Chapter 71489021

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Chapter NumberII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71489021
Full Date1903-12-09
Page Number17
Corrections0
Word Count1816
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAustralian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)
Trove TitleThe Remnant of a Life
article text

CHAPTER II.

Years passed. The Trohornes had lately re- turned from a trip to tho Dig Smoke, bringing with them a niece of Jack Trehorno-Mamlo Arnold, a girl to whoso making had gone "a rose, a lily, a sorpent, a little honey, and a handful of clay."

Mon woro salt of the earth to her.

Sho had now boen on the station two or three wooltß. Tho old bookkeeper and tho young jackoroo had already lost their savour-sho was pining for fresh flavours.

In dofault of those to her own hand, ono afternoon sho was following tho adventures of a "yellow-back" heroine after her own heart, while boBido hor Mrs. Treherno occupied her motherly lingers In baby-frock sewing. Mr. Troherno appeared at tho door.

"I say, Madge, who do you think has turned up? Can't guess, I bet."

"A man, Unelo Jack?" asked Mamie, patting lior frlngo Into forn at tho very thought.

"A man, indeed. Just into your hand; I've Been your woo of lato at having no now men to conquer in tho bush. Horo's ono with a history, such as girls dolight in. Lato an officer in tho army. Any amount of duchesses, countesses, and tho rost of tho frilled aristo- cracy, up his sleeve. Real high life, and no hack stairs to it. Stanhopo spent his past sandwiched between a princess and a duchess. Look up your Court otiquottc, Mamie, whllo I run him round. 'Tho darno made a curtsey, tho dog said bow-bow' sort of thing, don't you

know."

As Mr. Trehorno went off grinning, Mamie

said.

"Aunt Madge, really, is this Mr. Stanhopo, swaggor and all, that-old army man? Tho namo sounds promising. Ono oxpects moro from a Stanhopo than n Smith somehow."

"And you'd probably got loss. As to .:r. Stanhope-old army man, yes. Swagger, I don't know. To my humble Australian senses ho

seemed a mad creature, tinctured strongly with Badness. Ho looked haunted, somehow."

Mamlo picked up her book, and wont Into her room, which opened off tho sitting-room. In a short timo sho. returned, Madge noticed a rearrangement of her fringe, a smart chiffon bow at her neck, and her old shoos changed to a much-prized beaded pair of now bronze ones. As sho smiled, Mrs. Trohorno thought:

"Mamlo ls, as Jack would say, on tho war- path. That bow and those shoes always mean scalps. What a shock ho will be to hor, buf fottod as ho ls by stress of rough weather on life's journey."

Sho heard then the hop, stop, and jump mode of progression sho recognised as Stanhope's

own.

Ouco more he stood at attention before her. Once more hq bowed his Grandlsoninn bow.

Once more ho hopped forward, "nd took limply her proffered hand.

Sho introduced Mm to Mamie. He wont through tho samo marlonctte-liko performance,

linger lng rather longer over Mamie's band. The fascination of tho chiffon bow had begun.

As Mr. Stanhope sat down ho sighed, an echo of his old-time sigh, and after letting them rove round tho room he anchored his eyes on' Mamie,' ks of old on . Mrs. Trehorne. But when the echoes of his same old mad, sad words words rang again in her oars Mrs. Treherne hall to moke an excuse aud go. As she left sho heard murmurs of how meeting a lady had taken him back to his past; how people in Australia only surveyed tho world from a tallow cask; that his world was a waterhole, etc.

After some time she returned, and heard him asking Mamie,'with a most languishing look., as. ho tugged at his lonp moustache, If she had ever heard of "the love that came too late," and whether tho explosion applied to his own feel- ings, or was the name of a song or book, Mrs. Treherne did not quite know, for before Marule* had time to answer, the erratio Mr. Stanhope ' had jumped up and 'gone out to bring in his

dog.

Tho c*.nv3 merged Into weeks, the weeks into over a month. Stanhope still lingered.

Morning after, morning found him bowing to the ground, and, taking if the ladles had - cny plana for tho day.

Finding they had none, he would Invariably suggest that Mamie should acoompany him in tho afternoon for a canter, riding his "Fit for a charge, by Qoorge!" horse Hussar. Mamie al- ways agreed-any man was better than no man.

"With a bow ho, alw.ays backed away to spend tho rest of the morning In Atting Hussar to carry A lady, for ho said: "No station groom knowB how to get a horse Teady for a lady. Dash it all, by George, not"

At luncheon he would ascertain at what hour

Manolo would-be roady. Bowing again, h« .would |

retiro, and have, tho horses at the gate at the

hour named.

Mamie fooled him: as Mamie knew how.

"I must keep my hand in," she usod to say When Mrs. Treherne expostulated, "Women can tot live for women alone."

Mrs. Treherne thought it a little cruel to give Mr. Btanhopo such dlr'.inot encouragement to make a fool of himself, and Bald so.

"I think I ara very kind to the poor old fel- low," said Mamie. "You and Uncle Jack never trouble about him; if it were not for me he'd feel quito neglected. At it is, he says he never was BO happy in Australia."

"But remember, Mamie, ho may bo taking your play sorlouBly. It ls only play to you, but may bo pain to him."

"Nonsense. You only, as housekeeper, have power to hurt a man. Pain to him ls a question of digestion, Tho hool of Achilles of the ordi- nary man is his digestion; so lt he be hurt on your hoad Ho tho sin, aunt mine of the preach- ing tonos."

"How hatofully modern you are, Mamie, affect- ing a cheap oyulolsm. But, remember, if you aro a modern of moderns, ho belongs to the old rogliuo, and does not know tho now type of girl, with soft, sweet glances and calculating hoart, so sparc lum."

"Ho's all right. Anyhow, ho ls off in a few ' days, and we'll novor meet aguln."

A fow mornings afterwards Mr. Stanhopo carno in, not to ask "tho Indica" what their plana ¡were, but to impart his owu.

"I have come, Mrs. Treherne, to say good- bye; to thank you for a pleasant vl3lt, which will shine over as a star In my life's dark sky. A time Avlll come ore long, I hope, when I can return from my gold quest to claim my güerdon. I go back to my world of waterholes, far away, 'where the pelican builds her nest.' Before, I wont with a grief unguessed; now, I go a man animated by hope. I go becauso thoso wilds holds prizes to bo won by such as seek thom. Bravo men make westward always to win fair women. I shall wrest from tho desert its se- crets. Bleached bonos Ho on tho tracks; but there, if a man bo bold enough, is fortuno's favour to be won. And in tho stillness of tho nights of late I havo hoard tho desert voices calling to me to bo up and doing, that I may gain my heart's desire."

Tho haunted look lu his oyes was so intensified that it almost frightened MrB. Trohorne.

But ho shook himself back to this mundane world, and said: "Again I thartk you. Good- bye, Mrs. Trehorne."

He bowed low over her hnnd, sprang swiftly up again, turned, and followed Mamie, who was walting for him under the popper-tree at the gate. Whllo walting sho was idly stripping thc red berries off the drooping branches and pelting them aimlessly at .tho fienco.

As, bush fashion, Mrs. Trehorne followed him to the gate to speed his parting, she could hoar him sigh. She saw him clasp Mamie's hand in both his, and gaze at hor as if his eyes could not drink In their Jill of her fair face.

She hoard him say

"You havo resurrected my soul, Miss Arnold.

Instead of feeling sorrow in the shadow of my .j life, I seo joy ahead of mo. I go In pursuit. I

will return when I have fought'ray battlo against J the desert demons, and won their hidden trea- . sures." I

Ho dropped her hand. ' She -went on plucking tho red berries, and said but one w,ord with her Ups, "Good-bye," but her eyes expressed vol-

umes.

Ho bowed lo the ground, stood upright again, and. with ono more passionate glance from his mad, sad eyes, he turnod to his horses, mounted Hussar, seizod the halter of his packhorse, said in a choking volco, "Como, Caesar" to his dog, Bhook his bridle, and s.tarted away at a smart pace, never once looking back.

Soon ho was out of sight, and only the dust was seen curling along the road In his wake, to dissolve like a wraith as the echo of his horsos' hoofs died away.

Mamie, still posing under the popper-tree, yawned, and, as she turnod to follow Mrs. Tre- herne up the garden path, said:

"What next, I wondor? A sane man for oholce

-lunatics pall rather. Thank goodness, ho's , gono at last! What a boro he ls. How tlrod 1 am of him and his post grandeurs I Better coin In the present than court» in the past as far as I'm

concerned."

"You've sent him away to bettlo with Paite «ind Portuno for your sake, with tho hope of returning

to you." I

"Return! Not ho! His sort never como baok, Happily thero are lunatic asylums in Australia, though from the number of lunatics you see at large you mightn't think so. I understand now why Quoensknd, in proportion to her population, require«» so many. It ie those pelican-nest hunt- ing people who All them. Stanhopes are evldent

^ ly rifo thor.o. It's the ollmcUo does lt, I aupposo,

and tea. Did you notice the quarts Mr. Stan-

hope used to drink-tho strongest ho could get? j Well, he's gone, and here goos for another. Perhaps the new manager of Wirrllta will be afr

fording." !

"Mamie, you are heartless."

"Not heartless, but disinclined to make a door- i mat of my heart for mon to wipe their feet on and smile swe-etly *as their mud sticks. I don't believe in slaves of tho ring."

"I did not think women's rights was your cult." "Bah! Don't box me up with those joyless Judies. I'm juet a woman who means to have a good time, 'couto qu'il coûte,' and not be

trampled on. To that end I cultivate men." I

"And trample on them?" ! "If lt ls to be a caae of trampling or being trampled upon, certainly, I prefer tho former."