Topics > People in History > George Stephenson (1781 - 1848) > Extracts from Biography of George and Robert Stephenson > Trip to Newcastle - George Stephenson
Trip to Newcastle - George Stephenson
Extract from: The Life of George Stephenson and of his son Robert Stephenson, by Samuel Smiles, 1881.
Young though he was, George was now of an age to be able to contribute something toward the family maintenance; for, in a poor man's house, every child is a burden until his little hands can be turned to profitable account. That the boy was shrewd and active, and possessed of a ready mother-wit, will be evident enough from the following incident. One day his sister Nell went into Newcastle to buy a bonnet, and Geordie went with her "for company." At a draper's shop in the Bigg Market Nell found a "chip" quite to her mind, but on pricing it, alas! it was found to be fifteen pence beyond her means. Girl-like, she had set her mind upon that bonnet, and no other would please her. She accordingly left the shop very much dejected. But Geordie said, "Never heed, Nell; come wi' me, and I'll see if I canna win siller enough to buy the bonnet; stand ye there till I come back." Away ran the boy, and disappeared amid the throng of the market, leaving the girl to wait his return. Long and long she waited, until it grew dusk, and the market-people had nearly all left. She had begun to despair, and fears crossed her mind that Geordie must have been run over and killed, when at last up he came running, almost breathless. "I've gotten the siller for the bonnet, Nell!" cried he. "Eh, Geordie!" she said, "but hoo hae ye gotten it!" "Hauddin the gentlemen's horses!" was the exultant reply. The bonnet was forthwith bought, and the two returned to Dewley in triumph.