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city, she had exchanged much exercise and good air for a sedentary life and very bad air ; and this I presume was the cause of all her illness from time to time, which at length, as unfortunately as effectually, undermined her constitution. During her first six months' illness, I lived many days solely on watergruel. “What nature requires, (says Montaigne), is so small a matter, that by its littleness it escapes the gripes of fortune ;" for as I could not afford to pay a nurse, much of my time was taken up in attendance on her, and most of my money expended in procuring medicines, together with such trifles as she could eat and drink. But what added extremely to my calamity was the being within the hearing of her groans, which were caused by the excruciating pains in her head, which for months together defied the power of medicine.
It is impossible for words to describe the keenness of my sensations during this long term; yet as to myself, my poverty and being obliged to live upon water-gruel gave me not the least uneasiness.
“ In ruffling seasons I was calm,
And smil'd when fortune frown'd." Young. But the necessity of being continually in the sight and hearing of a beloved object, a young, charming, handsome, innocent wife
“ Who sick in bed lay gasping for her breath;
How I supported this long dreary scene I know not; the bare recollection of which is exceedingly painful, even at this distance of time.
Lo, from amidst affliction's night
Beattie's Ode to Hope. At last, when everything that seemed to promise relief had been tried in vain, some old woman recommended cephalic snuff. I own I had not much faith in it; however, I procured it, and in a short time after she was much relieved from the intolerable pain in her head, but yet continued in a very bad state of health; her constitution having suffered such a dreadful shock, I thought that no means could be used so likely to restore it, as a removal to lier_native air. Accordingly, I left my seat of work at Bristol, and returned with her to Taunton, which is about seven miles from Petherton, her native place. But in Taunton I could not procure so much work as I could do; so that as soon as I thought she could bear the air of Bristol we returned thither, where she soon relapsed, and we again went back to Taunton. This removing to Taunton was repeated about five times in little more than two years and a half.
• Of chance or change, 0 let not man complain,
MINSTREL. But at last, finding that she had long fits of illness at Taunton also, as well as at Bristol, with a view of having a better price for my work I resolved to visit London ; and, as I had not money sufficient to bear the expenses of both to town, I left her all the money I could spare, and took a place on the outside of the stage coach, and the second day arrived at the metropolis, in August 1773, with two shillings and sixpence in my pocket; and recollecting the address of an old townsman, who was also a spiritual brother,
“ Whose hair in greasy locks hung down,
BUTLER's Posth. Works. This holy brother was also a journeyman shoemaker, who had arrived at the summit of his expectations, being able to keep a house over his head, (as he chose to express himself,) that is, by letting nearly the whole of it out in lodgings, he was enabled to pay the rent. This house was in White-cross street, which I found out the morning after my arrival, where I procured a lodging, and Mr Heath, in Fore street, supplied me with plenty of work.
" I laugh'd then and whistled, and sang too most sweet, Saying, just to a hair I've made both ends meet.
I am, dear friend, yours.
“ I'll travel no more-I'll try a London audienceWho knows but I may get an engagement ?"
“ When superstition (bane of manly virtues !)
Phillip's Duke of Gloucester.
Dear Friend, Ar this time I was as visionary and superstitious as ever I had been at any preceeding period, for although. I had read some sensible books, and had thereby acquired a few rational ideas, yet, having had a methodistical wife for near three years, and my keeping methodistical company, together with the gloomy notions which in spite of reason and philosophy 1 had imbibed during the frequent, long, and indeed almost constant illness of my wife, the consequence was, that those few rational or liberal ideas which I had before treasured up, were at my coming to London in a dormant state, or borne down by the torrent of enthusiastic whims, and fanatical chimeras.
« Oh! what a reasonless machine Can superstition make the reas'ner man!"
MALLET's Mahomet. So that as soon as I procured a lodging and work, my next enquiry was for Mr Wesley's gospel-shops : and on producing my class and band tickets from Taunton I was put into a class, and a week or two after admitted into a band.
But it was several weeks before I could firmly re
solve to continue in London ; as I really was struck with horror for the fate of it, more particularly on Sundays, as I found so few went to church, and so many were walking and riding about for pleasure, and the lower class getting drunk, quarrelling, fighting, working, buying, selling, &c. I had seen so much of the same kind in Bristol, that I often wondered how God permitted it to stand; but London I found infinitely worse, and seriously trembled for fear the measure of iniquity was quite full, and that every hour would be its last. However, I at length concluded, that if London was a second Sodom, I was a second Lot; and these comfortable ideas reconciled me to the thoughts of living in it.
“ I said, it was a wretched place,
SOMERVILLE. And some of Mr Wesley's people gave me great comfort by assuring me, that “the Lord had much people in this city :" which I soon discovered to be true, as I got acquainted with many of those rightenus, chosen saints, who modestly arrogate to themselves that they are the peculiar favourites of heaven, and consequently that any place they reside in must be safe!
In a month I saved money sufficient to bring up my wife, and she had a tolerable state of health ; of my master I obtained some stuff-shoes for her to bind, and nearly as much as she could do. Having now plenty of work and higher wages, we were tolerably easy in our circumstances, more so than ever we had been, so that we soon procured a few clothes. My wife had all her life before done very well with a superfine broad cloth cloak, but now I prevailed on her to have one of silk.