|Newspaper Title||Southern Argus (Port Elliot, SA : 1866 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||The Kennises|
By Godfrey Egremont. [Author's rights reserved.]
Chaptek IV. (Continued from our last )
Harry Kennis, friendless and alone in Melbourne, without the means te pur chase a meal, felt for the first time in his life the dreadful pangs of hunger. Similar unfortunates jostled his elbow at every corner, young and aged, women and girls, all anxious to work (God help them), all unable to find it. Want their constant companion, Death starving tnem in the face, pointing to the muddy river, the swift bullet, the silent poison,
importunately urging it were better to leave the world thus than wait for starvation or sink iu foul dishonour. Harry remembered few happier moments of existence than when a livery- stablekeeper, who had advertised for an ostler, chose him from a erowd of envious applicants. The menial position he filled till, by great prudence and thrift, his savings amounted to ten pounds. With these he decided, after much cogitation, to leave Melbourne for the country districts, hoping to gain more congenial employment. Sis
wanderings were loDg and dreary, but terminated eventually at Sqoanton. There, a good natured contractor, Boggle by name, took rather a fancy to the 6eedy, gentle-voiced young Englishman, showed him a heap of stones, and handed him a hammer, cost of latter being duly deducted from the first week's wages. Boggle, to be candid, openly declared he would take any person into partnership who could find five hundred pounds, and repeated his assertion to Harry Kennis. He wanted a ( spell,4 he said, and a younger partner to look after the work mean while. This gave our friend courage once more to prefer a humble request to Aunt Martha that she -would be pleased to send the petitioner five hundred pounds for the said purpose, amply set out as a found and desirable investment, in consideration whereof her petitioner would ever pray, &c. He had vowed never to ask his aunt for .money again, shamed by her generosity and the care lessness with which he had wasted her remiUancep.
So far, she had not replied. Harry remained, therefore, hammering lustily for Mr. Boggle, gaining the affection and reBpect of the rough navvies with whom he was thrown into contact by the exercise of that considerate and un ostentatious bearing, which makes a true pentletnan, whether he sits upon a throne or cracks stones by^the roadside. So engaged we find him this bright irorn:ng, working on resolutely, though mouths have past since Squanton first knew him, and the realization of his heart's desire apparently far away as
ever. Dinner-time came, a welcome respite. He laid down the hammer, put on bis coat, and, according to usual practice, walked to the town, where a plain abundant meal awaited his big appetite and thorough digestion. He marched quickly onward, soon gaining the mile's end. Another habit delayed him at the post-office. Time after time bad he called, till the querulous, wiz sened postmistress voted him a complete nuisance. To his usual questions this time, how . ever, she replied, * Be you Hany Kennis, Esquire ?' 4 My name is Harry Kennis,' he answered, feeling the other appellation rather ridiculous. *Then these is for you, not much good news, a body might say,' handing him two letters whose black-edged borders she felt certain boded evil tidingp. * Thank you.' Harry clutched them nervously, placed them carefully in bis coat-pocket, and harried to 'The Wag gon.' His room was a cock-loft near the roof, so near, that a tenant lying a-bed could look at the stars through chinks in the shingles. Seated on his narrow stretcher he took out the letters, opened and read that one which he ob served bore his name written in a straBge, stiff hand, the Captain's scrawl completing the addrees —
1 Lincoln's Inn Fields, * London, 16th Dec, 18—. * Harry Kennis, Esquire. 4 Dear Sir — It is our duty to acquaint you with the fact that your estimable aunt, Miss Martha Mayrick, departed this life on the 2nd ult., at Altonkennis, peacefully resigned to the will of the Creator, and having made every proper arrangement (with our a-sistance) for the disposal of her affnirf. * The will is executed' absolutely in your favor, and we beg to offer our con gratulations on your accession to so fine S property. 1 Mr. Bratntree still acts a- steward. We should advise his retention in that . cap- city, as under his management the estate haw bten vastly iinprov* d, fentnea doiva drained, &c, during the last two or *h-ea years, at the comparatively aifiuig cast of about twenty-five thous and pUtlilur'. ' Aeiiiif? in our capacity as Solicitors lo the Kffuae, we have thought it advis able 10 close the establishment till your return. One or two old domt sties re ir.ain in the house with the coachmen and his wife, who are in charge, subject, of course, to the steward's iv^rsignf. Accouuts are kept of *.H di buisementf, and this plan baa worked satisfactorily so far. * We have enclosed this letter in one addressed to your relative, Captain Kennis, as requested b- the de eased ; \our address at the tine of her oeath being unknown, Captain Kemiip, we ..rebuue, will forward this io you.
SiiJtU ;'SCi-.iv£ our ;j:vjLD[-t aUsiuioa, s-ini : w« shall expect a communication from you so soon after receipt hereof as con venient. ( There is an accumulating balance to credit of the estate at jour late aunt's bankers, but various legal processes are nesessary before you can operate. Pending other arrangements, we hereby authorise you to draw on us at sight for, say, any amount not exceeding £5000 (five thousand pounds). Our correspondents in Melbonrne, MesBra Weathere-e, Sharpe, & Co., have been | duly advised, and will negotiate your draft on presentation of this letter. Waiting the favour of your acknow ledgement and instructions, I * We beg to remain, dear sir, | ' your most obedient servants, ' Bramfield, Modley, & Bramfield.' To be continued incur next.