"And he said at last: 'I will. "In the middle of the week Paul Bargee's mother came to me and went down on her knees and begged for her son, and I said to her: 'Why should there be one law for him and one law for the likes of me. He's taken my wife; but he sha'n't put her to shame, ma'am, and he sha'n't cast a cloud on the life of my child!
A short bargee's pilot-coat, and a pipe of tobacco, were soon familiar to him; and he had not been six months in London before he had his house-of-call in a cross lane running between Essex Street and Norfolk Street. 'Mary, my dear, a screw of bird's-eye! came quite habitually to his lips; and before his fist year was out, he had volunteered a song at the Buckingham Shades.
And so day passes on to day without a variation, and life runs by without a ripple or a murmur for the canal population, while the mere landsmen look on with envy at what seems to them an idyllic existence, and even ladies of breeding and high station have been known to declare that they would gladly change places with the mistress of the bargee's quarter-deck.
Peter was always proud afterwards when he remembered that, with the Bargee's furious fingers tightening on his ear, the Bargee's crimson countenance close to his own, the Bargee's hot breath on his neck, he had the courage to speak the truth. "I WASN'T catching fish," said Peter. "That's not YOUR fault, I'll be bound," said the man, giving Peter's ear a twist not a hard one but still a twist.
But I had gathered a certain knowledge of the bargee's character from James's conversation, and I knew that he was a drunken, indiscreet sort of person who might be expected to reveal everything in circumstances such as I had described; so I risked the shot, and it went home. James's opposition collapsed.
It did not resemble an ordinary bargee's. But at the moment he could no more check the explosion of his wrath than you can hold back a cork in the act of popping from a bottle of soda-water. "Curse your laziness!" exploded Mr. Gavel; "and this is your notion of searching for me, is it?" "It appears to be a pretty successful one," said Dr. Glasson.