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throw into her lap, proving that you were a gentleman, and above coppers thrown to you out of charity ? Well, old as I am, and maimed, I'd sooner starve where I now stand but I must be off; so good-bye, Jack — look sharp after the halfpence.”
As Spicer walked away, my young blood boiled. A beggar!it was but too true — and yet I had never thought it a disgrace before, I sat down on the steps, and was soon in deep thought. Boat after boat came to the stairs, and yet I stirred not. Not one halfpenny did I take during the remainder of that day; for I could not-would not ask for one. My pride, hitherto latent, was roused; and before I rose from where I had been seated, I made a resolution that I would earn my livelihood in some other way. What hurt me most was his observations about Virginia and her beggar brother. I was so proud of Virginia, I felt that her brother ought not to be a beggar. Such was the effect produced in so short a time by the insidious discourse of this man. Had he still remained at the steps, I do believe that I should have asked, probably have followed, his advice. Fortunately he had left; and, after a little reflection, I had the wisdom to go and seek Peter Anderson, and consult him as to what I could do ; for to change my mode of obtaining my livelihood I was determined upon.
I found Anderson, as usual, seated under the colonnade, reading; and I went up to him.
“Well, Jack, my boy, you are home early,” said he.
“ Jack, I see there's something the matter. Now, tell me what it is. Can I help you?”
“I did wish to speak to you," replied I. “I've been thinking about going to sea.”
“ And how long have you thought of that, Jack ?." “ I've thought more of it lately," replied I.
“Yes, since Spicer has been talking to you. Now, is that not the case ?”
“ Yes, it is."
“I knew that, Jack. I'm at your service for as long as you please ; now sit down and tell me all he has said to you that you can remember. I sha'n't interrupt you."
I did so; and before I had half finished, Anderson replied, “That is quite enough, Jack. One thing is evident to me that Spicer has led a bad and lawless life, and would even now continue it, old as he is, only that he is prevented by being crippled. Jack, he has talked to you about privateers ! God forgive me if I wrong him; but I think, had he said pirates, he would have told the truth. But say nothing about that observation of mine; I wish from my heart that
you had never known him. But here comes your father. He has a right to know what we are talking about; for you owe duty to him as his son, and nothing can be done without his permission.”
When my father came up to us, Anderson begged him to sit down, and he told him what we had been discoursing about. I had already stated my objections to enter on board of a man-of-war.
“ Well !” said my father, “I may come athwart hawse of that old piccaroon yet, if he don't look out.
Not that I mind your going to sea, Jack, as your father did before you ; but what he says about the sarvice is a confounded lie. Let a man do his duty, and the sarvice is a good one; and a man who is provided for as he is, ought to be ashamed of himself to speak as he has done the old rascal. Still, I do not care for your entering the sarvice so young. It would be better that you were first apprentice and larnt your duty; and as soon as your time is out, you will be pressed of course, and then you would sarve the King. I see no objection to all that."
“But why do you want so particularly to go to sea, Jack ?" observed Anderson.
“I don't like being a beggar - begging for halfpence !" replied I.
“ And Spicer told you that you were a beggar?” said Peter. " He did.”
"Jack, if that is the case, we all are beggars ; for we all work, and receive what money we can get for our work. There is no shame in that.”
“I can't bear to think of it," replied I, as the tears came into my eyes.
“Well, well l I see how it is,” replied Anderson; "it's a pity you ever fell in with that man.”
“ That's true as gospel,” observed my father; “but still, if he had said nothing worse than that, I should not have minded. I do think that Jack is now old enough to do something better; and I must say, I do not dislike his wishing so to do – for it is begging for halfpence, arter all."
“ Well, boy,” said Peter Anderson, “suppose you leave your father and me to talk over the matter ; and to-morrow, by this time, we will tell you what we think will be best."
“ Anything - anything,” replied I, “but being a beggar." “Go along, you are a foolish boy,” said Anderson. “I like his spirit, though,” said my father, as I walked away.
On the next day, the important question was to be decided. I did not go to the stairs, to follow up my vocation. I had talked the matter over with Virginia ; who, although she did not like that I should go away, had agreed with me that she objected to my begging for money. I waited very impatiently for the time that Anderson had appointed ; and, at last, he and my father came together, when the former said,
“Well, Jack; it appears that you do not like to be a waterman ; and that you have no great fancy for a man-of-war, although you have a hankering for the sea. Now, as you cannot cruise with your friend Spicer on the Spanish Main, nor yet be safe from impressment in a privateer or merchantman, we have been thinking that, perhaps, you would have no objection to be a channel and river pilot; and if so, I have an old friend in that service, who, I think, may help you. What do you say?".
“ I should like it very much."
“ Yes, it is a good service, and a man is usefully employed. You may be the means, as soon as you are out of your time, and have passed your examination, of saving many a vessel and more lives. You have had a pretty fair education, indeed quite sufficient; and, as you will often be coming up the river, you will have
opportunities of seeing your father and your friends. decide, I will write at once.”
" It is the very thing that I should like," replied I ; "and many thanks to you, Anderson.”
“ And it's exactly what I should wish, also," replied my father. “ So that job's jobbed, as the saying is.”
After this arrangement, I walked away as proud as if I had been an emancipated slave: that very evening I announced my intention of resigning my office of “Poor Jack ;” and named as my successor the boy with whom I had fought so desperately to obtain it, when the prospect was held out to me, by old Ben, of my becoming Poor Jack - for ever!
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING ; OR A SPECIMEN OF MODERN PATRONAGE,
I COMMUNICATED to my mother and Virginia my father's intentions relative to my future employ, and was not surprised to find my mother very much pleased with the intelligence; for she had always considered my situation of “Poor Jack” as disgracing her family- declaring it the most ungenteelest” of all occupations. Perhaps she was not only glad of my giving up the situation, but also of my quitting her house. My father desired me to wear my Sunday clothes during the week, and ordered me a new suit for my best, which he paid for out of the money which he had placed in the hands of the Lieutenant of the Hospital ; and I was very much surprised to perceive my mother cutting out half a dozen new shirts for me, which she and Virginia were employed making up during the evenings. Not that my mother told me who the shirts were for- she said nothing ; but Virginia whispered it to me; my mother could not be even gracious to me: nevertheless, the shirts and several other necessaries, such as stockings and pocket-handkerchiefs, were placed for my use on my father's seachest, in my room, without any comment on her part, although she had paid for them out of her own purse. During the time that elapsed from my giving up the situation of “ Poor Jack," to my quitting Greenwich, I remained very quietly in my mother's house, doing every thing that I could for her, and employing myself chiefly in reading books which I borrowed anywhere that I could. I was very anxious to get rid of my soubriquet of “Poor Jack," and when so called would tell every body that my name was now « Thomas Saunders."
One Sunday, about three weeks after I had given up my berth, I was walking with my father and Virginia on the terrace of the Hospital, when we perceived a large party of ladies and gentlemen coming towards us. My father was very proud of us: I had this very day put on the new suit of clothes which he had ordered for me, and which had been cut out in the true man-of-war fashion; and Virginia was, as usual, very nicely dressed. We were walking towards the party who were advancing, when all of a sudden
father started, and exclaimed, “Well, shiver my timbers ! if it ain't she—and he — by all that's blue !"
Who she or he might be, neither Virginia nor I could imagine ; but I looked at the party, who were now close to us, and perceived, in advance of the rest, an enormous lady, dressed in a puce-coloured pelisse and a white satin bonnet. Her features were good, and had they been on a smaller scale would have been considered handsome. She towered above the rest of the company, and there was but one man who could at all compete with her in height and size, and he was by her side.
My father stopped, took off his cocked hat, and scraped the gravel with his timber toe, as he bowed a little forward.
“Sarvant, your Honour's Ladyship. Sarvant, your Honour Sir Hercules."
“ Ah ! who have we here?" replied Sir Hercules, putting his