Chapter 52271617

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52271617
Full Date1888-10-01
Page Number0
Corrections0
Word Count1095
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleMorning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)
Trove TitleThe Village Postmistress
article text

THE VILLAGE POSTMISTRESS.

[UV SIBELLA B. EDGECOMBE.]

CHAPTER L

" Muffins and crumpets made to order."

Thus ran the written notice, penned, too, in characters nearly approaching half-text, stuck np in one of the few principal rhops

facing the main street.

The unimportant village of Lammerton lay somewhat far away from any town, and there- fore did a fair amount of steady-going busi-

ness on its own account.

Foremost of all ranked the repository, or store, rented by Janet Lisle, io which she sold stationery, newspapers, the magazines of the day if duly ordered in time, besides a variety of useful odds and ends.

She was also the village postmistress( and carried out the duties of bec office with a marked regard to promptitude.

In each of these pursuits, however, she was aided by her pretty and also winsome niece. Elsie Falconbridge.

In all reality Elsie was more mistress of

thc postal department than Janet Lisle her-

self.

It was sb« who ordinarily undertook the dispatch of that twice a-day lettering, bestow- ing upon each missive previously the due official Btamp-mark.

Janet Lisle's right hand, in fact, as every

one said.

Mutfiosand crumpets, wereso popular in the village that no one ever dreamt of having a tea-party without having " muffins and crum- pets " to match.

*' Oblige me with a penny stamp, Miss Falconbridge ; won't you ?" and a somewhat elderly man at that moment stared her full in the face-this necessarily, however-through the gap made in the wire network marking off the space allotted to the Post Office De-

partment.

She banded him what he required.

" And a registered envelope also," be said. Again she had fulfilled his request.

" Thank you," and without more ado he deposited a £5-note within tbs same.

" All right," he soliloquised as old gentle- men are eo fond of doing. " Come ; that's done at any rate," he added, in self congrat- ulatory fashion.

Then came atoad, questioningly-" In the letter-box, or shall I leave it with you ?"

" You can leave it here," answered Elsie, quietly.

Others were now coming in fast, demanding this and that, and in adopting a calm exterior lay her only chance of attending rightly to each petitioner.

Janet Lisle also wee unusually busy that afternoon. Miss Veal, the richest old lady in the parish, gave a large tea-party that very evening, and muffins and crumpets were accordingly being sent off in startlingly large quantities.

" Is there any letter waiting for me to-day, please ?" asked a somewhat timid voice a few minutes later on.

" No, Miss Josephine, nothing."

I "I am sorry. Disappointing ; is it not ?"

The two speakers seemed fully to compre- hend each other. There existed, apparently, a sort of pleasant sympathy between them.

Both were pretty. Both looked good, and

} also thoroughly in earnest. Only that the

assistant post . mistress appeared full of brightness and life, and the girl now facing her wore the aspect of being already tired of

life.

" Yes ; very. I am sorry too."

"Thank you. You are always kind. I will look in again to-morrow if my doing so will not trouble you too much."

" Not at all, Miss Josephine."

The last-named was already moving away

to mike room for someone else.

Elsie Falconbridge had, however, not yet completed her business with the late lawyer's daughter.

.j . i , flutLijiuit.u,- xaae wy place here for a moment."

Janet Lisle nodded in assent.

" De come in here an instant with me ; won't you ?" and Elsie signed that " MIBS Josephine" should accompany ber into tba coBy back parlbur, where all was now in readi-

ness for tea.

" The fact is, Miss Josephine, I've done the most stupid thing imaginable to-day-made a mistake and prepared nearly twice tbe number of crumpets that will be wanted by anybody. Isn't it absurd of me ? You won t mind-no, I'm sure you won't, Miss Josephine -helping me out of my trouble ?"

But how?" came hesitatingly, in response. Then came,"Ar, 1" so bravely, for ¡tis even difficult to tell tte plain truth in such matters. "I can't. It's suite impossible. We have no money ; don't yon understand ?"

" Absurd I" wes the interruption, " Why, it's a favour I'm asking from you ; don't you see? I knew you would be in today for certain, and would befriend me. It's only that I want yon, if you don't mind the trouble, to carry home a dozen or so to your sweet mother. Macy's the dozen she has ordered from us in the past, when perhaps we haven't been able to supply her. One can't forget the faot, you know, in a hurry. So there they are, Miss Josephine, all hot and ready buttered, for I don't think you would know bow to do it yourself. You had better go out this way, by the side door, and then no one will be the wiser for the favour you've done me."

For one brief instant her worn pale-faced companion had bent down impulsively, and laid her own soft cheek a.ainst Elsie's, and the next wholly unable to speak, ehe had dis- appeared.

" A rathsr heavier mail bag to night than usual ; wasn't it. Elsie?"

" Yes, aunt. Thank you for doing it np for me. At any rate the registered letters did not occupy you a long while."

" No, child."

Meanwhile, Elsie had been engaged in pen- ning a dozen words or more upon a large sheet of letter-paper, and the following morning, side by «de with the well-known " muffin and crumpet" étalement, appeared the fol- lowing :

" A young lady, clever and well-educated, desires at once a good morning or daily en- gagement as governess.

** Terms moderate. Excellent references.

" Apply for particulars within."

" All that advertising iu the newspapers is only throwing away money," mused Elsie. " I'll manage things fot her a little better in this way, perhaps. I shall never forget her miserably careworn face last evening."

Miss Josephine had, in a most inexplicable »ray, won the entire woman's sympathy and

also admiration of Klsie. And yet the latter never seemed to forget the difference in station that she considered still existed be- tween her favourite and herself. She only knew that the lawyer's daughter was a very model of sweet patience, ami that she and alt at borne were aa poor as any church mouse.