S sent to Fairway to take you, so that I might have a chance o' sayin'
adoo to my old mother." "What!" exclaimed Bowls, "is your mother the old
woman who stops at the end o' Cow Lane, where Mrs Blyth lives, who talks
so much about her big-whiskered Ben?" "That same," replied Ben, with a
smile: "she was always proud o' me, specially after my whiskers comed. I
thought that p'r'aps ye might have knowed her." "I knows her by hearsay
from Nelly Blyth, but not bein' a native of Fairway, of course I don't
know much about the people.--Hallo! Riggles, what's wrong with 'e
to-day?" said Bill, as his friend Tom came towards him with a very
perplexed expression on his honest face, "not repenting of havin' joined
the sarvice already, I hope?" "No, I ain't troubled about that,"
answered Riggles, scratching his chin and knitting his brows; "but I've
got a brother, d'ye see--" "Nothin' uncommon in that," said Bolter, as
the other paused. "P'r'aps not," continued Tom Riggles; "but then, you
see, my brother's such a preeplexin' sort o' feller, I don't know wot to
make of him." "Let him alone, then," suggested Ben Bolter. "That won't
do neither, for he's got into trouble; but it's a long story, an' I
dessay you won't care to hear about it." "You're out there, Tom," said
Bowls; "come, sit down here and let's have it all." The three men sat
down on the combings of the fore-hatch, and Tom Riggles began by telling
them that it was of no use bothering them with an account of his brother
Sam's early life. "Not unless there's somethin' partikler about it,"
said Bolter. "Well, there ain't nothin' very partikler about it, 'xcept
that Sam was partiklerly noisy as a baby, and wild as a boy, besides
bein' uncommon partikler about his wittles, 'specially in the matter o'
havin' plenty of 'em. Moreover, he ran away to sea when he was twelve
years old, an' was partiklerly quiet after that for a long time, for
nobody know'd where he'd gone to, till one fine mornin' my mother she
gets a letter from him sayin' he was in China, drivin' a great trade in
the opium line. We niver felt quite sure about that, for Sam wornt over
partikler about truth. He was a kindly sort o' feller, hows'ever, an'
continued to write once or twice a year for a long time. In these
letters he said that his life was pretty wariable, as no doubt it was,
for he wrote from all parts o' the world. First, he was clerk, he said,
to the British counsel in Penang, or some sich name, though where that
is I don't know; then he told us he'd joined a man-o'-war, an' took to