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- You have a wife I know, Mr. Prim, how is she ? "
“ I thank thee, friend Nipper,” said the Quaker as his eye travelled slowly from Ned's waist up to his face—“ the fair Rachel is as well as can be expected. It has pleased Providence to favour us with a boy this very morning, and both are doing well.”
And you never told us that before ! said Ned. drink the health of the virtuous Rachel, and you must know, Mr. Prim, that among Christian people it is always the custom to wet little boys' noses as soon as they are born.”
Mr. Prim’s intellects were scarcely active enough to understand the precise nature of this operation, but Ned was not long in making him understand that it merely consisted in drinking the health of the new comer, which, although somewhat reluctantly, he ultimately did, imbibing the same quantity of alcohol as before.
The stimulus was not long in working its way into the nervous system of the temperate Quaker, who soon began to manifest symptoms of deranged faculties by showing a disposition to sleep, accompanied by an attack of hiccup. It was no part of our friends plan, however, to let the Quaker repose till business had been transacted; so plying him, one on each side, the bills were produced and the Quaker with tremulous hand gave the requisite signature,-Ned again stirred up the coppers and keys audibly in his pocket, and wrapping up the former in a piece of paper, inserted them into the hand of the somnolent Quaker, who by the assistance of the indefatigable Ned—for he was almost helpless-slid the little packet into the capacious pocket of the inebriated Prim, who, after muttering some incoherent sentences of a doubtful nature, hiccupped himself to sleep in a few minutes.
The two friends quietly laid the sleeping Quaker on the sofa, and having lit their pipes and filled their own glasses, bethought themselves of what had better be done. It was quite clear that the spirit had powerfully affected the functions of the Quaker's brain, and that it would be some time before he would recover his equilibrium.
“ I have it !” exclaimed Ned after a moment's pause. “ The old woman's gone to bed, I'll be bound, as she gets up to-morrow at three o'clock in the morning to light the fire and begin washing. Let's put him to bed in the copper!”
This capital thought was too good to be lost; so having previously ascertained that the worthy Mrs. Suddle, in anticipation
of her day's work, had betaken herself to bed and the little maid of all-work too, they both took off their boots, and whilst Ned took hold of the Quaker by the arms Tom supported his nether parts, and by that means they carefully descended the stairs and soon arrived at the wash-house. There had evidently been a wash that day, for the copper was filled with clothes which looked as if they were blown out like bubbles, and the water was just warm.
Without ceremony they laid the snoring Quaker on the top of the garments with which the copper was filled, allowing his legs to hang down outside, and posting his back against the wall, so that he could not hurt himself by falling. Having stuffed one large pocket full of whatever pieces of soap were to be found, and the other with various triangular lumps of “stone blue”—some of which were tied up in little muslin bags, having evidently been used—they filled it up with sundry lumps of soda, which they had no difficulty in finding.
Having done everything to their satisfaction, the two worthies found their way to the landlady's cupboard, and finding a bottle containing some gin, they placed it, with a glass, by the side of the drunken Quaker,—thus involving the good man's honesty as well as his sobriety. They then went out and did not return till the middle of the next day.
How the worthy Mrs. Suddle and her maid were horrified in the morning when they came down to find the copper occupied by the still somnolent Quaker, we shall leave the reader's imagination to suggest ; sufice it to say, that Ned Nipper had notice to leave, and that sundry charges were brought against him, which, however, nobody could prove, and that though he never paid the Quaker, his governor did, on being informed of the aggravated circumstances of the case.
A KINDLY WELCOME HOME.
By W. S. PASSMORE.
As doth the swallow welcome spring,
That yields him sunny days,
A gleam of better days.
And, bursting from their gloom,
A kindly welcome home !
This lily half so fair ;
To grace thy hazel hair.
Within yon prisoned dome,
Its kindly welcome home!
The truthful and the good ;
Where nought but darkness stood.
To cheer our chequered doom,
A kindly welcome home!
THE HAUNTED MAN AND THE Ghost's BARGAIN; A Fancy
FOR CHRISTMAS TIME. By CHARLES DICKENS. London : Bradbury and Evans.
The appearance of another Christmas book from “ Boz" is necessarily a matter of interest to the literary world.
are glad to see by the general character of the pretty little volume before us, that the gifted author has not trusted to his name but his talent in providing this little brochure for the season. Now, in issuing forth the “ Battle of Life” as his “ Christmas piece," there can be no doubt that Mr. Dickens placed great reliance on his literary celebrity for its success, since the composition of that work was certainly of a very in ferior character, and one which a much meaner writer might have been ashamed of. The incident of that tale was unnatural and improbable; and but for an occasional dash of Boz-ishness, the author of the work would scarcely be guessed to be a man occupying so justly exalted a station in the literary world as Charles Dickens,
In the “ Haunted Man,” Richard's himself again. Here is a plain, straightforward ghost story, told, of course, in ghost-story fashion, in Boz's own old style of running gossip; his playful imagination-somewhat like the beautiful butterflies of summer, which bring the meanest flowers into notice by lighting on them-investing the slightest incidents with a powerful amount of interest, simply by the peculiar train of thought which his mind seems to fall into in reflecting on them. As a sample af the style so peculiarly his own, we give the following. Now, there is nothing new in a winter's sunset : it has been the theme of many an author's pen, and has been described in a thousand different ways, all equally beautiful. But in the following there is something original and beautiful too :
" You should have seen him in his dwelling about twilight, in the dead winter time.
“ When the wind was blowing, shrill and shrewd, with the going down of the blurred sun. When it was just so dark, as that the forms of things were indistinct and big, but not wholly lost. When sitters by the fire began to see wild faces and figures, mountains and abysses, ambuscades and armies, in the coals. When people in the streets bent down their heads, and ran before the weather. When those who were obliged to meet it, were stopped at angry corners, stung by wandering snow-flakes alighting on the lashes of their eyes—which fell too sparingly, and were blown away too quickly, to leave a trace upon the frozen ground. When windows of private houses closed up tight and warm. When lighted gas began to burst forth in the busy and the quiet streets, fast blackening otherwise. When stray pedestrians, shivering along the latter, looked down at the glowing fires in kitchens, and sharpened their sharp appetites by snilling up the fragrance of whole miles of dinners.
“When travellers by land were bitter cold, and looked wearily on gloomy landscapes, rustling and shuddering in the blast. When mariners at sea, outlying upon icy yards, were tossed and swung above the howling ocean dreadfully. When light-houses on rocks and headlands showed solitary and watchful; and benighted sea-birds breasted on against their ponderous lanterns, and fell dead. When little readers of story-books, by the firelight, trembled to think of Cassim Baba cut into quarters, hanging in the Robbers' Cave, or had some small misgivings that the fierce little old woman with the crutch, who used to start out of the box in the merchant Abudah's bedroom, might, one of these nights, be found upon the stairs, in the long, cold, dusky journey to bed.
When, in rustic places, the last glimmering of daylight died away from the ends of avenues; and the trees, arching overhead, were sullen and black. When, in parks and woods, the high wet fern and sodden moss, and beds of fallen leaves, and trunks of trees, were lost to view, in masses of impenetrable shade. When mists arose from dyke, and fen, and river. When lights in old balls and in cottage windows were a cheerful sight. When the mill stopped, the wheelwright and the blacksmith shut their workshops, the turnpike-gate closed, the plough and harrow were left lonely in the fields, the labourer and team went home, and the striking of the church-clock had a deeper sound than at noon, and the church-yard wicket would be swung no more that night.”
Dickens is essentially a moralist, and one who seeks to impress
his principles in many extraordinary ways, and amongst others, that of the most unmerciful caricature, so severe as to be unfailing in its effect. There is no disguising the fact that in the writings of this most amusing author-even when in the happiest vein of his pleasantry and satire, there lurks a powerful moral, which, when dragged out from its singular hiding-place, is found to be full of grave profit to the observer, who is fascinated by the ingenuity of the scribe.
The “ Haunted Man” has a moral--and a healthy one too. The author has seized upon one of the melancholy hypochondriacs which are not unfrequently to be met with in some circles of society. There are such things in the world as miserable men, and Redlaw, the haunted man, is one of them. He ruminates everlastingly on an unforgiven injury inflicted in days gone by. Here he is :
“Who could have seen his hollow cheek; his sunken, brilliant eye; his black-attired figure, indefinably grim, although well-knit and well-proportioned ; his grizzled hair hanging, like tangled seaweed, about his face—as if he had been, through his whole life, a lonely mark for the chating and beating of the great deep of huma