|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 XXII. SELF-SACRIFICE. "Believe me, Miss Ada, when I vouch for the truth of what I said just now. Mr. Charles assured me that he would never take for wife any one but you," exclaimed the almost witless Mr. Pipkins in tones of the direst appre hension for himself, yet of the sincerest commiseration for her. He had just begun, mistily, to see that, in some way or other, how he utterly failed to ap prehend, that he had been guilty of an indiscretion. He was such an obtuse fellow, though such a well-thinking one, that he could not for the life of him understand how that anything he had given utterance to could have caused pain or grief to Ada. " What do you mean, you atrocious creature, by letting your tongue run loose in that reckless fashion ? You are an incorrigible stupid, and I hope I shall never set eyes on you again! There now ! Why, even should you ever happen to stumble upon the right thing, you are so wanting in brains that you never know the right moment at which to speak of it !" and Edith looked at him with not her usual con descending, kindly smile of disapproba tion, which might be interpreted into one of approval, but with no small measure of real anger in her glance. For, unlike many girls, she was not a lip-friend, but a whole-hearted one. Many minutes had not elapsed before Ada had recovered her wonted com posure. 1lr. Pipkins, assuming a manner that was uncongenial to him, one at which he was himself astonished, with a timid, half-hesitating show of rebellion to his persecuting captivator, Edith, refused to be put down by her and to hold his tongue at that young lady's bidding, and this much as he loved the semi-termagantic girl, and dreaded her subsequent displeasure. So, to justify himself, he proceeded to explain to Ada how that Charles had given" proof of his fealty to her, by avowing to him, that he would not have for wife the Sophonisba girl, even should: the Mullock father give her a million for her marriage portion. Further, he went on to say, that Charles had expressed, in no measured terms, his great contempt for the maternal Mullock. " Why, Charles told me, Miss Ada, that the "lady" in question had disgusted him but yesterday by telling him, as an evidence of her prudence, how, that in years gone by, before placing the sweet an.! .iharming Sophonisba, then a budding i..,,som of about ten summers, in a long-established ladies' school, where she would have to pay the monstrous fee of a guinea a quarter in the junior class, she had had the conceited, not to say impudent, audacity to request from the Principal -a lady of matronly age and of great experience, an interview with the sub ordinate governess, under whose care her dear child would have to beinitiated into the mysteries of the primer and be taught that two and two do not make five ! also that she had, further, wished to be introduced to the children in whose division her own elaborately manufactured unit of femininity would have to say her lessons, so that she might request the removal of those of whom her be-satined mightiness did not approve. Charles persisted that he could not regard such a woman with feelings of respect, and that to have her for a mother-in-law was altogether an impossible contingency. For her vulgarity, and her insolent and ignorant assumption of superiority because of her wealth; her miserable pettiness and penuriousness. and her irrepressible meddlesomeness, could not but breed unhappiness between the daughter and whoever might be the unfortunate creature in trousers that could be pre vailed upon to take her paragon of ill-bred self-sufficiency to himself 'for better or for worse.' He also said many other things in disparagement of the Sophonisba girl, averred that she was but an upholstered specimen of the genus feminine, and that she was an empty-headed spiteful simpleton." All that the heretofore much snubbed Mr. Pipkins had thus, in fear of Edith's anger, and with, for the moment, an hitherto unheard-of temerity, urged in Charles's favor, was of no avail. Ada' could not, would notbe led to see other wise than that Charles no longer regarded her with affection. With her keen intuitive perception and knowledge of the distinguishing characteristic ofall pure, single-minded true hearted girls, she at once saw that nothing restrained Charles from becoming a member of the Mullock family, but a burdensome sense that he was trammelled by his promises to her. She felt that the greed of gold had taken her one-time lover, her afianced husband from her. "I thank you, Mr. Pipkins, for what yon have told me. You have been a realfriend to me. Do not heed what Edith may possibly say to you in her anger presently, about what she will call your indiscretion. I know she loves you, notwithstanding her rough outspoken speeches to ybu. I only wish that I were as well assured of' Charles's love forme. It is true I am much distressed, I am well nigh broken bearted. But as I willingly gave up my fortune, to save him from disgrace, so am I prepared to give him up him self, if by releasing him from his obligations to tne, I can promote his happiness." The poor girl had too an exalted ense of what she conceived to be her duty. Far better for her would
it have been as the world goes now-a days if she had been trained by agover ness, a cross between a workhouse matron, and an adventurous foreign lady's maid. She would have learned from such a woman if nothing else how to be sharp, and how to keep her money, even, if in so doing, she lost her lover. To my thinking though, she is more worthy of our best admiration, and highest esteem as she is, though I deplore the unpleasant fact, that her artless, unsophisticated love had been given in its whole-heartedness to Charles, an incarnation of fickle selfish ness. When the poor girl was alone in her room, that night, she abandoned herself to all her grief. "It is not for love of me or the pain that he may cause me," she sobbed, "that he puts off his marriage with Miss Mullock. He only defers proposing to her because he dreads the scorn of Edith and of Mr. Grinnidge, when they hear ofhis treat ment of me. But I will not have for husband a man who may marry me, merely from a feeling that it is his duty to keep a promise, and not that it is his happy privilege to have me for his own. That night poor sorrowing Ada had little rest. She was too miserable, too unhappy to obtain any solacing repose from "Tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep." Her mind was so excited that, much as she craved for it, the unconsciousness of dreamless oblivion would not steal over her sweet unselfish innocence, and shield her for a time from her drear her helpless wretchedness. Before the morning dawned she had resolved upon a course of action that should convince Charles that she no longer loved him, or held him to his promise. She thus, in a spirit of self sacrifice, that I hold to be perfect;y unjustifiable, considering the egotistical character of the small-minded creature for whom she had all but ruined herself, determined upon giving him a further proofof her devotion to him by releasing him from his obligations, and with apparent willingness giving him up to another.