|Newspaper Title||The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)|
|Trove Title||The Village Postmistress|
THE VILLAGE POSTMISTRESS.
[BY SIBELU B. EDGEC0KBE.1
(Concluded.) CHIPTEB. III.
Some months have passed away since then. Kind Dncle Fred, that he ever is, has just ap peared in tlie large old-fashioned halL and is assisting ' - Miss Josephine ' in pnttine on bar
cloak previous to taking her departure for home. He and ' Sister Polly ' also are both made of the good stuff, as folks say, and— Heaven bless them for it I Only wish, to make her feel at home with them And for this reason therefore it seems that Uncle Fred not only on this special evening, escorts her to tbe hall door, but also a short distance on tbe road towards home. . As he says, the evening is so lovely, and tbe balmy onter air will do him good. She is tell, ing him, why sbe does not exactly know, some tiling about their troubles at home since dear father died. Sbe likes to talk of turn even now, she says, not to be for ever silent about tbe one whom they have lost, as is the fashion with so many people. Lode Fred quite understands, and also agrees with her ; and yet, strange perhaps, somewhat on his part, be has never once re ferred in his «*h*w-^png way tpjth j^^ ^ ^^ one trouble that has served so sadly to shadow his own life. No ; he only listens to her now, it seems. ' In fact, you know,' went on Miss Josephine, quite simply, ' he had not even a penny left in the house. It was too dreadful, bbe paused a moment ; then went on, in the least degree nervously — 'Shall I tell you what I did?' ' TTta.' 'I advertised, then, in tbe country paper —don't be shocked, please. At any rate I did it for the best, whether right or wrong I don't quite know.' 'Goon.' ' 1 merely said, then, that a widow, and her daughters— all bom to better things, as it had seemed— were all at once thrown into the lowent depths of poverty, and asked for help.' Uncle Fred gave a sort of slight nervous start at this moment ; but ' Miss Josephine' did not notice it. She was thinking only at that instant of tbe terrible struggle which had urged her to take sucb a s:ep as that which she was cow describing. ?And the result?' he asked, quietly. 'What was it?' ' .\o answer came,' she returned, gravely, but very earnestly. 'Possibly those who read the words did not believe in their truth —or possibly some did so who were not in a position to aid us.' ' I see,' and Dncle Fred spoke now as if dreamily. ?? 1'here ! I must leave you, Miss Josephine. Very eorry for it. Very sorry, indeed. Have just, suddenly remembered something. You'll excuse my running away thus abruptly, won't you ? Will be a trifle more courteous next time. Horribly hard hearted of tbe people ; wasn't it, Mist Josephine?' and thus talking glibly — as if too, he did not exactly know what he was saying— Uncle Fred lifted bis hat and disap peared. lite following Wednesday morning, just aa Miss Josephine was starting for her usual daily occupation, a letter was placed in her hands by the postman ; after reading which that young lady marched deliberately upstairs again, removed her hat and cloak, chased away with her pockethandkerchitf a great many tears that for some reason or other would intist upon pouring down her cheeks, and then ««t Ui «ui-k to reread the lullowuig words : — 'Dear Miss Josephine — Pardon my ab
nipt leave-taking yesterday, but X vffl now ei plain. ' Returning home, expressly by way of the post office, I did it small stroke of business on my own account. ' Miss Elsie Falconbridge ni oat hiring gone to spend the evening with the widowed and, alas, now chadless mother of her ouce, and eo lately too, B&Oorlorer. We have, however, already spoken together,— yon and I — of this unlooked-for event, »nd also of the brave way in which Miss Elsie bears the heavy blow. ' Bat I wonldnow speak of something else, so selfish are we all in this world yon see. I persuaded the good dame, Janet Lisle, to as sist me in something that was puzzling me not a little. ' I heard last evening, for the first time of course, and also from your own lips, most strange to say, that a £5 note which I had sent yon in ansver to yonr advertisement asking for aid, never reached you. It had not, I now find, miscarried in the ordinary way that letters occasionally go astray ; bat it was u impossible, yon will presently see, that it should ever have reached your abode as the residence of one of the ancient patriarchs. ' The letter containing the amount named was, it appears, although placed in a regis tered envelope, for which 1 duly paid, never dispatched, and in the hurry-skurry of the moment wjts never entered either in the official book. The fault was of coarse my own quite as much as that of any one else, bnt every one was asking harried questions at tile moment, and my letter ? youn rather —paid the penalty. Then, as fate would have it, it landed itself otherwise than in the legit imate postbag, and sUpped-hou- is best known to itself —behind a drawer that is rarely opened. ' Forgive the details, however. Janet lisle had only discovered the thus hidden away missive half an hoar after I appeared upon the scene, and was in a Btate of no little consternation. *' Picture also my own dismay. ' The mystery, however, is now solved. '* I will not again tender the amount for yonr acceptance, as there certaialy seems to be something unf ortunate attending its career ; besides which, I, on my part, am now going to ask a favour from yourself. ' Will yon, I ask, become my wife ; and also kindly acknowledge promptly the receipt of this letter, or I shall be compelled to take it for granted that my second communication has shared the fate of my first ? 0NC1E Feed.' Miss Josephine, like a wise woman, answered the letter just received by return of post. The years have Sown since then, and matters co on mnch as osnal in that small vil' lage of Lammerton. But there are ehinges, neverthele&B. Janet Lisle knows her place no more in the cosy port office. She has already gone home long since to rest, and sweet Llate Falcon briage is now the mistress of everything. Her hair, however, though Btill beautiful, is in these days white — white as the drives snow ; and the abiding expression upon her still handsome face is that of one who has passed through a mighty and also terrible sea of trouble, bearing the trial as ODly a true heroine could. She knows, she says, that God has ordered all, and that she shall see her sailor-love again one day in heaven. But there is Btill one person in the world whom she loves dearly, and that is the hapi,y, true-hearted wife of ' Uncle Fred.' ' t owe all— «very bit in fact, of my happi DeBS to you, sweetest Elsie,' aa Josephine says. ' It all dates from the day — donT; you remember ? ? when yon gave me muffins a&d ' And also dispatched my registere-i letter so carefully,' remarks Dude Fred,' quaintly.