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stead of furnishing an illustration of the prime- “Ay, ay, sir!" replied the man, without a val curse. There are the officers who seem never smile. tired of looking on and checking the delivery of Young Nick, well pleased with his official incargo told out for them as it goes overboard ; spection of the steamer, returned to the wharfs, there are the piles of bales under the sheds where for a quarter of an hour or more he wanwhich seem to grow larger and larger ; there are dered among those sheds which receive dates, rows of the inexhaustible ships which are for tamarinds, and sugar. If a stray date found its ever pouring out their contents.
way to his mouth, he stood in the critical attiYoung Nick knows better than to venture tude of a taster while he ate it. When it was near one of the vessels which are loading or un- gone he shook his head sadly, as if dates were loading. He stands afar off and watches these; no longer what he remembered dates to have well out of the reach of men who, if boys get been before he went on. All these acres covin their way, are capable of a cuff which not ered with merchandise; all these ships, perpetuonly hurts, but also humiliates, as well as of an ally coming home laden and going out laden; oath which may even please if it be of strange everything wanting the hand of the merchant and novel construction. Now, mates of mer- before it can be moved or sold, or even grown. chantmen show great ingenuity in blasphemy. “Why,” cried young Nick to his soul, in an
He walked slowly round the Docks till he accent of fine rapture—“why, the very first Ancame to a ship which he knew-a ship which thony Hamblin that ever was, he who began the brought home indigo, and was now waiting to business, hadn't a half, nor a quarter, nor a huntake cargo before going off again, outward bound. dredth part of the chance that the juniorest He ran across the plank which served as a bridge clerk—positive, juvenis, young; comparative, to the wharf, and jumped upon the deck. No- junior, younger; superlative wanting'" (quoting body was on board except a quartermaster who a favorite passage from the Latin Grammar); knew him, and grinned a salute.
"juniorest is the word—the juniorest clerk in the " Hope you're well, Master Nick,” said the House has nowadays, if he knows how to take it. man, touching his hat.
Fortunately, most of them are blind and deaf, “Quite well, thank you, quartermaster,” re- owing to having had too much Latin subjuncplied the boy. Here was dignity! To be sa- tive, which is enough to make any man a fool. luted on the hurricane-deck: what a pity that ‘Balbus feared that it would be all over-' Bah! there was no one by to witness this gratifying Wait till my turn comes." mark of respect! “What sort of a voyage did He finishes his tour of inspection through the
Docks by visiting the great house of many stories “ So-so, sir! Weather terrible bad in the in which he is most interested. He always ends Bay."
with this house, just as a Chinaman, working his “ Ah, I think I'll overhaul her!” said Nick, way through a pile of rice, tasteless and uninterwith more grandeur than he had ever assumed esting by itself, ends with the bonne bouche, the before in his life.
morsel of “snook,” which lies at the top. It is He proceeded, alone and unaided, to overhaul the Indigo House. the ship. That is to say, he examined the cab- The dyes are arranged together, in a sort of ins, the saloons, and the sleeping-bunks for’ard; order of merit, if you can make it out. Beyond he inspected the cook's galley, the carpenter's the indigo shed are sheds in which are long, cabin, descended into the engine - room, and oblong, brick-like parcels, brown in color, oozpeered down into the impenetrable darkness of ing clammy juices and irrepressible moistnesses the hold.
through the pores of their wrappers. Close to the She draws seven-and-twenty feet when she's Indigo House itself one becomes aware of strange loaded,” said the boy. “Twenty - seven feet men. They bring to the mind, at first sight, a deep, all full of indigo for Anthony Hamblin and reminiscence of St. Alban's Church. That is Company. What a heap of money they must because they wear cassocks and a biretta-cap. be making!"
But they are not Ritualistic clergy, not at all; He returns to the deck, and nods encourag- nor are they officially affiliated to guild, brotheringly at the quartermaster. “All right below," hood, or mopus-mock-monkery of any kind whathe says, as officially as if he were an Elder ever. Look again. Your mind, if you be differBrother of the Trinity House. “All right be- ently constituted from young Nick, finds itself raylow.” Then he shuts one eye, and turns the ished backward up the stream of time. You other up aloft, to inspect the rigging and the forget the ecclesiastical man-milliners. You are masts.
far away in sunny Castile ; you are assisting at a "A serviceable craft, quartermaster. A1, grand Function, blessed by Church and Pope. first class, and well found.”
The purification of doctrine is presented to your
eyes by the outward and visible ceremony of paring them with a sample they had in a box, burning heretics. The garments and the cap and every now and then making an entry in a worn at the auto-da-fé seem to have descended catalogue. That was real responsibility, Nick to the employees of the indigo-storehouses. They thought, sighing for the timetwhen he too might are no longer painted over with devils, it is true. be trusted to purchase for the firm. Outside the One misses, and regrets the loss of, the devils; salesroom, on that day only, cooks were frying but they are of the same cut. I believe that, toothsome chops and succulent steaks for the when the Inquisition came to a sudden and un- luncheon of the buyers. timely end, some commercial adventurer bought Ah ! happy, grand, glorious, and enviable lot, up all its stage properties, and sold them to the to be a merchant of London City and port—and, Directors of St. Katharine's Docks. If research happiest lot of all, to be a merchant in the indigo were properly endowed, as it should be, I would trade. investigate the history of those caps and smocks. The Docks had no more to show the boy, who
The sight of them always filled the heart of descended the stairs slowly and came out into the boy with a sort of painful yearning. He the sunshine, which for a while was blue, like the loved them and he could not as yet feel, as he walls of the place he had left. He had seen the would if he entered the House, as if they partly loading and the unloading; he had overhauled a belonged to himself.
ship entirely by himself, and on his own respon“We import,” he said, with a smack of his sibility; he had seen the smocks and biretta caps lips, as if he was detailing a list of things good again, and had visited once more those vast halls to eat, we import indigo " (smack) ; " then of the Indigo House which, gloomy and dark as myrobolans " (smack), “and cochineal" (smack). they were, seemed to him more delightful than "Great profits in all the departments : but give the Crystal Palace, more sunny than Clapham me indigo."
Common. The Indigo House is a great fire-proof build- As he approached the gates, the three merry ing, with massive stone staircase. The steps, of policemen who guarded them winked each with course, were once white; the walls were once his left eye, and ranged themselves before the whitewashed; both walls and steps are now a portals. deep, permanent blue; the ceiling is believed to “Now, sir," said the first, “ we'll see what have been originally white—that, too, is now a you're carrying out, if you please.” dark and beautiful blue. At every stage a door “Ah!" said the second jocular one, “a hunopens upon a vast, low hall, every one filled, or dred-weight or so of cigars, I dessay." gradually filling, with boxes and cases containing “ Yes,” said the third mad wag, or a hogsindigo, and every one provided with an open win- head o' brandy, I shouldn't wonder. Now, sir.” dow, or door, at which the indefatigable crane Young Nick was not frightened, not at all : delivers its messages in the shape of boxes. The he was delighted. This was an adventure which floor of each is blue, the walls are blue, the ceil- he had not suspected. It would be grand to tell ing is blue; the very desk at which the clerks the boys next day. He feigned terror. enter the number of packages is blue, and they “O Lord !” he cried, “ this is dreadful. You spread a fresh sheet of brown paper over it every don't think, really, I've got any cigars, do you, morning, so that the writer may lay his book gentlemen ? " upon it without making that blue as well. Where He was so thin, and his trousers and jacket there is a knot in the wood, either in the floor or were so tight, that even a solitary cigarette would in the desks, it stands out, shining, as if it were a have been detected in any of his pockets. cobble of blue-stone used for washing.
The policemen scowled: the merry policemen Young Nick climbs steadily and gravely up frowned. the stairs, looking into every room. There are
“We shall see,” they said. six or seven floors; each is exactly like the one “And brandy, too?" asked young Nick. “Oh! below it, except that each one seems bluer than what would they do if you found I had brandy ?” the one below, probably because the eye itself “Fifteen years for brandy,” said the first jestbecomes gradually incapable of seeing any other er; “ come, young sir, we must search you." color. The top floor of all is the salesroom, only “ This way, young gentleman,” said the secused four times a year. Once young Nick had ond, leading the way into the lodge. been privileged to behold it on one of the great “What will you take to square it ? ” asked days. Long tables ran from side to side, pro- the boy, with earnest eyes under his white eyevided with little paper trays, each with its wall lashes. an inch and a half high, containing samples. Square it ?” replied the third policeman ; The merchants and buyers went up and down “that's bribery and corruption. Your words curiously studying the contents of the trays, com- must be took down, young gentleman."
“Must they?" said Nick; "then there's no- are not eagerly bought up by a voluptuous aristhing for it”-he gathered himself together for tocracy. The fishmongers have nothing but a spring—" but to—cut it.” Here he darted herrings, in their various branches, such as bloatunder the arm of the third policeman, and scudded ers, “soldiers," and kippered herrings, with salt swiftly down the street, turning to the right for fish and sprats; there are more than the ordinary about a hundred yards, when, finding that no one number of pawnbrokers, and there are shops pefollowed, he stopped running, and began to whis- culiar to the locality, and suggestive. In one tle.
window, for instance, young Nick observed a centiped hanging in a bottle full of spirits, the skin
of a snake, a grewsome case full of tarantulas CHAPTER XXI.
and scorpions, a handful of soiled ostrich-feath
ers, a child's caul (but this was only advertised), HOW YOUNG NICK MADE A MOST SURPRIS- and a collection of bamboo-canes. ING DISCOVERY.
At the end of Cable Street the boy turned to
the left and found himself in a very respectable QUITE sure that no one was following him, and even genteel street. It was broad and clean : the boy recollected that he was hungry. It was it had no shops, or hardly any; the houses were half-past two, a good hour beyond his regular small, but the tenants seemed to take pride dinner-time. He resolved on looking about for a in their appearance. Considerable variety was place where he could dine.
shown in the painting of the doors, which were He was in a district interesting to many kinds red, yellow, or green, according to the taste of of people the clergyman, the policeman, the the tenant; all of the houses had clean white philanthropist, the total-abstinence man, and the blinds. doctor. The street was as much given over to In the East End there are hundreds of streets mercantile Jack as any Quartier in a mediæval like this: who the people are, where they find city was given over to a special trade. Every employment, one can not even guess. In the other house was devoted to the interests of eat- window of every tenth house one sees an aning or drinking, or both, outside the office of the nouncement that dressmaking in all its branches Board of Trade. These houses were all full of is carried on there: this is an open confession of the “splendid fellows" whose appearance had poverty. Occasionally a card proclaims the fact afforded young Nick such unfeigned satisfaction. that a room is to be let, which is another open They had finished their dinner, and were now acknowledgment of insufficiency. Yet most of sitting over their wine"—that is, they were the houses are rented by responsible people, who drinking and smoking. Young Nick could not are able to pay their rent out of their incomes. go into one of those houses, that was quite cer- If, again, it is difficult to imagine how so tain. Besides, the sailors were not alone: with many hundreds of thousands do somehow pick them were women who frightened the boy; it up a little income, the brain reels when one tries was not so much that their complexions were to understand what the amusements of these purple, red, or ghastly pale, nor that their eyes people can be. They have no theatres, except, rolled horribly like the eyes of a hungry wild perhaps, the Whitechapel house for melodrama; beast; but they were swearing loudly, drinking they have no picture-galleries, no concert halls, copiously, and their voices were hoarse and no parks; they have not only no means of acrough. To all conditions of men, at any age, quiring the civilization of the West End, but they such women are a terror. I believe that even have absolutely no means of instituting commercantile Jack regards their companionship as parisons, and so becoming discontented. I beone of the horrible circumstances attending his lieve that these people, provided they earn enough joyless lot.
for beef and beer, are absolutely contented. In Young Nick held on, and presently found the summer they run down to Southend by cheap himself in a long and narrow street called Cable excursions ; they throng the pleasure-boats for Street, where the presence of the sailor was less Gravesend. In the winter they vegetate : go to overwhelming. The street was full of shops and the daily work, come home in the evening, smoke of people going up and down buying or pretend- a pipe, and go to bed. On Sundays they have ing to buy. It is quite a leading street, a sort of the Church and Chapel, the latter for choice. Westbourne Grove to the district. The things Except for the organization of their chapels, they offered for sale are calculated, as in all markets, have no society at all, and know no one except according to the demand. The butchers' shops their own relations. No country town is so dull, contain chiefly what are known to the trade as none so devoid of society, distraction, and amuse“ornamental blocks,” with sheeps' heads and ment, as the East End of London. those less-esteemed portions of the animal which There ought to be a prefect of the East End:
he should be one of the royal princes; he should blind in the window; before it, three eggs in a build a palace among the people; there should plate, a lump of butter, a piece of streaky bacon, be regiments of soldiers, theatres, picture-gal- and two mutton-chops uncooked. There was leries, and schools, to wake them up and make also suspended before his eyes a tariff of prices. them dismally discontented about their mean The boy read it carefully. He had his eighteen surroundings. The first step in the elevation of pence intact. He could have a mutton-chop for a people is to make them discontented.
fivepence, potatoes for one penny, bread for the Another thing—the East End covers a level same, an egg for twopence, butter for one penny, which stretches for miles; it includes all those and so on. places which, not being so squalid as White- He hesitated no longer, but opened the door chapel and the neighborhood of Cable Street, are and walked in. yet as destitute of the means of artistic grace. The place was empty except for one man, From the East End of London there has never who was sitting in the box opposite to that in come any prophet at all, either in art, in music, which young Nick sat down. The man was in preaching, in acting, in prose, in poetry, or in reading the paper, and was leaning back in the science. Prophets can not come from a level so corner with the sheet before him, so that Nicolas dead and a society so dull. Country towns, the did not see his face. He sat down, looked about fields, the hillside, can show prophets; the West him, took off his hat, rapped the table with his End has produced prophets by hundreds; only stick, and called “Waiter!" as loud as he dared. the East End has no one. Perhaps if one were The waiter was a girl, neat and quick. to arise, he would be so little understood, so “Bring me, if you please,” said Nicolas, “as rudely reminded that he was out of the grooves quickly as you can, a chop-yes "—ticking up the of respectability, that he would speedily cease to cost mentally—“and potatoes, and bread, and an prophesy, and presently droop and die, before egg to follow, and butter-that makes ten pence, the world was able to become aware of him. and a cup of coffee, that will be a shilling." He
Lastly, if one wanted to hide, to go away for remembered afterward that it looks shabby to a term of years, or altogether, what better place add up the bill for yourself out loud while you could be found than a quiet street south of are ordering the meal. However, the great thing Whitechapel? It is not an Alsatia—not at all: was not to go beyond that eighteen pence. “And it is a highly respectable place. There are no bring me to-day's paper—the half with the moneyhabitual criminals, unless you reckon in that market intelligence, please ; I am anxious to read class the sailors, who are habitually drunk when the money-market news.” they are at home. People would not begin by The man with the newspaper started when he suspecting a stranger who could show that he heard the boy's voice, and glanced furtively from had means of earning a livelihood; he might behind his paper. Then his fingers, when they live among them for years without being known held the paper, began to tremble. or inquired after; none of his West End friends brought, Nicolas took a great deal of time and would ever come near the place; no one would trouble to fold it, so that it should rest easily seek for him here.
against the cruet-stand, and thus allow itself to Later on young Nick would always declare be read while he was taking his dinner. He was that such thoughts as these were running through not really so oppressed with a craving for intelhis brain on that day. But I doubt. Mankind lectual food as to want to read while he was eatis apt to remember little things which are too ing, but he had frequently observed the clerks in picturesque, and group themselves too easily to Crosby Hall take dinner and the “ Daily Telebe altogether probable. Nature is generally flat graph” at the same time, the murders with the in her composition, and a clever arrangement is meat and the paragraphs with the pudding, and not so common with her as quite inartistic group- he thought the eagerness to lose no time helped ing. So that I suspect young Nick of romancing to distinguish the complete clerk. So he spread when he narrates the events of this remarkable out the paper with the money-market news outday.
side, and had just got it fairly in position when He was really getting quite wonderfully hun- the chop came. It was a generous five-pennygry: he tightened his waistband, having heard worth, that chop; it must have been cut from a that it affords relief to shipwrecked mariners, larger and nobler specimen of the mutton-prowhen they have been without food for a month viding animal than ordinary-Nicolas felt grateor two, to do so. He was desperately hungry, ful to the sheep-a chop with a due proportion and wondering how much farther he would have of fat, not a lump as big as your fist to be cut to go—it was already close on three o'clock, away, and then nothing but a bit of lean the size when he passed a coffee-house.
of a pigeon's egg. He made to himself these The place looked clean : there was a white observations as he went on : “ The potatoes
The paper might be mealier,” he murmured, “ but when a had been asked to do so, he would even have man's hungry, what odds does a waxy one make? stood upon a chair, so that everybody might see None at all." He forgot the money-market news him. in his hunger, and cleared off the whole of that But this furtive curiosity, this sneaking bechop down to the bone without reading a word. hind a copy of the “ Daily Telegraph,” this pryThen he waited two minutes or so for the egg ing over a corner when he himself was looking ‘and coffee, and began to read half aloud, for the another way, was disquieting. Why couldn't the benefit of the stranger opposite to him. stranger lay down the paper and look at him as
“ Hum ! Russians down. Don't wonder. one man at another? And this modest Paul Why do they keep up at all? Great Westerns Pry, whether he had taken his dinner or not, up again, and Brighton A's firm-ha!”
called for nothing, and yet seemed in no hurry to He enjoyed this little comedy because he had go away. Nicolas, for his part, felt that it was perceived, with those sharp eyes of his, that the high time for him to go, and yet was loath to go stranger was interested in him, and, when he was without, to some extent, solving the mystery of not looking that way, was taking hurried glances the stranger. at him from the corner of his paper. Now, the They were quite alone now, because the girl, interest which young Nick everywhere excited as seeing they had taken and paid for all they were an albino made him callous as regards these likely to want, had left the room and gone away. little attentions, but he was in hopes that by The man wore a tall and rather seedy hat, the wisdom of his remarks he might cause the which was visible above the paper ; his fingers, stranger to admire his business qualities as much those of them, at least, which were visible—were as he did those physical attributes, of which he white, not at all the fingers of a workingman; felt that it would be wrong to be too proud. and his boots were worn down at heel. Pre
Then the egg and the coffee were brought sumably he was some quite poor clerk. But why and dispatched. When the repast was quite fin- did he go on in that ridiculous fashion, holding ished, young Nick laid down the paper and called the paper before him ? the waiter.
Presently the boy was seized with an inspira“My bill,” he asked grandly.
tion. He gently took his penknife from his pockIt amounted, as he had estimated, to one et and opened it noiselessly. The paper was shilling. He still had sixpence left. Should he held, stretched out tight, well up before the myswalk home, and so leave himself free to spend terious reader's face. Young Nick put on his that sum in cakes, or should he—which would be hat, took his stick in the left hand and his pena more sensible course—make his way back to knife in the right. He then carefully measured London Bridge, and then take the omnibus to with his eye the space between himself and the Clapham ?
door, and concluded that, being already in the While he turned this difficulty over in his passage between the tiers of boxes, he had a mind, a rustling of the paper showed him that sufficient start. This decided, he advanced cauthe other occupant of the coffee-house was watch- tiously to the stranger, and, without saying one ing him again.
word, ripped the paper with his penknife from This became more interesting. Nicolas had top to bottom. no objection to be watched if the scrutiny meant
“That's the way with these penny papers ” admiration. It is not every boy of fourteen who he said coolly. They go at the least thing. has white hair, white eyebrows, and a delicately All made up of old paper and Esparto-grass ! pink complexion. These things are not so com- Give me the ‘Tim-'” mon, if you please : a boy who owns them must Here the stranger raised his head, and the as much expect to be looked at wherever he boy reeled backward, faint and sick. shows himself, as a reigning beauty when she "Oh, oh, oh! It's a ghost without a beard ! goes to a garden-party. He was pleased to be Oh, oh, oh! It's—it's—it's—UNCLE ANTHOable to gratify this laudable curiosity. If he NY!”
(To be continued.)