|Chapter Title||AT DINGLEY HALL.|
|Newspaper Title||Liverpool Herald (NSW : 1897 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||Marian Gonisby|
ÁT DINGLEY HATJÙ.
i He thought me fair and asked my love,
X could not, though he were from Heaven
Tn a suburb-not the most fashionable or extensive-of London stood Dingley Hall; There lived many of the metropolis's well to-do business men, and others, holding more or leas important offioes in the oity. Isaac Gonisby dwelt in a comparatively large house, and the style and pretension of his abode indicated that in lif a he had not missed his mark, or done badly for himself. Than his wife, there was practically no ona else to consider : they were childless ; and when he learnt that his only brother was returning, after many long years from Australia, there was a cordial welcome extended to brother and niece. They had come an visitón», yet 12 months found them still living at Dingley Hall, nor would either Mr or Mrs Gonisby listen to any proposal for any other arrangement. Marian, their i beautiful niece, had won her way into their ! a ff dotions, and they declared that she was i tho light and life of the house. Nor did ! Marian wish to do so. It was home in every
i sense of the word, and had other things been I different, she often told herself, she should I have been one of the happiest girls in England. To every human soul there are givon oroeses to bear, and Marian Gonisby was no exception.
* Dear Marie, do you know that you are quito spoiling your old aunt ?'
* Do not say old aunt ; you are not tnat, yon know; and please to say how I am spoiling yon ?'
*" By relieving me of half my household
* You sae, aunt, I have been used to taking oharge of a house, and it is I who should be spoilt if I had not something to do. I assure you, aunt, it would be oruel to deprivo mo of the pleasure.'
* No wonder your father thinks so muoh of you, Mario. Do you know, ohild, before i yon came to us, I was a little uneasy as to [ what I should do with you in the ho ase. I'm
i afraid I had very faulty notions, got from
I don't know- whoro, aa to the ways of oolonially-trainod ohildron. I rather fanoiod
they woro dreadfully rude, unmanageable an almost half-oivilisod bind of beings ! ! You may well look surprised ! You soo boro,
in London, wo have dueh strango opinions of tho colonies. Wo havo boen accustomed to suppoao tbo childron of tho Europoan portion of tho population roally mixed frooly with tho blaoks I Of couroo you havo enlightened mo as to al) that, and tho folly
! of supposing that bushrangers pop out from
behind ovory bush in tho country part J'
4 YOB, indeed/ laughed Mario. 4 How muoh; surprised half Londonors would bo
were they to go to Melbourne and Sydney, live there perhaps hrc years, and never, the ohanoes are, catch sight of one of the original lords of the soil/
< Poor creatures, and where do they live,
and how r"
* Where ? Oh, far inland mostly ; by the great rivers mostly. Occasionally they live
on stations-not the C ations like those oalled
pastoral, but what are sometimes called ' mission station'- vhere they are supposed to be taught to read and write, and also something of morals and Christianity. But I'm afraid they .ire not promising pupils. As to how they live, when pursuing their
own free life, they oatcb fish-I have seen them spearing &a'>>. in the rivera-and hunt the 'possum and other animals. They live in the most slender kind of plaoes, unworthy of being called houses, which ore known as ' gunyahs,' and thoy wander from plaoe to place as fancy or iuod direots them.'
1 They hive really no homes, then ?'
* None ; they ave nomadic, and in a sense Bohemian, on the very lowest lines of Bohemianism. Yet I think it is wrong to describe them a» tho lowest of the savage xaees. They are amongst the darkest mentally, but they are not the dullest/
* In a land so bright and, in some respeots, beautiful, as you have persuaded me Aus- tralia is, how strange to find a people so low in the soale of humanity.'
* Our poor black brethren, of Australia, must be left to take oare of themselves for
the present, aunt? You forget all we have to do to-day. Üncle says the dinner-party this evening muBt be really a success, and he
counta on our seeing to everything.'
* Isaac in an epioure in his way. But don't worry, love.*
Marian left her annt with some directions to the cook. On returning sho deolared she was really glad to escape the atmosphere of
* Really, aunt, you English would shook the blackest and most depraved savage ever born in Australia did he but go into one of your kitohens when a dinner was in pre- paration !'
* How is that, Marian ?'
* Your love for 'high* game would tarn his stomach, I'm oertain. Those pheasants and partridges-ugh!-they are really too
bad i'- . , .
' They have only been hanging a week, and were then but shot four days 1'
* Eleven days ! Even oook deolared she oould not dress them. I asked the gardener as a special favor to come to our assistance, he said he would do it for me, and he really obliged us. I am sure it is the last he will
want to see of them !'
1 You will find them delioious, dear, when they are served.'
' i'm afraid I shall not want any, aunt.'
* Oh, nonsense ! In tb is respeot the Australian taste does not seem to have reaohed the oivilised standard.'
*" And 1 trust never will, aunt. We prefer good, wholesome food, leaving that which is not good to the crows.'
The orows are probably of tho good, old English stock, with properly educated
« I think not.'
' Well, perhaps in this one respeot we go to extremes ; you seem to adopt the other, equally repulsive to our ideas, and eat meat the same day it is killed. Is that true ?'
* Almoat of neoeBsity it is so. In the hot weather, you see, meat will not frequently
' keep for 24 honra/
4 Thea I am very glad wo are in England. ' Ii I ever visit Australia it shall be in the winter time, I promise you.'
I ' Very well ; I myself prefer winter in ¡ Australia. But, seriously, do you ever
think of making such a visit P'
' I, ohild ? Bless you, no. What should I do iu Australia amongst the blaoks P*
* The blaoks again ! You cannot get away from thom ! But really, aunt, the trip there would be delightful if we a)) went together. I am suro you would onjoy it/
* I'm afraid not. 1 am a poor sailor. As for you, I know you liko tho sea ; and there is the othor roaBon-your hoart is in Aus- tralia still, Marian !'
The girl blushod slightly at her aunt's thrust, and did not dony the soft impeach- ment. ' I am not hopeful of seeing dear Aubtralia soon. My father never speaks of roturning now/
* There is little reason why he should, my ohild You have no relations th oro. Ho and I hope you are very comfortable here
'Very comfortable and thoroughly at home, aunt, but X doubt whether he is
suited by the olimate. "Do you think he isf*
' Your father ia not looking quite so well as I could wish- He has a cough which
seoms to trouble him.'j '
' And ho never had ooughs in Australia, aunt/ replied Marian, with a sigh. 'I wish you would persuade him to return, at least for a time, to Melbourne. '
'I don't think it ia any use. It is on your nooount, Morie, that he particularly wishes to stay here, or at least away from
* I'm afraid that is the oatie.'
' Marian, you look doleful; now this must not be. It is not good for you, and I am
saro your poor father notioes it, and it does ' not add to his happiness. He is so fond of you !'
'I know it, aunt, and am very-very ' sorry. But it cannot be helped. My fate ia
' And you yourself have fixed it ?'
' I have never thought of the matter in
that light. I said 'fate,* but I am not sura " that I really believe in 'fate.' What is fate, aunt-give me your definition.'
'Definition, do you ask?' Mrs Gonisby was bringing- their best silver oat of the sideboard, and Marian was dusting. ' I am not able to give you a definition, but I can give you an idea. Fate is that whioh is definitely reserved for certain individuals whether for good or evil.'
' Are you a fatalist, aunt ?'
'No, ohild ! Do you take me for a Turk?
Yet I have sometimes leaned to the opinion ' . that oontrary natures have reserved to them
what I may describe as oontrary destinies. . Bnt I do noe believe that every mortal's life, every detail of his life, is settled beforehand.'
.I should hope not, indeed,' broke in .; Marian. ' That would De the cruellest, most unthinkable, unloveable creed in the
world. But, aunt, pardon me (and Marian - paused in her occupation, with a look of oonoern upon her faoe), ' do 1 understand you are thinking of me as a 'oontrary' and disobedient child-one who is oonrting thia adverse fate, of whioh you speak ?'
4 That would be too unkind, my 'love. You are a good and obedient daughter and altogether a loveable niece,' and suiting the
aot to the word she kissed Marian's cheek, at . , ' whioh moment she also poroeived that a . tear stood upon Marian's eye-lash.
4 I would not bo so unkind, my pel.'
1 My father, unfortunately, thinks I am a oontrary and wilful daughter.'
1 Only in regard to one matter, Marie; I
have tried to reason with him. I certainly , find it difficult work. You see, dear, we are
the ' exolusive people' of tho world. We ' must lemain so or oease to be.'
* If I married Mr Whiddon, he would not wish to turn me from my faith, or the due observanoe of it.'
4 Perhaps not. Bat have you thought of the over-recurring difficulties? Our very manner of life, and living, is different from
the Christian. Consider tho food question ' alone. How fond the English, and I sup- pose colonials, are of a diet of baoon. Would Mr Whiddon be content never to have a joint of pork upon the table ; if he expressed a wish for suoh, how would you regard tho appearance of tho unolean meat upon your plates ? Then, in the keeping of our holidays and prolonged fasts, how could you do it, Marian, mairied to a Christian P*
How long Mrs Gonisby would have gone on in this strain it is hard to say, but Marian interrupted with what looked like a rather impatient exclamation :
41 wish thero was neither Christianity nor '
Judaism in the world !'
4 That is the spirit of disobedience crossed by love,' remarked the elder lady, almost seriously.
4 Then, perhaps, 1 am a ohild of Fate. I
j cannot help it. Who is responsible for my '
love that is stronger than my life P Have, I mado my heart, my tastes, my affections P Or have I given them to one who is un»
worthy P Ah, aunt, I wish yon oould seo Mr Whidder. You would not blame me."
' I am not blaming you, ohild ; on the , oontrary, I havo beon taking your part, so ' far as I thought it right to do ; indeed, in my lovo for you, dour, I havo gono further than I ever thought it posaiblo to go. Yet, Marian, I know your father is morally «nd legally right. Ho doolaroH haman love should, and mubt, take second plaoo to God'B commands. Thia is aooording to tho faith of our people. Oh, my ohild, I know it is hard ; but if you oould toura to lovo
. I shall novor lovo another. I will live and dio an old maid, if I may not marry George Whiddon,'
(To be continued.)