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“ The old fellow's cracked," ob. terview with Mr Wag ; and as the served Titus Twist. “He's a gentle- back parlour was full of little Wags, man, however, every inch of him, that then undergoing the ceremonies of ab. I will say for him. Didn't make a lution, combing, &c., ho proposed that word about nothing. All right. they should adjourn to the King's Arms. Used to good living, no doubt. More's When they were seated there, the the pity, as he's cracked. He cer stranger very deliberately proceeded tainly ought not to be allowed to to arrange a variety of papers upon travel without a servant, as he does." the table in a business-like nianner;
“ Well," observed Jeremiah, “I and when his task was completed, apdon't know what to say or what to parently to his satisfaction, he smiled, think about it ; but, if he is cracked rubbed his hands, and thus addressed humph! I don't know. It may be so. the wondering shopkeeper. However, there's no harm done yet. “ My name is Stephen Goodfellow.
“So he's been cramming you, eh !” I am an attorney, living in London, said mine host. “ Made you a pre. and there" (handing a card) “ is my sent of the moon, perhaps? They do address. You will probably guess who fancy strange things, and think them is my client, but my instructions are selves kings, and very rich in particu- to conceal his name. Well, he has lar."
consulted with me as to the best mode The truth of this latter assertion of carrying your intention of increamade an impression upon our worthy sing your business into effect, and I shopkeeper, who communicated it to have, consequently, had interviews his wife ; but she had taken a great with certain commercial gentlemen, fancy to the odd old gentleman, and and, aheml the result is, that as the was not to be shaken in her conviction thing must be done gradually, I have that he would really be “as good as to present you, in the first place, with his word.”
this order for a thousand pounds. You o Well,” observed her husband, will then be so good as to sign this “ time will show; and, at all events, document, by reading which you will it was no bad thing to sell six pieces perceive that you cannot be called of fine linen at once. We don't have upon for repayment before the expisuch customers every day. However, ration of three years. Ahem ! don't the best thing we can do is, to keep interrupt me. That will do to begin our own secret ; for, if the neighbours with ; but, after a little while, as you were to hear of it, we should never must give credit, and some of your hear the last of it."
commodities, particularly grocery, Mrs Wag agreed in the propriety amount to considerable sums, you may of her spouse's suggestion ; but, never want more, so-ahem !-yes, this is theless, was unable to refrain from the paper. You are to put your usual dropping hints to sundry gossips con. signature here; and, mark me, in precerning her anticipations of coming cisely six months from this day, an good fortune; and the vagueness and account will be opened in your name mysterious importance of her manner with the London bankers, whose created a sensation, and caused many check-book I now present you with. strange surmises. Some decided that They will have assets in their bands, the Wags had been so imprudent as and instructions to honour your drafts to purchase a whole lottery ticket, for any sum or sums not exceeding and blamed them accordingly; while four thousand pounds. You underothers shook their heads, and hinted stand ?" that, with so large a family, it would " I hear what you say, sir," stambe a very fortunate circumstance if mered Jeremiah; “ but, really, I'm Jeremiah could manage so as not to so astonished, that". go back in the world, and, for their “ Well, well,” observed Mr Good. parts, they never liked to hear folks fellow, smiling, “it certainly is not an talk mysteriously about good luck: everyday transaction; but my reso, for some time, the stranger's visit spected client is a little eccentric, and appeared to have produced results so we must allow him to do things in somewhat the reverse of beneficial; his own way. He has taken a fancy but, at the end of a month, an elderly to you, that's clear; and when he gentleman, dressed in black, entered takes any thing in hand, he doesn't the shop, and requested a private in mind trifles.”
« But so much!” exclaimed Mrmation of his unknown friend, which Wag. « One thousand -four thou- he considered as a command that he sand_five thousand pounds! It is like was in duty bound to comply with. a dream! Surely, sir," and he hesita. Still it appeared very extraordinary ted; “ surely the gentleman can't be that the little elderly gentleman nei. in-ahem !-in-his-right senses ?"? ther communicated with nor came to
“ Sound as a bell,” replied the law. see them ; but, as the whole affair was yer. “ I hope you may have as clear out of the common way, Jeremiah a head to carry on your new business. resolved industriously to avail himself At present you are a little bewildered, of the advantages of his new position, that's plain enough; but no great as the best means of testifying his marvel. However, my time is pre- gratitude during his benefactor's ab. cious, so just let me have your signa- sence. ture, and I'm off.”
Much marvelling, of course, there He then placed the papers before was in the town and neighbourhood Jeremiah, who, after a little more de- at the steady increase in Mr Wag's mur, and a great deal of trepidation, “concern,” in spite of his very plain wrote his name twice, and received statement that a kind friend had ad. the money order and the banker's "vanced him a considerable sum. check-book. Mr Goodfellow then or- " Who could that friend be?" was dered a chaise, and chatted familiarly the puzzling question which no one till it was ready, when he shook Mr could answer; but his unremitting Wag by the hand, wished him good attention to business, the punctuality luck, and departed.
of his payments, and other evidences “ I told you so !” exclaimed Mrs of his prosperity, sufficed to ensure Wag, when her spouse related the him general respect, though certain morning's adventure. " He seemed envious busy bodies would venture now so fond of the children. I knew how and then to hint significantly that it would be. But you should have « all is not gold that glistens." asked his name. I wonder who he S o matters went on pleasantly with can be ! Some great lord, no doubt. the Wags till winter, when Tom and Well, bless him, I say! God bless his three sisters came home for the him, whoever he is. Oh, Jerry! my holidays, and the latter assisted their dear Jerry Wag! I feel as if I was mother in preparing for the festivities a-going to cry. How foolish! Well, of the season. I can't help it, and that's the truth ;" It was Christmas eve, and the and the good housewife wiped her whole of the family were congregated eyes, and then threw her arms round in the little back parlour, when young the neck of her dearly beloved Wag, Jerry started up at the well-known who, albeit that he was unused to the sound of a customer at the shop door, melting mood, found his eyes suddenly at which he arrived with a hop, step, grow dim, and so they performed a and jump; and, jerking it open, beweeping duet together.
held a little old gentleman wrapped in It is pleasant to record, that at the a large cloak. termination of this natural paroxysm, “ Please to walk in, sir," said Jerry they neglected not to return thanks to Wag. a higher Power for the wonderful “ Hush !” whispered the stranger, change that had thus suddenly taken placing his forefinger on his mouth, place in their prospects.
"I want to surprise them. You're Their subsequent task was to take all together to-night, I suppose ?" counsel together ; but that was a “ Yes, sir," replied Jerry, smiling, work requiring more of calmness than for he thought he knew to whom he they possessed for the first few days. was speaking. However, by degrees, as time rolled " That's right," said the odd elderly on, the industrious couple made their gentleman, advancing cautiously toarrangements, and, at the end of six wards the darkest part of the shop, months, Mr Wag had so increased his and throwing off his cloak. « Now business, that it became advisable for for a Christmas frolic! Come here, him to have recourse to his London you rogue! Why, you've grown bankers. In the meanwhile, he had taller than me. That's right! a sent his son Tom and the three eldest thriving Wag! Now, mind, you go girls to school, agreeably to the inti. back as if nothing had happened, and dear?"
give me hold of your coat tail, so that bols. Always did. Happen to have
“ I am sure, sir," whimpered Mrs
compose yourself, while I shake bands They were sitting in a semicircle all round;" and, turning toward Jerebefore the fire, and the stranger and miah, he commenced the ceremony, his shield, of course, stood behind which he went through with from the them.
eldest to the youngest, calling them “ Heigho!" said Mrs Wag, “there's all by their names, as correctly as only one thing I wish for to-night, and though he were a constant visiter. that is the addition of one more to our A right merry Christmas eve was party."
that. The young Wags were, ever “ Name! name! You must name and anon, obliged to hold their sides, your wish!” cried three or four as they laughed and screamed with juvenile voices, in full glee.
delight at the funny stories told by “I wish I could tell you his name," the funny little old gentleman, who said Mrs Wag, “but your father romped and played with them with as knows who I mean. Don't you, my much glee as though he had been the
youngest of the party. So the hours “ I can't mistake you, my love,"re. passed quickly away till the unwelcome plied Jeremiah, affectionately," and I sound of “ bedtime" was whispered wish he could see how happy we are. among the little circle ; and then one It would do his heart good, I really after another departed, until Mr and think.”
Mrs Wag were left alone with their “ Who can he be!" exclaimed the honoured guest. eldest daughter
The hearts of both were full, and “ Perhaps it's somebody like me!" they began to endeavour to express cried the little odd gentleman, step their feelings; but the singular old ping briskly forward.
gentleman stopped them by saying.It is ! it is !” shrieked mamma, « Needn't tell me. Know it all. Shall and up jumped the whole party, and ruu away if you go on so. Remember, down went Mrs Wag upon her knees, I told you I had more of the ready' while, utterly unconscious of what she than I knew what to do with. Couldn't did, her arms were clasped round the have done better with it, eh? Out at neck of her benefactor, whose bodily interest now. Best sort of interest, frame, being unable to sustain her too. More pleasure this evening than matronly weight, gave way, and so receiving dividends, eh! Never was they rolled together on the floor. happier. So come, let us wind up
« Ha, ha, ha!” laughed the eccens for the night. I've a memorandum or tric elderly gentleman, as soon as he two for you in my pocket-book," and recovered breath, but without attempt. he placed it on the table, and began to ing to rise. « This is a Christmas turn over divers papers, as he congambol, eh! Master Wag? Eh! my tinued—“ Hem! ha! Yes. Those merry little Wags? Needn't ask you two. You'd better take them, my all how you are."
good sir. They'll admit William and “ My dear sir!" exclaimed Jere- Stephen to Christ Church- what they miah, “ allow me to assist you. I call the blue-coat school. Capital hope you are not hurt."
school, eh?" is Hurt!" cried the little gentle « My dear sir!” exclaimed Jereman, jumping up and offering his miah. hand to Mrs Wag“ Hurt! Why, “Don't interrupt me, that's a good I feel myself twenty years younger fellow," said the old gentleman. than I did five minutes ago. Never “ Hem! Do you ever smoke a mind, ma'am. Like Christmas gama pipe ?"
“Very rarely,” replied the wonder how I am in the morning. Enjoyed ing Mr Wag.
myself this evening. A jolly set of is Well," continued his guest, “ take Wags altogether! Merry Wags all, that paper to light your next with. eh? Young and old. Well, well, Put it in your pocket, and don't look wag along happily, my dear Mr and at it till I'm gone. Hem! Tom's Mrs Wag! Good night!" and after master says he will make a good once more shaking hands with them, scholar; so, if you've no objection, I he nimbly whisked himself out at the was thinking he might as well go to shop door, and trotted across to the college in a year or two. Not in your King's Arms. way, perhaps ? Never mind. I know No sooner were the worthy couple some of the big-wigs. See all right, alone, than curiosity led them to exand enter his name. Should have one amine the piece of paper which their parson in a large family, eh?"
benefactor had presented to Jeremiah Here Mrs Wag could no longer for the purpose of lighting his pipe; refrain from giving vent to her over and it proved to be the promissory charged feelings by certain incoherent note which the latter had signed for ejaculations, which terminated in a the first thousand pounds. The doflood of tears.
nor's intention was plain enough, as “Humph!" said the old gentleman, it was regularly cancelled, so Mrs " my spectacles want wiping ;” and Wag was obliged to use her pockethe took the opportunity of rubbing handkerchief once more ; and her them and blowing his nose, while spouse, after striding three or four Jeremiah was comforting the wife of times rapidly across the room, felt his bosom, and telling her not to be so himself also under the necessity of foolish, although he could scarcely taking out his, and blowing his nose avoid snivelling himself.
with unusual vehemence. Then they « Hem! ahem!" resumed their congratulated and comforted each guest; " think I've got some of the other, and said their prayers, and ofmince pie sticking in my throat. fered up their thanksgivings with a Stupid old fellow to eat so much, fervour and sincerity that proved they eh "
were not unworthy of their good for. " Better take another glass of wine, tune. Then they retired to rest, sir,” said Jeremiah. “ Give me leave, though not immediately to sleep, for sir, to pour it out.”
they were each beset by strange wak- No, no!" exclaimed Mrs Wag, ing dreams, and beheld in their minds' starting up and smiling through her eye a black clerical Wag, two longtears, “ let me! Nobody else! God coated little blue Wags, with yellow bless you, sir!"
nether investments, and other Wags " And you, too !" ejaculated the old of sorted sizes, but all very happy. gentleman gayly; “ come, that's a On the following morning, being challenge! Glasses round! and then Christmas day, our fortunate shopwe must say, good-night. Don't let keeper equipped himself in his best us make a dull end of a merry apparel, and, before breakfast, stepped evening."
across the road, and found Mr Titus Warm benedictions were forthwith Twist rubbing his eyes in his own uttered, and the “ compliments of the gateway. Mutual salutations, and season ” were wished, with more than « compliments of the season," were common sincerity, by all three, as exchanged in good neighbourly style, their glasses met gingling together. and then mine host exclaimed, Then, the whimsical guest tossed off" There's a box here for you, Master his wine, jumped up, shook his hosts Wag, left by that queer little old heartily by the hand, wished them gentleman, I'm sure he's cracked! good night, and sallied into the shop In he comes here yesterday, just after to find his cloak. Mr and Mrs Wag dark, posting in his own carriage. followed, and expressed a hope that Well, he orders up any thing as we he would honour their Christmas happened to have ready, and I sets him dinner by his presence on the follow down to as good a dinner as ever any ing day ; but all they could draw from gentleman need sit down to, though I him was—"Can't promise. Ate and say it, because why, you see, our lardrank a little too much to night, per- der's pretty considerably well stocked haps. Getting shockingly old. See at this season. So down he sits,
rubbing his hands, and seeming as more of cheerfulness in his manner pleased as Punch, and orders a bottle while pursuing his course of steady of wine; but, before he'd been ten industry. The fact was, that he never minutes at table, up he jumps, claps now felt perplexed about money af. on his cloak and hat, and runs smack fairs, which were wont formerly to out o' the house, and never comes occupy much of his time by day, and back again till past eleven at night, cause him many sleepless hours by when he pays his bill, and orders horses night. Those who called for payfor six o'clock this morning."
ment were as welcome as those who • Is he gone, then ?" exclaimed Je. came to pay, and consequently his remiah.
credit stood high; and the travellers - Off, sure enough,” replied Titus; and London houses strove, by tempt. “ but he's left a great box for you, ing bargains and peculiar attention in which I was just going to send over. " selecting the best articles, to comSo, I suppose you and he have some plete his kind orders," to keep his dealings together."
name upon their books. So he went “ Yes,” said Mr Wag, “ I shall on and prospered in all his undertahave cause to bless and thank him the kings, and in the course thereof vilatest day I have to live ; but I wish sited the metropolis to make purchases, he had stopped here to.day. Well, and, wlien there, called upon Mr God bless him, wherever he's gone. Goodfellow, who gave him a hearty Hark ye, neighbour-you have often welcome, but could not be persuaded heard me speak of having a friend to reveal the name of his eccentric well, that's him. I don't know why, client, though he scrupled not to say but he's taken a fancy to me and my that he was in good health, adding, wife and family, and has done for us with a smile, “ and in perfect possesmore than you'd believe, if I was to sion of his intellects.” tell you. However, we can chat that Jeremiah next endeavoured to worm over another day, as I can't stop now, the secret from his bankers, but with as Mrs Wag and the children are no better success. The partner who waiting breakfast. But where's the received him, assured him that the box? I'll take it with me, if you steady increase and respectability of please."
his account had wrought such an im“ If two of the strongest fellows in pression in a quarter which he was my yard can take it over, it's as much not permitted to name, that their house as they can,” replied Titus. “ How. would feel much pleasure in making ever, they shall try; and I hope you'll advances, whenever any thing advancome over this afternoon and crack a tageous offered itself for purchase. bottle of my best to drink the little “ It is wonderful !"exclaimed Jerequeer old gentleman's health. But, miah. mind me, he's cracked to a certainty, "A good character, my dear sir," and you'll find it out some of these observed the banker, “is every thing days."
in trade. We are dealers in money; The box was accordingly delivered, and nothing pleases us more than and, on being opened, was found to placing it where we know it is safe, contain a dozen separate packages, and have every reason to suppose it may each directed for one member of the be useful.” Wag family, the largest for Jeremiah, " But," observed Jeremiah, “ you the father, and the smallest for little know nothing about me." Philip, a “ rising three" year old “I beg your pardon, Mr Wag,” Wag. Their contents were far too said the banker; ~ you are what we various for precise specification, but call a good man, and have got a could not have been more judiciously back." appropriated nor more gratefully re- « A back !" exclaimed the bewil. ceived, so that Christmas day was a dered shopkeeper. day of rejoicing ; and the only regret - Yes," said the banker, smiling, felt by one and all the Wags was, " that is, a good friend to your back; that their very kind friend had not and, though he chooses to keep him. stayed to spend it with them.
self in the background, depend upon When the festive season was over, it he'll not forsake you so long as you matters went on as usual with Jere- go on as you have done. Therefore, miah, save that perhaps there was buy away for ready cash as largely as No. ccc, VOL. XLVIII,