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But to our mother we are indebted for everything. “ She was a woman, take her for all in all, I shall not look on her like again.” Never did I know or hear of a woman who worked and lived so hard as she did to support eleven children: and were I to relate the particulars, it would not gain credit.' I shall only observe that, for many years together, she worked nineteen or twenty hours out of every twenty-four ; even when very near her time, sometimes at one hour she was seen walking backwards and forwards by her spinning-wheel, and her midwife sent for the next. Whenever she was asked to drink a half-pint of ale, at any shop where she had been laying out a trifling sum, she always asked leave to take it home to her husband, who was always so mean and selfish as to drink it.
Out of love to her family she totally abstained from every kind of liquor, water excepted; her food was chiefly broth, (little better than water and oatmeal,) turnips, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, &c; her children fared something better, but not much, as you may
When I reflect on the astonishing hardships and sufferings of so worthy a woman,
and her helpless infants, I find myself ready to curse the husband and father that could thus involve them in such a deplorable scene of misery and distress. It is dreadful to add, that his habitual drunkenness shortened his days nearly one half, and that about twenty years since he died, unregretted by his own children; nay more, while nature shed tears over his grave, reason was thankful :
“A parting tear to nature must be paid,
Nature, in spite of us, will be obey'd." Thankful that the cause of their poverty and misery was taken out of the way,
“ The pious tear the sons and daughters shed;
Read this, ye inhuman parents, and shudder! Was a law made to banish all such fathers, would it not be a just, nay even a mild law? I have my doubts whether children should not be taught to despise and detest an unnatural brutal parent, as much as they are to love and revere a good one.
Here, sir, permit me to drop so gloomy a subject, and relate an uncommon circumstance that happened about this time..
Mr James Knowland, who for many years kept the sign of the Eight Bells in Wellington, had a son that appeared weakly and infirm; when he was about nine years old, he was taken very ill, and (to all appear. ance) died; he had lain in the coffin five days, when, in bringing him down stairs in order to bury him, they thought that something moved in the coffin, and on opening it, they found him alive, and his eyes open. About two
after this, the boy was again taken ill, and in a day or two after, was to all appearance dead; but his father resolved not to have him interred until he became offensive; he lay in this state six days, and again came to life.
I am, sir, yours.
“ So have I wander'd ere those days were past,
DEAR FRIEND, As I was the eldest, and my father for the first few years a careful hard-working man, I fared something better than my brothers and sisters. I was put for
two or three years to a day-school, kept by an old woman; and well remember how proud I used to be to see several ancient dames lift up their hands
with astonishment, while I repeated by memory several chapters out of the New Testament, concluding me, from this specimen, to be a prodigy of science. But my career of learning was soon at an end, when my mother became so poor that she could not afford the mighty sum of two-pence per week for my schooling. Besides, I was obliged to supply the place of a nurse to several of my brothers and sisters. The consequence of which was, that what little I had learned was presently forgot; instead of learning to read, &c. it very early became my chief delight to excel in all kinds of boyish mischiefs; and I soon arrived to be the captain and leader of all the boys in the neighbourhood.
“The sprightliest of the sprightly throng,
The foremost of the train. Miss BowdleR. So that if any old wornan's lanthorn was kicked out of her hand, or drawn up a sign post, or if anything was fastened to her tail, or if her door was nailed up, I was sure to be accused as the author, whether i really were so or not. But one of my tricks had nearly proved fatal to
I had observed that yauning was infectious; and with a determination to have some sport, I collected several boys together one market-day evening, and instructed them to go amongst the butchers; whither I accompanied them. We placed ourselves at proper distances, and, at a signal given, all began to yawn as wide as we could; which immediately had the desired effect, the whole butcher-row was set a yawning ; on which I and my companions burst into a hearty laugh, and took to our heels. The trick pleased us so well that, two or three weeks after, we attempted to renew it. But one of the butchers, who was half drunk, perceiving our intention,
snatched up his cleaver and threw it at me, which knocked off my hat without doing me any harm.
I was about ten years of age, when a man began to cry apple-pies about the streets : I took great notice of his methods of selling his pies, and thought I could do it much better than he. I communicated to a neighbouring baker my thoughts on the subject in such a manner as gave him a very good opinion of my abilities for a pie-merchant, and he prevailed on my father to let me live with him. My manner of crying pies, and my activity in selling them, soon made me the favourite of all such as purchased halfpenny apple-pies and halfpenny plum-puddings, so that in a few weeks the old pie-merchant shut up
his shop. You see, friend, that I soon began to “make a noise in the world.” I lived with this baker about twelve or fifteen months, in which time I sold such large quantities of pies, puddings, cakes, &c. that he often declared to his friends in my hearing, that I had been the means of extricating him from the embarrassing circumstances in which he was known to be involved prior to my entering his service.
During the time I continued with this baker, many complaints were repeatedly made against me for the childish follies I had been guilty of, such as throwing snow-balls, frightening people by Alinging serpents and crackers into their houses, &c. I also happened one day to overturn my master's son, a child about four years old, whom I had been driving in a wheelbarrow. Dreading the consequences, I immediately few from my master's house, and it being evening) went to a glazier's house and procured a parcel of broken glass; I also provided myself with a pocketful of peas; and thus equipped, made fine diversion for myself and my unlucky companions, by going to a number of houses, one after another, discharging a handful of peas at the windows, and throwing down another handful of glass in the street at the same instant, which made such a noise as very much
frightened many people, who had no doubt of their windows being broken into a thousand pieces. This adventure, together with throwing the child out of the wheelbarrow, produced such a clamour against me amongst the old women, that I would not return to my master, and not knowing what else to do, I went home to my father, who, you may easily conceive, could not afford to keep me idle, so I was soon set down by his side to learn his own trade; and I continued with him several years, working when he worked, and while he was keeping Saint Monday, I was with boys of my own age, fighting, cudgel playing, wrestling, &c. &c.
The following story has been variously stated; my father assured me that the origin of it was as follows:
He and some other young fellows being one Easter Sunday morning at the clerk's house at Langford, near Wellington, drinking the clerk's ale, they overheard the old man reading the verses of the psalms that he was to read that morning at church ; and in order to have some fun with the old clerk, one of the company set off early to church, and on the word 'tree' they stuck on the word ‘horse,' so that when the old man came to that place, he read as follows, “And they shall flourish like a young bay horse.” “Horse ! it should not be horse; but, by the Lord, it is horse !"
The above old man was called Red Cock for many years before his death, for having one Sunday slept in church, and dreaming that he was at a cock-fighting, he bawled out, “A shilling upon the red cock. And behold the family are called Red Cock unto this day.
The preceding reminds me of an odd circumstance that happened but a few years since at W- As the good doctor was one Sunday morning going through the street towards the cathedral, he heard a woman cry “Mackerel, all alive, alive () !” And on his arrival at the church, he began the service as follows, “When the wicked man turneth away from