Chapter 65378292

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter TitleAN ADVENTURE TEACHER, NO. 1.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65378292
Full Date1878-09-05
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count4377
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleKilmore Free Press (Kilmore, Vic. : 1870 - 1954)
Trove TitleAn Excerpt from a Nineteenth Century Romance
article text

AN EXCERPT FROM A NINETEENTII CENTURY BY NEANTIIES. CHAPTEIR I. AN ADVENrURE TEA4CFE.R, NO. 1. I can assure you, Miss Edith, said Mr. Pipkins, that you are much mistaken if you suppose for one moment that I have not been taught drawing. I have indeed been taught it, and that by a very clever man The teacher who my Mamma chose for me had been a bank clerk or something in that way of life. He had not got on well with his manager, who was, he said, a very unpleasant man indeed, and very difficult to please. For, only fancy, this obnoxious manager would insist upon r bsolute correct ness in his accounts, strict punctuality, and all that sort of thing. In fact, in the in terests of the business, of which he had the responsibility, be was a very steady dis ciplinarian. So my teacher, finding it im possible to work comfortably with him on those terms had sent in his resignation. This had been accepted by his manager without demur. I did afterwards hear it rumoured pretty freely that he had been ignominiously dismissed from his appoint ment for certain grave irregularities. A deficiency in his balance was talked of. But the exact nature of the wrong-doings thus hinted at, did not transpire. This, however, I do know, that though he tried desperatoly for many months, he could never get an other situation as a clerk. Now the poor man had to earn a livelihood somehow or other. He didn't like hard work; in fact, he wasn't fit for it, and knew no handicraft on which he could fall hack for.hread and cheese, So after much pondering, it oc curred to him, as a happy thought,, that the simplest thing for him to do, to obtain the wherewithal, to minister to. his cneeds, wond' he to constitute himself to a board of ex aminers, to test himself, and then to award himself credentials of fitness and capacity as a drawing-master. No sooner resolved upon than done. Then he had his name engraved in huge black letters on a large. brass plate, and beneath his. name could be read the legend : Professor of .Drawing fromt the flat and the Round. I have every reason to believe that he didn't at the time know the meaning of the terms "Flat," and "Round," as ap plied to the subject in which he aspired to give instruction. But what of that. he heard them used, thought they sounded well, also. that they would daze the public, and, best of all, that they would bring him pupils. So he adopted them. Next, hav ing made friends with the landlady of a respectable boarding-house in a leading thoroughfare in the city, he obtained her permission, in consideration of a promised per-centage on his fees, to affix this plate to her street door. Also for a modest weekly sum, she agreed to let him have the use of her drawing-room from 10 a.m. to 4 pm.m., when her gentlemen would lie away at their offices. Then in each of the daily papers be inserted a permanent advertisement, that a literary acquaintance had drawn up for him. His places were now completed, and he had not to wai: m mny d iyk for the results. Hio schem succeeded beyond his most san

grit:re ariticijat-ic;13. le was speedily :uTi Ld Cu m?iti husinrsa. As .as o a bad la ing fellnow, and ?an unmalrriod, his p~ipi;i were fior the most ýmrt young ladies, im- it patient of the, restraints or the schoolroom. pr le never required his young clients to do vy anything that was disagreeable to them, as was sleek and deferential in his man- F ners as could be any flunkey to the papas pi and mammas who hastened to secure his of services for their daughters.. So he soon re became not only very popular, buts better at still, very fashionable. My Miamma.hoaring g( him spoken of so highly, usnt me to him for be three months. During that time I drew a hi windmill, with a basket and a broom, and fo a barrow and a bag of wheat in the fore- of ground. I did it, as he showed me how, w by tracing the outlines stencil fashion on th paper. This little strange peculiarity in hi his drawing made it easy, though I did not n( think it worth while mentioning to my T mamma, for I had a faint impression that si she would not have altogether approved of to it, as it was not quite a legitimate method st of proceeding. However, my picture, when (e it was done, was very pretty. My Mamma w was so pleased with it that she had it t1 framed, and it still occupies a place of di honor over the chiffonier in her sitting room. w It is also much admired by all our visitors, hi to whom she never fails to point it out as a ai striking evidence of my youthful talent. I tc wish you would yourself examine it care- In fully, when you next come to see us. I think you would like it, Well when it was done, he took it home to her himself. He " was his own porter. It looked so much T more humble you know to carry it himself. ti It showed that he was not proud, and that w he was imbued with a proper sense of his m own inferior social position. It was a st policy that was very gratifying to all his tc masters and mistresses, and filled his poe- of kets with golden fruits. Ushered into my d mamma's presence, he said, uncovering the ce picture, and displaying it before her loving it gaze, while bowing slowly to the ground, a that I had very decided talents for drawing, t also that I had an artist's eye, and a keen et perception ot the beautiful. On. hearing v these encomiunrs, she paid him readily and w cheerfully his rather exorbitant fee of six, n guineas, and he withdrew, ,bowing more a than ever. She was charmed with his hu, A mility, and delighted beyond measure, with 'n the praise he had so lavishly awarded me, p and with his loudly expressed appreciation a of my abilities. So, ever since, my Mamma ti has persistently maintained, that his esti- h mation of my powers was a perfectly correct f one. And he must have been qualified, t you know, to form a sound opinion, for he I u was such an excellant teacher, at any rate, t everybody said so, and what everybody i says must be true. The best proof of his 1 being a good teacher, though, was that his e fees were larger than those of any other 1 teacher of the city, and that he had crowds a of pupils. He is a splendid illustration of t the fact that in the estimation of large i numbers of the wealthy people in the colony r j of Victoria, any preliminary special pro- I paration of his work is considered to be a disqualification rather than otherwise, for 1 one who would follow the avocation of ? i private as distinguished from a public r teacher and that notin the subject of idra- - ing alone, but in any other that may be c named at hazard. FPrther, he is a living proof that an unbiomished reputation and I entecedants that will beoor inquiring into are i not always looked upon as very essential - to a successful career as a private teacher. ' Indeed, as justifying of this latter statement I i1. may tell you that there was at the very 1 time of which I am speaking, a drawing master in Helbourne, the holder of the mos8t indisputable credentials, as a man I skilled in his profession, and of unsoiled i character. He had in addition, diplomas I from the Royai Academy of London, and ! the Government " Institut des bteaux Arts," ( in Paris, in both of which institutions he ( had stulied for ?,:::. ynrs. 'and had passed i meritorious exami;,,?:i,:?. His fees were also moderato--thre {,uinous a quarter. l But all the yoi:;g peo!lo sa;:id ho didn't ' know how to teo,m ira wing. a bit. And of ] course t.hey are the b-.ut ja hgrs of the capa bilities of a teacher, and how he ought to conduct his lessons, because they have the most to do with him This is especially the ease when their parents are above the ne cossity of a practising little economies." Now the reason for their spreading the re port about that he couldn't teach, was that this poor misguided creature actually at tempted to teach them thoroughly. Why he positively insisted upon it that his pupils should learn to draw straight lines and,: curves, and all that kind of dry, uninterest ing rubbish, before he would give them a : landscape or a head to do. Then what was i more than everything oelse, he. would never : put in any touches of his own to finish off a picture and make it look well before it left his class-room. Of course, as you may suppose, this very impolite line of conduct gave great displeasure to his youthfulclients who quickly deserted hi:p for teachers more accommodating, and of a less scrupulous mind.generally adventurous men of the same standing as my successful erstwhile clerk. Again on more tllhan one occasion he had found it necessary to. resent though in temperate langueago the studiel importinen cies and insolent familiarities, that one or two of the wealthy orders, arrogant in their pride of pecuniary superiority had offered him. Moreover his necessities had com polled him most unwillingly to. force from two or three of his " wealthy employers" by process of law, the fees that he had earned. These they had dishonestly with held from him for many months, because he would not consent to take anything off from them by way of discount. Eis charges Swere, however, already too moderate to permit of their further reduction in this way so lie had incurred this enmity of these magnates, and that of all their friends and acquaintances who were astounded at the little esteem he showed for wealthy men, unless they were also men of high principles I and gonorois impulses. And the outcome of it was, that they sneered at his poverty, spoke disparagingl!y of him, and prevented him whenever they could from getting other Spupils. An uuwritten and unspoken con piracy was entered into by these men and their wives whose vanity he had uncons ciously ananailed to put him down. Anud they very effectually succeeded iin their purpose. The bejewelledPapasand Mammaas Sdid their best to bring this infatuated crea tture. to an atunission that wealth had the - right to be insolent and overboearing to

cuiiured pove 'ty, also dii the'y surivi?o tc ity. They endeavored to reduce him to the r position of an unliveried footman, and a t very humble suitor for their contending and b aspirated and ungrammatical patronage. I For they were aghast and indignant at his a presumption in oven faintly making a show of independence. Now mark you that in resenting this dishonourable and low cow- n ardly treatment ,of him he was ever uan gontlemany or discourteous or had not the s best interests of their children at heart. I t have met him frequently and have always a found him pleasant and agreeable and full of information on subjects unconnected even with his profession. It seems to me now that his sole fault was, that lie wished to do his duty among a people who either could not or would not understand the term. C What their fond and wealthy parents de sired chiefly, was not to hava their children taught, but to get a something more or less showy, that they could call a picture, t (whether or not done by their children they would never oaro to ask) to display upon the walls of their gaudily and over-furnished I drawing-rooms, and be able -to say to thoso who called upon them " See what Johnny has done ." or, " Look at Emily's drawing!" and then have the gratification of listening to such exclamations of sycophantic simu lated rapture, as, " See Dow !,i Gracious!" " What a clever child!," " Dear me!,'" " What a genius !,' " What talent!," "Really an undeveloped Titian!," " ' Turner in embryo !," ,and so on. Well as this poor man from the wealthy men's and woman's point of viewr, especially the wo men's, had far too high an opinion of him self, was dreadfully conceited, and prated too much about honor and truthfulness objected strongly to adventurers, and denounced in as scathing terms as he couli command, all trickery and fals& pretensions in his dearly loved profession, especially abjuring and detoting stencilled pictures, then much in fashion, he sank very low in esteem. Unwittingly he had rubbed up very roughly against the self-love and had wounded the self-esteem of the wealthy ig noramuses by whom he was ourrounded and among whom he had to get his living. And this class of people, unfortunately the majority at that time in our community,~is proverbially a suspicious a vindictive one, and especially difficult to associate, with on terms of reciprocal civility. This sad fact he leoorned to his cost. He was made " to feel it in his pocket," and I regret to have to say it, but such is the case, he couldn't I ultimately earn amongst them. even enough to pay for his board and lodging and to clothe himself respectably. Fortunately he had no wife nor children dependent on him, else the misery that would have fallen upon him through them, would hardly have borne coutemplation. Hoping against hope, and trusting that his earnest work, would event ually make its way, and that in time his merit would be acknowledged and his labor fairly recompensed, he toiled and toiled, and led a life of grinding poverty, while the ad venturer his ignorant competitor was bask ing in the sensation of public favor. Ulti mately his necessities were so great that he fell into debt for the commonest necessaries of life, and consequence was held in the greatest disrespect by the various trades people with whom he had dealings. Hav ing strugglod with his untoward cireum st;nco for about twelre years, crushed in spirits, and worn out with repeated dica>p p:intmrt-ants, he died, not by his oin hand, like Kaydon, the great English artist, who had been similarly neglected by his con temnporaries but~ of despair and with a brokuen heart. So you see the ativen!tnrer, the charlatan, the ex.clerk, a man comple tely ignorant of tiie very first principles of the ar; of teachin:g whichl hlie not only earned a goodl living but absolutely lived in clover beat tIhe woll-instructed diploniad man out of the field, altogether. Raut of course the impostor deserved to succeed, becausoe he was very huinble and subser viont. Heo never ventured by word or even look, to oijoo?t to the coarse incivilities or the expressed or implied sneers, of any il litorate poddling magnate or his uife. He cringed to broadcloth and grovelled in the dust to diamonds and volvet skirts. fIo was at bost an un!ivoriod moenial, with all Sthe manhood that hle might once have had, wiped out of him completely As to whether or not hlie gave value for the money he received, it is a question into Swhich I will not enter. That is besidc e the mark. Considering the intellectual staturs of that section of society from which he Sdrew his incoime he was in some sense justi fled in the policy he had adopted. It was the poor children who came. under his tui tion who ware most to be pitied. Tho:se who employed him got what they chiefly wanted, not sound instruction for tlheir boys and girls, but that, that they craved for moset, and was as butter and honey to them -abject servility. As to whether or noti the characters of the chilren were not injured by the system of mild fraud of which they were the objects and of which they wars perfectly cognisant, though they never spoke of it, is again no business of mine, yet with many others I deplore the possi bility of such a state of things being even Ssupposable. Be this as it may the shrewd Simpostor got what he wantced-money. Tihe 1pupils got what they wanted--tihe liberty to be as capricious and as self-willed as they chose, without fear of rorbuke. And the man of knowledge the real teacher, got I what he did not dosorve-the cold neglect Sand the liberty tofstarve. And it so ife!i out that in the course of 1 time, my adventurous chariatan, whose Slucky star never oncu forsook him, was re warded, for having vaded through the dirt, and teachinPgiuplicity in addition to the Sfine arts to many admiring pupils, by a good government appointment Now this was obtained for him by a Mr. Sludge, hush! Joseph Sludge, Esq., gentlemen, one of his Srich patrons. This was a geatenman, who Shad beaped up money by keeping sly, grog stores, and houses of infamous resort, by cunningly dofrauding the customs, by r employing dummy selectors, and by every species of chicanery and fraud. Those Srnactices lie had carriedl on for many, years,

until by right of his wealth, he was awllard'ed 1 ths distinction of being styled a " respoet iiable man " and was made a justice of the poeaco. It is trao that at a later period, in hin career, his peculiar methods of acquiring richoes had become a matter of adverse 'public comment, which culminated subso u tuouttlvy ,a a parlimL.eutmal:y enquiry. Long

. o ,rn the :p.ase, howcv?;: , c~,':,"i: 'r ' m :. :Esq.. had ,n'.-sse e.: :l..;r bank?i~ng revered by many "great men," while all w the " small men" spoke of him with bated st breath. Also did the clergy gather round " him as a wall of defence, for though he 'a didn't give much in charity, yet ho was a , great fosterer of " Suriday Schools." Also tl would he ever harp upon the grand com- sr mandment, " Thou shalt not steal." Using a little of his ill-gotten gains very secretly and very judiciously, he was tenderly dealt n ith by the board of enquiry, and therefore nothing was proved against him. So Joseph Sludge, Esq., gentleman, with a character thus rehabilitated, presently retired from business on his spoils to enjoy a well earned otiui oun dignitate, and was appointed a bank director, also chairman of a' society for the suppression of vice, for the conservation of commeorcial morality, and for the pr.secution of peculating errand hoyvs, and in addition to:,1 these honors thus thrust upon him he was nominated trustee for a fashionable church. Becaueo he was a man Of moans, means 1 how acquired none cared to ask, it was sufficient that he had them. He was simply reverenced ..nd madle much of hy his clergyman, who dined with him, and wrote homilies aboutl him. and spoke of him as an example for all young amen to follow, as an instance of what a man could attain to by perseverance and elodding industry. As I for his baker, his butcher and his grocer, they spoke of him with awe and in hushed whispers, they bent the knee before him, and made a very Badi of him, they row towed to him with more of idolatry in their souls than ever a Chinese yielded to his Joss. Again the sumptuous unaccustomed dinners he gave to impecunious members of the Assoembly, enabled him to exercise much under-handedl political influence. To make a long story, short, my self-certificated drawing master, allowed himself to he used by Joseph Sludge, Esq., gentleman,. and .J.P., an august and " disgustingly rich" personage, exactly as he treated his parlour spaniol, like a very lap-dog. H1e would this moment (convivially) pat him on I the back, the next. when he was" suffering i a recovery," kick him (metaphorically) and 3 that not gently. Of Joseph Sludge, Esq., s gentlemen, and Justice of the Peace, it may be remarked parenthetically that he was of 1 a somewhat antiquarian turn of mind, and had reverted to the now out of date Egyptian mode of writing, by using a hieroglyphic of a clerical form for his sign t manual. He was decidedly opposed to the i modern caligraphic system of denoting the alphabetic sounds that were the symbols of 9 his name, in fact he had so marked an I aversion for it, that his worst enemy could i never assert with truth, that he had ever 3 'shown any inconsistency by even once being 1 betrayed into adopting it. In the unimnt - portant little matter of the aspirate he wan a equally singular and independent;. In his ' utterance of somni words ho was evidentiy I of the opinion of the Greek, that the free - use of the aspirate !ent dignity to the - language. In the pronounciation of othe?rs - he sternly repudiated this notion, thuis o showing that lingually he was not to he hold s in the trammels of modern practice. -.et a in the course of a lengthened conversation, - by a process of suhstracton and addition of - which he was the solo inventor, and of which it has been hoard that if any one was a hardy enough to dispute with him the ownership, he generalily contrived to adjust Sthe balanco. Neither was h, averse to the o abuindant use of trms anythi:g hut -mellifluous, that falling from Any otherr a mouth than Ihis, woule by thei "' mildly coaes','ious '' he ,steim;lq, ' "injurious." and - by "venomouu scandal mongers "': as f " blasphemous;'" but were listeoned to. y troasured up as the sallies of a mind sw- i a charged with a kinn sense of the infinitaly d huenourona, by i:is hangers-on and depon tf deOts. i, Now my self-doplomad teacher of the finoe - arts, had been morn than specially careful, I i never to a itoid the, youtihful heirs of this -r " 'ontloman" Joseph 3iu!dge, Esq., ,.P., - by recommoniindi g to tihemii the advisability e of self-diecipline, and truthfulnessa as a - means to success. On the contrary he let e this great man's boys and girls do or not do 11 just as they wished. He allowed them to I, select for themselves what drawings they wi shed for to copy, \irrespective of their 'r difficulty. lo himself indeed did not know :o wheither they wore difflcult or not. But by 0 lis easy method of staOnceilling he was sure i is to gof a gooid rt.mit. 1o it did not matter. u And bettor tihani ail he never objected to his i- pipi!s being as rude, as implertl.inent, and is as inattentiveo as they chse. 8o they voted i- him a darling, a pot of ii reaceir. Hoe was o in fiact " wise in his generation," hlie never v " kiEcked against thli priceks " and invariably s " held a candle to the devil.'"' I~n a small, r and in not so ambitious a way he travelled n in the footsteps of Jrseph Sludge, Esq., t gentleman and J.P. o80 he found favour with him and his family, and after havinug I eaten much humble pie, and thoroughly assimilated it, fr, without a doubt it was Spleasant and agreeeable to him, he was ro s, warded as I have said before by a comfort i- abile appintmient in the Swamps and ii D)itches Departnment. And this he got at d tile instigation of his patron and would-be 0 Mecm-,e;s. I may say c-n panssant that i, . consiloration for the appointment, worth y threeo hundred pounds a year, thus obtained io by hint, no account for fees was rendered to t Joseph Sludge, Esq., gentleman anid .J.P., it neither was any cheque ever offered by that wealthy patron to my eaiedWr, for the iin sf slructio (heaven save the mnark !) given to ie his :iildren. Such was the political iiin 3- flnicet of this -illiterate Cromsus, that the t, office was created on purpose for this me charlatan. 'The onerous duties that he ihad d to discharge in exchange for these annual is three hundred golden effigies of the L-ritish ! Queen, were no more arduous than to seal is with real wax and tie withl red ta:pe sundry to missives and despatlches, issued from tlhe g office of the Swamps and Ditoheo. They Sweoro large sized documents in which my i pseudo artistic monitor, had the the con v genial task of cointorsigning official snubb me ings and reproofs to troublesome and s, pertinacious correspondents, who having

d inj]ustiices.ant rongs to complain of, woro t- unavdalingly endeavouring to, havo them wo righted. I [Note to the ahove. The foregoing chapter could never have been written by " Neanthes," were every private teacher, male and femalo, compelled by law to obtain a certilieal-: or diploma of ellicicn'y from g a properly constituted, board, of l;xainiuvrs, With

Tr.of e: r '; opinion that i'. r l l, :. . ,: 1 i! 'r. , lio al System !. L , ji?n . . it would be a p .?,lwiot nl ::y :o 7,? , - lmen and women of unquestionable ability, and of good moral standing, but better thant all It protection to parents who have means, and especially their children, who wouldt not thus become the prey of characterless needy adventurers. Of course we assume that the excerpt that we have made should be read between the lines, and that for " Drawing Master," may be substituted teacher of French, or Italian, or Book keeping or any other subject.-Ed. ;.P.]