Hannah More.

The complete works of Hannah More online

. (page 46 of 135)
Online LibraryHannah MoreThe complete works of Hannah More → online text (page 46 of 135)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

conceal it, and thereby make one fault twa
But though he was very kind, he was very
watchful also, for ho did not think neglect any
part of kindness. He brought toem to adopt one
very pretty method, which was, on a Sunday
evening to divert themselves with writing out
half a dozen texts of Scripture in a neat copy-
book with gilt covers. Tou have the same at
any of the statbners; they do nofcost above
fburponce, and will last nearlj a year.

When the boys carried him their books, be~
justly commended him whose texts were writ-
ten in the fairest hand. ' And now my boys,*
said he, * let us see which of you will learn your
texts best in the course of the week ; he who
docs this shall choose for next Sunday.' Thus
the boys soon got many psalms and chapters by
heart, almost without jmowing bow they came
by them. He taught them how to make a prac-
tical use of what they learnt : * for,' said he, * it
will answer little purposes to learn texts if we
do not try to live up to them.' One of the boys
being apt to play in his absence, and to run
back again to his work when he heard his
master's step, he brought him to a sense of his
fault by the last Sunday's text, which happened
to be the sixth of Ephesians. He showed him
what was meant by being obedient to his master
in singleness of heart as unto Christy and ex-
plained to him with so much kindness what it
was, not to work with eye.serviee as men pleasers^
but doing the will qf God from the hearty that
the lad said he should never forget it, and it did
more towards curing him of idleness than the
soundest horse- whipping would have done.
How Mr. Stock got out of debt.

Stock's behaviour was very regular, aad he
was much beloved for his kind and peaceable

Digitized by




temper. He had also a good reputation for skill
in his trade, and his industry was talked of
through the whole town, so that he had soon
more work than he ooold possibly do. He paid
all his dealers to the very day, and took care to
carry his interest money to the creditors the
moment it became due. In two or three years
he was able to be^ to pay off a small part of
the principal. His reason for being so eager to
pay money as soon as it became due, was this :
—He had obserred tradesmen, and especially
his old master, put off the day of payment as
long as they oould, even though the^ had the
means of paying in their power. This deceived
them : for having money in their pockets they
Ibrgot it belong^ to the creditor, and not to
themselves, and so got to fancy they were rich
when they were really poor. This false notion
led them to indulge in idle expenses, whereas,
if they had paid regularly, they would have had
this one temptation the less: a young trades-
man, when he is going to spend money, should
at least ask himself^ * Whether this money is
his own or his creditors ?* This little question
might help to prevent many a bankruptcy.

A true Christian alwd|r8 goes heartily to work
to find out what is his besetting sin ; and when
he has found it (which he easily may if he looks
sharp) against this sin he watches narrowly.
Now I know it is the fashion among some folks,
(and a bad fashion it is,) to faney that good
people have no sin ; but this only shows Uieir
ieoorance. It is not true. That good man, St
Paul, knew better.* And when men do not
own their sins, it is not because their is no sin
in their hearts, but because they are not anzi-
oos to search for it, nor humble to confess it,
nor penitent to mourn over It But this was
not the case with James Stock. * Examine
yoorselves truly,* said he, * is no bad part of
the catochism.' He began to be afraid that his
desire of living creditably, and without being a
burden to any one, might, under the mask of
honesty and independence, lead him into pride
and oovetouaness. He feared that the bias of
his heart lay that way. So instead of being
]Ht>ud of his sobriety ; instead of bragging that
he never spent his money idly, nor went to the
alehouse ; instead of boasting how hard he work-
ed and how he denied himself, he strove in secret
that even these good qualities might not grow
out of a wrong root The following event was
of use to him in the way of Indulging any dis-
position to covetousness.

One eveninffas he was standing at the door
of his shop a p8br dirty boy, without stockings
and shoes, came up and asked him for a bit of
broken victuals, for he had eaten nothing all
day. In spite of his dirt and rags he was a
very pretty, lively, civil spoken boy, and Mr.
Stock could not help thinking he knew some-
thing of his face. He fetched hito out a good
piece of bread and cheese, and while the boy was
devouring it, asked him if he had no parents,
^fjid why he went about in that vagabond man-
ner ? * Daddy has been dead some years,* said
the boy ; * he died in a fit over at the Gray hound.
Hammy says he used to live at this sho( , and

• See Bomans, vil

then we did not want for clothes nor victuals
neither.* Stock was melted almost to tears or*
finding that this dirtv beggar-boy was Tommy
Williams, the son of his old master. He blessed
God on comparing his own happy condition
with that of this poor destitute child, but he was
not prouder at the comparison ; and while he
was thankful for his own prosperity, he pitied
the helpless boy. * Where have you been living
of late ?* said he to him, * for I understand you
all went home to your mother*s friends.* — * So
we did, sir,* said the boy, * but they are grown
tired of maintaining us, because they said that
mammy spent all the money which should have
gone to buy victuals for us, on snuff and drams.
And so they have sent us back to this place,
which is daddy*s parish.*

• And where do you live here ?* said Mr. Stock.

* O sir, we are aU put into the parish poor-
house.* — • And does your mother do any thing
to help to maintain you ?* — * No, sir, for mammy
says she was not brought up to work like poor
folks, and she would rather starve than spin or
knit ; so she lies a-bed all the morning, and sends
us about to pick up what we can, a bit of vic-
tuals or a few halfpence.' — * And have you any
money in your pocket now?* — ^*Ye8, sir, I
have got three half-pence which I have begged
to-day.* — * Then, as you were so very hungry,
how came you not to buy a roll at that baker*s
over the way ?* — * Because, sir, I was going to
lay it out in tea for mammy, for I never lay out
a farthing for myself. Indeed mammy says
she vfill have her tet twice a-day if we beg or
starve for it.* — * Can you read my boy ?* said
Mr. Stock : — * A little, sir, and say my prayers
too.* — * And can you say your catechism ?' — * I
have almost forgotten it all, sir, though I re-
member something about honouring my father
and mother^ and that makes me still carry the
halfpence home to mammy instead of buying
cakes.* — * Who taught you these good things ?'
— *One Jemmy Stock, sir, who was a parish
'prentice to my daddy. He taught me one
question out of the catechism every night, and
always made me say my prayers to him before
I went to bed. He told me I should go to the
wicked place if I did not foar Giod, so I am still
afraid to tell lies like the other boys. Poor
Jemmy gave me a piece of ginger bread every
time I learnt well ; but I have no friend now ;
Jemmy was very good to me, though mammy
did nothing but beat him.'

Mr. Stock was too much moved to carry on
the discourse ; he did not make himself known
to the boy, but took him over to the bakor*s
shop ; as they walked along he could not help
repeating aloud a verse or two of that beautiful
hymn so deservedly the favourite of all children

* Not more than others I deserve,

Yet God hath given me more ;
For I have food while others starve.

Or beg flrom door to door.'

The little boy looked tip in his face, saying,

* Why, sir, that*s the very hymn which Jemmy
Stock gave me a penny for learning.* Stock
made no answer, but put a coaple of threepenny
loaves into his hand to carry home, and told
him to call on him again at such a time in the
following week.

Digitized by



ffow Mr, Stock contrived to be charitable mthout
any expense.

Stock had abundant subject for meditation
that nigrht. He was puzzled what to do with
ihe boy. While he was carrying on his trade
upon borrowed money, he did not think it right
to give any part of that money to assist the
idle, or even to help the distressed. * I must be
iu9t ,* said he, * before I am generous.* Still he
could not bear to sec this fine boy given up to a
certain ruin. He did not think' it safe to take
nim into his shop in his present ignorant un-
Drincipled state. At last he hit upon this
Jiought : I work for myself twelve hours in the
day. Why shall I not work one hour or two
for this boy in the evening 7 It will be but for
a year, and I shall then have more right to do
what I please. My money will then be my
own, I shall haye paid my debts.

So he be^n to put his resolution in practice
that very night, sticking to his old notion of
not putting off till to-morrow what should be
done to-day ; and it was thought he owed much
of his success in life, as well as his growth in
ffoodncss, to this little saying : * I am young and
healthy,* said ho, ^ one hour's work more will do
me no harm ; I will set aside all I get by these
over-hours, and put the boy to school. I have
not only no right to punish this child for the
sins of his father, but I consider that though
G^ hated those sins, he has made them to be
instrumental to my advancement*

Tommy Williams called at tho time appointed.
In the mean time Mr. Stock's maid had made
him a neat little suit of clothes out of an dd
coat of her master's. She had also knit him a
pair cf stockings, and Mr. Stock made him sit
down in the shop, while he fitted him with a
pair of new shoes. The maid having washed
and dressed him, Mr. Stock took him by the
hand, and walked along with him to the parish
poor-house to find his mother. They (bund her
dressed in ragged filthy finery, standing at tho
door, where she passed most of her time, quar-
relling with half a dozen women as idle and dirty
as herself. When she saw Tommy so neat and
well-dressed, she fell a crying for joy. She
said * it put her in mind of old times^ for Tommy
always used to be dressed like a gentleman.' — * So
much the worse,' said Mr. Stock ; * if you had
not begun by making him look like a gentleman,

J^ou needed not have ended by making him look
ike a beggar.' * Oh Jem !* said she, (for though
it was four years since she had seen him, she
soon recollected him) » fine times for you ! set a
beggar on horseback — ^you know the proverb.
I shall beat Tommy well for finding you out
and exposing me to you.'

Instead of entering into any dispute with this
bad woman, or praising himself at her expense ;
instead of putting her in mind of her past ill
behaviour to him, or reproaching her with the
bad use she had made of her prosperity, he
mildly said to her, — * Mrs. Williams I am soiry
for your misfortunes ; I am come to relieve you
of part of your burden. I will take Tommy off
your hands. I will give him a year's board and
ichooling, and by that time I shall see what he
Ts fit for. I will promise nothing, but if the I

boy turns out well, I will never forsake him
I shall make but one bargain with you, which
is, that he must not come to this place to hea«
all this railing and swearing, nor shall he keep,
company with these pilfering idle children.
You are welcome to go and see him when you
please, but here he must not come.'

The foolish woman burst out a crying, sar-
ing, * she should lose her poor dear Tommy for
ever. Mr. Stock might give her the money he
intended to pay at the school, for nobody could
do so well by him as his own mother.' The
truth was, she wanted to get these new clothes,
into her clutches, which would all have been
pawned at the dram-shop before the week was
out This Mr. Stock well knew. From crying
she fell to scolding and swearing. She told him
he was an unnatural wretch, that wanted to
make a child despise his own mother because
she was poor. She even went so for as to say
she would not part from him ; she said she hated
your godly people, they had no bowels of com-
passion, but tried to set men, women, and chil-
dren against their own flesh and blood.

Mr. Stock now almost lost his patience, and
for one moment a thought came across him, to
strip the boy, carry back the dothes, and leave
him to his unnatural mother. * Why,' said he,
'should I work over-hours, and wear out my
strength for this wicked woman ?' But soon he
checked this thought, by reflecting on the pa-
tience and long-Bunering^of Grod with rebellious
sinners. This cured his anger in a moment,
and he mildly reasoned with her on the folly
and blindness in opposing the good of her child.

One of the neighbours who stood by said,
* What a fine thing it was for the boy ! but some
people were bom to be lucky. She wished Mr.
Stock would take a fancy to her child, he should
have him soon enough.' Mrs. Williams now
began to be frightened lest Mr. Stock should
take the woman at her word, and sullenly con-
sented to let the boy go, from envy and malice,
not from prudence and gratitude ; and Tommy
was sent to school that very night, his mother
crying and roaring instead of thanking God for
such a blessing.

And here I cannot forbear telling a very good-
natured thing of Will Simpson, one of the work-
men. By the by it was that very young fellow
who was reformed by Stock's good example,
when he was an apprentice, and who used to
sing psalms with him on a Sunday evening,
when they got out of the way of Williams's
junketing. Will coming home parly one even-
ing was surprised to find his master at work by
himself, long after the usual time. He begged
S3 heartily to know the reason, that Stock owned
the truth. Will was so struck with this piece
of kindness, that he snatched up a laat, crying
out, * Well, master, you shall not work by your-
self however ; we will go snacks in maintaining
Tcmmy : it shall never be said that Will Simp-
b-io. was idling about when his master was work-
ing for chanty.' This made the hour pass^
cheerfully, and doubled the profits.

In a year or two Mr. Stock, by God's bless,
ing on his labours, became quite clear of the
world. He now j^id off his creditors, but he
never forgot his obligation to them, and found

Digitized by




many opporturiiies of showing kindness to
them, and to their children after them. He now
cast abont for a proper wife, and as he was
thought a prosperous man, and was very well
looking besides, most of the smart girls of the
place, with their tawdry finery, used to be often
paradin? before the shop, and would even go to
church m order to put themselves in his way.
But Mr. Stock when he went to church, had
other things in his head ; and if ever he thought
about these gay damsels at all, it was with con-
cern in seeing them so improperly tricked out,
■o that the very means they took to please him
made him dislike them.

There was one Betsy West, a young woman
of excellent character, and very modest appear-
ance. He had seldom seen her out, as she was
employed night and day in waiting on an a^ed,
widowed mo^er, who was both lame and bhnd.
This good girl was indeed almost literally eyes
and feet to her helpless parent, and Mr. Stock
used to see her, through the little casement win-
dow, lifting her up, and feeding with a tender-
ness which greatly raised bis esteem for her.
He used to tell Will Simpson, as they sat at
work, that such a dutiful daughter could hardly
help to make a faithful wife. He had not, how.
ever, the heart to try to draw her off from her
care of her sick mother. The poor woman de-
clined very fast Betsy was much employed in
reading or praying by her, while she was awake,
and passed a good part of the night while she
slept, in doing some fine works to sell, in order
to supply her sick mother with little delicacies
which their poor pittance could not afford, while
she herself lived on a crust.

Mr. Stock knew that Betsy would have little
ur nothing after her mother*s death, as she had
onlj a lire income. On the other hand, Mr.
TTrompson, the tanner, had offered him two hun-
dred pounds with his daughter Nancy ; but he
was almost sorry that he had not in this case an
opportunity of resisting his natural bias, which
rather lay on the side of loving money : • For,'
said he, *■ putting principle and putting affection
out of tb3 question, I shall do a more prudent
thing by marrying Betsy West, who will con-
form to her station, and is a reKgious, humble,
industrious girl, without a shilling, than by
having an idle dressy lass, who will neglect mv
family and fill ray house with company, though
the should have twice the fortune which Nancy
Thompson would bring.'

At length poor old Mrs. West was released
from all her sufferings. At a proper time Mr.
Stock proposed marriage to Betsy, and was ac
cepted. All the disappointed girls in the town
wandered what any body could like in such a
dowdy as that Flad the man no eyes 7 They
thought Mr. Stock had had more taste. Oh !
how did it provoke all the vain idle things to
ffad, that staying at home, dressing plainly,
serving God, and nursing ablind mother, should
do that for Betsy West, which all their con-
tnvancos, flaunting, and dancing, could not do
for them.

He was not disappointed in his hope of meet-
.ng with a good wife in Betsy, as indeed those
who marry on right grounds seldom are. But
if religions persons wi3, for the sake of money,

Votl. O

choose partners for life who have no religion, d«
not let them complain that they are unhappy ;
they might have known that beforehand

Tommy Williams was now taken home to
Stock's house and bound apprentice. He was
always kind and attentive to his mother ; and
every penny which Will Simpson or his masWt,
gave him for learning a chapter, he would save
to buy a bit of tea and sugar for her. When the
other boys laughed at him for being so foolish
a» to deny himself cakes and apples to give his
money to her who was so bad a woman, h
would answer, * It may be so, but she is my
mother for all that*

Mr. Stock was much moved at the change in
this boy, who turned out a Yery good youth. He
resolved, as God should prosper him, that he
would try to snatch other helpless creatures from
sin and ruin. * For,' said be, * it is owing to
God's blessing^ on the instructions of my good
minister when I was a child, that I have been
saved from the broad way of destruction.' — He
still gave God the glory of every thing he did
aright : and when Will Simpson one day said to
him, * Master, I wish I were half as good as you
are.* ♦ Hold, William,' answered h? gravely, * I
once read in a book, that the devil is willing
enough we should appear to do good actions, if
he can but make us proud of them.'

But we must not forget our other old acquaint-
ance, Mr. Stock's fbllow 'prentice. So next
month yovL may expect a full account of the
many tricks and firolics of idle Jack Brown

PART in.

Some account of thefrdicB of idle Jack Brown.

Tou shall now hear what befel idle Jack
Brown, who, being a farmer's son, had many
advantages to begin life with. But he who
wants prudence may be said to want every
thing, because he turns all his advantages to nc

Jack Brown was just out of his time when
his master Williams died in that terrible drunken
fit at the Grayhound. You know already how
Stock succeeded to his master's business, and
prospered in it Jack wished very much to en-
ter into partnership with him. His father and
mother too were desirous of it, and offered to
advance a hundred pounds with him. Here is
a fresh proof of the power of character ! The old
farmer, with all his covetousness, was eager to
get his son into partnership with Slock, though
the latter was not worth a shilling ; and oven
Jack's mother, with all her pride, was eager for
it, for they had both sense enough to sec it
would be the making of Jack. The father knew
that Stock would look to the main chance ; and
the mother that he would take the labouring oar,
and so her darling would have little to do. The
ruling passion operated in bolli. One parent
wished to secure to the son <i life of pleasure,
the other a profitable trade. Both were equally
indifferent to whatever related to his eternal

I Stock, however, youn^ as he was, was too old
\9 bird 'c be caught ^\'h chaff. H^s wisdom

Digitized by




Kras an overmatch for their canmii|r. He had
a kindness for Brown, but would on no account
enter into business with him. — * One of these
three tilings/ said he, *■ I am sure will happen
if I do ; he will either hurt my principles, my
character, or my trade ; perhaps all.' And here
by-the-by, let me drop a hint to other young
men who are about to enter into partnership.
Let them not do that in haste which they may
repent at leisure. Next to marriage it is a tie
the hardest to break ; and next to that it is an
engagement which ought to be entered into with
the most caution. Many things go to the making
such a connexion suitable, safe, and pleasant —
There is many a rich merchant need not be
above taking a hint in this respect, from James
Stock the shoemaker.

Brown was still unwilling to part from him ;
indeed he was too idle to look out for business,
so he ofiered Slock to work with him as a jour-
neyman, but this he also mildly refused. It hurt
.his good-nature to do so ; but he reflected that a
young man who has his way to make in the
world must not only be good-natured, he must
be prudent also. * I am resolved,* said he, * to
employ none but the most sober, regular young
men I can get Evil communications corrupt
rood manners, and I should be answerable for
SD the disorders of my house, if I knowingly
took a wild drinking young fellow into it That
which might be kindness to one, would be in.
justice to many, and therefore a sin in myself.*

Brown's mother was in a great rage when
she heard that her son had stooped so low as to
make this offer. — She valued herself on being
proud, for she. thought pride was a grand thing.
Poor wc man ! She did not know that it is the
meanest thing in the world. It was her igno-
rance which made her proud, as is apt to be the
case.—* You mean-spirited rascal,* said she to
Jack, * I had rather follow you to your grave, as
well as I love you, than see you disgrace your
family by working under Jem Stock, the parish
apprentice.* She forgot already what pains she
had taken about the partnership, but pride and
passion have bad memories.

It is hard to say which was now uppermost
in her mind, her desire to be revenged on Stock,
or to see her son make a figure. She raised
every shilling she could get from her husband,
and all she could crib from the dairy to set up
Jack in a showy way. So the very next market
day she came herself, and took for him the new
wljite house, with the two little sash windows
painted blue, and blue posts before the door. It
IS that house which has the old cross iust before
it, as you turn down between the church and
the Grayhound. Its being so near the church
to be sure was no recommendation to Jack, but
its being so near the Grayhound was, and so
taking one thing with the other it was to be
sure no bad situation ; but what weighed most
with the mother was, that it was a much more
showy shop than Stock*s ; and the house, though
not half so convenient, was far more smart

In order to draw custom, his foolish mother
advised him to undersell his neighbours just at
first ; to buy ordinary but showy goods, and to
employ cheap workmen. In short she charged
hia to leave no stone unturned to ruin his old

comrade Stock. Indeed she always thought
with double satisfaction of Jack's prosperity,
because she always joined to it the hope that
his success would be the ruin of Stock, for sbs
owned it would be the joy of her heart to bring
that proud upstart to a morsel of bread. She
did not understand, for her part, why such beg.
gars must become tradesmen ; it was making •
velvet purse of a sow*8 ear.

Stock, however, set out on quite another set
of principles. He did not allow himself to square
his own behaviour to others by theirs to him.
He seldom asked himself what he should Uke to

Online LibraryHannah MoreThe complete works of Hannah More → online text (page 46 of 135)