|Chapter Title||ADA FITZALLEN.|
|Newspaper Title||Mercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)|
|Trove Title||Ada and her Cousin Charles, A Tale for Victorian Boys and Girls|
ADA AND HER COUSIN CHARLES, ; A TALE FOR VICTORIAN BOS AND GIRLS. BY E. A. SAMSON. CHAPTEB III. ADA FITZALLEN. Our young friend, Ada, had kept the most complete silence, never once join ing in the fray during the sparring match that had been going on between Edith and Mr. Pipkins, one in which, by-the-by, poor Mr. Pipkins received all.the hard knocks and all the punish= ment. Yet it must be admitted that he bore his battering magnanimously with meek resignation, if he did not deserve it, which -is questionable-.and rwithsmilesofgratitude. "As mxay hare been noticed, he. never ventured so mnuch as to.counter.a single blow from his'fair antagonist, even when it was ?really a foul one, or, to use a sporting phrase-"below the belt," until. at 'length, put unfairly to the rout, hehal been unwillingly compelled :to retire from the contest, a discomfitted anda well-beaten man, and seek refuge aqd audci dioloIoiation as he' c6Tldget Tom the .compauionship of the fender and the fire-irons. - -- To her friend, Edith, Ada had left entirely the congenial amusement of teasing, ..baiting, :.and worrying the hapless Mr. Pipkins. ,She had given but little heed to what this much harrased unlucky gentleman-had been regaing and none. at' alr "t he ' merci leis'tireatient had beentreceiving all the time 'at, the hands: of:;his ruthless -tormentor. But by way, of compensa tion for her ieally uupardonable negleet of the thrilling roinnce' with whijdciMr. Pjpukins Lad hbeenad-ui le.slyeI.t,- :or. mn, notwithstanding the'irritatiug in terruptions he led bee 'met with, to
I enliven e pasing hour, sh had':n centrated all her attention upon the face of the clock on the mantelpiece.. Her eyes had been incessantly turned to the dial. Her glances at it had been frequent and sadly wistful. Now, just as Mr. Pipkins had been sent away from the table in dire dis grace, and relegated to- a solitary seat by the fire, the miniature chimes of the parlour time-piece, in tinkling, -yet tuneful cadence, told them it was half past nine. Poor Ada gave a sigh of disappointed expectation on. finding that the eveniing was slowly wearing away, and that she had but little hope ofseeing her cousin Charles that'day, for theyounggirl-was fondly attached to him,,and was never happy in his absence. They had been bioriglt :up together; id they hat[ both been instructed by the same masters. Their mothers (sisters), had been, left widows while still young women, but not .uncomfortably pro vided for. Thus circumstanced, they had both firmly resolved not to marry againi, and- aech- had `detriineld' to devote herself exclusively to the edu catios.of-herlchild.,-... - The widowed sisters' dwelt togetlier in. the patme house; and the Iswgetest lhope they indulged in was, some day or otheeSii thet ot*Ia$r -offu Wture,-t jin in wedlock their two children. Ada was about four years younger than her cousin Charles, so there was no dis parity in their ages. Everything seemed to give promise, so far as their friends could judge, that this fondly contemplated marriage would insure the happiness of the two most concerned in it. While still chil dren they had liked each other better than do many a brother. and a sister, and as they grew `older it was felt by all around them that this early, mutual regard was surely ripening into love. As far as means were concerned they were suitable;' for each of the widowed mothers had had 'an annuity left her by her husband-(both of whom had been careful to insure their' lives for a considerable sum) of about two hundred and fifty pounds a year.-- The house in which they lived was also their joint property, it having been bequeathed to them by their father for their sole use and benefit. And it was the intention of these ladies to make over their incomes without reserve to their re spective children so soon as they should be settled down as man and wife, stipu lating only that they should continue to dwell with them. Now, these kind-hearted ladies were not unacquainted with the best litera ture of their country. They delighted especially.in reading -the. works of the greatest of all the uninspired writers the ever-living William Shakespeare. Hence they knew of the unhappy for tunes of King Lear and of the unfilial behaviour of the monstrously unnatural Goneril and Regan. Discarding, though,. from their minds these shocking exemp lars of exaiggerated"selfishness and de pravity, they loved to dwell upon the virtues of the sweet Cordelia. Un deterred, then, in their sentimental project bythe sad example of Goneril and Began-the favourites of the wretched king and maddened father, they unhesitatingly resolved that: immedi i~tely their children should be "twain in one," they would -throw themselves on their sense, of gratitude for support by divesting themselves of their modest incomes and conferring them upon their boy and girl. Their chief reason for this was that they would, as they sup posed, by so doing best secure an un divided happy household, and live, till death should take them to a higher sphere, the sole objects of the affec tionate consideration and grateful solici tude of their son and daughter, and of their grandchildren ; and in this they were not mistaken, they were not wrong-nay, more, they were right and thought correctly, for boys and girls brought up in an atmosphere of love and kindly sympathies are never unmindful of the debt of gratitude they owe their parents; not, be it observed, for the mere fact of their having been brought into the world, but for the tender care and anxious loving watch fulness with whichthey have beensubse quently nurtured, shielded from harm, clothed, fed, instructed, educated, and their prospects in life fairly advanced. Ungrateful, undutiful children, who have had a happy training, under happy auspices, in happy homes are rare ex ceptions, and, fortunately for society, there are buit few of them in this human, or inhuman 'world of ours. Here I must panse a momenit to say I lihrdly know which, of the adjectives I have used--" huiman" and "inhumaa"-to describe " world" in the sense of an aggregation of living beings having in telligent responsibility is more suitable. But as I have written it so it must stand. Each of my readers may adopt the attribute -he thinks, from his point of-view, the more appropriate. IWhen we come across children of older growth who, in their youth; it is wll known have been seduloisly.and juidiciously cared for, and find that they are regardless of their aged parents' requirements and wishes, then we know that they are devoid of the liofy Christian element of love, and, prosper ous sis they may be, they are but con tem?ptybicafi s~ Ai.'soni.? and daughters.such as these I speak of now are abnormal creatures-they are beings .eo'inarfto beture,- and when we come across one, as we may do twice or thrice in a lifetime-when we hear of or read of one who ignores his duties tdo his parents in their old decrepit age, such a one we think of with loathing and deem him unfit for the society of decent people, thoughjt. would, perhais,. be .&] ;ceharitable ~i/od pity jhink :aid.-to deplcre the not impossibly unwise in. fluentes .to which he.lmany have been subjected in his youth. And here I will crave permision from the reader to say again, paren thetically, as I have said before, that a child orees no debt of gratitude to itLi 'parntsi meely.because they are the or~iiaiators of its being. Tlie'debt of gratitudefrom e?iidto parent is incurred for the eare 'with which it ?.asbeen brought up, for the time and' money piiat ipon its nurtnire, its clothing, its food, ,its instructionl and the good example set .it: Where, however, a person, a soibety, a government, or any or';'.nt~?*nC'r, xtra'neuns toi' t :"! - s: ts ini to supjly any of'these essentian. the child's grati~tide to'its parent is, by
so much as he receives from this source, diminished, and mast, or ought of right, be tiisferred to the donor and renioved from the father or mother. Hence, in the colony of Victoria, in which gra tuitous instiuction, disguise it how we may, still in its chief characteristic as a public benefit,. is an instruction of a charitable nature, is given to all who claim it under a certain age, parents who, not being necessitous, accept of it for their children deprive themselves of one chief and most important reason for claiming as a bounden duty the respect and loving gratitude of their sons and daughters. Theoretically, the State may or may not be right in endeavour ing to prevent the continuousness of ignorance (though it remains to be proved that not knowing, how to read or writ6 is fgnorance), yet the fathei, the head of a family, who having means at his command and is in easy circum stances, while there are graduates and wdelkilled teachers, avails himself of w is ist best but a public charity, as nh asis an hospital--one intended for the poor alone-deserves and will ulti mately reap what he has sown, the well-merited indignation of his children when in after years they find them selves, through his miserable parsimony, social pariahs, owing to.the -taint-of pauipeism --that -will. eling to them through life; a stigma from which they never will be able to divest them selves. Halt ! What am I talking about ! I am trenching on dangerous ground ! I shall offend every gentleman who prefers spending five or six guineas a quarter over the bar of his favourite public house with his favourite bar maid, to expending the same sum in 'fees for the instruction of his children. Let instructors go to an unholy place of a high temperature, they will hear him say-" And let my children take their chance, as I did." And so he forgets in his sottishness that wealth has duties as well as privileges. But I must, having said this much, to my tale again, and here I should observe;' what others before me have often' noticed also, that fate is not always just, whatever optimists may say and preach, and in this instance it was especially unjust and hard-hearted for it did not permit these two excellent mothers to live to see the realization of the affectionate project they had set their hearts upon. Mrs. Lindsay, unfortu nately, died of scarlet fever before her son Charles had reached his eighteenth birthday, and a few weeks afterwards his aunt, Mrs. Fitzallen (Ala's mother) was taken from them by the same epi demic. So the poor children found them selves alone in the world, before they were of an age either to undertake or to realize the responsibilities of life. CHAPTEr IV. MR. GRINNIDGE. Charles was about twenty, and _ la nearly sixteen when they had b-an thus unhappily both orphaned. They were at this age rather too young to marry. Besides, they would have to wear mourning for at least twelve months. Again, it would not be seemly for them to reside together, now that they had lost their natural guardians and protectors. So to propitiate Mrs. Grandy, letting their own house fur nished to a desirable tenant, Charles went, into lodgings, and Ada took up her abode with Ethel Hazeldeane, at St. Kilda, in the small house, into the parlour of which I have already, with a conventional inclination of the head, introduced the courteous reader. This little house was the property of Mr. Grinnidge, Ethel's uncle, for, like her friend Ada, she also was mother less and fatherless, her parents having died while she was yet in infancy. To her uncle, Mr. Grinnidge, she had been a tender charge, and she repaid him for his kindness to her with all the warmth of an affectionate heart. As for Mr. Grinnidge himself, he was a third-rate musician. He had scraped upon and struggled with an unwieldy bass viol of abnormal dimensions ever since his tenth birthday, and he was now in his fifty-fifth year. Yetin all these many gyrations of earth round sun he had never succeeded in play ing correctly in other keys than those of C and G. He loved masic passion ately. He handled' and embraced his instrument as if he loved it-as if it were his sweetheart- But he was ir retrievably stupid. He found it im possible to keep time, and was always a bar or two in advance or a bar or two behind. But Mr. Grinnidge was, at bottom, an excellent fellow. He had a kind heart, was a model of punctuality and propriety, was always at his post a few minutes before the appointel time in the orchestra of the theatre in which he was employed. He never manifested either temper or impatience should the leader of the band have to make him repeat five of six, or even a' greatert number or times, the passage that he had to play. All these good qualities had secured for him the ; esi?eimnof his chiefs, and had led to the miedioeritj ft his musical abilities being 1 excused -and overlooked. - Mr-;Grinnidges'Winay be supposed, was not a particularly affluent man, in fact he was rather badly off- His services, at best, were but poorly re compenged. The occasionalhalf-crowns that lie ~got fora fewr lessbons given in the mornings, before and after re h'ieaisals, were not an unwelcome ad dition to his slender means. But they were an uncertain source ofprofit, forhis pu~pis-had an unfortnhate propensity for leaving him for better qualified teachers directly they h~d mastered the initial difficulties of the oiergirown and bulky instrument they were desirons to disport themselves upon. and -loved to grasp between their gnees. Notwithstasiiing the somewhat low condition of his exchequer, the kindly 4 disposed, chryl Il-pitidsmnusician lived happily and conten?tadly his bachelor's life. He had n'ive'beeiarich endoulgh to afford hiinelt~th?.:.luxry lofn rife, I t~ha od For~hsusekeeper his niece, that msehievous lite dirk-eyed bundle of fan, wosb ch~ief amniuemeht was to wor~W&2aMd Mr.'ipkihn; with hebty, ,i'pus teaings.... Mr. supernumerary on ninety pounds ayear. Fregquently-;a he. had tried, he had I , ,z-c.i-rc.e.·,- i ,li passing the Civil Siervice examiunatioh. His simplicity < almost amomCled tos ttupidity. -: 'was,
besides, over head and ears in love with gooYd Mr Grinnidge's lively, merry I hearted, quizzing, irritating niece. n I the lifetimeofthe widowed mothers of Ada and Charles, Mr. Grinnidge and his roguish winsome charge were frequent and welcome visitors at their house. As may be supposed, Ada and Ethel having many thoughts in common, and being of amiable, loving dispositions, soon became firm allies, and the most intimate of friends. The friendship of youth, especially of girls, is so dis interested, so unalloyed, so heart ex panding, that it is of all things pleasant to watch its progress and development, while, unfortunately, that ,of middle age. has always in it, more or less, a tinge` of suspicion'and mlf-iiterest, is too much tempered by caution, and is, more frequently than not, wanting in real true sympathy. I will not deny that there. are.some people so consti tuted that they are able to form lasting bonds ofamity after they have attained maturity ; would that there were more of them, we `all' ronld be the happier. Ada had ofte;iheard t er mother, to whom she was devotedly-,attached and whose opinoirs?iif pers6isim d ofthings she regarded as all-sufficient, speak in the highest 'terms of Mr. Grinnidge's honesty ofpqrpose.andM uprightness -of character, of his probity, of his warm hearted disposition. At her death she thought she could do no botter tlsan seek with him a genial shelter and a generous protection--a home with him the oldest and the most constant friend of her mother and of her aunt, who had also held him in the greatest esteem. Ethel's uncle welcomed the poor orphan girl with unfeigned joy at the confidence she thus reposed in him, but with sorrow at his heart for the sad canse. which. had led her to. ask for refuge in-his home, one so. dissimilar from that she had to quit. Her tearful, mournful request to be allowed to live with Edith and with him was met by an instant, gladdened acquies cence. Such was his concern and love for the poor child, and respect for her mother that, moderate as were his means, he would gladly have received her into his home even had she been penniless. But Ada insisted upon paying her share, and that upon a liberal scale, of the household expenses, and the addition thus made to the general fund was not an unwelcome one, for it enabled them all to live in greater comfort, to keep a better table, and brought within the reach of Mr. Grinnidge many little ub accustomed luxuries. At the period at which this very true and reliable account of the two young persons, whose fortunes are the beginning and the ending of my tale, Ada had already been more than three and half years residing with the old musician, and Charles had attained his twenty-fourth year. Hence there was nothing to prevent Ada's marriage with her cousin. Their means were ample. She was long past nineteen, and under the tutelage of Edith had become an excellent housekeeper. How was it then that this long con templated marriage, for they loved each other dearly, had not. yet come off? There were no hnpleasant obstacles, as of either uncompliable, parents or cf obstructionist guardians, to interfere with their mutual happiness. Possibly it was because there were no difficulties in the way that Charles ap peared so little disposed to secure the happiness in store for him. And here I must moralize a bit, I catnot help it. It is the way with all writers, and I do not clearly see how I can keep out of the well-worn track. So here begins. As what I am going to say though is very commonplace, the reader (how. meanly I shall think of him if he follows my advice) had better skip the next sentence or so. It is very true, undeniable, indeed, that most men attach but little value to anything they can get without difficulty. (Listen to this, young lady, and don't be too anxious to attract the attention of and ran after the man you like best let him on the contrary follow after you.) Let any prize be an easy one to gain, and how few competitors there are for it. So Charles, assured of the love of his consin Ada-assured she would be his so soon as he but asked her hand, postponed from time to time, for ap parently no sufficient reason, the anxi ously longed-for request by Ada, the one greatand chiefdesire of their re spective mothers. - It must also be taken into account, that having come into possession, while still too young to value at its true worth, the moderate competence that was his, Charles not having yet made up his mind as to thesprofessioa he would finally adopt, and_ thoroughly believing himself capablbof pursuing successfully any thathe shoeiddembrace, had already tried his haridul tseveral It-is regrettable to havefo minit it, so far as my hero is conemri;ed, yet in the interests of truth I may niot venture to suppress the unhappy <fct that his rvolatile disposition hak led him to abandon professien aftei~'profession even before he had become acquainted with the AB C of any of them. Previous to marrying his cousin Ada, who, it may be said, was quite willing towit--for himas long as he would wish (" Wait, indeed! 'd soon have had uiithler lini,; A'ug not so dilar tory, and I'd have-been married off hand j.?t to teach him a lesson," ex claims a younng lady of fiteen, who is sete by b e listening to the copy bef6ire I send itto the printer), Charles was desperately desirons, though he did not go the right way about it to achieve his. wishes, to have an ac knowledged position in society. He wanted to get a handsome fortune, and more than all,, he wanted to acquire a name" faimous in the world to offer her, and it was because he had not yet suc ceeded in realising these fond hopes, these idle dreams, these castles in the air, that he ever kept- putting offian definitely his already too long deferred marriage. Now that my confiding reader is on familiar~ terms with $She vwo- principal pednigesiifie story that I have to tell hlin h and that he knows somethig of their general modes of thought, orf their character and of their dispositiOns, I will return to the round table and let him hear the rest of the conversation that in a previous chapter-I had so ra cereinOnioisly interrupted. - (To be costiaued).