Chapter 59574945

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Chapter NumberVII
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Full Date1878-08-10
Page Number3
Word Count1189
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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CHAPTER VII. POETRY AND PAINTING. Ada having finished speaking, began to pack up her work-basket and to clear the table prior to retiring for the night. Mr. Pipkins, anything but pleased at the prospect of having to go home before lhe had: made his 'peace with Edith, tremblingly and with many misgivings, asked permission of this tyrannical and voluble young lady to be allowed to make a remark. fHe was condescendingly and graciously in formed that he might do so, if he

limited himself to one observation only, and ejected it in the fewest possible words. Elated with joy, he exclaimed: " To write a play, one must have plenty of brains - " A stamp of the foot, and a sudden exclamation of dissent from Edith, warned him that he had somehow blundered, and had trodden, figuratively, on some one's toes. "Then, Mr. Pipkins, sir, if;itisbrains that are wanted, you will never be able to write a play. Why, I don't believe you could write four lines of prose, or four jingling rhymes, to save your life," ejaculated the irrepressible Edith, whose love of teasing the unfortunate young man was ever strong upon her. "Please, Miss Edith, I do hope you will not think me rude if I venture to contradict what you say, but when you assert that I could never write even four lines of poetry you are mistaken, for I have already composed a very pretty set of verses in honour of my aunt's last birthday. I sent her as a present a lovely little moss rose, and enwrapped in my poem which I had written in my best hand on pink em bossed note-paper. It began in this way : "Accept, dear Aunt, This pretty plant, Which, when you smell, Twill plainly tell Of the true affection I bear yon." And then I went on to say that its leaves were as red as would be the eyes in my head, from the shedding of tears, if she were taken from me. I forget the rest of it just now, but I may tell you that by doubling a syllable now here, now there, and clipping one or two of the words, I managed to set it to the tune of "Little brownjug." My aunt was delighted with it, and, in return, made me a gift of a £5-note-a very acceptable sum; the receipt of which, on my speaking ofit, stimulated several of my acquaintances to emulate my example. So forthwith they posted to all their elderly maiden relatives, who were well off, elegantly-worded dedica tory verses, and are, I know, axiously waiting to have their interesting and flattering communications acknow ledged. As imitation is the sincerest form of encomium, you cannot but allow that what they have done is a great compliment to me, and is a very decided proof of the success of my first literary effusion. The result of my initiatory effort was not a very dis couraging one, though I say it myself, There are many real poets who would wish to be as well appreciated. There are eighteen verses in my ' Ode to my unmarried Aunt on her fiftieth Birthday.' I will bring it with me to morrow night, and will either read or sing it to you, whichever you would like best, if you will allow me." Oh! for goodnessgracions'sake,don't! Mr. Pipkins. We would not, for any thing in the world, put you to so much trouble. Only do, pray, consider, for one moment, how easy it would be for you not to burden yourself with it ; only think now how simple it would be for you to cultivate the masterly policy 'of not doing what nobody has asked you to do, sir.' Why, were you to be heard, with that ear-piercing voice of yours, trying to sing your jingle to us, I am sure all the tortoiseshell, the white, the black and the tabby mousers in the vicinity, and for miles around, would, on the Darwinian theory of re lationship, claim the privilege ofjoining in a family chorus; then night would be made hideous by your combined, uncanny yells. And horror of horrors, the neighbours would arise in their in furiated strength and would indite you for disturbing the peace of Her Majesty the Queen's liege subjects, and Ada and me for abettin- you and assisting," rattled out relentless Edith, who, how ever, somewhat tempered her pretended disinclination to listen to Mr. Pipkins's "ode" by giving him to understand that he might, perhaps, be permitted to read it them from beginning to end, and be favoured by their subsequent criticisms upon it some evening when they felt more than usually inclined to go to sleep, provided always that he read it in a whisper. "At present, Charles is giving his entire thoughts to the fine arts; he is devoted to them," said Ada, resuming the conversation "and he hasjust com pleted a picture in oils, which he has sent to the Exhibition, that is to be opened to-morrow or next day." "Is the subject of his picture an his torical one 7" asked IMr. Pipkins, laying down the tongs and speaking to Ad". while looking with apprehension towards Edith. "Oh! dear, no! Mr. Pipkins," re plied Ada, "it is merely what is termed, technically, a " genre picture"-some thing of a domestic character, I think; children at play in their papa's library, and disturbing the old gentleman with their noise and laughter; while he angered, is flinging a stern look at them to quiet them." " Why, mercy on us, Mr. Pipkins, what absurd questions you do ask;" said Edith, "how can you possibly expect that Charles, who has only been at the Academy of painting for a few weeks, could develop suddenly and meteor-like into an historical artist ?" "Well, because lhave a little nephew, Miss Edith, only nine years of age, who can already copy the engravings in his history books very wellindeed upon his slate. The other day he showed me a Cnsar crossing the Rubicon, and a Quintus Curtius leaping into the chasm to save Rome, and he had done them beautifully, when you consider how young he is. As soon as he candraw the eyes and the noses, and the legs and the arms, correctly, he will be on the road towards becoming a very famous artist. He took them both from the illustrations in his Smith's Roman His tory. So you see it should not be so difficult for Charles, at his age, to paint historical subjects." "I order you to hold your tongue at once, Mr. Pipkins. You willmake~me positively hate you, if you go on in that abominably stupid way. It is very evi dent you have never learned drawing," said the wicked Edith, but she spoke in such a kind tone of voice, and, for once looked so approvingly at Mr. Pipkins, that this generally bewildered gentleman, felt encouraged, and bracing himself up, made a long speech i- reply, of such importance that I ,i.::. it deserves to have a chapter to itself. (To be eontinued.)