Chapter 31365556

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Chapter NumberXI.-Continued
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Full Date1898-05-18
Page Number4
Word Count2757
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleQueanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)
Trove TitleLove's Conquest
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it .· orteller LOVE'S CONQUEST. OCHAPTER -XI.---Continued Guided by the sound of music, he-.-made his' way:to the drawing-room.: Denys was seated at the piano, singing, , and: was so. engrossed that he .h-bad not heard the . door: opened.: There was something in the young man's voice that was a -revelation to Sir Patrick,land' it held him spell-boudd. He stood silent in the doorway, 'with the portiere' partially pushed aside,. and listened " to. the message of music to 'which, his ears were opened. " 0 dream, how sweet, too sweet, too bitter S sweet,, S Whose wakening'would. have been in Pra dise I" There was a pathos in Dnys a clear tenor voice that Sir Patrick had; never . heard' be fore ; it illed him' witli anger: aid dreaid, and stirred the strongest passions° in his nature. He waited :until ,the songg was ended, and then, when .the last ,xsoft ,notes had died away into. the dreamy sadness, he went tili to his son. 'Denys, it's nob like you to., be mooning away your time in singing sentimental 'trash" all day long I. A breath of freshair:would do youniore good, and ,I wanb jyoutito ?.cdme out with me. Suppose we go and ,look them up at Ashbolt I'. Sir' Patrick spoke abrupply, and even hialirily, ciid ienys wheeled round on thue music-stool with the abstracted air of a man roused out odf a pleasant- dream by "an un welcome noise. 4 . 'The rain is comin'g .down in- sheets,' he o'.jected. ,They won't be expecting us at Ashbolt.' " Oh,never mind about that I They will -be pleased'nough'.to see us?;,l know; aind, for the rain-you are not afraid of that, I hope ? Come, Denys ; -you will 'be much better looking over Maisie's collection than moping over the piano here.' Denys glanced up quickly, his father's tone bringing a sadden.flush of colour to his face. 'I will cereainly acconpany you * ito Ash holt if you wish it '-with formal-courtesy 'but I would rsther you asked 'me 'to go anywhere else.' -, Why ?' asked Sir Patrick,.s?Jarply. ' Because- It is a awkward thing to'have' to say, but I have been thrown a good deal with Maisie lately, and, both for her nake and my own,. it, would be, mist undesirable 'to- give occasion for any foolish 'gossip. Maisie and I are excellent friends, and we quite understand each other; but, if any one thinks that we shall be anything more than friends, it is a delusion that had much better be got rid of. It is an impossible thing !' ' Why should it be impossible ? ' demanded Sir Patrick, suddenly giving way to the passion of disappointment and indignation which was .pent up within him. 'Why should you set yourself against a marriage which would gratify the dearest wish of my heart and could bring you nothing but hsppi ness? It is desirable in every way. Maisie will not be rich ; but you have no need to look for money, and the estate that she will come in for, when added to this, will give you.a properly mote suitable totyodr means Sthan, you .would otherwise have. She is very well connected, very well 'brought lup, and is a, perfect litte lady. She is a charming girl-you yourself ackfowledge it -pretty, intelligent, ',sweet-tempered-a little sunbeam wherever she' goes I What more do you want ? ' ' She is all that, aTnd more,', said Denye. ' She is a high.minded girl, full of character and originality, and I admire and 'respect her most thoroughly; but I am "not in love with her, nor is she with me.' ' .. h' hatb_ does?.? that' matter? . -You soon will be if you marry' her-you could not help it; and, as for Maisie, I am by no means so sure--' Denys. interrupted Sir Patrick with a hasty gesture.' ' My dear father, please do'n't, please don't go on I,' he said imploringly. 'Ib is not fair to'either of us. I am quite certain that Maisie would not accept me ,if I asked her, and I' am 'qually certain I 'never shall ask her.' Considering how far Ataiieo was in his confidence, Dentys had excellent grounds for this conviction'; and lihe might well smile as, he recalled the del:cately-implied sympathy wihwhiiche she had shown her interest in Lady Adela.. 'Don't ;say that,i.Deny I' exclaimed Sir Pltrlok, trying to abave off the hblow anu

making a great eftorb to restr in his passion. 'You don't know how I have set my heart; on this, or you would nob set yourself against it in this way. I have left you free to take your own way in everything-you cannot say that . I hrtve ever interfered with your wishes or restricted any of your pleasures-but I have set my heart on this, and you must not disappoint me-you must not indeed, Denys ! ' The agitation in Sir Pabrick's voice showed how deeply he was moved; and, vaxed and annoyed though Danys was, he was bouched by his fithnr's mournful loss of self.control and tone of entreity. 'My dear father,' he said tenderly, ' I.wish L could gratify you in this matter-I would give almost anything to be able to do so-but I cannot.' A man must choose his own wife.' ' And why can't you choose Maisie 1.' asked Sir Patrick, frowning. . ... I Denysal hesitated. It was iot b a propitiona moment for telling his father that his choic. was already made; bub anything approaching; o'deception was intolerable to him. ' Do nos press me about it, father,' he pleadedl, with a troubled look. ' Believe ine I would please you if I could. It is nob my fault or Maisie's that we do not car e for each other in the way you wish.' ' That won't do, Danys ; there is something! that-you aroe keeping• back from me ! ' said ,Sir.Patriok stormily. ' There is some other reason-somne other girl that you ate in love with. Nothing else could make you so ohbtinate-so blind. Who' is it that you prefer to Maisie 't Denys was silent, displeasure at last show ing i;self in the grave reserve of his manner. !It' is brue, gasped Sir PEabrick loeing all self-control. ' You have given way to sone foolish infatuation -that you are con cealing-fron me. Who was it of whom you were thinking when you were singing that song just now' You, will nob tell mel Well, I do not ask you, for I know. I.have heard of the miserable entanglement you have got into .with that scheming daughter of old' Oastlehurast.' .Denys sprang to his feet. He was white with anger, bub he did not say a word; and Sir'Patrick went on furiously. S'You have been simple enough and we k enough,' he cried, ' to fall into the snare that was laid for you by that disreputable and .unprincipled family, and you have allowed a

false heartles coquette, whJ on'y cares for your money, to carry oub her base designs-' Sir Patrick was nob inberruptel, but he stopped suddenly, for there was something in thie expression of his son's face that ohecke I him more effectually than speech. ' You do not know L.tdy Adela, sir,' said Denys, speaking in. a tone that sounded .strange to his father-' that is the reason why I not spoken to you about her before. I knew that you would be prijudi ced against her family. But, if you once saw her, yoiu would judge very differently; and whoever his poisoned your mind against her has done me the most malicious injury that could have been devised by my worst enemy. I love Adela Collin wood as I shall never again love any woman ; and, if God wills, I mean to make her my wife. She is the purest and sweetest woman that ever lived, and I cannot permit a word to be said against her in my hearing, even by you.' Denys had unmistakably nailed his colours to the mast, and his outspokeness only inten. sified Sir Patrick's anger. lis violent mood passed, and he became cold and hard; and in this new.frame of mind he uttered words which he afterwards bitterly repented, but was too proud to withdraw. 'There is one thing against her that I will say and you shall hear,' said Sir Patrick coldly. 5 She is not fib to be your wife, and if I can help it, she never shall;be.' ' I beg of you, sir, to suspend your judg ment until you know her,' replied Denys, restraining" his anger sith difficulty, btut. determined, if possible, to avert a quarrel. 'Let me tell you about her and the- ciroum. .estances that first made me care for her. If you will but put aside your prejudices nid' give me a fair hearing, I feel sure you will have some sympathy for me.' ' You may'say what you like-I will never consent to this engagement,' pr'rsisted his father. ' In the. first place,' said Denys, ' there is no engagement, nor any likelihood of one, as far as I can see ' at present. If there had been, I should not have waited till now to tell you about it; but Lady Adela refused me when I asked her to marry me, and not only did she refuse me in the most unmistak. able terms, but she. lit me see that there were oircunistauces that she considered were enough to preclude cny hope fot me in the future, I can-assure you that thb facts of the case are,:very different from what you suppote, and a more monstrous accusation

than that which you bring against her it would bh impossib'e to conceive. I have told you what an aas I made of myself upon our first introduction. I uii.judg-d her, as you have done, and I have repented it ever since; but I don't know if she will ever for give me. And there is another stupid thing which is an obstacle to my hdpe ; there are no end of difficulties in the w.y, and some times I despair of ever getting over therr. buit I nmean to win hnar in spite of everything. I cannot give up the one hope that makes life worth living.' 'I d m'b know what difficulties and obstacles you may have in your mind,' Sir Patrick retorted inflxibly,' but I?can. tuell you of one, and' that is -my veto. I will never- consenb to such a marriage-never ! And, if you persist, in it, it will be ab ihe cost of yourlinheritance. You will have this place at my death-I can't prevent that but it won't be worth much as I shall dispoae matters; and you shall not have one shilling of your tihather'i money. That is mine, to letve as I choose. And, by heaven,. ir, ii you disobey me in this matter-if you go and disgrace our. family;by marrying, that flaunt ing jade-I'll make you feol. the conse qulences.' Denys' eyes flashed anid his:lip curled ; but though he was as'hob tempered -as his ftabther, he had more self-control, and he would not trust =himself. to speak lest- he inight say something tbhat e -would afterwards regreb. His, ,only wish wai to put an end .to the ~isertable ispute. . But Sir Patrick saw that, his son was utterly unmoved by the threat of disinheritarice, and determined to do some thing th,it would touch him. 'That won't stop yon, I daresay;' he said bitterly; ' I know your confounded pride and obstinacy, and I know you would .be ready to. sacrifice everything-your inheribtnce and my happiness-riather than not. have you own own way ; but 1 can circumvent you, and, by Jove I'll do it I I will wi;iti to Lori Castlehurst ;I'll write to him by to-night's post, and I'll tell him what I think of him, I'll let him know that if he succeeds in trapping you for that daughter of his le will have taken hit wares .to ,a poor market. I will tell him that I will keep every farthing -I can from you ; and he knows me w-ll. enough to be able to judge whetner I shall keep my word or not. We shall tee if he will conn'enance your suit then?'

Denys hl d b en'about to leave the room' but this threat made him stop short and con front his father with a look of anger and alarm. This was a serious thrett, and, if it were carried out Denys saw that it would raise an insuperable barrier between himself and Adela. He thererefore made a great effort to control his resentmanb, and forced himself calmly to remonstrate with his father 'My dear fthter,' he said, ' you cannot really mean to do that ? You would not if you realised that my whole happiness de pended upon it. I am not a mere boy, incapable of judging for himself. Will you not trust me, and believe that I would not do anything that could possibly bring diagrace upon our name. If you will only be patient and wait a while I know you will se it all in a different light.' 'I shall not-I never shall,' Sir Patrick cried blindly. ' 1 shall not lose any time in putting a stop to a thing I so thoroughly disapprove of. I will do it at once,'-and sitting down at a writing-table in one of the window recesses, he began to scribble a few hasty lines on a sheet of notepaper lying on the blotter. Without a moments reflection he dashed dowri the first angry and insulting phrases that came into hisrmind, and, slipping the letter into an envelope which he had hastily. directed;' he stood up. and looked at his son with a hot flush on his face. ' I've put it as. strong as I could,' he said emphatically; ' and I think it will hbve the effeot that I intend. Oastlehurstb is nobt the man to let his daughter throw herself away on a penniless suitor, if I knosw him.' Denys had been standing, grave and silent, regarding his father with an intent gaze that ihver wavered for a moment. .When he spoke it was in a voice curiously unlike his natural tones. 'F1ather, if you send that letter it will make a breach between us that may never be heeled. At least wait a little, and hear what f have to say. Our minds will be less heated to morrow, and we will talk things over quietly. Pray do not take an irrevocable ateelike'this without reflection.' But Sir Patrick was in no mood to be reasoned with. ' I sh ill send it off at once;' he declared obstinately. .' You have chbeen to cross my will in a wty that I will not tolerate, and you must take the .onsrquenoes. This business must be put a stop to, at any cost, and the sooner the better,'--and, seizing the bellrope, he stat ted pulling it yiolently.

Denys turned very pale. ' Father,' he said in great agitation, ' if that letter leaves this house to-night, I must too. There are some things which one cannot submit to, arid, if you do this I cannot atsy any longer under your roof.' 'You will not mlrry ia daughter of Lord Castlehuras if I. can help it,' responded Sir Patrick, unnmoved by his son's appeal; ' my. determination upon that point is unalterable, and Oastlehurst shall know it. Here Man. ders,' he said, as the old butler mad., his appearance -' put a stamp on this let ter and take it to the post. Take it yourself, and. bake it at once-it is of importance.' The man went from the room with the letter, and father and son stood facing each other. Denys ,tated straight before him, a noise like that of roaring waves sounding in his ears, and he felt as if the air of tha. room was stifling him. Sir Patrick was the first to break the ominous silence, and his voice sounded as if it came from very .ar off. 'I've done it now,' he said. S'Yes-you've done . it,' said ? Deny,: mechanically ; and, fe-ling' that further c m)menb on the subject would be worse than useless,.he .turnid fro-m his father and left thfe room. '.