At this Polly did raise her head, to regard him with grave eyesWhat! tired of work already, Jerry? I don’t know what Richard will say to that, I’m sure. You had better speak to him yourself.” Again Jerry rubbed his chinThat’s just it what’s so beastly hard. I know he’ll say I ought to stick to itSo do IWell, I’d rather groom the horse than thatBut think how pleased you were at first!” Jerry ruefully admitted itOne expects to dig out gold like spuds; while the real thing’s enough to give you the blight. As for stopping a wages-man all my life, I won’t do it. I might just as well go home and work in a Lancashire pitBut NedOh, Ned! Ned walks about with his head in the clouds. He’s always blowing of what he’s GOING to do, and gets his steam off that way. I’m different.” But Jerry’s words fell on deaf ears. A noise in the next room was jordan 12 engaging Polly’s whole attention. She heard a burr of suppressed laughter, a scuffle and what sounded like a sharp slap. Jumping up she went to the door, and was just in time to see Ellen whisk out of the dining-room. Ned sat in an armchair, with his feet on the chimney-pieceI had the girl bring in a log, Poll,” he said; and looked back and up at his sister with his cheery smile. Standing behind him, Polly laid her hand on his hairI’ll go and see after the tea.” Ned was so unconcerned that she hesitated to put a question. In the kitchen she had no such tender scruples; nor was she imposed on by the exaggerated energy with which Ellen bustled aboutWhat was that noise I heard in the dining-room just now?” she demandedNoise? I dunno,” gave back the girl crossly without facing herNonsense, Ellen! Do you think I didn’t hear?” Oh, get along with you! It was only one of Ned’s jokes.” And going on her knees, Ellen set to scrubbing the brick floor with a hiss and a scratch that rendered speech impossible. Polly took up the laden tea-tray and carried it into the dining-room. Richard had come home, and the four drew chairs to the table. Mahony had a book with him; he propped it open against the butter-cooler, and snatched sentences as he ate. It fell to Ned to keep the ball rolling. Polly was distraite to the point of going wrong in her sugars; Jerry uneasy at the prospect of coming in conflict with his brother-in-law, whom he thought the world of. Ned was as full of talk as an egg of meat. The theme he dwelt longest on was the new glory that lay in store for the Ballarat diggings. At present these were under a cloud. The alluvial was giving out, and the costs and difficulties of boring through jordan shoes 11 the rock seemed insuperable. One might hear the opinion freely expressed that Ballarat’s day as premier goldfield was done. Ned set up this belief merely for the pleasure of demolishing it. He had it at first hand that great companies were being formed to carry on operations. These would reckon their areas in acres instead of feet, would sink to a depth of a quarter of a mile or more, raise washdirt in hundreds of tons per day. One such company, indeed, had already sprung into existence, out on Golden Point; and now was the time to nip in. If he, Ned, had the brass, or knew anybody who’d lend it to him, he’d buy up all the shares he could get. Those who followed his lead would make their fortunesI say, Richard, it’ud be something for you.” His words evoked no response. Sorry though I shall be, thought Polly, dear Ned had better not come to the house so often in future. I wonder if I need tell Richard why. Jerry was on pins and needles, and even put Trotty ungently from him: Richard would be so disgusted by Ned’s blatherskite that he would have no patience left to listen to him. Mahony kept his nose to his book. As a matter of principle. He made a rule of believing, on an average, about the half of what Ned said. To appear to pay attention to him would spur him on to more flagrant over-statementsD’ye hear, Richard? Now’s your chance,” repeated Ned, not to be doneA very different thing this, I can tell you, from running round dosing people for the collywobbles. I know men who are raising the splosh any way they can to get inI dare say. There’s never been any lack of gamblers on Ballarat,” said Mahony dryly, and passed his cup to be refilled. Pig-headed fool! was Ned’s mental retort, as cheap air jordans he sliced a chunk of rabbit-pieWell, I bet you’ll feel sore some day you didn’t take my advice,” he said aloudWe shall see, my lad, we shall see!” replied MahonyIn the meantime, let me inform you, I can make good use of every penny I have. So if you’ve come here thinking you can wheedle something out of me, you’re mistaken.” He could seldom resist tearing the veil from Ned’s gross hints and imposturesOh no, Richard dear!” interpolated Polly, in her role of keeper-of-the-peace. Ned answered huffily:‘Pon my word, I never met such a fellow as you, for thinking the worst of people.” The thrust went home. Mahony clapped his book toYou lay yourself open to it, sir! If I’m wrong, I beg your pardon. But for goodness’ sake, Ned, put all these trashy ideas of making a fortune out of your mind. Digging is played out, I tell you. Decent people turned their backs on it long agoThat’s what I think, too,” threw in Jerry. Mahony bit his lipCome, come, now, what do you know about it?” Jerry flushed and floundered, till Polly came to his aidHe’s been wanting to speak to you, Richard. He hates the work as much as you didWell, he has a tongue of his own. Speak for yourself, my boy!” Thus encouraged, Jerry made his appeal; and fearing lest Richard should throw him, half-heard, into the same category as Ned, he worded it very tersely. Mahony, who had never given much heed to Jerry no one did was pleased by his straightforward air. Still, he did not know what could be done for him, and said so. Here Polly had an inspirationBut I think I do. I remember Mr. Ocock saying to me the other day he must take another boy into the business, it was growing so the fourth, this will make. I don’t know if he’s suited yet, but even if he is, he may have heard of something else. Only you know, Jerry, you mustn’t mind WHAT it is. After tea I’ll put on my bonnet and go down to the Flat with you. And Ned shall come, too,” she added, with a consoling glance at her elder brother: Ned had extended his huff to his second slice of pie, which lay untouched on his plateSomebody has always got something up her sleeve,” said Mahony affectionately, when Polly came to him in walking costumeNone the less, wife, I shouldn’t be surprised if those brothers of yours gave us some trouble, In the weeks and months that followed, jordans for sale as he rode from one end of Ballarat to the other from Yuille’s Swamp in the west, as far east as the ranges and gullies of Little Bendigo it gradually became plain to Mahony that Ned’s frothy tales had some body in them after all. The character of the diggings was changing before his very eyes. Nowadays, except on an outlying muddy flat or in the hands of the retrograde Chinese, tubs, cradles, and windlasses were rarely to be met with. Engine-sheds and boiler-houses began to dot the ground; here and there a tall chimney belched smoke, beside a lofty poppet-head or an aerial trolley-line. The richest gutters were found to take their rise below the basaltic deposits; the difficulties and risks of rock-mining had now to be faced, and the capitalist, so long held at bay, at length made free of the field. Large sums of money were being subscribed; and, where these proved insufficient, the banks stepped into the breach with subsidies on mortgages. The population, in whose veins the gold-fever still burned, plunged by wholesale into the new hazard; and under the wooden verandahs of Bridge Street a motley crew of jobbers and brokers came into existence, who would demonstrate to you, a la Ned, how you might reap a fortune from a claim without putting in an hour’s work on it without even knowing where it was  
Zaloguj się, aby oddać głos