+ ~ -
 
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
 
Report an Error
Go!
 
Go!
 
TOC
 

declared that if a couple of men had stood by
him he could have recaptured the boat.

As this narrative was finished, the sun went
down. A band was playing on the Praya; the
inhabitants were turning out in their best costumes
for a walk in the cool evening, that is, cool by
comparison, for the thermometer was still at 90ยบ;
and A-moon, A-tye, A-miu, and the tanka
sisterhood, were burning coloured paper and
beating gongs along the shore to propitiate Joss,
all their quarrels ceasing until the next steamer
came.

"You will go bathing with us to-morrow,
about five?" asked my host.

"Certainly; anything you please."

"Boy!" he cried, " go catchee three piecey
boat, washee-pigeon morrow." Then he added
to me: " A-tye will row you out, because she
can speak pigeon English!"

"What!" I exclaimed. " Nonsense! I
can't go bathing with that young person."

"It's all right, my dear fellow; it's thought
nothing of here: it's the custom. She don't
care, if you don't. You're over particular, and
should go to Japan for a little while, or,
better still, to Ramsgate. I can assure you it's
all proper."

"Bless me!" I replied, " how very odd!"

And then we all went to bed, and I was again
sweltering inside the mosquito curtains.

TRADE SONGS. THE WORKHOUSE NURSE.

TAKE the child upon your knee!
Desert infant, let it rest
All night upon your breast:
Sing a softening lullaby:
Shield it from the tempest wild:
Be a mother to the child.

It is not a noble's son,
Not a noble,— born above
All the charities of love:
Out of misery was it won:
Cradled in the stony street,
Found (a blessing) at your feet.

Black its eyes, dark its skin;
Feeble creature,— once a pack
Haply at a gipsy's back;
But it has a soul within:
And sometimes (say the stories wild)
You find an Angel in a child.

THE BLACKSMITH.

OLD England, she has great warriors,
Great princes, and poets great;
But the Blacksmith is not to be quite forgot,
In the history of the State.

He is rich in the best of all metals,
Yet silver he lacks and gold;
And he payeth his due, and his heart is true,
Though he bloweth both hot and cold.

The boldest is he of incendiaries
That ever the wide world saw,
And a forger as rank as e'er robbed the Bank,
Though he never doth break the law.

He hath shoes that are worn by strangers,
Yet he laugheth and maketh more;
And a share (concealed) in the poor man's field,
Yet it adds to the poor man's store.

Then, hurrah for the iron Blacksmith!
And hurrah for his iron crew!
And whenever we go where his forges glow,
We'll sing what A MAN can do.

HAUNTED LONDON.

ST. MARTIN'S-LANE.

THERE is no post-office directory in. which
one can find out the addresses of London ghosts.
This is an oversight.

I never go out in London, but I meet my ghosts;
and yet, before I can lay my hand on their bony
shoulders, they whip into a cab, or up an alley,
or round a turning, and are off before I can ask
them for a card. Charles the First, for instance,
whom only last Tuesday I met at the door of the
Admiralty, carrying his head, with its peaked
beardfor coolness, I supposeunder his arm;
then there is old Johnson, with the scorched
wig, I saw to-day, going to look for his old
corner where he planned his Hebrides expedition
with Boswell, at the Mitre, in Fleet-street;
then Izaak Walton, with his fishing-rod, in
Chancery-lane; and so on.

Well, I am out now to take a note of the
whereabouts of the St. Martin's-lane ghosts,
and shall take the notes on my thumb-nail.

Thumb-nail? Not much room even for short-
hand notes on thatnot much on the duodecimo
little finger, and not much more on the quarto
thumb. But Hogarth found it room enough.
That little sturdy observer of men, in his sky-
blue coat, and his triangular cocked-hat tipped
up over his broad, full, round forehead, to show
the scar he was proud of on his right temple, used
to ramble about London, sketching droll faces
on his left thumb-nail.

I often wonder if there will ever be a
London Claude Lorraine. If there ever be, he
will, for the first thing, paint London
sunshine, out of whose radiance I have just come
from St. Martin's-lane into my dark chambers,
as a man comes from a morning bath in the
molten gold of the sea with the sun on it,
to re-dress himself before breakfast in the soft
darkness of a Marine Parade room with the
blinds down. Sunshine through spring woods
is a delicious thing, so is sunshine through three
feet of June grass, fit for mowing, when the thick
flowers close like waves over your face as you
lie on your back and listen to the lark that the
angels are calling to from that hollow snow-
ball of a cloud. But as we have none of these
delights, and are all built in for various terms of
imprisonment in long defiles of houses, walled all
with black and brown brick, caged under miles
of red tile roofs, in streets where the chimneys
keep telegraphing to each other by smoke signals,
at windows where consumptive geraniums sicken
for fresher air, and no thin weed dares to take
root between the joints of the bricks, from
Pharaoh's hard brick-yard, where flowers are
curiosities, and the hot dark breath of Care's
kilns and furnaces thickens the smiling air,
which struggles to be bright and free, let us