Chapter 31185466

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Chapter NumberXII
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1907-12-24
Page Number6
Word Count2757
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Age
Trove TitleFate and Patricia
article text Tatc alnd SPatricia. BY ALICE GRANT ROSMAN. J Published by Special JKrrangement. CHAPTER XII. (Continued. Dick's letter contained a message for Patricia too. WValter'wanted her to know how her picture was appre ciated and admired, and how every one praised his good taste in having chosen it, She laughed when Dick told her, and the colour deepened a little in her cheeks, for she remembered how. Walter had given her the credit for his success at his examinations, and it seemed to her that he was making her responsible for all' the good things that befell him. How very eagerly she noticed these little things, and how very happy they made her She, whose beauty, and charm, 'and youth had always been a golden key to the hearts of men, had come to that great door, the heart of one man, and paused affrighted lest her gol den key wore not strong enough for so wonderful a place. Even now Patricia had not quite realized that she was in love with Wal ter Hunt, but she suspected that she might be so very soon. She thought they were both standing on the verge of a wonderful discovery, she knew not what, and that some day they would go a step further, and then she would un derstand. And, ah! the exquisite an ticipation of it. She did not ask if realiz ation could ever be more beautiful, foi it is these' intense and passionate natures that love most blindly and unquestioning ly, and to them the present is sufficient unto itself. Patricia's present was one of 'eager waiting and expectation, for daily now she might look for Walter Hunt. She exhibited a sudden dislike for visiting, and in a moment of enthusiasm commenced a new picture that would serve as an excuse. Then she grew tired of that, and began to hunt for a book that nobody had ever heard of, making the library uninhabitable for days.. Ida; as usual, humoured her, but Kitty was loud in her protests, for in the mean time the family congregated generally in the. drawing room, and sometimes dis turbed that young lady's practising. " Why can't she put back the books as she finishes with them ?" grumbled Kitty, who knew not the joys of dis order except where music was concerned. " My : dear girl, that is the artistic temperanient," Ida pointed out. " Then the artistic temperament-is. a' .very' untidy thing to' have about the house," 'retorted Kitty. But no hint of these complaints ever reached Patricia's ears, and if. her rest lessness were selfish, it was quite uncon sciously so. The conventional love-lorn attitude w'as'not' for Patricia, and her erratic behaviour aroused no suspicion ii! the minds.of her family.. True, she had developed a habit' of seizing the news paper' before she was dressed each morn ing,. bhilt no one suspected that' Walter Hunt's results werein any way connected with this sudden thirst for news. So when at length they were published sh'e lihadtimeto control her excitement be fore site faced the others. " Walter had coine out at the top of his yedr Kitty saw him. in town the same morn ing, and learned that lie would be in' the hills by Saturday. When she aniounced this news at home Patricia laughed, and said'she supposed he was coming to be congratulated and made much :of iafter his success-but she was very . gay for the remainder of.the week..: .On Saturday, however, a strange mood seized her.. She did not want to meet Vzilter Hunt and was afraid he' aight thlinlkshe did; and by-and-by when the time for his coming approached, she caught up her sketch book' as she sup posed, and hurried away into the-scrub.. She found a pathway leading down 'into a gully that comnianded a view of. the road, 'and here she loitered until the train came,iti.:. She 'wanted to know whether Walter really came-by it, and felt sure that; even at'that distance, she would be 'able to recognise him if he did. Th'at he might recognise her-would look down into the gully and' see her' there, never eptered her mind for a moment. There were many trees about, and she believed that she was quite out of sight; so, without fear of being observed, she waited for him, and presently he 'came. She watched him as he climbed theli hill, a tall athletic figure, swinging albng with a gay self-confidence that was part Sof all he did. How youiig he looked, she thought.': Surely at the touch of his magic youth all evil must fly from him, I all ill omens lose the'ir power. He was born for success and adnlation-yes, and love, and with.that swinging step of his he would ipass all obstacles enaisly.' . Nearer and nearer he came; and still she watched'him, her.pulses beating tu multuously, when all at once, as though even at that distance he felt her eyes upon him, he turihed and' looked down • into the'gul!y.? PRatricia stood quite still, and with that instinctive feeling that the unseeing are also the unseen, closed her eyes. She thonght he would pass on withoutnotic ing her, and when at length she, looked. up lhe was note little startled to find I that he had entered the gully' and was already half-way dow, the hill. Hehad been walking gaily along, pondering upon his success and the reception he r was likely to receive in consequence of it. It flattered his vanity to believe that - this success would be accountable for many things, and perhaps he had some I excuse for believing it, for in his pocket was an unexpected letter from his father. i His mother's affectionate. delight, his sister's pride in him, brought no such I pleasure as that brief note from the head of the family. It was the word of a man. to a man he told himself proudly ; and -well, the word intimated that if he felt a year in London would be of use to him, there was some one behind him with a substantial banking account. There had been no hint of this before his results were known, and he was shrewd enough to guess that it was an afterthought consequent upon them. He was beginning "early to taste the power that comes with success, and he liked the flavour of it. He did riot know yet whether he would accept his father's offer, but it was worth thinking of. Per haps he, would ask Pairicia's advice. There would be no need to take it if he did not agree, and he would like to hear what she had to say. For surely she would be kinder to him now. She liked success lie knew. Had he not seen her eyes sparkle at the very mention of it ? Besides, there was that night of the storm-he remembered that it was the first time she had ever seemed quite friendly to him ; and if a little' service like that affected her He laughed to himself exultantly, and it was then that, chancing to look down into the gully, he saw her standing there. The next moment he was half-way down the hill. When Patricia opened her eyes" and discovered him her nervousness increased tenfold, and started on again, strolling at first, but hurrying more and more' with every step. She hoped that he would think from this that she had not seen him and give up the 'idea of over taking her, but he still came on until she could hear the twigs snapping be neath his feet. Even then she hurried on in a breathless, fearful way. For a mo ment she.seemed to be possessed of' a blind terror that robbed her of all reason, and she stumbled" over the ground as though pursued by some horrible night mare.. Then she discovered "that she was actually running, and the absurdity of the situation overcame her. She laughed, and instinctively slackened her pace. He was laughing, too, when he came up with her, for to him 'this' chase had never been' anything but'a piece of non sense. He knew of no reason. why she should rui away except to provoke him, besides he had caught a glimpse of' a pink cheek, and was quite prepared to find her laughing wickedly. He caught'her arm with a gay fami liarity that thrilled her, and forced: her to stop' and face him.. " Now what have you to say for your self ?" he demanded, still holding her. If there had beenrianything of defiance in'her first glance, it soon 'faded when helooked into' er eyes. A certain reck lessness came over her, and she felt her self surrendering deliciously' to his will. "'LNo doubt I ought;- to say I con gratulate you," she:smiled, " that's .what you came for, isn't it ?"' He smiled too, and gently released her. " 'It isn't -he 'protested' boyishly, "I., came to thank my mascotte for bringing me all this good fortune.': It was your doing you know, Miss Patricia..' Won't you' 'wish me further luck ? for: then there would be no knowing what splen did things. might- not happen' to me. Are you going sketching ? and I say,:do' you usually sketch in ' Views of 'Ade-' laide' ?" He took the book from` beneath her arm, and held it out- to her. laughingly, and she laughed with, him, ' discovering her mistake for the first time. " Always," she said promptly. " And now suppose you retiurn me my property, and'. allow me to continue 'my travels, Dr. Hint." . " I'll carry it for you," he announced calmly.' . "I'll walk" down hero in 'the creek bed, and you can imagine I'am your valet, you know. -';Whieni Mistress' Patricia goes 'a-sketching. ' How's tliat for the title of a picture or' a'book or something ?" "' "Very absurd. 'And,if you will'come with me, you had better walk u'pon level ground. Otherwise I shall be obliged to look doivn'upoli you." . t'I was afraid you did.that. already," murmured Walter. "Dodn't you, Miss Patricia ?": S"And," she continued, ignoring the question, '" I prefer to look up to my' friends when possible. It is a munch more elevating process." . Walter benit over her :sentimentally. " Is it really an elevating process to look up to me ?" he asked'softly. ~ His face was very close to hers, and with an effort she summoned all her dig nity. "To all appearances," she said, " it is no longer necessary to look up to you," but she could iiot help siiiling a little all the same. " So they went on with youth* and joy, and the wonder of that dawning love in their hearts, not knowing or caring where they wandered since they were together and life was theirs. The afternoon wore on delightfully. It was one of those heavenly days of the hills summer when the shadows lie cool on roadside and gully, and alight wind lulls the trees to rest. In many a garden children's voices echoed, but, save for this and the occasional rumble of waggon wheels on distant roads, the world was free from human sound, and slept through the sunny day. Against the sky wheeled magpie and starling, and rarely abright plumed parrot in lazy flight, and down in a narrow fugitive stream of the Onkaparinga the wild fowl circled aiid plashed luxuriously. At length the wanderers came to a blackened gully, where a bush fire had lately raged, and they stopped to look at it. Everywhere fences and underbrush and young sap lings were charred and burnt, and great trees lay as they had fallen, majestic even in desolation. Here and there a green space that the fire had missed bloomed like an oasis in the desert, and over all the gums waved mockingly green still in spite of burnt trunks and withered lower branches. It might have been a. dead country, aund these green patches a pathetic reminder of the life so lately there, and Patricia shivered a little at the sinister solemnnity and gran deur that seemed like a premonition of evil. " It looks so dead," she said to Wal ter." He laughed, quite unimpressed by the scene. .I " The trees certainly seem to have one foot in the grave," he reniarked, " but the tops are living .all right. Bit like some human beings, aren't they ? Peo ple who have consumption for inistance." Patricia shivered again. "'Oh ! what a horrible suggestion," she said. Walter was smoking, and he took his cigar from his mouth and looked at her reflectively. " Consumption is a horrible thing," he said. " Oh ! I know," she answered quickly, without meeting his glance. "It-is dreadful, and-and that's where you are so lucky, Dr. Hunt-to be able to make a speciality of consumption and other incurable diseases; and-even perhaps to discover a cure for them. How splcudid it vouild be !" He opened his eyes a little, " I should never make a study of con sumption," he said, " I sdppose it's1 a curious admission for a chap studying medicine, Miss Patricia, but I have' a real horror of consumption,, and I, be lieve if any one belonging to me had it I'd clear as far off as possible." Patricia paled, but laughed a little in credulously. " If any one you cared foi had it, you would study all the harder to find some way of alleviating their pain,'.' she said; but Walter shook' his head. " Look here," he exclaimed,' ' I think if I had to live with a consumptive I'd well,' I'd cut my throat. I've seen a good deal of it in the hospital, and its a frightful thing. It is contagious, that's the awful part of it. You may not be lieve me, Miss Heriot, but the few times I've been up here with old Anderson 'I've felt beastly nervous. And 'his is not half such a bad case as many: I've seen." " No" said Patricia dully, ",I sup pose not." and she walked away from him' a- little 'and picked up a charred. 'stick, because' her, hand was shaking, and she did not,want him. to see how liale she had grown. It was characteristic of Patricia that' 'only in moments of great mental 'weari hess hei*r physical 'delicacy was notice able ; .and so when she turned' back to Walter he was astonished to 'see how fragile and.almost ill she looked. Her' colour' had returned, but not naturally, -a dark flush burned against the. pallor of her cheeks, and her face had a strained look, as'. though: she were overy tired. Walter, who had little comprehension to help him, seized upon'this as the simp-. lest'explanation of the change in her. "Oh! Ihsay, yonudolook tired, Miss Patricia," lie said. We have come a long way, and this ghastly place has got on your nerves, ' hasn't it? What a duffer.Inm.. am He was eager to go back now, because she was', tired, or atleast to find some: place where she might .rest a little. " The distance we have come,' he said, "would'tireany girl, andit.shows what a briclk you are to havestood it so ,:well. Here, take my arni and let. me help ,yon over the rough ground a little." But the girl laughed and declined with some haste. . "Oh II am not as tired as al:l that," slie said, in a. voice whose listlessness she stirodve to conceal "but it is getting late, and I :think we :had better start back as you suggested." To be Continued. F.P. 16. ' Professor .:i" What is the difference betwedn logic and sophistry ?":: ' Strident: " Well, if you 're engaged in a controversy, it's jiust the difference between your'line of argument and the other fellow' s." ' " My husband is suffering withha bhiz zing noisein" his ears.. What would you advise'?' K" - I wouldfadvise him to go to: the seac side for a month or..' t :w ro. '."But he can't get?away. "Thern you can go.", He wasn't at home to answer Old Opportunity's call. He happened that day ?s To have gone away . ;Toioot at a game of ball. " Sure, I voted the dimocratic ticket. "How could: yoU trust such a -liartL as thot ?" • • "I didn't. They paidme cash."