Chapter 59575088

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberXVIII
Chapter TitleMR MULLOCK
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59575088
Full Date1878-09-21
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count1147
IllustratedN
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
article text

CHAPTER XVIII. MR. MULLOCK. " How is it that Charles has not yet asked Ada to marry him ?" thought Edith some months after this event. UHe first struggled for fame. but he failed to get it. Then he aspired for wealth, in a striving for which he has ruined both himself and his cousin. It seems to me that now he should be contented with the love and devotion that could be his.own as soon as be. likes to claim them." Poor Ada, she grew pale and changed -her once bright colour was gone. Her fresh fair beauty was fading fast away. Her cheek and hands were very thin. She was silent, made no com plaint, and asked for no sympathy. Charles, in reply to Edith's frequent remonstrances, urged his want of means lo;support a wife. Mr. Pipkins, after much deep re f ection, came to the conclusion that Charles was an unsolvable enigma, for thought he " When he had plenty of money he wouldn't marry her, and now that he has none, he won't have her, and yet he persists in saying he loves -her dearly." On rising every morning, Charles said to himself I must get something to do. I will seek for employment. I nnust set about retrieving my fortunes, so that I may repay Ada the money she so kindly lent me to extrimnte me from my difficulties. The day, how ever, invariably passed in idle com plaints of his hard fate. Mr. Grinnidge told him that there was an opening in the orchestra for him, as sixth violinist, which would bring him in ten shillings a week. "What is the use of such a miserable p'ittance to me?" said the proud and haughty Charles, who, by-the-by, was neither too proud nor too haughty to be -s pensioner at the table of the poor musician, and his now impoverished cousin. "Some weeks afterwards Mr. Grin midge told him of a gentleman who, refurnishing his house, wanted some landscapes painted on his chimney boards, for which he was willing to pay lIve pounds. !'What, what! " said the infuriated Charles, whose dignity was seriously compromised by the proposal, "'What! with my talents turn sign painter?" T'hereupon, borrowing a shilling from the kind-hearted violincellist, he stalked out of the house muttering to himself, "'The man has insulted me, he might as well have recommended me to keep a coffee-stall, or canvass for advertise ments, or distribute handbills." There were still two or three houses in which Charles was yet received as a visitor, notwithstanding his unsatisfac tory way of life, and this was because of the affectionate remembrance in which his mother was held. Also he had not yet fallen into the shabby seediness of dress that is the unfailing sign of genteel poverty. So he was not an altogether unwelcome addition to their little parties, and as he was a presentable young fellow and a good dancer, he was much liked as a partner by most of the young girls whom he -occasionally met. One evening, being a guest at one of these houses, he made the acquaintance of a Mr. Mullock, his wife, and their only child-a daughter. This personage was a large landed proprietor in the enjoyment of a princely income. - But he was exceedingly il literate, not to say ignorant, and inordinately pompous, loud-voiced, and vulgar. He was tolerated because of his wealth. As a man he was inex pressibly sordid, and the slave of a debasing greed. As a natural conse quence he was despised by all who had the misfortune to be associated with him in any way, either in pleasure or in business. Mark well, his opulence lwas not his fault, but his meanness was his personal reproach, and his avarice a social crime. In moments of convi viality at the bar of Scott's Hotel, he would think nothing cf spending twenty pounds in champagne, economising afterwards for his reckless expenditure by docking the salaries of his unlucky clerks, or dismissing a laboier or two for a month. The most vehement importunity had never wrung from the -.fliuent Mullock a donation to a church or hospital. He Was short of stature, had a furtive glance, and cringed and bullied alternately. Mrs. Mullock, a tall gaunt woman, (report said sbe had formerly been his cook, and hal not herself paid for her passage to the colony, the philanthropic home autholities, having kindly under Aken the charge, providing her also board residence and attendance, for some years after her arrival,) was a titting mate for such a husband. In everything except her person l adornment, in that she was lavish and bedecked herself with the gaudiest velvets, and the heaviest of gold chains. Her bonnets were a caution, wonderful to behold. To her servants she was a termagant, and griidged them the very food they ate. She prided herself on her

saving prepensities in the matter of the education of her dougbter. She boasted th'at she had paid less for the culture of her. daughter than any of her neigh bors. She had engaged for her tuition a broken down half-starved distressed gentlewoman, with whom she made her own terms, somewhat lower than those she had to pay her cook and laundress.. The poor woman had her revenge, though, for if it was little she got, it was it was little she taught-in fact she knew but little herself. Under these circumstances theyoung lady had grown up a monument ofpert-conceit and self assurance, empty-headed and offensive with her pride of wealth. She was short and dumpy, had no nose to speak of, was wide-mouthed, large ears and red complexion, and straggling red hair as course as the mane of one of her father's horses. As for her waist, it more resembled a butter firkin, than anything else I can compare it to. As the was sole heiress to one of the largest fortunes in the colony, she was much courted. Pieces of music were dedi cated to her, piems were written on her, in which she was addressed as "Ethereal maiden." Her eyes, which, by-the-bye were expressionless and of a faded blue, were apostrophised as "bright scintillating stars." It is need. less to say that this exquisite charmer felt that her maiden affections were interested in Charles the moment she first let her pensive gaze fall upon him. Seeking through her father an introduc tion to our hero, she was soon whirling with him in the mazy dance It may be here mentioned, that she and her mother were alike in this, they were both passionately fond of waltz ing. Charles was requested before the evening was over to consider himself as one who would be cheerfully received by Mrs. Mullock and her daughter whenever he could make it convenient to call upon them. (To be continued.)