Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 49

agreed to take me in at the same
rate, three shillings and sixpence per week; cheaper, as she said,
from the protection she expected in having a man lodge in the house.
She was a widow, an elderly woman; had been bred a Protestant, being a
clergyman's daughter, but was converted to the Catholic religion by
her husband, whose memory she much revered; had lived much among
people of distinction, and knew a thousand anecdotes of them as far
back as the time of Charles II. She was lame in her knees with the
gout, and, therefore, seldom stirred out of her room, so sometimes
wanted company; and hers was so highly amusing to me that I was sure
to spend an evening with her whenever she desired it. Our supper was
only half an anchovy each, on a very little strip of bread and butter,
and half a pint of ale between us; but the entertainment was in her
conversation. My always keeping good hours, and giving little trouble
in the family, made her unwilling to part with me; so that, when I
talked of a lodging I had heard of, nearer my business, for two
shillings a week, which, intent as I now was on saving money, made
some difference, she bid me not think of it, for she would abate me
two shillings a week for the future; so I remained with her at one
shilling and sixpence as long as I stayed in London.

In a garret of her house there lived a maiden lady of seventy, in the
most retired manner, of whom my landlady gave me this account: she was
a Roman Catholic, had been sent abroad when young, and lodged in a
nunnery with an intent of becoming a nun; but, the country not
agreeing with her, she returned to England, where, there being no
nunnery, she had vowed to lead the life of a nun, as near as might be
done in those circumstances. Accordingly, she had given all her estate
to charitable uses, reserving only twelve pounds a year to live on,
and out of this sum she still gave a great deal in charity, living
herself on water gruel only, and using no fire but to boil it. She had
lived many years in that garret, being permitted to remain there
gratis by successive Catholic tenants of the house below, as they
deemed it a blessing to have her there. A priest visited her to
confess her every day. "I have asked her," says my landlady, "how she,
as she lived, could possibly find

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Text Comparison with Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

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_ _And indeed the scene he opens, strikes us with a pleasing astonishment, whilst he conducts us by a train of facts and judicious.
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in your hand.
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LETTER II.
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_N.
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If _A_ and _B_ approach to touch each other, the spark is stronger, because the difference between them is greater; after such touch there is no spark between either of them and _C_, because the electrical fire in all is reduced to the original equality.
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TO Mr PETER COLLINSON, F.
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5.
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For the electrical fire is never visible but when in.
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--And as when a long canal filled with still water is opened at one end, in order to be discharged, the motion of the water begins first near the opened end, and proceeds towards the close end, tho' the water itself moves from the close towards the opened end: so the electrical fire discharged into the polar regions, perhaps from a thousand leagues length of vaporiz'd air, appears first where 'tis first in motion, _i.
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17.
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I have a large prime conductor made of several thin sheets of Fuller's pasteboard form'd into a tube, near 10 feet long and a foot diameter.
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The horizontal motion of the scales over the floor, may represent the motion of the clouds over the earth; and the erect iron punch, a hill or high building; and then we see how electrified clouds passing over hills or high buildings at too great a height to strike, may be attracted lower till within their striking distance.
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9.
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This will appear plain, when the difference of acuteness in the corners is made very great.
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Turn its tail towards the prime conductor, and then it flies to your finger, and seems to nibble it.
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That this electrical fluid or fire is strongly attracted by glass, we know from the quickness and violence with which it is resumed by the part that had been deprived of it, when there is an opportunity.
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But I suppose farther, that in the cooling of the glass, its texture becomes closest in the middle, and forms a kind of partition, in which the pores are so narrow, that the particles of the electrical fluid, which enter both surfaces at the same time, cannot go through, or pass and repass from one surface to the other, and so mix together; yet, though the particles of electrical fluid, imbibed by each surface, cannot themselves pass through to those of the other, their repellency can, and by this means they act on one another.
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For experiments favouring (if I may not say confirming) this hypothesis, I must, to avoid repetition, beg leave to refer you back to what is said of the electrical phial in my former papers.
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----But Form a communication by a chain from the coating to the cushion, and the phial will charge.
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In two Volumes, Octavo.