|Chapter Title||III A Husband's Decision|
|Newspaper Title||The Australian Star|
|Trove Title||Dolph Meldrum's Wooing|
DOLPH MELDRUM'S WOOING.
An Australian Story.
By Mrs. Baldwin Hodge.
" (U.L RIGHTS RESERVED.) " V . /
tlXlAPTBR III.— A husband'S DECISION.' Dolph returned to tho kitchen and silently Ti- ... mroiod. Ills place at the foot oAtho table. Nita a '"-"vo eyes followed him as bo 'did so, and tho older nVtiii moved uneasily in.Uis baclUcBS clialr, !u ' hn unt. with hone! drocmlw? forward. Tho
Ulster and brother had nover soon him. so fle- Jooted and hc.polois before, llo had _ been Jrr|t- nbln, ovoji ii.mloimtely aiircry, aa cu tho occaoloj whiirt lily aunojiUico'vojitod Itnelf In ttvllcinjs iiio wcniai whoao folly bligMod thojr poaca; but tbiS culot lrokgtjneea was now to them. Nita wont cn with hor wauliing up. "Bho 13 tijooplng, and will probably walcon up in— bottor health," remarked Dolph. Tho old n;un nigbod, atid nhnolc his nqau. . Kitu hroUb tho ensuing filier.co with a sl.Kht datior ci crnrkory, nnd Dolph, veqcU.nc for a nowrtmnor. uwnlo prolofioo of an intermit i.j uo COlmiiiK; bat lev a thau none of tho mourntul trio iinoko. , . . ."I too,!' -wild Dolph, striving to render tomui nmUor-of-iact, "they have fount. golu at "Et>l' believe," Interrupted Moldrum, tho older. "I lliliilt I :d), ill try my luck lboro." "Tou! -father?" , , „ 'Yob," in low, musing, hopeler;) voice, I shall joavo hor for a while — I have tried all
haps Ifsho llncls I can put up witn nor no inngor alio lylll change. hor manner of living— and I may innlto afortuho thoro." . , "More unlikely things than that havo pened," said Nlta, briskly, as. sho plaoed tlio shining platen on the dresser sholv93. A--; "Anyway, I can do harm, I shall, only, tako a given sum Willi too,; whori that 1b joiio I will return. Tlio change will benefit mo, if I pi no otlinr "rod." ' "I should on joy suph a trip," 3ala I)o',pli. "il'hcru J's no chance of 'us going togother?" Tho fiitlior ctralghtonod himself boforo ro- "It"',vculd nover do for both to bo away, ,lt would dotiblo tho expor.ro, and ono rnuBt bo bore to koop things going— Itwould bo wrong to loavo iicr, anyway. : Tou must load hor to licllovo I vo gono for good, dUigustcd at hor frcjiuont lapcoa,
If I moot with good luclc I shall dovoto my whojo tlnio to hooping, hor straight, aud glvlng - you children a decent aducatlon." "No oducatlon for mo," laughod Nlta, bpnglftg hor towel on lte peg, and coming towards" Utin, "I want naw silk di'6(ac:i, and carriages, and sorvants— no moro washing and sorubblng and saouring for me." Ihon. she put lior sliapoly, labour-marked hand on Ills grey hand with a oarossing touch. "Remember, father, I'm your only daughter, and when you como Into your golden fortune I shall ba an awfully extravagant ono.". "Wbpn wo got It, my maid, we'll dooldo np to tho spohdlng cf It. Par off Holds are ' Tightest— goldllelds,' particularly, " "But soo how many mop mako fortunos," de murred tlio girl. "That may bo — but hovy many booomo poorer.!' . "Opt they aro not uievor, lllco yon. father. Tau know scfnelldng about everything," "Jack of all- trades, mnntor of iioiip,'' "Nonsonso, lather. Yiiu'ro no jaok. of all tradoH. Why, everyone lcupws you'ro abovb or dinary pooplo." "lriattororl" murinurod hor father, with a lov ing glance In his dauglitor's pretty 11 usjtbd fuop. ' "Oold Is' tho ' mainspring of llfo,!' broke In Dolph. "Frein It flows nil good." ' "You'ro about right, lad. Tlio longer I llyp tho moro I fool It. I ili)vo como to hollpvo h Is tlio. only thing woftli living for. If "No, fatltbr," said Nlta, uoftly. VTho l.fo horoafter is' the ono worth uUTyiug for,'!" ' " Both raon looked iip'.' Tho youhgor ono fooling that, narrow as tils' path ' In ' llfo must bo, hor's ' was nai'i'ilwdrf ar.il then came tbo uneasy query, "Was her llfo tho least happy?" ' ; Did the slmplo faith that ho. In prldo pt 111-- tolloct had lately como to rcpbl, rondor hor llfi jess lisoful, or loss happy. ' " Wns this restless craving after tho unattain able that was porlheatlng with Up vague pain hln ontirp oxlstoncu duo to. real or fanojod In- Juotlca. Anyhow, it was somowliat r.yass'lifi'-g that tho saino pallia asiiiillcd an oldor niuii. "May' you always think so, my youtig (lauch- tor," replied tho man, \v|(..U a glonco ofnirldo at hor droamy brown' eyas.' "If you woro liko Fred,", she said,, fuming to Do|ph, "you might complain, hut you; . with hoaitb and strongth — ." ' Tho father jumped up. Ho could not boar any mcjitloh mado of tho lillot boy's aflllctlon. Ho knew, or fancied ho knew, to whom tho blamo of'tlio xnls-nhnpon II to was duo. "Croat God," ho oiTod, with a panston that' rarely rufliod tho oquahtllty of bhr dloposltion, "I cannot bear this— I shall go mad If I try to onduro It any longer. Dolph, lad, 1st mo go, and If I fall you 'shall havo your fling." Dolph glancod at Nlta. "YeB, father," sho aatd, looking at Dolpli as che spoko, "you may as well go. Who known but you w)U malco your fortuno, and tho plunge, any way, will do you good." "Yos," ochood Dolph, not lu tones of confi dent succoss, as Nlta spoke, but dubiously, tin though awaro of tho odds against auccoss. "Wo can mauago — Nlta and I— until you return." The oldor mun'B hand clasped hie eon's, and with his loft ho draw Nlta fondly to lile side. "God bloss you both," ho murmured, brokonly. "May you profit by your saurlfloo. I bellpvd It may strengthen your mother If sho thinks hor woaknous has drlvon mo from hor, and somohow I havo a tooling that I shall make my fortuno. Somothing tolla mo so." "I hopo your droam como.i true, father," said Nlta, with a 'little laugh. "Won't I raako the money fly tlion. Oh! just Imagine tho numbor of tlmos I'll go shopplug during tho week." "Don't be too sanguine my maid,!' Bald Mol drum, "I may como back pooror than I go. But I shall only talco a fow pounds with mo, Dolph, and wlinn that Is gono I'll oorne homo." The girl sat listening to tholr plans for tho journoy until tho evonlug shade began to full .across tho room, tlion she brought a low lamp flllod with lcoroscne, and plaolng It on tho table
lit It, and loft tho two men doc-p In talk ovor; tbo coming journey. Nlta brought lu the two children and bado tbom bid father and Dolph good-night, and Uko good boys go qulotly to bed, whilo sho saw that Fred was placod Bafciy for tho night." Fred, under Ills mother's Instruction!, slept hlono In a small room built at tho roar of tho kltclion. In this It booanio Nlta's dutlos nightly to coo him safely clssoted. Tlio boys whoso usual spirits woro somewhat danipod by tho pall that hung over the hoaso whoa "mother was at It again," wont to their room with unusual qulotnose. The night us It grew lator boeame colder, and N|ta added fuol to tho kitchen flro, nnd tho throo pooplo ovor wboso lives tho woman should have oaat; a perpetual sweetness eat noar it In wardly brooding over tho troublo that would not bo discarded from tholr thoughts. Dolph sat In tently reading no ho habitually did aftor the noise and bustlo of dally llfo gavo way to silence and rant. Maldrum'B endoavour to appear at oase was futllo, for both liiu companions saw tho unturnod pago of tho book hie eyes woro thoughtfully flxud on. Nlta's restlessness found vent in' per forming ovary now and then somo little houso- li&UV duty. Kneli ono ottor tholr different fashion was wait ing to hoar aomo movement from the room that
each disliked to ontcir. Never, did trio keep more painful, and yot outwardly so painless, a vigil. Not ono tunong them would willingly Incur the risk of rousing her, and thus- become tho means of sanding- hor out so late to procuro freeb com fort for tho ' nlglit hours. Tlion suddenly through tho nllont liouso came' the shrill scream, of a woman's voice. The words carao to thorn clearly and distinctly: "Don't; Jack — don't." Dolph started to Ills feet. Ho was quick to surmise what he believed to bo fear of hlB fathor haunting tho dreams of tho half-sobered woman, aud, taking tho lamp In hand, left tho other -two to rollow him or stay In tho now darkened kitchen, no their wishes dlotatod. A chilly foar cropt over him as the lamp light rovoalod his mother not aslcop, as ho had supposed, but ' wldo awalto, with every feature twisted as though from physical foar anil pain. ... "Dolph — Dolph!" Elio cried, ontroatlngly. "Do make him roleaso mo. - Ho is tearing my hair by. the roots. Oh, Jaok, you aro cruel — cruol — cruel. Oh!" So, wbllo they had beon planning, castles tho worBt of all -thlnga. had, happened to them. Tho straw needful to make tholr burden unbearable had boon' laid on- It. For, of -courso, tbis de lirium was tho effects, of oxcess. "Hush! Hushl" ho said, ; quietly, as ho moved aside some gaudy decoration on the table to
inako room to place the lamp. "No one Is touching you— no ono Is here, except me." Sho threw up hor Bmall white hands and beat them oxcltedly In the air. "All against me— all against a poor creature who Is sick and 111 — and unhappy. N1 — tal" Hor shrill volco wont through tho silent house, and Nlta and her fathor, on their way to the room, camo to a sudden halt outside tho room. ' ."Help!— Mur but Nlta and Dolph Im bued with the same impulso, were by hor side, and checked the word on tho first sylllable. "See, mother?" said Nlta, gently and firmly. "No one is harming you. We are all here. Soe! there's fathor and Dolph, and— I am hero." As the woman's eyes toll on her husband sho laughed Imbecilely. "Oh! Jack — I thought you were tearing my ' hair. Oh! do call them away1 — they will kill mo." Thou, when 'foar and horror and shame, hold tho hearts of the men as if In a vice Nlta'B sharp eyes doteoted tho' affinity between tho antlmacasssar and the hair, and to their sur prise laughed hysterically. (TO BE CONTINUED), A FACT. Pears' Soap is bought to-day by overyibody, end has maintained Its reputation as tho host of all toilet soaps for moro than one hundred years."