|Newspaper Title||Illustrated Sydney News (NSW: 1881-1894)|
|Trove Title||A Girl Named Bobbie|
A Girl Named Bobbie.
Poor little Sally. She was standing to- day in the bare washhouse, after two days' service, awaiting the advent of her mis- tress, who was going to make her " smart." "I deserve it, I know I do," she cried, twisting her little slim hands tightly together, " I deserve hanging for killing Ted, so this is very little punishment ; oh, my temper, what shall I do, what shall I do ; she said I dropped the baby on pur- pose, perhaps I did, I don't know what I
She walked up and down, up and down
"I hope she'll hit me hard, oh, very hard," she said feverishly, as she stopped by the window, and looked up at the moon sailing pure and calm in the high, far away heavens, that seemed, oh, so high, and so very far away from the wretched, hot-hearted little child who was gazing up with such dry, wistful eyes, " perhaps, if she . hurts very much, it may keep the temper away for a long time, oh, father-" and she crouched in a little heap on the cold floor and sobbed, " oh, father, if j ou'd only bit me hard when I was little, and got angry, perhaps I shouldn't be so bad now ; oh, father, why didn't you, and, oh, mother, why didn't you stay alive."
She heard a slow step in the passage outside, and quick as thought sprang up, and, with hot little fingers, unbuttoned her frock, and stood waiting with her bare neck and arms, in her underskirt. " It'll hurt a lot more," she whispered to herself, " and I shan't forget so soon."
Mrs. Wilkes came in with slow," heavy steps, and, at the open door, the children clustered to see Sally " get it."
«. I said I'd make you smart," she said, picking up the first thing that came handy -a thick, heavy clothes line. " You've marked my Georgie, and if this drubbing I'll give you don't mark you, my name
isn't Susan Wilkes--now then."
A pair of steadfast, shining brown eyes were lifted to hers, and a quiet little voice Baid very softly, " I'm ready."
Then there was silence for four minutes, silence broken only by the swish, swish, of the rope as it fell on the child's white, soft flesh, and once a softly breathed oh-h! escaped from the tightly shut lips.
" There, p'raps in future you'll be more careful," said Mrs. Wilkes, at last, drop- ping the rope quite breathlessly j *' p'raps to-morrow you'll look after Georgie more careful. You can go at the end of the week though j I won't be bothered with you
Bobbie did not utter a word, but glanced up from time to time to the full-faced moon, as if it gave her courage.
" You shall stay where you are for the night. You don't deserve a bed, you don't," continued the woman, secretly vexed, to find she could make no apparent impression on her handmaid. "There's a blanket over there," and then ehe turned away, swept her staring children before her, and shut
and locked the door.
The sobs came now, thick and fast; In a little huddled-up heap on the cold floor she lay sobbing bitterly for the father who was BO far away, for the lovely young mother ehe had never known, for the bright, merry lade she had played with j
for the sunny round-faced Ted she thought ehe had killed. ."
In all the length and breadth of Sydney a more weary, heart-broken, forlorn, miserable little child than Bobbie could hardly be found.