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though under a galvanic battery, the toes of his thick-soled shoes striking the under jaw of Skinks against its brother like a plate of iron. Skinks blasphemed--and Bats, smiling for the first time, took his fingers from his nose.
Job was not a salamander; a red hot spark from the blazing wood had inopportunely lighted on his cheek, as the too near Skinks was about to pass sentence a sentence, we fear, in which the jaw of the judge was made more evident than his justice.
Sentence was passed—immediately carried into execution, and where, and in what state was the culprit—where was Job ?
It was a pleasant morning in the month of fickle April; the sun was up in his brightness—the fields steamed with odours—the birds sang and twittered—the limping hare now hopped along the mead, and now sat and licked her dewy paws-the rooks cawed their sweet domestic cares—the hedgehog rejoiced in his new-warmed blood—the snail, like creeping envy, crawled its slimy waythe lambkins frisked, and still Job Pippins slept.
Thy hand, reader; step this way. Thou art in
a most delicious meadow, within three yards of the sleeper. See yon dry ditch; there--there lies Pippins !
We paused, and our heart rose within us as we looked upon the dreamer. Touched by the softening influence of the season--for in spring-time our heart turns to a ball of honey—we exclaimed, “Ha! here is penniless worth upon its couch of nettles ; thorns at its side, nightshade at its head, and crawl-. ing, creeping creatures round about. Poor soul! The toad still squats at thine ear, and the raven is thy constant serenader!” Saying this, and dropping tears beyond the average size, we walked on; for Job began to yawn, and we were fearful he would ask our hospitality. Sentiment we can, and ought to bestow upon the wretched-rolls and and butter cost money.
Job woke, and as he woke his temples were pierced by nails driven to the head by one short stroke, and then some half-dozen lancets were struck into his skull, and his eyes were turned to two lenses, burning hot, and his tongue was an unmanageable bit of hard, dry leather, retaining a high flavour of the tan. In other words, Job felt the last night's gin-such being the compunctuous feelings of those (our authority is a late member of Parliament, an eminent water drinker) who indulge in spirituous liquors.
Job was in his shirt; and, like Hamlet in the same garment, pale. However, casting his eyes on his linen, he more than “rivalled its whiteness," for he turned to a corresponding yellow. The vestment—that “most domestic ornament,” his shirt-was stained with unseemly blots of blood. Whether he had merely “ assisted” at a tragedy, or had been a principal, was a doubt that, for a second, withered him like lightning. Then it all came upon him—the hut-Molly--the drink-the —the—and then he passed into that confine where darkness swallows all things. An insect ticked its little note. “ The watch !” cried Job, and stood upon his feet; the trees, and fields, and herds, whirling round him—and the blood glaring like red fire--and Job, gaspingly applying his hand to his flesh, and feeling that at least he ought to have a very serious wound.
It was, we repeat, a balmy day in April, when Job Pippins, reduced to his last garment, stood in a field with the wide world about him. Hatless, shoeless, hoseless, he stood upon the grass, the bold zephyrs playing with his shirt—his tattered flag of terrible distress. And Job began to feel the sickness of hunger; he looked at the cows, and yearned for his breakfast. Job resolved and re-resolved. Should he try to regain the hut, whence he had been so inhospitably sprited? Then he thought, what availed a naked man against four men and one woman ? Should he run to the first house and publish the whole story? Again, who would put faith in a man with so slender a wardrobe ? At this moment of indecision, a bull in the next field, annoyed or scandalized at the appearance of Job, leapt the low fence, and unhesitatingly ran at him. Job paused no longer, but made for the next meadow, and scaling a five-barred gate, saved himself in the main road, the bull shaking his horns, and casting a reproachful look at the fugitive. The destitution of Job was perfect, as he thought, without a new affliction; a few seconds before, and he could have dared fate to do its worst, in the firm belief of its inability. Vain, blind man! He was then the sole proprietor of a whole shirt; and now he stood in the London road, with almost all the hinder part of his one garment impaled on the dead brambles surmounting the fatal five-barred gate. The retreat of Job was most ignominious; he had not even saved his colours. (Moral: let no man with one shirt despise the frowns of fate.)
Job stood in the road, his heart sinking deeper and deeper still as he wistfully beheld his tattered property held by the thorns, and still vigilantly guarded by the bull, who to Job looked as though he felt the full importance of the trophy. In the impotence of rage, Job at length with a disdainful
action turned his back upon the bull, who took the insult with the most commendable philosophy.
And now, thinks the reader, Job is at the zero of his fortune. He is naked, hungry, penniless, and where shall he find a friend? The riveryonder river, that like a silver thread intersects those emerald fields—that shall be unto him clothes, meat, and lodging. Mercy on us! suicide? No, no; Job had a just value of life: when it was only worth throwing away, his opinion was, that nothing further could hurt it. The river, it will be seen, was Job's Pactolus.
Quitting his foe, Job made for the stream, while his fancy peopled its banks with a hundred racing, leaping, shouting schoolfellows, with whom, despising birch—despising the deep moral of the primer tale, in which the impartial pedagogue flogged alike for swimming and for sinking-Job was wont, in boyish days, to dive. Job sighed as he thought of those happy, reckless hours: then what was a shirt to him? His father bought it, and his mother made it !
Job crawled and slinked across the field, and was already among a clump of alders, overhanging the stream. Was the great enemy of man cooling his burning limbs in the bright waters? Or had some pitying angel, softened by the nakedness of Job, lighted among the trees? Was it a templation