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   Chapter:   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Beyond The Rocks


By Elinor Glyn

A Classic Love Story

Beyond the Rocks
A Love Story
by
Elinor Glyn
Author of "Three Weeks"
Beyond the Rocks
I
The hours were composed mostly of dull or rebellious moments during the period of
Theodora's engagement to Mr. Brown. From the very first she had thought it hard
that she should have had to take this situation, instead of Sarah or Clementine, her
elder step-sisters, so much nearer his age than herself. To do them justice, either of
these ladies would have been glad to relieve her of the obligation to become Mrs.
Brown, but Mr. Brown thought otherwise.
A young and beautiful wife was what he bargained for.
To enter a family composed of three girls— two of the first family, one almost thirty
and a second very plain— a father with a habit of accumulating debts and obliged to
live at Bruges and inexpensive foreign sea-side towns, required a strong motive; and
this Josiah Brown found in the deliciously rounded, white velvet cheek of Theodora,
the third daughter, to say nothing of her slender grace, the grace of a young fawn,
and a pair of gentian-blue eyes that said things to people in the first glance.
Poor, foolish, handsome Dominic Fitzgerald, light-hearted, débonair Irish
gentleman, gay and gallant on his miserable pension of a broken and retired
Guardsman, had had just sufficient sense to insist upon magnificent settlements,
certainly prompted thereto by Clementine, who inherited the hard-headedness of the
early defunct Scotch mother, as well as her high cheek-bones. That affair had been a
youthful mésalliance.
"You had better see we all gain something by it, papa," she had said. "Make the old
bore give Theodora a huge allowance, and have it all fixed and settled by law
beforehand. She is such a fool about money— just like you— she will shower it upon
us; and you make him pay you a sum down as well."
Captain Fitzgerald fortunately consulted an honest solicitor, and so things were
arranged to the satisfaction of all parties concerned except Theodora herself, who
found the whole affair far from her taste.
That one must marry a rich man if one got the chance, to help poor, darling papa,
had always been part of her creed, more or less inspired by papa himself. But when
it came to the scratch, and Josiah Brown was offered as a husband, Theodora had
had to use every bit of her nerve and self-control to prevent herself from refusing.
She had not seen many men in her nineteen years of out-at-elbows life, but she had
imagination, and the one or two peeps at smart old friends of papa's, landed from
stray yachts now and then, at out-of-the-way French watering-places, had given her
an ideal far, far removed from the personality of Josiah Brown.
But, as Sarah explained to her, such men could never be husbands. They might be
lovers, if one was fortunate enough to move in their sphere, but husbands— never!
and there was no use Theodora protesting this violent devotion to darling papa, if
she could not do a small thing like marrying Josiah Brown for him!
Theodora's beautiful mother, dead in the first year of her runaway marriage, had
been the daughter of a stiff-necked, unforgiving old earl; she had bequeathed her
child, besides these gentian eyes and wonderful, silvery blond hair, a warm,
generous heart and a more or less romantic temperament.
The heart was touched by darling papa's needs, and the romantic temperament
revolted by Josiah Brown's personality.
However, there it was! The marriage took place at the Consulate at Dieppe, and a
perfectly miserable little bride got into the train for Paris, accompanied by a fat,
short, prosperous, middle-class English husband, who had accumulated a large
fortune in Australia, quite by accident, in a comparatively few years.
Josiah Brown was only fifty-two, though his head was bald and his figure far from
slight. He had a liver, a chest, and a temper, and he adored Theodora.
Captain Fitzgerald had felt a few qualms when he had wished his little daughter
good-bye on the platform and had seen the blue stars swimming with tears. The two
daughters left to him were so plain, and he hated plain people about him; but, on the
other hand, women must marry, and what chance had he, poor, unlucky devil, of
establishing his Theodora better in life?
Josiah Brown was a good fellow, and he, Dominic Fitzgerald, had for the first time
for many years a comfortable balance at his bankers, and could run up to Paris
himself in a few days, and who knows, the American widow, fabulously rich— Jane
Anastasia McBride— might take him seriously!
Captain Dominic Fitzgerald was irresistible, and had that fortunate knack of looking
like a gentleman in the oldest clothes. If married for the third time— but this time
prosperously, to a fabulously rich American— his well-born relations would once
more welcome him with open arms, he felt sure, and visions of the best pheasant
shoots at old Beechleigh, and partridge drives at Rothering Castle floated before his
eyes, quite obscuring the fading smoke of the Paris train.
"A pretty tough, dull affair marriage," he said to himself, reminded once more of
Theodora by treading on a white rose in the station. "Hope to Heavens Sarah
prepared her for it a bit." Then he got into a fiacre and drove to the hotel, where he
and the two remaining Misses Fitzgerald were living in the style of their forefathers.
Josiah Brown's valet, Mr. Toplington, who knew the world, had engaged rooms for
the happy couple at the Grand Hotel. "We'll go to the Ritz on our way back," he
decided, "but at first, in case there's scenes and tears, it's better to be a number than a
name." Mademoiselle Henriette, the freshly engaged French maid, quite agreed with
him. The Grand, she said, was "plus convenable pour une lune de Miel— " Lune de
Miel!

 

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