|Chapter Title||SAILING OVER SUNLIT SEAS.|
|Newspaper Title||The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)|
|Trove Title||Half Round the World to Find a Husband. A Comedy of Errors|
Chapter VTL— Sailing Over Sunlit Heas. Next morning there came again a blissful calm. Rousing at seven o'clock, to find that the »? Yarrow ' was in the river Tague, Nan caught misty glimpses of green bank« through her port-hole, and cheerfully dressed, forget ting the noises of tbe ac ew during the past night, which had kept persistently screeching. ' Hi, hnrry op !' varied by intermittent ejaculations of, ?' Now— get on !' Up on deck in the breezy air and warm sunshine, there was a riblwn of bright scenery to be admired. Belem Church opposite, with the green hills and gaily coloured torn edging the glorious river. Then Bryan, freeh from us salt-tub, and taking a morning walk before breakfast, joined her, pointing out the Ring's palace like a big hospital on a height, where Nan felt convinced that the chimneys smoked aa badly as Aunt Barbara's sitting-room, and told him so, which made both feel still more on terms of cordiality. 44 1 wonld far rather live like a happy Nobody, in one of those nice pink houses, or that one faced with blue and white tiles, like **?n}unot aIone' s^ely.' meaningly re marked her companion, shooting an inquisitive glance. ?? With the lucky fellow whose place I was proud to take for a short time tbe other day. You would like him for a ^companion wouldn't your F«uon, Whereat Nan** face fell ; but she would vouch-safe no explanation, and so made her escape to breakfast. L*ter on they made a delightful trip on
brothers-being rowed purtbUck-pcuntedboat. with high green pn-w» like those of Rotnin oUeysT Wen they landed amid a crowd of SSticnUting men, with green twwled op. ; 2nd women with yellow or red and green ?kerchiefs on their heida, while little tnunean, ^Tby mnle. with .ore backe. rattled by. Mrs. Bellamy led the way between the Irishman and his invalid frUnd ; Nan follow ing dntifnlly behind, wcorted by Bryan, who ha! to take doable care of ber, as Billy Wood remarked, to keep equal with the two fellows infront. Sober ' proxy, 'ao he ray priratdy called himself, guided his ladye fayre by the «nn over all tbe crossings, sometomes adding a emMl pressure which thrilled his charge with slightly uneasy, hut not altogether unpleasant conscioiisness. What oranges and bananas; what violets and yellow mimosas and camelias Bryan and Wood bought for a few pence. It was all delightful. Then they passed through squares, tesselited in black and white patterns, one solike waves, that the invalid grew quite dizzy and angry, and Billy Wood mimicked his friend's supposed wobbly sensations, in a way that made Nan laugh as happily as she had ever done in her life. But soon, on seeing a tiny gem of a chapel, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, she opened her eyes with different artistic delight. For its altar wu all of lapis lazuli and amethysts, arid rooso antico, guarded by silver gilt chandeliers, nine feet high. With pride the sacristan showed them a still greater treasure, locked op in a dirty room-* crowd of silver figures, on a lapis background, bine as the sky, a-ith f«t silver cherubs flving overhead. -* Evidently you have never travelled, my dear f remarked Mrs. Bellamy, patronisingly. Then taming to her companions, ' 1 wish I could feel as young and raw again as Miss Montague.' The latter privately thought this speech less nice than the hitherto sugared flatteries of her new friend. Bat Mis. Bellamy recovered her slight lapse of good temper when eating a big Jnnch at the hotel, where they were joined by two more passengers of the ' Sa rrow,'Argen line gentleman farmers, returning from a holi day home. ?? I am quite proud to be the only lady admitted into your society of Goodf ellowa AU, as yoa call it,' she .gaily remarked to the J ashman. 'And Miss Montagne, too,' be corrected 'Oh, yes, Miss Montague, of course.' Ann wu quit* eorry to be back on the big steamer, when tbe orange-coloiired lateeD sail of their boat, with its ragamuffin creir, glided away. That evening after dinnor, the Funny Man sought out Ann where she was making friends with several brides and young mothers, on the sheltered side of the shin.
'Mrs. Bellamy has sent me with a pressing invitation that you sbonld join her. She u alone on tbe windward side,' he said aloud. As Ann rose, one of the pleuantest of her new acquaintances mannered ia an undertone of regret, ' What a pity to leave us so soon. But the Queen of the Ship has evidently appointed you as her maid of honour. Well, good-bye, but come back to as, if ever you are tired of the poet* ' A little suprised, Ann repeated this to the genial Billy Wood, in whom she placed already an instinctive confidence. ** It seems rather too soon to give nicknames,' ahe some what indigaautly added. ' Aiever mind, people always do on board,' her friend consoled her. 'There's Bryan, who is already called the Life and Soul of the ship ; and I believe somebody hss called me the Funny Man, and my friend, Lord Ihanet the Poor One.' '* Mr. Bryan told you. What a shame of him,' guiltily uttered Nan. She had artlessly ing it was to guess who and what the strangers on board might be, with tie titles she had bestowed on these two. How abashed she felt when he burst into load laughter, only explaining after much urgings on her port, that the Foor Man was in reality Lord Thanet, with a rent roll of thirty thousand a year. Well, what did it matter ? They did not care, neither did Nan— after a few minntes of vexation.
And, lo ! tbe next morning there was no land in sight, only blue ruffled water, with never a speck of white to be seen as far as the round encircling ring of tbe horizon, except the foam track of the screw, and all day the sun shone pleasantly warm, till its red disc dropped into the eurronndiDg waters at night. And the next day was still warmer, while its brethrer. that followed waxed to greater heat as the ' Yarrow' sailed over sunlit seas. Those morniagn Kan awoke feeling not only happy once more, but perhaps happier than ever before in her life. Wu it reaction after ber late shock and trouble of mind ? Perhaps it was only from the invigorating air blowing all day long joined to Roosiiine, pleasant company, and reBt after fal!gae, but she en joyed herself. Eojoyed waking in the morn ing early to see tbe sun rise, with golden fire beaming through grey mists, changing them to ro&y clouds, while the sea became blue under his broad smiles, and the waier lapped the ship pleasantly, and a little breeze blew gaily in at Nan's port-hole. Then after a salt bath came a Btroll on the deck, where some f i tend — nearly always Bryan ? uroald join her. After breakfast everybody romped with the children on board, excepting Mrs. Bellamy, who disliked brats, the said, and never appeared till the day was well aired, towards eleven o'clock. By that time most people bad settled down on tbe row of long deck-chairs to read novels as diilgcntly as if cramming for a competitive examination. But the Queen of the ship, who caused her chair to be placed midmost of the Band of Brothers to shield ber from ths vulgar crowd, generally expected one or other to keep np a disnltory confidential coat with her till luncheon. If the novels aeemed to engross their owners more than her lively chaff or
exile on joining her husband, Mrs Bellamy,, however, relapsed into literature also. Captain Goodman daily praised Uan'a diligency in studying her History of England and Spanish grammar, and Mrs. Bellamy na jealons mf being surpassed in say way. 'I am reading a far more serious book,' she gravely announced. 'It is Darwin'a Decent of Man. P. chaps you do not know that I care for science and theology. Captain? Ah ! Yon see that yon do not quite knew me yet.' Privately she had said to Nan in yawning confidence, on a warm afternoon when one is tempted to nnbuckle one's armour. 'You have not read Datwio, of course. People say be is quite improper ; that is why I got it ont of curiosity, you know. But I have been turning over the pages, and to me he seems very dulL' Others again, chief among whom tras Bryan played buU all day lone, the thud, thud of the qnoits resounding on the deck. Ladies were not strong enough opponents for him, he liked 'sen's games' bnt for the sake of seeing one fair nymph, with foot advanced and upraised arm poising a quoit for a throw he got np a general tournament, and gave lessons in private to Miss Montague. His papil m more willing than promising it seemed, and indeed, Bryan was obliged to take her hand so often, teching her how to place her fingers, that the pupil grew shy, throwing badly, then fluttered by her anxiety to please the teacher, shyer sSU, having small apititude at such games of skill. So when asked to play bull, to Bryan's discomfiture whereat she secretly chuckled, Ann would re ply with demure lips, bat a laughing sprite, behind her down dropped eyelids. 'Xalways play bnt with Mr Wood, if be likes to have so poor a partner.' ?
' Then yon will nave your wilt, lor muy would,' cried the gallant Irishman. And everybody laughed, agreeing that though he could not play in the least, his jokes, mostly a-t hi* own expense, made him the most amua ingpartneron board. *' What a flirt yon are. Oh, yon know yon are,' Bryan would murmur afterwards, when he could find Ann apart. ' You would have chosen me instead of that fellow Wood. No matter. Your figure looks bo jolly when yon are standing up there, like a — a swan among the geese, that I can't take my ey« off you ; and yon know it, you must know it ' A bold blue gleace under the brim of Nan's sailor hat, compelling her shyer brown answer ing one, for a few brief seconds ; then a long look seawards, in mutual silence. ?? Perhaps I gtti'Ss,' Ann Montague mur mured presently, almost under her urcaLh ; 'but one dosen't wish other people to 'Of course not. No place like a ship for gossip, or the women tearing each oUier to nieces. Then they do not know you are married, which makes all the difference.' 'Yes, they wonM think it very, very wrong for married women to flirt, wouldn't they V and an old faint laugn fluttered, so to speak, from the girl's lips. 'jfot at all ; there's your mistake. A little flirtation on the part of married people doesn't matter a straw. Why, look at Mra. Bellamy. But if people are not married it commits a man so quickly, yon see, into being encaged, not to have the iprl be u found of talked about: And being engaged in a hurry is an awfully serious matter.' The yoong man noaded his bean with snch gravity and assumed experience that Nan was tickled into another irresistible laugh. 'So there yon have it like a. proWeur in Eaclid which is proved,' cried her admirer, infected by her mirth. ' Flirtation with married people is no harm, and you ere married. ' Am I ! But yon are not— arc you ? Nan fenced in playful raillery. _ ** Never sniod me, retorted Bryan, impat iently waving her question aside. '? Why dM yon say: 'Am I married,' in that queer lone t Don't you care for the man — or do you ? Don't be angry, bnt do wli me. I feel as if 1 have a right to know, because I am yonr friend if you believe me. Once before yon ran away when I tried to find out if you thought you would be happy with me. Tell But Fan shook her head, and a sudden blush warmed her velvetcheefcstothegWof a ripe peach. Turning somewhat pettishly to wirithe deck, for see wanted u- tell him all and yet she did not want— there stood Captain Goodman not two yards away, sternly eyeing a rail of rope ill-laid. Why did N«n feel nervously convinced he had been eyeing them selves a moment before ? Feeling somehoiv entity, she floated rather than walked farther ?midships. Then Captain Uoodman cleared his throat, and blurted out frank'y, looking his remaining passenger in the eyes : 'No flirting. I hope Mr. Uryan. When I to,k you into the secret concerning a fair unde, you were put on your houoar, you re ''''l remember. All right,' qooth Bryan, with «n air of bravado, thought he shifted his gaze uneasily. Turning on his heel, a few steps he knocked up against Billy Wood, to whom he promptly unburtbened his mind of it wrath. 'These cap'Ains really comeit too strong ; think them selves little kings on board there own ehip. Gives me a hint against flirting with Miss Montague. J ust because he want* to have it all his own way ! the interfering, hypocritical —the irate lover paused for a metaphor. ?? rlippopotamus,'suggested Billy, blandly. ' It's alliterative, or & white elephant if yoo like, as you don't want him as a gift under the circumstances.' Laughing loudly at his own joke, he surveyed the Captain, who stood indeed like a tower of strengths, mong lesser mortals. ( To be continued )
Hnsbind : ' Jobson wanted to know to day if you bad any more of those muffins yon made yourself.' Wife: 'Then yon ask him to tea again. Why did he ask?' Husband (edging towards the door) : ' His doctor wants to analyse one.**