« AnteriorContinuar »
rather I had forced upon her all she most admired, I gave a cut ivory card-case, a filigree needle-case, and a sinall red scarf to my mother, who, for the first time in her life, appeared pleased with me, and said that they were very genteel, and she was much obliged to me. The remainder I put away in my room up-stairs, intending to keep some for Bessy, and give the others to Mrs. St. Felix, the Doctor, and old Nanny.
I then went to the Hospital, and found out my father, old Anderson, and Ben. I narrated to them much more circumstantially than I did to the old lawyer the particulars of the capture of the privateer. Anderson put a great many inquiries to me, as as to my liking my profession, and also concerning little Bessy, whose history I communicated to him. After my father and Ben had left, he gave me a great deal of advice, all of which I trust that I treasured up.
"I hear,” said he, “that Spicer has been talking a good deal about you, and inquiring very often when you were expected to return. Were you very intimate with that man ?"
I replied in the negative, and then narrated the whole history of the spy-glass, the erasure of the name by Mrs. St. Felix, and the recognition of it by Spicer.
“You did right to leave him in his error relative to where you received the glass from,” said Peter Anderson : " there is some mystery there which time may unravel, but do not say a word of it to any one, Tom. I am glad that you have told me, as in case you are away, and anything should occur, I shall know how to act."
I must acknowledge that I now walked proudly through the streets of Greenwich. I was no longer Poor Jack, but I was earning my livelihood in my profession. I had reason to be still prouder when, two days afterwards, Mr. Wilson came to my mother's with the
newspaper in his hand in which there was a long account of the capture of the privateer, and the conduct of Bramble and of me spoken of in the highest terms. This he read aloud to my mother and Virginia. I watched my sister: the tears filled her eyes as she listened ; and when Mr. Wilson had done, her arms were round my neck, and her smiles were mixed with her tears, and sometimes she would laugh as she cried. Oh! how I loved her then, for I felt how dearly she loved me; even my mother appeared gratified, although she said nothing, but continued to repair the lace veil upon which she had been employed. That evening I went with Virginia to call upon Mrs. St. Felix, taking with me the presents I had laid aside for her. She welcomed me as usual, and accepted what I brought for her without hesitation and with many thanks.
“Well, Mr. Tom," said she, “I'll just put away all your nice little remembrances, and then I'll tell you that I've heard all about your behaviour in the fight with the privateer; and I've no doubt but that, if you continue to go on as you've begun, you will one day have a leg the less, as your father has beforo
“I hope not,” replied I: “two legs are better than one."
Yes, when you want to run away, that's true. I SOC now why you're so anxious to save your legs.”
“But, Mrs. St. Felix, if it had not been for that good spy-glass you gave me, I never should have discovered the privateer, and we should not have been prepared for her.”
“Well, that's fortunate : it didn't prove a glass too much, any how, or you'd have seen double. I suppose, then, all these pretty things are my share of the prize money."
“No, they are of no value, except to prove to you that Poor Jack has not forgotten your kindness, and never will.”
“ That I believo : and believing that, I suppose you have not forgotten old Nanny."
“No; but I have not seen her yet. I intend to go to-morrow; but I have something for the doctor. He is not at home, will you give it to him ?”
Certainly, you know I am as good as a mother to him.”
“I think the doctor would rather you'd be a wife to him."
“ That's a foolish idea that's in many people's heads, Tom, which I'll thank you to contradict.
I never intend to change my name.”
“Don't make too sure," replied I; and I added at a venture, (why, I know not, but I had formed the idea in my mind that St. Felix was not her proper name, “you may change it yet for your real name.”
“ Tom, Tom !” cried the widow, “what do you mean?"
“Nothing," replicd I; “I was only joking."
“Well then, don't talk such nonsense, or I shall send you out of the shop.”
“ I hal, however, it appeared, struck upon a chord which jarred, and all the spirits of Mrs. St. Felix vanished at once. So Virginia and I wished her a good evening, and returned home.
SOME LITTLE DIFFERENCE IN THE PROCEEDS OF THIS CHAPTER.
AND MY FORMER COPPER FOR POOR JACK, YOUR HONOUR."
On our arrival at my mother's, I found a letter from Bramble, stating that he would be at Greenwich in two days, and, further, informing me that the Honourable Company had been pleased, in consequence of the report made of our good behaviour, to award to him the sum of two hundred pounds, and to me the sum of one hundred pounds, as a remuneration for our assistance in the capture of the privateer.
This was news indeed. One hundred pounds! I never thought that I should possess such a sum in my life. One hundred pounds! what should I do with it? My mother was astonished, and then fell into a very grave mood. Virginia was pleased, but appeared to caro less about it than I thought she would have done. My father came in as usual with Ben the Whaler, and I read the letter.
Why, Tom, that's about as much prize-money as I have made in all my sarvice,” said my father, “and you've been afloat only four months. Come, missis, send for some beer, and let us drink Tom's health, and success to him. God bless you, my boy; the papers say you deserved it, and that's better than your getting it. I'm proud of you; I am indeed, my boy: your father's proud of you, Tom,”—and here my father showed more emotion than ever I witnessed in him before ; however, he put his lips to the porter pot, and when he had drained it nearly to the bottom, he had quite recovered himself.
“Well, Tom,” said Ben, after he had finished the small modicum of beer left him by my father, “and what do you mean to do with all that money?"
“I'm sure I don't know-I have no want of it-I have everything I wish for.”
“ Come, missis,” said my father, “we must have another pot, for I drank deep, and Ben has been shared out.” My mother very graciously sent for another pot of porter, which, with the newspaper, occupied Ben and my father till it was time for us to break up
The next morning when I went down I found Virginia alone, my mother having returned to her
Tom,” said she, “what do
mother said to me when we were going to bed last night?"
" Tell me.”
“She said, “ Tom says he don't know what to do with his money. I only wish I had it; I would turn it into three times the sum in three years, and have a better home for you, my dear.' “ Did she say
how?" Yes, I asked her how; she said that she should take a new house with a shop up the town, and set up as a milliner, with apprentices; that, as soon as she was fairly employed, she should give up getting up finu