|Newspaper Title||The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950)|
|Trove Title||An Astounding Marriage|
BY A CORALIE STANTION, T^T Author of 'A Jealous Woman's Plot.' 'The :'- Other Woman,'- His Enemy's. Hahcl.' . ?
. -CHAPTER XL
Being an observant woman, they h'ad not arrived at the second course of their .'? dinner together' 'at' her , hotel 'before she: knew that. ..there: -was .something seriously' wrong '' /with him ; and, being a very- clever wo man, before the meal was over she knew, the whole story of -his'' extraordinary in-' troduction to Mary Audain and their, subsequent relations. ' -' At first she was inclined to laugh ', but she saw that it was deadly earnest w- ihim. 'Philip in love!' she exclaimed. . 'Philip unhappy, because ' a woman .' whom he has treated infamously, turns her back on him!' ' , 'Don't laugh, Olga,' he returned, .with a smile that was half-sad. 'It's deadly earnestl' ' , ' '? ' , 'I won't laugh,' she said, with a 'friendly glance. 'On the contrary, I will help you.' And, being. a .woman? of action, she at once began to consider, plans. -? ' ';??'' ' 'Who is this Lord Giltore f she ask ed — 'this unnecessary unit in your sum of two?' . \/* ? 'A very decent chap. He asked her to marry him several times wHSri she was not known to be a great heiress. He .. is a millionaire, and a man to. be con sidered.' '? -?'?.,'.? 'There you are wrong. When a man and a woman love each other,' there is no one else to be considered— at. least,
that is my experience. , .Don't- give up hope; Phil! If I' don't give you some sound advice, it will be the first time in iny life that I have' failed to solve a, problem — at least, in theory.' 'All!' he sighed. 'I'm afraid no -theories will avail me. . ' How do I know that she still loves me?'. . . . i , 'The mere fact of ' her promising, to marry Lord. Giltore in such/ a hurry is plain proof of that,' His sister retorted, with conviction. 'When is the mar
riage supposed fo take place?' ? 'It was to be this week ; but I heard it was put off on, account of. his mother's illness.' , : ' .- . .' - ?' . 'Then there is time yet. You have made an awful' fool of yourself, Phil ; but we .will find a- way out of the mud-' die.-' ...-..-' ?? ?? ' ? '?-.*TTou don't know her!' he demurred. 'She is so proud! She thinks I am too despicable to live !'.' ' ? ? /'Nonsense! 'The fault -that ' you committed was not one of those that women never forgive. Once sne awakes to', the fact that she really loves you, and no one but you, the rest 'will be easy.' , The next afternoon he sought her out 'at1 her hotel. . '. ? 'They are here,' he said. ; ,'Who?' ' . \ . 'She and her brother. I saw them .;this morning in the Kursaal.' He was 'a changed man. It seemed that the 'very sight of this woman had roused him from the apathy into which he had fallen. . ? ' ' ''That facilitates matters,' she 'said thoughtfully. 'Listen, Philip! - I -have an idea. Don't, seek them out at all. 'Just live the life you would -have lived had they been in England.' See as much- of me as you can; and, above all, don't let anyone know that I am vour sister.'
'I am in your hands,' he said drear ilyl' 'I don't understand what you are driving at Evidently she has taken no steps to prosecute, Olga.' : ? ''I could have told you that,' his sis ter', answered. ? ? 'I expect she .would rather, die than let the1 world peep into that little page in her life.' He left her, and she looked after his tall, commanding figure, with a- smile.';- 'There goes one of the mast brilliant men in- Europe,' she said to herself. 'I knew him as a cynic — a- man whose wit, was like steel, whoSe scorn was piti less. Now he is in love with a girl, and he might be a cowherd for all the good his intellect does him. He is afraid of her.' He pbeys me implicitly, because he thinks my woman's wit will help him'. The thought' that all may yet be right between them goes to his head like wine ; the thought that he has lost her for ever plunges him into the deepest gloom. , And yet, they say that, women are guided by their feelings, their in stincts! ' 'What is; he guided by, ,this in vincible brother of mine, but the most primal instinct, the - least complex of feelings.' ? ' 1 . She interrupted her philosophical musings in order to elaborate her plan of campaign — the wily tactics that were to convince Mary Audain- that in com parison with her love for Philip Menzies her pride was of no consequence. And the string she determined to play on.wastheWakeninginthe girl's breast ,of one of the great passions that govern the human heart— jealousy. For this reason she had impressed upon her bro ther the necessity of keeping her iden tity 'a secret. _ [ ' This girl, would see him in the com pany of a woman— a sufficiently -attrac- tive, woman, Olga admitted to herself, with a little laugh. If by any means the fact that she was the Princess Yus zag, Philip's sister, came to the girl's ears, there would be nothing gained. No rude shock would stir her heart to its deepest, and teach her to know herself. But if she thought that Philip might possibly.be consoling himself and begin ning to look with equanimity on the fact that he had lost her,- would- not the fighting spirit, latent in every human being,- be roused, and urge her to lay aside her pride and win back the faith less . one from under her rival's very nose ? The Princess Olga thought so ;
and in a measure she was right, only her intervention went further than she in tended, and almost gave rise to a tra gedy that she shuddered to think of in after.years. The Audains happened to take up their abode in the hotel that adjoined Olga Yuszag's'on the Digue, that splen did promenade where3 about . dinner time, is to be seen#a collection of toil ettes and jewels which is eclipsed ? in
v ery tew places in Jiiurope. ? , Mary -and her brother were making their way to the ? Kursaal about eight o'clock on the evening of .their arrival, when the girl looked up to meet the eyes of. Philip Menzies fixed hungrily, on her face. She turned Her head abruptly, not before -she. had caught' sight of his. lovely and' elegant companion. ? 'There is Mr. Menzie&,' she' said, in a hard voice, 'sitting at dinner in the Hotel de la Plage,- with such a beautiful woman!' Douglas ' looked up, astonished, and gave his friend a curt nod. ? 'I wish I had not come between you,' Mary said, with sudden' passion. 'I know you are longing to talk to him. This cannot make the difference to you that1 you try' to make ' me believe it does.' ? . [ 'My dear,' he said, and she was bound to believe him, 'it is my pleasure to do everything I can'' to make your' life agreeable. If I were 4o return to- the old friendship with Philip, I should feel a traitor to my dear little sister, who has forgiven .me, as only an angel would, Shall we go away, dear?' 'And let him imagine that I am run ning away from him ? Certainly not ! I wonder5 who. that woman is,' she added, and hated herself for giving voice to her curiosity. . ?' ' '
.'Philip has many friends,' he said, rather curtly. 'I don't know' her face. She looks foreign.' Later on . the handsome couple came into the Kursaal, and the first seeds of the jealousy that the Princess Olga thought so highly desirable werd soAvn in' Mary's breast. .She hated herself for it. She was' the promised .wife of an other man ; but to see.Philip Menzies in the company of another woman was tor ture to her. ' *' - ?' She .saw how pleasant their com panionship seemed 'to be..' Evidently there was a. strong bond of sympathy between them— -they chatted so gaily, interchanged such friendly looks. Poor girl 1 She would 'perhaps have- been spared a little of the humiliation she suffered, if she had .heard the conversa tion of the man and woman. ? 'For heaven sake, Phil,' the princess kept saying, 'don't look so glum ! Talk : — be 'cheerful 1 The girl will think you are pining for her!' ' . ? So he. exerted himself, chiefly out of gratitude to his sister, with the result
that Mary went back to her hotel more wretched than, ever.' ' 'She's the loveliest' . girl- I've ever seen!'' Olga. said to her brother' when they separated. 'And she. doesn't look a'fooll' ?' ' 'I love him! I love him!' Mary cried, in an agony of self-knowledge, safe behind the double-locked doors of her room. 'What .shall I do? I am the promised wife of another. man! Was ever a woman so mean-spirited as I?' ?