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Was mine a musical voice? I didn't ask Mrs. him I turned to the left, taking Mrs. Winkship's Winkship at the time the above narrated con parting advice earnestly to heart. versation took place, but the subject remained When I was thousands of miles from England, pretty constantly in my mind. My stepmother the thought would often come into my head, how was considered a pretty singer, and there were would it have been if that boy had not been comseveral of her tunes which I knew completely, ing in with the rum and water, and I had turned and used to sing to the baby of nights ; still be to the right instead of the left? Had I done so, cause I knew and could follow, at least to my and kept straight on, I should by and hy have own satisfaction, every turn in “Young Riley” found myself in the parks, in the fields, out in the and the "Bould Soger Boy," it was by no means country, Then I might have become a ploughcertain that I had a voice for Dover soles or boy, a field labourer,-a young fellow with a greengage plums.
smock-frock, and a “billycock” hat and cloddy Had I? 'Never had the question presented it-boots; I might . But there, where's the self so forcibly to me as on the morning on which use of indulging in “ifs,” and “buts,” and I had expressed to my father my determination might have beens ?” To the left it was. Down to submit no longer to the pummelling of my Turnmill Street, through Cow Cross, and still stepmother. The worst of it was, my only chance straight on until Smithfield Market was reached. of escape from it, as it appeared to me, was to If it was not my good luck that inclined me to become a barker, and that, according to Mrs. run in this direction, that it was so, was my very Winkship, on whom I placed every reliance, could decided impression at the time. Had Mrs. Burke never be unless my voice was suitable. It wasn't followed me, my legs might not have been of easy to test it. I tried several calls under my much use as against hers in a running-match over breath with tolerable success, but was I justified a level course; but in Smithfield Market it was in taking the important step I meditated on such odds in my favour. I was well used to the pens, inconclusive grounds ? So all-engrossing was the being in the habit of spending my rare playtimes subject as I sat on the doorstep with my sister there in the games of "touch" and "chevy;" Polly in my arms, that presently she made an un- and unless Mrs. Burke was as good at vaulting checked spring, and went with a crash, and a and jumping as she was at punching and pumsquall, rolling over the stones.
melling, she would have had no chance against Mrs. Burke was down on me like a thunder-me. bolt. Without waiting for an explanation, or
It was not a market-day, and the place was as even to pick up Polly, she seized me by the hair, quiet and as deserted as it always is at such times. and bumped my head several times against the Finding myself amongst the pens, my instinct of door-jamb. She made a claw at my ears to wring self-defence led me to hurry to that part of the hem, and missing them through a wriggle on my market where the pigs were sold. I had heard part, scored my cheek with her nails, and set the boys of my acquaintance say, “Oh, don't let's blood trickling. She punched me about as though play in the pig part, it's so precious slippery." she was one prize-fighter, and I was another. So it was, and especially to people who were not
"I'll wring your ugly shnout off, you dirty. used to it. shwine,” said she, and proceeded to take my nose I climbed to a top bar in the pig shambles, and between the knuckles of her fore and middle looked anxiously about me, and soon convinced fingers. The pain was enough to drive me mad. myself that although Mrs. Burke might have set I must have been mad or very nearly, for I made out after me, she had either lost sight of me or a scramble at her cruel hand, and getting her run herself to a standstill. My perch was a capthumb in my mouth, I dug my teeth into it. It ital one for surveying purposes, and I could see must have hurt her very much, judging from the all round about for a considerable distance. way she halloed. She let go my face, and in an Everybody, however, that I could make out was instant I ducked under her arms, and bolted up quite strange, and did not even look towards me. the alley as fast as my legs would carry me. It was quite as well that they did not, or perhaps
one would have stopped, then another, till a mob had got round, and the policeman had come up to inquire what was the matter.
And when I come to reflect on the deplorable CHAPTER XI.
pickle I was in, I wonder that somebody did not IN WHICH I SPEND AN AFTERNOON IN SMITHFIELD take notice of me. To be sure, it was a neighMARKET, AND HAVE A NARROW ESCAPE bourhood in which ragged and outcast little boys
were not scarce, but my appearance was ten times worse than that of the ordinary ragged outcast,
Naturally, I had begun to cry when Mrs. Burke WHETHER Mrs. Burke (I would much rather took to punishing me with such diabolical cruelspeak of her so than by any other name, if the ty. I had cried all the way as I ran, and I was reader has no objection) followed me with a view crying now. Panting from my long run, sobbing to giving chase, is more than I can say. with rage, and pain, and spite, with my tears
Once out of Fryingpan Alley, I never once mingling with the blood that trickled from the turned or looked behind me. I passed good Mrs. wounds Mrs. Burke's nails had inflicted on my Winkship sitting on her coke-measure, and she, cheeks and on my nose; with my judging, as I suppose, from my affrighted appear- ious and uncovered by a cap; with my naked feet ance, that I was fleeing from danger, called out, all muddy, and my jacket all torn and tattered; “Run, Jimmy, run! good luck to you.” Arrived there I sat on a bar in the pig-shambles on the at the mouth of the alley, a boy with three-noon of a Wednesday in the merry month of May. pen'orth of hot rum in his hand was at that mo This is the picture I see on iooking back on ment turning in, and to avoid running against I those dismal times. When it happened, however,
hair all uproar
I thought nothing about it particularly, I'll be recover from my surprise, he passed on and was bound. Ever since my mother died, now nearly lost in the darkness. a year and a quarter ago, I had had but one pair I had not even said “thanky” for it, and I of boots; and the navy cap with the big peak, in didn't know whether to be sorry or glad on that which I followed the black load to Clerkenwell score. It was such a queer sort of twopence. I church-yard, was the last that covered my head. had not earned it. I had not worked for it. I As for my tears, they had grown to be more fa- had not expected it. He had voluntarily given it miliar with me than smiles, and a scratch or a Other people had given me halfpence bruise more or less was, thanks to the Irishwo- many a time, and I had spent them without furman's liberality, not worth thinking about. ther thought beyond settling what I should buy.
I had ears, eyes, thoughts but for one thing, and But I did not feel at liberty to spend the strange that was Mrs. Burke's coming after me. Know- gentleman's twopence so. ing the sort of woman she was, I was the more Confound his twopence! If he had twopence apprehensive. Though she had been sure of me to give a boy, why didn't he say, “ Here's twoby running me down fairly and openly, I knew pence for you," and have done with it? True, I that she would very much prefer lying in wait for was a poor little wretch, and as far as I remember me in the rear and suddenly pouncing out on me. I did not feel particularly hurt at being so called ; It was to guard against so terrible a calamity that it was his ordering me to buy bread with his I had to keep a sharp look-out. It was not until money that made it seem so much like-well-so the church clocks chimed four that I began seri- much like a beggar's twopence. His words rang ously to reflect on what I should do.
in my ears till they tingled as though Mrs. Burke Should I go home? How dare I? She would had recently pulled them, and I looked up the kill me; she would wring my head about again, street and down the street, and was very much and punch me with her bony knuckles. More relieved to discover that no one had witnessed the than once she had threatened to cut my liver out. little transaction. Finding that it was so, I No doubt she was cruel enough, and, worse than soothed my injured dignity by uttering aloud and all, now she had excuse enough; for, however defiantly towards the way the benevolent man she might treat me, it would be enough for her to had taken, “You be blowed! who are you orderhold up her thumb to compel my father to ac- ing? I shan't buy bread neither; I shall buy knowledge that it served me right. What could what I like." I say to my father in justification of my savage So I did. Feeling that the stranger was mine act? (for I had come to the conclusion that it was enemy, and one whom it would give me much sata savage act.) I had dropped the baby! With isfaction to disobey, I walked down towards Barnothing else expected of me than to sit still and bican, resolutely turning my gaze from the bakers' hold her tight, i had let her go and hurt her, I shops, (it was, in my hungry condition, no easy didn't know how much. This was a feature of the matter to do so,) and with my mind bent on luxbusiness which hitherto had altogether escaped uries. There was at that time a little old-fash- , me-how much was Polly hurt? She went down ioned shop in Barbican where jams and preserves a tremendous bump, and she screamed in a very were sold. It was a wholesale sort of a shop, frightful manner. Perhaps some of her bones and the jams were deposited in great gallon jars, were broken! Perhaps that was the solution to each one of which was ticketed with the price per the otherwise unaccountable circumstance of my pound of its contents. One in particular took mother-in-law not following me. Clearly it was my fancy; it was labelled “greengage," and the no use to think of going home.
mouth of the jar was deliciously smeared with it. Where, then, should I go? By this time it Eighteenpence a pound this jar was marked, and was dusk and the lamplighter was about, and the after working a difficult sum in long division on pig-market became a very dismal place to stay in. my fingers, I discovered that two ounces of it I wound my way through the pens till I got to the would come to twopence farthing. This was an front row, which is in a line with the thoroughfare insurmountable difficulty. True, I might go in called Long Lane, and there I once more sat for and ask for twopen'orth. Twopence was a goodfurther reflection.
ish bit of money. It wasn't like going in and I daresay I sat there--on the second bar, with asking for a ha’porth. “Two pen'orth of greenmy legs dangling towards the path, my body with gage jam, please.” And, after this brief rein the pen, and my arms resting on the top bar-hearsal, I stepped firmly to the shop door, but for half-an-hour or more, trying hard to think of had hardly placed a foot on the threshold than I my affairs, leaving the “home” aspect quite out received a box on the ear that sent me reeling. of the question ; but it was of no use: the dark "Now be off,” exclaimed the old woman beer it got the hungrier I grew. I found myself longing to the shop, and who, it seems, had misthinking more and more on 'what would be my taken her customer. “ I've been watching you probable fate if I did go home. I called to my these ten minutes, you little prig,” and she slammind the most severe whacking I had ever re- med the door hard and put the catch on. ceived, with how much it hurt, and whether, sup Hard as I thought my luck at the time, I have posing on this occasion I got double, (that was the no doubt that the old woman did me a real servleast I could expect,) I could possibly stand it. ice. What did I want with greengage jam ? It I really believe that I had almost convinced my- was as much as anything out of wanton malice self that I could, when suddenly I felt something towards my benefactor that I thought of buying touch my hand, and looking up, saw a gentleman it, and I was very properly checked, and at the holding two penny-pieces between his finger and same time punished. No such proper reflections thumb.
were mine at that time, however ; indeed, I am “Here, you poor little wretch,” said he, “take ashamed to confess that it was when I had rushed this and buy bread with it;" and before I could | vengefully into the road to find a convenient
stone to shy through the jam-shop window, that “I don't know quite where I am going, Jerry," an odour assailed my nostrils of so enticing a I replied, shaking hands with the good-natured sort, that my anger was instantly appeased. fellow. "I was thinking of going home just to
It proceeded from a neighbouring cook-shop. see"The peas-pudding as well as the baked faggots “ Then you hain't been home?” asked Jerry, were just up," and their fragrance blended, pro- eagerly. ducing a result potent enough to drive a cold and hungry boy mad. Fancy what would have “You hain't been home since the mornin' been my sensations if I had invested my two- not since you hooked it away ? ” pence in that miserable mite of jam and after Jerry's voice was tremulous with excitement wards approached the cook-shop !
as he asked the question. Without a moment's deliberation I marched in “No," I replied, “I've been away all day. and bought my supper-a faggot—it cost me a How are they all, Jerry? Have you seen young pang to be compelled to forego the liberal spoon- Polly out this arternoon ?” ful of gravy that accompanied each one, in con Master Pape made no reply to my question. sequence of having no vessel to hold it,) on a “If you hain't been home, you'd better come big cabbage leaf, a ha’porth of peas-pudding, now,” said he, griping the collar of my jacket and a ha'porth of baked potatoes. I longed to with something more than friendly ardour, and be at it at once, but I had heard of unprincipled giving me a jerk in the direction in which he scoundrels who waylaid children going errands wished me to yo. " Come on, you've got to go and robbed them of their goods : so † bundled home, you know.” up my supper in the cabba leaf, and, hiding it Jerry's behaviour at once aroused my worst in the breast of my jacket, made haste back to suspicions. the pig-market, and, sitting in a secluded corner, "I hain't going home without I like," said I, devoured it with great relish.
and down I sat on the pavement. I don't mean to say that I couldn't have eaten The treacherous villain appeared to be sudmore-indeed, I am sure that I could have eaten denly made aware of the faultiness of his tacthree times as much-still I felt very much bet- tics. ter for my supper. I felt better every way; the “You hain't a-going home ?." said he with afgoodness of the supper had softened my heart as fected astonishment, and at the same time taking well as assuaged my hunger. How was little bis hand from my collar. «“Well, you are a Polly? I thought of her more than of father, rummy chap. You just said you was." home, anything; nor was it any great wonder “I can go without your pulling, Jerry Pape. that I should. Without doubt she was a dead | What do you want to pull me for ? weight on my liberty during the daytime, and a “Me pull you? What should I pull yer for, serious draw-back of nights, but she was a dear Jimmy? How is it worth my while to pull yer? little soul. She couldn't speak to me, but she Next time I does you a good turn you 'll know it, couldn't bear to see me cry; and often and often young
feller." after Mrs. Burke had beaten me, and I felt so “How's it a good turn, Jerry ?" bad I didn't know what to be at, poor Polly “How! Why, there they are all a-cryin' arter would put her little arms round my neck, and you up the alley." her lips against my cheek to kiss me.
“Who's cryin'?” all the comfort I had, and I believe I was all the “Who? Why, yer father and yer mother and comfort she had, poor child.
young Poll, and all the whole bilin'. I couldn't These and a hundred other such melancholy stand it no longer. Ses I to myself, 'Here they reflections passed through my mind as I sat in are a-breakin' their 'arts arter him, and won't get the pig-shambles, until I could bear them no their suppers without he comes home, though it's . longer, and determined at all hazards to venture a stunnin' meat puddin' with hot taters, and all home and make inquiries, or at least to approach the while pr’aps he's hangin about afeard to our alley, and lurk about till I saw somebody wenture home, and expectin' a whackin'. Jim who lived there, and of whom I could make in- knows me,' I ses to myself; 'I won't say nothink ries.
to nobody, but I'll slip out and let him know as It was quite dark by this time, and the way it's all right.' And I does do it, and here you from Smithfield to our alley was not a much fre. are, chucking of yourself on the stones, and as quented one; nevertheless I stepped along with good as callin' me a liar." extreme caution, darting into doorways if I saw There was a gas-lamp near, and as Jerry spoke approaching any one looking in the distance the it was easy to see that he meant every word he least like my father or Mrs. Burke. I met no- had spoken, and that my suspicions as to his body that I knew, however, and presently reach- fidelity had wounded his feelings very deeply. I ed Turnmill Street in safety. As luck would have couldn't help believing him, and yet what he told it, while I was as yet twenty yards from Frying- me was altogether astounding. Everybody cry: pan Alley, whom should I run against but my old ing for me, and a meat pudding getting cold on friend Jerry Pape ?
my account ! Remorse filled me to the brim, I have said whom I ran against, but it would and, sympathizing with my weeping friends, my be more correct to say that he ran against me. eyes filled with tears. He ran right at me from across the road, and “Are you quite sure, Jerry ?” I asked, getting embraced me with both his arms, as though he on my legs, and squeezing his friendly hand in was so jolly glad to see me he could scarcely gratitude. "You are quite sure you hain't made contain himself.
no mistake ? 'cos it will go very hard against me, “What, Jim ? what cheer, old boy ? Where you know, Jerry, if you should. It ain't at all was you goin'? ” said Master Pape, his affection- unbeknown to you, Jerry, how she punches me ate embrace abating nothing.
about and pulls my hair."
" Come on
“ Mistake about what ?" asked the traitor, “No more jaw, I tell you," said the first boy, evasively.
who was stronger than Jerry Pape. “ About the cryin' and that.”
home,” (this to me, with a lug that made my “ That's right enough, I tell you. They're all shoulder-joints crack.) “I shouldn't like to go a-cryin' arter you like a house a-fire.”
you halves, my tulip. I 'spect you 'll be werry “My father too, Jerry ?"
nigh killed when yer father does get hold on yer." “Harder 'un the whole lot put together,” re Once more overcome by terror, I wriggled plied Master Pape, emphatically. "Don't take down between my captors and lay on the pavemy word on it; come up to the alley and arks ment, crying aloud that I'd sooner die than go anybody. You can hear him a owlin' as high up another step. Having no shoes on, I couldn't as Winkship’s. He'll do hisself a binjury, that'll kick very hard, but as well as I was able I let fly be the end on it."
at both of them whenever they approached close “ And little Polly, is she, too, all right Jerry ?” enough.
“Right as ninepence; never seed her look The two boys were in despair. Jerry Pape, the better."
treacherous thief, making so sure of my blood“She didn't break any of her bones when I money, and finding himself in a fair way of being dropped her down the steps this morning ? She baulked of it, was white with rage. Animated didn't make her nose bleed, or get another bump by a sudden spurt of courage, (he was known to on her head, Jerry ?”
be a shameful coward,) he unexpectedly turned “Oh, that's what you're afeard on ?" said on his rival, and struck him a heavy blow in the Jerry, lightly. “Lor', bless yer, when they face with his fist. picked her up she was a larfin fit to kill herself. “ Take that,” said Jerry, “if it hadn't been When they took her to the doctor's”.
for you poking your nose in it, I should have got “What! took her to the doctor's ? Oh! what him home by this time." for, Jerry? I thought you said she wasn't hurt This was a rash move on Jerry's part. The at all, but laughing ?”
boy did take it as desired, but, unluckily for Mas“Did I say anythink about the doctor's ? I've ter Pape, he was one of those mahogany-headed no recollections of it,” replied Jerry Pape, turn- boys on whom a blow is lost, unless it downright ing his head away to hide his embarrassment. dents them. For an instant only the mahogany
* You did ; you did, Jerry. You said they headed one comforted his assaulted nose with the took her to the doctor's."
cuff of his jacket, glaring at Jerry the while. “Well, did I tell you what they took her for ?" Then he was at him like a terrier with a rat. asked Jerry, turning about again with the tarnish with tempestuous force he bore him to the earth, of perplexity quite cleared off from his brazen and there he pummelled the villain in a way that countenance.
did my heart good to see. I enjoyed it so much “No. Do tell me, please, Jerry.”
that I stayed dangerously long to witness it. “ Didn't I tell you that when they picked her Swift as light the thought came into my head, up she was larfin werry hearty ?"
“Now is my time to be off!" “Yes, so you did, but”
And with speed swift almost as the thought Werry well, then; it was wus than that. that suggested it, I sprang up, and away, leaving Since you must know, she was a-larfin' so that the baffled combatants struggling in the mud. they thought she'd go into conwulsions. That's what they took her to the doctor's for.”
Completely reassured and comforted by this plausible explanation, I turned towards Frying
CHAPTER XII. pan Alley at a brisk trot, Jerry keeping well up with me and chatting in the cheerfullest manner.
IN WHICH I ENDEAVOUR TO QUALIFY MYSELF FOR It was not until we had arrived within a stone's
BARKING," AND PICK UP SOME NEW ACQUAINTcast of the alley that my eyes were opened to his
ANCES. cruel perfidy.
As we were passing Rose Alley, a boy-an ac I RAN back in the direction I had come, and quaintance of mine, and about as big as Jerry speedily found myself in Smithfield again, and in Pape—suddenly pounced out and seized me in that very part of it in which I had spent such'a much the same manner as Jerry had done in the considerable part of the day. Nobody followed first instance.
me, and the market was darker and even stiller “Got him, Jerry? Halves, don't you know ?" than when I had left it half-an-hour since. exclaimed the boy, eagerly.
My errand had been attended by no little peril, “ Halves, be jiggered,” roared Jerry, seizing and the results it had yielded were by no means my other arm. "Wbat's halves for ? Ain't I satisfactory. It had effectually settled one point, been a huntin' arter him ever since since his however : it would be little short of insanityfather come home? Wasn't I the first to ketch aiding and abetting my own manslaughter--to him?"
return home. How could I doubt, after listening “Halves, I tell yer," said the first boy, making to the conversation that had taken place between surer his grip on my arm, and giving me a jerk. the perfidious Jerry Pape and his companion, "Hain't I been a-keepin' my eye on yer ever that my father, to say nothing of Mrs. Burke, since you first come acrost him ? You'd never was furiously incensed against me ? My father, got him home if it hadn't a been for me. No indeed, was not able even to contain his wrath more jaw, Jerry Pape. Bring him along." until I happened to come home; he was burning
“Shan't. What did Jim Ballisat say? Didn't and brimming over with it, and so longed to vent he say the first as ketches him and brings him it on me, that he had offered the large sum of a home, I'll give a shillin' to ? He didn't say shilling for my apprehension. It was a large sum nothink about the second that ketches him !" for him to offer. It was as much as he could
earn, carrying loads fit for a horse to draw,
in a “Wall-flower! SWEET and pretty WALL-FLOWquarter of a day. A shilling would buy him er !" three pots of beer.
It rang out pretty weil as far as voice was conGoing home, then, being so completely out of cerned, but it was plain enough to my own ears the question, what was to be done? Where was that I hadn't got the proper accent; it would I to sleep? 'was a question which at once pre- never do to cut the first “wall-flower' so short sented itself, and not unnaturally, since never in as I had cut it. Let us try again-this time with my life had I as yet slept out of a more or less my hand to one side of my mouth, to make the comfortable bed. Should I sleep where I was a sound go further. Why not? I had had a good supper, and the “ WALL-flow-ER! sweet AND pret-TY WALLnights were not so very cold. It wouldn't hurt flow-ER !" me for once-just for once-if I cuddled down in That was a great deal better. I walked up and a corner, and made myself comfortable. It was down one of the dark avenues, and for a quarter light pretty early in the morning, and then of an hour did
a roaring trade in the wall-flower Ah! and then? I had been thinking about line, calling “Whoa!" to an imaginary donkey, to-morrow in a vague and mystic sort of way all and bawling out to my imaginary master for the evening; but now it brought me up as sud-change for a sixpence and a shilling, just as denly as though it had been a brick wall
. “To- though it was real. was not to be shirked. Wherever I Having polished off the wall-flowers to my perslept it was only shutting my eyes and opening fect satisfaction, I cast about for a seasonable fruit, them again, and it would be the new day-the and found' strawberries. I went at them with a day on which I must go single-handed into the confidence based on my first success, but speedily world to get my living out of it. Of course I was driven to the conclusion that to an unpracwas already" on my own hands," as the vulgar tised barker strawberries were decidedly a tickler. saying is, and had been since the morning; but There was such a lot to say, and the words it had been a patchy sort of a day at best. I wouldn't rhyme. had got up that morning at home; I had break “STRAW-ber-REE ! FOUR PENCE A MARKET pottle, fasted there; I had run away, and gone back, O BOYS !" and run away again. I had obtained a meal in It wasn't neat. There was a bungling hitch dependently of home-but how? It would never between the “ket” of the market, and the “pot do to begin and go through a new day--my first of the pottle. Perhaps altering the price might clear day-in such a manner. I must make up make a difference. my mind, before I went to sleep, as to the sort of “FIP-pence a MAR-KET pottle!" work I thought would suit me, and as soon as I No. woke I must go at it.
“ Thrup-pence a market pottle !" At what? Why, at“ barking,” to be sure. It Same as fip-pence. was light pretty early in the morning, and I Sixpence a mar would be off to one of the markets-Covent It was clear that the price had nothing to do Garden or Billingsgate, I didn't care which—and with it. It was the word “market ” that spoilt I would look out amongst the barrowmen for one it; if that could be left out it would run smooth that looked likely, and I would offer him my serv- enough. But of course it couldn't be left out, at ices. If he asked me how much a day I wanted, fourpence, or sixpence, or any other price. IgnoI would tell him
rant as I was of business matters generally, I Whew! It was all very well to talk about go- knew that buyers of barrow-fruit would no sooner ing to the market to look for a master; but sup- buy pottles of strawberries which were not vendpose it should happen that, after having founded as “market,” than they would purchase damone and made terms with him, I couldn't do the sons, or any other sort of small plums, by any work! Suppose, after all, my voice had no tune other measure than ale-house, or, as the barrowin it for barking! To be sure I did not know men more properly styled it, “ alias." whether it had or not; but what a silly fellow I By dint of much perseverance, however, and had been to let the whole afternoon and evening scores of repetitions, I contrived to bring my slip by without testing it! I had had the whole strawberry call to something like the proper market to myself, as I might say, for ever so thing. It was mainly effected by sinking the many hours, and I had done nothing but lounge“ ket” in market, and making it "mark’t,” and idly about, as though I had a hundred a year allowing it to slide easily into pottle. I was getcoming in.
ting along very well, when, as I sat on a bar of I had better see about it at once. It was not one of the pens, I was made suddenly aware of yet late—but little after nine o'clock, indeed—and the presence of two boys lurking in my rear. I could not do better than retire to the centre of My first terrible thought was that it was Jerry the pig-market and practise.
Pape and his antagonist, and that, having fought For which market should I prepare myself? their battle out, they had made it up, and joined
At ordinary times I should have found it diffi- in a partnership against me. I thought so the cult to choose; but the cold, slippery cobbled more, because the moment they saw that they stones on which I stood, and the keen night air, were observed, one of them sprang forward and had their influence, and I selected Covent Garden seized me violently by the hair. before Billingsgate without argument. This pre “Whoa, boys ! whoa, boys !" exclaimed he, liminary being settled, it next became a consid- mocking my strawberry-cry, and at each“ whoa” eration what flowers and vegetables, commonly giving my hair a cruel tug. “It's werry nigh sold about the street, were then in season. What time you did 'whoa boys. What do you mean, flowers ? Let me see ; why, wall-flowers, of you wagabone, to be kicking up such a precious course, as the most plentiful and favourite. row in this here market, when you ought to be Ahem!
in bed-hey, sir ?''