« AnteriorContinuar »
THE HISTORY OF ST. GILES AND ST. JAMES. *
BY THE EDITOR.
CHAPTER XXX. “ The country girl, alone in the Brown Bear, had some slight twitchings of remorse. She felt it; she had very much slandered London and the Londoners. She had been taught—she had heard the story in fields and at fire-sides, seated in the shade of haystacks, and in winter chimney-corners--that London was a fiery furnace ; that all its inhabitants, especially the males, were the pet pupils of the Evil One, and did his work with wonderful docility. And now, how much ignorance had departed from her! In an hour or two, how large her stock of experience! She was alone-alone in a London tavern ; and yet she felt as comfortable, as secure of herself as though perched upon a Kent haycock. She had seen thousands of people ; she had walked among a swarm of men and women, and nobody had even so much as attempted to pick her pocket; nobody had even snatched a kiss from her. With the generosity of a kind nature, she felt doubly trustful that she had unjustly doubted. She was in a London hotel (poor hawthorn innocence !) and felt not a bit afraid ; on the contrary, she rather liked it. She looked about the room : carefully, up and down its walls. No; there was not an inch of looking-glass to be seen. Otherwise she thought she might have liked to take a peep at herself ; for she knew she must be a fright; and the young
* Continued from p. 9, Vol. IV. NO, XX. VOL. IV.
man would be back soon ; and though she cared not a pin about him-how could she ?-still, still she should have liked one look.
“What, my little girl, all alone ?” asked a new-comer-as the young woman thought, a very rude, and ugly, and somewhat
“Got nobody with you, eh? Where's your parents ?” “ I'm not alone, and that's enough,” said the girl, and she fervently clutched her little bundle.
“ Very well, my dear; wouldn't offend you, my lass; wouldn't”
“I'm not your dear ; and I don't want at all to be talked to by you.” Saying this, the girl continued to grasp her property, and looked with very determined eyes in the harsh, ugly face of the old intruder. The fact is, the girl felt that the time was come to test her energy and caution. She had too soon thought too well of the doings of London. The place swarmed with wicked people, there was no doubt of it; and the man before her was one of them. He looked particularly like a thief as he looked at her bundle.
“ That's right ; quite right, my little wench. This is a place in which you can't be too particlar," and saying this, Bright Jem
--for it was the uncomely, honesty of that good fellow's face that had alarmed the spinster-Bright. Jem, with his mild, benevolent look, nodded, and passing to the further end of the room, seated himself in one of the boxes. And the girl felt more assured of his wickedness ; and anxiously wished the return of that very nice young
footman—that honest, sweet-spoken young man-so long engaged in converse with his aunt.. Would he never come back? It was odd, but every moment of his absence endowed him, in the girl's mind, with a new charm. Bright Jem was all unconsciously despoiled of every good quality, that his graceless relative, Ralph Gum, might be invested with the foreign excellence.
Hark! a footstep. No; it is not the footman : he still tarries with his aunt. It is Jerry Whistle, the Bow-street officer, with his daily flower between his lips ; bis happy face streaked like an apple ; and his cold, keen, twinkling eye that seemed continually employed as a search-warrant, looking clean through the bosoms. of all men. He paused before the girl, taking an inventory of her qualities. And she, to repel the boldness of the fellow, tried to. arm herself with of those thunderbolt looks that woman in her dignity will sometimes cast about her, striking giants off their legs and laying them in the dust for ever. Poor thing ! it was indignation all in vain. She might as well have frowned at Newgate