Chapter 70636612

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Chapter NumberIX
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70636612
Full Date1896-07-18
Page Number8
Corrections0
Word Count4743
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)
Trove TitleHalf Round the World to Find a Husband. A Comedy of Errors
article text

Sates ami Jfertrbttu

Half Bound tie World to Find a Husband, A COMEDY OF KRKORS.

By MAY CROM&IELTN, Anthor of ' Bay Ronald,' ' A Jewel of a Girl,' ' Goblin Gold,' ^ Dead Men's Dollars, ' 14 Air. and Mra. Herries,' tc.

Chater IX. (Cowtinwd.)

It was a goodly eight to see Captain Good man standing op to read tbe service ; his Book placed rc - r-Jahio covered with the Union Jack, and when the first hymn was given oat, and all tbe sailors joined deep voiced with heart and lungs in, 'Onward Christian Soldiers,' Ann Montague felt so stirred, that she forgave Mrs Bellamy, who was beating time ostentatiously with a tightly shod plntfp foot. And Brvan. who somehow stood beside Ann, suddenly whispered, *? May I share your hook,1' in his old tone. What bad he done with hta own hymnal?

And wby did Ann feel as his voice mingled closely with hers, that he was wistful to ask the forgiveness, which no girl in & right frame of mind, ought on this day to refuse. Later on, a good-natured offiisoQJ matron strolled Kith bantering purpose, to where a tall finely developed girlish figuie, stood leaning over the ship's raQ to wind ward. ' What are you doing ? Watching the fly* ing fish, oiy dear V ' Y«, I love seeing them flash oat of the eea like suits of foam. The first day I saw one, I thought it was a white swallow for a second or two.' Ann spoke from her heart, loving these sights of nature. ** Come ! I (nought you might be meditat ing on how yon ill-treat your lovers,' said the Busybody in a bantering voice. *'Oh ! I caw Mr Bryan getting near you at service. Poor pi»n ! He is quite 'v»d with jealousy— throws such looks across at yon and Lord Thanet sometimes.' 'You ioast be wrong indeed. I have never seen it.' There was no mistaking Ann's frank look of great surprise. 'Perhaps not. He dcesn't wish his rival to notice him either,' laughed the gossip. ' Box the men all say in the smoking saloon, that he is rick of th»t Bellamy woman. T«Jte care my dear, for after all, Mr. Bryan is the best look ing young man on board. Of course, Lord Unmet is far more distinguished ; would be the head of his Party, they say, bat for his ill health, and that makes him not a marrying man.' Ann }Aontagae bit her full, crimson aoder lip. Ob, for tbe luxury of crying out, 'Mr. Bryan is dot a marrying man either.* 'Tell me, if Mr Br7&n cooks frjm Jamaica, wby does be go back therejby this round -about track f pursued the inquisitive one. ' Wishes to study the sugar fields in Pern, do you say ! The finest in the world. Ah ! You know all about it, I see,' archly waiting a reply. As none cftme, the speaker added in a htxffed voice, ' Well, good-bye for the present, my dear. No doubt you know jour own affairs best' Afternoon. Nan and her Spanish grammer were in solitary companionship. To leeward the fierce sun was creeping under the awning by inches. No one near save PereCceordonx, reading bis breviary. Out stalked an on expected apparition past the chief officer's deck cabin, and Bryan looked gloomily hand some, advanced towards an empty deck chair, ranged close to that of the reading girl. ' May I t*ke this seat, as it is unoccupied?' he asked iff a deep tone, which might be that of an injured man or a shame-stricken one. ' You can certainly have it, so far as I am concerned. It belongs to Lord To* net,' re plied Ann with cool politeness, though her heart was up lifting itself in the first notes of a song of triumph. ' What ; to Thanet,' with almost a sneer. ?' Don't be afraid ; I know my place, and shall certainly retire when tbe nobleman appears.' A flash leapt to Nan's eyes slid a nosh to ber cheek. That was aaitVin bad taste, but after all, her late lover was really jealous. His brow was black as thunder, his voice like the muttering* of a storm. What girl alive is not willing to overlook s man^s faults and follies, when caused by jealousy; unless, indeed, he interferes with a more favoured wooer. Half an hour later. Bryan was still stretched sullen and silent, on his supposed rival's chair, pretending to read a novel of which he seldom turned a page, as his companion was perfectly aware. She nattered tbe leaves of her grammar more frequently, evidently the irregular verbs were light reading- As it grew cooler Lord Tha.net appeared on deck, leaning on Billy Wood's arm, and a lowly ap proached, studying the group from a distance with a tired smile. Giving a bound and pro fuse apologies, Bryan vacated tbe invalid's chair, although begged by the Utter not to disturb himself. ' Icon get out !' was BUIy Wood's polite postscript. He never stood on ceremony with anybody. 'Oar friend the planter looks like the proverbial dog in the manager,' remarked Thanet, in his languid well-trained voice ; that of a descendant of a tine of orators, meant by oatvre to be an ortfto* himself. HS deep sunken eyes lighted op his pale face with amusement as he turned to Ado. 'Is it possible that unfeeling fellow has been selfishly reading, while you were sitting ?flent. We saw you gazing seawards lost in lonely meditation,' 'In contemplation, you moan,' parried Ann. ' I cinnot weary of looking ai (fie coast and telling myi«lf, 'Thatis reallySouth i America.'' I Keverthdtas, less enthuustfo travellers]

might sneer to see only a long line of surf aud white sand ; background, a fringe of cocoanut palms ; foreground, a brown, red -streaked coral ruef, showing under the water. At Pernambaco, queer little ciaft, each just a stool across two logs with the ra^ of a sail, came bobbing through the serf, bringing mangoes and other strarge fruits, and every one was talking of landing at Bahia on the j That night at dinner shore parties were the 1 one lively, engrossing topic. ! The Argentine gentlemen-farmers began | in ritipg all the brides and young matrons ' with reckless hospitality, and begged Ann i Montague also to do them the honour, etc ? Theirs was the first invitation, and she felt, alas ! bound 10 accept it. Then Bryan beat across the table. ' So you are going with your other friends. Miss Montague, That's all right ; otherwise I hoped to have asked you to join my party.' Mrs. Bellamy threw him an astouished look over her shoulder ; then in turn she bent past her unruly squire. ' Lord Thanet ! Mr. Wood ! I am counting on you both to come with as, of course. We shall make a delightful partie caire.1 Lord Thanet was very sorry, but did not know that he would feel equal to the exertion of going ashore at alL Id any case, be would only go quietly with Wood, his sick nurse.' Next morning, the big ship lay still in BahU Bay. Opposite rose heights of vividly red soil, clothed with foliage of brilliant green. Behind rode vessels of war En the harbour, while in front lay the town in three tiers. Water-side wharves ; cliffs ascended by that famuoa lift, of which the inner works are eased by the application of castor oil, as everybody who had been there before told everybody else who badu't ; lastly, the town crowned the tableUnd. Then it was hey for tbe land ! Kan felt blithe as banded down the gangway she Two mahogany-skinned darkies were the oarsmen, bare to their wrist?, but for a silver chain and cross one wore round his neck. She did not even feel a pang at seeing a smaller boat with only two passengers, sailing ahead ; for several of her party oiurmured with smiles, *' Poor Bryan.' She mentally only endorsed their pity. 'Here we are in South America, and no doubt about it*' cried Billy Wood's voice, as he and Lord Thauet stood smiling on the qnay. ' Please have a guide, ladies. We have just been escorting Mrs. Be lamy through the market, cheapening marmoset monkeys, and mangoes.' What a scene of colour ! Here a group of negroes jibbered, offering green parots for sale, and glorious red and blue, or blue and yellow macaws. There tire famous negress beauties of B&hia crowded the narrow tn&ibet ; splendid women of their kind, with polished mahogany shoulders emerging from snowy lace-trimmed chemises. iSome offered for sale big green Bahia oranges, with their pips snugly stowed in a knob at tbe top ; also all manioc, cocoancts, egg-fruit, pioe-appl^. But what with the scent of coloured folk around, featherless chickens squatting under foot, and greedy fiogere-i monkeys, our friends were glad to escape to the upper town. ' Bold tout noses,' advised Billy, in the 'castor oil lift,' while several felt sick with memories of nursery days, at the well remem bered smell. Gaining the cliff, the ships looked small in tbe beautiful bay below ; the wide sun-baked squares, bare and ill paved, were edged with plaster statues, but glorious trees, Brazilian acacias spreading a mass of vivid green, roofed by sheets of flame-coloured flower. The effect w&s magnificent ! There were big biick churches with locked doors, and bullet holes in the windows, and ugly shops full of yellow i lbboned straw hats or saints' images. At the corner of the square Mrs. Bellamy's red parasol was conspicuous, in a waiting tram, drawn by four mules. Our party bad no choice but to fill the vacant seats of tbe save vehicle, being all bound on the same round of sight seeing, and Billy Wood with joy overheard Mrs. Bellamy remarking in disgust, 'Fancy all these people getting into ray train !' Whack ! Crack ! Away cantered the mules, biting and prancing, lashed by a black driver, bis feet Block in beeUess slippers. Up hill, down hill, they shook the bones of the travellers till c-r-rb, came a dead stop. They were off the lines, till aJl the passengers got out, and the men pushed tbe car straight again. Now off again, past gar qtraitas, faced with coloured tiles and &et in brilliant flower plot*, the road shaded by bread-fruit trees and pink-blossomed jasmine. Next came a botanical garden, surely, filled with many kinds of palms and thickets of tropical shrubs and cacti, through which fluttered flane colonred or velvet-brown butter-flies. ' Wby?' Ann awoke with surprise to the fact that they were in the open country, and On by the sea for a mite or more, tilt our sight-seers alighted by a deserted fort and a lighthouse, where spread a grassy down. As all scattered about looking st ant-heaps in tbe herbage or picking small flowers the rival groups naturally mingled. By and by Aon strayed a little way apart from tee others, and was standing under a toll palm looking up at ita crown nf leares far overhead outlined against tbe dazzling bine sky. She started violently as % well-known bass voice said dose by. 'I have followed you. Miss Montague* It always makes me nervous when I see the ladies by themselves in these countries. A Bnake might come out at any moment — look at these holes in the ground — or a cocaout nugbt drop on your head.' ' It is so kind of you to be interested in my possible fate, but are there not other ladies near whom you are alrfo bound to look after?' Ann tried bird tojbmke her v^rice sourd coolly sarcastic, but she felt her bea-t fluttering. ** For heaven's sake don't La so ha -d upon me. You don't know wb« I am ireltog,'

hdrst out Bryan passionately- 'Yes, yes. Vtry likely you think I am not behaving honourably, but you can't guess what a hell of a life I have beecjliviog these last few days. I cannot tell you what my real situation is . . . there are legal difficulties.*' He had dropped his voice, and Ann mistook a 1 ' Little difficulties do you say ?' she asked I trembling slightly, excised beyond herself. I ' Utlle,' repeated Bryan, ?' oh. yes, little ! difficulties if you like. Ha ! Ha !** ! His laugh was that which the ^pairing villain always gives on the stage. ' Ob, but i what ueed you care. Let me bear a!l the ' suffering ; my shoulders are broad enough. You, who have everyone at your feet ; admired, envied, courted . . - why should you care what I ain feeling ?*' ' Are you raving ?'' Aon stamped her fo-it on the wiud-shom tvrf. 'Don't you know that I tin bound iu your opinion and that of others, to many an old nian I must detest ; or, if not, beiug a penniless girl, I must earn myliving alone id a strange laud or starve.' Her bright eyes were flashing, her tall figure was drawn up straight, her head thrown back with a queenly air. Bryan looked at (he riorums colouring *-f her warm cheeks, her Up*. 11 My God,' he said under his breath ; 'what a beautiful woman you are. Don't marry that old man ! Listen ! May I speak to you to-night after dinner ? quick, say yes ! The Chapter X.— Guwp-es of Fora Rfpdbucs and Love Oleams is Two eyes. Thai same night two figures were leaning over the rail, above the lower deck, where groups of 1'ortugese eur grants lay hnddled asleep. If not solitary, it was perhaps the onlj quiet spot in the b-g ship that was full of human life and cariosity, but with little to interest idle folks' minds. Bryan was speaking ; bis voice was like the bursting of a mill dam, when its xatera ruih irresistibly forth after being long set -jo. 'At last! At last! I thought dinner would never end. Never mind who is watch ing down there ; no one is listening. Dear — dearest Ann, I adore you. I have felt inclined to jump overboard hilf a doz-n times these last days. . . . To see you always sitting there smiling at Lord Thanet. O— oh,' Bryan dramatically bailed his head in his bands, pressing his elbows on the hard rail, with a groan. I know. It whs not fair, iudeed.' ' Not fair ? I kept away for your sake, my darling gir-. You don't know the straits I am in AH right enough for myself being a Steps sounded behind in the shadow. The after-dinner couples were strolling rigbt roand the promenade deck. Stflf,' whispered Nan wi«h fluttering breath. She did not quite mean to say the words, hardly knew what she was saying ; her own voice sounded strange as if repeating some thing read eoraew here in a book. ?' Look at the Southern Cross !'? Bryan started up straight, pointing with a flourish towards that over-praised constellation, which cannot match a star with Orion. This was {or the benefit of tbe p&sfiera by. Then iu an eager under tone of triumph, ' Mind, you must come home by the other sideto Jamaica, if you can leave Chili, say in three or four months. I shall have done my business in Peru, and we must make tbe rest of tbe voyage together. Promise me, darling I' His arm stole ronnd Nao's waist, his breath was on her face ; it was almost a kiss — not quite. 'I promise. I will come back.' ' Hallo, old Sugar-stick ! where are you hiding?1' sounded iu Billy Wood's voice from some distance ' Captain Goodman is look ing everywhere for you. Wants you to take a hand at euchre.' Aud the lovers started guiltily apart. For the next few dayB Ann Montague lived in a dream. The glamour of love was upon her ; walking she thought oiily of Pit rick Bryan ; sleeping she dreamt of him. She hardly knew what common words she said— hardly saw him with her actual eyes eating or smoking, laughing with boisterous vigour, or sprawling handsome and indolent on hts lounge chair— because she was still thinking of ber lover ; of that one happy night— still hearing the sound of his passionate words — seeing his eyes glowing. Just one email streak of light had fallen on bis face, escaping from the curtained window of the third officer's cabin behind their tryst. Ann Montague could have even exch inged the real man those days willingly, for the happy memory of him. bat they hardly ever met alone agaiB. Why not ? Not Bryan's nish, certainly, but others seemed always on the watch to play care takers, to the solitary girl ; be just near enough not to, perhaps, overhear, but still to have an eye on the pair. Captain Goodman for one, the old priest, and most of all, Mrs. Bellamy, who suddenly revived her former affection for Ana, mid continually sought the latter's side. Then came one of tbe most brautiful sights in the world, that is, Rio Harbour. As th. ' Yarrow' steamed in at sunrise tbe sea around lay like glass, «ith misty islands swimming large in it. Then followed a bak ing day iathe inner harbour when the vessel's brass rails burnt the hand like bars of hot iron ; and the beat was fiercely glaring on deck, de&pite doable awnings, but the cabins were as not as the hottest rooms of a Turkish bath. No chance of landing to see the glorious tropical vegetation, and climb Corcorado. Yellow fever and insurrection were both m full swinfr. The water Bmelt evilly in the harbour, and now again from tbe dark row of insurgent men. of war, came a flask, & puff of smoke and alow boom, to which a dilapidated Government fort sullenly re plibd. Few slept thi t night, as added to the sti fling heat there m rhs noise at coaling, {or

Captain Goodman feared death on board from beat apoplexy if te delayed starting. So, for all its beanty the 'Yarrow passengers gladly s«id adieu to Rio next morning, and its bills, violet coloured against cobalt sky, their slopes of brilliant green. Then some of the pasaeogere, Ann among them, cried out with delight as a little cove opened out so deeply blue, with dazzling white strand, it was like a dream of fairy land. ' But it's nothing to my homo in JamacU,' declared Bryan close by. «? Ah 1 our place goes down to Uie sea, with a bay that would beat this cue into fits. You should see it.' ' Why, re lalks like a married man al ready,' chaffed some of the bystander;, and Ann turned pale instead of blushing. Luckily for ber she oUen did that when greatly Uood-bye to the glittering harbour, studded with rocky isletf, fringed with glorious foliage; good. bye to the high peaks clustered in picturesque outline against the fcky ; spires, and cones, and ramparts. Here towers tbe majestic Sugarloaf lock, M-itb. a crown of verdure far aloft on his held, and a regal mantle on bis lower slopes* but only a few gold and green patches on his barren sides, uhich time has worn so smooth. On— past more peak, the mountain rmge dwiudlbuT, narrowing — as the Yarrow stands out from land though the gleam of the yonder white strand is still bright across the waters, which which are no more ruffled tiian a mill pond. At night all ports were open, but towards fonr o'clock the dark figure of a night watch man passed round, closing tbem inexorably.* Then tbe ship's gliding motion grew rougher ; it rocked, it swayed. By morning many on board were ill, and Ann if not quite eo, was faint from Ihe teirible heat all uigbt, and only able to creep upstairs and in the ladies saloon. ' How do you feel!'' asked Lord Tnaoet, supporting himself with tiifficulty at the open *' Like a dissolving view, 'answered Ann, in feeble, would-be laughing accents. ' Ho ! Ho ! You do look bad,' said Bryan's vigorous voice in the background. ' Come, you will find die summer in Jamaica hotter than this, down in Ihe plain,' ' You go away,' interfered Billy Wood. ' We haven't been reared in an orchid house like yon. It is enough to make the ladies ill to see you crowing there.' (Poor Patrick thought Nan to herself. He did not under stand the wretcued faintness others were feeling from die he&t and rough vaten He was so Strom;, that it made him perhaps a trifle unsympathetic) Suddenly the skies grew black, and for some hours tropical rsin poured down from them in bucketefoj, sweeping the decks deer of all beings but some quartermasters, who looked like dripping porpoises. All evening i be downfall lasted ; the ports were closed, and through the noise of iallug water sounded the wash past and swisn of the waves, as every minute one broke against the vessel's side, sending iu spray nigh. Tbe screw throbbed like a dumb thing trying to roar. ' Good night, ladies ! This day has been forty-eicht hours long,' chorused tbe men's voices i hat night, standing between the inusic room door aud tbe laaieB* saloon, where the weaker eex were more or less prostrate. Only Mrs. Bellamy was well enough to play poker as usual with the Brolher-bood, and Nan bitterly ber envied rival's superior seagoing qualities. ' For to-morrow — to-morrow — we shall be in Monte Video. Open your tiooki and get on pocket-handkerchiefs,31 was Silly Wood's cheerful good-night. And tin Captain added, ' Ports all closed to windward, liaiePi please.' Gasping in the stuffy cabin, Nan vaguely consoled herself that her very exhaustion pre vented her feeling to-morrow's parting as asutely as she otherwise snrely would. It was this, and the glad certainty of going home with her lover northwards from Pern to Jamada, that made her fall so contentedly asleep. Yet many otiier ladies spent some hours in the passage, where tbe draught from the air-pumps blew strong, and poor children were fretfnl with prickly heat. Next morning tbe *' Yarrow ' stopped at Fiona bland, off Monte Video. Ann had struggled up on deck : not well, but wishful to see die last of her dearfrienda, Thanet and Billy Wood ; and no, not the last, but to s»y ' good-bye till we meet again,' to Ber lover; Patrick Bryan. Mrs. Bellamy was ROng OB shore too (with hum], but she wa% crying. ' Good-bye, Miss Montague,' she aaM in' * low but to friendly a tone that Ann was amazed. ' E hope we shall meet some day again, for I like you. And perhaps then you will know then that I have been in reality a greaux friend to you on board, tiiui 1 think you think. Well! I hope when you marry you may be happier than most of us, my dear. It's a dreadful lottery. Oh ! There's my husband ui that tender come nut to meet m*.' (This in a melancholy tone). Then with a sound of relief, ' But I cau't join him till after quarantine, on that wretched island.' Flores, indeed, looked a miserable rock, in the ocean topped by a lighthouse, that seemed a warning finger pointing out the wretched ness of tbe red quarantine buildingB, and their prospect of the cemetry beyond. ^8 tbe reluctant passengers were put over board condolences were rained jeeringly upon them by those left behind. ' We shall be drawing lots to eat each other in a day or two,' was Bryan's last vigoroaa grumble. Pere C'-£urdonx— was it by chasce^=fcept rtr snarkably close to Ann all that morning, so that her lover could only shake her hand wiih brief force in adieu. ' Come along, old Sweet-staff,' eried Billy Wood. ' Yoo won't starve. You vao sack your paws like a bear in winter, yon nisar planter, and aUttfe tthmmg won't do vouot So they were gone— actually gone. And thereupon Ann collapsed. Not tm some boon later did «h« fed like tercel! again.

All whs calm ; a cold south wind blew, and they were stall lving in the brown flood of the great river La Plata. Then Kan felt very lonely on the big ship, -where lately friendly faces had met her at every torn. Almost as lonely as when leaving England; while a terrified feeling that euch day the ship was plunging and forging ahead — ever nearer to its journey's end — filled her with increasing apprehensions, at thoughts of so soon meeting her bo exiled husband, Don Edoardo. Once the ordeal was passed, then^— then would come happy deliverance, the meeting with Bryan ; freedom ; and a future that was sll rosy clouds, snffused by the dawning beams of a girl's first love. Even putting the thoughts of Bryan aside for a moment, I^'an missed the others. Missed BOIy Wood's brotherly kind nets and invariable good-hamoor ; missed Xhanet'e pale face, and the weary voice that was Always expressing (hooghtfaloess for others ' Yes,' Nan mused to herself. ' What a perfect rp'-' one could make by mixing up the good qualities of this kindly baud of brothers, lam fn love with Patrick Bryan, but not so blindly that I do not see his tailings,' so this aage maiden concluded. Bnt it was uot likely that a man in the flash of Lealth and youth could be bo chivalrous, so self-denying as an invalid, who one felt with instinct ire awe, had said farewell to hopes of woman's love ; to rightful ambition of serving his country and fellow men. 'PoorThanet! I shall never be Hk4y to meet so veil .bred and chivalrous a gentleman again,' thought Nan to herself. 'If one could meet each an one in health, be would be perfection.' She might have loved the invalid, Indeed, bat that the seal of early death was set upon his face. So the big ship sailed 6-mth, and ever south ; leaving the Argentine land, coasting Patagonia* passing the dreaded Straits. There Ann took a chill in the bitter cold, and did not care to look at great glaciers or green woods any more; nor was interested in Faegi&n savages bringing fur rues (or sale. Then, worst of all, came Cape PiUr, ant) a t*MBHng terrible ee» which she hated, fair sailor though she really was liy now ; and next the coast of Chili and Coocepcton Harbour, where Captain Goodman sought her out with two letters in his hand. ' This is from Don Edoardo, hoping that you have- bad a good voyage, and desiring me to say that he kisses yonr feet.' *? That he what?' exclaimed Ksn, aghast. 'Merely a Spanish phrase,' said the Captain, unmoved. ' And this/' tapping the other Utter, *'i* an epistle I concocted the otiier day after much thinking. It's to break the matter gently about you. Of course, the best way out of all the diffioilty will be if he will have you instead of the other girL' ?? I won't have hinJ.' 'Very well— don't. Nobody will force yon, you may be sure of that. Bat yon promised to let the poor fellow down as gently as possible, remember.' 'LwiU, indeed, Captain Goodman. Why do you looked at me reproachfully ? Indeed ! Indeed I I feel bow good and kind you have been in this matter, and I will do my best to gain your good opinion, though I did act ao wrongly in the beginning. . I can't say 'No, and I believe yoa won't do lea,' whereupon the honest Bailor shook Ann's hand heartily. This -letter, be explained, would be ?posted with the Europe matU on shore, andao reach Valparaiso the day before the ship. 'Thatia if ao z&ilway bridges break down, or collisions occur. There were about sixty two first-class accidents but year.' [To be continued.)