صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

to care and to provide sufficient remedies for. Now, if ever, the effectual remedy for this is found ont, to the inexpressible advantage of the whole nation, and this, perhaps, is the only cure for it that the nature of the disease will admit of; what terrible havoc has this kind of trade made among the estales of the gentry and the morals of the common people! How has it kept alive the factions and divisions of the country people, keeping them in a constant agitation, and in triennial commotions ? so, that, wbat with forming new interests and cultivating old, the heats an?! animosities never cease amobg the people. But once set the Pretewer upon the throne, and let the funds be but happily stopped, and paid into his hands, tbatic may be in no more need of a parliament, and all these distempers will be cured as effectually as a fever is cared by cutting off the head, or a halier cures the bleeding at the nose,

The Great Plague in London. Much about the same time I walked out into the fields towards Bow, for I had a great mind to see how things were mapaged in the river and ainong the ships; aud as I had some concern in shipping, I had a notion that it had been one of the best ways of securing one's self from the infection to have retired into a ship; and musing how to satisfy my curiosity in that point, I turned away over the fields, from Bow to Bromley, and down to Blackwall, to the stairs that are there for landing or taking water.

Here I saw a poor man walking on the bank or sea-wall, as they call it, by himself. I walked a while also about, seeing the houses a shut up; at last I fell into soine talk at a distance, with this poor man. First I asked him how people did thereabouts. Alas! sir,' says he, almost desolate; all dead or sick. Here are very few families in this part, or in that village '-pointing at Poplar—where half of them are dead alredy, and the rest sick.' Then he, pointing to one house: • There they are all dead,' said he, and the house stands open ; vobody dares go into it. A poor thief.' says he, ventured in to steal something. but he paid dear for his theft, for he was carried to the churchyarı too, last night.? Then he pointed to several other houses. There,' says he, they are all dea i-the man and his wife and five children. There,' says he, they are shut up; you see a watchman at the door; and so of other houses.? Whiy,' says I, .what do you here all alone? Why,' says he,

I am a poor desolate man: it hath pleased God I am not yet visited, though my family is, and one of my children dcad.' • How do you mean then,' said I, that you are not visited?', Why,' says he. • that is my house-pointing to a very little lowboarded house and there my poor wife and two children live, said he, “if they may be said to live; for my wife and one of the children are visited, but I do not coine at them.' And with that word I saw the tears run very pleutifully dowu his face; and so they did downı mine too, I assure you.

• But, said I, 'why do you not coine at them? How can you abandon your own flesh and blood ?'', sir,' says he, the Lord forbid. I do not abandon thein ; I work for them as muc. as I am able; and blessed be the Lord, I keep them from want.' And with that I observed he lifted up his eyes to heaven with a countenance that presently told me I had happened on a man that was no hypocrite, but a serious religious, good man; and his ejaculation was an expression of thankfulness, that, in such a condition as he was jn, he should be able to say his family did not want. Well,' says I, “honest man, that is a great mercy, as things go now with the poor. But how do you live then, and how are yon kept from the dreadful calamity that is Dow upon tis all ?' • Why, sir,' says he, 'I am a waterman, and there is my boat,' says he ; "and the boat serves me for a house: I work in it in the day, and I sleep in it in the night; and what I get I lay it down upon that stone,' pays he, shewing me a broaci stone on the other side of the street, a good way from his house; and then,' says he, “I halloo and call to them till I make them hear, and they come and fetch it.'

• Well, friend,' says I. but how can you get money as a watermau? Does anybody go by water those times ?'

Yes, sir,' says he, in the way I am employed, there does. Do you see there,' says he, .five ships lie at anchor 2-pointing down the river a good way below the town-- and do you see,' says he, eight or ten ships lie at the chain there, and at anchor yonder ? —pointivg above the town. 'All those ships have fainilies on board, of their merchants and owners, and such like, who have locked themselves ap, and live on board, close shut in, for fear of the infection ; and I tend on them to fetch things for vnem, carry letters, and do what is absolutely necessary, that they may not be obliged to come on shore, and every night I fasten my boat on board one of the ship's boats, and there I sleep by myself; and blessed be God, I am preserved hitherto.'

. Well,' said I, 'friend, but will they let you come on board after you have been on shore here, when this has been such a terrible piace, and so infected as it is ?'

• Why, as to that,' said he, * I very seldom go up the shipside, but deliver what I bring to their boat, or lie by the side, and they hoist it on board. If I did, I think they are in na danger from me, for I never go into any house on shore, or touch anys body, no, not of my own family; but I fetch provisions for them.'

• Nay, says I, but that may be worse, for you must have those provisions of somebody or other; and since all this part of the town is so infected, it is dangerous so much as to speak with anybody; for the village,' said I, “is, as it were, the beginning of London, though it bc ut soine distance from it.'

That is true,' added he, . but you do not understand me right. I do not buy provisions for them here; I row up to Greenwicli, and buy fresh meat there, and sometimes I low down the river to Woolwich, and buy there; then I go to single farmhouses ou the Kentish side, where I am known, and buy fowls, and eggs, and butter, and bring to the ships, as they direct me, sometimes one, sometimes the other. seldom come on shore here; and I came only now to call my wife, and hear how my little family do, and give them a little money which I received last night.'

Poor man !' said I, and how much hast thou gotten for them ?' • I have gotten four shillings, said he, which is a great sum, as things go now with poor inen; but they have given me a bag of bread too, and a salt fish, and some flesh; 80 all helps out.'

• Well,' said Í, “and have you given it them yet ?'

"No," said he, but I have called, and my wife has answered that she cannot come out yet; but in half an hour she hopes to come, and I am waiting for her. Poor woman!' says he, she is brought sadly down; she has had a swelling, and it is broke, and I hope she will recover, but I fear the child will die; but it is the Lord!' Here he stopped, and wept very much.

• Well, honest friend,' said I, thou hast a surc comforter, if thou hast brought thyself to be resigned to the will of God; He is dealing with us all in judgment.

.O sir,' says he, 'it is infinite mercy if any of us are spared; and who am I to repine!

* Say'st thou so,' said I; "and how much less is my faith than thine!! And here my heart smote mi, snygesting how much better this poor man's foundation was, on which he staid in the danger, than mine; that he had nowhere to fly; that he had a family to bind him to atterdance, which I had not; and mine was mere presumption, his a true dependence and a courage resting on God; and yet, that he used all possible caution for his safty.

I turued a little way from the man while these thoughts engaged me; for indeed I could no more refrain from tears than he.

At length, after some further talk, the poor woman opened the door, and calied • Robert, Robert;' he answered, and bid her stay a few moinents and he would come; so he ran down the common stairs to his boat, and fetched up a sack in which was the provisions he had brought from the ships; and when he returned, he halloocd again; then he went to the great stone which he shewed me, and emptied the sack, and laid all out, everything hy themselves, and then retired; and his wife came with a little boy to fetch them away; and he called, and said, such a captain had sent such a thing, and such a captain such a thing; and at the end adds : God has sent it all; give thanks to Him.' When the poor woman had taken up all, she was so weak, sho conld not carry it at once in, though the weight was not much neither; ro she left the biscuit, which was in a little bag, and left a little boy to watch it till she came again.

* Well, but,' says I to him, “did you leave lier the four shillings too, which you said was your week's pay ?'

· Yes, yes,' says he; you shall hear her own it.' So he calls again: "Rachel, Rachel'--which it seeins was her name— did you take up the money ?' • Yes,' said she. How much was it?' said he. Four shillings and a groat,' said she. Well, well,' says he, “the Lord keep you all;' and so he turned to go away.

As I could not refrain contributing tears to this man's story, so neither could I vefrain my charity for his assistance; so I called him. · Hark tbce, friend,' said I,

come hither, for I believe thon art in health, that I may venture thee;' so I pulled out my hand, which was in my pocket before. • Here,' says I, “ go and call thy Rachel once more, and give her a little more comfort from me; God will. vever forsake a family that trust in him as thou dost :' so I gave him four other shillings, and bid him go lay them on the stone, and call his wife.

I have not words to express the poor man's thankfulness. neither could he express it himse'f, but by tears running down his face. He called his wife, and told her God had moved the heart of a stranger, upon hearing their condition, to give them all that money; and a great deal more such as that he said to her. The woman, too, made signs of the like thankfulness, as well to Heaven as to me, and joyfully picked it up; and I parted with no money all that year that I thought better bestowed.

The Troubles of a Young Thief-From the 'Life of Colonel Jack.'

I have often thought since that, and with some mirth too, how I had really more trealth than I knew what to do with [five pounds, his share of the plunder); for lodging I had pobe, por any box or drawer to hide my money in, nor had I any pocket, but such as I say was full of holes; I knew nobody in the world that I could go and desire them to lay it up for me; for being, a poor, naked, ragged bor, they would presently say I bad robbed somebody, and perhaps lay hold of me, and my money would be my crime, as they say it often is in foreign countries; and now, as I was full of wealth, behold I was full of care, for what to do to secure my money I could not tell; and this held me so long, and was so vexatious to me the next day, thut I truly sat down and cried.

Nothing could be more perplexing than this moncy was to me all that night. I carried it in my hand a good while, for it was in gold all but 148.; and that is to say, it was four guineas, and that 14s. was more difficult to carry than the four guineas. At last 1 sat down and pulled off one of my shoes, and put the four guineas into that; but after I had gone awhile, my shoe hurt me so I could not go, so I was fain to sit down again, and take it out of my shoe, and carry it in my hand; then I found a dirty liven rag in the street, and I took that up, and wrapped it all together, and carried it in that a good way. I have often since heard people say when they have been talking of money that they could could not get in, I wish I had it in a foul clout: in truth, I had mine in a foul clout; for it was foul, according to the letter of that saying, but it served me till I came to a convenient place, and then I sat down and washed the cloth in the kennel, and so then put my money in again:

Well, I carried it home with me to my lodging in the glass-house, and when I went to go to sleep, I knew not what to do with it; if I had let any of the black crew I was with know of it, I should have been smothered in the ashes for it; so I knew not what to do, but lay w.th it in my hand, and my hand in my bosom; but then eleap went from my eyes. Oh, the weight of human care! 1, a poor beggar-boy, could not sleep, so soon as I had but a little money to keep, whó, before that, could have slept upon a heap of bri kbats, stones, or cinders, or anywhere, as sound as a rich man does on his down bed, and sounder too.

Every now and then dropping asleep, I should dream that my money was lost, and start like one frightened ; then, finding it fast in my hand, try to go to sleep again, but could not for a long while; their drop and start again. At last a fancy came into my head, that if I fell asleep, I should dream of the money, and talk of it in my sleep, and tell that I had money; which, if I should do, and one of the rogues should hear me, they would pick it out of my bosom, and of my hand too, without waking me; and after that thonght I could not sleep a wink more; so I passed that night over in care and anxiety enough, and this, I may safely say, was the first night's rest that I lost by the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches.

As soon as it was day, I got out of the hole we lay in, and rambled abroad in the fields towards Stepney, and there I mused and considered what I shonld do with this money, and many a time I wished that I had not had it; for after all my ruminating upon it, and what course I should take with it, or where I shonld put it, I could not hit upon any one thing, or any possible method to secure it; and it perplexed me so, that at last, as I said just now, I sat down and cried heartily.

When my crying was over, the case was the same; I had the money still, and what to do with it I could not tell : at last it came into my head that I should look out for some hole in a tree, and see to hide it there, till I should have occasion for it. Big with this discovery, as I then thought it, I began to look about me for a tree: but there were no trecs in the fields about Stepney or Mile-end that looked fit for my purpose; and if there were any that I began to look narrowly at, the fields were so full of people that they would see if I went to hide anything there, and I thought the people eyed me, as it were, and that two men in particular followed me to see what I intended to do.

This drove me further off, and I crossed the road at Mile-end, and in the middle of the town went down a lane that goes away to the Blind Beggar's at Bethnal Green. When I got a little way in the lane, I found a footpath over the fields, and in those fields several trees for my turn, as I thought; at last, one tree had a little hole in it, pretty high out of my reach, and I climbed up the tree to get it, and when I came there I put my hand in, and found, as I thought, a place very fit; so I placed my treasure there, and was mighty well satisfied with it: but, behold, putting my hand in again, to lay it more commodiously, as I thought, of a sudden it slipped away from me; and I found the tree was hollow, and my little parcel was fallen in out of my reach, and how far it might go in I knew not; so that, in a word, my money was quite gone, irrecoverably lost; there could be no room so much as to hope ever to see it again, for it was a vast great tree.

As young as I was, I was now sensible what a fool I was before, that I could not think of ways to keep my money, but I must come thus far to throw it into a hole where I couid not reach it: well, I thrust my hand quite up to my elbow; but no bottom was to be found, nor any end of the hole or cavity ; I got a stick of the tree, and thrust it in a great way, but all was one; then I cried, nay, roured out, I was in such a passion; then I got down the tree again, then up again, and thrust in my hand again till 1 scratched my arm and made it bleed, and cried all the while most violently; then I began to think I had not so much as a half-penny of it left for a half-penny roll, and I was hungry, and then I cried again: then I came away in despair, crying and roaring like a little boy that had been whipped ; then I went back again to the tree, and up the tree again, and thus I did several times.

The last time I had gotten up the tree I happened to come down not on the same side that I went up and came down before, but on the other side of the tree, and on the other side of the bank also; and, bebold, the tree had a great open place in the side of it close to the ground, as old hollow trees often have; and looking in the open place, to my inexpressible joy there lay my money and my linen ray, all wrapped up just as I had put it into the hole; for the tree being hollow all the way up, there had been some moss or light stuff, which I had not judgment enough to know was not firm, that had given way when it came to drop out of my hand, and so it had slipped quite down at once.

I was but a child, and I rejoiced like a child, for I holloaed quite out aloud when I saw it; then I ran to it and snatched it up, hugged and kissed the dirty rag a hundred times; then danced and jumped about, ran from one end of the field to the other, and, in short, I knew not what, much less do I know now what I did, though I shall never forget the thing; either what a sinking grief it was to my heart when I thought I had lost it, or what a flood of joy overwhelmed me when I had got it again.

While I was in the first transport of my joy, as I have said, I ran about and knew not what I did ; but when that was over, I sat down, opened the foul clout the money was in, looked at it, told it, found it was all there, and then I fell a-crying as violently as I did before, when I thought I had lost it. Advice to a Youth of Rambling Disposition.-From 'Robinson Crusoe.'

Being the third son of the family, and not bred to any trade, my head began to be filled very early with rambling thoughts. My father, who was very ancient, had given me a competent share of learning, as far as house education and a country free school generally go, and designed me for the law : but I would be satisfied with nothing but going to sea; and my inclination to this led me so strongly against the willnay, the commands-of my father, and against all the entreaties and persuasions of my mother and other friends, that there seemed to be something fatal in that propension of nature, tending directly to the life of misery which was to befall me.

My father, a wise and grave man, gave me serious and excellent counsel against what he foresaw was my design. He called me one morning into his chamber, where ho was confined by the gout, and expostulated very warmly with me upon tliis suhject. He asked me what reasons, more than a inere wandering inclination, I had for Icaving my father's house and my native country, where I might be well introduced, and had a prospect of raising my fortunes by application and industry, with a lite of ease and pleasure. He told me it was only men of desperate fortunes on one liaud, or of aspiring superior fortunes on the other, who went abroad upon adventures, to risc by enterprise, and make themselves famous in undertakings of a nature out of the common road; that these things were all either too far above me, or too far below me; that mine was the middle state, or what might be called the upper station of low life, which he had found, by long experience, was the best state in the world ---the inost suited to human happiness ; not exposed to the miseries and hardships, the labour and sufferings, of the mechanic part of mankind, and not embarrassed with the pride, luxury, ambition, and envy, of the upper part of mankind. He told me I might judge of the happiness of this state by this one thing, namely, that this was the state of life which all other people envied; that kings have frequently lamented the miserable consequence of being born to great things, and wished they had been placed in the middle of the two extremes, between the inean and the great; that the Wise Man gave his testimony to this, as the just standard of true felicity. when he prayed to have neither poverty por riches.

He bade me observe it, and I should always tind that the calamities of life were shared among the upper and lower part of mankind; but that the middle station had the fewest disasters, and was not exposed to so many vicissitudes as the higher or lower part of mankind; nay, they were not subjected to so many distempers and un asinesses, either of body or mind, as tho e were who, by vicious living, luxury and extravagances on one hand, or by hard labour, want 'of necessaries, and mean or insufficient diet on the other hand, bring distempers upon themselves by the natural consequences of their way of living; that the middle station of life was calculated for all kind of virtues and all kind of enjoyments; that peace and plenty were the handmaids of a middle fortune; that temperance, moderation, quietness, health, society, all agreeable diversions, and all desirable pleasures, were the blessings attending the middle station of life; that this way men went silently and smoothly through the world, and comfortably out of it; vot embarrassed with the labours of the hands or of the head ; not sold to a life of slavery for daily bread, or harassed with perplexed circumstances, which rob the soul of peace and the body of rest; uot enraged with the passion of envy, or the secret burning lust of ambition for great things—but in easy circumstances, sliding gently through the world, and sensibly tastiug the sweet of living without the bitter ; feeling that they are happy, and learning, by every day's experience, to know it more sensibly.

After this he pressed ine earnestly, and in the most affectionate manner, not to play the young man, or to precipitate myself into miseries, which nature, and the station of life I was born in, seem to have provided against ; that I was under no necessity of seeking my bread; that he would do well for me, and endeavour to enter me fairly into the station of life which he had been just recommending to me; and that, if I was not very easy and happy in the world, it must be my mere fate, or fault, that must hinder it; and that he should have nothing to answer for, having trus discharged his duty, in warning me against measures which he knew would be to my hurt. In a word, that as he would do very kind things for me, if I would stay and settle at home as he directed, so he would not have so much hand in my misfortunes as to give me any encouragement to go away; and, to close all, he told me I had my elder brother for my example, to whom he had used the same earnest persuasions to keep him from going into the Low Country wars, but could not prevail, his young desires prompting him to run into the army, where he was killed; and though lie said he would not cease to pray for me, yet he would venture to say to me, that it I did take this foolish step, God would not bless me--and I would have leisure hereafter to reflect upon having neglected his counsel, when there might be none to assist in my recovery.

BERNARD DE MANDEVILLE. BERNARD DE MANDEVILLE (167C-1733), a vigorous and graphic writer, who squandered upon useless and lax speculations powers

« السابقةمتابعة »