|Newspaper Title||Port Adelaide News and Lefevre's Peninsula Advertiser (SA : 1883 - 1897)|
|Trove Title||Dora Dunbar. An Australian Story|
DORA DUNBAR. A\l AUSTRALIAN STORY.
"It is yoa I want a few words with," he says, coolly barring my way; and, with a sigh that is almost a groan, I submit to the inevitable, * In simple, straight-forward language he tells me that he has long loved me, and asks me to become his wife. He has papa's permission to do so, he in 1 forms me, and has satisfied him as to his position to marry, &a. " Yoa wouldn't have the chief's permission
to ask me if yoa weren't," I say to myself, bat to him I am dumb. Marry him, I have no intention to, bat I have not the moral coprage to say " No." At length I stammer forth incoherently, Bomething about esteem and friendship; what it is I know not, bat it serves my purpose, for he gathers from it that I do not love and cannot marry him. " Am I to take this decision as final ?" he asks, his handsome faoe paling a little. And I tell him " yes," and, gaining my composure as he loses his, I add that I shall always value his friendship, but that I have no idea of marrying. "Not at present, perhaps," he smiles faintly. "Nor ever," I assure him, "wfcenAg. marries I mean to devote myself to mamma." " Then at least I have not a rival," he re> joinB, laughing at my determination. "No, indeed," I assert, "and we shall always be friends?" Iqaery,glad to get the disagreeable business over. " Always," he asserts, " till we are something nearer and dearer, for despite your present resolve I feel sure that day will come; don't think," he goes on, " that I mean to annoy you by pressing my euit. You are young, and I, well I am not a Methusaleh, and I oan afford to wait. So long as yon
remain unmarried I shall hope—and wait, and all things come to him that waits." Then with a sudden, swift movement he takes me in his arms, presses a passionate kiss on my lips.and is gone before I can utter a word, leaving me standing in the centre of the room, breathless with mingled surprise and indignation. Christmas comes, bat it brings neither Freddie nor Lex. The latter must needs, between his school duties and study, work himself into a fever, that compels him to pass the holidays in a sick room, and chains Freddie to his Bide.. Ag. graces a pionio party on boxing day with her fair presence, and both of us shine " bright®particular stars" at an evening psirty on Christmas eve, and that is the extent of oar dissipation. Early in the new year, under the chief's wing, I pay Melbourne a flying visit, and during it, piloted by Mr. Johnstone, I "beard
the li ja ia his den, the Douglas in his halls" otherwise the Educational Department in its quarters. I get little satisfaction though. I am asked a few formal questions, then calmly informed that I must wait my turn. Many have been waiting much longer. That week flies fast, hut, despite the fascination of its theatres, gardens and suoh like, l am not sorry to get away from the great city, with its pride and its poverty, its glitter and glamour, its want and its wickedness cropping op at every tarn. I am glad to get back, out of its hurry, and bustle, and din, to the quiet old life in Pier Street again. Changes have taken place even in that short time. Mr. Cotton has been appointed manager of a bank somewhere in the western district, Ag. tells us, she forgets where, and he is off at once. His successor, a Mr. Foster,
has already relieved him. Mamma, seems to have taken a new lease of life during our absence, and is looking wonderfully well, " quite juvenile and blooming," I tell her, and she blushes quietly, as if it were something to be ashamed of. "The natural result of peace and freedom," Vic pronounces the improvement, and the ohief coming in at the moment catches the words, and withers him up with a look. M looks could annihilate, it would have reduced him to nothingness. Mr. Cotton calls that evening to wish as good-by. He seems anything but exultant over his promotion, and I cannot forbear mischievously taxing him with ingratitude. the gods provide, and grateful be,' is my motto," I tell him. "Wait
tiu the Department appoints mehead-teacher ol a school over your way, and you'll see me land in C—all smiles and sunshine, instead of looking as if I were going to be execated. "Do you think there's any chance of your being sent over there V he asks eagerly. " Cra't 8ay ; it's moet likely, judging from the amount of consideration they usually ,exercise. If they do pack me off there, I'll send yon word, and you can meet me." I conclude lightly. "That's a bargain," he says, heartily, and * laughingly agree. He sets off next morning for his designation—the thriving town of C in the WWteBi district — bearing my promise to torn* bis letters,providing that there'e noth-
ing •" spoony" in them. That little crumb of comfort I cannot deny him, he pleads so earnestly for it. 7 " _ We had had a wordy war over that stolen kiss months before. He resented .the . coolness with which I met him after it, and I, of coarse, fired up in my own defence, whereupon he -audaciously inquired if. a n hadn't the right to kisB his wife infiUuro ? " I haven't promised to become that,sir," I say, lamely enough. " You will one day," he-says, confidently, and I angrily contradict" him, but he only laughs. " I won't marry you, if I have to die an old maid for my determination," I declare wrathfully, " and the next time you speak to me about love or marriage will be the last time we have anything to say to eaoh other." "I bow to your decision," he smiles provoldngly. " You shall be the first to introduce either topic." " You'll wait till doomsday if you wait for me to bring them up," I retort, bat he shakes
his head incredulously. Valentine's day brings me a handsome construction of forget-me-not's and silver tissue, with the C post-mark on the box, and only after considerable persuasion do I yield to Ag's eloquence, and resign my first pnrpose of returning it. She gets a tiny bat exquisite card bearing the local date-stamp, and vainly do we rack oar brains to find the sender. "Ernest Williams?" suggests Vio, bat I sooat the idea." " He hasn't half such good taste," laBsert, surveying the design of white violetB and maiden-hair fern on its delicate ground, and the motto in golden letters beneath. The end of the month brings me a more substantial and welcome valentine, in the shape of my appointment to theCamborough state school, seven miles from C •. "Won't Mr. Cotton be surprised?" remarks Ag, as, true to my promise, I
scrawl a few lines, telling him of the strange coincidence. I have accepted the poBt, and written asking to be allowed to remain where I am till after Easter, as it is only a fortnight off, and C is too far away for me to return just for a week—the length of the Easter holidays. But the "powers that be" are inexorable. The school has been olosed for some months, and it is desirable that I open it at once. With not a few tears, now that the die is cast, I do my modest packing—or rather Ag does it for me—resigning the kitchen to Bella, her hired successor there- >n. g $ The last evening we spend in mamma's room, in memories of the past and wonders of the future. Though she says nothing of it, I know that in her heart mamma would rather I had remained at home, but I selfishly persist in my determination to " taste the sweets of independence." Ah me, my selfishness was to cost me dear!
On Friday, the ninth of March, I start for my new sphere of action. An unlucky day, I am reminded by my superstitious friends, but superstition has no part in my composition. _ An account of my journey and a descrlp tion of my new abode, will be best gained from my first letter to Ag. MA. CHE BE SCEUB, Camborough, Msrch 13 th, 1835. Doubtless you'll expect to hear how I got on, before the end of the week, so I'll to my " round unvarnished tale" at once. Having watched your symmetrical form and. classical features till a bend in the line hid them from view, I sank back in my corner and wept a little weep, ceasing only when it finally struck me that tears did not improve my style of beauty. Fortunately I had no fellow travellers—masculine impresaionableB to be disenchanted by those I had already shed. @ Mrs. Moore (Mrs. Sutherland's sister} met me at Ballarat, and was kindness personified, she took me to see "Hamlet" in the evening —a rare treat it was 1—and saw me off at ten the next morning in the Hamilton train.
I shall not soon forget how good she was. We changed train3 at Ararat, and I got on better than I expected to with my laggage; it was very little trouble after alL There is some lovely scenery about A— Buangor, a short distanae from it, looked a perfect little paradise from the train, but I mustn't stop to rhapsodize, but on to stern facts. At six in the evening I exchanged the train for a coach, and wasn't Borry to do so. I can't see any fun in being boxed ap in one of those stuffy chests called railway carriages, tacked to the tail of a locomotive, and torn through the finest scenery just fast enough to aggravate you-with .a glimpse of what you're missing. J However, I hadn't long to revel in my wider views, for darkness soon came on : It was about eleven when at last the coach reached C—, and I felt rather tired and sleepy, too."The first thing I spied in the light of
the post-office lamp was Mr. C.'s manly form. He seemed delighted to see me, and escorted me at once to a Mrs. Mehaffy's—a C— friend of his, the wife of another banker. I hesitated about going, bat he insisted, assuring me that she'd feel hart if I didn't, as she was expecting me, and pooh-poohing my objections anent intruding st each an hour. While we were still squabbling, the lady herself came ap—she lives juBt a few yards from the post—and carried me off nolem voleta, with Mr. C. in attendance. Her brother and he were college ohama it seems. She is really very nice —between her and Mrs. Moore I begin to think good people are not so scarce in the 19th century as some out. Mr. C. had told her of my coming, and she had made him promise to bring me to her. I should be more comfortable than
at an hotel, she thought, and I certainly was. Mr. C. had learned all he could about the school for me, I was glad to find. It is nearer nine miles than seven from C—, and is in the centre of a small farming distriot. Several good women living near the school would take me as a boarder; I had but to choose which of them I'd pitch my tent with. "But," laughed Mr. C, "you mast live on pickled pork one half the year and salt beef the other, if yon go to them, so I took it upon me to aBk some people I know, living two miles from the school, if they'd be kind enough to camp you somewhere, and they have agreed to do so, and yoa may think yourself fortunate, young lady, for the Arcrolts are the jollies! people, and their place, Sunnyside, is the prettiest in the district.
Isn't it the truth I'm telling, Mrs. Mehaffy ?" he appeals to the lady. "Quite," she agree3, " but no more of them to-night," commandingly, "Miss Dunbar looks tired out, and she's to go to rest at once." The following afternoon Mr. C. drives me out to Sunnyside, and a lovely drive it is. Through wattle-groves and ferns knee-deep the road winds—but I must describe it at length in my next. Time won't permit now. Sunnyside and the Arcrofts ore all he said. Mr. A. is a fair, handsome man, tall and slight, with blue 6yes brimful of fun and mischief. His wife is nearly as tall, but dark and etylish-looking, and as fond of fun as he
is. They have no children, but Mrs. A.'a sister, a tall, slender girl of niueieen, lives with them.. She looks delicate, but I am told she can hunt, ride, shoot and drive as well as Mr. A. himself, " Nance," they call her, Stair is her surname; I hope I shall like her. . t Saanyside is such a dear, beautiful old place—I love it already, but of it more anon. The school I open next day—three present for a start. It has been closed for four months, and few know of my arrival yet. The two mile walk to it is a very nioe one, and will be good exercise for me. It's getting late, and I am tired, so enough for to night. Hiw is mamma keeping? sad the rest of you ? With dearest love to you all, and kind regards to all friends, Yours exhaustedly, DOHA, P.S.—Wouldn't ba a woman's letter without a postscript. Send along 811 New Zealand
letters as soon as yoa read them, and give the enclosed notes to mamma and Vic. I'll send them a big budget each in a few days, all being well. Write soon—Dora. CHAPTER Vm. Easter finds me fairly settled down to my new life, and a novel, pleasant life it is. Never in my life have I felt so thoroughly contented and independent. < My duties are not arduous, as I have only an average attendance of eighteen, and most of my pupils I find passably intelligent. From nine in the morning till four in the afternoon are my "bu3inesa hours." The rest of the day is my own, as well as Saturdays and Sundays, so I'm not hardly done by. My new friends, the Arcrofta—for friends I already count them—I like immensely.
" Nance" I am espeoially fond of, though I soarcely understand her yet. She is a oharming bundle of contradictions. Giy, winsome, witty, passionate, pensive, by turns, I cannot fathom her, bat I love her nevertheless, this pale, slender, graceful girl, whose appearance so belies her spirit—love her for her never-failing, warm-hearted regard for this « poor little orphan," as she calls me, referring to my present guatdianless condition. ~ My cowardice on horseback is a lasting source of amusement to them all—sveryono on the station being able to ride well. •; For weeks I cannot be persuaded to try to canter, and turn away in trembling fear from the sight of Nance putting her horse at the three_ rail fence of the home paddoek, and clearing it again and again like a bird, looking all the time as if she and her horse were one, so perfectly does she sit him. A fearless rider, she is a capital " whip too, and many a time do the pair of as bowl in and out to C behind Dandy and Tartan, the spirited little ponies she seems to love. Her affection for dumb animals, which is
fully shared by Mrs Arcroft, amounts almost to a passion. All the station dogs, from Negro, the great house-dog, to little Dottie, her pet poodle, worship her in their brute fashion. Even Devil Devil, the wiry, wicked - looking brute, who ia the terror of my life, welcomes her approach to the kennels with a joyous bark, springing upon her and fawning round her when she lets them out, as if possessed. Many a time do I look on admiringly as Bhe, on her fiery chustnut, and Mr. Arcroft on his powerful bay, ride off ap the hill with the whole pack of yelping dogs at ther horses heels—off for a hunt on the heath. An animated and striking group they make—the slim figure in the dark-blue habit, with the faintly flushed faoe and sparkling eyes above it; the lithe, handsome, manly figure at her side, with its sanny eyes and laughing mouth; the glossy coats and tossing heads of Skeffie and Gilderoy, and the evermoving, ous pack about them. We watch them off—Mrs. Arcroft and —she rides, bat rarely hunts; then she carries^ me off and initiates me in the mysteries of cake-making, gardening, or something of the kind, or tucks me in the buggy beside her, and drives me into C when my time is my own.
Happy-hearted as a child, free from care as a bird, she is yet wonderfully sympathetic and considerate for others; entering heartily and earnestly into the prospeots of those around her, and gaining affection on every side by doing so. Easter week—the greater part of it rather —I spend m making myself acquainted with Sunnyside. Guided by Nance, I make long rambles over it in every direction, daily learning to love more and more its ferny gullies, emerald-bedded springs, wattle-groves, and other striking features. The house itself is a long, low white building, verandahed on three sides and girdled with lawns and flower-beds, which are again encircled by orfihRTilH orchards and nnr) fields. finUo - * Dear old place 1 I shall never forget it! On Easter Monday we all go in to a bazaar in C , and at it I meet my fate, or so I romantically think, d © Mrs. A.'s mother lives in C , and at
her place we put the finishing touches to our "war-paint," as Nance terms oar finery. Then we sally down to the hall to find the stall-keepers doing wonders in the raffling line already. Mr. Aroroft is at once besieged, and his wife shares his fate in a minor degree. My strange face at Nance's elbow eaves her a little, bat not for long. Presently I notice a tall, striking-looking man, of thirty about, making his way towards us, and as Nance, with a sadden accesBsion of color in her cheeks, shakes hands with him and introduces him to me as " Mr. Alexander," I, scanning the keen, gray eyes and firm mouth half hidden 'neath its heavy red-gold moustache, mentally approve her taste. Then Mr. Cotton joins us, for which, doubtless, they are duly grateful.
While we still stand, laughing and talking together, Mr. Arcroft brings up and introduces to me—the others all seem to know him—another gentleman, a Mr. Fowler— Morton Fowler, in fall, as I learn later. The new-comer is of medium height and very dark, with crisp black hair and moustache, and large heavily-lashed gray eyes. Dressed in perfect taste, his every word i a spoken in low polished tones, and seems care* fully chosen. ^ Instinctively, I dislike him at once, but Bach is his grace of manner, his power of fascination, of which time teaches me more, that my first impression wears off, and in a few moments I find myself listening entranced to his account of life in Ceylon, where he has spent some years. Mr. Alexander and Nance have gone on to tke flower-stall, and the other two gentlemen
are beset on all BideB by countless fair "birds of prey," to quote Mr. Fowler. He is aQ ardent admirer of Byron, I discover next, and is well posted up in his works. Am I numbered among his admirers? he asks me. " Yes—and no," I tell him, " some of his pieces I delight in, bat he is so fearfully sarcastic in others, that it is hard to believe that they both come from the same pen." "True," hesayB,musingly, "for scathing sarcasm commend me to Byron." " The sketch or piece entitled " A sketch " is especially horrible. How he must have hated that woman 1 can imagine I hear him hurling those words at her with bloodeardling emphasis,"
" What do you think of his ' Prisoner of Chiton' ?" he asks abruptly. " Oh, it is beautiful I It is my pet piece." " And his ' Farewell' to his wife ?" " Beautiful and touching, bat I don't believe he felt it." " Miss Dunbar 1" in surprise. " I mean it, Mr. Fowler. In my opinion, Byron was incapable of loving truly." " How have you arrived at that conclusion ? His ' Farewell' seems to me to flow direct from the heart." "A? much as his lines to 'Florence,' ' Caroline,' 'Maid of Athens,' and Co. Loving one truly, how could he write to all in the same strain ?" " Well-reasoned," he laughs. " And you really doubt the sincerity of his lines to his wife ?" " I do. Poets don't feel half they write. Cowper was melancholy mad, yet look at hie «John Gilpin.' So with the larger part of
the tragic and sentimental pathos and bathos pieces we have. I daresay, if we could get their composers together, we'd find them the rosiest, jollieet-looking, matter-of-faot folks in existence." "' Death to romance,' must be your motto, Miss Dunbar," laughing heartily in his low peculiar way. " Not at all," I aver, " bat I fail to see any romance in Byron's whining persecution of Mrs. Mu3ters, for instance." " Ah, she should have been his wife." " He'd only have made her miserable. Hard as her lot was, a3 his wife ehe'd have been worse off." " What makes you think so ?' "Dora," breaks in Mr. Arcroft'S voice, " we're going for a stroll round the reservoir in the moonlight, and a breath of fresh air at the same time this is suffocating. Will yoa come ?" "By all means," rising with alaority, "it's fearfully close."
. Will you join us, Mr. Fowler?" asks Mr. Arcroft, and he gracefully acquiesces. " The reserve" is the name given to the prettily laid-oui ground3 encircling the hall on three sides—the fourth fronts the street. Particularly pretty do they look in the moonlight, and most inviting after the stifling crowd, as with Mrs. Arcroft and her mother in the van, and Nance and Mr. Alexander in the rear, we make our way out into them. Many others, in couples and groups, are promenading to and fro, or occupying the seats placed here and there, while through the open windows of the hall comes the delicate strains of the "Sweet-hearts" waltz. " What does it all remind you of, Nance?" I ask. " Fairyland—what does it you ?" "Your song, 'Moonlight, music, love and flowers? 1 ' "An appropriate suggestion," declares Nance's cavalier, with a mischievous glanca into her grey eyes, that the moonlight plainly reveals. " Here, Dora," says she, avoiding it, and
turning to me," Don't say I' never gave you nothink,' to quote Ann." Ann is one of the station maids, noted more for her good humor than her grammar. "Ohthank you," taking the bouquet of delicately-tinted flowers she is offering me, every petal distinct in the silvery radiance about us; "Areiheynot lovely?" to Mrs. Arcroft. " They are indeed—but do you not admire my aesthetic gem ?" drawing my attention to the sunflower glowing in golden resplendence on her left shoulder. " It certainly wasn't • born to blush unseen," I laugh. "It's Edgar's choice," resignedly—Edgar is her husband. " How is it nine men out o! ten pick rainbow robings for their womankind, no matter how quietly they dress themselves ? I asked him to get me a dress piece once, and he brought me home a glaring purple abomination no one would wear. I remember,when I was a girl .mother asking father, who hated show, to bring us winter frocks from town, and he got just such another color. How do yoa account for it, Mr. Alexander ?" " Can't, Mrs. Arerofc, unless it is that most men dislike shopping, and get out of it that way." " Like I got oat of nursing Nance. Mother
used to palm her off on me too often, thought, and I hated nursing, so one day a bright idea struck me, and I soused her in the horse trough—do you remember, Nanee?" Nance laughingly shakes her head. " Did it serve your purpose? ' asks Mr, Fowler. "No—mother saw me from the pantry window, and sent me supperless to bed. I almost hated Nance that night, for I had a weigh tly respect for the good things of life at that time." "You couldn't dip her so easily now, Martha," smiles Mrs. Stair, with a fond glaccs st her youngest born's long, iifhe limb?. " Nance, Nance," calls Mr. Arcroft, harry ing up to us with several gentlemen, who take an active interest in the bazaar at his heels " we are going to enhance the attraction of to-morrow night's bazaar by a promenade
concert, and want to put you down for a couple of songs—are you agreeable ?" V Certainly—if yon wiBh it," she says readily, whereupon his companions wax profuse in their thanks, Nance being the possessor of a sweet and powerful voice well known in C musical circles. It is at its best the following evening, as fair and stately-looking in her cloud-like, creamy draperies, a knot of crimson roses at her throat, she takes her place on the platform and sings, as she has never sung before, they tell me, her favorite song, " Remember and forget." " Exquisitely given," oomments Mr. Fowler at my elbow, " but it's a etiange choice for one of her years." " 'Tis madness to remember Twere wisdom to forget—" •sings Nance, with such feeling that no one would dream that hers was one of the ex-
ceptional oases wherein the course of true love met no obstacle, or that her heart was brimful of bliss born of a few whispered words—question and answer—exchanged on the homeward way the previous night— words ending in the appearance on Nance's white hand of an emerald ring that had been wont to graoe MF. Alexander's previously. " Twickenham Ferry," is her second song, and both are warmly encored. Later in the evening she and Mr. Fowler take part in the old duet, " Hunting-tower," and win fresh laurels. It is after eleven when we leave the bazaar which has been an unqualified success. Mr. Arcroft leads the way, his wife on one arm and Mrs. Stair on the other. Nance and her betrothed follow them, and Mr. Fowler and I bring up the rear. Mr.
Cotton deserts us abruptly at the Hall door. It is a beautifully clear night, nevertheless, I manage to trip in taming a corner, and collide awkwardly against my companion. " I beg your pardon, Mr. Fowler; if there's a loose stone to play one false I'm sure to be theOHO to hit upon it. I nearly upset your equilibrium, I'm afraid." "Not at all, Misa Dunbar," he gallantly assures me, though I had seen him wince as my foot struck against his, damaging I suppose, a pet corn or bunion, " Will you not take my arm ?" he asks. "Couldn't, an I would, Mr. Fowler, my hands are full," with a downward glanoe at
the toy hand-bag and a bouquet I am carrying- ® m "Permit me," masterfully taking posses Bion of the latter, and drawing my hand through his arm,bestowing upon it at the same time a gentle but eloquent pressure tkit sets my palae3 thrilling in a ridiculous way that angers me into snatching it away with a cold: " Thank you, there is no necessity." Then, ere he oan say anything, we oome up to the others, to my pleasure. " What have you done with Mr. Cotton ? asks Mrs. Arcroft aa we do so. "He was unable to tear himself away," answers Mr. Fowler, " he got as far as the I foot of the steps, then the attractive influence within proved too great, and he was drawn back." I " I don't think he Wt any special attraction behind," mischievously murmurs Nance I in my ear, but, low as she speaks, my com-1 panion's auricular organs are too keen for her, and he catches her meaning, as the
swift inquiring glance he gives me tells. At Mrs. Stair's gate we separate, Mr. Fowler promising to ride over and spend Sunday at Sunnyside—weather &o., permitting. _ C Lite as it is, Nance and I, who Bleep together, lie awake for nearly an hour talking j over the events of the day. I Our window is wide open, and through the passion-flowers that frame it, the moonlight pours, and lies in a white pool on the floor, and in with it comes the scent of the mignionette. "Dora," at length says Nanoe, soberly, just as, owing to her long silence, I think I ™ ofl , t0 n i eep ' "t ba i t . do y° n th »nk of Mr. Fowler ? Do you like him, I mean ?" « Da you believe in first impressions, Nance ?" I ask irrelevantly. "To a great extent—yes." *• Well, my first impression of him waa de- I cidedly unfavorable, but it wore away and 1
was seoonded by the reverse." I don't like him Dora," she Bays with em- I phasis. "Why?" I do not like thee, Dr. Fell, The reason why I cannot tell—'" !_s_all her answer. "Have you known him long ?" "About two years. Ii's about that time since he came to manage Fernlea for Williams and Bruce, the great cqaattine firm." d © Fernlsa—a pretty name 1 is it far from here?" " Seventeen miles round the road, but only eleven across the country." " And does he live there alone? " No, yoa goose, there are several men, of course, employed about the run, and the wife of one of them housekeeps for him." " Still they'd not be much company for one so fastidious." " True, but his leisure time, it is rumored, he devotes to a widow of the ' fair fat, and forty' type, who owns Lillioia, the next station, so don't lose your heart to him,'
laughingly, though the warning is not given in jest, I am sure. "' Forewarned is forearmed.' What ia she like?" "The widow—Mrs. Peyson, you mean? Remarkably pretty lier face, but no figure." " Has she any children ?" " No. She had but two," sleepily. " Now not another word, we've lost onz beauty sleep as it is. Good night, Dot," a name my laok of inches, in comparison with hers, had won me. " Good night, and happy dreams," I say L but it is long ere I can sleep, thinking over what she has told me, and of Morton Fowler's audacity in daring to press my hand and look innfc " i.nnnnttor^Wfltv,^™ unnutterable things »" out of his hand' I some eyes into mine with "that fat widow"— for so mentally I spitefully designate her—in the background. CHAPTER IX. Saturday night brings Mr. Alexander and my recreant knight to Sunnyside. Nance and I are sitting " in the gloaming" over the parlor fire, where they are ushered in,
oold and "most prosaically hungry after their ride," the former informs us, with thelioence of an old friend. " I can understand Mr. Fowler's being so," I tell him, " but can't credit it of you." " No insinuations, young lady," waving me off with his wide-awake. " Mrs. Arcroft," as she enters the room, " protect me." "From what?" ehaking hands with both. " Miss Dunbar's cuts and thrusts." " You are well able to defend yourself," she laughs, turning to address Mr. Fowler. " In your might remember mercy" groans Mr. A., gazing, in well-feigned fear, wildly round the zoom ior some means of escape. • " Nance, to the rescue," I cry, as, having lit the lamp, she turns from the table and joins as," I beat a retreat." After dinner we gather round the fire in a wide half-circle, and anecdote, jest and song wile away the hours—Nanoe, Bitting at the
right extremity of our half circle, on the piano stool, has only to swing round to th6 instrument. The long, low room, with its delicatelytinted walls and moss-brown carpeting, its , abundance of easy chairs and couches, its books, flowers, and pictures all steeped in the meHow radiance of lamp and fire, makes a pleasant picture. ] And the human element detracts nothing from it, I think to myself, looking from the I genial face of its owner to the stately figure of his wife in its black velvet and point lace, I and thence to the quartette of youthful figures and fair faces that complete the picture—quartette I say, for a glance at the pier-glass tells me I need not exolude myself. Ihose sparkling eyes, roae-fiuahed cheeks, and smiling lips, authorise my addition to the number. It is raining "torpedoes and Gatling guns,"
to quote Mr. Alexander, when we awake on Sunday morning, and it continues to do so all day. Nevertheless, we manage to put in the day agreeably. After breakfast, Mr. Alexander carries Nance off, on pretence of making her show him the latest addition to the gun room. Mrs. Arcroft disappears next on " hospitable thoughts intent," with her better half in her wake, giving me a parting injunctibn to "amuse Mr. Fowler for a few minutes." " How am I do it ?" I ask, blandly," shall I tell you a story ? or show yoa some pictures ? or what ?" " I leave yoa to deoide," he Bays lazily, reclining graoefally in the depths of a great arm-chair, 41 unless you promise to abide by my choice."
" That depends," I say, cautiously. " On what ?" " On what your choice is." Can't you trust me ?" he asks, " or it rather?" w^thaT" W tMnSfat rS r r ' 8 at tha Bftme 01 ' .. r t,„ .. . I t™ ' " e theM ° 0t eXCep " hone to eveiy eveiy rule ? I " They only serve to prove the rule," oh stinately, "Perhaps so, but we are getting wide of the point. Will you grant my wish ?" " Gan't till I know what it is." ^ " It's a very innocent one?" «' Opinions differ, Mr. Fowler." e continued.) I