Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 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 77

the frame shine, it is sufficient; the rest is not worthy of
consideration. An able arithmetician has made an accurate calculation,
founded on long experience, and has discovered that the losses and
destructions incident to two whitewashings are equal to one removal, and
three removals equal to one fire.

The cleaning frolic over, matters begin to resume their pristine
appearance. The storm abates, and all would be well again; but it is
impossible that so great a convulsion in so small a community should not
produce some farther effects. For two or three weeks after the
operation, the family are usually afflicted with sore throats or sore
eyes, occasioned by the caustic quality of the lime, or with severe
colds from the exhalations of wet floors or damp walls.

I know a gentleman who was fond of accounting for everything in a
philosophical way. He considers this, which I have called a custom, as a
real periodical disease, peculiar to the climate. His train of reasoning
is ingenious and whimsical, but I am not at leisure to give you a
detail. The result was, that he found the distemper to be incurable;
but, after much study, he conceived he had discovered a method to divert
the evil he could not subdue. For this purpose he caused a small
building, about twelve feet square, to be erected in his garden, and
furnished with some ordinary chairs and tables, and a few prints of the
cheapest sort were hung against the walls. His hope was, that when the
whitewashing phrensy seized the females of his family, they might repair
to this apartment, and scrub, and smear, and scour to their heart's
content, and so spend the violence of the disease in this outpost, while
he enjoyed himself in quiet at headquarters. But the experiment did not
answer his expectation; it was impossible it should, since a principal
part of the gratification consists in the lady's having an uncontrolled
right to torment her husband at least once a year, and to turn him out
of doors, and take the reins of government into her own hands.

There is a much better contrivance than this of the philosopher, which
is, to cover the walls of the house with paper; this is generally done,
and though it cannot abolish, it at least shortens the period of female
dominion. The paper is decorated with flowers of various fancies, and
made so ornamental, that the women have admitted the fashion without
perceiving the design.

There is also another alleviation of the husband's distress; he
generally has the privilege of a small room or closet

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

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Page 1
& T.
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Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you.
Page 3
[Illustration] "If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be" as Poor Richard says, "the greatest prodigality;" since, as he elsewhere tells us, "Lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough, always proves little enough.
Page 4
Many, without labour, would live by their wits only, but they break for want of stock;" whereas industry gives comfort, and plenty, and respect.
Page 5
" You may think perhaps, that a little tea, or a little punch now and then, diet a little more costly, clothes a little finer, and a little entertainment now and then, can be no great matter; but remember, "Many a little makes a mickle.
Page 6
" And again, "At a great pennyworth pause a while:" he means, that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only, and not real; or the bargain, by straitening thee in thy business, may do thee more harm than good.
Page 7
" When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more, that your appearance may be all of a piece; but Poor Dick says, "It is easier to suppress the first desire, than to satisfy all that follow it.
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Remember, Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.
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' * * * * * Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue.