Chapter 198454788

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Chapter Number1. V
Chapter TitleLOVE AND MONEY.
Chapter Url
Full Date1895-08-03
Page Number2
Word Count4329
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)
Trove TitleWhatsoever a Man Soweth
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It VH cob long before it began to be freely whispered in sooiety that Reece Meadoweere badsuooumbed to the many fasoinations of Misi Remersque. Nor were these assertions unjnstified ; Meadowsere's frequent appearanoe in aooiety, oombined with the / attitude of ohivalrous respeot he adopted . towards Miss Remeraque, weat far to oreate MM impression that he desired to inake her his wife. He had felt interested in her on the occasion Of their first meeting; and . Mis. Silvermede's well - meant warning bad had exaotly an opposite eSeot to ' what was intended. Then had followed the conversation at Mrs. Duval's garden party, and shortly after that event Reeoe realised that be bad met his fate—for the first time in life he was in love. Yet he did not yield at onoe. He straggled •gainst what appeared to him a weakness. Ha analysed his feelings carefully, and asked liimself whether be had not merely developed a passing fanoy for a beautiful face and a graceful figure. Oould he look forward to spending the remainder of his life with Miss Remersque provided she beoame his wife? Wpuldhe .not weary of her? And might she not also weary of him? She was not perfeot; .indeed, had many faults, and at times he caught stray swaps of her conversation which jarred upon him. But what woman of his acqnointanoe was perfect, save, perhaps, his mother, in whom he saw no faults? He Reasoned with himself; argued first on one side and then the other, but at length was •' forced to acknowledge that oome what might, , whether for good or ill, he loved this woman and de&ired to call her his own. Then he raw • nervous and anxious. Perhaps Miss Remersque had no special regard for him, he thought; she might reject him, as he knew she had done so many others. What right had he to suppose that she would do otherwise? Certainly she always received him with every manifestation of pleasure, but what did ' that prove?' Nothing. Even nowsher heart might belong to another. • Reeoe wfas not what is called "a lady's man." Neither was he vain. He knew that he was considered- handsome. He oould not belp knowing it, tint of this he was wholly indifferent. It was not to be expected that Miss Remeraqae would

marry him for his good looks alone. He Remembered Mrs Silvermedb's words, "Love •ad money! a little of the former and abun- . - danoeof the latter, are what a woman craves for." If this were trad, what chance had he? His love was Hilda's, but wealth was not yet at fail oommand; perhaps would never be, for suoh property as he had a right to expect would one day belong to him could not make him a wealthy man, according to the world's estimation. He called himself a fool—a ooward. "There was but one honourable oourse to take—to avow his love and reoeive his answer like a man. And still Meadoweere seemed afraid to test bis fate, even though he knew he had many / rivals. Captain Jones was one of these, but ;•/ the Oaptain, being very egotistioal and very easy going, did not worry over his possible ohanoes as Seeee was -doing. He considered himself to be as good as any other man, perhaps a little better, and he oredited Miss Bemersque with possessing sufficient per- ' jpioocitv to deoide what was best for herself. True, she always oheoked him when he .'attempted to make any direot allusion to his hopes. But the Captain was patient; there mCt plenty of time yet, and he was in no pirtiotilar hurry. From this . it may be . Judged that his love was not verj deeply rooted. / , .Robert MbTinny was also a suitor for the hand of Miss Bemersque; but be loved as one withouthope'. '. Meadowsere had. however, one formidable rival, and this was Stephen Stornhill, who had Slit lately entered thi lists. Stornhill's hatred of Reeoe had got theVbetter of his judgment, and, Ueeing bow matters were drifting, he itMMininsdif possible to outrivalhim. That a good woman ocxtld marry snob a man seemed to Beeoe impossible; yet with deep pain, but' jealousy, he saw that Stornhill,

with his knowledge of the world and of Women, bis polished manners and courteous address with tfioie be desired to please, backed up by his immense wealth, was not'a • rival to be despised. There was no more hesitation. The time had oome to aot, and Meadowaeie felt that it was so. When Reeoe Meadowsere came to this oonelusion he was seated in his study, staring iu i. tbe -open French windows at the iy, old garden without. The afternoon was iveiystill; tbe leaves of the trees hung motionless ana heavy; and even the doves that had entered nnnotioed through the hushed their gentle oooing, andappeared as if afraid to break the pervading * siletioe. A large marble olook stood on the mantalpieoe, bnt that also gave forth no sound/ Its monotonous "tick, tick," had'oeased hoar ago; it had run down, and no one heeded. On a rug, at Meadowsere's feet, lay a,huge mastiff, fait asleep; and qnietly . MtsaoBsaed in a comfortable armchair was a ifimall fox terrihr, watching with one eye open < file slightest movement of its master/and per- : £aps debating how long this unnaturalstate of , \ things was to last. - i—Vresently a light footstep was beard in the ''passage without, and the door was opened almost jnoislessly. The terrier gave a shrill bark, the doves flattered through the window, and the mastiff, waking suddenly, darted teto the garden after them, and, followed by " the zealous terrier, dashed up and down the Mrieit paths with oommendable persevpranoe,- as tbe doves flew lightly to and im. Reeoe turned with a start, to find his mottled looking down upon bim. • " Have you been holding alevee, my boy? 1 •he asked, smilingly. ^ "1 hardly know what. I have been doing, mother. Not muob work, Pm afraid." "Thinking, perhaps," said bis mother, as she stooped to kiss the brood, upturned forehead. "TOD have done a good deal .of that lately. Reeoe." . „ "I know it, mother. • '"*«< And I am not admitted to your thoughts." ' She was right, and Reeoe did not answer. Item childhood upwards he had had no seeret V from bis mother until now; but of his love for Mies Remersque he had not epoken to her; and har wordeeounded to bim like a reproach. " You have changed lately, my boy. You

bare grown restless, silent, and sometimes almost irritable. Was it likely that this Jwopld esoape a mother's eye ? But I have not , worried yon, Beeoo; I have waited day by day, in the hope that yon wonld oonfide in me *s of old, but my hope has been in *ain. Am I of no farther use to you, my eon ?" t Still Reeoe wae silent, though he pressed - bis mother's band tightly within his own, as V If in protest. Could he tell this loving, gentle weOmn that she no longer occupied the first plaoe in hUaffeotions ? Oould he confess that day and night his thoughts were of one whom l»had known bnt a few short weeks ? What a poor reward it would seem for all her years •f loving tenderness. How ungrateful he would appear in her eyes was the thought • which oooupied his mind. Mrs. Meadowsere waited for his answer patiently, but none came. Then, with a sigh, she knelt by tbe side of bis ohair, and riMpi.. her hands about his neok kissed him With infinite tenderness. But R e turned .ftwaV his faoe; and his mother, with a look of pain in her eyes, rose to leave the room. She reaohed the doer, and, pausing at the threB- Lold,<glanoed baok at her son. He sat with 1 his faoe buried in his hands, ana again she h waited, but not in vain. l f JnadTand, with a ory of " Mother!" held out his arms imploringly. In a moment she was By bis aide, and into ber sympathizing ear he ' poured the story of his love, of his doubt, his 'lair, and his hope. .. 'And,whenallwas told, Reeoe said-"Are Min angry with me, mother ? "Anew! No, my boy. So long a* your ipve^rings yon happiness I shall be glad, for your sake M for my own. "And you are not jealous. Mrs. Meadowsere smiWd. ''No, I am not Jealous Reeoe. Why should I be - "I thought," said he hesitatingly, per haps you might imagine that, because I oared tor some one else, there would be no room in m heart for you. I feared you might oonsider me ungrateful and indifferent after all fou have done for me, mother. "I ate not afraid of that, Reeoe. Love oannot kill love, and without love no man s life oan be oomplete. Beoause a man beguw to think of taking a wife, it does not prove that the love one feels for his mother is growing less. If this were so, then indeed I might grpw jealous. But when a man singles out one woman from the world, as, ill men should at dome time in their lives, and bestows upon her the wealth of his affeotion, it w with a love that altogether differs from the love he bears his mother. They are alike, and yet not alike; and, provided both are tree, they oannot clash one with the other. Both are necessary to ensure oomplete happiness. "Then you do not mind my •P ea l £ n J & ™ Mits Bemersoue at onoe, mother? said Beece, anxiously. .. "Tbesooner the better. Remember the old reverb, 'Faint heart never won fair lady, f m afraid yon have not been acting very bravely, Reeoe. . Yow father woujd never have waited eo long tolparn his fate, and she smiled as she thought of the time when she also had been yonng. But the smilo was followed by • sigh, and the tears stood in her •yes. " Well, you see, mother, I am a novioe in Of art of lovemakiDg in spite of my S ve-andtwsnty years,"said Itteoe, gravely, dm'k an art easily learned, Beeoe, and unfortunately, one practised more for amuse mtBttUofei aught eWbr But in your case it

is not so. Where IB Miss Remeraque to-day, Beece ? Do you know ?" " I think she will be at home this afternoon, mother." "Tell me, my son, is she as Mrs. Silvermede described her to be some weeks ago ?" " No, mother, she is not. If she will but be my wife you will learn to love her as your danghter—I know you will." "I am satisfied, Reeoe. It is early yet, and you say Miss Remersque is at home. Go to her at onoe and confess your love." "At onoe, mother !"oried Reeoe, dismayed. "Yes, there is no time !ike the present, and I am eager to bear her answer.' I am growing old, Reece, and I would fain see you married before my death. See! here is a ring—the ring your father gave me when we were first engaged. Take it, my boy, and may it bring you happiness." "Surely you will not like to part with it, mother?" " I should like your future wife to wear it, Beeoe. And now leave me, my son, and God speed you." She gave him his hat, and kissed mm. Then, as he left the room and walked away down the gravel path, she prayed that her boy might have his desire granted, and that the woman be had chosen would prove a fitting and a loving helpmate. Reeoe had several miles to go to reach the bouse of Mrs. Remersque, and he chose tu walk; for, in spite of niB mother's encouragement and her evident belief in the euocess of his mission, he himself wtf! by no means eanguine; and, instead of hastening aa he approaohed hiB destination, his steps grew slower and slower, so that by thettime he reaohed the house the afternoon ha A far advanced. When at length he stood at W 16 little gate whioh marked the entrance of Mrs. Remersque's garden, however, his courage returned to him, and he reproaohed himself for a want of manliness. There would be but little hope for bim if he sued for a proud woman's love in fear and trembling. He rang the bell, and asked for Miss Remersque. The servant at once showed bim into a small but beautifully furnished parlour, and left him. The room was darkened, and at first he oould see nothing, but stood helpless in the oentre of the room. As his eyes beoame accustomed to the semi-darkness he looked around with some curiosity. Everywhere he saw traces of a woman's handiwork. A vase of hot-house flowers stood on the table together with a glassbowl of silverfish. A number of little nionacks that ladies love were scattered here and there about the room ; and on the floor iay an open fashion-book, with brilliantly coloured plates. The piano which stood in one corner of the room was open, and scattered about were various pieossV>f music, most of them waltzes. Reece wondered whether all young ladies loved to leave their rooms in such disorder. Perhaps it is, he thought;

but nevertheless it surprised him. He -took up a novel; it was one of Zola's, and he laid it down again hurriedly. "MuBt belong to her mother," be muttered. " Never read them myself, but should hardly imagine them suitable for ladies." * There was the ruBtle of a dress, and Reeoe turned quickly. Hilda Remersque, beautiful, and, it must be oonfe&ed, looking a little confused, stood in the doorway. "This is an unexpeoted pleasure, Mr. Meadowsere," ehe said sweetly, as she held out ^ier hand. "I am gliad it is a pleasure, Miss Remersque," was bis grave answer. " It is always a pleasure to see my friends. But Marie should not have shown yon in here. I have been turning everything topsy-turvy, and the room is in sod disorder, Mr. Meadowsere." "There does seem a little confusion," said Reece, who was nothing if not truthful, and he picked up the fashion-book from the floor and laid it on the table. Then the thought struck him that this was not a good beginning. What right had he to expresB an opinion upon such a delioate matter as a lady s arrangement of her own sitting-room, and in such an impertinent manner? "I am afraid you must consider me very rude," he said humbly. To this Miss Remersque made no answer, and there was a painful silence. But, though disoouraged, Raece was not altogether disheartened. " You will forgive me, will you not ?" he asked pleadingly. "There is nothing to forgive,"said Miss Remersque, frankly. " Ioontess I was a little vexed at first, but only for a moment. I forgot that yon were different from other men, and always say what you think." "Not always, Miss Remersque." "No? I thought yon did. I declare I am

quite disappointed." "I hope I think what I say." "Is it not the same thing?" "No. Many men think what they say, but they do not say all they think." "You are pleased to be veryoritioal this afternoon, Mr. Meadowsere." "Then it is because I do not know-how to express myself." "Indeed! I should hardly have thought yon were often in. that predicament. But I declare ! It is I who ought to be termed rude for keeping you standing so locg. Take this ohair, will you, Mr. Meadowsere ? You will find it very comfortable." '' Thank you, but is it not your favourite ?" "Yes; you see how magnanimous lam?" and she laughed, a little satirically it appeared to Meadowsere. " Miss Remersque," be said abruptly, " it is strange that, on this afternoon of all others, I should offend you every time I open my lips to speak." "You have not done so, Mr. Meadowsere. But why do you say 'this afternoon of all Others?'" 1 Beoause I have come here with a special objeot in view. But pray be seated. No, not there. Take your own chair, and I will stand hire so that I oan look down upon you." " That sentence hardly sounds complimentary," said Miss Remersque lightly, as she took the ohair that Ueeoe offered ber. "It is you who are critical now," said Beeoe with a smile. " Yes?" with a half-enquiring glanoe... "Are you wondering why I came ?" "Perhaps f" " Beoause I love yen 1" The reply was unexpected ; and the words spoken abruptly, almost sharply, as if the speaker had for a moment lost control of himself. Miss Remersque stared at the oarpet, silent and embarrassed. Reeoe etood erect, toying with his watoh-ohain with trembling fingers. Then suddenly he bent down, and in a low, passionate voice told the tale of his love.. There was no response. Miss Remersque eat like a carved image, motionless. She had longed for this day with a great longing. She had determined to bring this proud man to her feet, and bad used her great beauty, and all the gifts with whioh nature bad endowed her, to aooomplisb this end. She had vowed that she would have revenge for the in-

differenoe with whioh he had at first treated her. She had played a part; ehe bad Bought bis love; and lo! it was hers. But what had it cost? She had lost her own heart in winning his. She had gone forward, believing herself strong. In the part ehe had played she had seen no danger. But now she acknowledged herself weak — acknowledged that, when ehe had deemed herself Bafe, she had not been so. The awakening was humiliating, but not altogether sudden. For days the truth had haunted her; but she had closed her eyes to it, and refused to heed the warning of her heart. But now her eyes were opened—the truth stared her in the faoe, and she rebelled against it, for it had been her intention to marry for wealth, and Reeoe Meadowsere oould not satisfy her desires. She had enoouraged Stephen Stornhill's attention. Her mother had urged her to aocept him, -instilling into ber daughter's mini the idea that to become rioh was the °ole aim and end of a woman's life. And Hilda had believed her. She loved comfort; ehe loved the good things that money would provide; and—she loved Reece Meadowsere. What was to be done ? Reece grew impatient, then reckless. "Have you nothing to say ?" he demanded, passionately. "I tell you that I love you—would make, you my wife, and you do not open your lips to answer me. Hilda! for God's sake, sneak to me. What is it to be—yes or no?" He took her hand and bent lower and lower. She felt his breath upon her cheek and shrank away. Reeoe dropped her hand proudly and stood upright. "I beg your pardon- for annoying you," he said with studied soldness. " I have already remained too long, and will say good-bye." He held out his hand, and Hilda glanced up at him shyly. His faoe was very pale and stern and betrayed nothing. For all she oould read there the features might have been oarved in marble. How proud and unapproachable he looked. Surely this could not be the man who but a moment before had poured into her ear a torrent of hot, passionate words, every one braathing of a love strong, tender, and true. He was very handsome, she thought. Oh, if he were only rich. " Won't yon any good-bye?" The voice bad changed. It was no longer cold, but low and tender. The features also had relaxed their sternness, and a smile, half sad, half bitter, played aboot the lips. Those dark eyes which she so muoh admired were fnll of pain, and as she looked into their troubled depths she felt herself wavering. " Am I to go without a word ? You are very hard, Miss Remersque; but perhaps it is as well. Good bye !" "No! no! You must not go." " Why not?" he demanded, while a gleam of hope flushed into his eyes. " Because you belong to me ; yen are mine, and I will not let you go." She spoke with a fierceness that startled him. "How oan I belong to you if you do not love me?" "Whosaid I didn't? Oh! what fools men are! I am yours, body and soul. Take me, I oan resist no longer." She clung to him, laughing hysterically. Reeoe soothed her, although almost afraid of the passionate light that gleamed in her eyes. A very demon seemed to have been roused within her. Once he stooped and kissed the hot tremulous lips that pressed almost against bis cheek. V Again!" she oemmanded. "Kiss

me again!" and again and again their lips met; and Reeoe felt the blood course madly through his veins; and he trembled with the greatneBB of hiB passion. But all things have an end eave eternity; and a fire that burns fieroe burns fast, and leaves but little trac6 of its fury. Hilda Remersque's exoitement died away, and she leaned heavily upon Reece's shoulder. " I am tired," she murmured in a voice so low that Reeoe scarcely heard tbe words. He placed her in a chair, and bent over her in alarm. She laughed lightly. " Don't be foolish, Reece; for I may call you ' Raece,' may I not ?" " Who has a better right?" " Oh, of course ! no one. But come! tell me about your mother. You know I have never met her." . Reeoe found no difficulty in doing this, such a subject was congenial to him, and to Hilda Remersque at any rate he could have discoursed upon it for hours. As he spoke of his mother's beauty, her goodness, her superiority to other women he had met, and of his admiration and love for her his face began to glow with honest enthusiasm. From between her half-closed eyelids Hilda watohed him in silent amusement, albeit not' unmingled with envy. "And now,"said Reece at length, "here is a ring my mother gave me. It was her own engagement ring, and now it is to be yours." " Why should I wear a ring ?" asked Hilda, hastily. Reece looked pained. " Would you rather not; even though my mother gave it me, and wished you to have it ?" "Yes ! yes ! I will wear it, Reece. Place it on my finger. Why! what a dear oldfashioned ring it is; and so uncommon. £ declare I am in love with it already." Reeoe was satisfied. He placed the ring on her finger and sealed the betrothal with a kiss. "How dark it is growing. Don't you think it is time for you to go?" asked Hilda,' playfully. " Are ycu anxious to get rid of me?" " Now, that is unkind. But it is growing late, Re9oe; and what mast the servants think of us sitting alone tegether for so long. We must study appearanoes, Reeoe." "They will guesa we are engaged, and if they don't they will soon know it. But where is your mother, dear?" "She is out, and really, when she comes in I hardly fancy she will be pleased at what I have Co tell her." "No? Why not?" asked Reeoe, a little startled. " Well," continued Hilda quietly, " I think she wished me to marry Mr. Stornhill." " Stornhill !" exolaimed Reece; and Hilda watching him slyly, saw bis face darken and hie bands clench. "Yes," she said demurely, "he is very

wealthy, and—and—is supposed to oare for me." " Wealthy! wealthy !" exolaimed Reeoe with great bitterness. "Yes; and it is pleasant to be rioh—don't you think so ?" "Do you oare for riohes?" asked Reece, staring down at her. "Yes, I do," she answered, looking him boldly in the faee. " But. but," and hereyes fell, "not so much as I do for you." _ He took ber iu his arms, and pressed her tightly to him. "Hilda," he said beseechingly, " I wish you to have nothing whatever to do with that man. Will you promise me this ?" " What! are you jealous already?" "No; I am not jealous. But I do not oare to have my future wife associating with a man like Siephen S:ornhilI." ' How silly you are, Reece," she laughed merrily. " Bat now you really must go. There's a kiss for you, althongh you don't deserve it. Good-by ! until to-morrow." He lefti the house in bewilderment, and as the door closed upon him Hilda Remersque picked up a book from the table and dashed it savagely upon the floor. " Fool! fool that^I am," she muttered with clenched teeth. "A fortuue within my grasp, and I throw it away because—forsooth —I am in love like a silly lovesick schoolgirl. Bah ! How my mother will rave and weep and gnash her teeth. Ha! ha ! But how handsome Reece is ! Worth a hundred of the fools who flock about me like parrots round a fruit-tree; and—good God !—how I love him.!" She threw herself upon a couob, and burying her face in her hands sobbed violently; whilst Reeoe waB striding homewards to bear the news of his good fortune to his mother.