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were continual ; what then must have been the position of poor little Virginia, whose mother was a clearstarcher and getter-up of fine linen? At first they called her the washerwoman's daughter, and would not associate with her—which made her very uncomfortable; and she used to tell me on the Sundays, when we walked out, how she had been treated during the week. But it was all for her advantage, and tended to correct the false pride and upstart ideas which in time must have been engendered by my mother's folly. Neither, after a few weeks, was my sister unhappy; she was too meek in disposition to reply, so that she disarmed those who would assail her; and being, as she was, of the lowest rank in the school, there could be no contest with the others as to precedence. Her mildness, humility, and sweetness of temper soon won upon both the schoolmistress and the scholars; eventually the Miss Tippets took Virginia under their protection ; and this magnanimity on their part silenced all opposition. My mother had desired my sister to take lessons in dancing. At first, the girls would not stand up with her; but, when the elder Miss Tippet took her as a partner, my sister became quite the fashion, and, what was better, a great favourite and pet with everybody; and they all patronized her as "little Virginia."
I very soon paid off my debt to old Nanny, without having to apply to Peter Anderson. I had assistanco (but without asking for it) as follows :—The second Sunday after I had obtained my clothes I called, with Virginia, upon the widow St. Felix. She was in the back parlour; and the Doctor, as usual, sitting with her She received us very kindly, spoke a good deal to Virginia, and told me that I looked
handsome for “ Poor Jack."
“ You'll be quite the fashion," continued she; “ and I presume, like most fashionable gentlemen, your clothes are not paid for.”
I replied, laughing, that they were not; but that they should be, if I lived, and could work.
“I've heard the whole story from old Ben,” replied she. “Come in to-morrow, Jack; I want to speak with you."
I did so in the forenoon, when she put a five-shilling piece in my hand, and said: “That's from me, to help you to pay your debt to old Nanny. But that's not all, Jack; I've coaxed the Doctor (not that he required much coaxing, to do him justice), and here's two halfcrowns from him, which, I believe, will go about as far as my five shillings. Now, Jack, you look very happy; so, just out of gratitude, run as fast as you can, and make
poor old Nanny happy, for she moans over her generous fit, and wonders all day long whether you will ever pay
her again.” I had listened all this while to Mrs. St. Felix; but 1 was so moved by her kindness and generosity that I could not speak. I had received money for services performed, and I had obtained it from Nanny as a loan, to be repaid with interest ; but so much money, as a gift, had never entered into my imagination. I could not restrain my feelings; I dropped my face on the counter, to conceal the tears which escaped.
“I can't say thank you,' as I wish, indeed I can't," said I, as I looked up at her.
“Why, you foolish boy, you have said thank you,”
replied the widow; "and now run away, for I must leave the shop a minute.”
This assistance made me redouble my exertions, and in three months I had repaid the whole : the last portion which was due I received from Virginia. She knew how much I paid off every week; and, when on Sunday I told her that I had only one and sixpence owing, she ran up-stairs, and, when she came down again, put the
hand. She had been saving up all she could coax out of my mother ever since I had first obtained the clothes; and great, indeed, was her delight when she gave mo the money-she kissed me, and began to dance, although it was Sunday, and then she proposed that we should walk together to old Nanny's and close the account. We found the old woman sitting on her steps; the door was open, but the shop shutters were up. On the Saturday night I had paid her two shillings, so that she did not expect to see me. Virginia put the one and sixpence in her hand, saying, “ Now brother has paid you all.”
“ Yes, darling, he has,” replied old Nanny; “ but then he promised
“I know I did,” interrupted I;" and I will keep my promise. I promised you good bargains."
“ You’re an honest boy, Jack; and, what's more strange, your sister isn't a spoiled girl; but that's not her mother's fault. My dear, if it was not Sunday, you would be able to see all the pretty things in my shop, and perhaps you might like something. You must come another day.”
I thanked old Nanny once more for having trusted me, and then we left her. I did keep my word with her, and gave her good bargains for a long while afterwards.
I often thought of my father, who had been absent now for nearly four years; and, as the time advanced, I became more anxious to hear of him. I seldom met old Ben the whaler without talking about my father, and asking Ben what chance he thought there was of his return.
· Why, you see, Jack,” said Ben, “in these times it's hard to say whether a man be alive or not. Every day we hear of some naval action or another, and therefore every day some must lose the number of their mess; and then, you see, Jack, a man may be supposed to be dead for years, and after all turn up in some l'rench prison or another; and then ships change their station, and ships' companies their ships; and then ships are sometimes wrecked, with all hands, or take fire, and are blown up. Many a good seaman loses his lifo by falling overboard in a gale--and who knows or cares? Whether your father be alive or be dead, Jack, it is impossible for me to say--but, howsomever, I hope he be.”
This was not a satisfactory, although a cautious reply, and I never could get Ben to give any other. I began to think that one of the mischances enumerated in Ben's catalogue might have occurred, and that I never should see my father again; when one morning, as I was standing at the landing-place, Ben came up to mo and said, “Now, Jack, perhaps we may hear something of your father. Here's been a famous action fought, and a matter of a thousand men killed and wounded. I've only just heard about it-Nelson has licked tho French on the coast of Egypt (Ben here referred to tho battle of the Nile); and the Oudacious, the ship on board of which your father was boatswain's mate, was in the action. Now you see the names of the killed will be sent into the office here, that their relations may receive the pay and prize-money due to them so now, Jack, perhaps, you'll hear something about
“But I shall only hear of his being killed, by your account; I don't want to hear that."
“No, boy, of course you don't; but if you do, you'll hear the worst of it, and that's some comfort; and if he ar'n't killed, why, perhaps he's wounded, and perhaps he ar'n't; all perhapses in this world. Howsomever, come with me. I saw Anderson, with a paper in his hand, walking up to his retreat, as he calls it; so let's make all sail after him, and we shall overhaul him before he begins to read it.
There is a small hill just inside of the Greenwich Park gates, commanding a beautiful view of the river and the Hospital. Here Anderson was accustomed to repair when the weather was fine, that, as he told me, he might commune with himself. In this instance he had retired there to avoid the excitement and confusion which prevailed; he had, however, been accompanied by three other pensioners, whom we found on the hill when we arrived; and, before we had been there a minute, the pensioners had followed up so fast that there was quite a crowd. We were just in time to hear him commence reading the newspaper account. Tho wind was very high; old Anderson had taken off his hat (out of respect, I presume, for the service), and