Chapter 148380668

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Chapter NumberII
Chapter TitleA SCRAP OF THE MBLBOURNE ARGUS.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article148380668
Full Date1893-09-09
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count1786
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEastern Districts Chronicle (York, WA : 1877 - 1927)
Trove TitleMaoriland Ho! Nature's Enchanting Wonder Isle. A Weird and Entrancing Romance
article text

CHAPTER II.

A SCRAP OF TIIK MBLOOUUME AUG US.

It was oneo'cluck p.m. on a blazing February afternoon. Scone : TlioTitori Valley Goldtields, Malietu, Now /Zealand. At sucli an hour people in tlic old country were, fur the most part, pulling nut their fires, lighting caudles, aud otherwise pre paring for bed.

Out here, at the antipodes, instead of rain and sleet and fo;r, and with the tem perature at zero, tliero beamed forth a liot eun, whose slanting rays warmed up the deep valley like a gigantic oven. Beneath the scorching heat a vast crowd delved and perspired in all tlio feverish expectation of becoming suddenly rich.

During the mid-day meal every man was glad of the short respite which gave them a spell out of the intense lieat. Puddling, washing, and the noise of pick and cradle weref still for a spice. The busy human hive on the vast New Zea land Tom Tiddler's Ground staodt or squatted in groups eatinp, smoking, chat ting around their touts, which formed a primitive city of streets.

The Titori Valley diggers had repre sentatives of every class in their ranks from the white-handed man of gentle rearing and education down to the de faulter, the confirmed -loafer, and the escaped felon. From all parts of the world they had flocked-a very babel of nationalities and tongues, hungering for gold-gold that glittered on the surface that clung to the roots of the up-torn

ferns.

In a tent of tolerable dimensions were two men. One of the twain was seated on an empty flour-cask, smoking his after dinner pipe, and, from his attitude, was evidently lost in reverie.

Tall and fair, he exhibited a iqodel qf strong Saxon manliuess. The collar of his red Garibaldi thrown back, displayed a choBt as fair as a womau's; a round firm throat, on which rested a grand head, crowued by silky ^urls of rich red brown. A splendid beard of the samo hue descended to liis breast, liis features wore handsome, yet the charm of his faco lay in his eyes.

Oijp of the greatest students of the humnn face divine of modern times has said that the true index to a person's disposition in to be found in tlio eye alone. This man'x eyes-clear, large, gray in color-had a grave, sad expression therein; but they were capable of all the lire of the Roman Gladiator, with iho gentlouosB of woman,

lfis soojal status in the civilized world would have been easy to determine with out the aid of tlio shapely hands, fast be coming hardened by piok and shovel. Every tone of his voice, every move of his body, bespoke a gentleman by birth,

oduoation ana association.

What turn of ' Fortune's wheel could havo brought the man here amongBt tlio wild gang to boar the hardships of a dig ger's life/

liis companion waB altogether a differ ent type of man sq far a« outward appear

ance went. Tall, dark, slender, with al most a feminine beauty of face ; the dark, liquid, passionate eyes of a poet, though he had never written a line ; a small, ex pressive mouth ; a manly, gentle nature. He was the youngest of five sons, and al though born of a good old family in the West. Riding of Yorkshire, the Howe's wewu powM tbe prornfeM oburcb

mice. Boyotid a colkgo education and some vague oxpoclatioiis from an old re lation in India, Fenton Howe hadn't a penny. Not curing to remain a drone in the hivo at lioino, ho had gone out to New Zealand, where we find him at the Titori Valley.

Here, where Btrange tilings happened every day, ho had met Temple Vane. Physically unfitted for a digger's life, un able to cope with tho rcsiBtleBB, reckless, puBliing crowds, young Howe-his limbs aching from hard, manual labor, liad succumbod to fever-fever on agoldfield, where ovoiy man waB for himself, and ho

had not u friend.

No I not every man, for when Fenton canto back out of the grim jaws of death, weak and prostrate, he found A red bearded stranger by his rude couch, o tall, strong man, who spoke to him in accents soft and soothing us those of a woman, mid who kept by liira and nursod him day and night with a bright, chcorlul paticncc.

The invalid had pleaded with his nurse with tho grateful tears of love in his eyes mid voice. " My dear Vane, your claim, old fellow ! Don't stay hero ; what nug gets you may miss tending such a weak, useless scapegoat as I !"

" Tutlaughed Temple Vane. " What aro all tho nuggets in the world to a man's life ? It seems to mo that you and I are very muoh alone out here. Let us be friends and dig together. What say you ?"

Howe had pressed the strong hand* with his thin white lingeis, and mur mured ' in a broken voice, " you have saved my life. What friendship can re pay that debt ?"

From that moment they liSd thrown in tlioir lot together. Fortune had fairly lavored them ; life was bearable.

Fenton Howo, though open and caudid with reference to himself, could learn nothing of the antecedents of liis chum. In reply to n quostion why he had come out to tho Titori Valley, Vaue had light ly answered-" I am poor j that iB one reason ; for a second, you know tho adage-? one fool makes many.' "

Lightly as the words were spoken, there was a singular look of melancholy in the grey eyes which never disappeared.

Of one thingFcnton became convinced his mate had something on hiB mind some trouble, which at times made htm restless even in Eleep; for at such seasons he would spring up with a sharp cry of

terror, or mutter in his dreams. Once he had started froin hi* bunk in the dead of night, and with quick, fierce utterance, had denounced sonio imaginary foe. '. Fool! fool! to be duped by such a beautiful devil. Do not come near jne hell-hag, with an angel's form-begone, or I'll strike thee dead at my feet. Away 1"

But as timo passed these nightmares grew rare, and the long fits of reverie been 1110 le?B frequent.

Temple Vane was in one now, however. Liis comrade, leaning back in the camp chair reading Braddon'e " Dunbar," which he had purchased at a high price, glanced overhis book fit the silent figure

oi his friend. For half an hour he had not once altered his position. Though his eyos were bent out on the open visbk of rock and chasm, Fenton know be saw nothing.

Suddenly ho moved and recovered him self with a sigh, lie re-lit liiB pipe, and then took up a sheet of the Melbourne '* Argus," which had been wrapped about some article Fenton Howe had purchased

at the store.

Those who live in cities and have the boon of a newspaper every morning can form but a faint idea how eagerly an old edition is perused on a remote goldfield. Tho wrapper was but half of tho 6rat sheet; nevertheless the young digger be gan to read it. Fenton had returned to his book, when his atteution was arrested by an abrupt exclamation from his com

nariion.

Glancing across ho saw Templo Vane's Countenance lurj ashen pale. The brows were drawn sharply together ; ',he lips compressed ; the wholo face changed as suddenly as liy the wand of a mesmerist. Was it indiguution-hate-fear-what ?

Before Ftsnton could shapu the ques tion, Vane turned aside to hide his facet but tho young inan saw his mate's strong frame shaking like a reed in tlie wind.

What could there bo in that fragment of an old newspaper so to mare him ?

Uowo would havo liked to ask, yof something warned liiin to hold liistougue. llo had been a witness to some powerful emotion the other desired to hide.

For some moments Vane remained motionless, save for the tremor which shook him. Then, fiercely-yes, fiercely crushing tho fragment in his hand, his lips muttering something which might have beeu an cxecration, he flung it from; him, roBe, and stooping his head, quitted'

the tent without a word. \

Th»ttlio-old scrap of -|uper bad been' the causu of Vane's abrupt change, there!

was no doubt in the mind of Fenton' Howe. There it lay. Putting aside his novel the young digger reached for it, And smoothed it out1 on his knees. He fan his gazo over the advertisements c there could be nothiug there. Stay I hero was tho agony column. Was it there ? What more likely ?

" Should this meet the eye of Donald M , late of S y, ha is earnestly

desired to communicate with Clara M

2 - Street, Kensington, Adelaide, < South Australia, who is able to give hiui 1 some information of his mother, lately "

from Scotland." i.

"Humph," rcQocced Fenton, "'there ; I is nothing in thai to make a pleasant '

fellow pile so much, and scowl like* fiend. What's this?"

"£500-The above toward will be paid over to any porBon or persons giv ing information that will lead to the cap ture of one Jocelyn Vanborough, sup posed to have succeeded iu escaping from Pentridge Stockade Prison to the North ern Island of New Zealand. Height, 5ft. lOiti.; well made; complexion, fuir; eyes, bluish grey ; features, good ; age, about 30; looks younger. When last seen wore heavy moustache only. Pos sibly now may have shaved, or wears bcavd. Information to be sent to the Odice of Police, Melbourne."

Young Howe sat staring at the para graph like one who hail fur the moment loBt tho faculty of thinking. There could bo no doubt to whom that adver tisement referred, nor what had caused liiB comrade's violent emotion. The des

cription was simply a photograph in words of Templo Vuno j while tho name -Jocelyn Vanborough-slightly altored, no doubt, but tho same. It was too ovi

dent.

Tho young mail had only timo to cruinplo the paper mid caBt it on the ground ere Vane returned. There was a sivuro gleam in his eyes as he shot a quick glance round the tent, took up the sheet and tore olT a portion, aud again

loft tho tout.

" That's it," luutterod Howe, gloomily watching the tall figure striding away. " He is iiit hard. His faoe shows me that he is the uiau wanted. X had begun to love this man for his seoming uoble Dft*

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