|Chapter Number||BOOK II. I|
|Chapter Title||NEWS OF MARIAN.|
|Newspaper Title||Liverpool Herald (NSW : 1897 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||Marian Gonisby|
CH APTER I.
NEWS OF MABIAM,
Sir Douglas Whiddon waa very orosB ; he had good reason to ne. The glamour of the * Exhibition'days* had gone ; the stagnation of the building trade had come ; the cry of the unemployed had set in ; the premonitory symptoms of general collapse were simmer- ing on every hand ; the 'boom' bladder was fully blown, and it waa ready to burst.
The first sale of a portion of the Esdralia Estate had resulted iu a fairly good haul for the more eligible sites, but no more than a tenth of the whole vere quoted, and Sir Douglas had waited for improvements to be effected on these, but no improvements worth speaking of had been offeoted. Gaily printed lithographs, showing fine lengthy streets, squares, gardens, and glorious pros- pective villa sites, were istmsd broadcast ; and the moat eloquent auctioneer available in Melbourne had worked the Esdralia speculation for all it was worth, yet the second sale of the ' magnificent Esdralia lots' resulted in failure--miserable failure. Though it appeared, so far as the publio knew» that some 30 different lots had been knooked down at fairly good figuros, not more than 10 or a dozen bona fido sales had been made ; hence Sir Douglas' disgust, aB he had oonnted on disposing of at least 100
Bather more than a year had elapsed since, the departure of the Gonisbys for Europe.! A fear is but a short space of time to those who are busy, tn those who are in the enjoy- ment of health, to those who are not wait- ing. Waiting, no matter for what, is that which makes the wheel of time revolve slowly ; and the lover's wait is, of all waits, the most impatient.
Sir Douglas was not tho only man anxious as to the result of tho property« sale referred to. Of the two, the ohanoès were that his son George was the more anxious. Had it turned out trumps, George had been pro« mieed a long holiday, and that to Europe ; but for what; parpóse and to what end the reader oan guess.
He came in late from the city together with his father. They had been attending to transfers and business oonneotéd with the
After the evening meal was conoluded, Sir Douglas retired to his sanctum. George followed his father. His face wore an anxious expression. He was very muoh afraid that his promised holiday stood a good obanco of indefinite postponement, but he meant to have a try for it.
'Shall you be able to do what you pro- mised, father f ho began donbtingly.
* What-your trip to England, George ?*
' I wonder yon can think of suoh a thing in view o' the failure wo had to-day, because if you had every penny that was taken yon wonld think yourself badly furnished with funds.'
* It is a great disappointment to me.'
* Not moro than to me, I assure you ! I may as well tell you, Iud, how matters Btnnd ; sufficiently so, at least, to put any extravagance out of your heud. I was never BO Bhort of funds in my lifo. During the last six months I havo not drawn a shilling from any of my investments, while calls are now due to tho li. nnd M. Investment Com- pany and to others. Had tho Esdrulia lots gono off as I expected, ovorything would havo boen put squnro for tho present, at all ovents; but as things aro I am all but embarrassed for fundB. I tell you this muoh to show you, George, that strict/economy must bo tho order of the day.' .
In view of thia astonishing statement from Sir Douglas, George saw that it would have boen worse than useleps to pursue his request any further, and retired disconsolate.
It had for months been his oarueBt desire and intention to follow Marian to England ; for oould he but see her for a day, he told himself, it would satisfy him for a year. Lotter after letter had been written by him to London, but no answer-not a line-hid come to him in reply. This did not surprise j him, because it was to be expected ; it was
the trial of hie patience and fidelity. To say that ha heard no word of Marian was, however, not the case.
Twice in thia long 12 months, happily, he had indirectly had tidings of his love. At least one message, he was glud to rhink, had come to his ears by deliberate intent. His sister Lilian and Aunt Zinny were the happy mediums. In the first instance, some six months after their departure, the old nurse had a long letter from Marian writteu from London. In tho great city they were staying as gueBts with Mr lsaao*Gonisby, Josiah's only brother and solo relative. We shalMearn more of Isaac Gonisby, of neces- sity, in the latter part of this narrative. An uneventful but pleasant voyage was i recorded. Mr Gonisby was, well but restless. He did not like the London olimato after the bright skies of luBtralia, and Murian also thought the London »moke and fog dull and depressing. Thef were shortly going to
in the second epistle, received but a few weeks since, was an enclosure for Lilian. For her brother's sake Lilian was delighted. No iove-letterá that she herself might ever receive could be more welcome, lt was a brief note, yet every line and every word of it seemed invested with remarkable interest. It ran as follows :
London, Nov. 10, 18S
MT DBABEST LUJAN,-Almost a year has passed since 1 left yon in dear old Melbourne, yet I am sure you will not have forgotten us. Scarcely a day passes but I think of you and yours, notwithstanding there aro many things here to engage'my timo and attention. I have many acquaintances, ns you may suppose, and a few friends ; but as you know, dear Lil, I am not one to quickly make friends. 1 am sometimes callod a muk littlo Conservative. Thia is .not in the political sonso. We ore not much concerned, really, with the politics of the Empire. So far as such things go with ns, we are still more concerned about the affairs of our own dear, distant province, Victoria, and Aus- tralia in general. Wo have been to Paris and seen the great sights ' of tho brilliant French capital. Paris is very beautiful. I like Notre Dame better than St. Paul's, though tho latter is very glorious. We have visited several parts of England ; and stayed a fortnight in quaint and interesting Amsterdam, which some day, I sincerely hope, I may be ablo to tell you all about it is too mu oh tu write. This is only a note, dear Lil, to tell you I am not forgo r.ting. Think of mo sometimos, and pray that I maj see your face again. I have no hope,
no wish nearer at heart than that. You will understand. Give my lovo to your mother and sister, ana remember me to all who may still care to remember,
And there waa a postscript. "Was ever lady's letter written that did not oontain a postscript ? ana is it not almost invariably the most important part, or the most interesting P And this was the foot-note in
thia case :
* I have had seven letters from Australia, and three of them are as the manna that fell in the wilderness, for which I was hungry, and they have been food for my heart and soul. Yet I have wept over thom, Lily. They are, these three, very precious.'
It was George who kept this letter, not Lilian, and not once or twice but many times did he read it. It was written in Marian's own perfeot handwriting, and he studied every sentence, and was satisfied Marian was not enraptured with London. Marian hoped and longed for a return to Australia. London life, London sooiety, had not turned her head ; had not alienated her feelings or affections from tho place or tho people loft behind. All this and a great deal more George got from tho lotter.
In throe or four weeks, aa George reckoned, ho would get his own long-looked for lotter from Marian. Ho was sure it would bo all his heart longed for. How muoh, ho told himsolf, thcro would bo to tell. He honored hor silenoe, booauso ho know her word was her bond. But tho timo of silenoe would bo atoned for soon. Ho would know his fate-thoro would bo somothing to rest on ; this long blank would bo lilied in ; the clouds would surely bo liftod. Though Marian should not Hoon rotura, hor letters every month or two would fill his lifo anew ab with the reflected glory of her prosouoe.
Often George speculated on .what manner of coercion the implacable father was resort- ing to in order divert Marian's affections.
He felt sure the old man wonld leave no1 stone unturned. Ho would introduce his
daughter to the best of Hebrew society, and Marian could never be overlooked. Apart ' from the faot of her worldly advantages, as ' Goniaby's heiress, she was sure to be admired. In George's eyes, at least, she must be without a compeer, even in the greatest oity of the world. What was he, was the thought that sometimes came to him, that Marian should remember him, and continue to love, when all the wide world was before her to chose P Thinking only of himself, George was apt to become alarmed, but always reproached himself for momentary misgivings when he remembered Marian's devotion. ' As true as steel, I'll never doubt her,' was the rook he built on ; and he often
murmured these words to himself.
A week latter Lilian encountered George coming into the breakfast-room with the morning post. Some 14 months had elapsed since the day of the Gonisbys' departure, and the English mail had arrived the day
George's face answered the question which Lilian put to him-' Have you got a letter from England?'
'Don't talk to me for half-an-hour, ¡Lil. Look at the size of it ! There must be a, good half-hour's reading here, as there are half-a-dozen stamps upon it.' ' i
* Let me feel ; it looks like a photo.' .' ,
' I hope it does contain a picture !' said George, as he hastily broke open the tightly enolosed paoket. 4 Yes, you are'* right, Lil ; here's Marie's pioture. Does shé not look splendid?' ?
' Yes, indeed, how like her.; She bas
not altered at all, I think. May I show: mamma?1 ?
' YOB ; take oare of it, and leave me now for goodness sake br I shall have to go np to my own orib !' Gooree threw himsalf into an arm-ohair, and was oblivious to all the world for upwards of half-an-hour. 1 .
MAIMAN'S FIBST LETTER:
MY DKAE GEOBGE,~HOW shall I begin my first letter to you? .So many-many times have I desired tn is hour to come, and now at last it is hore, my heart and memory is HO full. . . . To-day is the anniver- sary of our departure from Melbourne. Thus have I kept at least the letter of my promise to my father. If I had broken it even a little in spirit, might I not bo ireoly for- given when love crieB out for utterance and will not be altogether silenced? Your letters, my dear one, reached me safely, save one, which I think must have been lost ; and though I never traced it, yet I think I oonld say into whose bands it fell. My father never referred to it ; but about that time he was particularly affectionate, ' inter alia.* . . . Oh, how unfortunate a thing »t ÍB to have one's love condemned by one's only parent, and that parent unquestionably attached, not to f-ay devoted ? I cannot and never have questioned my father's goodness. Do you know, George, he does not seem to be able to do enough for mn. Wherever I want to go, there it is bia wish to take me ; and if I desired to be in Scotland to-morrow,
no thought of hiß own convenience would, keep him. Ho has loaded me with the most beautiful drosses and clothing, and my girl friends say I have jewellery onough to start a shop with ; but as you know, I care little for these things. The one little jewel I most love I may not wear except when out of my father's sight, and that is not often ; never theleas, George, «orno part of every 24 hours I wear your ring : it cheers mo. Ana I have done a very desperate thing, bocauBO the thonght has often depressed mo . What has Gooroo to oheer him in all these long months?' So, against my father'B wishes und principles, I had my photo taken. I thought it would pienso you, my darling. It is the first time I evor sat for a pioture.
I got but tho ono. There was no one else ' that I oared to give it to. It is for you alone, Georgo. Perhaps on this account you will prize it more. I do not know whether you will think it a good likono&s of me or not. I had but a glanoe at it mysolf. It wont straight from tho photographer's to the poat-oflioo, so surreptitiously and Btoalthily must I still pursuo my relations with you, my lover. With you, my faithful ono, I can exoluim : ' Tiuuo han not dimmed, nor ahall ago withor, our lovo !' . . . London sooiety has almost inudo mo tirod* I do not like it. Still wo havo made, through my aunt and undo, u pleasant enough oirolo of acquaintance. . . X have hud ono trouble only to contend with, and of it I muBt tell you fully and freely.
(To bo oontinuod.)
Tho difforonoo botwaon repartee and im- pudence is ibo HIZ J of tho mun who uses it.
A .Boarding-house koopot's requiem:
Peaoo to hoi* hashes.
Mr Briggs : 'Doos tobacco ohowing ahorten lifo, I wonder P'
Mrs Briggs : ' Don't know, Vak suro ; but I hopo BO.'