|Newspaper Title||The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859)|
|Trove Title||The Story of a Feather|
THE STORY OE A FEATHER.
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THERK was a pause of some two or three minutes. Jack Lipscomb fully apprehending the purpose of Shadrach Jacobs, yet at the ssme time feeling somewhat humiliated hy the con- sciousness of hit inferiority to the Jew. Thus had Jack in his innermost heart crowed and triumphed at the hard bargain which had made me hit property! With what profound con- tempt had he contemplated the intellectual degradation of the Kaffer who sold me, tricked, cheated, as the poor savage had been, by the mixed lying and bullying of the sailor. Such had been Jack's emotions; but as he sat, and silently chewing, gazed at the Jew, he half-seemed to himself to change his con- dition with the barbarian he had gulled-he felt, in its fullest force, the supremacy of the Jew;-he shrank beneath the influence of a subtler nature. Thus, Jack Lipscomb remained doggedly silent-and thus the Jew was at length compelled to
'be a talker.
«' I tells you, Jack, feathers is. nothin'. If, now, you've a little bag of gold-dust, or any nicknack of that sort-veil, you tiavn't? Veil, veil-more's the pity, Jack-more's the pity, Mr. Lipscomb."
" Then we shan't deal, oh?" asked Jack, sulkily, and throw- ing a significant glance towards the door. " Well, there's Barney Aaron, yet-that'a one comfort."
" Veil, 1 didn't think it of you, Jack ; to threaten me with that larpent-that disgrace to the Synagogue. Vot if feathers ii a drus, do you think Mr..Lipscomb.that I'd let you be
,.".."!?- -?. i»--- H.i«w,~-said jack, ? IH,,^"___. - ' "perhaps you arn't the worst of the sharks."
" I vish I vos-yes, Mr. Lipscomb, 1 vish I vos," said the Jew earnestly, " for then I shouldn't be the beggar vot I am. Ha 1 this is a vorldl Veil, veil, we must take it as it is till the better one comes."
"In course," responded Jack, philosophically; and then counting my companions and myself before the Jew, he asked,
" How much for the lot?"
«? I don't know vot to do vith 'em," answered Shadrach despondingly, looking down upon us, and sighing deeply. " As I'm an honest man, I shall only keep 'era for the moths. Vot money have you in your pocket, Jack?"
" Something within hail of five pounds," replied the sailor.
?*' Veil, let me see-von, two, three,-yes, fourteen feathers-" " Seventeen, you griffin," growled Jack.
"Veil, veil-I didn't see; ven you've looked upon the vickedness of the vorld as long at I have, Mr. Lipscomb, you'll have some feelin' for an old man's eyes. Let me sec, six-no, yes-seventeen-veil, seventeen feathers, and you've got seven pound in your pocket?"
« Four pound, sis half-crowns," said Jack in correction.
" Now shall I tell you vot I've long thought of, Mr. Lips- comb? I've often said to myself, vot a pity it vos that a man like you, Mr. Lipscomb, didn't think more of yourself : that you didn't show the face you ought to the vorld."
"What do you mean, Mr. Jacobs?" asked Jack, very
" Vy, you see," continued the Jew, in his blandest manner, smiling upon the sailor-as an epicure smiles upon a dish he purposes very pleasantly to incorporate in his system-"vy, you tee, vot does it go for if you're the best sailor as ever swum -the honéstese, jovialest, goodlookingest young man as ever von the vink of a wirtuout young vornan-vot does all your good ness go for vith the vorld, if you don't vear a votch ?"
Jack Liptcomb, with increasing gravity, sawed the back of his hand across his chin, and looking upon the floor, seemed as if the interrogative of the Jew had awakened a dormant feeling "of vanity-had, in a moment, solved to his entire satisfaction n great social mystery. " I don't know, if you arn't right," said Jack, after a pause.
«? As the vorld goes-for it's made of wanlty, Jack-a man's
nothin' vithout a votch."
" There may be something in it," agreed the sailor.
" I'm an old man, my tear friend, and know the vorld vith all its crooked bits, and natty blots, and I Ulk to you, Jack,
like my own flesh and blood."
" Come, avast there 1" exclaimed Jack, suddenly ; " none o' that-I'm a Christian, and loves pork."
" To be sure, vy not?" answered the Jew, in no way discon- certed : he then returned to the charge. " I ulk to you as I'd talk to my own son, and if it vas the last vords I had to speak, I'd say, Jack Lipscomb do justice to yourself and get a votch ?"
" Advice is plentiful as sprats," said the sailor. " Any fool ' can say, set a watch ; hut he isn't such a fool, who shows how
? it's to be done."
" My tear friend,'* said the Jew, " vait a minute." Shadrach then unlocked a drawer, and taking from it a larpe, yellow, metal watch, exposed it, with a light laugh, to the sailor.
" It's a big un," said Jack Lipscomb gravely.
" It's a beauty," exclaimed the Jew ; " but you hasn't seen half, Jack, look here." Shadrach then wound up the watch, 'and the picture of a ship fixed in the dial-plate was set in motion, rocking very regularly over grass-green billows, under which was written the legend-" Such is life."
" She carries a good deal of canvas for such a sea," said the sailor, glancing at the toy with a purely professional eye.
" To be sure-vonts notliin'," answered the Jew, casting his gleaming looks in the weather-beaten face of the doomed pur
"Humph! I wonder how long them studding-sail booms would stand in a trough of the sea like that? They'd snap like clay-pipes ; if they wouldn't I'm"
" Never mind, my tear friend," cried the Jew, quickly, " six- pence vill paint it out. Yell, rot do you say to that, Jack ?" asked Shadrach, now holding the watch to the sailor'* eyes, now with- drawing it, and now turning it in his hand, as though he held »magic mirror to dazzle and confound the looker's senses. " Vot do you say to that. Jack?"
Jack spoke, to the Jew's understanding, a whole volume ; albeit he really uttered not a word. For ha slowly wiped his lipa with the cuff of his jacket, the while he gazed at the chronometer ; again he wiped away, what to the Jew seemed the water Titling to the sailor's mouth, brought thither by strong 'desire of making that watch his own.
" For six pound with them feathers," and here the Jew threw an affected look of contempt -upon myself and companions prostrate at his feet-" the votch shall be journ."
"Is it gold?" asked Jack.
"Vot! velll" exclaimed the Jew, and he advanced two In- dignant steps towards the 'drawer, as if about to consign the watch for ever to ita keeping-then paused, and looking sor- rowfully up into the face of Jack Lipscomb, asked him, in most pathetic tones, " vot he thought of him ?"
"No offence, I hope," said Jack Lipscomb, deferentially.
" As if I'd sell my best friend anything but the best gold. Hal Mr. Lipscomb, you don't know me-no, you don't; you've cut me clean to the heart ; but to show you I bears no malice, I'll take all the money you have for the votch"
" Without the feathers?" asked the sailor.
"No, my tear friend, with the feathers; though they're of
no use to me-quite none ; still, for principle, my tear friend,
1 must have the feathers."
Jack turned hit tobacco in his mouth, looked at the watch, .i the caméléon flues ally, ere with its long thread of a tongue he consigns it to its jaws,-then, throwing forth his right hand, -seized the timepiece, almost immediately emptying his pocket of four pounds, fifteen shillings.
" You've a bargain, Mr. Lipscomb-you've a-veil, bless my heart, don't go,"-said the Jew, as the knocker smote the street
door-" it's only an old acquaintance of yourn, my daughter
Saying this the Jew quitted the chamber, and in two minutes from his departure, Miriam, a more than plump Jewess, with vast black eyes, a profusion of block hair (. very net for sailors' heart«,) large rosy lips showing every one of her brilliant white teeth, and her massive face polished ever with smiles, «warn
into the room.
Poor Jack Lipscomb I
This may be a proper place to observa that . sentimental affection bad, for the duration of three past voyages, grown up between Jack Lipscomb and Miriam Jacobs. If, however, it wat not strictly between them, 'twas all the tame-Jack thought it waa. There waa, unfortunately, what at first promised to be an inseparable bar to the happiness of matrimony-namely, the religion of Miriam ; Jack sticking for it, most lustily, that Ms wife must be lia« himself; every inch a Christian.
" Ha I Miriam, what a pity it it you're a Jew 1" This was wont to be the frequent complaint of the orthodox Jack ; and at length Miriam, worked upon by her lover's affection-for sure we are his many presents had nothing to do with it-pro- mised, after a fair exercise of thought on the subject, to give up the synagogue.
Miriam Jacobs and Jack Lipscomb are together. Shall I betray th'6' language of lovers ? I will not. I will content myself, and I trust the reader too, by sUting that Miriam (having seen the watch) promised to become a Christian wife in a week's time ; in token of which promise, she received the said watch as a gift of her expectant husband.
Jack Lipscomb, nothing the better Tor the alcohol sold in the Minories, quitted the house of Jacobs penniless, leaving me and my companions-whom he had all but stolen from a barbarian, only to be tricked in his turn-as the property of the
As Jack reeled his way towards his ship, Miriam consigning her jetty locks to the close imprisonment of paper, glanced at the rocking ship on the watch, and for a moment ceasing to hum a tune, read-" Such is life."
(To bo continued.)