Chapter 20711174

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Chapter NumberXXI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20711174
Full Date1881-11-19
Page Number649
Corrections0
Word Count5218
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleGathered In
article text

The Storyteller.

Gathered In.

CHAPTER XXI.

DAVID HENDERSON'S SCHEME.

BY CAATHERINE HELEN SPENCE, Author of "Clara Morison," "Mr. Hogarth's Will," "Hugh Lindsay's Guest," &c.

WHEN ke[?]eth Oswald, with his new-found [?] the drawing-room with Mr. Gray [?]nd a very different sort of [?] from what had struck his

astonished sight m his aunt's glaring room. Everything waa soft and harmonious in;colour ing; there waa enough of furniture, Jiut still enough of room to move about, or group" together in conversation; and when the two elegant young women, dressed in perfect taste, took "their seats at a little work table, under the softened light of a shaded lamp, the whole apartmftnt seemed such a suitable framing for their^grace and beauty that he could fix on no npstfoular point for admiration, the whole Wai so eminently satisfactory. The room was* one that was lived in; there wer* books qb table, and traces of women's work fib be Been ; Mr. Gray's newspaper, and the magazine he had been cutting the leaves of lay close to bis particular easy chair ; and the open piano awaited Mrs. Ellerton'B fingers, to go on again where she had left off to attend worship in the men's dining-room. Mr. Ellerton and Walter Qray came out of the billiard-room when they heard the return of the party. They had been rather eager to ask about the service, but when they heard the voice and saw the face of David Hendergon they recognised the principal performer, and only ventured on the customary greetings of civility to him and to Kenneth. "You should have been all with us," said Edith ; " you would have been surprised at the effect which Mr. Henderson had over us aIL I do not merely speak for myself or Sybil. The most ignorant men there were carried away by what he said to us and for us." " Singular that people on such different levels nhould have been similarly impressed," said Mr. Ellerton, with an almost imperceptible sneer. " Not similarly, by no means similarly," said David Henderson, " but, if we could go back to a simpler looking at the great facts of history and of life, I think every one would find them somewhat vivifying to himself, or herself, as the case might be. This young lady would put what she heard from me into a very different frame work from what Donald the Highland shepherd could do, and, if she tried to reproduce it, it would be much more accurately and vividly told ; but Donald has got something too. One never knows what good you may do when you do your best" " You took a sort of liberty with the sacred text in introducing the solitary watcher at the door," said Mr. Qray. " I think I see your reason," said Edith. " You wished to put each of ua into the attitude of that solitary loving watcher ; you wanted us to be watching every sound, to be listening for every footfall, to feel the impeudiug danger, to ap preciate the combination of circumstances which the Saviour understood but rose superior to." " And perhaps," said Kenneth, "you wished us to value more the divine discourses which the watcher was straining his ears to catch, and to feel our share in their promises and their en couragements." " Not only these reasons, which you are right in saying actuated me," said David Henderson, " but I always want to know the future history • The sole right to publish " Gathered In" in Queens land has been secured by the yroprietors of the Qucmt' lander.

of those obscure and unnamed men sod women who were witnesses of that divine life and death. Thoae who 'marvelled and went their way;' those ' devout women, not a few, who ministered to 01* Lord of their substance,' even the nine thankleaa lepers who were cleansed. Would not gratitude come into their hearts by-and-by) I've often notioed a man accept a kindness with a gruff manner that made you think it an offence, and yet he was not altogether as he appeared." Well, if you took some little liberties with the text, especially in the matter of Judas— whioh to me is open to doubt—the beliefs of sixty years or more are not overthrown so easily ; you interested us all, and after all that is the main point," said Mr. Gray. " But," eaid Edith," I want to know, and lam sure my father wants to know, what speoial objeot you have at heart, wbioh it would be open to us to further, either by money, by influence, or personal effort, or by all three." Mr. Ellerton exchanged a glance with the younger Gray. " Always subscriptions ; no escape for the rich squatter," thought he. " It may not do so much as I would fain hope, but it would certainly do something. I should like to see a Bushman's Club established in Melbourne, like what they have got at work in Adelaide, where station hands and shearers could get comfortable board and lodging, and the pleasure of each other's society, and a little innocent amusement, at reasonable prices, free from the curse of drink, and the other dangers of low life in town." " There has been some talk about such a oiub," said Mr. Gray, " but it came to nothing." "It came to something in Adelaide," said David Henderson. "It was started there by an enthusiast, who put his whole boul into it, and got the station hands as well as their masters to co-operate ia the attempt, and not merely collected the sub scriptions, but himself organised and carried out the thing," said Mr. Gray. "Yes," said Edith, "in order to succeed in any new or difficult undertaking, first catch your enthusiast. And here we have him I Is not this the work you feel called to do, Mr. Header* son?" " To urge ita being done, to give all the powers I possess to stir up others to action, but not to carry It out as 'William* has done in Adelaide." "He too was a bush missionary," said Edith, "and won his way to the hearts of all classes preparatory to this work." " And now rests in it, whioh I could not do. Nobody could manage such an establishment worse than I should do. I don't care what I aat or drink, or how I sleep, and might neglect the comfort of my inmates. lam a fool about money matters, and should not keep correct accounts. I believe everybody, and should be cheated by my tradespeople. I need no amusement, care for ao excitement, and find it hard to enter into the feelings of fellows who have been leading a monotonous life for a year, and want something vivid and startling for a ohange. I am just the sort of man who would bring discredit on the best scheme that could be adopted, by my faulty administration. And, besides, woe is me if I preach not the gospel! Let others serve tables —I have found my work." Edith, though at first a little disappointed at the rejection of her brilliant proposal, felt that it would be a misplacing of the missionary to set him at the head of even a perfectly organised Bushman's Home. " But, Mr. Henderson," said Walter Gray, « a Bushman's Club in Melbourne would not really meet the want. It is only the best of our men who get so far to spend their money. The bulk of those you want to rescue go to the nearest public-house, or to the nearest township. Castle hurst is one fatal stopping-place—there our poor fellows lodge their cheque in the hands of the landlord, telling him to let them know when it is melted down, and return, sick, and sorry, and penniless, after their carouse." " There should be another such place at Castle hurst, and at all towns where buahmen, sailors, or miners go for theif spell from work," said David Henderson, " but if we have not one, we can never have a second. I have no objections to making a beginning at Caatlehurst." " They will never go to such a club if you in sist on their being teetotallers," said Walter Gray. " I should not insist on that, but they must get nothing to drink at our club," said the missionary. " Let them lodge their money in the Savings Bank or in the Superintendent's hands as m Adelaide, and have to ask him for spending money. A wise kind word may often check them in their career, and a friendly unreproaoh ful welcome may bring them back. If they come back after a oarouse, it ia something that on their waking thoy have neither the smell nor sight of drink about the place to tempt them to a relapse. Let it be like a home to the homeless, where books, games, music, tobacco, and, above all, new faces to look at, and new people to talk to, may give that fillip to the dull jaded mind which they seek in alcoholic stimulants." "I always think," said Edith Gray, " that all institutes and reading-rooms for working men should contain two or three talking rooms ; it is the talk that refreshes one after mechanical work. I judge by a little experience in the Melbourne Public Library. The ghostly silence, the impossibility of looking up from a book, as I do here to read out a passage to papa or Walter, or as I used to do to Charlie, and oak what they think of it, makes reading there unsatisfactory to me, who have the character of being really fond of books. And I know the way the men talk over the newspapers in the evenings in the midst of the card-playing, and the occasional concortina music is more of an amusement to them than silent reading in a splendid reading-room could bo. Kenneth thought of the solitary reading he had done at Tingalpa, and the woful lack of sympathy and his almost maddening craving for some living soul to communicate ideas with. " Yeß," naid David Henderson," it is variety and liberty that they want, and that they fancy they can only get at a public-house. And what • The enthusiast who has worked so long and so suc cessfully in Adelaide, South Australia, under the simple name of " William," has at last revealed his name and family, of which most men would have been too proud for concealment. His real name is William M. Hugo, and he is related, not dmtautly, to the great French poet, lioveliit, and enthusiastic philanthropist, Victor Hugo.

comfort do the publicans who fatten on these poor fellows give them in exchange for their hard-earned money ? Not deao«nt lodging or Well-cooked food, only alcoholic poison made more poisonous often by adulteration aud hocuß sing. What protection do they give them from theft aud violence ?" " They seem to oare nothing about food and lodging," said Walter Gray, " when they are on the loose after shearing time." " They ought to care," said David Henderson, "and if it was offered them they would learn to prefer decency to discomfort and dirt. What they want a something like a home, aud they can afford to pay for it, if the start were made. It ought to be self-supporting when fairly in working order, only that in the Black season the managers cannot reduce expenses as private individuals can. It must always be open and always oomfortable, for half a dozen as for half a hundred. For building and the purchase of the necessary furniture and fittings, richer colonists must be applied to in the first place. In Adelaide that has been done with great success, to the bettering, as I believe, of the feel ings subsisting between employers and employed." Mr. Gray was rising for his cheque-book. "I am not collecting subscriptions," said Mr. Henderson. " I hope te incite one of both classes to make a start. On* from the huta and one from the house." " With what religious body are you connected t" asked Walter Gray. " With none specially. I scarcely think I could subscribe to the articles or confession of faith at any religious body which I know of at present." "Then you are a universal dissenter," said Mr. flllerton. 11 Or a universal believer; that would be a truer definition. I can work on any ground with any body, but I am accredited by no defined religious denomination." " Like Harry Wynd, you fight for your own hand," said Edith, " and a good fight you seem to make of it. But where is your head quarters— your home ? Excuse my asking such questions, but you have awakened such interest in me, I want to know all I can about your doings." "No excuse needed, Miss Gray. 1 have no settled home and no one belonging to me now. I travel about the country, walking generally, but occasionally I get a lift as I did from my young friend, Mr. Kenneth Oswald, to-day, and good talk besides, which was better. I have not been long in the colony, but I suppose I will end my days here. It seems as if there was good work to be done that I can do, and, while I have sufficient health and strength, I pray God will allow me to do it. It may not be long." There was a light in those far-seeing eyea that seemed to look beyond the work to the rest and the reward. "I suppose," said Mr. Ellerton, "that you look upon billiards as wicked because they are played in public-houses ?" " No; by no means ; no," said Mr. Henderson eagerly. " The misfortune is that every amuse ment which a poor man can get by paying for, innocent enough in itself, is surrounded by temptation. What can be more innooent than bagatelle, billiards, or the theatre, well conducted; but what poor man can eajoy them without the alloy of their surroundings ?" " I suppose we should take a lesson from Salt Lake City about the theatre," said Mr. Ellerton. "Take a lesson, if it is a good one, from any place or any people," said David Henderson. " But, with regard to billiards, I should like to see, for the first time in my life, a private gentle, man's billiard-room, where there is neither bet ting nor drinking nor swearing; and see gentle men playing what is really a beautiful game of skill. We should have a billiard-table at our Club if we can afford it." "Come in with us, then," said Edith, "and Me how we manage it here." Ca*ram XXII. A SURPRISE. Miss Gray led the way iato the great resource for idleness in a country house, the billiard room, where a first-rate Melbourne-made table had elicited the praises of evea Mr. Ellerton, who had tried many of the best private and public tables in England. " Can you play, Mr. Henderson ?" asked Edkh. " Not at all, but I have often watched the game. I suppose you do ?" " Just fairly well for a lady, but my brothers all play well, and Mr. Ellerton is a splendid player. Do pray, Mr. Ellerton, just show this gentleman your extraordinary strokes. When I see you I make up my mind for hard practice in private, but something always comes in the way. You play, of course, Mr. Kenneth Oswald." " A little ; my cousin James is very fond of billiards, but my uncle will not build him a billiard-room." " That is a mistake," said Mr. Gray. " I had four sons, and I made early provision for a smoking-room and a billiard-room. Mr. Oswald, with only one son, perhaps did not see the necessity for the latter." The party stood all round the "Alcock'a" table, and David Henderson had a sight of billiards in private life with two handsome gentlewomen and five gentlemen round it—no— were there five ? was Mr. Ellerton, however skil ful at billiards, really a gentleman in the true sense of the word 1 His dress was faultless, bis movements easy, his features handsome, his figure well proportioned, but there was that in describable look about him which the bush mis sionary had seen among different surroundings : at the card-table, when the play was high, and the fair dealing questionable ; and again on the betting ring, giving the odds ; and again at the billiard-table, keeping his head clear when he saw others excited or muddled, and only in dulging in excess when no bets were on, or when it was his game to play badly ; and taking a hand with the marker to keep up his practice when there was no one available as a profitable antagonist. And this was the husband of this young girl, who had all the air of a high-bred gentlewoman. People are often made and un made* by circumstances, and Mr. Ellerton might be saved by being placed above temptation. With a good wife and easy circumstances, that man might not sink bo low as the possibilities suggested to the acer by hia eyes, mouth, aud expression.

Kenneth too was impressed by tfao contrast between husband and wife, and curiously fasci uated by some haunting recollection connected with Mra. Ellerton. " You must be from the Highlands, Mr. Oswald," Baid the subject of bis thoughts. " No, from the Lowlands, from the Lothians," answered Kenneth. " Then how did you come by your name ? It ia a favourite name in our family, but, airauge enough, papa has such a prejudice against it that noue of us la called Kenneth. We all wanted the youngest boy to have the name, but he was as fixed as Ben No vie, and the little fellow was called Charlie instead." " And a very pretty name too," laid Edith, " the name I like best in the world. The brother who is in New Zealand, who writes to mt such long letters, is my Charlie." " But there is nothing in the name chavac* teriatic of an old Highland family," said SybiL "You would have them all Dugslds and Ferguses and Rodericks," said Mr. Ellertfcn. " I agree with Miss Gray that Charfie Is much more euphonious." " And ' Charlie ia my darling,' and ' Bonnie Prince Charlie,' and ' Wae's me for Prince Charlie,' should make the name dear to you," said Edith. " It cost us rather dear m old times," said Sybil. "Mrs. Ellerton sings those Scottish ballads exquisitely," said Edith Oray, " and as both Mr. Henderson and Mr. Oswald are from the North Countrie they ought to hear them." "If I can judge of Mrs. Ellerton's ballad-sing;, ing from her leading the rude psalmody ia tie mien's dining-room, it mutt be something remark* able," said Mr. Henderson. " Did you really lead the chorus of shepherds and stockkeepers, Sybil ? It must have been a treat," said Mr. Ellerton. "But we must have those ballads if Mrs. Ellerton will be so kind," said Mr. Henderson, and they returned to the ikawtog-room. Mrs. Kllerton Bat down to the piano, followed by Kenneth and the others, and she asked the younger stranger to hand her a green book of songs out of the music-stand. He did so, and he was about to open it to lay on the piano when the name in gold letters on the outside, " Sybil M'Diarmid," struck his oye. He nearly dropped the book in his awkwardness. Walter Gray stepped forward to his rescue, and, finding the songs he wished to hear, turned over the leave* as he had been often used to do. This then was the haunting likeness, not so muoh to his father as to the fair stripling whose face he had studied on that day when the secret of bis birth had been revealed. This waa bis father's daughter, so near and yet bo far re moved from him. The name of Kenneth had been already appropriated by himself, and was held sacred by their father ; there was a sort of sweetness in that. As Sybil Bang song after song; he was just conscious that It vts rtry beautiful; bis lips moved mechamoally to say " thank you" at the olose of eaca, leaving the bush missionary to make remarks on the author or the composer, and to express his delight at the spirit and expression she threw into the national ballads. Kenneth's interest in the visitors of the Wilta family now overpowered his Interest in David Henderson and the Grays themselves, though five minutes ago those had been para mount. This glimpse of a life and a Bociotj to different from that of his uncle's house bad hitherto been all pleasant, but now tho desire to enter it again for its own sake was intensified by the eager wish to see more of his sister, to dis* cover if she was happy, to further her wishes, to serve her in any way. She wan far away from her father and her home, apparently united to one inferior to herself, and it might be m his power to do something for her. Mr. Henderson declined all offew of refresh* ment, said he was tired, and went to bed. Ken* neth felt he ought to follow his example, but was detained by Miss Gray, who wanted to ask him how he met with the bußh missionary, vjhat they talked of, and how he was impressed with bis earnestness and sincerity. All the family spoke so cordially to Kenneth that he had no reason to complain of his reception. When tke gentle* meu proposed to adjourn to the smoking-room, Kenneth was invited to join them, and as he wm anxious to Bee more of Mr. Bllerton he accepted the offer. " The idea of a billiard-table for a parcel of cads of shepherds and Shearers is a splendid absurdity for a crack-brained enthusiast to broach," said Mr. Ellerton as he was saying good-uight to Miaa Gray. "But," said Edith, "dees it not seem hard that we should get all the good things of life, and they get none el them V " We get nothiug that we do not pay for," said Mr. Ellerton. " Papa pays for me," said Edith, looking affec tionately at her father. " Suppoaing that he did not, and that I had nothing but what I worked for, how should I like the limitations of that position ?" " Oh ! you have been used to better things all you life—it would be harder for you." " I am not bo sure of that," said Edith. " I have had the good things for part of my life, perhaps for that part when I could most thoroughly enjoy theiu, aud 1 could live partly on the memory of the past, whereas the bulk of those people never had them at nil." " Aud would not know what to do with refined pleasures if they had them. Dkl you ever ten uuch a ridiculous figure aa your Yictoriau par venu and his wife cut in society, with no end of money, but absolutely ignorant of how to get the pleasure aud the credit out of it ? Let people be poor aud keep their place, mther than so abuurdly glariug in their wealth." Miss Gray could not help thinking that if her father's family bad remained in tl>e position in which they had l>reu boru thpy c^ild not have so c<«infnrUble a homo to Mr. and Mrs. Ellerton when they needed it, but n\ui <li>l not any ho. She contented herself with the customary — " Good-night, Mr. Ellerton ; wo bhall never agree; on such matters. Good-night, Mr. Oswald ;" aud Miss Gray and Sybil left the room. " I am very glad your uucle sent you to maki our acquaintance," said Mr. Gray tc Kenned, when they were seated together with a cigar Ju the smoking-room. "Ihavoeeou you occasion ally with your cousin at Castlohurat, but that young fellow kuepa aloof from tho sottlure'

families too much. Mr. Oswald has done well in getting you out from Scotland as a companion for bis son, and I bear tbat you are constantly together. An only son in a bouße like Tingalpa haa many disadvantages, and if you can be like an elder brother to James Oswald you may save hia father many n heartache." Then, after a pause, Mr. Gray resumed : " I think Mr. Oswald misunderstood something that happened many yearß ago ; a cattle transaction—you may have heard of it. Will you tell him from me that I am particularly pleased that he Bent you here on bis business, which I have no doubt will be transacted satisfactorily. I hope you may find your way again to Wilta for your own pleasure, if you have no othor errand." This invitation was what Kenneth could have wished above all things, but yet it could not be accepted without much hesitation. It would bo most offensive to unole, aunt, and cousin for him to be received as a favoured guest where Jim was not admitted. " I rarely go out, and never without my cousin. This is a remarkable exception, us I have come on business." " Bring him with you at any time. We Bhall all be glad to see him, and, as there are dogs, horses, guns, and billiards here, he may find it pleasant. Old colonists should be neighbourly." This set the invitation on a very different foot ing, and Kenneth could onlybope that Mr. Oswald would put his old grudge in his pocket, and avail himself of what might do more for Jim than all Kenneth's own hard work. Sleep was impossible to Kenneth after the exciting events of this day. He tossed restlessly about till daylight came in, when he dropped to sleep. He was too late for the men's breakfast, which he had purposed to share with his friend David Henderson. He only came in time to hear Donald bidding the missionary an affectionate farewell, presenting him at the same time with two sticks of tobacco. " The fery best, Just to be shmoking when you will be seeing all the fine sights out of the good book, and to mind Tonald by. It will be put to a better purpose than that piece of silfer in the pooch of that Scariot, whioh wass all wasted, when it might haf peen the pipe of tobacco, and the glass of whiskey for the poor man hisself, after watching all the nicht in the cold, when all of them wass hafing their supper and he hadn't nefer no supper. And then it went into th>t pooch, and wass no good to nobody whatefer. But you'll be saying when you will be shmoking this tobacco, 'Tonald knows not fine words, but he knows good tobacoo whatefer/" Mr. Gray's goodwill towards David Henderson's Bcheme did not evaporate in words; he deter mined to speak to the other squatters in the neighbourhood, and to look out for another en thusiast with different gifts but the same aims as the bush missionary. Although the latter would accept of no subscription, he asked that Wilta should be the headquarters for receipts for a Castlehurst Bushman's Club. Kenneth parted from his new-found friend with reluctance, and expressed his hopes of see ing him again from time to timo, for though his rounds were extensive, they must work round periodically. X enneth himself took breakfast with the family, and was placod at the table between Miss Gray and Mrs. Ellerton. The mnal was made pleasant by intelligent conversation, in whioh he tried to take his part, and during which Edith could not help observing that he, like all recent visitors at Wilta, Beemed bo much en grossed by her friend that she scarcely got her fair and reasonable share of attention as the mistress of the house ; and the looks he directed to Mr. Ellerton, who was no more prepossessing by daylight than on the preceding evening, amused the young lady a good deal. Kenneth knew that the Grays, father and son, were pleasant in manner, but he had been warned that they were hard to deal with in business, and he was a little nervous when Walter Gray, said to be the keener hand of the two, proposed to go with him to look at the lot of splendid long* woolled ewes with their lambs that were for Bale. Ho had admired them very much on the previo«9 day; he knew his uncle's limit, but feared it was not high enough; and he knew bow strong was the desire to possess them, or George Oswald would not have taken the hazardous step of trusting the transaction to him. He was, there fore, most agreeably surprised when Walter Gray asked as his first price 5 per cent under what his uncle was eager to give. It was necessary to hesitate a little ; his uncle had told him that it was essential to every bargain, howover advantageous the terms might be that were offered. So he paused to think over it, to consider whether the animals were worth that long price. Ho looked over the ewes again, to see as to their soundness and perfect condition, but no flaw was to be discovered. Still his hesitation had some effect on the settler; he offered a considerable abatement, and Ken neth, to his surprise, found that ho had closed his first transaction with unlooked-for success. "You had better como yourself and take delivery when it Buits Mr. Oswald, and bring your cousin with you if he would like to come. And if you aro not hurried I'd like to show you some half-breeds that are not for sale, but that Are very well worth looking at." And Walter Gray took Kenneth round the place, where he saw a great deal of splendid stock of all kinds— sheep, cattle, and horses—till it was time for luncheon, when they returned to the house. After luucheou Kenneth took a friendly leave, got into hia buggy, and drove home, with food fur thought in many directions quite unexpected when he left Tingalpa. TO RK CONTtNUF.D.)

WITHIKa comparatively recent period, there ban been completed for the Government gun factories at Woolwich what is termed the mightiest lever in the world, and the manufacture of which has occupied about four years. The girder radiates on a central pile, with the outer extremity of the arm supported on a wheeled tower, travelling on a circular railway, whioh encloses about a quarter of an aero of ground. In the construction of this vast machine, not less than 1300 tons of iron and threo ton* of brass were used. The crnne is capable of lifting four 100-tou guns at once, and was constructed for dealing with specimens of orduancejof much greater^weight than, these.