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Well, Jack,” said the waterman, “I suppose wo must tip bandsome for the first time ; here's ten shillings for you, and we'll let you know when we want you to be on the look-out for us.”
“ Ten shillings ! and five before—fifteen shillings ! I felt as if I were a rich man; all scruples of conscience were, for the time, driven away. I hurried home, rattling the silver in my pocket, and, opening the door softly, I crept to bed. Did I say my prayers that night? No!!
I AN TEMPTED AGAIN-MY PRIDE IS ROCSED, AND MY COURSE ON
LIFE IS CHANGED IN CONSEQUENCE.
I PASSED a dreaming, restless night, and woke carly. I recalled all that had passed, and I felt very much dissatisfied with myself; the fifteen shillings, with the added prospect of receiving more, did not yie.d me the satisfaction I had anticipated. From what the men had said about old Nanny, I thought that I would go and see her; and why? because I wished support against my own convictions: if I had not been actuated by such a feeling I should, as usual, have gone to old Anderson. When I went down to breakfast I felt confused, and I hardly dared to meet the clear bright eye of my little sister, and I wished the fifteen shillings out of my pocket. That I might appear to her and my mother as if I were not guilty, I swaggered; my sister was surprised, and my mother justifiably angry. As soon as breakfast was over, I hastened to old Nanny's.
“Well, Jack," said she, “what brings you here so early ?"
“ Why, mother, I was desired to ask you a question last night-between ourselves."
“Well, why don't you ask it, since it's between ourselves?" replied she with surprise.
“Some of the people want to know if you fence now."
“ Jack," said old Nanny, harshly, “who asked you that question ? and how did you fall into their company? Tell me directly ; I will know."
Why, mother, is there any harm in it?" replied I, confused and holding down my head. .
“ Harm in it! Ask your own conscience, Jack, whether there's harm in it. Why do you not look me in the face like an honest boy? would they have dared to put that question to you if you had not been a party to their evil deeds, Jack ?” continued she, shaking her head: “I thought better of you: now you have filled me full of sorrow.”
I was smitten to the heart at this rebuke from a quarter whence I did not expect it; but my heart was still rebellious, and I would not acknowledge what I felt. I thought to turn the tables, and replied
Why, mother, at all events, they said that once you were a real good one.”
“ Is it indeed gone so far ?” replied shc. “Poor boy! poor boy! Yes, Jack, to my shame be it spoken, I once did receive things and buy them, when they were not honestly come by; and now I'm rebuked by
a child : but, Jack, I was almost mad then-1 had that which would have turned any one's brain - I was reckless, wretched; but I don't do so any more. Even now I am a poor sinful wretch-I know it; but I'm not so crazy as I was then. I have done so, Jack, more's the shame for me, and I wish I could recall it; but, Jack, we can't recall the past. Oh that we could !"
Here old Nanny pressed her hands to her temples, and for some time was silent; at last she continued
Why did I love you, Jack? because you were honest. Why did I lend you money-I, an old miserly wretch, who has been made to dote on money-I, who have never spent a shilling for my own comfort for these ten years—but because you were honest? Why have I longed the whole day to see you, and have cared only for you? because I thought you honest, Jack. I don't care how soon I die now. I thought the world too bad to live in; you made me think better of it. Oh! Jack, Jack, how has this come to pass ? How long have you known these bad people ?"
“ Why, mother,” replicd I, much affected, "only last night."
“ Only last night! Tell me all about it; tell the truth, dear boy, do."
I could hold out no longer, and I told her everything that had passed.
Jack," said she, “ I'm not fit to talk to you; I'm a bad old woman, and you may say I don't practice what I preach; but, Jack, if you love me, go to Peter Anderson and tell him everything: don't be afraid; only be afraid of doing what is wrong. Now, Jack, you must go.”
after a pause.
“I will, I will,” replied I, bursting into tears.
“Do, do, dear Jack! God bless your heart—I wish I could cry that way."
I walked away quite humiliated ; at last I ran, I was so eager to go to Anderson and confess everything. I found him in his cabin-I attempted to speak, but I could not-I pulled out the money, put it on the table, and then I knelt down and sobbed on his knee.
“What is all this, Jack ?” said Anderson, calmly; but I did not reply. “I think I know, Jack," said he,
“ You have been doing wrong." “Yes, yes,” replied I, sobbing.
"Well, my dear boy, wait till you can speak, and then tell me all about it."
As soon as I could, I did. Anderson heard me without interruption.
"Jack," said he, when I had done speaking, “ the temptation (pointing to the money) has been very great; you did not resist at the moment; but you have, fortunately, scen your error in good time, for the money is still here. I have little to say to you, for your own feelings convince me that it is needless. Do you think that you can read a littlo ? then read this.” Anderson turned to the parable of the Prodigal Son, which I read to him : “And now," said he, turning over the leaves, “here is one verse more." I read it :-“ There is more joy over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety-and-nine that need no repentance." "Be careful, therefore, my dear boy; let this be a warning to you; think well of it, for you have escaped a great danger; the money shall bo returned. Go now, my child, to your employment. and if you do receive only halfpence, you will have the satisfaction of feeling that they are honestly obtained.”
I can assure the reader that this was a lesson which I never forgot; it was, however, succeeded by another variety of temptation, which might have proved more dangerous to a young and ardent spirit had it not ended as it did, in changing the course of my destiny and throwing me into a new path of action: to this I shall now refer.
Hardly a month passed but we received additional pensioners into the Hospital. Among others, a man was sent to the Hospital who went by the name of Sam Spicer. I say went by the name, as it was not the custom for the seamen to give their real names when they were entered or pressed into the service; and of course they were discharged into the Hospital by the same name which they bore on the ship’s books. Spicer was upwards of six feet in height, very large boned, and must, when he was in liis prime, have been a man of prodigious strength. When he was admitted to the Hospital he was nearly sixty years of age; his hair was black and grey mixed, his complexion very dark, and his countenance fierce and unprepossessing. He went by the name of Black Sam, on account of his appearance. He had lost his right hand in a frigate action; and to the stump he had fixed a sort of socket, into which he screwed his knife and the various articles which he wished to make use of; sometimes a file, sometimes a saw-having had every article made to fit into the socket, for he had been an armourer ou board ship, and was very handy at such work. Ho