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the cheerfulness in the world to her mother; and ‘yet I saw her-I saw the poor child, Mr. Nightingale, turn about, and privately wipe the tears
from her eyes.' Here Mrs. Miller was prevented, by. her own tears, from going on, and there was not, I believe, a person present, who did not accompany her in them; at length she a little recovered herself, and proceeded thus: 'In all this 'distress the mother supports her spirits in a sur
prising manner. The danger of her son sits hea'viest upon her, and yet she endeavours as much as possible to conceal even this concern, on her husband's account. Her grief, however, sometimes gets the better of all her endeavours; for
she was always extravagantly fond of this boy, ' and a most sensible, sweet-tempered creature it is. 'I protest I was never more affected in my life, 'than when I heard the little wretch, who is 'hardly yet seven years old, while his mother was
wetting him with her tears, beg her to be com'forted. Indeed, mamma,' cry'd the child,
? * I shan't die; God Almighty, I'm sure, won't take " . Tommy away; let heaven be ever so fine a place,
I had rather stay here and starve with you and 'my papa, than go to it.'— Pardon me, gentlemen, I can't help it,” (says she, wiping her eyes) such sensibility and affection in a child-And yet, perhaps, he is least the object of pity: for a day or two will, most probably, place him be'yond the reach of all human evils. The father is • indeed most worthy of compassion. Poor man, ‘his countenance is the very picture of horror, and . he looks like one rather dead than alive. Oh hea'vens! what a scene did I behold at my first com
ing into the room! The good creature was lying * behind the bolster, supporting at once both his 'child and his wife. He had nothing on but a thin
waistcoat; for his coat was spread over the bed, 'to supply the want of blankets. When he rose up at my entrance, I scarce kuew him. As comely
a man, Mr. Jones, within this fortnight, as you ever beheld; Mr. Nightingale hath seen him. * His eyes sunk, his face pale, with a long beard. * His body shivering with cold, and worn with
hunger too; for my cousin says, she can hardly ' prevail upon him to eat.---He told me himself in *a whisper-he told me-I can't repeat it—he
said, he could not bear to eat the bread his chil• dren wanted. And yet, can you believe it, gentle'men? in all this misery, his wife has as good ' cawdle as if she lay in in the midst of the greatest affluence; I tasted it, and I scarce ever tasted · better. The means of procuring her this,' he said, he believed was sent him by an angel from 'heaven; I know not what he meant; for I had not spirits enough to ask a single question.
*This was a love-match, as they call it, on both sides; that is, a match between two beggars. I 'must indeed say I never saw a fonder couple; • but what is their fondness good for, but to tor*ment each other?? “Indeed, mamma,'cries Nancy, • I have always looked on my cousin Anderson' (for that was her name) 'as one of the happiest of
women.' 'I am sure,' says Mrs. Miller, the case ' at prsent is much otherwise ; for any one might
have discerned that the tender consideration of • each others sufferings, makes the most intolera• ble part of their calamity, both to the husband • and the wife. Compared to which, hunger and • cold, as they affect their own persons only, are * scarce evils. Nay, the very children, the young
est, which is not two years old, excepted, feel • in the same manner; for they are a most loving • family; and if they had but a bare competency, * would be the happiest people in the world.' I
never saw the least sign of misery at her house, replied Nancy; I am sure my heart bleeds for
what you now tell me.'-'O child,' answered the mother, she hath always endeavoured to make the
best of every thing. They have always been in
great distress; but, indeed, this absolute ruin hath been brought upon them by others. The poor man was bail for the villain his brother; and about a week ago, the very day before her lying-in, their goods were all carried away, and sold by an execution. He sent a letter to me of * it by one of the bailiffs, which the villain never
delivered. - What must he think of my suffering ' a week to pass before he heard of me?
It was not with dry eyes that Jones heard this narrative; when it was ended he took Mrs. Miller apart with him into another room, and delivering her his purse, in which was the sum of 501. desired her to send as much of it as she thought proper to these poor people. The look which Mrs. Miller gave Jones, on this occasion, is not easy to be described. She burst into a kind of agony of transport, and cry'd out-'Good heavens! is there such a
man in the world?'-- But, recollecting herself, she said, “Indeed I know one such; but can there be 'another?' 'I hope, Madam,' cries Jones, there
are many who have common humanity: for to • relieve such distresses in our fellow-creatures, can
hardly be called more.' Mrs. Miller then took ten guineas, which were the utinost he could prevail with her to accept, and said, 'She would find some means of conveying them early the next morning;' adding, that she had herself done some ' little matter for the poor people, and had not left 'them in quite so much misery as she found them.'
They then returned to the parlour, where Nightingale expressed much concern at the dreadful situation of these wretches, whom indeed he knew; for he had seen them more than once at Mrs. Miller's. He inveighed against the folly of making one's self liable for the debts of others; vented many bitter execrations against the brother; and concluded with wishing something could be done for the unfortunate family. 'Suppose, Madam,' said he, you should recommend them to Mr.
' * Allworthy ? Or what think you of a collection? ? I will give them a guinea with all my heart.'
Mrs. Miller made no answer; and Nancy, to whom her mother had whispered the generosity of Jones, turned pale upon the occasion; though if either of them was angry with Nightingale, it was surely without reason. For the liberality of Jones, if he had known it, was not an example which he had any obligation to follow; and there are thousands who would not have contributed a single halfpenny, as indeed he did not in effect, for he made no tender of any thing; and therefore, as the others thought proper to make no demand, he kept his money in his pocket.
I have in truth observed, and shall never have a better opportunity than at present to communicate my observation, that the world are in general divided into two opinions concerning charity, which are the very reverse of each other. One party seems to hold, that all acts of this kind are to be esteemed as voluntary gifts, and however little you give (if indeed no more than your good wishes) you acquire a great degree of merit in so doing. Others, on the contrary, appear to be as firmly persuaded, that beneficence is a positive duty, and that whenever the rich fall greatly short of their ability in relieving the distresses of the poor, their pitiful largesses are so far from being meritorious, that they have only performed their duty by halves, and are in some sense more contemptible than those who have entirely neglected it.
To reconcile these different opinions is not in my power. I shall only add, that the givers are generally of the former sentiment, and the receivers are almost universally inclined to the latter,
CHAP. IX. TVhich treats of Matters of a very different Kind
from those in the preceding Chapter. IN
N the evening Jones met his lady again, and a long conversation again ensued between them; but as it consisted only of the same ordinary occurrences as before, we shall avoid mentioning particulars, which we despair of rendering agreeable to the reader; unless he is one whose devotion to the fair sex, like that of the papists to their saints, wants to be raised by the help of pictures. But I am so far from desiring to exhibit such pictures to the public, that I would wish to draw a curtain over those that have been lately set forth in certain French novels; very bungling copies of which have been presented us here, under the name of translations.
Jones grew still more and more impatient to sce Sophia; and finding, after repeated interviews with lady Bellaston, no likelihood of obtaining this by her means (for, on the contrary, the lady began to treat even the mention of the name of Sophia with resentment); he resolved to try some other method. He made no doubt but that lady Bellaston knew where his angel was, so he thought it most likely, that some of her servants should be acquainted with the same secret. Partridge therefore was employed to get acquainted with those servants, in order to fish this secret out of them.
Few situations can be imagined more uneasy than, that to which his poor master was at present reduced; for besides the difficulties he met with in discovering Sophia, besides the fears he had of having disobliged her, and the assurance she had received from lady Bellaston of the resolution which Sophia had taken against him, and of her having purposely concealed herself from him, which lie had sutticient reason to believe might be true; þe