|Newspaper Title||Sydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871)|
|Trove Title||Which Wins? A Tale of Life's Impulses|
WHICH WINS i
A TALE OF LIFE'S IMPULSES.
' 'Tis not ih mortala to conimund success. But we'll do more, ScmproniuB, we'll dtscrrc it.' X UEACUED the end of my eighteenth year in peace. At that age I bore among my acquaintance the signi ficant reputation, of being a lingular girl. How I earned it a few instances m»y show. Phaum&l KnoWBh6n,~Ef(i., of Style Villa, .Wurrarab, said ft' ?wi'ijl^ijiiniaitp, when I ointercd by hU ? door with j.j attendant but mv Newfoundland doe. Kin?.
'(Wiiat^wngulargii-l.t, Before I'd lot a daughter of mine do such a thing as that, I'd ? well, well, I wonder at the parson.' The pherisiical zany ! In a month or two his own only daughter rode out on the Sydney, road, attended, with all poiBible regard to proptety, by a' hi^hly'-got-up cavalier, very well' for aridingcompinion— the last person to be Phaumal Knowahon's daughter's husband — they never rode back feg'ain. TheHev. Simper Drawl sAid it, when, equipped inlmsistlblc lawn and kid gloves, he did the country parson's daughter the superlative honour of an offer to place himself, lawn, gloves, and every ct cetera of clerical dandyhood at her disposal for life ; Bad when the country parson's adopted daugh ter, undazzled and unappreciating, refused that crowning glory. ' Is it passible, Miss Barrett, that 1 rightly caanceive yeur meaning. I hare had the baanour to win the tssvour of the Ltard Bishop, and a praamisc of one of the best liivlngt in- the Ciity, and yet you think it caansistent with your duuty to the church to refuse my praapoial. wha t a veery tin.. gulaar girl!' Just bo, Air. Simper Drawl. I was too singular by far to bear to see any one akin to me whine out sentimental nambypambyiim and drivelling hypocrisy from between tne folds - of a aaotry scented handkerchief, and, just became it was uttered in a carted box within the walls of a consecrated building, call that the worship of God. Ask «ny being with one grain of sense what it is out of the pulpit, and profit by his answer. There is a custom, in one of the Continental countries, of regarding toe witless with & certain awe, as placed in a closer communication with their Maker by their infirmity, Nevertheless, it U not the fool but his position that u honoured ; nact should he gain, by same fortunate means, an ampler measure of common Bense, he would be considered open to, and and wouU receive the con gratulation of his friends. Can you apply that parable, O Reverend Simper Drawl; No, tit; man's ordaining is not God's anointing, and though you dare sacrilegiously and uncalled to break into the Holy of Holies, 1 due not and will not follow you. The eame observation n made by Mias Seraphirta lioolittle, peeping over her mother's parlour-curtain. 'I do declare ; there is leoia Barrett Hurrying up the street for the fouith time this morning. I wonder she don't fall in a fever ; it can't possibly be good for her. What nerve the girl must have ! always to be hear ing dirty little children bungling over the Catechism a b ab. Before I'd let Mr. Henry Barrett or any other gentleman order me about as she does ! Gracious! I don't think its ouite proper. What a singular girl !' Suppose you marry tlie Rev. Simper Drawl, my dear Seraphina. And yet, again, Mrs. Ighphashshons of Yurstklas, Park could not escape the same conclusion when, after spending a day or two at her residence, I in. sisted one morning on riding homeward, to nurse Mrs, Collins out of a sudden illness, and, moreover, refused the escort of her eldest bod, ** My dear Miss Barrett, te perform such menial duties for a servant ; she would be just as comfortable if you got in a girl from the Creek, and there would be less danger of lifting her out of her position, you know. Bo you think your papa will think it proper r Not let Arthur go with you ! Take a three-mile ride alone ! It is against all reason, my dear gill. Well, if you will you must, of course, but— what a singular girl-!' What a good thing for you, my dear madam, that your soul alighted in the body of lira. Ighphaahshon of FurslklasB Park, and not in tint of Mrs, Collins, the parson's housekeeper. If some adverse fate had driven it into the latter, I wonder would your ideas of position have been what they now are, my dear But the truth must out ; I tin ssinglar gill. That is, I w«s not one ot the stereotyped many of the clus to be found in every household. J» o girl who had gone through such a peculiar educiiion as I had could be. Home-Uaining of any kind produces a more original characver than scn.ool-train.ing, but if that home-training is conducted by a man, and that man one ef large learning, recluse habiu, and strong affec tion, the chances are for such a result as the result of mine. I had read many and grave books aloud, and aided by searching examinations on their contents, and often over and over again until I thoroughly understood them. ' It is better,' llr. Barrett would say, 'that you should pack the contents of one volume into your mind in good order, than that you should cast those of a hundred into it in disorder. In the one case you have a little knowledge in a little space, and touch room for more : is the other, you may have b great quantity of knowledge, but it is in Buch a jumble that you can make no use of it, and, moreover, it tosses about so constantly that it soon reduces any other that you may introduce to the same condition.' Mindful of this, Mr. Barrett took greater care to give me a distinct knowledge of the English language with all Us peculiarities, a close acquaintance with the (acts of English history, and a useable geographi cal knowledge of England and her dependencies, especially the place of my home, Australia, than be did that I should attain accomplishments. I did at tain accomplishments, nevertheless, but they came to me, as they ought to come, in the guise of recreations, not of seriouB study. I learn Latin atKenry's desire, because he wanted a companion who should assist him, and it was a sort of amusement requiring close work, such as I liked. There was an old Frenchman who lived for twelve months in Wurrarah, and took a marvellous liking to the whole Darren family; from him I picked up sufficient of tne tongue of Xa BtUt France to be enabled afterward to acquire it with facility by self-study. I learnt from Miss Lowe stores of sweet, monotonous melodies, of a fashion long gone by, but none the less pleasant for that; and from Olave, who was a natural musician, I won some of her art of wild execution. Mr. Darrett taught me, in my early girlhood, the theory of artistic skill, and that 'was enough. There lay my own talent, and many a wild sketch which 1 kept perfectly secret could have proved how well my pencil beguiled my leisure moments. Vet all this was not the usual em ployment of young ladyhood, and the worat of the matter was that I could not acquire that usual em ployment. I could sew neatly ; cut out, and make my own dress ; but I could not catch the fashions by any endeavours, and was forced to loop my sleeve and plait my skirt after a mode of my own. I found the ijsme difficulty in the dressing ot my hair, for which I had but one way— to brush it behind my ears and separate it into loose curls. Young ladies with decorous plaits and combs held up their hands at its wildness. I could cook as well aa iS.it, Collins, whose pupil I had been, but I knew nothing of the manu facture of jellies or confections. Ajid, above all, I could not dance, and never cared to learn ; I thought there was far more enjoyment in « quick, breesy walk in the twilight than in heatedly whirling round a room when naturally one should be sleeping, and I thought that the poetry of motion was better exhibited in the one ttiau in the other. Bui by such acquire ments and want of acquirements I gained the cha racter of a ' singular girl.' Olave shared the reputation of singularity, but the term was applied to her with a little more considera tion. Kiss l-yethor, the heiress in her own right, and daughter of a rich squatter, could afford to do many things that the parson's adopted child should not venture. Glorious Olave ! it ever for one moment I compared your position with my o*n it was not to re pine. Who would, that saw as 1 did the petty trials of which you wete too haughty to complain, but which yet bo wo fully irritated your nature: the dor mant power of your great talents arousing in spite of the ungenial influences around, I saw you struggle against the coarse appreciation of your father and Hie determined misappreciution of your mother, and endeavour to stand iirm in your pride, when they pressed you to do a deed you luted, with persuasions that were to you torture. I saw you — for your nature, noble in itself, was distorted with excrescences that a kind guiding hand might have lopped in childhood — pride, telfwill and obstinacy : 1 saw you kick against the pricks, and return false appreciation with indiffer ence, and misappreciation with scorn, and shut your heart up alone; to destroy ibsell. And I saw you, wearying for affection, fix yout Ioto at last where it was not met, and your wild passion was thrown back in your face. And then I saw you— oh, Olave ! my lost friend Olave ! it is well that your poor spirit is at rest ; passion-tosBed and anguished, well is it that it sleeps the sleep of death ! ' llcr cabln'd, ample mirit Struggled in vuin for breath : To-niJhllldoUiinljW-it The vasty hulls ollleuth.' If I compared such a life as hers with mine, I say it was not to repine at my let. Not « day hardly
pa*sed,thMshedid not come to me writhing from come wovnd that her mind had received in her seme, She understood her ,?wn power*, and by tfceimUcon. ception of when she had been led to an overweening estimate oCtheir value, which induced her to vaunt them ofteij in; a Very diatgmable manner. Prom having formed a very high conception of the require, menu of low,' she hM *arly become dissatisfied with the mark* *«f* It gitaft . by her parents, and restive against its boisterous display by the one and its dry care by the other.' They ceased from even then find ing how distasteful they were to their child, and Olave severed kplHfrtf -fiom-them-morc pnrf more, opposing indifference to alt their wishes and habits, tnd fol lowing her own pursuits in her own way. They *were'cro*s*nd»he ~wM unyielding,' and of course the result was perpetual clashing and disagreement. My own home stood out in contrast brightly. My father, with his soft smile, looking loving approbation on all my pursuits, thus encouraging and inspiriting me to new endeavours : Henry requiring much, indeed, but showing his satisfaction by increased requirements— a 1 very pleasant way of showing it, I can tell you, reader, if the person who makes such demands is one 1 for whom you have a feeling of love. My dear old Orandy had not lost his place in my heart because others had entered into it. He wai a very old, white-haired man now, and had long ceaied to work. We had among us done the old man a great service by teaching him to read sufficiently well to spell out the large print in h very large Bible. It was a formidable task, and had only been conquered by Henry's perseverance. Orandy's thanks were our perpetual reward ; and it was « pleasant sight to be hold him, sitting in his green porch, with a little stand before him, on which, rested the Bosk of books, pipe in mouth and spectacles on nose, and to know that lu's Kreatest comfort was our doing. ' See here,' Henry would say, trying to be dogma tical ; ' a lasting and beneficial result of persevering labour. That old man, whom we all love so dearly, would, but for it, have been dependant on the plea sure and leisure of others for his Bhare of the Water of Life, which, by its means, he U able to draw aa freely as it was freely given.' ' I tee there,' I replied, ' the results of your own kind feelings, which prompted you i» a tedious labour that you might nave the pleasure of benefiting Grandy in the only way you could benefit him.' ' Tut! my feelings had nothing to do with it. I saw a duty staring me in the face and did it. All people must die, old ones most likely first. People who die ought to go to Heaven, and a they read the Guidebook they are most likely to go there : here was one old, couldn't read, at Death's door— might step out any day. I know two roads branch off outside it, and he ought to know all about which to take, taught him to read, and there he is finding it all out for himself. Of course I'm gratified; a successful labour pleases any man.' ' Henry, you deny your own geod heart.' ' Not sit all ; I have done what I confess was a disagreeable duty ; I found no pleasure in it until now. But if I had dona it from a good heart, b» you call it, it would have been a purely selfish action, in which my desire to gratify my feelings would have bcesi paramount to au other considerations.' Hut Gradv did not give his thanks as a matter of duty only ; bis feelings were very evident when he would exclaim, ?? Thee has done me the greatest ser vice, Master Henry, that one man doth to another. Thee has given unto me a key that unlocks a store of precious things, so that I may choose in my old age of the food that I took at other men's picking in my youth, God reward thee for the deed, and requite thee in kind, giving unto thee the key in thy heart by which hidden meanings are made plain,' To which Henry answered impatiently, ' Tush, Grandy ; don't make such a weighty affair of it. I only did my strict duty, as I hope I always shall,' and broke away from thanks that were distasteful to him. In Grandy's houBe I found a UttU resting-place whenever I was tired, a retreat in which I was never interrupted, a place where I might employ all my restless girlish taste in decorating, altering, and amending. I went there in the evening and sang songs whim in the twilight; I hung his room with my best sketches ; I took hitn my daintiest dishes and my rarest flowers. And I found in the dear old man a safe confidant and adviser on all subjects but one ; I could not speak te him of my mother. Once I tried and the answer effectually checked me for the future. ' Do not thee ask of me, Dottums : she laid on thy old Grandy a heavy sorrow, my darling, and if she repents I have no means of knowing. Her name ib Bpoken in thy old grandfather's prayers, Dottums, but never, until she again rests in these old arms, shall it pus my lips in any other way. So, be thee content, my darling ; I spare thee a grief by denying thee.be sure.'