Chapter 70982788

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Chapter NumberIV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70982788
Full Date1885-08-22
Page Number32
Corrections0
Word Count1569
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAustralian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)
Trove TitleFound Out
article text

CHAPTER IV.

Tho sword was sharp, and soro did bite, I tell you in certain ;

To the heart he did him smite. . . .

When Mr. Dashwood went next morning ao hour or so after breakfast to look for his, guests he found them with one consent in the piotur gallery, engaged in the noble pursuit of a "fly hunt." The great man himself was standing oi à chair, and puffing his cheeks out in his efforts t< keep aloft a descending scrap of white paper, th< while he steadied himself by the waist of th< nearest lady, while the rest of the men and womel (with two exceptions) were rushing hither anc thither, pell-mell, their bodies bent backward! and upwards, blowing like cherubs towards tht descending atoms that riot ill resembled snow and being beaten backward by those vigorous breaths from below, retreated only to fluttei down again on the heals and faces of the strug-

gling host. -

Lord Noll's head had just met Lady Becky's in a sounding crock that oclipsed tho deeper anguish of Lord Dolly, whose toes had just been danced upon by the finest and heaviest romper present 5 Jack St. Leger had nearly, got his teeth knocked out by the agile bound of a portly, Venus just beneath his chin. The great man at this moment overbalanced himself, but with the grace of second childhood tumbled plump into a beauty's arms ; two lovers had shown such heartless indifference to eaoh other's bruises, that already a change of cicisbeo floated in the lady's mind; and all were growing hot and dishevelled (howevèr freely Ho- garth's line of beauty might be displayed) when a cool, inquiring voice was heard to say, " Is this a new intellectual amusement P" and the fly- catchers brought their chins down with a haste that nearly dislooated them. 1

. "It is a fly-hunt," said Mrs. Vivien, who 1'ad been giving only tho faintest possible puffs ¡ up- wards, . " an, invention . of, my , own, and splendid exercise"-she looked sweetly round on tho flushed countenances, the disordered presses of her dear-j est friends, as they^ threw, themselves down on the nearest chairs-"and we are.all rather hot-X fear we have made a good deal of. noise." ú> ¡ ;¡ !

She was riot in the least'hot herself; arid had* not ' a curl out of place, and Mallinger ; Dashwood sniiléd cynically as he glanced *at her, then at the onlv other cool woman in the room'-r-his daúe-htor.

UXiAjr UUIIOL wvi iiuuuuui ~vv*~ .-"0-_

She was standing at a farther window, looking out, and with her was Mr.; Velasquez. Long ago .they had turned their backs on the vulgar.romp, and now were gazing down at a long avenue that in the night had become so beautifully frosted over with snow, that, as one gazed, ono almost expected an invisible horn to, sound, and to see a multitudeof fairies ; and - merryinen: sweep up the long arcade, vanishing away like morning dew as they neared the house ! , *

. " The secretary's duties are light," said Mrs. Vivien, glancing at the .pair, by the window.

, " And your rule, is heavy," said her host;,as his eyes travelled from one distressed group of fly- catchers to another. . . . ., . J . . >

fOh !. I'have a betteraamusement for the even- ing," she said airily ; " it does not. make you' so hot,^ and it is-muoh more amusing/' * -,. ' ?

? " What is that P" said Lord Dolly, who sat at her elbow, and punished his face, with a red hand- kerchief. , . /.,}',

" You light a, candle," said Mrs.'Vivien;."and put it: on a table. ,v Theu .you.tgo; four, paces away from. the. candle-and have your eyes bandaged; Then you .go "straight ahead and blow the1 candió

out." ' - : ' ? -

- - " But do yon ?" said Lord Dolly: \ '?".;?' . : ;!l

", I never. knew but one .'person who did, " said Mrs. Vivien, placidly, "and she was a woman and ofrcourse peeped-but if ' we all try to night, somebody may. be honestly lucky. ! ' .Í ¡.,, < . ?. ¡ ¡ > ,

'5:No. more waste of breath jfor¿ me;'' said- Lord Dolly; piously, .f and I think ^Miss M Dashwood 's

very ?wise," he added, " to keep out of it¿"' , ..? i

" Perhaps she* preferred- Mr. Velasquez's sighs i to bis puns," said -MrSi- Vivien;- languidly, then turned her back on Lord Dolly, as another man approached.. . ', . , < >

His collar was limp,-he, too, was flourishing a

handkerchief like a u towel, and he had an ex-

hausted air as he-sank i down; beside heiv ??>: - ? ??> i

"I know a! better game than that/' he said;i between gasps j " you all-shut your eyes and draw a pig-then comparo your jpigs afterwards-and it s more fun, and lesa loss of breath !''

" That will suit some of these people better," said Mrs. Vivien, glancing round on the more or, less prostrate charms scattered through the room; "meanwhile ; wo .niust amuse ourselves. . Go and tell Mr. Dashwood I v/ant to gee that splendid . collection of armour he has got in the fencing

room." *

Lord Dolly stared, but went,' and .had togo pretty far, as Mr. Dashwood had just roached] thé isolated couple by the window, and was politely asking them if they did not feel the cold. Nei- ther had time to answer before Lord Dolly came up, and delivered his message'verbatim.

"To be sure," said Mallinger Dashwood, but without turning, and his eyes full on Mr. Ve- lasquez. ' ,

. If he bad been looking at his daughter, if her dress even had touched him, ho must havo seen the change, or felt tli9 shock that thrilled her 5 ¡but he saw. jgnly^ Velasquez, who ,eiood as ono to wtoÄ-Hiö/lioöt'ü wüidi-iiád no conoetc, aad io.

another moment Dashwood hod turned on hi heel, and rejoined Mrs. Vivien.'' ~ " ' ~

" It is too cold to go out," she' said, with sarcastic glance at the ruffled female plumag around her, " and I. have heard so much abou ¡your beautiful armour-will you take us t

see it ?"

Some of those who heard her, held their breatl at her- audacity-was she not aware that this wa the one closed chamber in the house, and to whicl reference was profoundly shunned ?

For a moment Mrs. Vivien's and Mallinge: Dashwood's eyes met like flint and steel; thei with a backward look at the young pair by th window, and with an odd gesture that combine< impatience and invitation, he said :

"Come."

And they did come, flashing after him like Í gay company of paroquets, rejoicing in the cool ness that met them as they traversed endless corridors, coming at last to a heavily mouldec door, of which the key was in the host's pocket.

'' So you come here yourself sometimes," said Lady Becky, as he produced it, in her clear

penetrating voice.

"To be sure, why not? I have nothing to fear.'' But'some one within earshot shuddered as he stepped over the threshold, for in tho clear morn- ing fight would not those late footprints in the dust show visibly, or perhaps a shutter half drawn betray the visitor of over-night.

But the ladies'whisking skirts, as they spread through the room, quickly obliterated those guilty traces, and Katharine dared to breathe when Lord Oliver at the one end, and Mr. Velasquez - at the other opened the shutters, and let in a flood bf light on the desolate; lovely room.

In the exclamations of delight that rose like a gently increasing storm, tho curiosity of Mr. Velasquez, as to the fastenings, position "and sur- roundings of the window he had just unshuttered; were observed ; even Katharine stood unnoticed, as her eyes rested on the spot where yesternight two lovers had possibly spoken their last good-bye,' and where now a crowd of fine ladies trooped and' screamed, suspect-ingrats, and furtively searching, for that death-stain which, on Boine portion of the polished boards, was known to exist.

Mrs. Vivien did not hunt; she had been in- tently watching; Dashwood's face ever since she entered, and prsently approached'him.

" Where is ifc ?" she said. ; " What ?" questioned her host. .

I "The blood-stain-for I suppose there was;

oneP"

- " Here," said Maliinger Dashwood ; . but it was! at , Mr. Velasquez , that he looked, as he moved to: the centre of the room. <.,-? ¡

AU gathered round and peeped, some of % the men over the women's shoulders, Mr. Velasquez; scarcely so long as the rest : then' first one woman! shivered, then .another, and. some with few,.and' some with a natural revulsion of cold, after the' violent heat into which they had romped them-, .selves, so that within three minutes the roomvwas: empty i 'but though Mr. ' Dashwood locked tho' door andireplaced the key, it somehow, happened,! in"the* general scrimmage, that ,.the> barring and; shuttering of the two great windows were : for-j gotten," . . ,1 / <¡ .- . .. ' . (