Chapter 82504274

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Chapter NumberVII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article82504274
Full Date1899-11-08
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count962
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950)
Trove TitleAn Astounding Marriage
article text

CHAPTER VII.

For three weeks Philip schooled his eyes, his voice, his words, into indiffer ' , ence. At the end he had to acknowledge himself hopelessly vanquished. In vain 'he deliberately set himself to recapitu late all the arguments he had been so ready to hurl at his friends. Love was a mania, a disease. It would pass, as did everythino- that was human, if treated

in the right way. But the sneer died on his lips, the truth sank like lead into his heart. He had. been caught up in the jjrfiirl of the one great passion that comes to every man, and in his life it was the first. . ? He hated the Philip of the- past, who was dead and buried — the man whose every thought had been, of self, of his own comfort, of the gratification of his own erratic whims. To say that he suf fered,, would be to use far too moderate a term, for Mary, by her every look and

action, her little confidences, her appeals for advice as to her innumerable chari- J table schemes, showed him that she thought well of him, that — he dared hardly think of ii^-she thought more kindly of him than of any other. One day Douglas said to him abrupt ly, with almost cruel emphasis: — .'I wish I had never seen you, Philip. You must go away.' 'Away? Why?' N ' 'Can't you see, man 1 Are you blind V Audain asked bitterly. /'Mary cares for you. I pray Heaven she is only begin-' ning to care. Don't you see 1 It would be horrible!' '. 'Horrible!' — in a hoarse whisper. 'You are surely mistaken, Douglas,', he said quietly, although his heart leapt at hearing his own thought confirmed by his friend's words. .'No. I tell /you I watch her every look, Not a- sigh, not a half-hidden smib escapes me. She likes nothing D'etter than to hear m© talk aibout you. She leads the conversation to your books, your- horses, your pictures, your houses. She thinks I am blind; but my eyes ache with seeing. She is so divinely innocent^ it breaks- my heart to see her. If she were to find out!' His eyes caught Ids friend's, and re mained fixed on them, fascinated. :? 'Great heavens!' he exclaimed, as if he were stunned by the revelation. 'You love her, too!' . .'Philip bowed his head. 'Must I go?' he asked breathlessly. 'Yes, yes ; a thousand times yes.- I couldn't trust you, Philip. You would break her heart. .Better she should learn to forget. She will forget, of course. All girls do, don't they?' ;v 'Generally,' the other mam answered briefly. 'I hope with all my heart that this is only a fancy of yours, Douglas,' he went on. 'And if it is not, then- 1 hope she will forget.-' ? His voice shook a little. Douglas suddenly awoke to the fact that the old tempestuous Philip was gone — that this man before him, with the lighit of in exhaustible remorse in his splendid eyes', was a new being, a stranger to him, a man who was nab thinking of self. He grasped Philip's hand. ? '/K only this had not happened,' he said, 'how clad I should have been.

Philip, I admire you. I am glad to be pour friend ! Don't go suddenly,' he said, after a moment's silence. And Philip, too, marvelled at the change in liia friend. No thought of his but seemed to centre in his sister, whom bhey had both so grievously offended.' 'Tell her thoib you are called away in definitely, 'ihe garden-party this afternoon — that will be a good oppor tunity.' 'You seemed very absorbed in your conversation with Lord Giltore, Miss Audain.' ? ' Mary looked up with a smile as her hbst addressed her. She was sitting alcne for a. moment under a clump of beeches in the beautiful gardens of Philip's riverside house that overlooked one of the loveliest reaches of the Thames.

It was a very grand affair, this gar den-party. Royalty was .present, the cream of the great world was gathered together — art, literature, the stage, and

iie Church Avere all represented by ;heir best. All the chief rooms of the louse were thrown open, and this boon ivas fully appreciated, for Philip's house vas known as the most beautiful in Eng land — the eighth wonder of the world, it was laughingly called. 'Lord Giltore was telling me about his, new yacht,' Mary said, taking the champagne-cup that he^ offered her, while h'e thought that her cheeks were fairer than the rose petals that floated on, the amiber-colored liquid. 'I want to show you my holy of holies,' he 'Said, with one of his boyish' smiles. 'No -one in England has ever seen it yet. . Will you come ?' ' . She walked by his side, proud as a queen. He thought her worthy to be shown the place that was dearest to h'im — where he worked ; perhaps where he dreamed. The thought was honey to her. She had made for this man a place in her heart and mind, where he reigned

alone. She forgot his garb of conven tional nineteenth century society. To ier he was a knight errant, a Crusador in glittering coat of mail with the red cross of pity«on his arm, with sword un sheathed to do battle with evil for the cause of good. He was the personifica tion of chivalry to her3 of strength and gentleness, of honor and mercy and ten derness to all things weak and sad. He was her ideal chevalier sans peur et sans reproche. (To be continued.)