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Chapter NumberXVII
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1893-12-23
Page Number9
Word Count2586
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLaunceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)
Trove TitleMatched and Mated: A Romance in Real Life
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CHAPTER XVII. Meanwhile Hugo and Pauline Brandon gall were enjoying their honeymoon. They had journeyed through the green fields of old England, climbed the heather hills of Scotland, seen heaven reflected in the blue waters of the Lakes of Killarney, and then rested at Venice, the loveliest city in the world. The moon had just risen (as they stepped off the marble landing into the gondola), and flung a line of rippling light on the waters. The sky was without a cloud save a few thin fleecy vapours that hovered over the azure brows of the distant moun tains. 'Oh I how beautiful,' whispered Pau. line. They spoke in whispers as if even their own voices would break the enchantment of the vision which they gazed upon. The music from each gondola as it glided by with sweet sounds-palaces and temples on every aide rising out of the waters, which they shadowed with their solemn forms-now softened by the magic of the moon beams- night in Venice is indeed beautiful ! The people are clustering on the quays, and lounging on the bridges, and when the eye is weary of looking on this pano rana of God's handiwork no more

agreeable rest can be imagined than to lean over the parapet, and gaze down into the crystalised depth beneath. You hear no sound that is not grateful, the song of the serenaders, the tinkle of guitars, and responsive charms of gondo liers. Sometimes Hugo and Pauline would rise very early, and watch the sun rise over tha sea and the awakening world. They would stand hand in hand and wonder if it were possible for the sun in its awakening splendour to see any pair more happy than themselves, as Venice in all her shining beauty lay beneath their feet. ' Oh ! dear love !' exclaimed the deligh. ted Pauline, 'is it not dreadful to imagine that anyone can be unhappy in this bright, beautiful world, and yet, how many there are-Alice for instance. Ah! my husband,po-r Alice is very unhappy. It is just as you surmised. She has some secret sorrow. The last week at home she almost acknowledged so to me. I did not like to press her fearing she would think me prying, but she said enough to con viLce me you were right. The poor girl said only fearing to make me miserable she would tell me. Poor, dear Alice, I had nearly forgotten her.' 'Well,darling wife, do forget her. Let no onie's unhappiness mar our perfect joy now. We have not seen half the sights yet. We have to see all Ariel's delights yet, her darling Dalaugh's country.' They were laughing again now, but Alice was fated to be remembered that night, for when seated at supper at their hotel Pauline's gaze waa riveted on a man opposite them. 'Hugo,' she whispered, 'do you see that man opposite ?' ' Yes, dear.' * Well, have a good look at him and find out his name.' ' Hugo was surprised at the strangeness of his wife's request, but, nevertheless, he looked hard at their vis-a-vis He was speaking in English to his neighbour. Pauline and Hugo listened to every word. Hugo naturally had a good look at the man whsoso attracted his wife's attention. He was a slight and very tall oung man, with light blue eyes and brown hair and whiskers. His forehead was broad and high, with a strange mark as if the letter V was branded on it. In fact the mark spoiled his otherwise fine fore head. He also wore a curious brooch on his neck scarf, that also had a V in pearls. Pauline became so nervous that she was obliged to leave the table and go to her room. Hugo was much alarmed, but Pauline begged of him to go back. 'Speak to him, don't lose a word. Find out all about him. Go !' ' My darling,' Hugo expostulated, what is it? Do explain !' 'Oh go I go I You are losing time. I'll tell you all, afterwards. Go, go, if you love me.' She pushed him into the landing in such excitement that Hugo could do no more than obey, but he went slowly and unwillingly. He was back in time to see this man, whom his wife seemed so strangely interested in, go into the smoke room, and Hugo mechanically followed. A knot of fellows were smoking and all speaking in English. Hugo lit his cigar and joined them. As a matter of course, the conversation soon became general. Hugo soon addressed this mysterious man, for, to speak the truth, he was anxious to get back to Pauline, and hear what it was all about, but he dared not return without some news for her. 'I claim to be your countryman, I think,' commenced Hugo. 'Are you English ?' 'Yes, W--shire,' replied the mystic man. ' I am -shire,' said Hugo, ' my name is Brandon.' ' And my name is Fitzallen,' replied the man with the V. ' Thank goodness !4inwardly ejaculated Hugo, who in spite of his seeming non chalance was feeling very stupid. In common decency he could not beat a hasty retreat, but after a little more con versation he bade the man with the V good night. Hugo found his wife in breathless impatience. ' Willy l' she cried,' have you found out 1' ' Yes, my dear, his name is Fitzallen, and he is a nation of W-shire. Now, madam (pretending to be serious), what do you know of him ? I too can be dying of impatience.' - Well, Hugo darling' she commenced, putting her arm about his neck and giving him a rewarding kiss, 'it is all referring to Alice. One day, oh ever so long ago-it was before I knew you, dear -I missed Alice, and as I wanted to tell her somethingland I thought she might be in her room, I went in. However, she was not there. I saw upon the table what I thought was a watch, so I touched the spring and it flew open. It was not a watch but a locket; if I had not wanted to see the time I should not have opened it at all. Well, that locket contained the portrait of that man who eat opposite us to-night. The same face, eyes, expres sion, and that strange mark on his fore head like a V. Even that scarf pin-I assure you he is the same man. And in the look.t, too, was a lock of fair hair, exactly the same as that man's. I assure you, Hugo, he is the same person,' she persisted. SHow strange,' said Hugo. ' I wonder what Alice knows about him.' 'I wonder,' echoed Pauline. 'No doubt,' suggested Hugo, 'he is some lover of here. Perhaps he jilted her-perhaps they quarrelled I' 'Or perhaps he is her brother--I mean stop brother,' said Pauline simply; for she was anxious to put some happier construction on the affair. ' Nay, I think not,' said Hugo; 'they are never brother and sister. Alice is not English, is she 1' ' Yes, and from the same shire to as this Mr Fitzallen.' 'Is she ?' She looks Spanish. Well, wifey, I am quite prepared to hear any thing about your friend. When I impli citly believed her to be Pauline Hall I formed the same opinion of her I now enjoy. She has a secret, she has lost her heart to some one. Observe her. She ls always melancholy and preooccupied. Her face bears the traces of suffering. When she goes out of doors, she envelops herself in gossamer. Even in the house her great sad eyes are always turned towards the door, as if she were living in cruel expec. fancy of someone coming to kill her.Then,

you say, she acknowledges having a secret. Believe me,darling, that is It, she has had an affair of some kind,been crossed in love, and no doubt this Fitzallen is the man.' ' Poor, darling Alice,' murmured Pau line. How could any man be false to her 1' ' Ah ! my innocent one,' replied Hugo, little you know of the world and its cruelty.' Don't I indeed ?' she replied pertly. 'I knew enough to entrap. ?r HugoBrandon with a green petticoat and a red hood.' SAh, my bewitching Kitty Tyrrell, I see her now, in my mind's 03 e, flitting in and out through the rose bushes,' laughed Bu-o. 'Oh, how jealous I was of that bandicoot.' After a while poor Alice was again for gotten, nor did they see the man with the V again. Some weeks after as they journeyed further they were strolling along the beach one evening. Hugo was watching the sky. ' I think, dear,' he said, ' we are going to have a stormy night.' Why the weather is perfect. Look at the sea, it is like glass.' All hushed, there's not a breeze in motion. The shore is silent as the ocean.' 'So Moore said,' answered Hugo, ' but if he knew as much about the treacheryof the Mediterranean as I do he would not have written those lines, or if he saw that black spot over there.' 'Come, my dear, step out,we must try to get back quickly, before it comes on. These white squalls are terrible.' They had not walked for more than ten minutes when a whirlwind commenced to blow, and patches of white foam were thrown up into the air. In a few moments they could scarcely see the way before them. Hugo took off his great coat, and folded it round his wife, bidding her sit down behind a rock She willingly obeyed him, for she could no longer hold her footing. ' God help those out at. sea I' said Hugo. ' No boat could live in such weather. I saw a great many boats go out this afternoon.' He knelt down beside her, doing all he could to keep her from the fury of the elements. He was drenched through himself. These storms, though so terrible, are of very short dpration. It was soon over, and they got back safely to their hotel. That night when they were quietly sitting together the news was brought to the hotel that a boat full of pleasure seekers had been lost at sea, and the fishermen were bringing in the dead bodies. ' My dear,' said Hugo, 'I think I shall go down to the beach; I may be of use !' We will both go,' answered Pauline, 'I may be useful too.' ' No,darling,' said Hug), ' it is no sight for you, and you have got one drenching today already. I will not allow you to expose yourself to the cold again.' But the self.willed Pau.ine was not to be left behind. ' I shall go tool I must go! I shall cateh no cold-wait for five minutes while I wrap up.' She was off like a flash of lightning, and back again very quickly, and wrapped to the throat in furs. So off they went together, hand in hand to share whatever task was before them. Three men and two women lay on the beach quite dead. Pauline touched each cold dead face with her soft warm hands, hoping that a spark of life might be in some of them. But they were all cold and dead. ' Come away, my dear,' he cried, ' we can do no good. See, the fishermen are coming to take them away.' A fisherman came up to where they stood. His lighted torch flickered and threw its flame upon the upturned face at their feet. They both uttered a cry as the light showed them the face of Fitz allen. There he was, with his fair face, his widely opened blue eyes,) looking just as he did when they saw him in full life a few weeks before. The sea foam was clinging to his blonde hair, and whiskers, and a deep gash on his forehead alone, removing the V. Even the breast pin with its V in pearls was on his dead neck. So he was dead. Whatever he had been to Alice, whatever her joy or her sorrow, he could never cause either again. No sleep visited our friends that night. The events of the day had so completely unstrung their nerves, they could not cease talking of them. ' We had better write to Alice and tell her all about it,' suggested Hugo. 'We must,' acquiesced Pauline, al though she does not know I saw the por trait.' The next day Hugo went to the mor gue and claimed the body of Fitzallen. One of the boatmen also recognised it as that of the same gentleman, who was in the habit of engaging a boat from him. There could be no doubt left as to his identity, so Hugo on account of his slight knowledge of the deceased paid for a grave and attended to the burial. Then Pauline wrote to Alice, and told her how once she accidentally opqned a locket in her room. She remembered the face and expression, and also a singular mark on his forehead of a V, and a cor responding mark in pearls in his neck scarf, also a lock of fair hair which was in the locket. She went on to tell her that in their travels they had met a Mr Fitz allen, whom she felt sure was the same gentleman, as he corresponded in every respect with the portrait in the locket, his hair also was the same as the lock which she raw. Then she went on to describe the boating accident, how Hugo and herself recognised the corpse. 'I thought it but right to tell yeoa, dear, she said in conclusion, ' for he might be some relative of yours If so rest assured that he has had a Christian burial, for Hugo saw to it himself.' This letter reached Alice just as Judge Brandon and family left Tasmania, and returned home again to Sydney. Alice's reply both relieved and reassured them. She was grieved and shocked to hear of the untimely end of Mr Fiiztallen. She knew him well, in fact they were born and bred in the same town. That was his photo which Pauline had seen. That mark on his forehead had been caused by a fall. He had once climbed a tree to get a bird's nest for Alice when they were children, and he fell from the top. 'Poor fellow ? how very sad,' and so forth,

'Now then I cried Pauline exultingly, now did he jilt her, Sir Oracle ? Don't you know a lot about the world ? Didn't I tell you that you were wrong. As if poor darling Alice would jilt anyone, or anyone could jilt her ! 'Well,' said Hugo, ' woman con, vinced against her will retains the came opinion still. You and I shall never agree 3n the Alice subject; all I can say is I am glad that Fitzallen's death has not caused, the poor girl any more than a passing regret. She is not too happy as it is, I fancy.' 'No, indeed,' sighed Pauline. ' I am deeply thankful too that it is no worse.' Thus Alice and her affairs were again forgotten as the married lovers journeyed along; (To be continued.)