(By Yal Jameson.)
'?More rubbish!'' said Mrs. Twomile contemptuously, as her prospector hus- band untied a knotted handkerchief and eagerly examined the contents "rough specimens of stone collected for
the dollying test.
"Your handkerchiefs and pockets are torn to rags with that rubbishing stuft!" persisted the peevish voice.
"You won't call it rubbish, Mary," retorted the enthusiast, '"when it hap- pens to pan off a payable prospect. There'd never 'a been a gold mine found in Western Australia if thc first prospector was a married man."
"Pity be wasn't!" replied Mrs. Two mile, who spoke as one utterly out ot patience with her suiroumli'igs.
'.Mummy!" A flaxen-haired child bounded inlo the room, her cheeks flushed and her eyes aglow. She held up a fragment of stone resem- bling those on the table. In comical imitation of adult prospectors, she damped it with ber small tongue, gave it a swift sidelong wipe on ber pina- fore, and held it up triumphantly. '"See, mummy! Gold!"
Mrs. Twomile snatched the worthies.? ttoue and flung it petulantly out-of doors.
"You've got thc child as mad as ^ourself. Jack!''
Twomile laughed, shouldered Iiis tiny daughter, and carried her from the room.
"Mummy's cross. Tessa! We'li have a go at tlic doily, eh? and see what the' new stone will pan off."
Tesla's whole-hearted confidence in her father's proceedings was rei resiling to witness. Her blue eyes were mar- vellously keen. When mother failed to see the infinitesimal colours in the panning-off process. Tos*a would clap her bauds and shout jubilantly, "Me see it dore! daddy, me soc it: ' Truly the fairy «pechados of imagination
were not denied to Tessa.
Mrs. Twomile turned with an im- patient sigh to lier household tasks. On every shelf, in.hidden, corners, the offending specimens met ber eye»v an un written command attached to each, "Not to be thrown away/'
Once she, too, had viewed them with optimistic eyes, had bent over tile swirling waters as lier husband tested the pulverised stone in the shallow prospecting dish, had followed the lagging tail of dirt with inflated hopes, and hailed wt li joyou j oxe'am otions the sight of a single speck. But
the sîck,,^- of hope..defei-iyw «ES full j
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stones wirb loathing. They were trait- ors and lures, and their fascinating power over her husband was. respon- sible for a condition of life bordering on poverty. Her contempt for these disappointing specimens reached a climax when, in ber husband's absence, she used them as missilos to scare in- trusive cats and poultry. When sub- sequently rcfound on his own premises the scattered fragments led Jack Two- mile to suspect a reef underlying the woodheap. and he promptly sank a shaft on the strength of his supposi- tions.
The woodheap shaft was soon aband- oned, and the unsightly gap refilled with earth to safeguard Tessa's danc- ing feet that would have assuredly
followed ''daddy" to the subterranean
bowels of earth if allowed.
After a week's absence on an extend- rd prospecting tour. Jack Twomile re- turned home with the light of certain- ty on bis face. The necessity of sec- recy was a tiresome curb to his en- thusiastic spirit. The longing to di- vulge his discovery to an amazed world
was almost overpowering. Mrs Two- mile observed her husband's subdued buoyancy, but viewed the handkerchief swag of new specimens with customary distrust.
These new fragments were curiously unlike any she had seen before ; of a dark-greyish, almost black, line, and guiltless of any pretence of gold. Af- ter a cursory, inspection, she voiced that crushing opinion "More rubbish," and tossed them aside. Shortly after these fragments were subjected to a peculiar process by Jack and his mate, Bill Harvey, After pulverising them into a grey powder by dollying, some of the powder was poured into the bowl of a clay pipe and baked by in- tense heat. If the result took the form of small globular beads, the ex- periment would verify their expecta- tions. It was impossible to view these proceedings dispassionately. Mrs. Two- mile forsook her domestic tasks to hov- er expectantly at ber husband's side.
"It's tin alright,", he exclaimed, as the hoped-for beads appeared. "Our fortune s made!"
"Only tin ?" queried Mrs. Twomile, disappointedly.
"I've seen gold brooches an' line houses an' trips round the world come out of tin mines, ain't you. Bill?"
"Rather!" replied Bill confidently. "A tin mine with a lode sech as that come from is before any gold mine I've seen yet !"
"Really!'' cried Mrs. Twomile with wondering eyes.
"Bill twigged it first," said Jack, anxious to award his mate generous distinction. "I only know tin in the manufactured article; as for this, I'd, 'a built the, chimney of it in sheer ig- norance! But Bill hails from the Queensland tinfields, and claps his eye
on this lode in a twinkle. We'd bet- ter slip out and secure our ground. There'll be a bonzer rush when they find us out."
"Keep it dark till we get a reply from the Government Assayer." said Bill cautiously. "I don't think there's
any doubt of it. but ours was a rough test you know,"
"Doubt?" echoed Jack scornfully "I should think not ! Here's the Prospec- tors' Guide Book! Ain't we followed the instructions closely, and ain't we got the bead ? There it is ! Who says doubt? I say hurrah!"'
"Hoodah Pechoed little Tessa, "Gold,
daddy, more gold!"
Bill Harvey laughed at the young mimic "Chip of the old block, Jack!"
"Ay!" replied Two-mile, lifting his tiny daughter to her favourite throne on his knee. "We're mates, eh. Tess? We've a first-class show over by the wood-heap. Sometimes Tess is man on top, but she can always do a turn be- low. The gold we've hauled out o' that shaft 'nd surprise some people, eb,
The child's upturned face confirmed every word her father uttered.
"Take mummy to Perf," she added.
"Yes; there'll be trips to Perth and all sorts of games when we float our bonzer tin mine ! Now to business ! You slip up to the Warden's office. Bill, while I run out on the bike and see to the pegs."
In some mysterious way Two-mile's find became an open secret on the fol- lowing day, and then the fun commenc-
The two prospectors were tracked from the township, and their find lo- cate near Monkey-up station, 10 miles distant. Numbers of men tramped out and pegged off indiscriminately. At the Monkey-up station a brisk business commenced in supplying the fortune seekers with tucker. The price of bread was a shilling the loaf, and meat a shil- ling per pound.
When a mile of the huge black out- crop had been pegged, it was discovered that no man knew for certain what par- ticular metal he had acquired. The pros- pectors were strictly reticent, so the Warden sent an expert to report on the new find! The expert's report was duly posted up outside the Walden's
"Have seen no tin of any description, or any other mineral of value. There is a huge black outcrop, commonly known a> 'Black Jack.' traversing the country, that will probably account for the rush. It is either a hoax or a new-chum's de- lusion."
Following this a man visited the pros- pectors' camp on the bank of a creek. He carried a rifle on his shoulder, and vengeance in his eye. Jack was alone, preparing a meal for himself and mate. His face paled as he noted the aggres- sive attitude of the stranger.
"Good-day. mate." he said.
The stranger ignored the salutation. "I'm lookin' fer a cove with a squint in the eye !"
"Alright!'' said Jack. 'You'll find 'im further down the creek!'' but in the effort to look straight his eyes lost focus completely.
'I'll find 'im 'ere!" replied the stran-
ger, planting hi¿ rifle against a tree to
"Right y'are, stranger! If yer lookin' fer a row, I'm yer man."'
."I mean ter 'ave it out with the blanky fraud who started this blanky rush !*'
The aggressor, a powerfully-built man made a lunge at Jack.
"No, you don't !" exclaimed Harvey, making a timely anpearance, 'I'm the man you want, and a better match for you !"
Running his eye over Harvey's sin- ewy form, the pugnacious visitor seemed
to lose fire.
"I got no row with anyone on'y the squint-eyed chap 'ere, who started this fool rush!'' he stammered.
'"Well, you've made a bloomer!" said Harvey fiercely. "I started this rush, an' I'm itchin' for a bit of exercise !"
Before the sentence was finished, the bully had measured his length upon
'"I like takin' on you fellows with so much bloomin' cheek! Runnin' round
lookin' for fights! I'll give yer fight."'
Down went bully the second time.
"That was neat!" observed Jack, taking cool enjoyment as an interested spectator.
When Harvey was content with the amount of punishment inflicted, he al- lowed the bellicose stranger to depart, satisfied for that day at least he had
struck a rock.
'I was just in time," observed Har- vey to Jack. "He'd ar smashed you!"
'.He might!" replied Jack doubt- fully, "all tile same, 1 was satisfied tc see you take 'im on !"
"Í guess there'll be a few more to take on !'' observed Harvey.
"This bally thing's a fro.st alright! There's tho ultimatum from Perth, no mineral value! Curbed luck. Lsn't it?':
"Might be worse." soid Jack, taking from his pocket some jagged pieces of
"What price this?"
Harvey examined the rough quartz with eager eyes that lightened exult- ingly as he saw it was thickly peppered with fine gold, while Jack related his new experience in excited tones.
The old pack-horse had disappeared. He tracked it to a spot three miles west of Monkey-up. The sagacious old brute had cast a shoe.
"In lifting the shoe for a lucky flino over my shoulder, I noticed the out crop and rappad the;-e pieces with thc old horse-shoe."
"After all," said Harvey, ns thev secured their new Iea*e. "tin may hf a lot of other things, but gold is gold, an' no mistake about it !"