I had often heard of one Glorious John, who lived at the western end of the town; on consulting Taggart, he told me that it was possible that Glorious John would publish my ballads and Ab Gwilym, that is, said he, taking a pinch of snuff, provided you can see him; so I went to the house where Glorious John resided, and a glorious house it was, but I could not see Glorious John—I called a dozen times, but I never could see Glorious John. Twenty years after, by the greatest chance in the world, I saw Glorious John, and sure enough Glorious John published my books, but they were different books from the first; I never offered my ballads or Ab Gwilym to Glorious John. Glorious John was no snuff-taker. He asked me to dinner, and treated me with superb Rhenish wine. Glorious John is now gone to his rest, but I—what was I going to say?—the world will never forget Glorious John.
So I returned to my last resource for the time then being—to the publisher, persevering doggedly in my labour. One day, on visiting the publisher, I found him stamping with fury upon certain fragments of paper. ‘Sir,’ said he, ’you know nothing of German; I have shown your translation of the first chapter of my Philosophy to several Germans: it is utterly unintelligible to them.’ ‘Did they see the Philosophy?’ I replied. ’They did, sir, but they did not profess to understand English.’ ‘No more do I,’ I replied, ‘if that Philosophy be English.’
The publisher was furious—I was silent. For want of a pinch of snuff, I had recourse to something which is no bad substitute for a pinch of snuff, to those who can’t take it, silent contempt; at first it made the publisher more furious, as perhaps a pinch of snuff would; it, however, eventually calmed him, and he ordered me back to my occupations, in other words, the compilation. To be brief, the compilation was completed, I got paid in the usual manner, and forthwith left him.
He was a clever man, but what a difference in clever men!
The old spot—A long history—Thou shalt not steal—No harm—Education—Necessity—Foam on your lip—Apples and pears—What will you read?—Metaphor—The fur cap—I don’t know him.
It was past midwinter, and I sat on London Bridge, in company with the old apple-woman: she had just returned to the other side of the bridge, to her place in the booth where I had originally found her. This she had done after frequent conversations with me; ’she liked the old place best,’ she said, which she would never have left but for the terror which she experienced when the boys ran away with her book. So I sat with her at the old spot, one afternoon past midwinter, reading the book, of which I had by this time come to the last pages. I had observed that the old woman for some time past had shown much less anxiety about the book than she had been in the habit of doing. I was, however, not quite prepared for her offering to make me a present of it, which she did that afternoon; when, having finished it, I returned it to her, with many thanks for the pleasure and instruction I had derived from its perusal. ‘You may keep it, dear,’ said the old woman, with a sigh; ’you may carry it to your lodging, and keep it for your own.’