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94

THE GOOD-FOR-NOTHING.

BY EDWARD MAYHEW.

WITH AN ILLUSTRATION BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.

An old convivial proverb asserts, “You shall know a man by his cellar.” Perhaps it was Mr. Edwin Jackman's naturally modest and retiring disposition which induced him originally to fix his abode as far from the above proverbial point of inspection as possible. He was not partial to the cellar. His coals, for instance, used to be carried to him “fresh and fresh” by a great unwashed, who, after stamping slowly up the hollow stairs, would rattle the dusty burden on the floor, and then doggedly stand beside the rubbish for cash on delivery. But time, which abases all things, did not spare Mr. Edwin Jackman. Gradually that gentleman's habita. tion sank lower and lower, till at last he regularly dined in the parlour. Gradually also had the naturally modest and retiring disposi. tion sunk with the body. From an honest desire (wanting more brilliant qualifications) to be esteemed for his genuine good nature, Jackman descended to petty cares for his respectability; and when, in his own opinion, this middling honour was established, he felt a longing after the genteel.

A waggon and four proportionable horses, stationed before his door, was an object for lofty contemplation as he stood at the window, his nose flattened against the glass, carelessly dallying with the silver in his pockets ;-and, remembering the days long past, he thought of those whose abilities and prospects were still high in the sloping chambers of some dismal inn of court, —-whose pecuniary resources were the lawful discussion of the chandler and the laundress, and swellingly compared them with his own present im. portance. It was a pleasant sight to see the passengers duck and run to avoid the spray of the very best autumnal Wallsends," which were trickling over the pavement into the ample abyss beneath ; but when the climax arrived, and one sturdy fellow bravely smacked the emptied sacks upon the pavement, while another in lusty accents annourced their numbers to the neighbourhood, Edwin Jackman would prudently retire to conceal his feelings, and order beer for the men.

To those who enter the legal profession without other resources than their own abilities, there is a "great gulf” lying between the disreputable retailer of the coal-shed, who receives orders with suspi. cion, and the complacent dapper merchant, who never thinks of his bill even when the fuel is consumed. Mr. Jackman had, unas. sisted, leaped this gulf. He had a right to feel proud; but as he now kept a man-servant, he could not help also feeling genteel, in which sentiment the gentle partner of his bed and fortune amply participated. Thus the domestic circle of the conveyancer might have been harmonious, had an only child, now in his fifth year, been of a tractable disposition ; but Master Frederick was rudely healthy. It was a trying affliction to his parents when, beholding other children walk stiffly on without rumpling their collars by looking either to the right or left, they contrasted the prim gentility of these little

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