Chapter 67361284

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Chapter NumberNone
Chapter Title
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Full Date1880-06-12
Page Number4
Word Count4287
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)
Trove TitleLongstaff's Marriage
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©ates attd gkthhtz.


Forty years ago Hut traditional and ..v^Jnt^.! i»-^ii women which is notorjously die envy of tbeir f oreigii sisters, was not so firmly established is at the present hour ; yet it was sufficiently recognised tomakeit no scandal thatso pretty a giri as Diana Belfield should start for the grand tour of ]3urope nnder no more impnw^ig protection than that of her cousin and intimate friend, Miss Agatha Gosling. She had, from Ute European point of view, beauty enough to

make her euUapiiae perilous — Hie beauty foreshadowed in her name, which might have been given %er in prevision of her tall, light figure, ber nobly poised head, weighted with a coronal of annum braids, her bank quick glance and her rapid gliding step. She nsed often to walk about Ttth a big dog who had the habit of bqainding at her side and fewmMr Ins head against ber ontntjWa-hfd hand; an? she had, moreover, a trick of carrying her long parasol always folded, (far she -was not afraid of the sunshine), across her shoulder, in the fc**»'»» of a soldier's wmakrf on a —»»'*' -?-wcth eo^mpped, she looked wondeiniDy like that charming antique statue of the goddess of the chase which we «w™*w in various fepucss in half the mnsenms of tne world. Yon half expected to '**** a sandai-cAiod foot ?nth. this bead of the wakeful Imnbess she ?i*-y|»«? upon the old saOing vessel which was to bear her to the lands she had dreamed of. Behind her, with a great many shawls aod- «jIi l» In, 1 anit* her lTIJJe Lnisvuman, winx quite another .iimoTtii Agatha Gosling was not a. In anl J. but sbe was tfce most jodicioas sod mast devoted of companions. These two the young lady of her patrimony. Tie first it with Agatha, who had not a penny of her ««? II _' ? I ~«« *n -m«l~.« l!t+» «* ovd ; me near was so |—''*'*w^ x leccer ox credit upon a European banker. Hie cousins lad 'M*1''*'1 a i»lh«A—l friendship, — they ll^d determined to be «fl^«rt to each ottier, Ete the Ladies of Ijangollen. Only, their Uangotlen was to be compre hensive. They would tread (be pave ments of histDric cities and stand in the coloured ughtahafts of Gothic rattmjrals, Tjaywijar Jjn ^HW vy|p|»»g tJlTOflgh flHpWlttMll gacgesaml st among dark-eyed peasants fay BOBtahecB sen. Xt may seem angolar that a b»n£iiiUBMwia»mpf^fortMe3boolcLhM-e been left to seek tie supreme satisfaction of 12b in fnenddiip tempered by eight-seeing ; bat Diana heradf considered tliiB pastime no begEidy-Iteoi^ve. Thoo^ she nearer told it beraelf. her biographer may do so ; she had had, in vulgar r'^a'«». a hundred otters. To say that ebe had deebned then*, is to say too little; she had really scorned tiienL 'Hey had come from bonoarable and ?ai'—rJj men, and ft was not havmtoon in themselves that die disreliBhed ; it was simply the idea of many ing. Sbe found it inEopportaUe : a fact which corapleiesheraiialo^ii^ttemytiiicdirinitj' to Whom I have lifcptiw. hen She was passaon atfjly fiercely virginal ; fl»^ in the *d-rr'cfr*-gk'1''g g^ay eye which provoked men to admire, there was a certain silvery ray which forbade them to hope. The Cabled Diana took a fancy to a beautiful shepherd, bat the zeal one bad not yet found, sleeping or wakiog, her Endyarion. *pi«^lna to thiB defensive eyebeam, the dan gerous Bide of oar heroine's enterprise was Blow to define ituM ; thanks, too, to the ei qnisiie decency of her companion. Agatha Gosling had an almost Quakerish purity and dignity ; a bristling dragon conld not hare been a better safeguard than H»s glossy, gray breasted dove. Money, too. is a protection, and Diana had enough to purchase privacy. Shfi tzaveHed extensively, and Baw all the churches and pictnrea, the castles and cottages fryfrHJpH in the list 'which had been drawn op by the two friends in evening talks, at home, between two wax candles* In the evening they used to read aloud to each other from ' Corinne ' and 'Childe Harold,' and they kept a diary in common, at which they 'collaborated,' like French playwrights, and which was studded with quotations from the authors I have mentioned. This lasted a yea-, at the end of which they found themselves a trifle weary. A snug posting-carriage was a flfJigfttfnl habitation, bat looking at iwHea of pictures was very fatiguing to the back. Buying sonvemxs and trinkets nnder foreign arcades was a most absorbing occupation ; bat inns were dreadfully apt to be draughty, and bottles of hot water, for application to the feet had a disagreeable way of growing lukewarm. For these and other reasons our heroines determined to take a winter's rest, and for this purpose they betook thonselves to the charming town of Nice, which was then but in the infancy of Came. It was simply one of the hundred hamlfta of the Emera,— a place where the bine waves broke on an almost empty strand, and the olive trees sprouted at the doors of tie .*fti'. In those days Kibe was TfrJiaii and the 'Promenade des Anglais19 4*Ti«tefl only in an embrysnic form. Exist, however, it did. practically, and British invalids, in moderate nnmbers, might have been seen taking the January sunshine be neaiah **»n-\im umbrellas, before the many twJiiHnig sea. Our yoang tmtftiffwiii quietly took Oeir place in this harmless society. They drove along the coast, through Hie strange, dark, huddled fishing-villages, and they rode on donkeys among Hie bosky hills. They painted in water-colours and hired a piano; they sabscribed to Ihe cirenlating library and took learns in the language of Sn-rio PeEco from an old lady wniray fine eyes, who wote an enormonB brooch of cracked malachite, and gave herself out as the widow of a Roman exile. They used to go and at bjr file sea, each provided with a volume bnmtliecinadating

library; but (hey never oM much with their books. 13ie anashme made tin page too aazding, mn* tile jj^rtI** who «4»«n*»J i*p and down before ntem were more entertain ing than Die ladies and Gentlemen m uie novels. They looked at diem constantly burn under their ?mbraDas ; they leaned to knowthemanbysKht Many of their fellow- suiuirijxcSp But that women enjoy tne exercise of pifr, I dt«dd have and tihat these tit several of them, however, oar friends took a personal interest ; they watched tiiem from day to day ; they noticed their changing coitmr ; tiiey ***** their ill**— **HHit ?who was p.Hftiiig better and who ill £r^^''S worse. They did Iitfe, however, in the way of Minnpfagu people are no crsn talkers, ana puffy beeanee tins was ab- TSana'a disposi tion. She said to her friend that they bad not come to Europe to pay morning-Galls ; Uiey had left their best bcamete aoS card eases behind them. At the bottom of her reserve was the apprehension Oat she should be 'admired;' which was not fatuity, but smmlv *'* inCeicnce *»ytJ himih nimiBnf.« luMa . ti«'iipnrft, She had seen m Hurape, Eof file nist ^j'***- oertam bxnd inpnj — pQusfaed some fear that one of those gendemeu might approach tier unourii some *i****dniU bleach j* , Af»rfiix 'Godinv wltn tiaji reasons tor being on tse obubusve, would bsve. been giad to extend Uk circle of ber intimacy, and would even have consented to put on a best bonnet for the purpose- But she had to small talk, on a bench before tin sea, with, two or three En^ish ladies of tne botanizing cUse; jovial DUJe spjnsten who wore etoot botAs. cannttets and 'ndioB,' and in pnrsnit of wayside flowers scrambled interlaces where Vie- nntr^iii ^i^-n mr^l artkaes ku un ainpromisingb/ vadble. For -tte rest, Agatfaa r»mlwitni herseK wiUi sninnhig Bnppositiaos about Hie people she never spoketo. She framed * great deal of hypothetic gossip, uueutBd toocaes and ezpunabons,.— ^Bsccally companion took no part in 'e^^» ^aoniess devisings, except to Sen to them with an indolent smne. She seldom honoured her fellow-mortals with finding apologies for them, and a they wished her to read their history, they must write it out in the largest letters. There was one person at 19iee npon whose biography, u it had oeen utd before her in tins bshioo/«bepnl)*Uy vocUfcare bestowed a ?.j-itriln wiMMnt of mMrf****. ^gM3' had noticed tihe gentleman first; or *gad'. ?* least, had first spoken of him. He was young dulged in a good deal of wondering as to whether or no he belonged to the invalid categorr. She preferred to believe that one of his lungs was 'affected'; it certainly made him more interesting. He used to BtroQiboot by hmiselfaiMl aft fora IfKig time in the eon. wifli a book peeping out of fab pocket. This book he never opened ; he was always staring at tie sea. I eay always, but my phtase demands an ftinnff^'*** modification ; he looked at the sea whenever he was not looking at Diana BeJfield. He was tiD and fair, tJight, and as Ap^f* Gosling said, aristocratic4ooking. lie dressed with a certain cardes ^gganay-, which Agafiia deemed pktaresqne ; ebs dedared one day that he reminded her of a love-sick prince. She laaawmri eventnally bom one of the botanizing spinsters that he was not Fng.wih genUeman, Mr. Eeginald Longsfaff. There remained the posBlbaiiy that he was love-sick ; but this point conld not be so easily settled. Agatha's informant had assured her, however, that if they were not princes, the Longstafis, who came from a part of frfr** coonfay in which she had. visited, ami owned great Ttatffi thexc, had a pedigree which many princes might envy. It was one of the oldest and the best of English names ; they were one of the innmnerable nntitied country families who held their heads as high as the highest. This poor Ml r^ngpt^fF was a beautiful specimen of a young FwgUwli gentleman ; he looked so gentle, yet so brave ; so modest, yet so cultivated ! The ladies spoke of him habitually as 'poor' Mr. Longstan, for they noc took for granted there was somettung the matter with 'him, At last Agath*. Gosling discovered what it was, and made a solemn proclamation of the *kwtip. The wpu^fff with poor AlV, Longstaff was simply that he was in lore with Diana ! It was certainly nat^i**i*-1 to suppose he was in love with Gome one, and, as Apat*i* said, it conld not possibly be with herself. Mr. LongstarT was pale, with, crumpled locks ; he never spoke to any one; he was evidently preoccupied, and his nnld, *?a«ii^ face was a sufficient proof that the weight on his heart was not a bad ^?^?j*'-^ What could it be, tfifrij but an unreq nittsed passion ? It was. however, equally pertinent to enquire why Mx. Mr. Longstaff took no steps to bring about a reqattaL ** Why in the world does he not ask to be introduced to youf* Ac***1* Gosling de manded of her companion. Diana replied, quite without eagerness, tftat it was plainly twvMinr he had nothing to say to her, and sbe declared with a trifle more *»wiphMda |J?*t ih? was incapable of farmghtng she thought they had gossiped enough about the poor man, and that if by any chance he should have-the bad taste to speak to them, she ehould certainly go away and leave him alone with UiBsGosW It w faoe, howover, that at an earlier period, she ballet Call the remark that he was quite the most 'dns- ringniwhed' person at Kice; sad afterward, though she was never the fin* person to aUnde to mm, she had more Chan once let her T'ili|flinifni !????'— tile ***—'—» for sosne tone wfthout reminding her of to fntffity. The sue person to whom Mr. longshdF wac

observed fa speak was an elderly man of in fte^ost defential manner, sad whom A~tha Gosling supposed to be Ins servant. This individual was apparently an ttaban ; he had an obsequious attitude, a pair of grizded whiskers, an humuating sank He seemed to came to Mr. Longsfaff for arden ; presenUy he went away to esBente them, and ApJha notnsd that on refiring, he always imiirg*' feo P' '^ front of net ~-£,*i~, £. whom te filed his respectful bnt ppnrtnting gaze. 'He knoWB the secret,* she always said, w3h gentle jocose ness; 'he knows what is the matter with his master ana be wants too see whether he approves of vaa. Old servants never want their masters to many, sad I think this worthy man is rather aCraid of you. At any rate, tte way he stsres at you tdk the whole -Every one stares at msT said Mania wearily. ' A cat may loot at a king.' As OS weeks went by, Agatha Gosling onute HMuiis* up iier iwiiw vtut ft wot she. Longstaffs langs. The poor young man's TJJ 1 miTs ? * «_« mi*- ??Tail an M.I mvmnti cnararaicr was now bkh wmnni; he could hardly hold up his head or drag «ie one loot aBer the ofiier; hb aenrnt was aiwayu ~ near t&m 'to give bxm an m or to band trim an eataa overcoat Ko one, indeed, knew wnb ctrtamtj that be wajeonsamptve ; bnt Agatha agreed with the lady who had* given the infomjaBoo about his pedigree, ftat tins act was in itself extremely snspicions; for. as the little Eegbbwomu fosaUy remarked, anten he were 31, whi should lie snake such a ttiyatpry of it? Coosuinption declaring itself in a young man ox xamiiy ami nnnne was pazncniaiiy sawi ; ench people had often diplomatic Rsaons tor pretending to enjoy rrrfllfnt bealth. U tept the legacy-bnnten and the fanagry neit-ofiin from worrying Stem to death. Agatha observed that this poor seutiemaris last bouts seemed Gfcely to be oiny too body Sk felt very mncn like oftering to nine him ; fior, being no relation, ae«oaHnot accBseber of mercenary motives, rrom time to time he got up from file bench where ne habitually sat, and strolled slowly past the two friends. Every time that he came near them, Agatha bad* singular feeEng,— ? csnvidaen tbat he was now raafly gciog to speak to tizem, in tones of the most solemn courtesy. She could not taney him speaking otherwise. He began at a distance, by fixing bis grave, eoft ^yeB -kl TSiaf*^ and, as Ibb advanoed, yvn would have said that be was coming etni^it Bot as be drew nearer fan inlrHltiiwn seemed to fatter; hestraOedmore slowly, he looked away at the sea, and be passed in front of her without having the courage to let his eyes vestnponner T%i*n n'T- ninn H frirfr *i***' in the same fashion, sank down noon his batch, fatigued apparently by bis annfaee etmu, and Mi into a aaejaaeboly reverie. To ammeiaie these small mddentB inhis deportmentistogive it a melodramatac cast which it was Carfmm possesring; Mnrtting in his Banner sand it tnm ?anesiadawF dC impflrtinffiipp, 4nd it say be affirmed that not a single idler on the sunny shoes mrpertrH his speechless 'attentions.9' 'I wonder why it doesn't annoy as more Oof he should task at us so nmch,' said Agatha Gosling one day. -That whs should look at a-r asked Diana, not at all affectedly. *£***** fixed her eyes for a mameut on her friend, and then saJdeenfly .- 'It. LongstaC Sow, don't eay 'Who is Mr. Longtaafi?' she added. 'I have got to learn, reauyBn said Diana, that the person yon appear to mean, does lookatm. I have never caught him in the act' ' That is because whenever you turn yonr eyes towaros him he looks away. He is afraid to meet them. But I heed him.' These words were exchanged one day as the two friends sat as usual before the twmkline sea ; and, beyond diem as nsoal, lounged Reginald Loogstaff. Diana bent her head faintly forward and glanned toward him. He was looting full at her and their eyes met, apparently for the first time. Diana dropped her own npon her book again, and then, after a silence of ;some moments, 'It does annoy me,' she said. Presently she added that ehe would go home and write a hitter, and, tiiough she had never taken a step in Europe without having Agg**m by ber side, SCijbs Goding now allowed her to depart unattended ' Yon won't mind going alone?* Agatha had had asked. **B is bnt three minutes, you know.' Diana replied that she preferred to go alone, and she moved away, with her parasol over her shoulder. *^^ Agatha Gosling had a particular reason for this rupture of their maidenly custom. She felt a strong conviction tiiat if she were left alone, Hr. Longstaff would come and speak to her and say sometjung very important, and she deferred to this eanviction without die sense of doing anything immodest There was something solemn about it; it was.a sort of presentiment ; but it did not frighten her ; it only made her fee? very kind and apprecia tive. It is true that when at the end of ten minutes (they had seemed rather long), she saw him rise from his seat and slowly come toward her, she was conscions of a certain trepidation. Mr. longstaff drew near; at last, he was dose toiler; be stopped and stood looking at her. She had averted her head, so as not to appear to expect 4am; but now she looked round again, and he very ^llay Inks the Gberty of sitting down?' he asked. Agatha bowed in ?oeuoe, and, to make room for him, moved a bine shawl of Distu^s, which was lying on the bench ; he slowly sank into the place and then said very 'Il^evaibiredtospeaktoyoubecaDsel tnmMsd and he was exbneosdy Dde, ffis eyes, which Agatha. tfaesgU nty isiniaoBe,

had a remarkable expression. -I sm afaid yoT are {D,' ahe said, wiUi great kindness. 'I have often noticed you sndnhaedyou.' ?jl thought you did a little,' the swag man answered. 'That is why rmade opmymhld to speak to yon.1' 'Ton an setting werse,' asal Agatha, 'Yob, I «m getting worse ; I am dying. I am perfectly cansaous of it ; I have Bo ainsrai I am weaker every day; I a$all last but a few weeks.' This was said Toy simply ; sadly tat sot angabrioeriy. BrtAgatta felt almost jiM-strkken; fine stacred m ber heart a delicate sense of sister-booS with this beatrtHul young man who sat there and ta&ed this stdmuamvely of death. «C«n nothing be doner ehe said. Be shook Ins hod ana smned a little. 'Xfothing-nottotryandget what pleasure I* i:»tl lit -* 1'Ca. *» ? ThoagfaAe smiled KbeMt Oat be was tow sedcmsja^lu:!^ indeed, deeply agttateu, A and trying to master his emotion. . T' 'I am afraid you «et very littfe pleasure,' ' Agatha rejoined. 'YimeeemeaoiireWslaoer' 'I am entirely alone. I have no ?family,— no reuriiong. Ism ateaJntdyadone.' 'You ought to have spoken to sV she He had sat looting at her; he bad fafan off his lut ; he was slowly gHSsnig Sub naiin on fan forehead. ' YnuBoeldo— «t lastf 'You wanted to before?' 'Very often.'' 'I thought so!' said Agatha, with a candor whichWSritaafa. aigm^T^ 'Botlcooldn^aaallar. LongataE. -I 'ISorrBhTknew it Agatha was bUabha; a KtUe; for, to the ear, simply, bis words implied that it was to beTonjy he wuuU -mna! fortfaepleasilrefaehadeoveted. Bat the neat instant she bad become roarin— flat what he meant mi simply tint he admired her companion so much But he ana afraid of her, anl that, daring to speak to hemeU, he thought her a orach smaller ana ks interesting parsonage. Her Unah waaae diately faded; for there was no rmrnfaiBTnV to keep the coIobt in ber cheek, and tfaare was no irwpfrhneat sliQ vbui she pcreelvefl that, though her neighbour was looking fOaagU at her. with hi inspired, expanse! eyea, he was Qihikmg too much of Kana to have noticed tins litUe pUy tg eonfu ' Yes, its very true,' she said. 'ttiatBs first time my Wend has left me.' 'Shei«ra3rbeaiitiful,'saidMr. Long. '^ryJteantifBl,— and ms cood as sue is 'Yes, yea,' he rejoined sdamaiy. 'I amsnreot that I hum it -' 'T .know it even better than van,' sail Agatha, mining a little. 'Hen yoo will have all the more patience wifli what I want tossy to you. It k very ?teange; it will make yon ttrink at finst that I am perhaps out of my mind. Bat I am not; I am thoroughly reasonable. Yon win see.' Then he paused a moment; Us voice had begen to fremHe again. 'I know what yoa are e°ing to say,' saat Agatha, very gently. ' You sis in love with, my friend.' Mr. aVsngstaff gave her a look of devoted gratitude; 1m lifted np the edge of the hue shawl, which he bad often seen Diana wear, and pressed it to has line. ''I am extremely grateful T he ftfiainwn. ' Yon don't think me crary, then r 'B you are crazy, there have been a great many wminMw -' said Agatha. 'Of course there have been a great many. I said that to myself, and it has helped me. They have gained nothing but tin jfcasure of their love, and I therefore, in gaining nothing and having nothing, am not worse offttaatSe rest. But tb«y bad more than I, hadnt they? You see I have had absolutely nothing-not even a, glance,' he went on. 'I have never seen her look at me. I have sot only never spoken to her, but I have never been near enough to apeak to her. This is all I have ever bad,— to lay my hand on something she worn! and yet for the past montii I hare thought other night and day. Sitting over there, a hundred rods away, simply because she was Bitting in this place, in «w- Mm^miirfjinfi looking out on flu same Bea; Oat was happiness enough for me. lam dying, bot tor the last five weeks that has kept me alive. It was for that I got np every day and cams out here; but for that I should have staid at home and never have got np again. I have never sought to be presented to her, becamel didn't wish to trouble her for nothing. It seemed to me it would be an finn»«-lM»m^ to tell her of my admiration, I have nothing to Hk ofter her,— I am but the shadow of a living ^' man, and if I were to say to her, * Madam, I love you,' sbe could only answer, 'Well, sir. what then? Nothing— nothuu! ! To speak to her of what I f eU seemed only to openHa lid of a grave in her face. Itwasmoredeficato not to do that ; so I kept my ?*-*--— and Slid nothing. Even this, as I say, has bean a happiness, Jbut it has been a happiness that has tired me out. This is tfaelast of it I must $£ve np and make an end!' And he eSm^-SSX-eU^ee.-'1 -'?''- Agatha had always heard of ': . at fast sight; she had heard of it in lKjums and romances, but sbe had never been so near it as this. It seemed to her most beautiful, ana sbe believed in it devoutly. It made Mr* longstaff brilliantly interesting; it cast a glory over the details of his face and person, and tbeoUadinginflectians of ms voice. The lHtls English ladies had been right ; be was certainly a perfect fjnillmnii She could tmst him. 'Perhaps if von stay at home nwhue yon wfflp*tatter/«he««4e-«)thrnelr. Bartons seemed to fans saavm mffioation

that she accepted the propriety and natural ness of his passion that he put oat his band and tor an instant Uid it on her on. 'I knew you were reasonable— I knew I could talk to job. Bat I shall not get well. AUttedodOTsayso, aadlbelieveUwn. O tte pimionstr desire to get veil Ear m nartmlsr purpose could work * cure a iiinrtal disease, I should have aeen the nincle tmamb n- To get well and Uraari^toepemktoyour friend-that was my passSmsteoSre. But 1 am worse dun everj lumvery weakandlshallnot be abfa- to coax oat any more. It seemed to me to te, that liUu never n you ip-, and j3 I mate! » modi to be aole to «dl you lam ! tit uasde me ny unhappy. What a wnnaetfBl chance it is tint she went away ! taut begrxtdnl; B heaven doesn't grant my amtfu^rfecs.iteranmin^eu^oaes. Ibex m to nnrlir me this service. TeU her what EhaeetoUyou. Botmnr— nottailamMoe V Don't trouble her with it wbfle I am mBfe. (Vase now me that Bat when I am dead a win aeem km importunate, ham then you can speak of me in the pa**. Itwfll be uke a «tory. My servant wfll came and Wl yoo_« Then say to her— 'You «nb la. thought, and it waa Us laat wish Oat yon should know if' He slowly got £p and pat dot fa. haad; tus servant, wh. lad been ?landing at a distance, name forward with Omamau aolomrity, at 3 it woe pat of hb Sto adapt las deportment tothetoneaf master's conversation. Agatha Coating the young man's hand and lie Rood and lookedatteramomeatlsugec. She, too, bad own to bat feet ; die « muck imanl 'Sou won* tell ker sdW ? f' he uijd tilrwlindr. She snook her head. '4ud then »uu HA tall her, tmtkbdh/r She Mended, hetiuaaidherhaad.anatfaea,hawag raisethisfaat, he took his eernafe arm uu3 siawty moved away.— &rioaerV- JfrasVj. -IV *- tnuaufai sea mac)