The Adventures of an Ugly Girl
THE ADVENTURES OF
AN UGLY GIRL
They Act Like Magic on the Vital Organs,Regulating the Secretions, restoring long lostComplexion, bringing back the Keen Edge ofAppetite, and arousing with the ROSEBUD OFHEALTH the whole physical energy of thehuman frame. These Facts are admitted bythousands, in all classes of Society. LargestSale in the World.
that ends well; all who have Coughs,Colds and Throat Troubles are madewell by
of Cod-liver Oil, with hypophosphitesof lime and Soda. When lungs areaffected Scott’s Emulsion, if taken intime, prevents consumption. Physicians,the world over, endorse it.
The consumption germ takes root andgrows when the body is weak andemaciated. The germ passes off whenthe body is strong.
“As ithers see us.”—Burns.
“Come, Dora! I shall never be ready, if youdon’t make haste. They will be here in tenminutes, and my hair is not half so nice as itought to be, thanks to your carelessness.”
“You are very good to ignore my own claimsto attention so utterly. I have been helping youthis half-hour and have barely time enough leftto change my frock. To make my own hairpresentable is impossible now.”
“Why, what does it matter how your hairis dressed, or what sort of a gown you put on?You may just as well spare your pains, forunfortunately nothing that you can do seems tomitigate your ugliness. I’m sure I cannot thinkwhere you get it. You are—”
But, somehow, I did not feel inclined to waitfor the end of Belle’s encouraging lecture. Perhapsit was because I was so often treated tomy beautiful elder sister’s homilies that they hadlost the spark of novelty and had acquired achestnuty flavor. Perhaps I failed to recognizeany generosity in her persistent efforts to nipsuch latent buds of vanity as from time to timetried to thrust their poor little heads above thechill crust of ridicule and contumely. PerhapsI was really as bad-tempered as I was said tobe. Anyhow, my behavior could not claimto be either quiet or elegant as I stormilyquitted Belle’s room, slamming the door behindme with such violence as to elicit from my morewell-bred sister a little shriek of affected dismay.So far from feeling sorry that I had given Belle’snerves a shock, I wished viciously that her fingershad been jammed in the doorway, or thatsomething equally disastrous had occurred totake off the edge of her conceit and self-satisfaction.In the corridor I met my brotherJerry, of whom I was devotedly fond. But,although he had evidently some interesting remarkto make, I did not stop to speak to him,but hurried noisily to my own room, where Ilocked myself in, and threw myself on the bed,to give way to a storm of sobs and tears.
“And all for what?” it may be asked.“Surely a spiteful remark from one sister toanother is hardly worth all this display of feeling.”Ah, well, perhaps one such remark nowand then might be treated with the cool contemptwhich spiteful utterances deserve. Butdoes the reader know what it is to be perpetuallyand persistently snubbed from one year’send to the other? Does he realize how hard itmust be for a sensitive and love-craving girl tobe reminded that she is ugly and unattractive?Not reminded once in a way either, but prettynearly every day of her life. Or does any onedoubt how the heart must needs ache to see allthe love and flattery of friends and relations alikeshowered upon a being whom you know to beempty-headed and frivolous, while everybodyseems to regard your plain exterior as sufficientreason why you should be snubbed andneglected?
If the reader has ever had any of these experiences,he will the more readily understand myinability to restrain my tears on the especialoccasion just mentioned. For it really was avery especial occasion, and I had been moreanxious to look well at this particular momentthan I ever remembered to have been in my life.I had hoped that Belle, just for once in a way,would take a little interest in my personal appearance,and that she would help me to createas good an impression as possible upon the newcomerwhose advent I had both dreaded andlonged for.
But Belle was too self-engrossed, and toofirmly convinced of my hopeless unpresentability,to give the slightest thought either to meor to my feelings. Nay, she had even claimedso much of my time in the task of enhancingher own beauty, that, as we have seen, I hadonly a few minutes left for myself, and eventhis morsel of time was not utilized by me, asthings turned out.
The fact is, I was anxious and overwrought,and Belle’s unkind speeches had multiplied allday until they had utterly broken my composure.“Can it really be true,” I wondered inabject misery, “that nothing I can either door wear will help to mitigate the first feelingof repulsion which my new mother must necessarilyexperience at the sight of my ugliness?”
The question was of very vital import to me,for I longed for the advent of at least one sympatheticwoman in the house; and when I heardthat my father, now three years a widower, wasabout to marry again, I hoped, with a fervorthat was nearly akin to agony, that his secondwife would be the friend I so sorely needed.True, she would be my stepmother, and shewould naturally assume the direction of thehousehold affairs, at once placing the daughtersof the house in a subordinate position.This being the case, I believe it would havebeen more orthodox to have railed against thenew invasion, and to have followed the prevailingsocial custom of resolving to make life miserablefor the woman who had presumed to stepinto my mother’s place. But I always was terriblyunorthodox in many things, and, considerablyto my father’s surprise, I expressed myenthusiastic delight at the prospect of havinga stepmother to reign over me.
He need not have been surprised, if he hadever taken the trouble to understand me. Buthe was wrapped up in Belle’s charms, and neverlooked at me without regretting either my uglinessor my temper, which all in the house, exceptdear little Jerry, pronounced unbearable.And yet I can truthfully say, that if I had experiencedanything approaching to just treatment,I should have been infinitely sweeter-temperedthan my much-bepraised sister, thanwhom none could have been more unfeeling tothe motherless girl whose heart ached for a littlelove. I generally did Belle’s bidding, for shealways contrived to make things unpleasant forme if I rebelled against her authority. But toLady Elizabeth Courtney I felt ready to yieldthe most devoted service and obedience, if onlyshe would love me just a little in return; and Ihad anxiously revolved every means of creatinga favorable impression upon her. I meant tohave taken considerable pains with my toilet,and to have welcomed the home-coming bridewith radiant smiles.
And this was how my good resolves hadended. Just when—after working hard all dayto see that everything was conducive to a warmand comfortable home-coming—I had begun tohurry through my toilet, I was summoned toBelle’s aid, with the result that instead of givingmy stepmother a smiling welcome I was upin my own room, with a face red and swollenwith weeping, and a heart full of angry feeling,when she arrived. Presently I heard a carriageapproaching, and at the same instant Jerryknocked vigorously at my bedroom door.
“Be quick and come down, Dorrie,” he cried,in an eager, excited voice. “Papa and LadyElizabeth are nearly here, and I want you torun down the avenue with me to meet them.”
“I’m not coming,” I answered, with a sobthat was audible to Jerry and provoked him toquick wrath.
“I knew she would!” he exclaimed. “Thathorrid Belle’s been at her tricks again and saidsomething nasty. But don’t let her have thebest of you like that. Don’t you know that youpromised to go with me to meet them, and ifyou don’t come they won’t believe you are gladabout it.”
“I can’t help it, Jerry,” was my mournfulreply. “I look so hideous just now that I couldnot possibly face a stranger. Run off quicklyyourself. Say that I have a headache or somethingof the sort, and that I shall try to sleep itoff. Run now, there’s a dear boy.”
And forthwith Jerry, whose real name, by-the-by,is Gerald Mortimer Courtney, ran alongthe corridor, down the wide, shallow stairs,across the tiled hall, and into the open air, justas the carriage containing the newly marriedpair drove into the large graveled space in whichthe chestnut avenue terminated. In spite of mydiscomfiture and unpresentable appearance, Ipossessed my due share of curiosity, and hastilyjumped to my feet, crossed the room, and lookedthrough the window at the prancing horses andelegant equipage which bore the newcomers.As soon as the carriage stopped, a liveried footmandescended and opened the door with a flourish.By the time he had let the steps down,Belle and Jerry were at the carriage door, andI saw Mr. and Lady Elizabeth Courtney get outand exchange smiles and kisses with my sisterand brother, while I, poor pariah, looked onwith hungry eyes and an aching heart, and bewailedmy luck in seeming ill-natured and inhospitable,after all my efforts to prove thecontrary.
Lady Elizabeth, I must explain, had had somelove passages with my