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Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

24 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

A Summer Nightmare. ,.


A Summer Nightmare. By THEODORA WILSON WJLSON (Author of Ursula Raven," &c. 1e?W stiflingly hot the room was, as Made- d«ifs fingers worked swiftly amongst the J^te laces. Slln had come round to the window, but jj '•lelene had no time to draw down the blind. Was flushed, her wavy hair curled her forehead. But the garden party l that very afternoon, and if Maisie was to bcr blouse, there was not a moment to "What shall I be at fifty, Should nature keep me alive. If I find the world so bitter When I am but twenty-five ?" she flung up her head, and gave a °thered laugh—trying to fling the doleful from her .had been a long seven years of grinding S1nce she received the telegram announcing n r Mother's death—recalling her from happy rttiany and all its entrancements—to the y6 of i»er father's household. y With the characteristic enthusiasm of a v self-sacrificing temperament, Madelene herself to the task, proud of the Science reposed to her. fatk COmplete had been the sacrifice that her absorbed in his own loss—had never considered it. The brothers and fcn took Madelene's work and Madelene's as amongst the established order of t*Ut somehow to-day an irrepressible depres- tt had swept over the worker. What did to hin8 matter ? {ja 'e> fresh from her first term at Chelten- js^^an advantage she owed entirely to her determined efforts on her behalf—had juddered openly that Madelene should care so „ e for inteliectual pursuits—even for music. V And you are just as bad about going out U let yourself get quite stale, Madelene, if &te Dot careful she had said, lot Madelene had in a half-hearted way landed to go to this garden party, and her frock was ready for the ironing board. had come in yesterday, quite wild jj. excitement, to eay that Mrs Moorfield. had *lted him to play in the Tennis Tournament man had failed. just having unpacked Ted's school trunk. bjJj knowing the state of his flannels, the berr;-s had begun to twitter early that morning she had finished his new shirt. What did anything matter 7" she asked self once more. ^Oddenly the door burst open. 111 Oh, Madelene cried Maisie. Such • I have drawn the crack man, so Sophie & °rfield tells me. The Honourable George ^i^sthing or Other—an aged animal, she says J™1t awfully good We shall owe something solutely weird How's the blonse" chl a^el°ne rose from her low seat. There, b d, the last stitch," and she tossed the ùse to her sister. ^laisie looked at it admiringly. Cqi Madelene Dury, thou art an angel '■ I It have done it—not for a B.A. degree lk's.a blessing there is one domestic spirit i* e fanJily. th ^ew to dress, and then in dashed b°ys- keen for an afternoon's picnic to ^5!ch they had been invited. And Madelene 11*7 to bend her mind to considering the provi- basket they so eagerly demanded. 1. -Don't make Dad make you late P' cried lc>fvi5'e' as Madelene stood at the little gate down tbe white road. Two girl friends called for Maisie and Ted, and in another Anient the carriage was whirling away. 'Of course, I shan't go." said Madelene to herself, as she wandered indoors. can't think what is the matter with me ih, c father was late for lunch as usual, and J^solutely Madelene went into the drawing- Jr°a»- How hot it was The very flowers in J*"5 vases were fading. What could bo the fatter with her ? She could not be such a y as to be disappointed over a silly garden- Suddenly his eye fell on a litter of Her brow clouded. I wish Maisie would Pull nay songs about she thought. She sat down in. the window seat and turned f5Q songs over on her knee. Songs she bad *«&rnt years ago in Germany. Dear old l~chu- — Peter Cornelius — Lassen—Beethoven's \i!:Ier now pallid cheeks flushed again. What those were in the Pensionnat until that came. Maisie was not alone in her (w^Setion with Honourable^. The •• Big Hon- Q^ble" they bad all of them nicknamed j £ >e Munro. He was taking music up as a J,. 6ssion, because he was as hard up as any Atkins he used to boast. *N*y Christmas he had sent her a card. 0^5 friendliest remembrance, written in fHan. She had seven of them upstairs. ^ave of German Heimveh vePj°^ feu", The house was empty, except for th servant, Morton. There was no one to om she would betray herself. she sat down at the piano, and sang on kj/1 on, until an uncontrollable burden of seli- j|j y overwhelmed her, as she thought of the b e sb.e had meant to live and the Hie thn.t had n forcedu pon her. •h i ^e'ene J*1 was hcr father's voice, and ? leapt up all attention. ^rushing the straying tear-drop away, she cheerfully, Dad Why you are marvellously early." „ o'clock—yes. All alone ?" tj. *es. The boys have gone to a picnic—and others to the tournament." Tournament ?" asked the doctor puzzled. Jr*1, the Moorfields I had forgotten." ne went with him into the other room, and gently he remarked, I suppose you want > So to this affair? I can drive you over if Ieally wish it." te o. thanks. Dad. Maisie and Ted will Present the family quite respectably." (.. Then you really don't care about it f" 1(* her father with a sigh of relief. I must these occasions always strike me as inex- etshtHbly stupid. We should never be missed €Jhe crowd." ^No-l really don't care — it does not 8¡) Se was PourinSf out his coffee, and as she <4j e. a flood of sunshine streamed in and ht her face, just as the doctor looked up. premelY absent-minded regarding his ith Iy as a rule, he was nevertheless struck something in his daughter's appearance. »i Madelene, my dear, you are not vexed °^t anything—or ill ?" Oh. no and she laughed, as she turned „ay her head. 4h, My dear, loot at me. He actually rose ^.turned her to the light. l^h ^be last siunmoning of her courage, she Then to her overwhelming dismay burst from him, and broke into a passion f^s. •V v.e ^oc^°r stood over her helplessly, until U,e calmed down with a short hysterical .gb. It is nothing. Dad—nothing whatever 1 "only just rather tired." •« » 'ust rather tired the doctor repeated. (ftil?Ped to death he said with a surprising U ^tion. Nerves." He had never dreamt Madelene had nerves. Year in, year out, 1/^ had plodded along happily enough, so far knew. had ccrtaialy not been away from home l tie considei-ed how long, shame over. i Jlhed the mats. Had he, in brooding over .o!1 irreparable loss, exacted too great a ficc from this enger young heart ?" was in no sense a brilliant man. took time to plant ia his mind, but once <, ted tliey grew. ,Well, run alf>ng now, a?sd dress yourself he said cheerfullv. Oh. no." she ejcclaim«d —" I am so tir-nJ— besides I have nothing to wear," and kbe 't\\led cheerfully oiice znoce- *ho doctor frowned. had something, I presume Oh Tfsll, and so have I in a way. Only it iroaed, and I door opened, and the servant came in. Morion," said the doctor, comfortably, ^"hat is this about Miss Madelene's frock? y°u can manage it?" c, 1, Da.d expostulated Madelene. .Manage, air and she eyed her yocng reproachfully. oniy she'd said But there, sir, there's .o look after her. Up to two o'clock this over Master Ted's things—no, you look liko that, JMis3 Madden*, I've my say for a long time ie ■ftric'x.&ji doctor looked at his ,te? at xioujily. !te Ou dov/n until iS is tiino to dress," .,co;nrtiauBd«d. T*^» can't ]*i*fdW.y go. Don't you under- • K'-odes, I lent Maisie nry only decent that settle* it A story bock on my »4Jt!!l do ma far mora'good than a thousand !•' M if the controversy were at an Ryt the doctor stayed, and had a piece of « tongue, which sent him thoughtfully h room, lookrng gravely subdued. £ er.t straight to a certain drawer, and o*^r some trcasuvoi of bygone happi- faithful daughter fend a faithless he muttered. Poor Mary, why he said to himself, as he crept like a thing across the jML^snge to his daughter's *«o" jjTy'ne in," she said» *« •jj* a little package down beside her. child. I have ordered the dog-cart prompt." Unfolded the white gloves, then throwing 9 upwards, she caught him round the u j^od kissed him. an awful old stupid Please don't Ute> dad. A fit of the blues at my time of f l ^tnte preposterous "lhe tournament was in full swing when r *nd fiaxiyhtcrilrtorc u-p. Everybody was there, and Madelene, catching the pervading spirit of excitement, looked round anxiously for Maisie.. Ted she spied at once, and saw with amuse- ment that he was enjoying himself mightily with a certain married lady noted for her boisterous voice, her gay clothing, and her quiet, adoring husband. Ah, Madelene, child cried Mrs Moor- field, entirely unconscious that she had not yet greeted her, I know you are always so good- natured, and you are not absorbed in tennis like my girls. Can you take Mrs Glenfinnan in to tea, and then introduce her to the glass houses and Morris ? You know your way." Mrs Moorfield felt that she had a right to the help of the Dury girls. They were her emer- gency employees, to whom she brought many a piece of kindly pleasure. So Madelene met her fate with a smile, and found herself introduced to an elderly lady, who seized her arm, and became freely loqua- ciou3. „ I am glad, my dear, she said as she finished her second well-creamed cup of tea, that you are not devoted to this intemperate sport! Such ridiculous nonsense. Pretty girls racing themselves into apoplexy or hysteria—a sight of wonder for the whole country f* Still, they enjoy it," said Madelene. Yet, what agony columns we should have in the papers if any despot insisted on youne people chasing backwards and forwards for four solid hours on a blazing afternoon Perhaps," said Madelene, rather absently. She could hear the laughter outside, and almost certainly her sister's voice. Evidently the party were making for the verandah. And now, your arm again, my dear," ex. claimed Mrs Glenfinnan, and she rose with difficulty. Oh—not out through that window. Straightforward doors for me." They turned away. and passed into the hall, just as the gay tennis throng swarmed in through the window. Madelene struggled under a sense of baulk, or suffocation. But years of self-suppression came to her aid. Mrs Glenfmnan's consultations with Morris, the gardener, seemed quite interminable, and it was not until late in the afternoon that at last she remarked, Now, my dear, perhaps we had better return to the others Madelene knew it must be very late now. On this day, as on many another, she had just managed to be out of it. She had been a fool to come. Her head was splitting with the awful beat of the hot house. She panted tor her own little bedroom with the blind drawn down. As they walked down the steep pathway to. wards the lower grounds the band stopped, and they could hear gay murmuring and laughter, and presently the sound of subdued Cl*^That means, I suppose, that the absurd business is over. Prizes indeed and Mrs Glenfinnan gave a twittering Jaagh- There was a thickening of the brilliant throng immediately below them, and Madelene was content to stand still- In the centre of the group stood Maisie and her taU partner. Xhey were smiling and bowing thanks. Why if that isn't George r" cried Mrs Glenfinnan, in mock wrath. "Thirty. if he's a day and dashing round in the sun all the afternoon for a cigar case or some such "ubbish As ridiimlous a piece of absurdity as his trying to make his living out of music And who is the girl? Pretty enough-except for that monstrous colour—burnt to a fire brick That's my sister Maisie. I am glad she has won." "George is booked, however, said Mrs Glenfinnan, brusquely. I beg your pardon?' I merely remarked that George is booked- he told me eo himself. Come into his money at last, and nothing to wait for, thank goodness When a man Jike George is booked, he ought to wear a placard to warn off the girls-poor idiots Madelene's loyal soul was roused. If yon inferring, Mrs Glenfinnan, that my sister required that her partner should be placarded—you are profoundly mistaken Highty, tightv, child What do I know about your sister? I onlyremarked that George was booked. As for you, my dear, if ever I can do anything for you in roses or chrysanthe- mums, let me know." The wind was blowing gently cool at last. Carriages were rolling up and rolling away, and having at last safely deposited her old lady, Madelene was enddenly seized upon by tbe exultant Mai?ie. Ah, you are here I Where in the world have you been ? Isn't it rare and she showed a lace pin embedded in cotton wool. He was absolutely glorious. I never played with such a gem. Come, I want to introduce you. He is such a dear." Madelene. my dear, if you have had enough —we might as well go," came in her father's, quiet tones. I have had quite enough." said Madelene gathering up her frock from the dampening grass. It was a relief to drive once more quietly through the cool air, and her father respected her mood. On reaching home she tried to pull herself together. The boys were home, panting to re- count their adventures, and Baby Geoff had already been jierguaded to bed, and was sitting up wen-washed and brushed eager for the sisterly good-night You are as sweet as a white angel, he exclaimed, admiringly, as she entered the little dressing-room. «« Rather a tired angel, Geoff, and she sat down on the edge of the bec1." Come-there is heaps of room—lie down, he invited, and screwed himself up against the W Madelene flung herself down beside her little brother, and shut her eyes. Geoff raised himself on his elbow, and looked at her thoughtfully Then he began to finger her wavy, grey-tipped hair with his soft fingers. Madelene lay qui te still. This child was her baby boy. Perhaps after all it had been worth WThe room was very still- Only a eprayofivy tapped restlessly gainst the half-opened la"Madelene -»" came in a subdued voice from th" Hushf" called Geoffrey. He crept out of bed, and went. out on the landing. Hush! she's asleep. I made her." he said with a proud ,mportance. hU Hfctl ?0n, and looked at his sleeping daughter irresolutely. His brow was puckered with worry, and he laid his fiD|hen°ablon^oSng sounded, She started up, as at the call of duty, and looked round V Forty winks How stupid Tell the others to begin supper. I will be down in a m-Tatm so sorry," began her father, «• and between us, I fear we have been inconsiderate, ba"T*rMlr it to me quickly," and she laughed, and she smoothed her raffled hair before Geof. '"■?it h only tblt' Maisie's parted came along with her, and asked so i>ointedly after you— says he met you in Germany, and hmted so broadly that he would like to see you again. that-well, without being positively discour- teous., i could not avoid asking him in to supper—" Ach exclaimed Madelene- You do not mind very much I hope, he said anxiuosly. "T can make some excuse to clear him out early—if you could Just manage supper—" Madelene smiled, wondmng at her father's surprising solicitude. Of course, you could not do anything else, Dad. I will manage somehow. I will be down directly. George Munro certainly seemed bigger than she had remembered, and his firm hand-shake and glad smile sent a thrill of energy through her wearied nerves- But at supper all the talk was about the tournament. Maisie and Ted monopolised the visitor completely, and Madelene was not sorry. And the stupid thing was that you never even saw him play," said MaiNie. I cannot conceive where you disappeared. 44 Oh, I know," said Ted. She went off with a beast of an old lady up amongst the greenhouses—as if it were not eighty in the shade outside." You don't mean to say, Madelene, that you BDent the afternoon in Mrs Moorfield's green- houses ?" exclaimed the doctor vexedly. Oh. it was all right. Mrs Moorfield asked me to go. You see, 1 waant playing." My daughter had a very bad headache when she started," explained the doctor, and I hoped the afternoon would be a change for her." I am afraid I ought to take up the apolo- gies for my most inconsiderate cousin I know her of old when she gets amongst the plants." "But why should anyone apologise ?" eX. claimed Madelene, with a touch of temper in her tone. I went of my own free wilL Some one had to do it." But why you ?" said Maisie, wrathfully. "If I had known, I would have come and dragged you from her clutches. Sorry. Partner, to appear impolite to a distinguished relative of yours," and she laughed across at the visitor. Ah well," said the doctor. It can't be helped now, I suppose. Perhaps. Munro, you will have a smoke with me," and he rose from the table. I should like a smoke of all things, Doctor Dury," replied the young man. It was a very lone smoke. "They might have had a dozen by now I' snorted Maisie impatiently to Ted. It's so' like Dad. I thought we were going to have some jolly music." The study door opened, and the doctor and the visitor appeared at last. Where is, Madelene?" asked her father. 44 Kissing the boys good-night or some- thing said Maisie. Oh, Mr Munro, you will play us something now you have deigned to appear." He sat down to the piano with a good. natured Inugh, but there was an odd, excited look on the man's face had Maisie care I to notice it. Ha w&s presently conscious tiiat Madelene had come in, and that Ted had disappeared. For some time Maisie monopolised his selec- tions, but presently be turned on his stool. 44 Do you remember this, Miss Dury V and he played a delicate Chopin Etude. 44 Yes, I remember," said Madelene. But she stayed away by the window. And this ?" he asked again. He struck the opening phrases of Lohengrin's Abschied. Yes, I remember." she said. 44 And this 1" And now it was a Brahms love song. n I remember them all," she said. 44 Maisie, mv dear," said her father abruptly, 441 should be greatly obliged for your help in the study for a few minutes. Maisie rose, unwilling enough, and left the room. Quickly George Munro walked to the window. 44 And do you remember the name of that little love song of Beethoven's that Herr Preitag never could get me to sing to his saitis- faction ?" 44 I—that is"—stumbled Madelene. 44 It was a very dear little song," said the man earnestly. I hope it has remained with you. May I open this window? How sweet the air is. 44 Certainly, open it if you like." Of May I ten you the name of the little song, in case you have forgotten it 1" She would not reply. Instead she put out her hand, and twisted a rose from its branch* and began pulling it to pieces. 44 Don't do that," he said, taking it from her. She rose from her seat as though she would leave the room. 44 Ieh liebe Dich! (IloTe thee) was the name of the little song, was it not?" he asked, standing close up to her. Really, Mr Munro, it is all so long ago. I have forgotten my German," she said, trying to speak coolly. 44 To-night, it seems to me but yesterday," he said. 44 Mrs Glenfinnan told me this afternoon that you are going to be married, Mr Munro. that your fortune had come in. May I con- gratulate you?" He turned a little white. Mrs Glenfinnan told you I was going to be married ? He spoke so sternly that she wavered. She told me that—that you were booked.' Those were her very words. You had told her so yourself." His colour came back with a bound. 44 And so I am he said, with sudden passion. 44 So I have been for nearly seven years. That is why I ask you to recall your German sufBcentiy to tell me the name of that little song. Please, Madelene J" Oh, I really can't." There was a pleading tone in her voice which completely satisfied him. Never mind then fa he said with a sort of triumph, &8 be grILSped her band.






Splott" Banker" as Host. -------------…




Maesteg Strike Scenes. .


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