Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 57

employment for a confessor?"
"Oh," said she, "it is impossible to avoid _vain thoughts_." I was
permitted once to visit her. She was cheerful and polite, and
convers'd pleasantly. The room was clean, but had no other furniture
than a matras, a table with a crucifix and book, a stool which she
gave me to sit on, and a picture over the chimney of Saint Veronica
displaying her handkerchief, with the miraculous figure of Christ's
bleeding face on it,[46] which she explained to me with great
seriousness. She look'd pale, but was never sick; and I give it as
another instance on how small an income, life and health may be

At Watts's printing-house I contracted an acquaintance with an
ingenious young man, one Wygate, who, having wealthy relations, had
been better educated than most printers; was a tolerable Latinist,
spoke French, and lov'd reading. I taught him and a friend of his to
swim at twice going into the river, and they soon became good
swimmers. They introduc'd me to some gentlemen from the country, who
went to Chelsea by water to see the College and Don Saltero's
curiosities.[47] In our return, at the request of the company, whose
curiosity Wygate had excited, I stripped and leaped into the river,
and swam from near Chelsea to Blackfriar's,[48] performing on the way
many feats of activity, both upon and under water, that surpris'd and
pleas'd those to whom they were novelties.

[46] The story is that she met Christ on His way to
crucifixion and offered Him her handkerchief to wipe the
blood from His face, after which the handkerchief always
bore the image of Christ's bleeding face.

[47] James Salter, a former servant of Hans Sloane, lived
in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. "His house, a barber-shop, was
known as 'Don Saltero's Coffee-House.' The curiosities
were in glass cases and constituted an amazing and
motley collection--a petrified crab from China, a
'lignified hog,' Job's tears, Madagascar lances, William
the Conqueror's flaming sword, and Henry the Eighth's
coat of mail."--Smyth.

[48] About three miles.

I had from a child been ever delighted with this exercise, had studied
and practis'd all Thevenot's motions and positions, added some of my
own, aiming at the graceful and easy as well as the useful. All these
I took this occasion of exhibiting

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 1
Lawrence to the Mississippi will in another century be filled with British people.
Page 14
It has ever since been a pleasure to me to see good workmen handle their tools; and it has been useful to me, having learned so much by it as to be able to do little jobs myself in my house when a workman could not readily be got, and to construct little machines for my experiments while the intention of making the experiment was fresh and warm in my mind.
Page 16
The first sold wonderfully, the event being recent, having made a great noise.
Page 31
Page 34
A friend of his, one Vernon, having some money due to him in Pennsylvania, about thirty-five pounds currency, desired I would receive it for him, and keep it till I had his directions what to remit it in.
Page 54
These he had agreed with at extremely low wages per week, to be raised a shilling every three months, as they would deserve by improving in their business; and the expectation of these high wages, to come on hereafter, was what he had drawn them in with.
Page 57
At Burlington I made an acquaintance with many principal people of the province.
Page 63
Meredith was no compositor, a poor pressman, and seldom sober.
Page 87
And this mode, which I at first put.
Page 106
Calling in the aid of religion, I proposed to them the proclaiming a fast, to promote reformation and implore the blessing of Heaven on our undertaking.
Page 112
Francis, then attorney-general, and myself to draw up constitutions for the government of the academy; which being done and signed, a house was hired, masters engaged, and the schools opened, I think, in the same year, 1749.
Page 114
I purchased all Dr.
Page 116
" And, indeed, if it be the design of Providence to extirpate these savages in order to make room for cultivators of the earth, it seems not improbable that rum may be the appointed means.
Page 125
However, to show the regard I have for your counsel, I promise you I will, if possible, avoid them.
Page 133
and divide the pay proportionately between you; but if you do not this service to your king and country voluntarily, when such good pay and reasonable terms are offered to you, your loyalty will be strongly suspected.
Page 135
, if he had treated them kindly; but he slighted and neglected them, and they gradually left him.
Page 138
My acquainting them that the money was ready in the paymaster's hands, but that orders for paying it must first be obtained from General Shirley, and my assuring them that I had applied to that general by letter, but, he being at a distance, an answer could not soon be received, and they must have patience,--all this was not sufficient to satisfy, and some began to sue me.
Page 158
Accordingly, all the sail was set that we could possibly make, and the wind being very fresh and fair, we went right before it, and made great way.
Page 166
Drive thy business, let not that drive thee; and, Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise, as Poor Richard says.
Page 174