Chapter 31184201

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter TitleTHE MARKET GARDENERS.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31184201
Full Date1907-10-01
Page Number6
Corrections0
Word Count2404
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Age
Trove TitleFate and Patricia
article text CHAPTER II:t. THE MARKET GARDENERS. Nothing that she says or is But smacks of somethingnobler than herself.-Shakespeare. -atricia spent the next two hours super S'.:intending the meni, asking Dick's advice,' and contriving- that, , while he did 'nothing, he should not for a mo ment suspect it. Then she sent him out to the verandah for a smoke, and he thought hard for. five ninutes, after whiclj "he.strolled round to the . drawing room. window:: and . accosted; Patricia again. "' Act II., scene 'I., Patricia Heriot accompanies Dick And?rsoin home to uncdheon," he re~uiarked. " No,'' contradicted Patricia. " Dick Anderson stays to luncheon: 'with -Pa tricia Heriot." " Now my dear Patricia, it's no nse' your telling me that Susan Anne or or Emma Jane, or whatever you call her, isn't frightfully busy getting dinner ready for to-night. 'And my landlady is a dear, and it will be a new experience for you. , You've never lunched with a market gardener, have you? .and I know that new experiences are the joy of your life. Come along now! Get your hat." . - "W'hat'a'masterful youth it is," mnr mured Patricia, but she went . off obediently, and a. momeiit afterwards joiied-the masterful youth in the gar den. "It is so nice to'have mybig brother again that I' shall allow him to' rder me aboit 'jist for once," she said. And he smiled, :remembering a certain decision:he had'left in her hands. "And- now," said Patricia; as they climbed the'rioad together, "tell the all about the people' with whom you. live, Dick.. They are market gardeners, are they ? and they live on a hill ? Do you .know 'I don't think, I have ever'seen a market garden on' a hill-always dowii in a gully, quite sheltered and' shut. off, a white-washed. cottage, rows.• of fruit trees, patches of .pegtables, and straw berry beds, a spring cart, a lazy horse,' and a. fewy. stray childreh : and -dogs. How's that for a picture ? "" SSplendid. I can see the- rustic,' un eventful life 'ofsuch a place. 'But per haps it is because my market, garden is upon ia hill..that it is somehow different.. The children, for instance; are not in the least' st iay. n fact, the 'oily stray. membei' of the household is-"' Yor ?'" 'He laughed a little as he opened the gate anid ?iotioned`" fori herr to: pass through " I have never flattered myself that I was really a "member of the "household, although I hiave been there so long," lie "said. But when you have met them all, Patricia,. you shall tell me who is the stray one of the family in my opinion, anid see if we agree.." Look now, there is the. hoiuse sitting up there on the top of the .ill ,and the west verandah is my den. :I :-have lived most of :the last three yearis on that verandah, under .going the interesting process -known as the cure 1'air." tCuire ? " echoed. Patricia, involun tary. ':He laughed. " Is my pronunciation wrong-? '~ lqueried.. I'm afraid I never was very strong on French pronunciation Arid after all, the meaning is just the same, isn't it ? " X Yes," she said, "The meaning-is -just-the same." And, perhaps, with the exertion of the long climb, her cheeks took on an added colour, her eyes a sudden brightness. They were nearing the house now, and Patricia had already noted that the slate-roofed place, with its' wide veran dali?. was sufficiently unlike, the ortho dor home of.the market gardener to .be :~'cprising.. Then she saw a woman's figure, stooping over a "garden bed in fronit of. her, and she smiled in an' in terested way as she looked at Dick. .'" Ah ! there is Mrs. Burton," he said, and went forward with a hasty apology, leavinig her to follow more. slowly. A musement mingled with the interest in Patricia's eyes as she looked after him, but the next moment, as though hearing his footsteps, the woman. in' ;front straightened herself and stood up, and in sheer astonishment the girl paused with a little inarticulate exclamation. She . thought she had never seen so powerful a figure or one so unexpected. It seemed to loom up before her among the budding boughs of the fruit trees, and afterwards, in looking back to this moment, Patricia remembered with sur prise that she had had no consciousness of Dick's presence there, though he must have been standing at the woman's side. The first thing she knew was that she had come up with them, and Dick was introducing her. "' Mrs. Burton," he said, "this is my. friend, Miss Heriot, whom I have hin dered all the morning. . I have brought her to luncheon with you as an atone ment, and because I know that you are always so kind to tired people." For a brief space the two, women looked at each other in silence, and the man, the.onlooker for the time, watched them with a wholly inexplicable anxiety. The girl's brilliant face was flushed and a little heated, but her eyes still held that new peaceful look of Ida that Dick had noticed in the morning. As for the elder woman-her habitual expres sion of fine strength and reserve was un changed, as indeed it had been throught out Dick's knowledge' of her. .Only for a moment her eyes held' an, unspoken question, which gradually faded, and left her faintly smiling. " How do you do, Miss Heriot ?" she said, in a well-bred, melodious voice, and she held out her hand to Pa tricia. "I'm -afraid our steep hill is haidly a pleasant welcome. You must allow me to apologise for it."' .Patricia smiled brightly. " It is steep, isn't it?' " she satu;"' but itis not without its advantages after all. All the way up I have been telling my self how delightful it will. be to run down it by-and-by." The other's eyes brightened. " That is a charmingly energetic philosophy," she said, as she led the way inside. Patricia followed her with a delicious feeling of excitement. 'because this new experience which Dick had promised her was so different from what she 'had expected., Perhaps it was her'" art that gave to Patricia so absorbing an interest in human natures and human faces. She had a habit of staring at people in a searching ir(terested little.way that in any qther miight'have seenied both lill= mannered and otlrusive. " But Patricia was so evidently neither 'of 'these thinigs -her own personality was such ,an at tractive one that few were ever offended by her scutiny. • In.looking at Mrs. Burton the girl had a feeling that her surroundings;, even as accessoried, stood quite apart from her.. , Her face was so powerful and'com pelling that it allowed no consciousness of minor things, but-held one's atten tion exclusively : It even robbed 'Pa tricia herself bof her quick' observation, so that'when she followed ;,her `'hostess into the honse heronly impression was of coolness'and space and: taste without detail'. It:,-was not until Mrs. Burton led Patricia into,.tha;dining-.room·anid introduced' her husband that the girl awakened to any real?coisiciosness of lier surroundings. :The market gardenerr was lounging ini a chair near the window and;idly turning the pages of a magazine.. .His appear ance was even more foreign to his calling than that of his;wife, albeit in a different way. :For while i ne felt ,sure thit hard work oinly served'to augment Mrs, Bur ton's good. breeding,. one felt equally sure that in Mr. Burton's case hard work was never given ; the' opportunity. At first glance Patricia wondered if the nonchalant' individual a't the window might not be.a fellow-lodger of'Dick's, and she tried to remember whether he had ever mentioned'such a 'one. -And then Mrs. Burton' interirpted lieri thoughts. "Miss 'Heriot,' may I in trodnce my husband[? "., she :said. " Robert, Mr. Anderson has brought us a visitor." .The market. gardener, welcomed the. girl effusively. "It is so.good "of youn to honour ues, Miss Heriot." he said, "'?and 'I 'nly twish we could entertain yoeityas ~ieshoietld like. Brit we ard mlini people .iocadays, and our friends have to.be iridulgent with us." :. . Patricia was distinctly' irritated by the bad taste 'tht fouind it "lecessary to make excuse, for poverty, .yet. secretly glad that he 'had made these excuses rather than his wife, if they were to 'be made at all. 'In herl quick way of com ing to conclusions Patricia had' already classified hiushbaid nland.wife,' and guessed that whatever the mlsfortune.-that had brought theni into this state the woman was sufficiently well bred to adaptl her-. `self to" tlie t ciange' withoilt "comment;' while.he, :being probably of an ;ancestry that had not long known better circub stances, was too busy telling the world that it was not always thus with him to be of much practical use. -. It was with a feeling of proteso that Patricia took the chair he offered her, and listened to his senseless chatter whilst Mrs. Burton busied herself with the luncheon. And so when the door burst open to admit two little girls she was considerably relieved at thediver sion. The yonnger of the two a child of 12, with a wonderfully alert little face,- had just come in from school, and she threw down her books on the sofa before she noticed the presence of a stranger. The elder who might have been 16, was tall and strong and-graceful like her mother, though with more of tranquilli ty than power in' her face as though she had lived much in the open air. She came in from the garden now, as one could see from the brown earth clinging unheeded to her dress and soiliing her hands, in one of which she carried a queer-shaped bulb.; . ," Mother, did you ever see anything like this ? "she exclaimed, then paused and coloured as her, eyes fell upon Pa tricia. - "Oh! " she said, "I-I--" Her mother was quick to understand her embarrassment, and put. an arm about her. " These are my little girls, Jessie and 'Helen, Miss Heriot," she said. '"Pm afraid you can't offer to sliake hands, Jess, until you have disposed of that bulb. Yes, it is curious, isn't it ? but only a daffodil distorted in growth. Something to do with the planting, no doubt." "I wondered if we could havesa sketch of it for my book," said Jessie in a low voice, "but I had forgotten it was lunch time." She carried the bulb across to the win-. -dow, and Patricia followed asking in 'that interested way of hers if.she might look at it. The younger. girl turned her eager eyes. upon her with a grate ful smile. . " You'd never think what a numnberof different shapes there are, would you ?" she said. " We have a book full of sketches of all the queerest ones we have'found. See this-and this." - She had taken an exercise book from the table, and 'was 'turning the pages quickly. Patricia examined the' sketches as though they were some.entrancing work of art. And she saw at once that whereas the quaint, face-like individuali ty of each bulb had been accentuated and brought out, the book was still less for amusement than study, since every sketch was neatly marked and classified. She smiled, for it told her something of the education these girls were all un consciously receiving. " These remind me.of something we did when we were children," she said. ".Mr. Anderson lived near us then, and one day he and'I found some bulbs be longing to my sister Ida 'that were waiting to be planted. We thought we'd surprise her so cut a face on every one, scraped holes forthe eyes .and slits for the mouth and nose, and stood them up in a row near' her garden'. We ex pected'her to be pleased-but she wasn't: She said we had killed all her bulbs."' "And thereafter," suggested. Mrs.. .Burton., "her garden had no hyacinths .to wear ? " Patricia smiled at her appreciateively. ' Just onie,",she said. "Dick and I wanted to repair the damage, so we cut .up one bulb and glued ,pieces :into the eyes of the others' and tried to mend them. Then 'we planted them and one actually grew. We'always called.it, the glued hyncinth after that.'" She stood with her back. half turned to the window, herface alight 'an: ani mated, her eyes brilliant as though evenh so trivial a conversation as'this held= her whole attention for the moment.'i: "And when she became aware that Dick iwas standing in the doorway, watching: her she turned a . friendly glance upon him and asked if he remembered. Mrs. Burton's sharp eyes `caught: the the look that, passed between- them, his so eagerly admiring and.possessive, here possessive too, yet without a hint of 'coquetry in it; as though: he were per haps a favourite brother. - Wheh she brokre the spell by calling thea'i to lIn cheon Mrs. BnIrton's-expression was im movable as ever, and it did.,not charige throughout the meal, even when her husband, with a pertinacity worthy of a better caush, mono?lized the' coiiver sation: To be Continued. . F.P. 4. •Little Mary: "'I'm never goinag tb Holland when I grow up." Governess : " Why not ?'' "' Cause our gtqrbiphy says it s a low, lying country." ' " I saw vyon riding in the park, yes terday,' she said. ..-.: "? My dodtor has ordered me to ride for exercise. . " I judged fiom your expressi~n you weren't doing it for fun." When Marcus attempted'to Oaiesar,' Cleopatra half-thought it rwould jlaesar i; When .he sowire by his honor, ; He doted upon her,: :i? ' She coyly allowed him to squassar. " What happens when there is an eclip;se of the'mon ? "' S.A lotb of people look at it?" .." Any accidents- in your: motor trip through France'?' " , Nothing worth imentioninig.. My vife was tlirown out and hbrnised a -.bit, mbut the machine'never got so much as 'a scatch." ,. Said he :. 'My views on bringing up a family are-" ":Never mind your views,":said she; " I'll bring up the family. You go aind bring up the coal."