caught sight of a fat young butcher on the outside of the crowd.) "She
says the good luck is the butcher's. Where is he?" Everybody handed on
the blushing butcher to the front, and there was a roar, and the butcher
felt himself obliged to put his hand in his pocket, and take the lot. The
party so picked out, in general, does feel obliged to take the lot - good
four times out of six. Then we had another lot, the counterpart of that
one, and sold it sixpence cheaper, which is always wery much enjoyed.
Then we had the spectacles. It ain't a special profitable lot, but I put
'em on, and I see what the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to take
off the taxes, and I see what the sweetheart of the young woman in the
shawl is doing at home, and I see what the Bishops has got for dinner,
and a deal more that seldom fails to fetch 'em 'up in their spirits; and
the better their spirits, the better their bids. Then we had the ladies'
lot - the teapot, tea-caddy, glass sugar-basin, half-a-dozen spoons, and
caudle-cup - and all the time I was making similar excuses to give a look
or two and say a word or two to my poor child. It was while the second
ladies' lot was holding 'em enchained that I felt her lift herself a
little on my shoulder, to look across the dark street. "What troubles
you, darling?" "Nothing troubles me, father. I am not at all troubled.
But don't I see a pretty churchyard over there?" "Yes, my dear." "Kiss
me twice, dear father, and lay me down to rest upon that churchyard grass
so soft and green." I staggered back into the cart with her head dropped
on my shoulder, and I says to her mother, "Quick. Shut the door! Don't
let those laughing people see!" "What's the matter?" she cries. "O
woman, woman," I tells her, "you'll never catch my little Sophy by her
hair again, for she has flown away from you!"
Maybe those were harder words than I meant 'em; but from that time forth
my wife took to brooding, and would sit in the cart or walk beside it,
hours at a stretch, with her arms crossed, and her eyes looking on the
ground. When her furies took her (which was rather seldomer than before)
they took her in a new way, and she banged herself about to that extent
that I was forced to hold her. She got none the better for a little
drink now and then, and through some years I used to wonder, as I plodded
along at the old horse's head, whether there was many carts upon the road
that held so much dreariness as mine, for all my being looked up to as
the King of the Cheap Jacks. So sad our lives went on till one summer
evening, when, as we were coming into Exeter, out of the farther West of
England, we saw a woman beating a child in a cruel manner, who screamed,
"Don't beat me! O mother, mother, mother!" Then my wife stopped her
ears, and ran away like a wild thing, and next day she was found in the
Me and my dog were all the company left in the cart now; and the dog
learned to give a short bark when they wouldn't bid, and to give another
and a nod of his head when I asked him, "Who said half a crown? Are you
the gentleman, sir, that offered half a crown?" He attained to an
immense height of popularity, and I shall always believe taught himself
entirely out of his own head to growl at any person in the crowd that bid
as low as sixpence. But he got to be well on in years, and one night
when I was conwulsing York with the spectacles, he took a conwulsion on
his own account upon the very footboard by me, and it finished him.
Being naturally of a tender turn, I had dreadful lonely feelings on me
arter this. I conquered 'em at selling times, having a reputation to
keep (not to mention keeping myself), but they got me down in private,
and rolled upon me. That's often the way with us public characters. See
us on the footboard, and you'd give pretty well anything you possess to
be us. See us off the footboard, and you'd add a trifle to be off your
bargain. It was under those circumstances that I come acquainted with a
giant. I might have been too high to fall into conversation with him,
had it not been for my lonely feelings. For the general rule is, going
round the country, to draw the line at dressing up. When a man can't
trust his getting a living to his undisguised abilities, you consider him
below your sort. And this giant when on view figured as a Roman.
He was a languid young man, which I attribute to the distance betwixt his
extremities. He had a little head and less in it, he had weak eyes and
weak knees, and altogether you couldn't look at him without feeling that
there was greatly too much of him both for his joints and his mind. But
he was an amiable though timid young man (his mother let him out, and
spent the money), and we come acquainted when he was walking to ease the
horse betwixt two fairs. He was called Rinaldo di Velasco, his name
This giant, otherwise Pickleson, mentioned to me under the seal of
confidence that, beyond his being a burden to himself, his life was made
a burden to him by the cruelty of his master towards a step-daughter who
was deaf and dumb. Her mother was dead, and she had no living soul to
take her part, and was used most hard. She travelled with his master's
caravan only because there was nowhere to leave her, and this giant,
otherwise Pickleson, did go so far as to believe that his master often
tried to lose her. He was such a very languid young man, that I don't
know how long it didn't take him to get this story out, but it passed
through his defective circulation to his top extremity in course of time.
When I heard this account from the giant, otherwise Pickleson, and
likewise that the poor girl had beautiful long dark hair, and was often
pulled down by it and beaten, I couldn't see the giant through what stood
in my eyes. Having wiped 'em, I give him sixpence (for he was kept as
short as he was long), and he laid it out in two three-penn'orths of gin-
and-water, which so brisked him up, that he sang the Favourite Comic of
Shivery Shakey, ain't it cold? - a popular effect which his master had
tried every other means to get out of him as a Roman wholly in vain.
His master's name was Mim, a wery hoarse man, and I knew him to speak to.
I went to that Fair as a mere civilian, leaving the cart outside the
town, and I looked about the back of the Vans while the performing was
going on, and at last, sitting dozing against a muddy cart-wheel, I come
upon the poor girl who was deaf and dumb. At the first look I might
almost have judged that she had escaped from the Wild Beast Show; but at
the second I thought better of her, and thought that if she was more
cared for and more kindly used she would be like my child. She was just
the same age that my own daughter would have been, if her pretty head had
not fell down upon my shoulder that unfortunate night.
To cut it short, I spoke confidential to Mim while he was beating the
gong outside betwixt two lots of Pickleson's publics, and I put it to
him, "She lies heavy on your own hands; what'll you take for her?" Mim
was a most ferocious swearer. Suppressing that part of his reply which
was much the longest part, his reply was, "A pair of braces." "Now I'll
tell you," says I, "what I'm a going to do with you. I'm a going to
fetch you half-a-dozen pair of the primest braces in the cart, and then
to take her away with me." Says Mim (again ferocious), "I'll believe it
when I've got the goods, and no sooner." I made all the haste I could,
lest he should think twice of it, and the bargain was completed, which
Pickleson he was thereby so relieved in his mind that he come out at his
little back door, longways like a serpent, and give us Shivery Shakey in
a whisper among the wheels at parting.
It was happy days for both of us when Sophy and me began to travel in the
cart. I at once give her the name of Sophy, to put her ever towards me
in the attitude of my own daughter. We soon made out to begin to
understand one another, through the goodness of the Heavens, when she
knowed that I meant true and kind by her. In a very little time she was
wonderful fond of me. You have no idea what it is to have anybody
wonderful fond of you, unless you have been got down and rolled upon by
the lonely feelings that I have mentioned as having once got the better
You'd have laughed - or the rewerse - it's according to your disposition - if
you could have seen me trying to teach Sophy. At first I was
helped - you'd never guess by what - milestones. I got some large
alphabets in a box, all the letters separate on bits of bone, and saying
we was going to WINDSOR, I give her those letters in that order, and then
at every milestone I showed her those same letters in that same order
again, and pointed towards the abode of royalty. Another time I give her
CART, and then chalked the same upon the cart. Another time I give her
DOCTOR MARIGOLD, and hung a corresponding inscription outside my
waistcoat. People that met us might stare a bit and laugh, but what did
_I_ care, if she caught the idea? She caught it after long patience and
trouble, and then we did begin to get on swimmingly, I believe you! At
first she was a little given to consider me the cart, and the cart the
abode of royalty, but that soon wore off.
We had our signs, too, and they was hundreds in number. Sometimes she
would sit looking at me and considering hard how to communicate with me
about something fresh, - how to ask me what she wanted explained, - and
then she was (or I thought she was; what does it signify?) so like my
child with those years added to her, that I half-believed it was herself,
trying to tell me where she had been to up in the skies, and what she had
seen since that unhappy night when she flied away. She had a pretty
face, and now that there was no one to drag at her bright dark hair, and
it was all in order, there was a something touching in her looks that
made the cart most peaceful and most quiet, though not at all melancholy.
[N.B. In the Cheap Jack patter, we generally sound it lemonjolly, and it
gets a laugh.]
The way she learnt to understand any look of mine was truly surprising.
When I sold of a night, she would sit in the cart unseen by them outside,
and would give a eager look into my eyes when I looked in, and would hand
me straight the precise article or articles I wanted. And then she would
clap her hands, and laugh for joy. And as for me, seeing her so bright,
and remembering what she was when I first lighted on her, starved and
beaten and ragged, leaning asleep against the muddy cart-wheel, it give
me such heart that I gained a greater heighth of reputation than ever,
and I put Pickleson down (by the name of Mim's Travelling Giant otherwise
Pickleson) for a fypunnote in my will.
This happiness went on in the cart till she was sixteen year old. By
which time I began to feel not satisfied that I had done my whole duty by
her, and to consider that she ought to have better teaching than I could
give her. It drew a many tears on both sides when I commenced explaining
my views to her; but what's right is right, and you can't neither by
tears nor laughter do away with its character.
So I took her hand in mine, and I went with her one day to the Deaf and
Dumb Establishment in London, and when the gentleman come to speak to us,
I says to him: "Now I'll tell you what I'll do with you, sir. I am
nothing but a Cheap Jack, but of late years I have laid by for a rainy
day notwithstanding. This is my only daughter (adopted), and you can't
produce a deafer nor a dumber. Teach her the most that can be taught her
in the shortest separation that can be named, - state the figure for
it, - and I am game to put the money down. I won't bate you a single
farthing, sir, but I'll put down the money here and now, and I'll
thankfully throw you in a pound to take it. There!" The gentleman
smiled, and then, "Well, well," says he, "I must first know what she has
learned already. How do you communicate with her?" Then I showed him,
and she wrote in printed writing many names of things and so forth; and
we held some sprightly conversation, Sophy and me, about a little story
in a book which the gentleman showed her, and which she was able to read.
"This is most extraordinary," says the gentleman; "is it possible that
you have been her only teacher?" "I have been her only teacher, sir," I
says, "besides herself." "Then," says the gentleman, and more acceptable
words was never spoke to me, "you're a clever fellow, and a good fellow."
This he makes known to Sophy, who kisses his hands, claps her own, and
laughs and cries upon it.
We saw the gentleman four times in all, and when he took down my name and
asked how in the world it ever chanced to be Doctor, it come out that he
was own nephew by the sister's side, if you'll believe me, to the very
Doctor that I was called after. This made our footing still easier, and
he says to me:
"Now, Marigold, tell me what more do you want your adopted daughter to
"I want her, sir, to be cut off from the world as little as can be,
considering her deprivations, and therefore to be able to read whatever
is wrote with perfect ease and pleasure."
"My good fellow," urges the gentleman, opening his eyes wide, "why _I_
can't do that myself!"
I took his joke, and gave him a laugh (knowing by experience how flat you
fall without it), and I mended my words accordingly.
"What do you mean to do with her afterwards?" asks the gentleman, with a
sort of a doubtful eye. "To take her about the country?"
"In the cart, sir, but only in the cart. She will live a private life,
you understand, in the cart. I should never think of bringing her
infirmities before the public. I wouldn't make a show of her for any
The gentleman nodded, and seemed to approve.
"Well," says he, "can you part with her for two years?"
"To do her that good, - yes, sir."
"There's another question," says the gentleman, looking towards her, - "can
she part with you for two years?"
I don't know that it was a harder matter of itself (for the other was
hard enough to me), but it was harder to get over. However, she was
pacified to it at last, and the separation betwixt us was settled. How
it cut up both of us when it took place, and when I left her at the door
in the dark of an evening, I don't tell. But I know this; remembering
that night, I shall never pass that same establishment without a
heartache and a swelling in the throat; and I couldn't put you up the
best of lots in sight of it with my usual spirit, - no, not even the gun,
nor the pair of spectacles, - for five hundred pound reward from the
Secretary of State for the Home Department, and throw in the honour of
putting my legs under his mahogany arterwards.
Still, the loneliness that followed in the cart was not the old
loneliness, because there was a term put to it, however long to look
forward to; and because I could think, when I was anyways down, that she
belonged to me and I belonged to her. Always planning for her coming
back, I bought in a few months' time another cart, and what do you think
I planned to do with it? I'll tell you. I planned to fit it up with
shelves and books for her reading, and to have a seat in it where I could
sit and see her read, and think that I had been her first teacher. Not
hurrying over the job, I had the fittings knocked together in contriving
ways under my own inspection, and here was her bed in a berth with
curtains, and there was her reading-table, and here was her writing-desk,
and elsewhere was her books in rows upon rows, picters and no picters,
bindings and no bindings, gilt-edged and plain, just as I could pick 'em
up for her in lots up and down the country, North and South and West and
East, Winds liked best and winds liked least, Here and there and gone
astray, Over the hills and far away. And when I had got together pretty
well as many books as the cart would neatly hold, a new scheme come into
my head, which, as it turned out, kept my time and attention a good deal
employed, and helped me over the two years' stile.
Without being of an awaricious temper, I like to be the owner of things.
I shouldn't wish, for instance, to go partners with yourself in the Cheap
Jack cart. It's not that I mistrust you, but that I'd rather know it was
mine. Similarly, very likely you'd rather know it was yours. Well! A
kind of a jealousy began to creep into my mind when I reflected that all
those books would have been read by other people long before they was
read by her. It seemed to take away from her being the owner of 'em
like. In this way, the question got into my head: Couldn't I have a book
new-made express for her, which she should be the first to read?
It pleased me, that thought did; and as I never was a man to let a
thought sleep (you must wake up all the whole family of thoughts you've
got and burn their nightcaps, or you won't do in the Cheap Jack line), I
set to work at it. Considering that I was in the habit of changing so
much about the country, and that I should have to find out a literary
character here to make a deal with, and another literary character there
to make a deal with, as opportunities presented, I hit on the plan that
this same book should be a general miscellaneous lot, - like the razors,
flat-iron, chronometer watch, dinner plates, rolling-pin, and looking-
glass, - and shouldn't be offered as a single indiwidual article, like the
spectacles or the gun. When I had come to that conclusion, I come to
another, which shall likewise be yours.
Often had I regretted that she never had heard me on the footboard, and
that she never could hear me. It ain't that _I_ am vain, but that _you_
don't like to put your own light under a bushel. What's the worth of
your reputation, if you can't convey the reason for it to the person you
most wish to value it? Now I'll put it to you. Is it worth sixpence,
fippence, fourpence, threepence, twopence, a penny, a halfpenny, a
farthing? No, it ain't. Not worth a farthing. Very well, then. My
conclusion was that I would begin her book with some account of myself.
So that, through reading a specimen or two of me on the footboard, she
might form an idea of my merits there. I was aware that I couldn't do
myself justice. A man can't write his eye (at least _I_ don't know how
to), nor yet can a man write his voice, nor the rate of his talk, nor the
quickness of his action, nor his general spicy way. But he can write his
turns of speech, when he is a public speaker, - and indeed I have heard
that he very often does, before he speaks 'em.
Well! Having formed that resolution, then come the question of a name.
How did I hammer that hot iron into shape? This way. The most difficult
explanation I had ever had with her was, how I come to be called Doctor,
and yet was no Doctor. After all, I felt that I had failed of getting it
correctly into her mind, with my utmost pains. But trusting to her
improvement in the two years, I thought that I might trust to her
understanding it when she should come to read it as put down by my own
hand. Then I thought I would try a joke with her and watch how it took,
by which of itself I might fully judge of her understanding it. We had
first discovered the mistake we had dropped into, through her having
asked me to prescribe for her when she had supposed me to be a Doctor in
a medical point of view; so thinks I, "Now, if I give this book the name
of my Prescriptions, and if she catches the idea that my only
Prescriptions are for her amusement and interest, - to make her laugh in a
pleasant way, or to make her cry in a pleasant way, - it will be a
delightful proof to both of us that we have got over our difficulty." It
fell out to absolute perfection. For when she saw the book, as I had it
got up, - the printed and pressed book, - lying on her desk in her cart,
and saw the title, DOCTOR MARIGOLD'S PRESCRIPTIONS, she looked at me for
a moment with astonishment, then fluttered the leaves, then broke out a
laughing in the charmingest way, then felt her pulse and shook her head,
then turned the pages pretending to read them most attentive, then kissed
the book to me, and put it to her bosom with both her hands. I never was
better pleased in all my life!
But let me not anticipate. (I take that expression out of a lot of
romances I bought for her. I never opened a single one of 'em - and I
have opened many - but I found the romancer saying "let me not
anticipate." Which being so, I wonder why he did anticipate, or who
asked him to it.) Let me not, I say, anticipate. This same book took up
all my spare time. It was no play to get the other articles together in
the general miscellaneous lot, but when it come to my own article! There!
I couldn't have believed the blotting, nor yet the buckling to at it, nor
the patience over it. Which again is like the footboard. The public
have no idea.
At last it was done, and the two years' time was gone after all the other
time before it, and where it's all gone to, who knows? The new cart was
finished, - yellow outside, relieved with wermilion and brass
fittings, - the old horse was put in it, a new 'un and a boy being laid on
for the Cheap Jack cart, - and I cleaned myself up to go and fetch her.
Bright cold weather it was, cart-chimneys smoking, carts pitched private
on a piece of waste ground over at Wandsworth, where you may see 'em from
the Sou'western Railway when not upon the road. (Look out of the right-
hand window going down.)
"Marigold," says the gentleman, giving his hand hearty, "I am very glad
to see you."
"Yet I have my doubts, sir," says I, "if you can be half as glad to see
me as I am to see you."
"The time has appeared so long, - has it, Marigold?"
"I won't say that, sir, considering its real length; but - "
"What a start, my good fellow!"
Ah! I should think it was! Grown such a woman, so pretty, so
intelligent, so expressive! I knew then that she must be really like my
child, or I could never have known her, standing quiet by the door.
"You are affected," says the gentleman in a kindly manner.
"I feel, sir," says I, "that I am but a rough chap in a sleeved
"I feel," says the gentleman, "that it was you who raised her from misery
and degradation, and brought her into communication with her kind. But
why do we converse alone together, when we can converse so well with her?
Address her in your own way."
"I am such a rough chap in a sleeved waistcoat, sir," says I, "and she is
such a graceful woman, and she stands so quiet at the door!"
"_Try_ if she moves at the old sign," says the gentleman.
They had got it up together o' purpose to please me! For when I give her
the old sign, she rushed to my feet, and dropped upon her knees, holding
up her hands to me with pouring tears of love and joy; and when I took
her hands and lifted her, she clasped me round the neck, and lay there;
and I don't know what a fool I didn't make of myself, until we all three
settled down into talking without sound, as if there was a something soft
and pleasant spread over the whole world for us.
* * * * *
[A portion is here omitted from the text, having reference to the
sketches contributed by other writers; but the reader will be pleased to
have what follows retained in a note:
"Now I'll tell you what I am a-going to do with you. I am a-going to
offer you the general miscellaneous lot, her own book, never read by
anybody else but me, added to and completed by me after her first reading
of it, eight-and-forty printed pages, six-and-ninety columns, Whiting's
own work, Beaufort House to wit, thrown off by the steam-ingine, best of
paper, beautiful green wrapper, folded like clean linen come home from
the clear-starcher's, and so exquisitely stitched that, regarded as a
piece of needlework alone, it's better than the sampler of a seamstress
undergoing a Competitive examination for Starvation before the Civil
Service Commissioners - and I offer the lot for what? For eight pound?
Not so much. For six pound? Less. For four pound. Why, I hardly
expect you to believe me, but that's the sum. Four pound! The stitching
alone cost half as much again. Here's forty-eight original pages, ninety-
six original columns, for four pound. You want more for the money? Take
it. Three whole pages of advertisements of thrilling interest thrown in
for nothing. Read 'em and believe 'em. More? My best of wishes for
your merry Christmases and your happy New Years, your long lives and your