|Chapter Number||BOOK II. VI.-(Continued.)|
|Newspaper Title||Liverpool Herald (NSW : 1897 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||Marian Gonisby|
OKIGrl^AIi . NOVEL.
TAU BIGHTS RESBBVBD,]
By E. DOIDGE,
Author of 4 Father and Son/ « The Daughter!
of Eve,» ? Mystery of Merveillieu,* &o.
'What a loyal lover yon »re, Marie! Bat yon are right-one ha« hut to reverse the position. Supposing, now, that Mr "Whidden were to give any kind of encourage- ment to some young lady he has met ainoe
you left P'
.Exactly,* agreed Marian; ' that wonld
. You might just look at the offering he sends you, however, I think.
«I think not, aunt.*
' Boes not your feminine onrioBity impel yon ? Bless my heart, but you are like no girl I ever knew I Will you allow your old
aunt to look at it P I should liko to.»
( Toa can do what yon like with it, annt. Keep it till he oomes, and save me a dis- agreeable duty of returning it with thanks 1*
A. keeper, set with a row of brilliants ! JuBt look, dear! It 1B flt for a princesa! "What a pity you cannot keep it ?'
' Keep it, indeed ! I shall not touoh it. No, indeed, I fball not-not if it contained a follow-diamond to tho Kohinoor !»
Mr Gwiiieby (Marian's father) happenod to como in the room at that moment, un-
' What have we here P'he asked, seeing Mrs -'Gonisby with the jewel ease and the floating trinket on her finger.
A aeoret, brother, and not for your eyes
or ears.' j
' What if I am in the aeoret PV asked Mr Gonisby, as be approached nearer and held ont his hand that he might see the ring. ' A beautiful article ; bat not for yon, aunt,' addressing his sister-in-law. ' >
'Oh, dear no, not for ne. It is long since Isaao made me presents of . costly keepers I*
* lt is for Marian, then, lucky girl. Come-let us see how itifitsf '.'. turning to, his daughter.
'. Not for me, father. I do not want it !'
' Oome, Marie, come-to have, so ohoioe, a , tçift from one who saved your ; life,
surely-* . . : ?
' I will not take it, nor will I tonoh it ! It seems, father, you know all about it I'
' Is it difficult for me to guess who cent
itP» : ?
'Mr Phillips sent it. He should haye known me better. And here (produoing the crumpled letter), is something else ! That .. is what I think of it !' and she threw the
epistle in the fire.' ' The ring onght. to go there,tool* she added.
* Marian, you will live to regret this folly/ oame from Mr Gonisby, with a return of the sternness pf yoioe which. had . marked his manner toward his daughter whenever Mr Phillips or Mr Whiddon were in question.
. ' I think not, father.' There was coolness
and resolution in Marian's voioe also.
' Marian, listen to me. You must take this ring and to-night wear it, at.least while Mr Phillips is here ; and while thanking bim for what he did on the river, thank him also for hts gift of friendship-if you will oall it by no other name 1'
This mach had been thought oat by Mr Gonisby beforehand. It was, in his opinion, a compromise. He was not thereby asking his danghter to accept Phillips as a lover,bat,by this artifice of friendship, hoped to paye the way to what he desired.
Mrs Gonisby was alarmed at the manner more than the substance of Mr Gonisby's
..proposal. She^ looked from "father to danghter. Her role was ever that of peace- maker, if peace were possible.
' That is a new idea/ she said. ' Could yon no* acoept the ring as a memento ' only .that your life was saved by a friend who wished to replaoe something yon had loat?*
'Very ingenious, aunt-and well-meant on your part; bat orafty in its original conception, and therefore dangerous and not to be thought of. I will not compromise myself in such a way.'
' You will not aoqept Mr .Phillipa* gif t even as a friendly offering P'
'He offers"it to replace Mr'WhiddonV gift to me; yon know it ia impossible . I > should aooept it under such oiroumstanoes,
' Mr Whiddon. ! Mr Whiddon ! \ Shall we never hear the latt .of him P I tell you what it has oome to, Marian ! Xong enough you have set your obstinate will against all my wishes-my commands. Now, you will have to ohooae between doing the thing that I ask of you, or-(here Gonisby paused, whether in hesitation or to lay greater emphasis on his words was not apparent)-*, or my will shall bo so altered tp-morrpw morning, as to, leave you .disinherited,! Do you hear P'
Marian paused before replying. She waa staggered by the terrible earnestness and seventy of her father's words.
' Yon may go now, and consider well what you will db.'
.I will go, father : bat no consideration ot your ornel proposal, or of the unjust' threat, shall alter my purpose. l am snr , prised, father, that you would thus seek to
Marian then left the room ; nor did she stay to take the ill-timed, however well intentioned, gift whioh Phillipa had sent, and whioh poor Mrs Gonisby still held in her
' Josiah, you do not mean this P*
' I do mean it-I am resolved !' '
' Yon will break the dear ohild's heart.' ,
* I seek only to break,her rebellious spirit ! That must bo dene 1 It must ! Why do you not help me, woman P I belove you rather onoourago her to oppose me I* .
'There you wrong me, Josiah. Months ago I tried earnestly to Change Marian to your way of thinking ; but it was, and is, impossible. You cannot easily change a true woman's affeotion, and' Marian's affections are a* gold ; you cannot ohange
gold into dross any more than yon oan counterfeit the genuine metal. Why, do yon
not realise that this ia BO P'
' Toa do not know what you speak of, Must the objeot of my life, the dearest wish I have-the girl's own happiness, her future, everything-be destroyed because of a foolish fanoy P'
' Ton cannot justly call Marian's devotion to Mr Whiddon a ' foolish fanoy,' Josiah.'
* I will not discuss it any further. My mind is made up, and I do not frequently change it. If you have any influenoe with her at all, tell her what she will have to f aoe. I will out her olean out of my will ; I will leave her without a penny in the world ! I have pleaded with her long enough. We shall see what stronger measures will do.'
* Leave your only daughter without any- thing in the world ! Toa could not be so cruel, J osiah. There ia no one else j no one you : should oonsider but Marian. /Tou are not yourself, surely, to talk so unreasonably. Tell Marian you did not mean it, I beg of you.' ,
.Tpu do not know me. When , I 8ay; a thins: I usually mean it very much. -I mean
ali that I said to Marie.'
. . (Ht
-Marian did not come down to lunoh. Her father went out in the afternoon and did. not return till evening.
Mrs Gonisby sought her niece in her own room, and took with her the ill-fated trinket, whioh she offered to Marian with some advice, the giving of whioh had oauBed her some anxious cogitation. Having talked the matter over with her husband, their united wisdom could find no better solution than to endeavour to get Marian to retreat &o far as to accept Mr Phillips' gift in the mere spirit of friendship.
.Ton will please take it baok, aunt; 'I do not want it, and be so good as to say as much to Mr Phillips.'
'But, Marie, remember ! he asked'you begged you-not to be angry; and really, dear, he has some olaim on your-your oourtesy.'
'If it were only my courtesy he wanted, I would willingly be oourtesy itself, aunt; hut what I cannot do is to offer any en- couragement to him. As to wearing this thing' (and she pointed to the ring),'you must see it is oat of the.question.'
'Tour father is terribly in earnest.
'I fear he is. L also, am terribly in
'Dear, dear, what will oomeofit!' ex- claimed the distracted aunt. ' I have tried to reason with your father, but he will not
' He will not listen to reason,'repeated Marian. ' Thank you, aunt. It ia never BO bad.but it could be worse. This trial would indeed be hard, to hear but for your kindness and help. I, who have known no mother, found in you, dear aunt, a foster one;' and Marian, suiting the aotion to the word, tenderly embraced Mrs Gonisby, who, ofttimes grieved that she had no ohild, félfc the maternal inatinot welling: up in 'her 'heart and throat, so thtfc «he wept a little .over ¡the ourly head of here vnfn dear, little Marie,' as she sometimes called her.
4 Then what is to be done about it,
* I do not know beyond that I am deter- mined I shall not wear or keep that ring !'
' Lat it be so, Maxie ; but let me persuado you to give it baok to Mr Phillips as graciously as you yourself know how, and oan, if j ou will. That, at least, is not im- ' possible.*
'Very well,.aunt. I will, for your cake,
oonsent to do that.*
4 The evening oame, and with it in due oourse Mr Phillips. He expressed, with manifest and unquestioned sincerity, hie pleasure in seeiag Marian quite recovered 'from the efîeots of the aooldent. Marian said BB little as she possibly could concerning , the accident or her health.
Marian's fathor looked pre-ooenpied and gloomy. Conversation moved constrainedly, as it will when several people are ill» at« ease, and weighed down with a consciousness of impending trouble.
Mr Iaaao Gonisby was reading the -'Times*
and talking diaoonneotedly on politics, j
troubles in Ireland, and anything whioh promised to relieve the tension.
Mrs Gonisby commiserated her brother-in law on tho oough whioh he oould not shake off, and prosoribed certain home-remedies, tho effloaoy of whioh sho had proved. He, all too ohildishly, replied that his oongh didn't matter : thore wero other things that did, whioh romnrk, ambiguous though it
seemed, was suffioiently apprehended by all I presoat. I
Phillips alone, of the company, appeared reasonably happy with himself ; yet h« I waa fully consoious of something being
amiga all round, and dimly guessed that1 hp. was in someway the cause and mainspring of the tronble. Being naturally good- hearted, ho was sorry for this, and was accordingly conciliatory to all concerned. He begged Marian to play something on the harp. Marian was sorry, but declared she did not feel equal to it ; tb ac she had not touoned her favorito instrument for several days. Then ho suggested a game of cards. Nobody else was in the humor for cards that evening. In sheer desperation Phillips drew down the oribbage- board and insisted that Marian should join. She did. . . : Of their deliberate mala fides, as Marian con-
cluded, it happened within a few minutes^
that the room was deserted save for the., two young people.
4 Now that is what 1 oall very considerate of the old folks,' Phillips said, so soon as Mrs Gonisby, the last of the three, had
Marian did not affect to .misunderstand.
She waa no less direct and unaffected than . her partner in the game.
4 They mean well, hut my aunt should have, stayed. We will oonolude the game as you are interested, Mr Phillips.'
'Interested? I.should think so. But
I that is no word for it, I assure you.'
' You will easily win. I do not wéll
I understand ¿he points in this game. Are;
you counting fairly ?' -, ,
' Shall I easily win ? Ah, if it wera another and infinitely better game, and you would but say those words 1'
There was no reply. - ~
'Yes, I am counting fairly. Do you think I would be unfair-to you .of .all
Fox a moment only he missed the counter doublé-entendré. Then, seeing the point of the reply, he laughed ; but Marian's solemn
little faoe brought* him quickly baok to . seriousness ; to the consciousness that;per« haps he was, in very truth, playing unfairly upon the feelings-not the affections, for they remained intaot-of the woman ha 'souarht to win.
' He fonnd no better reply than the well worn axiom-' All is fair in love and war.'
' Yet in modern war they are learning .to
be ohivalrous, humane, considerate to the ??? helpless and distressed.'
As Marian said theso words she played -. her last oard in more senses than ono. .To .say that Phillips felt rebuked, abashed, humiliated as he had never folt before, was the due effeot of the homethruat that Marian's apt, impromptu words oonveyed.
'Pon my honor. Marian, you shame ma !
I will no longer persist in thiB futile business* Forgive me, Miss Gonisby ; I, at least, shall respect your feelings, and honor yon dor your devotion. Permit me just to say I shall envy that luoky fellow Whiddon all ¡the days of my life ; and, though it is no excuse, I was enoouraged to hope.' .
' I understand, Mr Phillips. And, now» . since you apeak so, my task-that I dreaded
-is made light. You sent me a letter and » ' present. Here it is ; you will understand that I could not aooept it !' ..
' Not as the gift of a friend ! May .wa-not . even be friends f*
'Not even as the gift of a friend!' ' Yea, ' we oan certainly be frieoda now- i true friends, I trust. True friends are not so numerous that they oan be lightly set aside. Some day I hope I shall be able tp tell one who will have the right to know,
that you saved my life when they say it wat 1 in great danger. I thank you for that, bus still more for what you bi» ve just said.
Yon have relieved me from a great strain- f
from an ordeal I did not wish to encounter. If you seo my father before you leave you might tell him-it would eave mu possibly; & Boone-that you have-how shall I say it Pr- of y our .own free will, aooepted the inevitable with the return of the gift.'
' That is the worst part of it ! It looks so ^ mean to take baok something given. I " shall not know what to do with it. And it
would be a downright aot of oharity if you - would deign to accept it. Besides, I want you to have something to remember rae hy. When you go back to your diemal sand-bJlla and dingoes and to him-yes, even my riyal -I would like to think of you having thia
with you, though you nover woro it !' _ ? x
41 shall not forget you. Mr Phillips, I oan promise that with a good ooneolenoo.*
(To be oontinned.)