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Chapter XIII.

“Alas! that e're a boon conferred,
Should wreath the donor's brow with ill.”

Yet sad perversity of fate;
Too oft is kindness unregarded;
Too often with unholy hate,
Or cruel treachery rewarded.”

MRS. E. CAUDLE.

“Tudor.”

“Yes Ma'am.” He thrust the letter he held in his hand, into his pocket, and joined Mrs. Doherty in the office.

“Look at this—read it aloud.” She held an open letter towards him, and paced up and down, while he obeyed, and read.

“Dear Madam,

I am probably unknown to you by name, but I am the son of the late Dr. Doherty's sister. I have just landed at Sydney, having taken a fancy to visit the mighty colony of Botany Bay, and have some idea of settling in the bush. I shall take a run up, shortly, as I shall want a little colonial experience,” &c., &c.

Tudor's brows worked, but he said nothing.

“Well?” demanded Mrs. Doherty impatiently.

“Did you ever hear of this Mr. Batally?”

“Yes, yes, he's all right so far. What do you think?”

“He can gain colonial experience here, grazing, or farming, or—”

“You are very provoking.”

Tudor bowed, and smiled quietly.

“I don't like the style of the letter,” remarked Mrs. Doherty, taking it up.

“He's rather fresh,” suggested the other.

“I know that, but he need not be impudent.”

“Is he? he thinks to seem off-handed, and ‘colonial,’ probably.”

“Well, I give my nephew into your teaching, that's all.”

“Thank you for the charge,” he replied, and retired laughing.

‘Shortly’ being an indefinite term, no set preparations could be made for the visitor: although a certain amount of expectation fluttered the females. An English gentleman fresh from home; these were alarming considerations, the place would look rough, the servants inefficient, their own manners hardly savouring of the West-end, and the Court. Tudor settled the business at once, when taken into confidence, by saying:

“Those who are not pleased with you as you are, are not worth pleasing.”

“But we are far from perfect, I fear.”

“Of course you are, but be convinced, an action, or a course of conduct, is right, and be in earnest, and do it with every power of mind and body, be, not seem to be; you are not to be judged by another's conscience, you are not, in a measure, to be judged by your own. As to manners, a kind heart, and well regulated mind, will always prevent your erring; the conventionalities which strangle truth and right, it would be well to my mind, if they were unknown in a new country. Let us be free; free, not of proper laws and lawgivers, but of puerile aims and fears, and of that monster tyrant, which sees not the man as he is, but only as he possesses property, or artificial polish.”

“Are you a liberalist?”

“If by that you mean a leveller, I am not. Not that I would keep the ignorant man ignorant, because he is so now, or the poor man poor; I would that each should rise as he has ability; if the rich man lacks mind and principle, it is well that he should sink. Understand, not the upsetting of principles and classes, not rebellion and chaos, only I would see that each should be honoured for himself; let him be the great man, who is great, whether he be rich, or poor; and let the government and its laws be strictly honoured and obeyed, with our Queen at the head of them.”

“Yes, I love liberty, but not rebellion. Rebellion is the field which petty vagrants and enthusiasts plough with death, and water with blood, to sow their pride and avarice in.”

“What a discussion; rebellion, death, tyranny, and avarice. 'Pon my word, a goodly list,” joined in Dr. Bower, who came up unperceived.

“Oh! you know Tudor, doctor; he is a thorough radical, I believe, though he always puzzles me so in his discussions, that I don't know what he means. I am true Church and State.”

“Well done,” returned the Doctor, shaking Mrs. Doherty's hand, and joining in Tudor's laugh at her confused idea of the subject.

“Well my little patient, how now?”

“Quite well,” returned Gertrude, smiling, and returning the warm shake of the hand.

“We are expecting a visitor, Doctor,” said Mrs. Doherty.

“Indeed! a young gentleman?”

“Yes, have you seen him?”

“I put a young man on the road here, but came through the scrub myself, to see a sick black gin down at the camp. A visit would be well bestowed there, Gertrude, it seems the woman was badly burnt, and she is sinking from exhaustion; the wounds were long healing; she has no disease, but great weakness; a few clean old clothes, and some flour, and etceteras would be acceptable.”

“I will attend to it this very evening.”

“That's right, my dear; she might recover with care.”

While they were still discussing the case, the expected visitor arrived: in appearance, he was a mixture of fashion, and recent neglect; polite mannered, yet saying and doing insolent things; wearing a well cared for moustache, and imperial, and an old Californian hat, bent out of all shape, as if it had been used for boys to throw stones at; plated spurs, and rough water-proof boots.

Mrs. Doherty's quick eye took in the inventory at a glance, Dr. Bower's more leisurely. Tudor appeared perfectly to read his character; and Gertrude at a loss, withdrew to assist Marianne in preparing a suitable supper.

After making his bow to the party, Mr. Batally unbuckled a series of carpet, and saddle bags, and marched into the house, and depositing them on chairs and tables, without much ceremony, ordered Lakin to attend to his horse.

“And fellow, rub him down, for he's had a pretty stiff day's work,” he added.

“How far have you come?” inquired Mrs. Doherty, with a great effort at geniality, leading the way into the parlour.

“From a wretched place styled an hotel, the ‘Squatters' ’ Hotel, or some such cognomen. Well, I am tired,” he added, and sunk down on a sofa.

“Not used to riding, perhaps,” suggested his aunt.

“I have ridden some thousands of miles in the ‘pampas’ alone, besides other places, I pique myself on understanding horsemanship, and horseflesh, not a little.”

“Tudor, will you stay to tea?” said Mrs. Doherty, stepping out of the French window.

He bowed his assent, for although, since Gertrude's illness, he had never done so, and avoided the house as much as possible, he was just then engaged in an interesting debate with the doctor, respecting an accident which had occurred on the station, necessitating amputation, which task had fallen to Tudor to perform, and he was anxiously discussing the subject, in case of such a responsibility devolving upon him again.

Mr. Batally was very chatty, and devoted himself to Mrs. Doherty, and Gertrude, with a good deal of gallantry. It was difficult to conceive what he had been: he had not an independent fortune; therefore, to have reached some thirty years, he must have done something. His hands were too white to be acquainted with labour: then he talked of foreign parts, in a style to preclude the idea of his having led an office life; five years here, and five years there, and so on; it set Tudor wondering: and he began to make a mental inventory.

“A wild country this,” said Mr. Batally.

“Unlike any you have seen?” inquired Dr. Bower.

“ 'Pon my word, I know no place to compare to it; stones outside the Cherries; animals with bills; others on legs like stilts: with a degraded population.”

“There you are wrong,” abruptly interrupted Mrs. Doherty. “There are some fine, and excellent people here; many, yes thank Heaven, many hundreds.”

“I referred to the savages, they—”

“Have some excellent natural qualities; superior far to the more ingenious New Zealander, or Caffre.”

“Talking of the Caffres, reminds me of Africa; these hot days are much like such as I used to suffer under, off that coast.”

“Were you there long?”

“Five years off and on: then we went to India, and were there two years,

Tudor, (mentally,) ‘seven years.’

“Then we had another two years off the Gold Coast.”

Tudor, ‘nine.’

Mrs. Doherty here made some inquiries about his recent journey; and Tudor tried to feel patient under the abuse heaped upon his country; feeling his companion incapable of an argument on the subject. Mr. Batally was clever at caricaturing; and described his last night at the Squatters' Hotel, and two clerical travellers he had met there, with sundry witty additions.

“You have no lack of ‘the cloth’ I find,” he concluded.

“That is unfortunately, our greatest want, if by ‘the cloth,’ you mean Ministers of Religion.”

“I do—but two for one district, where you have about half a dozen residents, is pretty fair, I think. Eh, Miss Gonthier?”

“We have no minister here,” she returned, gravely.

“Supposing Sir, those two Ministers did belong to one District, that district probably extending over forty, or fifty miles, and containing a numerous though scattered population. Supposing every Sabbath, each Minister preached twice, at different places, ten, or twelve miles apart, it would still be impossible for many to attend; they must therefore go without instruction.”

“Not if the Parson visits his people, Mr. Tudor.”

“Even in that case, although he travel all day, and every day, he could not see, and briefly converse with the majority of his parishioners: the roads are bad, travelling interrupted by many causes, and some time for study and reflection, is indispensable. Supposing the two Ministers were of different denominations, their work would be doubled; because each must go over all, and not half of the ground; that is, to see the people once a week, he must journey some hundreds of miles.”

Mr. Batally shrugged his shoulders and dismissed the subject, by an anecdote of a Spanish Priest he had known at Madrid, and spoke of a sixteen years residence there.

“Sixteen!”

Dr. Bower looked as if peculiarly enjoying himself; and wore one of his satirical smiles; gently urging on Mr. Batally, and relishing the conflict between politeness and patriotism, he knew Tudor was enduring, notwithstanding his composed air: while Mrs. Doherty joined in defence of the country with some warmth and impatience.

Mr. Batally interspersed his accusations, and impeachments with recollections and life reaching over some fifty years; and Tudor, driven into an audible ‘ha!’ of voluminous meaning, rose, and apologised for his departure, as he had a flock of sheep to count; which operation, the visitor expressed a wish to see, and Tudor departed with his promising pupil. Mr. Batally made great efforts to count them himself, but was of course, made giddy by the stream of sheep rushing before his eyes; and in his attempts to check their speed, was thrown down on his back, and carried some few yards, then dropped, and trampled on; while as he ‘picked himself up,’ an oath reached his ears from the shepherd, for having ‘broken the count.’ He heard Tudor say with emphasis, “I will come down to-morrow evening alone Tom.”

“Shall we go home, or would you like to walk round the farm?” inquired the superintendent as he joined him.

Mr. Batally had, “had enough of farming for one day,” he said; and they walked home. Tudor parting from him at the door, to return to his own cottage.

Mr. Batally drew a chair near the sofa, and lounged over, watching Gertrude mending one of Mrs. Doherty's dresses.

“Do not your fingers ache with so much industry?” he inquired presently.

“No Sir,” returned Gertrude, without looking up.

“Are pianos unknown in the Bush?”

“By no means.”

“Have you one?”

Mr. Batally had not been enlightened as to the position she held in Mrs. Doherty's household; and the universal respect, and kindness shown her, rather led him astray.

“I do not play.”

“Not play! now you are joking. But you sing?”

“Very rarely.”

“Well rare things are best. I must have a song.”

“My songs are German; you would not understand them probably.”

“I should hear your charming voice.”

The polite smile was lost: for Gertrude was stooping over her needlework, and simply answered.

“My voice is not charming; and even my German songs are chiefly sacred; they are hymns.”

“What, can such a fair face look gloomy?”

“Hymns do not make me gloomy,” she returned with some astonishment; and passed round the table to snuff the candle.

“Bring your work nearer the light, you will injure your eyes, said Dr. Bower; and he placed a chair between himself and the window, in a nice quiet corner, which Gertrude quickly appropriated, enjoying the candles, and screened by the doctor at the same time; leaving Mr. Batally, who had laboured under the idea that he was making quite an impression upon the country girl, decidedly blank, and chagrined.

The general feeling of contempt between the new arrival, and the old colonists, threatened, in this instance, to run very high; although kindheartedness, and forebearance kept a smooth surface.

Winter was passing on, and Mr. Batally remained at Murrumbowrie; either, as was covertly whispered in the huts, running among the dogs at Muttee Muttee, or lounging on the sofa, paying covert compliments to Gertrude, if she were in the room; or yawning and dozing, over an old newspaper, or a cigar.

That he held New South Wales, and her inhabitants, and customs, in supreme disdain, he freely informed them: that he was not gaining Colonial, or any other experience, Tudor thought, if he said nothing; no two men could be more unlike. Tudor was habitually silent, never uttering bright sayings, and nonsense; willing to impart information, or to converse when he thought it desired, that he should do so: but very characteristically apt to commence any discussion by ‘I think.’ Mr. Batally on the contrary talked of things ‘striking’ him, he never searched them out, he never thought in the sense that Tudor did; he could be bright, and witty, but not deep; he began every thing, but finished nothing. Tudor began less, and carried it through in spite of every obstacle. How two, so diametrically opposed, lived amicably together, puzzled Mrs. Doherty. She bore with her nephew, because he was her nephew; but she fretted under the obligation.

“After Christmas,” repeated Gertrude, as she watched the moon, slowly and gradually rising; shaking out her silver skirts over hill and dale, making the shadows more deep, and drowning the starlight; dancing on the ponds, and creeping between leaves, and curtains. “After Christmas.”—she was not musing on the subject now, as she once would; she was searching it, bringing up every hidden thought, and feeling; meeting it, and looking it in the face; humbly and courageously committing the future to God.

The past had become a dream, with all a dream's brightness, confusion, and mystery; and the future, faith gladly laid before the throne of Omnipotence, in a fervent, “Do Thou as seemest good unto Thee.”

A year or more had passed, since she first came there; since she first looked out on that Winter's evening prospect—a year that had ripened her character, and strengthened her mind; while it left the fair features with the same innocent, gentle impress; perhaps strengthened that expression: what her influence had been upon her companions of that year, she knew not; nor dreamt its power.

Never once had she heard directly of, or from Charley Inkersole—Kitty Kenlow often visited his mother, and generally after each visit, walked up to have a chat with Gertrude, to repeat such parts of their conversation as she thought might interest her. She had been there that day; she told her that Dick was going to the Abercrombie in the spring, and that the brothers were to return together: that they were going to make some arrangements about sharing the property; and then that Charley would start in life for himself. “And then Gertrude, mother says, he'll have to look out for a wife, to take care of his house;” and Kitty gave a funny look at her companion, but in Gertrude's eyes there was a clear calm light which puzzled her.

In a few days weariness began to attack Mr. Batally; he had strolled round the farm, peeped into the barn, watched the men thrashing for a few moments, taken the flail into his own hands, and narrowly escaped being killed on the spot; had mounted a horse, and galloped about for part of a day; then examined Mrs. Doherty's library, pronounced the books unreadable, and papers a week or two old, not worth opening; and then, like that highly intellectual traveller, during a wet day in some foreign town, might have replied, “Je m'ennuis,” when asked how he spent his time.

“Is there no such thing as a day's sport to be met with in this howling wilderness?” exclaimed he, savagely thrusting a volume of the Farmers' Magazine into its place on the book shelves.

Gertrude only was in the room, and returned “I do not know, Sir: but Mr. Tudor could inform you.”

“Mr. Batally sauntered away, with his hands in his pockets, down to the slaughter yard, where Tudor was engaged in overlooking the killing of a fat beast.

“Can a fellow get a day's sport here?” queried he, advancing.

“If you had stayed Sir, just now, you might have shot the bullock,” said one of the men, rather slyly, for Mr. Batally had evidently not relished the antagonistic snorting of the companions of the fat victim, and after witnessing several fierce charges of the angry animals at the high fence, walked away, muttering something about patent caps, that he had brought from England.

The suppressed grin which passed round among the men, rather nettled the gentleman, and he looked haughtily at them. Tudor however, politely informed him that there was every probability of his doing so. “There are some fine forest Kangaroos at Jimbindoon,” he said, “I saw two, last time I was there, but as I had the cattle dogs with me, they startled them away—and there are Paddy Melons in the scrub.”

“What are they?”

“Small Kangaroos—we have Ducks down the creek, and in the season, no want of Snipe, and Quail. If you are inclined for a day's sport, I shall be happy to lend you my Kangaroo Dog: he is well trained, and very powerful.”

“Will you join me?”

“I am too busy: but young Lewis is staying with the Staples', at Wattletree Flat; he has some famous dogs. I could introduce you to him, he is a pleasant fellow, and would like a little sport at any time.”

Mr. Batally expressed a wish to form the acquaintance; and received a promise that the first leisure day, they would ride over in quest of him.

“There's no moon, or you might shoot hundreds of Possums in the bush,” suggested one of the men.

“Are there any fish in these ponds, fellow?” imperiously inquired he.

No one chose to acknowledge the designation, and Tudor returned a negative; and proposed an evening's Eeling.

Mr. Batally gladly assented, and departed to arrange his hooks, while awaiting Tudor's leisure.

Kenlow, being an experienced hand, was pressed into the party; and Kitty having volunteered, Gertrude was easily persuaded to join; having completed her daily toils.

Tudor offered his arm to Gertrude, and Mr. Batally walked with the sheep overseer, and his daughter.

“Did you hear that!” suddenly exclaimed Kenlow, in a tone to convey an alarm.

All paused, and listened.

It was dark, or at least, that uncertain light bordering on darkness, which renders every object twice its natural size; and bestows most unaccountable forms on it. Far away, wailed a Curlew; and a Squirrel shrieked in the forest.

“What was it?” demanded Tudor, a little sternly, for his companion's hand trembled, as it lay on his arm.

“Oh, only a Native Dog,” responded the man.

“Hold your tongue. What then if it were?”—and the party proceeded for some time in silence.

“What sort of animals are they, Kenlow?” at length inquired Mr. Batally.

“Why Sir, not unlike a Wolf—they are nasty beasts, more especially where there are many together—was I telling you about the night I came home from Dugdale's? by Jove! I thought it was a settler that time.”

“Why?”

“Well you see, I got ‘yarning’ with Dugdale, and the sun set before I left there, so I thought—”

Gertrude at that moment, stumbled into a hole, she was evidently walking with her head turned, listening to Kenlow's narrative, as he followed close behind.

“Don't mind them,” said Tudor in a low tone; “it's all romancing, to frighten Batally. There is a Wood Duck—do you hear the ducks?” raising his voice, “there is some game for you, Sir.”

“Thank you; that was a duck was it?—well, Kenlow?”

“Well, as I was a saying, Sir, I thought I had better push on, having to take the rations down to the sheep run, on the morrow. I was on the old bay mare; when I came to that little turning in the road, she stopped suddenly, it was no use my spurring, and flogging, till presently, off she went like the wind, kicking out with both feet, like a fury, and such a yelling there was behind us! so I turned, and there were no less than seven native dogs—thank goodness, the foal is with us, thinks I, and in a moment, they were on it, and tore it to pieces, afore the mare's eyes.”

“Bless me!” ejaculated Mr. Batally.

“ 'Pon my word Sir, I could scarcely keep my seat, she was so furious; but it was no use, so I clapped the spurs into her, and went as hard as the mare could go, homewards; the dogs flying at me on each side.”

“You had better say, they pulled you off the saddle,” exclaimed Tudor.

“No Sir, it was only the calf-skin saddle-cloth, that they pulled from under me,” returned he, with imperturbable coolness, “and I managed to escape them, that time.”

Such is a specimen of the tales, which the old colonist, of a certain class, loves to scare the emigrant with; and while Kenlow dilated on all the attendant horrors of the case, Tudor gave Gertrude some more reliable anecdotes, and descriptions of these animals.

Meanwhile, they had neared the scene of their intended eel-fishing; a deep pond, with low, loamy banks, not two yards above the water, and much pierced by the burrows of the Water Mole, and Turtle. A few Swamp Oaks, matted with flood drift, grew round; and a little behind, lay a heavily timbered level. Kenlow quickly collected some dry sticks, and bark, and lighted a fire, as he had an idea that its light attracted the eels to the surface; and Gertrude, and Kitty placed themselves beside it: the former, at Tudor's suggestion, was well covered with a veil; and the eager hum of mosquitoes, which even at that advanced season, had not disappeared from the vicinity of the creek, gave evidence to the wisdom of the precaution.

The serious business of the evening was immediately commenced; lines were baited, and laid, and the party sat down to await the result: now in earnest, several native dogs uttered their dismal howl in the distance, and the dogs at the farm took up the dolorous burden, prolonging the discordant peal.

Mr. Batally was evidently uncomfortable, the mosquitoes tormented him, in spite of a cigar, and a branch kept in active motion: the growling of a Native Cat, and the cries of Opossums in the bush, did not tend to re-assure him; the fire was frequently renewed, and as the wind drove the smoke and flames from side to side, it did not prove an agreeable adjunct: but as the girls uttered no complaint, and expressed no fears, he scorned to do so. As for Kitty, she was a courageous girl, and knew there was nothing to fear; and the tranquil air of Tudor, as he stood with his arms folded across his breast, watching the line by the light of the fire, was enough to dispel all Gertrude's timidity; and as occasionally he turned his eyes on her, she could smile very cheerfully.

Tudor had proposed simply setting the lines, and leaving them till the morning: but Kenlow, who was well acquainted with the place, so confidently promised them an eel before an hour, that all assented to his proposal, to await the time. Presently the line jerked, and twisted, and Tudor swung out a fine eel.

“We will have larger yet,” remarked Kenlow, “though that a'nt bad for a beginning: but they grow a great size in this country.

Kitty had provided a basket, and now brought it into requisition.

By the end of the hour, their success had been such, that after fresh baiting, and securing the lines, they returned home; in a mood to enjoy a cheerful hearth, and a cup of good tea.

Tudor however, had accounts to make up, and parted from Gertrude at the door; and the Kenlows walked home, leaving the others to enjoy the comforts of the evening repast, while Mrs. Doherty listened to the recital of their adventures.

“Mr. Tudor has promised to introduce me to a Squatter, who is visiting at your neighbours',” said Mr. Batally.

“The Inkersoles?”

“No, Mr. Staples.”

“Ah! that is Lewis: he is going to marry Anne Shettle, Mrs. Staples' sister.”

“What sort of people are they?”

“Shettle and the old woman were quite ignorant: but they worked hard, and made money; and gave the girls, what they thought a good education: they all were down in Sydney for years; and the result was a little wool work, and bad music; and like many others in her position, old Mother Shettle fell into the idea of keeping them ladies; so slaved herself, and let the girls be utterly idle.” Mrs. Doherty spoke in a tone of actual vexation.

“Are the old people living?”

“No, the property is left among the girls; and they all live at the farm.”

Mrs. Doherty was disposed to launch out into sweeping censures of the mistaken kindness of the old people; and as Mr. Batally was expecting shortly to make the acquaintance of the family, he was interested in all the minutiæ; and Gertrude betook herself to her household duties.

“Did you tell me you should like a station on one of the rivers?” inquired Tudor, the following day.

Mr. Batally took the cigar from his mouth, and replied in the affirmative.

“There is a splendid run advertised in this week's papers: I know it, if I were in a position to purchase, I should not let the opportunity pass: it is on the Murray.”

The gentleman did not look as if much obliged for the information; and inquired when it was to be sold.

“In the beginning of next month; and the terms are very liberal: did you not observe it in the papers? It is called Gunyong.”

“No.”

A slight expression of surprise elevated the brows of the superintendent.

“I cannot be bored looking over the advertisements.”

“Oh! very well,” returned Tudor, in that polite tone of indifference, which covers a sudden revelation of some hitherto concealed fact.

Mr. Batally had requested him to be sure and let him know, if anything turned up. “Something worth having, Tudor, not a ‘bandicoot run’ as you call it,” said he in a rather grand tone.

Tudor understood the sort of thing, and took some trouble in making inquiries on the subject: but always some defect interfered to prevent the purchase. One was too wet, and another too dry: one was all gullies, and another all mountains: so each was unfit. After this, however, Tudor's zeal suddenly flagged, and by common consent, the subject appeared to fall into oblivion.

Tudor's attention, was just about this time called off by the arrival of the teams from Sydney; and among other things, they brought a family of German emigrants, who had been hired by Mrs. Doherty's agent in Sydney.

“Gertrude” said Tudor, looking in at the pantry door, “will you come here, if you please, for a few moments.”

She complied.

It was just dark, and the drays stood outside the yard. As they approached them, the sound of foreign voices made her start.

“Who is speaking German, Mr. Tudor?” inquired she, in a voice of trembling excitement; for the sound recalled her parents, and her childhood's home rose up before her. The old English cottage, with its smooth thatched roof, and ivy-covered chimneys, and the wide hearth; and the smell of Wall-flowers, and Southernwood, coming in through the windows; and just beyond the little garden, the hedge rows round the Squire's fields: and the mossy spot, where the fragrant Violets grew; and that particular bank, where the first Snowdrop peeped through the cold coverlet of the winter's earth. And dearer than all, stood before her, the kind mother, in her simple, neat attire, with her mild eye, and active hand, which ever kept disorder, and bustling activity, that hand-maiden of mismanagement, from the peaceful home.

She saw too, the thin, drooping form of the Clockmaker, with the fires of genius, and insanity, kindling in his eye; and she heard again, the evening prayer of that mother, for her household, and the hymns of praise, which she taught her child to sing, and the words that she made her often repeat, as she impressed upon her, the fear of the Lord, and the promises of God of old, to Levi, “My covenant was with him of life and peace, and I give them to him, for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips, he walked with me, in peace and equity, and did turn away from iniquity.” Like the melody of music heard again, after the lapse of years, were the voices of the strangers.

Tudor drew her trembling arm firmer within his, as they advanced to the teams.

“Will you act as interpreter? I sent to Sydney for a shepherd, and Mr. Maxwell has sent me a German and his family; and very awkwardly they cannot speak English, nor we their language.”

Gertrude looked a little nervous; her knowledge was rather misty, for want of use; but their delight on hearing her kind “good evening,” repaid the exertion.

“It is so painful” said the woman, “not to be able to make any one understand us; my baby is ill, and I could not get any food for it.”

“What has it done then?”

“The drayman saw it was ill, and procured some milk for me a few times.”

The conversation was here interrupted by Tudor, requesting Gertrude to translate his wishes and directions, and after doing so, he offered her his arm to conduct her back to the house.

“They will soon learn to speak our language: foreigners acquire English, more readily than we do their language.”

“How can that be?”

“They have less bashfulness I believe, and so are not deterred by the fear of making blunders. “The child is ill, is it not?”

“Yes very, I fear it will not live: where are they going, will you keep them on the farm?”

“No I cannot do that, I must send them to Jimbindoon, some miles distant. The man—what was he called?”

“Gueslin.”

“So it was. Gueslin can, after a while, get the hut-keeper to take charge of his flock, now and then, and come up for a little while, to exchange a few words with you; if you wish it.”

“Oh! thank you,” and she looked up gratefully, “I love their language.”

“I understand the feeling.”

She saw that he did, and that he would take some pains to arrange matters, so that she might have the promised pleasure.

The account of the invalid babe, awakened Mrs. Doherty's sympathy, and a basket was filled with delicacies for it, and carried to their temporary lodgings by Gertrude, and the servant; and long after all else had sunk to sleep on the farm, Gertrude sat in her little room, busied in adding to the scanty wardrobe of the little creature.

These little acts of kindness, how trifling their cost, and how grateful they are to the heart of the sad, or the stranger: how they carpet over the rough ways of life, and blunt its thorns!

It was not lightly, or thoughtlessly, that Gertrude had said “Let us be good angels, Kitty, and surround our path with happiness,” but it was the desire which sprung from the perusal of her bible, and from the hour of private devotion. That old German Bible lay open by her side, as she stitched up pinafores, and robes for the feeble, wayworn child; and she traced those lines, which her mother's hand had placed, to mark the passages she wished her daughter to remember: and now one of those passages seemed to speak of that mother, and say to her “The sun shall no more be thy light by day, neither for brightness, shall the moon give light unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee, an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself, for the Lord shall be thy everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.”

During the Germans' brief stay at Murrumbowrie, Gertrude was able to cheer, and assist them greatly; as interpreter, to explain to Gueslin his new duties, and to comfort the heart of Salome; while the improving looks of the little babe, were almost as much an object of satisfaction to her, and Mrs. Doherty, as to the parents.

“I feared it would have died. One grave is sufficient on the farm,” and Mrs. Doherty shuddered, for her husband was interred there, in a quiet, grassy nook, where Light-wood, and Mimosa trees grew, and where the Butter-cup, and Birds-eye waved their slender stems, and caught the dew in their chalices—but it was lonely; and the Wood-robin, and Creeper uttered their clear notes there; and the timid Curlew peeped between the white rails. Gertrude knew the spot, she had been there more than once, but always the grass in the small enclosure was kept mown, and the rails white painted; and she knew that it was Tudor's hand which did it, for Mrs. Doherty never went there.

During the bright sunshine, a few days afterwards, when the sharp frost had melted, and a gentle, mild air fanned the few brown leaves, hanging sadly from the branches of the Cape Oaks, and shook the glossy acorns from their cups, Gertrude was engaged among the Bee Hives, feeding the insects; when Mr. Batally joined her.

“What are you doing?” he inquired.

Gertrude was particularly engaged adjusting the plate of sugar and water, and simply replied,

“Feeding the Bees, Sir,” without looking up.

“What may that be for? they should gather honey enough for themselves.”

“Their honey is frozen,” she said with the same quiet tone.

The Bees were buzzing about pretty thickly, and Mr. Batally withdrew a few steps, calling “you had better come away Miss Gertrude, or you will be stung.”

She however had no fear, and remained where she was, filling and covering with net sundry dishes of syrup, and placing them before the hives; while a joyful hum of grateful anticipation rewarded her. Presently all were supplied, and then she stepped back to take a better view. The gentleman joined her.

“It is a beautiful day, Miss Gertrude.”

“Very.”

“Your favorites appear to enjoy your gifts: but any thing must be sweeter that you touch.”

Gertrude did not hear, apparently; she was still regarding her bees.

“Will you not confer a favor on me? will you not allow me to take you for a walk?”

“No, thank you, I am busy.”

“But business cannot be of such importance, that it cannot wait.”

Gertrude was silent.

“You went, the other day, to the sheep-folds with Kitty, and Mr. Tudor, and said you derived much pleasure from the walk.”

She bowed slightly her assent.

“Why then, will you not favor me? Has he all your regards?”

“I have some work to do for Mrs. Doherty.”

“Hang it, let her wait.”

Gertrude flushed, and answered with some warmth, “No Sir, I could not take my pleasure, (supposing it were a pleasure,) when she required my services.”

“Supposing it were a pleasure,” reiterated the gentleman, in a piqued tone: “then I presume it is not so. Is that what I am to understand?”

Gertrude thought it safest to be silent; and took up her pitcher to go.

“Stop,” said he, quickly; “will you not go with me?”

“I cannot, Sir.”

“Why?”

“I have given you a reason.”

“You think a deal too much of yourself,” retorted he, meanly, and hotly.

Gertrude flushed, but stepped on in silence.

“And Mrs. Doherty!” pursued Mr. Batally, “What is she, but a Convict?”

His companion started, and turned on him, eyes expressive of so much doubt, anguish, and horror, that involuntarily, he shrunk back abashed; while Gertrude walked quickly to the house.

“Oh! how could he? how could he?” she could only repeat, while the blinding tears, despite of her exertions, filled her eyes. The being she had reposed such confidence in, and loved so tenderly, could she doubt her purity; could she believe her a criminal? Why could he plant such doubts? how cruel, how unmanly.

Ever is the human heart prone to build some human altar, on which to offer the sacrifice of love; on which to pour out the fragrant incense of trust, admiration, and honor: but when that altar crumbles into dust, when it is proved that it was insufficient to bear the weight of that sacrifice, and before which respect can no longer bow, and offer homage, how frightful is the revulsion; the human idol falls from its pedestal to the earth, and the devotee weeps.

Once again, was Gertrude drinking of the bitter cup; she longed to analyse its contents, and seek a tonic from its bitters: but her attention was required, and she dared not exhibit her emotion; least of all would she permit Mr. Batally to suspect the blank, and desolation he had caused. She could only think by stealth, and at intervals.

As she reflected upon the exemplary life Mrs. Doherty led, her integrity, and purity of principles, she vainly wearied herself by asking, what could have been her crime? And if she had erred, that error must have been deeply repented of, and steadily avoided: and shall not the penitent be restored to a place in society? Surely so. One, infinitely pure and holy, bade “him who was without sin to throw the first stone,” and where shall the sinless hand be found?

But she longed to set the matter at rest; and half determined, to apply to Tudor; but she did not often see him; he was constantly employed; though by watching, she might catch him when he came to the office, or tool house, but she could not break in upon him with such a question.

Her sensitive spirit shrank from it, though in all cases of perplexity, the instinctive thought was to apply to him, and she knew from his kind, grave manner that it gave him pleasure that she should do so.

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