Part 3 out of 4
water-drinkers will not have a long reign. They would feign persuade us
that 'Truth lies at the bottom of a well,'--lies, indeed! I tell you
Horace knew better, and that his assertion of 'There is truth in wine,'
was founded on experience--his draughts had no water-mark in 'em, depend
He was a great buyer of choice "Pieces," and his cellar contained one of
the best stocks in the kingdom, both in the wood and bottle. Poor
Uncle!--he has now been some years "in the wood" himself, and snugly
stowed in the family vault!
Having been attacked with a severe cold, he was compelled to call in the
Doctor, who sent him a sudorific in three Lilliputian bottles; but
although he received the advice of his medical friend, he followed
"Throw physic to the dogs,"
and prescribed for himself a bowl of wine-whey as a febrifuge. His
housekeeper remonstrated, but he would have his 'whey,' and he died!
leaving a handsome fortune, and two good-looking nephews to follow him to
Myself and Cousin (the two nephews aforesaid) were vast favourites with
the old gentleman, and strenuously did he endeavour to initiate us in the
art of drinking, recounting the feats of his youth, and his
drinking-bouts with my father, adding, with a smile, "But you'll never be
a par with, your Uncle, Ned, till you can carry the six bottles under
My head was certainly stronger than my Cousin's; he went as far as the
third bottle--the next drop was on the floor! Now I did once manage the
fourth bottle--but then--I must confess I was obliged to give it up!
"Young men," would my Uncle say, "should practice 'sans intermission,'
until they can drink four bottles without being flustered, then they will
be sober people; for it won't be easy to make them tipsy--a drunken man I
"You see I make no splash!"
There are some individuals so inflated with self-sufficiency, and
entertain such an overweaning opinion of their skill in all matters, that
they must needs have a finger in every pie.
Perhaps a finer specimen than old V____, of this genius of egotistic,
meddling mortals, never existed. He was a man well-to-do in the world,
and possessed not only a large fortune, but a large family.
He had an idea that no man was better qualified to bring up his children
in the way they should go; and eternally plagued the obsequious tutors of
his sons with his novel mode of instilling the rudiments of the Latin
tongue, although he knew not a word of the language; and the obedient
mistresses of his daughters with his short road to attaining a perfection
in playing the piano-forte, without knowing a note of the gamut: but what
could they say; why, nothing more or less than they were 'astonished;'
which was vague enough to be as true as it was flattering.
And then he was so universally clever, that he even interfered in the
culinary department of his household, instructing the red-elbowed,
greasy, grinning Cook, in the sublime art of drawing, stuffing, and
roasting a goose, for which she certainly did not fail to roast the goose
(her master) when she escaped to the regions below.
Even his medical attendant was compelled to acknowledge the efficacy of
his domestic prescriptions of water-gruel and honey in catarrhs, and
roasted onions in ear-aches, and sundry other simple appliances; and, in
fine, found himself, on most occasions, rather a 'consulting surgeon,'
than an apothecary, for he was compelled to yield to the man who had
studied Buchan's and Graham's Domestic Medicine. And the only
consolation he derived from his yielding affability, were the long bills
occasioned by the mistakes of this domestic quack, who was continually
running into errors, which required all his skill to repair. Nay, his
wife's mantua-maker did not escape his tormenting and impertinent advice;
for he pretended to a profound knowledge in all the modes, from the time
of Elizabeth to Victoria, and deemed his judgment in frills, flounces,
and corsages, as undeniable and infallible.
Of course the sempstress flattered his taste; for his wife, poor soul!
she soon had tact enough to discover, had no voice in the business.
His eldest son, George, had a notion that he could angle. Old V____
immediately read himself up in Walton, and soon convinced--himself, that
he was perfect in that line, and quite capable of teaching the whole art
"See, George," said he, when they had arrived at a convenient spot for
their first attempt, "this is the way to handle your tackle; drop it
gently into the water,--so!" and, twirling the line aloft, he hooked the
branches of an overhanging tree!--sagaciously adding, "You see I make no
splash! and hold your rod in this manner!"
George was too much afraid of his imperious father, to point out his
error, and old V____ consequently stood in the broiling sun for a full
quarter of an hour, before he discovered that he had caught a birch
instead of a perch!
A MUSICAL FESTIVAL.
Matter-of-fact people read the story of Orpheus, and imagine that his
"charming rocks" and "soothing savage beasts," is a mere fabulous
invention. No such thing: it is undoubtedly founded on fact. Nay, we
could quote a thousand modern instances of the power of music quite as
One most true and extraordinary occurrence will suffice to establish the
truth of our proposition beyond a doubt. Molly Scraggs was a cook in a
first-rate family, in the most aristocratic quarter of the metropolis.
The master and mistress were abroad, and Molly had nothing to do but to
indulge her thoughts; and, buried as she was in the pleasant gloom and
quiet of an underground kitchen, nothing could possibly be more
favourable to their developement. She was moreover exceedingly plump,
tender, and sentimental, and had had a lover, who had proved false to his
In this eligible situation and temper for receiving soft impressions, she
sat negligently rocking herself in her chair, and polishing the lid of a
copper saucepan! when the sweet, mellifluous strains of an itinerant band
struck gently upon the drum of her ear. "Wapping Old Stairs" was
distinctly recognized, and she mentally repeated the words so applicable
to her bereaved situation.
"Your Molly has never proved false she declares," 'till the tears
literally gushed from her "blue, blue orbs," and trickled down her plump
and ruddy cheeks; but scarcely had she plunged into the very depths of
the pathos induced by the moving air, which threatened to throw her into
a gentle swoon, or kicking hysterics, when her spirit was aroused by the
sudden change of the melancholy ditty, to the rampant and lively tune,
with the popular burden of, "Turn about and wheel about, and jump Jim
This certainly excited her feelings; but, strange to say, it made her
leap from her chair, exasperated, as it were, by the sudden revulsion,
and rush into the area.
"Don't, for goodness sake, play that horrid 'chune,'" said Molly,
emphatically addressing the minstrels.
The 'fiddle' immediately put his instrument under his arm, and, touching
the brim of his napless hat, scraped a sort of bow, and smilingly asked
the cook to name any other tune she preferred.
"Play us," said she, "'Oh! no, we never mention her,' or summat o' that
sort; I hate jigs and dances mortally."
"Yes, marm," replied the 'fiddle,' obsequiously; and, whispering the
'harp' and 'bass,' they played the air to her heart's content.
In fact, if one might guess by the agility with which she ran into the
kitchen, she was quite melted; and, returning with the remnants of a
gooseberry pie and the best part of a shoulder of mutton, she handed them
to the musicians.
"Thanky'e, marm, I'm sure," said the 'bass,' sticking his teeth into the
"The mutton 's rayther fat, but it 's sweet, at any rate--"
"Yes, marm," said the 'fiddle;' "it's too fat for your stomach, I'm sure,
marm;" and consigned it to his green-baize fiddle-case.
"Now," said Molly,--"play us, 'Drink to me only,' and I'll draw you a mug
"You're vastly kind," said the 'fiddle;' "it's a pleasure to play anythink
for you, marm, you've sich taste;" and then turning to his comrades, he
added, with a smile--"By goles! if she ain't the woppingest cretur as
ever I set eyes on--"
The tune required was played, and the promised ale discussed. The
'bass,' with a feeling of gratitude, voted that they should give a
parting air unsolicited.
"Vot shall it be?" demanded the 'harp.'
"Vy, considering of her size," replied the 'fiddle,' "I thinks as nothink
couldn't be more appropriate than
'Farewell to the mountain!'"
and, striking up, they played the proposed song, marching on well pleased
with the unexpected appreciation of their musical talent by the kind, and
munificent Molly Scraggs!
THE EATING HOUSE.
From twelve o'clock until four, the eating houses of the City are crammed
with hungry clerks.
Bills of fare have not yet been introduced,--the more's the pity; but, in
lieu thereof, you are no sooner seated in one of the snug inviting little
settles, with a table laid for four or six, spread with a snowy cloth,
still bearing the fresh quadrangular marks impressed by the mangle, and
rather damp, than the dapper, ubiquitous waiter, napkin in hand, stands
before you, and rapidly runs over a detailed account of the tempting
viands all smoking hot, and ready to be served up.
"Beef, boiled and roast; veal and ham; line of pork, roast; leg boiled,
with pease pudding; cutlets, chops and steaks, greens, taters, and
pease," etc. etc.
Some are fastidious, and hesitate; the waiter, whose eyes are 'all about
him,' leaves you to meditate and decide, while he hastens to inform a new
arrival, and mechanically repeats his catalogue of dainties; and, bawling
out at the top of his voice, "One roast beaf and one taters," you echo
his words, and he straightway reports your wishes in the same voice and
manner to the invisible purveyors below, and ten to one but you get a
piece of boiled fat to eke out your roast meat.
In some houses, new and stale bread, at discretion, are provided; and
many a stripling, lean and hungry as a greyhound, with a large appetite
and a small purse, calls for a small plate, without vegetables, and fills
up the craving crannies with an immoderate proportion of the staff of
life, while the reckoning simply stands, "one small plate 6d., one bread
1d., one waiter 1d.;" and at this economical price satisfies the demands
of his young appetite.
But still, cheap as this appears, he pays it the aggregate, for there are
frequently 500 or 600 diners daily at these Establishments; and the
waiter, who generally purchases his place, and provides glass, cloths,
etc. not only makes a 'good thing of it,' but frequently accumulates
sufficient to set up on his own account, in which case, he is almost sure
of being followed by the regular customers.
For he is universally so obliging, and possesses such a memory, and an
aptness in discovering the various tastes of his visitors, that he seldom
fails in making most of the every-day feeders his fast friends.
"Tom, bring me a small plate of boiled beef and potatoes," cries one of
his regulars. Placing his hand upon the table-cloth; and knocking off
the crumbs with his napkin, he bends to the gentleman, and in a small.
confidential voice informs him,
"The beef won't do for you, Sir,--it's too low, it's bin in cut a hour.
Fine ribs o' lamb, jist up."
"That will do, Tom," says the gratified customer.
"Grass or spinach, Sir? fine 'grass,'--first this season."
"Bring it, and quick, Tom," replies the gentleman, pleased with the
assiduous care he takes in not permitting him to have an indifferent cut
of a half cold joint.
The most extraordinary part of the business is, the ready manner in which
he 'casts up' all you have eaten, takes the reckoning, and then is off
again in a twinkling.
A stranger, and one unaccustomed to feed in public, is recognised in a
moment by his uneasy movements. He generally slinks into the nearest
vacant seat, and is evidently taken aback by the apparently abrupt and
rapid annunciation of the voluble and active waiter, and, in the hurry
and confusion, very frequently decides upon the dish least pleasant to
A respectable gentleman of the old school, of a mild and reverend
appearance, and a lean and hungry figure, once dropped into a settle
where we were discussing a rump steak and a shallot, tender as an infant,
and fragrant as a flower garden! Tom pounced upon him in a moment, and
uttered the mystic roll. The worthy senior was evidently confused and
startled, but necessity so far overcame his diffidence that he softly
"A small portion of veal and ham, well done."
Tom, whirled round, continuing the application of his eternal napkin to a
tumbler which he was polishing, bawled out in a stentorian voice,
"Plate o' weal, an' dam well done!"
We shall never sponge from the slate of our memory the utter astonishment
expressed in the bland countenance of the startled old gentleman at this
peculiar echo of his wishes.
"This is a werry lonely spot, Sir; I wonder you ar'n't afeard of being
Job Timmins was a tailor bold,
And well he knew his trade,
And though he was no fighting man
Had often dress'd a blade!
Quoth he, one day--"I have not had
A holiday for years,
So I'm resolv'd to go and fish,
And cut for once the shears."
So donning quick his Sunday's suit,
He took both rod and line,
And bait for fish--and prog for one,
And eke a flask of wine.
For he was one who loved to live,
And said--"Where'er I roam
I like to feed--and though abroad,
To make myself at home."
Beneath a shady grove of trees
He sat him down to fish,
And having got a cover, he
Long'd much to get a dish.
He cast his line, and watch'd his float,
Slow gliding down the tide;
He saw it sink! he drew it up,
And lo! a fish he spied.
He took the struggling gudgeon off,
And cried--"I likes his looks,
I wish he'd live--but fishes die
Soon as they're--off the hooks!"
At last a dozen more he drew--
(Fine-drawing 'twas to him!)
But day past by--and twilight came,
All objects soon grew dim.
"One more!" he cried, "and then I'll pack,
And homeward trot to sup,"--
But as he spoke, he heard a tread,
Which caused him to look up.
Poor Timmins trembled as he gazed
Upon the stranger's face;
For cut purse! robber! all too plain,
His eye could therein trace.
"Them's werry handsome boots o' yourn,"
The ruffian smiling cried,
"Jist draw your trotters out--my pal--
And we'll swop tiles, besides."
"That coat too, is a pretty fit--
Don't tremble so--for I
Von't rob you of a single fish,
I've other fish to fry."
Poor Timmins was obliged to yield
Hat, coat, and boots--in short
He was completely stripp'd--and paid
Most dearly for his "sport."
And as he homeward went, he sigh'd--
"Farewell to stream and brook;
O! yes, they'll catch me there again
A fishing--with a hook!"
Along the banks, at early dawn,
Trudged Nobbs and Nobbs's son,
With rod and line, resolved that day
Great fishes should be won.
At last they came unto a bridge,
Cried Nobbs, "Oh! this is fine!"
And feeling sure 'twould answer well,
He dropp'd the stream a line.
"We cannot find a fitter place,
If twenty miles we march;
Its very look has fix'd my choice,
So knowing and--so arch!"
He baited and he cast his line,
When soon, to his delight,
He saw his float bob up and down,
And lo! he had a bite!
"A gudgeon, Tom, I think it is!"
Cried Nobbs, "Here, take the prize;
It weighs a pound--in its own scales,
I'm quite sure by its size."
He cast again his baited hook,
And drew another up!
And cried, "We are in luck to-day,
How glorious we shall sup!"
All in the basket Tommy stow'd
The piscatory spoil;
Says Nobbs, "We've netted two at least,
Albeit we've no toil."
Amazed at his own luck, he threw
The tempting bait again,
And presently a nibble had--
A bite! he pull'd amain!
His rod beneath the fish's weight
Now bent just like a bow,
"What's this?" cried Nobbs; his son replied,
"A salmon, 'tis, I know."
And sure enough a monstrous perch,
Of six or seven pounds,
He from the water drew, whose bulk
Both dad and son confounds.
"O! Gemini!" he said, when he
"O! Pisces!" should have cried;
And tremblingly the wriggling fish
Haul'd to the bridge's side.
When, lo! just as he stretched his hand
To grasp the perch's fin,
The slender line was snapp'd in twain,
The perch went tumbling in!
"Gone! gone! by gosh!" scream'd Nobbs, while Tom
Too eager forward bent,
And, with a kick, their basket quick
Into the river sent.
THE PRACTICAL JOKER.--No. I.
Those wags who are so fond of playing off their jokes upon others,
require great skill and foresight to prevent the laugh being turned
Jim Smith was an inveterate joker, and his jokes were, for the most part,
of the practical kind. He had a valuable tortoiseshell cat, whose beauty
was not only the theme of praise with all the old maids in the
neighbourhood, but her charms attracted the notice of numerous feline
gentlemen dwelling in the vicinity, who were, nocturnally, wont to pay
their devoirs by that species of serenades, known under the cacophonous
name of caterwauling.
One very ugly Tom, (who, it was whispered abroad, was a
great--grandfather, and scandalously notorious for gallantries unbecoming
a cat of his age) was particularly obnoxious to our hero; and, in an
unlucky moment, he resolved to 'pickle him,' as he facetiously termed it.
Now his process of pickling consisted in mixing a portion of prussic acid
in milk. Taking the precaution to call in his own pet and favorite, he
placed the potion in the accustomed path of her long-whiskered suitor.
Tom finding the coast clear slipped his furry body over the wall, and
dropped gently as a lady's glove into the garden, and slily smelling the
flower-borders, as if he were merely amusing himself in the elegant study
of botany, stealthily approached the house, and uttering a low plaintive
'miau,' to attract the attention of his dear Minx, patiently awaited the
appearance of his true-love.
Minx heard the voice she loved so well, and hurried to meet her ancient
beau. A slight noise, however, alarmed his timidity, and he scaled the
wall in a twinkling.
Presently the screams of the maid assured him that 'something had taken
place;' and when he heard the words, "Oh! the cat! the cat!" he felt
quite certain that the potion had taken effect. He walked deliberately
down stairs, and behold! there lay Miss Minx, his own favorite,
struggling in the agonies of death, on the parlor rug. The fact is, he
had shut the doors, but forgotten that the window was open, and the
consequence was, the loss of poor Minx, who had drunk deep of the
malignant poison designed for her gallant.
This was only one of a thousand tricks that had miscarried.
Having one day ascertained that his acquaintance, Tom Wilkins, was gone
out 'a-shooting,' he determined to way-lay him on his return.
It was a beautiful moonlight night in the latter end of October.
Disguising himself in a demoniac mask, a pair of huge wings, and a forked
tail, he seated himself on a stile in the sportsman's path.
Anon he espied the weary and unconscious Tom approaching, lost in the
profundity of thought, and though not in love, ruminating on every miss
he had made in that day's bootless trudge.
He almost, touched the stile before his affrighted gaze encountered this
His short crop bristled up, assuming the stiffness of a penetrating hair
For an instant his whole frame appeared petrified, and the tide and
current of his life frozen up in thick-ribbed ice.
Jim Smith, meanwhile, holding out a white packet at arm's length,
exclaimed in a sepulchral tone,
"D'ye want a pound of magic shot?"
THE PRACTICAL JOKER.--No. II.
Awfully ponderous as the words struck upon the tightened drum of Tom's
auriculars, they still tended to arouse his fainting spirit.
"Mer-mer-mercy on us!" ejaculated he, and shrank back a pace or two,
still keeping his dilating optics fixed upon the horrible spectre.
"D'ye want a pound of magic shot?" repeated Jim Smith.
"Mur-mur-der!" screamed Tom; and, mechanically raising his gun for action
of some kind appeared absolutely necessary to keep life within him, he
aimed at the Tempter, trembling in every joint.
Jim, who had as usual never calculated upon such a turning of the tables,
threw off his head--his assumed one, of course, and, leaping from the
stile, cried aloud--
"Oh! Tom, don't shoot--don't shoot!--it's only me--Jim Smith!"
Down dropped the gun from the sportsman's grasp.
"Oh! you fool! you--you--considerable fool!" cried he, supporting
himself on a neighbouring hawthorn, which very kindly and considerately
lent him an arm on the occasion. "It's a great mercy--a very great
mercy, Jim--as we wasn't both killed!--another minute, only another
minute, and--but it won't bear thinking on."
"Forgive me, Tom," said the penitent joker; "I never was so near a corpse
afore. If I didn't think the shots were clean through me, and that's
"Sich jokes," said Tom, "is onpardonable, and you must be mad."
"I confess I'm out of my head, Tom," said Jim, who was dangling the huge
mask in his hand, and fast recovering from the effects of his fright.
"Depend on it, I won't put myself in such a perdicament again, Tom. No,
no--no more playing the devil; for, egad! you had liked to have played
the devil with me."
"A joke's a joke," sagely remarked Tom, picking up his hat and fowling
"True!" replied Smith; "but, I think, after all, I had the greatest cause
for being in a fright. You had the best chance, at any rate; for I could
not have harmed you, whereas you might have made a riddle of me."
"Stay, there!" answered Tom; "I can tell you, you had as little cause for
fear as I had, you come to that; for the truth is, the deuce a bit of
powder or shot either was there in the piece!"
"You don't say so!" said Jim, evidently disappointed and chop-fallen at
this discovery of his groundless fears. "Well, I only wish I'd known it,
that's all!"--then, cogitating inwardly for a minute, he continued--"but,
I say, Tom, you won't mention this little fright of yours?"
"No; but I'll mention the great fright--of Jim Smith--rely upon it," said
Tom, firmly; and he kept his word so faithfully, that the next day the
whole story was circulated, with many ingenious additions, to the great
annoyance of the practical joker.
FISHING FOR WHITING AT MARGATE.
"Here we go up--up--up;
And here we go down--down--down."
"Variety," as Cowper says, "is the very spice of life"--and certainly, at
Margate, there is enough, in all conscience, to delight the most
fastidious of pleasure-hunters.
There sailors ply for passengers for a trip in their pleasure boats,
setting forth all the tempting delights of a fine breeze--and woe-betide
the unfortunate cockney who gets in the clutches of a pair of plyers of
this sort, for he becomes as fixed as if he were actually in a vice,
frequently making a virtue of necessity, and stepping on board, when he
had much better stroll on land.
Away he goes, on the wings of the wind, like--a gull! Should he be a
knave, it may probably be of infinite service to society, for he is
likely ever afterwards to forswear craft of any kind!
Donkies too abound, as they do in most watering placesand, oh! what a
many asses have we seen mounted, trotting along the beach and cliffs!
The insinuating address of the boatmen is, however, irresistible; and if
they cannot induce you to make a sail to catch the wind, they will set
forth, in all the glowing colors of a dying dolphin, the pleasurable
sport of catching fish!
They tell you of a gentleman, who, "the other day, pulled up, in a single
hour, I don't know how many fish, weighing I don't know how much." And
thus baited, some unwise gentleman unfortunately nibbles, and he is
caught. A bargain is struck, 'the boat is on the shore,' the lines and
hooks are displayed, and the victim steps in, scarcely conscious of what
he is about, but full well knowing that he is going to sea!
They put out to sea, and casting their baited hooks, the experienced
fisherman soon pulls up a fine lively whiting.
"Ecod!" exclaims the cockney, with dilated optics, "this is fine--why
that 'ere fish is worth a matter of a shilling in London--Do tell me how
you cotched him."
"With a hook!" replied the boatman.
"To be sure you did--but why did'nt he bite mine?"
"'Cause he came t'other side, I s'pose."
"Vell, let me try that side then," cries the tyro, and carefully changes
his position.--"Dear me, this here boat o'yourn wobbles about rayther,
"Nothing, sir, at all; it's only the motion of the water."
"I don't like it, tho'; I can tell you, it makes me feel all over
"It will go off, sir, in time; there's another," and he pulls in another
wriggling fish, and casts him at the bottom of the boat. "Well, that's
plaguey tiresome, any how--two! and I've cotched nothin' yet--how do you
"Just so--throw in your hook, and bide a bit--and you'll be sure, sir, to
feel when there's any thing on your hook; don't you feel any thing yet?"
"Why, yes, I feels werry unwell!" cries the landsman; and, bringing up
his hook and bait, requests the good-natured boatman to pull for shore,
'like vinkin,'--which request; the obliging fellow immediately complies
with, having agreeably fished at the expense of his fare; and, landing
his whitings and the flat, laughs in his sleeve at the qualms of his
But there is always an abundant crop of such fools as he, who pretend to
dabble in a science, in utter ignorance of the elements; while, like
Jason of old, the wily boatman finds a sheep with a golden
fleece,--although his brains are always too much on the alert to be what
is technically termed--wool-gathering. Some people are desirous of
seeing every thing; and many landsmen have yet to learn, that they may
see a deal, without being a-board!
ANDREW MULLINS.--AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY.
"Let the neighbors smell ve has something respectable for once."
There is certainly no style of writing requiring so much modest assurance
as autobiography; a position which, I am confident, neither Lord
Cherbury, nor Vidocq, or any other mortal blessed with an equal
developement of the organ of self-esteem, can or could deny.
HOME, ("sweet home,")--in his Douglas--gives, perhaps, one of the most
concise and concentrated specimens extant, of this species of
composition. With what an imposing air does his youthful hero blow his
own trumpet in those well-known lines, commencing,
"My name is Norval."
Although a mere cock-boat in comparison with these first-rates, I think I
may safely follow in their wake. Should the critics, however, condescend
to carp at me for likening myself to a cock-boat, I have no objection, if
by a twist of their ingenuity, they can prove me to be a little funny!
Economy was one of the most prominent characteristics of the family from
which I sprang. Now, some authors would weary their indulgent readers
with a flatulent chapter upon the moral beauty of this virtue; but as my
first wish is to win favor by my candor, I must honestly confess, that
necessity was the parent of this lean attenuated offspring!--For, alas!
My 'angel mother,' (as Anna Maria phrases it,) was a woman of ten
thousand, for she dwelt in one of the most populous districts of London!
My sire, was of the most noble order of St. Crispin; and though he had
many faults, was continually mending--being the most eminent cobbler in
Even in the outset of their connubial partnership, they started under the
most favorable auspices--for, whereas other couples marry for love or
money, they got married for 'nothing' taking advantage of the annual
gratuitous splicings performed at Shoreditch Church on one sunshiny
In less than three years my amiable mother presented her lord and master
with as many interesting pledges of their affection--I was the cobbler's
'Though last, not least, in their dear love.'
CHAPTER II.--Our Lodging.
Our precarious means were too small to permit us to rent a house, we
therefore rented one large room, which served us for--
"Parlor and kitchen and all!"
in the uppermost story of a house, containing about a dozen families.
This 'airy' apartment was situated in a narrow alley of great
thoroughfare, in the heart of the great metropolis.
The lower part of this domicile was occupied by one James, who did
'porter's work,' while his wife superintended the trade of a
miscellaneous store, called a green-grocer's; although the stock
comprised, besides a respectable skew of cabbages, carrots, lettuces, and
other things in season, a barrel of small beer, a side of bacon, a few
red herrings, a black looking can of 'new milk,' and those less
perishable articles, Warren's blacking, and Flanders' bricks; while the
window was graced with a few samples of common confectionary, celebrated
under the sweet names of lollypops, Buonaparte's ribs, and bulls'-eyes.
In one pane, by permission, was placed the sign board of my honored
parent, informing the reading public, that
'Repairs were neatly executed!'
In my mind's eye how distinctly do I behold that humble shop in all the
greenness and beauty of its Saturday morning's display.
Nor can I ever forget the kind dumpy motherly Mrs. James, who so often
patted my curly head, and presented me with a welcome slice of bread and
butter and a drink of milk, invariably repeating in her homely phrase, "a
child and a chicken is al'ays a pickin'"--and declaring her belief, that
the 'brat' got scarcely enough to "keep life and soul together"--the real
truth of which my craving stomach inwardly testified.
Talk of the charities of the wealthy, they are as 'airy nothings' in the
scale, compared with the unostentatious sympathy of the poor! The former
only give a portion of their excess, while the latter willingly divide
their humble crust with a fellow sufferer.
The agreeable routine of breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper, was unknown
in our frugal establishment; if we obtained one good meal a day, under
any name, we were truly thankful.
To give some idea of our straitened circumstances, I must relate one
solitary instance of display on the maternal side. It was on a Saturday
night, the air and our appetites were equally keen, when my sire, having
unexpectedly touched a small sum, brought home a couple of pound of real
Epping. A scream of delight welcomed the savory morsel.
A fire was kindled, and the meat was presently hissing in the borrowed
frying-pan of our landlady.
I was already in bed, when the unusual sound and savor awoke me. I
rolled out in a twinkling, and squatting on the floor, watched the
culinary operations with greedy eyes.
"Tom," said my mother, addressing her spouse, "set open the door and
vinder, and let the neighbors smell ve has something respectable for
CHAPTER. III.--On Temperance.
"I wou'dn't like to shoot her exactly; but I've a blessed mind to turn
Armed with the authority and example of loyalty, for even that renowned
monarch--Old King Cole--was diurnally want to call for
"His pipe and his glass"
and induced by the poetical strains of many a bard, from the classic
Anacreon to those of more modern times, who have celebrated the virtue of
"Wine, mighty wine!"
it is not to be marvelled at, that men's minds have fallen victims to the
fascinations of the juice of the purple grape, or yielded to the alluring
temptations of the 'evil spirit.'
It is a lamentable truth, that notwithstanding the laudable and wholesome
exertions and admonitions of the Temperance and Tee-total Societies, that
the people of the United Kingdom are grievously addicted to an excessive
imbibation of spirituous liquors, cordials, and compounds.
Although six-bottle men are now regarded as monstrosities, and drinking
parties are nearly exploded, tippling and dram-drinking among the lower
orders are perhaps more indulged in than ever.
The gilded and gorgeous temples--devoted to the worship of the
reeling-goddess GENEVA--blaze forth in every quarter of the vast
Is it matter of wonder, then, that while men of superior intellect and
education are still weak enough to seek excitement in vinous potations,
that the vulgar, poor, and destitute, should endeavour to drown their
sorrows by swallowing the liquid fires displayed under various names, by
the wily priests of Silenus!
That such a deduction is illogical we are well aware, but great examples
are plausible excuses to little minds.
Both my parents were naturally inclined to sobriety; but, unfortunately,
and as it too frequently happens, in low and crowded neighbourhoods,
drunkenness is as contagious as the small-pox, or any other destructive
Now, it chanced that in the first-floor of the house in which we dwelt,
there also resided one Stubbs and his wife. They had neither chick nor
child. Stubbs was a tailor by trade, and being a first-rate workman,
earned weekly a considerable sum; but, like too many of his fraternity,
he was seldom sober from Saturday night until Wednesday morning. His
loving spouse 'rowed in the same boat'--and the 'little green-bottle' was
dispatched several times during the days of their Saturnalia, to be
replenished at the never-failing fountain of the 'Shepherd and Flock.'
Unhappily, in one of her maudlin fits, Mrs. Stubbs took a particular
fancy to my mother; and one day, in the absence of the 'ninth,' beckoned
my unsuspecting parent into her sittingroom,--and after gratuitously
imparting to her the hum-drum history of her domestic squabbles, invited
her to take a 'drop o' summat'--to keep up her I sperrits.'
Alas! this was the first step--and she went on, and on, and on, until
that which at first she loathed became no longer disagreeable, and by
degrees grew into a craving that was irresistible;--and, at last, she
regularly hob-and-nobb'd' with the disconsolate rib of Stubbs, and shared
alike in all her troubles and her liquor.
Fain would I draw a veil over this frailty of my unfortunate parent; but,
being conscious that veracity is the very soul and essence of history, I
feel myself imperatively called upon neither to disguise nor to cancel
My father remonstrated in vain-the passion had already taken too deep a
hold; and one day he was suddenly summoned from his work with the
startling information, that 'Mother Mullins'--(so the kind neighbour
phrased it) was sitting on the step of a public house, in the suburbs,
He rushed out, and found the tale too true. A bricklayer in the
neighbourhood proposed the loan of his barrow, for the poor senseless
creature could not walk a step. Placing her in the one-wheel-carriage,
he made the best of his way home, amid the jeers of the multitude.
Moorfields was then only partially covered with houses; and as he passed
a deep hollow, on the side of which was placed a notice, intimating that
"RUBBISH MAY BE SHOT HERE!"
his eyes caught the words, and in the bitterness of his heart he
"I wou'dn't like to shoot her exactly; but I've a blessed mind to turn
CHAPTER IV.--A Situation.
"I say, Jim, what birds are we most like now?" "Why swallows, to be
In the vicinity of our alley were numerous horse-rides, and my chief
delight was being entrusted with a horse, and galloping up and down the
straw-littered avenue.--I was about twelve years of age, and what was
termed a sharp lad, and I soon became a great favourite with the ostlers,
who admired the aptness with which I acquired the language of the
There were many stock-brokers who put up at the ride; among others was
Mr. Timmis--familiarly called long Jim Timmis. He was a bold, dashing,
good-humoured, vulgar man, who was quite at home with the ostlers,
generally conversing with them in their favourite lingo.
I had frequent opportunities of shewing him civilities, handing him his
whip, and holding his stirrup, etc.
One day he came to the ride in a most amiable and condescending humour,
and for the first time deigned to address me--"Whose kid are you?"
"Father's, sir," I replied.
"Do you know your father, then?"
"A wise child this;" and he winked at the ostler, who, of course, laughed
"I want a-lad," continued he; "what do you say--would you like to serve
"If I could get any thing by it."
"D-me, if that a'int blunt."
"Yes, sir; that's what I mean."
"Mean! mean what?"
"If I could get any blunt, sir."
Hereupon he laughed outright, at what he considered my readiness,
although I merely used the cant term for "money," to which I was most
accustomed, from my education among the schoolmasters of the ride.
"Here, take my card," said he; "and tell the old codger, your father, to
bring you to my office to-morrow morning, at eleven."
"Well, blow me," exclaimed my friend the ostler, "if your fortin' arn't
made; I shall see you a tip-top sawyer--may I never touch another tanner!
Vy, I remembers Jim Timmis hisself vos nothin but a grubby boy--Mother
Timmis the washer-woman's son, here in what-d've-call-'em-court--ven he
vent to old Jarvis fust. He's a prime feller tho', and no mistake--and
thof he's no gentleman born, he pays like one, and vot's the difference?"
The next morning, punctual to the hour, I waited at his office, which was
in a large building adjoining the Stock Exchange, as full as a dove-cot,
with gentlemen of the same feather.
"O!" said he, eyeing my parent, "and you're this chap's father, are you?
What are you?"
"A boot and shoe-maker, sir; and my Andrew is an honest lad."
"For the matter o' that, there's little he can prig here;" replied my
elegant and intended master. "But his tongs--eh--old fellow--can't you
rig him out a little?"
My father pleaded poverty; and at last he bargained to advance a guinea,
and deduct it out of my weekly-wages of two and sixpence, and no board.
My father was glad to make any terms, and the affair was consequently
soon arranged. I was quickly fitted out, and the next morning attended
I had, however, little else to do than wait in his office, and run to the
Stock Exchange, to summon him when a customer dropped in. I had much
leisure, which I trust was not wholly thrown away, for I practised
writing on the back of the stock-receipts, of which a quantity hung up in
the office, and read all the books I could lay my hands on; although, I
must confess, the chief portion of my knowledge of the world has been
derived from observation.
"The proper study of mankind is man."
Although quick in temper, and rude in speech and manners, Timmis was
kind; and, if he had a failing, it was the ambition of being a patron;
and he was certainly not one of those who do a good deed, and
"Blush to find it fame."
He not only employed my father to make his boots, but recommended him to
all his friends as a "good-fit," and procured the old man some excellent
customers. Among his acquaintance, for he had few friends, was Tom
Wallis, a fat, facetious man, about forty, with whom he was always
lunching and cracking his jokes. One day, when the stocks were "shut"
and business was slack, they started together on a sporting excursion
towards the romantic region of Hornsey-wood, on which occasion I had the
honour of carrying a well-filled basket of provisions, and the inward
satisfaction of making a good dinner from the remnants.
They killed nothing but time, yet they were exceedingly merry, especially
during the discussion of the provisions. Their laughter, indeed, was
enough to scare all the birds in the neighbourhood.
"Jim, if you wanted to correct those sheep yonder," said Tom, "what sort
of tool would you use?"
"An ewe-twig, of course," replied my master.
"No; that's devilish good," said Wallis; "but you ain't hit it yet."
"For a crown you don't do a better?"
"Well, what is it?"
"Why, a Ram-rod to be sure--as we're sportsmen."
My master agreed that it was more appropriate, and the good-natured Tom
Wallis flung the crown he had won to me.
"Here's another," continued he, as Mr. Timmis was just raising a bottle
of pale sherry to his lips--"I say, Jim, what birds are we most like
"Why swallows, to be sure," quickly replied my patron; who was really, on
most occasions, a match for his croney in the sublime art of punning, and
making conundrums, a favourite pastime with the wits of the Stock
CHAPTER V.--The Stalking Horse.
On the same landing where Timmis (as he termed it) 'held out,' were five
or six closets nick-named offices, and three other boys. One was the
nephew of the before-mentioned Wallis, and a very imp of mischief;
another, only a boy, with nothing remarkable but his stupidity; while the
fourth was a scrubby, stunted, fellow, about sixteen or seventeen years
of age, with a long pale face, deeply pitted with the small-pox, and an
irregular crop of light hair, most unscientifically cut into tufts.
He, by reason of his seniority and his gravity, soon became the oracle of
the party. We usually found him seated on the stairs of the first floor,
lost in the perusal of some ragged book of the marvellous school--scraps
of which he used to read aloud to us, with more unction than propriety,
indulging rather too much in the note of admiration style; for which he
soon obtained the name of Old Emphatic!--But I must confess we did obtain
a great deal of information from his select reading, and were tolerably
good listeners too, notwithstanding his peculiar delivery, for somehow he
appeared to have a permanent cold in his head, which sometimes threw a
tone of irresistible ridicule into his most pathetic bits.
He bore the scriptural name of Matthew and was, as he informed us, a
'horphan'--adding, with a particular pathos, 'without father or mother!'
His melancholy was, I think, rather attributable to bile than
destitution, which he superinduced by feeding almost entirely on
'second-hand pastry,' purchased from the little Jew-boys, who hawk about
their 'tempting' trash in the vicinity of the Bank.
Matthew, like other youths of a poetical temperament, from Petrarch down
to Lord Byron, had a 'passion.'
I accidentally discovered the object of his platonic flame in the person
of the little grubby-girl--the servant of the house-keeper--for, as the
proverb truly says,
"Love and a cough cannot be hid."
The tender passion first evinced itself in his delicate attentions;--nor
was the quick-eyed maid slow to discover her conquest. Her penetration,
however, was greater than her sympathy. With a tact that would not have
disgraced a politician--in a better cause, she adroitly turned the
swelling current of his love to her own purposes.
As the onward flowing stream is made to turn the wheel, while the miller
sings at the window, so did she avail herself of his strength to do her
work, while she gaily hummed a time, and sadly 'hummed' poor Matthew.
There being nearly thirty offices in the building, there were of course
in winter as many fires, and as many coal-scuttles required. When the
eyes of the devoted Matthew gazed on the object of his heart's desire
toiling up the well-stair, he felt he knew not what; and, with a heart
palpitating with the apprehension that his proffered service might be
rejected (poor deluded mortal!), he begged he might assist her. With a
glance that he thought sufficient to ignite the insensible carbon, she
accepted his offer. Happy Matthew!--he grasped the handles her warm
red-hands had touched!--Cold-blooded, unimaginative beings may deride his
enthusiasm; but after all, the sentiment he experienced was similar to,
and quite as pure, as that of Tom Jones, when he fondled Sophia Western's
"The course of true love never did run smooth."
Two months after this event, 'his Mary' married the baker's man!--
* * * * * * * * * *
Wallis's nephew had several times invited me to pay him a visit at his
uncle's house, at Crouchend; and so once, during the absence of that
gentleman who was ruralizing at Tonbridge, I trudged down to his villa.
Nothing would suit Master John, but that he must 'have out' his uncle's
gun; and we certainly shot at, and frightened, many sparrows.
He was just pointing at a fresh quarry, when the loud crow of a cock
arrested his arm.
"That's Doddington's game 'un, I know," said Master John. "What d'ye
think--if he did'nt 'pitch into' our 'dunghill' the other day, and laid
him dead at a blow. I owe him one!--Come along." I followed in his
footsteps, and soon beheld Chanticleer crowing with all the ostentation
of a victor at the hens he had so ruthlessly widowed. A clothes-horse,
with a ragged blanket, screened us from his view; and Master'John,
putting the muzzle of his gun through a hole in this novel ambuscade,
discharged its contents point blank into the proclaimer of the morn--and
laid him low.
I trembled; for I felt that we had committed a 'foul murder.' Master
Johnny, however, derided my fears--called it retributive justice--and
ignominiously consigned the remains of a game-cock to a dunghill!
The affair appeared so like a cowardly assassination, in which I was
(though unwillingly--) 'particeps criminis'--that I walked away without
partaking of the gooseberry-pie, which he had provided for our supper.
CHAPTER VI.--A Commission.
"Och! thin, Paddy, what's the bothuration; if you carry me, don't I carry
the whiskey, sure, and that's fair and aqual!"
I was early at my post on the following morning, being particularly
anxious to meet with Mr. Wallis's scapegrace nephew, and ascertain
whether anybody had found the dead body of the game-cock, and whether an
inquest had been held; for I knew enough of the world to draw my own
conclusions as to the result. He, although the principal, being a
relative, would get off with a lecture, while I should probably be kicked
out of my place.
In a fever of expectation, I hung over the banisters of the geometrical
staircase, watching for his arrival.
While I was thus occupied, my nerves "screwed up,"--almost to cracking,
Mr. Wallis's office-door was thrown open, and I beheld that very
gentleman's round, pleasant physiognomy, embrowned by his travels,
staring me full in the face. I really lost my equilibrium at the
"Oh!--it's you, is it," cried he. "Where's my rascal?"
"He's not come yet, sir," I replied.
"That fellow's never at hand when I want him--I'll cashier him by ___."
He slammed to his own door, and--opened it again immediately.
"Timmis come?" demanded he.
"No, sir; I don't think he'll be here for an hour."
"True--I'm early in the field; but what brings you here so soon?--some
mischief, I suppose."
"I'm always early, sir, for I live hard by."
"Can I do anything for you, sir?" I enquired.
"Why, that's a good thought," said he, and his countenance assumed its
usually bland expression. "Let me see--I want to send my carpet-bag, and
a message, to my housekeeper."
"I can do it, sir, and be back again in no time," cried I, elated at
having an opportunity of obliging the man whom I had really some cause to
fear, in the critical situation in which his nephew's thoughtlessness had
In my eagerness, however, and notwithstanding the political acuteness of
my manoeuvre, I got myself into an awful dilemma. Having received the
bag, and his message, I walked off, but had scarcely descended a dozen
stairs when he recalled me.
"Where the devil are you going?" cried he.
"To your house, sir," I innocently replied.
"What, do you know it, then?" demanded he in surprise.
Here was a position. It was a miracle that I did not roll over the
carpet-bag and break my neck, in the confusion of ideas engendered by
this simple query.
I could not lie, and evasion was not my forte. A man or boy in the wrong
can never express himself with propriety; an opinion in which Quinctilian
also appears to coincide, when he asserts--
"Orator perfectus nisi vir bonus esse non potest."
I therefore summoned up sufficient breath and courage to answer him in
"And when, pray, were you there?" said he.
"Yesterday, sir, your nephew asked me to come and see him."
"The impudent little blackguard?" cried he.
"I hope you ain't angry, sir?"
"Angry with you?--no, my lad; you're an active little chap, and I wish
that imp of mine would take a pattern by you. Trot along, and mind you
have 'a lift' both ways."
Off I went, as light as a balloon when the ropes are cut.
I executed my commission with dispatch, and completely won the favour of
Mr. Wallis, by returning the money which he had given me for coach-hire.
"How's this?--you didn't tramp, did you?" said he.
"No, sir, I rode both ways," I replied; "but I knew the coachmen, and
they gave me a cast for nothing."
"Umph!--well, that's quite proper--quite proper," said he, considering a
moment. "Honesty's the best policy."
"Father always told me so, sir."
"Your father's right;--there's half-a-crown for you."
I was delighted--
"Quantum cedat virtutibus aurum;"
and I felt the truth of this line of Dr. Johnson's, although I was then
ignorant of it. I met his nephew on the landing, but my fears had
vanished. We talked, however, of the departed bird, and he wished me, in
the event of discovery, to declare that I had loaded and carried the gun,
and that he would bear the rest of the blame.
This, however, strongly reminded me of the two Irish smugglers:--one had
a wooden leg, and carried the cask; while his comrade, who had the use of
both his pins, bore him upon his shoulders, and, complaining of the
weight, the other replied:--"Och! thin, Paddy, what's the bothuration; if
you carry me, don't I carry the whiskey, sure, and that's fair and
aqual!" and I at once declined any such Hibernian partnership in the
affair, quite resolved that he should bear the whole onus upon his own
CHAPTER, VII.--The Cricket Match
"Out! so don't fatigue yourself, I beg, sir."
I soon discovered that my conduct had been reported in the most
favourable colours to Mr. Timmis, and the consequence was that he began
to take more notice of me.
"Andrew, what sort of a fist can you write?" demanded he. I shewed him
some caligraphic specimens.
"D___ me, if your y's and your g's hav'nt tails like skippingropes. We
must have a little topping and tailing here, and I think you'll do. Here,
make out this account, and enter it in the book."
He left me to do his bidding; and when he returned from the
Stock-Exchange, inspected the performance, which I had executed with
I watched his countenance. "That'll do--you're a brick! I'll make a man
of you--d___ me."
From this day forward I had the honour of keeping his books, and making
out the accounts. I was already a person of importance, and certainly
some steps above the boys on the landing.
I did not, however, obtain any advance in my weekly wages; but on
"good-days" got a douceur, varying from half a crown to half a sovereign!
and looked upon myself as a made man. Most of the receipts went to my
father; whatever he returned to me I spent at a neighbouring book-stall,
and in the course of twelve months I possessed a library of most amusing
and instructive literature,--Heaven knows! of a most miscellaneous
character, for I had no one to guide me in the selection.
Among Mr. Timmis's numerous clients, was one Mr. Cornelius Crobble, a man
of most extraordinary dimensions; he was also a "chum" of, and frequently
made one of a party with, his friend Mr. Wallis, and other croneys, to
white-bait dinners at Blackwall, and other intellectual banquets. In
fact, he seldom made his appearance at the office, but the visit ended in
an engagement to dine at some "crack-house" or other. The cost of the
"feed," as Mr. Timmis termed it, was generally decided by a toss of "best
two and three;" and somehow it invariably happened that Mr. Crobble lost;
but he was so good-humoured, that really it was a pleasure, as Mr. Wallis
said, to "grub" at his expense.
They nick-named him Maximo Rotundo--and he well deserved the title.
"Where's Timmis?" said he, one day after he had taken a seat, and puffed
and blowed for the space of five minutes--"Cuss them stairs; they'll be
the death o' me."
I ran to summon my master.
"How are you, old fellow?" demanded Mr. Timmis; "tip us your fin."
"Queer!" replied Mr. Crobble,--tapping his breast gently with his fat
fist, and puffing out his cheeks--to indicate that his lungs were
"What, bellows to mend?" cried my accomplished patron-- D___ me, never
"Just come from Doctor Sprawles: says I must take exercise; no malt
liquor--nothing at breakfast--no lunch--no supper."
"Why, you'll be a skeleton--a transfer from the consolidated to the
reduced in no time," exclaimed Mr. Timmis; and his friend joined in the
"I was a-thinking, Timmis--don't you belong to a cricketclub?"
"To be sure."
--"Of joining you."
"That's the ticket," cried Timmis--"consider yourself elected; I can
carry any thing there. I'm quite the cock of the walk, and no mistake.
Next Thursday's a field-day--I'll introduce you. Lord! you'll soon be
right as a trivet."
Mr Wallis was summoned, and the affair was soon arranged; and I had the
gratification of being present at Mr. Crobble's inauguration.
It was a broiling day, and there was a full field; but he conducted
himself manfully, notwithstanding the jokes of the club. He batted
exceedingly well, "considering," as Mr. Wallis remarked; but as for the
"runs," he was completely at fault.
He only attempted it once; but before he had advanced a yard or two, the
ball was caught; and the agile player, striking the wicket with ease,
exclaimed, amid the laughter of the spectators--"Out! so don't fatigue
yourself, I beg, sir."
And so the match was concluded, amid cheers and shouting, in which the
rotund, good-natured novice joined most heartily.
CHAPTER VIII.--The Hunter.
"Hunting may be sport, says I, but I'm blest if its pleasure."
Two days after the cricket-match, Mr. Crobble paid a visit to my master.
"Well, old fellow, d___ me me, if you ain't a trump--how's your wind?"
--kindly enquired Mr. Timmis.
"Vastly better, thank'ye; how's Wallis and the other fellows?--prime
sport that cricketing."
"Yes; but, I say, you'll never have 'a run' of luck, if you stick to the
"True; but I made a hit or two, you must allow," replied Mr. Crobble;
"though I'm afraid I'm a sorry member."
"A member, indeed!--no, no; you're the body, and we're the--members,"
replied Mr. Timmis, laughing; "but, halloo! what's that patch on your
forehead--bin a fighting?"
"No; but I've been a hunting," said Mr. Crobble, "and this here's the
fruits--You know my gray?"
"The nag you swopp'd the bay roadster for with Tom Brown?"
"Him," answered Crobble. "Well, I took him to Hertfordshire Wednesday
"He took you, you mean."
"Well, what's the odds?"
"The odds, why, in your favour, to be sure, as I dare say the horse can
"Well, howsomever, there was a good field--and off we went. The level
country was all prime; but he took a hedge, and nearly julked all the
life out o' me. I lost my stirrup, and should have lost my seat, had'nt
I clutched his mane--"
"And kept your seat by main force?"
"Well, away we went, like Johnny Gilpin. Hunting may be sport, says I,
but I'm blest if its pleasure. This infernal horse was always fond of
shying, and now he's going to shy me off; and, ecod! no sooner said than
done. Over his head I go, like a rocket."
"Like a foot-ball, you mean," interrupted Mr. Timmis.
"And, as luck would have it, tumbles into a ditch, plump with my head
agin the bank."
"By jingo! such a 'run' upon the bank was enough to break it," cried my
master, whose propensity to crack a joke overcame all feeling of sympathy
for his friend.
"It broke my head though; and warn't I in a precious mess--that's all--up
to my neck, and no mistake--and black as a chimney-sweep--such mud!"
"And only think of a man of your property investing his substance in mud!
That is a good 'un!--Andrew," said he, "tell Wally to come here." I
summoned his crony, and sat myself down to the books, to enjoy the
sportive sallies of the two friends, who roasted the 'fat buck,' their
loving companion, most unmercifully.
"You sly old badger," cried Wallis, "why, you must have picked out the
"No, but they picked out me, and a precious figure I cut--I can tell you
--I was dripping from top to toe."
"Very like dripping, indeed!" exclaimed Mr. Timmis, eyeing his fat
friend, and bursting into an immoderate fit of laughter. The meeting
ended, as usual, with a bet for a dinner at the "Plough" for themselves
and their friends, which Mr. Crobble lost--as usual.
CHAPTER IX.--A Row to Blackwall.
'To be sold, warranted sound, a gray-mare, very fast, and carries a lady;
likewise a bay-cob, quiet to ride or drive, and has carried a lady'
Steam-boats did not run to Greenwich and Blackwall at this period; and
those who resorted to the white-bait establishments at those places,
either availed themselves of a coach or a boat. Being now transformed,
by a little personal merit, and a great favour, from a full-grown
errand-boy to a small clerk, Mr. Timmis, at the suggestion of my good
friend Mr. Wallis, offered me, as a treat, a row in the boat they had
engaged for the occasion; which, as a matter of course, I did not refuse:
making myself as spruce as my limited wardrobe would permit, I trotted at
their heels to the foot of London-bridge, the point of embarkation.
The party, including the boatman, consisted of eight souls; the tide was
in our favour, and away we went, as merry a company as ever floated on
the bosom of Father Thames. Mr. Crobble was the chief mark for all their
sallies, and indeed he really appeared, from his size, to have been
intended by Nature for a "butt," as Mr. Wallis wickedly remarked.
"You told, me, Crobble, of your hunting exploit in Hertfordshire," said
Mr. Wallis; "I'll tell you something as bangs that hollow; I'm sure I
thought I should have split with laughter when I heard of it. You know
the old frump, my Aunt Betty, Timmis?"
"To be sure--she with the ten thousand in the threes," replied Mr.
Timmis; "a worthy creature; and I'm sure you admire her principal."
"Don't I," cried Wallis; and he winked significantly at his friend.
"Well, what d'ye think; she, and Miss Scragg, her toady, were in the
country t'other day, and must needs amuse themselves in an airing upon a
couple of prads.
"Well; they were cantering along--doing the handsome--and had just come
to the border of a pond, when a donkey pops his innocent nose over a
fence in their rear, and began to heehaw' in a most melodious strain.
The nags pricked up their ears in a twinkling, and made no more ado but
bolted. Poor aunty tugged! but all in vain; her bay-cob ran into the
water; and she lost both her presence of mind and her seat, and plumped
swash into the pond--her riding habit spreading out into a beautiful
circle--while she lay squalling and bawling out in the centre, like a
little piece of beef in the middle of a large batter-pudding! Miss
Scragg, meanwhile, stuck to her graymare, and went bumping along to the
admiration of all beholders, and was soon out of sight: luckily a joskin,
who witnessed my dear aunt's immersion, ran to her assistance, and, with
the help of his pitch-fork, safely landed her; for unfortunately the pond
was not above three or four feet deep! and so she missed the chance of
being an angel!"
"And you the transfer of her threes!--what a pity!" said the sympathizing
"When I heard of the accident, of course, as in duty bound, I wrote an
anxious letter of affectionate enquiry and condolence. At the same
period, seeing an advertisement in the Times--'To be sold, warranted
sound, a gray-mare, very fast, and carries a lady; likewise a bay-cob,
quiet to ride or drive, and has carried a lady'--I was so tickled with
the co-incidence, that I cut it out, and sent it to her in an envelope."
"Prime! by Jove!"--shouted Mr. Crobble--"But, I say, Wallis--you should
have sent her a 'duck' too, as a symbolical memorial of her accident!"
CHAPTER X.--The Pic-Nic.
--had just spread out their prog on a clean table-cloth, when they were
alarmed by the approach of a cow.
"People should never undertake to do a thing they don't perfectly
understand," remarked Mr. Crobble, "they're sure to make fools o'
themselves in the end. There's Tom Davis, (you know Tom Davis?) he's
always putting his notions into people's heads, and turning the laugh
against 'em. If there's a ditch in the way, he's sure to dare some of
his companions to leap it, before he overs it himself; if he finds it
safe, away he springs like a greyhound."
"Exactly him, I know him," replied Mr. Timmis; "that's what he calls
learning to shave upon other people's chins!"
"Excellent!" exclaimed Mr. Wallis.
"He's a very devil," continued Mr. Crobble; "always proposing some fun or
other: Pic-nics are his delight; but he always leaves others to bring the
grub, and brings nothing but himself. I hate Pic-nics, squatting in the
grass don't suit me at all; when once down, I find it no easy matter to
get up again, I can tell you."
Hereupon there was a general laugh.
"Talking of Pic-nics," said Mr. Timmis. "reminds me of one that was held
the other day in a meadow, on the banks of the Lea. The party,
consisting of ladies only, and a little boy, had just spread out their
prog on a clean table-cloth, when they were alarmed by the approach of a
cow. They were presently on their pins, (cow'd, of course,) and sheered
off to a respectful distance, while the cow walked leisurely over the
table-cloth, smelling the materials of the feast, and popp'd her cloven
foot plump into a currant and raspberry pie! and they had a precious deal
of trouble to draw her off; for, as Tom Davis said, there were some
veal-patties there, which were, no doubt, made out of one of her calves;
and in her maternal solicitude, she completely demolished the plates and
dishes, leaving the affrighted party nothing more than the broken
"What a lark!" exclaimed Mr. Crobble; "I would have given a guinea to
have witnessed the fun. That cow was a trojan!"
"A star in the milky way," cried Mr. Wallis.
We now approached the 'Plough;' and Mr. Crobble having 'satisfied' the
boatman, Mr. Wallis gave me half-a-crown, and bade me make the best of my
way home. I pocketed the money, and resolved to 'go on the highway,' and
trudge on foot.
"Andrew," said my worthy patron, "now don't go and make a beast of
yourself, but walk straight home."
"Andrew," said Mr. Wallis, imitating his friend's tone of admonition; "if
any body asks you to treat 'em, bolt; if any body offers to treat you,
"Andrew," said Mr. Crobble, who was determined to put in his oar, and row
in the same boat as his friends; "Andrew,"--"Yes, Sir;" and I touched my
hat with due respect, while his two friends bent forward to catch his
words. "Andrew," repeated he, for the third time, "avoid evil
communication, and get thee gone from Blackwall, as fast as your legs can
carry you--for, there's villainous bad company just landed here--wicked
enough to spoil even the immaculate Mr. Cornelius Crobble!"
CHAPTER XI.--The Journey Home.
"Starboard, Tom, starboard!"--"Aye, aye-starboard it is!"
I found myself quite in a strange land upon parting with my master and
his friends. It was war-time, and the place was literally swarming with
Taking to the road, for the footway was quite crowded, I soon reached
Poplar. Here a large mob impeded my progress. They appeared all moved
with extraordinary merriment. I soon distinguished the objects of their
mirth. Two sailors, mounted back to back on a cart-horse, were steering
for Blackwall. A large horse-cloth served them as a substitute for a
saddle, and the merry fellow behind held the reins; he was smoking a
short pipe, while his mate was making an observation with his spy-glass.
"Starboard, Tom, starboard!" cried the one in front.
"Aye, aye-starboard it is!" replied his companion, tugging at the rein.
"Holloo, messmate! where are you bound?" bawled a sailor in the crowd.
"To the port o' Blackwall," replied the steersman. "But we're going
quite in the wind's eye, and I'm afeared we shan't make it to-night."
"A queer craft."
"Werry," replied Tom. "Don't answer the helm at all."
"Any grog on board?" demanded the sailor.
"Not enough to wet the boatswain's whistle; for, da'e see, mate, there's
no room for stowage."
"Shiver my timbers!--no grog!" exclaimed the other; "why--you'll founder.
If you don't splice the main-brace, you'll not make a knot an hour.
Heave to--and let's drink success to the voyage."
"With all my heart, mate, for I'm precious krank with tacking. Larboard,
"Aye, aye--larboard it is."
"Now, run her right into that 'ere spirit-shop to leeward, and let's have
Tom tugged away, and soon "brought up" at the door of a wine-vaults.
"Let go the anchor," exclaimed his messmate--"that's it--coil up."
"Here, mate--here's a picter of his royal majesty"--giving the sailor
alongside a new guinea--"and now tell the steward to mix us a jorum as
stiff as a nor'wester, and, let's all drink the King's health--God bless
"Hooray!" shouted the delighted mob.
Their quondam friend soon did his bidding, bringing out a huge china-bowl
filled with grog, which was handed round to every soul within reach, and
presently dispatched;--two others followed, before they "weighed anchor
and proceeded on their voyage," cheered by the ragged multitude, among
whom they lavishly scattered their change; and a most riotous and
ridiculous scramble it produced.
I was much pleased with the novelty of the scene, and escaped from the
crowd as quickly as I conveniently could, for I was rather apprehensive
of an attempt upon my pockets.
What strange beings are these sailors! They have no care for the morrow,
but spend lavishly the hard-earned wages of their adventurous life. To
one like myself, who early knew the value of money, this thoughtless
extravagance certainly appeared unaccountable, and nearly allied to
madness; but, when I reflected that they are sometimes imprisoned in a
ship for years, without touching land, and frequently in peril of losing
their lives--that they have scarcely time to scatter their wages and
prize-money in the short intervals which chance offers them of mixing
with their fellow-men, my wonder changed to pity.
"A man in a ship," says Dr. Johnson, "is worse than a man in a jail; for
the latter has more room, better food, and commonly better company, and
is in safety."
CHAPTER XII.--Monsieur Dubois.
"I sha'nt fight with fistesses, it's wulgar!--but if he's a mind to
anything like a gemman, here's my card!"
The love-lorn Matthew had departed, no doubt unable to bear the sight of
that staircase whose boards no longer resounded with the slip-slap of the
slippers of that hypocritical beauty, "his Mary." With him, the romance
of the landing-place, and the squad, had evaporated; and I had no
sympathies, no pursuits, in common with the remaining "boys"--my
newly-acquired post, too, nearly occupied the whole of my time, while my
desire of study increased with the acquisition of books, in which all my
pocket-money was expended.
One day, my good friend, Mr. Wallis, entered the office, followed by a
short, sharp-visaged man, with a sallow complexion; he was dressed in a
shabby frock, buttoned up to the throat--a rusty black silk neckerchief
supplying the place of shirt and collar.
He stood just within the threshold of the door, holding his napless hat
in his hand.
"Well, Wally, my buck," cried my master, extending his hand.
Mr. Wallis advanced close to his elbow, and spoke in a whisper; but I
observed, by the direction of his eyes, that the subject of his
communication was the stranger.
"Ha!" said Mr. Timmis, "it's all very well, Walley--but I hate all
forriners;--why don't he go back to Frogland, and not come here, palming
himself upon us. It's no go--not a scuddick. They're all a parcel o'
humbugs--and no mistake!"
As he uttered this gracious opinion sufficiently loud to strike upon the
tympanum of the poor fellow at the door, I could perceive his dark eyes
glisten, and the blood tinge his woe-begone cheeks; his lips trembled
with emotion: there was an evident struggle between offended gentility,
and urgent necessity.
Pride, however, gained the mastery; and advancing the right foot, he
raised his hat, and with peculiar grace bowing to the two
friends--"Pardon, Monsieur Vallis," said he, in tremulous accents, "I am
'de trop;' permit, me to visdraw"--and instantly left the office.
Mr. Timmis, startled by his sudden exit, looked at Mr. Wallis for an
"By ___!" exclaimed Mr. Wallis seriously-- "you've hurt that poor fellow's
feelings. I would sooner have given a guinea than he should have heard
you. Dubois is a gentleman; and altho' he's completely 'stumped,' and
has'nt a place to put his head in, he's tenacious of that respect which
is due to every man, whether he happens to be at a premium, or a
"Go it!" cried Mr. Timmis, colouring deeply at this merited reproof--"If
this ain't a reg'lar sermon! I didn't mean to hurt his feelings, d___
me; I'm a reg'lar John Bull, and he should know better than to be popped
at my bluntness. D___ me, I wouldn't hurt a worm--you know I wouldn't,
There was a tone of contrition in this rambling apology that satisfied
Mr. Wallis of its truth; and he immediately entered into an explanation
on the Frenchman's situation. He had known him, he said, for several
years as a tutor in the family of one of his clients, by whom he was much
respected: a heavy loss had compelled them suddenly to reduce their
establishment; Dubois had entreated to remain with his pupil--refused to
receive any salary--and had even served his old patron in the capacity of
a menial, adhering to him in all his misfortunes, and only parted with
him, reluctantly, at the door of the debtor's prison!
"Did he do that?" said my master; and I saw his eyes moisten at the
relation. "A French mounseer do that! Game--d___ me!"--and lifting the
lid of his desk, he drew out a five pound note! "Here, Wallis, tip him
this flimsey! Tell him--you know what to say--I'm no speechifier--but
you know what I mean." I almost jumped up and hugged my master, I was so
The next day Monsieur Dubois again made his appearance; and Mr. Wallis
had the pleasure of beholding Mr. Timmis and his gallic friend on the
best terms imaginable.
As for me, I had good cause to rejoice; for it was agreed that I should
take lessons in the "foreign lingo," by way of giving him "a lift," as
Mr. Timmis expressed it. I remember him with feelings of gratitude; for
I owe much more than the knowledge of the language to his kindness and
As for Mr. Timmis, he could never sufficiently appreciate his worth,
although he uniformly treated him with kindness.
"Talk of refinement," said he, one day, when discussing Dubois' merits
with Mr. Wallis; "I saw a bit to-day as bangs everything. A cadger
sweeping a crossing fell out with a dustman. Wasn't there some spicy jaw
betwixt 'em. Well, nothing would suit, but the dustman must have a go,
and pitch into the cadger.
"D___ me, what does the cove do, but he outs with a bit of dirty
pasteboard, and he says, says he, "I sha'nt fight with fistesses, it's
wulgar!--but if he's a mind to anything like a gemman, here's my card!"
Wasn't there a roar! I lugg'd out a bob, and flung it at the vagabond
for his wit."
CHAPTER XIII.--My Talent Called into Active Service.
"Ar'n't you glad you ain't a black-a-moor?"
"I should think so," replied his sooty brother, "they're sich ugly
Having to deliver a letter, containing an account and a stock receipt,
to one of Mr. Timmis's clients, residing at the west end of the town; in
crossing through one of the fashionable squares, I observed a flat-faced
negro servant in livery, standing at the door of one of the houses.
Two chimney sweepers who happened to be passing, showed their white teeth
in a contemptuous grin at the African.
"Bob," I overheard one remark, "ar'n't you glad you ain't a
"I should think so," replied his sooty brother, "they're sich ugly
warmints. Master's daughter, wots come from boarding school! says the
sight of 'ems' enough to frighten one into conwulsions!"
Alas! for the prejudice of the world! How much this ignorant remark
reminded me of my patron's unfounded hatred of all "forriners." It was
precisely the same sentiment, differently expressed, that actuated the
thoughts and opinions of both.
I must, however, do Mr. Timmis the justice to say, that he made ample
amends to Monsieur Dubois for the affront he had so thoughtlessly put
upon the worthy Frenchman; and did all in his power to obtain him pupils.
The consequent change in his dress and manner, his amiable conduct, and
gentlemanly deportment, at last completely won upon the esteem of the
boisterous broker, who swore, (for that was generally his elegant manner
of expressing his sincerity) that Dubois was a 'downright good'un;' and
were it not for his foreign accent, he should have taken him for an
Englishman born--really believing, that there was no virtue in the world
but of English growth.
I had now been above twelve-months in his office, and although I had
received but a moderate compensation for my services, yet the vast
improvement I had made (thanks to the instruction of Monsieur Dubois,)
was more valuable than gold. My father also, though but scantily
furnished with book-knowledge, had, nevertheless, the good sense to
appreciate and encourage my progress; he was well aware, from
observation, that 'knowledge is power,' and would frequently quote the
"When house, and land, and money's spent;
Then larning is most excellent"--
and spared all the money he could scrape together to purchase books for
One day Mr. Crobble came into the office with an open letter in his hand.
"Here,"--cried he, "I've received a remittance at last from that, German
fellow--two good bills on the first house in the city--but I can't make
top nor tail of his rigmarole. Do you know any chap among your
acquaintance who can read German?"
"Not I," replied Mr. Timmis.
"Will you allow me, Mr. Crobble?" said I, stepping forward. "This letter
is written in French, not German, Sir," I observed.
"What's the difference to me, Master Andrew; it might as well be in wild
Irish, for the matter o' that."
"Andrew can read the lingo," said my master.
"The devil he can!" exclaimed Mr. Crobble; "I dare say I shall be able to
make it out," said I; "and if not, Monsieur Dubois will be here;
to-morrow morning, and you can have it by twelve o'clock, sir."
"Ain't that the ticket?" exclaimed Mr. Timmis, delighted at the surprise
of his friend; "you don't know how vastly clever we are, old fellow."
Mr. Crobble, much gratified at this information, placed the letter in my
hands; and, leaving me to take a lunch at Garraway's with Mr. Timmis, I
eagerly sat about my task--and luckily it was not only plainly written,
but the subject-matter by no means difficult, being rather complimentary
than technical. By the time they returned, I had not only translated,
but made a fair copy of it, in my best hand.
"Come, that is clever," said Mr. Crobble; "let me see, now, what shall I
"Nothing, Sir," I promptly replied; "I am Mr. Timmis's clerk--and all
that I know I owe to his kindness."
I saw, with pleasure, that this compliment was not lost upon my master.
Mr. Crobble was really a gentleman in feeling, and therefore did not
persist in offering me any remuneration; but as he left the office, he
said, "I thank you, Mr. Andrew--I shall not forget your services;" and
departed evidently much pleased with my performance.
CHAPTER XIV.--A Dilemma.
"EE cawnt gow back, 'cause they locks the gates,"
"Well, can we go forward, then?"--"Noa, ee cawnt, 'cause the roads are
"EE cawnt gow back, 'cause they locks the gates," said a bumpkin on the
road-side to a Cockney-party in a one-horse chaise.
"Well, can we go forward, then?" demanded the anxious and wearied
"Noa, ee cawnt, 'cause the roads are under water;" replied the joskin,
with a grin.
This was certainly a situation more ridiculous than interesting; and I
smiled when I heard the story told, little suspecting that Fortune would
one day throw me into a similar dilemina--so blindly do we mortals hug
ourselves in the supposed security of our tact and foresight.
"How d'ye do, Mr. Andrew," said Mr. Crobble, when he had seated himself,
and sufficiently inflated his lungs, after the fatiguing operation of
mounting the stairs.
"Where's Timmis?--tell him I want a word with him."
I quickly summoned my patron, and followed him into the office.
"Well, old puff and blow!" exclaimed Mr. Timmis, with his usual
"What's in the wind? Want to sell out? The fives are fallen three per
cent. since Friday. All the 'Change is as busy as the devil in a high
"No--no more dabbling, Timmis," replied Mr. Crobble; "I lost a cool
hundred last account; I want a word in private with you"--and he glanced
towards me; upon which I seized my hat, and took up my position at my old
post on the landing. How were my feelings altered since I first loitered
there, listening to the marvels of poor Matthew!
I was lost in a pleasant reverie, when the sharp voice of Mr. Timmis
"Andrew," said he, "my friend Crobble wants a clerk, and has cast his eye
upon you. What do you say?"
I scarcely knew what to say. On one side stood my master, to whom I
really owed so much--on the other his friend, who offered me a promotion,
which I felt, on many accounts, was most attractive. "I should have no
objection," I replied, "but great pleasure in serving Mr. Crobble,
sir--but--I have received so many favours from you, that I'm afraid I
might seem ungrateful."
The good-natured Mr. Wallis happily stepped in at this moment to my
"Nonsense," replied Mr. Timmis; "the stock is delivered to the highest
bidder; here Crobble backs eighteen shillings a week against my
I still felt some hesitation, although it was evident, from his
expression, that Mr. Timmis valued the servant much less than the servant
valued the master.
"Only look here, Wally," cried he; "here stands Andrew, like an ass
between two bundles of hay."
"Rather like a bundle of hay between two asses, I think," replied Mr.
Wallis; and good-naturedly tapping me on the shoulder, he continued--"
accept Mr. Crobble's offer, Master Andrew: you're much too good for
Timmis--he can soon get a grubby half-crown boy--but you may wait a long
time for such an eligible offer."
"Eighteen shillings a week," said Mr. Crobble; who, I must confess,
without any particular stretch of self-esteem, appeared anxious to engage
me--, "but I shall want security."
That word "security" fell like an avalanche on my mounting spirit, and
cast me headlong down the imaginary ascent my busy thoughts had climbed
"Five hundred pounds," continued Mr. Crobble; "d'ye think--have you any
"None, sir; my father is a poor man, and quite unable." I could scarcely
speak--like the driver of the one-horse chaise, I could neither advance
"The father," said Mr. Timmis, "is only a poor shoe-maker--a good fellow
tho'--an excellent fit!"
"You mean to say," cried Mr. Wallis, "it were bootless to seek security
of the shoe-maker."
A laugh ensued; and, notwithstanding my agitated feelings, I could not
forbear being tickled by Mr. Wallis's humour, and joining in the
This sally gave a most favourable turn to the discussion. "Come," said
Mr. Wallis, "I'll stand two hundred and fifty--and you, Timmis, must go
"No; d___ me, he may bolt with the cash-box, and let me in, perhaps,"
exclaimed Mr. Timmis. I burst into tears; I felt, that from my long and
faithful services, I deserved a better opinion--although I had no right
to expect so great a favour.
Rude as he was, he felt some compunction at having wounded my feelings;
and swore a round oath that he was only joking, and I was a fool. "Did I
think, for a moment, that Wally should get the start of him; no--I was an
honest chap, and he'd put his fist to double the amount to serve me;" and
then bade me "sit to the books," and make all square before I cut my
stick: and thus happily concluded this most momentous change in my
CHAPTER XV.--An Old Acquaintance.
"Only three holidays left, and still this plaguey glass says 'very
wet;'--I can't bear it--I can't--and I won't."
How impatiently did I count the minutes 'till the office was closed, for
I longed to communicate the glad tidings of my good fortune to my worthy
father. The old man wept with joy at the prospect, and assisted me in
rearing those beautiful fabrics termed castles in the air.
His own trade, by the recommendation of the rough, ill-mannered, but
good-natured Mr. Timmis, had wonderfully increased; and, by making some
temporary sacrifices, he was enabled to give me an appearance more
suitable to the new position in which I was so unexpectedly placed. In a
narrow alley, on the south side of the Royal Exchange, on the
ground-floor, I found the counting-house of Mr. Crobble. Under his