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Chapter NumberIV.
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1898-11-12
Page Number38
Word Count1508
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAustralian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)
Trove TitleA Tale of Twins
article text

Princess Spinaway's Départirent.


By Muriel Clarkson (Toodyay, W. Aus.).

(Dedicated to my dear old friend, E. T.).


The sun -was just peeping over the hills ana . shining through the -window when Gerald awoke next morning.

He stared round in bewilderment, for the room was unfamiliar to him, but the next moment he remembered everything, and fell back on his pil low with a relieved sigh.

The room was a very large one, with an east window, round which a wealth of ivy clung, while the pink-tinted walls were hung with a few good sporting pictures and clusters of native kylies and spears at intervals; over the mantelshelf hung a big double-barrelled gun and a pea rifle. Above these again hung a large cabinet photo, set

In a gilt frame-the photo, ol a curly-haired lad, with Uncle Harry's brown laughing eyes, and a good-tempered mouth. Gerald knew that It was Norman, for they had a photo, at home, the eldest son, who had accidentally shot. himself while hunting five years ago. This must be his room, and perhaps that was the very gun which had so suddenly cut short his bright young life, and brought the shadow Into Aunt Mary's eyes.

He did not like to dwell on the subject, so he turned his attention to Alick, who was sitting up,

and yawning sleepily.

'T say, Al," he said, "Isn't this a Jolly room? Just look at those spears and things; we must get

some to take back with us."

Alick turned his head in the direction Indicated, then he hopped out on to the cold floor, and went examine them.

Gerald wrapped himself in a blanket from his bed, and crossed over to the window, "to see how Woolgoine looked at sunrise," he said.

The first thing they saw -was a fruit garden, full of trees just bursting inte bloom; then, beyond that, fields, green and beautiful, full of sheep and cattle; and beyond that again a range of . high hills, looking blue and misty in the distance; to - the left was forest country, where the red road from Bilbarra turned to a cart track, and< finally lost itself in the long rank grass that flourished beneath the gums.

The silence in the house was broken at last by . sound of quarrelling coming from the vicinity of

the nursery; Mag and Viwy fighting for the first bath, and, as neither would give in, peace was only restored by letting them go in together.

They thought it grand, but Miriam, who was . queen of this particular room, groaned inwardly at the sloppy state it was In.

When the younger ones had been dressed, she went downstairs, and asi the twins were standing there alone, she went into the dining-room, and chatted to them in a bright, genial way, that was. her chief charm. And Baby, too, when, breakfast was over, came up and confidently placing a tiny hand in each of the boys' sunburnt ones*, said in

her sweet little way, "Oo tum wif me, and see yittle yummies fed."

"She means see the little lambs fed," explained Mag, who was hovering round the cousins, hut too shy to make any advances towards them, and she

drew nearer.

But Baby scowled fiercely at her, and said, with a show of dignity that quite withered her sister, "I can speak twite well wifout you, Margaret." She had great difficulty in getting her tongue round the last word, and gave it two or three more syllables than it should have; but, nothing daunt ed, she turned with an engaging smile and led the way to the back regions.

Miriam was here, ladling out milk from a huge kerosene-tin bucket Into the dishes Jane held out; ; -then she poured the remainder into a shallow buc

ket, arid tossed back her hair with a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness, that's done," she remarked. "Now we can feed the little wretches, and get rid of them. Here, Mag, that's your milk."

Tho whole troop departed, crossed'the yard, and drew up in front of a house that held chaff/ and afforded the lambs a nightly shelter. A great rush took place when the door was unlatched; each lamb flying to Its respective mistress; as Jane's was quite young, and drank its milk with

the aid of her little finger, which looked very " waterworn in consequence. ' v

Jane's and Mag's lambs had vèry common names-nothing better than "Moses and Aaron" and "Jerusalem," but Mirry's rejoiced in "Miner va" and "Meta," whilst the little motherless calf capped the climax with "Ariadne!"

"And now my other family wants feeding," said Mirry, lustily, as she hurried into the barn.

"What are they?" asked Gerald and Alick, who . had been interested spectators throughout.

Jane showed him a lot of fowls, speckled Dork- '?? ings, Plymouth rock, Leghorns, and many others, all assembled outside the barn, and making a great noise to show that they wanted their break-.

fast. Miriam and Jane were partners in fowls;: and made a good supply of pocket money every year; while Jack sold-duck eggs to his mother, at-.

a rate of 2s per dozen, and thought himself a mil

llonalre on a small scale.

Out neai* the coops they came acrcsa several oh hens, tethered hy the leg to pegs driven in th< ground, and clucking noisily.

"Whatever is that for?" asked Gerald, his eyei wide open with astonishment; lt seemed ver: curious to him that they should tether a fowl!

May laughed, hut ehe looked sorry for his wan

of knowledge.

"Why, they're old broody things," she said "but that soon sets them right, and lt's toettej

than dipping."

¡But the horses were most interesting to the boys so the stables were next visited. A lot of young 'pon ia? had just been brought in from the fields and Alick's heart almost leapt into his mouth as he «saw the fearless way in which the children went

among them.

".Father says we can go for a kangaroo hunt on ' Saturday," said Miriam; "there's a big boomer on . Bonband Plaina that he <wants. Jim saw it yester

day. Would you like to go?"

"Oh, yee," they exclaimed at once, and Jack nod ded his head approvingly.

, "That's all. right," he said. "I'm so glad you

can ride, we thought you might be afraid, like ? Leo Marsh, when he stayed here," and :his face .. looked, scornful at the remembrance. .

"Which horse will you have?" asked Jane, scrambling along the -dividing pole between two -ponies. "Thte ls a beauty;"

She pointed to a dark bay, with long, fleet-look ing llmlbs and a restless eye, and Alick choose this In preference to a stouter block one.

Gerald was 'fascinated hy a creaim, who, contrary to his usual nature, rubbed Its velvety nose against his sleeve with great friendliness, and forgot to glare at him; but he felt shy of asking. Miriam showed him another, quieter looking.. "You ©an have creamy though, If you like," she said; "and he's easier tO' ride than Dolly."

"Just .wait till you see my pony," said Jane, and shë flung open the door of a (box stall with pardon able pride. "Neptune, allow me to introduce my two cousins," but Neptune only tossed his dainty head, as though scorning the Introduction.

He was an Arab pony, with all the grace and beauty of his race; a coat that shone like white satin, and flowing mane and tall. As Jane went ?in he rubbed his nose against her, fondly.

"I might well say 'my (beautiful, roy beautiful,' " she said. "Isn't he just a perfect pony?"

The audience collected round the door eagerly said "Yes!" and watched her as she brought out a rosy apple from her pocket, and presented It to

...him. .

He took it off the palm of her hand very grace fully, without his Ups touching her skin, and ate it with relish, then poked an inquisitive nose into her pocket in search of more.

"What a darling pony," cried Gerald, enthusias tically, and he patted the glossy neck, while Nep tune did not once protest.

"I wish Euglo would eat apples," Jack sold, in a disappointed tone. "I tried her once, but she only nosed It all over, and then trod on it."

"All thehetter," said Jane, affectionately pulling, her pony's ears. "That leaves more for Nep." ' Then she came out, and banged the door behind


"I'll tell you what to do this afternoon," said - Dave, eagerly; "let's go to the Dingle Pool and

? fislu"

"Oh, let's," chorused the others; but Miriam looked doubtfully at the darkening sky. "If lt doesn't rain," ehe said cautiously.

But it did; came down In torrents, until the garden was a sea of mud, . and the. verandah so

sloppy «hat Aunt May had forbidden them to go on r


.(To he continued.) - i .