Hello, again, m'dears. For my second to last PB of the month, I am thinking of more music. After spending a good portion of the weekend listening to old Disney songs while playing ping-pong with friends, I can't help but feel very musical. Yes, I know it's an odd combination, but there you have it.
Walter and Emmeline Fairbourne are the epitome of a quiet middle-class London brother and sister. They enjoy their tea and reading in the evenings, and both of them are quite musically inclined. Walter plays the violin and Emmeline plays the flute, and they both do it so beautifully. Besides all of that, they own a lovely little house and have plenty of other quiet middle-class London friends with whom to converse and socialize.
Then an excitement takes London. They say that gold has been discovered in America, and everyone is talking about it. Suddenly tired of their simple life, the Fairbournes decide to try their fortunes in California. But a plain London life is no good training for life in the Wild West.
Meeting up with the eccentric and enormous Jenkins family (fourteen children!), the brother and sister begin their dangerous journey across the continent of North America. But the many people they meet on the way are suspicious of the foreigners, and it's not long before the bland and quiet Fairbournes have become the most mysterious 49-ers ever.
I am certain that most of you cannot have failed to hear of the Fairbourne siblings, Walter and Emmiline. They were the nicest children you could have ever known, and I do not know how they grew up to be so odd and eccentric. My Confidential Friend, who also knew them personally, is positive that it was the music.
You see, they loved music so much. They practically lived for music, although in the early days they managed to be decorous about it. In the early days they played respectable music, too, and in the quiet confines of their home. In the evenings, which they liked to spend in their small yet comfortable front parlor, not to be confused with their larger and less comfortable back parlor, they would play light, sophisticated tunes from Mozart, Vivaldi, Bach, and Beethoven. Every once in a while they played a simple Irish air, which ought to have been a warning sign as to what was coming, but no one heard them, so no one thought of it.
Before the days of their tragedy came upon them, they were the most lovely, decorous people you could ever meet. Walter stood tall and trim in a fine brown coat and plain gold watchchain, and Emmeline was shorter but still lovely in her dark blue dresses and starched lace collars. When I think of how they look now, I could almost cry. My Confidential Friend is certain that no one could ever look more eccentric than the Fairbournes do today.
It was all the fault of that dreadful newspaper. They were having a perfectly lovely evening in their front parlor. They had taken turns playing and singing, and then they were just sitting down to tea and their reading, when Walter noticed the dreadful, dreadful news.
"Emma, look!" he said. Such innocent, ominous words!
"What is it, Brother?" asked Emmeline in her voice which then was the sweetest, most kind voice one could ever hope to hear. How they have fallen!
"Gold has been discovered in California," said Walter. Then he did not have that excited note in his voice that never seemed to be absent later. Then he was merely reading the news of minor interest.
"Gold?" said Emmeline. "How nice for the people in California. That seems rather far away, though. Does it not?"
"All the way on the other side of North America," said Walter. "It is indeed a pretty distance. I think there must be many dangers and hardships on the way."
"Yes, it must be quite an adventure," said Emmeline. Her voice lingered on that last word, as if she was awakening to the beautiful and deadly taste of it. Her eyes began to close as if she were falling under the wonderful and fatal spell of it.
"Yes, it must be an awfully long journey," said Walter. He smiled at the tantalizing and terrifying thought. He quivered with the exciting and tragic words.
Yes, I am quite certain, and my Confidential Friend agrees with me, that it was the music that made them so susceptible to the spell of the West.
Thanks for reading, and God bless,