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" Whatever I should have done if it hadn't been for that good soul — that blessed Captain Large! I'm sure all the women who go to Margate ought to pray for him; so attentive in seasickness, and so much of a gentleman! How I should have got down stairs without him when I first began to turn, I don't know. Don't tell me I never complained to you — you might have seen I was ill. And when every body was looking like a bad wax-candle, you could walk about, and make what you call your jokes upon the little buoy that was never sick at the Nore, and such unfeeling trash.
“ Yes, Caudle; we've now been married many years, but if we were to live together for a thousand years to come — what are you clasping your hands at?- a thousand years to come I say, I shall never forget your conduct this day. You could go to the other end of the ship and smoke a cigar, when you knew I should be ill — oh, you knew it; for I always am. The brutal way, too, in which you took that cold brandy and water - you thought I didn't see you ; but ill as I was, hardly able to hold my head up, I was watching you all the time. Three glasses of cold brandy and water; and you sipped 'em, and drank the health of people you didn't care a pin about; whilst the health of your own lawful wife was nothing. Three glasses of brandy and water, and I left — as I may say — alone! You didn't hear 'em, but everybody was crying shame of you.
“What do you say? A good deal my own fault? I took too much dinner ? Well, you are a man! If I took more than the breast and leg of that young goose — a thing, I may say, just out of the shell — with the slightest bit of stuffing, I'm a wicked woman. What do you say? Lobster salad ? La !
how can you speak of it? A month old baby would have eaten more. What? Gooseberry pie? Well, if you'll name that, you'll name anything. Ate too much indeed ! Do you think I was going to pay for a dinner, and eat nothing ? No, Mr. Caudle; it's a good thing for you that I know a little more of the value of money than that.
“ But, of course, you were better engaged than in attending to me. Mr. Prettyman came on board at Gravesend. A planned thing, of course.
You think I didn't see him give you a letter. It wasn't a letter; it was a newspaper? I daresay ; ill as I was, I had my eyes. It was the smallest newspaper I ever saw, that's all. But of course, a letter from Miss PrettymanNow, Caudle, if you begin to cry out in that manner, I'll get up. Do you forget that you're not at your own house? Making that noise! Disturbing everybody! Why we shall have the landlord up! And you could smoke and drink • forward' as you call it. What? You couldn't smoke anywhere else? That's nothing to do with it. Yes; forward. What a pity that Miss Pretty man wasn't with you. I'm sure nothing could be too forward for her. No, I won't hold my tongue; and I ought not to be ashamed of myself. It isn't treason, is it, to speak of Miss Prettyman? After all I've suffered to-day, and I'm not to open my lips? Yes ; I'm to be brought away from my own home, dragged down here to the seaside, and made ill; and I'm not to speak. I should like to know what next.
“It's a mercy that some of the dear children were not drowned; not that their father would have cared, so long as he could have had his brandy and cigars. Peter was as near through one of the holes as — It's no such thing? It's very well for you to say so, but you know what an inquisitive boy he is, and how he likes to wander among steam-engines. No, I won't let you sleep. What a man you are! What? I've said that before? That's no matter; I'll say it again. Go to sleep, indeed! as if one could never have a little rational conversation. No, I sha'n't be too late for the Margate boat in the morning; I can wake up at what hour I like, and you ought to know that by this time.
“A miserable creature they must have thought me in the ladies' cabin, with nobody coming down to see how I was. You came a dozen times? No, Caudle, that won't do. I know better. You never came at all. Oh, no! cigars and brandy took all your attention. And when I was so ill, that I didn't know a single thing that was going on about me, and you never came. Every other woman's husband was there — ha! twenty times. And what must have been my feelings to hear 'em tapping at the door, and making all sorts of kind inquiries —something like husbands ! — and I was left to be ill alone? Yes; and you want to get me into an argument. You want to know, if I was so ill that I knew nothing, how could I know that you didn't come to the cabin-door? That's just like your aggravating way; but I am not to be caught in that manner, Caudle. No.”
“ It is very possible," writes Caudle, “ that she talked two hours more; but, happily, the wind got suddenly up — the
waves bellowed — and, soothed by the sweet lullaby (to say nothing of the Dolphin's brandy and water), I somehow sank to repose.'
THE TRAGEDY OF THE TILL.
THE HERMIT'S STORY.
“It is a strange tale, but it hath the recommendation of brevity. Some folks may see nothing in it but the tricksiness of an extravagant spirit; and some perchance may pluck a heart of meaning out of it. However, be it as it may, you shall hear it, sir.
“There was a man called Isaac Pugwash, a dweller in a miserable slough of London, a squalid denizen of one of the foul nooks of that city of Plutus. He kept a shop; which, though small as a cabin, was visited as granary and storehouse by half the neighborhood. All the creature comforts of the poor from bread to that questionable superfluity, small beer — were sold by Isaac. Strange it was that with such a trade Pugwash grew not rich. He had many bad debts, and of all shopkeepers was most unfortunate in false coin. Certain it is, he had neither eye nor ear for bad money. Counterfeit semblances of majesty beguiled him out of bread and butter, and cheese, and red herring, just as readily as legitimate royalty struck at the mint. Malice might impute something of this to the political principles of Pugwash ; who, as he had avowed himself again and again, was no lover of a monarchy. Nevertheless, I cannot think Pugwash had so little regard for the countenance of majesty as to welcome it as readily when silvered copper as when sterling silver. No: a wild, foolish enthusiast was Pugwash; but in the household matter of good and bad money he had very wholesome prejudices. He had a reasonable wish to grow rich, yet was entirely ignorant of the byways and short cuts to wealth. He would have sauntered through life with his hands in his pockets and a daisy in his mouth; and dying with just enough in his house to pay the undertaker, would have thought himself a fortunate fellow, he was, in the words of Mrs. Pugwash, such a careless, foolish, dreaming creature. He was cheated every hour by a customer of some kind; and yet to deny credit to anybody — he would as soon have denied the wife of his bosom. His customers knew the weakness, and failed not to exercise it. To be sure,
now and then, fresh from conjugal counsel, he would refuse to add a single herring to a debtor's score: no, he would not be sent to the workhouse by any body. A quarter of an hour after, the denied herring, with an added small loaf, was given to the little girl sent to the shop by the rejected mother: "he couldn't bear to see poor children wanting anything.'
“Pugwash had another unprofitable weakness. He was fond of what he called Nature, though in his dim close shop he could give her but a stifling welcome. Nevertheless he had the earliest primroses on his counter, — they threw,' he said, such a nice light about the place.' A sly, knavish customer presented Isaac with a pot of polyanthuses ; and won by the flowery gift, Pugwash gave the donor ruinous credit. The man with wall-flowers regularly stopped at Isaac's shop, and for only sixpence Pugwash would tell his wife he had made the place a Paradise. •If we can't go to Nature, Sally, isn't it a pleasant thing to be able to bring Nature to us?' Whereupon Mrs. Pugwash would declare that a man with at least three children to provide for had no need to talk of Nature. Nevertheless, the flower-man made his weekly call. Though at many a house the penny could not every week be spared to buy a hint, a look of Nature for the darkened dwellers, Isaac, despite of Mrs. Pugwash, always purchased. It is a common thing, an old familiar cry,” said the Hermit, “to see the poor man's filorist, to hear his loud-voiced invitation to take his nosegays, his penny roots; and yet is it a call, a conjuration of the heart of man overlabored and desponding - walled in by the gloom of a town divorced from the fields and their sweet healthful influ
almost shut out from the sky that reeks in vapor over him; - it is a call that tells him there are things of the earth besides food and covering to live for; and that God in his
great bounty hath made them for all men. Is it not so?” asked the Hermit.
Most certainly,” we answered: "it would be the very sinfulness of avarice to think otherwise."
Why, sir," said the Hermit benevolently smiling, “ thus considered, the loud-lunged city bawler of roots and flowers becomes a high benevolence, a peripatetic priest of Nature. Adown dark lanes and miry alleys he takes sweet remembrances — touching records of the loveliness of earth, that with their bright looks and balmy odors cheer and uplift the dumpish heart of man; that make his soul stir within him; and ac
knowledge the beautiful. The penny, the ill-spared penny for it would buy a wheaten roll — the poor housewife pays for a root of primrose, is her offering to the hopeful loveliness of Nature; is her testimony of the soul struggling with the blighting, crushing circumstance of sordid earth, and sometimes yearning towards earth's sweetest aspects. Amidst the violence, the coarseness and the suffering that may surround and defile the wretched, there must be moments when the heart escapes, craving for the innocent and lovely; when the soul makes for itself even of a flower a comfort and a refuge."
The Hermit paused a moment, and then in blither voice resumed. “But I have strayed a little from the history of our small tradesman Pugwash. Well, sir, Isaac for some three or four years kept on his old way, his wife still prophesying in loud and louder voice the inevitable workhouse. He would so think and talk of Nature when he should mind his shop; he would so often snatch a holiday to lose it in the fields, when he should take stock and balance his books. What was worse, he every week lost more and more by bad money. With no more sense than a buzzard, as Mrs. Pugwash said, for a good shilling, he was the victim of those laborious folks who make their money, with a fine independence of the State, out of their own materials. It seemed the common compact of a host of coiners to put off their base-born offspring upon Isaac Pugwash; who, it must b confessed, bore the loss and the indignity like a Christian martyr At last, however, the spirit of the man was stung. A guineaas Pugwash believed, of statute gold was found to be of little less value than a brass button. Mrs. Pugwash clamored and screamed as though a besieging foe was in her house ; and Pug. wash himself felt that furthur patience would be pusillanimity. Whereupon, sir, what think you Isaac did? Why, he suffered himself to be driven by the voice and vehemence of his wife to a conjurer, who in a neighboring attic was a sidereal go-between to the neighborhood -- a vender of intelligence from the stars to all who sought and duly fee'd him. This magician would declare to Pugwash the whereabouts of the felon coiner, and the thought was anodyne to the hurt mind of Isaac's wife — the knave would be law-throttled.
“ With sad indignant spirit did Isaac Pugwash seek Father Lotus; for so, sir, was the conjurer called. He was none of your common wizards. Oh no! he left it to the mere quack-salvers and mountebanks of his craft to take upon them a haggard so