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covered by chance, after all methods of search had failed, at noonday, fast asleep, a lost chimney sweeper. The little creature, having somehow confounded his passage among the intricacies of those lordly chimneys, by some unknown aperture had alighted upon this magnificent chamber; and, tired with his tedious explorations, was unable to resist the delicious invitement to repose, which he there saw exhibited; so creeping between the sheets very quietly, laid his black head upon the pillow, and slept like a young Howard.
Such is the account given to the visitors at the Castle. But I can not help seeming to perceive a confirmation of what I have just hinted at in this story. A high instinct was at work in the case, or I am mistaken. Is it probable that a poor child of that description, with whatever weariness he might be visited, would have ventured, under such a penalty as he would be taught to expect, to uncover the sheets of a duke's bed, and deliberately to lay himself down between them, when the rug, or the carpet, presented an obvious couch, still far above his pretensions,—is this probable, I would ask, if the great power of nature, which I contend for, had not been manifested within him, prompting to the adventure? Doubtless this young nobleman (for such my mind misgives me he must be) was allured by some memory, not amounting to full consciousness, of his condition in infancy, when he was used to be lapped by his mother, or his nurse, in just such sheets as he there found, into which he was now but creeping back as into his proper incunabula,” and resting place. By no other theory than by this sentiment of a pre-existent state (as I may call it), can I explain a deed so venturous, and indeed, upon any other system so indecorous, in this tender, but unseasonable, sleeper.
7. Incunabula means cradle.
My pleasant friend Jem White was so impressed with a belief of metamorphoses like this frequently taking place, that in some sort to reverse the wrongs of fortune in these poor changelings, he instituted an annual feast of chimney sweepers, at which it was his pleasure to officiate as host and waiter. It was a solemn supper held in Smithfield, upon the yearly return of the fair of Saint Bartholomew.8 Cards were issued a week before to the master-sweeps in and about the metropolis, confining the invitation to their younger fry. Now and then an elderly stripling would get in among us, and be good-naturedly winked at; but our main body were infantry. One unfortunate wight, indeed, who, relying upon his dusky suit, had intruded himself into our party, but by tokens was providentially discovered in time to be no chimney sweeper (all is not soot which looks so) was quoited out of the presence with universal indignation, as not having on the wedding garment; but in general the greatest harmony prevailed. The place chosen was a convenient spot among the pens, at the north side of the fair, not so far distant as to be impervious to the agreeable hubbub of that vanity; but remote enough not to be obvious to the interruption of every gaping spectator in it. The guests assembled about seven. In those little temporary parlors three tables were spread with napery. not so fine as substantial, and at every board a comely hostess presided with her pan of hissing sausages. The nostrils of the young rogues dilated at the savor. James White, as head waiter, had charge of the first table; and myself, with our trusty companion Bigod, ordinarily ministered to the other two. There was clambering and jostling, you may be sure, who should get at the first table, for Rochester in his maddest days could not have done the humors of the scene with more spirit than my friend. After some general expression of thanks for the honor the company had done him, his inaugural ceremony was to clasp the greasy waist of old dame Ursula (the fattest of the three), that stood frying and fretting, half-blessing, half-cursing “the gentleman,” and imprint upon her chaste lips a tender salute, whereat the universal host would set up a shout that tore the concave, while hundreds of grinning teeth startled the night with their brightness. O it was a pleasure to see the sable younkers lick in the unctuous meat, with his more unctuous sayings,-how he would fit the titbits to the puny mouths, reserving the lengthier links for the seniors,—how he would intercept a morsel even in the jaws of some young desperado, declaring it “must to the pan again to be browned, for it was not fit for a gentleman's eating,”—how he would recommend this slice of white bread, or that piece of kissing-crust,” to a tender juvenile, advising them all to have a care of cracking their teeth, which were their best patrimony,-how genteely he would deal about the small ale, as if it were wine, naming the brewer, and protesting, if it were not good, he should lose their custom; with a special recommendation to wipe the lip before drinking. Then we had our toasts—“the King!”—“the Cloth” —which, whether they understood or not, was equally diverting and flattering ;and for a crowning sentiment which never failed, “May the Brush supersede the Laurel!” All these and fifty other fancies, which were rather felt than comprehended by his guests, would he utter, standing upon tables, and prefacing every sentiment with a “Gentlemen, give me leave to propose so and so,” which was a prodigious comfort to those young orphans; every now and then stuffing into his mouth (for it did not do to be squeamish on these occasions) indiscriminate pieces of those reeking sausages, which pleased them mightily, and was the savoriest part, you may believe, of the entertainment.
8. A festival of the Roman church held in August.
9. The "kissing crust” is that portion of the upper crust of a loaf of bread that has touched another in baking.
Golden lads and lassies must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust. James White is extinct, and with him these suppers have long ceased. He carried away with him half the fun of the world when he died-of my world at least. His old clients look for him among the pens; and, missing him, reproach the altered feast of Saint Bartholomew, and the glory of Smithfield departed forever.
MR. PICKWICK AND SAM
By CHARLES DICKENS
MRS. BARDELL AND SAM
Goswell Street, although on a limited
ting-room was the first floor front, his bed-room the second floor front; and thus, whether he was sitting at his desk in his parlour, or standing
1. These selections are from The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. This was published originally in monthly numbers, and it was not until the appearance of Sam Weller as a character that it gained any great popularity. The preface to the original edition bears date September 27, 1837. Since that time there has been no falling off of interest in the books, and they leave us with their diverting incidents, which amuse and entertain us as much as they did their first readers.
The extracts published here are arranged in the order in which they appear in the books. They give a good idea of Pickwick and his inimitable servant.
2. Mr. Pickwick is elsewhere described as a small, portly man with a bald head, whose beaming eyes were seen twinkling behind circular spectacles. He wore a long-tailed coat, waistcoat, tight breeches, hose and gaiters, and presented altogether an amusing and attractive personality.
His faithful servant Sam says of him, "I never heerd, mind you, nor read of in story books, nor see in picters, any angel in tights and gaiters—not even in spectacles, as I remember, though that may have been done for anythin' I know to the contrairey—but mark my words, he's a reg'lar thoroughbred angel for all that; and let me see the man as wenturs to tell me he knows a better vun." 3. Goswell Street, London.