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KELATES HOW OUR HERO WAS RECEIVED BY THE MEMBERS OF MR. TREMLETT'S HOUSEHOLD
When Mr. Tremlett came down to breakfast next morning, he discovered that something had occurred to ruffle the temper of his house-keeper, for that respectable old lady made a display of some of the most dignified airs that were probably ever seen in a republican country. And she did not allow him to remain long in ignorance of the cause of her unusual stateliness of demeanor.
· That little scamp,' said Mrs. Swazey, as she filled up Mr. Tremlett's cup, is the greatest villain; the greatest villain,' she repeated again, giving the coffee urn an emphatic shake, in the individual world.
'I am afraid he is a rogue,' said Mr. Tremlett.
I can dispel all your fears on that subject,' said the dignified lady; ‘I know he is.'
Has he made his escape ? inquired Mr. Tremlett.
• No, Sir, he has not, but I reckon he will;' replied the lady, 'for this house is not big enough to hold him and me, as big as it is.'
Mr. Tremlett thought to himself, as he swallowed his coffee, that he had some right to be heard in the matter; and he determined that the boy should remain, if it was only to convince his housekeeper that he would do as he pleased in his own house.
•What has the boy done ? asked Mr. Tremlett.
‘Every thing,' replied the lady; "he abused me in the shamefullest manner.'
But you must make allowance for the poor child's education,' said Mr. Tremlett; consider that he has not had the advantages of other children.' I
consider nothing as an excuse for unnatural conduct,' replied the lady; ‘for that shows a natural wickedness of heart; and I never heard any minister say that we must forgive unnaturalness, particularly in beggare.'
It is very true,' replied Mr. Tremlett, 'that unnatural conduct, particularly in a child, shows a native wickedness of heart, that we can hardly hope to correct by education.'
* Very much so indeed,' said Mrs. Swazey, approvingly. * But I do not understand why the accident of a bad man's being a beggar, should place him out of the pale of forgiveness.'
• It is a high time of day, to be sure,' said the lady, if beggars are to be choosers.' As Mr. Tremlett made no reply to this conclusive answer, the lady concluded the day was her own, and proceeded to relate her grievances in a more subdued tone.
'I was always very partial to children,' she continued, “particularly boys, although I never had any of my own; that is, I never have had any,' she said, as if she meant to convey the meaning that she might
have had, if she had been so disposed. I always liked boys much better than little girls, they are so interesting; and when I was president of the Good Samaritan Society, there is no end to the jackets and trowsers I used to make for them, the little darlings !!
• Ab, I dare say,' said Mr. Tremlett.
• Yes, that I did,' continued Mrs. Swazey; "and there is no knowing what I would'nt have done for this little villain, if he had behaved himseif with the least similitude of respect toward me.'
* Pray in what manner did he abuse you ?' asked Mr. Tremlett.
• I declare I am afraid to tell you for fear you will throw him into the street.'
* O, no, I will not use any violence toward him, I promise you.'
• Then I will tell,' said Mrs. Swazey, let the consequences be what they may. After Bridget had combed his hair and washed his face, he looked so fresh and so beautiful, and reminded me so much of my sister's eldest boy, who died three-and-twenty years ago, that I could not help wanting to kiss him; and when I made knowú my wishes to him, instead of holding up his lips to be kissed, he ran away, and said he did n't love to kiss old women!'
O! O!' said Mr. Tremlett, • I shall certainly pull his ears.' * I gave them a good smart box, myself,' said Mrs. Swazey; but not so much for his imperdence to me, as for calling you by the most awful name.'
'Ab! indeed! and pray what did he call me l' inquired Mr. Tremlett, while a slight blush covered his cheek
• He called you the old covey,' said Mrs. Swazey, speaking in as solemn a tone as she could.
• The old covey,' exclaimed Mr. Tremlett ; ‘and pray how did it happen that he called me so ?'
Bridget is a silly, ignorant creature,' replied Mrs. Swazey, 'and she is so wain that she is always fishing after compliments from every body She don't care who ihey come from, if she only gets them. So, while she was washing the boy's face, she asked him who he loved ?-expecting, of course, that he would say her; but he said the old covey up stairs,' meaning you; but I gave him such a box on the ears, that he will not say so again in a hurry, I'll warrant.
Although Mrs. Swazey had never seen the merchant manifest any very angry feelings, yet judging from her own passions, as some foolish persons will do, she expected to see him fly into a great rage, and throw the young outcast into the street, at the very least ; her astonishment, therefore, may well be conceived to have been very great, when Mr. Tremlett rose up from table, as soon as he had swallowed his coffee, and going into the kitchen, patted the head of the little vagabond, with a look in which love and compassion seemed to vie with each other.
*I declare he is a pretty creature,' said Bridget, who felt herself at liberty to be as loquacious as she pleased in the kitchen, although she could not have been prevailed upon to open her lips before her em ployer in any other place.
The boy looked up with a confident and good-natured smile into the face of the merchant, but it soon subsided, and gave place to an expression of awe, as if he was astonished at finding himself an object
of kindly regard; and then a tear dropped upon his cheek, as the old gentleman continued to stroke his glossy hair.
•So, then your name is John, and you have got no other name ?' 'Is n't one name enough ?' replied the boy.
• Law, now, was there ever !' said Bridget, who stood looking upon the boy as fondly as though she had been his mother.
No, no ; one name is not enough, my little fellow,' said Mr. Tremlett, ' and you shall have another."
And then our hero looked very seriously, first at the old merchant, and then at Bridget, as if wondering in his little mind what it could all mean. And well he might wonder, for such treatment was strangely unlike any he had ever experienced before. Kicks and cuffs he would have taken quite as a matter of course, but kind words and caresses were to him a new species of human treatment. Mr. Tremlett had already overstayed his usual breakfast hour, but before he went down to his counting-room, he gave Bridget and Mrs. Swazey strict orders to treat the boy well, and not allow him to escape. The last injunction was quite unnecessary, for the youngster evinced the most perfect satisfaction with his present quarters, and had made himself quite at home in the kitchen.
But Mr. Tremlett had no sooner closed the door behind him, than Mrs. Swazey bounced into the kitchen, to relieve herself of a few choice expressions, which having been coined in her imagination, might have produced very serious consequences, if she had not let them escape by the proper outlet. So some youthful poet, having written a string of the most original verses, would infallibly fall into the worst state of that melancholy disorder which manifests itself by a turn-over shirt collar, and a fondness for gin, were it not for the relief he is sure to find, by sending them off to some ogre of the public press, who will take no more notice of them than the most swinish porker would of an orient pearl.
Well, I wonder what is going to happen next!' exclaimed Mrs. Swazey.
*I do wonder if the world is coming to an end, or if the millennium is going to happen! Of all the goings on that ever I did hear of, this beats the Dutch! I wonder if some people thinks that some folks has got nothing to do but to take care of Irish brats. If some people has a mind to be unginteel, I know of some folks that wont be. The goodness be praised, I am no matron yet! I desire to be thankful I come from as ginteel a family as some folks, if I aint quite as rich : for my part, the goodness knows I do n't care for any body's money. My grandfather, which was a merchant in the revolution, was almost as rich as King George himself; but the way some folks takes on about a little money, is enough to make some people sick. part, the goodness knows if there is any thing I hate and detest, it's airs.'
Mrs. Swazey delivered herself of a good many more remarks about 'some folks,' and 'soine people,' receiving not a few sympathetic exclamations from Bridget, who listened to the outbreak of the good house-keeper with as much eagerness as though it had been a confidential communication of the very choicest scandal. At length the good lady's mind being partially relieved, she sought farther ease by
cuffing the ears of our hero, who having taken off the keen edge of his appetite with a monstrous plate of buttered toast, was now striving to satisfy himself with some crusts of bread, and a saucer full of molasses. The little fellow, having been all his life used to such compliments as kicks and cuffs, instead of setting up a piteous howl, as some children more tenderly reared would have done, applied an epithet to the house-keeper which it is hoped he did not fully understand, although the fact of his immediately taking to his heels would seem to imply that he did. Mrs. Swazey did not stop to ask for an explanation, but taking hold of a nop-stick, she gave chase, followed by Bridget with no other instrument of destruction than the two broad hands with which nature had generously endowed her. And here we will leave our hero, with the house-keeper and Bridget in hot pursuit after him, and return to Mr. Tremlett ; and as it will break in upon our narrative, we will bring this chapter to a close.
WILL AFFORD A FURTHER INSIGHT INTO THE CHARACTER OF MR. TREMLETT.
It rarely happens that a rich man is destitute of poor relations, for Fortune generally bestows her favors in such a manner, that where one succeeds in scraping together a competence, there are fifty others to whom the laws of consanguinity give a claim to it, without their having stretched out a finger toward its acquisition, and who would look upon
themselves ill-used individuals, if he to whom it belongs should dispose of it in such a manner as to place it out of their reach at his death. But such was not the case with Mr. Tremlett. As far as kindred were concerned, he stood alone in the world ; although he was descended from an old respectable family, who had emigrated to this country soon after the landing of the pilgrims. And having in his early youth enjoyed the delights of relationship to parents, and brothers, and sisters, he felt now, in his old age, more keenly the want of some one on whom he could lavish his wealth and his affections, and who would repay him with those sympathetic attentions which wealth alone could never purchase. He had passed the age when he could hope to gain the wished-for friend in a wife, and he was too wise, or perhaps too timid, to purchase, at the expense of comfort, the appearance of happiness which the marriage state might confer. He had long entertained the idea of adopting an orphan child, and he probably would have done so many years before, if one had been presented to his notice. Chance threw our hero in his way at a fortunate moment, and his unconstrained and spirited actions, joined to his healthy appearance and beautiful face, made an almost instant impression upon the old man's heart; and his kindly feelings manifested themselves so plainly in bis looks and his actions, that they immediately begat a kindred love in the boy. And never did a young maiden experience a truer sensation of delight at finding herself the object of some brave youth's regard, than did the old merchant at discovering that the ragged little urchin, who a few hours before had endeavored to pick his pocket, looked up to him with a feeling of love and reverence. Although unaccustomed
to act without due caution and calculation, he was not long in making up his mind to adopt and educate our hero as his son. To the unreflecting, this may appear like a very hasty determination on the part of Mr. Tremlett; but when the heart and the head are engaged in a negotiation, it requires but a marvellous short time to come to terms.
Mr. Tremlett went down to his counting-room, after he left the boy, with more pleasurable sensations leaping up in his breast than if a change in the markets had doubled the amount of his worldly possessions. The acquisition of wealth to the miserly, is the chief source of pleasure ; and increased possessions rather increase than diminish the appetite for gain ; but Mr. Tremlett was no miser; he was a prudent, successful merchant; and mere wealth had long ceased to afford him gratification; but to have discovered an object that he could love, might well make the heart of a lone man glad.
Mr. Tuck perceived an unusual sprightliness in the manner of his partner that morning; and his corresponding clerk, who enjoyed the distinguished honor of writing letters at a mahogany desk, placed within whispering distance of bis principal, ventured to suggest to a correspondent, in a postscript, that there was probably a favorable change in the money market, as our Mr. Tremlett was unusually courteous in his manner that morning.'
That any thing short of a change in the markets could either elevate or depress the feelings of any one interested in the house of Tremlett and Tuck, had never popped into the imagination of either the junior partner or his corresponding clerk.
Mr. Tremlett soon despatched his business at the counting-room, and without stopping to open one tenth part of the letters that had been placed upon his desk for his perusal, he hurried back to his house, where he arrived at a very lucky moment, and probably just as the reader, as well as our hero, will be very ardently wishing for him to make his appearance.
RELATES HOW OUR HERO ESCAPED FROM THE VIOLENT HANDS OF HIS ENEMY, AND ALSO HOW THE
MEANS TAKEN TO EFFECT HIS RUIN SIGNALLY FAILED IN THEIR OPERATION.
Our hero took to his heels, for he knew by actual observation that the expression he had made use of was calculated, pove every other epithet in the language, to rouse the feminine ire of even a less susceptible person than Mrs. Swazey; and to one of her genteel pretensions, he rightly supposed it would be particularly wrath-provoking. And fortunate was it, both for him and you, gentle reader, that his heels were light, and his limbs supple ; for if she had overtaken him in the first effervescence of her wrath, it is probable that his career, and consequently this history, would have been brought to a sudden conclusion. It unfortunately happened that there was but one stair-case to Mr. Tremlett's house, it being a fashionable mansion, up which our hero flew, with the swiftness of a squirrel leaping about the branches of a tree, without stopping to reflect that his retreat would inevitably be cut off. But up he mounted, till at last he reached the attic, where he looked about him with a fluttering heart, and found that there was no possible chance for his escape, VOL. XV.