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Chapter NumberII.
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1898-10-29
Page Number37
Word Count2053
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAustralian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)
Trove TitleA Tale of Twins
article text

Princess Spinaway^ Deiartmeiii.


(3y.Muriel Clarkson.)

(Dedicated to any dear old friend, E; T.)


"iBuirnsia House," as lt was called, aaa Been KU. to Mrs. Grantly by an eccentric old uncle; it wa« two storeyed, and much too tolg cfor their smal family, but her income was not enormous, so eh< thought it better to Jive there, and save rent. Being started in the early, days of the colony, and then Improved upon duning the succeeding years, it had a very rambling appearance; hut it was very comfortable, and, as everyone said, that was

the chief thing.

rrhere ? was a bit of garden in front-iA.unt Ma rion's especial property-and tn it flourished all sorts bf sweet flo wers, the only things belonging to her that were not prim and proper. Two beds, Bide by side, were the twins', and there radishes and lettuces grew in union, with wahl flowers and aweat williatms, the whole overshaded toy a trained rose tree, loaded with deep crimson buds.

' ;? T\hree rooms u'petaiirs had been turned over to the hoya, exclusive of their bedrooms, and after a week's warfare with rats, mice, and spiders they triumphantly entered into possession.

One was fitted up as a museum, wdth such curios as the country afforded, and a few more Uncle Ted, the sailor, had brought them from foreign parts; while the shelves were decorated wdth bottles con taining snakes of every variety.

Tn one corner of the adjoining room was a large sized table, covered with clay animals and figures of fearful and wonderful structure, modelled by

Gerald's gentle fingers...

, "Liz had swept the whole concern away once, hut his grief and indignation was eo great that she refrained from igoing near a second time.

"Lumbering the place up with euch, rubbish," she said, scornfully; tout, poor thing, she had no eye for art-and such art!

Alick had a (fashion for carpentering, so he mended all the "broken f urniture In the house; once toe had done a drawing-roam chair, but no one

risked sitting on it.

The third and last room was fitted up as a


It was Saturday afternoon, and Alick, with the .prospect of a long stretch of pleasure before him, was cleaning ¡his bicycle in the verandah, and tush ing the kerosene about with a happy disregard of


Aunt Marion appeared on the scene, a red water

ing can in hand.

"Alick!" she said, in. such an awful voice that

Ihe flocked up up .in astonishment.

'«Well, Aunt?" he said, Intent on the pedals.

"That kerosene; how dare you?" she gasped irately. "?Staining all my clean floor, you bad'

troublesome boy!"

Alick looked round ruefully at the great, dark stains on the clean hoards, and then at his aunt's angry face. Ctn eluding her slap he had tipped the tin over, and great was the mess thereof,

r At that moment there was an ominous swish in the (hall; a sound of someone slithering off the ban'raters, and Gerry came rushing out.

"Such fun, Alick," he began; "the old lady was

nowhere round, so T--"

"Thea he. perceived that "the old lady" was staring at him In speechless Indignation, and such a Iud crous look of horror came over his face that Alicks gravity was upset, and he burst into an

uncontrollable flt of laughter, la which the culprit joined doubtfully In,

©ut Aunt (Marian failed to see the humor of lt, and she made a dart at them, iwdth the intention of giving them a sound slapping, but they slipped off .round the house, aind fled for their lives.

And the people next door, and across the street, were electrified by seeing the spinster tearing across the yaTd after her graceless nephews, while a long streamer of black hair .floated gaily be


The twins were rather ibreathless when they ar rived in the street; but they sat on the kerbstone and had a good Jaugh. "I wouldn't have come down iln such a hurry 'had I known she was there," Gerald remarked; "inotw I suppose she will kick up

a deuce of a TOW >with another."

"Let's go across the river," suggested Alick; "take Joe's old iboat, and get some lemonade from

tho corner."

"¡Right you are," said the other; "I have enough ?for two bottles." He dived down tinto his coat pocket, and brought forth a battered old sixpence and two pennies. 'Alick had a shilling, so the extra .fourpence "was invested In cracknels,

"I don't see why we should pay for the bottle, do you?" he said, as they moved on. "It's not as

if wo drank them too."

When they (reached the Jetty they hunted round .for Joe. He was a short, stout man, with sandy hair, and a love of smoking.

"iHoillo Joe," Alick said, familiarly, for they were well acquainted; "will you il end us your boat

this afternoon ?"

"What for?" asked the man, .without moving.

"To cross the river."

Joe took the pJpe from between his lips, and looked at them solemnly.

"Look here," he said, impressively, "there's going to be a bit of a storm this evening, so you come back early, or I won't be answerable, and don't go playing any of your devil's tricks either. If the water's rough, that old tub'U be swamped."

"All right, Joe," s*aid Gerald, cheerily. Then they sprang into the boat and pushed out.

Mary Jane: "Eddy White, if you dare to jump off I'll never speak to you again the longest day

. I live! Never!"

It was a good lome way across the river, and «when at last they relinquished the cans,, and let it .drift beachwards, their hands were stiff and sore

?with pulling.

Then they fastened the tooat to a ano onto g post, and threw themselves on the sand.

"I feel jolly tired," said Alick, a big yawn swal lowing half his words; '"what say you to a sleep?"

"I'm on," Gerald repilled, very promptly ; "come and help 'rae open the drinks flT&t."

They opened two bottles, with the. help of a stlok, and quickly disposed of their contents; then. Alick drew his hat down over his eyes and slept, with a pillow of sand.

And Gerald lay for a ornament, looking across the dancing waters; and then, rwith the hum of car riage wheels (bowling along Mounts Bay-road still in his ears, he dropped asleep likewise.

The afternoon wore away, but still chey slept.

Joe's prediction was coming true, for the sky was already overcast with thunder clouds, while a strong wind was blowing, with the peculiar sound that denotes the coming storm.

The river, too, which but a while before waB full of rollicking waves, was now sullen, angry


Atilast Alick awoke. 'He looked quickly at the river, then at the rapidly sinking sun.

/'Gerry/' he said, shaking his sleeping brother; "iwiaike up! The storm's coming, and we must get

home." .

"What?" said Gerald, sleepily;"time to get up?" Then the mist cleared frotm his eyes.

"We'll .have to hurry," he said, with some alarm; "it -will be hard work to pull the old boat over."

They unloosened the ropes aa speedily as pos sible, then' pulled away, while each moment the wind (increased in fury. At the end of ten minutes they had made scarcely amy headway.

"Alick," said Gerry, in an awe-struck voice, "do you remember what Joe said?"

"Oh, shut up," said Alick; be remembered too well. - ? '??... ?:.?'

"(It's no good," Gerald said at lost; "I can't pull any more." He loosened his oar for a moment; then, with a little cry, made a dash, but too late! it had slipped beyond his reach.

They looked at each other lu consternation. Then Alick tied his handkerchief to the remaining oar, and held it high above his head. There it floated, a tiny signal of danger, amid the heaving waters.

"If no one sees It, we are done for," be said. "This .old boat will sink directly."

"Oh," cnied Gerald excitedly; "here comes the

oar. Look out!"

They watched, in breathless suspense, as it came diifcng nearer and nearer; Gerry leant over and stretched out Ms hand; then grabbed at it. Then his hands 'plunged 'into icy water, and. with a startled little cry, he lost his balance and fell in

with a great splash.

Alick tried to turn the boat round, but his strength was as nothing to that of wind and waves. It drifted on further and further, while the little fair head bobbed on after it.

Away up the river appeared a boat, coming


"Help! help!" cried Alick, and he wildly waved

the handkerchief.

Then an answering shout rang back, and he saw the boat making towards them.

"Keep up, Gerry!" he shouted; "there's a boat


"I'm nearly done," answered Gerry; his arms were only moving feebly now, for he was tired


Nearer came the boat. Tts occupants, n man and girl, thought some boy had been unable to pull back. They were quite close to Gerald be fore they perceived him.

He had stopped swimming, and was merely keeping himself afloat. He was too exhausted to shout; for his constitution was not as strong as.

his brother's.

"Dear, dear!" said the young fellow with con cern, as hé lifted him out or the rlrjr; "here's

a pickle, Daisy."

Daisy leant forward, and helped him lay him down. Then hhe took off her warm, fur-lined cloak, and covered bim over with it. Then Alick got in, and the old boat was towed behind; while

their rescuer asked them how tney had managed . to get into such a plight.

Alick told him readily.

"Thank you very much for coming to us," he concluded, gratefully.

. There was" a twinkle in the young man's eye.

"Aren't you the twins from Denver-street?"

he asked.

"Yes," said Alick, in surprise; "how did you ,


"Your old friend, Mrs. "Wortbe, is my grand mother," he said. "She told me how you shaved her pet dog's curly hair one day, and spoilt its beauty." ?

Alick's face grew red at the remembrance.

"It was a mean thing to do," he said, frankly. "We were very sorry afterwards."

"I daresay,'.' said Frank Wortbe, rather dryly. Then he laughed. "I think i am doing Denver street a bad turn In bringing you home."

The rain was pouring down in torrents when they reached the jetty, and bundled out,'wet and shivering, beneath the spluttering light..

Frank wanted to get the two boys a cab; but Alick wouldn't hear of it. '

"'It's not very far," he said; "and we would get there as soon as a cab, and Gerry must get into dry clothes. Good-bye!"

So they began hastily to walk home, along the slippery pavements; while all the time the cold rain ran in little streams down their chilled backs.

They crept stealthily round to the back, and as they stood for a moment in the dark veran dah the door opened, and Aunt Marion and mo ther appeared.

"Oh! you bad boys!" cried the former; "where have" you been to stay out so late, .tend get your

clothes in such a mess?" _

She did not see the deathly pallor of Gerry's face; but the hall light made the pool of water from his- clothes glisten, and its steady "drip, drip" could be heard.

"Oh! Alick! you should not stay out so late without telling me where you were going," said Mrs. Grantly, reprovingly. "Your aunt and I thought something must have happened to you." .

"H'm!" sniffed aunt; "'twould serve them right if--. Good heavens!"

She rushed forward just as Gerald fell prone

on the floor.

"Why, the boy will have nis death of cold!" she exclaimed. "Alick! you should not have kept him out, with his weak lungs, too!"

Then, when the rest of the household busied themselves with warm bnths and blankets for the delicate one, Alick told his mother their ad venture. ,

For two or three weeks after Denver-street re mained quiet; for Gerald was hovering between life and death with inflammation of the lungs, and Alick had not the heart for pranks.

(To be continued.)