“Now, Johnnie boar,” he panted at last, “I’m thinking I’ve pretty nigh whacked you to dead. Perhaps you’ll larn to be more careful how you handles your betters by-and-by.” Then seizing his hat he ran down the stairs without seeing anybody and slipping into the street crossed over and listened.
They were at it again. Seeing her enemy prostrate the Tiger had fallen on him, with the fire-irons to judge from the noise.
Just then a policeman hurried up.
“I say, master,” said George, “the folk in that there house with the red pillars do fare to be a murdering of each other.”
The policeman listened to the din and then made for the house. Profiting by his absence George retreated as fast as he could, his melancholy countenance shining with sober satisfaction.
On the following morning, before he returned to Honham, George paid a visit to St. Bartholomew’s Church, Hackney. Here he made certain investigations in the registers, the results of which were not unsatisfactory to him.
EDWARD COSSEY MEETS WITH AN ACCIDENT
At the best of times this is not a gay world, though no doubt we ought to pretend that humanity at large is as happy as it is represented to be in, let us say, the Christmas number of an illustrated paper. How well we can imagine the thoughtful inhabitant of this country Anno Domini 7500 or thereabouts disinterring from the crumbling remains of a fireproof safe a Christmas number of the Illustrated London News or the Graphic. The archaic letters would perhaps be unintelligible to him, but he would look at the pictures with much the same interest that we regard bushmen’s drawings or the primitive clay figures of Peru, and though his whole artistic seventy-sixth century soul would be revolted at the crudeness of the colouring, surely he would moralise thus: “Oh, happy race of primitive men, how I, the child of light and civilisation, envy you your long-forgotten days! Here in these rude drawings, which in themselves reveal the extraordinary capacity for pleasure possessed by the early races, who could look upon them and gather gratification from the sight, may we trace your joyous career from the cradle to the grave. Here you figure as a babe, at whose appearance everybody seems delighted, even those of your race whose inheritance will be thereby diminished—and here a merry lad you revel in the school which the youth of our age finds so wearisome. There, grown more old, you stand at the altar of a beautiful lost faith, a faith that told of hope and peace beyond the grave, and by you stands your blushing bride. No hard fate, no considerations of means, no worldly-mindedness, come to snatch you from her arms as now they daily do. With her you spend your peaceful days, and here at last we see you old but surrounded by love and tender kindness, and almost looking forward to that grave which you believed would be but the gate of glory. Oh, happy race of simple-minded men, what a commentary upon our fevered, avaricious, pleasure-seeking age is this rude scroll of primitive and infantile art!”