Patrick MacGill.

Flirts and flirts : or a season at Ryde; in three volumes (Volume 1) online

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first caught sight of him in one of his care-
lessly graceful attitudes near the door, his
dark eyes fixed on herself, and now she
could say nothing, only as Lord Favers-
ham was about to conduct her back to her
place among the performers, she half looked
up and said : "But what has brought you
to England, Count ? I never expected to
see you here."

" You here, and you ask me ! oh. Made-
moiselle !" and Kathleen shivered as she
felt rather than met his glance.

" Are you cold !" asked the unconscious

132 Flirts and Flirts.

Lord Faversliam. '' Let me fetcli you a
cloak, do," and he gave her a look, which
passionate though it was, was but as water
after wine, compared to those with which
the Count had been favouring her ; and the
Count looked after them, and stroked his
long black moustache, and murmured to
himself " elle m' adore.'' He generally
spoke in French, rarely if ever in English,
and only using Italian to English people
on special occasions, such as when he first
came up to Kathleen. Now he went to
look for Lady Killowen, to see if he was
still as firmly fixed in her good graces as
in those of her daughter ; as for Kathleen
" elle m' adore,'' it was easy enough for him
to see that.

The second part of the concert Kathleen
rather regained her good looks, and she
sang too sweetly enough, though not very
correctly perhaps ; but she did not look
quite herself till Lord Faver sham's song
began. He went to the front of the plat-
form, and after a little nervous trifling

Flirts and Flirts, 133

with the pages of his music began in a low,
but sweet and exquisitely true voice, " Kath-
leen Mavourneen." Everyone was taken
by surprise, for it had been kept a pro-
found secret what the song was to be, even
from Kathleen herself, and now everyone
looked at her to see how she took it ; and
amongst all the eyes turned towards her,
Kathleen felt two large piercing dark eyes,
and she looked happy and beautiful once
more, though nearly overpowered with
blushes, and people were quite pleased with
her. She would have looked yet better per-
haps, if she had not blushed quite so much,
but then it was so nice to see she was so
modest and unspoiled by all the admiration
she met with. When he finished, Lord
Faversham was tremendously clapped and
encored, and in the general excitement a
great many people did not quite know
whether they were applauding him or Kath-
leen, but they were equally j^leased which-
ever it was. Lord Faversham however would
not take the encore, he seemed quite con-

134 Flirts and Flirts,

fused by the applause, and, after a good
many shy bows, took refuge behind Kath-
leen's chair, looking anxiously at her to
see if she were pleased or not.

" How beautifully you sang it!" whis-
pered she, speaking to him over her
shoulder, and only just turning her head
sufl&ciently to be able to smile on him an
irresistible smile. " I never thought my
name sounded half so pretty before. I
shall quite love it now after your song.
Thanks so many."

Lord Faversham looked proud then,
blushing ten times more too than he had
blushed before, and he tried to say some-
thing but failed, only looking a great deal,
and Kathleen's answering look was very
sweet, " But you must sing something
more, or the people will never be satis-

" Faversham, Faversham, you really must
come forward again. You must take the
encore. Sing anything else you like if you
don't want to repeat your last song, but

Flirts and Flirts. 135

you must sing some thing," said tliat leader
of the Eyde world, who had benevolently
undertaken the management of the con-

''Oh do !" said Kathleen.

'' But what — what ?" asked the boy earl,
looking more perplexed almost than grati-

" Oh anything ; no matter so that you
sing something. ' God save the Queen,' if
you like."

" That song the air of which you were
humming as we came back from Goodwood
the other day," said Kathleen.

" Oh, that song !" and Lord Faversham
looked dehghted. It was the song of all
others he would most have wished to sing
to Miss O'Grady if he had dared, and now
she herself bade him sing it. He had
practised it often with the performer on
the piano, with whom he had been great
friends lately, so there was no difficulty
about the accompaniment, and he went
forward again to the front of the platform.

136 Flirts and Flirts.

looking both proud and pleased, and yet
delicate as lie was, like all tliose of his
race, and only now sent to idle away his
time at Eyde for the sake of its fresh sea
breezes, he had been rather nervous of
trying even one song in such a large
crowded room, and now did not know how
he was possibly to get through another ; but
she herself had bade him sing, the lady of
his love, and if that did not give him
courage, what could ? so he went forward
bravely with the colour buruiug high on
his fair delicate cheek. They were all
friendly to him more, or less, those people
he was going to sing to, and many of them
even would have called themselves his
friends, and they looked kindly on the
slight boyish figure, and proudly smiling
face with its bright blue eyes which took
away the attention from the light brown
lustreless hair. Their hair was never a
strong point with the Favershams, and for
many generations it had been a distress
to the younger members of the family, in-

Flirts and Flvrts. 137

deed to all it may be said, for the Favers-
hams never lived to grow old. The pre-
sent Earl's father had died at thirty, and
his father had never reached forty, and he
had succeeded his brother, and so it had
gone on for a long time, whilst the Favers-
ham eyes got more and more known for
their brilliance, and their hair still remained
a vexation to them. That voice of the pre-
sent Earl's was no inheritance in the family ;
he got it direct from his mother, and
though sweet and true as hers, it had al-
ready grown far less powerful descending
to a Faversham born. He had stipulated
he was to sing only one song, knowing
well that his voice would not hold out at
concert pitch for more, but now there was
no help for it, and Kathleen herself had
told him what to sing, so he began with a
good heart :

" Aime moi bien, je t'en conjure,
Je n'ai plus de foi qu'en ton coeur ;
Le baume guerit la blessure,
L'amour guerit la douleur."

138 Flirts and Flirts.

So far he sang better tlian lie had sung
before, for he had been nervous during the
beginning of " Kathleen Mavourneen,"
and though he had taken courage as he
went on, he had not been able to put so
much passion into it, as he put now into
this song, but during the next verse he
began to break down.

" Laisse moi I'espoir qui m'enivre,
C'est la mon unique soutien;
Et pour m'aider encore a vivre
Aime moi bien, aime moi bien."

There was a gasp between those last two
'' aime moi hiens^^ and people all began
to have an intense indescribable longing
for him to end there, and as he paused
for an instant trying to regain his breath,
they clapped loudly. He might very well
have made that his finale, but it did not
occur to him; he was wrapped in the
thoughts the song suggested to him, and
as the music went on, so did he too as
soon as he got back his voice, though the

Flirts and Flirts. 139

first words were quite lost if tliej were

ever suDg.

" Je t'aimerai comme I'abeille
Aime la fleur qui git son miel ;
Comme I'oiseau I'aube vermeille,
Comme I'etoile aime le ciel ;

" Je t'aimerai comme ma mere,
Et ton nom a cote du sien
Sera piace dans ma priere,
Aime moi bien, aime moi bien."

Then tliere was a little feeble clapping,
and after a short pause for consideration,
much more vigorous applause, aud Lord
Faversham walked back to his old seat,
feeling faint and giddy, and covered his
face with his hands, struggling to get back
that breath, which felt now as if it never
would come back, and Kathleen fancied
she heard a sob, and she felt as if she
would have given anything to turn round
and smile on the poor boy, as she had smiled
l)efore, and comfort him ; but she could

Lord Faversham's voice had grown quite

140 Flirts and Flirts,

husky before lie got througli the third verse,
and he had seemed ahuost choking as he
began again '^ Je f aimer ai" but then he
made a great effort, and his voice had rung
out clear again though very thin. Only as
he got to the last line it died away in a
long low despairing wail, '' Airae moi Men,
adme moi hien,^^ and all the impressionable
people who heard it, felt as if they could
never forget it, and fancied that those
words would haunt them ever after. Even
Sandy who had been devoured v^ith a
fierce fever of jealousy at first, hung his
head and blushed at his own bad nature,
and felt a kindlier feeling towards Lord
Faversham than he had ever felt before,
and they had always been good friends.
Whilst Count Manfredi who was one of the
impressionable ones brushed away a tear
or two, as he muttered '^ poverino^' and
went a little further through his verb, for
he now thought "^7 Vadore'^ and for the
moment almost wished he could change
" elle m' adore' ^ into " elle V adore;'' but he

Flirts and Flirts, 141

was too mucli a man of the world to wisli
impossibilities long, so contented him-
self with feeling very soft-hearted to the
fair young English boy.

'' He rather broke down in that," said
De Yeux to Lady Killowen. ''It's absurd
clapping him so much, when he must know
he sang it very badly."

" That's just the sort of singing I like,"
said Lady Killowen. " I can't see the
sense of all that operatic music where the
words seem to go for nothing. Hike Lord
Faversham's singing better than anyone's,
and I like his second song best. But, poor
boy, some one will have to love him very
much to help him to live. He'll go off like
all the other Favershams. I never saw
that delicate look in him so strong before
to-night. Is there another brother, I for-

"Yes," said Sandy, who was listening,
'' he's got a brother in the Eton eleven, I
know that, and a capital long stop he makes

142 Flirts and Flirts,

" Oil then, it's all riglit" said Lady Kill-
owen. " Only I should be sorry for his
mother, if there weren't ; her jointure is a
wretched one. But now it doesn't so much

A great many people were singing a glee
while these remarks went on, and when
that was finished the good-natured man-
ager, Mr. Kinnaird, went up to Lord Fayer-
sham and asked him how he was. " That
last song was rather too much for you, I'm
afraid. Come and get a glass of wine. I
have some capital sherry outside," and
Lord Fayersham went and had some
sherry, and then he said he was still very
tired, he thought he would rather not wait
till the end of the concert, so he went
away by himself looking yery pale and sor-
rowful, in spite of all attempts to cheer
him ; and Mr. Kinnaird wished he could
haye gone home with him, he did not half
like the boy's look, and he half thought of
sending for Major De Lancey, who was
somewhere in the concert-room, and

Flirts and Flirts. 143

coming from the same part of tlie country
rather took young Faversham under his
protection ; but there was a general outcry
for him, and he had to go back to his
evening's duties. As he passed by Kath-
leen, he just said to her, " Lord Faversham
has gone home, he did not feel very well.
I am afraid that second song was too much
for him !" Kathleen felt grateful for his
kind thought in telling her this ; she was
really frightened about the poor boy, and
as that despairing " Ai7)ie moi Men, aime
moi bien,'^ rang in her ears, again and
again did she wish that it were possible.

" Oh, if she could but do so, he was
such a dear simple boy !" and she now
for the first time had realized how much
he would give for her love. " Such a good
match as it would be too !" she thought,
he was too young for her ; but that was
the only drawback, otherwise it would be
such a suitable match. But she did not
love him, not the least bit in the world,
though she wished she could, and as she

144 Flirts and Flirts.

tliouglit of the last words of that song, she
felt that he knew she didn't. What had
opened his eyes to it, she could not guess,
for she did not think he would have sung
'' Kathleen Mavourneen" as he had done
if he had been sure that his love was not
returned, and then she thought of that one
sob she had heard, and pictured to her-
self what he must be feeling now, and she
was not sparine^ of the colours she laid on
in that picture — what young lady would
have been under such circumstances ? and
interweaved with her thoughts came the re-
collection of those debts which were be-
ginning to keep her awake at night now ;
for she could not imagine what to do about
them, and then there came to her a vision
of the Faversham estate, which was always
being kept for minors, and was so pecu-
liarly unembarrassed now. Then if young
ladies ever do such things, I think Kath-
leen may be said to have cursed the Count
Manfredi in her heart. " He is worth-
less — oh ! I know he is worthless, and he

Flirts and Flirts, 145

doesn't care for me, I know he doesn't,
and Lord Faversliam is a good honest boy,
and he loves me, and why do I care for one,
and not the other ?"

She longed for the concert to be over,
and yet she dreaded the going away when
she would have to speak to the Count again,
and as she sat there listening to the music,
each air that she heard then, seemed as if
it would be hateful to her from that day
forward. But when it came to ''II halen
del suo sorriso,'^ it was really unendurable ;
she had been looking down at her bouquet
picking it to pieces hitherto. Sandy had
sent for it from Co vent Garden for her,
and she had given him a good lecture for
his extravagance, instead of thanks, when
she had accepted it, but it had been very
useful to her that evening, during great
part of which she had been industriously
destroying it. Now, however, even that
would not do. " II halen del sua surrisu.'''
She looked up half-maddened, and met the
Count's eyes, of course. But he did not


146 Flirts and Flirts.

smile, lie was watching her much as the
cat watches the mouse that it is preparing
to kill, but is amusing itself with first for a

As the Count put on her cloak for her
that evening, with that little delicate pres-
sure he knew so well how to administer in
the process, he was again like the cat, or
perhaps the tiger would be a more appro-
priate simile for him. " You recollect that
night at the Opera, I see — even in this
new life. Ah, Mademoiselle, you have never
forgotten Eome, I know you haven't."

"I was very happy there," she said,
looking up at him with tearful eyes.

"And very cruel," he said, then looking
round into her face, he added " and you
go on being cruel still. Do those beauti-
ful eyes shed no tears for the victims ?
' Le haume guerit la hlessure, V amour guc-
rit la douleur P Mais, hon soir, et dormez
Men, dormez toujours hien, cliere demoi-


Then as he stood by the door of the car-

Flirts and Flirts. 147

riage, wliile Sandy was getting in, and De
Veux taking leave, the Count took out
his cigar-case, and placing a cigar in his
mouth, he drew from some part of it a
faded flower. " Ne m'oubliez jjas,'' he said
with an impassioned look from his dark
eyes at Kathleen. Then they drove off, and
leaning back in a corner of the carriage,
Kathleen thought of her last ride at Rome,
and some Forget-me-nots the Count had
gathered for her, and then had insisted
on her giving back one of them to him,
and how pleased she had been to do so,
and how he had kissed it, and vowed he
would never part with it, and this was
the first time she had seen him since, and
it was so long ago, and all this time she
had heard nothing of him, and she would
have cried if she had been alone. " Oh he
is a cruel, cruel flirt, nothing else, I know,"
she said to herself; telling herself that the
Count did not care for her, but only for
Mrs. Courteney. Southsea and Ryde were
very near together, and of course he had

L 2

148 Flirts and Flirts.

come to England to see Mrs. Courteney, and
had only chanced to meet her, Kathleen, at
this concert. Then she thought of Lord Fa-
versham, and wondered if he would come
to think of her in the same way that she
thought of the Count, and wished she had
never flirted with him. *' I really will
never flirt again," she vowed to herself.

'' You did not look at all well to-night,
Kathleen ; you were too pale, and then
you got a great deal too flushed," said
Lady Killowen.

"Did I? I am very sorry, mother, but
really I could not help it."

" Certainly, the Count is a devoted ad-
mirer. I never thought he would follow
you to England, and he says he's only
just arrived. I wish you had looked bet-
ter for his first time of seeing you."

" Oh, I don't care about that at all,"
said Kathleen impatiently. '' But I know
I must have looked horrid."

" I know somebody who didn't think
so," said Sandy.

Flirts and Flirts, J 49

''You mean yourself, I suppose, but
you always have such bad taste."

" Have I ? but somebody else had bad
taste too to-night, if it was bad taste to
admire you Kathleen. Now I shan't tell
you who it was, as I suppose it would be
sinking the poor fellow for ever in your

" How silly you are, but I'm sure it
wouldn't interest me at all to hear. What
a bore this concert has been to be sure ;
it's a mercy it's over."

''Perhaps it would have been a mercy
for some people if it had never begun,"
said Sandy, very gravely, for he had
caught up Lord Faversham half way down
Union Street, as he was going home to his
hotel, and the poor boy had poured out
his sorrows to him. " Oh, Beaumont !
she's your cousin, and I ought not to say
it perhaps, but she has not been fair to
me. Why did she always seem to like
me ? And I love her so much, and I know
she will never care for me now. I saw it

150 Flirts and Flirts.

directly I began to sing that song, which
I couldn't — "and then the poor boy's voice
broke down in a sob, and Sandy consoled
him as well as he could, and just got back
to the concert to see his aunt and cousin
home, as he had promised. Lady Kill-
owen would never have forgiven him if he
had omitted that duty, and it was not a
very unpleasant one ; but Sandy did feel
sorry for Lord Faversham, and he thought
he had been rather hardly used, for he
knew as well as the boy earl now did, that
there was no hope for him.



Tuesday, tlie first day of tlie Eyde
Regatta was a dismal depressing day,
with little spurts of rain, wliicli eacli time
they came gave a promise of cooling the
air, but never did so. The yachts were
to start at 10.30 a.m., and a good many
people assembled on the Pier to see them
off, regardless of the disagreeable wea-

'' It will be a poor race this year, the
wind may drop any moment," said young
Long, looking seaward with the air of a
man who knew all about it.

*' Confound the wind. But the ' Flora'
'11 make a breeze for herself, whatever the

152 Flirts and Flirts,

others may do," said the heavy Mr. Simp-
son, glorious in true yachting get up, the
oldest and most threadbare looking of
serge suits, still retaining the correct
shape, however, owing to its Morgan build,
and the most enormous of pearl pins fas-
tening his necktie, speaking with more
energy than was usual to him. '* I say,
Faversham, are you coming, or are you
not ? I'm off anyhow."

" Oh, I suppose I'm coming," said the
young Earl listlessly.

'' Arn't you going to ask me, Simpson ?
Well, hang it, I won't stand upon cere-
mony anyhow. There take care of the
grub — wouldn't tread upon that on any
account. Your toes ! quite a different mat-
ter, old fellow^ Shove off now, I'm all
right," and Teddy Long sprang after the
other two into the yacht's boat regardless
of Lord Faversham' s :

" I say, Teddy, nobody asked you. Go
where you're wanted, old fellow."

'' I've asked myself," said Teddy " and

Flirts and Flirts. 353

there's nobody whose invitation I've ever
half so much pleasure in accepting. By
jove, Simpson, you are a good fellow.
It's devilish hot in spite of this rain, and
that ice is just the thing. Champagne's
all rights is it not? You're not going to
do us with sparkling Moselle, like that
fellow Brandon ? Catch me going out in
his schooner again."

"Well, you'll see if it is Moselle, or
not ?" said Simpson with a smile of pride,
for he specially piqued himself on his
champagne. "Perhaps you'll call it
Gooseberry. I know what it's cost me,
that's enough for me."

" Oh hang what it cost you, what does
that signify ? It hasn't cost me anything,
I know that. I say, Faversham, you're
in love ; you've let the something or other
gnaw your damask cheek with a ven-
geance, my boy. Now look at me, I'm
as fit as a fiddle, and I'm in love with a
monstrous fine girl too."

"Tell us her name, Teddy. Here we

154 Flirts and Flirts.

are, you'd better get on board first, Faver-
sham. There now isn't she a beauty ?"
This was said of the ' Flora,' not of a rather
pasty faced young lady sitting in her stern,
glorious in ideal yachting get up, whose
name was also ' Flora' by the way.

" There they go," said Sandy, gazing
intently at the yachts through double
glasses from the Pier. " Hasn't the ' Flora'
jumped out with the lead ? rather ! I can
fancy, Simpson, how big he'll be talking.
Why the ' Esprit' isn't starting after

'' No, only five are going to race," said
Major De Lancey. " Have you to be back
for parade this afternoon, Beaumont !
Come over in the one o'clock boat then,
with me. Good morning, Miss Zieri, I'm
astonished to see you so early. The
yachts are only just started, and I thought
you never breakfasted till twelve."

" Oh, mon Dieu, how you mock at me !
Dites done, M. Sandy," Miss Zieri was
never quite clear about Kathleen's cousin's

Flirts and Flirts. 155

name. " Wlio is tlie favourite ? who will
win ?"

"Impossible to say, I'm afraid. But
I'd back the ' Flora' sooner than any thing.
If the wind drops, which there is every
chance of its doing, she's safe to come in
first. Oh ! here's the rain again. You'd
better take sLelter at once, hadn't you ?"
and so the morning passed away, the peo-
ple on the shore every now and then
getting greatly excited over the race, and
then for long times, in between, quite for-
getting it, and the people in the yachts,
as what breeze there was died away, be-
guiling the time as best they could by
cigars, and a large et cetera.

The Count Manfredi also went across
in the one o'clock boat, and was very good
friends with Sandy, whose acquaintance
he had made the evening before, calling him
" mon cher,^* and offering him cheroots,
which he boasted were superior to any to be
got in London. Sandy, like a true British
bull-dog as he was, waxed indignant at this,

156 Flirts and Flirts,

and, as lie smoked the cigar, depreciated
it witli true insular politeness, by whicli
the Count being in a generally courteous
mood seemed no wit discomforted, but
handed another of his treasures to Major
De Lancey, calling upon him to express
his opinion.

" A perfect cigar," said Major De Lancey
with the quiet well assured manner of a
connoisseur, and Sandy, who was not at
his ease in French, and had already taken
a dislike to the Count, which prejudiced
him against his cigar, went forward, and
enjoyed it by himself.

" Perfect you call it, yet M. Sandy does
not like it," and the Count smoked, as he
spoke, with an air of perfect enjoyment.

" Young men are no judges, and Beau-
mont seems put out by something this

The Count was looking down meditative-
ly, he started now, turning away. '' Is not
Sandy his name ?" he asked nonchalantly.

"Miss O'Grady calls him so, but his

Flirts and Flirts, 157

real name, liis family name, is Beaumont."

"A common name in England, is it
not," asked tlie Count somewhat con-

'' No, not what I should call a common
name. He is very well connected too,
though his father unfortunately ran through
all his money. This young fellow's a very
different sort."

" Ah, indeed !" said the Count, in the
same indifferent tone, as if the subject
rather bored him, and he only continued
it through politeness. '' Voila, how slowly
those yachts go ; a pity they are not all
steamers ! So this young man is well con-
nected, you say?"

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