|Chapter Number||XVII. (CONTINUED).|
|Newspaper Title||Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||Found Out|
BY THE AUTHOR'OF " COMIN* THRO' THE BYE/'
CHAPTER XVII. (CONTINUED). ;
" My dear lady," he cried, at. sight of her, an without noticing Storinonth, "what has happened I missed you and rode back at once ; but I se you have been taken care of/' and he bowed t Jack as a stranger, then recognition seemed ti quicken in h's éyís, and he said, " Mr. Stor
month?" ., .
Jack nodded, and, raising his , hat to Mrs. Vi
vien, walked away.
The situation had a touch of the" grotesque ii it, and Mrs. Vivien laughed.
" You had met before ?" said Dashwood, arguing quite wrongly from her mirth, and with a curious
sense of relief.
" Why not?" she said, preserving her gay non- chalant bearing, "and of course-1 am interested in him as your daughter's suitor. -
"An .unacceptable one," said Dashwood, care-
" You prefer Mr. Fits-I mean Mr. Velasquez ?" " I prefer' neither. Shall we turn homeward now? You cannot be very comfortable in that
" It is as comfortable as an arm-chair." She leaned over, and patted the glossy, neck of the magnificent horse, that, while all fire with his master, now carried her with the gentleness of a
. íf Dear Dashwood/' she said, ff why. should 110 your daughter and M>. Stonnonth marry ? . Sh< .will never love any other man. She 'is like' he: father-faithful/' * . -
. "A bad complaint/'.he said, as ho. opened i gate with his whip for her to pass through.
, " But it is worse for the woman than'tne man/ said Mrs. Vivien, bitterly, when he had joined her " Perhaps her faithfulness is the one thing1 in hei life, and to a man it- is only one in many, and re- curring .only by fits and starts."
" You should not quarrel with a man's idea oi it," h°t said ; ". you, who have had so much-^and not by fits and starts. There is poor Noll--"
j" Oh, Noll !" she said. " He is a spaniel-with a spaniel's attributes." J, *
. 'f.Yefc, as you value faithfulness so much," said Dashwood, dryly, "you should value him." . ¡
" I do not want it," she criedy passionately ; " I want love-love, your love, Dashwood, and; you
will not give it me !".
" You are niy dearest friend," he said; lifting her hand to his, lips.* fl am too bid .for love now." ' . '...: ;
. " No, no," she cried, and drew, his palm aipwards until ifc touched her cheek, down which' the tears were falling. " You loved me once-I could make you love me again . . . . and you would forget
your Tita .. ' '. . - ." . ^
He knewthat she was not' acting now ; that, however she might have schemed, and used finesse to" get him in her power, it had been, solely be- cause she loved him, not that she might Áyork,hini harm. And yet a woman scorned is a dangerous . thing, and he must dispossess her of all power, no
matter how, for, in his opinion, the end - justified the means.' .?? ? ? ? . - ? ? ? ' . ;' .
. " Alice," he said, and her heart leaped (it was five years now, since he had called her by that name), "if you!still,honor mo with your affec- tion, you have lately taken a strange '¡.way of
The grave voice, so unlike his usual*; satirical polished tones,.the kindled glance of the habitu- ally cold eyes, moved her more powerfully than a declaration of love from his lips could have done j she bent 'her head lower, over his hand, and her tears fell on it like rain. .
,,She.hadnottakeninto consideration the frigh
f ul TdisAvantage f, under ; which; ¡ a, woinau, labors when she sits down to play a game of skill .wiibh. the man whom she passionately loves ; yet even while she laid her weapons down, she felt a trem- bling happiness-to which her worldly heart had never before been sensible. . 1 " .
'fl will tell you the truth," she said, almost be- low her breath, as the horses went: at a foot-pace along the uneven lane, with ragged hedges,, upon which ; patches .of snow, still lingered,. shutting them in. "I was struck by something in your face when you met Mr. Velasquez, and by ^some- thing in his manner when the story of the fencing room wa3 told in the drawing-room one evening/ You had been cold to me, colder than usual, and I longed to rinake you feel my power, and at the masked ball'. I hazarded wild, guesses, trying to produce an effect, upon you, but it was by accident more than intent that I got into the fencing-room that night*" ' .. .> : :, >
She paused, and Dashwood's right hand closed on his whip and reins like a vice. ? . '
" I heard it all," she said at last, and -looking away from him, "all that Mr. Velasquez said to (Mr. Stormonth, and how he was sure, and how his mother, was sure, that something had passed be- tween you and Mr. Fitzhugh in the foncing-room -something besides the letter that came to you
from the bank."
She paused again, not daring to look- afc the man upon whose honor no speck or stain had ever rested, and did not resist , when he drew his hand out "of hers/and lefc'it fall to his'side. . .
Perhaps she knew that the bitterness of dpath was in his heart, but thought that the fount; of love in her own might quench it, for love is mighty, and barely sees the obstacles that it hews out of its path. . Tet she trembled as she said : :
" And so I stole the scrap of paper out of tho helmet, after you went away." , ,
She dared to look at him now, and' fouxid "that" his eyes wero searching every line of her face. Then he said :
" And what did you find in it ?"
" Something that Tita did noi write," said Mrs, Vivien, boldly. -
Tho shot told; for a moment â film seemed
* Tho copyright of "Pound Out" Jins been purchased by the'proprietors pf the-"Towu and Country Journal;" for
eiolusivo publication, ' .-..J.,
stretched before; the eagle, eyes turned upon her then something in her face, a shrinking, a tremor fixed his attention, and he knew that she was de ceiving him.
"You will repeat to me the exact words of thal letter ?" he said, gently.
"No," she said, sullenly, "I will not."
For a moment or two he watched the averted profile, then he accepted his fate. , He knew now that his honor waB no longer in the" hands of a woman who loved him, but probably in those ol an enemy who was not likely to spare him.
"Poor Alice!" he said, and smiled.
Then she knew herself detected, and burst into a passion of tears.
"Oh! Dashwood," she said, between her sobs, "how can I get it back P That wretch stole it
"No, it was-"
" Don't tell me," said Dashwood, interrupting her ; " but I think you are mistaken about the contents of that paper. You have not read it and
She did not reply-they were now entering the village that led* to the Towers, and she had dried her eyes, straightened herself, and was as fine and indifferent a lady as ever, before they had gone twenty paces farther, and if tne spectacle of a woman on a man's saddle was tinusual, why she supported the situation with unusual grace.
But when, an hour later, Jack Stormonth's horse was sent back to the Hall, there went with him a letter from Mallinger Dashwood that ran
as follows :
" Dear Mr. Stormonth
"My guest, Mrs. Vivien, would like to thank you moro fully for your kindness in taking care j of her to day ; and my daughter and I will be happy to see you at dinner to-morrow at 8 o'clock,; if you will honor us with your company.
" Believe me vour faithful servant.