« 上一頁繼續 »
had seen anything I liked I had money to pay for it; but I can go where I shan't be huffed at for looking."
While I said this boldly to the fellow, comes out a woman. "What ails you," says she to the man, "to bully away your customers so? A poor boy's money is as good as my lord mayor's: if poor people did not buy old clothes, what would become of our busiress?" and then turning to me, "come hither, child," says she, "if thou hast a mind to anything I have, you shan't be hectored by him; the boy is a pretty boy I assure yon," says she to another woman that was by this time come to her. 'Ay," says the other, "so he is a very well-looking child, if he was clean and well-dressed, and maybe as good a gentleman's son, for anything we know, as any of those that are well dressed; come, my dear," says she, "tell me what it is you would have?" She pleased me mightily to hear her talk of my being a gentleman's son, and it brought former things to my mind; but when she talked of my being not clean, and in rags, I cried.
She pressed me to tell her if I saw anything that I wanted; I told her no, all the clothes I saw were too big for me. “Come, child," says she "I have two things that will fit you, and I am sure you want them both; that is, first, a little hat, and there," says she (tossing it to me), "I'l give you that for nothing: and here is a good warm pair of breeches: I dare say," says she, " they will fit you, and they are very tight and good; and," says she, "if you should ever come to have so much money that you don't know what to do with it, here are excellent good pockets," says she,
As soon as I was come to the place where the thing was done, I saw the man sit just where he had sat before, and it ran in my head that he had sat there ever since: but I know no better; so I went up and stood just at that side of the writing-board that goes upon that side of the room, and which I was but just tall enough to lay my arms upon.
and a little fob to put your gold in, or your watch in, when you get it."
It struck me with a strange kind of joy, that I should have place to put my money in, and need not to go to hide it again in a hollow tree, that I was ready to snatch the breeches out of her hands, and wondered that I should be such a fool as never to think of buying me a pair of breeches before, that I might have a pocket to put my money in, and not carry it about two days in my hand, and in my shoe, and I knew not how; so, in a word, I gave her two shillings for the breeches, and went over into the churchyard and put them on, and put my money into my new pockets, and was as pleased as a prince is with his coach and six horses. I thanked the good woman too for the hat, and told her I would come again when I got more money, and buy some other things I wanted, and so I came away.
Little Jack now undertakes to restore some stolen notes to their rightful owner, and get the reward of £30 offered for their recovery. The notes were stolen in the long room of the Custom-house, by a lad to whom Jack was confederate. Hear him :
While I stood there, one thrust me this way and another that way, and the man that sat behind began to look at me; at last he called out to me, "What does that boy do there? get you gone, sirrah; are you one of the rogues that stole the gentleman's lettercase on Monday last?" Then he turns his tale to a gentleman that was doing business with him, and goes on thus:-"Here was Mr. had a very unlucky chance on Monday last; did you not hear of it?" "No, not I," says the gentleman. Why, standing just there, where you do," says he, making entries, he pulled out his lettercase, and laid it down, as he says, but just at his hand, while he reached over to the standish there for a penful of ink, and somebody stole away his letter-case.'
"His letter-case!" says t'other, "whatand was there any bills in it?"
"Ay," says he; "there was Sir Stephen Evans' note in it for £300, and another goldsmith's bill for about £12, and, which is still worse for the gentleman, he had two foreign accepted bills in it for a great sum, I know not how much, I think one was a French bill for 1,200 crowns." "And who could it be?" says the gentleman.
Nobody knows," says he; "but one of our room-keepers says he saw a couple of young rogues like that," pointing at me, hanging about here, and that on a sudden they were both gone.'
"Villains," says he again; "why, what can they do with them, they will be of no use to them? I suppose he went immediately and gave notice to prevent the payment."
"Yes," says the clerk, "he did; but the rogues were too nimble for him with the little bill of £12 odd money; they went and got the money for that, but all the rest are stopped; however, 'tis an unspeakable damage to him for want of his money."
Why, he should publish a reward for the encouragement of those that have them to bring them again; they would be glad to bring them, I warrant you."
"He has posted it up at the door that he will give £30 for them."
"Ay, but he should add that he will promise not to stop, or give any trouble to the person that brings them.'
"He has done that too," says he; "but I fear they wont trust themselves to be honest, for fear he should break his word."
"Why, it is true, he may break his word in that case, but no man should do so; for then no rogue will venture to bring hone
anything that is stolen, and so he would do an injury to others after him."
"I durst pawn my life for him he would scorn it."
Thus far they discoursed of it, and then went to something else; I heard it all, but did not know what to do a great while; but at last, watching the gentleman that went away, when he was gone, I run after him to have spoken to him, intending to have broke it to him, but he went hastily into a room or two, full of people, at the other end of the long room, and when I went to follow, the door-keepers turned me back, and told me I must not go in there; so I went back and loitered about near the mai that sat behind the board, and hung about there till I heard the clock strike twelve, and the room began to be thin of people; and at last he sat there writing, but nobody stood at the board before him, as there had all the rest of the morning, then I came a little nearer and stood close to the board as I did before; when looking up from his paper and seeing me, says he to me- You have been up and down here all this morning, sirrah, what do you want? you have some business that is not very good I doubt.'
"No, I shan't," said I.
"No? it is well if you hav'n't," says he; "pray what business can you have in this long room, sir; you are no merchant?"
"I would speak with you," said I. "With me," says he; "what have you to say to me?"
"I have something to say," said I, "if you will do me no harm for it."
"I do thee harm, child; what harm should I do thee?" and spoke very kindly. "Wont you indeed, sir," said I.
"No, not I, child; I'll do thee no harm; what is it? do you know anything of the gentleman's letter-case?"
I answered, but spoke softly, that he could not hear me; so he gets over presently into the seat next him, and opens a place that was made to come out, and bade me go in to him; and I did.
Then he asked me again, if I knew anything of the letter-case.
I spoke softly again, and said, folks
would hear him.
Then he whispered softly, and asked me again.
I told him, I believed I did; but that, indeed, I had it not, nor had no hand in stealing it, but it was gotten into the hands of a boy that would have burnt it, if it had not been for me; and that I heard him say that the gentleman would be glad to have them again, and give a good deal of money for them.
"I did say so, child," said he; "and if you can get them for him, he shall give you a good reward, no less than £30, as he has promised."
"But you said too, sir, to the gentleman
"Here it is, said I," and pulled it out.
He then brought in another gentleman, who it seems owned the letter case, and asked him, "if that was it?" and he said, "yes."
Then he asked me if all the bills were in it? I told him I heard him say there was one gone, but I believed there was all the rest. Why do you believe so?" says he. “Because I heard the boy, that I believe stole them, say they were too big for him to meddle with.'
The gentleman, then, that owned them, said, "Where is the boy?"
Then the other gentleman put in, and said, "No, you must not ask him that; I passed my word that you should not, and that he should not be obliged to tell it to anybody."
"Well, child," says he, "you will let us see the letter-case opened, and whether the bills are in it ?"
"Yes," says I.
Then the first gentleman said, "How many bills were there in it?"
"Only three," says he; "besides the bill of £12 10s, there was Sir Stephen Evans's note for £300, and two foreign bills."
Well, then, if they are in the letter-came
the boy shall have £30; shall he not ?" "Yes," says the gentleman," he shall have it freely.'
“Come, then, child," says he, "let me open it."
So I gave it him, and he opened it, and there were all three bills, and several other papers, fair and safe, nothing defaced or diminished, and the gentleman said, “All is right."
Then said the first man, "Then I am security to the poor boy for the money.' "Well, but," says the gentleman, "the rogues have got the £12 10s.; they ought to reckon that as part of the £30.' Had he asked me, I should have consented to it at first word; but the first man stood my friend. 66 Nay," says he, "it was since you knew that the £12 10s. was received that you offered £30 for the other bills, and published it by the crier, and posted it up at the Custom-house, and I promised him the £30 this morning." They argued long, and I thonght would have quarrelled about it.
However at last they both yielded a little, and the gentleman gave me £25 in good guineas. When he gave it me, he bade me hold out my hand, and he told the money into my hand; and when he had done, he asked me if it was right? I said I did not know, but I believed it was. "Why," says he, can't you tell it?" I told him "No; I never saw so much money in my life, nor I did not know how to tell money." "Why," says he, don't you know that they are guineas?" "No," I told him; "I did not know how much a guinea was.'
"Why, then," says he, "did you tell me you believed it was right?" I told him, "because I believed he would not give it me wrong."
"Poor child," says he, "thou knowest little of the world, indeed; what are thou?" "I am a poor boy," says I, and cried. "What is your name ?" says he;-" but bold, I forgot," said he; "I promised I would not ask your name, so you need not tell me."
"My name is Jack," said I. "Why, have you no sirname ?" said he. "What is that?" said I.
"You have some other name besides Jack," says he;han't you?"
"Yes," says I; "they call me Colonel Jack."
"But have you no other name?" "No," said I.
"I had a nurse," said I, "but she was not my mother."
"How came you to be called Colonel Jack, pray ?"
"They say," said I, "my father's name was colonel."
"Is your father or mother alive?" said he. "No," said I; "my father is dead." "Where is your mother, then ?" said he. "I never had e'er a mother," said I. This made him laugh. "What," said he; had you never a mother, what then?"
"Well," says he to the gentleman, "I dare say this boy was not the thief that stole your bills."
"Indeed, sir, I did not steal them," said I, and cried again.
"No, no, child," said he; "we don't believe you did. This is a very clever boy," says he to the other gentleman; " and yet very ignorant and honest; 'tis pity some care should not be taken of him, and something done for him; let us talk a little more with him." So they sat down and drank wine, and gave me some, and then the first gentleman talked to me again.
"Well," says he, "what wilt thou do with this money now thou hast it ?" "I don't know," said I. "Where will you put it?" said he. "In my pocket," said I.
"In your pocket?" said he; "is your pocket whole? sha'n't you lose it?"
"Yes," said I, "my pocket is whole." "And where will you put it when you get home?"
"I have no home," said I, and cried again. "Poor child!" said he; "then what dost thou do for thy living?".
"I go of errands," said I, "for the folks in Rosemary-lane."
"And what dost thou do for a lodging at night?"
"I lie at the glass-house," said I, "at night."
How, lie at the glass-house; have they any beds there?" says he.
"I never lay in a bed in my life," said I, 'as I remember."
"Why," says he; what do you lie on at the glass-house?"
The ground," says I; "and sometimes a little straw, or upon the warm ashes."
Here the gentleman that lost the bills said, "This poor child is enough to make a man weep for the miseries of human nature, and be thankful for himself; he puts tears into my eyes;"--" and into mine," says the
have this money, wont you buy some clothes, too." It has been translated into Araand a shirt with some of it?"
bic; and Burckhart “heard it read “Yes,” said I; “I would buy some aloud among the wandering tribes in clothes."
the cool hours of evening.” “ And wliat will you do with the rest ?"
island,” a beautiful writer has ob“ I can't tell,” said I, and cried.
served, “placed ‘far amidst the me“What do'st cry for, Jack ?" said he. “I am afraid,” said I, and cried still,
lancholy main,' and remote from the “ What art afraid of?"
track of human wanderings, remains • They will know I have the money."
to the last the greenest spot in me“ Well, and what then?”
At whatever distance of time, "" Then I must sleep no more in the warm the scene expands before us as clearly glass-louse, and I shall be starved with cold; and distinctly as when we first bethey will take away my money.”
held it ; we still see the green savan“But why must you sleep there no more?" nahs and silent woods, which morHere the gentlemen observed to one another,
tal footstep had never disturbed ; its how naturally anxiety and perplexity attend
birds of strange wing, that had never those that have money. “I warrant you,"
heard the report of a gun; its goats says the clerk, “when this poor boy had no
browsing securely in the vale, or money, he slept all night in the straw, or on the warm aslıes, in the glass-house, as soundly
peeping over the heights, in alarm at and as void of care as it would be possible for
the first sight of man. We can yet any creature to do; but now, as soon as he
follow its forlorn inhabitant on tiphas gotten money, the care of preserving it toe with suspended breath, prying brings tears into his eyes, and fear into his curiously into every recess, glancing heart."
fearfully at every shade, starting at They asked me a great many questions every sound, and then look forth with more, to which I answered in my childish
him upon the lone and boisterous way as well as I could, but so as pleased
ocean with the sickening feeling of them well enough; at last I was going away an exile cut off for ever from all huwith a heavy pocket, and I assure you not a
man intercourse. Our sympathy is light heart, for I was so frighted with having
more truly engaged by the poor shipso much money, that I knew not what in the earth to do with myself; I went away,
wrecked mariner, than by the great, however, and walked a little way, but I
the lovely, and the illustrious of the could not tell what to do; so, after rambling
earth. We find a more effectual wistwo hours or thereabout, I went back again, dom in its homely reflections than is and sat down at the gentleman's door, and to be derived from the discourses of there I cried as long as I had any moisture the learned and eloquent. The inin my head to make tears of, but never terest with which we converse with knocked at the door.
him in the retirement of his cave, or
go abroad with him on the business Who has read this extract without of the day, is as various and powerhaving the vision of Charles Dickens ful as the means by which it is kept rise before his eyes?
up are simple and inartificial. So Of “Robinson Crusoe" what neces- true is everything to nature, and sity is there to speak ? Who is not such reality is there in every partifamiliar with its pages? What school- cular, that the slightest circumstance boy has not undergone a whipping creates a sensation, and the print of for leaving his lessons unstudied while a man's foot or shoe is the source of he has been sitting in the Solitary's more genuine terror than all the hut, or spending an afternoon with strange sights and odd noises in the
man Friday ?" How many in the romances of Mrs. Radcliffe.” decline of life have over the leaves of Children are charmed with the story that wonderful book grown young
of “ Robinson Crusoe ;" men of again ! Charles Lamb
says, next thought are not less delighted with to the Holy Scriptures, it may be the narrative, but they have recourse safely asserted that this delightful to it also as a book instructing them romance has, ever since it was written, in some of the most valuable truths excited the first and most powerful of philosophy. He must possess a far influence upon the juvenile mind of lower than å merely ordinary mind England, nor has its popularity been who leaves the perusal of this wonmuch less among any of the other derful book without having acquired nations of Christendom." He might from it a new insight into his own have added, “and out of Christendom nature, the means of avoiding the
evil, and attaining to the good, - on hand, so that the publisher, much without having perceived how many downcast, informed Defoe he should infant faculties of his being might by lose a considerable sum.
“ Don't training be made to assume grand fear !—I'll make ithe edition go off," proportions, and be endowed with said Defoe; and sitting down he vast strength. It is a great religious wrote “ A True Relation of the Appoem. It is “the drama of solitude," parition of one Mrs. Veal, the next the object of which is to show that day after her death, to one Mrs. Barin the most wretched state of deser grave, at Canterbury, the 8th of Seption there still remains within the tember, 1705, which apparition rehuman breast a power of life indepen- commends the perusal of Drelindent of external circumstances; and court's book of “Consolations against that where man is not, there God es- the fears of Death.?” The ghost story pecially abides.
startled and took captive the silly Why did not Defoe, with such an people the author intended, and knew unexampled capability as a writer of so well how to hoax.
bona fiction, occupy himself earnestly in fide ghost of a respectable Mrs. Veal his art ? Why did he not expend had urged on mankind the study of thought, toil, and long years in ela- Drelincourt. Forthwith the publishborating two such works as
er's shop was crowded with purson Crusoe," or the commencement of chasers, and the edition rapidly left “ Colonel Jack," instead of scribbling his shelves. It is strange to me how page after page, without considera- Defoe's biographers and admirers detion enough to avoid dulness, stories light in this story. It may show Dereplete with obscenities he must have foe to advantage in an intellectual disapproved, and nonsense that he point of view, leading a crowd of must have grinned at with contempt John Bulls astray and all the while even while the pen was in his hand ? laughing at them ; but as a proof of Foster, in his graphic and fascinating his mental power such testimony is sketch of Defoe and his times, bids
valueless because unnecessary. That us remember, when judging of “Moll Mrs. Veal's apparition was ingeniFlanders" and " Roxana,” the tone of ously told, no one will deny ; but society at the time of their appear. then it was a wilful falsehood, all the ance. Without a doubt, measured same for its cunning construction, by the standard of the vicious litera- and was framed to putf a bad book. ture of the Restoration and the two Such a deed would aid the “ Woolly succeeding ages, they do not especially Horse” and “Feejee Mermaid” in sin against purity of morals. But in giving grace to a Barnum's life; but this we cannot find a valid apology to think that Defoe could tell lies for for Defoe, who, in composing them, a trade purpose, is more than a comput his hand to works that all serious mon pain. men of his own religious views must And here we find the secret of this have regarded with warm disappro- great man's shame. He was a man val. Defoe was not by profession of somewhat expensive habits, conamongst the frivolous or godless of tinually entering into rash monetary his generation ; he was loud in his speculations, and burdened with debts condemnation of the stage, of gam- which in honour he felt himself bound bling, and of debauchery; he not only to discharge. Of all men he was just knew that voluptuous excess was the one to be called upon for large criminal, but he raised his voice to sums of wealth, and to have little in shame it out of society,—and yet he hand to meet such demands. His pen exercised his talents in depicting was a ready one at earning money ; scenes of sensual enjoyment, which he could turn off any composition no virtuous nature can dwell on with- with facility : and as, just then, tales out pain, no vicious one without (highly seasoned) met with the best pleasure. What was his motive ? prices in the market, he wrote them Money.
as fast as his pen could run over the Drelincourt's book of “ Consola- paper, and spiced them up to the tions against the fears of Death,”- palates of his employers. And what one of the heaviest pieces of litera- trash (dishonest quack gibberish to ture religion has given to the world, get pennies from the crowd) poured (and that is saying no little) –hung in unceasing How from him, it grieves