|Newspaper Title||Southern Argus (Port Elliot, SA : 1866 - 1954)|
" I say, Vi, what a bore. Here's an end to all our ' best-laid schemes.' No more charades, nor music, or nice old yarns over night. I vote Aunt Fennimore a feminine muff." " And I shall not second that, Don," I replied gravely. " You won't ? — and you're always my staunch ally, too. Come, unsay that now,'
said my handsome cousin Donald McGilton, who stood before me in all the glory of his six feet high manhood as I sat in the summer house one spring afternoon doing a piece of delicate lace-work. " Not when I think you are wrong, Donald," I said in reply to his last remark. He smiled his own bonny smile at me, and sat down by my side. " My little Solon," he said, fingering my work, and with a glance half critical, half approving, " you'll have to put away all this when the she-ogre comes." " No I shall not," said I ; " and besides, I won't have you calling Aunt Fennimore such names. You don't know her, and it is unjust as well as unkind to talk of her like this. I didn't think you had imbibed those foolish and wicked notions." " What notions are they ?" he asked, with an arch uplifting of his black eyebrows, and a sudden light of interest in his eagle eyes. " Why, talking so depreciatingly of women, especially old ones. I tell you Don, no man is the better for having got ahead of his grandmother." " Got ahead of his -- ? Whew ! Why, Violet, what do you mean ?" He had seized my wrists, and was looking straight into my face. " I mean that it shows weakness as well as wickedness to affect such scorn of women.' " My ! Ain't I a reprobate !" he said, rolling up his eyes. " Besides, you don't know her, as I said before, and — — " " Don't know her !' he exclaimed ; " don't I know she'll worry the life out of you about your frills, and paniers, and humps, and the godless waste of time you indulge in doing this cobweb stuff ? And don't I know the identical look of her luggage, though I never have seen it — one band-box, one hair-trunk, one umbrella-case, one reticule, one lap-dog (' glass, with care'), and one nondescript parcel, which turns out to be a rag-bag !" " Now, Don, it's too bad ; it's a piece-bag,' I cried ; " and Aunt Fennimore always takes it with her to please children. That shows there's something good in her at all events." " Steady, spitfire ; you'll want the curb, I see -- ' " Don't talk 'horsey' to me, Donald, or I shall leave you," I interrupted, putting on an air of injured dignity, which I have no doubt sat alarmingly with my sixteen years. Donald looked at me for a few moments with a variety of expressions on his bright face; but I would not smile, and kept my eyes cast upon the floor. " If that's it, Vi, why I shall go ; I've had enough, thank you." " Oh, don't go away, Don." He subsided into his old place. Don and I never misunderstood each other for long - I took good care of that ; and if I was the aggressor generally, I was nearly always the one to concede. " Who told you so much about Aunt Fennimore ?" I asked when he had assured me that
his temper was quite unruffled. " You do abuse me awfully," he said ; " one would think I was a rake." " Oh, Don, you know I never meant any thing like that," I returned penitently : " but who told you ?" " Why Lin, of course." " Lin ?" " Yes, Lin. Is Aunt Fennimore a favorite of yours, Vi?' " I don't know that she is ; but she is a great friend of papa's, and is really kind and good, and deserves our highest respect, in spite of her foibles." " In spite of her rag-bag. Now don't get savage, Vi ; I am going altogether soon ; and then we can't be near each other. I wouldn't care if she had stayed home till I was gone. But what does she do with that old rag-bag, Vi ?" "Why, Don, it's full of scraps - lace, silk, and bright cloths, and merino, and fringes, and wools, so dear to girls ; and there are bits of leather, and tiny packages of nails and rivets, and so on, to suit boys. And wherever she is visiting she gets up a little fete for the children, and distributes the things, which they are expected to make use of and show her the result on her next visit, It's only a fancy of hers.' " She has been ill, hasn't she ?' " A little ailing." " Ha !" " Donald, I am ashamed of you." " Violet, why ? - what have I done to arouse
that burst of indignation ? Unlucky me." " I know what you meant : you meant that it would have pleased you if she had been ill enough to hinder her visit. It's a shame to make light of suffering." " 'Let's change the subject, Vi," he said, with a provoking flash of his dark eye. " I want to talk to you about my going away. I want you to choose something nice for a keepsake for your mamma — a piece of jewellery I think will do. What shall it be now ?" " Lin is coming," I said, pointing up a sidewalk, where I could see Linford Weston, a sort of ward of my father's, coming toward the harbor, " Never mind then, dear ; we'll talk about it some other time," Donald replied. And as he finished the sentence, in rushed Lin, and flung himself almost breathless down between us. ' I say," he cried ; " Eureka, that gov. of yours is a regular brick. Beg pardon, Vi." " Ah ! pray what discovery have you made ?"asked Don, drily, " Why, she writes poetry." " The very culmination of brickishness, I should say." " Now, Don, you needn't be after snubbing me," said Lin., impatiently. " My dear fellow, I didn't intend to snub you," answered my cousin, laying his long fingers across the boyish hand that rested on the arbor table. This disarming gesture restored amity ; for Lin, was very good tempered, only a trifle suspicious of being quizzed by mankind older than himself, and especially when a lady was the subject of converse. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX ' You sneered,' he said, half apologetically. *? Did I ? Not at you, Lin, my boy.' ** What's up, old fellow,' said Lin, sym pathetically, He must have noticed that Donald betrayed unusual symptoms of dislike regarding the conversation which had been
interrupted by his satiric remark. 'Nothing is the matter, Lin; only the time is going too fast,' he said, looking at his watch, with a face almost as calm then as the small dial-plate he surveyed. 'She writes poetry,' I said to myself, musingly. ' I didn't know that, Lin.' ' I know it, then ; and stunning etufi^ too.' 'Oh, Lin!' 'Well, Vi — I mean not doggerel, like moBt that comes out in the papers.' ' Writes for the papers?— who told you?' I exclaimed, more astonished than ever. ' It came out through Martie. It appears he was out walking with her one day, when she sat down on a stump and began to write, and Martie saw it was poetry. *Do you write poetry, Miss Vincent?' he said, in astonishment. * Sometimes, Martie.* ' For the papers? — what's your signature ? I think there's the funniest signature in the Journal, Miss Vincent, — it's * Fennel ? but the pieces are lovely/ Whereupon Miss Vincent colored so that Martie put on his considering-cap ; and being allowed great liberty of speech, he said, 'Are you 'Fennel,' Miss Vincent?' * Don't say any morn about it Martie,' she said, and got up to go home. Martie's con clusion was that Miss Vincent is ' Fennel ;' ' for/ he shrewdly argues, * she'd have said no in a moment if it hadn't been her ; and, oh, it's beautiful !'' ' Where did she come from ?' asked Donald, suddenly. 11 1 don't know ; she came here in person to answer an advertisement for a governess, said she was directed here, aad begged us to forego references, as she had none. We have had her six months, and mamma intends to keep her as long as she needs a governess.' 'I. think she is so pretty, and so sad looking,' said Lin; no wonder she signs 4 Fennel.' I am certain her life has known bitterness. ' 1 pledge you in this cup of grief. Where flows the fennel's bitter leaf,' quoted L ' Lin, do you remember ' The Goblet of Life?'' ' Yee ; Longfellow's,' he said, with a quick smile ;Jl but we must guard this secret, Violet. I told Martie not to say one word more about it to anybody, for I thought it might confuse her.' Lin's thoughtful blue eyes were fixed on the distant scenery ; and Don was gazing away — nobody knew where ; I don't think he knew himself. 'Well,' said Lfa, arousing himself and us, ' I'm going for a gallop to the Cross Roads ; coming, Don?' ' Not now, Lin ; some day before I go I'll have a rare long time with you.'' And in a moment Lin was gone. ' Now, Don, we can talk about our little affair,' 1 said, stealing close to him, and rising on tiptoe to get my hand on his shoulder. 'I forgot all about it, little woman,' he said, bending down to kiss my forehead. I was not a far-seeing person in those days : I felt that something set uneasily with my dear old cousin ; and in my well-meant sym pathy I said just what I ought to have let alone. ' Don, don't you like Miss Vincent ?' He laughed a little bitter laugh, and half averted his face. ' How or why should I, Violet, when she avoids and detests me ? You know she will not take any part in charades because of me ; that is, any part where she may come in con tact with me. But do not talk of ber,' he said, a little impatiently ; ' I want to know about this keepsake for Aunt Emily.' ** A ring,' I suggested. '$ The very best I can get. It must have some nice stones,1' said Donald, with the eager interest of a boy, 'Pearls and garnets are mamma's favo rites,' I said. 'Pearls and garnets be it then. Look here, Violet, I'll just canter into town to night for it. You must give it to her after I am gone. You know I hate to give to any one but you j so you'll manage it, dear, won't you?' ' Do give it yourself, please Don ; she'd be eo pleased,' I pleaded; but my handsome whimsical cousin sealed my lips with a coax ing kiss, and strolled off to look after his horse. Donald and I were the best of friends ; for we eaoh boldly criticised the other, and paid no false compliments. He was years older than J, and be was an orphan, Up to ten
years of age he had lived uninterruptedly with tts, and at long intervals since. But now he was going away for a long time, after a delightful holiday with us. We had planned many pastimes to take place in the days which should intervene ; and now they must all be put off; for Aunt Fennimore was coming, and that meant gravity and quiet — ' pokerishnes9,' to quote from the graphic vocabulary in vogue with Don and Lin. I did not mind it, for quietness sat well with my mood just then. I was going to part from one who was as dear to me as the dearest brother ; and I loathed to spend one of these last days or even hours in noisy mirth. (To be continued in our next.)