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made fit for his size, it made him a very handsome suit for Sundays, and lasted him a couple of years.
And here let me stop to remark, what a pity it is that poor women so seldom are able or willing to do these sort of little handy jobs themselves; and that they do not oftener bring up their daughters to be more useful in family work. They are great losers by it every way; not only as they are disqualifying their girls from making good wives hereafter, but they are losers in point of present advantage; for gentry could much oftener afford to give a poor boy a jacket or a waistcoat, if it was not for the expense of making it, which adds very much to the cost. To my certain knowledge, many poor women would often get an old coat, or a bit of coarse new cloth, given them, to fit out a boy, if the mothers or sisters were known to be able to cut it out to advantage, and to make it up decently themselves. But half a crown for the making a bit of kersey, which costs but a few shillings, is more than many very charitable gentry can afford to give: so they often give nothing at all, when they see the mothers so little able to turn it to advantage. It is hoped they will take this hint kindly, as it is meant for their good.
But to return to our two young shoemakers. They were both now settled at Mr. Williams's, who, as he was known to be a good workman, had plenty of business. He had sometimes two or three journeymen, but no apprentices but Jack and James.
Jack, who, with all his faults, was a keen, smart boy, took to learn the trade quick enough; but the difficulty was to make him stick two hours together to his work. At every noise he heard in the street, down went the work; the last one way, the upper-leather another; the sole dropped on the ground, and the thread he dragged after him, all the way up the street. If a blind fiddler, a ballad-singer, a mountebank, a dancing bear, or a drum, were heard at a distance, out ran Jack: nothing could stop him; and not a stitch more could he be prevailed on to do that day. Every duty, every promise, was forgotten for the present pleasure: he could not resist the smallest temptation : he never stopped for a moment to consider whether a thing was right or wrong, but whether he liked it or disliked it. And as his ill-judging mother took care to send him privately a good supply of pocket-money (that deadly bane to all youthful virtue), he had generally a few pence ready to spend, and to indulge in the present diversion, whatever it was. And what was still worse even than spending his money, he spent his time too, or rather his master's time. Of this he was continually reminded by James, to whom he always answered, “What have you to complain about? It is nothing to you, or any one else; I spend nobody's money but my own.” “ That may be,?' replied the other, “but you cannot say it is your own time that you spend.” He insisted upon it that it was; but James fetched down their indentures, and there showed him that he had solemnly bound himself by that instrument not to waste his master's property. “Now," quoth James, “thy own time is a very valuable part of thy master's property.” To this he replied, “ Every one's time was his own, and he should not sit moping all day over his last; for his part, he thanked God he was no parish 'prentice.”
James did not resent this piece of foolish impertinence, as some silly lads would have done; nor fly out into a violent: passion; for even at this early age, he had begun to learn of Him“ who was meek and lowly of heart;" and therefore, “when he was reviled, he reviled not again.” On the contrary, he was so very kind and gentle, that even Jack, vain and idle as he was, could not help loving him, though he took care never to follow his advice.
Jack's fondness for his boyish and silly diversions in the street, soon produced the effects which might naturally be expected; and the same idleness which led him to fly out into the town at the sound of a fiddle, or the sight of a puppet-show, soon led him to those places to which all these fiddles and shows naturally lead; I mean, the ale-house. The acquaintance picked up in the street was carried on at the Greyhound; and the idle pastimes of the boy soon led to the destructive vices of the man.
He was not an ill-tempered youth, nor naturally much given to drink; a sober and prudent master, who had been steady in his management, and regular in his own conduct, who would have recommended good advice by a good example, might have made something of Jack. But I am sorry to say, that Mr. Williams, though a good workman, and not a very hard or severe master, was neither a sober nor a steady man-so far from it, that he spent much more time at the Greyhound than at home. There was no order either in his shop or family. He left the chief care of the business to his two young apprentices; and, being but a worldly man, he was at first disposed to show favor to Jack much more than to James, because he had more money, and his father was better in the world than the father of poor James.
At first, therefore, he was disposed to consider James as a sort of drudge, who was to do all the menial work of the family, and he did not care how little he taught him of his trade. With Mrs. Williams the matter was still worse; she constantly called him away from the business of his trade, to wash the house, nurse the child, turn the spit, or run of errands. And here I must remark, that though parish apprentices are bound in duty to be submissive to both master and mistress, and always to make themselves as useful as they can in a family, and to be civil and humble; yet, on the other hand, it is the duty of masters always to remember, that if they are paid for instructing them in their trade, they ought conscientiously to instruct them in it, and not to employ them the greater part of their time in such household or other drudgery, as to deprive them of the opportunity of acquiring their trade. This practice is not the less unjust because it is common.
Mr. Williams soon found out that his favorite Jack would be of little use to him in the shop; for though he worked well enough, he did not care how little he did. Nor could he be of the least use to his master in keeping an account, or writing out a bill upon occasion, for, as he never could be made to learn to cipher, he did not know addition from multiplication.
One day one of the customers called at the shop in a great hurry, and desired his bill might be made out that minute: Mr. Williams, having taken a cup too much, made several attempts to put down a clear account; but the more he tried, the less he found himself able to do it. James, who was sitting at his last, rose up, and with great modesty asked his master if he would please to give him leave to make out the bill, saying, that, though but a poor scholar, he would do his best, rather than keep the gentleman waiting. Williams gladly accepted his offer, and, confused as his head was with liquor, he yet was able to observe with what neatness, despatch, and exactness the account was drawn out. From that time he no longer considered James as a drudge, but as one fitted for the higher departments of the trade, and he was now regularly employed to manage the accounts; with which all the customers were so well pleased, that it contributed greatly to raise him in his master's esteem ; for there were now never any of those blunders or false charges for which the shop had before been so famous.
James went on in a regular course of industry, and soon became the best workman Mr. Williams had; but there were
many things in the family which he greatly disapproved. Some of the journeymen used to swear, drink, and sing very licentious songs. All these things were a great grief to his sober mind: he complained to his master, who only laughed at him ; and, indeed, as Williams did the same himself, he put it out of his own power to correct his servants, if he had been so disposed. James, however, used always to reprove them, with great mildness indeed, but with great seriousness also. This, but still more his own excellent example, produced at length very good effects on such of the men as were not quite hardened in sin.
What grieved him most, was the manner in which the Sunday was spent. The master lay in bed all the morning; nor did the mother or her children ever go to church, except there was some new finery to be shown, or a christening to be attended. The town's people were coming to the shop all the morning, for work which should have been sent home the night before, had not the master been at the ale-house. And what wounded James to the very soul was, that the master expected the two apprentices to carry home shoes to the country customers on the Sunday morning; which he wickedly thought was a saving of time, as it prevented their hindering their work on the Saturday. These shameful practices greatly afflicted poor James : he begged his master, with tears in his eyes, to excuse him, but he only laughed at his squeamish conscience, as he called it.
*Jack did not dislike this part of the business, and generally, after he had delivered his parcel, wasted good part of the day in nutting, playing at fives, or dropping in at the public-house : any thing was better to Jack than going to church.
James, on the other hand, when he was compelled, sorely against his conscience, to carry home any goods on a Sunday morning, always got up as soon as it was light, knelt down, and prayed heartily to God to forgive him a sin which it was not in his power to avoid : he took care not to lose a moment by the way, but as he was taking his walk with the utmost speed, to leave his shoes with the customers, he spent his time in endeavoring to keep up good thoughts in his mind, and praying that the day might come when his conscience might be delivered from this grievous burden. He was now particularly thankful, that Mr. Thomas had formerly taught him so many psalms and chapters, which he used to repeat in these walks with great devotion.
He always got home before the rest of the family was up,
dressed himself very clean, and went twice to church; and as he greatly disliked the company and practices of his master's house, particularly on the Sabbath-day, he preferred spending his evening alone, reading his Bible, which, I forgot to say, the worthy clergyman had given him when he left his native village. Sunday evening, which is to some people such a burden, was to James the highest holiday. He had formerly learnt a little how to sing a psalm of the clerk of his own parish, and this was now become a very delightful part of his evening exercise. And as Will Simpson, one of the journeymen, by James's advice and example, was now beginning to be of a more serious way of thinking, he often asked him to sit an hour with him, when they read the Bible, and talked it over together in a manner very pleasant and improving; and as Will was a famous singer, a psalm or two sung together was a very innocent pleasure.
James's good manners and civility to the customers drew much business to the shop; and his skill as a workman was so great, that every one desired his shoes might be made by James. Williams grew so very idle and negligent, that he now totally neglected his affairs, and to hard drinking added deep gaming. All James's care, both of the shop and the accounts, could not keep things in any tolerable order : he represented to his master that they were growing worse and worse; and exhorted him, if he valued his credit as a tradesman, his comfort as a husband and father, his character as a master, and his soul as a Christian, to turn over a new leaf. Williams swore a great oath, that he would not be restrained in his pleasures to please a canting parish 'prentice, nor to humor a parcel of squalling brats—that let people say what they would of him, they should never say he was a hypocrite, and, as long as they could not call him that, he did not care what else they called him.
In a violent passion he immediately went to the Greyhound, where he now spent, not only every evening, which he had long done, but good part of the day and night also. His wife was very dressy, extravagant, and fond of company, and wasted at home as fast as her husband spent abroad; so that all the neighbors said, if it had not been for James, his master must have been a bankrupt long ago, but they were sure he could not hold it much longer.
As Jack Brown sung a good song, and played many diverting tricks, Williams liked his company, and often allowed him to make one at the Greyhound, where he would laugh heartily at his stories; so that every one thought Jack was