Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Caroline
by [?]

Since the time of Cinderella the First there have been many similar instances in real life of the persecution of youth by family injustice and cruelty, and no case more strikingly similar than that of Miss Caroline Brandenburg Gann, whose youthful career was one of monotonous hardship and injustice until the arrival of her fairy prince.

The story is a short one to relate, but to live through the days and months of sixteen unhappy years seemed an eternal process to the young heart beating high with hopes which must constantly be stifled, and give place to bitter disappointment.

But to go back for a moment to the time when Louis XVIII. was restored a second time to the throne of his father, and all the English who had money or leisure rushed over to the Continent. At that time there lived in a certain boarding-house at Brussels a lady who was called Mrs. Crabb; and her daughter, a genteel young widow, who bore the name of Mrs. Wellesley McCarty. Previous to this Mrs. McCarty, who was then Miss Crabb, had run off one day with a young Ensign, who possessed not a shilling, and who speedily died, leaving his widow without property, but with a remarkably fine pair of twins, named Rosalind Clancy and Isabella Finigan Wellesley McCarty.

The young widow being left penniless, her mother, who had disowned the runaway couple, was obliged to become reconciled to her daughter and to share her small income of one hundred and twenty pounds a year with her. Upon this at the boarding-house in Brussels the two managed to live. The twins were put out, after the foreign fashion, to nurse, and a village in the neighbourhood, and the widow and her mother maintained a very good appearance despite their small income; and it was not long before the Widow McCarty married a young Englishman, James Gann, Esq.–of the great oil-house of Gann, Blubbery, and Gann,–who was boarding in the same house with Mrs. Crabb and her daughter. These ladies, who had their full share of common sense, took care to keep the twins in the background until such time as the Widow McCarty had become Mrs. Gann. Then on the day after the wedding, in the presence of many friends who had come to offer their congratulations, a stout nurse, bearing the two chubby little ones, made her appearance; and these rosy urchins, springing forward, shouted affectionately, ” Maman! Maman !” to the great astonishment and bewilderment of James Gann, who well-nigh fainted at this sudden paternity so put upon him. However, being a good-humoured, soft-hearted man, he kissed his lady hurriedly, and vowed that he would take care of the poor little things, whom he would also have kissed, but the darlings refused his caress with many roars.

Soon after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. James Gann returned to England and occupied a house in Thames Street, City, until the death of Gann, Sr., when his son, becoming head of the firm, mounted higher on the social ladder and went to live in the neighbourhood of Putney, where a neat box, a couple of spare bedrooms, a good cellar, and a smart gig made a real gentleman of him. About this period, a daughter was born to him, called Caroline Blandenburg Gann, so named after a large mansion near Hammersmith, and an injured queen who lived there at the time of the little girl’s birth.

At this time Mrs. James Gann sent the twins, Rosalind Clancy and Isabella Finigan Wellesley McCarty, to a boarding-school for young ladies, and grumbled much at the amount of the bills which her husband was obliged to pay for them; for, although James discharged them with perfect good-humour, his lady began to entertain a mean opinion indeed of her pretty young children. They could expect no fortune, she said, from Mr. Gann, and she wondered that he should think of bringing them up expensively, when he had a darling child of his own for whom to save all the money that he could lay by.