The Unclassed eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 469 pages of information about The Unclassed.

“Faith,” he cried, “I’d have given a trifle if ye could have heard the conversation between Tootle and me, just after breakfast yesterday.  The boys were filing out of the room, when, ‘Mr. O’Gree!’ cries Pendy.—­’Sir!’ I reply.—­’The boys were called late this morning, I hear.’—­’No such thing, sir,’ I assure ’um.  ’Half-past six to the minute, by my watch.’—­’Oh, your watch, Mr. O’Gree,’ cries the old reprobate.  ’I fear your watch doesn’t keep very good time.’—­’Sure, you’re in the right, sir,’ said I;’ it’s been losing a little of late; so only last night I stopped it at half-past six, to make sure it would show me the right calling-time this morning.’  And, when I’d said that, I just nod my head, as much as to say, ‘There’s one for ye, me boy!’ and walk off as jaunty as a Limerick bantam.”

Then, after a burst of merriment, O’Gree suddenly fixed his face in a very grave expression.

“I’m resolved, Waymark, I’m resolved!” he exclaimed.  “At midsummer I break my chains, and stand erect in the dignity of a free man.  I’ve said it often, but now I mean it.  Sally urges me to do ut, and Sally never utters a worrud that isn’t pure wisdom.”

“Well, I think she’s right.  I myself should prefer a scavenger’s existence, on the whole.  But have you thought any further of the other scheme?”

“The commercial undertaking?  We were talking it over the other night.  Sally says:  Borrow the money and risk ut.  And I think she’s in the right.  If you enter the world of commerce, you must be prepared for speculation.  We looked over the advertisements in a newspaper, just to get an idea, and we calculated the concern could be set afloat for seventy-five pounds.  Out of that we could pay a quarter’s rent, and stock the shop.  Sally’s been behind the counter a good bit of late, and she’s getting an insight into that kind of thing.  Wonderful girl, Sally!  Put her in Downing Street for a week, and she’d be competent to supplant the Premier!”

’You have decided for a chandler’s?”

“Yes; we neither of us know much about tobacco, and tobacco perhaps isn’t quits the thing for a man of education.  But to be a chandler is something worthy of any man’s ambition.  You supply at once the solids and the luxuries of life; you range from boiled ham and pickles to mixed biscuits and preserves.  You are the focus of a whole street.  The father comes to you for his mid-day bread and cheese, the mother for her half-ounce of tea, the child for its farthing’s-worth of sweets.  For years I’ve been leading a useless life; once let me get into my shop, and I become a column of the social system.  Faith, it’s as good as done!”

“From whom shall you borrow the cash?”

“Sally’s going to think about that point.  I suppose we shall go to a loan office, and make some kind of arrangement.  I’m rather vague on these things, but Sally will find it out.”

“I understand,” said Waymark, checking his amusement, that you are perfectly serious in this plan?”

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The Unclassed from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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