|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 Mas SHACEELL. [Authoress of ' Broken Life,' ' Re. tribution,' etc.] CHAPTERa xIr.-(COontieued.) At 8 p.m. Ariel was in ecstacies. In stead of going to the school-room to see them, herself and the two younger children were marshalled into the drawing room by this Delaugh of whom young Ariel seemed so proud. They were all in evening dress-lovely children with Branddn faces. Mrs Brandon, Pauline, and Alice were all embroidering, making wedding presents for Hugo. Mrs Brandon was embroidering blue water lilies on white satin. She told them that those were the ,fe sisile of theexquisitely scented water lilies which grew upon the island when they were shipwrecked 20 years ago. She told them that then she had set her heart upon the union of the two children, and had,cherished the hope through all the passed years. Notwithstanding the trials which hung over them, her heartfelt wish was soon to be accom plished. Then the children played solos, duets, and trios, and the usual compli ments were passed upon their improved playing. All gave place to the little children. Ariel's beautiful mouth began to distort itself into a peculiar shape, and she addressed her parents in harsh guttural sounds. After a few minutes it began to dawn upon Clifford that she was holding a conversation with them in the German tongue ; Mrs Brandon and the Judge replying in monysyllables, while now and then a correction was altered in an undertone by the vigilant Delaugh. Then the two little ones ad dressed their father and mother in lisping German. Ariell walked . across the room and seated herself beside Clifford. Her plait was loosened, and her golden hair waved over her neck and shoulders. She was still more lovely in evening dress. ' What do you think of Delau'lh now ?1' she asked him with a voice expressive of both confidence and exultation. ' Don't you think she is the most beautiful crea ture in this world 1' He glanced at the flushed face and kind hazel eyes of the Swiss girl with her little rippling curls nodding over her head, and he thought of another face, with its cold pale beauty, and unconciously his eyes strayed from the governess to Alice. The contrast told against Ariel's beau ideal, and he answered her honestly. ' Yes, I have seen someone much more beautiful.' 'Ariel cast on him a smile full of withering scorn, and told him he could not be a good judge of anything. Then, according to promise, the children danced to him. Arlel's dancing was something to be remembered. Her graceful form swayed to and fro. Her bare and beautifully shaped arms poised over her head, while her light fantastic feet took.the different steps of the Highland fling, bowing and swaying as each move of her head flung the wealth of yellow hair into some new and fairy-like atti tude. 'Bravo, bravo !' cried Clifford in transports of admiration. Ariel threw herself into her seat beside him, and as he expressed his delight, she asked him 'Do you dance 1' ' Not much,' replied Clifford. 'Oh,what a pity; you are too old now,of course, to learn. I first learned dancing in England,' said the premature young lady. 'I was quite young then,' she sighed. ' We are all learning still. The dancing master comes here to teach us.' 'You are quite an accomplished dancer, Miss Ariel' said Clifford admir I ingly. 'You could teach the little ones, couldn't you 1' 'Oh, I help. You have no idea what it is to be an eldest sister, Mr Clifford.' Clifford confessed that he had not the slightest idea. ' When dear Delaugh is out I take full charge of them, you know, but they are such obedient darlings.' ' You all speak German too,' he went on.' ' Yes, Delaugh teaches us. I want to speak German well by the time I travel again. I travelled very much when I was young, but by-the-by you promised me a German story.' 'No,' corrected Clifford, 'a Swiss story.' 'Oh, of course, pray when are you going to tell it to mel?' 'Not to-night at all events,' replied Clifford. 'I must have you all to myself, for the others might not enjoy it as much Sas you.' 'What are you two talking about there I' asked Hugo, ' Clifford and Ariel are making fast friends. I fbund them Sin the arbour this afternoon having quite a confidential ohat.' 'Well,' explained Clifford, 'Miss Ariel was telling me how she enjoyed life when she was young, and she is full of the deepest sympathy for me, having lived so long in this world as thirty years.' ' Ah, Miss Precocious,' said the Judge, 'is that what you have been saying P' 'Yes, papa,' replied Miss Ariel, noth ing at all abashed; 'Iam sorry for Mr Olifford, but I like him very much. I think he is a very nice man, and he thinks Delaugh very lovely and remem bers seeing some one even more so; and he knows a most lovely Swiss story, and Splease, pa dear, can he tell it to us now? He thinks he had better tell it to me when he has me all to himself, and thinks you wouldn't all enjoy it; but you would, wouldn't you ?' looking round the room a for approval. 'Yes, indeed we would,' said Mrs I Brandon. . 'Thanks, mother, darling. Now, Mr a Clifford.' t Clifford laughed and sail-'I think I Scould make a good thing out of it just Sgoing about telling yarns. This is my second story to-day.' Thsn he coughed Sand began. ' About three years ago I had a delicious change, awey from the Snoise and smoke of London-a trip to SSwitzerland.' ' How lovely I' interrupted Ariel. 1 'Leaving my boat one day I went ashore. After traversing a village, I commenced to climb to the summit' of a snow-clad peak.
Having feasted nay eyes for some time upon the wond'tous vision of wild ro. mantic grander1r, I noticed a small farm house down in the plains. Feeling hungry and thirsty, thought, surely, I can get a drink of goat'% milk down there,so thither I bont my steps. A growl from a big dog chaired outside first greeted my approach,, then quite a bevy of people made tlaeir appearance-the dame with two curjy'headed youngsters at her skirts, her good man, a lovely girl with a face like a cameo, and a young man handsome enovrgh for a Grecian god. I was so str uck by the beauty of the young man that 1 caked his name. But, first of all by-the-by, I asked for the drink of milk. The good dame then asked me to join them in their meal, and being hungry, I gladly accepted the invitation. Then she told me the boy's name, and the story I promised Miss Aridl. ' Pippo,' she said, ' is my boy's name, and I nearly lost him when he was a baby. When he was a little fellow six months old I used to put him in his little carriage every day while I tidied up the little cottage. Every now a.id then I would put out my head and speak to him, and if he fell asleep I would work away all the faster. One day I put him there as usual, and soon my baby fell asleep. It could not have been more thar five minutes since I looked and saw him steeping there; when I looked again he was gone. 'I rushed madly out to see an immense eagle bearing my child away. My father was a brave soldier and his sword hung over the mantel. I seiz d it up and say ing one prayer I rushed out. The bird was still in sight. I clambered up the mol utains, my eyes fixed on my child, while I slipped and fell so often that my hands were bruised and cut for many weeks after.' ' At last the bird disappeared altogether fr3m my view. On and on I sped. I felt that I must find the nest, for there I knew my child must be. I must have been nearly an hour seeking in the direc tion which I saw the bird go, when I heard the well-known cry of my boy. I climbed up again, and in the hollow of a rock was the eagle's nest, and in between five young eagles I saw my baby safe and sound. They had just given him a few little picks, and made him cry. They were two young to hurt him much. Had I been much longer the mother eagle would have returned, and torn him up for the young ones. When I was descend ing the mountain with my darling I saw the mother eagle returning to the nest.' 'Oh thank you, thank you ! cried Arlel. 'That was indeed a lovely story. But did they kill the big eagle, did they take away the five young ones. Didn't they hurt Pippo at all 2' ' Off you go now, Ariel,' said Hugo. 'If you answer all her questions, she will keep you there till to-morrow.' Here the children were marched off, but on saying good-night this grown-up baby raised her beautiful face to the much gratified Clifford, and gave him a hearty kise,speaking to him over her shoulder all the time as she went.