Chapter 70982541

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Chapter NumberII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70982541
Full Date1885-08-15
Page Number32
Corrections0
Word Count1270
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAustralian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)
Trove TitleFound Out
article text

CHAPTER IL

And when he came to that castle, *

They were sat down to dino,

A score of nobles there he saw, . Sat drinkin' at tho wine.

Mullinger Dashwood happened to be the onlj person in the white drawing-room when his daughter entered it, and he came to meet hei with as cold and polished a courtesy as.if she had been his guest.

She met him in Iiis own spirit; and seen side by side the resemblance between father and daughter was very striking, for both were hazel eyed and brown-haired, both had that stag-like carriage of the head, and perfect symmetry of limb that marked them out as uncommon in a crowd, and dwarfed all other men and women to insigni- ficance beside them-though here the likeness ceased, for in heart and expression there could not bo found a greater contrast than between Mal linger and Katharine Dashwood.

" Your dress is in excellent taste/'he said, his cold eyes scanning her from head to foot. You have dropped the schoolgirl, and yet you do not flaunt the heiress ; but surely that is a tear upon your cheek ? Allow me"-and he removed it-" I would advise you in future to confine them to your pillow; they are but of place in a ball-

room." .

"Like my heart," said his daughter, as the door opened, and à lady came fluttering in, whoso attire seemed to consist of a few cerulean clouds, loosely clasped together with pearls.

" Ah !. Mrs. Vivien !" said her host, as he went to meet;her, "you bring us summer skies-and this is my daughter, fresh from Behool, and danc- ing to-night at her first ball."

Mrs. Vivien opëned her blue eyes with some astonishment, and as they slowly travelled up to the crown of Katharine's stately head, they said, as if she had spoken, " Too tall !" but in her heart she thought, "Too young, too fresh!"

" And so your cousin could not come," said Mr. Dashwood, aa he left her to meet half-a-dozeU people who now came in, followed so quickly by others that in a few minutes the twenty or so of dinner guests were assembled, and the women were taking languid stock of one another, and all the men . were looking at Katharine.

Now there showed one uncommon feature in this company, that there was not a single plain or uninteresting person in it ; for Dashwood asked his guests to please himself, and was himself entertained by the beauty, wit, and agreeability with which he furnished his house for the time being.

It was his habit to send with each invitation a

printed- menu of the proposed guests, so that all such awkward accidents as the meeting of a lady with a former admirer, or of a gentleman with a lady who was only vice-regent of his affections,

j were entirely averted; and an invitation from

¡royalty was not coveted so eagerly as one that

carried its cachet of beauty to every woman who

received it. .

The nien might bo wits if they pleased, BO might the women ; but intellect without good looks was rigorously excluded, perhaps because so large a portion of the wit was furnished by th e

master of the house himself.

The men of the county came eagerly when in- vited by. Dashwood-came to look, to sigh, to get a whole liberal education from the contemplation of such charms as . they had never dreamed of ; and the best-looking women of the county, how- ever seldom asked, came also, only to retire with secret tears, and a deadly hatred for the. milliners who had betrayed them.

They had no stones to sling at the heads of these smart people,, who all spoke affectionately of their absent lords, and to every one of whom had befallen that accident from which even the most fashionable fine lady is not exempt-viz., a baby; they did nob know, their inner lives, but could only gauge them by the perfection of their clothes, which they found immortal.

"Do we wait for any one?" said Lady Becky Selwyn, looking up at her host, "and we are all so hungry !" k ? .

"Mr. B-is not hero," said Dashwood, "we will give him one minute more of grace-rin which I may smell your roseB," he added, and stooped to the yellow cluster that adorned the breast of her white velvet gown.

"Mr. B--and Mr. Velasquez," announced the butler from the door, and Mailinger Dash- wood looked up to Bee the great man approaching, with a far younger and taller man beside him, at sight of whom he started violently, and put out his, hand as if to wave him back, but the next moment he bad met and welcomed the pair.

« My secretary, Mr. Velasquez/' the great man said ; though if he had introduced him as one of his secretaries, he would have spoken nearer tho truth. But when the host moved to introduce the two men to his daughter, it was the turn of Mr. Velasquez to start, to change color, as his hands touched hers, while something looked at her out of his black eyes that she never forgot and never understood until-until- ,

" Dinner is served," said the butler j and tho great man, on the tiptoe of ecstasy at having so many pretty souls on which to gaze, offered Ka- tharine his arm, and strutted out with her, re- solved that, queen and country notwithstanding, ho would throw statesmanship to tho dogs, and and remain here a whole week.

Mr. Velasquez fell to the lot of .Mrs. Vivien, and proved himself unusually quiet far a young man of such extraordinary personal attractions.

To the richness, color and grace given by Sou- thern blood, he united the splendid stature and "Build of the best style of Englishman ; his man- ners and gestures, too, were thoroughly British, but not so the sadnes of his eyes, and a curious quietude of features, that to close observers sug- gested a volcano of slumbering passion beneath.

"A brown beauty," said Mrs. Vivien, her eyes following his to Katharine, who sat opposite her father at the middle of the long oval table. -

" Ño, a hazel one, I think," he said, " she is so extremely fair. Sho is Mr. Dashwood's only daughter?"

" Yes, and his heiress, if she marries with his consent.1 But he is evidently in no hurry, for there is not a man here he would accept as a

son-in-law.

" No," said Mr. Velasquez, looking round, "they

all seem more or loss attached."

" I have never met you in society," said Mrs. Vivien, flashing a pair of scornful turquoise eyes on the insensibility of his black velvet ones. " so how do you know how we live-nous autres ?"

"Private secretaries have opportunities," he said 5 then paused and looked, as if by accident, at a man opposite, who was regarding Mrs. Vi- vien's animated manner with very decided dis

satisfa-tion.

"Ah ! poor Noll!" she said, lightly, "buthe is beginning to tire me. Mullinger made a mistake in asking us here together. It is our future ad- mirers, not our present ones, who should be asked

to meet us!"

" Is there a single husband here, par hazard ? said Mr. Velasquez, looking round.

Hut Mrs Vivien at that moment made Noll, (otherwise -Lord Oliver), happy by turning her back upon Mr. Velasquez, and concerning herself solely with her dinner.

(TO BB CONTINUED.)