|Newspaper Title||Mercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)|
CLARE. [FAMILY HERALD.] CHAPrTER II.-(Continued) " If I cannot go to Paris, I shall go back to Southrock ; I am not going to stay here to bo insulted by your mother's vulgarity." " Clare, my darling wife,"' said he coming close to her, "I will speak this once-aind let us understand each other. Viewing the matter from two points, you must treat her with-the respect I; show to Mrs.-Courtrae." " Mrs. Courtrae is connected with the Duke of Lye," rejoined Clare, with curling lip. " And Mrs. Strahan is my mother," said he. "From my standpoint, know ing as I do her large-heartedness, her benevolence, her unselfishness, she is in herself worthy of all esteem and, speak ing from your standpoint, on the other hand. you knew before your marriage the relationship it would entail. You have candidly told me your marriage was a bargain ; you must therefore accept my mother as a condition of the transaction, even as you have accepted m". But her company need not be such a continual infliction as my own; so I hope you will try to tolerate it. I should be deeply grieved if she were offtn ded." '" If you have finished all you desire to sa , I should like to read about the Cou"t b1l'." " Very well, dear ;" and he left her to picture her in words in the manu script of " Melissa." " I have never been commanded yet," said Clare angrily to herself. "If he intends to issue his orders and prohi bitions like this, he will find I have a will of my own. As to offending his mother, I am sure I shall sooner or later ; and that girl, whom he considers perfection-I cannot see what Algy finds in her to admire. If I really cred to go to Paris, I should go alone rather than give in; so he need not think I am obeying him. I believe I am beginning to dislike him I" CHAPTER III. Some perversity of disposition ren. dered it *a matter of gratification to young Mrs. Strahan that she knew a sure method to provoke her husband. He would have done well to appear un rufRfed by her treatment of his mother; but, as time after time the lady was courteously slighted aud exquisitely in sultel, the hot flush of annoyance would rise to Ivor Strahan's brow, and Clare's rosy lips would curl ever so slightly with the thought of revenge. For the first time in her life she learnt what it was to submit. Her husband was always chivalrous and even tender ; but he would have his way when hers was mistaken-notably so when she wished to visit the Fi'olli. otts, because the children, of whom she was fond, were laid up with scarlet fever -in its worst form. Ivor posi tively forbade her to pass the lodge of Ffolliott Grange ; and, when in driving out she obstinately desired the coach man to take her to her friends' house, he touched his hat hesitatingly, and said he hal his master's orders, which he dared not disobey, to avoid that neighborhood. Clare told him he might drive home, and returned to the drawingroom, the very picture of ill temper. Her husband sought her presently, ti ask her if she would ride over with him to see the Dacies; for the coach man had told him of her disappoint ment, and he felt for her. But Clare, for the first time since their marriage, burst out into passionate crying, ex claiming amid her sobs ' I hate yon! I wish they had buried me before they married me to you!' The Courtraes were accustomed to the fits of palssion which varied Clarm's haughty calm, and they knew she was scarcely accountable for her utterances at such times ; but her husband was deeply shocked, anI, keenly as he felt her expressions of dislike, he sat down and spoke to her kindly and gravely on the sin of such an exhibition. Clare realised the truth of his words, but re sented them none the less, and informed him at last that she should not leave her own apartments for the remainder of that day. "But, Clare," said he in dismay, "my mother aonl Nellie dine here, you know!' "Then they are self-invited," she rejoined, "and they will be self-enter tained." "No, dear," said he; "as we leave Ventor t,.morrow, I invited them. And you really most join us at dinner, dear; I willPtlo all the rest of the duty." "Indeed," declared she,- "I shall do nothing of the sort; I have a great many letters to write-a long one to Algy-and I shall dine alone. I can not enjoy my meals in such society as you provide." "In your present humor, Clare," said heir husband, "I think your pre sence would scarcely be an acquisition to us; and I really think your resolu tion is wise." Then came another burst of tears, and the eXclamation "I won't dine alone then, because you wish me to! I shall come to the diningroom; but I won't speak a word to your mother, or to any -of you !" "My darling, that is very childish." "And if you think I shall like you -I tell you, I detest you!" " I know yon do, Clare." "I wish I might catch scarlet-fever; I could not be more miserable than I am just now, having to dine with-" "Clare, hush !i" said Ivor Strahan; and something unmistakably firm in his tone and look silenced her to haughty sulkiness. But, when they met in the drawing room before dinner, he was loving and devoted as ever; Glare little guessed how sorely anxious he was to prevent any open fracas on this their last evening in the island. His overtures of peace and courtesy met with no recognition from his wife. She cherished very deep indignation against her husband in the matter of Ffolliott Grange, affecting to believe that his prohibition was a capricious cros.ing of her will. So she went to the piano, and played a dreamy sona:a of Bee thoven's her back turned upon her husband, till two manly hands went over her beautiful eyes, and a voice she knew right well exclaimed-.
" Clare, m belle, that costume does Worth credit !" "Algy I Oh, Algy !" Ivor Strahan saw the girl's face flush with delight as, foregetful of her dinner dresi, she twined her arms around her Hussar. Ivor was greeting his mother and Nellie. His adopted sister had never seemed lovelier in his ey a ; a degree of stateliness and dignity seemed to have found its way among her many attractive features. "But, Algy," said Clare, exceed ingly bewildered, "you did not arrive with Mrs. Strahan ?" "Yes, I did, my lady ; we have driven over from Roby together. Mrs. Strahan kindly gave me an open in vitation to Roby, and, as we are now stationed at G-'.port, I crossed this morning, intending, to enjoy the pleasure of a three diy's visit. Then I heard of my fair sister's invitation, in which I have taken the liberty to in clude myself." " Your company will do your sister good, Courtrae," said Ivor Strahan. " Do you think she is looking well ?" "Do you mean as to health or temper ?" asked the Captain, in the teasing, tones which Clare had been used since their childhood. i She looked at him with a goo3 humoured smile ; but his evident attentions to Nellie Ross only embit tered her the more against her hasband's friends, and, whilst all her endeavours were spent in amusing and entertaining her brother, she spoke only from abso lute compulsion to the other three members of the party. The Captain took her to ta-k for such behaviour when they were in the conservatory together after dinner ; but his half-laughing remonstrances changed to astonishment when Clare, with bright tears glistening in her eyes, en treated him not to marry for money, warning him that he was entering upon a life of misery. " And, Algy," cried she," " it is wrong-all wrong ! Oh, Algy, do not stay at Roby ! Go back to your regi ment. I promise to help you." (To be continued.)