Chapter 70985142

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Chapter NumberXXI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70985142
Full Date1885-10-17
Page Number32
Corrections0
Word Count2842
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAustralian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)
Trove TitleFound Out
article text

CHAPTER XXI*

Love strikes one hour-LOVE. :,'>:', ' -,N ' _ . Those never loved

", Who dream that they loved-ONCE. .

<{f.- i.t'Among ! the") heap of letters by Mallinger Dash

wood's plate at breakfast 'next morning was one '^addressed in the hand of Mr. Jack Stormonth, and

^hevread this lastj-not -without a curious glance at ^hi's .daughter. The letter ran :-^ , : -

'"DEAR- MB. DASHWOOD, : ^ " ;

(.,. j.. . 'f l am sorry that I cannot accept your invi- tation for dum^ I shall

be obliged if you will grant me a few minutes' ?" ri vate conversation (not with reference to. Miss

?ashwood)' at your own time,and place.

" Believe me;

"' , '\ .' '- "Your faithful servant, v

'- : '' * "JOHN STORMONTH. .. ,."Wednesday night." >' r '

>:." As Mr. Dashwood replaced this letter in its en-

velope, he happened to catch Mr. Velasquez's eye, -i-r'andhe considered the young man attentively.

. '' There was always an unusual, even original air

about the private secrotary that not even all the quietude of his perfect breeding* could efface, but "to-day there was a look of power, of supremacy

in him so that a close observer would have said, "That man has a scheme, probably a dangerous lé; onegin his head-and he will win." .

vYi'As the eyes of the two men met one : of those ' curious chills that old wives connect witli the

footstep gliding across a man's unmade grave, passed over Mr. Dashwood, and he knew tb at it was beyond John Stormonth's power to aid him now. Ay, hut his daughter was potent yet, and the ghastly shadow that of late had scarcely .left his elbow, stole back a little farther, as certain : thoughts passed through his brain.

: The great man was expected to return that

;! afternoon for two days' stay only, then the party

would break up, so far as those present were con- cerned, to he immediately followed by an entirely fresh one-with the exception of one of the guests now present, at the table. But he had not yet

* The copyright of "Found Out" has been purchased by the proprietors of #the " Town and Country. Journal." for excludive publication,

"been invited to remain, and Mr. B. would have be consulted in the matter.

There was no " meet " that day. Some of ti men went in for a little desultory shooting, othe for a game at rackets ; others again, fatigued 1 their exploits across country, danced attendani on the women, and held skeins of wool, or waBc< in the grounds-and wondered where was Kitt Mr. Velasquez was visible enough, and Mall in gi Dashwood had no fear of her unlawful proximity 1 Jack Stormonth, when he wrote a letter to thi young gentleman, fixing an appointment with hi: for the foUowing day : time, 10 o'clock in tl evening j place, the fencing-room. Then h sealed and despatched it, but would not go ou because he knew that Mrs. Vivien was watchin for him, and he could neither be brute enough t be rude to her, nor hypocrite enough, to preten to love her. There are times when a man p'ai sively submits to a woman's devotion, and exper enees no discomfort from it ; there are othei when it becomes a perpetual blister, and he woul eagerly exchange it for her hatred. Meanwhil Katharine, with a heavy heart and angry brail was hastening on foot to her friend Mary, ha vin sent over night by Mr. Velasquez the note tba announced her coming. The way was rougl and somewhat long, but she hurried along it s fast that often she stumbled, and more thai once she sobbed aloud, for there was no one by t

hoar her.

Poor Kitty, proud Kitty, wretched Kitty !. hai any one, she wondered, as heavy a heart as lay h her breast that day ?. But even at her journey' end she might not ease it, for Mary's kitchen wa full of bustle and work that could not be put b; for even the young, lady, and there was an un wonted shadow on Mary's forehead, and a shar pened, anxious ring in her voice as she me' Katharine with a curtsey, and a request that sin would step into the parlor, where she would corni to her as soon as possible. But Miss Dashwooc refused to be thus stifled, and went to the dairy in stead, where was coolness in plenty and ari, inno cent, sweet smell that refreshed her, and sped bei memory back to the days (two years ago) wher she had helped Jack ..to milk out of one of these very bowls. She took up a spoon idly, as if to skim one of those golden surfaces, and as she die so, the door opened behind her, and some one came softly in.

She thought it was Mary, and did not turn hei head ; but as she slipped the spoon beneath the cream, she said, "Your Mister Jack is a villain. Mary, and I hate him !"

>? Then she dropped the spoon, the better to cover her face with her hands, and she did not think it strange, or a liberty on Mary's part; when she felt a gentle tap on her shoulder, which,'no-doubt, was meant to convey comfort. But she shook it off nevertheless, and tried to, catch her voice be- tween her sobs, yet could not for .half a minute; then she said: . . , ?

"He has been flirting and carrying on-oh ! ever since he was born-and I thought he loved me ! And to think pf how/ for the last two years, I have never looked at a man (not that there were any to look at) only I never thought about them, because my eyes were so full of Jack! But he shall never know it-I will die before he shall know it, and I will marry. Mr. Velasquez, or Mr. Somebody, just to see how he will look, and if he will be sorry . . ' '. .' he did not look sorry yes- terday, only obstinate, and I dare say he had got a letter.that morning from .his Nina, hugged up in his breast pocket. . . and he never did admire dark women till he forgot me !" , <

"I don't. now," said Jack's voice in her ear; and. then Kitty's heart and sobs stopped together, but only for. a few seconds, then she flashed round on him like a fury.

" How dare you ?" she cried, and clenched her slender hand, then dropped it," and said haughtily:

? '' Is eavesdropping another of your accomplish-

ments?" ' ? - I

" Yes, Miss Kitty, it is," said Jack; with spirit, and you may thank, your stars .that .-I am able to i hear as well as see, for if I had gone by my sight I alone in the ' fencing-room the - other ñight> I

should never have taken the trouble ¡to try and speak to you again."

" It is a trouble'I could have dispensed with, sir," said, Kitty, her head , up, the. tears on her cheeks ' conspicuously visible, " though it matters very little what you say; or what you think."

"I never think much about anything," said Jack, coolly, " I usually act. And I can assure

you that it is by the merest accident I am at the j i farm this morning, and only through the officious ¡ I zeal of our kind friend, Mary, that -I find .myself i in your company at this moment." '

l ; : " The last unfortunate accident, sir," said Kitty, i with flashing eyes, " is easily mended--" and

I she moved to pass him, but he was too quick for her, and retreating to the door set .his broad ( shoulders against it, then folded his arms; and , looked at her.

I -She stood trembling with anger and outraged pride. Ah ! where was his trusting, loving Kitty i now ? "What looks were these darting from those

I eyes but a little while ago so full of love ; what i words were springing to the "lips, that had clung

I to his but lately with .such passionate abandon 1 ment of despair ? - ^

She put one slender hand upon her mouth, as if to force back the torrent that ro^e, then said, in

a low voice that trembled :

"I am fitly punished for having so far forgotten myself as to meet you in a clandestine manner to come at your bidding not once, but twice-like any housemaid, to whom her sweetheart has whis- tled. But, even if I had not found out what a -wretch-you are, I did not intend to meet! you again, and 1 told my father so." ¡

" And so I am a wretch," said Jack, looking at the young lady, habited in deep blue velvet and black fur from head to foot, with only the bloom and fairness of her face showing out delicately

from that dark richness of color.

"And if you had not got a lot of nonsense into your head, you still did not mean to meet me again?"

"That is so," said Kitty, coldly, '[and now will you allow me to pass ? My visit here this morning was to Mrs. Martin-not to Mr. John Sfcormoftta " '

" You shall pass, Miss Kitty," said Jack, do gedly," when you have answered one or two que tions-and not before. Are you in love with M

Velasquez ?"

No answer. Kitty had turned her back, ai resumed the spoon that she had laid down a fi minutes ago. Jack marched up to get a look her face, but she turned it slowly away, and wh< he came round to the other side, she repeated tl manouvre, so that it was only by taking her t\ hands and turning her bodily, that at last 3

forced her to look at him.

" You are not blushing," he said, " so you dor love him-which makes your conduct all the mo: cold-blooded and disgraceful. What right hai you to make him fall in love with you, and docer him with your flirtatious ways, just because ye are jealous of me?"

"Oh !" said Kitty, and gasped, "to think th« you should have become such a ruffian--and 1 think that T Io-oved you once !"

" Not half so much as yon do now," said Jae! looking round, and spying behind a wooden chai upon which he sat down abruptly, and ha snatched Kitty and got her firmly on his kne

before she could draw a breath.

"Oh, this is downright insult!" cried Kitt; struggling with all her might against the tvt strong arms that held her, and drawing her bod back as far as possible from contact with hiu "I'll tell-I'll tell my father when I get home."

" Do," he said, " and Mr. Velasquez, too, if yo like. Now, if I let go these pretty little fists" he stooped and kissed them as they lay powerleE in his grasp-" what will you do with them ?"

"Beat you."

" Then I shall give you a kiss for every blow." He released them as he spoke, but they lay ver quiet in Katharine's lap, and a furtive smile wa beginning to dimple round her lips as she ' me

Jack's eyes.

" Kitty/' he said, gravely, " what has turne< you into such an abominable flirt ?" ;

This was too much. Kitty bounded on his knee and once more tried to escape. But he held he fast, and repeated his question. . >

j "How can you have the audaoity," she saic after a deep-drawn Bigh of amazement, " to; tal t of my flirting-you-the most disgraceful flirt i ' all your regiment-" " ? / . I "That is another pair of shoes," said Jaoli

. coolly, "but who told you that ?"

I i" A lady ; andi know all about your Nina-i-ani ' you may marry her to-morrow if you please." i i " Thank you. And whom will you marry ?"

I Kitty did not condescend to reply- !.?'?? j "But you have not answered my question."

i "About my being a flirt P I suppose I; wa born so. I had no idea I could do it till I tried

But, no doubt, with practice, I Bhall become néarl; as great a proficient as yourself." =:r í ' ' I "I'll soon make you forgot all such tricks I Miss, when you marry me. But until then I wil

I have you behave yourself, and remember ¡thai ! Jack Stormonth expects his sweetheart to behave I as well as his wife." ' : '

j The stone was quito rolled away from Kitty't I heart by now. " She could not hide the happiness j that breathed through her hazel ey OB, and the j translucent tints of her skin j that played on hei

mouth,, tender and fresh as a child's when the morning sun shines on it. >

Yet her. lover did- not seek to touch those lovely lips 5 - he1 even seemed to'holdvher a little farther away as-he said, with eyes /that! she found stern:;

Could you not trust me Kitty, or at any ; rate make sure that: the gossip you had heard; waa truth, before you lowered yourself and me by flirting with Mr. .Velasquez ?" : ¡l

/ Kitty hung her head; and looked down at the flagged stones at their feet., v ;',>'.

" It was not flirtation-exactly," she said, her penitent air . but a thin cloak through which her happiness shone ; " I liked him from the first

and I like him now."

"" Perhaps you would prefer lum to me, miss," said Jack, giving her shoulder a little shake, i

"He is better-looking than¡ you are, I .think," said Kitty, with a glance over Jack) meant to be judicial, "and then, he is never rude-like you and he doesn't flirt, so far as I know, with any- body butme !" ^X:y. I

" Indeed," said Jack, with a ferocious sneer, " I'm much obliged to him for condescending to I flirt with my property,- but if ' I catch him at/it

after tb-day, I'll break every bone in his skin." ; ? i I : " Perhaps Miss Nina has some kind friend I whov will perform the same office . by you," said I Kitty. "And pray, sir,' don't you call ita very

wrong, a - very wicked thing to win a young wo- man's affections, when you are engaged to quite I another person ?"

i " Not half so bad as for an engaged woman to i I flirt," said Jack, with decision ; and now listen I to me, Kitty, and then put all that nonsense out i j of your head for ever. Nina and I. are very good i I friends-but no more, and whoever. has - been' | making mischief about her is some tattling i toad who likes Mr. Velasquez better than she

likes me."

"Oh !" said Kitty, with a long, soft sigh, "and did you ever-ever kiss her ?",

- "And did she ever-kiss you?" >

? r. " Girls don't kiss men without encouragement, Kitty!"

"And did you never-encourage her ?" ¡ >'

" Now, Kitty-you know my sex is. BO much more honorable in matters of ? that sort, than yours 1"

She looked at him sideways, like a pretty inqui- sitive bird, but there wasanxiety, ; too, in the glance, and he caught it. ? '

" Kitty," he said, " if you ask me. if I haven't looked at girls, I have-but as to. loving 'em;'I always said, ' there's my Kitty.' "

" Oh !" cried Kitty, "you can speak of them in the plural!".

"And Tve kept you in my heart/* went ou Jack, stolidly, "and kept that as clean as l could for your sake."

'/Did either of them ever-ever"sit on your

knee?"

? "Why?"

" Because I could n,ever sit there again, you kflow, if sue tad I" 1

« Couldn't you P" said Jack, «but I'd make you, And pray, did Mr. Velasquez ever kiss you ?"

I " Oh, Jack !" she said, and shrank back with so hurt and shamed a face, that he implored her to forgive him, and by way of testing the purity of those lips, seized them himself, and GO with their arms around one another, they were for a brief space in heaven, and might have remained there some precious moments longer, had not the door opened, and showed Mr. Velasquez standing on

the threshold.