Chapter 97529779

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97529779
Full Date1894-12-15
Page Number6
Corrections0
Word Count1091
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleWestern Star and Roma Advertiser (Toowoomba, Qld. : 1875 - 1948)
Trove TitleJerry: A Sketch in Sepia
article text

Jerry,

A SKETCH IN SEPIA.

CHAPTER I.

Jerry's hair was copper in the sun, hif Emm» was freckled, and his nose turned up. {Els ayes—well, they weren't a bit remark mi», only I may as well tell yon they were brown, and had an odd, larking little •park in them.

; TTi« garb was nondescript, and as scant kb .police regulations will wink at with a thermometer at lOOdeg. All Christmas

fire he had been driving hie trade of: fEvenin' Noos, sir," at King-street corner, and hadhit npon a brilliant expedient that

pwus at onoe the envy of Mb friends and the

flSttUBement of the tram-patronising public., ße had begged an old cigar box from ftomebody, and as each customer tendered M« coin for the printed sheet, Jerry jerked hi« funny little head on. one side with M Qi' ufl- a penny in here for my Christmas

box."

' Many smiled and complied. Jerry's box rattled loudly, his eyes snapped and. twinkled i his bare, muddy little feet deemed growing too light for his head.

How are you going to use it?" asked a pompo as old gentleman, keeping, his penny for a minute over the slit in the box.

• Jerry gave his wrist a dexterous little Iwytt, and the coin fell through with a

clatter.

" Mother's ill, father's in tiie 'orspital, kix of us starving no bread for Christmas Day," he said glibly, and his brown eyes called up a pathetic expression.

T The old gentleman seemed distressed. I" Dear, dear, and this in Sydney. Why it sdunds. like London," he said, bringing 'but hie pocketbook again. He extracted

Bd and held it with his stout thumb and forefinger oyer the slit.

"No bread, my lad? Is that really true?" His kind old face looked troubled.

" 'Strue's death ; may I be struck dead if it ain't." Jerry's eyes looked solemn, pathetic, irresistible.

' The . coin rolled in among the meaner ~coîhB,~àtt^ û~Woollaiira tram "bjore the old gentleman ¿way in its bosom. Jerry poked à f&ifchfal companion in the ribs and lifted

' a cerner of thé box for exhibition.

• "My Bcrimmjt" ejaculated the faithful companion. Then he added, wistfully,

"GiaVa brownie, Jerry, I'm hungry." j ]. He was the smallest, most-puny and I dirty little boy you' could see in a day's 1 maroh. Jerry fished out a penny, epat on ] it, shone it up affectionately, and then i "bestowed it upon him with t^cufE. j

' " EVnin* Noos, Misa — ; gie's a tram ticket for my Xmaa box.1'

' Asunshiny girl-face flashed down upon

him "for a minute from the bonnet of a

hospital nurse. The ejes wère laughing, thfc freßh young lipè were playing chasings with.20 smiles as she hurried along chat tering'to another nurse. She heard Jerrr, gavehim ae she passed two tram tickets and a Christmas smile, a whole glint of •unishine to himself.

Trams groaned, and grumbled, and extorted along their way. The sun dropped down j down, and still Jerry drove a roar' ingtrade.

By 8 the crowd had thinned a little, the last News was sold, and Jerry, with a chuckle, tucked the box under his arm and disappeared into the Bhadow of the city followed by the faithful companion.

À sixth share in an attioroom, somewhere near Belmore Park, was Jerry's home. A great muscular fellow about 20, and of the choicest larrikin * style, constituted hie family, %

" Hullo, Jerry, what'luck?"

Jerry's face shone, Mb eyes were afire with glad light, his small bosom heaved with pride as he exhibited the wealth in the box.

: His brother and two other men in the

room counted iteagerly.

** Seven and tuppence! My stars, you're a fine fellow, Jerry—I'm proud of y era, I em," said hiB brother. " What are you jgoin' to do, Jerry, bby f Ha' you thought yet, 'cause if y" ain't —"

But Jerryhad thought. He planted his littiehare legs apart, étuck his hands in Ida pookete, put his funny little head on one aide, and made his announcement ia £>he thin, .staccato voice that excitement always gave him,

" If s my Christmas-box to you all Tim, -I'll shout and we'll all go and get , drunk.

. *. ? *

Clink of glasses, an atmosphere el smoke and spirits, loud oaths from the {throats of many men and in the midst—— Jerry. •

Jeixy with brilliant eyes and bright

jfluahed cheeks, Jerry with foolish lips and jajjttôtoiinç utterance, Jerry with stumbling,

[unsteady little legs, intoxicated as anyone ¡in the room, the jest,plaything, Christmas' amusement of the company.

! " Gome on, Jerxy, half a glasB more," shouted a man, pushing another tumbler before hin. The child swore an oath he

lie had just h^ard^ staggered to thé table end declared he'd have a whole glass, no ihalvcs _ for him. Tim woke at last toa dull vague feeling of conscience. He fetuniblfed across the floor, felled to the ground with one blow of his power ful arm the man who had last spoken. •Then he cuiEed Jerry soundly, picked him .up, carried him through the bar, and de« posited him in the street.

<• Go right borne -with yon or Pli giv€ you a thrashing," he »aicl, giTMg^tíieJlittlc led * rough push homewards. •"•Then he turned into the public bouge again and ^went hack to his glass.

Down the street, lit with flaring gas jets, staggered Jerry. Twice the'pavement rosl up and hit him ; twice the walls tried t< push him on to the road. There wai « home" just across the street and down that narrow alléy. He had a glad, con fused feeling of pride to think of the boye there 1 seeing him "as drank as Tim.' He lurched into the road, recovered him self jauntily, and tried to thread a way among the bewildering Btream of horses and vehicles. A shout rose above the din of wheels, and the noise of surging life, a sharp, agonised little cry reached the ears of the hurrying crowd. It Btopped abruptly—the laugh—the jeBt iushed on many lips—it made a way into the middle of the road, ajid pressed close around the motionless waggon with its teeming load of Christmas parcels; it saw with horror a ?mall body lifted up-~crushed, blood

covered 1 Horrible!

Someone took it away somewhere. The crowd slowly dispersed and went to mingle with the throng on the pavement ; the waggon went on its way, and Jerry was forgotten.