|Chapter Title||THE GHOST.-Continued.|
|Newspaper Title||Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)|
|Trove Title||Farmer Mack|
FICTION. FARMER MACK, Written for the Examiner and Tasmanian. By ADELINE J. WIIITFELD. Aubhor of 'My Lady,' ' Madge,' 'Rex,' li etc. C CHAPTER III.-THaE GHOST. -Continued. 'Come home with me, lad,' he then said, a new idea breaking in upon him. 'Home! Where ?' P 'To Wee Wan station. I'm put ting in a bit o' time thdre with my dar ter.' 'Is Mrs Arden Melrose your daughter, sir' asked the young man,. looking up in his surprise. P ' That she be, an' a fine lass she is. There's real grit in Gui.' Mr Pikara was silent a moment. Then he said ' When do you return Mr Mack ' T 'Fust thing in the morning, sir,' c said the old man, trying to be diplo- a matic. I ' IHow ?' t This was a poser. Farmer Mack t scratched his head for a moment in per plexity. 'Guess I'll get a groom to druv me, leastways l1'll ask Mistress E Fullard.' t The next morning Farmer Mack t had an interview with the heon. Mrs Fullard before breakfast. When the hour arrived for the same, she came in I looking bright and bonnie as ever. Mr I Pickara summoned by the bell was in the room alone, ostensitly reading a periodical. The hon. Mrs Fullard went straight to him without hestita tion. Good morning,' she said simply. She held out her hand but Mr Pickara hesitated. 'Do you care to shake hands with me ?' he asked hoarsely. 'I want to,' the repliedrquickly. He put his hand in hers. ' Can you ever forgive me ?' 'I forgive you,' she said. ' I forgive you wholly. But you must not come here again until you can do so happily, knowing that my husband knows all.' He bowed his head in acquiescence. After breakfast one of the grooms drove them over to Wee Wan station, and another man rode and led Mr Pickara's horse. It was a close 3 carriage in which the two gentlemen r rode, and that fact enabled them to have a long and earnest conversation. At its conclusion Mr Pickara's face wore a new expression. An awakened determination shone in his eyes ; he grasped Farmer Mack's hand before they alighted. ' God bless you,' he said, 'you have t made a rew man of me.' ' Show me, said the old man, ' show me that what you say is true.' Some three days later Mr Fullard drove over to Wee Wan station and asked for Mr Pickara. Mr Piclara Swas no coward, but his heart sank as a he went to the library, where Mr a Fullard awaited him. e Mr Fullard rose at Mr Pichara's r entrance. ' My wife has told me,' he began without prelude. d ' Yes,' and then Mr Pickara's voice e failed him. He stood with downcast n eyes before the man he had wronged. d Mr Fullard came closer. ' Have you nothing to say ?' he e asked. d 'What is the use of saying any Sthing,' said the younger man. ' I can Snever hope to regain your good opinion eI have forfeited my own self respect - and that of all right thinking people.' e ' And yet you particularly requested my wife to tell me.' 'Yes.' Mr Fullard's chest heaved. - ' Give me your hand,' he said d kindly. ' I am unworthy,' faltered the other. t 'You had better get your gun and a shoot me, I deserve to be shot. ' Nay, such an act wduld be worthy e. only of the days of senseless bloodshed. >t Do you think your life isto be blasted rl as the result of one mad impulse. d Heaven forbid. Give me your hand. n My dear fellow, I will stand your r, friend, if you will let me.' t ' You are a good man,' again d faltered Mr Pickara, 'I can never be a come half so good, but I will try. r Thank you. Thank you.' ' Look upon me as an elder brother,' said Mr Fullard. Mr Pickara could not speak. He s, turned away. ' Eh, dear,' said Farmer Mack that d night, 'its time I was making tracks y for hum. s ' Already, father,' said Guida in E some surprise. 'Already ,you say ! Why there's Smy best Ayrshire cow may be in any day now,' said the old man. S Guiida raised her eyebrows. o. ' What! Putting my foot in it 1- agen ? Lor' bless me,.I'll buy a book on perlite 'siety an' get my manners up t a bit,' said Farmer Mack caeerfully. ' I'm dashed if.I don't say 1he wrong
thing, an' leave the right, like a blessed prayer book-leastways that's what it says. The funny thing is,' said he, waxing eloquent, ' is that the same lot of prayers is fixed for everyone, the wicked, the innocent an' all-now if they fit the cap on some, they can't on others, so it. comes to my conclusion that there's a bit of humbug in the whole thing,' and he slapped his. thigh in a manner which was meant to be convincing, but taken in that way was rather a failure. 'Do I hear that you must be leav ing u?' asked Arden Melrose of his father-in-law next morning. 'I can't say what you heard, but I must be making tracks,' said Farmer Mack. 'B.ut you will ride out with me this morning and see the new water tauk I'm putting in the far run,' said Mr Melrose persuasively. 'I don't mind doing that,' res ponded the old man, his face brighten ing, ' I hey bin wantin' to see one of them new contrivances for a con siderable spell now.' They had an early lunch and then started for the far run. Farmer _Mack,owing to the stiffness of old age, could not ride fast, so that it was almost sundown when they returned home. As they rode up to the stables they were struck by the fact that there was no one about, all hands seemed with one accord to have been spirited away. They unsaddled and stalled their horses themselyes, and then perplexed and alarmed went up to the house. 'It's a queer thing,' observed Mr Melrose ' must be a tire somewhere, for most of the horses seem to have gone from the home paddock.' They went into the house which seemed almost painfully silent. No young voices rang through the corridors, or echoed in the halls, All was still as death. They hastened into the drawing-rocm but no one was there. Then Mr Melrose rang the hall bell violently. Presently asound of somewhat feeble footsteps reached their ears, and an old neatly dressed woman who for many years had been housekeeper at Wee Wan station, answered the master's summons. 'Whatever has happened Kate I' asked Mr Melrose. ' The little girl sir.' She's lost, and everyone's out looking.' 'What little girl ?' 'Nina, sir.'