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Old 01-28-2016, 04:42 PM
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CHAPTER VIII. The Two Toms. My First Lessons in Singing.


A new master for the lighter was soon found. He had served many years on board a warship and taken part in many battles. At the battle of Trafalgar he had lost both his legs and since that time had worked on the river. He was very active, and broad-shouldered, and had been tall before he lost his legs. Now he walked about on short wooden legs. He was always cheerful, and he liked to drink. He had a fine voice and often sang. The number of songs he knew was very great. He had a wife and child. His son Tom, a boy of my own age, was as cheerful as his father and also liked to sing. The name of the father was Tom Beazeley, but he was always known on the river as old Tom.

As soon as the father and son came on board, old Tom received his orders, and we started on our first trip. Old Torn steered the boat while we two made sail on the lighter, and young Toms little dog helped us. Tom had taught it to take the rope in its teeth and pull. Old Toms voice was heard from shore to shore.

Tom, you scamp, is the bundle ready for your mother? Jacob, we must stop at Battersea and send the clothes on shore. Let the old woman wash them, or therell be no clean shirts for Sunday Tom, where is my pot of tea? Come, my boy, we must pipe to breakfast. Hand me my tea, and Ill steer with one hand, drink with the other, and as for legs, the less we say about them the better.

And old Tom began to sing:

No titles or glory, no riches I want

Ambition is nothing to me.

But one thing I want when I wake in the morn

Here Tom joined in, handing him the pot:

For breakfast a good cup of tea.

Old Tom, is that you? shouted a man from another barge.

Yes, whats left of me, my dear man. Jacob, have you finished your breakfast? Here, take the helm, while I and Tom put the boat in order.

Old Tom then stumped forward, followed by his son and the dog. They did a few things on the deck and went into the cabin.
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Old 01-28-2016, 04:43 PM
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A good lock that, Tom, cried the father turning the key of the cupboard. I say, Tom, you wont be able to open that cupboard, so Ill put the sugar and the grog into it, you scamp. And he again broke into a song:

For grog is our larboard and starboard

Our sails, and our helm, and our log,

On shore, or at sea, or when harboured,

The compass of seamen is grog.

But it is difficult to steer with this compass, father, said Tom.

Then dont touch it, Tom.

I only take a little, father, to leave less in the bottle. I dont want you to take too much.

And do I ever take too much, you scamp?

Not too much for a man standing on his own legs, but too much for a man on two sticks.

Stop your jokes, Mr. Tom, or Ill take one of the sticks and beat you with it.

And if I run away, what will you do then, father?

Catch you when I can, Tom.

Whats the good of that, when you cannot be angry for ten minutes?

Very true, Tom; and you may thank your stars that you have two good legs, and that your poor father has none. Anyhow, Jacob will sleep in the cabin with me, and you will sleep in the little cabin.

It isnt right. Why do you want to part father and son?

I am only parting son and the grog bottle.

But its not right to part two such good friends.

And the two Toms laughed merrily.

This conversation will help the reader to understand what kind of man Tom was, and how he treated his father. Tom loved his father and obeyed him, although he never missed a chance to play a trick on him.

We had nearly reached Battersea when Tom and his father returned on deck.

Look, cried old Tom, do you see that little house over there? Its mine, and theres my old woman. I wonder what she is doing now.

He was silent for a while looking at the bank, and then broke into a song:

Ive crossed the wide waters, the helm in my hand,

Ive fought many battles for my native land,

Ive heard the loud thunder of death oer the foam,

I didnt find riches, yet still found a home.

Tom, boy, jump into the little boat and row on shore with the bundle. Ask the old woman how she is, and tell her Im well.

Tom was in the boat in a moment and pushed off.
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Old 01-28-2016, 04:56 PM
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CHAPTER IX. Domine Makes His First Trip on the River and Tastes Grog.

Our trip was made. We took in the return goods and safely came back.

Now Ill go on shore to our master and find out whats to be done next, said old Tom.

Give me my stick, boy, and I shall walk along the planks a little safer. A safe chair must have three legs, you know.

Old Tom then stumped away on shore. In about a quarter of an hour he returned bringing some fish.


Here, Torn, fry this fish. Jacob, who is that man with such a devil of a nose? I met him just now with master. We are starting on another trip, and I am to land him at Greenwich.

What, the Domine? I cried.

His name did begin with a D, but that wasnt it.

Dobbs?

Yes, thats nearer. Hes going down to see a friend who is very ill.

I went on shore and found that old Tom had told us the truth: the Domine was at breakfast with Mr. Drummond.

Never yet, Jacob, said he, have I travelled by boat. I am afraid our trip will be very dangerous.

Not at all, I replied laughing. But we start in half an hour, Sir. Are you ready to go on board?

Quite. All my clothes are in a bundle, and here is my umbrella and my greatcoat. But where am I to sleep on board?

You shall have my bed, and Ill sleep with young Tom.

Have you, then, a young Tom as well as an old Tom on board?

Yes, Sir, and a dog also called Tommy.

Well, then, we shall go on board and make the acquaintance of your three Toms.

The old Domines things were sent on board, and-he said good-bye to Mr. Drummond and his family. He did it in such a serious manner that one might think he was going on a dangerous expedition. Then I took him down to the wharf. He carefully crossed the plank, got on board, and stopped to look around. The river was full of life. Barges and boats were passing in every direction, others lay on shore, men were at work loading and unloading cargoes, shouting or laughing with each other. I introduced the two Toms to my old teacher. Young Tom began to joke with the old man at once. Then Tommy the dog appeared. Tom seized the tail of the Domines coat and showed it to the dog. The dog, too, seized the Domines coat and pulled at it. The Domine was in one of his thoughtful moods and thought it was I that was pulling at his coat, wishing to tell him something. So he only waved his hand as if to say: I am busy now!
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Pull, Tommy, pull! cried Tom to the dog, laughing so hard that tears ran down his cheeks. Tommy pulled again, carrying away one tail of the Domines coat. But the Domine did not notice it. The dog ran forward with the piece, and Tom ran after him to take it away from him. The Domine was still in his mood of abstraction when old Tom broke into a song:

Young Susan had so many lovers that she

Didnt know upon whom to decide:

They all spoke sincerely, and promised to be

All worthy of such a sweet bride.

In the morning she talked with young William, and then

She spent all the noon with young Harry,

The evening with Tom; so, among all the men,

She never could tell whom to marry.

Heigho! Im afraid,

Too many lovers will puzzle a maid!

The song called the Domine to reality. He slowly turned round and, when old Tom had finished, exclaimed:

Truly, it was very nice, and from such He looked down upon old Tom and continued: Without legs too!

Why, old gentleman! I dont sing with my legs, answered old Tom.

No, no, you dont, thats true. But your voice is as sweet and strong

As the Latin language, finished Tom, laughing. Come, father, the old Dictionary is going to speak; stop him with another song!

You, stop your silly tricks! What have you done with the old gentlemans tail?

I shall return it to him. I know how to do it, father.

Jacob, said the Domine. I have heard how careless and indifferent to danger seamen are. But I never thought that they could show such lightness of heart. I like that man the father, and I like that bold child. I should like to teach him some Latin.

I dont think that Tom would care to learn it, Sir,

That is a pity! Although he is clever he needs an education.

Old Tom approached us.

Master, he said to the Domine, Lets have dinner. We shall make a good meal of it, and you shall have some grog before you go to bed.

I have before heard of that drink and I should like to taste it.

So as soon as we finished our meal, a bottle was brought from the cabin, and soon young Tom and I had to put the other two to bed.

After that Tom went to bed himself, and I remained on the deck till the morning. At four oclock I woke Tom and was soon as fast asleep as old Tom and the Domine.
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:00 PM
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CHAPTER X. The Domine Has a Headache. Leave the Barge for a Short Time and Make a New Acquaintance.

About half-past eight the next morning I was called up by Tom to help him to manage the lighter. When I came on deck I found old Tom as fresh as if he had not drunk a drop the night before. He was busily stumping about.

Well, Jacob, my boy, did you have enough sleep? Its a good thing to have you on board with me. You never drink and I can now allow myself to have a drink a little oftener. As for Tom, I cant trust him: he is too much like his father. When we both got drunk I had to leave the deck to the dog Tommy. He can keep away thieves, but a dogs a dog after all.

Hows the old gentleman, father? asked Tom.

Oh, hes still fast asleep. Better leave him as long as we can. Well wake him when we approach Greenwich. Tom, didnt you think his nose looked especially large yesterday?

Ive never seen such a devil of a nose, father.

Well, then, youll see a larger one when he gets up, for it is all swollen now.

When we approached Greenwich I went to wake the Domine. I had to shake him for a long time before he began to show signs of life.

Six oclock did you say? Are the boys washed and in the schoolroom? I will get up right now yet I feel some heaviness

And the Domine fell asleep again. I shook him once more, and at last he opened his eyes, looked around, and recognized me.

Hullo, Jacob! Where am I? My memory where is it? Why have I such a headache? Oh, yes, that grog! How I have fallen in my own opinion and in yours. How can I look you in the face? Oh, Jacob, what must you think of your old teacher!
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:00 PM
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Here the Domine fell back on the pillow*and turned away his head.

It was not your fault, Sir, I replied, you just didnt know what you were drinking; you did not know that the grog was so strong. Get up now, wash your face with cold Thames water and in half an hour youll be quite fresh.

The Domine got up from his bed and went with me on deck. Young Tom who was at the helm, wished him a good morning very respectfully. Old Tom took the helm, his son prepared the breakfast, and I helped the Domine to wash. Then we sat down to tea. The old teacher had just finished his cup when the lighter came to Greenwich.

Tom jumped into the boat, and I took the other oar. The Domine shook hands with old Tom, saying:

You have been very, kind to me and I wish you good luck with all my heart. Good-bye.

Good luck to you, master, replied old Tom, shall we call for you as we come back?

No, no, replied the Domine, traveling by land is less dangerous. Once more thank you for your songsfor all your kindness, good man. Are my things in the boat, Jacob?

They are, I said, and we pushed off. He landed safely, took his bundle and umbrella under his arm, shook hands with Tom and then with me. He did not speak and I saw tears start in his eyes as he turned and walked away.

Poor old gentleman, said Tom, he takes it so much to heart.

He has fallen in his own opinion, Tom, I replied. It must be a warning to you. Come, get your oar and lets go back.

Well, what a nose he has! Bigger than a grog bottle! I wanted so much to laugh at it, but I didnt.

It was very kind of you2 to hold your tongue, and I thank you very much.

Soon we reached the barge, where old Tom still remained at the helm.

We arrived at Sheerness the next morning, landed our goods, and returned to the wharf. First of all I asked about the Domine, but he had not yet returned. Mr. Drummond further told me that he had had to send away his underclerk, and wished me to take his place until he could find another. The lighter therefore sailed without me.
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:00 PM
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As I was on shore several months, I became acquainted with many families. Among the people I met was Captain Turnbull. .His rife-story was very interesting, and I must tell it here.

He and his twin brother were foundlings brought up at the Foundling Hospital. They both were apprenticed to the sea, became seamen and then captains. Finally they became rich ship-owners. Captain Turnbull was a married man without a family: his wife, a pretty woman with vulgar manners and speech, dreamt of being a fashionable lady, but Mr. Turnball said that he was not rich enough for that. However, when his brother died, leaving him forty thousand pounds, the fact which could not be hidden from his wife, captain Turnbull had to do a. thing or two to please her. They gave up their house in the city and bought a villa on the bank of the Thames. Mrs. Turnbull was planning to give rich dinners and arrange all kinds of parties, and Mr. Turnbull was pleased that he could watch the boats on the river and go boating1 himself. They had long been friends of Mr. and Mrs. Drummond. Mi. Drummond greatly respected the captain, as he was an honest, friendly man. Mr. Turnbull often came to our house, and was very kind to me. He used to scold Mr. Drummond for keeping me always at my desk, and would ask him to let me off for a few hours. Then he would call a waterman, give him a crown, and ask him to allow us to use his boat. We then went boating, and had a good time on the river.
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:00 PM
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One day Mr. Turnbull called on the Drummonds, and asked them to dine with him on the following Saturday.

And, Jacob, he said, youll come, too. But remember that you must come an hour or two before the dinner-hour to help me: there is so much to do on such a day.

On the day of the dinner party I went up to Mr. Turnbulls at three oclock, as we had arranged. There was great excitement in the house. Mrs. Turnbull was discussing something with the servants in the dining-room. Mr. Turnbull was there too, and threw in a word from time to time, but each time his wife told him to mind his own business.

Please, Mr. Turnbull, she said at last, leave the room and allow me to settle all questions myself.

Come Jacob, Mr. Turnbull said, lets go up into my room and we shall have a talk.

So we did, and as soon as we reached Mr. Turnbulls study he began to complain:

I hate all these fashionable dinner parties, he said. The table is so long and there are so many dishes on it that I feel lost. However, Jacob, theres no help for it. When a woman will have her way, there is no stopping her: you know the old verse

A mans a fool, who tries by force or skill

To stop the progress of a womans will;

For if she will, she will, you may depend ont,

And if she wont, she wontand theres an end ont.

He was dressing for the party as he spoke. Soon he was ready, and we went down into the drawing-room.
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:01 PM
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CHAPTER XI. A Fashionable Dinner Party.

It was almost six oclock, and Mrs. Turnbull entered the drawing-room in full dress.

Now, Mr. Turnbull, said she, I wish to explain to you that you do not always know how to behave in society. For example, you must never talk of the time when you were a common sailor.

Why must I be ashamed of it, my dear?

One must not talk of such vulgar things in fashionable society, Mr. Turnbull. Remember, Mr. Turnbull, if I say that I have a headache, its a sign for you to hold your tongue. And, please, Mr. Turnbull, wear gloves all the evening.

What, at dinner time, my dear?

Yes, at dinner time: your hands are so rough that you cant let other people touch them.

Well, I remember the time when you thought differently.

When, Mr. Turnbull?

I mean the time when a simple girl, Poll Bacon by name, took my hand for better or for worse.

Really, Mr. TurnbuU, you quite shock me. My name was Mary, and the Bacons are a good old English family.

Mr. and Mrs. Peters, of Petercumb Hall, announced the butler. Another knock at the door and Mr. and Mrs. Drummond were announced.

Well, Drummond, said Mr. Turnbull, what is the price of coal1 now?

Mr. Turnbull, Ive such an eadache! Another knock, and Monsieur and Madame de Tagliabue entered. He was a little fat Frenchman, and his wife was a woman of such great size that her husband was hardly seen behind her.

Bonjour, Madame Tombulle. Vous vous portez bien, nest-ce pas?

Ve, replied Mrs. Turnbull and was silent: this was the only French word she knew. In the meantime the Monsieur tried to look out from behind his wifefirst on one side, then on the other. But he failed to do this until the lady sat down on a sofa the whole of which she filled with her large body.

My lord Babbleton and Mr. Smith, the butler again announced.

Mr. Turnbull, please, go down, and receive his lordship.

Ill be hanged if I do, replied Mr. Turnbull. Let the servants do it.

O, Mr. Turnbull, Ive such an eadache!

So you may have, replied Mr. Turnbull, sitting down angrily.
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:01 PM
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In the meantime Mr. Smith, Lord Babbletons teacher, entered, leading Lord Babbleton, a boy of twelve or thirteen, awkward, red-haired and ugly. Mrs. Turnbull rushed to the door to receive them.

Wont your lordship walk to the fire, she was saying, isnt your lordship cold? Allow me to introduce to your lordship Mr. and Mrs. Peters Madame and Monsieur Tagliabue Mr. and Mrs. Drummond

Mr. Turnbull and I were not introduced.

We are ready for dinner, Mr. Turnbull, Mrs. Turnbull said.

Snobbs, have dinner served, said Mr. Turnbull to the butler.

O, Mr. Turnbull, Ive such an eadache.

This meant that Mr. Turnbull had forgotten himself and called the butler by his real name which was Snobbs, and Mrs. Turnbull had decided that he should be called Mr. Mortimer: a much more fashionable name, as she thought.

Dinner was announced. All the guests walked to the dining room, and it was some time before they were seated at table.

The dinner had been prepared by a French cook, and Mrs. Turnbull, who did not know that language, had a card with the names of the dishes.

Mr. Mortimer had told her that such was the custom among fashionable people.

Mrs. Turnbull, what soup have you there?

Consummy soup, my lord. Will your lordship have some?

His lordship did not understand and looked foolish. Mr. Mortimer placed some soup before him.

Lord Babbleton takes soup said Mr. Smith importantly, and the young ford began to eat soup.

Madame, will you have soup or fish?

Merci, no soup poisson.

Dont be afraid, madame, weve a French cook: you wont be poisoned here, replied Mrs..Turnbull, rather annoyed.

Comment, ma chere madame, I mean to say that I like fish better.

Mr. Turnbull, some fish for Madame.

Directly, my dear. Well, Jacob, you see, when I was a sailor

Dear! Mr. Turnbull Ive such an eadache. (Aside: Mr. Mortimer, go and whisper to Mr. Turnbull that I ask him to put on his gloves). John, a clean plate for lord Babbleton. What will your lordship take next?

New dishes were brought. Mr. Mortimer was handing round wine.

Drummond, will you take a glass of wine with me? said Mr. Turnbull. I hate your weak French wines. Will you take Madeira? I was on shore at Madeira once when I was just a common sailor

Mr. Turnbull, Ive such an eadache, cried his lady in an angry tone.

At last the ladies rose and left the gentlemen at the table. But soon coffee was announced and we went upstairs. After that the party became very dull. Lord Babbleton fell asleep on the sofa. Mr. Peters walked round the room looking at the pictures. The French gentleman proposed a game of cards, but no one knew how to play it except his wife. Mr. Smith played patience3 in one corner, while Mr. Turnbull and Mr. Drummond sat in another talking. The lady of the house was running from one to the other asking them not to talk so loud: she was afraid they might awake lord Babbleton.

At last the carriages were announced, and the fashionable party broke up. Everybody was glad that it was over, and I more than anybody else.
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