Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 of 2] With His Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 43

part with me;
so that, when I talked of a lodging I had heard of nearer my business,
for 2_s._ a week, which, intent as I was on saving money, made some
difference, she bid me not think of it, for she would abate me 2_s._ a
week for the future; so I remained with her at 1_s._ 6_d._ 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: that 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
purposes, reserving only twelve pounds a year to live on, and out of
this sum she still gave a part 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: "from this I asked
her," said my landlady, "how she, as she lived, could possibly find so
much 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 conversed pleasantly. The room was clean, but
had no other furniture than a mattress, a table with a crucifix, and a
book, a stool which she gave me to sit on, and a picture over the
chimney of _St. Veronica_ displaying her handkerchief, with the
miraculous figure of Christ's bleeding face on it, which she explained
to me with great seriousness. She looked pale, but was never sick, and I
give it as another instance on how small an income life and health may
be supported.

At Watts's printing-house I contracted an acquaintance with an ingenious
man, one Wygate, who, having wealthy relations, had been better educated
than most printers; was a tolerable Latinist, spoke French, and loved
reading. I taught him and a friend of his to swim at twice going into
the river, and they soon became good swimmers. They introduced me to
some gentlemen from the country, who went to Chelsea

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

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" [Illustration: Published by W.
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Virtue and Innocence, a Poem 1 0 The Economy of Human Life 1 0 Old Friends in a New Dress, or Selections from Esop's Fables, in Verse, 2 parts, plates 2 0 Little Jack Horner, in Verse, plain 1s.
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' They joined in desiring him to speak his mind, and, gathering round him, he proceeded as follows: 'Friends,' says he, 'the taxes are indeed very heavy; and, if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us.
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" What, though you have found no treasure, nor has any rich relation left you a legacy.
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" 'And again, "The eye of the master will do more work than both his hands:" and again, "Want of care does us more damage than want of knowledge;" and again, "Not to oversee workmen, is to leave them your purse open.
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] [Illustration] * * * * * 'Away, then, with your expensive follies, and you will not then have so much cause to complain of hard times, heavy taxes, and chargeable families; for, "Women and wine, game and deceit, Make the wealth small, and the want great.
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Remember what poor Richard says, "Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.
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" And it is as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as for the frog to swell, in order to equal the ox.
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yet you are about to put yourself under that tyranny, when you run in debt for such dress! Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to deprive you of your liberty, by confining you in gaol for life, or by selling you for a servant, if you should not be able to pay him.
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Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine.