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me hear the end of your story." " 'Twas a bad ending, Sir," replied she, “ for no good could come after he took to running about the country acting plays. He ran himself into a consumption, and the doctors said it was brought on by bawling so loud, and being out in night air: He was little better than a corpse, when at the end of two years, he was brought home to me, and not one of his learned acquaintance would give sixpence to help him. I had made a pretty many more friends by washing and scrubbing houses for the gentlefolks round here:” “ Doubtless you had,” observed I., “ for honest industry will be preferred to idle folly, by the well-discerning."
Though this woman in her story shewed a roughness of manner not altogether becoming, as reflecting so much on her husband's character, she yet proved herself no stranger to affectionate feelings by her concluding observation. “I can't bear,” said she, wiping her eyes with the stocking she had almost finished, “ to talk of the poor soul's last sickness." By no means," replied I, “'tis no use to distress yourself to satisfy my curiosity.” “Humphrey Preach could tell you all about it, Sir','' returned she. The poor woman was now seized with a violent fit of coughing, which was one of the disorders she had mentioned at the beginning of our conversation. I expressed my fears to a woman at a little distance that I had been the
occasion in part, by leading her to talk too much. She came forward, as I hoped, with a kind intention to assist her neighbour, who seemed to me nearly strangled; but I was disappointed, for she assured' me nothing could be done, and that she would come out of her fit in about a quarter of an hour, adding, “ 'Tis all her own fault, I thought how it would be when I saw her gabbling at such a rate, it always sets her off; and 'tis not for such as her to ask money of gentlefolks--she's allowed some every week by Madam Goodall. Nobody thinks of me, though I have worked hard all my life, and lived in great houses.” Much disgusted - with these few words, which betrayed inmediately the character of their speaker, I left her without reply, and went in quest of the master or mistress of the house, in order to ascertain whether that part of her intelligence which respected the impossibility of reheving the violence of the cough was true. The latter dispatched a little girl with a cup of water, which she sometimes found efficacious, and which she informed me was known to be so by the woman above mentioned, but her envious unfeeling disposition was well-known throughout the house; and as for her complaint of being forgotten by the gentlefolks, they had only one token to remember her by, and that was the manner in which she wasted their property, while she lived in their services. “ Indeed, Sir," added the mistress, “ I can truly assure you, that out of the forty poor
objects you may see under this roof, there are only ten who have not been driven here by their vices or imprudences. I acknowledge their fare is hard; 'tis not to be expected they should fare so well as the honest and industrious poor, who lay by for old age, and bring up their children in a way to help them besides : but they make themselves miserable chiefly by their discontented, unreasonable tempers." “ The way of transgressors is indeed hard, as the wise man observes, in every sense," replied I, “ but those ten you mention, what do they say of your accommodations ?"
They have reason to be more satisfied,” returned she,''because they have each of them an allowance from friends, who knew them in their days of industry: and this enables them to purchase little comforts it cannot be expected the house should afford them."
I felt delighted at this new proof of the truth of one of my general observations. The little girl who had been sent with the water, now returned. I observed that she was sadly deformed in her person, though of a pleasing and intelligent countenance. I asked the mistress if she was a specimen of a work-house nursing. « Alas !" she replied, “ too trve an one, in most cases where the houses are not overlooked by the gentry as ours is; but I'm proud to say, there is no such object here besides herself, and her own mother was the only one to blame in her case. The heightened colour which appeared
in the child's face as she heard our remarks, white it shewed her sensibility, reproved iny want of it; and regretting my having exposed it to the trial, I tenderly assured her, that the wise and good would never value her the less for her shape being somewhat different from their own : and that especially God would not disregard her, since he looked only on the beauty of the soul, and had most probably permitted this deformity of body for the advantage of that nobler part.
The Causes of Discontent.
“Madam GOODALL says so too, Sir,” replied the little girl, “and I don't fret half so much as I did before she taught me to read and say my catechism.” She then turned towards the mistress, and asked her leave to go to Gaffer. • Aye, aye," returned she, with a good humoured air, “ go along; I know you have been wishing to go to him for this hour past. . She is," continued she, after she was gone, “a sweet tempered child, and very useful in the house ; but the doctors say she will never live to grow up, on account of her make, and she is very ailing sometimes already. Gaffer, as she calls him, is an old blind fisher-man, who nets fishing or garden nets, and sings psalms from morning to night, except 'tis when Mary visits him, which is two or three times a day. She learnt to read to please Gaffer more than herself ; and it does one good to hear her read to him out of the Bible, or some book that Madam Goodall