Chapter 196892758

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Chapter NumberX
Chapter TitleFATHER AND DAUGHTER.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196892758
Full Date1892-09-17
Page Number37
Corrections0
Word Count2432
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLeader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918)
Trove TitleNancy. A Story of the Fifties
article text

' TALES AND SKETCHES.

NANCY. A STORY OF THE FIFTIES.

BY GEORGE GORDON MoORAE, AvJTiioii of "The Mae Is the Ikon Mask," &o.

CnAiTBit X.— Father and Daughter.

Timo rollod nloiig "on "on Bornk much In tho usual wuy. Men camo and men went. Escorts passed and repassed. The American with tho chisel beard driving tho "down" eonoh nlways nontinuod to iling ovor tho Arnolds' paling, whilo at tho top of 'his , spcod, a folded copy of tho M tahiy G ully Times

ana jioraK jiarcriiser. This used to be picked up as ofton by Nancy an by hor father. It was not much, truly, whether from n commercial or a literary point of view | bat it formed, for nil that, ono of the events 'of. the week, and to havo missed tliu papor in this latitude wns to havo lost a day. Tho round of weekly life — if one excepts the escort days, brigli toned by a vision of Mux dashing past with his booming sabre at the "carry" — was now dull as ditch water for Nnnoy. In fact llornk without Max was as flat and insipid and dreary as it would havo been to any town bred lady, or to any woman of fashion transplanted thither from Mayfair. Nancy's nature, however, was not of a morbid type, and alio found relief ill licr garden and lior hoes beyond tho ordinary household occupations; hut for all this she had coiitriiotcil a habit of Bighing, and hor various .littlo employments' woro but mcohnnicnlly carried out after tho escort had passed. Hut as time woro. on tho milioipntion of its rearrival brightened up the whole of tho prospeot, and when the oarts and tho trooperH and tho dashing young sergeant came thundering up tho mountain road, itsoomed for Nancy os if the suii wit's rising again on Borak, and tho first timo, too, for an ontiro wool; ! . John Arnold, nlways kind, was novcr a very tnlkativcman, but now, in those dnys succeeding tho return of Max to duty, ho wns more reserved thai) ever, anil appeared almost (at least Nnnoy fancied so, and women arc noted for tho shrewd ness of their gitosses) to nvoid all rcfarouca to the one subjeot ever uppermost in her mind. 1'erhnps it may have been that John Arnold, jiliilosopiior-Uko, had formed the habit of look ing ou the dark side of tho oloud with tho idoa rather' than the liopo of being agreeably dis appointed should the bright or sun smitten sido uiinnoe to present itself. Solt would liaveboonbiit 4, natural in him to avoid allusion to n tnpio possi bly fated to bring grief or disappointment to tho heart of Ids daughter ; but actuated by the best possiblo intentions as her fatlior wns, his mys terious, airs and ways did not servo in any way io onlianoo hor happiness. " Why do you always call ' somebody ' .Mr. Gay thorn, father?" It Is Nanoy who, with a souse of somothing on her mind,- is endeavoring in a favorable momont to load up to tho fateful subjeot. Nature in onu of her very oalmcst and most bonignant moods, seems to breathe in coiifldonco

as tho sun in sotting kissos tho shoulder of Mount Borak, whence stroam down tho long dork shadows projcctod from tho trunks of the withered trees. Tho smoke from tho huts and cottagos struggles gently upwards through tho goldon lingo ; blue as it crosses tho bolt of forest foliage, bnt turning to a rich brown as it mounts into the air. The drowsy " tintamnrre " of tho oloadas In tho distant treo tops, suggostivo of slumbers to oomo, falls soothingly on the ear ; nor is tho evonsong of a pair of laughing jnokasscs at a half milo rango entirely dovoid of a oertaln music of its own. Tho spell of tho sunsot hour is upon thom as they paoa. the garden walks when tho boes re turn from their wanderings, and whilo tho odor of tho parterre perfumes all tho air. Nnnoy holds hor father by tho hand while ho solemnly puffs awny at his block pipe and re marks intcrjeotionally upon tho pumpkins and water melons. "But why do you nlwayB call 'some body ' Mr. Gay thorn, father?" Two or throe mora pull's, and tho bluo smoko mounts honvenward to join tho smoko that went bnforo— then John Arnold pulls himself to- gethor ; for his "girl" (as he nlways calls hor), must havo her answer. "Well ! bcoauso Ithinkit'sbestso;byandbyo, if all goos wall, perhaps wo may drop it." " But it won't bo Mr. Gaythorne, thou, atoll, dad I you will promise to drop It, won't you, liko a door old man as you nro ?". Whothor it wns that Nanoy in tone or in action had brought hor dead mother forcibly before him, but his faaburcs relaxed, and for answer lie Btoppod ; stooped and kissed licr on tho forehead. That Nnnoy had gained hor point would have been evident to any onlooker, supposing such a porson in tho garden, from her beaming and elated eomitouunco, and tho wondrous light that enmo into licr largo and lustrous eyes. "I want yoii always to think of him as ' Max,' inst as I do. Then I shall bo happy." This is Nanoy in continuation, as, kissing tho " old man " in her turn, sho bounds into tho house to sao about supper. Chapter XI. — " Fringe. " The air in very bright and alcar ; tho sun well up in tho porfaot Australian sky. Tho bees hum contontcdly over their honey-quest in tho garden, and tho birds ohirp oheerily as thoy lop mid whirr from twig to twig in tho slirub- bory. The atmosphere is redolent of lilua blos som and tho prolonged and regular "k'sBh" of John Arnold's jack plane falls constant and smooth upon tho ear. Nanoy, with a wliito handkerchief folded across from corner to cornor, trained bonnet- wiso over her bright young head, eagerly wntahes from behind the garden gate, the only oloud visible, but it is a dnst oloud, through whoso floating particles one can by this timo discern tiic heads of men and of horses, and the beaming points of regulation sabres. When the escort (for it it tho escort she sees travelling along rapidly under tho canopy thoy havo orcatcd for themselves) is in anil halted for a few minutes, a single figure, with a regular dragoon seat, and bestriding a perfect picture of a charger, (comes cantoring gaily up the hill ; a streak of silver lightning plays against the animal's near flank, wliero tho bright scabbard struggles wildly to escnpo from tho slings, and slaps haokwnrds anil forwards with tho accelerated motion. Just time to disengage a foot from tho stirrup and leap from tho great domipiquo saddle with holsters and tho big rolled up oloak strapped up in front. Tho horse is led iusido tho gate and Max nnd Nnnoy aro once mora togther. l'rince, who is a creature to bo trusted, iB left looso upon tho grass under an old grey gum in tho garden, whore, no lie switohes oil tho flics with ilis whisking tail and rubs liislongsmaoth nose keenly ngninst his projected knee, snorts and stamps his feat alternately after tho traditional fashion of

all regular "troopers." Ho "knows his way about," and like all old oampaignors, forages as ho govs along, hut from tho intelligent glance of liis largo brown eyo rolled hack occasionally to be sure that bis master is all right, it would nlmo8t soem ns though ho renlisod tho fact that Jinx, like himself, was "in clover," and very much so. Tho sympathy of Prince witii his mnster was indisputable, and 110 better proof could be desired than his apparent delight nt being enrossed by "Nanoy, who was also vory

lilUUtl €.11. 1 xbflfJV.v VY.vl. IiltfAl 1 rftllvl) livl|JUil uilfl vnrsation a good deal, 011 the same principle that aKinall kitten or a puppy lias contributed to assist conversations or a similar character, only, of course, being a nolilo animal, in a nobler way ; besides, bo it remarked, the sheltering and arching neck of Prince afforded Mux a golden opportunity (not likely to bo neglected) of salut ing liis lianctic, more majorum—nnil perhaps not tiio first ohnrger's neck and erest that performed a Himilnr service for n son of blurs under similar iliiilcultics. Tho "k'ssh" of the jack plsno dying away, Jinx and Nanoy " stood to their arms " to resolve John Arnold, who came swinging up tho garden walk with liis right hand extended in token of nbsoiuto welcome. " What iicivs, Mister Max?" " Well !" said Nancy to herself, with a decided mout', "/I lister Mux is bettor tlmn no Max nt nil ; besides, dad wns always shy about making a beginning with nnyliody." " Thoy nro going to shift me, I iionr ; and if it is, then goud-hyo to tho escort sorvico, whtok I have como to like. I nm, ns it is whispered, to 'have charge;' but after all, thcro is more of the policeman about it and loss of the dragoon than at present, and I shall he a good 30 miles farther north limn Borak, and instoad of pass ing every week, I shall only bo ablo to csonpu at intervals to conic over to Borak — lint than what is 30 miles ? Why, at 30 miles ill those out of the world parts people oount for neighbors. Next week I expect it will he Forth who will take the of oort, A fine fellow nuil a liandsomo, so Nanco, beware !" Charter XII.— Was he Ai.ways a Oar. tenter ? " Christmas is coming nnd so is onr letter ; it won't ho so very long, you know, to wait for neither, and then !" Tims says Max as ho lends out Prince to the front. "And mind yon write from the new station and tell mo everything tho letter says ns soon as you get it." This, ns we may readily guess for ourselvos, is Nauoy, who, woman like, is apt to have tho Inst word. , Prince, impationt to be oil, ourvets nnd dances about joyously, whilo Max, sitting him with all tho " abandon " of a light cavalry man, odgos him up towards the gate for one inoro faro- W John Arnold, who lias Hitherto kept in the baokgronnil, hero marohcB up behind Nanoy, and, laying onu hand affectionately on her shouldor, waves an ndien with the other to tho tall, upright figuro in tho saddle in front of thom, and now urging on Prinoe to a stoady '""What nro you thinking of, father?" "Of that ono touoh of nature, Nanco, which makes tho' whole world akin. Sho was your very image, Nance, and at your very timo of life, too, wlion I partod from hor just liko this — tho Inst timo before our marriage— therefore, my littlo girl will not ho surprised to know that I can put myself in hor Max s place at last."

Nnnoy's heart was far too full for words, but John . Arnold . knew from tho pressure of hor hand upon his arm all sho folt. They walked book together towards tho house, but turned down tho long path lending into the orohn rd. It was somo timo before either spoke, liiit tho silence this timo was broken by Nancy. "Yon loved mothor ever so mnoh then," Gould not tell you how much. And alio ? Yes 1 And yet I nover was tho handsome fellow to, look at that your Max is, ami I never woro a uniform of any sort or description in all my days. When people really lovo oaoh other tlicy don't think too mnoh of flno clothes or appear ance. Yot If I had como to yonr mother on a grand ohargor, with sword nnd bolt and spurs on, and that gay, careless air that every whero marks the soldier, I am not sure bnt that she might havo felt . another sort of enthusiasm for mo altogether, and I might, you know, have worn tho Qucon's olotli just tho same as any other man. " " So you might, fatlior, and why didn't you ? Bat, jfou were not always a carpenter, father, werejf oil ?" " fvhy do you nsk such a strango qncstion, Nanoo? You nevor remembered mo anything also." "I know I novor did, but I have often thought about it for all that," " Thought what, Nauoo ?'' " That you only mado yonrsolf a carpenter after you camo' out to Austialia hero." " I was always a pretty fair oarpontor, evon in England." " Yos, but you did not oall yourself ono thon, did you ?" " If I had it would have boon vanity on my part, for I hod never been bo muoh as ap prenticed.'.' " Then you did, mako yourself ono aftor you oaiho to Borak ?" ' " Yos, now you havo hit the nail proporly on tho head this time. In Australiapooplchavcto turn their hands to anything ntul to everything. I wns always from tho very llrst fond of con struction, and carpontry, which I tool: up originally by way of amusement, beenmo my living in tho ond. It bought us this piece of ground, it put thntold gray roof over our heads, and it continues to pay for ail wo cat nnd drink, and wear, and putB mouey into tho bank ns well ; so you see we owe a lot to tho old box of tools in tho workshop over thoro nnd " " To tho strong arms nnd tho clover contriving head of " " Nanoy ! don't flatter, you nevor loomed that from me, nor from your mothor, neither." " No I bat you ought to have boon a gentio- man, with a flno house and servants of your own." "Happier as I am, my dear ; bnt my father was ono for nil that I am a oarpontor. Now, you will see how it is that I am not sorry to Intro Jinx to bo your husband ono day. Max is a gentleman born nnd bred, you will understand oacli other, and it is a great joy to mo to think that my little girl is not for any, not oven for the very host, of our young mou of Borak. (to re continued.)