Chapter 28677624

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Chapter NumberXIV
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1901-04-16
Page Number5
Word Count5021
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleCamperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954)
Trove TitlePriceless Violet
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BY EFFIE ADELAIDE ROWLANDS, Author of "A King and a Coward," "A Child of Charity." "Love, the Con queror, etc., etc.

" easy task she had set her- Ve th her,f roml3e ?f remaining at e^/^e/" 6"10011 -ould not be Lady Blanche would not" understand Why she should absent herself from the garden party, and any prevarication was more than difficult:to a nature like Aiolet's. : ?* -- - ?.-'; ..???•'?. ?~- . ;? Then agate, altkougb. she felt almost sure that her grandmother had made this monetary provision for her she could not, of course, know whether It would be possible for her to use this moner before ber marriage, or, indeed, afterwards.- ; She had only fallen back on the re membrance of It as a possible means ot helping her father now. •?^lun I have found out exactly hore 'l am Mtuated," she said to herself "1 ehall then be able perhaps to offer my self as a kind of security, even if I am cot free to deal with this money" ! Her sweet face had a sad and shadowed look, and a sigh broke unconsciously from her lips many times as she hurried back to her grandmother's house. •* Her loyal heart was torn between her fluty to her father, and that which she certainly owed to her mother's mother.: "Poor Grannie." she said to lier4lf, "she is stj eager to make an things smooth and bright for me. I hate to keep anything- away from her; ana yet how can I speak of this? Daddy was so anxious that she should not be told and after all I think he is right, for I cannot shut my eyea to the fact that Grannie is very harsh with him, and -would certainly show him no mercy now." ?When Violet reached the house she en tered the door Just as a large cardboard box was being handed in. It waa addressed to Feo, and it bore the name ot on# of the most fashionable and costly dressmakers in London. " The girl's heart turned cold as she mounted the stairs wearily to her own room., . , , It was for these follies and for all other extravagancies committed by Feo that her father had plungea himself into this sea of debt and difficulty. For an instant the longing seiied -her to go and lay bare before Feo this latest Etory of their father's anxiety but even as she started to do this she turned back again. - ~ . ? - She would only expose herself and her father's sorrow for no purpose what ever; enough had beensaid and shown to Feo in the past few months, and nothing had taken effect. How then would she be likely to move the girl, especially in her present surroundings, when, accord ins to Feo, all her extravagance was so necessary? As she opened the door of her room and passed in Violet saw one of the maids carrying that large box to Feo's room. .. ? . ? : It seemed to the girl's excited imagina ation in this moment as If that long cardboard box was a coffin in which were buried her father's sacrifices of love and her ownchance of happiness. Sir Douglas did not proceed very far after that brief interview with Violet. He found himself almost unconsciously turning back again towards the park. As a matter of fact he followed the eirl at a good distance, watching her as efce walked and ran with the dogs, a bright, graceful figure in her dainty morning toilette. It irritated him to realise the power this girl possessed to eting and annoy him. It was certainly not like him to de vote two thoughts of serious import to any woman, but it must be confessed that Violet was the first of her sex who had treated him with such marked cold ne£3 and aversion. That, in iteelf, no doubt, was the first reason for the man's dogged determination to force himself by some means or other into her life; and now that lie knew she had given her love and pledged her future to the man he hated most of all, that deter mination became the dominant note of his existence. ~s > Apart from this the girl fascinated Vim There was something innocent and childlike about her. although she could be so proud and dignified, as he had reason to know. He had a sudden longing to so after fcsr quickly now and compel her to listen to him, and to subdue her will to his; but he felt that he would do no good ly fpeaking to her again that morning, ana so he contented himself with simply watching her. After a while he noticed that she was t-tting on a bepch talking to some one. He drew near — as near, as he could r.ith safety — and looked eagerly across -at Violet. All at once a. great change had come Into the girl's expression. That won derful look of happiness had gone from her eye?, and her face had a drawn, pale look. ??.... Sir Douglas sought eagerly for a -cause- for this, and in that moment Dr Huntley turned ha head, and his face revealed to the other man. A soft, low whistle escaped from i.sicester's lips. ' ? r ? He knew a. little bk about Dr! Hunt fcy's financial position. Indeed, it was en open secret at Covertdale that the kind, pleasant doctor had the greatest 'difficulty in making both ends meet, and the etory of his constant friction with the tradespeople was by this time a very old one. : ? *: Feo herstlf, in her rough, frank way. tad discussed the matter of her father'" poverty with Sir Douglas In very clear .words. :: .'???"?' It needed, therefore, very little effort: c* imagination on Leicester's part now to jump to the conclusion that Violet frad known first ot all nothing about her father's presence in London, and that Dr Huntley'e appearance was not un connected with monetary trouble. "Well hidden, he watched that inter view carefully, wishing that be could have been near enough to'hear what passed;-but" to such a ""skilled reader of human nature as himself, even though the substance of their conversa tion was not communicated to him, their faces iTKJke as clearly :as words, and, somehow or other, it suddenly d3wned Tipon Douglas' Leicester, that this was Itis opportunity. ? ? - ' . - . H:? heart beat more qnichiy-than it hail tbtnp- for years, as he watched Violet and her father rise and walk slowly to wards one of the gates.' -.'?'?. ? Then, when be noticed that they part ed and that the girl went back to Lady BJanche's house alone, ' Sir Douglas jumped from the chair in which he had been sitting, and hastened as fast as he could to overtake Dr. Huntley. - Violet's father was walking- aimlessly out of the park. The glow of hope and comfort that Violet's presence had given him faded away as he was alone; for ' though he did not donbt her love and fcer intention, hp knew how limited her powers -s\?re, and the truth must lie told that it hurt him keenly to have Plunged the girl into this fresh maze of trouble Jitt when she nil so happy. As Sir Douglas touched him lightly on the shoulder, Martin Huntley turned -vrltli a start and a flush on his worn face. He uttered an exclamation of pleasure, however, as he saw by* whom he was ad • dressed. " - .... ? Leicester had always shown his plea ramtest side to Violet's father, and Dr. Huntley had a feeling" of warm liking for the man. "I thought I could m?ke no mistake," •.Sir Douglas said, quite sally. "Are you 493

-ln : town for ions,Dr.-HunUey? if you are_ not too busy. I hope you will give me the pleasure of lunching with, me- 1 have one or two matters I want to dis cuss with you, and this la an excellent opportunity.^ S :r :?>?-?? ??'? - ''.- - .; ??~; ; -" :*g* HunUer hesitated only a moment s up in town on ?business,"- he said, nervously. - '.• ,? ~ s *i "T?s, but you: can spare me an hour," Sir Douglas insisted. r ;' ???; ? ..Urged by the desire to escape his "own company, Dr. Huntley accepted the in vitation. , ~?.: ?; :..??.- --??:- ,?? :,.-.," ?. Sir Douglas drove with his guest to one of his dubs. ?:.:?.. •_ He chose a one where Martin Huntley would feel more at homeland he ordered a dainty little lunch. > Slowly, but surely, a feeling of intense satisfaction crept over hb heart. : • He was careful to avoid all mention of matters that could lead Dr. HunUey to suppose that he saw anything was the matter; but he knew his man. " ? • He told himself with half a sneer that before they parted company, Martin Huntley'a, troubles would be laid before him.-,.':' ?... :. ??'' :: : ~; ?,?.;??; ?.?.?? •; He "seemed to feel that it was Impera tive that he should know exactly what had happened. ' ' ; I Violet perhaps, would take a different tone with him If she were to know that he had acted as a" benefactor to her father.. ? '.... ' ? ' ..'... ' : , \ Ordinarily speaking, Douglas Leicester was both mean and ungenerous In money matters, but a spirit of recklessness took possession of him now. "/. ; Though "H were to cost him half hfa fortune he would gladly part with the money, if, by" so. doing, he could stand between Violet and Jerome Leicester, and so.'perhaps, work the girl's future In with his own." . ./? ' -'" ... j He -was. lavish; of courteous attention to his guest, arid tor a brief hour Martin Huntley slipped away entirely from the old environment pC debt axid difficulty* and hard, weary work, and went back instead into the past, when life had been pleasant and free from care. ; . The knowledge that he was sought by such a man as Leicester, .and treated with so much respect, acted as a tonic to his troubled spirit * He possessed Just that nature that can find an hour's happiness in the midst, of misery, and such an hour came to him now. . . ? 1 Gradually Sir Douglas worked the conversation round to the point neces^ sary to his schemes, and then, almost be fore he knew it, Martin Huntley had given him the full story of the business that had brought him to London the day before. _ -.'' ' ' S A'gleam of triumph shot for an instant into the other man's eyes, and a smile played upon his lips; but Martin Hunt* ley aid not see- this—everything else was lest to him in the rush of sudden relief and delight that came when Sir Douglas spoke, " '_."'? ,

"I thought- you looked troubled just now; but, my dear fellow, you must not let a small thing like that distress you. I know this man with whom you have been dealing. He is hard, but I believe can be made open to persuasion. "When we have smoked our "cigars we will take a hansom and go there together. I have no doubt whatever that I shall be" able to make your tyrant regard this matter- In a very different.light. At any rate, you will not hesitate to allow me to act as your friend. " Oh, no ,no:"- he said, as Martin Huntley would have protested, weakly enough. "X must insist on ren dering you: such a small service. But come with me into the smoking-room we will have our coffee there." ' ?•??•? * • • Lady Blanche Montgomery drove to the garden party that afternoon in a mood of great annoyance. She did not In the least understand why Violet had refused to accompany her at the last moment, and it aggravat ed her beyond measure to feel that she was chaperoning Feo, instead of her granddaughter. Of late Lady Blanche had been drifting back to her old dislike of Feo. ". • ? ; There had been something mysterious in Violet's manner, moreover, which Lady Blanche had not understood. ; She was disposed to be very sharp with Feo; but Feo, happily for herself, was quite indifferent whether Lady Blanche was in a good or a bad mood. She was conscious that she was looking radiantly beautiful. t Acting still on that shrewd determina tion to silence Lady Blanche's "possible criticism, Feo had taken a freak into her head to wear nothing but white; so she was garbed this afternoon in softest cream white, and even though she would have found pleasure in so doing. Lady Blanche could not honestly discover a flaw in the girl's attire. She did. however, note that Feo's white garments were exquisitely cut, and must have cost a great deal of money. "I am afraid your visit to London will burn a hole in your father's pocket, my dear," she said, in her driest way. as she looked Feo up and down; but Feo only laughed. " -....?': "Oh. daddy -was- determined that I should not disgrace you," she said. '1 am not likely to get such a chance again you know," the girl added, cunningly. It added to Feo's pleasure that" Violet was not present She liked to sit* beside Lady Blaxichek and not with her back to the horses, and better than this, she turned to tha thought that in a little while she would see Jerome Leicester for once without Violet. ... , : For Feo knew something'that Violet did not know, and that was that Jerome had managed to snatch one of his rare opportunities for having a free after noon, and would be at the garden party. This knowledge had come to her in the simplest manner. , Amongst other conveniences and com forts in Lady Blanche's luxurious house a telephone was established, and it was a frequent occurrence for. Jerome to speak a few words with Violet througi this medium in the course of the day. : A summons had come from his office whilst Violet had been out in the morn ing, and Feo had gone to the telephon" pretending to be her half-sister. She could hardly tell why she had don this, except that she was always glad to know all that passed between them. . Jerome had telephoned in great glee to say that he should be free that after noon, and would most certainly be at the garden party.. ,' '" . ' ? . The half-sisters, had not; met until lunch tioic, qh<3 th?n Violet lisid ?sJI cit ?nee announced her intention of remain ing at home that afternoon, and Feo had as quickly resolved to hold jier tongue about the message Jerome had sent - It would go hard. Indeed, she said to herself. If she did not manage to throw some little doubt into the younff man's mind about Violet during the course o£ the afternoon; hard. Indeed, if with her beauty and Euch an opportunity she did not efface to a great extent the memory that Violet was at home alone. • ??;. * ; : ?In fact, such was Feo's colossal vanity that she saw no reason why she should not easily supplant Violet in this raaa"s heart-' :-'."r .?'.- ; •":.-???' ???-.'-? ?-???'? ?She told herself it was so ridiculous that he could really love a colorless little thing like Violet .r >.:. ~ , . '???••TiTiy, to-day," Feo said to herself, almost scorn"ully, " when we were "at lunch I declare Violet looked quite tired and ugly. She is not really pretty, and I am quite sure Jerome has Just drifted into thi3 engagement, and will soon re gret it Even if I only get him away for a little while, that will be something. It driven me mad to see the airs that Violet gives herself now that she's en gagid and the fuss that everybody makes about her. It would do her good to let her know that she's not the only woman in tha world." Then there came another train of thought into Feo's mind. "Besides. I like him," she said to her self, and the color flamed Into "-her cheeks; "he's just the sort of man I do like, and if I could make him car^ for ra? a revenge it would be upon Douglas Leicester!" . . The carriage stopped, aid Lady Blanche and Feo alighted. Dy this time the gir! was growing a

P-e. accustomed: t6>te world of Society ?wt herheart never ceased to Iriumphln the power of h?r beauty. ." "'.? J. She knew, now, as she advanced into the throng, ot-smartly^resaed people scit tered"about the lawn, that every eye was drawn towards her, and that she was; the object of admiration and dislike; For what mother could tolerate he presence of such magnificent beauty withjindif ference? -?' • .i.V.p. :': -, ? "..."-_??. ..?,'?; ?:' ?.] ? :?? .; - For a time Feo was content to smile and talk with those, people . whom -she knew, and to flirt in a sense with the men who admired her so openly; but her eyes were always.on toe "<iui vive" for Jerome Lelcester...v;" I.'-'.;'1' '???•???. •: •'?:,'. :> •?* He came after awLlle, and, catching sight,of her," Imagined, of course,-that Violet would be near. ? The look of eagerness en bis face was a. physical hurt to Feo, and the way In which that face clouded7 when'he heard the news that Violet had not come, made ber rage almost savage. : She turned towards him ' and put her hand on his arm. . ; ! "Poor little VI has got a bad headache," she said, trying to infuse a certain am ount of tenderness into her voice. "She would have come; if ,she_could; but she really was not able to. She told me," Feo said, and the tenderness now was very real, "that I was to try and take her place for this afternoon. . I told her I knew that would be impossible; but she was so afraid that you would be lonely- So. as I am going to be your sister, Jerome, you must try and let roe console you. Come, let us walk down to"those trees. I see a seat in the shade;.it would be so pleasant to sit there." . ; Jerome Leicester at first was only dimly conscious ot the sympathy; expressed by her words and her ::ianner. ' i It was a. bitter disappointment to him 'not to see Violet, more especially as he Imagined that the girl had spoken lo him in the morning stid li^cl mad& no mention of feeling ill; but as he, looked at Feo'a face, something in the veiled expression >f her eyes brought him suddenly away from his vexation. ' ~ . * After air it was verj' churlish of him not to respond to her kinanees ;V so he smiled.'1"" _ .":. _' " ' ???'??•' ?_;; ;. "*Xou are very 'good. Feo," he i=ald -, "and if'l cannot have VJoie't I would rather be with you' than anybody elte- Teif. it looks very pleasant in that shade. \Ve will go there and have a cup of tea, and then you shall tell ma the story of your success this last week. /Wherever I go I hear people talking of the beautiful Miss Huntley." ' '. ' ! '' ; ? '. ;:' "'?'_ ' 'V •'Am I .beautiful?" Feo asked, in the mostlnnocent \vay possible, and she'fixed her marvellous' 'eyes, on; the,: man's face again. :" . ?"• ??; • " ; ' '"' '"'_"? ":•'?'" • ? Jerome dia not answer her: he wai con scious of a" daied sensation arid of walk-. Ing beside her across'the grass almost'as it he were in a dreahi. - ' : '; :':"".'

???' ?-?• - CHAPTER XV. ?.? ; •: ; Violet passed a troubled afternoon, r She eat Jn the window, of her grand^ mother's "charming drawing-room, and as she saw the sun glinting on the leaves of "the trees injthe distant view of the park which was 'caught from the window, it was natural that the'girl's rplrits should feel clouded by a strong touch ?OL disapj pointment in having lost her share of an entertainment which she knew- must be "exceedingly pleasant. -Besides, Vioiet grieved to do anything that annoyed her grandmother, and certainly.Lady Blanche had left the house in a decidedly bad tem per. ?""";.'.'. - -.. -?>' I T&eae, however, were trivicd matters ittmpared with that weight of anxiety I that remmbrance of her father's position I that remembrance of her father's posi tion forced upon her. She dreaded, yet longed foV the mes sage to come which was to take her to j him, for somehow she felt that there ! would be little gained by Dr Huntley's visit to the money-lender. . She was practical enough to see that the man would want something- mere de finite than the promise of. possible help from, herself: and then, the more iie thought over the question of fulfilling her promise, the more difficult her path be came. ".',.' '??."' ,; "...' '"?, ." ' . .:,"? She had turned to the thought of this provision which her grandmother was making for her as the only ray of light In a black sky of despair; but as she sat by herself, going over everything, a little hot flush of trouble crept into her face. Surely it would be repaying her grand mother's tender, thought of her very- ill If she were to attempt to obtain posses sion of this money at so dearly a rate and in so mysterious a manner. Despite her great love.NHolet rebelled a little unconsciously against her father's decree that ehe was to say nothing to Lady Blanche- , ? ? . ? In one sense., if she had carried this trouble to her grandmother, she would hare .received a new wound, but in an other, sense there would have been - com fort. For however much angertheoli lady might have felt towards Martin Huntley, sh£ would not have refused her.aid; and, without some such help," Violet now con fessed to herself that she' did not know exactly how she should help her father to solve this most painful problem. All at once there came a little slow of comfort. "' ?..' .-??'?•?" ?' ?"? Ehe would go to the telephone and talk for a few minutes to Jerome. ; :, Her heart rose a3 she went down the stuirs- .;. ? '.:. ?• .. ?-'- ?' ''- . ; "Why did I not think of this before?" she asked herself. "Even to.have c. few words spoken in .this invisible and far off way would be a touch of comfort and happiness.*' ?', ~~. ..?? '?? ??- * - ' ' - ' :s. She listened, eagerly for the answer to her summons, and when' it came Violet felt as if she had'had a little blow". ' : It was not Jerome who spoke to her from his office, but a clerk who Informed her that Mr Leicester had gone for the rest of the afternoon. The man believed that he had gone to the Duchess of Bess borough's garden party. . : Violet turned into a: lower room and sat down with her hands In her lap; feeling i chill sensation settle on her. ; Though the day. was hot. she shivered. ??? Some strange feeling came to" tell her that this af tenoon • there would be a change; that something^—she did not knew what—would work to cast a shadow over the radiant glory of her love con fessed and returned. •? " :: ' :'•-':-? Then she roused herself and sighed. • It was foolish to'think of such things, she said, bravely, to herself. Of course, *•-' was'nervous and distressed about her ? father, yet" that need not make' her imagine other troubles. I Shejooksd at the clock as she went out inti> the hall and wandered almlesily uj> tho stalra again. It was past half-pan four. By this time all the world -nould be jpithered to gether in that quaint historical old Lon don garden. Jerome among the rest. The nev.s that he was there troubled Violet very much. When they had parted the day before, he hj<l told her he feared it was quite out of .the question that he should be able to 1 leave- his work. Something, she supposed, must have I happened to permit him to do so. She could picture in her Imagination the eagerness with which he must have rushed to meet her, and sh> could picture also the blank expression of disappoint ment that she knew would come when he heard that she was not there. A?iin a sigh fluttered from her lips it seemed to her that in these "ast few hours all thp joy and ease and content ment of mind which had been vith her ( so definitely of late was slipping away fro.-n her. And then, again, came that Impatient longing for news from her father. She could not understand wny ht: haJ not sent as agreed. It was several hours now since she had parted from him ;he must have had ample time to do what'he had promised. At thi3 very moment one of the maids sought her. -bringing the long-lookypfor letter. Violet opened It hurriedly" Martin Huntley had' written a fsw words In pencil in evident haste. "Have arranged things satisfactorily," |

?he wrote;" "but must' cee.yoii 'fofaJjEew moments. ? Meet me at station;' am re turning to Covertdile by six express.l If you corneas soon as you get this, you Trill fljd me waiting- at the station."; . ''": I * ; Violet was not very long In putUng'fon Her quietest hat arid gown.; ; ;-| To; the maids" whom she, ipet as she was passing put, she said:.??"';? ; "| ' ."lam going for a short walk. If Lady. Blanche returns before I am back,.will you teil her that 1 went out to get a little air?-?-,,-:..:-':' ?:,:;-':-;- : ? ;?? ;., :r,, : : ~.;,/.j -;" Even as she spoke, the girl's face flush ed once again -with that uncomfortable feeling, of anoyance that she should he forcea to playat-p revarlcatlon; but as she left the house, and after walking, a few yards,'chartered a hansom, sbe.tHed Ito look beyond thee luods of the moment, j > " She would not let henself build too much on the possibility of having good news from her father. " ... _ '':',|i: She knew-, how"' optimistic he nras, ani how matters Oiat seemed satisfactory jto him might be most unsatisfactory !to others ; but the mere, fact that he had arranged something was In itself a relief. "When she reached the large terminus from whence the train started,' a" smile came to her lips as she saw her father waiting,for her.; "? . - '.?..'??','..??. i.:. It needed. only one glance. at ; Martin Huntley'a face for Violet to know that the burden had been lifted from him to a cer tain extent'; ?-.?:. . '?.::.- ??? > : In the morning he had worn a dejected and aged air. Now he looked his usual self; his eyes were bright, and his whole expression full of that boyish.confidence which "was one of those things that en deared him so much to Violet. -- He helped her to alight from the hansonvarid pressed her hands tenderly. J ???•;??. ? "Poor little Violet," he "said. "You look so pale.and anxious. ':-''% feel'sUch^a brute to have worried you "like this; ' but. it's all right again, A'iolet You will never believe it, but the most wonderful thing has happened." . ? The girl slipped her hand through.his arm as they, turned to go into. the station.:":: ,- ,:..' . '?. '~ ',!,,. v , v ~~\,i "Let us sit .down somewhere, -daddy,!' she said; "and then you can tell me ah about'it."" ?.-.-??- '?'?'?? •.'?-"- {: : Her. spirit "caught ttae "infections relief and'galety that pervaded his., .;.•", , j Although alie.knew nothing as yeC it was impossible.not. to realise, that a change had come for the better. " | ' Dr Huntley picked out a quiet bench, and. sitting beside Violet,' began his story of the day.' " '?'? •"? "";, j His whole " manner was alive with eagernes?. .:. ...?*,"?"."-, -~-.„. .; .'?.....,:., |- It-never entered his mind to suppose when he mentioned the name ?of the friend who had dooe so much for him. that he had struck a ? blow at Violet's pride and heart far sharper ami more hurtful than that "which she, had, . rei ceived-in the morning. ; ~ f .She sat perfectly still whilst her father gave her a full account of- hfe lunch with Douglas Leicester; of the manner in which Sir Douglas had drawn his trouble from: him :? of the visit to' the money-lender's,. and. finally, of the ar rangement which had been settled there and then. And Martin Huntley never noticed that his child's face had growi very pale, and that a look of suffering had settled upon ifcr ; ? / ?"-'?'' ]' : Nothing' could "ha?'e been more bitter, more., unexpected,' or more , unwelcome than the news Violet received now from her father. '..-?','.,.'. ' Her proud soul rose In burning revolt against the cunning, the power of this man, whom she had always distrusted. and. In a sense," feared. . - : ?:'. (To be Continued.) "