Chapter 70635069

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Chapter NumberVI
Chapter Url
Full Date1896-07-04
Page Number8
Word Count2493
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)
Trove TitleHalf Round the World to Find a Husband. A Comedy of Errors
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Chaptee VL— Ik Thb Bay Of Biscay O ! ?* Are yon feeling sea sick?' inquired the stewardess, nmfeiwg her appearance ia Aan'e '£ don't tnow I hare never been to sea before ; but T feel as if I were going to die.' The tears twice checked that day, reasserted themselves once more, and Nan cried bitterly oil the worthy widow's ehoolder. She cried at thoughts of leaving England behind her, and her annt who did not care for her, and all the girls for whom she cared, who would for get her, when they were scattered to their homes or got married. There was Mary Hewitt whom she had loied like a sister, now gone to India, and who bad never written for the last six mails, because her station life was «o gay ; besides others who were training for ' Ton are tired now,' said the stewardess, -whose well of sympathy was brimful after a trees; in port, though it would be soon drained dry in the passage down channel and into the Bay. ' Jost tired and feeling lonely, I am thuUriog. Fes, that's what makes people sick more than the motion.** So she patted Mai. cheered Nai nie, tucking the sufferer into her berth, where her sobs presently ceased, although the wind blew stronger, and the waves rocked the ship ever harder. As night came on there followed noises of .smashing crockery, of footsteps running along ?the deck j ratlings and shakings of the most mew and alarming kind. For two days and three nights, Nan passed what ahe called a ** quiet time.' HI at times certainly, but nothing to make a fuss about, as ahe told her aelf and tbe stewardess. Indeed, she thought ?of all the pleasant places ahe had seen in her abort life ; of a walking tour in Wales with Molly Hayes and her brothers, the eldest of whom had once tried to kiss Nan on a never to-be-forgotten, tat, lovely afternoon. And though the daring youth hardly succeeded in touching ber ear Nan almost felt engaged to him in her secret heart afterwards, and was much surprised lately on learning he was en gaged to be married. XntenuptioDB to this time of self commun ing were few, though forcible. One was from Green's History, Sang by the shock of a heavy wave right acroos the cabin from a shelf, hit ting its owner a violent blow, accompanied by ?bower of larger missiles. Ann had piously left it out that last night on shore, as improv ing literature for ship bo&rd, along with a Spanish grammer, and some French and German clatatcs. People new to a voyage generally do start with all manner of similar praiseworthy intentions. 44 Is tbia what you call rough, stewardess,' she enquired the nert day, gravely. 'Well, rather,' replied that excellent creaturr, attitudinising as if on the tught rope balancing a basin of arrowroot in one hand and holding by the door. 'Can you take this?' Nan cheerfully believed herself capable of jach a jogler'e feat, when an extra heave of -the sarounding sea deposited half tbe scald ing contents upon her. *' No matter, miss, ynu are better without jt,' was the counsel of the ship's comforter. '* Tbe other ladies are eating all tbe time.' 'Eating? Why, they must be much better Bailors than I am. ** No, indeed ! I wish they were. They faqp od trying to keep up their strength, as t£egr«all it I only just beeping up their sick ness, I say. And the remedies they ask for — apple tart, porter, salt bacon and oranges ! Bat there i* a gentleman on board -who keeps telling his steward to bring him eea water. He has drunk faalf a bucketful, and it has made him so sick, be can't be worse, so perhaps he will get better.' Then one morning our heroine awoke, with a sense of weakness but comfort, (or the ship jfb9 fairly steady, and her dress hung straight -from its hook, do longer waving half across Then tbe chief steward himself knocked at f-tfce door, giving Captain Goodman's compli .menta, and it was Sunday morning, and they were in VIgo Bay. ^ Would not Miss Montague Miss Montague. Not Mis. Palmer I Her .own came inspirited Ann so much that, with .» little aid, she was presentable on deck, -hon^ holding feebly {p every t*jL

Instantly half -a -dozen friendly masculine arms wese offered to her, among them that of Mr. Bryan, naturally Nan accepted his aid helpers retired. And so it began. ' Isn't the sea jolly ? So calm and quiet now,' remarked Mr. Bryan, after due, almost too concerned, inquiries regarding Nan's late health. ' Yes, indeed. Isn't it pretty here,' and Nan eased with delight at the low and white aadsof Yigo Bay, with further on the little toivn outspread. ** It's well enough, bot I fancy we would call any coast pretty after the last chreedays,' shrewdly remarked her companion. ' When I made my first voyage we were nearly lost in a tornado, coming from Jamaica, and I would have been glad to be seated safe on a barren rock, feeding on limpets and rain water. Talk of lovely scenery, yon Bhould see Jamaica; that's my home,' and Mr Bryan launched off into glowing descriptions of that dream island. From these be was recalled by a sense that hta companion's attention was engaged by tbe novelty of tbe scene before her own two eyes, rather than that which occupied the one of his mird, though why a mind should be supposed to have only one optic, like that of Polyphemus, ia a riddle to the writer. 'Ah yon think that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,' remarked the young man, who was very Rood humoured, and most easy to get on with, as Ann had already gratefully found out, for she was still shy with strangers. Watching that old fellow and his boatload of oranges ? Let us chaff him.' He beckoned to the boatman, at which the latter grinned, pushing alongside and holding up a basket with inviting gestures *»*?**! wtm»H in English learnt by long experience: 'The lot a shilling !' adding Spanish. ' Lords and gentlemen, bay Borne for your fair ladies.' ** Isn't he delightful? Look at his orange shirt and tattered blue coat,' exclaimed Nan xadeligbt, '* and bow hot theeaashineiB? Jost to think how we were shivering in England a few days ago ! and look at these picturesque people.' Boatloads of emigrants were crowding on board gaily, bringing their clothes in empty meal sacks. These women with yellow 'kerchiefs tied over their heads, smiled mft*'*^ of weeping, and laughed back at tbe men in the green boats below, who were suck ing oranges and drinking wine out of big

wicker-covered jars which they raised to their 14 How you seem to enjoy it alL I declare it quite does one good to see a girl take such admiringly. *' Common sights ! If we have inuiy more like this I snail think the voyage delightful/' uttered Nan from her heart. ?* That's right,' cried Captain Goodman's voice, as a pair of Btonr legs descended a ladder just overhead; 'of course you wilL People who only stick at home, in dear old f-ngland, never know how jolly it can be in other places of the world.' By and by when Mr. Byran was ciUed away by kindred friends to take a cocktail, and Ann was left comfortably stretched in bis own deck chair, with cushions for her back, rugs over her feet, and last weeks comic paper at ber elbow, the young woman mused in amazement. Was she the same being who had been weeping so bitterly only a few days — hours ago, so seemed — at leaving England, its winter rain and winds, dreading storms, loneliness and friendlessness on the unknown ocean? That evening Ann valiantly appeared at dinner, finding a place assigned ber on the captain's left hand. As he was ao old friend this appeared only natural, and she chatted to him gaily, unaware that a handsome middle aged lady opposite was regarding ber with eyes of surprising disfavour. The latter, nevertheless, kept up an animated conversation with three or four meo on her right, amongst them being Mr. Byran. Ann, giving the Utter now and again a friendly glance when ever Captain Goodman interrupted bis really agreeable talk, to inspect critically some of the many dishes offered him, caught scrapes of some jesting, Happy-family suggestions being made by ber vis-4-vis. A Band of friendly Brotherhood appeared to have been already formed by tbe bachelors on board, who were all to treat each other in turn to whisky and soda when there was a sea on, or champagne ou f&stive occasions, or claret when io tbe tropics. To this the lady begged to be considered vivandiere, lending bottles of pickles and sauces, seasoned sale, spiced pepper, with clearly ouiBpoken in junctions not to let these delicacies stray too far. ' Do not let those other people have my private property.' 'How rude,' thought Nan, with all a young girl's indignant surprise at such a breach of good manners. Captain Goodm&n also ptused, noticing the speech and its accompanying by-play with an amused chuckle. The lady instantly seized the opportunity which Nan, however, caught every word,' as it was perhaps intended ehe ehonld. ' Of coa se what I said does not apply to you, Captain Goodman. You are welcome to ell oiy condiments, as you have made me free of the ship ; or «) I hope afterfour voyages with you. Only I feel quite neglected this time — until this minute I have not been able to get a word in edgiwaye. Pray, may I &&k, who the yoong lady is beside you, and why 6he should be promoted to such a place of honour *' *' Why should she not ?' was the enigmatic answer. ' She happens to be a friend of mine, like yon— or so I hope you are after foor voyages. Also she happens to be under my care.' 4*0— h! Not married, I see. No ring, bat '—a pair of keen blue eyes scrutinised Nan's well-fiUing gown, which did credit to Anita's dresamtker. ' Pray introdnoe urn.'

«MLm Montague— Mrs. Bellamy.' duly announced Captain Gooilman, still with a furtive smile hovering about his jolly shrewd ''i^ST'. good sailor?' asked the lady, beginffgywithgthis sea formula. 'What, your first voyage?' Ab ! So yon are not returnine to £ntb America ; I thought not. with a condescending fimUe. Thereupon she captured the captain for the remainder of the meaL while Nan sat contentedly silent, with a bride and bridegroom whispering together on her other side. Lonely ; not she ! Mr. Bryan opposite was peeling her an orange, so she learnt by his frieodly signals, even before tbe waiter appeared with the dainty and the gentleman's compliments. Peeling oranges on shipboard is one of the requisite accomplishments of all male passengers, and the rival brothers of the band kept up a running fire of criticism on Mr. Bryan's method, looking round wisifnUy for other ladies to whom they could offer, like wise, tbeir own very superior productions in the art ; but es yet nobody knew each other. ** We have only got ehaken up, bot not shaken down yet,' as a passenger next to Bryan jocosely remarked. He was an Irish man, an though beginning his forties, was quite as lively as young Bryan in his own way, being rich in an inexhaustible fund of good humour and amusement, though he drew a line, he declared, at bodUy exertion 'No dancing on board for Billy Wood, thank you.*1 to Ann, lending an ear, heard him reply to Bryan's eager anticipation of the waltzing they would presently enjoy, on clear starry nights in the tropics. ' After a big dinner like this, it's as much as I can do to waddle up and down the deck, smiting my breast, and wishing I hadn't eaten so much. That's all we are capable of, eh?' and he turned to bis travelling companion, a pole and sickly individual, who silently assented with a small smile. In ber own mind Kan respectively christened them, the ' Funny Mad,' and the ' Poor Man.' After dinner everybody songht wraps, and streamed on deck. Here in the darkness, our heroine found herself most pleasantly ad dressed by Mrs. Bellamy. *' Won't you come end talk to me a little. Miss Mootagae ? You cancot think what a relief it was to see you sitting opposite me at table. One generally meets only such dreadful people on these voyages. The men are well enough, bat I can hardly ever Cake the faintest interest in their womankind. Tell me (with p ayful confidence), would you be very ranch shocked if I smoke a cigarette? But, of course, you won't. Yoa will have one yourself, won't you ? No 1 Well, come at least with roe round this corner, out of electric light, to spare tJbe weak minds of these goody goody souls. Not that I am likely to exchange ideas with any of them throughout the voyage; I hardly ever do.' And Mrs. Bellamy, with a red Buqne cap stuck rakishly on one side of ber matronly head, in the teeth of a wind that blew oat ber matches, aud blew in ner skirts round her large figure.

giggled to Nan as youthfully as any school girL ' Tell me,' asked the latter, her beart expanding ondtr these overtures of friendship, ' why did you say at dinner that yon thought I could pot be retaining to South America ?' 41 Because (flatteringly) you are not the style of girl who has been born out in the wilds, and sent to England to be polished up. Besides, nobody ever dreams of returning to South America, once they know what it is like, and could help it ; that I can assure you from experience. 1 have a husband farming in the Argentine.' Nan's good spirits felt considerably dashed. ('Is it true ?' she presently inquired of Captain Goodman, when the latter and the band of brothers presently joined them.) 'Oh ! rubbish ! She doesn't get on with ber husband like lots of other nives. 1 hat's all, and eo she calls it exile to go out to him. Don't you mind her ; you would make things pleasant er for any man you married, I know. Never mind how I know ; it's written on vour face.' After this the sea began to seem lively, and our unseasoned passenger judged ir discreet to seek bar cabin once more, before being com pelled to do bo, in unseenly haste.