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In my

charity, as you say, why should you want to take thom up to a fence, as you call it?”

“I tell you what, Jack; I can't be answering all these questions here, where there may be twenty pairs of ears a listening."

“Well, and if they do listen, what is the harm, if wo are doing what is right?"

“It won't do to argufy here, I tell you. opinion, a poor man who works hard to get some victuals to keep body and soul together is doing what is right."

“Yes, if he works at an honest livelihood.”

“Don't talk so loud about honesty; the very word is enough to make people suspect something not right. I'll tell you all when you come up to my house; for you see, Jack, you must help me to carry these things up. D’ye think you can manage this bag of pease? Let's try!" Between us, we contrived to get the bag, which weighed about half a hundred weight, on my back, and I walked off with it; Grumble following me with the copper and the other small bag, which I afterwards found contained copper nails. When we arrived at his dwelling, which was as dilapidated and miserable as old Nanny's, he took out his key and fumbled a long while at the lock; at last ho opened it. “You had better stay till I get a light,” said he. In a minute ho came with one to the door, and told me to follow him. I went in, put down the bag, and, some grains falling out, I took them up.

“Why, this is coffee, Grumble!"-_“ Well, pease is our name for coffee, sand for sugar, and rinegar for rum, when we get any."

“Well, but, Grumble, I wish to know how you came by these things."

“ I'll tell you, Jack, if you ask everybody how they come by things, you will have enough to do; but tho fact is, the man wants me to sell them for him.”

Why, you said he gave them to you out of charity.” “Oh, that was only because I couldn't spare breatlı to tell


all about it." “But why should he lower them down in the dark, if they were his own property ?”

“ Jack, I don't ask whose property it is; all I know is, that I come by it honestly. I don't steal it, and I can't prove that the man does. Why, Jack, if one is to be so nice as that, you can't go into a grocer's shop to buy sugar, or coffee, or pepper, or indeed into almost any shop, if you first want to know whether the people have come by the goods honestly before you buy of them.”

“Still, it is so plain that the man must have stolen them."

“Suppose it is; how are so many poor people to find their livelihood and support their families, if they refuse to get a shilling or two when it is offered? If we were only to live upon what we get honestly, why, we should starve: the rich take good care of that by grinding us down so close. Why, Jack,

Why, Jack, how many thousands get their living on this river! and do you think they could all get their living honestly, as you call it? No; we all plunder one another in this world.* You asked me, who were Light Horsemen ?

* These remarks of Grumble were, at the time, perfectly correct; it was before the Wet Docks or the River Police was

that's a name for one set of people who live by plunder; —that lighter will have a good slice of her cargo out to-night; for those who cut her adrift, know what's ou board of her. Then we have the Heavy Horsemen, they do their work in daytime, when they go on board as Lumpers to clear the ships. And then we've the Coopers and Bumboat men, and the Ratcatchers and the Scuffle Hunters, and the River Pirates; and, last of all, we have the Mudlarkers : all different profossions, Jack ; never interfering with each other, and all living by their wits. I'm too old now; I was a flash pirate once; but I'm now nearly eighty, and am only fit for a Mudlarker.”

“But," exclaimed I with astonishment, "are they not discovered and punished ?"

“That's very seldom, Jack; for you see we have receivers all down the river; some of them great men, and dining with the Mayor and Common Council ; others in a small way ;-all sorts, Jack: and then we have what we call Jew Carts, always ready to take goods inland, where they will not be looked after. Old Nanny was a receiver and fence in a large way once."

" Then the only honest people on the river are the watermen.”

Here Old Grumble chuckled. “Why, Jack, they bo

established. Previously to the West India, London, St. Katherine's, and other docks having been made, all ships unloaded in ihe river, and the depredations were so enormous, that Mr. Colquhoun, in his work, has estimated them at half a million sterling annually. At present, the river may be said to be comparatively honest; the police is strict, and the temptations are remored.

the worst of all; for they be both receivers and thieves. Do you think the watermen live by their fares?

If you do, just wait on the steps one night, and you'll find that their night work is worth more than the day work is. We all must live, Jack; and now I've shown you a way by which you can earn more money in a night than you can in a fortnight by asking for halfpence. Here's five shillings for you, my boy; and when I want you again, I'll let you

know." Alas! the five shillings, so easily and so unexpectedly earned, did, for the time, satisfy all my scruples: so casily are we bribed into what is wrong. I wished Old Grumble a good night, and left him. As I returned home, I thought of what he had said about night work; and, instead of making my way to Fisher's Alley, I returned to the landing-steps, resolving to watch for a time, and see what occurred.

I thought of what had passed. I was not satisfied with myself; I thought of what Anderson would say ; and I felt that I had done wrong.

And then I attempted to exculpate myself: I could not prove

that the things were stolen. I did not go with


intent to help in such a business. Old Grumble had only paid me for my work: but then, why did he pay me so much money? My conscience told me that it was because the dealings were unfair. I could not persuadu myself that I was right. I looked up at the heavensfor it was a clear night, and there was a very bright star just above me; and as I looked at it, it appeared as if it were an eye beaming down upon me, and piercing into my breast. I turned away from it, and then looked at it again-still it had the same appearance-I thought it was the eye of God-I trembled, and I resolved to reveal the whole to Anderson the next day, when I heard the sound of oars. I looked in the direction, ard perceived a wherry with two men pulling in: I was down on the steps, under the shadow of the wall, and they did not see me. They landed, and handed out of the wherry three large and full canvas bags. “It's more than we can carry,” said the voice of a waterman I well knew; “wo must leave one in the boat; and be quick, for they are on our scent. Halloa! who's that? what are you doing here? Poor Jack, I declarc."

“Well, mayn't I have a little night work as well as


“Oh! you've come to that, have you ?” replied he. “Well, as you're waiting for something else, I suppose you could not help us with one of these bags ?”

“Yes, I can," replied I, forgetting all my resolutions; "put it on my back, if it's not too heavy.”

“No, no; you're stout enough to carry it. I say, Jack, can you tell us, does old Nanny fence again, or has she given it


?" “I believe she does not," replied I.

Well," said he, "just put the question to her tomorrow morning, for she used to be a good-un-now, follow us."

I walked after them with my load until we came to a by-street; at the shutters of a shop they rapped three times on the iron bar outside which fixed them up; tho door was opened, and we put the bags down in the passage, walked out again without a word, and the door was immediately closed.

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