Chapter 70633527

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1896-12-19
Page Number38
Word Count1429
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)
Trove TitleHis Happiest Christmas
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Summer bad passed, autumn bad merged into winter, the Grande Rue at VigBerott waa dangeroa* to pedestrians beoause of the snow that had Burdened upon it. It ni a queer little street ; in shops were poor and of a nondescript order, the eonf eotionen being of conns the most enticing. Two little girls and a hoy pressed their {sea against the glass, easing longingly at pink cakes, pinnacle in Form ud fill of ana, bat glancing over their ?tuwUjn fmm limA tn (jiM La mnMt thj*

tall KngBshnrn who stood hah;'J tiiera. A strasfDT in Tjgnaron daring Ibe winter was indeed a rarity. In the summer then were many visitors, for VTgneron was a pict uresque village. It lay in a valley ; and the hills arumd, now white with auow, were sot without attraction for the tourist; a mile off the sea stretched fair and- Hoe. Bat now the weather was aereve, and Stephen Fallarloii. fresh from hia journey, shivered ia. spite of his fur-lined coat He waioksd. tbe *^*fWrPB jAm.i tJTjnp umI smiling, — as they shared Urn efeocolato they had pnrebmMd, asd envied them. «It kakaauso ctuls to make the yaang Iiimj.' 4» ispased. That «? was not hasp; j.-* ' „, sTfcsssrHyT* — flekad little Vlilslif| ' tbs Vnmak language, yet be thirsted for iafnsnlin F«U of 'unin boata,* stmmti taa shaa. sun istarrupdng aftow«-«s««»Jhon tbepartofta-propnerar, not a word of which he understood. Be brcs eh t out the acquired phrase. On demean. Mademoiselle U Croix. Hii valnble informant favoured him with much iatdrmation. He gathered more from her gestures thu her worde, that the name was unknown to her, and turn forlornly into the street again. He paused at the Post Office. Fortune favoured bim here ; the pro prietor could speak Knglinh. '?There U do Mademoiselle La Choix in ftU Tigneraa,' he affirmed with decision. * v^^**iI Uonsienr decdves himself.' Monsieur did not deceive himself, but it was jost probable that be might be deceived. He wandered up and down the street, knocking at every door ; his heart sank, his feet were weary, hie head was spinning, ' ut he bad no mind to give up his search He would rest for a while to gather fresh Btreogth. But where? 'Is that the only inn?' heasked somewhat enpercUiooslv- Tea, that was the inn. ' La Maim Rouge' stoodalittle way back from the hieh-nsd ; the wintry son shone upon smear less windows, the doorstep wm worn but well ?crabbed. Stephen PuUerton entered and was greeted by a silvery haired dame, whom he addressed laboriously in her native tongue. '* Moasieur need not give himself so much trouttle,' she said '1 can speak some English.' ' Tbx Saints be praised,' he replied. Monsieur wu welcome, the best room was at bis service. Be followed his landlady up stairs, and in reply to her inquiries gave her m understand that the simplest fare would content him. A cheerful fire burned in the grate, he drew the armchair close to it, and and held oat hia hands close too the bla7e. He was glad to be left alone, to think his own thongnts, to lay a trap. To catch what 1 A suubewn surely. What else was the girl who bad bewitched him? Ee lecatled her mis chevious smile, her merry ways, the swift torn of ber head, tie coquettish uplifting of the fringed lids. He would search erery house in Vigneron until he found her, and failing he would search the whole world. He would not he baffled. Banger and fatigue were alike for gotten in the strength of his desite. Suddenly he waa routed by the sound of a light footfall a v ice fell on his ears and caused him to spring to bis feet. **Tbe dinner id ready, will Monsieur please u- dttte here or below?' 'Justine ff* cried 6tephen Fullerton, in an arony of excitement. She stood before him in the dim light her, .Lead lowered. ?? Justine '.' be cried again. ' Monsieur FuHertnn 1 And here,' die — _ eaid, «afily- ' To what ate we inilfhlwi fur this ** There was pride fa her look ; she lost not .an iota at dignity, in spite of her simple attire ond'her luujble environment.

' WQl you not come a little nearer?' said Fullerton. ' I have travelled far ; will you allow me to tell you the object of my jonrney.' 44 It cannot concern me. Monsieur. ' ** It eoncerue yon, and yon alone. Justine, why did yon leave England so suddsnlv. Why did you give up the situation which you said was so good and comfortable 1' He was qnotxng her own words. She smiled, freely. 'For excellent reasons,' she said; 'bat yon — you were very kind to me. ? I was Borry not to say good-bye. You did show me that I meat not talk slang. I have never ?aid good-night ' since,, nor ' Let it slide !' nor *? Great snake* I' nor anything of which yon wonld disapprove. It was the gentleman who come here in the summer who taught me : it was in fun. I suppose. They did make pictures of Vagneron, and were always merry. I did wait on them, as was my dnty idnpp my mother is an anbergistc** Her eyes were moist and shining. ' I lore her dearly,' she Sdid ; '' It was for ber sake I went to England ; we have been poor since my father died.' ' He was an officer.** ** A common soldier only 1 Yon understand now how false I have been. Bat my mother prayed me to go ; she loved my father and married him, fant she was well-born. And as I grew older, and all said that I waB beantt foT'— her blushes aune and went— 'die did not like to hear the gentlemen joke with me and pay me bo many compliments. And we saw Mrs. GalbraUh's advertisement, and— you know the rest. You may well despise 'Justine!' he cried; 'I have heard your confession ; listen to mine. I love yon as. man never loved woman before,' ' Yon insult me !** she cried. ' Yon are the wffmnfM-Ki husband of Mademoiselle Lilian.' ' JklavdemoueQe T41«»« will have none of me j she has riven me to understand that she pre fers your friend, .Forrester.' ' Monsieur Forrester is no friend of mine. He stayed here in the Hummer ; he recognised me ; he told me he would diidoae my secret. It waa for that cause that I fled.' ' He was oot true to bis word then, dear child ; he held bis peace. Had he spoken he would have spared me a weary search.' She hardly seemed to hear his words, her velvety eyes were fixed on his face, in her em rang tbe glad news. *' I love you as man never loved woman before.'

'It- is like a happy dream,' she cried. ' Bat yoa cannot marry me. I am an inn* keeper's daughter. Think of that ; I have been false before. I must be true now. You moat go back, dear Stephen.0 ** I will not. I spend my Christmas here at the Maiaoo Rouge. Are there no Torkeys in France! Will Madame La Croix refuse to entertain her future son-in-law ?' She hid her face on his shoulder. ' Alas ! there again I was false,' sbe cried. ' There 18 no Madame La Croix. Our name UDuvaL' ' What of that ? Your will change youn shortly, sweetheart There is nothing to He folded her in his .anna and the words his fond lips uttered were to sacred for any ears bnt ber own. ' £ most go to my mother. Monsieur Fuller tan,1' she said, at last. ' Do not keep me a prisoner.' Still he held ber captive. ' There is yet one confession that yoa must make,' he urged. ' Say, ' I love you, Stephen.'* She did so ^hesitatingly, and it was not until Madame Dnval stood on the threshold that Stephen Fullerton awoke to the recollec tion that be bad not dined. Yet he will tell you even now that he never enjoyed a meal bo much in his life as that of which be partook in the little eittiog-room at the Maieon Rouge, on the evening of a certain twenty-fourth of December, when the snow fell softly and the fierce wind blew. [The Ehd ]