Chapter 39491300

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Chapter NumberII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39491300
Full Date1893-10-28
Page Number9
Corrections0
Word Count2934
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLaunceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)
Trove TitleMatched and Mated: A Romance in Real Life
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CHAPTER It. Rex, and Geff Brandon were twin brothers. To describe one you could almost see the other. They were the sons of the late Sir Robert Brandon. They were 25 years of age at the time I introduce them. Tall, slightly built, with strongly marked features, aquiline noses, clearly cut mouths, large blue eyes, with dark hair, whiskers and moustaches. both ummistakably thoroughbred. Rex, though only a few minutes the elder, was of course the heir, while the few minutes younger one was simply Geffrey Brandon. Sir Rex was lord and master of one of the finest estates in Devonshire; of one of the finest pack of hounds in England; owner of Brandon Castle, where he had lived all his life, and his forefathers for generations. He was rich, idle, and excessively good-natured. He loved his only brother with most passionate ten. derness. He always felt that Geff should be heir too. Twins, he would say, should be shares alike in everything. He would never speak of anything as his,' ours' was his expression. ' Our home,' ` our horses,' 'our dogs,' I don't think any one ever heard Sir Rex Brandon say 'mine.' On the contrary, Geffrey Brandon accepted his position as younger brother as a matter of fact from the beginning. He loved his brother no less, but he always said. 'I must make my own way,' and he did it. To com

mence with he was a hard reader, a fellow of his college, and a barrister-at-law at twenty-five. No lawyer in London had higher fame or a larger practice. So he made his own way. It was in the year of our Lord 18-that the twin brothers fell in love with the same lady. It came about like this : General Hugo de Burg, their nearest neighbour, had an only daughter, Gwen. doline. Both brothers confided to each other about the same time that they thought Gwendoline the most lovable girl in the world. Many an evening they sat together in the twilight, or strolling arm in arm through the woods,talking of Gwendoline and wondering who would win her. At last Rex suggested that they both should try. ' She is so sister-like to us,' Jeff would say, ' perhaps she may send us both off.' But Rex always said, ' We will try.' It was Gwendoline De Burg's 17th birthday. All the country were invited. As this was related to myself, I cannot tell you much about the ball. On that night the brothers resolved to learn which of the twins was most loved by Gwendo line. She whirled through the first waltz in all her youthful beauty with Sir "Rex, her small girlish figure, full of grace and symmetry, her beautiful bright clear face flushed with delight and the excitement of the dance. From her fair brow, the clusters of waving chestnut hair were brushed back,now escaped from the comb, and falling over her neck and shoulders like a soft silken cloak. Her brilliant azure eyes were lifted to his, as each lively sally responded from her merry red mouth. Round and round they whirled, till tired out they sauntered on to the balcony. Standing there with only the light of the skies upon her face, he resolved to know his fate. 'Gwen,' he commenced, ' I have some thing to say to you; listen to me.' She was singing a lively tune as she beat time with her face upon the battle ment. She listened carelessly still hum ming. Then Rex said-' Gwen, darling, Ilove you for ever so long; will you be my wife 1' She turned quickly towards him and was sobered in an instant. 'Ah, Rex,' she said, 'why did you say that ? Oh indeed, indeed you shouldn't. Ah, I am so sorry, and we were such friends. I could say anything to you, just like a brother. Why did you spoil it all by making love to me?' Poor little Gwen began to cry. ' Never mina, my dear,' said Rex; 'forget all I said to you-I wouldn't hurt you for the world. Now let us shake hands and be friends again.' She gave him her little gloved hand, which he kissed and drew within his own and led her back to the ballroom. Poor Rex went out with a big tear in his eye, and Gwendoline stole back to the balcony. He waited for Geffas arranged. In less than a quarter of an hour the brothers met. Geff knew by the other's lace what had happened. They clasped hands, but did not speak for some mo ments. At last the silence was broken by Rex. He only said,' Go in,Geff, go in and prosper.' Geff stood irresolute, and then seizing his brother's arm,exclaimed,' No i by all that's holy, I will not.' 'What go after you come fresh from her pre sence ? Perhaps to gain by your loss I I cannot and will not do it.'But Rex insisted and Gaeff went into the ballroom, his heart wildly throbbing,for he could never bear what his brother was forced to accept; Gwendoline's refusal would be certain death to him. The poorer man indeed, as far as worldly wealth was concerned, but with more sensative feelings and more ardent attachment than his brother. Deep study too had helped to make him weak in body. He felt as he walked in that he was either going to fame or to his doom. He found Gwendoline alone on the balcony, in mournful attitade, looking up into the stars, absorbed in thought or listening spellbound to the thrilling music of the nightingales below. She started slightly as he approached her. He could see that her face was wet with tears, she tried hard to elude his glance, and holding'her hand to him, with bent head, she said 'Please, Geff, button my glove.' He took her little hand, and mechani cally buttoned the glove. Still.holding her hand, he said, 'Oh dearest Gwendoline, may I keep it i' She left her hand in his, and burst out crying. He spoke not a word, but let her have her cry out. Then taking the other hand, he held them both and said, 'Oh my love I my life ! don't send us both away. We both love you. I let Rex come first, for indeed you should be Lady Gwendo line. But were I a Prince I should lay my crown at your feet. Oh,my queen, my beauteous Gwendoline, say one word to me, for my heart is breaking.' All she could murmur amidst her sobs was, 'I don't want to be Lady Gwen. doline. I cannot love you both.' Then clasping the yielding form of the young girl to his heart for one blissful moment, and taking once a lover's privilege, he led her into the perfumed night. ' You really care for me then ?'exclaimed the enraptured lover, as he kissed her hands in a fever of joy and gratitude. 'You really love me, and you refuse to be Lady Gwendoline,and tobe so rich, tobe my wife ? Ah, darling, you shall never regret it, I shall teach you real happi ness.. What more the delighted lover would have said was cut short by Gwendoline. ' Dear Geff,' she said, in broken accents, 'I never thought till to-night that either of you cared for me in that way.' And blushingly she raised her shy eyes to her lover's face and asked him, 'Did Rix tell you all I' 'He did,.darling. We always confide to each other. We have both loved you for ever so long. Rex proposed that we should try to-night, and he, of course, came first. He came back and told me you refused him, and then said I should come.' 'Poodr fellow,' murmured Gwendoline, ' was he very sorry ? Have I hurt him very much 1' 'Now, darling,don't begin to cry again; it is as you say, you could not love us both. And Rex is a stronger fellow than myself, believe me, dear, he will soon get over it;.I never should. If you sent me away to.night I should have lost for ever my own, the world's esteem

my fame, my very soul. You have saved everything. I will, darling, with the rich reward of your love, reach the very top rung in the ladder of my ambition. All Europe shall yet ring with your husband's name.' 'It has already, Geff. You don't know how I used to read your speeches, and delight in your eloquence. How my heart throbbed with joy when you made that speech that got off from being hung. Little did 1 think I was beloved when I used to sigh like pour Des demona and wished that heaven had sent me such a man.' The moon rose up from behind the hills, showing Geff the beautiful radiant face of his beloved. The ballroom and the guests were forgotten in their Pew born joy. This was the dawn of their lives. Day had not yet broken. Beautiful dawn of two lives made one. And slowly through the rose-scented air the pale moon looked down on the happy young lovers ; the vapoury clouds silently floating in the peaceful sky, while yond r in the woods the nigntingales sang joy fully. Everything in nature seemed to wish them joy, and from the castle again the joybells rang out, 'Many happy returns of the day.' CHA1PTER III. On reaching home that eventful night Geff went directly to his brother,who was waiting for him, ' I need not ask you,old fellow, your face tells all. Let me be the first to congratulate you. God bless you, dear old Geff' Geff peered anxiously into his brother's face, but save a trifle paler he could see no sign of suffering. 'So what we marvelled about for more than a year is ended,' Rex said quietly. ' Now, Geff, I will go abroad for a year or two and get over all this. In the mean time I want you to marry and settle down at the castle hero. Now no contradic tions, you must obey me, for I am in this case the elder brother.' They talked nearly all night, and it was mutually agreed that Goff and his wife should settle down at the castle till Rex returned. Next day Geff called on General De Burg and proposed for Gwendoline. General De Burg was a fine aristocratic looking old gentleman, now retired for many years. He had been a gallant general, and only through the loss of one of his arms did he retire from active ser vice. He loved the two boys much, but Geff was his favourite. ' Give me the man who makes his own name,' he would say, 'before the man who has a name be stowed upon him.' Welcome, Geff,my boy,' he said, as he extended his left hand to his daughter's lover. ' Sorry I have not a better hand to give you" ''Tis the hand next the heart, sir,' answered Geff, 'but I want even more than the hanld next your heart.' 'So Gwen has been telling me,boy. 'Tis hard to part with my only one. There is but one man alive whom I would give my motherless child to, and that man is your self.' ' God bless you, sir,' said Geff, as the tears started to his eyes. 'You must wait though,boy. Gwen is only seventeen, and she must not leave her father yet.' 'Oh ! please sir,' said Geff, ' can't you come and live with us. Indeed it was not my intention to take Gwen from you. Rex is going to travel,and we arranged it all, that as soon as you would let us Gwen and myself should marry, and we all three would settle at Brandon Castle till his return. By that time I may be judge.' So 'twas settled. About a week after Rex and his valet left quietly for Dover. Nothing could be noticed by his appearance that he was suffering. He paid the last visit to General De Burg. When saying good-by to Gwendoline, he gave her a parcel which he told her not to open till her wedding day. I may be anticipating when I tell you here that that parcel contained the Brandon diamonds,together with a letter, couched in the most loving, but brotherly language, begging of her to accept the family diamonds as her own, as he should never have any use for them. But Gwendoline never wore them, as you shall hear, if you are patient enough to continue my story. OHAPTER IV. Brandon-De Burg, the union of two aristocratic families, took place at the Church of England L-on a bright day in June. The sun shone down upon the happy lovers, now made man and wife. As they stood alone for the first time those two made one. 'For ever and for ever my wife till death us do part,' murmured the young husband, as he gathered the girlish form to his bosom. '8And even after death, to life ever lasting, answered Gwendoline,' as she raised her azure eyes to his. Her face seemed glorified. As he saw the radiance which perfect happiness had made he whispered, 'How lovely you are, oh how beautiful you are.' Would that we could linger thus for ever. Never would I weary of beholding you.' Gwendoline Brandou was still in her wedding gown with her mother's diamonds on her neck. She had to go and unrobe herself in exchange for her travelling attire. The carriage was waiting to convey them to the railway station. Her honeymoon was spent on the Continent. Only six months could Geff spare from his practice. They then returned and settled at Brandon Castle. Thus twelve months of blissful happiness passed away. No cloud ever crossed the path of this perfectly happy pair. On the anniversary of the wedding day, Gwendaline presented her lord and master with a son. They called him Hugo, after his grandfather, General De Burge. By this time Geft found himself in the v ry highest position in the legal world. His eloquence and ability were so great that often the judge himself could not refrain nor suppress his dignity from openly expressing his admiration. Crowds of England's greatest men would gather in the court to hear the speeches of Geff Brandon. Love indeed did not kill his ambition, nor damp his love of literature. Even the fresh claims of his little son did not diminish his zeal or love of study. Dear gentle Gwendoline would often wish him less studious. Her blue eyes would moisten and gleam anxiously as she watched him, always at study, about the second year of their marriage the

anxious wife could plainly discern lines on her beloved husband's face. She would sicken at heart at hearing the hard dry cough. At last she could bear it no 1, nger, and one night she said, 'You are not well, Geff. I have been watching you patiently now for some time. You must. really see a doctor.' 'Ah! not at all, darling,' said Jeff, '1 am all right.' He threw down his book, and taking up his boy, he danced about the room. ' Now don't I look very ill,wifey ? Eh I Hugh boy ? Don't you think your father ought to see the doctor?' Geff laughed so heartily that his wifi was forced to forget her gravity and join in the mirth of her two loves. Time, how ever, as it passed did not cure the cough, and at last Geff Brandon was obliged to admit that his wife was right. The best of doctors wa.t consulted, and the dreadful news was told to Gwendoline. Her hus band's lungs were affected. Still his all. absorbing passion for his profession pre dominated. S ay at home and be treated as an invalid he would not. Then Gwen. doline's troubles commenced. She would beg of him, plead, coax to give it up for a time. Geff always would promise; 'This really wzill be the last case, darling, till I get rid of this little cld.' But another and yet another case would come, for the legal world could not do without Brandon. The time came at last when this stout hearted fellow had to give in. The faithful descendant of gallant warriors who died for their country on the battle field would die in harnm ss too (for next his wife and child Brandon loved his profession) but for the love of those two, whom he held far dearer than his own life. He felt the pains and made up his mind to rest. One bright morning in November, when the ground was crisp with frost, he took up his boy, and, with the other arm round his wife, he said, 'I am not well to-day, darling, I shall take your advice and have a rest.' Mrs Brandon was delighted. She felt sure a long stay at home and her nursing would bring him round. But alas I he had used himself too long. The never robust frame was too severely shaken. The grand voice which reached all over the literary Europe was still. Jeff Bran. don had lost his voice. Mrs Brandon was not allowed to know the truth at first. When the doctors held the first consul tation they told her that in order to:spare the already too tried lungs he was not to spneak for some time. (To be coninued.i