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"Have you finished?" she asked.

"Yes," said he, with a long drawn grin, that seemed to follow toothache, for it showed his gums in relief.

Nancy went on sewing, while he went on standing still. Women muse over their needle and express its poetry between the stitches with a jerk.

"When I have done my work," said Nancy, talking to herself, "I wash my hands, and then I make myself tidy for the day."

This had the effect of another hint on Jemmy.

The method of training thus pursued was not unattended with results. It was done by hints sown broadcast; these Jemmy followed on the sly, like a tractarian, or, as he expressed it in after times, in the track of the tares sown by the evil one.

His almost unaided discovery of the knives and forks, his reflections at the board, and the vivifying influence of his monitor, told plainly on Jem Flower. But he felt unhappy, for he was conscious of a necessity that impelled him towards becoming sharp. He could not conceal from himself the fact that he was more clever already; the new relay of talent weighed heavily on him; and this, added to his cleanliness, told him distinctly that he could be idle and dirty no more.

"Is there any one up-stairs?" asked Nancy,[from the bottom to the top of her voice.

The hint brought Jem to a sense of his real situation; he hurried into his best coat and was down again.

"I think there are six chairs in the kitchen," said Nancy, musing; "they are meant to sit down upon when there is nothing else to do."

Jem took a chair and seated himself on the edge of its precipice, for he felt ready to fall.

Having been just towards him for several hours, she changed her tone, sat him down to a tea that surpassed in quantity and variety his former dinners, and was kind. She gave him a book to read, talked to him about the inner boy, and interested herself in his welfare. Jem got happy, saw a career, and bethought himself that he was not created in vain.

This happiness was too great to last, nor would it have been good for Jem had it been uninterrupted. Nancy foresaw this, and the next day she became just. His mornings and his evenings were strictly laid out by her, the one for pain and the other for pleasure, an apportionment that very fairly tallied with the ordilot of mortals.


Jem, not being philosophical, did not reconcile himself to this equitable adjustment; he brooded over his morning discipline, and spoilt his evening recreation by plans of revenge. In this he showed enterprise, for insuperable obstacles lay in his path; yet,

though unable to stir a step in the direction he sought, he left no means untried.

It takes nine months, so the midwives say, to hatch human malice, but Jem's did not go its full time. Before bursting its shell it passed through every form and grade. The first type that it foreshadowed was that of the worm; it crept, and when trodden on it turned, that the proverb might be fulfilled, which says: "Tread on a worm and it will turn."

Ere long the malice reached its second stage, it became an insect, and grew in meanness, at this period acquiring some experience of a sting.

Then it became a fish, perhaps its most trying time, for it was as impotent as a minnow, for good or evil, and more discontented than in the insect state, for it had to fetch its own water.

But a new day dawned more full of promise; it was not long before it became a reptile, when its consciousness took a stride, and, gliding through the grass, it stealthily attacked the unwary, and from its mouth poured out venom.

'It was with some regret that it quitted this state of being, to become a bird, the next in the ascending scale, but new faculties were attendant on the change: it could now peck, and it was endowed with the means, at any moment, of darting at Nancy's


But the greatest development was to come, for once a bird, the transition to a beast was easy, and finally to the genus man; but not till it was human did Jem's malice reach its climax, when the shell burst and hypocrisy rose from its parted halves.

Jem gazed inwardly at this resplendent image of his soul, and gloried.



DOWN in Briny Hollow stood a porch, pleasant to the eyes, behind it was a room, more dingy than the sky outside. It was there that Shadrack the blacksmith, improvisatore-like, held forth on Sabbaths.

Jemmy knew to what a degree Nancy Brown loved her church, and took pride in sending him, clean-dressed and book in hand, to take his free seat and look up into the holy face of Wynn. She upheld the religion of the land, not only to be found in every parish but on board ship, and she contemned dissent. Jem knew it, and chuckled over the thought, and what was more, he had now a mask of defence, behind which he could appeal to his conscience, and brand all who coerced it in uttering the whine of religious persecution.

Well primed with tracts by the incumbent of the Hollow, and

grounded in the slang of his persuasion, Jem, one fine Sunday, disregarding the church bells, slunk down to the chapel situated so pleasantly in the marsh where worms crawled, and gnats hummed, and frogs croaked, and sparrows twitted each other-a scene of animated nature. Shadrack was at his work: with his fist for a hammer he dinned into the innocent heads of his hearers the noises of a new earth, while he diffused in two hours more truth than he could have told in a week in his ordinary intercourse with the world.

Jem returned home, elated; and when asked by Nancy for an account of the sermon, he gave replies that caused her to shudder. But he had taken a just estimate of her. She was not the one to persecute him; he had struck her dumb.

Jem was not clever enough; he did not foresee that muteness in Nancy meant more than silence; his experience had not given him acquaintance with that social rupture-a silent declaration of war. In the mean time she watched her opportunity, and it offered. Jem, as he thought, had passed through war into peace; but his fatal security was not of long duration.

"I have got him at last!" exclaimed Nancy.

She had been out, and returning unexpectedly she caught Jem in his apron, with a carving-knife in his hand, gaping up the street from the steps of the front door.

"So this is how you clean your knives, is it? I am glad you told me, for we can now come to an understanding."

Jem became conscious of his origin, and was ready to creep into the earth.

"Get in, you worm!" cried she, "or I shall be tempted to tread on you!"

And in he crept.

"Fly, you vermin!" she added.

But he was an unwinged insect.

"Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!" thought Jem.

"Down on your knees and ask my forgiveness," said Nancy. He was in an instant on his stomach, and became metamorphosed into a flounder.

"Get up, you toad, or I will sweep you into the coal-hole!" He raised himself on all-fours.

"Now look me in the face!"

He raised his eyes, and put his hands together.

"You were looking out of doors after a fresh situation" Jem ventured to protest.

"Instead of interrupting me, ask for sense to listen!"

He thought of Briny Hollow in despair.

"I am going for a walk, and shall stop at Mr. Hexamer's door. If I think within myself that there is one single thing that you will

do to displease me for the future, be it on Sundays, or be it on work-a-days, I shall rap and say that you are leaving, and would be glad to know if Mr. Hexamer wants a boy."

Jem performed a supplication, and thought of his parish bells, but, like a church mouse that he now was, he was silent.

"Then," continued Nancy, "there is the New Inn, where the stable-boys are obliged to be kicked as often as the horses please. As I reach the door I shall stop a minute, and if I think within myself there is a single thing that you will do to displease me on any one of the seven days in the blessed week, I shall step in and say that you are leaving, and would be glad to know if Mr. Drinkwater wants a boy to wash the horses' heels."

Jem began to blubber.

"And now," continued Nancy, "I have one word more to say, you can attend to me or not; it will be all the same. I am going by the workhouse, and shall stop at the gate for at least five minutes. If I think you will do one thing that I call wrong, I shall walk right in and tell them there is an idle boy that Mr. Hexamer declines, that Mr. Drinkwater refuses at a gift, and as his father won't support him, so they must find him in breadand-water, and take him in, to save him from begging in the street."

For a few Sundays to come was beheld the pleasing spectacle of Nancy victorious; but her triumph was not to last. The character of the young Flower had actually risen in the scale of development, and its instincts were indelible. The recent contest had retarded its growth for a time, though only to enable it to push out its last bud! That, expanding, took its place among the everlastings; in a word, it was a full-blown hypocrisy. It need scarcely be added that poor Nancy was no longer a match for one whose nature had reached this final evolution of moral being, endowing him with the faculty to imitate all things, even divine truth itself, to the very death. He became mild. When Nancy scolded or scorned, he pitched his voice no higher than was necessary to cant a text of scripture. To contend against such odds would have been madness, so Nancy wisely gave up the game.

Jem thus got his own way. Circumstances, however, of a painful nature transpired that rendered Nancy indifferent to mundane affairs, involving the sickness and loss of Mrs. Fairfax, and finally the departure of the family from Northport. So subdued did Nancy become at the period mentioned, that she gave up being just to Jem; and to such an extent exercised her kind nature, as to permit him to write to her after she left the olden borough. He did it about three times; nor were his letters devoid of interest, as affording evidence of his blessed assurance in the path he had selected.

In his first letter, not badly worded, written in small text, and in very scriptural phrase, he described in glowing terms how one morning, it was on the memorable 1st of April, the anniversary of his birth, he awoke from a sweet sleep, when his heart told him the joyful tidings that his sins were forgiven.

In his second letter, sent three or four months afterwards, and dated the 15th of July, the day of his baptism, and of St. Swithin, he wrote that he had taken a solitary walk amid the animated scenes of the Hollow; that at some distance from the porch, which had so often given shelter to his immortal soul, he looked up at heaven, and saw clouds ascending and descending, when suddenly a darkness covered the earth, and in a minute his sins were washed away.

In his third letter his two previous ones were confirmed; it wa dated the 5th of November, and no doubt the doings on that occasion were highly suggestive to him, affording a cause for rejoicing, an insight into the changes he had experienced, and had yet to undergo. On that day his hypocrisy, and so admirable was it as to be as good a resemblance to the revealed truth as a cast of the divine statue is to the Apollo himself-on that day his hypocrisy reached its climax, for he put off the old man, gave it over to the world to be exhibited as a vain idol, and to be consumed in fire, while-boy as he was with his sins forgiven and washed away, he put on the new man.

"Mein Lebenslauf ist Lieb und Lust."

My path 'midst love and pleasure lies
With music and with mirth,
A joyous song from lightsome heart
Makes glad man's lot on earth.
Up-hill to-day, to-morrow down,
Through crooked paths and straight-
Through this world's cares 'twill e'er be so,
Then what care we for fate?

Huzza! huzza! Then what care we for fate?

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