A Child of the Jago, by Arthur Morrison

12

‘Dicky Perrott, come ’ere,’ said Mr Aaron Weech in a voice of sad rebuke, a few days later. ‘Come ’ere, Dicky Perrott.’

He shook his head solemnly as he stooped. Dicky slouched up.

‘What was that you found the other day an’ didn’t bring to me?’

‘Nuffin’.’ Dicky withdrew a step.

‘It’s no good you a-tellin’ me that, Dicky Perrott, when I know better. You know very well you can’t pervent me knowin’.’ His little eyes searched Dicky’s face, and Dicky sulkily shifted his own gaze. ‘You’re a wicked, ungrateful young ’ound, an’ I’ve a good mind to tell a p’liceman to find out where you got that clock. Come ’ere now — don’t you try runnin’ away. Wot! after me a-takin’ you in when you was ’ungry, an’ givin’ you cawfy an’ cake, an’ good advice like a father, an’ a bloater an’ all, an’ you owin’ me thrippence a’peny besides, then you goes an’— an’ takes yer findin’s somewhere else!’

‘I never!’ protested Dicky stoutly. But Mr Weech’s cunning, equal to a shrewd guess that since his last visit Dicky had probably had another ‘find,’ and quick to detect a lie, was slack to perceive a truth.

‘Now don’t you go an’ add on a wicked lie to yer sinful ungratefulness, wotever you do,’ he said, severely. ‘That’s wuss, an’ I alwis know. Doncher know the little ‘ymn? —

An’ ’im as does one fault at fust

An’ lies to ’ide it, makes it two.

It’s bad enough to be ungrateful to me as is bin so kind to you, an’ it’s wuss to break the fust commandment. If the bloater don’t inflooence you, the ’oly ’ymn ought. ’Ow would you like me to go an’ ask yer father for that thrippence a’peny you owe me? That’s wot I’ll ’ave to do if you don’t mind.’

Dicky would not have liked it at all, as his frightened face testified.

‘Then find somethink an’ pay it at once, an’ then I won’t. I won’t be ’ard on you, if you’ll be a good boy. But don’t git playin’ no more tricks —‘cos I’ll know all about ’em. Now go an’ find somethink quick.’ And Dicky went.

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Last updated Monday, March 17, 2014 at 17:11