Miss Amelia Martin
Sketches by Boz by Charles Dickens
I’m still engaged with Sketches by Boz when I wrote this meme, and this time I bring up an interesting character in which Dickens would like to illustrate the danger of pursuing an instant ambition.
The young Miss Amelia Martin is a respectable milliner and dressmaker in London, to whom great many young ladies had given their trust for their fashionable dresses and hats. And not only skilful, Miss Martin had also been a professional who knew what her customers need, both in fashion term and in social daily conversation. If Miss Martin kept focusing in her business, I believe she would achieve success in the future. However something unexpected happened…
|illustration of a milliner|
Miss Martin had been invited to her friend’s wedding party. And that night our Miss Martin got to know—among the guests—the Jennings Rodolph couple, the owner of a music institution called White Conduit. With much encouragement from Mr. Jennings Rodolph, Miss Martin showed her voice that night, and received appreciation from everyone. The Jennings Rodolph couple soon encouraged Miss Martin to “come out” without delay, meaning to join the entertainment industry and become a singer. So, Miss Martin prepared herself and studied hard for her opening act on the White Conduit’s orchestra, with the consequence, of course, that Miss Martin must neglect her millinery and dressmaking business. Maybe she thought that millinery and dressmaking is only an ordinary job, while being a singer should give her a more glamorous life, fame and fortune.
Then at the night of the orchestra, the excited Miss Martin was gracefully led on to the stage for her performance. The symphony began, but…where was the singer’s voice?... Seemed that Miss Martin had started to sing, however “a faint kind of ventriloquial chirping” was all she could produce despite of her great effort. You can imagine what happened next. The performance was a great failure and brought quite a humiliation for Miss Martin, which I think should end her instant ambition of glamorous life.
Don’t you think this happens quite often in our real world too? Leaving behind something fruitful and promising that was already in our hand, to pursue something that was still vague. Miss Martin didn’t even look for second opinion or at least found a teacher to take singing lesson more thoroughly. She just trusted her future in the hand of Jennings Rodolph couple. I mean, who were they actually? They were just the owner of a music club, maybe they often searched for new talents, but that didn’t mean they knew everything about singing career. Oh Miss Martin…maybe you were just so naïve.. there isn’t such an instant success. What you have been doing with your millinery and dressmaking business was already great, you just have to keep developing it!