Chapter 174509175

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Chapter NumberXVIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1892-02-13
Page Number1
Word Count4822
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)
Trove TitleThe Devil's Own. An Australian Story
article text


CHAPTER XVIII. (Continued).


Another false start and then they arc off, the Duchess, as a reward, or rather punish ment for her skittishness, being far behind in the start, and likely to remain so, for in a

horse race,"ha in all else in life, lost time is bard to mako up again. Norman Portoscuo, from first hearing of and seeing the lanonoss of Lola, is so utterly disgusted and crestfallen, he does not oven stand up or get excited in watching them, but sits down and looks on at the race as if perfectly unconcerned as to its issue. Connie, not knowing how deeply her hus band is involved and interested in the race, is all anxiety about it from purely raoing excite ment—a novelty to her—os she keeps Nor man’s glasses to her eyes, now and then calling out the movements of the racers to her husband, who sits listessly, she thinks, wondoringly,liatening to the voices around as race goes on. “ Baron is first! ” shout the crowd. “ No, it’s Caliban—-Caliban—Caliban wins! No, ah, you overdid it my friend this time. Cali ban is nowhere. Some one is down—it’s Curlew—no. It’s Baron that’s in front,” “Ten to one on Baron—on Baron 1" repeats some excited bookmaker, as the blaok horse races past the stand proudly—far ahead' of the rest, who follow like a string behind, Lola nowhere. “Poor Lola,” says Connie, with a sigh. “They're going round again,” says a voice, hopefully, “ there's hope yet Mrs. Fortos cue.” it is Forth's voice, as the horses keep well together for a time, then a spurt here and there, na they near the post for the final victory. “Caliban wins, no, Duchess — Duchess wins ; wins-cosily,” is the shout, and certainly if flogging and spurring will do it she will win easily, for, poor brute, her jockey’s whip is going os often as the pondulam of a clock, and perhaps more than the little maro de serves, for she is doing her best “Hallo! if that bruto Lola isn’t coming up,” says some one, angrily. “ She’s ahead 1 Duchess is spent —no use, man—save your whip. Lola wins I Lola wins easy!” as the maro gallops past the judge’s box easily, without whip or spur, to tho disgust of all but tho bookmakers and a very few others. “If that isn’t tho devil’s own dodgery I’ll eat my hat,” says an hate stranger, as Lola passes into the saddling paddock, tho cynosure of all eyes and the wonder of tho multitude, not the slightest show of lameness and limping in her—not the sign of a spur on her flanks or a whip about her shoulders. CHAPTER XIX. y'" J GRATITUDE, “ Sweet as the breath of vernal shower , The bees' collected treasures sweet, Sweet musio’sTmelting fall,but sweeter yet The still small voice of gratitude. ” —Gray. There is a joyful commotion in the ring, though, to give them their due, those much abused members of the racing world have had no hand ia|Lola ( a being lame and win ning with flying colors. “It is not our fault,” they say, “if we win with a discarded horse — other people's leavings.” So lists go up in a shower, a few over exuberant men hug one another in their joy, and not a few whoso - throats are dry with shouting hurry off to tho refreshment places, there to drink to their own or their friends’ luck. Norman Forlcscuo has hold his breath more than once during tho exciting race to listen more attentively to the general shouting, and when all is over ho mutters a prayer of thanksgiving for his good fortune, and then registers a vow that it shall bo his last betting transaction on tho turf if ho live ±o tho ago of Methuselah. “Fortescuc, you don't mean to toll me you bare woo? Well, you aro a lucky dog. How tho deuce did you manage it?” saya Jones, ataring in amazement at his friend, ns if Norman had suddenly turned into a Delphic oracle. “I'd as soon have backed a screwed broken-kneed dromedary as that brute. How ever the old adage,"’Tis a ill wind, etc.’,” so I am right glad, old fellow, some one of us bas turned up trumps, though I put a pot of money on Duchess—yes, and she sold mo with a vengeance. My infernal luck; just like dll her sex, Mrs. Fortescuc—deceivers over— though wo get tho credit of that false accusa tion. I am off to have another look at this three-legged prodigy, will you come?" Yes, Norman would come gladly—not that ho was eager fox’ another inspection of tho limping outsider, hut he was anxious to find out tho man who had saved him from a heavy loss. Together they strolled into tho saddling paddock, where Lola was still being investi gated j her fetlocks examined and bandied by ft curious and dissatisfied crowd of all grades. Whon Jones and his friend joined tho number as if In search of some one, Norman having mentioned the advice of tho horsey-looking unknown to Jones. Backwards and forwards in the paddock, in and out tho stables, up and down tho lawn, through tho crowd of bookmakers, and sporting characters, but in vain. No such person showed up in their search, oven in the carriage paddock,whore lie bad brushed past Norman so hurriedly only cm hour before. “You’ll bo sare to meet him somewhere about the rooms settling up to-night,” said Jones, as they returned from their expedition, and joined tho ladies for nftornoon tea on the drag. “Quito a social gathering,” said Jones, as ho percoivod that tho number of their party cf the morning had considerably increased. “See tho conquering hero comes,” said Gordon, who had heard of Norman's luck. “ Well, if over there was such a luoky fellow and ho deserves it" “ Fortescuo’s luck is nothing to Armytago's. Wo have just hoard the baronet pockets a fortune,” said Jones. “ Armytago—Armytogo,” said tho voice of some one who hod just joined the group. “Is that the follow all that row was about last winter in Romo?” “This is Sir Hubert-Armytage, a baronet," Baid Jones. “So was this one,” said the first speaker. “Didn’t you hoar of it? Some follow shot another follow, don't you know—about a woman—a countess somebody.” “My dear follow—cola va Bans dj'ro,” said Gordon, with a twinkle, “ whoever bear# of any mischief but what a woman was at tho bottom of it?” “You dreadful man, you deserve to bo sat upon,” said Mrs, Cholmondoloy. “Do tell mo all about it, Mr. Fane. I am quite long ing to hear some chit-chat of dear old Romo. Wo were tbero last winter. It was strange I never heard any word of tho fracas you men tion—I am all attention, a bit of tragedy will really bo a treat and quite refreshing if told properly, always provided it does nob concern any of our intimate friends. Let us hear all about it” “ I am afraid I cannot gratify you, Mrs. Cbolmondclcy, with tho full particulars. It was a duel, don't vou know—one follow was shot dead and the other follow awfully wounded — something about somebody having—" “Dear mo, how excessively lucid," said Mrs. Cholmondoloy, “you aro as Intelligent as tho Sunday school infant, who, whon naked Tihnt bearing faUo witness meant, replied — When nobody did nothing and somebody wont and told of it,’ ” “ Yes, you know, and Armytago was blamed awfully, and bail to make tracks—in fact, ho was warned by the police to make himself scarce to avoid a row. I never hoard tho rights of it, for I arrived just after, whon it bad boon all bushed up, don't you know. I know Armytago had to stump up protty con siderably to koop tho affair out of tho papers,” “I must ask Mr. Forth," said Mrs. .Chol tnondoloy. “Woman’s curiosity," said Jimmy Gordon. “Mr. Forth wasn't In Romo at tho tlmo—at least 1 never hoar bis name mentioned in tho affair.” “I thought Sir Hubert Armytago and Mr. Forth ware inseparables,” said Mrs. Chol mondoloy. “Yes, a sort of Siamese twins arrange ment.” said Mr. Langley. “Forth wouldn't thank you for Baying ho was a twin brother or anything also to Army tago." “Who is taking my name in vain,” said Forth, coming to tho front of tho drag. “Ob, nothing, nothing, my dear follow. They were only Baying what a handsome follow you wore, and whnt a likeness to Armytago,” said Gordon. Forth .curled his lip contemptuously, “Wo wore not talking any suoh nonsonso,” acid Mrs. Cholmondoloy; “but I wanted to JfROW al| that affair in Romo last.

| winter—a duel or Bometing, in which Sir Hubert Armytago was concerned. ” “I waa not in Romo at the time,” snid Forth. “ Armytago never opened his lips on the subject, and I never took the trouble to enquire. It was nothing to me. I have an aversion to scandal.” “ But it wasn’t a scandal—it was murder. Ono man was shot," said Mrs. Cholmondoloy. “ Yes, I heard that much, and poor Monty Borosford has been crippled over since. Poor Monty—it was hard lines for him noor follow." “ Those foreign scamps forget tho value of an Englishman’s life, and only value it at tho same rate as their own worthless ones. ” “Duels ought to bo put down,’* said Mrs. Cholmondoloy. “So they are, my good lady," said Gordon. “Oh, yes—in a way," said tho lady, indig nantly. “ Look how often ono hears and roads of duels on tho Continent, and then of their being all hushed up, and it blows over. A few years* imprisonment, or a few floggings would soon stop oven tho very idea of such bloodthirty insanity. Ono would think in such n matter of fact ago that people would have too much common sense to make such silly exhibitions of themselves and their follies. They deserve to be chained to each other for a month with their hands tied. What idiots they would look!? “Themselves and their tempers?” said Gordon comically. “No; those dreadful duellists, it would cool their own fiery temperament a little.” “Very good—a capital idea,” said Gordon. | “ It reminds mo of a friend of mine who had a very valuable greyhound; but the bruto would worry anil kill sheep whenever there was an opportunity. Sly friend tried flogging and othor things, but nothing seemed to euro the bruto of his habit until one day an old shepherd got permission to experimentalise. I And quick work ho made of it, for ho tied tho dog to an old ram with formidable horns, and tho more the dog tried to got away tho more tho old shcop butted, until tho poor [ hound was almost dead, and very' much bruised. But from that day tho dog never touched a sheep; in fact, would turn tail if a sheep looked at him.” “ Hero* s Armytage. Shall I tell him you want him?” said Forth, curiously. “I*II tell [ him you are anxious to know the particlars i of tho Monty Boresford tragedy,” I “Not for worlds you silly follow, as if he or anyone else would speak tho truth on so personal a subject. ” “Oh, fie, flo I” said Gordon, “tell tho truth and shamo tho—tho ” “M.P. for Hados—on the radical side, of coarse,” said Mrs. Cholmondoloy solemnly, as Sir Hubert came across, said a fow words to Mrs. Anneylaye, and then sauntered away slowly, biting his lip angrily. “I shouldn't wonder at all if duels didn’t come into fashion hero,” said Gordon, sniffing about with his noso pointed straight up, “ Armytago just looks liko a train of gun powder only wanting a match” “ I wonder what has pat him out. Ho ought to look the concentrated essence of delight after all bis luck,” said Mrs. Choraondeley. “I had no idea it was so lato,” said Mrs. Fortescuo ns she saw tho horses were being put in and her husband escorting Mrs. Chol mondeley to tho Vernons’ waggonette which she bad chosen in preference to tho higher seated drags, and then tucking Miss Vavasour up in bis own high buggy before taking tho reins. None of tho party intended to stay for tho last race, tho crowd of vehicles and dust then being objectionable. Moreover, the ladies wished for a rest before thoir evening campaign of dinners and dances, late balls having been voted against by tho men. “After such a long day's work,” said Pane, “Pull up! Pull up, old fellow; pull up— there's my man,” said Norman Fortoscae, hastily, ns they turned an anglo of the Abington road and came in sight of an old-; fashioned sporting-looking gig, with a high stopping grey mare, driven by a dapper looking man, the personification of a well to do sporting farmer. “ I am sorry to trouble you but I roust not miss the chance,” said Fortescuo, ns his friend pulled the team up short almost send ing tho wheelers on their haanehes to the impediment of a string of vehicles behind. “Drive on, and thanks. I'll pick you up at tho club—perhaps bo there before you,” snid Norman, swinging himself down hastily and - beckoning the occupant of tho gig to stop, which ho did, getting very red in tho faoo at the sight of so many pretty faces looking down at him. , “Can you give mo a lift, friend? I've a word to say to you,” said Norman. “Certainly, certainly, sir; I'll bo only too proud of your company,” as Norman got up and the man whipped up tho mare. “ I hope I luck was bountiful to you to-day, sir. Did yo take tny advice?" I “Indeed, I did, and won a nice round sum, thanks to you—entirely to you. I hunted llu course over to thank you, and although I knew your face, I was puzzled in trying to remember where I saw you last, and your reason for so generously giving me tho right tip to-day. I should liko to make you some littlo gift out of gratitude, if a hundred or two would bo acceptable,” said Norman. “No, no, sir; I want no reward. I'm well rewarded, if it comes to that, if you won. My ! name is David Elworlhy, from Chiltern. Do t oo remember tho Albury races just nearly | four years agone—though it seems but yestor j day—when xf\y son Bam was riding Bnnsheo for tho last mao hut one, tho hurdle race,with pi city sti(fish fences, and jumping the last hurdle tho beast fell and roiled with Sam, poor little lad. I’ve tho picture as true as the biblo afore me now : the poor lad’s while face in the warm sunlight as he lay liko dead just down by the last hurdo, ana them darned idiots a-swarming about my boy, and doing nothing but stare, and I that dazed with sorrow and fright, for I thought it was all up with tho poor lad, and then you druv up just then, and in a jiffey you bad tho back seat out of your trap, and the littlo lad laid gently in it’on your overcoat and rug and telling mo to follow you druv slowly to your hotel. You said t'other one nonr the course was too noisy; and tho doctor came and for two days you nursed tho littlo chap—ho was but a littlo chap, though older than he looked —your own self. Ay, and when ho could bo moved you had him out to your placo for a change* Aye, aye—J mind it as well as ‘tworo only yesterday. Tho life saved as was that precious to mo,” said the man, brushing away an intrusive tear, as ho touched up tho maro to hide his motion. “You would have done the samo for mo,” said Norman, touched at 4 tho recital. “Dunno about that; 1 ain’t gifted with ! being quick at ideas for tho matter of that, and 1 can’t do nothing. I. wore struck all of heap like as to fear. ” “I rommbor it all now; and how is Sam?” snid Norman, questioning. “Sam? Our Sam, sir," said the man, proudly; “I should liko oo to see un, that I should. Ho never rode no more after that acaidmjt; but ho’s that strong ho can bate alltbo lad at sport, and os to work ho bates his old dnd hollow, that ho do. He’s as good a lad os over blest ono, and I thank you, sir, for it, and so-do my missus, for ‘twos you as saved tho olmp’s life. Dr. Barton said so his own self. You was that quick and thoughtful, you couldn’t have done more for your own son ; hut Sam ho wore that shy ho didn’t go out and thank you as ho ought to have done; and you didn't como to Ghiltorn as often as you used to- ‘Twos tho time of that there foul murder of poor Master Annoylayo—did yo never hear more of that business? Wall, Its my opinion that that follow know snmmut more or Mr. Annoylayo than over came to light, mark my words, and it’ll como to light some time or other. Where can I put you down? No, sir; no talk of reward, thank you, I haven’t over forgotten, nor over shall I. Good ovoning, sir, and God bless you,” as they stopped at tho club, “good evening”— thou with a sly knowing wink, tho old man leant down and whispered cautiously; “ Quar doin’ s about that there mare Lola to-day, sir; devils dodgery somowhoro, but blest if any of us can make out how it was all managed, Thoro’s some devil lot loose somewhere about. No, I’d stake my life thorn book makers balin't h&nd nor say in tbo matter; but it was tho cleanest trick end as cleverly done by some jackanapes as over I lioora tell of. Why. old Sam, at tho stable—ho as give mo tho tip—says be, ‘tho maro was as clean a stopper ns over camo out of those oro boxes only throe hours before tho race this morning’” “ It has posed many a wiser head than old Barn’s,” said Mr, Fortosouo ns ho shook hands with tho old farmer, and patted his snorting ninro kindly, ns they loft tho door of tuo club, and entered to find several men all talking together, some angrily—a veritable Rabol of tongues, “Hero's Fortosouo. Hallo, Fortosouo 1 bow did you work tho oraola and eclipse us all in wits to-dny? Tip uo tho key of tho problem, liko n good follow. Don't bo groody and keep all tho solution to yourself, which may help our dunderhended noddles in tho races to come. You and Forth and Armytago nro about the only select few in tho secret. ’’ Norman full somewhat annoyed at tho tone of voice and sarcastic questioning, but made a clean bronst v of tho cause of bis luck—how ho had laid on Lola days before tbo race, fancying tho maro his disappointment at hear*

iug of her lameness, being too late to hedge, and Anally his farmer friend* a ad riot*. “Just ’it,” said Maratoa; “that former fellow is at the bottom of it. What is his name?” Norman protested against saah a supposi tion, vouching for the man's respectability and honesty. Sir Hubert Armytage, puffing away at a huge cigar contentedly and silently, now and then smiled quizzically at one or another of the party, who wore launching forth about “swindling transactions being done,” “cheat ing,” and other strong language. “Oh, you may laugh, Armytage; it's all very well for you, who have won, to look contented, hut I'll be hanged if wo won't sift it to the bottom—then wbero will you be? — though the loss of the money may lie nothing," says Bob Molton, angrily, eyeing the baronet with a look that has 'a double meaning in it. Sir Hubert reddens under the look, then recovers himself, smiles cynically as if amused, knocking the ash oft his cigar as ho answers — “Lo jeu no voit pas la chandolle, mon ami, sifting it to the bottom migut bo more satisfactory. I will assist you willingly in so good a cause, and, moreover, refund my winnings with ‘most uncommon pleasure’; but, as 1 say, It will only end in smoko," “ Why, the brute had only three logs to stand upon when she showed tlrat to-day. Horses are naturally sagaoioas, and can be taught anything; but no one will make me believe they can ape lameness or sham a damaged fetlock at a moment's notice. Bah! the idea is simply preposterous.’’ “Don't know, I am snore,’’ says Jones, junior, rather a swell, in his drawly tone. “ 1* vo seen a circus horse sit up to table, I have really; hold up a silver mug to bis mouth; and I have soon another ape death and be carried out ns dead, looking ns dead as a herring, I have Bob, though I'm sorry your luck is out. I don't see why Armytage Is to blame” (“No, no,” said some), “but it certainly does savour of sleight of hand in some way—some dodgery—enough to puzzle Machiavolia himself or the devil,” “ Wasn't the Pinkcon smart to-day?” said I Fenwick, trying to put a stop to tho argu j moat and ill-will “She was in a devil of a temper," said Morrison. “By Jove! and no wonder. I heard it all; I was near the stand, and my lady was in her role of posing for effect.” “Awfully mixed lot of people hero to-day ; <iuite a tag-rag collection. Isn't it disgust ing,” said she to Dr. Mole with her most affected tone. “Well, I don't know,” said the doctor. “ At any rate it is an improvement on your young days, when your old father sold potatoes and you girls did dressmaking at Van Dieman's Lana, eh?” There was a general laugh. “Isn't that the doctor all over," said Jack son. “Bat she well deserved it; I hate humbug,” said Arthur. “ My Jfriond, half the world is made up of humbug—a useful commodity,” said Morri son, “ I liko Mole—a rough diamond, but honest spoken. It’s your mean, small-minded mon I abhor. Look at old Bonlon, with his twelve thousand a year. Gad ! if he didn't crow over a lot of ns on tho off day because he had paid only sixpence for his lunoh of oysters, ‘and, ray boy, more bread and butler limn I could cal' If that doesn't beat Banaghor, my name is not Morrison.” CHAPTER XX. ADORATION*. When you speak sweet I'd have you do it for ever; when you sing I'd have you buy and sell so; so give alms Pray so;' and for tho ordering of your affairs To sing them too. Wljen you dance I wish you A wavo o' tho sea that you might ever do nothing but that. —Shakespeare, “Lord Vcroker! is it really you?" “ Yes ; my veritable self, as largo as life, Mrs. Anne!aye. I saw you come Into the room. I was talking to Lady Camclford, when I caught sight of such a dress 1 ‘ Star of the merry greenwood,’ 1 said to myself, and then the wearer turned her head, and lo and behold it was you. I might have known as much.” “I didn't know you wore ia Australia, and how well you look—you'vo grown, I think; you look taller; you aro quite a man now," j she said laughingly. “And you look more girlish, if possible," ho said, “ I only arrjvcd yesterday by the mail. Now toll mo all about yourself, where arc you staying? Do you know, I was on tho verge of taking the first train and rushing up country to find you out, Ferrers came to the rescue. ” “We aro all hero for a time—the Por toscues and Aunt Dot, in a small home. Where are you staying, Lord Verekor?” “Oh, I am here at Government House. My father is an old friend of Lord Camolford's You will give mo this dance, I want to have a talk.” “I am engaged to Mr. Ferrers,” she said. “Dicky I Oh, 1*11 make it all right with him ; excuse mo one second”; and tho young lord was off and talking to tho Honorable Dicky and back again to tho widow, “Take my arm; wc will go out on the iawu. The night is warm ; it seems liko old times to see ypu again,” bo said, as they walked through the yoqiqS ijtnd then out into tho gardens. ‘Twas a delicious night, a midsummer night in all its glory, as they stood “ behold ing tho moon rise over the pallid aca and tho silvery mist of the meadows. Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me nots of the angels,” while the sweet perfume of roses came from the large masses of blossom in tho garden, “ What a heavenly night, and is not tho scent of roses delicious. Lady Camclford rjithoi prides herself upon her roses. Now toll mo all about yourself,” said ho. “ How nice for you lo bo staying with Lord Camclford. What a pity you didjiot come last' month J you just missed all tlio attrac tions—the races fri particular," she said. “A greater, sweeter allradtjon fought me here,” ho said. Indeed 1 1 am so glad ; you must toll mo ql) about it for Auld Lang Syne,” she said iiino* contly, ” There was a silence. Ho could not summon up courage to say all ho had to say, fearing to l;rcak tho spell of to-night's happiness. Might not it oqd in disappointment and mar the evening for both of then). “ What a pretty dress ! Came out from Worth, did it not?" “ No, it onmo out of a shop in Golds borough. I am glad you liko it; men generally have such good tnstc.” Jt was indeed an exquisite dress of simple dowdrop tulle over satin, hero and there sprays of maidenhair and rtno fern, in the centre of each was a small diamond star. “Aro thoso real," ho said, touching one of tho sprays, “Tho diamonds? Yes, They are Aunt (Dot's presents,” “I never doubted tho diamonds, I meant tho ferns; they look so natural, . . . Mrs Aunolayc, aro you glad to soo mo?" ho said softly. “ Do you remember tho old Seringa days—those happy days—when I remember so well you all (ho was about to say both, but onugbt himself ui> in time, and used the word all) said, ' Wherever wo arc there will always be a welcome for you old follow’?” “I am sure 1 never said old follow," said 1 Mrs. Annolayo smiling. “Of course wo ore glad to see you. You have never told mo about this p’retty Miss Somebody, and I must go in ; I am engaged to Sir Hubert Armytage for tho next dance," “ Hang Armytage—don't dance with him. You must not encourage such a cad. I won't let you," ho said. She looked up in surprise, wondering what ho meant. “Well, wo will go in if you winli it,” ho said gently, putting her hand through his arm. “ Remember you aro my star of the merry greenwood to-night, and for Auld Long Syne you will give mo every spare dance on your card. You will lot mo soo how many empty spaces there aro. ” "Oh, my card has scarcely been looked at; wo have not long arrived," ’aho said, handing | up lior o»rd as thoy entered tho drawing room. “ Next danco empty ; then it is mine,” ho said; and a minute after they wore whirling round the room lo tho admiration of many of tho spectators. “ It is simply a dream, Mrs. Aunolayo's waltzing,” said many of tho women, “and Lord 'Vorokor and tho widow look so well together. ” “Who's tho girl with tho diamond stars, Forroro?" said a stranger to tho Honorable Dioky. “Danoos woll, doesn't she, and outs out most of tho womon in stylo and dress. I must got introduced. H “ My dear sir, there >« hot tho ghost of a olmnoo; her card is full; 1 hoard hor toll Parker," “This is our danno. Mrs, Amjolnyo," said Sir Hubert, as Lord Vorokor was just march ing off with fiiH partner. (to »b continued.)