Chapter 31365771

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Chapter NumberXXII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31365771
Full Date1898-06-15
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count2925
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleQueanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)
Trove TitleLove's Conquest
article text

CHAPTER XXIL. It was five o'clock, ,and, the dusk of th,' November afternoon having long closed in, a the lamps of the railway station at Bridge. 0 ford had been lighted for some time. A few v officials and a sprinkling of townspeople were r on the platform, waiting for the arrival of the London express, which was already two or three minutes overdue. ' She's a bit late to-night,' said, the rstation master, a little thin mtan, who was engaged in c inersation with the burly landlord of the Swan Hotel. ' If she hadn't been, them two would ha' had their walk for nothing.' He was referring to a lady and gentleman whom he had seen a minute before coming hastily over the bridge formed by the railway arch, and who now entered the st ition. The landlord followed his companion's glance, and a puzzled look came into his face as the newcomers passed them and walked away to the more dimily-lighted and less. frequented endI of the platform. The two figures were indistinct in the gloom ; but there was a gracefulne s in the lady's bear ing and.an air about the tall erect gentleman which marked them as people of position; and the landlord of the Swan felt as if lie ought to know them. * Who are they 1' he said, in a low voioe. 'It's Lady Adela herself,' whispered the stationmaster. ' But who Ie that with her, I wonder ? ' 'Well, I wouldn't swear to it,' returunel the landlord, 'but I'm very much mistaken if it's not Captbin Esmonde, a gentleman whto came down yesterday from London by the 2.50 and put up with me. A real gentleman he is, too. But what can Lady Adela be doing with him here at this time of night that's what beats me Look.-he's coming back; he's gone into the booking office. I say, Wilson, something's up I' Captain Esnonde had taken Adela abtaight through the station to the end of the platform in order to shield her as much as possible from observation, and he oreturned in order to obtain tickets. He asked for two first class tickets to Paddington, and paid for them with a thrill of pleasure that this was the first of many purchases that it would be his privilege to make for Adela. Returning to the platform, he pissed close to his quotnd n landlord, and, hy the light of a lamp, the man could see him distinctly. ' Yes-it's him I' he said. ' He's a gentle man, every inch of him, he is, and looks it r too-eh, Wilson1' S'Hea do,' agreed the stationmaster. ' Lie t looks like a prince, and as hdinpy as 'm king. But what does it mean-him going to London with. Lady Adela, and this time of night, and no luggage-not so much as a pony-trap to bring her ladyship to the station. My word, Mr Harris-it seems to me that there's g only one thing can be up I' Mr Harris and the sbationm seter were not the only people in 'whom wonder and con n jectura were excited by the appeirance of Lady Alela and her escort at the btab;on ; t but the covert attention with which they were regarded. did. nob abttract the notice of Ardels or Denys, and they paced happily up and down in the comparative.solitude of the I far end of the platform. Yt

Oaptain Esmonde, my proud sister Will ' you now allow him to sacriafice all hil, pros- Dank peces in order to fulfil an obligation of not c honour towards you 1' he at Fact and falsehood were so cunningly and blended in this statement that it was well * I calculated to appeal to the sensitive pride walk and conscientiousness that were at once the is so strongest and the weakest points in Adela's so 01 character; and a point b'ank contraliction it is was not enough to confute it. She looked at adve Denys ith anguish in her eyes. dull 'Ts it true 1 Did you-did he force you inve into that sudden proposal 1 ' she asked. Cou ' He tried to,' replied Deny.s, with straight- youe forward honesty. 'Lord Tressilian did pag' behave with a me nness which I wonder he malt is not ashamed to confess ; but I never believed that the repor's that he referred to said had any existence except in his imagination, mee I told him then that I had no belief in them, tion and that his representations would not have shit the slightest effect up in my teelings or my the actions. It is true that, but for his assur- sit ances that I should be successful, I should it. not have ventured so soon to' have put my -a fate to the test; but, in asking you to be her my wife, I was obeying the impulses of my own heart and with no sense of obligation as t whatsoever. You know it, Adela,' he said, ,nt taking her hand and holding it in a firm the clasp that inspired trust and confi.lence- 1 "you cannot doubt the reality of my love, wh or nmistake it for anything else i' eac She could nob; and the pang that her as brother had causae' her by disclosing his own baseness and treachery was but momentarv. De It passed away as she realised what she had ha to depend upon ; and, with such a rook of wc defence as Deny's sheltering love, no threats I r of Tressilian's could effect her any more. ha Baffled at every point, Tressilian had only th' one weapon of attack left. It was a vile m one ; and in the blindness of his fury he did - b not scruple to avail himself of it. tl a 'You did not believe me, Captain Es- lif monde i' he said between his teeth. ' You fo I did not believe in the .existence of an un- TI ; compromising report about my sister ? D i Then, perhaps you were not so far wrong ce b then. I was the only person who knew sai e about that -night's proceedings ; but it does th d not follow that I shall continue to be. And, u if Adela marries 'you, she shall suffer for i', I ve a promise you! It is easy enough to blacken hi b the name of a girl whose sister--' I' ' Be silent, Lord Tressilian !' thundered at P Denys, thoroughly rolned at latr. ' Not ce " another word, or, by Heaven, I'lJ knock you w y down I How dare you speak of such ct atrocities befo e your sister? -As for your of at threats, I care nothi-,g for them I I shall at as le able to protect my wife ; antd, if I hear r that yon h:ive breathed one word of scandal A r- against her, I'll come and give youn a hiling et 3t that you won't forret if you live to be` the age of Methuselah I I'll do it, I promise et g- you, if I have to travel to the -ends .of the y -' earth to find yon u!' !''. - I It was not often that.Denys was roused to tl 1e such anger as he felt npo, and the habitual it td guard that he kept over a very strong tem- n per made the outbustt appear: the . more I 7e alarming. a h, Lord Tressilian, who, like every bully, j' td was a coward, was unnerved and- terrified; a by and he only thought of getting rid of his tI id adversary as soon as possible; d id ' What do you mean, sir, by threatening ly to assault me l Go away ! 'Leave this house d rd at once, or I'll ring for tbe servants to turn t you oit !' ' If you do that, Greville,' said Adela, in a low but perfectly distir.ct and resolute tones, h ' y'u will turn me out also. T will nob t, stay another night tinder this roof if you burn a out Captain Esmonle in that manner. I F 3, will go to Mrlm L'Estrange; and you will a tre never get me back here again i' c of She had put her hand upon his arm to f so arrest him as he was moving towards the bell; but he pushed her aside with such f ,n- rougnees that she. was thrown' violently I ed against the wall. of 'Go any where you like 1' he rebored 1 em brutally. And he was abo'ut to add an opprobrious epithet; but, before .the words 1 an could pass his lips, he was I 'id low by a well- I ig directed blow, hit straight from the shoulder, I By which sent him headlong to the fl or. ' Say that again, will you?' said Denys, 1 ,'s picking him up by the scruff of the neck and ece giving him a shake that almost deprived him ed of breath. ' I'll teach you how to behave to ess' your sister-brute, c d that you are ! . No, wo Adele, don't hinder me ; I'll do him no but serious harm ; hub the fellow ;wtants} a tar. thrashing, and I think it's my. ,mission to ,an give it him !' n' And Drays gave Tressilian such a thrash: li ing as he had never had b-fore. The Viscount wes quite helpless in the hands of the ,. powerful Gitarderman. He was incapable of the resisatenco, and each buffet made an impress. er, ion Dsnys did his very best to lick him into shape; and for once in his life the iel cowardly fellow received his deserts. ken Ct was necessarily a painful scene for tht Adela to witness; buit, startled and dise the tressed though she was, she felt a strange nan elation of the heart as she saw Denyt Se standing over the cowering hully who hadl I-_~-ยท-Lrl~-rl Crnnr~olC tVI' ae .tnin

dug with impunity. J Treassilian's overthrow was complete, and it was no more than dramatic justice that ight Adela should be the witness of. it. .Herice orm forward he would be for ever despierble and iible contemptible in her eyes, and she would ,der never feel aft aid of him again; for had she irst- not a champion who was wiling and able to hen fight her hbttles for her I the She would not have been a woman if she his had not gloried in the maenifio'nt "physical powers that made Captain Esmonde seem so losrt superir' to the average man. It gave her it of a sense of cocfidence and security to feel ,hab he belonged to her; but she was too itle. gentle and tender-hearted to be able to look 8 ib on ab the punishment of any creature, however well deserved, and she interceded so iRe earnestly for her graceless brother that Denys ing had to desait hefore he had administered don half the punishment which he considered to bght be due. trap 'There,' he said, flinging the- stoming, My imploring, threatening little man away from ert's him with scant ceremony-'you may thank your sister that I letb you off so easily I She Snut is kinder to you than you deserve 1' con- The castigation had been brief-it had fe of lasted harely a minute2-but ii had bee, ion; .effectual, for Deny's arm, nerved by th?e. they roeollection of Adela's wrongs, had beetn ae of more vigorous then he realised; and the v up Viscount was a pitiable object to behold as the he struggled to his feet,.panting and groan ing, from among the ruins of a little table

'We oneed not have raced, after all,' said Denys-' the train is late. I hope you are not done up. It has been too much for you 1' he asked, lo.,king at Adela's flushed cheeks and shining eyes. " No-not in the least. I fe. I ,s if I could walk for miles and miles to night. The air is so deliciously fresh, and teverything looks so unreel and new and delightful. I auppos" it is the evening walk and the sense of adventure and the lights. But even this dull old station that I know so well seems investod with a mysterious charm to-nigh'. Couldn't you imagine that you were not yourself at all, but someone living in the pages of a romance, with surroundings to make an appropriat I setting.' 'The romance seems real enough to me,' said Denys with a smite ' I know-what you. meant though. There is a p!e sant exlilera tion in being out in.the evening ; and lights shining against darkness gives more sco,,ee to the imagination than broad daylight. The air is keen, thounh, and you are not used to it. I hope it will not he d engerous for you,' -and he stooped to secure the fastening of he, cloak. ' Here . omes the trait !' exclaimed Adela, ,as the lights of the engine came into sight ; Iand in another minu:e it coms puffing into the station. Denys found an empty c impertment, into which he handed Adela, and they looked at each other with a smile of mute id rejoicing :as the train moved slowly out of the station. SWe're overa the border and awa" !' said Denyn, benling forward to look into Adela's happy eyes with a strange mingling of e wonder and delight in his own. ' Ch, Adela, I can scarcely believe it. To think that you have given yourself to me in spite of every thing-that from now I shall have you all to a myself. It seems too wonderful to be true.' 1 --They were travelling with increasing speed through the familiar sc nes in which Adela's i life.hed been passed. She was loaving them u for ever ; but she felt neither fear nor regert. r- The dimly-lighted rilway-catriage, with 1 D nys opposite to her, was tr. her now the - g centre of the world-the only place where a she cared to be ; and her eyes :pirkled is through happy tears as she answered , Dear Denys, it is wonderful ; but it is I very delightful I have: not, deserved such n happiness I' 'I know I. have -tnt !'- taking her hands d and kissing them. Good heavens, when-I t came down :yesterday,? Ilittle dreamed that I to would be oning rip to-night with you in my h care. And to have carried you `t:fl ight out. ir- of the very jaws of the enemy, I wonder I II am not off my head with joy.' itr I think you are a little, you knowe,' said al Adela naively; bhub as I tm nearly as bd uiy. kg self I won't scold you.' ae O.h, you mey. It will be delightful to be F se scolded by you, and I don't care how soon i ie yohti-gin. I sty, what a how-d'ye.do there will be up at the Castle when they find out f to that you are gone. .1 suppose th. y are rest- k a! ing cn the happy conviction that you have r n- m-rely taken refuge for a night with the re L'Eabranges, and they think that they will easily get you back from there. What a o y, joke I' and his eyes sparkled with intense 1; appreciation of the rage and discotufiture of is the Earl and Lord Tressilian when they I discovered the truth. c .g ' Bit, Denye,' said Adela, not caring to f se dwell upon a sulbjeot that was more painful rn than amusing to her, ' What made you think about coming down just now. You said in something about Mr Throgmorton having as, written to.you.' ot $ Yes. I've got his letter somewhere rn ab iut me, and you shall see it,' replied Denys, I proceeding to hunt for it. ' It was what he ,ill said about your health, end a hint that he dropped about the possibility of your being to forced into an engagement, that made me he come I did not dream that thines had ch gone so for with regard to Blunt, or I would bly have been even more frantic than I was. But after what he had said about your health ed T could not rest another day without seeing an you, so I started 'off as soon as I got the ds. letter. Here it is. Good old Frank ! He II-. has indeed done me g service, and one that I er, shall be grateful for as long as I live. l-e deserves to be the first person to heatr the ya, news, and I'll send him a line as soon as we and- get to London.' im He was good as his word. While Adele to was smiling over Frank's somewhat illegicele Tn, scrawl, Denys busied himself in pencilling a ono brief note to his friend, which he posted at a the end of the journey, and thus it was that to the Throgmot tons were the first to receive the authentic intelligence about an event sh: which had set all the tongues and heads ant inBridgeford wagging. the O iUD of - .. .ONT .LU R.i