|Chapter Title||INSTABILITY OF PURPOSE.|
|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 BOYS AND GIRLS. BY E. A. SAMSON. CHAPTER VI. INSTABILITY OF PURPOSE. In saying these words, poor Ada, cheerful as she tried to appear, had some difficulty in repressing a sigh that was struggling to escape her bosom. Succeeding, however, in assuming a calmness that it must be acknowledged she did not feel, and with an outward equanimity of manner, evidently forced, she continued: " Charles longs to achieve an honour able position in the world before he marries me, but he has not yet decided upon the profession he will adopt. The strong wish that he has to acquire dis tinction, to hear his name mentioned with praise, to gain the applause of the multitude, gives him untold anxiety. I cannot, certainly, blame him for desir ing to win fame and high position. Yet I acknowlege that I do not think success. either professional, monetary, or social, will secure greater happiness to him or to me. First, you know, he had a strong penchant for music. He studied furiously composition and harmony ; morning, noon, and night he was at the piano or with his violin. He though to emulate, ifnot to exceed Mozart, to become a great maistro like Verdi or Mendelssohn " "Yes, I know, and after a month or two of excruciating practice on the piano, having driven all the cats and dogs in the neighbourhood well nigh mad with the unearthly sounds he had extracted from his fiddle, he evolved a waltz or a polka, I forget which, out of what he called his organ of music, the correct phrenological term, I am told, for that portion of the brain which is allotted by Lavater and Home to the conception of tune and melody," ejacu lated the wicked Edith. "He pub lished it, but it would not sell; even the young ladies to whom he gave it as a present would not play it, though my uncle said there were one or two pretty phrases or bars in it." " As for me," said Mr. Pipkins, hoping that the conversation was be coming general and that he might join in it, "I have never been able to play his waltz, or whatever it is, upon my flute, though I have a good knowledge, as my teacher says, of the notes and how to produce them." This, by-the. by, he said half aloud and timorously. Meeting with no reply, this easily sup pressed gentleman, growing bolder, continued : "It is astonishing how diffi cult Charles's music is-how impossible some of the intervals " Jumped on him suddenly, of course metaphorically, the laughing Edith, "That is because you can neither play Charles's music, nor any other, on that doleful tube of yours you call a flute, the most melancholy of instruments I ever heard, unless its tuneful sounds are produced by Julius Siede or men of that stamp. Why, you dreadful creature, you'll never be able, Mr. Pipkins, to play upon a flute or to write a waltz or even a simple polka. Now, just listen to me. Didn't I, but a minute or two since, give you explicit orders not to speak until you had had my very gracious permission ? Answer me, sir, at once ! The mere possession of that elongated wind instrument would, to my-mind, be a sufficient justification for having you carefully secluded in the Yarra Bend Asylum for a lengthened term." "I know you told me not to speak, and I very humbly ask your pardon for my disobedience, Miss Edith, but I thought "How dare you, sir, even presume to think, unless you have leave granted you. Now, what have you to say for yourself that may lessen the enormity of your offence f" "I was going to say," murmured the freshly abashed.civil servant, thoroughly quelled and subdued "that it would, Sperhaps, please you to know that dur ing the last fortnight I have composed a galop, and that I wish to dedicate it to you, if you will allow me.". "Alittlegalop! Ha !ha! ha! A pretty galop it'will be! It will make
us all gallop out of the room pretty quickly, Ill be bound, when we hear the dreadful discords with which it will be sure to be filled. You write a galop, indeed ! You'll have copied it from somebody, or have got some poor teacher of music to do it for you, and then you'll try to impose it upon me, as if it were your own, Mr.Pipkins. No I sir ! you don't cheat me like that. Now, listen, Mr. Pipkins, to what I have to tell you. If you attempt to utter another word you'll so seriously offend me that I'll send you home at once and not allow you to come to see me to morrow evening. And I won't forgive you for I don't know how many weeks. So you had best, as you value the visits I kindly permit you to make to me. keep on your best behaviour, and be very thankful that you have even the privilege of sitting in the same room with me, and occasionally being scolded for your gaucheries, and corrected when you do wrong.' Then turning to Ada, she said, ' Well, dear, your much be loved onegyour volatile consin,disgusted with his first inamorata-Euterpe, the goddess of music, flew for consolation to the sweet sisters, Thalia and Calliope -the patronesses of verse. His ode on the 'Black, black stone at the bottom of the deep blue sea,' being adversely criticised by all the papers, he speedily wearied of wooing those beauteous goddesses of melodious rhymes, and ever fond of change, humbly sued for the good graces of Clio, imagining him self one who could write history from a philosophical point of view. Dis dainfully rejected by this coyest of ladies, he with much humility and many vows of constancy, besought the sweet favours of Melpomene and Poly hymnia-the gentle guardians of the drama, and hoping to propitiate them, wrote a play in three acts, which was so little appreciated that it was with drawn after the second night. Now, tell me, did he not do all these things ? Again, with every failure growing more audacious and more spiteful, did he not accuse the sister Muses of favoritism and partiality? And then fleeing from their society, has he not bent the knee in supplication to Apollo-the haughty patron of the palette, canvas, brush, and easel; and has he not attempted to paint a picture which he hopes will be received by the Academy and be hung upon the line? A pretty fickle gentle man he is, throwing over his first loves as easily, and with as little compunction as he would cast away his worn-out, used-up gloves. If Charles is what you call a gay and gallant lover, I wouldn't have him at any price. I should prefer one less clever and more faithful. Only just fancy a man, one who has flirted with all the nine Muses, one after the other, and not being deemed worthy of acceptance by either of them. Then, in his desperation, what does he do? Why, vowing enmity to all the ladies, he 1. comes misanthropical, and entertaini.ig the strongest personal antipathy to all these beauteonsdames, he strives to satisfythe cravings of his heart by adjuring their pleasant friendship and immuring him self in a studio, a place redolent of tobacco-smoke, oil, turpentine, and other nasty odours. I tell you plainly, I wouldn't have such a roving lover at any price." " How his play was hissed I But he was rewarded though for it, as an actor, aifriend of mine told me, for the public gave him the highest testimonial they could bestow upon him-' the goose.' I wish he had asked me to dine off it with him, for I am very fond of roast goose, especially if it is well-stuffed with sage and onions. But what a droll present to give him ! And what a din there was in the theatre, the first night, before the second act was half over," mumbled the much sat-upon Mr. Pipkins, stirring the fire all the time, and raking out the ashes, but without turning round to look at " our girls." So he did not see the roguish Edith shaking both her fists at him vehe mently for the purpose of making him keep his thoughts to himself, or, at any rate, of not giving utterance to them before Ada. -' Now, Mr. Pipkins, for this last offence, a most heinous one, one of no less enormity than high treason, seeing that you have wilfully, of malice prepense, disobeyed my queenly injunc tions, and rebelled against my authority, I will, without further parley, inflict such a punishment on you as shall mark my sense of the magnitude of your wrong-doing, and will at once pronounce sentence !i-' You shall not be the bride groom's best man! ! !' This punish ment, unfortunately the severest I can inflict, I, of course, would have you know, involves the secondary one, of your not having the supreme happiness of dancing with me at Ada's wedding." All this was said by Edith with much comic gravity of manner. On hearing himself thus tried, his case adjudicated upon, and himself sentenced, so speedily poor Mr.Pipkins became limp with dismay, looked mutely penitent and dejected, but did not dare to expostulate with his tyrannical mistress. "I know that Charles was not fortu nate with his play," said Ada, smiling, "indeed, he himself confessed to me that he did not think that popular dramatic writing came within the range of his abilities. It was beneath him, he said, to write for the amusement of the crowd; he cared only to please the cognoscenti, and as he could never get them all together at the same time and in the same place to hear his plays, he would not write any more for public representation but would leave his manuscripts for the edification of a literary posterity, and so gain posthu mons renown, as a dramatist who was a century before his age, one not ap preciated by his contemporaries--the fate of all talented men.