|Chapter Title||A FRIEND IN NEED|
|Newspaper Title||The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)|
A FBIBND IN NEBS,
A week Blipped by on mag;cal wings.
Some delightful excursion, drive, or entertainment
[ was planned for every day, and the guests of Sir
Anthony and-Lady Hamilton .were indeed a "gay
I party" ni Wil had prophesied they would be,
Had it «ot been for the two that were playing at cross purposes, there would have been nothing to
j mar the delight of tray one.
If Arley Wentworth had only been Lady Elaine, ' with her title and twenty thousand a year, or if her
position and fortune had been equal to hers, Philip Paxton would have bowed on worshipping kneeB at her shrine before that week was over.
He was bewitched and fascinated by her-shs ac- quired a power over him such as no one had ever won before ; he never heard her voice without a thrill-she never came near him without his pulses leaped ; the very sound of her light laugh and step1
-the rustle even of ker dress was music to bim,
Bat, »las! he had decreed that it would bo folly for kim to PBSS by the greater prize for the sake of a little love; he was ambitious for a brilliant future which fortune and position would at once Becnre for him, and he could not afford to sacrifice it fox the sake of a foolish sentiment, which, at the most, could only give Um a little more domestic happi- ness ; and perhaps, after all, be might learn to loto
Lady Elaine just as well if he should marry her ; and he had made np his mind to accomplish this If posa* ible, notwithstanding the confidential confession of bis friend, and the wrong that he would thus d»
" Wil is certain to be a rich man any way-he will inherit all bia father's large property, and it would not be fair for him to have two such fortunes, white it is only by my wits and the hardest work that I am moking my way along in the world."
Thus he reasoned the matter with himself, shut- ting his eyes to the fact that be was betraying tha confidence of his friend, using him dishonorably, and doing violence to the nobler feelings of his own na-
But he did not progress very rapidly in his under« taking, for just as he would succeed in getting Lady Elaine nicely to himself, and perhaps right in tha middle of a fine speech, something would be sute to interrupt them and break up their Utea-tete.
But he never suspected that there WSB any "malice prepense" about it or that Arley Wentworth waa thwarting bim in every possible way-that she was employing all her arts, and making herself so delight* fully agreeable to bim whenever the opportunity offered, just for the sake of keeping him from poach« ing on forbidden ground, and thus giving Will tho
desire of his heart.
But it was so nevertheless ; she watched them tra» cesBingly, and if she saw Philip about to Beek Lady Elaine'she would instantly dart up to him in har bright, bewitching way, upon some pretence or other claim his attention, and draw him Into conversation or some playful controversy, until Wil could capture his lady-love ; then laughing in her sleeve over her success, yet with a strange pain gradually creeping into ker heart, she would suddenly remember Borne engagement, work or errand, and slip away again, leaving him to hie own devices.
But sometimes she was not quick enough to &r> complish her object, and then Wil'a pained face and depressed appearance, would haunt her for hours, while she believed she could detect a shade of annoy« ance on Lady Elaine's sweet countenance, and a wiet« ful look in her eyes.
" What is your opinion of Mr, Paxton F" she asked ber one day, when having dressed earlier thBn usual, ihe ran into her room to have a half-hour's chat be-
" I think he is very agreeable and Intelligent," Lady Elaine quietly replied.
"Yes-a trifle superior-a little above the general« ity of young men, isn't be ?" Arley asked, with peon« liar emphasie, and a covert glance at the fair faoa opposite her.
A delicate flush rose to the creamy cheek, and tha lovely blue eyes were hidden beneath their white
"Is he ?" queried Lady Elaine, with an assumption of cool indifference that amused Arley exceedingly,
" I asked you to pass judgment upon him ; but iO you want my opinion of him I suppose J can give it, and of the other young gentlemen of our party too," she retorted, with a wicked gleam in her dark eyes. J think he is very handsome. You seldom see such magnificent eyes in anybody ; and he has suoh a finely shaped head, so square and well-developed. Then look at the life and energy in his every movement. Why, if Fred Vane bad one half es much, what a maa ke would make with his opportunities. Then he Mr. Paxton, I mean-is so cultivated and entertain«
tog, he must have improved his timo well while at /'""
Oxford; while as for Wil-"
She hesitated purposely, and the sly puis got just the reward that she had been seeking,
" I'm sure, Atley, you are very unfair in your criti- cisms, especially, when your a goest in the home o£ Wil Hamilton. You should not draw odious com- parisons." Lady Elaine said with a sudden fiiBh oE spirit, her eyes gleaming and darkening, until they looked like two purple, starry-hearted pansies, while a vivid spot of red burned on each cheek.
" Odious comparisons I" Arley repeated, drooping her lids to hide the danoing aplite in her own eyes "I don't think I've said anything very bad. I waa merely expressing my admiration for the recent ad« dition to our party, and-dont you know P I was expected to admire him; for, if you remember, Wil took special pains to impress his superiority upon me long before his arrival, and I'm cure I do not wieh to be uneppreciative or to disappoint anybody
" But yon need not depreciate others for the sake of raiding bim. Wil Hamilton of all others, least deserves it," interrupted Lady Elaine, with a height-
" /depreciate Wil Hamilton !" cried mischievous Arley, with well assumed astonishment. "My dear Elaine, you misunderstood me entirely-Indeed you did not even allow me to finish what I was going to say about him."
" What were you going to say P" tha fair girl asked, with a searching look at her friends dimpling face, and then dropping her tell-tale «yes.
" I was going to remark that, as for Wil, there was no us* drawing any comparison, for-he is without a peer in my estimation,"
A little smile of pleasure flitted over Lady Elaine's sweet lips, the waxen lids fluttered over her down« cast eyes, while a vivid blush Buffuied her fair face barning up into the waves of golden hair above ber forehead, and creeping down among the foms oE snowy lace about her white throat.
Arley, observing it, laughed outright and clapped hir dimpled banda with glee at these signs of the state of her friends heart. Then leaning suddenly forward the kissed her forehead.
" My beautiful ' Lily of Mordaunt,' you are a dar« ling," she said. "You are pure and true to your heart's core; you are loyal and brave, and if lam ever in need of a friend, I know that you will not
How vividly she recalled that assertion two yea»
(2» be contmuedi)
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