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nic ; but to Dick Brown and his small rooms in a house facing the mother there was nothing out of the river,- one in which Dick could way in it, and she tied up the frag- sleep, the other a room with a firements for supper in a spotted cotton place, where his hot meals, which he handkerchief when they had fin- no doubt would insist upon, could ished. It was natural for them to eat be cooked, and where, in a corner, out of doors, as well as to do every- she herself could sleep when the day thing else out of doors. Dick told was over. She had a little stock of her of his good luck, how kind reserve money on her person, a few Valentine had been, and gave her shillings saved, and something more, the half-crown he had received, and which was the remnant of a sum she an account of all that was to be had carried about with her for years, done for him. “If they don't mind and which I believe she intended him, they're sure to mind the other “to bury her,” according to the gentleman," said devout Dick, who curious pride which is common believed in Val's power with a among the poor. But as for the fervent and unquestioned faith. moment there was no question of After a while he went across to the burying her, she felt justified in rafts, and hung about there ready breaking in upon this little hoard for any odd job, and making himself to please her boy by such forlorn conspicuous in eager anxiety to please attempts at comfort as were in her the master. His mother stayed still, power. She ventured to buy a few with the fragments of their meal necessaries, and to make provision as tied up in the handkerchief, on the well as she knew how for the night same grassy bank where they dined, -the first night which she would watching the boats as they came have passed for years under a roof and went. She did not understand which she could call her own. One how it was that they all dropped off of the chief reasons that reconciled one by one, and as suddenly reap. her to this step was, that the room peared again when the hour for faced the river, and that not Dick dinner and the hour of " three alone, but the other whom she did o'clock school” passed. But she not know, could be watched from the had nothing to do to call her from window. Should she get to know that musing and silence to which him, perhaps to speak to him, that she had become habituated, and re- other?-to watch him every sunamer mained there the entire afternoon evening in his boat, floating up and doing nothing but gaze. At last, down—to distinguish his voice in the however, she made a great effort, and crowd, and his step? But for this roused herself. The unknown boy hope she could not, I think, have after whom she yearned could not made so great a sacrifice for Dick be identified among all these strange alone—a sacrifice she had not been faces; and there was something able to make when the doing of it which could be done for good Dick, would have been still more importthe boy who had always been good ant than now. Perhaps it was beto her. She did for Dick what no cause she was growing older, and the one could have expected her to do; individual had faded somewhat from she went and looked for a lodging her consciousness; but the change where they could establish them- bewildered even herself. She did it selves. After a while she found two notwithstanding, and of her free will.
When Dick saw his friend and he was expected to present himself patron come down to the rafts that on the morrow. “Give an eye to evening in company with another of my boat, Brown," said Val; “ see the “gentlemen," bigger, stronger, she's taken care of. I'll expect you and older than himself, at whom to look out for me, and have her everybody looked with respect and ready when you know I'm coming. admiration, the state of his mind I hate waiting," said the lad, with may be supposed. He had been imperious good-humour. How Dick hanging about all day, as I have admired him as he stood there in said, making himself useful — a his flannels and jersey—the hand. handy fellow, ready to push a somest, splendid, all-commanding boat into the water, to run and young prince, who had stooped fetch an oar, to tie on the sheepskin from his skies to interfere on his on a rower's seat, without stand- (Dick's) behalf, for no reason in the ing on ceremony as to who told him world except his will and pleasure. to do so. The master himself, in “How lucky I am," thought Dick the hurry of operations, had given to himself, “that he should have him various orders without perceiv- noticed me last night !”—and he ing, so willing and ready was Dick, made all manner of enthusiastic that it was a stranger, and not one promises on account of the boat, of his own men, whom he addressed. and in general devotion to Val's Dick contemplated the conversation service. The young potentate which ensued with a beating heart. took all these protestations in the He saw the lads look round, and very best part. He stepped into that Valentine pointed him out to his outrigger with lordly composure, the potentate of the river-side ; and while Dick, all glowing and happy, he saw one of the men join in, say- knelt on the raft to hold it. “You ing something, he was sure, in his shan't want a friend, old fellow, as favour; and, after a terrible interval long as you behave yourself," said of suspense, Val came towards him, Val, with magnificent condescenwaving his hand to him in triumph. sion which it was fine to see. “I'll “There," cried Val, “we've got look after you," and he nodded at you the place. Go and talk to old him as he shot along over the gleamHarry yourself about wages and ing water. As for Dick, as his serthings. And mind what I said to vices were not required till next you, Brown; neither Lichen nor day, he went across the river to I will stand any nonsense. We've Coffin Lane, where his mother was made all sorts of promises for you; waiting for him, to tell his news. and if you don't keep them, Lichen She did not say very much, nor did will kick you—or if he don't, I will. he expect her to do so, but she took You'd best keep steady, for your him by the arm and led him along own sake."
the water-side to a house which stood “I'll keep steady," said Dick, in a corner, half facing the river, with a grin on his face; and it looking towards the sunset. She was all the boy could do to keep took him in at the open door, and himself from executing a dance of up-stairs to the room in which she triumph when he found himself had already set out a homely and really engaged at reasonable wages, very scanty table for their supper. and informed of the hour at which Dick did not know how to express
the delight and thanks in his heart. the western sky; just under the He turned round and gave his mother window lay the green eyot, waving a kiss in silent transport-a rare with young willows, and up and caress, such as meant more than down in a continual stream on the words. The window of this room sunny side of it went and came the looked up the river, and straight boys in their boats. “Show him into the “ Brocas clump," behind to me, Dick, when he comes," said which the sunset was preparing all the woman. Dick did not reits splendour. In the little room quire to be told whom she meant, beyond, which was to be Dick's neither was he surprised at this inbedroom-glorious title !—the win- tensity of interestin him, which made dow looked straight across to the his young patron the only figure rafts. I do not think that any worth identification in that crowded young squire coming into a fine scene. Had he not been, as it were, property was ever more happy than Dick's guardian angel, who had the young tramp finding himself for suddenly appeared for the boy's almost the first time in his life in succour?—and what more natural a place which he could call home. than that Dick's mother should He could not stop smiling, so full desire before anything else to see of happiness was he, nor seat him- one who had been such a friend to self to his poor supper, but went her boy? round and round the two rooms, But I do not think she was much planning where he could put up a the wiser when Val came down the shelf or arrange a table. “ I'll make river, accompanied by a group of it so handy for you, mother; you'll backers on the bank, who had made not know you're born !" cried Dick, themselves hoarse shrieking and in the fulness of his delight. shouting at him. He was training
And yet two barer little rooms per- for a race, and this was one of his haps no human home ever was made trial nights. Lichen himself had in. There was nothing there that agreed to come down to give Val was not indispensable-a table, two his advice and instructions—or, in chairs, and no more ; and in Dick's more familiar phraseology, was room a small iron bed. All that “coaching” him for the important his mother possessed for her own effort. Dick rushed out at the sight, rest was a mattress, which could be to cheer and shriek too, in an efrolled up and put aside during the fervescence of loyalty which had noday. She took her son's pleasure thing to do with the character of very quietly, as was her wont, but Val's performance. The mother sat smiled with a sense of having made at the window and looked out upon him happy, which was pleasant to them, longing and sickening with her, although to make him happy a desire unsatisfied. Was this all had not been her only motive. she was ever to see of him-a disWhen she had put away the things tant speck in a flying boat? But to from their supper, she sat down at know that this was him—that he was the open window and looked out there before her eyes that he had on the river. The air was full of taken up Dick and established him sound, so softened by the summer in his own train, as it were, near that all rudeness and harshness were to him, by a sudden fancy which taken out of it: in the foreground to her, who knew what cause there the ferry-boat was crossing and re- was for it, seemed something like a crossing, the man standing up with special interference of God,-filled his punt-pole against the glow of her with a strange confused rapture of mingled feelings. She let her having not only no power but no tears fall quietly as she sat all alone, wish to interfere. gazing upon the scene. It must be Thus things went on for the reGod's doing, she felt, since no man maining portion of the “half," had any hand in it. She had sepa- which lasted only about six weeks rated them in her wild justice, rend- more. Dick set himself to the ing her own heart while she did so, work of making everything“handy" but God had brought them together for her with enthusiasm in his odd She was totally untaught, poor soul, hours, which were few—for his serin religious matters, as well as in yices at the rafts were demanded everything else ; but in her ignor- imperatively from earliest morning ance she had reached that point till the late evening after sunset, which our high philosophy reaches when the river dropped into darkstruggling through the mist, and ness. ." The gentlemen," it is true, which nowadays the unsatisfied and were all cleared off their favourite over-instructed mind loves to go back stream by nine o'clock; but the to, thinking itself happier with one local lovers of the Thames would naked primary truth than with a linger on it during those summer system however divine. No one nights, especially when there was a could have taken from this dweller moon, till poor Dick, putting himin the woods and wilds the sense self across in his boat when all at of a God in the world, -almost last was silent—the last boating half visible, sometimes, to musing, party disposed of, and the small silent souls like her own; a God craft all ranged in their places ready always watchful, always compre- for to-morrow-would feel his arms hensible to the simple mind, in the scarcely able to pull the light sculls, mere fact of His perpetual watch- and his limbs trembling under him. fulness, fatherliness, yet severity, Even then, after his long day's sending hunger and cold as well as work, when he had eaten his supwarmth and plenty, and guiding per, he would set to work to put those revolutions of the seasons and up the shelves he had promised his the outdoor facts of existence which mother, or to fix upon his walls the impress the untaught yet thought pictures which delighted himself. ful being as nothing learnt by books Dick began with the lowest rudican ever do. To know as she did ments of art, the pictures in the that there was a God in the world, penny papers, with which he almost and not believe at the same time papered his walls. Then his taste that His interference was the most advanced as his pennies grew natural of all things, would have more plentiful : the emotional prints been impossible to this primitive of the Police News' ceased to creature. Therefore, knowing no charm him, and he rose to the picagencies in the universe but that of tures of the Illustrated,' or whatman direct and visible, and that of ever might be the picture - paper God, which to her could scarcely of the time. This advance — 80 be called invisible, she believed un- quickly does the mind work-took hesitatingly that God had done place in the six weeks that remained this—that He had balked her, with of the half; and by the time “the a hand and power more great than gentlemen”left, and work slackened, hers. What was to be the next Dick's room was already gorgeous, step she could not tell, it was with here and there a mighty chromo, beyond her: she could only sit strong in tint and simple in subject, and watch how things would befall, surrounded with all manner of royal progresses and shows of various many trite but admirable theories kinds, as represented in the columns on the subject-theories, however, of the prints aforesaid. He grew not at all trite to Val, who believed handy, too, in amateur carpentering, he had invented them for his own having managed to buy himself good and that of mankind. It some simple tools; and when he was not enough, he reasoned with had a spare moment he betook him- himself, to have saved a lad from self to the bits of simple carving the life of a tramp, and got him which Ross had handed over to regular employment, unless at the him, and worked at them with a real same time you did something toenjoyment which proved his pos- wards improving his mind, and session of some germ at least of training him for the role of a reartistic feeling. The boy never spectable citizen. These were very had a moment unemployed with all fine words, but Val (strictly within these occupations, necessary and himself) was not afraid of fine voluntary. He was as happy as words. No young soul of sixteen the day was long, always ready worth anything ever is. To make with a smile and pleasant word, a worthy citizen of his waif seemed always sociable, not given to calcu- to him for some time his mission. lating his time too nicely, or to Having found out that Dick could grumbling if some of his “mates” read, he pondered very deeply and threw upon his willing shoulders carefully what books to get for him, more than his share of work. The and how to lead him upon the path boating people about got to know of knowledge. With a little sigh him, and among the boys he had he recognised the fact that there already become highly popular. was no marked literary turn in Very grand personages indeed — Dick's mind, and that he preferred Lichen himself, for instance, than a bit of wood and a knife as a means whom there could be no more of relaxation to books. Val hesiexalted being—would talk to him tated long between the profitable familiarly; and some kind lads, and the pleasant in literature as a finding out his tastes, brought means of educating his protégé. him pictures of which they them- Whether to rouse him to the practiselves had got tired, and little cal by accounts of machinery and carved brackets from their walls, manufactures, or to rouse his imaand much other rubbish of this de- gination by romance, he could not scription, all of which was delightful easily decide. I fear his decision to Dick.
was biassed ultimately by the possesAs for Valentine, the effect pro- sion of a number of books which duced upon him by the possession he had himself outgrown, but which of a protégé was very striking. he rightly judged might do very He felt the responsibility deeply, well for his humble friend, whose and at once began to ponder as to total want of education made him. the duties of a superior to his younger than Val by a few years, inferiors, of which, of course, one and therefore still within the range time or other, he had heard much. of the 'Headless Horseman,' of An anxious desire to do his duty Captain Mayne Reid's vigorous proto this retainer who had been so ductions, and other schoolboy literoddly thrown upon his hands, and ature of the same class. These he for whom he felt an unaccountable brought down, a few volumes at a warmth of patronising friendship, time, to the rafts, and gave them to took possession of him. He made his friend with injunctions to read