Chapter 52514781

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Chapter NumberXXI
Chapter TitleA 'FREMENDOUS" TRIP.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52514781
Full Date1896-08-29
Page Number3
Corrections0
Word Count3502
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleMorning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)
Trove TitleHalf Round the World to Find a Husband. A Comedy of Errors
article text

CHAPTER XXL-A- "TBÍMENOOOB" TIIIP.

? The next fon night « as one of varied and delightful interest lor thu English guests under Rex Palmer's hospitable ro»f. Several days they drove into Santiago losco its siglits ; first, as is utual, adttiiriug Ute famous roch of St. Lucia rising in the town, in turu lite Qtruughuld ot ¡Spinislt conquistadores, tito haunt of lesser Inn.lils, and nowadays a pul,lie garden with its bcutiliful sunset view of the great mountains urouud, so ucar, so grand, iheir highest far peaks gloaming with ever- lasting now. Thou there were the cathedra' and chinches, uuly adobe piles, but interest i ss ax with their crowdH of black-robi-d women, alike worshipping willi ihcir hcuds draped in bl..eli shawls, whetlierriuhorpoor. Also Rex, lining a prominent deputy, hilo« eil his friends round the Hmo-cs of < ongrcss, since burnt ; the Moneda, whero Aruuciuiati Indians wetc wailing in their picUlie-que garb tn sec the Minister of thc Interior; besides the shady Hardens of the Quinte Normal, with its little zoo nf native guuuucocs, llamas, alpacas and

vicuims.

On other afternoons neighbours puid visits Irom adjoining big es ates ; tiley had little picnic", on the mountain slopes. Above «ll, thc guests enjoyed.what Hilly Wood describí"! aa " a I l ernend nus riding trip" through out nf the Why planes. This Hex planned with i tts - meuse sitc-i-ss ; the only drawback being, us i hu rest declared, tliut lites ''lind her brother in-law both excused themselves from joining the party on tho score that they were respec- tively too aged aud loo middle-aged for t.o long'an-outing, Bul u merry you OR couple fruin Santiago swullod the cavulcadc, ami ilex's nuly si.-itor, forsaking lier spouse, travelled fifty miltaat, her brother's bidding, i >f bet-it neoii only bc enid that she was sweet-tempered, plump, aiel adored him ; wlule Ann udor -d her instantly with a worship

that could not be offered io the htother.

" What a rich time we aro having," cried Wood, in a spaniab-Kitglisb jargon of which he was vastly proud, "I like Chili with gusto

much-M."

One day they i-odo half-way up a mountain, and dismnuntine;, left their steeds to Billy's eagerly offered care, while they scrambled to its summit. Another, they visited a lake famous for wild fowl; and herc the Irish-nan's horse took a roll in a> shallow place and got

rid of both'its rider and saddle, lt cost

Rex a hot gallop across rough country to cap- ture thc runaway, .whose owner roared with mirth. Being wet to thc skin, be retired among some luishes with two stable boys, who acted as baggage guard to the party, and to Thanet'.* indignation, presently emerged wear- ing-well, thc invalid's usnnel nigh gown was the most prominent feature of the costume, beneath which, propriety urged Billy lo assure his men friends, were a variety of garments borrowed from.each that uone should bo out of the fun.

Bul the country town produced the cream of the jokes that enlivened this famous expedi- tion. Herc the Major begged' thc dis languished visitors to accept his personal hospitality-at tho usual lodging price. To do them further honour, he ordered the muni- cipal band lo discourse sweet music dunne, dinner, beginning with ".God save the yileen," and ending wi h thc inspiriting Chilian National Hymn, So pleased was he with his guests'approval that a second, brilliant idea lit his bram. Early next morning Nan wasin ber bath-a very small one-whet),a brazen blast outside the wooden shutters made her nearly jump out of lier skin. The whole band was marching round tile garden, forming an accompaniment to swish of sponges and flourish af towels vigorously used by tiie' grin goes."

" I never knew tubbing time eo festive," exclaimed Thanet at breakfast. " And yet my near Palmer, report has it that the bath i i your country ÍB more honoured in the breach thuin the observance." ¿

" Too true," laughed his friend."' "All the peasants and even the middle classes consiuer water harmful to the constitution. I once

persuaded a gardener of mine to undergo an opcr lion that could be best performed at the British hospiiat. The man returned buming with indignation at the ill-treatment he had undergone, not from the surgeon-uo, pain he could easily bear-- but that tie had been put

into a bath."

" Well, English navvies are taid to believe that washing weakens the spine," said

Thanet.

" Once I was fishing in a lake in Ireland," put in Billy Wood, "and I wanted to take a swim, which hurrified my old boatman. ' Mister William, will yo take yer death !' said he. 1 Look at me now ; wat her hus uiver touched me yet, nor, please Cod, nivir will till I die. Then they may wash me an' lay me out un' bury me, for I won't be after caring what they do to mc. "

The pa'ty broke up amid laughter, when ?Van, who Bteppcd out into thc verandah, uttered a cry of dismay. There stood ono of the stable lads deadly pale, leaning against the wall a pool of blood at his feet, a terrible gash iii his bund. On Don Rex's appearance the poor fellow cxilained that he' had been fooling in the yard driving some cows, and getting roughly pushed by them was cut by his corvo ( curved knife) which be held in his baud. Now he begged some platstcr. He hud waited twenty minutes.

" v\ by did you not tell ms sooner, man!"

" Patron, you were breakfasting. 1 could not think nf disturbing you," was the humble stolid reply.

" Let me bandage it. Don Rex," cried Nan, eagerly, to the latter, who was already binding up the wound with bia own handkerchief. " f'o, please ; that is notquilo right. In.Leed I have got my certificate from the St. John's Ambulance Corps, aud I know. Tear mc some trips off a table napkin. There-(hat will do."

All the Chilians around, foremost of these tile Bufferer and his master broke out in profuse praises IIB the girl deftly finished her task in a manner tiley declared worthy of a

surgeon.

" Now," said Palmer, beaming, upon thc fair leech with a smile os brilliant to her mind as ono of Ihe eungod's own. " If you want to crown your work of kindness, give Ibe patic t one of your cigarettes here, and t Ul him also a patch of cigarette paper-see 1 keep somo for that purpose-to stick on his aching temples. That is right. I ankglad you don't laugh. II may do him good by virtue of his faith iu it as a sovereign cure. "

The tesl of thc party now dispersed to pre- pare for their start ; the lad (.bowered thanks on bis bencfuci ress's head and also left.

"God bless you, dear," said Rex low in Ann's car, just as she was turning away. Thrilled by the tones even more than the words, elie glanced up to see his Itifndsflme face love-lit, bending over hers. Willi a sudden belief that, he was going to clasp her to his breast, Nun stood paralysed unable to speak-or stir.

At that moment n waiter appeared to clear away the breakfast ; thc horses' iioofs sounded

outside.

" My father will bc so pleased when I tell him this," said Rex, slightly changing bis attitude of body, but not that of his admira- tion of mind, judginghy'liisudoring tone.

Nan caught up her habit and fled. His father-Ob, well that he reminded her at thc supremo moment of the old man, to whom -reason it ont as alto might-Nan's conscience still made ber feel somehow bound.

Auain and again oho had wakened in thc small hours of night when the first thought oppressing lier mind was " Am I morally

married to Don Edoardo-! Oueht I to marry him roaliyt" Even Póre Oourdoux absolved his young friend and penitent, these were his lost words before he «tarted alone on hie journey among the Indians, adding, " Rut still-I trust, my dear child, that you may marry the man whose name the Church has solemnly joined with yours, when no shadow of a cloud will t rouble your soul in the

future."

" Please, lt wasn't my name."

" Hem I well at least a blessing waa uttered

over your head and that of your spouse as knelt together, thus uniting your beings."

" In that case perhaps, 1 was united to Froxy, Mr. Bryan. If the blesiug joined i

can't argue it out," husti-dcd Nau des. atuly.

" Nan, ) trust you ere not linked to t stranger," said the priest soothingly ' truth, it senilis to me as if it wore ono or other, but I feel a presentiment that you

bave a hippy fate, und that will be, I bclit

with Don Kdoardo."

Whereupon his hl-tck soutane and etni! face vanished out of Ann Montague's di

life.

Ever since. Nan felt as if the question in a nutshell -twin kernels. Either old ] Kooaroo or Patrick Biyan, ." bc wa* muri in the eyes of th church und heaven to om oilier-hut, Oh, which? lier conscie feared it might be the old don, her heart h of course, pronounced for liryan. Her he« -Nan's face Hamed red SB a lire-resc as Í ing from the interview with Hex Palmer these thought flitted through her brain-W ber heart waB bealing, now, and her pu thrilling, asnevor, never belote iu nil her li end a sickening hot shaun; crept over her thc thought that elie would have given a thing if her stepson elect had kissed lier j

now.

That afternoon they reuched home. V.t sister here bade them farewell, being obi i to sleep in town to catch her ttuin n morning.

" We will meet nguiu. I know, dear Air next year or sooner," she Said, with m curvases. "Yes, yes, lillie one! H ,w f you arc-I niusl Uy now-Rex is wuitmp drive me, like the dear b st of brother« li -hut remember, 1 Miall pet you very nu when yon arc nuc of thc tinnily.

Thc light dog-cart bowled fruin thc st. terrace ¡uto the dusty high-road. Aun gav big sigh and went to fiud solace in the sn English drawing-room that alike retnii i her of her long dead mother and of thc vi noblest man.-She stampul her fool, "li not. At least he woul i bc but fur this <

thing. Ile is fond of me-and he ought : to be. And he wants me 'O he fond of hin «nd that would be wrong of me !"

CUAI-TKU XXII.-'Inti CLIMAX.

" Dear me. Here you ure as happy a bird iu its nest," chirped Don Edourdo'B voi us thc old gentlcmuu stood beaming iu I doorway-" May I come in ? Oh, this is y< i oom, your very own. My boy laid it at j < feet-put it at your disposal, as wc Bay hen Chili-not for this visit only, bùt for lifo."

"That would be too generous ou his pi and too greedy on minc But 1 am not Uki to tux hie great hospitality to such cxtro limits, for 1-I must be goiugjiome soon, y know," replied Ann,.suatcliing.desperately lite unexpected chance of uuuouuoiug 1

intention.

"What? Bless my soul-" Mr: Palme fucc was a sudden study in contradictory < pressions ; diatnay banishing his sutisbii couhdence: wonder, musing, tiicu lastly i ussurance succeeding each other in his ha and hearty visage. ''Oh,-I-seo; Yes,yt I see, (briskly). Tired after your long tri; and feeling perhaps a ti ¡fla low; and as nothing, definite .was settled 1 Hut my p you see no one wished to take you at a d advantage-a poor you. g soul, friendlc here but for ourselves. Why, whatever this-tears in your pretty eyes ? . Come, oon -" Aud as it issuing the invitation to hil self, down plumped the old dou on the sofa Ann's side, with a suddenness and weight th mad« I lie springs squeak. He began pattit the girl's shoulder-" Let me whisper you iii whiuh I heard from a little bird, isomebod wants you to stay here vary, much ;. lo eu

herc lor life."

' ' 1 can't do it I No more ; please say t more dear, good Don Edoardo," ent reste Ann wildly, feeling she must check the '.emf; ing proposal comiug-"I know what yo mean ; bul before you say any more, belie«, me, it cannot be I I have thought it over mot seriously."

There.'followed a pause of mutual conaterm tion. Ann was overwhelmed st her ow courage; old Palmer seemed stunned by in anuouueement, which his mind refused I grasp at once. With a chapfallen face I tried argument. " This-ibis must be som girlish idea ; false pride or maybe home sid uess. My dear, you should go back t England often-that I might promise yoi Be sensible 1 Most young women would jam at such a position, besides-though I say s who shouldn't;- a mau who ia considera hi well thought of," uoddiog a silvery hea slowly.

" I know ! I know ! Indeed I am grateful proud of the honour-it is not that.'"

" Then what the dickens is it ?"

" It is a question of-of age," faltered Nai in as small a'Voice as that of the bear iu th fairy tale.

" Indeed I" The old man looked surprisei aud spoke huffily. " Well, there is a con siderablc disparity, I own ; still, let mc tel you, I have seen very happy marriage turi out with justas many years difference."

"lerbapa so, most likely, in many, cases (this in timid deprecation). But, you see,

have quite made up my mind only to murry t man much nearer my own age. I am niue

teen."

This was what old Dou Edoardo himsel privatclyculled " a settler." Hisfacetcll stil lower, as he sal very quiet for some seconds Ann oared not look at him, but presently be came aware he was pulling out a red silk hand kerchief and-actually !-dabbing bis eyes sui blowiug his nnse loudly.

" 'Pou my honour, I um disappointed I ] don't know when I have been inure so," lu said, iu a brokeu voice that made Nau fae dreadfully sorry for him. "Iqute set mj heart on this. For my own part no girl could have suited me belter. . . It was vexing UUOUKII uboul thal little puss, Anita ; but 1 li ii is worse! After "-here came a gurgle, whfcl left the listening girl in dou'it whether lin submerged word WSB " my," " our," or " Rex ' "gelling so food of you loo, which was uoi altogether to be expected, lt all promised sc

well. And now-"

"Now I must go away; aud you will soon forget me," answered Nan. She was surprised herself at thc bitterness of regret that, welled up in ber heart at thc words. Then Un painful interview ended. It was not Ann, however, but a very different inmate who une first to leave the house ufter lier decision. Te her diamiy next morning Lord Thanet

announced :

"Did you hear of tho mine Palmer-young Palmer, I mean-sprang upou Billy Wood aud myself last night in the smoking-room. He wants us to sturt south with him to-day ; says while this spell of fine weather lasts we ought not to miss seeing the different scenery, big rivers luid leagues of woods, and the Aracuaniau Indians in their homes. So we're off. And Billy and I will not return but take tho mail steamer at Concepción. Hex Palmer says he has business on their southron estate which may detain him a month or so."

They two were standing iu a conservatory when this was said, and the moist heat was oppressive. Ann grew BO pale that her com pinion noticed it and iyged ber tocóme into thu open air. Herc they found their host giving stringent directions to the liead gardcoer to bc curri d out during his ubseucc : while a little group consisting of farm bailiff, Btud-grootn, chief cattle herd, sud others were waiting their turn.

" What is the matter ?" Rex asked, breaking off short and coming towards his guests quickly, though only some! bing in Thauet's air of solicitude could have attracted bis attention. The latter explained.

"Come io out of this hot sunshine. No, uo ; never mind these men. I am going to see after you myself," be said authoritatively, leading Ann up the terrace steps- into the altnoBt icy coolness-of the nearest marble gallery, connecting one wing with the waius/ coted hall. Lora' Thanet held back as tho others entered the house; watching them re- fit otivoly, then turned .away.

Ann sank down on s carved seat, leaning her arm on a table of jasper. Often afterwards the scene carno back to her iu minutest detail -the statues down the gallery, the tall silver candelabra, the colouring of the marble work.

And yet why, fornothingeBpeciuily happened 1 After het retasa.].'of an otter lo fetch her iced water. Rex Palmer stood beside the girl silent. She dared not look úp. or would have seen thai the man's fuce Was pale, with a yeariiiug, yet renunciatory expression. At last he Bpotte.

"I trust you will not 'bink it necessary to leave1 Chili ii liaste, I should like lo Bay farewell on my remen fro'ii Hie South."

So he knew. . nn raised her eyes-tro .bled. A very real headache I asl cveninu had excused her from meeline old Señor Palmer at dinner, lie must have told his sun.

" If you reUirn iu time might I explain my reason fur leaving Chili," the «ill sudtlenly burst out. "You are so sympathetic-you would understand. At leaal dou't think inc ungrateful."

'I ciuld never think you anything yon should not ho," said the mun in a sad tone. " And I am you think me ut lua*-t. i-ynipsthic. Yes, yon shall tell me al) you wish after a

little while "

Two hours later, silence tilled moat of thc big house. The children Were milt» and de- pressed, l'he hig hon.nl» lay with their beads between their pawfeoi) the terrace ; lite plover stalked around quietly. OKI Don lid urdo was gone into Santiago with the other men, tneaiinig to &tay in in's loivn house for a week, lie had lately ehown it oil' with piide, for it wushandsnmc, and ultftgethcr not iintikcoiie of the hotols of the old nobility in Paris thougb the massive doors-between the courtyard and street were innre strongly barred, and bore niat ke of vain- ni lack« from a sacking mob during ibo recent civil war.

Kan, during tile days which followed, secn;tly foll hetself u'moM guiliy listening lo the children's himeiituiious for the departure of both their father and grandfill her. ; uoh a 'double tcreaveimul us this was apparently a

now experience, and Tony and the Itaby

I sought competisutiou in all kinds of naughti-

ness attd wilful ways that taxed Ann's patience hourly. Sim had insensibly taken over their .. hi-if carn, besides being their teacher, .'.unt Ines tacitly agreeing, for her active iuiclligcacc rejoiced iu more laborious laskB thaiiithu cure ot iufant miuds.

>Vh--ii <dl the men-left the house. Ines caine and nutted Nun's shoulders alternately, yet with a grave face. She knew, but would nut discuss what had happened ; only this she munt say that her young friend deserved pra.se for having acted uprightly, and accord- ing to the díctales of cuneciem e.

" Evideuily you have a t>up rior mind, not to be dusslvd by such a pos.tioo," was her eoiue« hut patrouising conclusion. "And now wc shall have a nico quiet time here. You will help me to forward thc country schools Rex and I have started ; and we will visit the government ones in town, too. Why should you go buck to Knglund at once ! Stay and help mc for three or four weeks at least till Rex returns. Then I shall not need yog,'of

course."

Ann felt doubly comforted by her elder friuud'.a.approval. Iii-her heart she righi ly guessed Inés did not think her a guod enough match. As to ber staying on longer, that seemed slightly indelicate ; yet us neither son

nor sister seemed to think thc old Dou's feel-

ings «ere deeply hurt, Nan supposed they must know best. And, indued, she was be- wildered,to know what else to do. For no second letter had'yct come from her lovar in the Argentine. June WSB close st hand : the mountuin pas-es wcrculmost blocked. Where was Patrick Bryan, and n ilen would he wish her to sail northward iu bis company}

{To be continued.)