Chapter 71320717

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Chapter NumberV.
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71320717
Full Date1898-11-26
Page Number37
Corrections0
Word Count1692
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAustralian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)
Trove TitleA Tale of Twins
article text

Princess Spinaway's Department.

A TALE OF TWINS.

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

Dedicated to my dear old mena, ii», x.

CHAPTER V. . -

It was half-past nine next morning wnen um Merlows went down to Ithe stables (to saddle 'the! horses. A few minutes after rthey were up at th< back «door, getting the lunch bags, and for Undi Harry to come and inspect their girths, as he in variably did.when-Ithey went riding. Miriam won her oldest morning frock-she scorned a habit fo; hunting- and a big wide-awake halt tied firmly beneath (her pretty chin with a piece of pink rib bon. Jane wore the same attire, while Dave, Alick Gerald, and Jacki had on their oldest suits, and th< lunch bag» strapped ito their backs. It was a lovelj

morning for a ride.

The rain had given a soft, mellow look to th« fields and wood, and in every dewrladen branch ol the trees, little birds were twittering their blithe greetings to the warm sun, while lovely snowdrop: and winkles opened their leaves Ito their fullest ex tent, as though inviting the busy bees to take theil

sweat nectar.

Up the red road they went, helter skelter, with the four dogs rushing round and round them, abd chasing the magpies out of pure enjoyment, while the cows and sheep, stared in surprise at these wiid young ithings, whose exuberant spirits would not

be held in check.

Up/ up, right en Ito the .thill'top, and then they drew rein, and turned to look at the lovely land scape of Woolgoine, spread out before them liles a

map. ?

"Isn't" it lovely?" Miriam said presently, break ing ithe silence. "Lovely," answered Alick fer vently; "I think it must be the loveliest place in

Weat Australia!"

"What'll we do thia morning?" asked Jack. "Father said he'd- come and help us catch the boomer with Ned.and Skip."

"Oh, we'll fossick round for kangaroo rats and brushes," said Miriam easily, and she started at a canter through rtlhe bush with the others following,

"Going to Bambou Falls for lunch, Mir--Oh ! Dave held up a warning finger. As Ithe horses pric ked up their ears, and the dogs sniffed round the brushwood, a little tremor of excitement ran through the group. .

Then, with a yelp from ithe dogs, and an answer ing shriek from the. hunters, a (huge doe went bounding across, the ' plain, everyone in hot pur

suit. - ?

Gerald'« horse was an old hunter, and at the first cry he had pranced about, and then gone like a shot from (the gun,- far ahead from the others, as his little rider1 said afterwards, one might as well pull-at a stone wall as ait the bit when Ohe horse

bolted.

-But the dogs were young and inexperienced, and in about ten' minutes Ithe doe had disappeared among .the yellow crowned mimosa bushes, to their chagrin, so they slunk back with their tails between their legs, and faces that looked positively ludi crous in their, intense disappointment.

"It was a . jolly close shave, (though," cried Da vey, who was full of excitement, then he added, regretfully, "I would have loved to have caught it, to show father when he came."

The others echoed his sigh, and then Jane pro posed riding to the falls, astthey were not very far

away. .

"It will soon be lunch time, and I daresay Alick and Gerry would like'to explore the rocks," she said. v

There was grass, fresh and green, over . all the hillside, and . out cf it rose the piles and-piles of huge boulders, (that lined the deep gully, -and al most hemmed it in, while all the crevices were filled with .graceful, clinging ferne, and velvet, moss; scattered here and there were bushes of white rock, ' with its snowy blossoms set in a ring of leathery green leaves.

. A great cataract of water rushed over ithe rocky ledges: in sparkling volumes; down to the eddying waters beneath, and there vanished through the lower end of the gully, and joined the Woolgoine

Creek.

The party of riders drew up above the falls, in stead of below as they had Intended, and then slip ping of their saddles, they tethered their horses to

some stumps.

The twins went dnto ecstaoies over the foil of ? water. They thought ithe iNtogara could not toe

better, arid Dave and 'the others ¡looked on with a superior smile, though they saw the like every

.day.'' ??

Look, Jane, here's an asterisk," called Jack, who had been leaning over a rock and scrutinising

the ferns (below.

'Asterisk!" where?" said Jane, peeping over his shoulder. Then Miriam and Dave cairne to see also, and, as a matter of course, the twins brought

up -the rear.

".Is it on animal?" said ¡Gerald, who already had visions of a Jong-tailed creature adorning their

.museum.

The cousins Haugh ed.

"dt's'-a flower," said Jane; "we don't know its proper nairne, tout we call it 'asterisk.' It's very

scarce." .

"A flower!" said Alick-a mote of disgust in his tone. : Then his face brightened.

"It'll do for the -botanical shelves," he «aid.

But how to get it was a puzzle; for the pretty

little scarlet flower bloomed half-way down tho dangerous rocks, where there was no foothold.

"I'll let you down with a rope," said Dave, not thinking for a moment that he could; hut they jumped at his suggestion. Gerald ran and took the ropes from his and Jack's (ponies, hooking them up hy the bridle; then they were toed firm ly together round Alick's waist, and !he was gen tly lowered. The four were all hanging on to the rope, which was passed «round a stump to en sure its safety, and when Alick had plucked his coveted "asterisk" he could not make them hear. "Pull up!' he yelled, seeing they took no notice. Then they heard, and 'began to haul frantically, bumping him against the projecting rocks, and bruising Ms hands.

JMany stories had Ibeen, told the Mertons about tue-» Bambin rocks-of bushrangers tihat lay hid den In its caves to murder unsuspecting travellers -of huge blacks who had lived there in bygone days, and of whom relics still remained-and tales of similar nature, which had been wont to make their (hair stand on end-and even now there was something uncanny about the rocks. So when Alick yelled out they could feel their hearts jump to their throats, for each end all thought that he

must have seen some monster.

"What is lt?" they asked j breathlessly, as his face appeared, and he scrambled to his feet.

f'What is what?" he said in astonishment; then added in an injured tone. "You needn't- have pulled up so -quickly; all any hands are cut.*

"But Miriam and Jane subsided into a little heap om the grass and laughed oe though they were

mad.

Then Dave explained matters. "You let out such a yell;" he said "that my nerves are quite shaiken. What do you say to lunch, old girl 7"

This last brotherly epithet was accorded to Mir iam, -who said they could not do better. So they sait round da a circle and helped themselves os they saw fit from the bags.

"This chicken is, not half bad," eaid Jack as he helped htoiself ,liberally, and Jane said "glut ton!" In a disgusted tone, and wondered If she could 'manage a sixth orange.

The good fare made ¿Dave (loquacious, so he yarned^away to the twins until Mirry said, .with sisterly unbelief, "Oh, do shut up, Dave; Alick . can't be stuffed like a Christmas goose."

"Who do you think would (believe that?" said Jane, with fine scorn; "but you always exaggerate fearfully, .Davy Jones."

Of course after this .Dave had to chase her, and screw her wrist until she gasped an apology. Then, their horses saddled.'they all rode peaceably

away.

As they golloped aeróse a sand plain they heard a shrill whistle, and looking back saw Uncle Har ry. He was riding a high, Iblack horse, and had a gun on his shoulder, and two or three dogs at his heels. "Well, scamps," he said as they caine up, "have you caught all the kangaroos on the plain?" *

They all began excitedly to tell hism of the doe they had seen. Then he held up a warning finger to stop their chatter, and pointed across the mi

mosa bushes.

There, grazing on the fresh herbage, was a huge (boomer, who now and then raised his head to search the horizon in case of danger/ Then the dogs gave a short yelp, and bounded out of cover, with the horses galloping behind, and (Gerald's black pony and his uncle's racing neck by neck. On they went, each imoment closing in on their prey, while the sand flew up in clouds'¡behind, and startled hirds rose in flocks out of the shrubs-on, until the tired, hunted kangaroo stood at bay with his back to a etout tree stump. Then the dogs beset him fiercely ou either side, yelping with pain as he struck thom viciously with -his extended claws. Then the horsemen arrived on the scene.

and Uncle Harry took adm with his gun and

fired.

The great Ibeast fell ; hut os he did so he struck again, and Jane's pet dog rolled over and howled as tho red blood poured from a gaping great wound in its breast, and stained the grass around.

"I had better shoot it too, Jane," Uncle Harry said, as he looked at dt pityingly. "Poor little beast is dreadfully hurt."

«He took aim again and fired quickly ; then the shuddenlngly Jimlbs were still, and the poor dog

moved no more.

?But Jane's eyes were full of tears. The dog had been her pet, and followed her everywhere; so she turned her horse and rode away with Miriam, leaving the others to cut up the kangaroo.

"Poor little Flo!" she said. "Of counse she's better dead than >cut open like that; hut I'll never go hunting again--no, ¡never!"

(To he continued.)