Newton ran out, and in a few minutes reappeared with the beef in question, some bread, and a pot of porter, with two plates and knives and forks, which the people had lent him, upon his putting down a deposit. He had laid them on the counter before his father, who, without saying a word, commenced his repast: the beef disappeared—the bread vanished—the porter-pot was raised to his mouth, and in a moment it was dry!
“Never made a better dinner, Newton,” observed Nicholas: “but I wish there had been a little more of it.”
Newton, who had only been a spectator, immediately went out for another supply; and on his return assisted his father in its demolition.
“Newton,” said Nicholas, who for a few minutes had relinquished his task, “I’ve been thinking—that—I should like another slice of that beef! and Newton, as I said before—I’ll trouble you for the porter!”
your food a little while,
While, like a doe, I go to find my fawn,
And give it food. There is a poor old man
Oppressed with two weak evils, age and hunger.”
Reader, were you ever really hungry? I do not mean the common hunger arising from health and exercise, and which you have the means of appeasing at the moment, when it may be considered a source of pleasure rather than of pain:—I refer to the gnawing of starvation; because, if you have not been, you can form no conception of the agony of the suffering. Fortunately, but very few of my readers can have any knowledge of it; the general sympathy which it creates is from an ideal, not a practical knowledge. It has been my lot during the vicissitudes of a maritime life to have suffered hunger to extremity; and although impossible to express the corporeal agony, yet some notion of it may be conceived from the effect it had upon my mind. I felt that I hated the whole world, kin or no kin; that theft was a virtue, murder excusable, and cannibalism anything but disgusting; from which the inference may be safely drawn, viz., that I was devilish hungry.
I mention this, because Nicholas Forster, although he had been two days without food, and had disposed of every article which was saleable, was endued with so much strength of principle as not to have thought (or if he had thought of it, immediately to have dismissed the thought) of vending the property found in the trunk by his son, and which had remained so long in their possession. That few would have been so scrupulous, I will acknowledge: whether Nicholas was over-scrupulous, is a question I leave to be debated by those who are fond of argument. I only state the fact.