Chapter 20289886

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberPART II. I
Chapter Url
Full Date1891-02-07
Page Number267
Word Count1197
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleThe Magic Rose: A Story of Fact and Fancy
article text

The Magic Rose.


(Continued from last week.) PART II.—FANCY. CHAPTER I.-GILLIAN NEW LIFE.


Two year passed happily away in quiet Mossfield. Then Gillian lost her good grand mother, who had eared for her since she was left, at her mother's death, a helpless babe. Gillian's

father aied to tend some money to Mrs. True man, from time to time, as long as she lived, but at her death he sent for Gillian to Queens land, where he had married a seoond time. His wife bad been a widow, and she had a daughter rather older than Gillian. Down by the dear running water of Crystal Crack all was coolness and peaoe, but in the house at the top of the bank all was quite the reverse. " Who's mistress here ? You, or me? That's what I want to know," demanded a red-faced, slatternly woman in a loud, angry voioe, as she glared at the slender, shrinking form of a young girl before her. Another girl of 16 or 17, with a large flat faoe, and a rough mop of hair, sat on a table near, swinging her slipshod feet to and fro, while her small eyes glistened, and she grinned with enjoyment at the soene before her. Not reoeiving any answer, the woman continued: " If I choose that my gin shall go without her dinner till she's done her work, what right have you to give her yours? Oh, I know very well what it is! Corned beef and pumpkin isn't good enough for you. You turn up your nose at what your father an' Jemima an' me oan eat. Very fine indeed, after the slavery we have gone through to keep sending money home so that your wretched old grandmother and you could live in idleness. But I won't keep you here doing nothing, and retaking good food; Nancy shall clear back to her country, and you shall do her share of the work." The woman paused; then, altering her ton*, turned to the other girl and said: " Mima, just run and ask Dad to come here a minute." Jemima hastened off, and soon returned, accompanied by a tall man, who ap peared rather nervous and uneasy. " What's up now ?" he asked, and the woman immediately burst into a torrent of speech. When she ceased, Gillian—for Gillian it was— stepped forward, and laying her band implor ingly on her father's arm cried in a low, eager tone, " Father, do let me speak—do believe me —I am not lazy—l never have been—nor dainty; I like the plainest food ; dear Granny and I never had any other. Only, to-day, I really was not hungry, and I knew poor Nancy was" " Why couldn't you settle all this without calling me?" asked Gillian's father impa tiently. " Because it's no good what / say to your daughter; you must tell her yourself she's to shape a little better than she has done," re torted his wife. " There's been nothing but rows ever since you came," said her father to Gillian in a low, angry tone. 11 Father, let me go away, let me go to service and earn my own living. I have tried so hard to do well, and what was right as dear Grannie taught me—l have indeed; but every thing is strange, and lam so—so lonely," broke despairingly from poor Gillian. Her father was really touched, but was afraid or ashamed to show it. So, all the answer Gillian received to her piteous appeal was : " Don't talk like an idiot," and then her father hurriedly left the room. " Don't stand there like a great owl; go down to the oreek and get some water," said her step-mother angrily. Thankful to escape, Gillian procured a bucket, and hastened down the steep bank leading to the creek. There, throwing herself down on the short couch gram, she sobbed as if her heart would break. While memories of the dear, loving Grannie, and the poor, though peaceful, happy little; home at Mossfteld, thronged her brain, and her heart wildly yearned, for sympathy vfA \W\

whiflh it Memed vain, indeed, to hope for in her present life. By-and-by, however, a soothing sensation of peace and comfort came over Gillian where she lay with her face buried in her hands. She raised herself, feeling cheered and enoonraged, and as the brown, clear water ran by over the stones it sounded like a low, sweet-toned, homely voioe—like her Grannie's —and seemed to be repeating the good old lady's words: "Always think of me loving you and watching over you; and try and do right." So Gillian dried her eves and felt almost happy as she sat in the shadow of the trees which bordered the oreek, listening to the oheery, contented twitter of the birds in the branches. A flight of bright little paroquets flashed past crying shrilly in chorus, and they reminded her of Margherita's poor little bird, , which had pined away and died in spite of all her care. From the bird, Gillian's thoughts turned to the rosebud which she had put into her locket, where it had remained ever since, as she had never been able to open the locket x afterwards. Her grandmother had said that probably the spring was strained by pressing it to, over the rosebud, and had added, '"Twould be a pity to risk injuring the locket by forcing it open," to which Gillian had assented; so, from that day to this, the little ornament had kept safe and secret possession of the Italian's gift. Gillian always wore her locket, keeping it concealed under the bosom of her ragged gown, for she knew that if Jemima onoe got it into her greedy clutches she herself would never obtain possession of it again. It was chiefly through Jemima that Gillian's life was so hard to bear, for she was bitterly jealous of her step-sister's lovely face and sweet dis position, and was determined that Gillian. should be kept well out of sight, and never rank higher than a servant; while the should keep her hands white and soft, and dress well, and enjoy all the gaiety within reach. But it made her wild with hatred and envy to Me that, hi spile of every disadvantage, Gillian, in her old gown and her bare feet, appeared sweet and fair as a lily, while she herself might be likened to an unsightly weed. Gillian filled her buckets and commenced the steep, difficult ascent to the house; half way up the bank she stopped panting to res1;, and heard Jemima's voioe crying jeeringly from the summit of the bank: " Oh, I thought the poor thing had fallen in the creek and drowned her little self." But Gillian heeded not her cruel jibes, nor the abuse afterwards showered upon her by her step-mother for having tarried by the creek. The stream-voice seemed to have inspired her with courage and patience, and bidden her hope for brighter days.

[will bk continckd nixt wuk.]