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To THE EYES of Mr. Jeremiah Cruncher, sitting on his stool in
Fleet-street with his grisly urchin beside him, a vast number and
variety of objects in movement were every day presented. Who
could sit upon anything in Fleet-street during the busy hours of the
day, and not be dazed and deafened by two immense processions,
one ever tending westward with the sun, the other ever tending
eastward from the sun, both ever tending to the plains beyond the
range of red and purple where the sun goes down! With his straw
in his mouth, Mr. Cruncher sat watching the two streams, like the
heathen rustic who has for several centuries been on duty watching
one stream-saving that Jerry had no expectation of their ever
running dry. Nor would it have been an expectation of a hopeful
kind, since a small part of his income was derived from the
pilotage of timid women (mostly of a full habit and past the middle
term of life) from Tellson’s side of the tides to the opposite shore.
Brief as such companionship was in every separate instance, Mr.
Cruncher never failed to become so interested in the lady as to
express a strong desire to have the honour of drinking her very
good health. And it was from the gifts bestowed upon him towards
the execution of this benevolent purpose, that he recruited his
finances, as just now observed.

Time was, when a poet sat upon a stool in a public place, and
mused in the sight of men. Mr. Cruncher, sitting on a stool in a
public place, but not being a poet, mused as little as possible, and
looked about him.

It fell out that he was thus engaged in a season when crowds were
few, and belated women few, and when his affairs in general were
so unprosperous as to awaken a strong suspicion in his breast that
Mrs. Cruncher must have been “flopping” in some pointed
manner, when an unusual concourse pouring down Fleetstreet
westward, attracted his attention. Looking that way, Mr. Cruncher
made out that some kind of funeral was coming along, and that
there was popular objection to this funeral, which engendered

“Young Jerry,” said Mr. Cruncher, turning to his offspring, “it’s a
buryin’.” “Hooroar, father!” cried Young Jerry.

The young gentleman uttered this exultant sound with mysterious
significance. The elder gentleman took the cry so ill, that he
watched his opportunity, and smote the young gentleman on the
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