Chapter 65654556

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Chapter NumberX
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Full Date1891-07-24
Page Number4
Word Count2024
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleFitzroy City Press (Vic. : 1881 - 1920)
Trove TitleThe Rival Claimants
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1~oveltI t. The Riial Claimants. 4ut or of " Tie Sundered AHTnl49," "the Bailh fs Scrme,'" " Tie Double Li/f," " :. CHAPTER X. IUOAusarrYI'?a DEM?Ds. The guardians of the young Lady of Kildare remained for an hour or more in close conversation with Mr. Wedburn, Sir IRussel's lawyer, but the result of their private conference differed in no way front the other. The three gentlemen were equally convinced of the justice of Redmond Kildare'sclaims, but determined to proceedwiththe investigation as agreed upon, but merely for form's sake.- The proofs which the new earl had submitted in support of his claims were deemed in controvertible. The two guardianewere united in think Ing Nora's engagement to Lord O'Neil a -ild folly, from the consummation of vhich the girl must be rescued, at what ever cost. Sir Russel, grism and stern as lie was. was honest to the core, and he be lieved Nora would thank hint at some future day for preventing the sacrifice of herself to a man who was not only psmr, but burdened with debts. Michael Kil dare expressed a similar sentiment. The two also agreed that a marriage with Red nond Kildare was desirable for the Lady Nora, and resolved to use all their in luence and authority to further such alli Mce. These views the guardians imparted to Ie young heiress in a private interview, eld with herin thepretty sea-parlor after heir own conference was ended. They hen repeated their promise that she should ttt be'disturbed in her possession of she astle for the next fortnight, at the end of ,rhich period they would return, hoping to. .tear that she had decided to accept her' sew suitor. Subsequently Mr. Michael Kildare saw his young kinswoman alone, and in broken tones assured her of his love and sym pathy, and of his care and proteetibn in_ him in her'storm of sorrows as to a firm support. "1I have no reason to complain, Michael,'l she said, smiling up at'him through her tears.. "If I have lost a fortune. I have learned how true and steadfi:t are my friends. You and Kath leen are 'friends in need,' and . 'friends ind,?ed-l' " Michael. Kildare, kissed her sweet browvs softly and tenderly, as the seal of his promises of devotion. " You know how clasmish I am, Nora I" he said. ." The old saying's true : 'Blood is thicker than water.' And so it's througih thick and thin I'll stick to you, 'ty darling, my Lady Nora. But I toldl wish that you would look kindly on 'te3oungcarl. He has a good heart, sI het'll slake you a happy and a rich" But Ndra shook her little head wil tily, while her young face grew grave and almost sterni in its expression. "Think it over during the next two .ek:. You may change your mind, -ra. ,T . uonot bother you .now while ,ttrouale is new to you." tie kept his wird, saying not another ,.rd about 'lndmond Kildare, or the s-ired marriage. t'he guests remained to dinner, which a sersed at five o'clock. D:rectly after rimer their lorset were brought to the .,,,r, andl therr mounted and rude awray v their jouniey to Dlunley. whence they ute to prcreetd by rail to tlelfast. Itedmtond Ksldare made onste of the ; atrty, and Kildare Castle was left to the Ipeace andquietness usually enveloped The step-sisters drew a great breath of relief when they found themselves once store alone. They watched the deparrtiug htrtemten uritil they, had disappetred down the elm-arcled aventue, and they then tied on their brs;ad-brinmmed hats and went out upon the rocks, where they remained a long time in conversation and reverie. The sun was setting at last when they re-entered thb castle. They went up to the small sca-parlor and sat upon the balcony, and watched the lurid uolg hot.? the, asnsettscpo the wraves wbhile .;tey trove to plan their future. - They were thus engaged when old: Sisane intruded. upon their asolitude.. bearing a visitor's card upon a small salver " A. gontlemin to see the Lady Kathleen," he said, presenting to her the card. The Lady Kathleen's face changed na she took up the bit of pasteboard. It bore upon its surface, written in a bold and regular'hand, the name'of her deadly foe -hhassantync ! "' You may show the gentleman up, Shane," she said, calmly. "Stay I Take him into the drawing-room-" At this juncture the door was pushed open widely,. and the visitor stood re vealed on the threshold. 'Pardon my boldness," he said, soming forward bowing and smiling. "" You can excuse my impatience, I know, Kathleen." He fixed his bold gase on Lady Nora. The Lady Kathleen made a gesture to Shans to withdraw, and the old servitor hbsyed. Whioth? Whe?a the, How the, where the, Did yge tiast eplendld tttiag euitt W. a ek.t l-ye ,lab-M. at

' Andthis is my youngetep;siaterin. law, I suppose "r exclaimed Basesanyne, his gaze deepening into admiration as he surveyed the lovely, saucy little face. "She makes you look to your laurels, does she not, my proud Kathleen. Be so good as to introduce me ?" "Nora, darling," said Lady Kathleen, "be kind enough to leave us. This man is no associate for you." Bassantyne scowled like a demon, but Nora, paying no heed to him, went out into the corridor, taking care, however, to remain within call, though beyond ear. shot of ordinary conversation. "So I am not good enough to be intro duced to my wife's step-sister!" ejacu lated Bausantyne, insolently. "Ah, well, go your own gait, Kathleep. ' It's a lung lane thathas no turn,' and I'll be esen with you yet." ' What do you want hereo" demanded the Lady Kathleen, her blue eyes flashing. "Ah, 'now you are your old lovely self I" exclaimed Baasantyne, flinging himself indolently into a chair. "'Do 1 .need an excuse for coming to see my own wife 1 Kathleen, I love you a thousand fold more than I did in the old days. Your scornful, disdainful air is just what is needed to give life and spirit to your blonde beauty. What a dash I could make at the German baths with you at my side I Your beauty would bewilder men so that I could easily win from them their fortunes:' " You are still a gambler, then 1" asked the Lady Kathleen, scornfully. '"Yes, I am a soldier of fortune, and ithe jade is fickle, you know. She don't always smile: 'on - her devotees, and one day I'm rich and the next I'm poor, and so runs the world away. Heigho I" "4But you told me last evening that you were rich I" " Did I ? I must have been drawing on the future, or possibly I meant to imply that a man with such a wife as you is rich. But, pecuniarily and presently, I im not overburdened with money." " But you would sell yourself for it as readily asn ever, I suppose ?" "How wall you know me l Yet I could desire a greater delicacy of expres sion, Kathleen. Anything that 1 have or am which is marketable, I should be glad toconvert into money." "No doubt. And besides being a gambler, what are you ?" "Anything you choose," said Bassan tyne, airily. "I leerned a variety of trades out in Australia-" "To which you were sent for twenty years as a punishment for counterfeiting I You were gone but seven years. How came you to return before the expiration of your term of sentence 1" "I ran away. I wrote an obituary notice of myself, last year, and had it put in a Melbourne paper, and sent to you. I fancied it might please you and the rest of my friends. I was hired out to a farmer as his servant, and managed to escape into the bush with a confederate, and some months later we made our way to the coast, found at a small port an English trading vessel that was short of hands, and hired out on board of her. We worked our passage back to England. You notice I wear a long beard, and have darkened my skin. They make suSicient disguise, I think I" " They greatly change your appear ancel'" " I thouglt so, and it is necessary they should. The police are looking for me in England, so I'm not safe there. You see, before I left my 'master' in Aus tralia I took the precaution to help myself to money out of his hoards. I lost a good deal of it at cards in London, while I was lookin- for you. I had hard work to find you-" "? You 'must have.jad, onsiderinxcjh., sobit people t' whtom you addreased your inquiries," said Lady Kathleen, with haughty scorn. "Gambler, counter feiter and runaway convict-" "And husband of proud Lady Kath' leen Connor I" "I wonder how you dare' tell me all your story-lhow you dare confess to me thatthe police are looking foryou I How do you know that .I shall not betray you r" " "You dare not ! I don't trust to your love, but I do trust to your pride.' If I am ever arrested, I shall proclaim myself yourhliuband." The Lady Kathlesn's face fell. "What has become of your con federate I" she asked. "He may betray you." "' Not so. I never lose sight of him. Besides, he is in equal danger. " The police iwant him also.. He is at present acting as my vnlet over at Ballycastle. He's a rough fellow-not a gentleman like me." "So you are agentleman I The infor-' mation surprises me!" exclaimed Lady Kathleen, ironically. "I didn't know a man could be a. gambler, a counter feiter, a convict, and a gentleman all at once!" Bassantyne' aswart cheek flushed. " I suppose Lord Tresham is your ideal of a gentleman," he sneered. " He's in a fine frenzy, is his lordship.' lie's been visiting these months at Glen O'Neil, I hear, and counter.eitinga great friendshlip for Wild Larry, as they call the beggarly young lord, as a cover to his courtship of you ; and to-day, no doubt, he's of touseo the lawyers. Much good will they do him." •' We don't discuss Lord Tresham-" " aut we will, if I choose' to'l" 'inter rupted Bassantyne, scowling. "I:t I wisk to talk of my wife's lovers, I shall do so l" The Lady Kathleen's face blanched. "That is all over," she said. " Flres ham may'be a friend, lut no longer a lover- "'Unless the police will be kind enough to nab me and return me to Australia.s'. interposed Ilaseantyne, grimly. '"~But -to soxeeto buainess,-I and my friend want"' shelter and' hiding. There's no knowing at what misiuto the police will. get on our track. I want you to receire me at Kildare Castle as your guest. No one would look for two escaped convicts in thisplace." "It'simpossibloe I I can stay hero but a fortnight myself. A rival claimant has arisen, wh, will take the Kiildare esa tates from the Lady Nora.' " When' I What is she to do?"' '" I shall provide for her.. When Red mond Kildare corues into possession here, h'ora will leave. I shall take her to my own house, unless her guardians should refuse-" "Ay, yes ! Your 'own house!' What place so fitting a refuge for your fugitive husband ) I know your old house, Kiath leen, and I must go there as your hus band i In that way I shall escape all discoveryl Our marriage must be pro claimed. The name of Bassantyne has never been-dragged into my troubles. In fact, I haven t used it in over ten years. It oas only chance revesaled it to you, Kathleen, as you remember. Bas" sntyne is an honest, respectable name, and it wont hurt you to wear it. I'll have the notice of our marriege in the Belfast papers as soon as possible. (To be Confinucd.)