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after year, and worked hard for it, too, and I never have known what to do with it. I can't understand the funds and those sort of things, so I have kept some here and some there. Now you know the grass land at the back of the cottage: it forms part of a tidy little farm, which is rented for seventy pounds a year, by a good man, and it has been for sale these three years ; but I never could manage the price till now. When we go back to Deal, I shall try if I can buy that farm; for, you see, money may slip through a man's fingers in many ways, but land can't run away; and, as you say, it will be Bessy's one of these days — and more too, if I can scrape it up."
“ You are right, Bramble,” said Peter Anderson ; "and I am glad to hear that you can afford to buy the land."
“Why, there's money to be picked up by pilotage, if you work hard, and ar’n't afraid of heavy ships,” replied Bramble.
“ Well, I never had a piece of land, and never shall have, I suppose," said my father. “ I wonder how a man must feel, who can stand on a piece of ground, and say. This is my
" Who knows, father? it's not impossible but you may."
“ Impossible! no, nothing's impossible, as they say on board of a man-of-war; it's not impossible to get an apology out of a midshipman, but it's the next thing to it.”
Why do they say that, father?” “ Because midshipmen are so saucy — why, I don't know. They haven't no rank as officers, nor so much pay as a petty officer, and yet they give themselves more airs than a lieutenant."
“ I'll tell you why,” replied Anderson. “ A lieutenant takes care what he is about. He is an officer, and has something to lose ; but a midshipman has nothing to lose; and therefore he cares about nothing. You can't break a midshipman, as the saying is, unless you break his neck. And they have necks which arn't easily broken, that's sartain.”
They do seem to me to have more lives than a cat," observed my father; who after a pause continued,
“Well, I was saying how hard it was to get an apology out of a midshipman ; I'll just tell you what took place on board of one
ship I served in. There was a young midshipman on board who was mighty free with his tongue: he didn't care what he said to any body, from the captain downward. He'd have his joke, come what would, and he'd set every body a-laughing : punish him as much as you please, it was all the same. One day, when we were off Halifax harbour, the master, who was a good-tempered fellow enough, but not over bright, was angry with this young chap for something that he had not done, and called him a 'confounded young bear.' Upon which the youngster runs to the jacob ladder of the main rigging, climbs up, and as soon as he had gained the main rattlings, he cries out, “ Well, if I'm a bear, you ar’n't fit to carry guts to a bear.' What, sir ?' cried the master. “Mutiny, by heavens! Up to the mast-head, sir, directly.' Don't you see that I was going of my own accord ?' replied the midshipman; for, you see, he knew that he would be sent there, so he went up the rigging on purpose. Well, this was rather a serious affair; and so the master reports it to the first lieutenant, who reports it to the captain, who sends for the youngster on the quarter-deck, at the time that the ship's company were at quarters. Mr. —; (I forget his name) said the captain (drawing himself up to his full height, and perhaps an inch or two above it, as they say), ‘you have been guilty of disrespect to your superior officer, in telling him that he was not fit to carry guts to a bear' (the captain could hardly help laughing);' now, sir,' continued he, recovering himself, I give you your choice; either you will make an apology to Mr. Owen, on this quarter-deck, or you must quit my ship immediately. “Sir,' replied the midshipman, 'I don't think it quite fair that the master should first punish me himself, and then complain to you asterwards. He has taken the law into his own hands already, by mast-heading me for eight hours, and now he makes a complaint to you ; but I am always ready to do as you wish; and, to please you, I will make an apology.' • There is some truth in your
observation,' replied the captain, “and I have pointed the same out to the master; but still this is a breach of discipline which cannot be passed over, and requires a public retraction before the whole ship’s company. I, therefore, insist upon your retracting what
you have said.' •Certainly, sir,' replied the youngster. •Mr. Owen,' continued he, turning to the master, 'I said that you were not fit to carry guts to a bear : I was in the wrong, and I retract with pleasure, for I am perfectly satisfied that you are fit to carry them.' • Sir!' cried the captain. "O, captain G— l'interrupted the master, who did not take the joke, • I'm perfectly satisfied. The young gentleman sees his error, and has retracted; I ask no more.' • If you are satisfied, sir,' replied the captain, biting his lips, ' of course I have nothing more to say. Youngster, you may go to your duty, and recollect that you never again use such expressions to your superior officer;' and, said he, in a low tone, • I may add, never venture in my presence to make such an apology as that again.'”
I never saw old Anderson laugh so much as he did at this story of my father's. They continued to talk and smoke their pipes till about nine o'clock, when my father and he went to the Hospital, and Bramble took possession of a bed which had been prepared for him in my mother's house.
IN WHICH I LEARN THE HISTORY OF OLD NANNY.
The next day, as soon as I had finished a letter to Bessy, in which I gave her a detail of what had passed, I went to old Nanny's, to persuade her, if possible, to tell me her history. She was not at home, the door of her house was locked, and the shutters of the shop fastened. I was about to return to Fisher’s Alley, when I perceived her hobbling down the street. I thought it better to make it appear as if I met her by accident; so I crossed over the way, and walked towards her. “ Well, mother," said I, “are you out so early ?"
“ Ah, Jack! is it you ? yes: it is through you that I have had to take so long a walk.”
“ Through me ?"
“ Yes; those presents you brought me. I'm almost dead. Why do you bring such things ? But I did not do badly, that's the truth."
I knew from this admission that old Nanny had sold them for more than she expected; indeed she proved it, by saying, as she arrived at her house, “ Well, Jack, it's very troublesome to have to walk so far; but as you cannot get me bottles or those kind of things, you must bring me what you can, and I must make the best of them. I don't mind trouble for your sake, Jack. Now take the key, unlock the door, and then take down the shutters; and mind how you walk about, Jack, or you'll break half the things in my shop.” I did as she requested, and then we sat down together at the door as usual.
“ I think I shall go away to-morrow, or early the next morning, mother,” said I; “ for Bramble is here, and he never stays long from his work.”
“ That's all right; he sets a good example; and, Jack, if you do go, see if you can't beg a few more shells for me: I like shells."
“ Yes, mother, I will not forget ; but, as this is the last day I shall see you for some time, will you not keep your promise to me, and tell me your history ? " “ Jack, Jack, you are the most persevering creature I ever did
I'm sure I shall be worried out of my life until I tell you, and so I may as well tell you at once, and there'll be an end of it ; but I wish you had not asked me, Jack, I do indeed.' I thought of it last night when I was in bed, and at one time I made up my mind that I would not tell you, and then I thought again that I would; for, Jack, as I said yesterday, there's a lesson in every life, and a warning in too many, and maybe mine will prove a warning to you, so far as to make you prevent a mother from being so foolish as I have been.
« Now, Jack, listen to me; mine is an old story; but in most cases the consequences have not been so fatal. I shall not tell you my name; it was once a fair one, but now tarnished. I was the only