She tried to laugh. “I’m an awful idiot, Jack. Yes, I will—I will be brave. After all, it isn’t as if—as if I were really sacrificing anything, is it? And you’re sure he’s a good man, aren’t you? You are sure he will never let me down?”
“I am quite sure,” Jack said, firmly. “He is a fine man, Dot, and he will always set your happiness before his own.”
She breathed a short sigh. “Thank you, Jack, I feel better. You’re wonderfully good to me, dear old boy. Tell him—tell him I’ll marry him as soon as ever I can get ready! I must get a few things together first, mustn’t I?”
Jack laughed a little. “You look very nice in what you’ve got.”
“Oh, don’t be silly!” she said. “If I’m going to live at Wallacetown—Wallacetown, mind you, the smartest place this side of Sydney—I must be respectably clothed. I shall have to go to Trelevan, and see what I can find.”
“You and Adela had better have a week off,” said Jack, “and go while Fletcher is busy there. You’ll see something of him in the evenings then.”
“What about you?” she said, squeezing his arm.
“Oh, I shall be all right. I’m expecting Lawley in from the ranges. He’ll help me. I’ve got to learn to do without you, eh, little ’un?” He held her to him again.
She clasped his neck. “It’s your own doing, Jack; but I know it’s for my good. You must let me come and help you sometimes—just for a holiday.” Her voice trembled.
He kissed her again with great tenderness. “You’ll come just whenever you feel like it, my dear,” he said. “And God bless you!”
THE WAY TO HAPPINESS
On account of its comparative proximity to the gold mine, Trelevan, though of no great size, was a busy place. Dot had stayed at the hotel there with her brother on one or two occasions, but it was usually noisy and crowded, and, unlike Adela, she found little to amuse her in the type of men who thronged it. Fletcher Hill always stayed there when he came to Trelevan. The police court was close by, and it suited his purpose; but he mixed very little with his fellow-guests and was generally regarded as unapproachable—a mere judicial machine with whom very few troubled to make acquaintance.
Fletcher Hill in the role of a squire of dames was a situation that vastly tickled Adela’s sense of humour. As she told Jack, it was going to be the funniest joke of her life.
Neither Hill nor his grave young fiancee seemed aware of any cause for mirth, but with Adela that was neither here nor there. She and Dot never had anything in common, and as for Fletcher Hill, he was the driest stick of a man she had ever met. But she was not going to be bored on that account. To give Adela her due, boredom was a malady from which she very rarely suffered.
She was in the best of spirits on the evening of their arrival at Trelevan. The rooms that Fletcher Hill had managed to secure for them led out of each other, and the smaller of them, Dot’s looked out over the busiest part of the town. As Adela pointed out, this was an advantage of little value at night, and it could be shared in the daytime.