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"less creature as I be treated so kindly and learn to "read the word of God too? Oh, madam what a
lucky chance brought me to your door!"-" Bet"ty," said the lady, "what you have just said, "shews 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 permited you to "experience want and distress, that you might ac"knowledge his hand in your present comfort and "prosperity. Above all, you must bless his goodin sending you to me, not only because I have "been of use to you in your worldly affairs, but be"cause he has enabled me to shew 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 that ballad of the Cheap Repository which bears his name, may be shewn hereafter.
Some Account of a Family who had rather live by their Wits than their Work.
OACHING 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 from 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.
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 the 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 half-pence, which, after all, they are by no means sure of getting. Indeed, when the neighbouring gentleman found out that opening the gate was the family trade, they soon left off 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 two-pence.
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 fight and unthinking a reward instead of a reproof. I beg leave, however, to put all gentlemen and ladies in mind that such tricks are a kind of apprenticeship to the trades of begging and thieving; and that nothing is more injurious to good morals, than to encourage the poor in any habits which may lead them to live upon chance.
Giles, to be sure, as his children grew older, began to train them to such other employments as the idle habits they had learned at the gate very properly qua
lified them for. The right of common which some of the poor cottagers have in that part of the country, and which is doubtless a considerable advantage to many, was converted by Giles into the means of corrupting his whole family; for his children, as soon as they grew too big for the trade of begging at the gate, were promoted to the dignity of thieving on the moor. Here he kept two or three asses, miserable beings, which, if they had the good fortune to escape an untimely death by starving, did not fail to meet with it by beating. Some of the biggest boys were sent out with these lean and galled animals to carry sand or coals about the neighbouring towns. Both sand and coals were often stolen before they got them to sell; or if not, they always took care to cheat in selling them. By long practice in this art, they grew so dextrous, that they could give a pretty good guess how large a coal they could crib out of every bag before the buyer would be likely to miss it.
All their odd time was taken up under the pretence of watching their asses on the moor, or running after five or six half-starved geese: but the truth is, these boys were only watching for an opportunity to steal an odd goose of their neighbour's, while they pretended to look after their own. They used also to pluck the quills or the down from these poor live creatures, or half milk a cow before the farmer's maid came with her pail. They all knew how to calculate to a minute what time to be down in a morning to let out their lank hungry beasts, which they had turned over-night into the farmer's field to steal a little good pasture. They contrived to get there just time enough to escape being caught in replacing the stakes they had pulled out for the cattle to get over, For Giles was a prudent long-headed fellow; and wherever he stole food for his colts, took care never to steal stakes from the hedges at the same place. He