the merry- andrews from the platforms in front of
the temporary theatres, or admiring the splendid
tinsel dresses of the performers who thronged the
stages in the intervals of the entertainments ; and
in this manner, occasionally gazing and occasionally
listening, I passed through the town till I came in
front of a large edifice looking full upon the
majestic bosom of the Thames.
It was a massive stone edifice, built in an antique
style, and black with age, with a broad esplanade
between it and the river, on which, mixed with a
few people from the fair, I observed moving about
a great many individuals in quaint dresses of blue,
with strange three-cornered hats on their heads;
most of them were mutilated; this had a wooden
leg — this wanted an arm ; some had but one eye ;
and as I gazed upon the edifice, and the singular-
looking individuals who moved before it, I guessed
where I was. '' I am at " said I ; '' these
VOL. II. L
218 BATTERED TARS. [Ch. XXIV.
individuals are battered tars of Old England, and
this edifice, once the favourite abode of Glorious
Elizabeth, is the refuge which a grateful country-
has allotted to them. Here they can rest their
weary bodies; at their ease talk over the actions in
which they have been injured ; and, with the tear
of enthusiasm flowing from their eyes, boast how
they have trod the deck of fame with Kodney, or
Nelson, or others whose names stand emblazoned
in the naval annals of their country."
Turning to the right, I entered a park or wood
consisting of enormous trees, occupying the foot,
sides, and top of a hill which rose behind the town ;
there were multitudes of people among the trees,
diverting themselves in various ways. Coming to
the top of the hill, I was presently stopped by a
lofty wall, along which I walked, till, coming to a
small gate, I passed through, and found myself on
an extensive green plain, on one side bounded in
part by the wall of the park, and on the others, in
the distance, by extensive ranges of houses ; to the
south-east was a lofty eminence, partially clothed
with wood. The plain exhibited an animated scene,
a kind of continuation of the fair below; there were
Ch. XXIV.] lost! lost! 219
multitudes of people upon it, many tents, and shows ;
there was also horse-racing, and much noise and
shouting, the sun shining hrightly overhead. After
gazing at the horse-racing for a little time, feeling
myself somewhat tired, I went up to one of the
tents, and laid myself down on the grass. There
was much noise in the tent. " Who will stand me ?"
said a voice with a shght tendency to lisp. " Will
you, my lord?" " Yes," said another voice. Then
there was a sound as of a piece of money hanging
on a table. "Lost! lost! lost!" cried several
voices; and then the banging down of the money,
and the ''lost! lost! lost!" were frequently re-
peated ; at last the second voice exclaimed, " I will
try no more ; you have cheated me." " Never
cheated any one in my hfe, my lord — all fair — all
chance. Them that finds, wins — them that can't
finds, loses. Any one else try? Who'll try? Will
you, my lord?" and then it appeared that some other
lord tried, for I heard more money flung down. Then
again the cry of " lost ! lost ! " — then again the sound
of money, and so on. Once or twice, but not more,
I heard "Won! won!" but the predominant cry was
" Lost ! lost ! " At last there was a considerable
220 GOOD DAY, GENTLEMEN. [Ch. XXIV.
hubbub, and the words " Cheat ! " " Rogue ! " and
''You filched away the pea!" were used freely by
more voices than one, to which the voice with the
tendency to lisp rephed, " Never filched a pea in
my life; would scorn it. Always glad when folks
wins; but, as those here don't appear to be civil,
nor to wish to play any more, I shall take myself
off with my table; so, good day, gentlemen."
SINGULAR TABLE. NO MONEY. OUT OF EMPLOY. — MY BONNET.
WE OF THE THIMBLE. GOOD WAGES. WISELY RESOLVED. —
STRANGEST WAY IN THE WORLD, — FAT GENTLEMAN. — NOT SUCH
ANOTHER. FIRST EDITION. — NOT VERY EASY. — WON'T CLOSE.
AVELLA GORGIO. ALARMED LOOK.
Presently a man emerged from the tent, bearing
before him a rather singular table ; it appeared to
be of white deal, was exceedingly small at the top,
and with very long legs. At a few yards from the
entrance he paused, and looked round, as if to de-
cide on the direction which he should take ; pre-
sently, his eye glancing on me as I lay upon the
ground, he started, and appeared for a moment in-
clined to make off as quick as possible, table and
all. In a moment, however, he seemed to recover
assurance, and, coming up to the place where I was,
the long legs of the table projecting before him, he
cried, " Glad to see you here, my lord."
" Thank you," said I, '' it's a fine day."
" Very fine, my lord ; will your lordship play ?
222 NO MONEY. [Ch. XXV.
Tliem that finds, wins — them that don't finds,
" Play at what ? " said I.
'' Only at the thimble and pea, my lord."
" I never heard of such a game."
" Didn't you ? Well, I '11 soon teach you," said
he, placing the table down. " All you have to do
is to put a sovereign down on my table, and to find
the pea, which I put under one of my thimbles. If
you find it, — and it is easy enough to find it, — T give
you a sovereign besides your own : for them that
" And them that don't finds, loses," said I ; "no,
1 don't wish to play."
" Why not, my lord ? "
*' Why, in the first place, I have no money."
" Oh, you have no money, that of course alters
the case. If you have no money, you can't play.
Well, I suppose I must be seeing after my cus-
tomers," said he, glancing over the plain.
" Good day," said I.
" Good day," said the man slowly, but without
moving, and as if in reflection. After a moment or
Ch. XXV.] OUT OF EMPLOY. 223
two, looking at me inquiringly, he added, " Out of
employ ? "
" Yes," said I, '" out of employ."
The man measured me with his eye as I lay on
the ground. At length he said, " May I speak a
word or two to you, my lord ? "
" As many as you please," said I.
" Then just come a Kttle out of hearing, a Httle
further on the grass, if you please, my lord."
" Why do you call me my lord ? " said I, as I
arose and followed him.
" We of the thimble always calls our customers
lords," said the man; '' but I won't call you such a
foolish name any more ; come along."
The man walked along the plain till he came to
the side of a dry pit, when, looking round to see
that no one was nigh, he laid his table on the grass,
and, sitting down with his legs over the side of the
pit, he motioned me to do the same. "So you are
in want of employ," said he, after I had sat down
" Yes," said I, " I am very much in want of
" I think I can find you some."
224 MY BONNET. [Ch. XXV.
" What kind ? " said I.
" Why," said the man, " I think you would do to
be my bonnet."
" Bonnet !" said I, " what is that ? "
" Don't you know ? However, no wonder, as
you had never heard of the tliimble and pea game,
but I will tell you. We of the game are very much
exposed ; folks when they have lost their money, as
those who play with us mostly do, sometimes uses
rough language, calls us cheats, and sometimes
knocks our hats over our eyes ; and what 's more,
with a kick under our table, cause the top deals
to fly off; this is the third table I have used this
day, the other two being broken by uncivil cus-
tomers : so we of the game generally like to have
gentlemen go about with us to take our part, and
encourage us, though pretending to know nothing
about us ; for example, when the customer says, ' I 'm
cheated,' the bonnet must say, 'No, you a'n't, it is all
right ;' or, when my hat is knocked over my eyes,
the bonnet must square, and say, ' I never saw the
man before in all my Hfe, but I won't see him ill-
used ;' and so, when they kicks at the table, the
bonnet must say, ' I won't see the table ill-used, such
Ch. XXV.] WE OF THE THIMBLE. 225
a nice table, too; besides, I want to play myself;'
and then I would say to the bonnet, ' Thank you, my
lord, them that finds, wins ;' and then the bonnet
plays, and I lets the bonnet win."
" In a word," said I, " the bonnet means the
man who covers you, even as the real bonnet covers
" Just so," said the man, " I see you are awake,
and would soon make a first-rate bonnet."
" Bonnet," said I, musingly ; " bonnet ; it is me-
" Is it ? " said the man.
" Yes," said I, " like the cant words "
** Bonnet is cant," said the man ; " we of the
thimble, as well as all clyfakers and the Hke, under-
stand cant, as, of course, must every bonnet ; so, if
you are employed by me, you had better learn it as
soon as you can, that we may discourse together
without being understood by every one. Besides
covering his principal, a bonnet must have liis eyes
about him, for the trade of the pea, though a
strictly honest one, is not altogether lawful ; so it is
the duty of the bonnet, if he sees the constable
coming, to say, the gorgio 's welling.
226 GOOD WAGES. [Ch. XXV.
" That is not cant," said I, " that is the language
of the Rom many Chals."
" Do you know those people ? " said the man.
" Perfectly," said I, '' and their language too."
" I wish I did," said the man, " I would give ten
pounds and more to know the language of the
Eommany Chals. There 's some of it in the lan-
guage of the pea and thimhle ; how it came there
I don't know, but so it is. I wish I knew it, hut it
is difficult. You '11 make a capital bonnet ; shall we
close ? "
'' What would the wages be ? " I demanded.
'' Why, to a first-rate bonnet, as I think you
would prove, I could afford to give from forty to
fifty shilhngs a week."
'' Is it possible ? " said T.
'' Good wages, a'n't they?" said the man.
'' First rate," said I ; " bonneting is more pro-
fitable than reviewing."
" Anan ? " said the man.
" Or translating; I don't think the Armenian
would have paid me at that rate for translating his
" Who is he ? " said the man.
CL XXV.] WISELY RESOLVED. 227
" No, I know what that is, Esop 's cant for a
hunchback ; but t'other ? "
" You should know," said T.
" Never saw the man in all my hfe."
" Yes, you have," said I, " and felt him too ;
don't you remember the individual from whom you
took the pocket-book ? "
" Oh, that was he ; well, the less said about that
matter the better ; I have left off that trade,
and taken to this, which is a much better. Between
ourselves, I am not sorry that I did not carry off
that pocket-book ; if I had, it might have encou-
raged me in the trade, in which, had I remained, I
might have been lagged, sent abroad, as I had been
already imprisoned ; so I determined to leave it off
at all hazards, though I was hard up, not having a
penny in the world."
" And wisely resolved," said I ; ''it was a bad
and dangerous trade, I wonder you should ever
have embraced it."
'' It is all very well talking," said the man, " but
there is a reason for everything ; I am the son of a
Jewess, by a military officer — and then the man
228 STRANGEST WAY IN THE WORLD. [Ch. XXV.
told me Lis story. I shall not repeat the man's
story, it was a poor one, a vile one ; at last he ob-
served, '' So that affair which you know of deter-
mined me to leave the filching trade, and take up
with a more honest and safe one; so at last I
thought of the pea and tliimble, hut I wanted
funds, especially to pay for lessons at the hands of
a master, for I knew little about it."
" Well," said I, " how did you get over that dif-
ficulty ? "
" Why," said the man, '' I thought I should
never have got over it. What funds could I raise ?
I had nothing to sell ; the few clothes I had I
wanted, for we of the tliimble must always appear
decent, or nobody would come near us. I was at
my wits' ends ; at last I got over my difficulty in
the strangest way in the world."
'' What was that ? "
" Bv an old tiling which I had picked up some
time before — a book."
" A book ? " said I.
" Yes, which I had taken out of your lordship's
pocket one day as you were walking the streets in a
great hurry. I thought it was a pocket-book at
Ch. XXV.] FAT GENTLEMAN. 229
first, full of bank-notes, perhaps," continued lie,
laughing. " It was well for me, however, that it
was not, for I should have soon spent the notes ; as
it was, I had flung the old thing down ^ith an oath,
as soon as I brought it home. AMien I was so hard
up, however, after the affair with that friend of
yours, I took it up one day, and thought I might
make something by it to support myself a day with.
Chance or something else led me into a grand shop ;
there was a man there who seemed to be the master,
talking to a jolly, portly old gentleman, who seemed
to be a country squire. Well, I went up to the
first, and offered it for sale ; he took the book,
opened it at the title-page, and then all of a sudden
his eyes glistened, and he showed it to the fat, jolly
gentleman, and his eyes glistened too, and I heard
him say ' How singular ! ' and then the two talked
together in a speech I didn't understand — I rather
thought it was French, at any rate it wasn't cant ;
and presently the first asked me what I would take
for the book. Now I am not altogether a fool, nor
am I blind, and I had narrowly marked all that
passed, and it came into my head that now was the
time for making a man of myself, at any rate I
230 NOT SUCH ANOTHER. [Ch. XXV.
could lose nothing by a little confidence ; so I
looked the man boldly in the face, and said, ' I will
have five guineas for that book, there an't such
another in the whole world.' ' Nonsense,' said
the first man, ' there are plenty of them, there have
been nearly fifty editions, to my knowledge ; I will
give you five shillings.' ' No,' said I, ' I '11 not
take it, for I don't like to be cheated, so give me
my book again ; ' and I attempted to take it away
fi'om the fat gentleman's hand. ' Stop,' said the
younger man, ' are you siu'e that you won't take
less ? ' ' Not a farthing,' said I ; which was not
altogether true, but I said so. ' Well,' said the
fat gentleman, ' I will give you what you ask ; '
and sure enough he presently gave me the money ;
so I made a bow, and was leaving the shop, when it
came into my head that there was something odd in
all this, and, as I had got the money in my pocket, I
turned back, and, making another bow, said, ' May
I be so bold as to ask why you gave me all this
money for that 'ere dirty book ? When I came into
the shop, I should have been glad to get a shilling
for it ; but I saw you wanted it, and asked five
guineas.' Then they looked at one another, and
Ch. XXV.] FIRST EDITION. 231
smiled, and shrugged up their shoulders. Then the
first man, looking at me, said, ' Friend, you have
been a Httle too sharp for us ; however, we can afford
to forgive you, as my Mend here has long been in
quest of this particular book ; there are plenty of
editions, as I told you, and a common copy is not
worth five shillings ; but tliis is a first edition, and
a copy of the first edition is worth its weight in
" So, after all, they outwitted you," I observed.
" Clearly," said the man; '' I might have got
double the price, had I known the value ; but I
don't care, much good may it do them, it has done
me plenty. By means of it I have got into an
honest, respectable trade, in which there 's httle
danger and plenty of profit, and got out of one
which would have got me lagged, sooner or later."
" But," said I, " you ought to remember that
the thing was not yours ; you took it from me, who
had been requested by a poor old apple-woman to
exchange it for a Bible."
" Well," said the man, " did she ever get her
" Yes," said I, " she got her Bible."
232 NOT VERY EASY. [Ch. XXV.
" Then she has no cause to complain ; and, as for
you, chance or something else has sent you to me,
that I may make you reasonable amends for any
loss you may have had. Here am I ready to make
you my bonnet, with forty or fifty shillings a week,
which you say youi'self are capital wages."
" I find no fault mth the wages," said I, " but I
don't like the employ."
" Not Uke bonneting," said the man ; '' ah, I see,
you would hke to be principal ; well, a time may
come — those long white fingers of yours would just
serve for the business."
'' Is it a difficult one ? " I demanded.
" Why, it is not very easy : two things are need-
ful — natural talent, and constant practice ; but I '11
show you a point or two connected with the game ; "
and, placing his table between his knees as he sat
over the side of the pit, he produced three thimbles,
and a small brown pellet, something resembhng a
pea. He moved the thimble and pellet about, now
placing it to all appearance under one, and now
under another; " Under which is it now ?" he said
at last. " Under that," said I, pointing to the lower-
most of the thimbles, which, as they stood, foi-med
Ch. XXV.] won't close. 233
a kind of triangle. " No," said he, ''it is not, but
lift it up ;" and, when I lifted up the thimble, the
pellet, in truth, was not under it. " It was under
none of them," said he, '' it was pressed by my
little finger against my palm ; " and then he showed
me how he did the trick, and asked me if the game
was not a fiinny one ; and, on my answering in the
affirmative, he said, " I am glad you like it, come
along and let us win some money."
Thereupon, getting up, he placed the table before
him, and was moving away ; observing, however,
that I did not stir, he asked me what I was staying
for. '' Merely for my own pleasure," said I, " I
like sitting here very well." " Then you won't
close?" said the man. " By no means," I repHed,
" your proposal does not suit me." " You may be
principal in time," said the man. " That makes
no difierence," said I ; and, sitting with my legs over
the pit, I forthwith began to decline an Armenian
noun. " That a'n't cant," said the man ; '' no, nor
gypsy, either. Well, if you won't close, another
will, I can't lose any more time," and forthwith he
And after I had declined four Armenian nouns.
234 A\^LLA GORGIO. [Ch. XXV.
of different declensions, I rose from the side of the
pit, and wandered ahout amongst the various groups
of people scattered over the green. Presently I
came to where the man of the thimbles was stand-
ing, with the table before him, and many people
about him. " Them who finds, wins, and them
who can't find, loses," he cried. Various individuals
tried to find the pellet, but all were unsuccessful,
till at last considerable dissatisfaction was expressed,
and the terms rogue and cheat were lavished upon
him. " Never cheated anybody in all my hfe," he
cried ; and, observing me at hand, " didn't I play
fair, my lord ? " he inquired. But I made no
answer. Presently some more played, and he per-
mitted one or two to win, and the eagerness to play
with him became greater. After I had looked on for
some time, I was moving away : just then I per-
ceived a short, thick personage, with a staff in his
hand, advancing in a great hurry ; whereupon, with
a sudden impulse, I exclaimed —
" Shoon thimble-engro ;
The man, who was in the midst of his pea and
thimble process, no sooner heard the last word of
Ch. XXV.] ALARMED LOOK. 235
the distich, than he turned an alarmed look in the
direction of where I stood; then, glancing around,
and perceiving the constahle, he slipped forthwith
his pellet and thimhles into his pocket, and, lifting
up his table, he cried to the people about him,
*' Make way !" and with a motion with his head to me,
as if to follow liim, he darted off with a swiftness
which the short, pursy constable could by no means
rival ; and whither he went, or what became of him,
I know not, inasmuch as I turned away in another
MR. PETULENGRO. — R03IMANY RYE. — LIL WRITERS. ONES OWN
HORN. LAWFULLY EARNT MONEY. — THE WOODED HILL. — A GREAT
FAVOURITE. — THE SHOP WINDOW. — MUCH WANTED.
And, as I wandered along the green, I drew near
to a place where several men, with a cask beside
them, sat carousing in the neighbourhood of a
small tent. " Here he comes," said one of them,
as 1 advanced, and standing up he raised his voice
and sang: —
" Here the Grjpsy gemman see,
With his Roman jib and his rome and dree —
Eome and dree, rum and dry-
Rally round the Rommany Rye."
It was Mr. Petulengro, who was here diverting
himself with several of his comrades; they all re-
ceived me with considerable frankness. " Sit down,
brother," said Mr. Petulengro, " and take a cup of
Ch. XXVI.] ROMMANY RYE. 237
I sat down. " Your health, gentlemen/' said I,
as I took the cup which Mr. Petulengro handed to
" Aukko tu pios adrey Eommanis. Here is your
health in Kommany, brother," said Mr. Petulengro ;
who, having refilled the cup, now emptied it at a
'' Your health in Eommany, brother," said
Tawno Chikno, to whom the cup came next.
" The Eommany Eye," said a third.
" The Gypsy gentleman," exclaimed a fourth,
And then they all sang in chorus.
" Here the Gypsy gemman see,
With his Roman jib and his rome and dree —
Rome and dree, rum and dry
Rally round the Rommany Rye."
" And now, brother," said Mr. Petulengro, " see-
ing that you have drunk and been drunken, you
will perhaps tell us where you have been, and what
" I have been in the Big City," said I, '' writing
238 LIL-WRITERS. [Ch. XXVI.
" How much money have you got in your
pocket, brother?" said Mr. Petulengro.
" Eighteen pence/' said I ; " all I have in the
"I have been in the Big City, too," said Mr.
Petulengro ; '' but I have not written his — I have
fought in the ring— I have fifty pounds in my
pocket — I have much more in the world. Brother,
there is considerable difference between us."
" I would rather be the lil- writer, after all," said
the tall, handsome, black man; "indeed, I would
wish for nothing better."
" Why so?" said Mr. Petulengro.
" Because they have so much to say for them-
selves," said the black man, '' even when dead and
gone. When they are laid in the churchyard, it is
their own fault if people a'n't talking of them.
Who will know, after I am dead, or bitchadey
pawdel, that I was once the beauty of the world, or
that you Jasper were "
"The best man in England of my inches.
That 's true, Tawno — however, here 's our brother
will perhaps let the world know something about us."
Ch. XXVI.] one's own horn. 239
"Not he," said the other, with a sigh; "he'll
have quite enough to do in writing his own lils,
and telling the world how handsome and clever he
was; and who can blame him? Not I. If I could
^vrite lils, every word should be about myself and
my own tacho Eommanis — my own lawful wedded
wife, which is the same thing. I tell you what,
brother, I once heard a wise man say in Bmm-
magem, that ' there is nothing like blowing one's
own horn,' which I conceive to be much the same
thing as writing one's own hi."
After a little more conversation, Mr. Petulengro
arose, and motioned me to follow him. " Only
eighteen pence in the world, brother!" said he, as
we walked together.
'^ Nothing more," I assure you. " How came
you to ask me how much money I had?"
" Because there was something in your look,
brother, something very much resembling that
which a person showeth who does not carry much
money in his pocket. I was looking at my own
face tliis morning in my wife's looking-glass — I did
not look as you do, brother."
240 LAWFULLY EARNT MONEY. [Ch. XXVI.
" I believe your sole motive for inquiring," said
I, " was to have an opportunity of venting a foolish
boast, and to let me know that you were in posses-
sion of fifty pounds."
" What is the use of having money unless you
let people know you have it?" said Mr. Petulengro.
" It is not every one can read faces, brother; and,
unless you knew I had money, how could you ask
me to lend you any ?"
'' I am not going to ask you to lend me any."
" Then you may have it without asking ; as I
said before, I have fifty pounds, all lawfully eamt
money, got by fighting in the ring — I will lend you
" You are very kind," said I ; " but I will not
"Thenthehalf of it?"
" Nor the half of it ; but it is getting towards