Chapter 39601460

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Url
Full Date1895-02-11
Page Number3
Word Count940
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLaunceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)
Trove TitleFarmer Mack
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FARMER MACK, Written for the Examiner and Tasmanian. BY ADEIINE J. VII1TFELD. Author of 'My Lady,' 'Madge,' 'Rex,' et:. CHAPTER I. GUIDA AND HER FATHER. 'Time was,' observed Farmer Mack reflectively,' when Gui used to put up with the smoke of a good old pipe that had seen service for many a year, and never a word she said, but young folks they change a lot. Gui was always a smart girl, though,' he added. ' The visitors refrained from looking at Mrs Melrose, but presently as they turned to leave the room one remarked Sin a low tone, ' I vote we leave early.' 'I vote we do,' returned his friend. 'I can't stand seeing a fine woman like Mrs Melrose put to the blush like that,' said the first. ' Rummy old chap, isn't he ?' re, turned the other. 'Yes, and yet I like him, and I believe he's awfully fond of his daughter, in spite of the "nasty jars " he gives her.' Farmer Mack did not join the smoking party, and when the latter returned to the drawing-room they found the old gentleman comfortably asleep, and not only asleep but giving unmistakable evidence of that fact by various sonorous sounds which could be heard all through the apartment. ' For Heaven's sake let him sleep,' whispered the gentlemen among themselves, as Mr Melrose went to speak to his wife. He was asking her to sing, but Guida had been nerving herself to a great effort, and now rose to make this effort. 'Wait a little, Arden dear,' she said, and leaving him she joined the little group formed by her guests. 'I want to explain to you,' she said abruptly ; ' mind, I am not excusing him, the dear good old man, he is in no need of excuse, but I want to explain. You have been thinking that you will leave early to-night, that you will not come again while he is here; you have been sorry to see me blush.' Someone here attempted to expostu late, but Guida stopped him with up lifted hand. 'I blush for myself now that I should have been ashamed of him. When my father was a boy so small was his chance of being educated that he frequently ran off to school without hip breakfast, lest he should be set to work when the morning meal was over ; at twelve he left school wholly, and then for many years life to him was but a ceaseless routine of hard work. You and I, whose lines have fallen in pleasanter places, can scarcely comprehend what this means, can scarcely understand the crushing, unvarying monotony of the existence of a struggling ove: worked farmer. When he was thirty years of age he married an educated, refined woman,my mtther; when I was eighteen months old my mother died ; I cannot say how he managed to do so, but I have since learned that despite his poverty, despite the fact that he denied himself actual neces sities,cheerfully affirming that he could not afford them, he annually laid by twenty pounds in readiness for my education. His one aim seems to have been to make me what he called a lady, and with this object in view he put me to school when I was six, Now, in me, you see the result of all those years of patient toil, of self-denial, of uncomplaining loneliness. When Mr Melrose asked me to marry him my father at once gave his consent, though he well knew it meant a return for him to a life of solitude, if not neglect -and now,' said Guida, catching her breath,' after all this, I have been God forgive me-I have been ashLamed of him.' 'By Jove ! Mrs Melrose,' exclaimed one of her listeners,' doesn't this teach people not to judge others by outside appearances ' 'Eh, what's that?' interrupted a loud genial voice from the depths of the armchair, where the sleeper had awakened himself by a snort of un limited dimensions. 'I was saying, sir,' said the speaker respectfully, crossing the room to where the farmer still sat, 'that people should be careful not to judge others by outside appearances.' 'Ha I ha! 'laughed Farmer Mack, 'I heard a pretty good story about that sort o' thing the other day, ha! ha ! ' He waited, evidently expecting to be requested to relate the same, but as no one was courageous enough to make the request he began the story unsolicited ' It 'was down in Melbourne,' he said, 'and is as true a story as you could find in a day's march. You know what a devili-(beg your par .don, Gui., dear,) you know what an awful amount of poverty and wretched ness there is in that great town-well, .a lot o' ladies clubbed together in a sort o' 'siety, and went round findin' out the "real potater," and helpin' 'emn, and giving 'em things right and left. -One day up comes a woman cryin' fit to break her heart, and she sez, sez she, her husband was dead and lyin' in -the house waitin' to be buried, and

she had no money to bury him with. Her children were starvin', cryin' for bread, and she had no bread to give 'em. It was a dreadful touchin' story, dreadful touchin,' and Farmer M[ack paused and.drew a deep breath. ' Go on, father dear,' said Guida who was greatly interested. ' Yes, dear, yes ; jest let me expand my bellows a minnit.' ' Father ! ' said Guida. (To be continued.)