« 上一頁繼續 »
came to the last, and found that it was for Tooth moments, but suddenly turning round, Mr. and Claw. The amount was £15 1ls. 5d., and Tooth espied me, and Mr. Honest observed me had been standing for two years. My heart at the same moment. For a few seconds the fairly leaped to my mouth, as I had not anti- senior partner was speechless, but bis eyes cipated calling upon T. and C., they being in started to his forehead, his teeth chattered, another line almost entirely, and I knew that and his whole frame was convulsed with they were not in the habit of selling our goods ; passion. When he recovered his speech, he but it turned out afterwards that these gentle came towards me, and, at the very instant of men had received an order from New Zealand, his approach, I caught sight of Mr. Honest, and among the articles required were several of whose face broke out in a beaming smile, and our works. These had been supplied in the usual he gave me such a comprehensive wink, way; but my predecessor, Mr. McShawnie, then looked earnestly into a ledger which was had not been able to obtain settlement of the before him. I was so amused that I could not account.
help smiling in return, and Mr. Tooth, thinkThere was a memorandum for me, pinned to ing I was happy at his expense, seemed the bill, as follows :- “Get this settled, it has in wardly to rage the more. When he had stood too long. Try and get cash ; but, if arrived within a few feet of me, he broke out not, do the best you can. Be sure and tell with :-"I wonder, sir, that, after the way you Tooth and Claw that all futuro transactions have used us, you have dared to cross our must be for CASH ONLY.”
threshold again.” Continuing, he said, “You Well, I thought, this is a fix. I never have impudence enough to fill a ship”-and, swear, but, I think, the devil nearly tempted bringing his dirty hand down on the counter me to forget myself on this occasion. I was with a thump, which must have hurt him much mercifully preserved from that sin. It is a sin, more than it frightened me, the irate stationer and, besides, it is vulgar, and no gentleman ordered me "to get out at once, or he would
Commercial men are singularly call the police.” At each sentence of Mr. free from that detestable habit. Their pro- Tooth's speech, Mr. Honest looked up from fession compels them to keep their tempers, his ledger, and gave a wink, which appeared and exercise great self-control ; and when to grow larger each time it was repeated. I business is over they feel no temptation to did not move; but while revolving in my indulge in profane vulgarity; besides, swearing mind the best course to pursue with the is against the etiquette of the commercial angry man, I happened to turn my head
and observed Mr. Claw, who had become I would much rather have walked twenty alarmed at Mr. Tooth's violence, standing be miles than have had this interview, but as hind the glass door of his room, glaring at me; disagreeables must be faced, I resolved to and Mr. Thick stood in the rear, with his tongue tackle them at once; so, on arriving, I went to out. Thinking to give them a fright, I took my hotel, gave my boxes to Mr. Boots, and, two steps suddenly in their direction, which with the obnoxious account, but no samples, I caused Mr. Thick to disappear in a manner sallied forth to face the inevitable, and visit more rapid than dignified up a spiral staircase, my late masters. I approached the establish- which I knew led to his own apartment; and, ment without any compunction, firm in my simultaneously, Mr. Claw turned the key in purpose, if possible, to give no offence, but to his door to prevent my ingress. This done, he do my duty. When I got within the door, I struck a boxing attitude, as much as to say, could see Mr. Claw seated in an inner office, “Come on.” By this time, Mr. Tooth had reading the morning letters, with his faithful somewhat cooled down, and I remarked, henchman, Mr. Thick, who was carefully I was sorry indeed that my presence was so annotating the correspondence with the remarks obnoxious to him, but, however great might be which fell from Mr. Claw. Mr. Tooth, his his dislike to me, it could not possibly be greater partner, was standing in the principal office, than my repugnance to him, and to his firm. with his back to me, and was speaking hotly But,” I continued, " in the path of duty there is to the cashier about some trifling irregularity very often no choice; we have to do things which committed by my successor—something about are personally disagreeable to us, and one of the one shilling and threepence which he had most unpleasant transactions which I have ever allowed for some goods which were found to be been asked to perform is to call upon you, sir, damaged. “ Write him," said Mr. Tooth, and your partner for settlement of the account, "and tell him he is not to come any of these which I now present ; and I am instructed, games, and that, if he does, he will hear more sir, not to leave your premises without the about it.” Both gentlemen were so busy, the money ; further, I am to tell you that future one giving and the other receiving instructions, transactions must be accompanied with a remitthat my presence was unnoticed for some tance.”
Mr. Tooth turned pale before I had con- refreshers; and John was quite a character in cluded my speech, and got as humble as a tame his way,—being equally celebrated for the pigeon. Turning to Mr. Honest, he said, in good quality of his wares and the eccentricity faint tones, "you had better pay Mr. Brown," of his opinions. and immediately slunk away. At this injunc- Johnny's great weakness was for Anglicising tion the cashier opened his eyes widely; then, everything. He had once been bethinking himself that the governors were out and accordingly affected everything English in of sight, he came across and shook hands, say- style, speech, and appearance. He sometimes ing quietly, “Glad to see you, Brown; hope you dropped an H, and at other times put the same are keeping well, and Mrs. Brown too. Oh you consonant in extraordinary conjunctions. rascal," he remarked confidently, "you sorted This weakness was often displayed in a them in your two last letters; serves them ridiculous manner, as in the same sentence jolly well right, I wish I could do the same;" you would hear the broadest Salt Market and then he gave a chuckle and whispered in tones the most improved Cockneyisms. Only one audible only to myself. “Ah! Ah! Ah! instance comes up to my memory, across the Didn't you give it them, old boy. Salt, pepper, stream of time, and it was this :-I was in mustard, and some cayenne;" then resuming, getting my mid-day snack, when I heard he added, “but I cannot pay you this, we are Johnny calling out, at the top of his voice, desperate hard up just now; not a red cent. before a large number of customers :coming in, and Mr. Nothing in the cash box." “ Wait-aw ! Wait-aw! I say, Wait-aw, “Well,” I said, “suppose you pay it at the end bring some mair cookies, and, Jock-I mean of the week; I would do that to suit you, Wait-aw-dinna forget the scones." while I would not be so generous to your Another fixed opinion of Mr. Sacher's was employers.”
that the municipal system required reformaCouldn't do it, my boy. Couldn't possibly tion. do it; but I tell you what I will try and do, “I cannot see why we call the Magistrates come you in on Saturday-give us as much time by the name of Baillie when it would sound as you can—and I will do my utmost to give you much better to term them Aldermen, and how the £5 11s. 5d. in cash, and we will give you a much nicer it would be to address the head of bill at five months for the balance. That is the the Town Council as 'My Lord Mayor' and best I can do for you; and," he added, giving Your Worship,' than the antiquated style of another knowing wink, "we shall not want a Lord Provost.û
a renewal.” I agreed to Mr. Honest's proposal, and the matter was ultimately settled in that
CHAPTER VI. way. Having finished my business, I shook hands with the cashier and took my departure; While at Glasgow, I took a run down to but on getting into the street I found that I Jamestown, a small, busy city on the banks of had left my umbrella. When I returned for the Clyde. Manufactories, large and small, on it I discovered Mr. Tooth in the office asking every side exist there, and the wide river lends Mr. Honest, in excited tones, "Have you got a picturesqueness to the locality as, between rid of him ?” I lifted the umbrella and went broad banks fringed with green, it rolls majes. my way. I returned rather pleased to my hotel, tically down to the sea. On the surface of this and began my regular work, refreshed rather great stream are craft of every size and dethan otherwise with my recent encounter. scription, from the tiny pleasure boat to the
I found Glasgow a heavy town to work, but huge ironclad, and it is a pleasant thing, on the after a little experience I got on better. My evening of any summer day, to study the everfriends there were sharp business men, gentle changing scene. manly and extremely kind, more speculative This was my first visit to Jamestown, and I than Edinburgh men, and with less of the caste was welcomed with that kindly canniness feeling among them. They are very fond of for which this town is celebrated. A kind of work, very fond of their homes, and very fond homely wit prevails here, the point of which is of going down the water” in the summer sometimes more distinct to the inhabitants than time as "a residence," as the beautiful Firth of to strangers; but when the joke is explained, Clyde is termed ; and what I remark of the it is, like all Scotch humour, found to have a men in our trade is also true of all Glasgow bone in it. Speaking on this subject, there merchants. They are too busy with mighty occurs to my memory a story told by a gentletransactions to exhibit stiffness or starch in man at dinner of an incident that occurred to their conduct. I used to meet many of them a young gentleman belonging to a neighbouring at a luncheon bar kept by John Sacher, a well town. This young man's father wished his known baker and confectioner, in one of the son to go to London on a visit, and, among principal streets. There we had our mid-day other names he mentioned as belonging to
parties who would be glad to see the youth, happy face, showed a good heart within. His he gave that of Thomson and Co., wholesale action was rapid and decisive, and when he warehousemen, Wincey Lane, London, E.C. talked it was always to the point. He was With this house the father had considerable master of his own business, and I never dealings, and their mutual relations had always knew his equal in the art of travelling. There been agreeable. When Mr. Jackson, jun., got was a touch of more than a “'prentice hand to London, he called in a large style at the in the readiness with which he scented out establishment in Wincey Lane, but, the assist- where new orders were to be obtained ; and ants being busy, he was allowed to wait, and, the diplomacy which he exercised in getting not asking for any goods, no attention was paid new and keeping old customers was often to him. Our young friend was allowed to a wonder to me. Baker was the friend of wander up and down, which he did in the style everybody, and everybody's friend. He did of a very extensive young man from the country. a large business for his excellent firm, and was Not the slightest notice was taken of bim, and respected alike by employers and employed all he was allowed to leave. At the door he gave over the country. I never heard him saying his card to the porter, and at the same time what he had done; I never heard him boast. intimated in a threatening tone that the firm On the rare occasions when he did refer to his should « hear from his father." When the own work, he would only remark “that he young aspirant returned home, he laid his ought to be thankful.” I had frequently heard budget of complaints at the feet of his paternal of iny friend, but never had seen him. I knew relative, who was naturally indignant at the of him as a veteran patron of the young. He cavalier treatment which his offspring had was always trying to push young fellows on, received. A letter was forthwith sent by the acting as the kindly mentor to some Mr. indignant parent to Messrs. Thomson and Co., Brown on his first journey. There was and in due course the following reply was a standing joke among commercials, from received :
Brighton to Aberdeen, and which I had often J. Jackson, Esq.,
heard. Why is Mr. Baker like a diligent Draper and General Merchant,
policeman?" Answer: "Because he is always Jamestown, N.B., 12th June, 18
taking somebody up." Dear Sir,
My first interview with this gentleman was We are in receipt of your favour of the 9th instant, and regret that your son should bave had in the Lion Hotel, Jamestown. It was evening, cause to complaio. We are not often favoured with and I was sitting toasting my feet at the fire, a visit from our country customers, and we do not and Mr. Baker was engaged in the same duty expect them, as at a great expense, we keep our
opposite. There were several others in the travellers solely for the purpose of waiting upon them, and when we take the trouble to send out our room, some engaged at the writing tables and representatives we select for them the best samples, some reading the papers. Our labours for the and mention the most favourable terms on which we day were finished, and, as the Jamestown people can do business. Consequently we expect our friends t, deal with them, but when they are in town we are
say, we got on to crack.” I mentioned who glad to see them. This is the first time any of our I was, and Mr. Baker told me his name. He very large connection have complained of proper remarked, "I know your people well
. They attention not being paid to them here. We bave dined with me last time I was 'in town.' made inquiry regarding your son's appearance, and we find that the porter was the only person who They are old acquaintances; and both Mr. noticed him; the rest of our assistants must have Rutherford and Mr. Wise are fine fellows, well mistaken him for a gentleman.
suited to each other, and doing a good trade." Yours truly,
He then continued, "I knew poor McShawnie; THOMSON AND Co.
he was an honest worker. Of late years be I have a great affection for Jamestown, and had bad health, and took his journeys when my first visit to it I regard as a red letter day he ought to have taken his bed. He has now in my history, for it was there I made the gone, however, like many other stagers whom I acquaintance of my friend, Mr. William Baker, have known, where he will no longer be now the senior representative of Cassell's, Petter, haunted with big lines or bad debts; where and Galpin, of London--a firm which has done long and wearisome train travelling, constant more to make literature popular and books loved residence in hotels, new ground and old ground, than all other publishers together.
good days and bad days—a mind ever on the Mr. Baker is now verging on the three score, strain and the dread of final illness and death but still his "eye is undimmed and natural away from home, are forgotten and exchanged force not abated.” At the time of which I for an existence of unclouded sunshine, and write he was between forty and fifty years of unmixed rest and peace.” I was much pleased age : in stature a little above the medium with Mr. Baker, and since then we have been, height; bis raven hair was slightly tinged with and I hope always will be, excellent friends. silver; and his broad, comprehensive, kindly,
( To be continued.)
BY REV. J. MILLIGAN.
THE VILLAGE SMITHY.
earliest introduction to poetic literature.
Through hearing them lilted at the wheel, we Back from the street, a dozen steps or so,
became acquainted with Sir Patrick Spence, Gil The village smithy stood, with carts and ploughs Morrise, Barbara Allan, Young Buchan, Lord Around the door, and patient horses, tied
Lovel, &c., long before we bad read a word of To iron rings. A jolly place it was, O' winter nights, when hinds and farmers' sons
poetry, and even before we were able to do so ; Dropt in with broken gear! What stories then, and after nearly half a century we find they 'Bout kemps in har'st, or idle feats of strength,
have not ceased to interest, nor have they lost Done in the mere bravado of the hour ! What ringing laughter at the quick retort,
their power to please. What innocent banter, what bucolic wit
An acquaintance with our more ambitious I've heard, admiring from my favourite perch
poets has not lessened the charm of these fine Upon the smithy hearth. The smith, a man
old metrical legends. Swart as an Ethiope. Not Hercules
“ All thoughts, all passions, all delights,” Possessed more ample shoulders, nor a frame With fairer show of strength. A bony arm
seem to find expression there. Some of these And such an arm! The iron muscles lay
ballads are constructed with such consummate Like stubborn ridges 'long the dusky limb
skill that the careless reader is apt to overlook A hand of knotted strength, and breast laid bare, And rough as Esau's; two keen piercing eyes
the art of the author in the apparent artlessness Deep set within his head, that sparkling shone of the poem. Addison, in two papers of his Beneath dark shaggy eyebrows, like twin stars From under murky clouds. I see him stand,
Spectator, points out the beauties and majestic With all his strergth at rest, before the forge, simplicity of the fine old ballad of Chevy Chase, In leathern apron clad, or patient ply
and says in regards to these old poems, “ It is The roaring bellows, swaying to and fro With regulated motion. What a light
impossible that anything should be universally Fell on the dingy rafters as he took
tested and approved by a multitude, which The glowing bar, and, ʼmid a shower of sparks,
hath not in it some peculiar aptness to please Beat out the mass with quick repeated blows, Till on his tawny brow the sweat stood out
and gratify the mind of man. Human nature Like beads of jet; then, in the old stone trough is the same in all reasonable creatures, and He'd plunge the iron hissing hot, and lo!
whatever falls in with it will meet with Evolving clouds of vapour instant rose, And eddying, rolled along the dusky roof.
admirers amongst readers of all qualities and conditions ;” and it is chiefly because of the
touches of nature to be found in these metrical OUR OLD BALLAD LITERATURE.
stories that a refined and reading age still F Dr. Johnson had contented himself with peruse them with delight.
merely speaking lightly of our Ballad How happy are some of the descriptions of Literature, not a few would have been inclined these old ballads : always brief—for the writers to regard his opinion as the result of superior and telling.
knew their craft—but often singularly vivid
wo verses are at this moment critical penetration ; but when he ventured to running in our head. They are from the ballad supply us with imitations or specimens of his of Lord Thomas and Fair Annet, and appear own,
gave to the world a proof that he was to us to be of rare descriptive excellence. either misled by prejudice or incapable of ap
The horse Fair Annet rode upon
He amblit like the wind ; preciating a class of literature that had neither
Wi' siller he was shod before, inversions of style nor pompous periods to re
Wi' burning gowd behind. commend it; but whose chief attractions were
Four and twenty siller bells
Were a' tied to his mane ; simplicity and unaffected naturalness.
Wi' ae tift o' the norland wind Fanny Kemble betrays a juster appreciation
They tinkled ane by ane. of the excellencies of our old Ballads when she What easy flow of versification we have here ! says, “It is impossible, I think, to find a truer And the greater part of the words are expression of passion, anguish, tenderness, and monosyllables
. The poet having mentioned supernatural terror than those poems contain the “siller bells," what a touch of genius in The dew of heaven on the mountain ferns is the “ Ae tift o' the norland wind,” that not more limpid than the simplicity of their awkens their tinkling music. diction ; nor the heart's blood of a lover more We recall the wonderfully musical verses with fervid than the throbbing intensity of their which The Marchioness of Douglas openspassion. Misery, love, longing, and despair,
O, waly, waly up the bank, have found no finer poetical utterance out of
And waly, waly down the brae, Shakespeare." And, indeed, nowhere out
And waly, waly by yon burn side, Shakespeare have we felt ourselves more deeply
Where I and my true love wont te gae. moved, or more completely under the poet's Hey, nonnie, nonnie ! but love is bonnio spell, than when reading some of these simple
A little while when it is new;
But when it's auld it grows mair cauld, but powerful productions. They formed our
And fades awa like the morning dew.
Gin I had wist or I had kisst
necessity of the times; but, after all, their That love had been sae ill to win, I had locked my heart wi' a key o'gowd
natures were noble, and their hearts were kind. And pinned it wi' a siller pin.
If there is anything in the whole range of
modern ballad poetry comparable to this we Or, again, when the Marchioness says
confess we have not met with it. Here we have When I was sick, and very sick;
great simplicity of expression with deep poetic When I was sick and like to dee, I drew near to my stair head,
feeling. Only in the finer strains of Burns do And heard my ain Lord lichtly me.
we meet with verses that touch more deeply Come down, come down, 0, Jamie Douglas!
the human heart.
What rich music runs through the fine old
ballad, Annie of Lochryan. Annie, weary in
waiting for her true love Gregory, obtains from Take two verses from Lord Maxwell's Good- her father “a bonnie ship,” in which she sets night. Lord John Maxwell having vowed to sail in search of her lover. After being a month be avenged for the death of his father, who fell and more at sea, she landed “near to her true at the battle of Dryffe Sands, was banished by love's door.” It was a dark, cold, windy night, the King, and thus takes farewell of home
and on seeking admittance the false mother of Adieu, Dumfries, my proper place,
her Gregory, personating her son, spoke to her But and Carlaverock fair ; Adieu, my Castle of the Thrieve,
harshly, and asked — And a' my buildings there.
What token can ye gie that e'er
I kept ye companie ?
Not prepared for such a change in her lover,
as these words betokened, Annie replied :In Thomas of Ercildoune we meet with the
O dinna ye mind, love Gregory,
When we sat at the wine; following light, airy, and tripping lines :
How we changed the napkins fra our necks !
It's na sae lang sinsyne.
And yours was gude and gude enough,
But nae sae gude as mine ;
For yours was v' the cambrick clean,
But mine o' the silk sae fine. In the Scottish version of the Battle of
And dinna ye mind, love Gregory, Otterburn, when Douglas is mortally wounded
As we twa sat at dine, by Percy, the dying man thus addresses his How we changed the rings frae our fingers ?
And I can show thee thine. nephew, Sir Hugh Montgomerie
And yours was gude and gude enough,
But nae sae gude as mine;
For yours was o' the gude red gowd,
But mine o' the diamond fine.
The “fause mother,” still keeping up the
deception, ordered her from the door, cruelly Let never living mortal ken
addingThat a kindly Scot lies there.
For I hae gotten anither fair love, After the words “my wound is deep," how un.
So ye may hie ye hame. expected are the words “I fain would sleep." Thus heartlessly repulsed, Annie found her No mention of pain. No expression of revenge! way, in the cold morning light, back to her That sword-stroke of Percy, so keen and power ship. But the bravery with which she had ful, had done its work, and Douglas was not decked it out a month before—with golden only wounded, but dying. And this we learn mast and silken sails-was now hateful to her, not from a long, tedious description of the and sadly out of keeping with her sudden poet, but from the simple, expressive words wretchedness. In the bitterness of her grief i I fain would sleep.”
she cried But the battle was still raging, and if the Scots should learn that their leader had fallen,
Tak’ down, tak’ down, that mast o' gowd,
Set up the mast o' tree; defeat would be certain ; and so Sir Hugh is
Ill sets it a forhowed lady, asked to hide the dying Douglas in the bracken
To sail so gallantlie. bush ; and when the battle was over to bury Tak' down, tak' down, the sails o' silk, him beside the “ blumin' brier." But no tomb.
Set up the sails o' skin;
Ill sets the outside to be gay, stone, however rude, was to mark the spot
When there's sic grief within.
Gregory having awakened out of sleep and
learned the cruel deception practised by his Yes, kindly: that is the word; for was not mother, hastened down to the shore, only to the fierceness of these old warriors in battle a see the good ship caught in a storm, and the