Chapter 31183983

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31183983
Full Date1907-09-17
Page Number6
Corrections0
Word Count1889
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Age
Trove TitleFate and Patricia
article text Tate and?? ? Patricia. BY ALICE GRANT ROSMAN. ITublished by Special Jv'rangement. CHAPTER I. :(Oonliniued.J Dick strolled off, and the girls watched his tall, stooping figure unAil it was out of sight. Then they turned back to the unpacking of their baskets, and silence fell between. It was Ida who'fiilally broke it. '" How dreadfully rouind-shouldered lie has grown,'! she said, as though con tinuing a'line of thought ; ' poor boy I, Isn't it terrible. Patricia ? " - Patricia laughed, and perhaps on pur pose misunderstood her sister. " Good gracious, why ?" she said. "I think'it'looks rather clever and intellec tual to be round-shQuldered. I am goini to cultivate it myself." Ida looked at her but said nothing. There were times when, liad ishe lot grown up in the belief of Patricia's cleverness, she might almost have thought her very stupid. That afternoon the Antimiacassar House rang to such• laughter as it .had surely never heard before. For the first time in years the dust was disturbed in empty rooms and passage ways, and the spiders-the only 'tenants that those years had brnought, scuttled away' to dark corners, fearful at this disturbance of their accustomed quiet. The house was one-storied, rambling and old-fashioned, abounding in: small passages that led one to all manner of unexpected places. In one room the door, leading outside,, stood open,~ and when the inti uders examined it they found it was stiff- and heavy, as though it were many a day since it had been disturbed. This was the only room that did not open upon a verandah, and so was brighter and sunnier than the rest. A patch of sun-, light lay across the doorway this after. noon, showing the dust and twigs, and dry old leaves blown 'in" here' by many' a winter storm;i and, Dick' and Patricia entering the room together,-' stood 'still of one accord, and. gazed appreciatively at the picture through the open door. There was a small patch of blue spring sky, with the blossoming arm of a fruit tree stretdhed across. 'it, and ' below :a gravelled path, all weedgrown and ne glected, upon which - the. fallen almond petals flittered and strayed and died. " Isn't it beautiful ? " Patricia breathed, breaking the silenice that had fallen be tween them. ~"' This shall be my studio. Come, let us examine the outlook." He smiled as he- followed her to the door. " You have not relinquished, your *ambition then ?" he said.' " I am glad of that. ;, Do you remember' how, wlhen we were youngsters, we used to plan all the things we should one day do to as tonish the world ? ' We -were to travel first, and go to all manner of 'wonderful places, - .,nd then one day" to come home famous. I don't believe we even dreamed we! might be -famous" without travelling first, for that was always' in our dream.' And"not one 'of us has travelled yet, Patricia, and not one of -us is famous '. Tragic, isn't it." '".Perhaps we still .think one.:depends upon the other," said Patricia,. lightly, . and led the way into the garden. "You were to be a great writer,' Dick,' and 'I an artist. Kitty was' too young for am bitio~s 'in those days, but Ida--", "Ida was too stupid," - finished that young lady behind them. ." I was always the stupid 'one, you know. But I was to travel with' you, and then when you came home such famous people I was 'to be foil and:audience" and general aide de-camp. :I am not sure that after all it was not-something, of an ambition." But Patricia only looked-'at" her and smiled. ' Somehow people always smiled at Ida.Herriot but never with derision. She wasa 'tall graceful, very. charming girl, with a :fair ,comnplexion, and the deep, cool, restful eyes of one who: has :lived through , many an Australian 'nsummer. She was clever, but quite un conscious of. it,-- simply . because' the -possibility of beii g, so had never oc curred to heriaid s'lie haid not "the wit - to discoverywherein:her talents lay. She knew that she, had none of Patricia's brilliance' 'nor Kitty's 'inisistent' perse verance, and isotook it for granted that 'seli:was tlihe dull onee ofthe famnily, iand contented ;herself by:; participating in '-the ambitions of 'the others only as aide Sde-anmpi, a she had said ; Yet no onev ever thought of Ida Herriot as a stupid girl' She always seemed'to know what : to do and.say, and be iso that every one 'would be satisfied, and if such a. nature 'caused people to make , convenience of~ 1 her shegave'no'sign tihat she minded, - but still smiled on in her serene and gracious iway .upon the misguided pleasanit?wrld. :Itwas with jnuset such a smile that to'day she met the scrutiny 1 of Dick;Anderson- ,r "Sincq~ Kitty had ?'grown older we have added ?yiet another to our various ambitions, 'Dick," she said. " Did we tell you that Kitty, had developedl a voice, and :has promised us faithfully, to be a second Ada Crossley one day. ' No, its, no use .looking modest, Kitty, be causeyou kniow its true. - And if some thing.very nice we are hoping for should happen, Dick,-'we -hall-realize that other ' ambition-of ours and travel.,'. I ".It never will happen," interrupted Kitty. " You are always ,hoping for I it, and I know you'll be disappointed. · I ought to know." But again the others silenced her. To day, they said, there must be' no wet blankets." "I think we might tell Dick, since he is almost one of the family," Patricia " suggested presently, " but it is a secret, h Dick, so you must not divulge it. Kit ty's teacher is coaching her for-a scholar ship that is to be offered next year, and which-should she win it-will pay for her tuition under the best masters in Europe. It would be such a splendid thing for. her, for they say her voice is rather wonderful, and may one day make her a great name: And if Kitty wins the scholarship we shall go to Europe,'because she is too young to go alone.' Mother feels that under the circumstances it would be the only thing to do. Of course she could not afford to give Kitty the tuition herself, but we think we should be able to live on the same income abroad as we do here. At least we are going to do so. We are Australians, and we are not going to be baulked by a little thing like that." She laughed, and Dick laughed with her, though a little, half-heartedly, bh cause the conversationhad touched him in a somewhat personal manner. It had brought back to him the utter fu tility of that old wish of his to see the woild-a wish that had been with him all his life,, and never, would be quite quenched in spite of everything, though he knew now it was vain. . To-day his health, nay even his exis tence, perhaps, depended upon this cool, fresh mountain air, which, as he had told Patricia, was to such as he almost 'lifegiving. So he knew that beyond this little world he might not go, that :upon its narrow and limited life he must depend for the experience ' so necessary to the literary man. True' there were hours when his thirst for the broader life of cities almost overcame him, and at such times he was tempted to let' all things go, and, flying .from the quiet of the hills, live, live 'among.- men that brief spai of life which 'he' knew under such conditions, alone might be his, Perhaps the one thing 'that deterred him from this course was less the' fear of speedy death than 'the knowledge that in such a life. there would be no place for his work-that work for which, through careless childhood and boyhqod, he had been half-consciously preparing. He had a feeling, that' in his work, however poor, he possessed something to give out to the world, and in this lay his refu'ge from the irrisistible desire to have a say in"l the affairs of men. Thus in a way his work became his salvation, so determined :was he to write out of his narrow experience rather than not write at all. ' To-day when the old hunger for the world disturbed hi it was not for long, 'because Patricia,: as though she 'knew instinctively, the subject was a painful one, changed it,: and soon had him laughing so' gaily, at her nonsense 'that he could think of nothing else. SBut afterwards, when the three girls "had returned to town, and,. Dick went climbing slowly homeward up the hilly road, the troublesome subject recurred to him, bringing with it another even. more troublesome at this juncture--the remembrance 'of a principle It had been a delightful thing to Dick to be' able to step from _his lonely. life as he had done to-day into the com panionship of-these girls. And for 'the day he 'knew it had' been permissible, but how much so would be the constant companionship that would probably re s'ilt from 'the'renewal of his friendship with the Heriots.?? Three years before, when he had' looked forth: into the life of broken health and ruined hopes awaiting :him, only one thing had seemed very clear. He must take care that no other suffered through him what he had been caused to suffer.. He must never marry. Thenceforth he had given up all his old time friendships and eschewed any in tilmacy with womankind; partly because he. felt he could not otherwise be very sure of himself, and partly because 'he had a crude notion. that anything. else would be scarcely fair to the womankind 'in.qdestion. To-day he put the more personal reason away, with a new reek lessness, and for the first time in his life wondered if the other were ziot the sign' pof a terrible conceit. The ;posse bility made him so hopeful that he was almost startled by it, and endeavouring to reason it out with an unbiased: mind, he grew so confused that by the time lhheI had reached, the turn in 'the roiad his 'brain wasin satumult.' ' He paused then, and looked back'for a moment to the .-village where this children played in the twilight.. The sun had leftthe hills an hour since, and I the darkness was already gathering 'in t gullieasand among the trees, yet below, far below, he could see the silvery roof i of tlie'Antim'acissar House shining otu' distinctly in the fading light. Then--he caught sight'of the verandsh 'and'?the sloping weed-grown lawn beyond. And he thought' of all thie timbs he had stood I here morning and evening, lokingdown upon theeold ?deserted house. In the future he might expect to see a white dress trailing across the space of lawn, or a girlish figure at work in the garden. And he wondered how he should endure it were he allowed no other part than that of onlooker iu the life of the Antimacassar House. Thein " Fate and Patricia shall de ide for me," he said, and went upon his way.