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at last the motion affected me so much that I could pay little attention, and I remained by his side as pale as a sheet. We rounded the North Foreland, and long before dark anchored in the Downs. Bramble went no further with the vessel, the captain himself being a good pilot for the Channel. A Deal boat came alongside, we got into it, they landed us on the shingle beach, and I followed Bramble up to his abode.
BRAMBLE'S METHOD OF EDUCATION PROVES VERY EFFECTIVE. HE ALSO
POINTS OUT A POSITION IN WHICH YOU MAY PREFER YOUR ENEMIES
TO YOUR FRIENDS.
The house of Philip Bramble was situated on the further side of a road which ran along the shore, just above the shingle beach. It was a large cottage on one floor, the street door entering at once into its only sitting room. It was furnished as such tenements usually are, with a small dresser and shelves for crockery, and a table and chairs of cherry wood: on the broad mantelpiece, for the fire-place was large, were several brass candlesticks, very bright, ranged with foreign curiosities, and a few shells; half-a-dozen prints in frames ornamented the walls; and on large nails drove into the panels, wherever a space could be found, were hung coats, P-jackets, and other articles of dress, all ready for the pilot to change whenever he came on shore wet to the skin. Every thing was neat and clean : the planks of the floor were white as snow, yet the floor itself was sanded with white sand, and there were one or two square wooden boxes, also filled with sand, for the use of those who smoked. When I add, that, opposite to the fire-place, there was a set of drawers of walnut wood, with an escritoire at the top, upon the flat part of which were a few books neatly arranged, and over it an old
fashioned looking-glass, divided at the sides near to the frame into sections, I believe that I have given a catalogue of the whole furniture. When I followed Bramble into the room, a little girl of about nine or ten years old ran into his arms, as he stooped down to receive her. She was a pretty child, with a very fair skin and rosy cheeks, her hair and eyes of a very dark brown, almost approaching to black; but she was not, in my opinion, near so pretty as my sister Virginia. As Bramble kissed her, she exclaimed, “O father! I am so glad you are come home. Mrs. Maddox has been in bed ever since you left: her leg is very bad indeed.”
“ Whew,” whistled Bramble, “ I'm sorry to hear that of the old lady; and how have you got on without her assistance ?"
“ Why, don't you think I'm very tidy, father?" said she, looking round the room.
“ Yes, Bessy, you are very tidy; and it's a pleasure to come home to a tidy clean house. Here is a companion for you. I told you he was coming, and you know his name.”
“ It's Tom Saunders, isn't it, father?"
“ Yes, that's his name, for want of a better - so I leave you to make friends, while I go up and see the poor old lady."
“ You look cold and pale, are you not well ? ” was the first question of little Bessy.
“ I'm cold, and not very well,” replied I: “I have not been used to knocking about on board ship."
“ Very true; I forgot you had never been at sea before. Come to the fire, then, and sit in father's big chair."
“ I never knew that your father had been married. I thought Peter Anderson said that he was a bachelor.”
“ And so he is," replied Bessy. “ I'm not his daughter, although I call him father.”
“ Indeed I then whose daughter are you? and who is the old lady up stairs ?"
“ The old lady up stairs is the widow of the pilot with whom father served his time. Her husband was lost at sea, and she keeps father's house. Father picked me up at sea, and has taken care of me ever since."
“ Then you don't remember your own parents ? "
No, I recollect nothing, till I found myself in this house. Father says I'm a Dutchman, because it was a Dutch ship or a Dutch boat which I was taken out of.”
“ And how long was that ago ? “ Nine years ago. I am now, I believe, about ten years old."
Bessy then catechised me relative to my own family, and I had not answered all her questions when Bramble came down stairs.
Bessy, dear, we must have the doctor to look at that leg again. I'm afeard that it will never get well. Missus is too old to shake it off."
“ Shall I go now, father?”
“ Yes, child, go now, for she's in great pain with it: and Tom, you go with Bessy, and take care of her. But, before you go, give me some 'baccy and the odds and ends."
As soon as Bessy had put the tobacco pipes, some spirits, a rummer and water, on the table, and the spittoon at his feet, she put on her bonnet, and off we set to the doctor's house, about half a mile distant. I was soon on intimate terms with Bessy: there was something so frank and winning about her, such perfect honesty of character, that it was impossible not to like her. We delivered our message, returned home, and, being very tired, I was glad to go to bed. Bessy showed me my room, which was very comfortable ; and as soon as I laid my head on the pillow, I was fast asleep.
I was awakened the next morning, by a knocking at the door, by little Bessy: it was broad daylight, and I dressed myself and went down stairs, where I found her very busy, putting every thing in order.
“ It was I knocked,” said little Bessy : “I thought you would like to come and help me.”
“ And so I will,” replied I: “what shall I do ?”
“Oh, there's plenty to do now that Mrs. Maddox is ill, and you and father are come back—almost too much for a little girl like me. Will you go to the pump and fetch the pails full of water, for they are too heavy for me?"
I did as she wished.
Any thing else, Bessy ?" said I. “ Oh yes, plenty. You're very good-natured, Tom, and I'm so glad you're come.”
Bessy and I were fully employed for nearly an hour, in the front room and kitchen, clearing up and cleaning and preparing for breakfast. All was ready before Bramble came down and took a seat in his big chair, close to the breakfast table.
“ All ready, father," said little Bessy, going up to Bramble to be kissed. “ Tom has been helping me.”
“ All's right,” said Bramble: “ • bring the book, dear.
Bessy brought a large Bible, and read a chapter aloud, then closed it and put it away.
“ We can't always do this, Tom,” observed Bramble, “ when we're knocking about in the Channel : all we can do is to read it when we can.
Come now to breakfast." When we had finished, I assisted Bessy to put every thing away; and then Bramble said to me, “ Anderson tells me you're a good scholar, Tom; but you must now learn what will be of use to me as well as to you. The first thing you must learn, and which you can do on shore, are the points of the compass, to know them at sight and tell them quickly ; for you see it's of great importance to a pilot to know exactly how a ship's head is ; and the men at the helm, although good seamen and steering well, are not so ready at answering as a pilot wishes, and very often stammer at it—sometimes make mistakes. Now you see, when I'm piloting a vessel, if you stand at the binnacle, watch the
and answer me quickly how the ship’s head is, you'll be of use to me in a very short time. Go up into my room, and under the bed you
will find a compass; bring it down carefully, and I'll give you a lesson at once.” I brought the compass to him, and Bramble made me write down the whole thirty-two points at full length upon a piece of paper. When I had done so, he told me I must learn them by heart as fast as I could.
I studied them the whole of that day; and in the evening, finding myself perfect, I went up to Bramble and repeated them without one mistake.