SUPPER WAS NOT YET OVER, when there arrived at the Jolly Sandboys two more travellers bound for the same haven as the rest, who had been walking in the rain for some hours, and came in shining and heavy with water. One of these was the proprietor of a giant, and a little lady without legs or arms, who had jogged forward in a van; the other, a silent gentleman who earned his living by showing tricks upon the cards, and who had rather deranged the natural expression of his countenance by putting small leaden lozenges into his eyes and bringing them out at his mouth, which was one of his professional accomplishments. The name of the first of these new-comers was Vuffin; the other, probably as a pleasant satire upon his ugliness, was called Sweet William. To render them as comfortable as he could, the landlord bestirred himself nimbly, and in a very short time both gentlemen were perfectly at their ease.
Hows the Giant? said Short, when they all sat smoking round the fire.
Rather weak upon his legs, returned Mr Vuffin. I begin to be afraid hes going at the knees.
Thats a bad look-out, said Short.
Ay! Bad indeed, replied Mr Vuffin, contemplating the fire with a sigh. Once get a giant shaky on his legs, and the public care no more about him than they do for a dead cabbage-stalk.
What becomes of old giants? said Short, turning to him again after a little reflection.
Theyre usually kept in carawans to wait upon the dwarfs, said Mr Vuffin.
The maintaining of em must come expensive, when they cant be shown, eh? remarked Short, eyeing him doubtfully.
Its better that, than letting em go upon the parish or about the streets, said Mr Vuffin. Once make a giant common and giants will never draw again. Look at wooden legs. If there was only one man with a wooden leg what a property hed be!
So he would! observed the landlord and Short both together.
Thats very true.
Instead of which, pursued Mr Vuffin, if you was to advertise Shakspeare played entirely by wooden legs, its my belief you wouldnt draw a sixpence.
I dont suppose you would, said Short. And the landlord said so too.
This shows, you see, said Mr Vuffin, waving his pipe with an argumentative air, this shows the policy of keeping the used-up giants still in the carawans, where they get food and lodging for nothing, all their lives, and in general very glad they are to stop there. There was one gianta black unas left his carawan some year ago and took to carrying coach-bills about London, making himself as cheap as crossing-sweepers. He died. I make no insinuation against anybody in particular, said Mr Vuffin, looking solemnly round, but he was ruining the trade;and he died.
The landlord drew his breath hard, and looked at the owner of the dogs, who nodded and said gruffly that he remembered.
I know you do, Jerry, said Mr Vuffin with profound meaning. I know you remember it, Jerry, and the universal opinion was, that it served him right. Why, I remember the time when old Maunders as had three-and-twenty wansI remember the time when old Maunders had in his cottage in Spa fields in the winter time when the season was over, eight male and female dwarfs setting down to dinner every day, who was waited on by eight old giants in green coats, red smalls, blue cotton stockings, and high- lows: and there was one dwarf as had grown elderly and wicious who whenever his giant wasnt quick
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