|Newspaper Title||The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950)|
|Trove Title||Money Or Wife ?|
Money or Wife ?
, Julian Bryant drove to the city in a' motor-cab. He. knew that it was a luxury* 'but it was so difficult for hLm to sever UilniBolf .Immediately tfrom the delightful association's of the last few weeka. His imagination was still alive with pictures, of the varied1 scenes through which he had nassed. his mind still nn.
der the influence o£ new ami enchant ing experiences. Even now, as he sat back In the busy little 'taxi,' which was speeding him through the clatter and confusion of the I/ondon streets, and 'ho closed his eyes, he could Imagine himself in Venice once again; Venteo at night, Venice under the soft glory oi a 'May moon! He could feel tlHTclaap of Enid's lit tle hand in hit) as they had sat close together, while their gondola had been carried away from the moonlight and the .glitter and the movement of the Grand Canal, away from the voices of
the singers whoso barge waa nightly moored in front of the Doge'a Palace, away from all that was real to those silent pathways that Meandered in and out of 'the stately dark' palaces, so sil ent, so mysterious, so full of that dig nity which was bo indubitably their peculiar heritage. In the quiet night hours, Venice, the real Venice, rises superbly above the despoiling hand of modernism: the magazines of antiquity, the glass works, the noisy useful steamboats, all the commercial elements of the new Venice, are shrouded and silenced, only the music of the lapping water on the' walls and only the melancholy, the ?beautiful sense of age and mystery, re main—a world set apart from every day things, a world of dreams! Julian Bryant was back- in that world of dreams now!
He opened his eyes and closed Ihem again, to dream on, They were away from the shadows now, swiftly crossing from under tho Ponte del Sosplri to the ,'Oiudeeca, where the big English yacht had been unclvored for so many weeks; past the flotilla of Dalmatian nshing«i)oat8, with their curiously decorated sails and the 'eye of God' set In the prow of each— on and on In tht brilliant moonlight till the singing and the lights lrad fad ed out, and only the lagune stretched before them opalescent with *hlnimer» Ing phosphams reaching Into the far distance till It touched the sea beyond; the H?stle«», the incomparable Adriatic, Tho rnnn In the cab moved and caught his breath. He could actually feel the soft breezes stirring the pink and purple wisteria on the high wall that bordered the Incline: he could sfce the .1ewellecl
radiance dancing like fireflies even about th£ blade of Giuseppe-'.* otir ac it moved gently in and out ot the water .... nnd then he opened his eyes with a jerk . . . Venice, city of romance, of tragedy, of love, of poetry, Venice had vanished . . . this was real life, the heart 'of the great, the ugly, working world! Just for an Instant he puckered his
?brows as he alighted, and a shadow fell on the unconscious happiness of his face. Then as the early summer sun shine fell on him and the summer air stirred Jiis pulses, he smiled. Venkw lay behind, but Enid was with him ? always. Enid and love! '. Enid and homo. ' Enid and all those count less little Joys that man-logo means to the new:y-wed. He tipped his' cab- man liberally 'an*: slipped .'& coin Into the hand oi the lift man who took him up to the fjfflce. 'Been doing yourself well, Mr. Bry ant, from .the look of you? Ah! a holiday's a great thing, isn't it?' ' And Bryant laughed. / ':. 'Tee, a, holiday \» a great thing.11 The lift man looked after him with a nod as he paused rapidly down th« passage. . 'Might have 'oen on his honeymoon,' ?lie said to ?himue'.f. There \va» something -certainly bright and attractive about Julian Bryant. Everybody seemed .pleased to see him; he .brought a new element Into the of Hen ? his liapplnoac was imparted ? un consciously to 'his fellow workers, end as he sat down In his accustomed Plac« and started on his accustomed work, he stopped. -every. now and then
to sniff the white rose in his button iiole, the rosfe which his wife had pinned in when they ware parted. Just about half an hour before iunoh time, one -of his clerk* came t-.o-.hhn with A mtsaage, 'You're wanted, Bryant; the 'head' has asked for you.' Julian Bryant put down his pen and walked through the long office till he reached the door at the farther end. He stopped on his way to shako hands with two of the girl typlst9p.aU Jgnor ant |hat one of them cherished a se cret and ardent admiration for him. The fact was hardly to .bo wondered at, for the young man was very good to look at. He had been in a Hussar ?re- giment for nearly seven years .before he- had -taken to «Hy work, aad his military education was dearl? ?discern - Iblft in tho fine way with which he held himself, and In hla smart, weil-groomed ? look. . A3 he .passed through the door he entered a little ante-room, and from this rocm. beyond there cairte out a; middle-aged- man, wHh his hands fall of paparfi. 'Ah! Mr, Bryunt, there yon are. I was just coming to fetch you, Will you pleaso go in?'
He stood -m on* ride and closed the door na Bryant passed into the other room. This was a small, ah&bby apartment:, yet It contained two hand some iplecos of fnmlture, ona an in laid stain wood bureau, a ip-loee of French workmanship exquisitely de corated, and the other a high-backed, carved old oak chair. In tills chair was seated . the head of the firm
which employed Julian Bryant. The 'head' 'was a woman. ? A thin, tall, dark woman, with an unrais takaible Jewish look in her features, and 1h the quick yet furtive expression of her eyea She was rathar extravagantly dress. ed, and wore a great deal of jewel lery. The pearls round her throat were supposed to be matchless, and Julian had often heard it said in the office that 'the chief' carried about on her person something like ithlrty thousand pearls when she wore thoso pearls. The matter did not Interest him, however; he was far moro at tracted by 'the extraordinary brain power of this woman, by tho strength of her will, by -her shrewdness and Iror
W1C. She. turned as the young1 man came In, and stretched out iboth her hands In greeting to him. 'Ah!' she said, 'it's* good to see you, Julian. You «eem to have been away a long time,' J-ullan Bryant pressed the two hands, and his face flushed. This welcome wa» a surprise to him, for as a rule Mrs. Marnock had few words to spare, and wa» curtness Itself in her 'manner. She had no time for 'graclouaness of
bearing; her motto was .to get the most out of everybody who worked for her, and the best of everybody with whom ahe did (business.' * 'Sit down,' fill© said, 'and tell me what you've been doing. You look an other man.' 'Oh! I'm awfully flt, thanks to you,' Bryant answered brightly^ 'Mrs.
Marnook, it was reallytoo good of you to give me six weeks' holiday instead of a month.' The woman at the desk smiled; and when she smiled one saw how old she was, one saw, too, as the clear sun shine Btreamert upon her, how pathetic were her efforts to induce the belief that she possessed oven a remnant of youth, 'You did not write,' she said, and her voice was soft, Juliant Bryant colored. He was lean ing 'on the chair with both hands, but he did not sit' down. Her remark sur. prised him. 'Oh! 1 don't think— 1 mean— I hardly liked to do that,' 'That was foolish of you,' said Mrs. Marnock, 'You know I am Interested In you. Beddee, though you work for me, remember we are connected,'
The young man laughed. 'Honestly, I have never remembered that, You ure.uuch a big person, you know; it would have.Beemed almost presumptuous to have done so,' he said; 'and yet,' he added the next moment, 'It was, of course, naturally your marriage with my mother's step brother that gave me my chance here,' ' 'Yes,' said Mrs, Marnock, 'It was that In the -beginning; but you have
yourself to thank, Julian, for all the rest, When first I heard ,of you, ana my late husband uAk&d me to- give you a chanco here, I must confess I was a little prejudiced against you. I said to myself, 'A boy who has been In a smart cavalry regiment will he the last sort of person to be worth his salt in this office.' The moment I saw you, however, I knew that 1 had made a mistake. I'm pretty good at reading characters, and I knew there was stuff In you, That's why l took you on', and why I mean to give you all the 'chance I can.' Once again the color flashed' Into the young man's face, 'I^bn't know how to tbank you,'1 he said. 'I'll have to let you realise my gratitude )by facts and by degrees.' Mrs. Marnock smiled at him. ? 'I Pont for you now to tell you I am going to make some changes here. You know that Hodaon Is leaving? Yes he is going abroad. 'Well, I propose that you should take his place.' ,- 'Hodson's work!' Bryant echoed quickly. 'That-that Is a big step up!' (To 'be Continued.)