamo for every station and occupation ; end if yon had a vote you would give it the party, proposing suoh a law." _ . "If I had a vote," said Mrs. Bohun, paron- thctioally, " I would barter it for a ball frock 1" "I should like the piotprial effect," Mora ad- mittod frankly. "Our legislators would have to dou the toga, and I think you would drape uncommonly well in tiio virile garment,' Mr. Brabazon; and you, Basil," Mora added, -turn ing kindly to him, "when are you going to lend your distinguished aid .to the Stale?" " As soon os an opening ooouri now," Basil said, "I am glad," said Mora, brightly. "You must talk to dear father about it." " I am afraid I cannot expoot help from that quarter," said Basil, quietly. " I shouldn't vote quite on the same lines ai he." They were getting near their destination ; ths sea was in front of them. showing liko a continu ation of tho sky through the. sparsely foliaged, gaunt trees. The deeply rutted traok was ell
loose sand ; but the horses pulled valiantly through it, and presently ail tho vebioios drew up with a dash on tho natural esplanade of the budding watering plsce of Narong. Mora was soon surrounded by her friends, and Basil, not oaring to toko tho troublo to bo agroe- able to pcoplo he did not know, followed for a while, in tlio wake of hor party. He was cha grined with himself for allowing an injured feeling to arise within him ; but he told him self that it was because of Evelyn that it vexed liim to sao Mora the contie and.lifo of a party of young men. Politeness indicated that hs should offer his services to the organiser of the pionio, and ho was rewarded by being speoialty seleoted by Mora to Bit by her during tho merry lanohson, which was spread on the turf near the odge of tho bank against whioh tlio tido was lapping with gentle suoking waves, among tho seaweed coverod, oyster enorustod rocks. Mora lamen ted so gonuinsly hor inability to return as sho had como that Basil was thoroughly reconciled to the oxlgoncy of Mrs. Bohun's orders, which entailed nn ontirely different arrangement for tho return journey. The box seat, instead of Mora, was occupied by Ceail Summers, a prosy old bachelor, who was supposed to know more about the secrots of tho old oonviot taint than any man in tho oolony, nnd Basil listened wearily to his State stories, and thought more of tho ball for the next night than ho had ever thought of a ball before. (to be continued. )