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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Url
Full Date1878-07-20
Page Number3
Word Count1053
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleMercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)
Trove TitleAda and her Cousin Charles, A Tale for Victorian Boys and Girls
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ADA AND HER COUSIN CHARLES, A TALE FOB VICTORIAN YOUTHS. BY E. A. SAMSON. CHAPT?r I. CHARLES LINDSAY. THERE are people who mistrust every body, and who openly give expression to their doubts of the truth of every thing that is told them. Again there are others who laugh at everybody and turn everything into ridicule. And there are many, not a small class either, who imagine themselves able to achieve success in anything and everything they choose to undertake. It is not an inconvenient habit that of always doubting and of suspending one's judg ment, and this because it saves one the trouble of giving prompt expression to one's opinions, as well as the annoyance of having to examine into the nature of things, and of thinking deeply and continuously. Besides, it relieves one from the necessity of trying to com prebend what one does not under stand at the very first glance. Thus it is that we meet with so many persons who shrug their shoulders with a smile of incredulity when told, say by way of illustration, of the distance of the sun from the earth. They maintain that nobody has yet been able to get to the sun, and that therefore there are no means of testing the accuracy of the statement. Such persons,if not audibly, yet will silently deny the most obvious truths, even the first, the most ele mentary facts in astronomy. They are sceptical as to the sphericity of the earth, and will never admit that they know how many blue beans make five. They are living exponents of the truth of the maxim, "Plus negare potest asinus quam probare philosophus," which for the benefit of my lady readers I may say means, when put into English, "It is possible for an ass to deny more than a philosopher can prove." To laugh at everybody, and at every body hilariously and mockingly, is again a very simple, and, at the same time, a very accommodating line of conduct to adopt. It is such strong evidence of a refined intellect, of a happy and a contented frame of mind. By turning everybody and everything into ridicule, many persons ultimately get themselves to be looked upon as men of parts, of keen wit,. of great perspicacity, and of clear discernment. It is a poor wit though that has to fall back upon a roar of laughter for its expression, a wit that is very nearly allied to imbecility. For the smallest of small brains has generally some in finitesimal share of a sense of humour. Everything, to him who seeks for it, offers in some respects food for mirth and wanton jest. Even that which in its essence is most solemn can be trans muted by the vapid-minded into food for mirth and silly jokes. One who searches for it can find laughing matter in a 'funeral; indeed, to some empty headed creatures, a death' even is a jocose incident. Finally, there are boys and girls, nay, men and women too, and these anything but few in number, who have an implicit faith in their own powers, and in their own superior judgment in all things. They believe themselves to be "Admirable Crichtons,"endowed with every talent, with every possible capacity. If they should perchance be ignorant of anything, music, drawing, or languages, for instance, it is because they. will not give themselves the trouble requisite to learn them, not that they have not the ability. Their time is far too, valuable to be frittered away on these petty trivial subjects. Such matters are entirely beneath their notice. They have to occupy their minds with things of far higher im port. Their genius, they loudly pro claim by manner and by word of mouth, and they certainly ought to know better than any one else, has no limits. They affirm it boldly of themselves, and who will venture to dispute the fact that, in their case, the mind is too large for their bodies, that they cannot restrain it within due bounds; indeed,

as Sydney Smith said of Macaulay, it is indecently exposed. They have not a efficiency of muscular integuments to clothe it properly and put it out of sight. All science, all knowledge with these phenomenal beings is intuitive, inherent; they come to them by nature, as Dogberry avers of reading and writing. They are the favoured sons, the much-loved daughters of a too par tial providence. So they are perfectly satisfied with their own sweet selves, and only chafe and fume when they come across some ill-conditioned people who may dare to have the temerity to question or disallow their pretensions to encyclopeedic erudition. And here a secret ! It not infrequently happens that these brilliant intellects, these ca pacious reservoirs of unacquired human learning and self-complacency, are glad as opportunity arises, they not being proud in pecuniary transactions, to borrow a sovereign, or even for the matter of that a few shillings of a passing acquaintance, whilst waiting in longing eager expectation for the for tune that is to crown their superhuman and gigantic efforts; for it may be observed commonly that people who know everything very rarely know enough, especially the one thing need ful-namely, how to gain an honest livelihood, like - the humble, unpre tentious, plodding folks around them. To what purpose these wearisome prefatory remarks, these oft-repeated platitudes, I think I hear the reader ask. Patience, gentle lady, or courteous gentleman, I have a reply ready at my hand, and I hope it will satisfy your laudable yet impatient haste to become speedily acquainted with my heroine and her cousin. And here it is: Mr. Charles Lindsay, the cousin, and the young man of whom I am going to tell you something, belongs to the last category of persons I have just enumer ated. But before bringing my readers into closer intimacy with my hero, may I suggest that it would be but polite and in better taste to give pre cedence to the ladies. Let me then play the part of gentleman usher, as the playbills have it, "en amateur, on this occasion only," and bowing gracefully, introduce the reader into a small but neatly furnished cosy sitting room or parlour in a not inelegant little cottage at St. Kilds.