|Newspaper Title||Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||Clem's Ride|
Princess Spinaway'^ Department.
(By Zora Cross, Gympie, Q.)
; CHAPTER II.
Instead of stopping at the cross roads, Clem's horse bolted past them, with Clem on her back. He tried with all his strength to pull dn the mare ; but try as he might/ Clem could not stop the spirited beast. On ho rode. Where, he knew not. 'Twas a road neither horse nor rider had been before-a lonely bush track long ago deserted.
They would never reach the selection on that road; Clem knew that quite well. . For the selection road was quite in a different direction.
No longer Clem laughed with glee, and touch ed Cleo with his riding-whip, But, instead, with a white, terrifled face, he tugged at the reins., Clem could not cry out. His voice seemed to have fled with his laughter.
First his hat blew off, then he lost his rid ing whip. What could he do? With ach ing lith'bs and arms he held on for dear life, but 'twould not be for much longer. All he wondered was where he would fall, and if it
would j be-his last fall.
Still ¡the mare bolted on, and still Clem held on, until at last he felt he would have to drop. 1 But still he pulled with all his strength at the j reins, to try and check its speed. 'Twas of no ;use. Cleo had neve* in her life had so much freedom, nor felt so daring and full of life, j Her greatest speed was up, änd nothing could stop her. Hot, spirited, and daring, she now'flew on, and bolted ovev sticks and stones.
Clem knew not what had started her. ?Twas nothing else but a piece of white paper which had first startled Cleo;, For, not far, from the
cross jroads there had been a ? piece of paper,
but Clem had taken no notice, and he only had whipped Cleo more.
As Cleo and Clem bolted. on Clem thought of hls'mother and home. Would he ever see them again? How could he tell? Cleo rushed madly on, with her little frightened, terror stricken rider, until they came in sight of a
pair of old slip rails.
Clem knew his doom was certain. He saw himself thrown head foremost on to the stumps. He wondered which part he would strike; and shuddered strangely at the thought of lt. At length mare and rider came within a few yards
of the rails.
With a last desperate effort Clem tried to stop the mare, but it was never so spirited as now. He clung w/lth all his remaining strength to the bridle and closed his eyes in deadly fear.. ; .
The next minute Oleo had reared and cleared the slip rails, with Clem on her back, Clem opened his eyes again, and felt everything swimming round him. He could hold on no longer-. On rushed Cleo, and Clem, not knowing where he was, clung to the bridle. At length everything whirled round him. The very world seemed one dark whirling mass, and all over lt, whirling round, was his mother's
At last, with a great thud, horse and rider fell. Clem was thrown frorii Cleo near a stream, on to a bank of pebbles, while the poor mare moaned a few yard» away from him. Clem knew nothing just as he fell, for all the
world seemed darkness.
Cleo moaned and groaned a little longer, then, with a kick, a last, long kick, she breath
ed her last.
All this time, Clem's mother, with a white tear-stained face, waited on the verandah for her son. Slowly the minutes paB3ed, until the sun sank, and still it brought no Clem.
"He said he'd be here at sundown," mur mured the mother to herself, "and he always keeps his word."
Dusk came, and still no Clem.
At length, darkness crept over the whole earth, and left the mother still watching and walting for her son. What could she do? She had no one to send after him, for all her other boys were younger. In her keen sorrow, she almost lost her reason; but she quickly recov ered, and sent Vio. down to the nearest neigh bour, ¡who willingly went in search of the boy, who waB a great favourite with everyone,
"What if he should be dead?" oried thé poor
Visions of her bright-eyed son, lying moaning with pain, or else stiff and oold In death, flitted before her, and she could hardly keep still. But she had rightly guessed, for Clem was moaning with pain«
As darkness deepened, he opened his eye5», to find himself in the midst of a wild Bomb. He could j hear the faint sound of running wa'fcr near 'by, and conoluded he must be near a oreek.i It was pitch dark.
First he said to himself, "Whero am I?" Slowly he remembered everything. Clem tried to risè, but he sank baok to the ground again, with a keen spasm of pain.
What was the matter with him? What made his eyes ache, and his head burn and smart? He lifted his arm, but with a piercing cry ho dropped it again. The pain was to him ter rible. Clem, this beloved son of wealthy, lov ing parents, who had never before had any great Illness, to be lying, alone and uncared for. In a wild scrub, with a broken leg and arm. How ho moaned and groaned in the darkness. "Oh, won't somebody come?" he cried, i He oallod out once, twioe, thrice; but only his own little weak voice replied with a harsh echo. Would the pain ever oease?
"Mother, mother," he cried out again and again, and through the darkness he peered, but dark shadows of trees were all ho could dis
corn, Iiis hoad burned and ached worse than ever. His eyos smarted; his Hps and tongue and throat were dry,, and parched, If he could only got a drink of water. If somebody's cool
hand would only be pressed against his hot. brow. He felt he must cool his parched throat, and through all his pain he dragged his weary little body nearer the creek.
With a thankful cry he dropped his hand into water, cool and lovely. So Clem quenched his thirst. Weaker and weaker he became, and he called out through the night, unceasingly. But nobody answered.
(To Be Continued.)