|Chapter Number||2 Continued|
|Newspaper Title||Weekly Times|
|Trove Title||The Golden Buddha|
iianii.wwHnmwwnHmitHcmHftimHvesHiaimisiiSHSusiiaiiiusHSMtmiiusumsutiMitsmiiiiaitsiiMa'itiMitwMi'aiwwiinauiiwi i THE GOLDEN BUDDHA
4tu«i!«imi«ii«niifin9UfuiiromwnfiivH!i«imiV!ivTO«t& By Bernice May
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CHAPTER 2.— Continued.
His mother, who had come to Aus tralia as a young enthusiastic emi grant servant, had considered herself lucky when she got Malcolm Came-
ron, who was, even then, a fairly rich farmer. She had dreams of her own tn London as every girl has had. and Australia was always so big and bright that she had never lost those dreams. Tiiey were flowering very beauii- fully in her Bob. He certainly was what might be : called "a smart young man." Al- ways regarded as the smart boy at I school, then "the clever young Came- j ron." he was now known as "that promising young fellow." It was, however, not enough for Bob. He wanted to be "that brilliant young Cameron." And how could he do it ia Wyburn? Bis mother's spotless, very correct table, with its really brilliant glitter Of snowy white china, well-ironed cloth, and gleaming, if old. nickel forks and thin-bladed knives, might ; have given him his answ er now as he j glanced around the table at his i brothers and sisters longing to know 1 whether old Ah Fat had been mur- j dered or not. Etty and Lily, his sis- j ters, were freekle-l'acod and red- ' headed like their mother, for the Camerons were a sandy family. Bob and one Other brother. Joe. having escaped red hair. Bob's hair was j brown and his eyes a too light blue. 1 They were not strong eyes, but they i were the eyes of the dreamer. If ' you glanced at his mother you saw from whom the eyes had come. j Len and Sonny Cameron, who, uh- | like Joe, were still at school, and rode j to Wyburn every day with the yoon- i ger Jackson boy, were Malcolm's : boys. | Bob had a half wistful air that j belonged to his mother. j "Win you be wanting the table to
study tonight, son?" she asked him anxiously seeing to every detail of his meal. It always pleased her to see him bending over his books. It pleased Malcolm, too. Bob. though neither admitted it to the other, not being sentimental people, was the very apple of their eye. He could do no wrong. He always spoke quietly, and, though he looked dissatisfied, no one ever hoard Bob complain. He said, smiling up at his mother in the way which had endeared him in her ever since he had been born. "No, thank you, mother. I'm going over to tell Edie that Mr Jackson has gone on to Wyburn." "How did you get on v. ith tin: re hearsal today?" Lily wanted to know. "Mrs Jackson said J had im proved." "H'tn: If slie takes your part u«ay from you. Eonny. and gives it to Mr Carruiliers, it won't be fair." "Oh. I don't think Mrs Jackson will do that." "You won't bo studying when you come home. Boh?" his mother asked, still anxiously. "I might, mother. Aren't you going to eat anything yourself?" "I'm all worried over Alt Fat," she said, the roses, which England had given her and which Australia would never take away from her cheeks, growing redder from the bustle she had had to get the meal over. Well, it was done now and Bob satisfied. She sat down to her always hasty meal. for. though the girls helped her, farm-life had its drawbacks in that it oftivn called for a sacrifice of those little home relinements which she had known in England. True j there she had only belonged to a : working family. But mealtime had j always been a sacred time when the j family met together, and it was never hasty. A Chinaman did not suddenly die just as a man was silting down t o
his evening meal in London, causing that, man to leave his food and go to him as Malcolm had just gone to Ah Fat. Mrs Cameron had not yet got used , to the wars of Australians. especially the ways of the bush people, which was to run and help a neighbor no ; matter what one was doing. Bob stooped over her and kissed her before he left for Edie. "Col your horse?" his brother Joe asked. j "Yes. I didn't unsaddle. Mr Jack- j son was queer. I offered him my j fresh horse to ride to town and he would not take it." He went dowv.i the back stops, took Ills horse and rode a cross to Edie. "1 wonder why Jackson didn't take my horse." ho thought.. "And "nhat was bulging front bis saddle pouch?" Jackson was dissatisfied in a way as he was himself. But Jackson show ed his discontent. Jackson was always complaining about things, especially the buyers who handled his fruit. Jackson was outspoken, Hob re served. Bob, turning over in his mind all the things that might have been in Jackson's saddle pouch come to the conclusion that at least it could out have been a revovler. The night was strange, as strange as it was beautiful — a tropic summer night full of the sting of mosquitoes, the buzzing- of a million gnats, the hot sleepy steamy depression that the summer at Wyburn often brought with it. As lie rode up to .Tacksnn's a sickly odor of gum -blossoms Intermingled with the faint passing perfume of jarool smote him. How one longed for the sea a night and a time like this! He whistled and Edith answered the whistle. She came running down the steps to meet him and lie was surprised when she approached him. She did not seem as if she were
J Friend: "What's the biggest trouble you've had since you've had her?''
j Car Owner: "The instalments!
I.Oij.J../.. Ui ,,
I l ! eager to pee hint. She did not look i happy. Her eyes had a frightened, j hunted look. j "O Bob.' she- said, catching his foot land looking up at him as he had not jysj dismounted, "is it you?" "Yes," he said, stooping down to j kiss her. "didn't you expect rue? I icame over earlier than usual to tell you your father has gone to Wyburn Jto get the doctor and police." i "Doctor and police? Why?" she I cried. j "Old Ah Fat is dying." j "Is ho? Oh, Boh, get down quickly.' ; 1 want to tell you something. I'm so frightened." j He swung down from the saddle ial once and encompassed her with his j arm. Site was still wearing her white j apron. Her hair was drawn back stiffly from her forehead, and some- ! thing strong as well as teuder aud gentle in her face made him draw her to him again and kiss her quickly on the mouth. He was just as weak, he knew, as Edith was strong. That . was the attraction Elie had for him. "No one's ill, I hope," he said. She caught her hands together and pressed the Angers till they were marked by the pressure. "Mrs O'Leary has just had tea ami gone, Bob." she said. "And she told i me that mother is very ill. I'm just so worried I don't know what to do." "oh, >ou don't want to take any . notice of Mrs O'Leary. She's only looking for a case." "J don't think so. Bob. She says mother is melancholy — a sort of a disease anyone can get by brooding over things. Site says mother has got to get away from here. If she won't go we've to get her away. I suggested speaking to father. She sajv> 'No.' She says father would just spoil everything. Ho you know what she suggested?" "No." "She suggested that unless mother had a complete change of life alto gether. life and environment and occu pation. she would get worse and worse until — oh. Bob. she frightened the life out of me — when she said it — until site did us or herself some harm." Bolt was indignant. "The old wicked thing," he said, pressing the girl to him as he comforted her. "Where is she? Fancy her putting such worries into your young head. Why. Edie. your own commonsense \ should tell you that she can't be ; riglu." | "But that's just the point. Bob. It j doesn't. I half believe her. I ; think mother needs a complete j change. She even needs to go back j on the stage — something as different las that, because she isn't herself. Tou ! know she isn't. j "No. I don't think she is exactly j herself." j "Well, there you are. Oh. Bob. ; we've to take the old woman's advice. | It's all very well to sit and stand about land say Mrs O'Leary is a busy body jand a gossip, she's brought hundreds j of little happy Australians into the j world, and she isn't going to sacrilice ione like Enid by suggesting that j mother go and leave her unless there I is something pretty serious behind it. ! Bub. you're a boy and you're like all : men. Yon don't think that women have minds as well as hearts and j hn ads." j He was hurt, for lie did think about this. and said so. "I've always known that. Edie." he said. "What do you want me to do, dear? Speak to Mrs O'Leary." "No. She's gone home and mother's lying down crying and fretting and getting up and walking about and wringing her hands helplessly. "Oh. she's only anxious because your father is not at home." "No. Site isn't. . . . She's just bro ken-hearted over Bessie. She can't get over her grief and I want you to help nte get her away from father and this place — Wyburn — everything bush, get her to town, make her go and dance and sing again as she used to. I'm sure that is what she needs." Bob pulled at his horse's bridle as the animal cropped thc grass impa tiently about thvm. He was now as worried as Edith. "How are you going to do it?" "J don't know. I'm so afraid to let her go away alone. But Ronny. you've got brains. You can think for me. (Wouldn't you go to Brisbane and keep an eye on Iter while your holidays last "llow could I get away? What would mother say? She'd have to know." "No. No one must know. If father j knew about it . he would never con sent to it. Men are all cruel with j women." "Edith, you're wrong, dear. Men ! aren't fools. I tiiink you should tell j your father. He'd be the first to want
I to help your mother to get well." "Oh. you don't know father. Y<m should have seen him ibis afternoon and the way they quarrel now k siiii». Jy awful. They must be separated if only for their own good." "But it isn't as bad :ts that," "It is. Oh, Bob, hell) me. She's hern so good to me. Help nse to get her away and cure her of her grief matter what it costs. 1 K,ok a ft it Enid all the time how. do every, thing. 1 can still do it when we get her to Brisbane." "But how are you going io manage your father. Oh, Edith, you can't be- hind his back do this. He would go mad. It wouldn't be fair to hint. What would lie think, what could he think if she went away without tel ling him?" "Bob, he's a man and h,-» can think what he likes. If we don't do some thing for mother soon. I teii you it is she who will go mad. There." "All right, all right. Now don't get hysterical and begin to cry. I'll think of something. I see that it is serious. Edit. I won't com; in. Y'ou wain it to bo just between u.s, you ami 1 and Mrs O'Leary." "Yes." "1 don't think you're riglu, but 1 can't refuse to promise you an;, thing, ! Edie. 1 love you." ! "And I love you. Hub." Sim kissed ; him. "Now I'll run back ana suggest j a trip to Brisbane to low. . . . You | so' if somehow you can", y- to Bris- i bane. Mrs O'Leary is emuiug mar j again in thc morning. Oh. J-. o. we're j abducting a woman from h-r husband j for both their sokes. I'll take ail ihe risks with father." But Bob did not like it and lie rode bar k home feeling iiu triune de pression gradually increasing about him. His father, he discovered bad re turned frmn the Chinese, u!u-n be reached home. Thc children were in the dining- room and his parents were talking in hushed voices in the kitchen. They started when they heard their son's footstep and stopped talking. "Oh. it's only you. Bob." his father said when he came in. "Come here." "What the matter?" Bob asked, his face growing pale with fear. His father shut the door loading to the dining room and the noisy chil dren plating there. "Your father's made a horrible dis covery." his mother said. Bob looked from one to thc other as if he expected his mother to an nounce that his father had found LIi« Chinaman murdered. "No foul play with old Ah Cat?" "Wa.il a hit." Malcolm said. "Yes. wait till father tells you. hi# mother said. It was a night of trembling mo ments for the nervous, seusitiv: young man. His father explained. When bad gone up to Ah Fat he had toiind him praying before an old smoking Buddha, and when he had dragged him to the door aud revived him wuh a drink of water Ah Fat had implored him to take some money, which, ho said, was buried in the floor under the i Buddha, io his uncle in Wybui n. i "Well!" Bob said. I His mother pulled the boy's sleeve jand said breathlessly. "Kaihw luted jup the boards and found that tao moiK'V was gone." "Well." Bob said, "perhaps Mr Jackson took it for him." "Took it for him?" , "Yes — poor old chap, is he deau, father?" . "No. I came away at once. i just put him on his bunk and thougm it best to leave. He blessed me an thought 1 was going to take liis tnoi i for him. He didn't seem io under stand that the money was though I explained it to him. just said over and over again. 1,1 " and all right." I tell you. Bob. t never been in such a position. I even saw the money." "Well, that's all right. It s been on the old chap's mind, no "® ' Things do get on the mind. B ' dered why Mr Jackson vouldn 1 my horse. He didn't want to cn. B his saddle because I see now lie P Ait Fat's money, and was riding Wyburn with it." „ Af . "I'm glad that satisfies you. -»a colm said. , „„ T.nh "Doesn't it satisfy you, father, asked. „,,v. "No. it doesn't. How does an. one know Jackson is taking the n to the Chinese? How do 1 someone won't come out to accu- of having taken it?" . .. "Oh. that's rubbish." Bob saW-, "Why are you home so early mother asked. j "Mrs Jackson was not „ think I'll do some study after all. He bent over his books In an kfi of doubt about everything. (To be Continued.)