|Newspaper Title||Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954)|
FOfíGF/r MK-NOT. ,
Tn point of artistic beauty and delicacy of floral arrangement throughout Arliug-' ton-.stroot, No. 281 certainly bore away the palm ; for Miss Dene, like most countiy girls, had a positivo passion for - ' flowers-a graceful fancy she was fortu-
nately in a position tn gratify. Many an envious eye fell upon that cool facade with its wealth of glorious bloom ; many a darling of fashion paused as he passed on his listless way, and forgothis betting book and other mundane speculations, to wonder lazily who might some day be the fortuuato man to call that perfectly appointed mansion and its beautiful mistress his own. For Vere Dene could
have picked and chosen from the best of them, and graced their ancestral homes ; but now she was five-and-twenty ; so they came at last to think it was hopeless, and that a heart of marble pulsed languidly in . that beautiful boaom.
"The door stood invitingly opeu ; moro in reality to cut eh tho faint Bummer breeze, for thealternoon was hot, and the placo looked cool and deliciously inviting inside. On a table there lay a pair of long slim gauntlets, thrown carelessly on a gold-mounted riding-whip ; mid coming down the shallow stairs, against a back- ground of feathery fern and pale gleaming statuary, was Miss Dene herself. A stray gleam of sunshine, streaming through a painted window, lighted up her face and dusky hair ; a beautiful face, with creamy Sailor, overlaid by a roseate flush of
saith. The dark-brown eyes were some- what large ; a trifle hard, a stern critic might have been justified in saying ; the tall graceful figure drawn up perhaps too proudly. Vere Dene was no blushing
débutante however, but a woman who knew her alphabet of life f'om alpha to omega ; who was fully conscious of her power, and the value of her position well enough to discern between honest admira tion and studied flattery, and to gather up the scanty grains of truth without mistaking chaif for golden corn. There was no reflection of wistful memory on the heiress's face a« she rode slowly down the street some timo later, the cynosure of admiring eyes. There was a rush and glitter of carriages hurrying parkwarks, as she rode on her way alone, bowing to one acquaintance and other, and dividing her favors impartially.
'A beautiful face,' murmured a bronzed soldierly-looking man to his companion as they lounged listlessly against the rails of the Row, watching tho light tide of fashion sweeping by. ' A perfect faco, wanting only soul to make it peerless. * "Who is she, Leslie V
' Who is she V laughed the other. 4 Is it possible you do not know Miss Dene 1 But I forgot you had been so long in India. Von remember old Vavasour Dene, and bis s m, the poetical genius, who married some demure little country maiden, unknown to Debrett or Burke, and who was cut off with the traditional
shilling accordingly. You can imagine the rest of tho story ; a life-long feud between father and son, ending in the parent dying and cheating condemnation by an act of tardy justice. That hand- some girl is old Dene's heiress, a woman with all London at her feet, a quarter of a million in her own right, ¡iud never a heart in the whole of her perfect anatomy.'
Wholly unconscious of this storiette, and apparently of tho admiration which she ve-y naturally excited, Miss Dene rode on down the Mile, with many a '' shake of her ahapely bead as one gloved
hand after another beckoned her to range alongside barouche or mail phaeton ; till at length a slight crush brought her to a . standstill. Almost in front of her was an
open stanhope, wherein was seated a . delicate fragile-looking lady exquisitely
dressed, and apparently serenely in- different to the glances and smiles in her direction. By her side sat a child of six or seven, a diminutive counterpart of her- self, to her fair golden hair and melting pansy-blue eyes. Vere would fain have t pushed her way through the crowd and .' passed on : but the child had seen her,
and uttered her name with a cry of ir no v cent delight ; and Vere, like many
another who is credited with want of heart, had a tender love for children.
'Really, I owe Violet my grateful thanks,'murmured the owner of the stan- hope as Vere ranged alongside. Posi- tively, I began to fear that you meant to cut me. I should never have forgiven my brother, if you had. My dear child, I - warned him it was useless, I did indeed. And now he says that his heart is broken,
and that he shall never believe a woman * anymore.'
Vere looked down into the Marchioness of Hurlingham's fair demure face with a little smile.
'So Lord Bearhaven has been abusing mel'she said. 'I ara disappointed I
did not think he would have carried his M woes into the boudoir.'
'My dear Diana, he has done nothing of the kind. Surely a man might be allowed to bewail his hard lot with his only sister. Violet, my darling child, do be careful how you cross the road,'
This warning, addressed to the diminu- tive little lady, who had succeeded unseen in opening tho carriage door, came too late ; for by this time the volatile child had recognised some beloved acquaintanco over the way, and indeed, was already beyond tho reach of warning. Vere watched the somewhat 'hazardous -passage breathlessly, then,
satisfied that her small favorite had
made- the dangerous journey ia safety, turned to her companion again.
'I have a genuine regard for Lord Bearhaven,' said she, speaking with an effort, ' tao great a regard to take advantage of his friendship under false pretences. I shall never forget the kind- ness he once did rae in the hour of my great trouble. Will you tell him so, please 1 and say tha* perhaps for the pre- sent it will be well for us not to meet.'
' Now, that is so like both of you,' Lady. Hurlingham cried, fanning herself in some little heat. ' Why will you both persist in making so serious a business of life? at anyrate you might have some
coniideration for us more frivolous
minded mortals. Vere, if you do not come to my jewel ball on Thursday, l-l ?-well I will never speak to you again.'
'So I am to bo coerced, then. I am morally. bound to be present since the * Society papers have promised tho world
a sight of tho Vero diamonds ; besides which, I simply dare not incur your lady- ship's displeasure.'
' I wonder if you have a heart at all,' said the other amusingly. 'Sometimes I almost doubt it ; and the' times I generally doubt it most are immediately after tnoie moments when I have
flattered myself that I really havo begun to detect symptoms of that organ. The romantic ones b wa huon libelling again
Would you like to hear the latest story ?
'You stopped me for this, I presume. Positively, you will not know a moment's peace till ycu have told me. I am all
'They are saying .you have no heart, because it was given away long ago. They saythere is a rustic lover somewhere in hobnails and gaiters «rho won your affections, and is afraid to speak since you became a great lady.'
Vere did not reply or glance for a moment into her friend's sparkling mis- chievous face, A deeper tinge of color flushed the creamy whiteness of neck and ? brow, like the pink hue upon a snowy
' 'They do me too much honor,' she replied 'Such a model of constancy in this world of ours would indeed be a pearl amongst women. Prays do they give a name to this bashful Croydon of mine V
(To be continued.)