|Newspaper Title||Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)|
|Trove Title||Matched and Mated: A Romance in Real Life|
FICTIO N. MATCHED AND MATED, A ROMANCE IN REAL LIFE. BY Mus SHACKELL, [Authoress of 'Broken Life,' ' Re tribution,' etc. CHAPTEt VIII. Meanwhile Alice and Clifford travelled up the hill,too. As both had seen a good dealof the world,thereolwasamplescope for conversation. She talked about Rome and the East, music and opera of course. He expatiated on the delightful last night which they had spent as he stumbled now and thenu over the stones. ' I am a perfect adorer of music,' he told her, 'and would you believe it ? I don't know a note of music vocally.' Alice said she could honestly believe it. 'I commenced once to learn, do you know ? 'Twas tooslow,I didn't seem to get on. Would you advise me to give it another try ? I often regretred I didn't stick to it. What do you think?' ' I really think, Mr Clifford, it would not be time well spent. If there was m?sic in you it surely would have asserted itself. You say you have always been amongst good music; you rmust have, spending night after night in the London opera houses. I wonder how you could pos sibly miss catching theaireven,'for Clifford was singing to her as they climbed up, all out of tune as usual. 'Now, there was Handel,' she continued, 'his father ex cluded the smallest possibility of his son J bring a musician. He saw the gift in young Handel. His wish was that young Handel should be a lawyer. It was almost a grief to his father to find that 1 almost before he could speak articulately he was accustomed to utter musical sounds. And, as a curious instance of 1 futile parental effort to counteract the aspiration of latent genius, his father had all musical instruments removed from the house, in order that his son might have no provocations to the study for which he seemed to have a predilection. Young Handel, however, circumvented him by producing a cla vichord. This he secretly brought to a top room in his father's house, and with out master or any assistance produced music from this instrument most melo dious and harmonious. 'By the way, Miss Hall, what is a clavichord 1' 'It is an instrument like an old pianoforte. A representation given in a work published 50 years before Handel's time gives it a compass of about four octaves. It was in use in convents, and 1 was accustomed to be muffled with strips of cloth on the strings, that the occupants of the adjoining cells might not be disturbed. The harpsichord and spinet are instruments of the same class.' Clifford yawned. This was very slow 1 work towards winning the heiress. 'Sorry I spoke of music at all,' he thought. ' A perfect failure, I wonder how painting would take.' They still climbed slowly up. ' Bother all those stones,' he thought, ' one cannot look off them without stumbling. Yes, I'll try painting. 'The scenery is very lovely here, isn't it, Miss Hall 1' 'Yes, of its kind. The scenery as you term it becomes monotonous, but the varied shading is very good. I often watch the sky of an evening, and in less than five minutes up there over that peak it produces no less than fifty different subjects for an artist.' ' Hit it, by Jove,' thought Clifford. ' You paint,then, Miss Hall ?' 'Oh, yes.' Then another long pause. 'I went into it a little myself once,' ventured Clifford ; 'that is, etching and sketching. Oils, of course,I never touched. Do you paint in oils or water colours, Miss Hall 1' ' Both,' replied Alice. ' There are some little things in the drawing room which 1 have done, taking the liberty of repro ducing that Sugarloaf hill up there. If you are fond of shading, just sit down in the paddock where they keep the prize sheep You will see a rustic seat there, and if the girls in the laundry do not break the spell by their never ceasing laughter the varied colouring for shading up there behind that peak will bring out the painter if'there is such a thing in you.' Alice laughed at him, then, for he was looking at her instead of the peak, and misirng his footing he stumbled and fell sprawling on his hands and knees. Brush irg his hands together he made an apology as she inquired if he was hurt. 'Have you seen any of LongstafPs pictures ? ' he inquired. 'Ah, yes, indeed, I have.' 'Now he is a horn artist,too. I read a short account of his life. He, like young Handel, was hindered in all manner of ways. His father was a merchant, and he wished his son to follow in his way of life. Longstaff first began to sketch from lids of pocket- handkerchief boxes. I saw a very nice oil paintilg he did from one of those boxes; it was a Swiss scene. His father sent him to a city warehouse, where he hoped commerce would destroy his love for painting. '' But there,'" said young Lngstaff,"I neglected business for art."' Clifford was not listening to half of what she said. He was thinking of some thing else which would be more to the point when she proposed that they should walk quicker. ' Where are our friends?' she asked. 'Isuppose they are enjoying themselves. I should not wonder if Hugo was making love to Miss Kitty, he seams to be awfully enamoured of her.' Ho looked at her again long and wist fully in spite of his fear of falling, for he was wondering how she would take the intelligence. Her pale face broke into a sunny smile as she quietly answered, ' I shouldn't wonder, she is a very lovable girl, and many have wooed her in vain. Sho is heart whole and fancy free. If Hugo wins her, he will get a prizi and her first love,too.' 'You would miss her, would you not 1' 'Yes,' replied Alice in an absent voice. Clifford thought this is not a bad opportunity now, so lie began, 'I thought yourself and Hugo were likely to fall in love with each other, I really wonder he didn't. I consider the man who wins youz, Miss Hall, a far more fortunate fellow.' Alice looked up the hill and quickened
her steps. She tried so hard to keep up a [matter-of-fact converestiou, and yet here was this man coming to the point of all others she wished to guard against." 'Oh, we won't discuss that, please.' ' Why not now, Miss Hall ? I suppose you will marry some day yourself, like every one else ?' 'I don't think so,Mr Clifford.' Her con tinued fast walking brought her anxious eyes in sight of her friends. She looked so pleased and happy that no one would esispect what agony she wac suffering. She had nearly one day over of this fear ful ordeal, aus that was such a relief to her that sh, joined in her friends' gaiety as slh hpelhpu to spread the cloth fur their picnic. Thouen Clifford feasted his eyes on her dark beauty. 'No more stones to stumblo over' he thought to himsclf. Pauline took her aside for a few moments and whispered in her ear, ' Be careful, my namue is Kitty.' They strolled away again after dinner, but poor Alice was so afraid of Clifford that she kept close to the others for the rest of the time. Clifford, however, never ceased paying her small compliments, or singing some song to her-all out of tune, of course. ' What is the matter with your finger, Miss Hall ? I notice you wear a glove on your finger.' Alice answered carelessly ' I have worn Ithat for some time.' Her reply, simple as it was, was spoken in such cold measured tones that plainly said 'please, don't take any liberties with me.' A party of four was a sm'all,very small musical party, but both girls were good musicias, and the two young men en joyed it more than if there were many, for each had all he required-the lady of his heart. Well, my patient reader will wonder how much more I am going to write before Icome to the love scene. So I will tell you now. It was the evening before they left. Hugo took Kitty out under some pretext. She went with him willingly. The sun was just setting. The heavens were throw sig their blushing colours upon this man and woman, who now passionateoly loved one another. ' I asked you out,Kitty,' he began,' just to have a little chat with yon,for Cliff and myself go to-morrow !' Pauline gave a little sigh, and said SAh, yes.' Then a pause followed. ' Kitty,' said Hugo, ' do you care for me at all ?' 'Of course I do,' said Pauline. Then another pause, and thump, thump, went the two hearts. ' Ahem, said Hugo clearing his throat. ' Well Kitty, I am but a r ,ugh hand at this sort of thing, for in all my life I was never in this position before.' ' What position 1' asked Pauline. ' Well, Kitty, I want you to do more than care for tme-I want to know if you can love me, for 1 love you with all my heart and soul. I never loved a woman before-this is my first and great love I offer you. Do you care enough for me to be my wife 1' He stole his arm around her waist, for she answered him-' I care for you very, very much, and I love you enough to be your wife. This is my first love, too.' 'You are a darling girl, Kitty,' he said ; 'may I kiss you ?' ' I suppose so,' she replied. ''Tis a usual thing, isn't it ?' Both hearts thumped again. He kissed her merry mouth and her sunny hair, he kissed her pure white brow, and those two loved with a great love which death alone could break. Clifford meanwhile taking advantage of his last opportunity made a bolt for it directly Hugo and Pauline left the room. He offered himself and his much battered affections to Alice. Poor Alice had no time to get away before he was down on his knees before her, uttering all sorts of worn out nonsense. Alice stopped him as well as she could, begging of him to rise and not talk nonsense. He was still upon his knees when Pauline and Hugo came on the scene. Pauline could not resist laughing as Clifford scrambled to his feet, looking very foolish and saying he knew that he was making an ass of himself. That night the warm-hearted Pauline held Alice in her arms. 'My good, good Alice,' she said, ' God bless you. My noble Hugo loves me, and for myself alone; we are engaged.' The lovers were'up betimes, for the hours were now numbered for their first parting. Hugo was waiting for her, walk ing up and down the verandah. The grass was wet with the dew, and the haze was upon the hills as they met with the light of young love in their eyes. After the first loving greeting was over they stepped out on the still wet grass, for Hugo wanted to arrange for their short correspon tence. 'My own,' he began, 'I shall wire to you directly I land in Sydney. I have some arrangemenfts to make, and when I settle my affairs, say in a month, can I come back for my bride?' 'Ah, a month,' said Pauline, ' 'tie too soon, indeed, that would be " marry in haste "-' 'Ah! Kitty dearest, I will never giv you leisure to repent; now say you will be ready in a month.' "''Tis impossible, your mother has to see me yet. Do you think your mother will like me y' It was the first damper since this new born joy came to him, but he answered stoutly. 'My mother will love you when she knows you, dear. Now say a month.' 'No, dear, said Pauline,'but come back in a month.' And looking down slyly, she continued--' Bring me the engage Sment ring.' So it was settled that he should write Sto her daily and come back in a month [ with the engarment ring. So the girls a saw them off tldit day, Hugo radiant and happy, and Clifford disappointed and miserable.