Welsh Newspapers

Search 15 million Welsh newspaper articles

Hide Articles List

4 articles on this Page



£ Aiiii Eights Resbkycd]. Cherry BY HELEN MATHERS, ,Author of Comin' Thro' the Rye," My LaJy Greensleeves," &c. And what would you be pleased to take yfor dinner, sir?" The girl had lovely black eyes that danced ,with devilry and mischief under her smart •white cap, cherry-red lips, and the merriest, -most maddening dimples, playing at hole and .corner in her cheeks, that ever a distracted :ircan fell into. "If you look at me again like that, I'll Sviss you, Cherry," said Hugh Gavail, and took a determined step towards her, where- upon she boxed his ears instantly, and the -ivorld spun round with him. "Good God!" he said to himself, redder •with shame than pain, as he turned away, and I came here to court the mistress— what a hound, what a beastly cad I am- -ytveil, this ends everything." Cherry stole a malicious look at him as she .deftly cleared the breakfast table, and put- ting the things on a tray, carried it towards .the door, which happened to be shut; and çtooking round as a matter of course for Mr. *;Caya^i o open it, he found himself perform- :ing that feat with an alacrity that surprised yfrimself, and she thanked him sweetly 'as she passed out—her voice was delicious. Cherry set the tray down on a table out- ride, and was shaking with inward laughter -with a smile on her humorous face, uli.n an ..elderly woman approached and carried it. .iway. Traversing a short passage, the girl entered a comfortable den, where a hand- "OUle, middle-aged man was reading, and smoking his pipe. "Well, Ilascal?" he said. "Dad," she cricd, breathlessly, "you must :,o away—really, I mean—not pretend to-—as 'you are doing now—or you'll spoil the rjshow." "And leave you here alone? Likely!" One day he will open the wrong door- e has a right to open any door in his own Jhouse—or smell your tobacco—or hear von cough or sneeze—and then the game will be ■dip. You see, Dad, I must study him—I want -to bring every scrap of wickedness in him to -•jthe top—he'd be 011 his best behaviour with ihe mistress—he is off it with the maid. i0 said Cherry, and put one slender fin- der to that roguish pitfall in her cheek into "-which Hugh had already tumbled, "think of ^t—the humiliation-to be trotted out as part .of the furniture of the house—to be taken or left as the new heir decides! I should die of ■j$t—or show oil so many of my bad tricks ,:that he would simply run away from me!" Sir Roger laughed. He would be the first man who ever did," 'J&e said, and smoked contentedly. She perched herself on the arm of his c,ehair, and put one white arm coaxingly jtround his neck. "There's Johnny Langton simply praying 11 you to go and fish with him for a few days," :tlhe remarked, so I shall send you off by the eleven o'clock train. Hugh Gavan k: -writes letters in the cherry orchard and | -jreads from ten to twelve thirty—he'll be too k far off to either see or hear you." P, It's out of the question," declared Sir :1toger, roundly. "I have foolishly allowed "you to do a particularly silly and undigni- fied thing—and I must stand by you when you have to take the probably unpleasant ;£onseg uences." "O! they'll be more u"easant to Mr. <0avan than to me!" said Cherry, tapping a Remarkably pretty foot on !hc polished tloor. •"And Sarah is a regular dragon—if 1 require ..one. Don't you see that having mar!p the ^mistake—if it is one-we must play the game -see the thing through pi-ol)erIN-- The tnoment he discovers it, good-bye to my get- -Liiig any proper light on his real character r" My dear girl, th6 Stooping to Conquer usiliess is played out. If he doesn't fall in .fove with you as the maid, is he likely to do ySo as the mistress? Or again, if he falls in "love with you as the maid—how will he Square matters with the fastidious mistress?" "Well, you know, Dad, it was a silly idea .Df Giles, telling the boy that if fee and 1 "could fix it up between us here, it, would make him sort of comfortable up there-OT xiWhcrsver he is." "Now Cherry, Cherry," said her father, -Warningly, for he was very orthodox.. "But, Dad, it's just as difficult to think of cs without a body as with one in a future state. I think people waste a lot of .,tim.e speculating about the next world, to the ..serious neglect of their business in this, "don't you., Sir Roger choked a little, then said Soberly, "Yes, my dear; but don't let the ..Clergy hear you." ¡ "Well, the boy needn't have come unless liked-it wasn't in the will-and it was father nice of him to hurry up so. Shows ;Sie isn't married already, or engaged, doesn't .¡;it1" a ° "res," said Sir Roger, his eyes twinkiirg, J)ut Cherry now, with ,both arms round liis BUC* ker e^eek Pressed against the side «rrS ^ear> §rey head, was too close to see. looks as if he'd got a mind of his .,own," said Sir Roger. "Of course, I've not j really, only in snapshots," he p wfh some disgust in his tone. "And TomF,tller °*d t0 ke8in t^ie ro*e °* -Peeping jtu wants a lot of taking down," she said, Out to do him justice his eye is not an auto- 1% register of his property here. 0 Dad," her voice changed, "how I shall hate *7, P^.rfc Wlth all the dear household gods <VuiV6d among ever since I was born 4rt>nti n^s *° Giles's generosity," he said, ,f ntly. "You see, this boy, as you call imn, ^e?rs oIder than y°u are> ho had been 1 y Giles for nearly ten belore you haA >r0rn or we ever came here. If they o^aa t practically lived out of England all I™6', tiie mature of things thev would turn i here. Instead of grumbling at P OUSht to thank God en- c oyed Greyfriars ill peace and comfort so 4Bouraa"Sr" She said thoughtfully. "And, of trierVis- i Ca,n rna^Le °0r new home look all trat lleal)s of things here are ours— ct4> J §arden and the trees, and the llie i fa8"ioned' oak-panelled rooms!" Th» Wlth tears hl lltir voicu- «los^t i°r °PP°site them Opened smartly— 4oToV r? as quicid"V with a «teaigEt and flan S- V01Ce' and Clicrry sat "TlL in a rage. you coif6^ ^!dn't I tell you so? Now, don't ihiak T'm°W Inj.Possible you are here? He'll & £ ul ppiift earrying on with some dear, beau- sight." re I'm keeping shut up out of ^Cpedn?In iman myself,*f said Sir Roger, Oh! au(^ whistled in amazement ry earnestly informed him that old men were much, much worse, than young 1 ones! "By Jove!" he said, and wiped his fore- head. "I wish your mother had lived, my head. "I wish your mother had lived, my dear," he added, sadly. "Dear little Mother!" said the girl, very I low and very tenderly. "But she brought me up the right way, father—and there a man alive who can knock sparks out of me: This is Tuesday-you will have three Ion, days for fishing, and on Saturday return here by the last train. On Sunday morning we will all three go to church together—the heir, the girl who should be heiress, and isn't, but dressed as if she were, and mv r dear old Dad; looking what he is—a finer and nobler gentleman than all the silly little I jumped-up heirs in the w orld I "tiIX feet one in his stockings, and broad in proportion," grinned Sir Roger. "Well, my dear, 1 have obeyed you for the last five years—to be exact, since your mother died. I took orders from no one else while she was ,tliv,and it is as much as my place is worth I to disobey you now. So if you will ascertain the whereabouts of that young man, 1 will go upstairs and pack my bag, and perhaps you'll order the dogcart to come round to the kitchen door for me?" "Darling!" she' said, and took his fa:?e in her two hands and kissed him, brow, and eyes and mouth, and Hugh Gavan, exploring the terra incognita of the unfrequented gar- den side of the house, passing the window at that moment, saw, and annoyed as ho already was, at seeming to play the" spy in the house, departed in real disgust to the chair and table ready set out for him in his favou- rite cherry orchard. "And I thought that girl as straight as a die," he said to himself, as he sat down. "She only boxed my ears because I happened to be the wrong man—and a young one! Some grey-haired butler or family servant visiting her on the sly, probably. Sir Roger ought to be told He opened his volume of Balzac, fuming. Presently the sound of carriage wheels, rapidly retreating from the house, made Hugh Gavan conclude that Cherry's grey- haired beau was departing, and it was not long after when, looking up, Hugh saw the original, surely, of a wiite merchant's chro- molithograph advertisement approaching him in the form of Cherry, who carried a small tray, on which was set a tumbler and a bottle elaborately dressed as to its upper part in tinfoil. "Champagne?" he said, "and at this hour of the morning?" "Sparkling cider, sir." She looked so pro- vokingly fresh and sweet in the May sun- shine," that he stared at her without speaking, as if he saw her now for the first time. The pink cotton frock, the exquisitely rosy F-iil, struck exactly the right note of colour i i the curiously colourless, leafless dazzle of the cherry bloom above and around her; but it was her air of having had the very best of everything ever since she was born that staggered""him most. He took the truy out of her hands with an odd feeling that there should be two glasses, and that he should be helping her before hims if, and poured a little of the foaming, creamy liquid out. "Miss Charlotte likes cider," said Cherry, meditatively, when he had pronounced it to be better than champagne, "but it makes her irritable. She laughs the first day, cries the next, gets into a temper on the third, and goes back to her light who on the fourth!" "Gets into a temper?" said Hugh, frown- ing as he looked at the girl, who with arms crossed lightly behind her back, seemed so much more at case than he was. Cherry nodded meaningly. When she is in a race she throws every- thing on the ground," she said. "Temper? My word!" she rolled up her eyes to the cherry blossoms overhead as if they were wit- nesses. assembled in their battalions to cor- roborate her. "She flares up just like a kettle boiling over-a-Id there you arc "You've no right to speak of your mistress like that," he said, sharply and angvily, "it's shockingly bad taste — and to a stranger, too." "Oh, I know her inside out," said Cherry contemptuously, "and she's a deceitful jade —plotting to deceive you even at this moment—bad tempered extravagant a born" flirt," Cherry tided off the damning epithets on her -,i,,id up to every move and trick under tne sun "I have heard ejuite different^ he said, quietly, "in fact, only -e mcst delightful thi '^s of her cv:r slue, she was a tlr.y mite. Honest, truthful, of a most lovely disposi- tion, if intensely human—as by ail accounts she is—the desire to see her, to make her ac- quaintance, was the sole inducement that hr.3 brought me to Grey friars." "Have you seen her photograph?" said Cherry abruptly, and he noticed that her "Sirs" had gone by the board altogether—it begun to dawn on him that she was a lady- help-probably took her racals with the family, when it was at home. "Not since she was a child-and a very lovely one." "Well—she isn't lovely now! Else she'd be engaged, wouldn't she? She's black—I don't think black people ever look quite clean—do you?" He looked at Cherry, at the snow of her skin and throat—vivid against her ebon eyes and hair, and said in stupefaction: I "You mean her skin is black?" I "No—of course not—only that her hair and eyes are as black as mine "But that's not very black!" I "It is!" "It isn't!" Each took a step forward, and faced each other with flashing eyes, then Gavan shrugged his shoulders, and said: "There's temper! And you dare to talk of your mistress "They're much the same. We were brought up by the same mother He started—but that didn't account for the look cf breeding, of distinction, that her con- versation in no way matched. ."So you are Miss Nugent's foster-sister, and probably her constant companion?" he said, abandoning the lady-help theory, as Cherry tossed her head, "that accounts for much. "I have been given precisely the same ad- vantages as she has—and I've availed myself vantages as she hes-and I've availed myself of them no better;" said Cherry. "So I perceive," he said drily, "or rather, it Miss Nugent hasn't availed herself better of hers than you have of yours he shrugged his shoulders .again, and yet, do what he would, he could not keep his eyes from that insolent girl, who had pulled down a branch of cherry blossom that framed her face, and out of which she looked at him with eyes 'that would have tempted a saint— he did not wonder now that cherry blossom was one of the few beautiful things men tioned in the Bible. But the next moment the bough swung back, and with a whisk of petticoats that showed the neatest of ankles, Cherry hadde- parted, and, left alone, Hugh looked appeal- ingly up to Heaven, possibly in search of the sweet little cherub that watches over the af- fairs of poor bachelors when assailed by 11:1- expected and maddening provocations. "And yet women blame us he said aloud, and opened a book only to see a lovely picture stamped on the page, fair and delicate in all the hues of spring. L "And as spiteful as you make 'em," he added. Was it true that Charlotte Nugent was all her foster-sister declared? If so, Greyfriais would be an ill house to live in, and she a handful to live with—but he was not going to judge her on mere hearsay—Satur- day would soon be hcro-meanwhile he must keep that impudent Cherry at a distance, and t-heowiiig down his book he went straight in to look for her. Grevfriars was not a large house, or three worneu could never have done the work of ii, nor Sir Roger, with his small means, have kept it up, but it was quaint and old, with muiiioned windows, and a great deal of old oak panelling, many queer recesses, and china eupboards, and the Nugents had grown i to and made the whole place a nest of com- fort a--ld gooci taste. Thus Hugh Gavan wandered through • the rooms, ami keeping his ears pricked for the least sign of Cherry's whereabouts, found it impossible to believe i -int Charlotte could be such a woman as Cherry described—passionate, deceitful, wasteful, and black. He hated a dark skin in a woman--he thought with Cherry, that it never looked quite clean. If it' were true, what a contrast she iyiti-;t be to her foster-sister—he would never get her out of his head as she stood that morning, the lines of her tall, lissom .-•nape backed by cherry blossoms. And then tho devil—but he was sure it was a good devil at bottom that looked at times out of her eves—what a limb she would be if she married a man she did not love—yet she could look so sweet and humble on occasion, Well, he had come to the age of twenty- eight without ever once falling in love, know- ing always that when lie did, it would be madly, recklessly, with no counting of the cost—it is the one weakness in a strong man that a woman loves—and perhaps Cherry had already gauged his capacity in that direc- tion, while the general trend of his character was not unknown to her. For Sir Roger and Giles Gavan had > cor- j responded regularly, and many side-lights had fallen on Hugn's disposition and personal traits in those letters of which he was entirely ignorant. Perhaps Cherry, too, had her illu- nmiation from her father, but it was only when Giles was dying that he divulged the dearest wish of his heart, which was a mar- riage between his adopted son and Charlotte Nugent. It was in accordance with this wish that Hugh had come to Greyfriars, only find both his host and young hostess absent, summoned (so said Cherry) to the bedside of a distant sick relation, and they had taken two maidservants with them. Perhaps that was why Cherry had waited on him. What an imbroglio it was—supposing that after all the mistress was more attractive than the maid— the maid herself a mere common intriguer, laying a trap to spoil his chances with her mistress, bitten with a taste for his money, inspired by a vulgar desire to cut out the young lady, who by right of birth had so many advantages over herself—a sort of Becky Sharp, in fact—though had Becky ever that lorely youth and wonderful colouring? A light step came down the staircase, and be advanced to see Cherry descending the ehallow oak staircase, a basket full of fresh linen carried in both hands before her. She looked a little pre-occupied as with house- hold matters, but smiled at sight of him. "Would you like to see the kitchens and dairy?" she said, resisting his efforts to take one handle of the basket, so he held open the swing-door for her, and they came to that roomy, pleasant part of the house which looked out on its own garden, where a great profusion of old-world flowers came up in due season, cheek by jowl with vegetables and herbs. The middle-aged cook greeted him respect- fully as he entered the wide, cool kitchen, never relaxing her close, but unobtrusive, study of him while he remained, and Cherry, forgetting the dairy, turned out the lavender- scented sheets and table cloths in a heap on the kitchen table, grumbling as she did so. "They want a lot of darning," she said, viciously. "Miss Charlotte always did neg- lect the mending." Ihe boautifullest darner I ever saw in my iic. snapped Saräh. "Yes, when she takes the trouble, but she's lazy, lazy." Cherry held up a 1 table- t cloth that in one place was wearing thin to j the lieht, and spitefully poked her finger through it*. A model house-mistress and manager. If there were more like her the world would be a better place," grunted Sarah, while the blood rose to Hugh's brow. What a position, and what a cad he was, to be here in the kitchen with two servants who were discuss- ing their absent mistress! His face was proud and angry a3 he turned to go. Stop cried Cherry unceremoniously, "what's your hurry? a great mind," she added, thoughtfully, "to bring my sewing out to the cherry orchard, if I s.aan't be disturb- ing you, sir?" she added, with a great air of meekness. "The meadow is Sir Roger's as long as he I -is r.'mains here," he said shortly, as he passed out, a sound of smothered feminine laughter following him as he wt e:t. He was now thoroughly disgusted, both I with himself and her, and when Cherry pre- sently ap'^ared with a fold-up chair, linen, and wortoox, establishing' herself at a con- siderable distance from him, IIu.H.i read steadily on, by sheer force keeping his glance from wandering in her detection. "Bold faced hussy 1 ho said to himself, and thought of the handsome, grey-haired man—strong in his virtue just so long as he kept his eyes away. But presently—how do these things happen—he found himself watch- ing her needle, in which she had become so absorbed that she was just herself, the real sense and sweetness of her face showing clearly. He thought he had never seen any- one look mcie truly good and womanly than she lo^-1''0 Nor could ] ) tc'da'trwarcls of how presently—c'd he eak v fell into talk of boo., ol fcure, oi the hundred and one things ititer to those whose plea- sures are not to be boueht by money, and gradually, as the girl's true personality un- folded itself before him, quite unconsciously as it were, as she set her delicate stitches in the linen, a feeling of intense joy stole over Hugh. Here was a fine mind in a fair body- it was incredible how she calne to occupy her present position in Sir Roger's house, and more incredible still that she should have assumed the smart, cheap, soubretti airs she had done, while the vindictiveness with which she had attacked her mistress some- how seemed utterly foreign to her true nature. Neither then, nor after,, did he ever hear her say an unkind word of anyone else. When Sarah came presently to say that his luncheon was served the young pair came un- willingly back from the beautiful world into which they had wandered; he thought she had the of it when ho left her sitting there, still sewing, with the boughs throwing patterns on her ebon head and moving hands, and he was glad that she would not wait on him at table. "When do you expect Sir Roger and Miss Nugent back?" he asked Sarah, as she was finally leaving the room. "On Saturday, sir, about five o'clock." Three whole days, nearly four," lie mut- tered half aloud, and Sarah, who had hated the young heir WID was to turn them all out of the old house in which they had been so happy, smiled to herself as she closed the door. And during those three days, where Cherry was, there was Hugh—usually in the orchard, for they/had this luck, that it was glorious weather, land to her he confided hia ambitions (no ignoble ones), his hopes of a future career, for his life as caretaker abroad of Giles Gavan had chafed him sorely, duty sometimes spelt futility, and Cherry listened eagerly—she liked men who did things, and Hugh would do a great many yet, or she was much mistaken. Given youth, and brains, and money, and a strong will, what may not a man accomplish, indeed, nowadays? SwepH off her feet by the most commanding yet lovable personality she had ever known, Cherry now tried to retreat, was shy, diffi- cult, and if most adorable, perverse and dis- appointing in one particular, that she had not a good word for Charlotte Nugent, but persisted in declaring Hugh had erected a false ideal. No girl could possibly be as nice and altogether charming as he expected Charlotte to be—she dwelt on this with an al- most pathetic insistence, begging him not to be disappointed when he saw her, for if she loved this masterful, strong, clever man al- most as passionately as he loved her, she feared him too, for having learned one thing in particular about him—that he hated de- ceit, and could the more readily forgive her unkind speeches about her mistress because she spoke them with honest intention, that that she should pretend to what she did not feel—and what had she done but deceive him grossly all the way through? Meanwhile, Saturday was racing on them as hard as it could pelt—was here, and still Hugh had not been able to wring from Cherry a promise that she would marry him, of even win a kiss from her lips. Wait till you have seen Miss Charlotte, was her cry, then choose between us, and it was perhaps a relief to him when one of the maids, who had returned that morning, came quickly into the cherry orchard about live o'clock with a message from Sarah to say the dog- cart had been sent for Sir Roger, and was momentarily expected. "For Sir Roger?" said Hugh, when the girl had gone away. She meant for Sir Roger and Miss Nugent!" Go in," cried Cherry, pushing him gently forward, but he saw that she was trembling, and white as the cherry bloom orchard. My dear little girl," he said, what is there to be frightened at? Probably Miss Nugent would never have looked at me—and we have more than enough to live on with- out this place, which I shall immediately v make over to Sir Roger, in trust for her." Go-go," she cried, and he went at last, reluctantly. At the turning to the house, looking back, he saw that she was weeping bitterly. "How do you do, Sir Roger?" Hugh's voice was cordial,, as was the grasp of the hand- some man who bore a strong resemblance to someone Hugh knew intimately—who could it be? His gaze went past Sir Roger to the dog-cart that was being led away, then he said, "Miss Nugent?" Miss Nugent, sir," said a maid, stepping forward officiously, is still in the cherry orchard, where you left her." v Hugh ran as he had never run before, and Cherry, seeing him approach hot-foot, turned her back, covering her face with her hands, but Hugh gently, but resolutely, drew them down. So this is the bad tempered, extravagant, deceitful Charlotte," he began, sternly, and she shrank away, then looking in his eyes, smiled at what she found there. "And she was a little beast till you came," she said, confidentially, but if. you prefer her to Cherry, you-you may kiss me as Charlotte." And he did-but he kissed her first for Cherry.

llU A a Vv a i i . , ¡ \ ,…

_. -------_._---.---------..-----__-TRAIN…