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taken for many days by a young woman,
her daughter, who did not give so much
satisfaction as the old lady, by reason of
her being less liberal to the customers
myself in particular.

The long winter over, the old lady came
back, neat and clean as ever, and was happy
and comfortable enough, knitting her worsted
stockings, and serving the hungry,
evercraving, juvenile public through the long
summer days. In wet weather, she used
to shift her stall under a gateway, by the
leave of the proprietor, and in that
position defied the fury of the elements. If
any one had proposed to entice me away
from the widow's stall by any inducement,
such as selling me four apples for a
penny, instead of two, do you suppose, for
a moment, that I should have gone?
Certainly not. I am proud to say that
certain insidious attempts of the kind were
made by an adjacent Irishwoman, and that
I nobly resisted them all.

An old man, who might have been the
husband that the old fruit-stall keeper had
lost, was another of my open-air tradespeople,
that I patronised with undeviating
regularity. He sold a very warm, spicy,
sweet, dark, comforting mixture that he
called Elder Wine. It was one penny a
glass along with a rusk; and I think the
proudest day of my life was when, in
consideration of my long custom, I was promoted
to have two rusks for my penny instead of
one, and a rather larger glass. I used to
delight in taking other boys, and showing
them the importance in which I was held
by the Elder Wine merchant; using my
influence to get them a share of my privileges;
and exerting myself, as children of a larger
growth exert themselves, to procure for each
other opera-boxes and admissions to
exclusive fetes. The spirit of the beadle is in us
from our cradles.

My sweet-stuff stall-keeper was a person
of less generous impulses and pliable
material, which I attribute to the fact of his
keeping a small gambling machine called a dolly,
and to the hardening effect which the dolly
had upon his mind. The toffy was delicious,
the hardbake hard, as bake should be, and
prodigiously full of almonds; the horehound
and almond rock were luscious in the
extreme,and everything would have been
delightful, but for the baneful influence of
the dolly. Often have I hesitated an hour,
walking back-wards and forwards, as to
whether I should purchase my sweet-stuff in
the regular way, getting a pennyworth for a
penny, or should throw the marble down the
interior of the dolly, running the risk of
getting a high number, or a low one, in the
dish, and receiving two pennyworth for my
penny, or nothing at all. The demon of
gambling generally triumphed, and success
was mostly on the side of the proprietor of
the dolly; who, when I lost, used considerately
to present me with a single brandyball
to comfort me under my defeat.

An object of almost superstitious veneration
was that splendid triumph of machinery,
a first-class potato-can. Bright block-tin
that you could see your face in, neatly
bordered with rims of shining brass; two
funnels always ejecting steam, and four
lamps to light up the stately fabric by night;
a box at the side to contain the butter; and
two wells in which were always baking two
hundred of the finest potatoes. Is it to be
wondered at that I yielded myself to the
fascination of this street Crystal Palace of my
childhood? Add to all this the almost
superhuman manipulative dexterity of the
proprietor, who picked out, divided, buttered,
salted, and delivered into your hands, a couple
of the smoking luxuries before the order had
scarcely left your mouth; and I think I
cannot be blamed for lingering with feelings
of envy and admiration as I watched the
rapid, skilful operation, and thought it a
proper ambition to look forward to being
the owner of such a machine, able to conduct
it in a similar business-like manner.

An almost equal interest attached to the
opening of oysters at the neighbouring
fishstall; but the operator's hands were wet,
chapped, cold, and raw, and the general
aspect of the whole stall, with its dirty
proprietor, its pickled whelks in small saucers,
its stewed eels in a large jar, and its
strong-smelling flickering oil-lamp, only served to
increase by contrast the air of warmth,
cleanliness, comfort, and magnificence, that
hovered about the palatial potato-can.
The only thing, in my eye, that ever
approached the potato-can, was the fountain
that gave forth ginger-beer with such
inexhaustible frothy prodigality. There was less
beauty and more science about this, but it
only stood second in my affections. Mixed
in with, and variegating my line of stalls,
were sound umbrellas for a shilling,
walking-sticks arranged in rows against the wall,
birds hopping about for sale in small
greenpainted cages, bright showy flowers
making up for a want of root by huge globular
bases of wet clay, and several large
clothes'-horses full of fluttering songs, both
comic and sentimental, printed on the thinnest
of paper, and illustrated in the rudest
of styles; all of which things I, of course,
bought at one time or another.

Then there were strong appeals to charity,
like that of the man without legs, who sat by
the side of an awful picture of a factory
accident (kept down on the pavement by a
couple of brickbats), in which he was
represented as being hurled round by an impossible
combination of machinery, and losing
more blood than was ever contained in the
bodies of six such sturdy cripples. Then
there was a quiet, ingenious, middle-aged
man, who every day of the week (weather
permitting) was constantly employed, from