The Amateur Gentleman (Chapter 2, page 1 of 4)


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Chapter 2

A slender man was Natty Bell, yet bigger than he looked, and
prodigiously long in the reach, with a pair of very quick, bright
eyes, and a wide, good-humored mouth ever ready to curve into a smile.
But he was solemn enough now, and there was trouble in his eyes as
he looked from John to Barnabas, who sat between them, his chair
drawn up to the hearth, gazing down into the empty fireplace.

"An' you tell me, John," said he, as soon as his pipe was well
alight,--"you tell me that our Barnabas has took it into his head
to set up as a gentleman, do you?"

"Ah!" nodded John. Whereupon Natty Bell crossed his legs and leaning
back in his chair fell a-singing to himself in his sweet voice, as
was his custom when at all inclined to deep thought:

"A true Briton from Bristol, a rum one to fib,
He's Champion of England, his name is Tom Cribb;"

"Ah! and you likewise tell me as our Barnabas has come into a fortun'."

"Seven--'undred--thousand--pound."

"Hum!" said Natty Bell,--"quite a tidy sum, John."

"Come list, all ye fighting gills
And coves of boxing note, sirs,
While I relate some bloody mills
In our time have been fought, sirs."

"Yes, a good deal can be done wi' such a sum as that, John."

"But it can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, Natty Bell,--nor
yet a gentlemen out o' you or me--or Barnabas here."

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