Chapter 174511074

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Chapter NumberXXIX
Chapter TitleLOYALTY.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article174511074
Full Date1892-04-09
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count3612
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)
Trove TitleThe Devil's Own. An Australian Story
article text

THE DEVIL'S OWN

CHAPTER XXIX. LOYALTY.

AN AUSTRALIAN STORY BY Mrs. RICHMOND HENTY. (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

"Pray, who was there ? Why all the court and town. "-Shakespeare. “Here I am at last,” said Mrs, Fortes cue entering Miss Vavasour's sunny room,

sweeping her long court train of pale rose eatin, witli ita,bouquets of blush roses and forget-me-nots along the carpet in par donable pride and gratification* /* Mr, I'ortescuo had ensconced himself \Mth The fimes in a small recess neir ono of the windows, “ to give, ample room,” as ho said, “ for the tail spreading, procciss of the court paraphernalia/* “Is that wife I..'I couldn’t have beliovedit possible ! Why Connie, you are much prettier than lever thought you could be. Is that all your own hairl” ‘‘My very own,” said his wife merrily, “oh my own head.”' - > “Inever,thought you had so much.’ said he. “ No more did I,” said his wife, “ but oh 1 what a twisting and a twirling j what a frizzing and a curling; do you know nothing would over tempt me to undergo 1 *be process of court hairdressing again. 1 really thought. I was being beheaded, nnd'fully expected every moment to see my head roU.oh to the floor.” 1 l am afraid, Connie, we shall never be content io resign ourselves to obscurity, or settle down in our * unable otW again after.'allvthiscourt finery and excitement,” said Mr. Fortosoue in a serio comio tone of dblefulhess. At which remark his wife pat bar fair arras-round Her husband’s nook and gave him a, kiss., . “There 1 X am blind for life,” said.be, blinking, ,half. in.pretence, half in reality. “ Qpe, of your head gear arrangements wont bang into my eye.” “.Court plumes, sir, is the correct appellation of . head, gear arrangements,” says his wifr, with a graceful sweep back of her train as .she moves aside for her cousin, who comes tripping into the room aa tt ber heavy train of white' velours frise and satin, with its bouquets of while azaleas, over her arm gracefully as if going to court was nn ovofit of every day occurrence to the dainty little dame “ I am so glad we have our hair done early Connie dear, my ears arO only; just getting cool,” she says, smiling as she notices the squeezed up position of Mr. Fortescuo in the corner as ho looks at her with beaming admiration. “You are positively lovely Vera, my child,” says Mrs. Fortescuo as Miss Va vasour insists on putting a finishing touch to a refractory azalea that will rear its head in stiff ungraceful ness out of the corsage flowers of Mrs. Anneylayo’s dress. “Fine feathers make fine birds,” says Vera with asoftsigh.of sadness as if a shadow of some past sorrow or regret was passing in her mind. *?I only hope,” continues Mrs. For teacue, “I shall behave properly and not disgrace you ail by tumbling down with fright just in front of the Queen. I 8 b® * 8 very formidable looking in stater—you know I have never seen the Queen, aunt Dot/’ “ No love, she is most gentle and kind, particularly to timid, and unsophisic-ited debutants, Vera, the excitement and hairdressing together has quite" given you a bright colot ray child, such an improve ment.” They are standing putting oh their 1 gloves whilst waiting for Lady Mab-I Ponsonby, who is to' present them, and wIl ° bsaprpmisod to call for them early, so as to, if possible, be in time for Her Majesty, though Lady Mabel generally does.tilings in a scramble. Lady Mah-1 is a favorite cousin of Miss Vavasour, and a' lively ohitty woman—so loquacious that she is termed, by her more stt®dy cousins, Lady Babel, though every one likes her, or nlG • says, Mrs. Anneylayo taking a letter from the salver a servant hands her, and looking at it curiously puts down her bouquet to .open it. “Only .a no,to—a. few . lines”—but short as it is the contents have sent all the color oat of Mrs. Aiineyhiyc’a face, ‘.‘What is it ray darling ?” said Miss Vavasour. “Oh ; auntie, auntie,” said Vera in a choking voice, os if to check her tears. “ No bad news Vera, surely/’ said Mr*. Fortescuo, jumping up and coming for: wmrd anxiously, “you have had quite/ enough trouble already my dear,” .“Aunt Dot, Vera has basno breakfast,/ she is just weak from-exhaustion,” said ! .partly guessing the con tents’of her cousin’s letter, “do make her fik® 8 of wia ° ; insist upon it* Vera, I |)Bt, for goodness sake don’t even shed a tear, X am quite sure you will .bo turned out deary if you appear with red eyes— there! .she is smiling, that’s right darling —no one is worth crying for.”' "Well jT am" sure ! if that don’t bate Bannagher,” said Mr. Foctescue with a shocked grimace of surprise, “what next T I am an injured man ” Mj8?, yovasour had flown down stairs* an 4iUR.i again bringing a glass of wine, which Vora took. . . . “ Odds boddikens I. Goody twoshoos 1 if LadyMabbl’s carriage isn’t there—tho horses foaming at the mouth with rage at. haying, to ohamp the bit so long, and mihi bento martini, what flowers » I quite envy Her ladyship’s servants,, their attractive ? appearance—daffadown difles and lillies—her ladyship is looking np.anddaughing, shall I kiss my hand, no 80 1“ s«Q you down to the carriage, I can do no more. Allow mo”— arm poked out old courtier fashion, os Vora, laughing, kissed her aunt, handing the note blashingly, and whispering Norman may aeo.it>” she hurried down an d, with ; her cousin, was soon whirled away, to assist, as ‘the French nay at- tho‘fashionable gathering and °* beauty.at Buckingham Pahco 'the: noise of. the wheels •SttWIiy ™ 189 /Vavasour looked. ,at Mr. Fortescuo thoughtfully nod Mr. Fortescae looked nt Miss Vavasour coitilcally “Well aunt. Dot what, shall we do with onrselves till they return, T fcnl quite melancholy already at the wafting" away of such bright visions—suppose we go and regale ourselves with tho waxen Vnages and court trains of Madame Tussaud, or, better still/ tho British Museum, I feel inclined for mummy y9 r *bip, something venerable; and respect, able to sottle my brain after being so ‘~7.’ 8hali we «ay the British Mutscnm.^' ? I ‘. 1 • • '* f - -is reading fho .4 nD °y ,a y Q bad given her, a J ter a b° bands it silently and thoyghtfuny to Mr. Fortescuo. He reads it over twice carefully, Miss Va fftX; Wfti ° hiD ?' Ibo expression of his /She does, not care

fot him does' she ? I shouldn't bother my head about the letter,” said he. “ Sho never even liked him,” said Miss Vavasour, and it is ray firm belief ho is ‘ an^an—•” i . u An what 1 aunt Dot j you frighten inie you look so tragic—a Very Lady * Maobeth—=«n wliat ? I wonder if you | think the same as I u do, my idea begins | With an ‘an’.” I “ An—nn impostor—thoro,” s»id Miss i Vavasour in ,a very tragic voioa, ns if spitting her words out was quite a ‘ relief. “Just ray ideji,” said Mr. Fortf-sou**, locking at the note. “I thought it long ,ago, but one doesn’t like to condemn a 'fellow without evidence ; however, time will prove; as to Vera—time can be .in* definite, she is, not bound to say when—if she has made a rash promise and is'too scrupulous to break it. I wonder hpw the ponies are getting on, you know aunt Dot you , are spoiling those , girls, you know you are ; I shall never be able to scold or even manage Connie egviu.” “ She wilf never require it my deir sir, how handsome your wife looked to-day,did she not* i thought her dress more effec tive than Vera’s,” said Miss Vavasour with that charming way she had of say ing what sho knows will please her hearers. Miss Vavasour had been in luck’s way of late -yin bid and rejected loyor haying died , and left his oId_ love a very s did legacy, together with a house in Brooke street, Grosvenor Square, much to the lady’s surprise and gratification, though^ | tinged with a shade of remorse at Iwr treatment of her lover in bygone days. Sho had insisted on giving her nieces their presentation dresses, no small item of expendit ure, and,as far as Mrs.. Fortesoue was concerned,totally impossible for them to afford with their very limited moans. “If you don’t mind, r> Norman, and have nothing better to do, we will take a hiinsom and drive round by the polace just to have a look at (he carriages.” “ And a peep at the ponies,” said Mr. i Fortescue, with p sly look* u So wo will. ' I’ll ring whoa you are ready. I want to .have a look at the Princess, so if we start soon wo may see her in the Avenue if, wo get out, we can retain the cab.” . , “ Are you sure you don’t mind driving with an old woman, amongst such-a con course of spectators,” said Miss, Vava^! sour. 1 “Well, I ,am both surprissd and shocked. I never thought you could be guilty of fishing for compliments.” , “ Then .1 must run away and put on my corao-follo w-me-boys bonnet and make myself smart. I know men hato to b.> kept waiting when they have decided to go out, and I am too old £p., waste time in titivating. Lunch is ready, don’t wait for ran. I’ll just put up a few cak. s and get ready whilst you have lunch, wq have not much time to spare.” “Surely Aunt Dorothy wo are nob going to oat, drink, and ba merry in the I cab,” “Oh no, tho cakes are for the girls if we see them, they rausb.be famished.” It was a crowded drawing-room, the first of tho season, when there is gene-! rally a rush.of presentations. “One can always depend upon being! presented to tho Queen in May,” said ' Lady Violet Mirston. “I expect the Queen will not hold many more drawing rooms. Sho must be getting on in years. I only hope I may live as long, and be as respected.” “ Mama chose the fifst drawing-room for mo to bo presented, because my dross will bo so useful for the early part of tho se >son, when one is bound to look fresh and nice,” said her friend. “ We are getting nearer, good ness, I rather dread the ordeal, they tell me the rooms are so cold in M xy. Mama said she actually shivered last year.” “ Provisions for tho camp,” said Mr. Fortesoue puttinga fatpaporbag into Lady Mabel’s cirriago, he had easily found by the largo ddfodil nosegays of the .hlt : vants. [ “ Aunt Dot is in a cab over there amongst the empty carriages.” “ You d-ar good fellow—a truly good Samaritan. I am as hungry as a hound,” said Lidy Mabel spreading out a hrgo i white shawl by way of a tablecloth and pouncing upon a sponge cake. it | not for the gazing multitude I.should i bring a picnic basket, but I cannot draw down the blinds, it would be too oru-I u]. together, for the poor things they have so few pleasures— they may staro at me to their hearts contents if it is any treat to them.” “ Ain’t sho. a beauty,” said a cadaverous looking individual staring into tho oir .riage.” “ Yes,, like one them marble busts in [ the British Museum,” said another. tf Lppk at the old.dady’s diamon Is, she : might have spared, the young ones a few,” I said a third. ! “ There j" said Lady Mabel, “ did you overhear speb ingratitude; to be called old lady to begin with after I have been .exhibiting my charms for tho last hour pro bono publico, I’ll hive my revenge I’ll bring ray picnic basket next time aud down will go tho blinds, and amen to the the exhibition of diamonds and brocade. I feel bolter now. I’ll leave you my favorite pug whoa .die, Mr. Fortescuo, for your, thoughtful ness in feeding mo.” j “ It wasn’t mo—you must thank Miss Vavasour Lady Mattel, she is a monument of kind though s and good deeds.” “ X am so glad you are recovering your voracious appetite, lady fair,” said Mr. Port :scuo to Mrs. 'Anneylaye, who was slowly nibbling a maccaroon. “No ; she is losing the little,she had of it said Lady Mabel,” what a treasure for a : husband to have a wife that lives upon one maccaroon a day,” “Oh ! Norman, I feel so.greedy,” said Mrs. Anneylaye. “Do look at that poor, miserable little atom there shivering, I am sure sho is hungry, poor child; would you mind giving her this ’* (handing up a Queen cake),. . “ Certainly not, but like the loaves and, spiall fishes, what is that amongst io many. Here little pioanniny, bow, wow, here’s a cake • for you, eat it up like a good child.” A smile of satisfaction passed over the faces of the crowd near* , ci God bless her,-she is as bonoio as she is good,” said an old wopjan peering for ward and taking a second look into the carriage, . “ What do you say for it ? Thank you air,’! saiid the mother, an emaciated look ipg woman in shabby, mourning, . “.Thank you, sir,” said the child timidly, picking the currants off tho cake, ;“I must, return to Aunt Dorothy, I left horamongst the coachmen,” said Mr. Fortescup. . “ A very respectable body guard, I am sure, and much—”i< v . ‘ “The rest of Lady Mabel’s sentence was lost to Mr. Fortesoue as the .carriage, moved on, <md to Vera’s delighb she saw the li.tlo child- offoring.up a largo-corner Of her cake smilingly to the palo mpther. ; r ‘‘ Poor littjo mite,” said Vera to herself iis her .thoughts wandered to her own little ones, well cared for, and just now frisking I

about joyfully amongst the chestnuts End flowers in the Kensington gardens. , Here conn s the Princess Mrs. Anm>y layo, ses 1 ! tiny hive clean'd tho course; hero ootue the Guards, -they always escort tho J?rinco and Princess,” /‘said Lidy Mabel, ,as -the brilliant cortoga;swept past. —.‘the Prince and Princess bowing right and loft to the. loud ohoera of .the multi* tu<ie.’, •. ? Sho is very -lovely said Vera, so fair and girlish looking, quite different to what I had pictured her from hor por traits ' Hor photo J , always represent her •is a large dark-looking, woman, and tall, iatjtcad of • a small and delioxtely fair young girl, i shall not be tho least bit j frightened at being pr se ted if it is to I the Princess.” j “No,” aa : d her cousin, “I already feel ' quite'inclined to give her a kiss, sho looks so sweet." • “ That dreadful band J how' people con likb such shrill ma£io, so awfully metallic and brassy,” said Lady Mabel, ns they passed through tho, gates while the Guards 1 Band, just finishing “ God Save tho Queen,” as Royalty passed in'and out of sight of the elated crowd. “ What a beautiful creature,” said old Sir IJeivgrine Frothwoll to his friend, General Bramble, as Vera pissed on, looking terribly white and tearful, though she trios to appear light hoirtfed,* as she catches a glimpse of Lord Rudolph look ing at her with a smile of evident satis faction. “ I wonder who she is,” said Sir Pere grine, twisting his waxed moustache to vanity pitch. “ Never saw her bofpr % A great recommend ition,’ isn’t it 1 ” “ Cavendish knows everybody, don’t you know,” said a young exquisite of the"; hniw haw period, ‘ “I hive been watching Lady Babel’s party myself, I am curious about the*, little beauty. I 1 S’»y .Cavendish, old fellah, who is th.- woman in-white.” , year; the woman in white, good title,” echoed Sir Peregrine. , Eh "General! deuced pretty woman too, where does she hail from, oh 1 too fair to. bo Irish, too delicate to be Scotch, and X could swear she is not English, or I should have heard of! her-” continued the Bironot,’ who h iving been a Wealthy brewer had, like many of his;; kind, .become ..fashionably celebrated for his “beer and his bawbee*,” as general Bramble says, and knew every body. ’ 1 “ Straight from tho other end of tho world, tho antipodes,” said Lord Caven dish. 11 Hay.! .what! , coroo, comp, don’t toll me. Toll that to the marines,” said the General. “ ft is a fact, never.' heless, ray Christian brethren,” said their oracle. I had it from tho : very best authority Lord Rudolph V’erekor," "What the woman with the thingummy flowers —there is,nothing aboriginal about her,” said the ox-brewer, “ is there Bramble. And so she is a widow—is it possible! Why, she is only a girl, and a widow.” " A very pretty widow, too,” said the General. ‘ Heigh, hoi if I was only thirty years younger.” “It is novf-r too late to mend, General,” said Lord Oavendibh. “H’m ! suppose not," said the general, " but I always think of the old Scotch man’s proverb to a young benedict who hod just entered the world of „bondage ; Young raon ye ha’ tied a knot wi’ yer I tongue which ye canna undo with yer teeth —but I must just move bn and't’ake another look at the prettiest woman I have soon for many a day—an Austra lian ! I ca.i’t believe it.” “ Well dears and how did you got on* t»'ll mo all about it,” said Miss Vavasour a few hours later, as Jjady Mabel, Mrs. Fortescue, and Mrs. Annoylayosat at tho tea table foisting on its daiutjes hungrily. “I’m too hungry to speak, give me ten miuu'os grace doir and I’ll eclipse you all in't-ilking,” said Lady .Mabel with hor mouth full. “ I wasn’t frightened a bit,” said Mrs. Fortescue. “ Of courso.not,” said Mr,; Fortoicu >, “ give iny wife a handsome dress to wear andrl firmly believe ; she would face a judge and jury,” said Mr. Fortescue^ “Never mind old girl como to mo for a character and now toll mo how you got o«j —did you trip over your train and catch hold of Her Majesty when you found yourself falling—and who was there. I shall expect fall particulars, list, and discription of all the court digni taries,” “Oh ! don’t aik me—blnsjvd is ho that expecteth,nothing and he will not bo dis appointed—you often tell me. I cannot remember anything or artybody, it all s-'emed a hurry skurry from beginning to end," said.hU wife ; “os to gliding grace fully about wo seemed to be simply rushed, through. , All I can remember is a confused mass of heads, then someone seizing th.e tail of my,gown and bundling us through, I hadn’t lime to think, much les<no ico anything or anybody.” “ What did thb Princess wear,” said Miss Vavasour. “ Oh, black satin or silk I think it was —widow’s cap and weepers, no, by-the-by , it was a veil.’?, - *! u My, (tear girl don’t kill the dear Prince yet, it was the you are thinking of,” said Lady Mabel, “wo were just in time, and I saw tho dear old Queen give such a sweet look at Vera." “L«wka,” said Mr. Fortescuo, “X wonder if she knew that she was smiling ./on South-Sea savages.” “I was very frightened,” said Yen*,, “ and much more before we got into tho throno room—people stared so.” “.Connie behaved ‘splendidly, I envied hor self possession, she marched along, head up, iu grand siy’.o, whilst I followed feeling my small importance, like some Httlo r phjg dbg in insignificance ; but I saw the Princess, and I was quite ini love with tho Queen, she looked so kind and positively smiled.” f (TO BE CONTINUED.) ? I ? ' —i— ——i The South Ambbioan Politics.— A strong party is being formed in Brazil to oppose tho military domination in,the . country,. It is al leged that 20,000 rebels/ iarb preparing to, march on Caracas,^tho,capital..of Venezuela.! Tho troubles in, the Argentine .are .growing; more sprio.us. The capital, Ouonos Ayres is in a state of siege, iMMOiut Taxation.— Signor Nitti notes the curious fact that while Italy has even now no regular rate or tax on behalf of the poor it , has a tax on tho poor. This, refers to tho tax on Government lotteries, which brings to tho public treasury a gross income of 75 millions of lire (about, tbreo millions, sterling),.more or loss, which is, levied,,oh,, thb .superstition and Ignorance of the poorer population. '‘No country in tho. wothr (says this,distinguished oconoinist) "possesses an institution more hateful and rnoro anli-sooial than tjio Italian and ‘Austrian lotteries, in 'which! tha stato de frauds the poorest class with complete oonsbi ousnoss of tho fpaud, <and contributes to im plant iii tho’people (ho disastrous boliof that fortune comes for more from chance or from miracle than froni work.” ?’