Chapter 33100357

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Chapter NumberXII (Continued)
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article33100357
Full Date1894-03-03
Page Number44
Corrections0
Word Count1254
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleWestern Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)
Trove TitleUnder the Southern Cross
article text

OUR NOVEL.

A

UNDER THE SOUTHERN

CROSS,

TS. V. PHILPOTT.

CHAPTER XII (Continued).

He paused then to listen to the peculiar cry of the "coachman," but not before Rosamond decided that this disgusting snail craze must bo gently discouraged, or put ¿down with a firm hand in the good time coming, unless it died a natural

death before.

" That is a very strange bird," said be, alluding to the " coachman." " It seems

to be on either side of us." I

" So it is," said Lorne. " The call is j made by two birds. Listen again. One i says : ' Ooo-o-o-oo-tchack !' Then the other says: 'Kee-uk, kee-uk.' I always fancy she is saying, 'Don't yon bother,' or something equally rude."

"That is most extraordinary !" said Charlie. " I was snre there was only one bird calling."

" Hundreds of people say that, but they are wrong. I have watched and listened to them too often to make a mistake."

"You may safely rely upon Lorne's anecdotes," said Rosamond, smiling. " I did not know there were two birds, before, hst I know she never makes a mistake about such things."

" Then I'll ask her to repeat it for me when I have my writiug tackle handy, it is well worth noting. But where are the wild limes we are to gather?"

" We shall soon reach them," said Lorne, demurely, "the bank is a little steep along here, but as soon as we.can elimb it I'll shew you where they grow."

At last they found a way up, at a spot where the undergrowth was so densely matted that egress seemed impossible; wild bambooB, lawyers, cork vines and black myrtle lay intertwined in unpar- alleled confusion about eighteen inches from the ground; .imt Lorne was not danuted by this formidable mass.

She gathered her skirts close about her with ene hand, and'holding the other out as a guard, said easily :

" Stoop low now, and follow me. Watch where, you put your feet, for yon might tread on snakes, and remember to look overhead too, occasionally. They often lie ia green masses like this."

Then she darted away with a run, while Charlie did hü best to obey her in- structions and follow.

Lorne sped along for nearly a hnndred yards, then, feeling that she was out- distancing the others, she Bat down on the root of a fig tree and waited.

After a few minutes Mr. Hnrlington loomed in sight, and Lorne had to laugh, outright. He was travelling on all fours, and the sight of these long arms and long feet striking ont in opposite directipns was irresistible. His face was flashed and perspiring ; his hat had fallen off at the beginning and he carried it in one hand ; his neck and ankles were bleeding, his coat was split in halves, and he was looking at Rosamond all the time through the arch formed by his straggling legs, and saying:

"Goo4 gracious! this is awful! I meant to clear the way for yon, Miss Prescott, but the vinos get tangled round my feet ; and pull tons of others down on my bapk j Here's a snake running after me! Ifo, it's part of the vine that is twisted round my neck ! i shall choke it's a truly terrible experience !"

" Sit down .and rest here," said Lorne, when he reached her at last. " What a frightful wreck von have become ! You did not stopp lpw enough, I'm afraid. How haye yon fared, Rosamond P" when Miss Preseot joined them, and sank with a sigh at their side.

"Pretty well," answered she, resignedly. " The hem of my frock is hack there some- where, and I ssw the ribbon of my hat mounting ona rebounding lawyer. But I don't think I have a single scar-thanks to dogskin gloves; I don't know how you manage to keep your hands free ffom cuts j for Lorne's flue brown hands were pare as usual.

"Every le'af and spray knqws me, I think," said ¿he,gail v. "And seems te sarina: aside while I PARS. I ara so sorry f hoy used you sp roughly," to Charlie, who was picking thorns out of his hands With $he point of bis pocket knife.

"I think yon must he under special protection. |t is truly marvellous how yon got through. It has 1 been a most disastrous trip for us so far. I kept on trying to put the vines aside for Miss

Prescott-and I think I onlv succeeded in pulling them round her. Indeed, I if eel like giving up the lime trees. 1 did not dream of what ehe would have to endure when I suggested this adventure." '

' " Oh, but you mustn't think of taming back'now!" said: Lorne, decidedly.

(The rights of publishing " Under the Southern Oreas*' have been purohased by the proprietors of tbs WISXBBN IÏait,]

" Rozzie does not mind tatters much, and we have only á little farther to go."

" It cannot make much difference to us now," said Rosamond. "In fact, I con- sider it a point of honour to get those limes since we have earned them so well !"

" I am eager for the fray, if yon think yon can endure any more," saia . Charlie.

"Rozzie has wonderful endurance," smiled Lorne. " I think we should start again, only stoop lower, and come as Suickly as you can-it disguises the

istance!"

But Charlie being ao tall, could not stoop any lower without going on his knees. As that mode ot progress would be too slew, the same terrible experience awaited him when he started eut again.

He was unfeignedly glad when Lorne paused, stood upright, and said :

" Here are the limes. You must guttier them while we look on-they are too high for us. Only be careful of the thorns."

" I am quite inured to thorns," said he, shewing his torn and bleeding hands. " I must be a shocking spectacle in these rags, but it is a treat to stand up again. Ah, these are good !" and he began eating the fruit for which he had paid so dearly.

Rosamond found occasion to say to Lorne in au undertone :

" How cruel of you ! But I think I am glad. These erratic fancies must be dis- couraged. In future be will be satisfied with places where I can act as pilot. He wont put himself into your hands again !"

" I think I am ashamed of myselfsaid Lorne. " I did not believe anyone could be such a bad bushmen. I wanted to

frighten him a little, you know-but the poor fellow is horribly knocked abouti"

" That doesn't matter," said Rosamond, calmly, " the scratches will soon heal, and I'll mend his coat-it's only the seam."

" I wish the trip back could be avoided," said Charlie, coming with his hands full ¡of green and plum coloured KtneB.

" Doesn't it frighten you to think of it,.

Miss Prescott P"

" i know a better way out " Lorne said. " Don't you see how bright it is P This is the border of the scrub, and in two minutes we can strike the grazing, pad-

dock."

" Those are cheering tidings ! I think I have "done enough roughing it to last me the rest of my days 1"