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But thou art the very best.
So give heed to what I
“Yes, kind mother," said the figure," with all my heart!”
“ With all my heart !” cried the old witch, setting her hands to her sides and laughing loudly. 6. Thou hast such a pretty way of speaking. With all thy heart! And thou didst put thy hand to the left side of thy waistcoat as if thou really hadst one ! ”
So now, in high good humor with this fantastic contrivance of hers, Mother Rigby told the scarecrow that it must go and play its part in the great world, where not one man in a hundred, she affirmed, was gifted with more real substance than itself. And, that he 365 might hold up his head with the best of them, she endowed him, on the spot, with an unreckonable amount of wealth. It consisted partly of a gold mine in Eldorado, and of ten thousand shares in a broken bubble, and of half a million acres of vineyard at the North 370 Pole, and of a castle in the air, and a chateau in Spain, together with all the rents and income therefrom accruing. She further made over to him the cargo of a certain ship, laden with salt of Cadiz, which she herself, by her necromantic arts, had caused to founder, ten 375 years before, in the deepest part of mid ocean. If the salt were not dissolved, and could be brought to market, it would fetch a pretty penny among the fisher
That he might not lack ready money, she gave him a copper farthing of Birmingham manufacture, 380 being all the coin she had about her, and likewise a great deal of brass, which she applied to his forehead, thus making it yellower than ever.
“ With that brass alone,” quoth Mother Rigby,
“ thou canst pay thy way all over the earth. pretty darling! I have done my best for thee.”
Furthermore, that the adventurer might lack no possible advantage toward a fair start in life, this excellent old dame gave him a token by which he was to introduce himself to a certain magistrate, member of the 390 council, merchant, and elder of the church (the four capacities constituting but one man), who stood at the head of society in the neighboring metropolis. The token was neither more nor less than a single word, which Mother Rigby whispered to the scarecrow, and 395 which the scarecrow was to whisper to the merchant.
Gouty as the old fellow is, he'll run thy errands for thee, when once thou hast given him that word in his ear,” said the old witch. “Mother Rigby knows the worshipful Justice Gookin and the worshipful 400 Justice knows Mother Rigby!”
Here the witch thrust her wrinkled face close to the puppet’s, chuckling irrepressibly, and fidgeting all through her system, with delight at the idea which she meant to communicate.
“ The worshipful Master Gookin,” whispered she, “ hath a comely maiden to his daughter. And hark ye, my pet! Thou hast a fair outside, and a pretty wit enough of thine own. Yea, a pretty wit enough!
. Thou wilt think better of it when thou hast seen more 410 of other people's wits. Now, with thy outside and thy inside, thou art the very man to win a young girl's heart. Never doubt it! I tell thee it shall be so. Put but a bold face on the matter, sigh, smile, flourish thy hat, thrust forth thy leg like a dancing-master, put thy 415 right hand to the left side of thy waistcoat, and pretty Polly Gookin is thine own!"
All this while the new creature had been sucking in and exhaling the vapory fragrance of his pipe, and seemed now to continue this occupation as much for 420 the enjoyment it afforded as because it was an essential condition of his existence. It was wonderful to see how exceedingly like a human being it behaved. Its eyes (for it appeared to possess a pair) were bent on Mother Rigby, and at suitable junctures it nodded, 425 or shook its head. Neither did it lack words proper for the occasion : “Really! Indeed! Pray tell me! Is it possible! Upon my word! By no means ! Oh! Ah! Hem !” and other such weighty utterances as imply attention, inquiry, acquiescence, or dissent on the 430 part of the auditor. Even had you stood by and seen the scarecrow made, you could scarcely have resisted the conviction that it perfectly understood the cunning counsels which the old witch poured into its counterfeit of an ear. The more earnestly it applied its lips 435 to the pipe, the more distinctly was its human likeness stamped among visible realities, the more sagacious grew its expression, the more lifelike its gestures and movements, and the more intelligibly audible its voice. Its garments, too, glistened so much the brighter with 440 an illusory magnificence. The very pipe in which burned the spell of all this wonderwork, ceased to appear as a smoke-blackened earthen stump, and became a meerschaum, with painted bowl and amber mouthpiece.
It might be apprehended, however, that as the life of the illusion seemed identical with the vapor of the pipe, it would terminate simultaneously with the reduction of the tobacco to ashes. But the beldam foresaw the difficulty.
“ Hold thou the pipe, my precious one,” said she, - while I fill it for thee again.”
It was sorrowful to behold how the fine gentleman began to fade back into a scarecrow while Mother Rigby shook the ashes out of the pipe and proceeded 455 to replenish it from her tobacco box.
Dickon," cried she, in her high, sharp tone, “another coal for this pipe!”
No sooner said than the intensely red speck of fire was glowing within the pipe bowl ; and the scarecrow, 460 without waiting for the witch’s bidding, applied the tube to his lips and drew in a few short, convulsive whiffs, which soon, however, became regular and equable.
“Now, mine own heart's darling," quoth Mother 465 Rigby, “ whatever may happen to thee, thou must stick to thy pipe. Thy life is in it; and that, at least, thou knowest well, if thou knowest naught besides. Stick to thy pipe, I say! Smoke, puff, blow thy cloud ; and tell the people, if any question be made, that it is for 470 thy health, and that so the physician orders thee to do. And, sweet one, when thou shalt find thy pipe getting low, go apart into some corner, and (first filling thyself with smoke) cry sharply, · Dickon, a fresh pipe of tobacco !' and, Dickon, another coal for my pipe !'475 and have it into thy pretty mouth as speedily as may be. Else, instead of a gallant gentleman in a goldlaced coat, thou wilt be but a jumble of sticks and tattered clothes, and a bag of straw, and a withered pumpkin ! Now depart, my treasure, and good luck 480 go with thee!”
“Never fear, mother !” said the figure, in a stout voice, and sending forth a courageous whiff of smoke,
“I will thrive, if an honest man and a gentleman
« Oh, thou wilt be the death of me!” cried the old witch, convulsed with laughter. “ That was well said. If an honest man and a gentleman may! Thou playest thy part to perfection. Get along with thee for a smart fellow ; and I will wager on thy head, as a man 490 of pith and substance, with a brain and what they call a heart, and all else that a man should have, against any other thing on two legs. I hold myself a better witch than yesterday, for thy sake. Did not I make thee? And I defy any witch in New England to make 495 such another! Here ; take my staff along with thee!"
The staff, though it was but a plain oaken stick, immediately took the aspect of a gold-headed cane.
“ That gold head has as much sense in it as thine own," said Mother Rigby, "and it will guide thee 500 straight to worshipful Master Gookin's door. Get thee gone, my pretty pet, my darling, my precious one, my treasure ; and if
any ask thy name, it is Feathertop. For thou hast a feather in thy hat, and I have thrust a handful of feathers into the hollow of thy head, 505 and thy wig, too, is of the fashion they call Feathertop
so be Feathertop thy name! ”
And, issuing from the cottage, Feathertop strode manfully toward town. Mother Rigby stood at the threshold, well pleased to see how the sunbeams glis-510 tened on him, as if all his magnificence were real, and how diligently and lovingly he smoked his pipe, and how handsomely he walked, in spite of a little stiffness of his legs. She watched him until out of sight, and threw a witch benediction after her darling, when a-515 turn of the road snatched him from her view.