Page images

appointed by the Church of England, Printed and Sold by the Company of Stationers.' Why, you slanderous old thief! look you here Matt Barlowe, and do you too Bob Walker ; Why, 'tis as good and genuine a steeple house book as ever

“ Go on, proceed, turn over the pages, one by one. Yes ! yes! the precious rascal, he has had prayer-book titles printed on purpose. This stratagem it was that took me in. There my good masters he fastened on my credulity: every line, as I hope for salvation, is all Papishtry, all Roman Catholic, as you will find. That Mordecai is the very epitome of a lie.”

Why, thou senseless, impudent, falsifying old slanderer, look you here, aye! put on your nose glasses and satisfy yourself. Are you not ashamed and be damned to you, to vilify that poor itinerant in this way."

6 I'll make affidavit, l’ll swear upon the holy book, that the rascal has taken me in-yes, sure enough,” examining the little copy of

prayers, page by page, “ this all right, certainly, a genuine copy: but nevertheless, he has jewed me, and that is the simple fact, my good masters, and pest take me, but I will trounce the villain."

[ocr errors]

The old bibliopolist was ready to burst with suppressed rage at the incredulity of the waggish triumvirate, when strange to say, Mordecai, whose industry, and general speculations seemed to endue him with ubiquity, for he was to be seen as it almost appeared, in twenty places at the same time, made his appearance.

He was ushered into the painting loft, by the quaker shopman of the busy sign-painter. you vant some prime oak panel for s ns, goot Master Barlowe? some of all sort and size, well seasoned, old as an hundred years, and all sound and not vorm-eaten. Vill sell the lot a great pargain, vorth any price, not another to be had in all London, so help me God.”

Old Waller fixed his little grey eyes upon the Jew, like a lynx, and working his lips, and wriggling like a cat, preparing to pounce upon a sparrow, he sprang forth and upsetting the large sign of St. Dunstan and the Devil, with the colours, palettes, oil, turpentine, and the whole of the painter's rattle traps, seized the Jew by the throat, exclaiming, or rather screaming, “ What you damned thief, and I have caught you."

utmost ease.

Mordecai, without the least expression of fear, or even surprise, grasped the hand of the bookseller, saying, “ I vosh desire you to keep off your fingers from my neck, if you please ; vot vosh the matter, good Master Waller ?” at the same time wresting open his knuckles with the

“ Tell me vot yosh the matter before these goot chentelmens.”

66 Thou hast robbed me of nineteen crowns, thou graceless Shylock," said old Walter, his face pale as a turnip, and his quivering lips as blue as a bilberry.

6 I robbed you! mine soul! vy vot a fib, Master Waller; I vosh never rob man, voman, .or child since I vos a baby in arms, as I hope for mercy.”

6 Don't perjure thyself, thou miscreant. Pray, Master Barlowe, do send your lad for a constable. There, go my boy, seek a constable, you

will find one at the watch-house over the way in the market, and I will give thee I will give thee a little book for a Christmas box.” The old skin-flint, even in his perturbation, had an eye to his ready money.

" 0! very vell, let the young lad get a


conshtable, I shall vait here. Go mine lad, by all means. Meanwhile a warrant is on foot for you, Master Waller ; I am sorry for your misfortune-but, by this times, your house is all down about Mistress Abigail's ears."

Hey! what do you say ! what is this, you pick-pocket ?"

“ Nothing in the vorld, only, so help me God, Mistress Abigail has murdered a chenteel youth of the city, fractured his skull, and the

apprentishes are razing the Black Eagle flat with the stones.”

“ 0! 0 !-alas, alas! and has it come to this! I thought it would some day,” exclaimed the bookseller; “ Master Culpeper* has fore


Culpeper and Lilly, the two celebrated astrologers, lived by terrifying both cavallier and round-head with their pretended prognostications. So superstitious were the times of the civil war, that even the king, and Oliver Cromwell, consulted the auguries of William Lilly. These impostors jointly predicted the total subversion of the law and gospel ministry. Two years afterwards they predicted “ That the law should be pulled down to the ground; the great charter, and all our liberties, destroyed, as not suitable for Englishmen

[ocr errors]

boded it. O! the fatal Restoration. He told me to beware about the end of May. What dost

say, thou Jew, murdered!” “ Aye, as I hope to be shaved. The poor young youth is as tead as mutton-gone to the bone-house on a shop-shutter; and Mistress Abigail, the vicked woman, it ish very pitiful, and I vosh grieved at mine heart; she is now in her lodgings at Newgate.”

“ Hey !-and what the deuce is the matter with you, Charles ?” said Barlowe, to one of his apprentices, who just entered with his head bound


in a blood-stained handkerchief, no uncommon occurrence with him; he had been dispatched on an errand.

“ I have just got a bit of a scratch on my jobbernowl, that is all, master, in a scuffle, by St. Paul's; not that I have had any hand in the rumpus—I was only a looker-on. They are pulling down the Black Eagle, and that old

in these blessed times ; that the crab-tree of the law should be pulled up by the roots, there being no reason now we should be governed by them."

« PreviousContinue »