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up a pin close to me, he put something into my hand, and said, “ Put that up and follow me down stairs quickly.” He did not run, but shuffled along apace through the crowd, and went down, not the great stairs which we came in at, but a little narrow staircase at the other end of the long room; I followed, and he found I did, and so went on, not stopping below as I expected, nor speaking one word to me, till through innumerable narrow passages, alleys, and dark ways, we were got up into Fenchurch Street, and through Billiter Lane into Leadenhall Street, and from thence into Leadenhall Market.
It was not a meat-market day, so we had room to sit down upon one of the butcher's stalls, and he bid me lug out. What he had given me was a little leather letter-case, with a French almanack stuck in the inside of it, and a great many papers in it of several kinds.
We looked them over, and found there were several valuable bills in it, such as bills of exchange ; and other notes, things I did not understand; but among the rest was a goldsmith's note, as he called it, of one Sir Stephen Evans, for 3001., payable to the bearer, and at demand; besides this there was another note for 121. 10s., being a goldsmith's bill too, but I forget the name; there was a bill or two also written in French, which neither of us understood, but which it seems were things of value, being called foreign bills accepted.
The rogue, my master, knew what belonged to the goldsmith’s bills well enough, and I observed, when he read the bill of Sir Stephen, he
This is too big for me to meddle with ;” but when he came to the bill 121. Os., he said to me,
“ This will do, come hither, Jack;" he runs to Lombard Street, and I after him, huddling the other papers into the letter case. As he went along, he inquired the name out immediately, and went directly to the shop, put on a good grave countenance, and had the money paid him without any stop or question asked; I stood on the other side the way, looking about the street, as not at all concerned with any body that way, but observed, that when he presented the bill, he pulled out the letter-case, as if he had been a merchant's boy, acquainted with business, and had other bills about him.
They paid him the money in gold, and he made haste enough in telling it over, and came away, passing by me, and going into Three King Court, on the other side of the way, when we crossed back into
Clement's Lane, made the best of our way to Cole Harbour at the water-side, and got a sculler for a penny to carry us over the water to St. Mary Over's stairs, where we landed, and were safe enough.
Here he turns to me; “ Colonel Jack,” says he, I believe you 're a lucky boy; this is a good job; we'll go away to St. George's Fields and share our booty.” Away we went to the fields, and sitting down in the grass, far enough out of the path, he pulled out the money“ Look here, Jack," says he ; “ did you ever see the like before in your life ?”—“ No, never,” says I; and added very innocently, we have it all ?”—“ We have it !” says he ; “ who should have it?”
Why,” says I, “ must the man have none of it again that lost it ?" “ He have it again!” says he ; “ what d’ye mean by that ?". Nay, I don't know," says I; why, you said just now you would let him have the t' other bill again that you said was too big for you.”
He laughed at me. “ You are but a little boy,” says he, “ that 's true ; but I thought you had not been such a child neither ; mighty gravely explained the thing to me thus :-“ that the bill of Sir Stephen Evans was a great bill for 3001., and if I,” says he,
that am but a poor lad, should venture to go for the money, they will presently say, how should I come by such a bill, and that I certainly found it or stole it, so they will stop me,” says he, “ and take it
away from me, and it may bring me into trouble for it, too; so,"
I did say it was too big for me.to meddle with, and that I would let the man have it again if I could tell how; but for the money, Jack, the money that we have got, I warrant you he should have none of that; besides,” says he, “ whoever he be that has lost this letter case—to be sure, as soon as he missed it, he would run to a goldsmith and give notice that if any body came for the money they would be stopped, but I am too old for him there,” says he.
" Why," says I, “and what will you do with the bill—will you throw it away? If you do, somebody else will find it," says I, “and they will go and take the money." No, no,” says he; “ they will be stopped and examined, as I tell you I should be.” I did not know well what all this meant, so I talked no more about that; but we fell to handling the money. As for me I had never seen so much together in all my life, nor did I know what in the world to do with it, and once or twice I was going to bid him keep it for me, which would have been
done like a child indeed, for to be sure I had never heard a word more of it, though nothing had befallen him.
However, as I happened to hold my tongue on that part, he shared the money very honestly with me; only at the end he told me that though it was true he promised me half, yet as it was the first time, and I had done nothing but look on, so he thought it was very well if I took a little less than he did; so he divided the money, which was 12. 10s., into two exact parts, viz., 61. 58., in each part; then he took 11. 5s. from my part, and told me I should give him that for hansel. Well," says I,
“ take it then, for I think you deserve it all;" so however I took up the rest; “ and what shall I do with this now,"
“ for I have nowhere to put it?” Why, have you no pockets?” says he.
· Yes,” says I,
“ but they are full of holes.” I have often thought since that—and with some mirth too-how I had really more wealth than I knew what to do with, for lodging I had none, nor any box or drawer to hide my money in, nor had I any pocket, but such as I say was full of holes; I knew nobody in the world that I could go and desire them to lay it up for me; for being à poor, naked, ragged boy, they would presently say I had robbed somebody, and perhaps lay hold of me, and my money would be my crime, as they say it often is in foreign countries; and now, as I was full of wealth, behold I was full of care, for what to do to secure my money I could not tell; and this held me so long, and was so vexatious to me the next day, that I truly sat down and cried.
Nothing could be more perplexing than this money was to me all that night. I carried it in my hand a good while, for it was in gold all but 14s., and that is to say, it was four guineas, and that 14s. was more difficult to carry than the four guineas. At last I sat down and pulled off one of my shoes and put the four guineas into that; but after I had gone awhile my shoe hurt me so I could not go, so I was fain to sit down again and take it out of my shoe and carry
it in my hand; then I found a dirty linen rag in the street, and took that up and wrapt it all together and carried it in that a good way.
I have often since heard people say, when they have been talking of money that they could not get in, I wish I had it in a foul clout: in truth I had mine in a foul clout; for it was foul according to the letter of that saying, but it served me till I came to a convenient place, and then I sat down and washed the cloth in the kennel, and so then put my money in again.
Well, I carried it home with me to my lodging in the glass-house, and when I went to go to sleep, I knew not what to do with it; if I had let any of the black crew I was with know of it, I should have been smothered in the ashes for it, or robbed of it, or some trick or other put upon me for it; so I knew not what do, but lay with it in my hand, and my hand in my bosom, but then sleep went from my eyes. Oh, the weight of human care! I, a poor beggar boy, could not sleep, so soon as I had but a little money to keep, who, before that, could have slept upon a heap of brickbats, stones, or cinders, or any where, as sound as a rich man does on his down bed, and sounder too.
Every now and then dropping asleep, I should dream that my money was lost, and start like one frightened; then, finding it fast in my hand, try to go to sleep again, but could not for a long while, then drop and start again. At last a fancy came into my head, that if I fell asleep, I should dream of the money, and talk of it in my sleep, and tell that I had money; which if I should do, and one of the rogues should hear me, they would pick it out of my bosom, and of my hand too, without waking me; and after that thought I could not sleep a wink more; so I passed that night over in care and anxiety enough, and this, I may safely say, was the first night's rest that I lost by the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches.
As soon as it was day I got out of the hole we lay in, and rambled abroad in the fields towards Stepney, and there I mused and considered what I should do with this money, and many a time I wished that I had not had it; for, after all my ruminating upon it, and what course I should take with it, or where I should put it, I could not hit upon any one thing, or any possible method to secure it, and it perplexed me so, that at last, as I said just now, I sat down and cried heartily.
When my crying was over, the case was the same; I had the money still, and what to do with it I could not tell : at last it came into my head that I would look out for some hole in a tree, and see hide it there till I should have occasion for it. Big with this discovery, as I then thought it, I began to look about me for a tree, but there were no trees in the fields about Stepney or Mile End that looked fit for my purpose; and if there were any, that I began to look narrowly at, the
young as I
fields were so full of people, that they would see if I went to hide any thing there, and I thought the people eyed me, as it were, and that two men, in particular, followed me to see what I intended to do.
This drove me further off, and I crossed the road at Mile End, and in the middle of the town went down a lane that goes away to the Blind Beggar at Bethnal Green. When I came a little way in the lane I found a footpath over the fields, and in those fields several trees for my turn, as I thought; at last, one tree had a little hole in it, pretty high out of my reach, and I climbed up the tree to get at it, and when I came there I put my hand in and found, as I thought, a place very fit; so I placed my treasure there, and was mighty well satisfied with it; but, behold, putting my hand in again to lay it more commodiously as I thought, of a sudden it slipped away from me, and I found the tree was hollow, and my little parcel was fallen in quite out of my reach, and how far it might go in I knew not; so that, in a word, my money was quite gone, irrecoverably lost; there could be no room so much as to hope ever to see it again, for 'twas a vast great tree. As
was, I was now sensible what a fool I was before, that I could not think of ways to keep my money, that I must come thus far to throw it into a hole where I could not reach it; well, I thrust my hand quite up to my elbow, but no bottom was to be found, or any end of the hole or cavity ; I got a stick of the tree and thrust it in a great way, but all was one ; then I cried, nay, roared out, I was in such a passion ; then I got down the tree again, then up again, and thrust in my hand again till I scratched my arm, and made it bleed, and cried all the while most violently; then I began to think I had not so much as a halfpenny of it left for a halfpenny roll, and I was hungry, and then I cried again : then I came away in despair, crying and roaring like a little boy that had been whipped; then I went back again to the tree, and up the tree again, and thus I did several times.
The last time I had gotten up the tree I happened to come down not on the same side that I went up and came down before, but on the other side of the tree, and on the other side of the bank also; and, behold, the tree had a great open place in the side of it, close to the ground, as old hollow trees often have; and looking into the opeu place, to my inexpressible joy there lay my money and my linen rag, all wrapped up just as I had put it into the hole; for the tree being