Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

must

was an early time-time sufficient to have pre “ That the youngster ?” he asked, looking at pared and finished their breakfast; time suffi- me. cient to have made a journey to some ready-made “That's him. Stand up, Jimmy." clothes shop and back again, for there lay the re “He's a tall 'un. How old is he?” sult of the journey across the back of a chair by “Under nine-eight last birthday. That isn't the bedside--a stout cloth jacket and waistcoat, too young—is it ?" said Mrs. Winkship. and new corduroy trousers; while under the chair “Lor', no !—too old, I was thinkin'. Nothing reposed a bran-new pair of boots-nicer-looking, like beginnin' with 'em when their bones is liseven, than those Mr. Barney cheated me out of sum,” replied Mr. Belcher; and then, after turnand a pair of comfortable socks. On the chair ing me about a bit, he shook his head, as though was a shirt, and hanging to the knob at the back not perfectly satisfied with the survey. of the chair was a cap. There could be no doubt Pity to make a sweep of him, ain't it?” said that the suit was mine, so I at once jumped up he—“nice, decent-looking boy like he is ?” and dressed myself in it; and then, putting my “Well, p'r'aps it is a pity; but it's the best we head out at the door, and spying Mrs. Winkship can do, take my word for it, Dick. You'll take enthroned on the coke measure at the street door, him-won't you ?” I called out to her, bidding her good morning. “ Trade's wery slack, replied Mr. Belcher, du

I don't know how much my suit cost, but if the biously; "sides, that blessed Act o' Parlyment, sum exceeded the value of the gratification the wot's just passed, has quite cut up the boy-trade. good old woman evinced at my appearance, it I sacked a boy o'ny last week.”

have been something immense. She “I know all about the Act o' Parlyment,” said brought me some warm water to wash my hands Mrs. Winkship, testily; "and" (perceiving that and face, and with her own hands, and with her her relative was inclined to hang back from her own brush, brushed my hair and anointed it with proposition) “likewise I know that you still keep her own pomatum. “Now look in the glass," said climbers, because you told me so the last time she. “What do you think of that? Why, you was here." you're as fine as fust-o'-May, Jimmy !"

“Ah, that's for the shaft-work, Jane," Mr. Bel“They ain't much like a sweep's togs—are cher replied. “I question if he's narrer enough they, ma'am ? I shan't like to go up a chimnbly for shaft-work.” in these," I remarked, eyeing myself proudly, So saying, he took a rule from his pocket, and and indulging in a glimmer of hope that her placed it across my shoulders. views on the chimney-sweeping subject might “ He'd find it a squeedge,” observed Mr Belhave changed.

cher, at the same time passing his hands over my “I should think not,” replied she, sharply. chest and back. “You see, Jane, he ain't like a “Any rags is good enough for that sort of work. lad with flesh on him, what might be pulled down You must keep these for Sundays, Jim. I dare to the proper dimensions. I shouldn't be able to say that Belcher will be able to find you a suit allow him to get another ounce of flesh on him if I good enough to wear o' work-a-days. Martha has took him; it'ud be wicked to allow it; he'd be gone over to Camberwell now, and I daresay she sticking in the middle of a flue, or somethink, if I will be back, bringing Belcher with her, by the did. Why, there was just such a case at a sawtime you have finished your breakfast.”

mills shaft-ninety-eight feet high it was--up Soon after breakfast, however, Martha returned Bermondsey way; there the poor lad stuck, just without Mr. Belcher, and with a message that he half-way up, and there he had to stay till ”. was engaged until the evening, when he would “Humbug, Dick !" interrupted Mrs. Winkship, drive over in the pony-cart. I got considerable in a pet; "if you don't want to take him, say so. comfort out of the mention of the pony and cart. Don't stand there sending your soul to Old Nick It was substantial proof that Mr. Belcher was not with a bushel of lies. You didn't find me humsuch a poor beggar of a sweep as Mr. Pike, at all ming and hawing, and making tuppeny excuses, events.

when you came over here askin' favours of me, For safety's sake I kept close within doors all remember. But never mind." day long; and shortly after dark there came a From the bottom of my heart I wished that knock at the door, and Mr. Belcher made his ap- Mr. Belcher, with his awful talk about boys stickpearance. He wasn't a bit like a sweep, being ing in sawmill chimney-shafts ninety-eight feet white instead of black, and wearing a smart hat high, would get in a pet too, and take himself off and a drab overcoat. He was a tall, strong- as he came; but this he evidently was not dislooking man, middle-aged, and with a stoop in posed to do.' Whatever the nature of the favour his shoulders; he was pitted with small-pox, too, conferred, once upon a time, by Mrs. Winkship as badly as Martha was, and was pale and cada- on her sister's husband, her allusion to it was verous-looking; and his mouth was an gly-look- enough to make him alter his tone. ing mouth, the yellow teeth of his upper jaw pro Who said I wouldn't take him?” said he. jecting over the lower, and being for the most “Course I'll take him. What I meant was, that part exposed to view. I didn't like the look of it's a pity that he's just goin' into the trade when him a bit.

Acts o' Parlyment and machinery are risin' up to “Well, Jane, what's the pertickler bis'ness ?" knock it over. He's welcome to come along he asked of Mrs. Winkship. If he was in no o’me and learn the trade, such as it is." other way like a sweep, he was in his voice, which After this declaration of Mr. Belcher, (which was of the husky, muffled sort, just like Mr. Pike's. had the effect of completely mollifying his sister

It seemed that Martha had been charged not in-law,) there ensued between the contracting parto tell him what he was wanted for; and now that ties a long conversation, all concerning me, but his sister-in-law, in a few words informed him of in which I took not the least interest. It was her wishes as regarded myself, it appeared to me enough for me to know that I was to be made a that he didn't look best pleased.

sweep of; that the man with the white pock

or

marked face, and the yellow overhanging teeth, (the words were carefully preserved in a band was to be my master; and that I was not to be just in front of his nose,) "Come on, R. Be'rher! allowed to gain an ounce more filesh than now We thought you wasn't coming, as the Prince of covered my bony frame, to make me perfectly Wales, who has been over to your place, said that miserable.

you was gone to another job.” “So I was-at “ Then that settles it,” observed Mr. Belcher, the Duke of Wellington's," replies R. Belcher; after a while. “When will he be ready to come?” “but at the calls of my Queen I left it blazin'

“He's ready now—as ready as ever he'll be," and here I am." replied Mrs. Winkship.

A boy about my own age, and as ragged and “ What! now-to-night, do you mean? Take black as either of Mr. Pike's boys, hearing the him off with me to-night?” inquired my future sound of the cart wheels, made his appearance master.

from the side of the house, (it stood at a corner,) “I should take it as a favour if you would take and took the pony by the head. Mr. Belcher got him off to-night. The sooner he goes the better." out of the cart, leaving me in it, and applied him

“ Just as you please; one time's as good as self to the brass knocker. another, as far as I know. Put your cap on, boy." “Let me help you out, young sir," said the lit

There was no use in making a fuss over what tle sweep, obsequiously addressing me; couldn't be avoided; besides, when it came to p'r’aps you'd better, gov'nor. I might spoil bis this, I felt a little spiteful towards Mrs. Winkship togs if I touched 'em." that she should have been so very anxious to pack “Young sir be " Mr. Belcher observed, me off at once; and I am ashamed to confess that with a laugh; "he ain't a sir, you young fool; my response to her tearful “Good-bye” was not he's a new boy.” so cordial as it might have been. Mr. Belcher's "A new boy, eh! Why, you must be ravin' pony and cart were waiting at the end of the alley, mad, Dick! What the deuce do you want another in charge of a boy who stood at the pony's head. boy for?” This observation was made by a And here occurred an illustration of how the art- female, who responded to Mr. Belcher's appeal to fullest plots and schemes may be frustrated in a the brass knocker-a fat, blowsy female, with a single instant, and that by a means least expected. shrill voice, and a cap with plenty of brilliant The boy at the pony's head was one that Mr. flowers in it perched atop of her untidy head of Belcher had promiscuously hailed from among a hair, and earrings in her ears as flashy as the dozen loitering about the alley; it was my old brass knocker, but who was, nevertheless, unmisenemy, Jerry Pape. As good luck willed it, how-takably Mrs. Winkship's sister. ever, that treacherous scoundrel was too intently “Want! Yes, I wanted him a lot!”. I heard watching Mr. Belcher, with an eye to halfpence Mr. Belcher growl; "it was either have him, or for holding the pony, to take any heed of me; and offend your blessed sister, and that wouldn't do, so we drove away.

you know. Be off in, and I'll tell you all about It was growing quite late by the time we reached it.” Then turning to the boy, he threw him the Camberwell, and that part of it where Mr. Belcher reins. “Take him” (meaning me)“round to the resided. It was in a little dirty street, close by kitchen with you, Sam; I'll call him when I want the canal. From what I could see of the houses him." in the street, they were of the poorest sort; but Never once removing his astonished gaze from Mr. Belcher's house figured amongst them bril- my face, Sam did as he was bid, and led the pony liant as a new toy on a dust-heap. It was the round to the back of the sweep's premises, where richest house as regards bright brass that ever I there was a large yard, the end of which was open clapped eyes on. The door, shone on by the to the Surrey Canal; and at that part of the yard lamp that overhung it, was absolutely dazzling : nearest the back of the house was a long blackit had a brass knocker; number twenty-six in bold king shed, with two doors to as could be brass figures ; a brass key-hole; a brass plate with seen by the light of the lantern Sam carried. the inscription “Belcher, Chimney-Sweep," in red “Out you come, my tulip,” exclaimed he, with letters on it; and a brass bell, big as those at- an insolent familiarity which I suppose he thought tached to a Piccadilly mansion, with “Belcher” in he was entitled to as some compensation for the more red letters on the knob of it, and “Sweep's former civil speech he had been inveigled into Bell” in bright green on the flat part round the wasting over me; "out you come; that there's knob. Inside the parlour window was a wire the kitchen. Don't you make too much noise blind, blood red, and deeply edged with shiny goin' in, or you might wake the cove wot's asleep brass; and on the blind was an effective repre- there, and then you might get a hidin'. I'll be sentation of Buckingham Palace with one of its with you in a minnit, soon as I've bedded the chimneys on fire, the pot splintered into a hun- pony down. No 'casion to knock; shove—it'll dred fragments, and the flames mounting to the come open.” heavens; while her Most Gracious Majesty Queen The door I was requested to shove was exactly Victoria, wearing her crown as a night-cap, leant the same in appearance as that which by this out at a bed-room window, with affrighted eyes and time Sam had opened, and which showed the dishevelled hair, beckoning imploringly with her place to be a stable. If there was any difference, sceptre to Mr. Belcher, who, loyally responding indeed, the “kitchen” door was the ugliest and to the call of his sovereign by waving his brush dirtiest door of the two. It came open with a and scraper, was hastening across the park to the slight push, and I entered. The place was very rescue as fast as his legs could carry him. The dark, except for a coke fire that burnt redly in a name of “R. Belcher” appeared on the cap the skillet perched on a bit of paving-stone in the running sweep wore, as well as on his brush and middle of the shed, and at first I could see nothing on his scraper; but in order to obviate the pos. but the fire; but in a few moments my eyes grew sibility of any mistake as to his identification, the more accustomed to the gloom, and I could make sentry at the palace gate was seen to be shouting, lout, close by the fire, a little table and a couple

of stools, while on the other side of the fire, and who has long lain an invalid ;“ did you see him ? lying against the wall, was a black shapeless heap, Who was it, Sam ?” from which proceeded a sound of snoring, and “Who was it? Why, a young swell, Lord plainly denoted the whereabouts of the person Fluffum's youngest son, come to ask arter you, asleep hinted at y Sam. I did not advance many and bring you some jint ile. Tell you what, steps into the shed, nor did I make much noise; Spider, you'll get yourself into a row one of these enough, however, to rouse a little dog that was days chuckin' them boots of yours about; you're lying with its master on the black heap. The dog alwis at it.” growled and barked, and the boy awoke.

“Oh! my poor bones!" groaned Spider, whin“What do you want a-teasin' of him, Sam ? he ing like a dog in pain; "then why don't they ain't hurtin' you, is he ?” asked a figure black as shut the door after 'em, Sam? How would they the heap it rose from, except for the white eye- like the wind let into 'em, if their jints was all balls which the light of the fire revealed. “Shut of a screw, like mine is? Who did you say it the door, will yer! Ain't my rhumatiz bad was, Sam ?' I didn't hit him, did I ?” enough, beggar you, but you must set the draught “Not werry hard ; he's one of them swells as blowin' in upon me? Will you shut that door, don't holler for nothing, as it happens, and so he cuss you?"

ain't werry angry with yer. Here he is.” I couldn't tell whether it was the voice of a And he stepped aside and held up the lantern, man or a boy, it was such a strange-sounding one that the cripple might have a fair view of me. -half gruff and half whistling, and trembling with By the same means I got a fair view of him, poor rage. Looking intently at the figure, I could now fellow. He couldn't have been more than sixteen see that it had risen to its hands and knees, and or seventeen years old, judging from his size; looming in the ruddy duskiness, it certainly looked but, attired as he was in black rags, and crouchbig enough for that of a man. As the figure ing on his knees, with one hand resting on the raised its voice, the dog raised its; so that there soot-bags that were evidently his bed, and the was all at once a considerable uproar.

other performing the double service of lifting his “You make a mistake,” said I, edging back hair from his eyes and shielding them from the towards the entry; "it ain't Sam-it's me." glare of the lantern-light, he might have passed

“Cuss you! Now shut the door!” and at the for a decrepit old man of seventy. same moment something that looked like an old “I begs your pardon, sir,” said he, humbly; Wellington boot shot past my face, and banged it's my pain as gets over me, and makes me against the door-post just behind.

forget myself at times. I hope I didn't hurt you, young gen'lman ?”

Before I could answer, Master Sam burst into

an explosion of mirth. CHAPTER XXVI.

"That's beautiful, that is ! that's rippin'! He

took me in, Spider ; but not so much as that.

SPIDER,” | Why, he ain't no young swell, you jolly fool; he AND ENGAGE WITH HIM IN A QUEER SORT OF ain't nobody. He's on'y a new boy wot's a-comCONVERSATION, THAT MAY OR MAY NOT LEAD TO in ’prentice or somethin' here; that's right, ain't IMPORTANT RESULTS.

it, old flick ?"

“Yes, that's right," I replied; “I've come to It wasn't likely that I was going to shut the learn the trade of bein' a chimbley-sweep." door, at least, from the inside, and so trap myself “Come here to learn the trade !" repeated the in with such an ugly customer. I, however, had Spider, the expression of pain momentarily vanno objection to shutting it from the outside, and ishing from his puckered face in his astonishment. this I was about to do when up came Sam, the "Well, that's a rum start.” light of his lantern showing his grinning face. “ Hain't it? it's the rummest start as ever I

“Halloa ! I thought I seed you go into the kitch-heard on,” giggled Sam. en a little while ago," said he; "why didn't you “How do yer mean ?” I asked; "why can't I shove the door open, like I told you ?”

learn it ? 'Course I ain't goin' to set about it in I briefly explained to Sam the events of the my best clothes. Mr. Belcher's goin' to find me last few minutes.

some common sort of togs to work in." “Come on back," said he, laughing, and grasp “Oh, there's no fear of spiling your togs !" obing one of my hands in his paw, black as ink; served Sam, whom the whole business seemed to "there ain't no call to fear Spider; it would take highly amuse. him as long crawlin' off his bags as far as the “It mightn't spoil some sort of togs," I redoor, as you might to get as far as the turnpike.” plied, with a scornful glance at poor Sam's

“It wasn't the dog I was frightened of,” said wretched rags. “I shouldn't like to get the I, “it was the man what was layin' by the fire.” soot over my clothes wot I wears of Sundays, so

“Well, that's Spider,” replied Sam; “ that's I tell yer. I'm going to have another suit to folwhat his name is. Man' you calls him! I never low my trade in." seed such a man. Come on; the guv'nor said “But there ain't no trade here to foller," said you was to sit in the kitchen, don't you know?” the perplexed Spider. “Since the Act o' Parly

Sam pushed open the door and went in, and I ment the trade's all fell to nothink. You can't followed, taking care this time to give the figure learn to be a chimbley-sweep without chimbleys on the soot-bags no excuse for shying his other to practise on-don't yer know ?” boot at me.

As the reader may imagine, although this "Who was that that was here just now, bang rather puzzled me, I was not at all sorry to hear ing and slamming and letting in the wind, enough it. to blow a feller's bones out of their sockets ?” "Oh ! well, I ain't pertickler," I remarked ; demanded Spider, in the querulous voice of one “any sort of work'll do for me. What do all

IN WHICH I MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE

you did.”

the other boys work at ?—what do you two work possible of the liberal hunch of bread-and-cheese, at?"

and in about five minutes was able to announce “Spider don't work at all-he's past it,” ex- that I was done. plained Sam; "he'd ha' been sacked when the " Then toddle to bed as soon as you like," said the others went, only he was bound for seven Mr. Belcher. “Can you find your way back ?” 'ears, and the parish would not take him off the “Back to where, sir ?” guv'nor's hands. There used to be eight on us ; “Back to the kitchen. That's where you've but they're all gone 'cept me and Spider.” got to sleep ; that's where all my boys sleep.

“But you sweeps chimbleys, sometimes, don't You'll find it wery warm and snug." Sam'll show you ?" I remarked to Sam; “you looks as though yer how. Mind you have a bed to yourself, Jim;

two in a bed ain't ’ealthy. There's sacks enough “No, I don't," returned Sam, grinning; “I for all on yer. Good night. You've no 'casion goes about a bit, of mornin's, with Ned Perks to get up in the mornin' till you're called.”. and the guvnor to machine jobs; but that ain't "Has he got his workin' clothes ?” sleepily nothink. It's night jobs wot keeps the concern asked Mrs. Belcher, who by this time had comgoin'-night jobs down in the country. I goes posed herself for a dose in her great easywith the gov'nor and Ned, and minds the cart.” chair.

“What sort o' jobs is them country jobs ?” I “I was forgettin' them. Here they are,” reinquired; “is it climbin' up factory shafts ?” plied my master, giving me a black bundle from

“I don't know what it's climbin' up,” replied a corner. “The shirt you may as well keep on; Sam ; "fact, I don't think it's climbin' up any- likewise the boots; as for the rest, you'd better think—do you, Spider ?—'cos they take the ma- double 'em up careful, and bring 'em in here in chine and things with 'em.”

the mornin'." “And they don't bring home no sut! It's a Taking the bundle, I bade my master “Good rummy go to me altogether,” replied poor Spider, night;” and found my way back to the “kitchen.” who, being at that moment seized with a fresh The fire was still burning, and the lantern susrheumatic pain, wriggled back to his bed, and pended from a nail in one of the roof-beams, so there lay groaning and making whistling noises that I was able to see pretty well about me; but through his closed teeth.

I couldn't see Sam. I could see Spider, curled Before poor Spider could sufficiently recover up with his little mangy-looking, dirty-white dog, from his rheumatic twinges to continue the con- | (recognising me again,

he uttered but the smallest versation, (which had begun to grow very inter- of growls;) but Sam was nowhere visible. This esting to me,) the voice of Mr. Belcher was heard was perplexing, and I was still looking about, callir on me to come into the house; and, direct- when a voice right at my elbow exclaimed, in a ed by Sam, I found my way to a back door, and sleepy whisperwas from thence conducted by my new master to “Last into bed puts the candle the parlour.

know ?" The same fat, blowsy woman whom I had It was Sam. He was in bed. He was lying rightly conjectured to be Mrs. Belcher was there, atop of a heap of soot-sacks-lying in the top and on the table was a spread of bread-ånd- one, indeed—with a soot-sack doubled up under cheese and onions. The lady's reception of me his head as a pillow, and his sooty cap pulled was not cordial.

over his ears; so that, as I turned to see from “Here, young what's-her-name ?”

whence the voice proceeded, all that was visible “Jim, ma'am.”

of Sam was his white teeth and his eyeballs. “There's some supper for you, if it's good It is astonishing how rapidly one acquires the enough. 'Taint the fat o' the land, with apple- weakness of fastidiousness. The night before sarce, such as some people have been feedin' you last, whilst shivering in the open cart in Bedon, I'll be bound; but it's the best you'll get ford Mews, had anyone said to me, “It is just here."

six miles from here to Camberwell; but if you “ Thanky, ma'am; I'm werry fond of bread choose to trudge the distance, you will find there and-cheese, 'specially with a ingun,” I replied, in a snug shed with a jolly fire in it, and any numas conciliatory a tone as I could assume. ber of sacks—sooty, but soft-to bed on, and all at

"And of all other sorts of wittles, I'll go bail. your disposal,”I should have thanked my informant As if it wasn't enuff to have one lazy hound eat in the heartiest manner, and started off there and in our 'eads off, but that that stuck up marm then, my only fear being that matters might not

turn out to be so brilliant as was promised. But “There, that'll do,” growled Mr. Belcher ; since the night before last I had enjoyed the lux“quite enough said. How should she know how ury of a comfortable couch; and the result was, we was sitiwated ? If things was as they used that the snug shed, and the jolly fire, and the to be, one boy, nor two boys, would have made heap of soft sacks all ready and at hand, so far any difference. P'r'aps you'd ha' liked me to ha' from filling me with satisfaction, caused me a told her ?"

pang of something very like disgust. ! "I'd be werry sorry,” responded Mrs. Belcher, “Which is my bed ?" I inquired, in a melanwith peculiar emphasis, “I'd sooner suffer star- choly voice, of Sam. wation than she should know."

“ You may have part of mine, if you like to, "It seems so when you sets on cacklin' at this which it'll save you the trouble to make one,” re'ere rate afore he's been in the house half-an- plied Sam, generously. “All you've got to do is hour," replied Mr. Belcher, sneeringly. “You to fetch two sacks off that heap-one to get into, get your supper, Jim. The missus is the least and one for a piller; on'y be quick, and don't bit cross tonight. It's arter her time for settin' make a row so as to wake Spider, 'cos if you do, up, and she's tired.”

he'll begin to cough, and the cough shakes the Acting on this hint, I made as short work as rheumatics into his legs, and then it'll give you

don't yer out,

must":

the dog.

" And a

the mis'rables all night to hear him groanin' and and crept tediously and with many pauses after crunchin' his teeth."

It was departing somewhat from the letter of “ Oh, yes ! you're in a great hurry, ain't yer ? Mr. Belcher's injunction to accept Sam's pro- It's all werry well a-boundin' to the door and posal, but after all, since we slept in separate makin' a show of bein' willin', you wagabone ! sacks, it was no worse than only sleeping two on but how can I trust yer? How did yer serve me a bedstead; so, gulping down my repugnance, I yesterday, you willin ? Didn't yer go a-hookin' it undressed by the light of the coke fire, and put-off and leavin' me without a fire till nine o'clock ting on the grimy trousers out of Mr. Belcher's aʼmost? How do I know but as how you're arter bundle, I prepared a pillow and a sack ready for servin' me out agin just in the same way? Don't slipping into, and then, blowing out the candle in lick me, I tell yer. I shan't b'lieve yer a bit the the lantern, next minute was bedded on the black more for them sneakin’ ways. If you warnt to bags, snug and warm, at any rate, and not parti- make friends, there's other ways of doin' it, cularly uncomfortable, only for the overpowering 'sides being a sneak. Here, smell o' this. Now odour of soot. It was an odour, however, with a go, and be quick back agin; if you don't, I'll soothing effect, ånd, combined with the fumes of just about smash yer. I'm always promisin' to the burning coke, sent me to sleep in a very lit- smash yer, but if you don't mind yerself this tle while,

morning, I'll do it, I will, swelp me goodness! It was not yet daylight when, awoke by the Now be off.” barking of Spider's little dog, I found that Sam Hearing the cripple talk in this strange way, I was getting up to go to work, having been peeped cautiously over the edge of the heap of roused by Ned Perks, who, in spite of poor sacks on which I was lying to get a peep at him; Spider's complainings and entreaty about the but the place was so dark, and he was so black, wind and its disastrous effects on his joints, per- that all I could make out was his dim figure sisted in standing with the shed door wide open, crawling all fours towards the door, and the little giving directions to Sam.

white dog dancing and whining about him, and run“It'll be the death on me, I'm sure it will,” ning to and fro between his master and the door, whined Spider, sitting up to cover up his tortur- expressing, as plainly as a dog could, his anxiety ed legs with more sacks. “I wish it would. I to be off. When Spider said, “Smell o' this," wish it would come all of a bust, and be the death he held something out to the dog, though what on me."

it was, although I tried very hard, I could not good job too, for all the good of possibly discern. He had dragged a sack along sich hawful !" (offal, I think he meant,) growled with him to the door; and when he had pushed Ned Perks. “It's 'bout time you was sent to the it a little way open to let the dog out, and swiftly knacker's, you precious snivillin' bag-o'-bones ! pulled it to again, he rolled bimself in the sack, . You might be worth a flimsy then, and that's and squatted on one side to wait. mor'n you are now."

He waited, and waited, uttering no other So saying, the brute went away, taking Sam sounds but those expressive of his rheumatic with him, and banging the door.

pains, for fully a quarter of an hour, and until Bearing in mind Mr. Belcher's intimation that the daylight began to show through the dingy I need not get up until I was called, I lay still, skylight in the roof of the shed. Then he began and presently I heard Spider stirring.

to grow fidgety and grumble under his breath, “ You're like the rest on 'em,” said he, pre- and once or twice he opened the door just a litsently, and in an impatient tone; “here you lay, tle way, and peeped out. just as though it was the middle of the night, “I wish I was behind him, cuss him !” exinstead of five o'clock in the mornin.' Your claimed be presently, in a whining whisper ; jints is all right, ain't they ? hang you! What “I'd make him move hisself a little quicker. do you care whose jints ain't, and who warnts a He's larkin'—that's what he's doin.' What does fire and who don't ?"

he care? His jints is all right. He's met with I thought to be sure that Spider was address- some other dawg, bust him ! that's wot it is; and ing himself to me, and was about to tell him that he's foolin' away his time while I'm layin' here if he wanted me to get up and light the fire he freezin' to my marrer a’most. Cuss him ! I wish might at least have asked me in a civil man- | I was behind him. All right! stop till he does ner. Before I could speak, however, he began come home. I'll give him one of my three slices again.

for his brekfus, won't I? Oh yes ! I'll give him the “Don't get a-lickin' me. I don't want none of lot, bust him ! I'll – Here he comes, at last !" your lickin'. It's easier to lay here a-lickin' than As Spider spoke, first a swift pattering of cato go and do what's wanted of yer, ain't it? You nine feet, and then a scratching at the door was won't get up, eh? P'raps that'll make you, you heard; and on Spider pushing open the door a lazy beggar! Ah! I thought it would.” little, in ran the little dirty-white cur, bearing in

It was plain that Spider was talking to the lit- his mouth a clean shank of mutton bone. Such tle dirty-white dog previously alluded to as occu- I saw it was instantly; not so poor Spider, whose pying part of his couch, for simultaneous with vision was defective. The dog bolted past him, the sound of a smart thump a sudden whine was and made for the other

end of the shed. heard, and then a scampering, and a scratching “Come here ! D' ye hear? Ain't yer had at the kitchen door.

foolin' enough ? cuss yer !-bein' gone all this “That's havin' the use of your jints !" groaned while after a single stick. It's a good thick un, I Spider, in allusion, as I suppose, to the activity think, though, and new: dropped out of somedisplayed by his canine friend. “I wish I was body's bundle, I dessay. Here, Pinch! Pinch! ekal to it. I wouldn't lay here wishin' myself good dawg! bring it here, Pinch.” dead, and everybody wishin' the same." And But Pinch didn't seem inclined to obey. He then, as I could hear, he shuffled off his sacks, I had retreated into a corner, and there he lay with

« AnteriorContinuar »