Chapter 37497256

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Chapter NumberIV
Chapter TitleRUINED.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37497256
Full Date1899-05-06
Page Number3
Corrections0
Word Count937
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLiverpool Herald (NSW : 1897 - 1907)
Trove TitleMarian Gonisby
article text

CHAPTER IV.

RUINED. '

Misfortunes, like aooidents, seldom oome

singly;

Misfortunes at Melbourne, misfortunes at

Dingley.

'What is the matter, George ? What is going wrong ?*

' Everything, Lil,*

41 know papa is upset, and mama also ; but tell rae, George, if you know. I really want to understand-I ought to understand?'

' Blest if I can understand it myself. The pater is involvod, hopelessly involved ; he told me so thiB morning.'

' Is it because of the failure of the Eadralia

speculation ?'

' That is one only of the troubles. The land and agency company, in which the governor is involved, has gone bung ; trust estates, whioh were largely controlled hy him, and every other blessed thing seems on boam ends and must tumble. Two years ago the govornor reckoned he was worth a good £100,000. If he is sold np to- morrow ho will not bo worth a dollar.'

' Good gracious, it is terrible, George ! - Shall we be sold up, do you think ?'

'Fortunately *hio bouse and what ife contains in settled on the mater. JE very thing else will have to go. Prepare yourself for that, Lil.'

' Poor mama, I do not think she has been,

told.'

' I adviäed the governor to tell her exaotly how matters stand. What's the good of hiding the truth any longer?' ,

' Is there anything else, George P* '"- ') " "

'.Nothing particular.'

But Liliau thought there was something else, parti ouiar or otherwise, whioh made» George downcast and vexed. She elioited it.

' Well, to make matters worse, the gover- nor rated mo for not making the best of my opportunities. Says, like a fool, I am wait- ing for what I'll never get, and that I'll end by marrying some seamstress or poor governess."

. That was verj unoalled for and unworthy of papa. But do not mind, George. Papa is worried and terribly upBet. We must bravely faoe our difficulties whatever comes, and things will right themselves ultimately.'

* That is like you, Lil. You are the gamest of the lot of us. I eonfess I see no hope ; but Vm more sorry for you than any- body, Lil. How will Mr Alton take it P'

* * * *

Sinoe last nv e followed the fortunes of the Whiddens, a new and promising interest had ooma into at least one of their lives ; only to be incidentally mentioned, because it.touched tnt life and affection of one of tho best sisters and daughters that young Aus- tralia h»B produced. If the reader has not , been' given a full and faithful conception of

the lovnble ohuxaoter of Lilian Whiddon, it

is beoaufe the writer has been too fully .

oooupied with the other parties in the story.'''. ; If George Whiddon was, in some respects,: unfortunate in his love affairs, Lilian was fated to bo not less so. But if her lot was hard to bear, and keen in its disappoint'. monte, thero was less of the element of romance, and therefore less of external, interests. . . v

Some six months previous to this period, one Alexander Alton, the son of a well-to-do squatter, with stations in Victoria and N. S. Wales, had met Sir Douglas and been intro- duced to the family. Almost from the introduotiou he had been attraoted by Lilian ; ha was encouraged by both Sir Douglas and Lady Whiddon. His prospeots were excellent. He was younar, and if not handsome he bad redeeming qualities in manner and address. His duties did not allow of much time in the oapital of the southern colony. He knew only by repute that Sir Douglas Whidden was one of the foremost men in Melbourne ; and he had counted that when his eldest daughter should wed flhe would not be dowerless.

Matrimonial bargaining is not, happily, á

characteristic feature of Australian ma»

riages, yet thia element does sometimes enter into match-making in the oolonies.

Why Alexander Alton had not called upon, the WhiddeuB for a month ; why he had

written Miss Whidden a letter whioh filled her with a doubt of the genuineness of his affections, only Sir Douglas properly under- stood, and ho had failed to disclose it to his daughter. It would have been better had he mada a clean breast of it, but his own troubles took suoh entire possession of him. that he did not properly consider his daughter's feelings. That he was aware that ho had probably spoilt his daughter's chances of becoming Mrs Alton arose in this

way :

Mr Alton having so far progressed m his attentions to Lilian as to deem it time to ask

Sir Douglaa'H consent, approaohed him with that objeot in view.

Sir Douglas, straining under a load of financial obligations, was in the position of a drowning man, ready to oatoh at any passing straw.

Mr Alton disclosed his mission.

Sir Douglas was not surprised. He had anticipated tho request made by Mr Alton. Having made enquiries (ho had an objeot ulterior in its motive) as to the suitor's prospeots, ho considered them satisfactory

and it was then ho disolosod his hand. He informed Mr Alton that, owing to sovoral unexpeoted and hoavy oalls upon his resources, he was somewhat pressed for oash-oould Mr Alton obligo him, for quite a temporary period, with a sum of ready money P Tho seourity he offered was the unsold portion of the Eadralia Estate.

* What sum do you require, Sir Douglas P* «£10,000.'

(To be continued.) /