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I called upon old Nanny, who was now quite strong again. I had before acquainted her with my future prospects.
“Well, Jack," says she, “and so you're going away ? I don't think you were quite right to give up a situation where you gained so many halfpence every day, and only for touching your cap : however, you know best. I shall have no more bargains after you are gone, — that's certain. But, Jack, you'll be on board of vessels coming from the East and West Indies, and all other parts of the world, and they have plenty of pretty things on board, such as shells, and empty bottles, and hard biscuit, and bags of oakum ; and, Jack, they will give them to you for nothing, for sailors don't care what they give away when they come from a long voyage; and so mind you beg for me as much as you can, that's a good boy; but don't take live monkeys or those things, they eat so much. You may bring me a parrot, I think I could sell one, and that don't cost much to feed. Do you understand, Jack? Will you do this for me?"
« I don't know wbether I can do all you wish, but depend upon it, mother, I won't forget you."
“ That's enough, Jack, you'll keep your word; and now, is there any nice thing that I can give you out of my shop, as a keepsake, Jack ?"
“Why, no, mother, I thank you, - nothing."
* Think of something, Jack,” replied old Nanny; “you must have something."
“Well, then, mother, you know I like reading ; will you give me the old book that I was reading when I sat up with you one
“ Yes, Jack, and welcome ; what book is it? I don't know - I can't see to read large print without spectacles, and I broke mine many years ago."
“Why do you not buy another pair?”
“ Another pair, Jack? Spectacles cost money. I've no money; and as I never read, I don't want spectacles. Go in and fetch the book ; it's yours, and welcome.”
I went in and brought out the “Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress" which I before mentioned. “ This is it, mother.”
“Yes, yes, I recollect now, it's a very pretty book. What's it about, Jack? I can't see myself: never mind, take it, Jack, and don't forget your promise."
I wished old Nanny good-bye, and took the book home, which I gave into Virginia's care, as I wished her to read it. The next morning, at daybreak, I was summoned ; the ship was dropping down the river. I bade farewell to my little sister, who wept on my shoulder; to my mother, who hardly condescended to answer me. My father helped me down with my luggage, which was not very heavy; and Anderson and old Ben accompanied us to the landing-steps; and having bid them all farewell, besides many others of my friends who were there, I stepped into the boat sent for me, and quitted Greenwich for my new avocation, on the 6th of October, 1799, being then, as Anderson had calculated, precisely thirteen years and seven months old.
IN WHICH A STORY IS BEGUN AND NOT FINISHED, WHICH I THINK THE
READER WILL REGRET AS MUCH AS, AT THE TIME, I DID.
The boat was soon alongside of the West Indiaman, which had been tiding it down Limehouse Reach under her topsails, there being but little wind, and that contrary ; but now that she had arrived to Greenwich Reach, she had braced up, with her head the right way. My box was handed up the side, and I made my appearance on the deck soon afterwards, with my telescope in my hand. « Are
you the lad for whom the pilot sent the boat?” inquired a man whom I afterwards found to be the second mate.
“ Yes,” replied I.
“Well, there he is abaft, in a P-jacket,” said he, walking to the gangway, and directing the men to drop the boat astern.
I looked aft, and perceived my future master talking with the captain of the vessel. Philip Bramble was a spare man, about five feet seven inches high: he had on his head a low-crowned tarpaulin hat; a short P-jacket (so called from the abbreviation of pilot's jacket) reached down to just above his knees.
His features were regular; and, indeed, although weather-beaten, they might be termed handsome. His nose was perfectly straight, his lips thin, his eyes grey and very keen; he had little or no whiskers, and, from his appearance, and the intermixture of grey with his brown hair, I supposed him to be about fifty years of
In one hand he held a short clay-pipe, into which he was inserting the forefinger of the other, as he talked with the captain. At the time that he was pointed out to me by the second mate he was looking up aloft; I had, therefore, time to make the above observations before he cast his eyes down and perceived me, when I immediately went aft to him.