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and, indeed, upon any boy who was on thing”-here his brougham would be his road to Cornhill. He seemed to announced, and after saying, “Good forget there might be some danger of night,” he would sometimes, not often, such a sentiment reacting upon himself, stoop to kiss me-stooping not being an but then he looked upon himself as the easy matter in such a stiff white tie as wisest, kindest, and best of parents; as it was then the fashion to wear. BeI believe my grandfather, taking his sides, to caress the child destroyed the conduct from quite another point of illusion of my being his companionable view, had done before him. People grown-up son. As a child he treated me were paid to educate me—that was all as an ideal man, without foreseeing that my father knew of the matter, beyond this would end in his treating the man the fact that these people, whoever they as an ideal child. He always left home might be, were paid by him. Business in more or less of a hurry, and after might get better or worse, but he con- he had consulted his watch, and obsidered that his heir was laying up for served that it was past time, he himself such a store of knowledge for would run downstairs and be driven the future, as must achieve greatness off at a rapid pace, leaving me to my by an easy and pleasant way; and, as owu devices for amusement. These I to the sinews of war, had he not already soon found in any books I could get hold provided for the improbable adversities of, and in my old friend the theatre, of the future?
with Blue Beard and Co. (only on He was fond of delivering oracular rather a larger scale, consistent with my precepts for my benefit, generally while increasing age and improved means), of he was dressing for a party, and I, ten which I used to give performances to years old, and seated on a chair, was the servants. My audience included intently watching the operation-being the cook and her cousin-an enormous much interested in the watch and money, tall corporal in uniform—of whom I usually lying on the dressing-table. was at first very much afraid, but who
“You must always," he used to ob- really proved a most amiable person, serve, under the impression that he was and, considered as (in himself) the enunciating some original philosophical greater part of my “gentle public,” doctrine, and deluding himself all the most appreciative. My performances at while with the idea that he was address this time were, for the most part, under ing a young man twice my age, “You the patronage of the cook and The must always look on both sides of a diffi- Military. culty,”—here he would fold his cravat After this came supper; and then twice round, and tie it in the nattiest the housemaid- to whose hands, during bow possible. “One day I might not my holidays, I fell, in company with the be able to do all for you that I intend." grates and fire-irons—would intimate
I am sure he felt a sort of pleasure that it was time for me to retire for the in saying this, as if the contingency night, "unless," she generally was obliged were too remote to be even possible, to add, "you wish your Pa to come 'ome and, therefore, one on which he could and catch you hup." safely expatiate. He continued: “Then She used to emphasize the “h's" very you'll have plenty of friends to help strongly. She had wonderful stories you, and you'll only have to get up in about her grandmother—who seemed to court and make a speech, and they'll have been a sort of Mother Shipton, say, Hulloa ! here's a clever fellow, by seeing strange forms in the sky. These Jove !"-here he got into his coat and stories I would get her to tell me with gave his whiskers a last brush ; "and a view to inducing repose, but unsucthen"-here his money and watch went cessfully, as I subsequently lay awake into his pockets, and the chance of half- fancying all sorts of woes coming upon a-crown had vanished for that time the earth in consequence of Anne's “you'll be Lord Chancellor or some venerable relative having beheld a regiment of soldiers marching in a flash of was forced to yield to the force which, lightning. This and a new Blue Cham- later on, was brought to bear upon it, ber in “Blue Beard”—which I had and then it snapped in twain-but, lately purchased, and which was fur- thank God, not for ever. nished with fearful skeletons in rose- Had my mother been spared, she coloured flames-impress my memory to would have had to suffer much, as this this day so vividly and clearly, that, as history will show, for what has fallen I write, I seem to behold the bony heavily on my father and myself would creatures of my imagination dancing on have fallen heaviest on her, and she the wall, as I had often seen them in would have been wounded through me, those childish days, when unable to ring, but by no fault or misdoing of mine. or to scream, I sought safety under the No one could have been kinder to me bed-clothes, where after a time I fell than Nurse Davis. She was, certainly, asleep.
for her station in life, a superior person, I dwell upon these incidents—slight and before going to school I really posand valueless in themselves, but of great sessed a very fair amount of knowledge, weight as bearing upon my future : of as far as reading and writing went, great weight to parents who leave chil. besides an intimate acquaintance with dren to form themselves as best they Oriental habits and customs as illuscan; of great weight to those who look trated in “Blue Beard," on my stage, forward to their children's companion and the Eastern fairy tales in my dear ship in later life ; who, neglecting to old book; not to mention such an acSow carefully, yet expect to reap quaintance with Germany as was to profitably. To what purpose is this be met with in the play of “Der written? The least eventful life may Freischütz," with Skelt's "Scenes and
as the paid preacher's stereotyped dis- of the Brothers Grimm. So was it with courses, are the sermons of the Rev. Robin Hood and William Tell (whom I Father Time; and his sermons are ex- had seen in a pantomime, the first I ever perience. Who learns from them aught witnessed, and who for years remained
the advice thus taught to our neigh- an enormous head, who would pepper bours; they, we see, were fools not his son's nose and otherwise illtreat him to have learnt by the experience of at breakfast) — I say, with all these odds others; but for ourselves, circumstances and ends, my knowledge-box was fairly alter cases, and we alone are judges of stored, and, by the way, 80 was my the circumstances. It is, indeed, a wise school-box, wherein were a cake, apples, child who knows his own father so biscuits, and a small jar of mixed pickles, thoroughly as to avoid his faults, and which Nurse considered a rare delicacy. improve upon his good qualities. At school my cake was divided among
When I have said that Sir John was my new companions, as were also the weak and impulsive; when I have said apples and biscuits, everyone looking that his only idea concerning his son was, upon the distribution as a matter of that there were those whom he paid for course, calling for no expressions of their duty of attending the youth, gratitude towards the noble donor, who until the time should arrive for him could not help himself, and what is more, to be his father's companion—when I could not prevent their being helped. have said this, I have said all I have As for the pickles, to the best of my to urge against the parental policy. recollection, I never set eyes on them Between him and myself there might after they had once been taken out have been the strongest attachment, had of my box. I rather fancy I heard not he, in the first instance, kept so far Miss Secunda Sharpe, the second sister, apart from me, that the cord of our say something about pickles being very natural love, strained to the utmost, unwholesome, but I think this remark
must have only applied to them as eat- eating it in haste as if it were a sort of ables for boys, as I am pretty sure that, Passover ceremony, due regard, by the on Sunday,I recognized some well-known way, not being paid to the necessary dress favourites of my nurse's, such as very to be observed on such a solemn occasmall but very strong onions, at the sion, for we ate it at night, when the upper end of the dinner-table, on the other boys were asleep, in our dormi. schoolmistresses' plates. But what is tory. We paid for it, in medicine, the not, in the goose's opinion, sauce for following day. This did not prethe gosling, may be a very excellent vent our repeating our gluttony on relish for the goose herself.
the occurrence of a similar oppor*Nurse, who had quitted my father's tunity. service, came, with Julie and Mr. Ver- Of my time at this period I have very ney, to see me one Sunday during the little worth recording. I cried on the summer time. Mr. Verney, on this first morning after my arrival, and was occasion, was peculiarly light and airy, dazed by the formality of school prayers and wore a countrified hat, and turn- round the breakfast-table. I remember down collars. He told me he took this that the first words to impress me opportunity of "courting the zephyrs with anything resembling a sentimenwhich were trifling with the fragrant tally religious feeling were in the colbuttercups and the humble daisies in lect commencing “Lighten our darkthe luxuriant meadows." I did not ness," which was always read at night understand him then, but I believe this prayers, and imbued me with a mysto have been a mere poetical figure, terious dread of bedtime. This solemn signifying that having been deposited petition used invariably to make me by the sixpenny 'bus at the corner, he feel very sad; it seemed to be a sort had walked up the lane under the trees, of funeral service read over us boys preand through the front garden to the vious to storing us away for the night. school-house.
I fancy this impression had vanished by Julie was grown, and a little shy. the time I had got into bed, or I I asked her if she'd like to come to my should not have indulged in such reckschool, and she replied “No," which I less dissipation as cake-eating after the considered at the time rather unkind. light was out. At parting, however, we cried a bit, all It took me a long time to master of us except Mr. Verney, who stood my duty towards my neighbour in over us in the attitude of a benignant the Catechism, and I really do not gaoler. He presently interrupted our think I ever rightly succeeded in acsobs with an admonitory cough.
quiring the proper order of the sentences “Parting, Jane, as the bard has ex- about being “true and just in all my pressed it, is such sweet sorrow' that dealings" (which always reminded me we shall be here till to-morrow, I'm of shopkeepers), and about "hurting afraid, unless we leave our excellent nobody by word or deed.” In conseyoung friend to his scholastic duties, quence of the Catechism I suffered a and catch the fleeting omnibus at the martyrdom, not for any conscientious corner of the lane, where it will be objections to its doctrinal statements, within the next quarter of an hour, but for the reason above mentioned ; and Farewell !"
it certainly was tiresome work on a hot When they'd gone, I didn't get over Sunday afternoon, under the eye of an it for an hour or more, but sat alone, irritable mistress, who often hurt somethinking of what they were doing body “by deed," and that somebody was now, and how happy they were in myself. Our punishments were various. being free while I was still a pri- One, of Chinese origin, was a stiff soner. I managed to secrete the cake leather collar, which kept your chin which had been given me, and shared up, and forced you to assume a proud it with a friend in the bed next to me, bearing in spite of yourself, and greatly
to your own discomfort. The position of both of us must wait. But my father some people enjoying an elevated social was impatient. position and paying its penalties, has So far the stream of time bore me forcibly recalled to my mind this collar. along, lazily, easily. Nurse Davis, . Then there was the ruler for the knuckles Julie, and Frampton's Court I already of the recalcitrant, which extracted from seemed to have left far behind. Where me many a sob on a cold morning on my voyage I might meet them again Bread and water was not much of a never entered into my head. The future punishment for me, as I was very partial gives a child no trouble, and the past to dry bread, if I could only have enough but little pleasure. I had been happy of it
with the Verneys, and I was happy My holidays were passed at home, without them. Be it remembered, I where, except my Clym cousins, with was alone, and therefore selfish. Our whom I occasionally spent the day, I family archives record instances of selfish had no companions, save the servants individuals among the Colvins. It is and the corporal afore-mentioned. I a theory that every man has in him enjoyed their parties while my father some disease which will exhibit its fatal went out to his. Of him I saw very power if he live long enough for its delittle, except on Sundays, when he would velopment. Growing up within me was send for me into the sitting-room (we selfishness. I see, now, that nothing were still in lodgings—on our road to a but the knife could have saved me. I big house, my father having changed his know, now, that a true love had already intention on this subject several times taken root deep down in my heart,
-but no longer over the dairy), and out of sight; and of its existence I would read two or three chapters should not be aware until the earth “ out of the Old Testament" to me above should be broken by the strength - generally those wherein occurred of its first upward shoots. the hardest and longest names, which My small boat was now to be delayed he took great delight in hearing at a landing-stage, where I was to take himself pronounce. He was proud of in fresh stores and meet new characters. his reading, and considered the exer- Already the pilots destined to betray cise as equivalent to a church service. their trast, to run both ship and boat Sometimes, of an afternoon, he would upon the rocks, were awaiting us on let me accompany him, in state, to a this new shore. fashionable place of worship, of which all I remember is, that there was exquisite singing, accompanied by a great
CHAPTER VI. rustling of music-paper, and that the
OLD CARTER'S ACADEMY.-AS HINTED IN preacher, reader, and clerk were piled
A FORMER CHAPTER, ONE OF MY IMup one above the other, of each of whom
PORTANT PERSONAGES APPEARS FOR only just so much was visible as can be
THE FIRST TIME. seen of a punch-doll in the usual show. More often, however, he took me, on Soon the time came for jackets, and Sunday, to call on Grandmamma Colvin, with a new suit I was sent to a new and then to my other grandmamma, school, near Bromfield, in Kent, which Mrs. Pritchard. He never came to see I was informed was to be preparatory me at school, or asked me any educa. to going to Holyshade. This establishtional questions. He appeared to be ment was kept by the Rev. Thomas uninterested in me as long as I con- Carter, a pompous clergyman of the tinued a child; it seemed such an age Evangelical school, who stood in great before I should be anywhere near awe of his wife. Mrs. Carter ruled manhood. Nothing short of my having him, ruled the ushers—who did their been born a ready-made man would nest to render themselves agreeable to have satisfied him. It was clear that her- and ruled the boys. Here, I
made the acquaintance of that dia- the juniors—who pretended to “miaow" bolical instrument the cane. Mrs. when Harker's back was turned, and to Carter generally looked in at the door be afraid of his tail coat—was visited when any chastisement was being in- with condign punishment whenever he flicted, and would keep her husband succeeded in catching a delinquent, up to the mark by such words of encou- which was not often. Harker was strong ragement as “That's not hard enough, in neckties of a rainbow pattern, and Thomas; make him feel it, my dear," flattered himself that be was the admi80 that Mr. Carter, one day losing his ration of a girls' school which frequented temper, and getting very red in the our church. He was the son of a Manface, cried out to her, “Perhaps you'd chester manufacturer, reputed to be like to do it yourself," to which she immensely wealthy, with mills and at once replied that she wouldn't machinery in every direction. He was cane at all if she couldn't do it better partial to sweet-smelling pomade, with than that, adding that "she'd like to which he used to plaster his black hair cane him and the boys too," whereat until it shone again, and his great amusethe second usher put his head under the ment and delight was to watch the very lid of his desk and laughed, while his gradual growth of some fluffy down on his senior smiled grimly, and took an enor- upper lip, for which purpose he kept a mous pinch of snuff. She was a dread- small looking-glass fastened to the inside ful little, freckled, shrivelled woman, of the lid of his desk. This dark streak and was quite my idea of a witch of down, looking like a smudge from a With a broomstick and a sugarloaf hat lead pencil, was as interesting to him she would have been perfect: only I as the first sprouts of a spring crop pity the imp who would have dared to to a farmer. The drawing-master reget within reach of her broomstick; he marked that every pussy cat had mouswould have had a Walpurgis night not tachios, and this joke lasted us for to be forgotten in a hurry.
some time, until Fatty Bifford asked Out of the fifty or sixty boys, there Harker if he wouldn't like some cat'swere only two in whom I was interested. meat, therewith imitating the cry of the One was the captain of the school, Per- purveyor of that article; whereupon, cival Floyd, whom I admired and feared. being unable to run away as quickly as The other was Austin Comberwood, he had intended, he was captured, and of whom I was very fond. The head handled so severely, that we never boy-we didn't call him captain—was attempted to imitate the humorous Percival Floyd. He was nearly seven- Bifford, who, we considered, deserved teen, and in the general opinion quite all he had got, for his inability to escape a man, if it had not been for his still the consequences. wearing jackets, which gave him rather There were two Biffords–Fatty and a nautical appearance, especially about Puggy- brothers with 80 strong & the legs, of which, as may be imagined, family resemblance to each other, that we saw a good deal. He had a mag- it seemed as if they'd been originally nificent reputation for strength and intended for twins. They were not, prowess at fisticuffs. It was just however, and Fatty was the elder by a question whether he could thrash two years. They were never known to Stephen Harker, who was about his own agree on any one point, except that they age, and had lately gone into stick-ups should always be fighting, and no quesand tails. These appendages caused Mas- tion ever arose between them, which ter Harker considerable embarrassment, was not at once decided by the ordeal on account of his having been christened, of battle. Such a battle, too ! where all on his return in this new attire, “ Pussy was fair, except a blow below the lowest Cat,” by the drawing-master, who was a waistcoat button, which Fatty Bifioro wag in his way; but if his pleasantry was could not, and would not, stand. And tolerated, out of deference to Art, that of this was the fatal blow that his bro