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Chapter NumberXI
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1884-08-25
Page Number137
Word Count1578
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 - 1889)
Trove TitleCrowned with Good
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? ; CHAPTER XI. ' , ' : The voyage had been a very long one, and even those who so much disliked the noise and malodorous discomforts of a steamer' as to prefer embarking in' a sailing vessel began to regret their' choice ere the welcome sight of the New Zealand coast gladdened their eyes. ?',..? ? ' It was on a bright morning in -he beginning of April that the vessel discharged her passengersj who, after, adieux and various promises of shortly meeting again, dispersed to their several; destinations. ; The young girl, who had been an especial favourite of Alicia, bade her a final good-bye, with many teurs. She wdsgoing to join1 her parents in the north, and must take her departure at once. . Left entirely alone, Alicia, as . in a dream, collected her be longings, and was driven to one of the principal hotels inDunesk, hoping that there she would be most likely to obtain speedy intelligence 'of her husband. No doubt of finding him almost immediately ever occurred to disturb. her. No thought of his having perhaps left Dunesk ere she arrived- crossed her mind. She was fully persuaded that she had come to the end of her wanderings, and that she should very soon be relieved from the intolerable, agony of suspense. . , ? But the necessity for preserving a calm demeanour enabled her to curb her impatience, and her self-control was truly wonderful. ' While the restless torture of anxiety consumed her within, she bore the outward appearance of a self-contained and dignified woman of the world, well able to take care of herseli in however ' isolated a position she might be placed. ? She spent the afternoon- resting as patiently as might be in her room, and at about 7 o'clock in the evening rang the bell of her private sittingroom, and sent a message by the waiter desiring' the attendance of the hotel manager. , In a very short time the manager appeared. V I won't detain you long,' said Alicia, smiling graciously. ' I only wanted to inquire if you know anything of a Mr. Lindsay and his son who mule 8tayinB in Dunesk about the month of September last. ?They are very dear friends of— of mine, and I wished to learn if they were still here before I leave the town.' This was a'cdri mraate piece of acting, and it cost Alicia a severe effort. But

she succeeded so well that, in spite of her beating heart, she was outwardly quite calm, even indifferent. Nevertheless, in her suspense, she did not feel equal to meeting the manager's eye, and consequently she did riot perceive the disturbed expression that came over his face at her words. . ' Great friends of yours, madam,' he repeated, hesitatingly. 'Yes,' she answered, keeping her eyes.Jfixed upon the fire. ' Do you know anything of them ? If not, you will perhaps oblige me by making inquiries. You see I know no one here, . and it would be difficult for me to obtain any information.' ' Certainly,' said the manager in much embarrassment. He had been scanning the fair face and figure before him, and had noticed the wedding-ring — not smothered in jewels, but guarded only by a semicircle of brilliants — on the third finger of her left hand. He felt rather surprised that; this lady, with her high born, wealthy air, should be travelling without any attendant, and .that no one should have met her, after her long voyage from England. There seemed to be some mystery about her, and perhaps her inquiries about the unfortunate Mr. Lindsay meant more than her manner appeared to warrant. Shrewdly arriving nt thiB .conclusion, the 'manager, fearing to acquaint Alicia abruptly with the facts, resolved to gain time by feigning ignorance of the sad calamity. , ''Iain sorry,' he said, 'that I can, give you no information just now, but I will send., my .wife to tell you what I can learn of . the gentlemen you speak of. Mr. Lindsay ? -' 'Mr. Lindsay was an old; man, and his son, Mr. Lionel Lindsay, 'looked about 2G or 28.'; They were here in September I knowi but I embarked for |New Zealand in the second week in December, and I have heard nothing of their whereabouts since.' 'Thank you. I will send. you word to-night if lean,' said the manager, and bowed himself out. . Left to her own thoughts, Alicia felt that to remain quiet was impossible. She rose and paced the room in a state of feverish agitation, then sat down to a piano which stood in one corner. It was an unusually good instrument, and well tuned. Alicia played one wild melody after another, soothed by the strains of her own creation, then wandered into Chopin, and finally to the 'Marche Fun&bre' of Beethoven, Alicia had a correct ear as

well as a magnificent touch. She was thoroughly engrossed by the beauty of the composition she was rendering, when suddenly a shudder passed over her, the grand chords faltered and ceased, and she buried her face in her hands. 'What is the matter with me?' she said, half aloud; then rising, she again paced the room with hasty steps, en deavouring to conquer the emotion. Her strong will prevailed, and she seated herself once more at the piano and resolutely finished the 'Marche' without a tremor, though her face was very pale. ' I will sing something, ' she thought, and beginning nervously, but gaining fullness of tone as she continued, she sang the ex quisite melody — ' Es iss bestimmt in Gottcs Rath Dass man voni Liobstcn was man hat Muss scheidon.' The last notes died away in their melancholy cadence, and Alicia paused with her fingers still on the keys. At this moment a knock at the door made the blood rush to her cheek. Surely, now, the tidings had come ! 'With a wild joy surging at her heart, she tried to compose herself, as a tall, stout individual, clad in black silk, and with a general air of being good-natured and well-to-do, answered her summons by entering, and closing the door behind her. ' Good evening,' said Alicia, rising from the piano. 'Mrs.?' — ' I am Mrs. Cookham, ma'am ; my husband's the manager of this hotel. He has sent me to tell you what he knows or the gentlemen you wanted to see.' 'Yes, yes,' said Alicia. - 'I'm afraid, ma'am, I haven't good news for you,' answered the woman, noting with compassion the glitter in Alicia's beau tiful eyes. ' Tell mo what you know at once,' she breathed still hopeful, but with a vague anxiety dawning in her mind. ' I'm very sorry to say, ma'am, that the gentleman, Mr. Lionel Lindsay, met with a sad accident in the bay, at Carney's Point. ? His yacht was upset, and he was drowned. That was last — last ? December, ma'am, before Christmas.' 'Go on,' said Alicia, as she paused. But Mrs. Cookham was bo shocked at the effect of her announcement that she dared not proceed. Alicia had not moved, but her face, pale before, was now ghastly, with dark rims around her large, wild eyes. She seemed turned to stone. 'You're faint, ma'am, I'll get you something;' and before ;



Alicia could prevent her, Mrs. Cookham was gone. In a very short time she returned with a glass of wine. . ' Now, ma'am, you'll drink ttiis to please me, and tlien I'll tell you what is there is to tell,' saii\s,he.\ 'It'll stimulate you, and give you strength besides.' if,.,'* . ? , -. v ' ,- Alicia drank some of the wine mechanically, and, being unused to stimulants of any kind, it revived ther at priced , She threw off the stupor that had been creeping over her, and summoned her old determination of will to appear as-usual. .-.? 'Thank you very much,' she said: '.'I am rather tired, so a little thing upsets me, and this was; a very sad shock. I need not detain you long, but i should like to hear something of how the accident took place.' ? . . So Mrs. Cookham told, and Alicia listened to, the story— how Lionel had met his sad fate, and how his poor old father-had been almost heart-broken, and, after a short illness,' had returned to his lonely home in England, looking quite an aged man.1* . 'Thank you,' said Alicia again. 'My friends will be much grieved to hear of this, I am sure. I will wish you good night now, as I had better go to bed after the fatiguing day I nave had.' ' Can't I do anything else for you, ma'am?' asked the woman, hesitating. ? ? ' Nothing— nothing, thank you,' said Alicia ; so Mrs. Cookham was fain to retire, She remarked afterwards to her husband that she was sure there was some terrible trouble connected with' the Lindsays and that poor young lady,, and the manager agreed that it was an odd-looking affair altogether.