Pet Perennials, no. 1 chapter 3 [by Patty Parsley (Menie Parkes), 24 September 1859]

[Editor: A short story by Menie Parkes, under the name of “Patty Parsley”. Published in The Australian Home Companion and Band of Hope Journal, 24 September 1859. This story consisted of chapters 1, 2, and 3, all published in the same issue.]

Chapter III.

Proud of you, fond of you, having all right in you,
Quitting all else through my love and delight in you!
Glad is my heart now ’tis beating so nigh to you!
Light is my step for it always may fly to you!
Clasped in your arms where no sorrow can reach to me,
Reading your eyes till new love they shalt teach to me,
Though wild and weak till now,
By that blest marriage vow.
More than the wisest know, your heart shall preach to me.

Next day Olave wandered pensively forth to take a farewell for a time of her much-loved home. She kept within the bounds of home, at least her footsteps did, but her eyes wandered away to the pretty little cottage on the hill, and I fancy her heart followed after them — I wonder why. What interest could Olave find in the parsonage that she watched it so intently? Perhaps she was thinking that when she came back there would be new faces there, and among them she might find her soul’s ideal — perhaps. Or, more likely, she was thinking of her little golden-haired pupil and friend Viola Dean, and it was to leave the little darling that Olave felt so much reluctance, and at the thought of that sad parting those pearly tears fell over the purple heartsease that she had gathered. After many a lingering glance and many a murmured farewell, Olave reluctantly retraced her steps towards the house. A servant met her on the verandah and with a hasty ‘Mr. Dean, and Miss Viola are waiting your return in the drawing room, miss,’ passed on. Oh if you had seen the change, dear reader. The bright light rushed to the beaming eyes, the ruddy colour to the cheeks, the chiseled lip curled into a glorious smile, and she stood panting with some emotion for a moment, then flew up the steps into the hall. She paused there for a moment, chased back the exultation from her features, and gently entered the room she found there — Viola alone. The child sprang to her arms sobbing, ‘oh dear Miss Olave, I am going away from you, I am going away from you.’

Olave kissed and soothed her, and taking her on her knee commenced a gay chattering about her childish themes of conversation. This quieted her for awhile, but presently she said again — ‘Miss Olave, papa is going to take me away from this place, never again to come back — never again he says, Miss Olave.’ The little lip quivered ‘what’ll you do without little Viola, Miss Olave, won’t you be sorry for me, and want me to come to you again?’

Olave replied ‘I am going away too Viola.’

The little one threw her arms round her neck. ‘Oh you dear, good, kind Miss Olave, you are going with us, I knew you would, I knew you would, I told papa you would —’

Olave started, and blushed painfully. She put Viola’s arms firmly down, ‘oh Viola, what made you do that — you shouldn’t — you shouldn’t have told your papa that — I am not going with you — I am going to Sydney — I am not going with you — I couldn’t go with you — oh Viola, Viola.’

‘That’s just right’ almost shouted Viola, ‘papa is going to Sydney, papa is going to Sydney, and you can go with us, you know, oh, Miss Olave, won’t that be nice?’

‘Oh no, no, Viola — I can’t go with you, indeed I can’t go with you.’ She calmed herself with an effort, and said: ‘Viola, I am going to Sydney with Mrs. Glenstone, and so I can’t go with you, do you understand? so say no more about it, like a dear little girl.’

‘Why?’ said Viola sorrowfully, ‘then I must tell papa you will not go with us, must I?’

‘Viola,’ Olave said sternly, ‘if you talk about it to any one, any more, I shall not love you.’

The child lay sadly silent for a few moments, and then clasping her little hands tightly together, she looked up imploringly into Olave’s face, and sobbed — ‘but how can I go when I love you so much — so much.’

‘You will have your papa,’ said Olave ‘and do you not love him?’

‘I love you as much, quite as much,’ asserted Viola passionately: ‘don’t you know when Reuben caught the mother swallow last year and took it away: from the little one, it died, though Reuben didn’t take the father swallow away and I’ll die too if they take you away: from me, for I love you as well as papa: I will die, I’ll die, I’ll die,’ moaned the child.

‘Hush, Viola, hush! you mustn’t talk so,’ said Olave sadly, and the child was quiet again. When she spoke her thoughts had taken a new turn, but one scarcely less distressing to Olave. ‘Miss Olave,’ she said ‘do you love my papa?’

Olave was confused. ‘I love every body,’ she said at length.

‘But do you love my papa?’ said the child.

‘Every body loves your papa, my dear,’ answered Olave.

‘No no, but do you love him,’ persisted Viola.

‘I like Mr. Dean very much indeed;’ said Olave, with a trembling voice and kindling eyes.

‘Liking isn’t loving,’ observed Viola, ‘do you love my papa, Miss Olave?’

‘She’s not to be put off,’ said a manly voice behind, ‘and though she’s a rude little girl, yet I must repeat her question, for I have a personal interest in the matter, Miss Olave. Can you love her papa?’ and Mr. Dean, passed round and bent over his child’s head, and looked into Olave’s eyes. Can you love me, Misg Lystor? Can you give your pure young heart into my charge, that it may be my precious treasure, the joy of my life, and the light of my days? He was trembling as he spoke.

She laid her hand in his. ‘Oh,’ said she, ‘can such a joy be mine?’ A burning kiss and a few hurried words were his answer. They were such as became the minister of God. ‘The father of all mercies bless thee, my beloved, and preserve thee to life eternal for ever!’ Reader we had better draw a veil over such a scene.

Three weeks later, Olave gave her hand to the man whom she had loved so long and so secretly, and at the same moment Viola was sitting in Mrs Glenstone’s drawing-room, on the dear old lady’s lap, and telling her now ‘Miss Olave was mamma Olave now, and now she was going away with her papa and herself and never going to leave them any more — never — papa said so.’ ‘Won’t you be sorry Mrs. Glenstone, won’t you be sorry when mamma Olave goes away and leaves you — won’t you be sorry?’ asked the child.

‘I shall indeed Viola,’ said Mrs. Glenstone, ‘but who’d have thought it.’ She added in soliloquy ‘grave Mr. Dean, and our pretty Olave, who’d have thought it.’ Who’d have thought it, gentle reader.

The Australian Home Companion and Band of Hope Journal (Sydney, NSW), 24 September 1859, pp. 393-395

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