Chapter 31365318

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Chapter NumberV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31365318
Full Date1898-04-20
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count1282
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleQueanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)
Trove TitleLove's Conquest
article text

CYAPTER V. ' My dear Denys; what is the 'matter with you 2' exclaimed Frank Throgmorton;" to his

friiend iter on ini the' day. ' 'You have been in the blues all the morning, and it's not like you.' Deny. Esmonde had settled himself in his old seat"in the cosy little morning room, and, strolling in after a game of tennis to relieve the solitude of his friend and ally, Frank found him looking somewhat disconsolate in the midst of a litter of discarded newspapers and magazines. ' I'll tell you what it is,' said Throgmorton sympathetically. ' You have had a knock me-down letter from thegovernor. I thought I recognised his fist in that scrawl you got this morning. I say-he's not going to disinherit you, is he ' ..' Not yet,' replied Esmonde, with a smile. SHe threatens it often enough, but it's not that this time.' 'Then what is the trouble Are you worried about your foot, and pining at being kept a prisoner by it, or have you lost your quarter's allowance in a wager I Which is it' ' ' Neither. Your are wrong again, Frank,' said Esmonde, impelled to laugh in spite of himself ' I have loat something more impot tant than that.' ' What can it be? You can't have fallen in love 7' ' My dear Frank, you are a very Daniel ! You have hit the mark.' ' What a fellow you are, Denys-one never knows whether you are in jest or earnest You are laughing now, and yet a minute ago you looked as if there was something serious on your mind.' ' There is something serious, Frank-some thing very serious; and I wonder you don't know me well enough by this time to he aware that I speak mnany a true word in jest. That random shot of yours has hit the mark only too 'ell. I have htid previous experi ences which. I fondly imagin.d to he serious, but I know now that t hey were mere delusions. Ti is the real thing thi- time and I am quite clear as to tny taste. The wolat of it is that, by way of recommending myself to the lady of my choice, I have begun by publicly insult ing her.' ' Who on earth can she be 7 exclaimed Throgmorton, still sceptical. '*Not Miss Hopkins '. 'Miss Hopkins,' cried 'his friend, ' with comically-raised eyebrows-' that common I beg her pardon-that extremely uncommon young lady; Frank, my dear boy, if that is the measure of your, penetration, I am afraid I ir

you are not well suited to the post of' con, fidant. No-I don'b dispute with Lord Tressilian the honour of that young lady's preference. I dare any, though, that he won't think much of my taste in preferring his sister to such a charming creature as Miss Hopkins ! ' ' Who 1 What I His sister ' Lady Adela'l Donys you don't mean that 1' ° I do mean it-most solemnly. Wherefore these tokens of astonishment end incredulity? Do yo intend to imply that she is out of my reach i ' The slight and most unusual touch: of: irritability in Denys's manner was more convincing as ba the reality of his feeling than a thousand protestations, and Frank saw at once that, though he might choose to adopt a tone of banter, his friend was thoroughly in earnest. ' My dear fellow, of course I don't mean that ! Ihave no doubt that Lord Castlehurst would cordially approve of such a match for his daughter, and Tressilian would he deligh ted. They certainly could not look for any thing better.' ' I think that Tressilian would be on my side-in fact, I have reason to be sure of it; but he is a brute ! His advocacy would do me more harm than good, and it is with her that the difficulty lies. She dislikes me, and of course, if her people were to press me upon her, that would make matters worse.' 'Dislike you ? Impossible! ' exclaimed Frank, with a warmth which testified eloquency to the strength of his friendship; ' Why on earth should she dialike you ? ' Ah, that is the worst of it !' said Esmonde delspondently. ' She has only.too good a reason to dislike me. I have been desperately unlucky, and I have contrived; to give :offence in -a way that is fatal. It would be difficult for any w.,man to get 'ove the-thing. I have said and done ; and she is so proud and sensative that I don't see how she can forgive them' ' What on earth hate you done I ' ' Well, you know she was engaged to old huckfastleigh, and the match was broken off when a big slice of his fortune was swallowed up in those unlucky mines. Buckas leigh end I used to be great allies at one time-I haven't seen so .nuch of him since he sent in his papers-and I used to hear him railing against a heartless flirt who had thrown him over as soon as fortune wvent against him At the end of the match yesterday, Lord

Castlehurss came up with his daughter, and I meb Lady Adela for the first time. Of course I was interested on seeing her; and I was just a little surprised, for she was noti at all the sort of girl that I had pictured to myself. I was introduced to her ; and, when she said she was going to the dance, I asked her for a waltz-the first. It was a beastly thing to do, for I had promised to be at the cricket dinner, and I knew I should not gbe to the dance in time; but I was so angry with her that I did it on purpose. I out the dance. But that was not the worst, for I said to one of the fellows in the tent that I meant to cut it, and that she did not deserve any consideration after her shameful hehaviour to Buckfastleigh. I am afraid I even called her a jilt; and of course, every word was reported to her-perhaps even more than I said-I don't know; but she snubbed me awfully when I went up to her with the excuse for having misssd her dance. Altogether, I made a frightful mess of it; and afterwards I blundered into another mistake that was more awful still. I can't tell you everything that happened, but it was enough to om ike her shy of nme for ever after wards. And she exhibited her feeling plainly. She said point blank that she never wished to see me again. And you saw how she drew back from seconding her brother's in vitation.' 'That was why you refused 4' 'Of course. I can't go forcing myself upon her. It would be unpardonable after what has happened.' 'As you say, Lord Tressilian is evidently in your favor. You may depend upon his backing you up,' said Frank thoughtfully. 'I may count upon his bullying her to any extent, I know, unprincipled scoundrel that hle is ! But I would nor have a wife who did not come to me willingly ; and. even if I were ruffian enough to avail myself of her brothers coercion, it would be no good. She will do much for the sake of what she supposes to be her duty to her family I but she has a high spirit, and there is a limit to her endurance. She won't be forced into' a distasteful marriage.' [To a~ CONrTINUE.]