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NEW NOVELS AT ALL LIBRARIES.
THE REBEL QUEEN. By Walter Besant. 3 vols.
THE SCALLYWAG. By Grant Allen. 3 vols.
THE WOMAN OF THE IRON BRACELETS. By
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TO HIS OWN MASTER. By Alan St. Aubyn.
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OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER. By Mrs. Campbell
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OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
SPOTTISWOOUE AND CO., NEW-STREET SQLARk
OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
MRS CAMPBELL PRAED
rHE ROMANCE OF A STATION' ' THE SOUL OF COUNTESS ADRIAN* ETC.
IN THREE VOLUMES-VOL. 11.
^ u b It
CHATTO & WINDUS, PICCADILLY
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2009 with funding from
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
THE SECOND VOLUME
XIII. 'hearts xot in it' I
XIV. ' ARE WE ENEMIES V .
XV. A VERANDAH RECEPTION .
XVI. trant's warning .....
XVII. IN THE ladies' GALLERY .
XVIII. ' NINON, NINON, QUE FAIS-TU DE LA VIE ? '
XIX, THE CLUB BALL ....
XX. LORD ASTAR's ATTENTIONS
XXI. ' AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE ' .
XXII. ' WE ARE ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED '
XXIII. MRS. VALLIANt's BLESSING .
XXIV. 'GOOD-BYE, ELSIE VALLIANT '
OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' HEAETS NOT m IT '
The greater number of the guests left on the
morrow. The Horace Gages, and Elsie, as
well as the Barolin gentlemen, the Garfits,
and one or two of the Leichardt's Town
people had been asked to stay a day longer,
to join a riding party, which Frank Hallett
had organised, to a picturesque gorge up the
Luya. Hallett had done this partly to com-
pensate Elsie for her disappointment in the
matter of the picnic, and also because she
had promised to ride Gipsy Girl, and he
c. VOL. II. B
2 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
thought that he should thus have a chance of
riding with her. He was a Httle disconcerted
when Blake suggested to Mrs. Jem that since
Point Eow, their destination, was not far from
his place, Barolin Gorge, they should ride
over in the morning, have luncheon with
Trant and himself, in their bachelor domicile,
and take Point Row on their way homeward
— or go to Point Row first, dine at the
Gorge, and ride back the ten miles by moon-
It was the first plan which was decided
upon. Before twelve o'clock the outsiders
liad all departed, and the remaining guests
were on their way to Barolin. Trant had
started at daybreak, to make preparations for
Pompo, the half-caste, remained to drive
the pack-horse, and, as he expressed it,
' make him road budgery.' Pompo was an
'HKARTS NOT IN IT' 3
elfish creature devoted to his master Blake,
and curiously attracted to Elsie, perhaps
because he saw that Blake was attracted in
a greater and different degree. Pompo did
not like Elsie's riding Gipsy Girl, and pointing
to The Outlaw, with an air of reproach, asked,
' What for you no like it yarraman, belonging
to Blake ? '
' But I like your master's horse very
much, Pompo,' said Elsie sweetly. ' Only,
you see, I rode it instead of Mr. Hallett's
the other day, and it wouldn't be fair to
ride it again.'
Pompo did not fully enter into this
reasoning, and he made Frank Hallett cross
by coming perpetually to examine Elsie's
girths, or to ask her if she wanted him to
' make him road budgery.' He rode ahead
with a tomahawk slum? over his shoulders,
and would stop every now and then to
4 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
cut away some overhanging vine, or to
remove a piece of driftwood which the
February floods had brought down. The
impish creature's bead-Hke eyes continually
turned to' Elsie in a half-amused inquiring
way, while he acted as guide, and did the
honours of the road to Barolin Gorge, which
was certainly rough enough for a guide to
Tt. ran along the river bank — a track in
places barely distinguishable from the cattle-
tracks, which sloped sideways to the water,
with here and there stony pinches, and
steep gulleys, almost hidden by the rank
Now it ran through a patch of scrub or
among glossy chestnut trees, with their red
and orange blossoms, or between white
cedars on which the berry sprays were
already yellowing. When the scrub ended
HEARTS NOT IN IT 5
there were melancholy she-oaks, and every
now and then a shrub of the lemon-scented
gum, which Elsie would snatch at as they
passed and crush between her fingers, for
the sake of the curious aromatic perfume it
gave forth. There was something strange and
dreamy in this ride along the bank of the
Luya — here scarcely to be called a river —
a ride so wild that for the most part they
had to go in single file. It all harmonised
with that phase of mental exaltation
which had come over Elsie during the last
few days. Anything might happen in this
In places the creek would make a bend,
winding round a little flat, and then there
would be a quick canter, with a warning from
Pompo to look out for paddy-melon holes.
And then they would mount a stony ridge,
with weird-looking grass trees, lifting their
6 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
blackened spears, and gray-green wattles, and
lanky gums, and sparse blady grass. And
then, perhaps, they would get away from the
river for a little way, and the gum trees would
close in around them, and the whirring of
the locusts would be almost deafening, and
the dreaminess more intense. Elsie would
almost call out in terror as an iguana scuttled
up a gum tree, or a herd of kangaroo made a
dash across the track. Once they had an ex-
citing spin after an ' old-man ' kangaroo with
all the dogs in full cry, but he escaped them,
for the river had twisted round again and they
were in scrub once more. And here were
deep rippleless pools surrounded by beds of
poisonous arums, with the wrack of the flood-
mark clinging to their pulpy stems ; and
horrid water-snakes showed themselves from
under decaying logs ; and the fallen chestnut
pods had rotted, and there was a moist fetid
'HEARTS NOT IN IT' 7
feeling that Elsie said reminded her of Hans
Andersen's witch stories.
They seemed to be going right up into the
mountains, which began to close in round
them, all the seams and fissures in the preci-
pices showing distinctly. Presently at its
narrowest part the valley opened out in a
chain of flats, and Frank pointed to a gully
cutting down into the neck and said, ' That's
our show lion — Point Eow — what we are
coming out for to see. We shall stop there
for tea, and then, if you don't mind a climb,
we'll get down the rocks on the other side,
and the black-boys shall take the horses round
to meet us, and we can come home by the
Dead Finish Flats, and have a moonlight
gallop, if you like.'
' It would be heavenly,' said Elsie.
' Look ! Isn't that Mr. Trant coming across
the flat ? '
8 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
It was Trant, who, mounted on a fresh
horse, had ridden out to meet them.
' You can canter all the way now to the
Gorge,' he cried. ' Come, Miss YaUiant,
luncheon is waiting.'
He contrived to get beside Elsie. ' 1
expected to see you riding with Blake,' he
said ; ' but it's a bad road, isn't it, for flirta-
tion ? '
' Why do you always drag in that horrible
word ? '
' Is it a horrible word ? I thought it was
one you were particularly fond of. You
won't pretend that you haven't been flirting
outrageously this last day or two. I hope
you observed that I haven't given you much
chance to-day of flirting with me.'
' I wondered why you had gone away so
early this morning.'
' In order that you might have something
'HEARTS NOT IN IT' 9
to eat for luncheon. No, it wasn't that.
Blake said he'd go. Or a message by Sam
Shehan would have done as well. The truth
is that you're beginning to make me uncom-
fortable, and I don't like it.'
' I thought it was you who generally made
people uncomfortable — at least you told me
that you could make them afraid of you.'
' I told you that I could generally make a
woman like me if I wanted to.'
' You said that you made them afraid of
you as well. I suppose it's the same thing.'
' I shouldn't say it was the same thing at
' Well, I should think it would be very
uncomfortable to be made to like a man you
were afraid of,' said Elsie.
' I don't intend to let you make me un-
comfortable, Miss Yalliant.'
' I am very glad to hear that, Mr. Trant.'
lo OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' Perhaps you won't like it so much when
I tell you that the alternative is that you
should be afraid of me.'
' I don't feel in the least bit afraid of you
now. I don't know what there is to be afraid
' Don't you ? Well, perhaps some day you
may find out. If I set my mind on a thing I
always carry it through.'
'Eeally, Mr. Trant, you are quite melo-
dramatic. When you talk like that, and
when you sing as you did the other night, you
make me sorry '
' Sorry for what ? '
' That you forget your engagements with
me in the very rude way in which you forgot
them last night.'
' I suppose you mean my not coming to
claim my dance ? '
'HEARTS NOT IN IT n
' I didn't choose to be thrown a dance as
you might throw a dog a bone, when you
were sitting out half a dozen apiece with
Blake and Hallett. I wanted you to sit out
with me. x\nd, besides, you wouldn't take my
' I didn't know that you warned me
against Mr. Hallett.'
' No, but I warned you against Blake. It
made me mad to hear people talking about
you and him — knowing him as I do, and
knowing very well that it was only because
you were the prettiest woman in the room,
and because Frank Hallett is said to be
engaged to you, and he didn't choose that
anybody should beat him — more especially
' Do you think it is very nice of you to
talk about your partner behind his back in
that way ? '
12 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
' It is only what I have said to his face,
and you are quite at hberty to repeat
every word. Blake knows it is true. But
I've put myself in your power in another
' How ? '
'By letting you see that I am jealous.'
'Now, Miss Yalliant, this is good going
ground.' Blake had cantered up and reined
in his horse for a moment.
Elsie touched Gipsy Girl with the whip.
Blake rode The Outlaw. They were soon
striding on in advance of the others. ' So
Trant is jealous ! Poor Trant ! You must be
nice to him. Miss Yalliant. He is a very good
feUow in his way — Trant.'
Elsie was struck by the cool, half-
contemptuous tone in which he spoke. ' Is
Mr. Trant very much your inferior ? ' she
'HEARTS NOT IN IT 13
' Good gracious ! Inferior ! In what way ? '
' In birth and position, I suppose. You
speak as if lie were.'
' I am sorry I gave you that impression.
Trent is — well, perhaps his ancestors tilled
the soil when mine rode over it. I don't know
that that makes much difference.'
' You said once that you came of a wild
He laughed. ' Ah, that's true, and I think
I've done my best to carry on the family
traditions. I've been wild enough, too, at
Elsie was silent for a minute. At last she
began impulsively and stopped.
' I wonder '
' What is it that you wonder ? '
He bent down from his saddle, and looked
at her with that curiously sweet smile which
14 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' I was wondering, Mr. Blake, that you,
who I suppose belong to some great old
family, and who have lived in Europe, and
care so much for excitement and — and all
that you have talked to me about '
' That you can be content to live in the
bush, and in such a quiet place as Barolin
' But I don't live in Barolin Gorge. At
least I haven't lived there much as yet. And
then you forget that I am going in for the
maddening excitement of the Australian
political arena. What more could I have?'
' I should have thought you could liave
had much more in Europe, and that at least
you would have had the society of people you
' I have society that I care about in
'HEARTS NOT IN IT' 15
' How long is it since you left England,
Mr. Blake ? '
He seemed to be thinking. ' It is about
twelve years since I left Ireland.'
' Ireland — yes, I forgot. Do you care
very much for your country ? '
' I sucked in patriotism with my mother's
milk. It was born in me, with many other
things that I should be better without.'
' Better ? '
' Happier, at any rate.'
' But you — you ought to be happy,' said
He looked at her lingeringly. Her eyes
were turned away. She was sitting very
erect. Her profile was towards him. There
was a lovely glow on her delicate cheeks, a
still more beautiful glow in her eyes, and her
lips were sweet and tremulous.
' Yes, I ought to be happy,' he repeated.
i6 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' and especially at this moment. Well, I am
happy, Miss Yalliant. Or it would be truer
to say that the one man in me is happy.'
' I don't understand.'
' Don't you know,' he said, ' that in most
of us there are two beings ? Sometimes the
one is kept so utterly in subjection by the
other that you hardly know it is there. But
in some people the two natures are both so
strong that life is always a battle. It's the
Celt in me that gives me no peace.'
' I don't understand,' she said again.
He laughed. ' No, I don't suppose you do.
For your own sake I hope not. And yet
sometimes I fancy that you've got a little bit
of the same nature in you, and that, to a very
faint extent, we are companions in misfortune.'
' Misfortune ! '
' Isn't it a misfortune to have the rebel
taint. You couldn't bind yourself down to
'HEARTS NOT IN IT' 17
the sort of life which would content that very
estimable young lady, Miss Garfit.'
' Nor could I lead the calm decorous
existence of — shall I say Mr. Frank Hallett ?
— an existence made up of going out on the
run managing a model station, observing all the
social, domestic, and religious obligations,
amassing an honourable fortune by strict
attention to business and by prudent invest-
ment, loving one woman and cleaving to her.
No, I do the Celt injustice there. His morals
are his strongest point — my grandmother was
French. Miss Yalliant, have I offended you ? '
'Yes.' Elsie had turned to him bright
dilated eyes. ' I will not have you speak in
that sneering way of Frank Hallett.'
' Forgive me, I did not mean to sneer. And
I ought to have remembered what I was told
VOL. II. C
1 8 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' What was that ? '
' That he is to be your husband.'
Elsie rode on with flaming cheeks, distanc-
ing The Outlaw by a few paces. They were
a long way in advance of the others. In the
distance was to be seen a cluster of buildings
standing back against a hill, which was .
covered with dense scrub. A little to the
right rose Mount Luya, a majestic object, with
its encircling precipiced battlement of grey
rock, making it look like some Titanic fortress.
Its strange rents and fissures and the black
bunya scrub clothing its lower slopes made it
seem still more grim and gloomy.
' I don't wonder that the blacks think that
Debil-debil lives on Mount Luya,' said Elsie.
' Do you see that dark ravine with the
two spurs of rock going down from the preci-
pice — just as if a thick wedge had been cut
out of the mountain ? ' asked Blake. ' Do vou
'HEARTS NOT IN IT' 19
think it will be very easy to reach Barolin
' Is that Barolin Waterfall ? '
' Yes, the dread abode of the great Spirit
Barolin. Captain Macpherson may " blow," as
you say in Australia, but I am certain that he
and his merry men never got beyond the foot
of those rocky spurs. There's a pretty little
cascade there, but it is not the real Barolin
Fall. That will not be the scene of your spring
picnic, Miss Valliant, unless you are prepared
to force your way on foot through scrub
as impenetrable as an Indian jungle.'
' How do you know all this, Mr. Blake ?
I thought you were almost a stranger on the
'Trant has told me, and he has heard it
from Sam Shehan, and Pompo, and Jack Nutty,
who, in the days of their nefarious practices,
probably " nuggeted " a good many of Mr.
20 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
Hallett's calves up here on theLuya, and know
every inch of country practicable for that
purpose. Here we are at the sliprails,
Miss Yalliant. I am glad we have reached
them before the others, and that I am the one
to let them down for you.'
He dismounted and waited at the sliprails
till she had ridden through. Then before
mounting again he came to Gipsy Girl's side
and held out his hand. ' Welcome to Barolin.'
She put her hand in his. Their eyes met.
In her look there was a troubled consciousness.
In his there was consciousness too, but it was
nevertheless a bold and masterful gaze.
' Will you forgive me,' he said, ' and
believe that I meant no disrespect to Mr.
Frank Hallett? I admire him immensely.
He is a good fighter and a gallant foe. I got
to like him ever so much during the election,
and I hope you will be happy with him.'
'HEARTS NOT IN IT' 21
Elsie did not answer. He released her
hand. There had been something very-
strange, she thought, in his clasp. It had
given her an odd tingling sensation, which
no other touch had ever produced. She
wondered whether there was any truth in
the idea that some people were mag-
netic. He looked at her all the time. He
' Yes, I admire Frank Hallett. I don't
beheve he would do a dishonourable thing to
save his life. He has all the sterling virtues.
But he is — you must own it — he is something
of the Philistine, and I am a Bohemian rebel
to the very core of me, and can't be expected
to feel that deep sympathy with his views of
life which perhaps you feel, Miss Yalliant.'
' I think,' she said slowly, 'that I have a
little of the Bohemian in me, too.'
He laughed. ' Oh yes, I know that.
22 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
Didn't I tell you that we were something akin ?
Well, I wonder if you will be as generous
a foe as Mr. Frank Halle tt.'
' As generous a foe,' she repeated, startled.
' We are fighting, aren't we ? Don't you
remember that challenge of the other night ?
I accepted it. Don't you recollect our talk
that evening — before I told you of my friend-
ship with Jensen? I beg your pardon for
alluding again to what you said was disagree-
' I understand,' she said coldly ; ' you want
to avenge Mr. Jensen's wrongs. That is what
you were thinking of.'
' I beg your pardon,' he said again. ' It
wasn't to be a case of avenging anyone or
anything — nothing so melodramatic. It was
to be a trial of skill, a tournament between a
young lady, who frankly owned that she had
played with a man's heart — and who had
'HEARTS NOT IN IT 23
ruined his life — for an experiment, and another
person who confessed to having played justly
or unjustly for amusement at the game of
flirtation. That's all. There is nothing melo-
dramatic about it. And it was understood
that hearts were not in the business.'
'Mr. Blake, you are cruel — you have no
right — it is unfair.'
' If you think a moment,' he said gently,
' you will see that it is all fair — a challenge
given to a tournament — on certain lines —
given and seriously taken up. I suppose the
laws of knightly warfare hardly apply to a
lady, and that your word must be my law,
but still you will admit that to draw back
would seem '
' Forgive me, but wouldn't it seem a little
like a confession of cowardice ? '
Elsie flushed, and her eyes gleamed ; and
24 OUTLAW AND LAW MAKE
a spirit of recklessness took possession of her
' Very well ; whatever I am, I am not a coward,
and I am not in the least afraid of you, Mr.
He bowed. ' That I can perfectly under-
stand It is I who have cause to be afraid.'
' Why shouldn't we play the game, since
it amuses you and it amuses me — since it is a
case of hearts not in it ? '
'Why not, indeed?' he answered. 'It
seems to me that one of the objects of living
at all is that one may cram as many experi-
ences as one can into the few years in which
experience can be enjoyed. You are fond of
drama, Miss Yalliant, so am I. You don't get
the sort of drama we should enjoy ; on the
Australian stage it is too crude — too much of
the blood and thunder, " Unhand me, villain !"
sentiment — not complex enough for people
who by right of nature belong to an advanced
HEARTS NOT IN IT 25
civilisation. We don't get an advanced civili-
sation out here, do we ? and so we must make
our own drama. I am quite certain that one
in which you played the principal part would
be bound to be exciting.'
' Thank you.'
' And then,' he went on, ' you hke making
experiments in human chemistry, and so do I.
You remember that book you were reading
the day we first met. Experiments in a
laboratory are sometimes dangerous. Experi-
ments in human chemistry maybe much more
dangerous. But I never really cared for
anything in which there was no danger. I
perfectly realise the danger in this case. . . .
Here come the rest. I think I may leave the
putting up of the sliprails to Trant.' He
mounted again, and they rode together up to
26 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' ARE WE ENEMIES ? '
BAHbLiN was only a bachelor's house, and a
bachelor's house of the roughest kind, as
Trant & Blake impressed upon their guests.
But there were things in it which one does
not usually find in a bachelor's dwelling
in the bush — notably a piano, which Lord
Horace insisted on trying, while they were
waiting for luncheon, and which he pro-
nounced to be one of the best cottage pianos
he had ever played on. Trant sang at Elsie's
request one of his passionate love-songs,
which produced a sort of reflex emotion in
several of the persons present — excepting
'ARE WE ENEMIES?' 27
perhaps Miss Garfit, who remarked that it
was sweet ; Miss Garfit had a trick of saying
that things were ' sweet,' and the epithet was
not quite in keeping with her robust person-
ahty. Then there were various odds and ends
which betokened a more refined taste than
one discovers as a rule among lone squatters
— some fine bits of Eastern embroidery, a
silver perfume sprinkler, two or three
jewelled daggers, and so forth, which Lord
Horace pounced upon.
' These are Algerian,' he said. ' My sister
has got a lot of 'em. Fancy finding Algerian
embroideries in an Australian hut ! '
' I am sure,' said Miss Garfit, ' this is far
too sweet a place to be called a hut. Have
you really been in Algiers, Mr. Blake ? '
Blake laughed. ^ Ask Trant. He was in
a regiment of Irregulars. That's how he
learned to speak French so well.'
28 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' And you ? ' said Elsie. ' Was that where
you learned to speak French ? '
' As I have told you, my grandmother
was a Frenchwoman, Miss Yalliant. But I
have knocked about among the Arabs a good
deal, and I learned to speak '
There was a sudden crash. Trant had
jumped up hastily, and had overturned a
chair. Blake's sentence remained unfinished.
' By Jove, you've got some nice firearms
here,' said Lord Horace, who had been
examining a rack of guns and pistols over the
chimney-piece. ' These are stunners — all the
latest improvements. I see you are prepared
Was it Elsie's fancy, that as Frank Halle tt
and the other men came up to examine the
weapons, a sudden glance was interchanged
by the partners? anyhow she thought that
Blake rather hastily interposed. ' Never mind
'ARE WE ENEMIES V 29
those, Lord Horace, I am sure luncheon is
ready. Come — Trant, will you bring Miss
Valliant ? Lord Horace, please show Miss
Garfit the way.'
He offered his arm to Ina, and Elsie
accepted that of Trant. Luncheon was not
quite ready, but the delay afforded oppor-
tunity for admiring the view from the
verandah of the dining-room, which looked
out on Mount Luya. Trant was full of
apologies for his bachelor housekeeping,
which, however, were unnecessary, for the
meal was excellently served, and he was much
complimented by Mrs. Jem Hallett, who con-
sidered herself an authority in such matters,
and who made a mental memorandum that
she would always in future give her guests
coffee after luncheon.
It was mid-afternoon before the coffee had
been drunk, they were again mounted, and
30 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
on their way back to Point Row. Frank
Hallett got beside Elsie at the start, and Blake
was fain to content himself with Lady Horace.
Ina did not care much for Blake, but she
made herself as agreeable as she could, because
she wanted to keep him from Elsie. Lady
Horace was beginning to be a little frightened
of Blake's influence over Elsie.
Hallett was not quite himself, or was it
that Elsie was disturbed and preoccupied ?
' Have you enjoyed your day ? ' he asked.
' It is not finished yet. Call no man happy
till he is dead, you know.'
He laughed, and then said with some em-
barrassment, ' You and Blake seemed to be
talking very earnestly when you were waiting
by the sliprails.'
' Were we ? I forget.'
' He was holding your hand.'
' You have very keen eyes, Mr. Hallett.'
'ARE WE ENEMIES?' 31
' But he was holding your hand ? '
' Yes, then he was.'
' That was odd, wasn't it ? '
' It isn't at all odd when a person holds
out his hand and asks you to forgive him.
You naturally take it.'
' Oh ! he asked you to forgive him ! Had
he offended you ? '
' By something he said ? '
' I wish I knew what he had said.'
' How inquisitive you are. Well, it was
about you,' said Elsie.
' About me ? '
' He spoke of you in a way I didn't like.'
' Indeed. I don't mind in the least what
Mr. Blake says about me.'
' Your tone shows that you do. He spoke
very nicely of you. He said you were a
32 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
generous foe, and that he admired and
' That was very kind of him. Did you
object to his praising me ? '
' I objected to his calling you a Philistine.'
' Oh ! now I understand. Thank you,
Elsie.' His whole face beamed. ' You are
' Am I ? I am afraid not. Don't be a
Philistine, Frank. I don't like Philistines.'
They were able to canter almost all the
way to the turning off to Point Row. At the
bend where the Point Row gulley fell into
the Luya a great rock bulged out into the
stream. It was covered with a wonderful
growth of ferns, birds'-nests, and staghorn,
with branching antler-like fronds, which so
fascinated Elsie that she wanted to get off her
horse and clamber up the boulder to gather
them. But Pompo stepped gallantly forward.
'ARE WE ENEMIES?' ^2,
' Ba'al ! ' he cried, ' White Mary plenty
garamon. Suppose white missus go up that
fellow rock she tumble and break her neck.
Then mine dig him hole to put her in.'
The creature swung himself up, grinning
all the time, and presently came back with an
armful, which he slung on to his saddle. They
went very slowly now. Pompo first, with the
packhorse, all the rest following in single file.
The hills closed in on either side, and the
gulley was in deep shade. There was a little
wind, and the she-oaks by the creeklet made
a melancholy sighing. The stream ran over
a pebbly bed with big boulders here and
there, breaking its course and damming it
into a deep black pool. In some places
the pool was covered with a strange opaline.
Now a rocky wall rose ahead. The gulley
made a bend, and the creeklet wound
between two fantastically- shaped ridges of
VOL. II. D
34 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
grey rock. It was impossible to ride further,
and they all dismounted. Pompo unsaddling
the packhorse and carrying the saddlebags
with the tea-things down through the rocky
heads, whence he led the way into what
seemed the heart of the hills, while Jack
Nutty, the other half-caste twin, and two
black-boys drove the horses back and round
the ridge to meet the picnickers on the other
side of the gorge.
The ladies tucked up their habits, and each
with her attendant swain picked her way over
the rocks, and across the stepping-stones, and
through the tangle of fern and creeper, which
choked the entrance to the ravine. It was
rough walking. The ravine was a rocky
trough. On each side rose a wall of grey
volcanic stone hollowed in places at the base,
and making tiny caves rich in maidenhair
fern. It was broken in others and overgrown
'ARE WE ENEMIES?' 35
with the red kennedia and the fleshy wax
plant, and had tufts of orchids, creeping
jasmine and tiny shrubs, with blue-green
leaves that gave out a strong aromatic scent.
The creeklet was here a chain of dark clear
pools, the last hemmed in all round by rock,
black and looking unfathomable. A sort of
natural stair led to a higher plateau, and it
was here that Pompo had laid the saddlebags
and was building up a fire of brushwood for
the making of the quart-pot tea.
The quiet place echoed with talk and
laughter, and the scared rock wallabies darted
out of their holes, and made for the higher
level and for the impenetrable scrub. Some
of the party climbed above the plateau, and
from here the sun could be seen, a golden
flame, through the trees. Among these
adventurous ones were Blake and Elsie.
Frank, in his capacity of host, remained
36 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
below with Mrs. Jem, and lifted off the quart
pot and sugared and cooled the tea. Eose
Garfit held one pint pot and he another, and
backwards and forwards they poured the
smoking beverage. Elsie did not care for
quart-pot tea ; she said that she liked the
spring water better, and that she wanted to
see if there were any late mulgams. Blake
was of her opinion, and the two did find
some untimely berries. They had climbed
some fifty feet. Up here the hoy a grew
luxuriantly, and there were clusters of the
waxen flowers sweet as honey, which Elsie
gathered, and with which she pelted those
' Elsie, Elsie,' Ina cried ; ' come down,
you'll be losing yourselves up there, and we
shall never get to the horses, and Mr. Hallett
says the place is full of snakes.'
But Elsie only laughed.
'ARE WE ENEMIES f yj
' Why should I climb down to climb up
again ? We've got to get over the ridge
before we find the horses. Mr. Blake will
look after the snakes. You are to take care
of me and show me the way,' she added
demurely, to Blake, ' though we have agreed
to be enemies.'
' Are we enemies ? ' he said in an odd
dreamy way. ' Let us suspend hostilities
then for a little while. No, I don't think we
Elsie turned from the precipice, and moved
about among the shrubs and plants, gather-
ing a flower here and there. There were
many that she had never seen before, peculiar
to these mountain places, and she gathered
them and brought them to Blake with all the
interest of a child. There were trees with a
glossy green leaf and bright orange seed pods,
and there was another plant with a cone of
38 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
brilliant crimson berries. ' I wonder what
sort of flower they had,' she said. ' If one
only knew in autumn what things were like
' Do you know,' he said, ' that there is a
great philosophical problem underneath that
remark of yours ? If one could only know in
autumn what had been the promise of the
spring. If in the spring one could only know
what the autumn would bring forth, one
might in that case make a better thing out of
' Oh ! ' she cried, ' to know in spring what
the autumn is going to bring forth ! It would
be terrible. It would spoil life. I should
hate it. I don't want to know anything. I
want to live from day to day, never looking
' So that is your theory ! The mere joy of
life contents you ? ' .
'ARE WE ENEMIES?' 39
' No, no,' she cried impetuously. ' I say
so, but it is not true. I want much more than
the mere joy of hfe. I am always looking
forward — always w^ondering what is going to
happen — always inventing situations — always
expecting people who never by any chance
' What sort of people ? ' he asked.
' The people who seem to live in romance,
and not in real life,' she answered lightly.
There was a ' Coo-ee ' from below. Elsie
peeped over the ledge.
' They are coming. Now we are going to
where the horses are waiting.'
' They will not be waiting yet. Pompo
and the black-boys have to lead them a good
three miles round the ridge.'
' And we have to climb down this ridfre.
Do you know the way ? ' she asked.
' No, but I'm as good a bushman, I think,
40 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
as most people. I'll engage to strike the
horses at the bottom of the gulley/
* Mr, Frank Hallett knows the way,' said
Elsie. ' He is coo-eeing to us to wait for
'I don't want to wait for Mr. Frank
Hallett. I would rather show you the way
myself. Will you let me be your guide ? '
' K you like ' she answered.
'Come then.' He held back an over-
hanging withe of a creeper, for her to pass
through into the denser bush beyond the
little plateau. The ground sloped downward.
There was a faint track, but it was difficult to
tell whether it was a cattle track, or made by
the passage of man. On each side, and all
down the hill, were cairns of grey volcanic
stone, covered with a yellow-white lichen, that
gave them a strange and hoary appearance.
The white gums had something of the same
'ARE WE ENEMIES?' 41
eldritch look on account of the withes of
greenish -grey moss which hung from their
branches. Through their straight lanky stems
could be seen glimpses of the grey precipice
of Mount Luya. A few jagged grass-trees,
some melancholy wattles, and stunted cinchona
shrubs added to the wildness of the scene.
As they got down into the gulley the rocks
became more steep and slippery, and the way
more difficult. Blake held out his hand to
help Elsie over the stones. She slipped and
fell into his arms, but quickly recovered her-
self, and poised with the lightness of a fawn
on a jutting rock. ' You don't seem to like
taking my hand,' said Blake resentfully.
' I am a very good climber,' she answered.
' And besides, Mr. Blake, did you really mean
what you said ? Is everything that you or I
do or say to be counted as a move in the
game ? '
42 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' Most certainly, since we have determined
to play the game. But you need not be so
proud about accepting help over the stones.
It will be I who run a risk, not you.'
' I don't understand you.' As she spoke,
she put out her hand to balance herself, for
she had shpped again. He took it in his,
and with his eyes admiringly fixed upon her
face guided her down a bad bit. Again
that curious thrill of contact of which Elsie
was distinctly sensible. So also seemed
' Can't you understand,' he said, in a voice
unlike his usual deliberate utterance, ' that
there might be a risk to a man in touching
the hand of a woman like you, if '
' If? ' she asked.
' If he were fighting not so much against
you as against himself.^ '
' Ah ! ' cried Elsie triumphantly, quoting
'ARE WE ENEMIES?' '43
his own words. ' Doesn't it seem a little like
a confession of cowardice ? '
' No,' he said, looking up to her from his
lower level and then taking her bodily in his
arms and lifting her down a miniature preci-
pice ; ' whatever I may be I am not a coward,
and if you make me love you, Elsie — well, then
we shall be quits. You shall love me too.'
' And then ? ' she said almost below her
breath, looking at him with fascinated eyes.
* Then,' he said, with a hght laugh, ' the
frame will be a drawn one, the battle lost
for the two of us. We shall go our ways
both wounded, and perhaps — who knows ? —
neither of us sorry, though we may have to
bear the pain of the hurt till our lives' end.'
She drew herself from him, throwing her
body back against the rock. And at that
moment there was a rustle in the dry leaves
that choked a fissure almost at her elbow, and
44 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
the gleam of something black and shining,
which disappeared in the rank blady grass.
Elsie gave a cry, and darted from the place,
leaping past him on to a fallen log.
' What is it ? ' he said.
' Didn't you see a snake ? Ina said this
place was full of them, and I had forgotten.
I am terrified of snakes. When I have a
nightmare it is that I am bitten by a snake,
and that I am somewhere out of reach of
remedies. What should I have done if that
thing had bitten me ? ' She shuddered.
' I should have sucked the poison from the
bite, and then I should have given you
ammonia — I always carry it with me in the
bush ' — he touched his coat-pocket, ' and in
the long run you would not be very much the
* And you would have saved my life ? '
' Yes, I suppose so, always allowing that
'ARE WE ENEMIES?' 45
it was a deadly snake, and that it had bitten
They did not speak for some time. Elsie
was pale. She moved on hurriedly, looking
to right and left as she picked her steps.
They had nearly got to the bottom of the
ridge when Blake gave a ' Coo-ee.' There
was no answer. ' They are a long way behind
us,' he said coolly. ' We have come down
by a short cut.'
' But where are the horses ? Perhaps we
have come down quite wrong.' Elsie looked
' No, we have not. It is they who have
gone out of their way. The horses are
down there,' and he pointed a little to the
' How do you know ? '
' Oh, I know the country. You will see.'
He called again, this time with a totally
46 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
different note from the ordinary Australian
' Coo-ee.' It was a strange wild sound, some-
thing like the cry of a bird, a most peculiar
and wailing sound.
'They won't know that. What an odd
coo-ee,' exclaimed Elsie. As she spoke, the
cry was repeated, and from the direction
which Blake had indicated. ' That is Pompo,'
he said. ' Pompo knows my call. Now, Miss
Yalliant, sit down on this log and rest till the
others come. They will coo-ee fast enough.
There, hsten. Didn't I tell you ? '
And from above and a good way off, to
the left, there sounded Ina's coo-ee — then
another, in a man's voice.
' Sit down,' said Blake. ' You are panting,
and you are quite pale. A few minutes ago
3^ou had the loveliest flush imaginable.'
Elsie flushed now. She did not sit down,
but leaned against a white gum-tree tapping
ARE WE ENEMIES 47
her riding-skirt with her whip in an embar-
' Mr. Blake,' she began.
' Well Miss YalHant.'
' You were wrong — in what you said— in
what you thought. I am not engaged to Mr.
' Ah ! I wonder whether that is so much
the better for him or the worse.'
' The worse. I am not the kind of girl to
make a man happy.'
' I think you might make a certain kind of
man intensely happy — and under certain con-
' What conditions ? '
' First of all, he must be free to love you
— free to make you his wife. And yet ' — he
paused for a moment, then went on — ' I can
imagine the desperate sort of joy — a joy in
which minutes would count as years, and a
48 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
week as a lifetime — the joy of loving you, and
conquering you, and teaching you the in-
effable bliss of love — opening to you a whole
world of new emotions and gathering the
first-fruits of your heart, with bliss intensified
to an ecstasy of pain by the knowledge that
it must end in a week. Perhaps that short-
lived rapture might be worth more than a
long married life of decorous commonplace
conventional happiness — a Frank Hallett kind
' Don't, don't say things like that. I don't
know anything about such feelings.'
' No, but the time will come when you will
know, and then you will remember my words.
You will remember that it was as I told you,
that you had in you the capacity for passion.'
' Yes,' she answered in a low voice ; ' I will
' You understand now what I meant when
ARE WE ENEMIES V 49
I told you that I realised the risk I was
' No,' she exclaimed. ' You talk in
enigmas. You speak of a certain kind of
man — of certain conditions which don't apply
' But if they did apply to me ? — If I was
thinking, speaking of myself ? '
' How can that be ? You are free. Your
life is your own.'
' It is true,' he said slowly, ' that my life is
my own. But it is true also that my life may
be forfeited at any moment, and that I am not
free to link the life of a woman like you with
a career so wild and precarious as mine.'
' Wild ! Precarious ! ' she repeated, in
' You don't know what I mean. It is not
possible that you should. I am saying to you
what I have said to no other woman in the
VOL. II. s
50 OUTLAW AND LAV/MAKER
world — to no other person in Australia. My
life is wild and precarious — it is not necessary
— not advisable that you should understand
in what way. Only understand this — I am
the last man to ask a woman I love to share
' I understand.' she said — ' no, I shall
never understand, but I know what you wish
to convey to me. I thank you for your
warning. It was not needed. Will you show
me now where the horses are ? '
A VERANDAH RECEPTION
It seemed to Elsie that never, in all her life
long, should she forget that moonlight ride.
The sun was setting when they found the
horses. They waited a little while in, as far
as Blake and Elsie were concerned, a con-
strained silence. Elsie talked to Pompo and
the black-boys. She was a favourite with tiie
blacks, and had picked up something of the
Luya dialect. King Tommy of the Dell had
been her instructor, and King Tommy was old
and garrulous, and had even been beguiled
into discussing the sacred mysteries of tlie
Bora. Elsie had a theory that the most sacred
52 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
initiation grounds of the Bora mystery were
somewhere at the foot of Mount Luya, and
that hence arose the superstitious dislike of the
blacks to going anywhere near the Barolin
Fall. But Pompo only grinned when she
hazarded this theory, and declared ' that
White Missus plenty gammon,' which is the
recognised black formula for avoiding a deli-
cate subject. He was more communicative
when Elsie asked about the great Woolla-
Woolla, the black parliament, and about the
marriage laws of the Luya tribes, the Combo,
Hippi, and Haggi families. Elsie had arrived
at a due understanding of the fact that the
child of a Combo-Hippi must marry a Hippi-
Haggi, and their child in turn must wed with
a Haggi-Combo, when the coo-ees of the
rear party sounded nearer and louder, and
presently Hallett and Lady Horace, closely
followed by Lord Horace and Mrs. Allanby,
A VERANDAH RECEPTION 53
made their appearance, and proceeded at once
It was easy going all the way home. They
rode across a series of flats made by the bends
of the river. There was no excuse for loiter-
ing in twos. Lord Horace and Trant started
a chorus — Lord Horace's adaptation of Adam
Lindsay Gordon's spirited lines.
The moon was getting near its full, and
cast ghostly shadows upon the flat and under
the gnarled apple gums and the queer rocky
knolls that had a way of starting up on the
edge of a flat where the hills encroached
towards the river. The way was not so
picturesque as that which they had taken in
the morning, but it was much better adapted
to a night ride. Gipsy Girl knew she was
going home, and went fleetly along — Hallett
close by Elsie's side, for Blake made no
attempt at any further talk, but rode by Lady
54 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
Horace, who afterwards confessed to Elsie
that he was certainly very agreeable. As for
Elsie, she felt in a dream. She hardly knew
what Frank Hallett was talking about, though
she answered mechanically even and found
herself laughing. He was telling her about
his election campaign, and his coming tour on
the Wallaroo, on which he was to start on the
And the Horace Gages and Elsie were
going too, and the party was to break up.
They would meet no more till Parliament
opened next month and Leichardt's Town
gaieties had begun, and Elsie had, as she said,
with her little laugh, got through her jam-
making. Ina and Lord Horace were coming
down to meet the Waveryngs, who were to
turn up some time in the winter. All the
while, Elsie was thinking of Blake's strange
words, seeing in fancy the dark dangerous
A VERANDAH RECEPTION 55
eyes which already imagination pictured too
often for her heart's peace. What had he
meant by saying that his life was wild and
precarious — he whose hfe seemed so steady
and safe, who had just been elected member
for Luya, who was going through the usual
Leichardt's Town routine, and who would be
at Tunimbah for their picnic in the spring ?
Why was he afraid of loving her ? Why
should she not love him? Why might he not
open to her that world of new emotion, of
which in very truth she had even now caught
a faint glimpse ? Why ? — Why ?
The night sounds mingled with her
thoughts and increased the dreamlike feeling.
There was the strange pouring-water sound of
the swamp pheasant, the little sweet guggle,
like water trickling, and there were uncanny
' gr — rr — s ' and swishes of wings and harsh
screeches as the horses' tread startled the
56 O UTLA W AND LA W MAKER
waterfowl in the creek, and the bandicoots
and opossums from their lairs. And then
from the scrub came the dingo's howl,
weird and melancholy, and the curlews were
wailing in the Boomerang Swamp. The
liorses' hoofs sounded pat-pat on the dry-
grass, and how curious the shadows were of
the riders as they went by, like the dream
shadows of the fairy story ! A wild sense of
irresponsibility came over Elsie. She almost
laughed aloud at her fancy. She imagined a
masked and armed horseman on a coal-black
steed dashing into their midst, and bearing
her away — away into the black depths of the
scrub ; away into an unknown life ; away
from all that was prosaic and commonplace,
to a land of intoxicating surprises, of daring
deeds, and love rapture. And somehow the
masked horseman had Blake's eyes gleaming
through his visor.
A VERANDA// RECEPT/ON 57
' Elsie,' Hallett said suddenly, ' I am sure
that you are dreadfully tired. You haven't
said a word for a quarter of an hour.'
' Haven't I — not said a word ? I thought
I was saying — oh, all kinds of clever and
brilliant things. Yes, I am tired.'
' We shall soon be at home. There are
the lights across the creek from the men's
huts. Have you enjoyed your day ? '
' Enjoyed my day .^ Yes, I have had a very
happy day. I shall always remember to-day.'
'I'm glad of that, since it was I who sug-
gested the picnic, though, to be sure, Blake
has had more to do with the carrying out of
it. You have been talking to Blake a great
deal to-day, Elsie ? '
' Do you like him ? '
'Yes — no. I don't know. I think I hate
58 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
' Why, Elsie ! You began by saying you
' I wasn't thinking.'
' Then it is clear that it is not Blake who
has made you enjoy to-day. And you ought
to tell Lady Horace, for she was talking about
him, and she seemed uneasy, and she made
me uneasy too,' said Hallett.
' What about ? ' asked Elsie.
' She thought he was getting a kind of
influence over you, and that it would lead to
no good. It will be a relief to her to know
that you don't like him.'
' No, I don't like him. I will tell Ina so.
Frank, tell me, do you think Ina is happy ? '
' Honestly, I don't think she is. But Lord
Horace is a harum-scarum chap, and makes
her anxious perhaps. By-and-by he will tone
' I will tell you what I think. Horace is
A VERANDAH RECEPTION 59
selfish, and he is fickle. He has fads. He
had a fad for Austrahan pictures queness. He
fell in love with Ina because she is Australian,
and he thought she was picturesque. He
would have fallen in love with me if I had
allowed it, it would have been all the same
to him. Just now he is a little tired of
picturesque barbarism. He begins to see that
the bush life isn't a picnic, and he is taken up
with Mrs. Allanby because she is English, and
because his soul begins to hanker a little after
the flesh-pots of Egypt, and Mrs. Allanby
represents the older civilisation. I have no
patience with Horace. Ina would manage
him a great deal better if she were not so
Frank laughed. ' You don't mean to
make that mistake anyhow,' he said.
And just then they got to the creek, and
the lights of the head station came into full
6o OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
view, and there was a chorus of dogs
rushing out and barking to greet their
Elsie had only a few words with Blake
that night. ' Good-night and good-bye,' he
said. ' We start at daylight to-morrow, and I
shall be in Leichardt's Town by nightfall.
Can I do anything for you there ? '
' I shall be there very soon myself,' she
' Then I shall very shortly take advantage
of your permission, and I shall present myself
at Emu Point.'
' You will begin your new duties very
soon,' said Elsie.
' Yes ; Parliament meets in a few weeks,
and as I suppose you know, there is a talk of
the Ministry going out on the Address. Will
you come to hear my maiden speech. Miss
Yalliant ? '
A VERANDAH RECEPTION 6l
* I never go to the Ladies' Gallery,' she
answered. ' I have never taken any interest
' You must take a little interest in them
now, however— now that both Hallett and I
have gone into public life. Which of us, I
wonder, will be first in the Cabinet .^ '
' You are going in for that ? ' she asked, in
'When I play a game I always play it
thoroughly,' he replied.
' Good-night,' she said abruptly, ' and
good-bye.' She left him. Trant waylaid her
as she was passing along the verandah to her
room in Ina's wake.
' Miss Yalliant, I have two things to ask
' What are they, Mr. Trant ? '
' Will you let me come and see you in
Leichardt's Town ? '
62 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' Why, of course. I have told Mr. Blake
that he may come.'
'I am not Blake, and Blake isn't me. I
shall come on my own account. The second
request is that you will give me the first waltz
at the May ball.'
' I am afraid that is promised.'
' Has Blake been beforehand with me ? '
Trant's face darkened. ' I won't stand that.'
' I am under a standing engagement to
dance the first waltz at all the May balls with
Mr. Frank Hallett.'
' Oh ! Is that engagement going to hold
after you are married. Miss Yalliant ? '
' I don't see why it shouldn't.'
' Your husband might object, that's all.
Never mind, I'm not jealous of ]\Ir. Hallett.
You'll give me the second ? '
' Promised, too.'
' Blake ? '
A VERANDAH RECEPTION 63
' Then the third ? '
' Yes, the third if you hke ; always sup-
posing that his Eoyal Highness or his
Excellency the Governor doesn't want to
dance it with me.'
' I have no doubt that his Eoyal Highness
will want to dance with you, and the
Governor, too ; unless he is a staid old
married man. I'll risk it for that dance, and
I shall book the engagement.'
The cottage on Emu Point seemed smaller
than ever after the comparative magnificence
of Tunimbah. Nobody had made the jam, and
Mrs. Yalliant was plaintively querulous. She
was a delicate, rather would-be fine woman,
who had once been as pretty as Elsie, but
who had never had a tenth part of Elsie's
brains and brightness, or of Ina's common
64 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
sense. She looked a little draggled now, and
had lost her hair and her teeth, and the badly
fitting false teeth of the Leichardt's Town
dentist gave her an artificial appearance.
' I shouldn't have minded about the jam if
you had come back engaged to Frank Hallett,'
' But I haven't, mother, and there's an
end of it,' said Elsie ; ' and I don't see the
remotest prospect of being engaged to any-
body for a long time to come.'
'It is your own fault,' moaned Mrs.
Yalliant. ' You have got the name of being
a flirt and of encouraging men who are no
use in the way of marrying. These town men
' They are very good to dance with,' said
Elsie. ' Don't worry, mother. If the worst
comes to the worst, and nobody will marry
me, I can always end up as a barmaid, you
A VERANDAH RECEPTION 65
know. I've got attractive manners — to men,
at any rate. At least, so they say.'
' And the women hate you ; I hear that
old cat, Lady Garfit, has been setting it about
that Frank Hallett has thrown you over
because you flirted so abominably with that
new man, Blake.'
Elsie flushed. 'Lady Garfit is jealous
because Eose was out of it, and Frank Hallett
has not thrown me over. Oh, mother, let us
forget for one whole evening that my mission
in Hfe is to marry, and help me to look over
my old ball dresses, and see what I can do
with them for this winter.'
They were terribly poor, the Yalliants,
and it was not surprising that Mrs. Yalhant
should wish to marry ofi* Elsie. No one but
Elsie and Lia knew how they had to pinch
and save, and to what straits they were some-
times reduced in order that Mrs. Yalhant
VOL. II. F
66 O UTLA W AND LA WMAKER
might have a decent black silk, with a high
and a square-cut bodice, in which to take her
place among the Leichardt's Town ladies at
such functions as called for her attendance.
No one but Ina and Elsie knew how the girls
used to toil in the mornings to get their house
work done to have the afternoons free for
their visitors and for their flirtations, and how
late they would sit up at nights to make the
pretty, simple dresses which Elsie and Ina wore
at the balls and garden parties, and which ill-
natured mothers of less attractive daughters
declared were bought at expensive shops with
borrowed money, which Elsie's husband would
one day have to pay back. But as a matter
of fact it was Mrs. Yalliant's boast that they
had never owed a penny, and that Ina had
gone to her husband with as respectable a
trousseau as any other Leichardt's Town girl
could have had. Ina's wedding, however.
A VERANDAH RECEPTION 67
had crippled the widow's resources for some
time to come, and there was httle enough
wherewith to fit Elsie out for her winter
campaign. Yet in spite of their poverty
they got along happily enough, and Elsie sang
over her work, and Mrs. Valliant, in gloves,
swept the floors, and made the beds, and did
the clear-starching and ironing so beautifully
that the Yalhant girls' white frocks were the
admiration of the town.
It was a pretty cottage in its way, though
it was so small — only four rooms and a
verandah and lean-to kitchen, but it had a
little garden which Peter, the Kanaka boy,
looked after — a garden with flaming poin-
settia shrubs, and some oleander trees, and a
passion-creeper arbour, and a small plantation
of bananas, and some lantana shrubs growing
on the bank which shelved down to the river.
It was a great thing having this tiny bit of
68 OUTLAWAND LAWMAKER
frontage on the river, for tlie girls had had
a boat, which Elsie now managed alone, and
which saved her a good deal in omnibus fares
and ferryage. The Leichardt Eiver winds
about like a great S, and beyond Emu Point
there lies the North Side, as it is called,
where are all the grand shops and the Houses
of Parhament, and Government House and
the Clubs, and beyond, again, is the South
Side, where smaller folk dwell. The big
people have mostly houses with large gardens
along the north bank of the river, or off Emu
Point. The Yalliant cottage was not in the
fashionable part of Emu Point, but lay in the
neck, and was approached through a paddock
of gum-trees, once part of a large property,
now gradually being cut up and covered
with little wooden houses, in which then
lived the genteel poor of Leichardt's Town
A VERANDAH RECEPTION 69
The verandah at Eiverside, as the YalHants'
cottage was named, had a treUis of Cape jas-
mine and thunbergia, and in one corner of it
Elsie had estabhshed herself with her sewing
machine and a garden table, on which were
her books and workbasket. The soft April
wind from the river fanned her cheeks, and
had a touch of chill. Winter was close at
hand. The poinsettia was beginning to flaunt
its red leaves, and the bougainvillea that
covered the verandah roof had a tinge of pale
mauve. Elsie was working diligently, and
she made a pretty picture as she bent over
the machine. She was so busy, and the
treadle of the machine made such a noise
that she did not hear the garden gate chck,
and it was not till a shadow came between
her and the light that she looked up and saw
' How do you do, Miss Valliant P ' he said
70 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
quietly. ' I should have been here before,
but that I did not get to Leichardt's Town
quite as soon as I expected ; that is, I got
here the evening of the day I left Tunimbah,
but I had to go away again immediately.'
Elsie got up from the machine and gave
him her hand. She was oddly confused. ' I
am sorry that my mother is not at home : she
has gone over to the North Side. Will you
sit here, or would you rather go in ? '
' I would much rather sit here, if I may ? '
He drew forward a canvas chair. ' I don't
recognise you in your new character. I
never saw you sewing before. What is it — a
gown? It looks very pretty.' He touched
the delicate fabric which Elsie was hemming
and gathering into frills.
' You will see me wearing it,' she said ;
' and I wonder if you will like me in it —
white muslin. It sounds very innocent and
A VERANDAH RECEPTION 71
Miss Edgeworthish, doesn't it ? but it is to
be glorified white muslin — copied from the
print of somebody's picture — a Eomney, I
' Yes, Eomney would have found you a
delightful model — almost as good as Lady
Hamilton, and he would have given all the
soft richness of your colouring.'
At his compliment Elsie recovered her
self-possession. ' Never mind my colouring.
Tell me what news there is while I work. I
am going to sew all these strips together, if
you don't mind.'
' No, I don't mind at all. I like to see a
woman working, especially if she is worth
watching. One can stare at her without
seeming rude, and then it makes one feel
more at home. I have some news for you.
Miss Valliant ; news which ought to interest
you very much I don't think you can have
72 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
heard it, for they had got it at the Club just
as I left;
'What is it? Is the date fixed for the
first Government House " At Home " ? I
don't know of anything else which will
interest me particularly.'
'Eeally, not even Mr. Frank Hallett's
election ? '
' He has got in, then ? Of course I knew
he would get in.'
' Yes, he has got in, and by a good
majority. I am honestly glad. By all the
laws of justice he ought to have beaten me at
' Why, I suppose the best man wins,
wherever it is.'
' I am afraid that in this case it wasn't the
best man winning. If he had been an Irish-
man, he would have had a walk over. The
patriotic spirit was roused, and I got the
A VERANDAH RECEPTION 73
benefit of it. Well, you will see now how
we shall fight in the Legislative Assembly.
Parliament opens, you know, next week.'
There was another click at the gate.
Blake cursed the untimely visitor.
It was Captain Macpherson, who, since
the races on the Luya, had developed a
tenderness for Elsie. He looked a little cross
at the sight of Blake, who scarcely stirred
from his seat. Captain Macpherson threw
himself on the edge of the verandah, with an
air of easy familiarity. He had brought an
ofiering, in the shape of banana candy, and
Elsie nibbled at it daintily.
' I wonder you aren't ashamed to come to
town. Oughtn't you to be looking after
Moonhght ? '
' Moonlight is the devil,' exclaimed Captain
Macpherson. ' I beg your pardon. Miss
Yalliant, but what can you say of a fellow
74 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
who disappears from mortal ken on the Luya
with the whole array of pohce and trackers
on the look out for him, and then all of a
sudden turns up, mask, black horse and
everything else, close by Wallaroo ; and
when the moon is new? Nobody expects
Moonlight to be on the rampage unless it's
' Ah ! ' said Blake indifferently. ' And
the police have no clue ? '
'None in the world, and never will have,
unless one of the gang turns traitor.'
'That's my belief, though perhaps I am
not the person to state it.'
Another visitor appeared, one who had
come in a boat to the landing, and now
approached through the banana grove, a
young man, very neatly got up, and with
a town air, and an evident determination to
be equal to all circumstances. He was, in
A VERANDAH RECEPTION 75
fact, a clerk in the Post Office, and was also
honorary secretary to a new club. His
ostensible reason for coming was, in fact, to
give the information that the committee of
this same club had fixed the date for their
house-warming ball, and that it would take
place the night but one after the Government
House birthday ball. He had brought his
offering, too, in the shape of two first-blown
camellias of the year, which, he said, he had
got from the curator of the Botanical Gardens.
Elsie accepted the flowers graciously, and
took them up and looked at them alternately
with her nibblings of Captain Macpherson's
banana candy. She seemed to take the
offerings for granted, and Blake could not
help saying, 'I see that it is the custom to
lay propitiatory tribute at the feet of the
' That is a very horrid way of putting it,'
76 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
said Elsie, flushing up. ' They call this sort
of thing my verandah receptions,' she added.
* A lot of gentlemen always turn up when
there is anything going on.'
One or two others turned up later, and
Elsie went in and came out presently, followed
by the Kanaka boy with a tray and the tea-
things. Then Elsie requested Mr. Saunders,
the young man in the Post Office, to cut some
bread and butter, and there was some joking
about the next cake-making day, and it
transpired that on one occasion Elsie's ad-
mirers had been turned into amateur cooks,
and had helped to bake a batch of biscuits.
Certainly there was very little formality about
Elsie's verandah receptions. The Kanaka
boy in his gardening clothes stood gravely
waiting to get hot water as required, and
Elsie requested her guests to help themselves
from the various bunches of bananas hanging
A VERANDAH RECEPTION 77
from the verandah rafters. ' Eiverside is
famous for its bananas,' she said to Blake ;
' bananas and strawberry guavas, those are
our attractions, not counting the chucky-
chucky tree by the river. Will you come
some time and help me to get chucky-
chuckies ? '
Mr. Holmes, one of Elsie's army of detri-
mentals, proposed a pull on the river before
the weather got cold, and Elsie gravely made
the appointment and accepted an invitation
to meet somebody else on the North Side, and
get an ice at the Leichardt's Town Gunter's.
About sunset Mrs. YalHant appeared. She
made Blake think of the descriptions he had
read of the American mother. She was a
personage equally unimportant in the general
scheme of things.
78 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
Every one said that this was going to be one
of the gayest winters there had ever been in
Leichardt's Town. The Birthday Ball was
heralded by several smaller entertainments.
The Garfits gave an impromptu dance, to
which they were compelled to invite Elsie,
though before Ina's marriage she had not
been asked to the Garfits' less formal enter-
tainments. The Prydes had a picnic, which
wound up with a dance, and the arrival of
the new Governor was an occasion for social
functions of a public character. Lord Horace
and Ina came down and established them-
selves in an hotel boarding-house on Emu
TRANT'S WARNING 79
Point, and Blake found it convenient also to
take up his temporary abode there, though
he had to cross the river to get to the Houses
of Parhament. A great many gentlemen
lodged at Fermoy's, as it was called, its
proprietor being a certain widowed Mrs.
Fermoy, who took a motherly interest in her
lodgers and carefully made it known that she
had no matrimonial intentions. Mr. and Mrs.
Jem Halle tt did not patronise Fermoy's. They
took a small furnished house on the North
Side, and Mrs. Jem at once made it evident
that she intended to belong to the Govern-
ment House set, she was so ultra-English in
all her ways. Frank Hallett naturally stayed
with them, but very few days passed on
which he did not on some pretext or other
find his way across the river to Emu Point.
Indeed, at this time Miss Valliant's admirers
were a small source of revenue to the pro-
8o OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
prietors of the Emu Point ferry, there were
so many of them, and even if they did not
actually call at Eiverside they haunted the
Point in the hope of meeting Elsie on her
way to and from the North Side. They were
certainly a great worry to Mrs. Yalhant, who
thought that the detrimentals kept off desir-
able suitors, and who was afraid that Frank
Hallett's constancy would give way under the
strain to which Elsie subjected it. She
consoled herself by the reflection, since Elsie
gave her the assurance, that the two under-
stood each other. In any case it was useless
to try and curb Elsie's humour.
The girl was in a wild mood. She had
never before rushed so eagerly into excite-
ment. She seemed to live for amusement,
getting through her household duties by dint
of rising at an unearthly hour in order that
she might rush over to the North Side on
TRANTS WARNING 8i
pretence of shopping, and stroll about the
streets and the gardens with Minnie Pryde,
seeking whom she might entrap into her toils.
It was not a very dignified or a very womanly
manner of proceeding, and, as Elsie sometimes
told herself, a nice girl, like Eose Garfit, for
instance, would have behaved very differently.
' But I'm not a nice girl,' Elsie said passionately
one day to Ina, who had been remonstrating
with her upon her conduct. ' A nice girl
would never have done the things I've done.
And what does it matter, Ina ? If I disgust
Frank Hallett — well, so much the better. I
think that is why I do it.'
But Frank Hallett was always the same,
always devoted, always timid of obtruding
his devotion, very quiet sometimes, often sad,
but ready at any moment to answer at Elsie's
He was a good deal occupied just now
VOL. IT. G
82 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
with his new duties. There was a great
measure coming — a great measure for
Leichardt's Land, involving the destinies, so
its opponents said, of that promising young
colony, and if it were carried — indeed so also
its opponents said — involving the immediate
ruin and destruction of the colony's best
interests. The question was one of a loan to
which Sir James Garfit's Ministry had pledged
themselves, and it was whispered loudly that
Sir James Garfit's Ministry would be defeated.
Elsie was not at the Opening of the
Assembly, which was performed in all manner
of state by the new Governor, a prosy, rather
pompous old man, with a wife who had set
herself the difficult task of reforming the
morals and manners of the Leichardtstonians.
Elsie listened to the salvo of guns which
announced the conclusion of the ceremony
while she ironed a white frock to wear at a
TRANT'S WARNING 83
concert the next evening, to which she was
going with the Prydes. She felt a little out
of things and cross because Minnie Pryde was
more favoured than she was — to say nothing
of Eose Garfit. The thought flashed across
her mind that perhaps next year she might
be taking her place as the wife of one of the
Ministers in that august pageant, and that
Minnie Pryde would be nowhere, and even
Eose Garfit obliged to give way to her.
' I wonder if he ivill do anything,* she said
to herself. ' He is certain to be asked to join
the Ministry, if Sir James Garfit keeps in,
and Mr. Leeke really resigns for him.'
Mr. Leeke was the Minister for Mines, and
he was in precarious health and anxious to
get to England, and it was generally supposed
among the squatting politicians that he was
keeping his post only till Frank Hallett was
ready to step into his shoes.
84 OUTLA W AND LA W MAKER
Elsie put the iron back on the stove, and
took up another, testing its heat against her
dehcate face. Her eyes took a far away look,
as she stood for a moment or two with the
iron in her hand. ' I wonder if he will
remember the violets ? ' she murmured, but it
wa^ not of Frank Hallett she was thinking.
She was to go with Ina to the House that
afternoon, when Frank Hallett would move
the debate on the Speech. It had been said
that Blake would speak also. Ina and her
husband had asked her to lunch with them at
Fermoy's, and she wondered whether there
was any likehhood of Blake being there also.
She knew that there was no chance of either
Blake or Frank Hallett calling that forenoon,
but she expected Minnie Pryde, and perhaps
some of her various admirers, who would
give her the news of the opening.
Minnie Pryde came early. She came
TRANrS WARNING 85
fortified with banana candy, and sat down on
the verandah steps prepared for what she
called a 'jabber.'
' The Garfits have fastened on to Lady
Stukeley,' she announced, ' and so has Mrs.
Jem Hallett. I think she must have got her
dress from England.'
' Who, Mrs. Jem — yes, I know she did —
' It was the very cut of Lady Stukeley 's.
Oh, Elsie, why can't we have our things from
England ? I declare I'd marry anybody who
would let me have a box every year from
London. . . . There were a lot of new
men there,' continued Minnie, 'several new
Western members, and then the private
secretary and aide-de-camp — only he is
married, and his wife is a dowdy, I can tell
you. Well, I can tell you, too, that I was
rather glad you weren't at the Opening,' said
S6 OUTLAW AA'D LAWMAKER
Miss Pryde, with an air of fine candour.
' The new men wouldn't have paid so much
attention to me. You always cut us poor
things out. As it was, I rather enjoyed
myself.' Just now there was a truce between
Elsie and Minnie Pryde. Minnie thought it
more diplomatic, on the whole, to be good
friends with her rival.
' Well, I'm glad of that,' said Elsie, a little
disdainfully. ' I don't know why you should
say that I cut you out.'
' With a certain sort of man,' replied Miss
Pryde, weighing her words as though she
were mentally discriminating. ' There are
some men who might like a girl hke me
best. But the English sort — and some of the
Australian, for of course the Halletts are
Australian — and men of a mysterious kind —
heroes of romance — such as Mr. Blake — go
in for you. You are more — more, well, I
TRANT'S WARNING 87
don't know how to put it — more like a girl
in a book.'
Elsie laughed, not ill-pleased. 'And Mr.
Blake ? — he was there, of course ? '
' Of course. He came in with the rest
when they were sent for, like a lot of school-
boys, and stood at the Bar of the House.
How funny it seems ; I don't know why they
shouldn't have been there all the time. And
then the Governor read his speech, with the
aide-de-camp in a tight red coat and the
private secretary in another on each side of
him, and Captain Briggs, of the surveying
schooner, in a blue uniform — to represent the
Naval forces of the colony, I suppose — and
Captain Macpherson for the military! Oh,
it was funny, I can tell you. I felt inclined
to call out to Macpherson, "What about
Moonlight ? " — and Lady Stukeley, who was in
green velvet, and sucli a diamond star fasten-
88 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
inor her bonnet, nodded when the Governor
came to anything impressive. And after-
wards, when all the swells had gone, we went
over the House. And Mr. Blake came and
spoke to me, and asked me where you were.'
' And you told him, I , suppose, that since
I didn't happen to have a father or brother
or cousin or very great friend in the Cabinet,
I was naturally not invited. Are you going
to hear the speeches this evening, Minnie ? '
' Well, I will, if Ina will let me go with
her,' said Miss Pryde, ' though I'm not as a
rule keen on speeches. But somebody said
that both Mr. Blake and Frank Hallett are
going to speak, and that there's to be ruction
over the Loan Clause. I should like to see
Eose Garfit's face if Sir James is beaten.'
It was settled that Minnie Pryde should
walk with Elsie to Fermoy's and see Lady
Horace about five o'clock, and in the mean-
TRANT'S WARNING 89
time Mrs. Yalliant went on with the ironing,
and Elsie consulted Minnie about her dress
for the May ball and other festivities. They
were in the middle of their finery when Mr,
Dominic Trant appeared, and he was followed
by several other of Elsie's and Miss Prvde's
admirers. On this afternoon, when the
Public Offices closed early, there were always
sure to be some young gentlemen atEiverside.
Mr. Trant attached himself at once to
Elsie. He had puzzled her a little by his
manner of late. Sometimes he had been
sullen, even morose, sometimes tragic, some-
times he was ardent, and his dark eyes glowed
with a sort of fierce excitement which was
almost alarming. But Elsie had been a good
deal taken up with other thoughts, and had
not paid much attention to Mr. Trant. He
amused and distracted her, and fed her
vanity, and that was all.
90 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
To-day he was in a tragic mood.
' When are you going back to Barohn ? '
' You can answer that question better
than I,' he said.
' How ? '
' It is you who keep me in Leichardt's
Town. Do you suppose I care in the least
for this fooling about hotel bilhard-rooms and
tea-parties, and for philandering up and down
Victoria Street? And yet I hang about
Grandoni's half the morning, and eat ices and
drink sherry cobblers in a way that plays the
deuce with my digestion, on the chance of
your turning up anywhere about ; and I
haunt the ferry steps, and I parade up and
down the bunya walk in the Botanical Gar-
dens — all for you.'
' That is very foolish of you, Mr. Trant.'
' Is it foolish .^ ' He bent towards her.
TRANT'S WARNING 91
They were sitting on the boat-house steps in
the banana grove, whither Elsie had gone
on pretext of finding some still ungathered
' Lady's fingers ' which had ripened on the
stem. Elsie was now daintily peeling one of
the bananas, and Trant watched her with
fixed eyes. ' I don't think it is so foolish,
though it may seem so to you now, ]\iiss
VaUiant, because you don't care for me. Do
you suppose that I am not aware of that ? If
you care for any one in the world it is for
'Mr. Trant!' Elsie half rose. 'You
have no right to say such a thing.'
He put out his hand to detain her. ' No,
don't go, don't be indignant. After all, it is
only what everybody else is saying, and I
know of two chaps who have a bet on as
to whether you will marry Blake or Frank
Hallett within the year. I'm out of the run-
92 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
ning altogether, you see, but for all that I'm
not afraid to enter the lists, and I think I've
as good a chance as either of them ; though
you won't let me tell you how fond I am of
' Oh, please go on, Mr. Trant. It is very
interesting. I don't think anybody ever, ever
made love to me quite in this way.'
' I'm not making love to you just now.
That will come later, and when I do make
love to you I warn you that I shall be a
tornado. I shall sweep you off your feet ;
you'll have to listen to me. I'm only stating
facts now. Of course I know very well that
Blake is much more the kind of fellow for a
girl to fall in love with than I am. I don't
imagine for a moment that you will ever fall
in love with me. I shall make my cou2? in a
different way. 1 shall carry j^ou off.'
Elsie laughed outright. ' Oh ! really, Mr.
Trant ! Like a Border knight, or Moon
light ? '
' Yes,' said he grimly, ' hke Moonhght.'
' And how shall you manage it ? Will
you appear booted and spurred at one of the
Leichardt's Town tennis parties and seize me
— gallop off with me in front of you ? Or
will you waylay our jingle when we are going
to the Government House ball ? Or will you
wait till we are on the Luya again, and
imprison me in some stronghold in one of the
gorges ? '
' That would probably be the wisest thing
to do,' answered Trant, still grimly. ' We
shall see. Miss Yalliant. Many a true word
is spoken in jest, you know. In the mean-
time I don't mean to bother you except for a
dance or two now and then, and there's no
occasion for me to leave Leichardt's Town
just yet. I shall wait and watch the game.
94 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
Only listen to this, I've warned you once, re-
member, and it's disinterested of me to warn
you again. Don't let Blake fool you. He
will never marry anyone ; he has got other
things to think about. He only cares about
women for the sake of amusement ; but is
quite capable of making you beheve that he
is madly in love with you just to cut out
Frank Hallett, or for the excitement of the
thing, and then he will throw you over as he
has thrown over other women before you.'
Elsie turned quite pale. ' Mr. Trant, you
amuse me rather when you talk like that,
it is unhke other people. But there are
limits even to amusement, and I beg that you
will not speak to me of either Mr. Blake or
Mr. Frank Hallett in that way again.'
' Very well,' said Trant doggedly, ' I
have warned you, remember. As I said, it is
against my own interest. My game is to let
TRANT'S WARNING 95
Blake have his way. After that will come
my turn, and then I shall clear the course by
sheer strength of will. It will be a coup
detat. You know I told you that I always
succeeded in what I had set my mind on.'
' I congratulate you.'
' I don't intend to live this sort of life for
much longer, Miss Yalhant. I don't mean to
bury myself at Barohn. I have done that for
a purpose ; T wanted to make money. When
I marry, my wife will be in a position to
enjoy herself, and to see the world.'
' That will be very nice for your wife,
Mr. Trant, when you have one.' Elsie got
up. ' Do you know I think it is time for me
to get ready to walk to Mrs. Fermoy's. I am
going to have tea there, and afterwards Ina
is to take me to hear the speeches.'
96 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
IX THE ladies' gallery
The Ladies' Gallery was crowded. It had
been set about that Blake was an orator, that
his speech would be a stirring one, and
already the picturesque personality of the
man had impressed Leichardt's Town society.
Besides this, it was known that Frank Hallett
would move the Address, and people were
interested in Frank Hallett as a coming
There is no tiresome grating in front of
the Ladies' Gallery in Colonial Houses of
Parliament, and any member who chose* to
look up might have easily recognised the
stolid features of Lady Garfit and the placid
IN THE LADIES' GALLERY 97
pink and white prettiness of her daughter,
and just behind, they might have seen Ina
Gage's dehcate, rather pensive face, Miss
Minnie Pryde's black eyes and brunette com-
plexion, and Elsie Yalliant's more distin-
guished beauty. Both Blake and Frank
Hallett did look up. and Elsie noted the
different bearing of the two men, each of
whom was to make his maiden effort in that
assembly. Frank was evidently nervous —
grave, absorbed, and hiding embarrassment
under a mask of reserve. Blake was
indifferent, imconcerned, always giving a
sense of latent power, always with a certain
kingliness of bearing, and at the same time a
certain dare-devilry of which Elsie was keenly
conscious. It seemed to her that his eyes
sought hers, and that his face changed ever
so shghtly when their glances met. Her
heart was beating strangely. She gave a
VOL. II. 11
98 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
violent start when Frank Hallett's voice
sounded behind her.
' Are you quite comfortable ? ' he asked.
' Yes, quite, thank you,' she answered.
'I am afraid you find it rather dull up
here,' he said, ' and it will be a few minutes
vet before we get to my part of the business.'
' You are looking rather pale. Are you
nervous ? '
' Horribly nervous. I am sick with
' But that won't last.'
'No,' he said, 'once I begin I shall get
on well enough. It's the interval of waiting
that sets my nerves going. It's like lying in
the trenches, you know, before the enemy
have come up. Now I must get back to my
He ran downstairs. He had hardly
settled into his place when the Speaker began
IN THE LADIES' GALLERY 99
to read the speech which the Governor had
delivered that morning. The instant the
reading was done Halle tt got on his legs and
set himself to his task of moving the reply to
the Address. Elsie went through a moment
of breathless anxiety while he was standing,
waiting before he spoke, and then she heard
his voice, and felt reassured. After a minute
or two of nervousness Hallett went on with
his speech composedly and well. Elsie did
not care very much about the substance of
the speech, but it seemed to her to be well
composed, and was delivered with the fluency
which only just stopped short of being
monotonous. It went over a great variety of
topics, to which she paid little attention, but
she could hear that it was received with great
favour on Hallett's side of the house, and
with respectful attention on the other. She
was glad to find that there were no ironical
loo OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
cheers or bursts of interruption, not, perhaps,
quite reahsing that a speech which escapes
from these tributes of opposition is seldom
a speech likely to make a name for the
Hallett sat down amid very cordial ap-
plause from the house in general. She could
see that everyone was glad to find the
young man doing well in his first attempt,
and she felt all but delighted at the result.
He had certainly not failed. On the con-
trary, he had evidently succeeded. It was
exactly what she had expected of him, and
she was content with him. Perhaps she
could have wished for something a little
more dazzling, something thrilling, like that
speech slie had heard from the verandah of
the hotel at Goondi, of which she had been
able to catch only the voice, not the words.
But still to wish that Hallett should be
IN THE LADIES' GALLERY loi
dazzling would be to wish that Hallett were
not Hallett, only somebody else.
Then a rough and mumbling voice was
heard, and she became aware that somebody
was seconding Hallett's motion. This was a
poor and scrambling performance, and had
only the merit of being quickly done. Then
the Speaker put the question, and then the
Leader of the Opposition spoke.
Mr. Torbolton made a severe attack on
tlie policy of the Government on all its lines.
The girl could recognise by the sound and
movement of the house that the attack was
a heavy one, and told severely. Then there
was a reply from the Ministerial side, de-
livered by Mr. Leeke, the Minister of Mines,
into whose shoes it was said Frank Hallett
was to step, and she was getting into rather a
drowsy condition when suddenly the Minis-
terial speech came to an end, and in an
T02 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
instant she heard again the voice that had
thrilled her at Goondi. She saw that a new
vspeaker had arisen from the Opposition side,
and bending eagerly forward she recognised
the face and figure of Blake, and in another
five minutes the girl had learned for the first
time in her life the difference between a born
debater and a man who makes a good speech.
Blake's voice sometimes fell to such subtle
modulations that it seemed to caress the
listening ear, and at other times rang out
with the vibrating strength of passion, or
hissed with the scornful tone of sarcasm.
The assembly which had listened with such
patient approval to Hallett went wild over
Blake. From the Ministerial side there came
angry interruptions and contradictions.
From the bench of the Opposition came
bursts of enthusiastic cheers and shouts of
dehghted laughter. She hardly knew what
IN THE LADIES' GALLERY 103
it was all about, but she knew well enough
that it was a vivid and pitiless attack upon
the policy of the Government, and that the
Ministers seemed to quail under its effect.
Some member standing in the Ladies'
Gallery said to Lady Horace when Blake sat
down, ' Well, now. Lady Horace, whether we
like it or whether we don't, I think we must
call that a great speech.'
Sir James Garfit rose at once, thus paying
the quite unusual tribute to Mr. Blake's
speech by rising at that period of the evening
to reply to a new member. When the
Premier began his speech, Elsie's interest in
the debate collapsed.
Lord Horace, who was in the men's
gallery, separated from that in which his wife
and Elsie sat, leaned excitedly over the
' I say, Elsie, Blake's stunnin'. I wish it
I04 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
was our man. In the face of that there's no
use in consoHng ourselves with the reflection
that dear Frank is safe and respectable.'
A little later Elsie knew almost without
turning round that Blake had come into the
gallery and was behind her. She turned to
him in her quick impulsive way, and said,
'- Oh, why didn't you tell me you could speak
like that ? '
' Did I do it well, really ? *
' Yes, splendidly,' she said. ' The house
felt it. I never heard a real speech before.'
' I am glad of that,' he said, quietly
bending over her — 'glad, that is, that you
were pleased. I wanted to please you.'
There was a short interval, in which the
House emptied, and the party in the Ladies'
Gallery went out and snatched a sort of
dinner at an hotel not far off. After they
came back the debate droned dully on.
IN THE LADIES' GALLERY 105
Blake came up again, and lingered in the
gallery. Most of the time he talked in
whispers to Elsie, and more than once
Lady Garfit turned angrily and frowned
It was now nine o'clock.
' I am sorry,' said Blake, ' that there is no
terrace here, where I can ask you to come
and have coffee.'
' No terrace .^ ' repeated Tna vaguely.
Lord Horace, who liad caught the remark,
looked annoyed. ' Blake means the terrace
of the House of Commons. Don't ask
Waveryng what it means, or he will think I
have married a '
' An Australian girl, who doesn't know
anything about your fashionable London life,'
put in Elsie hotly. ' You had better prepare
Lord and Lady Waveryng, Horace, for the
depth of barbarism they'll be plunged in here.
io6 OUTLA W AND LA W MAKER
otherwise they mightn't survive the shock of
an introduction to Ina and me.'
' When do the Waveryngs arrive ? ' asked
' Lady Stukeley told me at the Opening
to-day that she had heard from my sister, and
that they would very likely be here for the
May ball. They are going to stay at Govern-
ment House,' said Lord Horace, a little
sulkily. He w^as annoyed because Lady
Stukeley had not taken quite kindly to Ina,
and that was Elsie's fault, for Lady Garfit had
prejudiced the lady of Government House
against these forward Australian belles.
Elsie got up. At that moment Frank
Hallett entered the gallery. She turned to
him. 'What is going to happen? I am
tired, I want to get back ; Ina is tired, too.
If Horace likes to stay, I dare say somebody
will see us across the river.'
IN THE LADIES' GALLERY 107
' I wish 1 could,' exclaimed Hallett, ' but
Leeke is going to speak ; I ought not to leave
' Since I am not so anxious to hear Mr.
Leeke, Lady Horace, please let me take you
to Fermoy's,' said Blake.
Lord Horace announced his intention of
going to the club. It was Frank Hallett
who escorted Ina down the stairs. She
turned her pale face to his with a sisterly
smile. ' Frank, I haven't had an opportunity
of saying a word. You did speak splendidly.'
' Thank you, Ina ; you don't mind my
calhng you Ina just once, do you ? I feel
horribly down to-night. I'm nowhere beside
Blake. He is the coming man.'
' Is it Elsie who has vexed you, Frank ? '
' Oh no ; not Elsie, not, at least, any more
than usual. But she has altered somehow
lately. Don't you see it ? '
lo8 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' Yes, I see it. But Elsie was always
' You know I care for Elsie more than for
anyone in this world, Ina.'
' Yes, I know that.'
* I'm not jealous of Blake — not in the
ordinary way. I have been keeping myself a
little aloof from Elsie lately on purpose. She
has given me her promise that if her prince,
as she puts it, doesn't come along within a
year, she will marry me '
' Ah ! Elsie's prince ! ' Ina laughed ner-
' Ina, a horrible fear has struck me these
last days. Suppose that Blake should turn
out to be Elsie's prince.'
' Oh no, no ! ' Ina cried. ' I cannot bear
that man. There's something about him ; I
can't describe the feeling he gives me. He is
IN THE LADIES' GALLERY 109
' He is good-looking, and he is a gentle-
man ; and I believe, judging from liis speech
to-night, and the effect it has had, that he
will very soon make a mark. I don't know
anything against hira. Why shouldn't slie
marry him ? If she is in love with him I
shall not put myself forward — I shall not
stand in the way. I shall wish her happiness
with all my heart, and I shall always remain
' And yet you said that you had a horrible
fear. You can't help feeling as I do about
' Ah ! ' Frank cried, ' I am human, and 1
love her. It's because of that that I want
her to have her chance, and Blake, too. I
won't let myself think ill of him, if I can heh).
but a fellow is a man after all, Ina.'
They went out into the night. Minnie
Pryde came beside Lady Horace. ' I know
I lo O UTLA W AND LA WMAKER
that you two, anyhow, won't be talking senti-
ment,' she said. ' I saw pretty soon that I
had better make myself scarce, as far as the
other two are concerned.'
Ina and Frank both laughed discordantly.
' Ob ! I forgot,' cried Miss Pryde. ' Don't
mind me, Mr. Hallett, and look here, oughtn't
you to go back and listen to Mr. Leeke ? He
had got up just as we left.'
Hallett bade good-night to Ina, and paused
for a moment to shake hands with Elsie. It
seemed to him that she and Blake were
lingering a good deal behind.
' Good-night,' Elsie said sweetly, ' and
please when you get into the Ministry, see
that I have a place at the Opening.'
They had got out of the lighted space
round the House of Assembly, and were walk-
insf down a dim street bordered with houses
IM THE LADIES' GALLERY in
and gardens, which led to the ferry. On one
side lay the Botanical Gardens. At the end
of the road they had left, and beyond the
House of Assembly, were the great gates of
Government House with their flaring lamps.
The heavy fragrance of datura bloesoms
weighted the air. Ina and Minnie Pryde
walked on alone.
' Won't you take my arm ? ' said Blake.
She put her hand within his arm, and they
walked on for a few moments in silence. He
put his hand out and touched her cloak.
Are you sure that you are warm enough ?
The nights are beginning to be cold.'
'Yes,' said Elsie. There was an odd re-
strained tenderness in his manner which set
her pulses tingling.
' Did you miss me to-day P ' he asked sud-
112 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' Yes,' she answered.
'But you had your usual crowd, your
verandah reception ; you didn't want me Y '
Elsie did not reply for a minute. ' It was
too early for my verandah reception,' she
said coldly. ' No,' she exclaimed presently
in a hard tone, ' I didn't want you in the
least. It was a day off, you know. I wasn't
playing the game. I hadn't got to be think-
insf all the time of the next move.'
' The next move,' he said seriously, ' what
is it to be? We have gathered chuckie-
chuckies and sat on the boat-house steps, and
danced, and sat out, and ridden, and done all
the usual things that belong to the game of
flirtation. There remains onl}^ one yet of the
' The minor experiences ? '
' The experiences which belong to the
initiatory stage of flirtation. I have found
IN THE LADIES' GALLERY 113
you perfectly charming, horribly dangerous.
I confess it.'
Elsie turned her soft face towards him,
and their eyes met. He could see by the
faint light of a growing moon that she
' Yes, horribly dangerous,' he repeated.
' What is the other experience ? ' she
' A row by moonlight. I should prefer it
with you alone, but I suppose the proprieties
forbid. Shall it be Lady Horace or Miss
Pryde who chaperons us ? '
' I will go for a row with you the next
time you come in the evening. I am glad
you warned me that it is part of the game.'
They had reached the ferry steps. Miss
Minnie Pryde called a fairy musical ' 0-o-ver.'
The plash of the oars sounded nearer and
nearer as the boat approached. Blake stepped
VOL. II. I
114 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
on to the bow, and held out his hand to each
of the ladies. One or two others were
crossing as well. The stern was filled, and lie
took his seat in the bows. Several of the
passengers were from Fermoy's, and knew
Lady Horace and her sister. The talk fell on
the evening's debate. Mr. Anderson, one of
the young men, praised Hallett's speech.
' I tell you what it is though, Lady
Horace,' exclaimed another, ' that cliap Blake
beat him into fits. I say, can you tell me
who he is? They call him Monte Cristo.
He chucks half-sovereigns to the railway
porters, and rides thoroughbreds fit for a
' Oh, hush ! ' murmured In a faintly, and
turned the conversation with some rapid ques-
tion. Blake had probably not heard the
remark — at least so Elsie imagined. He sat
still in the bow, looking like a Monte Cristo
IN THE LADIES' GALLERY 115
indeed, only his eyes were tenderer, surely,
than those of Dumas' hero. Elsie's young
bosom fluttered. At last she was in the land
of romance. And yet there was a dim terror
in the background of her maidenly satis-
faction — a terror of unknown forces which
might at any moment break from their
When they had got out of the boat and
mounted the ferry hill there was a halt.
Fermoy's lay in one direction, Eiverside in
another. It was only a httle walk to Eiver-
side, and the sisters had often gone across the
paddock alone. To-night Ina seemed par-
ticularly anxious that Elsie should wait at
Fermoy's for Lord Horace to escort her.
'Then I might wait all night,' said Miss
Valliant. 'No, thank you, Ina, I shall go
straight home, and you get to your bed.'
'You will let me see you to your gate,'
1 16 O UTLA IV AND LA WMAKER
said Blake, in a low tone. Mr. Anderson
stepped forward, entreating that he might be
the favoured escort. Minnie Pryde, who
Kved quite at the end of the Point, had
secured her own particular swain, who was
also a lodger at Fermoy's.
'No,' said Elsie firmly. 'Mr. Blake is
o-()inor to take me, and you, please, look after
my sister. Good-night, Ina. Good-night,
Minnie. Ina, I shall come down to-morrow
and see how we are going to the Garfit's.'
The Garfit dance was to take place on the
Elsie and Blake were alone in the soft
scented night. Many of the eucalyptus in the
paddock had been left standing. Elsie said
that they made her think of the Bush and of
' And, perhaps, of your future home,' said
IN THE LADIES' GALLERY 117
' Perhaps,' said Elsie coldly. ' If it is
going to be my fate to marry a bushman.'
' Do you know what your fate ought to
be ? ' said Blake. ' You should marry a rich
man, who would take you to Europe and
place you in a position to which your beauty
entitles you. You should have everything
that the world can give to a beautiful woman.
You should be caressed, flattered, feted,
adorned, surrounded by every luxury, and set
in a fitting frame.'
' Thank you,' said Elsie ; ' you draw a
'But that will not be your fate,' Blake
went on. ' You will marry Frank Hallett, or
another. You will never rise above the level
of prosperous Australian Philistinism. You
will never taste the finest aroma of romance
and of enjoyment. You will never know the
fascination of danger. You will never ex-
ii8 OUTLA W AND LA W MAKER
perience the subtle emotions which make one
day better worth living than a hfetime.'
' Have you gone through all this ? '
' In part. Life has always been for me a
drama. I started with the intention of get-
ting all I could out of it. I think I have suc-
ceeded pretty well, though it has been as
much bad as good. I don't care in the least
about life as life. But, as I told you one day,
there is something in me fierce and untam-
able, and I confess also morbid, which craves
for some other outlet than that of the de-
corous Philistine routine.'
' And so you contrive to get that outlet ? '
' I can't imagine how ! Surely not in the
life I see you lead ? '
' There are excitements even in the life
which you see me lead,' he answered
IN THE LADIES' GALLERY 119
' Such as this evening, for instance. But
that can mean nothing. It must be easy for
you to excel among such men as are in the
' You should not disparage them. The
Governor was telling me that he has been
deeply impressed by the abihty and states-
manlike foresight of Sir James Garfit. Look,
Miss Yalliant. Did you ever see the river so
beautiful ? What would you not give to have
a row to-night ? '
He pointed to the shining flood, flecked by
the moon's rays, and with the mysterious
shadows of the bamboos on the opposite shore
mirrored on its surface.
' If it had been the days when Ina and I
were alone here, we should probably unmoor
the boat and cro.'
' May I not be Lady Horace for to-
I20 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' All ! Ina would not do it now. She has
grown so staid since her marriage. Horace
would tell her that it was not the sort of
thing an English lady would do.'
' Come ! ' He held open the wicket which
led into the garden. The banana trees
looked weird in the moonlight. The cottage
was all dark. There was a light only in Mrs.
Valliant's room. At the click of the gate,
the casement was opened, and Mrs. Yalliant
said ' Elsie.'
' Yes, mother, I am coming presently.
Mr. Blake has brought me home, and I have
an irresistible longing just to go down to the
boathouse and see the moonhght on the
' Can't you see it from the verandah ? ' said
Mrs. Valliant weakly.
Elsie laughed. ' Poor mother ! I shall
come presently, dear. You can't think how
IN THE LADIES' GALLERY 121
hot and stiiiFy it was in the gallery. I
couldn't sleep if I went to bed now.'
' Oh, well ! ' said Mrs. Yalliant resignedly,
and she closed the window.
The whole proceeding struck Blake as
amazing. The mother was more amazing
than the daughter. He was still more
astonished when, as they walked along the
little path, Elsie turned to him, and said
abruptly ' Good-night.'
' But you are not going in ? '
* No, but I don't want you. Good-night.'
' But the river, and the row ? '
' Good gracious ! What do you think of
me ? ' she cried fiercely. ' I understand you
very well. You are playing your game ; I
am playing mine. Good-nighi.'
She walked on, and disappeared among
the bananas, without again turning her head.
Jle heard her go down the steps. He heard
122 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
the sound of the boat pushing off. He saw
her a few minutes later seated with the oars,
rowing to the opposite side. It was quite
bright enough for him to observe the grace
of her movement, and the poise of her figure,
and of her flower-hke head upturned to the
She was on the water about a quarter of
an hour, long enough to row across and back
again. She gave a start when she saw him
standing just where she had left him.
' Why didn't you go home ? '
' Because I wanted to see that you got in
without any harm coming to you. I couldn't
insist upon going with you, but I could at
least give myself the satisfaction of watching
'Thank you.' She held out her hand.
And then he saw that her eyes were wet, and
that there was a great tear-drop on her cheek.
IN THE LADIES' GALLERY 123
' Elsie ! ' he exclaimed. ' You have been
crying ? '
' Yes,' she cried recklessly, 'and do you
know why ? Because I, too, have something in
me that is fierce and untamable, and because I
am not like you — I can find no outlet in my
She darted from him and ran into the
house. He walked slowly back to Fermoy's
through the paddock.
124 OUTLAW AND LAWAfAKER
' NINON, NINON, QUE FAIS-TU DE LA VIE ? '
Elsie wore at the Garfit's the white dress that
Blake had seen her stitching. She had copied
it from an old print. It hung in soft folds to
her feet, and she had a little frilled fichu of
mushn knotted at her breast, and where it
was knotted there was a big bunch of Parma
violets, and she carried a large bouquet of
violets in her hand. The violets had been
sent to the cottage that morning. Elsie krew
who had sent them, and perhaps the sending
of the violets had something to do with her
radiance. Eveiyone said that Elsie had
never looked so beautiful.
The Garfits had a large verandahed house
'NINON, NINON, QUE FAIS-TU DE LA VIE?' 125
some little way out of town on the north side.
They always gave pleasant parties. Sir
James was a jovial, red-faced person, who on
these occasions dropped the cares of State as
though they had been a garment. Eose was
always amiable and ladylike, and Lady Garfit
was at her best in her own house.
Sir James was, however, on this evening
more pre-occupied than was usual with him.
There had been another stormy debate that
day. Mr. Torbolton, leader of the Opposi-
tion, had been seen in the refreshment room
in close conclave with Blake. The talk ran
that Blake's speech had done more than
anything to shake the Ministry. Sir James
had given particular instructions to his
womenkind that they should ' cotton up ' to
Blake. Blake was an enemy whom it might
be well to conciliate.
Lady Garfit, therefore, had arranged that
126 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
Eose should dance the first dance with Bhike.
Eose was not an exhilarating companion.
Her conversation consisted mostly of remarks
to the effect that Lady Stukeley was too sweet,
and that the Prince was almost certain to be
in Leichardt's ToAvn for the Birthnight Ball ;
which— -had Mr. Blake heard ? — was put off
till the 12th of June on account of the uncer-
tainty about the Prince. Lady Stukeley had
told Lady Garfit that they were expecting a
telegram every moment to ^^ the date. This
was not deeply interesting to Blake. He
fired a little when Miss Garfit asked him if he
did not think Miss Yalhant looked lovely.
It was such a pity that she was such a
dreadful flirt, and got herself so talked about.
Miss Garfit was getting up riding parties
- — they were to be Parliamentary riding
parties — it was only on Wednesdays and
Saturdays that the members were free.
'NINON, NINON, QUE FAIS-TU DE LA VIE?' 127
Would Mr. Blake join them, and had he that
lovely horse which Miss Yalliant rode at the
Tunimbah races, in Leichardt's Town ? '
' Yes ; ' but Blake made a bold shot. It
had been promised to Miss Valiiant, and he
(Blake) was bound to escort her.
Oh ! but Eose Garfit would be greatly-
pleased if Miss Yalliant and Lord and Lady-
Horace would join their riding parties. Lord
Horace was always amusing. Didn't Mr.
Blake think so ?
No, Blake could not quite agree with her.
He thought Lord Horace was a bit of a cub,
and that his wife was much too good for him.
The only decent member of that family was
Miss Garfit looked a httle horrified at this
familiar criticism. Had Mr. Blake known
them in Ens^land ?
No, not in England ; at least, only by
128 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
hearsay ; and he changed the conversation
with a comphment on Miss Garfit's dress.
He got his opportunity at last with Elsie.
There were certainly no traces of tears on
her radiant face this evening. She lifted her
' Thank you ever so much. It goes so
beautifully with my dress.'
' I have something to confess. I have
committed perjury for your sake.'
' For my sake ? '
' I swore just now that The Outlaw was
devoted to your service this winter, and that
I was in duty bound to escort you. I think
Miss Garfit wanted to borrow The Outlaw.
She is getting up Parliamentary riding
parties, and I believe that she intends asking
you and Lady Horace to join them.'
' Do you really mean that I am to ride
The Outlaw ? '
'NINON, NINON, QUE FAIS-TU DE LA VIE? 129
' If you will honour me so far. He is
here, at your service, as I said. You have
only to say when you want him sent over.'
'Horace has horses. I am sure Ina
would like to ride. Mr. Blake.'
' Yes, Miss Valhant.'
'Please forget what I said last night.'
' Once before, when you asked me to
forget something that you said, I told you
that I could not promise to do that. But
I'll promise that I v/on't remind you of
it. Besides, you said nothing that was not
altogether charming and womanly.'
They were just going to join the dancers.
Trant passed them with Minnie Pryde, and it
seemed to Elsie, that there was a meaning
expression in his eyes. But she forgot all
about Trant while she was dancing with
Blake. Later on she had a waltz with him,
VOL. u. K
I30 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
and he complimented her on her dress and
upon her violets.
' I know that Blake sent you that
' Yes, he did.'
' If I send you a bouquet one night, will
you wear it ? '
' Certainly, with pleasure, if it matches
my dress, and it won't be a matter of great
difficulty to arrange that, for my dresses are
not so various or so numerous.'
' You couldn't have anything prettier
than the one you are wearing to-night.
Everyone is saying that you look lovely.'
Trant's conversation was this evening
carried on in the strain of somewhat
extravagant compliment. Perhaps Elsie was
wanting in fine discrimination, anyhow she
preferred it to his more tragic mood. She
was having her fill of admiration just now.
'NINON, NINON, QUE FAIS-TU BE LA VIE?' 131
Frank Hallett was the only drawback to her
enjoyment. He looked sad, she fancied,
reproachful, and he did not very often ask
her to dance, but devoted himself to Ina.
' Oh, why hadn't he fallen in love with Ina ? '
Elsie said to herself. ' That would have
settled everything, and she would have suited
him far better than I ever shall.'
One of the riding parties came off.
Before the second could take place the
Ministry had gone out, and Mr. Torbolton
had formed a new cabinet.
It was no surprise to anyone that
Blake was offered an important place in it.
Certainly, to secure a seat in the Government
after having been in the House only a few
weeks was an achievement, but Mr. Torbolton
was only too glad to gain such an acquisition
to his ranks.
132 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
The re-elections occasioned a temporary
absence from town on the part of the new
Ministers. Blake was, however, returned
without a contest.
And meanwhile the little whirligig went
round. Elsie was very gay. She had
several new admirers, and the verandah
receptions became a feature of the day.
Lord Horace started a four-in-hand, and was
in boisterous spirits. Mrs. Allanby was
usually on the box seat. Poor Ina looked
paler than ever and more anxious ; but she
was a loyal little creature and said nothing of
her domestic trials even to Elsie. During
Blake's absence at Goondi, Frank Hallett
came a little more to the fore, and was a
frequent visitor at Eiverside, but he still
kept to his line of not obtruding his love.
One day Elsie asked him why he had so
' MNON, NINON, QUE FAIS-TU DE LA VIE? 133
' I have not changed, and I shall never
change,' he answered. ' I am always here —
always ready to do anything that you want
me to do. But you are quite free, Elsie, and
I wish you to feel so. It is not I who have
' Do you mean that I have changed ? '
'Yes, you have greatly changed, and I
can only guess at the meaning of the change.'
' Tell me how I have changed,' she said.
' You are restless, and your moods vary.
Sometimes you look perfectly wretched ; at
others wildly happy. You are a barometer,
Elsie, and the influence which affects your
moods is Blake. You are expecting him
now ? '
'Frank, you insult me.'
' I don't want to. I think that you are
under the spell of some evil enchantment. It
is not wholesome, honest love. That is why I
134 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
am patient, and why I feel certain that it will
' And then ? '
' Oh then — then it may be my turn.'
'Frank, I deny everything. Mr. Blake
and I are playing a game — that is the whole
truth. We agreed to see which could hurt
the other most.'
' It seems to me a dangerous game, Elsie
— and, as you play it, not a very womanly
' Dangerous ! Perhaps ; but for whom ?
Do you think that I am going to let myself be
beaten? He has hurt other women, he shall
not hurt me. You think I am unwomanly
because I flirt with him openly ; because I sit
out dances with him, and allow myself to be
talked about ; because my manner gives
people some reason for saying that I am in
love with him. Well, we shall see. When
'NINON, NINON, QUE FAIS-TU DE LA VIE?' 135
he asks me to marry him I shall refuse him,
and all the world shall know it.'
' Elsie ! You are undignified. I say
again, you are unwomanly.'
' So Ina tells me. Well, you can give me
up! Frank, I sometimes think that there is
an evil spirit in me, and that you are right —
that I am under a spell. It's true that I am
eaten up by a demon of vanity, and selfish-
ness, and reckless pride. I want to be first.
I cannot bear that any man should get the
better of me. It is horrid, I know it. Very
well, but I am myself. I want to do some-
thing wild ; I want to feel, I want to know.
Ah ! '
She gave a sudden start, and then drew
back and kept very still, for at that moment
They were spending the evening in Lady
Horace's sitting-room at Fermoy's. Lord
136 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
Horace and some choice pals were in the
verandah smoking. There was whisky on the
table. Ina was sewing, and Trant had just
gone to the piano.
He began his song as Blake came in,
' Ninon, Ninon, que fais-tu de la vie ? ' and only
nodded at the sight of his partner, and went
on singing. It was a song that always
affected Elsie curiously. Blake shook hands
silently with Lady Horace, and seated himself
beside Elsie. Hallett moved away.
When the song was over, Blake said, ' I
came to tell Lord Horace that the UUagong is
Lia, who had moved towards them, gave
a little start. ' Then the Waveryngs will be
' Not to-night, Lady Horace,' said Blake,
pitying her evident alarm — ' at least not till
the small hours of the morning.'
'NINON, NINON, QUE FAIS-TU DE LA VIE?' 137
' Oh ! do you think,' said Ina tremulously,
' that I need go with Horace to meet them ? '
' No,' he said ; ' why should you ? It will
be far too early.'
' I am so nervous about them,' said poor
Ina, ' and it may make a great difference to
Horace their likinor or dislikino^ me. That is
what Horace says.'
Ina was off' her balance, or she never
would have so betrayed herself.
' They are quite sure to like you,' said
Blake ; ' and you will like them. Lady
Waveryng is a charming woman — kind and
unaffected, and he is a good fellow.'
' Do you know them ? ' said Elsie, in
' I know all about them,' he answered.
' They will not know me^ but some of my
people lived in Ireland near the Waveryngs.'
' Oh ! I know,' said Ina. ' Then you are
138 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
one of the Blakes of Castle Coola. Horace
' I have relations in Ireland, and they hve
at Castle Coola,' answered Blake. 'That is
how I come to know about the Waveryngs.
But I would rather you didn't talk about it,
Lady Horace, if you don't mind, though there
is no particular secret. The fact is I wasn't a
credit to my family, and I left Ireland in dis-
grace, and have never had a word of com-
munication with my people since. I am as
dead to them as if I were dead in reality.'
Elsie looked at him in a startled, pained
way. It was the first time she had ever
heard him speak of his people in Ireland, or in
any definite manner of his past. Ina looked
surprised, too, and a little pitiful. She was
beginning to like Blake better than she had
done at first.
' You need not be afraid of my talking
'NINON, NINON, QUE FAIS-TU DE LA VIEV 139
about what you have said, Mr. Blake,' she
answered ; ' I shall not even tell Horace if you
would rather not/
'Thank you. Lady Horace; certainly I
would rather not. You are very good, and I
am sure you are very loyal to your friends.'
Ina flushed. ' I must let Horace know
about the Ullagong,' she said. ' I hope he
won't go over to the north side to-night.'
She went out to the verandah. Lord
Horace was greatly excited at the prospect of
his sister's arrival, and declared he must start
off to the north side at once, and find out
when the Ullagong would really be in. He said
that he would stay at the club and beguile the
time at billiards, and proposed that Hallett
and Trant should accompany him. Trant
accepted the invitation, and Ina cast an im-
ploring glance at Hallett, who had not in-
tended to go over yet. He changed his mind,
140 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
however, when he saw that Elsie seconded
Ina's beseeching look, and the three lelt
together. The other men followed shortly.
Blake remained chatting with Lady Horace
and Elsie. He told them about his second
Goondi election. They discussed his new
post, and the responsibilities attaching to
' One very serious responsibility you will
have, at least,' Ina said laughing. ' We shall
blame you now, Mr. Blake, if Moonlight bails
up any more coaches, or robs any gold escorts.
Horace says that the police are in your de-
partment, and that you are now Captain Mac-
Blake laughed too, a little strangely, Ina
and Elsie thought.
' Yes, that is so. Odd, isn't it ? Odd that
I should have to sign the warrant against
Moonlight, if it ever comes to that.'
'NINON, NINON, QUE FAIS-TU DE LA VIET 141
'I hope it will never come to that,' said
Elsie. 'I have a curious feeling about Moon-
light ; I don't know why. I want him to
escape. I want him to go away and take his
money with him and begin a new life.'
' Perhaps,' said Blake, ' that is what he
means to do. Perhaps it is some grim fate
which has pushed him into his evil ways ; some
terrible necessity of his nature which makes
the excitement of robbery and adventure an
outlet for all his fiercer passions, and his
better self may — for all you know, Miss
Yalliant — be struggling with the baser self,
and urging him to flee temptation.'
Something in his tone made Elsie look at
him wonderingly. He seemed uneasy under
her gaze, and got up restlessly, and with a
forced laugh added, ' It would hardly do to^
advance these theories, would it, in defence
of Moonlight at a meeting of the Executive ?
142 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
Miss Yalliant, I see you making a move ; may
I be permitted to take you home ? '
' Thank: you,' Elsie said simply. ' I ought
to go now, Ina dear ; you should get to bed.
Don't bother about the Waveryngs. Leave
them to Horace.'
She kissed her sister, and presently she
and Blake were walking along the dim,
straggling street on their way to the Eiver-
They hardly spoke at first. At last he
said abruptly, after some banal remark about
Leichardt's Town gaieties, ' Have you missed
' Yes,' she answered fearlessly. ' And
now tell me, have you missed me ? '
' Oh, no — not in the least. I have only
thought of you in almost every hour of day-
lif^ht, and in some few hours durinor the ni^^ht.
I have only counted the days till I should get
'NINON, NINON, QUE FAIS-TU DE LA VIEV 143
back to Leichardt's Town and to you. Does
that satisfy you ? '
She did not answer for a moment. Her
heart was beating wildly. Presently she said,
' Is this another move in the game ? '
' K you take it so. I am going to ask you
something, a great favour : will you pull me
across to the other side and back again ? '
' Yes. Come.'
She ran on a little in advance of him and
reached the Eiverside fence first. Instead of
taking the path which led to the cottage, she
went down another, through the banana plan-
tation and to the river bank. The boat was
lying at the steps. The tide was at full, and
lapped the drooping branches of the chuckie-
chuckie tree with a caressing sound.
Elsie threw off her cloak and stepped into
the boat, which she untied. She looked, he
thought, like some nymph of Greek days in
144 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
her white dress and with her shm, erect form
and well-poised head bare to the night. The
stars shone brightly, and the sky was intensely
clear. She motioned him to sit in the stern, and
shook her head when he asked if he should
take an oar, then pushed off into mid-stream.
Her strokes were long and vigorous. He
watched with fascinated eyes the movements
of her lithe young body as she bent backwards
and forwards to the oar. She never spoke a
word, but rowed straight across and then
turned and rowed him back again.
' Now,' she said, ' don't ever say that I
made any fuss about doing what you asked
me. Give me credit for being courageous at
any rate, when you think of the way in which
Lady Garfit would tear my character to shreds
if she could see me now.'
' Elsie,' he exclaimed, ' I believe that for a
man you loved you would brave any danger.
'NINON, NINON, QUE FAIS-TU DE LA VIET 145
I believe that you have it in you, and that you
neither know yourself nor does your world
She stooped to fasten the rope on the boat
— they were on shore again now. When she
answered it was in a serious and altered tone.
' No, I don't think I have ever known
myself. I am quite sure my world doesn't
know me. And I think you are right. I
do think it is in me to brave danger for the
sake of a man I loved. But then I never be-
lieved it was in me to love a man like that.'
' Ah ! ' he cried, ' you know it now, and it
is I who have taught you. You love me.'
They were walking up the little hill to the
cottage. Both paused. She turned on him
her big, troubled, star-like eyes.
' Elsie,' he repeated triumphantly. ' I
have won the game ; you love me ! '
He put out his arms and caught her to
VOL. II. L
146 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
him in a wild embrace. There was something
almost brutal in his impetuosity. He kissed
her cheeks, her hair, and then her lips. Elsie
had never dreamed of kisses so passionate
and unrestrained. For a moment or two she
yielded to his ardour, and then a swift and
agonising sense of humiliation overcame her.
' How dare you ! What right have you ? '
she cried — ' Oh, you are cruel, you are base !'
She tore herself from him and he saw her
THE CLUB BALL
Elsie sobbed all night the sobs of outraged
maidenhood. He had conquered. She knew
it too well. His kisses burned on her lips,
and the burning was sweet agony. She
loved him ; but — and here came the hideous
doubt — did he love her ? Had he only been
amusing himself? Had he only been
revenging dead Jensen ? Oh ! what con-
cerns of his were this dead man's wroncfs ?
Had he only been playing out tlie game at
which he had challenged her skill ?
If he loved her, she told herself, he would
148 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
come on the morrow. He would come in
proud humility, and ask her to forgive him,
certain of her pardon.
She heard the steamer bells as the
UUagong, with the Waveryngs on board,
steamed up the river. She got up and
looked out through the blurr of her tears.
It was grey dawn — the dawn, she thought, of
her day of destiny. Would he come ? She
determined that she would torture herself no
more with speculations. She got up and
dressed, and set herself savagely to her
It was perhaps fortunate that Mrs.
Yalliant was too pre-occupied with the
thought of the Waveryngs' visit, and the
effect it would have upon Ina, to notice the
pale face and wild eyes of her eldest
daughter. She could talk of nothing but
Lady Waveryng. Would Ina meet her
sister-in-law at the wharf? Would she call
THE CLUB BALL 149
at Government House that afternoon ? Lady
Stukeley would now be obliged to take some
notice of Ina's family. It was she who
suggested that Elsie should walk down to
Fermoy's and learn something of Ina's ar-
Lord Horace was in the verandah, talking
excitedly to a plain, rather heavy, good-
natured-looking man, in a light tweed suit,
and with something of the tourist air. The
man's eyes rested admiringly on Elsie as she
stepped along the side path, not daring to
look at any of the other windows which
opened on to the verandah, lest, perchance,
she might encounter Blake. But Blake was
at his office, as befitted a new minister
anxious to learn his duties ; and there was no
need for that startled flush which cauglit
Lord Waveryng's attention.
' By Jove ! ' she heard him say, ' do they
breed 'em like this out here ? '
1 50 UTLA W A ND LA W MAKER
' My wife's sister, Miss Yalliant,' said
Horace, as she opened the gate of the
verandah. ' Elsie, this is Waveryng. Brought
'em straight along to see In a, in spite of the
' Lady Stukeley will understand perfectly,'
said Lord Waveryng. ' Em made it straight.
Of course Em wanted to see the new sister-in-
law.' And thus Elsie gleaned that the
Waveryngs meant to be nice. '
' They're bricks, ain't they ? ' said Horace
In a was in the sitting-room, where a very
trim, very handsome, very decided, and
rather voluble lady had taken possession of
her. Lady Waveryng was a beauty. She was
very like her brother, Lord Horace, and had
charming manners ; though her once lovely
complexion had got a little spoiled in the
hunting-field. Hunting and yachting were
THE CLUB BALL 151
the two tilings she hked best in the world.
Elsie heard her say she only wished their
yacht had been big enough to go round the
world in, but on the whole she wasn't sure
that she did not prefer ocean steamers ; and
the passengers made it more amusing. They
had had a perfectly lovely time in Ceylon.
Singapore was so interesting, and the whole
Torres Strait route delightful.
' And this is Elsie, I am sure,' and she got
up as Elsie entered.
' Horace sent us your photograph with
Ina's, to show us how easy it was to fall in
love with Australian girls.'
Lady Waveryng shook Elsie's hand
warmly, and then she kissed Ina.
They must fly. She did not know what
the Stukeleys would say to her. And there
was so much to be done. And she under-
stood there was to be a ball that evening
152 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
somewhere ; and her maid had been so upset
with sea-sickness that she would have to go
and do her own unpacking.
They started off, Horace with them.
Lady Waveryng kissed her hand as she
turned the Ferry Hill, and walked along
leaning on her silver mounted stick, looking,
in her neat tailor-made dress and dainty hat,
Elsie thought, unapproachably simple and
' You see, Ina, you needn't have been
frightened of them,' said Elsie.
' They're coming to the Dell,' said Ina.
' They say that they're longing to do some
Bush travelling. Lady Waveryng wants to
hunt kangaroos. She says I must call her
'' Em." We are to dine at Government House
this evening — a family party ; and, oh ! Elsie,
I am so sorry, but you'll arrange to go witli
the Prydes or Mrs. Jem Hallett, won't you, to
THE CLUB BALL 153
the Club Ball, and wait for me in the cloak-
room ? '
' The Club Ball ? ' said Elsie. ' Oh ! I had
forgotten.' And in truth her heart and mind
had been too full for the thought even of a
ball to find a place there. ' It doesn't
matter,' she said. ' Yes, I'll arrange some-
' And your bouquet, Elsie,' said Ina.
' Do you think Mr. Blake will send you one
this time ? '
' No,' exclaimed Elsie almost fiercely ;
' he will not send me one. Why should he ?
Let us go over to the gardens, Ina, and beg
some azaleas and camellias from the curator.'
She did not get back to Eiverside till her
verandah reception hour. She had a wild
fancy that Blake might be there waiting for
her. Ministers were not tied to their offices
like the humble fry of civil servants and bank
1 54 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
clerks. The bank clerks were there — and
Dominic Trant was there, but no Blake.
It was Trant who brought her a bouquet ;
and a very beautiful one of tea roses and
maidenhair fern and crimson double gera-
nium. He had been at some pains to find out
from Lady Horace what Elsie's colours were
No other bouquet had come, and she said
she would wear this one, and thanked him
very prettily. He wondered what had
happened to her, and why her manner was so
strained and conscious. Man-like he attri-
buted it to his own influence. Was it
possible that he was beginning to affect her ?
He had an immense faith in his power of
influencing women. His dark eyes glowed
passionately upon her face. To flirt with
him at that moment was a distraction, and an
anodyne to the fierce pain which tormented
THE CLUB BALL 155
her. She felt a wicked pleasure in playing
with him as a cat might have played with
a mouse. Yes, she would give him some
dances. She would not say how many.
They would wait until they were in the
ballroom. What was it that he wanted to
say to her ? If it was going to be anything
very interesting and exciting, she would listen
with the greatest pleasure. She wanted to
be amused, taken out of herself. Did he
think he could do that for her ?
' Yes,' Trant ansAvered deliberately. He
thought he could at least interest her. He
would not promise not to offend her. Perhaps
a Httle at first she might be jarred ; women
were always jarred by what was real in a
man. He meant to be his real self.
Mr. Anderson and Minnie Pryde came in.
Minnie was dying to hear all about Lady
156 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
They sat in the verandah till it was
nearly dressing time ; and no one else came.
Blake never appeared.
In the evening the Prydes called for her
in the jingle — Minnie and her father, who
was in one of the Government offices — there
was no Mrs. Pryde — and they drove round
by the bridge, and along the river
embankment, till they got into the string of
carriages waiting to pass towards the awning
stretched out from the entrance to the Club
House. The club was a pretty, low building,
with wide verandahs and a big garden, gay
with coloured lanterns. The covered way
from the street was hung with flags; the ball-
room looked very brilliant with its deco-
rations of flaming poinsettia against a back-
ground of palms. Where had all the crimson
flowers come from .^ There was nothing else —
garlands of red geraniums and euphorbia and
THE CLUB BALL 157
vivid pomegranate, deepening into the darker
tones of the red camellias and azaleas and the
great flags of poinsettia. Minnie Pryde
bewailed her pink dress which was quite out
of harmony with the prevailing colouring.
' Oh, Elsie, how clever of you to find out
what they were going to decorate with,' she
cried, looking admiringly at Elsie's cloudy
white gauze with its splashes of crimson at
waist and bosom. Elsie's cheeks were almost
as bright as the crimson flowers, but the
colour came and went, and there was a
frightened look in her eyes.
Frank Hallett, who was one of the
stewards, was waiting near the doorway.
' Your sister asked me to tell you not to
wait in the cloak-room,' he said, ' She may
be late. We've been dining at Government
House, you know, and Mr. Blake and I
managed to get away before the rest, because
J 58 O UTLA W AND LA WMAKER
of being stewards. Mrs. Jem will chaperon
you till Ina comes.'
Mrs. Jem was gorgeous in maize and
black lace, which suited her brunette
colouring and her affectation of matronhood.
She had taken her place among the higher
magnates, and did not smile quite as sweet a
welcome to poor pariah Elsie as Frank
Hallett would have wished. But Mrs. Jem
was wise in her generation, and she had a
shrewd notion that Lord Waveryng would
take to Elsie, and it was quite evident that
Elsie's position in Leichardt's Town society
would be somewhat changed by the
Waveryngs' stay at Government House, and
the admission of Lady Horace into that inner
circle from which she had been in her girl-
hood so rigorously excluded.
' Yes, lovely,' said Mrs. Jem, in answer to
a remark of Lady Garfit's. ' But you know I
THE CLUB BALL 159
always said that Ina was so much better style,
and the rouge is quite evident to-night. It is
such a pity.'
But even as she spoke Elsie's cheeks
belied the accusation. The girl went deadly
white for an instant, and then the crimson tide
welled up again. Blake was coming towards
them. There was not a shadow of conscious-
ness in his manner. He stopped to salute
Mrs. Jem and engage her for a set of Lancers.
Yes, he had been dining at Government House.
He had thought that Miss Yalliant might be
with Lady Horace. He bowed ceremoniously
to Elsie. ' How charming Lady Waveryng
was, and how nice to see her so devoted
already to Lady Horace ; though, of course,
she was certain to be that.'
Was it Blake who was uttering these
banalities ? Elsie waited. He had not yet
asked her to dance. Trant was hovering near,
i6o OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
watching her with jealous eyes, and now he
pushed himself forward. ' Miss Yalliant, this
is my dance.'
Elsie looked at her card. It had got
pretty well filled already. Frank Hallett's
name was down several times, and the bank
clerks had been given a sop apiece, and the
more important dancing men — the unmarried
members of the Assembly — and some strangers
from a neighbouring colony, had each set
down their initials. But Elsie had kept some
blanks, on which she had placed a hieroglyph
of her own. 'No, you have made a mistake.
It is the next one. This is a gallop. They
are not keeping to the programme.'
' Oh, they won't do that until the great
people come,' said Blake. 'And here they
are, and we stewards must go and receive
The band struck up ' God save the Queen.'
THE CLUB BALL i6i
There was a little confusion at the entrance,
and presently the Governor's fine head
appeared, above the blue collar of his uniform,
and Lady Waveryng's tiara of diamonds at his
shoulder. ' How handsome she is, and how
like Lord Horace ! ' murmured Mrs. Jem.
The Leichardtstonians wondered that they
had not thought more of Lord Horace, and a
pang shot through Lady Garfit. Oh ! why
hadn't she managed to marry him to Eose ?
Lady Waveryng's diamonds and aristocratic
head seemed the visible symbol of poor little
Ina Gage's unmerited social advancement.
Lady Waveryng had an air and an aplomb that
could only belong to an aristocrat. And she
was so simple and so unaffected, and looked
about with such evident interest, pointing to
the poinsettia leaves, and saying something to
Blake as she passed him that produced a bow
of evident acknowledgment of a compliment on
VOL. II. M
1 62 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
the taste of the stewards. Lady Waveryng's
eyes went back to Blake in a puzzled sort
of way. ' Do you know who he is, and if
he belongs to the Castle Coola people ? ' she
said to the Governor. ' I can't get rid of the
impression that I know his face. But I don't
know which of the Coola people he could be.
All the brothers are dead.'
Sir Theophilus Stukeley did not know.
He had never met any of the Castle Coola
people ; always avoided Ireland, and thanked
Providence that he had not been born an
Lady Waveryng laughed. ' Oh, but the
Coolas are of the landlord type — thorough
Tories ; at least, Lord Coola is at any rate.
Waveryng has some fishing near them,
and that's how I came to know them. But
he has all the traditions. It's so sad that all
the sons are dead, and the property must go
to some dreadful English lawyer, whom one of
THE CLUB BALL 163
the daughters married. It seems quite out of
keeping that the Castle, Banshee and all,
should go into Sassenach hands. Oh! Mr.
Blake, I beg your pardon.' She became
suddenly conscious that Blake was close to
her, and that he was devouring what she said.
' I am sure you are one of the Coola people,
aren't you ? Please tell me, are you related
to Lord Coola ? '
' In a hundredth degree,' he answered.
'AH the Blakes, I suppose, came originally
from the Coola stock.' He withdrew reflecting
that he had involved himself in complications:
The Governor and Lady Waveryng went to
the upper end of the room. Lord Waveryng
had Lady Stukeley on his arm. Ina came
in with the aide-de-camp, and Lord Horace
with the private secretary's wife.
' By Jove, that sister-in-law of Horace's
beats them all to fits ! ' said Lord Waveryng.
i64 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' I am going to ask her if she will dance with
me.' He led Elsie out for the first waltz after
the state quadrille, in which imposing cere-
monial she had naturally no place. He found
her very charming, so he confided to his wife,
and with a delightful sense of humour. She
had asked him how he and Lady Waveryng
bore the shock of the introduction to Horace's
barbarians. She had also informed him that
lords and lesser members of the aristocracy
were at a discount on the diggings, and they
had never been able to get up a sufficient
sense of the honour to which Ina had been
raised. She thought, however, that acquaint-
ance with Lord Waveryng might now enable
them to realise their advantages. She said all
this with grave simplicity, looking into Lord
Waveryng's face with her beautiful, shy eyes,
always keeping that expression of vague pain
THE CLUB BALL 165
All this time Blake had never asked her to
dance. He had danced with Lady Waveryng,
with Ina, with Eose Garfit. He had smiled
at her in an absolutely conventional manner
when their eyes met, but he had never shown
the least desire for any private conversation.
What did it all mean? Had he been mad
last night? Had she been mad or dreaming?
Or was it merely that the game was played,
and that he wished her to understand this,
and that her claims upon his attention were
at an end ?
Well, he should see that she did not care.
She smiled upon Trant with reckless witchery,
and let him take her into the square of
garden behind the Club House — a dim patch
of fairyland — palms outlined against the pale
moonlit sky, coloured lamps hanging on the
fantastic branches of the monkey trees and
gleaming in thickets of bamboos. The
i66 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
bamboos made a soft rustling in the night
wind ; the datura flowers scented the air
with their heavy fragrance. There were
little tents here and there, and cane lounges,
with bright red cushions, set in secluded
To one of these Trant led her. Her
shoulders were bare, and she shivered slightly
as he came close to her. 'It is too cold to be
out in the garden,' she said.
' Cold, no not in the least ! But see how
thoughtful I have been.'
He lifted his arm and showed her a white
wrap which he had been carr^dng half con-
cealed by her bouquet. He had asked per-
mission to hold that for her while she had
finished her dance with Mr. Anderson.
' It is Ina's,' said Elsie. * Thank you.'
He put it on her shoulders. She took
her bouquet from him. ' Thank you,' she
THE CLUB BALL 167
said again. ' I don't think there's anything
you can do for me except amuse me.'
' I shall not amuse you,' he answered, ' T
am too deadly serious for that.'
' Deadly seriousness may be amusing
sometimes. Go on, Mr. Trant. Talk —
'What shall I talk about — you or
' Or both. Do 3^ou like my dress ? Do
you think I look nice ? '
' You look beautiful,' he said deliberately.
' Every time I look at you, I — I want to
She shrank. ' Don't please talk like that.'
' I said I should jar upon you if I allowed
myself to be real, didn't I ? That's what I
really feel though. I want all the time to
take you in my arras, and cover you with
kisses. I would do it too — if '
i68 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
She got up. ' Please take me in. I don't
like you when you say wild things.'
' Don't be afraid. I have too much
respect for you to offend. Besides, my time
isn't yet. When I kiss you it shall be with
your permission — unless '
' Unless what ? '
' Unless I see that you will never freely
give me permission. Then I shall take it.
But I do things in a big way, Miss Yalliant —
not in a hole-and-corner fashion. It wouldn't
suit me to snatch a kiss in a garden, and see
you go off in a fit of indignation, thinking me
an odious cad. You wouldn't think me a cad
if I seized a kiss in some wild lonely place,
with not a soul in earshot ; a place like
Barolin Waterfall, let us say, where you
would be utterly helpless, and at my mercy.
There'd be something big about that ; you'd
be too frightened to tell yourself I was a cad.
THE CLUB BALL 169
You'd be frightened enough almost to imagine
me a hero. And then, perhaps, I shouldn't
take the kiss. Perhaps I should act a
chivalrous part, and in the end, maybe, you
would give it to me of your own accord.'
Elsie laughed. There was something in
his wooing that, rough as it was, appealed to
her. Instead of moving away, she sat down
again, and leaned a little towards him,
huddled in her cloak.
' Well,' he said, ' I am beginning to
interest you, am I not ? I know exactly
what sort of woman you are. I think a man
might have a chance with you, if he carried
you off by force. Elsie listen '
She shook her head, and made a gesture
' Yes, I shall call you Elsie, this once.
Elsie, Elsie. It is a beautiful name. I
dehght in the name. Elsie. I say it to
170 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
myself when I am alone. I kiss you in
imagination when I am alone. Elsie, I love
' Mr. Trant '
' You can't prevent me from loving you ;
I have the right to do so, just as much as
Blake ; only he doesn't love any woman, he
is not capable of loving anybody but him-
Elsie gave a little inarticulate cry of
' Something happened last night between
you and Blake. Oh, I know it as well as if
you or he had told me. I haven't been with
Blake all these years for nothing. I know
the signs of his face. I know what it means
when he puts on that sort of mask he is
wearing to-night. It means that the devil is
in him, and that he will go his way, come
what will. Don't be his victim. Miss Valhant.
THE CLUB BALL 171
It's for your own good I say it ; don't believe
Elsie turned on him, her face quivering
with passionate anger.
' Be silent on this subject ! Say what you
choose about yourself — that doesn't matter,
it's only amusing, it interests me in a wa}^ —
but don't insult m.e by mentioning Mr. Blake's
name in connection with mine. I will not
have it ! '
' Very well. But I have warned you .
And I have as good a right to make love to
you as Mr. Frank Hallett, and that, according
to Leichardt's Town gossip, means a good deal,
if, as they say, you were engaged to him before
Blake came on the scene. There, I am offend-
ing again. We'll leave Blake out of the
' I was never engaged to Mr. Frank Hallett.
Now you have said what you wanted to say,
172 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
and there is an end. You are quite right, no
one could prevent you. But when I have
given you my answer, the incident will be
closed, as they say.'
' I haven't asked you for an answer,' he
said imperturbably. ' I don't want to close
the incident. I intend to open it again. I
love you and I mean to marry you.'
Elsie laughed nervously. ' Eeally, Mr.
Trant, am I not to have a voice in the
matter ? '
' Oh yes, later on ; but you must get ac-
customed to the idea. I'm not a poor man,
Miss Valliant — it may be as well that I should
mention this — and I intend very shortly to
cut this life — for good and all. I have had
enough of it. I propose in a few months to
leave Australia, and to take my money out of
the place. I shall not have done such a bad
thing out of Australia' — Trant laughed his
THE CLUB BALL 173
odd laugli — ' and then I shall go to Europe,
and I shall enjoy life.'
' I am glad to hear it.'
' I shall be in a position to give my wife
most of the things that a woman likes — travel,
amusement, society, dress, luxuries, and what
ought to count a little, unbounded devotion.
That does count for something with a woman,
doesn't it ? '
' It depends on who offers it.'
' I'm not such an odiously unattractive
fellow — at least, I've managed to make some
women care for me. I know I could make
you care for me, if I set to work in the right
way. Anyhow I mean to try.'
' It will be no use at all, Mr. Trant. It
will be only waste of time.'
' We shall see. I think you will have to
admit later that I am a man of determina-
174 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
'Miss Valliant, I have been looking for
you everywhere ! This is our dance.'
The speaker was Lord Waveryng. Elsie
got up and took his arm, and they went into
LORD ASTAR's attentions
As they went in from the dim garden and
through the verandah, which was hke a con-
servatory, with its decorations of palms, Elsie's
dazzled eyes seemed to see in the glare of the
ball-room beyond only one face and form, and
those belonged to Blake.
He was standing close to the doorway.
Elsie wondered whether he would move away
when he saw her ; but he turned straight to
them. But Elsie noticed that he kept his eyes
on Lord Waveryng, and she noticed, too, an
odd, watchful expression in the eyes that she
had never seen there before. Lord Waveryng
spoke a word to him. He, too, kept his eyes
176 O UTLA W AND LA WMA KER
with a hard, puzzled stare on Blake. He said,
^ You see we weren't so long behind you in
getting here after all. But old Stukeley is
hard to move when it's a case of Mouton
Eothschild '68 — capital wine that ! — not
damaged in the least by the voyage.'
' Not damaged at all,' replied Blake in a
' I say,' said Lord Waveryng abruptly, ' do
you happen to remember what Lafitte Coola
used to give us at the Castle on high days ? '
Blake returned the look which Lord
Waveryng gave him quite unflinchingly.
' No, I don't remember,' he said, and
turned to Elsie. ' Miss YalHant, I am afraid
I am rather late in my application, but I must
plead my steward's duties as a claim on your
mercy. May I hope for the honour of a
dance ? '
Elsie's heart throbbed so violently that
LORD ASTAR'S ATTENTIONS 177
she instinctively put the hand which her
bouquet shielded against her side. She dared
not look at him. The thought of the wild
scene of the night before maddened her almost
into fury. What right had he ? How dared
he think that he could trifle with her so ?
' I am sorry,' she said, and her words fell
like drops of steel, ' but I am engaged for
Blake said nothing. He only bowed, and
Lord Waveryng put his arm round Elsie, and
steered her into the dance.
' I can see,' he said, when they paused pre-
sently, ' that Mr. Blake is not quite in your
good books. I wonder how he has offended
' Oh no,' said Elsie, trying to speak calmly,
' he has not offended me, but of course at this
time in the evening I have no dances left.'
' I would give a good deal,' said Lord
VOL. II. N
178 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
Waveryng, 'for the cheek to ask that man
whether he is Morres Blake come to Hfe again.
T think I shall do it by-and-by/
' Who is Morres Blake ? ' asked Elsie.
' Lord Coola's brother, a fellow that fell
over a cliff, and was carried out to sea and
drowned ; at least, so they said. But you
see somebody might have picked him up, and
he might not have been drowned ; and what
gives the theory a spark of probability is that
Blake would have been had up to a certainty
on a charge of inciting his regiment to
Fenianism, if he had not got killed at the nick
of time for his family and for his own
reputation, we won't say his life, since if he
was drowned, he lost that anyhow.'
' Ah ! ' Elsie drew a deep breath. Things
seemed to suddenly become clear to her.
' It must be ten or twelve years ago,'
Lord Waveryng went on. ' I met Blake — the
LORD ASTAR'S ATTENTIONS 179
Morres Blake, you know — twice at Castle
Coola, and I don't often forget a face. In
fact, I've got an astonishing memory for faces,
Miss Yalliant. I ought to have been a
They went on again. In the next pause
Lord Waveryng talked of Lord Horace. ' I'm
going up to see the Dell,' he said. ' I hear
Horace's works have come to a dead stop for
want of funds. Well, if he is likely to keep
out of mischief — and he ought to with such
a charming wife — I might see if I couldn't
do something. He is my wife's favourite
brother, though I can't say I ever had a
great opinion myself of Horace's capabilities ;
but he is a good-hearted chap, and I had a
lucky haul with the Two Thousand — I
suppose you know that I go in for racing a
bit, Miss Yalhant — and I might give Horace
I So UTLA W AND LA WMA KER
a helping hand. He'll not get another penny
from his father.'
For Ina's sake Elsie rejoiced at Lord
Waveryng's benevolent intentions, and
thought how pleased her mother would be
to hear of the excellent impression Ina had
made. That was very evident. Lady
Waveryng was sitting now beside her sister-
in-law, and they were on the most
Frank Hallett came next on the list of
Elsie's partners. ' Why are you not dancing
with Blake this evening ? ' he asked abruptly.
' I don't know,' said Elsie simply ; and it
liurt him to hear the note of pain in her
voice. ' Frank,' she said hurriedly, ' please
don't talk to me about Mr. Blake. Let us
talk of other things — of how I am enjoying
myself, for instance,'
' Are you enjoying yourself, Elsie ? '
LORD A STAR'S ATTENTIONS 18 1
' Of course I am. I have had a success.
Every one has been telUng me that I look very
v^elL Lord Waveryng has been charming.
I have been honoured by an offer of
marriage.' She laughed hysterically.
' An offer of marriage ? ' he said
' I did not accept it ' — she still laughed
— ' but it was — exciting. Come, Frank,
don't let us lose any of this lovely waltz. I
am in wild spirits to-night.'
Poor Elsie ! And yet when she went into
the cloak-room in the early dawn it seemed
to her as though her heart must break, so
agonising was the pain of it. All the pretty
colour had gone from her face. As she
stood in the corridor waiting for the jingle
which was to take them over the bridge to
Fermoy's, she looked like a ghost, with wild
1 82 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
'Are you very tired, Miss Yalliant ? ' said
Blake suddenly, beside her.
She gave a great start. He was still
impassive. 'Yes, very tired,' she answered.
' Have you had a pleasant evening ? ' he
asked, in the same tone.
'Yes, thank you,' she answered. She
lifted her eyes, which had not dared to meet
his. They met them now, and something in
the expression of his eased her pain. For
there was pain, too, in his eyes, and a great
' Mr. Blake,' she exclaimed involuntarily,
and made a faint movement of her hand
towards him. He put out his hand, and took
hers. ' Good-night, Miss Yalliant,' he said ;
' do you see that faint red streak in the sky,
and do you know that in another hour it will
be sunrise ? Sleep well, and when you wake,
don't ' he hesitated, and pressed her hand
LORD ASTAR'S ATTENTIONS 183
as he relinquished it. ' Try not to think too
nardly of me.'
The girl said not a word. She moved
proudly past him. ' Ina, I am sure the
carriage is there,' she said, and at that
moment Lord Horace came crossly to them.
Lord Horace had taken • a httle more
champagne than was good for him. ' What
an infernal time you have been with your
cloaks,' he said. ' Come along, I can't see
the thing, and we may wait here till
Doomsday for it to fetch us. Come and get
into the first jingle we can find that will take
us to the ferry. We can walk the rest of the
A few minutes later Blake stood on the
steps of the club house lighting his cigar.
He was going to walk to the ferry. Lord
Waveryng joined him.
' You are going to walk, I see. So am I,
i84 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
and our ways lie together as far as the
turning to Government House.'
The two men stepped out into the fresh,
scented air of the early morning. There
were faint sounds of awakening birds and
insects, and the greyness was so clear that
the colour of the begonias, which festooned
some of the verandahs along the roadway,
showed curiously brilliant. They exchanged
a few commonplace remarks about the
scenery, the vegetation, and the beauty of
the river. Then Lord Waveryng halted
suddenly, and turned on his companion
deliberately, taking his cigar from his mouth.
' I think I ought to tell you,' he said, 'that
I never forget a face, and that I recognised
you almost as soon as I heard your name this
evening. T presume you liave good reasons
for not wishing to be identified as Captain
Morres Blake of the ? '
LORD ASTAR'S ATTENTIONS 185
' I have the best reasons that man can
have,' said Blake. ' Lord Waveryng, I'll be
as frank with you as you are with me, and
you know my reasons almost as well as I do.'
'It's twelve years ago,' said Lord Waveryng,
' and things have changed a good deal since
then. This Parliamentary movement has
made a difference. I don't suppose the
authorities would want to rake up that
business. The reason why I tackled you at
once is that I don't know whether you know
that Lord Coola's two boys died of diphtheria
last year, and that you stand next in succes-
sion to Coola.'
' No,' said Blake startled ; ' I did not
know it, and I am truly sorry.'
'It is worth your thinking about,' said
Lord Waveryng. 'I thought I had better
Blake was silent for a few moments. At
i86 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER '
last he spoke. ' There were four Hves between
me and Coola when — when I left Ireland, and
there seemed a probability of several more.
It was not to be supposed that my brother
would not marry again after Lady Coola's
death ; and who could have dreamed that my
brother William would have been carried off
so young — and now these boys ! Poor chaps !
It is like fatality.'
' Yes,' assented Lord Waveryng, ' seems
like a fatality, don't it ? Anyhow, you may be
the next Lord Coola.'
' Coola will marry again now,' said Blake
decidedly. ' He is bound to do it.'
' I don't think he will,' said Lord Waveryng.
' He believes in his first wife's ghost. It's a
kind of mania. You Blakes are all a little
queer, you know.'
' Yes, I know very well,' answered Morres
LORD ASTAR'S ATTENTIONS 187
Blake bitterly. 'It's in the blood. That
queerness is responsible for a good deal.'
Lord Waveryng looked at him keenly.
' You are sane enough,' he said.
' Am I ? ' cried Blake passionately. ' I'm
mad, I tell you — mad — mad ! '
' You were mad when you threw your
chances away and went in for that Fenian
business : but it was the aberration of youth.
They tell me that you make a good colonial
politician. Curious, isn't it, when one comes
to think of it, that you should be Colonial
Secretary of Leichardt's Land P '
Blake laughed strangely. Again there
The men walked on, puffing their cigars.
They had reached the place where the street
divided into two, one leading to the ferry, the
other past the Houses of Parliament to the
i88 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
great gates of Government House. Here they
' Lord Waveryng,' Blake said impulsively,
' I trust you.'
' I never betrayed confidence in my life,'
said the other, ' at least, I hope not willingly.
If you wish to be thought dead, why, as far as
I am concerned, you are dead. But I think
you make a mistake in not facing the music'
They shook hands and parted ; but Blake
did not go straight to Fermoy's.
Careless of what might be thought of him,
he walked on through the paddock in which
Eiverside Cottage stood. He looked wistfully
at the little closed-up house and at the
verandah in which was Elsie's chair, and
where her work-basket still lay on the rough
table. He was only driven away by tlie sight
of Peter the Kanaka, up betimes to gather
rosellas for the shop on the Point, which
LORD ASTAWS ATTENTIONS 189
bought sucli garden stuff as the widow had to
dispose of. He shpped down among the
lantana shrubs that grew close to the garden
fence, and made his way back by a circuitous,
but less public track, along the river bank to
During the days that followed the Club
Ball, Elsie Yalliant's mental and moral con-
dition might have been expressed in the plaint
of Mariana, though, to be sure, the outward
circumstances of her life were very different
from those of the lady of the Moated Grange.
Life at Leichardt's Town was at high pressure ;
life at Eiverside Cottage was at high pressure
too. The verandah receptions were more
brilliant and more sought after than ever, and
gained eclat from the presence of the Waveryngs
and an admixture of the Government House
set ; not, certainly, in ^he persons of Sir
I90 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
Theophilus and Lady Stukeley, but in the
shape of the aide-de-camp and private secretary,
and of the more or less distinguished strangers
who frequented Government House at this
time. There was always some bustle of
coming and going, of flirtation, or of making
ready for flirtation. But still Blake came
They met often, and yet not so often as
would have been the case a month before. It
seemed to Elsie that Blake avoided all the
informal parties which once, for the sake of a
waltz or talk with her, he had welcomed so
eagerly. And at the more ceremonious func-
tions, there was an excuse for the formal
nature of their intercourse. Naturally, at
the public balls and at the Government House
At Homes it was not to be supposed that the
Colonial Secretary could devote himself ex-
clusively to one pretty girl. Blake paid
LORD ASTAR'S ATTENTIONS 191
attention to a few of the Leicliardt's Town
young ladies, and to Elsie there was in this
fact a faint consolation. At any rate she
could not feel jealous of Mrs. Torbolton, or of
the wife of the Minister for Works, or even of
Lady Waveryng, who declared herself charmed
with Blake, and made him into a sort of
cicerone. But in truth the girl's own being
was torn in tatters. Wounded pride, love,
the sense of humiliation, and insult, made her
days an anguish and her nights a terror.
And yet she laughed all the time, and she
flirted with everybody and made herself into
a very scorn of Leichardt's Town matrons by
reason of her unblushing levity.
Just at this time, one of the minor Eoyal
Princes, who was making a tour of the
colonies, paid a long-expected week's visit to
Leichardt's Town, and the occasion was one
of wild excitement and of enthusiastic de-
192 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
monstration of Antipodean loyalty. Elsie had
the satisfaction of seeing Blake in official
capacity, taking part in the various pageants,
as one of the committee of reception ; and in
spite of her misery, and her anger against him,
she felt a savage pride in the manner in which
he acquitted himself. She was at the great
ceremony of the landing, and at the Mayor's
Ball, at the School of Arts, in the evening.
She was also at the races, at which one or two
of the horses which had exploited at Tunimbah
ran, with less credit to themselves and their
owners ; she was at the picnic in the Govern-
ment steamer, in which the Prince was shown
the bay and the islands ; and at all the func-
tions for which Frank Hallett's efforts and the
reflected glory of the Waveryngs secured her
a place. It was all very brilliant, and she had
her fill of admiration. The Prince was
greatly taken by her beauty, and danced with
LORD ASTAR'S ATTENTIONS 193
her so often as to fill his guardians with a
half-amused alarm. Perhaps this was why
Lord Astar, one of the Prince's suite, made
violent love to Elsie, and short of absolutely
proposing marriage, did everything which
could be expected from a suitor for her hand.
Lord Astar found the verandah receptions
very much to his taste, and on the days when
he was off duty during the latter part of the
Prince's visit, might usually be seen seated at
Elsie's feet, with his legs dangling over the
edge of the riverside verandah in the most
approved colonial fashion, or else lounging on
the steps that led to the boat-house, another
favourite scene for Elsie's flirtations. The
Prince would have liked to take part also in
Elsie's verandah receptions, but on this point
the Stukeleys and the noble Admiral who had
him in charge were inexorable.
Lord Astar was amusing, and clever, and
VOL. n. o
194 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
fascinating, and he was very mucli a man of
the world. Elsie had never met any one of
his type, though since the arrival of the
Waveryngs her experience of the English
aristocracy had extended somewhat beyond
her brother-in-law. It struck her that Lord
Astar's type was most nearly approached by
Morres Blake in his lighter moods. Certainly
nothing more widely removed from the type
could be conceived than Frank Hallett.
It mav have been with some wild idea of
making Blake jealous that Elsie flirted so
desperately with Lord Astar. All Leichardt's
Town — that is, the portion of it which con-
stituted society — remarked her behaviour on
the day of the races. They were in the Grand
Stand — Ina and her husband in that portion
which was railed off for the Government
House party and the higher officials, but Elsie,
with the Prydes, in a less exalted position.
LORD ASTAR'S ATTENTIONS 195
She was looking lovely in a grey dress witli
soft lace at the neck and a bewitching bonnet
made out of the breast of an Australian bird.
Lord Astar admired her dress, and Elsie told
him that she had sat up all the night before
to finish it. She also informed him that the
bonnet, or at least the l)ird which composed
it, had been a present from King Tommy, of
' And so the Prince is not your only royal
admirer,' said Lord Astar. ' Are lower
mortals privileged to lay tributes of loyalty
at your feet ? '
As he spoke, Elsie became suddenly aware
that Blake was passing along the gangway
behind her chair. She felt that he stopped,
knew instinctively that he had heard LorYl
Astar's speech and was waiting for her reply.
A demon of recklessness seized her ; she looked
coquettishly up at Lord Astar and answered
196 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
very distinctly, ' Certainly. Tributes are
' Miss Yalliant,' Blake's incisive tones
seemed to cut the air, ' Lady Horace has gone
down to the saddling paddock, and she asked
me to bring you to her.'
Elsie started. Blake moved a chair beside
' You will come ? ' His eyes were full
She rose obediently ; it would have been
impossible for her to disobey the mandate of
those eyes. Lord Astar bowed and made way
' I shall not forget,' he said very low.
Blake piloted her down the stairs of the
Grand Stand. When they stood on the lawn
he turned and said deliberately, ' Lady Horace
is not in the saddling paddock. I don't know
LORD ASTAR'S ATTENTIONS 197
in the least where she is, and she did not send
me for you. I brought you here to tell you
that you must not accept presents from Lord
' Surely,' said Elsie bitterly, ' that can be
of very little consequence to you.'
' No, it is not of consequence to me,' he
answered, ' but it is of consequence to your-
self. I know Lord Astar. I know the sort of
reputation he has in regard to women. You
compromise your reputation by allowing him
to pay you the attentions which have been
making you so conspicuous these last few
days. Please take my word for this. He
is a more dangerous opponent in the game
which we have been playing than I have
been. Don't play that game with him ; the
consequences may be disagreeable.'
' In what way ? '
198 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' In this — Astar is quite capable of insult-
ing a woman who places herself in a false
' And you,' she cried passionately, ' have
you not shown yourself capable of insulting a
woman who was fool enough to place herself
at your mercy ? '
He turned very pale. An impetuous
answer rose to his lips. He uttered one
vehement word and checked himself.
' I beg your pardon,' he said. ' I have
nothing else to say. I have no justification
for the impulse that made me take you in
my arms that night. I can only ask you to
believe that there has never been in my mind
a disrespectful thought of you. And then '
he paused and went on in a different tone,
' the situation was understood between us.
It had been a challenge. There had been an
open fight, and I had suffered severely enough
LORD ASTAR'S ATTENTIONS 199
to make me feel a savage wisli to show you
that you were beaten.'
They had walked on, not in the direction
of the saddling paddock, but among the gum
trees at the back of the Grand Stand, where,
the view of the course being obstructed by
the building, there was little or no crowd ;
indeed, except for a few stragglers in care of
luncheon carts, the spot was almost deserted.
Elsie turned fiercely upon Blake. Her eyes
were flashing ; her bosom heaving.
' What right have you to say that I was
beaten? You said that I — that I cared for
you. What reason did I give you for think-
ing so ? Wasn't I playing the game too ?
Do you think I have fallen so low as to give
my heart to a man who- — who has shown me
that he despises me ? I despise you, Mr.
Blake ; 1 hate you ! '
Blake stood perfectly immovable. ' I am
200 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
glad of that,' he said quietly. ' I wish you to
hate me. But you are quite wrong in the
other thing. I do not despise you.'
' Why — why ? ' stammered Elsie. ' Why
should you wish me to hate you ? '
' Because it would not be for your happi-
ness that you should love me.'
' And why ? ' she repeated with the per-
sistency of a child.
' Because,' he answered, ' I cannot '
He stopped, and added more calmly, 'Because
in my scheme of life, marriage has no place.'
Elsie turned, and they walked a few steps
back without speaking.
' You have not given me credit for much
cleverness, Mr. Blake,' she said. 'You evi-
dently don't seem to think that I am able to
take a hint. I fancy that you warned me
before we — before we challenged each other
— against cherishing any false hopes.'
LORD ASTARS ATTENTIONS 201
The bitterness of her tone hurt Blake
' Thank you,' he said. ' It is a wholesome
lesson for me to be made to feel that I am a
Again they walked on in silence. They
were near the Grand Stand.
' Please don't go up for a minute or two
yet,' he said. ' We have wandered from the
' And the question is '
' Lord Astar's obvious intention of making
you a present, which will probably take the
form of an article of jewellery. Miss Yalliant,
I beseech you, for your own sake '
' Hush ! ' she exclaimed passionately. ' I
don't want you to say anything more. I am
old enough to take care of myself; and if not,
I have others who have a better right to
202 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' Very well. Forgive me for my pre-
sumption. I will not offend you again.' He
turned deliberately. ' We had better go
back now,' he said, and conducted her to the
stand, leaving her in her place beside Minnie
Pryde with a ceremonious bow.
Elsie did not speak to him igain that day.
Lord Astar came back presently, and hardly
quitted Elsie's side the rest of the day.
When they got home, Minnie Pryde insisted
on telling Mrs. Valliant of Elsie's conquest.
The silly woman was beside herself with
delight. Elsie married to Lord Astar ! Ina's
marriage was as nothing in comparison.
Why not ? If the Prince admired Elsie, why
should not Lord Astar marry her ? She had
been quite right in giving Frank Hallett an
imdecided answer — quite right in keeping that
pushing, handsome Mr. Blake, and his less
handsome and more pushing partner, at a
LORD ASTAR'S ATTENTIONS 203
distance. Ah, Elsie was her pride and her
joy ! Elsie would yet be the glory of her old
The girl burst into a passionate fit of
tears. 'Oh, mother, mother!' she cried.
' For pity's sake leave me alone, and expect
nothing of me.'
204 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
* AT GOVERl^MENT HOUSE '
It was the last night but one of the Prince's
stay, and the Birthnight Ball, long after date,
had been fixed for that evening. The occasion
was to be one of unusual splendour.
Mrs. Valliant, in her rather shiny black
moire and a feathered cap, had been persuaded
to emerge from her retirement and to chaperon
Elsie, Not that there had been any difficulty
in persuading her. She had always made it a
point of duty to attend the ' Queen's Birthday '
Ball. At the other balls she had allowed Ina
and Elsie to be chaperoned by any obliging
neighbour, but upon this occasion she felt that
'AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE' 205
loyalty demanded an effort, and moreover it
was lier only opportunity of witnessing her
pretty daughter's triumph. She was a good
deal assisted in the effort by Lord Horace's
present of a lace shawl, which, as she said,
made her look fit to stand even beside Lady
Waveryng in all her diamonds. To-night she
was in a state of feverish excitement, almost
as great as that of Elsie herself, and her deli-
cate face, which had the remains of Elsie's
beauty, was flushed like a girl's, as she put the
last touches to Elsie's hair and dress. Elsie's
dress had been a present, too, from Lord
Horace. It was white, and floated about her
in fleecy clouds, the little satin bodice moulded
to her pretty, slight figure, and great bunches
of Cloth of Gold and La France roses at her
breast and on her shoulders. There was a
bouquet of roses, too, on the table, which she
had made herself. Oddly enough, Frank
2o6 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
Hallett had sent her no bouquet this time.
Perhaps he thought she would wear Blake's
or Trant's ; perhaps he remembered that she
had once before discarded his for one that
Blake had sent her. But Blake had sent her
none now, and Trant had been called suddenly
to Barolin, and was hardly expected to be down
in time for the ball, and so Elsie had been
obliged to go herself to the curator of the
Public Gardens and beg for the roses, which
were not as perfect as she would have liked.
There were so many more important persons
to be provided with flowers.
But while she was dressing, a special mes-
seno-er arrived with a box. Peter, the Kanaka,
brought it to Elsie's room. The messenger
had said that he must take back an assurance
that Miss Valliant had received it, and so Mrs.
Valliant went to the door. The messenger
was a suave, gentlemanly person — Lord Astar's
'AT GO VERNMEN T HO USE ' 207
servant, and he had come from Government
The box contained another bouquet, wired
as if it were straight from Covent Garden, and
tied with pale pink streamers. It was com-
posed entirely of the most exquisite La France
and Marechal Niel roses, and was in a silver
holder. At the bottom of the box lay a little
packet and a note. When Elsie opened the
packet she gave a cry of surprise and delight.
The light flashed from a star of pearls
and diamonds. It was the temptation of
Marguerite ; and Elsie, notwithstanding her
many Leichardt's Town seasons, her numerous
flirtations, and her daring unconventionality,
was in truth as innocently ignorant of evil
intent to herself in the mind of man as was
Marguerite when she opened Mephistopheles'
casket. Elsie's lovers had always been chival-
rous. The note was only a few lines :
2o8 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' If you will honour me by wearing the
accompanying little trinket this evening, I
shall interpret it as a sign that you accept
my love, and that I may hope for the fulfil
ment of my most ardent wish.
' Devotedly yours,
Elsie drew a deep, long breath. It was
almost like a sigh of pain, but it was not pain
or dismay or indignation which brought it
forth. To her the note had but one meaning.
It had never entered her mind that a man
could approach a woman with words of love
meaning anything but the one thing — mar-
riage. Of course, he wished to marry her. It
was very strange, very sudden. That was all.
To-night she must make up her mind whether
or not she would accept this brilliant destiny,
nay, she must decide now, this very moment,
since her destiny depended upon the clasping
'AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE' 209
round her neck of the jewel Lord Astar had
sent her. Well, there was no great difficulty
in deciding. Here was some balm for her
poor torn heart and wounded pride. Now, at
least, she could prove to Blake that she had
never loved him. She could show him that
if he despised her there were others more
highly placed than he who thought her
worthy of being lifted to a rank far beyond
any that he could offer her. And yet — the
stab was agony — she loved him. She had
never realised it so keenly as now.
Mrs. Yalhant watched her in breathless
interest. She, too, had seen the flash of the
diamonds, and she had no doubt of what the
note contained. She, too, was in her way as
innocent as her daufrhter. She knew nothintr
of the wickedness of the world or the ways
of men like Lord Astar.
' Elsie ! ' she cried. ' Oh, tell me, what is it ? '
VOL. II. F
2IO OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' It is from Lord Astar,' replied Elsie
'Yes, yes, I know. But show me — how
beautiful ! ' She held the ornament to the
light and then away from her, and gazed at it
in an ecstasy of pleasure. ' It is magnificent
— a present for a queen ! Oh, Elsie, and it
is settled ! And you let Minnie Pryde go
on with her chatter, and you never told me
— me, your mother, and I have been so
anxious. He proposed to you to-day. I
knew it was coming — I saw that it was
coming ! No one could have watched him
yesterday without seeing — he couldn't tear
himself away, he couldn't keep his eyes
from you. Was it to-day, Elsie, that he
proposed ? '
' No, he hasn't proposed to me.'
'But the letter?' said Mrs. Yalliant be-
v/ildered. 'What does he say.^ It can only
'AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE' 211
'Yes,' said Elsie slowly, 'I suppose it
means that.' She gave the note to her
mother, who read it eagerly, and then looked
at Elsie with an expression of bewildered
joy, mixed with a certain vague terror.
Then she read the note again aloud, and
her expression became one of confident
' Yes, of course it means that. " His
dearest wish — that you will accept my love."
I think it is beautiful, so delicate, such a
romantic way of putting things ; and to send
this ! It's like what one reads in books — oh,
Elsie, and he is so rich — Horace was telling
me. Of course, it's quite natural. Ina
married to Horace, and the Waveryngs so
taken with her, the difference in position
wouldn't strike him. Oh ! what will the
Garfits say now, and Mrs. Jem Hallet, who
didn't think you good enough to be her sister-
212 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
in-law ? And now — Lady Astar ! Oh, Elsie,
it is so wonderful ! I can't believe it ! '
The poor woman ran on in her delight,
never for a moment doubting her daughter's
good fortune. Elsie said not a word.
At last Mrs. Valliant exclaimed, ' Elsie,
how strange you are ! Areii't you happy ?
Tell your mother who is so proud of you.'
' Yes, I am happy,' Elsie said. ' And so,
mother, you wish me to wear Lord Astar's
star ? '
' Why, of course. He will understand, as
he says, that you accept his love.'
' Accept his love,' repeated Elsie. ' And
I have none to give him in return. But that
doesn't matter, mother.'
' It will come,' said Mrs. Valliant. ' How
can you love him, when you have only seen
him about five times .^ Though it seems
to me that it would be hard to help loving
*AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE' 213
any one so good-looking and fascinating as
Lord Astar. I am not afraid of that.'
She fastened the star round Elsie's throat,
where it gleamed, as Mrs. Yalliant said, like
an electric light. They tried it in several
positions — in her hair and in front of her
dress, but decided that it looked best upon
Elsie was strangely silent. All the way
to Government House she was silent too. It
was a long drive, round by the south side
and across the bridge. Minnie Pryde and
her father were with them, an arrangement
by which Mrs. ValUant was spared half the
price of the cab. They did not have a
jingle this time. That was well enough for
a club dance, or a private party, but for
the Queen's Birthnight Ball — and the Prince
there — and Lord Astar ! — No ! At the last
moment Mrs. Valliant had done violence to
214 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
her economic soul, and had countermanded
the jingle, and had asked the Prydes if
they would go halves in a closed landau.
' Oh, Elsie, look ! ' cried Miss Pryde, as
they drove in at the great gates.
The grounds had been turned into fairy-
land. The avenue of young bunyas was hke
an avenue of overgrown Christmas trees —
pyramids of coloured lamps. And all the
paths were outlined in coloured lamps, and
Japanese lanterns were dotted about the
trees and festooned the colonnades, and over
all the full moon shed a ghostly radiance.
Within, it was even more like fairyland still.
Canvas rooms had been thrown out — bowers
of palm leaves, poinsettia, flowering yucca,
and rich calladiums, and all the rarest tropical
plants. In one place a miniature fern-tree
guUey, with stuffed birds perched on the huge
fronds as if about to take flight. Murmuring
'AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE 215
cascades, mossy grottoes, and banks of
maidenhair and rock lilies. And further on,
a mass of azaleas, and then a camellia tree,
and here and there tnoss-bordered pools with
fountains playing and waterHlies floating about.
Of course Ina and Lord Horace were with
the Waveryngs and the inmost circle of the
Government House party — Lady Stukeley,
in the magnificence of crimson velvet, rose
point, and diamonds that paled somewhat in
glory beside Lady Waveryng's tiara, that was
celebrated, but which were, nevertheless,
finer than anything of the kind which the
Leichardtstonians had ever seen. It was
really an imposing sight, and Elsie wondered
whether a dramng-room could be mucli
grander — the great ladies in their jewels, the
Prince and his suite with their decorations,
and the uniforms and gold lace, and cocked
hats and swords, that made up a background
2i6 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
to the central figures. Everybody who had
any sort of right to wear a uniform had put
it on to-night, even to Minnie Pryde's father,
who had once had some kind of appointment
in a volunteer corps, and Mr. Torbolton, the
Premier, who looked very uncomfortable, and
nearly tumbled over his sword.
When Elsie had got over her entrance
greeting, and the little bob to Eoyalty, to
which a course of six days' state pageantry
had already accustomed her, she found some
amusement in watching the Leichardtstonians
as they filed past and performed their obeis-
ances. Frank Hallett came presently, and put
liis name down for some dances, and found
Mrs. Yalliant a seat, from which she could see
the dancing when it began. He gave a startled
look at Elsie's glittering decoration ; the girl
ilushed crimson in contrast to his sudden
paleness. It seemed to her that every eye
'AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE' 217
in the room must be fixed on that star.
Certainly the eyes of Blake were arrested by
it, and he, too, turned a shade paler, and his
own eyes gave out a flash as he noticed the
ornament and guessed its history.
' I congratulate you, Miss Yalliant,' he
said, very low, in a voice of concentrated
fury and bitterness. ' Lord Astar has
excellent taste in jewellery.'
' Lord Astar ! ' Frank Hallett caught the
name, and turned to Elsie with a sudden
passionate jealousy. ' Come out with me,' he
said hoarsely, forgetting Blake's presence —
forgetting everything but a sudden awful fear
that seized him. ' I want to say something
' Not now,' answered Elsie calmly.
' Please forgive me, Mr. Hallett. I forgot
when I let you put your name down for tlie
first waltz that I cannot dance it with you.'
2i8 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' You are engaged to me for that waltz,'
She looked at him. His eyes never
flinched from her face, but held hers with
a compelling power. Elsie realised what a
subject of hypnotism must feel in the
presence of a master of that gift. She would
have given worlds at that moment to have
been able to assert her will and contradict
Blake. It was impossible. She was spell-
bound. She began to speak, and the words
died on her lips.
' You are engaged to me,' Blake repeated.
' In the meantime may I offer you my arm,
till,' he added as they turned away, 'Lord
Astar is at liberty to claim his property ? '
Still Elsie was spellbound. They walked
on a few steps. At that moment the music
began, and the formal reception ended. The
first quadrille — a state business — was being
'AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE' 219
formed. The knot of men behind the Prince
broke up ; the Prince was leading off Lady
Stukeley. Lord Astar came hurrying to
them. He was flushed, and looked excited.
There was the light of an evil triumph in his
' I have been watching you, and watching
for you,' he said to Elsie. ' That abominable
bowing and scraping seemed never ending,
and of course I was tied. Miss Yalliant, I'm
tied still, you understand, for this quadrille,
and I believe it's Mrs. Torbolton — one of
the wives of an official dignitary — sounds
Mormonish, that speech, doesn't it ? I'm on
duty, you understand. Once this dance is
over I'm free till supper time. I claim the
first waltz — the dance after the quadrille.'
Elsie looked at Blake. She stammered —
' I think — I believe — I am engaged.'
'No!' exclaimed Blake, making a pro-
220 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
found, and it seemed to Elsie an ironic, bow.
' I resign my claim. Lord Astar has an
* You are very good,' said Lord Astar
coolly and somewhat superciliously, glancing
at Blake. ' But you needn't take the merit
of the sacrifice, though I am much obliged all
the same. Miss Yalliant was enofao^ed to me.'
' The next waltz, and ' — he whispered to
Elsie — ' don't let too many fellows put their
names down. It's to be mine — this evening ;
oh, if you knew how beautiful you look '
He hurried off to where Mrs. Torbolton
was sitting ; poor lady, she would much
rather have danced with one of her husband's
colleagues. Blake gave his arm again to
Elsie ; he had turned aside while Lord Astar
had been speaking.
' Shall we dance ? I will find a place
among the lesser fry.'
'AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE' 221
He placed her opposite Minnie Pryde and
Mr. Anderson. Minnie's eyebrows went up
in astonishment at the sight of Elsie's star.
* My goodness ! ' she exclaimed, ' to think of
my not noticing it when you took off your
cloak in the dressing-room ! Who is it ?
Not -' and she gave a significant flash in
Elsie held herself haughtily erect and
vouchsafed no sign. Miss Pryde was not to
be rebuked. ' It's not His Eespectability of
Tunimbah, that I'll swear ! I always said he
had no chance. Oh, Elsie,' and Miss Pryde's
voice sank to an awestruck whisper, ' it's not,
it cant be, the Prince ? '
' How do you know it isn't paste ? ' whis-
pered Elsie back, as they parted hands. It
was in the contact of the ladies' chain that
Miss Pryde had jerked out her interroga-
222 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' Tell your grandmother ! ' replied Miss
Pryde, with more pertinency than elegance.
Lord Astar claimed Elsie directly the
dance was over. He had found no difficulty
in depositing Mrs. Torbolton on a chair, for
the good lady was scant of breath, and glad to
secure a permanent position till supper time.
His dance had not been unproJStable. He had
taken advantage of the pauses in the quadrille
to lead the conversation to the subject of
Elsie. Miss Yalliant, he soon discovered, was
not a favourite in Leichardt's Town. Mrs.
Torbolton thought it was really her duty to
warn the young man — he was quite young,
and no doubt he had a mother who would be
sorry to see him fall a victim to the most de-
signing flirt in Leichardt's Town. Elsie, it
may at once be said, had refused Mrs.
Torbolton's son, and the young man had gone
to the diggings, and had lost his money and
'AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE' 223
taken to evil ways, a second instance of the
fatal effect of Elsie's charms. LIrs. Torbolton
hated Elsie, and perhaps it was not unnatural
that she should. ' Yes, she was certainly very
pretty,' Mrs. Torbolton grudgingly admitted.
But then everybody knew that Elsie painted,
and made herself up in a way that was not
respectable. And she took presents from
gentlemen, and went to lengths that really
would astonish Lord Astar if he knew. In
proof of it there was the fact that in spite
of her undoubted beauty she was not yet
married. Mr. Frank Hallett was supposed to
be in love with her, but Mrs. Jem herself had
declared quite lately that Mr. Hallett was
evidently doubtful about tying himself to a
girl so talked of — now that he was hkely to
take a prominent position in politics, and
when it is so important tliat the wife of a
public man should be above suspicion —
224 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' Caesar's wife, you know,' added Mrs. Torbol-
ton — and she had gone on to a highly-
coloured relation of some of poor Elsie's esca-
pades, the Jensen episode among them. Lord
Astar was not at all ill-pleased at Mrs. Tor-
bolton's confidences. He had often been just
a little uneasy on the score of the Horace
Gages and the Waveryng connectionship, but
clearly it counted for very little. Lady
Horace was a harmless little creature, utterly
ignorant of the world, and not likely to assert
claims of any sort. Lord Horace, as every one
knew, was the scapegrace of the family — the
half-witted scapegrace, which was a far less
dangerous person than the clever black sheep
— and but for Lady Waveryng's infatuation
for him, and consequently the help that Lord
Waveryng gave him, no one would ever
trouble their heads about Lord Horace's
personal or family dignity ; no, that would
'AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE' 225
not matter at all when the Waveryngs left
Australia, which would be very shortly. It
was unlucky that they should be on the scene
just now, but with a little management things
could be kept dark. And as for Elsie, the
penniless daughter of a defunct scab inspector,
and a pretty dressmaker — Lord Astar had
informed himself on the subject of Elsie's
parentage, and he smiled in amused apprecia-
tion of the hereditary instinct which aided her
in the concoction of those very tasteful
costumes to which she so frankly owned — the
girl who ' made up ' and who accepted presents
from her admirers ; the girl of whom the
Leichardt's Town matrons fought shy, and of
whom the Leichardt's Town young ladies were
jealous ; the girl who was a sort of Pariah
among her kind, and who loved dress, and
luxury, and jewels, and who was devoured
with a curiosity about hfe, about the world,
VOL. II. Q
226 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
who wanted to travel, who wanted
' experience ; she did not mind what kind of
experience ' — so poor Elsie had stated — ' as
long as it was experience ; ' ah, well, was not
this the natural and fitting conclusion ? And
he would give her experience, and of a not
very unpleasant kind. The battle would be
even ; the bargain would be a fair one ; after
all she deserved her fate. For Lord Astar
was quick enough to see that the girl was not
in love with him, and that it was only the
glamour of rank, wealth, and perhaps a
glamour of the senses which had intoxicated
There was in his manner a certain fami-
liarity, a certain freedom, when he came to
claim her, which jarred on Elsie, and roused
in her the first faint feeling of alarm. But
this had vanished when he piloted her into
the dance, and guided her swiftly, surely, and
'AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE' 227
with a perfection of finish of style and move-
ment which was very dehghtful to Elsie. She
herself was one of Nature's dancers. She
loved the exercise, and she danced as few
women can who have not made it a profession.
When the dance was over, he took her out
into one of the canvas conservatories. ' I
have been all round,' he said, ' I know the
quiet nooks. Here is one you'd never sus-
pect.' He pulled back a corner of the canvas,
which was flapping loosely under an overhang-
ing branch of palm leaves, and drew her
through. They were in a little vine trellis,
naked now, and with the moon shining
through the interlacing boughs of an old
Isabella grape vine, and at the end of the
trellis was a small summer-house, unlighted,
except by one Japanese lantern. He led
the girl, half shrinking, half wretched, half
glad, to a bench in the summer-house.
228 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
Then he took her two hands, and drew
her to him, leaning a little back himself
while he looked at her with bold admiring
' My own darling. You are so beautiful ;
and I love you so. If you knew how I
watched the door this evening, and how my
heart jumped when I saw the flash of those.'
He placed a sacrilegious hand upon the girl's
warm soft neck.
She shrank from his touch.
' You were glad that I wore them.'
' Glad I I told you what it meant — my
dearest wish ! Darhng, you didn't hesitate.
You knew what it meant ? '
' I asked my mother if I should wear
them,' said Elsie simply.
' You asked your mother. By Jove ! '
Lord Astar stroked his moustache. And
then he laughed, and put his arm round
'AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE' 229
Elsie's waist, and would have kissed her, but
she eluded the caress.
' What a shy little thing we are ! Not
one kiss ? '
' Not — not yet,' she said, still shrinking.
He bent down and kissed her neck, and
then her arms, and then her gloved hands,
and back again to her dimpled shoulder-
She put up her bouquet to shield herself
from the rain of kisses. She had kept her
lips — but these scorched and hurt her.
' No ; let us talk.'
' Kissing is better than talking, when one
has such a delicious soft thing as you to kiss.
Haven't plenty of other men found that out,
and told you so ? '
' I don't know whether they have found it
out. They have not told me so.'
' Not, really ! Am I the first ? ' he asked
230 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
'Almost the first. Yes, the first.' She
made a mental reservation — the first man
whom she had freely allowed to kiss her, and
whom she intended to marry. Blake had
kissed her, but that had been a theft, an
' You all say that,' he said laughing.
' But the ladies of Leichardt's Town tell a
' Ah ! ' She gave a little wounded
exclamation. ' Please don't tell me what
they said. I know it was something cruel.
Tell me '
' Tell you what ? '
' Anything that is not too hard for me.
Tell me what made you first think of this ? '
' If I had a looking-glass I'd put it in
front of you and ask you to read the answer
to that question in your own face. I love
my love with an E, because she is — hang it,
there's not an adjective for Elsie, except
elegant, and that does not express you. I
love my love because she is the loveliest
woman I've ever seen. Will that do ? '
' And you will give up everything for me
— only because I am pretty? '
' Give up everything ! ' he repeated.
' Gain everything, you mean.'
' It is giving up — when you don't know a
girl, and when it's a girl like me, with no
connections — or — or anything to speak of,
only a little Australian savage, and when
' When— what ? '
' When she doesn't even love you as
much as she ought.'
He turned himself to her and looked into
her face with a curious surprise. She was
looking out into the night, and her expression
puzzled and her indifference piqued him into
232 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
still wilder admiration. He laughed in a
strange way. ' I think I could make you
love me — quite as much as you ought, if you
will trust yourself to me.'
Now she turned to him seriously. ' Very
well,' she said. ' I will trust myself to you.
If I had not thought that you would make
me love you, and if I hadn't wanted to try, I
would not have worn this.' She touched the
diamonds at her neck.
He threw his arm round her. She knew
that he wanted to kiss her, and something
in his eyes made her shrink. She got up
hastily. ' Not now,' she said. ' I think I
should like to go back to the dancing.'
'No, no,' he pleaded. But she was firm.
Nor would she let him kiss even her hand.
He thought this was coquetry, and told her
he bided his time.
' WE ARE ENSAGED TO BE MARRIED '
The dance that should have been Frank
Hallett's was claimed by the Prince. Of
course the royal request was a command,
and Elsie danced with the distinguished guest
of Leichardt's Land, to the envy and admira-
tion of the Leichardtstonians. Lord Astar
liad written his name down for the dance
following, and he came almost immediately
and took her away. They went round the
room once, and then he said hoarsely in her
ear, ' You are fooling me and playing with
me. You won't listen to what I have to say,
and yet you have as good as promised to be
234 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
Elsie's hour had come. She let him lead
her into the garden. They went to the little
summer-house to which he had taken her
before. All the way he poured out words of
Frank Hallett watched her go out with
Astar. He watched for her return. It
seemed to him as though some horrible fate
were keeping him from her. He could
hardly prevent himself from going up to her
when she was dancing with the Prince, and
when she was on Lord Astar's arm. There
was something about Elsie to-night wdiich
filled him with uneasiness. He was certain
that she was very unhappy. He had
watched her face while she was talking to
Blake, and told himself that it was Blake she
loved. Why was she flirting with Lord
Astar ? What was the meaning of that
glittering star.^ He was standing moodily
' J4/E ARE ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED' 235
against a background of palms at the entrance
to the ball-room, when he heard his own
name spoken, and in Elsie's voice, —
' Frank ! '
He hardly knew the voice, it was so thin
and so frightened. He turned. She was stand-
ing there alone ; he could not see Lord Astar.
She was deadly pale except for a bright red
spot on each cheek, and her eyes were like
flames. 'Frank,' she said, still with that strange
quietude, ' will you take me away somewhere
— somewhere where nobody can see me ? '
' Elsie,' he exclaimed, ' what is the
matter? Come with me, my dear. I will
take care of you.'
He gave her his arm. As she clung to it
he felt a tremor all through her body.
' Not there,' she cried, fancying he was
going to turn into the ball-room. ' Take me
home. Oh, Frank, take me home.'
236 ^' OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' Your mother is there,' he said. ' She
was asking for you a moment ago. I told
her you were with Lord Astar. Won't you
go to her ? '
' No, no ' She shuddered. ' I can't go
in there — I can't, I can't.'
Her composure was deserting her. He
threw a hasty glance round. Another dance
had begun. To the right was a refreshment
room, now empty. He took her in there and
put her on a chair. By this time she was
trembling violently. He went to the table
and poured out a glass of champagne cup, all
that he could find in the way of stimulant,
and made her drink it. ' I am sorry it is not
something stronger,' he said. ' Elsie, tell me :
are you ill ? Has anything happened ? '
'Yes — yes — I am ill. Take me home,
Frank ; now, at once. If I stay here I shall
faint, or go mad. Take me home.
WE ARE ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED' 237
' Tell me where your cloak is/ he said
quietly, ' and if you will wait here for a few
moments I will fetch it, and will send for a
She felt in the bodice of her dress for a
cardboard number. He noticed then for the
first time that there was a great scratch upon
the white skin, and that the diamond orna-
ment was gone from her neck.
He asked no questions, but went silently
to the cloak-room. After a few minutes he
came back with her cloak, and wrapped it
round her. She was cowering in a corner of
the room, having moved from the chair in
which he had put her, and she had her face
turned from the door, as if she were afraid of
' Come,' he said. ' I was lucky. My fly-
man was just outside the entrance, and I got
the cab at once.'
238 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
He led her out into the colonnade. She
had a lace scarf over her head, and she pulled
it round her face, still in the same dread of
being recognised and spoken to. ' Do you
want me to tell your mother, or to send any
message? Would you like her to go with
you ? If you would I will take you a little
way down the drive, and you will be able to
wait in the cab while I bring her to you.'
' No,' she said. ' I would rather go with
you alone. Mamma will think I am with
Lord Astar ; she will not mind.' Elsie gave a
wild little laugh, which broke into a sob.
' Stay,' she said, and taking her programme
she wrote upon it, ' I have gone home with
Mr. Hallett. Please don't mind about me,
but stay with Ina. I am tired.— Elsie.' She
folded the programme and wrote her mother's
name upon it, all with the same feverish haste,
and put it into his hands, while he helped her
' 1VE ARE ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED' 239
into the cab. ' Give it to some one to give to
her,' she said, ' and then come back to me and
take me away. I can't bear it any longer.
Oh, Frank, make haste and take me away.'
He went back for a moment to the entrance
to the ball-room, bidding the cabman to drivfe
on and wait a little lower down the drive.
He looked round for a trustworthy bearer
of Elsie's message. By good fortune Lady
Horace was comino; out of one of the tea
rooms on the arm of Morres Blake. He went
up to her. ' Lady Horace, may I speak to
you for a moment ? '
Blake withdrew a few paces. Ina looked
at him anxiously. ' Where is Elsie ? ' she
asked ; ' I cannot find her.'
' Elsie is with me. Ina, something has
happened to upset her — I don't know what,
unless that cad. Lord Astar '
' Lord Astar ! ' Ina repeated. ' Oh,
240 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
Frank, mamma said something — nothing is
settled. I will not let Elsie be carried away into
doing what she will all her life regret. Trust
me, Frank. I have been looking for Elsie ever
since. You mustn't judge poor mamma
hardly. You mustn't be hard on Elsie.'
Ina spoke in great agitation. She laid her
little hand on his arm beseechingly. He looked
at her puzzled.
' I don't quite know what you mean,' he
said. ' I judge Elsie hardly ! You know how
I love her. Lady Horace, you may trust her
with me. She wants to go home. She
doesn't want Mrs. Valliant — ^I asked her.
She wants to go home with me. Perhaps she
will let me help her. She asked me to send
this to Mrs. Yalhant. Will you explain ? '
Ina took the folded programme and read
what Elsie had written.
' Yes, I will explain ; I think I understand
'U^E ARE ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED' 241
why Elsie doesn't want mamma. She thinks
mamma might be angry. Poor Elsie ! Take
her home, Frank, and be kind to her.'
Ina's voice was trembling. Frank
wondered why she showed so much emotion,
but he did not wait to ask any questions.
Ina turned towards Blake, who was standing
apart watching them, with a curious ex-
pression on his face.
' I beg your pardon,' Ina said with quiet
dignity, ' Mr. Hallett wanted to tell me that
my sister wasn't very well, and that she does
not want to frighten my mother and to take
her away. She is only tired, and there's
nothing wrong ; and so he is going to take
her back to Kiverside, and I will explain to
my mother. It would be such a pity to
interrupt mamma's pleasure, for she is enjoy-
ing the sight, and she so seldom goes any-
where, and there is nothing really wrong with
VOL. II. K
242 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
Elsie,' Ina added conscientiously. ' She is
Blake bowed, and she took his arm again,
while Hallett made his way out to where the
cab was standing. He gave the order to the
driver — ' Eiverside Cottage, Emu Point,
round by the bridge,' and got in beside Elsie.
He saw that in those few minutes her com-
posure had been broken down completely. She
was crouching in a corner of the cab, and was
sobbing hysterically. He took her hand in
his, and soothed her as if she had been
a child. ' Elsie, dear, try not to be unhappy,
Elsie ! Nothing can happen to you now. I
am here to take care of you. If I can't be
anything else I can be your brother, dear;
and I can take care of you.'
' You don't know ; you don't know,' she
' I think I can guess,' he answered grimly.
' WE ARE ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED' 243
* Lord As tar dared to send you that diamond
thing that you wore — and he took advantage
of your — your ignorance and thoughtlessness
in accepting a present of which you probably
didn't know the value. You took it as
you might have taken a flower from me,
and he inferred from it that you cared for
' No,' she said ; ' don't think better of me
than I deserve. He did send it to me. He
asked me to wear it as a sign that I would
accept his love. I thought he wanted to
marry me ; and I would have married him
for his rank and his money, though I didn't
love him. I was bad enough for that, Frank.
And then ' She fell again to shuddering
' Go on, Elsie.' Frank's voice was deep
with passion. ' Tell me everything.'
' I can't, I can't. How can I tell you of
244 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
my disgrace? How can I expect that you
will ever speak to me or look at me again ? If
you knew how low I have fallen — what men
think of me.'
Frank gave a low, grim exclamation.
' Well, Elsie, tell me as if I were your brother.
Try for to-night to think of me as your
' It was mamma who said I must wear
that, and the bouquet ; it came while I was
dressing. I had told him at the races that —
that he might send me something. I did it ;
how can I make you understand ? Mr. Blake
was behind me ; he warned me against Lord
Astar. He had no right ; his speaking made
me mad. I wanted to show him that I did
' Ah ! ' Frank drew in his breath, as if
with pain. ' I understand. It is Blake whom
' WE ARE ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED' 245
' No, no ! ' 'she cried with passion ; ' I
hate him. I never wish to see him again.'
' Is that true, Elsie ? '
' Yes, Frank, I will tell you the truth. I
did think I cared for him. We were playing
at a game that was deadly for me, and I
wouldn't own it. I thought I would make
him care. It was a fair challenge. I can't
blame him for anything. One of us had to
be hurt. It is I who was hurt, but I would
not let him know. I hate him now. He
exulted over me. He dared to tell me that
he had won. And I said no, no. I wanted
to show him that it didn't matter to me. It
was for that, partly. You know I always
meant to make a great match if I could. I
never hid that from you. It was partly
because of Mr. Blake, and to get away from
everything, that I wore Lord Astar's diamonds.
Mamma thought that he wanted to marry me.
246 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
We were both of us blind ; foolish, oh, how
utterly foohsh ! we didn't think how I must
seem to him fair game. And he must have
laughed. It makes me laugh now.'
She burst into hysterical merriment that
was terrible to hear.
' Don't, Elsie ; don't — don't laugh like that,
my dear. There is no shame to you, because
he was a villain. The unutterable cad. He
has dared '
'At first I thought he meant that we
should run away, to be married. He said if
I would meet him the next day, and he
would get off going with the Prince, and take
me to Sydney ; and afterwards to England.
And then — when I understood '
' What did you do ? My God ! if I had
heard him '
'I don't know what I did. I tore the
thing off, I think I threw it at him. And he
IVE ARE ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED' 247
tried to keep me. And then I came to you ;
I thought at once of you, Frank. I knew
that you would take care of me.'
He took her hand in his, and put his arm
round the little trembling form.
' I will take care of you, with my life.
Only give me the right.'
' The right,' she repeated, as if she did not
realise what it meant. 'Oh, I knew that I
could trust you, Frank, there is no one like
you.' She clung to him, and her shivering
ceased. ' Frank,' she went on, in a broken
childlike way — ' he didn't kiss me ; I didn't
let him kiss me. That's all the comfort I
have. No one ever kissed my lips except '
and she fell to shivering again.
For answer, Frank Hallett bent down very
quietly and kissed her forehead. He laid her
head against his shoulder, and she seemed to
find comfort in the caress. ' Elsie,' he said, ' I
248 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
want you to listen to me. You know how I
love you — no, you never can know quite how
I love you. I would have given you up to
Blake, if he had wanted to marry you, and
you had loved him so that to marry him would
have been for your happiness. I have kept
away from you these weeks because I didn't
want you to feel bound in any way, or to
have any remorseful thoughts. I said from
the beginning that I would take my chance,
and wait your time. But I think that the
time has come now for me to speak.'
' It is generous of you,' she said, very low ;
' now, when no one can respect me ; when I
have given the two — when Lord Astar and
Mr. Blake have a right to despise me.'
' They have no right,' cried Frank. ' You
are yourself, pure, sweet, womanly as you
have been always. I don't know what has
passed between you and Blake. I don't want
' WE ARE ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED' 249
to know. No man can be so unutterable a
scoundrel as to despise a woman for loving
liim — and you love Blake, my poor Elsie. It
breaks my heart to see it, and yet I know it
' And in spite of that, you — you want
she said breathlessly.
' And in spite of that, I want you to marry
me — that's what I want, Elsie. I want to
liave the right to protect you. I want Lord
Astar — ^I want all the world to know to-morrow
til at you are my affianced wife. I am not a
great match, Elsie dear, but I am great enough
to protect you now. And you mightn't do
better,' he added, with an odd little laugh.
' Oh, Frank, you hurt me.'
' I don't want to do that. And I don't
want to take any advantage of you — and of
your weakness to-night. If you don't want
to bind yourself, let it be understood between
250 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
US that our engagement is only before the
world, and that in reality you are as free as
you were yesterday. I shall not vex or
worry you, Elsie. I shall not even ask you to
kiss me. Everything shall be as you wish.
I understand you and how you feel.'
' No, Frank, you can't dc that. And I
couldn't sacrifice you, just to my pride, for
that's what it comes to. If I were to accept
you now, to-night, it would be for always, and
because I meant to try and make you as good
a wife as it is possible for me to be.'
' Will you have me, then, Elsie ? '
'Frank, you don't want to marry a girl
who has just told you that she cares for a man
who — who would not marry her and has let
her see that he despises her.'
' Yes, I do want to marry that girl. It is
nothing to me what any other man feels about
JVE ARE ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED 251
' But it should be something to you — what
she feels about some other man.'
There was a short silence. At last Frank
spoke. 'I am willing to take my chance
of your being cured of that. I have been
watching you. Perhaps you thought I was
too dense to see or to understand. But love
makes people quick at forming conclusions.
I formed mine about you and Blake. I
thought he didn't care for you in the way that
a man cares when he means to marry a girl
in spite of every obstacle — I can't help feeling
about Blake that there is some obstacle — some
mystery in his past.'
' Ah ! You feel that too ? '
' Yes. It may be nothing disgraceful ; I
don't know. Why should I think so ? The
man is a gentleman. I like him in a kind of
way, though he is my rival. But when a man
loves a woman beyond all things, he goes
252 OUTLA W AND LA W MAKER
away, or else he does his honest best to win
her. He doesn't play at a game of flirtation
to amuse himself and gratify his sense of
power, and let her run the risk of being hurt
in it, as you have been hurt, my poor Elsie.'
'Don't speak of that. I will cure myself.
I will not let myself be beaten.'
' It's because you say that that I am safe
in taking the risk. I know you, Elsie ; how
true and good and pure you are in the very
depths of your nature. You have only been
playing at life, and at love. You haven't
known anything of evil, or of the realities of
the world. It may be that only in marriage
you will learn what love means — and oh, if it
might be for me to teach you ! You have
never cared for anyone in the real sense of
the word. Of course I know that you don't
care and never have cared for me in that way,
though I believe that you have a more solid
'IVE ARE ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED' 253
affection for me than you ever had for any
' That is true, Frank.'
' I don't beheve that you have ever loved
Blake in the real sense either. You were
dazzled by him at the beginning. There was
a glamour of romance about him, and he has
a way of compelling interest and admiration.
Oh, I saw it all at Goondi, at the election
time. And Ina saw it too. Ina always said
that you were only fascinated, and that it
would pass away. Ina has been my best
friend all through. If it hadn't been for her
I should have given up hope.'
' Frank, it is Ina you ought to have cared
for, not me.'
Frank winced. He did not answer. There
was a little silence. Presently he said, ' Elsie,
I am right. You will get over this girlish
fancy ; I am not afraid. I will wait.'
254 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
They had crossed the bridge, and had
passed out of the long straggling street of the
South Side, as it was called, and now they
were in a quiet road, bordered with gum trees,
which gave out an aromatic fragrance into the
night. Elsie had grown calm. Frank still
kept his arm about her, but he had attempted
no closer caress. They drove for some little
way in silence. The hghts of Emu Point and
of the houses in Eiverside Paddock began to
show in front of them.
' Elsie,' Prank said, ' will you tell me what
you are thinking ? '
' I will tell you when we reach home,' she
said quietly. ' I will give you your answer
then. Don't speak to me till we reach home.'
He obeyed her, and they did not speak
another word till the cab drew up in front of
the little garden gate of the cottage. There
was a light in the drawing-room, and Peter,
'WE ARE ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED' 255
the Kanaka, was acting as watch-dog in the
verandah. Frank helped Elsie to get out, and
told the cabman to wait. ' I will see you in,'
he said in a matter-of-fact way, ' and then
I shall go back to Government House, and
bring Mrs. Valliant home.
Peter, the Kanaka, had got up from his
blanket, in which he had been sleeping in the
verandah, after the fashion of an Australian
Black. He rubbed his eyes at sight of Elsie.
She bade him wait and watch still for Mrs.
Valliant, speaking quite composedly, and then
turned to Frank. ' Will you come in for a
minute and hear what I have to say ? '
He followed her into the httle drawing-
room, which was lighted by one lamp, turned
low. She raised the wick and stood by the
table, a little tremulous again now, but never,
he thought, had he seen her look more beau-
tiful. She had let her cloak drop, and the lace
256 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
from her head. Her pretty ball-dress was
scarcely crushed, and the roses on her bodice
were fresh and overpoweringly sweet. She
had thrown away the bouquet. On her face
were still traces of tears and humihation, and
her eyes shone very brightly. On her neck
was the deep angry scratch which the point
of the diamond star had made. She put out
her two hands to him, and he held them in his
and stood looking at her.
' Well, Elsie ; what is it to be .? '
' It is to be as you wish,' she said. ' Only
— only Frank, don't expect too much from
me yet. I will try — I will try hard to
' Thank you, dear,' he said gently. ' That
is all I ask. God bless you, Elsie, you have
made me very happy.'
' Tell them, tell them to-night,' she said
feverishly. ' I want everybody to know — tell
'IVE ARE ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED' 257
them at the balL Tell mamma. But don't
tell her anything else, Frank. Let that be
between you and me. Let it never be spoken
of again from this night. Only see that Lord
' He shall know,' said Frank grimly.
' And I will tell your mother. She wouldn't
have been sorry six months ago. Perhaps she
will be disappointed now. But,' he added,
' Lia will be glad.'
' Yes, Ina will be glad,' Elsie said thought-
They were standing, he with her hands in
his, both with trouble in their eyes. ' I must
go,' he said, rousing himself from the contem-
plation of her face. ' Good-night, my dear,'
he added wistfully. ' Try to sleep happily.'
Still he did not relinquish her hands.
' Frank,' she said falteringly, ' it seems a
strange way to be engaged.'
VOL. II. s
258 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' Yes, we are engaged,' he answered, with
an effort at brightness. ' We are engaged to
be married ; and you have made me very
happy. If it seems strange — but the strange-
ness will wear off in time, Elsie.'
He let her hands go. ' Good-night, dear.'
' Frank,' she said, appealingly, ' Frank, I
didn't mean — won't you kiss me, Frank ? '
MRS. VALLIANT's BLESSING
IxA Gage was waiting anxiously for the re-
appearance of Frank Hallett. Mrs. Yalliant's
uneasiness about Elsie had been quickly
allayed. She had soon got into the fretful
mood. Mrs. Valliant was one of those women
in whom sweetness is apt to turn to a pettish
sense of ill-usage. ' There's never any calcu-
lating on Elsie's moods,' she said to Ina. ' She
was quite well and happy when she got here.
Something has gone wrong. Ina, you don't
think it's possible that she has refused Lord
' I think it is very possible,' said Ina ;
26o OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' and if she has refused him, and feels that you
will be vexed, it is quite easy to understand
why she went home.'
' But why couldn't she have come to me —
why go off in that extraordinary fashion with
Frank Hallett ? I am glad it was Frank
Hallett, and not that Mr. Blake. Look here,
Ina ; if anything has gone wrong about Lord
Astar, take my word for it that the fault is
In other respects Mrs. Valliant was enjoy-
ing the ball. She liked the fine sight. Lady
Waveryng had been particularly nice to her,
and so had Lady Stukeley. Mrs. Valliant ex-
ulted in the discomfiture of Lady Garfit, to
whom it was quite evident that the Waveryngs
had not taken a fancy, and though her enjoy-
ment was considerably marred by Elsies
departure, and though she suffered some
qualms of doubt and disappointment thereat,
MRS. V ALU ANTS BLESSING 261
especially as Lord Astar had taken no notice
of her beyond the first greeting, she was of a
hopeful nature and accustomed to vagaries on
the part of Elsie, and trusted that all would
come right in the end.
She was at supper when Frank returned.
Ina, who had been one of the privileged
guests at the royal table, had got out before
the general company, and he met her as he
was looking for her mother.
' Mamma is in the supper-room,' said she.
* Tell me about Elsie.'
She saw at once signs of emotion and
elation on Frank's face.
' Ina,' he said, ' you must congratulate me.
She wished every one to know. She said she
wanted them to know to-night.'
A strange look came into Ina's face, an
odd far-away look. He thought at first that
slie had not quite taken in his meaning.
262 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
' She has said that she will marry me,' he
Ina drew a deep breath, and a faint colour
came into her cheek, which had been very
' Oh, Frank ! Then it is settled ? '
' Yes, it is settled ; as far as anything can
be settled. I told her that she should be free
to break it off at any time, if she felt that she
did not care for me enough. She is still free,
of course. But she says she does not wish
that, and that her promise is a binding one.
Will you tell Horace, and anyone else that
you please ? '
' And Lord Astar ? '
' Lord Astar ! ' Frank exclaimed passion-
ately. ' I have to thank Lord Astar,' he added
with some bitterness, ' for having brought this
about. Don't talk to Elsie about Lord Astar.
She does not wish it. The day after to-
MRS. VALLIANTS BLESSING 263
morrow — no, to-morrow, for it's morning now
— ^he will have gone out of our lives — for
ever, I hope.'
There was a rush of people returning from
the supper- room. Ina turned. 'There is
mamma,' she said. Mrs. Yalliant was on
Blake's arm. It struck Frank as odd that
Blake should devote himself to Elsie's mother.
He went towards her, and Mrs. Yalliant turned
with faded coquetry to Blake.
' Here is Mr. Hallett come to give me
news of my naughty daughter.' She made a
step towards Hallett. ' Did you leave Elsie ?
and will you help me to find our fly ? though
I don't know what to do. It is so awkward.
You see we came with the Prydes, and they
won't want to go yet. Minnie is living on in
hopes that the Prince will ask her to dance,
but he has danced with none of the girls
except my Elsie ; he has been devoting him-
264 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
self to Lady Waveryng, which is quite natural,
' My trap is at your service,' said Blake,
' if you would hke to go back to your
daughter. I am very sorry Miss Valhant was
not well. I hope she is better.'
' Thank you,' said Hallett stiffly ; ' Miss
Yalliant was only tired. I have got a fly here
and I will take you home,' he said to Mrs.
YaUiant. ' Shall we go and find Miss Pryde,
and explain that we are going ? I believe that
I was engaged to her for the dance before
supper. I must make my apologies.'
Mrs. Yalliant took . his arm, and Blake
went up to Lady Horace. As they walked
through the ball-room, Hallett said —
' Mrs. Yalliant, I have got some news for
3^ou. Elsie has promised to be my wife.'
Mrs. Yalliant turned on him a bewildered
face. ' Lord Astar ! ' she gasped. ' Lord
MRS. VALLIANTS BLESSING 265
Astar had asked her to marry him. I
expected to hear that everything was
' Lord Astar did not ask Elsie to marry
him,' Frank said sternly. ' He meant nothing
more than idle flirtation, Mrs. Yalhant ; please
don't speak to Elsie about Lord Astar. I
have to beg this of you. She never cared for
him. She wants to forget — to forget that she
ever thought it possible for a moment that she
could care '
' I don't understand,' said Mrs. Yalliant in
a perplexed manner.
' Elsie and I understand each other,'
answered Frank. ' We understood each other
this summer on the Luya. I was only waiting
— waiting till Elsie had made up her mind ;
and now she has made it up, she says, for good
and all. There's nothing now but for you to
say that you will give her to me. I am not
266 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
afraid that you will say no. We talked of
' Yes, we talked of this before,' repeated
Mrs. Yalliant, still bewildered. ' Of course
I'm very glad, Mr. Hallett — Frank, I suppose
I ought to say now. I am very glad that you
care for Elsie, and that she cares for you. She
did not tell me there was any understanding
between you — she rather let me think — but
there, it's no use going back on what Elsie says
— she will always go her own way, and she
doesn't take me into her confidence. It's a
little hard, considering that I'm her mother,
and that I think of nothing but of her good.
Ina was quite different, Ina always talked to
me and told me things. I'm sure this evening
when we started — if any one had told me that
Elsie would go back from the Government
House ball engaged to you I should have
laughed in their face. If it had been Mr.
MRS. VALLIANTS BLESSING 267
Blake I should have been less surprised. But
it only shows '
Mrs. YalHant stopped short, struck by the
expression of Hallett's face. ' I beg your
pardon,' she said humbly ; ' but you know
Mr. Blake did pay Elsie a great deal of atten-
tion when he first came.'
' And that is past,' said Frank decidedly ;
' and I know that the subject is almost as dis-
tasteful to Elsie as the subject of Lord Astar's
attentions. Elsie has promised to be my wife,
Mrs. Yalliant. I mean to take care of her.
I don't mean that she shall be vexed or
worried by anything that it is in my power
to shield her from. But never mind that.
Won't you give me your blessing and accept
me as your son, and tell Elsie when you see
her to-night that you are glad ? '
' Yes, I will,' said Mrs. Valhant. ' It's the
best thing that could have happened. I
268 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
won't talk about Mr. Blake or about Lord
Astar to Elsie or anybody, but this I must say,
that I am glad it's you, and not Mr. Blake.
I never liked that man somehow, and I'm
certain — as certain as I'm standing here —
that he is fond of Elsie. I could see it this
evening in the way he looked, and the way
Frank said nothing. This should have
been poor comfort, and yet there was an odd
pleasure in the hearing of it. He was better
pleased that Blake should love Elsie, and
should be disappointed, than that he should
have been flirting with her merely for the
gratification of his own vanity and the humili-
ation of hers.
They found the Prydes. Mrs. Yalhant's
excited manner told that something had hap-
pened. She was not proof against Minnie's
eager whispered questioning.
MRS. VALLIANTS BLESSING 269
' Is she engaged ? ' Minnie asked. ' Oli,
do, only just tell me that.'
' Yes, she is engaged,' answered Mrs.
Valliant. ' It's all quite sudden and unex-
pected though ; I am sure I might have known
it was coming months ago, but Elsie is so odd
and so reserved. She might just as well have
told me it was Frank Hallett, instead of letting
me beat about the bush and getting herself so
talked about with other people.'
' Frank Hallett ! ' exclaimed Minnie, in
genuine astonishment. ' Well, I never thought
it would come about like this. I thou^^ht
there was something up with Lord Astar,
though Daddy said it was nonsense, and that
lie'd never be allowed to marry a girl like
Elsie. I beg your pardon, Mrs. Valliant, I
don't mean of course that Elsie wasn't as
good as any of them, but you know what I
270 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' No, I do not,' said Mrs. Yalliant with
dignity. ' Lord Astar had serious intentions,
I know for a fact. Why Elsie has refused
him I cannot think. But, of course, Elsie
knows her own heart best, and if she has cared
for Frank Hallett all this time '
' Eubbish,' said Miss Pryde. ' I know
Elsie is not in love with Frank Hallett. Any-
one could see that. If she is in love with
anybody I should say it was with Mr. Blake
— I am sure it seemed so in the beginning of
the winter. But I think she is very wise, and
I am sure I hope she will be happy.'
Minnie Pryde was not slow in imparting
her news to her partners, and amongst them
' Yes, it is really true,' she said. ' Mrs.
Valliant told me, and Mrs. Valliant as good as
told me that Elsie had refused Lord Astar for
Frank's sake. I don't believe it, do you ? '
MRS. VALLIANTS BLESSING 271
' I think Miss Valliant is quite capable
of even that,' said Blake. ' When did the
engagement take place? I am curious to
' This evening. He must have proposed
in the cab on the way home. What can
have made Elsie go away ? There is
something behind, I am certain ; and I shall
find it out to-morrow.'
The news spread through the ball-room.
' So your sister is engaged to that typical
young Australian, Frank Hallett,' said Lady
Waveryng to Ina. ' I'm glad of it, my dear,
for I think she is a young lady who will be
the better for settling down, and I meant to
give you a little hint that it was not quite
wise of her to flirt so desperately with Lord
' I'm sorry for Morres Blake,' said Lord
Waveryng later, ' for IVe a very shrewd
272 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
suspicion that lie was a good deal more gone
than he cared to own on the beautiful Elsie.
Well, she has done very well for lierself.
Old Stukeley tells me that young Hallett is a
rising man, and very well off.'
' My dear, you look dead,' said Lady
Waveryng kindly, struck by her sister-in-
law's paleness. ' You ought to go home.
Let Waveryng go and find Horace.'
' Horace is in the supper-room,' said Lord
Waveryng, rather grimly. ' Yes, I'll fecch
him, with pleasure.'
' Ina,' said Lady Waveryng, ' I want to
talk to you. I want you to let us come up
with you to the Dell as soon as the Prince
has gone. You are too wildly dissipated, you
Leichardtstonians, even for me. I don't
think this hfe is healthy for Horace — too
much larking round, driving four-in-hand,
billiards at the club, and nipping and
MRS. VALLIANTS BLESSING 273
champagne suppers. Horry is so stupidly
social and good-natured ; it has always been
his fault. I think he is a little disheartened
about the Dell, isn't he ? It hasn't paid as
well as he thought. He was telling
Waveryng that he wanted to take up more
land and make a larger place of it ; and that
would give him more occupation, wouldn't
' Yes,' said Ina faintly, ' he wants more
' You don't keep him in order, my dear,'
Lady Waveryng went on. ' That's what
Horry always wanted. He ought to have
married a martinet, not a sweet, docile,
submissive little creature like you ; you let
him sit upon you too much. Did he tell you
that I crave him a lecture the other niofht for
leaving you so much alone .^ '
' No. But you mustn't, indeed. Lady
VOL. II. T
274 UTLA W AND LA WMA KER
Waveryng — Emily, I mean. Horace is very
kind, and if I am sometimes alone, it is what
I like. You mustn't ever scold Horace
because of me. He is the best husband in
'Well, I'm glad to hear it,' said Lady
Waveryng, putting up her eyeglass. ' He
has certainly got the best wife in the world.
And what I want to tell you is that you must
get him to go up to the Dell, and take us
very soon. We haven't much longer to be
here ; and Waveryng is quite ready to do
something, if he sees that the money is not
going to be thrown away — ^Waveryng likes
the idea of taking up land and founding a
sort of estate ; and we might come out again,
you know, and see how you are getting on.'
Ina expressed her gratitude. Presently
Lord Waveryng came with Lord Horace,
who was excited and full of Elsie's
MRS. VALLIANTS BLESSING 275
engagement. * I've been telling 'em in the
supper-room,' he said. 'A capital fellow,
Frank Hallett ; the best fellow in the world.
By Jove, Astar was hit, I can tell you. You
should have seen his face. I shall chaff Elsie
about it to-morrow. Look here, Ina, you
can get over to Fermoy's all right,' he said, as
they went out after having said good-night
to the Waveryngs. ' I'll put you in the fly,
and then I'll go to the club. I've promised
some fellows to look in.'
Ina made no protest. Lord Horace was
surprised at her quietness.
' What has come to you ? ' he said. ' You
are like a death's head. I wish you would
brighten up a bit. You make people think I
ill-use you. Em gave me a talking to the
other night for neglecting you. If you want
to make yourself out a martyr, for heaven's
sake don't try it on with my people. You
276 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
won't get any good of that. Em is devoted
to me. She always was.'
' I am very glad,' said Ina faintly. ' I
never complained, Horace. I want you to
be happy in your own way. I am a little
tired to-nioht, that's all. Em wants us to cro
back to the Dell, dear, and to take them with
us, and I think we had better go.'
' Waveryng means to fork up, I suppose,'
said Lord Horace sulkily. ' It's a little hard
to drag a fellow up just when there's a
chance of amusing one's self. But I suppose
we had better go, and you can ask Elsie to
come with us if you like. We'll get up a
kangaroo hunt, or bush races, or something
to amuse Waveryng.'
So it was settled, and Ina rejoiced in the
thought that for her the Leichardt's Town
season would shortly come to an end. She
was a brave little person, this poor Ina, and
MRS. V ALU ANTS BLESSING 277
no one guessed that the fox was gnawing her
under the cloak that she wore so decorously.
Mrs. Yalhant had a few words with Elsie
that night. What she had were not
altogether satisfactory. The house was dark
and Elsie had gone to bed when Mrs. Yalliant
and Frank stepped on to the verandah. It
was Peter, the Kanaka, who told them that
Miss Elsie was in her room. Frank went
away, and Mrs. Valliant sought her daughter.
Elsie was lying awake, her tangled hair
all about her pillow, and Mrs. Valliant
fancied that she had been crying, her eyes
looked so red and so bright. But she was
now, at any rate, perfectly composed.
'I suppose Frank has told you,' she said,
as soon as her mother entered. ' You were
quite wrong, mamma,' she went on in a liaid
tone ; ' it would have been much better if you
had not advised me to wear Lord Astar"s
278 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
star. It only gave him the right to insult
' Elsie,' cried Mrs. Valliant, ' how was I
wrong ? What do you mean ? '
' You were wrong in thinking that Lord
Astar could possibly wish to marry me. He
only wanted me to run away with him. He
made me understand quite clearly — T didn't
at first — that marrying and running away
with a girl were two different things.'
' And you can tell me this — quietly like
that?' cried Mrs. Valliant. 'I'd have
wanted to kill him.'
' I think I did want to kill him,' said
Elsie, in a low voice.
Mrs. Valhant raged hysterically after the
manner of a wild woman.
' Does he think that because you have no
father or brother there is no one to call him
to account ? There is Horace. Horace shall
MRS. VALLIANTS BLESSING 279
know. Horace is as good as he is ; and Ina
has married into a great family. No one
shall insult my daughter. I will go
to-morrow to Government House. I will
insist upon an explanation and an apology.'
' No, mamma, you won't do anything.
You will put the whole thing out of your
mind, as I am going to do from this night.
We brought it on ourselves, and I have
' And Frank Hallett knows ? '
' Frank is a hero, and a gentleman,' cried
Elsie. ^ There is no one like him in the
world. I shall marry him, mamma, and I
shall make him as good a wife as it is in my
nature to be. I don't think I'm really bad.
I think I can make him happy. That's all
' I think a great deal matters besides
tlicit,' said Mrs. Valliant. She was in a
28o OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
tearful mood, and kissed Elsie, and talked
about the trousseau, and about the difficulty
of finding money for it, and the disadvantage
to a girl of having no male relatives, all in
the same breath. Then seeing that Elsie was
moody and unresponsive, she stopped, picked
up the finery which the girl had taken off,
smoothed the ribbons, put the roses in water
and folded the gloves, and then came back
to the bed. 'Well, good-night,' she said
timidly. ' I shall not call you to-morrow.
I shall watch and bring you your breakfast
when I know that you are awake.'
She was moving away when Elsie
impetuously stretched out her arms from the
bed. 'Good-night, mother; dear mother.
We'll try to be better to each other, dear,
than we have been ; I'll try to be more like
' GOOD-BYE, ELSIE VALLIANT '
Lord Horace's evening at the club and
Minnie Prycle's confidences to her after-
supper partners had spread the news of
Elsie's engagement far and wide. At tlie
meeting of the Assembly the next afternoon,
Frank Hallett was congratulated both by his
own side and by several members of Mr.
' I thought it was going to be one of my
colleagues,' said the Premier, with a signifi-
cant look at Blake ; ' but this is much better,
and I congratulate you heartily.'
Frank did not ask Mr. Torbolton why
this was much better, since presumably Mr.
282 OUTLA W AND LA WMAKER
Torbolton should have wished his colleague
to be preferred in any suit on which he had
set his heart, but accepted the congratula-
tions in a grave reserved manner which was
not much like that of a triumphant lover.
He took his seat, and went about his
business, and even made a speech, and all the
tmie there was present with him the wonder
whether it was really himself — Frank Hallett
— who was seated in that house on the front
Opposition bench, which was next best to
being in the Ministry, Elsie's affianced
liusband, having gained his dearest wishes
both of the head and of the heart, and
altogether the most fortunate of men, and if
so, why he did not feel more elated at his
success? Perhaps the reason lay in the fact
that Morres Blake was sitting opposite to
hun. Morres Blake made a speech, too.
All his speeches were brilliant, but this was
'GOOD-BYE, ELSIE VALLIANT' 283
more than usually so. As he listened, Frank
Hallett had a dull sense of defeat and
disappointment. He did not grudge his rival
the glory, but was glad that Elsie was not
there to listen to his eloquence. Perhaps it
was remorse for his pettiness that made him
congratulate Blake when, later on, he passed
him in the lobby.
' I hear that I have to congratulate you on
a different and far more important matter,'
said Blake, after he had thanked him. ' I
think you have won a prize, and I do con-
gratulate you in sincerity.'
He did not wait for Hallett's answer, but
turned away with an abruptness that was out
of keeping with his ordinary courteous self-
Another of Elsie's admirers received the
news that day. This was Trant. He heard
it at Fermoy's on his arrival there early in
284 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
the afternoon. Some business had detained
him at BaroHn, and he had not arrived in time
for the Government House baU. It was Lord
Horace who gave him the intelHgence. Lord
Horace was loafing about the verandah, look-
ing rather the worse for his late evening. He
observed with a mischievous amusement the
red flush that mounted to Trant's cheek, and
took a delight in aofcfravatin<? his discomfiture.
Lord Horace was quite aware that Trant was
one of the number of Elsie's hopeless admirers.
' Yes, it is quite settled. I think very
likely tlie marriage will be soon. We are
all delighted. She couldn't have done better,
you know — not even if you had been the
favoured individual, you know, Trant. You
ought to go and offer your congratulations.'
' Yes, I will,' said Trant sulkily.
' We've had a stunnin' time, almost as good
as the Goondi election,' continued Lord
'GOOD-BYE, ELSIE VALLIANT' 285
Horace. ' The Prince's visit has wakened up
1 eichardt's Town a bit. Now we've all got to
go back to the nursery, Hke the good children
that have come in to dessert. I say, you must
help me to get up something for Waveryng.
They're coming up to the Dell, you know ; a
kangaroo battue, or a bushranging lark, some-
tliing typical and Australian — not that Waver-
yng has much notion of the value of local
Trant gave an odd sort of laugh. ' I dare
say Moonlight would oblige you if he knew
what you wanted.'
' Moonlight has laid low this full moon,'
said Lord Horace. ' Well, think it out, Trant,
and in the meantime you go and wish Miss
Yalliant joy, and if you see my wife there, tell
her, will you, that I want her.'
Trant went off. It was a little before the
hour of Elsie's verandah reception, but he
286 OUTLA W AND LA W MAKER
thought he should have more chance of find-
ing her alone. Lady Horace was there, and
the two sisters were sitting in the verandah in
earnest conclave when he arrived. It struck
him that Lady Horace looked very pale and
ill, and that she had been crying. Elsie was
flushed and excited. She laughed gaily when
she saw Trant, and came forward with out-
stretched hand. Perhaps she was pleased to
be relieved from the tete-d-tete with Lia.
' Why didn't you come down for the ball ? '
' I was kept on business,' said Trant.
' You don't suppose I didn't want to be at the
ball, did you. Miss Yalliant ? '
' I don't know,' said Elsie. ' It was a very
good ball — at least, so they said.'
' Why do you say " they said " ? ' asked
Trant. ' Weren't you there ? '
' Oh, yes ; I was there, and I fulfilled my
' GOOD-BYE, ELSIE VALLIANT' 287
mission of making the Leichardt's Town ladies
jealous. The Prince danced with me, and he
did not dance with any other of the gh'ls. Ina
was honoured ; but then she is not a Leichardt's
Town girl now. He didn't dance with any of
the others, did he, Ina ? '
' No,' said Ina, ' he danced with no one
else — of the girls.'
'There. Think of that, Mr. Trant. It
may be written on my tombstone ! " She
danced with a Prince." There was nothing
possible for me after that. I came away.
That's why I don't know much about the
Trant looked mystified. ' Is it true ? ' he
' Is what true ? '
' You know well enough ; what they are
saying everywhere. At Fermoy's they can
talk of nothing else.'
288 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
' Yes, it is true. Ina, you are not going ? '
' By the way, Lord Horace told me to tell
you that he wanted you,' said Trant ; ' it
seems rather a blunt way of putting it. Lady
Horace. I give the message as it was given.'
Ina took up her gloves and parasol. ' It
is to settle about going up to the Dell. Elsie,
you will come ? '
' Oh, yes,' said Elsie. ' Anything for a
change. Good-bye, Ina dear. I shall see
yon in the evening.'
Trant stood looking at Elsie.
' Why don't you sit down ? You make me
' Come down to the boathouse,' he said ;
' I want to ask you something.'
' Well, there is a horrid glare here,'
replied Elsie coolly. ' If you like, we'll go to
When they were seated, she said, ' What
'GOOD-BYE, ELSIE VALLIANT' 289
is it ? Please be melodramatic. Please be
interesting. Please do something that will
make me for the moment think of you and
' Does that mean that you are thinking of
somebody else in a way that is disagreeable .^ '
' That's a strange confession for a young
lady who has just gone and got herself
engaged. It can't be of Mr. Frank Hallett
that you are thinking ? '
' Wliat does that matter to you ? ' said
Elsie. ' I suppose I may pity Mr. Hallett, if I
Kke ? '
' Upon my soul,' said Trant, ' I think he is
even more to be pitied than I am.'
' I don't think you are to be pitied at all.
What is it that you wanted to ask me ? '
' What has Blake got to do with this ? ' he
70L. II. u
290 OUTLAW AND LAV/MAKER
Elsie flushed more deeply than before. ' I
would rather, if you please, that Mr. Blake
should be left out of the question. I think I
have said that before.'
'Yes, you have. I warned you, re-
member. Now look here, you said I might
be melodramatic. You remember what I said
to you here, not very long ago ? I told you
that I always succeeded in what I had set my
' I remember that you threatened to carry
me off, and that it wasn't quite settled
whether you were to perform that feat —
you'll have to have a good horse, Mr. Trant,
for I am very heavy — at one of the
Leichardt's Town tennis parties, or at the
Government House ball, or if I am to be
imprisoned in one of the Luya gorges — do
you recollect that ? '
' Yes, I recollect, and I meant it. I warn
'GOOD-BYE, ELSIE VALLIANT' 291
you. I am not a man to stand tamely by and
let another man carry off the girl he loves ;
especially when she doesn't love that other
man. You in love with Frank Hallett, that
solid lump of respectability ! You are meant
for something different, Elsie. You are
meant for life, for adventure, for emotion.
You were meant to be a poet's inspiring
angel, or the brave companion of a hero's
' I — I have heard something like that
before,' said Elsie faintly. ' But it was not
you who said it.'
' It was Blake. And he has said it to me.
Blake has got blood in his veins : he under-
stands you. Blake and I are alike in more
ways than one. We are alike anyhow in
understanding you. But you weren't meant
for Blake, Miss Valliant. He wouldn't marry
you, if he could. He has told me to " go in
292 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
and win," and I mean to win. Before the
year is out, you will be my wife.'
' Indeed, Mr. Trant, that is a bold
prophecy ; and now I think you have been
melodramatic enough. Let us talk of some-
' No,' said Trant, bending close to her,
' not till I have told you again that I love
you. I worship the ground you tread on. I
worship the flowers you touch. Give me
that rose ; it can't hurt you to do that — the
one you have in your belt. Give it to me,'
he repeated imperiously.
It seemed to Elsie that his black eyes had
something of the compelling power that was
in Blake's eyes. They were fixed full on hers,
and his hand was outstretched. ' Give it to
me,' he said again.
Almost against her will she took out tlie
flower and gave it to him. He kissed it.
'GOOD-BYE, ELSIE VALLIANT' 293
and put it away in his breast. ' Do you
believe that I love you ? ' he said.
' I suppose that you do in a kind of
fashion. I wish you wouldn't. It is of no
use, and all this is rather amusing in its way,
but what's the use of it ? I never gave you
any reason to think '
' No, you never gave me any reason to
tliink you could care for me, and perhaps
that is why I am so madly in love with you,
wdiy I would risk heaven to win you ; not
that I believe much in heaven, except tlie
heaven which you could make for me.'
' Mr. Trant,' said Elsie, with some little
dignity, rising as she spoke, ' let us be friends,
and forget all this. I am sorry for having let
you talk to me in the way you liave done.
I have been a vain, foolish, heartless girl.
I have only cared to amuse myself. I am
afraid that I have sometimes done it at the
294 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
expense of others. I want to change. I am
going to marry a man whom I respect, and for
whom I have the deepest affection. I should
hke to think that from now I may do nothing
that will make me unworthy of him. Let us
start afresh, and be friends, and don't say any
more stupid things.'
' I don't want to start afresh,' said Trant
doggedly. ' I mean to go on as I have begun.
I love you, and mean to have you — by fair
means, or by foul, if fair won't answer. I
warn you. Don't ever say that I didn't.
Only one thing I want you to know. You
are the thing in the world that I have set my
heart on, and I've never failed yet.'
Elsie made no answer. She walked slowly
back to the cottage, and Trant followed.
Mrs. Valliant was in the verandah, and was
talking to Minnie Pryde, who, as soon as she
saw Elsie, rushed to her with a torrent of
'GOOD-BYE, ELSIE VALLIANT' 295
congratulations. And, oh, had it been Mr.
Hallett who had given her the beautiful star,
and would Elsie let her see it aofain?
No. Elsie was sorry, but she couldn't let
Minnie see the star. Elsie had become
suddenly grave, and she seemed shy, and
altogether, Minnie said afterwards, more like
an ordinary engaged girl than one would have
imagined possible in Elsie.
Elsie had a great reception that afternoon.
Mrs. Jem Hallett appeared, which was a
wonderful condescension, but she had learned
by some occult means that Lady Waveryng
was going to call also. The Waveryng advent
had considerably altered Mrs. Jem Hallett's
views in regard to this alliance. She was
very gracious to Elsie. Of course she, Elsie,
would come and stay at Tunimbah. Mrs.
Yalliant was included in the invitation. And
how amusing it would be to have the wedding
296 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
on the Luya — from the Dell, a real bush
wedding — Lord Horace would manage it so
beautifully. Lord Horace was always talking
about local colour, and they might have a
procession of blacks, and King Tommy, of
Yoolaman, at its head. What did Lady
Waveryng think of that? And perhaps it
might be worth Lord Waveryng's while to put
off the New Zealand trip.
Everybody had gone when Frank came.
Elsie was grateful to him for the tact which
had kept him away. She was grateful, too,
for his calm, matter-of-fact way of taking the
situation. There were no lover's raptures. He
made no claims. It was with bashful humihty
that he asked to be allowed to put a ring on
' Every one will wonder why you haven't
an engagement ring,' he said, and took it from
its case. ' I thought you'd like diamonds best,
'GOOD-BYE, ELSIE V ALU ANT' 297
he added awkwardly. The ring was magnifi-
cent. Elsie could hardly have believed that
Leichardt's Town could furnish forth anything
so perfect. She told him so, and again she
held up her face baby fashion for a kiss.
He kissed her with more lingering tender-
ness than he had done the night before. 'Elsie,'
he said, 'there's one thing I want j^ou to under-
stand. Your happiness is first of all things to
me ; far, far beyond my own. You have
given yourself generously, my darling, and
you say you won't make any reservations.
Well, this is what I want you really to take in
and think over. If ever you have any doubts
or regrets ; if ever you get to feel that you'd
be happier with another man, you are as free
as though this had never been put on your
finger. You've only got to tell me. I'll never
reproach you, or make it hard for you. Ill
help you all I can and in whatever way I can
298 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
— if not as your lover and husband, then as
The tears were in Elsie's eyes. ' Frank,'
slie said, 'we will never speak again of what I
told you the other night. We turn over the
leaf, and begin a new page from to-day.' Then
as if determined that there should not be
any more sentiment, she rattled on about
her afternoon's visitors, and Mrs. Jem's cor-
diality, and the coming visit to the Luya,
and the picnic which Frank had promised
There was one ordeal which Elsie had to
face, and which she dreaded more than any-
thing connected with her engagement. This
was the meeting with Blake. The Prince
went away the next day, and Blake, in his
capacity of minister, went with tlie Govern-
ment House party and the officials, and tlie
great people of Leichardt's Town, to see him
'GOOD-BYE, ELSIE V ALU A NT' 299
oa board the man-of-war in the bay. Elsie
did not go, though upon this occasion she had
been invited, and the Prince expressed deep
regret at her absence. Ina went with the
Waveryngs, as in duty bound, and had the
pleasure of discussing her sister's engagement
with Lord Astar and receiving his congratula-
tions. She would gladly have avoided him, but
it was hardly possible, and Ina did not know
what had taken place at the Government
House ball. She had only a vague feeling,
founded upon something which Lord Horace
had indignantly reported of tlie club gossip,
that Elsie had placed herself in a false position
by her too open flirtation.
Frank Hallett did not go down to the bay
with the other great people of Leichardt's
Town. He stayed and spent part of the day
with his fiancee. Lia was a good deal left to
herself that day, fur Lord Horace, to Lady
300 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
Waveryng's annoyance, was making himself
rather unpleasantly conspicuous with Mrs.
Allanby. Lord Horace had, as Lord Waver-
yng put it, a little too much champagne on
board. Lady Waveryng had come to the
conclusion that the sooner her brother went
to the Dell the better. Everybody was a little
glad that the royal festivities had come to an
end. It was Blake who paid attention to Ina,
and saw that she had everything she wanted,
and was taken care of. Lia had always dis-
liked Blake. To-day she felt almost tenderly
to him. She was certain from the way in
which he had alluded to Elsie's coming
marriage that he had a tenderness for her, and
would, if he could, have married her himself.
Ina never stopped to inquire why he could
not marry Elsie. It seemed a received fact
that Blake was not a marrying man.
It is rather the fashion in Leichardt's Town
'GOOD-BYE, ELSIE VALLIANT' 301
during tlie Session for members to pay calls in
the morning. Blake walked across the
paddock from Fermoy's the next day, and
found Elsie alone and in the verandah
He came so softly that she did not even
hear tlie gate click. When she saw that it
was Blake she got up in some confusion, and
then sat down again very pale.
' I beg your pardon for coming so early,'
he said. ' I have got to be at the House — that
is one of the penalties of being a minister
' Yes,' she said faintly.
' I want to ask you,' he went on, ' to forget
an episode which I bitterly regret, and to let
me be your friend. 1 asked you the other
night not to think too hardly of me. I ask it
' I don't think hardly of you,' Elsie
302 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
answered, in a low voice, not lifting her eyes.
' I think hardly of myself. I have had a
' Poor child ! ' he exclaimed, in a moved
voice ; and he turned his face away as if to
hide the pain he felt. ' You humiliate me,' he
cried ; ' you are a noble woman and a true
woman. And I — but if you knew everytliing
you would not blame me so much.'
' I don't blame you,' Elsie said, her voice,
too, quavering. ' I have told you so. I — I
ought to thank you, Mr. Blake,' she cried im-
pulsively. ' I feel somehow that you didn't
want to hurt me, and that you don't quite
' God knows that is true enough,' he
' Then,' she went on, still with impulsive
eagerness, ' let us agree to forget all this
'GOOD-BYE, ELSIE VALLIANT' 303
winter in Leichardt's Town. Let us begin
afresh from to-day and be friends — good
friends.' She held out her hand. He took it
in his, and looked at her wistfully.
' You see,' she said, embarrassed by his
gaze, and trying hard to be calm, ' I have
made a new beginning for myself. I want to
be different and to be more worthy — of — '
she hesitated — ' of the man I am goincr to
' Elsie,' he cried, ' tell me, are you
happy ? '
' Yes, I am happy,' she answered, after a
moment's pause and struggling with all in her
that was rebelhous. ' I am happy. Frank
Hallett's future wife ouglit to be happy.'
' You are right,' he answered. ' To me hence-
forth you will be Frank Hallett's wife ; the wife
of one of the best fellows that ever lived. You
304 OUTLAW AND LAWMAKER
will be no longer Elsie Yalliant after to-day.
Good-bye, Elsie Yalliant.'
He raised her hand to his lips, kissed it
passionately, and left her without another
END OF THE SECOND VOLUME
BPOTl'ISWOODK AND CO., NEW-STREET SQUARB