|Newspaper Title||Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)|
|Trove Title||Matched and Mated: A Romance in Real Life|
FICTION. MATCHED AND MATED. A ROMANCE IN REAL LIFE, BY MRS SHAC?ELL. .- [Authoress of ' Broken Life,' ' Re tribution,' etc.] -- f CHAPTER III. Spring had come again, bringing its wealth of leaf and bud, and Hugo Brandon was able to walk slowly about the garden and grounds of his father's t residence, worn and pale, the ghost of his former self, but with returning health, and his mind wholly restored. Pauline ] never left him, she was his nurse and companion since the day she found him. They never mentioned the attempted 1 murder to him till the doctor assured them that his mind was sufficiently res tored to safely speak upon any subject. i They were all sitting under the trees one day. Hugo seemed much better than 1 usual. The Judge thought it high time to broach the subject of the attempted murder. 'Hugo, my lad,' he commenced, ' do you remember anything of this mysterious affair I How did you get knocked on the head, if I may use the expression 1' 'Indeed you may,for I was knocked on the head. I remember it well. That night when I left the house I was in even ing dress. I only pulled on my great coat and cap. When I had reached the pier the boats had ceased running. I engaged a negro to pull me over to Sydney. Just as we had pushed well out he struck me a fearful blow on the head. I was completely stunned. He must have flung me overboard then, for I came to my senses in the water. I don't remember another atom of the affair.' ' Well, my boy,' said the Judge, ' you were found inthe morning. on Goat Island in a perfectly naked state. So there was nothing left to lead to your identification. Only for the sister of mercy we would never have found you.' 'God bless her,' cried Mrs Brandon and Pauline in one voice. 'It is a clear case of robbery,' said the Judge. It was,' said Hugo. 'I had thirty pounds in gold in my pocket, and a few shillings too. I remember pulling up a handful to get the boat fare.' They had all they required now-that the negro stripped him for the sake of his clothes, or to prevent his being identi. fled. They put the case in the hands of the best detectives and succeeded in tracing the clothes, which were sold to some Jews, also his jewelry, but the negro had gone no one knew whither. He was well known as a boatman, but since that date he was never heard of. Hugo said he was very glad, for they might hang him if they caught him. '1 want no black mark on my life. From this all our troubles are over, oh, Kitty ' , too, am glad, for if they found and hanged him it would be another sorrow to us, in addition to what we have suffered through my having carried my joke too far.' 'Still, 'tis a pity to let the rascal go scot free. Were it not for Pauline I should have all the detectives in the world told out to find him.' 'And then,' said Hugo, 'you would be hanging the wrong man, perhaps, after all. Who could swear to a blackfellow ?' 'Fancy a man being wrongfully hanged through me,' said Pauline shuddering. 'How dreadful everything is done in circumstantial evidence. One is never sure. Pray Mr Justice Brandon,' con tinued she pertly, ' how many times have carriages of justice?'
* 'Never,I hope, my dear,' said the gentle a Judge. 'It is always a most painful 1 ordeal, even when the wretch pleads t guilty, but I will tell you something which l happened when I was a law student. It n is a sad but a true story. This, of course, was in England. An ol1 man and his r only son live d together in a small cottage. t The son was a most affectionate, good 'I fellow, and loved his father dearly. The a old man kept a grdon, the proceeds of p which helped them, and the cultivation gave him employment. The younger man followed the calling of a hawker. He t sold drapery and jewelry about the d country, and between the two they r made a very good living. One night, during the absence of the son, the I old man had a strange dream. He d dreamed he saw his son murdered, and c buried under the branches of trees in a n part of the forest which he was well i acquainted with. He woke up in a fear- 1 ful state, and so vivid did the dream seem that he dressed in haste, and taking b his staff in his hand, walked 50 miles to the very spot. There he stopped to place his stick upon the dead body of his son. f The poor fellow had been robbed of his p pack, and shot through the heart. Two p poachers were arrested soon afterwards, I father and son, too. Some of the stolen n goods were found in the son's house. He t was tried, circumstantial evidence found t him guilty, and although pleading inno- a cence to the last, he was hanged. Many t years afterwards the father lay upon his i death bed. In his last moments he sent for a magistrate, and confessed that it was t himself who committed the murder I which his unhappy son had suffered I death for. Let us hope he made his peace with his offended God.' t During the time of Hugo's convales- I cence, the sister of mercy came regularly a to visit him. As they became more h acquainted with her, they loved her a more, individually as well as for all she v did for them. One day she sat with v them as usual. Hugo was so much a improved in health that she remarked her visits should now cease altogether. They all cried out against this. 'My order forbids it,' she replied. ' A sister of mercy may only visit the sick f and the poor. We leave the world when we enter into religious omnu v.' ' How terrible it must be to be a nun,' a said Mrs Brandon. 'No, indeed, replied the sister.' ' It is a great happiness to live for the Lord alone; to visit His poor and sick and help v them with all we have.' C ' But,' said Mrs Brandon, ' you can do I that, and live in the world, too. Why cloister yourself ' Pauline answered for the sister. ' Much r we could do, indeed, out in the world. I What do we think of the poor who don't s ask of us ? Which of us would do with- I out our silks and jewels to spend ' all our money on the poor I How 9 many of us would risk disease and death, watching beside the fever bed in the stifling hospitalI Which of us d would linger day after day beside a de lirious stranger, watching for a glimmer c of reason to find him his friends ? Ah, most of us would shun the very name of I fear. I think nuns are angels,' she cried t warmly. ' Only that I have Hugo well r again, I assure you I would turn Roman Catholic and join your convent myself. 1 A sister of mercy will be always some thing very dear to me.' ' To us all,' they cried. 'If you really cannot come again,' said Mrs Brandon, 'we at least can visit you.' ' Oh,yes,' replied the sister, ' we shall be delighted to see you at the convent.' 'I have written a cheque,' added Pau line, 'which I wish you to speed on friendless people whom you may meet at the hospitals. This is a fitting oppor tunity to present it.' The sister blessed her in the name of the suffering poor as she took the cheque. ' I wish you would tell us how you I came to be a nun,' said Alice, ' if this is to be our last gathering here.' 'Oh, do tell us,' they all exclaimed. ' It is a sad story,' answered the nun; ' but if you really wish to hear it, I shall tell you.' They all settled themselves for an at tentive hearing, and the nun began her I story. 'You know already that I am French, my accent tells my nation. I was born at Aix, near Provence, in the south of France. My father was a professor of music. I was his only child and we were very happy. When I was eighteen years old I was betrothed to Eugene de Large. He was twenty-one, and also a muaiciae. Some friends of his in Melbourne induced Eugene to go there, which he did. Our first parting, though hopeful, was a sorrowful one. He left us with the idea of improving his position, and when hav ing achieved his purpose to send for me to be his wife. For three years we kept up a regular correspondence; his letters were full of love, and I trusted him and was happy. I was just twenty-one when he sent for me to be his wife. He then had an income of about £300 a year; we thought that a very good position, and I left home with the full consent of my father. I went out to Melbourne under the care of the captain's wife. Eugene said he had good friends to receive me- the English family with I whom I was to live, till arrangements Scould be made for our marriage. When SIlanded in Melbourne, Eugene and this 5 English lady came to meet me. They Stook me to their house. From the first I thought them cold and reserved towards 1 me. I naturally attributed this to their SEnglish ways and my ignorance and I inexperience of them. The father, Mr Graham, was something in the Government. They had two daughters I and both were studying music under · Eugene. Mrs Graham was both mistress e and master in that house. She ruled her V husband and her daughters with an iron hand. They all seemed afraid of her, even a Eugene seemed to share in the general Sterror of Mrs Graham. From morning 1 till night her high-pitched, jarring voice never ceased. The girls seemed ill at Sease and unhappy. Between themselves r they called her " Gunnie," which meant 1' gun. Indeed she was held in as much l terror by them as a loaded gun. The Stwo girls did all the work; they a kept no servant. They had a very nice r house,fashionably and tastefully furnished. When evening came on everything was e changed. Mrs Graham was a most - charming and amiable hostess. They received a great deal of company, and had
a moinr f:,shinoahle at home once a week. 3 Mr Uraham acted as a sort of butler on c these nights. He was a little grey headed, grey bearded, shrewd looking f man, silent and pre.-ccupied in manner. He j,,ined in nothing, and was always in readiness to slip out of the drawing-room to answ.r each ring at the door bell. J Tio chief amusements there were music t and playing cards. Mrs Graham was a p.orfect: armbler. She played invari- J rbly from eight till twelve p. m. 'i'Th same set of people always came a there, young girls and very fashionably dre,%ad men. Both the girls played very o wall indeed, and they were, though notin ,he h le,·te, alke, exce-dingly pretty. BE^t-ice, the eldest Miss Grahsmn, had dark h-ir and pretty grey eyes. They c called her Bee ; while the younger sister's r n-me was Barbra, and they called her Baa So they were Bee and Ban. Y Mr and Mrs Graham used to call them g ' the Bee's,' on account of bees being such '1 busy little creatures. Bee was the wit of those evenings. She was - so lively, and her playing was per. n feet. I thought at first that Eugene was p prouder of her than any of his t pupils. He seldom left her- side t From the first I felt myself isolated and a neglected. 1 was simply introduced to the visitors, and then left by myself all r the evening. No one spoke to me, and, although I spoke English fairly well, f they always addressed me in French. f Mrs Graham would couple Bee's name p with that of Eugene. They played duets t together, and then Eugene, Baa, and t Bee would play trios. Then Bee and r Baa would play a duet, and Eugene would h stand by and turn over the music. All 5 the people seemed to recognise Bee and e Eugene as engaged people. Mrs Graham a spoke to him and of him as if he were t her property, and where he sat Bee always sat beside him. I thought him I very unhappy. Whenever he came to visit me either Bee or her mother would always remain in the room.' t A gasp from Alice made them all start and turn their eyes in her direction. Her face was convulsed with agony, her hands clasped painfully, the tears were falling on her hands. 'Ah,' cried the sister, ' my story is distressing you, Miss De Pryon, but II am nearly at the end of it now. You mrust know not a word of our marriage was ever spoken of,' said the sister, as she watched Alice trying to compose her c countenance. ' Indeed, they never gave him an opportunity. So I resolved to go away. To return to my own country now was impossible; I had no one to advise me, a poor foreigner in a strange land. I resolved to get employment and go away from them all. For this purpose I got a copy of the Argos, and when they c were busy I would go out on the balcony and look over the advertisements. One day I was out there, it was very ° hot and the drawing room blinds were down. I was only a short time absent when I heard Eugene's voice in the drawing room talking to Bee. I supposed he had come to give the lessons. I could not help hearing what they said, they were talking of me. I heard them speak of me oh, in such terms i Then I heard him kiss. What was I to do but remain there and hear that I was in his way, I and that he wanted to marry Bee? I That night while they were at dinner I I stole away. I sent for my luggage next day. I got employed as French and music governess in a convent. After about two years when I knew I had thoroughly conquered my heart and renounced the world, when I knew I had forgiven those who had trespassed against me, when I could say 'Thy will not mine be done,' I took the veil of our order. I am very happy. That is my 4 story.' A deep sigh of sympathy reached her from her little audience.None could doubt that she was happy, for a smile of spiritual istic radiance animated her face. She had loved once, poor little soul, and the rest of her life was given to her God. ' But what of Eugene ?' enquired Mrs Brandon. ' I never heard of any of them again,' said the nun. 'Well, I think you let them off too easily,remarked the Judge. ' That Eugene wanted horse-whipping, and those Gra hams should be exposed.' ' Ah, no,' said she sweetly, 'it is quite evident that Bee had enchanted him. I would never be happy with him, as it is I am perfectly so. 'Tis pamst-that is my story.' A visitor was then announced He was our friend Mr Clifford, this being a first visit since his trip from England. He had been to England and baek again since last we met him. Judge his surprise on hearing of Hugo's misad venture. It did not take them very long to relate the whole story to him. The I change from Kitty into Pauline was the Sgreatest part of his surprise. He asked Sexactly the same question Hugo asked. 'Who then was the other Pauline ?' 'Goodness gracious!' he exclaimed, looking from one to the other, and, no doubt, thinking the lady he pro posed to was not an heiress after all. When he had somewhat recovered him self he laughed and said it was 'weally a good joke. A fellah nevah knows which is which now when he remarks anything.' 'I must go,' said the sister of mercy. r )'This is indeed good-by. I hope to see E you all again, but not here; this is my Slast visit.' SWith tear-dimmed eyes they saw her I off, their loved and valued friend, and as Sher name will never be again mentioned a in these pages, except in passing refer. a ence, I will toll you here that she lived a r good and faithful sister of mercy, doing a good until her death, which took place in r her thirty-eighth year. | Theyentered againinto the details of their [ finding Hugo, and how by the wonderful .1 interposition of Providence he mentioned | the name of Kitty in his delirium, and a that the sister advertised the name just t when Mrs Brandon advertised for Hugo a to return, and how the two advertisements t had caught the eye of Pauline. E[ 'Wonderful, said Clifford. 'It is just o like what one would wead in a novel. I [ weally shall weave the whole thing into e a story; how well it will look in print SA romance in real life.' a 'I hope you will not,' replied Pauline, it 'for you are certain to make me the y wicked heroine, but I can tell you of l someone more wicked than myself for
your story. Do you happen to know any one in Melbourne named Graham ?' 'Yes,' replied Clifford. 'I know a fellow named Jim Graham.' ' No, that isn't it. We want a Mr and Mrs Graham and two daughters. Oh, the Bees,' laughed Cifford, ' by Jove. Yes ! I have good reason to know them. Many a lively night I spent there, and many a sovereign I lost, too By Jove ! Shilling nap runs up " 'The same ! The same I cried Hugo and Pauline in one voice.Even the Judge and Mrs Brandon wanted to hear more of the Grahams ' Oh, tell us all about them,Mr Clifford, we are dying to htar,' pleaded Pauli.e. 'Well,' commnced Clifford, ' the old chap is in a Government office-a £300 per year man, andthey live quite up to it. When first I knew them, six or seven years ago, they were considered very nice girls, and received in pretty good society. Their mother, I think, spoiled them. She was always sighing after the unattainable -slighting fellows who would be likely to marry her daughters, and laying siege and pandering to people altogether beyond their sphere. The elder girl, Bee, was then engaged to a most respectable fellow, a Frenchman named Do Laye.' ' Yes,' interrupted Pauline, ' did she marry him ?' 'No, by Jove, she didn't; worse luck for her,' replied Clifford. 'It was per fectly shameful the way she treated that poor fellow. She was publicly engaged to him. He spent his money freely on them, too. He gave her lovely diamond rings and other jewels, which she didn't have even the common decency to return. You would never see Do Laye without old Graham hanging on his arm. They almost lived in the theatres, most of the time on De Laye's money and the rest on orders. What a hubbub there was to be sure when Bee threw him off.' ' Did she tthrow him over then ?' 'Yes. It happened like this,' con tinued Clifford. 'They had a grand bazaar in Melbourne, all the girls every where were helping; the Graham girls were quite the rage then. It is funny how the conversation came up about the Grahams,' said he, 'do any of you know them ?' All faces were bent forward eagerly listening, all looking flushed but Alice's. She was white as marble. An agonised expression was on her face? She was clasping and unclasping her hands ner vously, the black thumb stall painfully showing on her bloodless fingers. Clifford gazed at her for a few moments, and asked her if she were ill. ' No, yes, that is the sister's story, you know.' ' Enough to make anyone ill,' they all cried together. 'Do you know,' said Hugo, 'dear old Clifford, you are telling the second part of a story related to us by that little sister of mercy you met here to.day. She was engaged to Do Laye, and that Bee Graham cut her out.' 'Most remarkable,' again exclaimed Clifford. I really must make a novel out of it all.' ' Now no more interruptions,' said the Judge. 'Pray proceed Clifford.' Again they were interrupted by the maid with afternoon tea. During the tea time Pauline frequently expressed her delight that the Graham girl served the Frenchman out. ' Now then, tea and scandal,' said Mrs Brandon. (To be continued.)