|Newspaper Title||Mercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)|
|Trove Title||A Golden Dawn|
CHAPTER XI. It gave additional zest to the beautiful widow's pursuit of Alan when she saw the first look of pain on Hyacinth's face, To'win the love which did not- belong: to her was one triumph; -to find that she made a girl younger than herself' jealois was another, and- even more enjoyable. Hyacinth uttered no word of reproach to her lover ; with her 'keen woman's instinct she perceived that he was not one who would like a woman's reproach es and tears. He told her how annoyed he was to find that Lady Fraser was his companion instead of herself. She asked him if he enjoyed his ride, and he laughed heartily as he answered " Yes." He repeated some of Lady Fraser's wittiest spieeches, as though they had amused him very much. " Lady Fraser is very witty," said the young girl ; and he did not see the wistful expression in the eyes that he had likened to cornflowers grown under the ardour of an French sky. He thought her very silent. After a time she laid her soft hand on his. " I wish that I were witty, Alan,' she said. " So you are,' my darling," he laughed. - " Not so witty as Lady Fraser," she said. ." I should not wish you to be witty after the same fashion. Lady Fraser' is what we call chic; you are original and poetical, which is far better." " Are you sure it is better ?" she asked. "-Yes ; there is no doubt about it," he answered ; and the words pleased her. But -the"same morning, in her coquettish way, Lady Fraser caused a little scene about a spray of apple-blos som that she had gathered. She came into the dining-hall at luncheon-time her face bright with the morning air, her eyes brilliant es the sunshine itself, the spray in her hands. "Look," she said to the gentlemen who crowded round her-" was there ever such a beautiful spray as this ?" She held it so that all might see the dainty exquisite colour ; and the picture of that-:daik-eyed 'woman. with the spray of -a pldblossom in her hand, was one never to be forgotten by those who saw it.- They listened too, in wonder, she had so many fancy things about it. She could say a hundred quaint and picturesque things where - another would have been silent. o To whom shall I give it ?" she said, looking round with laughing eyes. " Who deserves it most ?" Each gentleman urged his claim ; Alan alone said nothing. She turned to him with a smile. "You have not spoken," ' I will give you the prize." Their eyes met as their hands met, while he took the spray of apple-blossom from her. There was more than- one look of wonder, more than one significant smile. It was so well known that Alan was to marry Hyacinth, that more than one curious glance sought her face, and saw that it had grown pale. She laughed the impression away ; after all, it was not Alan's fault that this dark-eyed wo man admired him ; who could help it ? She told herself that she ought to be proud of it ; she said to herself that she would never bejealons. Lady Fraser found that afternoon that there was no voice blended so well with her own as the young. squire's.; they liad.eentrying a; duet, and she had said tb him in an ecstasy of delight, " What a superb voice you have, Mr. Branston, and how strange that it should blend so perfectly with mine I Do try some duets with me, will you ?" ":I shall be only too -pleased," said Alai, for whomin herladyship's contralto had a wonderful charm. SThe result was that the hour before dinner, always hitherto appropriated by the young lovers to themselves, was spent with Lady Fraser, who sang like a; irebn!; whilea Hyacinth sati in her dressing-room trying to understand the t&rrible pain that was eating her heart away ...... i What was it ? Alan loved her-what could it matter whether he sang with Lady Fraser or not 7 He was not in the least changed to her. Oneevening, just before dinner, she went into ;the dining-room. She: had generally been first there, and Alan had been accustomed to join her ; he did so, he said jestingly, to see if the flowers in her- hair- were sal -right. This evening, on entering suddenly, she saw Lady Fraser leaning back in her chair, diamonds shining in her dusky hair and a pomegranate blossom on her white breast,'and Alan bending over, talking earnestly to her. She could not discern that it was merely a scene whichLady Fraser had put upon the stage, as it were, for her benefit. She had called Alan to her eide, and was questioning him about Elmsthorpe Grange when Hyacinth saw him talk ing so earnestly. She hesitated for half a moment, while her fair young face grew pale. Lady Fraser looked up with a gleam of triumph in her eyes. Hyacinth -said gently- - " I beg pardon ;I hope--- ". She had no time to finish her sen t~nce; two or three others entered, and she walked to the other end of the room, where no one could see the pain she could not control. Through some witty, playful non sense Lady Fraser had her chair placed next to Alan during dinner, and the little anecdotes she told him were so bright and clever that he allowed her almost to engross his attention. It was after that that Lady Bosedene made the fatal mistake of speaking to Hyacinth about the iWidow,.-so bringing the jealousy which. had until now lain dormant into terrible, active, fiery life. , - b.ib. coiinned.), .