|Newspaper Title||Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)|
|Trove Title||Matched and Mated: A Romance in Real Life|
OHP TER XV. Spring had gone again and summer come. The air was warm and laden with the perfume of the flowers. Mr and Mrs Hall, Pauline, and Alice were back again in their home in Tasmania. All were busy preparing for the wed ding of Pauline and Hugo, which was to take place early in the autumn. It was indeed a busy time, for this marriage which the two families had so earnestly desired was now so soon to be cele brated. Never before and likely never after wards was there such a wedding seen at the quiet old-fashioned township of R-. The old manor house at Broad Acres, heretofore so dull and quiet, was a scene of bustle. Dressmakers and costumiers from Hobart, and decorators and florists from Melbourne ; in fact, everything that money could buy was to be thrown down for the wedding day of Pauline Hall and Hugo Brandon. 'Oh, let us come out and breathe,' cried Pauline. 'Come, Alice, up the hills, anywhere. It is perf.ctly stifling in the house. What a blessing that one has to go through this only once in a lifetime.' ' Some go through it all twice,'observed Alice quietly. 'How dreadful it must be to go through all this for the second time. Where is it, again, that the bride is sacrificed over the grave of the husband when he dies ?' ' India, I suppose.' Well, for my part, I would willingly suffer the executioner to amputate my head before I would go through all this for another man. But why talk on such subjects now? Hugo and I will live to b9 centenarians, and both die the same day and the same hour, and go to the happy hunting grounds hand in hand together. Isn't it funny that I never cared the least bit for anyone but Hugo 1 I am Hugo's first love too.' It is indeed, Pauline, both a rare and delightful thing. Ah, may you be always happy, dear, and live if not to a hundred, to at least a fine old age, loyal nud true to each other. How my heart throbs with delight when I see an old couple walking along together; such sights are, unfortunately, rare.' Alice sighed deeply as she spoke, and as Pauline looked at her the old wonder came back to her, for though she would never acknowledge it, Alice was sometimes as much of a mystery to her as to her friends, but Pauline was self willed as she was good-natured.She would not hurt the feelings of the commonest person, but still she would allow no one to meddle in her affairs. 'Alice, darling, you will be the next to change your name,' she said gaily. Alice shook her head and the tears filled. her eyes. Pauline put her arm about her lovingly and protectingly, and murmured gently to her ' Don't fret, Alice, dear, indeed ! indeed! I am not prying, but wouldn't it relieve your poor heart to confide in me ? Never since our first meeting, when I agreed to take you, without enquiry, did I ever ask you a word about your past, but Alice, if you have a trouble, surely you could tell ms now, and not even to Hugo would I ever divulge one word. Alice only shook her head again. 'No, Pauline, dear, it would only make you unhappy. I am used to suffer. The worst is over now. Pauline, have you ever regretted having trusted me 1'
'Ne, indeed, darling, you have been a great blessing to me. We have seen some joys together, and alas, some sorrows.' ' Now that we are upon the subject,did they blame you for engaging me without references ?' ' Oh, they did at first, but what busi ness was it of any one else I'd like to know V' said she, with some of her old fire. ' Won't you change your mind, Alice, and come with us? I'll miss you so dreadfully.' ' Better without me,dear. You will find me here when you return. I have much indeed to be thankful for for this peace: ful haoitation. L·Jok at the blushing skies throwing their reflections upon the water. How beautifully tranquil everything is. The air is laden with perfume. Listen to the monotonous crake, crake of the native hens and the distant carol of the magpies singing their evening hymn. This time twelve months you will be up in the Alps very likely. Pauline walked musingly beside her as she expatiated on the beauties of nature, and then she said quietly. ' It is only a week now till I am Pau line Brandon. You will have your cidevat lover Mr Clifford, making love to you again Alice. I should not be surprised if you wrote me that you have accepted him upon the second asking.' ' Not much fear of that, Pauline. I am the poor Alice Depryon this time, and not Pauline Hall the heiress of ' Broad Acres.' Musn't it be a dreadful fate to be married for one's money ?' Horrible ! Well I've tried Hugo like gold in the furnace, haven't I ? Almost fatally far. Taking it from the beginning isn't it a romance. We were engaged to each other when babies. What magni ficent curtains those are which Mrs Brandon is working 1 Her memory is good of the blue water lilies.' ' Are they curtains ?' asked Alice. 'Yes, bed hangings,' blushed Pauline ' They are twelve feet long. I am to wear the Brandon diamonds on my wedding day. In reality the Judge is Sir Geoffrey Brandon. His twin brother died about three years ago. She is Lady Brandon, but she will not wear the title or the diamonds. Poor Sir Rex was in love with her too,but she liked Geoff better and she married him. Hugo will be Sir Hugo Brandon some day, so she insists on my wearing the Brandon diamonds. I often think what a blow it would be to her if Hugo and myself didn't marry. I think she loves me just as much as her own daughters.' 'I think,' said Alice,'that this particular marriage was made in heaven. All the surroundings seem to harmonise so. Long acquaintance of two good families .much love-much beauty-plenty of money ! What more do people want ?' The rosy skies shone upon the happy face of Pauline, so soon to leave her home and enter into another sphere. 'I have not a fear,' she said, 'not a doubt, not a misgiving. The only thing that can come now is death.' 'Oh, don't mention that, it is too far off.' ' Only seventy fi~e years or so,' laughed Pauline. Thus the two friends chattel as they sauntered on arm in arm. At last the day of parting came-the wedding day.