Chapter 160139507

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberVI
Chapter Url
Full Date1880-12-25
Page Number44
Word Count893
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleSir Denis O'Donoghue. A Reminiscence of the English Bar
article text





(Author of " Twelve True Tales of the Law.")



The next morning I bade farewell to Mild mate Cottage; and for a couple of years after wards, though O'Donoghue always said he was doing well on the Oirouit, and in town also, he gave me no remarkable history of his successes,

or confession of bis follies.

One afternoon, however, in a sultry August, O'Donoghue came to enliven a useless hour by smoking a pipe in my chambers, and, knowing that I should learn more from him than from other sources, I contentedly replaced the half perused abstract with a bottle of cider.

" You should always put a little something in the bottom of the cup to strengthen these weaker drinks," said he. "The fate of Nebu chadnezzar's image should never be forgotten."

1 followed his directions, and he seemed satis fied with the stability of the compound beverage. He leaned back in my most comfortable arm chair, and rested his legs on a smaller one, and, with his glass by his side, and half-concealed in clouds of incense, he thus began

" I'll not smoko many more pipes with you, Copia, my "lad. Our companionship is likely soon to come to an end, for I'm going out as Chief Justice to Ultima Thule."

I started with astonishment.

•' What on the earth," I said, " can have driven you to a resolution so suicidal

" It is my wife," he answered; "she is satis fied^vith nothing. When I first brought her to town she was for some time recouciled to it by the novelty and variety of its public amuse ments and her introduction into the limited

Eociety, with which, in Bpiteof my poverty and my literary occupations, I had preserved an acquaintance. Our visitors were chiefly men, and men of similar tastes to myself, and she was popular with them. But this aid not satisfy her. She soon found that there is no woman whoBe time passes so heavily as the young wife of a professional man in London, who is not intimate with any family in the neighbourhood. The whole day she is immured in a dull house, to which her Husband does not return till night, and which no guest or visitor enters for many days together. Her intimate friends were all at a distance, and, moreover, she had begun to look down upon them. The acquaintances she made at a party or a morning call were useless and insincere, and she did not take to them. She was quite pre pared to forsake her father and mother, and all her old associates, in order to cleave to her hus band, as she continually explained to me it was her duty to do, though I did not think the saciifice cost her very much. But she was not prepared to find no new companions ready to

welcome, ana c mtort, ana aamire ner. nay, further, she was disappointed at finding that by marrying a man' of a certain status in society, she did not, ipso facto, acquire the key to the widest circles of fashion. I tried to explain to her that there were many kixids of society in London, each founded on some community of interest or of taste, and that she would feel more comfortable and would be better treated In the company of the village blaoksmith or the village carpenter than in the company of many wealthy and well-dressed people whom she saw living in and passing through our neighbourhood. 1 tried to explain to her that most of these people were to be avoided bb wholly unsuited to our tastes and habits; that with them society did not mean friendly converse, mutual inter course, and amusement, bat was a reciprocal sbowing-eff association, with Satan for secretary and managing director; that they were people who, while themselves probably feeling very uncomfortable in the presence of a gentleman, could not fail to offend him by their insolence if he were obsenre, and by their servility if he were eminent; and that, quite. apart from this, if ever we were blessed with children, we should be obliged to drop any acquaintance we might have established with each people, lest their youthful idols should im part their own vulgar manners, low ideas, and Cockney pronunciation to ours. I told her that it by no means followed, because she thought herself a fit companion for people of good station and superior tastes, that, therefore, I should have a circle-of such acquaintances made ready to receive her. In fact, I did my best to make ber understand that a limited number of friends, and those as simple and Binoere and well-suited to me as possible, was one of the necessities— she might ssy penalties if she pleased—of that pesition of respectability which she regarded me as occupying.

Nothing, however, in her country experience had prepared her for learning with good hnmonr the strange and unwelcome lessons of the philosophy of London solitude, and I am afraid I was scarcely a sufficiently patient or elemen tary teacher. Moreover, we bave been turned out of Middmate Cottage—I'll tell you about directly—and so there's nothing left but Ultima Thule. Thank you, another draft of the drink.