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ever, you may be wanted in the shop; so we'll talk that over there.
Down I went, they paying diligent attendance on my steps.
When I came into the shop, seeing no chair or stool, I went behind the compter, and sat down under an arched kind of canopy of carved work, which these proud traders, emulating the royal niche-fillers, often give themselves, while a joint-stool, perhaps, serves those by whom they get their bread: such is the dignity of trade in this mercantile nation!
I looked about me, and above me; and told them I was very proud of my seat; asking, if John were ever permitted to fill this superb niche ?
Perhaps he was, he said, very surlily.
That is it that makes thee look so like a statue, man. John looked plaguy glum upon me. But his man Joseph and my man Will. turned round with their backs to us, to hide their grinning, with each his fist in his mouth. I asked, what it was they sold?
Powder, and wash-balls, and snuff, they said; and gloves and stockings.
0 come, I'll be your customer. Will. do I want washballs?
Yes, and please your Honour, you can dispense with one or two.
Give him half a dozen, dame Smith.
She told me she must come where I was, to serve them. Pray, Sir, walk from behind the compter.
Indeed but I won't. The shop shall be mine. Where are they, if a customer should come in?
She pointed over my head, with a purse mouth, as if she would not have simpered, could she have helped it. I
reached down the glass, and gave Will. six. There-put 'em up, Sirrah.
He did, grinning with his teeth out before; which touching my conscience, as the loss of them was owing to me, Joseph, said I, come hither. Come hither, man, when I bid thee.
He stalked towards me, his hands behind him, half willing, and half unwilling.
I suddenly wrapt my arm round his neck. Will. thy penknife, this moment. D- -n the fellow, where's thy
O Lord! said the pollard-headed dog, struggling to get his head loose from under my arm, while my other hand was muzzling about his cursed chaps, as if I would take his teeth out.
I will pay thee a good price, man: don't struggle thus? The penknife, Will.!
O Lord, cried Joseph, struggling still more and more: and out comes Will's pruning-knife; for the rascal is a gardener in the country. I have only this, Sir.
The best in the world to launch a gum. fellow, why dost struggle thus ?
Master and Mistress Smith being afraid, I suppose, that I had a design upon Joseph's throat, because he was their champion, (and this, indeed, made me take the more notice of him,) coming towards me with countenances tragicomical, I let him go.
I only wanted, said I, to take out two or three of this rascal's broad teeth, to put them into my servant's jawsand I would have paid him his price for them.-I would by my soul, Joseph.
Joseph shook his ears; and with both hands stroked down, smooth as it would lie, his bushy hair; and looked
at me as if he knew not whether he should laugh or be angry but, after a stupid stare or two, stalked off to the other end of the shop, nodding his head at me as he went, still stroking down his hair; and took his stand by his master, facing about and muttering, that I was plaguy strong in the arms, and he thought would have throttled him. Then folding his arms, and shaking his bristled head, added, 'twas well I was a gentleman, or he would not have taken such an affront.
I demanded where their rappee was? the good woman pointed to the place; and I took up a scollop-shell of it, refusing to let her weigh it, and filled my box. And now, Mrs. Smith, said I, where are your gloves?
She showed me; and I chose four pair of them, and set Joseph, who looked as if he wanted to be taken notice of again, to open the fingers.
A female customer, who had been gaping at the door, came in for some Scots snuff; and I would serve her. The wench was plaguy homely; and I told her so; or else, I said, I would have treated her. She, in anger, [no woman is homely in her own opinion,] threw down her penny; and I put it in my pocket.
Just then, turning my eye to the door, I saw a pretty, genteel lady, with a footman after her, peeping in with a What's the matter, good folks? to the starers; and I ran to her from behind the compter, and, as she was making off, took her hand, and drew her into the shop; begging that she would be my customer; for that I had but just begun trade.
What do you sell, Sir? said she, smiling; but a little surprised.
Tapes, ribbands, silk laces, pins, and needles; for I
am a pedlar: powder, patches, wash-balls, stockings, gar. ters, snuffs, and pin-cushions-Don't we, goody Smith ?
So in I gently drew her to the compter, running behind it myself, with an air of great diligence and obligingness. I have excellent gloves and wash-balls, Madam; rappee, Scots, Portugal, and all sorts of snuff.
Well, said she, in a very good humour, I'll encourage a young beginner for once. Here, Andrew, [to her footman,] you want a pair of gloves, don't you?
I took down a parcel of gloves, which Mrs. Smith pointed to, and came round to the fellow to fit them on myself.
No matter for opening them, said I: thy fingers, friend, are as stiff as drum-sticks. Push!-Thou'rt an awkward dog! I wonder such a pretty lady will be followed by such a clumsy varlet.
The fellow had no strength for laughing: and Joseph was mightily pleased, in hopes, I suppose, I would borrow a few of Andrew's teeth, to keep him in countenance : and, father and mother Smith, like all the world, as the jest was turned from themselves, seemed diverted with the humour,
The fellow said the gloves were too little.
Thrust, and be dd to thee, said I: why, fellow, thou hast not the strength of a cat.
Sir, Sir, said he, laughing, I shall hurt your Honour's side. D-n thee, thrust I say.
He did; and burst out the sides of the glove.
Will. said I, where's thy pruning-knife? By my soul, friend, I had a good mind to pare thy cursed paws. But come, here's a larger pair: try them, when thou gettest home; and let thy sweetheart, if thou hast one, mend the other, so take both.
The lady laughed at the humour; as did my fellow, and Mrs. Smith, and Joseph: even John laughed, though he seemed by the force put upon his countenance to be but half pleased with me neither.
Madam, said I, and stepped behind the compter, bowing over it, now I hope you will buy something for yourself. Nobody shall use you better, nor sell you cheaper.
Come, said she, give me six-penny worth of Portugal snuff.
They showed me where it was, and I served her; and said, when she would have paid me, I took nothing at my opening.
If I treated her footman, she told me, I should not treat her.
Well, with all my heart, said I: 'tis not for us trades. men to be saucy-Is it, Mrs. Smith?
I put her sixpence in my pocket; and, seizing her hand, took notice to her of the crowd that had gathered about the door, and besought her to walk into the back-shop with me. She struggled her hand out of mine, and would stay no longer.
So I bowed, and bid her kindly welcome, and thanked her, and hoped I should have her custom another time.
She went away smiling; and Andrew after her; who made me a fine bow.
I began to be out of countenance at the crowd, which thickened apace; and bid Will, order the chair to the door.
Well Mrs. Smith, with a grave air, I am heartily sorry Miss Harlowe is abroad. You don't tell me where she is? Indeed, Sir, I cannot.
You will not, you mean.-She could have no notion of my coming. I came to town but last night. I have been