|Newspaper Title||Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||A Rose Among Cornstalks|
A lioso Among Cornstalks* ,
: (By Ruby Whittell.) , .
- Affectionately Dedicated to Uncle Dick.
Babette; finding lióse asleep, bad- tried to-ope .hor eyelids; but the, elder girr slept heavily bj and Babette grew tired of that little pastime, an ,gpt up and looked at the pastry tarts,; with tb cross" bars'on, and ate one and ;put another-ri gardlesa of jam-in the pocket of her little ho; laud frock, and had wandered off to look for tl
j otb era. On and on the little thing plodded, ht ! delicate face aglow--she looked like a pale litti
flower that had lost its way in the great sombt green foliage. And very soon she in reality lo¡ her way, and-called to "Moola!" and "Jack!" an wandered ail the time still further away, fee! lng rather frightened, and wondering if lions an tigers and things ever lived on mountains i Australia; and what she should do if she "met
snake;" and then, seeing she really could n< find her way back to them all, Babette sat dow ou a mossy log and cried. She was not ver frightened just at first, because she felt sure sli would find the way back soon; but when it becara late and mysterious and twilight, her terror gre till she screamed aloud, and sank down in
paroxysm of fear. She raised her small voice i calls to them; but their shouts to her she did nc hear, for she had wandered further away ever moment. Poor little Babette; «he was only si: and such a fragile, nervous little thing that th fright nearly killed her. She WP.s afraid at las to go on. any further, and knelt down and sal her owii small prayer, "Gentle Jesus, meek au mild," and then looked up at the sky, for th darkness around was frightening. One star afte another shimmered iii the pale sky; one bird af ter another sang Its good-night noto; and litti Babette Darrell, sobbing and trembling, san] down at last, tired and scratched, her whit transparency really deathlike in the twiligh gloom. And she called at intervals weakly fo "Moola!" and "Jack! and even "Mother!"
"Moola! oh! I'm losted!" sho cried, with a sob at last, quite loudly; and then something crash cd through the underwood-horse's hoofs, and j voice strímg and kindly called
"Where are you? Call again!" and when sh« coq-eed a man on horseback came through th< darkness, sprang from his saddle, and bent besldi her. He was not a "blackfellow" Babette coule seo hy tho light of the pipe in his mouth, and hi was not a "bogey," for ho touched her gently ant tenderly, questioning her in pure English all th< v/hile, and commenting on her answers.
"You're Mrs. Darrell of Sklllasallee's, little girl, then?" he said. "I thought so, somehow There, my dear, don't cry. I will take you hom« to mother and Moola and Jack. Poor little thing Why, what'a mite it is!" as he lifted her in stronj arms to the; saddle, and mounted behind her. Th< horse scarcely noticed tho difference in weight for Babette was but a thistledown.
"We're about two and a half miles from Skil lagalleo," the stranger said. "I expect they are in a line state of anxiety, lt "was fortunate I hap pened to come along. I was on the track com ing home, and heard your crying. There! Soon be home now, nty dear, so don't cry."
Babette was still sobbing a little, but it was more with relief than anything. She felt safe once more, and the man holding her up on the saddle seemed a perfect tower of strength and protection. She. did not feel* at all shy or fright ened of him-he was so gentle and kind; and
j when she found his name was Mr. Fitzpatrick
she gave a little sigh of contentment. For that name was well known in the country district. Uncle John knew him well, and had often spoken of him. He talked to the little thing to cheer her, and then once finding she did not answer he looked down, and found she had fallen asleep, tired out, and as they went along he could see the delicate white outline 'of her face against the dark coat he wore, and the pale gold of her curls in tho moonlight, as the moon rose in the clear slty. Yery soon they reached Skillagallee, for he urged his horso along, knowing "bf the anxiety i the Darrells must be be in. A figure-evidently on I the watch for any newcomer-fiew towards them at the gates, with a breathless, "Is there any
[nows? Have they found her?" lt was Moola,
wild-eyed and tearless, and beside her was Rose. Mr. Fitzpatrick looked down at them with a lit tle reassuring smile, and lifted the sleeping Ba bette to the ground-and, oh, what a cry there was of joy as Moola caught her in her arms.
"Rose-tell mother," she cried, hugging little Babette till she awoke and struggled. "Oh, here ! come Uncle John and the boys. 1 must take
Betty to mother."
Such, a confusion of explanations and talking. It was about S o'clock, and the boys and Uncle John and the men (whom the girls haussent when they could not find Babette) had returned to Skillagallee after a fruitless search for lanterns and whatever would be needed for a hunt by night. And there they found the lost one in her mother's arms. Mrs. Darrell was ^very much upset by it all, and Moola feared for . the next day; but the joy of holding her baby in her arms once more seemed to do her more good than any thing, and they all went into the dining-room to compare notes, and tell again of how Babette
was found. j
"She had wandered a very little distance from the Grassy Gully-road." said Robert Fitzpatrick, ." and I heard her calls, and found her really ex
I hausted, as I was riding home. But I think her I troubles are over now;" and lie ended with a
smile and a twinkle in his grey eyes, looking I across tho. room.where Babette held court on her mother's icuèe. Girlie fed her with alternate sips of milk and sandwiches. Jack sat near, worn out -with searching, but not too much so tb look and smile at thc little sister, and Ted "fetched and'earried;" while Moola-Moola with the soft sweetness come back to her eyes-bathed the scratched little legs and made them comfort
"I can't tell .you how grateful we are. Fitzpat rick," said'Uncle John, in his abrupt way. "You don't know what happiness you brought to Skil lagallee when you brought the child. I think it just saved my sister in time; she was becoming dreadfully anxious and upset-we all -were. I suppose the thought of old Johnstone's little one and the wild apples made us even more so. At any rate, we've got her safe and sound now."
"Yes; I think she will be none the worse for it, you'll find," answered the younger man, watch ing the tender .way Moola bound the little scrat ches and cuts, and thinking what a very attrac tive picture the whole scene made. And then ho turned rather regretfully and said good-bye, and rode off lo his own quiet bachelor life on his
own great station, with the happy little vision j still in his mind, And Rose stood in thc hall!
outside, miserable, despondent, She waa alto gether put of it, and. though they tried so not to behave any differently to her, it had been hard,
for they did blame her for not watching Babette. ' She was such a little, little eirl, and wThen ab sorbed in the joy of having her once more safely they .forgot about Rose. So . she stood outside ia
silent misery, and then turned away, ber old, reserved cold self, having. fought with tears-and : won. ' -" .
(To be continued.) '