|Newspaper Title||Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Half Round the World to Find a Husband. A Comedy of Errors|
TALES AND SKETCHES.
Half Round the World to Find a
A COMEDY OF ERRORS.
By MAY CROMMELIN,
Author of " Hay Ronald," "A Jewel of a Girl," " Goblin Gold," " Head Men's Dollars," " Mr. and Mrs. Horries," &e.
CUATER VII. (Continued.)
It was true enough, thal thc breezy weather beaten sailor admired his clurgc vastly ; nod so, for thc mat ter nf that, did every man and hoy on hoard ship; besides nut a few women, with no base jealousy in I heir souls, nor feel- ing of rivalry, which sometimes embitters the
best. Some of them told Ann what 41 the men" said of her when .(.lone together ; their husbands told them. Lord Thanet pronounced her beautiful, and most of thc others agreed in thinking her h.-iudsnme, ccrtuinly of au un- common type, " Pity your titled admirer is au invalid," they huid, tn which Ann listened Bmiling, shaking off Hillery, us u duck docs waler from its buck, with a grate- ful sensation. She liked to he admired, but did not agree in her own heart on the merit« of -her face and person.
"I can't sec it," she criticised inwardly, studying herself tu the cabin glass, and shak- ing her dark brown locks, that had such red lights in thc sunshine.; " though I sec what warmed and expanded like a blossoming rose, they take -for beauty iu me. I am only u Titian after all, a flesh and blond creature."
Thc Raphael madonnas were her typos of perfect womanhood. But Nan's heart these days for it was sweet to liind that strangers so soon turned to friend*. Why need she fear the futuro, she sleepily asked h t? elf, at late nights and carly moruings, when trying to think over her situation. Nay, hut why should she th uk ? Does a swallow reared in an English nest, and migrating from autumn's cold to warmer skies, think while the world is growing ever more genial and gladdening as it flies. And so Nen was only happy, and ?did not think-not for some days. She was huppj on hot afternoon, lazily lying under the awning ; happy on warm night's when thc ship's wake waa a track of liquid fire. How gloriously, blackly deep, was tho Bea, as one leant over the side in the dark, while over- head the moon and a bright star seemed racing past, so fast wasthefl^ht could drifts blew
At this hour many couples paced the dook up and down, more or less steadily, as the planks swayed ever so little under foot, the distant figures suddenly seemed to wave, as the wind at the exposed end of the alley way caught light evening skirts. Sometimes all danced to the ship s band, or a few tried ipoker, Nan sit ting demurely by, while Mrs. Betlarry alone gambled gaily with the men of ber circle. Bryan then called Miss Montague ¡his partner, and he played rashly and heavily, 'thc good luck she brought him, he declared make up for her reluctance to join, at which Urs. Bellamy railed. But lt was all amucing and strange, restfulund piquant.
One day they sighted Teneriffe like a white cloud on the horizon,and Palma, a dark bank on the right. By dinner time had neared the last of the Fortunate Isles, whfoh rose sheer from tho sea, 300 fathoms deep. And two days later the " Yarrow" lay in the picturesque 'bay of St. Vincent, with its barren, grey, or reddish volcanic ridges. In the morning our especial party among the passengers strayed through it dusty street in the hot glare. Sow amusing to seo the merry negro people for thc first time, with their shinning black faces, and pink cotton garments. One six year old imp trotted after Nan for an hour.
"Isu't ho pretty!" she cxclaimcd'enthusi aetiuully several times tn her companions.
" Shall I buy him ? His wooly pate would make an «xcclcnt penwiper, if you kept him Standini; beside your chair," offered Billy Wood, to which Kan laugingly agreed.
As they «ere getting into thc boat again, Brynn was not to be seen. They waited ten miuutcs before ho came up, hot and trimnpd
" I hai'c got him. I have brought the little varmint," he whispered, drawing Ami »side. " You see I do things, when other men only
talk about them."
" What do you mein aghast-'* not my little black angel ?"
" Yes. Belongs to a wonnin who has a shop lhere ; who ¡4 only Kio glad to he rill of him. Got lots more j ouly we must keep it dark, she says."
And it needed not only Ann's indignant re monKtrauccs, hut also thc assurances of the rest, that no stich dealing wou'd he permitted by Captain Goodman, to make Bryan go back, as he expressed it, on his bargain.
"Take your money's worth out in dead rubbish," suggested Hilly Wood, and Bryan, turning moodily Bhorewards, reappeared by himsiIf later, willi u boatload lull of yellow and violet handkerchiefs for turbine, grinning wnn.li'ii idols from Africa, walking sticks of uli.vrUd* spines, and suchlike curioeitiea.
A wry wa-in night. TAO figures were bitting in the moonlight far forward at thc «hip's hiiw, where it was cool, and almost solitary. Far pleasanter, both airreed, theu staying under I he yawning, dotted with electric lights.
" Luok !" murmured the one. It WHS Ann who spoke. " ls it not wonderful to watch thc ship cutting th rou ch thc water, spread- ing foam on -either side ? -aud listen. Ho you hear a «ouiid like rockets or distant cannon, oue might think ; what is that ?"
"Only an effect of the waves," said the mun's voice, in a preoccupied touc. Then suddenly, as it were, making up his mind, he began to speak in hot passionate accents.
" Do tell me what I asked you thc other duy. Will you ? Will you ?"
" 1 will tell you, if you wish ii," murmured Ann, with a gulp in her throat. " lint i warn you that you may think thc less of me. I know uothing of Don Edoardo except by hearsay, that he is old, very old ! Nothing."
" You, what ?" exclaimed Bryan, in astonish- ment. " You have never seen him ? You riou'r know what ho is like "
' I il.in't," siid Ann, firmly, trying to laugh. " He may be a fat old mau with a mum! face"-"Not likely" interpolated Bryan."-"Or he may havo been a lean old man with a long nose, and a bent hack." " More likely," put in her hearer,-" And I don't know if he is a tyrant or a miser, hale or asthmatic. There-"
"Ten to one," muttered Bryan, gloomily, " thal hespitson thc carpet every five minutes like your first friends, the Peruvians."
Nan turned quite pale at thc horrid sugges-
" Don't," she murmured feebly. " But 'there is something more to tell you. I-I um not really married after nil. " For thc feeling had grown strong upon her those two last days that Bryan was enamoured, but that her supposed marriage must seem to him a fatal har. She 1iad aeked herself this very evening down in her cabin, " Am lin love with him ?" but after some minutes of frightened, flutter- ing, self-searching flung the question aside with, " How can I tell ? for I never was in love before in my life. How can any girl bc expected to know what it is for the first time?" Now, with unseen blushings and audible stammerings, she confessed the story of hor mock m, rr ¡agc and deception, not glossing the matter, yet earnestly reiterating thatsho had been fully persuaded by Anita.
"Why aro you so silent?" she suddenly cried, interrupting hor etory and eyeing brr companion's face, that looked strangely im- passive in thc moonlight. "Do speak. Say something I"
Said Bryan slowly. " Well, of all the rum starts I ever heard in my life I Phew I You ihave taken my breath away, and auy man would swear, to look at you that butler would not melt in your mouth. But what is the law ? 'What does Captain Goodman say ? I expect yon are really married, bard and fast, all the
"lam not. I won't be." Ann waa nearly I arylng. " How caa yon apeak so unkindly, when you said you were my friend. It would be a dreadful life I Banishment ! Imprison- ment I I-I thought you would be glad to know." She broke off short. It was un maidenly to add her thought-glad to know
that she was free.
" You seo, "said Uryan, slowly, " I am nota marrying man."