Chapter 33103465

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Chapter NumberVII (Continued)
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article33103465
Full Date1894-02-10
Page Number38
Corrections0
Word Count2021
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleWestern Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)
Trove TitleUnder the Southern Cross
article text

OUR NOVEL.

-»-.

UNDER THE SOUTHERN

CROSS,

BT

N. V. PHILPOTT.

r

CHAPTER VU. {Continued.)

" I hare been trying to think of some hero to compare yon to," she went on, " bat I could not find one worthy enough."

" Lorne, I will not have you make fan

of me!"

" I am most serious ! I was thinking yon might be like Lancelot, only yon say jon love me ! so you cannot be. And you are not like Will Ladislaw, for he had a ripply nose, and yours is a thing of beauty !

"Don't commit yourself too lightly. The time might come when you would like to find fault with that feature, and if it does I shall recall this day!"

" I will never forget this day, Basil, not if I live for a thousand years !" said she, lapsing into seriousness for a mo- ment, but the new-born joyousness soon brought a merry gleam iuto her eyes again.

41 You would make a beautiful Lara, if Ïott were a shade more gloomy ; or John

tidd, if you paid more attention to what yon ate, and had a pet speckled lien at

home!"

" I would choose to be John Ridd if you were Lorna," said Basil. " It would be glorious to snatch you from the Doone stronghold and carry you safely through the snow to my own fireside.*'

" I would not be afraid-with jpn to fight my battles."

" Or 1 should like to lead a life like those lucky ancients, who travelled about with a wife and herds of cattle and sheep. I would not keep herds, bat I should take my wife oat into the wilderness, and live upon the berries she had told me were good, drinking only pare water from the mountain creeks !"

" That would be most delightful," she assented. " I think you are growing fond of my scrubs and creeks, Basil ?"

*' I sm fend of them, dear, for your sake, for I think they have helped to make yon what yon are ; bujt. my days cannot be spent here Lbrhe. ' Will. you go with me to my beautiful horne, in England ? It has been a long time without a mistress now."

"Tea. Not because it is beautiful, Basil, bat because it is yours. I often fancied I tould not be happy away from these scenes ; bat. now I think the sight of them would break my heart if you wera not here to enjoy them with me !"

" Let ns enjoy them together while we may ! Will you come and gather some more berries P I never tasted anything so good as the things you fed rae with yesterday."

"I think you must be John Bidd in disguise/' said she, mischievously. Then she gave him her hand, and they turned their faces towards the gloomy thicket.

A.8 they went the startled scrub turkey and wonga-wongaflitted, noisily sway from their path, and Lorne unconsciously began to imitate each call and cry so exactly as to astonish her lover.

" Do yon sing, Lorns ?"

" I do not know," she answered, simply. " I have had no one to teacli me. Some- times I make np my little snatches of airs, but I do not know whether there is any music in them or not. I know all the tunes the black fellows sing; but they would give you what you call ' the bines !' "

" Let me hear you try. I promise not to have the bines if you sing.

" Oh, no ! at least you must hoar a native try first. I want you to know there may be worse singers than myself. I think they are hunting again to-day. Did you hear a dog bark just nowP"

*' No. Do you think I conld listen te a heavenly choir if yon were talking to me,

Lorne P"

"Well, I heard several; I think we ought to get out into open space some- where, they might mistake ns for game and spear us !"

In a few minutes they scrambled down a yielding earthy bank, and stood on a ledge of stones beside a trickling stream.

" Over there are the cherries we started

to find yesterday," said Lorne, pointing to a low tree laden with ripe fruit.

" Let me carry yon over !" exclaimed he, thankful that tho water flowed between, but she laughed at him.

" Do yon think I have never crossed here before ?"

" But yon will get your feet wet 2"

" Not st all. I can jump to that stone out there, and another spring will take me en to the dry sand."

" Dear, don't risk it !" he said tenderly, " don't deny me the happiness of holding

{The rights of publishing "Under the Southern Cress" have been parohasid by the

prtrsrlftOWfi tb» Wilt*** Ma».J

yon in my arms like a baby and carrying yon !"

"Ob !" She paused a moment, finished warmly, then saying : " But we might both fall in!" she bounded lightly to the other side, leaving him to follow atone.

" Do look at these beauties !" exclaimed ebe, beginning to gather the eherne« hang» ing ripe and red. " That is the best of this tree-nearly everyone is within reach. Don't you think these are better than anything I gave you yesterday P"

He imprisoned the fingers she held

towards him and kissed them.

" These are the best gift in the world,"

said he.

"Basil! I thought you wanted

cherries P"

" None bat yeut lips, my own !"

' "Oh !" Her face went pink in an instant, and she turned her head away. He knew it was her growing love that caused this sudden shyness, and he did net want to

startle her too much.

"Let us gather yoar handkerchief foll first, and then sit down and enjoy them/' said he. *

They did so, but hail not eaten many when they were roused by a sudden excla-

mation of

" Co-ra-y !" from a fat old blackfellow, who stood twenty yards off on the verge

of the scrub.

Basil saw by the girl's face that this was an old acquaintance.

" 1 object to being distorted by those grinning savages!" said he, laughing. " Are they always pepping on yon like

thisP"

Before she could answer, the merry old fellow called out, " Hullo, Lorne !" and she answered as before t

^Hell^BfingSry ! You" loot wt cherry P"

" Yoi 1" (yes.)

"Good fellow here; you have someP" offering her two hands full. ,

" Don't look so astonished, Basil," she whispered, as the black man approached ; " they do so love one to share anything with them ; thoy take it as the highest possible compliment.",

"I; was only worshipping you!" he replied. "I am not surprised at any gentle or generous thing you do !"

Bupgary accepted the cherries and began devouring them greedily.

f Have you had good sport P" Basil

asked.

?HuhP"

Lorne put the question . in simpler language. ,

<*You cátebem plenty paddy melon to-day, Bungary P"

"Cobbon, plenty !" he assented. "Black Mary makem wibera (fire)'dirreckily and roast :'em."- "

"Âh !" she know how delighted a black man is if he finds .one interested in his doings. " Gceberrigan patch plenty P" she asked, presently.7 '*:--... .

" Yoi 1" Bungary laughed with intense' appreciation, f Bunarra (¿dod) fellow.

GVebirrigau!"^:. r

0 Thjs lean dog lifted, hts grateful eyes to

his toaster's face and solemnly knocked his tail on the stones. .. ..

BungaryJhongUt he would improve the

ehinihg hMtrÇ) <..« ? './ : ; ¡ÍÍ , '

" You feoif jaatf tobacco8" said , he,; addressing Basil.

" Yes, oh yes," that gentleman replied, takinkr out hts pouch and emptying it into the black palm.

Biragarv-sniffed. it ; -he ..preferred" -a. stronger brand, but he thanked Basil and proceeded.

"You got em match P"

" Certainly !" Mr. Armitage, entering into the joke, gave the whole contents of his silver box to the blackfellow, and was rewarded by a moat fulsome :

" Chunk you !"

There was a pause and then :

" I say, massa. You got em ole fellow pipe P"

" I'm'afraid I cannot accommodate'yen, old chap!" said he, very much amused. He really did not see his way towards parting with his briar-root-the delight of his heart.

" How cruel of you to speak in such floWery language !" laughed Lorne. Once

more she interpreted :

"Baal pipe, Bnñgary." (Nopipe.),

t*Ab, poor white fellow 1" Bungary was full of commiseration for the unfor- tunate white man who had rio pipe'to

console him.

Then he spoke again. "You got'em chick-a-peace, massa?"

*. Sixpence P I believe I hare !" Basil put his hand in his pocket, but Lorne interposed :

['Bungary, this white fellow never been hear blackfellow^ song; me think it, suppose you sing, and then sixpence !"

Thia suggestion seemed to please Bon. gary who was vastly proud of his voice: sojsquatting down on the stones, and beat- ing time with his nullah-nullah and boom- erang, he chanted in a "singular minor key," some jingle that sounded like this :

"Ya-yan-aw-ah; yab-yan-an-eh;

Yau-an-aw, oh, nan-an-ee-nan-añ-eb. Tab* yerra u& t'yah yarra*,

: Ya erres, ee.yerm,yo«èrro8.yo---"

«Thank yon, BuI^,1tu*Ter^fl>og,,'

said Lorne, when he had finished, and Basil pronounced it capital, Geeberrigan. -No, he meant to say bunyarra, and parted with several pieces of silver in payment. The weird chant had a peculiar charm, though the sense was strange to

his ears.

"What was it. all about?" he asked, when Bungary scenting toast paddymelon not far off, had departed.

" I cannot tell yon ; I don't think their songs have much meaning, yet there is a plaintiveness about them that always affects me; I have been compelled thous- ands of times to draw near and listen to them crooning round a camp fire at night, though they always gave me a creepy sensation, as ifr the night were peopled with prowling spectres, ready to attack

me as I hurried home."

"And was there no one to interfere, to prevent you from stealing out at night and exposing yourself to the danger of chills and heaven knows what else besides?"

" There was no danger ! I have done it .ince before I was eight years old.

" Oh, my poor, lonely love !"

"Lonely P Yes. But it does not matter now." she answered with shining eyes. " Ton have more than made up for j it all ! But you have not told me what you think ef my 'savage,' as you call him ? Do you like him ?"

"Very much indeed. I particularly admired his proficiency in taking care of

number one."

" Ah, I was afraid you would think something like that, because he kept asking ; but yen don't understand that a blackfellow always asks ! It's his way of expressing good fellowship. If-you- -had1 -not -astonished- -htm---wifcb all that silver he wonld be here asking for things yet !"

" [ am sadly afraid a certain dear girl has often had to go dinnerless because some Bungary condescended to shew his good fellowship !"

.< No-not so, indeed. They seldom ask me for anything, perhaps because they know I like giving! But I notice they always present a big petition to strangers ; ^though I thinkitis only for the sake ot having somethiog to say! Did you notice how sorry he was to learn you had no pipe? They are such tender-hearted

creatures 1"

" Do you think that he will share that tobacco with his friends ?"

" Oh yes, down to the smallest picca- ninny, for they all smoke."

"And the money P"

. " Ah, you must never give so much again; they will buy ram and fight all night, and beat their gins without mercy!"