Chapter 33102458

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Chapter NumberX (Continued)
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Full Date1894-02-24
Page Number44
Word Count3442
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleWestern Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)
Trove TitleUnder the Southern Cross
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CHAPTER X. (Continued.)

Perhaps she would have preferred that he should interest himself more in soils sud stocks ; but, again, why need he ? ile had shown no inclination to become a

Queensland farmer, so why should he encumber his brain with knowledge that would never be turned to practical account P Rosamond did not believe in waste, whether it was waste of learning or of the unconsidered trifles about a house.

The labourers at Marara looked upon Mr. Burlington as a harmless crank; they humoured him by bringing cater pillars and birds'eggs until Lorne, with tears in her eyes, begged them not to rob the poor little creatures' nests.

Maggie regarded ninjas an " innocent'' -using the word in the Irish sense, that is, an idiot !

" Shore 'tis no harrem he does, the poor crather," she said to Lorne one day. " Ho is as the Lord made him, and J wouldn't reflect upon him for a forthen ; but isn't it qnaro that a fine well grown gentleman would go about potten' grubs and shil^iky-bhooks into onld bottles ?"

" What are shilliky-bhooks, Maggie P." asked Lerne, her eyes alight with laughter.

Them great big penny winkles ho do j be findin' nndher logs, av coorse !"

" Snails, do you mean F" I "Snails, if yon like, Miss," said

Maggie, with her good humoured smile, |

" but shiiliky-fehooKs is the proper name ¡ for them where I come from !" ' ?

Lorne told that to Basil when next they ! met and they both laughed heartily, both at Charlie's craze and Maggie's comments. He could form a pretty shrewd guess of what was going on between his love's sister and their guest, and^ he was glad of it. But Lorne had no suspicion, she would have wept herself bliod could she imagine Rosamond tied for life io that mild col- lector.

Often indeed she blamed herself for having met and won the heart of her own . handsome lover-for there was no man in «11 the world like him-and what would poor Rosamond do ?

Perhaps lie had a cousin or a brother who might be. only a thousand degrees inferior; but when she asked him he answered

" JSTo, I never had a brother ; I have had no ties on earth since my father died two years ago, until I met you, my own dear."

" Did yon love him very much, Basil P" she asked, hesitatingly.

" He was very dear to me, he had been my friend all my life as well as my father,

and when he was taken I was-stranded for a time."

All fathers were not alike then P After a two years séparation her lover could scarcely trust himself to speak of his! Oh, what had she ever done, to be treated ss an ont cast by the man who had given

her life and a name P

Basil encouraged her to talk about Mr. Hurlingljon, she described him so well that he knew exactly the kind of the man that he was ; and she joked about the fruit they had gathered together for Rosamond to convert into pies and pre- serves for his special delectation.

" Rosamond is so good," said she. " I enjoy gathering them, but I should not

like to have to stir and stew them as she does, and because she wants him to get a true impression of what Australian girls

can do."

" But she is not au Australian !" said Basil, very much amused at his love's candour, and the absence of suspicion.

" Not by birth, but she always calls her- self one."

" How old is Rosamond P"

"Twenty-five; bat ehe looks younger than I do."

" Then yon are only eighteen !" he exclaimed, with a look of blank disap- pointment.

"Is it not enough P" she asked smiling. " I was eighteen two months ago, but how do you know?"

He did not answer; he was too mach amazed at this undreamed of complication, and he blamed himself for not having for seen it from the first. He had reason to know John Prescott would sternly forbid a marriage between him aha Lorne, therefore he had won her in secret, hoping so to bind her te him by love that . when he should ask her to marry him

without her father's consent, she would acquiesce. And now, for the first time, he remembered that the girl was a minor -legal marriage was impossible ! What a frightful fool he had been !

. [The rlghta of; publishing- "Under the . Southern Oreas " have been parohuad by the

proprlefcorB of thaWsBTMÄH MaiL,] ' i

Things had prospered with him from the beginning; first, tbera was Rosa- mond's absence, then, on her return, there was that absorption in her -own affairs that blinded ber to the alteration in Lorne's manner.' And, later, the arrival of the man she evidently intended to marry had done away with the probability of a chance word revealing their secret, for had not Lorne come, of her own free will, and promised that no word should be spoken until he gave her leave P

And now, when each day revealed Lorne more loving and more adorable, the thought that ho might have to wait three years for her was a terrible blow.

" How did you know my age, Basil P and why do you look at me so strangely P"

He tried to chase away his uneasiness and appear as if nothing had occurred. There would be time enough in the night to think and plan ; there must surely be a way out of this awful fix--if he could only find it !


That night as he lay tossing sleeplessly at Mrs. Regan's he decided what his course should be. He would go to Bris-

bane, walk tbs streets until he met a ¡ clergyman with humanity written on his j face ; him he Would accost and tell the whole story of her father's hatred and i Lorne's lonely lot.

It seemed a mad scheme, but Basil did not despair ; he had met clergymen before to-day who were men as well as preachers, and if he should come across one again, he kuew that man would mary them with- out her father's consent, when he learnt what a father he had been, and that be

punished this innocent child only because his own treachery had borne bitter fruit,

'-' I must leave you,-Lorne, for a little while," said her lover, when next they


Her face went suddenly white, and she did not speak;

" Don't look like that, my dearest. It is terribly hard on ns, bat it »ill not be for long!"

" How many days P"

" Perhaps only a week,-I cannot say

for certain."

"And yon call that 'not for ¿long P Why Basil, the night time, from sundown until we meetT iñ the morning, is an eternity to nie l"

" My' Lorne, I would be with you always jf x could I lt is harder for me than for yon !*

" Then why do you go P"

Hesmjl^ ïntofte depths of her soft brow^4yeâ jand'^a*d .,

" Qa^whst many would call a wild goose chasé^bàt I mean 'to ^catch my -goose !"

" Ho not 'uÁde)»tand, Basil P"

" L know dear. I am afraid itmust

seem ab^amiiiably arrogant in me to make plans ara. keep them from you-but I cannot héipit-7-J will tell you all when I comeback," ;"l""f.

" You would tell me nowáf you thought it best P" ; ^Hôrj sü^mwsípn was adorable.

"I wooli L%o^l|b^t it might set you thinking ^d#o)rmng,end there would be nobody»T^M»b|^ou.w

" I can wait," said' she, wfth «west subi! mission. " I will thiufc/Ôuly^of you in all

those^di^^di^a;fWjb^inostyou got,J

*. , . #

Basil spent all his first day in town walking the streets and scanning the f aeea

of all he met.

Priests, parsons and ministers, were nVmêrbuslnoïïgfi

ov*r and over ageing sternly ascetic blandly orthödot-effusively sanctimon ians ¡ but in no face could he find thc touch of nature inviting confidence, the oben kindliness that seemed to suggest sympathy and help,'not for Christ's sake only-but for the order of humanity--the

world-wide brotherhood.

When night came and found him nc nearer his desire he was almost despairing -.those stern faces pf the street, rose nf before him like aa incarnate obstruction telling him there was "no thoroughfare' that way. He thought a long time, and then decided to chose a name from th«

lists, and try his luck that way.

He asked for a Directory, but the hotel did not ;f own such a thing, and the waiter suggested Pugh's Almanac. Almost t|ie first name that met his "eye, when he fonnd the page, was " Burrows, Gilbert Thorne." ?

Hore was a phenomenal piece of good fortune! Gilbert Burrows and he had been close chums in. years gone by. He remembered having heard that his friend had gone to Australia, when he himseli was in South America, after his father'« death ; but he had not thought about him

of late.

Burrows would do what he wished and take the consequence ! He had ever been regardless of results when his sympathise were roused ; he had never sought a pre- cedent for the thousand and one irregnlai things his strictconsoientiousneas dictated, Barrows would not fear the anger of such a father as John Prescott had* been ; hie

Lorne would be hi? very own in spite ol


At an natashionably early hour neil


morning Basil rang the bell at the par sonage and asked for Mr. Burrows.

" Not at home," the maid told him. and Basil's heart sank.

" Gan yon tell me when I am likely to find him in P I have important business."

" I cannot say, sir. Ho is oat of town ; but thç mistress will know. Will you

come in P"

He did not have to wait long before a diminutive breature with kind hazel eyes appeared and said pleasantly.

" Good morning, I am so sorry Mr. Burrows is ont of town, since you want to see him particularly; but I expect bim home in about three days ; perhaps yon

will call then P

She appeared to be such a friendly little soul, so dainty and fresh in her pale blue morning robe, that Basil was moro than half inclined to introduce himself, only he could not hope that she had ever heard his name. He wished then that he bad given his card to the girl, if she had ever heard of him she would recognize the


Mrs. Burrows looked at him curiously as he expressed his regret at her husband's absence, tben she said suddenly.

" Surely I ought to remember you P

-Have we ever met P"

"No," Basil answered with his rare smile, " but your husband and I were great friends years ago. I ara---''

" Of course I know you now ! ^ Ton are Basil Armitage !" she exclaimed', holding out a welcoming hand.

" How did you learn that ?"

" I have a photograph of yon taken with Gilbert at Stonehenge, quite the best of him we have in those days. How delighted he will be to meet you !"

" And 1 was afraid to tell my name, lest yon «ad never heard it 1"

" That 'was not kind of you. As ii Gib- bert would ever forget old friends, and as if his friends are not also his wife's P" Basil began to rejoice now that Gilbert was away. It was just possible that he might have imbibed some straight laced conventional ideas since they were young men together ; but if he could tell his tale to this pleasant voiced, sympathetic little woman and enlist her advocacy, he knew the husband would not withhold his aid.

" Have you been long in Queensland P" she asked, " Gilbert was .talking of you only the day before he went away, and wondering when he should hear from you again."

Vi have only been hore two months, and those I have spent ont in the wilds,"

said he.

Just then a fair-haired child came to the door and said: "Momsy, am I to do lessons this morning P Ob, you have a visitor!" she added, and was about to withdraw when Basil said:

" Tes, and a very unreasonable visitor, too, to be taking np your mother's time like this. Will you shake hands with me before I gop"

She went towards bim at once.

"1 like yon, she said, gravely, offering her lips to be kissed. " Ten may stay while I do lessons if you are vewy quiet."

" Isn't that a handsome offer ?" laughed Mrs. Barrows. . " Does this Small woman remind yoâ bf anyone P"

" Shebas her father's eyes and smile. I think I should know lier anywhere."

"Yes, isn't she the image of himP And the boy too, only more so ! Meg, go and fetch Rex to be introduced to .this gentleman."

It affected Basil strangely to be thus treaWae an~old friend by the wife of his comrade, a woman of whose existence he had been ignorant until this morning.

" Look at this fellow," Mrs. Barrows said fondly, lifting her two year old son into her lap. " Might not he be taken for Gilbert's twin brother any day, except for the great disparity in their years P There is not a scrap of their mother abont them. Imagine, having three pairs of blue eyes and three mops of yellow hair in a family of four! It is dreadfully

monotonous !"

"I am sure yon don't object really," said Basil. " Gilbert might haye preferred that they had their mother's hazel eyes ; but you and I know that they could not resemble a better fellow than their father." , " I agree with you !" said Gilbert's wife,

serious in a moment. " You aro really going P Meg's - magnanimity . does not tempt you, then P Perhaps you are wise ! Come to lunch at two, wal yon P All my work viii be over-then, and we ean become thorongly acquainted."

"Not to lunch, thank you, but later on in the afternoon if I ttmy-^that is if yon have no engagements."

" My time is entirely free. A parson's wife is better at home than trotting ronnd making afternoon calls, don't yon think P"

"Iam certain to think so since yon are good enough to receive me ! I want to tell yon a story, and to interest you in the fate of someone who is very dear to me." ;


Lorne did not give up her ont of door wanderings when lier lover went , away. Every day she weat as'before, brer Ino loved ground thinking with each step :

" It was here I saw bim first ; and here he told me of his love ; it was here he said my oyes were the truest under heaven; and here he bade me good-bye !"

Once she took home a few fresh wild limes, and Mr. Horlington took such a fancy to them that he thea and there expressed a warm desire to^ see^ them growing and to gather them with his own


" Don't' yoa think she ought to show us her mines of hidden treasure P" said he to Rosamond. " I should enjoy penetrat- ing that vast jungle, immensely."

" Tou could not follow me !" said Lorne, good humouredly. " You have no idea how dense and entangled that 'vast jungle' is!"

" Lorne is right," Rosamond said. " I don't know how she manages tn keep a frock decent for a single day. We should be torn to 'ribbons if we attempted to fol-

low her!"

"Oh, now, Miss Prescott, I am not afraid of that !" Charlie protested. " My garments are not by any means so perish- able as your sister's, and I promise to Îrotect you from ' thoras and briars.'

should like, of all things, to rough it a bit-as they say !"

A malicious thought came to Lorne. If he wanted te rough it then he should rough it, and be effectually cured of his desire to explore her own pet nooks and

crannies. She would not take him to her

favourite spot, of course-that had been sanctified by the birth of love and must not bo trodden by unholy feet !

There was a patch of scrub not far away, quite wickedly thick-and it was

into that maze slie decided to lead him.

Rosamond was agreeable-simply say- ing she would be ready when she had put ou her oldest frock-for she was not going to bè beguiled into the belief that Charlio's protection cosld stand between her and


In a little while she joined them, «rear- j ing a rather faded pale blue, sepher frock -exquisitely laundered, anda small sailor

hat. i

"Is that your very oldest?" asked Charlie, casting an admiring glance at the trim, supple figure. "Let us pray thaj) no accident befalls it."

They started, making their way at first over winding cattle tracks in paddocks of couch grass and clover. Lorne had secreted crusts and ends of corn cobs ia her pocket, which she gave to the cows that came lowing, to meet them. Then she led her companions down a steep bank, through rashes snd low flood bowed '

she-oaks until they stood in the stony bed j

of a creek.

" Follow this," said Lorne, " and we j

Bhall soon be in shadowland."

At first it was easy walkiog, though the stones rolled away from ander-Charlie's long feet, causing him to lurch wildly

from side to side.

" This is jolly ; this is simply grand,'' he wonld exclaim whenever he slipped badly. " I don't say it would be easy to waite or mazurka here, but for a picnic excursion it is simply delightful."

Soon on the moist banks of isolated

pools he found traces of his beloved slags -then his pleasure was immeasurably


"I cannot understand why you do not like them," said he to Lorne. " I am sure, if you would only study their ways a little you would be deeply interested. STow here is a fine fellow, Í feel that I could almost take off my hat to him ! Those tiny knobs on the end of his long tentacles are his eyes ; see how calmly he contemplates ns ! Do you know that he can climb a tree, and then let himself down by a thread which he makes as he

descends ?"

"But a spider can do that," said Lorne, with a little shrug ; "yet a spider is not such a peculiarly disgusting thing as a slug "

" It is merely a matter of prejudice," said Mr. Hurliagton. "These creatures are perfectly innocent and harmless, while a spider is a monster of cruelty! Do you know that a spider, if she is hungry, will eat her little ones, and even her husband into the bargain ?"

"Will she, reallyP" laughed Rosa mond. " There must be something good abont a spider husband if he submits to


"It is only because he is the weaker vessel and he cannot help himself. All spiders are cruel, I assure you. But a slug or a snail--BO peaceful, so gentle and gracef ol ! I am truly .sorry you do not appreciate them, they make great pets. Do you know that the ancients fed snails on fine meal and boiled wine, and prized them most highly as a table delicacy ? By Jove, I believe they must have been very good toe !"

(To be continued.)

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