|Newspaper Title||Bowral Free Press and Berrima District Intelligencer (NSW : 1884 - 1901)|
|Trove Title||The Christmas Fairy|
THE CHBISTMAS FAIRY.
The! next Sunday saw' Mr.' Falconer at Elm-Lodge again, but lie did not see much of Berfcie. She was engaged to spend the evening with some friends, and had to run away early. A day or two after this he Was crossing Kensington Gardens, when he caught sight of a tall, girlish figure, in •velvet and fui\ that lie surely knew. He liasfcnned for\Vi\v.!, and Berfcie, looking: up, saw him, and almost ran up to him.
' '"What atf.unexpecfced pleasure,'said he, clasping her hand in his, and this time he did retain it decidedly beyond regulation time..
4 For me,' replied Bertie, her violet eyes dancing. ' I was :so cross that I had to run ?.way on Sunday.'
« WetVyou,really> Were you sorry you
had to go ? '
1 Indeed, I waa.' ^ / ' Well, where are you going now ? '
' Nowhere. I came out for a walk, 'lis nice and dry, aud not a bifc cold.'
•May I come with you, Qheen Carita? Yes, of course I may. Come ! how soon must you be home ?' '
' At two o'clock; v/e dine then.' ' ;
' We can have a good walk in the time,' said Lord Falconer. ' Do they allow you to run about by yourself, Queen Carita ?' he
went on, as they turned off among the trees:, j
he leading the way, towards the more se cluded part of the Gardens.
'1 am quite safe,' replied the girl, laugh ing. ' What is to harm me ?' and there is no one to go with me. Father can't walk, nor mother, and Jack and Nell are at re hearsal.'
What was to harm her? with that hand some, cultivated man of the world by her side, an embodiment of that ' Fairyland ' to which her iustincts, her secret, uncon scious aspirations turned. Poor Bertie !'
' Only,' Lord Falconer said,' you are too pretty, my child, to go about alone.' "
' Don't put that into father's head, please,' said she,, wistfully.
' Nay, indeed.' (Was he likely to do that?) 'But you must be careful where 'you go Queen Carita.'
' Oh, I am careful,' replied the girl, laugh ing'. ' Do you know, I. should like to do a double^shuffle among those dead leaves. Don't be angry with me fcr talking shop. I won't scandalisi you by acting it.',
•Faith, Bertie, you couldn't ^rnake me angry.'
'Shall I try?' with a ro'guish laugh. .' I give you leave.
"Ah, well, you know I wouldn't try ; you're so good to us all.'
' I wasn't aware of it,' said Bertie ; ' but you don't like me to say so.'
' You are too quick by half,' said he laugh ing* : ?
- And so they chatted on, walking, the girl unconsciously, the man but vaguely conscious, Dver enchanted ground. Presently they sat down on a bench, for. the weather was 30 mild as to permit of sitting out of doors ; find Lord Falconer told his young compan ion about foreign lands, and great artists he had seen abroad ; and Bertie listened with her.heart in her eyes.
' Oh !' she cried at length, ' how 'happy you must be to have travelled so much and seen so many beautiful things.'
' Do you think all that would make you happy, Bertie ?'
' Yes—at least—' her eyes wandered away among the trees, and came back slowly
" Well pretty one ?'
' Why, I don't mean that "alone would me happy...-.I-should want all my people at
'I thought so. "We can't live - without love, Bertie—at least, we can't be happy without it.'
' ' No,' said she, shaking her head;, 'but, they—' a pause—' I supposed you £would have that, you know.'
' Why did you suppose it ?'
Most people have, unless they are very poor.' •
* True enough, generally, Carita; but you see, 'most' is not 'all'
' Are you not happy* then ?' asked Ber
tie, wistfully, and laying her little hand with ? a sympathising touch on his arm. He took it in ,his hand and kissed it, aud kept it in his clasp as he said—
I am not unhappy, Bertie; I ought not ia, bo, ioi* I have a great inauy friends, ano many tilings besides to make me contented, but I am not. I loved my mother very dearly, but she is dead, and brothers or sisf.^rs I never had. Other relations are
vkry well, but they are not the same. So, ydu see, I have not as much, love as I
Bertie's blue eyes filled.
' I am sorry,' she eaid, softly,1 oh, I am '•sg/Korry.' Then, after a pause, she bright onod some-what,'"and" looked up to him again. ' '
' Why don't you fall in love with some lady and marry her ?' said she.
iAdoouer burst out laughing.,
' You odd child ! One cau't fall in love to order ; and suppose I did, and the lady
wouldn't have me ?*
'Oh, she would,' began Bertie,confidently1, j but stopped and coloured, a little. ' Well,
very likely she would,' she amended.
Falconer's heart Heat faster, and involun tarily he drew-the girl closer to him.
! ' No, no,' he said ; 'love is an inspiration Bertie—it canuot be tound for the seek ing.' •
.'.'Tis au inspiration jn plays, isn't it?' said Bertie, innocently ; ' and you say it is in real life ? I don't know,' shrugging her
You will\souie.day, pretty one.'
". ' That clown, or corner-man ?' said the young mad-cap laughing again. 'Oh, no, Mr. Falconer, I'll toll you there's a young gentleman, about nineteen, waits outside the stage1,door every night, and the' other jiight lie bribed one of the girls to give mo a iiote—such a lovely note ! I'll marry
him-!' M:. * ,
• What was in the note ?' asked Falconer, biting his lip under his moustache.'
' Verses,, original!, Oh I they were im mense. We.laughed at'them so much.
' So long as youiaugJi there is no harm done, Bertie ; but you must not let this young fool write to you.'
' I don.t, iudeed. Are you vexed ?' said ishe, looking at himin some surprise.
' Yes-—no—not with you.'
' Then I don't mind,' she said, drawingin
' 'Why w mid'you care if I were vexed with you, Queen Carita ?'
'I wouldn't like you to think,' said she, ' that—-that Iwas not really careful,though I may not seem to be, because I am always laughing andfaud of fun. And you know, sir, professional people's ways are more free and easy than other folks' ; but we've always been brought up carefully. Mother goes every night with me to the Lane, and Jack goes with Nell; and there's many a lady not so steady iu her wavs as Nell.'
' Bertie, dear'—somehow Lis heart smote him as he' spoke—'I never should -think anything the least bit wrong of you or of Nellie. 1 wish all the women in West End drawing-rooms were half as good. " I am very grateful to you for caring what I-think It shows that you look upon me-, if-not as a friend, as one who may become so.'
' It Avould be presumptuous iu me to call you a friend,' said Bertie. 'You are too much above me every way for that, and you are so much older aud wiser, too ; but when you are so kind to us* we must care what you think of us.' >
' Bertie, friendship is not the ^privilege alone of equals. Don't say I can't be your fr iend because I belong to one rank, you to another. I won't be shut out ii; the cold iu
'that fashion. You must try to consider ine your friend, will you ?' , '
'It doesn't need trying, sir,' she replied,y her whole face brightening up with a new/ gladness. . '
4 Falconer kissed her hand again, rever ently.
4 Then it is a pledge, Bertie.'
' Yes, sir," with a sweet, trustful look and smile. Friendship between Leigh Fal coner and Bertie Evelyn!—between a rioble» man and a beatiful dancer! She was right when she said it could not exist, though she gave the wrong reason, aud be was sin
cere when lie asked for the pledge, though \ lie should have laughed the falacy to scorn, and would have done so—in any case but
his own. •
In truth, those words—friend, friendship —were talismanic—an instinctive graspihg of something that should save him from evil. A friend is hedged around with hon our; a friend cannot betray. Friendship is a bulwark against love ; but a lover may be a destroyer ; a lover's faith may be trea son to honour. Yes, Leigh Falconer would be Bertie Evelyn's true friend.
He took.herhome to heroin door—there
should bp nothing clandestine about their , meeting, and Bertie spoke of it a#- a matter of course. Where secrecy creeps in ther« is generally harm, and Bertie had never hitherto had anythin^'to conceal. ?".
Poor fairy Queen ! The gates of the old., , childhood's fairyland were slowly closing upon her, ai$ the gates of a new land of enchantment opening to admit her a laird land where, for her, there was' poison. fn every perfume and a worm in every bud.
[to BR CONTINUED.]
Queen Victoria's favourite novelist is
George Elliot};' ? 1
Jenny Lind, now sixty-four, has com- , pletely lost her voice.
A statue of Mr. Gladstone is to be placed, in one of the public squares in Athens,
The Launceston Town Hall has been closed, against MioS Ada Campbell, the Freetbougbt lecturess, ponding- the decision of a full meeting of the council.
Dr. J. E.Taylor has begun his Australian lecturing tour in Adelaide. The opening, lecture before an enthusiastic audience was on " The World before Man."
The Bishop of Lichfield has upheld the action of a clergyman of his dioceso, who recently refused to give some unbaptised children the books they had won as prizes.
The government of Japan is reported, to1 . he about to order seven new men-of-war in England a.nd France, and to .despatch several officials to Italy to learn the art of guu manafacture.
The late Mr. Fargus'a story,' Dark Days,
has attained a larger circulation than his ' Called Back,' 200,000 copies of the former stow having been sold. jSTo novelist lia?
achieved two such remarkable successes,in so y short a period of time.
M.Jean Vernaz has discovered a large aqueduct, which formerly was used for the
water supply of Carthage. It has been so ' well preserved that Mr-. Grant, the chief engineer, proposes to employ it in connec
tion with the new waterworks of Tunis. ?
The marriage of the Princess Beatrice' ' to Prince Henry of Battenbnrg will take*
place either on July 22 or 23 in Whip-- •>' ?pingham Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury will perform the ceremony, and the daughters of the Prince of Wales and''their cousins will act bridesmaids, The number of invitations will, be limited!,
but several special trains, wijl run- from - London for, the convenience of the guests,
j The Princess and her husband'/n-\i
their honeymoon in Q a or Abbey.