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rewarded with a grin, and shook his straight shoulders straighter. If pride of any sort was not beneath him, as a matter of strict busimess, it was the pride which he allowed his friends to take in his military figure and aspect. This gentleman's place of business was scarcely equal to the expectations which might have been formed from a view of the owner. The old King's Staith, on the right hand after crossing Ouse Bridge from the Micklegate, is a passage-way scarcely to be called a street, but combining the features of an alley, a lane, a jetty, a quay, and a barge-walk, and ending ignominiously. Nevertheless, it is a lively place sometimes, and in moments of excitement. Also it is a good place for business, and for brogue of the broadest; and a man, who is unable to be happy there, must have something on his mind unusual. Geoffrey Mordacks had nothing on his mind except other people's business; which (as in the case of Lawyer Jellicorse) is a very favourable state of the human constitution for happiness. But though Mr. Mordacks attended so to other people's business, he would not have anybody to attend to his. No partner, no clerk, no pupil had a hand in the inner breast-pockets of his business; there was nothing mysterious about his work, but he liked to follow it out alone. Things that were honest and wise came to him to be carried out with judgment; and he knew that the best way to carry them out is to act with discreet candour. For the slug shall be traced by his slime; and the spider who shams death shall receive it. Now here, upon a very sad November afternoon, when the northern day was; narrowing in. and the Ouse, which is usually of a ginger colour, was nearly as dark as a nutmeg ; and the bridge, and the staith, and the houses, and the people resembled one another in tint and tone; while between the Minster and the Clifford Tower there was not much difference of outline; here and now Master Geoffrey Mordacks was sitting in the little room where strangers were received. The live part of his household consisted of his daughter and a very young Geoffrey, who did more harm than good, and a thoroughly hard-working country-maid, whose slowness was gradually giving way to pressure. The weather was enough to make anybody dull, and the sap of every human thing insipid ; and the time of day suggested tea, hot
cakes, and the crossing of comfortable legs. Mordacks could well .
afford all these good things, and he never was hard upon his family; but every day he liked to feel that he had earned the bread of it, and this day he had laboured without seeming to earn anything. For after all the ordinary business of the morning, he had been devoting several hours to the diligent revisal of his premises and data, in a matter which he was resolved to carry through, both for his credit and his interest. And this was the matter which had cost him two days’ ride, from York to Flamborough, and three days on the road home, as was natural after such a dinner as he made in little Denmark.
enjoyment of the place, if it had only borne good fruit. He had felt quite certain that it must do this, and that he would have to pay another visit to the Head, and eat another duck, and have a flirt with Widow Precious.
But up to the present time nothing had come of it, and so far as he could see he might just as well have spared himself that long rough ride. Three months had passed, and that surely was enough for even Flamborough folk to do something; if they ever meant to do it. It was plain that he had been misled for once, that what he suspected had not come to pass, and that he must seek elsewhere the light which had gleamed upon him vainly from the Danish town. To this end he went through all his case again, while hope (being very hard to beat as usual) kept on rambling over everything unsettled, with a very sage conviction that there must be something there, and doubly sure, because there was no sign of it.
Men at the time of life which he had reached, conducting their bodies with less suppleness of joint, and administering food to them with greater care, begin to have doubts about their intellect as well, whether it can work as briskly as it used to do. And the mind falling under this discouragement of doubt, asserts itself amiss in making futile strokes, even as a gardener can never work his best while conscious of suspicious glances through the window-blinds. Geoffrey Mordacks told himself, that it could not be the self it used to be, in the days when no mistakes were made, but everything was evident at half a glance, and carried out successfully with only half a hand. In this Flamborough matter he had felt no doubt of running triumphantly. through, and being cromed with five hundred pounds in one issue of the case, and five thousand in the other. But lo! here was nothing And he must reply, by the next mail, that he had made a sad mistake.
Suddenly, while he was rubbing his wiry head with irritation, and poring over his letters for some clue, like a dunce going back through his pot-hooks, suddenly a great knock sounded through the house-one, two, three-like the thumping of a mallet on a cask, to learn whether any beer may still be hoped for.
• This must be a Flamborough man,' cried Master Mordacks, jumping up;' that is how I heard them do it: they knock the doors, instead of knocking at them. It would be a very strange thing just now, if news were to come from Flamborough ; but the stranger a thing is, the more it can be trusted, as often is the case with human beings. Whoever it is, show them up at once,' he shouted down the narrow stairs; for no small noise was arising in the passage.
· A' canna coom oop! I wand a' canna,' was the answer in Kitty's well-known brogue; how can a', when a' hanna got naa legs?'
Oh ho! I see,' said Mr. Mordacks to himself; my veteran friend from the watch-tower, doubtless. A man with no legs would not have come so far for nothing. Show the gentleman into the parlour, Kitty; and Miss Arabella may bring her work up here.'
The general factor, though eager for the news, knew better than to show any haste about it; so he kept the old mariner just long enough in waiting, to damp a too covetous ardour, and then he complacently locked Arabella in her bedroom, and bolted off Kitty in the basement; because they both were sadly inquisitive, and this strange arrival had excited them.
"Ah, mine ancient friend of the tower! Veteran Joseph, if my memory is right, Mr. Mordacks exclaimed in his lively way, as he went up and offered the old tar both hands, to seat him in state upon the sofa; but the legless sailor condemned “them swabs,' and crutched himself into a hard-bottomed chair. Then he pulled off his hat, and wiped his white head with a shred of old flag, and began hunting for his pipe.
· First time I ever was in York city; and don't think much of it, if this here is a sample.'
Joseph, you must not be supercilious,' his host replied with an amiable smile; ‘you will see things better through a glass of grog; and the state of the weather points to something dark. You have had a long journey, and the scenery is new. Rum shall it be, my friend? Your countenance says "yes.” Rum, like a ruby of the finest water, have I; and no water shall you have with it. Said I well? A man without legs must keep himself well above water.'
• First time I ever was in York city,' the ancient watchman answered, and grog must be done as they does it here. A berth on them old walls would suit me well; and no need to travel such a distance for my beer.'
• And you would be the man of all the world for such a berth, said Master Mordacks gravely, as he poured the sparkling liquor into a glass that was really a tumbler; ‘for such a post we want a man who is himself a post; a man who will not quit his duty, just because he cannot ; which is the only way of making sure. Joseph, your idea is a very good one, and your beer could be brought to you at the middle of each watch. I have interest ; you shall be appointed.'
“Sir, I am obligated to you,' said the watchman; but never could I live a month without a wink of sea-stuff. The coming of the clouds, and the dipping of the land, and the waiting of the distance for what may come to be inside of it; let alone how they goes changing of their colour, and making of a noise that is always out of sight; it is the very same as my beer is to me. Master, I never could get on without it.'
Well, I can understand a thing like that,' Mordacks answered graciously; my water-butt leaked for three weeks, pat, pat, all night long upon a piece of slate, and when a man came and caulked it up, I put all the blame upon the pillow; but the pillow was as good as ever. Not a wink could I sleep till it began to leak again ; and you may trust a York workman that it wasn't very long. But, Joseph, I have interest at Scarborough also. The castle needs a watchman for fear of tumbling down; and that is not the soldiers'
of sea-stuff, my good friend; and the tap at the Hooked Cod is nothing to it there. Cheer up, Joseph, we will land you yet. How the dickens did you manage now to come so far ?'
•Well now, your honour, I had rare luck for it, as I must say, erer since I set eyes on you. There comes a son of mine as I thought were lost at sea; but not he, blow me! nearly all of him come back, with a handful of guineas, and the memory of his father. Lord ! I could have cried ; and he up and blubbered fairly, a trick as he learned from ten Frenchmen he had killed. Ah! he have done his work well, and airned a good conduck-fourpence halfpenny a day, so long as ever he shall live bereafter.'
* In this world, you mean, I suppose, my friend; but be not overcome, such things will happen. But what did you do with all that money, Joseph ?'
•We never wasted none of it, not half a groat, sir. We finished out the cellar at the Hooked Cod first; and when Mother Precious made a grumble of it, we gave her the money for to fill it up again, upon the understanding to come back when it was ready; and then we went to Burlington, and spent the rest in poshays like two gentlemen; and when we was down upon our stumps at last—for only one leg there is between us both, your honour—my boy he ups and makes a rummage in his traps; which the Lord he put it into his mind to do so, when he were gone a few good sheets in the wind; and there sure enough he finds five good guineas in the tail of an old hankercher he had clean forgotten; and he says, “Now, father, you take care of them. Let us go and see the capital, and that good gentleman, as you have picked up a bit of news for." So we shaped a course for York, on board the schooner “Mary Anne," and from Goole in a barge as far as this here bridge; and here we are, high and dry, your honour. I was half a mind to bring in my boy Bob; but he saith, “Not without the old chap axes ;” and being such a noisy one I took him at his word; though he hath found out what there was to find not me.'
How noble a thing is parental love!' cried the general factor, in his hard, short way, which made many people trust him, because it was unpleasant; and filial duty of unfathomable grog! Worthy Joseph, let your narrative proceed.'
• They big words is beyond me, sir. What use is any man to talk over a chap's head ?'
* Then dash your eyes, go on, Joe. Can you understand that Dow?'
Yes, sir, I can, and I likes a thing put sensible. If the gentlemen would always speak like that, there need be no difference 'atween us. Well, it was all along of all that money-bag of Bob's, that he and I found out anything. What good were your guinea ? Who could stand treat on that, more than a night or two, and the right man never near you? But when you keep a good shop open for a month, as Bob and me did with Widow Tapsy, it standeth to
reason that you should have everybody, to be called at all respectable, for miles and miles around. For the first few nights or so, some on 'em holds off— for an old chalk against them, or for doubt of what is forrard, or for cowardliness of their wives, or things they may have sworn to stop, or other bad manners. But only go on a little longer, and let them see that you don't care, and send everybody home aʼsinging through the lanes as merry as a voting time for Parliament, and the outer ones begins to shake their heads, and to say that they are bound to go, and stop the racket of it.
And so you get them all, your honour, saints as well as sinners ; if you only keeps the tap turned long enough.'
• Your reasoning is ingenious, Joseph, and shows a deep knowledge of human nature. But who was this tardy saint that came at last for grog?'
• Your honour, he were as big a sinner as ever you clap eyes on. Me and my son was among the saw-dust, spite of our three crutches, and he spreading hands at us, sober as a judge, for lumps of ungenerous iniquity. Mother Tapsy told us of it, the very next day, for it was not in our power to be ackirate when he done it, and we see everybody laffing at us round the corner. But we took the wind out of his sails the next night, Captain, you may warrant us.
Here's to your good health, sir, afore I beats to win'ard.'
Why, Joseph, you seem to be making up lost way for years of taciturnity in the tower. They say there is a balance in all things.'
• We had the balance of him next night, and no mistake, your honour. He was one of them long-shore beggars as turns up here, there, and everywhere, galley-raking, like a stinking ray-fish when the tide goes out; thundering scoundrels that make a living of it, pushing out for roguery with their legs tucked up; no courage for smuggling, nor honest enough, they goes on anyhow with their children paid for. We found out what he were, and made us more ashamed, for such a sneaking rat to preach upon us, like a regular hordinated chaplain, as might say a word or two and mean no harm, with the licence of the Lord to do it. So my son Bob and me called a court-martial in the old tower, so soon as we come round; and we had a red herring, because we was thirsty, and we chawed a bit of pig-tail to keep it down. At first we was glum; but we got our peckers up, as a family is bound to do when they comes together. My son Bob was a sharp lad in his time, and could read in Holy Scripter, afore he chewed a quid; and I see'd a good deal of it in his mind now, remembering of King Solomon. “ Dad," he says, “ fetch out that bottle as was left of French white brandy; and rouse up a bit of fire in the old port-hole. We ain't got many toes to warm between us "--only five, you see, your worship-—“but,” says he, “ we'll warm up the currents where they used to be.”
• According to what my son said, I done; for he leadeth me now, being younger of the two, and still using half of a shoemaker. However, I says to him, “ Warm yourself, it don't lay in my power to do