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my children, for I didn't know them; but now I've other thoughts, Tom. I don't think your mother so had, after all: to be sure, she looks down upon mo 'cause I'm not genteel; but I supposo I ar’n’t, and sho has been used to the company of gentlefolks; besides, she works hard, and now that I don't annoy her by getting tipsy, as I used to do, at all events she's civil; and then I never knew what it was to have children until I came here, and found Virginia and you; and I'm proud of you both, and love you both better than anything on earth ; and, although I may not be so well brought up or so well taught as you both are, still, Tom, I'm your father, and all I can say is, I wish for your sakes I was better than I am."
"Don't say so, father; you know that Virginia and I are both as fond of you as you are of us.”
Well, mayhap you are; I don't say no: you are both good children, and at all events would try to like me; but still I do feel that you can't look up to mo exactly; but that's my misfortune, Tom, more than my fault. I haven't larning like Anderson, or gentility liko
your mother: I've only a true heart to offer to you. You sce, Tom, I've said all this because you are always after Anderson : not but that I like Anderson, for he's a good man, and has been of sarvico to me, and I don't think he would ever say anything to you that would make you think less of mo.”
“No, indeed, father; on the contrary, I once asked him his opinion about you, and he spoke most highly of
you; and whenever I go to him for advice, ho always sends me to you to approve of what he has said.”
Well, he is a good man, and I'm very sorry to have any feeling of envy
mc, that's the truth; but still a father must have a father's feelings. Don't let us say anything more about it, Tom; only try next time, when you want advice, whether I can't give it. You can always go to Peter afterwards, and seo whether I'm right or wrong."
“I will indecd, my dear father, now I know that you wish it."
I never felt so warm towards my father as after this conversation; there was so much affection towards me, and yet so much humility shown by him, as respected himself, that I was quite touched with it, and I began to think that he really had had occasion to complain, and that I had not treated him with that respect which he deserved. “ Now, Tom, I've something to say to you.
When Anderson, Bramble, and I were taking a pipe together last night, Bramble said that he had a letter from the captain of the Indiaman, offering you a berth on boerd as guinca-pig, or midshipman. He said that he had not shown it to you as yet, because it was of no use, as he was sure you would not accept it. Well, Anderson and I said that at least you ought to know it, and have the refusal; and your mother pricked up her ears and said that it was much more genteel than being a pilot; so I now put the question to you."
“ Thank you, father ; but Bramble was right. I shall not accept of it, although I am much obliged to the captain." Here my father stopped me.
“First, Tom," said he. we must overhaul the pros and cons, as people call
them. Old Anderson weighed them very closely, and now you shall hear them.” Here my father commenced a long story, with which I shall not tire tho reader, as to the prospects on either side ; but as soon as he had finished, I replied,
“That all he said was very true; but that I had made up my mind that, if ever I were regularly to serve, it should be in a man-of-war, not in a merchant vessel; that it was certainly possible that I might, after serving many years, become a captain of an Indiaman, which was a high position, but I preferred being a pilot, and more my own master; that if there were no other objections, that of being absent for three years at a time from him and Virginia would be more than sufficient; and that I was very happy where I was, as Bramble and little Bessy were almost equal to another father and another sister. A rolling stone gathers ro moss, they say, father. I have entered into the pilot service, and in that I hope to remain.” "Well, you're right, Tom; Bramble said
would There's nothing like being contented with what we are and what we have got.”
“ I might probably becomo a richer man if I were to be a captain of an Indiaman," observed I; “but I'm sure if ever I'm able to buy a little farm, as Bramble is Dow able to do, I shall think myself quito rich cnough." “You see, Tom, it all depends upon what people's
One man thinks himself rich with what another would think that he was a beggar. Now I dare say old Nanny thinks that shop of old iron and rubbish that she has got together the finest shop in all Greenwich."
“I believe she does, and the prettiest,” replied I, laughing
“ Well now, Tom, an odd thing happened the other day while you were away, just to prove how true that is. You nay recollect a little old man in our ward, Phil Nobbs they called him, who walked with his chin half a yard before him. Well, he took to the sick ward and died, since you have been gone. I went to see him of course, and he was always talking about his property; and none of us knew where it was, but we supposed that he had it somewhere. One day, as I was sitting by his bed, he says, Saunders, the doctor's coming round, just tell him I want to make my will, for I feel as if I were slipping my wind.' Well, the doctor and the chaplain both came to his bedside with the paper, and Nobbs raised himself on his elbow, and said, 'Are you ready, sir? Well, then, I'll make short work of it. This is my last will and testament: first, I wish a white pall over me when I'm buried, and that expense must be deducted; after which I bequeath to my nephews and nieces, James Strong, Walter Strong, Ellen Strong, Mary Williams, the one married, Peter Strong, all of Rotherhithe, and to Thomas Day, Henry Day, and Nicholas Day, of Eltham, the whole of my money and personal effects, share and share alike, cqually divided among them all. There, sir, that will do. I can't write, but I'll put my cross to it. Well, the old fellow died that night, and notice of his will was sent to his nephews and nieces, who all came on the day of his burial dressed in their best, for they wero all mechanics and labourers, poor people, to whom, I supposc, a legacy was a great object. The chaplain
had asked Nobbs where his money was, and he replied that it was in the hands of Lieutenant -, who knew all about his affairs. After the funeral, they all went in a body to the lieutenant, who stated that he had ten shillings belonging to Nobbs, out of which seven shillings were to be deducted for the white pall; and that, as for his other effects, they must be in his cabin, as he never heard of his having anything but what was there. So we went to his cabin, and there we found five or six penny prints against the wall, two pair of old canvas trousers, and an old hat, six cups and saucers, cracked and mended; and this was all his
property, altogether not worth (with the three shillings) more than seven or eight at the outside, if so much. You may guess the disappointment of his nephews and nieces, who had lost a good day's work, and come so far for nothing; and I must say they were not very dutiful in their remarks upon their old uncle as they walked off. Now you sce, Tom, this old fellow had been in the Hospital for more than twenty years, and had been able to save no more than what he had out of his shilling per week, and in his cyes this small property was very large, for it was the saving of twenty years. He thought so, poor fellow, because he probably had never saved so many shillings in his life. There was no joking about it, I can assure you."
“ Well, father, I hope I may be able to save more than seven shillings before I die, but no one knows. I have made my decision as I think for the best, and we must leave the rest to providence. We never know whether we do right or wrong."
“Never, Jack; things which promise well turn out