|Chapter Number||BOOK II. II.-(Continued.)|
|Newspaper Title||Liverpool Herald (NSW : 1897 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||Marian Gonisby|
[ALL RIHTS RESERVED.]
By E. DOIDGE,
.Author of * Father and Son,' ' The Daughter
of Eve,* MysteryOf Merveillieu,' &o.
?"Is he as handsome as Mr Phillips ?'
.It is not a question of looks, aunt. - . Character and tastes, and something more
subtle still-I am not olear what-perhaps . it is that whioh is known as affinity-draws
two hearts together and welds them into ODO. If there is, indeed, suoh a thing in the world as Fate, thei* it must be that I have met my
. * What if Mr Phillips tells you he has encountered his fate in you ?'
'Then I will simply say he is making a
Mrs Goniaby laughed.
Marian continued her work in silence for a '. little while, when, looking np, she astonished
her aunt by Baying she would rather not appear at tho dinner party, if Mr Gonisby
. and her aunt would excuse her.
* Oh, that is nonsense, Marian ; of oourse ; you must appear. Though very select, and
only a email dinner party, you must cer . alnly he with us.'
* May I ask who will be here besides Mr PhülipB ?' enquired Marian.
'Mr Phillips' sister, Sir James Downie and Lady Downie-eight of us in all-what Ieaac calla a snug little dinner set.'
* Downio !' and Marian repeated the name as if wondering whore eho bad hoard it.
* YOB, I forgot to toll you ; but your undo and papa mot Sir Jarnos in tho oity a few days ago and. it waa thon arranged they should come to UR this nvoning. It scorns your father mot Sir James in Victoria.*
'Oh, of oourao : they aro station pooplo. I have not mot thom, but booauso thoy aro fiom Victoria I shall bo glad to soo thom.'
* And you will try to bo as pleasant as you «an to Mt Phillips P»
' I shall not be rudo to him, aunt, you vmay he sure ; but more than that I oannot promise/
.... .,* * # *
A pleasanter little dinner party oonld hardly be imagined. The better-olass Hebrews are proverbial for heaping good tables-and knowing what to put upon them. If they are oiroumsoribed and barred as to oertain meats, their variety and choice of food is certainly greater than that enjoyed perhaps by any other people: In fruits and preserves, in salado and piokles, they are almost invariably ahead of the European. Get a cook who has served for any length of time in a good Jewish family, and you need not yearn for a Erenoh artist of the kitchen. Their manner of preparing
fish alone would be a revelation to half the cooks of Christendom.
The Gonisbys-upon occasions-affected upper-olass British cuotoms just sufficiently to give tone to the dinner party. An Aus- tralian ' Sir,' thought not a knight, nor the possessor of hereditary distinction, was still a man to be honored and reapeoted.
They met in the drawing-room, and Mrs Goniaby, Marian, and the Messrs. Gonisby then awaited their guests.
Mr Phillips and hie sister were the first , to' arrive. Afterwards came Sir James Downie and Lady Downie. Sir James was a Scotch- man, one of the hard-headed fellows whose sort had helped to make Her Majesty's colonial possessions at once the pride and hope of the Empire.
The introductions were made.
' We trust we have not kept you waiting, Mrs Gonisby. A visit to our Agent-General 'detained me longer than I expeoted. He pressed me very much to stay and dine with him, but I could not think of missing an evening with you and my old Australian friend, or friends I might say,' turning with a pleasant smile to Marian.
' I am very pleased you have come, Sir
'I should have come without him, I assure you,' added Lady Downie."
Mr Isaac Gonisby took Lady Downie into dinner, followed by Mrs Gonisby on the arm of Sir James ; Mr Josiah esoorted Miss Phillips, while last but not least oame Marian leaning her little white hand very gingerly on Mr Phillips' aim. Marian waa looking very witohing in a simple evening dress of no pretension save that it filled her comely figure to perfection.
Tue reader ought to be introduced to the
rival suitor for Marian's hand. He was tall
and straight : dark hair and very fine brown eyes ; a nicely ourled moustaoho ; a Roman nose, whioh was not a beak ; a olear, though olively-inolined, skin ; and better than all other characteristics, a frank and open manner whioh made it quite easy to like him. Suoh was Benjamin Phillips.'
' I have looked forward to this evening, Miss Gonisby,' he ventured to remark as they went in to dinner.'
'I hope you will enjoy it, then,'replied Marian, quite frankly. 'My aunt and uncle have, I think, the faculty of pleasing their guests.'
4 Pray do not forget yourself in the
' We are to sit here, Mr Phillips,' she intimated as they reached the table.
The soup, and the oysters, and the entremets were duly served, and conversa- tion was individual, rather than general. Sir James and the brothers Gonisby were merging into Australian politics, Mrs Gonisby and Lady Downie were touching lightly on French fashions for the season. It was the young couple who found it hard
to sustain conversation-at least one of them did.
A man-especially a young man-rarely knows what a fool he appears at table-Small-
talk when he has to do most of it himself. If the lady does not willingly contribute does not in fact do three parte of it-a man will exhaust half -a- dozen flimsy topics in a quarter of an hour, and then begin to question himself whether ho has really any conversation at all !
He wanted Marian's undivided attention. But more than once he was conscious, by her eyes and the inclination of her head, that she was listening to Sir James on the splendid prospects of irrigation settlements on the Murray.
* The watering of the wilderness in the wilds of Australia has surely not much interest for you, Miss Goninby '
' And why not P But you aro quite mis- taken aa to tho ' wilds,' as you term them Î Tho distriots thoy aro flpoaking of are only a few hours run from Melbourne on one of the finest rivors in the world !'
' Indeed.' He was again in search of the
proper thing to say, when-and he was J
thankful for it-Mrs Gonisby diverted hi«
« Yea, by all means ; let mo help you, Miss Gonisby, to a little roasted pheasant.*
Mrs Gonisby laughed, and Marian looked uncomfortable. The gentlemen paused, as if some explanation was forthcoming.
Marian was certainly not prepared to give it. Her aunt, with a mischievous look, suggested Marian was afraid to ask for as
muoh as she woald like.'
' On the contrary, aunt, as little as I would like. No really, Mr Phillipa, I can- not-well, only a fragment of the breast, if you insist.*
'Axe pheasants very plentiful in Aus- tralia, Miss Gonisby ?' .
' No, indeed. We never see them, except such as are brought aoroefl from New Zea- land, I think.'
« What is there in the way of game out
. Would you call rabbits game ?'
' Well, yes, I think so if they're wild and
are to be shot.*
' They are wild enough, I fancy.* . Anything else to shoot?'
' Hares in unlimited quantity in plaoes.* ' That is very good.*
'Tes-for hunting; otherwise they'are roted a nuisance. They are shot in hun- dreds and left upon the ground.* , , 1
'Ia that possibleP A wioked waste of food, surely. What other sport P'
. The pretty possums.' N ' Are they good to eat ?'
'A seo+ion of the inhabitants prize them
' Anything else ?' <?
' Wild ducks and dingoes.'
' That sounds inviting. Are the dingoes very large birds ?'
At that moment Marian's eyes were caught by Sir Jamess, and he happened to have heard Mr Phillips' last question. Marian smiled, and Sir James laughed out- right, while an uncomfortable feeling came to the young Londoner.
'I beg your pardon, Mr Phillips, if I mislead you ; the Australian dingo is not a bird but a dog-a wild dog.'
' And a very demon of a dog amongst sheep as I have reason to know,* put in Sir
( You have the advantage of me this time, Sir James, but I shall watch for my oppor- tunity.'
«Very well, Mr Phillips; you will be entitled to it. You are not the only Londoner who is not aware of the difference between a dingo and a bunyip.* -
. Ah ! tell me of that interesting animal, Miss Gonisby ?' ,
' I am sorry I cannot.' .Howis thatP'
< I never saw one.'
. Never saw one, really ?'
'I must not let Sir James have another laugh at your expense. The bunyip is the , mythical creature of Australia.' . " '
' ' Thank you ; I guess I had better change ' the subjeot generally. I shall certainly go
in for a lesson in Australian flora and fauna and that sort of thing the first ohanoe I get
at the Zoo.'
. JDo ; I am sure you will find it interest- ing.'
.I will willingly learn all about the animals, and plants, and birds on tne great fifth continent, if you tell me to do so, Miss Gonisby.'
. Then I will save you what would be per- haps an unprofitable task. You will excuse
The dinner was soon enough over, and the ladies withdrew to the drawing-room.
. Marian, you seemed to have oonduoted yourself with commendable exclusiveness,' said Mrs Gonisby, with a meaning look.
. Did I really seem to do that, aunt P Then onoo again appearances are deceptive. But if you aro satisfied, dear aunt, that is
all I desire'
Tho four ladies having seated themselves, Miss Phillips was asked to play ard cheer- fully responded. Marian was accompanying herself on tho harp when the gentlemen
enterod tho room.
. Miss Gonisby,' said Mr Phillips, as he Btood by her Bide when she had finished, . you will yet be in great demand in the drawing-rooms of London if you remain here long onough.'
' Which I have neither the wish ncr the intention to do,' retorted Marian, without looking up. Tho remark was intended for Mr Phillips, but her father, who was stand- ing near, also ho&rd.
. Alway« tho Bamo' (rather to Mr Gonisby than to Marian). . London dooB not please Mies Gonisby 1'
¡ ' So muoh the woree for her/ orosaly re
! marked the father.
' And for 'London,* added Mr Thillipa.
* I don't know aa to that,' said. Mr Gonisby, ' bat as London ia likely to be her home indefinitely, it would better become her to make the best of it.* Having de? livered thia little homily, Mr Gonisby re- joined his elderly friends : and Marian once again had to sustain a conversation with the admirer she had determined to give no encouragement to.' ,
When the evening was concluded, and the host and hostess were seeing to their de- parting gueats, Marian and her father were for a little time left a1 one in the drawings
' Marian, I am ashamed of you !' ' Indeed ! Why, father ?'
'You must be aware, though you may have supposed I did not notice it, that you deliberately set yourself to snub and make little of Mr Phillips at dinner.7
' Snub him, father P Surely you are: mis* taken. How did I snub Mr Phillips or make little of him P' ,
. 'You appeared to set traps for, him ii|t. your conversation so that you might laugh
at him.' . - i... \ i
'I hope I would not be so rude to my uncle's guest. It was quite accidental, I assure you, father.' .',
, ' Accidental, indeed ; as your whole oon duot and attitude toward him is accidental, I suppose.'
'Oh no, I oannot say that. My whole oonduot toward Mr Phillips ia that of an acquaintance, a pleasant acquaintance ; it oan be nothing more, father.'
' I have it from himself that he desires it should be something more. You know I wish it. What is there in him that you 'eau object to P' " v ,
* There is nothing in Mr Phillipa I objeofc to-as an acquaintance.* -
Here Mrs Gonisby entered the room: Marian was quick to seize the opportunity : '
* Aunt, what do you think P Father re- proaches me for want of oivility to Mr Phillips ; wbile you, aunt, took the oppor- tunity, after dinner, of congratulating me on my ' exclusive devotion' (I think you termed it) to that very amiable young
' I'm glad you think him amiable, Marian: We like him very muoh ;* then, turning - to her brother-in-law: 'JoBiah, I am not going to allow you to look cross oz speak oross to Marian to-night. She has been a dear, good girl, and has made our parry a suoetss. Yes, really. Both Sir James and Lady Downie said as muoh ; so you must just be proud of your daughter-aa you always are, ain't you ? Oome-say so now ?'
' Papa used often to say so in the happy days that are gone,* sighed Marian.
* Who ia responsible for the change ?' re- plied her father, still frowning.
'Not another word,' protested Mrs Gonisby. ' Good-night, Marian ; it is quite time your ourly little head were laid upon the pillow. I am eure you must be tired.'
?I am tired, aunt. Good-night, and Marian approached her father. He did not kiss her, but stiffly submitted to a good- night kiss from Marian, who then went to
' You ought not to be so oross with her.
'You have no ohild who orosses yon,* grunted Mr Gonisby. 'For that be thankful.'
*I would willingly have run the risk a thousand time*,* she replied.
' You don't know what you are saying. The opposition and obstinacy of the girl are past all endurance ; but I will break her
will yet !'
' Ur her heart, whioh ? I f anoy the one would be as easy to broak as the other.'
JTurther conversation waa interrupted by i the roturn of Mr Isaao Gonisby, and Mrs Gonisby was not sorry, as she saw that j Marian's fathor waB in anything but an
amiable mood ; and experience had already taught her that thoro was little use in dis eussing tho vexod question of Marian's future whon Mr Gonisby was in a fault- finding humor.