Chapter 31087005

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1900-12-22
Page Number1
Word Count1625
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleQueanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Girl He left Behind Him: An Incident of the Trannsvaal War
article text TH lIRL E LLEFT BEItIII pIplI. II I IODlET OF HE T fTR lSYflL WeD. ; <ORIGINAL STORY.BY 'ALICE; EYTON. CHAPTER I. "' f ".And these o'er unknown seas to unknown lands Shall cro00, escaping wreck, defying death; And, all unconsciously, shape every act And bend each wandering step to ts one ent.i n 'That one day out of darkness they shall meet. And read life's meaning in each ather's.eyes.",.' HE war excitement was at its height. We dwelt in an atmosphere of glory, wherein the beat *of drums, the blare of trumpets, the waving of flags, and the shouting of the multitude bore a Spredominant part. Some of us participated in it allbecause-well, just because we were susceptible to the thrills these things produce. 'Sons of New Eng land,' 'Citizens of Australia,' 'Brothers of One Nation,' and so on were the catch phrases of the hour. Therefore, when our Australian Contin gents left for the Transvaal, we climbed the tops of trees, crowded in front of windows, rushed the Barracks, and shouted, and waved flags, and behaved generally as the primitive barbarian does.' In the intervals our excitement was kept up by farewell dinners and dances. Foremost amongst the latter was a ball *given in honor of Jack Denver, a rising .young surgeon of Sydney. Jack was one of the first to volunteer for active service in -South Africa, and, albeit a little cynical .over the fuss incidental to embarkation, he had a genuine enthusiasm for his country and the Empire-an enthusiasm unleavened ,by deep sifting of national right and wrong, causie. and oterect. That would come later when the bullets had done whizzing around him, when many a comrade had vanished into~the Hereafter, and when the memory of some strong and honest foes softened his thoughts of the Boer. Meantime our hero stood in the crowded ballroom, and emilingly submitted to the petting and flatteries of half-a-dozen pretty girls who vied with one another in displaying their vague knowledge of the geography o South Africa. Suddenly his cool, grey eyes rested upon a group of two directly pposite him. In a vague, mysterious way he felt a Shush come upon the scene. His thoughts rushed in one resistless surge to the image of a day wherein the undignified noises, and the. small talk of modern life would no longer be a necessity of social intercourse. When truth and beauty would be valued 'above sham and artificiality. He did not put his eensations thus Into words. But so he .felt as he smiled at the ohatterboxes !about him, his eyes still resting upon the two figures opposite. One was that of an old gentleman with white hair, .a deeply-furrowed, thoughtful face, and stooping shoulders. .': Soholar,' mused Jack. 'He looks as if he lived more In the past and future than the present.' i:The other figure showed a young girl, tall 'and beautifully proportioned, with auburn hair, pale, clear-out features, and the ' deepest blue eyes. Her face had a some what stern expression for a woman, and her style of dress accorded well with the dignity of her bearing. She wore a trailing, black velvet Empire gown, softened onl by a cluster of white roses on one shoulder. A couple of the same flowers were fastened in her hair which was coiled very low on the well-poised head. Her manner bespoke the moat perfect repose-a repose suggesting latent force, and passion, and tenderness. Jack's' mental commentary followed his "gaze : A noble woman, nobly planned-the old man's daughter, I suppose. How beyond, or mefore their time they both appear. I "'wonder who they are I' Even as he wondered the girl moved in re*nes to a look from a lady sented to the right of Jack. She crossed the ballroom witha reposeful gait that seemed character istio. Jack glanced at the lady who had called hexfsver. With a swift sense of pleasuru ihe r cogniseed Mrs. Vyner, a very old frieind of his own. On a sudden Impulse he extricated himself from the levy of girle, and strolled after the fair Unknown. The latter leant gracefully towards Mrs. Vyner. ' You wanted me, Auntie? 'Yes, dear, I wish to introduce-nh, 'Jack, how, fortunate I You are the chlief personage here to-night. Nay, do not perotest as he raised his hand In "depreca tion. 'Look at all those girls trying to turn your head. But allow me to present you to my niece, Miss Barbara Raynmond. Barbara, this is Doctor Denver, of whom you have heard nmeo speak.' The young man bowed low. Then he turnd reproachfully to the sweet-faced old lad ou did not tell me Miss Raymond would be here to-night.' "No,, but you knew Iexpected my brother and Barbara sometime this week. They. arrived by the Ormus yesterday and alittle reluctantly, it must be confessed, consented to aetompny,' 'It was kwfully good of you to come, Miss paymod,' said Jack. 'Will you exteUnd let , me, 'soe,"yur programme?' Barbara gave a slight smile..' 1 I never caret.. to jin in any of our ball-, room . diances, save the> valse,: Doctor Denver.' Jaok gliinced at his .own pro gramme. 'I am fortu-' nate enougli, to have two waltzes left:; Let` me hope you can give them ne.' She handed him. her programme, in which he scribbled his initials. Then he drew away as , Mrs. Vyner intro duced. some men who had just joined the group.. to her niece. 'What do you think of our young Doctor, Brarbar ' asked Mrs. Vyner later, in the interval between dancing. ' I like., him, Auntie,' was the simple answer, as the beautiful. eyes followed Jack's. soldierly figure where he moved among his ao quaintances. SYou should be friends, for you have the same Im possible ideas and tastes.' 'How impos sible ?' asked the girl. But Mrs. Vyner was saved the trouble of a reply, for Jack came up at the very moment to claifm his partner for the walts just beginning. ' You know, Miss Raymond,' he said as he guided her skil fullyd through.l throng of people, 'you and I are not strangers.' 'No?' the girl queried. He paused a second to catch the music. Then as they glided into the dance asked: ' How could we be? As you are aware, your auntie has been a second mother to me since my own died. I cannot tell you how I missed her during the year she spont with you in Lon don. * Her letters were my chieof mainstay.' 'Auntie writes beautiful letters. does she inot? They are like songs of Truth set in the sweeootest symphonies.' Her companion smiled wickedly. 'The chief theme of the songs I receivcd were Barbara.' 'Oh I' mur. mured the girl. ' It is true,' continued Jack.. 'I have learnt mnra nf vnn "nd . your life through those letters than I might learn nyears of ordinary intercourse.' Barbara' was ann6yed, to feel her face coloring. With anr inexplicable twinge of anxiety sho wondered if the anbodimont of her aunt's songs had proved disappointing. As if in answer, Jack said softly : SI thought to-night when Iknow who you wero, that the relity .blended most har moniously into the ideal raised by your aunt's letters and conversation.' The complinient was too severe to be laughlied at. ' fThank you; hlut I am afraid you see nie thiriouhrose-colored glasses.' However, I ought to do thi same with; regard to your sel, for Auntie never tired of : expatiating upon' her boy,' as sho calls you. Though forgive me for' saying so, she thinks you are quite impossible min some of your ideas. He laughed. 'And you also. But you are not engaged for the next danee-th, Lancers., Let us find a seat anddisouss our relative impossi. bilities. - 'irst tell me,' as he led her. to a comfortable lounge, 'why you only dance waltzes ' 'Well,' slowly, 'per ap that is one of my impossible ideas. My notion of dancing is that it should express in motion sueoh poetry as exists in one's nature-just as the actions of everyday' life should express one's mind, and one's thoughts express the soul within. Can thdre be any poetry in the way we dance 'sets' nowadays? We gallop or stroll through them, as the case may be, one set half-a-dozen bars behind the musio, and another half-a-dozen bars ahead.' Jack smiled. The answer was just what he expected. 'But ' he said, 'this is the Topsy-Turvy Age. I.t is considered right to viewaotions, and morals, and art in a topsy-turvy spirit, you know.', 'Who considers it right? And how will the balance be restored whilst we acquiesce, or laugh at it?' ' ' ' ' "'.My dear. girl, I-don't know. Personally' I aim delighted to find someone who will itep out of the Age, and be serious with me. In faot,' and his tone took a deeper note,' I BI 1Y115 NOT 19D 1fbE1t DRiOOPING AVE1TUDA ASB 6IIa WIIrf UALLY 11ILEE ID UBR LT'1L3Tn! DOO'Sf. 1AC AGAINST nEIr OwY .eem to have been searching for such a one a long while.' So they ohatted, occasionally touching a personal note, each feeling 'neath their dis. oussion of abstract themes a sweet, new sense of-their own, and one another's'per sonality. Am they went back to Mrs. Vyner after their second dance, Jack eaid : 'Iloavo Sydnoy to-morronw, MieRaymond. The fact that we are aid friendis, although we only met to-night, gives me courage to ask of your remembrance.', His eyes said so ninch more that Barbara's fell as she answered simply: 'I shall not.forget'you.'-r 'Thanks,' he murmured, lingering as he held her hand for a second in his own.-,