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HOME > Classical Novels > A Child of the Jago37 > CHAPTER 18
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 Mr Grinder kept a shop in the Bethnal Green Road. It was announced in brilliant lettering as an 'oil, colour and Italian warehouse,' and there, in addition to the oil and the colour, and whatever of Italian there might have been, he sold pots, pans, kettles, brooms, shovels1, mops, lamps, nails, and treacle2. It was a shop ever too tight for its stock, which burst forth3 at every available opening, and heaped so high on the paving that the window was half buried in a bank of shining tin. Father Sturt was one of the best customers: the oil, candles and utensils4 needed for church and club all coming from Mr Grinder's. Mr Grinder was losing his shop-boy, who had found a better situation; and Father Sturt determined5 that, could but the oil-man be persuaded, Dicky Perrott should be the new boy. Mr Grinder was persuaded. Chiefly perhaps, because the vicar undertook to make good the loss, should the experiment end in theft; partly because it was policy to oblige a good customer; and partly, indeed, because Mr Grinder was willing to give such a boy a chance in life, for he was no bad fellow, as oil-and-colourmen go, and had been an errand boy himself.  
So that there came a Monday morning when Dicky, his clothes as well mended as might be (for Hannah Perrott, no more than another Jago, could disobey Father Sturt), and a cut-down apron6 of his mother's tied before him, stood by Mr Grinder's bank of pots and kettles, in an eager agony to sell something, and near blind with the pride of the thing. He had been waiting at the shop-door long ere Mr Grinder was out of bed; and now, set to guard the outside stock—a duty not to be neglected in that neighbourhood—he brushed a tin pot here and there with his sleeve, and longed for some Jago friend to pass and view him in his new greatness. The goods he watched over were an unfailing source of interest; and he learned by much repetition the prices of all the saucepans, painted in blue distemper on the tin, and ranging from eightpence-halfpenny, on the big pots in the bottom row, to three-halfpence on the very little ones at the top. And there were long ranks of little paraffin lamps at a penny—the sort that had set fire to a garret in Half Jago Street a month since, and burnt old Mother Leary to a greasy7 cinder8. With a smaller array of a superior quality at fourpence-halfpenny—just like the one that had burst at Jerry Gullen's, and burnt the bed. While over his head swung doormats at one-and-eightpence, with penny mousetraps dangling9 from their corners.
When he grew more accustomed to his circumstances, he bethought him to collect a little dirt, and rub it down the front of his apron, to give himself a well-worked and business-like appearance; and he greatly impeded10 women who looked at the saucepans and the mousetraps, ere they entered the shop, by his anxiety to cut them off from Mr Grinder and serve them himself. He remembered the boy at the toy-shop in Bishopsgate Street, years ago, who had chased him through Spitalfields; and he wished that some lurching youngster would snatch a mousetrap, that he might make a chase himself.
At Mr Grinder's every call Dicky was prompt and willing; for every new duty was a fresh delight, and the whole day a prolonged game of real shopkeeping. And at his tea—he was to have tea each day in addition to three and sixpence every Saturday—he took scarce five minutes. There was a
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