Chapter 174508945

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Chapter NumberXVII
Chapter TitleHOMAGE.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article174508945
Full Date1892-02-06
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count1506
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)
Trove TitleThe Devil's Own. An Australian Story
article text

CHAPTER XVII.

HOMAGE.

SHAKESPPARE.

"Win her with gifts if she respect not words, Dumb jewels often in their silent mind More than quick words do move a woman’s mind.

A lino handsome lei low was Gustave, the courier to Sir Hubert Armytage, or Monsieur Gustave na tiic waitcra ami chambermaids usually called him; tall and well made, with good clear cut features and fair hair, there was really nothing French in the usual term about him except his name. Many .said that Sir Hubert Armytago imitated bis courier in style and appearance. Others, again, said the courier imitated Sir Hubert; but Gustave would have laughed a ringing laugh of merri ment, showing all his white and oven teeth, at suoh an—to him—absurd notion. Captain it was that there was no question as to which was the handsomest and best tylo of the two, master or man. To add to the courier’s superiority in form and feature, Gustavo had a good walk—bold nod erect, with head well poised, nw if pleased with all the world and proud of him self. More the light, springy walk and dc bonnair deportment of an Hungarian chas seur or Prussian hussar. The baronet, unfortunately, had not this military gift. Ho walked with a slouch head, much down hotweon his shouders, as if objecting to meet the world face to face. On this bright summer morning Gustavo dressed in his usual tunic suit of dark green cloth very much froggod-braided and as aigncl letted-dappor as a guardsman oven to his tasBollcd Hessians, the terror of the Con tinental and other “ hoots’'—loft the hotel with his floral gift. Ho stopped to speak 1° a cabman on the stand near; it was the same man that had driven Sir Hubert Annylago to tho station. After a few minutes’ conversn.- tion, Gustave jumped into the cab, and woa whirled away to tho station, where he took tho train for Bnyton, a jaunt of not very many minutes. Walking -at a rapid rale, neither looking to tho right or left, as if ho know Lho place of old, ho soon found himself at tho door of tho ‘“Nest,” whore ho rang the bell with n loud pcnl; so loud that Mps- Annoylaye quietly writing letters in the drawing-rooom, almost jumped off hor scat in alarm ut tho startling sound, fearing it might bo a telegram—and telegrams always made her nervous for in hor small experience of these electric messages, they had generally been tidings of death or illness,, She soon recovered her calmness, however, when tho servant entered with a cardboard box, and paid: “A gentleman wishes to see you, ma’am. Ho looks like a foreign gentleman. He has a message he says.” Mrs. Armytago blushed as she opened the box and took out the bouquet—Sir Hubert's gift. “I don’t think I ought to accept it. Yet I don’t like to send it back ; it would be loo fussy, and appear like an insult. And bo many kind friends send no flowers. I hope this does not mean anything. 1 wish it had come from anyone else,” sho thought. 44 Toll tho messenger to walk in,” The courier entered looking so handsome na bo blushed tliat the maid servant seemed loth to shut the door and the vision of such a attrnctive fellow from hor view. “His Excellency Sir Hubert Armytage’s compliments to madamc, and hopes the flowers are to madnme’a taste,” ho said, with » slight inclination of tho fine head, as he looked at Mrs Annoylaye, Now, it so happened that lho. baronet had never (tent any message at all, telling, his courier to send the flowers with 8ir Hubert Armytogo’s compliments written on ono of his visiting cards. But, doubtless, there arc men gifted with curiosity os well ns women; certain ii was that tho messenger mode tho bust of the few moments ho was in the widow’s pretty drawing room. 41 My compliments and thanks to Sir Hubert Armytago. It is very kind; but I hope ho will not trouble to send any more —my garden is so full of flowers, I have many more than I really want,” said Mrs. Aimoy layo, opening’ hor purse to bestow some gratuity on tho messenger for his trouble. 44 A thousand thanks, mndame, bat loannot accept your douceur. Sir Hubert objects to my doing so, I am well paid for my services." “Then you must have a glass of wine after your walk—the day is very warm,” she said, ringing tho boll and ordering cako and wipe. Tho courier did nob refuse n glass of wine and some cake, which ho drank and ato slowly, looking round the room as ho did so as if in odmiration of tho different pictures and pretty ornaments; and ns his blue eyes wandered about even tho widow could not help saying to herself: “What a handsome fellow! too handsome to bo a servant A veritable Achilles!” Ho, standing full height near the door, bowed his head gracefully and respectfully to her as he drank the wine. 44 His Excellency left this morning for tho country.” ... . 44 Ob, Indeed,” said the widow, with almost a pleased look, tho courier fancied : 44 it is such lovely weather for travelling." ,Tho courier still hesitated, 44 1 .wonder what lie is waiting for,” she thought. . “Madame has a very charming chateau,, lie said. 44 like a beautiful' picture; and tho gardens they are perfect; They -remind mo of Italy—beautiful Italy.” 44 Yes, it is n pretty place,” said Mrs. Annoylaye, 44 would you like to go on the beach? There is a walk through the garden. The gate is open. ” r , “I thank you very much,” he said, bowing courteously; 44 it was exactly what I wished permission to do. ” Ho took up bis hat and bowed himself out. Sauntering slowly through tho garden, stopping a moment to admire a largo rose tree with its clusters of -rich dark blossoms —a little butterfly was hovering over the flowers, a sedate humble-bcc was booming about. They might have hoax’d the words that worn ullprcd by tho stranger— 44 Yes, beautiful ns an angel'—too good for him. She dislikes him. I could see that- She never noticed his flowers nor raised them to hor nose,” he said. Ho made his way to tho bench, standing for a moment in thought, looking out to sea, A beautiful picture, the ocean and sky outlying each other in the deep blue coloring of an Italian scene. A group of happy /riiflilwkn in Uftla whifp fluila rocallod. ulB

thoughts to tho sands, whore the lilllo ones were digging and delving to their hearts’ content, busy at work making miniature forlillcationn under tho command of an elder member of tho juvenile community, aged about eight or nine. Near them, seated on a piece of x-ock on tho bank, was thoir nurso, a comfortable, matronly looking woman, who, with a little ono on hcrlap, sang and worked and talked, alternately keeping a watchful oyo on her small charges noax*, She was not a little taken abaok at tho sight of a man ap pearing on tho scone of thoir quiet and pie* uresquo retreat. And such a man, too. “For all tho world,” sho thought, “like a stage Russian count. A foreigner, of course,” sho added,-with an inward quako, hor idea of foroignci*a being mostly taken from highly colored descriptions in cheap novels or in her limited experience of theatrical econo?, where foreigners were portrayed ns llorce looking, bowhiskered ruffians of tho brigand typo. Gustave had a way of his own with women. It bad always succeeded—ho was not bash ful ; au conlrareo, many would, have termed it bounce. On this occasion ho watched the children, who oyod him askance fox’ a whilo. Then ho added a grand fortification to thoir castlo with a small spadelyiug near, and quite won tho small hearts, and they wero soon on terms of intimacy with “Jack tho giant killer," as Puck called the stronger. Then he tuxmod to tho nurse, and at once subdued all her fear by stating who and what bo was, and his eiTand, that of a message from his master, and soon quite a fiiondly intercourse which had tho desired effect for Gustavo of learning all ho wanted to know fox* cci’tain motives of his own ; and the nurso being a good-nstux-cd chatty body, was communicate partly, perhaps owng to the fascinations of Monsieur Onstve. It was over a quarter of an hour when ho took his leave and a good portion of tho good woman’s heart with him as ho hurried to tho station and was bade at tho hotel, and in a sober suit of grey was off again in loss than an honr to tho station where, by hard dxdving, ho was able to catch a country train to boo the mines as he had told Mr. Forth that moi’ning at the flower shop.