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you may have seen, a very gentlemanly fellow,
notwithstanding that his dress would not do
for Regent Street."

Here Harrington paused, and I made no
remark. His story seemed an odd mode of
cementing friendship; and it was, as he had
warned me, strange to English ears. ln fact,
I did not half like it.


ABOUT eighty years ago, Nicholas Fleming
died at Stafford. He was a master shoe-
maker. He left his widow very comfortably
provided for, and a son called Nicholas, after
himself. The neighbours said that widow
Fleming ought to take a partner and keep
her husband's business together, for the
benefit of her son. But Mrs. Fleming had a
certain pride of heart, and intended her son
to be something better than a shoemaker.
She sold the shop, fixtures, and good-will of
the business, and sent Nicholas to school.
She took a pretty cottage and garden a little
on the outskirts of the town, and set up as a
laundress of fine linen and lace. She was a
good hand at clear starching, as all ladies
round well knew, and she had no lack of
custom. She was a very comely woman,
much younger than her late husband, and
had a great spice of coquetry. When her
days of mourning were ended, she threw off
her weeds, and appeared at church in a
flowered silk gown and a black hood cloak
trimmed with real lace. Her dress was
always drawn up through the pocket-hole,
and displayed a handsome quilted petticoat, as
well as an extremely pretty foot and ancle.
She wore high-heeled shoes of Spanish leather,
with silver buckles; and there was a legend,
that when her husband brought her home
married, he gave her a pair of shoes that
he had made himself without taking her
measure; "going," as he said, " according to
symmetry." As they chanced to fit her
in the nattiest way possible, it may be judged
whether she was not proud of them.

Nicholas used to walk beside his mother,
carrying her prayer-book and Bible. In
those days it was the fashion to dress
children like little men and women; and Nicholas
used to wear a blue broad-skirted coat, knee-
breeches tied with ribbons, and a scarlet
waistcoat. He had buckles to his shoes;
his fair hair fell in curls over his lace collar;
and one day when his mother went to the
fair she bought him a little cocked hat.
When he was about six years old, a large
travelling caravan, with a troup of
equestrians and mountebanks, came to Stafford,
and took up their station in the market-
place. They erected a large tent of tarpaulin,
and blew trumpets and beat drums, and
promised mountains and marvels to all who
should come to see them. The mayor gave
them his countenance, and all the people
for miles round came flocking to see them.
Nicholas heard wonders of the circus from
some of his schoolfellows, and gave his mother
no peace until she promised to take him. She
made solemn preparation for the event. She
invited two of her neighbours to drink tea
Miss Dobson, the dressmaker, and Mr.
Talboys, the grocer. She dressed herself and
Nicholas in their Sunday best. After tea
the ladies put on their hoods and pattens,
and Mr. Talboys took a lantern against they
should return, as there was no moon, and
they set off.

When they reached the market-place, the
band was playing, the clown was tumbling
and talking nonsense to the crowd; two or
three ladies and gentlemen, looking very
beautiful in velvet and spangles, were walking
up and down the platform, and sometimes
dancing a few steps to quicken the curiosity
of the spectators. Mrs. Fleming and her
party obtained good places. When a
sufficient number had assembled, the curtain
drew up: it was a play about Queen Eleanor
and Fair Rosamond. When that was over,
then came the performances of Don Prosper
Saltero on the tight-rope. He was a tall,
athletic, Hercules of a man, over six feet
high, with magnificent whiskers, and a pair
of audacious looking eyes. He was dressed
in a sky-blue Spanish doublet spangled with
silver, red silk breeches and stockings, and
black velvet shoes with scarlet roses on them.
He held in his hand a hat with an immense
plume of feathers, fastened by a glittering
brooch, which the clown assured the
company was real diamond, the gift of an
unfortunate princess, whose father had shut
her up in a convent because she had fallen
in love with him. This tale was devoutly
believed by the audience. Don Saltero having
by this time chalked the soles of his shoes,
sprang upon the rope. It was a clever
performance, and his bounds and leaps and
somersaults thrown backward were the admiration,
of beholders. But when he sprung through a
hoop set round with daggers, and took a
flying leap over the heads of three men with
fixed bayonets, the enthusiasm knew no
bounds. Mrs. Fleming and her party went
home in a state of high excitement, talking
over all they had seen. Mrs. Fleming said
very little indeed, but allowed her head to
run upon the handsome mountebank when
she ought to have been minding her ironing.

No doubt, however, the recollection would
have passed away but for an unlucky incident.
Nicholas, after seeing Don Prosper, had taken.
to climbing and posturing, and risking his
bones in trying feats of agility; and one day,
seeing a ladder against the church, which the
workmen who were repairing it had left
whilst they went to dinner, he took the
opportunity of climbing to the roof, thence
he mounted to the steeple; and at length he
got up so high that he dared neither get up
nor down, but stood screaming pitifully, like
a kitten in a poplar-tree. A crowd gathered