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THE CHIMNEY CORNER.

PATIENT KITTY.

[ Continued .]

It may naturally be imagined that something like a renewal of springtide came to my poor Kilty (since she was so soon to be Frederic’s) after the weary winter time she had endured. She had shown a natural exultation at the proclamation of his innocence, though she had required no proof of it herself; and also a certain ineffable joy when she first heard the tidings of his return. But now she once more lost her spirits, and became pale and silent as before. “ Why, Kilty,” said 1, not hesitating to rally her upon'a point which a few weeks ago it would have been cruelty to touch upon, “ it is a very poor compliment to Fred to wear those melancholy looks ; he will expect a smiling welcome, and the same bright, cheery face that vou were wont to greet him with.”

Then she burst into tears and sobbed out that was the very thing that made her sad ; her brightness and her mei'riment, she felt, wore gone, and her beauty too. Fred was faithful, doubtless, but the girl who had won his love was no longer in existence, and only this sad substitute for her awaited him. Here she pointed piteously to her changed self, with which it was likely enough, she said, he would be far from satisfied. Of course I told her that since the change, if change there were, had taken place on his account, it should only make her dearer to him 3 and even added, in my desire to comfort her, that it was to be hoped that Fred himself would not be quite the man he was ; but my arguments made as little way with her as reason usually does with women. Indeed, her very trouble was curiously characteristic of the sex ; for who, being male, could bear disappointment, and almost despair itself, for years, like a gentle saint, and then, when the sun shone forth at last, make himself miserable about the loss of a few pounds of flesh and the acquisition of a gray hair or two ? I will do Fred the justice to say that these defects in dear Kitty, it he ever noticed them, made no sort of difference in his devotion to her, which

■\vas as great on his return as it had ever been, though perhaps of a graver and more earnest kind. And it was astonishing, when this was made plain to her, how quickly the woman began to grow into a girl, “as though a rose should shut and be a bud-again.” On their marriage-day the bridegroom, indeed, poor fellow, looked many years older than the bride, for the disgrace of his father had sunk deep in him; and even the great kindnesses of the Messrs. Halland had something of bitterness in them, inasmuch as they were reminders of it. As for me, I had expected a little coldness from myiormer friend on account of my want of faith in him, but that idea was dissipated at the very first clasp of his hand. “ How could you have thought me otherwise than guilty, Frank, when I as good as told you so myself by releasing Kitty from her engagement?” “ Yet she did not believe it !”. said I. £! But then,” returned he simply, “she is an angel.” When I think of. what she suffered, and how long and all alone (since she alone believed in him), and how she went on doing her duty, even to her brother, without heart or hope, I am quite of Fred’s opinion. And this it is, I say, when the young couple, rally me upon taking a wife, which makes me so hard to please. It is also partly their fault that I remain a bachelor, for we all lived together, and so happily that I do not desire a change; indeed, I openly accuse them of conspiring to. spoil me and keep me single, that I may always be the bachelor uncle, who shall leave ten thousand pounds apiece to each of their children. • As they have four at this present vyriting, it will be necessary for me to amass a considerable fortune to accomplish this. I seldom talk to Fred—for divers reasons—about the times when we were junior clerks, together, but I did once ask him to explain that mystery of the music hall, whence I certainly, saw him emerge, though he so confidently asserted he had been at home all nighf., “Well,”, he said, you might have seen me in the crowd about the doors, for I passed by there.on my way from Chancery Lane, where I had been to leave a parcel.” _ “A parcel in Chancery Lane, at mid-, night ! No, my dear Fred, that really will not do.” Then he laughed and blushed, and said: “Well, you needn’t tell Kitty about it; but the fact is when my poor father declined to consent to our marriage T determined to save all I could, and began to work out of office hours at copying for law stationers —” “ Then those were the ‘ windfalls ’ ” interrupted I. “ Yes ; when I had earned a pound or two, I could not help giving'Kitty a percentage of it.” And that was why he had looked so haggard and weary ; not from the sting of conscience, but through sitting up of nights driving the quill ! Upon the whole I am inclined to think, quite apart from the prosperity that has at last befallen him, that Frederic Raynor was worth waiting for, and that Patient Kitty (as I always call her) has been well rewarded for her fealty'. James Payn.

( Concluded.)

MR. SQUAB’S DOMESTIC CRISIS.

Sylvius Squab married Octavia, daughter of Samuel Jones, a respectable citizen, whose name has long been in everybody’s mouth, and as soon as the honeymoon had waned, took her to a bower on Strawberry Hill. The first serious effort was to come to a proper understanding respecting the relative privileges of each-*-a term I use advisedly, as it is mostly about the lady’s mamma- and the' gentleman’s pretty cousins and their privileges' that this understanding is necessary, Isut “proper understandings,” alas, are attained only after many atid bitter misunderstandings; so‘that for . six intensly excited months Mrs. Squab was in tear's and Mr. Squab in fine frenzy;'- Then, \vhen their bones of contention were fought into nothingness,'they; settled . down and became rational beings, and' as rational beings they’ lived together for

six years. But at the end of that time,, as Mr. Squab was but 26 and his wife, but 24 years of age, they were, it will seem, still blessed with youth and a capacity for folly. Samuel Jones , was dead and just buried, and the young couple were sitting in their darkened sitting room pulling off their mourning gloves. They had returned from the 1 dwelling that now contained only the widow of the late Samuel Jones and his seven single daughters. It was a solen » moment, and both husband and wife were depressed for Mrs. Squab’s cook had chosen this melancholy and inappropriate season to “ give warning,” and Mr. Squab had received an old man’s blessing, and nothing more, by the will'of the departed Samuel. “ Boor papa !” said Mrs. Squab, tenderly. “ Very,” said Mr. Squab, spitefully flinging his gloves into the depth of his hat, as" if they, were the remains of a departed citizen and his hat a grave. “What do you mean, Sylvius?” asked Mrs. Squab. “ What I say, my dear. He’s left you nothing, though you always made out he liked you better than the other girls, and that is why I acquiesce when you intimate your papa’s poverty.” “ This is "no time for irreverent levity. If you have no feelings yourself, you might at least respect the feelings of others ” Mrs. Squab sighed, to indicate that she was the unhappy possessor of feelings, and then said; “ I shan’t think of giving Elizabeth a character.” “Of course not, my dear. That’s only consistent with the family generosity— especially as poor Elizabeth deserves it!” “ I wash you could hold your tongue if.-you can use it only to revile, the dead. I wonder you don’t attempt to conceal your mean mortification in leceiving what you deserve from the ‘ family generosity’.” ; “ l ! nr afraid you’ve lost your temper, dear.”

“ I don’t regret if I have, Sylvius. My losses don’t affect me!” [This in allusion to Mr. Jones’s will.] “ Evidently, though you always professed a lasting regard for the poor old man.” [This in allusion to Mr. Jones.] “ Are you bereft of your senses, or what, Sylvius ?” . “ The latter, I think, my dear. When does El ; zabeth threaten to leave you?” “ Her wages are due this day month, and not one instant “ Hush, clearest; if you scream like that she will hear you. I must talk to the r girl and ask her to stay.” “ Ask her to. stay ?” “ Well, if you like to eat humble pie and apologize to her, why —” “ Do you think I would condescend to apologise to a servant ?” “ I wish I could think you would. It is only right that you should; and in my opinion there is as little condescension required in apologising as in quarreling and fighting with the cook.” “ I request to know, Mr. Squab, when you have’seen me fighting with the cook ?” . . “I have seen sufficient to make me blush for you, and to make my heart ache for the poor girls who, one after another, come here- to be annoyed and affronted by you.” “Don’t make yourself ridiculous! Me affront a common servant girl !” “i wish you would not annoy me by. misusing your pronouns, dear, l.ve noticed that you never visit your friends or your mother, but you return with some fresh vulgarism.” “Oh, dear!.. I am surprised that, since you are so fond of servants, you should be annoyed, by what you must hear so frequently in- their .society. 1 am . quite amused —ha, ha ! But I know your despicable motive ; you think you can hurt me by speaking disrespectful of my dear mamma. However, you waste your small invention by sotting it to .that work j for both mamma and I regard your opinion with the contempt it merits. When, I should like to know, has she done anything to offend you ? ’ I am sure'she loves you as if you weie her’bwn soii.” “Thank heaven, I’m not.” “ But you are, Sylvius; and when she comes to live with us—” “ Live with'us-1” T“Yes, Sylvius. I had intended tq tell you when yqu : were amiable ; but since you place that beyond my power by continually being a brute to me, I must t<4l you now. Papa has left nor thing but unpaid bills behind him, and mamma and my dear sisters have absolutely nothing except a few hundred pounds that must be kept for thendowries ; and so I have asked them to come and live with: us until the girls shall marry, and Uncle John dies and leaves mamma sufficient to live upon with comfort.” “ Why, your Uncle John is as young as I am, and your sisters are older and plainer than you.” “ Mr. Squab !” “ Now listen to me, Mrs. Squab. That woman —” “ Whom do you mean by ‘ wo-

man ?’ ” “ I mean your mother; and 1 say ‘ woman’ in charity, for her temper entitles her to a very different definition. I say that she, and those women, your sisters, shall never darken my threshold.”

“Am I to have nothing ? ” Is not this house as much mine as yours ? Do you suppose for one instant that I married you for yourself? Do you think I was won by the name of S —quab ; by your personal beauty ; by the charm of your intellect, or the amiability of your temper ? Ha, ha ! Faugh ! ” . - “ You cannot tell me anything that can further convince me of the sordid nature of your motives, madam. And don’t think your remarks about my personal appearance affect me. But I can tell you this much—not one of your v.ulgar crew shall live in the same house with me!” “ Then I, too, am not fit* to live in the satne house with you. ’'Bbt if not, I consider such a monsfej; as you are unfit to live in the same house' with rife, and I demand a separation and a settlement.” -.“ If you please, madam.” ;V. “ And I shall quit this house for ever to-morrow morning.” q: - “ If you please, madam.” “ I shall go to mamma.” “I have not the slightest objection, madam. >My; solicitor shall wait uponyqu there.”: And I, shall take. the : ■ dear children.” -

v Shan’t leave Georgie behind you.” an . infant at this period, cutting his,:teeth .under adverse circumstances. ■

“ I consider you a brute.” “My opinion of you I keep to myself”

“You are not a man: you are a— Oh, you ” And then Mrs. Squab left the room, slamming the door so vigorously that Georgie was awakened, and convulsionsensued. v' £

{To be continued.)

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18801221.2.14

Bibliographic details

THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 222, 21 December 1880

Word Count
2,167

THE CHIMNEY CORNER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 222, 21 December 1880

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