W. W. (William Wymark) Jacobs.

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Mrs. Marion Randall Parsons





NEW YORK::::::::::::::::: 1906

Copyright, 1903, by

Copyright, 1903, by

All rights reserved

Published, October, 1903









The Money Box i

The Castaway 25

Blundell's Improvement 53

Bill's Lapse 77

Lawyer Quince loi

Breaking a Spell 125

Establishing Relations 147

The Changing Numbers 171

The Persecution of Bob Pretty 197

Dixon's Return 221

A Spirit of Avarice 243

The Third String 267

Odd Charges 293

Admiral Peters 317



SAILORMEN are not good 'ands at saving
money as a rule, said the night-watchman, as
he wistfully toyed with a bad shilling on his
watch-chain, though to ^ear 'em talk of saving when
they're at sea and there isn't a pub within a thousand
miles of 'em, you might think different.

It ain't for the want of trying either with some
of 'em, and I've known men do all sorts o' things as
soon as they was paid off, with a view to saving.
I knew one man as used to keep all but a shilling or
two in a belt next to 'is skin so that he couldn't get
at it easy, but it was all no good. He was always
running short in the most inconvenient places. I've
seen 'im wriggle for five minutes right off, with a
tramcar conductor standing over 'im and the other
people in the tram reading their papers with one eye
and watching him with the other.

Ginger Dick and Peter Russet — two men I've
spoke of to you afore — tried to save their money
once. They'd got so sick and tired of spending it
all in p'r'aps a week or ten days arter coming ashore,
and 'aving to go to sea agin sooner than they 'ad


The Money- Box

intended, that they determined some way or other
to 'ave things different.

They was homeward bound on a steamer from
Melbourne when they made their minds up; and
Isaac Lunn, the oldest fireman aboard — a very steady
old teetotaler — gave them a lot of good advice about
it. They all wanted to rejoin the ship when she
sailed agin, and 'e offered to take a room ashore with
them and mind their money, giving 'em what 'e called
a moderate amount each day.

They would ha' laughed at any other man, but
they knew that old Isaac was as honest as could be
and that their money would be safe with 'Im, and
at last, after a lot of palaver, they wrote out a paper
saying as they were willing for 'Im to 'ave their
money and give It to 'em bit by bit, till they went
to sea agin.

Anybody but Ginger Dick and Peter Russet or a
fool would ha' known better than to do such a thing,
but old Isaac 'ad got such a oily tongue and seemed
so fair-minded about wot 'e called moderate drink-
ing that they never thought wot they was letting
themselves in for, and when they took their pay —
close on sixteen pounds each — they put the odd
change in their pockets and 'anded the rest over to

The first day they was as pleased as Punch. Old
Isaac got a nice, respectable bedroom for them all,


The Money-Box

and arter they'd 'ad a few drinks they humoured 'Im
by 'aving a nice 'ot cup o' tea, and then goln' off with
'im to see a magic-lantern performance.

It was called "The Drunkard's Downfall," and
it begun with a young man going Into a nice-looking
pub and being served by a nice-looking barmaid with
a glass of ale. Then it got on to 'arf pints and
pints in the next picture, and arter Ginger 'ad seen
the lost young man put away six pints In about 'arf
a minute, 'e got such a raging thirst on 'Im that 'e
couldn't sit still, and 'e whispered to Peter Russet
to go out with 'im.

"You'll lose the best of it if you go now," ses old
Isaac, in a whisper; "in the next picture there's little
frogs and devils sitting on the edge of the pot as
'e goes to drink."

Ginger Dick got up and nodded to Peter.

"Arter that 'e kills 'Is mother with a razor," ses old
Isaac, pleading with 'Im and 'oldlng on to 'is coat.

Ginger Dick sat down agin, and when the murder
was over 'e said It made 'Im feel faint, and 'im and
Peter Russet went out for a breath of fresh air.
They 'ad three at the first place, and then they moved
on to another and forgot all about Isaac and the
dissolving views until ten o'clock, when Ginger, who
'ad been very liberal to some friends 'e'd made In a
pub, found 'e'd spent 'Is last penny.

"This comes o' listening to a parcel o' teetotalers,'*


The Money-Box

*e ses, very cross, when 'e found that Peter 'ad spent
all 'is money too. "Here we are just beginning the
evening and not a farthing in our pockets."

They went off 'ome In a ver}'^ bad temper. Old
Isaac was asleep In 'Is bed, and when they woke 'Im
up and said that they was going to take charge of
their money themselves 'e kept dropping off to sleep
agin and snoring that 'ard they could scarcely hear
themselves speak. Then Peter tipped Ginger a wink
and pointed to Isaac's trousers, which were 'anging
over the foot of the bed.

Ginger Dick smiled and took 'em up softly, and
Peter Russet smiled too ; but 'e wasn't best pleased to
see old Isaac a-smlling In 'Is sleep, as though 'e was
'aving amusing dreams. All Ginger found was a ha'-
penny, a bunch o' keys, and a cough lozenge. In the
coat and waistcoat 'e found a few tracks folded up,
a broken pen-knife, a ball of string, and some other
rubbish. Then 'e set down on the foot o' their bed
and made eyes over at Peter.

"Wake 'im up agin," ses Peter, in a temper.

Ginger Dick got up and, leaning over the bed, took
old Isaac by the shoulders and shook 'Im as if 'e'd
been a bottle o' medicine.

"Time to get up, lads?" ses old Isaac, putting one
leg out o' bed.

"No, It ain't," ses Ginger, very rough; "we ain*t
been to bed yet. We want our money back."


The Money-Box

Isaac drew 'Is leg back Into bed agin. "Goo'
night," he ses, and fell fast asleep.

"He's shamming, that's wot 'e Is," ses Peter Rus-
set. "Let's look for it. It must be in the room

They turned the room upside down pretty near,
and then Ginger Dick struck a match and looked
up the chimney, but all 'e found was that It 'adn't
been swept for about twenty years, and wot with
temper and soot 'e looked so frightful that Peter
was arf afraid of 'im.

"I've 'ad enough of this," ses Ginger, running
up to the bed and 'oldlng his sooty fist under old
Isaac's nose. "Now, then, where's that money? If
you don't give us our money, our 'ard-earned money.
Inside o' two minutes, I'll break every bone In your

"This Is wot comes o' trying to do you a favour,
Ginger," ses the old man, reproachfully.

"Don't talk to me," ses Ginger, "cos I won't have
It. Come on; where is It?"

Old Isaac looked at 'im, and then he gave a
sigh and got up and put on 'Is boots and 'is trou-

"I thought I should 'ave a little trouble with you,"
he ses, slowly, "but I was prepared for that."

"You'll 'ave more if you don't hurry up," ses Gin-
ger, glaring at 'im.


The Money-Box

"We don't want to *urt you, Isaac," ses Peter
Russet, "we on'y want our money."

"I know that," ses Isaac; "you keep still, Peter,
and see fair-play, and I'll knock you silly arter-

He pushed some o' the things into a corner and
then 'e spat on 'is 'ands, and began to prance up and
down, and duck 'is 'ead about and hit the air in a
way that surprised 'em.

"I ain't hit a man for five years," 'e ses, still danc-
ing up and down — "fighting's sinful except in a good
cause — but afore I got a new 'art, Ginger, I'd lick
three men like you afore breakfast, just to git up a

"Look 'ere," ses Ginger; "you're an old man and
I don't want to 'urt you; tell us where our money
is, our 'ard-earned money, and I won't lay a finger
on you."

"I'm taking care of it for you," ses the old man.

Ginger Dick gave a howl and rushed at him, and
the next moment Isaac's fist shot out and give 'im
a drive that sent 'im spinning across the room until
'e fell in a heap in the fireplace. It was like a kick
from a 'orse, and Peter looked very serious as 'e
picked 'im up and dusted 'im down.

"You should keep your eye on 'is fist," he ses,

It was a silly thing to say, seeing that that was just


The Money-Box

wot 'ad 'appened, and Ginger told 'im wot 'e'd do
for 'im when 'e'd finished with Isaac. He went at
the old man agin, but 'e never 'ad a chance, and in


" *I ain't hit a man for five years,' he ses.''

about three minutes 'e was very glad to let Peter
'elp 'im into bed.

"It's your turn to fight him now, Peter," he ses.
"Just move this piller so as I can see."

The Money-Box

"Come on, lad," ses the old man.

Peter shook 'Is 'ead. "I have no wish to 'urt you,
Isaac," he ses, "kindly; "excitement like fighting Is
dangerous for an old man. Give us our money and
we'll say no more about It."

"No, my lads," ses Isaac. "I've undertook to take
charge o' this money and I'm going to do It; and I
'ope that when we all sign on aboard the Planet
there'll be a matter o' twelve pounds each left. Now,
I don't want to be 'arsh with you, but I'm going back
to bed, and If I 'ave to get up and dress agin you'll
wish yourselves dead."

He went back to bed agin, and Peter, taking no
notice of Ginger Dick, who kept calling 'Im a coward,
got Into bed alongside of Ginger and fell fast asleep.

They all 'ad breakfast In a coffee-shop next morn-
ing, and arter it was over Ginger, who 'adn't spoke
a word till then, said that 'e and Peter Russet wanted
a little money to go on with. He said they preferred
to get their meals alone, as Isaac's face took their
appetite away.

"Very good," ses the old man. "I don't want to
force my company on nobody," and after thinking
'ard for a minute or two he put 'Is 'and in 'is trouser-
pocket and gave them elghteen-pence each.

"Wot's this for?" ses Ginger, staring at the money.

"That's your day's allowance," ses Isaac, "and it's


The Money-Box

plenty. There's ninepence for your dinner, fourpence
for your tea, and twopence for a crust o' bread and
cheese for supper. And if you must go and drown

Wot's this for?' ses Ginger.

yourselves In beer, that leaves threepence each to go
and do it with."

Ginger tried to speak to 'im, but 'Is feelings was


The Money-Box

too much for 'im, and 'e couldn't. Then Peter Rus-
set swallered something 'e was going to say and asked
old Isaac very perlite to make it a quid for ^iw be-
cause he was going down to Colchester to see 'is
mother, and 'e didn't want to go empty-'anded.

'^You're a good son, Peter," ses old Isaac, "and
I wish there was more like you. I'll come down with
you, if you like; I've got nothing to do."

Peter said it was very kind of 'im, but 'e'd sooner
go alone, owing to his mother being very shy afore

"Well, I'll come down to the station and take a
ticket for you," ses Isaac.

Then Peter lost 'is temper altogether, and banged
'is fist on the table and smashed 'arf the crockery.
He asked Isaac whether 'e thought 'im and Ginger
Dick was a couple o' children, and 'e said if 'e didn't
give 'em all their money right away 'e'd give 'im in
charge to the first policeman they met.

"I'm afraid you didn't intend for to go and see
your mother, Peter," ses the old man.

"Look 'ere," ses Peter, "are you going to give us
that money?"

"Not if you went down on your bended knees,"
ses the old man.

"Very good," says Peter, getting up and walking
outside; "then come along o' me to find a police-



The Money-Box

^Tm agreeable," ses Isaac, "but I've got the paper
you signed."

Peter said 'e didn't care twopence if 'e'd got fifty
papers, and they walked along looking for a police-
man, which was a very unusual thing for them to do.

"I 'ope for your sakes it won't be the same police-
man that you and Ginger Dick set on in Gun Alley
the night afore you shipped on the Planet/' ses Isaac,
pursing up 'is lips.

" 'Tain't likely to be," ses Peter, beginning to
wish 'e 'adn't been so free with 'is tongue.

"Still, if I tell 'im, I dessay he'll soon find 'im,"
ses Isaac; "there's one coming along now, Peter;
shall I stop 'im?"

Peter Russet looked at 'im and then he looked
at Ginger, a»d they walked by grinding their teeth.
They stuck to Isaac all day, trying to get their money
out of 'im, and the names they called 'im was a sur-
prise even to themselves. And at night they turned
the room topsy-turvy agin looking for their money
and 'ad more unpleasantness when they wanted Isaac
to get up and let 'em search the bed.

They 'ad breakfast together agin next niorning
and Ginger tried another tack. He spoke quite nice
to Isaac, and 'ad three large cups o' tea to show 'im
'ow 'e was beginning to like it, and when the old
man gave 'em their eighteen-pences 'e smiled and
said 'e'd like a few shillings extra that day.


The Money-Box

"It'll be all right, Isaac," he ses. "I wouldn't 'ave
a drink if you asked me to. Don't seem to care for
it now. I was saying so to you on'y last night,
wasn't I, Peter?"

"You was," ses Peter; "so was I."

"Then I've done you good, Ginger," ses Isaac,
clapping 'im on the back.

"You 'ave," ses Ginger, speaking between his
teeth, "and I thank you for it. I don't want drink;
but I thought o' going to a music-'all this evening."

"Going to wotf^ ses old Isaac, drawing 'imself
up and looking very shocked.

"A music-'all," ses Ginger, trying to keep 'is tem-

"A music-'all," ses Isaac; "why, it's worse than a
pub. Ginger. I should be a very poor friend o' yours
if I let you go there — I couldn't think of it."

"Wot's it got to do with you, you gray-whiskered
serpent?" screams Ginger, arf mad with rage. "Why
don't you leave us alone ? Why don't you mind your
own business? It's our money.."

Isaac tried to talk to 'im, but 'e wouldn't listen,
and he made such a fuss that at last the coffee-shop
keeper told 'im to go outside. Peter follered 'im
out, and being very upset they went and spent their
day's allowance in the first hour, and then they
walked about the streets quarrelling as to the death
they'd like old Isaac to 'ave when 'is time came.


The Money-Box

They went back to their lodgings at dinner-time;
but there was no sign of the old man, and, being 'un-
gry and thirsty, they took all their spare clothes to
a pawnbroker and got enough money to go on with.
Just to show their independence they went to two
music-'alls, and with a sort of idea that they was
doing Isaac a bad turn they spent every farthing
afore they got 'ome, and sat up in bed telling 'im
about the spree they'd 'ad.

At five o'clock in the morning Peter woke up and
saw, to 'Is surprise, that Ginger Dick was dressed
and carefully folding up old Isaac's clothes. At
first 'e thought that Ginger 'ad gone mad, taking
care of the old man's things like that, but afore 'e
could speak Ginger noticed that 'e was awake, and
stepped over to 'Im and whispered to 'im to dress
without making a noise. Peter did as 'e was told,
and, more puzzled than ever, saw Ginger make up
all the old man's clothes in a bundle and creep out
of the room on tiptoe.

''Going to 'ide 'is clothes?" 'e ses.

"Yes," ses Ginger, leading the way downstairs;
"in a pawnshop. We'll make the old man pay for
to-day's amusements."

Then Peter see the joke and 'e begun to laugh so
'ard that Ginger 'ad to threaten to knock 'Is head
off to quiet 'Im. Ginger laughed 'Imself when they
got outside, and at last, arter walking about till the


The Money-Box

shops opened, they got Into a pawnbroker's and put
old Isaac's clothes up for fifteen shillings.

"They put old Isaac's clothes up for fifteen shillings.*'

First thing they did was to 'ave a good breakfast,
and after that they came out smiling all over and


The Money-Box

began to spend a 'appy day. Ginger was In tip-top
spirits and so was Peter, and the Idea that old Isaac
was In bed while they was drinking 'Is clothes pleased
them more than anything. Twice that evening po-
licemen spoke to Ginger for dancing on the pavement,
and by the time the money was spent It took Peter
all 'Is time to get 'im 'ome.

Old Isaac was in bed when they got there, and
the temper 'e was In was shocking; but Ginger sat
on 'Is bed and smiled at 'Im as If 'e was saying com-
pliments to 'Im.

"Where's my clothes?" ses the old man, shaking
'Is fist at the two of 'em.

Ginger smiled at 'Im; then 'e shut 'is eyes and
dropped off to sleep.

"Where's my clothes?" ses Isaac, turning to Peter.

"Closhe?" ses Peter, staring at 'Im.

"Where are they?" ses Isaac.

It was a long time afore Peter could understand
wot 'e meant, but as soon as 'e did 'e started to look
for 'em. Drink takes people in different ways, and
the way it always took Peter was to make 'im one
o' the most obliging men that ever lived. He spent
arf the night crawling about on all fours looking
for the clothes, and four or five times old Isaac woke
up from dreams of earthquakes to find Peter 'ad got
jammed under 'is bed, and was wondering what 'ad
'appened to 'im.


The Money-Box

None of 'em was In the best o' tempers when they
woke up next morning, and Ginger 'ad 'ardly got
'is eyes open before Isaac was asking 'im about 'is
clothes agin.

"Don't bother me about your clothes," ses Gin-
ger; "talk about something else for a change."

"Where are they?" ses Isaac, sitting on the edge
of 'is bed.

Ginger yawned and felt in 'is waistcoat pocket —
for neither of 'em 'ad undressed — and then 'e took
the pawn-ticket out and threw it on the floor. Isaac
picked it up, and then 'e began to dance about the
room as if 'e'd gone mad.

"Do you mean to tell me you've pawned my
clothes?" he shouts.

"Me and Peter did," ses Ginger, sitting up In bed
and getting ready for a row.

Isaac dropped on the bed agin all of a 'eap.
"And wot am I to do?" he ses.

"If you be'ave yourself," ses Ginger, "and give us
our money, me and Peter'll go and get 'em out agin.
When we've 'ad breakfast, that is. There's no hurry."

"But I 'aven't got the money," ses Isaac; "it was
all sewn up in the lining of the coat. I've on'y got
about five shillings. You've made a nice mess of
It, Ginger, you 'ave."

"You're a silly fool, Ginger, that's wot you are,"
ses Peter.


The Money-Box

^^Sewn up in the lining of the coatf ses Ginger,

"The bank-notes was," ses Isaac, "and three
pounds In gold 'Idden In the cap. Did you pawn
that too?"

Ginger got up In 'Is excitement and walked up and
down the room. "We must go and get 'em out at
once," he ses.

"And where's the money to do It with?" ses Peter.

Ginger 'adn't thought of that, and It struck 'Im all
of a heap. None of 'em seemed to be able to think
of a way of getting the other ten shillings wot was
wanted, and Ginger was so upset that 'e took no no-
tice of the things Peter kept saying to 'Im.

"Let's go and ask to see 'em, and say we left a
railway-ticket In the pocket," ses Peter.

Isaac shook 'Is 'ead. "There's on'y one way to
do It," he ses. "We shall 'ave to pawn your clothes,
Ginger, to get mine out with."

"That's the on'y way. Ginger," ses Peter, bright-
ening up. "Now, wot's the good o' carrying on like
that? It's no worse for you to be without your
clothes for a little while than It was for pore old

It took 'em quite arf an hour afore they could get
Ginger to see It. First of all 'e wanted Peter's
clothes to be took Instead of 'Is, and when Peter
pointed out that they was too shabby to fetch ten


The Money-Box

shillings 'e 'ad a lot o' nasty things to say about
wearing such old rags, and at last, in a terrible tem-
per, 'e took 'is clothes off and pitched 'em in a 'eap
on the floor.

"If you ain't back in arf an hour, Peter," 'e ses,
scowling at 'im, "you'll 'ear from me, I can tell

"Don't you worry about that," ses Isaac, with a
smile, "/^w going to take 'em."

"You?" ses Ginger; "but you can't. You ain't
got no clothes."

"I'm going to wear Peter's," ses Isaac, with a

Peter asked 'im to listen to reason, but it was all
no good. He'd got the pawn-ticket, and at last Peter,
forgetting all he'd said to Ginger Dick about using
bad langwidge, took 'is clothes off, one by one, and
dashed 'em on the floor, and told Isaac some of the
things 'e thought of 'im.

The old man didn't take any notice of 'im. He
dressed 'imself up very slow and careful in Peter's
clothes, and then 'e drove 'em nearly crazy by wast-
ing time making 'is bed.

"Be as quick as you can, Isaac," ses Ginger, at
last; "think of us two a-sitting 'ere waiting for

"I sha'n't forget it," ses Isaac, and 'e came back
to the door after 'e'd gone arf-way down the stairs


The Money-Box

to ask 'em not to go out on the drink while 'e was

It was nine o'clock when he went, and at ha'-past
nine Ginger began to get impatient and wondered
wot 'ad 'appened to 'im, and when ten o'clock came
and no Isaac they was both leaning out of the winder
with blankets over their shoulders looking up the
road. By eleven o'clock Peter was in very low spirits
and Ginger was so mad 'e was afraid to speak to 'im.

They spent the rest o' that day 'anging out of the
winder, but it was not till ha'-past. four in the after-
noon that Isaac, still wearing Peter's clothes and
carrying a couple of large green plants under 'is
arm, turned into the road, and from the way 'e was
smiling they thought it must be all right.

"Wot 'ave you been such a long time for?" ses
Ginger, in a low, fierce voice, as Isaac stopped un-
derneath the winder and nodded up to 'em.

"I met a old friend," ses Isaac.

"Met a old friend?" ses Ginger, in a passion.
"Wot d'ye mean, wasting time like that while we
was sitting up 'ere waiting and starving?"

"I 'adn't seen 'im for years," ses Isaac, "and time
slipped away afore I noticed it."

"I dessay," ses Ginger, in a bitter voice. "Well,
is the money all right?"

"I don't know," ses Isaac; "I ain't got the


The Money-Box

^^Wotf^ ses Ginger, nearly falling out of the win-
der. "Well, wot 'ave you done with mine, then?
Where are they? Come upstairs."

"I won't come upstairs, Ginger," ses Isaac, "be-
cause I'm not quite sure whether I've done right.
But I'm not used to going Into pawnshops, and I
walked about trying to make up my mind to go In
and couldn't."

"Well, wot did you do then?" ses Ginger, 'ardly
able to contain hisself.

"While I was trying to make up my mind," ses
old Isaac, "I see a man with a barrer of lovely plants.
'E wasn't asking money for 'em, only old clothes."

^^Old clothesf^ ses Ginger, In a voice as If 'e was
being suffocated.

"I thought they'd be a bit o' green for you to look
at," ses the old man, 'oldlng the plants up; "there's
no knowing 'ow long you'll be up there. The big
one Is yours. Ginger, and the other Is for Peter."

" 'Ave you gone mad, Isaac?" ses Peter, In a
trembling voice, arter Ginger 'ad tried to speak and

Isaac shook 'Is 'ead and smiled up at 'em, and
then, arter telling Peter to put Ginger's blanket a
little more round 'Is shoulders, for fear 'e should
catch cold, 'e said 'e'd ask the landlady to send 'em
up some bread and butter and a cup o' tea.

They 'eard 'im talking to the landlady at the door,


The Money-Box

and then 'e went off in a hurry without looking be-
hind 'im, and the landlady walked up and down on

*'01d Isaac kept 'em there for three days."

the other side of the road with 'er apron stuffed in 'er
mouth, pretending to be looking at 'er chimney-pots.


The Money-Box

Isaac didn't turn up at all that night, and by next
morning those two unfortunate men see 'ow they'd
been done. It was quite plain to them that Isaac
'ad been deceiving them, and Peter was pretty cer-
tain that 'e took the money out of the bed while 'e
was fussing about making it. Old Isaac kept 'em
there for three days, sending 'em in their clothes bit
by bit and two shillings a day to live on; but they
didn't set eyes on 'im agin until they all signed on
aboard the Planet, and they didn't set eyes on their
money until they was two miles below Gravesend.




MRS. JOHN BOXER stood at the door of
the shop with her hands clasped on her
apron. The short day had drawn to a
close, and the lamps In the narrow little thorough-
fares of Shinglesea were already lit. For a time she

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