|Chapter Title||CASTLES IN THE AIR.|
|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 FOIL VICTORIAN BOYS AND GIRLS. BY E. A. SAMSON. CHAPTER XIV. CASTLES IN THE AlE. "I DON'T want" said Charles, "to wa.it for five-and-twenty or thirty years, before I gain a reputation. We are living in an age, in which everything moves at 'telegraphie-telephonic pace. We are living in an age in which every body is struggling to gain wealth, position, fame and happiness, with celerity and with little trouble. I do not wish to be behind the times, there fore henceforth, I intend to do as others do. I hate your plodders. I despise them. I hold them in abhorrence. I have plenty of" go" in me. I am not deficient in talent. Why, I learned the rules of composition in mucic in a week. 1 understood them so thoroughly that I wrote a waltz . ." "Oh ! yes !" said Mri. Grinnidge, " I have tried it over, there were two or three pretty bars in it. Now, if you had--" "Polkas i I could have written them by the score. As for tales and novels, why there is nothing easier than to manufacture them. What are the ingredients of dtale? A hero in diffi culties, a heroine of abnormal sympa thies, a villain, a comic character, a divorce, a bigamy or a trigamy or a polyandric arrangement, a simpering gushing girl, a dark wood, a converted or an unconverted burglar, a rich banker of equivocal morality, a general catastrophe; an undeveloped breach of the- marital commandment, a happy marriage, a rich estate, wedding bells, white'satin 'avours, fireworks, and the trick; is done. Why= tales and novels ndow--i-days sare so numerous, so badly written, that " - .' "I-should'ntthink it. at all a difficult thiig to wirite a bad tale," ejaculated Edith, "especially if the author concerns himself only with.the conversations of the people he introduces, and has no plot worth speaking df--" '"A tale to be true to na:ure should be a reflex of our daily surroundings. We do not live in the' midst of plots. A detective is not always at the heels of each of us as MiiBraddon) would lead us to infer there is .-Life in general is: a very seriousmatter, and is 'for-the most pait made nup of o ork,of- gains, m'ire freqi entlyjof-losses, of -quarrels, of doubtfubfriendships; f, afittle love making. aud~ oft exceedingly, common place conversations. To write a talae is a veriy;easyifiatter.1T Plent;f36firfdd, an absence of sense, an improbability or two, a sprinkli'ng oiit a soupcon of sarciism, a tingeof hminour-- J"` _! :"Bat" Mr .Charles, -allow me to inform you that your witia ne qgative
Squantity, ceheflyr, to .be- noted "'- its s absence- in everything you a. and s write, while as for humour, except bad 3and angry and; flighty humour, yon s have none.. IfI-were Ada I would very, quickly send you- about your business. She is fir too good for you. Why can't you make up your mind to Swork steadily at one thing like my dear old uncle does? You are a very fickle young man and I have no sympathy with -" t"Oh! please Edith, don't," interposed Ada, "he is only a little irritable this evening because of his disappointment" "Then if such trifles make him irritable, he must be a very weak-minded youth, and very infirm ofporpose. He must also be an extremely selfish one, by causing you the grief and pain he does, in giving vent to his annoyance before you. He can have but very little regard for your feelings, for you can be of no assistance to him. I am not enraptured with him as you are, so I don't mind telling him what I think of him." Charles chafed under these remarks and bit his nails testily, ravenously, and savagely. Mr. Pipkins became perfectly flaccid in his humility, and I inwardly resolved that he would allow Rough Slythe of the Swamps' and coal mine department, to treat him as con tumeliously as he choose, without ever 1 venturing to breathe one word of com plaint against his official tyrant, in I the hearing of his heart's enslaver. An awkward silence ensued, which was presently broken by Charles, who turning to Mr. Grinnidgelsaid '"Yo have seen the picture- I sent to the Committee for approval, now tell me was it not a good one ? "Well, yes ! your picture pleased me But then I am a friend of yours, so I may have been biassed in its favour. Will it when examined critically satisfy the requirements of thejudges ? Wi:l it equally please the public, the final arbiters ? The notion was a pretty one but " " Oh ! that eternal everlasting BUT," cried Charles, with very much of anger in his tone of voice, "that BUT has decided me. It tells me that following the crowd you take exception to every thing that I do. That nerr of yours has finally extingui-hed my devotion to the fine arts. Fortunately there is a more honourable career open to me, that of making money. From this time henceforth, I cast away from me with disdain, the allurements of the syrenic sister mnuses. I will enter upon a fresh course of life altogether." Having said this Charles leaped up from his chair, and with a sudden jerk readjusted his hat, so that it lodged somewhat insecurely upon the back of his head, after the fa-hion so much affected by the genus larrikin. With his hands again buried in his pockets, and his dyes bent on the ground, he paced hurriedly up and down the room as if in deep thought. The two girls plied their needles silently. The one was thinking that her marriage would be still deferred, The other that she needs give herself no further concern about the completion of her bride's-maid's toilette, as in all 'proba bility it would be some time before she would have the pleasure of w~ietug it. Mr. Grinnidge, in a contemplative mood, beat bars of various measures. murmuring occasionally the words "an dante" "presto." As for the despon ding Mr. Pipkins, from the moment he had had the misfortune to cut so un adroitly Edith's embroidery, he had lapsed into a frame of mind so woe begone, that his countenance bore the outward impress of unmitigated grief. Presently Charles came to a halt. Looking up with a smile of triumph,. he took off his hat, and flung it oa the floor. Then running his hands flur riedly through his hair, he exclaimed, addressing no one in particular, but glancing alternately from one to another of his quartertian audience: ' Upon' my word indeed. I have been a great fbiol for my pains. I now wounder what I could have been about to fret and fiume as I have done over the injustice with which I have been treated by the publishers, the readers, and the public. The cruel rejctiou of my picture has decided m-. I am now determined to become a man of wealth. I will astonish the world with the un heard of riches I shall acquire. My plans are all arranged. I have a scheme for getting money that is infallible, that has never before been thought of. Then having wealth every other talent and virtue will be by acclamation ac corded me. Men are such fools and sycophants, that they will speedily per ceive in me the rich man, the merit that they deny to me now, the poor one. My worship henceforth is dedicatedl to Plutus the god of riches." Then, speaking to Ada, he said, "my own dearest you shall have for a husband a man of real celebrity, a man who will be respected, nay revered by his fellow-men. Yes, you shall have for a husband, a glory of this nineteenth century. You shall be married to the richest man, not in the colony but in the world. Ton shall have a palace for a home. You shall have carriages and footmes, and lackeys, and waiting maids, innumerable. You shall have shawls, and diamondls, and velvets, and you shiall be surrounded with every possible luxury." Exhausted with his veheinuece, the poor exalted youth whose vivid imag ination had thus run,riot for a time, resumed lhis seat.. His four listeners looked at him with astonishment, not unmingled with fears for his sanity. They, one and all were fearful, that such an ill-regulated mind, coult not but be a victim to its fantasies. "Oh! Charlestdear, how can ,you possibly run on so? What new eastle in the air, is it that your fickle fancy has snuggested " said poor Ada, scarcely able to repress her tears. "Well this time I have quite made up my m~ind. My resolution is too firm to be shaken. I intend.to become in a few months the richest'man that has vet been heard .of. " If stupid and ignorant people gt'weahth, how much easier will it be for mel with all my naituiral 'and acqi.red gifts of intelleet, to wrestle with dame forturie ani'bend her to my:wishes." "'ow! Chirl& s;?dear, I want no diamonds, no Inxuarie'io grand house to 'iwell in. 'Ouir united lmneome amount to. .500,a yearan&dthat.is ample for allt our wanta,"
"I could not live comfortably withI you a humdrum life ast7 St Kilda on such a paltry um. I'should feel as if I were buried alive. I have once for all decided to get wealthy,; and then 'I can offer you a home, worthy of you, one in which we could both be _happy. What would I not give to have it said by other women, 'Mrs. Lindsay has but to wish for a thing, no matter what. and her husband procures it for her immediately.' You will have; darling, but to wait for a few months longer, and then, my fortune realised, I will come and lay it at your feet." Feeling that it would be useless to prolong the conversation, or to endeavour to dissuade him from his purpose, Ada merely expressed a wish in reply, that her cousin Charles might really succeed in his novel enterprise. Had it not been for the true maidenly delicacy which restrained her, her feelings would have prompted her, to urge again and again the desirability of their being speedily united and settling down quietly. Her instincts told her that he was on the road to sure and certain ruin, but his vociferous demeanour had silenced her. Her heart wassbound up in him, and she knew, woman-like, how to bear her sorrow secretly. So she acquiesced with seem ing cheerfulness to a further post-pone. ment of this marriage, until he should have erected his pactolean castle in the air.