|Newspaper Title||Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Dark Days: A Story of Light|
CHAPTK'K II. I
. The two friend! waited two days beloro making . movement towards accepting the warm invitation they had reoeived, and then their laggard steps were hastened by meet ing the major upon the cliff, " Good morn ing I" he said, with a quite a military salute. " I was in agony all day yesterday, for fear you should call. Had one of my fits on, gentlemen ; remains of my fever. * Liver, I suppose. The paradise of a place looked a desert, and tho world something to get out of as soon as possible. Ah, how I envy you young fellows your health and strength 1
" Which we ran down here to touch up,"
"Touch upi" said Captain Sanctuary, whom they suddenly came upon, spyglass in hand, seated in a niohe of a granite cliff. "What do you boys know of ill-health!? Idle exouso to get away from town for a holiday. Old story. Told it myself at aohool. ' Please, sir, I've got euoh a bad headache, may I go home ?"
"Brother Jaok, gentlemen, is one of the best-hearted misanthropes in - the, world," said the major.
"Rubbish I Misanthrope I As to the world, it's hollow-humbug. I'm glad to get out of it. We did get ss far oat of it as we could without going into the sea-eh,
" My brother, gentlemen, has an idea in his head that I ought to have been Com mander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Foroes, instead of a poor half-pay major.'
" You've been disgracefully treated, Tom, and you know it."
" Noneaense, Jacki I've got all I deserved. How could a broken old fellow like I am ever do much good ? The cruelty has been in lotting you go unrewarded, after all your
faithful services and wounds."
" Hang it, Tom 1 if you can't talk com mon sonse before strangers, I must go ;" and shutting tho toleecopo up with a dang, just as if ho were sheathing a sword, ha marched
off without look or salute.
The major smiled.
"That's how brother Jaok and I quarrel, gentlemen," ho said. "He outs me, and I out him, and we come to high words about tho rewards we ought to have had, and then, puff 1 it's all over, and we go to our hobbies, twas just looking round to see if it was worth whilo to bring out the camera, but thora it too much sunshine, and I am glad I
mot you, gontlomen. Como along up to the I house." M
Riobard Barry looked at Fred Xushmore,
and his eyes «aid plainly enough, ." This ir j
an original family ;" and Lusmore returned the glance with one that said, " Quite right, it (8 ;" and then they followed the major along the cliff, while he stopped from time to time and pointed out the best sea-views, chatting away volubly the while.
"That's a fine bit," he said. " You can see the Gull Rock well. I've got photo graphs of all these, indoors. There now, stand there, both of you. That's quite safe if you don't try to jump off, and I won't push you over. There you are now. "Watch that gr^at wave slowly rolling in like a long hill of irater ; here it comes, faster and faster. There it ia, turned into a breaker ; and those cascades of water are washing the rock below quite smooth, as they have gone on washing it for thousands of years. How far
down ia that ?"
"Sixty feet," cried Luamoro.
"Ah, quite eighty," said Barry.
J* Two hundred and eleven, my dear sirs, plummet. These heights, in the presence of so much that is great, are deceptive. Fine sea-view, isn't it T One step and yon would be-out of England."
' !"? Out of 'the world, I should say," said Barry. - -
J'Right, my dear sir, you would. Out-of the-way place for a couple of old soldiers to cöAie to, eh? Faot is, we can't afford Lon don and society, so we come down here. Rent's oheap, living ditto, and brother Jack and I can indulge in our hobbies, and growl at ¡the world. Now, turn through this gap, up these steps, and here we are. Ah 1 there's Jack gardening, and the girls are at
They climbed up some rough granite steps, passed between some natural pillars of rook, and found themselves directly after in front of ' a very charming cottage, built in a sheltered nook facing tho sea. It was pro tected on three sides from the winds, and the rugged natural terrace on whioh it had been erected had been turned, with admirable taste, into a rockery upon an extended scale. There were no prim, straight walks, and well-shaped flower-beds, but the nooks and oornors had been filled with rich soil, flowers and ferns planted, and every level spot .arpoted with velvet turf, la one corner was a conservatory, put were it would catch the full glow of tho southern sun, and in endless places advantage Had been taken of the ruggedness of the place > to form verdant
nooks. ) '
'.'All 'brother Jack's work," said the
major, noting the admiring 'glances bf the friends. " Couldn't do- that in a garden round London, forty feet by twenty, eh ?
conger-line and a
" Fred Iiusmoro thought of his collar nud tio as ho bowed politely " (5« talc, " Dark Days ").
There's Jaok going to put on his coat again just os he had taken it off."
In effect the captain disappeared behind a piece of fern-hung granite, bat his abBenoe was hardly needed, for the ladies rose from where they-were at work and came forward.
" Charming 1" said Lusmóre that evening, as they sauntered back in the moonlight to the inn. "I never spent so pleasant an evening in my life. That quiet, tall girl, May Sanotuary, is my very ideal of a sweet women, so natural, so full of repose. And as for the other, she is a regular witch. She's SB merry as a cricket." '
"Are crioket'a merry!", said .Barry, quietly. . . ,
" Don't know ;' never was on a cricket's visiting list j but one muBt have'smiles. Why, Dick, what a quiet old fellow you are ! I should have thought you would have lilted a couple of girls like those ;: they are so fresh and uuartificial."
" I did like them," Baili Barry quietly. " You don't wa n't a mau to jump about and shout because ho is pleased, do you 7"
"Not I, but you Boomed what we Lin colnshire folk call clunch. You were dull and heavy and distant all the evening."
" It was from quiet enjoyment then." [?
" Ah 1 that's right. I say . what a capital' pair of old chaps they are 1 Who'd have thought of meeting such men down here 7"
" And such women I" ,
. " Murder 1 you oughtn't to talk of such a pair of sylphs aa women."
"There I differ from you," said Barry smiling. " Woman is the grandest title you can give to one of the other sex. A woman 1 What is greater, more beautiful than a true
" Hark at him I" said Lusmore, addres sing nobody. "He is getting up a lecture.; But I say, Dick, where's t'other !"
I "' Where's t'other!' What do you mean !"
"I'd forgot all about him - the dark j gentleman in tho yachting serge, who is sup
posed to be engaged to one of the young ladies. Hau g tho fallow I I'd made up my mind to fall in love, and I can't do that, of course, until I know which one is free."
, "Yes ; I had forgotten the dark gentle man," said Barry. " However, he could be spared."
, V Perhaps he' is off yotobting^" said Lus. more, as they turned into their rooms. " If he is, may he take it into his head to sail on all round tho world, for he would be dooidedly de trop here." ?
'.' Perhaps that would-bo his sentiment with regard to us." ,