2017年01月

Sara is our godchild, as I said, called Sara Millicent, in token of the kindness that poor Mrs. Cresswell, poor young motherless creature, thought she had received from us. Poor little soul! she little thought then, that the baby she was so proud of, was the only one she was to be spared to bring into the world. From that time till now Sara has been a pet at the Park reenex facial , and always free to come to us when she wished, or when her father thought it would do her good. This was how she was coming to-day. Perhaps it might be imagined by some people rather a bold thing of one’s family solicitor to bring his daughter to us without an invitation. But you see we were only ladies, and did not stand on our dignity as people do when there are men in the house; and, besides, she was our pet and godchild, which makes all the difference.

Just before dinner, Mr. Cresswell’s one-horse chaise came into the courtyard. We never use the great door except for great people, and when Sarah goes out for her airings. I always use the court entrance, which is much handier, especially in winter, and when there is no fire in the great hall. I really see no use, except on occasions, for a fire in that great hall reenex hong kong . It looks miserable, I dare say, but then the coal it consumes is enormous—enough to keep three families in the village comfortably warmed—and we keep no lackeys to lounge about there, and be in the way. A good respectable family servant, like Ellis, with plenty of maids, is much more to my taste than those great saucy fellows, who have not the heart of a mouse. But this is quite apart from what I was saying. Sarah had come down just the same as ever, except that she had her brown gown on,—she wears a different gown every day in the week,—and her muslin shawl lined with blue, and of course blue ribbons in her cap to correspond. Carson, after all, is really a wonderful milliner. She seemed to have forgotten, or at least passed over, our little quarrel, for she spoke just the same as usual, and said, as she always does, that she hoped that I would not forget to order the carriage for her drive. I have given over being nettled about this. She says it regularly, poor dear soul, every other day.

And little Sara is coming to-day,” said I. You’ll take her for company, won’t you? It will do the child good.”

Do her good! why, Cresswell has a carriage!” said Sarah in her whisper; beggars will ride before all’s done.”{17}

But he’s nothing of a beggar, quite the reverse; he’s very well-to-do, indeed,” said I. I think he has a very good right to a one-horse chaise.”

Ah, to be sure, that makes all the difference,” said Sarah in her sharp way, I forgot it was but one horse.”

Now her voice, which is rather pleasant when she’s kind, gets a sort of hiss in it when she’s spiteful, and the sound of that horse,” though I wouldn’t for the world say any harm of my sister, drew out all the hoarseness and unpleasant sound in the strangest way possible. I was quite glad to hear at that moment the wheels in the courtyard.

There is little Sara,” said I, and went off to fetch her in, very glad to get off, it must be confessed reenex hong kong ; but glad also, to be sure, to see my little pet, who had always taken so kindly to me. Before I could get to the door which Ellis was holding open, the dear child herself came rushing upon me, fairly driving me a few steps back, and taking away my breath. You’re not to come into the draught, godmamma. It’s so cold, oh, it’s so cold! I thought my nose would be off,” cried Sara’s voice close to my ear. She was talking and kissing me at the same moment, and after the start she had given me, you may suppose, I did not pick up exactly every word she said. But that was the substance of it, to be sure.

Why didn’t you wear a veil? You ought to wear a veil, child. We were all supposed to have complexions when I was young,” said I. Don’t you have any complexions, now, you little girls?”

Oh, godmamma! I don’t expect ever to hear you talking nonsense,” said Sara severely. What’s the good of our complexions? We can’t do anything with them that I ever heard of. Come in from the draught, please, for the sake of your dear old nose.”

What a different place was the Flemington racecourse, say, when Victor and Sir Charles ran for the Town Plate—when Romeo's white legs and matchless shoulder were to be seen thereon—when Jack Hunter's filly, Hellcat, won the Sir Charles Purse , furnished by a generous stud patron for the owners of descendants of that forgotten courser. Fancy the change to the Cup day with Martini-Henry coming in! Where racing springs up, there also do differences of opinion frequently occur. With respect to the said victory of Hellcat, then the property of Jack Hunter, it was objected by a well-known "horse couper" of the day, known as "Hopping Jack," that she was no true descendant of Sir Charles. He was contradicted very flatly, and sufficient proof having been afforded to the stewards, her owner received the stakes. Still the mighty mind of John Ewart held distrust as he ambled home, dangling his "game" leg on his eel-backed bay horse, the same which carried him overland from Sydney to Melbourne in[Pg 8] ten days—six hundred miles. "A sworn horse-courser," like Blount, was Hopping Jack, and, unlike Marmion's fast squire, had ridden many a steeplechase. In the quickly shifting adventure-scope of the day it chanced that the two Jacks went to sea, desiring to revisit Scotia, doubtless for their pecuniary benefit . A great storm arose, and the homeward-bound vessel was wrecked. The passengers barely escaped with their lives, and were forced to return to Port Phillip. At one period of the disaster there was little or no hope for the lives of all. As they clung gloomily to the uplifted deck—fast on a reef—Hopping Jack approached Mr. Hunter with a grave and resolved air. All waited to hear his words. In that solemn hour he proved the exquisite accuracy of the thought, "The ruling passion strong in death," by thus adjuring his turf acquaintance, "Look here, Mr. Hunter, we shall all be in —— in twenty minutes, it can't matter much now. Was Hellcat really a Sir Charles?" History is silent as to the reply.

How strange a Melbourne would the picture—still distinctly photographed on memory's wondrous "negative"—present to the inhabitant of 1884. A solitary wood cart is struggling down from the direction of Brighton along the unmade sandy track, patiently to await the convenience of the puntman. Frank Liardet is driving his unicorn omnibus team from the lonely beach, where now the sailors revel in many a glittering bar, and the tall sugar-refinery chimney "lifts its head" and smokes—or, at any rate, did recently. The squatter's wool-freighted bullock-teams lumber along the deep ruts of Flinders[Pg 9] Lane. John Pascoe Fawkner bustles up and down the western end, at that time the fashionable part, of Collins Street. The eastern portion of that street—now decorated with palatial clubs and treasuries, and dominated by doctors—was then principally known as "the way to the Plenty," a rivulet on the banks of which still abode certain cheerful young agricultural aristocrats, who had not had time quite to ruin themselves. Now a whole tribe of blacks—wondering and frightened, young and old, warriors and greybeards, women and children—is being driven along Collins Street by troopers, on their way to the temporary gaol, there to be incarcerated for real or fancied violence. The philanthropist may console himself with the knowledge that they burrowed under their dungeon slabs and, I think, escaped. If not, they were released next day.

Mr. Latrobe, successor of Captain Lonsdale, on a state day—not styled Governor, but his Honour the Superintendent—is riding towards Batman's Hill on a crop-eared hog-maned cob, yclept Knockercroghery, attired in uniform, escorted by Captain Smyth and his terrible mounted police, the only military force of the day. The great plains, the wide forest-parks, shut closely in the little town on every side. Countless swans and ducks are disporting themselves in unscared freedom upon the great West Melbourne marsh School staff figures. The travel-stained squatter rides wearily up to the livery stable, as yet unable to shorten by coach or rail a mile of his journey.
CHAPTER II THE FAR WEST
It seems only the other day—but surely it must be a long time ago—that January evening of 1844, when I camped my cattle near the old burying-ground at North Melbourne. I was bound for the Western district, where I proposed to "take up a run." And towards this pastoral paradise the dawn saw my "following" winding its way next morning.

A modest drove and slender outfit were mine; all that the hard times had spared. Two or three hundred well-bred cattle, a dray and team with provisions for six months, two stock-horses, one faithful old servant, one young ditto (unfaithful), £1 in my purse—voilà tout. Rather a limited capital to begin the world with; but what did I want with money in those days? I was a boy, which means a prince—happy, hopeful, healthy, beyond all latter-day possibilities, bound on a journey to seek my fortune. All the fairy-tale conditions were fulfilled. I had "horse to ride and weapon to wear"—that is, a 12-foot stock-whip by Nangus Jack—clothes, tools, guns, and ammunition; a new world around and[Pg 11] beyond; what could money do for the gentleman-adventurer burning with anticipation of heroic exploration? Such thoughts must have passed through my brain, inasmuch as I invested 75 per cent of my cash in the purchase of a cattle dog. Poor Dora, she barked her last some thirty-five years agone.

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