|Chapter Title||A PAPER CHASE IN CHILI|
|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 Bound'the World to Find a
A COM EDV OF EllKOuá.
Hy MAY CllOMMKLIN,
Author nf " Buy Kmuld," u A Jeivcl of a
¡ Gk!," (ïoliliu Gold,"" »Td Men's Dalfxra,"
" Mr. mid Mrs. Herries, " &e.
CIMITKU XVI.-A PAI'IÍU.CIIASI: IN CHILI.
Tlx: sunshine was hui next murnini;, ut half pnsl eight, at. nur parly univ.'d ut the railway station. There they were joyously (¿ri eteil l>y IL btuull eri.up nf yoting men, dressed in hunting attire willi bearlet waistcoat, and bilvcr iiorse-slioe badgee. Somo IweuLy girlij and young married women meant to ride that day, als.n a young widow among them, Sirila Cruz, w ho hail lately shown herself especially frieudly to i lie stranger, MÍBB Miiut-.iLriii\ She now mingled out .-\un, taking tioriiiVeelh.iiately by thc ann, " I.el u- get inln Hie 1'ulliniui rar, un<l sit nuil each ntlixr. Wc will make quite a pleasant Hule puny together. So Hex palmer is coining nut wiUi UM, I bec ; he ¡oohs so ueli un hi.rsi-l.aeli. H . is n spl. n.li.l mm. DISH nie! limpe he dbl not m\:i-h. ;u'. OM ought-no; to say all cue thinks ; ought one V
.liter sonic waiting, all thu horses were gol into the special train and away it steamed, past thc sea ami 1 lie pretty villas of Vina suburbs, und tho yet prettier because more wooded valley of Salta, from which little ravines run up among thc hills, full of nooks, where iiiaidcn-hair fern grew wild in deep bcils. Next, Quilpue, u townie), shaped by yellow acacias, on thc verge of a niinatarc sandy desert speckled with thorn}- scrub. Soon afterward* the train plunged int-, a long tunnel ; with a déliant shriek rushed on, and -Mopped short in utter darkness.
" Keep your seuls," called out Rex's voice close to Ann, and his shout was authorita- tively echoed by I he voices of several English Committee men, themselves rughiiig.along tho corridors, lo sec what accident hud happened.
"Tua carly trahi from Valparaiso »ill run in on us," shrieked Sarita Cruz, -in piteous dismay. " There will bo a collision. We shall all he smashed."
" No, no ! They have sent uieu and a red flag down the line behind towards Valparaiso -the ruih are clear in front," answered Ilex's voice cheerfully. " Herc-shall 1 strike a match or t wo to light thc scene ? Cheer up."
There followed tlie scratch and flame spurt of a vesta, close lo Ann's face 1 she 6aw Ilex's eyes a inomcut speaking encouragement to
" Hold it a little this way, please. Oh ! I am so frightened," implored Sariia, who began sotibiug " O, Don Ednardo, I nish you could
-take mc home."
Rex lit another match, and tat nit Sarita's further^idc, trying to reassure her. Ann's car caught sobbing murmura in reply, that Sarita was thinking not of herself, but of her little boy, her fatherless child. He would undi i sland ; he, too, had the sole curr of little children.
Ann hit her nuder lip in the gloom, lill it burt ; she twined her lingers together hard she fell furious. Then old Hon Edo .rdo began patting her arm with soothing exhortations. It was all Ann could do nm to writhe under the good old inau's ailectiouate touch. (Was Rex, too, palting SKI ila's arm beyond lhere!)
"It's all put straight," cried various speakers, each like human (iri dies holding a lucifer match. "The brake's gone wrong as usual ; butthc cuuincdrivcr isuu Englishman, so he's all right."
Then with shouts and call up and down the line, thc train moved once more ; sped on ; and with thankful feelings all found them- selves once more in thc sunlight, approaching tho pleasant little towucalled Umnclie.
Here thc pipcrchaee party saily alighted; the horses followed, and soon the riders were mounting and being mounted in various
. "Wow, my dear, I will take charge nf you for the duy," cried Don Eduardo, gallantly footing it beside Ann, along a lane, ankle deep in May dust. " How hot the sunshine is. Upon my word, I am very glad I persuaded you not lo ride to-day, partly out of regard for that lovely complexion. Sarita Cruz there, who is so proud of herself because the is us white and red as an Englishwoman, will bc all suuburnt."
"I like beinglunburnt," relumed Ann, in pure perversity, glauciug towardB a true where Sarita was just lining mounted on her horse, by Hex himself. There ! His own .-'oblado was being led up close hy. He swung him self iutu Hie »addle. Pluinly he meant to be Sarita's cavalier for thc day, or ..he meant it. Inwardly shivering with vexution, our jealous heroine hardly knew how ¡«lie con- trolled herself to be smiling mid civil, us with the elders shu mounted the steps nf a pretty quinta, belonging to old Mrs. Cruz, the
mother-in-law of Sarita, In front of the
piszzi all thc riders were now asseinbing, aud formed up in line saluting the old lu'ty of the honie, who was to be their hostess for the evening tea, which would follow thc day's
" Hi I Hi ! There go the haren." Two young fellows on smart ponies dashed away, with big leather hugs nf paper si sag on their batiks. One wai Valentine Brown, Ann's boy- ish admirer ; thc other a younß Cruz, for they were riding that day through hi» mother H estate, and he knew every yard of the ground. A rather impatient delay followed ; then thc president of the club rode down the linc counting thc riders, who answered to some fifty namcB
" Are you ready? Off!"
Round they all wheeled, and breaking into groups the cavalcade went galloping down Hie wide road, bordered with a tree regiment of mighty poplars.
" Now lapics, Ann, Inés 1 Here is our carriage: come quick," cried old Don Edoardo, fussily. They jumped into a covered "shandrydan, to which thrco horses were harnessed abreast, driven by a lad of thirteen clad in rags and the usual enormous straw hat» With a joyous grin and and cracking his whip with delight this young Bportsman started his three lcau beasts at a gallop down thc wide road, where the flying wheels soon raised clouds of dust. Through this Ann bravely blinked, with lier head out of the window of the cruzy coché till oh, disappointment I all Ihc riders ahead jumped a low wattled fence into a pasture beyond. Across this they stroamed towards a copse, but thc ground beyond dipped and they were lost to sight,
" Never mind, we will find them quite soon enough, quite soon enough," cried old Dou Edoardo, encouragingly. 11 Now look at the beauties of thc landscape Miss Ann ; you inny think yourself on a highway here, but let me tell you this is only a private farm-road of four miles through thc Cruz property. Oh, a very pretty estate, not BO large as some, but still nice, very nice."
It was u big farm indeed. Past long walls of houses, where Blood five hundred milch
kine, thc shaded road skirted pretty farm ? cottages und big meadow after meadow, euch with its name painted white on thc gate, and all well fenced with mud walls, or wattle. For three miles in narrowing perspective it stretched bordered by splendid lines of pop- lars, while uudcriieath grew blackberry brumblc in glorious thickets. During half an hour that followed Ann strained lier eyes towards thc fields, hoping ugainst hope to see something of the riders, longing with all her heart lo I." amnng them. Useless. She gave np thc attempt at lust, and leant back in thc study, frowsy carriego feeling resigned, and suddenly very old. Ines was smiling quite contentedly beside her, while thc old don opposite was garrously admiring the valuable crop of lucerne belonging lo Señora Cruz. " Altogether I his is a fine hacienda, and Sarita's little boy will inherit tho property sonic day, A good match for our Rosita or Gordita, eh, Ines ?" said tho dear old man, slyly.
"Don t try to make marriages any moro, brother. Believe mc, it is a mistake," said Inés, somewhat stiffly.
At which tho old man coughed ; Ann felt
uncmufortable ; and silence reigned; only dis- turbed by thc rattling of the cocho for half au hour as their jehu drove them at his oivn wild will down this side line or that sandy track, eager us un Irish gossoon to soe thc sport.