|Chapter Number||BOOK I. VII.-(Continued.)|
|Newspaper Title||Liverpool Herald (NSW : 1897 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||Marian Gonisby|
By E. DOIDGE,
Author of 1 Father and Sou,* «The Daughters
of Eve/ ' Mystery of MerveiUieu/ &ol T '
* Lilian, I want to speak to yon,' said George, as he followed' herintothe, garden af ter the evening meal.
* Have yon seen Marian this week ?.' .
« JuBt once^-for a few minutes Vn^Wed
« What did abe eay f*
* Nothing in partionlac. Why, George P'
' Why? Well, I have not seen her einoe the evening at the opera. Doesn't she) pro- pose another singsong, or oardB, or anything that will . give a fellow a sight-of herp' Then, seeing the interested look of 'enquiry, yet of sympathy, in his sister's, eyes, be added-«LU, I guess you know pretty well
how matters stand P'
'Yes, George, I understand, and I am sorry.* . ?.>
* Why ?'
* Because I do not see how any good, can oome of it, George. Yon love Marie P' .* '
* That's the long and short of lt.' t " " * Have you ever told her so P* ' Not in so many words !'
' Do you know that she returns your love P! * Just what I wonld like to know. I have thought that she does, and again I've thought that she doesn't. But I mean to
* That may bo easier said than done.'
' LU, you may bo able to help me. I be- lieve you eould help me.'
* By getting mo a chance of seeing .her alone. Latterly, fox some reason, the old mau is always about. You could fix tip some plan, Lil.*
* If Mr QoniBby had any suspicion that you were growing fond of Marie, as I ,have suspected foi- some time, that would aooount for his being watohful. Poor George, I'm Sorry for you ; and for poor Mario, too.'
This was a rather now aspeot of the case. Man .like, he had thought that he alone was
an objeot, of. Bympathy in the affair ; Lil's remark gave him an idea.
4 ïiil, do you really think she earea a straw
. ' LU was in a quandary. She did not wish to discourage her brother-she could not see her way olear to encourage him.
* You know she likes you very muoh, George-as a friend.*
' As a friend, indeed ! Out that, Lil ; yon know very well it oan't apply. No satis- faction in that to a fellow in love. Just imagine it for yourself if you were in-'
Practical Lil saw at once the force of the contention, and interrupted her brother with -4 Ye», I'm afraid I'm a J ob's comforter ;
but what can be done if Marie is offended ?'
4 Get her to oome in for an evening this, week. Oouldn'i. you run in now and ask her. to oome in for an Lour or two to-night, as I will be back early ?'
. Yes, if you wish. Shall I say, you are.
4 It will be true, for I'm going now. But don't indulge in any false pretences, Lil ;
she wonldn't like it, nor would 11. '. I would, prefer you to tell her I'm. literally dying to
.'In which case Bhe would be afraid to come, I fear. It's dreadful having to be diplomatic with Marie. But I will do tiny best, George ;' and having finished gather-, ing a cluster of roses and spring flowers, Lil took them in, plaoed them in a vaso upon the drawing-room table, and just as she was, in her garden hat, went along the street the short distance whioh separated their house from the Gonisby's, and, like the privileged, visitor that she was, rang tho bell first and proceeded to walk in. The maid met her, and said Miss Marian had only just come in from a drive to see Aunt Zinny (as she was known even to the domestics), and would be down in a minute, or would Miss Lil run up to her. Which the latter prooeeded to do.
'Oh, Lilian, is that you? I have been longing for a sight of you.'
.Then your longing is very new-born or you are very luzy, Marie, for two minutes, at most, will bring you to to me.'
.4 You are wrong, dear, quite wrong. But. I forgive you.'
* Well, you will be forgiven on condition that you oome to us for an hour or two this evening.'
?? ,'lather is not yet baok from the city. He said he would be rather late. I, myself, am late home in consequence : and after 'he has dined he may be alone and would not like me to leave him, otherwise I should bc glad to oome.'
: 4 Then ii he does not mind yon will come ?'.
' Is Geo-. Who will be there, ; Lily V
' Only ourselves., Toa were-going to ask for George?' .
There was a pause. <
4 George has gone ou| for the, present, but. will not be late.'^ &r.
4 Or his return, Marie P' - -
. There is papa ! I must go down now,
Lily.' ; ' 'v. .: 'V^ . \ :<'r";
4 Shall I ask him,totIoan ,jo,u ,tq usfoç two, hours?'; ' '"" *' '.
? «Better not; leave it to me.'
They encountered Mr Gonisby in the hall. 'Ah, Mies Lilian, how are you'; and'my friend, Sir Douglas?' ' r
4 Papa ÍB well, thank you,' .
4 Up to his eyes in politics, I see ; and in financial debates-publio and private ! Well, I do not envy Sir Douglas!'
4 No, indeed ; mamma oft,en says he has worry enough for two men. But everybody
else seems to ho absorbed in such matters everybody but you, Mr Gonisby.*
' Yes, I am well out of the fray, or nearly so ;* and Mr Gonisby rubbed his hands with, a well-satisfied air, aa a man who had played his part, and played it well. Then, coax- ingly to Miss Lilian, 4 We dine late, oome and join us ; you will cheer na np.'
4 No, thank you, I just ran in to see
Marian ;' adding-41 thought you looked. particularly ohoerful, Mr Gonisby.*
4 So I am ; hut it's not always given to an old fogey to cheer a lovely damsel like my ' Marie. I haven't porsuaded her to leave, tho house for a week, I think. But did you go this afternoon, little ono P' he asked, turning to his daughter.
4 YOB, father, I drovo out to soe Aunt, Zinny, and havo but just returned.*
' Well, lot's to dinner ;' and the old gentle- man entered tho dining-room, with a parting nod to Liliuu, who waa accompanied to the door by Marian.
4 Bring your musio, thoro's a darling. Wo shall expeot you about 8 o'olook.'
' Papa, tell mo tho oity nows,* said Marian, joining her father, who was uncovering the dishes. They wero not overburdened with oorcmony, but they kept a good table and
hod a decent cook, which ia a treasure in any1
* Have been all day intent on business, and have not talked gossip, politios or soandal ; but shall have to-morrow afternoon free, and, if you are willing, we will pay another visit to the exhibition. We have only been there onoe together, you know, Marie ; and
there is an additional attraction-Madam
Charming (as he ohose to designate a lady celebrated as a pianiste) is to give a
* I shall be very pleased,' consented Marian. * Tour Madam Charming is always worth listening to.'
* What did Miss Lil want ?'
' She ran in to ask mo to spend.an .hour or two this evening with them.*'
' And what did you tell her?*
' That I would do so if you did not mind.'. « Dutiful Marie-ever considerate; > of.- yonr
Í ' ' Shall you mind, father ?'
' I have thought you rather dull. and j depressed this week, Marie. Naturally you
! should have some other and more, oheerf ul oompany than mine. Go, if you wiBlrto,-my girl.'
* Thank yon, father ; but, not,, if-if--you will feel lonely !'
'Ob, I shall not mind. I have-an AGE and Anaps I haye not so-mush as looked at tO'day.", I wiU[give you till IOS
*...*.? . # *
At 9 o'olook George Whiddon returned from the resort which did duty for the young, fellow's dub, where billiards and tobacco, piotnre magazines and a fair library under one roof offered legitimate temptation to the young masculines of Prahran and itB environs.
As soon as George entered the house, he knew that Mariau waa in the drawing-room, recognising the a weet strain of her voice (the voice he knew and loved so well) in the plaintive notes of ' Ben Boli.' Taking off his hat. and overcoat, he hung them in the hall, and then waited till she had completed the. song. Waa it only his fancy, or was it really true, that, thero were in the softer cadences of Marian's tuneful and even soulful rendering eomething unusually pathetic
.' And of aJl the friends who were schoolmates
There remain, Ben, but you and I.'
' I wish I was Ben and that she oould sing so of me,' wa» the melodramatic..sort of sentiment .-which occupied George's mind as he opened the door and entered..
Marian was still at the piano ; and .Luoy,' who had been turning the pages of music,
was turning to laugh at her mother.. Mrs. Whiddon ..was an emotional kind of body,' ' and was actually moved to tears by Marian's
'Oh, here ,is George/ that young lady oried., f Lend, Mamma your. handkerchief¡
George,, and, bo glad , you v. were not;-two : minutes sooner.or-you also would have < been i ' dissolved in-teara. . Marian has just.given us
' SweetAlioe* with killing effect !'
* lt you talk that way I shall never sing, it
again -. Quite well, thank you,'she broke , off to say ; for by now George had oome np to the piano and shaken Marian by the hand, dedaring ; she was a stranger, it was so long since.- he had seen her, and looking into her eyes,so fixedly for a moment as to make Marian feel uncomfortable-for did not all in the room notice George's intense manner. -
. Lilian came in at that moment.
* I went out to get tho invite, George- I am glad you are bao k ; we shall have some of our old favorite* together. . . Yes,
here it is, Marian * ; and Lilian produced the '? oard of invitation to tho Mayor's ball, one of the sooial events of the year.
' Of course you are going,* said .George.; .. Marian replied that she did not know;' she had not yet inontioned tho matter to her father.
,The Whiddens were of oourse going, ., and
George was particulaaly anxious that Marian . eould be with them ; bat ho got no more1 than a conditional promise.
The young ladies foll to talking of tho latest modes in ball dresses, in whioh Mrs Whiddon was also induced to tako part, and before tho subject dropped it was known what wero tho fanoy costuraos of Miss Lily and Miss Luoy ; and Marian had also caught suffioiont onthusiasm to say that she thought she would like to go, and, if eho did, it would ulso bo in fimoy costume
George was about to ask had Mr Gonisby received an invitation, but ohookod himsolf just in timo, us ho thought of tho possibility that ono had not boon sent ; and ho would not willingly subject Marian to a momontary feeling of slight, or that tho Gonisbys woro not ranked on quite the samo lovel as tho Whiddens. All the same, ho determined that Sir Douglas must bo advised to see
I about it. A word from Sir Douglas in tho j
- right quarter would be all that was neces-
sary, he knew.
Marian was on visiting terms' with some i of the * beBt people' even in most fashionable Toorak, and it -was mOBtly on account of her association with the Whiddens that this waa so ; yet Marian knew that she had more *han once been loft out of some of the smartest functions of . the smartest people, because there were some who said they knew how old .Gonisby had made his gold ; and though his daughter was altogether a cheer- ing and more than usually talented young person, still it was necessary to observe some 4 line of oleavage ' that the BON TON oirole might remain sufficiently oxoluaive. Sven retired merchants-as they liked to be called -men who made their money in wholesale haberdashery, in hides, skins, tallow or wool', still affected to think there were other ways of making money which differentiated thé possessors fiona themselves-and in those days there was a growing suburban pseudo aristocracy, who built almost palatial re- sidences, and furnished them in princely fashion- who were inculcating a oult, arid craved a reputation for exclusiveness, whioh made the temporary sojourner, and the critioal birds of passage, smile derisively. >
Marian was never troubled that they were sometimes passed by wheu the Whiddens and others of her acquaintance were re- membered. Though gifted with all the qualities of mind and physioal graces whioh go to make up a ' Bocial success' in a young lady, she had never coveted 'entreó to dance, garden party or fashionable evening where she was not welcome, or freely and courti eously invited ; she had too much 4 propei pride' to plot and plan, as some folks do, tc be admitted as a favor or a condescension ; she had never been - to Government House and would not have deemed it a very con- spicuous honor if she had ; she had knowz of people in and out of the city who. had beex to Vice-regal funotions whom she would 'no' willingly meet, and would certainly no'
invite to her own house.
George Whiddon callee! this ?* sweet Lade pende nee,' and liked Marian all the more fo it. But he greatly desired that Mariai should be at the mayor's ball, and eventuall; decided that it would not be hi a fault if sh were not there. With an adroitness an delicacy whioh did him credit, ho manage to turn the conversation from the oominj oivio festival to quite another channel.- J had, however, a personal turn. A man ii : love is impatient of barriers, be they triflini or substantial. It was good, very good, t have Marian there ; but it was not enough ; What progress oan a lover make with
roomful of people P He .contrived to get
seat close to Marian ; and Lil was on th
* What a long time since we hadaron upon the lakeP' he said. ¡ ?
* Quite a long time/ Marian agreed/ 1
4 And since last season they havè'deepenë several of the shallow parts, and 4 Noah' ark* ' (as he called the fairly big, strang*! shaped boat-half-a-tub, half gondola] 4 oan make quite an extended ciroum navigation.'
* That will be a great improvement.' 1
4 Do you remember what a jolly eveniä . we had about this time last year, when ü made up a musical party and spent- thrc hours paddling up and down the lake ?' sai
* Yes, it was really very pleasant.'
* Let us get up another suoh party ohimed in the anxious George. 4 I gael the BattonB will join us. Those moonligl nights are splendid. Will you oome, Mario (Ho spoke tho last word with the misgivin tof a man still unforgiven).
41 never make evening engagement without consultinfir papa, you know,* wi Marian's guarded reply. . »
She was always guarded now, Georg
* What; is that 10 o'olookP' said Mari< starting to her feet, ' aa the sweet," loi chime of the blaote and gold marble doo struck tho hour. 4 Papa gave mo till 10 and his wishes are my laws, you knov, Good-night, dear Mrs Whiddon,' she said 1 and1 was about to so take leave of George-¡
4 Of ooiirse I'll see you to your gate/-oana from George, half protestingly; .
4 Lily could do that.'
4 Then who will soe LU baok P'
Miss Lil went to get hor hat. George an Marian wallend loiBuroly to tho door. ' 17
! 4 Mario, I'm miserable till you say that on
4 What word, Mr Whiddon P*
4 4Mr Whiddon' (complainingly) : * Tw words at most then-fI forgivet";
(To be continuod.)