The Amateur Gentleman (Chapter 4, page 1 of 6)


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Chapter 4

"Heads up, young master, never say die! and wi' the larks and the
throstles a-singing away so inspiring too--Lord love me!"

Barnabas started guiltily, and turning with upflung head, perceived
a very small man perched on an adjacent milestone, with a very large
pack at his feet, a very large hunk of bread and cheese in his hand,
and with a book open upon his knee.

"Listen to that theer lark," said the man, pointing upwards with the
knife he held.

"Well?" said Barnabas, a trifle haughtily perhaps.

"There's music for ye; there's j'y. I never hear a lark but it takes
me back to London--to Lime'us, to Giles's Rents, down by the River."

"Pray, why?" inquired Barnabas, still a trifle haughtily.

"Because it's so different; there ain't much j'y, no, nor yet music
in Giles's Rents, down by the River."

"Rather an unpleasant place!" said Barnabas.

"Unpleasant, young sir. I should say so--the worst place in the
world--but listen to that theer blessed lark; there's a woice for ye;
there's music with a capital M.; an' I've read as they cooks and
eats 'em."

"Who do?"

"Nobs do--swells--gentlemen--ah, an' ladies, too!"

"More shame to them, then."

"Why, so says I, young master, but, ye see, beef an' mutton, ducks
an' chicken, an' sich, ain't good enough for your Nobs nowadays, oh
no! They must dewour larks wi' gusto, and French hortolons wi'
avidity, and wi' a occasional leg of a frog throw'd in for a
relish--though, to be sure, a frog's leg ain't over meaty at the
best o' times. Oh, it's all true, young sir; it's all wrote down
here in this priceless wollum." Here he tapped the book upon his knee.
"Ye see, with the Quality it is quality as counts--not quantity.
It's flavor as is their constant want, or, as you might say, desire;
flavor in their meat, in their drink, and above all, in their books;
an' see you, I sell books, an' I know."

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