Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Shows How the Fight Began, and...
 Introduces Another Little "Spark"...
 Tells of a Fierce Fight with the...
 Shows How Willie Willders Got Involved...
 Treats of the Difficult Question,...
 Introduces New Characters, and...
 Discloses a Hidden Fire, Which...
 Wherein Will be Found Reference...
 In Which Difficulties and Dissipations...
 Tells of a Strange Character, and...
 Gives a Little Domestic Chit-Chat,...
 In Which Some Rather Wild Doings...
 Which Tells of Joe Corney's Adventure...
 Recounts a Visit Paid by Willie...
 In Which Willie Willders Comes...
 Presents Two Glimpses of Home...
 In Which Joe Corney is Asked for...
 Shows How Dark Plots are Hatch...
 Wherein the Tempter Does a Little...
 Describes a Small Tea-Party
 Gives Another Phase of a Fireman's...
 In Which Mr. James Auberly Come...
 Which Reveals a Remarkable Change...
 Records Changes and Mysteries More...
 Shows What Drink Will Do for a...
 In Which a Strong Light is Thrown...
 Wherein Some Old Friends are Found...
 Shows How Willie Willders in His...
 Illustrates the Proverb that the...
 In Which Changes of Fortune Occur...
 Tells of the Great Fire in Tooley...
 The Last
 Back Cover

Group Title: Tales of adventure
Title: Fighting the flames
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00023577/00001
 Material Information
Title: Fighting the flames a tale of the London fire brigade
Series Title: Tales of adventure
Physical Description: vi, 420, 18 p., 4 leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Ballantyne, R. M ( Robert Michael ), 1825-1894
Richardson, H. Linley ( Illustrator )
James Nisbet & Co., Limited ( Publisher )
T. and A. Constable ( Printer )
Publisher: James Nisbet & Co., Limited
Place of Publication: London (22 Berners Street W.)
Manufacturer: T. and A. Constable
Publication Date: [188-?]
Subject: Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fire extinction -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fire fighters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fathers and daughters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1885   ( rbgenr )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1885   ( rbbin )
Onlays (Binding) -- 1885   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1885
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Onlays (Binding)   ( rbbin )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Statement of Responsibility: by R.M. Ballantyne.
General Note: Illustrations by H. Linley Richardson.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00023577
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002391171
oclc - 03335766
notis - ALZ6060
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Title Page
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Table of Contents
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Shows How the Fight Began, and Who Began It
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Introduces Another Little "Spark" to the Reader
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Tells of a Fierce Fight with the Flames
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Shows How Willie Willders Got Involved in Double Difficulties, to His Intense Delight
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
    Treats of the Difficult Question, "When One is Another Who is Which?"
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
    Introduces New Characters, and Exhibits the Thoughts that Some Women Entertain in Regard to Men
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
    Discloses a Hidden Fire, Which is Supposed to be Unextinguishable, and Reveals Some Strange Tippling Propensities, Etc.
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
    Wherein Will be Found Reference to Auctions and Gymnastics
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
    In Which Difficulties and Dissipations are Treated Of
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
    Tells of a Strange Character, and of Wonderful Plans that Cannot be Briefly Described
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
    Gives a Little Domestic Chit-Chat, Mingled with Alarms
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
    In Which Some Rather Wild Doings and Daring Deeds will be Found; Also Some Curious Eccentricities
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
    Which Tells of Joe Corney's Adventure with Ghosts
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
    Recounts a Visit Paid by Willie Willders, Which Shows Him a New Phase of Life
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
    In Which Willie Willders Comes Out in Quite a New Light
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
    Presents Two Glimpses of Home Life
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
    In Which Joe Corney is Asked for Advice by an Old Lady, and Gives Her Much More than She Expected
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
    Shows How Dark Plots are Hatched
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
    Wherein the Tempter Does a Little More in the Hatching Way
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
    Describes a Small Tea-Party
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
    Gives Another Phase of a Fireman's Life, and Winds Up with a Crash
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
    In Which Mr. James Auberly Come Out in Several Entirely Few Characters
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
    Which Reveals a Remarkable Change in the Prospects and Fortunes of David Boone
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
    Records Changes and Mysteries More or Less Unfathomable
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
    Shows What Drink Will Do for a Man, and What a Man Will Do for Drink
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
        Page 336
        Page 337
        Page 338
        Page 339
        Page 340
    In Which a Strong Light is Thrown on An Old Plot
        Page 341
        Page 342
        Page 343
        Page 344
        Page 345
        Page 346
        Page 347
        Page 348
        Page 349
        Page 350
        Page 351
        Page 352
        Page 353
    Wherein Some Old Friends are Found At the Post of Duty as Usual, and Despair is Followed in One Instance by Madness
        Page 354
        Page 355
        Page 356
        Page 357
        Page 358
        Page 359
        Page 360
        Page 361
        Page 362
        Page 363
        Page 364
        Page 365
        Page 366
        Page 367
        Page 368
    Shows How Willie Willders in His Difficulties Sought Counsel of Mr. Tippet
        Page 369
        Page 370
        Page 371
        Page 372
        Page 373
        Page 374
        Page 375
    Illustrates the Proverb that the Best-Laid Plans Will Sometimes Miscarry
        Page 376
        Page 377
        Page 378
        Page 379
        Page 380
        Page 381
        Page 382
        Page 383
        Page 384
        Page 385
        Page 386
        Page 387
    In Which Changes of Fortune Occur and New Lights of Various Kinds Arise
        Page 388
        Page 389
        Page 390
        Page 391
        Page 392
        Page 393
        Page 394
        Page 395
        Page 396
        Page 397
        Page 398
        Page 399
        Page 400
        Page 401
        Page 402
    Tells of the Great Fire in Tooley Street, and of What Befel Some of the Personages of Our Tale
        Page 403
        Page 404
        Page 405
        Page 406
        Page 407
        Page 408
        Page 409
        Page 410
        Page 411
        Page 412
        Page 413
        Page 414
        Page 415
        Page 416
        Page 417
        Page 418
        Page 419
        Page 420
        Page 421
        Page 422
        Page 423
        Page 424
        Page 425
    The Last
        Page 426
        Page 427
        Page 428
        Page 429
        Page 430
        Page 431
        Page 432
        Page 433
        Page 434
        Page 435
        Page 436
        Page 437
        Page 438
        Page 439
        Page 440
        Page 441
        Page 442
        Page 443
        Page 444
        Page 445
        Page 446
        Page 447
        Page 448
        Page 449
        Page 450
        Page 451
        Page 452
        Page 453
        Page 454
        Page 455
    Back Cover
        Page 456
        Page 457
        Page 458
Full Text

The Baldwin Libraryl UniversityF da



This page contains no text.



PREFACETHIS book is a tale a story a work of fictionfounded on factsIn the fabrication of it my chief aim has been toconvey a correct general idea of the working of theLondon Fire Brigade without attempting to expound that brigade in its uttermost detailsIf in this effort I have been in any degreesuccessful much of my success is due to CaptainE M Shaw chief officer of the Metropolitan FireBrigade to Sampson Low Esq Secretary to theLondon Fire Escape Society and to those officersand men of both brigades who have afforded meevery facility and opportunity for acquiring information and attending fires to all of whom I nowtender my best thanks for their kindness andcourtesyR M B

This page contains no text.

FIGHTING THE FLAMESA TALE OF TUE LONDON FIRE BRIGADR4CIAPTER ISHOWS HOW THE lIGHT BEGA AMD WHO DEQGA IrONE s own fireside is to all well regulated mindsa pleasant subject of contemplation when one isabsent and a source of deep gratification whenpresentEspecially may this be said to be the case in acold raw night in November when mankind has atendency to become chronically cross out of doorsand nature generally looks lugubrious for just inproportion as the exterior world grows miserablychill the world at home with its blazing gas itsdrawn curtains its crackling fires and its beamingsmiles becomes doubly comfortable and cosyEven James Auberly pompous stern and ungenial though he was appeared to entertain somesuch thoughts as he sat by his own fireside oneA

2 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFsuch night in his elegant mansion in Beverly SquareEuston Road London and smiled grimly over thetop of the Times newspaper at the fireMr Auberly always smiled when he condescended to smile grimly He seldom laughedwhen he did so he did it grimly too In fact hewas a grim man altogether a gaunt cadaveroustall careworn middle aged man also a great oneThere could be no question as to that for besidesbeing possessed of wealth which in the opinion ofsome minds constitutes greatness he was chairmanof a railway company and might have changed situations with the charwoman who attended the headoffice of the same without much difference beingfelt He was also a director of several other companies which fortunately for them did not appearto require much direction in the conduct of theiraffairsMr Auberly was also leader of the fashion inhis own circle and an oracle among his own parasites but strange to say he was nobody whateverin any other sphere Cabmen it is true appearedto have an immense respect for him on first acquaintance for his gold rings and chains bespokewealth and he was a man of commanding presencebut their respect never outlived a first engagementCabmen seldom touched their hats to Mr Auberlyon receiving their fare they often parted from him

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 3with a smile as grim as his own and once a peculiarly daring member of the fraternity was heardblandly to request him to step again into the caband he would drive him the nine hundred andninety ninth part of a inch that was still doo on theodd sixpence That generous man even went furtherand when his fare walked away without making areply he shouted after him that if he d only do imthe honour to come back he d throw in a inch ana half extra for nothink But Mr Auberly wasinexorableLouisa dear said Mr Auberly recovering fromthe grim smile which had indicated his appreciationof his own fireside pour me out another cup ofcoffee and then you had better run away to bed Itis getting lateYes papa replied a little dark eyed dark hairedgirl laying down her book and jumping up to obeythe commandIt may be added that she was also dark dressedfor Mr Auberly had become a widower and hischild motherless only six months beforeWhile Louisa was pouring out the coffee herfather rose and turned his back to the fireIt was really interesting almost awe inspiring tobehold Mr Auberly rise he was so very tall andso exceedingly straight So remarkably perpendioular was he so rigidly upright that a hearty but

4 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALB OFsomewhat rude sea captain with whom he once hadbusiness transactions said to his mate on one occasion that he believed Mr Auberly must have beenborn with a handspike lashed to his backboneYes he was wonderfully upright and it would havebeen downright madness to have doubted the uprightness of the spirit which dwelt in such a bodyso nobody did doubt it of course except a few jaundiced and sceptical folk who never could be got tobelieve anythingGood night my love said Mr Auberly as thechild placed the coffee beside his chair and thenadvanced somewhat timidly and held up her cheekto be kissedThe upright man stooped and there was a shadeless of grimness in his smile as his lips touched hisdaughter s pale cheekLouisa or to use the name by which she was betterknown in the house Loo had clasped her handstightly together while she was in the act of receiving this tribute of parental affection as if she werestruggling to crush down some feeling but the feeling whatever it was would not be crushed down itrose up and asserted itself by causing Loo to burstinto a passionate flood of tears throw her armsround her father s neck and hold him tight therewhile she kissed his cheek all overTut tut child I exclaimed Mr Auberly en

THE LONDON IRE BRIGADE 5deavouring to re arrange the stiff collar and cravatwhich had been sadly disordered you must reallytry to get over these there don t be cast downhe added in a kinder tone patting Loo s headGood night dear run away to bed now and be agood girlLoo smiled faintly through her tears as she lookedup at her father who had again become uprightsaid Good night and ran from the room with adegree of energy that might have been the result ofexuberant spirits though possibly it was causedby some other feelingMr Auberly sat for some time dividing his attentions pretty equally between the paper the fire andthe coffee until he recollected having received aletter that day which he had forgotten to answerwhereupon he rose and sat down before his writingtable to replyThe letter was from a poor widow a sister in lawof his own who had disgraced herself for ever atleast in Mr Auberly s eyes by having married awaterman Mr Auberly shut his eyes obstinatelyto the fact that the said waterman had by the sheerforce of intelligence good conduct courage and perseverance raised himself to the command of an EastIndiaman It is astonishing how firmly some peoplecan shut their eyes sew them up as it were andplaster them over to some things and how easily

0 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OPthey can open them to others I Mr Auberly s eyeswere open only to the fact that his sister in law hadmarried a waterman and that that was an unpardonable sin for which she was for ever banished fromthe sunshine of his presenceThe wido s letter set forth that since her husband s death she had been in somewhat poor circumstances though not in absolute poverty for whichshe expressed herself thankful that she did notwrite to ask for money but that she had a youngson a boy of about twelve whom she was veryanxious to get into a mercantile house of some sortand knowing his great influence etc etc she hopedthat forgetting if not forgiving the past now thather husband was dead he would kindly do what hecould etc etcTo this Mr Auberly replied that it was impossible to forgive the past but he would do his best toforget it and also to procure a situation for her sonthough certainly not in his own office on one consideration namely that she the widow should forgetthe past also including his own Mr Auberly sexistence as she had once before promised to doand that she should never inform her son or anyother member of her family if there happened tobe any other members of it of the relationshipexisting between them nor apply to him by visit orby letter for any farther favours In the event of

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADB 7her agreeing to this arrangement she might sendher son to his residence in Beverly Square on Thursday next between eleven and twelveJust as he concluded this letter a footman entered softly and laid a three cornered note on thetableStay Hopkins I want you said Mr Auberlyas he opened the note and ran his eye over itHopkins who was clad in blue velvet and whitestockings stood like a mute beside his master schair He was very tall and very thin and veryred in the noseIs the young woman waiting Hopkins IYes sir she s in the lobbySend her upIn a few seconds Hopkins reopened the door andlooked down with aajestic condescension on a smartyoung girl whom he ushered into the roomThat will do you may go stay post thisletter Come here young womanThe young woman who was evidently a respectable servant girl approached with some timidityYour name is Matty Merryon I understandyes sir at least so your late mistress Miss TippLtinforms me Pray what does Matty stand forMartha sirWell Martha Miss Tippet gives you a verygood character which is well because I intend

8 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFyou to be servant to my child her maid but MisnTippet qualifies her remarks by saying that you area little careless in some things What things areyou careless inLa sirYou must not say La I my girl interrupted MrAuberly with a frown nor use exclamations of anykind in my presence what are the some thingsreferred toSure I don t know sir said the abashed MattyI s pose there s a many things I an t very good atbut please sir I don t mean to do nothin wrongsir I don t indeed an Ill try to serve you wellsir if it wor only to plaaze my missis as I m leavinagainst my will for I love myThere that will do said Mr Auberly somewhatsternly as the girl appeared to be getting excitedRing that bell now go downstairs and Hopkinswill introduce you to my housekeeper who willexplain your duties to youHopkins entered and solemnly marched MarthaMerryon to the regions belowMr Auberly locked away his papers pulled outhis watch wound it up and then lighting a bedroom candle proceeded with much gravity upstairsHe was a very stately looking man and strikinglydignified as he walked upstairs to his bedroomslowly and deliberately as though he were marching

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 9at his own funeral to the tune of something evendeader than the Dead March in SaulIt is almost a violation of propriety to tMink ofMr Auberly doing such a very undignified thing asgoing to bed 1 Yet truth requires us to tell thathe did it that he undressed himself as othermortals do that he clothed himself in the wontedghostly garment and that when his head was lastseen in the act of closing the curtains around himthere was a conical white cap on it tied with astring below the chin and ornamented on the topwith a little tassel which waggled as though it werebidding a triumphant and final adieu to humandignity IHalf an hour later Mrs Rose the housekeepera matronly good looking woman with very redcheeks was busy in the study explaining to MattyMerryon her duties She had already shown her allover the house and was now at be concludinglessonLook here now Merryon began the housekeeperOh plaaze don t call me Merryon I an t usedto it Call me Matty do nowVery well Matty continued Mrs Rose with asmile I ve no objection you Irish are a strangerace 1 Now look here This is master s study andmind he s very partikler dreadful partikler 1

10 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFShe paused and looked at her pupil as if desirousof impressing this point deeply on her memoryHe don t like his papers or books touched noteven dusted So you ll be careful not to dust emnor to touch em even so much as with your littlefinger for he likes to find em in the mornin just ashe left em at nightYes Missis Rose said Matty who was evidentlygiving up her whole soul to the instruction that wasbeing impartedNow continued the housekeeper the arrangingof this room will be your last piece of work at nightYou ll just come in rake out the grate carry offthe ashes lay the noo fire put the matches handyon the chimney piece look round to see that all sright and then turn off the gas The master is aearly riser and lights the fire his self of a morninYes m said Matty with a courtesyNow go and do it said Mrs Rose that I maysee you understand it Begin with the grate anthe ashesMatty who was in truth an experienced maid ofall work began with alacrity to discharge the dutiesof her new station She carried off the ashes andreturned with the materials for next day s fire in ashovel Here she gave a slight indication of herso called carelessness awkwardness would havebeen more appropriate by letting two or three

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 11pieces of stick and a bit of coal fall on the carpetin her passage across the roomBe careful Matty said Mrs Rose gently It sall along owin to haste Take your time an youwon t do sitch thingsMatty apologized picked up the materials andlaid the fire Then she took her apron and approached the writing table evidently with the intention of taking the dust off the corners but notby any means intending to touch the books orpapersStop cried Mrs Rose sternlyMatty stopped with a guilty lookNot a touch said Mrs RoseNot even the idges nor the legs inquired thepupilNeither edges nor legs said the instructorSure it could do no harmMatty said Mrs Rose solemnly the greatthing that your countrywomen have to learn isobedienceThank ee m said Matty who being overawedby the housekeeper s solemnity felt confused andwas uncertain whether the reference to her countrywomen was complimentary or the reverseNow continued Mrs Rose the matchesMatty placed the box of matches on the chimneypiece

13S IGHTING TTR FLAMESI A TALE OTVery well now you ve got to look round to seethat all s rightMatty looked round on the dark portraits thatcovered the walls supposed to be ancestors on theshelves of books great and small new and old supposed to be read on the vases statuettes chairstables desks curtains papers etc etc and beingutterly ignorant of what constituted right and whatwrong in reference to such things finally turned hereyes on Mrs Rose with an innocent smileDon t you see that the shutters are neither shutnor barred MattyShe had not seen this but she at once went andclosed and barred them in which operation shelearned first that the bars refused to receive theirrespective catches with unyielding obstinacy forsome time and second that they suddenly gave inwithout rhyme or reason and pinched her fingersseverelyNow then what next inquired Mrs RosePut out the gas suggested MattyAnd leave yourself in the dark 1 said the housekeeper in a tone of playful ironyAh sure didn t I forgit the candle 1In order to rectify this oversight Matty laid theunlighted candle which she had brought with herto the room on the writing table and going to thechimney piece returned with the match box

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 13Be careful now Matty said Mrs Rose earnestlyThere s nothink I ve sitch a fear of as fire Youcan t be too carefulThis remark made Matty who was of an anxioustemperament extremely nervous She struck thematch hesitatingly and lighted the candle shakilyOf course it would not light candles never do onsuch occasions and a long red hot end of burntwood projected from the point of the matchDon t let the burnt end drop into the wastepaper basket 1 exclaimed Mrs Rose in an unfortunate momentWhere exclaimed Matty with a start that sentthe red hot end into the centre of a mass of papersThere just at your feet don t be so nervousgirl cried Mrs RoseMatty in her anxiety not to drop the match atonce dropped it into the waste paper basket whichwas instantly alight A stamp of the foot mighthave extinguished it but this did not occur to eitherof the domestics The housekeeper who was acourageous woman seized the basket in both handsand rushed with it to the fireplace thereby fanningthe flame into a blaze and endangering her dressand curls She succeeded however in crammingthe basket and its contents into the grate then thetwo with the aid of poker tongs and shovel crushedand beat out the fire

14 FIGHTING THE FLAMS A TALE OFThere I said you d do it gasped Mrs Rose asshe flung herself panting into Mr Auberly s easychair this comes all along of bein in a hurryI was always unfort nit sighed Matty still holding the shovel and keeping her eye on the grate asif ready to make a furious attack on the smallestspark that should venture to show itselfCome now we ll go to bed said Mrs Roserising but first look well round to see that all issafeA thorough and most careful investigation wasmade of the basket the grate and the carpet surrounding the fireplace but nothing beyond the smellof the burnt papers could be discovered so the instructor and pupil put out the gas shut the doorand retired to the servants hall where Hopkinsthe cook the housemaid and a small maid of allwork awaited their arrival supper being already onthe tableHere Mrs Rose entertained the company with agraphic not to say exaggerated account of thesmall fire in the study and wound up with aneloquent appeal to all to beware of fire and anassurance that there was nothing on the face of thewhole earth that she had a greater horror ofMeanwhile the little spark among the papersforgotten in the excitement of the succeeding blazeof the waste paper basket continued to do its slow

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 15but certain work Having fallen on the cloth between two bundles it smouldered until it reached acotton pen wiper which received it rather greedilyin its embrace This pen wiper lay in contact withsome old letters which were dry and tindery in theirnature and being piled closely together in a heapafforded enlarged accommodation for the sparkwhich in about half an hour became quite worthyef being termed a swellAfter that things went on like like a houseon fire if we may venture to use that too oftenmisapplied expression in reference to the elegantmansion in Beverly Square on that raw Novembernight

CHAPTER ILITRODUCES A OTHER LITTLB BPABK TO THE BADERWHISTLING is a fine free manly description ofmusic which costs little and expresses muchIn all its phases whistling is an interesting subject of study whether we regard its aptitude forexpressing personal independence recklessness andjollity its antiquity having begun no doubt withAdam or its modes of production as whencreated grandly by the whistling gale or exasperatingly by the locomotive or gushingly by thelark or sweetly by the little birds that warble inthe flowering thornThe peculiar phase sf this time honoured musicto which we wish to draw the reader s attention atpresent is that which was exemplified one November night the same November night of whichmention has been made in the previous chapter bya small boy who in his progress through the streetsof London was arrested suddenly under the shadow

FIOGHTNG THE FLAMES 17of St Paul s by the bright glare and the temptingfare of a pastry cook s windowBeing hungry the small boy thrusting his coldhands deep into his empty trouser pockets turnedhis fat little face and round blue eyes full on thewindow and stared at the tarts and pies like afamishing owl Being poor so poor that he possessed not the smallest coin of the realm he staredin vain and being light of heart as well as stoutof limb he relieved his feelings by whistling at thefood with inexpressible energyThe air selected by the young musician was JimCrow a sable melody high in public favour at thattime the familiar strains of which he deliveredwith shrid and tuneful precision which intensifiedas he continued to gaze until they rose above thedin of cabs vans and busses above the house topsabove the walls of the great cathedral and finallyawakened the echoes of its roof which coming outfrom the crevices and cornices where they usuallyslept went dancing upwards on the dome andplayed around the golden cross that glimmered likea ghost in the dark wintry skyThe music also awakened the interest of a tallpoliceman whose beat that night chanced to be StPaul s Churchyard That sedate guardian of thenight observing that the small boy slightly impededthe thoroughfare sauntered up to him and just aB

18 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFhe reached that point in the chorus where Mr Crowis supposed to wheel and turn himself about spunhim round and gave him a gentle rap on the headwith his knuckles at the same time advising him tomove onOh I exclaimed the small boy looking up withan expression of deep concern on his countenance as he backed off the pavement I hope Ididn t hurt you bobby I really didn t mean tobut accidents will happen you know an if youwon t keep your knuckles out of a feller s waywhyCome muttered the policeman shut up yourpotatn trap for fear you kitch cold Your motherwants you she s got some pap ready for youHa I exclaimed the small boy with his head alittle on one side as though he were critically inspecting the portrait of some curious animal aprophet it is a blue coated prophet in brassbuttons all but choked with a leather stock if notconceit A horacle six fut two in its stockin s Isay bobby whoever brought you up carried you upmuch too high both in body and notions Wotwouldn t they give for im in the Guards or theboss marines if he was only eight inches wideracross the shoulders ISeeing that the policeman passed slowly andgravely on without condescending to take further

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 19notice of him the small boy bade him an affectionate farewell said that he would not forget tomention him favourably at head quarters and thencontinued his progress through the crowded streetsat a smart pace whistling Jim Crow at the top ofhis shrill pipeThe small boy had a long walk before him butneither his limbs spirits nor lips grew weary by theway Indeed his energies seemed to increase withevery step if one might judge from the easy swaggerof his gait and the various little touches of pleasantry in which he indulged from time to time suchas pulling the caps over the eyes of boys smallerthan himself winking at those who were biggeruttering Indian war whoops down alleys and lanesthat looked as if they could echo and chaffing allwho appeared to be worthy of his attentions Thoseeccentricities of humour however did not divert hisactive mind from the frequent and earnest study ofthe industrial arts as these were exhibited andexemplified in shop windowsJolly stiuT that ain t it observed another smallboy in a coat much too long for him as they metand stopped in front of a chocolate shop at the topof Holborn Hill where a steam engine was perpetually grinding up such quantities of rich brownchocolate that it seemed quite unreasonable selfishand dog in the manger ish of the young man

20 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TAL OFbehind the counter to stand there and neither eai ithimself nor let any one else touch itYes it s very jolly stuff replied the first smallboy regarding his questioner sternly I knowyou d like some wouldn t you Go in now an buytwo pen orth and I ll buy the half from you w enyou come outWalker i replied the boy in the long coatJust so and I d advise you to become a walkertoo retorted the other run away now yourmaster s bin askin after you for half an hour Iknow an moreWithout waiting for a reply the small boy oursmall boy swaggered away whistling louder thaneverPassing along Holborn he continued his way intoOxford Street where the print shop windows provedirresistibly attractive They seemed also to havethe effect of stimulating his intellectual and conceptive faculties insomuch that he struck out severalnew and to himself highly entertaining pieces ofpleasantry one of which consisted in asking a taciturn cabman in the meekest of voicesPlease sir you couldn t tell me wot s o clockcould youThe cabman observed a twinkle in the boy s eyesaw through him in a metaphorical sense and treatedhim with silent contempt

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 21Oh I beg pardon sir continued the small boyin the same meek tone as he turned to move humblyaway I forgot to remember that cabbies don t carryno watches no nor change neither they re much toowide awake for that IA sudden motion of the taciturn cabman causedthe small boy to dart suddenly to the other side ofthe crowded street where he resumed his easy independent air and his interrupted tuneCan you direct me to Nottin Hill Gate missushe inquired of an applewoman on reaching theneighbourhood of Tottenham Court RoadStraight on as you go boy answered the womanwho was busying herself about her stallVery good indeed said the small boy with apatronizing air quite correctly answered You velearnt geography I seeWhat say inquired the woman who wasapparently a little deafI was askin the price o your oranges missusOne penny apiece said the woman taking uponeThey an t biled to make em puff out are theyTo this the woman vouchsafed no replyCome missus don t be cross wot s the price oyer apples nowD you want one 1 asked the woman testilyOf course I does

22 lIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFWell then they re two a pennyTwo a penny cried the small boy with a lookof surprise why I d a said they was a pennyapiece Good evenin missus I never buys cheapfruit cheap and nasty no no good eveninIt seemed as if the current of the small boy sthoughts had been diverted by this conversation for6h walked for some time with his eyes cast onthe ground and without whistling but whatever thefeelings were that might have been working in hismind they were speedily put to flight by a facetiousbutcher who pulled his hat over his eyes as hepassed himNow then pig sticker what d ye mean by thathe shouted but as the butcher walked on withoutdeigning to reply he let off his indignation by yelling in at the open door of a tobacco shop and making off at a brisk runFrom this point in his progress he became stillmore hilarious and daring in his freaks and turneaaside once or twice into narrow streets where soundsof shouting or of music promised him fresh excitementOn turning the corer of one of those streets hepassed a wide doorway by the side of which was aknob with the word FIRE in conspicuous lettersabove it and the word BELL below it The smallboy paused caught his breath as if a sudden thought

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 23had struck him and glanced round The street wascomparatively quiet his heart beat high he seizedthe bell with both hands pulled it full out andboltedNow it chanced that one of the firemen of thestation happened to be standing close to the doorinside at the time He guessing the meaning ofthe ring at once darted out and gave chaseThe small boy fled on the wings of terror withhis blue eyes starting from their sockets The fireman was tall and heavy but he was also strong andin his prime so that a short run brought him upwith the fugitive whom he seized with a gripe of ironNow then young bottle imp what did youmean by thatOh please sir gasped the small boy with abeseeching look I couldn t help itThere was such a tone of truthfulness in thiscouldn t that it tickled the fireman His mouthrelaxed in a quiet smile and releasing his intendedvictim he returned to the station while the smallboy darted away in the direction of Oxford StreetHe had scarcely reached the end of the streethowever when a man turned the corner at full speedand ran him down ran him down so completelythat he sent him head over heels into the kenneland passing on darted at the fire bell of the stationwhich he began to pull violently

24 FIGHTING THE FLAMESThe man was tall and dishevelled partially cladin blue velvet with stockings which had once beenwhite but were now covered from garter to toe withmud One shoe clung to his left foot the other wasfixed by the heel in a grating over a cellar windowin Tottenham Court Road Without hat or coatwith his shirt sleeves torn by those unfortunatesinto whose arms he had wildly rushed with his hairstreaming backwards his eyes blood shot his facepale as marble and perspiration running down hischeeks not even his own most intimate friendswould have recognised Hopkins the staid softspoken polite and gentle Hopkins had they seenhim that night pulling like a maniac at the firebellAnd without doubt Hopkins was a maniac thatnight at least he was afflicted with temporary insanity I

CHAPTER IILRtla that ll do man 1 cried the same stalwart fireman who had seized the small boy steppingout and laying his hand on Hopkins shoulderwhereabouts is itHopkins heard him not One idea had burntitself into the poor man s brain and that was theduty that lay on him to ring the alarm bell Seeingthis the fireman seized him and dragged him forciblyalmost lifted him into the station round thedoor of which an eager crowd had already begun tooollectCalm yourself said the stalwart fireman quietlyas he thrust Hopkins down into a chair Considernow You ll make us too late if you don t speakWhere is itB B FIRE I yelled Hopkins gasping and glaring round him on the men who were quietly puttingon their helmetsHopkins suddenly burst from the grasp of hisa

26 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFcaptor and rushing out seized the bell handlewhich he began to pull more furiously than everGet her out Jim said the fireman in a low toneto one of his comrades her being the engine atthe same time he went to the door and againseizing Hopkins brought him back and forced himinto a chair while he said firmlyNow then out with it man where s the fireYes yes screamed Hopkins fire fire that sit I B I B Beverly blazes square numberFIREThat ll do said the fireman at once releasingthe temporary maniac and going to a book wherehe calmly made an entry of the name of the squarethe hour of the night and the nature of the callTwo lines sufficed Then he rose put on his helmetand thrust a small hatchet into his belt just as theengine was dragged to the door of the stationThere was something absolutely magnificent inthis scene which no pen can describe because morethan half its force was conveyed only by the eyeand the ear The strong contrast between humanexcitement and madness coupled with imbecilityand human calmness and self possession coupledwith vigorous promptitude was perfectJust before poor Hopkins rang his first note ofalarm the station had been wrapt in profoundsilence the small boy s interruption having been

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 2but a momentary affair George Dale the firemanin charge was seated at a desk in the watch roomknown among firemen as the lobby making anentry in a diary All the other men about thirteenin number had gone to their respective homes andbeds in the immediate neighbourhood with theexception of the two whose turn it was to remainon duty all night These two named Baxmore andCorney with their coats belts boots and caps onhad just lain down on two low tressel couches andwere courting sleep The helmets of their comrades hung on the walls round the room with beltsand hatchets underneath them Several pairs ofboots also graced the walls and a small clock whosegentle tick was the only sound that broke the silenceof the night In an outer room the dim form of aspare engine could be seen through the doorwayThe instant that the bell rang however this stateof quietude was put to flight The two men roefrom their couches and Dale stepped to the doorThere was no starting up no haste in their movements yet there was prompt rapidity The menhaving been sailors had been trained in the midstof alarms The questions which were put to Hopkins as above described were rapidly utteredBefore they were answered the two men wereready and at Dale s order Get her out they bothvanished

28 FIGHTING T FLAMES A TALE OFOne ran round the corner to the engine houseand knocked up the driver in passing The otherran from door to door of the firemen s abodes whichwere close at hand and with a loud double ringsummoned the sleepers Before he got back tohelp the first with the engine one and another andanother door opened and a man darted out buttoning braces or coat as he ran Each went into thestation seized his nelmet belt and axe from hisown peg and in another moment all were armedcap d pie At the same instant that the engineappeared at the door a pair of horses were trottedup Two men held them two others fastened thetraces the driver sprang to his seat the othersleaped to their respective places Each knew whatto do and did it at once There was no hurry noloss of time no excitement some of the men evenwhile acting with the utmost vigour and promptitude were yawning away their drowsiness and inless than ten minutes from the moment the bellfirst rang the whip cracked and the fire enginedashed away from the station amid the cheers ofthe crowdIt may be as well to remark here in passing thatthe London Fire Brigade had at the time of whichwe write reached a high state of efficiency althoughit could not stand comparison with the perfectionof system and unity of plan which mark the

THE LONDON FIE BRIGADE 29organization and conduct of the Brigade of thepresent day Mr Braidwq d the able superintendent had for many years been training his men ona system the original of which he had begun andproved in Edinburgh Modifying his system to suitthe peculiarities of the larger field to which he hadbeen translated he had brought the Fire EngineEstablishment which belonged at that time toseveral insurance companies to a state of efficiencywhich rendered it a model and a training school forthe rest of the world and although he had not theadvantage of the telegraph or the powerful aid ofthe land steam fire engine of the present day hehad men of the same metal as those which composethe force now indeed many of the men who werealive in Mr Braidwood s time are alive still anddoing dutyThe Metropolitan Fire Brigade as it now existsunder the control of the Metropolitan Board ofWorks has been carried by its present chief Captain Eyre Massey Shaw to a condition of efficiencylittle if at all short of perfection its only faultbeing if we may humbly venture a remark thatit is too small both in numbers of engines andmenNow good reader if you have never seen a London fire engine go to a fire you have no conceptionof what it is and even if you have seen it but

30 FIGHTB G THE FLAMES A TALE OFShave not gone with it still you have no idea of whatitisTo those accustomed to it no doubt it may betame enough we cannot tell but to those whomount an engine for the first time and drive throughthe crowded thoroughfares of London at a wildtearing gallop it is probably the most exciting driveconceivable It beats steeple chasing It feels likedriving to destruction so wild and so reckless isit And yet it is not reckless in the strict sense ofthat word for there is a stern need be in the caseEvery moment not to mention minutes or hours isof the utmost importance in the progress of a fireFire smoulders and creeps at first it may be butwhen it has got the mastery and burst into flamesit flashes to its work and completes it quickly Atsuch times one moment of time lost may involvethousands of pounds ay and many human livesThis is well known to those whose profession it is tofight the flames Hence the union of apparent maddesperation with cool quiet self possession in theirproceedings When firemen can work in silencethey do so No unnecessary word is uttered novoice is needlessly raised Like the movements ofsome beautiful steam engine which with oiledpistons cranks and levers does its unobtrusivework in its own little chamber in comparative stillness yet with a power that would tear and rend to

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE L1pieces buildings and machinery so the firemensometimes bend to their work quietly though withmind and muscles strung to the utmost point oftension At other times like the roaring locomotivecrashing through a tunnel or past a station theircourse is a tumultuous rush amid a storm of shouting and gesticulationSo was it on the present occasion Had the firebeen distant they would have had to commencetheir gallop somewhat leisurely for fear of breakingdown the horses but it was not far off not muchmore than a couple of miles so they dashed roundthe corner of their own street at a brisk trot andswept into Oxford Street Here they broke into agallop and here the noise of their progress beganfor the great thoroughfare was crowded with vehiclesand pedestrians many of whom were retiring fromthe theatres and music halls and other places ofentertainmentTo pass through such a crowd without cominginto collision with anything required not only themost dexterous driving but rendered it necessarythat some of the men on the engine should stand upand shout or rather roar incessantly as they whirledalong clearing everything out of their way andnarrowly escaping innumerable crashes by a merehairbreadthThe men as we said before having been sailoras

32 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE Ofseemed to shout with the memory of the boatswainstrong upon them for their tones were pitched inthe deepest and gruffest bass key Sometimesthere was a lull for a moment as a comparativelyclear space of a hundred yards or so lay before themthen their voices rose like the roaring of the gale asa stupid or deaf cabman got in their way or aplethoric bus threatened to interrupt their furiouspassageThe cross streets were the points where the chiefdifficulties met them There the cab and vandrivers turned into or crossed the great thoroughfareall ignorant of the thunderbolt that was rushing onlike a fiery meteor with its lamps casting a glare oflight before and the helmets of its stern charioteersflashing back the rays of street lamps and windowsfor late though the hour was all the gin palacesand tobacconists shops and many of the restaurantswere still open and brightly illuminatedAt the corner of Wells Street the crowd of cabsand other vehicles was so great that the driver ofthe engine began to tighten his reins and JimBaxmore and Joe Corney raised their voice to afierce shout Cabs busses and pedestrians scattered right and left in a marvellous manner thedriver slackened his reins cracked his whip andthe horses stretched out againIn passing Berners Street a hansom cab swept

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 33round the corner its dashing driver smoking a cigarin sublime self satisfaction and looking carelesslyright and left for a fare This exquisite almostran into the engine I There was a terrific howlfrom all the firemen the cabby turned his smarthorse with a bound to one side and lost his cigar inthe act in reference to which misfortune he washeartily congratulated by a small member of theShoe black Brigade while the engine went steadilyand sternly on its wayThere it shows a light observed one of the firemen to Dale as he pointed to a luminous appearancein the sky away to the north eastDale was already looking in that direction andmade no replyAs they approached Tottenham Court Road thedriver again checked the pace a little yet even atthe reduced speed they passed everything like awhirlwind The traffic here was so great that itbehoved them to be more cautious Of course themore need that there was for caution the morenecessity was there for shouting and the duty ofBaxmore and Corney standing as they did in frontof their comrades beside the driver became severebut they had good lungs both of themAt the point where Tottenham Court Road cutsOxford Street the accumulation of vehicles of allsorts from a hand barrow to a furniture van ijC

84 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE O0usually very great To one unaccustomed to thepowers of London drivers it would have seemednothing short of madness to drive full tilt into themass that blocked the streets at this point Butthe firemen did it They reined up a little it istrue just as a hunter does in gathering his horsetogether for a rush at a stone wall but there wasnothing like an approach to stoppingHi HI HI roared the firemen Baxmoreand Corney high above the rest A bus lumberedto the left just in time a hansom sprang to theright not a moment too soon a luggage van boltedinto Crown Street the pedestrians scattered rightand left and the way was clear no not quite clearThe engine had to turn at a right angle here intoTottenham Court Road Round it went on the twooff wheels and came full swing on a market gardenerand a hot coffee woman who were wheeling theirrespective barrows leisurely side by side and chatting as they wentThe roar that burst from the firemen was terrificThe driver attempted both to pull up and to turn asideThe market gardener dropt his barrow and fledThe hot coffee woman being of a resolute naturethrust her barrow by main force on the footpath andso saved her goods and herself by a hairbreadthwhile the barrow of her friend was knocked in piecesBut the effort of the engine driver to avoid this had

THE LONDON FIBR BRIGADL 8well nigh resulted in serious consequences In endeavouring to clear the market gardener he drew sonear to the foot path that in another moment alamp post would have been carried away and thewheels of the engine in all probability knocked offhad not Joe Corney observed the dangerWith a truly Irish yell Joe seized the rein nexthim and pulled the horses round almost at a rightangle The nave of the hind wheel just shaved thepost as it flew by The whole thing passed soawiftly that before the market gardener recoveredfrom his consternation the engine was only discernible in the distance by the sparks that flew from itswheels as it held on in its furious wayAll along its course a momentary disturbance ofLondon equanimity was created Families not yetabed rushed to their front windows and lookingout exclaimed Ha the firemen Tipplers in ginpalaces ran to the doors and said There they goThat s your sort Hurrah my hearties 1 or Goit ye cripples according to the different stages ofinebriation at which they had arrived and belatedmen of business stopped to gaze and then resumedtheir way with thoughts and speculations on fire andfire insurance more or less deep and serious according to temperament But the disturbance was onlytemporary The families retired to their suppers orbeds the tipplers returned to their tipple the belated

6 FIGHTING THE PLAM A TALU OFspeculators to their dreams and in a few minutesno doubt forgot what they had seen and forgotperchance that they had any personal interest infire raising or fire extinction or fire prevention orfire in any dangerous shape or form whatever or indulged in the comforting belief mayhap that whatever disasters might attend the rest of the Londoncommunity they and their houses being endued withthe properties of the salamander nothing in theshape of fire might could would or should kindleupon them So true is it that all men think allmen mortal but themselves IDo you doubt this reader If so go poll youracquaintance and tell us how many of them havegot rope ladders or even ropes to escape from theirhouses should they take fire how many of themhave got hand pumps or even buckets placed so asto be handy in case of fire and how many of themhave got their houses and furniture insured againstfire IMeanwhile the fire engine held on its way untilit turned into Beverly Square and pulled short up infront of the blazing mansion of James AuberlyEsquireAnother engine was already at work there Ithad come from a nearer station of the existence ofwhich Hopkins had been ignorant when he set outon his wild race for help The men of this singua

Tan LOKDON rit RItGLD STwere already doing their work quietly but with pwceptible effect pouring incessant streams of waterin at the blazing windows and watching for theslightest lull in the ferocity of the smoke and flameto attack the enemy at closer quartera

OHAPTER IVTEl OF A FIBRCE FIGHT WITH THE IA BWHEN the small boy whose name it may be swell to mention was William alias Willie Willderssaw the fire engine start as has been alreadydescribed his whole soul yearned to follow it for inthe course of his short life he had never succeededin being at the beginning of a fire although he hadoften been at the middle and end of one not a verydifficult thing in London by the way seeing thatthere are on the average between four and five firesevery twenty four hours IWillie Willders was of an inquiring dispositionHe wanted to know how things were managed at afire from the beginning to the end and he foundthat the course of true inquiry like another coursewe wot of never did run smoothPoor Willie s heart was with that engine but hislegs were not They did their best but they failedstrong and active though they were to keep up withthe horses So Willie heaved a bursting sigh and

This page contains no text.


FIGHTING THE FLAMI8 39slackened his speed as he had often done before insimilar circumstances resolving to keep it in sightas long as he could and trust to his eyesight and tothe flames showing a light for the restJust as he came to this magnanimous resolve astrapping young gentleman called a passing cableaped in ordered the driver to follow the engineand offered double fare if he should keep it in viewup to the fireWillie being sharp as a needle at once steppedforward and made as though he would open the doorfor the gentleman The youth was already in andthe door shut but he smiled as he shouted to thedriver All right and tossed a copper to Williewith the remark There you scamp The copperfell in the mud and there Willie left it as hedoubled nimbly behind the vehicle and laid holdof itThe cabman did his best to earn his double fareand thus it came to pass that Willie was in time tosee the firemen commencing workAs the young man leaped from the cab he uttereda cry of surprise and alarm and rushed towards thecrowd of firemen nearest to the burning house without paying his fare Willie was a little astonishedat this but losing sight of the youth in the crowdand seeing nothing more of him at that time hebecame engrossed in other matters9

40 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFThere were so many men on the ground howeverfor just then a third engine dashed up to thescene of conflagration that it was difficult for theexcited boy to appreciate fully what he saw Hegot as close to the engine however as the policemen would allow him and observed that a fire plughad been already opened and over it had beenplaced a canvas cistern of about a yard long byeighteen inches broad stretched on an iron frameThe cistern was filled with water to overflowingand the first engine had placed its suction pipe init while from the front of the engine extended theleathern hose that conveyed the water to the burninghouseWillie was deeply interested in this and wasendeavouring to solve certain knotty points in hisown mind when they were suddenly solved for himby a communicative dustman who stood in thecrowd close by and thus expounded the matter tohis inquisitive sonYou see Tommy the use o the cistern is hobvious See here s ow it lies If an ingin comesup an screwges its suction on to the plug all theother ingins as comes after it has to stan by an donuffin But by puttin the cistern over the plug anlettin it fill another ingin or may be two more canram in its suction and drink away till it s fit toburst d ye see

THE LONDON IREE BRIGAD 41Willie drank in the information with avidity andthen turned his attention to the front of the engineto which several lengths of hose each forty feetlong had been attached Baxmore and Corney wereat the extreme end screwing on the branch ornozzle by which the stream of water is directedand Dale was tumbling a half drunk and riotousnavvy head over heels into the crowd in order toconvince him that his services to pump were notwanted a sufficient number having been procuredA couple of policemen walked this navvy quietlyfrom the scene as Dale called outSDown with her boys IPump away lads I said one of the firemeninterpretingThe volunteers bent their backs and the whiteclouds of steam that issued from the burning houseshowed that the second engine was doing its workwellImmediately after Dale and his men with theexception of those required to attend the engine andthe branch were ordered to get out the laddersHe who gave this order was a tall sinewy manmiddle aged apparently and of grave demeanourHis dress was similar to that of the other firemenbut there was an air of quiet unobtrusive authorityabout him which showed that he was a leaderWe might get on the roof now Mr Braidwood

42 IGHTIIG THE FLAMES A TALE Ofsuggested Dale touching his helmet as he addressedthe well known chief of the London Fire EngineEstablishmentNot yet Dale not yet said Braidwood getinside and see if ye can touch the fire through thedrawing room floor It s just fallen inDale and his men at once entered the front doorof the building dragging the branch and hose alongwith them and were lost in smokePrevious to the arrival of the fire engines however a scene had been enacted which Willie Willders had not witnessed A fire escape was first toreach the burning house This was then and stillis usually the case owing to the fact that escapesare far more numerous in London than engines sothat the former being almost always close at handoften accomplish their great work of saving lifebefore the engines make their appearanceThe escape in the immediate neighbourhood ofBeverly Square was under the charge of conductorSamuel Forest a man who although young hadalready saved many lives in the service of theSociety for the Protection of Life from FireWhen Forest reached the field of action Mr JamesAuberly was seen at an upper window in a state ofundignified dishabille shouting for help and halfsuffocated with smoke with Mrs Rose hanging roundhis neck on one side and Matty Merryon at the other

THE LONDON JIR BRIGADE 43Poor Auberly having tried the staircase on the firstalarm was driven back by smoke and rushed wildlyto the window where the two domestics descendingin terror from their attic clung to him and rendered him powerlessForest at once pitched his escape which wasjust a huge scientifically constructed ladder set onwheels The head of it reached to the windows ofthe second floor By pulling a rope attached to alever he raised a second ladder of smaller sizewhich was fitted to the head of the large one Thetop of this second ladder was nearly sixty feet fromthe ground and it reached the window at whichMr Auberly was still shouting Forest at oncesprang upLeave me save the woman gasped Auberlyas the man entered the room but the dense smokeoverpowered him as he spoke and he fell forwardThe women also sank to the groundForest instantly seized Mrs Rose in his powerfularms and hurrying down the ladder to the top ofthe escape put her into the canvas trough or sackwhich was suspended below the ladder all the wayDown this she slid somewhat violently but safelyto the ground while Forest ran up again andrescued Matty in the same way Mr Auberly wasmore difficult to manage being a heavy man andhis rescuer was almost overpowered by the thick

44 FIGHTINW THE FLAML A TALE OFsmoke in the midst of which all this was done Hesucceeded however but fainted on reaching thegroundIt was at this point that the first engine arrivedand only a few minutes elapsed when the secondmade its appearance followed by the cab from whichthe young man leapt with the exclamation of surprise and alarm that had astonished Willie WilldersPushing his way to the place where Mr Auberlyand the others lay the youth fell on his kneesMy father 1 he exclaimed wildlyHe s all right lad said Mr Braidwood comingup at that moment and laying his hand kindly onthe youth s shoulder he s only choked with smokeand will be better in a minute Any more in thehouse he added quicklyYoung Auberly leaped up with a shoutMy sister I is she not saved Are all hereHe waited not for a reply but in another momentwas on the fire escapeAfter him two of you said Braidwood turningto his menTwo at once obeyed In fact they had leapedforward almost before the brief command wasuttered One of these firemen was conspicuous forhis height and strength He was first up theladder Close upon him followed Baxmore with alantern

THE LONDON PIRE BRIGAD 45Nothing but smoke had yet reached the roominto which young Auberly entered so that he instantly found himself in impenetrable darkness andwas almost choked as well as blindedHave a care Frank the floor must be aboutgone by this time said Baxmore as he ran afterhis tall comradeThe man whom he called Frank knew this Healso knew that it was not likely any one had beenleft in the room from which the master of the househad been rescued and he thought it probable thathis daughter would occupy a room on the samefloor with her father Acting on this suppositionand taking for granted that the room they wereabout to enter was Mr Auberly s bedroom the tallfireman dashed at once through the smoke andtumbled over the prostrate form of young AuberlyLook after him Baxmore he gasped as heseized the lamp from his comrade s hand anddarted across the room and out into the passagewhere he went crash against a door and burst itopen Here the smoke was not so dense so that hecould breathe though with difficultyOne glance showed him where the bed was Hefelt it A female form was lying on it The lightweight and the long hair which swept across hisface as he raised it gently but swiftly on hisshoulder told that it was that of a girl

46 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFAt that moment he heard a loud shout from thecrowd which was followed by a crash Dashingonce more across the passage he saw that a luridflame was piercing the smoke in the other roomThe staircase he knew was impassable probablygone by that time but he had no time to think sohe drew the blanket over the girl s head andbounded towards the window There was a feeling ofsoftness under his feet as if the floor were made ofpasteboard He felt it sinking beneath him Downit went just as he laid hold of the head of the fireescape from which he hung suspended in the midst ofthe smoke and sparks that rose from the falling ruinStrong though the young fireman was he couldnot raise himself by one arm while the other wastwined round Louisa Auberly At that momentBaxmore having carried young Auberly down insafety again ascended and appeared at the windowHe seized Frank by the hair of the headLet go my hair and catch the girl shoutedFrankAll right said Baxmore seizing Loo and liftingher over the window sillFrank being thus relieved swung himself easilyon the sill and grasping Loo once more descendedto the street where he was met by Mr Auberlywho had recovered from his state of partial suffocation and who seized his child and hurried with her

TIH LONDON FIRE BRIGADB 4into a neighbouring house Thither he was followedby Mrs Rose and Matty who had also recoveredDuring these episodes the firemen had continuedat their work with cool and undistracted attentionAnd here the value of organization was strikinglyand beautifully brought out for while the crowdswayed to and fro now breathless with anxiety lestthe efforts of the bold conductor of the fire escapeshould fail anon wild with excitement and loud incheers when he succeeded each fireman paid devotedand exclusive attention to his own prescribed pieceof duty as if nothing else were going on around himand did it with all his might well knowing thatevery other piece of work was done or point ofdanger guarded by a comrade while the eagle eyesof Mr Braidwood and his not less watchful foremensuperintended all observed and guided as it werethe field of battleAnd truly good generalship was required for thefoe was fierce and furious The devouring element rushed onward like a torrent The housewas large and filled with rich furniture which wasluxurious food for the flames as they swept over thewalls twined round the balustrades swallowed thepaintings devoured the woodwork and melted themetal in their dread progress But the foe that metthem was on this occasion more than a match forthe flames It was a hand to hand encounter The

48 FIGHTING THE FLAMEB A TALE OFmen followed them foot by foot inch by inchsometimes almost singeing their beards or beingwell nigh choked and blinded by dense volumes ofsmoke but if driven back always returning to thetharge The heat at times beat on their helmets sofiercely that they were forced to turn their faceeaside and half turn their backs on the foe but theyalways kept their weapons the branches to thefront and continued to discharge upon him tons andtons of aqueous artilleryGet up to the windows now use the escapesaid Mr Braidwood and as he said this he passedthrough the doorway of the burning houseSome of the men rushed up the escape and letdown a line to which one of the branches was madefastAvast pumpin number two I shouted Baxmorefrom the midst of clouds of smoke that were burstingout from the windowNumber two engine was stopped Its branchwas pulled up and pointed inside straight at thefire the signal given Down with number two 1and a hiss was followed by volumes of steamThe work of extinction had at last begun in realearnest As long as they could only stand in thestreet and throw water in through the windows athaphazard they might or might not hit the fireand at all events they could not attack its strong

IB LONDON FmB BlIGADE 49points but now Baxmore at one window and oneof the men of the first engine at another playedpoint blank into the flames and wherever the waterhit they were extinguished Presently they gotinside and began to be able to see through thesmoke a blue glimmer became visible the branchwas pointed and it was gone By this time thesecond floor had partly given way and fire wascreeping down the rafters to the eaves of the houseBaxmore observed this and pointed the branchstraight up The fire at that part was put out anda heavy shower of water fell back on the firemandrenching him to the skinThe attack had now become general The firemen swarmed in at the doors and windows themoment that it was possible for a human being tobreathe the smoke and live One of the enginesattached two additional lengths of hose dragged thebranch through the first floor to the back of thehouse got upon an outhouse in at a back windowand attacked the foe in rear On the roof Frankand Dale were plying their hatchets their tallfigures sharply defined against the wintry sky andlooking more gigantic than usual The enemy savedthem the trouble of cutting through however for itsuddenly burst upwards and part of the roof fell inIt would certainly have taken Frank prisoner hadnot Dale caught him by the collar and dragged himn

50 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFout of danger Instantly a branch was pointeddownwards and the foe was beaten back fromabove below before and behind it was now metwith deluges of water which fell on the shouldersof the men in the lower floor in a continuoushot shower while they stood ankle deep in hotwaterIn ten minutes after this the fire was effectuallysubdued the lower floor having been saved althoughfts contents were severely damaged by waterIt was only necessary now that one of the enginesshould remain for a time to make good the victoryThe others rolled up their hose and prepared to depart The King Street engine was the first to quitthe field of battle While the men were gettingready Mr Auberly muffled in a long cloak steppedfrom the crowd and touched Frank the tall firemanan the shoulderSir said he in a low voice you saved my childI wouid show my sense of gratitude Will youaccept of this purseFrank shook his head and a smile played on hissmoke begrimed countenance as he saidNo Mr Auberly I am obliged to you but Icannot accept of it I do not want it and besidesthe men of the brigade are not allowed to takemoneyBut you will let me do something for you

THE LONDON FIRE BRISAD E 61urged Mr Auberly Is there nothing that I candoNothing sir said Frank He paused for amoment and then resumed Well there is something that perhaps you could do sir I have a littlebrother out of employment if you could get him asituation sirI will said Mr Auberly with emotion Sendhim to me on Thursday forenoon He will find meliving next door to my to my late home I shallstay with a friend there for some time Good nightMen of King Street engine get up cried DaleStay what is your name said Mr Auberlyturning roundBut Frank was gone He had leaped to his placeon the engine and was off at rattling pace throughthe now silent and deserted streets of the sleepingcityAlthough they drove at great speed there was noshouting now for neither bus cab nor foot passenger blocked up the way and the men begrimedwith smoke and charcoal wet and weary with twohours of almost uninterrupted labour of a severe aswell as dangerous character sat or stood in theirplaces in perfect silenceOn reaching the fire station they leaped to theground and all went quickly and silently to theirneighbouring homes and beds except the two men

52 lIGHTING THE NLAMESon duty These changing their coats and boots laydown on the tressels and at once fell fast asleepthe engine and horses having been previously housedand then Dale sat down to make an entry of theevent in his day bookThe whole thing might have been only a vividdream so silent was the room and so devoid of anyevidence of recent excitement while the reigningtranquillity was enhanced rather than decreased bythe soft breathing of the sleepers the ticking of theclock and the scratching of Dale s pen as he brieflyrecorded the facts of the fire that night in BeverlySquare

OHAPTER VBIow ROW WILLIX WILLDERS GOT INVOLVED IN DOUBL DMrICULTINITO HIS INTENSE DELIOHTDURING the progress of the fire small WillieWillders was in a state of the wildest we mightalmost say hilarious excitement He regarded notthe loss of property the fire never struck him inthat light His little body and big spirit rejoiced inthe whole affair as a magnificent display of fireworks and heroismWhen the file burst through the library windowshe shouted when Sam Forest the conductor of thefire escape saved Mr Auberly and the women hehurrahed when the tall fireman and Baxmorerescued Louisa Auberly he cheered and cheeredagain until his shrill voice rose high above theshouting of the crowd When the floors gave wayhe screamed with delight and when the roof fell inhe shrieked with ecstasySundry and persevering were the efforts he madeto break through the police by fair means and foulto

54 FIGHTIG THE FLAMES A TALE OFbut in his energy he over reached himself for hemade himself so conspicuous that the police paidspecial attention to him and wherever he appearedhe was snubbed and thrust back so that his greatdesire to get close to the men while they were atwork was frustratedWillie had a brother who was a fireman and hewished earnestly that he might recognise him ifpresent but he knew that being attached to thesouthern district of the city he was not likely to bethere and even if he were the men were all so muchalike in their uniform that it was impossible at adistance to distinguish one from another True itis that his brother was uncommonly tall and verystrong but as the Jondon firemen were all pickedmen many of them were very tall and all of themwere strongNot until the last engine left the ground didWillie Willders think it advisable to tear himselfaway and hasten to his home in Nottinghill wherehe found his mother sitting up for him in a state ofconsiderable anxiety She forbore to question himthat night howeverWhen Willie appeared next morning or ratherthe same morning for it was nearly four o clockwhen he went to bed he found his mother sittingby the fire knitting a sockMrs Willders was a widow and was usuallS

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 65to be found seated by the fire knitting a sockor darning one or mending some portion of maleattireSo you were at a fire last night Willie saidthe widowYes I was replied the boy going up to hismother and giving her what he styled a ryostering kiss which she appeared to like although shewas scarcely able to bear it being thin and delicatelyformed and somewhat weak from bad healthNo lives lost I hope WillieNo there ain t often lives lost when Sam Foreisthe fire escape man is there You know Forestmother the man that we ve heard so much of Ahit was sitch fun You ve no notion It wouldhave made you split your sides wi laughin if you dseen Sam come out o the smoke carryin the mastero the house on his shoulder in his shirt and drawerswith only one sock on an his night cap tied sotight under his chin that they had to cut it off himin a swound too hangin as limp as a dead eel onSam s shoulder with his head down one side anhis legs down the other Oh it was a larkThe boy recalled the lark to his own mind sovividly that he had to stop at this point in order togive vent to an uproarious fit of laughterWas Frank there inquired the widow whenthe fit subsided

56 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE ONot that I know of mother I looked hard forhim but didn t see him There was lots o men bigenough to be him but I couldn t get near enoughto see for the bobbies I wonder what them bobbieswere made for continued Willie with a look ofindignation as he seated himself at the table andbegan to eat a hearty breakfast the long lampposts that are always in the way when nobodywants em I do believe they was invented fornothin else than to aggravate small boys and snubtheir inquiring mindsWhere was the fire WillieIn Beverly Square I say mother if that therebutcher don t send us better stuff than this herebacon in future I ll I11l have to give him upI can t afford to get better dear said thewidow meeklyI know that mother but he could afford togive better However it s down now so it don tmuch matterDid you hear whose house was burned WillieAy a iMr Oberly or somethin like thatAuberly exclaimed the widow with a startWell p raps it is Auberly but whichever it ishe s got a pretty kettle o fish to look after thismornin You seem to have heard of him beforemotherYes Willie I I know him a at least I have

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 57met with him often You see I was better off onceand used to mingle with but I need not trouble youwith that On the strength of our former acquaintance I thought I would write and ask him to getyou a situation in an office and I have got a letterfrom him just before you came down to breakfastsaying that he will do what he can and biddingme send you to him between eleven and twelveto morrowWhew I whistled Willie an he burnt out ohouse an home without a coat to his back or a shoeto his foot It strikes me I ll have to try to gethim a situationHe won t be found at the house now I daresay my son so we 1 have to wait a little but theburning of his house and furniture won t affect himmuch for he is richHumph p raps not said Willie but theburnin of his little girl might haveYou said that no lives were lost cried MrsWillders turning paleNo more there was mother but if it hadn tbin for one o the firemen that jumped in at ablazin winder an brought her out through fire ansmoke she d have bin a cinder by this time anmoney wouldn t have bought the rich man anotherdaughter I knowTrue my son observed Mrs Willders resting

b8 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE 0Oher forehead on her hand then as if suddenly recollecting something she looked up and said WillieI want you to go down to the City with these socksto Frank This is his birthday and I sat late lastnight on purpose to get them finished His stationis a long way off I know but you ve nothing elseto do soNothin else to do mother exclaimed Williewith an offended look Haven t I got to conversein a friendly way with all the crossin sweepers anshoeblacks an stall women as I go along an chaffthe cabbies an look in at all the shop windows andinsult the bobbies I always insult the bobbiesIt does me good I hurt em mentally as much asI can an I d hurt em bodily if I could But everydog has his day When I grow up won t I pitchinto em IHe struck the table with his fist and shakingback his curly hair lifted his blue eyes to hismother s face with a stern expression which gradually relaxed into a smileAh you needn t grin mother an tell me thatthe policemen are a fine set of men and quite asbrave and useful in their way as the firemen Iknow all you respectable sort o people think thatbut I don t They re my natural enemies and Ihate em Come mother give me the socks and letme be off

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 59Soon the vigorous urchin was on his way to theCity whistling as usual with all his might Ashe passed the corer of the British Museum a handtouched him on the shoulder and its owner saidHow much are ye paid a week lad for kickingup such a rowWillie looked round and his eyes encountered thebrass buckle of the waist belt of a tall strappingfellow in a blue uniform Glancing upwards hebeheld the handsome countenance of his brotherFrank looking down at him with a quiet smileHe wore no helmet for except when attending afirb the firemen wear a sailor like blue cloth capHallo Blazes I is that you cried the boyJust so Willie goin down to Watling Streetto attend drillWillie who had styled his brother Blazes eversince he joined the fire brigade observed that hehappened to be going in the same direction to delivera message from his mother to a relation which hewould not speak about however just then as hewished to tell him of a fire he had been at latnightA fire lad was it a big one tAy that it was a case o burnin out almostad there were lives saved said the boy with a lookof triumph and that s more than you can sayyon ve seen though you are a fireman

G0 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFWell you know I have not been long in thebrigade Willie and as the escapes often do theirwork before the engines come up I ve not hadmuch chance yet of seeing lives saved How wasit doneWith glowing eyes and flushed cheeks Willie atonce launched out into a vivid description of thescene he had so recently witnessed and dwelt particularly on the brave deeds of conductor Forest andthe tall fireman Suddenly he looked up at hisbrotherWhy what are you chucklin at BlazesNothing lad Was the fireman very tall IThat he certainly was uncommon tallSomething like me I said FrankA gleam of intelligence shot across the boy s faceas he stopped and caught his brother by the sleevesaying earnestlyIt wasn t you Frank was itIt was Willie and right glad am I to have beenin such good luck as to save Miss AuberlyWillie grasped his brother s hand and shook itheartilyYou re a brick Blazes said he and this isyour birthday an I wish you luck an long life myboy You ll do me credit yet if you go on asyou ve begun Now I U go right away back antell mother Won t she be fit to bu st

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 61But what about your message to the relation inthe City inquired FrankThat relation is yourself and here s the messagein the shape of a pair o socks from mother knittedwith her own hands and by the way that remindsme how came you to be at the fire last nightIt s a long way from your stationI ve been changed recently said Frank poorGrove was badly hurt about the loins at a fire inNew Bond Street last week and I have been sentto take his place so I m at the King Street stationnow But I have something more to tell you beforeyou go lad so walk with me a bit fartherWillie consented and Frank related to him hisconversation with Mr Auberly in reference to himselfI thought of asking leave and running out thisafternoon to tell you so it s as well we have met asit will Why what are you chuckling at WillieThis question was put in consequence of the boy seyes twinkling and his cheeks reddening with suppressed merrimentNever mind Blazes I haven t time to tell youjust now Ill1 tell you some other time So oldAuberly wants to see me to morrow forenoonThat s what he said to me returned FrankVery good I ll go Adoo Blazes farewellSo saying Willie Willders turned round and went

62 TIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OVoff at a run chuckling violently He attempted towhistle once or twice but his mouth refused toretain the necessary formation so he contented himself with chuckling instead And it is worthy ofrecord that that small boy was so much engrossedwith his own thoughts on this particular occasionthat he did not make one observation bad good orindifferent to any one during his walk home Heeven received a question from a boy smaller thanhimself as to whether his mother knew he was outwithout making any reply and passed innumerablepolicemen without even a thought of vengeanceLet me see said he muttering to himself as hepaused beside the Marble Arch at Hyde Park andleaned his head against the railings of that structureMr Auberly has been an ordered two boys tobe sent to him to morrow forenoon ha hel ski thechuckling got the better of him here very goodAn my mother has ordered one o the boys to gowhile a tall fireman has ordered the other Nowthe question is which o the two boys am I the oneor the tother ha sk ho Well of course both othe boys will go they can t help it there s no gittinover that but then which of em will git the situation There s a scruncher for you Mr AuberlyYou ll have to fill your house with tar an turpentine an set fire to it over again afore you ll throwlight on that pint S pose I should go in for both

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 6situations It might be managed The first boycould take a well paid situation as a clerk an thesecond boy might go in for night watchman at abank Chuckling again interrupted the flow ofthought P raps the two situations might be got inthe same place o business that would be handy IOh if one o the boys could only be a girl what alark that would sk ha I haHe was interrupted at this point by a shoe blackwho remarked to his companionI say Bob ere s a lark Ere s a feller bin angot out o Bedlam a larfin at nothink fit to bursthisselfSo Willie resumed his walk with a chuckle thatfully confirmed the member of the black brigade inhis opinionHe went home chuckling and went to bed chuckling without informing his mother of the cause ofhis mirth Chuckling he arose on the followingmorning and chuckling still went at noon to BeverlySquare where he discovered Mr Auberly standinggaunt and forlorn in the midst of the ruins of hisonce elegant mansion

CHAPTER VITREATS OF Tl DIEFOULT QUESTION WHEN ONE I ANOTHER WHOIS WHIOHWELL boy what do you want Have you anyhing to say to meMr Auberly turned sharp round on Willie whosegaze had gone beyond the length of simple curiosityIn fact he was awe struck at the sight of such avery tall and very dignified man standing so grimlyin the midst of such dreadful devastationPlease sir I was sent to you sir byOh you re the boy the son of that is to sayyou were sent to me by your mother said MrAuberly with a frownWell sir replied Willie hesitating I I wassent by byAh I see interrupted Mr Auberly with a smilethat was meant to be gracious you were sent by afireman you are not the the I mean you re theother boyPoor Willie being of a powerfully risible nature64

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 65found it hard to contain himself on hearing his ownwords of the previous evening re echoed thus unexpectedly His face became red and he tookrefuge in blowing his nose during which processhaving observed the smile on Mr Auberly s facehe resolved to be the other boyYes sir he said looking up modestly I wassent by a fireman I am the other boyMr Auberly smiled again grimly and said thatthe fireman was a brave fellow and that he hadsaved his daughter s life and that he was very gladto do anything that lay in his power for him andthat he understood that Willie was the fireman sbrother to which the boy replied that he wasWell then come this way continued MrAuberly leading Willie into the library of theadjoining house which his friend had put at hisdisposal and seating himself at a writing tableYou want a situation of some sort a clerkship IsupposeWillie admitted that his ambition soared to thattremendous heightLet me see muttered Mr Auberly taking up apen and beginning to write yes she will be ableto help me What is your name boyWillie sirJust so William and your surname yourother nameB

66 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE 09Willders sirMr Auberly started and looked Willie full in theeyes Willie feeling that he was playing a sort ofdouble part without being able to avoid it grew redin the faceWhat did you say boyWillders replied Willie stoutlyThen you re not the other boy said Mr Auberlylaying down his pen and regarding Willie with afrownPlease sir replied Willie with a look of meekness which was mingled with a feeling of desperation for his desire to laugh was strong upon himplease sir I don t rightly know which boy I amMr Auberly paused for a momentBoy you re a foolThank ee sir said WillieThis reply went a long way in Mr Auberly smind to prove the truth of his assertionAnswer me boy said Mr Auberly with animpressive look and tone were you sent here bya firemanYes sir replied WillieWhat is his nameSame as mine sir WilldersOf course of course said Mr Auberly a littleconfused at having put such an unnecessary question Does your mother know you re here

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGAD 67This brought the slang phrase Does your motherknow you re out so forcibly to the boy s mind thathe felt himself swell internally and had recourseagain to his pocket handkerchief as a safety valveYes sir said he on recovering his composurearter I saw Blazes Frank I mean that s myorother sir I goes right away home to bed Istops with my mother sir an she saw me come offhere this mornin sir She knows I was cominhereOf course yes yes I see muttered MrAuberly again taking up his pen I see yesyes same name strange coincidence though butafter all there are many of that name in LondonI suppose the other boy will be here shortly Veryodd very odd indeedPlease sir observed Willie in a gentle toneyou said I was the other boy sirMr Auberly seemed a little annoyed at his muttered words being thus replied to yet he condescended to explain that there was another boy of thesame name whom he expected to see that morningOh then there s another other boy sir saidWillie with a look of interestHold your tongue said Mr Auberly in asharp voice you re a fool and you re much toofond of speaking I advise you to keep your tonguequieter if you wish to get on in life

68 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFWillie once more sought relief in his pockethandkerchief while his patron indited and sealedan epistle which he addressed to Miss TippetNo 6 Poorthing Lane Beverly SquareHere boy take this to the lady to whom it isaddressed the lane is at the opposite corer of thesquare and wait an answerAm I to bring the answer back to you sirasked Willie with much humilityNo the answer is for yourself said Mr Auberlytestily and hark ee boy you need not trouble meagain That note will get you all you desireThank you sir said Willie making a bow andpreparing to retire but please sir I don t verywell know that is to say ahemWell boy said the patron sternlyExcuse me sir I can t help it you know butplease sir I wish to explain about that other boyno that s me but the other other boy youknowBegone boy cried Mr Auberly in a voice sostern that Willie found himself next moment in thestreet along which he ran chuckling worse thaneverA little reflection might have opened Mr Auberly seyes to the truth in regaid to Willie but a poorrelation was to him a disagreeable subject of contemplation and he possessed the faculty in an

THB LONDON FIRu BRIGADE 69eminent degree of dismissing it altogether from hismind Having care enough on his mind at thattime poor man he deliberately cast the confusionof the two boys out of his thoughts and gave himself up to matters more interesting and personalWe may add here that Mrs Willders was faithfulto her promise and never more addressed herbrother in law by word or letter When Willieafterwards told her and Frank of the absurdity ofhis interview and of the violent manner in whichMr Auberly had dismissed him when he was goingto explain about the other boy his mother thoughtit best to let things rest as they stood yet she oftenwondered in her own quiet way what Mr Auberlywould think of her and of the non appearance ofthe other boy and she felt convinced that if heonly put things together he must come to understand that Willie and Frank were her sons ButMrs Willders did not know of the before mentioned happy facility which her kinsman possessedof forgetting poor relations so after wondering onfor a time she ceased to wonder or to think aboutit at all

CHAPTER VIIINTRODUOBE NIW OEABAOT BS AtD IXHIBITS THE THOUGE T THATBOMB WOMN NTERTABIN IN RBGARD TO MBNMiss EMELINA TIPPET was a maiden lady of pleasing countenance and exceedingly uncertain ageShe was a poor member of a poor branch of anaristocratic family and feeling an unconquerabledesire to breathe if not the pure unadulteratedatmosphere of Beverly Square at least as much ofit as was compatible with a very moderate incomeshe rented a small house in a very dark and dismallane leading out of that great centre of refinementIt is true that Beverly Square was not exactlythe West End but there are many degrees ofWest endiness so to speak in the western neighbourhood of London and this square was in theopinion of Miss Tippet the West endiest place sheknew because there dwelt in it not only a verygenteel and uncommonly rich portion of the community but several of her own aristocratic thoughdistant relations among whom was Mr Auberly10

FIGHTING THE FLAMES 71The precise distance of the relationship betweenthem had never been defined and all records bearingon it having been lost in the mists of antiquity itcould not now be ascertained but Miss Tippet laidclaim to the relationship and as she was an obliging good humoured chatty and musical ladyMr Auberly admitted the claimMiss Tippet s only weakness for she was indeeda most estimable woman was a tendency to allovrank and position to weigh too much in her esteemShe had also a sensitive abhorrence of everythinglow and vulgar which would have been of coursea very proper feeling had she not fallen into themistake of considering humble birth lowness andwant of polish vulgarity a mistake which is oftensometimes even wilfully made by persons whoconsider themselves much wiser than Miss Tippetbut who are not wise enough to see a distinct shadeof true vulgarity in their own sentimentsThe dark dismal lane named Poorthing Lanebesides forming an asylum for decayed and would bearistocrats and a vestibule as it were to BeverlySquare was a convenient retreat for sundry greengrocers and public house keepers and small tradespeople who supplied the densely peopled surrounding district and even some of the inhabitants ofBeverly Square itself with the necessaries of lifeIt was also a thoroughfare for the gay equipages of

72 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFthe square which passed through it daily on theirway to and from the adjoining stables thereby endangering the lives of precocious babies who couldcrawl but could not walk away from home as wellas affording food for criticism and scandal not tomention the leaving behind of a species of secondhand odour of gentility such as coachmen and footmen can give forthMiss Tippet s means being small she rented aproportionately small residence consisting of twofloors which were the upper portion of a housewhose ground floor was a toy shop The owner ofthe toy shop David Boone was Miss Tippet s landlord but not the owner of the tenement Herented the whole and sublet the upper portionMiss Tippet s parlour windows commanded a nearview of the lodging opposite into every corner andcrevice of whieh she could have seen had not thewindows been incrusted with impenetrable dirtHer own domestic arrangements were concealedfrom view by small green venetian blinds whichrose from below and met the large venetians whichdescended from above The good lady s bedroomwindows in the upper floor commanded a nearview much too near of a stack of chimneysbetween which and another stack farther over shehad a glimpse of part of the gable end of a houseand the topmost bough of a tree in Beverly Squara

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 7SIt was this prospect into paradise terrestriallyspeaking that influenced Miss Tippet in the choiceof her abodeWhen William Willders reached the small doorof No 6 Poorthing Lane and raised his hand toknock the said door opened as if it had been trainedto admit visitors of its own accord and Miss MattyMerryon issued forth followed by a bright blueeyed girl of about twelve years of ageWell boy was ye comin here inquiredMatty as the lad stepped aside to let them passYes I was Does Miss Tippet live hereShe does boy what d ye want with herI want to see her young ooman so you dbetter cut away up an tell her a gen lm n requests afew words private conversation with herThe little girl laughed at this speech and Mattyaddressing Willie as a dirty spalpeen said hehad better go with her to a shop first and she dthen take him back and introduce him to MissTippetYou see I can t let ye in all be yer lone cushlafor what would the neighbours say you knowI m only goin to the toy shop an won t kape yea minit for Miss Emma don t take long to herbargainsWillie might probably have demurred to thisdelay but on hearing that the blue eyed girl

14 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE Owanted to make purchases he at once agreed to theproposal and followed them into the toy shopDavid Boone who stepped out of the back shopto serve them was if we may say so very unlikehis trade A grave tall long legged long nosedraw boned melancholy looking creature such as hemight have been an undertaker or a mute or asexton or a policeman or a horse guardsman oreven a lawyer but it was the height of improprietyto have made him a toy shopman and whoever didit had no notion whatever of the fitness of thingsOne could not resist the idea that his clumsy legswould certainly upset the slender wooden toys withwhich the floor and counters were covered and hisfingers seemed made to break things The figure ofPunch which hung from the ceiling appeared inclined to hit him as he passed to and fro and thepretty little dolls with the sweet pink faces andvery flaxen hair and cerulean eyes were evidentlylaughing at himNevertheless David Boone was a kind heartedman very fond of children and extremely unlike in some respects what people imagined himat first sight to beWell Miss Ward what can I supply you withto day said he blandlyPlease Mr Boone I want a slate and a piece ofslate pencil Emma looked up with a sweet smile

THE DONDON FIE BRIGADE 75at the tall shopman who looked down upon herwith grave benignity as he produced the articlesrequiredD you kape turpentine said Matty as theywere about to quit the shopBoone started and said almost testily No Idon t Why do you askSure there s no sin in askin replied Matty insurprise at the man s changed mannerOf course of course not rejoined Boone witha slight look of confusion as he made a suddenassault with his pocket handkerchief on the catwhich was sleeping innocently in the window gitout o that you brute you re always agoin in thewinder capsizin things There you ve been ansat on the face o that ere wax doll till you vea most melted it Out o that with you No MissMerryon he added turning to the girl with hiswonted urbanity I don t keep turpentine and Iwas only surprised you should ask for it in a toyshop but you ll get it of Mr White next doorI don t believe there s anythink in the world as hecan t supply to his customersDavid Boone bowed them out and then re enteredthe back shop shaking his head slowly from side tosideI don t like it I don t even like to think of itGorman he said to a big low browed man who sat

76 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OTsmoking his pipe beside the little fireplace the firein which was so small that its smoke scarcelyequalled in volume that of the pipe he smokedNo I don t like it and I won t do itWell well you can please yourself said Gorman knocking the ashes out of his pipe and placingit in his vest pocket as he rose and buttoned histhick pea jacket up to the chin but I ll tell youwhat it is if you are a descendant of the hunter ofthe far west that you boast so much about it sprecious little of his pluck that you ve got an soI tell ee to your face David Boone All I ve got tosay is that you d better be wise and take myadvice and think better of itSo saying Gorman went out and slammed thedoor after himMeanwhile Miss Matty Merryon having purchased a small phial of turpentine returned toNo 6 and ushered Willie Willders into the presence of her mistressMiss Emelina Tippet was neither tall nor stiffnor angular nor bony on thp contrary she waslittle and plump and not bad looking And peopleoften wondered why Miss Tippet was Miss Tippetand was not Mrs Somebody else Whatever thereason was Miss Tippet never divulged it so wewon t speculate about it hereA note boy from Mr Auberly exclaimed

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADe 77Miss Tippet with a beaming smile give it methank youShe opened it and read attentively while MasterWillie glanced round the parlour and took mentalnotes Miss Emma Ward sat down on a stool inthe window ostensibly to do sums but really todraw faces all of which bore a strong caricaturedresemblance to Willie at whom she glanced slylyover the top of her slateMatty remained standing at the door to hearwhat the note was about She did not pretend tobusy herself about anything There was no subterfuge in Matty She had been Miss Tippet s confidential servant before entering the service of MrAuberly and her extremely short stay in BeverlySquare had not altered that condition She hadcome to feel that she had a right to know all MissTippet s affairs and so waited for informationAh 1 exclaimed Miss Tippet still reading yesget him a situation in your brother s office oh certainly I 1 be sure to get that he seems smart Imight almost say impu ahem I Yes wellBoy said Miss Tippet turning suddenly toWillie your name is William Willders I believeYes ma amWell William Mr Auberly my relative asksme to get you into my brother s my brother s

78 IGHTING THE FLMES A TALE OFwhat s is name office Of course I shall be happyto try I am always extremely happy to do anything for yes I suppose of course you can writeand what d ye call it count you can do arithmeticYes ma am replied WillieAnd you can spell eh I hope you can spellEdward a I mean Thomas is it or WilliamMiss Tippet looked at Willie so earnestly andput this question in tones so solemn that he wasmuch impressed and felt as if all his earthly hopeshung on his reply so he admitted that he couldspellGood continued Miss Tippet You are Isuppose in rather poor circumstances Is yourfather poorHe s dead ma am was drownedOh shocking that s very sad Was your motherdrowned tooNo ma am she s alive and well at least she swell for her but she an t over strong That s why Iwant to get work that I may help her and shewants me to be a clerk in a office but I d rather bea fireman You couldn t make me a fireman couldyou ma amAt this point Willie caught Miss Ward gazingintently at him over the top of her slate so he threwher into violent opnfusion by winking at her

YHE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 79No boy I can t make you a fireman Strangewish why d you want to be oneCause it s sitch jolly fun replied Willie withreal enthusiasm reglar bangin crashin sort owork as good as fightin any day I An my brotherFrank s a fireman Sitch a one too you ve nonotion six fut four he is an as strong as ohwhy ma am he could take you up in one handma am an twirl you round his head like an old hat 1He was at the fire in Beverly Square last nightThis speech was delivered with such vehemencecontained so many objectionable sentiments andinvolved such a dreadful supposition in regard tothe treatment of Miss Tippet s person that theworthy lady was shocked beyond all expression Theconcluding sentence however diverted her thoughtsAh I was he indeed at that sad fire and did hehelp to put it outSure an he did more than that exclaimedMatty regarding the boy with sudden interest Ifthat was yer brother that saved Miss Loo he s ara al manSaved Loo cried Miss Tippet was it yourbrother that saved LooYes ma am it wasBless him he is a noble fellow and I havegreat pleasure in taking you by the hand for hissake

80 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFMiss Tippet suited the action to the word andseized Willie s hand which she squeezed warmlyMatty Merryon with tears in her eyes embracedhim and said that she only wished she had thechance of embracing his brother too Then they allsaid he must stay to lunch as it was about lunchtime and Miss Tippet added that he deserved tohave been born in a higher position in life at leasthis brother did which was the same thing for hewas a true what s is name who ought to be crownedwith thingumygigsEmma who had latterly been looking at Williewith deepening respect immediately crowned himwith laurels on the slate and then Matty rushedaway for the lunch tray rejoicing in the fire thathad sent her back so soon to the old mistress whom shenever wanted to leave that had afforded scope forthe display of such heroism and had brought aboutaltogether such an agreeable state of unwontedexcitationJust as the party were on the point of sittingdown to luncheon the street door knocker wasapplied to the door with an extremely firm touchMiss Deemas I exclaimed Miss Tippet OhI m so glad Rush MattyMatty rushed and immediately there was a soundon the wooden passage as of a gentleman withheavy boots A moment later and Matty ushered

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 81n a very tall broad shouldered strapping lady ifwe may venture to use that expression in referenceto one of the fair sexMiss Deemas was a sort of human eagle Shehad an eagle eye an aquiline nose an eagle flounceand an eagle heart Going up to Miss Tippet sheput a hand on each of her shoulders and stoopingdown pecked her so to speak on each cheekHow are you my dear said Miss Deemas notoy any means tenderly but much in the tone inwhich one would expect to have one s money orone s life demandedQuite well dear Julia and so glad to see youIt is so good of you to take me by surprise this wayjust at lunch time too Another plate and knifeMatty This is a little boy a friend not exactlya friend but a a thingumy you knowNo I don t know Emelina what is the precisethingumy you refer to this time said the uncompromising and matter of fact Miss DeemasYou re so particular dear Julia replied MissTippet with a little sigh a what s is n aprotedg you knowIndeed said Miss Deemas regarding Williewith a severe frown as if in her estimation allprotfgds were necessarily villainsYes dear Julia and would you believe it thatthis boy s brother in law 2P

82 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFBrother ma am interrupted WillieYes brother actually saved my darling s lifelast night at the the thing in Beverly SquareWhat darling s life and what thing inBeverly Square demanded Miss DeemasWhat have you not heard of the fire last nightin Beverly Square my relative James Auberlyliving there with his family all burnt to ashesand my sweet Loo too A what s is name wasbrought and a brave fireman went up it throughfire and water and smoke Young Auberly wentup before him and fell heat and suffocation andsaved her in his arms and his name is Frank andhe s this boy s brother in lawTo this brief summary given with much excitement Miss Deemas listened with quiet composureand then said with grim sarcasm and very slowlyLet me see there was a fire in Beverly Squarelast night and James Auberly living there with hisfamily were all burned to ashesMiss Tippet here interrupted with No no buther stern friend imposing silence with an eagle lookcontinuedAll burned to ashes and also your sweet LooA what s his name having been brought a bravefireman goes up it and apparently never comesdown again burned to ashes also I fancy butyoung Auberly who went up before him and fell

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 83heat and suffocation being the result saved someone named her in his arms his name being Frankowing no doubt to his having been re baptized forever since I knew him he has been named Frederick and he is this boy s brother in law IBy way of putting an extremely fine point on hersarcasm Miss Deemas turned to Willie with a verycondescending air and saidPray when did your sister marry Mr FrederickAuberlyWillie with a face of meekness that can only belikened to that of a young turtle dove repliedPlease ma am it isn t my sister as has marriedMr Auberly but it s my brother Frank Willdersas hopes to marry Miss Loo Auberly on aocounto havin saved her life w en she comes of agema amMiss Deemas stood aghast or rather sat aghaston receiving this reply and scanned Willie s facewith one of her most eagle glances but that smallpiece of impudence wore an expression of weakgood nature and winked its eyes with the humilityof a subdued pup while Miss Tippet looked halfhorrified and half amused Matty grinned andEmma squeaked through her noseBoy said Miss Deemas severely your looksbelie youYes ma am answered Willie my mother

84 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFalways said I wasn t half so bad as I looked andshe s aware that I m absent from homeAt this point Willie allowed a gleam of intelligence to shoot across his face and he winked toEmma who thereupon went into private convulsionsin her handkerchietEmelina said Miss Deemas solemnly letme warn you against that boy He is a badspecimen of a bad sex He is a precocious type ofthat base domineering proud and perfidious creaturethat calls itself lord of creation and which invirtue of its superior physical power takes upevery position in life worth having except that ofwife and mother meekly suggested Miss Tippetworth having repeated the eagle sternly as if theposition of wife and mother were not worth havingworth having and leaves nothing for poor weakbodied though not weak minded woman to doexcept sew and teach brats Bah I hate men andthey hate me I know it and I would not have itotherwise I wish they had never been made Iwish there had been none in the world but womenWhat a blessed world it would have been thenMiss Deemas hit the table with her hand in amasculine manner so forcibly that the plates andglasses rattled then she resumed for she was nowon a favourite theme and was delivering a lectureto a select audience

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 85But mark you I m not going to be put downby men I mean to fight em with their ownweapons I mean toShe paused suddenly at this point and descendingfrom her platform advised Miss Tippet to dismissthe boy at oncePoor Miss Tippet prepared to do so She wascompletely under the power of Miss Deemas whomstrange to say she loved dearly She really believedthat they agreed with each other on most pointsalthough it was quite evident that they were utterlyopposed to each other in everything Wherein thebond lay no philosopher could discover Possiblyit lay in the fact that they were absolute extremesand in verification of the proverb had metBe this as it may a note was quickly written toher brother Thomas Tippet Esq which was delivered to Willie with orders to take it the followingevening to London Bridge in the neighbourhood ofwhich Mr Tippet dwelt and carried on his business

CHAPTER VIIIAIULOdJ A HIDDEN FIRE WHICH IS 8UPPOSED TO BR UNILTINGULMIABLE AND BEVBAI SOME STRANGB TIPPLING PROPBNSITIE TCOIN the afternoon of the following day Willie setoff to the City in quest of Mr Thomas TippetHaving to pass the King Street fire station heresolved to look in on his brotherThe folding doors of the engine house were wideopen and the engine itself clean and business likewith its brass work polished bright stood ready forinstant action Two of the firemen were conversingat the open door while several others could be seenlounging about inside In one of the former Willierecognised the strong man who had collared him ona well remembered occasionPlease sir said Willie going up to him isFrank Willders insideWhy youngster said Dale laying his hand onWillie s head ain t you the boy that pulled our bellfor a lark the other nightas

FIGHTING THE FLAMES 87Yes sir I am but you let me off you know soI hope you won t bear me ill will nowThat depends on how you behave in futuresaid Dale with a laugh but what d you want withFrank WilldersI want to see him He s my brotherOh indeed I You ll find him insideWillie entered the place with feelings of interestfor his respect for firemen had increased greatlysince he had witnessed their recent doings at theBeverly Square fireHe found his brother writing at the little deskthat stood in the window while five or six of hiscomrades were chatting by the fire and a group ina corner were playing draughts and spinning yarnsof their old experiences All assisted in loading theair with tobacco smokeThe round cloth caps worn by the men gave thema much more sailor like and much less fireman likeappearance than the helmets which with their respective hatchets hung on the walls rendering theapartment somewhat like a cavalry guard roomThis change in the head piece and the removal ofthe hatchet was the only alteration in their costume in what may be styled times of peaceIn other respects they were at all times accoutredand in readiness to commence instant cattle withthe flames

88 FIGHTING THE FLAMES A TALE OFHallo Blazes I how are ye said Willie touching his brother on the shoulderThat you Willie said Frank without lookingup from his work Where away nowCome to tell ye there s a fire said Willie witha serious lookEh what d ye mean asked Frank looking at his brother as if he half believed he was inearnestI mean what I say a fire here said Williesolemnly striking his breast with his clenched fisthere in Heart Street Buzzum Square ragin likefury and all the ingins o the fire brigade includinthe float couldn t put it out no nor even so muchas squeanch itThen it s of no use our turning out I supposesaid Frank with a smile as he wiped his pen whatset it alight ladA wax doll with flaxen hair and blue eyesanswered Willie them s the things as has allalong done for me When I was a boy I falled inlove with a noo wax doll every other day Notthat I ever owned one myself I only took a squintat em in toy hop winders and they always hadflaxen hair and blue peepers Now that I ve become a man I ve bin an failed in love with a livinwax doll an she s got flaxen hair an blue eyesmoreover she dpws

THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE 89Draws boyI what does she draw corks I inquired FrankNo replied Willie with a look of supremeontempt nothin so low she draws faces anpictures like like a schoolmaster and addedWillie with a sigh she s bin an drawed all thespirit out o this here buzzumShe must have left a good lot o combustiblematter behind however if there s such a fire ragingin it Who may this pretty fire raiser beHer name is Emma Ward and she b longs to aMiss Tippet to whom she s related somehow but Idon t know where she got her nor who s her parentsThis same Miss Tippet is some sort of a relation oMr Auberly who sent me to her with a note andshe has sent me with another note to her brothernear London Bridge who I spose will send mewith another note to somebody else so I m on myway down to see him I thought I d look in toask after you in passin and cheer you on to dootyA violent fit of somewhat noisy coughing fromone of the men at the fireplace attracted Willie sattention at this point in the conversationWot a noisy feller you are Corney remarkedone of the menFaix retorted Corney it s noisy you d be tooav ye had the cowld in yer chist that I have Sureif ye had bin out five times in wan ght as I wos

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs