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Full text of "The history of Dick Whittington, Lord Mayor of London : with the adventures of his cat"

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With the Adventures of his 



Sir Richard Whittington^ 

very little boy when his father and mo- 
ther died, indeed so young that he 
knew neither of them, nor the place he 
was bom in. After strolling about the 
country, as ragged as a colt, for along 
time, he met with a waggoner, going to 
London, who gave him leave to walk 
all the way by the side of his waggon 
without paying a farthing for his pass- 
age, which very much pleased little 
Whittington, for he sadly wanted to 
see London ; as he had heard the streets 
were paved with gold, his intention 
was to get a hat full : but how great 
was his disappointment to find the 
streets covered with dirt, and himself 

without food, friends, money, or any 
person to give him a character. 

In this situation,Dick askedcharityof 
several people, and, at length, half dead 
for want of food, he laid himself down 
at the door of Mr. Fitzwarren, a mer- 
chant. Cicely, the cook, first saw him, 
and told him to go about his business. 
At this moment the merchant came 
home, and began to scold the boy for 
sitting at his door, and bid him go to 

work : Whittington replied, that he 
would work, if any one would employ 
him, only for some victuals, for he had 
eaten nothing for three days, was a poor 
country lad, and nobody would give him 
work. He then endeavoured to get up, 
but was so weak that he fell down again ; 
this excited compassion in the merchant, 
and he ordered the footman to take him 
in, and give him meat and drink, and 

let him help the cook to do any of her 
dirty work. 

Whittington would have lived happily 
in this family, if he had not been bump- 
ed about by the cook ; till Miss Patty, 
her master's daughter, took compassion 
on him, and made her use him more 
kindly. Mrs. Fitzwarren ordered a 
flock bed to be put up in the back 
garret for him, and such a number of 
rats and mice were in that room that 
he could get no rest. A gentleman was 
on a visit to his master, and gave Dick 
a penny ; this he carefully put by, in- 
tending to lay it out in the first Cat 
that was to be sold : soon after this, he 

saw one in a woman's arms, but she 
asked more than a penny for the cat ; 
however Dick at last had the cat for 
for his penny, and puss drove away and 
destroyed all the vermin. 

Mr. Fitzwarren having a ship ready 
to sail, called his servants, and proposed 
each sending a venture, to try their 
fortunes. All appeared but Dick; and 
his friend, Miss Patty, ordered him to 
be called, and offered to lay down some- 

tiling for him ; but Mr. Fitzwarren said 
it must be something of his own. I 
have nothing, said Dick, but a cat : 
Fetch the cat, my boy ? said the mer- 
chant, and send it. 

Whittington delivered the cat with 
tears, saying, I shall now be devoured 
by the rats and mice. 

While puss was beating the billows, 
Whittington was cruelly beaten at home 
by the cross cook, who made sport of 
him for sending his cat : at last the 
poor boy determined to run away. 

He set out early in the morning of 
Allhallow's day : having got as far as 
Hollo way, he sat down to rest on a 
stone, which is still called Whittington 's 
stone, when Bow bells began ringing ; 
and he fancied they invited him to re- 
turn, by saying, Turn, turn again 
Whittington, Lord Mayor of London ? 

Lord Mayor of London ! said he to 

himself; what should not one endure 
to arrive at the honour of riding in such 
a fine coach, with six horses; well, I'll 
go back to Cicely, rather than lose 
the pleasure of being Lord Mayor. So 
home he ran, before Cicely came down 

The ship that earned out his cat, 
was very near being lost, and after con- 
tending with the boisterous seas, the 
sailors had the comfort to discover the 

coast of Barbary ; great was their joy at 
having escaped the dangers. 

The captain returned Almighty God 
thanks for their wonderful preservation. 
The inhabitants received them kindly, 
the captain shewed them the patterns 
of his cargo, and the king invited the 
captain and the factor to dine at the 

Here they were seated on elegant 
chairs, and the floor covered with car- 
pets, flowered with gold and silver. 

The king and queen being seated 
at the upper end of the table, and 
dinner brought in a number of covered 
dishes, the moment the covers were 

taken off, a large quantity of rats and 
mice jumped on the table, and devoured 
the whole. The factor, in surprise, 
turned to one of the nobles, and asked 
if the vermin were not offensive. 
yes, said he, very ; for they not only 
eat his food, but assault him in his 
chamber, so that a guard is obliged to 
be kept while their majesties sleep. 

The captain recollected Dick's Cat, 
and told their majesties there was a 


small creature on board his ship, that 
would despatch them presently. Let 
the creature be brought, said the king, 
and, if she drives the vermin from my 
court, I will, in exchange for her, load 
your ship with gold, and the richest 
jewels of my country. 

The factor fetched puss, and as soon 
as she saw the vermin, she sprang out 
of his arms, and killed or drove away 
every rat and mouse from the room. 

The king was astonished to see so 
small a creature drive away his old ene- 
mies, and the queen begged to have 
her brought near her. At first she 
was afraid of puss, but the captain 
stroked her; the goodnatured animal 
kept purring and singing, and the 
queen took the cat in her lap, where 
she presently sang herself to sleep. 

The king bought all the merchand- 
ise the captain had in his ship, and 


then paid him for the cat, which 
amounted to ten times as much money 
as the whole cargo. 

The captain assured their majesties 
the cat was with young, so that it was 
likely she would stock the country. 

It was that day twelvemonth, about 
the same time in the morning, on 
which Dick Whittington fancied Bow 
bells advised him to return, that Mr. 
Fitzwarren, who was an early riser, 
was sitting at his desk in the counting 
house, and heard a rap at the door : 
Who is there ? said the merchant. A 
friend, answered the other ; I have 
brought you good news of your ship 
Unicorn ; the merchant then admitted 
the captain and factor. They present- 
ed him with the casket of jewels, 
which his cargo had fetched ; then 
they shewed him the caskets of dia- 
monds and rubies they had received 


for Whittington's Cat, which surprised 
him beyond description, and he cried 

Go, call poor Dick, let's tell him of his fame ? 
And Mr. Whittiugtou shall be his name. 

Dick endeavoured to excuse him- 
self, saying, the floor was just rubbed, 
and his shoes were dirty and full of 
nails. The merchant however, ordered 
a chair to be set for him, and took him 
by the hand, and said, Mr. Whitting- 
ton, I congratulate you on the sur- 
prising success of your Cat, she has 
produced you more riches than I am 
worth, and may you long enjoy them. 

When they opened the casket, and 
shewed him the treasure, which they 
assured him was his own, he fell on 
his knees, and returned thanks to God 
for his goodness ; and then laid the 
whole at his master's feet, begging him 
to accept it: this Mr. Fitzwarren re- 


fused, saying, he heartily rejoiced at his 
prosperity. He next applied to his 
mistress and Miss Patty, who refused 
taking the smallest part. Mr. Whit- 
tington rewarded the captain, factor, 
and the ship's crew, for the care they 
had taken of his cargo, and made 
presents to the servants, even to his 
old enemy the cook. 

Mr. Fitzwarren advised Mr. Whit- 


tington to send for tradesmen to dress 
him suitable to his fortune. He in a 
little time lost that sheepish behaviour 
occasioned by depression of spirits, and 
grew a sprightly companion. Miss 
Patty, who always viewed him with an 
eye of compassion, now looked on him 
in another light, which was probably 
occasioned by his readiness to oblige 
her. When the merchant discovered 
they had a great regard for each other, 
he proposed a [match, to which both 
joyfully consented, and a day was fixed 
for the ceremony. They were esteemed 
the happiest couple in England, and 
lived to a good old age, leaving several 
children behind them. 

Sir Richard was Sheriff of London 
in 1340, and was three times Mayor 
of London ; and King Henry V. in 
Whittington's last mayoralty knighted