Chapter 112409208

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Chapter NumberXI
Chapter Url
Full Date1885-07-04
Page Number4
Word Count897
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleBowral Free Press and Berrima District Intelligencer (NSW : 1884 - 1901)
Trove TitleThe Christmas Fairy
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A year baa gone by, ami Christmas lifts ro turned with all its familiar features, includ ing tho mild, dump weather which for years past rendered ridiculous the Christmas of tho illustrated papers, wherein the snow lies

11 itclc ou the ground, and1 the frost is oil the'


Bertie Evelyn is at Manchester,' playing Little Red Hiding Hood in a wondorons tra vesty of tho favourito logond, wherein Red Riding Ilood, after escaping from tho wolf, is transported to Fairy-land and el ected tho queen by {tho universal suffrage of the fairies. And every night tho lovely fairy is encored and recalled, and her name is starred on the bills, and bouquots and scented notes are loft by tho score at tho stage-door every uiglit.

ButBertio 'carosfor none of theso things.' Her theatrical triumphs give hor no moro than a passing pleasure ; tho notes she does not read,the bouquctsjshe will not accept,she passes indifferently through tho littlo crowd of Manchester ' gilded youths' who collect outside tho stage-door ,io watch her exit and .get into tho cab that takes her to her Jodging, nearly a mile from tho thcatro.

For Bertie is alono in Manchester. The Evelyns aro ' on tour' with a troupo, and Mrs. Evelyu is at tho soaside to completo her convaloscenco, for she has been seri ously ill; so Bertie is alone, and her com panions at tho thoatre wondor at hor, and envy hor.

' Can't think what makes you so good, Evelyn,' ono and tho other will say to her. ' Tho chances you have,"and you don't care for 'em ! Wish I could bo as good I' with a sigh.

* # # # •

' Well, Falconer, old man ; is it you in tlio flesh ?' cried Poulteny, stopping short before a tall man who had just emerged from Charing Cross Station, and Fal coner's hand clasped warmly that of his


' I am not a ghost yet,' ho said; smiling. • Just home, as you gee.'

• Time enough, I thought you were go ing to settle in Italy or Spain, or Bomo where. Why didn't you return before Christmas Day, instead of three days after


' Christmas has few charms for mo, my dear fellow,' returned tho other, holding up his hand for a cab. ' I must bo off now, Poulteny, get a lot to do—Au re


Ho sprang into a cab, and when it was clear of the station ho gavo tho order, « North Western Terminus.'

Then he drew from his valiso a copy of the Era, and turned to the oouutry theatri cal news, where, under the head of ' Man

chester' he read:

' The exquisite dancing and acting, and the beauty of Miss Bertie Evelyn, make tho feature of the pantomine this year. The house is literally crammed every evening, and money is turned away.'

Turning to the advertisements he read of the ' continued success of Jack and Nellie Evelyn, the famous serio-comics,' at Sun derland ; and in a. cornor was a paragraph * rejoicing' that Mrs. Evelyn, ' so much respected throughout the ; profession' was at Hastings, recovering from her recent severe illness. So Bertie was alone at Manchester.

Leigh Falconer throw himself back in tho cab, and set his teeth like a vice. Had it come to this, after all his determination to be true to his honour, that he was fling ing everything—honour—truth—peace^— promises, to the winds, and deliberately seeking 'Bertie, whom ho could not ask to be his wife? Did he onco falter, almost turn back? Nay, his conscience smote him heavily—lie crushed himsolf for tho sin on which his will was bent—but not once did-ho dream of turning back.

• I cannot live without hor !' he said to himself, again and again. ' I liavo tried for a whole year, I have fought against the-power that was dragging me back : to her, and I liavo failed. I have go more power to struggle.'

He reached Manchester in. the. evening, drove to the -Hotel, and dined—it was little enough ho ate—and then went to the theatre, taking a plaee at the back of

the dress circle.

If tho pantomine had been a play of Shakspeare's, perfectly acted, ho would have taken no more interest in it than ho did in this pantomine ; ho saw only Bertie, hoard only her voico ; all "else was blurred and


While she was on tho stage his eyes \ never left her, when she was gone ho looked

at nothing else—only waited till she came back, and when the curtain fell ho went round to the stage-door, and watched, liid •; den beneath an opposite archway, till Ber

tie camo out and got into a cab; then he called a hansom that was loitering near, and, springing in, bade the man follow the cab that had just driven off.

Cabby grinned and obeyed, and pre sently Bertie's cab entered a respectable piiddle-cl^ss street, and.stopped before'ono

pf the houses.

' Drive on,' said Jjord Falconer, ' to the

end of tho streot.'

Tlioro ho nliglitccl, paid tho man, and, turning back, took noto of tho number of tho house 33ertio l:ad entered.

' To-morrow,' ho said to himsolf, ' I will soo her.'