But when, vigilant as a mother-hen, she sought to prepare her husband for a possible unpleasantness, she found him already informed; and her well-meant words were like a match laid to his suppressed indignationIn all my born days I never heard such impudence!He turned embarrassingly cool to Tilly. And Tilly, innocent of offence and quite unskilled in deciphering subtleties, put this sudden change of front down to jealousy, because she was going to new balance 1300 live in a grander house than he did. For the same reason he had begun to turn up his nose at “Old O.,or she was very much mistaken; and in vain did Polly strive to convince her that she was in errorI don’t know anyone Richard has a higher opinion of!But it was a very uncomfortable state of things; and when a message arrived over the electric telegraph announcing the dangerous illness of Mrs. Beamish, distressed though she was by the news, Polly could not help heaving a tiny sigh of relief. For Tilly was summoned back to Melbourne with all speed, if she wished to see her mother alive. They mingled their tears, Polly on her knees at the packing, Tilly weeping whole-heartedly among the pillows of the bedIf it ‘ad only been pa now, I shouldn’t have felt it half so much,and she blew her nose for the hundredth timePa was always such a rum old stick. But poor ma when I THINK how she’s toiled and moiled ‘er whole life long, to keep things going. She’s ‘ad all the pains and none of the pleasures; and now, just when I was hoping to be able to give ‘er a helping hand, THIS must happen.The one bright spot in Tilly’s grief was that the journey would be made in a private conveyance. Mr. Ocock had bought a smart gig and was driving her down himself; driving past the foundations of the new house, along the seventy odd miles of road, right up to the door of the mean lodging in a Collingwood back street, where the old Beamishes had hidden their headsIf only she’s able to look out of the window and see me dash up in my own turn-out!said Tilly. Polly fitted out a substantial luncheon-basket, and was keenest sympathy to the last. But Mahony was a poor dissembler; and his sudden thaw, as he assisted in the farewell preparations, could, Polly feared, have been read aright by a child. Tilly hugged Polly to her, and gave her kiss after kissI shall NEVER forget ‘ow kind you’ve been, Poll, and all you’ve done for me. I’ve had my disappointments ’ere, as you know; but p’raps after all it’ll turn out to be for the best. One o’ the new balance 1300 good sides to it anyhow is that you and me’ll be next-door neighbours, so to say, for the rest of our lives. And I’ll hope to see something of you, my dear, every blessed day. But you’ll not often catch me coming to this house, I can tell you that! For, if you won’t mind me saying so, Poll, I think you’ve got one of the queerest sticks for a husband that ever walked this earth. Blows hot one day and cold the next, for all the world like the wind in spring. And without caring twopence whose corns ‘e treads on.— Which, thought Polly, was but a sorry return on Tilly’s part for Richard’s hospitality. After all, it was his house she had been a guest in. Such were the wheels within wheels. And thus it came about that, when the question rose of paving the way for John Turnham’s candidature, Mahony drew the line at approaching Henry Ocock. Part 3 Chapter 10 John drove from Melbourne in a drag and four, accompanied by numerous friends and well-wishers. A mile or so out of Ballarat, he was met by a body of supporters headed by a brass band, and escorted in triumph to the George Hotel. Here, the horses having been led away, John at once took the field by mounting the box-seat of the coach and addressing the crowd of idlers that had gathered round to watch the arrival. He got an excellent hearingso Jerry reported, who was an eye and ear-witness of the sceneand was afterwards borne shoulder-high into the hotel. With Jerry at his heels, Mahony called at the hotel that evening. He found John entertaining a large impromptu party. The table of the public dining-room was disorderly with the remains of a liberal meal; napkins lay crushed and flung down among plates piled high with empty nutshells; the cloth was wine-stained, and bestrewn with ashes and breadcrumbs, the air heady with the fumes of tobacco. Those of the guests who still lingered at the table had pushed their chairs back or askew, and sat, some a-straddle, some even with their feet on the cloth. John was confabbing with half a dozen black-coats in a corner. Each held a wineglass in his hand from which he sipped, while John, legs apart, did all the talking, every now and then putting out his forefinger to prod one of his hearers on the middle button of the waistcoat. new balance It was some time before he discovered the presence of his relatives; and Mahony had leisure to admire the fashion in which, this corner-talk over, John dispersed himself among the company; drinking with this one and that; glibly answering questions; patting a glum-faced brewer on the back; and simultaneously checking over, with an oily-haired agent, his committee-meetings for the following days. His customary arrogance and pompousness of manner were laid aside. For the nonce, he was a simple man among men. Then espying them, he hurried over, and rubbing his hands with pleasure said warmlyMy dear Mahony, this is indeed kind! Jerry, my lad, how do, how do? Still growing, I see! We’ll make a fine fellow of you yet.— Well, doctor! we’ve every reason, I think, to feel satisfied with the lie of the land.But here he was snatched from them by an urgent request for a pronouncement“A quite informal word, sir, if you’ll be so good,— on the vexed question of vote by ballot. And this being a pet theme of John’s, and a principle he was ready to defend through thick and thin, he willingly complied. Mahony had no further talk with him. The speech overit was a concise and spirited utterance, and, if you were prepared to admit the efficacy of the ballot, convincing enoughMahony quietly withdrew. He had to see a patient at eleven. Polly, too, would probably be lying awake for news of her brother. As he threw back his braces and wound up his watch, he felt it incumbent on him to warn her not to pitch her hopes too highYou mustn’t expect, my dear, that your brother’s arrival will mean much to us. He is now a public man, and will have little time for small people like ourselves. I’m bound to admit, Polly, I was very favourably impressed by the few words I heard him say,he addedOh, Richard, I’m SO glad!and Polly, who had been sitting on the edge of the bed, stood on tiptoe to give him a kiss. As Mahony predicted, John’s private feelings went down before the superior interests of his campaign. Three days passed before he found time to pay his sister a visit; and Polly
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