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"You should know," said I.
"Never saw the man in all my life."
"Yes, you have," said I, "and felt him, too; don't you remember the individual from whom you took the pocket-book?"
"Oh, that was he; well, the less said about that matter the better; I have left off that trade, and taken to this, which is a much better. Between ourselves, I am not sorry that I did not carry off that pocket-book; if I had, it might have encouraged me in the trade, in which, had I remained, I might have been lagged, sent abroad, as I had been already imprisoned; so I determined to leave it off at all hazards, though I was hard up, not having a penny in the world."
"And wisely resolved," said I, "it was a bad and dangerous trade; I wonder you should ever have embraced it."
"It is all very well talking," said the man, "but there is a reason for everything; I am the son of a Jewess, by a military officer,"-and then the man told me his story. I shall not repeat the man's story; it was a poor one, a vile one. At last he observed, "So that affair which you know of determined me to leave the filching trade, and take up with a more honest and safe one; so at last I thought of the pea and thimble, but I wanted funds, especially to pay for lessons at the hands of a master, for I knew little about it."
"Well," said I, "how did you get over that difficulty?"
"Why," said the man, "I thought I should never have got over it. What funds could I raise? I had nothing to sell; the few clothes I had I wanted, for we of the thimble must always appear decent, or nobody would come near us. I was at my wits' ends; at last I got over my difficulty in the strangest way in the world."
"What was that?"
"By an old thing which I had picked up some time before-a book."
"A book ?" said I.
"Yes, which I had taken out of your lordship's pocket one day as you were walking the streets in a great hurry. I thought it was a pocket-book, at first, full of bank notes, perhaps," continued he, laughing. "It was well for me, however, that it was not, for I should have soon spent the notes; as it was, I had flung the old thing down with an oath, as soon as I brought it home. When I was so hard up, however, after the affair with that friend of yours, I took it up, one day, and thought I might make something by it to support myself a day with. Chance or something else led me into a grand shop; there was a man there who seemed to be the master, talking to a jolly, portly old gentleman, who seemed to be a country squire. Well, I went up to the first, and offered it for sale; he took the book, opened it at the title-page, and then all of a sudden his eyes glistened, and he showed it to the fat, jolly gentleman, and his eyes glistened, too, and I heard him say, 'How singular!' and then the two talked together in a speech I didn't understand-I rather thought it was French, at any rate it wasn't cant; and presently the first asked me what I would take for the book. Now I am not altogether a fool, nor am I blind, and I had narrowly marked all that had passed, and it came into my head that now was the time for making a man of myself, at any rate I could lose nothing by a little confidence; so I looked the man boldly in the face, and said, I will have five guineas for that book, there a'n't such another in the whole world.' 'Nonsense,' said the first man, there are plenty of them; there have been nearly fifty editions to my knowledge; I will give you five shillings.' 'No,' said I, 'I'll not take it, for I don't like to be cheated, so give me my book again;' and I attempted to take it away from the fat gentleman's hand. 'Stop,' said the younger man, 'are you sure that you won't take less?' Not a farthing,' said I; which was not altogether true, but I said so. Well,' said the fat gentleman, I will give you what you ask;' and sure enough he presently gave me the money; so I made a bow and was leaving the shop, when it came into my head that there was something odd in all this, and as I had got the money in my pocket, I turned back, and making another bow, said, 'May I be so bold as to ask why you gave me all this money for that 'ere dirty book? When I came into the shop I should have been glad to get a shilling for it; but I saw you wanted it, and asked five guineas.' Then they looked at one another and smiled, and shrugged up their shoulders. Then the first man, ooking at me, said, Friend, you have been a little too sharp for us; however, we can afford to forgive you, as my friend here has long been in quest of this particular book; there are plenty of editions, as
I told you, and a common copy is not worth five shillings; but this
is a first edition, and a copy of the first edition is worth its weight in gold."
So, after all, they outwitted you," I observed.
Clearly," said the man; "I might have got double the price had I known the value; but I don't care; much good may it do them, it has done me plenty. By means of it I have got into an honest respectable trade, in which there's little danger and plenty of profit, and got out of one which would have got me lagged sooner or later." 'But," said I, "you ought to remember that the thing was not yours; you took it from me, who had been requested by a poor old apple-woman to exchange it for a Bible."
"Well," said the man, "did she ever get her Bible?"
"Yes," said I, "she got her Bible."
"Then she has no cause to complain; and, as for you, chance or something else has sent you to me, that I may make you reasonable amends for any loss you may have had. Here am I ready to make you my bonnet, with forty or fifty shillings a week, which you say yourself are capital wages."
"I find no fault with the wages," said I, "but I don't like the employ."
Not like bonneting?" said the man; "ah, I see, you would like to be principal; well, a time may come-those long white fingers of yours would just serve for the business."
Is it a difficult one?" I demanded.
Why. it is not very easy; two things are needful-natural talent, and persistent practice; but I'll show you a point or two connected with the game;" and, placing his table between his knees as he sat over the side of the pit, he produced three thimbles and a small brown pellet, something resembling a pea. He moved the thimble and pellet about, now placing it to all appearance under one, and now under another. "Under which is it now?" he said at last. "Under that," said I, pointing to the lowermost of the thimbles, which, as they stood, formed a kind of triangle. "No," said he, "it is not, but lift it up;" and when I lifted up the thimble, the pellet, in truth, was not under it. "It was under none of them," said he, "it was pressed by my little finger against my palm;" and then he showed me how he did the trick, and asked me if the game was not a funny one, and on my answering in the affirmative, he said, "I am glad you like it, come along and let us win some money."
Thereupon, getting up, he placed the table before him, and was moving away; observing, however, that I did not stir, e asked me wha I was staying for. Merely for my own pleasure," said I, "I like sitting here very well." "Then you won't close?" said the man. 'By no means," I replied, "your proposal does not suit me."
You may be principal in time," said the man. "That makes no difference," said I; and sitting with my legs over the pit, I forthwith began to decline an Armenian noun. That a'n't cant," said the man; no, nor gypsy, either. Well, if you won't close, another will, I can't lose any more time," and forthwith he departed. And after I had declined four Armenian nouns, of different declensions, I rose from the side of the pit and wandered about amongst the various groups of people scattered over the green. Presently I came to where the man of the thimbles was standing, with the table before him, and many people about him. "Them who finds, wins, and them who can't find, loses," he cried. Various individuals tried to find the pellet, but all were unsuccessful, till at last considerable dissatisfaction was expressed, and the terms rogue and cheat were lavished upon him. 'Never cheated anybody in all my life," he cried: and, observing me at hand, "Didn't I play fair, my lord?" he inquired. But I made no answer. Presently some more played, and he permitted one or two to win, and the eagerness to play with him became greater. After I had looked on for some time, I was moving away. Just then I perceived a short, thick personage, with a staff in his hand, advancing in a great hurry; where upon, with a sudden impulse, I exclaimed,
"Shoon thimble-engro; Avella gorgio.' The man who was in the midst of his pea and thimble process no sooner heard the last word of the distich, than he turned an alarmed look in the direction of where I stood; then, glancing around, and perceiving the constable, he slipped forthwith his pellet and thimbles into his pocket, and, lifting up his table, he cried to the people about him, "Make way!" and with a motion with his head to me, as if to follow him, he darted off with a swiftness which the short, pursy constable could by no means rival; and whither he went, or what became of him, I know not, inasmuch as I turned away in another direction.
"I would rather be the lil-writer, after all," said the tall, handsome black man; 66 indeed, I would wish for nothing better."
'Why so?" said Mr. Petulengro.
"Because they have so much to say for themselves," said the black man, "even when they are dead and gone. When they are laid in the churchyard, it is their own fault if people a'n't talking of them. Who will know, after I am dead, or bitchadey pawdel, that I was once the beauty of the world, or that you, Jasper, were
"The best man in England of my inches. That's true, Tawnohowever, here's our brother will perhaps let the world know something about us."
"Not he," said the other, with a sigh; "he'll have quite enough to do writing his own lils, and telling the world how handsome and clever he was; and who can blame him? Not I. If I could write lils every word should be about myself and my own tacho Rommanis-my own lawful wedded wife, which is the same thing. I tell you what, brother, I once heard a wise man say in Brummagem, that there is nothing like blowing one's own horn,' which I conceive to be much the same thing as writing one's own lil." After a little more conversation, Mr. Petulengro arose and motioned me to follow him. "Only eighteen pence in the world, brother!" said he, as we walked together.
"Nothing more, I assure you. How came you to ask me how much money I had?"
"Because there was something in your looks, brother, something very much resembling that which a person showeth who does not carry much money in his pocket. I was looking at my own face this morning in my wife's looking-glass-I did not look as you do." "I believe your sole motive for inquiring," said I, "was to have an opportunity of venting a foolish boast, and to let me know that you were in possession of fifty pounds."
"What is the use of having money unless you let people know you have it?" said Mr. Petulengro. "It is not every one who can read faces, brother; and, unless you knew I had money, how could you ask me to lend you any?"
"I am not going to ask you to lend me any."
"Then you may have it without asking; as I said before, I have fifty pounds, all lawfully earnt money, got by fighting in the ring -I will lend you that, brother."
You are very kind," said I, "but I will not take it."
"Then the half of it?"
"Nor the half of it; but it is getting toward evening, I must go back to the great city."
"And what will you do in the Boro Foros?"
"I know not," said I.
"If I can."
"And if you can't?"
"You look ill brother," said Mr. Petulengro.
"I do not feel well; the great city does not agree with me.
I be so fortunate as to earn some money, I would leave the big city, and take to the woods and fields."
"You may do that," said Mr. Petulengro, "whether you have money or not. Our tents and horses are on the other side of yonder wooded hill, come and stay with us; we shall all be glad of your company, but more especially myself and my wife Pakomovna." "What hill is that?" I demanded.
And then Mr. Petulengro told me the name of the hill. "We stay on t'other side of the hill a fortnight," he continued; "and as you are fond of lil writing, you may employ yourself profitably whilst there. You can write the lil of him whose dook gallops down that hill every night, even as the living man was wont to do long ago." "Who was he?" I demanded.
"Jemmy Abershaw," said Mr. Petulengro; "one of those whom we call Boro drom engroes, and the gorgois highwaymen. I once heard a rye say that the life of that man would fetch much money; so come to the other side of the hill and write the lil in the tent of Jasper and his wife Pakomovna."
At first I felt inclined to accept the invitation of Mr. Petulengro; a little consideration, however, determined me to decline it. I had always been on excellent terms with Mr. Petulengro, but I reflected that people might be excellent friends when they met occasionally in the street, or on the heath, or in the wood; but that these very people when living together in a house, to say nothing of a tent, might quarrel. I reflected, moreover, that Mr. Petulengro had a wife. I had always, it is true, been a great favorite with Mrs. Petulengro, who had frequently been loud in her commendation of the young rye, as she called me, and his turn of conversation; but this was at a time when I stood in need of nothing, lived under my parents' roof, and only visited at the tents to divert and be diverted. The times were altered, and I was by no means certain that Mrs. Petulengro, when she should discover that I was in need both of shelter and subsistence, might not alter her opinion both with respect to the individual and what he said-stigmatizing my conversation as saucy discourse, and myself as a scurvy companion, and that she might bring over her husband to her own way of thinking, provided, indeed, he should need any conducting. I, therefore, though without declaring my reasons, declined the offer of Mr. Petulengre, and presently, after shaking him by the hand, bent again my course toward the great city.
I crossed the river at a bridge considerably above that hight of London; for, not being acquainted with the way, I missed the turning which should have brought me to the latter. Suddenly I found myself in a street of which I had some recollection, and mechanically stopped before the window of a shop at which various publications were exposed; it was that of the bookseller to whom I had last applied in the hope of selling my ballads or Ab Gwilym, and who had given me hopes that, in the event of my writing a decent novel, or a tale, he would prove a purchaser. As I stood listlessly looking at the window, and the publications which it contained, I observed a paper affixed to the glass by wafers with something written upon it. I drew yet nearer for the purpose of inspecting it; the writing was in a fair round hand-"A Novel or Tale is much wanted," was what was written.
"I must do something," said I, as I sat that night in my lonely apartment, with some bread and a pitcher of water before me.
Thereupon taking some of the bread, and eating it, I considered what I was to do. "I have no idea what I am to do." said I, as I stretched my hand toward the pitcher, "unless"-and here I took a considerable draught--"I write a tale or a novel--That bookseller," I continued, speaking to myself, "is certainly much in need of a tale or a novel, otherwise he would not advertise for one. Suppose I write one, I appear to have no other chance of extricating myself from my present difficulties; surely it was fate that conducted me to his window."
"I will do it," said I, as I struck my hand againt the table; "I will do it." Suddenly a heavy cloud of despondency came over me. Could I do it? Had I the imagination requisite to write a tale or a novel! "Yes, yes," said I, as I struck my hand again against the table, "I can manage it; give me fair play, and I can accomplish anything."
But should I have fair play? I must have something to maintain myself with whilst I wrote my tale, and I had but eighteen pence in the world. Would that maintain me whilst I wrote my tale? Yes, I thought it would, provided I ate bread, which did not cost much, and drank water, which cost nothing; it was poor diet, it was true. but better men than myself had written on bread and water; had not the big man told me so? or something to that effect, months before?
It was true there was my lodging to pay for; but up to the present time I owed nothing, and perhaps, by the time the people of the house asked me for money, I should bave written a tale or a novel, which would bring me in money; I had paper, pens, and ink, and, let me not forget them, I had candles in my closet, all paid for, to light me during my night work. Enough, I would go doggedly to work upon my tale or novel.
But what was the tale or novel to be about? Was it to be a tale of fashionable life, about Sir Harry Somebody, and the Countess Something? But I knew nothing about fashionable people, and cared less; therefore how should I attempt to describe fashionable life? What should the tale consist of? The life and adventures of some one. Good-but of whom? Did not Mr. Petulengro mention one Jemmy Abershaw? Yes. Did he not tell me that the life and adventures of Jemmy Abershaw would bring in much money to the writer? Yes, but I knew nothing of that worthy. I heard, it is true, from Mr. Petulengro, that when alive he committed robberies ●n the hill, on the side of which Mr. Petulengro had pitched his tents, and that his ghost still haunted the bill at midnight; but those were scant materials out of which to write the man's life. It is probable. indeed, that Mr. Petulengro would be able to supply me with further materials if I should apply to him, but I was in a hurry, and could not afford the time which it would be necessary to spend in passing to and from Mr. Petulengro, and consulting him. More●ver, my pride revolted at the idea of being beholden to Mr. Petulengro for the materials of the history. No, I would not write the history of Abershaw. Whose then-Harry Simms? Alas, the life of Harry Simms had been already much better written by himself than I could hope to do it; and, after all, Harry Simms, like Jemmy Abershaw, was merely a robber. Both, though bold and extraordinary men, were merely highwaymen. I questioned whether I coul compose a tale likely to excite any particular interest out of the exploits of a mere robber. I want a character for my hero, thought I, something higher than a mere robber; some one like-like Colonel B. By the way, why should I not write the life and adventures of Colonel B- of Londonderry, in Ireland?
A truly singular man was this same Colonel B- of Londonderry, in Ireland; a personage of strange and incredible feats and daring, who had been a partizan soldier, a bravo-who, assisted by ⚫ertain discontented troopers, nearly succeeded in stealing the crown and regalia from the Tower of London; who attempted to hang the Duke of Ormond, at Tyburn; and whose strange eventful career did not terminate even with his life, his dead body, on the circulation of an unfounded report that he did not come to his death by fair means, having been exhumed by the mob of his native place, where he had retired to die, and carried in a coffin through the streets.
Of his life I had inserted an account in the Newgate Lives and Trials; it was bare and meagre, and written in the stiff awkward style of the seventeenth century; it had, however, strongly capti vated my imagination, and I now thought that out of it something better could be made; that, if I added to the adventures, and purified the style, I might fashion out of it a very decent tale or novel. On a sudden, however, the proverb of mending old garments with new cloth occurred to me. * I am afraid," said I, "any new adventure which I can invent will not fadge well with the old tale; one will but spoil the other." I had better have nothing to do with Col ⚫nel Bthought I, but boldly and independently sit down and write the life of Joseph Sell.
This Joseph Sell, dear reader, was a fictitious personage who had just come into my head. I had never even heard of the name, but just at that moment it happened to come into my head; I would write an entirely fictitious narrative, called the Life and Adventures of Joseph Sell, the great traveler.
I had better begin at once, thought I; and removing the bread and the jug, which latter was now empty, I seized pen and paper, and forthwith essayed to write the life of Joseph Sell, but soon discovered that it was much easier to resolve upon a thing than to achieve it, or even to commence it; for the life of me I did not know how to begin, and, after trying in vain to write a line, I thought it would be as well to go to bed, and defer my projected undertaking till the morrow.
So I went to bed, but not to sleep. During a greater part of the night I lay awake, musing upon the work which I had determined to execute. For a long time my brain was dry and unproductive; I could form no plan which appeared feasible. At length I felt within my brain a kindly glow; it was the commencement of inspiration; in a few minutes I had formed my plan; I then began to imagine the scenes and incidents. Scenes and incidents flitted before my mind's eye so plentifully, that I knew not how to dispose of them; I was in a regular embarrassment. At length I got out of the difficulty in the easiest manner imaginable, namely, by consigning to the depths of oblivion all the feebler and less stimulant scenes and incidents, and retaining the better and more impressive ones. Before morning I had sketched the whole work on the tablets of my mind, and then resigned myself to sleep in the pleasing conviction that the most difficult part of my undertaking was achieved.
Rather late in the morning I awoke; for a few minutes I lay still; my imagination was considerably sobered; the scenes and situations which had pleased me so much over night appeared to me in a far less captivating guise that morning. I felt languid and almost hopeless-the thought, however, of my situation soon roused me--I must make an effort to improve the posture of my affairs; there was no time to be lost; so I sprang out of bed, breakfasted on bread and water, and then sat down doggedly to write the life of Joseph Sell.
It was a great thing to have formed my plan, and to have arranged the scenes in my head, as I had done on the preceding night. The chief thing requisite at present was the mere mechanical act of committing them to paper. This I did not find at first so easy as I could wish I wanted mechanical skill; but I persevered; and before evening I had written ten pages. I partook of some bread and water; and, before I went to bed that night, I had completed fifteen pages of my life of Joseph Sell.
The next day I resumed my task-I found my power of writing considerably increased; my pen hurried rapidly over the papermy brain was in a wonderful teeming state; many scenes and visions which I had not thought of before were evolved, and, as fast as evolved, written down; they seemed to be more pat to my purpose, and more natural to my history than many others which I had imagined before, and which I now made give place to these newer creations; by about midnight I had added thirty fresh pages to my "Life and Adventures of Joseph Sell."
The third day arose-it was dark and dreary out of doors, and I passed it drearily enough within; my brain appeared to have lost much of its former glow, and my pen much of its power; I, however, toiled on, but at midnight had only added seven pages to my history of Joseph Sell.
On the fourth day the sun shone brightly-I arose, and, having breakfasted as usual, fell to work. My brain was this day wonderfully prolific, and my pen never before or since glided so rapidly over the paper; toward night I began to feel strangely about the back part of my head, and my whole system was extraordinarily affected. I likewise occasionally saw double-a tempter now seemed to be at work within me.
"You had better leave off now for a short space," said the tempter, and go out and drink a pint of beer; you have still one shilling left if you go on at this rate, you will go mad-go out and spend sixpence, you can afford it, more than half your work is done." I was about to obey the suggestion of the tempter, when the idea struck me that, if I did not complete the work whilst the fit was on me, I should never complete it; so I held on. I am almost afraid to state how many pages I wrote that day of the life of Joseph Sell.
From this time I proceeded in a somewhat leisurely manner; but, as I drew nearer and nearer to the completion of my task, dreadful fears and despondencies came over me. It will be too late, thought I; by the time I have finished the work, the bookseller will have been supplied with a tale or novel. It is probable that, in a town like this, where talent is so abundant-hungry talent too-a bookseller can advertise for a tale or a novel, without being supplied with half a dozen in twenty-four hours? I may as well fling down my
pen-I am writing to no purpose. And these thoughts came over my mind so often, that at last, in utter despair, I flung down the pen. Whereupon the tempter within me said—"And, now you have flung down your pen, you may as well fling yourself out of the win. dow; what remains for you to do?" Why, to take it up again, thought I to myself, for I did not like the latter suggestion at alland then forthwith I resumed the pen, and wrote with greater vigor than before, from about six o'clock in the evening until I could hardly see, when I rested for awhile, when the tempter within me again said, or appeared to say-"All you have been writing is stuff, it will never do-a drug-a mere drug;" and methought these last words were uttered in the gruff tones of the big publisher. "A thing merely to be sneezed at," a voice like that of Taggart added; and then I seemed to hear a sternutation,-as I probably did, for, recovering from a kind of swoon, I found myself shivering with cold. The next day I brought my work to a conclusion.
But the task of revision still remained; for an hour or two I shrank from it, and remained gazing stupidly at the pile of paper which I had written over. I was all but exhausted, and I dreaded, on inspecting the sheets, to find them full of absurdities which I had paid no regard to in the furor of composition. But the task, however trying to my nerves, must be got over; at last, in a kind of desperation I entered upon it. It was far from an easy one; there were, however, fewer errors and absurdities than I had anticipated. About twelve o'clock at night I had got over the task of revision. "To-morrow, for the bookseller," said I, as my head sank on the pillow. "Oh me!"
On arriving at the bookseller's shop, I cast a nervous look at the window, for the purpose of observing whether the paper had been removed or not. To my great delight the paper was in its place; with a beating heart I entered, there was nobody in the shop; as I stood at the counter, however, deliberating whether or not I should call out, the door of what seemed to be a back parlor opened, and out came a well-dressed, lady-like female, of about thirty, with a good-looking and intelligent countenance. "What is your business, young man?" said she to me, after I had made her a polite bow. "I wish to speak to the gentleman of the house," said I. "My husband is not within at present," she replied; "what is your business?" "I have merely brought something to show him," "but I will call again." "If you are the young gentleman who has been here before," said the lady, "with poems and ballads, as, indeed, I know you are," she added, smiling, "for I have seen you through the glass door, I am afraid it will be useless; that is," she added with another smile, "if you bring us nothing else." "I have not brought you poems and ballads now,” said I, “but something very different; I saw your advertisement for a tale or a novel, and have written something which I think will suit; and here it is." I added, showing the roll of paper which I held in my hand. "Well," said the bookseller's wife, "you may leave it, though I can not promise you much chance of its being accepted. My husband has already had several offered to him; however, you may leave it; give it me. Are you afraid to intrust it to me?" she demanded somewhat hastily, observing that I hesitated. "Excuse me," said I, "but it is all I have to depend upon in the world; I am chiefly apprehensive that it will not be read." "On that point I can reassure you," said the good lady, smiling, and there was now something sweet in her smile. "I give you my word that it shall be read; come again to-morrow morning at eleven, when, if not approved, it shall be returned to you."
I returned to my lodging, and forthwith betook myself to bed, notwithstanding the earliness of the hour. I felt tolerably tranquil; I had now cast my last stake, and was prepared to abide by the result. Whatever that result might be, I could have nothing to reproach myself with; I had strained all the energies which nature had given me in order to rescue myself from the difficulties which surrounded me. I presently sank into a sleep, which endured during the remainder of the day, and the whole of the succeeding night. I awoke about nine on the morrow, and spent my last threepence on a breakfast somewhat more luxurious than the immediately preceeding ones, for one penny of the sum was expended on the purchase of milk.
At the appointed hour I repaired to the house of the bookseller; the bookseller was in his shop. "Ah," said he, as soon as I entered, "I am glad to see you." There was an unwonted heartiness in the bookseller's tones, an unwonted benignity in his face. "So," said he, after a pause, "you have taken my advice, written a book of adventure; nothing like taking the advice, young man, of your super
iors in age. Well, I think your book will do, and so does my wife, for whose judgment I have a great regard; as well I may, as she is the daughter of a first-rate novelist, deceased. I think I shall venture on sending your book to the press." "But," said I, "we have not yet agreed upon terms." "Terms, terms," said the bookseller; "ahem! well, there is nothing like coming to terms at once. I will print the book, and give you half the profit when the book is sold." "That will not do." said I; I intend shortly to leave London; I must have something at once." "Ah, I see," said the bookseller, "in d'stress; frequently the case with authors, especially young ones. Well, I don't care if I purchase it of you, but you must be moderate; the public are very fastidious, and the speculation may prove a losing one, after all. Let me see, will five-hem"-he stopped. I looked the bookseller in the face; there was something peculiar in it. Suddenly it appeared to me as if the voice of him of the thimble sounded in my ear, "Now is your time, ask enough, never such another chance of establishing yourself; respectable trade, pea and thimble." "Well," said I at last, "I have no objection to take the offer which you were about to make though I really think five-andtwenty guineas to be scarcely enough, everything considered." "Five-and-twenty guineas!" said the bookseller; "are you-what was I going to say-I never meant to offer half as much-I mean a quarter. I was going to say five guineas-I mean pounds; I will, however, make it up guineas." "That will not do," said I; "but, as I find we shall not deal, return me my manuscript, that I may carry it to some one else." The bookseller looked blank. "Dear me," said he, "I should never have supposed that you would have made any objecti to such an offer; I am quite sure that you would have been glad to take five pounds for either of the two huge manuscripts of songs and ballads that you brought to me on a former occasion." "Well," said I, "if you will engage to publish either of those two manuscripts, you shall have the present one for five pounds." "God torbid that I should make any such bargain," said the bookseller; "I would publish neither on any account; but, with respect to this last book I have really an inclination to print it, both for your sake and mine; suppose we say ten pounds." "No," said I, “ten pounds will not do; pray restore me my manuscript." "Stay," said the bookseller, my wife is in the next room, I will go and consult her." Thereupon he went into his back room, where I heard him conversing with his wife in a low one; in about ten minutes he returned. "Young gentleman," said he, "perhaps you will take tea with us this evening, when we will talk further over the matter."
That evening I went and took tea with the bookseller and his wife, both of whom, particularly the latter, overwhelmed me with civility. It was not long before I learned that the work had already been sent to the press, and was intended to stand at the head of a series of entertaining narratives, from which my friends promised themselves considerable profit. The subject of terms was again brought forward. I stood firm to my first demand for a long time; when, however, the bookseller's wife complimented me on my production in the highest terms, and said that she discovered therein the germs of genius, which she made no doubt would some day prove ornamental to my native land, I consented to drop my demand to twenty pounds, stipulating, however, that I should not be troubled with the correction of the work.
Before I departed I received the twenty pounds, and departed with a light heart to my lodgings.
Reader, amidst the difficulties and dangers of this life, should you ever be tempted to despair, call to mind these latter chapters of the life of Lavengro. There are few positions, however difficult, from which dogged resolution and perseverance may not liberate you.
I had long determined to leave London as soon as the means should be in my power, and. now that they were, I determined to leave the great city; yet I felt some reluctance to go. I would fain have pursued the career of original authorship, which had just opened itself to me, and have written other tales of adventure. The bookseller had given me encouragement enough to do so; he had assured me that he should be always happy to deal with me for an article (that was the word) similar to the one I had brought him, provided my terms were moderate; and the bookseller's wife, by her complimentary language, had given me yet more encouragement. But for some months past I had been far from well, and my original indisposition. brought on partly by the peculiar atmosphere of the big city, partly by anxiety of mind, had been much increased by the exertions which I had been compelled to make during the last few days. I felt that, were I to remain where I was, I should die, or be
come a confirmed valetudinarian. I would go forth into the country. traveling on foot, and, by exercise and inhaling pure air, endeavor to recover my health, leaving my subsequent movements to be determined by Providence
But whither should I bend my course? Once or twice I thought of walking home to the old town, stay some time with my mother and my brother, and enjoy the pleasant walks in the neighborhood; | but, though I wished very much to see my mother and my brother, and felt much disposed to enjoy the said pleasant walks, the old town was not exactly the place to which I wished to go at this present juncture. I was afraid the people would ask: Where are your Northern Ballads? Where are your alliterative translations from Ab Gwilym-of which you were always talking, and with which you promised to astonish the world? Now, in the event of such interrogations, what could I answer? It is true I had compiled Newgate Lives and Trials, and had written the life of Joseph Sell, but I was afraid that the people of the old town would scarcely consider these as equivalents for the Northern Ballads and the songs of Ab Gwilym. I would go forth and wander in any direction but that of the old town.
But how one's sensibility on any particular point diminishes with time; at present, I enter the old town perfectly indifferent as to what the people may be thinking on the subject of the songs and ballads. With respect to the people themselves, whether, like my sensibility, their curiosity has altogether evaporated, or whether, which is at least equally probable, they never entertained any, one thing is certain, that never in a single instance have they troubled me with any remarks on the subject of the songs and ballads.
As it was my intention to travel on foot, with a bundle and a stick, I despatched my trunk containing some few clothes and books to the old town. My preparations were soon made; in about three days I was in readiness to start.
Before starting, however, I bethought me of my old friend the -apple-woman of London Bridge. Apprehensive that she might be laboring under the difficulties of poverty, I sent her a piece of gold by the hands of a young maiden in the house in which I lived. The latter punctually executed her commission, but brought me back the piece of gold. The old woman would not take it; she did not want it, she said. "Tell the poor thin lad," she added, "to keep it for himself, he wants it more than I."
Rather late one afternoon I departed from my lodging, with my stick in one hand and a small bundle in the other, shaped my course to the southwest: when I first arrived, somewhat more than a year before, I had entered the city by the northeast. As I was not going home, I determined to take my departure in the direction the very opposite to home.
Just as I was about to cross the street called the Haymarket, at the lower part, a cabriolet, drawn by a magnificent animal, came dashing along at a furious rate; it stopped close by the curb-stone where I was, a sudden pull of the reins nearly bringing the spirited animal upon its haunches. The Jehu who had accomplished this feat was Francis Ardry. A small beautiful female, with flashing eyes, dressed in the extremity of fashion, sat beside him.
"Holloa, friend," said Francis Andry, "whither bound?"
"I do not know," said I; "all I can say is, that I am about to leave London."
"And the means?" said Francis Ardry.
"I have them," said I, with a cheerful smile.
"Qui est celui-ci?" demanded the small female, impatiently. "C'est- -mon ami le plus intime; so you were about leaving London without telling me a word," said Francis Ardry, somewhat angrily. "I intended to have written to you," said I. "What a splendid mare that is!"
In about two hours I had cleared the great city, and got beyond the suburban villages, or rather towns, in the direction in which I was traveling. I was in a broad and excellent road, leading I knew not whither. I now slackened my pace, which had hitherto been great. Presently, coming to a milestone on which was graven nine miles, I rested against it, and looking toward the vast city, which had long ceased to be visible, I fell into a train of meditation.
I thought of all my ways and doings since the day of my first arrival in that vast city-I had worked and toiled, and though I had accomplished nothing at all commensurate with the hopes I had entertained previous to my arrival, I had achieved my own living, preserved my independence, and become indebted to no one. I was now quitting it, poor in purse, it is true, but not wholly empty; rather ailing, it may be, but not broken in health; and, with hope within my bosom, had I not cause upon the whole to be thankful? Perhaps there were some who, arriving at the same time under not more favorable circumstances, had accomplished much more, and whose future was far more hopeful-Good! But there might be others who, in spite of all their efforts, had been either trodden down in the press, nevermore to be heard of, or were quitting the mighty town broken in purse, broken in health, and oh! with not one dear hope to cheer them. Had I not, upon the whole, abundant cause to be grateful? Truly, yes!
My meditation over, I left the milestone and proceeded on my way in the same direction as before until the night began to close in. I had always been a good pedestrian; but now, whether owing to indisposition or to not having for some time past been much in the habit of taking such lengthy walks, I began to feel not a little weary. Just as I was thinking of putting up for the night at the next inn or public house I should arrive at, I heard what sounded like a coach coming up rapidly behind me. Induced, perhaps, by the wear.ness which I felt, I stopped and looked wistfully in the direction of the sound. Presently up came a coach, seemingly a mail, drawn by four bounding horses-there was no one upon it but the coachman and the guard. When nearly parallel with me it stopped. Want to get up?" sounded a voice, in the true coachman like tone-half querulous, half authoritative. I hesitated; I was tired, it is true, but I had left London bound on a pedestrian excursion, and ! did not much like the idea of having recourse to a coach after accomplishing so very inconsiderable a distance. "Come, we can't be staying here all night," said the voice, more sharply than before. "I can ride a little way, and get down whenever I like," thought I, and springing forward I clambered up the coach, and was going to sit down upon the box, next the coachman. "No, no," said the coachwho was a man about thirty, with a hooked nose and a red face, dressed in a fashionably cut great coat, with a fashionable black castor on his head. "No, no, keep behind-the box a'n't for the like of you," said he, as he drove off; the box is for lords, or gentlemen at least." I made no answer. "D-that off-hand leader!" said the coachman, as the right-hand front horse made a desperate start at something he saw in the road; and, half rising, he with great dexterity hit with his long whip the off-hand leader a cut on the off cheek. These seem to be fine horses." said I. The coachman made no answer. Nearly thoroughbred," I continued; the coachman drew his breath, with a kind of hissing sound, through his teeth. "Come, young fellow, none of your chaff. Don't you think, because you ride on my mail, I'm going to talk to you about 'orses. I talk to nobody about 'orses except lords." Well," said I, "I have been "Il dit que tout l'équipage est en assez bon goût." called a lord in my time." "It must have been by a thimble-rigger, "Allons, c'est en ours," said the lady; "le cheval même en a peur," then," said the coachman, bending back, and half turning his face added she, as the mare reared up on high. round with a broad leer. You have hit the mark wonderfully," "Can you find nothing else, to admire but the mare and the equip- said I. "You coachmen, whatever else you may be, are certainly
"Qu'est ce qu'il dit?” said the lady again.
"Is she not?" said Francis Ardry, who was holding in the mare with difficulty; "she cost a hundred guineas."
"Qu'est ce qu'il dit?" demanded his companion.
"Il dit, que le jument est bien beau."
“Allons, mon ami, il est tard," said the beauty, with a scornful toss of her head; allons!" ·Encore un moment," said Francis Ardry; " and when shall I see you again?"
"I scarcely know," I replied. I never saw a more splendid turn-out."
age?" said Francis Ardry, reproachfuily, after he had with some difficulty brought the mare to order."
Lifting my hand, in which I held my stick, I took off my hat. "How beautiful!" said I, looking the lady full in the face. "Comment?" said the lady, inquiringly.
"Il dit que vous êtes belle comme un anje," said Francis Ardry, emphatically.'
"Mais, à la bonne heure! arrêtez, mon ami," said the lady to Francis Ardry, who was about to drive off; "je voudrais bien causer un moment avec lui; arrêtez, il est délicieux.-Est-ce bien ainci que vous traitez vos amis?" said she, passionately, as Francis Ardry lifted up his whip. "Bon jour, Monsieur, bon jour," said she, thrusting her head from the side and looking back, as Francis Ardry drove off at the rate of thirteen miles an hour.