|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 KRROKS.
By M AV CROMMELIN,
Author of " Hay Uotwld," "A Jewel of a Girl," " Goblin Gold," " »ead Men'« Dolían,"
air. aud Mm. Herries," &c.
ClIATKii XII. (Continual )
Hui Miltie laugh broke ..ir -hurt, like u suddenly arrested mountain tiiroul of falling water. The rest looked in iirprise st her porlell iipd and eye* turned to the dr.twiug ruujn window, lnBÍde it by the cm lain, a matt was gazing at her with au « xpru-aiuu of such intense gtavo surprise, <hal bin- felt tra ii-fixed, un.I r-mlilutily .ill lier mit th eh »ged tu bilJ IIieS. Captain Gio.lin III »US ll' hind th" stranger in mo btcltgrouud, having j >st arrived for dinner, and Iii» lips » ere ,,ui mil in
a eil nt whist le.
"Ah, Rex ¡ lhere you are," said nhl lim Edo:u-lo, «iib -liijht culm ra^ni. nt. "Mia-.
Am. Mi.llli.gili-, ulhiw III- lo p-e-eni yul HIV 1 son, and now-muy I taite you in tn nioner?"'
During tin-social neal ihal followed, Ann stilt remained tdigh'ly subdued, and found herself (stealing fi.rliv.. glances at thc last .omer. Once .a twice sile detected Don Rex looking likewise when b th instant ly avoided each other's eye» quickly ; with some Imtnila ti'iQ on thc girl's part, bul chivalrous courtesy on that of the mau. For he guessed by sympathetic insight that Ilia appearance made Ann sud'enly ...liai- that abe w H a, stranger thrust upon thu hunty ugainat her own »ill or theirs ¡ an unexpected, uninvited visitor.
*' Thc nld Dun'r eon ! H -a antonia!], d la- was to tee nie laughing just now, aim un won 'er." Sn thought« fliuc-t tnrough Ann's I.rain. " Perhaps he disapproved of HU young a stepmother aa Anita-he would. I hen he si-ea au Kiigliah adventuiess in her place. That ia what I must appear in ail their eyes ; a silly creature, who has no proper sense ul her past »i'd conduct, nor of iii« present kitidnens nf these good penple in overlooking my behaviour and receiving me into their
tux, aa everyone called hm;, seemed a gr-vu r'Bcrvcd man, whose age might bc thirty four. He was fair-haired and grey-eyed, having hia fatlierV open brow yet with ha d eomer feature«, being alan taller and more symmetrical io build. Ann c uld uot but notice aa «ll talked -nd laughed tog-ther. I aptain Goodman, who was un old friend nf the family, atidreat-ed the eon of the hnuae with a deference tliHt was unconscious, and a runpect for Iii« npiuiuus openly i xpre.-sed The others did the same j eve l'ère Courdnux w ho aller aaking the old host some questions concerning - hiiian dunnee, turind tn the son, inviting Ilia npiiiimi as one of greater weight deeding a flight argument that had urieen. Don Rex wa" not diapoaed to play Sir O-acle, however: he chaffed with Ciptaiti Goodman in a quiet huiuorotia way, talking principilly to him, a liinugh treating butti the strangera with much politeness.
Anu began wondering to herself how it was thai he spoke ngliah with *uch a pure accent and an case that was almost languid, remind- ing her presently of her fit-nd. Lund Thanet. Then in sui prise she woke up with the coiisciuubiiese thut the latter's name WSN mentioned hy the captain, and eagerly echoed by the son of the hmise.
What ! i hauet-waa a passenger of yours ? VV hy, we weie at Btou together," said Rex
with a i>udden pleasure kiudling his hitherto 1 somewhat iinpasaive fcalur.-a. "So he is travelling through the ^rgcutine, yon say. What are his p'ans ?"
Captain tiuodmau explained that his late
passengers had meaut tu sec somo catancias, 1 and take a hurried look at I'araguay prior to crossing the Cordilleras into Chili, if thc snow should not have begun to fall. I» the latin-
ease they would retract th*-tr steps, and i probably go round the Straits, ouly touching at Valparaiso on their voyage northwards to
Panama Doti Rex s. emed stirred by this 1 news, and began disoueuing willi great interest the chances of a letter inviting his former
school.fellow to cross soon and pay them a i visit before the Cumbre, or summit, was blocked They spoke of hill-passes, inna,
towns with Spanish name*, of mountain rail- I ways and mule trucks, all of which was so inlicit meaningless jargon ns yet tn Anu in lier
i^ti'-raiice of the countiy. .* diversion wes j created hy the three children bursting itt o the room in gbefnl excitement. "Papa, papa 1" they cried, malling to Don 1 ex and smothering him with l-i ees and caresses.
' What do you think? GueeB? Che cat has i caught a partridge, and here she ia, see. C..nie. Dinah ! Uh, she is bringing it straight to yon."
Ti ui- euough, through the open window thc cat came, followed by her luo kittens, re- spectively christened Dyn mite and Dynamo. She wan dragging a partridge which she had caught napping i<- the myrtle scrub <-n thc hill and now gravely la d lier prise at Don Rex's feet, plainly considering him hei master, and pulling as with a gentle toujh he stroked her
" Are these his children," whispered Ann tn Captain Goodman, her neighbour, iu sudden surprise, looking at Gordita, who had clambered on thc knee of her " Little Papa," as her baby lips called him, while Rosita's sunny curls were pressed ucaiuat Don Rex's head, aud Antonio was exclaiming iu voluble .Spauieh upon ti.« merits of Dinah as a hunt- ing quadruped.
"<>f courue," relumed the Csptain, iu broad surprise. " Why I whoBe did you think Iii. y were ; not old '- doardo's, eh 1"
" H"W should I know?. He might have bad u daughter," faltered Aun, ashamed to confess her own stupidity.
.' .so he has, bul she is only lately married, and lives in I he country. She is Don Edoardo's only si-ler "
"Dun Edoardo's siater Î Why 1 ou said sha was his duughler?" objected Ann, floundering deeper in bewilderment.
Doo .luán Edoardo's daughter. Both father and bon have the same name, but this one is always c lied Rex."
After dinner coffee was served outside, as they sat iu the porch, under the clusters of purple and whim flowered crecpeis. Suddenly Ann was slightly startled on Anding herself addressed by Dun Rex, who was standing
beaid her tu the i-huduw.
" Yo i were ridiculing my sex rather un- mercifully when 1 came in tIlia evening, were you nott Your wor*is reminded me nf a hymn that my English governess uned to teach nie wheu 1 waB a little lad :
' Where every prospect pleases,
And only man is vile.'
At that age I lemember my boyish mind rising in revolt against her aaaertion of feminine superiority. Now, see how one chantes; I did nut dream of diepuling your
Ann felt 'nibarraaed, tongue tied : and could only find aoine feeble wo. da of repartee. Theu she broke out wi li uudieguisedsurpriac. "Please toll mc how it is I hat you speak Eiigliah so perfectly well. I understand now that your lather waa au l-iiglialunan born, bul I did uot know you were one, too."
" T um u Chilian-a Chilian to he marrow of my bones." Don Rex hid been standing cottee cup iu hand, kcepingly aloof politely, aa nut wishing lo i-ugroas the attention of the only girl in the parly. Now he dropped on a chair, aud his eyes sought hers intently through thc outdoor gloom. " We are a young country ; a new peuple ; and y u are so thoroughly I-nglish that you will think lens of mc for what I have said. Ahl You English arc a great notion, but sn proud that you would all pn fer to bo even omong the meanest of your own cnunirymen than one of the firsl iu a foreign land."
" Not that ; I am hardly so prejudiced. At least I hope that with travel my mind ia enlarging a little," returned Ann in a small voice of depreciation. She was embarrassed
with thc inner consciousness that alie waa dis- appointed. Her companion had guessed aright ; she would have liked him better to
be an Englishman. It wu a relief that Dana Iuds rose just, then at Captain Gondmau's uigent insistanoe, and began to play the h .rp in tho drawing-room. She was a fine muai niau, and a «iclightfui allouée fell upon ult bur listenei's till the last strains died away. Then new voices sounded in the garden ; two Eng lieh neighbours had strolled in from an ailjn.niug villa, and were waiting in thc dark- ness, uot lo disturb thu harpía!. Ann. feeling shy Ol meeting inure strangers retreat«.1 to Dona I. éV side, with a feint of being tired. Whereupon alie waa invited to retire carl), while the uteu settled down to cania, that ia
punish whist ur rocoiubola, which ia said tu resemble thc old Kngliah game of quadrille.
U.rataira, after . x,ingut liing ber light, Ann sat on her bedaiue alone aud quiet, looking at thc big bill outlined agaiuat thc dark night sky. Haw gund I i.ow very good all iu thia llouac had been lo her lilia uay. Öhe could hardly feel thankful euuugh to ln:aven fur having brought to her aiton kind people. Mlle would try lo allow her gratitude tu them aelves, and yoi-lhere was one urumulcd ruse leaf I lia I diatuibcd lier rest What a pity
that alie hu ? slightly fuifeiled thc gund ealeuni I ot Ihr sou of i he hunae hy in-r tl-liuu'd mirth.
. irat iiiipruaaioiis arc au hard lo gel rid uf, j "and lie ia jual thc euc peraou who dis- j
approves uf me," she murmured aluud. lie was jiiBl thc one peraou whoac reaped she winded for. Fur ta huve u pseudo stepaun disapproving of one aa a light-minded school- girl was distinctly annoying. Thia damped our young woman's natural rebound to joy af 1er late iruuble and sorrow ol mimi. .Still the old don was on her «irte. But, uf course, he wuuld n uuraliy champion au unprotected damaei. rle-he perhaps hoped she might be
"Uh lhere! He is a dear >Jd gentlinnu I will siuipl) tell him all alto ul it, und he »ill quite understand and be sure to let me go home," I hollóla Ann at last. Whereupon In sleepy a itisfaelion she curled hera-lf in bed.