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the sake of testing his master, or as if he wondered what punishment he would have this time-for the punishments were various. On such occasions he would shriek out the word, duck his head, and dart to the opposite side of the cage, keeping one eye full on his master, with such an expression that his profile looked like a whole face with a Cyclopean one eye in it.
Whether Mrs. Boxall was at last successful in her benevolent exertions I am unable to say, for her experiments were still going on when the period arrived with which my story must close. She often asserted that she saw them beginning to sprout ; and to see her, with spectacles on nose, examining the poor withered bluish back of Widdles, was ludicrous or touching, according to the humour of the beholder. Widdles seemed to like the pains she took with him, however; and there is no doubt of one thing, that she was rewarded for her trouble tenfold in being thus withdrawn from the contemplation of her own wrongs and misfortunes. Widdles thus gave her many a peaceful hour she would not, in all probability have otherwise enjoyed. Nor were her attentions confined to him ; through him, she was introduced to the whole regiment of birds, which she soon began assisting Mr. Kitely to wait upon. Mattie had never taken to them. While grannie, as she, too, called her, was busy with them, Mattie would sit beside at her needlework, scarcely looking up even when she addressed an occasional re. mark to her. It was a curious household, and fell into many singular groups.
But here I must leave Mrs. Boxall with her bird-companions, which, save for the comfort they afiorded her in taking her mind off herself, have no active part in the story. Through Mrs. Morgenstern's influence and exertions, Lucy soon had as much to do in the way of teaching as she could compass, and her grandmother knew no difference in her way of living from what she had been accustomed to.
WHAT THOMAS WAS ABOUT.
WHEN Thomas left Rotherhithe with Jim Salter, he had no idea in his head but to get away somewhere. Like the ostrich he wanted some sand to stick his head into. But wherever he went, there were people, even policemen, about, and not one of the places they went through looked more likely to afford him shelter than another. Had he given Jim any clearer information concerning the necessity he was in of keeping dark, perhaps he would have done differently with him. As it was, Jim contented himself with piloting him about the lowar docks and all that maritime
part of London. They walked about the whole day till Thomas was very tired. Nor did refuge seem nearer than before. All this time the police might be on his track, coming nearer and nearer like the bloodhounds that they were. They had some dinner at an eating-house, where Thomas's fastidiousness made yet a further acquaintance with dirt and disorder, and he felt that he had fallen from his own sphere into a lower order of things, and could never more climb into the heaven whence he had fallen. But the fear of a yet lower fall into a prison and the criminals dock kept him from dwelling yet upon what he had lost. At night Jim bed him into Ratcliffe highway, the paradise of sailors at sea-the hell of sailors on shore. Thomas shrunk from the light that filled the street from end to end, blazing from innumerable publichouses, through the open doors of which he looked across into back parlours, where sailors and women sat drinking and gambling, or down long passages to great rooms with curtained doorways, whence came the sounds of music and dancing, and through which passed and repassed seafaring figures and gaily bedizened vulgar girls, many of whom, had the weather been warmer, would have been hanging about the street-doors, laughing and chaffing the passers-by, or getting up a dance on the pavement to the sound of the music within. It was a whole streetful of low revelry. Poor Jack Such is his coveted reward on shore for braving Death, and defying him on the ocean. He escapes from the embrace of the bony phantom to hasten to the arms of his far more fearful com, panion-the nightmare Life-in-Death-“who thicks man's blood with cold.” Well may that pair casting their dice on the skeleton ship symbolize the fate of the sailor, for to the one or the other he falls a victim.
Opposite an open door Jim stopped to speak to an acquaintance. The door opened directly upon a room ascending a few steps from the street. Round a table sat several men, sailors of course, apparently masters of coasting vessels. A lithe lascar was standing with one hand on the table, leaning over it, and talking swiftly, with snaky gestures of the other hand. He was in a rage. The others burst out laughing. Thomas saw something glitter in the hand of the Hindoo. One of the sailors gave a cry and started up, but staggered and fell. Before he fell the lascar was at the door, down the steps with a bound, and out in the street. Two inen were after him at full speed, but they had no chance with the light built Indian.
“The villain has murdered a man, Jim," said Thomas_" in there look !"
“Oh, I daresay he ain't much the worse," returned Jim. " They're always a outing with their knives here."
For all his indifference, however, Jim started after the Hindoo, but he was out of sight in another moment.
“He's crowding all sail for Tiger-bay," said he. "I shouldn't care to follow him there. Here's a Peeler.”
“Come along, Jim," said Thomas. “Don't stand here all the night.”
“Why, you ain't afraid o' the pleace, are you, gov'nor?”
Thomas tried to laugh, but he did not enjoy the allusion-in the presence of a third person especially.
"Well, good night,” said Jim to his acquaintance. "By the way," he resumed, “ do you know the figure of Potts's ken ?”
“What Potts?' I don't know any Potts.”
“ Yes you do. Down somewhere about Lime’us, you know. We saw him that night"
Here Jim whispered his companion, who answered aloud :
“Oh, yes, I know. Let me see. It's the Marmaid, I think. You ain't a going there, are you?”
“Don't know. Mayhap. 'I'm only taking this gen'leman a sightseeing. He's from the country.”
“Good night, then.” And so they parted.
It was a sudden idea of Jim's to turn in the direction of the man whose child Thomas had saved. But Thomas did not know where he was taking him.
“Where will you sleep to-night, gov'nor ?" asked Jim, as they walked along.
“I don't know," answered Thomas. “I must leave you to find me a place. But I say, Jim, can you think of anything I could turn to? for my money won't last me long."
“Turn to !” echoed Jim. “Why a man had need be able to turn to everything by turns to make a livin' now-a-days. You ’ain't been used to hard work, by your hands. Do you know your bible well ?"
“Pretty well," answered Thomas ; “but I don't know what that can have to do with making a living.”
“Oh, don't you, gov'nor? Perhaps you don't know what yer bible means. It means pips and pictures."
“ You mean the cards. No, no. I've had enough of that. I don't mean ever to touch them again.”
“Hum! Bitten,” said Jim to himself, but so that Thomas heard him.
"Not very badly, Jim. In the pocket-book I told you I lost, I had a hundred pounds, won at cards the night before last.”
“My eye ! "exclaimed Jim. “What a devil of a pity! But why don't you try your luck again ?” he asked, after a few moments of melancholy devoted to the memory of the money.
“Look here, Jim. I don't know where to go to sleep. I have a comfortable room that I dare not go near; a father, a rich man, I believe, who would turn me out; and, in short, I've ruined myself
for ever with card-playing. The sight of a pack would turn me sick, I do believe.”
"Sorry for you, gov'nor. I know a fellow, though, that makes a good thing of the thimble.
" I've no turn for tailoring, I'm afraid."
“Beggin' your spardon, gov'nor, but you are a muff! You never thought I meant a gentleman like you to take to a beastly trade like that? I meant the thimble and peas, you know, at fairs, and such like. It's all fair, you know. You tell 'em they don't know where the pea is, and they don't. I know a friend o’mine 'll put you up to it for five or six bob. Bless you ! there's room for free irade and money made."
Thomas could hardly be indignant with Jim for speaking according to his kind. But when he looked into it, it stung him to the heart to think that every magistrate would regard him as quite capable of taking to the profession of thimble-rigging after what he had been already guilty of. Yet in all his dealings with cards, Thomas had been scrupulously honourable. He said no more to Jim about finding him something to do.
They had gone a good way, and Thomas's strength was beginning to fail him quite. Several times Jim had inquired after the Marmaid, always in public-houses, where he paid for the information or none, as the case might be, by putting a name upon something at Thomas's expense; so that he began to be rather uplifted. At length he called out joyfully“Here's the fishy one, gov'nor, at last! Come along."
So saying, he pushed the swing door, to which was attached a leather strap to keep it from swinging outwards, and entered. It admitted them to a bar served by a big, fat man, with an apron whose substratum was white at the depth of several strata of dirt, and a nose much more remarkable for colour than drawing, being in both more like a half-ripe mulberry than any thing else in nature. He had little round watery eyes, and a face indicative of nothing in particular, for it had left its original conformation years behind. As soon as they entered, Jim went straight up to the landlord, and stared at him for a few moments across the counter.
" You don't appear to know me gov'nor ?” he said, for the many things he had drunk to find the way had made him larky. His vocabulary of address, it will be remarked, was decidedly defective.
“Well, I can't take upon me to say as I do," answered the man, putting his thumbs in the string of his apron, and looking at Jim with a mixture of effort and suspicion on his puffy face.
“And I'll be bound to say,” remarked Jim, turning towards Thomas, “ that you don't remember this gen'leman neither. Do'ee now, gov'nor? On yer honour, right as a trivet? No ye don't."
“ Can't say I do."
“ Look at him, then. Ain't he fit to remember? Don't he look respectable?”
Come, none of your chaff! Say what you've got to say. What do you want ?"
“Cut it short, Jim," said Thomas.
“ How's your young marmaid, as took to the water so natral at the Horsleydown t'other day, Mr. Potts ?” asked Jim, leaning on his elbows on the counter.
Jolly," answered the landlord. “ Was you by?" “Wasn't I then! And there's a gov'nor was nearer than I was. Mr. Potts, that's the very gen'leman as went a header into the water and saved her, Mr. Potts. Hold up yer head, gov'nor." “You're a chaffin' of me, I know," said Potts.
Come, come, Jim don't make a fool of me," said Thomas. "I wish I had known you were bringing me here. Come along. I won't stand it."
But Jim was leaning over the counter, speaking in a whisper to the down-bent landlord.
“ You don't mean it ?" said the latter. “Ask the mis'ess, then," said Jim,
“You don't mean it !”repeated the landlord, in a husky voice, and with increase of energy. Then looking towards Thomas, “ What will he take ?” he said, and, with the words, turned his back upon Jim and his face towards a shelf on which stood his choicest bottles, between two cask-like protuberances. He got down one of brandy, but Thomas, who was vexed at being brought there as if he wanted some acknowledgment of the good deed he had been fortunate enough to perform, refused to take anything.
“What will you take, then?" said the man, whose whole stock of ideas seemed to turn upon taking.
But at the moment a woman entered from behind the shop.
“There, mis’ess,” said her husband, can you tell who that gentleman is ?"
She looked at him for a moment, and exclaimed
“Bless my soul ! it's the gentleman that took our Bessie out of the water. How do you do, sir?" she continued, with mingled pleasure and respect, as she advanced from behind the counter and courtesied to Thomas.
“None the worse for my ducking, thank you,” said Thomas, holding out his hand in the delight a word of real friendship always gives.
She shook it warmly, and would hardly let it go.
“Oh! isn't he, then ?” muttered Jim, mysteriously, but loud enough for Potts to hear.
“Won't you come in, sir ?" said the woman, turning to lead
“ Thank you," answered Thomas. “I have been walking about