Chapter 59751029

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1883-05-26
Page Number3
Word Count1009
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleMercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)
Trove TitleClare
article text

O"LARE. [FAMILY HERALD.] CHAPTER 1. TEE Morning Post devoted a coliumn to the details of a certain '` Marriage in High Life." and closed with the infor mation that the "beautiful and accom plished bride" wore a travelling-dress of marine blue velvet when the happy pair started for Roby, the romantic retreat in the Isle of Wight which helonged to the bridegroom's mother. Faultlessly fair looked the daughter of Courtrae as the wedding-guests hovered around her with their impres sive adieux. The members of her own family were nearest to her-her grand father, Lord Courtrae, whose pride was rqualled only by his poverty ; her father, the Hoo. Courtrae Courtrae, prematurely aged in the effort to keep up appearances upon the expectation of his father's legacy of debts; her mother, whose aristocratic features vainly endeavoured to disguise her satisfaction at this result of nine months' strategy ; her brothers, Court rae Algernon, Captains in the Hussars, whose names were written in the books of West-end money-lenders. Just out side the family group stood Mrs. Strahan, the widow of David Strahan, late Roby and Soutbrocks, formerly of the Britannia Dye Works, Cumbermere, her adopted daughter, Nellie Ross, the orphan child of the curate of Cnm bermere. A stranger would instantly have selected these two for the blue blooded throng that pressed them in the spacious hall. The Courtrae physi ognomy, with its Greek nose, clear violet eyes, deeply, duskily lashed, and .exquisitely tender lips, was recognised on every hand, from the High-Church intellectual-browed Bishop of Baldech inose to ten-year-old Lady Maud, the bride's youngest attendant at the altar of St. George's, Hanover Square. Mrs. Strahan, with her shawl of many colors drooping not too gracefully over her widow's costume of black satin, and her expensive bonnet loaded with artificial grapes and crowning a coifure fear fully and wonderfully made, bore a striking resemblance to a prize dahlia in the centreof a display of exotics ; and Nellie, in in her bridesmaid's dress of dead-white silk, with simple trimmings here and there of stephanotis an.l fern, bore yet such a rosy country hue, smiled with such unfeigned enjoyment, that one might have likened her to a fresh meadow daisy, rather marvelling to bloom in a hothouse. But the ragged crowd impatiently pressed nearer and nearer to the raillings of Courtrae House, vainly threatened by the Court rae footmen ; the splendid horses walked slowly along the square, as though conscious of the importance of the present occasion. At last the butler raised his hand, and their heads were turned to Courtrae House. Clare, moving coldly, disdainfully, as was her wont, from the embrace of her mother, saw the carriage awaiting her-her grandfather's familiar barouche, with the family crest, a royal stag rampant, and the motto " sans tache." Nellie wondered if the autumn air struck the young bride with a sudden chill ; or was it only her fancy that the beautiful white face was whiter yet, the splended figure swayed by a quick tremor and a shiver, as Ivor Strahan, his honest bright brown eyes radiant with love and joy, led forth his new made wife. At any rate, nobody else noticed the slighest trace of emotion in the belle of two seasons. Her friends were accus tomed to her haughty quietude, her perfect composure. Again and again hadl she assured her most intimate com panioni that Nature, at her birth, neglected to supply her with a heart which was a fact of a gratifying kind, considering her matrimonial views namely, to marry money. At last the white shoes and the rice had been thrown; the footman had. shut the door upon the happy pair, and had recived the order "To Waterloo Statioi,' and the impatient horses started off. The ragged boys hurrahed; the butler commanded them to go away; the hbride's mother squeezed a corner of her lace lihandlkerchief against her eyes, and Ivor Strahano, waving his hand from the carriag'i window, met the parting lcok, sweet and gentle as in their childhood's days, of the dark-eyed Nellie Ross. Very rustic and pretty was Comber mere Cottage, three miles from the Britanoia Dye Works, whence issued the famous " amozine" that bade fair to realize a fortune for David Strahan, the head ofthe firm. Much did he wish to head his busi ness papers "Strahan and Son." but Ivor, his only child, though one of the most affectionate and dutiful sons in every other particular, held out, "like an obstinate donkey," as the old man asserted, against becoming a dyer. Almost before he could speak intel ligibly, Ivor showed a passion for poetry ; his old nurse, with her Scotch taste for the romantic, fostered, and perhaps inspired it. She would talk him to sleep with some wild Caledonian legend, delivered in sweet harmonious rhythm; and it was to old Jeanie that Ivor first revealed-at the age of five that he had entered upon the career of a poet. Mrs Strahan in her heart was very proud of her boy's increasing aptitude for study; and she it was who per suaded her husband to let Ivor learn what the good old vicar could teach him, and then proceed to the county school. David Strahan, who had started in life as an extra hand at one of the dyevate, was prospering so exceedingly, owing to his invention of the faehion able and durable tint "amozine," that he could not plead inability to give his son a first class education; and it was scarcely a matter of surprise to their friends that Ivor came home from Ethelwulf's College thoroughly averse to the notion of entering the dfe-works as his father wished.. It was quite a momentous occasion to the old gentleman when he took the young man to the Britannia Works, and initiated him into the mystery of " amozine," but Ivor showed far more interest in the production than he really felt, and gladly escaped to his: boat on the Cumber, where he rowed between the lilies through the summer