|Newspaper Title||Queanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||Love's Conquest|
CHAPTER XVI. For two or ;.ree days af-er the dinner party, which came as a sort of climax to her troubles, Adela was extremely ill, and, she was obliged to keep her room for nearly a week. ' But the Earl was greatly irritated by the inconveniences attending her absence; and, knowing that every 'ling would be going wrong, she forced herself to get up, and resumed her duties as soon as she was able to get down-stairs She declared that there was nothing amiss with her and that she was really quite well ; but she had a sharp persistent cough, and looked such a ghost of herself, when she went to call upon her neighbour Mrs L'Estrange, so that the kind-hearted and observant lady took alarm, and made her way to Castlehurat on purpose to speak to the Earl. " If you don't take care, Lord Castlehurst,' she said, fearlessly bearding him in his den, :'Your daughter will slip thrcugh your 6n sers. She is in a state of health and spirits that ought not to disregarded. If you don't take care, she will go into a decline, and all the doctors in the world won't be able to save her. I know it, because I lost a sister who looked exactly as Adele does now, and it is a look which yon can't mistake. I con sider it my duty to warn you in time.' 'What can I do 3' asked the Earl, too .much alarmed to resent the interference and plain speaking and to retaliate, as he would have done at any other time. ' It is all very fine for you to .ome and preach about the necessity for care. I have nu'iced that she has been looking ill lately ; but she declares that there is nothing the matter with her, and she won't see a doctor, What would you,have me do ' ' Send her to the South of France for the winter,' suggested Mrs. L'Estrange, without hesitation. ' Send her to New Zealand,' snapped the Earl,. ' or to Jericho I The one would -o juse as well as the other. You don't k - what you are talking about, Mrs L'Estrange. There are a hundred reasons that. make that impossible; and, if there weren't, she should not: go. I can't spare her from home.' ' You would have to if she married,' said Mrs L'Estrange. ' That would le a different matter. Besides, in that case I could have Elizabeth here to keep house for me. It's the damage that her presence at home might do to Adela's prospects that makes it necessary to keep her away ; but, if Adela married, of course she might come home. By George, I wonder I never tho,,ght of that before. I'll put it before Adele. She ought to marry, and then her husband could take her to the South of France, or anywhere else that the confounded doctors recommended. That's the only way out of it.' The latter half of Lord Castlehurat's speech "was more in the nature of a soliloquy than remarks addressed to his visitor, and, as she listened, hMrs. L'Estrange began to doubt whether her interference might not result in working more harm than gdW? to the person whom she had wished to serve. She did what she, could however t before she went away to impress upon the a iruseible-old nobleman that care and kind- s
ness, freedom from worry, and plenty of fresh air and pleasant company were what a girl like Adela wanted ; and though her remarks incensed him at the time, they bore fruit afterwards. The Etrl's displeasure, which had been manifested almost hourly ever since Adela's ieEusal of Captain Esmonde, had added very much to the tiials of her daily life ; and now the sudden alteration in his demeanour towards her was a relief for which she felt thrnkful. More than this however was needed to revive her drooping health and spirits, and she continued to look so ill that Lord Castlehurea became more and more dissatisfied. SYou stay indoors too much, Adele,' he said one morning when she came to see him, looking utterly fagged out. .' Why don't .you go about more? There is always tennis or something going on at Colonel L'Estrange's on fine afternoons; and Mrs. L'Estrange said, when she was here the other day, that she would be delighted to see you as often as you liked to go. Why don't you go to Hazeldene occasionally 7' Adela felt little inclination for the society of the tennis-playing young men and women of the neighborhood ; but, when the Earl asked a question like this, it was equivalent to a command ; and, not having the energy to oppose him, she s rid she would go on the first fine day. It was on a lovely afternoon that she carried out her, promise ; the autumn foliage glowed glorious in many-coloured tints under a cloudless blue sky, and the grass was vividly green in the golden light of the mellow sunshine. Hazeldene, nestling among the trees in the hollow, was one of the pi ttiest places in the county. Different in style from, and on a much smaller scale than Castlehurst and Throgmorton Court, it was less pretentious than the first, and quite modern compared with the second ; but it situation and the grounds surrounding it - were more pet fect than either ; and on this sunny afternoon the winding walks, shelter ing shrubberies, and wide velvety lawns were especially beautiful. When Adela arrived, several sets of ten nis were being played ; and, amongst a ' group of on-lookers, she at once distinguished L Maude Throgmorten and her brother. She s went up to speak to them, and shook hands e with Maude ; but Frank had turned away, b, and was so deep in conversation with one e of the spectators that Adela had not an op. s portunity of exchanging a word with him. She felt instinctively that he had avoided Is her on purpose, and she was disappointed AB and hurt, for as Captain Esmonde's friend, t she had felt a special interest in him. Mrs e L'Estrange came out presently, and, giving Adela a very warm welcome, insisted upon taking her into the house for some tea. Adela thoroughly liked Mrs L'Estrange, and r wee quire happy tilking to her in the drawing-room ; but, other visitors presently 0 arriving and demanding the attention of the hostess, Adela seized the opportunity to es a cape from a lady who had fastened upon her 3 with a view of ascertaiiing how much of the i gossip which circulated about the Earl's a daughter was to be believed. This was not very pleasant for Adela, and longing for B peace and quitude, she made her way to a garden-seat in a sunny corner of the 3 tennis-courts and sat down to watch the i game. B Frank Thro, morton was playing, with one of the L'Etrange girls for his partner ; and a girl who was a stranger to Adela, was on the other side with Dick L'Estrange. The p players were very evenly mat..hbed, and the r contest was a very exciting one ; but Adela did not play tennis, and her interest in it was not therefore very keen. After the first few games her- attention wandered, and, yielding to the pleasant influence of the time and place, she lost herself in a dreamy and rather sari train of thought. The seat she hid closen was in a little nook that was shaded by the laurels and rose bushes on every side but that of the tennis lawn, and the players were too much occupied with their game to notice her. None of the other guests were likely to dis cover her there, and her solitude would have heen undisturbed if it had not happened that one of the players h Id left his blazer on the arm of the seat. When the set was finished, the players moved towards the house, laughing and talking in good humoured controversy about She points of the game, but one of them turned back to get his coat, and Adele found herself face to face with Frank Throgmorton. As soon as he saw her his face clouded. He considered that she had treated his friend badly, and be held her responsible for all the trouble that had followed. He bowed coldly, and, mutterina some commonplace salutation, secured his jacket and was about to hasten away, when he saw an expression in Adela's eyes that made him waver. ' Did you wi, ?' she asked ; and, unable to disregard her evident wish to speak to him, he suffered himself to be detained, and remained some momnens standing before her, exchanging commonpllaces about the game and the weather.
'It is very seldom that one sees tennis going on so late into the autumn,' Adela. observed. ' You have quite given up cricket I suppose ' ' 'Yes,' said Frank. 'The wweather is finer than it hts been all throuqh `the summer, and the ground is hard enough ; but there is t no one to play now. The man are all seat. i tered, and we could not make up a decent i eleven.' , There was a pause, and Adela looked absently at the scene bef6re her. Throg morton was on the point of passing on, when t he was again arrested by a very wistful glance. r 'I suppose your friend who played so well has returned to London '1' she said hur. li riedly. ' Have you heard if he has got over his lameness i' ' Captain Esmonde 7' queried Frank, with sudrer. stiffness. ' Oh, I believe so-he says nothing about it I Yes-he is town again.' I-I spoke with constraint and reserve; but, looking keenly at her, he was struck bIy the expiessiveness of her pleading eyes and thought no more of hurrying way. 0 ' Whab exquisite, what wonderful eyes I' he thought to himself. ' Denys was right- u there was reason for his infatuation ;' and E he sat down by her side. ' I heard from my friend a few days ago,' n he said, thawing under the influence of a n charm that few men could resist. ' He wrote al to me when he rejoined his regiment after ai spending a few weeks at home; but he had n no good news to give me.' '
Lady Adela did not .peak ; buta the sudden pallor that oversi .ad her face did not escape the observ;aion of her companion. 'There has been no end of a row between him and his father,' said Frank gloomily; 'and it has ended in , breach that Eamonde says can never be made up. Sir Ptrick, as perhaps you may have heard, is a man of violent and headstrong temper-a regular old curmudgeon; and he is angry with his son for refusing to go in for an heiraess whom he has picked out for him. It is utterly unreasonable; but Sir Patrick is so mad about it that he swears to disinherit Denys if he persists in his opposition : and he is qulite equal to carrying out his threat, I have no d ubb.' 'But I thought-I was told,' rejoined Adela hastily, ' that Captain Esmonde was engaged to Miss Neville. Is that not the case, then ' Frank looked at her in surprise, wondering whether she had received further information than had reached him. Such denouement would be the most desirab'e thing for every body concerned; hut he had no reason to think that it was likely to come about. Lady Adele thought otherwise, and it might be expedient that she should continue' to think so. He answered with a caution which was unusual with him. ' Have you heard a report of that I I do not know that the engage nent is an actual fact yet, but it is very naturae! that it should be spoken about, for E nonde saw a good deal of Miss Neville when he was at home, t and was very much taken with her; indeed, I think it iA probable that, but for Sir Pat : rick's blundering, it would have come off. It could be much the best thing that could happen, and would bring about a complete s reconciliation. You see, when Sir Patrick b once fixes his mind upon a thing, he sticks e to it like a Ieech; and opposition only makes b him wore obstinate. There is something of t the san e tendency in Denys too; and that s is what makes it so unfortunate. T: threat ened to be it btd business; but Denys is more rational than his father, and I know he admires Miss Neville. I hope he will give in.' ' I should think he would,' said Lady 1 Adela calmly; ' It.seems likely enough.' Young Throgmor'.n, who had felt rather 9 uncomfortable towards the end of his speech, w.as so reassured by Adela's quiet composure that he ventured to glance at her face; hut he saw a look in her eyes that belied her words and manner, and he suddenly felt I intensely sorry for her. Did she care for 1 Esmonde 'I Had she been driven to refuse him by some cause beyond her control I She had not the ways of a flirt; no doubt her brother was responsible for mlch that I t had given her the name. Tresasilian was making much of Mr. Blunt now ; very likely I be wanted his sister to marry him-and he would probably succeed. After all, was it not much the best thing that could happen I -for Denys, at any rate ` Lady Adele once safely married, he would cease to th"' 't of her, and the way to reconciliation would Sbe open and easy. Y e-that would be the best solution of the u i lculty. Lady Ad. a's tho -'its had led her to the same c .,. usion. If she were out of the way, Captain Esmonde would marry Miss Neville; it was what all his friends wished, and she admitted that it would be the beat thing for him. Frank was relieved to hear her speak as she did; but the expression of her face, unlike anything he had ever seen before, had a curious effoct upon him. He felt a pang of remorse, and his mood insensibly softetned. 'It would be almost ruin to Denys if he married against his father's wish,' he said, in a tone of exculpation. ' It is alhorrid position for him to be in, poor fellow, and he feels it keenly. In spite of Sir Patrick's outburst cf temper now and then, there has always been a strong affection between him and Denys up till now; and Denys has always been a good son. You don't know what a good fellow he is, Lady Adele I' This was scarcely the direction which he had intended his remarks to take; but Frank Throgmorton was no diplomatist, and, drawn on by the wistful interest in Lady Adela's lovely eyes, he entered into a conversation which was far from judicious. People were beginning to go away when they retburned to the house, end Maude Throgmorton was looking about uneasily for her brother. She was not at all pleased when she saw him appeow, with Lady Adela. Was Frank " going to be :he next to fall into the toils 2 she wondered. The silly boy had not stirred from Lady Auela's sidle the whole of the evening, and he seemed quite taken with her. Thiu must be prevented at any cost, and declaring that she wan in a hurry to get home, Maude ordered her carriage and hnrried Frank off with all speed. He turned a deaf ear to liher remarks on the way home, and expressed himself with un flattering frankness on her attitude towards Lady Adela. - * I think you are both unjust and uncharit able in the way in which you talk about her,' h, ,,,,i r-1,ntfnlyt~ ' Rhn has been nrnmsnemtn4
enough without your attacking her; and I'm not going to listen to you. I shall get out and walk if you go on 1' And, as she did ' go on,' he presently made his escape from the carriage. Maude remonstrated, but he saiid he had something to think over which made it impossible for him to attend to her chatter; and, disregard ihg her expressions of annoyance, he persisted in his intention. He was, in fact, in an unusually thoughtful mood, and it caused Maude to draw the worst conclusions; but the truth was that he had that afternoon received en impression that Inecessitated a readjustment of some of his ideas-and a change of opinion in a Throgmorton was no light matter. Frank walked home in a very serious and perplexed state of mind.