|Newspaper Title||Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||Two Old Fogies|
CHAPTER III. . I
And the.old man and the old maid' had.no luck : ali. On Prince ol Wales's Birthday it simply raine in torrents from morning till night, nvithout »topi .ing once. The flag on the church tower clun like a wet dishcloth, to the staff, from the tin it was run mp at what should have been sunrit until it . was taken down at dusk. And at dus the town crier went round with hie bell, an announced that the display of fireworks was pcs; pened to a future dote. "It would have bee something to navena little tea-party at the. pai sonage, without the "fireworks "and the tower. Bt It was too wet even for that. The old man wa depressed and dyspeptic, and the old maid wei to bed at 9 o'clock and cried , herself to sleei though such very «ld. fogies were -certainly ol enough to hare known better.
But at last it all cerne right. The town was nc to he defrauded of its holiday, and Tuesday, th 15th, was appointed,- by advertisement in the iocs papers, as the day':.'when, shops would close, sport bc celebrated "in ' the public park, fireworks . k off and torchlight procession take place, all a they " would - have- done. on the &th had- weathe been favorable. _And Tuesday was just as penfei a day for the.-purpose as the previous Wedneeda had been the reverse. . . -
'Mr. Paine sent a note to aunt -before he had hi breakfast.
Dear Miss" Ransome,
Will you and .your young people give us the pleasur ot your company to tea to-night? The, weather doe seem settled at lust, and lt will be pleasant on th church towner,-.if you thlrik you can manage the ascent I am told the fireworks are.to be very fine. With ou united kindest regards,-Yours very sincerely,
Aunt hastened to return an answer-by Eve a
she went to school. Dear' Mr. Paine,
Thank you very much for your kind invitation. Tel dear Anna that we snail be delighted to come. W are quite looking forward to our little excursion w] the tower, especially in such beautiful weather. I shal be able to get up quite well, I am sure. I have al ways been iond of fireworks, and it will be so nice ti see rockets go up without cricking one's neck.-Bellev me, dear Mr. Paine, most truly yours,
The recipient of this note spread it on th breakfast table, beside his plate of egg and bacon and read lt again and again, as if it were som choice bit of literature.
"How would it be," he suggested diffidently, "ti aek one of Eve's schoolgirl friends? She is s< much younger than the rest of us. Sh? might bi dull -without a companion of her own age t<
"A good idea," said Anna graciously. "I will d< so. Then," she thought/ "there will be six of ns Father looking after a»nt, and Eve having anothei child to keep her company, Alan and I will have i chance to talk over our affairs. And the table wil be balanced properly."
She set the table with her own hands at haif-pae 'five. - There was a nice cold fowl, and a tongue, anc a veal pie, and delicious cakes that* she had madi herself, and a salad, and. .a dish of strawberries with cream. She was 'a sparing housekeeper, ai à rule, oo that Mr. Pain, when he came cut of hii room from dressing, - was surprised to see s< handsome a repast, and his pleasure equalled hi! surprise. Aunt had not had a meal in the housi for years, and he had been anxious le"st Anm should think less of aunt's ewtertialmment thai of the keeping qualities of food in warm weather.
It was quite warm weather-'full summer-now and aunt came at six o'clock, in the prettiest new crepon gown, grey, with a puffy vest of white silk that gave quite a style to her little figure. She ha< iron-grey hair, which had once been black, and hei ?thin, simall face was ivory-white; but her eyes wert dark . and brilliant still, with something of th< expression of Toby's; very sweet and earnest, ii you took the trouble to »otice them. Pier hada was drawn plainly back into a knot of braMf behind, as an old woman's hair should be; bul she had pinned a red rose into the lace at hen neck, which was an anachronism, a liaise note, tc
- -"I think, Miss Ransome," said that prudenl young lady, "you would have been better adrviseij to put on an old 'gown to-night. The tower is s <hi*ty, cobwebby place; and you will spoil thal pretty new one."
"Oh, no," said aunt carelessly, patting her hali before the glass In the spare bedroom. "It won'i
"You had better let me lend you an old ont
Aunt would not hear of such a thing. She wai like poor father, who thought -nothing of tearing e good cassock on a nail.
They went into the drawing-room, which wai profusely decked with roses, and almost imanedlate ly into the dining-room, Which was similarly adorned, several vases of them standing .about in the Interstices of the iwell-fftlled table. Alain, witi a buid in his button-hole, sat by his hostess, and aunt jut Mr. Paine's night hand. The two old folk« beamed as they settled themselves in their chairt and opened their' napkins, but the four young ones were too oocupied with their own .interests to notice it. The French winoows stood wide ti the exquisite light and air, and on the veranda! Toby lay at full length on his stomach, with his nose between his paws, keeping an eye cock ec upward In the direction of aunt's face. Now and then she threw him a confidential smile, which set his fringed tail thumping vigorously.
* . "You are not eating," remarked the hoot, break
ing off a little story of a quarrel in the choir aunt was so sympathetic and. understanding abou I these things-to mote the' condition of her livei wing.
"Oh, I am getting on beoutiitully! It ie a de licious fowl-I am enjoying it so much," she as sured him, and urged him on with his absorbing; narrative. But the fact was she had the very leasl sore throat, which seemed somehow to have taker away her appetite. No one, of course, was al lowed to suspect this.
"And so I went to the girl and bola her I was sure Miss Lormax had not intended to insult her, and <begged her to take the solo, since there wac no one else albie to sing it; and I had a talk witt Miss Lomax to try and persuade her to explain, But they would neither of them listen to me. Bael said she would never coime into the choir agate while the other belonged to it. So they are both staying away-which means that we have not a reliable soprano at all. The others will not open their mouths without!someone to lead them, anti Î Anna cannot do everything."
* (To be continued.;!