Chapter 160148277

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Chapter NumberLXXXVIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160148277
Full Date1881-08-27
Page Number45
Corrections0
Word Count1747
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleEndymion
article text

ENDYMION.*

[By the Late Eabl of Bhaconshbld.]

CHAPTER I/XXXVIII.

iLcd be been a youth to make a debut 111 tbe great world, Sidney Wilton eonld not have been more agitated than he felt at the proapect of the iete at Monfort House. Lady Koehampton, after nearly two years of retirement, was abint tore-enter society. During this interval she had not been estranged from him. On the contrary, he had been her frequent and customary companion. Except Adriana, and Lady Montfort, and her brother, it might almost be said, her only one. Why then m, he agitated't He had been living in a dream for two years, cherishing wild thoughts of exquisite happiness. He wonld have been content, bad the dream never been disturbed; but thiB return to hard and practioal life of her whose unconscious witchery had throw a spell over his existence, roused him to the reality of his position, and it was one of terrible emo

tion.

During the life of her husband, Sidney Willon had been the silent adorer of Myra. With every accomplishment aud every advantage that are supposed to make life delightful—a fine countenance, a noble mien, a manner natural and attractive, an ancient lineage, and a vast estate—he was the favourite of society, who did more than justice to his talents, whioh, though not brilliant, were considerable, and who could not too much appreciate the high tone of his mind; his generosity and courage, and true patrician spirit which inspired all his oonduot, and guided him ever to do that which was libera], and gracious, and just.

There wsb only one fault which society found in Bidney Wilton ; he would not marry. This was provoking, because he was the man of all others who ought to marry, and make a heroine happy. Society did not give it up till he waa forty, Bbont the time he became acquainted with Lady Koehampton; and that incident threw no light on his purposes or motives, for he was discreet bb he waa devoted, and Myra her selt was unoonscions of his being anything to her Bave tbe dearest friend of her father, and the most cherished companion of her husband.

When one feels deeply, one is apt to act suddenly, perhaps rashly. There are moments in life when suspense can be borne no longer. And Sidney Wilton, who bad been a silent votary for more than ten years, now felt that the slightest delay in his fate wonld be intoler able. It waa the ball at Montfort HouBe that shonld be the scene of this decision of destiny.

She was about to re-enter sooiety, radiant as the morn, amid flowers and musio and all the aocidents of sooial splendour. His sympathetic heart had been some solace to her in her sorrow and her solitude. Now, in the joyous blaze of life, he waa resolved to ask her whether it were impossible that they should never agaia separate, and in the crowd, as well as when alone, feel their mutual devotion.

Mr. Wilton was among those who went early to Montfort House, which was not his wont; hut he was restless and disquieted. She could hardly bave arrived; but there would be some there who would speak of her. That was a great thing. Bidney Wilton had arrived at that state when conversation can only interest on one subject. When a man is really iu love, he ia disposed to believe that, like himBelf, everybody is thinking of tbe person who engrosses his brain

and heart.

The magnificent saloons, which in half an honr would be almost impassable, were only sprinkled with gnests, who, however, were constantly arriving. Mr. Wilton looked about him in vain for the person who he was quite ante could not then be present He lingered by the side of Lady Montfort, who bowed to those who came, bnt who could spare few con secutive words, even to Mr. Wilton, for her watehtnl eye expected every moment to be summoned to descend her marble staircase and receive her royal gnests.

The royal gnests arrived; there was a grand stir, and many gracions bows, and some cordial, bat dignified, shake-hands. The rooms were crowded; yet space in the ball room was well preserved, so that the royal vision might range with facility from its golden chairs to the beauteous beings, and still more beantifnl costumes, displaying with fervent loyalty their fascinating charms.

There was a new Dana to-mgnt inat naa come from some distant bat celebrated capital; musicians known by fame to everybody, but whom nobody bad ever heard. Ibey played wonderfully on instruments of new invention, and divinely npon old ones. It was impossible that anything oonld be more gay and inspiriting than their silver bugles and their oarilions of tinkling bells.

They found an eeho in the heart of Sidney Wilton, who, seated near the entranoe of the ballroom, watehed every arrival with anxious expectation. But the anxiety vanished for a moment under the influence of the fantastic

and frolio strain. It seemed a harbinger of , happiness and joy. He fell into a reverie, and wandered with a delightful companion in castles of perpetual sunshine, and green retreats, and pleasant terraces.

But the lady never came.

Then the strain changed. There happened to be about this time a truly diabolic opera much in vogue, with unearthly choraBes, and dances of fiendish revelry. These had been skilfully adapted and introduced by the musicians, con verting a dark and tragic theme into wild and grotesque merriment. But they could not succeed in diverting the mind of one of their andience from the character of the original composition. Dark thoughts and images fell npon the spirit of Sidney Wilton; his hope and courage left him. He almost felt he oonld not execute to-night the bold purpose be had brooded over. He did not feel in good fortune. There seemed some demon gibbering near him, and he was infinitely relieved, like a man released from some mesmeric trance, when the mnaic ceased, the dance broke np, and he found himself surrounded, not by demons, bnt the usual companions of his daily life.

Bnt the lady never came.

"Where can your siater be?" said Lady Montfort to Endymion. " She promised me to come early; something must have happened. Is

she ill ?"

''Quitewell; I saw her before I left Hill

* The right of publishing '? Endymion" has been purchased by the Proprietors of the Adelaide Observer

street. She wished me to come alone as she wonld not be here early."

"Ifaepe she will be in time for the royal sapper table; I quite count on her."

" She is sure to be here."

lord Hainault was in earnest conversation with Baron Sergint, now the Minister of King Florestan at the Oonrt of St. Jnmes. It was a wise appointment for Sergins knew intimately all the Bn^lish statesmen of eminence, and had kcown them for many years. They did not look upon him as the mere representative of b revolutionary and parvenu sovereign; he was quite one of themselves, had graduated at the Congress of Vienna, and, it was believed, had softened many subsequent difficulties by his sagacity. He had always been a cherished guest at Apsley House, and it was known the great Dnke of ten consulted him. " As long as Sergius sways his councils, he will indulge in no adventures," ssid Europe. "As long as Sergius remains here, the English alliance is safe," said England." After Europe and England, the most important confidence to obtain was that of Lord Hainanlt, and Baron Sergins had been not unsuccessful in that respect.

"Tour master has only to be liberal and steady," said Lord Hainanlt, with his accustomed genial yet half-sarcastic smile," and be may have anything he likes. Bat we do not want eny wars'; they are not liked in the

oity."

"Our policy is peace," said Sergnis.

" I think we ought to congratulate Sir Peter," said Mr. Walderahare to Adrians, with whom he had been dancing, and whom be was leading back to Lady Hainanlt. " Sir Peter, here is a lady who wishes to congratulate yon on your

deserved elevation."

" Well, I don't know what to say about it," said the former Mr. Vigo, highly gratified, but a little confused," my friends would have it."

" Ay, ay," said Waldershare, "' at the request of friendsthe excuse I gsve for pnblishing my sonnets," And then, advancing, he delivered his charge to her chaperon, who looked dreamy, abstracted, and uninterested.

" We have jnst been congratulating the new baronet, Sir Peter Vigo," said Waldershare.

" Ah!" said Lady Hainanlt with a oontemp tons sigh," he is, at any rate, not obliged to change his name. The desire to change one's name does indeed appear to me to be a singular folly. If your name had been diBgraoed, I could understand it, as I could understand a man then going about in a mask. But the odd thing is, the persons who always want to change their names are those whose names are the most honoured."

" Oh, you are here!" said Mr. St. Bexbe acidly to Mr. Seymonr Hicks. " I think yon are every where. I suppose they will make you a baronet next. Have yon Been the batch ? I could not believe my eyea when I read it. I believe the Government is demented. Not a single literary man amongst tbem. Not that I wanted their baronetcy. Nothing would have tempted me to accept one. But there is Gusby; he, I know, wonld have liked it. I mast say X feel for Gnshy; his works only selling half what they did, and Then thrown over in this insolent

msnner!"

" Gushy is not In society," said Mr. Seymonr Hioks in a solemn tone of contemptons pity.

"That is society," said St. Barbe, as he received a bow of hanghty graoe from Mrs. Bodney, who, fascinating and fascinated, was listening to the enamonred murmurs of an indi vidual with a very bright star and a veryjred

ribbon.

" I dined with the Bodneys yesterday," said Mr. Seymonr Hicks; "they do the thing well."

"Von dined there!" exclaimed St. Barbe. "It is very odd, they have never asked me. Not that I wonld have accepted their invitation. I avoid parvenus. Tney are too fidgety for my taste. I require repose, and only dine with the old nobility."