Chapter 138608306

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Chapter NumberNone
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1899-09-30
Page Number30
Word Count2106
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946)
Trove TitleLydia
article text



hx i;tiu:l mii.l;

The two women bent critically over the bright-lined embroideries spread out on tlie- table. .Although the silken sleeve ami the "eottonv" serge one were almost touch

in;:, and the dark head and the fair one as elose together as could be. in reality they were worlds apart, because the dark hatred. beautiful woman was Miss Trevor, ni Aird. and the fair-haired merely a nice K eking girl, only Lily Magi]], assistant milliner at Johnson and Fry's large di.ipery establishment—worlds apart in soi ial standing, at any rate, although a desire and a doubt in the heart of each


pave the touch of nature which "makes the whole world kin."

"This one." said Miss Trevor, at last,

imp up a giitterinp band to the light. "It matches best, after ail."

"It certainly does. Miss Trevor. It will look real lovely with the brown."

"I think it will do. I won't keep you any longer. Miss Magill." With a slight



bow she moved across the drawingroom to ilie window, and looked out across the lawns with expectancy. In a quarter of an hour or so the man she loved best on earth would come across that very lawn and into this tiower-tilled room to ask her to marry him. So no wonder Miss Trevor was a little absent-minded and dreamy, and forgot about the dressmaker and the embroideries, until Lily spoke a timid fare

will irom the door.

Lydia Trevor looked at her with a startied expression. What was it that made the environment change and a memory-picture start to life of this fair haired. black-robed girl, standing on a creeper-covered station verandah, a girl who raised iust such timid blue eyes to Iter own fraiA' hazel-grey, and an old heart

wound throbbed to the sound of .Jack Heat en's voice as he introduced her, his dearest and oldest friend, to the woman he

loved. The tone and the look in his eyes Lydia would never forget.

It vras an old story now, quite five years old. the hot, fierce courtship, the marriage, the hitter awakening, and then the divorce, to flutter society for a time. Now Jack Heaten was coming to ask her to marry him. Why should she remember what he so evidently wished to forget, perhaps he really had "forgotten. This little shop-girl,


with her strong resemblance to his faith less wife, was not likely to cross his path— those accidental resemblances, how puzzling they are.

"Did you want me, misB?"

"Oh, no, Miss Magiil; was I staring at you? I am afraid 1 was. No, I did not want you; but, stay, I will ring for some cake and wine for you; you look tired."

Before the girl could recover from her astonishment at this unexpected condescen sion, she was startled by Miss Trevor's

next remark—

"You look different to-day. What is it? When you have been here before—oh! it is your dress; I have never seen you in black before. You have always reminded me of someone—someone who always wore black, or nearly always, and to-day I have 'placed the likeness' "

"No, I'm not at the counters; we ap


prentices dress as we like. I hate black, and I hate this old rag, and my terra-cotta's about worn out."

Then, to Miss Trevor's intense astonish ment and distress, the shop-girl began to sob as if her heart would break. There was something about Lydia'e "thorough ness" of character which invited confidence, and in a few moments the cause of the girl's tears was laid bare. She was poorly dressed and poorlv paid, and there was Miss Murphy in the show-room, who was neither. Between them hovered Mr. Marmy Brown, head of the gent.'s depart

merit, very evidently a dangerous lidv killer, and a man to be desired abnvi. all others. He was matrimonially inclined, too, and "fancied" Lily Magill uneomri; iily. His family favoured the well-dressed Miss Murphy, and his affections were wav.-mg. There was to be a big employes' Ud a week hence, and Lily was convinced that could she only appear in a nice turn out the fateful question would be spoken I've only got me old terra-cotta. I'm going do it up with green, but everyone wi!i : now it, and gig him somethin' awful if he - arts the promenade with me. Miss Murply has




- st t.bree-«nd-sixpence the yard. ; , r fan and bead trimmings, and

of ianov lace on the skirt,' or LiEfi'e miserably.

lir child, you are not i should think, and I'm ? ;v, and have seen so

? e world. Now, I will tell you ."to comfort you. I knew a girl,

vcrv one said, and she had the -cans to dress beautifully. For , nlan she loved cared for some

girl whose looks were nothing ordiuarr, and whose clothes and often shabby. Love is , rbially blind, and you will find

ices you, nothing will make any

, kc earnestly, but Lily refused mforted. Manny Brown's af -c or fell according to the frocks

iml it was hard to see one's -?.re iieeting because of so small

vor raised her eyebrows a little, ,i that this shallow soul was in

seeing beneath the surface, and no unhnppier in consequence.

_ne you a frock," she said; "so any more."

:; -s Trevor, you don't really

<)h, Miss Trevor, can it be low

, vor looked at her critically, oory took the reins. Jack Hea ooked well in evening dress, like Lite lily, as this girl would look i; -i, re properly dressed. A thought

rough her mind. "If you do not ,,jiu, w ould like the dress to be black," <ju> . "It would suit you, and you

?i-c the best flowers you can tin,; ? right on it up at the ball."

onted, a little disappointed in )„>]• ,, :: - loving heart.

1 may ask you to do something for Mr Lydia added, cutting short her ju-oiuihanks. Deceit or subterfuge was fereig'! to lier nature, but she was con temp!:: :ng something of the kind now. ••(iooii l ye. Miss Magill, I will drive around to-morrow and arrange about the trork. I am expecting a visitor now, so will good-bye."

As i.'ly departed with her samples through one door Jack Heaten came in at llic oi iter. There was an eager, glad look on his well-featured face. Seeing these two together one would be bound to sav, "Whn! ,i fine couple!" though Lydia was,In reality. tar and away the more handsome. That Lydia loved hint Jack had little doubt: though he had scarcely acknow ledged the fact even to himself, it had always been so—a settled, established fact, that had grown into his very inner con sciousness. And though the regard he felt for her had only been brotherly, he had grown to respect and admire her nore and more a.- tlie years went by. And now that he was aide to come to her with the ques tion thai would give her a right to indulge that great love to the utmost, no wonder he wo-; astonished to see how great was her hesitation, how close the "no" was to the "yes" in her unspoken answer,

lie judged her by himself. To "possess,"


rc could one want—forgetting, ae

'??i forget, that—

?? 'if (lie man is for the woman,

? of (tie woman is for the desire of the > ing, but true.

i" not care for me," he queried,

almost laughed outright at the as nt he could not hide in his voice,

?ir-e I do—I have always loved you.

? it, .Jack."

-e 1 am a divorcee you have

h, nol It is not that; 1 would not 'hat," she hastened to assure him.

what is it?" And .Jack looked


So not love me. No, don't protest;

? 'it."

'? there is no woman 1 admire, or

r trust so much as I do you; you very beautiful; you are my o'deat, 'iiend. 1 would count myself the ('-Slow on earth if you would accept

)' ies, J quite believe you do admire n"v . . Jack, dear Jack, you quite forget ' ( '? -aw love in your eyes five vears

S" not he angry with me, dear."

'h :1 is past, Lydia. On does not love 'J "rie does not respect or trust. You

r<r 1 mind me of that follv, that mad

ri(.->- . •>

' dare, because it is true she treated an'! r'-vl,y—you, the noblest man I know; -- f yvU-then!'s 'ove without respect. Jack

" she were to come to you, pleading, re pentant, you know she is not married,

01,1 hi you forgive?"

wH ve!nB "tood out like cords on Hea

ris forehead. "Forgive', never forgive

* Asides, she is happy hot her sin


There is a sea between us; she would never plead—never repent!"

"But if she did?"

"Lydia, I will not have her mentioned; the past is quite dead. I love you, and I want you."

"Perhaps—hut it is only because I love von so that I want so much from you. There is a sea between you, as you say—so who can prove—anything. Well, 1 will with hold any answer. I have a fancy to give it to you this day week. You remember the organ recital we are going to; I will tell you there."

Lydia had an imperial wav with her sometimes, and Jack felt that he must how to her decision, but he went away feeling triumphant, all the same. She lovea him, and would desire to possess the thing she loved. A week was not long for him to wait. He had kept her waiting long enough in bis blindness. But why had she mentioned her? A wild wave of anger surged through his heart—was the past never to be forgotten?

During that week of waiting, Lydia busied herself over choosing the black frock; it was a "dream" when finished; and when the fateful night came, and Lily looked at herself in the cracked mirror, she was well satisfied, she had never looked so well in her life; the paste star in her fair hair might have been real. There would be no better-dressed girl in the room that night, and there was the loveliest snray of pink French poppies to don when she got there. Meanwhile, there was just



" TIM AND Til'."

that funny little affair to go through for the strange MisB Trevor, and she hurried up the small brother wlio was to accom pany her. She begrudged the time dread fully, and was one of the first to arrive at the'large hall where the organ recital was to take place, and taking a front seat she kept turning impatiently to sen if the party from Aird had come. Yes, there they were, Miss Trevor looking really beau tiful, an old white-haired lady nnd two gentlemen slipping off her cloak. Tell ing the small brother to make tracks for the door, Lilywalked slowly down thenisle likc space between the seats, conspicuous enough because of her out going, dark lleaten looked up, ns, indeed, most, nf (he audience did, ns the girl went quickly to wards the door: a fleeting glimpse was all lie had of her. lie turned deathly pale, and sprung to his feet to follow her. Lvdia laid a wnrning hand on his arm. "It is onlv n ehnnee likeness," she whispered. "1 know the girl well. Do not follow her.-'

"I did not mean to," he said quickly, nnd then, with an apparent effort. "Lvdin. you are to answer me to night- give it to me now." And I.ydia gave him hi« an swer, guided in her derision by the look which bad lenjit to his eyes when the fnir hnired girl had passed them.

"She will rnme bark to you some day, .lack; let things be between us as they are."

On the way home that night Miss Trevor's carriage passed close to the hall where the drapers' ball was being held.

"There is one woman thoroughly happy to-night, at any rate," she said.

"I beg your pardon, my dear," answered

l.he old lady sleepily, "did you say you j 'ft},,

were happy?" -

*Oh no, I true not speaking of myself," said Lydia.