“O nothing! don’t say I have been crying—but I cannot bear it—so many people looking at me. Don’t say a word to Melchior—I won’t cry any more.”
It is very easy to humbug
those who are so eager to be humbugged as
people are in this world of humbug—We show ourselves excessively
disinterested, which astonishes everybody.
I kissed and consoled her; she threw her arm round my neck, and remained there with her face hid for some time. We then joined the others at supper. Melchior was much pleased with our success, and highly praised the conduct of Timothy and myself, which he pronounced was, for the first attempt, far beyond his expectations.
We continued to astonish all the good people of —— for five days, when we discovered the indubitable fact, that there was no more money to be extracted from their pockets, upon which we resumed our usual clothes and smock frocks, and with our bundles in our hands, set off for another market town, about fifteen miles distant. There we were equally successful, and Melchior was delighted with our having proved such a powerful acquisition to his troop: but not to dwell too long upon one subject, I shall inform the reader that, after a trip of six weeks, during which we were very well received, we once more returned to the camp, which had located within five miles of our last scene of action. Every one was content—we were all glad to get back and rest from our labours. Melchior was pleased with his profits, poor little Fleta overjoyed to be once more in the seclusion of her tent, and Nattee very glad to hear of our good fortune, and to see her husband. Timothy and I had already proved ourselves so useful, that Melchior treated us with the greatest friendship and confidence—and he made us a present out of the gains, for our exertions; to me he gave ten, and to Timothy five, pounds.
“There, Japhet, had you hired yourself I should not have paid you more than seven shillings per week, finding you in food; but you must acknowledge that for six weeks that is not bad pay. However, your earnings will depend upon our success, and I rather think that we shall make a much better thing of it when next we start, which will be in about a fortnight; but we have some arrangements to make. Has Timothy a good memory?”
“I think he has.”
“That is well. I told you before that we are to try the ’Wise Man,’—but first we must have Nattee in play. To-morrow we will start for ——,” mentioning a small quiet town about four miles off.
We did so, early the next morning, and arrived about noon, pitching our tents on the common, not far from the town; but in this instance we left all the rest of our gang behind. Melchior’s own party and his two tents were all that were brought by the donkeys.
Melchior and I, dressed as countrymen, went into the town at dusk, and entered a respectable sort of inn, taking our seats at one of the tables in the tap-room, and, as we had already planned, after we had called for beer, commenced a conversation in the hearing of the others who were sitting drinking and smoking.