Polly wakened with a start. Her thoughts had been miles away — had been back at the “Family Hotel”. There Purdy, after several adventures, his poor leg a mass of supuration, had at length betaken himself, to be looked after by his Tilly; and Polly’s hopes were all alight again. She blushed guiltily at the repetition, and asked her husband to say the lines once again. He did soBut they don’t really, Richard, do they?” she said in an apologetic tone — she referred to the casting of shadowsIt would be so useful if they did —” and she drew a sigh at Purdy’s dilatory treatment of the girl who loved him so wellOh, you prosaic little woman!” cried Mahony, and laid down his book to kiss her. It was impossible to be vexed jordan after game with Polly: she was so honest, so transparentDid you never hear of a certain something called poetic licence?” No: Polly was more or less familiar with various other forms of licence, from the gold-diggers’ that had caused all the fuss, down to the special licence by which she had been married; but this particular one had not come her way. And on Richard explaining to her the liberty poets allowed themselves, she shifted uncomfortably in her chair, and was sorry to think he approved. It seemed to her just a fine name for wanton exaggeration — if not something worse. There were also those long evenings they spent over the first hundred pages of WAVERLEY. Mahony, eager for her to share his enthusiasm, comforted her each night anew that they would soon reach the story proper, and then, how interested she would be! But the opening chapters were a sandy desert of words, all about people duller than any Polly had known alive; and sometimes, before the book was brought out, she would heave a secret sigh — although, of course, she enjoyed sitting cosily together with Richard, watching him and listening to his voice. But they might have put their time to a pleasanter use: by talking of themselves, or their friends, or how further to improve their home, or what the store was doing. Mahony saw her smiling to herself one evening; and after assuring himself that there was nothing on the page before him to call that pleased look to her young face, he laid the book down and offered her a penny for her thoughts. But Polly was loath to confess to wool-gatheringI haven’t succeeded in interesting you, have I, Pollikins?” She made haste to contradict him. Oh, it was very nice, and she loved to hear him readCome, honestly now, little woman!” She faced him squarely at that, though with pink cheeksWell, not much, Richard.” He took her on his kneeAnd what were you smiling atMe? Oh, I was just thinking of something that happened yesterday”— and Polly sat up, agog to tell. It appeared that the day before, while he was out, the digger’s wife who did Polly’s rough work for her had rushed in, crying that her youngest was choking. Bonnetless, Polly had flown across to the woman’s hut. There she discovered the child, jordan 14 a fat youngster of a year or so, purple in the face, with a button wedged in its throat. Taking it by the heels she shook the child vigorously, upside-down; and, lo and behold! this had the opposite effect to what she intended. When they straightened the child out again the button was found to have passed the danger-point and gone down. Quickly resolved, Polly cut slice on slice of thin bread-and-butter, and with this she and Mrs. Hemmerde stuffed the willing babe till, full to bursting, it warded them off with its tiny hands. Mahony laughed heartily at the tale, and applauded his wife’s prompt measuresShort of the forceps nothing could have been better!” Yes, Polly had a dash of native shrewdness, which he prized. And a pair of clever hands that were never idle. He had given her leave to make any changes she chose in the house, and she was for ever stitching away at white muslin, or tacking it over pink calico. These affairs made their little home very spick and span, and kept Polly from feeling dull — if one could imagine Polly dull! With the cooking alone had there been a hitch in the beginning. Like a true expert Mrs. Beamish had not tolerated understudies: none but the lowliest jobs, such as raisin-stoning or potato-peeling, had fallen to the three girls’ share: and in face of her first fowl Polly stood helpless and dismayed. But not for long. Sarah was applied to for the best cookery-book on sale in Melbourne, and when this arrived, Polly jordan shoes uk gave herself up to the study of it. She had many failures, both private and avowed. With the worst, she either retired behind the woodstack, or Tom disposed of them for her, or the dog ate them up. But she persevered: and soon Mahony could with truth declare that no one raised a better loaf or had a lighter hand at pastry than his wife. Three knocks on the wooden partition was the signal which, if he were not serving a customer, summoned him to the kitchenOh, Richard, it’s ripen beautifully!” And, red with heat and pride, Polly drew a great golden-crusted, blown-up sponge-cake along the oven shelf. Richard, who had a sweet tooth, pretended to be unable to curb his impatienceWait! First I must see . . .” and she plunged a knife into the cake’s heart: it came out untarnishedYes, it’s done to a turn.” There and then it was cut; for, said Mahony, that was the only way in which he could make sure of a piece. Afterwards chunks were dealt out to every one Polly knew — to Long Jim, Hempel, Tommy Ocock, the little Hemmerdes. Side by side on the kitchen-table, their feet dangling in the air, husband and wife sat boy-and-girl fashion and munched hot cake, till their appetites for dinner were wrecked. But the rains that heralded winter — and they set in early that year — had not begun to fall when more serious matters claimed Mahony’s attention. Part 2 Chapter 4 It was an odd and inexplicable thing that business showed no sign of improving. Affairs on Ballarat had, for months past, run their usual prosperous course. The western township grew from day to day, and was straggling right out to the banks of the great swamp. On the Flat, the deep sinking that was at present the rule — some parties actually touched a depth of three hundred feet before bottoming — had brought a fresh host of fortune-hunters to the spot, and the results obtained bid fair to rival those of the first golden year. The diggers’ grievances and their conflict with the government were now a turned page. At a state trial all prisoners had been acquitted, and a general amnesty declared for those rebels who were still at large. Unpopular ministers had resigned or died; a new constitution for the colony awaited the Royal assent; and pending this, two of the rebel-leaders, now prominent townsmen, were chosen to sit in the Legislative Council. The future could not have looked rosier. For others, that was. For him, Mahony, it held more than one element of uncertainty. At no time had he come near making a cheap jordans uk fortune out of storekeeping. For one thing, he had been too squeamish. From the outset he had declined to soil his hands with surreptitious grog-selling; nor would he be a party to that evasion of the law which consisted in overcharging on other goods, and throwing in drinks free. Again, he would rather have been hamstrung than stoop to the tricks in vogue with regard to the weighing of gold-dust: the greased scales, the wet sponge, false beams, and so on. Accordingly, he had a clearer conscience than the majority and a lighter till. But even at the legitimate ABC of business he had proved a duffer. He had never, for instance, learned to be a really skilled hand at stocking a shop. Was an out-of-the-way article called for, ten to one he had run short of it; and the born shopman’s knack of palming off or persuading to a makeshift was not his. Such goods as he had, he did not press on people; his attitude was always that of “take it or leave it”; and he sometimes surprised a ridiculous feeling of satisfaction when he chased a drunken and insolent customer off the premises, or secured an hour’s leisure unbroken by the jangle of the store-bell  
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