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of his business. He pretended, indeed, to have had an ancestor who had kept shop in Billingsgate' when it was in its early days, and who, for aught that could be proved to the contrary, might have supplied Whittington, Lord Mayor of London, with pieces of whale for Lent dinners, and sent eels every Saturday to his celebrated cat. At all events, the Fishmongers' Company—so he would assure his friends-had never since wanted one of his family, and he himself was the third of his name in Covent Garden.?

7. 'Touching the certainty of these particulars, I know nothing ; but none of Mr. Sampson's predecessors, even he who furnished the whale, might have been ashamed of him. To me he was a just and kindly master, though somewhat exacting. His premises were kept like a man-of-war. There was a place for everything, and everything was in its place. Better oysters, turbot, or turtle could be found nowhere in England—at least the gentry and rich people thought so.

I have seen ladies and cooks at the shop by half-dozens, in a morning of the dinner-giving season, looking out for choice fish ; and next to his superior goods, my master's glory was set on the distinguished customers who bought them.

8. “My belief is, that the same amount of profit coming from inferior rank or riches would not have

' Billingsgate, a large fish market in London,
: Covent Garden, a famous London market.
Predecessors, those who had gone before him,

had half such value in his eyes. The feeling is not so uncommon as some may think. Mr. Sampson's gentility rose in proportion to that of the families he supplied ; and the grandeur of every house to which he sent a turtle seemed somehow or other reflected on himself. My master's great customers were therefore much talked of. There was seldom a great dinner given at any of their houses throughout the season that he could not describe, from soups to wines; but the chief subject of his conversation and reverence was Sir Joseph Banks,

9. “However scholars may hold Sir Joseph now, he had a great name for learning in those days, when it was scarcer among the gentry than at present. I have heard, too, that he was a worthy gentleman, and the private friend of our good king George III. But it was none of these distinctions that called forth Mr. Sampson's respect. It was founded on far different considerations. Sir Joseph kept a large retinuel and a fine carriage; he bought expensive fish, was particular in selecting them at my master's shop, and gave splendid dinners to the Royal Society.

10. 'Being then young and foolish, I took strongly to Mr. Sampson's way of thinking ; in spite, too, of the warnings of my good mother, who, while she encouraged a proper respect for my superiors in station as a reasonable and Christian duty, could not help perceiving the silly and slavish reverence for mere luxury and display which grew upon my

· Retinue, number of servants.

mind. Many a time did that wise and kindly mother remind me that splendour often walks with sin, while piety is clad in poor apparel; that sometimes rich men prefer plainness; and that even at the West End' the grandest were not always the greatest.

11. “These sensible remarks made small impression on me; boyish conceit suggested that my poor mother, who had worked so hard for us five-I mean myself and four sisters,-ever since our father was lost at sea, when the youngest girl was a baby, knew nothing of the great world. Besides, Mr. Sampson's example was before me. To be candid, I rather surpassed him in my admiration of wealth and style, having latterly advanced so far as not to care for serving common people on any terms. My great desire, however, was to see Sir Joseph Banks. I had been almost a year apprenticed, and had heard many things concerning his carriage and his house in Soho Square ; but as the gentleman had been out of town, making a collection of rare flies, I had no opportunity of sceing him all that time.

| The West End, i.e. the west end of London, where the richer people reside.




1. “THE premises which Mr. Sampson Huggins occupied in Covent Garden consisted of a shop and back parlour, with cellars below for storage. His family lived in a country house near Hackney, though few fishmongers could afford this expense in my apprentice days. Omnibuses were not invented then, cabs had not been heard of in London, and the hackney coaches being rather expensive, Mr. Sampson saved money by sleeping in an old-fashioned cupboard he had kept in the back parlour for that purpose, and only going home late on Saturday evenings. He was sure to be back early on Monday morning, for no man was more attentive to business, on which account but few helpers were kept about the shop-a salesman, the senior apprentice, William Jones, myself, and two porters, being his entire retinue.

2. 'One Wednesday, in the beginning of May, the salesman was sick, Jones had got a holiday to see his grandmother, the porters were out on their duty, and I was alone in the shop. Mr. Sampson had attended a City dinner the evening before, but he rose in time to superintend


the unpacking of a magnificent turbot, sent express from Brighton, for the glory of his establishment. Turbot were particularly dear and fashionable that

This was one of the finest specimens ever caught; so Mr. Sampson triumphed over surrounding fishmongers, wished Sir Joseph could only see it, and retired to shave, an operation which he always performed in the back parlour.

3. “My apprentice pride was high, I had set forth the splendid fish where it could be seen to the best advantage; and, early as it was, not yet nine in the morning, a sort of crowd had collected to gaze at it. I felt myself magnified in that turbot, and was wondering which of my master's grand customers would buy the fish, when a little old man, looking decidedly shabby in an old beaver hat and grey overcoat, paused at the door, took a long keen look, and walked in. What could such a person want in our shop? I had half made up my mind to say we did not keep such things if he asked for smoked herrings or a lobster; and fairly laughed out when, pointing to the splendid fish, he inquired, “What's the price of that turbot?”

4.““Too dear for you, old fellow," said I, without moving from my stand. “We have cod and haddock here."

"" I asked you the price of the turbot, child,” said the old man, quietly.

Only five guineas! Will you take it home under your arm?" said I, wishing my master to

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