Hannah More.

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used to see him cool and collected, devoutly em-
ployed in reading and praying in the interval
of more active duties. He could not help com-
paring this officer with himself. I, said he,
flinched and drew back, and would even have
deserted in the moment of peril, and now in re-
turn, I have no consolation in the hour of repose
and safety. I would not 6ght then, 1 cannot
pray now. O why would I ever think of being
a soldier ? He then began* afresh to weep and
lament, and he groaned so loud that he drew
the notice of the officer, who came up to him,
kindly sat down by him, took him by the hand,
and inquired with as much affection as if he
had been his brother, what was the matter with
him, and what particular distress, more than
the common fortune of war it was which drew
from him such bitter groans 7 • I know some-
thing of surgery,' added he, * let me examine
your wound, and assbt you with such little
comfort as I can.*

William at once saw the difference between
the soldiers in the king's army, and the people
in the ereat family ; the latter commonly with-
drew their kindness in sickness and trouble,
when most wanted, which was just the very
time when the others came forward to assist
He told the officer his little history, the manner
of his living in the great family, the trifling
cause of his quarrelling with it, the slip^ht
ground of his entering into the king's service
» Sir,' said he, • I quarrelled with the famLy
and I thought I was at once fit for the army t I
did not know the qualifications it required. I had
not reckoned on discipline, and hardships, and
self-denial. I liked well enoogh to sing a loyal
song, or drink the king's health, but I find I do
not relish working and fighting for him, thourf-
I rashly promised even to lay down my life to
his service if called upon, when I took the
bounty money and the oath of alJegiance. In
short, sir, I find that I long for the ease and
sloth, the merriment and the feasting of mv old

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service ; I find I cannot be a soldier, and, to
speak truth, I was in the very act of deserting
when I was stopped short bj the cannon ball.
So that I feel the gnilt of desertion, and the
misery of having lost my leg into the bargain.*

The officer thus replied : *your state is that
of every worldly irreligious man. The great
family you served is a just picture of the world.
The wages the world promises to those who are
willing to do its work are high, but the payment
is attended with much disappointment; nay,
the world, like your great family, is in itself
insolvent, and in its very nature incapable of
making good the promises, and of paying the
high rewards which it holds out to tempt its
credulous followers. The ungodly world, like
your family, cares little for church, and still less
for prayer ; and considers the Bible rather as an
instrument to make an oath binding, in order to
keep the vulgar in obedience, than in contain-
ing in itself a perfect rule of faith and practice,
and as a title deed to heaven. The generality
of men love the world as you did your service,
while it smiles upon them, and ^ives them easy
work and plenty of meat and drmk ; but as soon
as it begins to cross and contradict them, they
get out of humour with it, just as you did witn
your service. They then think its drud^ry
hard, its rewards low. They find out that it is
high in its expectations from them, and slack
in its payments to them. And the^ begin to
fancy, (because they do not hear religious peo-
ple murmur as they do,) that there must be
some happiness in religion. The world, which
takes no account of their deeper sins, at length
brings them into discredit for some act of im-
prudence, just as your family overlooked your
lying and swearing, but threatened to drub you
for breaking a china dish. Such is the judg-
ment of the world ! it particularly bears with
those who only break the laws of Grod, but se-
verely punishes the smallest negligence by
which they themselves are injured. The world
soc^ner pardons the breaking ten commandments
of God, than even a china dish of its own.

* Afler some cross or opposition, worldly men,
as I said before, begin to think how much con-
tent and chuerftxlness they remember to have
seen in religious people. They therefore begin
to fancy that religion must be an easy and de-
lightful, as well as a good thing. They have
heard that, her ways are ways d^ pleasantness ^
and all her paths are peace ; and they persuade
themselves, that by this is meant worldly
pleasantness and sensual peace. They resolve
at length to try it, to turn their back upon the
world, to engage in the service of Grod and turn
Christians ; just as j^ou resolved to leave vour
old service, to enter into the service of the king
and turn soldier. But as you quitted your place
in a passion, so they leave the world in a huff*.
They do not count the cost They do not cal-
culate upon the darling sin, the habitual plea-
sures, the ease and vanities which they under-
take by their new engagements to renounce, any
more than you counted what indulgences you
were going to give up when you quitted the
luxuries and idleness of your place to enlist in
the soldier's warfare. They have, as I said,
teen Christians cheerful, and thev mistook the

ground of their cheerfulness ; they faneidd it
aiose, not because through grace they had con-
quered difficulties, but because they had nc
difficulties in their passage. They fancied that
religion found the road smooth, whereas it only
helps to bear with a rough road without com-
plaint They do not know that these Christians
are of good cheer, not because the world is
free from tribulation, but because Christ, their
captain, has overcome the world. But the irre.
ligous man, who has only seen the outside of a
Christian in his worldly intercourse, knows
little of hb secret conflicts, his trials, his self-
denials, his warefare with the world without ;
and with his own corrupt desires within.

* The irreligious man quarrels with the world
on some such occasion as you did with your
place. He now puts on the oatward forms and
ceremonies of religion, and assumes the badge
of Christianity, just as you were struck with the
show of a field day ; just as you were pleased
with the music and the marching, and put on
the cockade and red coat All seems smooth
for a little while. He goes throngh the out.
ward exercises of a Christian, a degree of credit
attends his new profession, but he never sus-
pects there is either difficulty or discipline at-
tending it; he fancies religion is a thing for
talking about, and not a thing of the heart and
the life. He never suspScts Uiat all the psalm-
singing he joins in, and the sermons he hears,
and the other means he is using, are only as
the exercises and the evolutions of the soldiers,
to fit and prepare him for actual service ; and
that these means are no more religion itself,
than the exercises and evolutions of your parade
were real warfare.

' At length some trial arises : this nominal
Christian is called to differ from the world in
some great point; something happens which
may strike at his comfort, or his credit, or se-
curity. This cools his zeal for religion, just as
the view of an engagement cooled your courage
as a soldier. He finds he was only angry with
the world, he was not tired of it He was out
of humour with the world, not because he had
seen through its vanity and emptiness, but bo
cause the world was out of humour with him.
He finds that it is an easy thing to be a fair
weather Christian, bold where there is nothing
to be done, and confident where there is nothing
to be feared. Difficulties unmask him to others ;
temptations unmask him to himself; he dis-
covers, that though he is a high professor, he is
no Christian ; just as you found out that your^
red coat and your cockade, your shoulder-knnt
and your musket, did not prevent you from be
ing a coward.

* Your misery in the military life, like that of
the nominal Christian, arose from your love of
ease, your cowardice, and your self ignorance
You rushed into a new way of life, withovtl
trying after one qualification for it A total
change of heart ana temper were necessary for
your new calling. With new views and prin-
ciples the soldier's life would have been not only
easy, but delightful to you. But while witli a new
profession you retained your old nature it is no
wonder if all discipline seemed intolerable ts


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*Tbe true Cfarifltian, like the brave soldier,
is supported under dangers by a strong faith
that the fruits of that victory for which he fights
will be safety and peace. But, alas ! the plea-
sores of this world are present and visible ; the

rewards for which lie strives are remote. He
therefore fails, because nothing short of a lively
faith can ever outweigh a strong present tempUt-
tion, and lead a man to prefer the joys of con*
quest to the pleasures of indulgence.



Bbttt Brown the orange girl, was born no-
body knows where, and br^ nobody knows
kow. No girl in all the streets of London could
drive a Inu'row more nimbly, avoid pushing
against passengers more dexterously, or cry her
' fine Ghina oranges* in a shriller Yoite. But
then she could neither sew, nor spin, nor knit,
nor wash, nor iron, nor read, nor spell. Betty
had not been always in so ^food a situation as
that in which we now describe her. She came
into the world before so many good gentlemen
and ladies began to concern themselves so
kindly that the poor might have a little learning.
There* was no charitable society then as there is
now, to pick up poor friendless children in the
streets,* and put them into a good house, and
give them meat, and drink, and lodging, and
learning, and teack them to set their bread in
an honest way, into the bargam. Whereas, this
now is often the case in London ; blessed be Grod
who has ordend the bounds of our habitation,
and cast our lot in such a country !

The longest thing that Betty can remember
is, that she used to crawl up out of a night cel-
lar, stroU about the streets, and pick cinders
from the scavengers* carts. Among the ashes
she sometimes round some ragged gauze and
dirty ribands ; with these she used to dizen her-
self out, and join the merry bands on the first
of May. This was not, however, quite fair, as
•ke did not lawfully belong either to the female
dancers, who foot it gayly round the garland, or
to the sooty tribe, who, on this happy holyday,
fbreet their year's toil in Pertman square, cheer-
ed by the tender bounty of her whose wit has
long enlivened the most learned, and whose
taste and talents long adorned the must polished
societies. Betty, however, oflen got a few scraps,
by appearing to belong to both parties. But as
ske grew bigger and was not an idle girl, she
always put herielf in the way of doing some-
thing. She would run of errands for Uie foot-
men, or sweep the door for the maid of any
house where she was known; she would run and
fetch some porter and never was once known
either to sip a drop by the way, or steal the pot
Her quickness and fidelity in doing little jobs,
got her into favour with a lazy cook-maid, who
was too apt to give away her master's cold meat
aad beer, aot to those who were most in want,
bat to those who waited upon her, and did the
little things for her whieh she ought to have
done herself
The cook, who found Betty a dexterous girl,
I employed her to sell ends of candles, pieces
• Tbe Philanthropic

r of meat and cheese, the lumps of butter, or any
thing else she could crib from the house. These
I were all cirried to her friend, Mrs. Sponge, who
I kept a little shop, and a kind of eating-house
for poor working people, not far from the Seven
Dials. She also bought as well as sold, many
kinds of second-hand things, and was not scru
pulous to know whether what she bought was
honestly come by, provided she Could get it for
a sixth part of what it was worth. But if the
owner presumed to ask for its real value, then
she had sudden qualms of conscience, instantly
suspected the thmgs were stolen, and gave her-
self -airs of honesty, which oflen took in poor
silly people, and gave her a sort of half reputa-
tion among the needy and ignorant, whose friend
she hypocritically pretended to be.

To this artful woman Betty carried the cook*s
pilferings ; and as Mrs. Sponge would give no^
great price for these in money, the cook was
willing to receive payment for her eatables in
Mrs. Sponge's drinkables ; for she dealt in all
kinds of spirits. I shall only just remark here,
that one receiver, like Mrs. Sponge, makes many
pilferers, who are tempted to commit these petty
thieveries, by knowing how easy it is to dispose
of them at such iniquitous houses.

Betty was faithful to both her employers,
which is extrrordinary, considering the great-
ness of the temptation and her utter jgnoranoe
of good and evil. One day she ventured to ask
Mrs. Sponge, if she could not assist her to get
into a more settled wav of life. She told her
that whea she rose ia the morning she nevei
knew where she should lie at night, nor was she
ever sure of a meal beforehand. Mrs. Sponge
asked her what she thought herself fit for*
Betty, with fear and trembling, said there was
one trade for which she thought herself quali-
fied, but she had not the ambition to look so
high; it was far above her humble views ; this
was, to have a barrow, and sell fruit, as several
othur of Mrs. Spongers customers did, whom slie
had often looked up to with envy, little expect-
ing herself ever to attain so independent u sta-

Mrs. Sponge was an artful woman. Bad as
she was, she was always aiming at something
of a character ; this was a great help to her
trade. While she watched keenly to make every
thing turn to her own profit, she had a false
fawning way of seeming to do all sho did oal
of pity and kindness to the distressed; and she
seldonn committed an extortion, but she tried to
make the persons she cheated believe them-
salves highly obliged to her kindness. Bf thus

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pretonding to be their friend, she gained their
confidence; and she grew rich herself^ while
they thought she was only showing favour to
them. Various were the arts she had of getting
rich ; and the mdney she got by grinding the
poor, she spent in the roost luxurious living ;
while she would haggle with her hungry cus-
tomers for a farthing, she would spend pounds
on the most costly delicacies for herself.

Mrs. Sponge, laying aside that haughty look
and voice, well known to such as had the mis.
fortune to be in her debt, put on the hypocritical
smile and sofl \*anting tone, which she always
assumed, when she meant to flatter her supe-
riors, or take in her dependents. • Betty,* said
she, * I am resolved to stand your friend. These
are sad times to be sure. Money is money now.
Yet I am resolved to put you in a handsome
way of living. You shall have a barrow, and
well furnished too.* Betty could not have felt
more ioy or gratitude, if she had been told that
she should have a coach. * O, madam !* said
Betty, ' it is impossible. I have not a penny in
the world towards helping me to set up.* * I will
take care of that,* said Mrs. Sponge ; * only you
.must do as I bid you. You must pay me in-
terest for my money ; and you will, of course,
be glad also to pay so much every night for a
nice hot supper which I get ready quite out of
kindness^ for a number of poor working people.
This will be a great comfort for such a friend-
less girl as you, for my victuals and drink are
the ^st, and ray company the merriest of any
in all St Giles's.* Betty thought all this only so
many more favours, and .curtseying to the
ground, said, * To be sure, ma*am, and thank
you a thousand times into the bargain. I never
could hope for such a rise in life.*

Mrs. Sponge knew what she was about Betty
was a lively girl, who had a knack at learning
any thing ; and so well looking through all her
dirt and rags, that there was little aoubt she
would get custom. A barrow was soon provided,
and five shillings put into Betty*s hands. Mrs.
Sponge kindly condescended to go to show her
how to buy the fruit ; for it was a rule with this
prudent gentlewoman, and one from which she
never departed, that no one should cheat but
lierself ; and suspecting from her own heart the
fVaud of all other dealers, she was seldom guilty
of the weakness of being imposed upon.

Betty had never possessed such a sum before.
She grudged to lay it out all at once, and was
ready to fancy she could live upon the capital.
The crown, ho>*evcr, was laid out to the best
advantage. Betty was carefully taught in what
manner to cry her oranges ; and received many
useful lessons how to get off the bad with the
good, and the stale with the fresh. Mrs. Sponge
also lent her a few bad sixpences, for which she
ordered her to bring home good ones at night.
Bettjr stared. Mrs. Sponge said, ♦ Betty, those
who would get money, must not be too nice
about trifles. Keep one of these sixpences in
your hand, and if ao ignorant young customer
gives you a good sixpence, do you immediately
slip it into your other hand, and give him the
bad one, declaring that it is the very one you
have just received, and be ready to swear that
you have not another sixpence in the world. '

You must also learn how to treat different sorts
of customers. To some you may put off", with
safety, goods which would be quite unsaleable
to others. Never offer bad fruit^ Betty, to those
who know i>etter ; never waste the good on those
who may be put off* with worse: put good
oranges at top to attract the eye, and the mouldy
ones under for sale.*

Poor Betty had not a nice conscience, for she
had never learnt that grand, but simple rule of
all moral obligation, rfever do that to another
which you would not have another do to ymt. She
set off with her barrow, as proud and n happy
as if she had been set up in the first shop in
Covent Garden. Betty had a sort of natural
good temper, which made her unwilling to im-
pose, but she had no principle which told her it
was a sin to do sa She had such good success,
that when night came, she had not an orange
left With a light heart she drove her ompSy
barrow to Mrs. Sponge's door. She went in
with a merry face, and threw down on the coun-
ter every farthing she had taken. * Betty,* said
Mrs. Sponge, * I have a right to it all, as it waa
got by my money. But I am too generous to
take It I will therefore only take sixpence for
this day*s use of my five shilling. Tliis is a
most reasonable interest, and I will lend you the
same sum to trade with to-morrow, and so on ;
you only paying me sixpence for the use of it
every night, which will be a great bargain to
you. You must also pay me my price every
night for your supper, and you shall have an ex-
cellent lodging above stairs ; so you see every
thing will now be provided for you in a genteel
manner, through iny generosity.**

Poor Betty *s gratitude blinded her so com-
pletely, that she had forgot to calcolato the vast
proportion which this ^nerous benefactress was
to receive out of her IitUe gains. She thought
herself a happy creature, and went in to sapper
with a number of others of her own class. For
this supper, and for more porter and gin than
she ought to have drunk, Betty was forced to
pay so high that it ate up all the profits of the
day, which, added to the daily interest^ made
Mrs. Sponge a rich return for her five shillings

Betty was reminded again of the gentility of
her new situation, as she crept up to bed in one
of Mrs. Sponge*s garrets, five stories high. This
lofl, to be sure, was small and had no window,
but what it wanted in light was made up in
company, as it had three t^s and thrice as ma-
ny lodgers. Those gentry had one night, in a
drunken frolic, broken down the door, which
happily had never been replaced ; for, since that
time, the lodgers had died much scldomerof in-
fectious distempers, than when tiiey were close
shut in. For this lodging Betty paid twice as
much to her goodfriend as she would have done
to a stranger. Thus she continued with great
industry and a thriving trade, as poor as on the
first day, and not a bit nearer to saving money
enough to buy her even a pair of shoes, though
her feet were nearly on the ground.

One day, as Betty was driving her barrow
through a street near Holborn, a lad}' from a

• For an authentic accoant of numlKTlens frauds of
this kind, see that very useful work of Mr. Colqaliotui
on tba * Police of the Metropolis of London/

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wm6ow called out to ber that ihe wanted some
oranges. While the servant went to fetch a
plate,' the lady entered into some talk with Bet-
ty, havingr been struck with her honest counte-
nance and civil manner She questioned her as
to her way of life, and the profits of her trade ;
and Betty, who had never been so kindly treated
before by bo genteel a person, was very commu-
nicative. She told ber little history as far as she
knew it, and dwelt much on the generosity of
Mrs. S-,K>nge, in keeping her in her house, and
trusting her with so large a capital as five shil-
lings. At first it sounded like a very good-na-
tured thing ; but the lady, whose husband was
one of the justices of the new police, happened
to know more of Mrs. Sponge than was good,
which led her to inquire sUll further. Betty
owned, that to be sure it was not all clear profit,
for that besides that the high price of the sup-
per and bed ran away with all she got, she paid
sixpence a-day for the use of the five shillings.*
* And how long have you done this 7* said the
lady. * About a year, madam.*

The Iady*s eyes were at once opened. • My
poor girl,* said she, * do you know that you have
already paid for that single five shillings the
enormous sum of 7/. 10«.7 I believe it is the
most profitable five shillings Mrs. Sponge ever
Uid out* — * O no, madam,* said the p^irl, * that
good gentlewoman does the same kmdness to
ten or twelve other poor friendless creatures like
me.* — ^ Does she so 7* said the lady ; * then I
never heard of a more lucrative trade than this
woman carries on, under the mask of charity,
at the expense of her poor deluded fellow crea-

* But, madam,* said Betty, who did not com-

rchcnd this Iady*s arithmetic, * what can I do ?
now contrive to pick up a morsel of bread
without begging or stealing. Mrs. Sponge haa
>een ver^gcwd to me ; and I don*t see how I can
belp myseU:*

• I will tell you,' said the lady : • if you will
(bllow my advicj^ you may not only maintain

Sourself honestly but independently. Only ob-
ge yourself to live bard for a little time, till
you have saved five shillings out of your own
earnings. Give up that expensive supper at
night, drink only one pint of porter, and no gin
at all. As soon as you have scraped together
the fire shillings, carry it back to your false
friend ; and if you are industrious, you will, at
the end of the year, have saved 71, 10«. If you
can make a shift to live now, when you have
this heavy interest to pay, judge bow things will
mend when your capital becomes your own.
You will put some clothes on your back ; and,
by leaving the use of spirits, and the company
in which you drink them, your beal^ your mo-
rals, and your condition will mend.*

The lady did not talk thus to save her money.
She would willingly have given the girl the five
shillings ; but she thought it was beginning at
the wrong end. She wanted to try her. Be-
sides, she knew there was more pleasure, as
well as honour, in possessing five shillings of
one's own saving, than of another's giving.
Betty promised to obey. She owned she had
cot no good by tho company or the liquor at
Mrs. Sponge's. She promised that very night

Vol. I

to begin saving the expense of the supper : and
that she would not taste a drop of gin till she
had the five shillings beforehand. The lady,
who knew the power of good habits, was con.
tented with this, thinking, that if the girl could
abstain for a certain time, it would become easy
to her. She therefore, at present, said little
about the nn of drinking, and only insisted on
the expense of it

Online LibraryHannah MoreThe complete works of Hannah More → online text (page 56 of 135)