Page images

of women.' 'Oh,' says Mrs Bargrave, do not mention such a thing; I have not had an uneasy thought about it; I can easily forgive it.' "What did you think of me?' said Mrs Veal. Says Mrs Bargrave, I thought you were like the rest of the world, and that prosperity had made you forget yourself and me.' Then Mrs Veal reminded Mrs Bargrave of the many friendly offices she did her in former days, and much of the conversation they had with each other in the times of their adversity; what books they read, and what comfort in particular they received from Drelincourt's Book of Death, which was the best, she said, on the subject ever wrote. She also mentioned Dr Sherlock, and two Dutch books, which were translated, wrote upon death, and several others. But Drelincourt, she said, had the clearest notions of death, and of the future state, of any who had handled that subject. Then she asked Mrs Bargrave whether she had Drelincourt? She said, 'Yes.' Says Mrs Veal, Fetch it.' And so Mrs Bargrave goes up stairs, and brings it down. Says Mrs Veal, 'Dear Mrs Bargrave, if the eyes of our faith were as open as the eyes of our body, we should see numbers of angels about us for our guard. The notions we have of Heaven now are nothing like what it is, as Drelincourt says; therefore be comforted under your afflic tions, and believe that the Almighty has a particular regard to you, and that your afflictions are marks of God's favour; and when they have done the business they are sent for, they shall be removed from you. And believe me, my dear friend, believe what I say to you, one minute of future happiness will infinitely reward you for all your sufferings. For I can never believe (and claps her hand upon her knee with great earnestness, which, indeed, ran through most of her discourse) that ever God will suffer you to spend all your days in this afflicted state. But be assured that your afflictions shall leave you, or you them, in a short time.' She spake in that pathetical and heavenly manner, that Mrs Bargrave wept several times, she was so deeply affected with it.


Then Mrs Veal mentioned Dr Kenrick's Ascetic, at the end of which he gives an account of the lives of the primitive Christians. Their pattern she recommended to our imitation, and said, Their conversation was not like this of our age. For now,' says she, there is nothing but vain frothy discourse, which is far different from theirs. Theirs was to edification, and to build one another up in faith, so that they were not as we are, nor are we as they were. But,' said she, we ought to do as they did; there was a hearty friendship among them; but where is it now to be found?' Says Mrs Bargrave, It is hard indeed to find a true friend in these days.' Says Mrs Veal, Mr Norris has a fine copy of verses, called Friendship in Perfection, which I wonderfully admire. Have you seen the book?' says Mrs Veal. No,' says Mrs Bargrave, but I have the verses of my own writing out." Have you?' says Mrs Veal; then fetch them;' which she did from above stairs, and offered them to Mrs Veal to read, who refused, and waived the thing, saying, holding down her head would make it ache;' and then desiring Mrs Bargrave to read them to her, which she did. As they were admiring Friendship, Mrs Veal said, 'Dear Mrs Bargrave, I shall love you for ever. In these verses there is twice used the word 'Elysian.' 'Ah!' says Mrs Veal, these poets have such names for Heaven.' She would often draw her hand across her own eyes, and say, 'Mrs Bargrave, do not you think I am mightily impaired by my fits? No,' says Mrs Bargrave, I think you look as well as ever I knew you.'


After this discourse, which the apparition put in much finer words than Mrs Bargrave said she could pretend to, and as much more than she can remember (for it cannot be thought that an hour and three

But by the circumstance thereof, and the cheerful disposition of Mrs Bargrave, notwithstanding the ill usage of a very wicked husband, there is not yet the least sign of dejection in her face; nor did I ever hear her let fall a desponding or murmuring expression; nay, not when actually under her husband's barbarity, which I have been a witness to, and several other persons of undoubted reputation.

Now, you must know Mrs Veal was a maiden gentlewoman of about thirty years of age, and for some years last past had been troubled with fits, which were perceived coming on her by her going off from her discourse very abruptly to some impertinence. She was maintained by an only brother, and kept his house in Dover. She was a very pious woman, and her brother a very sober man to all appearance; but now he does all he can to null and quash the story. Mrs Veal was intimately acquainted with Mrs Bargrave from her childhood. Mrs Veal's circumstances were then mean; her father did not take care of his children as he ought, so that they were exposed to hardships. And Mrs Bargrave in those days had as unkind a father, though she wanted neither for food nor clothing; while Mrs Veal wanted for both, insomuch that she would often say, ' Mrs Bargrave, you are not only the best, but the only friend I have in the world; and no circumstance of life shall ever dissolve my friendship.' They would often condole each other's adverse fortunes, and read together Drelincourt upon Death, and other good books; and so, like two Christian friends, they comforted each other under their


Some time after, Mr Veal's friends got him a place in the customhouse at Dover, which occasioned Mrs Veal, by little and little, to fall off from her intimacy with Mrs Bargrave, though there was never any such thing as a quarrel; but an indifferency came on by degrees, till at last Mrs Bargrave had not seen her in two years and a half, though above a twelvemonth of the time Mrs Bargrave hath been absent from Dover, and this last half year, has been in Canterbury about two months of the time, dwelling in a house of her


In this house, on the eighth of September, one thousand seven hundred and five, she was sitting alone in the forenoon, thinking over her unfortunate life, and arguing herself into a due resignation to Providence, though her condition seemed hard: And,' said she, I have been provided for hitherto, and doubt not but I shall be still, and am well satisfied that my afflictions shall end when it is most fit for me.' And then took up her sewing work, which she had no sooner done but she hears a knocking at the door; she went to see who was there, and this proved to be Mrs Veal, her old friend, who was in a riding habit. At that moment of time the clock struck twelve at noon.

'Madam,' says Mrs Bargrave, I am surprised to see you, you have been so long a stranger;' but told her she was glad to see her, and offered to salute her, which Mrs Veal complied with, till their lips almost touched, and then Mrs Veal drew her hand across her own eyes, and said, I am not very well,' and so waived it. She told Mrs Bargrave she was going a journey, and had a great mind to see her first. But,' says Mrs Bargrave, how can you take a journey alone? I am amazed at it, because I know you have a fond brother.' 'Oh,' says Mrs Veal, I gave my brother the slip, and came away, because I had so great a desire to see you before I took my journey.' So Mrs Bargrave went in with her into another room within the first, and Mrs Veal sat her down in an elbow-chair, in which Mrs Bargrave was sitting when she heard Mrs Veal knock. Then,' says Mrs Veal, 'my dear friend, I am come to renew our old friendship again, and beg your pardon for my breach of it; and if you can forgive me, you are the best

[ocr errors]

quarters' conversation could all be retained, though the main of it she thinks she does), she said to Mrs Bargrave she would have her write a letter to her brother, and tell him she would have him give rings to such and such; and that there was a purse of gold in her cabinet, and that she would have two broad pieces given to her cousin Watson.

Talking at this rate, Mrs Bargrave thought that a fit was coming upon her, and so placed herself on a chair just before her knees, to keep her from falling to the ground, if her fits should occasion it; for the elbow-chair, she thought, would keep her from falling on either side. And to divert Mrs Veal, as she thought, took hold of her gown sleeve several times, and commended it. Mrs Veal told her it was a scoured silk, and newly made up. But for all this, Mrs Veal persisted in her request, and told Mrs Bargrave she must not deny her. And she would have her tell her brother all their conversation when she had opportunity. Dear Mrs Veal,' says Mrs Bargrave, this seems so impertinent, that I cannot tell how to comply with it; and what a mortifying story will our conversation be to a young gentleman. Why,' says Mrs Bargrave, it is much better, methinks, to do it yourself.' 'No,' says Mrs Veal, though it seems impertinent to you now, you will see more reasons for it hereafter.' Mrs Bargrave, then, to satisfy her importunity, was going to fetch a pen and ink, but Mrs Veal said, 'Let it alone now, but do it when I am gone; but you must be sure to do it; which was one of the last things she enjoined her at parting, and so she promised her.

Then Mrs Veal asked for Mrs Bargrave's daughter; she said she was not at home. But if you have a mind to see her,' says Mrs Bargrave, I'll send for her.' 'Do,' says Mrs Veal; on which she left her, and went to a neighbour's to see her; and by the time Mrs Bargrave was returning, Mrs Veal was got without the door, in the street, in the face of the beastmarket, on a Saturday (which is market-day), and stood ready to part as soon as Mrs Bargrave came to her. She asked her why she was in such haste. She said she must be going, though perhaps she might not go her journey till Monday; and told Mrs Bargrave she hoped she should see her again at her cousin Watson's, before she went whither she was going. Then she said she would take her leave of her, and walked from Mrs Bargrave, in her view, till a turning interrupted the sight of her, which was three quarters after one in the afternoon.

the whole story to Captain Watson's family; and what gown she had on, and how striped ; and that Mrs Veal told her that it was scoured. Then Mrs Watson cried out, You have seen her indeed, for none knew, but Mrs Veal and myself, that the gown was scoured.' And Mrs Watson owned that she described the gown exactly; 'for,' said she, 'I helped her to make it up.' This Mrs Watson blazed all about the town, and arouched the demonstration of the truth of Mrs Bargrave's seeing Mrs Veal's apparition. And Captain Watson carried two gentlemen immediately to Mrs Bargrave's house, to hear the relation from her own mouth. And when it spread so fast, that gentlemen and persons of quality, the judicious and sceptical part of the world, flocked in upon her, it at last became such a task, that she was forced to go out of the way; for they were in general extremely satisfied of the truth of the thing, and plainly saw that Mrs Bargrave was no hypochondriac, for she always appears with such a cheerful air and pleasing mien, that she has gained the favour and esteem of all the gentry; and it is thought a great favour if they can but get the relation from her own mouth. I should have told you before, that Mrs Veal told Mrs Bargrave that her sister and brother-in-law were just come down from London to see her. Says Mrs Bargrave,How came you to order matters so strangely? It could not be helped,' said Mrs Veal. And her brother and sister did come to see her, and entered the town of Dover just as Mrs Veal was expiring. Mrs Bargrave asked her whether she would drink some tea. Says Mrs Veal, I do not care if I do; but I'll warrant you this mad fellow (meaning Mrs Bargrave's husband) has broke all your trinkets. But,' says Mrs Bargrave, 'I'll get something to drink in for all that; but Mrs Veal waived it, and said, It is no matter; let it alone;' and so it passed. All the time I sat with Mrs Bargrave, which was some hours, she recollected fresh sayings of Mrs Veal. And one material thing more she told Mrs Bargrave, that old Mr Bretton allowed Mrs Veal ten pounds a-year, which was a secret, and unknown to Mrs Bargrave till Mrs Veal told her.

Mrs Bargrave never varies in her story, which puzzles those who doubt of the truth, or are unwilling to believe it. A servant in the neighbour's yard adjoining to Mrs Bargrave's house, heard her talking to somebody an hour of the time Mrs Veal was with her. Mrs Bargrave went out to her next neighbour's the very moment she parted with Mrs Veal, and told her what ravishing conversation she had with an old friend, and told the whole of it. Drelincourt's Book of Death is, since this happened, bought up strangely. And it is to be observed, that, notwithstanding all the trouble and fatigue Mrs Bargrave has undergone upon this account, she never took the value of a farthing, nor suffered her daughter to take anything of any body, and therefore can have no interest in telling the story.

Mrs Veal died the 7th of September, at twelve o'clock at noon, of her fits, and had not above four hours' senses before her death, in which time she received the sacrament. The next day after Mrs Veal's appearance, being Sunday, Mrs Bargrave was mightily indisposed with a cold and a sore throat, that she could not go out that day; but on Monday morning she sends a person to Captain Watson's, to know if Mrs Veal was there. They wondered at Mrs Bargrave's inquiry, and sent her word she was not there, nor was expected. At this answer, Mrs Bargrave told the maid she had certainly mistook the name, or made some blunder. And though she was ill, she put on her hood, and went herself to Captain Watson's, though she knew none of the family, to see if Mrs Veal was there or not. They said they wondered at her asking, for that she had not been in town; they were sure, if she had, she would have been there. Says Mrs Bargrave, I am sure she was with me on Saturday almost two hours.' They said it was impossible, for they must have seen her if she had. In comes Captain Watson, while they were in dispute, and said that Mrs Veal was certainly dead, and the escutcheons were making. This strangely surprised Mrs Bargrave, when she sent to the person immediately who had the care of them, and found it true. Then she related


But Mr Veal does what he can to stifle the matter, and said he would see Mrs Bargrave: but yet it is certain matter of fact that he has been at Captain Watson's since the death of his sister, and yet never went near Mrs Bargrave; and some of his friends report her to be a liar, and that she knew of Mr Bretton's ten pounds a-year. But the person who pretends to say so, has the reputation to be a notorious liar among persons whom I know to be of undoubted credit. Now, Mr Veal is more of a gentleman than to say she lies, but says a bad husband has crazed her; but she needs only present herself, and it will effectually confute that pretence. Mr Veal says he asked his sister on her death-bed whether she had a mind to dispose of anything? And she said no. Now, the things which Mrs Veal's apparition would have disposed of, were so trifling, and nothing of justice aimed at in the disposal, that the design of it appears to me to be only in order to make Mrs Bargrave so

to demonstrate the truth of her appearance, as to satisfy the world of the reality thereof, as to what she had seen and heard; and to secure her reputation among the reasonable and understanding part of mankind. And then, again, Mr Veal owns that there was a purse of gold; but it was not found in her cabinet, but in a comb-box. This looks improbable; for that Mrs Watson owned that Mrs Veal was so very careful of the key of her cabinet, that she would trust nobody with it; and if so, no doubt she would not trust her gold out of it. And Mrs Veal's often drawing her hands over her eyes, and asking Mrs Bargrave whether her fits had not impaired her, looks to me, as if she did it on purpose to remind Mrs Bargrave of her fits, to prepare her not to think it strange that she should put her upon writing to her brother, to dispose of rings and gold, which looked so much like a dying person's request; and it took accordingly with Mrs Bargrave as the effect of her fits coming upon her, and was one of the many instances of her wonderful love to her and care of her, that she should not be affrighted, which, indeed, appears in her whole management, particularly in her coming to her in the day-time, waiving the salutation, and when she was alone; and then the manner of her parting, to prevent a second attempt to salute her.

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 all shut up; at last I fell into some 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 not dead already, and the rest sick. Then he, pointing to one house, There they are all dead, said he, and the house stands open; nobody 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 churchyard too, last night. Then he pointed to several other houses. There, says he, they are all dead, 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. Why, says I, Now, why Mr Veal should think this relation a what do you here all alone? Why, says he, I am a reflection (as it is plain he does, by his endeavouring poor desolate man; it hath pleased God I am not to stifle it), I cannot imagine; because the generality yet visited, though my family is, and one of my believe her to be a good spirit, her discourse was so children dead. How do you mean then, said I, that heavenly. Her two great errands were, to comfort you are not visited? Why, says he, that is my house, Mrs Bargrave in her affliction, and to ask her forgive-pointing to a very little low boarded house, and there ness for her breach of friendship, and with a pious my poor wife and two children live, said he, if they discourse to encourage her. So that, after all, to may be said to live; for my wife and one of the suppose that Mrs Bargrave could hatch such an in- children are visited, but I do not come at them. And vention as this from Friday noon till Saturday noon with that word I saw the tears run very plentifully (supposing that she knew of Mrs Veal's death the down his face; and so they did down mine too, I very first moment), without jumbling circumstances, assure you. and without any interest too, she must be more witty, fortunate, and wicked, too, than any indifferent person, I daresay, will allow. I asked Mrs Bargrave several times if she was sure she felt the gown? She answered modestly, 'If my senses be to be relied on, I am sure of it.' I asked her if she heard a sound when she clapped her hands upon her knee? She said she did not remember she did, but said she appeared to be as much a substance as I did who talked with her. And I may,' said she, 'be as soon persuaded that your apparition is talking to me now, as that I did not really see her; for I was under no manner of fear, and received her as a friend, and parted with her as such. I would not,' says she, give one farthing to make any one believe it; I have no interest in it; nothing but trouble is entailed upon me for a long time, for aught I know; and had it not come to light by accident, it would never have been made public.' But now she says she will make her own private use of it, and keep herself out of the way as much as she can; and so she has done since. She says she had a gentleman who came thirty miles to her to hear the relation; and that she had told it to a roomful of people at the time. Several particular gentlemen have had the story from Mrs Bargrave's own mouth.


This thing has very much affected me, and I am as well satisfied as I am of the best-grounded matter of fact. And why we should dispute matter of fact, because we cannot solve things of which we can have no certain or demonstrative notions, seems strange to me; Mrs Bargrave's authority and sincerity alone would have been undoubted in any other case.

[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 managed in the river, and among the ships; and 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.

But, said I, why do you not come at them? How can you abandon your own flesh and blood? Oh, sir, says he, the Lord forbid; I do not abandon them; I work for them as much 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 in, 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 you kept from the dreadful calamity that is now upon us 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, says he, showing me a broad 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 waterman? Does anybody go by water these times? Yes, sir, says he, in the way I am employed there does. Do you see there, says he, five ships lie at anchor 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? pointing above the town. All those ships have families on board, of their merchants and owners, and such like, who have locked themselves up, and live on board, close shut in, for fear of the infection; and I tend on them to fetch things for them, 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

[ocr errors]


FROM 1689

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 place, and so infected as it is? Why, as to that, said he, I very seldom go up the ship-side, 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 no danger from me, for I never go into any house on shore, or touch anybody, no, not of my own family; but I fetch provisions for them.

left a little boy to watch it till she came again.
so she left the biscuit, which was in a little bag, and

Well, but, says I to him, did you leave her the four
So he
Yes, yes, says he, you shall hear her own it.
shillings too, which you said was your week's pay?
calls again, Rachel, Rachel, which, it seems, 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 refrain my charity for
his assistance; so I called him, Hark thee, friend, said
I, come hither, for I believe thou art in health, that I
may venture thee; so I pulled out my hand, which
thy Rachel once more, and give her a little more com-
was in my pocket before, Here, says I, go and call
fort from me; God will never 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.

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 be at some 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 Greenwich, and buy fresh meat there, and
sometimes I row down the river to Woolwich, and buy
there; then I go to single farm-houses on the Kentish
side, where I am known, and buy fowls, and eggs, and
I seldom
butter, and bring to the ships, as they direct me,
sometimes one, sometimes the other.
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 not words to express the poor man's thankfulness, neither could he express it himself, but by told her God had moved the heart of a stranger, upon tears running down his face. He called his wife, and hearing their condition, to give them all that money; The woman, too, made signs of the like thankfulness, and a great deal more such as that he said to her. up; and I parted with no money all that year that I as well to Heaven as to me, and joyfully picked it thought better bestowed.

I have gotten four shillings, said he, which is a great sum, as things go now with poor men; but they have given me a bag of bread too, and a salt fish, and some flesh; so all helps out.

[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 wealth than I knew
what to do with [five pounds, his share of the plunder];
for lodging I had none, nor any box or drawer to hide
my money in, nor had I any pocket, but such as I say
I could go and desire them to lay it up for me; for
was full of holes; I knew nobody in the world that
Well, honest friend, said I, thou hast a sure com- being a poor, naked, ragged boy, they would presently
forter, if thou hast brought thyself to be resigned to say I had robbed somebody, and perhaps lay hold of
it often is in foreign countries; and now, as I was full
the will of God; he is dealing with us all in judg-me, and my money would be my crime, as they say
secure my money I could not tell; and this held me
of wealth, behold I was full of care, for what to do to
so long, and was so vexatious to me the next day,
that I truly sat down and cried.


Well, said I, 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 stopt, and wept very much.

[ocr errors]

Oh, 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 me, suggesting 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 attendance, 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 safety.

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

Nothing could be more perplexing than this money
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 dif-
ficult to carry than the four guineas. At last I sat
four guineas into that; but after I had gone awhile,
down and pulled off one of my shoes, and put the
my shoe hurt me so I could not go, so I was fain to
it in my hand; then I found a dirty linen rag in the
sit down again, and take it out of my shoe, and carry
street, and I took that up, and wrapt it altogether, 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 not get in, I wish I had it in a foul
was foul, according to the letter of that saying, but it
clout: in truth, I had mine in a foul clout; for 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, or robbed of it, or some
trick or other put upon me for it; so I knew not what
to do, but lay with it in my hand, and my hand in


At length, after some farther talk, the poor woman opened the door, and called Robert, Robert; he answered, and bid her stay a few moments 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 hallooed again; then he went to the great stone which he showed me, and emptied the sack, and laid all out, everything by 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, she could not carry it at once in, though the weight was not much neither;

[ocr errors]

my bosom; but then sleep went from my eyes. Oh, the weight of human care! I, a poor beggar boy, could not sleep, so soon as I had but a little money to keep, who, before that, could have slept upon a heap of brick-bats, 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; then 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 thought 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 should 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 should 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 trees 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.

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 could 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, roared out, I was in such a passion; then I got down the tree again, then up again, and thrust in my hand again till I 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 halfpenny of it left for a halfpenny 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 behold, 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 rag, 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 hollowed 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 in

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 Beth-clination to this led me so strongly against the willnal Green. When I got a little way in the lane, I nay, the commands-of my father, and against all found a footpath over the fields, and in those fields the intreaties and persuasions of my mother and other several trees for my turn, as I thought; at last, one friends, that there seemed to be something fatal in tree had a little hole in it, pretty high out of my that propension of nature, tending directly to the life reach, and I climbed up the tree to get it, and when of misery which was to befall me. 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 'twas a vast great tree.

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 he was confined by the gout, and expostulated very warmly with me upon this subject. He asked me what reasons, more than a mere wandering inclination, I had for leaving my father's house and my native country, where I might be well introduced, and had a prospect of raising my fortune by application and industry, with a life of ease and pleasure. He told me it was only men of desperate fortunes on one hand, or of aspiring superior fortunes on the other, who went abroad upon adventures, to rise 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 most suited to human happiness; not exposed to the miseries and hardships, the labour and sufferings, of the mechanic part of mankind, and

« PreviousContinue »