Japhet, in Search of a Father eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 546 pages of information about Japhet, in Search of a Father.

“The next morning we started before break of day, on our road to another town, where my companion said the constables would never take the trouble to come after him.  On our way he questioned me as to my mode of getting my livelihood, and I narrated how unfortunate I had been.  ’One good turn deserves another,’ replied the sailor; ’and now I’ll set you up in trade.  Can you sing?  Have you anything of a voice?’ ’I can’t say that I have,’ replied I.  ’I don’t mean whether you can sing in tune, or have a good voice, that’s no consequence; all I want to know is, have you a good loud one?’

‘Loud enough, if that’s all.’  ’That’s all that’s requisite; so long as you can make yourself heard—­you may then howl like a jackal, or bellow like a mad buffalo, no matter which—­as many pay us for to get rid of us, as out of charity; and so long as the money comes, what’s the odds?  Why, I once knew an old chap, who could only play one tune on the clarionet, and that tune out of all tune, who made his fortune in six or seven streets, for every one gave him money, and told him to go away.  When he found out that, he came every morning as regular as clock-work.  Now there was one of the streets which was chiefly occupied by music-sellers and Italian singers—­for them foreigners always herd together—­and this tune, ‘which the old cow died of,’ as the saying is, used to be their horror, and out came the halfpence to send him away.  There was a sort of club also in that street, of larking sort of young men, and when they perceived that the others gave the old man money to get rid of his squeaking, they sent him out money, with orders to stay and play to them, so then the others sent out more for him to go away, and between the two, the old fellow brought home more money than all the cadgers and mumpers in the district.  Now if you have a loud voice, I can provide you with all the rest.’—­’Do you gain your livelihood by that?’—­’ To be sure I do; and I can tell you, that of all the trades going, there is none equal to it.  You see, my hearty, I have been on board of a man-of-war—­not that I’m a sailor, or was ever bred to the sea—­but I was shipped as a landsman, and did duty in the waist and afterguard.  I know little or nothing of my duty as a seaman, nor was it required in the station I was in, so I never learnt, although I was four years on board; all I learnt was the lingo and slang—­and that you must contrive to learn from me.  I bolted, and made my way good to Lunnun, but I should soon have been picked up and put on board the Tender again, if I hadn’t got this wooden stump made, which I now carry in my hand.  I had plenty of songs, and I commenced my profession, and a real good un it is, I can tell you.  Why, do you know, that a’ter a good victory, I have sometimes picked up as much as two pounds a-day, for weeks running; as it is, I averages from fifteen shillings to a pound.  Now, as you helped me away from that land shark, who would soon have found out that I had two legs, and

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Japhet, in Search of a Father from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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