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Chapter NumberXII
Chapter TitleA GARDEN OF EDEN.
Chapter Url
Full Date1896-07-25
Page Number8
Word Count1584
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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Chapter XIL— A Garden of Eden. ?? Welcome to my house,' s .id the owner of this garden of Eden, gallantly helping Ann to alight. ' It is a poor place compared with your English ideas of comfort and loxury ; but consider everything in it, includiug your humble servant, 'at your orders '—as the Chilians say.' 1 hrough a cool entrance hall he led the way to tbe drawing -room, opening by French windows on the garden. Here it was almost dark, for tbe blinds were drawn down, and a deep verandah, wreathed with climbing plants threw a grateful shad .w ; for though it was only autumn weather, still the noonday sno was strong. At the first glance Aon thought the drawing-room charming : it was so bright coloured and full of p etty things, bat on closer inspection it had rather a Sunday parlour look. v The door opened, and from the boudoir came a comely lady of middle age. Her baxom figure was tightly encased in a dark silk Parisian gown of irreproachable make ? and as she held oat a plamp, jewelled hand, her fane presence was undeniable. 'This is the lady of the house, my Bister, Aunt Ines,' said S*fior I'almer, presenting Ann, whom he patted on the shoulder approv ingly, to the hostess. 'Come, you must please be kind to her, IntU. She is very sorry you know ; very sorry. Not her fault, not a bit of it There ! There ! Well say no more about it, bat let's have some breakfast Very late, I know ! Iknow! Well, give na the '

broken meat from the rightful meal, at all *' A scramble breakfast, ** as he termed it, wad laid out in a likewise cool and shaded small dining-room ; only some cutlets and claret, grapes and peaches ; bat as Don* lnes explained, she bad not known whether to to expect her brother btck or no. Ann thought her hostess charming ; so soft* voiced and gentle-mannered, with just a touch of dignified reserve ; thoogfa indeed towards Father Osardoux this changed to eweet effusiveness — bat then be was a priest. 11 Why, where are the treasures of the house?' cried out the don, suddenly pausing with knife and fork la mid-air. ' Inea, where are my children? I want to ehow them to oar friends.** 'I do not know, brother ; they were here two or three minutes ago,' replied Aon tine's, looking round. In the pause that followed stifled sounds were audible from behind a, bulging curtain, oo which the old gentleman, jumping op, trotted across the room and drew out two small girls from their hiding place. 'Ihis is Rosita,' he said, caressing an eight-year-old little maid, whose rosy face and golden hair eeemed sunshine incarnate. ' And this little one we call Fatty, orGordita in -panish,' tickling a smaller cherub, who somewhat gravely chuckled. Next Ano, being supposed tired, wasled up stairs to rest for tbe afternoon, her host accom panying her part of the way to point ont how be himself had designed the stair-case like an old bnglish one. It was broad-ledgcd and heavOy-baiastered, made of seasoned native wood, dark as old oak. 'Yon see, we faave an upper story in this bouse. That is rare for these old Chilian qnintaa, but I found there was enough spare room under the big roof to make a bedroom or two and a bath-room, so I hope you will be comfortable. w 'Yes, ves, lnes,' as his sister-in-law assured him she would see to his guest'a wants. ' But, yon see, yon have never been in England, my dear. Comfort there is a necessity to everyone, and a fine art to When left alone in her airy bedroom, with its window and balcony looking not on the garden. Ann raised her hands to clasp her brown rippling locks. ' Can this be I?1' she said aloud. 'I, poor Ann Montague, who expected to lire out this year in Aunt Bar bara's attic, with cold rabbit for luncheon. It cannot be ! I fed myself Anita ; this u none of L' Then she lay down for the after noon, enjoying the luxury of a real bed, but feeling as U the sea were still moving cinder her, while birds' songB and flower scents were wafted in on a light breeze from the sunlight outside and the hills and garden, into the shadow of her chamber. Some hours later oar sleeper was awakened by a maid, who was chattering in unintellig ible Spanish, of which two words alone sonnded familiar, t£ and kaky. A small tea tray to which she pointed, placed by the bed side, was an appetising key to this exercise in a foreign tongue. Much refreshed and freshly dressed, Nan presently adventured herself downstairs, but found the drawing-room deserted. Guided by children's voices, she came upon a pretty group in the verandah : tfae two little girls and a bigger boy in a sailor suit. 'How do yoa do?' she said, sweetly advancing towards the latter, who politely shook handa, and at once offered her a cane rocking chair. **I am Antonio,** said he. Then with emphasis 'And I do not speak much Knglish I am a Chilian.' This was rather a defiant flourish. ' Bat what if I teach yoa ?' suggested Ann, pleased with the boy's frank brow and fearless grey eyes. ?? would you like that V ** No ! I hate learning, but I might like you,' was tbe candid reply. ' How long a e you going to stay ?' While Ann sought to parry this unexpected query, the boy went on, ' Do yon like riding ? ' I will take you out if you like. But it's uol inncfa fun here. We are going soon to stay in my father's dust. Oh ! we have Bach a bee-utaful dost in the counrry.' A dust ? What could tfae boy mean. Ann was gazing in blank incomprehension when Rosita burst out in ga gluig laughter like a -oraic nightingale. ' He means tierra, our father's country — yoa kno*, a house in the country,' she es plained, bubbling over with mirth ; then over c me with shyness, she suddenly subsided under a table, pulling down iti cover, and therewith an avalanche of books, to shield her blushing fact-. At this disaster, the baby.

who was seated on a hassock, roused herself to din.ple with fat smiles. ' And can you epeak English ?' coaxed Nan bending douo, but only to elicit a grave head shake. More coaxing, presently a forcible nod uf the cherubic bead. At last Gordita's coral lips slowly unclosed, to let forth one treasured word, ' Stoopid !' They were delightful children, but Ann was amazed to find them so young. Sorely their mother must have been a cirl in comparison to Aunt Inei. Th.t niighi explain why the old doa wished for so youthful a partner as one o- Kan's own years to share fata latter life. Preneutly his voice waa heard in the distance. ' Stop a minute ! Slop a minute ! I will sbow you round the garden with pleasure, only my youuglidy might like to come too. Here she is. looking as fresh u Hebe. Now, Miss Ann, will you take an evening stroll round tbe premises of this little country box ?' First the garden was to be admired, sloping down to the lane and shaded stream beyond. Here were masses of purple bougainvillea, clusters of yellow bigonia, while ronnd eoarlet hybiscus and yellow arbulilonx shrubs whirred green hnming-birde, quarrelling and chatter* ing in BhrDl tqoawks. Here, also, European flowers tbrove loxuriantly among native prickly peua and cacli, while the slender stems and noble fronts of different palms rose abore the blossoming thickets below. With eager interest the priest and Ann accompanied their hosts through the precinct* of the dell ;

by tennis grounds on the level, and straw berry beda and fowl-yards niched in higher coigns of vantage. All round the ground rose steeply covered with wild scrub, where ground game abounded, while higher Gtill the setting son Uy golden on the bill tops. *' God has indeed made a beautiful earth,' said Father Ccerdoux, standing with * seraphic smile before dinner outside the drawing-room window. He spoke to Ann ' Yes, indeed I' said the latter. ' I am so grateful - now that fate forced me to leave England, and see with my own eyes the wonders of the world. What a pity that men orJy should so often spoQ it.' (She was think ing of the suburbs of our great manufactuiiug towns ; the tall chimneys smoking everlast ingly, as seen from Annt Barbara's windows). ' Ha ! ha ! ha I Come, that's hard upon as : eb, Father Coeardjnx? There, there 1 Yon blush charmingly : quite a picture, upon my honour,' exclaimed Don Edoardo, looking with hearty pleasure at the nympblike form standing by the verandah pillar that was wreathed with stepuanoiis. Its masses of white Sowers made a background to Ann's crown of dark brown hair warmly ehot with red golden lights. She was laughing, and the expression of joyonsness well became her face, with its milk and rose complexion, brilliant eyes, and slightly voluptuous features to which* a noble form added a cbajm of maidenly dignity* {To be continued )