|Newspaper Title||Bowral Free Press and Berrima District Intelligencer (NSW : 1884 - 1901)|
|Trove Title||The Christmas Fairy|
THE CHRISTMAS FAIRY.
By-and-hye ho drew Iior to tbe sofa, and made her sit down by him, still holdiug her t j his heart, as if ho feared she would fade or melt away from him; nnd in broken .whispors sbo told him, answering his ques tions, how she had suffered, and oonld not eveu try to forget him, and could not wish that he might forget her.
• Ah ! Bertie,' her lover said, in bitter re morse, ' how little is a man's love worth, at its best, in comparison with a woman's I you tried to think only for my liappinesB, and laid no blame on mo, thongh I had won your heart when I could not offer you my name ; and 1, who should have prayed that you might blot mo out of your memory, would not ovon ondure the thought, and catno back with full intent to destroy you. Hush I' as, with a pleading look, she laid her head against him. ' Your love lias done more than pardon, Bortie ; but the bitter truth is there. It was your pure heart, not my honour that saved you."
• You must not speak bo, you break my heart,' said Bertie passionately.
'Nay, then,' ho said, Eoothing her,' I will be ti ent, ard will strive to make reparation by all the devotion of my life; though Ber tie, I know not how I shall cherish you moro fondly tlinn I should do if you had nothing to forgive."
' You must not spoil me,' Bertie said, wistfully ; ' and'—sho lifted herself now— ' you must not ask me to be your wife until I have been educated, so that I shall not make you ashamod.'
• You could not do that, Bertie. Yon al ways looked and bore yourself like the true born lady you are.'
•But I am ignorant, and I have not been in your society. Oh I You are making a great sacrifice for mo. Think what I am,' she said, trembling.
' Bertie, you don't know how you wound me when you say such words. You must promise me never to do so, my own sweet
And Bertie promised.
Lord Falconer would not hear of his betrothed wife remaining on the stage any longer than the close of that week. The pantomime would run to tbe end of February, in all probability. He would go to the manager and explain matters to him, paying him full compensa tion for the loss of his leading fairy. After that, he would take Bertie to Mrs. Evelyn at Hastings, while he sought Tom, and got from him the proofs of Bertie's identity. He could ascertain the name of the ship in which Alfred Lancaster sailed, and the list of the passengers, and then it only remained to see if that tallied with the information c I the fisherman who found Bertie. After these things were settled, Bertie was to be placed for a year under the care of a relative of her future husband, and given
4 And some things,' Lord Falconer said, smiling, • I will - teach yon myself. I Bhall not bo too easy a master, and I know you will bo a very apt pupil. We will finish ' Hemani' together, Bertie.'
The girl smiled a happy smile.
' I will work so hard,' she said, earn estly ; ' but is not a year too short a
' I think I am very patient, Bertie, to wait for you so long. I am not sure that I shall not shorten the period ; but, in any
case, your studies need not ceaso with your marringe."
No small stir was causod whou the news spread that Mis9 Bertie Evelyn, the panto mime danccr.was provod to bo the daughter of a gontlemnu, a friend of Viscount Fal coner, and furthermore that she was about
to bccome tho wife of the Viscount.
' 'Taint so surprising,' said Dobbs, of Drury Lane. ' I always said Evelyn was a lady born, though how sho got her good blood might bo a matter of inquiry; and anybody would fall in lovo with her—the difficulty was to help it.'
Tom Evelyn's amazement, when he heard tho news from Lord Falconer, may bo easily imagined. Cortainly Bertie's change of fortune would bo a loss to him ; but he was too generous to grudge it to her ou that account. And as for Mrs. Evelyn, she was in the seventh heaven that 'our Bertie' should bo a viscountess.
The evidenco of Bertie's identity was clearly established. It was ascertained that Alfred Lancaster sailed in the ship with his wife and child, that was wrocked off the Cornish coast. Tho rogister of Bertie's bap tism was traced; and, to make assurance doubly suro, Bcrtio Lancaster was tho only child on board the ill-fated vessel.
Bcrtio's studios wero pursued princi pally in Paris, and quicker and moro earn ost pupil master never had. Lord Fal coner was true to bis word, and proved no dilletante teacher; but he had never need complain of his pupil, and before tho year was out, ho begged for a 1 remission of his sentonce,' but Bertie pleaded for a little longer—she was so anxious to bo quite fit to tako her place in her new sphere. So it was Christmas time, after all, when • tlio Principal Fairy' became Viscountess Fal
The church was thronged throughout. ! Needless to say that Tom Evelyn and his
family wero amongst the crowd ; and Ber tie, as sho passod down tho nave, singled them out and kissed them all. It simply
never occurred to her noble nature to over look thoso who had been her frionds —to whom sho had been as daughter aud
Lord Falconer persuaded Tom and his wife to accept a settlement whioh placed them beyond tho possibility of poverty; but Jack and Nellio would accept noth ing. They could work, they said, and had dono nothing to deserve any recogni
But Bertie and her husband often visited Elm Lodge, and sometimes—though rarely —Tom and his wifo wero provailed upon to come on a quiet visit to Park Lane. ' But it isn't our style,' Tom would say; ' we'd rather you'd come to us, Bertie.'
It ,is credibly reported that the young Viscountess Falconer, on many occasions, indulged in a hornpipe in the parlour of Elm Lodge; that sho also did a doublo trip with Jack, and ' brought down the house, with a aeul (tho said 'house' in cluding the husband), as onoe she had won the applause of thousands, when she was
the ' Principal Fairy' at tlio Drury Lane