Miss Cordelia in the romance of destiny; the most sensational love intricacy that has ever happened in West Africa

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Miss Cordelia in the romance of destiny; the most sensational love intricacy that has ever happened in West Africa
Physical Description:
43 p. : ; 21 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Nwosu, Cletus Gibson
Publisher:
Obtainable from: V. Okeanu and Unity Bookshop
Place of Publication:
Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Onitsha market literature   ( lcsh )
Nigerian literature (English) -- Nigeria -- Onitsha   ( lcsh )
Genre:
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 32403894
ocm32403894
Classification:
rvk - HP 7140
System ID:
AA00004295:00001

Full Text













MISS CORDELIA


ROMANCE OF DESTINY
THE MOST SENSATIONAL LOVE INTRICACY
THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED IN
WEST AFRICA

Written by

Cletus Gibson Nwosu


Obtainable from: -
VINCENT OKEANU, UNITY BOOKSHOP,
c/o EASTERN BOOKSHOP, 3 FREETOWN ST.,
60 AGGREY ROAD, PORT HARCOURT.
PORT HARCOURT.


SlITY OF FLORIDA .1BAlR






































LAJ















Dedicated To
LAWRENCE CHIKWENDU








FOREWORD.


I have the pleasure of introducing the author and
his work to the reading public and all lovers of novels.

Cletus as I know him is one of the Nigerian School
boys who delights in the attempt of things that are bold.
When he asked me to write a foreword to his book,
I was surprised because I never expected he could hold
his studies in one hand and use the other in compiling
a book so wonderfully exciting.
When I asked him his purpose of writing the books,
he gave me three main reasons:
(1) For the interest and amusement of all Nige-
rian students.
(2) For the purpose of dedicating it to his boyhood
friend and companion Lawrence Chikwendu.
(3) Finally to add his name to the list of Nige-
rian Authors.

I found his reasons brave and intelligent. He also
assured me that he has many other books in prepara-
tion. He hopes that by constant trial and not by
sitting down and criticising others he will one day
be ranked among the leading Nigerian novelists, Shake-
speare himself did not start all in a day. So I advise
all who can do so, to make attempt without fear of
being criticised. Why should we fill our libraries with
love stories from abroad when we have young men who
wish to try.
So I recommend the book to all lovers of literature.


AMBROSE ASUZU,
Transport Department,
Shell B.P.,
OWERI.









INTRODUCTION

This little book contains an imaginary love story
prepared by the author for the particular interest of all
Nigerian students.
To me, all the names mentioned in this book are
imaginary. If by chance any of them happens to be
your name, receive my sincere apology. I never meant
any harm for anybody. I can assure you that you will
enjoy the book from the beginning to the end.- After
a successful secondary career, I wish to put down in
writing some of the ideas that haunt my brains as. a
result of my particular interest in Novels and English
Literature as a whole while in school.
Since I am now for Automobile Engineering I cannot
settle down properly until, I have satisfied my conscience
that my interest in English Literature did not end with
my leaving college. I have made the book as simple
as possible so that an average boy can enjoy it without
his dictionary by his side.
This is a storf of a boy who supposed to have
come from Awka-was induced into marriage 3 years
after his secondary course by a lady who was foolish
and mad about love. Lack of experience could have
made theirs, the unhappiest marriage. With all the
necessary things ready for the marriage, they were cele-
brating their bachelor's eve, when an old woman inter-
fered by tracing an unknown affinity between the young
couples. Out of shame and disappointment, the boy.
went into a voluntary exile .leaving the lady behind
to suffer alone for the damage she has caused in their
young lives.
There are different opinions about certain comments
I made in this book. I have tried as far as possible
to restrict my ideas to Nigerian customs. If you ,hold:
a different opinion from mine, don't let that disturb y6u
from reading on for indeed I apologise.
C. G. Nwosti,
"'De' Black Morocco."
Institute of Automobile Engineering,
United Africa Company Ltd., ABA.








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


CHAPTER 1


Many a time have I heard and read about love.
but not until late could I know exactly that there are
two types of love, Sweet Love and Bitter Love. Many
are familiar with the former, but the latter visits only
poor unfortunate people like myself.
If you doubt yourself that love can be bitter, well
you have got to ask your way to the pleasant land
of Awka and see for yourself./ While .at Awka, it is as
easy as anything to find me out for even beggars know
me and the dumbs have heard my story. Old women
going to market talk about nothing but Cordelia and
her love intricacy. Market girls in their red cloaks sing
nothing but my name. Even old .men around their
firesides talk of nothing but that unfortunate daughter
of Mr. Okafor. Sometimes they prayed to God for me
to give me enough courage to bear my difficulties and
shame.
For every hand a glove is a policy more observed
by the youth in Awka than in any other place. One
evening, damned and cut off from all happiness as I
was, with my baby girl in hand, I peeped out from
the window of my room where fate has forced me into
a voluntary imprisonment. There in the streets hand
in hand were passing two happy lovers. In enviousness
and anger, I cursed everything that I could think of.
I thought of my past life and my disappointment. With
a heavy sound and baby in hand I collapsed on
the floor and fainted. When I regained my consciou3nes
once more there on my side was sitting one of the men
that I hated most-the man who called himself my
husband. Four times my age and an ugly piece of
nature's work. Roland was about the richest man is
that particular village. There was nothing admirable








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


about Roland except his money. I always felt happy
when he was away from home on business because I
could not bear to look into his face. He was branded
by Nature with such a stamp of abnormal ugliness that
he was no match for my angelic beauty. How he came
about to be my husband and a father to my baby girl
is narrated in the later, part of this book.

Well, dear reader, I will not puzzle you any more.
I shall start immediately to tell you who I am and
what has caused my unhappiness. Mine is the most
tragic love intricacy that has ever happened in the West
Coast of Africa. I am sorry to be the cause. My name
is Cordelia Okafor, the daughter of Mr. James Okafor
of the Awka Co-operative Union. My father married
two wives. My own mother and Edna-the rash.

When I was about two years old, a fight broke
out between my mother and Edna in which my mother
was killed. She was expecting another baby 'so Edna
was very envious because she could bear no children.
My father was often harsh to her. She hated all of us
and planned our ruin. We nicknamed her the rash
because half the night and throughout the day one could
hear her cursing everything and even blaming God for
having created her.

A fight broke out between her and my mother while
dad was away on business. She seized a piece of stick
and with a sharp blow across the stomach poor mother
went sprawling on her knees. Before dad could come
home, mother has died. You could just imagine the
awkward position in which I was placed. With. dad
almost staying away all the day, I was forced to live
with my mother's murderer. I hated her but she never
seemed to care for a hatred from a helpless fellow like
myself. She plotted to take away my life in a wicked
way without open violence. Observing that, dad sent
me away to live with my grand-parents until I was old
enough. Later on Edna was put to court for murder.







THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


She pleaded not guilty and after series of lies she was
sentenced to a year's imprisonment instead of condem-
nation for execution.

Edna's imprisonment humiliated her very much. She
came home a year later quite a different person. Some
clergymen must have preached to her while in prison.
She felt very sorry for her sins and proved that by
living a life of penance. Six months later she asked my
father to send for me and swore to be a true mother
and sincere guardian to me for the rest of her life.
As a child I liked variation more than anything so I
did not hesitate in coming back to her again. We lived
together in harmony all the days. But inspite of this
every time I remembered the cruel way in which my
mother was killed my heart burnt for the desire to
avenge.

Things moved on in this way as the years rolled
by. I was so brainy in class that before my ninth birth-
day I was already in Standard Four. By this time I
have not started to be interested in keeping companies,
either of boys or even my fellow girls.. With the exception
of my dad, any other one did not matter to me. I
always thought of the new dresses dady bought for
me and the appropriate occasion of showing them to
other girls less fortunate than myself. To my greatest
surprise, Edna fell ill and died shortly after that. Whe-
ther she died of any particular disease or out of remorse-
of conscience for her crimes no one knew. We buried
her with ceremony no less than that of my mother.
From that time I started to realise the difficulties and
the hardship of making a living for indeed I became the
mother of the house.

My childhood days" as I called 'them were coming
to an end. The boys of the town were pushing more
and more unbidden into my life. I received letters of
all sorts. Some pretending to pity my condition, gave
me some manufactured pieces of advice whereas actually
they wanted to use them as means of getting familiar








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


with me. I never cared for any of them and I burnt
their letters in heaps without replying. Often they stayed
together to talk' of that piece of beauty in town. Some
-commented on my bright oval face. Some seemed to
care more of my rosy appearance and delicate lips ;
whereas others were more interested in my "snow white
teeth" and hairy body. Some went so far as promising
me all sorts of things if only I could reply their letters.
This made things worse for I never cared for gifts. After
searching my heart several times, my conscience told
me that my time has not yet come.



CHAPTER H

Night after night, I dreamt I heard a voice telling
me that I should, in no distant future, come across some-
one destined for me. The age drew nearer as the years
rolled by. The beginning part of that particular year
was a very happy one for me. Not only that I passed
my Standard Six, but I also secured admission to the
Girls Teachers' Training College in my division. I enjoyed
my college life very well.

The fact that I was then a student increased the
number of letters I received every week. Some, of them
contained considerable sums of money but I thought it
very ridiculous of boys to send money to someone who
never cared for them or even replied their letters. I had
no intention of writing to any boy so I could not even
acknowledge the receipt of the sums I received, how
much more thanking them. I used the money as I liked
and instead thanked my creator for having given me
beauty which attracted all that looked at me. I was
often surprised how these boys, students as they were,
could save out of their pocket money and lavished these
savings on something not worth mentioning.








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


As a matter of fact I was proud. Later on I dis-
covered that while I was enjoying my pride, other girls
were enjoying the best that youth could'afford. They have
all got sources of happiness which I did not know until
of late. At our spare times, I always saw them in pairs
with letters in hands, jumping up excitedly when they
came across lines of interest. Actually I have no friends
in tile college because all the students called me"Pea-
hen of W:st Africa", for my pride. I had no one to
go about with consequently their source of excitement.
remained a mystery to. me. I often approached some
for them boldly when they read and shouted, but as soon
as I came near enough to hear them, they kept silence
and ask me to mind my own business.

On one of these .occasions .1I became so angry that
I pounced on one of them, tore the letter from her
hand and read it greedily. Before I could read further_
her friends were already on me. They gave me a thorough-
beating and dragged me to the Principal who in her
turn issued me with a written warning. I was very
unhappy. One of the girls pitied my condition and pro-
mised to keep me company regardless of my. pride. I
lavished all my interest and attention on her as a reward.

Not many weeks from that, she received a letter.
in a blue envelope and behind the letter was printed
the words "GUESS." I wondered what this meant. I
asked my new companion why the letter bore that word
instead ot the sender's address. She only replied with
a confident smile.
Carefully she opened the letter and on its top was
again written "Kiss before you read". Tenderly she
kissed both the letter and her own haai that held it
five times and then proceeded to read. She never told
me the content of the letter but only asked me to be
satisfied with the fact that it was a note from her sweetheart.
I asked her what she meant by that and she looked at
me in 'surprise.









THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


"Are you serious about your question Cordelia ?"
she said. "Yes" I replied, "what- type of a relative do
you call a sweetheart ?" "I am surprised" she continued,
"that at this .stage of your life you have not :ve -heard
of the word Love. No wonder you were oAlen sullen
and lonely. On my friend Cordy taste and .see that
Love is sweet. I tell you openly, the letter is from my
friend of the University College, Ibadan; The boy who
has promised to make me his wife. Ever sifice, .I knew
him, all the sorrows and difficulties of this life could
vanish from my memory in a moment as soon as 1
remembered him. So Cordelia, your own life hais been
hell on earth if you have not been in love.

One could just imagine how these words sounded
in my ears. I thought of the boys whose letters. I- have
burnt and I believed that I have burnt all my happiness
and that it was too late. From that time Onwards I
started to think about love hence I marked it "as the
beginning part of the tragic story of my life. All the
boys that have written me or showed interest in me,
have .given up hope and no longer wrote me. I' feared
they would no, longer give me another : opportufnit-y of
taking my chance so I decided to plan outi a Way of
getting them crazy about me once more. My pride was
a -great obstacle on the way. I believed I was too beau-
tiful a "baby" to be a match for any beggarlyly school-
boy not knowing that fate has destined to my failure
through the hands of -a schoolboy.

The incidence of my companion's letter from UCI
changed my life entirely from what it, was before.. I
developed more interest for my fellow students by approa-
ching them in turns for short conversations after each
day's work. I deviced all means in my power to prove
to them that I was sorry for all my past actions. Day
by day, they seemed to develop more interest for me.
Even the Prefect went and told the Principal that
Cordelia has turned into a new leaf. At any, time of
the day and in any part of the compound, I could
hardly be seen walking alone. I was more interested in








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


students younger and smaller than myself, especially ones
tat were clever, beautiful and fashionable. I, chose
thiee of them in particular to be my pets and I often
referred to them as "my apuds" or "my piers." My
apuds afforded me a very pleasant time and happy
cOmpany while in the college. They seemed to under-
my difficulties and helped me whenever I needed
help. Of all these pets, Lawrentia was the dearest to
me. I was in my final year while they were in their
first year at this particular time.

Not many weeks afterwards our college closed for
mid-term holidays after our practical examination. I
made up my mind before leaving the compound for
holidays that I would not be coming back. to school
unless I have got a boy. I prayed for a reliable one
because many a time have I read in novels, newspapers
and magazines about boys who make all sorts of pro-,
mises to girls only for the purpose of gratifying their
wicked impulses. I also prayed for a boy who would
actually love me in the same way he should love his
sister; and not to think or dream of anything which
would cause our shame and my downfall as have been
the cases with several people. My prayers were heard
and my failure in the field of love did not come from
that source.

Due to a general disturbance on the night preced-
ing our vacation we were forced to stay three more
days in the school. Before I returned, my town was
packed with holiday makers already; teachers, students
and elementary school-boys both natives and non-natives.

All the boys seemed to be waiting for my arrival.
I was very surprised why I should be an object of dis-
cussion for the whole town. I was not the only beau-
tiful girl in the whole town.

I came back on a Saturday evening. The following









THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


day I went to the service in my simplest dress to. avoid
all attraction, yet eyes concerned preferred my simple
dress to the queenly robes of other women.

After service one of the boys came up to me on
my way home and offered to take me home on his
bicycle. I never liked this and was on the point of re-
fusing when I looked back and saw faces ready to laugh
at him.

Reluctantly and more or less out of pity I mounted
on the bicycle. On the way he asked me several .questions
about our school and some other things, thinking that
he has won me, but I did not even open my mouth nor
smiled until I was off that bicycle.

I never appreciated his help but out of courtesy
I thanked him as he turned to go. Even I expected
he should thank me for having given him the privilege
of sitting on his bicycle. Anyway whether I thanked
him or not, he never seemed very much worried. He
rode away jto boast of his achievements before other
boys. He believed he has done what Napoleon could
not do.

CHAPTER III

One of my college friends by name Antonia visited
me during the holidays. We had a very nice time together.
I showed her the whole town and all the things of par-
ticular interest. When she was about to go I gave her
many nice gifts I bought for her. Daddy gave her some
money and a letter for her own father. She than-
ked me very .much but still remarked that there was
something I denied her which she never expected.

"What was it"? I asked her, "I have stayed with
you for ten days enjoying the best of hospitality". She
said, "we have almost touched all places but you refused
to take me with you to go and see your boy. Surely








16 THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY

if it were you that came to me, the first place of interest
I should take you to was to see my boy of the Boys'
High School, Port Harcourt.
If you hide your friend from me Cordy, to whom
then will you show luhm?
I found it impossible to open my mouth and tell
a junior friend that I have got no boy friend. I apologised
and she readily forgave me too. She went away leaving
me to think of myself and why I was actually in the
world.
As soon as Antonia arrived home, she wrote me
expressing her thanks for the nice time she had with
us and for the gifts she received. She also sent me the
best of all wishes and greetings from her boy who was
then with her when she was writing the letter to me.
I looked around me while reading the letter and I saw
that I was alone in the room. No companion, no joy
and no source of comfort. I shut my eyes, flung myself
into my bed and cried until I could cry no more.
For nearly three days, I neither ate nor left my room.
Daddy thought I was ill and bought me some tablets
which I never took. I put them in my mouth when he
was looking at me, but as soon as he went away I threw
them under, my bed. As a matter of fact I was no
victim of any disease but sick of the affection in youth.
I picked up my courage where I left it, sat on my bed
and with both hands on the cheeks I resolved to get
a lover that week.
As a Nigerian girl, I must never be the first to
make a move in my dealings with any boy. -So, I only
prayed for a nice opportunity. I was a very proud girl.
Despite the gravity of my resolution, I was never pre-
pared to accept anybody beneath my expectation. To
me, nothing but the best was good enough. I prayed
for a young fashionable smart and social somebody.
I never cared for money; all I wanted was somebody
who could contribute to my happiness and









THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


love me in a christian way. So the type of love I needed
was not the kind you could pick or drop on the wayside
any time according to your discretion. Some boys are un-
christian of ,course, who call themselves diamond chasers-
boys who would not keep to one friend alone are not
at all diamond chasers but traders in love credit and
cash. These boys have been, and are always to blame
for -encouraging and increasing the number of ladies who
wish to remain unmarried.
As a woman, it should not be in my power to call
a spade a spade in this particular affair but all right
thinking citizens can understand me if I call it a knife.
I was still waiting for an opportunity to present
itself. My father married a third wife, this time a pretty
young woman. She relieved me from the burden of caring
for the household so I loved her .very much. Both of
us shared equal interest in all things. Any marriage
feast in the town was the best source of entertainment
for boys and girls, both lovers and the beloved. This
time daddy wedded in the church. The bachelor's eve
was a very outstanding one and fairly enjoyable to all
except myself. While every girl had somebody to dance
with, I had none to whisper to. I saw a group of boys
whispering behind the orchestra and pointing to my
direction. I knew without beibg told that they were
discussing something about me.
All the guests expected that I should dance. "I knew
the steps quite all right but had nobody to dance .with.
None of the boys approached or spoke to me because
they feared my pride and none of them would like
to be disgraced before such a crowd. Among the group
of boys, there was one I should have sacrificed all the
world for the pleasure of dancing with ; but he did
not even likejto look in my direction fearing the proud
actions of that country peahen. I decided to win him
over, so I looked in his direction until our eyes met.
I smiled in a: way that portrayed affection. He under-
stood me and smiled in return. Over five and half








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


feet tall, exceptionally hairy, elegant and charming, Joseph's
mother must have descended from Appollo. He was one
of the few Negro boys with blue eyes and teeth whiter
than snow.

The orchestra stopped for a short rest during which
I made preparations for dancing in the next display.
It resumed after ten minutes and with one of the most
modern pieces of High Life Mambo. Joseph stepped up
to me, took my hand to the greatest surprise of all
who knew me. We danced until the stars shone above
us and would have fallen from their places. For the
first time in my life I felt the delicate but caressing
arms of a boy inquest of love. A new life came into
me. He twisted me, squeezed me and looked into my
hungry eyes, giving me all that I have been longing
for. The music, stopped abruptly and all shouted and
clapped for us. While returning to the group of boys,
he was welcomed with shouts of Congrats Congrats!
for indeed "he has tamed the shrew". As for me I was
very happy for I have got what I wanted at last.

I spent the rest of the wedding period thinking
what steps I might take next,

Soon afterwards, the ceremony was over and all
retired to their respective homes. I went into my room
and imagination played its tricks on me. In every object
around me I saw the delicate ebony face of Joseph,
I shut my eyes yet I fancied I saw it even in the dark-
ness. I was distracted in this way for many days. My
father's wife discovered this and asked *me why I was
always distracted. I did not want to hide the truth from
her so I told her all the story. "But why do you look
impatient and worried as well ?" she asked. I told her
I was worried because since the night, we fell in love,
Joseph has always seemed unconcerned. He has not
made any move to satisfy me, and that increased my
doubt whether he actually loved me or not. "Look
here Cordy girl" she replied. "Do not be worried.
Joseph loves you I can assure you. Since he









THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


noticed that he has cast the spell of love on you he
chose to act in this way in order to assume more im-
portance. I can assure you that if you withdraww your
interest now, he would come creeping on his kness with
thousand letters of apology for this behaviour. Men are
the worst pretenders of the modern age."



CHAPTER IV

Three days later, there was a football match between
the holiday makers of the town and the native team,
Joseph captained the holiday makers team and defeated
the native team by narrow margin after one of the most
thrilling games of the twentieth century soccer. He won
people's admiration and received gifts after the game as
a result of being the best player on both sides.

I was mad with envy when other girls pressed forward
among the crowd to have hand shakes with him. Some
cleaned his face with their handkerchiefs and others
shouted, well done Joe boy.

He was smilling but not in a satisfactory way. He
looked around the host of girls that surrounded him as
if to say he was missing something. As soon as he saw
me, he smiled broadly and looked at me with his left
eye half open. I stepped up to him and offering my
hand for a shake, congratulated him for his nice
display. He held mn a second longer than was normally
required and this produced a far reaching .effect on the
other girls standing around. One by one they deserted
until I was seen standing alone with Joseph. He handed
over all the gifts he received to me as if to say that
he has won all those prizes for none but me.

"Now I have been assured" I said softly to myself,
"No more worries, no more sickness 'of the heart. Joseph
is mine and I his."









THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


Can ever two people live so happily, letters flowed
from one to each other, the contents of which I should
not disclose. Our love spread in the town like Radio
Newsreel. Like Sir Lancelot of the Lake and Elaine the
Lily Maid of Astolat, people pledged our love in their
drinks.

I invited Joseph to dinner one of these days and
during our conversation I asked him to promise to be
faithful to me. He swore that he would call me 'his'
as long as there was life. With my arms around his
neck, I promised him the best of love that a girl ever
gave to a boy; with a single kiss we sealed these pro-
mises and it was on this lone kiss that our love and
dreams were built.

All this time I have been on holidays the end of
which was fast approaching. We have mentioned nothing
about marriage to each other. We were yet watching
the ways of one another. "Engagement which leads to
a happy married life should not be done in a hurry
or in love-at-first-sight."

Just before I left for our school, daddy received
a letter from one of his old friends studying in America.
The man, Solomon by name, was a student of medicine
in the College of Medical Evangelists, Los Angeles, Cali-
fornia. I did not know him myself so he addressed
his letter to me through my father. After reading the
letter himself, daddy handed it overlto me and the contents
were as follows:

DEAR MISS CORDELIA,

Your father must have explained to you
exactly who I am. So, to introduce myself to you more,
I am Dr. Solomon Okonkwo. I shall be taking my
Doctorate Degree in Surgery here this year and next
year I shall go to Liverpool to specialize in tropical
medicine. I hope to build a hospital when I come back
to Nigeria and so I want a wife who will come up







THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


here to California and study midwifery at my expense.
Will you grace me with the kindness of accepting me
as a husband ?

Yours Sincerely,
Solomon Okonkwo, M.B.

As I read the letter, my father smiled confidently
expecting that I would welcome the idea with all happi-
ness. Even though I did not deserve to be a wife -to
a big man like Solomon, yet the fact that I loved Joseph
and Joseph loved me rendered all other offers of marriage
entirely ridiculous to me. Joseph was to take his School
Certificate Examination in the same year and he should
have equal chances of also going to America with me.

That same evening, daddy called me. to his room
and said, "Sweet daughter, what is your opinion about
Dr. Solomon ?" I told him that I have not made up
my mind yet. He became very angry and dismissed
me from his room. That was the first time' dad was
really angry with me. I knew he would never take a
'No' for my answer. At the same time I feared to
annoy him more. Not knowing what to do, I went
into my room and wept bitterly.

I opened my album and bringing out Joseph's photo-
graph, clasped it in my breast and cried over 'it in 'the
following words:- "Shall I leave you, Oh Suinshine; of
my existence ? Shall you remain behind while I go away
to see you no more ? Fame is nothing. to nie and wealth
is trash. Without you Joseph my life is delicate and in-
complete. I will rather suggest an elopement than to gee
you deprived of your Queen in this way."
Having been excited by all that I said, I -jumped
about in my room shouting in anger. "No, it is im-
possible. Father cannot impose it -on me- like: that: I
will, rather choose death or.forfeit his benevolence. If
the saying is true' that naturally a girl has right to








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


make her own choice. Thou art my choice Joe Boy
and no one else".
On the evening of the following day, my father
called me again into his room. I trembled with fear
and my lips became white with passion. Joseph has
not told me anything about marriage, but I trusted he
would do so. I did not know what answer to give my father
because if I refused, he would ask me my reason for
doing so. I went into the room and I found some of
my relatives there, whom father called in to speak! strongly
to me.
They were watching my steps as I was coming in.
One of them said to me in a tone very grave and comman-
ding, "Tell us now what your opinion is, naughty girl'.
"Sirs," I replied, "I beg you to listen to what I am
going to say. You have seen more days I believe than
myself and consequently you have acquired more expe-
rience about the affairs of the world in which we live.
Now, which one of you will condescend to answer me this
question, which one of these three things prevails in
the world today: Love, Wealth or Fame?"
There was a short silence in the room which my
father broke with a shout, "Look here Cordelia" he
said, "don't put me in the position that you would
not like to find me. I have given you ten minutes from
now to make up your mind and answer the question
put 'before you. I will not kill you if you refuse, just
tell us your opinion and don't be sulky any more.
Remember how I have nursed you since your mo-
ther's death and sent you to college with plenty of
pocket money every term. It is true that you have the
right to make your own choice but I have seen examples
where father's recommendations produced nice effects
at last. Dr. Solomon has given me the special privilege
as a friend of asking my daughter's hand in marriage.
Now if you disappoint me you must not fail to realise
that you have done a lot of harm to my future happi-
ness. You must consider my own happiness first before
yours." I inte rrupte d, "I can see now that







THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


you are trying to force me to marry Dr. Solomon be-
cause he is wealthy. I will no more give consideration
to your entreaties. You can do me anything you want,
you can cut off my head, or shoot me or even disin-
herit me. I cannot give my heart to a person because
he is rich." Saying so, I turned and left the room and
all were. surprised at my courage.
The following morning, while daddy was alone in
his room, I went in to ask his forgiveness for my sulki-
ness. As a father, he forgave me readily. He also used
that opportunity for putting a different question before
me-"Since you have refused to marry Dr. Solomon"
he said, "can you then let me know whether you are
already in love with anyone, so that it can form a sub-
stance for my reply to Dr. Solomon?"
"That's right daddy," I replied, "you should have
asked me this question before introducing any unknown
person to me. Well, I have a boy whom I call sweet
Joseph. He is a student in one of the Boys' Secondary
Schools at Onitsha. We became interested in each other
this term and ever since then, I have been dreaming
about things imaginable. So, I don't think I can be a
useful housewife to any other person except Joseph".
As soon as I came out of my father's room I ran
to Joseph to tell him of the trial I have undergone and
how I have braved everybody for his sake. I met him
writing a letter and it was addressed to me. He handed
over the letter to me and I smiled with happiness as my
eyes went through the sweet words in which he addressed
me. Towards the end of the letter he wrote, "Consider
my words, adorable Cordelia and if you want to be
my wife as I requested, come round to me this evening
and let us seal it with another kiss before I leave Awka
tomorrow for my school."
That was all I wanted and all I have prayed for.
I was very happy but I did my best to hide the excite-
ment. "What a happy girl will I be in school" I said
to myself, "When I go back in three days' time.







THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


My pride shall no longer be without reason. I awoke
from sleep of late to find that my mates have gone
ahead of me in the field of love. I have found love
at last and in such an abundance that I have surpassed
all who started before me."

Turning to Joseph, I said, "I have gone through your
letter and answer it in the positive." "Thank you Cor-
delia," he replied, "we shall be the happiest husband and
wife that have ever lived since the fall of Adam." After
wishing one another safe journey back to school and suc-
cess in our studies we parted with our lips wet with
kisses. The following morning I went to the motor park
and waved goodbye to my sweet-heart.

Two days later, I went back to my own school to
spend. my last term as a student. We started studies
in earnest and all the students were surprised to see
me so bright and social. They knew without being
told that a change has occurred in me. A week after
our. reopening, I received a letter from Joseph and it
was one of the most sentimental notes that a man has
ever constructed. I read it over and over again some-
times alone and sometimes in the presence of my special
friends. I was never good at writing letters myself,.
but I enjoyed reading the ones from other people. So
he had to write me again before I gave him a reply.


CHAPTER V

The days rolled by while a. stream of letters flowed
between us. Our final examination was to take place
in two weeks' time. I received a telegram from Joseph
wishing me success. At this time, he was in his -third
year in the college.









THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY 25
After the examinations, we went back [to our dif-
ferent towns waiting for "letters of location" as we
called them. Mine came a few days after our final
vacation and I was appointed to teach in the Girls'
School in my town. This was a great pleasure to me
for I was still to be under the care and guidance of
my parents. Soon after that, all the schools closed for
Christmas holidays. Joseph went straight from Onitsha
tb Northern Region en holidays and was not back until
after Christmas. He came back at the early part of
the new year, so after staying together for a few days,
he went back to his school as a fourth year student.

Not many weeks after, the reopening of s schools, the
result of our Elementary Certificate Examination appear-
ed and I was successful. .There was a great 'rejoicing
in our family. The following day being Saturday, I
went to Onitsha to see Joseph and to narrate abqut
my success to him personally. Before I could arrive
Onitsha, he has read about the result in the newspaper.
So, as soon as he saw me coming, he jumped up from
his seat, and welcomed me with a warm, soft embrace'
which was too sweet for resistance.

He was a day-student so he had enough liberty to
make joy out of my visit. He neglected all the home
lessons for the next day's classes. "I know what eX-
cuses I shall present before the tutor tomorrow" he
said, "Our Maths Tutor is a vain-glorious man who is
often guided by the principles of other men. He likes
to hear himself praised and so I can trick him easily
by flattery." Turning to me proudly he said, "Let's go
ajad see the -town."

We made our way. to the "Onitsha Guest House"
and after a nice drink we went to the pictures. It was
SAMSON AND DELILAH in AURAT. After the
filmshow, we went back to Joseph's hostel in a taxi.
On our way Joseph said to me, "Cordy, I should have
enjoyed that filmshow but for one thing." Wha








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


was that ? I enquired. "Did you see," he continued,
"another proof to the fact that women have been and
will always remain man's greatest source of failure ?"

I frowned at that statement not merely for the
reason of being a woman, but because I thought it was
alluded to me. I thought about our company that night
and blamed myself for the effect my visit was to cause
in Joseph's studies. I kept silence pretending that 1I
did not hear him.

After a long silence he repeated the statement once
more hoping to hear some comment from me about it.
In an angry tone, I replied "I hope you are not refer-
ring to me Joseph ?" "Oh no sweet Cordelia" he replied,
"'I was just trying to create a topic for conversation.
I had no intention of alluding it to any particular wo-
man how much more to you-the source of my comfort
and the sunshine of my existence. I cannot afford to
annoy you darling for if I miss you, I cannot find any
other angel anywhere. We have been meant for each
other and 'so let's take our chance

What is a Secondary School and what is an exami-
nation ? What do I care for the future life since the
present is heaven to me. I cannot imagine any other
temporal thing a man can require in this life if he :has
got a sweetheart. Wealth ? Damn it. Education? For-
get about it. I am better off than the richest American
film star or the most famous university 'professor when
I have my arms around you."
The Taxi driver who has been listening attentively
forgot the number of the house he was told and carried
us an extra half mile before Joseph could stop him.
Before 6 a.m. the following day, I was on my way
back to Akwa. I arrived home soon after that, I was
to go to school that morning so I was lucky to get
home in time and prepare. The first class I taught was
Standard Three. Joseph's youngest sister was in my,
class so I favoured her always' with my assistance.








THE ROMANCE OF DESINY


Two weeks later, I took my first pay as a teacher.
After making room for all the necessary expenses, I
sent the rest to Joseph ; I had nobody else to cater for
since I had neither brother nor sister. Dad himself should
not expect any money from me and so I was free to
spend my money in any way. As from the second month
I made it a law for myself to be sending him three
pounds every month. He wrote me many letters of thanks
and each time assured me that only death could keep
us apart or prevent us from marrying each other as
soon as possibility could allow. I felt very happy and
proud, a girl who has been promised marriage and what
more by a person equally young and charming. So
I decided to make him the richest and happiest student
that has ever been to any Nigerian Secondary School.
Whenever he came home on holidays, I always forbade
him from coming to any function or public gathering
except in suit.


CHAPTER VI


While things moved so sweetly,, the day.
shorter than usual. Soon Joseph was in his final term
in the college. Going through his letters of promise, I
always dreamt of things real and imaginable. Oh what
a happy bride shall I be and what a nice bachelor's
eve shall ours be, with all the girls of' the town keeping
my vigil with me and music flowing everywhere.

The School Certificate Examination was fast approa-
ching so I wrote him many letters of good wishes.
"Remember gentle Joseph" I told him, that our future
happiness is tlependent on your success in the forth
coming examination. If you miss it now, it will be di-
fficult for you to get it again. Since the examination
is an entrance to any profession one chooses to fol-
low, our marriage has to be postponed to a farther









THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


date until you pass it. To avoid all inooaveniences that
may result, forget about me meantime and do your
revision without distraction." With that I ceased writing
him until after the exam.

Three months after the examination the result was
published and Joseph passed in Grade One with credits
in all the subjects. How I congratulated him and how
we rejoiced over his success should not form a part of
this book. He got an appointment in the office of our
Rural District Council as a clerical assistant. I left him
to rest undisturbed for the first six months of his
appointment. After that, I put before him the sugges-
tion of fixing our marriage as soon as he possibly thought
fit. Each time I mentioned marriage he seemed to look
worried. I feared greatly but refused to think he would
ever disappoint me. So I rather kept patience.

One evening, Joseph's sister came to me with a
letter. For the reason I could not guess my heart was
overjoyed and my hands trembled as I broke the seal.
It was certainly a letter from him and I expected it
should be either a disappointment or a blessing. I read on.

MY HAPPINESS,

I have been so silent over your sugges-
tions about marriage these days that you might have
thought otherwise. You would be unkind to think so
since you know you are an angel to me and angels
are rare. If I miss you then death will be my next
goal. I have promised to marry you and I must keep
my promise. You are mine and mine for ever.,

I am equally eager about fixing ;a, date for our
wedding soon, but not sooner, than could be possible-.
Give me two years more and let look around the
world and know what is happening. We are too young
to wed now Cordy especially in the first year
of my life after college. We shall not be handicapped by








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


cost of living I am sure, but by lack of experience.
What do we know yet about sex ? Consider my words
darling and you will see with me. How would I feel
to hear a little one call me papa at the age of nine-
teen. When I should be going about in company of
fellow young boys, I would confine myself inside because
my child is sick. No, my girl, think about that. There
is right time for everything. I should have been very
happy to postpone everything about our marriage until
ten years' time but I have reduced it to two years in
order to please you. By that time also I shall be twenty
one and a full man.
Think over it properly and then let me know your
opinion. I am waiting for your reply.
Wishing you all God's blessings.
I remain,
Yours In Heart,
Joe Ugbaja.

After going through the letter several times, I realized
that he was speaking the truth so. I made up my mind
to wait.

The period seemed a very long one but with patience
I overcame the pangs of impatient expectation. During
the time of waiting, many gentlemen tried their luck
about me; but failed. The best offer of marriage which I
regretted most at last for having turned down was by
a certain Senior Civil Servant from Onitsha. He was
a married man with two children but his wife died of
motor accident while learning how to drive. He pro-
missed me all the happiness that a woman could dream
of in this world. I looked partly at him and partly at
his flashing Opel Car. That was the first and the only
time I was tempted to forsake Joseph.

Wealth without happiness was meaningless and the
only source of happiness to a married couple is perfect
love. I did not love the man but I admired his wealth.
Moreover, I did not want to go to Onitsha









THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


to bear the burden of nursing two small children which
were not my own.

We were about to enter the third month since two
years have elasped, but I have heard nothing from Joseph.
I was very m-ich worried and while contemplating on
what might have been the cause of his silence, a mail-man
knocked at my door with a letter from Joseph. I opened
the letter and read two lines at a time as hands shivered.
I jumped up for joy as soon as my eyes came across
the following words "Would you consider it fit, darling,
if we fix our wedding on the 27th of December when
many people would still be at home for Christmas.

I did not wait to read further, taking up my pen,
I replied immediately in a telegraphic form:-
APPLE OF MY EYES,
Your letter received-thanks in advance-
your suggestion approved.

Keep well for me.
Your sweet,
CORDELIA.

That month was September so the wedding was
to take place in four months' time. I did not waste
time in making the necessary preparation. Daddy was
happy about it too. He sent out invitation to all friends
and relatives both at home and abroad. He gave me
some amount of money too with which I purchased
all the dresses necessary for the occasion. I took time
and pains to make my selection the best.

Before the tenth of December all things were ready.
Joe's leave was due on the thirteenth so he came home
two weeks before the wedding. I did not want to invite
any of my townsgirls as bridesmaids fearing they would
deliberately make the function a failure. They were
all angry with me, and envious too. The right to be
Joseph's was an election in which I won with









THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


majority of vote and many of them lost their deposit.
I saw in time that they were not happy with me so
I selected my maids from a nearby town.



CHAPTER VII


As the time drew nearer, I became happier and
looked far lovelier than ever before. Christmas came
and passed and the twenty-sixth night was the bachelor's
eve. Everything around me looked noble and queenly.
The ceremony was to take place in the compound of
Joe's father. Dad was a Christian but Joe's father, a
wealthy, illiterate pagan. He made use of his money
in preparing the occasion to be the most famous in
all the land. It surprised me too to receive some messages
of good wishes from most of the men whom I have
refused to marry. Even Solomon sent a cablegram from
overseas. How he knew about my wedding remained
a puzzle to me all my life.

According to custom, I observed my own vigil in
my father's house in the company of my maids. Joseph
with all the important guests and relatives spent his
in his father's compound. The "Californian Vanderers
Orchestra" was in attendance, led by "Fairman" their band
master-a well known Jaz King and a Mambo Specialist.

During the night, I made frequent visits to my
future compound in the company of my maids to see
how things went on. Each time I came the boys shouted
"Hey! behold the queen coming to see her king." The
bachelor's eve continued until 2 a.m. the following morning.

I had gone in to have a short sleep with my
maids when somebody knocked on the door of my room.
For the reason I did not know, that tapping produced









THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


a great effect on me. I grew pale immediately and my
heart beat faster than before. "Who are you ?" I asked.
"Miss", replied the voice of Joseph's sister. "Something
has gone wrong. Four old women have come to the
social gathering and their looks portrayed that they have
something serious to say about the wedding. They have
asked you to follow me immediately. They brought with
them all the important men of the town. The music ceased
and all the men sat with their arms crossed in silence."

I dressed up immediately and followed her and
While leaving the room, I saw in the glass an image.
of exhausted beauty which I never believed to be mine.
Arriving there, I saw all the people in gloomy faces.
When Joseph saw me he tried to force out a smile but
could not. Nothing has been said and no one knew
the minds of the old women, yet Joe smiled in a way
that suggested disappointment. Those old women were
the most fearful creatures in the whole town. They
were religiously known as the messengers of the gods
and often they predicted things which came to happen.
So it was compulsory that they should be respected and
feared especially by the pagan folks. I took a seat be-
side my dad and -there was& silence everywhere.

After conferring among themselves, one of the wen-
ches stood up and said : "Peace be to you my children
and to all who fear the gods. Listen to us and you
will learn the words of wisdom, for wisdom is the daugh-
ter of old age.- We have seen more years than any of
you here and it is our duty to direct you when your
feet have gone astray from the path of righteousness.
As messengers of the gods, we see a lot of things going
on in the town which are hidden to you. We are sorry
to leave our fireside this night to interrupt in the merri-
ment you are staging among yourselves. By reasons of
relationship which even the fathers of both did not
know Joseph should not marry Cordelia."

My eyes turned red and immediately I felt pains
in all the joints. "What do you mean by that,. old







THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


she dragon ?" I interrupted. "You can call me anything,
foolish girl but I must assure you that if you dare marry
Joseph, you pay for the scandal with your own blood".

Dad stood up gently and said, "Explain to us more
what, you mean kind old ladies for I cannot see in any
way how I am related to Mr. Ugbaja". "Don't mind
them daddy", I said, "after all I am a Christian and
should pay no heed to pagan ideas". I was about to
exchange .more harsh words when daddy hushed me in
a humiliating way.

The same hag who has spoken before stood up
again for she seemed to be the leader. "I don't blame
you Mr. Okafor for asking" she said, "Since you do not
know, if we let this pass, we are the people to suffer
from the hands of the gods more than you. Did you
ever hear from your mother when she was alive that
you were born with a twin sister who was kidnapped
in her infancy by a person nobody knew except the
gods and we their agents. Your twin sister was sold
for ten shillings and she was brought up in a place
thirty miles from here. When she grew up, she was
coincidently married to Mr. Ugbaja and two of them
begot Joseph whom your daughter wants to marry".
So turning to me she continued. "You see now proud
girl that Christian or no Christian, you have no right
to marry your cousin, so you can hang your naughty
head in shame."

There was silence everywhere as the old women
turned to leave the place. They have just gone a few
yards when one of them turned to us and said, "We
don't want any of you to come to our individual homes
for further discussions on this topic. Mr. Okafor, we
are sorry that 'we cannot tell you who it was that kid-
napped your sister because though dead long ago his
descendants are here now. If we do so, there shall be
a disturbance in the whole town and we shall be butchers
and no more sacrificers".








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


CHAPTER VIII



I passed my hands across my eyes to make sure
that it was not a dream. Everybody was silent, the
pagan folks trembled at the words of the aged woman.
Some knelt down and prayed to their gods to forgive
them for having taken part at all. "Forgive us gods"
they said, "we did not know".

This humiliation was too much for my heart to
withstand. My pride was crushed out of- my heart and
there was nothing left for me but to die. "But why
should I die in this way" I said, "What have I done T'
I, who have never harmed any God's creature. Why
have these old women lived so long only for the pur-
pose of breaking my heart.

All this time, I have never left my seat for though
wide awake, I was only half alive. My spirit was at
the point of leaving my body. I looked for comfort,
but none came to me. Joseph's eyes were red with
weeping. My dad was upset in mind. Everybody pitied
my condition except Joseph's pagan father who was
rather grateful to the old women for having made the
truth known in time. "I will go tomorrow to the fortune
tellers" he said, "and ask them how to appease the anger
of the gods. No wonder why I felt pains in the body.
all the time the ceremony has been going on."

The words of the wenches still rang in my ears.
I remembered the quotations I learnt in school "There
is a tide in the affairs of men which when taken leads
onto fortune." I have missed Joseph and that meznt
that my days were done. I saw death, I smelt death,
I felt the pangs of death. I have annoyed every young
man in the town for Joseph's sake. I have turned out








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


several reputable gentlemen who came to ask my hand
in marriage. Why did these old women live to mar
my happiness. Why have they xot died to feed the hun-
gry worms. So I should die before them young as I was.
I closed my eyes and wished for death immediately
but none came. I had no right over my. life; I wanted
either Joseph or death. To miss two of them seemed
impossible to me. All the guests for the wedding have
left. The orchestra went away even without demanding
their pay, so afraid and disappointed were they.

As soon as the old women left the scene of their
murder, it started to rain heavily with lightening runnings
along the ground. The devil was never cheated. He
played his tricks on the superstitious minds of men. I
was always afraid of thunder storms, but I never cared
for the one of that night. I was only crying for my
sweetheart and the lost love which I must never regain.
What a great loss was this to Joseph who spent to
the last farthing of his savings to prepare for our mar-
riage. I could not withstand the thought of all these
so I fainted.

When I awoke the following morning, I saw myself
inside my room at our home with foam in my mouth.
I saw disappointment in front of me and humiliation
behind me. I washed my face, dressed up and ran along
the streets like a mad woman on my way to Joseph's
house. On the way I heard some boys saying "Poor
wretched girl. The stroke will kill her. Her pride
is subdued. We shall see to whom she will turn next."
When I arrived Joseph's house, I jumped into his room
without knocking, but behold the room was empty.
Not even his bed was to be found. "Joseph Joseph !
Where are you ?", I shouted ; but a young voice
replied. It was Evelyn's-Joseph's youngest sister. "Miss,"
,she said, "brother has packedall his things and went away
early this morning. He said he would not be coming
back again for he has been disappointed. with life in Nigeria.








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


He has left for Lagos from where he will cross to Ghana
and may either remain there or continue his journey
into Gambia where he said he hopes to marry again.
We all wept when he was leaving but he kissed us one
by one and promised to see us again but not until the
story of his shameful engagement has been forgotten
in all the land. Here is a note he has left for you."

I snatched the letter from her and started to read
it patiently.

DEAR CORDELIA,

There are different ways in which a man's
fortune and future plans can be marred and one of
them is untimed marriage. My life has been ruined and
my hopes frustrated. You entered abruptly into my life
even before I was actually ripe for love affairs. It was
you who really taught me what love was. Deceived by
the thrills of your hungry kisses, I was unable to find
out whether your love was actually a righteous one or
whether it was merely an admiration of my boyish loveli-
ness and sportsmanship.

I loved you also with a love which has never been
heard of. I loved you without even knowing why I
should love you and my love has been my ruin. Our
engagement shall always remain a proverb in the lips
of men. Behold I have left my fatherland and gone
into a voluntary exile because of a woman. Remember
what I told you in a taxi once, on our way home from
film show at Onitsha-"Women are always the doom
of men." So indeed you have proved to me Cordelia.
Imagine a young boy like myself only two years old
in the civil service being induced into such a disgraceful
engagement. I was actually in doubt whether you were
the one destined for me, now my doubts have been
justified.
You are an epitome of beauty I must admit
and so devilishly romantic that you are the girl
for any man who wants perfect happiness. Yout









THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


shall make -an ideal -housewife for any person' born
under the same stars as you. You may be- thinking
that I did not actually love you all the time. N,. go
through my letters once more and you -will find out
that I actually cherised and adored you. I know -how
much pains I will cause you by telling you all these
but I think they may do you good and help you to
forget about me.

Wipe out my image from your memory sweet Cordelia
for I don't think I can ever call you mine again. I
don't even think I shall ever see you again in my life.
I have left my fatherland for the sake of love that was
a scandal and disgrace to the human race. Woe to the
person who kidnapped my mother when she was young.
He and his descendants shall answer for the injury- done
to the two young hearts.

Good-bye for ever more.
Your husband that would have been.
Joseph Ugbaja.
P/S.
Before you, finish reading this letter, I might have
crossed the Niger at Onitsha on my way. to Lagos.
Don't come after mo for you cannot find me. Bear
your burden like a brave girl and I will bear my own
shame like the devil.
J. U.

I laughed a bitter laugh as I dropped the letter
on the ground. "So it is now a reality" I asked myself.
"And thou too Joseph, is against me. What shall I do ?
Mother I have none. Who will help me to bear this
burden ? Shall I live to look those men in their faces
whom I have rejected and disgraced ?" I went back to
ouxr house and lay on my bed for four days with neither
food nor water. No one could enter my room for I
locked myself from within.
On the fourth day, dad fearing that I might die
forced open the door and came into my room.
As soon as he saw me, he wept bitterly for








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


instead of Cordelia, his beauty queen," he saw a little
bag of bones with a shrunken head. He bent over me
and kissed me since my body was too delicate to be han-
dled. Anyway he managed to raise me from the bed
and carried my skeleton in his arms. "What is wrong
darling ? he asked me: but I could not speak. Turning
away his eyes from me he wept as he said "Somebody
must be the scape goat for this; I cannot bear to see
my only child die for the sake of unsatisfied affection.
I cannot blame you Cordelia for I know what it is
to be in love. I played the game myself when I was
young. To be interested in the opposite sex at a certain
stage of one's life is a constant human tendency which
cannot be avoided. Let someone go for the doctor"
he shouted to the servants.

In a short time, the doctor came in. I underwent
a medical examination after which the doctor went
into a deep conversation with m-y father. He told my
father that I have had a stroke which has upset my
brains and my muscles. Turning to me, the doctor
said, "Is there any particular place you are feeling pains
Cordelia 7" "Doctor," I replied in a weak voice', "you
are particularly famous in this part of the country for
your effective cures, but you have neither medicine nor
power to cure a person who is sick of love. I want
none of your needles. Take your instruments,. go home
and attend to others who need your help." At my words,
he went outside the house banged the door of his car
and rode away.



CHAPTER IX


Daddy was very much worried about my condi-
tion. He obtained a partial leave in order to take care
of me. The ,doctor warned him that- if proper care
were not taken about me, I might die. He did all








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


in his power to comfort me. He promised me many
things only if I could forget Joseph and find myself
another friend. He employed all the boys in the town
to visit me in turns and to talk ill of Joseph before
me so that I might forget him. One of these boys.
was one whose name I want to disclose only as "C."

"C" was a fine wise and reputable boy of athletic
build. He was black, thickly built with a pair of bow
legs which all our. girls adored. He was always serious
but not unkind. No one ever knew his mind ; not even
the special person concerned could distinguish between
his annoyance and, his happiness. He meddled with
no ones business as most boys often did and was never
seen outside their gate after 6 p.m. anytime. He always
kept himself reserved and has never been seen fighting,
yet all the boys feared him. I admired C's ways very
much but feared to develop my interest in him. I would
have been happy if he has given me chance of doing so.
Many a time has he turned out several girl visitors
simply because they disturbed him from reading his
novels. He happened to be a finalist in a college at this
time so many were after his favour.


"C" happened to come into my room at this par-
ticular time and was surprised to see me at such a poor
condition. He sat beside my bed and asked me what
he could do for me. "Nothing in particular" I answered,
"My heart is broken and only a source of comfort
is necessary for my recovery;" "Well" he said, "My
only piece of ad vice for you is to forget that in-
famous Joseph. He was of a very bad character when
in school. Several times has he been punished for stealing
and for all sorts of dishonesty, I nearly withdrew my
regard for you when I learnt you were engaged to a
man of such an unpleasant character. Leave him, forget
about him. You were lucky not to have married him
otherwise you would be crying one day to hear that your








THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


husband has gone to prison." But who will take his
place if I forget him dear "C"? I said. "Don't worry
Cordelia" he replied, "Be prepared with words of apology
to those you have insulted and I will help you." "But
in your own case I need no apology because I have
never insulted you," I insisted. After some minutes silence
he replied, "Well, whether you have insulted me or not,
I cannot be yours because it is unusual to put two
gloves in one hand. All I can do is to see that I help
you." With that he left the room because his conver-
sations were noted for their briefness.

The following day was a pagan festival in the village.
From my lonely sick bed, I heard the pagan girls singing:
Oh what a shame.
She would die because she would not marry her cousin.
Oh! what a shame and how abominable.
May the gods help you to bear your shame.

They sang it over and over again and I could do
nothing but kept patience. A few days later, schools
opened for the first term in the new year I could not
go to school under such a state so I stayed away for
five weeks without anybody's permission. After my re-
covery, I went back to the school but the Headmistress
told me that my services were no longer -required by the
mission. I came home and sat down to think over my posi-
tion. All types of misfortune in life have conspired against
me. No husband, no more a teacher and even no more
friends. I knelt down and prayed to my God for help.
A new hope came into my soul. I picked up my record
songs book and sang away in an attempt to forget
my disappointment.

When daddy came back from work, he was happy
to find ine in a cheerful mood. I told him that my
appointment as a teacher has been terminated. "Don't
worry" he said, "I can still find you job elsewhere even







THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


if you prefer to' stay here without working I can afford
to feed you as long as I live provided you are happy."



CHAPTER X

Four months after. this, I managed to secure admission
into the Nurses Training School at Aba. I thought I
should be happy there because no one knew me but
misfortune followed me even to Aba. I was struggling
with a fellow student over the right of drawing water
from the tank. It developed into a fight and both of
us were expelled from the Training School, my sufferings
and humiliation were not ended. I came back to
my town and was a nice topic for all sorts of discus-
sion, I nearly made up my mind to commit suicide but I
found out that it would be too cowardly of me. All things
seemed to hate me. All the boys in the town conspired
against me and they laid down a special punishment
for any one of them,-that would talk to me. So I sat
down in my father's house waiting for my end. Only
one thing gave me comfort. Whenever I looked into the
mirror I always found out that I was still very beautiful.
I kept myself up to date in all types of dress. I only
attracted visitors, but as soon as they learnt my story,
they avoided me. I lived in this way for two weary years.

At last, when all hope was lost, a certain wealthy
old man whose wife died many years before then came
to ask my hand in marriage. His name was Roland.
He promised me happiness and freedom to do whatever
I liked so I could not refuse for fear I, might not get
another chance. He wedded me in the Church and
many months after that I was a mother to a baby girl.

I hated Roland not because he was old and ugly
but because he was stupid and unprincipled. I never went










THE ROMANCE OF DESTINY


with him to any public gathering. I could not bear to
hear people call me Mrs. Roland when actually he was
old enough to be my grandfather.
Whenever we went out driving together in his car,
I never sat side by side with him. I preferred to sit
behind so that he seemed an old serviceable driver to
my husband. He never seemed to bother about any
offence from me. Under this condition I forgot about
Joseph and only derived happiness from my baby girl.
Now dear reader, I wish you to draw a moral for
yourself from the stories of my life before you close
this book. What is your opinion about me and what
do you think will be my end ?

PUBLISHER'S ANNOUNCEMENT

All Novel Readers Should Read and Patronise
VINCENT C. OKEANU'S PUBLICATIONS

Readers who are out to get first class published novels
on sale in the market or in various book stalls can
do no better than to insist on reading the following
works published by Vincent Okeanu.

(1) "Congo Damsel in Love Drama" (on sale)
(2) "A Look at Education" (on sale)
(3) "A Fool at Forty" (on sale)
(4) "Miss Cordelia" (on sale)
(5) "Nancy in Blooming Beauty" (in press)
(6) "A Scene at Bagdad Theatre" (in press)
And other titles of educational worth in preparations-
All such novels are found to suit our African customs,-
and are in main, described by a million readers as hu-
morously fascinating, educative and above the ordinary.







43

Below is extract from the Eastern Nigerian Guardian,
published on the occasion of the election of the President
of African Authors Association.
"African Authors are already focusing their attention
to the vast unexplored field of creative art and literature
.... popularise the emerging African Personality (among
the nations of the world) by reading African literature
books and novels, that the African Authority shall have
a place under the Sun."














































































I Ofa Irm /a'qr