Chapter 174507984

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Chapter NumberXXXI.
Chapter TitleWEALTH.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article174507984
Full Date1892-01-09
Page Number1
Corrections1
Word Count1108
IllustratedN
Last Corrected2020-07-03
Newspaper TitleThe Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918)
Trove TitleThe Devil's Own. An Australian Story
article text

CHAPTER VIII.

WEALTH.

“ A moneylender serves you in the pleasant terms; he lends you in the conditional mood; keeps you in the subjective mood, and ruins you in the future.”

ADDISON. In a far away corner of this golden para- dise stood Pekin Court, standing in its cold grandeur and modern masonry, insufferably grand, painfully architectural, rigidly stiff, like a modem Noah's Ark, left high and dry on Mount Ararat after the flood, but looking down and around, in pride and con- tempt and pitying disgust at the small but picturesque little villus that had dared to show their heads or rather the roof and chimneys within view even of such a princely domain as Pekin Court, the residence

of Ebenezer Jones, Esq., J.P. Inside the gates all was plain and formal, from the time you passed the lodge (a villa residence in size and capabilities that any retired officer in her majesty's service might have been glad to live in as far as comfort and con- venience were concerned) up the long drive to the house, where after waiting some time, “ not at home" was given, as the door was opened by a maid servant or a semi-slovenly man, unless 'twas Tuesday or a certain day of the week called reception day—on that special day you were ushered in by a retinue of tail coats to the presence of Mrs. Ebe- nezer and were made much of if you were rich or popular, or possessed of any particu- lar virtue or recommendation appreciated by the golden coterie of Pekin Court, who ruled society with a rod of iron (silver gilded for the effect). Mrs. Ebenezer Jones’s friends even to Mrs. Ebenezor herself, who could be very agreeable and pleasant when by herself, free from the glamour and influence of the satellites and sycophants that swarmed to the Court, almost smothering the poor woman with the fulsome compliments and sickening flattery, enough to turn the brain of any woman except a professional beauty or a French Marquise of the Louis Quatorze period. In contrast with the pharisees around Pekin Court was Ebenezer Jones,not half a bad sort of a fellow, said his friends, certainly he ap- peared to be popular with everyone except his wife, who didn’t seen to fully appreciate her cara sposo; perhaps she fancied it might be thought rather unfashionable or vulgar to be thought even domestic or dutiful or lo- ing, nevertheless Ebenezer didn't seem to break his heart about his wife’s fashionable coldness, or in fact any thing else being by way of contrast to his neighbors a man with a large heart, and charitably inclined towards mankind while his wealth could afford to laugh and defy the uncharitable world of Haute- ville. Of course he had his faults like the rest of mankind, his enemies said he was too fond of champagne and pretty faces, as to these weaknesses who could blame him for such good taste, the accusations of his enemies aroused too much of the fox and the grapes in the fable , though if the truth must be told, Ebenezer Jones had rather weak brain power, as far as the science and education of drinking was concerned, and one or two glases of the rosy nectar of the gods would occasion- ally send Mr. Jones flying head over heels, in the middle of Sir Roger de Coverly, towards the end of the night’s festivities to the honour and scandal of some of the painfully goody goodies of the feminine gender who happened to be in the vicinity of Ebenezer’s somersault; and the “escapade” as the tabbies called it was much embellished and added to by them, in their description, with illustrations at the several “muffin worries” next day, amongst those worthies or unworthies in the neighborhood and else- where. The Jones family was a particularly for- tunate one, having inherited vast wealth and possessions instead of having had to exhaust their brains near out and shorten their term of years by money grubbing. Their father had done it for them. “ Lucky dogs, ” said people when talking over the Jones family. Jones pere certainly had been a money grubber of the lowest and coarsest type. Rumor, in the shape of a mate had said that together they had skipped off from the west of England to get away from the ob- jectionable searching of certain beaks, and the mates for reasons best known to them- selves, had landed in the colony in early times, but the mate had not prospered in his career. Daniel Jones starting on his own|hook as he expressed it, in the money grubbing line, and having no conscience but his brains, no religion but pounds, shillings and pence and no bible except his greasy note and acount book, had succeeded in life beyond his own expectations. Dressed in greasy, shabby old clothes, and unwashed to all appearances, he would prowl about the |wharves and book slums of the city waiting for a job or something to turn up. As a rule, he rather objected to manual labor, though he would have carried your trunk, or even yourself on his back for a remuneration, for all was fish that came to his net, as he was wont to say with a chuckle, having an eye to business with his motto, many |a mickle makes a muckle, a penny saved is a penny got, etc., etc. He plodded along, and having scraped up a few pounds, he was ready when the when the diggings broke out to make the best of many a lucky digger with whom money was “easy come easy go,” or a ruined speculator petty advances at usierer’s interest, did Daniel Jones dole out like an octopus in human form, putting out feelers, and woe betide those who came within those clutches. The unfortunate victim was drawn in as sure as fate slowly by inches, imperceptably as it were, if not at once, and had to succumb to his fate too often in the shape of ruin at a broken heart. A dirty old man in many ways was Daniel Jones, a veritable Shylock to the poor, though to the rich he altered his tenets by a generous removal of his bills, mortgages, loans and other tempting sales. For a time until you found out too late that you were in the whirl- pool of his usury and must sink most cruelly. He was cruel to his wife, who some said he turned out of doors. Be that as it may, she left him, and the woman he lived with for years was not his wife. (TO BE CONTINUED.)