Hannah More.

The complete works of Hannah More online

. (page 45 of 135)
Online LibraryHannah MoreThe complete works of Hannah More → online text (page 45 of 135)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


hoard in the street down went the work — the
last one way, the upper leatlier another; the
sole dropped on the ground, and the thread
dragged after him, all the way up the street. If
a blind fiddler, a ballad singer, a mountebank,
a dancing bear, or a drum were heard at a dis-
tance—out ran Jack — nothing could stop him,
and not a stich more coulid he be prevailed on to
do that day. Every duty, every promise was
for^tten (or the present pleasure— -he could not
resist the smallest temptiition — ho never stopped
for a moment to consider whether a lliinsr was
right or wrong, but whetlicr i.r liked or disliked
it. And a^ his ill-judging mofJicr took care to
«{?nd him privately a go»d supply of pocket-
money, that deaolv bane to all youthful virtue



Digitized by



Googk



THE WORKS OF HANNAH MORE.



909



he had generallj a few pence ready to spend,
and to indulge in the present diTersion whatever
it was. And what was still worse even than
spending his money, he spent his time too, or
rather his master's time. Of this he was .con-
tinually reminded by James, to whom he always
answered, * what have you to complain about ?
It is nothing to too or any one else ; I speed
nobody's money but my own. *That may be,*
replied the other, *■ but yon eannotsay it is your
own time that you spend.' He insbted upon it
that it was ; bat James fetched down their iji>
dentures, and there showed him that he had so-
leranly bound himself by that instrument, not to
waste his master's property. *Now,' quoth
James, * thy own time is a very valuable part of
thy roaster's property.' To this he replied,
* every one's time was his own, and he slioiJd
not sit moping all day over his last— for his part,
he thanked God, he was no parish 'prentice.'

James did not resent this piece of foolish im-
pertinence, as some silly lads would have done ;
oor fly out into a violent passion : fbr even at
this early age, he had begun to learn of Him
wko was meek and lowly of heart ; and therefore
when he toot reviled, he reviled not again. On
the contrary he was so very kind and gentle,
that even Jack, vain and idle as he was^ could
not help loving him, though he took care never
to follow his advice.

' Jack's fondness fyr his boyish and silly diver-
sions in the street, soon produced the effects
which might naturally be expected; and the
same idleness which led him to fly oat into the
to'.7n at the sound ef a fiddle or the sight of a
puppet-show, soon led him to thoee plac^ to
which all these fiddles and shows naturally lead ;
I mean the alehouse. The acquaintance picked
up in the street was carried on at the Grey-
hound ; and tne idle pastimes of the boy soon
led to the destructive vices of the man.

As he was not an ill-tempered youth, nor na-
turally much given to drink, a sober and prudent
master, who had been steady in his manage-
nient and regular in fais own conduct, who would
have recommended good advice by a good ex-
ample, might have made something of Jack.
But I am sorry to say, that Mr. Williams, though
a good workman, and not a very hard or severe
master, was neither a sober nor a steady man —
90 far from it that he spent much more time at
the Grayhonnd than at home. There was no
Older either in his shop or family. He lefl the
chief care of his business to his two young ap-
prentices ; and being but a worldly man, he was
at first disposed to show favour to Jack, much
more than to James, because he had more mo-
ney, and his father was better in the world than
the father of poor James.

At first, therefore, he was disposed to consider
James as a sort of drudge ; who was to do all
thr menial work of the family, and he did not
care how little he Uught him of his trade. With
Mrs. Williams the matter was still worse ; she
constantly called him away from the business of
his trade to wash the house, nurse the child, turn
the spit, or run of errands. And here I must re-
mark, that though parish apprentices are bound
in duty to be submissive to both master and
mistress, and always to make themselves as use-



fbl as they can in a family, and to be civil and
humble ; yet on the other band, it is the duty of
masters always to remember, that if they are
paid fbr instructing them in their trade, they
ought conscientiously to instruct them in it, and
not to emplov them the greater part of their
time in such household or other drudgery, as to
deprive them of the opportunity of acquiring
their trade. This practice b not the less unjust
because it b common.

Mr. Williams soon found out that his favourite
Jae k would be of little use to him in the shop ;
fbr though he worked well enough, he did not
care how little he did. Nor could he be of the least
use to hb master in keeping an account, or
writing out a bill upon occasion, for, as he never
could be made to learn to cypher, he did not
know addition from multiplication.

One day one of the customers called at the
shop in a great hurry, and desired his bill might
be made out that minute. Mr. WiUiams, having
taken a cup too much, made several attempts to
pot down a clear account, but the more he tried,
the less he found himself able to do it. James,
who was sitting at his last, rose up, and with
great modesty, asked hb master if he would
please to give him leave to make out the bill,
saying, that though but a poor scholar, he would
do his best, rather than keep the gentleman wait-
mg. Williams gladly accepted his offer, and
confused as hb oead was with liquor, he yet
was able to oboerve with what neatness, despatch,
and exactness, the account was drawn out. From
that time he no longer ooneidered James as a
drudge, but as one fitted fbr the high depart-
menta of the trade, and ho was now rcgularlv
employed to manage the accounts, with which
all the eustomers were so well pleased, that it
contributed greatly to raise him in his master's
esteem i fbr there were now never any of those
blunders or false charges for which the shop
had before been so famous.

James went on in a regular course of in-
dustry, and soon became the best workman Mr.
Williams had ; but there were many things in
the family which he greatly disapproved. Some
of the journeymen used to swear, drink, and
sing very licentious songs. All these thinga
were a great grief to hb sober mind ; he com-
plained to his master who only laughed at him ;
and, indeed, as Williams did the same himself,
he put it out of his power to correct his servants,
if he had been so disposed. James however,
used always to reprove them with great mild-
ness indeed, but with great seriousness also.
This, but still more his own excellent example,
produced at length very good eifccts on such of
the men as were not quite hardened in sin.

What grieved him most, was the manner in
which the Sunday was spent. The master lay
in bed all the morning ; nor did the mother or
her children ever go to church, except there was
some new finery to be shown, or a christening
to be attended. The town's people were cominc
to the shop all the morning, for work which
should have been sent home the night before,
had not the mafXcr been at the alehouse. And
what wounded James to the very soul was, that
the master expected the two apprentices to carry
home shoee to the country customers on the



Digitized by



Google



904



THE WORKS OF HANNAH MORE.



Sunday morning'; which ha wickedly thought
was a saving of time, as it prevented their bin-
dering their work on the Saturday. These
shameful practices greatly afflicted poor James ;
he begged his master with tears in his eyes, to
excuse him, but he only laughed at his squeamish
conscience, as he called it

,Jack did not dislike this part of the business,
and generally after he had deliVbred his parcel,
wasted good part of the day in nutting, playing
*A fives, or dropping in at the public house : any
thing was better to Jack than goinff to church.

James on the other hand, when he was com-
pelled, sorely acfainst his conscience, to carry
home any goods on a Sunday morning, always
got up as soon as it was light, knelt* down and
prayed heartily to God to forgive him a sin
which it was not in his power to avoid ; he took
care not to lose a moment by the way, but as he
was taking his walk with the utmost speed, to
.leave his shoes with the customers, he spent his
time in endeavouring to keep up good thoughts
in his mind, and praying that Uie day might
come when his conscience might be delivered
from this g'rievous burthen. He was now par-
ticularly thankful, that Mr. Thomas had for-
mcrly taught him so many psalms and chapters,
which he used to repeat in these walks with
great devotion.

He always got home before the rest of the
family were up, dressed himself very clean, and
went twice to church ; as he ereatly disliked the
company and practices of bis master*! house,
particularly on the Sabbath-day, he preferred
spending his evening alone, reading his Bible,
which I had forgot to say the worthy clergyman
hid given him when he left hb native village.
Sunday evening, which is to some people such
a burden, was to James the highest holiday. He
had formerly learnt a little how to sing a psalm
of the clerk of his own parish, and this was now
become a very delightful part of bis evening ex.
ercise. And as Will Simpson, one of the jour-
neymen, by Jameses advice and example, was
now beginning to be of a more serious way of
thinking, he often asked him to sit an hour with
him, when they read the Bible, and talked it
'over together in a manner very pleasant and
improving ; and as Will was a »mous singer, a
psalm or two sung together, was a very innocent
pleasure.

" James's good manners and civility to the cus-
tomers drew much business to the shop; and
his skill as a workman was so great, that every
one desired that his shoes might be made by
James. Williams grew so very idle and negli-
gent, that he now totally neglected his affairs,
and to hard drinking added deep gaming. All
James's caro, both of the shop and the accounts,
could not keep things in any tolerable order : he
represented to his master that they were grow-
ing worse and worse, and exhorted him, if he
valued his credit as a tradesman, his comfort as
a husband and father, his character as a master,
and his soul as a Christian to turn over a new
leaf. Williams swore a ^reat oath, that he
would not be restrained in his pleasures to please
a canting parish 'prentice, nor to humour a par-
cel of squalling brats — that let people say what
thef would uf him, they should never say he was



a hypocrite^ and as long as they could not call
him that, he did not care what else they called
him.

In a violent passion he immediately went to
the ^rayhound, where he now spent not only
every evening, which he had long done, but good
partjof the day and night also. — His wife was
very dressy, extravagant, and fond of company,
and wasted at heme as fast as her husband spent
abroad, so that all the neighbours said, if it had
not been for James, his master must have been
a bankrupt long ago, but they were sure he could
not hold it much longer.

As Jack Brown sung a good song, and played
many diverting tricks, Williams liked his com-
pany; and often allowed him* to make one at
the Grayhound, where he would laugh heartily
at his stories ; so that every one thought Jack
was much the greater favourite — se he was as a
companion in 0*0110, and foolery, and pleasure^
as it is called ; but he would not trust him with
an inch of leather or sixpence in money : No,
no— when business was to be done, or trust was
to be reposed, James was the man : the idle and
the drunken never trust one another, if they
have common sense. They like to laugh, and
sing, and riot, and drink together, but when they
want a friend, a counsellor, a helper in business
or in trouble, they go &rther afield ; and Wil-
liams, while he would drink with Jack, would
trust James with untold gold; and even was
foolishly tempted to neglect his business the
more from knowing that he had one at home who
was taking care of it.

In spite of all James's care and diligence,
however, things were growing worse and worse ,
the more James saved, the more his master and
mistress spent One morning, just as the shop
was opened, and James had set every body to
their respective work, and he himself was set-
tling the business for the day, he found that hii
master was not yet come from the Grayhound.
As this was now become a common case, he
only grieved but did not wonder at it While
he was indulging sad thoughts on what would
be the end of all this, in ran the tapster from the
Grayhound out of breath, and with a look of
terror and dismay, desired James would step
over to the public house with him that moment,
for that his master wanted him.

James went immediately, surprised at this
onusual message. When he got into the kitchen
of the public house, which he now entered Sar
the first time in his life, though it was just op-
posite to the house in which he lived, he was
shocked at the beastly disgusting appearance of
every thing he beheld. There was a table cover-
ed with tankards, punch-bowls, broken glasses,
pipes, and dirty greasy packs of cards, and all
over wet with liquor ; the floor was strewed with
broken earthen cups, odd cards, and an EO table
which had been shivered to pieces in a quarrel ;
behind the table stood a crowd of dirty fellows,
with matted locks, hollow eyes, and faces smear*
ed with tobacco ; James made his way after the '
tapster, through this wretched looking crew, to
a settle which stood in the chimney corner. Not
a word was uttered, but the silent horror seemeji
to denote something more than a more coai.-Qon
drunken bout



Digitized by



Google



THE WORKS OF HANNAH MORE.



What wtt the dismay of Jameti, when he saw
fais mieerable master stretched oat on the settle,
ID all the agonies of death ! He had fallen into
a fit ; after having drank hard best part of the
nighl, and seemed to ha^e bat a few roinates to
live. In his friffhtiol coantenanoe, was dis-
played the dreadful picture of sin and death, for
he struggled at once under the guilt of intozica.
tion, and the pants of a dying man. He reco-
fered his senses for a few moments, and called
oat to ask if his faithful servant was come. —
James went up to him, took him by his cold
hand, but was too much moved to speak.-^* Oh !
James, James,' cried he in a broken voice, *pray
for me, comfort me.' James spoke kindly to
him. but was too honest to give him false com-
fort, as is too oflen done by mistaken friends in
these dreadful moments.

* James,* said he, * I have been a bad master
to you — you would have saved me, soul and body,
but I would not let you — I have ruined my wire,
my children, and my own soul. Take warning,
oh, take warning by my miserable end,* said he
to his stupified companions : but none were able
to attend to him but James, who bid him lift up
his heart to €rod, and prayed heartily for him
himself. * Oh !* said the dying man, * it is too
late, too late for me— but you have still time,*
said he to the half^runken terrified crew around
him. * Where is Jack 7* Jack Brovm came
forward, but was too much frurhtened to speak.
* O vretched boy *.* said he, * 1 fear I shall have
tihe ruin of thy soul, as well as my own to answer
ft>r. Stop short I— Take warnlng-^nOw in the
days of thy youth. O James, James, thoa dost
not pray for me. Death is dreadful to the wick-
ed—O the sting of death to a guilty conscience !'
Here he lifted up his ghastly eyes in speechless
horror, grasped hard at the hand of James ; gave
a deep hollow groan, and closed his eyes, never
to open them but in an awful eternity.

This was death in all its horrors ! the gay
companions of his sinful pleasures, could not
stand the sight; all slunk away like guilty
thieves from their late favourite friend — no one
was lefl to assist him, but his two apprentices.
Brown was not so hardened but that he shed
many tears for his unhaopy master ; and even
made some hasty resolutions of amendment,
which were too soon forgotten.

While Brown stepped home to call the work,
men to come and assist in removing their poor
master, James staid alone with the corpse, and
iNnployed those awful moments in indulging the
Most serious thoughts, and praying heartily to
God, that so terrible a lesson might not be thrown
awa^ upon him ; but that he might be enabled
to live in a constant state of preparation for
death. — The resolutions he made at this moment,
as they were not made in his own strength, but
in an humble reliance on 6od*8 gracious help,
were of, use to him as long as he lived ; and if
9^rcT he was for a moment tempted to say, or do
^a wrong thin^, the remembrance of his poor
^ying master's last agonies, and the dreadful
words he uttered, always operated as an instant
check upon him.

When Williams was buried, and his affairs
came to be in<|oired into, they were found to be
la a sad condition. His wire, indeed, was the



less to be pitied, as she had contributed her fail
share to the common ruin. James, however,
did pity her, and by his skill in accounts, his
known honesty, and the trust the creditors put
in his word, things came to be settled rather
better than Mrs. Williams expected.

Both Brown and James were now within m
month or two of being out of their time. The
creditors, as was said before, employed James
to settle his late master's accounts, which ho did
in a manner so creditable to his abilities, and
his honesty, that they proposed to him to take
the shop himself. He assured them it was ut-
terly out of his power for want of money. As
the creditors had not the least fear of being re-
paid, if it should please God to spare his life,
they generously agreed among themselves to
advance him a smul sum of money without any
security but his bond ; for this he was to pay a
very reasonable interest, and to return the whole
in a given number of years. James shed tears
of gratitude at thb testimony to his character,
and could hardly be prevailed on to accept their
kindness, so great was his dread of being in
debt

He took the remainder of the lease from his
mistress ; and in settling affairs with her, took
care to make every thing as advantageous to her
as possible. He never once allowed himself to
think how unkind she had been to him ; he only
saw in her the needy widow of hi^ deceased
master, and the distressed mother of an infant
family ; and was heartily sorry it was not in his
power to contribute to their support ; it was not
only James's duty, but his delight, to return good
for evil — ^fbr he was a Christian.

James Stock was now, by the blessing of Ood
on his own earnest endeavours, master of a con-
siderable shop, and was respected by the whole
town for his prudence, honesty, and piety. How
he behaved in his new station, and also what
befel his comrade Brown, must be the subject
of another book ; and I hope my readers will
look forward with some impatience for some
further account of this worthy young man. In
the meantime, other apprentices will do well to
follow so praiseworthy an example, and to re-
member, that the respectable master of a largo
shop, and of a profitable business, was raised to
that creditable situation, without money, friends,
or connexions, fi^m the low beginning of a parish
apprentice, by sobriety, industrjr* the fear of
dod, and, an obedience to the divine principles
afibd Christian religion.



PARTIL

7%€ Appreniiee turned Btastcr,

The first part of this history left off with the
dreadful sudden death of Williams the idle shoe,
maker, who died in a drunken fit at the Gra^.
hound. It also showed how James Stock, his
faithful apprentice, by his honest and upright
behaviour, so gained the love and respect of his
late master's creditors, that they set him up in
business, though he was not worth a shilling <A
his own — such is he power of a good character !



Digitized by



Google



S06



THE WORKS OF HANNAH MORE.



And when we last parted from him he had juat
got possession of his maater^s ahop.

This aadden prosperity waa a tioie of trial
for James ; who, as he was now become a cre-
ditable tradesman, I shall hereafter think proper
to call Mr. James Stock. I say, this sudden
rise in life was a time of trial ; for we hardly
know what we are ourselves till we become oar
own roasters. There is indeed always a rea-
sonable hope that a good servant will not make
m bod master, and that a faithful apprentice will
prove an honest tradesman. But the heart of
man is deceitful ', and some folks who seem to
behave very well while they are under subjec-
tion, no sooner get a little power than their
heads are turned, and they grow prouder than
those who are gentlemen born. They forget at
once that they were lately poor and dependant
themselves, so that one would think that with
their poverty they had lost their memory too.
I have known some who had suffered most
hardships in their early days, become the most
hard and oppressive in their turn : so that they
seem to forget that fine considerate reason which
God gives to the children of Israel why they
should be merciful to their servants, remember-
ings said he, that thou thyself voas a bondsman,

Youn|^ Mr. Stock did not so forget himself.
He had mdeed the only sure guard from falling
into this error. It was not from any uneasiness in
his natural disposition : for that only just serves
to make folks ^rood-natured when they are
pleased, and patient when they have nothing
to vex them. - James went upon higher ground.
He brought his religion into all his actions ;
he did not give way to abusive language, be.
cause he knew it was a sin. He did not use
his apprentices ill, because he knew he had him-
self a Master in heaven.

He knew he owed his present happy situation
to the kindness of the creditors. But did he
grow easy and careless because he knew he had
such friends? No indeed. He worked with
double diligence in order to ^et out of debt, and
to let these friends see he did not abuse their
kindness. Such behaviour as thb is the great-
est encouragement in the world to rich people
to lend a litUe money. It creates friends, and
it keeps them.

His sbo^ and boots were made in the best
manner ; this got him business ; he set out witii
a rule to tell no lies, and deceive no customers ;
this secured his business. He had two reasons
for not promising to send home ffoods when he
knew he should not be able to keep his word.
The first, because he knew a lie was a sin, the
next, because it was a folly. There is no credit
sooner worn out than that which is gained by
false pretences. After a little while no one is
deceived by them. Falsehood is so soon detect-
ed, that I believe most tradesmen are the poorer
for it in the long rung. Deceit is the worst
part of a shopkeeper's stock in trade.

Jaines was now at the head of a family. —
This is a serious situation, (said he to himself, -
one fine summer's evening, as he stood leaning
over the h Uf-door of his shop to enjoy a little
fresh air) I am now master of a family. My
cares are doubled, and so are my duties. I see
the higher one gets in life the more one has to



answer for. Let me now call to mind the sor-
row I used to feel when I was made to carry
work home on a Sunday by an ungodly master :
and let me now keep the resolution I then form-
ed.

So what his heart found right to do, he re-
solved to do quickly ; and he set out at first as
he meant to go on. The Sunday was jruly a
day of rest at Mr. Stock's. He would not allow
a pair of shoes to be given out on that day to
obfigo the best customer he had. And what did
he lose by it? Why nothing. For when the peo
pie were once used to it, they liked Saiunday
night just as welL But had it been otherwisr
he would have given up his gains to bis con
science.

Showing how Mr, Stock behaved to his appren
tiees.

When he got up in the world so far as to have
apprentices, he thought Jiimself as accountable
for their behaviour as if they had been his chH.
dren. Ha was very kind to them, and had a
cheerfiil merry way of talking to them, eo that
the lads who had seen too mudi of swearing, re*
probate masters, were fond of him. They were
never afraid of speaking to him ; they told him
all their little troubles, and considered their mas-
tor as their best friend, for Uiey said they would
do any thing for a good word and a kind look.
As he did not swear at them when they had
been guilty of a fault, they did not lie to him to



Online LibraryHannah MoreThe complete works of Hannah More → online text (page 45 of 135)