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a manner that savoured much of the doctrine of equality and Tom Paine. I was at length, little as I love altercation, roused to take a part in the argument, and had, at least, the satisfaction of being attended to, as well by the servants as by the person to whom I addressed myself; who, if they were not convinced I was in the right, seemed, however, flattered that I thought it worth my while to aim at convincing them.
“ If it were possible, Mrs. H—," said I, “ to make an exact partition of all the money and estates in the world, at so much a head, I would give you about six months to see every thing restored to much the same, or even a worse, state than at present, to have at least as many poor, and far more discontented. The frugal, the provident, the industrious, would always augment their stores: the avaricious, the selfish, and the designing would spoil from the indolent and the improvident, till you would find the extremely indigent nearly the same persons as now; and those who have grown rich, no matter by what means in the present system of things, the same would contrive to grow rich again. There would, however, be this additional evil, that those who were born and bred to great expectations, without prudence to save their money, or ability to earn more, without restraining laws to supply their ill-conduct, and prevent their despoiling their families, would be beggared without resources; for, do not suppose that the miserly, who have grown rich by their folly, will be of a disposition to relieve their distress; that would be a contradiction in nature. No, my good friend, till you can so order matters as to contrive that every body shall be born with equal natural abilities, and the same dispositions, never believe that their fortunes can remain equal; human nature, as it is, will oppose it. However, admitting, for argument sake, that such an order of things were possible or lasting, how should we be bettered? Who would be found to plough, to till, to do all kinds of necessary labour? When all were equally rich, we should run the risk of wanting, in the midst of our own equallity of riches, all the necessaries of life; and, supposing every thing to be provided us, another great evil would arise; half our virtues would have no exercise, and, consequently, scarce an existence. Where must the benevolent seek the most refined and delicious of all delights, that of relieving the unfortunate, if there was no unfortunate to relieve? Man, not standing in need of his fellow creature, would be even more selfish and narrow-minded than at present. Believe me, Mrs. H~, we cannot mend God's work, though each, by mending ourselves, by striving to corTéct our natural bent to discontent and repining, may make our lot supportable, however hard it may appear, compared to that of others. You are, I suppose, a Christian, and consequently believe that this is not the world we were made for. I grant, that to such as have no hope, the fate of many poor would be hard indeed; hut when we reflect that this is only a state of probation, that by supporting hardships and poverty with patience and resignation to the divine will, we secure to ourselves everlasting happiness, that the poor are exempt from numberless temptations to which people in high stations are exposed " " Ah, Madam!" said Mrs. H-, interrupting my fine harangue, “ but I neyer wish to be great; all I desire is, to be about as
rich as you, or Madam P- here, to do as I pleased, and not work more than I cared for."—“And you, perhaps,
would then be more unhappy than at present; you prosi bably do not know that it requires a mind well culti- vated, or a happy natural disposition, to know how to e dispose of a great deal of leisure pleasantly, if not
always profitably. You see we are glad to take up - your trade to amuse ourselves.”_" yes, Madam!
but you do no more than you like; if you was obliged
to slave all day, and every day, and glad too to slave so, * or want bread."" That is very true, Mrs. H-, yet,
nevertheless, I am convinced that you are a happier woman, if you will but bring yourself to make the best of your lot, and bear the bitter of it with patience as
the disposition of Providence, and the burthen destined and you to bear, than many whom you are disposed to
envy, because they arpear to live at ease, and have no* thing to do. Of the irksomeness of time hanging
heavily on your hands, that you know not how to em
ploy, you have, happily, no idea, any more than of a ad plentiful table, of which you have no relish, for want of
an appetite, to its dainties; the rest that is not purBy chased by labour is no longer an enjoyment; the meals,
in expecting which you have not suffered a little hunger, have no zest; and, be assured, no money gives such satisfaction, or does one so much good, as that which is of our own honest earnings. There are many instances of persons, who, after having spent the best part of their lives in acquiring a fortune, when having arrived at the summit of their wishes, they retired to enjoy themselves, have found a life, without its daily avocations, so irksome, as to seek to engage in business again, I have heard of one in particular, who, after having made an easy fortune, by selling pork in London, had retired into the country, found himself so at a loss, that he was glad to pay the persons who succeeded him so much per week to be allowed to cut out the meat, and serve his customers as before."
“So Mrs. H“," said Miss P-, “when you have made a fortune by your trade, you will be so at a loss that you'll come and pay us by the day to rubover our fine linen.” Every body laughed at this lively observation, and the lecture concluded with Harriet reading aloud the numbers 558 and 559, from the 8th volume of the Spectator, where the doctrine I had been endeavouring to support is so admirably illustrated, under the seme blance of a vision.
"Now suppose, Mrs. H-, you could in this manner lay down your load of poverty, what would you chuse to take up in its stead? Some burthen, you know, we poor mortals must inevitably bear. Would you chuse bad health, a worthless husband, an ill temper, the listlessness and apathy of enjoyment so common to people who have nothing to do nor to wish for? what would you prefer?"2" Why, Madam,” said she, “ I would change burthens with you, for I don't think you are very heavy loaded."-" That is,” said Harriet, “ because Mrs. W- bears her afflictions with patience: she would do the same under your circumstances, could you exchange your poverty for her continual anxiety, separated from an amiable husband, whom she adores, and for whose safety she is under continual alarm; loaded like you, she would still trip lightly on, and bear her lot with cheerfulness, you would think her to be
envied, and propose another exchange.”—“I believe,” said Mrs. H-, “I shall get nobody to change with me here; indeed the worst off would have the worst of the bargain.”“ Why then, my good friend," said I, “ be advised by me; to prove that you have profited by what has been read to you, consult patience instead of fancy; instead of your poverty, get rid of your discontent, and you will no longer have a wish to exchange with any body."
Mrs. P- now proposed to me to exchange a sotting husband for an absent one. I refused the bargain; and Mr. Thomas P- asked his sisters if they would change their troubles of no husband at all, against mine of an absent one;: “thof it be much the same,” continued he, "you may as well be old maids as you be.”-“ Pray, Tom," said Miss P-, “what may your burthen be, you've a pretty good pair of shoulders; what would you chuse to take up in the room of nothing to lay down?" "I think, Miss,” said he, “ I've a pretty good load to bear with two fine lady sisters; I would back them both for a wife, the heavier the better, so 'tis with weight of metal.”—“ Well,” retorted the eldest sister, “ I'm sure you're plague enough to me; I would exchange you, almost,, for Mrs. H--'s poverty.”_" For a knapsack, Miss, you mean,” replied Mr. Thomas, where you will be sure to find Mrs. H—'s poverty so close packed with it; 'tis odds you'll never be able to lay it down*....
* It seems from this sharp retort of the clown, Mr. Thomas, that his eldest sister had a foible for a red coat and a