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   Chapter 44 DUAL SOLITUDE.

A Heart-Song of To-day By Annie Gregg Savigny Characters: 7112

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


Let retrace our steps and thoughts to the time Lionel, with Sister Magdalen in his arms, the priest at his side, Vaura and the boy, child of Fanny Ponton, made their sensational exit down the long lengths of the luxurious salons. Mason had ushered them into the deserted boudoir of her mistress, where every sense was pandered to; here one was lulled into waking or sleeping dreams by the ever soft light, dim and rose-tinted; or when old Sol rode high in the heavens, triumphant in his gift of day, sending his beams through stained windows or rose-silk hangings. The soft light shone alike upon gems in sculpture and art on the walls painted in dreamy soul-entrancing landscapes, or gay grouping of the Graces; if the pictured female loveliness was clad only in feathery clouds of fleecy drapery, the few thought the painter might have been more lavish of robing; but the room was warm with gay laughter, warm with the sweet breath of warm hearts, with the warmth of the rose-tinted lights clothing the ethereal loveliness on its walls; and now, falling on one of the loveliest women in the kingdom, thought Trevalyon, as laying his burden on a soft velvet lounge, his eyes dwelt on Vaura's beauty, for they are alone once more, Father Lefroy having left the boudoir with Mason to summon Sir Andrew Clarke, as they could not restore the nun unaided.

"In dual solitude once more, my beloved;" and she is in his close embrace; her large eyes in their soft warmth rest on his; one, long kiss is given-one long sigh.

"Save for the boy, darling," Vaura smiles; releasing herself, her quickened heart-beats deepening the rose-tints in her cheeks.

Here the physician entered, having despatched Mason for his servant with medicine case.

"Too great a strain upon her nerves, poor thing," said Sir Andrew Clarke; "most trying scene for her; then the narcotic administered, as she has informed us, by the servant of her betrayer; I heartily congratulate you, Trevalyon, on the light she has thrown upon this matter, and none too soon, either, as Delrose is leaving England. You have no idea, Miss Vernon, I assure you, of the talk there has been; our newspapers are a great power in all English-speaking lands, and their managers being aware our colonies take their cue from them (in a great measure), do as a rule keep their heel on Rumour's tongue, unless it wags on oath."

"Yes; and as a rule shut their eyes to the yellow sheen from the gold in her palm, Sir Andrew," said Vaura, earnestly thinking of how Lionel had suffered from it all.

"True, most true; but the revival of this scandal with the unwearied persistence of its sensational colouring and reproduction from week to week, lead one to suppose gold lent life and vim to each issue; though again, I am sure, our great papers are above a bribe, and it must have been vouched for on oath. Do you purpose interviewing the newspaper men, Trevalyon?" he inquired, taking the medicine chest from his servant and dismissing him.

"I think not (more than I have done); I dislike paper war and oath was made as to the truth of the lie to the managers; I suppose I am lazy; at all events I am epicurean enough to hug to my breast the rest after unrest;" and the mesmeric eyes meet Vaura's, while Esculapius is searching his medicine case.

"Poor fellow, you do require rest," she said, gently turning her face up to Sir Lionel's, for she is seated at the table, both elbows thereon, chin and cheeks supported in her hands; "if we put ourselves in his place, Sir Andrew, fancy what rest we

should have, in the full glare of a stare from Mrs. Grundy, while the unruly member of Dame Rumour wagged in our ear. If I were in your place, Sir Lionel, I should give no more thought to the matter; you have given the truth to-night to gentle woman, who will give it to the London world; Adam will only taste through Eve's palate; and the mighty Labouchere, Lawson & Co. will cry joyfully, 'hear! hear!'"

Both the men laughed.

"You see, my dear surgeon, Eve endorses my policy, and thinks the sisterhood a better mode of communication than telephone or telegraph!"

"Could have no better newsmongers as a rule, Trevalyon; but there are Eve and Eves, and when I have a secret to confide, I shall tell it to your charming supporter; and when I have spoken, shall feel sure ''tis buried, and her fair person the grave of it.'"

"Merci! Sir Andrew, your secret will be safe; and now that I have such a mission, from this hour you are my medical adviser, as you will have a double interest in knowing my pulse beats. But, see, the skill of my Esculapius triumphs."

"'Tis so; the nun revives," echoed Sir Lionel, withdrawing his gaze from Vaura's face.

"Revives! I am glad to hear that," cried Madame, entering, her hand on the arm of Capt. Chancer, whom she had met at the door, and followed by the priest.

"Yes; I am glad she is better, for I want a private word with you, Sir Lionel. Capt. Chancer has come to carry off Miss Vernon; the priest to carry off the nun, and-"

"With all our world in couples linked, her tete-a-tete will be secured," said Vaura to Chaucer's ear, as they made their exit, and banishing thoughts of poor Guy Travers, the sensational events of the evening having for the time blotted from her memory the words of Madame and Delrose in the library before dinner.

"Any newer sensations, Capt. Chancer, since our pleasant little chat in the salons?"

"In my heart-no," he said quickly; "(with you a man must grasp his opportunity to speak of himself, you are in such request); I have the same dull pain engendered by you, and which you alone can heal; do you believe in affinities-love at first sight? yet you must; I am not the only man, others have suffered, and not silently;" and there is a ring of truth in his words which she reads also in his handsome manly face; but she says gently:

"Don't let us talk sentiment in this maddening crowd; there's a dear fellow," returning greetings to right and left; "but listen instead to that waltz, a song of love itself."

"Oh, yes," he said eagerly; "the song you promised you will not deny me?"

"If you care, yes; after our waltz; and now ere we lose ourselves in the soul-stirring music, tell me, did I hear aright, have Blanche Tompkins and Sir Tilton Everly joined their fate together?"

"They have; Lady Everly announced the fact herself."

"Ah! instead of the Morning Post; 'All's well that ends well;' but wee mouse plays a game all hazard, my dear soldier; she has taken the plaything from under the paw of puss; puss will purr, arch her soft neck, look lonely and loving, and win him back."

"What a power you women are! When the great powers met at Berlin, we should have sent you to represent your sex;" and his face is lit up with the flame from his heart as they stand in position, so that step and note will be in rhythm, and his eyes rest on the fair flower face, while he breathes the odour of tea-roses and clematis from her corsage.

We shall leave them so, not an unpleasant parting, and return to the boudoir of Mrs. Haughton.

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