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BELLA-DEMONIA.

[By Selina. Dolaho.]

BOOK 111. CHAPTER 11. DICK SAVILLK. Dick Saville was an excellent specimen of the young Englishman whose personal qualities cause him to be universally dubbed “a devilish good fellow.” Only son of General Saville, he had elected not to follow the profession of arms, but become Aubyn Goddard’s chum at Oxford, where, with widely divergent tastes, they wore as inseparable as circumstances would permit. Goddard had been a reading man and an athlete, Saville had been an athlete, but there their similarity of pursuits had ended. Notwithstanding his multifarious escapades, indulged in with the object of emblazoning the gray old university town a lively heraldic gules, Dick Saville was an inveterate favorite with the dona, and even in that paradise for women Dick sull’jrod a positive embarrassment of attentions from the petticoated inhabitants of bis alma mater. Still, the process of compelling an objectionable proctor and his bull dog to take a midnight bath in the college fountain and proceed home in each other’s clothes turned inside out is not calculated to act as an example of discipline to undergraduates, and Dick Saville returned to the bosom of his father—who, I regret to s iy, roared with delight—to spare the authorities the heart-rending task of “sending him down” covered with ignominy and unpaid bills.

At the premature close of his academic career Dick started for the Capo cn route for Seringapatam, and, having returned home via India and Egypt, met Kitty Middleton at a dance at Lady Arliugford’s. In five minutes Diok realised that ho had met “that other self,” aud historians toll us that Kitty became kissed. This duty performed, he started for Madagascar eft route for Persia and Russia, with two flannel shirts, a tooth brush, and a photograph of Kitty. He escaped from a hord ofe Koords with nothing but a pair of tattered trousers and the photograph also tattered —of Kitty, and when he told her of his escapes observed that she grew dreadfully white and didn’t laugh at or abuse him fora whole quarter of an hour. Announcing his intention of starting for New York en route for Japan and China, Kitty put her foot down firmly, and asked what was the maximum of luggage that she would be allowed to take. Dick argued that she would have to camp in very rough places, to which Kitty replied that so long us he took a thick rug and plenty of quinine she didn’t care. And so at the end of the season of 1877 the ‘Morning Post’ announced that »t St. Peter’s, Eaton square, Richard Arthur Chenevix Saville, son of General Sir Richard Saville, V.C., K.C.8., bud married Catherine Maude, daughter of the late Sir Cyrus Middleton, K.C.M.G. It was a “marriage,” not a “wedding,” and Mr and Mrs Saville started for Paris aud Monte Carlo with one object alone in view—to wit, the exoneration of Goddard,

So long as there was any hope of Goddard’s return, Dick had agreed with Kitty and Lady Arlingford that they must wait for his assistance to this end ; but now' that he was dead, Dick announced his intention of taking the matter into his own hands and extorting a confession from Arlingford and Mrs Daahton. Dick was no fool. The presence of Prince Sohouloff on that fatal night, the delay of Goddard’s all-important despatches, and the immediately subsequent clearance of Arlingford’s most pressing liabilities had given him a clue, and when he found that nothing was to be done with Arlingford or tho Dashtou, ho wrote for passes to Prince Schoulclf, whom he personally knew, on tho plea that*\ho was anxious to pay a country-house visit in the middle of tho scat of war. Thus on this eventful afternoon Mr and Mrs Dick Saville found themselves in tho hall of the Villa Kristov Hisar at Deve-kiui, near Eski Saghra, awaiting the appearance of their host and hostess.

They had not long to wait before Schouloff appeared with Bella-Demonia. Schouloff greeted Savillo and his wife warmly. “ Let me present you,’’ said bo, “ to the Baroness Altdorff, Mrs Saville—Mr Seville. ” “I am charmed to see you,” said the baroness. “We owe a great debt to Providence for having brought you safely to us. I have ordered some tea immediately. I learnt the custom in England and Russia, and never enjoy it so much as when I am far from civilization.”

“It’s contrast that gives the charm to everything,” replied Kitty. “Dick and I pass our lives in search of ih It was to find a contrast to the deadly respectable that made us become so disreputable. You know, we are called ‘ The Shocks ’ because w’o keep people in a continual state of excitement. I tell them it’s good for their health. They probably consider it heroic treatment: but it’s quite necessary for some complaints. ” “ For instance ?” queried Bella-Demonia, who was equally astonished and amused. “Duluess and stupidity! There is no doubt we are good for our own people, but better still for the world. Nothing amuses Diok and me so much as to devise some awful escapade—that is, what the world is pleased to consider awful. Time after time we say ‘ This is sure to settle us; we shall be ostracised—kicked out.’ Not a bit of good. Dick’s too rich ; people look upon it as a new and charming eccentricity, and that’s all. But I must be boring you dreadfully. Somebody must stop me talking, or I shall go on forever.” “ Don’t stop ! ” exclaimed Bella- Demonia ; “ you are more than delicious. I will only interrupt you for a moment, to ask how and by what accident you are hero.” “By no accident,” said Dick Saville. “ We came to find you, baroness, and Prince Schouloff.”

“Indeed? You surprise me. What can we do for you ?” “ Mrs Savillo has been telling you of some of our follies,” answered Dick. “ How long we should have continued to afford amusement to our friends is uncertain, because an event occurred which changed the current of my idiocy.” “ Well, we won’t contradict you,” said Bella-Demonia, “it is so refreshing to bear vou display your superior intelligence in your own way,” “Intelligence! I am trying to convince you, baroness, that I am a fool.” “ I am afraid you are not succeeding very well. Still, I would not interfere with the amusement of any living creature ; so I promise to assume anything you please, if you promise to continue your story.” “Oh, Dick doesn’t need any inducement to talk,” putin Kitty; “he runs me very close, and I’ve killed several people. ”

“The last time we met, Mrs Saville,” said Prince Schouloff, “ I tried to make you promise to visit me at Nice. I did not expect that you would ever wander so far from the world as to make that visit here. But I am none the less indebted to you, believe me.”

“You are too good, prince. It is to remind you of the time of which you speak that we have come to take you by storm.” “ Since you have come so far to find us, I presume, like the Baroness Altdorff, that there is some service wa may render you. For myself, pray command me; and I am sure that the baroness feels with me.” “ Most assuredly,” said Bella-Demonia. “ Well, then,” said Dick Saville, “ since 1 cannot convince you that I deserve to be called a fool for my pains, let me at least convince you that I can be a hard-working friend; and it is on behalf of that friendship that I have come in search of certain information and assistance. Tho prince has spoken of his last meeting with Mrs Saville. On that occasion a tragedy was enacted which ruined the career of the beat fellow that ever lived. I speak of Aubyn Goddard.” “Goddard!” The speaker was BellaDemonia, who leaned forward, her eyes eagerly fixed on Dick’s ugly but sympathetic face.

“Doubtless, you, madame,” said Kitty, “ heard of the affair. I was present. It was terrible.” The Baroness Altdorff bowjd her head in silence. “ It is to clear my dead friemVs memory from afoul stigma," continued Saville, “ that I have determined to prove his accusers guilty of the vilest conspiracy ever formed.

Captain Goddard wag accused of cheating at cards at the house of Lord Arlingford.” “ But surely,” put in Bella-Demonia, “ It must have been easy for Captain Goddard to disprove the accusation ? ” “ There is the mystery. On investigation, there is no doubt that ho had a card in his possession which he refused to show. This, in face of the fact that the king of trumps — they were playing 6carte—was not to be found, gave color to the charge; though everyone knew that Arlingford was quite capable of managing the cards well enough, even if he had been unaided by confederates ; he had two on that occasion, a Major Carteret and his sister, Mrs Bradley Dashton.” “Mrs Dashton!” said Bulla-D.-monia. “She is in the house at this moment.” “Here! now’” answered Saville. “May I ask you to say nothing of my mission, and allow me to make my requests of you before I meet her?”

“ I will see that no one enters,” said the prince, rising, and moving towards the door. As he passed Bella-Demonia he said, in an undertone: “I have given orders to Kupiodovitch to have an escort ready to receive our visitor of this evening.” “You make a grave charge against this Lord Arlingford,” said she to.Dick Saville. “ I am sure of my facts, however — morally sure. But proof to establish those facts is absolutely necessary. I believe that you. madamc, and Prince Schouloff, can help me.”

“I? but I never heard of Lord Arliugford.” “It is of Jack Vyvian Fane’s career in St. Petersburg that I wish information." “ Vyvian Fane ! ” It was more a gasp than an exclamation that broke from the Baroness Altdorff ns she spoke the words. Prince Schouloff sat narrowly watching her, a shade of perplexity enveloping his brow. “ You remember him ” asked Saville.

“Rtmcmberhim !” answered the baroness. “ Perfectly. He was the cause of a terrible tragedy, and paid with Ids life for his treachery.” “ You are mistaken, baroness. Vyvian Fane is alive, and is now Lord Arlingford. The title came to him, it is true, very unexpectedly. ’■ “And this is the man who ruined Captain Goddard ? In St. Petersburg he betrayed an innocent man to death—a man beloved by all, a man who knew' no wrong—and struck down his wife and child with the self-same blow. Ob, you did well to come to me ! I can give you all the information that you want. Listen ! ” At this moment a servant entered, “ Your Excellency’s secretary has returned.” “Admit him,”

“ The giant form of Rodia Pouschkoff entered the room. Delivering a note to his mistress, he waited whilst she read it, and then, receiving a hurried command in a low tone, left the room once more. The Baroness Altdorff turned to Dick Saville.

“ I must ask you to wait until to-morrow,” she said, “ for tho details, A sudden call interrupt's us.” And she rang for a servant. “ Conduct Mr and Mrs Saville to their apartments, A a revolt', Mrs Saville, and I hope a hienloiT Dick Saville and his wife left the room, accompanied by the servant. When they were gone, Bella-Demonia turned to the prince : “ Beyaz Murad is here, at the gates. Follow me.” And she led iho way to her own wing of the chateau. (To he continued.)

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890824.2.38.13

Bibliographic details

BELLA-DEMONIA., Evening Star, Issue 7994, 24 August 1889, Supplement

Word Count
1,919

BELLA-DEMONIA. Evening Star, Issue 7994, 24 August 1889, Supplement

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