|Chapter Number||BOOK I. VIII.-(Continued.)|
|Newspaper Title||Liverpool Herald (NSW : 1897 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||Marian Gonisby|
[AT/n BIGHTS EEBBBVBD.]
By E. DOIDGE,
.Author of 'Father and Sou/ 'The Daughters
of Eve/ * Mystery of Merveillieu,' &o.
George did not affeot the gilded-youth about-town ; he waa manifestly ill at ease, ;'but was endeavoring not to show it. They - Started on their walk homeward all in a group.
' Shall we go the way we oame ?' Benaim tnon ashed of Marian. v
' That is not the most direofc way,' Marian replied.
George took it that his rival-for so he "was in a hurry to regard Benzimmon wanted Marian all to himself.
' Well, as you like, I should prefer that »way.'
' So shonld I,' from Lilian.
Nobody guessed that Lilian had any i motive. Lilian was as quick as gunpowder,
and leBs dangerous ; she had appreciated the situation, and was sorry for George. No .wonder that Goorge loved Lilian.
' There is practically no difference ; you save a corner hero, but you lose it later on before coming to our street,' was Mies Lucy's opinion.
' Let's test the difference by dividing and see which gets there first,' suggested Ben
' Agreed,' said George. ' Whioh. way will yon go ?' (to Marian).
' Tour way for preference, I think,' whioh ' response removed the glum look George had worn for an hour past.
4 Then come with me, Miss Whiddon, and . we'll walk thom for a wager.'
'No wagering on Sunday, sir; I believe its against the law,' laughed Lucy.
' Ahv whioh way do you vote for ?' (to Iraoy).
' I'm the odd lamb ; but I oan walk as fast as Marian, I'm sure. Whioh of you will have meP' Lilian ¿hot a look whioh
undesigning Lucy interpreted aright, and sbu * ranged herself alongside Mr Benzimmon, who, bestowing a significant look at Mips Goniaby and Whidden, said, . Certainly ; though I may bo slow about rowing two .sisters on tho lake, I could never be in a greater tourry to desert them on land !*
' Georgo took the snlly in exoellent part. Benzimmon WOR not nueh a bad follow after all,' he reflected.
1 Mario, I thank you from my heart for . this ; it waa good of you 1'
' And of Mr BonadmmonP'
' Yes, first-rain of him. Better than any- thing I bad credited him with."
' But you don't know him r'
.Very little. Yot I could not endure -seeing another fellow with you.' The emphasis whioh Georgo put on the 'you' was 'the most tenderly expressive pronoun whioh perhaps Georgo Whiddon had ever got off.
¡ Marian felt . the foroe of it ; felt the
responsibility of thiB unpremeditated thing that she had done. She had given George the opportunity whioh he had sought so long. She might easily enough have pre- vented it, but she had yielded. He had looked do miserable, and she pitied him ; and pity is so akin to love, and there waB moro than pity. With the gay, nonchalant com- panion of her own faith and people she had felt little better than bored ; the ourrent of sympathy neither ebbed nor flowed between them, for there was none ; the magnetio needle of the affections turned neither to the right nor to the left beoause of him, but the lodestone had been in the other boat. George did not know how often while he rowed ! Marian's eyes fastened upon his shapely
I arm-his firm, strong wrist; the easy,
acourate motion of the oars ho held. What a seduction there is in a young, strong I manly arm-a methodical sway of the lithe well-knit body. She instinctively made comparisons-the oxfe was rowing, as if un- conscious of the effort ; th* other was finding it a hard and apparently not too congenial
What could Marian reply P
. Why notP' arose to Marian's lips, but she dared not say the words. She knew too well what impassioned words-what ardent avowal would be likely to follow. She, at I least, most do nothing to induce suoh
avowal. Little wonder, then, that she found that tender 'you' difficult to reply to. The Russian lover cannot put the tenderest sentiment into a ' you.' The word that stands for this pronoun, in the language of the Czar, is offensive rather than otherwise. Their endearing word is found in the equiva-
lent of 'thou.*
It may have been half a minute before George found his tongue again. Marian's' silenoe did not surprise him : it may have temporarily embarrassed him.
'Marian, I came here to-day hoping to meet you.'
' Hence Lucy's remark in the boat,' she quiokly replied.
'Yes; Lucy does not spare me in . hw speech, and often hits hard for laok of dis- cretion. But I forgive her all tor going with the others and leaving me alone. . . . Marie, I have been longing for this oppor- tunity to speak to you freely. Marie, look up ! Why do you turn your head ? Is not this tho place to speak P Does it matter at all about the place ? Might we sit here for a little-just a little ?' And he signified a shady grove hard by, where lovers might loiter, tempted to beguile a happy hour out of earshot of passers-by.
' You forget ; the others are walking fast, and will be there waiting for us !'
. If it were for £10, or 10 times 10, and I lost it, it would not matter, so that 1 heard you say one word-if not the word I want, yet one word of encouragement.
JLove is impetuous and persuasive, and withal so hard a thing to stand against. He took her gently by the arm, and Marian half-protesting, non-consenting yet-suffered herself to be led to a seat partly obsonred a few yards only from the wayside, where a low, thiokly grown wattle made shade and shelter ; and there, for a brief spaoe, they were undisturbed, save for the twittering of
Free birds ! (Happy birds ! Unoonsoioua exponents of that thing which men and women call love-unhampered, untram- melled, unfettered. No thought of passion, nor of tradition, nor of right or wrong, of the past or the future. Just happy for the hour that is, unoonsoioua of all, soaroe con- scious that they live. Yet one of these little chirruping birds falls not to the ground un- perceived of Him who is the great Father of all oroated things.
' George, I do wrong to let you lead me here even for a moment ; I am wrong in letting you speak aa you have spoken.'
. ' Not so, Marie-not more wrung than
those happy birds above our heads. I must speak, Marie : I love you, darling !'
' Alas, that you should toll me ! To what end P Oh, why have you told me-why have
' Beoause your heart inclined you, dear one.' . No, no, you must not Bay so ! What ren&on have I over given that you should suppose that ?'
« Your heart and your oyes have sweotly spoken fairer things to me than lipa could ever speak. Is it not so, Marie P'
' * I must go. I am sorry for you-oh, BO sorry for you, Mr Whiddon?'
'Do not be or uni, Marian. I will not be oallod 'Mr Whiddon' by you. It is absurd.'
1 As all this is. You muBt so regard it oil that yon have said, all that I have said. Gome, let us go.'
I 'Marie, I oan't-will not let you go!
For weeks I have been tortured by this thing, my love for you ; and, now that you nave listened to BO much, you cannot pass it by lightly and leave me to greater torment
A great sigh, as from the soul, escaped
She suffered him to draw her back to the seat from whioh she had again risen to go, and his arms gently but firmly held her.
Her hand was in his.
Again she expressed the pain-the acute pain the thought was to her-that he suf- fered, and must suffer, because of her. As this faint revelation of her inmost thought concerning him came to George, what effect could it have but to oause him to press his suit with the more ardent vigor ?
' Say, Marie, that you love me, is all
' You do not know what you ask, George.' ' Do I not ? I know you love rae* dar- ling. You will not deny it.'
' It would be better to do so.'
' It would be oruel and false, love.'
' I never realised before that it was really possible to be oruel in order to be kind.'
' You will never be oruel to me, Marie ?
What is this ?'
George drew his handkerchief from his pocket and wiped away a tear-one solitary, large dew-drop that had fallen upon Marian's oheek. At the risk of another smarting experience he kissed the spot where
the tear had been.
To his surprise Marian made no protest. 4 You will let me love you, dear one ?'
Only then did Marian let loose the torrent of her pent-up emotions, as far as words could give them motion.
'George Whiddon,' (it was, he remem- bered, with a strange start that he heard the words) ' you have deolared your love to me. It is the greatest, noblest, and best thing a man can give ; it is the greatest boon on earth a woman can desire-a good man's love. But do you realise that my affections are not mine to give P'
; ' Your affections not your own !'
' Listen to what I have to say : My faith is not your faith, my people are not your people, my traditions, my training, my hopes are not your hopes. Have you. forgotten that my father is a Jew, and that I am his only daughter P Has it never occurred to you that a strict Jew-and there are few exceptions - would rather consign his daughter to the grave than see her married to a Christian P Between all other religions you have something in common. The Catholic and the Episcopalian, the Presby- terian and the Baptist, do they not ali wor- ship one high-priest, prophet, king. Saviour? My people are of another pale. Ours is the religion of all time-all enduring. We are the peculiar people 'set apart.' You are under ban against us ; we under ban and under curse as against your people and against your faith ! Does not your creed teach you so? Are you not religiously taught to have no fellowship with un- believers P To us you aro followers of a false prophet ; we, to you, exiles and horetios !*
* Marie, you take my breath away ! . . . Did yon speak of Christ as a false prophet ? It is terrible ! . . . And He was a Jew ! . . . Truly, he came to His own. . . . And they knew Him not. ... I never realised all this so keenly before. . . . Marie, Christ was your Messiah-your long promised one. . . . Marie, why do you loos: so strange-BO pained ? . . . And you weep. . . . We will not speak more in this way.* ;
* It is inevitable you have not till now realised, as you have just said, what is the depth and width of the gulf that lies
between us 1'
' No gulf shall lie between us, dearest ! Love oan bridge every ohasm. Does not love level all ranks ? Is it not equal to thc levelling of all mere traditions ?'
4 iVhat traditions-your traditions or mine?' Here was a poser. George waa not read?
with an answer.
Mario was ahead of George both in Bubth perceptions and in the oapaoity of expression,
4 Love may-and indeed often does, 1 think-oloud and obscure faith, prinoiplo and devotion to religion ; but that it oar level contrary and conflicting faiths-that if all a mistake, Goorgo ; it cannot do impos-
' Oh, but it can and must do overythinj for you and mo ! Mario, if you toll mo thai you love mo nothing shall part us.'
Again she roso. Again Goorgo dotainoc her. She was vory pationt with him, auc Goorgo thought that «ho would suroly ylelt and oonfoss that his iovo waB reciprocated.
A turn was «ivon to affairs whon Marian purposing to divert Gaorgo's pleadings porhaps drawn to a last resource-asked die
it not occur to George that the proper ooaree waa first to get Mr Gonisby's consent, with- out which, she reminded him, her's could not
George knew that there was propriety and
reason in this, and was satisfied that, if not . <
a complete oonquest, he was fairly on the J/¡ way to it. ,. ; .;
This time they both rose to depart. As , :. ' i they did so, Marian, looking along the road, : ' -exclaimed-4 Surely that is my father * ' \
4 It is. Let us not be seen.' ? 4 On the contrary, we^ must he seen. ** Do you think I would hide, from him of all others? Come.' And she approached the road side where Bhe must be seen. George
did not like the situation. Ho said it was >'. ??. always like this, and inwardly oonjeotured that Mr Gonisby was probably looking for
Seeing them a moment later, Mr Gonisby pulled up.
'Marian, I thought you went out with
Mr Benzimmon ?'
41 did, father.'
.Where is be?' ¡ C 4 He, Lilian and Luoy went home by the other way ; we came by this, and have
loitered some little time.'
4 You will please get up.' He merely said good-day to George, and did not offer him a seat. George did not expeot him to:
Having helped Marian up, he turned to Mr . - Gonisby with a polite request that he might ' see him for a short time on the following . evening. Would Mr Gonisby be at home ?
41 may,' was all the old gentleman vouch- safed to say, and drove off.
It was a cool rebuff, the first and only one George had ever reoeived from Mr Gonisby» but he was so uplifted, so elated by his interview with Marian, that he did no mind the father's evident coolness. Had not Marian listened to his declaration ? Had who
not given him to understand that his devotion - would be an acceptable devotion if the lions in the path could but be removed ? Given
the father's consent all might be well. With . a lover's enthusiasm he persuaded himself all
would be well. He would see Mr Gonisby on' : '.