Chapter 31365717

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Chapter NumberXX
Chapter Title
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Full Date1898-06-08
Page Number4
Word Count1661
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleQueanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)
Trove TitleLove's Conquest
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CHAPTER X.Y. With no suspicion of what was awaiting a him, Mr. Blunt obeyed the summons that he a received from Lady Adela. In her note she a had given no indication of the nature of the e communication she had to make to him, and 9 her abrupt and 'nervously-worded note had d led him to a conclusion very remote from the ,t truth. t 'Is my patience to be rewarded at last, Adela I ' he asked, as they met in the middle Softhe room where she had been restlessly t awaiting his arrival. ' Is it to fix a date for L, our marriage that you have sent for me 1' She had silent:y gtven him her hand, o feeling unable to speak; but he had misread r the imploring expression of her eyes, and his question caused her to recoil violently. S ' Oh, no, no-it is not that ! It is some t thing very different that I have to tell you s something that will pain you, I know I Oh, I I am so-so sorry !' ' What is its' he asked, pulling himself together with a jerk, as if to meet the worst. S'lt concerns Clptain Esmonde,' she said I hurriedly. 'You know that, though I refused I him when he wanted me to be his wife, I cared for him. I told you exactly how it Swas-I kept nothing back; for I felt that SI ought to be perfectly open with you.' : a Yes. Well, what about him now 1' ' Oh, Mr Blunt, I was mistaken in one Sthing, and that was the strength of his feeling r for me. I had heard nothing more from him I after those two days in which we learned to care for each other, and I thought it was all over. Sir Pattick had written me a letter which left me in no doubt as to the conse quences that would follow if Captain Esmonde continued to care for me. He would lose the great fortune tha 6 he was to inherit-he would offend his father for life. I thought we were hopelessly .epar. ated; I never dreamed that he would be capable of making such a sacrifice as that for my sake. But I did not know his constancy; I did not know how much he cared for me. He has been here, and he says that nothing will induce him to give me up.' ' He has been hotel' exclaimed Mr B!unt With a sudden uncontrollable contraction of the face that showed how deeply he was stirred by this news. 'You have seen and spoken to him ? Where 4 When 4' ' When I was out walking yesterday after noon. He had come down from London on purpose to see me, and he was on his way up here from the town when I met him at the lodge gates. He had heard that I had been ill.' ' Did you tel him of your engagement to me ?' inquired Mr Blunt, in a tone of stern significance. ' Yes-I did. It nearly killed me to tell him; and, though he -did not exactly say so, I could see he thought it was wicked of me to have. consented. And, oh, I am afraid it was! ' ' Wicked,' ejaculated Mr. Blunt, in deep resentment and indignation. ' How dared he Fay so It was nothing of the sort I It was the only wise and sensible thing to do in the circumstances. You were perfectly justified in acting as you did after you had told we everything. Adela shook her head sadly. ' I might have known better-I think in my heart of heart I did-but it seemed as if for his sake it would be well to take some step that would make him give me up- But. it never answers to do evil that good may come; and I know now that, if I had followed my own instincts and refused to enter into an engagement to which my heart was con senting, it would have heen far b,.tter.: Mr. Blunt was silent for some minutes, and the expression of his face showed that his reflections were very painful. ' Why tdoes Captain Esmonde come down to unsettle you and make you miserable like this a' he asked bitterly. 'He will never be able to marry you. -He has no means above .his pay, which woultl scarcely suffice to keep .him in gloves and cigarettes, I suppose; and his father is not a man to forgive or retract. lie cannot forego his inheritance. It would be sheer madness, and no mmn in his senses would think of it.' 'Captain Eamondo is quite in his senses,' replied Adele, blushing, 'and he does not only think of it--he has fully made up his .mind. He scarcely seems to regard it as a sacrifice, and lie would make it to-morrow if I would let him.' Again Mr Blunt was silent, Would this dtptain Esmonde indeed be ready to make so great a sacrifice 7 There had been men who had done so-some as fools, who thought nothling of throwing away their all in order to gain the desire of the moment; but othlier who, with their eyes open, deliberately chose love in paeference to all the other good things of tilhe world. Could he himself do that ? As he looked at Adela he almost thought he Scould, Her fae was troubled, but it was

exquisitely sweet ; and now, when he was near losing her, she seemed to him the one thing in the world worth having, compareJ to which everything else was as dross. During the weeks she had been engaged to him he had learned to know her true wbrth ; she was not only beautifnl and charming, she was so good, so won inly, so high-minded, s.> intensely honorable and pure, with the natural purity of heart that can no more be stained by contact with evil than the white water-lily is soiled by the muddy water on which it rests. HIe was overwhelmed by the subtle personal charm that escapes analysis. nHe had been genuinely in love with her from I the beginning, but his love had deepened into and absorbing passion; and, now that he was counting upon a speedy fulfilment of his wishes, he was called upon to resign her. It was too much. He felt as if an impos sibility was being asked of him, and as if he could do anything, however unjust, in order to make secure the right that had so nearly: been his. 'You will not let Captain Esmonde do : this V' he said, putting a strong restraint on himself. ' Even if he were willing, you could not let him do so mad a thing. You will never marry Cap:ain Esmondel I know you too well to think you would consent to be the means of dragging him down to ruin -for that is what such a step would mean. The beat that could happen would be a long hopeless engagement, that would go dragging ont until your health was worn out and your youth gone, if indeed your life would not be sacrificed. You need immediate change relief from the cares by which you are har assed, and the sunshine and warmth of a Southern climate, without that I do not believe you will get through this winter. And I intend you to have it ! I deeply regret your having seen Captain Esmonde again. It was undesirable in every way, for it has renewed your feelings for him without removing any one of the many obstacles that stood in the , ay of your marrying him. But it cannot be helped, and I trust to your getting over the impression in time. Nothing has happened that can justify you in with drawing the promise you have made to me ; and I claim it. I refuse to give you up !' ' I am very sorry, Mr. Blunt,' said Adela gently ; ' but indeed there is no questions about that. It makes all the difference to me beohave found out what Captain Esmonde's feeling for me is; and, since I also love him, it is quite true what he says, that nothing but mischief would come of it if I were to violate that feeling by marrying some one else It is quite possible that I may never be able to marry him; but I know now that it is absolutely impossible for me to marry any one else. That is quite, quite impossible i Oh, Mr. Blunt, forgive me for the pain I am giving you. I am not worth it; it breaks my heart to see you look like that.' He turned abruptly from her pleading face, and, walking to the window, stood looking out, with his back towards her. In the garden, below three flights of shallow stone steps, he saw Lord Tressilian, a cigar between his lips, sauntering leisurely in the direction of the house. A single word to him or to the Earl might, he knew, be enough to turn the scale in his favor. They would never lot her run the risk of marrying a disinherited man; and they would take means to prevent her from seeing Captain Esmonde again. They had overborne her will before-why not again, since it would be for her good? And it would be for her good ! 'Once my wife,' he said to himself, with kindling eyes and throbbing pulse, ' I should take her away; and in fresh scenes and with every form of enjoyment at her ct,mmand, she would le.arn to forget. In time my devotion would surely tell, and she would cease to think of a man whom she has only seen three times ! [TO BE CONTINUED]