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Charles Dickens > Bleak House > Chapter XLVII

Bleak House

Chapter XLVII

Jo's Will

As Allan Woodcourt and Jo proceed along the streets where the high
church spires and the distances are so near and clear in the
morning light that the city itself seems renewed by rest, Allan
revolves in his mind how and where he shall bestow his companion.
"It surely is a strange fact," he considers, "that in the heart of
a civilized world this creature in human form should be more
difficult to dispose of than an unowned dog." But it is none the
less a fact because of its strangeness, and the difficulty remains.

At first he looks behind him often to assure himself that Jo is
still really following. But look where he will, he still beholds
him close to the opposite houses, making his way with his wary hand
from brick to brick and from door to door, and often, as he creeps
along, glancing over at him watchfully. Soon satisfied that the
last thing in his thoughts is to give him the slip, Allan goes on,
considering with a less divided attention what he shall do.

A breakfast-stall at a street-corner suggests the first thing to be
done. He stops there, looks round, and beckons Jo. Jo crosses and
comes halting and shuffling up, slowly scooping the knuckles of his
right hand round and round in the hollowed palm of his left,
kneading dirt with a natural pestle and mortar. What is a dainty
repast to Jo is then set before him, and he begins to gulp the
coffee and to gnaw the bread and butter, looking anxiously about
him in all directions as he eats and drinks, like a scared animal.

But he is so sick and miserable that even hunger has abandoned him.
"I thought I was amost a-starvin, sir," says Jo, soon putting down
his food, "but I don't know nothink--not even that. I don't care
for eating wittles nor yet for drinking on 'em." And Jo stands
shivering and looking at the breakfast wonderingly.

Allan Woodcourt lays his hand upon his pulse and on his chest.
"Draw breath, Jo!" "It draws," says Jo, "as heavy as a cart." He
might add, "And rattles like it," but he only mutters, "I'm a-
moving on, sir."

Allan looks about for an apothecary's shop. There is none at hand,
but a tavern does as well or better. He obtains a little measure
of wine and gives the lad a portion of it very carefully. He
begins to revive almost as soon as it passes his lips. "We may
repeat that dose, Jo," observes Allan after watching him with his
attentive face. "So! Now we will take five minutes' rest, and
then go on again."

Leaving the boy sitting on the bench of the breakfast-stall, with
his back against an iron railing, Allan Woodcourt paces up and down
in the early sunshine, casting an occasional look towards him
without appearing to watch him. It requires no discernment to
perceive that he is warmed and refreshed. If a face so shaded can
brighten, his face brightens somewhat; and by little and little he
eats the slice of bread he had so hopelessly laid down. Observant
of these signs of improvement, Allan engages him in conversation
and elicits to his no small wonder the adventure of the lady in the
veil, with all its consequences. Jo slowly munches as he slowly
tells it. When he has finished his story and his bread, they go on

Intending to refer his difficulty in finding a temporary place of
refuge for the boy to his old patient, zealous little Miss Flite,
Allan leads the way to the court where he and Jo first
foregathered. But all is changed at the rag and bottle shop; Miss
Flite no longer lodges there; it is shut up; and a hard-featured
female, much obscured by dust, whose age is a problem, but who is
indeed no other than the interesting Judy, is tart and spare in her
replies. These sufficing, however, to inform the visitor that Miss
Flite and her birds are domiciled with a Mrs. Blinder, in Bell
Yard, he repairs to that neighbouring place, where Miss Flite (who
rises early that she may be punctual at the divan of justice held
by her excellent friend the Chancellor) comes running downstairs
with tears of welcome and with open arms.

"My dear physician!" cries Miss Flite. "My meritorious,
distinguished, honourable officer!" She uses some odd expressions,
but is as cordial and full of heart as sanity itself can be--more
so than it often is. Allan, very patient with her, waits until she
has no more raptures to express, then points out Jo, trembling in a
doorway, and tells her how he comes there.

"Where can I lodge him hereabouts for the present? Now, you have a
fund of knowledge and good sense and can advise me.

Miss Flite, mighty proud of the compliment, sets herself to
consider; but it is long before a bright thought occurs to her.
Mrs. Blinder is entirely let, and she herself occupies poor
Gridley's room. "Gridley!" exclaims Miss Flite, clapping her hands
after a twentieth repetition of this remark. "Gridley! To be
sure! Of course! My dear physician! General George will help us

It is hopeless to ask for any information about General George, and
would be, though Miss Flite had not akeady run upstairs to put on
her pinched bonnet and her poor little shawl and to arm herself
with her reticule of documents. But as she informs her physician
in her disjointed manner on coming down in full array that General
George, whom she often calls upon, knows her dear Fitz Jarndyce and
takes a great interest in all connected with her, Allan is induced
to think that they may be in the right way. So he tells Jo, for
his encouragement, that this walking about will soon be over now;
and they repair to the general's. Fortunately it is not far.

From the exterior of George's Shooting Gallery, and the long entry,
and the bare perspective beyond it, Allan Woodcourt augurs well.
He also descries promise in the figure of Mr. George himself,
striding towards them in his mornmg exercise with his pipe in his
mouth, no stock on, and his muscular arms, developed by broadsword
and dumbbell, weightily asserting themselves through his light

"Your servant, sir," says Mr. George with a military salute. Good-
humouredly smiling all over his broad forehead up into his crisp
hair, he then defers to Miss Flite, as, with great stateliness, and
at some length, she performs the courtly ceremony of presentation.
He winds it up with another "Your servant, sir!" and another

"Excuse me, sir. A sailor, I believe?" says Mr. George.

"I am proud to find I have the air of one," returns Allan; "but I
am only a sea-going doctor."

"Indeed, sir! I should have thought you was a regular blue-jacket

Allan hopes Mr. George will forgive his intrusion the more readily
on that account, and particularly that he will not lay aside his
pipe, which, in his politeness, he has testifled some intention of
doing. "You are very good, sir," returns the trooper. "As I know
by experience that it's not disagreeable to Miss Flite, and since
it's equally agreeable to yourself--" and finishes the sentence by
putting it between his lips again. Allan proceeds to tell him all
he knows about Jo, unto which the trooper listens with a grave

"And that's the lad, sir, is it?" he inquires, looking along the
entry to where Jo stands staring up at the great letters on the
whitewashed front, which have no meaning in his eyes.

"That's he," says Allan. "And, Mr. George, I am in this difficulty
about him. I am unwilling to place him in a hospital, even if I
could procure him immediate admission, because I foresee that he
would not stay there many hours if he could be so much as got
there. The same objection applies to a workhouse, supposing I had
the patience to be evaded and shirked, and handed about from post
to pillar in trying to get him into one, which is a system that I
don't take kindly to."

"No man does, sir," returns Mr. George.

"I am convinced that he would not remain in either place, because
he is possessed by an extraordinary terror of this person who
ordered him to keep out of the way; in his ignorance, he believes
this person to be everywhere, and cognizant of everything."

"I ask your pardon, sir," says Mr. George. "But you have not
mentioned that party's name. Is it a secret, sir?"

"The boy makes it one. But his name is Bucket."

"Bucket the detective, sir?"

"The same man."

"The man is known to me, sir," returns the trooper after blowing
out a cloud of smoke and squaring his chest, "and the boy is so far
correct that he undoubtedly is a--rum customer." Mr. George smokes
with a profound meaning after this and surveys Miss Flite in

"Now, I wish Mr. Jarndyce and Miss Summerson at least to know that
this Jo, who tells so strange a story, has reappeared, and to have
it in their power to speak with him if they should desire to do so.
Therefore I want to get him, for the present moment, into any poor
lodging kept by decent people where he would be admitted. Decent
people and Jo, Mr. George," says Allan, following the direction of
the trooper's eyes along the entry, "have not been much acquainted,
as you see. Hence the difficulty. Do you happen to know any one
in this neighbourhood who would receive him for a while on my
paying for him beforehand?"

As he puts the question, he becomes aware of a dirty-faced little
man standing at the trooper's elbow and looking up, with an oddly
twisted figure and countenance, into the trooper's face. After a
few more puffs at his pipe, the trooper looks down askant at the
little man, and the little man winks up at the trooper.

"Well, sir," says Mr. George, "I can assure you that I would
willingiy be knocked on the head at any time if it would be at all
agreeable to Miss Summerson, and consequently I esteem it a
privilege to do that young lady any service, however small. We are
naturally in the vagabond way here, sir, both myself and Phil. You
see what the place is. You are welcome to a quiet corner of it for
the boy if the same would meet your views. No charge made, except
for rations. We are not in a flourishing state of circumstances
here, sir. We are liable to be tumbled out neck and crop at a
moment's notice. However, sir, such as the place is, and so long
as it lasts, here it is at your service."

With a comprehensive wave of his pipe, Mr. George places the whole
building at his visitor's disposal.

"I take it for granted, sir," he adds, "you being one of the
medical staff, that there is no present infection about this
unfortunate subject?"

Allan is quite sure of it.

"Because, sir," says Mr. George, shaking his head sorrowfully, "we
have had enough of that."

His tone is no less sorrowfully echoed by his new acquaintance.
'Still I am bound to tell you," observes Allan after repeating his
former assurance, "that the boy is deplorably low and reduced and
that he may be--I do not say that he is--too far gone to recover."

"Do you consider him in present danger, sir?" inquires the trooper.

"Yes, I fear so."

"Then, sir," returns the trooper in a decisive manner, "it appears
to me--being naturally in the vagabond way myself--that the sooner
he comes out of the street, the better. You, Phil! Bring him in!"

Mr. Squod tacks out, all on one side, to execute the word of
command; and the trooper, having smoked his pipe, lays it by. Jo
is brought in. He is not one of Mrs. Pardiggle's Tockahoopo
Indians; he is not one of Mrs. Jellyby's lambs, being wholly
unconnected with Borrioboola-Gha; he is not softened by distance
and unfamiliarity; he is not a genuine foreign-grown savage; he is
the ordinary home-made article. Dirty, ugly, disagreeable to all
the senses, in body a common creature of the common streets, only
in soul a heathen. Homely filth begrimes him, homely parasites
devour him, homely sores are in him, homely rags are on him; native
ignorance, the growth of English soil and climate, sinks his
immortal nature lower than the beasts that perish. Stand forth,
Jo, in uncompromising colours! From the sole of thy foot to the
crown of thy head, there is nothing interesting about thee.

He shuffles slowly into Mr. George's gallery and stands huddled
together in a bundle, looking all about the floor. He seems to
know that they have an inclination to shrink from him, partly for
what he is and partly for what he has caused. He, too, shrinks
from them. He is not of the same order of things, not of the same
place in creation. He is of no order and no place, neither of the
beasts nor of humanity.

"Look here, Jo!" says Allan. "This is Mr. George."

Jo searches the floor for some time longer, then looks up for a
moment, and then down again.

"He is a kind friend to you, for he is going to give you lodging
room here."

Jo makes a scoop with one hand, which is supposed to be a bow.
After a little more consideration and some backing and changing of
the foot on which he rests, he mutters that he is "wery thankful."

"You are quite safe here. All you have to do at present is to be
obedient and to get strong. And mind you tell us the truth here,
whatever you do, Jo."

"Wishermaydie if I don't, sir," says Jo, reverting to his favourite
declaration. "I never done nothink yit, but wot you knows on, to
get myself into no trouble. I never was in no other trouble at
all, sir, 'sept not knowin' nothink and starwation."

"I believe it, now attend to Mr. George. I see he is going to
speak to you."

"My intention merely was, sir," observes Mr. George, amazingly
broad and upright, "to point out to him where he can lie down and
get a thorough good dose of sleep. Now, look here." As the
trooper speaks, he conducts them to the other end of the gallery
and opens one of the little cabins. "There you are, you see! Here
is a mattress, and here you may rest, on good behaviour, as long as
Mr., I ask your pardon, sir"--he refers apologetically to the card
Allan has given him--"Mr. Woodcourt pleases. Don't you be alarmed
if you hear shots; they'll be aimed at the target, and not you.
Now, there's another thing I would recommend, sir," says the
trooper, turning to his visitor. "Phil, come here!"

Phil bears down upon them according to his usual tactics. "Here is
a man, sir, who was found, when a baby, in the gutter.
Consequently, it is to be expected that he takes a natural interest
in this poor creature. You do, don't you, Phil?"

"Certainly and surely I do, guv'ner," is Phil's reply.

"Now I was thinking, sir," says Mr. George in a martial sort of
confidence, as if he were giving his opinion in a council of war at
a drum-head, "that if this man was to take him to a bath and was to
lay out a few shillings in getting him one or two coarse articles--"

"Mr. George, my considerate friend," returns Allan, taking out his
purse, "it is the very favour I would have asked."

Phil Squod and Jo are sent out immediately on this work of
improvement. Miss Flite, quite enraptured by her success, makes
the best of her way to court, having great fears that otherwise her
friend the Chancellor may be uneasy about her or may give the
judgment she has so long expected in her absence, and observing
"which you know, my dear physician, and general, after so many
years, would be too absurdly unfortunate!" Allan takes the
opportunity of going out to procure some restorative medicines, and
obtaining them near at hand, soon returns to find the trooper
walking up and down the gallery, and to fall into step and walk
with him.

"I take it, sir," says Mr. George, "that you know Miss Summerson
pretty well?"

Yes, it appears.

"Not related to her, sir?"

No, it appears.

"Excuse the apparent curiosity," says Mr. George. "It seemed to me
probable that you might take more than a common interest in this
poor creature because Miss Summerson had taken that unfortunate
interest in him. 'Tis MY case, sir, I assure you."

"And mine, Mr. George."

The trooper looks sideways at Allan's sunburnt cheek and bright
dark eye, rapidly measures his height and build, and seems to
approve of him.

"Since you have been out, sir, I have been thinking that I
unquestionably know the rooms in Lincoln's Inn Fields, where Bucket
took the lad, according to his account. Though he is not
acquainted with the name, I can help you to it. It's Tulkinghorn.
That's what it is."

Allan looks at him inquiringly, repeating the name.

"Tulkinghorn. That's the name, sir. I know the man, and know him
to have been in communication with Bucket before, respecting a
deceased person who had given him offence. I know the man, sir.
To my sorrow."

Allan naturally asks what kind of man he is.

"What kind of man! Do you mean to look at?"

"I think I know that much of him. I mean to deal with. Generally,
what kind of man?"

"Why, then I'll tell you, sir," returns the trooper, stopping short
and folding his arms on his square chest so angrily that his face
fires and flushes all over; "he is a confoundedly bad kind of man.
He is a slow-torturing kind of man. He is no more like flesh and
blood than a rusty old carbine is. He is a kind of man--by
George!--that has caused me more restlessness, and more uneasiness,
and more dissatisfaction with myself than all other men put
together. That's the kind of man Mr. Tulkinghorn is!"

"I am sorry," says Allan, "to have touched so sore a place."

"Sore?" The trooper plants his legs wider apart, wets the palm of
his broad right hand, and lays it on the imaginary moustache.
"It's no fault of yours, sir; but you shall judge. He has got a
power over me. He is the man I spoke of just now as being able to
tumble me out of this place neck and crop. He keeps me on a
constant see-saw. He won't hold off, and he won't come on. If I
have a payment to make him, or time to ask him for, or anything to
go to him about, he don't see me, don't hear me--passes me on to
Melchisedech's in Clifford's Inn, Melchisedech's in Clifford's Inn
passes me back again to him--he keeps me prowling and dangling
about him as if I was made of the same stone as himself. Why, I
spend half my life now, pretty well, loitering and dodging about
his door. What does he care? Nothing. Just as much as the rusty
old carbine I have compared him to. He chafes and goads me till--
Bah! Nonsense! I am forgetting myself. Mr. Woodcourt," the
trooper resumes his march, "all I say is, he is an old man; but I
am glad I shall never have the chance of setting spurs to my horse
and riding at him in a fair field. For if I had that chance, in
one of the humours he drives me into--he'd go down, sir!"

Mr. George has been so excited that he finds it necessary to wipe
his forehead on his shirt-sleeve. Even while he whistles his
impetuosity away with the national anthem, some involuntary
shakings of his head and heavings of his chest still linger behind,
not to mention an occasional hasty adjustment with both hands of
his open shirt-collar, as if it were scarcely open enough to
prevent his being troubled by a choking sensation. In short, Allan
Woodcourt has not much doubt about the going down of Mr.
Tulkinghorn on the field referred to.

Jo and his conductor presently return, and Jo is assisted to his
mattress by the careful Phil, to whom, after due administration of
medicine by his own hands, Allan confides all needful means and
instructions. The morning is by this time getting on apace. He
repairs to his lodgings to dress and breakfast, and then, without
seeking rest, goes away to Mr. Jarndyce to communicate his

With him Mr. Jarndyce returns alone, confidentially telling him
that there are reasons for keeping this matter very quiet indeed
and showing a serious interest in it. To Mr. Jarndyce, Jo repeats
in substance what he said in the morning, without any material
variation. Only that cart of his is heavier to draw, and draws
with a hollower sound.

"Let me lay here quiet and not be chivied no more," falters Jo,
"and be so kind any person as is a-passin nigh where I used fur to
sleep, as jist to say to Mr. Sangsby that Jo, wot he known once, is
a-moving on right forards with his duty, and I'll be wery thankful.
I'd be more thankful than I am aready if it wos any ways possible
for an unfortnet to be it."

He makes so many of these references to the law-stationer in the
course of a day or two that Allan, after conferring with Mr.
Jarndyce, good-naturedly resolves to call in Cook's Court, the
rather, as the cart seems to be breaking down.

To Cook's Court, therefore, he repairs. Mr. Snagsby is behind his
counter in his grey coat and sleeves, inspecting an indenture of
several skins which has just come in from the engrosser's, an
immense desert of law-hand and parchment, with here and there a
resting-place of a few large letters to break the awful monotony
and save the traveller from despair. Mr Snagsby puts up at one of
these inky wells and greets the stranger with his cough of general
preparation for business.

"You don't remember me, Mr. Snagsby?"

The stationer's heart begins to thump heavily, for his old
apprehensions have never abated. It is as much as he can do to
answer, "No, sir, I can't say I do. I should have considered--not
to put too fine a point upon it--that I never saw you before, sir."

"Twice before," says Allan Woodcourt. "Once at a poor bedside, and

"It's come at last!" thinks the afflicted stationer, as
recollection breaks upon him. "It's got to a head now and is going
to burst!" But he has sufficient presence of mind to conduct his
visitor into the little counting-house and to shut the door.

"Are you a married man, sir?"

"No, I am not."

"Would you make the attempt, though single," says Mr. Snagsby in a
melancholy whisper, "to speak as low as you can? For my little
woman is a-listening somewheres, or I'll forfeit the business and
five hundred pound!"

In deep dejection Mr. Snagsby sits down on his stool, with his back
against his desk, protesting, "I never had a secret of my own, sir.
I can't charge my memory with ever having once attempted to deceive
my little woman on my own account since she named the day. I
wouldn't have done it, sir. Not to put too fine a point upon it, I
couldn't have done it, I dursn't have done it. Whereas, and
nevertheless, I find myself wrapped round with secrecy and mystery,
till my life is a burden to me."

His visitor professes his regret to bear it and asks him does he
remember Jo. Mr. Snagsby answers with a suppressed groan, oh,
don't he!

"You couldn't name an individual human being--except myself--that
my little woman is more set and determined against than Jo," says
Mr. Snagsby.

Allan asks why.

"Why?" repeats Mr. Snagsby, in his desperation clutching at the
clump of hair at the back of his bald head. "How should 1 know
why? But you are a single person, sir, and may you long be spared
to ask a married person such a question!"

With this beneficent wish, Mr. Snagsby coughs a cough of dismal
resignation and submits himself to hear what the visitor has to

"There again!" says Mr. Snagsby, who, between the earnestness of
his feelings and the suppressed tones of his voice is discoloured
in the face. "At it again, in a new direction! A certain person
charges me, in the solemnest way, not to talk of Jo to any one,
even my little woman. Then comes another certain person, in the
person of yourself, and charges me, in an equally solemn way, not
to mention Jo to that other certain person above all other persons.
Why, this is a private asylum! Why, not to put too fine a point
upon it, this is Bedlam, sir!" says Mr. Snagsby.

But it is better than he expected after all, being no explosion of
the mine below him or deepening of the pit into which he has
fallen. And being tender-hearted and affected by the account he
hears of Jo's condition, he readily engages to "look round" as
early in the evening as he can manage it quietly. He looks round
very quietly when the evening comes, but it may turn out that Mrs.
Snagsby is as quiet a manager as he.

Jo is very glad to see his old friend and says, when they are left
alone, that he takes it uncommon kind as Mr. Sangsby should come so
far out of his way on accounts of sich as him. Mr. Snagsby,
touched by the spectacle before him, immediately lays upon the
table half a crown, that magic balsam of his for all kinds of

"And how do you find yourself, my poor lad?" inquires the stationer
with his cough of sympathy.

"I am in luck, Mr. Sangsby, I am," returns Jo, "and don't want for
nothink. I'm more cumfbler nor you can't think. Mr. Sangsby! I'm
wery sorry that I done it, but I didn't go fur to do it, sir."

The stationer softly lays down another half-crown and asks him what
it is that he is sorry for having done.

"Mr. Sangsby," says Jo, "I went and giv a illness to the lady as
wos and yit as warn't the t'other lady, and none of 'em never says
nothink to me for having done it, on accounts of their being ser
good and my having been s'unfortnet. The lady come herself and see
me yesday, and she ses, 'Ah, Jo!' she ses. 'We thought we'd lost
you, Jo!' she ses. And she sits down a-smilin so quiet, and don't
pass a word nor yit a look upon me for having done it, she don't,
and I turns agin the wall, I doos, Mr. Sangsby. And Mr. Jarnders,
I see him a-forced to turn away his own self. And Mr. Woodcot, he
come fur to giv me somethink fur to ease me, wot he's allus a-doin'
on day and night, and wen he come a-bending over me and a-speakin
up so bold, I see his tears a-fallin, Mr. Sangsby."

The softened stationer deposits another half-crown on the table.
Nothing less than a repetition of that infallible remedy will
relieve his feelings.

"Wot I was a-thinkin on, Mr. Sangsby," proceeds Jo, "wos, as you
wos able to write wery large, p'raps?"

"Yes, Jo, please God," returns the stationer.

"Uncommon precious large, p'raps?" says Jo with eagerness.

"Yes, my poor boy."

Jo laughs with pleasure. "Wot I wos a-thinking on then, Mr.
Sangsby, wos, that when I wos moved on as fur as ever I could go
and couldn't he moved no furder, whether you might be so good
p'raps as to write out, wery large so that any one could see it
anywheres, as that I wos wery truly hearty sorry that I done it and
that I never went fur to do it, and that though I didn't know
nothink at all, I knowd as Mr. Woodcot once cried over it and wos
allus grieved over it, and that I hoped as he'd be able to forgive
me in his mind. If the writin could be made to say it wery large,
he might."

"It shall say it, Jo. Very large."

Jo laughs again. "Thankee, Mr. Sangsby. It's wery kind of you,
sir, and it makes me more cumfbler nor I was afore."

The meek little stationer, with a broken and unfinished cough,
slips down his fourth half-crown--he has never been so close to a
case requiring so many--and is fain to depart. And Jo and he, upon
this little earth, shall meet no more. No more.

For the cart so hard to draw is near its journey's end and drags
over stony ground. All round the clock it labours up the broken
steps, shattered and worn. Not many times can the sun rise and
behold it still upon its weary road.

Phil Squod, with his smoky gunpowder visage, at once acts as nurse
and works as armourer at his little table in a corner, often
looking round and saying with a nod of his green-baize cap and an
encouraging elevation of his one eyebrow, "Hold up, my boy! Hold
up!" There, too, is Mr. Jarndyce many a time, and Allan Woodcourt
almost always, both thinking, much, how strangely fate has
entangled this rough outcast in the web of very different lives.
There, too, the trooper is a frequent visitor, filling the doorway
with his athletic figure and, from his superfluity of life and
strength, seeming to shed down temporary vigour upon Jo, who never
fails to speak more robustly in answer to his cheerful words.

Jo is in a sleep or in a stupor to-day, and Allan Woodcourt, newly
arrived, stands by him, looking down upon his wasted form. After a
while he softly seats himself upon the bedside with his face
towards him--just as he sat in the law-writer's room--and touches
his chest and heart. The cart had very nearly given up, but
labours on a little more.

The trooper stands in the doorway, still and silent. Phil has
stopped in a low clinking noise, with his little hammer in his
hand. Mr. Woodcourt looks round with that grave professional
interest and attention on his face, and glancing significantly at
the trooper, signs to Phil to carry his table out. When the little
hammer is next used, there will be a speck of rust upon it.

"Well, Jo! What is the matter? Don't be frightened."

"I thought," says Jo, who has started and is looking round, "I
thought I was in Tom-all-Alone's agin. Ain't there nobody here but
you, Mr. Woodcot?"


"And I ain't took back to Tom-all-Alone's. Am I, sir?"

"No." Jo closes his eyes, muttering, "I'm wery thankful."

After watching him closely a little while, Allan puts his mouth
very near his ear and says to him in a low, distinct voice, "Jo!
Did you ever know a prayer?"

"Never knowd nothink, sir."

"Not so much as one short prayer?"

"No, sir. Nothink at all. Mr. Chadbands he wos a-prayin wunst at
Mr. Sangsby's and I heerd him, but he sounded as if he wos a-
speakin to hisself, and not to me. He prayed a lot, but I couldn't
make out nothink on it. Different times there was other genlmen
come down Tom-all-Alone's a-prayin, but they all mostly sed as the
t'other 'wuns prayed wrong, and all mostly sounded to be a-talking
to theirselves, or a-passing blame on the t'others, and not a-
talkin to us. WE never knowd nothink. I never knowd what it wos
all about."

It takes him a long time to say this, and few but an experienced
and attentive listener could hear, or, hearing, understand him.
After a short relapse into sleep or stupor, he makes, of a sudden,
a strong effort to get out of bed.

"Stay, Jo! What now?"

"It's time for me to go to that there berryin ground, sir," he
returns with a wild look.

"Lie down, and tell me. What burying ground, Jo?"

"Where they laid him as wos wery good to me, wery good to me
indeed, he wos. It's time fur me to go down to that there berryin
ground, sir, and ask to be put along with him. I wants to go there
and be berried. He used fur to say to me, 'I am as poor as you to-
day, Jo,' he ses. I wants to tell him that I am as poor as him now
and have come there to be laid along with him."

"By and by, Jo. By and by."

"Ah! P'raps they wouldn't do it if I wos to go myself. But will
you promise to have me took there, sir, and laid along with him?"

"I will, indeed."

"Thankee, sir. Thankee, sir. They'll have to get the key of the
gate afore they can take me in, for it's allus locked. And there's
a step there, as I used for to clean with my broom. It's turned
wery dark, sir. Is there any light a-comin?"

"It is coming fast, Jo."

Fast. The cart is shaken all to pieces, and the rugged road is
very near its end.

"Jo, my poor fellow!"

"I hear you, sir, in the dark, but I'm a-gropin--a-gropin--let me
catch hold of your hand."

"Jo, can you say what I say?"

"I'll say anythink as you say, sir, for I knows it's good."

"Our Father."

"Our Father! Yes, that's wery good, sir."

"Which art in heaven."

"Art in heaven--is the light a-comin, sir?"

"It is close at hand. Hallowed by thy name!"

"Hallowed be--thy--"

The light is come upon the dark benighted way. Dead!

Dead, your Majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead, right
reverends and wrong reverends of every order. Dead, men and women,
born with heavenly compassion in your hearts. And dying thus
around us every day.

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