Chapter 31184089

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Chapter NumberII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31184089
Full Date1907-09-24
Page Number6
Corrections0
Word Count2720
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Age
Trove TitleFate and Patricia
article text LPatricia. BY ALICE GRANT ROSMAN. pubIished by Special jrrangement. CHAPTER II. (Oontinued.) 44 father often. It is a habit to which I'I am somewhat addicted. I have hemorrhage, you see, and then for'a'little while.I am dying till something persuades me to change my mind. This time it was the mention of the Antimacassar House; they brought me news last night that two or three loads of furniture.had' come up during the day, and that some one was laughing in the garden. ,And the thought of it made me feel'well again at once." "' The thought of the furniture ?" He leant against the verandah post . and shook his head at her. "Oh, Patricia! " he said. Patricia went on painting for a 'mo ment in silence, and smiling to herself. Then, without looking down, she mur mured : " You used to be such a .polite and chprming little boy, and to-day I. have given you two distinct openings for a pretty speech, and you have not taken advantage of them. It is so disap-. pointing of you." " Pretty speeches? ". he echoed, laughing. " Oh, but I am not 'allowed to make pretty speeches nowadays you know." " Aren't you 1" said Patricia in frank surprise. " Do you mean you are ap propriated, Dick ?Z and we have not heard of it? Who is she ? Do'tell me, there's a dear." Dick laughed outright, "Oh, 1 am not appropriated as you are pleased to term it," he said. • "Who would look at such a wreck, I: wonder ? And then I have sworn a vow of eternal celibacy." Patricia descended from her ladder. and dropped him a curtesy. , "Allow me to congratulate you upon your form of expression," she laughed. "I consider it distinctly good. • And so" some false damsel has thrown "you over I suppose, and.yoin have sworn a miglity vow to'neglect,the sex in future? The heartless wretch.. Who was, she, Dick ? " " Fate !" Perhaps the suddenness of .the an swer startled 'Patricia," for hbr" hand dropped to her side and, she stood 'for a' moment staring at the young man. Then she climbed the ladder again, and leant over one side to look at him. "I wish fate would throw me over, I am sure," she said. " Ah, you mixed your metaphors that time, Mr. Novelist. Well, if fate hasttihrowni you over,' take my advice 'and 'don't let' the hussy get the better of you. , Marry some other damsel.. See, I'll invite up all the most charming girls of my' acquaintance and you shall take y'our choice. Now isn't that.good of me.? ". Dick caught up his. hat -.from the verandah in pretended haste, and theii came laughingly and stood with his land once more upon' the ladder. S"I .'defy yoii -to` sh6\w : nme'i n more charming damsel than. one I already know,''.he said, " and so I wouldn't trouble, really." - She laughed. ; " Fate again, I suppose,"' she said. '" What a thing it is to be in love." ". Is it ?. .-Oh, well, -., suppose you know, but I have had no experience. When a fellow has' to chuck up every thing in a hurry and. clear out from the haunts of civilized men, so to speak, just because 'his .parents happened ;.to have had consumption, the least he can do is to, go and not do likewise --wlhich, in, simple language means, 'my 'dear Patricia, that, being the victim of a con-. sumptive marriage, I naturally think consumptives should rnot marry, and I am going to practise as I preach." Patricia put the finishing touches to her 'painiting before she answered him. Then ,she descended' the ladder, and, stianding a little way back from the verandah, .regaided ' her. handiwork oritically, .'.Nobwcome and admire it;,' she com manded. I:Fsn't the 'T a little un even? ;Aid isupposing one Ihad con sumptionand i'i was'.not in the .'family; Dick ,Is it the"T :' or the 'I' that is wrcng:?= Suppose-that one, developed - it through carelessness or even through -no fault of any one's, what then ? Shouldn't 'onzie nmarry in" that cae eithel ? " "-Iddonlt thinik aniybody who has an inciirable disease should marry, said Dick;":: "It's a theory of mine,- anid it' has got to be a practice in this case. I don't quite see how aiy one could tiink otherwise, if he thought at all." '"It is the 'I' after all,"' miurmured Patricia, going back to make an al teration. - No-I suppose-one could not think otherwise." She did not speak again till she had finished; nor did she -turn her face to Dick. He could see the soft, pIink out liie of her cheek, but that was all and if thecolour had been coming and going there he did not know it, beeause, when - at length she descended from her ladder Sshe was as gay as ever. and quite coin posed. • " There, now, I am quite proud of ini sigii painting," she said. Suppose we go inside." She led the way through the house to a room opening on to the north veran dah. It was cosily and daintily ar ranged in a colour scheme of varying shades of green, and its French win-' dows looked out upon blossoming, fruit trees, and beyond the roof of the care taker's cottage, just visible through the 'guns. The dining table was' set out with a white cloth and. gleaming glass and silver, as thohgh for dinner, and the soft silk spread in the centre held cor ,ner bowls of delicate pink and white al mond blossom. There were flowers on the, mantelpiece, too, and among the silver of the sideboard-all pink and white, and blending harmoniously with the dark green furnishings, so that for all its freshness .the' room looked as if it had been inhabited always, and had an air of festivity about it, as though it waited to welcome the newcomers. Patricia opened one of the French windows- and led the way outside. S'Kitty does not like the idea of leaving town," she said reminiscently; " and she has been very facetious about everything. She knew how it would be. They'd all come up to-night, tired and hungry, and find no dinner or no forks or 'something equally inconvenient. Probably there would be only one knife forthcoming, or two plates, and, we should have to eat with our fingers and perform other valorous feats. I didn't argue with her, but just for fun I have arranged quite an elaborate dinner' for to.night, and Emma is getting things ready now-while we are waiting for the next load of furniture to arrive.".' "'And you have taken time by the forelock and arranged the-\table," sug gested Dick, "and you have even knives and forks to go round. I congratulate you, Patricia. A domesticated genius is unique, I am sure." " Isn't it? "' said Patricia mockingly ; "but, then, Australians are all domes ticated, poor things, so we hear. This is something for your next` story, Dick " The Australian girl is, domesticated per force, because she can't help it, just as she is clever and independent and energetic. No doubt if she had-been 'consulted she would have chosen to be orinamental rather than useful, but' as it is she accepts her fate gracefully and submits to being both." " Humph I what a pleasant thing it is to have a good opinion of oneself," mur mured Dick. - She smiled upon him benignly. S"Is it, Dick ? Ah ! well, there's nothing like having it from an expert," she said. "'And, by the way, I 'have a conun drum to.propound.: What is that funny little cottage up there on the. hill ? It seems to be in our grounds, doesn't it, but what is it for, and is any onee living in it ? I have been 'dyiing to go and look at it all the" mornifig.' . '"L was .never good at conundrums," apologized Dick,' "but if you have time and energy 1 shall be ileased to shperin tend the inspection. ..There ought to.be something of a view up tliere.'. Y' Yes," -said Patricia eAgerly, " let us go and see.- ' It is such a glorious morn ing, and'tlie idea of a view is one 'I can never resist. It makes me 'dream of a private view, you know,". . She laughed a little, and then pausing suddenly on- the'garden walk, looked up at the 'young man beside her." SI amniinot goinig to take you up that: hill. even for a view, Dick," she -said, and for a moment there was a gracious iseriousness in her eyes.' "It. is :steep enough when one is well, I am sure, and you have been :ill." ' But now it was' Dick's turn'to laugh, and he accomplished .it almost success fully. ., "If you -say another word I shall carry you," h ,threatened;:, and so she gave . in. .r ..They, found a path leading up the hill,; among: stringy., bark and ?wattle- .trees, 'andh sometimes walking for yards in the chequered shadoivs, ;pushing- aside, the long arms of teatree and wvild rose held ot. to. tllheii;-'and sometimes ,resting.. a moment in'some sunny place to .:recover breath,- they reached -the cottage at last. It stood in a tiny patch of garden, a dilapidatedtumbling place with a great gumitree iear it, througl whicdh to-day the sunlighlt cast. qiaint shadows upon the whitewashed walls, It had evidently, like the Antimacassar House, been long deserted, yet the garden' still strniggled on- pathetically. A few hiardy : daisy bushes and a geranium. or. two were even blossoming, and the Northern Territory I creeper -that clung. about the verandall looked cool and thick, and "cast a pleasant shade." At the .back of the hiouse a stragglinig almond tree had thrown ite'-lnst petals ,in?:to a weedy grave, and a morning glory was climb ing round the reimailns of at? old waggon -left there by some. improvident wood cutter years ago. From the cottage there wound down the other side of the hill a: rough waggon r;oad still'knoiwn asi the woodcutter's path. Time and grasses 'ihad almost covered it, bit one could still see where it'took its winding= way in and out, in and out, losing, itself, at last -where a slip-panel marked the en trance to private property. Dick and Patricia, tired and a little breathless after their long climb, stood in the shadow of the gumtree and looked about them. L- r To the north sad south. lay .hill and valley, thickly wooded and meeting- the horizon two or three miles away. Here and there among the dull, cool green of the gums peeped a market- gardener's cottage with its cultivated patch about it; here and there .the red roof and terraced garden of a summer house or the comfortable better class dwellings of those who had made their homes con tinually in the hills. -But eastward the ranges went stretch ing away for miles and miles, merging with the sky,somewhere in the immea surable distances, and westward, west ward the opening hills looked down to a wide stretch of plain, whereon tle city and its suburbs slept in the' warm Sep tember day. Patricia gazed down over sloping vineyard and olive grove, over fields of waving wheat and pasture land yellow with dandelions, and came at last to the broad line of Bay lying serenely in the distance. The soft spring wind blew past her, and she took off her hat and let it play' among the coils of her dark 'hair. Her cheeks lost some of their unn natural colour, and into her eyes, so eager and so restless as a rule, there came a new peace that made Dick think of.Ida. He had often recalled Patricia's brilliant eyes during the last week or two. - For some reason they haunted him persistently, and he supposed it was because they were so wonderful and so unconmmon. But now he had'a sudden feeling that there had been something in them that was not like the old Patricia of _ his childish days. It was as though she had drawn about her a mantle of differences to defend her self from someone or something, and that now of a sudden she had. dropped the mantle, and stood before him her old natural self. When at length she turned to speak 'to him it was with a girlish friendliness that touched him strangely. "I am so glad one can-see even this little patch of the 'plain ,and the gulf," she said. "I have felt quite smothered since I came. up, with all these hills around me, although I love them so. I think there is something in my. nature that makes me always want.to be in the middle of things that are going on ; and 'I am sure I should have a fit if I were to live far from a city. But now that I can come up here' and look down, and know that Adelaide .is 'within easy reach I-shall be quite-happy." She paused. - " When you said there was a view from here, Dick, I was afraid' to ask you if one could see the plains,, in case you should say no ; and all the way. up' the hill I have been preparing; myself for :disappointment. 'And now-" ."And now," said Dick huskily. All at once with Patricia's words an old longing had come rushing back upon. him. " I too, have heard the call of cities," 'he said, "and sometimes it almost over comes me.'. From my verandah I have .a better view than this.' I can 'see the whlole of the plain, and when at night >I am restless I.lie and watch the lights down there and try to count them. But' it doesn't help me much to know 'that 1 can get there if I want to do so, because I alwiays want to do so.- 'Sometimes I almost give up this fight for health' and go.' Andyet I'know that I must not do that, because I still, have my am bition. So Istay here, and every day I know I am growing 'narrower, and I cannot help it."' "Ab but you can help it. Don't you think when part of your horizon line is the sea you cali never grow really nar row ? When you' lok'at it doesn't -it tell you of all the., Wonderful 'broad life beyond there, and make you a part of it ? To me the little patch. out there is the gateway into "the land of pictures, and I have come to depend upon" it to keep me from going narrow... When sometimes "I. begin to think that this little world of ouris is.the only one that matters,'that our .opinions and doings are the only ones worth "considering,- I look out there to my spacqof sea, and I am'curedat once. Of course it.makies the call of cities--I like your name for it, Dick-it makes the ell of ciies louder; but one has to iiut up' with that." - i(To be Continued.): FIB. 3.; A rialther brutal thing iwas` uninten tionally said at a party the 'other -night at a house in Camperdobwn; iShortly after midnight: a: gentlemaii was pressed by his l hostess tosing. Very thoughtfully he put forward the excuise that at tliat hour the neighbours :m night object.: " Oh i never: minid the neiglhbours", cried the lady, 'of, the .house. " They poisoned our dog last week.": Tramp :' " 'Madam,' I am suffering froni indigestion. . Lady:.' Why, yIm sorry. What can I do to help you'? .. Tramp :" Miadam, you can cure me at once by giving me something to di The governess was giving Tommy a grammar. lesson;:;. . -: " An abstrnact nouni she said :. iS thoe liamie of'someth!ing .you can think \of; but not touchl. Can, you givte me. an example" tI - ,, A red: hot poker,", promiptly..re plied Tommy. - q SShe . " Your's is- a :pretty mboutlhi ; it ought to be on a woimani's face."' He : "-I seldom'miss an opportunity."