« AnteriorContinuar »
" Then why don't you send this new cove ?” asked Master Bates, laying his hand on Noah's arm; “nobody knows him.”
“ Why, if he didn't mind," observed the Jew. “ Mind !” interposed Charley. 6 What should he have to mind ?”
“ Really nothing, my dear," said Fagin, turning to Mr. Bolter, “ really nothing."
“Oh, I dare say about that, yer know," observed Noah, backing towards the door, and shaking his head with a kind of sober alarm. “ No, no-none of that. It 's not in my department, that isn't.”
“ Wot department has he got, Fagin ?" inquired Master Bates, surveying Noah's lanky form with much disgust. “ The cutting away when there's anything wrong, and the eating all the wittles when there's everything right ; is that his branch ?”
“ Never mind,” retorted Mr. Bolter ; “ and don't yer take liberties with yer superiors, little boy, or yer 'll find yerself in the wrong shop."
Master Bates laughed so vehemently at this magnificent threat, that it was some time before Fagin could interpose and represent to Mr. Bolter that he incurred no possible danger in visiting the police office; that, inasmuch as no account of the little affair in which he had been engaged, nor any description of his person, had yet been for. warded to the metropolis, it was very probable that he was not even suspected of having resorted to it for shelter ; and that, if he were properly disguised, it would be as safe a spot for him to visit as any in London, inasmuch as it would be of all places the very last to which he could be supposed likely to resort of his own free will.
Persuaded, in part, by these representations, but overborne in a much greater degree by his fear of the Jew, Mr. Bolter at length consented, with a very bad grace, to undertake the expedition. By Fagin's direc. tions he immediately substituted for his own attire a waggoner's frock, velveteen breeches, and leather leggings, all of which articles the Jew had at hand. He was likewise furnished with a felt hat well garnished with turnpike tickets, and a carter's whip. Thus equipped, he was to saunter into the office as some country fellow from Covent Garden market might be supposed to do for the gratification of his curiosity; and as he was as awkward, ungainly, and raw-boned a fellow as need be, Mr. Fagin had no fear but that he would look the part to perfection.
These arrangements completed, he was informed of the necessary signs and tokens by which to recognise the artful Dodger, and convey. ed by Master Bates through dark and winding ways to within a very short distance of Bow-street. Having described the precise situation of the office, and accompanied it with copious directions how he was to walk straight up the passage, and, when he got into the yard, take the door up the steps on the right-hand side, and pull off his hat as he went into the room, Charley Bates bade him hurry on alone, and promised to bide his return on the spot of their parting.
Noah Claypole, or Morris Bolter, as the reader pleases, punctually
followed the directions he had received, which-Master Bates being pretty well acquainted with the locality-were so exact that he was enabled to gain the magisterial presence without asking any question, or meeting with any interruption by the way. He found himself jostled among a crowd of people, chiefly women, who were huddled together in a dirty, frowsy room, at the upper end of which was a raised platform railed off from the rest, with a dock for the prisoners on the left hand against the wall, a box for the witnesses in the middle, and a desk for the magistrates on the right; the awful locality last-named being screen. ed off by a partition which concealed the bench from the common gaze, and left the vulgar to imagine (if they could) the full majesty of justice.
There were only a couple of women in the dock, who were nodding to their admiring friends, while the clerk read some depositions to a couple of policemen and a man in plain clothes who leant over the table. A jailer stood reclining against the dock-rail, tapping his nose listlessly with a large key, except when he repressed an undue tendency to conversation among the idlers, by proclaiming silence, or looked sternly up to bid some woman “ Take that baby out,” when the gravity of justice was disturbed by feeble cries, half-sniothered in the mother's shawl, from some meagre infant. The room smelt close and unwholesome ; the walls were dirt-discoloured, and the ceiling blackened. There was an old smoky bust over the mantel-shelf, and a dusty clock above the dock—the only thing present that seemed to go on as it ought ; for depravity, or poverty, or an habitual acquaintance with both, had left a taint on all the animate matter, hardly less unpleasant than a thick greasy scum on every inanimate object that frowned
it. Noah looked eagerly about him for the Dodger, but although there were several women who would have done very well for that distin. guished character's mother or sister, and more than one man who might be supposed to bear a strong resemblance to his father, nobody at all answering the description given him of Mr. Dawkins was to be seen. He waited in a state of much suspense and uncertainty until the women, being committed for trial, went flaunting out, and then was quickly relieved by the appearance of another prisoner, whom he felt at once could be no other than the object of his visit.
It was indeed Mr. Dawkins, who shuffling into the office with the big coat sleeves tucked up as usual, his left hand in his pocket and his hat in his right, preceded the jailer with a rolling gait altogether indescrib. able, and taking his place in the dock requested in an audible voice to know what he was placed in that 'ere disgraceful sitivation for.
“Hold your tongue, will you ?" said the jailer.
“ I'm an Englishman an't I ?" rejoined the Dodger. “Where are my priwileges ?"
" You 'll get your privileges soon enough,” retorted the jailer, “and pepper with 'em."
“We'll see wol the Secretary of State for the Home Affairs has got to say to the beaks, if I don't,” replied Mr. Dawkins. “ Now then, wot is this here business ?-I shall thank the madg'strates to dispose of this here little affair, and not to keep me while they read the paper, for I've got an appointment with a genelman in the city, and as I'm a man of my word, and wery punctual in bisness matters, he 'll go away if I ain't there to my time, and then pr’aps there won't be an action for damage against them as kept me away. . Oh no, certainly not !"
At this point, the Dodger, with a show of being very particular with a view to proceedings to be had thereafter, desired the jailer to com. municate “ the names of them two old files as was on the bench," which so tickled the spectators that they laughed almost as heartily as Master Bates could have done if he had heard the request.
“Silence there !" cried the jailer.
“He ought to have been a many times," replied the jailer. - He has been pretty well everywhere else. I know him well, your worship.”
“ Oh! you know me, do you ?" cried the Artful, making a note of the statement. Wery good. That 's a case of deformation of char. acter, any way."
Here there was another laugh, and another cry of silence. “ Now then, where are the witnesses ?'' said the clerk.
“ Ah! that's right," added the Dodger. “ Where are they?-I should like to see 'em.”
This wish was immediately gratified, for a policeman stepped forward who had seen the prisoner attempt the pocket of an unknown gentleman in a crowd, and indeed take a handkerchief therefrom, which being a very old one, he deliberately put back again, after trying it on his own countenance. For this reason he took the Dodger into custody as soon as he could get near him, and the said Dodger being searched had
his person a silver snuff-box, with the owner's name engraved upon the lid. This gentleman had been discovered on reference to the Court Guide, and being then and there present, swore that the snuff-box was his, and that he had missed it on the previous day, the moment he had disengaged himself from the crowd before referred to. He had also remarked a young gentleman in the throng particularly active in making his way about, and that young gentleman was the prisoner before him.
“Have you anything to ask this witness, boy ?" said the magistrate.
“ I wouldn't abase myself by descending to hold any conversation with him," replied the Dodger.
Have you anything to say at all ?” “ Do you hear his worship ask if you've anything to say ?” in. quired the jailer, nudging the silent Dodger with the elbow.
“ I beg your pardon,” said the Dodger, looking up with an air of abstraction. “ Did you address yourself to me, my man ?”
“I never see such an out-and-out young wagabond, your worship,” observed the officer with a grin. “ Do you mean to say anything, you young shaver ?”
“ No;" replied the Dodger, “ not here, for this ain't the shop for jus. tice ; besides which, my attorney is a breakfasting this morning with the Wice President of the House of Commons, but I shall have something to say elsewhere, and so will he, and so will a wery numerous and re. spectable circle of acquaintance as 'll make them beaks wish they'd never been born, or that they'd got their footman to hang'em up to their own hat-pegs 'afore they let 'em come out this morning to try it on upon me.
I'll" “ There, he's fully committed !" interposed the clerk. “Take him away.”
“ Come on," said the jailer.
“Oh, ah! I'll come on,” replied the Dodger, brushing his hat with the palm of his hand. “ Ah! (to the Bench) it 's no use your looking frightened ; I won't show you no mercy, not a ha’porth of it.
You'll pay for this, my fine fellers ; I wouldn't be you for something. I wouldn't
if you wos to fall down on your knees and ask me. Here, carry me off to prison. Take me away."
With these last words the Dodger suffered himself to be led off by the collar, threatening till he got into the yard to make a parliamentary business of it, and then grinning in the officer's face with great glee and self-approval.
Having seen him locked up by himself in a little cell, Noah made the best of his way back to where he had left Master Bates. After waiting here some time, he was joined by that young gentleman, who had prudently abstained from showing himself until he had looked care. fully abroad from a snug retreat, and ascertained that his new friend had not been followed by any impertinent person.
The two hastened back together, to bear to Mr. Fagin the animat: ing news that the Dodger was doing full justice to his bringing-up, and establishing for himself a glorious reputation,
THE PHANTOM SHIP.
The day has long been past :
The night is waning fast.”
The moon shines forth so bright;
It does not look like night;
In glassy smoothness lies,
It bids no murmur rise.
And as I bend me o'er the side,
Methinks I trace below
A fair and goodly show;
Hath lavish'd there from old ;
The diamond and the gold;
Man seeks mid care and strife,
With wreck or loss of life;
“ The silver fish that gently glide,
Or glance in gladsome play,
How fair and bright are they!
A ship of pride and cost ;
The helmsman at his post. .
No tempest raves around;
Whilst all is still around.
“She ruffles not the glassy tide,
Bends not her stately mast,
No foam is round her cast.
No furrow in her wake;
Her silent way doth take."
Thou dost not see aright:
There is no ship in sight.”
And all my words are true;