|Chapter Number||VI. (continued.)|
|Newspaper Title||Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)|
|Trove Title||Matched and Mated: A Romance in Real Life|
FI-lTION. '-4- MATCHED AND MATED. A ROMANCE.IN REAL LIFE. Br Mai SHACKELL, [Authoress of 'Broken Life,' ' Re tribution,' etc.] CHAPTER VI. (cosstIsued.) Alice, or Pauline Hall as we now for the present call her, was dressed in Pauline's magnificently made London riding habit, the close fitting garment showing off her slight girlish figure, a little round Spanish hat exposing her clear pale face with its sad earnest eyes. With her skirt held in one hand, and a gold-mounted riding whip in the other, her fancy dress costume was complete. Pauline, or Kitty Tyrrell as we must call her, wore a short green skirt and a little red cloak with its hood over her head. She looked very pretty. It was exactly the costume of the Colleen Bawn in the Lily of Killarney. The guests were all ready, and all were cautioned for their lives not to make any mistakes about Pauline and Kitty. Mr Hugo Brandon and Mr Clifford were announced. Alice stepped gracefully forward, and with her gloved hand grasped most cordially that of Hugo, saying, 'Welcome, Hugo, welcome, very, very much. I would know you anywhere, you are so like your father. Oh, how nice to meet again, and your friend. How do you do, Mr Clifford ? I am very pleased to see you.' Tnen she introduced the two gentlemen to all in the room. When she came to the real Pauline she said lightly, ' This Is my friend and companion, Kitty Tyrrell.' Then the music struck up, and Hugo gathered the riding-skirt in one hand, while he claimed Alice for the first waltz Then they walked round the room, talking of old times ; Hugo preo tending to remember her well, while the real Pauline was saying she would give anything to know what they were talking about. Hugo had a chat round with all the people after that, and, somehow, the next dance found this Apollo whirling round with the red hood and green skirt. The girls were all sobered when this six feet of manly beauty was first an. nounced, for Hugo Brandon was a most magnificent looking fellow. His dark brown curly head towered high above them all. His eyes were of the darkest blue, with long black lashes. He moved with easy grace, and was perfectly un conscious of the sensation he was creating. His good-natured mouth,always parted in laughter, showed a set of most beautiful teeth. He was stout as well as tall. Then a walk round and a chat in general, and back to the Irish girl. 'Beg your pardon,'he began ' I quite forgot your.other name, I only caught the " Kitty."' 'Oh,you can call me Kitty,'she replied, 'my friends all call me Kitty. If you are Pauline's friend, you must be mine, for Pauline is my very dear friend"' ' Thank you, I shall value it, but what is the other name ?' ' Tyrrell, Kitty Tyrrell.' 'That is an Irish name,' said Hugo, 'and the costume,' glancing at the green skirt, and the arch blue eyes under the red hood, ' are you Irish ?' 'I fear not, Hugo ! at least MIr Bran don.' ' Oh you needn't Mr Brandon me; now call me Hugo, and I'll call you Kitty.Eh ! Let it be Hugo and Kitty.' 'Oh very well, if Pauline calls you Hugo, so will I.' She laughed gaily, and Hugo caught the infection and joined in her merriment, little guessing what she was laughing about. ' You are very fond of Pauline, then, biss T- Kitty ?' 'Oh yes, very,' she answered, ' I think I care more for her than any other girl I know, and quite natural, too, isn't it ?' 'I suppose it is, your being so much together and all that.' ' But,' quoth she, ' Pauline is so very nice and good. What do you think of her yourself, now, Hugo 1' 'Ah, by Jove, she is a grand girl,hand Some, stately-cold and proud, too, I am sure.' 'I am sure you are mistaken, she is neither cold nor proud.' And the little mischief maker's face and voice warmed up in defence of her friend. 'If you only knew Pauline as I do you would never have made that speech,' she said. She is the most warm-hearted and the best girlI know.' ' Ah,' said Hugo, 'she must be if you say so, but won't you be very sorry to leave her some day ?' 'I will never leave her; where she goes I will go.' 'What !when she and you- both marry l'
'I will go with her then, too; we will never part.' 'Why, Kitty, you are a regular Ruth. Ic's a pity she isn't your mother-in-law ; what a Naomi she would make for you.' ' Oh, take me back now, I fear Pauline will think I am monopolising you ; pray come back.' They had strolled down the carriage drive, walking noiselessly over the soft grass, the rMoon looking down upon them as it did twenty-two years ago, when they were little children on Face Island. Ah, could no fairy whisper to Hugo that it was his little playmate who was hanging on his arm, and playing such a joke on him all the time? ' Don'c go back yet, Kitty. It's sos aweet out here, so cool. How lovely those hills look by moonlight. I should like to walk up that hill now with only you for my companion. Suppose we go? Are you a good climber ?' 'Not to-night at all events,' she answered. ' If you wish for an excursion to-morrow I will take you, that is if Pauline comes too.' Oh, bother Pauline,' said Hugo. ' How dare you,' she said. 'I beg your pardon, Miss Kitty, but can't you talk to a fellow for a moment in dividually without "Pauline," "Pauline"' and Hugo pronounced the noun proper with an ugly emphasis. ' Well, suppose we make a little party of four to morrow ?' said she, as they turned to go back. ' When allthe others are gone we might have a little picnic, eh?' 'Agreed,' said Hugo. With this he cried out, ' By Jove, there is a big rat!' ' That is a bandicoot,' she laughed ; and letting go his arm she give the animal chase. In and out through the rose bushes she ran, calling out to her com panion to help her to catch the animal. Hugo looked after her, and thought as he saw the small feet and the green skirt and the red hood fly in and out through the roses that he wouldn't mind if he was condemned to chase bandicoots with that delightful light hearted little creature for the term of his natural life. After the chase they both appeared in the ball room, rosy, and very much out of breath. 'We have been chasing a bandicoot,' explained she. Then she took out some of Handel's most lovely sonatas and called upon Alice to play. 'Come, Pauline, and play for us,' she said. Alice gathered up her skirts, and removing her riding gloves, played with thrilling harmony, her great sad eyes seeming to speak 'The Creation.' Her firm white hands glided with tutored grace over the keyboard. One of her fingers was encased in a black thumb stall, yet she did not play as if she suffered any inconvenience. Then Kitty sang and played, and then all the others contributed towards the musical part of the evening. Then they danced, but Kitty would not dance with Hugo ag 'in. Then they had supper, and another dance. At last all the guests departed and Pauline, Alice, Hugo, and Clifford were left alone. Then Pauline arranged that on the morrow they should go up the mountain and have a little picnic, and the rest of the time during the visit they should ride, drive, and boat on the river. ' We shall have a delightful time of it,' said Clifford. 'I hope so,' said the pretending Pauline, 'we shall put forth our best endeavours to entertain you, but now, indeed, we must retire, for it is quite morning; see,' she continued, ' the sun is rising.' 'No,' said she perverse Kitty, ''Tis the moon !' ' Sun or moon, goodnight, and we will rise early and have a long day.' They both went to Pauline's room, where they gave vent to their pent up merriment. ' Well done, Alice,' cried Pauline, 'you could really act a play, bravo ! Alice looked sad again. 'I really do not like my part in this play,' she said, ' pray how long do you intend keeping it up ? 'Quite as long as they remain. I must now tell you a secret, Alice,' began Pauline. ' I should be completely in the dark myself, but for my dear aunt. It is the heartfelt wish of my uncle and Mrs Brandon that Hugo and I should marry. This meeting has been a pro-arrangement, and I believe Hugo quite capable of marrying anyone to please his mother. I have so far completely deceived him. If he only marries to please his people I assure you he won't marry me. Do you know, Alice, I was quite prepared to dislike Hugo, but, as he fell into the trap so easily, and paid me so much attention in my incog, I have quite a regard for him; only help me to carry it out now, dear Alice, and I am your debtor for ever.' 'What am I to do with Mr Clifford in the meantime?' asked Alice uneasily. 'I feel quite guilty every time he calls me Pauline. Ah ! please cut it short.' Then Pauline threw her arms about her friend,and begged of her, if she loved her, to let her carry her incog to the end. ' It will only be a few days at the most, and after all it is but a harmless joke.' So Alice consented, come what would, to humour her friend to the end. Then Pauline called her her darling and her pet, and kissed her a hundred times. That night the two girls slept together in one bed, and they talked till the sun shone through the windows.