|Chapter Title||A BARGAIN.|
|Newspaper Title||Mercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)|
|Trove Title||Ada and her Cousin Charles, A Tale for Victorian Boys and Girls|
CHAPTER XX. A BARGAIN. The following morning the Mulloch family were loud in their united praises of our hero Charles. Never tufore-had a young man of his tone, his savoir vivre, and his polite bearing graced their parties by his presence. The great aim and end of the Mullocks-papa, mamma, and daughter was, having money, and a redundancy of it, to gain a position in fashionable and in literary society, and to move among the elite. This they wanted to do, however, on the cheapest terms possible, in the way of preliminary entertainments. The mamma Mullock, who, on the plea of her daughter's health, would yearly save a quarter's school fees, money that she expended in extra gorgeousness of apparel, was charmed with the young man. He had admired her dancing. Yet as she con fessed to him, with much pride in the admission, as it was strong proof of her intuitive talent for the graceful accom plishment, she had never had a lesson in it in her life. "It is so easy," she said, "if you do but watch to pick it up, and -then you know you can save the dancing master's exorbitant fees." As for papa Mullock, he was equally delighted with the gay and festive Charles, and this because the poor young fool had swallowed his atrocious wines without a grimace, nay, had even lauded them, and at intervals had sung the praise of whiskey. Also had he openly avowed his appreciation and admiration of wealthy men, for, said he (he was very young and as yet knew but little of the world) all riches are acquired by the practice of frugality, industry, and the higher virtues. A rich man is the embodiment ofprudence and of all wisdom. Never can wealth be obtained by chicanery, double-dealing, and low, dishonest cunning. Every wealthy man is an exemplar of all the proprieties enjoined upon us by the teachers of religion. Every poor man is one who is justly punished by Provi dence for his want of enterpr z i, his sloth, his profusion, and is a worthless creature, with whom it would be a social crime to have any relations except those of master and servant. So Mr. Mullock's heart had warmed to wards him, and he voted him a yonng man of good abilities and sound common sense. - As for Sophonisba, she was in the seventh heaven of delight. Charles had sympathized with her in all her grievances. She had confided to him how that her last, her fifteenth gover ness, had treated her asif she had been but a poor clergyman's daughter---that this odious creature was a dragon, that 'she couldn't spell properly, and, above all, had grumbled at her just for only laughing. (She forgot to add that it was for an unseemly gigglingin church.) Why, she couldn't spell, couldn't -do arithmetic, knew no geography, knew nothing but how to scold, and so she told her mamma, who at once bad taken her away, and that she had positively refdsed: to go to school again. She wasn't going to be domineered over, indeed, by any horrid, nasty, old school mistress, and Charles had applaudedher resolution and had jastified her inher abuse of the whole race. Also he said he admired her decision of character, and the charming originality of all her thoughts, hu i' was resolved between tae three, Papa, "-Mamma, and Sophonish , that
Charles should: be: invited to their ?ase as a daily visitor. - FSophonisba' was'.ddtiful in this,if she had flever been in any other respect (for it must be confessed that -in the privacy of her chamber, she had many a wordy, not to say acrimonious, spar with her mamma, and was not always as respectful to her dear papas as is deemed desirable), that she not only made no objection, but actually was obediently, submissive to their ex pressed wishes when she was directed by them both to make herself as agree able to Charles as she could. ' For thus argued the Mullocke, papa and mamma, "Charles is. a fashionable young man. We want Sophonisba to be fashionable and to go into the best society. It is true he has no money, but we have plenty. He shall marry Sophonisba. He will give her a pass into the beau monde, she will bring him wealth. The exchange will be a good one.' Fashion and position for a rich bride ; competency for a poor man. They will both be satisfied, and we shall have gained our heart's desire. But a few weeks passed, and Charles was Sophonisba's accepted lover. He now used Mr. Grinnidge's modest little dwelling, as if it were acommon lodging house. He slept in it, occasionally partook of a meal, pleaded business for his prolonged absences, scarcely ever spoke to Ada, except to borrow a half crown, and never, by any chance, spent an evening in the parlour, into which the reader was first introduced.