Historical Children's Literature Collection

The way to wealth; or poor Richard's maxims improved, &c [between 1840 and 1857?]

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(i For age and want save what you may,
" No morning sun lasts a whole day."
I have heard that nothing gives an author so great
pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by
other learned authors. This pleasure I have seldom enjoyed; for though I have been, if I may
say it without vanity, aii eminent author (of Almanacks) annually, now a full quarter of a century,
my brother authors in the same way (fdr what reason I know not,) have ever been very sparing in
their applauses ; and no other author has taken
the least notice of me ; so that, did not my writings
produce me some solid pudding, the great deficiency
of praise would have quite discouraged me.
I concluded at length, that the people were the
best judges of my merit, for they buy my works ;
and besides, in my rambles, where I am not personally known, I have frequently heard one or
othei\of my adages repeated with
" As poor Richard says,"
at the end on't. This gave me some satisfaction j
as it showed not only that my instructions were
regarded, but discovered; and I own, that, to encourage the practice of remembering and repeating
those wise sentences, I have sometimes quoted myself with great gravity.
Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you.
 I stopped my horse lately, where a great number of people were collected at an Auction of Merchant Goods.    The hour of sale not being come,
they were conversing on the badness of the times,
and one of the company called to a plain, clean,
old man, with white locks, "Pray, father Abraham,
what think you of the times ?    Won't these heavy
taxes quite ruin the country ?    How shall we ever
be able to pay them?    What would you advise us
to do?"    Father Abraham stood up and replied—
"■If. you'd have my advice, I'll give it to you in
short:  * for a word to the wise is enough; and
many words won't fill a bushel,' as poor Richard
says."    They joined in desiring him to speak his
mind ; and gathering round him, he proceeded as
follows :—
Friends, says he, and neighbours, the taxes are
indeed very heavy; and if those laid on by the
government were the only ones we had to pay, we
might more easily discharge them; but we have
many others, and much more grievous to some of
us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness,
three times as much by our pride, and four times
as much by our folly ; and from tfcese taxes the
commissioner cannot ease or deliver us by allowing
an abatement. However, let us hearken to good
advice, and something may be done for us:
" God helps them that helps themselves"
as poor Richard says in his Almanack.
It would be thought a hard government that
should tax its people one-tenth part of their time,
to be employed in its service ; but idleness taxes
many of us much more, ifi we reckon all that is
spent in absolute sloth, or doing of nothing, with
that which is spent in idle employments, or amusements that amount to nothing,
" Sloth, by bringing on disease, absolutely shortens life."
" Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour
wears, while the key used is always bright," as
poor Richard says.
But dost thou love life ? then do not squander
time, for " that's the stuff life is made of," as poor
Richard says. How much more than is.necessary
do we spend in sleep! forgetting that "the sleeping fox catches no poultry, and that there will be
sleeping enough in the grave," as poor Richard
says. " If time be of all things the most precious,
wasting time must be (as poor Richard says) the
greatest prodigality ;" since, as he elsewhere tells,
"Lost time is never found again; and what we
call time enough, always proves little enough."
Let us then up and be doing, and doing to the
>urpose; so by diligence shall we do more with
ess perplexity. " Sloth makes all things difficult,
but industry all easy," as poor Richard says ; and,
" he that riseth late must trot all day, and shall
scarce overtake his business at night; while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes
him," as we read in poor Richard; who adds,
" Drive thy business; let not that drive thee," and,
" Early to bed, and early to rise,
Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."
So what signifies wishing and hoping for better
times? We make these times better if we bestir
ourselves. "Industry needs not wish," as poor
Richard says; and,
 u Be thai livfcS tipon hope will die fasting.'5
. " There are no gains without pains ; then help
hands, for I have no lands, or if I have, they are
smartly taxed ; and, (as poor Richard likewise ob -
serves,) " He that hath a trade hath an estate; and
he that hath a calling hath an office of profit and
honour; but then the trade must be worked at,
and the calling well followed, or neither the estate
nor the office will enable us to pay our taxes.
If we are industrious, we shall never starve % for,
as poor Richard says, "At the working man's
house hunger looks in, but dares not enter." Nor
will the bailiff or the constable enter; for, " Industry pays debts, while despair increaseth them,"
says poor Richard. What though you have found
no treasure, nor has any rich relation left you a
legacy? "Diligence is the mother of good hick,"
as poor Richard says ; and, "God gives all things
to industry;
Then plough deep while sluggards sleep,
And you will have corn to sell and to keep,"
Says poor Dick.
Work while it is called to-day; for you kiio#
not how much you may be hindered to-morrow;
which makes poor Richard say, " One to-day is.
worth two to-morrows," and further, "Have you
somewhat to do to-tnorrow, do it to-day." If you
were a servant, would you not be ashamed that a
good master should catch you idle? Are you then
your own master? be ashamed to catch yourself
idle, as poor Dick says.
When there is so touch to be done for yourself,
your family, your country, and youf gracious kilig,
be up by peep of day; " let not the sun look down*
and say,
Inglorious here he lies !
Handle your tools without mittens ; remember,
that "the cat in gloves catches no mice/' as poor
Richard says.
It is true there is much to be done, and perhaps
you are weak handed ; but stick to it steadily and
you will see great effects ; for, " constant dropping
wears away, stones, and by diligence and patience
the mouse ate into the cable: and light strokes fell
great oaks," as poor Richard says in his Almanack,
the year I cannot just now remember.
Methinks I hear some of you say, " Must a man
afford himself no leisure ?"—I will tell thee my
friend what poor Richard says:—" Employ thy
time well, if thou meanst to gain leisure; and since
thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an
hour." Leisure is time for doing something useful;
this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the
lazy man never; so that, as poor Richard says,
"A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two
Do you imagine that sloth will afford you more
comfort than labour? No; for, as poor Richard
says, " Troubles spring from idleness, and grievous
toil from needless ease:" Many without labour
would live by their own wits only ; but they break
for want of stock: " Whereas industry gives comfort, and plenty, and respect. " Fly pleasures, and
they'll follow you ; the diligent spinner has a large
shift; and now I have a large shift; and now I
have a sheep and a cow, every body bids me good
morrow f all which is well said bv Door Richard,
 But, with our industry, we must likewise be
steady, settled, and careful, and oversee our own
affairs with our own eyes, and never trust too much
to others ; for. as poor Richard says,
" I never saw an oft removed tree,
Nor yet an oft removed family,
That throve so well as those that settled be."
And again, " Three removes are as bad as a
fire ;" and again, " Keep thy shop, and thy shop
will keep thee ;" and again, " If you would have
your business done, go : if not, send."    And again,
et He that by the plough would thrive,
Himself must either hold or drive."
And again, " The eye of a master will do more
work than both his hands; and again, "Want of
care does us more damage than want of knowledge ;
and again, "Not to oversee workmen is to leave
them your purse open."
Trusting too much to others' care is the ruin of
many ; for, as the Almanack says, " In the affairs
of the world, men are saved not by faith, but by
the want of it;" but a man's own care is profitable ;
for, saith poor Dick, " Learning is to the studious,
and riches to the careful, as well as power to the
bold, and heaven to the virtuous."
And further, " If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself." And
again, he adviseth to circumspection and care even
in the smallest matters; because, sometimes, "A
little neglect may breed great mischief;" adding,
" For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want
of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a
horse the rider was lost;" being overtaken and
slain by the enemy, all for want of care about a
horse shoe nail.
So much for industry, my friends, and attention
to one's own business ; but to these we must add
frugality, if we would make our industry more certainly successful.
A man may, if he knows not how to save as he
gets, "keep his nose all his life to the grindstone,
and die not worth a groat at last." " A fat kitten
makes a lean will," as poor Richard says ; and,
" Many estates are spent in the getting;
Since women for tea forsook spinning and knitting,
,  And men for punch forsook hewing and splitting."
" If you would be wealthy, (says, he in another
Almanack,) think of saving, as well as of getting :
The Indians have not made Spain rich, because
her outgoes are greater than her incomes."
Away, then, with your expensive follies, and
you will not have much cause to complain of hard
times, heavy taxes, and chargeable families; for,
as poor Dick says,
" Women and wine, ganie and deceit,
Make the wealth small, and the wants great/
And further, " What maintains one vice would
bring up two children." You may think, perhaps,
that a little punch, now and then, diet a little more
costly, clothes a little finer, and a little entertainment now and then, can be no great matter ; but
remember what poor Richard says, " Many a little
makes a meikle ;" and further, "Beware of little
expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship;" and
again, "Who dainties love shall beggars prove;"
and moreover,
" Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them."
Here you are all got together at this sale of
fineries and nick-nacks. You call them GOODS ;
but, if you do not take care, they will prove
EVILS to some of you. You expect they will be
sold cheap, and perhaps they may, for less than
they cost; but, if you have no occasion for theni,
they must be dear to you. Remember what poor
' Ritdiard says, " Buy what thou hast no need of,
and ere long thou sbalt sell thy necessaries." And
again, "At a great penny-worth pause a while."
He means, that perhaps the cheapness is apparent
only, but not real; or the bargain, by straitening
thee in thy business, may do thee more harm than
good.    For in another place he says,
" Many have been ruined by buying good penny worths."
Again, poor Richard says, " It is foolish to lay
out money in a purchase of repentance ; and yet
this folly is practised every day at auctions, for
want of minding the Almanack. " Wise men,"
(as poor Dick says,) " learn by others harms ; fools
scarcely by their own." Many a one for the sake
of finery on tlie back, have gone with a hungry
belly, and* have-starved their families.
" Silks and satins, scarlets and velvets," (as poor
Richard says) put out the kitchen fire." These
are not the necessaries of life, they can scarcely be
called the conveniences; and yet, only because they
look pretty, how many want to have them? The
artificial wants of mankind thus become more numerous than the natural: and, as poor Richard
says, " For one poor person there are a hundred
By these and other extravagancies, the genteel
are reduced to poverty, and forced tp borrow of
those whom they formerly despised, but who,
through industry and frugality, have maintained
their standing; in which case it appears plainly,
that "a ploughman on his legs is higher than a
gentleman on his knees," as poor Richard says.
Perhaps they have had a small estate left them,
Yfhich they knew not the getting of; they think
"it is day, and will never be night;" that a little
to be spent out of so much is not worth minding:
" A child and a fool" (as poor Richard says) "imagine twenty shillings and twenty years can never
be spent; but always taking out of the meal-tub,
and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom;"
then, as poor Dick says, " When the well is dry,
they know the worth of water." But this they
might have knowm before, if they had taken his
" If you would know the value of money, go and
try to borrow some ; for he that goes a borrowing
goes a sorrowing," as poor Richard says ; and indeed so does he that lends to such people, when he
goes to get it in again.
Poor Dick further advises, and says,
"Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse,
Ere Fancy you consult, consult your purse."
And again, " pride is as loud a beggar as want, and
a great deal more saucy," When you have bought
one fine thing you must buy ten more, that your
appearance may be all of a piece ; but poor Dick
says, << it is easier to suppress tlie first desire than
to satisfy all that follow it;" and it is as truly
folly for the poor to ape the rich, as the frog to
swell, in order to equal the ox.
i( Vessels large may venture more,
But little boats should keep near shore."
?Tis, however, a folly soon punished ; for " Pride
that dines on vanity, sups on contempt," as poor
Richard says.    And in another place,
" Pride breakfasted with Plenty,
Dined with Poverty,
And supped with Infamy."
And, after all, of what use is this pride of appear-
ance, for which so much is risked, so much is suffered ? It cannot promote health, nor ease pain ;
it makes no increase of merit in the person: it creates envy ; it hastens misfortune.
" What is a butterfly ? at best
He's but a caterpillar drest;
The gaudy fop's his picture just,"
as poor Richard says.
But what madness must it be to run in debt for
those superfluities! We are offered by the terms
of this sale, six months credit: and that. perhaps
has induced some of us to attend it, because we
cannot spare the ready money, and hope now to be
fine without it. But ah! think what you do when
you run in debt; you give to another power over
your liberty. If you cannot pay at the time, you
will be ashamed to see your creditor, you will be in
fear when you speak to him, you will make poor,
pityful, sneaking excuses, and, by degrees, come to
lose your veracity, and sink into base, downright
lying ; for, as poor Richard says, "the second vice
is lying ; the first is running in debt."
* And again to the same purpose, " Lying rides
upon debt's back;" whereas a free born Briton
ought not to be ashamed nor afraid to see or speak
to any man living.    But poverty often deprives a
man of all spirit and virtue. " It is hard for an
empty bag to stand upright," as poor Richard truly
What would you think of that prince, or of that
government, who should issue an edict, forbidding
you to dress like a gentleman or gentlewoman, on
pain of imprisonment or servitude ? Would you not
say, that you were free, have a right to dress as you
please, and that such an edict would be a breach of
your privileges, and such a government tyranical?
And yet, you are about to put yourself under that
tyranny, when you run in debt for such dress!
Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to deprive you of your liberty, by confining you in jail
for life, or by selling you for a servant, if you
should not be able to pay him.
When you have got your bargain, you may, perhaps, think little of payment; but " Creditors,"
(poor Richard tells us) "have better memories than
debtors ;" and in another place, he says, " Creditors
are a superstitious set, great observers of set days
and times."
The day comes round before you are aware, and
the demand is made before you are prepared to
satisfy it; or, if you bear your debt in mind, the
term which at first seemed so long, will, as it lessens, appear extremely short; time will seem to
have added wings to his heels as well as his shoulders.
" Those have a short Lent," (saith poor Richard,)
who owe money to be paid at Easter." Then
since, as he says, " The borrower is a slave to the
lender, and the debtor to the creditor;" disdain
the chain, preserve your freedom, and maintain
your independence; be industrious and free, be
frugal and free.
 At present, perhaps, you may think yourselves
in thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a
little extravagance without injury ; but
" For age and want save what you may
No morning sun lasts a whole day,"
as poor Richard says. Gain may be temporary
and uncertain ; but, ever while you live, expense
is constant and certain ; and it is easier to build
two chimneys, than to keep one in fuel, as poor
Richard says. So, "rather go to bed supperless
than rise in debt."
" Get what you can, and what you get hold,
"lis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold,"
as poor Richard says. And when you have got the
philosopher's stone, sure you will no longer complain of bad times, or the difficulty of paying taxes.
This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom;
but, after all, do not depend too much on your own
industry, and frugality, and prudence, though excellent things ; for they may all be blasted, without
the blessing of heaven; and therefore ask that
blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those
that at present seem to want it, but comfort and
help them. Remember, Job suffered, and was afterward prosperous.
And now to conclude, " Experience keeps a dear
school; but fools will learn in no other, and scarce
in that;" for, it is true, "we may give advice, but
we cannot give conduct," as poor Richard says.
However, remember this, " They that will not be
counselled, cannot be helped;" as poor Richard
says ; and further, that
" If you will not hear reason, she will rap your knuckles,"
Thus the old gentleman ended bis harangue.
The people heard it, and approved the doctrine ;
and immediately practised the contrary, just as if
it had been a common sermon; for the auction
opened, and they began to buy extravagantly, notwithstanding all his cautions, and their own fear
of taxes.
I found the good man had thoroughly studied
my Almanacks, and digested all I dropt on those
topics during the course of twenty-five years. Tlie
frequent mention he made of me must have tried
any one else ; but my vanity was wonderfully delighted with it, though I was conscious, that not a
tenth part of the wisdom was my own, which he
ascribed to me, but rather the gleanings that 1 had
made of the sense of all ages and nations. However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it;
and, though I had at first determined to buy stuff
for a new coat, I went away, resolved to wear my
old one a little longer. Reader, if thou wilt do
the sanie, thy profit will be as great as mine.
I am, as ever, thine to serve thee,
A True Story.
Whek I was a child at seven years old, my friends
m a holiday filled my pockets with coppers. I went
directly to a shop where they sold toys for children ;
and being charmed with the sound of a whistle that
I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I
voluntary offered him all my money for it. I then
came home, and went whistling all over the house,
much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all
the family. My brothers and sisters, and cousins,
understanding the bargain I had made, told me I
had given four times as much for it as it was worth.
This put me in mind what good things I might
have bought with the rest of the money ; and they
laughed at me so much for my folly, that I cried
with vexation ; and the reflection gave me more
chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure.
This, however, was afterwards of use to me, the
impression continuing on my mind ; so that often
when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing,
I said to myself, Don't give too much for the
whistle ; and so I saved my money.
As I grew up, came into the world, and observed
the actions of men, I thought I met with many,
very many, who gave too much for the whistle.
When I saw any one too ambitious of court favours, sacrificing his time in attendance on levees,
his repose, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his
friends, to attain it, I have said to myself, This
man gives too much for his whistle.
When I saw another fond of popularity, constantly employing himself in political bustles, neglecting his own affairs, and ruining them by that
neglect; He pays, indeed, says I, too much for his
If 1 knew a miser, who gave up every kind of
comfortable living, all the pleasure of doing good
to others, all the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and
the joys of benevolent friendship, for the sake of
accumulating wealth; Poor man, says I, you do
indeed pay too much for your whistle,
When I meet a man of pleasure, sacrificing every
laudable improvement of the mind, or of his fortune, to meet corporeal sensations : Mistaken man,
says I, you are providing pain for yourself instead
of pleasure, you give too much for your whistle.
If I see one fond of fine clothes, fine furniture,
fine equipages, all above his fortune, for which he
contracts debts, and ends his career in prison.
Alas! says I, he has paid dear, very dear for his
When I see a beautiful sweet tempered girl
married to an ill-natured husband ; What a pity it
is, says "I, that she has paid so much for a whistle!
In short, I conceived that great part of the miseries of mankind were brought upon them by the
false estimates they had made of the value of things,
and by their giving too much for their whistle
The Advantages of Drunkenness.
" Oh ! that man should put an enemy into their mouths to
steal away their Drains." Shakspeare.
" All the enemies on the earth do not destroy so many of the
human race, nor alienate so much property as drunkenness."
Lord Bacon.
If you wish to be always thirsty, be a drunkard;
for the oftener and more you drink, the oftener and
more thirsty you will be.
If you seek to prevent your friends from raising
you in the world, be a drunkard ; for that will defeat all their efforts.
If you would effectually counteract your own
attempts to do well, be a drunkard ; and you will
not be disaunointed,
If you wish to repel the endeavours of the whole
human race to raise you to character, credit, and
prosperity, be a drunkard ; and you will assuredly
If you are determined to be poor, be a drunkard;
and you will soon be ragged and pennyless.
If you would wish to starve your family, be a
drunkard; for that will consume the means of
their support.
If you would be spunged on by knaves, be a
drunkard ; and that will make their task easy.
If you wish to be robbed, be a drunkard ; which
will enable the thief to do it with more safety.
If you wish to blunt your senses, be a drunkard;
and you will soon be more stupid than an ass.
If you would become a fool, be a drunkard ; and
you will soon lose your understanding.
If you wish to incapacitate yourself for rational
intercourse, be a drunkard ; for that will render
you wholly unfit for it.
If you wish ail your prospects in life to be
clouded, be a drunkard; and they will be dark
If you would destroy your body, be a drunkard ;
as drunkenness is the mother of disease.
If you mean to ruin your soul, be a drunkard
that you may be excluded from heaven.
If you are resolved on suicide, be a drunkard ;
that being a sure mode of destruction.
If you would expose both your folly and secrets,
be a drunkard ; and they will soon run out while
the liquor runs in.
If you are plagued with great bodily strength, be
a drunkard ; and it will soon bo subdued by so
powerful an. antagonist.
If you would get rid of your money without
knowing how, be a drunkard ; and it will vanish
If you would have no other resource when past
labour but a workhouse, be a drunkard; and you
will be unable to provide any.
If you are determined to expel all domestic harmony from your house, be a drunkard ; and discord, with all her train, will soon enter.
If you would be always under strong suspicion,
be a drunkard ; for, little as you think it, all agree
that those who steal from themselves and families
will rob others.
If you would be reduced to the necessity of
shinining your creditors, be a drunkard; and you
will soon have reason to prefer the bye paths to the
public streets.
If you like the amusements of a court of conscience, be a drunkard; and you may be often
If you would be a dead weight to the community,
and " cumber the ground" be a drunkard ; for that
will render you houseless, helpless, burdensome,
and expensive.
If you would be a nuisance, be a drunkard ; for
the reproach of a drunkard is like that of a dunghill.
If would be odious to your family and friends,
be a drunkard ; and you will soon be more than
If you would be a pest to society, be a drunkard ;
and you will be avoided as infectious.
If you dread reformation of your faults, be a
drunkard ; and you will be impervious to all admonition.
If you would smash windows, break the peace,
get your bones broken, tumble under curts and
horses, and be locked up in watch houses, be a
drunkard; and it will be strange if you do not
Finally, if you are determined to be utterly destroyed in estate,' body, and soul, be a drunkard ;
and you will soon know that it is impossible to
adopt a more effectual means to accomplish your—
Drunkenness expels reason—drowns the memory
—defaces beauty—diminishes strength—inflames
the blood—causes internal, external, and incurable
wounds—is a witch to the senses, a devil to the
soul, a thief to the purse—the beggars companion,
a wife's woe, and children's sorrow—makes a strong
man weak, and a wise man a fool. He is worse
than a beast, and is a self-murderer, who drinks to
other's good health, and robs himself of his own.
On the coast of Sussex there is a little village which
is almost secluded from the observation of the
world, and which is at a sufficient distance from
the sea to bear the ordinary character of inland
scenery. It consists of a few scattered houses, and
one or two little farms ;—its inhabitants are principally agricultural labourers ;—it has its small parish-church and its green and leafy burial place;
—and a very humble cottage, with an uncouth and
half-obliterated.sign, affords sufficient refreshment
to the contented peasants. On a neighbouring hill
stands an old-fashioned windmill;—and from this
spot, which serves as a beacon to the mariner, there
is one of those magnificent prospects which are so
attractive to the reflecting mind. Here, during an
occasional visit to the coast have I often been riveted for hours, delighted to sit and watch the receding vessel diminishing to a speck, and follow the
crew, in imagination, through their perilous course
over the trackless ocean.
Some few years back, I one day encountered the
proprietor of the ancient windmill. He was a very
young man, full of health and animation. That
dispenser of every blessing, Content, sat upon his
brow. His occupation afforded him an honest
maintenance ;—and as his wishes were limited his
fears were few. He was besides just married.
Earth has no greater happiness to bestow than the
early days of domestic intercourse ; when a young
pair have realized their fondest anticipations—
when, undisturbed by the growing cares of the
world, their most anxious wishes are to appear
pleasing in each other's eyes—when their lives
show like a beauteous morning of spring, which is
to lead them to a genial summer, and a rich autumn.
The winter of their years is then too far removed
to be regarded with apprehension.
The young miller invited me to his cottage ;—I
loved the sight of human happiness too much to
decline his civility. I found there a modest and
agreeable woman, devoted to the duty of promoting
the welfare and comfort of the man to whom she
had given her heart. I lifted up my thoughts to
heaven in thankfulness for the blessings which God
bestows upon his creatures ;—and I prayed that a
day of sorrow might not come across the simple and
innocent course of this happy couple.
In two years I again visited this part of the
country ;—and my first steps were almost involuntarily directed to the windniill.fi^ As I climbed th§
hill my steps had all the alacrity of one who expects a pleasure ; and a slight exertion brought Hie
to the door of the once happy cottage.    It wal
closed.    The little garden was covered with weeds
—the honeysuckle that was so neatly trailed round
the porch almost choked the entrance it was meant
to adorn;—the windows were broken;—there was
no sound of life about the habitation.    I hurried to
the windmill.    Its sails were idle ;—the crazy fabric shivered in the gale. - I felt a foreboding of
evil, and I descended the hill with steps infinitely
slower than those which had carried me to its
I could not pass through the village without
making an anxious inquiry about the fortunes of
John Anderson, the miller. I rested at the small
public-house. The landlord was of a communicative
temper ; and I therefore lost little time in leading
him to the subject of my curiosity. Immediately
that I mentioned the name of the young man, the
kind host exclaimed, with an unaffected sigh, " Ah,
sir, that's a very sad story." At the instant a
female, in decent mourning, carrying a little child,
passed the window. I looked in her face—it was
pale and shrivelled—not a feature called up an old
recollection. The landlord shrunk back;—and
drawing me towards him in a hurried whisper, said,
" That is John Anderson's widow—she lives only
for her child—and will soon join Jiim in the
church-yard yonder."
I saw in the tone and manner with which these
words were pronounced that there was something
extraordinary in the circumstances of the young
miller's death.    The master of the public-house
perceived that I was interested, and proposed to
inform me of the unhappy occasion that had consigned the healthful and industrious John Ander-
sdn to a premature grave. His narrative was long
and rambling ;*—but the following is the substance
of the unhappy story :—•
The miller had been married about six months,
when a sea-faring stranger came to lodge at the
village. He was a man above the ordinary appearance of sailors; and spoke as one used to command.
He was of very strong passions, which he occasionally excited by intoxication ;—but he mixed little
with the villagers, and appeared to have a great
contempt for their habits and understandings. John
Anderson alone pleased him. He would frequently
walk to his mill, where he would pass long winter
evenings in conversation with the youthful pair,
filling them with admiration of his courage, and
the perils lie had sustained. The stranger frequently declared, that it was a shame so fine a youth
as Anderson should be pent up for life in a crazy
mill;—that he could shew him the way to honour
and riches ;—and that his courage and address
would win for him the proudest distinctions. It
was thus that the once-contented young mail gradually acquired a dislike of his occupation ; and, as
a natural consequence, he was less industrious. A
change in the markets about the same time deprived
him of a considerable portion of his little savings;
he did not attempt to redeem his loss by increased
exertion, btit was frequently from home, and sometimes left his wife alone to hear the hollow wind
whistle through their solitary and exposed cottage.
It #&s late on an evening in the dreariest season
of the year, that Anderson and the Captain (for so
the villagers called the iirtnger) came in a hurried
way to the public-house. They sat for some time
drinking freely. The spirits of the stranger became
elevated at every draught to a fearful sort of desperation ;—Anderson attempted to be gay, but a
sigh occasionally escaped him, and he then seized
the glass with a frantic haste. He at last became,
what the landlord had never before seen, half intoxicated. A. whistle was heard without. The stranger instantly grew collected; and in a minute threw
off the influence of the liquor. He said, in a low
but determined voice to Anderson, " It is time."
They left the house. The landlord suspected
that something would be wrong, and sat up till a
late hour. It was near midnight when he heard
firing. He rushed, with some country people, in
the direction of the sound, and found on the beach
a small party of revenue-officers engaged with a
gang of smugglers. The officers being overpowered
with numbers made a hasty retreat; and the smugglers speedily embarked. The landlord went to the
beach when all was quiet, and he there found the
unhappy Anderson mortally wounded.
The dying man had sufficient strength to declare,
that he had been induced that fatal night, for the
first time, to engage in the desperate career of a
smuggler. " He had justly forfeited his life," he
said, " to his abandonment of the peaceful and virtuous course which a wise Providence had marked
out for him.    His wife" death relieved him of
his bitterest recollection. The scene that followed
at the cottage I cannot attempt to describe. I
saw the havoc which that scene had produced. I
returned home, I hope, a wiser and a better man.
" Let him who standeth take heed lest he fell."


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