|Newspaper Title||Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Under the Southern Cross|
i CHAPTER VIII.
' And so the summer days sped ou, a round of unalloyed delight, until the morning dawned when Lorne said, with tile ghost of a sigh that she wan not con-
scious of :
"Rosamond comes home to-morrow." Basil looked grave. He had neyer permitted himself to dwell upon the thought of Rosamond's return. He did not Tike to ask Lorne to conceal their love, yet if she did not, he knew there |ras «nany a stormy scene in store for
"Andwhen Rosamond comes, dear?" he asked, a little anxiously.
"?How -surprised «he will be !" and Lorne laughed happily. "She will be thinking I am studying for a novelist when she hears it first ! She will not believe it is real !"
Basil was silent.
"We must get her to tell father," Lorne went oh, hesitatingly. "Isuppose he will be glad to think there is a pros Sot of parting with mo, but I would not
re to tell him myself !"
" My.dearest," Basil spoke very gently. "You have been happy since we met ?"
" Happy P" she crossed hep ] hands upon
his heart, and, raised, her true, love-laden eyes to bis. "You know I never dreamed of such happiness in this world, or any
"I do know it, ray own j that is why I do not like the thought of any change.
" But, bnt Basil, I could not be se selfish as to have a happiness that I did not share with Rome Í
"If you feel so strongly about it, Lorne, I will not press you'; but there is a reason why your father must not bo told just yet."
"A reason? What «an yon mean,
" There is a reason of very long stand« ing, but I do not mean to tell you what it is until you are my wife. You have had enough sorrow in your life, poor darling ; cannot you trust me, Lorne, te know what is best ?"
"Yes, I think so," she answered, slowly. "Yes, I am euro if- You say I may tell Rosamond, don't you ?"
He would have preferred that oren Rosamond should not be told, bat he did not want to seem too hard.
" Il yon greatly wish it, dear ; bat first get her promise that she twill net speak io your father until I see her. Yon must bring her hew ?oon-*ï want to talki«
her ; I think she will agree with me ii she is all that you say."
" Oh, you will love Rozzie, Basil ! Toa will be very glad you let me persuade you into trusting her !"
" Tou will como alone to-morrow, won't youP"
"Tes; Rosamond cannot get home until, shoat eight in the evening. She combs by coach, you know, as far as Oamoolin, which, is five miles off. Some one will meet her there with a horse, I suppose father will go."
"Then we shall have one more happy day-no matter what the unkind Fates may have in store for us later on."
" How can you call the Fates unkind, Basil P Haven't they woven the thread of our lives together P"
" Oh, love, if ever I ask you to do any- thing that shocks your white soul, will you believe that I only do it that we may pass onr lives together to the end P Those Fates will reveal rocks ahead that will frighten you-bnt they cannot part us if only you are brave, and trust to me !"
" If you are very hungry we can hare dinner bafore I takeoff my habit, father?" said Rosamond, the following evening, when she had been in the house exactly
She was a tall, well-made girl with fair fair, and a pretty, youthful face. No one would imagine her years numbered twenty five. Her eyes were blue-keen and far- seeing, and there was a slight squareness of jaw that spoke of determination. Her chfeeks were ronnd and soft, though they
bore at that moment a most unwonted bloom.
... " Not all child," answered Mr. Prescott, quite amiably. "These Couriers will keep me occupied for a long time-go and change your dress and get comfort- able, I am not in a hurry."
*' Come along then, Lorne !" And the
two sisters went off to Rosamond's room.
The first thing the new arrival did was
draw a chair in front of the toilet table and sit down to study herself in the glass.
" Oh, dear, how sunburnt I am !" she exclaimed fretfully. " I wiBh I had not come on the box' seat, but it does jolt so inside that I thought that I might be shaken to death. I wish I had risked ttl"
Lorne was surprised. Neither of those girls had ever paid much attention to their complexions, or minded sunburn, except when it was severe enough to cause
T It will soon go, Rozzie," said she. "I don't think it is as bad as it was that day you lost your, hat on the cliff over Torai Gorge."
" Good Heavens, I should hope not, Lorne! I was one ghastly blister from forehead to collar that day ! It frightens me to think of the gay I was !"
" Fll get you some warm water Rozzie ; you will be much more comfortable when you have sponged yon face."
" No, no, Lorne ! What are yon think ing of ? It's the worse thing imaginable
to wet a sunburnt face !"
" Is it P" with a slight laugh, " but we have always done it, Rozzie 1"
" les, I know, bat, well, never mind ; Til tell you by and by. Get me a cool 'frock to put on, there s a dear girl ; this habit is a crashing weight.
Daring dinner Rosamond told her father all abont the business transactions that had kept her in town.
" I ara glad I waited to see Trate," said she, " he will take all the potatoes and lucerne ; the maize will be rather a loss, as usual ; two and three is the high- est offer. It ÍB nearly time we gave up maize, I think."
" I wish I had given it np five years ago," said Mr. Prescott, "it does not pay to sell it a penny under three shillings."
" It's a good thing yon have not wasted much land with it this year, isn't H P"
" I feel almost inclined te keep all this year's crop for horse feed, and never try to pell any again."
î think yon are quite right," assented Rosamond. " There is a good market for potatoes, and lucerne hay, but not for anything else. But I'll tell you of a thing you might try, that is growing wattles ^ for tanning. Many people are taking it up now, and making money at it too, I believe."
" I don't think we have any spare land my dear," he father began, but Rosamond proceeded.
"You need not use the good scrub ground, of course, that's the best of wattle treas. That poor forest ridge behind the oldham would he just the place."
Lorne was deadly sick of it all. This talk about the farm and the crops seemed tamer than over; but Rosamond soon made a remark that gave her food for
"I suppose you do not mind having a visitor for a few weeks, father ?"
" A visitor PI cannot say I know any ono whom I should care to have In the house as long as that Y*
.. 'M met some very nie» people in Bris- bane thu Hmo," said Rosamond, net head* ing| her father's erideot di>tatto*t th» idea of steaeN. "There was ene in partltnUy, * Mr; Burilafton, who
has only lately come from England. I - ^
think yon would like him, he is rory anxious to learn something about Queens«
land country life, I knew you would not ' object."
" I must say 1 think you have acted a . little hastily. Mr. Prescott said in tones j of deep displeasure. "I am surprised à that you could think of asking an J absolute stranger, about whom you know I nothing." 1
" Oh, I beg your pardon for not having mentioned it, father," interrupted Rosa- mond, smiling. "I know a good deal about him and his family. His father is a bishop, and seems to be a very flue man. I saw some of his letters to his son. Mr.
Hurlington is very well read and enter- j taiuing ; he is not very strong and has an J entomological craze on just now; it J would be ungracious not to ask him when ? he seemed so anxious to come." fl
" But, my dear Rosamond, how can wa fl entertain an English gentleman in this w
out of the way place P If you had tba *
faintest idea of what he has been accus« tomedto--"
*' Oh, but, father, he is not in the least cue of that high and mighty kind 1" said she, not a bit over-awed by her father's frown. " He does not «are for gaiety or formality ; he reads a great deal, and pokes about by himself collecting speci- mens ; one would hardly know he was in the house !"
" And when does he come P" '
"By next Thursday's coach ; we can send Billy Bluff to meet him, or I might ride over myself if I am not busy that day."
It took Lorne's breath away to hear her
I sister making all these arrangements in
the calmest manner. She was so aniseed at the girl's temeritythat she hardly had time te wonder about their coming guest.
"Very well," said Mr. Prescott, nu« graciously. " Have it your own. wjjjy,' only I hope he . won't come bothering rna by interfering at the farm. I ahali not be able to spare much time to your friend." . k/
"He won't expect it, father," Misa Prescott answered, oalroiy. "I told him we were a busy people hère."
"Howbrave you are, Rome!" Lome whispered a little later, when the sisters were alone. "I was in terror all'the time. I half expected him to get np and roar at you! His eyebrows looked so dreadfully fierce." -
" What nonsense, Lorne," laughed tba other. "Father has had a good long reign, and its quite time we were allowed to' make friends for ourselves. It is monstrous that girls of our age should not have a soul to speak to."
This seemed a favourable moment for Lorne to tell her wonderful secret; but before her lips could form the words Rosamonl went to the mirror again and studied her foatures critically.
" Ton lobster !" she exclaimed to ber rosy reflection. - " A pretty show you will be by Thursday !"
" Is he nice and sympathetic, Rozzie P" Lorne asked, remembering that she had hoard very little about their visitor* , " Hew did'you get to knew him P"
Rosamond was only too glad to talk about her new acquaintance.
*. There were eight or nine very agree- able people staying at Wiltshire House this mme, all men you know, for Mrs. McOormack does not care for ladies though she always makes a fuss about me!--"
" And did they all make a fuss about you, Howie, like the young gentlemen at Mrs. Todger'sP"
" I would not exactly call it a fuss, bat they are all very kind, particularly Mr. Hurlington. I sat next to him the first evening, and atones saw that he was very different from the other boarders. Later on Mrs. McOormack asked if she might present him to me, she told me what he was, and all that, of course I said yes and we became the greatest ehums in BO thneP"
" And what does he talk about, Rosa* mond P" Lorne asked, a little wistfully.
Miss Prescott ran her outspread fingers *\ through her hair and pulled it all down round her; then she reached for the brush, and made a rather comical face between the shining masses as she replied.
" It will seem ridiculous, I know, to you, but he has a good deal to say about
" Abont birds P" Lorne repeated.
"Yes; chiefly about the little ones I think; when they ohange their song and plumage and what they eat ; he knows all about the different flies and caterpillars each little bird's soul delights in."
" Yes, ob, exactly !" Rosamond echoed, with a laugh. " I knew yon would think it ridiculous ! It must ba the way he says things, I suppose, that makes them inter- esting. One can see that he knows his ground thoroughly, and yea know lal ways respect thoroughness in a person 1"
"And I always think yon xaaai be right," said Lome, slowly, a» Ü trytaff
to convince herself.
tired "and most get to bed and to sleep. * Give me the vaseline, please, dear, I « must try to get my fae» right by Thurs
(37o be continued.)