Palm Tree Island
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+ By ploymeesin
‘Twas my uncle Stephen, said Nurse, and a kind good man. Certainly I liked him well enough, and when, two or three days thereafter, he set me before him on his saddle, and rode away humming the rhyme of “Banbury Cross,” I laughed very joyously, never believing but that after I had seen the lady with the tinkling toes, Uncle Stephen would bring me home again, and that by that time my mother would have returned from heaven, whither they told me she had gone.
I did not see my childhood’s home again for near thirty years.
My uncle took me to live with him, in his own house not a great way from Stafford. He was an elder brother of my father’s, and till then had been a bachelor; but having now a small nephew to nourish and breed up, he did not delay to seek a wife, and wed a fine young woman of Burslem. She was very kind to me, and even when there were two boys of her own to engage her affections, her kindness did not alter. So I grew up in great happiness, having had few troubles, the greatest of them being, perhaps, those that beset my first steps to learning in Dame Johnson’s little school. As for my subsequent search after knowledge on the benches of the Grammar School at Stafford, the less said the better: the master once declared, in Latin, that I was “only not a fool.”
The light esteem in which the pedagogue held my intellects did not give my uncle any concern. He was bad at the books himself, saving in one kind I am to mention hereafter. He was a master potter, in a substantial way of business, and held in some repute among men of his trade. Indeed, it was the belief of many in our parts that he might have become as famous in the world as Mr. Wedgwood himself, had he not been afflicted with a hobby.
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