|Newspaper Title||The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950)|
|Trove Title||An Astounding Marriage|
|; AN -ASTQUSDING ' U MAEEIAGE.
BY ;.i. CORALIE STANTON, . '. '?Author of 'A Jealous Woman's Plot,' 'The Other Woman,' 'His Enemy's ' Hand.' ?
CHAPTER V.— (Continued.)
He changed color, ? and drop: ped his fork 'with. ? a' ^clatter. It was horrible! That question from that fresh, dear voice, with ^, the look of interested expectant,1/ in' tho;o lovely, truthful eyesl ...-.- ' - .. 'Yes,' he said hastily, 'I knew him. jHe ia a great friend of -' mine.' , '.. ,0f 'what use £o tell a lie? . . ' ? - ????'?
'Why have I never seen him? ?? I1 feel such an interest in him: He isaiwoman feaiter, isn't he — and very handsome?' . , 'I believe he- is considered hand some,' the man answered. 'But you ^mustn't believe half the stories you 'hear about him, my dear. He is away 3*ow. That's why you have never seen him here. You are Bound to meet him when the season really begins.'- Did1 nothing whisper to her, he won dered; that th_e handsome, courted -woman-hater was the man she had such good reason to hate and despise? Would a tone of his voice, when she met him, jrecall that odious ceremony to her? He -was glad PMlip was away. x He could mot have trusted himself to meet him. He hoped fervently that she would never confide in him the story of her- adven- ture. He felt that his shame would 'betray him. And what would she feel,
iteiiutri.-iitiu lbu, suiLuy-iiuiiureu /jjiii, u -she learned that the brother she was. so * good to was one of those, unseen to her, who had turned a deaf ear to her appeal to honor and manhood? * Once he showed her through.- the pic ture-gallery, pointing out Audains who had lived and loved and died in the dim past, and were now forgotten. ; She ho ticsd a vacant place. 'What hung ? there, Douglas? It anujifc have been, a large canvas.' 'There?' he said, .vaguely, following ..ier outstretched arm. . 'Oh, 'nothing particular,- my dear' — in ai changed, hol low voice. 'Some of ; the landscapes are being re-arranged.' . . '- ? It seemed to him that his skin burned ?with shame. There had hung .the por trait of Philip IV.* of Spain, by Velas quez, mow in tihe possession of Pnilip (Menziea, the stake of the wager that made Bis life one unceasing remorse. Philip had offered him the beautiful Cel lini vase as what he termed laughingly a 'souvenir of his marriage' ; but Doug ;las had refused it for some reason, and mow he was more than glad., ' Every /time ho looked at the coveted master piece it would have dried out to him :. f'l am the price of the humbling of your feister's pride!' ' ? ?. . Meanwhile the month, of May was
'drawing to a close, and the London sea son still found its votaries fresh and emJling, 'ready for the fray,' as Philip jMenzies, who had just returned from, the Continent, put it to Audain oni their (first meeting, with one of his winning Smiles. -.-???? 'It's still like an undiscovered coun try now,' he went on. 'The heart burns, the jealousies, the miseries,, the Everlasting wearines3 of the treadmill of 'last season — they seem to leave no im pression on the mind. The some peo ple who have experienced them and jgroaned under them, they all come back ?jwith a secret hope that the ugly daugh ter may still find a husband ; that the (impecunious son may still pick up a heiress; that Lady Exclusive'a long ?Iclosed doors may, by a miracle, this time be opened to them.' 'I have not had the honor of seeing your sister yet, Douglas,' he said, as they parted. 'Is she all your fancy ,painted her?' 'All— and far more,' Audain an-, swered. in a curious tone: v.'Have -you
?heard nothing about her, Philip?' 'No ; no one has mentioned^ her name to me except one woman, who told me she was too. lovely for words/ She was a hopelessly ugly woman herself. That accounts for the- enthusiasm.' . So Philip had not heard that -Mary Audain was 'known in the old* days, as Mary Lennox. It was quite possible, for Douglas, by his influence, had kept all mention of the i'acfc out of the news papers, and now the nine days' wonder -had subsided. '' 'Shall I tell him? Shall I tell him?'-' Audain asked .himself, wondering why
.he could not bring- himself to hate his friend. Burning words of denuncia tion, were on his tongue' more than once, but he ' went away without ' having . spoken them. ? ' 'They may never meet,' he told him . self, although he knew that nothing but - a miracle could accomplish' . that. 'Even if they do,' he added, ' with- de cision, 'she must neter know.' Mary implored irma. Gaunt vainly to give up the tea-shop, and share ' her newly-acquired wealth. 'The only thing I don't like about Mary Audain,'. she said whimsically, 'is that she is not Irma's cousin.' ? The' other girl laughed. '„.;
'I shall do better to stay here as I am,' she said half-seriously. 'I am coining money, and you must remember my bargain with John. He gets im patient as it is. What would he think if I were to tamely, giye in and live on your bounty? Between you and' me, Mary,*I sha'n't-have to keep -him wait ing much longer now. . Business . is very good.' -'; _ 'Well, at least Lhope you will come to. my birthday-ball next week-; Miss Independence,' Mary said, laughing., , . 'Oh, yea,' Irma assented. 'I am longing to see you. in, your new role — ? the society beauty, surrounded by ad miring multitudes. ' What are you going to wear?' t -....? ? They launched into the everabsorb ing topic of 'chiffons,'' and were still undecided as to' the rival merits of tulle or ' crepe-de-chene as a foundation for old lace, when Mary rose to go. ' '? ' /'Lord Giltore asked me to be his wife again yesterday,' ,'she announced ab ruptly, with a .suspicion of a blush.' ; 'Mary, what a hardened old repro bate he is ! He won't take his conge. Of course you refused' him ?' ,
'Of course I did. . I. wonder if, it. makes any difference to him. I hope it doesn't. l I can't help remembering that he wanted to marry me before I was rich.' 'Fine disinterestedness!' sneered Irma goodnaturedly. '? 'When he as a millionaire himself! ? I wonder when you will marry, and who will be' , the lucky man, sweet coz!', She clasped Mary's hand affectionately, and peered earnestly into her lovely face with her sharp, short-sighted eyes. ??' ? 'Irma/ you forget!' Mary said soi- rowfully. 'How could I ever marry, with, a clear conscience when my own lips- have spoken words which ought to be sacred — which bound me- — ' , 'Fudge!' the other gjrl' said sharply. 'Mary, you mustn't talk like that.'1 'I feel that I could never be happy, even with a man I cared for^Mary went on.fervently, 'until I have forgotten-all about that. » And I have not. I think of it still sometimes, and wonder and wonder what it could have meant. Oh, Irma, what1 could it have meant?' ' /'Perhaps the freak of;a madman, my dear. If you ever do care for any man; tell him about it; and I shouldn't envy our' friend the unknown. Treat it lightly, my dear.-- 'Always '.remember that there was absolutely nothing- .bind in? in it. You are liarnvv. M.anr?' '
' .. 'Oh,, yes. Douglas is1 so good to me: Everyone is so good. : ? It is nice to have everything I .want— to be ? able to. help others. Goodbye, Irma dear. I shall' send you a card for the ball, just to re mind you ; but I expect you to Ispend the afternoon with me,1 and dress at Berkeley Square. -The brougham shall come round to you.''