|Newspaper Title||Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||The Village Postmistress|
THE VILLAGE POSTMISTRESS. |
[BY SIBELLA B. EDGECOMBE.]
Some mouths have passed away »ince then. Kind Uucle Fred, that he ever is, bas just ap- peared in the large old-fashioned bail, and is assisting *. MÍSB Josephine" in putting on ber cloak previous to taking her departure for home, fie and " Sister Polly " also are both made of tho good stuff, as lolke say, and Heaven bloss them for it ! Only wish to make
ber feel at home with them.
And for this reason therefore it seems that
Uncle Fred not only on this special evening, escorts her to tho hall door, hut also a short distance on the road towards home.
As besaya, the evening is so lovuly, and the balinv outer air will do him good. She is tell- ing bim, why she does not exactly kuuvv, some- thing about their troubles at hume siuoe dear
She likes to talk of him eves now, eke says,
not to be for ever sileut uUmt the .me whom they have lost, as is the fashiou with so many people.
Upele Fred quite understands, and also agrees with her ; and yet, strange perhaps, somewhat on his part, ho has uevor once re- ferred in his chattering way with ber, to the one trouble that has served so sadly to shadow his own life.
No ; he only listens to her now, it seems.
"In fact, you know," went on Mi«s Josephine, quite simply, " he had not even a penny left in the house, lt was too dreadful,
She paused a moment; then went on, in thc least degree nervously
" Shall I tell you « hat I did ?"
"I advertised, then, in the country paper -don't be shocked, please. At auy rate I «lid it for the best, whether right or wrong I don't quite know."
" Go on."
"I merely said, then, theta widow, and ber daughters-all born to better things, us
it had seemed-were all at once thrown iuto the lowest depths of poverty, aud asked for help."
Uncle Fred gave a sort of slight neivous start at this moment ; but " MÍBS Josephine " did not notice it. She was thinking only at that iustant of the terrible strung e which had urged her to take such a B.«p as that which she was oow describing.
"And the result:" he asked, quietly.
" What was it?"
" .-<> answer came," she returned, gravely, but very earnestly. " Possibly those « lio read tho words did not believe in their truth -or possibly some did so who were uot iu a position to aid us."
" I BOC,** and Uncle Fred Biioke now a<» li dreamily. "There ! I mast leave yo«, M IFS Josephine. Very 6orry for it. Very sorry, indeed. Have just, suddenly reimmi'iuieil something. You'll excuBe my mulling away thus abruptly, won't you ? Will hu a trifle , more couvteous ntxt time. Humbly hurd
I hearted of the peoj.le ¡ wasn't-it. Miss
Josephine?" and thus talking uliiily-aa if too, he did not exactly know what he w¿* saying-Uncle Fred lilted his hit and disap- peared.
The ïoUowïng Wednesday morning, lust as Miss Josephine was starting for lier usual daily occupation, a lette was pl<icetl ¡ti her hands hy the postman ; after reading which that yoong lady marched delilicrately upstairs again, removed her hat i.nd cloak, chased away with her pockilhaudkerchicf a great many tears that f"r some reason or other would insist upon pouring dotvu lier cheeks, and then eet to work to reread the followiug
.' Dear Miss Josephine-Pardon my ab- rupt leave-taking yesterday, but I wi!! msw explain.
" Returning home, expressly by way of the peat office, 1 did a small stroke of business on
my own account.
"Miss Elsie Falconbridge was ont, hiving gone to «pend the evening with the widowed and, alas, now childless mother of her once, and so lately too, sailor-lover. We have,
however, already spoken together,-yon and I -of this nnlookod-for ereut, and also of the brave way in which Misa Elsie bears tho beary blow.
" Bat I would mw speak of something else, so selfish aro wo all in this world you see. I persuaded the good dame, Jane: LUle, to aa. t-ist me iu eomething that was purpling me nut
a little. I
" I heard hist evening, for tho first time of course, and also from your own lips, most strango to say, that a £5 note which I had sent you in iiustvcr to your advertisement asking for aid, never reached you. It had not, I now Hud, miscarried in the ordiuary way that letters occasionally go astray ; but it was as impossible, you will presently see, that lt should ever have reached your abode as the residency of ouo of the ancient patriarchs.
I "The letter containing the amount named 1 was, it appears, although placed in a regis-
tered envelope, for which 1 duly paid, never , dispatched, aud in tho lurry -sturry of ihn
' moment w-*a never entered either in the
' official book. Tho fault w->s of course my j own quite as much us that nf any one else, ' but every one was irkini; hurried questions i at the moment, and my letter-yours rather I -paid tbe penalty, Then, us fate would have i it, it landed itself otherwise than in the legit
I ¡mate postbag, and silpped-how is best known
' to itBelf-behind a drawer that is rarely
'* Forgive the details, however. Janet Lisle bad ODly discovered thc thus hidden away missive half an hour after I appeared upon the scene, and was in a state of no little consternation.
" Picture also my own dismay.
..The mystery, however, ie now solved.
'* I will not again tender the amount for your acceptance, as there certainly seems to be something unfortunate attending* its career ; besides which, I, on my part, am now going to ask a favour from yourself.
" Will you, I ask, become my wife ; and also kindly acknowledge promptly the receipt of this letter, or I shall be compellnd to take it for granted that my second communication hos shared the fate of my first ?
Miss Josephine, like a wise woman, answered the letter just received by return of post.
The years have flown since then, and matters to on much us usual in that small vil- lage of Limmerton.
But there are changes, nevertheless.
Janet Lisle knows her place no wore in the cosy post office. She has already gone home long since to rest, and sweet KUie Falcon bridge is now the mistress of everything.
Her hair, however, though still beautiful, ¡B in these days white-white as the driven snow ; and the abiding expression up->n her still handsome face is that of one who has
passed through a mighty and also terrible sea of trouble, bearing tho trial as only a true
She knows, she says, that God has ordered all, and that she shall sec her sailor-love ugain one day in heaven.
Hut there is still one person in the world whom she loves dearly, and that is the happy, truo-hearted wife of " Uncle Fr.il."
" f owe all-every bit in fact, of my happi- ness to you, sweetest Elsie," as Josephine says. " It all dates from tho day-don't you remember ?-when you gave me muffins and crumpets."
" And also dispa'ched my registered lotter so carefully," remarks Uncle Fred," (juaiutly.