Chapter 60620377

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Chapter NumberV
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1884-06-02
Page Number89
Word Count2851
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 - 1889)
Trove TitleCrowned with Good
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Oif the morrow an unusual amount of sunshine streamed through ^ the blinds of Gertrude's bedroom, and sainted her fared eyes with its gladdening beams, bat it brought no answering brightness to her heart. 'Are you not well, Gertrude, mydear?'* said Mrs. Bushby, as the girl languidly entered the breakfastroom an hour later. ' You

don't look at all in trim for the picnic this morning.' Oh, auntie, I had quite forgotten the picnic ! I shall be all nght when I have had some tea- It is so hot to-day, is it not?** Yes, I never knew more accommodating ?weather for a pleasure excursion- Drink your tea, xny dear, and try to eat some of this chicken. People ou^bt to make a good breakfast before going out into a broiling sun like this. ' And Mra. JJushby proceeded in get Gertrude a very excellent example in respect of that important duty. when the meal was over, Mrs. Bush by detained her niece for a consultation as to various final arrangements for the comfort of their guests, and when she was satiEfk-d that, from the dondless 8ky to the strawberries gathered that morning from, her own garden, everything was unejcceptionabJy perfect, she h-ent Gertmdc away to dress. When her toiiet was made, Gertrude, insti^-i of joining the merry jrroup already mastered on the J^v.-r;, stated herself for Jjaif an hoar's 'juiet in the window of her roonj. .She had, more than one/- that morning, been on the verge of tears, and it had required all the aWi'/van of which the possessed to still the tumult in her mind. She had to in-iKe an inmost physical effort now- to turn her t.Wj;,'hvs away fcm the fatal interview of the previous ni-ht, ai;d hiiU her brain mirror*-^ r-e scene more and more- vividiy. Could it be '..rAy tvelve ho'jrs since she hod been held in Liond'a j^siom.t-:- e::jhr;i -?.«—&::,-?-;? - she had made that :x.-.-.h promise? li k-temed wee is a^'o .' Jrhe wondered what Lir,j.i-zl v. ouJd have to (,uy i/, her. .i-be -.ulicwt hoped he would h-i ynabJe to fiwd a r/.i-anb to einect his purpose, and yet, strange perversity ol TiUture, hbe :eh a tbriiJ of satLsf action when she rwAfc'juA the ir.any ij^-uojoes of LI determined jx-.«i:,ever:ir.K.-.v- 'j/j.-Jer di:-:'.-u]'Jf:.=- the Lad noticed even durin- tht jr thort wcy ua i/j la r. oe.. j fcut Gertrude, vinous 'i Jrum*;, ar-1 v.hli a Lewi jrerienOJy overflowing uhh;j;/i:i'ivs, could net Jong Le very down. : cast ; and tbe war/a, zl'jwhiz at Ea'.«sp litre, lictn with the t^tU c-i .'

summer flowers, as well as the sounds of rnerrimeni from without, gradually' restored somewhat her.cheerfnlness of demeanour. She had just made up her mind to join the party below stairs, when a tap at the bedroom door caused her to start. 'Dear: me ! am I growing nervous already?* ehe said to herself, half smiling. ' Come in.' The door opened very quietly, and a housemaid, who nsnally attended her room, and -with whom she was, therefore, better acquainted than with any of the other domestics excepting Mrs, Hares, entered irith a letter. '? .'...- -?? ~ ? ' WelL Alice ':' she said, as the girl hesitated. ; 'If yon please, miss, Mr. Lindsay has come, and he^justgare me this note iot you.' . - '?.'? r .:???? ?-?-, ; ? Gertrude suppressed an exclamation of surprise, and stretched oat her hand loz the letter- When Alice had retired she hastily : opened it, and read, v.-hh a deepening crimson on .her cheeks ] and ouick -drawn breath : — . '. . ?' \ ' ily Gertrude, — You irjjl T-e guided by niy wishes, and obey : me to the letter in everj-th:n?, I trast and beliere. Xow bear as i rnach of my plans as I r.f--'l erj-lain vo you till -sre meet. ! *' 3Iy ezca-i.-; lor i:ot joiuin? your aunt's party to-day -nrill be understood by aJJ before yoti receive thiis. It is that I hare to take the yacht down tie bay to Carney's Point, where I am supposed vj have a friend to meet- Instead^ I shall ride to the croi.ii-ro.-i'l'-. on the v.-uy leading tr- Hawks Bock Settlement i-'iJ! theb* . ^ietai's, I need not say, are revoidng -o me, us they rrjTi'Z be to you. my j.^oor Gertrude- But, laralh so macb at stake, we niu^t shrink from nothiu^.; ' You, I know, hite-ud Vakiug your habit iritii you, and ridisjg . home Jn the ca! of the everijxuj. 1/oring your ride, it inot before, ! you v.-jlJ hearfroin ruetLroti^b a friend, -srbowill tell yon bow to : pro'A-ed jjeit- ?' ' lie: ore you start for the picnic, jrack up -what you xaluet, and i v.-}ia-t vdll be nei-e-tvary ior a 3ou^ absence. The servant w!j© ?: ?i^\W^T: you this jjote is trust worthy, and wUJ jse-e titai; josor ; I..-a':i:i^e k ^-jven irjt.o the hands of th« j-?rwa I ftball iSead, arilO' ! i-i only cotriirji^^ic^ei to taiie it v- a certain placse, where I&hall | h.erj'I iiZiothemie-iseii^er vj forward itt/- Hawk's Itoek. I wall | fjvr.'j more now — Ludetd. :t wts not ivibe to write ataU, bat v.-hat oouM I ^oi ''-NO-.v, trjy »iarJ:r.^ '. On e ivrji v.-ii word from you — yes or. no. Ilecx-J.Vf-, f.-..r GoJ'b thai n.y vic/!t future — ;no, reooJiect ! orj.'y trj.ii: Aou loveirj^. — Yo-.r-_ ** L.J0ansu'' 'Jhe jrjuo-he.-erjt'- cr'--;.i^ed Jrc.'ju O'ert.rude'j6 nerreleSB j hand. *' Ye-j or :,o .''? *J'he -k-qtcU ^.eei^u^d borxilrigiptoberbcaaja, i ibeUTiBlou oi tho'jj;:jt.;.-a]yd Ler chetJu- Jiiid made iier eyes look j iize.d siiid ^lasvy. 'Hai, L'i tai-.ejj a crne2 ?^l\uiiiii.z^-rA rue? Oh, no, no 3 Wijat .J ;ltj ] bsyius; ' I prviuisfd Lira, I iyve him jbo.i My Laouel, ] 1 r.rncac.'aveyou up : I v]]i j'oJiow y-..u v- the world send t Oh, '; ( '. why ^ive me JIke t.:,:s, aiid teave ine in sueb. ieoapta- ! lico- C-iij Ldp ru?., itij.' ist !'; Aj^d she «&it tjpvB the fl^yr, '

her golden hair dishevelled, her hands clasped in agony of sopplicatton. , ? ' Was not the answer waiting? Were not help and strength near in that supreme moment? Who shall «ay? Pale xuid, haggard, she at length tone. There was afixed expression on her face, a feverish light in her grey eyes. Slowly she turned to her writing-table, and there, with the morning sunshine npou her, - the gay voices in her ear, she eat down and wrote that; little word which should alter the whole cour&e of her Jife. Firmly she wrote it, and with unfaltering hand enclosed and sealed it, then rang the belt Alice, 1 suppose Mr. Lindsay is here yet?' shegaid, as the servant entered. 'Yes, miss. Mr, Lionel and Jlr. Lindsay are both here, but Mr, Lionel's come to «ay he has to take his yacht doim to meet somebody, so he can't go to the picnic.' Alice's eyes wandered restlessly about as if to avoid meeting those of her young mistreats, and Gertrude, even in her present state of mind, felt a pang of Jtshame at thus implicating an. ignorant servant-girl in a transaction- But she enmmonal all her courage, and handed the envelope very csJiciy to the jdrJ, bidding her deliver it at onoe to Mr. Lionel Lindsay, and tnm return to her. ' Yes, raias, T^at' — Alice Ktcrppe'J in mtica oonfueion. ' AJioe, said Gertrude, ypax*Ajt ' you are a good jprl, and, Sf things Ixad not gone «o far, I ehonla mo«t attwiradly wot bkyts given y^/« this letter to deliver. But,[as yoajkr*ow limn mnsb, I raay as well tell yon that I am going away to-day, and I shall want you to pack some things for toe. Sow, go.' Alioe left tiie roora in. *aienoe, wbile Gertrude, an an agony of s,b«.roe and rnortiii oa-tk/rj, buried her burning faoe in b«r hands, i^je was roased by the return of Aiioe. 'Ih&vedoae a« y©» wished, Miss Gertrude,' she said, ' &ad now I think there is no tune to ht lost, ma'azn.' 'Xp; help me igoieldy, AJioe,' and Gertrude proceeded to remove a few books and artitleB of -u-earmg aj/pirel from, the arardrol»e, AH her aontfa gifts of .^weJifry the ooJlected sad placed m & box «o itb« \lrefew/j^-ta.vie, v^« -wataa a. note h&siSy wrHten, iJirough her t-li»dua? tears. 'Deaeest Asiirii*' it ran, — ' I bauxjjy dare i/j write to jou, bat I amrtifceUyoa liiailamgoingawarv^ijaiirr/LaojaeJLiiideay- Thexv ieafitooog fieastpa whj Ms iatiier wjJJ not idSLricuon t^ie iuarriage, BoitimiBtbeabecretoiie. I have longe-i to tdiyoa,t-ot I may not, aod I tra«t him. Oh, I implore you, if you have ever iw«d nae, to leaTe tae to take oar own oynree n.oM% and not vj try suad tiuce where we have i»ja& Some day I will cvrae back, if y-/u wiil let tae, and a«k your fvrgh*-ji^sti. ** liut oh, if yoa kiitw iiovr I love Jjixa., ycra would fvrgive ua»; now 1 — Your oiece, '' G'jtJB'riJvyj; -* hv. v: y^;K. ' ^JCow, AJIov,' wit «itid. uaea all libe pr*r;.-urtt*.,iw^is v.-;t; ?cf.^o- pl»Aed, *' 1 wjjj not uJiow yf.i-j toliuve uoyt-hj.rjy iiioj-t t^- -iv witfi tiilf, ?a.rj'fbs 1 uru ',:-ite -.-jre yo-a wiiJrivt ^ei ?riv^tro-jbiir t.';,i'.»^t it. ' ' VvV;]. rSi^t. I do.'j't *,-* us I iLklL 'All '^z f.wva:i\*. i.rut'rae tad Mrfc-'l'-uv.-i' u^ci r..;d vvha'« £.vi.v.jj .tv uu»; ;.-iv;;j.Vj t-:i-i Mju

Bates is safe to go and see her friends — I heard her ssy so ; and she'll stay nigh the time for 'em to be home again ; so only old John 11 be with me here, and I can get him comfortable at his supper before 8 o'clock, when the man's Jto come. T rani' fo'know ' it's him by Mr. Lindsay's card he's to give me in a. sealed envelope.' , v, On the -whole, Alice seemed rather to enjoy the excitementof the affair, Gertrude, thought. The ludicrous aspect-of it flashed across her, and she laughed hysterically. ' ' Now, miss, if you'll bathe your eyes, I'll get you some coffee, if you'll be pleased to take it,' said Alice. . , By the time the coffee arrived Gertrude had arranged her hair, and was looking more like her usual self. With a few -words of good-bye to Alice, she descended to the hall where mostof the party were now waiting to occupy seatsiin the carriages standing outside. Captain Merton was there, attired in a heather-coloured suit, the latest thing from England in shooting costumes— the envy as well as the admiration of many a youth in lavender trousers and unexceptionable 'belltopper.' Gertrude was glad that the captain's society had been reserved, by her aunt's arrangements, for a waggonette full of more appreciative damsels than herself, and, relieved by the fear of 'this annoyance, she almost enjoyed her drive, and was surprised to find, at a sudden turn in the road, that they had arrived at their destination. It was a lovely spot. The warm glowing air was full of the resinous , odour of the evergreens that clothed the ravine, and cast their grateful shadow upon the ground. Here and there a shaft of dazzling sunshine pierced the thick foliage overhead, gilding the I tall tree trunks and making the mossy carpet glitter with an emerald brightness, while the stillness would have been supreme were it not ior the rushing sound of a- waterfall near at hand ; even the birds were silent in the hush of noon. After dinner — for so hearty a meal could scarcely be called lunch— the servants were left to gather up the fragments, and it was arranged among the party that those of the gentlemen who possessed fishing-licences, and had brought their tackle with them, should do their best to supply a dish of fish for tea from a neighbouring trout-stream, while the remainder should watch the exciting sport, botanise, or amuse themselves as they chose until six o'clock, when tea was to be ready, at a cottage further up the ravine. Most of the guests set off to climb the mountain Bide, while Gertrude, who had brought a volume of Tennyson with her, found a cosy nest among some rocks close to the water, and congratulated herself that her retreat, would not be discovered. . - . '? ' She. was doomed to disappointment, however. Her thoughts - had barely wandered into the channel on whose brink they had been hovering all day, when a sound of quick footsteps brought the colour to her cheek. It flashed across her that this might be Lionel's messenger, and she nerved herself for the inevitable interview. But no more formidable person than Captain Merton was making his way through the tangled undergrowth, and now stood before her, looking, she indignantly thought, rather ashamed of himself for disturbing her. ? V It was certainly true that for once in his life the gallant captain seemedt overpowered with timidity. He took a seat near her, without waiting to ask permission it is true, but not in his ordinary assured manner. He appeared, on the contrary, both shame faced and pre-occupied. When at last, however, he collected himself sufficiently to speak, his words amazed Gertrude ' infinitely more than his silence had done. 'I had better tell you at once, Miss Marriner,' he began, hesitatingly 'that — that^-in fact, I am in Lionel's Lindsay's confidence, and ' ? ? 'You?' interrupted Gertrude; 'you, of all people in the ?world, why should he choose you ?' ' Excuse me a moment,' said the captain, appearing to ignore the far from complimentary nature of this speech. 'The fact of my being related to Lindsay is the reason why I should assist you. I am unavoidably acquainted with .the cause of his father's objection to his marrying, and I— I — don|tfeel obliged to hinder Lionel's wishes in this respect. On the contrary, I don't see why he shouldn't be happy hi his own way ;. and — but it's of of no use talking of this now, Miss Marriner. :' We had better speak of what I came to tell you. I am truly sorry to put you to incon venience, but I fear you will have a long distance to ride. No carriage, we find, can be obtained to take you to Hawk's Rock, even if the road were fit for anything but a waggon.' 'That is where I am to go,' said Gertrude, speaking as in a dream ; the thought uppermost in her mind was, how changed the captain had grown since morning ! , He was, indeed, quite altered in manner ; a certain deference she had never noticed in him before, and a kind of pity, she ' fancied, were palpable in the tone he assumed towards her. All his conceit and arrogance were completely gone, and he looked fagged and anxious. He displayed also real delicacy of feeling in the concise way he delivered the directions with which Lionel had charged him. Gertrude was to start for home with the other equestrians, and was gradually to separate herself from them. When she was fairly out of sight she was to retrace the road until she met him— Captain Merton — who would conduct her to Lionel. He then intended joining the rest of the party before their ride was ' over, cutting across the country by a bridle-path. What was to follow must be left to circumstances, but he was bound by a solemn promise to divulge neither by word nor sign - what had taken place. Gertrude felt touched at his kindness, and, when he consi- . derately rose to leave her, she held out her hand with a pretty gesture of gratitude, and thanked him with tears in her 'eyes. ''By Jove,' muttered the captain to himself, as he picked his way through the brambles, ' it was a wrench, though, to give her /.''?.up to him, and I don't know that it was very safe either. Sup pose the mater were to write to her ladyship? Oh, nonsense ! ' She daren't do that. Well, anyhow, I'd risk a good deal to pay . them out for that scandalous trick they've played upon as fine a iellow as ever lived !' From which it will be perceived that Captain Merton, having (for the first time in his life) lent his aid to a 'shady' transac tion, was trying hard to make peace with his conscience— let us hope in vain. :