Chapter 39700589

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1897-10-09
Page Number2
Word Count1360
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLaunceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)
Trove TitleMonica
article text

CHAPTER III. And then in, the other half of the. field the sunbeams spread .and glinted. on, burning down on the yellow piled wagons, and heating the iron-work on them till a man's hand blistered in the' touching. It was a peaceful picture, showing forth to the happy 'heated. workers the glorious fulfilment of their great Master's harvest promises. Some. women were singing, going in from the field with their men-folks' dinner baskets and cans. The words sounded out clear and sweet in the hot, pure: air "From the far off flelds of earthly toil A goodly host they come, And the sound of music is .in the air,. 'Tis the song of the home. The wearhiess and the watching, And the darkness has all passed by,. And a glorious' sun libe risen, 'Tis the Sun: of Eter-" Their song stopped abruptly, for a group was coming forward from. an other 'part of the, field. A few men. and boys were there, and one of them held something in. his arms. The last word of ttheir song died, faded away in the act of utterance. A boy from thbe' group came forward with a queer look 'in his eyes. "There has been an accident, Mrs. Riley," he said, and the words came out with difficulty. "Little Monica Lisle, sh.e's fell from Murray's wagon. They're jest bringin.' her in." Mrs. Riley went to meet them, and held out her arms. It was Jack Money who held her. "Give her toý me, Jack," she said; "I'll carry her i'n." But Jack's big arms were wrapped round the little figure, and he drew back almost savagely. "Leave her alone," he said, roughly. "I'll take her in myself." He never took 'his. eyes off the little face on his arm; never moved his hand except to smooth thei roughened hair off the white forehead all the way .through the field. It was a long way to the nearest cottage, which was his own, but his arm never ached nor felt weary. Once he turned to one of the women with a curious sound In his throat. "I don't know nothin' 'bout things like this," he sadd, 'strangely; "but is is she 'dead ?" "I don't know, Jack," came the an swer. "I hope not." And that was all that was spoken on. the wny 'home. It was growing dim over the hills and sea, and the hush of early evening was upon the littler cottage of Jack's. Inside'lay a little figure without a. coat upon "Jack's sefy"-the "sofy" Monica had watched him making. It was finis'hecd ndw, and 'Monica was the first to sleep on it. Jack was ihere by 'her side, and had been ever since he ha.d brought her in. There was no doctor in the place-none for miles the ,other side of Deldin Bush, and two women stood in the next room. wondering helplessly what they could do to help. But there was nothing to ,help. "I'm afraid it '11 be all over before the doctor comes," said one, in a low tone. "The wheel went right over her, my Jim says." The other one crossed herself rever ently-she was a Roman Catholic-but did not speak for a moment, for in, her heart there lay a pity too deep for words. "Has her mother been told?" she asked .presently.

"No; they want to hear what the doctor says first." Suddenly, as .they talked, a cry came from the ctl-Cr rccm, and they'huitied in, "Jack! J;ck M'oncy! are you ready for startin'!." Jack was over tb, child with a wonderful expression on his face, an expression which seemed like the smothered pang of a great anguish mingled with.tender love. "Yes," he said, "Yes, little un', quite. ready ?" Monica's eyes were open, and shining brightly. "Give me a whiff of your pipe, Jack," she pleaded, "You said you would."' "Now, little un', will you have it now?" "Yes, now." Her little brown fingers came out for it, so he took this old pipe from his pocket, and put it into them. "lI'~ein't lift it," she said, "me fingles wm't move theirselves; p1st 'hihm into me. mouf. Jack?" There were tears of real gladness in the young fellow's eyes as he lifted it, and put its old stem between her little white lips. She smiled, and puffed away contentedly for awhile, then she said, "It's gone out, there isn't any smoke comin' out of him; you can take it away." "I fought I was tunbmlin' down some where," she said, in a faint whisper, suddenly closing her eyes. "It was a high tunublin' down. Was you speak in' to me, Jack ,Money? Look how the water is shining; it's gone out, .Jack-gone-right---out." "Monica! Monica, little un'?" he called. "Monica!" but she drew a little hard breath and lay still. Then the two women crept out, leav ing the young fellow alone with his :grief; each going 'their separate' ways without a word, for they knew little Monica had no need -of them any more. Out in the paddocks the harvesting was going on just as busily as at first, for they did not know little Monica was dead, and could not have shown -their grief if they yhad; for 'they were men and boys; and we all know teara and sorrow are for girls and mothers who have tender hearts and miss the touches of little hands, and the busy ,clamoring of little tongues. In the evening Jack carried her ldown to her mother. Her work was ,over, and she stood in the doorway 'waiting for the little feet to come pat - tering up the pathway. The baby boy 'lay on the doorstep holding fast to a 'black caet's tail, bubbling over with baby joy. Jack's ,heart failed him; he was only a rough -plough boy who had loved a little child, and the sight of the tired mother waiting there turned .him sick with pity. He came stumb?ling down the path as though he wfeire blind, stumbling down and down -till the door 'was reached. "I've-I've brought your little gal "-home," he said huskily, "She fell-out there in .the paddick-=fell off the top "of a wvaggin-s-he--she's-d'ead." I will not write what happened next, • what he said, what words the mother spoke, things like these can never be "faithfully'repeated, for the mere words seem cold and heartless. We need the living farces, the living forms, -tile living loving voices to make t:he words .t"ake life a?nd meaning, when the heart is sorely wounded like this poor woman's was. Somehow I cannot put 'the words down when I remember the 'look of terrible misery on her face, and try to fathom the woe which surged into her heart and soul when her little child came home like this. There is somethtng sacred land unspeakable in 'her utter sorrow, something which my .poor pen 'is powerless ,to describe. Only that morn'ing she had said, "Be home earlier 'than you were last night, 'Monica," and Monica had come home earlier; never to go gladly out into the summer days among the yellow sheaves again--nevrer :to stir from the • poor little room till they came 'to take 'her away, and leave the house desolate :for ever. Once more the little suits must be put away, put away, and away; three of them gone now, husband, son. and little laughing Monica. Jack put the little one down on her 'bed, and stroked her face with his -rough 'fingers; then the mdther went into the kitchen, and sat there, rocking 'her baby, and mooaning, looking with stony eyes into the fire. Good:bye,'little un';" said Jack softly. "Gocd-bye little un'," then he reverently bowed, and kissed the little face which 'he had loved better than everything, -and passed out 'into the kitchen. "I'll 'see to everything," he said, as gently as a girl. "I'll look that everything's ,:done right; just as 'if I was her father, good night, missis." But she answered him nothing, just sat looking with dull, hard eyes into "the fire, and thus went out the light dof two long 'lives. (Concluded.)