|Chapter Title||UNCLE ROT.|
|Newspaper Title||Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||Dark or Fair. A Story of Town and Country|
CHAPTER VII. ,
"Wanted, a young lady, as companion,tto an; invalid. Free passage to New Zealand, and com fortable home, if desired."
"That will just suit you, my dear," said' kind Mrs. Osmond ; "you are not strong enough; to work hard yet. Indeed I think you have had too much of it lately, and require a change to set; you up."
And Polly smiled gratefully into the faceof her kind friend; for well she knew how deep*a debt of gratitude she owed her loving care. All through her illness, Mrs. Osmond had nursed her as if she had been her own daughter'^ " And, indeed, my child," she would say, "that's just what I would like you to be."
"I have seven good sons, but God has not blessed me with a daughter; and I do think a" dear girl to wait upon one when one is. .sick, te love one, and help one all through the petty worries and cares of life, is a treasure beyond knowledge. If you would stay, dear, if you could like to, I should be well pleased ; and so; I'm sure,1 would my Jim ; and Jim's a good boy, always has' been; and I believe it's true that a good son makes a good husband."
Polly only blushed, and hid her face in Mrs. Osmond's dress, as she knelt at her feet in the Boft summer twilight.
" Now, my dear, just think it all over again, and if you can you'll make my heart glad. Never; mind about Jiín just now. He can wait. 'Tis I who want you, because Host my little Lucy when she was a baby ; and you do remind me of her. I do think she would have grown like you."
All'these months Polly has remained with her kind friend, and Eolio has grown quite strong again, so that she has no fear for him. But her heart clings to New Zealand scenes ; and she thinks of the old home, of her mother's grave on the green hillside ; and she wonders whether Paul ever returned to: New Zealand, and whether his pictures have been successful, and he is stronger and happier now. Mrs Osmond does not understand all this j as she fondly strokes .the fair hair back from the clear, broad brow, and kissed the upturned face.
"I hûvébeen very, very happy here, mamma," Says Polly, gratitude beaming from her expressive eyes; "but, somehow, I would like to go .home."
" Yes, yes, dear ; and you shall go. But maybe when you get there you will be disappointed. There may not be the same old faces, you know. People change about so in the colonies. They may'not remember you as you think they will. If this should be, just write to us, and_ I'll see that the money for your return passage is sent ; and Jim will be only too glad to meet you."
" Any way," she continued, " you must be sure to write to me, and let me know how you are getting on ; and the place will be duLl enough when you are gone." > i
Tears shone in the good lady's eyes as she realised how"* dear Polly had become to her motherly heart; and she wished "the child would take into her head to stay." "But God's love is over all." And she went about her work cheerily again, singing softly
Meet us, Angels, at the gate,
"With a welcome, soft and warm j Beitearly.be it late,
We will come, through dark or storm.
And Polly stayed over that summer, till autumn winds blew across the plain, and refresh ing rains fell to cool the parched earth. Then she bade farewell to Mrs. Osmond, "her mamma," as she always called her, and went away with the wagons to Sydney.
" A good clip of wool" was the reward of patient labor and care. So they journeyed along right merrily till they came to the railway. Then they took the train for Sydney ; and Polly felt that she was homeward bound.
Sydney, with its endless stream of life and labor,its thousands of living, loving, toiling, and Buffering human souls! How many histories might be written, how many tragedies have been enacted,within its beautiful surroundings !
"Ii those stones could speak," thought Polly, as she looked upon the massive piUars and costly porticos of the public buüdings, "what records would they bear of human sorrow, suffering, glad ness, struggle, and success !"
The children of the people toiling for bread; bearing life's burden nobly and hopefully ; leaving the record of their lifework upon the tablets of social life and nolitical progress ; 'tis these are the strength of "a country's greatness;
the lever of labor which shall raise mankind to
higher levels than they have yet attained, and bring them into the land of promise.
Thus, O Sydney, a fair wanderer, from far away,
AB she pac'd thy streets and court-yards, sang in thought
her hopeful lay ;
, Gathering f -om the pavement's crevice, as a floweret of the
The nobility of labor-the long pedigree of toil.
For not in vain had Folly spent many a quiet hour in conning books on social economy. Pro gress and poverty were familiar themes to her ; and her sympathetic nature entered into the daily struggle for health and happiness which is the portion of the children of the people. A woman almost in thought and feeling, she recog nised the co-partnership of the sexes, and longed to contribute her life's labor to the good of human
During the few days which must elapse be fore the boat sailed for New Zealand's lovely isle, Polly was escorted by the faithful Jim over the principal sights of Sydney j but of them all, she thought the sublime beauty of the harbor and its surrounding scenery the most enchanting. A trip to Mosman's Bay filled her with rapturous delight. The rooky heights, all dotted over with
evergreens and wild flowers, with natural cas cades and grottos like a fairy scene, made her wish for an artist's skill or a poet's genius to por tray the beauty of the scene. A day in the Botanic Gardens brought her face to face with destiny ; for among the beauties of nature and treasures of art she was to meet her lifework and lay aside the poet's dream of beauty for the sterner realities of practical life and labor.
They were resting on one of the rustic seats, waiting for Rollo, who was intent upon the birds, and scarcely could leave the cages of the feathered pets, when a gentleman passing seemed strangely attracted, indeed singularly agitated by the appearance of Polly, who could not help noticing his evident discomfiture. Lifting his hat he respectfully inquired whether her name was Ren nick. When she answered in the affirmative his eyes filled with tears, and he clasped her hand in a warm, kindly grasp.
" My child/' he said, " something in your face reminded me so of your mother, my only sister, that I could not pass you. Have you ever heard of your Uncle Roy ?"
" Yes, yes," replied Polly. "I have often heard mother speak of you. She said you were in
"Yes, I have but just returned; and I in tend to go over to New Zealand directly. Will you come with me, child ? I am a lonely old man. I have no family of my own, and, therefore, nothing to bind me to any particular spot. I travel, and lecture as I go along. Then I rest awhile, and write about all I see, gathering information from every source, and collecting curios of thought from every Bociety."
"I am going home to New Zealand with little Rollo," replied PoUy, "1 long to see the dear old place once more, and shall be delighted to have your protection and care."
" Ah ! that boy is another version of your
mother/' said Uncle . Boy j " he has her features, ; but his father's eyes." ;
So the orphams found a protector, > and Uncle Boy some one to love; and James Osmond returned to the station to tell his mother of their. good fortune.
(TO BB CONTINUED.)