English language training forum

Go Back   English language training forum > English Teaching Forum > English language training

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-27-2016, 11:16 PM
admin admin is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 567

«Well, now,» old Tom said, «I don’t think that jumping into the river when it is covered with ice is quite human nature.»

«Let’s sit down and make ourselves comfortable,» suggested Stapleton. «But here is somebody else coming up. Who can it be?»

«I say, old man, you hear pretty well for one1 who is as deaf as a post,» said old Tom.

«Yes, I hear very well in the house if people don’t speak loud.»

«Well, that’s a strange sort of deafness. I think we are all deaf in that way,» cried Tom laughing.

The Domine entered the room.

«You are welcome, Domine,» I said taking him by the hand.

«Greetings, Jacob, my son. But whom have we here? the deaf man, the young girl, and – oh! – the old man called old Tom, and also the young Tom.» And the Domine looked upset.

«Sir,» said young Tom, going up to the Domine, «I know you are angry with us because we both drank too much last time. But we promise – don’t we, father? – not to do so again.»

Tom’s words put the Domine more at his ease.

«Very true, old gentleman,» old Tom put in, «we really drank a bit too much that night – but what then? – there was the grog, and there was nothing to do.»

«All human nature,» said Stapleton.

«Come, Sir, you have not said one word to me,» said Mary going up to the Domine. «Now you must sit down by me, and take care of me».

The Domine gave Mary a gentle look. Tom and I noticed it.

«We shall have some fun, Jacob,» he whispered to me, as we all sat down to the table, the Domine on one side of Mary, Tom on the other. Mary put several pots of beer, a bottle of wine, pipes and tobacco on the table.

«I’ll have a smoke,» said Stapleton lighting his pipe and falling back in his chair.

«I’ll smoke too,» said old Tom, «it makes one thirsty, and enjoy one’s beer.»

«Well, and I’ll drink beer,» said Tom reaching for his glass. «What do you do, Jacob?»

«I shall wait a little, Tom.»

«And what do you do, Sir?» Mary asked the Domine. The old teacher shook his head. «But you must – or I shall think you do not like my company. Come, let me fill a pipe for you.»

Mary filled a pipe and handed it to the Domine, He hesitated, looked at her, and then began to smoke.

«The ice is breaking up – we shall soon have a change of weather,» old Tom said, «then you may work for your bread again. Bad times for you, old man!» continued he, addressing Stapleton. Stapleton nodded in silence.
Student of English
Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2016, 11:17 PM
admin admin is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 567

«Look how the old gentleman smiles at Mary! It seems that she does not mind it,» Tom said to me.

«I don’t like it, Tom. She wants to laugh at him, nothing more. I shall give her a scolding tomorrow.»

At last old Tom laid down his pipe.

«There, I’ll smoke no more. It’s a pity one can’t smoke and talk at the same time. Mary, my girl, hand me that bottle.»

He filled a glass, drank it off and put it down on the table.

«Will you drink a little, Sir?» he asked the Domine.

«No, my friend, don’t ask me,» and the Domine turned away from the bottle handed to him by old Tom.

«You don’t want to drink anything?» Mary said to the Domine, looking at him with surprise. «But indeed you must, or I shall think that you don’t like our company.»

«No, maiden, ask anything of me but this,» replied the Domine.

«Anything but this – that’s the way people have of refusing. Now if you will not drink, I shall quarrel with you. There!»

Mary took a glass and put it to her lips.

«If you refuse to drink after me, I’ll never speak to you again.»

With her sweetest smile she handed the glass to the Domine. He gave in, and I watched the sly expression on Mary’s face as the Domine drank off the wine. He put down the glass and, looking round like a guilty person, blushed. To make him feel more at ease I helped myself to a glass. Tom and his father did the same.

«The old gentleman is afraid of grog because he saw me once take a drop too much. But still grog is a good thing. One should be careful, though. A glass or two is very well, and better still when sweetened by the lips of a pretty girl. Don’t you think so, old man?» he continued addressing Stapleton, who smoked in silence.

«Human nature,» replied Stapleton, taking his pipe out of his mouth, and spitting under the table.

Very true, master. Here’s to your health, Mr. Domine, and to the health of the pretty girl beside you.»

«O, but the Domine doesn’t care about pretty girls, father,» said Tom, «he’s too learned and clever. He thinks about nothing but the moon, and Latin, and Greek, and philosophy, and all that.»

«Who knows, Tom?»

The Domine felt excited. He put down his pipe, pulled out his great red handkerchief and, holding it to his nose, produced a sound that made everybody start.
Student of English
Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2016, 11:17 PM
admin admin is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 567

«Master, let me fill up your pipe,» old Tom suggested. «And I will fill up your glass, Sir,» said Mary.

This time Domine agreed at once, and he was soon lost in a cloud of smoke through which his nose shone like a rock in a thick fog.

«I say, master Stapleton, what about opening the window,» said old Tom after a silence of two minutes, «I can’t see anything in the smoke.»

Stapleton agreed with a nod, and I rose and put the upper window down a few inches.

«That’s right, Jacob. Now we shall see what Miss Mary and he are about. You’ve been enjoying the lady all to yourself, master,» continued old Tom, addressing the Domine.

«That’s true,» replied the Domine, «even as a second Jupiter.»

«Never heard of him.»

«I believe not, still Jacob will tell you that one can find the history in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.»

«Never heard of the country, master.»

«But it’s a book, not a country. You can read in that book how Jupiter came to the earth in a cloud.»

«I say, where did he come from, master?»

«He came down from heaven.»

«Well, if I ever get there, I mean to stay.»

«It was love which made him come down,» replied the Domine, turning to Mary.

«I cannot understand that,» replied old Tom.

«Human nature,» muttered Stapleton, with the pipe still between his lips.

«Now that we can breathe again,» old Tom said, «shall I sing you a song? What shall it be,6 young woman, a sea song, or something about love?»

«O! something about love, if you don’t mind, Sir,» said Mary looking at the Domine.

«I’m of the same opinion, maiden,» the Domine said, «let it be something about love.»

«Well, then, you shall have your wish. Here’s a love song.

«Oh! the days are gone by when beauty bright

First came into my life,

When my sweetest dream, from morn to night,

Was to call her my dear wife.

While she is mine,

My days will shine

On life’s dull stream,

For there’s nothing half so sweet in life

As Love’s young dream.

O! there’s nothing half so sweet in life

As Love’s young dream.»
Student of English
Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2016, 11:17 PM
admin admin is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 567

The melody of the song, added to the wine he had drunk, had a great effect upon the Domine. He slowly approached Mary’s chair, and put his arm round her waist. Young Tom and I noticed it and broke into loud laughter.

«Boys! Boys!» said the Domine starting up, «you have awakened me from a sweet dream. And then I cannot understand why you are laughing. The song is not comic. But it’s time for me to go. I must be at my desk early in the morning.»

«You don’t mean to leave us, Sir?» said Mary, taking the Domine’s arm.

«Even so, my dear maiden,» he answered. «It grows late, and a class of seventy boys will be waiting for me tomorrow.»

«Then you will promise to come again.»

«I may.»

«If you do not promise me that, I will not let you go now.»

«Indeed, maiden–»


«Truly, maiden–»

«Promise!» cried Mary, pulling the Domine towards her chair.

«Then I promise, since you will have it so,» replied the Domine.

«And when will you come?»

«I’ll come soon. And now good-night to you all.» The Domine shook hands with us, and Mary lighted him down the stairs. I felt greatly upset. I was afraid that a second meeting would be still more dangerous for the Domine. It was painful for me to see her making a fool of the old man. I decided to speak to Mary about it as soon as possible. Mary remained downstairs a much longer time than was necessary. When she came in and looked at me smiling, I turned away from her. She sat down and looked upset. Tom was also silent and paid her no attention. A quarter of an hour passed. Then Tom said to his father that it was time to go. Soon they were off. Leaving Mary silent and thoughtful and old Stapleton finishing his pipe, I took my candle and went to bed.
Student of English
Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2016, 11:38 PM
admin admin is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 567


I Become Independent. – Speeches on the Water. – The Domine Tells His Love. – Two Unhappy Lovers

The next day the weather changed and a thaw took place. It was, however, two or three days before the river was clear of the ice and we could begin work. During that time Mary and I had had a quarrel. We exchanged short words and I stopped giving her lessons. Every day I left the house after breakfast – and did not return until dinner time. At first old Stapleton rowed together with me and took all the fares, but about two weeks after we had worked together he used to leave the boat to me and remain at the public house. The weather was now fine and most of the trees were in leaf. There was much work and every evening I handed from four to six shillings to old Stapleton. I was happy and the only thing that upset me was my quarrel with Mary.

I had no pleasure in the house, and the evenings which had passed so pleasantly before were now very dull. Old Stapleton was seldom at home till late, and this made it still worse. I sat over a book one night when Mary who was quietly at work broke the silence by asking what I was reading. I replied in a quiet cold tone.

«Jacob,» she continued, «I think you have treated me very badly. It was your business to make it up first.»

«I don’t know that I have been in the wrong,» I replied.

«I do not say that you have, but it does not matter. You must give wav to a woman.»

«Why so?»

«Why so! doesn’t the whole world do so? Don’t you offer everything first to a woman? Is it not her right?»

«Not when she is in the wrong, Mary.»

«What have I done?»

«You have shown a bad heart, Mary.»

«A bad heart! In what way, Jacob?»

«In flirting with old Domine. You forgot that what may be sport to you is death to him.»

«You don’t mean to say that he’ll die of love,» replied Mary laughing.

«I hope not, but you have made him very miserable.»
Student of English
Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2016, 12:45 AM
admin admin is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 567

«But tell me how do you know that I do not like the old gentleman, Jacob? You appear to think that a girl is to fall in love with nobody but yourself. Why should I not love an old man with so much learning? I have been told that old husbands are prouder of their wives than young ones. They pay them more attention and don’t run after other women. How do you know that I am not serious?

«Because I know your character, Mary, and you cannot deceive me. If you mean to defend yourself in that way, we had better not talk any more.»

«Goodness! How cruel you are! Well, I paid the old gentleman some attention, but did the young ones pay me any? Did either you or your dear friend Mr. Tom even speak to me?»

«No, we saw how you behaved and we both hated you.»

Mary covered her face and began to cry. She wept for a few minutes and then came up to me.

«You are right, Jacob, and I am a foolish girl. Forgive me and I will try to behave better. But, as father, says, it is human nature in me, Jacob.»

«Will you promise me to stop flirting with the Domine, Mary?»

«I will not, if I can help it, Jacob. I may forget for the moment, but I’ll do all I can. It’s not easy for me.»

«But what makes you flirt with an old man? If it were young Tom, I could understand. There you might feel proud of the victory, but an old man–»

«Still, Jacob, old or young, it’s all the same. I would like to have them at my feet, and that’s the truth. I thought it a great victory to bring to my feet a wise old man who was so full of Latin and learning. You only think, Jacob, if an old man is foolish enough to believe that I could love him, why can’t I, a light-minded young girl, try to make him fond of me?»

«And still you must remember that he takes it serious and you are only joking. This makes a great difference. And then remember that in trying at all, we very often lose all.»

«I would risk it,» replied Mary, proudly throwing her curls back with her hand from her white forehead. «What I now want, Jacob, is to make friends with you. Come, you have my promise to do my best.»

«Yes, Mary, and I believe you, so there’s my hand.»
Student of English
Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2016, 12:46 AM
admin admin is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 567

«You don’t know how miserable I have been, Jacob, since we quarelled,» said Mary wiping the tears away, «and yet I don’t know why, for I almost hated you this last week. But the fact is I like quarelling for the pleasure of making it up again. Only I don’t like when the quarrel lasts too long.»

«It upset me too, Mary, because I like you very much in general.»

«Well, then, now it’s all over; but Jacob, are you sure you are friends with me?»

«Yes, Mary.»

Mary looked at me.

«You know the old saying, and I feel the truth of it,» she said with a smile.

«What, ‘kiss and make friends?’» I replied; «with all my heart,» and I kissed her.

«Now I must go to my work again,» she said rising from the chair, «and you will tell me what you’ve been doing this last week.»

Mary and I entered into a long and friendly conversation, till her father came home.

The next morning old Stapleton said: «I think that I’ve worked enough. It’s time for me to have a rest, Jacob. I shall give up the boat to you, and you shall in future give me one third of the money and keep the rest to yourself. I don’t see why you must work hard all day for nothing.»

I tried to argue but Stapleton insisted, so the arrangement was made. I afterwards found out that Captain Turnbull was at the bottom of all this. He had given old Stapleton a pension, and in this way made me independent before I had served my apprenticeship.

After breakfast old Stapleton walked down with me to the bank.

«The boat is yours now, Jacob. Good luck,» and he went to the public house to smoke his pipe and think of human nature.
Student of English
Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2016, 12:46 AM
admin admin is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 567

I do not remember any day of my life on which I felt more happy than on this. I was working for myself and independent. I jumped into my boat and pushed off without waiting for a fare. For a quarter of an hour I rowed down the river lost in sweet dreams. At last I awoke to reality and thought that after all Stapleton was to get one third of the money and I had no right to forget his interest. I rowed up to the bank and stood with my hand and fore-finger raised watching everyone who came towards me. I was lucky that day. When I returned, I at once handed Stapleton his share.

«Jacob, it’s no use dividing now. Once a week will be better. I like to have a bigger sum, because, you see – it’s human nature.»

One day I was waiting for a fare, when a man came up to the bank.

«Boat, Sir?»

«No, thanks. I want old Stapleton. Is he here?»

«No, Sir, but this is his boat.»

«Humph! can’t he take me down?»

«No, Sir, but I can, if you please.»

«Well, then, be quick!»

A gentleman of forty-five stepped into the boat, and in a few seconds we were drifting down the river.

«What’s the matter with deaf Stapleton?»

«Nothing, Sir, but he is getting old, and has given up the boat to me.»

«Are you his son?»

«No, Sir, his apprentice.»

«Humph! sorry deaf Stapleton’s gone.»

«I can be as deaf as he, Sir, if you wish it.»


The gentleman said no more, and I pulled down the river in silence. But in a few minutes he began to move his hands and lips, as if he were in conversation. Then he began to speak aloud. I understood at once that his speech was addressed to the House of Commons. Suddenly he stopped and looked at me. But I pretended to pay no attention to what he was saying and looked carelessly to the right and left at the banks of the river. He again entered into conversation.
Student of English
Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2016, 12:46 AM
admin admin is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 567

«Have you been long on the river?»

«Born on it, Sir.»

«How do you like the profession of a waterman?»

«Very well, Sir. But it’s important to make people know you and trust you.»

«How can you make them trust you?»

«I just hold my tongue and keep their secrets.»

«A very good answer, my boy. People who have much to do don’t want to lose time even on the water. Just now I was preparing and thinking over my speech in the House of Commons.»

«I think the river is a very good place for it, Sir. No one can hear you except your waterman – and you need not mind him.»

«Very true, my boy. That’s why I liked deaf Stapleton – he could not hear a word.»

«But, Sir, you may be sure that I shall never say anything about it if you trust me.»

«Well, I’ll just try it over again. You shall be the Speaker – but hold your tongue and don’t interrupt me.»

And the gentleman began this speech all over again.

«I say, waterman, are you taking that fellow to Bedlam?» cried a woman’s voice close to us. The speech was stopped, we looked up and saw a boat with two women passing close to us. A shout of laughter followed the words, and my fare looked upset. I had often read the papers in the public-house, and remembered what was usual in the House in case of interruption. So I called out: «Order, order!» This made the gentleman laugh, and as the other boat was now far off, he continued his speech.

I landed him at Westminster Bridge and received three times more than my usual fare.

«Remember,» said he, « that I shall look out for you when I come again – that is, every Monday morning and some times oftener. What’s your name?»

«Jacob, Sir.»

«Very well. Good morning, my lad.»

Since then this gentleman often took my boat, and we used to have long conversations. So I received from him not only a lot of money, but a great deal of interesting information.

A few days after this I had a chance of finding out how Mary kept her promise. I was on the river as usual when old Stapleton came up to me, with his pipe in his mouth, and said:

«Jacob, there is that old gentleman at our house with Mary. I don’t know what to do with her – she is ready to flirt with any man that comes her way. Suppose you go and see your old teacher, and leave me to look after the boat. I begin to feel that a little work will do me good. We all think that doing nothing is a very pleasant thing when we have to work, but when we have nothing to do we feel that a little work is just what we need – that’s human nature.»

I left the boat to Stapleton and hastened to the house. As I passed under the open window I heard the conversation which was going on. I stopped in the street and listened. The Domine was speaking.

«My dear girl, omnia vincit amor – here am I, Domine Dobbs, who is over sixty, a learned man, who has known nothing but his classics, who has never looked at women– here am I, at the feet of a young girl who does not even know how to read and write. I feel that I am too old – that you are too young, that I am foolish. Still omnia vincit amor, and I am telling you my love, Mary. I have tried to drive you from my thoughts, but I have felt your presence everywhere. I cannot sleep, I cannot eat – I am love-sick. Speak, then maiden. I have opened my heart to you, do the same. Speak.»

«I will, Sir, if you get up,» replied Mary, «I think, Sir, that I am young and foolish, and you are old and – and–»
Student of English
Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2016, 12:46 AM
admin admin is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 567

«Foolish, you want to say.»

«Well, Sir, it’s not for me1 to use such as expression towards a learned man like you. I think, Sir, that I am too young to marry; and that perhaps you are – too old. I also think, Sir, that you are too clever – and I cannot even read and write. So you must not ask me to be your wife.»

«Your reply shows that you are wiser than I am. But why, maiden, did you raise those feelings, those hopes in me? You made me drink the bitter cup of disappointment. Why did you pretend to be fond of me, if you did not have any feeling towards me?»

«But aren’t there different sorts of love? May I not love you because you are so clever, and so learned in Latin? May I not love you as I do my father?»

«True, true, child. It is all my own foolishness. My wishes made me forget my years. Bless you, maiden. May another be happy in your love, and never feel the pain of disappointment. Bless you, Mary.» And the Domine turned away and wept.

Mary appeared to be moved by the old man’s sorrow. She was half crying herself.

«No, Sir, do not be so upset. You make me feel so bad. I have been wrong – I feel I have – though you have not blamed me. I am a very foolish girl.»

«Bless you, child – bless you!» replied the Domine through his tears.

«Please, do not be so upset, Sir. Things will go wrong in love. I’ll tell you a secret to prove it to you. I love Jacob-love him very much, and he does not care for me – I am sure he does not. You see, Sir, you’re not the only one – who is – very unhappy.» And Mary began weeping with the Domine.

«Poor thing!» said the Domine. «You love Jacob? Truly he is a good boy – but guard your heart, child, for Jacob may not be for you.»

«Why so, Sir?» Mary asked sorrowfully.

«Because, maiden – but no, I must not tell you. Good-bye, Mary. I will not come here again.»

«Good-bye, Sir, and, please, forgive me.»

«Good-bye, maiden. God bless you!»

I understood by the sound that Mary had given the Domine a kiss, and heard his steps on the stairs. I did not wish to meet him, so I turned round the corner and went down to the river, thinking over what had passed. I felt pleased with Mary, but I was not in love with her.
Student of English
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 09:32 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

English language training forum. Learn English, Study English, Teach English as a second language.