|Chapter Title||SAILING OVER SUNLIT SEAS.|
|Newspaper Title||Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Half Round the World to Find a Husband. A Comedy of Errors|
CiMlTKR VJ I.- SAJUM: OVER S'I'SI.IT
I Nexl morning (here caine again a blissful
eulin. Rousing al seven o'clock, lo find that I
tho '* Yarro«'" was io tho river THJÇUB, Î caught misty glimpses of green hanks tliroi her port-hole, and cheerfully dressed, fore ting thc nobes of the sc cw during tho p night, which had kept persistently Burccchi "Hi, hurry upi" varied hy intcrmitti ejaculat ions of, " Now-get on !"
Un on dook iu the breezy air mid wa sunshine, there was a ribbon of bright acorn to he admired. Belem Chui ch opposite, w thc green hills and gaily coloured to-vticdgi the glorious river. Then Bryan, fronh fri his salt-tub, und takiug a morning walk heft breakfast, joined her, pointing out thc Kin palace, like u big hospitul ou a height, win Nan felt convinced that thc chimneys emok as badly as Aunt Barbara's sitting loom, ai told him 80, which made both feel still mo on terms of cordiality.
" I would far rather live like a hit|i| Nobody, in one of those nice pink houses,
that, one faced with blue and while tiles, lil
" But not alone, surely," meaningly t marked her companion, shooting un iuquisili glance. " With the lucky fellow whose pla 1 was proud lo lake for a short time the otb day. You would like him for a conipauio wouldn't you ?"
Whereat NanV face fell ; but *hc wou voueh-safe no explanation, and so mude h escape to breakfast.
Later on they made a delightful trip c shore-Mrs. Bellamy und Miss Montngi thereto invited by the band of friend, brothers-bciug rowed past black-puioledboa with high green prow» like those of Kunu galleys. Then they landed amid a crowd
gesticulating men, with green tasseled cap? and women with yellow ur red and gre« 'kerchiefs on their heads, while lilt c tramcar drawn by mules with sore backs, rattled b
Mrs. Bellamy led thc way between ll Irishman und his invalid Mend ; Nun follm ing dutifully behind, escorted by Bryan, wi had to take double care of her, as Billy Wot remarked, to keep equal with thc twofcllov in front. Sober " proxy," as he v« ry private called himself, guided hts ladye fayre by tl arm over ull the crossings, sometimes adding small pressure which thrilled hil charge wit slightly uneasy, but not altogether uupleusat consciousness. What oranges and bauanut what violets and yellow mimosas and cainelii Bryan and Wood bought for a few peuce. . was all delightful. Theil they passed throujj squares, tesgolatcd in bluck and white pattern »ne so like waves, that thc invalid gre iv qui dizzy and angry, and Billy Wood niimickt his friend's cnppoBcd wobbly sensations, in way that made Nan laugh as happily ns si had ever done iu her life. But souu, uu stein a liny gem of a chapel, dedicated ta St. Joh thc Baptist, she opened her eyes with differct artistic delight, l'or tts altar u> «s all of lap lazuli und amethysts, ami roaso autiet guarded by silver gilt chandeliers, nine let high. With pride thc sacristan 6howctl thei a still greater treasure, locked up iu a dirt room-a crowd of Bilver figures, on a lap background, blue as the sky, with fat silve cherubs flying overhead.
.* Kvideully you have uever travelled, m dear ?" remarked Mrs. Bellamy, patronisingly Then turning to her companions, " 1 wish
could feel as young and raw again as Mie Montague."
The latter privately thought this speech le« uice than tito hitherto sugared flatteries nf he new friend. But Mrs. Bellamy recovered he slight lapse of good temper when eating a bi] lunch at tho hotel, where they were joined b; tao more passengers of the. "Ya rrow,"Argei line gentlemau farmers, returning from a boli «day home.
" I am quite proud to bc tba only lad; admitted tuto your society of Goodfellows All as you call it," she gaily remarked to tin
" Aud Miss Montague, too," he correctct
"Oh, yes, Miss Montague, of course."
Ann was quite-sorry to be hack oo tho hif steamer, wlieu the orange-coloured lateen sui of their boat, with its ragamuffin ere»', glidet
Thal evening after diuuor, the Funny Mat sought out Aun where abe was making frieudi with several brides «nd young mothers, on lin sheltered aide of the ship.
" Mrs. Bellamy liassent mc with aprcssinc invitation that you should join her. She i: alone on the windward Bide," he said aloud. As Aim rose, one of thc pleasantest of her new acquaintances murmured iu au und. rtone oj regret, " Whut a pit}' to leave u¿ so soon. But the Queen of the Ship has evidently uppoinlc ' you as her maid of honour. Well, good-bye, hut come hack to ue, if ever you are tired of thc post."
A little supriscd, Ann repeated this lo thc geniul Billy Wood, in whom bbc pliced already un instinctive confidence. " It Boonie rather too soou to give nicknames," she eontc what indignantly added.
" Never mind, people always «lo on board," her friend consoled her. " I'here's Bryan, who is already cil'ed the Life ami Soul of the ship ; and 1 believe somebody lu» called me the tunny Mau, aud my friend, Lord Thanet
the Pour One. "
" Mr. Bryan told you. What a shame of him," guiltily uttered Nan. Mie had artlessly remarked to her cavalier thui tiny how amus- ing it was lo guess who and what the strangers on board might be, with the li tb s she had bestowed on these two. Mow abubhed she felt when he burst into loud luugbter, only explaining after much urgings ou her part, that the Poor Man was in reality Lord Thanet, with a rent roll of thirty thousand a year.
Well, what did it matter ? They did not care, neither did Nan-after a few minutes of
And, lo ! the next morning there was no land in sight, only blue ruffled water, with never a speck of white to bc BCCU as far OB thc round encircling ring of thc horizon, except the foam track of the screw, and all day the Bun shone pleasantly warm, till its red disc dropped into thc surrounding watcre at night. And thc next day was still wanner, while its brethren that followed waxed to greater heat as thc " Yarrow" sailed over sunlit seas. Those uiomiugs Nan awoke feeling not only happy once more, hut perhaps happier than
ever before tu her life. Was it reaction after her late shock and trouble of mind ?. Perhaps it was ouly from the invigorating air blowing all day long joiucd to sunshine, pleasant company, aud rest after fatigue, but she en- joyed herself. Enjoyed waking in the morn- ing early to nee the suu risc, with golden tire beaming through grey mists, changing them to ro-y clouds, while the sea became blue under Ilia broad smiles, and the wa er lapped the ship pleasantly, and a little breeze blew gaily iu at Nan's port hole. Then after a Bait balli came a stroll on thc deck, where sooio friend-nearly always Bryan- would join her. After breakfast everybody romped with thc children on board, excepting Mrs. Bellamy, W'ho disliked brats, she said, and never appeared till thc day WUB well aired, towards eleven o'clock. By that time most people had settled down on thc row of long deckchairs to read nov '.- ns «üilgcntly as if cramming for a cutnp.-iitivc examination. But the Queen of the Rhip, who cuuBed lier chair to bc placed midmost of the Baud of Brothers to shield her from the vulgar crowd, generally expected one or other to keep up a disultory confidential chat with her lill luncheon. If the novels seemed to engross their owners more than her lively chaff or iulinmto confidence regarding her coming exile on joiuing her husband, Mra Bellamy, however, relaps.-d into literature aUo.
Captain Goodman daily praised Nan's diligeucy in studying her History of England and Spanish grammar, ami Mrs. Bellamy was jealous of being surpassed in ¡my way.
"1 am reading n far more serious book," elie gravely announced. "It is Darwin's Decent of Mun. I' rhups you do not know thal I care for science and theology. Captain? Ah ! Yon see that you do not nullo know me yet." Privately she hud enid to Nan in yuwuiug confidence,on a wurm afternoon when one is tempted to unbuckle onc*6 armour.
"You have not read Da win, of coursfc. People say bc is quite improper ; that is why I got it out of curiosity, you kuow. But I havo been turning over thc pages, and to inc he seems very dull."
I Other« again, chief among whom «'aa Dry«
played bull all day laug, the thud, tliud < . the quoit* resounding on the deck. Ladii i were not strong enough opponents for hin I he liked "men's gaines" hut for tho sake < seeing one fair nymph, with fool advance and upraised arm poising a quoit for a throi he got up a general -tournament, und gav lessons in private to Miss Montague. Hi pupil was more willing than promising j seemed, and indeed, ilryan was obliged t take her hand *o often, teching her how t place her fingers, thal the pupil crew- shy throwing badly, then'fluttered hy herauxiet; t« please the teacher, shyer st ill, having sinai apititudc at such games of skill. So whei asked to play bull, to Bryan's disconifitiir whereat she secretly chuckled, Ann would re ply willi demure lips, hut a laughing sprite behind her down dropped oyeüdB. "1 alway, pluy best with Mr Wood, if he likcB to huvi BO poor a partner."
'? Then you will have your will, for Billj would," cried tho gallant Irishman. Ant everybody laughed, agreeing that. thou:;h hi could not play in tho least, his jokes, mostly ut h's mvu expeusc, made him thc most amus ingpartueron bmird.
" Whut a flirt you-are. '/h, you know yoi are," Bryun would murmur afterwards, whei lie could find Ann apart. " You would liav. clinton mc instead of that fellow Wood. Nc matter. Your figure lo .ks HO jolly when yoi are studding up there, like u-a swan antoni: the gee:e, thal 1 can't take my eyes ol!you and you know it, yminmst know it."
A bold blue glanuo under the brim nf Nan't sailor hat, compelling lier shyer broun answer ing one, for u few brief seconds ; then a loujj look seawards, in mutual silence.
"l'erhaps I gU"se," Ann Montague mur- mured presently, ulmost nuder her bi calli
"Inn one doscu't wish other people ti; guess."
" Ul course not. No place like a ship foi gossip, or the women teariug each other tc pieoos. Then they do not know you au married, which makes ull (lie difference. "
" Yes, they would think it very, very wrong for married women lo flirt, wouldn't they ?" and an odd faint laugn fluttered, ec to speak, from thc girl'« lips.
" Not ut all ; t here'fi your mistake. A little flirtation on the part of married people doesu't matter a straw. Why, look al. Mts. Bellamy. But if people ure not married it commits u man to quickly, you see, into being uigaged, not to have the Kiri he is found nf talked about. And using engaged in a hurry is an awfully serious matter. ' The young mau nodded his head uit-ii such gravity and assumed experience that Nan WUB tickled iuto another irresistible laugh. " So lhere you have it like a problem in Euclid which is proved," cried her admirer, infected by her mirth. " Flirtation with married people is uo harm, and you are married."
" Am I I But yon.are not-aro you ?" Nan fenced in playful raillery.
" Never mind me," retorted Bryan, impat- iently waving her question aside. " Why did you say: 'Am I married,' in that queer tone ? Don't you oare for the mau-or du you ? Don't be angry, but do tell me. 1 feel as if 1 have a right to know, because I am your friend, if you believe -mc. Once before you ian uway wbeu i Iriod io lind out if you thought you would ho happy with me. Tell
But Fan shook 'ber bead, and a sudden blush warmed lier volvetcheekstothegloivof a ripe pea'.-h. Turning somewhat pcitigjily to ivardthe deck. Xor see wanted to tell him all and yet she did lint want-there stood < 'aptaio Goodman «ot two yards away, eteruly eyeing a coil of rope ill-laid. Why did Nun feel nervously convinced.ho had been eyeing them- selves a moment before? Feeling somehow guilty, she floated rather than walked further umidsbipB. Thou Captain Goodman cleared his throat, and blurted out frauk'y, looking Ids remaining passenger in the eyes : " No flirting, I hope Mr. Bryan. Whea I to k you into the secret concerning a fair bride, you were put on your honour, you re-
" 1 remember. All right," quoth Bryan, with an air of bravado, thought he shifted bis gaze uucasily.
Turning on his heel, aicw steps bc knocked up against Billy Wood, to whom he promptly unburdened his mind of it wrath. "These captains really come it too strong ; think them- selves little kings on board there own ship. Gives me a hint against flirting with Mies Montague. J ust-because he wants to have it all his o wn way I thc interfering, hypocritical" -the irate lover pauicd for a metaphor.
" Hippopotamus,"suggested Billy, blandly. " It's alliterative, or a white elephant if you like, us you don't wuut him us a gift undor
thc circumstances." Laughing loudly at his J
own joke, he surveyed the Captain, who stood indeed like a tower of eircngiha, moug lesser
(To bea»itiiitie<l ) i