|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 Mis SHACKELL. [Authoress of 'Broken Life,' ' Re tribution,' etc.] 1: CIAPTER XIII. I had just finished one of my commer. cial trips, when I went to this bazaar. I 3 came out on the 'Orient.' We carried no less a personage than one of England's future peers-Sir George Carden, and also the Count Lester. We all put up at Menzies Hotel. I thought it very con i descending of those young bloods to get so chummy with a commoner like myself. We played some curious pranks, I assure i you. Rolling home at daybreak and making night hideous with our music, was nothing to us. One evening we didn't know what to do with ourselves. We were strolling down Swanston-street, when we noticed a bevy of girls going into the Town Hall. 'What's up,I wonderi' said Carden. Looking up, we saw a big printed notice of a grand bazaar. 'Let us go in and have a look at the girls,' suggested myself. ' Happy thought,' said the others, so in we went. Almost the first person I met was Bee Graham. Ileft my friends and went to speak to her. We had a chat while i Carden and Lester were lightening the i cc tents of their pockets, and falling fast into the snares of two of Eve's daughters, who were expatiating on the qualities of a great doll and some lacy.looking thing 1 like a fisherman's net. When I turned away to find my friends, I saw Carden staring with open mouth at Bee Graham, and, taking my arm, he asked, ' Who in the name of wonder was that enchanting little creature 1 Come and introduce me, old chappie.' 'Oh,for common decency first come round the room,' said I. ' Come and meet the papa and mamma.' So we met them. After a gushing welcome back to Mel bourne, I introduced my friends. 'I am so sorry TI did not stick to the painting,' said Clifford, with mock sor row, and a sly glance at Alice, 'that I might produce the expression on Mrs Graham's face as I introduced my friends with the high-sounding names.' Mrs Graham was in one of her happiest moods: She actually sparkled. I heard her distinctly whisper to the old man, 'Get the girls to come, and take De Large out of the way.' The poor little hen-pecked flunky disappeared, and in a few moments Baa Graham was with us.
Very pretty she looked; her long n golden hair hung over her neck and I shoulders, while garlands of lowers were round her small figure. She was selling v flowers, and after the introduction to the ' bloods ' a rosy spot appeared on either y cheek, which made her really pretty face o even more attractive to look at. She y raised her basket of flowers to my friends, and Mrs Graham in her turn blushed as y her eyes fell upon the handful of sove- y reigns which Carden threw into Baa's N basket in exchange for little flowers not K worth a penny. 'You are extravagant, Sir George,' d said Mrs Graham, sweetly. SAh, dear madam,' he replied, 'money t is but trash ; it is made to spend.' ' He must be very rich,' whispered Mrs t Graham to me. He was still picking forget-me-note from Baa's basket. n ' Rich !' said I, ' rich is no name for it n -he must be a millionaire. His uncle I is an earl, and he is next of kin to the h peerage.' With this the charming little Bohemian g appeared with her basket of cards. d After the introduction she told their e fortunes, and predicted a most wonderful I future for both my friends, for which they raised the funds of the bazaar very considerably. I think it was then 9 p.m., I and till the night's business was concluded they never lost sight of us, and before we parted she gave us all a cordial invitation I to their next ' at home' night. 'Come over for a while on Friday e night Mr. Clifford,' she said in her society voice, ' and bring your friends with you. I You will come,Sir George, and you,Count Lester So glad to meet home people.' i They consented, and we all promised a to come again the following night to the bazaar. So Carden haunted the Town Hall day and night till the wished for e Friday came at last. Although I could t see plainly that Mrs Graham and her daughters were setting a trap for the 'bloods,' I had no fear for them, far I thought a certain amount of latitude was I allowed at bazaars, but on the first visit a 'to their house I found out that the Grahams were more daring than I gave 1 them credit for. The drawing-room was a blaze of I splendour when we arrived. Mrs Graham was at the height of her a~uinbllr .. NO I longer was she the mere hostess .,f mere commoners. Every decent soul they knew was invited that night to witness their grand social success. I think she intro duced those " bloods" twice to each of her friends, so great was her delight and excitement. The delightful duets were all gone a through, and I noticed when poor De Large took his accustomed place beside the piano Mrs Graham called to papa to turn over for the girls. This was the first blow to De Large. During the bazaar they managed to keep him away from the girls. Either old Graham or the mother managed to monopolise him, so the field was left clear for Sir George and the Count. ' Serve him right,' said Pauline. All during the evening Sir George paid Bee the most marked attention, and De Large sat like a bear twisting his black moustache. The Count, too, was saying pretty things to Baa, while the old Graham looked out from beneath his grey eyes and took notes and esid nothing. Every one noticed what was going on, while a few envious mothers looked spitefully at Bee and wondered how she did it. Mrs Graham was bursting with gratified pride. She was in the seventh heaven. I thought it right (though I hated to play an inter fering part) to tell Sir George Carden that Bee was engaged. So I took him aside and told him I thought he was making De Large jealous. 'Why i' he enquired sharply. ' Simply that he and Bee Graham are engaged to be married.' 'Are they ?' he enquired again. ' Well, I didn't know that, but "all is fair in love and war," I shall ask her.' ' But, really, you don't mean anythingl' queried I. ' Oh, go and hang yourself, Clifford,' said his lordship. At that time I was enjoying life too well to do anything in the suspending line, except, indeed, I could hang myself round a nice girl's neck, so I begged of Sir George t. hold me excused, and that I thought him rather rough on me. With this Bee walked up to us. ' Miss Graham,' said Sir George, ' Clifford and myself were just talking about you.' 'Were you ?' (archly). 'What were you saying ?'(laughingly). 'He said that you are engaged to that French fellow, is it true 7' 'Most decidedly not,' replied she, lifting a pair of as honest grey eyes as were ever raised to meet a man's gaze. 'Why he is our music master. We have known him ever since we were babies. 'Engaged!' she laughed. The very idea of such a thing excited her greatest mirth. 'Is Beaa engaged to him too 1 for if I am Baa must be. You see, Sir George, we have no brothers, and now De Large escorts us to places. He is papa's very dear friend. Why he is quite old, too. Oh, ever so old! I am sure he loolks old enough to be mamma's papa. Doesn't he?' The unhappy De Large was chained against his will by the side of the mancouvring mamma. There she held him. Bee spoke the truth so far. He did look old and miserable, as he watched his faithless sweetheart playing her cards with the baronet. I could see a look of pleasure on the face of Sir George, and he asked her to come and sing to him again. As he stood beside her turning the pages, she sang to him 'Dear heart.' She had not a great voice, but she sighed out the song as if there was to her no one else in the world but himself 'Dear heart, before you came It cannot be the world was all the same !' And she raised her eyes, as she sang a to meet his. I felt sorry for De Large, The tears were in his eyes as he watched E them, yet he kept perfectly quiet.' SI was sitting by the window a little Slater on. I heard Bee and Sir George talking on the balcony. t 'I did not believe that you were en I gaged to that French fellow,' 1 heard , him say. e I could not catch Bee's reply, but e they were out there for some time. a Before we left that hight Mrs Gra ham made us promiase that we should dine
next day with them. On our way home De Large followed us. He insisted on having a private con- he versation with Sir George. ar 'My good fellow,' said Carden, ' say k your say before my friends. IThere is no occasion for private conversations between you and me.' TI 'Very well,' said De Large. 'Perhaps n you are right, for there is no need to tell ps you privately what is known publicly. m Miss Graham and myself are publicly en- be gaged, and if you are a gentleman you will cease paying her attention which is tb distasteful to me.' ' Why inot say this to the G -aha;ms as themselves and not to me ?' to 'I have done so and got no se?tisfae. tion.' d* ' I should think not. Miss Graham is so not engaged to you,and I shall not caange ur my manner to her or any of her family. ch And now, Mons. De Large, I wish to have no more to say to you.' fo Then De Large used threatening lan- in guage, and Carden told him to go to the le devil. He still followed us, and got so in excited that it ended by Carden giving pi him in charge. I imagined the Grahams were glad of this excuse to rid them selves of him, for they had now a perfect honeycomb for the bees to fee4 on. He hi got his con?de after this ; they had no il' mercy, for they had no conscience, and ai hearts as hard as marble. We came next a day and dined with them, and in the o evening Carden took us all to the theatre. f They made us promise for the Sunday, a and thus every day during the following h week we spent with them, and the nights i, in some of the theatres. They engaged s a servant, and then they gave a ball. p Carden never left Bee all the evening. y Then papa took Sir George asile and y explained that, as all their friends were t talking about the marked attention r which he paid Bee, he should like to know 1 what his intentions were. His intentions were pretty well known four weeks afterwards, for in six weeks a after their first meeting Bee and he were married. Then the Count was B brought to the little officer, but his f intentions were to remain single. So Baa o had to baa for another lover. But the li Graham papa and mamma were quite y satisfied for the present. Great changes took place after the marriage. Mr Graham no longer opened the door I for visitors. The maid-of-all-work gave the y 'not at home ' to nearly all old friends- v they cut almost everyone. After a de- n lightful honeymoon the happy pair re turned to Melbourne, where they put up C at one of the first-class hotels. They were slaves to fashion and gaiety-they I were everywhere, and Bee and her diamonds were the envy of all the girls p of her acquaintance. It took the b Grahams about three months to make h themselves the most unpopular people I in Melbourne. As the marriage was r never put in the papers, it began to be s rumoured that Sir George Carden was a fraud. Of course such reports were confined chiefly to jealous people who had been 'cut.' Those most concerned took 1 no notice of gossip, they could well afford to forgive their enemies. Mrs Graham never tired of hearing herself talk of t Lady Carden. But lo! A dreadful day f came at last. It was on the date of the Melbourne Cup. E To those who have been to see the Melbourne Cup, I need not describe that day of splendour. Sir George and Lady Carden, Mr and Mrs Graham and Baa were in the most prominent position on the grand stand. A little before the first race was run Sir George was missing from beside her ladyship. There was 1 nothing unusual in that circumstance I alone, for nearly all the gentlemen were ! down on the lawn, more or less betting on the horses. He was amongst the others bustling about, but amongst the many sounds one loud stentorian voice vibrated through the air, and reached the Grahams like a death knell. 'T'., o one bar one on Upstart' It was the toioe of Sir George Carden ! What they thought they wisely kept to themselves, but they could not still the voice of the people-that Bee Gra ham's husband was a fraud, and that he could not be who he represented himself to be, was the opinion generally. 'That was why the marriage never appeared in the papers,' said Mrs Grundy. Mrs Graham took the affair like a philosopher. 'Sir George,' she would say, 'had such a passion for the turf. He really cannot resist the temptations of making a book.' Then she even con descended to acknowledge, that he came out here to economise. His estates were considerably impoverished through the extravagance of the late baronet, and they were going home shortly. But they did not go home. They lived in Melbourne long enough to get cut by persons of any respectability who knew them. During about threeyears SirGeorgeCarden sailed under half a dozen different names. There was scarcely a vice that he did not revel in. He and Bee had a most unhappy life together for about two years. Then he lost every penny he had on the turf. He actually sent his jewelry to the Jews and hers in accompaniment. Even the gifts which the Frenchman gave her he took, and when thoroughly ruined she left him and returned to her parents. The Count Lester continued his. visits to Graham's,and went about very much with Bee. It was said that she visited the Count at his hotel. Then Garden made a terrible scandal. He actually got it put in the papers,and horsewhipped the Count outside Graham's house. So their pride had a fall. I called on them once or twice through kindness, for it was no longer a pleasure to visit there. I never met more unhappy people. Mrs Graham's voice had risen fully two octaves higher. She never ceased blaming their misfortune on her unfortunate husband. ' I wonder they didn't blame it on you, said the Judge. ' Oh, I believe that I got my share of the blame when my back was turned,' Clifford replied. A divorce was looming for some time, according to the papers. SAt last it came off just as Garden left for England. They had it all their own way, e for he was out of reach and could not a contradict anything they said against him. So Bee got free, and called herself Miss Graham again.' il ' What became of De Large i' ' He wore the willow for a time, and it then pulled himself together again. When Bee got free she made friends with him. k- Everyone thought they would make a e . match of It.'
'And did they i?' asked Pauline. ' Yes,' replied Clifford. ' He matched her, but did not marry her. He cut her and married a better girl That is all I know about them.' ' What became of Baa ? ' 'She has taken a seat on the top shelf. The scandal, though hushed up, was never forgotten. The music and card parties still go on; they entertain young men in the soft goods line now, instead of baronets and counts.' 'They are getting sensible then,' said the Judge. 'I wish the little sister had not gone,' said Hugo. 'It would be news for her to hoar her enemies were so matched.' 'I do, not think so,' replied Mrs Bran. don. 'I feel sure she would be quite sorry for them all. That dear little soul understands nothing but forgiveness and charity.' 'Thank you for the history, Mr Clif ford. We have had some curious and interesting stories since Bugo's conva lescence. Now, boys, go out for a stroll in the garden till tea time, and we shall put aside our work.'