|Newspaper Title||The Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)|
|Trove Title||The Devil's Own. An Australian Story|
Some say that kissing's a sin, But I think its nane ava, For kissing has wonn'd in this world Since ever that there were twa.
* Burks, “ A marriage is arranged to take place shortly between Sir Hubert Armytage, Baronet of the To wet a, Marley, and Wilbercombe Hall, Devonshire—to Vera/ widow of tho late Herbert Anneylaye, whose death under painful circum stances cast such a vale of mystery and rigret around the Albury district of New South Woles, not very long since.” Lady Adela Vereker folds tho papsr so that tho above 'ripticb is uppermost, and puts its near thb plate of her brother, who for a wonder happens to be lost tin? morning instead of first at tho sociable meal of the Duke’s fondly. Not a word has boon mentioned on the subject, nor bos tho Duke and Duchess noticed what has become of tho Morning Post. “Hallo !’Am I loto mother “dear, well it is my own fault if I get cold coffee. Never mind, I was detained by old Squiffy,' he came about that dog,” says the cleor voice of Lord Rudolph. Vereker, as he kisses his mother, , and seats himself near her at the breakfast table. “ What are you .looking so knowing about Adela, up to some mischief I know V ’ “ Never mind dear child, wo have nob long commenced to try some of that omelet, it is delicious; and quite h >fc if you have some at once,” says the Duchess affectionately to' her muoh.be loved son. , -. t . ; Lord Vereker is generally gifted with a good appetite,,; unspoilt by .pampering and dissipated hours, for _his mother, knowing that he cannot afford to play pranks with his constitution, takes good care of tyim,.and if a homo-bird he is not a molly coddle in any. way^ He has just “ tackled,” to use bis,own expression, the omelette, when his ey > catches sight of the paper by the side of hia plat.*, and ho slowly runs his eye up and down the paper. “ Any,- news/' ho says, piece of toast, “No,” says Jhe Duke ; “very Ihtlo. Severn is very ill; by the way, we had better send and Inquire, and Saladiu is scratched for tho.St, Leger.” “And old Lady Scrutineer has broken her leg,” adds the Duchess seriously. “Poor dear!” sajs Lord Voroker. “Was it the rheumatic, ono'or tother. Poor old soul! what a loss she will bo to the gossip nipngera of the twiddle twaddle club." , -• “Well, if old ladies will frisk about in that juvenile manner, for which her antiquated ladyship is famous,' they——” He stops, getting very, red, then very pale, and catches his breath with an al most choking sensation, which brings on his cough violently, Lady 4dbjft-rg0ts frightened at what she has done, and the consequences of her thmghtlesaaoaa, - She makes a rush for a glass of water, which she} bands to her brother repentantly, saying, with a hand on his.shoulder, “ Never mind, old boy, per hups ifcdsn't true.” “It is a'beftstly lie,” he says huskily, half .choked' with his cough and hia anger/ which Is at white ‘ heat pitch. “It ; is a Ho—no, no breakfast for mo. - A bonne bon&he like tint is a meal in it self, and1 w.qijld satisfy * any’ man,”' ho adds, pointing to the,paper in bis hand,' as ho leaves the room. “ How igilly ho is/’ says Lady Adela, “he really is going mad about that little widow.”' //' n 11 ' /' “Hum.I” 'said tho Dako, “I don’t wonder ot, ray bojjj losing his, he*® about the little girl. A’pretty creature, and if,, as they Hay, she is good as sheds- beautiful, well,, wo are v all apt to get our brains turned soraeltihio tor' other/ Its like teething, it got over sooner or later. The sooner the better perhaps. I remember when I was makitig love to your mother, blessjnp, ,wh;At ft. tom fool 1 used to A. thorough
young jackanapes ; the laughing stock of half tho men in the district.” “Adelo, how often have 1 told youthat I\will not have Rudolph annoyed. You know well he is anything bat strong since his illness, and I fear he never will again; and it is not sisterly, indeed, it is moat unkind. Rudolph would be tho last to hurt your feelings in any way. I would have burnt the paper rather than it should have been the cause of such trouble to the poor boy. It was cruel of you.” “But mama, I never thought he would take it to heart so,” said Lady Adela tearfully. “ Yes," said the Duke, adding fuel to the fire, so lo speak, “ bis cough is very had, I don’t like it at all; ho ought to see Oiarke about it, he is looking ill; very | different to what bo was on his return from Australia." Warm sunshine is flooding the pretty drawing-room in Brooke-street, lighting up the painting on the .walls, ana sun beams are high there and everywhere, dancing amidst the prisms of the ciiandeleir; sparkling amongst the orna raen'a . on tho tables, showing up the bright tint°d flowers in the many vases. A veritable May . morning in all its fresh loveliness, balmy and sweet with the smell of spring flowers. Miss Vavasour has disappeared long since, key and basket in hand, to the housekeeper’s room, wln-re she can discuss the merits of mackerel or mullet, mock turtle or mullugxtarony, without inter ruption, and so Vera, left to herself, and feeling as bright and joyous ns one of the sunbeams about her, is flitting about the room in a white dress, her first for the season, giving a touch here and a dust there to tho legion of protby articles that crowd the brackets and other receptacles for valuable bric-a-brae. She is singing, merrily— “Kilty Tyrrell, You’re looking as fresh as tho dawn, darling, You’rn looking as bright ns tho day, But while on your charms I'm dilating, You’re stealing my poor heart away,” when tho door opens and tho servant announces Lord Wreker. “ So early Lord Veroker!” she says brightly, “I was just longing to bo out amongst flowers myself, it is a sin to be in doors. Look at my sunbeams, how they brighten up everything in the room. X hope you appreciate them ; they always remind rao of Lord Rudolph 1 what has happened; what is the matter? toll mo? something at Grosvenor Square? you brother is worse ?” She has been so busy putting awiy some ornaments and shutting a cabinet on Ins entrance that she now only notices his drawn careworn face. Ho moves a few steps forward, just near enough to hand her a paragraph he has himself cut out of the Morning Post. “ Only this,” he said in a cold, hard voici—“ if true, my death knoll—tell mo it is not true.” Vera looks at it, then takes it from his hand and reads it slowly as if finding it difficult to decipher. Gradually her face flashes in vexation, then pales—her chest heaves as if some pent up storm within her were was being held ia sway for the moment, but only for the moment, it breaks forth too soon, she flings herself into the nearest chair, leaning her head clown and hurrying her face in her two hands, she sobs os if her heart would break. There is no shamming about it, and Vera is not known to have ever given way to affectation in any shape. Lord Vereker is warm-hearted, and if there is one thing that upse‘8 him it is a woman’s tears, and still more is he shocked when ho se s the woman bo loves' to distraction weeping her very life away before him. “ What an ulter beast I was,” he says to himself, picking up the paragraph that has fallen from her hand, and throwing it into tho fire angrily, “ it cannot be true.” “Mrs. Annnylaye—Vera—Vera, my darling, tell me it is not true; for God sake speak.” She still sobs on, her very shoulders quivering with grief. He kneels down beside her and tries to lift her face from her hands, and os she raises her head ho sees with remorse, for it is all his' doing he tells himself, the sorrowful face, like some beautiful wounded animal in its death agony, so brimful of grief look the large, soft, tear ful eyes. “ Vera, ray sweet, toll me what it all means—let me kiss away your tears.” She shakes her head sadly. 1 He is longing to take her to his heart, but is too honorable to think of appro priating another man’s property should the paragraph be true. “ Surely it cannot be true, you are not going to marry this fellow. I know him, or about him, which is much tho same thing—he’s a cad, you cannot surely care for such a brute. You won’t marry him, tell mo,” says tho young nobleman, looki g fondly into her face, and lovingly stroking her hair. “ Nob if I can help it; I hate him ; oh! I hate him,” sbo says, shuddering os she wipes away the tears. “That’s all right; now that’s settled; let’s kiss and bo friends. You are not going to marry that boor, oh no! nob if I know it, not for Joe,” and tho young Lord takes out his own handker chief and is soon helping to wipe away any trace of sorrow by kissing and hand kerchief smoothing process the pretty sad face and loving eyes. She rises and moves away from him, half ashamed at her emotion about so un worthy a subject as the baronet, but her lover will not be rebuffed. “ My own, ray very own till death us do part,” ho says, clasping her in his arms, ‘too one shall take you from me.” “ No,” she says, releasing herself after a struggle, “ X can never bo yours Lord Rudolph. Liston. X should never marry except | the discoverer of my husband’s murderer; if he wished it, as a reward. This man has evidently done so, and claims his prise, and if I were free dear,” she’ continues, sadly, passing her hand over her brow, “ I would never marry where I was nob welcome, to bo slighted by aristocratic people above me. I couldn't stand y it, don’t ask me dear, and you know I am older than you, and— and—it would only be divided love— there's the past to think 6! and him. Then, .my children. You would nob be content with only half ray heart, and I ana so poor, so poor. If I wore only 1 rich, then I might he worthy of your love, as it is, don't tempt rao dear.” She looks so beautiful as she stands before him, looking , soria wtully, plead ingly, into his foce that ho v is simply fascinated and powerless,' He bonds forward and clasps her to his heart, bravely kissing awoy all pro tests on her part, “I shall kiss you to death; crush you -in ray arms for lovo sake IE you don’t say you will bo minp' no\v and for Wei*,” bo says fiercely. “T. jjayq ; loved you'for years, ray darling, before even I had any right to lovo you, but J I kept my secret for your soke and his.” . “ Hash 1 ” she said, a teardrop glisten ing on the Ibng lashes. “ Don’t men
tion poor Herbert, lot that bo a saored subject between us. What a dreadful young lion as to strength and a bear for hugging,” she adds prettily, by way of solve to a sore subject. “ Then here’s goes another for love to moke sure, for there’s luck in odd -num bers, says Rory' O’Moore,” sings the young giant, putting hts arms round the little form bo has loved so long, and kissing her so fondly tint it almost takes her breath away. “ What has become of—of—of that— that piece of piper ? Strange Aunt Dot never seen it,” says Vera, coming back to her sober senses. Aunt Dot had seen it, and has hustled away with ir, paper and all, before her . noice Ind missed that morning’s budget of news and fashionable intelligence. “ I burnt it straight off, bad luck to it,” said Lord Vereker. “ No, by jove.” he said catching up his words, “Not bad luck, it has brought me the happiest hour of my whole life.” “ You must be easily pleased if the happiest hour of your valuable life has been a time of. looking at a very matter of fact young woman weeping and wailing .about the importunities of a certain Baronet,” said the, widow naively, “Poor Sir Hubert Armytnge, poor man !” “Oh hang tho follow, he’s no good. If I met him here to-day I should tell him to go to tho River Styx and fish for pinkeens—to) good a billet for him,” said Lord Vereker, with that extra amount of bounce and courage that young lovers always gain as. their suit, advances, and they feet themselves not quite snuffed out of love’s paradise. “Sir Hubert Arrayfcage,” said tho ser vant, opening the door very deliberately, giviug the occupants of the drawing room time to scuffle into cold blooded seats, as Sir Hubert entered, prancing along in tho heaven of delight, only to bo sobered down by the sight of a rival in the field, and to wit a formidable rival he thought. “How do you d’, Sir Hubert?” said the widow, going forward and offering her smill hand to the baronet shyly. “Simmons, tell Miss Vavasour that Sir Hubert Armytage is here.” x There was an awkward pause. “ I wonder if those ferret eyes of his caught sight of us before the curtain drew up,” said Lord Vereker to himself, eyeing his enemy spitefully, as if ho fully intended to strangle Sir Hubert there and then. “Beautiful day, Mrs. Anneylaye,” said the baronet, wishing Lord Vereker at the bottom of tho sea. “ Too due to be i ndooev.” “Just what I told Ve—Mrs, Annoy- Inyo an hour ago,” said Lord Vereker, twisting his rmustaohe with ‘that’s a one for him kind of air.” I toll „her that she must come out, and, like Bix and Oox, get a breath of fresh air.” “Damn his impudence,” said the baronet savagely to himself, “You like driving,” ho added, looking as Yankees say, ‘as sweet as molasses/ “ I’ve my trap at the door, Mrs. Annelaye.” “So have I,” said. Lord Vereker; “ mine is a hansom, with red silk cur tains, just fit too for a tote a toto. Como along Mrs. Anneylaye, we’ll trundle down to Richmond in double quick time and lunch with the Forte soue’s—if they’ll have us—and back again by tho river—have a look at the crews polishing up for tho next event.” • Sir Hubert had never been gifted .with a good temper, but tbii aud icious bounce of *'a scrap of a fellow,” as ho termed Lord Rudolph Vereker, cohid not be tolerated—the young jackanapes. “ I—er—l have sorai good news for you my dear Mrs AnneUyo—news you have so long hoped for I am glad to say. When can I see you about it?” “ Confound tho brute 1 calling her ‘my dear,”’ said Lord Vereker. “ [ should like to kick him, the brute.” “ I wish to goodness Aunt Dot would come to tho rescue, they will eat each other soon,” thought tho little widow, on tenter hooks at tho sight of her two cavaliers’ looks towards each other. “ By-the-l»ye, I heard you liad a narrow escape of being drowno I at Persia, Sir Hurbort,” said the widow, taking no notice of the baronet’s query, moving her chair a little further away from Lord Rudolph, whoso “asides” woro hccomiug anything but aotto voice. “If you had gone down—” “ Good tiling too*” sai l Lord Vereker, almost audably. “Ya-as; ’twas enough to frighten a fellow,” said Sir Hubert. “ Wouldn’t go a voyage again unless I could take a boat of my own for my own use.” ‘? Splendid idea a bo it of your own, that you could always me. Remain in it, in fact, have your meals handed up to you thero. Eh, good idoa. . What a blessing it would bo,” said 1.0-d Vereker. Lady Mabel Ponsonby,” said tho ser vant.