Imagens das páginas

coffee, -when I reviewed these hard facts, and, | bond such as I was ! Presently I spied Ripston setting them on one side, faced them with the hor- and Mouldy coming back up the court. rid confession the boys had just made to me, the There was a great flour-waggon standing at a result was that my very ears tingled with shame. baker's door close at hand, and behind this I I had at least the consolation of knowing that when dodged without being seen by them. They seemed I took their ha'p'orth of coffee I thought them very jolly. Ripston had his hands plunged deep honest lads, and, further, of being in a position to into the pockets that had lately held the nuts, and prove, if necessary, that the money with which it Mouldy was throwing up and catching four or five was bought had been honestly earned of the let- penny pieces. When they arrived at the top of tuce dealer.

the alley, they looked about from left to right, Did I run ? I did not. Neither did I, having and Ripston gave a whistle. No doubt they were weighed the facts of the case deliberately, resolve looking for me, and that the whistle was meant to wait until Mouldy and Ripston re-appeared, and to attract my attention should I happen to be in then make up to them again. It would be more the neighbourhood. I kept close behind the correct to say that the balance of my mind was wheel, however, and they saw nothing of me, and brought to a dead level, and I was inclined neither went down the street laughing. one way nor the other; and so I stood still. It I crossed over the way, and watched them. was terrible to think that the two boys were They went along, talking and laughing, until thieves-indeed, that was the great weight in the they got nearly to Long Acre, where there was a scale of good resolution; but, alas ! there was pudding shop; and while Mouldy went in, Ripanother great weight that at least counterbalanced ston stood outside looking through the window. it-my hunger. I was shivering and empty, and Presently Mouldy came out with such a pile of Ripston had distinctly said that he was presently pudding of the sort just described, smoking on a going to buy some pudding, a share of which I cabbage-leaf, as made me draw in my breath to was not obliged to take unless I liked, clearly see. It seemed a very cold breath that I drew, enough implying that if I did like I might take it. and it made me feel more shivery and empty than Like a share of pudding! Once more, ladies and ever. gentlemen, I venture to bespeak your merciful I made my way over to their side of the road, consideration to this part of my great temptation. and walked a goodish way behind them; not so In your ignorance of ragamuffinish ways, you far, however, but that I could see Ripstop take probably underrate the inducement to my stop- one of the big slices, and raising it to his mouth, ping. You, of course, know much more about bite out of it a bit-ah! ever so large. He kept pudding than I did—then at least ; you, probably, on raising it and biting it; (you may judge from are aware of twenty sorts or more, some so deli- this, and considering what sort of bites they were, cious and of such expensive make that every how large were the pen'orths), and I got closer to mouthful costs a shilling; but amongst them all them. I was dreadfully hungry. you don't know of one a single serving of which I at last got so close behind them, that I could . would be worth a moments thought under the actually hear them eating. I could hear Ripston circumstances. In answer to this, I make bold to drawing his breath to and fro to cool the mouthsay, that in the first place you are incapable of ful, and as he now and then turned his head understanding the said “circumstances” even. aside I could see the contentment in his eyes. You may have felt shivery, and, perhaps, hungry; When they commenced, there were but five but as regards shivering, there is a certain sensa- lumps on the cabbage-leaf, and they were each tion common amongst supperless, out-of-door. well advanced with their second lump. If I sleepers, who go breakfastless, and see no pros- meant to speak, there was no time to lose. pect of dinner-a peculiar and indescribable numb “What I likes Blinkins's puddin' for is, 'cos ness of the extremities, and a perpetual ague of the whackin' lot of suet wot's in it,” observed within, compared with which your shivering is as Ripston. nothing at all. Then as to the pudding, you may "I b’lieve yer,” replied Mouldy, licking his know of fifty sorts, and yet not of that one which lips; “it's aʼmost like meat puddin'." I knew Ripston alluded to; indeed, he could have " I feels as though I'd had a’most enough; it's meant no other, as this one sort is all that is so jolly fillin',” said Ripston. known at the pudding shops of ragamuffin dis « Oh, well! don't you go a over-eatin' yourself," tricts. The nearest approach to it within your laughed Mouldy; “I can eat this other bit.” knowledge is plain suet pudding, inasmuch as it I could stand it no longer. quite plain, and there is suet in it. What else “Mouldy !" I exclaimed, laying a hand on his beside suet-and flour-I am not in a position to shoulder; “Mouldy, give us a bit !" state; but it is somethiug mysteriously filling; Mouldy gave a very violent start as I so quietsomething that holds the heat in such a wonderful ly touched him, and wriggled downward ; he, way, that the lump you buy continues to warm however, speedily recovered from his fright. your hands as you walk along in the cold, until “Oh, it's you, is it !" said he. you put the very last piece in your mouth; some been? 'Been home to see if they'll take yer thing that swells a pudding out, so that the piece back, and they won't ?” you get for a penny is as big as any four ordinary “Pr’aps he's been back to the market to split dinner-table “servings” of a same-named article on us. Have you, Smiffield ?" a lump as big as the fourth part of a brick. Just “I haven't been anywheres ; I've been followimagine it! Just imagine the picture of a lump in you two," I humbly replied. of pudding as big as the fourth part of a brick "Werry kind on yer; but we don't want anyhot, bear in mind, and of a flavour and quality body a-follerin' us— specially sneaks,” said Moulwell known and appreciated_floating before the dy. mind's eye of a weak-minded little hungry vaga “I ain't a sneak, Mouldy," I replied; “do give

Where a' you

say, Rip?"

us a bit, that's a good fellow; if you know'd how the one where the man with the blue apron is, gallus hungry I am, you would, I know." and the baskets of nuts are standin' all of a row ?» “I'd be werry sorry to," said the merciless

“Yes, I see them." rascal, tantalisingly whipping the last bit of his “ The first basket at the furder end is almonds. second lump into his mouth; "don't yer know off you goes; we'll wait here." what the little 'im ses about keeping yer hands This was all Mouldy said, but his meaning was from pickin' and stealin'? I'm ashamed on yer plain enough. I was to go and steal some alaskin' me to do such a wicked thing, Smiffield. monds out of the farthest basket. That the If I was to give you a bit it ’ud choke yer.” pudding in Mouldy's pocket should be mine, I

“You agreed that we should go whacks in had steadfastly made up my mind; how to get it everything,” I pleaded, appealing to his sense of was all that remained to consider. Mouldy pointjustice, since I could not succeed in touching his ed out the way, and without hesitation, but with generosity.

my heart going "bump! bump !" I set off to “So I' meant it; so I means it now," replied wards the nut-stall. Mouldy; "but you wants your share o' the pud This side the stall was one piled with caulidin' wirout doin' your share o' the priggin', which flowers and rhubarb, and as I approached, I saw it hain't wery likely you'll get. What do you at a glance that my best plan was to get round

to the back of the cauliflowers, by which means I P’raps he didn't quite twig our game, Moul- might reach the almond basket from behind. dy,” replied Ripston, who, without doubt, was the There is a saying that the devil is seldom ill-dismost kind-hearted of the two. “P'r'aps if we'd posed towards his young friends, and certainly ha' told him wot we was up to, he would ha' done the saying was verified in my case. Between different. Would you, Smiffield ?”

the cauliflower-stall and the nut-stall there was a As Ripston began to speak, he gave me the narrow passage, through which nobody but the last remaining little piece of his second lump of stallkeeper had any business to pass; but, shutpudding, and I just swallowed it in time to an- ting my eyes to the danger, I walked in as though swer him. What a mouthful that was! Never I lived there, and, crouching behind the cauliin all my life, at Blinkins's or elsewhere, did I flowers, saw the nut merchant, whose back was ever taste anything like it. So warm, so savoury, towards me, talking to a customer. The cauliso comforting! And there still reposed upon the flower woman had her back towards me too, and cabbage-leaf, on Mouldy's palm, a smoking piece was not likely to shift her position just at prethat would have yielded ten such mouthfuls at sent, for she was sitting on a chair, taking her least.

dinner off her lap. “Would you have done different, Smiffield ?" There was the brimming nut basket, and no

Just as he repeated the question, Mouldy was body was looking. I dipped once-twice—thrice in the act of raising the last slice to his lips ; filling my trousers pockets, and then started out but, nudged by Ripston, he paused—with his at the passage, and made towards Mouldy and mouth open.

Ripston, who were lurking behind a pillar. Should he eat that pudding or should I? It Come on, Smiffield !” exclaimed Mouldy, as I was plain that my answer would decide the mo- approached, and speaking in a voice quite differmentous question. Excepting the scanty supper ent to that in which he had before addressed me; I had bought with that twopence the night be " come along, old boy! I've seen quite enough fore, I had eaten nothing since yesterday's break- to tell me the sort of cove you are! You a green fast.

hand! You tell that to fellers as don't know “You are right, Ripston," I replied, loudly and what's o'clock. Here, ketch hold of the pudboldly; “I would have done different."

din'; I wish it was double as big." “Ah! but, now you do know, will you do differ I didn't think I had done anything like a clever ent ?--that's the question.”

thing till Mouldy made such a fuss about it; and “I will," I answered.

that he was in earnest was certain, more from “When ?" asked Mouldy.

his manner than his speech. As I walked by his “Now-as soon as ever I find a chance." side, he scarcely once took eyes off me the whole

“Then, that'll do," observed Ripston; "give time I was devouring the pudding, but kept on him that lump of puddin', Mouldy; he do look jerking his head as though his admiration was awful hungry."

too deep to be expressed in words. “Don't you be in such a precious hurry,” an “I couldn't have done it half as clean-nor swered Mouldy "Here it is ; I hain't a-goin' to yet a quarter,” said Ripston. eat it,” (here he slipped it into his roundabout “You !" replied Mouldy, laying a stress on the pocket ;)" but, afore he haves it, he's got to earn word which must have been very hurtful to his it. He's got to show us that what he ses he friend's feelings; "you ain't bad in your way, means. Come on."

Ripston; but when you sets up to be a quarter“Come on where ?" asked Ripston.

ah! or a half a quarter-as clever at nailin' as “Back to Common Garden."

Smiffield has showed hisself, it on'y shows what Keeping close to the pudding side of Mouldy, a bounceable sort of cove you must be. Why, I I kept pace with my companions, with a certain- couldn't have pinched them almonds as clean as ty of the sort of business that was expected of Smiffield did not if you give me a week to pracme, and, as I am bound to confess, with but a tise in! Not but what there are things," confaint disposition to shirk it. Arrived at the tinued Mouldy, afraid, I suppose, that he might skirts of the market, we halted, and Mouldy lead me to think too much of myself, “which I

dessay I could beat his head off at." “Come here, Smiffield,” said he, presently. Bold as brass I responded. “ You see that first stall atween the pillars

took a survey.



was not.


“ 'Course it wasn't," chimed in Ripston, with

equal earnestness. IN WHICH MOULDY TALKS LEGALLY, AND EXPLAINS “Well, then," said I, “what was it?"

“Well, I don't know 'zactly what it's called; “ THIEVING TAKING.”

all I knows about it is, that it ain't reg'ler out

and-out thievin'." It was all very well while the daylight lasted, I shook my head doubtingly, and I suppose and the comfortable inward sensation derived that Mouldy felt the movement. from a bellyful of pudding continued to make it “Don't believe me; arks the law,” he conself felt, (the almonds that I stole fetched two-tinued. “When did ever you hear of a case like pence of the man in Coal Yard ;) but when yours bein' put in the newspapers ?” night set in, and I once more found myself lying “That's how to look at it,” pursued Ripston. in the dark van with nothing to do but to go to “When did anybody ever hear of a cove bein' sleep, I began to feel most acutely the stings of took afore the beaks at Bow Street for it? It's conscience consequent on my evil behaviour the beadle wot settles it. And wot's a beadle through the day.

when the law looks at him? Why, he's frightI was now a thief! There was no use in en- ened of a p'liceman hisself. 'Taint likely as the deavouring to evade or mitigate the terrible truth law would let a beadle settle thievin' cases-now, -I was a thief! I had deliberately stolen a pint is it?” of almond nuts-stolen, run away with, sold “ Then what's the beadle put there for ?" them, and spent the money they fetched! Moul

“What for? Why, I've told you what for. dy was “pillow" on this occasion, and as a tri- To settle things—things wot ain't right, to come bute, I suppose, to my skill, I was allowed to to the rights on it-and wot ain't thievin'. That's "pick my part;" so I lay with my head on Moul- wot he carries that cane for.” dy's breast, whilst Ripston occupied his legs' "Takin' what ain't yours is thievin’; at least end.

that's what I've always heard say," I replied. But despite this great advantage, I couldn't “I knows all about that,” replied Mouldy, raissleep. All my pulses seemed to beat to the ing his head on his hand, the more conveniently mental utterance of that dreadful word “thief !” to discuss the interesting subject; “they do say Thief ! thief ! thief ! thief! My heart, my tem- so, but that's their iggerance; they never tried ples, my hands and feet equally complained of it, it, so they can't be 'spected to know any better. and I could get no rest at all.

Look here, Smiffield, it lays this way—If a cove “A thief !” I at last involuntarily whispered. walked into one of them shops in Common Garden I had thought that Mouldy was asleep, but he market, and helped hisself out of the till, and

they caught him a-doin' of it, that 'ud be thievin’; “ Who's a thief?” he asked.

if he dipped his hand into the pocket of any lady The abruptness of the question startled me or gen'lman wot come to buy flowers and that, considerably, but I was too full of the woeful and they caught him a-doin of it, that 'ud be theme to be started away from it; indeed, in my thievin’; and so the beak as you was took afore bitter remorse I think that I felt rather glad than 'ud jolly soon give you to understand. But if a otherwise of an opportunity of accusing myself. feller—a hard-up feller, don't yer know-as has "I'm a thief, Mouldy,” I answered.

been tryin' to pick up his 'a'pence in a honest "Well

, who said that you warn’t ?” replied sort of a manner, if he is found with a few apples Mouldy, snappishly.

or nuts as doesn't happen to belong to him, the “But I am, Mouldy; I am."

salesman wot they do belong to gives him a clout " 'Course you are. No need to be so jolly or a kick, else he calls the beadle, and he lays proud on it, Smiffield. You are a thief, if it's into him with his cane, and then lets him go. worth while callin' such jobs as we seed you doin' Why, if the beadle was to take one of us afore to-day, thievin'; which I don't.”

the beak, he'd get pitched into for takin' up the “But I never was a thief before, Mouldy," I beak's waluable time, and p'r'aps get the sack." replied, earnestly. “I never was; and that's as Without doubt, Mouldy spoke as though he true as I'm layin' here alive. It's that wot makes meant what he said; or if he did not, it was very me so precious miserable.”

kind of him to pretend so earnestly in order to “Gammon !"

make my mind easy. It was equally kind of The word was uttered by Ripston, who, it Ripston for so heartily backing him; but, some. seemed, like Mouldy, was lying awake.

how, all that they said didn't lift the new and "It isn't gammon, Rip; it's quite true," I sor- strange weight off my conscience. It may have rowfully replied. “I wish it was gammon.” padded it a bit, so that it sat easier; but lift it,

"You're afraid to say 'Strike me dead if it off it certainly did not. is !' ” said Ripston.

Well, if takin' things-nuts and that-isn't “I am not," I replied. And I said it. stealin', what is it?" I asked of Mouldy.

“'Course he can say it,” observed Mouldy; “Oh, all sorts o' things: prowlin', sneaking, "and so he can say 'Strike him dead if he is,' makin.” even now, if anybody asks him.”

“Pinchin' findin', gleanin', some coves calls “I should be afraid of bein' struck dead if I it,” put in Ripston; " but, Lor'! wot's the odds did, Mouldy," I replied.

how yer call it ?" “Why would you ?"

'Spose now a p'liceman was asked," I urged, “Because now I am a thief.”

“what name would he give it ?” Oh, no, you hain't,” said Mouldy, shaking his “Oh, ah! who'd think of arstin' such jolly head, as though his opinion on the subject was liars así wot the perlice is ?” replied Ripston. deeply rooted. “What you did to-day wasn't “Fact is, Smiffield, you're funkin'; that's what thievin'; not by a werry long ways.”

you're a-doin' of,” said Mouldy. “The 'greement

was, that you wouldn't funk; and here you are, (held a horse for a gentleman who went into an chockful of it.”

oyster-shop, and earned sixpence. Fourpence we “Not exactly funkin'," I replied. “If it ain't had spent, and there was twopence left. Had the thievin', it's all right. I thought that it was." sixpence turned up early in the evening, we should

“Bless you, when you gets as old as I am, all three have gone to the gaff in Shoreditch with you'll know better 'un to take fright at words," it; but, as it was, we bought some bread and said Mouldy. “Why, when I was a kid, and fried fish for supper, and saved twopence for some lived at home with my old 'oman, I've set and coffee in the morning. I've heerd the old man a-readin' the newspaper to “What sort of morning is it ?" asked Ripston her; and you wouldn't believe how jolly careful of Mouldy, who was looking out. even such artful coves as lawyers are 'bliged to "A precious bad 'un," was the answer; "it's be about the names they give things. Unless a a-rainin' hard; I can see the drops bobbin' in the chap is bowl'd out in right down reg'ler priggin', river.” they dursn't call him a thief. They comes it “What will we do now, then ?” said I. mild, and calls it''bezelment,' or 'petty larsny.' “What d'yer mean?” replied Ripston. Why, it's no wus than petty larsny if a cove nails “We shall get wet through if we go out in the a loaf off a baker's counter; and as for 'bezel- rain." ment !--my eyes, Smiffield !if you calls sneakin' “Did yer ever hear such a cove?” exclaimed a handful of nuts thievin', I suppose you'd call Ripston, laughing. “Here, Mouldy, s'pose you what the law calls 'bezelment, highway robbery ! goes on fust, and borrows a top coat or a silk 'Sides, s'pose it was as bad as 'bezelment, what umbrella for Smiffield! Why, yer jolly young ’ud you get for it? Ripston 'bezeled a milk-can fool, the rain will make your hair curl! Come once, and on'y got fourteen days for it. Didn't on.” you, Ripston ?”

And out we went, shivering over the wet pave"Ripston don't want that chucked in his face," ment, and splashing in the mud. It wasn't a waspishly replied the person alluded to. “If we sharp rain that was falling, but a steady, close comes to rakin's up of private histories, p'raps I rain ; and long before we got to the coffee stall, might know coves wot had got more 'un fourteen I could feel my shirt sticking to my shouiders, days, not to speak of private whippin's. How- and my trousers to my knees. I hadn't forgotten somever, I won't mention no names. If the cap what I had made up my mind to do last nightfits the cove I means, he'd better hold his jaw; indeed it came into my head the moment I woke that's all I've got to say."

--and I had been trying to screw up my courage Mouldy was evidently the “cove” hinted at, to tell 'em what I meant all the time we had been for he only further made some muttered remark plodding through the rain ; but how could I screw about Ripston being a disagreeable beggar, and my courage up? Here I was—bitterly cold and then, after a little commonplace conversation, hungry, wet through to the skin, and with noth(during which Mouldy and Ripston became recon- ing in the world to fall back on, if I fell out with ciled,) my two partners dropped off to sleep. Mouldy and Ripston!

But, as on the preceding night, I had a bad “Two pen'orth of stunnin' hot coffee-in three time of it before I could get to sleep. The argu- cups, Mister," said Mouldy to the stallkeeper. ments used by my companions had failed to con It was all over. Had it been any one else's vince me. Besides, the abrupt termination to our coffee, it might have put heart in me to have up discourse on the matter, and the nature of the and spoke my mind; but as it was Mouldy's cofremark that had induced it, was not lost on me. fee, it warmed me towards him as I drank it, and Private whipping and imprisonment for a fort made me think that, after all, he wasn't a bad night was never visited on boys whose ways were sort of chap, and that it would be a shame to as simple as Mouldy and Ripston would make me turn round and snub him with his ways of living. believe theirs were. True, I didn't know any- If I didn't hold with the said ways, certainly I thing of the fine distinctions of the law, and it had no business to let him stand treat to me out was very probable that snatching a few nuts was of 'em. Besides, there didn't seem much danger not a felony. Anyhow, I was quite satisfied to of anything very wrong being done to-day; for admit the probability; but, come what might, I though it still wanted a quarter to six by the would never do anything of the kind again. market clock, there was plenty of bustle and runWhat I would do, I couldn't quite make up my ning about, and before we had finished our coffee, mind. I must get my living somehow. I must Mouldy said tell Mouldy and Ripston in the morning that I “Come, look alive, you two; we oughter do meant to be quite honest, to avoid all acts of that werry tidy this mornin'. Don't you know, Smifsort, and live by picking up jobs in Covent Gar- field, that them as don't mind doin' their own den market; and that if they didn't like to keep fetchin's and carryin's when it's dry, would rather my company, I couldn't help it. I got so well pay than do it when it rains ?” into my mind that this was what I would do, that And so we found. From six o'clock till tenpresently I went off to sleep quite comfortable. it raining all the time we were never once wait

And that, I am 'sorry to tell, is all the good that ing for a job; and when the trade fell off, and we came of my penitent thoughts of that night. I found time to talk together, it turned out that we woke in the morning chilly, and dirty-feeling, and had been doing splendidly.' I had earned elevenwretched-much more miserable than on the pence; Ripston, one and three-halfpence; Mouldy, morning before. My teeth chattered; my inside ninepence halfpenny. I felt a deal more proud seemed all of a shiver; and I felt as though I of having earned more than Mouldy this morning, would have given the jacket off my back for a than I did yesterday, when he told me that I drink of hot coffee. Mouldy had the price of it could crib things off a stall better than he could. in his pocket. Just as we were about to turn Indeed it was so nice to hold that handful of copout of the Strand the night before, Mouldy had I pers—all hard earned, at a penny and a halfpen

ny a time—that in spite of being wringing wet to observed from the beginning, “sometimes it ran the skin, and of having a nasty cut under my big as high as roast pork,

and sometimes it was not a toe, through treading on a broken bottle, I should lump of bread from mornin' till night." Still, have been happier than ever before in my life if and as I before remarked, come Saturday, to reit had not been that those almonds haunted me so view the luck of the week would be to find that I was all the happier, too, to find that, having there was scarcely a penny's difference between been able to earn enough for their wants, neither it and the week before-the same amount of Mouldy nor Ripston had taken so much as an roast pork or its equivalent, the same dearth of apple. I was half afraid it would have been bread, the same amount of cane at the hands of otherwise, and was glad to hear Mouldy say, when the market beadle, the same average of nights we had given him our earnings, (he was money with and without straw in our van. holder always, "There, now, that's jest what I in a worldly sense, an experience of five months calls a werry respectable mornin's work.” as the partner of Mouldy and Co. found me pret

“Better than gettin' things wrong, and sellin' ty much as when I started. As the reader will 'em ; eh, Mouldy?” I took courage to remark. perhaps remember, my stock of wearing apparel

“Course it's better,” he replied; "there's at the last-mentioned time was not extensive ; more on it."

consisting, indeed, of one pair of trousers, one "I wish I was 'bliged to work, and not-not shirt, and a ragged old jacket. Now, I still had a do t'other," I said.

shirt and trousers; and the jacket falling to "Don't know about bein' 'bliged to do it," re-pieces, its place was supplied by a coat--not plied he ; "it's werry well while it lasts, but the much of a coat, although there was a great deal wust on it is, it don't last ; and then, if you was of it; but still, quite as good as the jacket. As tied to it, and couldn't turn your hand to nothink at starting, I was shoeless, the sixpenny high-lows else, you'd find it rather a pinch at times. Take being worn off my feet, and the profits proving things as they comes; that's my motter.” insufficient to warrant a renewal of such luxuries

Ripston said it was his “motter” too; and so -a circumstance highly significant, as showing we went to a soup-shop in Long Acre, and all how seldom we lighted on elevenpenny days. made a very hearty dinner-and there then being It was about the middle of May when I joined enough in hand for supper, and sixpence over, Mouldy and Ripston ; and now, with the reader's Mouldy kindly proposed that that should be spent permission, we will let those fifty pages I was in buying me a pair of boots ; and Ripston agree- speaking of lie undisturbed, and make a skip to ing, in the course of the afternoon we took a October of the same year. Apart from business, stroll to Petticoat Lane, and for the sixpence little had happened to me worth recording. In bought a largish, but very decent pair of high- the course of the five months I went seven or lows. ✓

eight times to the “gaff” in Shoreditch, and enjoyed it very much. Once I was locked up all night at Bow Street station-house, on suspicion

of having stolen a little dog. It was a little slateCHAPTER XVII.

coloured dog, with long hair hanging over its eyes.
I never had
a thought

of stealing it. It followed WHICH TOUCHES ON SUNDRY OF MY ADVENTURES me one Saturday from Covent Garden down to

AS A MARKET PROWLER, AND LEADS UP to a the arches, and rather than turn it away we gave CERTAIN SUNDAY NIGHT WHEN I FALL ILL, AND it a lodging in our van that night and all the next GIVE PROMISE OF GROWING WORSE.

day—which was Sunday, and always a pinching

time with us—and gave it some of our bread. It was my original intention to have presented The police found it in our van when they came the reader with a day-by-day chronicle of my ca- round that Sunday night, and being informed who reer as a market prowler ; indeed, to this end I brought it there, hauled me off there and then, had covered at least fifty sides of writing-paper, and no doubt I should have been sent to prison and there they now lie on my table, cancelled, had not Ripston-between whom and myself there and doomed to be converted into pipe-lights, for had sprung up the fastest friendship—bestirred which their crisp, smooth nature admirably adapts himself in the matter ; and, ascertaining to whom them.

the dog belonged, went boldly to the house-a And I believe the reader will agree with me, great house it was, in one of the west-end squares when he is made acquainted with the reason, that and gaining admittance by saying he had these fifty pages are very properly abandoned." come concerning that little dog," told the lady The fact is, each page, representing a day, is so all about it from first to last, which not only led much like another, that, except for trifling dif- to my honourable acquittal, but to my receiving ferences, there is no telling this from that, and, a reward from the lady of five shillings. Two goodness knows, I have enough to tell without half-crowns! Throughout our whole partnership, boring the reader by insipid repetitions. The never had we at one time possessed nearly as days of my market prowling were curiously alike; much money. It was decided that we should enat least, the weeks were. From Monday morning joy ourselves on it. We dined at the cookshop, until Saturday we rose in the morning by day- having veal and bacon and green peas for dinner, break, made our way to Covent Garden, peram- and half a pint of beer each when we came out, bulated the self-same beats in search of the self- which was rash, inasmuch as, not being used to same jobs, and carried the same sort of loads ; it, it excited us to such a pitch of extravagant or, trade being slack, we pilfered from the self-jollity, that nothing would suit but that we must same baskets, and carried the result of our depre- take the roof of the twopenny omnibus to Shoredations to the old rascal that lived in Coal Yard, ditch, Ripston and Mouldy smoking a three-halfDrury Lane, and afterwards dined according to penny cigar each, and Mouldy being so ill that we the quality of our luck. As Mouldy had truly were all turned out of the “gaff” before the piece

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