|Chapter Title||THE ANISEED BAG.|
|Newspaper Title||Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918)|
|Trove Title||Gathered Rue. An Australian Novel|
| TALES km S8CETCMES.
1 GATHERED RUE. AN AUSTRALIAN NOVEL.
By Eli.erton Oat. Acthor of "Drifting Under the Southern Lhoss," "Across the Gulf," to.
cnawer L— The Aniseed Bag.
..mi it'ib?'''gbb, hummor evening in l«£ »i , Queensland was already deepening l4!'8 etarlit darkness, of a moonless night, "J » lowering storm which wasbrood- SrraS 1 th, Bouther» eltics. The storm was ra .! S„ wly onwt,r(la with stately pagoantry mnfflili n ""flan /trains, muted muaio nnd d ea the distant thunder knnmril
'eaorous, measured peals. "moropork" wan ohnnting tta fedol.nt Ht ti " J boated air wns becoming fromrrJ.u r meBol'babla odors of eveniug, distant T"1' flow"ring eucalypta, from For it w«« , yar d«, nud from burnt up grass. thirsty for mofaLre Wl 41,8 C"tU WaS feft deep in powdery white dust, It deviated f skirts of a box and gum forest ; Ss the fall <51 sRny tr'd'nS oiroumatance, suoh anil mMml.- i 'i' or n tbickor undergrowth, the horaet hnd wherever in the first instanoo the livinv ,h i ehoeen to piok thoir way amongst I Patt its ennr iad ti,nbDr 1 bllt tho most U P A f® lfty parallel to tho orcek. tnltirv munnhyi 1att1®', m,r8 frameworks of ' t«rtavlTl- /,r!Qri,y ftt 'ho rough, dry r I'Jfftrhie ,, u tkolr tnilo'ineoa.antly in silent Ihemselves f th«ynIn<i f 0'?ll''y "ouEht to rid leistiabin .»J,i n8 P'ralstent attentions of the and wallnhl ' and tliero kangaroos h«C'l of two or threo wore the creek for il»- E befora CoinE down to tear with bmi' I ovoning drink. A nativo 011 a brsneh MtiJ"1!," so'Bmni|y sat far out >nd paying no at»5 i-SUI>Iior of BUm IonV8"' faovemcut.ii.nnB 1 S? n tho nonnds and ducks enlivened th„ flight o£ whistling they dircun.mt ,L ooeno for a four minutes ns 'tenia elieht nmi I"66''0" of whoro tliey further nflulj ? toomod to docida to nook Place; and the "le'r baonufit of k yu!J> '"mvily homo from ahisp, bullook nnd putrid Joung"1 p., Ill'0'8 foliage nnd undergrowth of t'Muer co.„ oaPl'nKa whioh followed tho lb8 d,y 2" f th" creek (which now in t'Uoiv d«t.»i? j wa? "duoed to a sorios of detached waterholea between crumbling
prooipltous banks) a young man stood half bidden beside his liorso, from whioh ho hnd din. mounted without taking tho trouble to loosen tho girths or rcmovo tho lioavy valiso whioh tho tired horso ncomcd to bo trying to prop againBt the treo to easo his haok. The poor boast looked dejeoted and tired, as though ho had done a hard day's work, and folt dofraudod of tho rest that ho had earned, and ntood with hoaving sides, not oven trying to snatch n mouthful of the rough tucsooky grass around him. Tho man who was thus oarolcss of his good boast wan a tali, well knit, artistic young follow of about 24 or 25. Roughly clad as ho was in soiled moloskin breoohos, flannel shirt and battered felt hat, and with a stained silk handkerchief knotted round his nook in liou of ocular and necktie, ho might bs oitlior a common stookmnn or 0110 of higher station who had been working hard and, riding fQr. His appcnrnnco did not givo much indication which ho might be, unloss tho minutim of his get up wore investi gated, and it was found that tho riding boots were of exceptionally neat workmanship, though destitute of blacking nnd almost intentionally caked with mud ; also that tho feet within them wore small, with tho high instop supposed to bo indicativo of birth and breeding ; also that his hands were of tho same pattern of gentility, and that his hair and slight, fair inoustaclio were trimmed with care. His dark bluo eyes contraotod with impaticnoe as ho kopt a vigilant look-out along tlio track whioh led to tho water hole where ho stood. "Hang it!" ho mut tered, us ho, took out his pipe and looked longingly at it; "surely tlioy can't liavo goiio on to tho Long AVaterhole after all ? I suppose I must wait or Kathcrino will bo in a bit of a funk that tho scent will bo too warm, though I haven't a bit of tobacco loft." At length the oraoking of whips, tho creaking of wheels, and a shouting of objurgations in a powerful broguo informed him that the object of his watch was almost ended. There camo iri" sight a light spring cart witli a misshapen oalioo hood, drawn by a big raw bonod roan liorso in tho sliaftB, with a weedy clioatnut giving moagro assistanoo as "outrigger." Cuming in sight and smoll of the water tho fagged animals mended their pace, and wcro loon pulled up within a few foot of tho young man who appeared to bo waiting for thorn. The driver unearthed Bome hobbles from tho interior of the cart, and dismounted boforo ho distin guished hiin, and cried out the universal " Hullo,1 of the salutation of travellers in tho hush. " Hullo, mate I" responded the first comer in a gruff tone j " you ain t going to aantp here, are you?" "Ain't we just I You had bettor bollova it, mate ! In loss than 10 minutei my damper will bs on tho fire." "What have yon got fa tho van— any grog?" . "No; worse Iuok," said tho proprietor, lugu briously, "tho squatters are too sharp about bore. I dussn't carry a drop. I havon't even got n drop for ourselves juBt now, only, obiney, calico, moleskins, pipes, and alch like. AVhat c&n I sell you, mats ?" "Look hors," said the young man, with an air of franknoss, "if you'll bo warned by mo you'll travel on two or three miles further, to the other side of Oondalla. Mrs. Tremayuo is boss here now, and she's got a great ' down ' on hawkers coming about, even if they don't carry grog." "Blowed if I do !" exolalmed Miok Flanna- gan, violently, beginning to unfasten his clumsy ropo monded harness. . "AVe've come from Moondaburra this blessed day, and ain't going no further, not if I know it, I shall do a good bit of biz .among .tho hands at Oondalla to morrow." "I'll wager you'll do nothing of the sort, for Mrs. Tremayne will send you paoking with a stock rider after you .to see yon off tho run." . "No blooming fear ! I don't mind chanoing It, mate," said Mike, obstinately, again lotting to work on hls hnrness. "JuBt wait. a . moment," said tho young man, hurriedly. "Your, ungs seem fresh enough to get on to Long AVaterhole, and' I don't mind makihg.it worth your while to moTe on just beoause Mrs. Tremayne won't like to see you hanging about all day to-morrow. A bottle of rum or so." By this time' anothor man, a rough looking customer, in the shabbiest of town olotbes, joined them, riding one horse and driving two spnro ones before him, poor saddle and harness galled skeletons— spare in more than one sense of tiie word. "AVhat's np, Miok?" lie shouted, seeing bis mate at a standstill, and impatient to learn the eauBO. " This oovo wants us to move on, Bill, Ho says he'll tin us a bottlo of rum," " Don't yon bo no blamo fool, Miok Fiannn- gan. The womon will be up iu a few minutes. AVu'll just camp where we ere. What's the odds to him ? AVhat's bis game; any way ? This has been a publio camping ground so long as I can remember — besides, what's a bottle of rum amongst four of us?" "Yes, thore'B tiie two wimmen and the other carl," said Miok regretfully ; "it don't do to count without them." "Another cart and two women;" said tho young man eagerly. "I'll give you three bottles of rum and a sovereign," " What's yor little game, governor?" said -Bill suspiciously. , "Do you belong here? You ain't a young Trsmayno, I know that." ' "No," said the young man with alight hesi- tonoy. "I am a new ohum. It is a little bit of n scheme ; but I swear there is no harm in it. It's just n sort of trail I want to lay. I have told you what I'll give you. Now I'll tell what you have to do to earn it" " Wo are all on tho square," said tbo man called Bill, doggedly. " AVo don't even oarry a drop of grog. It's all nbovo board with us. I for one won't givo my oonsont until I learu Bomothing moro about what's wanted." " All right;" said tho young man with pas- slonato impaticnoe. " I tell yon there's nothing in it. . There'll ho some inquiries about a young womaii, and I want to put them off tho scont a bit. If you are Been going through Oondalla this ovoning without stopping they will bo apt to think you had somo reason for it, and so follow your drays. If you separate to-morrow morn ing, one of you going by Boobygan aud tho other by Grass Plains, they'll bo wasting timo by following one or tho other of you, and then more tiuio will ho lost by going after tho other party. Como now, a sovereign and tho rum, and nothing to do for it." "Dono, oh, Bill?" said Miok, his mouth watering at tho thought of tho rum. " Shut up," said Bill, roughly, with an oath. " Make it four bottles, boss, and the sov., and I don't mind if I do tho triok for you. But it Isn't worth it, raylly now it isn't I Going on this ovoning a matter of throe miles and missing good biz at Oondalla. Jemima will give me tho rough side of her tonguo, I'll answer for that, Hore'u their onravan with the quart pots, panni kins and billies jangling; but whon are you going to givo us the Btuff ?" "This minute," tho young man replied, re moving tho wliiio tho valiso from his Middle, and unrolling therefrom four bottles rollod up in a multitude of wrappers. " Horo's tho liquor, and horo's tho coin. Now don't mako any mistake, but just form your replies accord ing to tlio questions tlioy ask you— stay, whoso is tho younger wifo ?" Tho men exchanged
glanoes with oonrso guffaws. " Hang it 1 " ho continned passionately ; "no nonsonso, the younger woman must go in tho cart that goes to Grass Plains ; tlioy nro not likely to go that way first. If you carry this out wall, and don't mention a word of mo in tlio mattor, I give you my word to moot you in tho township of Bcrri Borri on Saturday at tho Bowcn Anns, and givo you anothor sovereign. Do you understand ?" " Yes," said Bill, heartily ; " a bargain is q bargain, and I don't think nnyono that oomcs inquiring will get muoh chango out of me, But where is tho young woman they'll be asking after?" " Oh, she's safe enough," said tho young man as ho vaulted iuto his caddie. " There's no harm likely to bappan to her anyway, aud sho is far enough from hero." Ho plunged his spurs viciously into liis horse's flanks, and riding off at a gallop away from the head station ho was soon out of sight in tho gathering gloom. "A rum go!" cxolaimed Miok reflsotively ; "what's the meaning of it? The quid is all right, and tho rum too, O.P., I'll swear," ho added witb a gasp, as ho lost no timo in Bamp. ling its quality. " AVho can tho woman bo that they aro ooming in search of ?" said Bill, who bad been imparting tlio nows of tho bargain they had made to tho two females occupying the scoond spring cart ; " and who's tho cove, I wondor ?" "I know him," said the hardfoaturcd woman, who was driving, and who had stared long at tho young man as ho rodo by; "I'll lay my bottom dollar bo's that young Underwood who woo hanging on at Cravan's Inst year." " Geoff Undorwood !" exclaimed the other, a tall gaunt girl of nbout 23, who looked haggard and ill, slatternly and unkempt ; I know him, the beauty I" Her bluo oyos, that looked sunken and pale from illnoas, fired up as sho raised herself from tho recumbent attitude and stared after tbo horseman. "Ifit is anything that ho's got a hand in, I'll swear there's not much good iu it— anyway that won't poison tho rum. Givo us n nip, Mike." "I never know you behindhand in asking for wbot you take a fancy to, Chumps," said Miok, handing tho girl a littlo rum in tho pannikin from whioh ho had boon drinking. "AYell, I'vo tuk a fancy to rido a bit. Hero, Bill, you git up nn' drive, I'm sick of tho rattling of the tins and tho jolting." Tho girl sat in tho man's saddle with ease, and the littlo oalvaoadc was soou in motion again. A little later thoy drove through' Oon dalla head station, whore tho people from the huts oarne out to ask whoro thoy wero going to camp. "Long YJator Hole" they oallod baok," wo must liurty on ; the storm Is ooming on faster." Ohai'tbh il— A Tale to de Told. The storm was gathering vehemence as it travelled, and tlio thunder boomed louder and nearer, following tho vivid Hashes of lightning with ovor increasing momentum. The plains that rollod for milesonwards towards the south- west lay under a purple pali, torn and rent with angry flames, whioh darted, streamed, forked and chained altornatoly ; while the piaiu itself was curiously lit witli orange light, whioli seemed inherent nnd not reflected. The few gaunt gum trees with thoir sparse loaves and ragged branches, which stood liko sontinels at intorvalB about tho plain, seemed careless and impassivo under tho Btormy light, as though comtemptuous of ono poor storm when they had withstood so many ; aud the grass trees waved their spoors as though commanding the on rush ing olcmcnts. A rival stotm travelling with greater rapidity was coming up with the wind, and promised to add its quota to the violonoo wtien they wore ready to wreak their vengeanoe. Tlio ovoning was intensely hot, and all tho windows and doors at Oondalla were wide open, and the kerosene lamp smoked and flamed in gusts of hot air whioh presaged the approach of tho storm, HI rsj Tremayne stood in one of the open French windows seeking in vain for a breath of ooolor air out of tho smell of tlio lamps. " AVo are going to fcavo Bomo rain at last. It it going to bs n grand storm," sho said, turning to tho two littlo girls in tlio room. " I should not wonder if the orook oomos down o 'banker' and oarries away tho new dam. I wondor where Evelyn can bo ?" Tho little girla were engaged in fitting a crown of flowers on to tho smaller ono'a head and did not spoak. Mrs. Tremayne sat down to tbo piano, trying to forgot the heat. Sho played Schubert's Dsr AVtindercr, and it seomod as though sho were translating tho voices of tho storm into tho grand rolling ohords. The yonngor child crept softly to her side as though fascinated by the music ; something between a sob and a sigh attrnoted Mrs. Tre- mayno's attention to her. " AVhat is it, Mora? Are you afraid of the storm?" ' " No," said tho child iu disdain of the impu tation ; " I am not afraid of anything. I only wanted to know if what you wore ploying was about tho thunder and about doar Basil ou tho big ship." " Oh, you would like something moro lively," said Mrs. Tremayne, dashing into a brilliant Polish mazurka, but tho little maiden bad gone baok to hor throne on tho arm of the big old- fashioned sofo, to queen it over hor elder but submissive companion. The long, low room in which thoy were sit ting, with its four French windows opon to tho oartbern floor of tho broad, bark roofed veran dah, was dividod by tho difference of its furni ture into two distinct' apartments. Tho end where was tlio wide opon fireplace, now whito washed and filled with ferns, wns arranged with some display of tasto and refinement as a sit ting rooini and was adorned with tho piano, for which tho into Mr. Tromnyno had paid a fabulous sum in bullocks at the timo of his marriage. A few strips of red and white mat ting ooverod tho fluor, and a round tnhls with books nnd work occupied tho oentre. Tho floor of tho other end was covered with a neat patterned oiloloth, and was furnished for Blieer utility with a solid deal table for mcnls, some substantial chcur.s'and benches, and a chiffonniero cupboard, on whioh stood a sruct stand, somo tumblers, a seltzogone, some fruit and a bottle of limo juice. Dir.'. Tremayne, as slio sat at tho piano play ing remnants of half forgotten folk songs, fell strangely restless and oxaitod ; sho who was usually bo cold and stately seemed to be waiting for a stronger will than her own to move hor. Iluosian logends of I'oruno, of tho giant Polkau, and tiie Lescliiee floated baok to her memory from lier childhood, and' niado hor foel that tboro .was somothing unoxpootcd, uncanny, supernatural, in tho air. Onco moro she wandered to tho window as lier youiiger son camo running towards tho vorandah, carrying hia saddlo and bridle from wbcre be bad let hia horso loose in tho paddock. " I am just in timo," lie cried, pointing to tho drops of rain as big as crown pieces whioh woro olowly add heavily splashing tho parohed oarth ; " but I bad to rido hard to got ahead of the storm. " " Olga, toll them to bring your brother's tea," said Mrs. Tremayuo. " Whoro havo you beon so lato, Evelyn ? AVo havo bad our meal an hour ago." " I havo been shooting some duoks for you on
port of tho Ekaterinska Creek. You'll nover guess who I hnvo soen, mother?" " The hawkers, I suppose, Evelyn ; I lioar thoy passed through a little while ago to camp at the Long AVatorhoio." " No, indeed, somobody quito different. But did you got mo tlio knife from tho hnwkors for. skinning my birds?" " No, thoy did not atop hero at all ?" " Did not stop ? How odd 1 " cxolaimed Evoiyn ; "I nover know them pass by before." "You have not told me whom you saw." " No moro I have. AVcll, prepare to bo astoniBliod, mothor. I saw a buggy driving along tlio Melon Holo Plain, and reoognising Clifford's old grey screws slouohing along, I had tlio ouriosity to canter up to seo who was in it, and it was Rats 1 " "Kathcrino 1 Impossible 1 " oxolnlmed Mrs, Tromayno in an unwonted tone of exoitement. "AVhero had she coins from? AVhat account did sho givo of liorself?". "I could not exnetly mako out what they woro doing just whoro tlioy wero ; but I thought afterwards that they might havo como round this way to soo you first. Sho was very snappish and did not deign many words ; said she was tired and wanted to got home. Geoffrey Under wood wsb driving her, and it seems sho camo by sea after all, although Craven has sent tho Amorioan waggon and relays of horses to meet her overland." " Unaccountablo, extraordinary !" murmured Mrs. Tromayno in a low tone. Evoiyn attaoked the cold mutton and toa with excellent appetite, and the littlo girls oarried on their game of qucon and subjoot witb mnrvcllouB stillness. Evelyn's meal was rapidly despatched, and after teasing Mora a little ho left the room. Mrs. Tremayne, in silent meditation, asked herself had sho dono alt that was possiblo to win hor daughter's passionate, wayward hoart; had sho endeavored sufficiently to correct her ohstinato self will? Her conscience would not wholly acquit her. Mrs. Trsmayno was of Russian parentage on her father's aido ; in her 20th year Bhe had mar ried John Trsmayno, whom ohancc had thrown in hor path. The quiet, easy going Australian squatter had tnkon her at once to the rough little homestead on his vast holding in the Salt- bush district of Queensland, with its mobs of oattle nnd Hooks of Bhcop. There sho lived a life, perforce, of comparative solitude, and her eharacter took tho tons of rcscrvo and impene trability whioh becamo more pronouncod with every aucoecding year. In appearance sho was tall and nobly pro portioned. Sho had dark, pieroing eves, whioh seemed to hum mysteriously, yet to remain cold and relentless. Her hair, whioh was wonderfully luxuriant and wavy, wns quite white, while her face at tho Sge of 48 was unlined and youthful ; her still dark and rather heavy eyebrows gave a peculiar oharactsr to her face. Her lips closed firmly over strong white tooth, rarely displayed in a smile. Alto gether it was a proud inscrutable fnco, which gars no indication of passing emotion. ' Sho lived so muoh alone that knowledge of tho world and its wioked ways never onco camo home to her ; so, for a woman of her ago, she was singularly guilsltss and unsuspicious. She was a woman of few words, but masterful and fond of power. AVhen her first ohild, Katherinc, was born, Mrs, Tremayne was dangerously ill for many months, and nover oven saw the babe to whom sho had given birth. AVhen thoy judged her well enough to get a sight of it a fosling of in tense repulsion took tho placo of a mother's pride and love. For long afterwards tlio sound of the child's fretful cry mads her shudder with dislike, and sho eeemod too weak to combat the feeling. Tho infant was well taken care of by a foster mothor, who had been a servant in the house, nnd had been discharged by Mrs. Tremayne for faults of lying and deceit. This Bridget Moran, though sho married and lived on the station, never forgot or forgavo what she otiose to con sider the insult of her dismissal, but nourished a narrow minded, vindictivo dislike to her mis tress in her heart. That aha. should have un dertaken tho task of nureing the ohild may be marvelled at, but tho knowledge that bad Mrs. Tremayne been consulted sho would nover liavo consented that Bridget should bo ohoson caused hor to accede to Mr. Tromayno's earnest request. AVhatorer woro Mrs. Trsraayna's faults of character, she had tho saving grace of abso lute justice, and though she firmly believed that her child's disposition had reoeived its vicious tendcnoics from the foster mother, when the latter was left ohildless and a widow a few yoarB afterwards she ordered that the cottage at tlio foot of the garden should bo Bridgot Moron's for lifo. AVhen ICatherine was four years old, a son was born, and Mrs. Tremayne realised in a single flesh the joy and delight of maternity. From that moment her wholo being rejoioed in her beautiful Basil, though tho roacrvo of her nature made it littlo apparent to tho world at largo. Justice forbade that siie should treat the two children differently, so punishment was moted out to her treasure and reward to her bano with an equal band. Threo years afterwards another boy, Evelyn, came into tho world. Mrs. Tremayne deeply resented hia boing a boy, ns a dreaded rival to her darling Basil ; had it been a girl she thought she might hnvo given her the nffcotion hor heart withhold from Katharine ; but when 14 yssrs before the opening of this talo Mr. Tremayne died nnd n posthumous daughter was born, her place in lier mother's afftctlon was on a piano witli Evelyn's— a coldly effcotionato toleranoe, which, however, satisfied tlio two easy going, unoxaoting natures, so liko their father in their good natured, semi-callous dutness. AVlion Kathcrino .was barely 18 she married Clifford Graven, strongly against her mother's wishes. Clifford Craven's ill managed run joined Oon dalla, and ICatherine, with lier wild, undisci plined nature, imagined herself passionately in love with this womanish invalid, who was full of crotohots, and chimeras, and impraotieabls soliemcs. Sho violently deolared that if her mothor withheld hor consent, she would unhosi-. tatingly go and livo with him in unlegaliscd union. Craven's frcquant liolplessnsss, from the spinal complaint, wliioh lie eithor had or imagined ho had, touched for a timo tho softor sido of her nature. Her prido was too great to admit that she had woaried of her bargain almost as aoon as it was made, and oho found herself tied to an exacting oripplc. There being no children of this nnion, there came no ohook on ICathorine'e violent tompcr. Her dark passionnto beauty grow hard and bold in her unloving lifo with hor fretful, incapable husband. ICatherine mostly did exactly, as she liked in all things, and had been known to look her husband in his room without bis crutches if lio ventured to oriticiso or remonstrato. So long na she kept within the bounds of de cency Craven, so effeminato himself, rathor gloried in her masculiuo achievements, nnd loved to recount to any passing traveller hor latest daring on horseback or behind a toam of young horses. Sho had galloped about the country in masouline nttiro in a man's saddle. She had ridden in a ladies' raco at tho township of Berri Berri, and galloped in first with her whip and reins held in her strong white teeth while she nonchalantly fastened up her long blnok hair with both hands. She oould Blioot
with a rovoivsr or riO# as wall as most men, and once fired at a men who insulted her close enough to give him a fright, he never forgot. She was wont to Bay with a harsh ring of sar casm in hor voice whon remonstrated with on. her masouline pursuits, "AVhen two people are married surely me at thorn must ho a man. Clifford certainly isn't, so I must be 1" For a year or more ber manner had shown moro oiroumspcotion, and her mother and Basil ceased to livo on tho rugged odgo of expectation as to what might bo her next mad freak. A young man who hnd tnkon up his resl- denca with the Cr&Yong seemed to have moro oontrol over her vngaries than any one oIbo had ever succeeded in gotting. This waB Geoffrey Underwood, a contraction of Clifford Craven's, who, having got into somo serious youthful sorapos, had beon sent to Australia out of sight of his outragsd relatives with a' quarterly allowance, whioh on no pretcneo would biriuereassd. To be a " remittance man"- is to bear a stigma of contempt iu the colonies, to be n drone in tho hive where all are working bees. Underwood was by nature a loafer, and though he willingly mado himself useful to a certain oxtont on the run (whioh Cravon had called Ekaterinska in honor of his bride), he made no sustained attompt to get any permanent work or position, and oontented himself with remaining a hanger on and sponge, confidant that Cravon would never pluck up the eourego to toll him to " movo on." His eharacter was shifty and unscrupulous ; ho had a marvellous readiness of wit and re source in moments of difficulty. AVhen ho ehoso to exert himself he bad a charming manner with: women, and could qnoto poetry with the teu- dereat inflexion ; could write it too on occaqion-' with tho help of lines oribbed hero and thsro to' suit Ilia purpose. . ' His blue eyes subdued Katlierlno's fiery dark ones, and it flattered him to find that this bsau-i tiful, passionate creature came tamo and quiet to his oall like a well broken epaniol, and that, sho would give up some ohcrished plan at a murmur of disapproval from him. This benign iniluenoa was short, lived. Six. months before this date Katherine had resumed . her mad oourses and threatened to commit eui- eide if sho was interfered with. -Her brother Basil's grave, dark, young face lookod tho- reproaohes ho knew it would bo worse than useless to utter, and. at last Katherine, in an unusual fit of abjeot misery, volunteered a promise of amendment, and announced that she- would go to Sydney for a month or two to get. civilised. Six months had passed without Kathorine's return; she dolayed it on one exouso and another, but, for a wondor, wrote frequent letters with accounts of all sorts of gay doings in which ebe had been a participator, riding, ' boating, picnics, theatres, balls and parties. - Basil arranged by letter to see her whon pass ing through Sydney on his way to England: but calling at tho hotel from whonce she hod addressed her lotters he found she hnd left there : for some time, and thoy could not givo him her address. Then, nftor solemnly doolartng that she would remain in Sydney all Iter life if aha had ' to return by sea, and ordering ber husband's vohloles and horses to most her where her coaoh journey overland ended, aha liad suddenly made : her appsaranoc a week bofore she wxs expeoted, having come by sea after all. Mrs. Trsmayno pondered over tho ohhngo in hor deughtor'B plans, and net finding any pos sible solution sho conoludod that, as usual, lCathcrino'e movements had been solely dlo- tatcd by the caprioe of the moment. Basil, who was now close on 20, had left home about two months ago to go to Oxford for three years. It had been a olosely ooncealed, but very terrible, wrench for Mrs. Tromayno to i lot him go from her for so long ; she bad doferred it as long as sho possibly could, but it wns the ono premiss cxaoted from her by her : dying husband that Basil should go to New College, Oxford, where ho bad himself toiled at : a degree. A succession of highly competent tutors had conduotod Basil's education up to this point ; but their reign was now at an end, for Evelyn was to go -to school in a few days, and even ' Olga would be loaving homo to go to Moonda- hura witb Mornh Klrby, to share the governess Daniel Kirby had got for his cherished little 10- year-old only daughter. The storm hnd broken now witli a vengeance ' — with a violent thundor-olap wliioh shook tho ' low bark roofed rambling old homestead, with a rush of wind that blew out all tho lamps, and with a dolugo of rain which hissed and roared In its violence aa it swirled and eddied in minia ture rivers — the tropical storm broko over ' Oondalla Head Station with tho first rain that had gladdened the parohed soil for months. (to be continued.)