|Newspaper Title||The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950)|
|Trove Title||An Astounding Marriage|
./; . MAEEIAGE.
-,. ''BY A CORALIE STANTON, Author of ','A Jealous Woman's Plot,' /-'The Other Woman,' 'His Enemy's i \ )' '' . Hand.'
' ?' CHAPTER HI. i ___ ,' 'Tdoh!' sneered Philip, 'she's probably Reaving romances about herself' and me ? — ^tjhinking that I had conceived a yio leirt, if sudden, passion for her, and that I devised the marriage as a means of se curing 'her in the teeth of ail rivals! I ?dare say she exalts me into a hero, Tvith the face of Apollo and the mus .' .-d.ra:6f Hercules, who has made & vow , to perform all sorts of unearthly deeds '?? off 'derring-do befoi-e he dares to claim her, ?ahd lay his crown of exploits at her ? .jteetf -?; His -laugh again : did not ring tru«. Perhaps he felt, now the elation born of opposition was gone, that he had not performed a very plucky action. Per taps .the much-longed-for moral secur .?'^vijjf'feom..1 the' wiles qf the fair sex, asre .'presented by', m'ani'nias and ingenues, ' ; '^a8 made no more satisfactory by the ^ffiougiht.thaib he. had done' a very un . 'munlyHhing to gecure it. ? Who '£nows 1 .' .j-P.erhaps^.he saw a -beautiful face, with , :;»irinj ^piteous lips,' and' blazing eyes'; and '?[sMning( golden- hair, mutely- appealing ? .. arms,' held 'tigh'tiy, by strong hands, a p'6fc,;:v:pice , choked with indignation, more often. in his mind's eye than was exactly pleasant. . . J% flim, off tomorrow,'' he said pre sently, 'tp. Morocco, so I' shall' have to p'b6tpabe the pleasure of meeting your . ^Bistgr until 'my return;' ' vAttdain chatted of many things for a Tvjhile, then .took his leave, and lived .; through the next two days in a'Tneatal 'condition which, hovered between ex pcctamcy and apprehension. He had spent the four years since his ?^Cher's 'death — apart from the duties incuinbent on a millionaire — in one con .vtinuquB. search for a long-lost sister. ? On has deatM-ed his father had told Mm a curious story.' Douglas had Vrlever hoard of his mother, and until ;that day he was quite unaware of the- ? manner of her death. Seven year,s af \;tcr;b.is birth, his father told* Mm, he ?.and his wife had hod a bitter quarrel, .'vy'hidv endod in her leaving the house. V He had never hoard from her directly ; again ', but he learned through the Eng : lish chaplain at Corfu, whence herrest ?. less feet seemed to have led her, ttiat y-i ' ??'.'??'.?? '
i bwo months after her flight from home a. second child — a' daughter — had been born to her; and a month afterwards the mother died. In whose care she had left this child the clergyman could not say, but he believed that it had liv ed. ' All iihough his long life Audain's father had hardened his hearty against his' dead wife, and professed himself- ut terly careless of the fate of his daugh ter; but, face to face with the King of Terrors, a softer spirit had possessed him. 'Find your sister, Douglas!' he had whispered, with his last choking breath. 'Toil will find all the' papers in ? my desk. I want 'her to have half the money— half. — I have been wicked— I was in the wrong!'
Douglas h'ad placed tKe- matter in the hands of the family solicitors, and. had himself instituted many -fruitless in quiries. And now at last he found him self in sight of his goal, and he felt a certain pride that he1 had so administer ed his income and estate that the. sum— originally half his' father's fortune — ' which he had set aside for his unknown sister had grown to immense proportions -Considerably greater than his own share, though that was a goodly one. At; last ? the ? eagerly-awaited, half dreaded summons arrived, and he set 'out for his lawyer's office. '.Mr. Summers, who was a small, thin man, with an utterly disproportionate pomposity of manner, received him with great cordiality, and a thorough satis faction with hisi own methods of solving the mvsterv. which could not fail to
amuse Audain, even at 'that moment. 'My dear Mr. Douglas/' the little lawyer said, 'I must at first congratulate you on the discovery, of your most charming sister. , There ia something very interesting — I may say^ romantic — in 'the fact that you have been living in closest proximity to the young lady who bears your father's name. and your own. This charming and self-reliant representative of modern young woman hood' is none other' than the lady you know under the name of Miss Mary Len nox, who, with her cousin, carries on the eminently successful— — ' But Audain heard no more. Much t-y the lawyer's dismay, he reeled back wards, with the wide-dilated eyes of a man who sees a ghost. ? 'You did. not say Mary Lennox, Mr. Summers, of course! I misunderstood you. The name Has been ringing in my ears,' he said, passing his hand across (his damp brow. 'I did say Mary Lennox,' Mr. Doug las, the. old lawyer answered rathei-' testily; „ 'I should have said. Mary. Audaini!'^ ?; . ' 'Heaven help me!' groaned his lis tener. Then, recollecting himself : 'Go on, Mr. .Summers, ? please. ? I am a little upset, that's all. So strange:that she should have been within reach all
this time. . Tell ine the whole story, please.' \ ? He sat down, his grey. lips, twitching every now and then as he listened. ? It was an amazingly simple story. Mrs. Audain, it appeared, on her lonely deathbed, had entrusted her baby daugh ter to the care: of a friendly1 English nurse, with a ten-pound note^ — all she had in the world — and instructions to take the child to its father. The nurse had succumbed to temptation, kept the money, and given the -~ Id to a Mrs. Lennox, the wife of an officer, who wel comed eagerly the child Fate sent to her to console her for the one she had just lost. She arid her husband died when the baby was six years old, and they confided little Mary, with a small sum of money, to the care. of Mrs. Len nox's sister, Mrs. Grant4 the mother of Irma. The girls Had :been; brought up together, Mary in the belief that Mrs. Lennox was her mother. Quite by ac cident, Mr. Summers had happened ion a clue in Algiers, which led him to the nurse, to whom the whole deception was due, and she confessed to him. She gave him the letter Mm Audain had written to her husband jV and some let ters from Mrs. Lennox to herself, which wiped away all doubt as to. the truth, of her .story.'.-' ....; ' H' ; ''.':?'';— ;v ' ''? -'h;^'.' Douglas Audain walked home in a dream, after promising to call on his newly-found sister. : . 'Mary Lennox^ — Mary Audain ! Mary, Audain— -Mary Lennox!' hammered in his ears. That girl was his sister, and ha had helped his friend to force her to take part in a ceremony that she would look upon as an outrage to her womanhood. Was ever man's spirit visited with such a well-deserved stroke of .poetic justice? , ;. .. ;j...;. ?In the opinion of ^th^|;^h-,:be|i|ye'. that a. man sometimes; J^lh'is-vpuru^hPv ment on eantlh, Douglas -:^dain-:j;js)if- fered his in the momen^v,-^;^)riyi5''Eis proud spirit went through! ./:..;! ?His^^tJer, the woman who shareol hi's,feroud^a)ne, probably his proud ??naitur^ipirfe^ by a trick into a degradingjp^iti'oji^'-jheld by- strong. men, duped,' ;i^iimj^ecl!j|-y his best friend— with' has.-jplns^nii^vilh; his help! .. :':'^?^(pij:^';t^ ? He .could have-bitteri .QU^theAtQng^e; that had assented to rPMLip's ^irijfamojis wager. ? ? ? ? ... v :??-.' ,._?-?, '?'/.' --'V ?; ? '.??&'': 'What a selfish, creature . iis man ! ' he
ruminated angrily. 'But am hour ago I looked upon this exploit of PhiKp's as madness at most ; at best, a pardon able aberration of an, original mind. I never gave the woman a thought. I laughed when Philip sneered at her. And now, because by a curious coinci dence, I have discovered her to be my sister, I could kill my best friend, who has' been', more than any brother or ?sister oould be to me, for an action thai I actually enOouraged!' He did not spare himself the lash, this man. He recalled every tone of Philip's, every careless word— ihis ? extravagant description of the girl's feeling for the unknown one to whom she had been forcibly wedded. She was his sister, hia father's daughter, and he writhed at the recollection. How could he ever make it up to her? ? .