Chapter 52034488

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Chapter NumberXVII
Chapter Url
Full Date1884-08-09
Page Number3
Word Count2547
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleMorning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)
Trove TitleRonald Walton: A Tale of Early Squatting Life in Moreton Bay
article text

fife and juieta.






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RONALD took quite three hours to accomplish

his journey home on his half-starred horse. '. The road vos in many places impracticalile,

and he had to make considerable détoura over 1 thc ridges to avoid such flooded flats and creeks as could thus be escaped.. Those he could not avoid, his noble horse carried him over swimming. Ada was not surprised ot his non- appearance the night before, as she knew by.1 the direction he took that he was going to the Haunted Hut ; but she became anxious os the second night approached and no appearance of him. Little Ron's importunate questions, " When pappy tuinmin home, mamma!" and " Dear pappy tommin' home to-night ; mamma ?° preyed so upon her spirits, that she at length gave way, sud burst into tears but a moment before the well-known footfall Bounded on tile verandah.

" Why I why ! Ada 1 What are those tears

for !" Ronald said.

" Oh, Ronald !" she said, embracing him, "I thought something must have happened to you.: But I will not detain you. Go and change for you ire: wet through. You can tell me all your adventures afterwaxds. I put a dry change out for you last night, thinking it just possible that you might return. Every-. thing is ready for you now. . .

He went to his room and changed his wet things. _ His little son was delighted to see him again, and followed him in, while Ada went to the kitchen to hurry the dinner. As his father drew off his heavy boots, the child took possession of them, dragging them into a place thby emselves. He named each artiole aa it was castoff, after one or other of the working bullocks, and spoke to it as though he were the driver. The two leggins were dragged off and named, the little fellow. fjMSjjigttej^jum here, Nelson-gee Boxer." ^^^^^^^^^biext. I warm your hide, ^^^^^^^^^^np, Spot," and so on till ^^^^^^^^^^feced a heap. When ^^^^^^^^^^^^took the child into the ^^^^^^^^^^^^kitktg for him,

lookingui^MLs^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^H not actually helieveVss^^^^^^^^^^^^H what ladies would recognnM*BBSBBJH[^^H feeling all up the back" when Buch UunVsl

were talked about near bed-time. "Do tell me now, Ronald, what was it !"

"No ghosts, Ada-you know I do not believe in such things-but poor Billy Cant- well was killed by lightning last night, and we buried him this afternoon. The same flash

shivered a large gum tree, and the bursting of one of the roots turned up the earth, and with

it the skeleton of .a roan rn chains."

"How strange t How horrible 1 But ure Ïou not drawing on ray credulity, Ronald !

know you often do, you wicked fellow," she said archly; but seeing no indication of anything Uko a wish to " sell" her, in his face she paused for his reply.

"I assure you, Ada, I never felt more serionB iii. my Ufe. The men told me that BiUy Cantwell was very queer in his ways for some time past. He certainly was last night, and did not go to bcd, but sat on a stool at my feet, as I lay stretched before the fire, till -tUl late in the night. The wind blew the door open, and lie went towards it, as I thought to Bhut it ; but he said-something, and went out, and was killed soon after."

"How dreadful! Did you hear what he

said?" .

Ronald did not intend to give the whole particulars, but he did not reckon on the wheedling power that young wives-and old ones too-possess ; and as he could not very well look an untruth, even il he told one on thewayofa joke, lie hesitated, forhehad al- ready unwittingly entered on ground that he saw was dangerous ; he replied. '

." Nó-that is, not very distinctly."

?* You ought to teU roe, Ronald. Do. I will beso uneasy if you do not. lean see by your f' -e that you did hear something."

"Thé . im was quito mad. I could Bee it in . his ii ^. You know the words of mad people never mean anything." '

"IJJUOII be thinking all night aboutit if yon do not tell me. Was it anything about you ?"

"No I Oh, it waa nothing."

" Was. Ah «io tefl rue, Ronald. Did he mention any name at all!"

"Yes-of a man you never heard of."

"Well, then, there can be no harm in you telling me."

"Joe StockweU. Now, how much wiser are you, Miss Inquisitive !"

" WeU, what did he say about Joe Stock- well«1'

. "Notiiing."

"Yes, he did. Now, Ronald, dear, you may os well tell me alL I shall not sleep a wink all night if you do not. It is not kind of you. You ought not to treat your Uttle wife with so little confidence. I never keep anything from Jgu," she said, half hurt, half


" WcU, if you must know, Ada," he said, ' ' It's Joe StockweU beckoning to me I mutt go !"

"How horrid! Do you think he was the murders, Ronald !" she said, covering her



"Of course you buried the skeleton. Did you read servie over them both ! I gave Pet a prayer-book and Bible, when I came up, for

the use of himself uud IJÍB mates."

" Yes, I read tibe burial service over both." "I umso glad- then tlie Pct has kept his promise. He said he ivould read the liooks regular to his mutes."

Ronald did not undeceive her. He did not say how they hunted for the yrayer-book, nor

wS -e it was found.

. * ¿ziüe they were conversing, little Ron sat on his father's knee, looking from one to the other of the speakers in fear and wonder, with his great dark eyes wide open, foi he comprehended a good deal of what was saul. Then he gave some of his own impressions.

"Me frightened big lightning tum lost night. Mamma not let it hit Uttle Ron."

" Hush I You must not speak so, you wicked boy," said Ada. Then she took him into her own lap, saying, "You pretty darling ! Wnat could harm you T God loves and takes care of my Uttle Ron.-and my bur one too," she added, with thankfulness and affection, kissing both. " Now then, bring I papa to dinner, Bon."

' {Little Ron, was very precocious and '- amsaing, Being the first he had had a great j dean more attention lavished apon him that 1 oouW , posaiVly ¡be jsnrtended to. » second, or i any, jrubsequent one.; at all events tn the noan, ¡ where servant are w bard tojret, and whan

obtained Jv$, and have still, tp be,'4afcmVù«: " for fetter for worse.!'. _;. '.?.--.?;i;V

Afterothe wedding, and before storting for the stftSoj}, a facetious friend . ]-" " Ronald with a very useful article of i_

That is to say, very useful when such a ,i_m is really required ; but just then it waa' not required, , so Ronald had it packed up and sent to his agent, who was a storekeeper lin town, to be token care of. He was doubtless/ have ,returned it to the donor, but the gift' was anonymous, so he took the most sensible, course under thc circumstances. It turned out that, when there was a probability of 'the gift being required on the station, and Ronald i wrote for it, the agent omitted to put it on the dray. For the Information of those, who.; have not guessed what the article was,, and who still wish to know, it may be stated >toae, it was a child's cot. What was to be dont

for a substitute for that indispensable) commodity ? Ronald and his wife ransacked their brainB and the station to find one, and', the old proverb-" Necessity is the mother of invention"-was once more vindicated. ?, .A.: large soap box was singled out as the destined distinguished receptacle for the first-born-i not only of the new house at Walton; but of the Boorooma station, for the shortly' expected one was to have the honour.? Of being ,the first white child born on :tbfi station. The box was thoroughly washed i and dried, and hod rockers nailed on,, »of course; but according to thc author1*' experience, they are a vexatious1 addition to a child's crib, and are more often chocked than used. A little-1 covered and curtained with the orthodox pink and lace, etc. The box was softly padded and gorgeously lined ; but Ron. could ' not sleep in it for ever, for the soft pampered ' little animal grew apace. It would nave been marvellous indeed if he had not, for ' the nourishment he took was suffisent to keep a, three month's old calf, not only from starva-

tion, but absolutely in sleek condition... Little Ron. crew, but the cot did not,, aüä.i two pink little feet protruded over the end.

Ingenuity was again taxed, and was again') triumphant. Of course, young mother's must be. "supported"-even m the absence cf a .'monthly nurse"-so a cask or two of jtbs regulation beverage for British maternity-:-. Barclay and Co's XXX bottled-found, .its

way to the station among other nourishing'' things on the drays. Ronald's inventive genius rose at thc sight of one of those empty ' dry casks. He said nothing to his wife about it, for he determined to work out .his ideal

and surprtse-Jjer with the brightness of $hs>r, ? finished conception* He placed the cask'.oju - its bilge, and ueginmB^»*»»)eay^foot from {tye chine, cut straight across the staves with ia : saw till about half were severed ; then turning the cask up on to the end nearest Mr. which he had out, lie sawed the opposite head across the middle, on a level with: ute tops Jof : the whole stoves below the firstmentioned cot. AU that had to be done then was to cist'-' through the wooden hoops on either side, and the smaller section came off, leaving a very' elegant : cradle. Of course a few nails were

required to kepp ..the-àoopa - and StevetlsL together ; and, in defiance of past experience, isl

the inevitable pair 0f rockers were fitted,*^, completing the warft. Ada was struck with

wonder and adoration when introduced to the finished article, and gave the maker quiet as much praise ab he was entitled to. Her ' deft fingers, and gouj taste, soon accomplished

thc ruulHinir ""rl ^-^^ frJeu(J ffn0 váúí1 .

ironounced it to IS} :

1 ever turned 'aà&'. ? ins, then, did'the(

tent of all small,

randon Walton,:' him, within tbs ir cask ! When he was

crib for the first tinto, is known in bush parlance, aa The word, os moaut here, is not' found in Borne of the best English dic ,ries, but certainly ought to appear in' all future editions, because it is BO expressive. He was put in by his mother, carefully tucked in, well-kissed, and the musquito; curtains arranged to perfection. Both father and mother sat down by the crib to see how the cherub would take it. They thought that, as he must infinitely more comfortable than iii his late bed-the Boap box-bc would drop off, " like a lamb." He, however, did not see it in the same light as they did. Children .of his age sometimes do hold opposite opinions, to papa's and mammas, especially in matters somnolente; and when they do-well, who, wins ? Ron. was too comfortable, and the gay' new surroundings took his fancy and excited him. He lay BO quiet for some time that they ! thought he was asleep, and were about to leave him to his peaceful slumbers, but he had

half his unpillowed eye upon them, and wfaen^ they rose and put out the light, he quietly sat " up and whimpered beseechingly, v -

" Dear pappy, do put the dark out 1" By which he meant, light the candle again, and of course it was done. Then, with a chuckle, . he exclaimed, "Flap up noo bye bye, Ronny !" which, being interpreted, meant " Ronny's new bed is slap np ! '.,

" You wicked little angel ! I thought you_ were off for the night. Go too sleep," said Ms


"Bo peep, mamma," said he, clutching the

musquito curtain with both hands, and press- . iug his chubby face against it. Then he' dived under everything, bedclothes, mattress and all, and came up on tho other Bide. " Ronny have good duck under dat time, like pappy, he exclaimed, blowing, and shaking, his head, and pretending to wipe the water from his face and curls with his hands.

"Go to sleep, you bad hoyt" said.his father very sternly, but Rou. knew he did not mean it. He laid down, however, and began to snore, but all his dimples showing with

roguery, ? ,

" I Heep now," he said i then suddenly jumping up, be stood on his head and tips of his toes. From that position, he turned on to his back, and tried a variety of juggling and acrobatic tricks with his feet and hands, such as balancing bis pillow and kicking it into the air. His father's threats and his mothers skill in soiniiipathy failed, but when such un- due excitement at that hour of the evening hos been indulged in by an imp of his easily reckoned years for such a length of time, a crisiB must come. He was no exception to the "rule. He attempted a somersault; the curtain becoming involved was rent from the canopy, and Ron. fell over the side and landed on the floor, enveloped in the net. Oh ! such a screech from mother and cUild, and such a. laugh from the original Ronald ! The imp was unwound and examined critically, but no indications of broken bones or internal injuries were discovered, .ind he cobbed himself to sleep on his mother's lap. 1

(To he continued. )

Thc Buffalo Nt nw has a very able leading.' article on " Kissing Indiscriminately." Upon reading the heading (l-cmarkB the Buffalo. Courier), tho average Buffalo maiden will exclaim, " Oh ! my gracious !. How could any' girl kiss a mau with such a name !"

"Walking yesterday along the Rue de Sevres," writes a lady from Paris to the London Truth, " I saw thc following delight ful announcement painted on the side of a jiortre-eoeh'tr, "Madame Zen obie C., third story, lets out teeth for evening parties and


" The moon," said a total abstainer, " is not quite a teetotaller ; but she lets her moderation be known to all men-for she only fills lier horn once a month." " Then she fills "TT with something very strong," observed a bystander ; for I have seen her half gone." .

" G^ntiemenjTMttftBihsVProfessor to hts