|Chapter Number||I (Continued)|
|Newspaper Title||Weekly Times|
|Trove Title||The Golden Buddha|
"wwiit.auiuBiawflswwsiMi'siisnmswsiewMsiieneMMWiiieiisnsMHSimieHeiiwiHeBaHiHSHeiiiiniisiimeiaHismaansiio | THE GOLDEN BUDDHA
By Bernice May 1
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED J .......kiiaiiaiiaiiBiiaaa'ia.iSiiaiianaiia.lBtflallfflfilllllljfl
CHAPTER 1.— Continued
The warm. tropical .smell of jarool was 011 the air. All the jacarunda hells had fallen, their last summer song ended, hut the pink and v «? and white and red jarool, which Serg, liad planted along the its best now.
Frail as the flower was. it seemed to love i he heat. But it was wither ing. too. That was why it gave out its sweet, hot pungent perfurr. The jarool hud been out when they'd noio away with Bessie. It w.is withering like this when they drove h>«me without her. "Mother, oh. 1 only want a drink. Mother, no. I don't want to go away friiui home. Mother, just you stay with me. Mother." toiiy i-lenched her hands together, ami witii difiiculty prevented herself from running and running away from the memory of Bessie's little voice, which haunted her everywhere. She etui Id not sleep for it . . . She w-uihl never sleep again. It was her fault, and Serge's fault, they had lo«t Bessie. She would never forgive her self. aiid never forgive him. She got up suddenly, and said, ny. I'll have to say good-bye to you . . . Itehea rsal tomorrow night. I'll be there. Know your lines like a good boy. Good-bye." sim worn into the house without shaking hands with him. and un easily Serg. turned to the subject of the southern land. "at-rut hers inicrrupied him. "Jack son." be said. "1 don't think Dolly's well." . achsonV face quivered as if Car- luuhets had insulted him. How the deuce did he dare to call Dolly by her Christian name! " 1 mean Airs. Jackson." Carruthers corrected himself. Jackson was easy-going, and be- li-ued in making' no enemies. it Would be easy to kick Carruthers cb'wn ;!h steps, but it would also be
| tactless. Dolly was Dolly to everyone ' on the bazaar committee. Probably Carruthers had only made a slip. But he was not Going to discuss Dolly's health with Carruthers. Carruthers, seeing he had made a mistake, felt awkward, and said awk- ; wurdly, "I think I'd better go." He was a slight figured young man, with I a much bronzed face, and he rode a horse stiffly. ' Jackson was affable, though he longed to run after Dolly. He said, "Oh, well, we'll see you out here again, no doubt." j "Yes, yes," Carruthers said. "Say j good-bye to Miss Jackson for me." j ! Then he- was gone ... ! Jackson swung off the verandah | railing where he had been sitting, and ' j walked firmly through the house to; i Dolly, who had run to the back, and ' was now sitting on the back steps : crying' . . . "What's the matter with you, Dolly?" he said. "I wish you'd tell: me." i "Nothing. Oh, there's nothing the | - matter with me," she said. "Leave me j j alone." "I won't," Jackson said. "It isn't | 'going any further." j I "What isn't?" she snapped at him. "Oh. dad and mother, don't. Mr. Carruthers'll hear you," Edith said, picking up Enid. She was so afraid that Dolly might hurt, her, or hurt ( herself . . . But her father turned suddenly white as if he had come to a deci- jsion. He caught Dolly by the wrists I and said, "This isn't going any fur ther. Y'ou are not going about gad ding here and there with this one and with that, leaving everything to Edie." "Father — I — please, dad, I don't ' mind. 0, dad, mother ..." | But her father drew Dolly to her j feet, and made her stand up, facing ! him. j "You are not going to have anything
jmore to do with this bazaar; nothing at all. Do you hear?" ! Dolly was amazed, taken completely off her guard, and her aching head | seemed to suddenly pound and liarn- i mer. and beat, as if someone were de livering her blow after blow on the forehead. She could not for a mo- ; ment realise that Serg- was in earnest. : He had sprung upon her in such a i sudden, surprised way. She was swept off her guard. For a second she did not speak, then she stooped down, and tried to bite her wrists free. "Im not, am I not?" she said angrily. "We shall see." "We shall see. Dolly." he replied. "Here am 1 worried to death over my bananas." "Bananas! Bananas!" she almost shrieked, wrenching her hands free violently. "Don't say that to me again. I hate them. I hate you. I hate Queensland. I hate Australia . . . Everything . . . everything. It. is a loathsome country, hard and cruel and bitter, and so are you - - - You - . - you have to be hard . . . I'll not have anything to do with any thing about it or you . . . I'm go ing. I've said I'm going, and I'm going at once." "No, you aren't ..." "Dad," Edith burst in. "I'll go . . . I'm sick and tired of your rows. Leave mother alone. Leave her alone, and go and do your job." Big man as he was. and she but a slight girl. Enid still in her arms, she swung him round and pushed him back into the hall. "Go on down to the plantation where you're needed. Mother is tired . . . Leave her alone ... If she goes away from this place I go. j and Peter and Bob . . . " | "That's right, woman sides with j woman." he said, bitterly. "Go on, | the pair of you. Have it you own I way - . . " "You — you bring- it on yourself,
1/ I ' 'j 1 1 1 1 The Passing sjl0 "You're looking blue, old man. What's up?" "I've just heard that Maud was married yesterday — and I'm still paying instalments on the ring I gave her a year ago."
Serg.." Dolly, said, beginning to cry. "Oh. 1 hate it; the trees, the trees, and Edie, I must go away. I'll go mad. 1 think I am mad." "No. you aren't . . . Father, go out of this house. Go quickly . . ."' Jackson gave it up . . . He lit his pipe and strode back to the plan tation took a hoe, and began to weed cobbler's peg almost madly. "This was a country for a man. This was God's own country all right . . . Ordered out of his own house bv his daughter, his wife threatening- him that she would leave him; the hear melting, the whole thing not worth while ... I.I made a man lone for mud and Flanders ..." "Dad! O, dad, look at these pretty flowers. Dad, what would you call this one? O. dad!" .Jackson ceased hoeing, and lift ed his head and listened. . . Bessie used to sometimes stay with him chattering to him like that. He had always had more than a warm heart corner for young Bessie. After all the horror of his war years to have found Dolly, and then Bessie, it was like a miracle. Now the child was gone, only coming back with these phantom whisperings of herself. Jackson beat the weeds and almost swore at them. Then, being an emotional man, he brushed a hard hand quickly across his eyes. It was not his little one that flick ered before him. It was only the shadows and the light chasing each other. Yet . . . poor Dolly . . . He wished he could comfort her, and comfort himself, for he was wise enough to know that the dead little one should unite them, not fling iliem apart like this. CHAPTER 2 It was sunset when he returned to Lhe house. He did not wish to renew the quarrel with Dolly, yet he did not want her to master him. He was surprised then when Edith said Dolly had gone down to him soon after he left. "f didn't see her," Jackson said quickly. "Edie. pre you speaking the truth?" "Of course I am. Oh, father, quick, go after her. Father, you are too had. You men- You are all rough and brutal. If you've driven mother away like this goodness only knows what harm you've done. I happen to know that she had to be pampered and protected too, just, now." "What ridiculous rot." "No. it isn't, father," Edith said. "You ought to know that no woman is in good health with a young baby. Mother's not been herself this long time. Why don't you think?" "Why don't 1 think? I do think, Edie? Women are far too clever for me. Your mother is, ans'way." "Oh. you should be ashamed of yourself." "Edie" "I can't help it, father. Go and find her." But Dolly, hiding among the weeds, not far from the house, was lying with clenched fists face down wards breaking her heart. She did not know why she was crying. She did not know what she wanted. She could not get Bessie back, she knew, and she had Enid. Everyone was good to her, yet a great emptiness of mind was with her always. She did not want anything but Bessie, and she did not know how to tell Serg. this. She did not know how to cling to him as she used to cling — to explain that she must leave Wy- burn, and leave it alone ju6t for a little while. She heard them calling her pre sently, but she did not move. She let them call her frantically . . . she heard Serg's loud voice cooeeing for her everywhere. Then she got up and came out ... "1 know," she said, "I'm doing foolish things . . . This can't go on . . . I'll die . . . I'll' go insane . . Jackson saw her, and, running to lier. he picked her up in his arms. "Doll! O, Doll," he said; "why did you do it? Dearest, please don't . . . Aren'l you well?" She put lier arms about his neck
"Yes . . . no . she said, and tried to push him from her. Oh, she was no longer the woman who loved him . . . He let herslid8 from his arms, and a3 she tugged her self away from him saying, "Leave me alone," and ran back to the house, Jackson let himself sink once more. "That's why I can't beat you," lie said fiercely, staring out on the land that was so hard to fight. "You're a woman.- Nature is a woman ... a man's a poor thing that's got nothing to do with it . - I'm fighting a woman I can't understand." And well might Jackson have sighed again, for when he returned to the house Edith had the evening meal ready, while Dolly was sitting on the steps as if nothing had hap pened, sewing things for the bazaar, in defiance of what he had said, and talking to old Mrs. O'Leary. Jackson did not like the old busy body and gossip. 1 She was always drawing Dolly into.: some petty social function, and jd-r ways under the pretence that she'!; wanted to see how Dolly or Enid was, she was dropping in like this. "You'll stay for tea, won't you?" Dolly said, as Jackson came to the steps. Dolly knew that Jackson disliked the old woman, and she knew that she invited her to the meal half out of spite and anger. It hurt her to do it, yet something unbroken within her prompted her. "Thanks," the old woman said. "I will stay, Mrs. Jackson. And I'll hope to hear one of your beautiful songs. Ah, it's a great, great shame that a woman with a voice as beautiful as yours should be buried away in the bush like this." Buried away in the bush. Serg wanted to kick something. Burled away in the bush?. What else did Australians expect to be but burled away in the bush for a few hundred years if they wanted to make any thing of their country . . Towns wouldn't keep the country going . - - Trade was a bird of passage. Humpli! Dolly's beautiful voice . . . "What about the magpies and other birds. They had to bury their beautiful voices in the bush. Dolly was acting. She had always been acting, acting, acting. She was for ever on a stage.
It was time to change for the meal. Fancy sitting out a meal with old O'Leary there. How he hated that old gossip. If he knew anything, Dolly didn't like her either. But he was to be spared the meal, for Alec and Tom, his two elder boys, came suddenly riding up to the fence together, and Alec called out. "Dad, I think someone had better go down to old Ah Fat . . . He's got a red flag flapping on his shanty, and Mr. McPliie said he wasn't in last week. He's been sick. I think the hail storm has finished him. Tom and I were going over, but we didnt like to without your telling us." Jackson did not like the news . . » He did not like going near the China man's garden. But poor old Ah I'M. It was not his fault if he were a celestial growing vegetables in a cor ner of Australia.' He leased his few paddocks from the McPhies. "Leave it to McPhie, I think, Jackson said, as his sons came riding up now. Alec was nearly seventeen, but lom was still at school in Wyburn. Tom's eyes were full of a deep con cern for the old Chinaman, whom ne was sure was dying. - "Dad, I thought I heard someone groan as we rode by," he said. 1 never allow us to go inside, or have gone in." . "All right," Jackson said. "Give » one of your horses. I'll ride over a have a look at him. You two boys B and have tea." - "Should you go alone. Dad? said, still anxiously. "He's got some nasty dogs there." . „ .j... "But by jingo," Alec said su® ly. "Now I come to think of « didn't hear them bark as we pa» ' By jove, no one could have 8 „ them a bait and — and — Go be anything seriously wrong w»tu Ah Fat, could there, dad ?" ' (To .be continued