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"I am as a weed,
(FRANKLIN LIBRARY EDITION.]
WALLIS & NEWELL, PUBLISHERS,
No. 9, JOHN STREET.
“While rapidly the marksman's shot prevailid,
GERTRUDE OF WYOMING.
Dazzled by the glones of Trafalgar, I, Thomas Cringle, one fine moming in the merry month of May, in the year one thousand eight hundred and so and so, magnanimously determined in my own mind, that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland should no longer languish under the want of a successor to the immortal Nelson, and being then of the great perpendicular altitude of four feet four inches, and of the mature age of thirteen years, I thereupon betook myself to the praiseworthy task of tormenting, to the full extent of my small ability, every man and woman who had the misfortune of being in any way connected with me, until they had agreed to exert all their interest, direct or indirect, and concentrate the same in one focus upon the head and heart of Sir Barnably Blueblazes, vice-admiral of the red squadron, a lord of the admiralty, and one of the old plain K. B.'s, (for he flourished before the time when a gallant action or two tagged half of the letters of the alphabet to a man's name, like the tail of a paper kite,) in order that he might be graciously pleased to have me placed on the quarterdeck of one of his majesty's ships of war without delay.
The stone I had set thus recklessly a-rolling, had not been in motion over a fortnight, when it fell with unanticipated violence, and crushed the heart of my poor mother, while it terribly bruised that of me, Thomas; for as I sat at breakfast with the dear old woman, one fine Sunday morning, admiring my new blue jacket and snow-white trousers, and shining wellsoaped face, and nicely brushed hair, in the pier glass over the chimneye piece, I therein saw the door behind me open, and Nicodemus, the waiting man, enter and deliver a letter to the old lady, with a formidable-looking seal.
I perceived that she first ogled the superscription, and then the seal, very ominously, and
vice made as she would have broken the missive open, but her heart seemed as often to fail her. At length she laid it down heaved a long deep sigh--took off her spectacles, which appeared dim, dim — wiped them, put them on again, and making a sudden effort, tore open the letter, read it hastily over, but not so rapidly as to prevent her hot tears falling with a small tiny tap tap on the cracking paper.
Presently she pinched my arm, pushed the blistered manuscript under my