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I left poor old Nanny with her face buried in her apron; and it was in a very melancholy mood that I returned home; I could not help thinking of the picture in the spelling-book, where the young man at the gallows is biting off the ear of his mother, who, by her indulgence, had brought him to that disgrace.
STRONG SYMPTOMS OF MUTINY, WHICH IS FORTUNATELY QUELLED
GRANTING A SUPPLY
It was a beautiful sunshiny warm morning when I arose, and, as Bramble intended that we should leave Greenwich the next day, I thought I might as well call at the house of Dr. Tadpole, and try if I could see him before I went. When I arrived there, he was not at home, but my namesake Tom was, as usual, in the shop. Tom was two or three years older than me, being between seventeen and eighteen, and he had now grown a great tall fellow. We always were very good friends, when we occasionally met, and he generally appeared to be as good tempered and grinning as ever ; but when I now entered the shop, I found him very grave and dejected, so much so that I could not help asking him what was the matter.
“ Matter enough, I think," said Tom, who was pounding something in the mortar. “I'll not stay here, that's flat. I'll break my indentures, as sure as my name's Tom Cob, and I'll set up an opposition, and I'll join the Friends of the People Society, and the AntiBible Society, and every other opposition Anti in the country.”
“ Why, what has happened, Tom?"
“ I'll make speeches against Church and against State, and against the Aristocracy, and Habeas Corpus, and against Physic, and against Standing Armies, and Magna Charta, and every other
rascally tyranny and oppression to which we are subjected; that I will.” Here Tom gave such a thump with the pestle, that I thought he would have split the mortar.
“ But what is it, Tom?" inquired I, as I sat down. “What has the Doctor done?”
Why, I'll tell you; the liquorice is all gone, and he won't order any more.”
“ Well, that is because you have eaten it all."
“ No, I haven't ; I haven't eaten a bit for these five weeks: it's all been used in pharmacopey, honestly used, and he can't deny it." 6 Who used it?”
Why, I did ; he said he wouldn't stand my eating liquorice, and I told him that I shouldn't eat any more. No more I have, but I a'n't well, and I prescribes for myself. Haven't I a right to do that ? Mayn't I physic myself? I'm a doctor as well as he is. Who makes all the medicine, I should like to know? who ties up the bottles, and writes directions? Well, my insides are out of order, and I prescribes for myself - black draughts omnes duas horas sumendum;' and now he says, that, as the ingredients are all gone, I shan't take
more." “ And pray what were the ingredients, Tom?"
“ Why, laxative and alterative, as suits my complaint - Extract. liquor. aqua pura
haustus." “ And what is that?”
“ Liquorice and water, to be sure; there's nothing else I can take: I've tasted every thing in the shop, from plate powder to aqua fortis, and every thing goes against my stomach."
“ Well, Tom, it's a hard case; but perhaps the doctor will think better of it."
“ He'd better, or I'll set up for myself, for I won't stand it any longer; it a'n't only for myself but for others that I care. Why, I've a hankering for Anny Whistle, (you know her, don't you?) a pretty little girl with red lips lives in Church Street. Well, as long as I could bring her a bit of liquorice when I went to see her, all was smooth enough, and I got many a kiss when no one was nigh; but now that I can't fork out a bit as big as a marble.
she's getting quite shy of me, and is always walking with Bill, the butcher's boy. I know he gives her bulls'-eyes - I seed him one day buying a ha'porth. Now, a'n't that hard ?”
Why, certainly, the affair becomes serious; but still, how you are to set up for yourself I don't know. You are not qualified."
“ (! a’n't I ? just as much as most doctors are. There must be a beginning, and if I gives wrong medicine at first, then I'll try another, and so on until I come to what will cure thein. Soon learn, Tom.” “ Well, but how will you
do about surgery?" “ Surgery, oh I'll do
well don't know much about it just soon learn."
Why, would you venture to take off a man's leg, Tom ? do you know how to take up the arteries?”
« Would I take off a man's leg? to be sure I would, as quick as the doctor could. As for the arteries, why I might puzzle a little about them; but, by the time I had taken off three or four legs, I should know something about them. Practice makes perfect soon learn, Tom."
“ But all your first patients would die.”
“ I don't know that, At all events I should do my best, and no man can do more; and if they did die, why it would be by the visitation of God, wouldn't it?"
“ Not altogether, I'm afraid. It won't do, Tom."
“ It has done from the beginning of the world, and will do. I say there's no learning without practice — people spoil at first in every trade, and make afterwards; and a man a'n't born a doctor any more than he is a carpenter."
No; but, if I recollect right, to be a surgeon you ought to walk the hospital, as they term it."
“Well, and haven't I for these last four years ? When I carries out my basket of physic, I walks the hospital right through, twice at least every day in the week."
“ That's Greenwich Hospital."
“ Well, so it is; and plenty of surgical cases in it. However, the doctor and I must come to a proper understanding: I didn't
clean his boots this morning. I wish, if you see him, Tom, you'd reason with him a little."
“ I'll see what I can do; but don't be rash. Good-by, Tom; mind
you tell the doctor that I called." “ Well, I will; but that's not in my indentures.”
I called in at the widow's after I left the doctor's shop, and communicated the intended rebellion on the part of Tom.
“ Well,” said Mrs. St. Felix, “ I shall not forget to make the Spanish claim, and prevent Tom from walking Spanish. The doctor is very inconsiderate; he forgets that Tom's regard for liquorice is quite as strong as his own liking for a cigar. Now, if the doctor don't promise me to have a fresh supply for Tom, I won't let him have a cigar for himself.”
The doctor was compelled to surrender at discretion. The next wagon brought down one hundred weight of liquorice, and Tom recovered his health and the smiles of Anny Whistle.
When I left the widow's I proceeded to the Hospital, to find Anderson and my father. As I walked along I perceived Dick Harness on a bench, who hailed me.
“ Well, Tom, I haven't seen any thing of you for I don't know how long, since you've taken to a seafaring life. This is a beautiful day, is it not ? it makes one feel so happy and cheerful such a day as this. Every body and every thing looks gay; the birds seem so merry, and the little clouds seem to scud away as if their hearts were as light as themselves. Come, sit down a minute ; here's a song for you you've never heard one I don't often sing, because they say it's all about myself."
“ Well, then, I should like to hear that." “ Here goes, then:
“ Sam Swipes, he was a scaman true,
As brave and bold a tar
One fiult he had -on sea or land
He always liked to be at sea,
The gunner, who was apt to scoff,
Sam didn't want a feeling heart,
At fighting, Sam was never shy,
In action he had lost an eye,
A shot from an unlucky gun
One night he filled a pail with grog,
“ There's Bill's fiddle, Dick," said I, getting up; “I thought you would bring him out."
“ Yes, I was sure of that; I'll sing another verse or two, and then be off to the Park, and leave him in the lurch."
“ I can't wait any more, Dick; I must go to my father," said l.
“ Well, off with you then, and I'm off too. Sing tura la, tura la, tura lura la. Bill's coming down. How savage the nigger will be ! ”