Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
commonplace. Sibyl, however, was quite unconscious of the effect
she was producing. Her love was trembling in laughter on her lips.
She was thinking of Prince Charming, and, that she might think of
him all the more, she did not talk of him, but prattled on about the
ship in which Jim was going to sail, about the gold he was certain
to find, about the wonderful heiress whose life he was to save from
the wicked, red-shirted bushrangers. For he was not to remain a
sailor, or a super-cargo, or whatever he was going to be. Oh, no! A
sailorís existence was dreadful. Fancy being cooped up in a horrid
ship, with the hoarse, hump-backed waves trying to get in, and a
black wind blowing the masts down, and tearing the sails into long
screaming ribands! He was to leave the vessel at Melbourne, bid a
polite good-bye to the captain, and go off at once to the gold-fields.
Before a week was over he was to come across a large nugget of
pure gold, the largest nugget that had ever been discovered, and
bring it down to the coast in a waggon guarded by six mounted
policemen. The bushrangers were to attack them three times, and
be defeated with immense slaughter. Or, no.
He was not to go to the gold-fields at all. They were horrid places,
where men got intoxicated, and shot each other in bar-rooms, and
used bad language. He was to be a nice sheep-farmer, and one
evening, as he was riding home, he was to see the beautiful heiress
being carried off by a robber on a black horse, and give chase, and
rescue her. Of course she would fall in love with him, and he with
her, and they would get married, and come home, and live in an
immense house in London. Yes, there were delightful things in
store for him. But he must be very good, and not lose his temper,
or spend his money foolishly. She was only a year older than he
was, but she knew so much more of life. He must be sure, also, to
write to her by every mail, and to say his prayers each night before
he went to sleep. God was very good, and would watch over him.
She would pray for him too, and in a few years he would come
back quite rich and happy.
The lad listened sulkily to her, and made no answer. He was heart-
sick at leaving home.
Yet it was not this alone that made him gloomy and morose.
Inexperienced though he was, he had still a strong sense of the
danger of Sibylís position. This young dandy who was making
love to her could mean her no good. He was a gentleman, and he
hated him for that, hated him through some curious race-instinct
for which he could not account, and which for that reason was all
the more dominant within him. He was conscious also of the
shallowness and vanity of his motherís nature, and in that saw
infinite peril for Sibyl and Sibylís happiness.