|Newspaper Title||Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||A Bookmaker|
THE CHILDREN'S CORNER.
CONDUCTED BY ETHEL TURNER.
(Author of "Seven Little Austranans," "Tho wonder-child,'* etc.)
The competitions have closed for tho month.
(By Gwen FutiEell.)
The editor ignored, the brisk rap. at his pri- , vate door, and closed one eyo., Business was good as ever it had boen, and a grave wink was an indulgence which oxprossod tho fact. Con
sequently n rap at hla prlvato uoor-a porumiir tory rap-could bo treated lightly. Ho was quite a young man, and, perhaps, that was tho reason he wore tinted glasses, that inngnlllod not at all, but holpod to conceal tho smilo in his eyes and givo a stern look to his clean shaven face. - , ,
At a repetition of tho haughty knock ho called an impatient and ringing como "Come lu!" and the door burst open to admit tho deferential gentleman who had the faco of an imp.
"Lady to seo you, sir," he announced.
Mr. Jock Cassills looked up. "What kind, of a lady?" he asked, and tho tinted glasses hld his eyes with effect.
Tho gentleman, agod ll, lifted his eyes. "A, pretty lady," was his abrupt description.
Tho editor laughed suddenly and quietly, "Ye nye had bmw 'eon for the lassies, Tupman,"
"Shall I show her in?" asked Tupman, strict ly attontive to business.
Tho editor squared his shoulders. "Yes, Tup man; I am ready," ho said, returning to his solemnity/ and it was rather a'formidable edi tor Into whoso prosonco Sheila was ushered, Tupman having found it expedient to release her trusting-hand at the door..
The editor stood up, surprised, and almost abashed.
"Hoots, mon! lt's a wee blt lassie!" he ex claimed..
Then, with much determination, he led the crestfallen Tupman to 'tho door, gave him a gentle but quito forcible push Into the passage, and closed him out.
"Eh?" he said kindly, "we can be comfort able the noo." Ho drew up n chair for his visitor, and placed her within its capacious depths, and seated himself before her.
"Excuse me," he observed, as In an appre hensive pause she only looked at him stealthily beneath her lnshos; "excuse me, but upon your brow fr<'nlUB ls writ largo by the gods. You have a book there of your own making."
Sholla looked at him with a gontlo doubt
arid suspicion. Sl|e rather wished ho would
take off thou.-? glasses. Pooplo's Hps could de colvo one, but not tholr eyes. She made a movement to rise, and glvo him her parcel, but ho waved her bnck, and, bonding forward, took lt from her unsteady little hand. It was tightly rolled, but. without tho faintest traco of impatience he spreed it on the table, with an Ink bottle, an oraser, a penknife, and his watch at oach of tho four cornors, that it might lie flat, and grnvoly begging her pardon, he be gan nn absorbed porusnl. Ho mado a point of turning tack with little exclamations of sur prise occasionally, and coming to tho end, ho .«urveyed her while little face In blank and speechless astonishment.
"Is lt good?" sho askod, and ho noted the strained' look of anxiety In hor oyes.
Ho glanced nt tho end where tho author's name boldly asserted Itself.
"Novor, Sheila," ho said, "have I road such lofty and lucid language as that In which tho facts of this masterpiece have boon sot forth Such words!" Ho (fooled a few luscious phrases with an obvious relish. "Wonderful!" he said. Novor had the concealing niasses boon moro ne cessary. He stretched his slight limbs In an ecstney of appreciation. "Tho best of good black Ink. too, and so eleaiiv written !"
"Oh, but!" Sheila interrupted. "Oh, but lt isn't Ink really, yon know. I'm not up to Ink yet. Auntie says it. makes your pinafores
dreffly stained, HO I just got a thin pencil and
kept licking it." She lookod nt him just a little distressed al hor lamentable juvonlHty.
"Yes. 1 know nil about thoso Inkon tricks," ho said engerly. "I got lt on my shlrt-ouff, See here." Tie soorohod thom both, and found them unspotted. "It's nt tho laundry," ho ex plained with a nod, Ruit, hor eyes wore on tho shoots of exercise paper.
"Are you going to put ll. In your paper?" sho asked, gathering courage In both hands.
Ile glanced up quito shocked. "Oh, dour, no!" ho said. Sho turned her face away, and catch ing her lower Hp between hor tooth, looked out tho window. "Not in tho 'Courlor?' " she askod »gain, a break in her yolce. It seemed too hard.
"Tuts, no." ho said,
"Why?" (her volco was hard and cold). "You said lt was good."
"So lt ls-beautiful."
"Thon why don't you? . Isn't lt a nico paper?" Ho shook his bond In somo oontompt.
"Then why do you hnvo lt?"
"I menu," ho.said, In Justification, "It's no good enough for that." Ho lndloatod tho po per within tho boundary of Ink, watch, croser, and knll'o with a long blue pondi.
Sho watohed his face in n wondering silence
"I-I-thought you were changing your mind," «he said nt latot, four In her voice.
Ho wnvod a reproachful hand, and, Booing that tho time wu« Hying, and tho hour of an
appointment nearing, ho folt lt unfortunately... advisable to speed events. Ho lonni towards her, his elbows on the table. "How would you like to hnvo it printed all by Ittiolf?" hg said, slowly.
She sat up straight, with I suddenly glad
"Oh!" she breathed; "could you really and truly do it."
"Say tho word," he said, masterfully.
"Could you print lt now, at once, fer me to take homo."
. For answer, he folded it, slipped it into r
long, blue, Important-looking envelope, and wrote 'something rapidly across the corner. Then ho sealed it, and stepped to the door. "Tupman,". he called, and, tho .susceptible ' gentleman appeared, with a promptitude noth
ing short of startling to ono unused to such
Jack-in-the-box ways. 'Take this," 'said the . editor, handing him the envelope, "downstairs to Mr. Clark. When you return, which will bo in ton minutes, you will bring this with you." Ho spoko distinctly and impressively, a's Mr. Tupman, under certain conditions, was apt to becomo rather hazy, and dismissed him.
< From tho deop chair, which scorned to 'swal
low her, Sheila watched tho editor pace up and down tho little office, his hands pocketed.
"Thought perhaps you weren't going to," she said at last, happily.
Ho stopped before her, and looked down into her uplifted oyes, that were blue and fair as the 'sky beyond the little wlde-rpen win dow. "We wud no line disappointed ye," ho said, gently.
She. gave him her hand suddenly, as she had once'seen a man do to tho dreamer, her father. And Tupman, entering in his dazed mood with
On the Lawn Swing«
out knocking, found thom hand In hand. He awoke from his dream, and gnashed hi's teeth.
"Eight minutos, If you please, slr!" he sa d hourly.
"Good! Got hence, Tupman!" for tha un happy gentleman had lingered one daring mo
Whon tho door was once moro closed on hil taisiy hool, tho editor, all with preternatural gravity, sat him down on his stool nt tho tablo, and onrofully corrootod the woll-lypod Bhocts.
"My! But lt's a braw story. I couldna hue tollt ano so weel," ho said. Ho stood up, and. gathering tho papers, pinned thom togothor with a fastonor, and stepping across put them Into her hand. Tho pink sprang into her cheeks like down in tho eastern sky. Throe loavos there wero of lovely stiff ps per, all blank o'i ono sido, and covered with purple print on tho othor, and all hor vory own writing! Sho felt ns if tho occasion had added a cubit to her stature Sho slipped out of tho gr~at cha'r, tho &tory clutched In one hand, and with tho othor sho caught his arm.
"Oh," sho Bald. "Oh! I dn think eût tar s are tho very nlcoBl mon." Sho looked up at him an editor who took things onslly-tears and smiles in hor face. "I'd rathor have this" (hug ging tho story) "than go to 13 ll th's party."
Ho whistled his astonishment. "Yo muBt bo ovor-amblttous." ho said; cud then, "Needless to remark, this Journey of yours is stolon?"
"Woll," she «returned apologetically, "you soo, thoy wouldn't have lot mo como If they'd known j but I'll toll directly I got homo, of course. Thoy won't mind whon they soo thiat" Sho turned tho leaves with trembling fingers, a glow In her taco, "I think I'd hotter go now-that lg If you don't mind," sho said polltoly.
Ho Btoppod to tho pogB and took lila hat down from whore lt hung. "I'vo a moment to spare, BO I may OB well escort you," ho said. Sho watched him In a .pleased silence, and thou slipped a soft hand Into his. Tupman, lurking tn a twilit cornor of tho pasBiigo, followed tho$u with bitter oyo«, All wive ovor thou, «nd
he saw her walk away out of his life dtown the , stairs; for tho elevator gave her little thrills of fear.
"Shall I carry it in my pocketbook few you?" the editor asked, as they stepped into the street.
With a little breathless gasp and ai slight hesitation she held it towards him'. She wanted
him toi know she was grateful; but', ob.! if only he had known the great pleasure the few in terested glances of passers-by had given her!
"Ah, never mind," ho said casually; "I haven't room." There was little those discerning eyes missed. So in an ccstacy of elation she skipped beside him, a strange drcami in her eyes; and he spoke several times before she heard. "If I put. you on the boat will you be able to go the rest of the way alone?" he asked. With a few deviations and omissions he had asked it thrice previously.
"Oh, yes," she answered quickly. "I came quito alone." At the plank he bent as sho lifted hor face1 that way, like a rose petal Jn texture. Then as the bell clanged she speej^aoross, and waved' hor hand to his waving hat.
And then-then-the mcmont of supreme bliss for which she had been existing! To creep into the farthest, least obvious corner of tba cabin, and read, and re-read, and devour!