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set up for himself, and thrives mainly. But i ought to ask pardon, Sir, for thus running on about my own affairs. The older I grow, the more I get like my good old father, who loved to tell a long story to his heart.”'
*Mr. 'Peach,” returned I, “if I had not wished for your conversation, I should not have invited you into my company, so make'no apology. Your pockets, I perceive, are stuck out with papers; and I suspect some tale is attached to the circumstance, which would not discredit you, if you are willing to communicate it.”
"My papers are no'secrets, Sir," replied Humphrey : “ You'll see me stop at every public-house we pass to leave some, till my pockets are empty ; for I am now going my monthly rounds."
"I regret," said I, “ to observe an unusual number of such houses in this neighbourhood : Do you know how it happens there are so many more than are necessary ?" “ Alas,” returned Humphrey, "this is a matter of regret to every thinking body round; but you must know, Sir, that the estate belongs to an unthinking Duke, who grants licences to any one who asks him; and tho' the evil' has been stated to him by our good Rector and the heads of the parish, he gives no heed, for he says, 'tis only the Methodists out-cry against a poor
man's enjoying a little comfort during his short life. Aye, seeing's believing , how I wish his Grace could see these poor creatures staggering home, after spending half their wages; and hear, as I do, the bitter lamentations of their poor deserted wives and ragged half starved children. Then the quarrels and swearing amongst them are dreadful to the ears of all, be they Methodists or not. Well, finding nothing could be done with the Duke, our Rector bent all his aim at trying to reform the men themselves ; and a blessing rests on his endeavours, for one and another is always coming round to the week-day lecture: and I observe, as soon as ever they are constant there, the work of reformation is done as respects going to public-houses. He also got together a number of religious tracts, and gave round to the public-house keepers, to lay in their tap-room and about. But here he was not so suc.. cessful, for to my certain knowledge they put most of them into the fire, because like the Ephesians of old, “Their craft was in danger" from such readings. I made bold to tell him, I thought it would be so;. I know public-house keepers' minds better than Mr. Goodall. Well, thought I, if one way wont do, we must try another ; so I wrote up to an acquaintance I have in London, to send me a great quantity of sessions' papers, and putting them under my arm, I sallied forth, and looked in at the houses. Every landlord I saw set his eye upon my papers, and asked what they were : being told they
asked for a sight of them, as trials were very entertaining reading. To be sure they are, replied I, and mayhap some of your custoiners inay like to look at them, and they save you the expence of newspapers. Well, cried old Thrifty of the Bear, that's a good thought, I suppose you get these things cheap. Dog cheap, replied I, for I resolved cheap as I got them, he should have them still cheaper. Delighted that my bait had taken, I left a parcel with him, and the rest of them, who not dreaming there was any thing to be learnt from them to endanger their craft, agreed to buy them at a low rate whenever I chose, to entertain their customers, and sometimes, to save their news. papers. Thus we have gone on month after month, and I expect to hear of some good being done. I select only those I think profitable ; and I am sure, if any one disbelieves the doctrine of an over-ruling Providence in bringing to light and punishment (often in the most wonderful way) the hidden works of wickedness, he ought to read sessions' papers. If any one doubts the hardening nature of sin, and the possibility that by an indulgence even of one evil temper, persons may be brought to commit the greatest crimes, he has only to look into the sessions' papers. And if any suppose the most cunningly devised schemes can always deceive justice, he has only to see the end of them, as they are shewn in the sessio
papers, Then, 'tis very profitable to read of the distress of mind
the poor criminals endure ; and sometimes they speak to the purpose at the gallows, warning their hearers against following their examples, in such a manner, as leads one to hope the grace of God has touched their own hearts a saving end: Some of the Judges too, say good things ;--and I hope it will be impressed more and more on their minds, to exhort on these awful occasions."
We were now arrived at the first public-house, which Humphrey entered,--and I walked on in the expectation of his speedily overtaking me. He --taid longer there than he wished, as he told me, being obliged to discourse a little with the landlord, who was the most profligate of all. “When I went in," said Humphrey, "he was sitting in the taproom. Ah! Master Preach, he cried, what more of your next-kin to godly books ? I believe I shall take no more of them ; while my customers are reading they can't be singing ; and I always loves to encourage a merry noise, because they on the outside are more likely to turn in if they hear it. There's something in that, Master Jolly, to be sure, replied I, but take both sides of the argument. Now you'll allow that wickedness ought to have its bounds, and you don't wish to see your neighbours in prison, or at the gallows. No, no, replied he, they would then be lost to the tap. returned, here then will be more policy in you to keep them away, than to run the hazard of
Just so, I
losing your old customers, on the speculation of getting a few new ones,--for depend upon it, singing loose songs is as ready a way to bring your young men to the gallows, as Satan could ever devise. But I'nı half afear'd, returned the landlord, that these half-godly books will hazard me the loss of a customer for the other day Jack Sage looked mighty dumpy while he was reading ; and said something about God's mercy in keeping him from wieked ways, to the one who sat next to him, Being at a loss (continued Mr. P.) to parry off this fear of the landlord, which I thought so well founded; I had nothing left to have recourse to but my own consequence; so gathering my papers together, Well, neighbour Jolly, said I, as you have so many fears, I suppose I am not to be obliged in this matter, for you know I don't disguise that my inotive in the circulation of these papers, is to mend the morals of their readers ; and I don't scruple to say, I am obliged to all who will take them even as a gift, if they can't conveniently buy. This had the desired effect. He said, he was to be sure glad to oblige me, and desired me to leave what I liked. You see, Sir, my business leads me into the presence of all the gentlefolks round, and these chaps know, how they let me speak freely; and that I may, if I please, serve them twenty ways : so the world goes--interest