|Chapter Number||III. (Continued).|
|Newspaper Title||Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Under the Southern Cross|
109ü!pH?f3ii UL (Continued).
Basil looked s$:fcer io amaeament. He had never before heard-a girl matee such a sweeping statement, and the sad echo in her voice told him that she meant what she said; bat nevertheless, he was as certain of her absolute goodness as he was that he lived and breathed. There laya troubled soul behind those eyes that vexed itself over life's sorrows, but it shone white and beautiful as a star ia a winter sky.
" Tears and years," he repeated, with a strange pity. " Yet yon are little more than a child P"
" That does not make any difference. I know I am a child ia years ; but I have lived a long time."
" And lived for a good purpose too," said ho, trying to make her smile. "When you make it your business to protect the1 feathered flock, and to feed weary wayfarers."
"But you are not eating anything," .aid she, suddenly.
" I am watting, for yon."
She laughed as sh&gave in and took a bit of bread.
"Must we compare pieces after each mouthful, like little Pip and Joe Gargerj Í'she asked.
"Yon read Diekens? Do yon like liimP''
" Yes, I lore Dickens, but I seldom get a chance of comparing him with other
authors. I see so few new books."
"I have*few amongst my traps that might ba; new to von. If yon tell me where you live'I wül fetch them ronnd to-morrow, if I may«" said Basil eagerly.
Lorne hesitated, and then lifted her trnthful eyes to his face.
"You are «retry kind; but my father does not libo x strangers to «ame, and Rosamond is not at home.*'
"I am »ortf. JEtosnmond if yonr sister, I suppose P You must be very lonely if ehe u ¿way from home P"
"I.don'Mhink so; I love Rossmond very dearly, bot she and t never are a great deal together. Sn« talks to father, to4r*öp him bet«,d»ll, and^hejrfwiiisi
In?3m hjbnnes*^pitasaenons. *She - is ii '
^iMwîe^yM^romAwmp dull ?'
he asked* .ealing suddenly very angry with Lorne'siwactieal sister.
M Ah, that is a secret," and she smile i at her own thoughts.
Basil dill not knew what to think ; th ) emile and the 'blnsh seemed to point to i possible lover In the background, but thei a waa something about Lorne that told hi, il she had never thought of love. i
"If I may not come to your house, perhaps I might see yon somewhere else and give yon the books," said he with fear auld trembling at his own temerity. He \ half expected that like many well brought1! up young ladies, she would decline to j make any appointment. ! j
But how Should Lorne know what is l expected of a well brought ap yoong j ladyP To bis surprise she said : J"
*' I atn sure to he here to-morrow, and if you are passing this way-bnt yóu
Won't unless yon mean to shoot---" j
..Nb;! don't mean to shoot," said ha, " but I shall hajau__hing particular to do to-morrow, and will ver? likely he np abont this qnarter, so I shall be sure to faring them/' '
He though lt best to speak carelessly ; he did not want her to suspect that theta was anything unusual io the arrangemei t, hut he felt guilty too, when he remember d that he was taking advantage of her inn J ceace. She had said so confidently, # the e is no danger J" He knew hotter, bat ! te was not going to draw back now.
She stood np presently saying:
"I must go nome now, itu getting late." T
He look at hw watch and was surprised
to nod it was half-past fonr. j
«'And yon have a three mile wain! May I go with yon some of the way?" he asked. j
*' Whore do yon stay P" said she, " per- haps our roads lio the name way."
"Ihave put up at the farm of a man named Regan,*" hè answered. ' " I góthere
By following the bed' of thai creek?' 1
" " Yes, I know,' and it was not very pleasant walking, I' hm afraid, pushing your'way through rushes while 'the' stones rotted about under your feet. Yonr best wily will* be to Come with më until we get into the boen,--that^
cnn follow j i
" I nave no fear on that score,!' smijec} Bnsil, thinking that he could follow heron
[The right* of pobliahing « Tfaito the Southern Cress " have beeh; #^bhfall>y the proprietors of the Wmrtiw MAIL.] S
the end of the world, and into the Beyond, if she would only let him I
"Come then." And together they faced the towering scrub.
Fer a little while they crept along in silence, stooping nuder leaning boughs, and parting thickly entwined branches, until a trailing " lawyer " Tine caught Basil's coat sleeve and held bim fast ; he tried to remove it, but only got more entangled, for another caught his cap and whisked it away from his head.
. "Keep still/' said Lorne, laughing. "Don't yon see that each thorn is hooked and most be gently humoured ? Let me solease you !"
1 With dexterous fingers she took the tip of the lawyer, moved it gently backwards until it sprang into the air and awong about wildly over their heads.
: " Thank you, that was vere cleverly done; It is an art I ßhonld like you to teach me," said Basil.
" You would soon learn it if yon had much to do with scrub. I don't think
you hive ventared into them very often f"
"Never before; but with you te give me a few lessons I am sure I could soon get abont famously."
" Take care !" She laid à firm band on bis arm and arrested him. " There is a snake jost ahead!"
. "Good heavens! Oet behind me, piesse, and I'll shoot him!" exclaimed Basil. ,
' " No, don't touch the creature. It is only a carpet snake, and they are harm« less, only I don't like them!" and she shuddered slightly.
Her hand tightened its clasp on his arm as ehe watched the. monster slowly uncoil himself and stealthily creep away. Then, with a slight sigh of relief she started-forwerd-again. . ---¿1 ÍAfterr~ goíng~a'~few hundred yards arther they esme to-sciear forest plain. . ïasil had scarcely spoken, and now Lorne taw by the light of the sinking ann that, he was very pale.
" Were you afraid?" she asked, sar. prised. " They are ngly, creepy things, I jtnow, bat there was no danger!"
; Bat it was not the snake that had driven the blood from his faoenandbent it coursing in uneven bounds throoghjall bis feeing. It was the clasp of that firm (brown hand Upon his arm I
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