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The Red Kangaroo

by Ethel Castilla (1861- ?)

. . . the story ends with . . .

More light broke upon the master of Maroondah. “You – you want 'er, too!” he muttered. “By – ” And he was mute with rage and astonishment. He turned to his old friend Dr. Allworth, and carried him away to the dining-room. Jack followed, and Crystal was left alone with Theyre. She lifted her tear-stained face and looked at him with a pity fast melting into love.

“Theyre!” she whispered.

The young man opened his eyes and smiled faintly. “The – red – kangaroo-skin – is – there,” he faltered. “I – brought – it.”

Her tears rained on his poor bandaged right arm. “Theyre, stay with me! I cannot bear it! I do love you, Theyre. You must live for me!”

He smiled again. “I – will – live – now.”

After dinner Forsythe drew Dr. Allworth out on the verandah, and confided his troubles to him. “To think of Theyre throwin' 'imself away on 'er,” cried the injured father, “when 'e might 'ave 'ad a lady o' quality with a fortin, too! After all the good money I've spent on his she'll bring 'im nothin' but a family tree. An' they both want 'er.”

“She's an uncommonly pretty piece of feminine ware, Forsythe, and as bright as they make 'em.”

The old man pondered. “I s'pose I've bin a blitherin' idgit, Allworth, ‘avin' the gel in the 'ouse.”

“You have, Forsythe,” the doctor answered, with the frankness of old friendship.

“An' I never suspected it, Allworth, never! It come upon me like – like thunder! What do you think of that?”

The doctor laughed. “I think you'll have an uncommonly clever daughter-in-law.”

Dr. Allworth stayed for three days at Maroondah, and had many similar conferences with John Forsythe. Theyre was invalided for three weeks, and spent most of his time in a lounging chair on the verandah. Crystal and the children were his constant companions. His father usually avoided him, but one fine afternoon old Forsythe came out on the verandah and found his son alone. The old man came up to him and asked him somewhat absently how he did. Then old Forsythe stood silent for some minutes, looking down upon his son with beetling brows.

“Look 'ere. Theyre,” he said at last, “if yu're bent on this marryin' business, do it. I'll not 'inder you. Indeed, I've bin thinkin' it over, and I find it'll pay to stock Kareen.” He paused. “The gel's a good gel and pretty enough. I've nothin' agin her. I think she's a bit artful. Never lettin' me see you an' Jack was both soft on 'er – look she don't play you no tricks.” He paused again. “Be a fool if you like.”

And with this paternal blessing old Forsythe strode into the homestead.

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