MoboReader > Young Adult > The Story of Bawn

   Chapter 40 KING COPHETUA

The Story of Bawn By Katharine Tynan Characters: 7098

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05


All that is long ago, and I am Bawn Cardew, who was Bawn Devereux. We have a boy, dark and fine, like Anthony, and a girl who resembles me. I am still in a bewilderment as to why Anthony should have chosen me. I believe there is no woman, gentle or simple, who comes in contact with him, from my grandmother down to Katty McCann, the beggar-woman, who is not in love with him. His way with women is always beautiful. I have seen him carry a tramp's squalling child up a steep hill and hand it to the mother at the top with the courtesy he would show to a duchess. Elderly and plain women love him especially, because he is not aware that they are elderly and plain. And men look up to him and admire him just as much after their fashion.

As I write I am in my own little morning-room at Brosna, which love has made beautiful for me. Outside I see velvet lawns and bright flower-beds, and beyond the lawns and the ha-ha I can see in the park a herd of deer feeding. At the moment it is quiet. Then I hear the thud-thud of hoofs. Our boy comes riding by on a little rough mountain pony. Terence Murphy is giving him his riding lesson. He sits in the saddle as straight as his father, although he is little more than a baby. He will have Anthony's straight, strenuous, clean look, like a blade or a flame.

And there comes Anthony himself with little Bawn on his shoulder. Her golden hair falls about his white head. There is not a grey hair in his black moustache, nor in his fine, even, black eyebrows. They go on after the pony. Presently they will come shouting for me. They are my world; but I have room for affections outside.

Brosna is now what it was meant to be, a stately, beautiful, well-kept house. We are rich: the treasure made us all rich; and that is a strange thing enough in our country, where there is no money to spare among the gentle-folk.

And talking of wealth reminds me of Richard Dawson.

It was the week before my marriage-that was Holy Week, and I was married on the Easter Tuesday-when I received a letter from Mrs. Dawson of Damerstown, asking me to come and see her. The letter accompanied a gift so beautiful and costly that if I had liked her less I should have been inclined to return it.

As it was, I let Anthony do without me for once. To be sure, he was tremendously busy getting Brosna in order for me. I had Zoe brought round, the beautiful mare who was his latest gift to me, and rode over to Damerstown.

Mrs. Dawson received me in the drawing-room, affectionate as of old, but with the air which asked forgiveness for the wrong her husband had done us. It was an air that grieved me, and as I kissed her I passed my hand over her forehead as though I would brush it away like a palpable thing.

"I thought, dearie," she said, "being what you are, that you'd be happier in your own happiness if you knew things were well with my poor Rick. He never did you any harm except to love you too much."

"No, indeed," I said hastily, "and I should be so glad to know that he has forgiven and forgotten me. I've heard, of course, that he has quite recovered and is going abroad. I shall always feel very kindly towards him and very sorry because of any wrong I did him."

"You never did him any," the mother said.

It was on the tip of my tongue to ask her where Nora Brady was, for that was a trouble to me, too, despite my happiness. The poor people round about had, I was told, taken the same view of poor Nora's devotion to her sick man as Maureen. She had slipped away from those who, lik

e myself, would have stood her friends. But before I could ask the question Richard Dawson himself came into the room.

I was startled and a little embarrassed at first sight of him. I had had no idea that he was at Damerstown. And his face was sadly marked and pitted with the small-pox.

"Miss Devereux, you must forgive my presenting myself before you with this hideous face, but there are some things I want to tell you. There, don't look at me! Take this."

He picked up a Japanese fan and handed it to me and the action hurt me. I compelled myself to look at him without flinching.

"You are not at all hideous," I said. "No one who cared for you would think you hideous."

"Why, no," he said. "My mother looks at me as though I had the skin of a young child-and there is another-- Miss Bawn, I wish you happiness. I am very glad the better man has won."

"You are very generous."

While we talked Mrs. Dawson got up and left us. She was one of those people who are always forgetting things and going in search of them, so the action had no special significance.

"You are very generous," I said. And then I asked him the question which was in my mind. "Mr. Dawson," I said, "can you tell me where Nora is? I want to write to her, to bring her back."

"I know," he answered, "but she will not come back yet awhile. She has, by her own wish and desire, gone to school, to a convent. She had schooling enough for me, God knows, in her tender and faithful heart; but she is as obstinate as any creature ever was when she thinks a thing is right. So I have to wait, very much against my will, while the nuns make a lady of Nora. It is her own phrase. I have assured her that she is a better lady than most ladies I have known, and that I am not a gentleman. But she would banish me and try my patience."

"Meaning--?"

"Meaning-that she will marry me when she has acquired the thing she desires. Meaning-I would have married her, Bawn, without love, because they blackened her, the innocent soul, for her mercy to me. But I have learned to love her. She holds my heart against all women. I am not hideous to her."

"And your mother?"

"Is enchanted. We are going to sell Damerstown and live in England. It will give us all a better chance. Good-bye, Miss Bawn, for we shall not meet again."

It made a nine days' wonder when the people heard that Richard Dawson had married Nora Brady; but that was a year later, and Damerstown was shut up and to be let.

Lord and Lady St. Leger still rule at the Abbey, and seem likely to rule for many years, to the joy of their children.

Theobald's wife is keen about her husband's profession, and will not let him leave the army yet, so that we see them only at intervals.

But the old couple are not lonely. My godmother and Uncle Luke have their full measure of happiness. They have, what my dear godmother confessed to me she had not dared to hope for-a child, a boy-brave and beautiful, worthy to succeed his father in time as the Lord St. Leger. There is no bonnier boy in all the countryside except my own, and he is the image of his father, so it is not likely that any child could be just like him. But the young heir fills Aghadoe Abbey with joy and peace. My grandmother told me the other day that the ghosts have not been heard since the child came to banish them.

* * *

Transcriber's notes:

Punctuation normalized.

Corrections made are indicated by dotted lines under the corrections. Scroll the mouse over the word and the original text will appear.

(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top

shares