|Newspaper Title||Fitzroy City Press (Vic. : 1881 - 1920)|
|Trove Title||A Bush Comedy|
A BUSH COMEDY. Br DAVID G. PALK. CHAPTER iV. After that recontre between the young men, things could hardly be said to be on a pleasant basis at alL. Whether it was that he wibshed to repay Robin in kind for the fright he had occasioned him, or whelther it was from other feelings than revenage. Mr. Harry Enderby pursuaed Mary Makin with more ardour than ever. He taookvrygood eare toa keep oat of the young farmers way; and B'bin being coetantly employed, this was not a diffieult thing , Q Zreet.4oa,.&oi he had eomplained ic'lrary herself about the way Robin had tried to intimidate him. Doubtless he gave his own version of the affair, for the imme diate eonsequerce of his telling her was, that shl treated the poor young farmer with more coldneos than ever. So marked was this, that Robin taxed her with it one aIfternoon. "Well; and you deserve it," answered basck the foolish girl bhotly. "Do you faney it's manly to etop a geatleman on the highroad and swear at him, and want ta poll him freer his horse?" "I didn't swear at him." said poor Robin; `"and I only stopped him to eprok to him." "And what business have you to take it upon yourselt to talk about me ? " retorted Miary. "I'm not bond to anybody yet, mind that. And do you think, because I have a friend who pays me a little attention, that you are to go and insulthim openly? Ifyou think so, you're very much mtataken; and I "Then he's been whining to you, has he7 " asked Robin, diedainfully. "Never mind if he hasor hasn't. That doesn't concern you. I wonthaveyou setting up as if you were the only man I have a right to speak to. You can attend to your own bousiness, and leave mine alone." The girl was thorouglly angry, that was very ptain. Bot it she had roaue for com plaint, eo had Rabin. tidiculoualy in love as he was and usneed to give way to her on every point, even his patience had its limits. It was too much to have that cowardly young Enderby thruas into his teeth in that way; be enaldn't stand that. "Very well, Mary;:" said he, determinedly. " It that's the way you talk to me, ws'd better part. I'm only making myself a brute, and it's plain yea don't loav me any longer. It you're so taken with yearnew friend, just be cemu he's a equatter, that yeou can play fast and loose with a man who has loved youen ever since you were a slip of a girl, I've nothing moreto say. I wodn't roble you any more, my girl. Good atternoon." It was so novel for the young man to tall in that determined, self-contained way, that the girl looted at him with surprise. She didn't want him to go; ob, no. After all, however silly he was, Ite was the Robin she had known and played with and liked for so manyyeare. m"Why, obin ' ahe exclaimed, hastily, as he turned away. "You're not so silly as to m adla reryotw ?l-You know I like youen very mueb. If you go away like that, I shall think it's you who want to quanrel." Sheknerherpower oerehim. Me nlds't resist her pleading Iooks, her pretty lace, her outstretched hand. Right as he knew him sell to be, he was only a soft-hearted yaeng farmer, very much in love, and very yielding in everything. He did go back, and very readily, too; and, fsrthermore. he slipped his arma mmnd her waist, and even hissed her full, red lips. "Yes talk about Mr. Enderby," she said, archly; "but yoo're far worse. He never ventures to put his arm round my waist;and as for kisaing m, he nerve dreams of it." "I shoold think net, indeed." responded Robin, in the seventh heaven of delight. "I shonldlike to catch him at it, that's alL" "ouThea. if Iallor yes that privilege, you aught to know how to appreciate it." "I do," he answered, hearing out the troth of the asseveration in the best way possible by hissing her again. " No, yen don't," she returned, struggling to Irea herself. "You get ruly and mieer able, and make me quite cross with yeou. Promise me that you won't go on as you have and Im rare we sball be ever so much better friends." "I'd promise anything for that." "This mind yen don't forget." she re turned, and finally releasing herself, slipped from his embrace and oaut of the room at the rams time. But thisg0odunderstanding,eslfrtusately, did not last very long, and for more reasons than one. The chief reason was that-as has been said before-after the rencoatre be tween the two rivals, yonog Enderhy. as mie'r ent of a feeling of revenge as anything else, prosecuted his attentions in recard to Mary more asseiduously than ever. He became al most lonver-lihe in his manner to her, cerrainly more affectiocate and familiar; and this, as a naltural consequence, led to ftrther demon stration of jrealousy on poor lt.bin'r part,and to further disagreement between him and Mary. The second carse iof dtaureement lay in the fact that one day IaIury's tothir "Old Merry" he w as clll amongsa the farmers, from a ersain aOgerewenera atof character and obstinacy thst was won to preve very disagreeable,.t times 1.t thuoe who oame in contact with him-poid a vieit to Makin's farm, and in a very hignohandedway gave Mary'a father to understanod that he did J. p of his eon'sanb toa vihstk s o hi place, and meetings with hie (Mnkin'e) daughter. Tots oisit et'" Oldi Rarry'e " led ta very die. agreeable results, for the paternal Makin, who was an indepeedent old boy alter his hind, took his daughter soundly to task forher love of what he called ' anndandern,' and pointed the lesson so strongly as to cause the young lady to shed quite an abendanceetstaros Bat Robin got the benefit o: it ultimately. for Mary came to the concluseion that he had been the one who had apprised Harsy's father of the state of affairs, and so withent allow. inghim in any wayto plead in his own de feace, judged him guilty with feminine in. ceonaqnloeiality, and treated him with mre goldoero than sver. To tell the terth, it was no ether person than Barry Eaderhy himoelf who }ast put the thought that it was Robin into her head; and it was simply another .proof of the girt's foolinhness and simplicity that she believed him, Things were in this unpleasant eondition, when a really tremendoas amamrreare did for poor Robin what he himself was incapable of achieving. i It aurced in this way. One afternoon hehad retprsed home after a eomewhat etosmy interview with his feble ladylove, when his brother sorprisedt him gazing in a very mournfol way at Mary's poe. teait.
"HaBllo; Robin l Inthse dumps, eh? "said be. "'What's up?" "Nothing, Jack." "Oh, nonsense. There is sometia;te the matter. Tellme whatit is." Now this brother of Robin's was a sharp young fellow, up to every kind of dodge,. and very fond of his elder brother. There was so mush real affes tion between the two, that they had few seerets from ens another; and Master Jack, pressing him as to the eases of his -melon aholy, oon learnt the whole tale of despairing love. "I tell you what it io." said this cute yonag fellow. "You're too soft, that's it Stand off a bit and assero yourself, that'll soon bring her to her bearings. I tell you what, Robin, if you didn't ask so mouch, and weren't so humble, she'd soon some round. Women are like dogs in some things. Show them that you are their master, and you can get them to do what you want; but give way and there's nos daing aything with them. Thatesphpilosophy that's tt, and darned good philosophy too." The yaong man spoke in an extremely knoaing way, and winked and nodded los head with so muanh conviction of knowing all about it, that Robin could not help being somewhat impressed. " 1 do helieve you'ro right in a way, Jack," said hemunrololly. "Bot I can't do it." ""Can't do it. Robbiehl Yoo nftes do it. Try it, it's the easiest thing in the world." " I'm blowad it I don't," exolaimed Robin, ungrammatically but with great determina. tion. "Bravo. You're aure to succeed if you do." Under his brother's promptings, the young farmer became quite an altered man. He no longer sighed and moaned and went about loouing miserable and unhappy. He put on quite an altered air; and not only that, but never went near thatfaaeinating eyrn, Mary, for days. it he did meet her, ha hardly stopped a moment, but just bid her "good day" and passed on. It was a hard task, and one he could never have properly carried out but for his brother's promptings; hut whatwith thatand his own teadfastnessa of character,hemanagedsomehowtogo through with the undertakinug. When he met Mry, it was simply, Good day 1 Mary." "Why, Robin; where are you of to in sch a hurry?" "Can't stop for a moment. How are 'You don't seem to care much by the way you treat me." "Yon know I care. But I'm in a hurry ne would be off like a shot, more for fear of breaking his resolve than anything else. "'RobinlCHerer I" Mary would perhaps callafter him; but he wonuld wave his hand, andibe oaf quicker than ever. " This went on for some days, and Mistress Mary found herself very much neglected. At first she was surprised, then piqued, and finally cams to the oonclecion that she was very ill-nsed altogether. Thenit came to her ears that Robin was seen paying attention to other girla; one in particular, a certain Luoy Davis, it was reported. monopolising a very great deal of his time. Now thin girl hap' pened to be a particular enemy of Mary's, and it made her quite savage when she heard of how Robin was carrying on with her. Mary mnuldn't understand her lover's altered con. duce at all. He had been so devoted to her for such a long time that it was simply be. yond her semprerhesion. She was only a vain, foolish girl alter all, and at the bottom of her heart honestly loved Robin, so that when he commenced to pay her back in her own coin, she was anything butt satisfied at the state of affairs. However, things were in this condition when one day that very 'cute yeong fellow, Jack, burst into his brether's room in a great state of excitement. "Have you heard about the bushrangers over at Harrow, Robin?" he exaclaimed. "Two of them. They've been sticking up everybody on the road." "No; I didn't bhear," responded his brother. ' Well, it's a fact. Everybody's talking about it. I've jst been over to Makin's, and they were talking of it there. eve got a splendid ides, Robin. Listen here. You know what a coward-" But whatever it was that the young fellow had to say it was evidently a great secret, for he lowered his vie to a cautions whisper, and lookedvery mysterioina ltogether. When Robin replied, it seemed to be in thenegative, and when Jack replied to him it was in tones of argent entreaty and expostolation. How. ever, whatever it was they were discussing, in the ndtheyemced to come to some under standing together, for they continned to talk over the matter for a long time, and with more secrecy than ever. CHAPTER V. The buoshranging pisode at Harrow was the enbject of universal discunssion throogh out the Wannon distriot; for not only was it current that a wrong-doers were men of the worst pessible type, hot somehow a been seen in the neighbourhood of the Wannon itself. How this report filrset became disseminated, perhaps yoong Jrack MLeod knew beht; but whether be did or not, certain it was that it gave rise to a good deal of dis msy and terror amongst the peaceable ini babitanta of the Weatern Distriot Arcadia in which our little story is laid. Tht recentrio young jachanapes, Jack, seemed a take very great interest in theb matter, and was never tired of diecussing, es pecially with the Makins, the probability of . the bushrngers being in the neighborhoed. He seemed always to be at the Hahino' form; and it any member of that family had paid more than ordinary attention to him, he or she might have notiond Master Jack'a eyes seemed always particularly watchful and hir ear very muoho n the alert. Coe afternoono, atter one of his cusetomary visits, he bounded homewards in agreat acute of excitement, and burst in upon his brothl r like a whirlwire. "I've go. it , It bin; " he exalaimed. "It' this very evening." Now whatever this mystierious announce ment meant, it surely could have hid no reference to lwhat actally did takes place that evening; for it was then that happerird tihat Sadeenature leady hinted at.,IyIaa qui'e thrilling adventuro inits way, and occurred in thci fashion. Nonr Mnkin's farm there was a belt ofl erscrub of some two or three acren in aextat, whibch -perhaps from the fast that it coveoored noth og at all-was knownn " The Covert." If useless for any other purpose, it certainly formed an excellentrendezvouso; and at about seven o'clolk that same eveuirg ws taken ad vantage of by two foolish young people as a plae of meeting. Tame too foolish young people were no other than Mary Makin and Harry Enderby. AlasI for that romantic, vainyoung girt. Hermfther's injonctionhad ledto a worse state of alfairs than ever; for whereas she had been prohibited from meet ing her admirer openly, in a spiritof feminine eppesicion che had taten to moctiag him in seret. In jastice to the girl, it must be said that this was the fires meeting of the kind, and had onlyohem n~eod So on her part alter re pealed auliotinituns by the young squatter. She ktnew cha was daing-weong, bat airs quitetd bar mers~iesoe with the tbcurgbt that It would bathe Oiral and last time she would do it; and, also, foolirh girlI trid to per. snado baraeld Iunab e van~ noting thus simrply tooithen purpose i punehieg Robin tee hie netted. Moweer,exundo herslfar asbe arould, sire buow it wnan reon. ann alct anythinr buh
oomfortiable when she thooght of her indis. orelon. Young -Enderly, too, by his altered oonduct, did not tend to pot her any more at her 0ase; for, taking advantage of her aim. plicity in having met him, he became more familiar than over, and even bold. "To oare a hind girlto come and meet me, 7 Mary." ha said, and toted to slip his arm round her waist. "I love you more than ever." " Mr. Enderby l"she exclaimed. "Ido really;" he said with easy familiar ity. " There isn't another girl in the district I'd take the tronblo of coming out far. Yoo are the sweoteso girl in the world. Wont yon givo me a hlree" "I'm going home at once;" she exclaimed somewhat frightened. "Now, don't be fooliob, Mary;" he an swered. "Yon came out to meet me, so what's the good of potting on prudish airs. Yon're too sensible for that, and fartoo pretty. Are you frightened of making Robio jealoot? Come, my little sweetheart; give me a kiss." He hold her hall playfully, half-affection. ately, and took hold of her hands in an en deavour to kis her. Bot the irl struggled, and in a way too that ohewed that her hardy bnash training, if it had left her mind simple, at leasthad given her plenty olf bodily etrength and activity. Young Eoderby cooldn't man. age to snatch the khe in question at all, and to a hall-joking way he was still struggling with her, when a heavy hand was laid on his shoulder, and a deep voice exclaimed. "Bal up I" fary nttered a smothered shriek and yong Enderby'o hands fell to hie aide, for thore in the dim shadows stood two men, masked, armed, ond threatening looking. - ", Bail p, both ofyoul" exclaimed the one who had epokon before; and then turning to the young squatter, ho continoed. " Throw p yonr hands, or y the shadow of Death -I' A menacing gesolre concloded the adjora tion meonincly nooogh, and wo suofcicnt to make Hoderhy hold op both arms above his headin sign and token of enureeder. "What do you wantl" be exclaimod with simulated boldness. "Everything yoo've got," growled back the same speaker. "We hknow you, Harry Enderby." "Who ore yonT' "Them as'll drive a hole throogh you quick enough, if yen givo any of youe blormed nonaenee," exclaimed the other in tLender with a savage growl, taking a step for ward snd threatening the young man with levelled pistol. "So keep silent, and tbke care " " It's the Harrow bushrangers,." said the tonrrified Mary, in a frightened aside. the one who had spoken at first. " We're them as don't stand any nonsense." In their black maskse and louched hate, and with their levelled pistols, the two men looked quite terrible. The dark shadowse of the stringy-bark trees threw a formidable shade over them, and their savage threats and determined manner served to give the finishigtuouch to their fierceness. They stood for a moment in the shade whisporing together, and then both turned again to the yocog couple. "WhMat are youn doing herel" asked the taller of the twoin aserly vosce. "Nothing;" answered Enderby. " That's a lie;" he answered roughly. "I know you and your goings on. What's this gel's name 7" "It's Mary, sir replied that trembling damsel. "Mary Mahin." "And what have you come ot here for 2" His voim assumed a slightly more gentle tone as he turned to the girl, and so she answered him with lcms fear. "I came nat to meet Mr.HEnderby." "I know Farmer Maksin," said the bush. ranger; "and I ain't goin' to see his gal wronged hy noon. What did youwnt er to meat you for?" he continued roughly, torning to yoang Enderby. No answer. Speak, or by eavens I I'll make yon;" roolaimed the buoheanger, in sorb a threat sning voice that the other started with ap preheneion. "I wanted to seeb her;" he said thoroughly cowed. "What for ' "Nothing." "Nothing I That's a lie. You're foolin' this gal: that's what you're doing. Now, if you don's want a bullet in you, you'll answer true. Are yoo going ito marry her?" Once again Mr. Enderby preserved a die. erect nilence. "I you don't answer the solemn troth, blarm you," exclaimed the boubranger savagely "yon can say your prayers, for you're a dead man." The cold barrel of a pistol tocbed the young equatter's forehead; and completely cowed, he mumbled, " No." "That's it then, is it?" said the bosh. ranger. "Yoo'vsbeen demivin' the gal' have you? You've been mabin' love to her without meaning nothing. Say now, have you?" The chilly vim of the pistolbanrrel uan still at the young man's head, and the boshranger'e finger fumbled threateningly with the trigger. The last gleam of courage fled, and with white lips and trembling voice, Mary's ad mirer maottered again afrightened alfirmative. "You're a nice one. arns youn " exclaimed his assailant contemptuously.
" Now, go down on your bnes and apolo gieo to the gal. Tell her that you never had an idea of maoryin' her, and were only amoein' yourself. Tell her the truth, or by the Groat Petero -1" So savage was tho man's manner and so lhrostating the movement whioh ho mode in lion of words. that the chicken-heartad Enderby fell right down on his knees in a perofet paroxysm of abjeoc fear. The tear oame into loary's eryeo-tearo of shams and moooiootino.2,To bear hersel0 spoken of in that way-to hear her admirer's oraven ad. mieoion-to see him so humbled and herself so homiliaoed;-all this woonoothtoaroose the woomanly feeliogof her nature, and mako her heartily and thoroughly ashamed of her. mell and her condoot. All idea of peroonal tear fled: rhe felt nothing hot the smarting of shame and sell reproach. - 'ihere, you see what le's worth;" ex. oelbird the obushrnger a lttle more gently, when ohe yonog squaote had mumbled some thlion very indistinctly. "Go home now,mJ
gal; and don't be so foolish another time as to lsken to the blairneyin' of such as him. Go home and be a bit more earefol in future." The girl turned way still cryinog bitterly. The ehorter of the two meahed men, who bed taken very little part in the proceedings, made a step forward as though be wold have liked tospeaktohor; betawarhinglooet from th other served to olop him. " A for you," onid the other bushranger ternly. to Harry Eaderby, who bad ersen from his rkneeling ptosition, nd stood regard ig his tormentor ruefully, "you'd better not stier from here for two hoae, or it'll be worsm foryou. Yoawonatee as, butse'llhavean eye on Yoa, and so take cre;" and with a at threatening gesture, this very criuse desperado aigned to his companion, end to. gether they plunged into the shadows of the ghortly-looking stringy-barks. About two bourn alterwarde Euderby crept into his room et the estation in a thorughy miserable condition; whilt about the same time-strange to say-tho twa beothers, Robin nid Jacrk I Led, weret occupied in burhing two pieres of black loth that bore a remarkable similarity to the masks the bush. rangers had worn that same evening. The adventure eurcmyed a greet influence on Mary fnr many days to rome. The girl weeas nt badly disposed-only vain and thoaghtleso; and when ashe thought of her cenduet, end of the contemptible cowardise of her qondam admirer, and of his bumille. ting admission, a thorough revuloion of feet. ag roet in. But Robin I Had she alienated him ate gether? Lhere was be? Flirting with Lucy Davris, no doubt; perhaps even engaged to her. For the frst' time, Mary" iealeed seriously how fonlish and wicked she had been; now that thes seemed to be a chanm of osiog him, she begane to appreciato him. But Robin turned op; no engaged, but in dependent, and ersnesoly not with muah a the air of a woe-begone suiter. Rot the girt had bad a lesson she could not forget. A week went by and befote it was ensed, habe and Robin bad come to a utuasl uoderstand. ingr 'ilast, for May wen to him and mid plainly: If yon would like me to be your jels, Robin, I will whenever you like." Ol course be took her only too gladly; and a very good wife she proved, tooin every wny. Yong Enderby elenrrd out again to Melbourne, and did not trouble either of them any more. In fact, hr would have been quits furgotten by both, only for a little tori. dent that tork place about a year ftter their marage. Mrs. hI Lod wee rummaging tbroagh an cams aerrn a ruosty pistol. She thnught she recugeived it, and asrked her husband about Is. He, etupid fellow, became so confused at her qe.stioon that a sodden light berst in upon bee. Why 1 it weasyon ynruelf," said she. "And Janc, toe;" he added, deprecatingly. "' Welt. I never t" "Don't blame ne., fary. dear," said Robin, affetionately, "becacee I gained the best wilt in the world through it." "Indeed, and I won't, answered Mary (nod it was nient the most sensible thing she ever said). ' IndeedI woon, fort won the beet of bcbas de."