Page images
[ocr errors]

about that 'ere breakfast. Here, stooard ! lend us a hand to get up this here crooked staircase ! And with these words he effected a sortie.

In about half an hour I also ascended, and found that my stout friend had not been wasting his time. He was comfortably settled on a sofa before the breakfast-table, which was covered with viands of all sorts, to which he was doing ample justice. I drew a chair to the opposite side of the table, and prepared to follow his example.

“Well,' said I," we're not under weigh yet. I thought we should have been halfway to Cuxhaven.'

“So we should, sir, the stooard tells me, if so be as we hadn't run right agin a sand-bank just at startin', by which means we got into a fix till the tide ris.'

• Are we off now, then ?' I inquired. * Just about it. You can hear 'em a-hollering at this werry moment. Them ’ere pilots as have been a drinkin' snaps all the mornin', they's the loudest o' the whole lot. Precious noisy chaps they is.'

'I see you have been busy here.'

'In coorse, sir. I makes it a rule always to perwide agin any countertongs, as the French calls ’em. I makes it an inwariable practice to eat my meals wenever I can get 'em. I'm not one o' them as waits till five o'clock every day afore I finds out as I'm hungry. Wenever I sees grub, and has got the time to walk into it, why then I doos it. I'm all right, then, in case of an emergency.'

A good maxim,' I observed, the observance of which must have helped you in your travels.'

Why, sir, I always took pretty good care to help myself; wich I found was the best way, as I don't speak werry much of the langidge. Ten to one, while I was parleyvooing, if the most on it wouldn't a-bin gone ; for them plaws is but little 'uns, you know, sir. None but wot the Jarmans is better nor the French; they gives far more on it, and more time to do it in. I shouldn't so much object agin their manner of feedin', if it warn't for their beer, which is all make-believe, and their music at dinner, wot goes right through one.

Being curious to hear the experiences of my travelling companion, I questioned him more directly about his late expedition.

• Well, sir, as I've a-done eatin', I don't mind torkin'; so, while you indulges in your breakfast, I'll tell you how I managed it all. Soon after the King had sot out for this 'ere new country of his, I receives a hintimation from a friend o' mine at Kew, a gen'lm'n as keeps a public nigh hand to the stables, lettin' me know, if I wos agreeable, that I might have the conveying of his Majesty's hosses over to Hanover. Now this 'ere happened to suit my book oncommon; for my cutch had just been taken off the road, and I was out of employ. So I goes over to Kew, sees my friend, and has a tork with my arnt, and made it all right in less than no time. I don't valley myself much upon personal distinctions; but I must say, if I hadn't a-bin quollified, I shouldn't a-had the job.'

And here my friend stretched out his leg, puckered up his mouth, and glanced over his shoulder at his near top-boot. Having make this acknowledgment to conscious worth, he resumed.

'I sharn't ockepy your valliable time, sir, as public speakers says when they means to do nothin' else, by tellin' you how I got to this here

port as we're a-cuttin away from pretty fast at this moment. The ħosses was shipped at the Tower, and all slung quite regʻlar, and a werry fine passage we had ; none on us warn't sick, hosses nor nobody. We warn't more than forty-eight hours aboard wen we comes in sight of this 'ere citty, where they does speak a little English, or I'm blest if I should a-known how to get on. Why, it's bad enough of the French and them Belgies to call a hoss a shovel,—that has some meanin' in it, anyhow; but these Jarmans they takes and calls him a faird, -as if that meant anything. Why can't they call the same thing by the same name all the world over?'

It would have been rather a serious matter to have discussed the philosophy of language with this learned Theban ; so, without committing myself by any indiscreet observation on this head, I simply inquired how he made his way to the capital.

' As these hosses wos the property of the King of Hanover, there warn't no call to land 'em out of his own do-minions, so they was got ashore at Harburg; and glad enough they wos to stretch their legs agin. For the matter o’ that, none on us warn't sorry to be once more on terryfirmy—me and the three lads as I had for helpers. The first night as we landed, the skipper of our wessel helped us to find a stable for the hosses ; for, bless your heart! they hadn't a-got no word for a stablethey calls 'em all stalls ; and as soon as we'd groom'd 'em, and littered ’em, and given 'em their suppers, we went and got ourn at a guest-house, as they calls their inns, where each man treats hisself.'

On the same principle,' said I, .as a pic-nic dinner, where every one is invited—to bring his own provisions.'

* Just so, sir. Well, we wos interdooced into a long room, where ever so many gen'l'm'n was a-sittin' a-smokin' of long pipes; for the Jarmans, sir, always smokes before dinner to give theirselves a appetite.'

* And asier dinner, I suppose, to help their digestion ?'

Werry likely. And wen they goes to bed, they smokes to send 'em to sleep; and when they wants to get up, they smokes to make 'em wake again. The fact is, sir, they're always a-smokin', and no mistake. How they find time to eat a bit of vittles was a wonder to me afore I seed 'em.'

* And what did you think when they amused themselves in that way?

· Amused ’emselves? I'm blest if ever I saw any set of men so much in earnest in my life. Why, now I've got a pretty fairish appetite, -(my friend had given me a tolerably convincing proof of the truth of his remark)— my appetite is rayther a goodish one, but it ain't worth speaking of along side of a Jarman's. They're always at it,leastways, as I said, when they're not smokin'. I'll tell you wot they doos now, reg'lar. As soon as they gets out of their beds they takes and has a cup of coffee, and as large a piece of bread as they can lay hands on; then about eight o'clock they has their freestick*—that is, their breakfasties—and eats all manner of flesh and heges, and drinks maybe half a bottle of sour Rine-wine, so called 'cause it's made out of the shuck of the grape. Then at twelve o'clock they goes to their mittags pison, and 'dines jest as if they'd never eat anything afore, and never meant to eat anything agin. Then they has coffee


+ Mittag-speisen.

[ocr errors]

in the coorse of the afternoon; and at eight o'clock they're ready for their suppers, wich means their dinners over agin. After that they goes to a condyto-ri

, (somethin' between a pastry-cook's and a eatin'-house,) and there they drinks beer, and punch, and passes their time werry agreeable, and eats a butterbrot made of “ calves' flesh,” or maybe a bit of raw ham, and then they smokes their way home to bed.'

* A very intellectual life, truly; but I hope you were not prevented from enjoying yourselves.'

Why, for the matter o' that, we did contrive to do pretty well, wot with one thing and wot with another. The most curos part of the supper was their bringing in a large plum-pudden with sweet sarse, afore we'd half done with the meat ; and wether or no, you must have some, to please the gen'l'm'n as hands it round, him as they calls the “kellner.”* We shouldn't have minded eatin' of the pudden; but we was rayther vexed when we see roasts and stoos a-comin' in arterwards, and we jest fit to bust our weskit-buttons off. It put me in mind of what they doos at schools, to take away the boys' appetites. Howsever, it made no difference to the Jarmans; first or last was all the same to them.'

* And had you the benefit of the music you spoke of as not being much to your taste ?

*I b’lieve we had, sir. I was jest a askin' the captin of the wessel, as sot next to me, why they called their taturs “cast-offal,"'* wen I heard sich a scream close at my back as made me think some of the Jarmans had made away with theirselves, wich you know, sir, they is a wery much in the habit of doing. I shies round, jest as one of my hosses might have done at the sight of a wheelbarrow, bottom uppards, and wot did I see but a gal a-playin' on the harp, and screechin' with all her might, and a old feller in a smock frock a-workin' away at a base wial, as if he'd a sawed it in two. I assure you, sir, it gave me quite a turn. The captain larfed, and said it was quite reg lar, and so we found it,--and werry reg'lar we found, as we was obligated to pay for it. I says to the young lady when she came round with the plate, -(will you believe it, they calls a plate a teller !")—“You don't make a noise, marm, for nothin'.” I think she understood me, seeing I spoke as loud as I could; for she drops me a curtsey, and says, “Swy gooty groschen,” which means, “ I'll trouble you for threepence.” Them 'ere words is in everybody's mouth in Han-o-ver. You


into any shop in the town, and ask 'em any question, and see if they don't say, “Swy gooty groschen.”—“How do you feel ?" says one ; “Swy gooty groschen,” says the other; and it's the same with everything. Well, sir, as soon as dinner was over, we shakes hands with the captin, fust of all gettin' him to arsk where our bed-rooms wos, and up stairs we toddles into two double-bedded rooms, with paper windercurtins and sandy floors. You've heard tell, maybe, of Jarman beds ??

You forget that I must have slept in one as lately as yourself.' 'Arsk your pardon, sir ; but torkin' to you on board this 'ere Brittish wessel, I quite forgot as you've bin in Jarmany. Well, then, I needn't to tell you wot they is. Blest if ever I had a night's rest all the time I was in the country,—not what I calls a reg'lar good downright snooze.'

* Kartoffeln.

+ Our friend must allude here to the frequent question, · Wie fiel?' How much ?' and the answer, • Zwei gute Groschen,'— Two good groschen (3d.),' the price of numerous small articles.

I thought of the unlucky snooze' of the last night, but said nothing.

Well, we turned in as well as we could atween the two featherbeds; and next mornin' wen we got up, we found 'at a gen'l'm'n had been a-askin' for us, wot proved to be one of the King's Jarman grooms, sent up to Harburg to help us along the road, pay the bills, and sich like. As this ere gen'l'm'n spoke our langidge, we hadn't any more trouble except wot we wos obliged to in lookin' arter our hosses ; so we had our “ freestick,” got the hosses out, and was off for Han-o-ver, wich we got to in three days, over a piece of road as flat as a skittle-ground, and that for a hundred mile. But I see, sir, you're like me, you've paid your devours to the brekfist, as the French say; so, with your leave, I'll tell you my adventures in Han-o-ver by and by, if so be as you're inclined to hear more on 'em.'

Assuring him how much it would gratify me to hear more of his observations on men and manners, I rose from the table, and we went on deck to see what progress the vessel had made.



Dear cheeks, ye inspire
My bosom with fire;
Your red and your white
Is a feast of delight.
And this is not all
That charming I call;
To view you, to press you,
To touch and caress you,
My bosom with fire,
Dear cheeks ye inspire.

Oh! suns of delight,
Oh! stars ever bright,
Oh! love-breathing eyes,
No gem with you vies.
Your glance ever beaming,
Like Paradise gleaming,
Oh! creature divine,
Say, wilt thou be mine?
Oh! stars ever bright,
Oh! suns of delight!

Thou fairest of fair,
Oh! hither repair ;
Come, hasten to me,
I languish for thee:
I perish, I die,
In anguish I sigh ;
My sickness, I feel,
Thou only canst heal.
Oh! hither repair,
Thou fairest of fair !

• Born at Hartenstein, 1609 ; died at Hamburg, 1640.

« PreviousContinue »