|Newspaper Title||The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918)|
|Trove Title||The Bush Wedding|
-TI- IE BUSH.WmEDDI-G. . [By J. R: LOCKEYEAR.] Author of " Goulburn .Mary," "Little Mother," " Mr. Bunyip," or "Mary 1:.Somerville's Ramble," &c., &c. CHAPTER VIII. Thus song followed song, relieved by the strains of the concertina, the fun and merriment increasing with the advancing hours, and as they came to feel more and more at home with each other. During the evening one of the mv.trons, stimulated it may be by Ned's example, did her best to fan the Hymenial flame by rallying the loiterers matrimony-wards, "want ing to know, you know; whether it wasli't 'high time for so and so, who should be nameless to think about, etc., etc.; whether now, that yonng Tom had set them all the example it wouldn't be"as' 6ell if certain other parties awere to-follow suit,'? causing more than one young fellow to look somewyhat ill at ease.., One there was whose valour exceeded his discretion -wh-o,'in thel" interests of himself and the other y?oungfello's similarly circum'starced; 'called out, " Oh! -we shall coime up to6 the scratch. Mrs. H-- one of these fine days, never fear." "AlA, ah, I'm glad to seee the cap fits somebod;,: at' all events," replied the old lady, hilariously, amidst an outburst of merriment, " and I hope some others who shall be. nameless will take the hint as well." A father of a family ;in:the spirit of fun, and with a view to keepiing the ball rolling, assuming az most serious air, -ventured to advanceit'asi his own private opinion that if the young people knew when they were well off they would keep single and not be bothlired;witht marriage cares. He only wisedhed 'd-his time over again, etc., etc'. This outrageous sentiment resulted in, a sound cuffing of his ears by the wife'of' his bosom, whose teniperament was of a some what-,choleric character, and, who expressed her determination of not sitting- there to hear such heresy as that advanced, and amongst all those young people, too. So well had lie simulated seriousness, that he had entirely deceived his old lady, who had received 'these his professed sentiments upon the matrimonial subject as the.honest convictions of his mind. "Your'e-a--nice one to talk like that," exclaimed she, the hiatnis betweeo each- wordd being supplied with a well pronounced cuff. "You xere iniserable enough you ungrateful old creature ye, when I first knew ye, living all alone in the bush like an old mopoke; vith no one to _Wash a shirt for ye, or keep ye decent. If I'd have known as much of ye as I do now I'd ha' left ye there amongst the native bears, the fittest company for ye." Whilst these proceedings were tak ing place the room continued in roars of laughter, encouraging words reach ing the old'lady from different direc tionsL-" Don't spare him on my account Mrs. D- ; give him plenty while your hand's .in, he deserves it all,'' the victim,, with i hands protect ing his ears. casting a roguish glance around the room as opportunity offered. '" Now they' can see if Ianm right," ie" exclaimed, "In advisiig 'em to keep single, and this is nothing to what I shall have .when she gets me home." But--not the least sympait.li did the unhappy creature receive, the ve;dict. of the ladies. especially, to 'a man being,, "Just serves him r'ight, the. horrid: old thing!" t It was then proposed and carried inem cow that the procedings be varied with a little 'dancing, when any number of willing lands set at once to work to .remove the "im. pedimenta " in thle a`ayv of chairs. tables, &c. from the room, the elders retiring to the kitchen, where anmpl provision had been made for their en. joyn3ent, and where the hours glided happily away.. in talking: over, old times; the past .possessing for them more charms than the preserit, as is usually the case with persons ad vanced in years.' ' Large as was the dininngroom it was scarcely adequateto the require ments of all'those desirous of "taking the floor," but as they were deter mined 'u·on k making: circumstances bend to '.them,' rather than they 'to circunmtances, waltrzing. .was ':soon commeniced to the inspiritinig strains of tlhe concertina, and they continued whirling; arouid "absorbed *in tihe delights"'" of' the 'poety 'of motiori," the lovelight in many' an eye. 'We dreaded at first a Terpsichorean crisis,..or -dead.. lock, the . waltzers getting at times so intermixed, but they invariably managed to extricate themselves from their difficulties.; At first'we~ie're' pizzled to knov w-hat they.; interided'ito .do:, with tlie. con certiniaisti seeing no otlher way out-of the difficulty than by.putting him in the vacant fireplace withl his head up the chimney to save him from being whisked :'is-av irby the dancers, but there happening fortunately to be a recess in one corner of the room he was placed therein, aind "discoursed most eloquent music" hour after hourt to the dancers' hearts' content:;"' - Our 'tall,' facetiouis young friend was again to the fore, takingthe part of a"female, wearing a renmarkably highblady's hat, with a featlher prt-i. jecting .at least a foot' above;.that again whih g hch him the appearance. of being a'bout eight: feet in heigl~t. With this' and the skirt of a lady's dress, and assuming the airs and graces of- a- bashful and retiring young damsel, he was led during the progress of one of the dances to aseat in a seemingly fainiting condition, his temples :bathed and hands chafed by his partner in order to restore him amidst loud: laughter. Immediately after, as lively as a cricket, he favored the company:with a hornpipe. It was a glorious time for the "loaifers" of the p'ace, and almost every-towriship l'as its supply of these, open Ihouse being 1kept for the whole of the day, many a one availing him self of the opportunity to indulge in whatever .:was going in tlhe way of solids, and fluids. One such, a very old identity in those parts, and who had. -not: availed himself of the proverbial sunshine to make his hay, existing from day to day no one knew how, occasionally doing a little work, which -i's sure to be followed by long intervals of rest and drinking (especially the latter), greatly dis tinguislied himself in this way. Altholigh often a source of annoyance to the residents of tlhe place, he was still, they remembered, a pioneer of the district, and this, with them, con doned a great many offences, "Jack"
in particular being very, kind-to him, often receiving nothing but abuse in return. He was one of those who are invariably quarrelsome in their cups, the more drink he took the more disagreeable did he become, the seamy side of his nature showing itself upon this particnlar occasion especially, when anyone might reasonably have expected something better from him. He commenced his unpleasantness by thrusting himself, all unfitted as he was, in point of garb and ab sence of cleanliness-and Sabbath and week day were alike with him in this respect-into the presence of the dancers, challenging all and sundry to a competition in step dancing. His offer being "respectfully but firmly declined," lie became, as was his wont, abusive, and had. to be con ducted into the kitchen by the land lord, with a mild request that he' would remain there arid iot. again obtrude himself upon the isociety of the dancers; everyfthing he .could possibly desire.being placediatI his disiposat .There he remained' for a short: timne, brooding over whavt lie cobnidered a slilit, when thi'spirit of, caitanikerousness again asserted itself, and lhe soon became involved in uinplleasantness with everyone around him, monopolising the conver sation'andgiving the lie direct to.any one who might venture. to open his mouth 'upon any subject whatsoever. Even this did not satisfy liim, foi after a while lie jumped to his feet and made a'rush into the diningroom amongst the dancers, scattering them in all directions, and commenced one of his favorite step'dances, whistling' his owin accomipanuyment,. seemingly very much to his own satisfaction, but to the utter disgust of the rest. After' accomplishing ' this feat lie issued a second challerge, this tiine to fight any man ii thiecrowd for aiy sum of money they might think fit-to mention, his language being plenti fully bestudded withl the usual gems of oratory of gentlemen of liis class; and considering 'that lie rarely pos sessed two coins " to jingle together " the offer, we could not help thinking, savoured somewhat of boldness. This latter annoyance, as Dogberry would say, was " most tolerable and not to be endured,". and resulted in the owners of four strong and willing pairs of arms each taking him -by ai limb at the landlord's request, carry ing him to the rear, and locking himn in a stable, from which he continued to launch forth a- tirade of abuse against " Jack," the guests, and the world: at large, re-issuing from. time to time his challenge to fight "any man in the crowd." - " Old Jack needn't be quite so flash, he remembered him when he hadn't a shilling to his name. He could have been;as well off as him if he'd like, but lie wasn't one of them miserable sort that turned a sixpence over a dozen times before they spent it. No fear, money ,was round and made to go round, and while he'd a sixpence he meant to spend it--that was .his style! Wre they g6in' to let him out of that ? When he did get out he'd make it hot for some of em !" He again issued hIis challenge to "fight any man in the crowd, varying the entertainment at intervals *with a step dance or break-down, sneeringly asking ifther-e was "any man in the crowd could do anything like that," till at length exhausted with his efforts.he sank down upon the straw, fell into a profound stupor, and was no more ieard of that night. The dancers in the dining-room, and the guests in the kitchen, con tinued enjoying themselves in their various ways hour after liour, re freshments intervening, till the tiine arrived -for a goodly number of those advanced in years either to retire to the iooms placed st ttlei' disposal or return to their homes, a large propor tion following the latter course,; so buggies and other vehicles wer'e got out, horses harnessed- or saddled,- and the number of the guests soon'-ma. terially reduced..' The newly mairried couple had left at, an early hour for their parents' place, after all kinds of happiness being wished thein, as well as a prolonged hand-shaking all round. And now the dancers alone 'remained, Waltzes, quadrilles iand other forms relieving each: other in quick succession - our tall young friend fairly excelling himself as the ",wee sma' hours" came round, 'till at length a faint grey streak in the :eastern s sky reminded- them, .that they too slhould" trn tlieir -thoughits homewards. ; Many .an arr;dw 'ifrom Cupid's quiver had :eached its'. mark that day,.many 8a one had discovered a charm in life undreamt of hithe'rto, partners in the dance nwere destined to become, ere long, psartners for life, -while more than oneyourig girl whohad mridden unaccompanied into'Violetville at morn, would find an escort to her home that nigh't,;i ho, ei:e many moiths I should .pass, iwould also be her escort to Hymen's alt ar; :; Still more harnessing and saddling, more " nips" in many cases owith mine host, whose face by this time had become almost ablaze with brandy, with hot coffee, and similar aefresh iients for those who chose to partake of them, and tlhey were all once more either in the saddle or- conveyauce,. our ta]l young friend, true ;to his instinicts,,: assisting thle. ladies ;and children to the .utmost of his. ability, and .receiving . from : them ;alf .on pai ting a wiarmnishake of 'tlhe hand. fior his. good naturtie llid established him a firm 'favorite ,iithl' everyone, and they were allr makiing for.ttheir various homes with the fast .waning light of Luna, the. lover's lamp, to guide them at least a-portion of the way, and 'cairying away with themi matter for pleasant remembrance life-long in many cases-and a longing as well for the day to arrive when they themselves should perform the parts of principles at a similar " BUSIH WEDDING." ThE ESD.