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14 CHAPTER III. Something for the special consideration of those who pay two hundred a year pew rent, and take the sacrament from vessels of silver and gold: Billjiggs, his life and death: wounds, and balm for the same. at this time, I have only a confused and occasionally distinct recollection of my fortunes previous to the morning at the milkman’s. You have doubtless, supposing you to have lived in or ever visited New-York, seen there many a little vagabond, in dirty tatters and shirtless. They generally wander along in men’s boots, picked up somewhere, whose disproportionate size makes it necessary for them to keep their feet sliding along, without lifting from the ground. The shuffling movement thus acquired sometimes sticks to them through life. Nobody either cares, or appears to care, for these juvenile loafers. Some are the children of shame, and are cast out because they would be a perpetual memento of disgrace to their generators. Some are orphans of the poorest 15 classes. Others run away from parental brutality; which is pretty plentiful, after all, among both high and low. Others again take to the streets for very sustenance; those who should naturally be their protectors living lives of drunkenness and improvidence. The revelations of the Reports of the Chief of the Police, about this extensive element in what is termed the rising generation, are terrible and romantic in their naked facts, far beyond any romance of the novelist. What I remember of my life previous to my introduction in the second chapter, was mostly located among this class. We were indeed wanderers upon the face of the earth; although our travels did not extend beyond the limits of the city, and the places within a few miles’ distance. The only principle that controlled us was the instinct to live, animally; to eat, (if we could get it,) when we were hungry, and to lie down and sleep wherever weariness overtook us. I have a very clear recollection of a most intimate crony, with whom I shared luck and adventures; and who did the same with me. He was a little older than myself. His name, he always said, was William, or Bill, Jiggs; but we all used to call him Billjiggs, for convenience. Billjiggs was quite a magnificent fellow. When elated or very good humored, indeed, he was wont to announce himself as one of the boys you read of in the Scriptures; though which of these numerous worthies he meant, he never specified. He had red hair,—very red. It was never combed; but it was cut every few days, by the friend who 16 happened to be the handiest; sometimes with a scissors, sometimes with a jackknife, sharpened for the work; and once, I remember with a broad-axe. I had the honor of handling the implement myself on that occasion. Some carpenters, at work on a new house, had gone to dinner nearby, and left their tools lying loose around. Poor Billjiggs ! I came very near laying his head open. My friend would never allow me to be imposed upon by superior force or cunning;and though I was too little to add much to his weight in his own quarrels, still I sometimes managed to cast the balance in his favor, in cases where the odds were pretty nearly even. For Billjiggs was pugnacious ; he entered into quarrels and fights on the smallest pretence, and sometimes received horrible drubbings. One day, I remember, he pitched into a boy considerably bigger than himself, for some curt rejoinder to a critical remark of Billjiggs, about a certain spotted cap which the aforesaid boy chose to wear on his head. He of the spotted cap got considerably the worst of the battle, which waxed hot; when he was fain to seize a good-sized paving stone that happened to be loose in the street, and dealt Billjiggs such a blow on the side of his head that he fell flat and senseless on the ground, and the blood poured forth freely; the victor taking to his heels like a good fellow. I mention this incident because it was the means of my first seeing an individual who years afterward, (as the reader will find in the course of the story,) played a prominent part in the affairs of my life. 17 Billjiggs was carried in the nearest basement, and restoratives applied to him. An old Quaker lady, and a little girl of...


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