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had seen anything I liked I had money to pay for it; but I can go where I shan't be huffed at for looking."
While I said this boldly to the fellow, comes out a woman. "What ails you," says she to the man, "to bully away your customers so? A poor boy's money is as good as my lord mayor's: if poor people did not buy old clothes, what would become of our business?" and then turning to me, "come hither, child," says she, "if thou hast a mind to anything I have, you shan't be hectored by him; the boy is a pretty boy I assure you," says she to another woman that was by this time come to her. 'Ay," says the other, "so he is a very well-looking child, if he was clean and well-dressed, and maybe as good a gentleman's son, for anything we know, as any of those that are well dressed; come, my dear," says she," tell me what it is you would have?" She pleased me mightily to hear her talk of my being a gentleman's son, and it brought former things to my mind; but when she talked of my being not clean, and in rags, I cried.
She pressed me to tell her if I saw anything that I wanted; I told her no, all the clothes I saw were too big for me. "Come, child," says she "I have two things that will fit you, and I am sure you want them both; that is, first, a little hat, and there," says she (tossing it to me), "I'l give you that for nothing: and here is a good warm pair of breeches: I dare say," says she, "they will fit you, and they are very tight and good; and," says she, "if you should ever come to have so much money that you don't know what to do with it, here are excellent good pockets," says she, "and a little fob to put your gold in, or your watch in, when you get it."
It struck me with a strange kind of joy, that I should have place to put my money in, and need not to go to hide it again in a hollow tree, that I was ready to snatch the breeches out of her hands, and wondered that I should be such a fool as never to think of buying me a pair of breeches before, that I might have a pocket to put my money in, and not carry it about two days in my hand, and in my shoe, and I knew not how; so, in a word, I gave her two shillings for the breeches, and went over into the churchyard and put them on, and put my money into my new pockets, and was as pleased as a prince is with his coach and six horses. I thanked the good woman too for the hat, and told her I would come again when I got more money, and buy some other things I wanted, and so I came away.
Little Jack now undertakes to restore some stolen notes to their rightful owner, and get the reward of £30 offered for their recovery. The notes were stolen in the long room of the Custom-house, by a lad to whom Jack was confederate. Hear him :
While I stood there, one thrust me this way and another that way, and the man that sat behind began to look at me; at last he called out to me, "What does that boy do there? get you gone, sirrah; are you one of the rogues that stole the gentleman's lettercase on Monday last ?" Then he turns his tale to a gentleman that was doing business with him, and goes on thus:-" Here was Mr. had a very unlucky chance on Monday last; did you not hear of it?" "No, not I," says the gentleman. "Why, standing just there, where you do," says he, "making entries, he pulled out his lettercase, and laid it down, as he says, but just at his hand, while he reached over to the standish there for a penful of ink, and somebody stole away his letter-case.'
"His letter-case !" says t'other, "whatand was there any bills in it?"
"Ay," says he; "there was Sir Stephen Evans' note in it for £300, and another goldsmith's bill for about £12, and, which is still worse for the gentleman, he had two foreign accepted bills in it for a great sum, I know not how much, I think one was a French bill for 1,200 crowns.'
"And who could it be?" says the gen tleman.
Nobody knows," says he; "but one of our room-keepers says he saw a couple of young rogues like that,' pointing at me, hanging about here, and that on a sudden they were both gone."
"Villains," says he again; "why, what can they do with them, they will be of no use to them? I suppose he went immediately and gave notice to prevent the payment."
"Yes," says the clerk, "he did; but the rogues were too nimble for him with the little bill of £12 odd money; they went and got the money for that, but all the rest are stopped; however, 'tis an unspeakable damage to him for want of his money."
Why, he should publish a reward for the encouragement of those that have them to bring them again; they would be glad to bring them, I warrant you."
"He has posted it up at the door that he will give £30 for them."
66 Ay, but he should add that he will promise not to stop, or give any trouble to the person that brings them."
"He has done that too," says he; "but I fear they wont trust themselves to be honest, for fear he should break his word."
"Why, it is true, he may break his word in that case, but no man should do so; for then no rogue will venture to bring home
anything that is stolen, and so he would do an injury to others after him."
"I durst pawn my life for him he would scorn it."
Thus far they discoursed of it, and then went to something else; I heard it all, but did not know what to do a great while; but at last, watching the gentleman that went away, when he was gone, I run after him to have spoken to him, intending to have broke it to him, but he went hastily into a room or two, full of people, at the other end of the long room, and when I went to follow, the door-keepers turned me back, and told me I must not go in there; so I went back and loitered about near the mai that sat behind the board, and hung about there till I heard the clock strike twelve, and the room began to be thin of people; and at last he sat there writing, but nobody stood at the board before him, as there had all the rest of the morning, then I came a little nearer and stood close to the board as I did before; when looking up from his paper and seeing me, says he to me-"You have been up and down here all this morning, sirrah, what do you want? you have some business that is not very good I doubt.'
"No, I shan't," said I.
"No? it is well if you hav'n't," says he; pray what business can you have in this long room, sir; you are no merchant?"
"I would speak with you," said I. "With me," says he; "what have you to
say to me?"
"I have something to say," said I, "if you will do me no harin for it."
"I do thee harm, child; should I do thee?" and spoke very kindly. "Wont you indeed, sir," said I.
"No, not I, child; I'll do thee no harm; what is it? do you know anything of the gentleman's letter-case?"
I answered, but spoke softly, that he could not hear me; so he gets over presently into the seat next him, and opens a place that was made to come out, and bade me go in to him; and I did.
Then he asked me again, if I knew anything of the letter-case.
I spoke softly again, and said, folks would hear him.
Then he whispered softly, and asked me again.
I told him, I believed I did; but that, indeed, I had it not, nor had no hand in stealing it, but it was gotten into the hands of a boy that would have burnt it, if it had not been for me; and that I heard him say that the gentleman would be glad to have them again, and give a good deal of money
"I did say so, child," said he; "and if you can get them for him, he shall give you a good reward, no less than £30, as he has promised."
"But you said too, sir, to the gentleman
just now," said I, "that you was sure he would not bring them into any harm that should bring them."
"No, you shall come to no harm; I will pass my word for it."
Boy.-Nor shan't they make me bring other people into trouble?
Gent. No, you shall not be asked the name of anybody, nor to tell who they are.
Boy.-I am but a poor boy, and I would fain have the gentleman have his bills, and indeed I did not take them away, nor han't I got them.
Gent. But can you tell how the gentle man shall have them?
Boy. If I can get them, I will bring them to you to-morrow morning.
Gent. Can you not do it to-night?
Gent. Come to my house, child. Boy.-I don't know where you live. Gent.-Go along with me now, and you shall see. So he carried me up into Towerstreet, and showed me his house, and ordered me to come there at five o'clock at night; which accordingly I did, and carried the letter-case with me.
When I came, the gentleman asked me if I had brought the book, as he called it. "It is not a book," said I.
"You promised me," said I, "you would not hurt me," and cried.
"Don't be afraid, child," says he, “I will not hurt thee, poor boy; nobody shall hurt thee."
"Here it is, said I," and pulled it out.
He then brought in another gentleman, who it seems owned the letter case, and asked him, "if that was it?" and he said, "yes."
Then he asked me if all the bills were in it? told him I heard him say there was one gone, but I believed there was all the rest. Why do you believe so?" says he. "Because I heard the boy, that I believe stole them, say they were too big for him to meddle with."
The gentleman, then, that owned them, said, "Where is the boy?"
Then the other gentleman put in, and said, "No, you must not ask him that; I passed my word that you should not, and that he should not be obliged to tell it to anybody."
"Well, child," says he, "you will let us see the letter-case opened, and whether the bills are in it ?"
the boy shall have £30; shall he not ?" "Yes," says the gentleman," he shall have it freely.'
“Come, then, child," says he, "let me open it."
So I gave it him, and he opened it, and there were all three bills, and several other papers, fair and safe, nothing defaced or diminished, and the gentleman said, “All is right."
Then said the first man, "Then I am security to the poor boy for the money.' "Well, but," says the gentleman, "the rogues have got the £12 10s.; they ought to reckon that as part of the £30.' Had he asked me, I should have consented to it at first word; but the first man stood my friend. 66 Nay," says he, "it was since you knew that the £12 10s. was received that you offered £30 for the other bills, and published it by the crier, and posted it up at the Custom-house, and I promised him the £30 this morning." They argued long, and I thonght would have quarrelled about it.
However at last they both yielded a little, and the gentleman gave me £25 in good guineas. When he gave it me, he bade me hold out my hand, and he told the money into my hand; and when he had done, he asked me if it was right? I said I did not know, but I believed it was. "Why," says he, can't you tell it?" I told him "No; I never saw so much money in my life, nor I did not know how to tell money." "Why," says he, don't you know that they are guineas?" "No," I told him; "I did not know how much a guinea was.'
"Why, then," says he, "did you tell me you believed it was right?" I told him, "because I believed he would not give it me wrong."
"Poor child," says he, "thou knowest little of the world, indeed; what are thou?" "I am a poor boy," says I, and cried. "What is your name ?" says he;-" but bold, I forgot," said he; "I promised I would not ask your name, so you need not tell me."
"My name is Jack," said I. "Why, have you no sirname ?" said he. "What is that?" said I.
"You have some other name besides Jack," says he;han't you?"
"Yes," says I; "they call me Colonel Jack."
"But have you no other name?" "No," said I.
"I had a nurse," said I, "but she was not my mother."
"How came you to be called Colonel Jack, pray ?"
"They say," said I, "my father's name was colonel."
"Is your father or mother alive?" said he. "No," said I; "my father is dead." "Where is your mother, then ?" said he. "I never had e'er a mother," said I. This made him laugh. "What," said he; had you never a mother, what then?"
"Well," says he to the gentleman, "I dare say this boy was not the thief that stole your bills."
"Indeed, sir, I did not steal them," said I, and cried again.
"No, no, child," said he; "we don't believe you did. This is a very clever boy," says he to the other gentleman; " and yet very ignorant and honest; 'tis pity some care should not be taken of him, and something done for him; let us talk a little more with him." So they sat down and drank wine, and gave me some, and then the first gentleman talked to me again.
"Well," says he, "what wilt thou do with this money now thou hast it ?" "I don't know," said I. "Where will you put it?" said he. "In my pocket," said I.
"In your pocket?" said he; "is your pocket whole? sha'n't you lose it?"
"Yes," said I, "my pocket is whole." "And where will you put it when you get home?"
"I have no home," said I, and cried again. "Poor child!" said he; "then what dost thou do for thy living?".
"I go of errands," said I, "for the folks in Rosemary-lane."
"And what dost thou do for a lodging at night?"
"I lie at the glass-house," said I, "at night."
How, lie at the glass-house; have they any beds there?" says he.
"I never lay in a bed in my life," said I, 'as I remember."
"Why," says he; what do you lie on at the glass-house?"
The ground," says I; "and sometimes a little straw, or upon the warm ashes."
Here the gentleman that lost the bills said, "This poor child is enough to make a man weep for the miseries of human nature, and be thankful for himself; he puts tears into my eyes;"--" and into mine," says the
have this money, wont you buy some clothes, and a shirt with some of it?"
"Yes," said I; "I would buy some clothes.'
"And what will you do with the rest?" "I can't tell," said I, and cried. "What do'st cry for, Jack?" said he. "I am afraid," said I, and cried still. "What art afraid of?"
"They will know I have the money." "Well, and what then?"
"Then I must sleep no more in the warm glass-house, and I shall be starved with cold; they will take away my money."
"But why must you sleep there no more?" Here the gentlemen observed to one another, how naturally anxiety and perplexity attend those that have money. "I warrant you," says the clerk, "when this poor boy had no money, he slept all night in the straw, or on the warm ashes, in the glass-house, as soundly and as void of care as it would be possible for any creature to do; but now, as soon as he has gotten money, the care of preserving it brings tears into his eyes, and fear into his heart."
They asked me a great many questions more, to which I answered in my childish way as well as I could, but so as pleased them well enough; at last I was going away with a heavy pocket, and I assure you not a light heart, for I was so frighted with having so much money, that I knew not what in the earth to do with myself; I went away, however, and walked a little way, but I could not tell what to do; so, after rambling two hours or thereabout, I went back again, and sat down at the gentleman's door, and there I cried as long as I had any moisture in my head to make tears of, but never knocked at the door.
Who has read this extract without having the vision of Charles Dickens rise before his eyes?
Of "Robinson Crusoe" what necessity is there to speak? Who is not familiar with its pages? What schoolboy has not undergone a whipping for leaving his lessons unstudied while he has been sitting in the Solitary's hut, or spending an afternoon with "man Friday?"" How many in the
decline of life have over the leaves of that wonderful book grown young again! Charles Lamb says, next to the Holy Scriptures, it may be safely asserted that this delightful romance has, ever since it was written, excited the first and most powerful influence upon the juvenile mind of England, nor has its popularity been much less among any of the other nations of Christendom." He might have added, "and out of Christendom
too." It has been translated into Arabie; and Burckhart "heard it read aloud among the wandering tribes in the cool hours of evening." "That island," a beautiful writer has observed, "placed 'far amidst the melancholy main,' and remote from the track of human wanderings, remains to the last the greenest spot in memory. At whatever distance of time, the scene expands before us as clearly and distinctly as when we first beheld it; we still see the green savannahs and silent woods, which mortal footstep had never disturbed; its birds of strange wing, that had never heard the report of a gun; its goats browsing securely in the vale, or peeping over the heights, in alarm at the first sight of man. We can yet follow its forlorn inhabitant on tiptoe with suspended breath, prying curiously into every recess, glancing fearfully at every shade, starting at every sound, and then look forth with him upon the lone and boisterous ocean with the sickening feeling of an exile cut off for ever from all human intercourse. Our sympathy is more truly engaged by the poor shipwrecked mariner, than by the great, the lovely, and the illustrious of the earth. We find a more effectual wisdom in its homely reflections than is to be derived from the discourses of the learned and eloquent. The interest with which we converse with him in the retirement of his cave, or go abroad with him on the business of the day, is as various and powerful as the means by which it is kept up are simple and inartificial. So true is everything to nature, and such reality is there in every particular, that the slightest circumstance creates a sensation, and the print of a man's foot or shoe is the source of more genuine terror than all the strange sights and odd noises in the romances of Mrs. Radcliffe."
Children are charmed with the story of "Robinson Crusoe;" men of thought are not less delighted with the narrative, but they have recourse to it also as a book instructing them in some of the most valuable truths of philosophy. He must possess a far lower than a merely ordinary mind who leaves the perusal of this wonderful book without having acquired from it a new insight into his own nature, the means of avoiding the
evil, and attaining to the good,— without having perceived how many infant faculties of his being might by training be made to assume grand proportions, and be endowed with vast strength. It is a great religious poem. It is "the drama of solitude," the object of which is to show that in the most wretched state of desertion there still remains within the human breast a power of life independent of external circumstances; and that where man is not, there God especially abides.
Why did not Defoe, with such an unexampled capability as a writer of fiction, occupy himself earnestly in his art? Why did he not expend thought, toil, and long years in elaborating two such works as "Robinson Crusoe," or the commencement of "Colonel Jack," instead of scribbling page after page, without consideration enough to avoid dulness, stories replete with obscenities he must have disapproved, and nonsense that he must have grinned at with contempt even while the pen was in his hand? Foster, in his graphic and fascinating sketch of Defoe and his times, bids us remember, when judging of "Moll Flanders" and "Roxana," the tone of society at the time of their appearance. Without a doubt, measured by the standard of the vicious literature of the Restoration and the two succeeding ages, they do not especially sin against purity of morals. But in this we cannot find a valid apology for Defoe, who, in composing them, put his hand to works that all serious men of his own religious views must have regarded with warm disapproval. Defoe was not by profession amongst the frivolous or godless of his generation; he was loud in his condemnation of the stage, of gambling, and of debauchery; he not only knew that voluptuous excess was criminal, but he raised his voice to shame it out of society, and yet he exercised his talents in depicting scenes of sensual enjoyment, which no virtuous nature can dwell on without pain, no vicious one without pleasure. What was his motive? Money.
Drelincourt's book of "Consolations against the fears of Death,”one of the heaviest pieces of literature religion has given to the world, (and that is saying no little)-hung
on hand, so that the publisher, much downcast, informed Defoe he should lose a considerable sum. "Don't fear!-I'll make the edition go off," said Defoe; and sitting down he wrote "A True Relation of the Apparition of one Mrs. Veal, the next day after her death, to one Mrs. Bargrave, at Canterbury, the 8th of September, 1705, which apparition recommends the perusal of Drelincourt's book of Consolations against the fears of Death." The ghost story startled and took captive the silly people the author intended, and knew so well how to hoax. A true, bond fide ghost of a respectable Mrs. Veal had urged on mankind the study of Drelincourt. Forthwith the publisher's shop was crowded with purchasers, and the edition rapidly left his shelves. It is strange to me how Defoe's biographers and admirers delight in this story. It may show Defoe to advantage in an intellectual point of view, leading a crowd of John Bulls astray and all the while laughing at them; but as a proof of his mental power such testimony is valueless because unnecessary. That Mrs. Veal's apparition was ingeniously told, no one will deny; but then it was a wilful falsehood, all the same for its cunning construction, and was framed to puff a bad book. Such a deed would aid the "Woolly Horse" and "Feejee Mermaid" in giving grace to a Barnum's life; but to think that Defoe could tell lies for a trade purpose, is more than a common pain.
And here we find the secret of this great man's shame. He was a man of somewhat expensive habits, continually entering into rash monetary speculations, and burdened with debts which in honour he felt himself bound to discharge. Of all men he was just the one to be called upon for large sums of wealth, and to have little in hand to meet such demands. His pen was a ready one at earning money; he could turn off any composition with facility: and as, just then, tales (highly seasoned) met with the best prices in the market, he wrote them as fast as his pen could run over the paper, and spiced them up to the palates of his employers. And what trash (dishonest quack gibberish to get pennies from the crowd) poured in unceasing flow from him, it grieves