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being carried on in the open street, and your fruit bought in an open shop, you are not so much obliged to keep sinful company as may be thought. Take a garret in an honest house, to which you may go home in safety at night. I will give you a bed and a few necessaries to furnish your room ; and I will also give you a constant Sunday's dinner. A barrow-woman, blessed be God and our good laws, is as much her own mistress on Sundays as a duchess; and the church and the Bible are as much open to her. You may soon learn as much of religion as you are expected to know. A barrow-woman may pray as heartily morning and night, and serve God as acceptably all day, while she is carrying on her little trade, as if she had her whole time to spare.”
" To do this well, you must mind the following
RULES FOR RETAIL DEALERS:
“Resist every temptation to cheat.
“Never swear your goods cost so much, when you know it is false. By so doing, you are guilty of two sins in one breath-a lie and an oath.
“ To break these rules, will be your chief temptation. God will mark how you behave under them, and will reward or punish you accordingly. These temptations will be as great to you, as higher trials are to higher people : but you have the same God to look to for strength to resist them, as they have. You must pray to him to give you this strength. You shall attend a Sunday-school, where you will be taught these good things; and I will promote you as you shall be found to deserve."
Poor Betty here burst into tears of joy and gratitude, crying out,“ What! shall such a poor friendless creature as I be treated so kindly, and learn to read the word of God too? Oh, madam, what a lucky chance brought me to your door!”—“ Betty," said the lady, " what you have just said, shows the need you have of being better taught : there is no such thing as chance ; and we offend God when we call that luck or chance, which is brought about by his will and pleasure. None of the events of your life have happened by chance ; but all have been under the direction of a good and kind Providence. He has permitted you to experience want and distress, that you might acknowledge his hand in your present comfort and prosperity. Above all, you must bless his goodness in sending you to me, not only because I have been of use to you in your worldly affairs, but because he has enabled me to show you the danger of your state from sin and ignorance, and to put you in a way to know his will, and to keep his commandments, which is eternal life.”
How Betty, by industry and piety, rose in the world, till at length she came to keep that handsome sausage-shop near the Seven Dials, and was married to that very hackney-coachman, whose history and honest character, may be learned from the popular ballad which bears his name.
BLACK GILES THE POACHER:
CONTAINING SOME ACCOUNT OF A FAMILY WHO HAD RATHER LIVE BY THEIR WITS TUAN
POACHING Giles lives on the borders of one of those great moors in Somersetshire. Giles, to be sure, has been a sad fellow in his time; and it is none of his fault if his whole family do not end their career either at the gallows or at Botany Bay. He lives at that mud cottage with the broken windows, stuffed with dirty rags, just beyond the gate which divides the Upper from the Lower Moor. You may know the house at a good distance by the ragged tiles on the roof, and the loose stones which are ready to drop out from the chimney ; though a short ladder, a hod of mortar, and half an hour's leisure time, would have prevented all this, and made the little dwelling tight enough. But as Giles had never learnt anything that was good, so he did not know the value of such useful sayings, as, that a tile in time saves nine.”
Besides this, Giles fell into that common mistake, that a beggarlylooking cottage, and filthy ragged children, raised most compassion, and of course drew most charity. But, as cunning as he was in other things, he was out in his reckoning here ; for it is neatness, housewifery, and a decent appearance, which draw the kindness of the rich and charitable ; while they turn away disgusted from filth and laziness : not out of pride, but because they see that it is next to impossible to mend the condition of those who degrade themselves by dirt and sloth ; and few people care to help those who will not help themselves.
The common on which Giles's hovel stands, is quite a deep marsh in a wet winter; but in summer it looks green and pretty enough. To be sure, it would be rather convenient, when one passes that way in a carriage, if one of the children would run out and open the gate ; but instead of any one of then running out as soon as they hear the wheels, which would be quite time enough, what does Giles do, but set all his ragged brats, with dirty faces, matted locks, and naked feet and legs, to lie all day upon a sand-bank hard by the gate, waiting for the slender chance of what may be picked up from travellers. At the sound of a carriage, a whole covey of these little scarecrows start up, rush to the gate, and all at once thrust out their hats and aprons; and for fear this, together with the noise of their clamorous begging, should not sufficiently frighten the horses, they are very apt to let the gate slap full against you, before you are half-way through, in their eager scuffle to snatch from each other the halfpence which you may have thrown out to them. I know two ladies who were one day very near being killed by these abominable tricks.
Thus five or six little idle creatures, who might be earning a trifle by knitting at home; who might be useful to the public by working in the field; and who might assist their families by learning to get their bread twenty honest ways, are suffered to lie about all day, in the hope of a few chance halfpence, which, after all, they are by no means sure of getting. Indeed,
when the neighbouring gentlemen found out that opening the gate was the family trade, they soon left off giving anything. And I myself, though I used to take out a penny ready to give, had there been only one to receive it, when I see a whole family established in so beggarly a trade, quietly put it back again in my pocket, and give nothing at all. few travellers pass that way, that sometimes, after the whole family have lost a day, their gains do not amount to twopence.
As Giles had a far greater taste for living by his wits than his work, he was at one time in hopes that his children might have got a pretty penny by tumbling for the diversion of travellers, and he set about training them in that indecent practice; but unluckily the moors being level, the carriages travelled faster than the children tumbled. He envied those parents who lived on the London road, over the Wiltshire Downs; which downs being very hilly, it enables the tumbler to keep pace with the traveller, till he sometimes extorts from the light and unthinking a reward instead of a reproof. I beg leave, however, to put all gentlemen and ladies in mind, that such tricks are a kind of apprenticeship to the trades of begging and thieving; and that nothing is more injurious to good morals, than to encourage the poor in any habits which may lead them to live
Giles, to be sure, as his children grew older, began to train them to such other employments as the idle habits they had learned at the gate very properly qualified them for. The right of common, which some of the poor cottagers have in that part of the country, and which is doubtless a considerable advantage to many, was converted by Giles into the means of corrupting his whole family; for his children, as soon as they grew too big for the trade of begging at the gate, were promoted to the dignity of thieving on the moor. Here he kept two or three asses, miserable beings, which, if they had the good fortune to escape an untimely death by starving, did not fail to meet with it by beating. Some of the biggest boys were sent out with these lean and galled animals, to carry sand or coals about the neighbouring towns. Both sand and coals were often stolen, before they got them to sell ; or if not, they always took care to cheat in selling them. By long practice in this art, they grew so dexterous, that they could give a pretty good guess how large a coal they could crib out of every bag, before the buyer would be likely to miss it.
All their odd time was taken up under the pretence of watching their asses on the moor, or running after five or six half-starved geese: but the truth is, these boys were only watching for an opportunity to steal an odd goose of their neighbour's, while they pretended to look after their own. They used also to pluck the quills or the down from these poor live creatures, or half milk a cow before the farmer's maid came with her pail. They all knew how to calculate to a minute what time to be down in a morning to let out their lank hungry beasts, which they had turned overnight into the farmer's field to steal a little good pasture. They contrived to get there just time enough to escape being caught in replacing the stakes they had pulled out for the cattle to get over. For Giles was a prudent long-headed féllow; and wherever he stole food for his colts, took care never to steal stakes from the hedges at the same place. He had sense enough to know that the gain did not make up for the danger; he
knew that a loose fagot, pulled from a neighbour's pile of wood after the family were gone to bed, answered the end better, and was not half the trouble.
Among the many trades which Giles professed, he sometimes practised that of a rat-catcher ; but he was addicted to so many tricks, that he never followed the same trade long; for detection will, sooner or later, follow the best-concerted villany. Whenever he was sent for to a farm-house, his custom was to kill a few of the old rats, always taking care to leave a little stock of young ones alive, sufficient to keep up the breed; “for," said he, “if I were to be such a fool as to clear a house or a barn at once, how would my trade be carried on ?" And where any barn was overstocked, he used to borrow a few rats from thence, just to people a neighbouring granary which had none: and he might have gone on till now, had he not unluckily been caught one evening emptying his cage of rats under Parson Wilson's barn-door.
This worthy minister, Mr. Wilson, used to pity the neglected children of Giles, as much as he blamed the wicked parents. He one day picked up Dick, who was far the best of Giles's bad boys. Dick was loitering about in a field behind the parson's garden in search of a hen's nest, his mother having ordered him to bring home a few eggs that night, by hook or by crook, as Giles was resolved to have some pancakes for supper, though he knew that eggs were a penny a-piece. Mr. Wilson had long been desirous of snatching some of this vagrant family from ruin; and his chief hopes were bent on Dick, as the least hackneyed in knavery. He had once given him a new pair of shoes, on his promising to go to school next Sunday ; but no sooner had Rachel, the boy's mother, got the shoes into her clutches, than she pawned them for a bottle of gin, and ordered the boy to keep out of the parson's sight, and to be sure to play his marbles on Sunday for the future at the other end of the parish, and not near the churchyard. Mr. Wilson, however, picked up the boy once more; for it was not his way to despair of anybody. Dick was just going to take to his heels, as usual, for fear the old story of the shoes should be brought forward; but finding he could not get off, what does he do but run into a little puddle of muddy water which lay between hiin and the parson, that the sight of his naked feet might not bring on the dreaded subject. Now, it happened that Mr. Wilson was planting a little field of beans, so he thought this a good opportunity to employ Dick ; and he told him he had got some pretty easy work for him. Dick
; did as he was bid; he willingly went to work, and readily began to plant his beans with despatch and regularity, according to the directions given him.
While the boy was busily at work by himself, Giles happened to come by, having been skulking round the back way to look over the parson's garden wall, to see if there was anything worth climbing over for on the ensuing night. He spied Dick, and began to scold him for working for the stingy old parson ; for Giles had a natural antipathy to whatever belonged to the church. “ What has he promised thee a day ?" said he ; “ little enough, I dare say.” “ He is not to pay me by the day,” said Dick, “but says he will give me so much when I have planted this peck, and so much for the next.” “Oh, oh! that alters the case," said Giles.
“One may, indeed, get a trifle by this sort of work. I hate your regular day-jobs, where one can't well avoid doing one's work for one's money. Come, give me a handful of the beans; I will teach thee how to plant when thou art paid for planting by the peck. All we have to do in that case is to despatch the work as fast as we can, and get rid of the beans with all speed : and, as to the seed coming up or not, that is no business of ours; we are paid for planting, not for growing. At the rate thou goest on, thou wouldst not get sixpence to-night. Come along, bury away." So saying, he took his hatful of the seed, and where Dick had been ordered to set one bean, Giles buried a dozen : of course the beans were soon out. But, though the peck was emptied, the ground was unplanted. But cunning Giles knew this could not be found out till the time when the beans might be expected to come up, “and then, Dick," says he, “ the snails and the mice may go shares in the blame ; or we can lay the fault on the rooks or the blackbirds.” So saying, he sent the boy into the parsonage to receive his pay, taking care to secure about a quarter of the peck of beans for his own colt. He put both bag and beans into his own pocket to carry home, bidding Dick tell Mr. Wilson that he had planted the beans and lost the bag.
In the mean time Giles's other boys were busy in emptying the ponds and trout-streams in the neighbouring manor. They would steal away the carp and tench when they were no bigger than gudgeons. By this untimely depredation, they plundered the owner of his property without enriching themselves. But the pleasure of mischief was reward enough. These, and a hundred other little thieveries, they committed with such dexterity, that old Tim Crib, whose son was transported last assizes for sheep-stealing, used to be often reproaching his boys, that Giles's sons were worth a hundred of such blockheads as he had ; for scarce a night passed but Giles had some little comfortable thing for supper which his boys had pilfered in the day, while his undutiful dogs never stole anything worth having. Giles, in the mean time, was busy in his way ; but as busy as he was in laying nets, starting coveys, and training dogs, he always took care that his depredations should not be confined merely to game.
Giles's boys had never seen the inside of a church since they were christened, and the father thought he knew his own interest better than to force them to it ; for church-time was the season of their harvest. Then the hens' nests were searched, a stray duck was clapped under the smock frock, the tools which might have been left by chance in a farm-yard were picked up, and all the neighbouring pigeon-houses were thinned; so that Giles used to boast to tawny Rachel his wife, that Sunday was to them the most profitable day in the week. With her it was certainly the most laborious day, as she always did her washing and ironing on the Sunday morning, it being, as she said, the only leisure day she had; for on the other days she went about the country telling fortunes, and selling dreambooks and wicked songs. Neither her husband's nor her children's clothes were ever mended ; and if Sunday, her idle day, had not come about once in every week, it is likely they would never have been washed neither. You might, however, see her as you were going to church, smoothing her own rags on her best red cloak, which she always used for her ironingcloth on Sundays, for her cloak when she travelled, and for her blanket at