Chapter 39496974

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberXII.
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39496974
Full Date1894-01-13
Page Number9
Corrections0
Word Count3406
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLaunceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)
Trove TitleMatched and Mated: A Romance in Real Life
article text

FICTION. MATCHED AND MATED. A ROMANCE IN REAL LIFE. BY MuRs SHAOKExn. [Authoress of ' Broken Life,' ' Re tribution,' etc.] CII?iPTER XII. ' I am the eldest child of the Reverend Martin Penzance, --shire. My mother died when I was a baby, and I was reared and educated by my mother's sister, Aunt Alice. My father married again when I was two years old. By this second mar riage there were seven children, all girls. We were all bto.ght up in thesame town, but I did not live with my father till I was seventeen years old. 'My aunt Alice was a most accom plished woman. She never married. All her life was given to literature. She was one of the msoe perfect musicians I ever met, and the best linguist. I studied music under her all the time, and she took me to Paris to have me finished in painting. Aunt Alice had a small an nuity on which she lived. I had just completed my education when she died. Then I went to live with my father and stepmother. I was about a week home when my stepmother told me one day that I had better commence to teach the chil dren from the following week, and she added that she supposed I did not expect to live at my father's expense a life of idleness. I told her that I had no desire tolive;in idleness, and wouldgladly under take the education of the children. ' The eldest was a girl of fourteen, the others were twelve, ten, eight, and six. Those five were to study under me. For a month or so all went on very well. After that I found my pupils idle and disobedient. I could not correct one of them but she would go crying to her mother,and then the time was wasted by her interference. I daily lost control more and more. ' At the end of the first quarter they would not only refuse to go on with their lessons, but would threstan and insult me, or sit silent and =?ibuo .i. The end of all such scenes would be the mother coming in and saying she won dered that I could not got the children to respect me. I knew that she hated me, and the children were fast following her example. During this time the only respite was to go out for a walk in the evening with my neighbour-' She stopped short for a moment, and jerked out, ' Allen Fitzallen. We were little friends and playmates all our lives. I would tell my troubles to him; it was my only consolation. When Allen was nineteen and I eighteen we wished to be more than friends. Then we were lovers. One evening my stepmother refused to allow me out. I insisted; she slapped my face. The next night we eloped. We were married at Gretna Green. Allen had £1000 left him by his mother. There were two brothers, Allen and Norman. They had each £1000. We thought ourselves quite rich. We travelled a little and then we came out to Melbourne. ' Allen made a lot of money there. He followed the occupation of a stock and share broker, and just as we separated he was supposed to be quite well off. We hired a beautifully furnished house at Balaclava, and we were very happy. I loved him, and he loved me. Life for a time was like a dream. I was of a retiring disposition, and in clined to be domesticated, but Allen was of a different mould. I yielded to him in everything. He made friends everywhere, and filled our house with company. Amongst the many friends we made were the Grahams.' ' Good heavens !' exclaimed Clifford. ' Is history again going to repeat itself 1' She went on 'We thought them most charming people, and they, I thought, were equally pleased with us. You would never see a merry gathering at our house without the Grahams. I, of course, became very intimate with them, too. We felt so sorry for Bee. Mrs Graham's account of her wrongs was most heartrending. I thoroughly believed in them. We knew them about a year, when I began to fancy Allen's love for me was cooling. His lively manner changed to a silent, preoccupied way, quite unlike himself. I would take him to task sometimes about his changed manner, and he would in variably say," Business, dear, business !" But when the Grahams came he would be quite himself again. I hated myself for the thoughts that would come to me, I would despise myself, as I should any other married woman who could demean herself by being jealous. Still our visits continued. I could no longer doubt the evidence of my own senses that my husband and Bee had some secret understanding. I next lowered myself to watch and listen, and I saw and heard sufficient to know that she was my enemy. I discontinued my visits there. One day he said as usual," Shall we go to araham's to-night,dearl" ' " No,' 1 replied, "I do not think so." ' "Why 1" he enquired. 'I then mustered up courage, and replied," I shall not visit the Grahams in future." ' "Why," he asked 1 very sharply this time. 'I replied honestly, "Bee Graham, or Mrs Garden, is no friend of mine. In fact. I do not consider her a fit asso late. Now", I continued,"einceyou wish to know, I overheard your conversation on Tuesday evening. This I could forgive in a young silly girl, but Bee Graham has been married. She is divorced. I believe her to be quite as bad as Garden represented her." 'As you may suppose, we had hot words, and this was our first quarrel. He accused me of being jealous. This stung me to fury. I rose and ended the interview by declaring that I would never receive the Grahams in future. They called a few days afterwards and I kept my word ; I did not receive them. I thought myself very clever-I imagined that I had nipped it in the bud, and that the trouble was over. Later on I blamed myself for my jealous harshness, for he was just as good and kind to me as ever. He never mentioned them to me again. Shortly after this he commenced to stay out late nightafter night. The dinner would remain on the table till everything would become cold and uneatable. I never

knew when to expect him, but I would always order dinner just the same. This state of things continued so long that the servants would actually enquire of me if the master was coming home to dinner. This continued all the summer. His excuse for his want of punc tuality was invariably the same : "My dear, we stock and sharebrokers do more business in the night than during the day. Why will you pester me ? If you wish 1 will throw business to the winds and live perpetually in your presence; but I assure you that will never achieve the object for which I came to this hea-sly coun ry. Cannot you leave me alone ? nl a year or two more I shall be a rich man, and then we shall go back to England," 'I believed him, and from that time I never interfered with him again. One day, about six months after the quarrel, I was in Collins-street, doing some shop ping. I had just left one of the music warehouses, when a photograph of some new actress in the window arrested my attention. I was looking at the photo, when I heard Bee Graham's voice. I turned round, and saw herself and my husband walking down the street together. I followed them. They then turned into Swanston-street, I keeping close in the rear, but holding my sunshade in such a position that, were they to turn, I could easily hide myself from their view. They both seemed perfectly oblivious of the presence of any one but themselves. 'They stopped for a few moments, and then called a cab, into which they en tered, and then they drove away together. I did not go home that evening; I bought some black gossamer and a long dark cloak. These acted as a complete dis guise ; no one would ever recognise me. When it was dark I took a cab and drove to the corner of Graham's house. In the front of their residence grew a quantity of shrubbery ; I stole on tiptoe into the garden, and concealing myself behind some bushes, I watched the house. The music and sounds of card-playing soon commenced. I could clearly dis tinguish Allen's voice. He was enjoying himself as much as they were. I arrived home about half-an-hour before him. I hid away my gossamer and long dark cloak. Then I determined to play a part (at which you know I am an adopt). "Late again, Allen," I commenced. ' Yes, Alice." "Busy 1" "Very, very busy, dear." "Did you have a meeting to-night I' '' Yes, dear." "Where, Allen 1" £ "At the Union Hotel." '"Did you come home direct from there ? " ' " Yes, Alice." '" Now,Allen," I began,"I find to your other accomplishments you have added that of lying. I tell you that you are lying to me. I saw you to-day in Collins street with Bee Graham. I saw you call a cab and go away with her. I was outside their house to-night, and I heard you singing. That is where you spend your nights, while you pretend to me you are transacting business. Now I shall ex pose the Grahams. They cannot be respectable people to encourage a married man away from his wife. They have neither honour nor spirit to receive you when I have cut them." ' Oh, Victor, I shall spare you the rest of this fearful quarrel. He called me a jealous spying woman, and used language to me which I cannot repeat. He swore that the meeting with Bee Graham was an accidental one, and that he took her home because she asked him to do so. ' Although I did not credit any of his excuses, this quarrel was patched up, and I Insisted upon his coming home in the future after business hours, which he did. He came home so regularly after this that again I blamed myself for harshness. One evening he was unusually quiet, and upon my enquiring the cause, he told me that the price of tin and silver had gone down so low that he had lost considerably. He then asked me if I would mind removing from the house we then occupied and going into a smaller one. I replied that I did not mind at all. 'There is a prettily furnished cottage at St. Kilda for £2 per week. If that would suit you, we might economise for a while. We don't want this large house now we see little if any company.' 'So the cottage was taken, and we went there. The next~door neighbour called on me, and we became good friends. One day she asked me how long we were married. 'I told her, and how we left England, and where we had travelled, and how eventually we came to Melbourne. She seemed greatly surprised to hear we were married so long, and upon my enquiring the reason, she told me her husband knew Mr Fitzallen by sight for some time, and always thought he was a single man. 'I did not then suspect at what she was hinting, but as I knew her more and she liked me better she told me one day that there was something on her mind which she felt she must tell me. '"I am afraid to be mixed up in a quarrel," she said, " but, if you promise me on your word of honour not to mention my name, I will tell you." '1 promised. '"Well,my dear," she said," it is only right that you should know that your husband spends all his time with a young woman who has been divorced. She was a Mrs Carden, and her maiden name is Graham. He is spending his money on them pretty freely too, and old Gra ham is always hanging around him. I heard my husband say that Mr Fitzallen is neglecting business, for he is continu ally taking the Grahams about." 'I then made enquiries, and found that what I heard was quite true. I was told that if I watched at the top of Collins street I could see for myself.' 'I donned my disguise next day, but without success. I took my post the second day, and sure enough, the guilty pair met. They walked up and down for some time and seemed to be engaged in earnest conversation, and then walked down the street, crossed Swanaton-street, and went into Gunaler's. They were seated having luncheon when I took a seat behind them and called for an ice.' 'I heard every word they said and sufficient to convince me that they had betrayed me. At last I'arose, walked round, stood opposite them,and lifted my veil. They both looked up and imme

diately recognised me; she kept her seat and her countenance undaunted,but Allen followed me as I marched out-he fol lowed me out into the street. His face was like winter, and the dreadful purple V on his forehead looked like to burst. ' "What are you going to do, Alice?" he asked. ' "I am going to kill myself," said I. And indeed I then thought I would d, so -I thought at first that it was more than I could bear. ' " Go back to her, I said, and leave me alone." I flew almost into the first tram I saw, and he, I suppose, went back to her. I went to St. Kilda,but not home. I told my friend all, and declared to her that I would kill myself. Her husband was away from home and she begged of me to stay with her. ' "Would you throw your soul away for the sake of a false-hearted fellow like that?" she urged. "Live, girl, to vex him. If you are foolish enough to throw your life away for him,he will soon forget that he has wronged you, and he will surely marry Bee Graham." 'This and such like advice she gave me, and it ended by her hiding mo in her house for a few weeks Not a soul knew that I was there. From my com plete disappearance I suppose he took it for granted that I had made away with myself, but he had no inquiries made for me. In about a week's time our cottage next door was to let, and we saw no more of Allen. The weather was extremely warm when I was about through my second week of hiding. One night we thought it would be safe to go out for a walk, so we stole quietly out (perfectly disguised),and strolled along by the beach. It must have been fatei, for we could not have gone more than half a mile when the voice and laugh of Bee Graham fell upon my ear. ' I whispered to my friend to be silent, and we slackened our pace and allowed them to pass. It was indeed Bee Graham leaning on my husband's arm. We fol lowed them for some time and heard snatches of their conversation. I heard him say that he felt sure I had drowned myself, but I could not hear what she said. We managed to get back unobserved. 'After the end of the third week, some. thing occurred which suited my plans admi rably. The body of a woman was one day, washed ashore at St. Kilda. The body was observed just below the steps of the pier. She was removed to the morgue. Her face was so disfigured by fishes as to render it altogether unrecognisable. ' She had long black hair, wore a dress like the one I disappeared in, and a plain wedding ring. The body was supposed to be three weeks in the water. We read the account of this in the Herald. A day later the body was claimed by Allen as that of his wife.' 'I see it all now,' said Clifford with a sigh of relief. ' He thought you dead, and you were hiding from him.' 'Yes,' she replied, 'I resolved to hide myself from him till he married Bee Graham, and then to come forth for my revenge. But the vengeance nearly came upon myself. In my wicked heart I thirsted for revenge-I forgot my duty to God and to myself as a Christian. " Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord ; I will repay." 'I vowed to make them commit bigamy. The blow fell upon myself. I have committed bigamy, but hear me, Victor, I thought myself free to marry. Pauline and Hugo met a Mr Fitzallen abroad. Pauline recognised him from a photograph she saw in my room ; the face, hair, eyes were the same, also the mark V on his forehead, and the V in pearls on his necktie. They recognised his dead body afterwards; he was drowned. Nothing could be clearer than that Allen Fitzallen was drowned. The description was exact. 'This newspaper unravels the mystery. It was Allen whom they met first, it was Norman who was drowned. The two brothers were exactly alike. I assure you the V on Allen's forehead was almost the only thing by which you could make a distinction between them.' She paused a moment, tired and trem. bling. ' My dear' said Clifford, 'your troubled life is over. The man who nearly spoiled your life the second time has also gone to his account. The judgment of theLord has fallen upon him.' ' Well,' continued Alice, ' after that I watched the papers for employment of some kind, and one day I saw an adver tisement-"Wanted, corm panion for young lady for Tasmania. Must be young, musical, and a gentlewoman." I need not tell you more on that subject.' 'Pauline took me without much hesi tation. I told her that I had no refer. ence; that I was a stranger and very poor. I was enveloped in gossamer, and with my long black cloak I managed to get out of Melbourne without being recognlsed. I could not remove my wedding ring; the flesh had grown almost over it, and so fearful was I of being discovered that I would not venture into a jeweler's to have it cut off. That is why I wore the thumb stall. The only person I corresponded with was the lady at St. Kilda who hid me. I suppose I have acted a wicked part,' she said humbly. 'My friend soon wrote to me to say that Allen was ruined. Stocks went up, but he neglected his business to bask in the smiles of the false wife and false friend. Then everything went down in value and he was ruined, then the Gra. hams cut him and Bee got another lover. I heard no more of Allen till Pauline and Hugo met him abroad. Pauline did not know what relation he was to me, but she acknowledged seeing his likeness in my locket.' 'My darling,' interrupted Clifford, 'pray do not distress yourself any fur ther. That I have you here safely is all I sufficient for me.' 'And you forgive me I' 'Dearest, there is nothing to forgive, only we shall have to marry again; our first marriage would not stand good in law now.' 'A case of mistaken identity did all this damage,' said Alice, and she blushed painfully to hear from his lips that her marriage was not valid. ' When I thought myself a widow I did not know,' she said simply. I intended to tell you the whole story of my life at first, but when I felt Smy heart going into yourkeeping I lacked the courage to undeceive you. I was fearful of you, too, ceasing to love me.' 'Darling,' said Clifford, 'nothing could make me cease to love you.' (To be Continued.)