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ing the most valuable part of charity, ought not to be spared; at least by those who have leisure as well as affluence. It is one of the greatest acts of kindness to the poor, to mend their economy, and to give them right views of laying out their little money to advantage. These poor, blinded creatures look no farther than to be able to pay this heavy interest every night, and to obtain the same loan on the same hard terms the next day. Thus are they kept in poverty and bondage all their lives; but I hope as many as hear of this will get on a better plan, and I shall be ready to help any who are willing to help themselves." This worthy magistrate went directly to Mrs. Sponge's with proper officers; and he soon got to the bottom of many iniquities. He not only made her refund poor Betty's money, but committed her to prison for receiving stolen goods, and various other offences, which may, perhaps, make the subject of another history.
Betty was now set up in trade to her heart's content. She had found the benefit of leaving off spirits, and she resolved to drink them no more. The first fruits of this resolution was, that in a fortnight she bought her a new pair of shoes; and as there was now no deduction for interest, or for gin, her earnings became considerable. The lady made her a. present of a gown and a hat, on the easy condition that she should go to church. She accepted the terms, at first, rather as an act of obedience to the lady, than from a sense of higher duty. But she soon began to go from a better motive. This constant attendance at church, joined to the instructions of the lady, opened a new world to Betty. She now heard, for the first time, that she was a sinner; that God had given a law which was holy, just, and good; that she had broken this law, had been a swearer, a Sabbath-breaker, and had lived "without God in the world." All this was sad news to Betty; she knew, indeed, before, that there were sinners, but she thought they were only to be found in the prisons, or at Botany Bay, or in those mournful carts which she had sometimes followed with her barrow, with the unthinking crowd, to Tyburn. She was deeply struck with the great truths revealed in the Scriptures, which were quite new to her: her heart smote her, and she became anxious " to flee from the wrath to come." She was desirous of improvement, and said, "she would give up all the profits of her barrow, and go into the hardest service, rather than live in sin and ignorance."
"Betty," said the lady, "I am glad to see you so well dis>posed, and will do what I can for you> Your present way of 327
life, to be sure, exposes you to much danger; but the trade is not unlawful in itself, and we may please God in any calling, provided it be not a dishonest one. In this great town there must be barrow-women to sell fruit. Do you then, instead of forsaking your business, set a good example to those in it, and show them, that though a dangerous trade, it need not be a wicked one. Till Providence points out some safer way of getting your bread, let your companions see, that it is possible to be good even in this. Your trade 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 impose bad goods on false pretences.
'Never put off bad money for good.
'Never use profane or uncivil language.
'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 t O, 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;
SOME ACCOUNT OF A FAMILY WHO HAD RATHER LITE BT THEIR WITS THAN THEIR WORK..*
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 irom 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 any thing 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 beggarly-looking 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.
* This story exhibits an accurate picture of that part of the country where the author then resided; and where, by her benevolent zeal, a great reformation was effected among the poor inhabitants of at least twenty parishes within a circle of thirty miles in Somersetshire.—Ed.
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 them 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 neigboring gentlemen found out that opening the gate was the family trade, they soon left off f giving any thing. 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. And so 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