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than a conjuring wand; and the “Six- which had been bought at an ironinch hone,” the only veritable stone of stall for fourpence. the philosopher.
But I had conquered the difficulty My place, however, was no sinecure of sharpening a razor; and had made at the commencement of this new so much progress in the faculty of career. Besides the washings, sweep- using one, that generally, in the joyings, boilings, scourings, and other ous haste of a holiday eve, or Saturdomestic duties which I have already day night, when all was hurry and enumerated, I had the minor arrange- bustle in our shop-when our five ments of " the business," in great chairs were all full, and our Observer numbers, to attend to. First, I had was quite thumbed to pieces-when to dress the false curls of half the shop the fire shone bright, and the shavinggirls in our neighbourhood; pick the pot hissed and bubbled--when the new hair that we bought, and mend candles were fresh snuffed, and masthe old wigs. Then I had to wait upon ter was in good humour, and even our the motions of my Magnus Apollo, our old Dutch clock seemed to tick with uneldest 'prentice-heat his irons when wonted alacrity-mostly, upon presshe dressed hair, and bear the blame ing occasions like these, when a steel, when he did mischief. And, beyond as may be supposed, twirled in every this, I had to assist my master in a sort available finger, I had been entrusted of laboratory, up in our back garret; with the chins of our smock-faced where we imitated the patent oils of customers—(the blackbeards, besides “Russia" and “Macassar;" manufac- that they were more choleric and dantured "Ruspini's tooth powder," and gerous of temper, being the more dif“ Day and Martin's blacking ;" and ficult clients to dismantle of the two) transmuted, by the aid of so many va- —when an accident fell out, which rieties in colouring, simple hog's-lard blighted for ever my prospects in the into “ bear's grease," “ French lip- mystery” and occupation of a bar, salve,” or “ Marrow pomatum.” ber. I overcame the first difficulty in my
“ Like reeds, not hair !" trade-- that of setting razors-tolerably well. I practised, indeed, upon You may recollect perhaps, Mr Edia those which strangers left at our shop tor, that, about thirteen years ago, to be sharpened, not on our own, certain Orders of Council (issued duwhich were used in the trade. The ring the war) shut out the Birmingowners, too, used sometimes to come
ham manufacturers, for a time, from back and complain, that their steel, the American market. The joy which after my labour, cut worse than it had pervaded my native town, when these done before. But my master, who Orders were taken off, was boundless. had little feeling for persons who Some people illuminated their houses; shaved themselves, uniformly threw others blew themselves up with gunthe blame, in such cases, upon the powder ; balls, routs, and concerts, awkwardness of the complainant. Ei- night after night, were given by every ther he had not "strapped” the razor family of any gentility; and the six enough-or he had strapped it too hackney coaches of Birmingham were much--or he had not dipped it in hot bespoke for full-dress parties sixteen water-or he had dipped it in water deep. But, if it's an ill wind that which was too hot—or (and that was blows nobody good, I am sure I may an objection which no grumbler ever say, that's a good wind which blows could get over) there was something nobody evil; it happened, on one of wrong in his manner of holding the these evenings of general rejoicing, weapon. The dispute commonly clo- that a traveller, who was staying at sing, on the part of Mr Latherbrush, the “Hen and Chickens” hotel, took with a proposal (for twopence more a fancy to require the assistance of a paid) to adjust the restive machine hair-dresser. himself, or to sell the beard-pestered For my sins, not a single fashioncomplainant a “ tried pair of razors, able barber was to be met with ! Mr which “ had shaved thousands," and Frizzlewig's people were all engaged “ would shave thousands more ;" for the next week. Mr Tailcomb was which proffer, if accepted, probably sent to ; but he “ could not come in produced to the ingenious propounder less than two hours.” At last, the half a crown for a pair of blades, waiter (who was to bring a barber,
whether he could get one or no) be- baby,” repeated this knight of the apthought him of us, and ran down with palling chevelure, imbibing a huge the gentleman's commands.
draught from a tumbler of brandy and Mr Napkin's intimation produced water, which he was consuming while an immense sensation in our back par- he dressed, and recommencing, in a lour. My master had met with an horrible voice, to sing “ The Lads of accident the day before-he was the Shillelagh," a measure which my enreal barber of whom the story is told, trance had for the moment interruptthat cut his own thumb through the ed. I obeyed, but with a trembling cheek of his customer. Our big 'pren- hand; the very first sight of his head tice was gone out for all the afternoon, had discomposed all my faculties. I to decorate the young ladies, by con- plunged into the operation of adjusttract, at “ Hollabaloo House” board- ing it as into a voyage over sea, withing-school. I-the enfant perdu of the put rudder or compass. I cut a bit scissars-was the only
disposable force! here, and a bit there, taking very litBut great exigencies must be met with tle off at a time, for fear of losing my appropriate exertions of daring. An way; but the detestable round curi, introduction at the “ Hen and Chic rolling itself up the moment I let go kens” was an opportunity not to be the end, defeated every hope, every neglected. John Blowbellows, the chance, of regularity blacksmith, who had been grumbling “ Thin the rest,” blasphemed the because I was going to shave him, was sufferer, “ and so leave it, for I'll not now informed that he could not be wait.” This command put the finishshaved at all; and, with instructions ing stroke to my perplexity. Thinning to “cut gently,” and “ to charge at was a process entirely past my skill ; least half a crown,” I was hurried off but a fresh execration, interrupting to “ the gentleman at the inn.” “ The Lads of Shillelagh,” left me no
The first sight of my new patient longer any power of thought. I had set my nerves dancing in all directions. seen the business of “ thinning” perHe was a huge, tall, brawny, red-hot formed, although I did not at all comIrishman, with a head of hair bright prehend it; I knew that the scissars orange, and as curly as that of a were to be run through the hair from negro.
one side to another with a sort of snip * Cut my hair, boy,” he said, in a -snip--all the way, so I dashed on voice like the grating of waggon- snip-snip-through the close round wheels; "and, you spalpeen, be handy, curls, quite surprised at my own dexfor it's these twenty-four hours that terity, for about a minute and a half ; I'm waiting for you."
and then, taking up my comb to colI had cut two descriptions of hair lect the proceeds of the operation, in my time; but Mr M‘Boot's was three-fourths of the man's hair came neither of these. In the smooth, off at once in my hand ! straight lock, I succeeded pretty well ; What followed I have never exactly for I could cut an inch or so off all been clear to. Mr M‘Boot, I think, round, and tell by my eye when all felt the sudden chill occasioned by the
And in the close crop of departure of his head-gear: at all the charity-school, I was at home to events, he put his hand to his head, facility; for it was only running the and motioned to rise. I made a rush comb along, close to the scalp, and to the door, muttering something about against the grain, and cutting off “ heating irons ;” but, as I turned everything that appeared above it. round, I saw discovery in his eye. I But the stranger's hair was neither in see him even now, with a countenance the lanky, nor the close hogged mood. more in amazement than in anger, It was of a bright red colour, as I standing, paralyzed, beside the chair have said before-stiff as wire-of upon which he had been sitting, and an inveterate tight round curl-and rubbing his head with the left hand, bushy to frightfulness, from excess of as doubting if the right had not misluxuriant growth. He had started informed him ; but, at the moment. from London with it rather too long; when the thing occurred, I thought worn it, uncombed, on a three months only of my escape. I made but one journey through Wales; and waited step to each flight of stairs ; clung to till he reached Birmingham, that he the basket of a London coach which might have it cut in the fashion. happened to be starting at the mo
“Cut my hair, I say, you devil's ment, and, in five minutes, with the
“ thinning scissars" still hanging to “ Well, well,” returned the vision, my fingers, lost sight of Birmingham coughing-as from an empty stomach, -perhaps for ever.
--and pulling up or rather trying to pull “ My native land, good night!” up at heel, the shoe which completed
the outline of its four-inch-long knee
breeches, and well splashed cotton My uncle Sneezum shook his head stockings, “ well, only send any you over the counter of his little snuff-shop
hear of; for our shopman will grumble in the Seven Dials, when I humbly
wickedly if he has to carry out the announced myself as the eldest hope physic stuff himself:"-and away the of his eldest sister, Grizzel.
creature paddled out of the shop, look“ Thomas Ticklepitcher," said he, ing like a snail in the shell of an un“ if such indeed thou art, why hast boiled lobster. thou left thy home and native city?" This was no encouraging specimen
He snuffed up huge pinches of black of the condition of London servants; rappee,--at least the profits of a whole but the fact cut two ways. If servingday's sale,-as he listened to my un- men were such, how pitiable their conlucky adventure with Mr M'Boot. dition ! but, if such were serving-men, “ Thou hast done ill, boy," he said, how easy the situation of a serving“ to quit thy master. 'Twas but a man to attain ! I saw the "out of my beating at the worst, and such, I doubt, shop,” which the elfin lacquey's ap(on general considerations,) had done pearance had interrupted, rising again, thee service rather than mischief. Out and peremptorily, in the eye of my of my doors, boy,” he continued, " and uncle, and I entreated him to allow me Heaven be with thee. Begone, lest I to go after the service now becoming be prosecuted for harbouring a rebel- vacant. Though not tall enough for lious apprentice."
the 10th Hussars, I was a colossus The immediate enforcement of my compared with the atomy who had uncle's command, (for by nothing just left the counter; and, besides short of enforcement could I have been that I dreaded returning to Birminginduced to obey it,) the post-haste en- ham, I was (unless in my hopes from forcement of that most merciless die my uncle's bounty) entirely without rection, was delayed, for a moment, the means of getting there. by the approach of a customer.
Mr Sneezum, to do him justice, had “ A monster, a very monster, in apparel, no ill feeling towards me. So that And not like a Christian foot-boy." he got me out of his house—he cared
It was a wretched-looking child, very little how-he had not the least about thirteen years old—buttoned into wish that I should be starved, if I a speckled jacket, both too long and too could live other than at his cost; and wide for it, and almost extinguished so, after a hard word or two, as to leaby a hat of (once) shining leather, ving my" bounden profession," and tied round with a band of tarnished some remarks about “ rolling stones," yellow tinsel, whose appearance afford- which I did not distinctly understand, ed me this span of respite.
I got leave to wait upon Mr Camomile “ An ounce of Scotch, Mr Sneeze Bolus, at the sign of the Pestle and um,” wheezed the spectre, in a crack- Mortar, near the bottom of St Martin's ed octave tone, raising its head so as Lane. to peep under the brim of its ponder
Surgeon, apothecary, ous hat, and so giving me to see that
Accoucheur-for midwife a cravat, white, perhaps, in the pre
Has grown vulgar.” vious century, was twisted and tied in a quaint fashion round its neck. I pondered as I passed between Mon
* An ounce of the best Scotch, Mr mouth Street and Charing Cross, upon Sneezum,” it continued ; " and, if you what my uncle had delivered as to the hear of a foot-boy that wants a place, abandonment of my lawful calling. you are to send him to my master, for But my failure with Mr M‘Boot made I'm going away to-day."
me doubt whether I had a genius for “ Going away, you young dog," dressing hair. The distance I had to grumbled my uncle, weighing the measure was trifling ; two wavers and snuff, “ay, you are all for going away a resolution brought me to the house -never know what a good place is, of Mr Bolus. till you lose it."
I knocked at the private door,-for
there was a shop, garnished with galo favourable eye. He took my reference. lipots, and faded green curtains, but for character to my uncle, Mr Sneeznobody was in it, I knocked at the um, who (as I observed) “ had the private door with a trembling hand, honour to supply him with snuff;” and with a hope, I hardly knew why, and, on the very same afternoon, I that my pigmy acquaintance might had the satisfaction to be formally hiopen it. At the first knock no one red into his service. came. A second appeal brought up a little girl, whom i conjectured to be “ Your worship promised that I of the Doctor's family, and to whom I should have victuals at discretion ?" stated, with much humility, that I “ And so you shall, you rogue,-at heard they were in want of
my discretion. servant." I suspected that the term My little predecessor was packed off “ man" was a little doubtful in such in the evening, before I arrived at the a case, (though I afterwards found out Doctor's house, possibly lest he should that I had been totally mistaken in inspire me with notions prejudicial to such suspicion.) But I did not quite my new situation. I saw the great serlike the idea of“ boy," and there was vant-maid, who had struck my fancy no word, within my knowledge, of the day before, and was desired to put convenient medium.
on the livery,” which had been worn Mr Bolus was at dinner, so I wait- by the last incumbent. This direction ed some time in the passage, and saw was easily given, but not quite so easily a huge servant-maid-a mere moun- obeyed. As I was nearly three times tain of dirt and animal matter-run bigger in dimension than the apparionce or twice heavily up and down tion of the snuff-shop, the suit was as stairs. Presently, I heard a voice, much too little for me as it had been which, from its penetrating tone, I superfluously large for him. The jackjudged to be that of my mistress that et I dragged on with a desperate effort, should be. A kind of cold shivering the cuffs reaching down not more than came over me at the sound. I did not two inches below my elbow--for the like the key. It struck me as unfa- cloth, which was originally coarse and vourable to “men” (or other) ser- spongy, had become shrunken by long vants. By this time a raw-boned, use and repeated wetting.*
*** Indeed sharp-speaking young man, whom Í the whole garment was so heavy, and took, from his accent, to be a Welsh- damp, and clammy, that I could have man, came out of a back parlour, and fancied I was wrapping myself in a passed by a cross door into the shop;" leaden-coffin, except that a coffin (unand the next moment, with my heart less in especial cases) serves one tenant in my mouth, I was summoned into in its life only; whereas, of the inclothe presence of Mr Bolus.
sure into which I was compressing myThe Doctor was a queer little ill-fa- self, I was, at least, the two-and-forvoured old man, not unlike my ho
tieth occupant. noured relative, Mr Sneezum, in fi- But I got on the jacket, which was gure. He asked me a multiplicity of too small, and the hat, which was too questions, the whole of which I an- large--the lower parts of the dress swered with that deference and deep were absolutely impracticable. I was respect, which a man generally feels then sent my rounds with a huge armwhen his next meal depends upon the pannier of phials and pill-boxes, which grace of the person whom he is ad- I found was perfectly well known as dressing.
“ the Doctor's basket,” to all the ragHe asked—“In what services I had ged urchins in the neighbourhood. lived ?"
Afterward, I was desired to make my “ I had come from the country to own bed and the assistant's, one under seek for service.”
one counter, and one under the other. " What had I been used to do ?” And, in conclusion, with a light, whole
“ I had been a barber ; but-my- some supper of bread and cheese, and my hand was not steady enough to a draught of small-beer, (which had shave, and so I had left the business." not its name for nothing, I went to
Mr Bolus, for my comfort, wore à rest for the first time in the habitation powdered wig himself. Doubtless it of my new master. was this circumstance which induced I would that all those who envy the him to regard an ex perruquier with a servant that wears a good livery, could VOL. XIV.
witness the condition of the servant
“ A snipt taffeta fellow." that wears a bad one. I would that Mr Steptoe was a dancing-maswhoever grudges the “bottom-glass” ter, and clean another kind of man to the butler, had to pass through all than my old master, the apothecary. the grades by which the butler's dig- I had seen his bills stuck all over the nity is arrived at. Immortal be the town in flaming characters--red, black, memory of that author- I could al
and yellow, about “ weekly assemmost swear that he was a footman blies,” and “ attending schools,” and himself—who wrote a moral lesson to “private lessons,” and “cotillons and the world in the character (mistaken quadrilles ;” and he lived, moreover, for humorous) of Scrub. In the ser- quite in the fashionable part of Lonvice of Mr Bólus, what a martyrdom don-in John-street, Tottenham Court did I suffer! John Rugby, in the play, 'Road, or (as he called it) " Jolinhad an easy place of it compared to street, Fitzroy Square." mine; and the old Frenchman, Mon- On mentioning my errand at his sieur Thing-me, was a merciful master. house, I was told to wait awhile, until
I got up, in the frost and snow, at Mr Steptoe had finished “the lesson six o'clock in the morning, swept shop which he was giving.” As I stood in and watered, rubbed windows and the hall, I heard music, and people knives, cleaned master's and mistress's dancing up stairs; and some young and Mr Ap-Bleedaway's, and first floor men passed in and out, like those that lodgers' shoes; brushed clothes, car- used to call on Mr Ap-Bleedaway on ried coals, wiped tables, and dressed a Sunday. Presently the back-parlour master's wig. This was before break- door, which was ajar, blew open, and fast. After that meal, (which was very there was a fattish gentleman, rather soon over,) I fetched errands for the
middle-aged, standing with his feet in house, and took the children to school; the stocks. Then I peeped through went round with my master to his pa- the key-hole of the front parlour door, tients, and knocked with the bottles, and I saw a young lady figuring round after he had paid the visit. Then I in all manner of postures, and countcame back, took the old gig home to ing time-one, two, three, four-all the stables; afterwards I laid the din- the while to herself. ner, for mistress could not eat unless By this time Mr Steptoe came down
man-servant" waited. In the stairs, and he took the elderly gentleevening I pounded medicines, washed man out of the stocks, and told him to phials, and rinsed mortars--trimmed use the dumb-bells at home night and lamps, shut up shutters, and carried morning. Then he turned and spoke out the composing draughts. Then
to me. He was dressed very gay and came the bit of bread and cheese, with fine-quite in buckles and silk-stockthe great servant-maid in the kitchen, ings, though it was only the morning ; the small beer, the making up the but I was afraid to think too well of beds, and the counter again--and all the place for all that, for the house this performed for a mattress, that I had à cold and desolate look, like, and think was stuffed with chesnuts. A I saw as I came in, that there was no scanty allowance of food, (for even Mr fire in the kitchen. Ap-Bleedaway could hardly make it The first question Mr Steptoe asked out;) a small-beer-I taste it now! me was—whether I could play upon Master, for economy, used to brew it the fiddle ? And when I answered that himself ; and a wages (I had almost I could, (for I had learned a little forgot the livery,) of seven sterling upon an old violin of Mr Ap-Bleedapounds a-year!
way's,) he said that I should be his I wore out a sad twelvemonths at
apprentice, and that he would teach the sign of The Pestle and Mortar. I me to dance. But I knew that apbelieve that I must have died if I had prentices got no wages, so I declined remained in the Doctor's hands a forte his offer with thanks. He shook his night longer. But, about a week after head at this, and said he feared "I I had turned my back upon St Mar- should not do ;" but, if I could make tin's-Lane,-with three pounds in my myself very smart, (for everything pocket, and a year's character to back about him must be very smart, and it,-I heard that Mr Steptoe wanted a he should not give me a livery until servant; and made all expedition to he saw whether I suited him,) I might apply for the place
come and try his service for a while.
It was an evil hour for me when I