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and we both cried ; and old Ben was very angry, and said something to my mother, which made her sing “Hey diddle diddle” for the whole day afterwards.
Such are the slight reminiscences, which must content the reader, of my early existence.
When I was eight years old (about six years after his last visit), my father made his appearance; and then, for the first time, I knew that my father was alive, for I was but two years old when he left, and I remembered nothing about him, and I had never heard my mother mention his name as if he still existed.
My father came in one day very unexpectedly, for he had given no notice of his return; and it so happened that as he came in my mother was beating me with the frying-pan, for having dipped my finger in the grease, in which she had been frying some slices of bacon. She was very angry, and as she banged me with it, Virginia was pulling at her skirts, crying and begging her to desist. “ You little wretch," cried my mother, "you'll be just such a sea-monster as your father was- little wulgar animal, you must put your finger into the frying-pan, must you? There, now, you've got it.” So saying, she put down the fryingpan, and commenced singing, as loud as she could, “ Hush-a-by baby, Pussy's a lady.” “Ay-now you'ru vexed I dare say,” continued she, as she walked into the back kitchen.
All this time my father had been at the door looking on, which she had not perceived. My father then came in. " What's your name, my lad ?” said he.
“Tommy Saunders," replied I, rubbing myself; for the frying-pan was very hot, and my trousers very much out of repair
“And who is that little girl ?" said he.
“That's my sister Virginia ;—but,” continued I, “ who are you? Do you want my mother ?”
“Not very particularly just now," said my father, taking up my sister and kissing her, and then patting me on the head.
“Do you want any beer or 'baccy?” said I—" I'll run and get you some, if you give me the money, and bring back your change all right."
Well, so you shall, Jack, my boy,” replied he; and he gave me a shilling. I soon returned with the pipes, tobacco, and beer, and offered him the change, which he told me to keep, to buy apples with it. Virginia was on the knee of my father, who was coaxing and caressing her, and my mother had not yet returned from the back kitchen. I felt naturally quite friendly towards a man who had given me more money than I ever possessed in my life; and I took my stool and sat beside him; while, with my sister on his knee, and his porter before him, my father smoked his pipe.
“ Does your mother often beat you, Jack ?" said my father, taking the pipe out of his mouth.
“Yes, when I does wrong," replied I. “Oh! only when you
do “Well, she says I do wrong; so I suppose I do."
“You're a good boy,” replied my father. “Does sho ever beat you, dear?” said he to Virginia.
“Oh! no," interrupted I; "she never beats sister, she loves her too much; but she don't love me.”
My father puffed away, and said no more.
person was very much altered from what I have described it to have been at the commencement of this narrative. He was now a boatswain's mate, and wore a silver whistle hung round his neck by a lanyard, and with which little Virginia was then playing. He had grown more burly in appearance, spreading, as sailors usually do when they arrive to about the
of forty; and moreover, he had a dreadful scar from a cutlass wound, received in boarding, which had divided the whole left side of his face, from the eyebrow to the chin. This gave him a very fierce expression; still he was a fine-looking man, and his pigtail had grown to a surprising length and size. His ship, as I afterwards found out, had not been paid off, but he had obtained a fortnight's leave of absence, while she was refitting. We were all very sociable together, without there being the least idea on the part of my sister and myself with whom we were in company, when in rolled old Ben the Whaler.
“Sarvice to you,” said Ben, nodding to my father. “Tommy, get me a pipe of 'baccy."
"Here's pipe and 'baccy too, messmate," replied my father. “Sit down, and make yourself comfortable, old chap."
“Won't refuse a good offer,” replied Ben, been too lony in the sarvice for that-and you've seen sarvice too, I think," continued Ben, looking my father full in the face.
“Chop from a French officer,” replied my father ; after a pause, he added, “but he didn't live to tell of it."
Ben took one of the offered pipes, filled, and was soon very busy puffing away alongside of my father.
DIY FATHER AND MOTHER MELT AFTER AX
YEARS-SHE DISCOVERS TILAT JIE IS NO LONGER A COXSWAIN BUT A BOATSWAIN'S MATE.
While my father and Ben arc thus engaged, I will give the reader a description of the latter.
Ben was a very tall, broad-shouldered old fellow, but stooping a little from age: 1 should think he must have been at least sixty, if not more; still, he was a powerful, sincwy man. His nose, which was no small one, had been knocked on one side, as he told me, by the flukes (i.e. tail) of a whale which cut in half a boat of which he was steersman. He had a very largo mouth, with very few teeth in it, having lost them by the same accident; which, to use his own expression, had at the time “knocked his figure-head all to smash.” He had sailed many years in the whale fisheries, had at last been pressed, and served as quartermaster on board of a frigato for eight or nine years, when his ankle was broken by the rolling of a spar in a gale of wind. He was in consequence invalided for Greenwich. He walked stiff on this leg, and usually supported himself with a thick stick. Ben had noticed me from
the time that my mother first came to Fisher’s Alley ; he was the friend of my early days, and I was very much attached to him.
A minute or two afterwards my father pushed the pot of porter to him. Ben drank, and then said —
“ Those be nice children, both on 'om-I know them well."
“ And what kind of a craft is the mother ?” replied my father,
*Oh! why, she's a little queer at times-she's always so mighty particular about gentility."
“ Do you know why?" replied my father. Ben shook his head. “ Then I'll tell you—because she was once a lady's ladies' maid.”
Well,” replied Ben, “I don't understand much about titles and nobility, and those sort of things; but I'm sorry she's gone down in the world, for though a little particular about gentility, she's a good sort of woman in her way, and keeps up her character, and earns an honest livelihood.”
“So much the better for her," replied my father, who refilled his pipe, and continued to smoke in silence.
My mother had gone into the back kitchen to wash, which was the cause (not having been summoned) of her being so long absent.
Virginia, who had become quite sociable, was passing her little fingers through my father's large whiskers, while he every now and then put his pipe out of his mouth to kiss her. I had the porter pot on my knees, my father having told me to take a swig, when my mother entered the room.
“Well, Mr. Benjamin, I shouldn't wonder-but