|Newspaper Title||Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918)|
|Trove Title||Nancy. A Story of the Fifties|
TALES AND SKETCHES.
NANCY. A STORY OF THE FIFTIES.
B tub Author of "The Man In the Iron Mask."
A long, straggling, up-oountry township, which seems to have fallen nslcop In trying to drag Itsolf ooross tho bare anil sloping flank of the ranse.
So quiet is it— this dull grey little hamlot of ours, with its weary, trailing, irrogular, one sided street, that Gcelong oven, in one of her more ponsivo momouts, might woll indulgo a passing pang of jealousy in the contemplation of so tmtoh absolute repose. y From tho general store— at tho great business corner of the future— which greets the travcllor on his first entry into Borak to the inn or lifitel (hdtol with a vory big ciroumflcx to suit the latitude), and known a the "Borak;" and right up past the police station and tho wooden chupcl to the blaohsmith'o forge at tho end there is nothing in particular to arrest atten tion. Stores, huts and houses all of tho ono old- fashioned bush type ; .slab or weatherboard, weatherboard and piaster, slab anil dab, Jtc., oomo covered in with shingles, but most roofed with sheets of- bark, <8teadiod, secundum artem , with heavy frames of peeled saplings rudely pegged together with tree nails. Yet there is ono house hero which has not only shutters, but regular doors and windows too— windows with real panes of glass in them, that wink nt yoii in tho westering sunshino wbilo you go cantering lazily past, as muoli as to Bay : "Hore we. arc, and not so. bad for Borak neither, though it's only a. bark roof that's above uanftorall." In rear of this othorwiso unpre tending edifice stretches down towards tho bed of a waterless creek ono of those homely, old time gardens, which delighted equally tho soul of tho artist and of tho pioneer. A good practical kitchen garden this ono, the cabbages forming tho moat conspicuous (the grcon) cloment ; but three broad, dark crimson bauds of beet bring about a color contrast, the effect in nil probability accidental, but really quite an good as if studiously thought out and artistically prearranged Peas and beans swarm up the grey barked ti- tree slicks lent to them for the season's support, and monster pumpkins, marrows and water molons sprawl and trail across the paths, and even olftmber, spite their weighty fruitago, quite half way up the low stone dyke that encloses All. The soil is virgin ; benee theso pumpkins, gourds and melons, the liko of whioh shall never bo known in the gardens of the artificial and highly olvilised future; nor such flowers neither, for the old fashioned Brompton stocks, tho wall flowers, the sweet peaB, tho mignonette and the French marigolds, were never to be seen nor sinelt in rarer perfection or in sweeter comhino- 1 tion anywhere elso on tho faco of . tho wide world. Behind this fragrant garden expands a verit able orchard, with sturdy standard trees, apple, peach, pear, cherry and plum; a delicious little enclosure, pleasant and ' 4 eyo sweet " from end to ond ; the walks formal and straight but not too well weeded, and at the far extremity of the central one, next the northern wall and beneath a group of lilacs, aro a few bee hives, or rather boo boxes ; while, batweon tho garden and the house— though without any dividing fcnco what ever— Is a spacious yard boasting a stable, a tool house, an extra big griudstouo and an old headless cask, whioh lattor, now lying habitually on Us side, fulfils tho destiny of its latter days as a dog konnel Lastly, a neatly hollowed out log mounted on two short stumps makes a suffi ciently picturesque horso trough. Outside, far and away beyond all this little property, arc the oleared surfaocs of tho Mount Borah Biddings which, liko the neglected cheeks and chin of soifto aged gaffor who has abjured shaving for a week or more, present numerous whito stumps sticking out aggrossively in nil directions. In Borak, as elsewhere in Australia, t the axes of tho early settlors lmvo been but too liberally excroised ; whether in ringing the great trees as they stood, or in felling whole iicca tombs of saplings. . . ... And it was not entirely for what thoy used ; sinco nine-tenths (perhaps) of the timber ringed, barked, hacked about and left to blenoh in tho suns and winds v of Huccessivo seasons lmvo never been used at all. llorak has lot in tho sun upon her. .She has courted tho cast wind. She has made a gigantic olearing. A wilderness, absolutely, and I now tho Borak folks complain that the place is H bare and wrotcliedly oxposed,' hot In summer, B bitterly cold during tho wiatei mouths, gl generally deficient in rainfall, and yet, RF 4. iniralile et miscrabilc) dictu, a very' nursery |v for ihoumatism ! I old Borak uttorly forgets to whose axes tuc ucplorablo change is due ; whilo she sits and signs, and continues to sigh for tho still, warm, clear days of tho first settlement and the aro matic myrtle fragrance of tho primeval box tree Tangos. Tho whitened trunkB of tho standing trees of to-day, and tho whito and prostrate logs in the clearing, if ghastly by daylight, bccomo doubly so as night ndvanoes, when tho moon, like a terror Btrickcn fugitive, plunges despairingly into the numbered masses of drifting cloud, and only emerges again to reflect her death liko pallor on the scone below ; whon tho dingo, forsaking his solitary lair, distracts tho eohocs of thcglen with £r ' Tloly bowlings ; and the far away wbistlo of tho homing swans scema to reach us
from tho stars : Australians all can appreciate nights suoh as these, whon tho strident and quftvonng cry of tho spurwing blends strangely with tho prolonged drono of tho great ground crioket, and tho pitoous plaint of tho mopeliawk. poured forth from his stand on tho broken limb of a withered gum, brings some touch of sadness to tho hearts of the station children. It is on nights like thoue that the Borak mountain s side becomes as one vast conclavo of snooted ghosts and pallid apparitions ; and lot no stranger smtlo inerodulously ; since for a weird, ercopy and uncanny effect thero is nothing to surpaes the whitened remains of a withered eucalyptus forest, viBitcd by tho fit ful glimpses of an Australian moon. Borak Creek, a rushing and dangerous torrent in wintor, is little moro than a chain of ponds in tho autumn. In summer every drop of water has evapo rated and joined the clouds. Tho creek at such timo is dry from its source among tho grey and lichened boulders in the fragrant fern gully between two spurs of tho mountain, and right down to its mysterious and indefinable termination in the dense ti-treo scrub at the bottom of tho Borak Valloy. Borak Crcok bears an evil nnrae ; a sinister cloud scorns to follow it in all its wandorings and windings ; it has a story of its own ; some small fiortlon whereof at least may be biought to ight as the succeeding chapters unroll them- . selves bofore you. Chapter L— She. She is just 18 and motherless ; neither dark nor fair, her oyes, largo and groy, nro luminous and honest. Her nose (to spoak by tho card), not too long, nor yet in any way too thin, is a vory comely feature, and, not Grcoian nor yet Roman, but Australian ; moulded on an English model; is a good ono of the ordinary typo, straight aho ; well pro portioned and thoroughly characteristic of the owner. Tho lips, full, and coral red, are firmly and olearly outlined, while the teeth, white and rogular, arc simply perfection — without being tall, she has a roally charming figuro ; and her feet and hands (which match each other well) aro of sensible largcnoss anil a perfeot contour. Her costume, generally speaking, a simple "print," well out, and neatly mado up, suits the .nweot shape exactly, just in fact as an apt measure properly subserves a true poem ; and she is in herself ono of tho truost of poems, just as she is one of the truest of women ; the poetry dorivod mostly from her own immediate sur roundings ; from tho bluo " lift" of tho arching sky, from the imperial purple of the hills, the rosy and golden glories of daydawn and sunsot ; the wordless witchery of tho moon ; tho silent pleadings of tho stars, and tho " swcot wranglo " of tho birds in the brake ; an education sans task work, sans struggle, sans emulation ; and, with nature only for her tcaoher ; it was thus that she matriculated. It was to her father that the house with tho windows and garden belonged, and it was there that sho bad lived with that father from 12 years of ago up to womanhood. Boyoud her father and herself there was no living crenturo under tho bark roof, unless we count a great black cat, whioh having attached himself to their fortunes some years ago, scmcd now to have ended in adopting them as his own and giving them houso room. Tho warmost corner in tho ingle nook, the softest cushion on the couch under the window in tho afternoon sun, and the positive possession of a certain embroidered footstool. . . . All werehiB; "Darkio" had in fact grown to be acknowledged qb part and parcel of tho establish ment, and having a property in it became remarkably consorvativo of all bis rights and privileges. The furnituro was of a solid ond serviceable type, and the large front room waB diningroom and sitting room both. What UBcd to be called n "colonial sofa" occupied the spaoo between tho two front windows ; by the fireside stood a capacious armchair ; in tho middlo a table that would scat eight persons; a few strong chairs complotcd tho equipment, unless wo mention a sort of oupboard on eaoh side of the fireplace, surmounted by bookcases with glazed fronts, and woll filled. On the ohimnoy piece several oddities and quaint looking "curios" figured; for John Arnold was a collector as well a s a great reader, and whenever ho could manage it, whether on a fine Saturday or Sunday, ho was fond of a prowl by tho creek, or up the spur, or sometimes to the Fern Gully, whence ho never forgot to bring homo Borne musk or sassafras for Nanoy, or a quartz crystal, or porlmps a bird's nest, or the cast skin of a snake. John was fondof natural history, and ro was his girl, and this formed ono of tho already many bonds between them. John Arnold, besides being n working carpen ter and small proprietor, was also a charaoter. A man of pronounced views, well read, and though comparatively untravclled, a man 'of large sympathies and humanitarian in his ideas. His appearanoo belied his disposition, for al though of Bomcwlmt stern exterior ond unim- puloivc in manner, he was really tender-hearted and always retained the warmest affeotion for the memory of his wife, whom he had lost quite six years at tho timo this present story of ours commences. John Arnold's wife was well known on Bornk in her day, not so much for a notable housekeeper as for a woman largely respcctod among - her neighbors and friends, who spared no pains in the bringing up of the little girl wIiobo name stands on the titlo pngo of this story. In six yoars timo Nancy had grown from & girl into & woman, and than Nancy Arnold there was no prettier, no bettor favored, maiden In all Borak, nor for miles around. Sho had attraotcd the attention of youth after youth in the township and its onvirons, but Nnnoy'e hoart remainod unscathed, and without citing again her warm affection for her father, it should be told that John Arnold was not tho man to encourage any followers or h&ngori-on about his promises. Ho and she lived most of their timo at home in the old house and garden that thoy loved so mucin Occasionally they would visit a neigh bor in the evenings, but it was far more common to find them entertaining a fow of theso at homo after a quiet and nensiblo fashion. John was a good talker, spoko pleasantly and shrewdly on a largo variety of subjects, and though no story teller himsolf, thoroughly enjoyed a good yarn. Thoro were two or tliroo men "on" Borak who lmd unconsciously developed "yarning" into a fine art, and when ono or two of these brave fellows happened to bo present thero was no morrier nar oetter company to be found that that whioh included thom with 41 tho Arnolds " and other friends, for Nancy would always have somo of the Borak girls to put the finish to theso merry ovonings. So the presence of Nancy and the girl's companions, backed up by tho graver influence of John Arnold, acted like the governor of a steam engine, a gently restraining, unassertive force, sufficient to keep the glow of humor within proper bounds ; just that and nothing moro. Borak was not un celebrated for strong language of an ugly type, but the blood holtorcd " argot" of an up country township found no entry hero, nor for that matter did liquor of any sort or description, though John Arnold was himsolf no teetotaller. Tobucoo, however, enjoyed tho freedom of the
house, and tho visitors smokod contcntodly and in Bilenco as thoy listened to tho songs or tho yarns or watohod tho games of tho young folks. Chapter II.— "He." Lifo "on" Borak was comparatively slow — the principal and most looked for ovents woro whon Cobb's big red coaob, drawn by four grand horsos and driven by an American Jehu in a ohisol beard, drew up at tho village post ollice, when the passengers adjourned en masse to tho Borak Hotol, and when all tho little boys and girls in Borak turned out to view tho mud aplasliod equipagn and tho smoking horses, whose flanks were heaving up and down like tho loathors of a blnoksmith's bellows, after the? r stiff trot up hill. Or, when issuing from tho midst of a dust oloud at a turn of the mountain road, the gold escort, with its carts and drivers and advance and rear guards, and troopers on cither side, with sabres drawn and pistols in their holsters, carao clattoring into Borak. This occasion was over novo, ever exciting, Tho sharp clear word of command from tho csoort officers, tho jinglo of spur rowels, the crank of tho stool scabbards against tho ohargors' flanks, tho snorting and pawing of tlio horses themselves, and the rattle of the chain bridoons and bits as somo ono or other of tho pawing animals would cough or shudder and shako up his Baddlcry and caparisons genoraily, with the suddenness and energy of a young earthquake. Thon, as a matter of course, the troopers themselves, and tho dashing young ser geant in ohnrgc, came in for their fair slmro of admiration. At such times all Borak would turn out, womon and hoys and girls, in every door way; bosides, tiny girls and boys woro vory muoh en evidence, getting as oloso in to tho wheels of the esoort waggons, and as much among tho horsos' foot, as seemed consistent with thoir ideas of personal safety. The sergeant who 44 ran " tho escort (eratwlulo an onsign in tho line) was a hoaltby, well luiilt, handsome young follow, moderately tali, of athlotio proportions and English in every re spect. Brown from exposure to tho weather, gifted with a pair of the wickodest bluo eyes imagin able, a hno set of tceLh and a neatly trimmed mouRtaohc, it is not to bo wondered at if the Borak maidens woro to a girl prepossessed in his favor. Max Gaythorno had on previous occasions seen the Arnolds, and had drank in from their garden in passing ever so many swcot reminders of "home." . . John Arnold did not trouble himself over muoh about escort day — ho generally had an axe to grind, and sometimes in a literal a8 well as a metaphorical sense. But Nnnoy now always scorned to experience ou the return of these days somothing akin to | what Longfellow had so fcolingly described where ho sings of the fragrant wiuo in the cask becoming agitated on tho approaoh of tho spring, when tho first blossoms begin to appear upon tho vino. In brief Nnnoy, though without knowing it, lmd found her " fato ;" and Mnx, almost oqually without being positively aware of tho fact, had irrevocably lost his heart to Nancy. The beginnings of affairs suoh as these, often obsourcly indicated, aro not always oasy to trace up to their original sources, but Mux, wiio had novor as yet spoken to, nor indeed even ex changed salutations with, Nanoy, seemed (as ho looked back on moro recent events) to fix on a certain summer morning in November. Galloping then, down tho main, the one, street of Bor<, amid his olattcring files of troopers, he saw through a rift in tho dust oloud en veloping tho whole cavalcado tho faco of a lovely girl regarding the esoort from behind a garden gate. Now, to a young man far from home, exiled from rogular society and shut out perforce from most of tho amenities of life, it is not surprising to find him in a case liko this smitten severely ; but this is how ho camo to be &ure of it. Ho had ridden through other townships the Name morning in the midst of his dusb cloud, enjoying the gallop amazingly, casting a proudly approving, as woll as a critical, glance oc casionally at tho smart "turn out" of his small troop and humming a tuno to the gaily marked cadence of tho hoofs of the horses on tho hard road, yet he did not dream of any thing beyond 44 making" Borak at suoh an hour —spelling thero so long and on again. But as he rides past tho Arnolds, lo I lie becomes suddenly conscious of a dusty uniform and belts, a grimy faoo and a small patoh of mud in the corner of eaoh eyo. A man, especially a young mnn, and vory especially a 41 trooper," loves to look his best and IiIb brightest in the presence of beauty, and is oxtremuly apt to bo fastidious as to appoaranceB whon such a happy occasion ariaoa ; so, whon Max had halted the escort right in front of the Borak Police Station and given the word to 44 dismount," lio felt as ho disengaged his right foot from the stirrup and flung himsolf lightly out of tho snddlQ the very dirtiest and most disreputable trooper in tho ontiro service. ' Ho had often bofore, in passing tho Arnolds houso, cftBt nn admiring glance over his bolted shoulder at Nancy standing in tho garden. But this time, as ho did so again, ho felt that ho looked liko a sweep, and blushed up to tho roots of his hair. . . . And thus it oamo to pass that ho know himself in love. Perhaps ho fell in lovo with Nanoy weeks ago, and "at first sight," too. If so, then it must havo 14 grown upon him sinco," and this one particu larly bright but dusty November morning bad simply witnessed the culmination. One docs not expect too muoh philosophy in the young sabrour that bestrides n troop liorio ; but Mnx had mado a very fair shot, and was about as soar tho groat contral truth, after bis own rulo of thumb fashion, as would have bcon tho moro regular logioi&n with his com plete armory of predicates and syllogisms, and that, too, more rapidly. And Nnuoy I— With her all was different ; sho saw bofore bcr the gay young trooper, in her eyes a perfoot hero ! bub was entirely blind to tlio general dustiness of tho uniform and ac coutrements. Love and Justice are both represented witli the oyes bandagod, but Love, who was a rogue from the beginning, pushod up tho bandage from one eye so as to miss nothing. So, when tho ardent young trooper gathered up his reins in his left baiul over tho saddle bow, and camo off his horse with a grace fully arching leap, she felt — ye?, sho had novor road Othello, but tho Shakspoarian idea was thero already in that pretty and well balnnccd head of hers, half hidden away among the tobcs behind tho gate— 44 Sho would that heaven had made hor suoh a man." Mutually ignorant of eaoh otbor's feelings at this moment, both theso young people woro madly in love with eaoh other. Chatter III.— Common Talk. Mrs. Downes, of tho Borak general store, prcsontly engaged in putting up a parcel for John Thomsou (the know-all of tho village), re marks as follows, between tho folding of the brown paper and tlio tying and snapping of tho string:— ,4A policeman, ono would think, ishardly what Mr. Arnold would expeot for bis daughter, but as tho world grows older it gets madder to my thinking, and even elderly folks begin to go off their heads. What would you say now, Mr. Thomson, to Sergeant Gaytborn visiting at the
Arnolds, going and coming like ono of tho family? Why I it looks liko tho end of tho world coming." " And why not, Mrs. Downes? Mr. Arnold should bo free to chooso his own ooinpany, and tho young mnn, yon know, is respectable. Ser geant Jones at tho station tolls mo he was once an oflloor in tho regular army." " There now, I told you so," rejoins Mrs. Downes, with a blaze of triumph In hor oyo (she had only ono) and her cap very muoh on ono side. "You may dopend upon It, then, ho loft in someawful scrape, or worse. Just you wait till he's found out, that's all. For my own part I never could onduto a soldier, and those horse police and tho sailors are just as bad. Sooner I d sec a girl of mine, if I had ono, screwed clown in her oofiin than tied to ono of those creatures." "Exactly, Mrs. Downes," Interpolated John Thomson, 44 but wo must have some evidence first. When John Thomson said 14 exactly," it meant a whole world ; for John Thomson, being both a Scotsinnn and a shoemaker, was therefore an oraclo. Another customer coming in at this juncture, Mrs. Downey's mind, at no time capablo of easily entertaining moro than ono idoa at the same moment, became so utterly involved in a (juoHtion of pounds, shillings and pence as affeot- ing the prico of certain boxes of soap that John Thomson, taking his brown paper paroel uudor Ins arm, took his leavo at tlio same moment and proceeded homewards. Mnx and Nancy were beginning to bo talked about, and talkod about together already, and it was certainly duo to no fault of Mrs. Downes if who did not dress up her ideas on tho subject in forms of kaleidoscopic variety to suit tho m.3t exacting tastes of her usual Saturday mght s oustoraors. Borak was, uftorall, butapiccanniny township; it had no mayor, no common council men, not a road board oven ; no nothing savo a polico Station and a 44pouud;"| again, it had no politics, unless wo except suoh politics as tho odltor of tho Muddy Qully Times chose to inflict on tho rural reader onoo a week, and then on Saturdays only. Now, where there aro village folks not too fully employed, and no politics, there must be, as a matter of necessity, some sort of safoty valve whereby to lot off tho superfluous steam, in tho shape of gossip, nnd as what is nobody's business is roally every body 'o business, it soon camo to this In Borak, that every soul in the long street, from the general storo to tho bar of the Borak Hotol, and so right on to tho ultima thulc of the black smith's at the upper end, know moro about Maxs and Nnnoy's affairs than did Max and Nanoy thomsolvos, or even John Arnold, who was held to be as guilty, or at all ovents as foolish, as either. Chapter IV.— Per Aspera ad Ardua. Max's visitH to John Arnold's wero as briof as they wero fitful, for it is not by any means an easy thing for a man in hiB position to get a lengthened leavo. Tho oscort must keep tho road so long as tlio commissioners woll guarded tonton tho "Flat " and tho Molbourno Treasury stand where thoy do, at the opposito poles of the journey, and so long as tho bags of nuggets oamo rolling in, and the diggers continue anxious for tho safo custody of thoir treasure. Annccident, sufficiently nnnoyingandirritating in its way to a young man who loves the open air, constant motion and change of scene, happens to Max, who gets his left arm broken in two places by a kick from a fractious horse. Thisisat the Richmond Barracks, out away among the gum trees in tho hig Polico Paddock, boyoud Mr. Latrabe'x. It is Max's bridle aim too ! He has therefore practically to go into hospital, or per haps, to put it bettor, he stops in barracks, and attends the surgery in the mornings to have his splints and bandages looked to. When this unlucky arm of his was tairly set, but as yet too tender tooontrol the curb andsnafflo of a pawing ohnrgor, Mnx npplied for, and obtained, a few days' leave of absence, to go to the country on privato affairs. One scarcely requires to be a diviner to predict that it was to Bornk that our young sergeant betook himself. King Cobb did not profit by his misfortune neither; but boing a man in tho force, ho got a paBsago up in tho old escort cart, itbeing of course understood that he should return by coach as booh as his furlough should have expired. Max had taken the precaution to write to John Thomson, whom he bad known and como to liko during his various halts at tho Borak station, and it being arranged that honest John Thomson should givo him a "shake-down" for a few nights, Max lost no timo in reporting himself at the rcsidouoo of the 44 Oracle," in the main street of the village. The journey, rapid as usual, had been exhila rating as champagno while the cavalcado clattered along on its way, but -the bumping ovor the inequalitioB of tho road reminded Max that he was after all merely mortal, and recalled him from dreams of a paradiso ahead by tho occasional twinges of pain in his recently sot arm. Tho escort had dropped him at tho police station, and after a brief stay forged ahead, leaving him with nil good wishes, not unminglcd with a certain araouut of merry 41 chaff," to his own devioes. It is deep 1' tho afternoon 44 on" Borak. .... Two bravo little souls in Bun bonnets and bare feet are toddling up tbo dusty road towards the forge. These are the blacksmith's twins. . . . Max gives thom a ohcery saluto in passing, while thoy, for their part, turn to st&ro at his sling supported and disabled bridle arm. Next comes shambling along on his broadsoled bare platter feet, wearing n oast off and crushed tall hat, and evidontly 44 tho worse for liquor," "Cabbawn-Billy," tho soi-dit 44 king" of a somewhat mythical tribe, followed, at a (ro spcotful) distanco, by a wretched looking lubra with a yam stick nnd two half starvod dogs be hind her. Thoy aro heading (all of them) for the public house, where soon the brazen gorget inscribed 44 King Billy " is to act as an 44 Open, Sesame !" and a guarantee, for no one can toll how many cloomosynary drinks His Majesty "halts and fronts" to domand 44 whito monoy," but Max at once moves off tho Bturdy beggar, who replies with a very whito oath of a sanguinary olinraoter, and resumes the erratio tenor of his way. Mnx passos nnd salutos various bowing nc qunintanoos, but stops to converse with nono. Ho is in 44 private olothes;" most umistako ably a military man in mufti, but that military man 44 a gentleman all over." There are the woll known window panes winking in tho afternoon sun ; the odor of mig nonotto and wallflowor pcrmeatos tho air, whilo tho drowsy nnd contented hymning of tho bcos tolls of the honey treasuiios at the end of tho long walk opposite Nanoy's window ; nnd the prolonged aucl sibilant k'ssli of a jaok plane issuing from a shed somewhere at tho bnok told hiin that John Arnold was ocoupyiug him self with some domestio oaipontry. Max, not obtaining any response to his knook at the open door which let tho evening sunshine into the house, strolled round to tho back by tho side walk, brushing as ho passed along against somo tall sunflowers whoso broad golden discs he
left swinging find swaying in mid air behind him. John pauses In tho middle of & long sonorous k'ssh, lifts his piano, oomcs down again upon tho edgo of tho board with tho heel of the instru ment and completes tho stroke, whon laying it down on its stdo on the bcuoh ho steps out with nn exolaination of plcasuro towards Max, and extending his right hand weloomes him with a hearty grip. And how do you find yourself by this timo Mr. Gaythoru. Thomson told us all about that accident of yours and how you were ooming up to him for a few days to recruit. It's an ill wind, as you know, rojoinsMnx, that blows nobody nny good. If it had not been for that awkward Bm&sh of mine I don't think I could bavo managed nny furlough this year. But how are you nil in Borak? One need not ask : how you arc, you look so muoh tho picture of' health ; but how is Miss Arnold ? I was not fortunate enough to see lici as I camo in, but I found her old friend "Darkio" lying in tho doorway in tho afternoon sun, sound nslocp upon his post. 44 Which waydidyoucomoup? .... What, straight from the police station? Then you must have missed Nancy only by n few minutes. ' She went out a iittlo lieforu you arrived, hut as sho has only to call at tho store, it cannot ho long beforo she is back now. Sit down on tho box there, and (k'ssh) take a rosfc. Thone conches (k'ssli) always knock mo up (k'ssh) moro than walking." Hero John Arnold, who was sccrotly admiring tho manly figuro of Max, npc«ded his plane, ' took a hammer, struok it on the butt to looen the wedge, after which, adjusting tho tongue, lie brought ono end tip to his oyo, glanced along, it oritically, and, after ono further top of the hammer, resumed his talk, which was freely Interpolated with k'shh'sand long graceful curls' of Bhnvings as ho proceeded. . It would have been rudo to have loft his kind entertainer so suddenly, and it might have mndo Nanoy common talk hod ho cniricd n floating, idea into exeoution. But his thought was to' stroll down towards the storo, surprise Nancy coming out, and bring her homo, having a long talk by tho way. But the wish had scnrcoiy been formed when Darkle wakened up, stretched himself, yiwncd, showed his arching red tonguo after the fashion of his tiibe, and trotted out to tho gate to greet a coming footstep. Tho old clock in tho pnsBago beat a calm, equable tic-tao as tho pendulum swung backwards and for wards, never accelerating the motion in the slightest degree, and in marked contrast with the pulse of the brave Max, which now was almost audible to himself. . 44 Ah," cried John, 44 that's Nanoy's foot, any how I " And flinging his piano aside, and jerk- , ing the string of his working apron carelessly towards him with his thumb, had it off in at\ Instant and thrown over the end of the beuoh. (to be continued.)