The keepers on’y stared at ’im.
“You ought to be more careful,” ses Bob. “Very likely while you was taking all that trouble over me, and Keeper Lewis was catching ’is death o’ cold, the poachers was up at the plantation taking all they wanted. And, besides, it ain’t right for Squire Rockett to ’ave to pay Henery Walker five shillings for finding a lot of old cabbages. I shouldn’t like it myself.”
[Illustration: “You ought to be more careful,” ses Bob.]
He looked out of the corner of ’is eye at the squire, as was pretending not to notice Henery Walker touching ’is cap to him, and then ’e turns to ’is wife and he ses:
“Come along, old gal,” ’e ses. “I want my breakfast bad, and arter that I shall ’ave to lose a honest day’s work in bed.”
Talking about eddication, said the night-watchman, thoughtfully, the finest eddication you can give a lad is to send ’im to sea. School is all right up to a certain p’int, but arter that comes the sea. I’ve been there myself and I know wot I’m talking about. All that I am I owe to ’aving been to sea.
[Illustration: “Talking about eddication, said the night-watchman.”]
There’s a saying that boys will be boys. That’s all right till they go to sea, and then they ’ave to be men, and good men too. They get knocked about a bit, o’ course, but that’s all part o’ the eddication, and when they get bigger they pass the eddication they’ve received on to other boys smaller than wot they are. Arter I’d been at sea a year I spent all my fust time ashore going round and looking for boys wot ’ad knocked me about afore I sailed, and there was only one out o’ the whole lot that I wished I ’adn’t found.
Most people, o’ course, go to sea as boys or else not at all, but I mind one chap as was pretty near thirty years old when ’e started. It’s a good many years ago now, and he was landlord of a public-’ouse as used to stand in Wapping, called the Blue Lion.
His mother, wot had ’ad the pub afore ’im, ’ad brought ’im up very quiet and genteel, and when she died ’e went and married a fine, handsome young woman who ’ad got her eye on the pub without thinking much about ’im. I got to know about it through knowing the servant that lived there. A nice, quiet gal she was, and there wasn’t much went on that she didn’t hear. I’ve known ’er to cry for hours with the ear-ache, pore gal.
Not caring much for ’er ’usband, and being spoiled by ’im into the bargain, Mrs. Dixon soon began to lead ’im a terrible life. She was always throwing his meekness and mildness up into ’is face, and arter they ’ad been married two or three years he was no more like the landlord o’ that public-’ouse than I’m like a lord. Not so much. She used to get into such terrible tempers there was no doing anything with ’er, and for the sake o’ peace and quietness he gave way to ’er till ’e got into the habit of it and couldn’t break ’imself of it.