|Newspaper Title||The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)|
|Trove Title||The Village Postmistress|
THE VILLAGE POSTMISTRESS. [by s1bella b. xdoxookbk.] ChaptebL ' Muffins and crumpets made to order.' Thus ran the written notice, penned, too, in characters nearly approaching half text, stuck up in one of the few principal shops facing the main street. The unimportant village of Lammerton lay somewhat far «way from any town, and there fore did a fair amount of steady-going busi ness on its own account. Foremost of all ranked the repository, or store, ranted by Janet Lisle, in which she sold stationery. jMwupapaw, the magazines of the day if duly ordered in time, besides a variety of useful odds and ends. She was also the village pistmistress, and carried out the -iaties of her office with a marked regard to promptitude. In each of these pnrsuits. however, she was aided by bar pretty and also winsome niece, Elsie PaWbridge. ? In -il reaJitySaie wu more mirtrm of
the postal department than Janet Lisle her Belf. It was she who ordinarily undertook the dispatch of that twiee-a-day fetterbag, bestow ing upon each missive previously the due official sfaunp-mark. Janet IisVs right hand, in fact, u every one said. Muffins and crumpets, were so popular in the village that no one ever dreamt of having a tea-party withoat having '* muffins and crum pets ' to match. 'Oblige me with a penny stamp, Miss Falconbridge ; won't your and a somewhat elderly man at that moment stared her full in the face— this necessarily, however— through the gap made in the wire network marking off the space allotted to the Post Office De j partment. She handed him what he required. ' And a registered envelope also,' he said. Again she had fulfilled his request. ' Thank you.' and without more ado he deposited a £5-note within the same. ' All right,' he soliloquised as old gentle men are so fond of doing. ' Come ; that's done at any rate,' he added, in self congrat ulatory fashion. Then came aloud, quertioningly— 'In the letter-box, or shall I leave it with yon f ' You can leave it here,' answered Elsie, quietly. Others were now coming in fast, demanding this and that, and in adopting a calm exterior lay her only chance of attending rightly to
each pentumer. Janet Lisle also was unusually busy that afternoon. Miss Veal, the richest old lady in the parish, gave a large tea-party that very evening, and muffins and crumpets were accordingly being sent off in etartlingly large quantities. ' Is there any letter waiting for me to-day, please ?' asked a somewhat timid voice a few minutes later on. *' No, Miss Josephine, nothing.' *( I am sorry. Disappointing ; is it not ?' The two speakers seemed fully to compre hend each other. There existed. apnarenUv.
a sort of pleasant sympathy between them. Both were pretty. Both looked good, and also thorooghly in earnest. Only that the assistant post - mistress appeared fall of brightness and life, and the girl now facing her wore the aspect of being already tired of life. ' Tee ; very. I am sorry too.' 'Thank you. You an always kind. I will look in again to-oorrow if my doing so wQl not trouble you too much.' ' Not at all, Miss Josephine.'' The last-named was already moving away to make room for someone else. Ehde Falconbridge had, however, not yet completed her business with the late lawyers daughter. ' Auntie,' she whispered, ' take my place here for a. moment.'' Janet Lisle nodded in aimfmt ' Do come in here an instant with me ; wont yon f and Elsie signed that ' Miss Josephine ' should accompany her into the cosy back parlour, where all was now in readi ness for tea. ' The fact is. Miss Josephine, Fve done the most stupid thing imaginable to-day— made a mistake and prepared nearly twice the number of crumpets that wfll be wanted by anybody. Isnt it absurd of me 1 You woirc mind— no, I'm sure you wont, Miss Josephine — hoping me out of my trouble f 'But how!' came hesitatingly, in response. Then came' Ah 1' so bravely, for it is even difficult to tell the plain truth in-snch matters. 'I cant. It's quite impossible. We have no money ; don't yon understand f ' Absurd '.'was the interruption. 'Why, it's a favour Fm asking from yon ; dont you see ? I knew you would be in to-day for certain, and would befriend me. IVa only that I want you, if you dont mind the trouble, to carry borne a dozen or so to your sweet mother. Matty's the dozen she has ordered from us in the patt, when perhaps we haven't been able to supply her. One can't forget the fact, you know, in a hurry. 80 there they are, Miss Josephine, all hot and ready buttered, for I don't think you would know how to do it yourself. You had bettor go out this way, by the side door, and then no one wDl be the wiser for the favour you've For one brief instant her worn pale-faced companion had bent down impulsively, and laid her own soft cheek against Elsie's, snd the next wholly unable to speak, she had dis appeared. 'A rather heavier mail-bag tonight than usual ; wasn't it, Elsie?' ' Yes, aunt. Thank yon for doing it up for me. At any rate the registered letters did not occupy you a long while.' 'No,cbila- Meanwhile, FWt had been engaged in pen ning a dozen words or more upon a large sheet of fetter-piper, snd the following morning, side by side with the well-known ' muffin and crumpet' statement, appeared the fol lowing : — ' A young lady, clever and well-educated, desires at once a good morning or daily en gagement as governess. 'Terms moderate. Excellent references. ' Apply for particulars within.' ?« All that advertising in the newspapers is only throwing away money,' mused Elsie. ' ru manage things foi her a little better in this way, perhaps. I shall never forget her miserably careworn face last evening.' Miss Josephine had, in a most inexplicable way won the entire woman's sympathy and also 'admiration of Elsie. And yet the latter never seemed to forget the difference in station that she considered still existed be tween her favourite and herself. She only knew that the lawyer's diughter was a very model of sweet patience, and that she and all at home were as poor as any church mouse.