Chapter 31184809

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Chapter NumberVII
Chapter TitlePLAYING AT SWEETHEARTS.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31184809
Full Date1907-11-05
Page Number6
Corrections0
Word Count2441
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Age
Trove TitleFate and Patricia
article text CHAPTER VIi.-PLAYING AT :SWEE'rII EARTS. " Arts, which I loved, for they, my friend, were thine."-Cowley. WI Yalter Hunt arrived on the following W Saturday, and for two days Dick was absent from the Antimacassar House, entertaining the newcomer and wandering about the hills with him in every direction but one. For once he did not discuss witll himself the ethics ofsuch a course, but let his inclination lead him, and never"mentioned the Heriots to Walter Hunht, except indirectly when on the Monday morning he accompanied that young man to his train. It was impossible, of course, to avoid passing the Antimacassar House, and the quaint old place at once attracted Walter Hunt's attention. " Rummy old affair, that house, isn't it ?" he remarked carelessly. Dick's expression. was not, exactly amiable. " I have never noticed anything un ueually humorous about it," he said. ." I apologise, I am sure," he grinned. " Friends of yours, I suppose ?" with which enigmatical remark he changed t..e subject. But he carefully stored up the incidelit for future reference. ,It seemed that. Dick was unfortunate that morning, for Kitty Heriot was on the platform when they reached the statioi; V Why, Dick !" she cried. " Coming to town ?" .Dick answered that he was not. " Aren't you ? Then you had better call in and see the family on your way home," advised Kitty, cheerfully. "They think you must be dead or something. I left them nearly in tears about it." And this conversation Walter Hunt also took note of and remembered. Dick called at the Antimacassar House as Kitty had suggested, and found Mrs. Heriot and the girls in the garden. " I met Kitty," he explained, " and ,she said you were preparing for my. funeral, so I could not resist the tempta-. tion of disappointing you." "We certainly thought you • must be ill," sa:d Mrs. Heriot. " Or married," added Ida. " Or writing letters to Walter Hunt," suggested Patricia wickedly. Dick smiled anid shook his finger at her. You're uncanny," he said. " Yon always know more than anyone else, and . it isn't healthy, Patricia. I've suspected it for a long time, and nof I know." •" Were you -really writing- to him, then 7" asked Patricia, laughing. He seated himself upon the verandah steps a little wearily. " No," lie said, with some abruptness; " not exactly. The .fact is, Hunit was up here for the. week-end, and I was showing him round a, bit. . He has ar rqnged to stay' with Mrs. Burton every week-end for the next month or two. I blessed the fellow, I can'tell 'you, for I .wanted to come down here. But I didn't : quite- like like to leave him alone the first day. It would have been rather a low-down trick, although I'm not re sponsible for his entertainment,. thank. goodness." " You should have brought him with you, Dick." said Mrs. Heriot,' kihdly. "My dear miother, Dick has been showing this excellent youth the curiosi ties of the neighbourhood. Please don't suggest that we are included in that categoty." _ "We .soon shall be," chuckled Ida, " if you are careful. Already I think you are pretty famous in "this neighbor hood, Patricia. She has quite a follow . ing of small kiddies 'now when she goes sketching, Dick. You see Patricia emerge with a large book and a distant expression, and presently from every point of the compass, children spring up and follow her in a Pied-Piper manner. It is most touching." "It is that little angel Bligh who is at the bottom of it," laughed Patricia. "All the children of the. place are at her feet, and where she goes they. go too when she allows them,. which isn't very often." 1 i r "Is that one of the large family across the road 1" inquired Dick. " Yes," she said. "Angel is eight and the youngest. I had never seen the child until one day she chased me for a mile through the scrub. When at last I heard her I waited to see what she wanted, and she slipped down on the grass, panting and glaring at me most. indignantly.' She said, ' Well, I've been chasing and chasing you. It's a wonder I'm not dead and gone.' I expressed my contrition, and suggested that it might have been wiser to coo-ee to me, but she received the idea with great scorn, and explained that you couldn't coo-ee when you were as out of breath as anything. Then she stood up in front of me and announced, ' I'm Angel.' I said I had not any doubt of it whatever, and waited further developments. Presently she .explained that Angel wasn't her real name. She said, 'My really proper name is-Carol, because I was born on Christmas Day, but my family call me Angel. It's the nearest they can get to it.' When I questioned her about this peculiarly discerning family, she told me their names. There must have been quite a dozen. I'm sure ; and then she said, 'And they know that Kitty girl,' and she said you go out every day 'drawling and stretch ing and fainting in coils,' like the fish and things in ' Alice in Wonderland.' Now, do you ? I was sure it was a yarn. Now, if you do, hurry up and begin. Kitty tells me that several of the Bligh girls went to school with her, and one of them goes to town every morning by the train she takes for her singing les son. She likes them all immensely, and Mrs. Bligh is quite charming., She came' to call on mother, and she has humorous eyes." "By the way," said Dick, " Hunt knows Bligh, now I come to think of it. He's at the University, and Hunt saw him yesterday." " Now, Dick, do you think there is anybody or anything that Hunt-as you call him=doesn't ''know ?" laughed Patricia. " He seeuns to be a gentlemaih of much diversified information." " And le is an undergrad, Dick," said Ida. " What kind ? Law ?" "No, medical," growled Dick, as though he were tired of the subject. " i hate medical students," exclaimed I Patricia, and her colour rose a little. " You'd better not bring him here, Dick, ! really, because I have a distinct impres sion that I shall dislike him, and I am not sure that I shall be decently civil to 4 him if you do."' " Don't be," said Dick; "don't like him, Patricia, please. I 'haie a distinct impression that I shall be indecently jealous if you do." '" Why?" . Are you so fond of him as all that," murmured Patricia, wilfully misunderstanding him. "Poor Dick ! how inconvenient it must be," and she laughed at him mockingly. But whatever Dick's intentions may have been with regard to introducing Walter Hunt to the Heriots, that young man finally arranged the matter himself. t The following Saturday was intermit tently wet, and coming from the station lihe and Dick were overtaken by a heavy shower of rain. "Look here, 'you know, -Anderson,. this is-well, it's damp, 'to' say the least f of it," said Walter. 'Dick intimated that rain was rather inclined to be damp in that region. S" You don't say so ? Dear ! dear, and it will take nty hair out of :curl and spoil the feathers of.my best hat. : Look here, Anderson, I'm going to take you to this rummy. bode-beg its pardon, I'm sure -ancestral mansion and ask for shelter till the rain shifts. : I'll pre tend to the inmates that you: are respect able.'" They won't knowany better:'" "Don't be a confounded ass if you"can help it," growled Diclk kikiing viciously at a stone in his path. a.iid then, as thei other stood inside .the gate and waited i for him, he laughed and led the way up to the Antimacassar House. - The rain I had almost ceased whea they reached the I verandah, and a momentary burst of sun sliine lay upoin the w.et, sparkling leaves of the gums. A picture'-of dazzling, I fleeting;brillianue, ut y&tolih'd :iot faded 1 when 'the doo r'opegedu; i ucsponse, to their knock, and they turned to see Patricia Heriot. Perhaps it was after the outer bright- I nes's that the inside of 'the house seemed very' dark at first, and against its shadowy background the girl stood out, a brilliant, wonderful figure alert. with t eager life and energy. But almost at a once this brilliance faded a little. She i seemed to pale; and, as she recognised Dick, smiled i primly naid quietly. " I tlhought it was Kitty,"' she ex plained. "We quite texjccted her by this train. Oome in, do, Dick. I'm afraid you must be very wet." " You see, Miss Heriot," apologised Walter, when he was introduced. " Dick was afraid I might be drowned unless we sought shelter somewhere. Unfortu nately I am unable to swim." " That in unfortunate," 'Jaid Patricia, seriously, as she led the way into the library. .Dick did not know her in this new, unamiable mood, and he followed her with some uneasiness lest it should be shared by the other members of 'the family. But Mrs. Heriot and Ida greeted him with their usual kindness, and in a few minutes Walter Hunt was quite at home with them. He took a chair near Mrs. Heriot-a handsome, boyish youth, fair in colouring, and wit.h grey eyes that were always full of laughter. There was little of the student in him outwardly, for his smooth, unlined face spoke more of the gaiety of life, untouched by labour either mental or manual. Yet was he in some respects both distinguished and clever looking. The thin face and deep set eyes told of a genius that, incapable of the finer human perceptions, could still grasp, surely and rapidly, the wider facts of scientific knowledge-a genius that, possessing little of the concentra tion which is. the secret of success, yet drew mehn and women to hiip irresistibly, and bade them do hin will. Women petted and admired him ; men did for him what they would have refused their greatest friends-youth, brains, great opportunities, all were his ; and he must use them well or he mightuse them ill ; but success would go with always, for he was one of those fortunate individuals the favoured of .the gods. Already ie had learned the measure of his own good fortune ; and, although he did not guess he was personally responsible for it, it nerved him with a gay self-confidence that was one of his greatest charms. At least Patricia thought so as she lounged in her easy chair and watched him. lHe was somewhat at the mercy of her keen eyes just then, for the light fell upon him while she sat with her back to it, so that her face was quite in shadow. She was very silent for some reason, and every now and then Walter would turn to her eagerly as though looking for the vision of the doorway. Sometimes he would address a laughing word to her, and then she was glad that the shadow fell upon her face, for often she .found herself smiling at his gay absurdities, and the discovery irritated her and even fright ened her a little. Against her will he fascinated her, and 'she was standing mentally at bay. All her life Patricia, young, gracious, merciless, had swayed her little world to her will. To dominate was her birth right, as in a different measure it was the' birthright of Walter Hunt. To be dominated-even the idea of such a thing had never before presented itself to Patricia's mind. It was the old story of Greek and Greek, and the tug of-war was inevitable. But for once the prospect of the struggle had no attrac tion for Patricia. She wanted igno miniously to run away from it, and avoid her fellow Greek-although she did not know why. By and by Dick came and sat beside her, and she greeted him with a sigh almost of relief. " Please say something quite tame and serious, will you ?" she implored of him. '' All this airy persiflage is too much for me, and my ;brain is in a. whirl." ' - He smiled in his elow, kindly fashion. " How is the picture ?" he inquired obediently. " Oh ! it is finished," exclaimed Pa tricia, "actually finished, Dick. You may see it at last if you are as curious as ever." Dick jumped up with alacrity, and Patricia followed, endeavouring, to slip out of the room unobserved. But as she passed Walter Hunt he looked up at her with an engaging smile. And again she found herself answering it,' and again was irritated by the discovery. " Miss Heriot," he. said, "you know Mrs. Burton, don't you ? 'This secre tive youth actually allowed me to be lieve that she was a motherly, antiquated old bird like the common or garden variety of landlady. Did you ever hear of such sacrilege 1" Patricia made some trifling reply, then followed Dick into the passage. Once there, she closed the door behind her energetically and confronted the young man. , " Has he even captivated'her ?" 'she asked involuntarily. There .was no need to explain herself further, for Dick understood. To be Continued.! F.P. 9. Men exposed to' thbe. rigors of?:an Alaskan winter never wear nionstaches. Full" beards are ns'eful to. protect the throat and face, but the upper lip is kept clean shaven. The moisture from the brentlh. congeals se quickly that a nmoils tache becomes embedded in a solid cake of ice in a short time. Hundreds bf people are searching'on the Great South Beach, Long T.lanld, New York, for treasure supl, sed to have been buried there by Captain Kidd, the famous pirate. " Are you still.courting the girl T" a lawyer asked a native witness at the Neatal Crininal Sessions. " N'o, she ul 'ready loves me." was the reply. 'Men are more liable to grow stoit in middle age than women. No satisfactiiory explanation of this fact is offered. To learn whether a diamond is real, touch it with the tongue: A geluinec stone' feels much colder than a paste imitation. " Holhitid has over' 10,000 windmills, each of which drains out about 31S0 arcs of land.'