Chapter 174511250

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Chapter NumberXXIX
Chapter Title
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Full Date1892-04-16
Page Number1
Word Count4690
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)
Trove TitleThe Devil's Own. An Australian Story
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CHAPTER. XXIX (Continued).


“I saw Lord Vereker there," said Connie. “ Ah !” said Lady Mabel, “didn't he look beaming. I thought he was going to

kiss me, but* heigh ho I it wasn’t me 1 at all he was beaming upon, I discovered in heart- stricken disappointment ; and there was that dreadful walking boor- Sir Peregrine Froth well, such an epitome’of brag and bounce, if you don’t mind the idea of casks and hops and malt and all the rest of it—there’s a chance for you Lady Vera. I don’t suppose he know? who his grandfather was, but that’s nothing—gold covers a multitude of dis crepancies—wait till to-night you will meet all the world and his wife.-1 like tho Duchess, a dear o‘d woman for her age— shady .‘side of fifty you know; but Adda Vereker as a vixen, a veritable vixen— don’t’dffand her dear girls ‘she can be awfully Spiteful, what .do you think she said tp old Lady Forester at dinner one nighbrr-but I -really musn’t atop to tell you; we will continue it in our next, I must be off. There’s five o’clock and I hove to be in at Lord Morton’s for tea, and I really hate that woman she slobbers over trio' so and then tolls' my dearest friand f that harem scarem Lady Mabel.’ I think she, ought, to be ashamed ; of her self, gallivanting about and having high jinks when poor Lord Ponaohby is on a bed of Sickhdas.' Yes ; she said; that as if the gout, could bo palled sickness, it cord's quite",natural to dear old Ponsonby : ho would be awfully frightened if the attacks stopped; fancy he was going to die, poor old fellow; he is so good and patient. Good-bye ! good-bye!” CHAPTER XXX. BEAUTY. , “ We wore charmed, Nat awe 8track; for tho beautiful was there triumphant,” .... ; ,. • Talpobd. “Aristotle affirmed that beauty was better than all the letters of recommendation in tho world; Homer, that Twos a glorious gift of nature; antLOvid calls it, a favor bestowed by the gbda" Grantham. " G.oingso early, Lady Flora,” said the Countess of ' Longwood to her friend, who was trying | to push her way through the crowded rooms of the Duchess of Grant ham that night in Grosvendr Square. “ Oh, no, dear. I am only moving on, trying* to get into the next room. I hear there are two Australians there—Aus tralian Natives, just fancy.” “ Australians! Good heavens! How shocking! That is sb like the Duchess. I believe she would have the ourang outang from the Zoological Gardens at her parties if she could. She has such a mania for celebrities—but A. ustralians ! good gracious, what next ? I wonder if they have any clothes.” “ I fancy they must have,” said Lady Flora slowly, craning her neck to got a better' view, of the distant room. “ They were at the drawing-room to day.” “ Presented to the Queen ?” said the Countess; “ I suppose so; who isn’t nowadays ? but surely not amongst decent.-pebple ? Were not the Gibbeway Indians presented to the Queen 1 I know the Aztecs were, and-...those dreadful looking tarred and feathered New Zea landers. Ah, here comes Montague, he is a walking encyclopoelce of news and gossip. Monty ! hero” (another orane of the neck), “ come round hero we want you.” Lord Herbert ? Montague, a pocket edition of a man, made his way towards them under difficulties. “ Is it true that there are real live savages hero to-night? Cannibals!” said lady Flora. y “Not. that I know'of—theie maybe savages for all I know—there often is in society,'though I must not say so/’ said the pocket edition “ Don’t be silly, Monty, but tell me are there not some Australians in the next room ?’ “ Yes, a Mrs. Anner something, and a Mrs. Fpftescue.” “Mrs? fancy the impertinence of taking the name of)Mrs,' and Fortoscue to ! Such inpertmehce; worse than the negroes for they only- take tho names of extinct people—Roman Emperor, Oeasar, Porapey and such names, bat Monty don’t go away—-tell me what have they on, feathers and paint?” “There I strike wort—I never could describe a lady’s dress,-but I know one bad feathers but I don’t think they had any pairit,' they art? in white, but whether it is tulle or tarlatane, tarlatane or tulle I really cannot say,” “White I’’ said tie Countess, in an exasperated tone, “white of all colors on a black savage, ,'que horreur? is it very transparent'stuff? tarlatane or whatever it is, tulle.” ; 1 “Come—come you are really too cruel, they are.” -But the rest of his lordship’s words are lost by “heavy Artilkby in the rear*” as the young nobleman expresses tlm bearing down- upon them of Lady Massive Montgomery. “How dyo-do,” said Lady Flora, with a freezing nod—angry that the littlo pocket edition,had been ruthlessly swept away, in the current. Lady Massive Mont gomery with an acre, of ..neck and arms only hidden by precious atones that would have stocked a Bond street jeweller’s shop, stood for a moment stock still as tho say ing is—firm as the rook of Gibraltar—and about as'Unassailable, her cy e-glass fixed, as she 'scanned the whole congregation about hifer, and after a scrutinizing survey, at last pitching upon the Countess of Longwopdl c “Ah! there ye are? didon ye tell mo thawt ye, wud na be here thisj nicht?”X “Yesybutwo wanted tosco the savages, cannibals* Australians, have’nt you soon them yet'Lady ’’said the Count ess, v " u A' a j-M?- canna say I.hanot seen them for keep me, the oroo&b .is something awful, and the mdoaick, unco loud there,” “Butjthese Australians are people—I •ball posh myway dhd.see for myself,”, • ud tlie Countess. “Bo wU1I-~wo will brave the fight to- My Plpta, gathering up h-r skirts, os if she, was suddenly , about to hop across'a pool of water—or a mad hole. “DearLwhat a crush, a battling dress, would ne far more sensible in such a crowd, not have a decent rag to my back by the time we reach Lady Win stanley’shall To-night. You'groat country bumpkin,” she said, tarqing short round to address a modest youDg dandy in the extreme of/tljm /fashion, who having 'trod den on the tail of Lady Flora’s gown was profuso in apologies— hia face scarlet at, the avftlahoheof,epithets poured down upon him/, “How can yon j Lady Flora, said the Oouutcss; it is so vulgar, sb’ low dear, to bp put £ht ; about any thing.” “ft am in thp. bottomless-pit,

for I was very nearly swearing at (he Yahoo for being so awkward—did’ut he look frightenet!? poor little donkey—we were ai the door positively, but to quote her massive ladyship, ‘deil a bit ,bf natiye ; produce del see,’ only a few old fossils a .‘sprinkling of resuscitated mummies with tail coats on. I can see every one in the room, the savages have evidently ’ retired for the night, got hungry perhaps, and dangerous* so had to be removed.”. “Havn’t you seen them yet Flo,” said her cousin Lord Montague, you should have stuck to me, I have, just been having a moit charming . flirtation' with one- of them.” • “ vlrs. Fortescue,did I say her dress was white? I was wrong, it was pink, pale pink, tulle some said or satin, 1 am not ’ quite sure which it was.” “Ye gods and little fishes ? is it possible a black savage in pale pink tulle I Was it very transparent,” said Lady Flora, who was very fond of a dash of doable enten dre. . “N—n no said Lord Montague not quite undTstandiMg his cousin’s joke. “I shall not go a step farther ” said the Countess, ‘T did not bring my stneljing •salts, and they say darkies generally you know, er—you know—have a very object ionable odour unlike that of roses or any )ther perfume -I suppose we shall' meet at the Winitanleys, uddio mon char, Monty, that odious Lady Dunblnrney die has such awful elbows, and no mercy for anyone near her, I feel black an.J blue already from her uncouth -• bones, au revoir.” “Gome and sit here Mrs Fortescao,” said the Duchess, looking the picture of a very kind hearted generous minded wora-vn, as she drew her velvet gown aside to make room on the ottiman for Mrs. ? Fortescue. “And now. dear Mrs. Fortesouo,” said the Duchess timidly, 1 “I have not half thanked you for your kindness :o my son, having boys of your own, you must know well chat even little children are all an xiety, and afar greater anxiety when they are beyond the jurisdiction of the ? nursery and schoolroom, but the greatest anxiety of all is, when.a son goes to a distant land with no guide but his own conscience, and Rudolph was such a boy I suppose'on such a small community as Australia everybody knows everybody, I wonder if you knew a nephew of mine, yes I’m sure you must have met him he was such a popular fellow, a general favourite the pet of his regiment, and per fectly idolized by all the but such a harem scarem, git through everything, had to sell out of the guards, and was positively destitute. I. believe many of the men shed tears when poor Trevor sold out, he gave a breakfast at the Chambers in Piccadilly the day he s died, pmr fellow, and the presents simply parting gifts that he found in the breakfast room wore of great value,poor Trevor. Ho w-mt off to Australia—X think it wis New South Wales, I know Melbourne was the capital a sort of a diggings town with none but naked savages, and nothing but gum loaves to eat, poor follow? ho wrote me such a heartrending letter from there, so sad that the Duke insisted upon sending Trevor some common necessaries, I don’t know what we did’nt send cigars, wines, pottedmeats from Domain and Mason’s to—well I really cannot enumurato the variety of table commodities we sent the poor fellow.” “Did ho ever get the things you so kindly sent” said Mrs. Portescue. “Ha must have got them, he never wrote to say he had not received them ; he was always rather dilatory about, writing, and he sent them through a very respectable agent in—in—yes 1 am sure Adelaide was the address. Yes, Adelaide, Victoria, South Australia. Now I re member ; but one gets so confused in the names of now countries. I don’t think colonial geography is taught half enough in schools. I must confess that it is only since poor Trevor went to Australia about five years ago that I knew anyhing about the colonies; I suppose now you have schools of some sort out tlrre?” “ Oh, yes ! we are almost overrun with schools in many parts of 'Australia; education is the order of the day, and compulsory.” “ A great mistake,” said the Duchois, “a sad mistake, wo are teaching tin millions too much, , far beyond their sphere of life ; and, moreover, in so and *iug they think they can govern themselves, and when thus raised then; is little hope of their being content with a useful life of labour or work. At our schools in Lampshire, I insisted that no ologie* and sciences should be taught, only plain useful knowledge and work—needle-work for the girls, trade work for the boys— there were a few empty headed villages who set their faces against such a new system, but it has answered well. You. must oime and see my schools, l am vory proud of them, and since I have met with such lamentable ignorance amongst people of a better class ITuve determined that all our school children shall be thoroughly taught colonial geography, of course, with a • thorough knowledge of colonial places; emigratipn will bo, of much more bearable, and oven satisfactory to. the poor creatures if they know whore the place is, and something about where they are going. Ir. ally don’t know how England would got oh without emigration. Gaonot you devise sbme scheme Mr Fbrtescu-, I hear you are very clever, quite pn oracle bn many subjects. 1 ' - Mr. Fortescue gave a slight bow as he answered, “ That is, top Haltering a com pliment, bat X quite agree with you that something will have to be done for the over-stocked English nation twelve millions of people—more than they can provide for. Indiscriminate charity has so,pauperised the poorer that they have lost their self-respect. Free-trade is doing its worst, and the whole of trodo is monopp’isod by .Yankees, Gormans,, and o‘her foreigners. There are’''too many people in England*' fitid then,(he Socialists cry ‘ break up the lands.’: ” i “ The fact is,” said the Duke, who had joined the trio, the people won’t work if they think they can bo housed arid fed at the public expense.” t : “Exactly,” said Mr Fortescue, “the people have been brought ; to, look upon charity as a national claim. You never had a Socialist member of Parliament years ago, which only shows that socialism is increasing in England. Socialism is only another word for revolution. Glad stone has helped to ruin. England -by setting the masses against the classes. Another few years and the Church of England will be disestablished and the lands .broken up. I am sorry for old England, but the lower; classes deserve little l pity, they.are bringing misery upon themselves.” ,: , , . .. , “ Gome ray dear do you know what the time is?” , ’ ’ “ Ob, pray don’t go yet’” said thb Duchess kindly,. “ it js quite early—not twelve o’clock yet,” . , “ Ah, but we arc not yet'accustomed to fashionable that is quite an education ’of said Mr. Fortescue, shaking.hands, with the Duke. * “ Well you must come again soon, wo • have not' half finished our discussion,

said ihe-Duohess, holdingMrs.’Portcsouo’s hand. “ Come on Sunday and have tea, the Duke is always at home on Sunday afternoon, he has very little time on other days to see his friends, and * I know Rodolph wishes you to know poor Marcus, poor, follow, he is a confirmed invalid ; injury to the spine last winter from ft fn.ll in thy hunting field. The doctors give little or n > hope. He will be with ua on Saturday, Hn is so patio it, an ang**l in resignation.” “•How very* very sad I am s> sorry for you,” said Vera in a sweet sympa thising, voice, which qu.te won the Duchess’s ki d heart. “ You will come and sou us on Sunday,” said'the Duchess, “not wishing to linger on the one heart-breaking trouble, p£ her life. “ How very distressing about the ‘Bari of Marcus,” said Vera to the Pottesouea as they sjowly walked down stairs.'. ? “ Yes,” said Lord Vereker, “you would say so had you known-him last year, poor Marcus, the jolliest fellow, so lull of life, to be cut clown in-a second. He will come up on Saturday from Italy, whore ho was ordered for the winter.” CHAPTER XXXI. GOSSIP. I‘vo got a soold of a wife, The plague and (riorm of ray life; O, were she in coal pit bottom, And all such jades “od rot ora,” My care would then bo over, And I should live in clover. With harem scarem, horum scorum Stewed prunes for over. —Dr. Syntax. “ Go long with you ; tell your grand mother to suck eggs ; don’t bring none of your cock. and bull stories to them as knows better, go long.” “ I tell yer, its as true ns gospel,” “ Rubbitoh, don’t tell me, I should hwo been the first to beer it,” said Mrs. Bufiles, in an angry tone, banging a door mat against tho gate post of her garden, thereby sending a cloud of landed property into the face of her visitor, Tommy Sniff, the post boy at the “Armytage Arms.” “ Well, don’t believe it then, you old catamaran,” said the lad, marching off indignantly, singing loudly, “ My wite she’s a hit of a mop, She’s alway a giving me impereuca, But to this I'll soon put a stop, By becoming oner of tho tiraperenoe,” &c., to Mrs. Buffles rage and vevation. “It can’t be true,” said tho irate dame, standing with her arms akimbo, “that im perent young jackanapes to toll mo such fibs. Howver I’ll go up myself, and ask Mrs. Benson, she is sure to know. Dear, d *ar? and mi in the house this two da vs and heard nothing, drab the lumbago? I’ll tidy myself a bit, and be off in a jiffy It is a fact ncvorloss, that Sir Hubert Armytage is about to return to thejhome of his father, ulcer’s an absence of many years. ? There is an unusual stir in tho old fashioned little village, of Marley, gossip has run like wild fire through tho district about the “doings up at the Hall, ” it ia a race amongst the busy-bodies as to who shall fi-id oat the raoifc in a given space of time, concerning the expected homi coming of the heir. There is a.general cleaning up allrouad about, windows polished up.gardena weed ed, walls white whitewashed, added to which there is a cackling of tongues amongst the community, females in part icular, each relating his or her ideas. i>n tho subject. “Bles* me?'you don’t say so, well he’s taken his time about it, nau't he, a body | couldn’t na keep body and soul together , if we bud depended on the likes o’ him | to f**e'd us, why if jt fcwernb for my old man having saved a few pounds, little , enough, we should a been in the workus ’ long ag >. “Dwy haub had a j >b since tho ; olcj Squire died, and I heerdtollas them gardens be in awful state, for weed*, gone to rack and ruin, my eye they’ll have to ; look sharp about it to g<< t era right afore the Squire comes.” f’My man has boen working there since daylight,” said Mrs. Pimpernel to her neighbour Mrs Squark. “Aye Mrs. Pimpernel tis an ill wind as blows nobody any good; there’ll be great doins. They do say as the barrynite is or going to bring home a wife from furrin parts, Americky I speot or the Hindemr. Lor? if she should be black one of them naked savages, I he *rd toll of, oar Tommy’s gob a book full of era’ awful brutes ? they bo awful.” “Who told you hv had a wife?” said OroneyNo/3. “Why nobody to bo sure, Ijist put this and that togothei, I depend on it she’s a blackamore.”' “Lor,” echoed tho whole four in voices. “It never struck me before,” said Mrs. Bantam a lit'le roly poly shaped woman, who had joined in (ho debate. “Well I w.mld’nt say zac‘ly that he’s got a wife, but our Victor Albert as does the mangling for old Joe’s wife at the lodge was up thiro this morning with some clothed from tin mangle and she says, as how the whole place was topsy iflpvy and a lot of workmen as busy as a hive o’ bees at swarming tim said Mrs. Pimpernel in, a conseqential tone. “ Well, they might ha given us a turn,” said Mrs, Green. “ My man is as good a? them any day. Barjona Green didn't live at Umbers and Tint’s three yetrs for nothing, that he didn’t.” The orations of the village dames were pr-jlity true concerning the Towers and ,bhe swarm of workmen. The'old'mansion' was undergoing a thorough, overhauling from top to, bottom ; renovations, altera tions, and improvements were in full swing, an army of fashionable upholsterers, papvrhangers, painters, and decorators from London wore working, a way with a will as if it was a case of life and death to these raetropolitah artisans, under the superintendence of a. fashionable young man of aesthetic style and atthud*, who, with grey kid-gloves, lo>ked on, holding a cigar between his fingers daintily, when he gave his orders in. a Bupomillious ladadah tone of lisping. ‘ “In a month the place was to bo the acmb of all that was fashionable arid modern. There waa/aa Damo Pimpernel wisely remorked, “-no time to lose.” “ The old furniture can bo burnt, I don’t Caro for such a musty heap of old rubbish,” wfoto the squire, to the lawyers. “ I want nothing that will raise memories of tho past,” _ The lawyers, a solid and respectable old firm of many yoirs atandlhg, scratched their Hoads and looked at each other in alarm when they came to this piece of inform ition in tho letter they wore read ing together carefully. Y “Tho furniture burnt,” said they, both agin st at such desecration of the valuable old oak of many centuries—rare old oak, hard to collect again.- ~ , . Hbw proud the old squire was of. that old furniture,” said Mr. Oldom, pushing his spectacles up r vexodly. “ Wbll, well,” said his partner; “ it is very evident that the young squire don’t take after his father in veneration for antiquities and valuable things; pity bub whatiho did.” “ No, indeed,” said Mr. Oldom, pucker ing up;his 'brows and . shaking his head

sorrowfully ; “ but the squire is young, And too often young men don’t know their own minds two days together. I don’t think wC should be wise to h ive tho furniture burnt, none but-,a fool would do such a reckless act.” And so all the furniture was consigned to a roomy loft belonging, to the old wing of the stal-las that was seldom used since tho now stables were built, and the ancient carved wood of centuries, was heaped in a pile to bo out of-sight, pend ing, as the lawyers said, “ the change of, mind oft he new baronet” “Such a rout and turn out,” said Mrs. Benson, who in a stiff black silk arid be coming bonnet, had, on hearing the startling news, gone up to have a look at the se me of destruction, as she termed it, and was now viewing tho turning out of ihe servants’ room by hard working Mrs, Smack, tho gardner’s wife, and care taker of late. /. “'Here, I’ll give you a .hand,” said Mrs Benson, taking off her bonriet. “ I’ll just pin up my behind ; you cau’l: lift that yourself,” for Mrs. Smack, was trying to move a chest of drawers, a sort of half linen press, that refused to budge. “ Let’s take out tho drawers,” said Mrs. Benson. “Then it will oorno easy i —where’s the key of this one ” “ It is not locked, see, it opens a c-ack but won’t open any more,” said Mrs. Smack. “It must and it shall, the obarinit.* thing!” said Mrs. Benson, getting her hand iu tightly and giving a sadden tug, at which the drawer flow open with * rush, almost sending the old lady flat on her buck. “ I knew something maib h ive gob jammed at the back,” said she, diving her hand to tho buck of the empty spac where the drawer had been, and bringing to light tho mutilated remains of an old blotting book, full of papers. “ Lor ! ” says Mrs. Smack, looking at it. “ Lor! ” “ It is Fanchette’s,” said. Mr?. Benson, who had caught sight of some writing of her miice’s sticking cut of it, and' not wishing the gtrls late deorepaucies, love letters, and so forth, to be noticed or gossiped about. “ It is Fanchebte’a—see, here’s some of her let ©M,” said Mrs. Benson, holding up ?a note signed “Fanchett' 1 .” “ Lor, now J ” said Mrs. Smack, “ ain’t it odd you should Le here and just in time, for, as sure as eggs ar * i*gg->, I should have chucked it out with the rest of tlie rubbitch ; there’s not much else,” she added, turning over a collection of corks, old ties, gloves, bits of string, etc., etc. “Yes, I shouldn’t like those follows to have been prying into my girl’s letters and such like.' To Chink that she was so cireless about her letters, but she was always a scatterbrained littlo bib of goods, poor lass—and particularly after the squire’s death; she never got over that night.” “ And then she lost her lover,” said Mrs. Smack dolefully.- “ Lover! she never had a lover. Harry Wilkins, do you moan? fiddlesticks woman. She no more cared for him than I did. Why, when ho died, she sang oil the more cheerily just after the news cama Well, I'll just take o bit of paper and wrap this writing folio in 'ii and keep it for her, She hasn’t forgott-m the old woman; she’s going to bring mo home a beautiful pair of paraquonts soon;” “ Bless her—well, I must be .going home now, my good man will want his dinner, good day, Mrs. Srnaok, good day,” arid the cheery hostess of the Array tag** Arms wont on her way rejoicing—re joicing that she had been able to rescue the thoughtless soribblings of her noice from the merciless eyes and tongues of strangers. It wan not till late that night, when the Hopefu! Inn was closed for tho night, that Mrs. Benson sat herself down, as she said, to have a look at tho writing case she had brought home that morning. Not that she was a prying woman, but having claimed the blotter, it was only right .that she should prove' claim. So she smoothed it out carefully, trying to flatten out the creases it had suffon-d from its concussion with tho drawer,’ arid read the words “ Harry Wil kins” written on the cov-r—inside—one or two little written in n very scrawley hand, “love-letters evidently from the puss to that fellow, much he caccd for her letters the Scamp. How ever, they say wo musn’t speak against the dead. Eh what 7 if this isn’t Beaver’s account for tho harness and receipted too, I knew it was paid. Don’t I remember tho shindy there was about that bill, and'it’s my firm belief the old squire paid that bill over twice. I’ll put it aside, Benson will know some thing about it. Hey 1 what on earth is this—a letter, two ‘ letters, from Aus tralia, which it is my firm belief the master never got. Oh, dear, dear, I’m aroost afraid to go on by myself. Hero Benson, look here, old man, you don’t want to go to sleep yet; hero, I want you. See, this old blotter found jammed at tho back of tho servants’ drawers, up at tho Hous a , and it’s my opinion tho contents will mak'* some ones hair stand, on end.” “ Tpt, tut, you always enjoy finding a mare’s nest, missus; it’s a curious trait in your character,” said lionnst old John Benson, appearing in a demi state of ;undress* braces dangling, and an alarming amount of white shirt to the fore, hia rosy face all ng’ow from vexa tion at thus boinsr torn from his virtuous bed chamber in the raidd e of a chilly April right, hut he soon got over hia disappointment, and was deep in an in vestigation of tho blotter, turning over eaqji page sl'-wly and gingerly, as if fully expecting some dynamite or gun powder hidden within. Fanobotto’s letters he treated with'-feileritf contempt, toeing th«m aside fretfully, as if un worthy of'a passing look or thought— but soon bis farie changed. ' r ’ : •