Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

11 articles on this Page

BOHEl/KIIft) BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT.

News
Cite
Share

BOHEl/KIIft) BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT. THE ORIGINAL TOAX i BY F. FRANKFORT MOORE, Aathtn- of JVssamy Bride." "Tho Gnfa of tire Hottse/; "A Whirlwind Haivesr, Ac., &c. [COPYRIGHT .] CHAPTER XIII. Of course all was north repeating to the remainder of the pa.rty of what had come from the ivitch was the reference to the past wicked- ness of Mr. Marvin and the promise of the enor- mous fire. Mr. Marvin began to feel himself a. hero. He had given exhausting hours to the study of a Survivalist lore. and not much had come of it except the sound of his own voice, but because he had one day found himself in a. shrubbery of convenient and alluring obscurity, and had in an impulse of the moment, which was really a survival of a trick of an ancestor who was tricky among trees, tried to kiss an ex- tremely pretty girl, he found himself regarded, a he thought, as a hero. He knew in his he-art that he had not really wanted badly to kiss the girl; only he had an impression—this was the survival—that it would be manly to do so—that the girl expected it from him. And he was perfectly right in his impression, though at the time he thought he had made a. mistake. The extremely pretty girl, knowing something of men and the survival of primeval impulses, had expected him to behave badly; and pho had paid him the compliment—though he did not recognise it as such—of slapping him on th", chrek. But the enormous fire—that was what they talked about on the roof of the coach while the vehicle swayed its way through some of the most wonderful scenery in the world- the enormous fire, after some of them had called Mr. Marvin a sly old dog. and others, a. shocking person—even a quite too shocking person—the enormous fire- now, did she mean the real Day ot Judgment or merely some local affair?—that was the question. lr.Floquhart rather thought that the Sibyl's line of sight w«s limited—even Sibyls have their horizon -"Cassandra had never, so far as he could gather, referred to the motor car, although he thought that would be an object which she could deal with with that firmness of toucn which was her most pleasing characteristic. Yes, she had possibly in her prophetic eye the conflagra- tion caused by the incendiary of a hay rick—or was it a turf stack? But- when Stephen Urquhart was alone in his room, after ringing for his valet, he stood with his hands deep in his pockets, his head turned slightly to one side in the pose of the thoughtful man. He remained in that position for some moments—in fact. until his man's step Bounded (in the corridor. Then he said, Heavens above! One of the real ones after all. Hut here—in an Irish glen! How the What was the name? Curtis! Curtis! By the Lord Harry, I have it. Curtis—Cortez. She is a descendant of a Spaniard—the West Coast of Ireland is covered with them—a Spanish Moor." He told his valet that he would wear his sapphire shirt studs, The next day Mr. Trent was taking Mrs. Archie Brown and her guests on a. cruise to the great seal caves of Kos-na-Phoca: but Stephen Urquhart said that it was impossible for him to accompany them. He was bound to await a cer- tain telegram, and it might not arrive before the afternoon. Mr. Trent said he thought that the reply would do to be s^ent in the evening, but Urquhart, being his private secretary, knew better. Mr. Trent complained bitterly of the way he was overworked by his private secretary. It so happened, however, that Mr. Trent's party had just started for the yacht when the telegram arrived. But I'rquhart showed no par- ticular chagrin at this little jest of Fate at his exc use. He did not send a messenger down to the yacht's moorings to delay the vessel until he should reply to the telegram. The messenger whom he despatched went to the stables with the notification that Mr. Crquhart wished a dog- cart to be at the hall door in half-an-hour. Then he told the butler that he would not be in for lunch, but asked him to make up a sandwich. In due course the telegram was replied to— the thing referred to was the merest trifle: the purchase of a dock in a West of England sea- port, which was offered at a price so low as to to be within the reach of the humblest million- aire—and the dog-cart was brought round to the hall door. Stephen Urquhart lit his cigar and turned the horse's head in the direction that the coach had taken the day before. He drove through the Glen Road to the Holy Well, and dis- mounted there. He had brought an ivory foot- rule with him, and the groom saw him taking tin* most exact measurements of the different portimis of the Celtic cross which stood on the mound just above the well. He ate a sandwich at this place and took a. flask cupful of whisky and water. lieturning to the groom, he gave the man the remainder of his sandwiches and of the contents of the flask. "Don't hurry over them." he said. "I am Koing t., walk through the wood. Meet me in three-quarters of an hour where the track joins. Jt is now five minutes past, one." The man touched his hat, saying, pood sir," and Mr. Urquhart entered the pin wood that clothed the whole slope of the hill. After walking on for a few hundred yards he struck the lower track, and by it came upon the ;-G*d just below the witch's cabin. He climbed tap l'i the open door and entered the cabin with- knocking. The old woman was seated on the floor peel- ing- emions. Her black hair fell in wisps a.bout he" brown wrinkled face. He gave a laugh. The attitude and occupation carried to him no recollection of the lyric stage. The dramatic contralto had never appeared in front of the foot light* as the exponent of the cuisine of the cabin. She started at the sound of his laugh, and faced him with the rah knife still in her hand. In a second she had become transformed. Her pose was consistent with the best traditions of Che contralto in opera of the Italian school. "Who are you? What brings you here? Whit Are you come for?" she cried. Her voice was'not quitP a shriek, but had she raised it by half a cone it would have been a full-flavoured Sh|{f stood bet off. her for perhaps half a -wmutc- Then lie matk a curious sign with the finger.s of his right hand, interlacing them with those of his left. In a second she ha.d dropped her knijei upon the floor, and her hand fell at the same instant upon the wrist ot his right hand. The action suggested the swoop of a hawk, and the sight of her thin, leathery fingers more than suggested ialönli. "Where did you learn that? she said in a wh^perod shriek—the only words that can be usort to describe the qtatity of her voice. *Vhei«r did you learn that? I have not seen the sign for fifty years." "You see it now, said he. It is the on 1 v thing I minted when my father d. He was ) West Indian sugar-grower, and it was *'UU'ht to him by one who was' your master and trill0"inaster of all such as yOH. I believe that you Art a descendant of a Spanish Moor, and your inam* is the good Spanish one of Coriez. All that the Moors knew of the Art they got from the Nubian*. Isha Obeaya was a Nubian and the descendant of a Nubian. He was one of freed slaves of my father's father." Isha Obeaya was the Master," she said. "You were right in calling him my Master. I uievcr saw him. but I know that he the ffre&iie-st of the old tribe of Nubian Hisbarobeaya. But Ju. the right to transmit the secret to two persons of the tribe. Your father was not of the tribe." His father beanie a member by the passing on of blood." Tie at was part of the rite. What about tb4 ° The si of flesh ? He also ate the fteeh thai was off., rpô", to him. You can do nothing. "Nothings I can. command those who can do something. That is why I am hereto-day. I h'.a.rd yesterday wtfr-t you did, and I knew thai the darkness of noon-day h the gift of the Isha Obeaya alone. I was as greatly startled as' you were to see ine> just now. It is a paltry gift. What am I the better fm it? You are Hot such a fool as to believe that 1 can do much." I know your limits. You can see back a yem or two and forward a year or two, and you car direct the thoughts of some temperaments." But. only in the one direction. It is folly tc cxwtk<' to me in hope of gold." "I am not one of the fools. I want your help in t.heyine thing that you can control." H That me.a.n, that you love a woman and yoi want he.r M. return your love?" "Evenao" WTiat is he< ^jne ?" Her name is Claire La Roache," said Stephen Urquhart. CHAPTER. XIV. 'For some days Claire La Roache had been < good deal in the company of Stephen Urquhart She had become interested in him more than ii .any of the other men staying in the house; an t&ia.wafe bee<w»se>-s>ke ?&& iaoa interested in isveiyn O'ajiKUeign en an in any 01 the women. She knew Lady Evelyn's secret Sh" knew that she loved. Stephen Urquhart ain that, for reasons of their own, both. she ana Stephen TJrauhart found it necessarv to keei a. secret whatever understanding they had in regard to their love. understanding might have been eqxirvalerrt to a.11 t, but this onga^iment was not to be mtade-public. Her knowledge of their secret~bad, for a day or two, been somewhat distasteful to her; it had been of the nature of a burden upon her ittind. She felt as if she had been playing the part of a spy upon them. She had had an eye at their kevhoipi, so to speak, and she felt mean. What business had she to make liwgelf acquainted with the secrets of t'bese lovers? But before a week had parsed she had dis- covered how great a bond of sympathy the know- ledge of a secret may become. She felt like the generous patron of the boy and gtrl lovers who have been caught in the act of kissing behind a. screen. The generous patron will not give the young things away; and Claire knew very well that she would never give away the secret of Stephen Urquluurt and Lady Evelyn. But first, as had already been set down, she had become impatient at the thought of Mr. Urquhart falling in love with a young woman who was entitled to do so much better for her- self than to maoTry Mr. Urquhart. And then one day she Was startled to see a certain look in Stephen Urquhart's eyes when those eyes were turned upon herself. One man had been in love with her long ago- three years ago—and she remembered the look that had been in bifi eyes. It had startled her— Frightened her—caused her to run to her mother's side and never to leave it so long as the man who told her that he loved her remained in the neighbourhood. She recognised in the eyes of Stephen Urqu- hart something of the same startling element. But this time, though startled, she did not fly to the side of her mother. She remained talking to Mr. Urquhart and rather enjoyed the con- versation—although it was a literary topic, and involved a reference to the art of Anatole This had happened while she was walkirtg with Stephen Urquhart to the Holy Well—Archie Browne and Major Clifton walking on in front jf them. After dinner that same night he had been by her side, and she had felt no inclination to run away. Nor had he. A full hour had passed before they had finished their conversation—this time it involved repeated references to the a.rt of Monsieur Guy de Maupassant—and ouly two persons were left with them in the hall. These were Lord Mpdway and Lady Evelyn. She went, to bed at last, still feeling like the benevolent patron, lie had spent histime by her side so that no one might suspect that an under- itanding existed between him and Lady Evelyn. He probably thought it well to be equally at- tentive to other young women, for Chrire had come to know that this house of Suanamara was is full of eyes as the sky is full of stars, aud as star unto star vibrates speech so did these tongues wag. But she wa„s quite content to help these young people in preserving their secret in- violate. The consciousness of her own benevo- lence was pleasing to her. It was in the middle of the night following— the night, after Stephen Urquhart's solitary visit to the romantic Glen Dhu- that Claire "La Roache awoke with a start and found herself sit- ting- up in her bed. Her first impression was that, someone had spoken to her—someone very close to her ear. She was frightened—but only for a moment. Then she became aware of a curious feeling that if was not she herself who was in the bed but someone in whom she took a. vague and impersonal interest—someone whom she was making efforts to convince of a fact of intense interest: and the words which she waa employing to compass her end were these: He is simulating a regard for you solely to further his own purpose, and the other girl is in league with him. She does not care how far you may be deceived by his attitude. Your feel- ings are a matter of indifference to her. If he should tell you that he loves you and yon believe him, she will simply stand by and laugh at your sufferings. And yet you are content to play that part for their convenience. You are content to join in their deception of the people around them She continued sitting up in her bed, feeling conscious of that strange outer self at a distance from her in the room. The room was in com- plete darkness; only where the blind of the win- dow opposite to her eyes was apart from t.he frame there was the blink of a star or two. The house was silent, but a sharp autumn wind was blowingy and it made a crescendo silken sigh through ¡-1w drapery of the pines at intervals, with ad mil* whistle once through a keyhole; and a sob as it were swept past the mouth of a ventilator not, far from the roof. But the wind was not continuous, it came in gusts; and once or twice a twig of the climbing plant struggling and straggling around the frame of the window made a velvety tapping upon a pane. Then came a cessation of these sounds; Yiut a. moment after the faint far-off cry of the curlews flying over the cold land from the cold sea shivered through the silence. Claire sat still up.. right, with one hand resting on her pillow. She felt warm—as if she had been engaged in a con- flict of emotions that moved her deeply. She felt that she was being persuaded against her will. She felt that she had no word to say in reply to the voice that had been talking to her— making its suggestions; and that there was noth- ing left for her but to yipld. She seemed to become weary of holding out. She felt that even if death were to follow her yielding, she must still yield—there was nothing else left for her. It was an insupportable weari- ness holding out any longer. SI threw herself back on her pillow and burst into tears, weep- ing for long like an overwearied child—like a. child that has been told to do something which, is repugnant to its nature, but which it knows it must do. She did not fall asleep until some hours had passed, and when she awoke she had no impres- sion of having had a dream. She recalled eveiv moment of that interval of wakeful- ness. She now felt that she had a very reasonable thought at the first instant of awaking. She asked herself now if she was content to allow Stephen Urquhart to sit beside her. as he had done with such con- stancy, solely that his love for Lady Evelyn should be concealed from the people who were about them She felt that she had been forced into a role that no woman who had any sense of what waa due to herself—to her womanhood, should play. But. curiously enough, she did not lay the blame of the transaction on the head of Stephen (Trqu- hart, but on the head of Lady Evelyn. It was that girl who had erred, in the first instance by entering into that secret understanding with Stephen Urquhart, and then ignoring the pos- sibility of her, Claire's, suffering bitterly in order that no one should suspect that there waa any bond between herself and the man. For Stephen Urquhart she had no thought of bitterness. She remembered that slip had liked him the first day she had met him. She had felt that he was a. man of strength and a man of re- source and then she remembered the little pang which she had experienced on going to her room the night when she had crept through the cor- ridor ill search of the jewel-heart and had heard that, softly whispered "good-night" at the foot of the staircase, and recollecting it now, she knew that it was a pang of jealousv. It was jealousy, and if it was jealousy— she gave a start as the truth was forced upon her if it was jealousy, that meant that she was in love! Oh, no—no, not quite that—she could not have been quite in love with Stephen Urqu- hart at thart time. At that time? But if she was not in love with him at that time, had she changed since then? Was she in love with hi pi now ? She was sensible that a change had come over her. and it was not the change that is due to growth It was the change that takes place in a night. It seemed to her that only during the night had she come to a knowledge of her own heart. She was now facing the truth as truly as she was facing her own face in the mirror above her drefising-taMe. She was in love with Stephen Urquhart. She laid down the brush which she had been using pretty vigoiously on her hair, and stored at the truth in the glass before her. The truth 1JUlt she saw there was a girl's face bearing an expression of grave surprise and overspread with tkft tint of a pink rose petal— translucid transparency; the tinting was beneath the sur- face. Heir eves were large, and people who saw them for the first time, and casually, said they wem blue, bu: after a time they were violet. Now they wore the expression of one who is startled—of one who is alert, waiting for what, may happen next. And all about her face and over her shoulders fell floods of peat- brown hair. What a stream it was that was in spate at that time! U went with a rush over the sloj>es of the shapeiy head rippling down, the white-pink coral curve of an ear showing above the waves, and there the ripples broke into .1 cataract upon her bare shoulders, swirling round her neck, sending whirling wisps of spindrift over the exqnjsjlo hollow of her throat and tlien vanishing among tho fuller lily curves below- lily curves of shoulders and half- bare boiom and arms glowing with the lile that conies from the pure, pa**iouate heart of a girl who is in soul a lily, and at heart a rose. She knew th >t she was staring at the face of a girl who ivas in love. That was the truth which she had before her. And yet this know- ledge only startled her. It did net give her Any happiness. How could it give her any f.1? She could not forget that Lady. ISSfciyii, who was her friend, was a-tso m love with the same man: she could not forget that I the same man had had his arm about Lady Evelyn, holding her so close to him that her good-night had sounded like a sob. In an instant she had flung her hands up to Iier oyee, shutting out all she had seen in the minxw; for the took that had come to her eyes had frightened her. She had seen the exnres- IJZOn 01 startled girlhood pass away, and itt jjAace taken by the look of the girl who says in her beasrt: Why fthou-M I turn aside becaai-se, of a»o £ ber woman ? Who is she that she rather than I should win him ?" At that moment she. bad seen before her the exion of the original WOIDaII.the pre- historic woman of whom Mr. Marvin loved so dearly to heew himself taJk—and the sight filled Her with fear. Could it be possible that in tho course of a singh night she had changed so greatly as to be now no different at heart from the original woman, who was nothing more than an original animal, oourting capture and making only the most feminine pretence to ovade it? She was frighrtened at the thought tha.t such a thought should be iu her heart, and it was in the impulse of this fear that she Raid, I will go away—I will go to the uttermost ends of the earth so that I may never see him again—so that I may be able to strangle my iove for this man who is beloved by my friend." She felt strong in this determination; and so went on with her toilet—the maid whose services phe -,hared with her mother was engaged with her mother; Mrs. La Roache's hair required rather more careful treatment than Claire's. But when Claire went to throw open a window, being at the point of leaving her room, she saw on thfl terrace below, the girl of whom she had been thinking. Lady Evelyn was standing there and facing her was Lord Medway with his fishing rod. They were chatting together, and Claire saw that they were, as usual, on very good terms with each other, and that there was, in the eye, of the girl, a certain sweet tenderness of expression—a certain sweet sadness. But on the face of her companion there was no change. He eeemed ever to be looking the future in the face with confidence. Never in his expression was there the least distrust of what was coming. Was there ever a truer man? Claire asked herself. Was there ever a man who deserved so well at the hands of a woman? And yet there waa that girl whom he loved, flinging away the hap-piness-the good fortune which was within he- gra.sp—for the sake of a man who was cer- tainly not so well qualified as Lord Medway to saa-ke her future a success! That was how it came that girls were so fre- quently looked on as fools: they threw away the chances, the certainties of life, for a mere ctvprice, and people who watched them do so laughed. But that was where the people made « mistake. They had no right to laugh. They should stretch forth the helping hand to their poor blind sisters. They should stand between them and their caprices. She turned away from the window and went slowly, thoughtfully to the staircase. But when half-way down she stopped suddenly, for all her thoughtfulness had led her to the one thought: "I am her sister; and it is for me to stand between her and her caprice." In a. moment she perceived that therein lay the solution of the difficulty which had beset her. The solution lay in her doing her duty as a sister; and her duty was to see that Lady Evelyn was made happy in spite of herself. If Stephen Urquhart were to fall in love with her, Chajre, Lady Evelyn would be happy, for she would marry that true man- who loved her truly, Lord Medway. She had no trouble whatever in assigning to herself the pasrt of a sort of journeyman provid- ence in this matter: and before breakfast was over, she had actually gone so far as to think of herself as making a. great sacrifice solely for the purpose of compassing the happiness of Lady Evelyn. She bad brought herself to believe that, in taking to herself—or in trying to take to her- self—the love of Stephen Urquhart she would be with an act of self-sacrifice. She felt satisfied with the sketch which she bad Blade. She had all the satisfaction of an artist who has designed a picture and feels confident that his ideas will work out well. And the most pleasing element in her design was (she thought) that, there was nothing of that detestable pre- tvistocic woman about it. Her scheme was one that could bo thought of only by a highly civilised öman- a woman who had come to see how Nature can be improved upon. (To be Continued.)

Llanasa.

[No title]

Advertising

Advertising

[No title]

Advertising

Death of Councillor Maltby.

Volunteer Prize Distribution…

Advertising

[No title]