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Chapter NumberI (CONTINUED)
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1898-04-09
Page Number11
Word Count1563
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAustralian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)
Trove TitleA Rose Among Cornstalks
article text

A Rose Àmoiîg Cornstalks.

(By Ruby "Whittell.)

Affectionately Dedicated to Uncle Dick.

CHAPTER I.-(Continued.)

"Pig!" she cried fiercely, catching him hy the coat. "To go and spoil my man. Moola, stop him-don't let him go!"

Moola looked up helplessly from Babette, who was eclipsed in a large towel, and Ted gave a lit tle grunt in pleasant anticipation of a row.

"Go it, old girl!" he cried encouragingly, as Girlie clung to Jack, who was -laughing teasing ly, and thumped him with her small thin hands. "'Give him a thorough licking."

"Oh, do stop fighting," Moola exclaimed, dis tressfully. "You'll hurt one another. Oh, don't!"

"Pig, he is!" cried Girlie, furiously. "He turn ed the man I drew into an old, horrid woman, and stuck my name underneath. Pig, pig!"

Jack; in his strong way, took her by the shoul ders and swung her out on to the verandah again, closing the glass door after him. The next in stant there was a crash; a shout from Jack, and a little startled cry from Moola, while Girlie sank on the floor sobbing that.she "didn't meaan to, she didn't mean to." For in her fierce rage, the bad-tempered little thing had flung her slate after Jack, scarcely knowing what she did; it had crashed through the window, and smashed the glass and itself in jagged pieces, one of which cut Jack on the hand as be put it up instinctively to guard his face.

'.'What haye you. done!" cried Moola, running to Jaôk, who stood, a little pale and dazed, in the wipdow; while Babette, startled nearly out of her fragile little life, got up, commenced to cry loudly, and sat down again in the basin of water with a splash and a shriek. , Ted meanwhile sprang. to his feet in alarm, and banged his'head against the cockatoo's cage and knocked it over, while the ?wicked old bird swore lustily in its surprise.

Such a scene, .such a noise of children's crying aud bird's screaming, and in the middle of it Uncle John's voice, saying wonderingly, "What on earth is the matter? What is this disturbance about? Another window broken!" And there he stood on the verandah steps, a fail', navy-blue dressed girl beside 'him, "evidently the cousin, Rose Chester. It "was wonderful what a change came o'er the scene in a moment. The sobbing stopped at once, as Grirlie and Babette (still sit ting in the water) stared in'wonder at her. Jack arid Ted -recoveredr-themselves instantly", the cockatoo demanded whó;sh.e~ was in a wicked way, while Moola fan "td. her-, and welcomed her in her wárín, impu'lsiv^-yay/X-saylñg:'*--».- . .

. "We did not. expect you {until seven. How nice . to have, you at last r'~ and " kissed her on both

cheeks. Únele John nodded in approval at her easy, unreserved eagerness. The scene he had come upon was anything but welcoming to the English girl, wfeohad looked at it as she might have at a troop of.wild animals, and seemed to shrink from going any nearer than the verandah stope. * *

"The boat frora Sydney arrived a few hours earlier than was expected," be explained. "So I brought Rose straight on. I expect she's tired after all her tra-velling. This is a nice uproar to come home to. Where's your mother. Moola?"

"Come on; we'll go straight to her," answered Muriel, taking Rose's hand and leading her among the scattered Darrell children. "She will be BO surprised. Babette, don't sit in that basin any.

longer; go to nurse and get dry clothes on, Girlie, you see to her, , ,'*

After kissing the new cousin rather shyly they all disappeared kitclienwards, Babette to be dried, Girlie to wonder how-it waç they had not seen the .sulky coming across the paddock, and what Uncle John would/say about the broken window, and Jack and Ted to'exchange criticisms on it all.

"Jolly unlucky she should come then," grum bled Ted. "Just when I was all messed up with 1 that beastly, bird cage; it makes a bad impres

sion," he àdded, in his affected way. Jack was washing the'cut on his hand; it was not very se vere?, but lt was unpleasant, and did not en dear Girlie to him. "It was all through her there was a scene." he said savagely; "ail through her confounded temper."

Meanwhile Uncle John and Moola took Rose into the cool drawing-room. , lt was one of those pretty long rooms, with plenty of rugs' about, and basket chairs, and books and photographs. Some handsome, heavy furniture stood round the walls, with beautiful ornaments. It was all very good, and rather artistic, and Rose Chester felt a little pleasant surprise, for she had the ignorant belief that Australian backblocks were all very rough and primitive. And in an easy chair sat Mrs. Darrell, holding an English maga zine in her transparent taper-fingered hands-a gentle-looking woman, who was once a blonde, but Ulhealth had faded her to a colorless ghost of what she had been ; she was a confirmed In


"Mother," said Moola, and into her voice there

crept that tender little "something' it always-; had when she spoke to her. "Rose-has come.

The boat was hours early. Uncle John brought, her, and Isn't it unexpected-and here she Isl" !

She ended triumphantly, drawing Rose to Mrs. Darrell, who, fluttered and surprised, caught hër

breath sharply, while a faint color wavered in her.

cheeks an instant. ' j

"My dear," she cried, holding out her arms to take the stranger to her. "My dear child."

And there was welcome and affection in the tone, and Rose turned to the quiet woman with the English accent, which all the years of co lonial life had never lessened-turned to her as a blessed relief from the wrangle and noise she had heard, and she and John Chester came up the garden path: and she turned her head in the soft lace at Mrs. Darrell's neck, ashamed of the tears which would come. Just a moment, and then> her fair face, with its quiet, grey eyes, and re» served expression, looked out at the three strange relatives In what Moola thought a cold way. She seemed so self-contained for a girl of 16, and talked of the journey in little conventional, stilt ed phrases, and seemed to draw in more to her self with every word. Moola was disappointed. She felt a little awed by Rose's reserved calm; if she had been in her place she would have been wildly excited, and would have wished to hear all about the unknown cousins, and toldfthem of the delight she felt at being with them at»last in fact, would have behaved like à dear little maniac. Of course there was much to talk over. Mrs. Darrell hungered for news of her brother, and said something sympathetically about the mother who died iwo years, before. Rose did not answer. Moola thought it strange and cold hearted of her. Then she noticed the strained look on the girl's face, and in her own kind little way decided that, Rose had deeper feelings than she cared to show on the surface, and, thinking it would he a relief to her, took her up to the bed room which was to be hers; it was one of the up stairs ' rooms, with a dormer, window, creeper wreathed. How the young ones had planned and thought over the getting ready of it!. Ted had put some beautiful carnations from his own garden on the dressing-table; Jack, had made a small box from the different woods of the moun tain, inlaid and polished; Girlie had tacked a drawing of hers to the walí-another egg-shap ed freak, with "a man" printed under it. Real ly, as Jack said, it was just as well it was lab elled. Moola had given up her own-chest of drawers; it stood by the window, empty and ready; while Babette-little Babette-had put a large Bible on the dressing-table, for she was a serious little maiden, and studied the pictures in

J this great Bible till she knew precisely how many

patches there were in Joseph's coat of many col ors, and the exact number of the rungs of Jacob's


"This is your room," said Moola, looking round with rather a proud smile> for they had taken such trouble over every detail, and it'all looked so com fortable. "Mine opens oiit through that door."

Then she looked at Rose to see what effect ii had on her. The girl was taking'off her hat carefully before the glass,; and sticking the hat pins in a wonderful, pincushion Moola had made. She looked.round as Moola spoke, and took in everything with à long, exhaustive stare. -

"It's very nice," she said, with her English ac cent: Then she hesitated a little, and seemed ás though she wished to say more and did not know how to, and looked at Moola's sweet, dark face and down to the green carpet again.

Moola drew near, feeling interested and eagei

once more.

"Do you like it, dear?" she asked.

"It's perfect!" cried Rose, kissing her impul sively. Then, as»lf ashamed, she went, on fold ing up her veil, with a brighter color than before; and drew back into her shy reserve once again.

(To be continued.)