|Newspaper Title||Illustrated Sydney News (NSW: 1881-1894)|
|Trove Title||A Girl Named Bobbie|
" It is sus a long way, girl,;-Alie's feet
is so tired."
We are nearly there, Alfie. Oh, do be good just a little while longer, it's, just up this road and round the corner, and turn to the left and then the right, and then we're there. Oh, dear, Alfie, do be good," and Bobbie hastened on dragging the little fellow by the hand.
Such little feet his were to keep up with her eager, hurrying steps, no wonder he stopped from time to time and said : " It was sus a long way."
It was the day after the evening on which Bobbie had been " made to smart ; " she had been brought from the washhouse and set to mind some of the children
while Mrs. Wilkes was washing; suddenly that worthy lady discovered she was quite out of starch and, unable to proceed with her work, she took the baby from Bobbie's arms and bade her go out for it.
"Go to the shop, Hudson's, at the end of Bedwood-road for it," she said, producing a dirty-looking sixpence, " and take Alfie along with you, and if you're more than 10 minutes, Sally, I'll give you a taste of what you got last night. Here, give me the child, blessed lamb, I declare that hair of yours hanging about is enough to make him cry as he does."
" Is it the color of my hair makes me bad ? " asked Bobbie, suddenly.
" Like enough, I'm sure," said the woman, soothing her child's ruffled feelings by a series of joltings on her knees, "I've never had to do with a child like you for temper and like you for hair. Hurry off
Bobbie took a step to the door and then stopped.
" If you cut it off, would my temper be
cut off too ? " she asked.
" Laws ! to hear you talk one would think I was a plumber like Wilkes, and could cut off your temper like he cuts off people's gas," and Mrs. Wilkes laughed loudly.
" I suppose temper is a kind of gas," 3aid Bobbie, musingly j " gas in the body, and certain things make it inflam-in- flammable, and then it goes off. Don't you think so, Mrs. Wilkes-I mean ma'am ?"
" Oh, don't worrit me with your silly questions. Gas, is gas, I s'pose, and temper is temper, and hair is hair. Do go and get that starch."
" I'm thinking," said Bobbie, standing on one leg in her old meditativo fashion " I'm thinking that praps gas is temper, and temper is hair, and the reason mine is red is that hair is in little tubes-the doctor said it was-and praps the temper runs along them like gas lu pipes, and when you're angry why that's why it's red. Don't you think so, Mrs.-ma'am ? "
" Like enough-quite like enough. I'd be sorry for any of my children to have such unchristian color, anyhow." And the woman looked complacently from the rebelliously curly red-gold hair to the smooth, much-be-brushed black head of her offspring.
" Wife," said Mr. Wilkes from the arm- chair where he was smoking his after dinner pipe, " wife, I'm thinking how awfully black your temper must be, if
that's the case."
" Hold your tongue, Wilkes," answered his wife, sharply, " and you Miss, I'll trouble you to make tracks for that starch and not stand harrangering there like a Salvation Army leader, you can go in that cap."
" Can't I get my hat ? " said Bobbie, timidly, the obnoxious cap in her hand.
"No, you can't Miss, you'll go in that cap or I'll-"
" Yes, Sally my lass," interrupted Wilke* gravely, " you'd best keep on the oap, pul your hair well under it and then the gai
can't go off,-down at the shop we always put caps on gas."
Bobble's " gas " at that moment seemed very near going off, she flushed angrily, crushed the cap over her hair, and taking Alfie's hand, set off hastily down the garden path,
" Common, vulgar, uneducated people ! " she said disdainfully, her small head at a very high angle.
"What you say, Sally?" asked little Alfie, trotting by her side.
"O nothing," said Bobbie, and then
there was silence for a few minutes.
Something in the childish trustfulness of Alfie's manner brought sweet-tempered Bonnie to the girl's mind.
" O, if I could only see one of them, juBt one of them, for a moment," she breathed, rather than said, and a cold hand seemed to tighten round her heart. " If I could only hear Suds laugh, or Dick tease. Oh, if I only could 1 "
The longing grew intensified every step she took. Further and further she went, the starch entirely forgotten, and more and more keen grew the desire,
" I will ! I will I " she cried aloud suddenly, a brilliant scarlet burning on her cheeks. " I'll just go to the thicket in the paddock and peep in, and then I'll come away."
««What you say, Sally?" asked Alfie again.
" Shall Sally take Alfie nice walk," she said persuasively to the little fellow, " near pretty trains ? "
Small Alfie was quite agreeable, and the two were soon hurrying far from the road leading to Starch.
(TO BE CONTINUED.)