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A fugitive who had escaped the law,
And being now discovered, prayed for mercy,
And told his tale so very touchingly
That the young gardener promised him a refuge,
And strictest secresy. For weeks and months
The stranger worked with him, receiving wages
As a hired labourer. Both were fine young men,
Well-grown, broad-chested, full of strength and mettle;
In outward seeming equal to each other,
But inwardly the two were different.

"The stranger, George, had not a gardening turn,
He was book-learned, and had a gift for figures,
And could talk well, which in itself was good;
But he was double-faced, and false as Judas,
Who did betray the Saviour with a kiss.
He had, in truth, been clerk to some great merchant,
Had wronged his trusting master, and had fled,
As I have said, from the pursuit of law.
Of this, however, John knew not a word,
Knew only that he had been in sore trouble,
And, for that cause, he strove to do him good;
And when he found him useless in his trade,
He introduced him to the Squire's bailiff,
Whose daughter he had courted many a year.
This bailiff was a simple, honest man,
Who not designing evil, none suspected.
He found the stranger, clever, quick at reckoning,
Smart with his pen; a likely man of business;
And, therefore, on a luckless day for him,
Brought him before the Squire. Ere long he had
A place appointed him which gave him access
To the Squire daily; principles of honour
Were all unknown to him; all means allowable
Which served his ends. He gained a great ascendance
Over the Squire, and ere four years were passed,
He was appointed bailiff.

The old bailiff
Was sent adrift, and the kind, worthy, Squire,
His thirty years' employer, turned against him!
It was a villain's act, first, to traduce,
And then supplantit was a Judas-trick!
The gardener John, who wooed the bailiffs daughter,
Had married her before this plotter's work
Was come to light; and they, poor, simple folk,
Invited him among their wedding-company,
And he, with his black plots hatching within him,
Came, full of smiles, and ate and drank with them;
The double-fac├ęd villain! The old bailiff
Was turned adrift, as I have said already,
And his dismissal looked like a disgrace,
Although the Squire brought not a charge against him,
Except that he was old, and younger men
Could better carry out his modem plans!
And modern plans, God knows, they had enough!
Old tenants were removed; and soon a notice
Came to the gardener, John, that he must quit;
Must quit the little spot he loved so well,
And where the poor, heart-broken bailiff, found
A home in his distress. It mattered not
Their likings or convenience, go they must;
The Squire was laying out his place afresh
Or the new bailiff, rather; and John's garden
Was wanted for the fine new pleasure-grounds!

"The man of workthe man who toils to live,
Must still be up and doing; 'tis his privilege
That he has little time to wring his hands,
And hang his head because his fate is cruel.
John was a man of action, so, to London

Came he, and, ere a twelvemonth had gone round,
Had taken service as a city fireman.
It was an arduous life; a different life
To that of gardening, of rearing pinks,
Budding the dainty rose, and giving heed
To the unclosing of the tulip's leaf.
But he was one of those who fear not hardship;
And when he saw his little fortunes wrecked
By the smooth villain whom he had befriended,
He left his native place with wife and children,
Mostly because it galled his soul to meet
The man who had so much abused his goodness,
And, in the wide and busy world of London,
Where, as 'tis said, is room for every man,
He came to try his luck. He was strong-limbed,
Active and agile as a mountain goat,
Fearless of danger, hardy, brave, and full
Of pity as is every noble nature.

"He was the boldest of the London firemen.
Clothed in his iron mail like an old warrior,
He rushed on danger, his true heart his shield;
Fear he had none whene'er his duty called.
Oft clomb he to the roofs of burning houses;
Sprang hero and there, and bore off human creatures,
Frantic with terror, or with terror dumb,
Saving their lives at peril of his own.
Such men as these are heroes!

"One dark night,
A stormy winter's night, a fire broke out
Somewhere by Rotherhithea dreadful fire
In midst of narrow streets where the tall houses
Were habited by poor and squalid wretches,
Together packed like sheep within their pens,
And who, unlike the rich, had nought to offer
For their lives' rescue. Here the fire broke out,
And raged with fury; here the fireman, John,
'Mid falling roofs, on dizzy walls aloft,
Through raging flames, and black, confounding smoke,
And noise and tumult as of hell broke loose,
Rushed on, and ever saved some sinking wretch.
Many had thus been saved by his one arm,
When some one said, that in a certain chamber,
High up amid the burning roofs, still lay
A sick man and his child, who, yesternight,
Had hither come as strangers. They were left,
By all forgotten, and must perish there.
Whilst yet they spoke, upon a roof's high ridge,
Amid the eddying smoke and growing flame,
The miserable man was seen to stand,
Stretching his arms for aid in frantic terror.

"Without a moment's pause, amid the fire,
Six stories high, sprang John, who caught the word
That still a human being had been left.
Quick as a thought o'er red-hot floors he leapt,
Through what seemed gulfs of fire, on to the roof
Where stood the frantic man. The crowds below
Looked on and scarcely breathed. They saw him reach
The yet unperished roof-treesaw him pause
Saw the two men start back, as from each other.
They raised a cry to urge him on. They knew not
That here he met his former enemy
The man who had returned him evil for good!
And who had lost his place for breach of trust
Some twelvemonths past, and now had come to want.

"The flames approached the roof. A cry burst forth
Again from the great crowd, and women fainted.
And what did John, think youthis city fireman

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