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frame-makers, and be standing in the dining-room waiting to be put up; and Aunt Podger would ask what was to be done with it, and Uncle Podger would say
“Oh, you leave that to me. Don't you, any of you, worry yourselves about that. I'll do all that.”
And then he would take off his coat, and begin. He would send the girl out for sixpen'orth of nails, and then one of the boys after her to tell her what size to get; and from that, he would gradually work down, and start the whole house.
“Now you go out and get me my hammer, Will,” he would shout; "and you bring me the rule, Tom; and I
; shall want the step-ladder, and I had better have a kitchen-chair, too; and, Jim, you run round to Mr. Goggles, and tell him, “Pa's kind regards, and hopes his leg's better; and will be lend him his spirit-level ?' And don't you go, Maria, because I shall want somebody to hold me the light; and when the girl comes back, she must go out again for a bit of picture-cord; and Tom ! where's Tom ?-Tom, you come here; I shall want you to hand me up the picture.
And then he would lift up the picture, and drop it, and it would come out of the frame, and he would try to save the glass, and cut himself; and then he would spring round the room, looking for his handkerchief. He could not find his handkerchief, because it was in the pocket of the coat he had taken off, and he did not know where he had put the coat, and all the house had to leave off looking for his tools and start looking for his coat: while he would dance round and hinder them.
“Doesn't anybody in the whole house know where my coat is? I never came across such a set in all
life upon my word I didn't. Six of you!—and you can't find a coat that I put down not five minutes ago! Well, of
1 all the
Then he'd get up, and find that he had been sitting on it, and would call out
Oh, you can give it up! I've found it myself now. Might just as well ask the cat to find anything as expect you people to find it.”
And, when half an hour had been spent in tying up his finger, and a new glass had been got, and the tools, and the ladder, and the chair, and the candle had been brought, he would have another go, the whole family, including the girl and the charwoman, standing round in a semicircle, ready to help. Two people would have to hold the chair, and a third would help him up on it, and hold him there, and a fourth would hand him a nail, and a fifth would pass him up the hammer, and he would take hold of the nail and drop it.
“ There!” he would say, in an injured tone, “now the nail's gone."
And we would all have to go down on our knees and grovel for it, while he would stand on the chair, and grunt, and want to know if he was to be kept there all the evening
The nail would be found at last, but by that time be would have lost the bammer.
66 Where's the hammer? What did I do with the hammer? Great heavens! Seven of you, gaping round there, and you don't know what I did with the hammer ? "
We would find the hammer for him, and then he would have lost sight of the mark he had made on the wall, where the nail was to go in, and each of us had to get up on the chair, beside him, and see if we could find it; and we would each discover it in a different place, and he would call us all fools, one after another, and tell us to get down. And he would take the rule, and re-measure, and find that he wanted half thirty-one and three-eighths inches from the corner, and would try to do it in his head, and go mad.
And we would all try to do it in our heads, and all arrive at different results, and sneer at one another. And in the general row the original number would be forgotten, and Uncle Podger would have to measure it again.
He would use a bit of string this time, and at the critical moment, when the old fool was leaning over the chair at an angle of forty-five, and trying to reach a point three inches beyond what was possible for him to reach, the string would slip, and down he would slide on to the
piano, a really fine musical effect being produced by the suddenness with which his head and body struck all the notes at the same time.
And Aunt Maria would say that she would not allow the children to stand round and hear such language.
At last Uncle Podger would get the spot fixed again, and put the point of the nail on it with his left hand, and take the hammer in his right hand. And with the first blow, he would smash his thumb, and drop the hammer, with a yell, on somebody's toes.
Aunt Maria would mildly observe that, next time Uncle Podger was going to hammer a nail into the wall, she hoped he'd let her know in time, so that she could make arrangements to go and spend a week with her mother while it was being done.
“Oh! you women, you make such a fuss over everything." Uncle Podger wonld reply, picking himself up. Why, I like doing
a little job of this sort." And then he would have another try, and at the second blow, the nail would go clean through the plaster, and half the hammer after it, and Uncle Podger be precipitated against the wall with force nearly sufficient to flatten his
Then we had to find the rule and the string again, and a new hole was made; and, about midnight, the picture would be up—very crooked and insecure, the wall for yards round looking as if it had been smoothed down with a rake, and everybody dead beat and wretched—except Uncle Podger.
“ There you are," he would say, stepping heavily off the chair on to the charwoman's corns, and surveying the mess he had made with evident pride; “why, some people would have had a man to do a little thing like that.”
From "Three Men in a Boat,” by kind permission of the Author.
THE STORY OF A STOWAWAY.
BY CLEMENT SCOTT.
COME, my lad, and sit beside me, we have often talked
before Of the hurricane and tempest, and the storms on sea and
shore ; When we read of deeds of daring, done for dear old
England's sake, We have cited NELSON'S duty, and the enterprise of DRAKE; 'Midst the fever'd din of battle, roll of drum, and scream
of fife, Heroes pass in long procession, calmly yielding up their life. Pomps and pageants have their glory ; in cathedral aisles
are seen Marble effigies; but seldom of the mercantile marine. If your playmates love adventure, bid them gather round
at school Whilst you tell them of a hero, Captain STRACHAN, of
Liverpool. Spite of storm and stress of weather, in a gale that lashed
the land, On the Cyprian screw steamer, there the Captain took his
stand. He was no fair-weather sailor, and he often made the boast That the ocean safer sheltered than the wild Carnarvon
coast. He'd a good ship underneath him, and a crew of English
form, So he sailed from out the Mersey in the hurricane and
storm. All the luck was dead against him—with the tempest at
its height, Fires expired, and rudders parted, in the middle of the
night Sails were torn and rent asunder. Then he spoke with
bated breath :“ Save yourselves, my gallant fellows! we are drifting to Then they looked at one another, and they felt the awful
shock, When, with louder crash than tempest, they were dashed
upon a rock.
All was over now and hopeless ; but across those miles of
foam, They could hear the shouts of people, and could see the
lights of home. “ All is over!” screamed the Captain. “ You have
answered duty's call. Save yourselves! I cannot help you! God have mercy on
us all! " So they rushed about like madmen, seizing belt, and oar, For the sailor knows where life is, there's the faintest ray
of hopeThen amidst the wild confusion, at the dreaded dawn of day, From the hold of that doomed vessel crept a wretched
Stowaway! Who shall tell the saddened story of this miserable lad? Was it wild adventure stirred him, was he going to the
bad ? Was he thief, or bully's victim, or a runaway from school, When he stole that fatal passage from the port of Liver
pool ? No one looked at him, or kicked him, 'midst the paralys
ing roar, All alone he felt the danger, and he saw the distant shore. Over went the gallant fellows, when the ship was break
ing fast, And the Captain with his life-belt—he prepared to follow
But he saw a boy neglected, with a face of ashy grey. “Who are you?” roared out the Captain. “I'm the boy
what stowed away !' There was scarce another second left to think what he
could do, For the fatal ship was sinking—Death was ready for the