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establishment, were only open to such as could give in return some pretty practical tangibility, thus merely imitating the larger world which by no means recognises glory of any abstraet kind, the thief, after hiding the box, set forth to the house of a Jew named Cripps, whose dealings with Mrs. Togg, for forty years, had varied between the scale of a rusty key, and a gold snuff-box. “Books don't even come up to vipes, as you should know, Tummy,” said the Jew with a leer, as snuffing the guttering candle with his bony fingers, he looked round upon the group of thief-customers gathered in all attitudes round the little counter— “ thems isn't painted at the top of Moll's katy-kism, my love. Oh! dear no 1 '' “But, but,” said the boy eagerly, his face so keen with intellect that the eyes of the Jew drooped beneath his look, “it was taken precious care of in a brass-bound box.” “Ah! ah!” and the Jew, who had already commenced business with a fresh customer, laid his hand eagerly upon the book, and drawing it quickly towards him, said in a whisper, “Well, a shilling, my love.” That which had struck Cripps in a moment was made apparent to the thief; there must be some intrinsic value in a thing so carefully preserved. He snatched the book from the Jew's now grasping hand, and made his way to the door, without looking back upon the old man, who, eagerly bent across the counter, was crying out with his cracked squeaking voice—“Stop the boy, two shillings, three shillings, my love. Oh dear, stop the boy " Even had the Togg supper been, on this particular night, a freewill affair, the thief could not face the old woman or the girl; for he had dropped hints of coming glory, and to fall short of this was a degradation too low even for humanity in rags. So creeping back to the mews he found the girl Bella waiting for him. “You ain't a coming that dodge over Togg,” she asked, with something like contempt, as she watched the thief draw the precious volume from beneath his miserable shirt; “bless you, I shall have a firm foot with yer all the way to the gallows, Tummy, but I sha'n't be good enough, if yer come to that. So put it by, Tummy; them as is made by grand people to live like bats and owls, ha' got nothink so precious in natar as to prig and snatch when they can; so Tummy, flout the horn-book, and be a hero!" This advice, added to certain information of Slimp's progress, so darkened all again the beautiful young light of natural good, that on the production of a few pence, the book was carefully hidden, and the dimness of the squalid chamber changed in a few minutes for the warmth and gorgeousness of the nearest gin-shop. Some privileged customer was just at that instant opening one of the evening papers, and as his literary courage had been lately fortified with a glass, he immediately read, for the edification of the few around him, an advertisement that met his eye on the first page:—“4:20 Reward and a Free Pardon. Stolen from the shop of David Brandle, bookseller, Street, Cheapside, last night, or early this morning, a brass-bound box, containing a book.” The thief stopped to hear no more, but placing back upon the counter the untouched glass of gin, wistfully looked round to see if the girl had heard or observed; but as she was at a distance, amidst the struggling crowd of that death-sea, he glided into the street, and kept on with a swift step. All the visions of Togg glory shone again ; and as all that were his friends were too ignorant to solve the mystery that lay between this advertisement and Cripps's sudden eagerness, he determined, with one of those impulses that sometimes seem to be angel-wise promptings of our more spiritual nature, to understand and find the clue himself. There was a newly-opened school in that neighbourhood, where crime and squalor, as he had often heard told with blasphemous lips in the roar of Togg glory, met with kindly ministration; and so the next threshold stepped on from the gin-shop was that of the ragged school. The heart of brazen guilt was courageous till this last step was made; and then, with the abject and the coward fear of guiltiness, it stooped lowlily, in meek confession of its abjectness, before the beaming light of good. But taking courage at last, he passed in with vacillating step, and full of shame at the abjectness of his rags, yet to be kindly hailed, as one boasting the form of the Divine; that land that had been stretched forth to thieve on the foregone night, now held the horn-book, and the wondering and the thirsty ear heard as it were the silver-noted music of a heaven not even fashioned forth in the hopefullest of dreams! Of course, the motive was yet towards that vision of Togg glory. When he could read, and tell what was within the book, what a sum he might sell it for Somingled the evil and the good, as the thief crouched back into the straw that night—to dream, however, more of the horn-book than the halter, and waking in the morning to find that the poor Duckling had been there, and left some food. The act for the first time fell like dew upon the coarse hard nature of neglect and crime! Yet, though the purpose still leant towards the furtherance of Togg glory, it was wonderful with what rapidity the poor thief learnt. Weeks did for him, what only months for others! He was the wondrous prodigy of the school, and this knowledge grew from day to day; the vision of Togg glory dimmed, the petty theft scarcely supplied the exigencies of hunger, and, not only scouted at by Togg and her crew, he all at once found himself opposed to the bitter malice of the Jew, who had not forgotten the prize his fingers had clutched. Driven by this from his miserable lodging, he had to find shelter as he might, sometimes beneath bridge-arches, or dank blind court-ways, and even with the Duckling in his lonely sewer; for the little shrivelled creature had lately fallen ill, and of course all the glories of the Togg establishment were closed in the absence of some sort of tangibility. It was Tom's turn now to be the friend. When he could no longer thieve—when the paralysis of crime passed into the iron nerve and strenuous force of growing knowledge—when the last theft hung like a shadow on his spirit—he gathered together the refuse of markets, earned a few pence at wharves and stables, and when not, starved with his drooping friend. Wonderful often too was the Rembrandt picture of light and shade in the lonely sewer. Beside the narrow fire, sparkling up fitfully towards the dank roof, he told the pallid wretch of that inner life that is linked to divineness of good, or read seraps of newspapers picked up in the streets, or went over the marvellous one-page stuck like tempting fruit in some shop window; and so at last, even in this nursery of vileness, the intellectual nature of the outcast worshipped in spirit and truth. Now came the glorious night, when he could read well enough to open the bookseller's quaint treasure, beside the Duckling's fire. Now no longer was it the curiosity of guilt—but the curiosity of good. It was a volume of ancient madrigals, with appropriate music; and “Daisy Brandle” was the name written on the fly-leaf. It opened everywhere, where the music and the poetry were twin in gracefulness. Now it was certain that here was no Togg treasury, but some old memory of an earth-sorrow; and the matter before thought of, was now resolved upon; and so, in a few days, (God bless thee, Tom!) with an honest earned shilling, though fearfully hungered for, the lock was mended, the book and the few things replaced with a reverent
DIYINITY FROM RAGS.
and having made up the Duckling's fire, and placed his t of blanket around him, Tom, with the box beneath his naked as of old, took his way to Brandle's shop ; and, outcast! not a bit of hesitation now ; so different is the of evil and that of good; but going right in, placed the book the old man was reading. He turned deadly iereely up into the thief's face, and then, moving his stool, griped the wretch's naked arm. But fear - Looking with eyes that never flinched or wavered the old man's searching gaze, Tom told the whole truth, yet never asked one word of pity. One by one the fingers relaxed, as the gaunt face of famine betrayed the misery of endurance, and when the tale was done, the old man said merely—“Humph! well see if you can put up the shutters, there they are:"—and when, with glad alacrity, the boy had moved away, that old hand fell upon the box, and the tears gushed forth like summer rain. Well, when the shop was closed, and Tom was especially handy, the old man merely saying—“You’re hungry, I see;” beckoned him upstairs, roused up the fire in that same little room, placed bread and a serap of meat before him, and sinking into the old arm-chair, fell into a sort of dreaming reverie, looking up, however, from time to time, to ask the name of the schoolmaster, and to note it downs and when at last hunger was satisfied, and the best morsel saved for the Duckling, the boy rose and thanked the old man, who then said—“Well, I'll light you down; but come again to-morrow at noon. I'll see what can be done for you.”
It was a glorious night that, of hope and fear. When he went, punctual to the time, at noon, he found that the old man had been already to the schoolmaster, and the report had been so favour. able, that he, Tom, the outcast, the vagabond, found himself in some five minutes appointed to the office of shop-shutter, sweeper, and sole attendant on the old bookseller, the once-named rednosed individual having recently died. In few words, the old man told him that he led a very lonely life; that one condition of their intercourse was that of little speech; that in the kitchen below he might make his home, and do there as he liked, that coals were in abundance for his use, that though for himself he sternly refused all comforts, having merely his food from a neighbouring •ookshop, yet that he, Tom, should have a little weekly sum to * with as he pleased, and that some old clothes were in a chest upstairs that he might have.
Life's contrasts make the poetry of life. Truth's poetry of hope and gratefulness was there that night, when a fire burnt high and clear in the long-neglected grate of the strange kitchen; when the scissors, in the John-Bull-trowsers-of-capacity, fashioned forth a smaller pair; when there was a rub at the old Dutch clock, and a new voice drawn from that long perished hour; when there was a dipping into one of the dusty volumes; and just a toast at the cheese, and a warm to the beer. Oh! blessed poetry of cheerfulness and joy!
Weeks of this happiness soon rolled by, and never was the truth better shown, that all great natural intellect, true to the great laws of nature of which it forms a part, falls, with its own perfecting power, upon the lowliest, as the highest things. The trowsers of once terrible capacity fitted fairly; the coat outshone Slimps' very best; the saucepans bright, the dressers reflected back the glowing fire; the fire itself was so cheerful, that the long moped crickets came in joy; the music of the Dutch clock went fairly on; the old man's food, though he knew it not, was warmer than of old; his hearth secretly cleaned; last and best too, with leave, the vast heterogeneous mass of books, in the neglected rooms upstairs, was begun to be sorted and arranged: and when, one night, a pile of thousands of spelling-books and grammars reared itself up, that intellect which society had disregarded and called vile, thought within “every one of these shall be a light upon miserable Togg darkness;” and thus, and thus, began to be fashioned that great spiritual divinity which small come forth from rags.
Another joy, too ! One day, from some questions asked, Tom took courage to tell the taciturn old man the history of the wretched Duckling perishing in a sewer. In a moment; in a word or so of brief mercy, that supposed hard old man said, “Well, let him come and be by your fire below.” And so that very night, in an ancient sedan, lent by a smiling beadle (what a wonder') who lived in the neighbourhood and had retired from sedan keeping, the dying creature was brought, and laid tenderly by Tom himself, for he had wasted to a shadow, upon a little bed made upon three chairs beside the glowing fire. And though the little shrimped-up starveling was alone almost all day, with no other company than the ticking melody of the hours, and the chirping crickets, there was night, when Tom could sit beside and read, and strew with flowers the sinking pathway to the grave. Though still taciturn, the old man seemed to take pleasure in the com